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Revelation: A World at War - Dark War Series Novel
Publisher: Tiny Battle Publishing
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/20/2019 16:09:15

BLUF: I cannot give this 5 stars. 4 stars may be too generous. I read this to get a handle on the lore surrounding the Dark War Rebooted game I bought from TBP. The game lore differs in dates from the book. The book says the war starts May 14th the game says it starts May 22nd. This is glaring as the book indicates several times when the war starts just as the game does. In each case the lore of both book and game differ.

(SPOILERS) The lore covering the encounter of Martin Witherspoon and the vampires is quite different between the book and game.

I am not sure which came first the book or the game, but I know that it is difficult to maintain suspension of disbelief when errors while small are so obviously different.

I realize that this is self published. I also realize the author is professionally published, but I also realize that the author is not a professional editor. If you are going to self publish I would ask that the author spend some time making the various stories published across the ouvre be consistent.

Having said all that the story is creative and entertaining. There are errors discussing tactics and equipment. The author was a Navy diver. I was a loader, gunner, and tank commander on the M1. I have also been a Night Battle Captain, Assistant S3, and Tactical Intelligence Officer in a M1A1 battalion; FIRST TANK! I joined the military in 1983. The war I spent my adult life preparing for was the war depicted in this book. I could tell the author gave it much love. This is where the 4 stars come in. The author's love for the subject matter.

This is not Larry Bond, Harold Coyle, or Tom Clancy. It is not that polished. Don't expect the depth, breadth, or tight plot of any of these books. It is a ripping yarn. Worth the 2 dollar price tag. I would not spend more than that.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Revelation: A World at War - Dark War Series Novel
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Creator Reply:
Thanks for taking the time to review the book. And thanks for your service. BTW, personally, I think I kick Coyle, Clancy's, and Bond's ass, but your mileage obviously varies.
Savage Rifts: Character Folio
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/26/2019 00:26:42

Not formfillable. This was complained about a year ago still not fixed. The first two pages are direct copies of the Character Sheet and therefore have little space to put powers, cybernetics, gear etc. Other pages are provided for powers, but not cybernetics. There is a notes page with graph paper style grid, however if you turn off "background" in the layers section the Coalition skull that fills a quarter to a third of the page turns black and you lose that much space to write in. Overall this was not a well thought out folio. The support for this product is lacking. Since people have commented in the discussion section about the product not working as advertised over a year ago and it is still not fixed. Not worth 5 dollars. Do yourself a favor if you want a folio for your character make one on notebook paper.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Rifts: Character Folio
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Reedwater
Publisher: Anderian Designs Ltd
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/21/2019 00:47:33

BLUF: This was written for "Strands of Fate" and uses terminolgy from Spirit of the Century. It is compatible with other versions of Fate if you are willing to work really hard to make it so.

The Reedwater Campaign would work quite well as a fantasy strand for Strands of Fate. The NPCs are well thought out. The sand box is truly full of wonderful ideas and maps. However, don't expect to understand how to use this product at first glance without understanding how Strands of Fate plays. For those of you coming from Fate Core or FAE be prepared to be very confused. To use the magic users in the game you need to understand the magic system presented in Stands of Fate. To use the skills you need to understand the skills from Strands of Fate.

Each NPC has 10 Aspects! (Strands of Fate only has 6 so that seems quite odd). Sticky aspects are referred to something in Spirit of the Century.

I'll give this three stars because it is a good campaign for Strands of Fate, but it will not work straight of the box for other Fate systems.

EDIT: Now I am not sure it will work quite right with Strands of Fate either.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Reedwater
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High Fantasy Magic: A Simple Magic System for Fate Core & Accelerated
Publisher: Nathan Hare
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/07/2019 01:10:03

BLUF: Great not Superb. There is room for improvement. Add Drain a la Shadowrun. The stunts are well thought out and useful for thinking of others. The discipline ideas are great, but would have benefited from thorough descriptions of skill usage and the four actions with each discipline (what can it do, what can't it do). There is only 19 pages. So the rules are light in description, but have great impact for players willing to spend a bit of skull sweat to define the uses of their disciplines.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
High Fantasy Magic: A Simple Magic System for Fate Core & Accelerated
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Burning Wheel Gold: Hub and Spokes
Publisher: Burning Wheel
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/15/2018 13:52:15

I want a pdf version of the book. This is a great intro, but the hard copy isn't the easiest thing to navigate. There is a good index but a pdf would certainly make using the book easier. I have a physical copy and it is beautiful. I just don't feel like getting a degree in Burning Wheel just to find obscure references. Please consider making a pdf version available.

For just an intro and the fact that this is free I'd give it 5 stars. However, there is so much missing it really leaves you in the dark about the really great system that Burning Wheel presents.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Burning Wheel Gold: Hub and Spokes
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Strands of Fate 2nd Edition
Publisher: Void Star Studios
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/25/2018 21:12:01

BLUF: This is not Fate Core. I was looking to use this as a toolkit to modify other settings I was using. That can't happen.

The rules are so different that it is for all intents a completely different game using Fudge dice. Some of the terminolgy is the same but the dissimilarities are jarring. I have tried this system before with Nova Praxis, but it is just too much to try to learn a new set of rules that "seem" like the old set of rules, but isn't.

I am giving it three stars because it is a fairly good engine. And that is the problem. It isn't as good as Fate Core. The production values, art, editing, etc just isn't to the same standard. The rules themselves are ok. They are trying to be like Fate Core but also crunchier and that just doesn't work...at least not for me. Fate-likes are narrative games at center and just don't do crunchy well.

I wanted better but felt dissappointed.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Strands of Fate 2nd Edition
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Tachyon Squadron
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/16/2018 23:59:46

BLUF: It is a good supplement. Not exceptional. Space Opera/Military Sci-Fi mash-up...maybe.

Good. You can always use a scyfy military game. I loved BSG and Space Above and Beyond so this is right up my alley. I love Military Sci-Fi, such as the Fleet series. The tropes put forward in this title are to be expected based on the bibliography in the back of the book.

I like the new mechanics presented in this book. They include a new engagement process to conflict for Dogfighting that I really like. It puts tactics in there as more than a place holder. I used to read all the stories of fighter combat in WWI, WWII, and Korean War. This is faithful and not complicated, and really captures the excitement of aerial combat. (It even has a copy of Boelke's Dicta!) Stress for PCs is handled differently. For those familiar with Fate you will immediatly recognize the simplified use of the stress track common to NPCs in the regular game. (I don't think the change was necessary as someone that has played Fate for years now) Character creation supports building PCs that are aerial gunslingers. You can almost feel the swagger. As for Aspects the new addition to the mix is "Decompression" it takes the place of a Trouble. You have a healthy and an unhealthy way to decompress from the stress of being a fighter pilot. Of course these provide you with great plot hooks. You have a different way to approach Stunts. You have familiar Personal Stunts (2 free the rest cost refresh) and Gear Stunts which are not like Extras! Gear stunts allow you to "Maximize" your dice. Say you have a peice of gear that gives you technical advice when you roll 4dF you can change one of the dice from a 0 or - to a +. You can do this for a max of two dice per roll using two different pieces of gear. I love this mechanic. It is crunchier than normal and makes gear helpful but not overpowering. (You can have as many pieces of gear as the GM allows)

Not so good. I miss the Tazio Bettin and Enrica Eren Angiolini art that came with the old Fate books. This is of course a personal observation. To me the art in this book is simplistic and a bit muddled. I don't feel that there is the art that evokes the look and feel of a fighter or spaceship. The nose art on fighters is a thing in the campaign.It is mentioned specifically but the examples shown just seem way out of touch with real nose art. There are a plethora of examples of real nose art (and fanciful nose art) on the interwebs use that (and it makes me wonder if the artist even tried to do the same). I am also disappointed in the choice to use bizarre personal pronouns. Referring to an individual as "they" in character descriptions is disruptive to the reader. I lost count of the number of paragraphs I had to reread b/c someone couldn't just say him/he/her/she. I also find it disconcerting that the authors thought it was necessary to add in the sexual orientations and attitudes of the pregen PCs. Of the 6 PCs we have two people who are gay, one transgendered, one asexual (?!?), one that sleeps around so much they don't recognize past partners, and finally one that used to have a partner of the opposite sex (but not anymore). Not one happily married heterosexual? Why? I don't know! We also have two religions represented, Islam and Hindu. Where are the Buddists and the Christians? If you have political correctness tendencies please keep them to yourself. This is a game. Not your soap box. This isn't the first time I have disagreed with a personal ideology being given prominent place in an Evil Hat product. We have enough division over sexuality, political ideology, and religion in this world we don't need more in the gaming community. Rein it in. Please make games, not statements.

If you don't mind (or approve of) political correctness with you games and you love Space Opera space combat you will love this unabashedly. If you don't want to have someone pushing their ideology on you, you will need to ignore the political correctness schtick to get at the meat of the game. For me this is an acceptable attempt at a Space Opera game. It also captures the excitement and panache of aerial combat without ignoring the tactical side. Without the PC stuff I'd have given this 5 stars.

If I were sitting at a table with friends I would "x-card" these topics.

EDIT: You are part of the Draconis Volunteer Group or DVG. Given the situation and the obvious similarities I am very surprised that the history of the American Volunteer Group (AVG) or Flying Tigers isn't mentioned at all.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Tachyon Squadron
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TSAO: These Stars Are Ours!
Publisher: Stellagama Publishing
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/07/2018 23:23:38

I want more. Not in a bad way. This product leaves me hungry for more of this setting. Don't worry this is a complete, albeit in broad strokes, setting. Plenty of room for adventures in a campaign setting set almost immediately following a war between humans and reticulans. The reticulan masters have been overthrown and other alien races have been liberated. Alien allies and villians populate the setting as well as humanity. Plenty of setting material screams to be used in adventures. There are the typical typos when you have a small publisher, but nothing egregious. Rules are well organized. Overall a solid buy.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
TSAO: These Stars Are Ours!
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Variant Psionics for the Cepheus Engine
Publisher: Stellagama Publishing
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/07/2018 23:15:41

This is an excellent product for those used to systems powered by a resource (mana points, magic points, etc). Pump in the PSI points and the effect happens. This book gives a lot of great ideas for any 2d6 game. However, it really shines when used with "These Stars Are Ours". This helps to make the Reticulans truly insidious.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Variant Psionics for the Cepheus Engine
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Cybernetics for the Cepheus Engine
Publisher: Stellagama Publishing
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/07/2018 23:11:18

Great material for an unbeatable price. This will get you chrome heads thinking.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cybernetics for the Cepheus Engine
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Archaic Firearms
Publisher: Zozer Games
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/07/2018 22:55:50

Bottom line up front: I wanted something to go along with blackpowder fantasy for Cepheus Engine. This is a perfect fit. Good history of the blackpowder firearm and how it informs the use of such weapons. The rules are light and easy to implement. Equipment includes arquebuses to percussion cap revolvers, petards, and cannons. Short, sweet, to the point. Can't beat the price or the product. Fully recommend.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Archaic Firearms
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Starfarer's Companion
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/11/2018 17:16:55

Last updated September 2017. No responses in discussion since October. Many of the questions in Discussion have to do with missing information, or incorrectly placed information etc. I kind of expect that if I am paying for a PDF that there would be some work done to fix errata. I don't know if life has caught up with the authors or what? However, it would be nice for someone to acknowldege questions and explain why there is so much errata still not fixed.

Overall this is a great starter book for Starfinder if you are willing to buy 3PP material. If you want to know what a Mage, Paladin, Cleric class looks like in Starfinder this is an excellant starting place. If you want to see some the other legacy races get some love (and become potential PC races) then this is the book for you.

Just be warned there seems to be a haitus in responses and changes needed to make this book complete.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Starfarer's Companion
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Stars Without Number: Revised Edition
Publisher: Sine Nomine Publishing
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/10/2018 18:33:00

Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF): This is not a complete product, but just about. The only thing missing is minor...spell lists for Space Magic (and setting changes for said Space Magic) Kevin Crawford is obviously a one man band and what he has produced is phenomenal given those constraints. There are some things missing such as the spell lists mentioned, and character sheets usable for magic using characters.

This is a good set of tools for GMs to create a scifi universe. I love "Scarlet Heroes" and "The Red Tide Campaign" the original version of Stars Without Numbers is an excellent starting point. This is a worthy successor. The rules streamline the game. Changing the way AC is used actually decreases the math over the previous system. I liked using the 2d6 for saves instead of a d20, but it is not a game breaker. (I prefer having skill checks with a known average roll, same with saves). Psionics is completely revamped for the better. It runs much more smoothly and seems more internally consistent than before.

In the interest of honesty a few months ago I bought a hard copy of the original SWN. I was not pleased to find out that a new version was coming out and that I had "wasted" 30 USD (and there was no disclaimer on RPGNow or affliates). This review doesn't reflect any enmity, just a cold appraisal of what you get with this product. (I have spent about 100 dollars on Sine Nomine products! I like what Kevin Crawford is doing even if I at first don't understand it)

I will call Original SWN OSWN for the rest of this review. With OSWN you got rules for making a sector. You get that with SWN:RE. What you don't get that you got with OWSN is the Hydra Sector (an example sector along with factions), along with 15 pages of information on the Hydra Sector. RE doesn't have the blank maps for sectors, or planets that OWSN has. It doesn't have blank forms for factions, alien record sheet, adventure sheet, starship record sheet that are present in the original. (There is space for Starship info on the character sheet, but it is just a empty text box). In the OWSN we get examples of Xenobeasts, not in RE. In OWSN we get examples of Alien races if you guessed you don't get examples in RE you would have guessed correctly. What you do get is Cyberware, Transhuman, Robot/AI campaign and character possiblities. I mentioned Space Magic before it just doesn't offer the tool kit available with those first three systems mentioned.

There is a section that discusses how to retrofit any of the previous products in this line. It is succinct and misses no major change between products.

There was a list of quick name tables and tables for creating new religions, heresies, corporations...not present in RE. In RE you do still get rules/tables for making factions. You also get rules/tables for making up societies. The latter give a lot more room for imagination. There are more tags for planets. This is nice but see my comment on gravity below.

You know that extra 20 USD you spent to get the extra goodies...? Well how about Space Magic? The character sheet has no place to reflect a character as Arcanist or Magister (or Adept). Psychics have several boxes dedicated to them (which is useless space for other classes). When you make up your spell lists you'll have to make up a character sheet as well. But I would have to say this is overshadowed by the completeness of the other additional sections. Definitely worth the 20 dollars.

As I go through the book, now for the second time, I see that many of the sections here are sparse in detail but long on verbiage. Not my cup of tea. Mr. Crawford is letting us as GMs and players make some decisions on our own. He even has a section of House rules that I greatly appreciated. I think he could have tightened up on word usage and found the room he needed to add some of the other areas he felt he had to drop.

One area where both OWSN and RE lack...rules for gravity. Gravity is mentioned repeatedly thoughout the rules, but it isn't discussed as a system anywhere. How does micro/zero gee change how you use a gun or melee, or movement? (Why would I care if I had a laser weapon or Void Carbine? Why do I care if I have thrusters on my suit?) I don't know. It isn't in either book. How does high gee impact encumbrance? Don't know. We are told that this is a hard sci fi setting, but without rules on gravity it seems that the author is playing at hand wavium not hard science. When rolling up a planet there aren't tags/rules for variable gravity worlds. I also miss Conditions. I understand the OSR ethos of house ruling everything, but just a few conditions would free GMs from having to rule on each individual situation.

This game is worth the 20 dollars. I just wish that the Space Magic section were complete...or not in there at all.

Note: I apologize for my first review. I wrote it after having done only a cursory read through. I missed sections that would have answered questions that I had and I would have avoided having panned this book in the first place.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stars Without Number: Revised Edition
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INDEX CARD RPG Core 2E
Publisher: RUNEHAMMER GAMES
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/27/2017 12:18:37

BLUF: I am giving this 5 stars because of the community and the author's dedication to supporting the product.

The rules in the physical book are 120 pages long. In the PDF they are presently sitting at 192! A big difference because the community's input is used! A whole new bioform (read race for all you old-schoolers out there) was added because of the responses of the community.

Frankly the rules are a bit rough. The game engine itself could be tightened up. The game uses various forms of "effort" to do work. Effort is used for damage or to measure the work a rogue does to pick a lock. The rules on types of effort is the part that is confusing at times. Basic effort is hands and brain only; no tools. Weapons effort; weapons are used. Magic effort; spells and magic devices. Finally Ultimate effort; if you roll a nat 20 you add ultimate effort to your normal effort. Difficulty is rated in "hearts" each heart is 10 points (think hp). Basic effort is d4. Weapon d6. Magic d8. Ultimate is d12. So if I use a long sword (weapon) to hack away at an orc I do d6 effort after I hit him. If my elfkind mage is trying to bare hand open a chest using nothing but their wits use basic effort; d4. That chest probably has one heart so it may take awhile. Seems simple and easy to remember right? Okay do you use d6 when you use tools to do work? That wizard has lockpicks. Or maybe someone is trying to lift a large rock with a lever; do they use d6?

This is where the G+ community shines. If you have questions you can quickly hash it out online. Honestly, rules as written I'd give a 3 or 4 star rating. But as time goes on the author is making changes and tightening up the product with the help and support of a vibrant community. So 5 stars.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
INDEX CARD RPG Core 2E
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Moldy Codex #1
Publisher: Axebane Games
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/24/2017 17:55:46

BLUF: Tight. No extraneous detail, but plenty to make it useable. I can't wait to run this. Thanks for the new minis and for the new tiles and thanks especially for the adventure with maps. Can't wait for the next Moldy Codex!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Moldy Codex #1
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