Review: Third Eye Games – Apocalypse Prevention, Inc.


Apocalypse Prevention, Inc.
Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. is a complete modern fantasy horror system (powered by the Dynamic Gaming System) written by Eloy Lasanta and published by Third Eye Games.
By Aaron T. Huss

Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. is a modern fantasy horror setting powered by an action-oriented system designed for interactive combat encounters and flexibility in character creation. It takes place in an alternate version of Earth where a company, called Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. (API), has been thwarting major disasters for centuries, keeping the world safe from that which aims to destroy or enslave it. API uses diplomacy first and combat second, resulting in a world where non-humans (colloquially referred to as demons) live side-by-side with humans. These demons find employment within API to fight against the malevolent demons that wish humanity harm.

API uses a rollover d20 system by utilizing the appropriate attribute and skill combination as a modifier to your d20 roll against a known target number (using the chart for difficulty). Each action has an associated combination dependent upon what is being performed. This dice rolling method is used throughout.

CHARACTER CREATION

Character creation follows a very simple scheme: choose a passion, choose your race, distribute your attribute and skill points, choose gifts and drawbacks, and pick your equipment. There is an assortment of human and non-human races for constructing your API agent which include: humans, burners, changelings, lochs, spectrals, taylari, and wolf people. Each race is described and detailed with a look at origins, lifestyle, recruitment, appearance, and the in-game mechanics associated with each (plus a pre-generated character for reference.)

During character creation, characters are allocated a number of attribute and skill points to spend on choosing base attributes and what skills are desired. Bonus points are spent on choosing gifts & drawbacks that augment characters in a number of ways. Weapons are quite simple and generic.

COMBAT AND MAGIC

The Dynamic Gaming System (DGS) focuses heavily on how mechanics, weapons, and magic are utilized during combat. DGS uses an integrated turn-sequence where a large initiative tracker is used and characters perform their action according to what initiative that action occurs on. This means that characters do not simply go when its their turn but rather balance their choices against actions and reactions according to how long each one takes and when it will occur on the initiative track (with a modifier for faster characters.) This results in a cinematic-styled action sequence with a lot of back-and-forth instead of simply acting and then waiting, acting and waiting, again and again.

When it comes to magic during character creation and advancement, characters choose a path to follow which makes certain spells available for that path. During combat, magic works basically the same way as standard combat actions and each entry reflects that initiative sequence. These entries are all well-described and detailed.

SETTING

There are two main factors in the Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. fluff: API and demons. The setting sections fully describe what it means to be an agent for API, what API does and why, and information about the life of an API agent. The demons section contains a deeper look at the different demon species listed in the character creation section with a better look at their background and what they are like in modern times.

GAME MASTERS

The Game Master section contains a great deal of information needed by the GM to run an API game including: adventure hooks, experience points, antagonists, a random demon maker, and a look at other demon races that are not a part of API.

OVERALL

I definitely recommend Apocalypse Prevention, Inc for a multitude of reasons including: cinematic action (via the DGS combat system), flexible character creation and advancement, and a great approach to modern horror that puts the power in the hands of the characters to stop and destroy the horrors that threaten the world. The only thing missing is a pre-designed adventure that gives a glimpse into what the designer was aiming for in the setting’s mechanics and fluff.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 9 out of 10
Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. is a wonderfully produced book. Its layout and formatting is very simple and extremely effective. There is a good amount of illustrations, mostly character portraits, that look really good and fit the action feel the setting creates. I found a lot of editing mistakes, but nothing of major concern. The PDF is extensively bookmarked which makes navigation a lot easier, especially when using it for quick reference during game-play. Third Eye Games tends to pay a lot of attention to layout and formatting to produce a product that is extremely easy to read.

Mechanics: 8 out of 10
I have previously read and reviewed Wu Xing and Part-Time Gods. Wu Xing uses the same Dynamic Gaming System as Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. while Part-Time Gods uses a lite version. As-is, the Dynamic Gaming System is designed to be extremely cinematic, simulating what real hand-to-hand combat is like. This works perfectly Wu Xing but I can see it getting bogged down a bit during certain encounters in Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. I’d rather see the DGS-Lite version in Apocalypse Prevention, Inc., but that may defeat some of the “action horror” style designed into the setting. DGS fits into the cinematic action possible, but I see most encounters being less hand-to-hand and more ranged and tactical. With that said, all other mechanics for the Dynamic Gaming System fit perfectly in Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. providing a high number of options for creating the different types of agents working for API.

Desire to Play: 10 out of 10
Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. is a modern action horror version of Earth with a twist of fantasy. It’s like taking the non-Godlike mythos from Cthulhu and combining it with Men In Black and throwing in some magic to boot. There aren’t very many action horror games where the characters are not creatures of gothic horror fame (such as vampires or werewolves), putting the power back into the hands of humanity and its allies to fight against the horrors that breach the inter-dimensional portals and step foot upon Earth. The setting’s theme is beautiful and comes through quite clearly within the fluff and the mechanics. But you’re not tied to playing a human, you can also choose from one of humanity’s allied “demons” (a demon is any species living on earth that is not a human) working for API hunting the malevolent beings that don’t belong. If you’re looking for modern fantasy horror with cinematic and possibly humorous action, then Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. really fits the bill!

Overall: 9 out of 10
Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. is a great system and setting, and one that feels familiar. Being placed in an alternate version of modern times allows Game Masters to produce great adventures set in real world locations they can research by simply traveling there, finding pictures, or reading a magazine. One thing I really like about the content of the publication is how the mechanics are tied to the fluff, including the background history of the legal demons. I’m not a big fan of using the term demons as there are good demons, bad demons, legal demons, and illegal demons. To me it can quickly get confusing, but it is just a term (like alien.) I am, however, a big fan of the flexibility with character creation and advancement, alleviating the need for restrictive character classes that stifle your creativity. Essentially, you can truly make an API campaign your game in many different ways.

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