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Super-Powered: Operation: Marshal Law
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/29/2014 12:20:29

In a world where superpowered characters - villains and heroes alike - are to be found, it is necessary for official law and order organisations to adapt to the new threats and opportunities they pose... and the US Marshal Service is no exception. After all, governments never feel comfortable leaving things to vigilante groups, so law enforcement agencies need to prepare themselves to cope.

This product details how the US Marshal Service has changed, both in developing new doctrines for dealing with supervillains and in recruiting superpowered individuals into the service. This recruitment programme is known as Operation Marshal Law. Here we have notes on the recruitment and training process, as well as the roles superpowered US Marshals are likely to fill within the organisation. As this programme is in its infancy, it is unlikely that there will be many veteran superheroes who have done a stint with the Marshal Service, but characters might be approached with a job offer. For a campaign with an organised approach to law enforcement, the party could all be US Marshals - a move which makes it easy to direct the superheroes to undertake missions and gives a framework to their activities. (And, of course, rules and codes of practice which they'd better not transgress...)

Mechanically, becoming a US Marshal requires characters to obtain a Professional Edge US Marshal, reflecting the training they undergo. This includes a +2 Charisma bonus when exerting their authority as Federal Agents. A local office is described, including the resources and equipment available and the type of work undertaken.

There are also three adventure ideas to incorporate Operation Marshal Law into your game. One, interestingly, involves the party getting deputised, which is a good way of floating the idea of federal service to see if your players might be interested in a full-blown US Marshal-focussed campaign.

It's a neat idea, and a good way to get away from the vigilante approach taken by many superheroes.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Super-Powered: Operation: Marshal Law
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The Manual of Mutants & Monsters: Gibbering Mouther
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/16/2014 08:41:50

It's a delight to see one of the oddest monsters familiar to generations of Dungeons & Dragons/Pathfinder players reskinned to torment superheroes under the Mutants & Masterminds 3e ruleset.

The transfer has been well-effected, with its well-known traits and abilities represented within Mutants & Masterminds mechanics clearly and coherently. Just as with its fantasy original, nobody is quite sure how such a nightmarish beastie came to be, and it is likely that superheroes will be left puzzled as well.

Several neat adventure ideas are provided to help you to incorporate such an unlikely monster into your campaign, preserving its sheer weirdness yet presenting a convincing reason for it to be there.

Maybe sometime soon, it's not just your players who will be gibbering at you...



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Manual of Mutants & Monsters: Gibbering Mouther
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Elizabeth Porter Presents: Winged Cat
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/13/2014 08:17:15

Fantastic little cat. Great for a unique familiar or other monster.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Elizabeth Porter Presents: Winged Cat
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Eric Lofgren Presents: Female Elf Fighter
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/08/2014 10:14:47

A fine female elf fighter ready to do battle 'sword and board' style, dressed in sensible adventuring clothing and armour that actually offers protection - what's not to like?

In full colour, her armour has a greenish tinge and has a design inspired by leaves. Other than that, there is no real indication that she is an elf as her pointy ears are very sensibly protected by her helmet (aging LARPer who often played elves thinks this is a Good Idea...). Hence you could use her as a female human fighter if preferred.

Has anyone noticed how many of Lofgren's characters are left-handed? You could flip the image, but if you are going to publish it, make sure that the signature appears correctly!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Eric Lofgren Presents: Female Elf Fighter
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Eric Lofgren Presents: Female Human Fighter
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/08/2014 10:01:14

An excellent pen-and-ink drawing that manages to convey both femininity and practicality, the fighter being caught in mid-draw, a dynamic pose as she reacts to a sudden attack.

And she manages to do so wearing sensible armour and clothing suitable for adventure...

It would make an excellent character illustration, or a picture to enliven a dungeon module.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eric Lofgren Presents: Female Human Fighter
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The Manual of Mutants & Monsters: Infected Zombie
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/13/2013 10:08:57

If you like superhero games but have a hankering for some zombie action (or wondered how a superhero would deal with a zombie horde) this is worth a look.

Starting off with a couple of rules additions that are used later, the product then dives straight in to outlining what they mean by 'infected zombie' - it is, of course, the classic movie zombie that is out for your brains having been reanimated after death through the actions of some infective agent, supernatural cause or disaster. The mechanics are presented as a template which you can apply to whoever you decide has falled victim to whatever is making zombies in the first place. There's also an alternative template - the 'lasher zombie' - which has the remarkably disgusting habit of lashing out at opponents with its own intestines, attempting to entangle them.

Examples of both kinds of zombie are provided with full stat blocks, as well as notes on the infectious nature of zombies. Don't let them bite!

Finally, if you are in search of how to use zombies in your game, three adventure ideas are presented. You'll have to flesh them out, but two are suitable for a single adventure or a whole campaign (especially if the threat is not dealt with promptly in the initial adventure), the third is a campaign idea in its own right.

Braaiinnns! All I want is brains!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Manual of Mutants & Monsters: Infected Zombie
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The Manual of Mutants & Monsters: Infected Zombie
by Joey C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/07/2013 16:16:24

This one is great, grisly fun. The cover art has a classic, horror comics feel, and the interior art takes a turn towards a "Uh, Fido...you okay, boy?" kind of cuteness. I really enjoyed the two very useful extras introduced and implemented in this product, one entirely new, and another re-introduced (and, dare we say, fleshed out?) from 2E M&M. And you get two zombie templates, with multiple examples. Definitely worth the price.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Forces of Darkness Zunirei of the Thousand Eyes (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/04/2013 03:33:54

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement is 18 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page introduction/author bio, 1 page ToC/short intro of the concept behind Zunirei,1 page SRD and 2 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 11 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?

So, who is Zunirei? Born in the Eastern lands of a now forgotten prime material plane, she was born from the lowest of stock, sold into prostitution and climbed the ranks of her homeland by guile and deviousness, making good use of the skill-set of a courtesan. On her way to the top, she started working as a double-agent, following her one true passion - exerting power and destruction by revealing secrets in the most destructive of ways. When death claimed her, she rose through the ranks of the abyss - and now she's back, elevated even beyond succobus status.

Among her minions, we find her erstwhile succubus-sisters, a clan of doppelgangers and more exotic beings - for example a lillend with which she maintains a careful exchange of information. Beyond that, Zunirei has also taught the art of crafting living tattoos to some of the mortals she has tempted and one of the hooks herein actually see the PCs seek to reclaim the lost soul of one of her erstwhile lovers from the Darklands - interesting!

Zunirei herself is a CR 12 threat and a unique outsider with a whole array of different signature abilities -her guise as a radiantly beautiful woman conceals the ability not only to create,d etect and influence living tattoos and dominate members of her network sans save, she also has claws of gemstone hardness disguised as her gorgeous fingernails! Her living tattoos are CR 2 diminutive constructs that act as spies for their deadly mistress, complete with creation options - and yes, they may be reabsorbed after their host has perished.

Beyond her regular incarnation, we also get a CR 15/MR 6 Mythic version of Zunirei - fitting thematically with her agent-role, she has learned here to actually hide her presence and erase herself from the memories of others - oh, and she gets her very own extraplanar private sanctum, making the Mythic Zunirei even harder to track down and defeat. Worse, she can now change her place with beings with her tattoos - OUCH.

A short box on teh willing and unwilling bearers of her tattoos and active and unaware agents of her network is provided as well, as is a page of detailed suggestions of how to integrate Zunirei into your campaign - 6 rather detailed hooks are here to help DMs.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good - apart from a strange change of fonts in ~3 lines of the first page, I didn't notice any particular distinct glitches. Layout adheres to an easy-to-read 2-column standard in full color with a parchment-style background. The artwork of Zunirei by Caeli Smith is AWESOME and the other interior artwork thematically fitting - especially nice that we get a depiction of Zunirei's signature mark. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Author Robert H. Hudson Jr. has created an intriguing demoness that strays from the default "bash-'em-in"-CE-outsiders approach - and kudos for that! Zunirei makes for a fantastic, cool adversary and I honestly don't have much to complain herein - personally, I would have enjoyed her expertise in seduction to be reflected in her skills, e.g. via Profession (Courtesan) or Perform (Seduction), but I get why they were omitted - fluff-only, both don't really have a lot of back-up rules-wise. The two builds of Zunirei are cool, with the Mythic one offering some exceedingly deadly and downright evil tricks that may have the PCs unintentionally slay her innocent, tattooed victims - EVIL with a capital "E" indeed. So yes, generally, Zunirei is a great build with top-notch production values and full color artworks to boot and the Mythic-support adds further value - but honestly, what I'm missing would be a minion-statblock or a lower CR-incarnation of Zunirei, something to occupy lower level PCs akin to FotS' different CR-builds. This gripe being mostly cosmetic, though, I will settle on a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Forces of Darkness Zunirei of the Thousand Eyes (PFRPG)
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The Manual of Mutants & Monsters: Gingerbread Golem
by Louis D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/14/2013 09:46:13

Very well done, the layout, the art, Gingerbread Golem how can you not like that :) Louis E Danhoff - AHC



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Manual of Mutants & Monsters: Gingerbread Golem
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Bite Me! Wereblooded
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/31/2013 05:11:49

An Endzeitgeist.com review

Full disclosure: I was one of the contributing authors of the Bite Me!-kickstarter that also made this pdf possible. That being said, I had no hand in the creation of this pdf and consider my verdict not compromised in any way.

This pdf clocks in at 23 pages of content, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC (which also mentions that the characters herein will not show up in the final book), 4 pages of SRD and 2 pages advertisement, leaving us with 14 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?

As you have probably gleaned by now, this book introduces us to the race of the Wereblooded - offspring of natural lycanthropes and regular humanoids, they breed true (and may even spawn trueblooded lycanthropes). Rules-wise, they get +2 Con, +2 to Dex or Str (depending on the clan), -2 to Cha, are humanoids with a base speed of 30 ft., low-light vision, get DR 2/silver and always treat perception and stealth as class skills. Furthermore, wereblooded adhere to one of 3 clans that furthermore modify their abilities:

Wereblooded of Clan Felis must take +2 to Dex and get 1/day a reroll for a reflex save and a +10 ft. racial enhancement to their speed when charging, running or withdrawing. Members of Clan Lupis may choose whether to take the bonus to dex or str, get +10 ft. movement rate and always treat Survival and Knowledge (nature) as class skills. Finally, members of Clan Ursus need to take the bonus to str and get +2 to saves versus fear as well as +2 to bull rushes and overrun-attempts while both they and their adversary are standing on terra firma. Now beyond the extenisve information on their roles, alignment and religion etc., we also get the RP-build-information for both the base race and the respective clans. The base race clocks in at 6 RP, with clans taking up 2 RP of these points. And now while I consider the ARG's guidelines rubbish and the wereblooded to be stronger than what one would expect from "only" 6 RP (a great example of how the ARG-rules don't work - at all), I do have to concede that the race per se is well balanced, perhaps a wee bit on the strong side on par with dwarves and elves - a fact that enterprising DMs can easily further develop by playing up potential social stigmatization.

We also get 7 alternate racial traits - Desert-bred wereblooded can replace their clan with +2 to survival checks, whereas those bred on the mountain-ranges reduce the penalty to stealth while moving by 5 and may use it while running at -20 and those born in swamps get +4 to stealth in marshes as well as +2 to saves versus diseases, ingested poisons and the sickened and nauseated conditions. The desert-benefits are VERY weak here and could use an upgrade - when compared against the mountains and marshes and clan benefits, a paltry +2 to survival is not that impressive.

Now the customization does not end there - we get 3 subtypes of the clans: Felis may instead opt for being cheetah-like, gaining +10 ft. racial bonus to movement and may chose a favored terrain in which they can ignore difficult terrain in exchange for losing their DR. Lupis may opt for the alternate coyote subtype, which also loses the DR in favor for +1 to Bluff, Disguise and Knowledge (local) and may 1/day roll bluff or diplomacy twice and take the better result. Finally, wereblooded from the frozen north that hail from clan Ursus also exchange their DR for polar-bear style 1/day endure elements at character level=caster level and get +1 Knowledge (nature) and Survival in frozen or arctic environments.

We also get favored class options for all classes from the core rules, the APG-classes, the Magus and the Gunslinger. Personally, I think +1 to concentration for inquisitors and magi may be a bit strong, but I'm generally VERY cautious with any bonuses to concentration-checks in PFRPG.

Now the pdf also offers one damn cool ritual following the Incantation-rules as used extensively by Kobold Press and pioneered by Zombie Sky Press - again, with full construction-notes: "Claim the Ravenous Hunter's Form", which allows the target of the ritual to essentially gain a semblance of a werewolf, complete with the corresponding power-gain. Now this one is story-telling gold - whether as an edge in battle, as a devious trick or to properly frame wereblooded or lycanthropes, this one is nasty and versatile - two thumbs up!

Now if you're running a high-powered game (or are a DM looking for a further edge), there is also a "monstrous" version of the wereblooded herein, one that cannot be mistaken for a human - at 12 RP, they get +2 to Con (and +2 to Str or Dex depending on clan), -2 to Cha, 40 ft. movement, darkvision 60 ft, DR 5/silver and always treat stealth and perception as class skills. They also get a natural bite attack at 1d3 points of damage. The basic clan-abilities are not influenced or modified, but since the DR of monstrous wereblooded is higher, so the subtypes do get an upgrade: Monstrous Cheetah get +2 to initiative and the run-feat, Monstrous Coyote get +4 to bluff when lying and 1/day roll diplomacy or bluff twice, taking the better result. Monstrous Polar Bear Wereblooded get the 1/day endure elements spell-like ability of their non-monstrous brethren and also get +4 to con-checks and fort-saves to avoid fatigue and exhaustion and ill effects from running. forced marches, starvation, thirst etc.

Now new rules are neat - new rules, ready to be dropped in a game without any fuss are even better - hence we are introduced to two new characters, first of which would be Sabra, Daughter of Katja Four-Named, a wereblooded felis rogue 3 in both regular and monstrous version, a catgirl temple-thief and Fyodor, son of Yuri Seven-Named, a polar bear ursus barbarian 7 of the hardiest stock who has no tolerance for softness and thus might make for a problematic guide. Both characters come with awesome full-color artworks depicting them as well as 2 adventure seeds.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout deserves special mention here - with blood-spatters on the sides and a fitting, easy to read font, this pdf's 2-column layout-standard is glorious to look at - further enhanced by the 3 full-color artworks and 2 one-page b/w-artworks (by Peter Bradley and Jacob Blackmon) that all are original and beautiful to look at indeed. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Furthermore, we get a very printer-friendly b/w-version - neat indeed!

Award-winning author Ben McFarland has an excellent reputation and there's a reason for that. Still, every time I see RPs, my alarms go off - all too easily, the ARG can be used an example for a deeply flawed system justifying unbalanced design.

This pdf's races, however, do NOT, and let me make that abundantly clear, fall in this trap - the wereblooded, both of their incarnations, each fitting a niche in campaigns of respective power-levels and content- as well as theme-wise this pdf delivers. The production-values are superb and should leave no one unimpressed, offsetting the price-point, which is not too cheap. Still, layout, content and artworks mean that I still consider it okay regarding bang-for-buck ratio. Now, this sounds like a 5 star + seal of approval file and yes, it is a neat buy - but not a perfect one: I do have two minor complaints: Desert-based wereblooded get the short end of the stick with rather weak bonuses compared to what they give up. And we don't get age, height and weight-tables. While the latter may seem like a nitpick, lighter Felis, heavier Ursus etc. would have made sense to me and, at least to me, these tables are not optional. Hence, I can't rate this the full 5 stars and will instead settle on a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform and still a definite recommendation for both DMs and players who'd love to play a balanced race in touch with their inner beast.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Bite Me! Wereblooded
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Do-Gooders & Daredevils, Operation: Marshal Law
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/07/2013 12:01:57

This is a handy collection of oddments that will come in handy if you are of the opinion that law enforcement will try to recruit (forcibly or otherwise) superheroes to their ranks. It's a concept that can make for a cracking campaign, and at least stops people accusing your caped crusaders of being mere vigilantes and almost as much of a menace that the supervillains they fight!

The first - the Mole Network organisation advantage - could be of use to anyone, whether or not they are involved in law enforcement. Basically, it allows a superhero character to discover that somewhere in an organisation he's dealing with there is a mole who is affiliated to his own parent organisation and who might be persuaded to help him, if he can do so without breaking cover.

Next come some new skills, mostly based around who you know and where they are - a modified version of Connected that focusses on particular organisations, a revised version of Contacts, and Ear to the Ground - you use contacts, connections, water-cooler gossip and the like to good effect, enabling you to know what's going down.

This is follwed by Operation: Marshal Law, which lays out how superhero involvement in law enforcement could be run, particularly if your game is set in the United States of America. The premise is that the US Marshal Service has decided to recruit superheroes for the specific purpose of dealing with empowered villains - both the catching of them, and the transport and retention of them once they have been caught. They also can be tasked with witness protection and the guarding of Federal officials such as judges when a potential threat from metahumans has been detected.

Details for a local US Marshal office, which will be their base of operations, and of the training prospective Marshals undergo - it's the same as regular human ones, but conducted in a separate facility to accommodate superhero needs - are give, with all the game mechanics you need to make it happen in your game. There's a note on the standard issue equipment they get and several adventure seeds to get such a campaign going.

Some neat ideas here, excellent for those wishing to integrate into society rather than existing on the fringes as vigilantes.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Do-Gooders & Daredevils, Operation: Marshal Law
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Bite Me! Wereblooded
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/21/2013 11:40:06

This work opens with a foreword by Christina Stiles explaining a project about lycanthropes that is presently being written following a successful Kickstarter campaign - the Bite Me! The Gaming Guide to Lycanthropes if you are interested. Whilst some of this work forms part of that book, not all does so even if you are a supporter or intend to purchase it, you might want to grab this... rather than wait until next year.

OK. The Wereblooded are what you get when a werewolf and a human mate. Given the general tenor of 'teen angst/urban fantasy' that's around at the moment, this may happen more often than you might imagine. They combine the animal ferocity of one parent with the more civilised nature of the other, but form their own distinct race. However, as they usually resemble the human parent and don't have the classic lycanthrope powers, they often can pass within human society without comment. They usually breed true, producing wereblooded children, but sometimes produce a natural lycanthrope, a throwback to the were ancestor.

Whilst appearing more-or-less human, they still have animalistic features and nature that can lead to trouble - particularly when the locals are up in arms about lycanthrope depredations! In particular their eyes and hair tend to reflect their lycanthrope heritage, that of a wolf or a cat or a bear. They do not have the capability to shape-shift, unless accessing a spell or other power that confers that ability. In those fairly rare instances when there are numbers of wereblooded around, they form their own communities based on clan and bloodlines; but mostly they remain inconspicuous amidst 'ordinary' human society... but many seek the adventurer's path.

Each wereblooded has specific traits based on their clan: Lupis (wolf), Felis (cat) or Ursus (bear). They all have excellent low light vision and are affected by silver, although not as much as a natural lycanthrope. There are terrain-based alternate traits and some sub-clans as well to provide variety.

However, there are other wereblooded... those who take more after the lycanthrope parent in appearance. Monstrous humanoids that may have animal-shaped heads or fur all over their bodies. They may also have natural attacks and move faster than normal.

After discussion of all the rule mechanics you need for either type of wereblooded, a couple of samples are provided. After all, if you want to introduce a new concept, having an appropriate NPC is a good way to show your players what can be done. Both have fully detailed stat blocks as well as descriptions and other details to help you play them, and plenty of plot ideas for why they might show up in your campaign.

If the rest of the final book is to this standard, I definately want a copy!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bite Me! Wereblooded
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Rogue Mage Roleplaying Game Player's Handbook
by Steve W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/06/2013 16:19:17

I have never been a huge fan of d20. The system is cumbersome, has way too many rules to keep track of, and is class based. About the only time I have liked anything d20 was Mutants and Masterminds. They took the standard d20 and turned it into a cool classless system that worked. Well now I have discovered something else d20 that I like. The Rogue Mage RPG fell into my lap and when I began reading it, I discovered a new d20 classless system that works.

Now I am NOT familiar with the Faith Hunter's alternate Earth but I am very intrigued by what I see in the game. You get to follow in the steps of others who survived the end of the world, a modern ice age, and worse. If you like Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder, d20 Star Wars, or Mutants and Masterminds, then you will find Rogue Mage to be a delight. As with any new game, you will have a small learning curve but once you overcome that small hurdle, you will be on your way towards exploring a new world with many possibilities



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Rogue Mage Roleplaying Game Player's Handbook
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Scott Harshbarger Presents: Zombie Art Pack
by Jerry T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/13/2013 09:29:40

The definite positive for this art pack is that the scenes are all very usable for a modern zombie project. There are many different scenes including street, morgue, hospital, and others that can be incorporated into what you have planned.

The license also grants permission to crop and color images, which is a definite plus.

Some images do feel more 'finished', but the price per image is definitely in line with other similar art that is available.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Scott Harshbarger Presents: Zombie Art Pack
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Rogue Mage Roleplaying Game Player's Handbook
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/12/2012 10:53:57

What if someone held an apocalypse and nobody came?

That is an over-simplification, but it is the jist of what I get from reading a little bit of the Rogue Mage series by Faith Hunter. Now I need to be upfront here about a few things.

  1. I have never read the Rogue Mage books, but they are something I have been aware of and I have been meaning to check out.
  2. I know Christina Stiles and have worked with her (somewhat) in the past.

That out of the way, lets look at this game.

Rogue Mage is a new RPG from Christina Stiles and Faith Hunter, published by Misfit Studios. It is a modern supernatural game, so I am already inclined to like it, but also inclined to be critical of it. I will work to balance this for this review.

The game is a d20 based one, but not 100% d20. There is a list of changes for those of us that pick up a d20 game and try to go as we always have. So no attacks of opportunity, no hp, no classes, no levels and so on. Mostly this resembles Mutants & Masterminds 2nd Ed quite a bit. The damage tracker is similar, but simpler. There is a Toughness save (like M&M) and Combat is a skill (like other games). So mechanics wise this is really an elegant system, but it doesn't add a lot of new material. So like M&M all you need is a d20 to play. Also this is the Player's book only. The Game Master's Guide will be out later.

Chapter 1 covers the basic rules of the game. I thought this was a touch odd, since we have not rolled up any characters yet, but I think the reasoning is that the rules are so simple that leading off with them allows you to read them once and then easily refer back to them as needed.

Chapter 2 covers the setting. You don't need have read the Faith Hunter books to use this game, something I think is very important. The books look good and I am looking forward to reading them, but I have this book now. Briefly the world changed with the return of the Seraphs on June 12, 2011. Day before my birthday. The war that follows engulfs the world and leaves it in shambles; in fact it is known as the Last War. The present day is 2117 (or 105 PA, post ap). Given Rush is in concert as of this writing 2112 would have been cooler for me, but hey. Immediately I am drawn to the parallels between this game and Eden's Armageddon. Except in Armageddon the war is still going on and it's 2018 (that seemed SO far away back when I was playtesting the game). The world though in Rogue Mage is more messed up with the new Ice Age and all the plagues. Tech is all over the place with advanced technology in the regions away from the ice to steam powered retro-tech.

Chapter 3 is Character Creation. There are abilities and skills familiar to most d20 games. Characters though have points in which to buy these similar to many other non-d20 systems and M&M. In addition there are Talents, Drawbacks and Magic. First up are the character races; neomage, third-generation kylen, human, seraph-touched, rogue daywalker, and second unforeseen (mule). These are detailed in the book and fit into the cosmology of the game. Races can be bought with character points, or in the case of humans, character points are awarded back to you. Attributes and skills are bought with points. Talents can either be normal, special or supernatural and have varying point costs. Drawbacks give you back points. There are also Luck points (think Hero or Drama points) and a virtue/taint tracker which is a new twist. There is a character creation walk-through and many sample characters.

Chapter 4 deals with abilities; Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom and so on and saves. Chapter 5 deals with skills. The list is a familiar one for anyone that has played a d20 game in the last 12 years. Of note though, Combat is a skill now. I rather like that to be honest. A trainable skill instead of a built in aptitude.

Chapter 6 covers Talents. Think of these as something similar to Feats or Qualities, or most like the Powers in True 20. Many of these are Feats from the SRD, but that is fine because they still work here. As you can imagine there are a lot of them here, a little more than 30 pages worth. Then we also get the Drawbacks. These are like negative feats. They take something from you, but you get Character Points in return. We get 10 pages of those.

ASIDE: While this game diverts a bit from the d20 mainstream, there is enough here that is the same to make you wonder if your other d20 resources might work with it. For that answer I would have to say I see no reason why not. Sure you are deviating from the source material more, but mechanically speaking, unless it relates to levels, classes or HP I can't see why it wouldn't work.

Chapter 7 is Magic. There is a lot here, not just in terms of rules for magic, but the spells themselves. Over 46 pages. Again some spells from other games could be converted and used here. One would need to figure out the point cost for casting them. I wonder if the spells from the d20 Call of Cthulhu would be compatible? Or even BESM d20 Advanced Magic. If so, then this game would open up a wealth of playing options.

Chapter 8 details Virtue, Money and Luck. Virtue and Taint stand in for the basic alignment system, but this also has more in-game effects. Virtuous characters are more resilient to some magics for example. Wealth is a score, rather than a track-able resource like gold pieces. And Luck Points, like I mentioned are like Hero or Drama points.

Chapter 9 discusses Secondary Characters, aka NPCS. Chapter 10 has equipment. It is an interesting mix of future and past tech and high tech and magic.

Chapter 11 details combat. Combat normally gets it's own chapter, but I would have figured it a little closer to skills. No matter, it is here and it tells you what you need to know. Of importance here is the damage track and conditions rules. Remember, there are no HP here, so this is how you know if you are good or about to die. This combat makes this game a bit more deadly than your typical d20 game.

We end with some fiction from Faith Hunter (each chapter had some too) and an Index.

The layout is clean and easy to read. The art is really good as well and really captures the feel of the game well I think. It is all black and white so it won't kill your printer.

There is a lot I really like about this game. First it has so much potential with things I am already doing. Secondly the fact that is also seems to fit in mechanically with a bunch of books I already have is also great.

I think I would have loved to have seen this as a Unisystem game. But I know there are a lot of reasons why that could not have been done. Plus the rules from Mutants & Masterminds, as I have done in the past, can be tweaked to give you a Unisystem like experience. To be 100% honest if there is anyone out there that could be trusted to do that it is Christina Stiles and Misfit Studios.

Something though is keeping me from absolutely loving this game though. I think it is because I have not read the books it is based on yet. I also think there is not enough information here on how to run a game. That is not a big deal for me really, I have 100s of books that tell me that. I don't know how to run one in this universe. But these are not the shortcomings of this book; only my understanding of the world of this book. I do hope the Game Master's Guide comes with a sample adventure.

Here is what I do know. Misfit Studios has done a a great job in the past with Unisystem products and Mutants & Masterminds ones. This rule set seems to be a perfect middle ground for them and I hope that we get to see it for more games.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rogue Mage Roleplaying Game Player's Handbook
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