Featured Product: Shattered Moon – Final Verdict (Part 3)

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Shattered Moon – Final Verdict (Part 3)
By Aaron T. Huss

Welcome to Part 3, the final part, of the Featured Product series for Shattered Moon and the FateStorm system. This part recaps my views of the setting and system and what others may take away from it.

DESIRE TO PLAY

While the Shattered Moon setting is incredibly interesting and a great setting to play tabletop role-playing games, it’s the system that will most likely sway your decision. Why is that? Because the setting is cool, easily expandable, and has a great horrific flavor to it. The system, on the other hand, is going to be something you either want to play, or simply decide it’s not for you.

The FateStorm system and the Shattered Moon core rulebook are going to require a lot of time and experimentation to get a handle of. There is not introductory adventure to get you going in terms of understanding how the system’s encounters scales along with what types of adventures are proper for the setting. There are no encounter building tool-kits, nor are there any mechanics for how to properly scale the encounters. That means the GM will have to do a lot experimenting, or evaluation, on how to properly scale encounters to ensure the PCs aren’t obliterated right out the box.

To many GMs out there, this isn’t a problem. They may be drawn in by the diceless system and the rating resolution where a character’s abilities are as important as how they are role-played. Maybe they like the use of the Fate Deck and how it adds different styles of randomness to the system. Or maybe they’re really drawn in by the setting. Whatever the cause, there are numerous reasons why a GM may want to pick Shattered Moon up and run it for their friends.

On the other side of things, there will be GMs who want more flexibility in their character creation. Maybe they like the randomness of dice. Maybe they prefer to role-play dice-less mechanics. Or maybe they’re turned off by the complexity of calculating some of the attributes during character creation.

Unfortunately, I fall into the second category.

I tried three times to create a character for Shattered Moon. I’m not really sure if I ever truly got it correct, but I do know that the resulting characters were not truly what I wanted to create. I also had difficulty grasping some of the FateStorm concepts. Additionally, I didn’t have enough time to experiment with encounters to determine how they scale, due to the lack of introductory adventure.

I personally prefer a game that is somewhere between rules-light and advanced. I like have a good number of skills to choose for creating just the right character, and I prefer being given maximum flexibility when it comes to creating a character type. I don’t mind character classes that much, but if they’re present, I prefer a wide selection and not be tree-styled.

What that means is that Shattered Moon is not for me. That does not mean it won’t be for you or your gaming group. If you want something more advanced, then Shattered Moon is worth the try. If you want encounters where everyone is acting and reacting to everyone around them, constantly throughout the encounter, then Shattered Moon is worth a try. If you want a new style of dice-less resolution, then Shattered Moon is definitely worth a try.

What it comes down to is that the entire gaming group has to have a desire to play the style of game presented in Shattered Moon to enjoy what they find. There are simply too many differences between it and everything else out there that you can’t simply jump in halfway. This is a game that you must get fully immersed in.

One of the beauties of moving from reviews to the Featured Product series is that I don’t have to tell you what works and what doesn’t. Instead, I can tell you why I don’t want to play it and why you might. I can be much more open about what I discuss, because these articles are designed to better explain why one may be drawn to a system or pushed away. Shattered Moon is one of those systems and settings that will either draw you in or move you along. If you enjoy Shattered Moon and the FateStorm system, I suggest picking up Rogue Marshal while you’re at it to delve into yet another interesting and unique setting.

Part 1 | Part 2

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