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Castles & Crusades DA1 Dark Journey
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/05/2011 19:48:35
Sometimes going back to the basics is fun. With Dark Journey, the Troll Lords do what they do best - a classic dungeon crawl.

It is kinda classic: 3 levels, a maze, traps (no save vs die shit that I noticed), classic low level adversaries, level appropriate rewards - the stuff you want in a low level or introductory adventure. In this case, for levels 1-4. You'll need to supply your own hook,

There is enough adventure here to last 2 or 3 sessions worth of gameplay, which is pretty good value for your money IMO.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades DA1 Dark Journey
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Woodland Warriors Rpg
Publisher: Beyond Belief Games
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/05/2011 19:33:20
(originally posted on TenkarsTavern.com)

If you can't guess by the creature on the cover, it's an RPG similar to Redwall (I have that game packed away somewhere) and Harvesters (based on the C&C ruleset). You get to role play some woodland creatures in a game loosely based on Swords & Wizardry.

Why do I say loosely based? It's strictly a D6 based game. Yes, even combat uses a lowly D6. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big Tunnels & Trolls fan... I like my D6s by the buckets. Still, its a bit jarring to go into this with a preconceived notion of a D20 based game and come out holding D6s.

Does it work? From what I can see it should. You may need to get past measuring distance in "paws" instead of "feet", but it's a cut concession that the kids may enjoy. Still, most of the mechanics and stats are easy enough to convert back and forth to the Core S&W rules.

Combat may take some getting used to (I had the combat section multiple times to understand the Hit Dice / Combat Dice resolution, and the ability to roll less dice for an "add" to the remaining dice. I've got a feeling it would have been easier to grasp w/o all the D&D baggage I came in with.

Advancement is limited to 6 levels (limited advancement is also a feature of Harvesters), which is probably enough for younger gamers. Sometimes, less is more.

Rounding it all out is a sandboxie setting and an adventure to get the party started. All in all, a very complete package that should work well with younger gamers or an experienced group looking for a change of pace. Just remember to leave the polyhedrons behind. All you need are some D6.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Woodland Warriors Rpg
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The Wizard's Test
Publisher: Flying Buffalo
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/05/2011 19:31:03
When it comes to solo adventures, they are really hard to review. Solos, more then any other type of adventure, are very easy to spoil by revealing too much of the plot or story. They are programed, there is no GM to add new twists if the player already knows what is in store. Therefore, less from me is more.

Still, I can safely report the following: It's an adventure for use with the 7.5 edition of the rules. The artwork is well done. We are offered two sample characters to use: the first is a 3rd level Warrior with 63 adds, the other is a 1st level Rogue with 13 adds and no spells. I strongly suspect the warrior will have a greater chance to survive, but as always, it depends on the decisions you make.

I've yet to run thru it... just read the intro and flipped the pages to read some random pieces. Ken's voice is great as always and paints an entertaining picture.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Wizard's Test
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Chthonian Stars Core Setting
Publisher: WildFire
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/05/2011 19:30:11
You enjoy your sci-fi, but you also have a hankering for horror. Maybe your Delta Green campaign just didn't have heavy enough weapons for your taste. Well, someone put your Cthulhu in my Traveller, and the combo is awesome!

I really enjoying working my way thru the Chthonian Stars Core Setting for Traveller. It's not a mash-up I would have thought up on my own, but its a very good match. The books is full of short fiction, which normally I can't stand, but in this case it is very evocative of the setting and a good tool to engage the reader.

It scales down the default Traveller setting to just our (now fully colonized) solar system, and I think the change in scale works very well in making the horror more immediate.

Character generation is changed a bit from regular (Mongoose) Traveller, as many careers have been adjusted to the new setting. New space ships, which makes sense, as they are made for traversing the solar system.

We are given three short adventures, which is nice, but I would have appreciated a page or two of adventure seeds. Maybe I missed them, as flipping thru a PDF does have disadvantages over print.

Overall, I'm very excited by the Chthonian Stars Core Setting. I might find a use for my Traveller core rulebook now. If nothing else, the setting book deserves a second read thru.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Chthonian Stars Core Setting
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CC1 Curse of Crosskey
Publisher: Knightvision Games
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/05/2011 19:28:54
Curse of Crosskey is a Labyrinth Lord (with the AEC) adventure for character levels 3-4. As with most of the adventures that fall under the general banner of the OSR, you should be able to use this with S&W, C&C, OSRIC or any of the other D&D / OGL based rulesets. Good, that's out of the way.

Take off the cover, OGL and title / contents page and it comes in at 11 pages for $1.99. Not a bad return on your investment, but if you want to get a real return on your cash you will need to invest time and effort. This is a sandbox style adventure that starts with the ::SPOILER ALERT!!!:: players getting shipwrecked on a mysterious and magically infused island. So yes, the plot hook is very specific: your party is forced into survivor / explorer mode. As you need to put them in that situation, how you set things up is very important, thus your investment of time and effort.

There is a lot that is hinted at in this adventure that can be fleshed out by the GM... heck, it probably needs to be fleshed out. Especially the ideas to conclude / continue the adventure. In many ways, I feel this is less a sandbox adventure as it is a sandbox micro-setting.

Three new magic items and two new monsters round things out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
CC1 Curse of Crosskey
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Where Heroes Fear To Tread
Publisher: Brittannia Game Designs Ltd
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/05/2011 19:27:56
Where Heroes Fear To Tread is not a new release, but it is new to RPGNow. Its a short (and free) scenario for Chivalry & Sorcery Light, but as the game stats are all relegated to the back of the module, it can be treated as systemless and therefore usable with just about any system.

Were the GM to use this adventure in his own setting, he might have to make a few changes in the background of the adventure, as the default is (of course) flavored by Chivalry & Sorcery. Peasants aren't D&D peasants - they are dirt poor.

It's a basic delivery mission / ransoming of some NPCs, but the tweaks and surprises keep it fresh. My main issue is that a main scene has very little for the PCs to do, but that might be more a C&S issue then anything else. It's easy enough to change.

Did I mention its free?

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Where Heroes Fear To Tread
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The Chronicles of Amherth
Publisher: Small Niche Games
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/05/2011 19:26:50
The Chronicles of Amherth is a campaign setting for Labyrinth Lord. The adventure Atarin's Delve is included as a part of the package.

So, what exactly do you get for your five bucks? In The Chronicles of Amerth, we get a setting based on (but greatly fleshing out) the Duchy of Valnwall that is included in the Labyrinth Lord core rulebook. I'd have to dig my LL book out to see just how close it hues to the original, but I suspect it's fairly close.

There's a twist on the magic using classes (that the GM is free to ignore) in that there is the addition of "Latent" magic. We are also given a chapter on Gods and Demi-Gods and another on the world history.

I like the use of a detailed Adventurer's Guild. It makes things a bit easier then using the usual tavern scene (not that I have anything against taverns) to give the PCs an adventure hook.

The Known World section details the continents of Amalor and Herth and the rest of the world. There is enough given to help the GM flesh out the world without block him into too much of a corner. Still, plenty (really - lots and lots) of plot hooks for each major location to make this the sandbox you want it to be.

Flora and Fauna gives us some useful flora for the PCs to use, or misuse. It also give us over 40 new monsters, which is a nice addition to the LL monster list.

Magical Treasures adds over 20 items to the LL's list of magic items.

We round things out with the continental maps.

Oh, and then there is the free adventure included in the mix.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Chronicles of Amherth
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Resolute: The Splintered Realm
Publisher: Splintered Realms Publishing
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/05/2011 19:24:47
Resolute: The Splintered Realm is one of those nifty systems that relies solely on D6, which means you can find the dice you need by raiding just about any board game. Gotta love that.

The author squarely places his inspiration on the back of D&D "red box" - the first one. The inspiration shows, even if it looks nothing like a D&D game, it's O'd School roots are there.

Success is decided by 2D6 plus modifiers compared against a Difficulty Rating (DR). For every 5 points your beat the DR, you get a bonus success. That's the core of it. There are other things that can modify the roll and such, but the core is fairly simple. It should be, as the rules wrap up in 20 pages.

We get four core classes (sound familiar?): Disciple, Fighter, Magician and Scout. Each class - I mean Archetype, has a special ability which helps define it and make it unique. Or you could avoid taking an archetype all together.

Magic spells have their own chapter. Magicians aren't the only ones with access to spells, but the other classes need to purchase each spell ability individually. Nice way to make your character unique, or to model him on some of the other D&D-like classes.

There is a small section on beasts and such and even a one page dungeon included in the mix. Fair deal for a $3 investment (although there is a Book of Beasts available for a buck).

The PDF is scaled for widescreen monitor and tablets, although there is a printer friendly version also included.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Resolute: The Splintered Realm
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Nuclear Sunset: The Southwest (Mutant Future)
Publisher: Vigilance Press
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/05/2011 19:23:36
Nuclear Sunset: The Southwest, is a sandbox style campaign setting for Mutant Future. Mutant Future is the OSR movements re-imaging of Gamma World and other Old School post apocalypse games using the OGL as it's core. There is a link to a free download of Mutant Future on the Free RPG List on the left. Do yourself a favor and grab a copy. Don't worry. I'll wait.

OK, now that you have your rules, we can discuss the setting and what a setting it is. Think Post Apocalypse with classic western overtones, then dial it up.

The combination works better then I would have expected, but then the Firefly TV series showed that sci-fi with strong western overtones can work very well. I give Vigilance Press major props for finding a strong setting concept for Mutant Future that isn't an obvious one, until you read it. It's that good.

Salt Lake, Vegas, Phoenix and other well known locations make the transition to Mutant Future with enough highlights that you'll recognize them, but so much changed that they are totally new.

We are given location write ups, the major factions (and their relation to the different locals), but even more importantly an abundance of adventure hooks. You could easily run a campaign for years using the Nuclear Sunset setting and the adventure hooks supplied. That's a true compliment for a product that is 20 1/2 pages long.

My one complaint is that it is not printer friendly. The nuclear watermark and background art on the text pages will kill your ink. It's not a huge complaint, as I don't plan on printing out a copy (I love my tablets for PDF reading), but I know some of you do like to print your own so I felt this should be pointed out.

Nuclear Sunset is an excellent value at 99 cents. If it's half as much fun to run as it is to read, it's one of the bigger RPG values available.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Nuclear Sunset: The Southwest (Mutant Future)
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Savage Worlds Deluxe
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/05/2011 19:21:44
I think I could run a Savage Worlds game just fine, so long as no one chose anything from the "Powers" section of the rule book ;)

The reason I say this is not because the powers look all that difficult to grasp, but for someone that grew up on D&D and the like, it's a whole new language to learn. I think the next time I get to play in a SW game, I'm going to play a Powers user so I can get a hands on feel for the system.

Now that that is out of the way, the powers section looks really nice. Powers are initially broken down by Arcane Backgrounds - Magic, Psionics, Weird Science, Super Powers and Miracles. Trappings and Effects allow powers to be tweaked and individualized, so no two fireballs (or anything else) will necessarily be the same from different casters. I like the ability to individualize powers while still keeping to a defined list. It's a pretty neat system, I just need to get comfortable with it.

I really like the total package that is Savage Worlds Deluxe - I just need to spend some time as a player before trying to run a game with it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Deluxe
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Novarium
Publisher: Chubby Funster
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/05/2011 19:08:17
Leave it to Greg (aka Chubby Funster) to gift us with another free RPG. This time he gives us Novarium. It has it roots as a re-imaginating of sorts of Ars Magica, but with the Chubby Funster twist.

Players have their primary PC, and a secondary PC to use when their main is otherwise occupied off stage. This allows for the world to grow and time to progress. The last game I played that had multiple characters for the PCs stable was Dark Sun in it's first incarnation. I feel old now ;)

Production quality is, once again, what every professional should hope to release upon the public. It's made for ease of reading on computer screen or tablet. Fully bookmarked. Amazing art. Very well done.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Novarium
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Tavern By The Sea
Publisher: Flying Buffalo
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/03/2011 23:10:12
(originally posted at TenkarsTavern.com)

Here's the interesting thing about Tavern By The Sea - there's a Mini-Adventure snuggled in the back of it. I love the T&T solo, but adventures for use by a party are few and far between. Frargg--The Pirate Nest isn't huge (its about 6 pages long), but with the exception of Outlaw Press products, this is the first GM Adventure for T&T I can recall being released in... 20 years? more? The last was Isle of Darksmoke as far as I can remember.

Where was I?

Ah, yes, Tavern By The Sea. The solo by the same name is 20 pages of the total 32 pages (6 for the GM adventure, cover, ads, art are the rest). For T&T 7.5e, and characters of 3rd level or lower. You can use it with earlier editions of T&T, but from my experience the power curve in 7.5 is noticeably higher the 5.5 or earlier. Don't say I didn't warn ya.

You can start a new character, and there is a twist in that you can roll a die to give your character a little background history. Oh, and a house rule allowing the roll of 4d6, dropping the lowest (with TARO, dropping the lowest might not always be the best choice).

If I told you the solo doesn't take itself, or you, too seriously, would you be surprised? I wasn't either. Fun T&T soloing to be had.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tavern By The Sea
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Weird West Roleplaying Game Basic Rulebook
Publisher: Robertson Games
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/03/2011 23:06:48
(originally posted at TenkarsTavern.com)

So, what can I tell you about Weird West? It's amazingly complete for 8 pages - tho if you take off the cover and the fighting chart at the back it's 6 pages. 6 amazingly complete pages. Pages that include character generation, stats, skills, professions, spells, combat mods, a weapon list, task resolution... phew!

Stuart squeezes so much into so little. Heck, if I go into much more detail I'll be giving the thing away for free. Get your own copy. It's just a buck.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Weird West Roleplaying Game Basic Rulebook
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OUBLIETTE Issue 6
Publisher: Gold Piece Publications
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/03/2011 23:04:38
(originally posted at TenkarsTavern.com)

It's been a while between issues 5 and 6 of Oubliette, but it's been worth the wait. 47 pages of OSR (Labyrinth Lord flavored) goodness for the amazing price of free. Nada. Zip. For a liited time, so get your free copy now!

K, enough of the hype. What do you get for your hard earned cash (did i mention its free)?

Lets see, in the "Monster Category, we are presented with the Skeleton Lord. Nice tweak on a common adversary.

The Petty Gods preview is worth the price of admission. We get 3 petty gods as a quick peek. I'm all it. Definitely looking forward to this being released.

We get a 4 page sandboxie fantasy campaign setting, Newland and a 9 page adventure set in the new setting. Not bad. I'm going to have to read these closer later.

Random tables for wandering dungeon monsters for the first 3 levels.

Some cartoon strips, some review, some other articles, fiction, business card sized LL character sheets...

Holy crap! There's business sized LL character sheets! Great for the overworked and poorly organized DM. Awesome!

To wrap up; get it! It's damn good!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
OUBLIETTE Issue 6
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Eureka: 501 Adventure Plots to Inspire Game Masters
Publisher: Engine Publishing
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/03/2011 23:03:21
(originally posted at TenkarsTavern.com)

Does anyone else remember the AD&D Encounter Cards? They were my GoTo Resource when I had nothing planned for Sunday's Weekly Game (which happened more often then I would lie to admit). I'd pull a few cards at random, figure out which one (or more) had a seed of something larger in it, and ran with it.

Eureka: 501 Adventure Plots to Inspire Game Masters is similar, but for the most part the plots are deeper on role-play the those old encounter cards ever were. The pieces here also tend to have more depth and dangling threads, as these are plots - or plot seeds if you will.

167 plots each for fantasy, sic-fi and horror, but you can tweak nearly all to fit outside their default genre. Which puts this at less then 4 cents a plot.

Did I mention this is a full bookmarked PDF? And that they are further broken down by Dramatic Structure? Nicely done. This, my iPad and Goodreader will have me making notes right on the PDF for the plots I want to use.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eureka: 501 Adventure Plots to Inspire Game Masters
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