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T4 Marc Miller's Traveller
Publisher: Game Designers' Workshop (GDW)
by Paxton K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/20/2017 06:53:02
I was playing D&D when a friend got the two book boxed set of Traveller for Christmas. I still have them. Owned all the "small" books, Mega, TNE and 2300. Even still have my copies of Twilight 2000 and its various incarnations. Absolutely, adored Space 1889. Unfortunately, 1889 occured WAY before the current Steampunk movement... Much like AD&D, Traveller seemed to suffer as they added to its universe; but I loved the suppliments. I remember rolling up Aslan names for the hell of it! Still waiting on the Basic expansion of Rogues... The "updated" versions of Traveller helped. There were other SF games; but I really loved the basic concept of Traveller. It was gritty SF were the super high tech "future" never really materialized was great. It wasn't the Star Wars RPG that I though of when I first watched Firefly!!! I couldn't imagine at the time that Wheaton had not played Traveller. If you have never played Traveller, T4 could be a rough start. The original 3 books summed up everything and was completely playable from characters, planets amd startships. T4 covers characters and worlds pretty well; but is completely sloppy with starships. I don't mean building them. I mean basic information. It does provide a ship generation system. It is poorly explained and even the sample ships lack important details. That all being said, I feel it was worth the price from Drivethru. I am reluctant to pick up any of the T4 supplements; although they may have the missing information. Likewise the equipment section seems minimal and sometimes contradictory. It does provide enough examples that one could calculate up some equipment from the examples given. Combat retained the old school feel with a few simple updates that helped with the original very lethal to sometimes ineffective of the original. (In the original rules, a hit from an SMG did as many dice of damage as a player had during generation. This meant likely death and almost guarnteed incapacitation. I also remember a fight where a player with a Body Pistol battled an unarmed guard. The player finally won after 4 minutes or so of game time because of the depletion of the guards endurance from exhastion and multiple wounds.) I have read some criticism of the skill resolution system. Its not perfect; but it works really well. One complaint was with the use of "half die". I recommend a six sider broke into three sections. Some of the "new" ideas for Traveller is the notion that players could set a "target" age for generation and a much more flexible system for generating skills and attributes. It still doesn't make "super" characters except with the "Traveller Luck"; but does make much more playable ones. Setting wise, they did not try to make one, so a favorite one or original can be used. This can be handy for those who aren't interested in reading vollumes of Imperial history! It can also be cool for someone who wants the old "there is an Imperium, don't worry about it". I would have probably given this a 4 star; but the typos abound and the organization of some parts a little confusing. It is a solid game, especially if you are comfortable with using rules as guidelines and building from there. I also thought of a 2 star; but it works and they didn't break anything... Bottom line, it could be useful if you are playing another set of Traveller rules or if you have never played and want a taste to see if the Traveller universe is for you.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
T4  Marc Miller's Traveller
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Faserip
Publisher: Gurbintroll Games
by Paxton K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/24/2016 05:58:16

I am not a super hero fan; however, due to plarer request, I ran the original "back in the day". Due to how well the original rules covered the topic, it was not as painful as it could be. the rules were easy to to follow, simple and did not have the "rules lite" feel. Make no mistake, Faserip is for Super Hero roll playing. The rules aren't meant to be used for a spy game or horror. They are for Super Heroes and they cover the topic perfectly. This doesn't mean your Supers camapaign can't focus on these elements, just that it will be Super hero spies or Super Heroes vs. Blthulu.

In tradtion with the original, the rules are tight and simple; but still allow the creation of almost any type of Super Hero. Attributes and powers are handled randomly. This can create some problems with someone getting stuck with a Hero that they have no "connection" or desire to play. Faserip, however, leaves many options that will allow the player to alter their character abillities to make something they prefer. I find this very eloquent. If you want to have command of fire, you still may not get the power through generation; but the choices can allow the player to create something that they can find enjoyable. Of course, the Ref could allow players to make what they want; but I applaude a random generation that creates this kind of flexibility.

Page count is 135 but this is with the formate being half page style. Normally, I would consider this to be fairly short. Instead, in this case, the author has simply covered the topic without any fluff. Faserip has even included some campaign ideas. They explain the rule variations for the camapaigns and give a base ideas. I think this was a nice touch, since most Super Heroes will want to run their own style of campaign.

Knowing that most people will want to run their own style, Faserip included little in the way of examples. This is my only complaint. A more detailed "world" could have been a good way to show how the rules apply; but since Faserip is free, I am glad that they got the rules out to the players. Hopefully, they will create a camapaign world, at least for demo purposes.

Perhaps pne of the greatest strengths of Faserip is that is simple enough to be grasp by younger fans of super heroes. It would be a great game for younger players. It is not a kids game; but the mechanics are stright forward enough that young players could create characters with help and actually understand what their powers, attributes and skills do.

This is a must have game, even if super heroes are not your thing.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Faserip
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Wasteland Treasures 1
Publisher: Outland Arts
by Paxton K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/06/2015 04:07:09

I put a lot of faith in Megan's reviews. She describes the book pretty well. What she failed to do in my opinion was mention that it is 20 pages of TME charts and tables with the fun and interesting writing that accompanies them.

These are not just list. Each entry is a complete write up of the item. That said, there are really not that many tables. Even the Mutant Lord can only squeeze so much writing into 20 pages. (If you are not familiar with his work, he tends to put on a page what most people would put on three. Maybe a disgruntled ex Xerox employee...lol).

Its pay what you want with a suggested price of $.0, so you can't go wrong or feel guilty. It is an excellent example of his writing and its a great resource for any modern/futuristic game where players "find stuff". Players finding stuff? Right?!

I recommend getting it now before the suggested price gets jacked up to a $.25 and you feel a pang of guilt for downloading it for free!

See you at the Bohemian! Now no longer rated the least structurally stable building outside of Tentville!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wasteland Treasures 1
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The Mall Of Doom
Publisher: Outland Arts
by Paxton K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/29/2015 14:32:22

I have written a review of The Mutant Epoch and the Crossroads Gazetteer which may be helpful.

The Mall of Doom is, at heart, a good old fashioned dungeon crawl. It is also so much more. This "dungeon" truly lives and breathes. It is set in the Crossroads area; but it could be anywhere and could work with most PA games or as a module for a lot of other games. As the name suggests, it takes place in the ruins of an ancient mall. It doesn't have to be a mall though. It could also be the ruins of a small town, space port or any other place that would have various stores.

It is intended for beginning characters; however, it recommends that the players use multiple characters in case of deaths. So it can easily be used for much higher level characters. Personally, I am not a fan of players playing more than one character at a time. The Mutant Epoch has a completely random character generation system (or not, depending on your preference). The idea behind multiple characters is that the "cool one" will survive; although which one the "cool one" is can really surprise you.

Being new to the game, I ran this "as is" and had my players use three characters each. Because we used the completely random method to give the game a "test", the results were fairly interesting.

As a "1st level" dungeon it was a fairly good setting. The characters are hired...well to do some stuff. Part of the payment was up front in the way of "relics". This really helped out for the character that fortune had given a "pitchfork" as their weapon. The "dungeon" was located...well lets just say really close to a village where the characters could heal up and do some trading. This was fairly important and not for the usual reason of 1st level characters need to rest a lot. There was plenty of loot to be found! But most of it was not really valuable to an adventurer.

The best part about this dungeon was it really felt like a dangerous place. Things were in place that made it so that sometimes it was repopulated faster than it could be cleared!

Most of the players were down to one character by about 5th level. None of the players' "fav" from generation was the one left standing; but by then all of them agreed it was now their favorite. I can see where this system could have gone horribly wrong; but the "test" had bonded player with character.

Because of the way it was written, even old places felt fresh as the players worked on uncovering the secret. Their was literally more stuff to do in the same place for it to start feeling old.

The module was written with several possible endings (more on that in a minute). Ultimately, the players were able to solve the "problem". I can't say what happened next because it would give away too much. Lets just say the characters ended up just below 10th level and with a nice assortment of loot after returning to the nearby city. It wasn't their first choice of loot; but it definitely set them up for their next set of adventures.

As the first full "module" of TME that I ran for my gaming group, we had all gained a great understanding of the setting. Not only was it a great module, it was a great introduction to TME!

OK, now to the part, I would get to later. This module has two interesting features. It was made to be played as a "choose your own adventure" meaning that one person could sit down and play it without a Ref and all the encounters for each "room" were randomly rolled from several possible choices. So, "room 7" could have a collection of music discs the first time through, a hungry alligator chewing on the remains of a mutant the second time and a partially collapsed ceiling that reveals part of a car and its dead passengers the third time. It could really be run as a dungeon for the same players several times without repeating its self.

My players, after the first few attempts at rushing through it, finally settled down and approached it like the "Mall of Doom" it was meant to be! Honestly, I think the reason that they felt so attached to their characters by the end was because they really felt the "fear". Honestly, only an old GURPS module, Flight 13 has ever caused this kind of reaction in my players.

So, I have to say, its a great module! It is a good start to a TME campaign because of the pay off at the beginning. It also would work well for characters up to 10th Rank easy without modification. It would also work really well for many other games especially ones that are "dungeonny".

I would really like to run this for about a 10th level D&D group as a new "Expedition to the Barrier Peaks". Its well worth the money!

Also, if you are a bored RPer and can't get together with your gaming group for the weekend and don't feel like pugging a raid on WoW, it can make a snow day feel like a holiday!

Hope to see you at the Bohemian, where the Soylent Green has been certified to be PSH free!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Mall Of Doom
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The Crossroads Region Gazetteer
Publisher: Outland Arts
by Paxton K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/29/2015 13:09:47

I wrote a review of the HUB rule book for an overall game review see that entry. On to the Crossroads...

I was a little surprised at first when I noticed the price of a setting book being higher than the game book; but, since I really love the game and I noticed page count wise that it was almost twice as big, I gave it a try.

I really understand why now. Its HUGE!

Since no one has given an in depth review yet, I'll try without ruining the content since it is a setting book.

The first thing that really struck me were the city/town/settlement maps. Not only is the detail far beyond what most gaming books would give; but there is also a 3D picture of most of them. This may not sound as cool as it is; but it really brings the area to life. It doesn't feel like "oh, an number 22 is an inn". The picture view really gives one a sense of being there and is handy to show players. My players really felt like they were going somewhere instead of just to a point on a map. I guess the best explanation I can give is the difference between Google Maps and the Google Maps thing where you can set the camera to street level.

The second thing I noticed was how much was on the map. I had to take an area I knew and pull up Google Maps to the same scale as the one for the area. Yes, you really can get that much stuff into one area without it being "on top of each other".

The next thing that really struck me was how "alive" the setting was. Most PA games concern themselves with the empty barren wasteland. This setting is teaming with life. That doesn't mean you want to encounter a lot of it. It is just a really good example of the kind of "bio-explosion" that could happen if things were mutated or were robotic/cyborg. It is still a "wasteland"; but a different kind than is usually presented.

Crossroads covers two factions that hold a good amount of territory and two sort of alliances. One faction is presented as being fairly "bad" (or really good, depending on your tastes) and one sort of bad. The two alliances are the "good guys"; but, like much of The Mutant Epoch (TME), there is no clear cut good and evil. The book is more about the places in Crossroads than about the factions. It also mentions several other ones that can exist or not.

The Crossroads setting would work well with any PA game that involves some mutants, cyborgs, etc. A very interesting NPC leader also leaves the possibility open that the setting could also work with any space game as a interesting planet or even an "old school D&D" game. Think Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. It is one of the serious strengths to TME in general. It reminds me of the original "fantasy" ideas that were kicked around at the beginning of D&D before they just placed it firmly in a fantasy version of the Middle Ages.

The art work is good and very printer friendly. Honestly, it looks like someone's sketchbook after having travelled through the area. I really think this quality adds to the "feel" instead of pretty pictures that someone used to illustrate what something is suppose to be like.

TME works with the idea that the players are "excavators" searching through the ruins looking for relics. this is a nice point of view for those just interested in "dungeon crawls"; but the rules and this book would allow any type of campaign and suggest different ideas on types.

What didn't I like? Well, the font is a tad small. Not terribly. Most companies would have probably broke this into several books; but it really works better as one book. Outland Arts have several other supplements for places in the Crossroads area; but they are not required and the book doesn't leave "holes" assuming that the other books will fill in the gaps.

What is the best part? It is a complete area that delves deep enough into each place that it gives information on what each place would consider suspicious and why. It not just thorough, a lot of thought that is missing from standard campaign areas has been included.

This book alone could fill an entire campaign for TME or other games where this type of setting would be appropriate. It can also just be an interesting place to visit in a Traveller, Dr. Who, Firefly or even D&D campaign. In short, well worth the money.

Hope to see you at the Bohemian! The first round of Neon Green Mutant Fairy is on me...



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Crossroads Region Gazetteer
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The Mutant Epoch
Publisher: Outland Arts
by Paxton K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/04/2015 03:40:53

This is possibly the best game I have ever purchased out of hundreds of games. I have read the other reviews and will try and fill in some of the blanks for those who are trying to decide if this is the P. A. game they want.

It is set 300 years or so into the future. No one is really sure what the cause of The End was; but it follows a lot of the tropes established. It is not breaking new ground. It is, however, covering this ground thoroughly without getting stuck in every detail.

Mutants, clones, engineered animals, cyborgs and modified humans make up the cast and a little more make up the cast. No mutant plants though. Choice is left to the campaign on how prominent any particular part is. Mutants are divided into five types ranging from the "Ghost Mutant" which appears human to the Freakish Horror Mutant. While the "default setting" includes a good mix of all of them, the system can easily be tweaked for more or less of a particular kind. Although there would be nothing wrong with either, it is not a mutant fest or a human with some mutants setting.

The rules can seem a little overwhelming at first; but essentially break down to a fairly easy with some optional complexity. TME uses a scaling system so no character is "overwhelmed" by another. The equipment is thorough with out getting stuck on listing every possible type of gun possible. The ones given cover the topic and work as examples for creating your own. Almost every piece of equipment has its own illustration so one can get a real feel for the gear.

One complaint has been game balance. I can see where players who are use to all 5th level characters being roughly equal in power could feel that a Pure Stock Human has no chance verses a regenerating Mutant with laser beams that shoot out of his eyes or an armor plated Cyborg with mini guns for arms. This can be especially true at the end of character generation. Pure Stock Humans receive some nice balancing bonuses, especially with gear; but, no, they are not balanced. A balance is sort of achieved by the way people react to the three of them; but is not really a prejudice based reaction. Also, Mutants and Cyborgs have their weaknesses. This would not stop them from killing off the rest of the party if everyone attacked each other right after generation.

TME provides a good excuse for the players to party together. Excavating the ruins is similar to fantasy's dungeons without being so much "and now on to room 33". Scavenging the ruins often involves days of trudging around in dangerous areas and having to camp in them. The rewards can be just as great as any dungeon. The challenge is not beating "bosses"; but surviving in a hostile environment. It is not just a wilderness adventure with random encounters. Deadly birds may fill the skies during the nights, acid filled ants may crawl most everywhere and flower spores may cause those without filter masks to fall into deep slumbers. The "overpowered" Mutant and Cyborg have no real advantage verses these threats. Any type of campaign could be played beside scavenging the ruins from Mad Max, wandering nomads, empire building, etc. Again, the Cyborg and Mutant may not have any real advantage.

"Relics" are not uncommon in the default setting and they are not usually so complicated that their use comes down to luck on a flow chart. the problem is usually having the ammo or power cells to make them work for more than a short time. The rules point out "no one will sell a Relic weapon that still has ammo in it". Most local tech is near medieval level and augmented by some ancient tech.

The rules do not overly concern themselves with it; but they do make a lot of points about the fact that the various trade towns and villages are vital. Not only are they a safe source of food, water and other supplies; but how much can scavenged stuff support adventurers, especially when they start accumulating more than they can carry. Also, much of this scavenged loot may not have any real value to players. A crate of MP3 players might fetch some nice silver in town; but does not help one survive in the wastelands.

The game also emphasizes the danger of these trade towns. It refers to adventurers carrying empty Relic weapons to make muggers think twice. Cyborgs are a walking source of loot. The wastelands are dangerous; but town can be just as dangerous. Also, local rulers may not want certain items in any ones hands but their own. They may trade nicely for the items or simply try and confiscate them. Many towns will also keep a close eye on heavily armed groups, especially ones with loot that may have been acquired in a less than honorable fashion. Mutants can present an even bigger threat. A village filled with Mutants knows their possible powers, potentially making them far more dangerous that a missile and mini gun totting Cyborg.

The Crossroads Region Gazetteer is a supplement that covers a good area for a campaign. It has its factions and secret organizations; but no super organizations that Gamma World did. They are very organic and fit in with the concept of survival instead of world domination. A community that would burn Mutants pretty much on sight may still have better uses for them.

TME does take place in the future and has high tech items; but it keeps them to an advanced level not a super science one. Again, this can be tweaked in either direction. It works well though because the players don't need to feel like they are in an arms race. Sure laser rifles are really deadly. Crossbows can kill too. Power Armor may be king on the battlefield; but it will need charge and the user will need to come out sometime.

One reviewer mention PA social diseases as possibly an unnecessary step; but it highlights the fact no place is truly safe and nothing should be taken for granted.

TME has charts for just about everything and character generation can seem like a trip down random lane. Really, however, attributes and random mutant powers have been the standard in these type of games. The game does have random generation for race, what it calls "castes", which is the characters background, and skills. Overall, the caste and skills do not matter that much. TME is classless and the skills are primarily augmentation to basic abilities. The game assumes the player can survive and do most of what they need to do. It uses a level system; but advancement just allows increases to basic abilities, usually the attributes. Their is no level cap. the basic chart covers from 1 to 20. 2nd level gives the most reward and they decrease from there. This means that by 20th level, there is not too much difference between levels. Again, a strong point of the system, it scales nicely.

The art work in the basic book and supplements is good; but not masterpieces. It is intended to serve as visual references and more than does so. the one exception to this is the maps, especially of the cities. They are some of the best I have ever seen, usually including a 3D view. They really give the feel of the world.

So wrapping this up. 1) The rules are thorough without needless complexity. First time gamers would have no problem picking this up, especially if someone has spent time really learning them and can explain them. I could almost call it rules light, except that has come to mean "descriptors" and maybe a d6 roll for giggles. 2) The book packs plenty inside of it at 250ish pages. It gives the feel of the world without major treatises on it. If I have one complaint, it would be that they used a little more spacing and let the page count run a little higher. 3) Character Generation has rolls for every step of the process and then a few more. Except for Race, though, very little of it really affects the character. Yes, if one rolls through it, they may have been raised as a slave instead of an Elite Soldier or Assassin; but this is background. Even with a caste and skill rolls one doesn't want they can straighten it out as they level. 4) No two characters are going to be "balanced". Even if they are and one finds a charged Laser Rifle that balance will be lost. However, the game is about survival. A Mutant with Laser Eyes should be a blessing if you have a bow and a knife. They have to sleep sometime, so it is in their best interest to let someone weaker have the rocker launcher. 5) Production and support are top notch. Outland Arts seems very dedicated to quality and support. 6) Just about any type of campaign is possible. Mad Max, Conan, dungeon crawls, empire building, hard sci fi, or character driven stories can all be fit into it somewhere or as a different campaign world.

The number one thing I would like to say for people who worry about Min/Maxing, creating the exact character they want or those simply getting carpal tunnel syndrome during character generation is... DON'T ROLL!!! Just because the charts are there doesn't mean they have to be used. the book suggests first time players roll. SUGGESTS. I think this is merely because they are proud that they have managed to put enough charts in that Palladium Press would be impressed. The only two really important rolls are Race and Mutation/Cybernetics. Mutations/Cybernetics change. If you don't believe this. Pick a Race. Roll everything. Then keep rolling them to 10th level. The character may still not be exactly what you want; but you will be surprised how much it can "head in your direction". AGAIN. IF COMPLETELY RANDOM DOESN"T WORK FOR YOU. DON"T DO IT. Their are tons of charts for treasure and ancient Relics. The Ref is not always going to roll and, if they do, they will surely occasionally alter the results. How many missiles will they let you have with no launcher and is Power Armor appropriate for defeating a one mutation bunny? Best purchase ever and the price is beyond reasonable. Outland Arts is offering several bundles of the physical books at great deals on their website, some include signed copies and other goodies.

(Sorry, Drivethu! I have bought almost all of Outlands stuff from you and plan on the rest. And I feel like I should have frequent flyer miles from the rest of my purchases. Its just that is an amazing dead they are offering....)

I hope this was helpful and I hope to see all of you in The Mutant Epoch!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Mutant Epoch
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Just a Game - Playtest Packet
Publisher: Thrythlind Books and Games
by Paxton K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/31/2015 09:27:37

To begin with, this is more of an EXCELLENT essay on the topic and addresses some issues in both paper and pencil and MMO RPGs.

It does do a really good write up of how it could be covered with 3 rules systems. If you are unfamiliar with any of the three, this is perhaps the best review of them I have read.

What it covers

Any version of "Toto, we ain't in Kansas!" All kinds of ideas for how a little reality can affect a campaign.

It also points out some "elephants" that have been hiding in the game room. Ol' School D&D and almost every game sense has used Hit points or some variant. It stated in the players handbook that this was not actual 'damage' but sprains and strains until the death blow. But healing time was best expressed in weeks without a healer. MMOs got that part right. In just a HP system they should regenerate at most by hours and not days.

Likewise in MMOs (Yes, I play those too), I was on an RP server and someone asked how RP was possible. We were "debating" the topic. His genius was, "How are we having this conversation when we are no were near each other???" World of magic and hearthstones and THAT was his hang up? He ignored and I guild kicked (We did this everyday).

If you are just a group of "dungeon crawlers", this offers little for you; although it did offer some excellent ideas on how the MMO idea of "Tanking" could be handled in pencil and paper. Any tactician will appreciate it. The "monsters aren't dummies; but for some reason never off the healers first" rules just got a healthy dose of why.

A couple of personal notes.

The packet talked about the problem that MMOs usually involve "farming". Really, this is just good old fashioned Hex Crawl. it can be combined with a quest like patrol the woods for remaining orcs.

The topic of death is also covered. I recommend Amber Diceless on this topic. Except for hard dungeon crawls, death is a very awkward. Don't kill people!

I had a girlfriend I was introducing to gaming (yes a real one!) and I used the old Basic D&D set. I created an NPC for every class for the one week hike to the dungeon. The first major encounter was with R.O.U.S. (raccoons of unusual size). Anyone who has ever camped knows the thrill wildlife has if you don't maintain strict policing policies. Great fun. Then rainstorms and the great stream cross of the plate wearers. Really the dungeon was the march there and the march back in defeat as they realized how much gold the week hike had cost. Especially, since round trip was a month long.

The reason for this tale was that the packet mentions raids and the forming of them. It so nice when everyone can just "appear there". Paladins use to get that mount at 4th level. Too bad they didn't get the baggage train needed to support it. They eat 40 pounds a day and if you just "graze" them, plan on walking them. And nothing eats them while they hang outside a dungeon.

In short, a great read, good information on the game systems and fantastic ideas, even if the overall does not appeal to you.

It sounds like they were fishing for ideas on where they should go with this. I REALLY want to know. It could make some great campaigns.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Just a Game - Playtest Packet
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Creator Reply:
This is, indeed, a very preliminary package on how to approach the topic. I\'ve since started more heavily delving into a Powered by Apocalypse build including a couple of playtest sessions. Though the PbtA build I\'m using now is much different from the once in the book (I went with a more narrative \"tag\" and \"condition\" method borrowed from Worlds in Peril and Legend of the Elements rather than Harm among other things). I also tend to agree on the death front. To me, Death=paperwork in creating a new character and then story derailment while we find ways to get that character involved. But, I felt it was a subject that needed to be addressed since some groups do prefer that death be a risk. The second build of the PbtA is available on my storefront here and does include some sample campaigns drawn from variations I had run in other systems.
Primeval Thule Campaign Setting (for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game)
Publisher: Sasquatch Game Studio
by Paxton K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/12/2015 07:56:13

Patrick has already done a wonderful job reviewing Thule that I shall skip to some personal points and a few things that could have been explained better.

Thule does work Halflings, Elves and Dwarves into its setting with slight modification. The setting merely includes them or, more correctly, the myth of them. They can be more or less prominent depending on how the DM feels. The Halflings are presented more like pygmies. Most people of the world of Thule will probably regard them as a human variant than as a separate race.

The Narratives are interesting ideas and helpful for fleshing out a character idea; but I did not feel like they were sufficiently developed. They are a good enough idea that some expansion on them would make a great additional book, along with my next point.

Thule uses its own armor, being set in the Bronze Age. I really would like to see this developed a little better. What's included works; but a few more types could really add flavor. A "by the piece" system could work nicely since the setting is intended to have low magic. This works great with pieces because of the normal enchantment problem with a piece system.

Thule does not make any changes to the existing magic system. But magic users are rare, very rare. It would make sense that PC spell casters would become adventurers. They posses an ability that an army can not replicate. the book doesn't allude to it; but this ability could make spell casters being frequently burned at the stake or considered "valuable property" to who can command them.

One really great part about the book is that it doesn't require all of the Pathfinder books beside the basic one. There are a few references to Advanced Players' Guide; but owning it is not required. Thule would make a really good place for all of the Archetypes. Thule doesn't provide new classes. It just suggests what and how the classes from Pathfinder would or wouldn't work.

Thule makes not of changes to equipment; but I would really like to see a "Thule List". Again, its not required; but could make an excellent source book or even just a bonus "mod".

Thule really works. The authors weren't trying to reinvent the wheel. They merely wanted to move the time frame back closer to the invention of the wheel.

I have been working on the Alpha testing of the new Conan Game, have been playing Conan from Mongoose, the Conan books from GURPS and play the Conan MMO. I have been looking for a good "Sword and Sorcery" campaign world that is not tied to the Howard Foundation. I have either purchased or done extensive research on at least 20 systems and this is by far the best.

Good work guys! Keep it up!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Primeval Thule Campaign Setting (for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game)
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A Red & Pleasant Land
Publisher: Lamentations of the Flame Princess
by Paxton K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/11/2015 18:15:35

1st) Why only 4 stars? It ended. While it has a high page count, many are wasted with useful information and not describing the setting. The setting is plenty detailed. If you buy it, you will understand.

2nd) It was worth every cent of $15; but, for gamers on a budget, it is a little pricey. If you can afford it, it is some of the most interesting work done in gaming.

3rd) Which rules? LotFP is a retro clone. The art is amazing and the flavor unbelievable. This module/campaign would play out in many game systems. I hate to say "better"; but I will. The grit of Warhammer 1st or 2nd could really work. Oddly, First Fable came to mind first. Maybe for kids, probably not.

AR&PL reminded me of the Ravenloft setting. It could easily fit in as a realm there; although it would be the cool one. It also could fit as "behind the hedge" for Changeling or the other White Wolf games.

Bottom line, it is genius.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
A Red & Pleasant Land
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Duty & Honour
Publisher: Omnihedron Games
by Paxton K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/09/2015 17:20:59

First off, the two reviews written for this game are both extremely accurate. I can see the teachers point of view and Megan was very informative about the content. Nearly 30 years ago, I worked on a RPG for a Napoleonic setting but never hit a great "angle". not only did this hit a great angle; but it also was about a time period and battles that were not as cut and dry as most of the period. The campaign in Portugal and Spain was not so much epic battles; but a series of fights. Perfect for players to feel like they affected things without changing the course of history.

In these terms, one might ask, "What's the point?" Well, Duty and Honor does an excellent job of making it personal. In a battle that historically had 10,000 casualties, does another 100 really matter? It does if they are YOUR company and Your mistakes added them to that roster. Also, the setting period is full of "almost or could have" events that can turn events without having to slaughter your troops to prove you failed.

The concept behind Duty and Honor is so different from most games that it is hard to rate. It is not exactly story telling and is not really tactical. Although, it could be an excellent story telling game and a more strategic based on small events.

I would love to see a demo to see how the author intended it to play. He may have conceived of a new style of gaming.

I got the game PWYW. If this is his style, I can definitely see financing more of his work.

Why not a 5? Well, he picked an excellent time to set the game and at a little over a hundred pages not a single one is wasted. I loved the art chosen for it. It reminded me of the painting guides to so many war games but with style. I don't encourage plagiarism but what does seem missing is some maps and historical information. I know the period is highly covered in all kinds of books; but, for someone who was new, a simple series of timeline maps with key events would have been helpful and not really that much work. I guess in one way, the period could be completely reimagined by someone who did not do research and they could have a blast. But a timeline of events could also have been tied to the mission system as great examples.

I do not like ratings that say, "Well, for the price..." I feel that can be really demeaning to someone's work. If someone puts quality work out and would have to have 1000 people pay $5 each to recoup his price; but he prices it as PWYW in the hopes that will get it into the market. They are gambling that the market will support it if it is given half a chance.

I read that a Second Edition may be forth coming and I would really like to see that, especially if it irons out a few problems I had.

The reason I said I would like to see it in demo is because I feel unclear how one attempt at combat resolves something, even if both sides fail to achieve anything. I also feel that the character generation, while really fun, can make some very lopsided characters. Characters are generated with a random method similar to Traveller; but the problem is not bad die or unlucky dice rolls but what the player can do with them. Oddly, it is not stack them in combat skills, there aren't any except maybe for mass combat.

In short, I think this was a great game, covering a period that one normally does not get a role playing game to cover. This game would have easily been a 5 if it had even simple man to man combat rules. Actually, simple would have been fantastic and keeping with the theme.

I definitely am going to add some and use this game. The author captured a rare moment in a rare style of one of the great events of human history. It could even go great as a "behind the scenes" story for wargaming. I guess in that, maybe, the author has brought us full circle. From wargames reduced to a man to man level back to the actions of men making the backdrop for a wargame.

I would love so see other periods covered.

And I will firmly pout if he does not do the promised French army and maybe some others.

Hey, he put the add in the back so....

Best wishes to his future work and his "team".



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Duty & Honour
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Blade of the Iron Throne B&W Edition
Publisher: Iron Throne Publishing
by Paxton K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/07/2015 12:04:18

I REALLY wanted to love this game. They have an excellent grasp on the genre and they designed it so it could fit into many different S&S worlds. My initial idea was a "Thieves World" campaign.

Then I really dug into the rules. Much can be customized with in its frame work. That framework has problems.

They really tried to break out of the conventional mold, even stating "Don't loot the bodies". Perhaps a gaming first.

It is a VERY detailed man to man combat system. It is actually more detailed than an Avalon Hill board game called "Gladiator". The smallest move counts for something. Instead of normal "rounds", they have two square off and duke it out until something happens. Then its the next players turn. Combat is deadly and something will happen soon enough; but with more than a couple of players, they might want to bring a book.

Character generation is suppose to be dynamic but it really didn't do anything that FATE or similar games did. Yes, the combat options are super intense; but they are geared to man to man, not man to lion, tiger or bear. And it losses a lot if a group off characters are trying bring down a beast.

Perhaps the part that annoyed me most was the "Passions Attributes". You can have a great background and still have no real "Passion" besides "Going to the Big City"; but you are suppose to have 4 and one will add to your dice to and then one from anything related. Big City: 1 die, Survive: 3 die; become best swordsman: 1 die; defend my honor: 1 die. Power gamers just got 6 die in every combat! 4 "Passion Attributes" were just to many.

Another problem is that skills can default to attributes to easily. No point putting just a couple of points here and there, just stack Attributes. The different styles of combat were neat; but way to complicated for anyone but wargamers.

The book looks good but rules are flung all over the book. Out of 370 some pages, 40 are devoted to a recycled campaign world and the rest are pretty much charts. YUP! That's how many charts go into a one on one battle.

I really liked their philosophy. That is why I rate this as a 2 instead of a one. Useful for some ideas and maybe parts of the combat system.

One last interesting note. I read their forums to see if I was missing something. I really wanted this game to work. They provide no equipment list.

They have detailed attack zones and just list things armor is made of. You fill in the blanks. I might have been less bothered by this except THEY ARE WRONG about the types. They spent so much time trying to "break stereo types" and they are just as guilty.

This game is not all bad. A Gladiator campaign could work really well.

They didn't list armor to avoid the Middle Ages trap. Yet they pulled every Middle Ages melee attack straight from fantasy fiction.

They claim a sword is a sword. They all work the same.

Yea, they sure do...



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Blade of the Iron Throne B&W Edition
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Creator Reply:
Hi Paxton, Thanks for taking the time to create your review! I have posted it over at our forums to get some feedback from the Blade community. The new thread is called \"New Review posted on DTRPG\". Regards, Phil
Legend
Publisher: Mongoose
by Paxton K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/06/2015 19:18:25

Once again Mongoose more than delivers. Normally reviews begin with the Pros. Legend is best covered with the Cons first.

Cons: Clunky. It could stand some streamlining and the system tends to use unconventional rules when a more standard method would have worked. This tends to make the game a little hard to relate to. It kinda reminds me of some of the problems with Basic and Advanced D&D. I know that has been a revival of old style games and you are looking for that Legends "quirkiness" will be no problem. OK that really covers everything negative that I have to say and honestly these problems are easy enough to rework.

Pros: Legend feels more like a frame work than "rules" for a setting. It is very hard for RPGs that are not intended to represent some "elements" of a setting. If Gnoll is on the language list for Elves and not Dwarves, a statement has been made about the relationship of the three races. This tendency is very light in Legend and the few rules that "imply" a Legend world are easily changed. As a matter of fact, Legend seems to have been written with the understanding that they will be modified and this modification is simple to do. Legend really is more than just "classless". It also is very customizable without suffering the problems that "generic" rules can cause.

The next major Pro is it is Open Game License and it is even encourage to make suppliments and settings that the creator can sell! This point is a real consideration. I ran a campaign for 3 years and all of the players and myself had 100s of pages of material that simply could not be published, let alone sold. This should seriously be considered for players who like long term campaigns.

I have been looking for something to replace Mongoose's version of Conan. Trust me, I love Mongoose's version; but, again, Conan is copyrighted and I wanted Conan without the copyright. I have bought just about every game on this sight that tried to do their own version and they just seemed silly compared to Mongoose's work. What I was really looking for was any game that kept magic to an "oddity" like Howard treated it. I put off legend thinking that magic was very interwoven into its frame work. Legend contains several systems for magic. Any or all can be used or not used at all without changing the game balance. Almost every other game that claimed to be "like" Howard still required a good bit to keep the game balanced. Also most of them had their equipment a little more standard fantasy, not the more Classical Age". Legend rides the border and it customizable to easily back up or move ahead tech wise.

I am not going to say the cliché that for less than a dollar, you can't go wrong. But for the price, Legend is something that any gamer should add to their collection. It is worth so much more. Knowing what I know now, I would have gladly paid just about any price for it.

In conclusion, it is not perfect; but this is more a strength than a weakness because it can be used to create "your world" or modified to play in your favorite setting.

I think this may be the most under rated game on the market. It delivers what a lot of games promise; but don't really deliver on.

It's a dollar. Buy it. I think it will spark something in you to create and that is what RPGs are suppose to be all about.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legend
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Firefly Interactive Crew and Ship Sheets
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Paxton K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/12/2015 21:40:40

Can't add anything to what Meagan said; but can offer some advise to her and others in the 'Verse.

Traveller RPG has a lot of free ship designs. They are not Firefly ones; but they may give you a place to start, Some of them that have been done by fans are incredible.

The fuel tanks and engines from Traveller are WAY oversized; but I did the math. Traveller ship tonnage is about 1/10 of Firefly's. This may help in doing deck plans. 2,400 tons for Serenity doesn't help much; but Travellers 240 Tons does.

Hope this helps.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Firefly Interactive Crew and Ship Sheets
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Beasts & Barbarians Golden Edition
Publisher: GRAmel
by Paxton K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/11/2015 12:06:03

I really wanted a Savage Worlds barbarian setting. This covers it; but except for some new Edges and hindrances, falls flat.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Beasts & Barbarians Golden Edition
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Aftermath!
Publisher: Fantasy Games Unlimited
by Paxton K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/11/2015 12:03:48

A rules heavy old style game. They covered the topic well; but have 30 possible hit locations and this was before the D30.

If you like old school; you will enjoy this. It reminds me of Advanced D&D; but really covers the topic with rules and I mean lots of them.

Striving for "realism" over style. This baby is for you.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Aftermath!
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