There’s really only one undisputed king of action movie genre emulation when it comes to tabletop games, and that’s first edition Feng Shui. Everything else is a pale imitation, no matter when those imitations came out chronologically – even before Feng Shui did. Trying to create a genre emulation RPG in this arena is, then, a pretty goddamn ballsy move.
Magnum Fury by Leonard A. Pimentel for LakeSide Games attempts to recreate the feel of more western action movies of the 80s and 90s, where Feng Shui is more about the over-the-top action of wire-work Kung Fu epics from Golden Harvest and their ilk. Here it’s more about Die Hard than Zu Warriors and that means there is some different emphasis.
MF definitely takes some cues from Feng Shui, especially in the way it handles ‘Mooks’ and things, but it’s a bit more open in terms of character creation and drops the most defining feature of Feng Shui – stunts. This is a little disappointing, but also thematically better fits what happens in 80s style films.
The system is simple and quick, using 2d6 (3 if you have advantage) and adding bonuses to see if you fail, succeed with a cost, or succeed outright. The idea of ‘No’, ‘Yes, but’ and ‘Yes’ is something I’ve played around with in games – but more expanded – and it does definitely help drive the narrative aspect of these sorts of games mechanically. You can think of Die Hard as a game in which John’s player keeps rolling ‘Yes, but…’ results.
Characters are primarily defined by their style (such as ‘Cerebral’ or ‘Dangerous’, their career, such as ‘Private Detective’ or ‘Assassin’ and their drive and flaw. Everything else – abilities and so on – are essentially set dressing.
There’s nothing massively innovative here, but its an interesting ‘Frankenstein’ of game concepts, brought together in an effective and fun package, presented in a format that suits a laptop screen rather than print. It knows its a one-off, con-slot or fill in type game and plays to that strength.
Personally, I’d use it to run players through the plots of some god-awful ‘straight to video’ actions flicks of the 80s, such as frequently appear on Red Letter Media’s ‘Best of the Worst’. These films, weirdly, often make fantastic inspiration for RPGs.
At 24 pages this is pretty slim, but it doesn’t need to be huge. At $3.00 that’s about right (perhaps 50 cents over what I’d charge) but it’s definitely worth a shot.
A great little filler game. For three bucks you can hardly go wrong.
You can buy it HERE.