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Ghoul Keep and the Ghoul Lands
Publisher: Small Niche Games
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/27/2012 16:53:57
WHAT WORKS: As is usual for Small Niche Games, they provide a lot of gameable material for a good price. Makaar Mor could easily be a Ravenloft Dark Lord, and I mean that as a compliment. This isn’t a straight forward “let’s go kill the bad guy” supplement, though you can certainly do just that. Raltus the Undying is just absolutely creepy. The lands are detailed enough to get you going while providing plenty of room for you to add your own twists.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK: As usual, my biggest complaint is that it isn’t written for a system I’m a bigger fan of, but a little conversion work later and that’s not an issue.

CONCLUSION: My favorite release yet from Small Niche Games. Making an undead kingdom gameable in more than just the “kill everything that moves” sense isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but they pulled that off here. Makaar Mor is an interesting villain who is operating from a position of power while having very noticeable vulnerabilities that prevent him from being unstoppable. You could easily get a full campaign out of this book, either using native-born PCs or travelers from outside The Ghoul Lands.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/10/tommys-take-o-
n-ghoul-keep-and-ghoul.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ghoul Keep and the Ghoul Lands
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Savage Worlds Deluxe: Explorer's Edition
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/20/2012 01:04:25
WHAT WORKS: The minis combat works much smoother than I could ever have dreamed. I used to hate minis until SW, and now I’m a convert. I love the middle ground between character customization and Too Much Work. The optional rules and third party support have made Savage Worlds incredibly versatile over the years.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK: I don’t like Power Points. Easily my least favorite part of the system. Some of the selected art in the book is pixilated, marring an otherwise gorgeous book. The Powers have come a long way, but there are times where I find them lacking, even with Trappings. I much prefer the Dramatic Interludes Pinnacle released with Zombie Run over the Interludes that made it into these rules.

CONCLUSION: Savage Worlds is my favorite RPG ever and the best RPG purchase I have ever made. I have used it to run a supers game, two Deadlands campaigns, Solomon Kane (with a single support PC who was seamlessly controlling a party of NPCs), a one shot horror game and a homebrew fantasy game, and I don’t think I have ever not had a blast. Early on in my Necessary Evil game, we had a combat with 29 figures on the map, and it ran as smoothly as any combat I have ever ran…pretty sure that was the point where I fell in love with the game.

Even as a Deadlands fan I prefer the new, Savage Worlds-powered Reloaded version, because combat is faster and smoother, NPCs are quicker and easier to make and the additional material that has been released since Reloaded came out has restored a lot of the missing "flavor" that people complained about with the new version.

I’ve bought the corebook twice (both the “regular” Explorer’s Edition and the Deluxe) and own a ton of books in print and PDF. It’s not a perfect system and it’s not the best system for EVERYTHING, but it does a LOT of things really well (more than it gets credit for, in my opinion). And, in my view, the Deluxe Edition is just a fantastic version of the rules, as I always love more options. There is a reason I am a Savage Worlds fanboy: It’s because I enjoy it more than any other RPG I have ever played.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/10/tommys-take-o-
n-savage-worlds-deluxe.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Deluxe: Explorer's Edition
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Don't Rest Your Head
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/09/2012 00:04:18
The book suffers from some bizarre organizational issues, not unlike someone who was working on little sleep suddenly remembering to discuss something a few pages after he had mentioned it. However, this is easily forgiven as the book includes oodles of page references, a functional table of contents and a very useful index. The art is, apparently, largely clipart and photoshopped, and very evocative of the setting, though its still a larger strain on my printer than I really wanted in the Printer Friendly version. Fred took great pains at various points to explain why things were important, how they impacted the game mechanically, and how they influenced other factors. This was some of the clearest RPG writing I have personally read in a while, and if this is the quality found in Spirit of the Century, then I’m sold.

On the downside, all the extra dice, two bowls, and a bunch of pocket change is kind of an inconvenience, but the gameplay seems like it could be well worth it. This is one of the best, if not THE best “taint” systems I have ever seen…tempting PCs to dip a little into the dark side, as it were, and then fighting like Hell to get out. I could see using this system to run a scenario not unlike the Suffering video game, and I certainly wouldn’t mind if more taint systems played out this way. That said, the system is designed to do one thing very well…if you’re not buying into the concept, there’s not much for you here. However, Fred Hicks and Evil Hat have, at no point, tried to claim otherwise, but I felt it worth mentioning.

If you like horror RPGs, unique systems and indy RPGs, its definitely worth picking up. It has a great hook and a unique system that feeds the flavor of the setting, making the sense of desperation a very real thing as you fight and explore the Mad City. Highly recommended.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/10/tommys-take-o-
n-dont-rest-your-head.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Don't Rest Your Head
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Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Young Avengers / Runaways
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/07/2012 23:40:50
WHAT WORKS: They dumped in a number of datafiles I’d love to play in a game (Rick Jones, Living Mummy and Ultra Girl for three), and I like the excuse to add in a few more odds and ends villains to provide more options. Also, it’s nice to have the non-Penance Speedball as an option.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK: The awful New Warriors art. This book in general just feels way less “essential” (or way more “optional”) than the 50States Initiative, but that may be a pro, depending on how you look at it.

CONCLUSION: If you’re not sold on Marvel Heroic, this isn’t going to be the book that changes your mind. The datafiles really sell this book, as the extra material like the Milestones and Unlockables just don’t stand out as well with in this one as they did in Civil War and 50 States Initiative, so if you hate teen superheroes, you may not be thrilled with this. On the other hand, that selection of datafiles really is pretty cool, as a few more of my genuine favorites slipped in here.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/10/tommys-take-o-
n-civil-war-young.html

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Young Avengers / Runaways
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Hollowpoint
Publisher: VSCA Publishing
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/29/2012 03:23:46
WHAT WORKS: Anything drawing this much inspiration from 100 Bullets is a good thing. Lots and lots of examples help, especially if you’re not a big fan of some of the terminology used in the game. The potential for tense interplay between characters is great, especially for a pick-up game. Several great examples to diversify the game, showing off that it’s more than just “hitmen in suits”.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK: Some of the rules bits are confusing until you get into the examples. I could do without game mechanics dropping the F-Bomb, personally. Not a big fan of the core mechanic, though it seems more intuitive than the similar mechanic the One Roll Engine uses.

CONCLUSION: Hollowpoint was nominated for three Ennies and has some enthusiastic support. The mechanics have some interesting depth to them, such as adding objectives to a scene that must be completed before the opposition is taken out, and how rolling too many dice can backfire and cause you to blow your opportunities early. When you factor in how adaptable it is to other settings (VCSA Publishing’s site includes a link to Hollowpoint being used for a Skyrim game), this is an impressive package to draw on, perhaps as an interlude between your group’s campaigns.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/09/tommys-take-o-
n-hollowpoint.html

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Hollowpoint
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School Daze
Publisher: Exploding Rogue
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/23/2012 12:03:21
WHAT WORKS: Pretty book, simple system that’s not trying to do too much, or overcomplicate a simple process. And I absolutely love random charts, so that helps.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK: The list of Ranks seems too small, especially if you have a group of five or six players, all taking three Ranks. I’m not sure I’d wanna run a Buffy or Space School setting with this completely unmodified. The last gripe is technical, as the download is nearly 80mb for a 66 page book and my computer actually struggles a bit with it compared to other PDFs, especially of the same size.

CONCLUSION: Very professional presentation for a game that could easily make for a fun diversion, either short campaigns or one-offs. I’d be more inclined to go “Saved By The Bell” with it over “Buffy” or “Brick”, albeit I’d be tempted to venture more into Saturday Morning Cartoon territory than Saved By The Bell did. In essence, I’m not completely sold on it being quite as versatile as the author says (though there are a lot of folks credited as playtesters, so I may be dead wrong), but I do also think that it’s a lot more versatile than I initially thought. Pick it up if you want something simple and Completely Different from what you’ve probably been running.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/09/tommys-take-o-
n-school-daze.html

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
School Daze
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Capes, Cowls and Villains Foul
Publisher: Spectrum Games
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/09/2012 03:09:05
WHAT WORKS: Tons of examples. Simple system, with the Setback Tokens being among my favorite “non-Hit Point” damage systems I’ve seen (with the word Stress just stressing me out). CC&VF seems to have taken a lot of ideas from other games but implemented them well. Oh, and I loved the random twists. The system is very flexible without being completely hand-wavey.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK: Very few of the example characters terribly inspired me. Many of the optional rules (like the templates or building heroes in advance and working up to them) don’t do a thing for me…but they are optional. There are big chunks of the system that are open to player-GM negotiation, which can go bad in the wrong hands.

CONCLUSION: While many of the support pieces did little to inspire me, the core seems very flexible and very sound. With large parts of the system open to such interpretation, certain types of players can make for nightmarish sessions, just like certain kinds of GMs can, but that’s true of any system (and especially Supers systems, which require a certain amount of buy-in from all parties above and beyond most genres). Unlike some other recent entrants into the supers RPG realm, I feel confident that I have a good/decent grasp of the mechanics right away, but I suppose I would have actually preferred the “serial numbers filed off” approach to the sample characters, rather than the characters used, because generic versions of Thor, Flash, Batman, Silver Surfer, Captain America, Wolverine and Superman are more useful for me in pinning down the important bits of the system. Does CC&VF hit some magic area that no other supers game ever has? Not for me, not really. “Hawkeye fighting alongside Thor” has been built into more and more games over the years, with BASH and ICONS even handling it in largely the same way. Does that make CC&VF a bad game? Heck no. I intend to play around with the character creation to see how well it models certain characters of mine, but I’d be inclined to put it near the top of my Supers options right now, if not at the very top.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/09/tommys-take-o-
n-capes-cowls-villains-foul.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Capes, Cowls and Villains Foul
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Rogue Mage Roleplaying Game Player's Handbook
Publisher: Misfit Studios
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/24/2012 21:36:51
WHAT WORKS: Here's the thing - I am not a big d20 fan. However, there have been some games that tweak it really, really well. I thought Know Your Role/Wild World Wrestling did and I thought Star Wars Saga Edition did. Rogue Mage does a very fine job of focusing the Mutants & Masterminds version on a specific power level, capping the skills to keep them from exploding into wild ranges and so on. The magic system has a lot of bells and whistles, but I mean that in a good way, given the setting. I like abstracted Wealth as I hate bean counting, so that's a plus, and the Virtue and Taint system is handled very well.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: My biggest gripes are organization and capitalization. Now, it may be a stylistic thing, but it sure would help me if the racial names were capitalized in the text. Also, I would have preferred the Talents section coming before the Magic section...seems like an odd organizational choice to me. Personally, I would probably have also combined the Secondary Touches chapter with Chapter One, but most of that is just nit-picky.

CONCLUSION: If anything, I just wanted More...which makes sense, as I am primarily a GM and this is the Player's Handbook. It also speaks well of the information in the book that I am genuinely interested as to what's in the GM's book. I can't say I wouldn't be more excited if this used a different system than a modified version of the Mutants & Masterminds iteration of d20, but they have done a really good job of modifying the system to fit what they are trying to emulate rather than just bolting it onto the existing framework. That's something I can certainly appreciate and I would be willing to give this version of d20 a shot as written. In my opinion, Rogue Mage is shaping up to be a very fine project with a lot of time and care going into it (and with the first credited playtest noted in the book as being in 2008, I should hope there has been). There's lots to like here, and Mutants & Masterminds has a track record of being particularly smooth among the d20 family, so the base is strong and tested even before the Rogue Mage team got to it.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/02/tommys-take-o-
n-rogue-mage-players.html

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Rogue Mage Roleplaying Game Player's Handbook
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Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Fifty State Initiative
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/22/2012 21:15:23
WHAT WORKS: Baron f’n Zemo. Mechanical support for a Thunderbolts game. More datafiles are always a good thing.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK: The art is pretty pixilated, especially the cover. I assume this is to keep the file size down. Some notable omissions among the datafiles, like Beta Ray Bill and Norman Osborn (who became the leader of the T-Bolts during the time of the Fifty State Initiative). No Milestones or Unlockables for a “Heroes in Training/Camp Hammond” campaign.

CONCLUSION. I wanna run, or play, a Thunderbolts campaign, or anything as Zemo. Holy crap. The rest is good, too. But yeah, Zemo FTW. I have a feeling we’ll get a few Unlockables or Milestones in the X-Men book that’ll adapt to a “heroes in training” thing, but I could be wrong. I like it. Not as much as the Civil War book, and there are definitely areas where the book could have been beefed up, or perhaps done better with more focus (like some of the aforementioned Milestones and Unlockables), but still a great product, even if it’s not up to the standards of the first two releases.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/08/tommys-take-o-
n-civil-war-fifty-state.html

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Fifty State Initiative
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The Deadly Seven
Publisher: paNik productions
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/21/2012 23:47:20
WHAT WORKS: A very multilayered module that isn’t a railroad. Some great examples of how to do different types of adventures in Savage Worlds, such as an investigation. The Possession sourcebook is comprehensive as well. The NPCs are all generally well written…surprisingly so, in some cases. The PCs not only decide how successful each mission is, but even the end result in most cases.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK: The organization can be a bit dodgy at first, especially when you realize that the various threats can easily run over the tops of each other (and probably will). The adult content is pretty hard to remove, and will limit the audience because of it. If you run just the threats with no interruption, the common links of each case could get repetitive.

CONCLUSION: A very nice product with lots of variety, great handouts and examples about how to tackle different scenarios in Savage Worlds. In addition, the product takes advantage of the digital medium with layers utilized to switch between rules sets in the adventure, helpful “How Tos” for the Clue Cards and making the pages printer friendly. Deadly Seven is a great example of a scenario that has no assumed outcome, positive or negative, for the encounters, leaving all of that entirely in the hands of the PCs. Well worth checking out if you don’t mind some sex, drugs and violence in your games.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/08/tommys-take-o-
n-deadly-seven.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Deadly Seven
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Summerland Revised and Expanded Edition
Publisher: Fire Ruby Designs
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/16/2012 01:06:23
WHAT WORKS: Great premise. The idea that nature has just risen up to wreck humanity is intriguing. The art in the book is primarily photographs, making for a very evocative feel to the book. I always appreciate good random roll charts.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK: The writing at times seems to beat around the bush, especially for such a simple system. I do like a little more crunch in my games.

CONCLUSION: Fantastic premise, but one I doubt I would ever use with the system as written. It’s not that the system is inherently BAD…I just prefer a little more meat on my games. The idea that it’s an RPG with a defined endgame is also pretty interesting, as most are open ended to a fault. I’d say it’s well worth reading, even if it’s not my cup of tea for gameplay, especially if you want PostApoc without bombs and mutants.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/08/tommys-take-o-
n-summerland-revised-and.html

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Summerland Revised and Expanded Edition
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The Mutant Epoch
Publisher: Outland Arts
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/12/2012 18:56:50
WHAT WORKS: Random tables for EVERYTHING just shy of an adventure generator (which seems like an odd oversight, given the amount of random rolling). Mutations for all the monsters, flexibility in the setting, tons of support.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK: If you hate random rolls and feel like you need a lot of game balance, I’m not sure this game is for you. The setting, as presented in the Hub rules, is nothing you haven’t seen before.

CONCLUSION: My advice? Roll up a bunch of characters and have fun. Don’t worry about game balance, don’t worry about stuff making sense…for pure gonzo PostApoc fun, Mutant Epoch is one of the better options I’ve read. It doesn’t have the heavy metaplot/back story of Reclamation or Hell on Earth, but it has a lot of cool, old school stylings without being tied to a D&D base. If you know what you wanna do with a PostApoc game, but not HOW you want to do it, get this and go nuts.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/08/tommys-take-o-
n-mutant-epoch.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Mutant Epoch
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Mutant Future: Revised Edition
Publisher: Goblinoid Games
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/08/2012 01:12:50
WHAT WORKS: Well, there’s a no-art free version. That’s kind of a big deal, and it has bit of support, due in part to the OGL. The monster section has some really cool and unique options, and its compatibility with Labyrinth Lord can allow for some interesting scenarios if you and your players aren’t fantasy (or PostApoc) purists.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK: If you don’t like D&D as a base, this probably isn’t going to be your thing. If you want a developed setting, rather than an excuse for hex crawls or dungeon crawls with ray guns and mutant powers, this probably isn’t your thing.

CONCLUSION: If you’re into PostApoc games, you should at least download the free, no-art version. No reason not to. It’s worth it for swiping from the bestiary, in my opinion. Similarly, if you’re into old school D&D, there’s probably at least an odd monster or two that’s worth messing with. For my part, I had a blast with modifying one of my AD&D 2e characters (a bastard sword swinging elven fighter) into a Gamma World character once, transplanting him (complete with bastard sword) onto a PostApoc Earth where he traded horses for motorcycles and chain mail for trench coats. Mutant Future isn’t likely to ever make the rotation at my table, because I don’t really do the D&D base system thing anymore, and there’s other PostApoc games I’m dying to run, but it’s still a very good product that should scratch the PostApoc itch for older school gamers.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/08/tommys-take-o-
n-mutant-future.html

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mutant Future: Revised Edition
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Kaiser's Gate
Publisher: Battlefield Press
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/05/2012 22:42:46
WHAT WORKS: I don't really like Power Points, so an alternate magic system is always welcome. I like the wide range of material covered in the timeline, from the beginning of magical crime through the end of World War I. The new Edges (mostly aimed at dogfighting) feel particularly appropriate, given the setting.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: Setting-wise, it feels almost like TOO much has been crammed into one book...but I could also see how one could prefer that to a more limited book. Enterprising GMs can certainly expand from the material given, and if demand is there, Battlefield Press can always expand the setting with supplements. Minor quibble: A lot of earlier Savage Settings had the problem of multiple shared elements, namely zombies and Atlantis, so linking the events of Kaiser's Gate to the Tunguska event immediately took me back to Necessary Evil, which does the same (albeit with a completely different result).

CONCLUSION: First off, it's nice to see something focused on World War I instead of World War II. Second of all, they showed a lot of restraint with the new material added, especially Edges, focusing on expanding aerial dogfighting. The races are included with a caveat of "Humans are the default, the rest must be approved by the GM", and I vastly prefer options to turn on and off over omission in just about every case. There are some d20isms still present, including the racial selection, some of the new spells and the magic item selection. I always like a good bestiary, but a lot of what you need for this is already going to be in Savage Worlds. Lastly, in an odd note, it refers you to the Explorer's Edition over the Deluxe Edition. Very good work here and a great time to jump on, with the Kickstarter still in effect, because of all the bonus material that has already been unlocked.

For my full review, please visit: http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/04/tommys-take-o-
n-kaisers-gate.html

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Kaiser's Gate
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Publisher Reply:
The reference to the Explorer's Edition over the Deluxe Edition is and editing error that we missed, thank you for pointing it out. We will get that fixed as quickly as we can, and should be fixed before we release the print version of the game.
Darwin's World Savage Worlds: Campaign Guide
Publisher: RPG Objects
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/28/2012 18:08:44
WHAT WORKS: Despite being the Darwin's World Campaign Guide, much of this book can serve any needs you may have for a Post-Apocalyptic Savage Worlds game. The art is very well-placed and well-targeted, providing examples of the various monsters and factions without overwhelming the book.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: The setting still doesn't really "pop" compared to other PostApoc settings, and the Terminal Abortions may be a bridge too far for some folks.

CONCLUSION: Darwin's World seems like it can handle the basic assumptions of most Post Apocalyptic games for Savage Worlds, and this book only has one chapter that seems geared specifically for Twisted Earth (even then, you can still reskin the stat blocks easily enough). I have no idea if there are any more Darwin's World releases planned for Savage Worlds, but the two books released do a great job of serving as a Post Apocalyptic toolkit.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/07/tommys-take-o-
n-darwins-world-campaign.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Darwin's World Savage Worlds: Campaign Guide
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