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Deadlands Reloaded: Marshal's Handbook Explorer's Edition
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Berin K. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/14/2012 09:13:11
So many great things, all rolled into one! The original Deadlands (specifically, The Great Rail Wars) had a large influence on the Savage Worlds system, and then in 2006 a Savage Worlds version of Deadlands was released. Now, finally, both the Player's Guide and the Marshall's Handbook have been released in the digest-sized Explorer's Edition format! Every word from the larger, hardcover editions, reformatted (some of the artwork reduced and rearranged) and lower in price. Deadlands is the benchmark against which all other "weird west" settings should be measured, for both the richness of the setting and the wide array of character types open to players.

The Marshal's handbook has all of the "secret history" and background details on the setting that the player characters get to discover in-game, as well as a nice array of critters to combat.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Reloaded: Marshal's Handbook Explorer's Edition
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Deadlands Reloaded: Player's Guide Explorer's Edition
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Berin K. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/14/2012 09:11:03
So many great things, all rolled into one! The original Deadlands (specifically, The Great Rail Wars) had a large influence on the Savage Worlds system, and then in 2006 a Savage Worlds version of Deadlands was released. Now, finally, both the Player's Guide and the Marshall's Handbook have been released in the digest-sized Explorer's Edition format! Every word from the larger, hardcover editions, reformatted (some of the artwork reduced and rearranged) and lower in price. Deadlands is the benchmark against which all other "weird west" settings should be measured, for both the richness of the setting and the wide array of character types open to players.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Reloaded: Player's Guide Explorer's Edition
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Deadlands Cardstock Cowboys: Weird West #1: Starter Pack Fantasy Grounds Token Pack
Publisher: SmiteWorks
by Berin K. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/14/2012 09:06:26
An amazing selection, and basically everything you would probably ever need for Deadlands or any other sort of "weird west" game. I don't know that I've seen such variety and diversity in a single figure flat set. A wide assortment of characters and critters, good color illustrations. Print them on decent cardstock and you're good to go.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Cardstock Cowboys: Weird West #1: Starter Pack Fantasy Grounds Token Pack
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[PFRPG] Phantasia Zoologica Volume I: Cats, Dogs & Horses
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Berin K. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/10/2012 15:21:59
A monster manual full of nothing but cats, dogs, and horses. Pretty cool, and gives "normal" animals a wider role in your game that's normally eclipsed by more powerful creatures. Clever concept.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
[PFRPG] Phantasia Zoologica Volume I: Cats, Dogs & Horses
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Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Basic Game
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Berin K. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/10/2012 12:38:43
I really like the mechanic, where you build a die pool based on circumstance rather than just raw power, and the way bad die rolls become both later advantages for the player and resources for the gamemaster. Incredibly clever. The overall layout is easy to follow, the illustrated examples make the game easy to learn, and the who thing is just made for maximum fun.

One caveat: If you already like Cortex, this is... different. In a good way. Set aside expectations of how Cortex works and be ready for something new.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Basic Game
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How to Use Religion in Your Game
Publisher: Avalon Game Company
by Berin K. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/05/2012 13:42:13
This offers up a pretty solid guideline on using religion in your game, from identifying who the prominent deities in the campaign are to how people worship them and organize religious organizations. With an example of this in action, plus a number of hooks.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
How to Use Religion in Your Game
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Cults of the Young Kingdoms Second Edition
Publisher: Mongoose
by Berin K. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/04/2012 18:35:47
"There is no salvation in this world – only malevolent doom!’ - Elric of Melnibone

The Lords of Law, the Lords of Chaos, and the Elements don't really care about Men, but that doesn't stop Men from trying to make sense of the universe. This sourcebook tries to deal with religion (or, as it's called here, myth) in the world of Michael Moorcock's Elric, in the context of offering new options for roleplaying. A lot of this has been crafted from whole cloth, using nothing more than a name that was dropped in passing during one of Moorcock's stories. A good deal actually pulls from the Corum stories. It's a sizeable effort to deal with a topic that doesn't come up very often in the original work.

The way around canon is the disclaimer that it's up to the gamemaster to decide how much of this actually exists, and how much was just created by men's imagination. Either way, myths have power. They are as real a people believe them to be. Cults are also exactly that. There are no state religions or grand cathedrals, just smaller groups meeting in secret, or at least quiet, places. Their lack of canonicity can be hand-waved away by the lack of importance in the saga of the Eternal Champion.

The format follows the same as in the RuneQuest Core Rulebook. Again, I have to pause and say that I think RQ is a great fit for Elric. There's a lot here on creating cultist characters, either as adversaries or player characters. Remember, Rakhir the Red Archer was a Chaos cultist before he met Elric, so it's not a stretch.

This is a meaty supplement. If you play the Elric RPG, or play RuneQuest and are looking for a combination player's expansion and monster book, you need this. If, like me, you just read these because you're fascinated with sword and sorcery settings in general and Moorcock's universe in particular, it is worth a look. As with everything I've read for this game, it is well researched and written with love.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cults of the Young Kingdoms Second Edition
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Empire of the Petal Throne (Original Manuscript)
Publisher: M.A.R Barker's World of Tekumel
by Berin K. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/01/2012 16:38:02
If you're an "Old School" gamer, you need this. If you're a collector of roleplaying games, you need this. Tekumel is the first published RPG setting. As richly detailed as Tolkien's Middle Earth, Tekumel is based on non-European cultures. It is an inspired piece of worldbuilding.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Empire of the Petal Throne (Original Manuscript)
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The Soppets Save Halloween - an Argyle & Crew scenario for kids
Publisher: Troll in the Corner
by Berin K. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/01/2012 15:07:39
It says "an adventure for 1 to 25 kids" and I can see that. I can see a parent running this for their own child, or someone running this at a school, a convention, or a game store demo for a larger crowd of kids. It could easily be adapted to any other holiday but changing some names, which gives it a nice replayability.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Soppets Save Halloween - an Argyle & Crew scenario for kids
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The Scared Soppet - an Argyle & Crew Scenario
Publisher: Troll in the Corner
by Berin K. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/01/2012 14:55:15
The educational aspects of these Argyle and Crew adventures is amazing. The scenario is simple, and the players have a lot of input in figuring out how to resolve the issue. Roleplaying advocates always say that RPGs promote problem solving, and a copy of this ought to be sent to anyone who still thinks RPGs promote negative behavior.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Scared Soppet - an Argyle & Crew Scenario
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Knock Your Socks Off - the Argyle & Crew Soundtrack
Publisher: Troll in the Corner
by Berin K. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/01/2012 14:52:17
The creators of Argyle and Crew did an excellent job of picking out some Creative Commons-licenced music that helps capture the feel of the land of Skcos! Wonderfully fun, age appropriate, and very inspirational.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Knock Your Socks Off - the Argyle & Crew Soundtrack
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Differences - a Soppet's guide to anti-bullying
Publisher: Troll in the Corner
by Berin K. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/01/2012 14:50:01
How simple can an adventure be? Think of a moral and build a story around it! The great thing about the Argyle and Crew game is that just about any basic story can be turned into an adventure, and it's a great, interactive way to teach these lessons to kids!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Differences - a Soppet's guide to anti-bullying
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Argyle & Crew - Adventure in the Land of Skcos
Publisher: Troll in the Corner
by Berin K. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/01/2012 14:48:10
This is incredibly fun for kids or for adults who just want to act like kids. I grew up watching Mister Rogers, Kukla. Fran & Ollie, and local kids shows like Captain Noah & His Magical Ark, so puppets were a huge influence on my imagination. It's great to come full circle and have a puppet-based roleplaying game! A great way to bring young people into the hobby.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Argyle & Crew - Adventure in the Land of Skcos
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Doctor Who: Aliens and Creatures
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Berin K. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/29/2012 16:36:07
As "monster manuals" go, this is as solid sourcebook for Doctor Who. Only covers the rebooted series, however, from 2005 to the time of publication, although references to older foes sneak in. Well laid out, easy to use, full of great photos from the show.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Doctor Who: Aliens and Creatures
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Atomic Highway - Post Apocalyptic Roleplaying
Publisher: Radioactive Ape Designs
by Berin K. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/29/2012 16:32:42
If you're looking for a definitive, gritty, post-apocalyptic game that's not filled with fantasy-type mutants and other nonsense, this is it. Neatly fills the void of a Car Wars/Mad Max RPG.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Atomic Highway - Post Apocalyptic Roleplaying
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