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Swords and Wizardry Field Guide to City of Clocks
Publisher: Battlefield Press
by Daniel D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/07/2014 08:43:01
So I loved the setting of CoC and when I saw a "conversion" of sorts for S&W I jumped. What I got was a little more disappointing. It was only a portion of the S&W rules grafted onto the setting. The inclusion of the magic user class seemed shoe horned in instead of more blended to the setting. The book was advertised as being 88 pages but was actually only 58. That includes the OGL and other filler pages that don't actually have any game content. One of the setting specific races didn't even get the scant rules conversion as the other two. I was hoping for game stats for equipment, NPC write ups or even a bare bones bestiary. In the end the reader is just referred to the S&W core rules for any of that. I do not wish to degrade someone else's work but this feels very incomplete and leaves the GM with the lion's share of converting. At this point I would say this could be a free download or maybe $1-2. Not the same cost as the setting book.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Swords and Wizardry Field Guide to City of Clocks
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Publisher Reply:
I would like to address a couple of points, 1) the book was never advertised as being 88 pages, so I have no idea where the reviewer got that information. 2) the book was designed to be grafted onto existing S&W core rules, and not a complete game. However, the comment about the bestiary is a good one and will be added to the book. It will be given as an update to this book, so anyone that purchases this book will get the bestiary free.
Hideouts & Hoodlums, Book III: Underworld and Metropolis Adventures
Publisher: Great Scott! Games
by Daniel D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/04/2012 19:36:09
This book follows in the tradion of the original TSR Underworld and Wilderness Adventures. This game utilizes Swords and Wizardry White Box Edition rules and converts the game from European fantasy mashup to Golden Age comics and depression era pulp fiction. Scott Casper has cleverly reworked those tried and true rules to back his 4 color world. If you are looking for a more "realistic" and crunch worthy superhero game this may not be to your taste. If you love old school retroclones and want a simpler game that almost anyone can learn within minutes this is a slam dunk. I am personally using this system to power my (prepare for another product plug-also available on Drive Thru RPG) Weird Adventures campaign. It is system neutral and a perfect fit. It would also fit a level based, dungeon crawl game set in this era. I would love a tad more polish (see my other reviews on the previous two books) but this pay version is the only one available currently. Give it a spin.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hideouts & Hoodlums, Book III:  Underworld and Metropolis Adventures
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Hideouts & Hoodlums, Book I: Men and Supermen
Publisher: Great Scott! Games
by Daniel D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/04/2012 18:50:57
It truely pains me to write a less than positive review for a product I have come to love and an author I respect. So, let's start with the positive. This game is very creative and captures the feel of Golden Age comics perfectly. In this humble reviewer's opinion, one of the jewels in the crown of the old school rebirth. It uses a OD&D clone ruleset (Swords and Wizardry) and then alters that to better fit with the Golden Age comic environment. The books in this series mirror those original TSR booklets and cleave to the white box edition rules. The clever reimagining of the cleric class as a superhero, reinterpretation of age old saving throws (or some entiely new saving throws for the genre) and simple rules for firearms and henchmen...I mean sidekicks! If you don't think this enough for you I assure you it emulates the gonzo good guy ethic and sometimes illogical heroism of those old comics and even some pulps of the time. Now to the "meh" category. The author offers a free "incomplete" draft version on his website for the game. The difference between this $2 version and free is barely minimal. Now truely I didn't go word for word between the texts but the dirrefences I saw were the inclusion of public domain superhero clips from old comics, hand drawn images emulating those early comics and some layout changes that I felt hurt, rather than helped reading the text. There could be some typos corrected and maybe the inclusion of new material but I didn't find it. What I would have liked would be examples, scenarios and cover art (and a back cover perhaps). Surely there could be some color public domain cover art (like in later issues of the Trophey Case, the fanzine devoted to the game). Most importantly a character sheet! Now granted $2 isn't a lot and I felt sending a little scratch back to the author was deserved (I also bought book 2 in this series) but feel something to disinguish the free and pay copies would be good. Something more polished. These are mostly vain things admittedly but this is a great game and should see more traffic. Update the game Scott! It too awesome not to.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Hideouts & Hoodlums, Book I:  Men and Supermen
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Radiance Players Guide: A Complete Roleplaying Game in the Age of Electrotech
Publisher: Radiance House
by Daniel D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/26/2012 20:46:03
The Radiance Players Guide is a wonderful product and at precisely zero dollars an unreal bargain. A nice blend of classic fantasy and steampunk, set in a victorianesque world with a spectrum of fantasy races (many of those re-imagined to be better PC options). It uses a d20 ruleset and the rules seem clearly presented from what I could tell in a initial reading. Layout is clear, without any glaring typos or grammer. The art is great, with nice examples of items, tech, classes and some snapshots of the world. At nearly 300 pages this is clearly a labor of love. I would buy this if you wanted to up your standard d20 fantasy world into steampunk. If not played alone (this is a stand alone product) it would be good resource to raid for steampunky or pulpy ideas. I have seen this idea attempted before with less coherent results from other publishers (who shall remain anonymous for their own portection). Things can get tricky when you mix magic and steam tech but Radiance has been been viewed from a more coherent lense than those other guys. Hope to see supplements and scenarios in the furture!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Radiance Players Guide: A Complete Roleplaying Game in the Age of Electrotech
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Dog Town: Stripped
Publisher: Cold Blooded Games
by Daniel D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/27/2011 21:00:53
Man! No love for this product... Many reviews have stated the original rules are complicated or flawed. Granted, I had a hard time working out that rule set but I have seen worse. Next you get the gripes about the subject matter. You play CRIMINALS (gasp)! Give me a break. As if decades of playing dungeon delvers or supernatural monsters is somehow morally superior. Know your group, be mature and never forget it is a game. Do this and you'll be fine. That said Dog Town is a mature game and some of Cold Blooded Games offerings are a little too dark (for even me). Still Dog Town is the best recreation of those gritty hard boiled crime stories from the late 70s, early 80s. Even more modern fare like Reservoir Dogs and Sin City can be recreated with this game. I did a one shot game retelling The Warriors and this did great. This system is a lot simpler but I still ran into a few glitches (probably more due to my newness to the system). Even if you don't like the system the vast material these games offer are great resources to port over to the system of your choice. The art work is very professional and appropriate. The writing is similarly well done. Did I mention both the original rule set and this mod are free? Really, the bad press this game has gotten I feel is undeserved. If you and your group are mature can handle the subject matter and are up for playing the scumbag side of the story Dog Town Stripped would be a good place to start.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dog Town: Stripped
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Gulbradda Skyrealm
Publisher: Arsenale Shipworks
by Daniel D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/27/2011 20:33:48
Well I usually don't bother with doing a review below 4 stars unless I feel strongly about it. I gave this 3 stars but felt it just barely crossed the line into 3 stars territory. Take my critique with a grain of salt as admittedly I could be cheap or petty here. The quality of the four maps is actually good. The side view of the skyrealm is well done and very evocative and the top view is informative. But the only difference between the player and GM maps is the inclusion of numbers on the buildings to be used with the description key. Your players won't really be gleaning too much from noticing the numbers. Next the descriptions of the buildings I found to very vague and unhelpful. Many times you don't get an idea of how many floors a building has or how many rooms. Are there interesting details such as furniture or statuary? Architectural details? Your guess would be as good as mine. Some may like this freeform quality in their products but for me it just comes off unfinished. Without the inclusion of maps of the individual buildings you have just the descriptions. To me that really just leaves you with a really nice line drawing of a floating island. You could conceivably use the other building maps that Arsenale Shipworks sell but that would just be more money and they would not always fit with this product. $2.99 is not much in the grand scheme of things but is more than I feel this product is worth. $1.50 is what I would pay tops but .99 is closer to the mark. Include more floor plans, NPC or creature write ups, a more extensive history and I would pay $10 or $20. Heck, I would $5 for more differentiated GM and player's maps. So get it if you really like like putting in extra work but you would be just as well to note the idea and do your own skyrealm.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Gulbradda Skyrealm
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Polychrome: Cyberpunk Adventure for Stars Without Number
Publisher: Sine Nomine Publishing
by Daniel D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/02/2011 00:06:12
I bought both the PDF and the print versions of this book and have found them identical. High quality writing with good but fairly rare art. This supplement is a scenario/world book in the same way that Hard Light was. This has a distinctly classic cyberpunk feel (ala evil corporations and society barely brought back from the brink of calamity) to it. There is plenty of dystopia here, with the Scream being a factor in the state of things but the real problems coming from the results of an alien bioweapon. The effects of it are now known as The Stain. One alien race is introduced as well as more cyberware. The scenario was great and could easily be ported over to another cyberpunk game with a little alteration to the alein/Stain components. There are rules for hacking but they seem more for this scenario. 40 pages make up this book, so for this price it's a steal.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Polychrome: Cyberpunk Adventure for Stars Without Number
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Darkness Visible: Espionage Campaigns for Stars Without Number
Publisher: Sine Nomine Publishing
by Daniel D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/01/2011 23:39:48
Stars Without Number is one of the best hard sci-fi games out there. This reviewer feels it IS the best. If you haven't already checked out Sine Nomine Publishing's other offerings see what all the praise is about. As the title proclaims in Darkness Visible GMs are given tools to handle espionage campaigns. To start, this material is easily portable to other sci-fi games and with some adaption could be used with contemporary era spy games. All of Kevin Crawford's books come from the utility of being tool boxes for GMs. Giving options and launching off points for continuation of the ideas presented. Agents of the State starts the book with a introduction and chapter rundown. Hold the Line is a brief historical overview of intelligence operations in the Stars Without Number universe. God Doesn't Know My Name covers the organization and operations of intelligence agencies in the SWN universe. Architects of Night deals with construction of agencies and cabals. This chapter covers advantages of your agencies, along with the benefit of those advantages broken down into 3 levels of strength. There is also a table of 1d10 plot seeds for said advantage. There is a sample of one of these advantages on the Sine Nomine Publishing website (Armory I think, other examples would be Assassins and Beamgates). Of note within the same chapter are more advantages but for Maltech Cults (as close to the "other side" as you're going to get in such gray area campaigns). Lastly ther are rules for playing these agencies as one might play a player character, used between sessions. Thou Shall Not covers the before mentioned MalTech cults. Sowers of discord and ruin in the name of science without conscience, they could very well be the mysterious cause of The Scream which caused the collapse of the Mandate. Rules for tailored creations (such as genegineered servants) are provided. Sample cults and cultists flesh out this chapter more. Maltech theme tags finish out this chapter but the tags themselves can be used in other capacities (like for planets). Tradecraft is practical advice for GMs to run espionage stories, with tables to roll for random plot elements. Unknown Soilders covers character creation ad ons for spy characters (such as backgrounds and equipment). All in all 96 pages of stuff useful to the GM who may never even run spys in their games. The art is sparse but the writing remains top shelf. All in all giving the feeling of a professional product. Need I remind you this is one guy doing this. The material ties in nicely with the new material introduced in the Core Rules and Skyward Steel (both put out by Mongoose). The stuff on Maltech Cults was alone worth the price. Old school goodness mixed with modern story focused roleplaying. Get back into the sandbox and see if this just doesn't fit nicely into you Space or Spy game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Darkness Visible: Espionage Campaigns for Stars Without Number
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The Apocalypse Tech Report
Publisher: Classic Diversions
by Daniel D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/31/2011 22:16:01
Seriously? No reviews yet? This product is great! If you are missing the pages and pages of tech from Gamma World for your Mutant Future game this is right on target. New weapons, tech and cybertechnology (including things like nano-technology). The rules for incorporating cyberware were balanced, without tipping the game into space opera or cyberpunk. Just the right dash of flavoring text makes this a really good product while still being universal enough for any game. The price is right for the amount of material you get. Art was sparse but well done. If you love the retro feel of Mutant Future this should be you next download. Your post apocalypse game will expand a lot from its inclusion.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Apocalypse Tech Report
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Schauermarchen by John Wick
Publisher: John Wick Presents
by Daniel D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/31/2011 22:00:55
4 stars but barely. It took me 15 minutes to read. Like any sucker that bought this book I failed to really read the reviews and bought in on John Wick's name alone. For what it's worth it is good. A evocative, creepy setting, that could be adapted to Little Fears, Grimm or WOD Innocents. Yet you could probably do just as good on your own by reading the teaser. So my complaints have less do to with the material and more the price. For as long as this book has been out and how much material it encompasses it could drop to 99 cents and probably be worth it. Art doesn't exist and layout is alright. If you want something to fill your sessions between your regular game or something to add to your kid centric game this would fit but for the price I would get it only if you really had nothing else loaded. To the author: stick this in the Big Book, because alone it doesn't feel worth it.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Schauermarchen by John Wick
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Gomo Guide To Thoneport
Publisher: Oak and Lotus
by Daniel D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/30/2011 13:52:30
If you can't be excited about nothing in this hobby then I think you could be still be excited about the prospect of old games that have been thought extinct suddenly being brought back by fan love. Many older gamers I talk to are so jaded when talking about their beloved game that they were playing at 14. "Nothing comes close to that anymore." The beauty of the indie movement is that fan projects once relegated to someone's homepage and difficult to access for your own game now can be professional releases. On to the game at hand however. Gomo Guide to Thoneport is the badly needed new release for Sky Relams of Jorune. It gives a glimpse into this xenophobic, human centric realm and provides great fodder for future conflicts. The world of Jorune is just covered in these unique locales just waiting for the microscope to be turned on them. Whether you want new atagonists for your outside campaign or to play within the treacherous politics of Thoneport this comes highly recommended. Granted there has been an update I haven't looked at yet, the version I currently have has some complaints coming to it. First, better proof reading was needed. Although not too distracting it was a little annoying to hit mistakes while reading through. Next art. I realizes that Miles Teves is no longer available for the art that helped define the game but...Those stock pictures are awful. I wish they hadn't been included at all (is that a colonial era town cryer?). Take up a collection for submitted art or funds to hire people (I'll chip in). A game like Skyrealms depends on competant art to set the feel of the world. Petty complaints really to a great book. I would seriously hope the folks at Oak and Lotus try their hand at a Skyrealms 4th edition or at the very least more books with a fresh looks at this setting. If you have never played the game before for $4 this would give you a great idea of how rich the setting is. It just drips other world exoticness and history. I for one eagerly wait for the next offering.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gomo Guide To Thoneport
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Chthonian Stars Core Setting
Publisher: WildFire
by Daniel D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/30/2011 12:48:25
Let me start with saying that I am a lover of nearly all things Cthulhu but that I have never played Traveller (in any of its incarnations). All the same I was very excited to see this release and hoped that I could use the material in a space themed CoC game. I have read a couple of the Miskatonic University imprints and liked those but found them lacking for building a campaign. After having read Chthonian Stars I find my review barely creeping into four stars (to my surprise as much as any one's). Let me clarify and say that the writing is great, the art very well done, the layout professional and easy to use. Yet...what I feel I got was a Traveller book with a little Mythos dashed in. Not the other way around. It is never fair to compare one game to another but in this case I think it is appropriate. Cthulhutech (while dismissed by some) is a science fiction setting infused with the mythos. Chthonian Stars seems to have it tacked on. Short of the fiction the Mythos doesn't even appear until nearly the end of the book. The "section" on magic is basically "make up some rules on magic that fit your game. Player characters shouldn't use magic." The horror check system seems very thin. Where in games that are horror themed (particularly Mythos games) sanity loss is an integral part. Most of the fiction from Mythos stories illustrates the erosion of the protagonist's mind. The creatures were ok but brief. A mere single page write up. For a core book that may assume you have never played a Mythos game before there seems to be many creatures missing, perfect for extraterrestrial games (Moon Beasts, Byakhee, Chthonians, Dimensional Shambler, Formless Spawn oh I could just go on and on). At the same time the inclusion of some creatures that have no fictional origin (Seethari, Terofex, Nyphelous???) and seem more like typical sci-fi baddies. Planets and moons get a scant two page write up with mostly hints of "dark goings on". In conclusion I would definitely say there is stuff I will use. It seems this idea could very cool with more development. The upcoming release of The Void may rememdy all this and thus you may want to wait for that release. If you wanted a different take on a Traveller game still confined to the Sol solar system this would probably be a direct hit. On sale the price makes this pretty good to mine for ideas, even for just a basic hard sci-fi game. For hard core Cthulhu nuts wanting a alternative to Cthulhutech wait for The Void.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Chthonian Stars Core Setting
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Cold City v1.1
Publisher: Contested Ground Studios
by Daniel D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/24/2011 21:22:15
As usual I am the Jonny come lately to reviewing this game. I would begin with saying this game is the perfect companion to Contested Ground Studios Hot War. A little adjustment would be needed for sure but the feel is very similar, just less post apocalypse. Yet not much. Picture post World War II Berlin. With the Berlin Wall's concrete still drying the secret cooperative of world power intelligence agencies meet. The purpose is to deal with Nazi Germany's Black Tech ticking like time bombs beneath the badly damaged city's streets. The idea is that this will be done in open view of the other agencies. All the while keeping the horrible truth secret from the world at large. The truth is agents will be placed in the horrible position to steal this tech for their respective governments, take out enemy agents, spy on the other side and struggle with their conscience as they salvage weird tech that is the product of pure evil. What's that? Want to put on the white hat and work with your compatriots to root out and destroy that which could end the world? You'll have to deal with your own government spying on you and possibly eliminating you as a traitor. Plus would your "compatriots" even trust you (or worse use you)? The game is very adept at bringing out the paranoia and hitting all the marks of a really good spy story. The mechanics are shaped to bring this about. I loved the art and writing style. Which I found very evocative. There is already one supplement out but with ample material from espionage and horror fiction you already have many directions you could go. If Mission Impossible and Lovecraft don't have the punch they used to this hybrid serves as a great example as what can be done with the genres.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cold City v1.1
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Don't Rest Your Head
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by Daniel D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/24/2011 20:52:14
This is another game with several reviews behind it. Always a good indicator for a good game! Don't Rest Your Head does what many horror RPGs do with positing a secret world that that the uninitiated are unaware of. What is different here is that the initiated are those that cannot sleep. Not just, "I have slept in a day" variety insomniacs but the, "I haven't slept in weeks" kind. Where as extreme sleep deprivation would result in sudden unconsciousness or death in the real world (look it up) the effect here is unnatural power...at a price. The powers can be as weird as origami that becomes real things to making your shadow do your bidding. These are player generated powers tied to origin stories but a supplement for the game gives other really great ideas. The other world I mentioned is a nightmare city that overlaps normal reality. Peopled by the stuff of dreams and nightmares. Our heroes are trapped within this city for a specified period of time and must stay awake as they hunted by creatures who want them taken care of for various reasons. The interesting trick Fred Hicks does here is using rope that the GM gives freely at player request. To either climb out of a jam, tie up enemies or hang themselves with. The rope is exhaustion and madness pools. Augmented by player request, carrying immense power and risk. They are represented by black and red D6s. Should your exhaustion over take you you fall asleep and fall to the mercy of the monsters who hunt you. Should your madness become too much you become one one of the monsters. For the full system scoop you need to pick up the game. As for the setting it just drips with nightmarish whimsy. The descriptions are not fully fleshed out intentionally to give the GM room to run. The art is composed of unique starkly contrasted black and white photos. The writing is great but like another reviewer I found the examples of play a little hard to follow. So if surreal horror with a dash or urban fantasy is your thing the fantastically designed Don't Rest Your Head should be top of your list. For all others...revise your list to fit this game!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Don't Rest Your Head
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Wraith: The Great War
Publisher: White Wolf
by Daniel D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/17/2011 21:43:22
Wraith. A game that has great potential but has never received (in this writer's opinion) the praise it deserved. If you tried the game but were unimpressed try looking at it anew through the lens of one of the worst wars in history. World War I. Just following the carnage of the war the Shadowlands are being ripped asunder by the Fifth Great Maelstrom. The background of post World War I is there but is rather scant. Just as overview, as is many of the historical old WOD game lines. Be prepared for a little leg work to produce an authentic historical feel. The elaboration on wraithly politics and history are worth the price alone. It is the thinest historical old WOD books produced but the art and writing are all there. Good quality and adept at capturing the despair and waste of the war. Don't try a modern Wraith game until you try this first. Unfortunately unlike the other historical games you don't get the core rules and that may be a boon or insult depending on your needs. I found that this book helped frame my Civil War Wraith game later. Hell, I still consult it even after both campaigns ran their course.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Wraith: The Great War
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