Triune is a new Role-Playing game by Happy Bishop Games. This game can be termed futuristic, realistic fantasy. In this game religion has been outlawed, gates have been opened to two new universes that mankind has named ‘Heaven’ and ‘Hell’. It is the player characters responsibility to enforce the newly established rules and regulations concerning these two universes and our own interaction with them.
Prayers have power – whether it be devilish, angelic or humanocentric. Yes, in this game you really can worship money; just don’t let anyone catch you doing it.
The overall feel is exciting and clever. The core book is 208 pages consisting of a cover, cover page, credits, a brief discussion on the differences of the different editions available, a large two page table of contents and then what follows is what the table of contents includes. There is no index which is one of the fallacies of this game.
The layout is confusing as each page includes a header with the page number and name of the book. On almost every page this header runs into the text and makes reading very difficult. The main text in the book is set into two columns and spacing is not always aligned properly making the columns uneven and leaving the reader guessing if they got all the right information or if something was deleted.
Other issues with the layout are the font size and bulleting. Sometimes the font changes mid column and this makes reading clunky. The bulleting (setting off) of important text or lists is not worked with indentions. There is a bullet and then a description, another bullet and another description. This is a hindrance to the flow of information and if something needs a bullet it should stand out, not simply be part of the larger picture. I would highly recommend the typesetting and layout format be redesigned for ease of use.
The graphics within the book are sparse and blocky. Though I will admit this is perfect for this game. Very little decoration is necessary as the descriptions within the text are vibrant and bring the setting to life. The Table of Contents is very thorough, though not accurate on the pages of where information is located. This should be corrected as without an index the reliance on the table of contents is priority.
The game master’s edition is comprised of seven ‘books’ with several chapters in each, an Apocrypha and an adventure. The game information actually begins on page sixteen. Page seven is an open letter from the game designer and pages eight through fifteen are items that could easily be inserted after the Apocrypha as handouts or flavor pieces.
The open letter is out of place. It seems like the designer is attempting to make a bold statement and daring anyone to argue the point of the game. In this letter the words ‘it is a game’ are repeated several times. My response, of course it is – that is why I am reading it and while I am critical – I love the game. My personal take on the letter is that it is unnecessary and if a designer chooses to go to these lengths to defend their work on page seven of a book – many people will not read beyond this page. Move the open letter either to the very end or to the very beginning – or remove it completely.
The handouts / player pieces should not appear at the beginning of the book. When I read them right after the open letter I was thoroughly confused and did not understand what I was getting into and – I almost stopped reading. I am glad I took the extra effort to continue, because this game really is very interesting and thought provoking.
I realize to this point those reading this review will look at it and say, “Why continue – everything written so far has been scathing or detrimental?” And to a point I agree, but everyone has a beginning and I believe with some re-working and shuffling of information this game will be a success. What follows is why I believe this.
The first book in the Gamemaster’s Edition is the setting from pages sixteen to thirty-six. There are no punches pulled or fluffy intros. You are placed directly into when the game occurs and where. A brief history tells what has happened to humanity and the results of our ever increasing technological advancements and the chaos that was narrowly averted. I like this. I am instantly pulled into the game and the writing is crisp, clean and thorough. There is no beating around the bush, you know where you stand. I was ready for the next book – character creation.
Book two is character generation and is from pages thirty-seven to forty-five. Character creation is very simple and well-laid out. The examples provided are things I know players have asked themselves and are very useful in design of a character. Your character has one choice of career – enforcer. Whether the player chooses to have their character enforce the rules or takes sides is completely up to them and this is what makes this game so exciting.
Creation is simple: name, age, home, spend points on three attributes (each has three sub-attributes), assign strengths and weaknesses, set the starting resources, and select your faith and prayers. Ha, remember religion is outlawed and prayer is illegal.
The next book is the rules of the game pages forty-six to fifty-seven and covers this well. It is a simple system based on a ten-sided dice called the Tell die. However there are also three six-sided dice that can be used called the effort dice. Effort dice are just that – how much effort your character will put into an action. Before you roll the tell die you have to say how much effort your character will put into the situation whether it is a little (1d6), average (2d6) or a lot (3d6). Then the tell die is rolled and the GM assigns an attribute that is rolled against. Using the roll results and strengths weaknesses and other modifiers you either succeed, or fail. And depending on how much effort put into the action you can go from accomplishing the task to blundering magnificently. The rules section goes into depth as to how a character can improve or even decline during the course of a game and a campaign.
Book four concerns faiths and prayers and is from pages fifty-eight to one hundred and seven. This is one of the longer chapters as it describes the dynamics of each faith or path and the prayers that each path uses. The bulk of the chapter is description of these prayers and their use in game. This portion of the book is very intuitive and really helps creation of a character.
Book five describes technology and gear from pages one-hundred and eight to one hundred and nineteen. This is relatively short because of the technology of the time allows for creation of relatively anything the game master will allow. There are some examples of weaponry, armor and devices to help set a standard for creation, but other than that if the game master will allow it – create it. Creativity is not stifled in this game – it is encouraged.
Book six ranges from pages one hundred and twenty to one hundred and sixty-seven and cover the authorities, locales and groups within the game. While brief, each description is rich and there is little question as to how or why each organization exists and operates. It still leaves a lot of room for development but it gives a very strong base to draw upon.
Book seven in the product is titled: GM Section and is from pages one hundred and sixty-eight to one hundred and seventy-three. This section is a guide to creation of good ‘cases’ or adventures and how to be a good GM in the world of Triune. It presents examples of how and when to make rolls and is short, sweet and to the point.
The Apocrypha contains a glossary of terms – very helpful, and inspirations for the game and possible source material. Again, this is very short and goes from pages one hundred and seventy-four to one hundred and seventy-nine.
The final twenty eight pages of the product are an introductory case (or adventure). The adventure is well-written and balanced. It is a very good introduction to all facets of gameplay that can be introduced into this particular setting.
In reviewing this product I have come to the conclusion that I cannot give a simple rating. The aesthetics and layout are bluntly put – atrocious and I have to give it a one out of five stars. However, the material, gameplay and writing are superb and I give this a five out of five stars. This is definitely a diamond in the rough and if you like futuristic fantasy with a twist this is definitely worth looking over. It is an amazing game and I would like to see the aesthetics improved to match with the content.
Triune – Gamemaster’s Edition is available from: