This is a kid’s game. I’m going to be writing about a game for children…. I have to keep reminding myself of this fact because OH BOY IS THIS GAME FUN!…. For kids.. Kids and children. Not for supposed adults. Am I a child? Probably, but that’s not the point! Do you want to be a Fishfolk? How about a Sharkfolk? What if I told you that if you really wanted to.. You could be an URCHINfolk. Would you like that? Wanna know more? Let’s dive right in!
Mermaid Adventures is an RPG written by Eloy Lasanta and published by Third Eye Games that is centered around easy to learn flexible mechanics that facilitates a fun little story that can be as lighthearted or as dark-hearted as you like. The game’s main setting is Atlantis, a happy place where “Merfolk” have learned to live together in harmony. We have the familiar mermaid types referred to in game as “Fishfolk”, but there are also “Sharkfolk”, “Urchinfolk”, “Jellyfolk”, and others that all share the same upper humanoid half and lower sea creature half we all know and love. There is a King and Queen who rule, as well as some festival games to satiate the inherent blood lust and “survival of the fittest” approach to life that is enjoyed between the different “species’”. There’s even a place called the “Dark Lands” where you will find most of the evil that exists in this setting. Sea Witches, thieves, ne’er do wells who almost NE’ER do well. The back of the book has adventures that range from rescuing a lost boy, to filling in for the local relay race team that has gone and gotten themselves sick, to the very familiar “save the humans from the sinking ship that exploded” adventure. All packaged in a nice and short paperback that is a fun easy read.
Mechanically characters have four attributes. The first is body; which handles everything physical that your character attempts. Then mind; which handles everything mental and intelligence based. Third is charm, which handles all your social interactions. Lastly, there is luck; which covers all your magic and then can also be used to sort of effect narratives and the fates of you and the rest of the party.…”Isn’t there a spear hidden under my bed?… perhaps, gimme a luck roll!”… which in itself is a magical concept. Each of these attributes have four little boxes associated with them that are referred to in game as “hits”. See, what happens is each attribute functions as it’s own little pile of hit points. Succeeding on an attack roll against one of a given targets applicable attribute will inflict a “hit” on that attribute. So you just fill in hit squares equal to how much damage you take.. I know, I know, “but 4 hits, John? What’s the deal with only 4 hits??”. Well! You see, task and attack resolution is handled as such: your Merfolk is presented with a challenge which you determine what attribute would be used and gather dice equal to that attribute score. You would also take into account “qualities”, which we will talk about further down. The “Navigator” then assigns a difficulty from one to six and you would then add that many dice to the pool ideally represented by a different color dice to keep them separated. A success on the die is either a four, five, or six. So in order to succeed, or inflict a “hit” on an attribute, you just have to roll more successes with your attribute dice than you do with the difficulty dice. If you do, you succeed! If you roll more successes with the difficulty dice, well, you FAIL! We like to have fun here so it doesn’t have to be that harsh, but you get the gist.
Once you take four hits to an attribute whether it be physical attacks to your body, or mental attacks to your mind attribute, you can no longer use that attribute for actions until you heal it. However, you can still take actions with your other attributes. You also get to roll on an attribute specific table that will further complicate your story… which is ALWAYS a fun time, am I right? Starting attribute scores are attached to each starting Merfolk type as well as a special ability unique to said type. Attributes can then be raised or adjusted a little here and there if you so choose. Then it’s time for random charts…You get a chance to randomly generate how your Merfolk looks, what they are wearing, what special or weird items they have, and even what weapon you wield. Rounding out character creation we have qualities, which could be considered the powers, or special skills that make your Merfolk unique. Ranging from brute; which gives you bonus dice to strength related tasks to Musical; which gives you bonus dice when you’re performing music! There are also a few “negative” qualities that provide difficulty dice to hinder you if that interests anyone. The last type of qualities are the magical qualities. They enable your Merfolk to use the luck attribute for spell casting purposes. Qualities such as “water-bending” and “x-ray eyes”, all add a magical flavor to your Merfolk and are worded narratively leaving a lot open to your imagination.
All in all I would have to say that this game has a neat clean little system that provides more than enough opportunity to create interesting Merfolk characters to go on undersea adventures! If you are battling the evil Sea Witch for control of a sunken ship that supposedly has a magical trident, or helping the local tailor find a certain color coral to make a specific dye color for a specific garment..(I did that.. I found the coral in my daughter’s game and yes the garment was beautiful)… You’ll have a blast quickly putting together a character and jumping right in. I recommend giving a look and trying it out…. Oh.. and I guess I should mention that it’s great for kids… they’ll have fun too I guess. GO CHECK IT OUT!! 🙂