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Tales From the Fallen Empire
by Karl H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/05/2014 15:54:32
I normally don't write reviews because i'm busy with other stuff, but I decided to do this one, because I'm very pleased with it. This was my test of the POD on RPGNOW, and I couldn't be happier. The printed book is excellent with no errors that I could find. I received it in 6 days after my order. I don't like reading PDFs on a screen all that much and usually print it. I ordered the Soft-cover POD and PDF for this book and both are very nice. The world of Tales from the Fallen Empire is very grim and really has a old Conan feel to it. I own a bunch of DCC material and really like the game. Tales from the Fallen Empire is just the type of setting I want to run. It adds 7 classes to the game if that is what you want, but if your using the setting it adds 9 races/cultures to run as 0-level characters ( 5 of which are separate non-human races). It also has cool seafaring rules! It also has a CoC type rule set for forbidden knowledge (called Lore) which makes magic more sinister/forbidden in keeping with a sword and sorcery setting. New patrons/monsters, and two adventures a funnel and one for 3rd-4th level characters. I gave it 5/5 because I really like the setting. The material from Goodman games is excellent, but I like this grimmer setting more.

My wish is that more of the PDFs from other companies will have a POD option.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tales From the Fallen Empire
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Tales From the Fallen Empire Judges Screen
by Zachary Z. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/19/2013 14:34:28
Pretty disappointed in this screen. For it to be useful it would require a lot more tables. Having all the different player Crit Tables is kinda a waste of space. This is a GM screen and in need info for rulings that a GM makes. No Monster Crit Matrix, no Condition Healing, No XP Rewards, no Common Skill Checks, no Moral stuff, and no Luck stuff. Also player stuff useful for GMs... no Lay on Hand, no Two Weapon Attacks,

Art looks nice, but that is about it. I believe that there are much better free fan created products out there.

Not worth the 5 bucks.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Tales From the Fallen Empire Judges Screen
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Spookybeans
by Michael T. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/27/2012 19:58:34
When the Vampire role-playing game first debuted, goth culture had a grim and gritty approach to role-playing. Horror was no longer defined by Call of Cthulhu's battle against the unknown and unknowable, but rather the corruption was within vampires, werewolves, wraiths, and every other supernatural creature that is now common fodder for "urban fantasy" authors. These games were struggling to gain a foothold and demanded to be taken seriously. But goth gaming has mellowed over time, led in no small part by Tim Burton, who always brings a playful if twisted approach to horror. And thus we have the ENnie-nominated Spookybeans. As Serena Valentino explains:

Spookybeans takes a cheeky jab at ‘90s Goth culture, and though you can play whomever your devious little minds dream up, I fancy the idea of various incarnations of goth stereotypes running around The Hollow’s landscape on their misadventures often leading them to a disastrous and hilarious effect. As the creators point out: success almost never comes without a price, and whatever your characters achieve will usually be tarnished by some undesirable effect that will usually come back to haunt you.

The mechanics are simple. The game moderator (GM) rolls Adversity dice, the player rolls his or her Stash dice. Even rolls are Bones, odd rolls are Skulls. Because this is a goth game, Skulls are good, Bones are bad. It also means that so long as you use some sort of even-numbered randomizing tool (coins, spinners, cards, etc.) you can play the game.

If you win a Conflict (die roll between the player and GM you get a point towards your Yo, the happy ending and if you lose a Conflict you get a point towards your Woe, the bad ending. That's right, Spookybeans actually has narrative conclusions for each session. Also, your Woe is defined by another player, not you, which makes for some interesting role-playing interaction amongst players. Thingies are self-defined abilities of your character that can gain the player a mechanical advantage during the game. Thingies can be left undefined to be used during role-play at an opportune moment.

Spookybeans isn't about winning outcomes so much as it is about narrating them. Your character's Thingies can actually be flaws – winning a Conflict means the player gets to narrate how the circumstances affect the character, even if he's having a really bad day.

Additionally, Spookybeans is mechanically geared towards cooperative storytelling. To gain dice for Thingies, players need to convince the other players to contribute dice from their own Stash. There's just one catch: whatever dice are used to help the player go to the GM in the next Conflict roll.

Spookybeans actually reminds me a lot of game I played in high school, Teenagers from Outer Space. Spookybeans has a "They Came From Outer Spaaaaaaaaaaaaace" setting variant so the parallel is apt. The spirit is the same, although Spookybeans has shed much of TFOS' mechanical design to focus on telling a good game.

Spookybeans isn't just a smart role-playing game, it's also charmingly illustrated with undeniably dark characters peppered throughout. There's better maps in this game than I've seen in the majority of most PDF products. The entire PDF is generously illustrated with big, colorful pictures that make you want to read more.

With its offbeat humor, quirky characters, great art, and tightly focused game design, Spookybeans does an excellent job at an important but modest goal of reproducing the feel of goth toons. Its nomination for Best Electronic Book ENnie is well-deserved. I voted for it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Spookybeans
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