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Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Annihilation Event Book (Premium Edition)
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Jared R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/19/2013 20:06:22
I really wanted to give this a higher review. The datafiles and the cosmic sourcebook section of this book alone make it an amazing resource for fans of cosmic Marvel stories. However, the actual PDF itself has issues. As of this writing, I can't use Chrome to download the PDF. I'm not sure the specifics of the problem, but I had to go to Internet Explorer to get the download to work.

Not only is the download problematic, but the PDFs chapter links don't work. Clicking on anything brings you back to the start of the PDF, meaning that you can't easily jump to where you want to read in the PDF. Also, the resolution on some of the images look off.

I hope that these issues get straightened out, because the actual content of the book is exceptional, but accessing that information is very troublesome.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Annihilation Event Book (Premium Edition)
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Alternate Occupations
Publisher: IDD Company
by Jared R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/08/2012 14:51:10
I think the completely random nature of DCC's character creation is one of it's biggest strengths, so I'm likely to use the occupation by race or class organization, but it's hard to argue the usefulness of those charts given that it's likely a pretty popular house rule for those running the game.

Still, for two dollars, the expansion of starting occupations and the simple list of what those occupations are is well worth the price of the product.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Alternate Occupations
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Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War X-Men
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Jared R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/20/2012 22:35:01
Not only is this a solid supplement for adding more to your Civil War event, but material like the included Milestones work great for any Marvel mutant themed adventures you might want to run.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War X-Men
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101 New Skill Uses (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Jared R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/04/2012 15:45:56
First off, let me say that I generally enjoy Rite Publishing's material. Even this product has some really good ideas, and its a good concept. I think that skills could use some more options as well. Unfortunately, while some new options really are new options, some are just begging to be abused, and others really should be feats when you look at the overall design paradigm of Pathfinder.

Among the good ideas? Guidelines on bribes based on level, and what kind of information you could get from an autopsy. Great, these are things not currently addressed. Exactly what I'm looking for.

Then some things get clunky. Skill uses that require you to have a minimum number of ranks in other skills seem especially cumbersome. It's not that there isn't a certain logic to it, but at the same time, it complicated and doesn't resemble other rules in the game regarding skills.

Then we get into using diplomacy for calling for a truce, and other skill uses that allow for a very specific use of the skill. Too many players already get hung up on forcing NPCs to do something with social skills, and skill uses like this just encourage "diplomacy as a charm spell" gaming.

Then there are skill uses that allow PCs to ignore difficult terrain (already done with other mechanics that aren't just higher DCs, and kind of messes with people that took those options), and skill uses that allow for shutting down or reprogramming constructs (definitely something I'd require a feat CHAIN for, not just a really high DC).

I really wanted to like this product, and there are some good ideas in this, but it would take too much "this is in, that is out" GM editing, and would open up too many questions compared to just not using the product outright. Here's to more skill uses that are brand new ideas and not just ways to circumvent existing rules with high skill DCs.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
101 New Skill Uses (PFRPG)
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The Genius Guide to Hellfire Magic
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Jared R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/26/2012 17:33:08
The Genius Guide to Hellfire Magic is a fun product. None of the spells presented, even with the “temptation” options of casting them as evil spells, really seem to throw them out of whack. They are evocative and fun.

The domain(s) presented, as well as the witch's hex options, are similarly within what you would expect for domains or hexes within the game.

I'm not sure I'd unleash this option on every game, but these make for nice thematic spells for a campaign where you want either your PCs to be tempted by the forces of Hell, or where Hell is a very present driving factor in the campaign.

For example, I wouldn't hesitate to throw these into a [i]Council of Thieves[/i] campaign or Fire Mountain Games [i]Way of the Wicked[/i] adventures.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Genius Guide to Hellfire Magic
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Way of the Wicked Book Two: Call Forth Darkness
Publisher: Fire Mountain Games
by Jared R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/26/2012 14:43:21
Call Forth Darkness is another solid adventure, although personally, I liked the opening installment just a bit better.

The PDF, like it's predecessor, is beautiful. The layout, colors, and artwork continue to be very impressive.

The Farholde Gazetteer in this book does a lot to bring the setting to life, which I think is important in an adventure path such as this one. The more the PCs realize that there is some history and culture behind the targets they eliminate, the more the fact that the PCs are villains is really brought home.

The article on evil organizations and minions presents a subsystem for managing minions that I wish were available in slightly more generic form for non-evil groups that also have followers. It's nice to have some guidelines as to what all of those “not quite combatants” can do when you take the time to actually be a leader.

An interesting addition at the end of the adventure is the exploration of other ways to structure the adventuring party and frame the AP based on specific themes (i.e. the whole party is clerics, the whole party are wizards, no one is a spellcaster) and what needs to be done to fit that theme. It's not overly detailed, but it's nice to see these musings and I'd like to have seen this kind of thematic conjecture in some of Paizo's adventure paths.

Now, for the adventure itself. When I say I prefer the first installment, it's not a matter of quality. It's from the GM expectation point of view. This adventure could be great or it could nosedive, because while it is a brilliant premise and laid out about as well as you could for this kind of concept, it really depends on the PCs picking up the ball and running with it.

That is true to an extent in the original adventure as well, but without a direct authority figure nudging them as much as they might have had in the first adventure, while the ultimate objective is clear, the compelling bit in the middle might not be as cool if the PCs don't get the vibe that the adventure is sending out (i.e. if they treat this as a dungeon to clear out rather than one to dominate).

One last nit pick that I will try to throw out there without spoiling too much. I love the security point concept, but wish it did more than it does. The payoff isn't quite as tangible outside of the metagame rewards.

All in all, recommended, and greatly recommended. Just pray that your players really relish being villains and not just evil characters.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Way of the Wicked Book Two: Call Forth Darkness
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Way of the Wicked Book One: Knot of Thorns
Publisher: Fire Mountain Games
by Jared R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/10/2012 21:17:35
I wasn't sure what to expect with this product. It was a novel concept. I have to admit that I've been skeptical of evil campaigns before. But between the sales pitch and the buzz, I wanted to see what this was about.

I'll get the cosmetic out of the way first. This book is pretty. There isn't a ton of art, but what there is is good, and fits the theme. The format, colors, and presentation all look really sharp. This is a first class production just based on looks.

But to get to the crux of the matter, how is the adventure?

It's great. The set up is fun, and there is a great sub-system that is simple but perfectly logical for resolving the final act of the adventure.

The advice for evil campaigns is simple, but pretty logical, especially as applied to this campaign. There is a semi-random character generation method I'm not sold on, but the campaign traits are thematic and perfect to set the tone of the adventure.

All in all, if you have ever been curious about how to set up an evil campaign to avoid the general pitfalls that might come about, this is definitely worth a look, even if you only use it as a model for your own ideas.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Way of the Wicked Book One: Knot of Thorns
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Due Vigilance- The Oktobermen
Publisher: Vigilance Press
by Jared R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/04/2012 20:32:13
This is a great product. A team of (varying degrees) evil mercenaries with magical powers, the group is pretty useful anywhere you run a supers game that does, indeed, have magical powers as any part of the game. I have two magical characters in my campaign, I as I read the entries, I could pretty easily start coming up with scenarios where at least one of them would run afoul of this group.

What I like even more is that they work as a team, but using any of the characters individually isn't a bad option either. They are a bit on the Vertigo side of squickiness scale, but the degree to which you push the issue is obviously up to you.

For even more fun, there is a chart that tracks the relationships between the characters, so that you get a better feel for how to run them as a team and how they would react to one another as well as the PCs. That's a nice addition to the mix.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Due Vigilance- The Oktobermen
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Devilish Duos: Strange Attractors
Publisher: Vigilance Press
by Jared R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/04/2012 20:26:41
If you are interested in this product because of previous offerings from Vigilance Press, such as the Oktobermen, and you want some interesting villains to throw in your campaign, this isn't what you are looking for. But you still want this.

Why? Okay, if you never, ever have any kind of romantic interactions in your campaign, maybe you don't want this. But if you do, there is a lot of really nice information in the product. There is some pretty sound general advice about romance in supers campaigns, new advantages and features for Mutants and Masterminds that have to do with romantic interaction, and there is even a subsystem for determining romantic progress, as well as details on what happens when heroes get a broken heart.

Now, I've heard people say, across various game systems, that you don't need rules to roleplay. I agree, but having good rules that aren't overly intrusive and reinforce roleplaying certainly doesn't hurt when it comes to nudging someone that might not take time to woo an NPC to do so.

The actual NPCs are fun as well, but not really villains, and barely heroes. They are a nice addition to the campaign if you have a game where you explore superhuman celebrities that are not strictly the crusading type, and they have a few nice, subtle applications of the rules detailed in the supplement applied to them.

The unsung hero of the piece is the poor guy that gets the least details on him. Just the bit about Serval's rogues gallery makes me want to see him get his own write up, and I have a feeling that his rogues gallery, further fleshed out, would make Flash's rouges look like the League of Assassins by comparison.

The art is very nice, definitely on par with the upper tiers of RPG publishing, and the layout and look of the stat blocks is very sharp. I can't recommend this if you really don't have any romantic notions of any sort in your campaigns, but if you do, or you want to explore adding it, or you just want to see how mechanics that reinforce roleplaying interpersonal relationships could look like in Mutants and Masterminds, I don't think you could do better than this.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Devilish Duos: Strange Attractors
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