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#1 With a Bullet Point: 12 Alternatives For The Fighter's Bravery Class Feature
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Andrew P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/29/2012 14:52:43
One page. One buck. Twelve class abilities. You can't really go wrong.

This is the best value I've gotten for a dollar since comic books cost 95 cents apiece.
Paizo should consider making the "Defensive Stance" and "Offensive Stance" abilities as standard options. (I can't tell you what those abilities do -- it would devalue the product by 16.66~%)

The layout is good. It all fits on one page (plus an introductory page and a page of the usual legal mumbo jumbo -- but you don't have to print those pages out) and I was pleasantly surprised to find quality illustrations. At that price point, I figured on getting text-only.

Glowing praise aside, if I was playing a Fighter right now, I'd really only seriously consider 9 out of the 12 options for my character.One of the nine seems (Steely Determination) seems like it may be overpowered at first glance, but... it could very well play just fine. Even so, eight for a buck still ain't bad.

My only other issue is that the margins are really tight (probably due to fitting so much on the page), which makes it difficult to 3-hole punch it and put in a folder without punching out some of the text, but this is really just nit-picking on my part.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
#1 With a Bullet Point: 12 Alternatives For The Fighter's Bravery Class Feature
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Hope Prep School Freshman Handbook
Publisher: Melior Via
by Andrew P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/15/2012 16:13:18
I got this as part of a charity bundle, but I"d say that it's worth paying cover price for anyway if you're a heavy Mutants & Masterminds player.
I'm unfamiliar with the Hope Prep series; this is my first exposure to it, so I'm not sure how it integrates with the other available Hope Prep titles.
The text is a little dry in places -- it IS a high school handbook, written completely "in character" after all, but there's color commentary added by three students, who help to keep it interesting and put a human face on the document.

While, I thought the comments written in the margins are a great idea, the execution suffers. The fonts aren't the easiest to read and this isn't helped by the color selection and placement. Frequently the notes ran vertically (90 degrees from usual), which is a minor annoyance on the printed page but a major drawback when trying to read on-screen. Still, they had the forethought to place them on a different layer so you can print "unmarked" copies for your players. I think the overall presentation could be improved with wider page margins (in which to write notes) would have helped considerably, as well as different fonts. Even scanning in handwritten text would have been a better choice.

In the "Notes" section (and in the small rules section), the three students talk extensively about the cliques, and established social classes of the school, which was particularly well done. It gave me flashbacks to my own high school experience, which, while unpleasant for me, is a testament to this piece's authenticity. When I'm done writing this review I'm going to pine for hot girls that'll never give me the time of day.

As a GM, I'd've liked to have seen stat blocks for a typical (or archtypical) representative of each clique,-- but maybe those are included in some other product. They do have stats on the faculty, which is pretty nice.
As a player, I can't think of anything that's missing. It's a good world-building document.

If I could get my gaming group to be the least bit interested in Mutants & Masterminds, I would definitely investigate the other Hope Prep books.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Hope Prep School Freshman Handbook
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101 Fantasy Jobs & Professions
Publisher: Ennead Games
by Andrew P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/09/2012 19:13:46
Spelling and overall editing are atrocious but you get what you pay for. Even so, I'm mentioning it here (even though most of the other reviewers also mentioned it) because it really, really made me think twice before I bought any other 101-X products. (I don't remember, but I think there was a sale that convinced me to give them a shot. Point being: I'd have willingly paid a dollar more for the other product had the free version been up to professional standards.

I also question the organization. Alphabetical is not necessarily the most intuitive or useful reference. If you re-do it, I'd suggest at least considering grouping them by socio-economic level Peasants, Skilled Tradesmen, Academic/Educated, Aristocracy&Retinue. Maybe? I dunno. It just seems like if I'm in a poor town (or poor side of town), I'm more likely to run into peasant-types like Builders and Butchers and more likely to encounter Blacksmiths and Brewers in a middle-class area.

Final suggestion: Use a different font, one legible at a smaller size. You get points for “authenticity” but it's a challenging typeface to scan and the text isn't really written with block reading in mind. Likewise,
there's not enough content to justify printing out 10 pages, but if f I read through it on-screen, I have to do a lot of unnecessary scrolling.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
101 Fantasy Jobs & Professions
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Publisher Reply:
Hi, sorry for delay in replying, but all good feedback there - I will be going through the older items and updating them at some point, probably early in the new year
A Necromancer's Grimoire: The Wonders of Alchemy
Publisher: Necromancers of the Northwest
by Andrew P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/08/2012 09:33:40
See Thilo G's review for a super-detailed and IMHO, accurate review.
I'm just going to hit the highlights.

Firstly, I liked the *ideas* in this book. I think if this had come out a few years earlier, the alchemist class would probably more closely resemble an "actual" alchemist instead of the Edward Hyde: Midnight Bomber.

On the other hand, I thought that most of the new items were overpriced, at least for the economies of most games I've played in, but to be fair, most of my experience has been with lower level games.

The proofreading was terrible to non-existent. Guys, while not everybody's naturally gifted at writing, it's also not all that hard to find someone with mastery of the language willing to read through it.

Criticisms aside, I'd still recommend this book. While it may need some tweaking to fit into a given campaign, the ideas are very strong.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
A Necromancer's Grimoire: The Wonders of Alchemy
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KidWorld the Role Playing Game
Publisher: Vajra Enterprises
by Andrew P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/08/2012 09:15:59
FYI, I haven't actually played this game yet but the mechanics at least seem sound in my head.
However, the world description, background information, and rest of the text were so well written and engaging that I read through it like a novel.
There weren't a whole lot of pictures but at the same time, there weren't many new concepts that needed to be explained visually and fluff pictures would have just taken up space better used by the excellent writing.
I do need to warn you that this is probably the single most horrifying game book I've ever read. You can play either a blind adult dependent the mercy of sociopathic children or a sighted child perpetually on the run from insane eyeball eating adults. There are more options than that, but none are especially pleasant. After reading the book, I'm surprised I didn't have nightmares that night.
Even if I wind up never running the game, it was easily worth the price just for a good read.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
KidWorld the Role Playing Game
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