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Forward... to Adventure!
by Maxwell T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/01/2007 08:05:43
Sure, there are hundreds of "old school D&D...my way!" products out there, but this one really stands out and has its own character. From the character class system to the truly engaging combat system (like tunnels and trolls with some twists...very well done), this game stays focused on its own path, making something very original in the process.

The game just seems so "playable" right from the start. There's even a highly detailed and easy to use random dungeon generator included to get things going right away. That yawning portcullis on the cover isn't just for looks...this game wants you to get on into that labyrinth and show the bad guys what you're made of!

Liked: Unique flavor of rules focused tightly on central "mission' of the game. Rules aren't too long or too complex; every element seems to be balanced just right. Great combat system and random dungeon generator.

Disliked: Not much. Could have used more monsters in the bestiary, maybe. The art is mostly suited to the task, but the style used kind of "falls" down when it comes to certain monsters.

Overall: Great game, 4 stars.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Forward... to Adventure!
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Forward... to Adventure!
by Zack H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/07/2007 21:08:22
FtA! will doubtless be deemed a "Fantasy Heartbreaker" by many, but this is a book that doesn't apologize for, but rather embraces, its old-school roots. It manages to bring together a lot of elements that seem to be solid design concepts from the history of gaming and cobbles them together to make a cohesive, fairly smooth whole.

The game shares enough in common with D&D that it should be an easy pick-up for players of that game; however, character creation is simplified, as are the overall rules, to provide a rules-light RPG for dungeon crawling, adventuring, etc., without worrying about extensive or timely character generation or having to wait on the research of rules lawyers. The game also bears some resemblance to games like NetHack and ADOM.

Instead of Feats, FtA! uses stunting, which is the use of character skills in combat and other situations to pull off impressive moves, improbable shots, and generally encourage combat to be more creative and descriptive. This simple idea turns out to add a lot of fun and enjoyment to the game, and is one of the biggest selling points, and succeeds where I've seen a lot of more complex ideas fail.

The melee combat rules, where upon the total attack for both sides in combat is added up, and then damage is parceled out by the GM according to common sense, if players have positioned themselves in the thick of combat, or even what works best for cinematics, is another big selling point, and flowed very well in actual play. Groups really need to work together, as "lone wolf" tactics and stupidity can quickly be the death knell of the unwise character.

The magic system is basic, easy to use, and uses an increasing difficulty per conditions, fatigue,and spell failure to limit magic-users.

Monsters are fun, easy to keep track of, and delightfully old-school. Charts in the back you can roll on for magic items and to create dungeons step-by-step add to the fun feel of the game. Charts through the book for things like spell failure, background, etc., often seem a bit random, and add to that delightful, old school feel without making the game clunky. In fact, this game would likely be further enhanced with a book of charts just like these.

For a game the author hopes to one day target novice gamers in South America, FtA! needs some help in terms of presentation before that happens. I'd have liked to seen a bit better flow and layout for the character generation parts, for sure. I was a happy to see a full index, which helped matters, though. The art is typical of Flying Mice products, which you either like or don't.

For a pick-up, rules-light fantasy game, you could do far worse than FtA! There are enough good ideas in here to make this game worth the price of admission.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Hearts & Souls
by Jerry G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/02/2007 00:00:00
This is obviously a product that lives up to its name. the system has a lot going for it and is very transperent when playing. Tim Kirk (the author) loves the genre and it shows


LIKED: The way characters are described in play

DISLIKED: it could be a little tighter in the way it conveys ideas.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Hearts & Souls
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In Harm's Way
by Bill C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/24/2007 00:00:00
There is a story about a cowboy who always lost his months pay in a crooked poker game. He knew it was crooked, but it was the only game in town. Nautical RPGers are in the same (uhh) boat as that cowboy. Right now, In Harms Way (IHW) is the only game in town.


LIKED: Wealth system, promotion and notice system

DISLIKED: Too much fluff. Color graphics have to be printed in color, BW prinitng is not an option, so this product is far too expensive to print.

QUALITY: Disappointing

VALUE: Disappointed


Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
In Harm's Way
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Publisher Reply:
Sorry that you disliked the game, Mr. Crum. I do my best, but one can't please everyone. The issue you have with not being able to print in greyscale is a problem - I certainly never intended it - but it seems to be isolated to particular printers. After I read your comment, I tested the file on a dozen different printers, both laser and ink jet, color and black and white, and only found a problem with a Compaq inkjet driver. The file was generated with the standard default Adobe Acrobat settings for web-based pdfs. I have no idea why this problem is occuring, but I offer you your money back for your trouble, and extend this offer to anyone else having these printing problems. -clash bowley
In Harm's Way
by Brian W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/11/2007 00:00:00
Have not had a chance to play, but have read through the rules. Looks like a good replacement for the old Privateers and Gentlemen set from FGU in the 1980s. Since I have no practical experience with the game, I'm setting my ratings to "middle-of-the-road."


LIKED: One of my favorite topics and areas of history.

DISLIKED: Can't think of anything right offhand.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Conflict, and A Person's Place In It
by Sophie L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/06/2007 00:00:00
Very interesting summary of the roots, mechanisms and effects of conflict. Gives a more serious, in-depth discussion than your average RPG level. This document is particularly useful for games with a serious take on killing (e.g., Godlike, Unknown Armies, etc.)

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Conflict, and A Person's Place In It
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Cold Space Vehicle Design Guide
by Arun R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/22/2006 23:46:12
A decent, though not detailed, vehicle design system. Not as complex as CORPS VDS or Traveller's systems, but if you like the technical aspects and detail it will be disappointing. That said, if you want a fast sizing system, this is a good deal.

It uses an interesting system. Instead of a component (like CarWars) or system (like VDS or Traveller) based system, it provides a series of standard vehicles and equations to modify them. Fast, but potentially not as flexible as other methods.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Cold Space Vehicle Design Guide
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BlackDragon: Cinematic Games Mechanics
by Michael S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/06/2006 00:00:00
This is a sad attempt at a role-playing game. I really was looking forward to this game, but am totally disappointed in the presentation and the mechanics. The examples are hard to follow. The description states that there are rules for using cards instead of mah jong tiles, but I can't find those rules. The game mechanics are NOT fluid, but are just variant of so many d10 systems out there, simply draw a tile with a value below your adjusted ability score and you succeed. The tiles aren't used as a clever randomizer, with only the dragons and winds being able to be used in a manner different from a mere random number. The product seems rushed and unready for publication. Even the character sheet is poorly designed and mislabelled as "BlackMagic (sic) Character Sheet."


LIKED: The core of a good cinematic game can be found here. With some playtesting and a major rewrite, this could be the type of game that I thought it would be.

DISLIKED: This game is simply NOT ready for publication.

QUALITY: Disappointing

VALUE: Ripped Off


Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
BlackDragon: Cinematic Games Mechanics
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BlackDragon: Cinematic Games Mechanics
by Andrew M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/28/2006 00:00:00
I really wanted to like this game. The mechanic is fresh, and the pdf presentation itself is pretty.

Unfortunately, the game itself (or at least as presented in the pdf) is half-baked. There are few examples (and no good examples)of how the game actually works, and it's far from intuitive. For example, in the one actual play example provided, the descritpion doesn't list the characters relevent abilities or even tell us which tile they drew.

Maybe the mahjong mechanic is obvious, but not to me.


LIKED: I like the less-than-crunchy approach to cinematic gaming. This game is probably five good pages of examples and explanation from being a good-to-great game. The low price tag helps.

DISLIKED: Seems unfinished and rushed to production. Not easy to pick up. A few typos.

QUALITY: Disappointing

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
F20 Gamers Against Cancer Edition
by Zack H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/12/2006 00:00:00
An interesting mix of Fuzion, d20, and perhaps a hint of GURPS, F20 is a handy, robust little system that should handle a variety of duties quite well.


LIKED: Easy to learn rules, plenty of character-building options.

DISLIKED: The magic system seems a little tacked-on to me, but it is workable.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
F20 Gamers Against Cancer Edition
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Welcome to HAEL
by Ice W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/21/2006 00:00:00
This is just a review based on a quick glance through:

Psihammer is only mentioned as a method to represent certain psionic powers, and is not absolutely necessary.

The Kirene race traits section mentions a sidebar on having four arms, but there is not sidebar.


LIKED: Original idea of who runs the world.

DISLIKED: It just isn't as impressive as I thought it would be. Racial trait sections need better instructions.

QUALITY: Disappointing

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Welcome to HAEL
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StarCluster 2 Guide to Starship Crew
by Rob M. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/09/2006 00:00:00
This 19 page PDF (21 with cover & credits page) describes the workings of a starship crew in the Starcluster universe (though a lot of the information is adaptable to other games). The guide includes information on the various crew positions, crew shifts used, crew organizations, daily life on a starship, a generic starship hit location table, and a list of starship weapon damage factors by tech level.

Three crew shift schedules are described, single shift, mainday alterday, and 3 shift. Information is included on the organization of military crews, family crews, married crews, company crews, and communal crews (such as a co-op of owners/parnters of a starship). Additionally, daily life on a starship, including leisure time activities such as eating, drinking, entertainment (Trivox & gaming), exercise, gardening, and creative/performance activities, is described. The gaming section touches on the presence of ?Holo-rooms? on some ships, so you can have your own ?holo-room? gone wild type adventures (Which for some reason, no matter how many ?incidents? occur therein, are never shut down.) Though there is little or no mention of sleeping arrangements, such as hot-racking, as done on some military vessels, included.

Fifteen crew positions are described, including professions based on them and their skill choices, all laid out in the ?trademark? Starcluster 1d6 random table. The crew positions are Pilot, Navigator, Communications, Computer, Scan (i.e. sensors), Shields, Engineer, Maintenances, Cybernetics, Gunner, Observer (More like Science officier/astrophysics in other games), Security, Steward, Supercargo, and MatTran. Several of these positions are specific to the Starcluster universe, but many are also applicable to other games. Also provided is a handy table of compatibility of crew positions, showing incompatibale, compatible and optimal cross-training options for crew positions

The PDF is laid out as a single column in serif typeface with bookmarks to each section. A ?futuristic? NASA style decorative font is used for section titles. It is sparsely illustrated with a couple of half-page art pieces done in the ?trademark Starcluster watercolorized? style. The cover page features an atmospheric capable ?spaceplane? type aircraft taking off/landing in a woodland meadow, done in the art style mentioned, and is decent looking. Like other Flying Mousetrap products, the artwork and layout is functional, but not particularly pretty or inspired.

Overall I think this is a solid product, providing the GM useful information on the crew positions and operations of a starship. It also provides interesting options for crew ?organization? such as the line marriage described for married crews. Much of this information can be adapted for use in other SF games as well. It also provides good information on leisure activities by crewmembers, and bits of daily life, which again can be adapted for use in other games. I highly recommend this product for GMs wanting more information on operations & daily life of a starship in the Starcluster universe, and believe players of other SF games will find much of the material useful.




LIKED: Various crew organization types

DISLIKED: Material could have been better organized, for some reason crew organization wasn?t discussed earlier in document while crew shift schedules were.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
StarCluster 2 Guide to Starship Crew
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Publisher Reply:
Great overview, Rob! I like your suggestion re sleeping arrangements - something that would defitiely add to the usefulness of the supplement. I wll definitely add that in a future revision. :D -clash
Daemornia: The Role-Playing Game
by Jeremy S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/07/2006 00:00:00
I purchased this product for the setting. The system does look to be playable, however. Plus, there are some mechanics worth "porting" to other games.

I have always been fond of the "Demons are attacking" plotline. While such a plot generally happens in a low-tech fantasy setting, this one is a sci-fi post-apocalyptic setting. That's great fun. The setting has a fun, gritty feel to it. Survival under the boot of the regime has a great potential for a very fun campaign.

If you like post-apocalyptic games or fighting demons, this is a great game to buy.






LIKED: Some good artwork. I got a good feel for the setting through the art and details.

DISLIKED: Lack of bookmarks. :( The layout somehow reminds me of (blech) Palladium products.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Daemornia: The Role-Playing Game
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Publisher Reply:
Thank you for your kind words Jeremy. I have to admit, that I have been a fan of the Palladium games in my 'distant' youth! However, the bookmarks are a valid point, and will be looked into.
Daemornia - Revised Edition
by Richard L. Date Added: 03/04/2006 20:03:10
A fine piece of work.

Daemornia is well thought out and well presented. It has an in depth game mechanics and easy to understand system.

Combat works very well and is quick enough to easily get to grips with. I especially like the way armour and weapons can be damaged and the trauma tests give a realistic approach to injuries.

The World and City guides are very informative and give plenty of scope for campaigns. The whole 'invasion' idea works very well indeed and I got a good feel for what humanity was up against, especially considering the formidability of the daemons.

Overall: Excellent game and worth the money, especially considering the planned expansions.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Daemornia - Revised Edition
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Daemornia: The Role-Playing Game
by Dennis C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/17/2006 00:00:00
I bought this product after using a pal's copy for a while. What can I say...Great Game.

The mechanics are structered very well, with emphasis on easy to understand rules. All testing is based on the character's attributes, which actually define a PC rather nicely, and make every character unique.

There are seven races to choose from, including humans, and they each have their own strengths and weaknessess. I personally like the Night Stalkers. Not too bright, but they have good physical abilities!

The combat system is fast and believable, with armour protecting as it should (and not making it hard to hit your opponent!). Basic attacking is done using a D20 comparing the attackers Att/Aim attribute to the Defenders Def/DX attribute. Simple and elegant. There are lots of combat abilities and weapons available, making combat quite enjoyable!

The magic and psionics system is nice and large, again with an easy approach.

The Bestiary and Minions of Darkness sections are extensive, with plenty of information and unique characteristics. The Minions section gives a good insight on the level of the daemonic invasion.

Daemornia also has large sections on the World Guide and city Guide. These are useful for campaign settings, especially the City guide with its detail on travelling in Daemornia. There is also a section on the the history of Daemornia, aka The Chronicles. This is well thought out with plenty of potential for 'period' games.

The game is nicely supported with its own website and a regularily active forum. There are new supplements in the works, making this a system with plenty of resources.

The quality of the PDF is excellent and the layout has that professional feel. Overall a fantastic buy.

Got to go now, theres Nominods to fight!!


LIKED: Too much to decide upon, but the EXP system allows you to increase your characters attributes and skills individually according to the career path, allowing your character to move around careers picking up various traits. Every career has four levels with provide better traits and skills and higher potential attributes. Overall it is a nice and easy to use system


DISLIKED: Nothing!

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Daemornia: The Role-Playing Game
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