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Fantasy Characters - Cavalier stock art
Publisher: Black Hand Source
by Robert G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/03/2013 03:30:16
I found this image visually striking, even though it has fairly simple shading. This is an attractive image in three formats. The reason I can't give it the highest score is because of the line art version. The lines are so thin it is unusable. Unless you are going to color it yourself, plan on using the color or grayscale version.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Fantasy Characters - Cavalier stock art
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Character Portraits: Fantasy Heroes
Publisher: Mongoose
by Robert G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/02/2013 22:04:48
The quality of the art is uneven, but with so many portraits, it's hard to fault the selection. My complaints are primarily about the presentation. The graphics are all loaded into a single PDF. The instructions for getting the pictures out are for a professional Adobe product. I tried using copy and paste in Adobe Reader, but the graphics are obscured by decorative rectangular frames and it is impossible. I tried to open the file in LibreOffice, but discovered that inexplicably, the file has password protection. The only way I have been able to get at the pictures is to use a screenshot, or use GIMP to import a JPEG, resulting in lower quality images with an unwanted border graphic. I rate this product poorly because it is almost impossible to use with any of a half dozen programs I have available to me to manipulate PDFs.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Character Portraits: Fantasy Heroes
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Book of Races
Publisher: GameVein
by Robert G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/14/2010 02:00:48
This is an amateurish effort, marred by poor attention to grammar, marginally-relevant computer art (including images by Sade, whose clipart clutters up a good bit of RPGnow's stock art category), clumsy writing (Bjorn are "gentle but ferocious") and slavish imitation of the 4e format. The author seems stuck on stereotypical furry characters. The sample names for characters of the various races are almost hilariously random, pitting Sunstride against nonsense syllables, with little indication why a given name would be appropriate for the race, or more for a male than a female. The book does benefit from a spritely imagination and an evident desire to give people something new and interesting they can use. Sadly, the character concepts suggested by these player races do not overcome the basic quality control issues and inexperienced writing that make this book hard to use for anything other than broad highlights. While I am not well-versed in 4e designs, I did not see any huge problems with the specific game mechanics. Many seemed to lack interest and originality, while others trod heavily on 4e's already thin sense of immersion, like a roar that causes enemies to be all immediately pushed away at their movement speed. Overall, there is just about twice as much book as there is design, and the whole thing does not hold up as well as one might hope.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Races
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Instant Antagonist: The Selfish Succubus
Publisher: FR Press
by Robert G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/12/2010 11:12:19
The quality of the writing is good. Unfortunately, this is a very small product consisting of one systemless character description. As such, this is about the smallest detectable particle that can be called a gaming product, even less massive than the previously measured "short zine article" format. I object to such products cluttering up the product menu.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Instant Antagonist: The Selfish Succubus
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Two Worlds Tabletop RPG
Publisher: RPG Objects
by Robert G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/12/2010 11:05:43
This is actually a cute and useful little game in a very compact form. I can't wholeheartedly endorse it over other options, considering the lack of campaign support, but you should definitely check it out if you are a fan of d20-style fantasy RPGs. It includes three core classes, point-based magic, and a number of monsters drawn from the computer game on which it is based.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Two Worlds Tabletop RPG
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World of Darkness Rulebook
Publisher: White Wolf
by Robert G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/12/2010 11:03:01
The new system reads and plays well. You don't need any supplements to play a classic supernatural thriller game, although I recommend you check out the new game line. The resolution system, while abstract, is versatile and contains a level of mathematical sanity not present in the previous versions of the game system.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
World of Darkness Rulebook
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Call to Arms Bundle 2 [BUNDLE]
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Robert G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/12/2010 11:01:26
These are classes I would have liked to see in the core book, but for space considerations. The Martial Artist, Monk, and Deadeye are all great for players looking for an agile boxer, a miraculous hero, or a deadly shootist.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Call to Arms Bundle 2 [BUNDLE]
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Call to Arms Bundle 1 [BUNDLE]
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Robert G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/12/2010 10:59:48
While I don't think Crafty Games quite hit their stride with this one, it's a solid bet that you'll find at least one of the classes compelling. At the price, you should say yes if you have the money and if like Fantasy Craft. The Gallant is a solid interpretation of the archetypal dashing warrior, if a little heavy in its area of expertise, personal combat. The Infernalist is flavorful and offers a few tricks not available to your everday Mage. The Monster Slayer is rock solid, my only complaint being that it works best for a character who carries a shield.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Call to Arms Bundle 1 [BUNDLE]
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Call to Arms: Deadeye
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Robert G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/12/2010 10:54:52
While nothing that will knock your socks off with surprises, the Deadeye is a solid and useful design which will appear to certain types of player. The Deadeye vastly expands the viability of the archer or gunslinger. Several black powder weapon feats are included.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Call to Arms: Deadeye
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Call to Arms: Martial Artist
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Robert G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/12/2010 10:53:36
Compared to the Soldier, the Martial Artist is an explosion. In addition to supporting concepts built around unarmed combat, whether wandering monks or terrifying taloned and fanged warriors, the Martial Artist establishes a solid party role with a strong offense and heavy use of attack tricks. The Martial Artist is a super choice for such characters, while not outperforming the Soldier in its niche, just as it should be.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Call to Arms: Martial Artist
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Call to Arms: Monk
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Robert G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/12/2010 10:50:03
Crafty Games has nailed it with this one. The monk naturally serves as an excellent interpretation of the AD&D style monk, and builds naturally onto the Martial Artist base class. However, it also offers a number of options to diversify the archetype, based on the Vow chosen, and need not be strictly reserved for fist-and-foot chop socky heroes. The Vow mechanic was a brilliant move, a way of tying in their abilities to an austere way of life, while not overly punishing players for acting in reasonable ways. The Monk also expands the Path concept somewhat, offering a new way to gain Paths and showing off some more possibilities for abilities.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Call to Arms: Monk
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Call to Arms: Gallant
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Robert G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/12/2010 10:45:41
The Gallant is a solid archetype and this class supports it well. The Gallant blends style and melee. Many of the abilities focus on personal combat with special characters (villains and such). Compared to the Edgemaster, which blends style and combat very effectively, this class seems a little heavy, more like a combat monster with a few Courtier abilities thrown in. Even compared to the Soldier's upper level abilities, the Gallant gives me some pause. Particularly, I am not sure how well a Musketeers themed game would play out if multiple players chose the Gallant; would I continue to assign NPCs tricks (free XP!) or ruthlessly excise meaningless abilities (Take that! Your class abilities have been rendered useless)? Still, it's a fun class that, like so many other Crafty designs, actively encourages players to do the things appropriate for their archetype, in this case, squaring off against formidable foes and shaking down old friends for special favors.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Call to Arms: Gallant
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Call to Arms: Infernalist
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Robert G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/12/2010 10:36:00
I consider this one of the less essential books in the series. While the Infernalist is flavorful and does the job, the taint mechanic is not all that inspired, and there is little to set this character apart from a straight-up Mage. That said, the class abilities are useful, and the new feats do add a little oomph to your typical dark sorcerer. I have a hard time picturing this class as having much traction for a PC, and for an NPC, the new material can be summed in the new feats and the new class abilities available as qualities. If you are really interested in a character full of roiling power who consorts with dark powers, this class makes a lot of sense.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Call to Arms: Infernalist
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Call to Arms: Monster Slayer
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Robert G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/12/2010 10:30:38
An excellent class for creating that expert monster slayer. It provides a number of options useful to anything from a vampire hunter to a classic dragon slayer. My only complaint is that many of the class features hinge on the use of a shield, limiting the usefulness of this class to characters with a different signature fighting style.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Call to Arms: Monster Slayer
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Tome of Horrors Revised
Publisher: Necromancer
by Robert G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/12/2010 10:27:17
I could not recommend another monster book more. This is a bestiary in the classical style, containing brief descriptions of interesting monsters. The bulk of the monsters are old school oddities like the Caryatid Column. It includes such creatures as the Greater Medusa, gleefully lifted from the original Clash of the Titans movie, and now translated from AD&D into D&D 3.5. While the monsters vary in utility from "pure awesome" to "so peculier it's surprising to see it even in a book such as this" it is almost a certainty this amazing tome will yield at least a few entries that speak to you at some aesthetic level.

The monsters originally included in this volume where those licensed from Wizards because they had no plans to update them, and thanks to the OGL, they made the transition from 3.0 to 3.5 Since that time, some of the monsters have been re-interpreted for 3e. This book is an excellent opportunity to look at more classic treatments of those monsters, in addition to saving you a few bucks looking around for obscure updates scattered across the entire game line.

The fine folks at Paizo saw fit to adopt some of these critters and take them home, and I personally agree. Whether you are a 3e diehard or a Pathfinder convert, I give this book my strongest recommendation.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tome of Horrors Revised
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