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CJ Carrella's WitchCraft
by Ian F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/04/2017 05:34:02

A classic modern-supernatural game you can run from a single book.

I picked up Witchcraft (2nd ed) around 1999, and played with the book so often I had to get it rebound. While the supplements are useful (especially Mystery Codex), the core book could keep you playing for years on its own. The system is very easy to figure out, and has card and diceless variants included that I've used with success as well. The setting has the right amount of interesting groups to use in play, and you can re-skin them trivially to fit your own vision of an occult conspiracy setting.

And (at the time of this writing, and for quite some time) it's free.

This game features an interesting magic system, some great artwork, and a very usable dice engine. You will likely want to moderate how the experience system works (I found characters advancing way too quickly in some games), and also remember that guns are deadly in this game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CJ Carrella's WitchCraft
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Dungeons & Zombies
by Aaron W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/31/2017 20:01:49

Dungeons & Zombies is probably the closest thing we'll get to a generic fantasy Unisystem book. This book, along with Witchcraft or (preferrably) Armageddon and the AFMBE corebook (which add up to either $12, $27 or $42 depending on which ones you buy), are all you need to run and play a fantasy game far greater than D&D.

Dungeons & Zombies adds 2 character types, the Adept Hero and ther Talented Hero. Talented Heroes are nonmagical fantasy heroes such as rogues, fighters and rangers, while Adept Heroes are mages, psychics and necromancers. For cleric-type characters, it would be best to use the Inspired stats in the AFMBE corebook.

There are quite a few great Qualities and Drawbacks for both magical and nonmagical characters, but the best Qualities in D&Z (in my opinion) are the Racial and Profession Qualities. They are Quality, Drawback and Power packages that reflect the strengths and weaknesses of various fantasy races and classes such as elves, dwarves, rangers and paladins. Some even allow characters to exceed Attribute maximums or maximum ranks of Hard to Kill.

D&Z adds a Skill for shields (and stats for a few different types of shields), alchemy, rune carving (for magic item creation), and taunting. It also includes Armageddon's Magic Bolt Skill, allowing mages to progress faster with single-target spells than with other types of magic.

D&Z comes with some Invocations, Necromancy powers, and magic item creation rules. There are a few new uses for currently existing Invocations (Induce Sleep for Affect the Psyche, Sheet Lightning for Elemental Air, and Soulfire Burst for Soulfire. I may have forgotten a few). For necromancy, there is the Death Raising power, which allows you to raise zombies and give them extra powers. Magic item creation is based on the Rune Carving Skill, and requires Inspired powers. Magic items can be given bonuses to Armor Value, damage and accuracy. Some items can also be "charged" with Invocations or Necromancy powers.

I won't go into detail on the book's Deadworlds, but they are all great. The book also provides the stats for various fantasy monsters such as a dragon, goblins, orcs, minotaurs, and a griffon. It ends with a dungeon crawl adventure: The Tomb of Doom. Unlike the dungeon from which it got its name, you will find no save-or-die traps (or no-save deathtraps) but it can still be quite deadly, especially with the lethality of Unisystem combat.

This book is great on its own, but much better when supplemented by other Unisystem books. My first suggestion is Armageddon for both Lesser and Greater Invocations, as well as Primal Powers (which work well as powers for Clerics or Paladins of different gods), and Psychic and Necromancy powers. My second suggestion is Terra Primate, which has what amounts to a monster manual in the Appendix. The stats for monsters in Terra Primate are variable and most of them use a different formula for speed Endurance Points and Life Points, so there will be a bit of math for the ZM, but it is well worth the money.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeons & Zombies
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One of the Living
by Aaron W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/26/2017 17:42:35

It's no secret that All Flesh Must Be Eaten was made for one-shots. While the core rulebook certainly does have more than enough information to run an extended campaign, it doesn't have specific rules for all of the problems you'll encounter in the long run. That's where this book comes in. It has rules for scavenging, jury-rigging, and farming. It also has new Miracles for the Inspired. The Deadworlds seem shorter than in other AFMBE books, but still contain useful information for your game. One of the Living has no short supply of items to use in your game either. Chapter 4 has items like iodine tablets for water, spear guns for killing zombies, and even Necronomicon Ex Mortis: The Book of the Dead.

Unlike most other AFMBE sourcebooks, where if you take out the zombies you have yourself a genre book, One of the Living works best for survival horror campaigns. That is actually what makes it my favorite AFMBE sourcebook. It feels more like an extension of the corebook than any other book out there.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
One of the Living
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Armageddon the End Times
by Aaron W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/26/2017 16:19:54

I originally bought the book for the Primal Powers it has, but as it turns out, this book offers so much more than that. If you use the Unisystem at all, this book is a must-have. Along with the setting-specific stuff (which I will admit I hardly even read, but I'm sure is great), it comes with a few Greater Invocations, Spirit Patrons (Boons granted by spirits, demons, and basically anything else more powerful than humans, as well as Obligations which you can take to lessen the cost of the Boons. Think Qualities/Drawbacks), rules for magic item creation (Much different from the magic item creation rules provided in Dungeons & Zombies), and of course Primal Powers (Powers granted by Old Gods, think Divine Inspiration in Witchcraft/AFMBE, but way more badass and with significantly more options to choose from). The rules, like in all other Eden Games, can be used in basically any setting you want.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Armageddon the End Times
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Book of All Flesh
by Charles E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/07/2017 14:41:41

There are some okay moments, but it's aged really badly.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Book of All Flesh
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All Flesh Must be Eaten Revised
by Aaron W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/07/2017 13:41:42

The rules are fairly simple. 9 is the target number to roll for all actions, after modifiers. There are three types of characters. The first, and my personal favorite of the three, is Norms. They are average people such as you or me. They will probably survive if they're smart, but shouldn't run headfirst into the zombie hordes expecting to survive like in zombie movies. The second type is Survivors. They're essentially the main character in a zombie video game. They're tougher than Norms , with 5 extra points for Attributes (Your basic stats), Skills (No explanation required) and Qualities (Somewhat similar to feats in D&D). They don't have to be as careful as Norms, but will still probably die if they're stupid about it. The third type is the Inspired. They have the same Attribute points as Norms if I remember correctly, with fewer points for Skills and the same points for Qualities. What makes the Inspired special is Metaphysics, which are basically magic. In AFMBE, the rules for Metaphysics only cover divine type magic, but you can easily replace it with magic from Witchcraft (Another great Eden game, this one's free also). Some may find the Inspired out of place in a zombie game, but because this is an Eden game, they're there anyway. I don't personally like to play in games with Inspired, but they are very balanced compared to Survivors if you do want to play them. There are also detailed rules for creating zombies, and a bunch of campaign settings, called Deadworlds, to use in the game as well.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
All Flesh Must be Eaten Revised
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Army of Darkness Corebook
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/18/2016 05:50:02

Thoughts:

  • The biggest problem the book has is that it's shackled to Army of Darkness. It strains to convince you that playing the Blacksmith would really be fun. Well, the bench just isn't as deep in this setting as it is in Buffy or Angel. The true highlights are the other time periods, the archetypes (and what they mean for a potential game),
  • The Mass Combat rules may not sound like much, but I have used the Savage Worlds version of them quite a bit, and adapted the Army of Darkness rules into D&D5e to good effect. The core conceit behind these rules are my favorite mass combat rules of all time, and my players actually get excited when they realize I'm wheeling them out. I actually like these rules better than the Savage Worlds version because the Savage Worlds rules have a Knowledge (Battle) prerequisite that almost none of my players ever take, while the AoD rules are based on Intelligence and Influence.
  • The production values on licensed Eden Studios books were always on point, and this is no exception. Everything about the book screams Army of Darkness, from the screen caps to the layout to the quotes peppered all over it. The writing is similarly evocative. This isn't a dry rulebook, this is a book laden with pop culture references and snark. Now, you will have to decide how much or how little that bothers you. Personally, I hate rulebooks that read like textbooks.
  • The nature of the setting, and the portrayal of Deadites, makes it so that adapting new monsters in is not only easy, but fitting. Demons seem to come in all shapes and sizes, especially if you take the canon of Ash vs Evil Dead into account. The various monsters in the Army of Darkness book, plus the list of monster abilities, give you a good start on creating your own.
  • While the book was "one and done", it is completely compatible with the Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel RPGs (rules wise...a little work would be needed to reconcile the settings, but monsters, Qualities and mechanics like magic can be swiped at will), expanding your options. Taking it a step further, and Classic Unisystem games like All Flesh Must Be Eaten and Witchcraft use the same base system, just a bit more complex (more Skills, the Essence mechanic and so on).
  • Army of Darkness was a movie, and pretty well wrapped up its story in 90 minutes. The GM section recommends structuring your game like a "season", which Ash vs Evil Dead does a nice job of demonstrating. In fact, it feels much more appropriate now, ten years later, than it did then. Similarly, the structure of groups filled with Heroes and Primitive Screwheads is demonstrated much better in the Ash vs Evil Dead show than it is in the Army of Darkness movie.

So if you've been watching Ash vs Evil Dead and decided to start looking for something that could emulate that style of game, you don't necessarily have to reinvent the wheel. Army of Darkness covers most of the ground that you would need, in a solid and unobtrusive system (Cinematic Unisystem just does not get in the way). I mean, it even has a rule for extreme gore. Even better, it's not nearly as out of print as I thought it was. Obvious labor of love from all involved, which now seems strikingly more relevant than it did when released, thanks to the Ash revival tour on Starz.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2016/10/tommys-take-on-army-of-darkness.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Army of Darkness Corebook
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Conspiracy X 2.0 GM Screen
by Neil P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/26/2016 14:04:35

It is exctly what you think: all the tables you need to run the game.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Conspiracy X 2.0 GM Screen
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All Flesh Must be Eaten Revised
by John H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/24/2015 14:05:05

Easy and fun to read. The chapter intros allow you to have a little fun while searching for rules. Would very much recommend this purchase.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
All Flesh Must be Eaten Revised
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All Flesh Must be Eaten Revised
by Daniel P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/31/2015 01:07:20

Impressive as I expected it to be from the reviews... slightly tongue in cheek at times, but overall: very good gaming system.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
CJ Carrella's WitchCraft
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/30/2015 21:38:10

This is less of a review and more of a testimonial.

WitchCraft is the best game ever made. At least, for me.

WitchCraft is, hands down, my favorite game. Period. Picking up a copy of this book back in 1999 was just like picking up a copy of the Monster Manual in 1979. Everything I ever wanted in a game was right there. Everything.

WitchCraft had such a profound effect on my gaming that I can draw a rather clean line between what came before and what came after it. Granted a lot was going on in 1999/2000 both gamingwise and personal that may have added to the this effect, it was an effect all the same.

Back in 1999 I was really burned out on D&D. I was working on my own Witch netbook and reading a bunch of different games when someone, I forget where, must have been the old RAVENLOFT-L that TSR/WotC used to run, told me I really need to check out WitchCraft. At first I balked. I had tried Vampire a couple years ago and found I didn't like it (and I was very much out of my vampire phase then), but I was coming home from work and the my FLGS was on the way, so I popped in and picked up a copy. This must have been the early spring of 2000.

I can recall sitting in my office reading this book over and over. Everything was so new again, so different. This was the world I had been trying, in vain, to create for D&D but never could. The characters in this book were also all witches, something that pleased me to no end, it was more than just that. Plus look at that fantastic cover art by George Vasilakos. That is one of my most favorite, is not my favorite, cover for a game book. I have it hanging in my game room now.

WitchCraft uses what is now called the "Classic" Unisystem system. So there are 6 basic attributes, some secondary attributes (derived), skills and qualities and drawbacks. Skills and attributes can be mixed and matched to suit a particular need.

WitchCraft uses a Point-Buy Metaphysics magic system, unlike Ghosts of Albion's levels of magic and spells system. Think of each magical effect as a skill that must be learned and you have to learn easier skills before the harder ones first. In D&D for example it is possible to learn Fireball and never have learned Produce Flame. In WitchCraft you could not do that. WitchCraft though is not about throwing around "vulgar magics". WitchCraft is a survival game where the Gifted protect humanity from all sorts of nasty things, from forgotten Pagan gods, to demons, fallen angels and the Mad Gods; Cthulhoid like horrors from beyond. WitchCraft takes nearly everything from horror and puts all together and makes it work.

The Eden Studios version was the Second Edition, I was later to find out. The first one was from Myrmidon Press. I manged to find a copy of that one too and it was like reading the same book, from an alternate universe. I prefer the Eden Edition far more for a number of reasons, but I am still happy to have both editions.

The central idea behind WitchCraft is the same as most other Modern Supernatural Horror games. The world is like ours, but there are dark secrets, magic is real, monsters are real. You know the drill. But WitchCraft is different. There is a Rekoning coming, everyone feels it, but no one knows what it is. Characters then take on the roles of various magic using humans, supernatuals or even mundane humans and they fight the threats. Another conceit of the game (and one I use a lot) is that supernatural occurances are greater now than ever before. Something's coming. (dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria).

It is most often compared to World of Darkness, but there are things WitchCraft does that I just like better. Unlike (old) Mage there is no war between the (good) Mages and the (evil) Technocracy. There is a war certainly, but nothing so cut and dry. Unlike new Mage there are rarely clean divisions between the factions. Yes, yes Mage players, I am being overly simple, but that is the point, on the simple levels new Mage dives everything into 5 because that is how the designers want it. There are factions (Associations) and there are different metaphysics for each, but also overlap, and sometimes no clear and defined lines are to be found or given. It feels very organic.

In my opinion C. J. Carella may be one of the best game designers out there. WitchCraft is a magnum opus that few achieve. I took that game and I ran with it. For 2000 - 2003 it was my game of choice above and beyond anything. The Buffy RPG, built on the Cinematic Unisystem took over till I wrote Ghosts of Albion, which also use the Cinematic Unisystem. I mix and match the systems as I need, but WitchCraft is still my favorite.

WitchCraft paved the way for so many other games for me, not just in terms of playing but in writing. If it were not for WitchCraft then we would not have had Buffy, Angel or Army of Darkness. Conspiracy X would have remained in the it's original system. There would be no Terra Primate or All Flesh Must Be Eaten and certainly there would be no Ghosts of Albion. The game means that much to me.

But you don't have to take my word for it, Eden Studios will let you have it, sans some art, for free. Download it. If you have never played anything else other than D&D then you OWE it yourself to try this game out.

My thing is I wish it was more popular than it is. I love the game. If I was told I could only play one game for the rest of my life then WitchCraft would be in my top 3 or 2 choices.

You can read more here: http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2015/06/why-i-love-rpgs-c-j-carellas-witchcraft.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CJ Carrella's WitchCraft
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Conspiracy X 2.0
by David L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/17/2015 04:47:47

A great campaign setting ruined by a terrible rule system.

The good: There is not many conspiracy games to choose from, but even if there were Conspiracy X stands out. In particular it is a lot more focused and has a more cohesive world then most conspiracy fiction. One thing that I did like about the rules were the pulling string qualities that allowed the players to call on the power of the big bad federal government. In most roleplaying games the players have no outside resources and the DM is encouraged to prevent all attempts for players to try and use such resources even if it makes no sense for the players to be lonewolfing it. Nice to see a game that allows and provides rules for the players to actually act like government operatives.

The bad: good god is Unisystem awful. I think the central premise of the rule system is: "Why resolve an action in one roll when you can resolve it in 5 rolls. Why have hit points when you can have Life points, Endurance points and Essence points." You will spend more time rolling dice and keeping track of your 3 different kinds of hit points then you will roleplaying. Also the skill system is badly handled (like the fact that driving a truck is a different skill then driving a car).



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Conspiracy X 2.0
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Armageddon the End Times
by Michael D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/15/2015 14:32:40

Excellent game. Everything you need in one book (with suggestions if you want to add).

The system is deceptively simple and it offers power levels of play...

Want ordinary folks in extraordinary circumstances? It's here.

Want extraordinary folks in for extraordinary circumstances? Here.

Want to play an Immortal, a Demi God or a "Super..."? Yep.

Get this... as source material alone, it is worth the price.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Armageddon the End Times
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All Flesh Must Be Eaten Character Journal
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/11/2014 12:44:47

The AFMBE Character Journal is one of those products that is quite literally great on paper, but must better as a PDF resource. Why? Because for the price of the PDF and printer ink I can print out as many as I like. I can reorder pages, print multiple pages and assemble it all as needed. Typically that is a 3-ring binder with extra pages of paper. This journal follows in the same great level of artistic style that we come to expect from Eden. It looks like a spiral notebook, like the kind a zombie hunter might keep in a back pocket. But instead of lists of kills or notes on how to kill what supernatural beastie, this has all the information you need for your character. Plenty of room for qualities, drawbacks, skills and notes. And of course pages dedicated to weapons and gear. There is even a place to record how to kill what supernatural beastie.

It would also work good for WitchCraft or any of the other Classic Unisystem games, but no dedicated pages for Metaphysics.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
All Flesh Must Be Eaten Character Journal
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All Flesh Must be Eaten Revised
by Steven W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/28/2014 08:12:13

A solid game backed up with extensive options to customise both characters and zombies. Its ideal for a quick pick-up game using the provided archetypes and one of the deadworlds contained within.

The only downside is this product isn't bookmarked which would be useful to those gamers using a tablet to read it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
All Flesh Must be Eaten Revised
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