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Cthulhu Apocalypse: The Apocalypse Machine
Publisher: Pelgrane Press
by Alexie R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/03/2012 23:57:05
In a nutshell: Trail of Chthulhu... after the End.

Sadly i didn't like this book. My biggest issue is that when i bought it, i -- perhaps mistakenly -- expected a series of ToC scenarios set in post-apocalyptic setting. However, there are no pre-made scenarios in this book; not even campaign frames like those in main ToC rulebook. There is a half-decent section on creating your own customised apocalypse and a short and too-vague GM advice section.

My second complaint is that this book is short -- only 73 pages and fully half of those are taken by standard ToC rules tweaked to post-apocalyptic setting. I've seen it all before in my ToC core book and i don't need to see it again, thank you very much.

But enough on the negative.

Like all other products by Pelgrane Press the writing is top-notch, well organised and full of great ideas. In short summary: the sanity system is slightly tweaked; there is a section on how cities decay into ruins with time; also a very useful system for scavenging equipment; an obligatory chapter on mutants; and of course the Apocalypse Machine itself -- scenario generator that lets you customise your own extinction event.

As a side note, i think this book would be useful for GMs running "Armitage Files" also by Pelrane Press as the subject matter is similar.

Unfortunately all that is not enough to raise this product from mediocrity and i cannot in all honesty give it a higher rating, though i really wish i could.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Cthulhu Apocalypse: The Apocalypse Machine
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Publisher Reply:
I suggest you get Cthulhu Apocalypse: The Dead White World . This is the set of post-apocalyptic adventures you were looking for. The Machine is an optional companion volume for running post-apocalyptic adventures, so it appears you bought it under a misapprehension. I recommend you get a refund on this product and get Dead White World instead.
Bride of Bloody Hooks
Publisher: Big Finger Games
by Alexie R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/19/2011 22:05:49
When you just can't be bothered with preparation, take this PDF and just flip to any page, then read the first random paragraph that catches your eye. That's your blood-splat adventure for the evening. If any PC's survive, rinse and repeat for the next time.

This product is just perfect for minimum preparation games like "Dead of Night", "Fear Itself" and the like. Surprisingly, it is better than either "100 Horror Adventure Seeds" and "100 Dark Places".

A very good value for eight page PDF, I'll give it an A.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bride of Bloody Hooks
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Making of Exalted, The (Artbook)
Publisher: White Wolf
by Alexie R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/19/2011 21:52:43
This is a in-depth behind-the-scenes look on how the unique world of Exalted came to be and the people who made it possible. Rich in concept art and frank interviews, Making of Exalted is a useful resource for game designers and fans alike.

Topics covered include everything from history of the realm, exalted types, creatures, setting history etc to how the world map was created and who designed the cover art. Makes more sense than the setting chapter in the core book too.

Since it delivers exactly what it says on the box, I'll give it an A.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Making of Exalted, The (Artbook)
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ExXxalted: Scroll of Swallowed Darkness
Publisher: White Wolf
by Alexie R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/19/2011 21:44:55
Sadly, this isn't porn.

Instead, it is more or less serious look at sexuality in creation. Typicaly of Exalted line, game mechanics and charms are discussed. And of course, there are the obligatory dirty pictures, one gay – for those of you sensitive to that – and others featuring simple female/male-female nudity. The art is of usual high quality in pseudo-manga style. There is also one page sex scene – I actually amused a lady friend of mine with flash erotica based on that story. She quite liked it.

In any case, this product is good if you ever wanted to run hentai Exalted campaign or you like to indulge in immature sexual jokes. Not much use for it otherwise. I would have wanted something a bit longer and in-depth that didn't look-like April's fool joke (oh wait... right), but the overall quality is good, so I give it a B.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
ExXxalted: Scroll of Swallowed Darkness
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Modern Dispatch (#91): Space Opera Adventure Generator
Publisher: Adamant Entertainment
by Alexie R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/17/2011 21:05:01
Is five page PDF worth the price? The answer is, quite simply, yes! Astonishingly, this product is exactly what it says on the cover: a random mission generator that could be adapted for any system in space opera genre. A few dice rolls is all it takes to get a plotline and with a little bit of effort, you can make your own story seed generator using the example given. Very handy for rules-lite, minimum preparation games.

But the best part is that this PDF gives you a valuable lesson in plot structure that you wouldn't otherwise know unless you took courses in script writing. A welcome cure for writers' block.

Since I got a lot of mileage out of this product, I give it a definite A.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Modern Dispatch (#91): Space Opera Adventure Generator
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Eclipse Phase: Gatecrashing Hack Pack
Publisher: Posthuman Studios LLC
by Alexie R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/26/2010 21:00:55
"Gatecrashing" is an add-on to ground breaking Eclipse Phase and it lives up the usual high standard for the rest of the line. It expands the already rich setting beyond solar system and into bizarre alien worlds accessible through the mysterious Pandora Gates.

The main section has in-depth description of two score gate destinations chosen according to their relevance to Firewall for their X-risk potential. Most lead to planets that were visited by ET post-singularity civilisations that have long since gone extinct. Unlike the majority of sci-fi, in Eclipse Phase the alien planets are truly alien with only a handful earth-like planets habitable to unmodified human life. Every destination has a mystery to solve and a few story seeds for the GM.

The rest of the book deals with gatecrashing operations and possible ways for the PC's to get involved as well as a smattering of new equipment and morphs. There is a guide for creating believable custom planets that will come in handy for any GM that wishes to expand the EP universe.

In my humble opinion "Gatecrashing" is the best product so far in already high quality EP line and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in sci-fi. Solid A from me.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: Gatecrashing Hack Pack
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Shadow of the Raven
Publisher: Monolith Graphics
by Alexie R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/11/2010 18:59:56
Shadows of the Raven grows on if you give it a chance. I must admit I did not like it very much when I first bought it and it languished in the bottom draw for months. However when I sat down and really listened to it, I was blown away. This Album has some very atmospheric tracks, especially if you have decent speakers/headphones. I cherry picked the best and put them in pleasing order on my playlist and now I listen to it every other day when working.

I recommend.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadow of the Raven
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Forgotten Futures
Publisher: Marcus L. Rowland
by Alexie R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/10/2010 20:55:43
Forgotten Futures has everything you would expect from a professional RPG: an introduction to roleplaying, a clear index and glossary, detailed equipment tables, solid GM chapters with plenty of examples of play throughout and don't forget the many supplements for the core book. Overall a very solid effort underlined by the fact it is absolutely free. If only every idie RPG was up to this standard.

Rules-wise FF is a vanilla rules-lite 2d6 point buy system with damage saves. No prizes for originality and “game balance” here, but the upside is that you won't have to spend weeks learning rules and hours creating characters. In fact, any GM worth their salt should be able to run a session after a quick skim.

The game system takes a back seat to the real meat of this game: GM chapters on how to run every conceivable variation of Steampunk genre and believe me, there are a lot. Want to outwit Victorian era version of Daleks from Dr Who? There is one in the gadget chapter, complete with telescopic eye and Maxim gun. Saving Martian Princess is more your thing? Hop in the space yacht!

There is plenty of material to run every story by Jules Verne and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Anyone who wants to know more about steampunk genre will find a handy (and lengthy) list of sources in the appendix – invaluable for getting a feel for the genre and mining for adventure ideas.

Forgotten Futures is THE steampunk RPG. A very solid B from me.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Forgotten Futures
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Cthulhu Dark Ages
Publisher: Chaosium
by Alexie R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/01/2010 20:33:15
This is an old school core rulebook, scanned to PDF with no bookmarks. It is basically indistinguishable from Call of Cthulhu 5th edition in style and substance. It has the crunchy game system section with the endless weapons/equipment tables and pointless movement rules that wouldn't look out of place in D&D 3rd edition . The skill set is both smaller and more useful than the Call of Cthulhu, which is a big plus for anyone who ever tried to create a character in BRP. It has a rather slim but highly useful setting chapter, which gives you the flavor of the period for those of us that slept through history lessons. Basically it all boils down to this: Dark Ages were called that for a reason – it was full of desperately poor and ignorant people living short and brutish lives under soul crushing oppression. A perfect setting for cosmic horror, I am sure you'll agree.

Next comes the Magic and Bestiary chapters, both are surprisingly good, or at least better than their Call of Cthulhu equivalents. The concept of limbo is introduced in the magic chapter, non-mythos magic is also discussed and of course there is the obligatory spell list, which is mercifully short and to the point. There are some new monsters and deities in the bestiary chapter. They tend to be less on tentacle rape and more eat your soul side. Each has roughly one page description and an illustration.

Last but not least is “The Tomb” scenario. Except for lack of clear reason for investigators to get involved, it is a solid adventure with lots of mystery, exploration and gratuitous violence. Typically for old school, a TPK is likely half-way through the plot and virtually guaranteed at the end, but it is still a fun scenario to play none the less.

Overall it is a passable rulebook for those nostalgic for the good old days, whether it is worth the price for the rest of us, is another matter entirely. Barely grade C from me.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Cthulhu Dark Ages
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Dead of Night
Publisher: SteamPower Publishing
by Alexie R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/01/2010 20:26:48
Dead of night is good at what it does and what it does is one-shot beer and pretzels games emulating B-grade horror movies. With hardly any preparation, one could have the game in full swing in less than five minutes. A refreshing change from all those RPG's where you spend the first hour just on chargen. The essential mechanics boil down to just one rule: if you fail a risky die rol,l you loose a survival point – the games equivalent of hit points, sanity points and drama points all rolled into one. Everything else is just window dressing. There are no pointless modifier tables and endless equipment lists. This is strictly crunch-less RPG. In fact it is fair to say that mechanics are almost an afterthought. One could use entirely different rule set as long as it uses something like survival points. Wishu immediately comes to mind here as does Fudge/Fate variants. That is not to say that the Dead of Night doesn't have lots of fiddly rules, it does. But they could safely be ignored, especially the chargen rules. Who need game balance when your “victim” - the games' name for player characters, has life expectancy of a teenage coed in a slasher flick?

Where this game really shines is in showing you how to emulate all the different horror movie genres, from cheesy slashers on to slapstick black comedy. It gives you a monster creation toolkit that could and does create any imaginable variation of vampire, werewolf, hungry ghost, alien terror or unstoppable killer that has ever graced the silver screen. It gives you handy tips on how to craft a story on the fly, even if you never done it before and shows you examples with ready made scenarios.

All in all I highly recommend Dead of Night to everyone. The value for money is hard to match. I wish more PDF products were up to this standard. Grade A from me.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dead of Night
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