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Savage Worlds Horror Companion
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/27/2011 00:21:53
WHAT WORKS: The updated Bestiary, the swell new powers and PC Monsters. Yes, it may not be your cup of tea, but I love-love-love-LOVE seeing that in here. The fortune telling rules also look great (and simple), as well as the ritual rules.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: The GM section is nothing special, and nothing we haven't read before. The cover is another cheesecake scantily clad cover like the other companions, which is kinda disappointing.

CONCLUSION: Probably my favorite companion thus far, as I felt like the Fantasy Companion kinda lost something from the Toolkits and I like Necessary Evil and its plot point campaign more than I like the Super Powers setting rules and slew of NPCs. This one, on the other hand, felt packed full of goodness and whatever it may have lost from the Toolkit PDFs, it more than made up for with better organization and the monster races. Best companion by far, in my book.

For my full review, please visit: http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2011/10/tommys-take-o-
n-savage-worlds-horror.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Horror Companion
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Agents of Oblivion
Publisher: Reality Blurs
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/20/2011 01:21:19
WHAT WORKS: A great alternative for people who may have liked BLACK OPS or CONSPIRACY X but decided they weren't fans of GURPS of Classic Unisystem anymore (like me!). The book is all about options, options, options, not about shoe-horning in a single way to play...(sometimes, that shoe-horning is fine, and sometimes, you just want options, options, options). And I do so love me some random tables, even more than I do Legendary Edges.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: I always prefer a character sheet IN the book, and the PDF is also sans index. Now, while that's not a HUGE issue in a searchable, bookmarked PDF, it can be noticeable in a printed book. Also, I likes me a good bestiary, and this does look a true bestiary (though there is a sample alien or two to play with, to say nothing of the generator).

CONCLUSION: At only $10, I'm not shocked at all that this book shot to the top of the sales charts upon release. You can do straight up spies, you can do X-Files, you can do mutant super agents if you like, and it's at least 95% compatible with other Savage Worlds stuff to boot, so how can you go wrong? (Bonus points if you combine it with the Gritty options from Realms of Cthulhu for some real bone breaking action).

For my full review, please visit: http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2011/10/tommys-take-o-
n-agents-of-oblivion.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Agents of Oblivion
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Totems of the Dead: Game Master's Guide to the Untamed lands
Publisher: Gun Metal Games
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/11/2011 23:04:23
WHAT WORKS: I love a good bestiary, and this is a very good one, as well as random tables, and this has both an adventure generator and a nameless horror generator. Worth the price of admission right there.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: In a perfect world, it would be nicer if the Player's and GM's guides had been folded in together, but my understanding is that would have proven prohibitive to printing costs, if for no other reason than the information in each book feels SO complimentary to the other that each book feels a bit anemic on their own.

CONCLUSION: Totems of the Dead is a nice twist on the Swords and Sorcery genre, and with the release of the GM's Guide, players and GMs have a ton of material available for tribal butt-kicking action. The monsters in the bestiary may be a tad too specific to the setting to be of use for non-Totems of the Dead games, although a little re-skinning can go a long ways, and that Nameless Horror generator can be busted out in a variety of games...(say you need something for the Whateleys to summon in a pinch in your Deadlands game, for instance). Another great product from Gun Metal Games.

For my full review, please visit: http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2011/10/apologies-for-
-lack-of-reviews.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Totems of the Dead: Game Master's Guide to the Untamed lands
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Realms of Cthulhu
Publisher: Reality Blurs
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/02/2011 19:42:40
WHAT WORKS: Savage Worlds can only be played one way? Think again. Sean Preston and Reality Blurs tackled the enormous task of taking a game known for high octane adventure, and making it entirely feasible to run it as a dark, gritty, defeatist setting...or you can keep the dials turned up to 11 and scream back into the face of madness, as befits your group. That's a win right there. The character sheet is a fantastic design, and the PDF is a gorgeous piece of work.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: We'll go with...I dunno...could have used more Savage Tales. OH. Deity was mispelled Diety in one heading (at least on my copy of the PDF), SO THERE.

Conclusion: I would call this an almost essential buy for a Savage Worlds GM, especially as the options inside go a loooong ways towards helping you adjust your own games to fit the lethality or harshness you may want from it. I'm working through the Complete Works of HP Lovecraft myself right now, and so this review was very timely for me to do right now. Just an amazing product on every level, and a fine example of the potential of Savage Worlds.

For My Full Review, Please Visit: http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2011/10/tommys-take-o-
n-realms-of-cthulhu.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Realms of Cthulhu
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Moreau-1 Files (ICONS)
Publisher: Vigilance Press
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/18/2011 14:37:07
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: The Moreau-1 Files is seemingly unconnected to the USHER setting, the Wargame setting or the world being laid out in the Field Guide to Superheroes, but also seems like it would be very simple to insert in a number of settings. This $1 supplement is basically two full character write-ups: The android Moreau-1, and his creation Erapato. Moreau-1, as his name implies, is all about genetic engineering, tinkering with people and animals. It is laid out in the form of stolen intelligence, setting up the menace of Moreau-1. Erapato is an interesting creation, a type of elephant man designed to be the leader of Moreau-1's new race, though he's not so much a fan of his creator's tactics. Three plot seeds are also provided for using the material within.

WHAT WORKS: Moreau-1 and Erapato both have interesting character hooks, with Moreau-1 serving both as a supervillain arms dealer and a mad scientist, and Erapato perhaps attempting betrayal of Moreau-1 could make for some fun gameplay. As noted, the characters could fit well into a variety of supers settings with little work.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: Not much, especially for the price.

CONClUSION: Personally, I see a fair amount of potential use just out of this release (the first of three). There seemed to be a weird shift in fonts on the adventure seeds, but nothing to get too excited about. Thumbs up.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Moreau-1 Files (ICONS)
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Action Scenes: Museum Mayhem (ICONS)
Publisher: Vigilance Press
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/18/2011 14:36:35
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: This Action Scene for ICONS is a little pricier than the Vigilance Press Battlescenes that have been released in the past, but you're also looking at about an additional 10-12 pages this time. The premise is a hostage situation at a museum, in which a sorcerer and his minions are repelling the authorities, so your superheroes get called in to do the deed.

What ensues is a nice set-piece against a sorcerer who has a variety of minions from generic thugs to mystics to mummy wraiths. If the villain's plan succeeds, it provides (intentionally or not) a shot out to the X-Men villain the Living Monolith. The adventure has lots of sidebars and "What Ifs" to help you out in case the whole thing is going too smoothly or two simply.

Two pages of figure flat stand-ups are included, for those who like such things (and I do), as well as a new power: Summon (more commonly used by villains than heroes, but laid out here just the same).

WHAT WORKS: Some VERY nice art here, my favorite piece being an action scene on page 6. A good amount of flexibility is written into the adventure, to help the GM along. The adventure is set in the USHERverse, the "modern day" of Vigilance's WWII setting, but you could easily replace USHER with SHIELD or AEGIS or whoever, if you wanted to move it into a new setting.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: And here we start getting into the problems of open content: Redundancy. Misfit Studios' DOOM filled in the same gap of a missing "Summon" type power, so now we have two third party versions of the power out there...and what happens when Adamant decides to do it themselves? My only other gripe is that I wish Vigilance had handled the new power the way Adamant handles new powers, by providing a "substitution suggestion" for the Summon power, for folks who prefer rolling up characters versus point buy (I hate ICONS point buy).

CONCLUSION: Not surprisingly, this is another great product by Vigilance, with sleek production values, lots of stat blocks you can use for your own stuff, printable stand-ups and more. I believe Vigilance will continue to be a growing force in supers gaming in the future.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Action Scenes: Museum Mayhem (ICONS)
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Wargames: Copperhead Guard (ICONS)
Publisher: Vigilance Press
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/18/2011 14:35:51
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: A while back I reviewed WARGAMES: HEROES AND VILLAINS OF THE COLD WAR, which introduced General Venom (who is really kinda cool)...this supplement is The Copperhead Guard, General Venom's elite force of female assassins. Incidentally, the sole character image works, because the women all wear uniforms and tend towards similar hair styles (reddish, what with the copperhead image and all).

WHAT WORKS: Well trained mook stats are always nice. And really, anything without an individual name shouldn't be much more than that.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: Qualities and Challenges got swapped, unfortunately. This really just feels like an add-on to General Venom, as they are his bodyguards with nary a real personality to be found.

CONcLUSION: Not bad, but nothing particularly interesting, especially compared to, say, Moreau-1 Files, which is the same price but feels "heftier". It is worth noting that the Copperhead Guard aren't complete pushovers, especially when you factor in their Specialties.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Wargames: Copperhead Guard (ICONS)
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Beasts & Barbarians Player's Guide
Publisher: GRAmel
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/09/2011 00:39:22
WHAT WORKS: Some great setting rules, as well as Edges and Hindrances, which are always welcome. I'm a very big fan of the After the Adventure chart, but random tables are right up my alley. The Ghoulblood Edge nearly made a character spring to mind almost fully formed. The interior artwork is, by and large, fantastic. Early signs are that support for the setting will be strong, with two free adventures released thus far.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: Still room for expansion (although that may be a pro, you decide), especially in the bestiary (in my opinion). The setting does nothing to really GRAB me...nothing bad, mind you, just nothing that makes me say "Dread Sea Dominions is THE Swords and Sorcery setting". No Legendary Edges, especially in a genre like this, disappoints me.

CONCLUSION: GRAmel enters the Savage Worlds ring in a big way with a stacked setting book and strong support for the line. They made the best of their page count, providing a lot of material for the price. There are several cool bits that can be lifted for other games if you so choose, and the book heartily embraces flexibilty in your play style within the genre...(I demand a minisupplement of Comedy Edges). Anyone coming into the game with shoutouts to David Jarvis and Sean Preston alongside Shane Hensley probably has their head on straight, and Beasts & Barbarians is a strong addition to the Savage Worlds library. GRAmel should have a bright future in the publishing realm. Strong recommendation.

For my full review, please visit: http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2011/09/tommys-take-o-
n-beasts-barbarians.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Beasts & Barbarians Player's Guide
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Totems of the Dead: Players Guide to the Untamed lands
Publisher: Gun Metal Games
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/08/2011 00:56:17
WHAT WORKS: No Power Points as well as a TON of useful mechanical material and options that can be used even if you're not necessarily a fan of the setting. A swords and sworcery setting with a bit of a different feel to it than what you typically see. The art is some of the most gorgeous and evocative art, especially in a black and white book. Each piece helps drive home the "feel" of the world.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: The split into two books hurts it...especially while the second half is yet to be released, with no bestiary present in the Player's Guide, no GM's section, no Savage Tales, etc. Some of the human cultures seem imbalanced among each other, with some gaining bonuses above and beyond the others without any harsher drawbacks than what is faced by the others...(for instance, two cultures being illiterate but one also gaining a skill bonus to boot).

CONCLUSION: While swords and sorcery has been done, Totems of the Dead does look at it through a different lens, as pre-Colonial Americas isn't the most used setting (or even setting inspiration), so it is nice to see a new approach to a classic genre. The layout is as eye pleasing as any black and white book I recall seeing, not a surprise given the company. It just really feels like it needs that "part 2" to make it complete (and I think I would feel that way even if I hadn't already seen at least most of the material). A fantastic offering by Gun Metal Games that shows they are capable of more than just Cyberpunk.

For my full review, please visit: http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2011/09/tommys-take-o-
n-totems-of-dead-players.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Totems of the Dead: Players Guide to the Untamed lands
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All for One: Régime Diabolique
Publisher: Triple Ace Games
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/18/2011 19:36:43
WHAT WORKS: I dig the magick system, as I already have a fondness for that type of "construct your spell" system, and a very good amount of game information is provided. I had no prior experience with Ubiquity, but it feels familiar enough to systems I have had experience with that it doesn't seem like it would be hard to pick up at all. As with Hellfrost, Triple Ace Games has a TON of support for the setting in the form of adventures and microsupplements. The concept is just cool...I like fighting monsters in more than just a "kill 'em all and take their stuff" capacity, and the whole "Everyone's a Musketeer" thing helps you bypass that "why are your characters on the same side, again?" thing that comes up in some games.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: Given the setting, as I'm not even a remedial student of French history, a closer look at the setting would have been great. I mean, there's enough there to run with, but it's kinda spread around from the beginning of the book to the end. Also, you can never go wrong with including an adventure generator...just saying.

CONCLUSION: I'm way more enthusiastic about Savage Worlds stuff, so if I had to pick a Triple Ace franchise and run with it, it would certainly be Hellfrost. That said, Ubiquity seems like a really easy system to pick up, which is always a plus. I actually like the Magick system better than I do Savage Worlds powers. It wouldn't take much encouragement to get me digging into the microsupplements, especially stuff like Guide to Expanded Terrors and Creatures of Sin. If you don't mind learning a new system and the idea of Three Musketeers vs Demons, Vampires and Witches appeals to you, then I heartily give this a strong recommendation.

For my full review, please visit: http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2011/08/tommys-take-o-
n-all-for-one-regime.html

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
All for One: Régime Diabolique
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Hellfrost: Gazetteer
Publisher: Triple Ace Games
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/17/2011 19:07:12
WHAT WORKS: The writing takes care not linger too long on any one place and painstakingly drive it into the ground. There are some great plot seeds if Hellfrost isn't hampered with a metaplot (I haven't read any of the adventures yet, and there is no plot point campaign). This book runs fairly light on the art, which means there's a lot of setting material inside the pages.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: I like extra crunchy bits, so I'm not quite as "Wowed" with the Gazetteer as I am the Player's Guide and the Bestiary, but that's just me. I caught an odd typo or two, like "Grey" and "Gray" being used for the same location within a sentence of each other.

CONCLUSION: While Hellfrost has a very central premise, the Gazetteer does a really nice job of establishing that the evil in the realm is not monolithic, meaning that there is more to do than just fight one bad guy and his minions. The Gazetteer gives you enough information to run with most places that might interest you, and they have a ton of microsupplements to "zoom in" on a given location if that interests you. In fact, if the setting only had the three books I just reviewed, it would still be a strong, fleshed out setting...but Triple Ace Games has released an amazing amount of support for it since its release. For me, I would place it near Midnight and Ravenloft among RPG fantasy settings (and I mean that as an extreme compliment). If, like me, you're a Savage who passed over Hellfrost in the past, you should probably rectify that.

http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2011/08/tommys-ta-
ke-on-hellfrost-gazetteer.html

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Hellfrost: Gazetteer
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Hellfrost: Bestiary
Publisher: Triple Ace Games
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/16/2011 21:48:31
WHAT WORKS: As good of a setting bestiary as I have ever seen. The art is a mix of great color pieces and well-done pencil sketches, a combination that probably works better than it should. Some of the entries, like Assassins, have unique abilities that serve as a helpful reminder that not all adversaries need to come off a shopping list of powers and abilities. If you don't mind the over abundance cold-related enemies, many of these entries can be used in any Savage Worlds fantasy game with a little re-skinning.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: Really just an odd bit or two...for instance, there's an agile, undead creature that can only be killed by being grappled...but there's never a reason given as to WHY a grapple does automatic damage to it. There's still that whole "three book buy-in", but looking at the sheer amount of information crammed into the first two thus far, I'm starting to see why it had to happen that way.

CONCLUSION: You might be happy with the Orc entry from the Savage Worlds rulebook. I love "Orc" being divided into 13 specialized archetypes, then further modified by the nine different tribes. It's just how I'm wired. The Hellfrost Bestiary takes the awesome of Savage Worlds and gives me that extra bit of mechanical goodness I love, rather than giving me a dozen entries and advice on just re-skinning orcs every time I want something mean and humanoid. Great product that makes me really want to run Hellfrost (I have a love-HATE relationship with wintery stuff...as in, I think winter is pretty much hell, but I love it from a setting/storytelling standpoint). Highly recommended even if you're just a Savage GM with the extra money to spare and stumped on monsters.

For my full review, please visit: http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2011/08/tommys-take-o-
n-hellfrost-bestiary.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hellfrost: Bestiary
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Hellfrost: Player's Guide
Publisher: Triple Ace Games
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/15/2011 21:36:39
WHAT WORKS: Um, most everything. Gorgeous book, very affordable print price, a ton of great examples as to how to tweak Savage Worlds to fit a setting without mangling the core of the system, the well-done Glory rules and a couple of Edges that I'm already planning on swiping for other games (how you doin', Tactician?).

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: While we get a basic overview of the land, we don't get even a few monsters, so you either buy the Bestiary, play with the selection in the corebook or use entirely humanoid antagonists (nothing wrong with that last one, mind you). While it's not unheard of for Savage Settings to extend past one book, fact is that most of them are usually playable either alone or with the rulebook, and Hellfrost really feels like it does need at LEAST the Bestiary to get the most from it.

CONCLUSION: Wiggy knows his Savage Worlds, there is absolutely no doubt. I am ashamed that it took me this long to pick up the Hellfrost Player's Guide. Even if I never run the setting, there's a ton of mineable material and system tweaks to apply to other SW games, easily. The product reminded me a lot of cracking into new AD&D settings back in the day, and I mean that as a compliment. There's a reason Hellfrost is so well regarded, clearly. One of the best third party products...no, check that...one of the best Savage Worlds products I've read, despite the near-mandatory three-book buy-in.

For my full review, please visit: http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2011/08/tommys-take-o-
n-hellfrost-players-guide.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hellfrost: Player's Guide
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Horror Show
Publisher: Avalon Game Company
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/14/2011 16:54:32
WHAT WORKS: A tested system that has depth without being too crunchy, combined with an obvious passion and knowledge of the genre. The book really shines with the Monster sections, where they provide both a number of ready made monsters as well as powers and guidelines to build your own from scratch. And yes, if you choose, you can use the Monster Powers section to make characters with special powers (like the psychic chick from Friday the 13th Part VII) or even play the game as a straight up Monsters game. Oh, and I love that cover so much.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: None of the provided Features did much for me, but they don't take up much room anyway. There are still a few places where they probably carried over a bit TOO much information from the previous Network system games, but that's a maybe.

CONCLUSION: Yeah, I doubted the guys that made me like both a mob-based RPG and a terrorist/Homeland Defense based RPG. I'll learn someday. Probably the biggest problem the book faces is that most groups probably have a go-to game for horror at this point, be it GURPS Horror, All Flesh Must Be Eaten (which is easy to mod for non-zombie horror with the genrebooks out at this point), new World of Darkness or what-have-you...and there's probably not anything in this book that just SCREAMS "ditch your go-to game in favor of Horror Show", other than being written with few, if any, assumptions in mind. For my part, even if I never actually use this to run a game with, I have little doubt that I'll constantly pull it up for inspiration when running horror games. Did I mention I really love the cover? Very strong recommendation if you like horror RPGs, and one of the strongest releases by Bedrock Games to date, in my opinion.

For my full review, please visit: http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2011/08/tommys-take-o-
n-horror-show.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Horror Show
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ICONS: Hero Pack 2.5
Publisher: Ad Infinitum Adventures
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/06/2011 13:03:49
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: For $5, you get six new characters as well as an adventure with map and standees. In addition, Galacticron (who was lurking in Hero Pack 1) is present here, along with a couple of other villainous types specific to the adventure. The adventure itself is a pretty basic affair, with Lady Omega ripped Galacticron across space and into the New Mexico desert, in hopes that he will destroy Earth. The kicker, of course, is that the PCs can't really harm him directly.

WHAT WORKS: I really dig a couple of the new villains, like the tech-stealing Ephemera and Sequence - a villainous powerhouse who has received a serious upgrade. I actually wrote a comic script with villains similar to the "space locusts" that are presented here (although mine were more like cockroaches), so that's rather cool.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: The adventure could have used some editing, and while Lady Omega is TECHNICALLY a fully useable character...she comes across like the barest stereotype of a supervillain. Also, the "useable map" sure looks like it would be DRAMATICALLY off scale for the standees (and that's being generous with the definition of "scale"). I would have liked, say, a page of Lakmar Shock Trooper standees, myself...I mean, if you're going to use them, you're going to want a bunch of them.

CONCLUSION: A good product, with a great example of an adventure where the heroes HAVE to think outside the box, at least with the Galacticron problem. Despite the paper-thin characterization of Lady Omega, she does at least have a cool look and power set, so an enterprising GM can build from there.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
ICONS: Hero Pack 2.5
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