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Ronin Arts
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Steel & Flame
Publisher: Brent P. Newhall's Musaeum
by Steven W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/10/2014 15:56:01
A combination of Barbarians of Lemuria (which I love) and Fate (also...love), Steel & Flame is is quick and simple with very light mechanical crunch and only a few hints of world detail fluff.

I would say it is perfect for an evening's pick up game, or a quick side story in a world that the play group (or at least the GM) is already familiar with. I'm not sure if it has enough "heft" to support a longer campaign, but the rules are concise enough that they can easily be built on.

I would have loved to see one more page of content - either a quick bestiary or even a "one page dungeon" style adventure.

Nonetheless, for the price I am well satisfied with the value received.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Steel & Flame
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Demi-Options: Halflings
Publisher: Occult Moon
by Steven W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/12/2012 14:50:37
If you are playing a B/X style game and embrace race-as-class then this product will be of use to you, and serves as a first release of what I hope will be a number of follow ups.

In brief, this book gives you four new Halfling racial classes so that not every PC Halfling will be forced to play the same exact class. The new racial classes fill in social and adventuring roles, giving halflings access to clerical and arcane magic, as well as some effective guerrilla fighters.

There are a few typo errors in this product, the layout is work-man-like, and the art is primitive and a bit cartoony, but honestly I like it just fine.

I think this is a really good value for the price, and would rate it a bit higher (4.25 or 4.5) if I could.

I hope Occult Moon follows up with additional Demi-options for the other races.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Demi-Options: Halflings
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Thousand-Faced Heroes
Publisher: UKG Publishing
by Steven W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/01/2010 13:04:30
Given its very economical price point, I wanted to like this product more than i did.

If you are playing FATE or Spirit of the Century based games, Thousand-Faced Heroes gives you guidelines for adjusting character skills, stunts and aspects to the "Epic Fantasy" genre,as well as new character concepts, and some quick pick stunt packages to speed up character generation.

No matter what system you are using, TFH gives you an overview of the Epic Fantasy genre with lots of books, movies and other games to pull ideas from, as well an overview of the Hero's Journey and how to use it in your campaign.

Finally,Thousand-Faced Heroes presents a sample Epic Fantasy campaign outline, as well as an introductory adventure. The campaign presented - The Thousand Islands - is fairly interesting, and I would welcome additional and expanded coverage of this campaign in another product.

Some bad editing could be pointed out, but for me my overall disappointment in this book is that the more interesting parts - the different mythical tropes - seem like they could have been more developed (for instance, how could "The Problem of Good & Evil" be used in game to generate adventures and character ideas), while the parts that are developed - the game rules - seem very generic-D&D.

Overall, I feel this is a fair value for its price.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Thousand-Faced Heroes
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Brass, Blood and Steam
Publisher: UKG Publishing
by Steven W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/01/2010 12:45:29
Brass, Blood and Steam is a useful product, especially given its very economical price point.

If you are playing FATE or Spirit of the Century based games, BB&S gives you guidelines for "steampunking" character skills, stunts and aspects, new character concepts, and some quick pick stunt packages to speed up character generation.

No matter what system you are using, BB&S gives you an overview of the Steampunk genre with lots of books, movies and other games to pull ideas from; important tropes to consider in your Steampunk game such as Lost Worlds, Spiritualism, and the role of Women in Victorian culture; and lists of equipment that are current, cutting edge, or futuristic in the Steampunk Era.

Finally, Brass, Blood and Steam presents a sample Sreampunk campaign outline, based in an Antarctic Lost World, as well as an introductory adventure.

Bad points, in brief, are occasional editorial errors - mostly multiple or free floating articles - and some subjects that feel like they could be expanded upon in some length. Mere quibbles in the face of this product's good point.

Overall, I feel this is an excellent value for its price, and a worthwhile purchase for any fan of FATE games or anyone wanting to run a Steampunk RPG with any rules system.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Brass, Blood and Steam
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The Majestic Wilderlands
Publisher: Bat in the Attic Games
by Steven W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/29/2009 12:48:46
I bought this item in a fit of Old School nostalgia, and I am very pleased to say it hit the spot!

Roughly half this book details out a campaign world that - while I may read for inspiration and enjoyment - i will probably never use. It is well thought out and covers the necessary bases for a game world.

But the rest contains so many cool and useful bits that I want to use in a game. In addition to fleshing out the basic Sword and Wizardry class with sub-classes such as Berserkers and Rune Casters and Clerics of Thor, this book introduces rules for Rogues, non-Adventurer classes, new races (and new takes on old races) and a complete and playable skill system that doesn't require a ton of rules, charts or fiddly bits. Round things out with some new monsters, new magic items, and rules for Ritual Magic.

There are a few typos and lay out issues, but I feel such things are quibbles in the face of the sheer amount of cool stuff this book hands to you.

Steve W
Baltimore, MD

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Majestic Wilderlands
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Limitless Horizons
Publisher: UKG Publishing
by Steven W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/29/2009 16:48:31
Limitless Horizons is a fun, light read that sparks a lot of ideas, but doesn't always develop them in full.

The product starts with a broad definition of pulp sci-fi, which helps define what this book plans to do and not do. While i do not agree 100% with the authors definition, it's a usable definition that helped me figure out what he was trying to achieve.

The rest of the book consists of 17 pages of rules (Racial Aspects, Scaling, Ship-to-Ship combat, Gravity, etc), a 10 page sample campaign background, and a 10 page adventure.

I was very satisfied with this book, especially for the price. The ship-to-ship combat rules are useful, the ideas on ships-as-player-characters spark some great ideas, and overall the book is a nice source of ideas and "small quick" rules additions.

I would have liked to see maybe a few more pulp sci-fi PCs given as examples, as well as maybe a few quarter-page campaign snap shots showing different types of pulp sci-fi campaigns (ie the Space Cop campaign, the Space Pirates campaign, the Planetary Romance campaign, etc)

Steve W
Baltimore, MD

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Limitless Horizons
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Verge 24
Publisher: Peril Planet
by Steven W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/29/2009 15:48:31
16 pages of goodness! Verge 24 gives a bit of background color, a bit of rules, and a lot of flavor. The genre is fantasypunk - think Charles Dickens writing Shadowrun in the 19th century - and the setting is more a "tone palette" then a concrete game world, so you can let your imagination go wild. The rules system is very light and narrative, with players and GMs trading facts back and forth based on the number of successes rolled.

Verge 24 is perfect as a "quick-and-dirty" RPG to carry around in your notebook and run on the spur of the moment. Two more things would have given it a perfect 5.0 from me - 1) at least a mention of a magic system and 2) a few more sample characters to get a better feel for the bredth of the game.

Steve W
Baltimore, MD

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Verge 24
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Turjan's Tome of Beauty and Horror
Publisher: Pelgrane Press
by Steven W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/19/2006 00:00:00
A great addition to a quirky system. This expands the Dying Earth RPG into the arena of dark fantasy Swords & Sorcery. Reading the book made me want to play the game immediately!


LIKED: Turjan's Tome adds a whole new venue to the Dying Earth RPG. If low level rogues are not your fancy, this book enables you to play fairly powerful warrior-wizards.

DISLIKED: nada

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Turjan's Tome of Beauty and Horror
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Superior Synergy: Fantasy
Publisher: Misfit Studios
by Steven W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/30/2005 00:00:00
A very good product that helps expand the D&D skills. I like the concept, and in most cases I like the execution. I much prefered the synergy effects that added new abilities or altered the effects of skill use over the ones that simply added a straight bonus to another skill. The big drawback I see is that characters with a lot of skill points (rogues, bards, etc) can get more complicated using this system as they rack up more and more synergy bonuses and effects.

Overall, I do plan to use this system in my next D20 game, and may even take concepts over to other game systems.



LIKED: This helps make D20 more Skill oriented, a good thing especially in a low magic style game.

DISLIKED: Some of the synergy bonuses were bland. The bonuses for the various KNOWLEDGE sub-skills really should be broken up by sub-skill, instead of listing them all by Rank under one header.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Superior Synergy: Fantasy
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Modern Dispatch (#63): Superhero Goodies
Publisher: RPG Objects
by Steven W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/29/2005 00:00:00
Another mixed bag for a game I really like. This product contains 3 new origins (one an alternate version of an origin from the book, one that is so so and one - Totemic - that is very cool but which needs some development to really sizzle!), 10 new powers (ranging from the utilitarian Invulnerability to the cool Toxic Biology... unfortunately the Energy Transformation power is so vague its almost useless and Matter Conversion is listed in the wrong section), 2 new power feats, 3 very very cool new General Power Feats, and 3 new organizations (interesting, but very much in need of development).

Overall, well worth the cost, but it could have been much better with just a few more examples and a bit more text.


LIKED: The new powers alone and power feats alone are worth the price.

DISLIKED: Seemed rushed... A few examples and a better explaination of Energy Conversion would make a real difference.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Modern Dispatch (#63): Superhero Goodies
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Modern Dispatch (#16): CyberStealth Action
Publisher: Ronin Arts
by Steven W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/29/2005 00:00:00
This product contains about a dozen new feats, a prestige class and a handful of plot nuggets. The real gems are the new stealth feats, which could greatly add to the abilities of any rogueish character. The Prestige class is a stealthy cyborg commando - think Solid Snake from MGS - a solid class though not very innovative.


LIKED: The stealth feats are a real winner, and could be used in almost any campaign that requires sneaking - dungeon crawls, modern assassins, sci-fi commandoes...

DISLIKED: While the layout was nice, the single piece of artwork was way too busy. Something sleeker and more streamlined would have suited the material better.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Modern Dispatch (#16): CyberStealth Action
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Publisher Reply:
I'm glad you enjoyed this (it sounds like as much as I enjoyed writing it). It's very likely that my December (2005) Dispatch issue with be Cyberstealth Action 2.
Darwin's World Conversions: Modern Arcana
Publisher: RPG Objects
by Steven W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/28/2005 00:00:00
A mixed review on this item: Idea wise, RPG objects always does a great job, and this has some good solid classes. However, a few of them seem to be a bit outside the 'wastelands' genre and more solidly in 'cyberpunk' or 'dark future' territory. I will use these in my next d20 cyberpunk game.

Production wise, this product is riddled with misspelling. None of them hurt the mechanics, but a few are painful to read. For instance, the Lightning Swordsman is refered to as the Lighting Swordsman, and the flavor text remarks that he is a rare "bread" of warrior. A few more editorial passes would have helped here.


LIKED: The ideas are great, the d20 mechanics are sound, and most of the classes are actually interesting enough to want to play as a player.

DISLIKED: Editorially, the typos were distracting.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Darwin's World Conversions: Modern Arcana
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks for pointing out the errors on this one. We'll strive to do better. -chris
Fourth Millennium Campaign Model
Publisher: Ronin Arts
by Steven W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/19/2005 00:00:00
A moral quandry here: while this pdf is a fantastic game background that I would love to see more of, I felt a bit cheated that i had already downloaded 90% of it for free in an earlier versions. Ah well. If you have the earlier version, this is prettier but gives little new information. If you don't have the earlier version, get this. Its a great campaign background.

LIKED: The history and setting are wonderfully complex and post-human.

DISLIKED: I was offended that the earlier version included Islam as a major religion, and this version completely cut it out.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Fourth Millennium Campaign Model
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Posthuman: The Definitive D20 Guide to Human Augmentation
Publisher: Adamant Entertainment
by Steven W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/19/2005 00:00:00
Great book, good ideas well executed, and great art to boot! An auspicious launch to Adamants new series and another worthy product from GMS!

LIKED: Good ideas, easy to use and well thought out. Using template levels to quantify degree of post human modification is perfect. And the art rocks.

DISLIKED: Not a thing.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Posthuman: The Definitive D20 Guide to Human Augmentation
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Publisher Reply:
"Another worthy product from GMS!" Credit where credit is due: I only did digital artwork and layout on this one. The product (the entire line, in fact) is the work of Malcolm Sheppard. Kudos should go to him. -GMS
Savage Tales #6: Zombie Run
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Steven W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/14/2004 00:00:00
Zombie killing fun and games for the whole family! Another big, meaty Savage Worlds adventure, easily expandable into a long running campaign if you're having fun.

Well worth the cost.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Tales #6: Zombie Run
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