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Guardians of Order
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Ex Machina
by Ubiratan A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/29/2010 10:05:36
An excellent book about cyberpunk roleplaying. It starts off with a history of the genre, in both literature and RPGs, provides a set of workable Tri-Stat rules for cyberpunk games, and closes off with four very good and very distinct settings.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ex Machina
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Ex Machina
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/19/2010 02:56:09
Simply put, Ex Machina is Shadowrun for the Tri Stat system. If you already have Shadowrun, you may want to skip this one; the information is very similar in function. However, it is a good product, and the price is just right, even if you already have another cyberpunk world setting.
WRITING: Excellent
LAYOUT / ART: Excellent, though "ink heavy" when printed
QUALITY and VALUE: Both are good

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dreaming Cities: Tri-Stat Urban Fantasy Genre
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/30/2009 21:19:45
Dreaming Cities was one of the first attempts I had seen of putting together a good Urban Fantasy game that was not also trying to do horror. Sure we had Urban Arcana for d20 and a few others, but this one felt a bit different to me. At least at first. So the real feature of this game is the background information and how they make Urban Fantasy work for them.

The game system itself is Tri-Stat which at this point was mostly the same as BESM 2nd Ed-Revised and SAS. If you know the powers and rules for those you have the same things here.
The real meat for this game comes in only around page 70 when we see how to apply these character rules into archetypes to work in Urban Fantasy. Many seem cribbed from other versions of Tri-Stat/BESM/SAS games, but that is fine.

The rest of the book talks about how to make an Urban Fantasy game work. Like the treatment SAS gave the 70+ year history of comic book heroes, DC tells about the modern urban fantasy genre. There is a quite a bit of crunch mixed in with text on how a modern society deals with things like magic, pixies, zombies, demons and dragons and visa versa.

GoO and Tri-Stat are gone, sad to say, but this game is still worthwhile and has a lot going for it. If you play a modern horror game or a modern supernatural one where magic and supernatural are still hidden, then this is a refreshing little breather.

IT’s not D&D with guns and computers mind you. It is however something very fun.

The rules suffer the same pros and cons as SAS, BESM and the rest of the Tri-Stat family. There is not a lot here that is new in terms of rules, just new ways to use them.

The text is clear and the art is very good.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dreaming Cities: Tri-Stat Urban Fantasy Genre
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d20 Advanced Magic
by Ashley M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/01/2009 05:55:49
Interesting, I've always been curious about a way to modify the old sleeps for function within the BESM system as it is my prefered play style, this is a perfect resource for such.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
d20 Advanced Magic
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A Game of Thrones Roleplaying Game (Standard Edition)
by Shane D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/20/2007 08:02:07
this core rulebook relates to the like named novels of George Martin. it is d20 system and some of the rules seem quite awkard in handling the setting. however you gain good insights into the different regions of the seven kingdoms and the characters from the books, therefore it is a good reference book to everyone who likes to play in this setting. nonetheless I like it for good as reference book and for anybody not liking d20 it is easily converted e.g. to savage worlds or other unisystems.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
A Game of Thrones Roleplaying Game (Standard Edition)
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d20 Advanced Magic
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/26/2007 12:10:30
I wanted to like this product more. It has a lot going for it, but somehow I just don't see myself using it much.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
d20 Advanced Magic
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BESM Slayers: Try (Book 3)
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/11/2007 01:37:06
The third and final season of Slayers had nice ideas and serious problems; the final Slayers UFG emphasizes the latter over the former. The sense that these very powerful characters are in waaaay over their heads in the Outer World is emphasized, and the sense that Lina is simply a pawn in a cosmic game about which she knows little if anything is the sort of thing that would kill a campaign were an RPG GM to try and use it. The series information is still well presented and illustrated, but the game material suggests nothing so much as no longer trying; there is no attempt to write up the principal villain of the storyarc because he's considered too powerful for anyone less than a god to take down. This gives heroes very little chance to actually be heroic, which is a killer in a campaign.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
BESM Slayers: Try (Book 3)
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BESM Slayers: Next (Book 2)
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/11/2007 01:28:25
Slayers NEXT, the second season of the Slayers TV series, is the strongest story, not only exciting and funny but resonant as well (anybody who ever tells you Slayers isn't a love story ISN'T PAYING ATTENTION). So it shouldn't be surprising that this is the strongest of the Slayers UFGs as well. The game material has been cleaned up substantially and is more accurate (Lina can now actually CAST the Dragon Slave, his signature spell which somehow got left off her Book 1 writeup). The only problem from a game perspective is that several vital characters are not written up at all because they're so powerful that they would overwhelm even characters at this extreme power level. This can result in a campaign situation where epic-level PCs end up feeling like helpless pawns in somebody else's game, something GMs are best off avoiding. Thus, the book would have benefited from about 20 more pages of setting material providing manageable challenges for non-Lina's Gang PCs.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
BESM Slayers: Next (Book 2)
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BESM Slayers 1
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/11/2007 01:22:35
Slayers was the final anime series to get the full Ultimate Fan Guide treatment, and this is a nice attempt. The first portion of the book, an episode guide to the first 26 episodes, is well-done and has some nice information and insights. Unfortunately, the game material is a mess; there are glaring errors in the proofreading and in the writeups. Slayers completists will want this book; Slayers purists will be rather unhappy with it.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
BESM Slayers 1
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Slayers d20
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/11/2007 01:05:40
A very nice application of d20 to an extremely high-powered setting, and (within its limitations) a nice guidebook to the classic fantasy comedy/adventure anime. This is the RPG book you want if you too love Lina Inverse (and you know you do.....)

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Slayers d20
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A Game of Thrones Roleplaying Game (Deluxe Edition)
by Jason K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/23/2007 11:02:46
This is not only a terrific (and massive!) roleplaying game, it's also a great companion to the world of Westeros for any serious fan of _A Song of Ice and Fire_. While the essay on the history of fantasy seems a waste to me, it was in keeping with the GoO way of doing things, and is thus easily forgiven. This book also contains an impossibly concises and thorough summary of the novel _A Game of Thrones_, which will allow players who haven't even read AGoT (gasp! horror!) to understand the world they're playing in.

The layout is for the most part excellent. Some of the art is bad, and some is good. I leave the determination of which is which to each individual reader.

The game itself is pretty good. There is an active community to answer questions and provide at least some new content. I am not a d20 player, but apparently the d20 changes make for a relatively gritty and dangerous combat system. If you would rather use a fairly light system similar to GURPS or HERO, the Tri-Stat appendix will take care of your needs. I use neither, opting instead for The Riddle of Steel system. But the content applies to whatever system you prefer.

I had trouble getting it printed correctly, but eventually achieved a "good enough" result. If your gaming laptop can handle the entire massive PDF (unlike mine) I recommend just printing chunks you need.

I and the rest of the AGoT RPG community dearly hope that some other publisher picks up ASoIaF's fallen standard and produces more material for the game. Perhaps the HBO series on the horizon will provide the necessary marketing crossover.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Game of Thrones Roleplaying Game (Deluxe Edition)
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d20 Advanced Magic
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/19/2007 00:00:00
Advanced d20 Magic is a supplement for both standard d20 and Big Eyes Small Mouth d20, published by Guardians of Order. The download comes as a PDF file somewhat over six megabytes in size. Note that the book is only available with a watermark of your name and the order number for the book, in very small print, in the bottom left-hand corner. The book is 144 pages long, including a page for the cover, one for the credits/legal, and one for both the OGL and advertisements. There is no table of contents, and oddly, the only bookmarks go to the cover, and the credits page.

The book is replete with artwork. The front cover is the only example of full-color art in the book, with all of the rest being black and white. In several places are full-page renditions capturing dramatic scenes, and several of them fill two pages. It?s also worth noting that all of the pages have borders around each edge that, while in grayscale, are still significant. The lack of a printer-friendly version will be keenly felt here, to the point that, if you don?t have a good printer, you may want to just buy the print version instead.

Advanced d20 Magic is something of a hybrid creature, in that it can be used for either normal d20, or for BESM d20. Surprisingly, it actually pulls this off very well, as only a few specific mechanics are referenced that are exclusive to one system or the other. The end result is that Advanced d20 Magic can be used with relative ease in any system. They key word here, though, is ?relative? ease.

The basic idea behind Ad20M is that casting a spell is physically draining. All spells, once cast, require a Fort save, with the relative success or failure determining the drain caused. This drain is taken from a character?s energy points, which are a BESM d20-specific mechanic (though it?s easy to add those to a normal d20 game too); for standard d20, this drain is instead taken as non-lethal damage, and a sidebar covers that. Spell levels are also done away with, with spells being measured in terms of their casting DC, and, in another new mechanic, the number of slots they take to learn (from as few as one slot, to as many as four).

Immediately after this, the book starts to show its anime-themed roots. Spells, in this book, don?t have components; there are no verbal or somatic components, material components, etc. Rather, you can voluntarily add some of these things to increase the spell?s save DC (the one your enemies make, not the one you make to avoid drain). It comes off as quite fun to know that you can scream ?Fireball!? when you cast the spell and that makes it harder to avoid. Similar optional rules, such as rituals that increase casting times, but also the effect of the spell, have similar inspirations; the aforementioned ritual rules have listings for up to a thousand year?s worth of casting times.

The book gives similar rules for cooperative casting, counterspelling and negating, and how to increase or decrease drain for a higher or lower-magic setting. By the end of the book?s first chapter, we?ve already been treated to some very inspiring rules on how to make a flexible anime-style magic system out of d20 magic.

The second chapter goes over spellcasting classes that use the aforementioned system. First covered is the Dynamic Sorcerer from the BESM d20 Revised rulebook. The class isn?t reprinted or redefined here, but instead various options are given for customization. The section on standard d20 spellcasting classes covers the seven spellcasting classes from the PHB. These are altered slightly to work with the new system, as each spellcaster gains a level-based bonus to beating drain, and has a number of total spell slots they can spend to learn spells (though some have an unlimited number of slots).

The third chapter, covering magic items, follows largely the same formula, going over ways to create magic items under the BESM d20 rules with the dynamic magic system laid out in this book, followed by then adapting the standard d20 rules to those given here also. This section is largely modular, as standard item creation feats (or the Item of Power attribute in BESM d20) can still be used if you prefer that system.

The fourth chapter opens with guidelines on converting any d20 spell to this magic system. The book lays out a relatively simple way to calculate a spell?s casting DC, and calculate the number of slots it?d take to learn, as well as figuring out the save DC (the one enemies make against the spell). A two-page spread is then given of the casting DC for all of the standard spells in the SRD.

All of the above collectively covers one-fourth of the book. The entire rest of the book is the aforementioned standard d20 SRD spells reprinted under the new system. The mechanics are preconfigured to match this new system, listing casting DC, spell slots, etc. as well as spell effects (though in some places the text is abbreviated for space, or altered for this new system; spell immunity, for example, now protects against spells of a certain DC). This is undoubtedly useful, as it provides a quick-reference for the most basic of spells instead of requiring the GM to recalculate the mechanics for all of them. Still, some people might be unhappy that so much of the book consists of reworked PHB spells.

Ultimately, Advanced d20 Magic does a good job of living up to its promises. It gives a flexible spellcasting system that can still be used with any d20 spells, has myriad options, and is more based around saves and skill rolls than spell levels. Still, the bulk of the book being standard spells under this new system makes it seem like some things weren?t covered in favor of reprinted material (not quite literally reprinted, but close). What about epic-level magic or even epic class progressions? What about conversions for other d20 spellcasting classes like the adept, or the assassin? While these are minor issues, it would have been nice if they?d been addressed. Still, Advanced d20 Magic is much more of a hit than a miss, and it will definitely give your game?s magic a more dynamic feel.



LIKED: The flexible spellcasting system is not only dynamic, but very cinematic. With options for shouting the spell name as you cast it for increased power, or using rituals that can last up to a thousand years for a heightened effect, this book lends a very dramatic element to spellcasting.

DISLIKED: It would have been nice to see classes like Blackguard get spellcasting progression tables in this book. Likewise, any epic support would have been welcome. Additionally, there are a few places where standard d20 feels somewhat left behind; for example, using nonlethal damage for drain wouldn't work if you have an undead spellcaster, but that is never addressed. Finally, this book really needed a printer-friendly version.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
d20 Advanced Magic
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Tekumel: Empire of the Petal Throne
by Barry B. Date Added: 12/21/2006 20:40:30
This latest incarnation of Tekumel is attractively presented, and does indeed have enough between its covers to play a game set in this most luscious and baroque of RPG settings.

On the plus side the character generation rules are excellent; flexible enough to generate crazed priest-wizards of Sarku on the one hand to scruffy Tomb Police and their mongrel dogs on the other. The GM can set what kind of game he wishes to play from the outset, from the gritty reality of life in the fields and backstreets to the grand cosmic designs of the Undying Wizards and the Pariah Gods.

On the down side, there is much they have had to leave out in the way of background. Tekumel, the RPG setting, has been growing and evolving for 30 years and the sheer volume of material is mind boggling. No more than a mere smattering of monsters, spells and the details of the religion and culture of the Five Empires has been given here. The best thing about Tekumel is not the rules – they have always been adequate by the prevailing standards of the RPG industry – but the background. The old books are still available for those who wish to indulge however, and DriveThruRPG has plenty of material at reasonable price.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tekumel: Empire of the Petal Throne
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Dreaming Cities: Tri-Stat Urban Fantasy Genre
by Sean H. Date Added: 11/26/2005 04:47:42
An excellent platform into Urban Fantasy gaming. The attributes are well-adapted from the core Tri-Stat system into something more specific. It is heavy on details, and does include three ready-made worlds to play in.

Only problems, there is too much detail at times, and you feel your eyes glazing over. Take your time reading this, and don't do it in one sitting. Other wise, you'll be good to go.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dreaming Cities: Tri-Stat Urban Fantasy Genre
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A Game of Thrones Roleplaying Game (Standard Edition)
by Blank B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/16/2005 16:31:38
Wow. This book is absolutely amazing. The new additions to the d20 system included in this book could be used in many campaigns, especially the social status and wealth mechanics. The book’s flavor entries are very thorough, and every minor house is included. Overall and absolutely amazing d20 supplement, one of the few recently produced items that are actually worth buying.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Game of Thrones Roleplaying Game (Standard Edition)
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