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Supplement 12: Dynasty
by chris m. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/23/2012 17:21:47
An awesome dynastic game, its a completely independent game that seamlessly includes rules for players creating their own dynasty. worth every penny!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Supplement 12: Dynasty
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Mr Bubbles
by scott s. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/23/2012 15:27:52
While some of its humor will probably miss because of slightly dated jokes about Spam, this is still a great adventure. I haven't run it yet, but just reading through it made me laugh at the crazy scenarios inside. Which is a pretty good sign that'll it will be fun to run for both the DM and players.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mr Bubbles
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2300AD Core Rulebook Revised
by Sam L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/23/2012 12:59:28
SUMMARY
A respectable update to a classic hard sci-fi setting. What it lacks in nitty-gritty details in some areas it makes up for breadth of coverage.

THE BAD NEWS FIRST
If you're looking for a lavishly-illustrated book like the original, you're going to be very disappointed with this. Art is sparse in here, although generally pretty decent. This book favors density of information over artistic beauty, and it covers a LOT of ground in its 314 pages.

There's a couple of editing & formatting errors. A half-page is blank where I'm guessing they intended to put a picture but changed their minds at the last minute. Some of the tables are a little hard to read at first. A couple of the nation profiles in the core worlds have the wrong population digit, and Tirane is lacking its UWP. These last issues are pretty easy to get the right numbers when you read the description. Tirane, for instance, is pretty much Earth's twin with interface A, and probably one digit lower for population & law level.


THE SETTING
I'd describe 2300ad as a mildly dystopian, hard-sci-fi setting in the tradition of movies like Alien, Outland, or Gattaca. In Traveller terms, it's roughly Tech Level 12, with some areas like genetic engineering as high as Tech Level 16. However, there are a number of Traveller-standbys that don't exist: reactionless maneuver drives, jump drive, gravity control and antigravity vehicles, and meson guns & communicators.

Many current nations still exist, albeit in different forms or with different roles. Peculiarities of the stuttewarp drive (which acts like an STL or an FTL drive depending on how deep in a star's gravity well the craft is) have limited exploration along three "arms" of local space, named for the dominant power in each: American, Chinese, & French. France is the aging superpower if 2300ad, with China (specifically Manchuria) a close second and a resurgent America trailing behind. About 30 worlds have colonies, and there almost as many outposts. Some potential new colony worlds are also detailed.

There are 5 alien species, ranging from the nearly human (but almost religously technocratic) Sung to the Petapods (who treat DNA like tinkertoys). Only the most recently encountered species, the insect-like Kaefers ("Bugs" in German), has proven a genuine threat to human dominance of the 50 or so light-year spehere of human exploration.




GAME RULES
2300ad uses rules from the Core Rulebook, High-Guard, Central Supply Catalog, & the new Vehicle Handbook. However, all the relevant non-Core rules are repeated here for your convenience.

Character creation has some significant differences: the card-deck based character motivations are ported from the original GDW game, and there's a whole system of character traits similar to the alien species traits in the core rulebook.

Characters have to pick a nationality, and if they're from one of the frontier worlds they will also have a DNA modification. The character traits may grant bonuses or penalties (sometimes both), and add an additional layer of depth to characters.

There's also more detailed rules for operating in different gravities from your home world: these are modifications to characteristics. There's also rules to acclimating to different planetary environments (Planetary Adaptation Syndrome).

Not only does the book include NPC stats, but there's a system for generating quick NPC's for any occasion.

Starship construction & combat are re-vamped. Construction is generally similar, with more options available than traditional Mongoose-Traveller ships.

Space combat in 2300ad is very different than standard Traveller: I would compare it more to submarine warfare than age-of-sail gun battles. The dominant weapons are missiles: which in 2300ad work more like kamikaze drones than fire & forget weapons. Finding the general location of an enemy ship is easy (there is no stealth in space), but getting a firing solution on a rapidly-moving stutterwarp ship can be tricky. If your ship doesn't have a good enough sensors package, you may literally end up just shooting in the dark.


COMPARISONS TO THE ORIGINAL
The setting's background has been tweaked: the "bad things" are moved up from the late 1990's to the mid-21st century. Dates & details are left deliberately vague, explained by a combination of loss of records, social taboos, and government suppression.

Technology has been re-worked slightly, there's some mild transhumanist elements, and there's explanations of why AI hasn't become more commonplace. Computers & related technologies have been updated to be more plausible.

Overall the equipment selection is very good: there's a wide range of gear available for exploration or military-style adventuring. While fans of "gun porn" might be disappointed with the lack of illustrations, there's ample description: the new version has 48 varieties of personally-carried mayhem, to the original's 37. Most, if not all of the favorites from the original Adventurer's guide show up, plus several others only seen in supplements.

Fewer starships are listed, although there's at least one of each type in the book: a fighter, an exploratory ship, a frigate, a cruiser, a courier, and a bulk freighter as well as a variety of interface craft. Unlike the previous version, there's an official deck plan for every one.

"Libertine Traders" are a change from the "all starships are owned by transnationals, big foundations, or governments" paradigm of the original. The Libertines remind me vaguely of the merchanters of CJ Cherry's Alliance-Union novels: fiercely independent, and often times somewhat shady.

Much has been made about the lack of Kaefer stats & gear. I actually see this as a feature & not a bug (!). In many respects, the original setting was marred by the dominance of the Kaefer War: GDW seemed to be in a bit of a rut, and much of 2300ad turned into Twilight: 2000 in space with NATO fighting the bugs instead of communists.

In the new version, you can't go bug-hunting right away. You CAN do just about anything else, however: you can run a Firefly-esque game with a Libertine family or a group of troubleshooters in a courier, play (or chase) pirates in a frigate, run cyberpunk or Minority Report adventures in the core, or contend with the harsh realities of colony life on the Frontier. Or you can try exploring some of the potential new colony worlds listed in the book.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
2300AD Core Rulebook Revised
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2300AD Core Rulebook Revised
by Christopher D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/23/2012 06:01:55
First Impressions
2300 AD is an impressive 312 page book with a color cover and black and white interior illustrations.
2300 AD is a campaign source book for Traveller and you will need the core rules from Mongoose to make use of it. If you intend to design Vehicles you will need the vehicles book but for spaceships you just need the core book. You do not require any of the previous incarnations of 2300 to provide background.

What’s in the book
The book contains an overview of the setting, setting specific rules and setting specific equipment ranging from starships to portable shelters.
The setting information covers Earth, its nations and extra-solar colonies giving a potted overview of each along with planetary maps of all the habitable planets that humans have visited. There is also the story of how earth has developed over the 300 years between now and 2300 AD, starting with the deliberately vague “twilight war” that almost destroyed civilization at the start of the 21st century.
Character generation rules are based on core Traveller careers with fairly minor modifications except that the Citizen career is completely replaced, some changes, such as no Pilot(Grav) are derived directly from the background assumptions, and some seem simply added flavor; my youngest daughter was delighted to find that there was the possibility of ending up with a pet.

Differences from previous versions
In previous versions the history of the world started with Twilight 2000, here the link is less explicit also some reference is made to the developments of the last 30 years such as Trans-humanism, Nanotechnology and human DNA modification.
Nearly all colonists start with some sort of DNA modification simply to allow them to survive. In addition you actually get maps and details for all the worlds visited by humans without having to wait for supplements to come out; GDW’s colonial atlas did not have any planetary maps at all and the best source of detail on the worlds of the French arm was Invasion where all the maps looked like they had been scribbled by a GM in a hurry.

Criticisms
My main criticism is of the layout of some of the tables, there are a couple of places where what is semanticly a 2 column table has been wrapped to make a 4 column table without this being immediately obvious. There are other multi-page tables, such as the near star list, where the headings are only on the first page making this a harder read than necessary.
I also spotted a couple of references to DC which have come across from 2320. In addition I could have done with a little more detail on the Kaefers, the other aliens get example NPCS, but not them.

In the PDF there is a small amount of interior color but not where I would have expected it, for example, the world maps, which I know were originally in color, are still black and white but would have benefited from color while the deck plan grids are in color.

Overall I think this is a welcome return of a setting that still has fans 20 years after going out of print. I'm giving this 4 out of 5.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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2300AD Core Rulebook Revised
by Terry P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/22/2012 22:43:26
I am sorry if this review disturbs anyone who worked on it. I am sure you are reading this thinking I am overly critical. If so, I apologize. But if you had maintained the integrity of the product, or even tried to follow its predecessor more, I would be happy. Sadly, I just paid $29.99 for something I must wait for new supplements to use.
And as for Mongoose, the Babylon 5 RPG line was well done. Because of that, the only reason I can see for 2300AD to be so pathetic is that it was done so to make you buy the next book, and in this case, it is blatant.

I have been a fan of 2300AD since its very first inception as Traveller 2300AD. When it just became 2300AD, it was much improved. I have followed the 2300AD fan base, and it has been kept alive by the Etranger site. That being said, I feel I can give a good review of Mongoose 2300AD.

First off, this is not the 2300AD I grew up with and have remained a fan of for 25 years; it is boring, it is minimal in its focus, and it does not have the feel of 2300AD.
I am disappointed with it for many reasons. 2300AD is one of my favorite settings. I expected a product produced over 25 years after the original to surpass it: This does not. It is less than the original and for absolutely no reason other than the one many publishers pull now: MINIMAL USEFUL INFO FOR THE GM TO ENSURE SALES OF THE FUTURE PRODUCTS IN THE LINE. This game focuses on Earth and the nations there. There is no space exploration. Worst of all, it is visually boring! Where is all the art???? Perhaps I am spoiled by the product printed 25 years ago before computers dominated the industry, and expected that, with all of the resources produced in 25 years, this one would rock, and it does not even try.

I am not sure how the system itself will work for 2300AD. Mongoose Traveller is a good and simple system, so I will not rate it.

Original 2300AD books were visually interesting. There are lots of charts for such things as what language a nation speaks, where a planet or star system is, and many charts for star ship design.

The written material here is good. Cybernetics and DNA mods are covered well. These are things which were not deeply covered in the original products. Earth/Cybertech did some, but not much. I have the original books, so this part supplements them in this department.

The chief protagonist race of 2300AD are the Kafer. This product glosses over them: you receive no stats for GM usage, no ships, no equipment, and one small blurry picture. You will not be using the French Foreign Legion to fight the Kafers on Aurora in this game until a supplement is published.

As for weapons, the original 2300AD had tons of stats and pics of the weapons. Not this one. You have a few of each type.

I feel that the intention here is to focus on human versus human, and wait for the Alien Supplement to come out. This is very disappointing. A $29.99 pdf should have more depth. It seems to me that you are expected to play Cyberpunk 2300AD, as opposed to exploring the frontiers of space, whereas the original product focused on the frontier, with the Kafer War and The Aurora Source book.

Buy this if you have no other reference to 2300AD, or if you have all of the old books, in which case I am sure you can convert things. This book will not give you a feel for 2300AD.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
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2300AD Core Rulebook Revised
by Dalton C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/22/2012 21:15:41
The written material is very good - in fact you could split the book into multiple books and kept the value.
The decision to go with a B&W interior was not a good one - it distracts from the quality and depth of the game.
It's a great system, with far more detail than the original game, but one where the detail does not detract from play.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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2300AD Core Rulebook Revised
by Oscar S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/21/2012 22:37:14
After months of anticipation, having loved the original 2300, I picked up this book on the release day and was immediately disappointed with the purchase. The book is antiseptic in presentation, devoid of decent art and presented in an uninspired layout. It reminds me of the Traveller books of the late 70's, before the days of computers. Speaking of which, there are a few 3-D renderings of classic vehicles and ships (the Kennedy cruiser for example) but they are extremely simple. Dense hex grids on the world maps making viewing of the geography difficult. The best (and only color) picture inside the book is an advertisement for another of Mongoose's products.

The writing, while not awkward, tends to jump around topics as the author tried to address too many things too quickly. More on this as I do more reading.

The pdf is weak copy of the layout without bookmarks or outline to scan and find topics (less expensive books from other publishers include this feature).

Considering the age in which this product laid out, the price charged, and in comparison to Mongoose's own Traveller Core book, this is a weak effort.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
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Vikings of Legend
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/15/2012 06:11:42
Originally published at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/03/15/tabletop-review-vikings-
-of-legend/

Before author Pete Nash gets terribly far into his Legend supplement Vikings of Legend, he spouts some errant nonsense:

“Remember that this supplement is designed to help set roleplaying adventures in the Viking Era, it is not a work of scholarship.”

I say errant nonsense because, while the book may be filled with game-specific rules to facilitate Scandinavian-themed Viking adventures, it’s also a terrifically well-researched book, with more depth than many GMs would ever need on many aspects of life as a Viking.

The first chapter alone, The Viking Age, is ten full pages of historical overview that never really feels all that tiresome to read through (though the names, unconventional to my American ears, do tend to blend together), followed by eight more pages of timeline for quick reference. This is a solid building block for getting your brain, and that of your players, wrapped around the events, people and places that will be important in a historically accurate game.

From the first contact with the British and Irish, through to trade with Byzantium in the far south, the chapter is full of places and times in which to place your adventurers, with a wide variety of campaign types supported. Want to be raiders? That’s covered, in spades. Maybe you want to be traders, dealing with the more urbane Byzantines – if so you’re all set. You might even have a group that wants to be explorers, leading the first ships to Greenland or Iceland. It’s a broad swath of history, with many options for action and intrigue.

The chapter on Viking life gives you a good deal of detail of the various social classes present in Viking society, and touches on slavery as it was practiced. A sub-chapter on the traditional role of women in society, and the power that they wielded, is followed by a section telling you how to throw it all away and play a game with warrior maidens, either in a semi-realistic way or more fully fantastical.

If you’re unfamiliar with Vikings, there’s a good deal of discussion of Personality and Beliefs – not so much religious beliefs as societal values – that will flesh out what you know and what you think you know going into the game. It’s all too easy to come up with a character who is in fact more caricature instead, and this gives you solid insight into possible ways to play a character of some greater depth than simply drinking mead and travelling in long ships to do battle and bring home loot.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course…

Law, punishment, marriage and death, duels and how they’re handled, lawsuits – all of the elements that will add realism and depth to your world, are handled in short sections, with enough detail to allow you to insert them into the game without overburdening anyone with undue realism for what is, after all, a game.

The section on farming and farmsteading is the first time – 48 pages in – that you start seeing Legend-specific rules being applied, with a table of skill penalties to your faming lore rolls. Up until this, the book could apply to any game system at all. Sports and sportsmanship, gambling, hunting, poetry, singing and dance – the section that just gives you ideas for the sorts of challenges that you might find yourself facing as a Viking round out the section, a solid sixty pages of background material.

Finally, armed with all of that knowledge, you get to the meat of what most gamers are looking for in a book like this: rules on how to roll up a Viking!

The assumption in Vikings of Legend is that characters from different cultural backgrounds are like the alternative races of other games. Different dice and modifiers are used for different characteristics, to represent the phenotype of the peoples they are modeling. Scandinavians are bigger and stronger, while Eastern Europeans and Asians (including the folks from Byzantium) are weaker and smaller than average, with Western Europeans being the default standard against which the others are measured. The fact that the bonuses given to the Scandinavians are not offset with any characteristic penalties might be seen as a bit biased, but the book is called Vikings of Legend after all.

Not satisfied playing a mortal, you may also roll up an Aesir, Vanir, or Jotnar – divine races and giants, respectively.

Whatever you choose, this background – with some specificity for location – will serve as the generic Legend equivalent of your cultural background, granting you skill bonuses, advanced skills, and your starting money.

On page 70 is a sidebar about Combat Styles – a very sticky subject in Legend as the system assumes that your GM has made some decisions about this, and understands the nuances of those decisions. Here, the game deviates from the core Legend rules suggestion of grouping one-handed weapons with shield for a single skill. Instead, an older idea of making shield a separate skill is implemented, and I think it’s a generally smart idea on their part.

A random table is offered to generate your social class, but I think this might be a little too far in the direction of random character generation – imagine how it might skew a party, and ruin the plans of the GM, if everyone rolls up a noble – or a slave! Instead, I say let the GM decide how the party is broken down in terms of their roles, to suit the campaign he intends to run.

Professional backgrounds come next, in a fairly standard way, with the addition of some descriptive text for each of the professions. Pay heed here – if you’re looking for a strictly historical game, you’ll want to reconsider the Shaman and Sorcerer roles, as they are the first introduction to magic in the game. The descriptions are very helpful, especially for roles that might not be familiar, like Huskarl and Skald.

Family ties and extra skill points are straight out of the Legend core rules, but the background event table has been replaced with a Viking-specific one that can also help to lend some flavor to an otherwise unremarkable Viking warrior, or can change the nature of the character in an unintended way – I recommend being flexible about allowing re-rolls here.

This section ends with a valuable resource – a lengthy chart of Viking names, suitable for random rolling. It’s broken down into male, female and nicknames for convenience.

The section on gear provides the expected lists and charts of weapons, armor and other gear, but also gives you information on trade and bartering, on magic items from Viking lore, and even some new combat maneuvers, which I think is great as they’re one of my favorite aspects of the game’s combat system. The Shield Bash and Shield Twist (a disarmament move) are great, but the Cast Back maneuver is the real gem here, with warriors catching thrown weapons in mid-air and turning them on their owners. That one’s going to be a big hit.

The chapter on religion is partly what you’d expect – a fully fleshed-out description of the standards of Norse mythology. But it also contains information on the integration of Christianity into the beliefs of the Vikings, and how the two moved together in an uneasy peace. This starts out solidly in the real world, and moves directly into gifts from the gods and other magical topics that again lend a real flavor to the game.

That dovetails nicely with the next chapter, on magic. The systems are broken down into Sorcery, in the form of rune magic, and Shamanism, with spirit powered magics. Divination is also covered in some detail, including tools to keep it from being game-breaking, which are handy and could be applied to any game with magical divination or the like.

Because you can’t have an adventure game without them, the kinds of animals that a Viking might encounter are detailed next, giving you what you need to run a mundane or historical campaign. In addition, you get supernatural creatures as well. This was a sore spot for me, with the core Legend rules not even including non-magical animals, and will help fill the gap even in games set in a non-Viking world.

The book closes with a chapter on Viking campaigns, with tons of hooks tuned to the world in question, from combat-focused games to those more interested in politics, intrigue or even the affairs of the gods. This, again, is a system-agnostic chapter, equally useful for Legend GMs as it would be for any other system you might want to use. I find this to be the sign of a really good “world book” – when it has utility in and of itself, divorced from the game system it was intended for.

As a “generic” world book Vikings of Legend does a nice job of providing you a fully formed world, with lots of cultural hooks that your players are going to be able to leverage right from the start. If it has a drawback, it may be that it’s too in-depth for some gamers, with entirely too much detail about things they won’t care about. That said, for twelve bucks, you can’t really complain about getting too much for your money, and the other information really can be disregarded entirely without damaging the parts that you do keep.

In my opinion, Vikings of Legend is an excellent blueprint for someone else to follow when coming up with a world book of their own for Legend, or any other game honestly.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vikings of Legend
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Legend
by Christopher R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/09/2012 13:02:16
Pretty good adaptation of the RuneQuest/Rolemaster rules. Gives them more broad potential for application while still maintaining the "feel" of Glorantha. Its also more complete and laid out more sensibly than the 2nd edition rules. The book is pretty attractive and you can tell some thought went into the design; the art is not personally my favorite but it has its charm.
The price for the PDF is the biggest draw! For $1.00, you definitely get your money's worth. Strongly recommended

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legend
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Book 6: Scoundrel
by John D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/08/2012 13:03:26
A solid, useful book. The new subsystems for smuggling, piracy, hacking, heists, and fencing items were quite good, though they look rather difficult for PCs to pull off. The new careers are lackluster, and also have unusually high survival / promotion difficulties (on par with Drifter rather than Rogue from Core, even for the careers that are derived from Core Rogue specialties). The new gear is mostly pretty good, with non-armor stealthsuits, rules for plastic composite weapons, and other fun things. Painkiller are, however, terribly unbalanced and not in keeping with the standard Traveller drug rules (no side effects whatsoever for overuse). The belt mining rules are just a pointer to Beltstrike, which is disappointing, and the salvage rules are rather brief. The gambling rules are pretty good, though. The patrons are inspiring and often amusing, so they were a highlight; many homages to classic sci-fi sources. Sample starships left me mostly cold; I guess more deckplans are always nice. Finally, the rules for ancient weapons (for use on barbarian worlds) were somewhat confusing; some of the numbers looked wrong.

Overall, fairly well-edited, well-laid out. Art quality was unimpressive, but also not terrible. Good book if you're looking to run a criminal game (though you might want to adjust the difficulties down some, unless you want the PCs caught and tried on their first run), less so for drifting. Not a bad product, but not a standout either.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Book 6: Scoundrel
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Sword Worlds
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/07/2012 14:02:00
Originally published at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/03/07/tabletop-review-sword-w-
orlds/


So, you want to play some Traveller, but you’re not too keen on the usual tropes. Not a merchant ship plying trade across the Imperium – not enough macho. Not really interested in the Imperium at all, now you mention it – a little too staid, too laid back. Not enough opportunities for plundering.

Mongoose Publishing’s Alien Module 4: Sword Worlds might be just your cup of tea, then. Based, sometimes loosely, sometimes blatantly on H. Beam Piper’s Space Viking saga, this add-on to the Traveller product list will give you all of the details you need to create characters in the tiny empire that was founded by Scandinavian colonists hundreds of years ago.

The book spends a good deal of time – a healthy eighteen pages – on character building, including modifications to the standard career paths available to any Traveller player, as well as adding several new, Sword Worlds-specific paths including the religious Aesirist Church, the Confederation Patrol – an interplanetary police force, and the elite Jager Kommand – part Marine Corps, part Byzantine Viking guard. Even going with the traditional roles, you’ll get specific instructions on how you’ll be set apart from an Imperial with the same general career.

The next section of the book involves the culture of the Sword Worlds. They are, to a modern eye, primitive – no matter how hard the author tries to make you think they aren’t, and to defend the generally misogynist character of the Svaerbonir – the Sword Worlders or “swordies” for short. They hold onto a very male dominated culture, with women in a very specific set of roles, in some ways very like the Aslan from Alien Module 1. This grates more in a branch of humanity, however, than it does in a wholly made-up race. Your mileage may vary, but be prepared for the general dichotomy between men and women to loom large in Sword Worlds games.

The most interesting part of this section is the one that deals with some particulars, entitled “10 Points of Great Interest Within the Sword Worlds” and details mercenary units, beer, clothing, sports and terrorist organizations and even a group akin in many ways to the Roma or Gypsies. These are the kinds of things that lend a real distinction and flavor to games run in the Sword Worlds.

The two dozen worlds that comprise the Sword Worlds are broken out in some little depth, with points of interest and distinctive locations on the world, ecology or historical information that would be relevant either to visitors or to the GM in finding hooks for adventure. This section constitutes twenty-six pages of fairly dense text, and yet I think it could have benefited from being longer still. Worlds are large places, and in a page a piece, it is hard to do more than hit the highlights. Some will see this as a blessing, giving the GM additional room to improvise, but I like the idea of a canon world description that goes into some depth.

The equipment section briefly details the general tech levels of the Sword Worlds in a number of areas before delving into specific gear that is relevant to the region. Again, this adds a localizing flavor to the game, when you’re not just wearing “ballistic cloth” but a Brynja – a high-tech variation on ringmail, or you’re wielding a Riddare automatic rifle. So much more interesting than an ACR, or even a generic 4mm Gauss Rifle.

This section includes vehicles that are Sword Worlds specific, but I couldn’t wait for the next section – because space ship designs really are my favorite part of Traveller. And the material presents five ships, from fighters to large-scale warships, all with a distinct flare and decidedly non-Imperial silhouette. These are complete with deck plans, as are most ships in the Mongoose Traveller library.

A section on Encounters provides specific tables for encounters on Sword World worlds, including a handful of sample patrons. The level of detail is solid on these, and they’ll help to provide the flavor of the Sword Worlds in some of the first encounters that the players will role play against. They close the section with a series of pre-built NPCs to suit many different adventure opportunities, and the stats for various native animals for the worlds in question.

The book closes with a section of classified information, with a handful of plots and potential hooks to bring more adventure to your players.

The material is solid, as we’ve seen in many of the previous Alien Modules from Mongoose. The Sword Worlds are a tantalizing place to stage a game, given the general military bent of the people, and the relatively low technology (topping out at TL 12) of the game that you’ll find there. Players who tend to play female characters, regardless of their own gender, may find the Sword Worlds inherently limiting to them, if not outright hostile, but as this is only a game, those sorts of attitudes can be softened if not entirely abandoned by a sympathetic GM.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Sword Worlds
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Designers & Dragons
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/07/2012 13:53:58
Everything you need to know about the history of RPGs.

This is massive (440+ pages), well researched tome is perfect for reading straight through, picking up a year or company at random or even looking things up.
They style is easy to read and it's almost informal in tone. One can easily picture Appelcline sitting down ans saying "let me tell you a story, you see it all started 1974..." Like a storyteller the story takes turns and twists and doesn't follow a chronology, but that is fine since it does follow a narrative.
They layout is clean and simple. The story is the key here, and there are plenty of color photos of the games being talked about, though not all games have photos.

While there is a lot of information there is a lot of material to cover too. So sometimes some topics get a little shorted, but I can't blame the author for this to be honest. There is just so much to cover. That been said there is a lot that is in this book. I consider myself very knowledgeable about RPGs and I was nodding along with the text going "yes I remember that" but I still found myself going "wow, I didn't know that!" quite often.

In a nice feature each chapter/part ends in a "What to Read Next" that can lead you in many different directions. Like coming to a crossroads in a dungeon do you go right, left or straight ahead. The choice is yours.

This book is so full of information that it will take me weeks to digest it all and I am sure I'll be coming back to it often.

This book is the most comprehensive history of RPGs and the companies that produce them to date. I was even happy to see my own name in these pages.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Designers & Dragons
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Cults of the Young Kingdoms Second Edition
by Berin K. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/04/2012 18:35:47
"There is no salvation in this world – only malevolent doom!’ - Elric of Melnibone

The Lords of Law, the Lords of Chaos, and the Elements don't really care about Men, but that doesn't stop Men from trying to make sense of the universe. This sourcebook tries to deal with religion (or, as it's called here, myth) in the world of Michael Moorcock's Elric, in the context of offering new options for roleplaying. A lot of this has been crafted from whole cloth, using nothing more than a name that was dropped in passing during one of Moorcock's stories. A good deal actually pulls from the Corum stories. It's a sizeable effort to deal with a topic that doesn't come up very often in the original work.

The way around canon is the disclaimer that it's up to the gamemaster to decide how much of this actually exists, and how much was just created by men's imagination. Either way, myths have power. They are as real a people believe them to be. Cults are also exactly that. There are no state religions or grand cathedrals, just smaller groups meeting in secret, or at least quiet, places. Their lack of canonicity can be hand-waved away by the lack of importance in the saga of the Eternal Champion.

The format follows the same as in the RuneQuest Core Rulebook. Again, I have to pause and say that I think RQ is a great fit for Elric. There's a lot here on creating cultist characters, either as adversaries or player characters. Remember, Rakhir the Red Archer was a Chaos cultist before he met Elric, so it's not a stretch.

This is a meaty supplement. If you play the Elric RPG, or play RuneQuest and are looking for a combination player's expansion and monster book, you need this. If, like me, you just read these because you're fascinated with sword and sorcery settings in general and Moorcock's universe in particular, it is worth a look. As with everything I've read for this game, it is well researched and written with love.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cults of the Young Kingdoms Second Edition
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Supplement 9: Campaign Guide
by Peter T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/03/2012 02:32:45
Very useful book for the busy Referee? Plenty of ideas at your finger tips.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Supplement 9: Campaign Guide
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Macho Women With Guns Diet Edition
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/02/2012 13:56:27
The Diet Edition removes rules that are found in the d20 Mod book. Same silliness and half-naked women; less actual pages to read.

REVIEW For Macho Women With Guns.

The original Macho Women With Guns (MWWG) was a bit of RPG silliness from the late 80's from the minds at BTRC (who would later go on to produce some really cool games). They figured with all the games out there that featured men killing things and taking things from other things and women mostly as ornaments or eye candy that something radical should be done. So this is a game about women killing things and taking things from other things. But that is not all. There is also a whole lot of blowing things up real good and looking good while doing it.

Ok, so not the cutting edge game you would expect, but hey, it was the 80's.

Of course in the 2000s Mongoose had opted to give us a new set of d20 based rules for MWWG, but that is sort of missing the point. Yes, it has lots of ways to kill, maim and blow things up while wearing a chain-mail bikini or halter top. Yes you can still kill scores of drunk fratboys, rednecks and sleazy televangelists. And yes there are pages and pages of scantily clad women that would make Larry Flint proud, but that was not really the point of the game. MWWG worked because it was parody. It took an established cliche and turned it on it's head. Course, later it became a parody of itself indulging in the same said cliché it used to send up. So where does that leave us?

Well. Dont pick it up thinking you can use it as a supplement to Spycraft or even d20 CoC. But as an afternoon diversion, you can do a lot worse. As a game with some fun ideas and a reminder that not every single game session is supposed to serious, then it is perfect.

What Does MWWG d20 have to Offer?

For starters MWWG d20 is mostly just the d20 Modern Rules. But it does have some interesting differences. First is the Witch profession. This gives 1st level characters a magic using option. It is similar in many ways to the Hedge Wizard profession of Urban Arcana. The other is a Mana point option, which is like a poor man's Essence system. What I did like is as out of the box rules with no modifications I got similar proportions of Mana as I did with Essence in WitchCraft games.

The Professions in MWWGs can be used like Qualities and Advantages. Nearly all the Heinous Drawbacks can be used in any other system in one way or the other. The Advanced Classes are closer to jobs and can be used as such. Such get your Directors approval first. Assassin is fine, as are Relic Raiders and Criminal Masterminds. Questionable are Holly Rollers (Renegade Nuns on Wheels) and Infernal Mistresses (though they are like an advanced version of Bat Wing Bimbos). I dont even know what to say about the Busty Vampire Layer.

Besides, you have to like a game with a Naughty School Girl profession. Might have to port that over to BESM d20. And I have to admit the Occult knowledge analogue, "Things Man Was Not Meant to Know (but are ok for women)" just HAS to find a way into one of my games.

So in the end. It's a fun game great for an afternoon of inspired silliness that could in fact become a good game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Macho Women With Guns Diet Edition
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