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E.N. Critters - Interlopers from the Blasted Realm
Publisher: EN Publishing
by Gavin K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/10/2006 00:00:00
Hi, I bought this EN Critters Volume 5 and am very pleased with it. This is my first purchase of a bundle of E.N. Publishing books and its definitely "no regrets" for me.



LIKED: This book contains more than 20 monster all following a specific theme - for volume 5, the theme is a plane of chaos and evil called the Blasted Realm. Please realise that this book contains 20 ultra-cool demons. Also, what made this range of monster books special for me are the "Notes and Game Balance" section for each meticulously designed monster. This section explains the genesis of the monster idea, what baseline monster was used to design it, and how tweaks were made to adjust the monster to the final vision and the appropriate Challenge Rating. I found the artwork to be very ultra-cool and the color used throughout is blood red and charcoal black.

DISLIKED: Only 64 pages of demons... that isn't enough.

Fortunately, I bought the entire bundle (Volumes 1 to 6) and now I have 360 pages worth of wonderful critters to throw at my players.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
E.N. Critters - Interlopers from the Blasted Realm
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E.N. Critters - Along the Banks of the River Vaal
Publisher: EN Publishing
by Gavin K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/10/2006 00:00:00
Hi, I bought EN Critters Volume 4 and am very pleased with it. This is my first purchase of a bundle of E.N. Publishing books and its definitely "no regrets" for me.





LIKED: This book contains more than 24 monsters all following a specific theme - for volume 4, the theme is the banks of a river - it is in fact the river flowing through the jungle found in volume 1. What made this range of monster books special for me are the "Notes and Game Balance" section for each meticulously designed monster. This section explains the genesis of the monster idea, what baseline monster was used to design it, and how tweaks were made to adjust the monster to the final vision and the appropriate Challenge Rating. I found the artwork to be very cartoonish for some monsters, magnificently imaginative at times and very colorful.

DISLIKED: Its a cool 64 pages. That's too short for me!

Fortunately, I bought the entire bundle (Volumes 1 to 6) and now I have 360 pages worth of wonderful critters to throw at my players.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied

[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
E.N. Critters - Along the Banks of the River Vaal
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E.N. Critters - Tulenjord: Land of the Fallen One
Publisher: EN Publishing
by Gavin K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/10/2006 00:00:00
Hi, I bought EN Critters Volume 3 and am very pleased with it. This is my first purchase of a bundle of E.N. Publishing books and its definitely "no regrets" for me.






LIKED: his book contains more than 20 monsters all following a specific theme - for volume 1, the theme is a floating iceberg island. What made this range of monster books special for me are the "Notes and Game Balance" section for each meticulously designed monster. This section explains the genesis of the monster idea, what baseline monster was used to design it, and how tweaks were made to adjust the monster to the final vision and the appropriate Challenge Rating. I found the artwork to be very cartoonish for some monsters, magnificently imaginative at times and very colorful.

DISLIKED: Like Volume 2, its rather short; clocking in at only 56 pages.

Fortunately, I bought the entire bundle (Volumes 1 to 6) and now I have 360 pages worth of wonderful critters to throw at my players.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Satisfied

[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
E.N. Critters - Tulenjord: Land of the Fallen One
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E.N. Critters - Beyond the Campfire
Publisher: EN Publishing
by Gavin K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/10/2006 00:00:00
Hi, I bought EN Critters Volume 2 and am very pleased with it. This is my first purchase of a bundle of E.N. Publishing books and its definitely "no regrets" for me.




LIKED: This book contains more than 24 monsters all following a specific theme - for volume 2, the theme is monsters encountered while players are camping for the night. What made this range of monster books special for me are the "Notes and Game Balance" section for each meticulously designed monster. This section explains the genesis of the monster idea, what baseline monster was used to design it, and how tweaks were made to adjust the monster to the final vision and the appropriate Challenge Rating. I found the artwork to be very cartoonish for some monsters, magnificently imaginative at times and very colorful.

DISLIKED: There was no background information for the specific themed area in this volume (for example, Volume 1 described a jungle environment dotted with ruins). Also, I found it way too short - at only 52 pages.

Fortunately, I bought the entire bundle (Volumes 1 to 6) and now I have 360 pages worth of wonderful critters to throw at my players.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Satisfied

[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
E.N. Critters - Beyond the Campfire
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E.N. Critters - Ruins of the Pale Jungle
Publisher: EN Publishing
by Gavin K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/09/2006 00:00:00
Hi, I bought this - the revised version - of the EN Critters Volume 1 and am very pleased with it. This is my first purchase of a bundle of E.N. Publishing books and its definitely "no regrets" for me.





LIKED: This book contains more than 30 monsters all following a specific theme - for volume 1, the theme is a jungle environment that is laden with ruins. What made this range of monster books special for me are the "Notes and Game Balance" section for each meticulously designed monster. This section explains the genesis of the monster idea, what baseline monster was used to design it, and how tweaks were made to adjust the monster to the final vision and the appropriate Challenge Rating. I found the artwork to be very cartoonish for some monsters, magnificently imaginative at times and very colorful.

DISLIKED: Its only 64 pages. That's too short!

Fortunately, I bought the entire bundle (Volumes 1 to 6) and now I have 360 pages worth of wonderful critters to throw at my players.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied

[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
E.N. Critters - Ruins of the Pale Jungle
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DragonMech
Publisher: Goodman Games
by Gavin K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/08/2005 22:13:10
INTRODUCTION
I had bought myself Dragonmech in Dec 05 from DriveThruRPG during Goodman Game's (GG) 30% Xmas Sale. This is a hefty 44.5 MB download but is worth every single byte. I'll explain why in my review below.

DISCLAIMER - I am not affiliated to GG in any way.

THE REVIEW PROPER
The well bookmarked Dragonmech PDF clocks in at a whopping 484 pages. That's slightly more than twice the size of the print version. What gives?

Well, the great guys at GG decided to place the original and easy-print version together into one giant PDF. This is a great concept but I felt that search times took a bit longer to stop - fortunately there are no duplicated search entries as the easy-print version does not present any entries. Some of the later PDF books from the Dragonmech series (probably at someone's request) are actually split into two PDF files.

The cover artwork depicts a war battle with two mechs slugging it out on a bed of metal and dead men. In the background of the artwork (near the top), there is a mech fighting off a giant worm.

Browsing the context-linked Contents Page, you will find that the rest of the book is divided into 8 chapters. Each chapter is divided by an artwork depicted as a photographic "plate" - the chapter artwork is only adequate since they only take up about half the page.

The main text is generally divided into 3 columns. Across the top of the page is a repeating set of artwork depicting gears of all sorts. A small corner shows the page/chapter number next to it. I didn't like the font used for the page numbers as it looked too thin and gothic.

There is also a repeating motif of single gears (there are several different types) appearing throughout the book and is blended with the good artwork depicting characters/mechs/equipment or the Dragonmech world on the landmass called Highpoint by its people.

I'll briefly run through the 8 chapters of the book below:

Introduction (4 pages) - This introduces the book proper and throws you into the ravaged world of Highpoint. And ravaged it truly is as huge lunar rocks rain from the sky flattening civilization everywhere. Accompanying the lunar rocks are the sinister lunar dragons who wander aimlessly hunting, killing, and devouring everything. This forces a mass exodus for the underworld and the poor dwarves are the first to stand in line against the refugees. Wars are fought as the dwarves bravely defend their underground cities and losses are great for all. Fortunately, an old mysterious dwarf introduces a vision of mechanized walkers powered by steam. This is where the "mech" of Dragonmech comes in. From there, the rest, as they say is history - I leave you to read the rest.

Characters (58 pages) - A treatise on adjusting the baseline D&D races and classes are given. New classes and prestige classes are also introduced. We have the clockwork ranger, coglayer, constructor, mech jockey, stalker, steamborg classes and the anklebiter, assimilated, gearwright, mech devil, riftwalker, steam mage, vessel of Dotrak prestige classes. The entire lot of classes is rather imaginative and well-thought out although I have not had the opportunity to play-test them yet. The chapter ends with skills, feats, spells, steam powers, and a re-envision of religion appropriate to a steam and mech-type campaign. One thing that really surprised me was the new Cleric Domain: Engines. Now, that's something you won't find everyday in most other d20 products.

Mechs (56 pages) - The stars of the show are depicted in this glorious chapter. From combat to construction rules and a Monster Manual-esque listing of mechs from the Barbagula to the Viper; you'll find enough here to whet your appetite (until you get your hands on the Mech Manual - another book from the Dragonmech series).

Equipment (22 pages) - The weapons, armor and mech-related magic items found in this chapter are variations of steam-mechanized versions of modern-day and ancient equipment. You will find "cannons", "electric saws", "guns", "flame throwers", "bombs", "flares", "ballistas". I found the Hydraulic Armor to be a very cool concept.

The World of Dragonmech (36 pages) - The continental mass of Highpoint seems to be an area of extremes but yet life has evolved through living with or within giant entities which we know as steam-mechanized mechs. All the races (including the hated orcs) are represented. There is a quick gazeteer of Highpoint accompanied with a map of the landmass. Nex, the mechdoms, equivalent to kingdoms without a well-defined boundary (since the cities mechs can trundle all over the surface of Highpoint) are described. They include The Stenian Confederacy, the Irontooth Clans, L'arile Nation, The Rust Riders, The Legion, and the Mech Tribes.

Creatures (26 pages) - What campaign wouldn't give you unique creatures to battle over? Well, this one doesn't as the book has managed to squeeze in sixteen entries. Some of these creatures are worthy of destroying mechs, so adventurers had best look out!

The Dragonmech Campaign (16 pages) - This chapter is basically DM advice on how to run adventures based on Mechs, the devastating Lunar Rain, and attempting to rebuild the surface world. It's quite useful and gives a DM many ideas on a direction to go in building an epic series of adventures for his gaming group.

City-Mech Nedderpik (5 pags) - Well, whadya know... they managed to squeeze in a city-mech called Nedderpik. And Nedderpik is no small thing, its touted as the second city-mech ever built. The self-contained goverment, society, economy, military and organizations on Nedderpik are briefly introduced and up to the DM to flesh out. Unfortunately, no maps of the City-Mech accompany it.

At the end of the book you will find a short Designer's Notes (quite an interesting read), a useful Index, the obligatory Legal Information and OGL License, plus a handy Character Record Sheet. This is followed by a four-page advert and then the easy-print version portion of the book. The easy-print version is identical to the main book except that there is no background texture - this will save on the ink if you decide to print the book.

VERDICT
This book alone drove me to buy the rest of the series from GG which includes:

Mech Manual - this whets my appetite on mechs and monsters.
The Shardsfall Quest - a cool introductory adventure.
Steam Warriors - a book laden with extra character options.
Second Age of Walkers - the world of Highpoint and mechdoms described in detail.
The Last City - a complete description of Edge, the last remaining intact city snuggled comfortably next to and inside a towering cliff that divides the land.

(I didn't buy the Dragonmech: Rumors & Lies support book from Ronin Arts - I thought it to be too costly and the sample preview showed there wasn't much material that I liked within.)

As you can see, I love and treasure my Dragonmech PDF book a lot... it is creative and is actually a mix of concepts from BattleTech (from FASA/Fanpro), When The Sky Falls (from Malhavoc) and Legends and Lairs: Sorcery and Steam (from FFG).

I heartily recommend this campaign if you like the idea of mixing fantasy with a large helping of "science"!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DragonMech
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Creatures of the Wyld
Publisher: White Wolf
by Gavin K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/22/2005 22:50:26
I just bought the book and am giving my first impressions... This is not a gameplay review.

The scan quality of the Creatures of the Wyld (CotW) book is quite similar to another Exalted book that I own - Games of Divinity (GOD). In GOD, I noticed slightly skewed/tilted pages but CotW had pages that were generally vertical. However, the scanner that have been used for CotW seems to be showing the age as vertical "glare" lines can be seen in the center of most pages. Contrary to what others have said about the readability of the scan quality, if you zoom in to 150% for any page, the words will look ok and quite readable. I would rate the scanning effort as a 3 out of 5 stars for CotW.

CotW comprises of 130 pages - 2 pages are the front and back covers. There are no adverts within. Inside are 70 monster entries (despite what the back cover says - 50 and what the website says - 60). They are all grouped into regions, Chapter 1 - The North, Chapter 2 - The East, Chapter 3 - The South, Chapter 4 - The West, and Chapter 5 - The Scavenger Lands. The variety of monsters in the book is pretty obvious because of the geographical breakdown. From humanoids to abberations to tree-like and to mechanical.

For any monster book, the artwork must "sell" the monsters - otherwise it would not be worth its money... I would say that the artwork really works well for me in CotW as they evoke a sense of "Exalted-ness" (for lack a better word). I especially enjoyed the depiction of Sayla, The Yellow Wyrm, The Brass Leviathan, and the ultra-cool Nymph's Blood. There are a couple of named/unique creatures and these should prove to be a challenge for my heroes of Exalted.

What can I say... I will surely love this book as much as I loved GOD. The contents of the book is rated as 3.5 out of 5. The overall score of the book would be 3.25 out of 5. In the end, I have decided to rate it as a 3 out of 5 - to me, CotW is a slightly above average book but a solid addition to my Exalted campaign.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Creatures of the Wyld
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Streets of Silver
Publisher: Living Imagination
by Gavin K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/30/2005 08:33:37
Streets of Silver - A Twin Crown's Adventure Guide is Living Imagination's attempt in detailing the full fledged city known as Parma, the largest port of the Northen Empire province of Novarum. This book (in black and white except for the cover and pg 309) is self-contained and can be easily used in a city campaign. There are tons of hook-line-and-sinker type scenario gems that you can use found hidden within the text.

Parma is shown in all its glory on 2 pages and each neighbourhood is zoomed into further detail in the later chapters. It is made up of a mainland jutting out into sea and several large harbored islands. The names used in the book give a very distinctly Italian flavor (for example, you will see the name "Porto Vecchio" on the map and this actually means "Old Port" in Italian - try the Babel Fish translator available elsewhere on the net and you may find yourself pleasantly surprised).

The book is divided into three parts. The first part, consisting of the first six chapters, details geography and environs, history, political structure, law, economy and other important information that a player could now about Parma. The second part, or also known as chapter 7, is a big chunk describing the neighborhoods of Parma. Its like a grand tour of the whole city and it kinds of remind me of other city books like Waterdeep - City of Splendors and Ravens Bluff from Wizards. The last part of the book, comprising chapters 8 through 10, is essentially the territory of the DM where you find all the truths behind the plot lines and read about the NPCs and view their full stats.

Next I discuss what I liked and disliked in the book.

LIKES
The chapter on Law is a natural... I especially loved the page on The Laws of Solaron - it makes me wonder if it was closely based on ancient law from Italy. Culture is another chapter that is highly imaginative as I get to see a calendar and its holidays, and get to learn some of the strange customs in Parma... from simple ideas, like "there must be a dessert of some kind at every meal" to complex ones like the tradition of Vendetta. The main players and shakers within the campaign world of Parma are described in Chapter 5 - Organizations. Take for example "The Wizards of Jorkum", a guild who only accepts wizards in its membership and shuns all other types of arcane wielders - they love to put on demonstrations of their prowess in illusions for the public during Carnivale. Another example is to anticipate the "kiss" when you are dealing with the Red Star Company. These little details really make a world of difference. I won't say too much about the Neighborhoods except that the wealth of information is stupendous. Also, the plot lines are very interesting and can be expanded upon in many different ways by an experienced DM.

DISLIKES
Most of my dislikes and gripes about the book are actually very personal biases... I guess it's just me... but I have gotten really tired of prestige classes. So, I won't pin too much blame on Living Imagination's part... but would you fancy playing a Courtesan? Not me. Another dislike is the inclusion of rituals. I would have preferred to see more spells. Also, interior artwork is lacking in some areas. And the border artwork could have had some variation from chapter to chapter instead of the same artwork throughout the 313 pages. One other gripe is the Behind the Scenes chapter, I felt I was jumping too often between the Neighborhoods chapter and this one ... the material from both chapters should have been grouped together. I for one won't let my player's read the chapter on Neighborhoods discriminately. Guess that there's just too much page-flipping for my tastes.

That's it... I have come to the end of my review. I can sincerely say, buy this book if you absolutely love (and can't get enough of) city campaigns. Personally, as a city campaign lover, I would rate it a 4.5 out of 5... but after considering carefully from a neutral view, I would rate it 4 out of 5 because of all my dislikes and also that city campaigns would not be for everyone's tastes.

But, nevertheless, do consider getting this book. The stories that you can tell with this book could be easily profound for your group of players and yourself - with a little work, you can make your very own beautiful World of Living Imagination.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Streets of Silver
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Monte Cook's Arcana Evolved
Publisher: Malhavoc Press
by Gavin K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/27/2005 10:31:44
What can I say? My faith in the quality of Malhavoc products shall continue to remain steadfastly unwavering! My recent purchase of Monte Cook's Arcana Evolved can attest to that claim.

The watermarked PDF book is a hefty 434 paged tome describing variant d20 rules and a complete campaign world - all in full glorious technicolor. It downloaded without a hitch!

The beautiful artwork on the front cover (which wraps around to the back) depicts an adventuring party fighting several dragons. The artwork within is just as beautifully rendered. The judicious use of color, a reasonable typefont, and compact layout makes the book a pleasant read.

This book collects what was already in Monte Cook’s Arcana Unearthed, The Diamond Throne, as well as some material from the Player’s Guide (a component of the DM’s Screen product). It goes above and beyond by adding the "director's cut" - this cut includes a new race, a new class, and new concepts having cool names such as evolved levels and combat rites, and there's even more if you know where to find them!

Within the tome are an Introduction, 12 chapters, an appendix, a character sheet and index.

The Introduction (5 pages) summarizes what you will find on your journey through the book. The first chapter (5 pages) summarizes Abilities so you can dispense away with the PHB. The next two chapters are on Races (23 pages) and Classes (64 pages). Never will a reader be more spoilt for choice than what is found in this book. Let's see why...

There are 12 races to choose from and they include the main racial stock of human, the draconic warriors dracha, three types of faen - loresongs, quicklings, and sprytes, the massive giants, the bestial litorians (lionine humanoids), the magical dragon scions known as mojh (pronounced moehz - don't ask me why), the runechildren (this is actually a racial template), the strong and hardy sibeccai (jackal-like humanoids), and the red-skinned blue haired human like verrik.

Similarly, there are 12 classes to choose from which include the akashic - masters of memory, the champion - driven warriors, the greenbond - masters of animism, the mage blade - spellcasters dabbling in weapon enhancement and utilization, the magister - conssumate spellcasters with focus on magical staves, the oathsworn - devoted warriors, the ritual warrior - devoted combat warriors with an almost religious fervour, the runethane - wielders of runic power, the totem warrior - warriors intimately bound with an animal spirit, the unfettered - skillful masters of derring-do, the warmain - whose might know no bounds, and the witch - focusing on the magical nature within.

Chapter 4 is a 22-paged treatise on Skills while Chapter 5 discusses Feats and Talents in 27 pages. There is a great variety of options to select from here from the Innuendo skill to the flail defense feat, the mighty hurl ceremonial feat and the night owl talent. This is followed by the next chapter which is essentially a comprehensive equipment list (25 pages) on weapons, armor, clothing, goods, and services a character might purchase.

Chapter 7 gives a fresh take on Playing the Game and gives me some reason to perhaps chuck my DMG one side. Topics discussed include Movement, Staging Encounters, the Combat Sequence, the Combat Round, Armor Class, Hit Points, Facing and Flanking, Making Attacks, Attacks of Opportunity... the list goes on. And I like the new envisioning of the rules presented in the 27 pages.

Next, it gets all magical... Magic gets an interesting chapter of 28 pages with summarized rules and new magical items described within Chapter 8. This gears up for the whopping 96 paged (did I count correctly?) chapter on spells and combat rites. The spells are presented in 3 columns - this is was not a layout I would have prefered - but, after all, its the most economical means of squeezing in all the material without wasting too much whitespace - so I ain't complaining. Now don't hurl that 10th level spell Curse of Damnation at me... hear?

But is the campaign world any good?

Chapter 10 convinces me over easily with the wonderfully imagined Diamond Throne Gazetteer (45 pages). If you want to read about the world, the people, the gods and religions, the history, the geography, the cosmology, and get the lowdown on kingdoms, organizations, threats, and mysteries... but don't blame me if you lose yourself in the world of Dor-Erthenos.

Now, we come to the controversial chapter... don't we have enough of them already? Well, with these prestige classes (in 24 pages), what can I say but W-O-W... be it reaving beasts or somnamancing, the stuff here is cool with a capital C.

With chapter 12, I just have to nitpick... Why? I feel like I have been shortchanged, there just aren't enough creatures to whet my appetite. Luckily, there is always Malhavoc's Legacy of the Dragon Bestiary to purchase to supplement the monsters here.

Phew... and there you have it. If you ask me, I'd say - "Stop reading and buy this book already!" This belongs on every gamer's shelf.

And no, Malhavoc ain't paying me to write this...

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monte Cook's Arcana Evolved
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Blue Dragon, White Tiger
Publisher: White Wolf
by Gavin K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/09/2005 00:33:26
Blue Dragon, White Tiger is a 96 page supplemental book for Hong Kong Action Theatre! 2nd Edition. It contains five chapters that describe:

a) History of Wuxia (martial arts) and Magic - covers the introduction of religion (Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism) to China as well as the history of Hong Kong cinema's treatment of the genre. Makes for interesting reading.

b) Chinese Magic and Magicians delves into the major currents of Chinese religion and philosophy and the magic associated with them. You get to learn of The Spirit Kingdom and Shen (or translated as spirits or magical beings), Ba Hsien - The Eight Immortals, and even Fong Sai Yuk - the legendary 18th century Chinese hero immortalized by Jet Li.

c) Magic in HKAT!2 contains game rules that allows role player characters to use in their games. Spells are divided into levels and you will find familiar ones such as "Flaming Palms" and the incredible "Spectral Bonds of Lee Lung". New abilties round up the end of this chapter.

d) Sample Adventures contains five script skeletons for the GM to expand upon and use in his kung-fu campaign. For example, there is the interesting "The Winter Queen" which tells the battle between good and evil (the Queen and her minions). For further inspiration, look towards "Shattered Empire", "The Sword of Valour", "Temple War", and "The Tomb of Guolong".

e) Sample Characters present five heroes and rogues available for GM use.

The appendix entitled "Film Festival #1" contain 5 more adventure outlines taken from the first edition of HKAT! The useful index rounds up the book.

In my opinion, this book makes a good supplement to HKAT!2 but I felt that that the fluff outweighted the crunch. Nevertheless, there are certain areas that make for interesting reading and inspiration. The artwork, however, is astounding - especially the one page portraits of wuxia luminaries such as Jet Li and Brigitte Lin Ching Hsia. Directors - Tsui Hark, The Shaw Brothers, Ang Lee, Kar Leung, and Sammo Hung - have also been rendered with uncanny likeness. Recommended as a second purchase especially for the adventure ideas.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Blue Dragon, White Tiger
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Hong Kong Action Theatre! Second Edition
Publisher: White Wolf
by Gavin K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/09/2005 00:03:56
Hong Kong Action Theatre! 2nd Edition touts itself as a cinematic action RPG that is compatible with the free TRI-STAT download. This hefty book has you creating Chinese actor player characters that has been popularized by recent kung-fu films such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Rumble in the Bronx. If you are looking to portray Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Chow Yun Fatt, Jet Li, or maybe Michelle Yeoh, then this book shows you the way...

The interesting twist in HKAT!2 is that your movie becomes reality for the duration of your game session - this allow the players to act out their own script for the make-believe movie. Character creation sees you either creating an actor character (the movie star) or a role character (the part played by the actor in the movie itself). Actor stats, attributes, defects, skills, and background are determined during this creation process. The gamesmaster gives his actor characters a star billing (1 - 4) for every successful movie wrap-up which can then be used by the player to further spend on stats, attributes, and skills. Defects may even be bought off.

There are two large chapter dedicated to describing Hong Kong and the Chinese movie industry (including the prestigious Golden Horse Awards - akin to the Oscars). If you fancy touring Hong Kong, this chapter will definitely satisfy. It even brought back memories of my own visit to Stanley Village and Ocean Park when I visited Hong Kong many years ago. The chapter on the Hong Kong film industry even highlights the main movies that have been made since its inception in 1898. It makes for fancy reading especially when you get to see the exploits of Bruce Lee and even to learn of Cheng Pei pei - Hong Kong's original fighting diva. An admirable list of movie reviews is also provided at the end and you get to read about movies directed by John Woo, Ringo Lam, Sammo Hung, and Tsui Hark.The final chapter completes the book with 3 adventures - "To Kill with a Glance", "Shaolin", and "Die, Zombie, Die!"

Tables used by HKAT!2 are placed at the end of the book including a character sheet and a side-bar describing how to convert between HKAT!2 and BESM. A useful index is also available.

To end up the review, HKAT!2 has an exciting premise that allows you to run your very own kung-fu movies. It is well-illustrated with pictures showing kung-fu characters and also contains clear and crisp pages with a compact type - squeezing a lot of material in just 192 pages. This has been a very good buy for me - and is highly recommended!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hong Kong Action Theatre! Second Edition
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Requiem for a God
Publisher: Malhavoc Press
by Gavin K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/02/2005 07:28:04
The Times of Trouble? No, this book goes beyond what happened in the Forgotten Realms Campaign. The deaths of Bhaal, Bane, and Myrkul had serious implications but were not really expounded with enthusiasm in the available Realmsian literature.

THIS book attempts to help you out with how to kill a god in your campaign and delves into details to provide a complete all-rounded package!

The death of an immortal being has immense repercussions and is a major event that needs some thought. Fortunately, there is a step-by-step procedure that will help you out in almost all aspects - making sure there is no stone left unturned. There are essentially 8 chapters to elaborate on this tantalizing premise.

First, you get a discussion on how to prepare for the event and then providing you options on integrating the event into your campaign.

The third chapter provides four new prestige classes which further adds flavour to the theme.
1) The DISAFFECTED are those who once followed a god, drawing upon the deity’s power for their own use, but have since lost that power.
2) The HARVESTERS OF DIVINITY are the heart and soul of the Memento Mori, an organization that seeks dead gods to gain knowledge.
3) The NECROTHEOLOGIST specializes in the study of dead gods.
4) THRENODIES have skills that meld those of a fighter and a bard with those of a necromancer. They work primarily for the Cabal of the Dirge, a group that protects the cycle of life and death, including godly deaths.

About the two groups of antagonists described in the book: "The Cabal of the Dirge looks upon the
Memento Mori as scavengers, defilers, and thieves. The Memento Mori simply attempts to avoid the Cabal and its agents, for its members see little profit in fighting." Such a rivalry makes for interesting role-playing scenarios.

Finally, there are then a dozen new feats, 34 new spells, new magical items, 3 new monsters (divinity parasite, godflesh golem, and spectre of the divine), and seven adventure ideas suitable for various character levels and campaign styles.

Personally, I find the book very informative and I might probably run it in the near future taking most of the ideas from the book. Buy this book if you are interested in adding a twist to your campaign. Recommended.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Requiem for a God
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Tome of Horrors
Publisher: Necromancer
by Gavin K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/25/2005 08:06:09
I just bought the watermarked version and I am thoroughly impressed by how smooth it was to download it. My name and order number appeared at the bottom left of the text-only pages in a very small font - that was neat.

Now, on to the contents of this book - The Tome of Horrors contain "over 400 monsters" updated for the 3rd edition in 327 pages. There are "almost 300 converted from First Edition sources, over 25 compiled from various Necromancer Games products, and well over 100 brand new, never-before-seen monsters!"

That's such a great deal!

My old-time favorites are here, including the flumph, the vegypygmy, the khargra, the mongrelmen, and of course the Demons and Devils (with a capital D&D). Challenge ratings range from 1/10 and all the way to 39. Each monster has been labelled with the author and even their first appearance in a TSR product is listed (where applicable). The monsters are also beautifully rendered by the artists - the artwork for Orcus, the Crabman, the Eye of the Deep, and the Necrophidius is astounding!

My players are just going to hate me for the next few years.

This is a definite keeper! So, I'd say go for it...

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tome of Horrors
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Fading Suns: d20 roleplaying game rulebook
Publisher: Holistic Design
by Koh G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/18/2004 21:05:05
This is a great book detailing the RPG universe of Fading Suns. I have read elsewhere that the Victory Point system was not too balanced, hence I went for the d20 system. I must say it is quite impressive but perhaps on the short side (especially descriptions of the worlds and perhaps more alien race options)... it left me craving for more though. Your next purchase following this book would logically be the other d20 books by Holistic (eg the d20 Character Codex and the Wolrds of the Realm)... I hope the rest of the d20 books will be released electronically. One other thing, I have yet to find a conversion system between Victory Point system and d20.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fading Suns: d20 roleplaying game rulebook
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