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Bree Orlock Designs: Death Lord BW
Publisher: Stardust Publications
by Tad K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/15/2012 17:08:10
Nice 70s vibe image. reminds me of the art you might have seen in the old DAW book for cover art. Pure Sword 7 Sorcery goodness here. I plan to use it multiple times in different projects.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bree Orlock Designs: Death Lord BW
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Autopsy 3
Publisher: Postmortem Studios
by Tad K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/07/2011 12:19:26
Autopsy 3
Review by Tad Kelson

Autopsy 3 is the latest in the series from James 'Grim' Desborough through his Postmortem Studio

Details
$1.99
26 total pages
3.13 meg
Written by James 'Grim' Desborough
Art by Bradley K McDevitt
Available on RPGNow.com

Autopsy 3 is the last, as the author states, of the themed issues of his irregularly produced support magazine. From this point on he is changing the format as well as a more general feel to the articles, vice having a theme to them. So the topic for this issue is Violence as it relates to the RPG Hobby.

There are multiple short articles in this issue covering violence, death, injuries, a discussion on hit points versus wound thresholds, alternatives to violence in an RPG setting, discussions on torture and various forms of corporal and lethal punishment, an article on risks and rewards, as well as official errata and combat updates to his Blood! and Xpress game systems.

Additionally there are two articles from other authors, one on Violence in Roleplaying written by Michael Garcia and the other are some Musings on Violence by Ian Warner. These both cover excellent points and aspects of real life situations and suggest ways to apply them to a game or setting.

Overall this is quite a bargain at $1.99. There is some great art from Bradley K. McDevitt. A couple of these pieces are not NSFW in my opinion. Two of them are not for minors in this parent's opinion. Still the images work well with the topic and the look and layout on page 14 is poignant.

Grim does a great job writing and delivering a quality piece of work. I recommend picking it up for use in all RPG settings. It should have the most import, in my personal opinion, on Modern and Horror gaming. With clear and concise tips and written illustrations Autopsy 3 has excellent applicability to those genres. There are tons of historical suggestions for the Fantasy Genre based gamers that purchase this. Having read this 3rd issue I am looking forward to going back and picking up the first two issues of Autopsy and see what I have missed.

As an added benefit there is a coupon in the issue good for $3 off purchasing his Fate based Agents of S.W.I.N.G. game as well. .

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Autopsy 3
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Primordial Lands
Publisher: Mouse-Produced Games
by Tad K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/03/2011 16:37:50
Primordial Lands
A Role Playing Game of Elder Times
By
Mouse-Produced Games

Complimentary Copy Review
List Price $5.00

Primordial Lands is a Rules Lite RPG in the vein of the Older Editions of Dungeon and Dragons, with some more modern twists.
It is currently available in PDF format from DriveThruRPG. Size wise it comes in at 32 total pages and is a complete RPG by its self. No other text or books are necessary to use this game system. The Contents include a Table of Contents and then right into the character creation and rules. There is no cover page, etc, nothing like that. It is stripped down the the bare minimum to accomplish the mission, which is admirable in fact.

There are two main elements to characters in Primordial Lands, Attributes and Focuses. Attributes are generated from random die roll of 1d4 minus 1d4 yielding a starting result of +3 to -3 with the chart in the game running from -1 to +7 for Attribute Ranges. Basic Resolution is 1d20 + Rating of Attribute vs a Set Target Number (TN).

The attributes in the game are pretty stock and standard
Strength
Speed
Grace
Constitution
Intelligence
Wisdom
Charisma

Focuses take the place of Skills in other systems, allowing for a bonus to an Attribute Roll in particular circumstances. So if a player wanted an archer type character they could define a focus as +1 with Bows.
Additionally once a Focus is taken it cannot be improved further (on its own), however when a character takes a difference focus, all existing Focuses increase by a +1 (Note: I asked the author and that is how the text is written and how it is intended). So back to the Archer Example, if the second focus taken is in Woodland Combat, the Focuses would then be
Bow Combat +2
Woodland Combat +1
Each Focus can apply only once, they do not stack, but if there are different ones that can apply, they can be used in a synergistic fashion. There are examples of this in the rules to clarify some points.

Combat follows the character generation section, covering attacks, damage, healing, etc.
Next the weapons system, which is very streamlined based essentially on size of weapon rather than endless lists of different swords, knives, pole-arms, etc.

Following that is Experience and a discussion of Levels and how to create other character types. There is a scant discussions of using the idea of Classes and Focuses to create specific sorts of characters.
There are descriptions of Classes, showing sample Focuses and Advancements covering Other Races (Innate) Fighters, Rogues, Sages, Mages, and how to create your own classes.

Next sections deal with races and with Abilities. Abilities are where you can define magic abilities and spells with. Abilities ties into the Mages as a predefined class. Then there is a list of different Abilities to mix and match to create the spells or magic powers that are desired for each character. This is the most customizable portion to Primordial Lands.

Overall this is a decent effort, and if you are looking for a decent rules lite system that has a old school feel without tons of charts, then Primordial Lands is a great fit. Some kitbashing may be required and customization to a specific world setting will be necessary. There is not setting defined, however the descriptions of Elves and Dwarfs and Tobbits (Think Hobbits/Kenders) makes for a stock Fantasy RPG Feeling. Overall a strong 3.5 almost a 4 out of 5 Stars.

Reviewer Note: I received this copy for review purposes. I did not directly purchase it.

Cover Art courtesy of The great artist Clyhp Ahrt
(aka Postmortem Studios)

Relevant Links:
http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product_info.php?products_-
id=89868

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Primordial Lands
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Detour
Publisher: 3Hombres Games
by Tad K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/28/2011 17:56:29
Detour
An Adventure for Dark Conspiracy from 3 Hombres Games


This is the first offering from 3 Hombres Games, the publishers of the upcoming Dark Conspiracy 3rd Edition. Their first product, besides the free fan emagazine Protodimension, is an adventure suitable for the Dark Conspiracy 1st or 2nd editions. This is a visit to the more dangerous side of DC, with a journey outside the megasprawl of BosWash and into the uncontrolled lands surrounding it.

The adventure surrounds the PCs linking up with a security and salvage company to act as extra muscle, or reinforcement, while they go to get a desired vehicle. This plan will go south in a zombiesque fashion when a Dark Minion called a Bhuta is found to be behind the entire offering.

The adventure is laid out in a nice simple linear fashion. The potential for contacts and follow on interactions with Salvage, Inc. a worthwhile addition to a party of characters. The characters once contact is made with SI, are able to join them on a convoy protection run with the caveat they help out with a sidetrek along the way. That is when things will go wrong and the bullets will really start to fly.

The actual adventure layout is a series of what are called Scenes, where plot points, characters, actions, or explanations all take place. This helps to keep it all unified. It is a pretty straightforward premise,and keeping it within that premise allows it to work.

The ending is a little rushed, and some GMs will have to flesh out the final encounter a little bit. Other than that, Detour should be easy for a new GM to run with little prep work. Needed books are either the 1st or 2nd edition rules, along with the Dark Races Compendium Book. There are two NPCs detailed along with a new firearm and piece of armor. There are plot hooks at the start and end of the adventure, along with some awesome ideas in the Market Location its self. With some original art and good layout, this is well above the curve for new products from a small enterprise.

One truly excellent element to the adventure are the paragraphs devoted to the street markets and the trash situation in the metroplex. There are some real gems in there, inspired and more than useful to jumpstart an entire campaign centered about their structures, or to pull into another game system or setting. This of course adds to the use value of Detour by a long shot.

The Good
It has the same feel as the adventures published by GDW when the game first came out. It has a nice almost throwback feel which is appropriate for the game conventions and genre.
I am glad I purchased it. With this being the first new product for the game system in many years, it bodes well for the future of one of my favorite game settings.

The Bad
A lightly rushed ending, along with a few minor editing items, a couple of extra spaces in carriage returns,nothing that materially detracts from the adventure.

The Great
Look at that cover. It is awesome how the monster has the steering wheel in its hand and there is an active pursuit of the people in the car in front of it. A superb piece of detail in the art.
The Urban Ecosystem is pure genius and an excellent take on what be reasonable in the setting, as well as applicable to any other game world set in a near future setting. This is one to purloin for other games and systems gents.



Breakdown
For $7 bucks, you get a nice sized adventure.
There is good art, awesome ideas, and it is a great introductory scenario to the setting of Dark Conspiracy.
Go ahead spend the money, you know you want to.

For more information on Dark Conspiracy visit Protodimension Magazine at www.protodimension.com

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Detour
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Evocative City Sites: Clockwork Tower (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Tad K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/16/2011 09:02:15
Evocative City Sites: Clockwork Tower
From Rite Publishing
Published 2010

Note: This was a review copy received, I did not have to purchase it.

Evocative City Sites: Clockwork Tower is the first product in this line I have seen. Weighing in at 16 megs downloaded, a total of 41 pages of which 11 are crunch and fluff, 24 pages are the printable maps, and the rest are credits and OGL notice. For a total of $2.99 there is a great amount of data there. If you consider the cost of a print document this size, which could easily be double or more the cost, it is worth the price. The content has decent value to it. There are nice production values, simple border enhancing the presentation without murdering your printer cartridge at the same time.

Now onto some details on the location detailed, The Clockwork Tower. When I was offered a free product to review I selected this one based solely on the title, Clockwork Tower. My fascination with this genre of gaming/fiction continues and I hoped this would be a very worthy addition.
It does not fall on its face, but it was not what I thought it might be. Part location description, part almost vignette adventure, it delivered on most of what I might have expected.

It opens with some flavor text, partly fiction partly descriptive, which leads immediately into game crunch text, without a pause. This was a touch jarring to me, accustomed to such elements being distinct and separate usually in a game support. In this case fiction leads into crunch, leads into description then back into fiction within the span of a few pages. Once past that, and more crunch in sidebars, all flowing together. At that point I wanted a little more organization and little more separation of the different parts. Interspersed are small maps of the Tower as well as the several encounters that are possible inside there.

Artwork is nice in the product, several pieces of clipart that work well, one illo did not completely match the encounter description which is a very minor quibble. Considering the state of the industry where products far outstrip the available artists, I still consider this a fine product from the visual support standpoint.

The main character in the tower uses a class I have not heard of before, Inspired Maker. Not having the source material means I cannot use or advance The Spinning Duchess any farther in that class. However there are enough notes and details in the character writeup to allow me to use the character without any issues. For a CR15 NPC, having a total of 37 hp and a AC of 16 makes for a squishy in the MMORPG perspective. With a construct bodyguard to run interference, still it would not be a fair fight at all. A 28 INT and extensive spell list will only go so far. The bodyguard also has a class I have not seen before, Duelist, and in looking over the write up does not seem to do much for it. At 66 hp and AC 21 for CR 13 this creature will last a lot longer than it's creator will.

There is one new magic item, a pair of goggles that allows the wearer to find out if a course of action will lead to good, bad, or indifferent results 3 times a day. This is a goldmine for a GM to gently direct the PCs into courses of action that will advance the plot or storyline without being too overt or having them feel railroaded.

For me, I would not use it as is. Instead I would ignore one central premise and instead use the owner of the tower as a recurring NPC or a potential patron for player characters to interact with. That would mean ignoring the 6 plot hooks provided on page 7 of the book.

Last comments deal with the maps. They are divided up into quarters of each floor of the Clockwork Tower. This makes for easy in printing, I would have liked a small key to which page or section goes where. However the smaller versions of each map in the main text allowed me to piece them together, making this a nuisance at the worst.

In the final opinion, it is worth the price I would have paid for it. I like the product, and while I would not use it as recommended, it has some ideas I would not have come up with on my own, making it useful to me. I recommend purchasing Evocative City Sites: Clockwork Tower from Rite Publishing.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Evocative City Sites: Clockwork Tower (PFRPG)
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Publisher Reply:
I wanted to thank Tad for taking the time to do a review of our product. Steve Russell
[PFRPG] GM's Aid VIII: Monster Knowledge Cards - Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Edition
Publisher: 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming
by Tad K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/21/2009 21:06:15
Well, an excellent little product. The physical look is pure 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming, fonts and colors. So it fits in to their brand and is not a surprise.

It consists of a total of 46 pages including cover, credits, table of contents, knowlexdge card sheets, and the ogl license pages. This makes it easy enough to print off without blowing out your ink cartridge.

The only color is on the cover page. The 4 Winds Gaming Logo is in greyscales, the rest of the book is black and white. 2 column, looks to be 12 Pitch for the most part, easy for this middle aged man to read on his laptop screen.

Each sheet consists of 8 cards, discussing each of the monsters in the Bestiary and Bonus Bestiary per the book's introduction. The cards should fit fine onto index cards (I just got my promo copy of the file so I have not had time to print it out yet) with a nice simple border around each entry.

The entries consist generally of:
Name, Size, What type of monster (Outsider, Construct, etc.) and one or more keywords. Each card then has 4 lines of information, so depending on the DC rolled, it shows what is commonly known about each creature. These cover DC 10, 15, 20, and 25.

The strengths of this product are the quality of the usefulness (very high as in all 4 Winds products), the sheer utility nature, and completeness.

If you have players that always want to know information about what they are facing these cards will be indispensable.

For the price, it is an excellent choice to make, to spend on with your precious gaming dollars.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
[PFRPG] GM's Aid VIII: Monster Knowledge Cards - Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Edition
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Publisher Reply:
Many, many thanks for the review!
Player's Aid I: Treasure Tracking Sheets
Publisher: 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming
by Tad K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/14/2009 18:40:56
Players Aid I-Treasure Tracking Sheets
By 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming
Product Code 4WFG014
Price $1.25 on Drivethru RPG

In Review:
Note: I received a promotional copy. That said I would have been more than glad with the price asked if I had paid for it sight unseen.

The facts on the physical construction
It is 9 pages long consisting of the following sheets
Full color cover
Title Page
Introduction and Sample page
Sheet 1 - Armor, Shields & Weapons
Sheet 2 - Coins, Currency, Gems & Jewelry
Sheet 3 - Miscellaneous Treasure
Sheet 4 - ______________________________
OGL License

All of the sheets have a very plain white background, save the cover and title page. Very easy and self explanatory, even so there is an example on how the use is envisioned.
The first three Sheets are essentially the same columns for data and information. The main change is the title. The fourth sheet has the same columns but nothing is named, so you can customize it in moments.
As a PDF if you wanted to, you can print the sheets and hand write, or use the typewriter function in Adobe Reader and Customize (which changes the font look) for Sheet 4 that way and not save the changes to the file, preserving the integrity of the original one.

This is one of those products that are simple, easy and one where you say, why didn’t I think of that years ago and do it myself. The only other place I recall seeing something similar is in the old Rogues Gallery product from the original TSR Company, where you could record campaign details, encounters, etc. This is a product that is so simple but one that is needed to make gaming life easier.

Even though it is billed as a Player Aid, I am much more likely to use it as a GM to aid me in tracking who has what, helping distribute Experience points, etc. The blank sheet is going to get re-purposed as an encounter tracker as well.

So in the final analysis, for the cost, it is more than worth the money spent to get the product. Add it onto another order and at $1.75 that is less than a Grande Coffee and you will not even notice the price in my opinion.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Player's Aid I: Treasure Tracking Sheets
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GM's Aid II: Condition Cards
Publisher: 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming
by Tad K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/14/2009 18:37:28
GM Aid II OGL Condition Cards
By 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming
Product Code 4WFG018
Price $1.75 on Drivethru RPG

In Review:
Note: I received a promotional copy. That said I would have been more than glad with the price asked if I had paid for it sight unseen.

The facts on the physical construction
It is 8 pages long consisting of the following sheets
Full color cover
Title Page
Introduction
4 pages of status and conditions
OGL License

I could have used this not too long ago, taking over GM duties for an online game. A virtual version of this would have aided in a large scale combat to help me track what and who was affected by what.

Running from Ability Damaged to Unconscious this GM Aid covers 38 different status, conditions, modifiers that can affect a Player Character.

Not a lot to say other than, the Introduction gives printing advice and I see absolutely no reason to not invest the cost to make these. The only change I would make is that I would laminate them; in case someone spills their beverage and that would prevent damage.

Otherwise with lamination and Grease Pencils you can customize them to add on Player Character’s Names as well for long term effects, giving it a slightly more tactile feel to the entire encounter.

Go buy them if you are playing or running a game. It will save wear and tear on your books instead of looking up 38 different rules for conditions and circumstances.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
GM's Aid II: Condition Cards
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GM's Aid I: Party Tracking Sheets
Publisher: 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming
by Tad K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/14/2009 18:31:21
GM Aid I-Party Tracking Sheets
By 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming
Product Code 4WFG016
Price $1.75 on Drivethru RPG
Store URL
Company URL

In Review:
Note: I received a promotional copy. That said I would have been more than glad with the price asked if I had paid for it sight unseen.

The facts on the physical construction
It is 12 pages long consisting of the following sheets
Full color cover
Title Page
Introduction and Three (3) example sheets
Sheet 1 - Adventuring Party Information Record
Sheet 2 - Adventure Record Sheet
Sheet 3 - Adventure Session Sheet
Sheet 4 - Campaign Adventure Log
Sheet 5 - Initiative Tracking Sheet
OGL License

All of the sheets have a very plain white background, save the cover and title page. The sheets all have specific purposes and there is a little overlap but not a great deal. They each aid in tracking one or more aspects of a game. From overall details of characters to what happened, to the very specific Initiative Tracking sheet, all are designed to help the Game Master run the games and sessions.

There are just a few minor quibbles. I personally would have liked a spot for Initiative Modifiers to the Adventurers Tracking sheet; I will just put it in the Size spot instead, being a personal choice. The same with the Initiative Tracking sheet, but there is adequate space to put it at the end of the character names, putting it there at a glance.

Otherwise I like the utility of the sheets. The Campaign Record is the one I will use the least. Mostly due to a tendency to very long story arc campaigns, and the format looks a bit more episodic than my games have run in the past. Keeping in mind that ten or more year long campaigns is not what everyone runs, this sheet holds more utility to others I believe than to myself.

One thing I really like about the idea of this product is the artifact aspect. It provides a wonderful sense of continuity of history that comes from gaming, and here is a wonderful way to be able to note the highlights and exploits involved. As a very heroic hobby at the base, making a simple and clear way to record the tribulations and victories makes for an epic feel to the gaming session.

I would almost make these, as a one potential end use; make the exploits available to all the players after the fact, as a sort of treasure. It could be as simple as lending a sense of history to the games by the latest player characters finding a tome containing past exploits. At this point the Game Master can pass out a single copy of all the old adventures, perhaps in a simple file folder format even. This is especially possible with the Adventuring Party Information and the Adventure Record sheets. Those lend themselves to providing continuity in the game as well as potentially outside of the actual gaming group. An enterprising Game Master could even make up sheets and pass those out as history, making it seem real to those engaged in the gaming.

So in the final analysis, for the cost, it is more than worth the money spent to get the product. Add it onto another order and at $ 3.50 that is less than a Grande Cappuccino with an extra shot of caffeine and you will hardly notice the cost in my opinion. Once you start using the sheets that is.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
GM's Aid I: Party Tracking Sheets
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