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Class Acts: Druid Archetypes
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/06/2012 15:51:35
4 pages with 1 page for the cover, 1 page for the OGL and the rest the bulk of the new class material. There is no art, but really it doesn't need any. Perfect for under a buck really. Three new druid archetypes. Of the three the Faeriethrall looks the most interesting to me.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Class Acts: Druid Archetypes
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Class Acts: Druids
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/06/2012 15:39:42
5pages with 1 page for the cover, 1 page for the OGL and the rest the bulk of the new class material. There is no art, but really it doesn't need any. Perfect for under a buck really. A dozen of new Druid Animal domains. could work with clerics too.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Class Acts: Druids
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Class Acts: Fighter Archetypes
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/06/2012 15:25:28
4 pages with 1 page for the cover, 1 page for the OGL. 3 new archetypes. I think these would also work well for Paladins, Cavaliers or any other class to be truthful.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Class Acts: Fighter Archetypes
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Class Acts: Fighters
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/06/2012 15:21:53
5 pages with 1 page for the cover, 1 page for the OGL and the rest the bulk of the new class material. There is no art, but really it doesn't need any. Perfect for under a buck really.
Covers a lot of new combat feats for fighters of all sorts. Useful for other classes too.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Class Acts: Fighters
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Class Acts: Alchemist Archetypes
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/06/2012 15:18:26
4 pages. 1 page for cover, 1 for OGL. The rest covers four different Alchemist archetypes.
There is no art, but really it doesn't need any. Also in nearly every case these are for the die-hard fans of the classes.
Perfect for under a buck really.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Class Acts: Alchemist Archetypes
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Complete Guide to Dragonkin
Publisher: Goodman Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/06/2012 09:10:09
76 pages, covers, OGL. Pretty packed really. A brief intro and some background on dragon-kin and how they are all connected to each other (an interesting touch). This assumes that a lot of different races inter-bred with dragons like humans, orcs, goblins and of course kobolds. So we have a variety of bloodlines; half-dragons, dragon-touched and "wyrm-bred".
The Half-Dragon Racial Template is presented and the associated powers. If you are playing 3.x/Pathfinder and want to play a "Dragonborn" character then this is a great book. It predates the Dragonborn in 4e and the Dragon bloodline sorcerer in Pathfinder, so a Pathfinder update would be nice to have, but still this is a solid book.
There is a lot in this book. It even covers how these races view, and sometimes worship, the dragons they are related to. There is a chapter on Dragon magic which includes new spells and "dragon egg sculpting".
There is not much in the way of news monsters, but I think that is fine. There is a Dragon/Kobold crossbreed that works well as an antagonist. Especially if your players tend to laugh when you throw kobolds after them.
I compare this book rather favorably to their Complete Guide to Fey. It was because I owned that book (fey) that I felt comfortable picking up this one. I was not disappointed.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Complete Guide to Dragonkin
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Hero's Handbook: Dragonborn
Publisher: Goodman Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/06/2012 09:09:20
99 pages, GSL, covers. There is a quite a lot in this book. While Goodman Games could have used a lot from their previous book (The Complete Guide to Dragonkin) this one has a completely different approach. Dragonborn are well established in D&D4, so none of that material is repeated here. Instead the book covers different clans and variations of Dragonborn. There is also a lot of crunch to go with the fluff. Frankly Dragonborn need a lot more "fluff". Unlike all the other fantasy races, Dragonborn/Dragonkin are really a creation of D&D. Sure there have been other types in the past, but even in the early days of the game their origin is purely a D&D one. That gives this book a lot of room to run.
There is also a nice collection of items to help give this race a sense of history. Plenty of powers for Dragonborn characters, options and magic items. If you are like my son and love to play Dragonborn in 4e then this is a great book to have.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Hero's Handbook: Dragonborn
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Dragon
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/05/2012 15:02:35
Again, I don't expect a lot for a buck. Barrel Rider Games though gives you a whole class for a buck.

This one is a bout Dragons as a class/race. Not Dragonborn or Dragonfolk, but full blown dragons.
Now my first thought is these characters could be unwieldy in a group of adventurers or even overpowered. That is best left to the Labyrinth Lord to decide really.

The book is five pages: Cover, 2 pages for the class, and 2 pages for the OGL.
This one does have the Labyrinth Lord compatibility notice.

There seems to be a bit missing though.
For starters there is no "To Hit AC" tables for the Dragon. Nor are there any Saving Throw tables.
Kind of need these in order to play the character.

I would have liked have seen a little on how to play this character class and what motivates them to adventure.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Dragon
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Publisher Reply:
Mr. Brannan, Thank you for your even-handed, honest review! I'd like to address some of your concerns and continue to receive honest reviews so that Barrel Rider Games can produce even better quality products. The Dragon's description specifically states that it uses the Attack Value and Saving Throws of a fighter. This is done to actually reduce page count, reduce redundancy and keep page count down. When it comes to the power-level of the class, I have to admit that I hemmed and hauled over even publishing this for use with Labyrinth Lord. In the end, your state of leaving it up to the Labyrinth Lord was exactly what I had in mind. I also attempted to limit power by making it a class with fewer levels than Magic-Users or Fighters, to help keep Saving Throws and Attack Values down to compensate for their collection of powers. I thank you again for your honest review and would love for your further input on future Barrel Rider Games products! I will take your concerns and points to mind when developing future BRG products. Thanks so much! Sincerely, James M. Spahn
Assassin
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/05/2012 14:41:51
I don't expect a lot for a buck. Can't buy a bottle of Mt. Dew or a cup of coffee for a buck anymore. But you can buy a class.

This is the classic "1st Edition" class for Labyrinth Lord, but should be compatible with any number of other Old School RPGs.
You get a cover page (oddly formatted, but hey), fours pages of the class and the OGL statement.

The class has what you would expect, tables for advancement and assassinations. Also there is a bit on the use of poisons.

There are, unfortunely a few things missing.

In the missing must haves there is no saving throw advancement tables and no to hit advancement tables.
In the missing like to haves there is nothing on new weapons unique to the assassin. Nothing for example about the garrote, the time honored classic of all assassin weapons. This is almost a missing "must have" to be honest.
Also in there is no Labyrinth Lord compatibly license statement. I am not sure if it needs one, but I could have sworn that there should have been one.

So it has a lot of potential, but the publisher really needs to fix these omissions.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Assassin
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Publisher Reply:
Mr. Brannan, Thanks again for your well-thought, professional, honest review. As with the Dragon class you reviewed, both attack values and saves are referred in the class description as using the values featured in the Labyrinth Lore core book in order to reduce redundancy and keep the page count low. Labyrinth Lord compatibility is shown through the image on the cover of the book, just below the BRG logo. As far as the garrote, that's a great idea! I can't believe the thought to include that slipped my mind! I'll be sure to go back in later and update this product to include this weapon. I thought poison was the "iconic" weapon of the assassin as poison, but your review is an example of how honest, even-handed feedback can help me improve the quality of my products! Please, keep the reviews coming, they really help make BRG fast, fun and free-spirited for all my Labyrinth Lord customers! Sincerely, James M. Spahn
Ultimate Fantasy Photo Art Collection
Publisher: Stainless Steel Dragon
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/05/2012 10:47:56
EDITED.

Ok so I grabbed this because it came up in a search for "Drago art" not sure why, there are no dragons in it. That was something of a disappointment, but I kept on going, after all there are a 150+ pages here.

The art varies from semi-serious, to cheesecake. It is all photos with fantasy style trappings and backgrounds. There are some topless women here (and me, fair is fair), but it is all of an artistic sort.

There are not many images here I can use in my games, but the ones that I can seem perfect. There is an African-American male vampire in this is perfect (and they must have also thought this since we get a couple of him), but my opinion was changed with the picture of the "witch" on page 101. Again it is a case of the right thing at the tight time for me. NOTE To publisher: I appreciate the names of the models, but is there anyway to knwo what page they are on? Ok, just who is the model on page 101?

The models are all attractive and we get a variety of types, genders and ethnicity here so that is certainly a plus. One of my first thoughts was there are a lot of good visual images here for a Ravenloft game or some other dark fantasy.

There are also 24 pages of "character sheets" featuring the various models (again the witch on 101 is back on page 150), plus a blank and a back page. Suitable really for most games, but certainly a FRPG in mind.

So while it was not exactly what I was looking for and I also like to buy art I can reuse somehow, I can't fault the publisher any of those.

Great fro printing out and using in a game as a visual aid. Or if there is a character you really want to detail then it's perfect if the character you envision is here.
NOTE To publisher 2: maybe small thumbnails of the pictures on the character sheets might be good on your website? That way if someone sees something they like they have a good reason to buy this.

In truth you get a ton of images for $5 (when on sale). Can't really complain about that.

EDITED TO ADD. You can find some of the images on their website. The vampire I mentioned is there, but not the witch I am fond of.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Fantasy Photo Art Collection
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PFV: Water Nymph (Poster SIzed JPG)
Publisher: Stainless Steel Dragon
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/05/2012 10:44:05
Got this for another character of mine. It looks perfect and for a buck it is a steal.
The picture is hires and huge.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
PFV: Water Nymph (Poster SIzed JPG)
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PFV: BlueMoon (Poster Sized Jpeg)
Publisher: Stainless Steel Dragon
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/05/2012 10:41:25
I picked this up because I saw it in another SSD product and it is perfect for a warlock character I have in D&D4.
Plus it was under a buck.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
PFV: BlueMoon (Poster Sized Jpeg)
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Slasher Flick: The Director's Cut
Publisher: Spectrum Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/11/2012 12:45:22
I will admit it, I am a big fan of Spectrum Games. I think they are one of best at genre emulation, really getting down to the essence of what makes the experience and trying to encapsulate that into a game.
As examples I will point to the reviews I did of Cartoon Action Hour and Capes, Cowls and Villains Foul. Given that it is the month of Halloween and I am all about horror movies, I think a review of Slasher Flick is appropriate.

I am actually going to review the Director's Cut which came out a while back. I know, I am quite remiss at reviewing this. There is also a regular version, Slasher Flick, which I have, but have not looked at in a while.

What is Slasher Flick: Director's Cut? Well simply put, it is an RPG where you play characters (emphasis on the plural) in a slasher film. You need to survive, but are expected to die.

Chapter 1 is our Introduction. It covers what is role-playing, what is fear, and what is a slasher flick and why you should play this game.

Chapter 2 covers the basics of Slasher Films. If you have ever read onr of Spectrum Games books before you know what you are getting here. In this book we cover the Killer, who is not really an NPC, but a plot device. I refer to these types of characters as "fists of the game master", they are here to punish the behavior of the characters in the most horrific way possible. The more horrific the better. There is a listing of a bunch of slasher film cliches as well. In this game you don't subvert the cliche (which is by the way cliche itself now) but instead you embrace them. That noise you hear was just a cat, THEN the killer jumps out. That sort of thing.
We wrap up with one of my favorite parts of all the Spectrum Games books. Cynthia's Guide to...this time it is here thoughts on various Slasher Flicks. All sorts are listed here and what she thought about them. Frankly this gold if you love horror movies like I do. Between this, CAH and CCVF I would love to see Cynthia Celeste Miller's video collection!

Chapter 3 is the rules. There are a couple of really cool features here. First are characters. You get to play a Primary Character, aka the starts of the "Flick" (an adventure) and some Secondary Characters. These characters can either be played by a particular player OR (and this is nice) they can be shared. So I can have my Primary character and then play what Secondary character I need.
Secondary Characters are here to get killed. They are the victims of our Slasher. Primary Characters might get killed too. But if they do it won't be till near the end. So don't get too attached to characters!
The characters have 4 basic stats. from the book:

Brawn: The character’s physical strength, resilience, toughness and
stamina.
Finesse: The character’s agility, coordination, balance and reflexes.
Brains: The character’s intelligence, perception and knowledge.
Spirit: The character’s willpower, charisma, leadership and luck.

These define what you can do in most cases. They are all rated Poor, Normal or Good. Remember, you are playing teens and college age people here. Each of these are given a die type d10, d8 and d6 respectively. You roll two die per stat being tested (the director decides which two). You want pairs. so on two d6s (representing Good on a stat) you need (1,1)(2,2)(3,3)(4,4)(5,5) or (6,6) or 6 results out of a total of 36, or 1 in 6. Roll a (6,6) on a d6 is the same as doing it on a d8 or d10, but some scenes in the Flick might require something special and rolling a "Topper" will be better.

You also have various qualities (positive or negative) you can add to these, like “scrappy fighter” (Brawn) or "great with gadgets (Brains)". These can add (or subtract) die from your rolls. You still only need two matches to get a success.
Special situations such as "Freak Outs" and "Kill Scenes" are detailed. Note, not much really on combat or other skills. This because the characters are expected to run when confronted with the Killer/Slasher.

Chapter 4 Covers Creating Characters. Characters are built using stereotypes. This is a Slasher Flick after all. You are not playing Biff, the guy with a d6 in Brawn and a d10 in Brains, you are Biff, the Dumb Jock. Now lots of stereotypes are presented and a lot of Qualities. But you are free to make up your own. There are also some "Alterations" such as special abilities that can cost Genre Points. Like the girl with psychic powers (cost) or the Scream Queen which gives you points when you scream and the Slasher could hear it.

Chapter 5 is aimed at the Players. This includes advice on how to best play the game and acting like a character in a horror movie. Things like "Interact!", "Play Dumb!", "Accept Death!". There is also advice on how to play the secondary characters aka victims in the game.

Chapter 6 is for the Director. This details running the game; Preparing the Flick and making your Killer. There are sample Killers here and lots and lots of advice on how to cover a variety of scenes. In fact this chapter alone is great for it's utlity for other horror-themed games.

Chapter 7 is Quick Flicks, a bunch of Plot ideas to build a full Flick around.
Chapter 8 is The Vault, a full Flick to run.
In truth both chapters could be ported over to nearly any other horror game. Turn the killer into a Villain and it could be a plot for a Supers game.

The Appendix is nearly 55 pages of nothing but character Archetypes. Usually 2 per page. If you want to play right away you can take one of these out and use them. They work for Secondary Characters too.

All in all, this is a ridiculously fun game. It has the right amount of horror, camp and humor to be a perfect slasher flick emulation. While reading I kept thinking back to all the slasher flicks I have seen over the years and frankly I could not think of a one that I couldn't do with these rules.

Actually my thought also was that take the Slasher, make him more mundane and a Tertiary Character and you have a perfect Alfred Hitchcock or Agatha Christie like game.

My hat is off to Cynthia Celeste Miller and Spectrum Games once again.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Slasher Flick: The Director's Cut
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Doctor Who - Defending the Earth: The UNIT Sourcebook
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/05/2012 10:28:10
The latest Doctor Who source book is out for the "Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space Game".
This book is the UNIT source book, "Defending the Earth".

Like all the Who books this one is full color. While it skews more to the new Who series, there in a lot of Classic Who material here including stats for the 3rd Doctor (Jon Pertwee).

The UNIT (United Intelligence Taskforce) is tasked by the UN with protecting the Earth from Alien threats. This book allows you to create UNIT bases, personal and comes with two sample adventures.

In many ways a UNIT based game can be more interesting that a Doctor-based one. In this everyone can have a nicely defined role. You have field scientists, soldiers of all sorts and even civilians.

Among the features of this book are the expanded firearms and mass combat rules. The History of UNIT. Personnel, which includes plenty of new traits for military, science and civilians. And two UNIT based adventures.

This is one of my favorite sourcebooks for DW so far. Not just because of the limitless possibilities, but also because there is more attention paid to the older series than other books (note I am not saying this is a flaw of the other books, but it is a nice feature of this one).

I also see this as one of the more flexible books. You can set up a small UNIT command base and let the wackiness ensue. In fact, my own playtests adventures with DW could easily be converted into a UNIT game. Think back to the 3rd Doctor's adventures, these were mostly Earth based with UNIT. All of those are great ideas for a game. Or even the Sarah Jane Adventures.

I would be remiss if I didn't point out the cross-game compatibility with this and Primeval. While such a thing is never stated in either book and I am certain that it was not design consideration, there is nothing the ARC can't do that UNIT can't also do and visa-versa. By adding them together you get something very cool AND adventures to last for a couple of campaigns.

As with all books in this line, it is full color, well laid out and full of stills from the show.

A great addition to the collections of gamers or Who fans.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Doctor Who - Defending the Earth: The UNIT Sourcebook
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Witch Girls Book of Shadows Preview
Publisher: Channel M Publishing
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/27/2012 07:03:39
Less a preview and more of a commercial for WGA 2.0. Still the art is nice and I would have liked to seen a preview of something new in this edition. WGA 1.0 is a great game so my hopes are very high.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Witch Girls Book of Shadows Preview
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