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Action RPG Counters - Free Set: Heroes, Villains and More
Publisher: Action RPG Counters
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/27/2012 06:52:53
Set of paper minis to use in any game. Well done, though I tend to prefer illustrations over the 3D computer art, but these are good.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Action RPG Counters - Free Set: Heroes, Villains and More
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Silver Age Sentinels: d20 Edition
Publisher: White Wolf
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/25/2012 11:57:37
A lot of what is in SAS d20 can be found in BESM 3.0 and SAS. A lot. So much that I wish I had just one omnibus edition with say a d20 conversion chapter. Almost all the attributes have the same (or similar) point spread across all the systems and to convert to d20 from Tri-Stat is often just a matter of doubling the points. BESM d20 includes rules for converting the D&D and d20 Mod classes to their point system so I am not at a lack of choices. I did notice right away that BESM d20's Dynamic Sorcerer is not 100% compatible with SAS d20's Costumed Wizard; and similar inconsistencies have popped up. There are also minor balance issues between the SAS classes and between the SAS and BESM classes.

Levels, Classes and Hit Points
Ok, lets get this out of the way now. SAS d20 both have levels, classes and hitpoints. I typically find that people can deal with one, but not the other, and rarely both unless it's D&D. On the surface level can convert roughly to M&M's PL, rough enough that I am going to say it's fine and not worry about it. But Hit Points do not work with M&M's Damage system.

And then there are Classes.

While some don't like this, I think it works well in terms of Anime, but less so for Supers. Ok for the most part these can be ignored since they only decide what powers a character will get and when, what Hit Die, attacks and saves. We can convert the Classes to archetypes but we are still stuck with levels. It is d20 after all.

The SAS d20 classes felt too restrictive. The classes in BESM d20 seem to work better for me. One thing I wanted to do was stat up my son's favorite female super heroes Fire and Ice, but the closest thing that seems to work is "Adventurer" with maybe some "Acrobat"? Not very satisfying. At this point I go to my d20 Modern and Mutants & Masterminds to get an idea what levels might be the best.

Once that is out of the way the rest actually falls into place really nice.

What gets me about SAS d20 is the huge amount of untapped potential here. There is just a ton of stuff in this book for the taking.

Plus SAS has the best super-hero history I ever read was in the pages of a Supers RPG. They are the same in both the d20 and Tri-Stat versions (another grumble). SAS looks like it should mix well with M&M but I guess they are really too close to each other that their differences are more obvious. It's a shame that SAS never really got it's due. It does read like a rough draft of M&M at times.

Is SAS d20 a great Supers game? Hard to say. It has a lot going for it and in some ways is a better d20 game than Mutants and Masterminds is.

I have to reiterate what a shame it is that we lost GoO. I know companies come and go all the time and each time something unique to the industry is lost. Not to say there were not issues with GoO; there were plenty, and they were hardly a model of how to run a business. It is just too bad that what they provided to the game industry is now gone.

This game is so close to a 5 out of 5 for me. The flaws are only more vivid because so much of this game is so good.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Silver Age Sentinels: d20 Edition
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BESM d20 Revised Edition
Publisher: White Wolf
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/25/2012 11:52:20
A lot of what is in BESM d20 can be found in BESM 3.0 and SAS d20. A lot. So much that I wish I had just one omnibus edition with say a d20 conversion chapter. Almost all the attributes have the same (or similar) point spread across all the systems and to convert to d20 from Tri-Stat is often just a matter of doubling the points. BESM d20 includes rules for converting the D&D and d20 Mod classes to their point system so I am not at a lack of choices. I did notice right away that BESM d20's Dynamic Sorcerer is not 100% compatible with SAS d20's Costumed Wizard; and similar inconsistencies have popped up. There are also minor balance issues between the SAS classes and between the SAS and BESM classes.

Levels, Classes and Hit Points
Ok, lets get this out of the way now. BESM d20 and SAS d20 both have levels, classes and hitpoints. I typically find that people can deal with one, but not the other, and rarely both unless it's D&D. On the surface level can convert roughly to M&M's PL, rough enough that I am going to say it's fine and not worry about it. But Hit Points do not work with M&M's Damage system.

And then there are Classes.

While some don't like this, I think it works well in terms of Anime, but less so for Supers. Ok for the most part these can be ignored since they only decide what powers a character will get and when, what Hit Die, attacks and saves. BESM d20 offers a classless option which should work fine for the class haters out there. Also BESM d20 deconstructs the D&D classes by what they get with points to show their relative merits (useful for anyone playing D&D). We can convert the Classes to archetypes but we are still stuck with levels. It is d20 after all.

The Classes in BESM d20 seem to work better for me. The SAS d20 classes felt too restrictive. One thing I wanted to do was stat up my son's favorite female super heroes Fire and Ice, but the closest thing that seems to work is "Adventurer" with maybe some "Acrobat"? Not very satisfying. At this point I go to my d20 Modern and Mutants & Masterminds to get an idea what levels might be the best.

Once that is out of the way the rest actually falls into place really nice.

What gets me about BESM d20 is the huge amount of untapped potential here. There is just a ton of stuff in this book for the taking. Same with SAS. Speaking of SAS, the best super-hero history I ever read was in the pages of SAS. They are the same in both the d20 and Tri-Stat versions (another grumble). SAS looks like it should mix well with M&M but I guess they are really too close to each other that their differences are more obvious. It's a shame that SAS never really got it's due. It does read like a rough draft of M&M at times.

Is BESM d20 Anime? Well I guess I have to ask, what is Anime? BESM d20 is a good d20 version of BESM. I am not convinced though it taps into that collective known as "Anime" as well as BESM 2 or 3 does. I have played more BESM d20 than BESM 3 so to me it came off more like "Cartoon Cinematic d20". Which is in itself not so bad. I have mixed BESM d20 and D&D3 and gotten something a bit more cinematic. I have also mixed BESM d20 with d20 Star Wars for some really weird stuff, but all of it fun.

As I wrap up BESM (all versions) I have to reiterate what a shame it is that we lost GoO. I know companies come and go all the time and each time something unique to the industry is lost. Not to say there were not issues with GoO; there were plenty, and they were hardly a model of how to run a business. It is just too bad that what they provided to the game industry is now gone.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
BESM d20 Revised Edition
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Big Eyes, Small Mouth Revised Second Edition
Publisher: White Wolf
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/25/2012 11:44:55
I came to this game late. I picked up BESM 2.0 at a game auction and really dug it’s simple style, flexibility and shear “funness” of the game. GoO may be no more and BESM 3.0 is the current version, I still need to do something with all the BESM/Tri-Stat books I bought.

BESM uses (used) Guardians of Order's Tri-Stat system, which they use for a variety of Anime-based games. The main feature of the Tri-Stat system is the Tri-Stat, or Body, Mind and Soul. All skills, attributes and defects as well combat roles are made with these three in mind. They range up to 12, but cannot go over.

Skill Levels are similar, ranging 1 to 5, with 0 as unskilled or unable to use this skill and 5 representing the human maximum in most cases. Tri-Stat's Attributes and Defects size up pretty well to other games Qualities and Drawbacks respectively.

Of particular interest to me is magic.

Magic vs. Dynamic Sorcery
Where do you use what where?
To me Dynamic Sorcerery feels more like Mage's magic system while Magic seems more like WitchCraft's the Gift with extra points for metaphysiscs. In BESM d20 dynamic sorcery allows you to cast d20 spells of the same level. So in that respect it is more like Cine Unisystem's Sorcery or Magic. In BESM 3.0 Magic (now called Power Flux) feels more like Magic from Mutants & Masterminds. So there is still some debat even among BESM players about which one does what. My prefernce to scrap the whole deal and use Cine Unisystem's Magic system.

I picked up "Cold Hands, Dark Hearts" a while back and there are a lot of really cool ideas in it. It really plays like a dark horror animated game. It is also largely compatible with other flavors of BESM, though some of the points seem a bit high to me. But if you wanted to play a BESM game out of the box that feels like an Eden or White Wolf game it is a great place to start.

In the end, I really, really liked BESM 2nd Ed revised. But it was missing something...I am not sure. I am going to talk about BESM 3.0 in a bit, so maybe that will help.

What Did I Get Out of This?
Well my journey into discovering Anime went hand in hand with BESM. The roots for a couple of on going projects started here. While I never got the chance to try out much of an "Animated Series" it did give me ideas to use in my second season Unisystem game "Season of the Witch". I also started work on a multi-genre, multi-game idea of a school for magical kids. It would be part horror, part anime "magical girl" trope, and part supers. Over the years "Generation HEX" would morph and change, but the ideas are still growing.

Anime Action
The combat and action in a typical BESM game is fast and deadly. It actually sort of spoiled me for other so called fast and furious combat systems. BESM is a great design, hampered though by some flaws, but nothing that can't be overcome.

All in all. BESM 2r is still the standard in which all other Anime games must be measured against. Despite (or maybe even because of) it's flaws the game has style and character that no other game (even BESM d20 and BESM 3) have been able to duplicate.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Big Eyes, Small Mouth Revised Second Edition
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Bree Orlock Designs: Winged Cat 1
Publisher: Stardust Publications
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/25/2012 07:23:44
Exactly what I needed when I needed it!

Great winged cat!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bree Orlock Designs: Winged Cat 1
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Stock Art: Half-Orc Witch
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/18/2012 15:25:35
Another awesome image (or rather 3) from Purple Duck.

Here is how it typically works for me. I think of some thing I need an illustration of, think that there in no way I can find that, come here to DTRGP and search. And there it is.

I love this half-orc witch and the owl is really cool.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stock Art: Half-Orc Witch
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[d20] Complete Characters #3 - Brandy
Publisher: Jason Richards Publishing
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/18/2012 13:46:31
She's such a fine girl.

A complete, and densely packed description of a character/NPC to use in your games. Covers her stats, background and plenty of hooks.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
[d20] Complete Characters #3 - Brandy
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Stock Art: Half-Ogre Dragonslayer
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/18/2012 13:08:49
It says Half-ogre, but it could be a half-giant, half-orc or just a human with odd ears.

In any case the art is great and you get color, grayscale and lineart and an easy to read and use license.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stock Art: Half-Ogre Dragonslayer
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Stock Art: Human Wizard
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/18/2012 13:05:58
My son had a very simple request. He wanted a wizard with a beard, but no hat, throwing a huge fire ball.

Purple Duck Games comes through for me again. Full color, line art and grayscale images.
The only thing that would have made this better for me is if the robes and the fireball were blue.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stock Art: Human Wizard
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Rogue Mage Roleplaying Game Player's Handbook
Publisher: Misfit Studios
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/12/2012 10:53:57
What if someone held an apocalypse and nobody came?

That is an over-simplification, but it is the jist of what I get from reading a little bit of the Rogue Mage series by Faith Hunter. Now I need to be upfront here about a few things.

1. I have never read the Rogue Mage books, but they are something I have been aware of and I have been meaning to check out.
2. I know Christina Stiles and have worked with her (somewhat) in the past.

That out of the way, lets look at this game.

Rogue Mage is a new RPG from Christina Stiles and Faith Hunter, published by Misfit Studios.
It is a modern supernatural game, so I am already inclined to like it, but also inclined to be critical of it. I will work to balance this for this review.

The game is a d20 based one, but not 100% d20. There is a list of changes for those of us that pick up a d20 game and try to go as we always have. So no attacks of opportunity, no hp, no classes, no levels and so on. Mostly this resembles Mutants & Masterminds 2nd Ed quite a bit. The damage tracker is similar, but simpler. There is a Toughness save (like M&M) and Combat is a skill (like other games). So mechanics wise this is really an elegant system, but it doesn't add a lot of new material.
So like M&M all you need is a d20 to play.
Also this is the Player's book only. The Game Master's Guide will be out later.

Chapter 1 covers the basic rules of the game. I thought this was a touch odd, since we have not rolled up any characters yet, but I think the reasoning is that the rules are so simple that leading off with them allows you to read them once and then easily refer back to them as needed.

Chapter 2 covers the setting. You don't need have read the Faith Hunter books to use this game, something I think is very important. The books look good and I am looking forward to reading them, but I have this book now. Briefly the world changed with the return of the Seraphs on June 12, 2011. Day before my birthday. The war that follows engulfs the world and leaves it in shambles; in fact it is known as the Last War. The present day is 2117 (or 105 PA, post ap). Given Rush is in concert as of this writing 2112 would have been cooler for me, but hey. Immediately I am drawn to the parallels between this game and Eden's Armageddon. Except in Armageddon the war is still going on and it's 2018 (that seemed SO far away back when I was playtesting the game). The world though in Rogue Mage is more messed up with the new Ice Age and all the plagues. Tech is all over the place with advanced technology in the regions away from the ice to steam powered retro-tech.

Chapter 3 is Character Creation. There are abilities and skills familiar to most d20 games. Characters though have points in which to buy these similar to many other non-d20 systems and M&M. In addition there are Talents, Drawbacks and Magic. First up are the character races; neomage, third-generation kylen, human, seraph-touched, rogue daywalker, and second unforeseen (mule). These are detailed in the book and fit into the cosmology of the game. Races can be bought with character points, or in the case of humans, character points are awarded back to you. Attributes and skills are bought with points. Talents can either be normal, special or supernatural and have varying point costs. Drawbacks give you back points. There are also Luck points (think Hero or Drama points) and a virtue/taint tracker which is a new twist.
There is a character creation walk-through and many sample characters.

Chapter 4 deals with abilities; Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom and so on and saves.
Chapter 5 deals with skills. The list is a familiar one for anyone that has played a d20 game in the last 12 years. Of note though, Combat is a skill now. I rather like that to be honest. A trainable skill instead of a built in aptitude.

Chapter 6 covers Talents. Think of these as something similar to Feats or Qualities, or most like the Powers in True 20. Many of these are Feats from the SRD, but that is fine because they still work here. As you can imagine there are a lot of them here, a little more than 30 pages worth. Then we also get the Drawbacks. These are like negative feats. They take something from you, but you get Character Points in return. We get 10 pages of those.

ASIDE: While this game diverts a bit from the d20 mainstream, there is enough here that is the same to make you wonder if your other d20 resources might work with it. For that answer I would have to say I see no reason why not. Sure you are deviating from the source material more, but mechanically speaking, unless it relates to levels, classes or HP I can't see why it wouldn't work.

Chapter 7 is Magic. There is a lot here, not just in terms of rules for magic, but the spells themselves. Over 46 pages. Again some spells from other games could be converted and used here. One would need to figure out the point cost for casting them. I wonder if the spells from the d20 Call of Cthulhu would be compatible? Or even BESM d20 Advanced Magic. If so, then this game would open up a wealth of playing options.

Chapter 8 details Virtue, Money and Luck. Virtue and Taint stand in for the basic alignment system, but this also has more in-game effects. Virtuous characters are more resilient to some magics for example.
Wealth is a score, rather than a track-able resource like gold pieces. And Luck Points, like I mentioned are like Hero or Drama points.

Chapter 9 discusses Secondary Characters, aka NPCS.
Chapter 10 has equipment. It is an interesting mix of future and past tech and high tech and magic.

Chapter 11 details combat. Combat normally gets it's own chapter, but I would have figured it a little closer to skills. No matter, it is here and it tells you what you need to know. Of importance here is the damage track and conditions rules. Remember, there are no HP here, so this is how you know if you are good or about to die. This combat makes this game a bit more deadly than your typical d20 game.

We end with some fiction from Faith Hunter (each chapter had some too) and an Index.

The layout is clean and easy to read. The art is really good as well and really captures the feel of the game well I think. It is all black and white so it won't kill your printer.

There is a lot I really like about this game. First it has so much potential with things I am already doing. Secondly the fact that is also seems to fit in mechanically with a bunch of books I already have is also great.

I think I would have loved to have seen this as a Unisystem game. But I know there are a lot of reasons why that could not have been done. Plus the rules from Mutants & Masterminds, as I have done in the past, can be tweaked to give you a Unisystem like experience. To be 100% honest if there is anyone out there that could be trusted to do that it is Christina Stiles and Misfit Studios.

Something though is keeping me from absolutely loving this game though. I think it is because I have not read the books it is based on yet. I also think there is not enough information here on how to run a game. That is not a big deal for me really, I have 100s of books that tell me that. I don't know how to run one in this universe.
But these are not the shortcomings of this book; only my understanding of the world of this book.
I do hope the Game Master's Guide comes with a sample adventure.

Here is what I do know. Misfit Studios has done a a great job in the past with Unisystem products and Mutants & Masterminds ones. This rule set seems to be a perfect middle ground for them and I hope that we get to see it for more games.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rogue Mage Roleplaying Game Player's Handbook
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DC ADVENTURES Heroes & Villains, Vol. 2
Publisher: Green Ronin
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/10/2012 16:41:57
Vol 2 of the Heroes & Villain write-ups for the DC Adventures RPG (but it also works for M&M3).
This is the L-Z listing, "Lady Shiva" to "Victor Zsasz".

The write-ups are very detailed and make for good reading even if you don't use this in a supers game. If you are a fan of the DC Universe (mostly pre New 52) then this is a must have resource.
If you enjoy DCA/M&M3 then there are plenty of great ideas here. Highlights include Zatanna and a bunch of minion stats. There are also stats for the "Super Animals", cultists, undead and Demons. Also included, soldiers, robots, monsters, ninjas and animals.

There are some repeats from the Core book.

All in all a great purchase if you are a DC or M&M fan.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DC ADVENTURES Heroes & Villains, Vol. 2
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DC ADVENTURES Heroes & Villains, Vol. I
Publisher: Green Ronin
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/10/2012 16:37:23
Vol 1 of the Heroes & Villain write-ups for the DC Adventures RPG (but it also works for M&M3).
This is the A-K listing, "Adam Strange" to "Kobra & The Kobra Cult".

The write-ups are very detailed and make for good reading even if you don't use this in a supers game. If you are a fan of the DC Universe (mostly pre New 52) then this is a must have resource.
If you enjoy DCA/M&M3 then there are plenty of great ideas here. Highlights include all the "Bat" family (except Robin and Nightwing, next book), Blue, Green and Indigo Lantern Corps., and even Tim Hunter. Oddly enough, Adam Strange is listed under "A", but John Constantine is under "C". There are some repeats from the Core book.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DC ADVENTURES Heroes & Villains, Vol. I
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Active Exploits Diceless Roleplaying
Publisher: Precis Intermedia
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/28/2012 12:03:06
I am not a fan of diceless systems. I like the random element and the joy of rolling dice. For me diceless systems remove something that I consider to be part of the joy of RPGs.

That being said I am sold on Active Exploits. It is diceless and it weighs in at a whole 72 pages, it is a great game.
Any style, genre or scope of gaming can be covered in these very simple rules. It reminds me a bit of Fate.

What I like about this game is it truly seems to be universal. While the focus seems to be action, I could not think of anything you couldn't do with it. There is a assumption of modern games, doing fantasy or sci-fi might take a bit more work.

The mechanic is rather simple and would work great with the right players.

If you and your group are more into "Role" playing than "Roll" playing then you certainly can't go wrong with this.
I would also grab this as helpful guide on how to resolve action without always going to the dice. In this respect it is a great read for any gamer or game master.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Active Exploits Diceless Roleplaying
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THE SECRET FIRE Roleplaying Game Character Sheet
Publisher: Secret Fire Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/28/2012 06:31:14
See my larger review of the Secret Fire here: http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/2012/08/review-secret-fire.ht-
ml

The character sheet for this game is really awesome. Functional with some interesting art. I has the feel of D&D with Mage or Ars Magica added in.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
THE SECRET FIRE Roleplaying Game Character Sheet
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THE SECRET FIRE Roleplaying Game
Publisher: Secret Fire Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/28/2012 06:28:10
The Secret Fire came out to much hoopla and goings on last year.

I have always meant to review it, but never sat down to do it. Now, depending on my mood I go back and forth between this being a great homage to old-school play and even to Gygax himself to it being a fantasy heart-breaker with delusions of godhood. It will be interesting to see where I am by the end of this review.

Like I mentioned above The Secret Fire came out to much hoopla last year before Gen Con with this whole campaign blitz on how it was going to change role-playing and how it was going to be the biggest thing since D&D. I talked a bit about that around Gen Con back when it had changed it's name from Legends & Labyrinths to The Secret Fire. http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/2011/08/what-is-secret-fire.h-
tml

Of course give yourself some credit if you get the reference correct.

It didn't quite set the world on fire. Secret or otherwise.
But I can't blame the author, George R. Strayton (also the screenwriter for the Dragonlance animated movie and some episodes of Xena), for being excited. I would, and have, done the same.
One thing I am going to give the Secret Fire right now. It has style. The art is not fantastic and the formatting is a bit odd, but I enjoy looking at this book.

Forward and Introduction
Ok this part is cool, if maybe a touch corny. Learning to play D&D on Halloween 1979. Sure that sounds cool and I don't doubt it, but if that were true for me I might not say that because so many wouldn't believe. But that is not the point here. I know this, that kid learning to play D&D on Halloween would have loved the hell out of TSF. Oh. I gave the game a freebie now I need to take one away. Look I know this game is important to the author but reading THE SECRET FIRETM all the time is really annoying.
All that aside, I like this part. Why? Cause Strayton deep down is a kid that loves to play D&D and this is his 300+ page love letter to it. I like that he wants you play normal folk that could get killed, I like that he was "stuck with the dwarf" back then. If this is his mission statement then I am all aboard with it.

PART 1
Quotes from Gary Gygax are good. Quotes from Gail Gygax advertising your game, not so much. One more point given, one more taken away.
Part 1 is your typically "what is role-playing chapter but also some descriptions of what makes TSF different. I am torn on this one. While I like that this is not the kindergarten discussion on what is role-playing and what do you do, there also seems to be a lot back-patting here. TSF does this better and TSF does this... great, but tell me that in the game sections. BUT....I also often lament that we don't see enough of what makes Game X different than Game Y. If he makes good on these promises then we should be ok.

PART 2
Character creation. The classes, or callings, are pretty straightforward; cleric, warrior, thief and wizard. The big four really. They have some neat features. Levels only go to 10 and you know what, I kinda like that. The races are also the common four, Dwarf, Elf, Human and Halfling. I would have liked to see some more, but there are some neat twists to the races. Tables of what the races do, like Many Dwarfs...(roll a 1d20) and Some Dwarfs... (roll a 1d20), that is kinda cool really. Easily added to any sort of D&D-like game.
Instead of hitpoints we have wound levels, similar to some damage track systems I have seen. I like how damage effects movement and combat. Again, nothing revolutionary here, but still nice.
There is a random table of personality traits as well. I am sure would like this, but I prefer to figure out my character's personality in the playing, not the the rolling.

PART 3
This is the chapter on character Trademarks. They act like qualities/perks/drawbacks from other games. Interesting. Given the amount you can get I would have liked to have seen more, but this is a good list.

PART 4
Your weapons and equipment chapter.

PART 5
Energy Points are discussed here and are used to power "Special Effects". In a way they work a bit like Drama, Hero or Fate points. While like like these kinds of mechanics, they are not really "old-school" since they allow the player more control over the dice. While a plus in some respects I think the old-school purists will dislike it.

PARTS 6 & 7
Details the Elder Gods and prayers respectively. Prayers are of course the spells that Holy-men can use.

PART 8
Details the spells in the game. Like the Prayers, there are a lot of unique sounding names for some familiar looking spells. I like that. "Read Languages" sounds dull, but "Comprehend Texts (The Great Unknown)" sounds so much more...eldritch.

PART 9
Details the skills characters can have. The advice listed is that most time the character succeeding or failing should be obvious. This chapter should only aid in the cases where success is uncertain.
Skills are a roll-under mechanic compared to the necessary ability. The listed skills modify these dice rolls (3d6 to 7d6).

PART 10
Details adventuring. Not a bad chapter, but mostly narrative.

PART 11
This chapter details Engagements or what if typically called combat.

PART 12
Scenario Design. Lots of advice and random tables to stock your dungeons.

PART 13
Is monsters. The stat blocks look pretty familiar and would not be difficult at all to add to any other game.

PART 14
Treasure. What I liked most here was the creating Talismans. I have done talismans as well and they are a little different here than mine, but still fun. Like the spells there are a lot of unique items here. If you need to spice up your magic items, then this is a good place to start.

PART 15
Details the world. Not a lot of detail mind you, but enough to keep you busy.

PART 16
Deals with level advancement. How to do it, what to do about it and the like.

PART 17
Is an adventure, the Dungeons of Madness.

There are also a few Appencies, including a combat chart, links to the Gygax Memorial Fund, and a bit on why the game was made AND, interestingly enough, an alternate XP point award table to things the players can do outside of the game. I have done this with my kids to great effect.

The Appendix D, or suggested reading does come of as a bit pretentious. But...these are all in fact good books.

Bottom line
Again, this game didn't, and probably won't, set the world on fire. BUT there is a lot of cool things here that can be easily added to a D&D, S&W, ACKS or B/X Companion game.

It is easy to see what the author is trying to do here. I get it. I think the game though comes off a little like D&D Fate.

I will also add that TSF character sheet is one of the coolest ones I have seen. It, like the game, as a sense of style I really like. Another point in favor of this game, the website for the game is full of all sorts of goodies. http://www.secretfiregames.com/

I guess in the end I would give it 4 out of 5 stars and use it as a kick-ass resource. It is a good enough game by itself, but I plan on using it as an add-on.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
THE SECRET FIRE Roleplaying Game
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