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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!!<br><br>
<b>LIKED</b>: 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
<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Nothing!<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Daemornia: The Role-Playing Game
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Encounters on HAEL - Volume 1
by Thomas T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/01/2006 00:00:00

After the quality of ?Welcome To Hael?, this supplement was a terrible disappointment. What you get is five encounters (though some have suggested variations); three have a new monsters, one stats up an NPC and one has a monster plus four magic items. Two encounters have ugly but serviceable maps. Not much material for your money, especially compared to the incredibly good value of ?Welcome to Hael?.


The encounters are really more like seeds or outlines. There's little fleshing out or suggestions about how to make them part of a larger game. All the hard work is left to the GM. This is a real problem since the parent book's deficiency was a lack of advice for using it in play.


It's not all bad. The three crone prophets are an interesting hydra-like creature and their lair has a few interesting features. The flame trees encounter could be an interesting tactical challenge, where the PCs are caught in an intelligently-directed brushfire with their surroundings burning at different speeds and intensities.


The overriding problem though, is that the encounter seeds are flavourless. They could belong in any D&D game. Only one has any Hael-specific flavour and that's mostly backstory that the PCs probably won't discover. This supplement is a wasted opportunity that could have been used to provide hooks into some of the setting's unique features, or give examples of how to use them. It's no use as a supplement for ?Welcome to Hael? and isn't good enough to function as a generic encounter book.


At the price I can't feel too ripped off, but I am disappointed. I doubt I'll get any use out of this pdf.<br><br>
<b>LIKED</b>: One interesting and unusual monster.
One tactically interesting encounter.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Download encumbered with two inexplicably huge jpeg maps, totalling over 4 meg.
No art.
No useful development of the world of Hael.
Lack of Hael-specific encounters.
Low density of information.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Disappointing<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Disappointed<br>



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Encounters on HAEL - Volume 1
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Publisher Reply:
Dear Thomas, as much as I hate to say it, as the author, you are spot on - "Encounters" was trying to be too many things to too many people (part D&D, part Welcome to HAEL, and part Psihammer!). I hard lesson now learned. What I also didn't explain properly was that the maps were intended to be printed and used at scale (yeah, like everyone owns a colour plotter ; ) I'm glad you thought that you'd be able to scavenge something out of the wreckage - the "Crones" are definately a cool concept, especially for lower-mid level characters, and if you want to kick off a purely HAEL campaign there is a good set of story hooks there which I think was what you were refering to? I'm currently writing a major sourcebook for the 'Daemonia' line, also from Better Mousetrap, but after that I will be back to HAEL (so to speak) and future releases will be story-arc books called 'Warpacks', along the lines of what DreamPod9 did for HeavyGear! Thanks for the feedback.
Welcome to HAEL
by Thomas T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/31/2006 00:00:00

So, orcs rule the world. Or rather, daeorcs do.


Apparently the orcs and gnolls that won the great war have since developed into more sophisticated (less monstrous) species'. I was worried that this would dilute the basic premise, with daerocs and yaena being humans and elves (or whatever) by another name. As it happens, they're fairly distinct races and while the orcs and gnolls that rule the world are a bit more human than I expected, it's enough of a twist to add interest.


Daeorc are proud and all about personal power, whether martial, political or sorcerous. Yaena are hyena-riding martial artists, artisans and storytellers. Humans, halflings and kirene (the four armed race pictured on the product page) are "the untamed races", driven into barbarism after the war. Though recently they've been granted rights by the daeorcs and yaena and are able to become regular members of society. So there's a split between "untamed" and "civilised" members of these races and even a few half-breeds walking around.


The major conflict in the setting is with the nuclarine, who crashed from the sky and have created an empire with their firespears and "spinners". They're slavers and the Yaena empire made an agreement to provide them with slaves in exchange for technology - an agreement which has divided the Yaena. All sorts of bad apples have flocked to the nuclarine and there's a second great war brewing. "The strangers" are also a high-tech people that fell from the sky. They're vaguely benevolent, but mysterious and few in number. Hael is designed to be used with the psihammer rules and psionics (the call-en) play a major role in the setting. Strangers are all psionic, as are a minority of untamed. Sorcerers are common amongst the daeorcs, while druids are spellcasters for the untamed. There are no wizards; all magic on Hael comes from within.


This pdf has an odd start, with only a vague introduction followed by a run down of the calender system of all things and then two NPC biographies - the viewpoint characters. Throughout the biographies and even in the meat of the book, there's a real problem with using terms before they're defined. This isn't a massive barrier to understanding, but a glossary or nutshell description of the setting at the start would have helped enormously.


The art's quality and style matches the kirene picture on the product page. It's infrequent but well used. The layout is straightforward 2-column with a very discreet background design and occasional margin boxes for trivia.. The pdf is very easy to read, even on a screen. The quality of the writing also helps, it's all clear and I didn't notice any grammatical or spelling errors.


There's little rules material, which was one of the selling points of this book for me. The races and new monsters are statted up and there's a couple of variant classes. Rules are given for the poisons that the kirene like to use, as well as Hael-specific equipment and gods. Unusually, the races have a lot of odd (as opposed to even) ability modifiers, making it easy to min-max them at chargen.


The scope of the pdf seems a little limited. Presumably the companion product ?Encounters on Hael? expands on things, providing more hooks and examples of how to use it in play. Based on the quality of this, I'll be buying ?encounters? shortly.<br><br>
<b>LIKED</b>: Novel concept, well executed.
Clearly written, straightforward and uncluttered presentation.
Excellent price for the amount of material.
Close to the ideal depth of information; evocative rather than overwhelming detail.
Tight focus, very few irrelevant details.
Quality of art.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Lack of an overview or glossary.
No advice on how to run an archetypical Haelish game
Needed more plot and character hooks.
The kirene seemed superfluous and underdeveloped.
Not enough ?places to go? compared to ?people to be?.
More art would have been nice, but I assume that would have affected the price.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Welcome to HAEL
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F20 Gamers Against Cancer Edition
by Alfredo S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/28/2006 00:00:00

This comment deals with the new version - updated January 2006 - which makes a great little game even better than before, specially with the new magic rules and the enhanced innate powers rules. Practical and utilitarian and a welcome change from other, more involved and expensive 'traditional' (ie. d20 or GURPS) games.<br><br>
<b>LIKED</b>: Everything. It is concise, playable and short.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: The equipment chapter deals mainly with modern equipment, but it is easy to 'steal' it from other games. It is a great product.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
F20 Gamers Against Cancer Edition
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Wonderland
by Derek H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/23/2006 00:00:00

I got the print only form of this product.


Wonderland is an amazing horror rpg that can be used in whole or in parts, in fact I plan on never using some of the big secrets found in the GM's book (The Book of Knots).


It covers the idea of 7 alternate worlds (Earth being the 8th) and how humans affect some and are considered food for others. I really can't say much without spoiling much, but the alternate worlds allow for wierd horror, dark horror and bright, fluffy horror (like in the Disney version of Alice in Wonderland).


As for the printing, other than a few grainy pictures (the rest were all right) the book is good.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wonderland
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The Book of Knots
by Derek H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/23/2006 00:00:00

I purchased the print only form of this product.


This is the GM's guide for Wonderland and requires that product to make any sense at all. It covers the big secrets and the important beings who live on the lower alternate realities.


As a GM book, it fullfills its purpose. As a companion to Wonderland, it is all but required if the GM wants the answers.


I enjoyed reading it and, though I will not be using all of it, it provides plenty of interesting characters and concepts for horror settings.


Like Wonderland some of the pictures are grainy, but not so bad that the content can't be understood.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Book of Knots
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Welcome to HAEL
by Shane K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/08/2006 00:00:00

There is a lot of info crammed into this PDF. This is a new campaign world where the war between the Orcs and man is over. On this world the Orcs won. The Orcs and their allies are the dominant races on this world, the Humans and their allies are relegated to outlawed tribes scratching out an existence far from civilization. The world is strongly linked to the related product Psihammer (review coming soon).


A brief history of the world is given, including the war that lead to the dominance of the Orcs. The civilization of the world has shifted. Orcs (called Daeorcs in the setting) have taken the northern part of the world, pushing the Humans and their allies into the barren desert at the equator. Gnolls (called Yaena) have similarly pushed the Humans form the south.


he races come next detailed in two sections. First come the pure blood races. Orcs (Daeorc), Gnolls(Yaena), Humans, Halflings, and the Kirene. The second group of races includes the half-orc, half-human with the new aliens visitors.


Character classes follow the races. Barbarians, Clerics, Fighters, and Paladins are unchanged from the stock rules. Bards, Druids, Rangers, Rogues, and Sorcerers have all been modified to fit the world. Two new Monk classes were added to the setting. Wizards are unheard of on the world of Hael. Psionics are also strongly liked to the world, but the psionic rules are not class based rules.


A short bestiary of new creatures is included. The creatures included are well designed and in the case of the Varibeast seems to be the defining monster of the setting. Also included is a list of creatures from the SRD that would also be found on the world of Hael.


The last thing included is a single page map of the world. I really dislike the map. It did however list all the areas discussed in the book, which is a plus. The only thing not marked on the map is the location of the two alien craft.


Intermixed with the text are comments attributed to "Professor Grumin Tarsh" an Orcish scholar. I found the comments to be well placed and added an excellent bit of "color" to the rules.


You should buy this because...


You are looking for a new setting that is not the standard elves and Humans dominated world. Or you are looking for a world where magic and psionics are intermixed.


Final Thoughts


I am looking forward to playing a game in this world where the players are all Humans. They would suddenly find themselves the underdogs in a way I don't think they would expect at all.


My full review is available here: http://churchofthegame.blogspot.com/2006/01/welc-
ome-to-hael.html

<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: The aliens. I really did not like that aliens added to the setting. I also did not like the quality or quantity of the maps. Another run through for editing would also have made this a much better product (although it is still pretty good).


edit: I have since gone through the PDF again and this is an unfair criticism. The editing is really quite good, I found a total of three spelling or typos in a 50 page document.
<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: It is a well thought out setting that changes the expected society norms you see in 'classic' fantasy world. The races and classes are well thought out to fit a world where Orcs are the dominant race.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br><BR>[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]<BR>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Welcome to HAEL
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StarCluster 2 Biotechnology Guide
by Rob M. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/31/2005 00:00:00

In its 17 pages the Starcluster 2nd edition Biotech Guide provides an overview of the biotech available in the Starcluster universe at various tech levels/eras, and specific rules for individual biotechnologies. These individual technologies include Augmentation, Androids & (Uplifted) Animals, Modifications (Implants & Replacements), Matter Transmission & Mind Transfers, Cold Sleep (and other suspended animation technologies), and Food (Technologies including Hydroponics, genetically engineered foods, & stasis based ?Food Mats?).


The book opens up with a couple of pages of overview of the specific technological areas, mores regarding their use among different cultures and users, and a general timeline of their use, introduction, and refinement. The individual sections then follow. Areas of most interest to players are Augmentation, Modification & Replacement, Androids & (uplifted) Animals, & Matter Transmission & Mind Transfer.


Augmentation is distinct from Modification & Replacement as it is performed by genetic engineering of the subject before birth, and thus is only available during initial character creation. The availability of Augmentation is dependent on the character having a high (social) Rank, or in this case the assumed Rank of his parents. These augmentations occur either as bonuses to the character attributes, and at higher levels, the availability of special abilities such as enhanced senses, innate weaponry, fast healing, enhanced balance, burst of strength, and all manner of exotic appearances (fur, fangs, feathers, fantastically colored skin, tails, etc.). Also notable for the GM?s & Players is the discussion of views of the augmented in society, which are generally well tolerated within the SaVaHuTa (which you may recall is made up of genengineered human races, the Sastra (prehensile tailed monkey people), Vantor (?mer? people), and Tagris (tiger people)), and met with wide-spread discrimination and outright hate among the Diasporan Community.


The Androids & (uplifted) Animals sections details the rules for Androids, which in this case refers to non-robotic synthetic humans, created from custom engineered DNA on up, think Replicants from Blade Runner, only with the option for larger animal-based non-sentient ?bio-roids? and such as well. There are no hard and fast rules provided for ?Android? characters due to this variation and thus the player must negotiation with the GM when deciding the exact abilities and attributes of his character. Rules are provided for players wanting to play uplifted animals. The uplifted animals present within the setting include uplifted dolphins (who are given a set of prosthetic hands to allow tool-use), chimps, dogs, bears, cougars, and raccoons.


The Modifications section includes rules for implants (such as computer ?jacks?, dermal armors, and interestingly integral A-grav rigs), and replacements (All your ?We can rebuild him, stronger, faster, we have the technology? fun, such as robotic arms, and cyber-eyes). All of these have price-tags associated, often hefty, time for implantation and adaptation & training, and minimum tech level requirements. Also, most all of these bits of cool gear have various drawbacks and hazards associated with their use, so it?s not all chrome and coolness.


The Matter Transmission and Mind Transfer rules are interesting. They are an offshoot of the settings Jump Drive, which works by a combination of a Jump Field and a Psionic Navigator, the field isolates the ship from the ?real universe? after which the navigator can cause it to change position (traveling without movement.) Well, this same technology base, via a sequence of ?Cells?, is used for matter transmission; however it is not as nice and neat as the jump drive and nowhere as efficient and safe as ?transporters? in Star Trek, as there are pretty much always ?transporter accidents? involved. This is due to limitations in the technology, thus it is only used in emergencies, or for military purposes. Characters using Matter Transfer are subject to effects ranging from Skill & Attribute loss to outright death, so don?t expect Scotty to beam you up.


The Mind transfer tech works on a similar principle and is subject to similar problems. The individual applications of the mind transfer process are pretty varied, ranging from transfers from old or damaged bodies to clones, young to old bodies, mind transfers between bodies, multiple minds in single bodies, humanoid minds to animal bodies, etc. Thus mind transfer provides the GM with lots of amusing and interesting plot opportunities for adventures.


The Cloning section provides an interesting discussion of the technology. In which the important distinction is made that a clone is a genetically identical twin of a different age than the genetic donor, the cloning process does not clone a persons mind or memories. Clones can be used as the targets of Mind Transfers, but suffer from the limitations of mind transfer, as described above. This section points out that primary use of Clones is for the production of ?vanity? children. Clones made of a single parent. Then there is of course cloning for spare parts, though usually only individual parts are grown rather than an entire body. Another interesting topic discussed is ?downshifting? humans, in many ways the opposite of the uplifting process used on animals. Instead the human clones are made non-sentient and used for labor and other purposes. Also discussed is the use of ?Super Splat? clones, a clone of a subject that has been developed to be a ?super soldier? or athlete, etc. Then the process of religious cults of clones made from the cult leader/prophet/divine messenger is discussed. Finally, the mention of people cloning celebrities so they can raise their role models themselves. (Who wouldn?t want to raise their own Shatner?)


There is also discussion of the use hydroponics & food grown on starships and their psychological effects for the crew, as well as cold sleep & other suspended animation techniques used on STL starships. Overall there is a lot of fascinating and fun technologies discussed, both as ways to make your character cool, as well as fodder for social Science fiction plots involving the use of clones, uplifted animals, mind transfers, etc. All kinds of cool what-if stuff that are at the heart of Science Fiction, providing the GM with the opportunity for all kinds of adventures beyond just cruising around in your starship getting into space battles.


The PDF itself is laid out in two columns, with a nice readable body text, and a ?NASA? style futuristic text used for section titles. There are only two bits of art, the cover piece, of a ?h4wt chixxor? in the shower sporting some kind of implant wire thing falling down her shapely back, done in the ?trademark? Starcluster water-colorized art style, which looks pretty good. The only piece of artwork in the body of the PDF is of an uplifted chimp, in a blue hoody, on a hover-board, seriously, which is also done in the ?trademark? Starcluster water-colorized art style, which also looks pretty good, particularly the landscape background.


Overall, this is a very meaty product, providing the GM and players with tons of cool tech goodness, not only in character goodies, but also fascinating technology based setting details & options for punchy, thematic Sci-Fi storytelling. I recommend it for most all Starcluster players as way to add a big bio-technologically boosted shot of hard SF musing into their campaign.
<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: The discussion of the social ramifications of cloning, augmentation, modification, and uplifted animals & slave class biologicals.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: No Bookmarks? Nano-Tech not addressed, perhaps in another supplement. <br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br><BR>[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]<BR>



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
StarCluster 2 Biotechnology Guide
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StarCluster 2 Weapon Design Guide
by Rob M. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/31/2005 00:00:00

This 14 page PDF provides a weapon ?design? system for the Starcluster 2nd edition RPG. Design is in quotes because the system doesn?t let you design weapons whole cloth, instead the system lets you modify the parameters of the generic weapon entries in the Starcluster rules. These modifications can be either improvements, such as greater range, or detriments, such as an increased cost. All such improvements must be balanced out by detriments, in the weapons other parameters. The parameters features follow a linear or stepped scale for each change.


The design parameters are Range, Concealability, Damage, Cost, Mode (single shot/Burst/Full auto), Skills Required (complexity & number of skills required for use & maintenance of weapon), Ammo Cost, & Accuracy. Each parameter and its associated step costs and improvement/detriment definitions are explained in order, followed by a long list of design examples & flavorful weapon write-ups based on the weapon mod described. For instance the Auto Pistol definition is modified to produce the Kearny and Southern?s Model 1510 Target Pistol.


Kearny and Southern?s Model 1510 Target Pistol:


?Kearny and Southern are a well known design house on Mickey?s Birthday, and their designs are well respected throughout Mickey?s Birthday?s area of influence. Their Model 1510 is a popular product, light, accurate, and long ranged. The trademark extra long 9mm barrel and cannon breach mechanism make it very recognizable, if a bit bulky, and the flip up telescopic sight is a welcome addition. These pistols, of local manufacture from Kearny and Southern plans, are available throughout Guaru space.?
Which is much more flavorful and interesting, than ?Auto Pistol?. A number of custom & fairly exotic melee weapons design examples & write-ups, such as the ?Magma Industries Cerablade 4000? are included as well.


Even though it is not a ?true? design system, such as say BTRC?s Guns, Guns, Guns it is still an excellent product as it allows you to adapt the full generic weapon list from Starcluster 2nd, provided at the end of the PDF, into a suite of customized, flavorful weapons reflecting the nature of the worlds & cultures that produced them.


The PDF is laid out as a single column in readable type. My copy didn?t have bookmarks for some reason, which would make for easier navigation of the document. It includes a couple of illustrations of the custom design write-ups, and the cover has an illustration of some kind of female trooper with a very large gun in a vest & helmet, in the ?trademark? watercolorized Starcluster style, I didn?t find it particularly appealing.


Overall I think this system is excellent and adds some important flavor & interest to Starcluster?s boring generic weapons list, and it allows the GM and players to unleash their inner gun-nut. I recommend it for players who want to add some zest to starcluster?s weapon list. With the Weapon design guide, instead of carrying a laser pistol - fully automatic, they can carry a Sister Waffenwerk (SWW) Model 21A Ganglaser, which sounds much cooler.


<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: Streamlined, well-explained system, flavorful example write-ups.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: No bookmarks? Could have used more weapons illos, as there is no such thing as too much gun-porn!<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br><BR>[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]<BR>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
StarCluster 2 Weapon Design Guide
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StarCluster 2 - Smilin' Jack's Used Spaceships
by Rob M. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/31/2005 00:00:00

This 11 page PDF provides 4 unique spaceships, along with full stats, back-story, and costs, which a group of players might acquire, wrapped in the flavor text of one used space ship dealer, Smilin? Jack. It also provides a short section on financing, and how acquiring the ship or dealing with finances can form part of an ongoing campaign or sub-plot.


The ships are The Split Hare, The Mohegan, The Dorylina, and the Felicia Miller. The Split Hare is a lightly armed, saucer shaped, 85 ton, Jump Capable ?Yacht? with a few technical problems that can inconvenience the characters. The Mohegan is an unarmed, saucer shaped, Jump Capable, 100 Ton ?Cruise? Ship, i.e. a commercial passenger craft, capable of accommodating 12 passengers, which was the site of a nasty bit of business which lead to its being for sale. The Dorylina is a winged, Jump Capable, well armed, 50 Ton ?Courier? ship, capable of carrying a small amount of cargo and presumably capable of atmospheric flight. The Felicia Miller is a large, modular, 250 ton, Jump Capable Cargo Hauler incapable of atmospheric landing. It includes a 50 ton lighter that can be used to ferry cargo too and from the surface.


The ships are varied and interesting and could serve as a flavorful focus for a starship crew-based campaign, as the ship is an important character in space-based series. The story of how a crew came together and acquired their ship is an important back-story element, or can make for a good initial, or ?flash-back? adventure. The flavor text is ok, though no stats are provided for Smilin? Jack should the players find him utterly annoying and decided to kill him. Prices are included for each ship, and the discussion of finances and how it can shape the flavor of the campaign are good.


The PDF itself is laid out in a single column with a simple readable font for body text, and NASA style futuristic text used for section headings and stats. Unfortunately the ship diagrams are kind of hard to read, the text for the Split Hare being unreadable, and thus useless, on the others and a hollow outlined font is used and it also makes for hard reading. Luckily the stat block and other texts are easy to read. There is no other interior art, the cover art are a couple of character pieces and ship illos in the ?trademark? water-colorized Starcluster style.


This is a decent supplement with some flavorful ship write-ups for a GM to use as a central character in a crew-based game, or as encounters in a space based game as well. So, for GM?s looking for ideas for some ships to use, it is a worthwhile buy.


<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: Nice variety of ships with flavorful back-story, campaign advice.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Ship diagrams range from unreadable to hard to read, no stats for Smilin jack, and flavor text could annoy some people. <br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br><BR>[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]<BR>



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
StarCluster 2 - Smilin' Jack's Used Spaceships
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StarCluster 2
by Michael C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/28/2005 00:00:00

StarCluster2 (from here on "SC2")is a Sci-Fi RPG with a great concept and setting. The book though is heavily flawed in it's layout and explanation of rules.


The basic concept of SC2 is that the people of Earth find out that the world will be destroyed in 300 years.Then the mad rush to get everyone out begins by transporting people in sublight ships to the cluster. The problem is that the ships are so slow that they actually have less than 300 years to evacuate and get out to the area of destruction. They then begin to send on the younger people because the elderly will die of old age long bfore they can get to the cluster.


Once they arrive in the cluster and begin to settle the area they come in contact with other humanoid races. It turns out that these "aleins" are actually humans that were taken form earth and moved to the cluster by a highly advanced alien race so long ago that they have evolved. while they resemble human they have mutation that have helped them adapt to their new home.


The cluster also has true aliens that pose threats and others like the Guaru who are allies to humankind.


While i like the setting and the basic premise of SC2, I should also comment on it's short fallings.


First the layout is not good. The section on character creation that contains all the tables with the education paths and careers wastes space. If the tables were mroe tightly formated and empty spaces not left on the lower parts of the page, the book would have a lower page count or contain more setting info (SC2s strenght). Overall could be more space efficient and leave less "open" spaces.


Second the while the system is playable(if you like the BRP system for CoC you will like this) it is not very well explained. Even and a player who has played a lot of RPGs might have some dificulties understanding the rules as written. The biggest problem is the fact that there is no place in the book that actually tells you in plain english how to resolve an attack or how armor is used.


Overall well worth a look for the setting info and overall good concept. If layout issues bug you or if you are new to RPGs you may want to look elsewhere. <br><br>
<b>LIKED</b>: New and different sci-fi setting. Well supported product line.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: bad layout and does not explain the rules well. <br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
StarCluster 2
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StarCluster 2 Weapon Design Guide
by Michael C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/28/2005 00:00:00

The StarCluster 2 Weapon Design Guide is a great tool for making custom weapons for your SC games.


Rules are given for modifing damage,accuracy,price, and concealability. The system basically works by raising or lowering a stat and balancing it out by lowering or raising another. It is more expensive to modifier some things that it is others.


The rules are written to use a weapon for the list in the core book as a template and then modify if from there by either raising or lowering stats.


<br><br>
<b>LIKED</b>: you have total control over the modifications. <br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: nothing. Itis very good. <br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
StarCluster 2 Weapon Design Guide
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Cold Space Vehicle Design Guide
by Rob M. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/28/2005 00:00:00

This 11 page PDF provides a vehicle ?design? system for the Cold Space RPG. Design is in quotes because the system doesn?t let you design vehicles whole cloth, instead the system lets you modify the parameters of stock vehicles. All such improvements must be balanced out by detriments, in the vehicles other parameters, so you could take increased speed, an improvement, at the cost of increased mass, a detriment, for instance (these changes might not make all that much sense at first glance, as in the previous case.) Each parameter has a different cost structure to these changes, Range (operating range) requires a progressively greater changes to implement a 10% improvement, while mass provides a progressively greater gain in other parameters for each 10% detriment. The other parameters features follow a linear or stepped scale.


The design parameters are Range (operating range), Mass, Mounted Weaponry, Mounted Weaponry Accuracy, Armor, Speed, Carrying Capacity, Maneuverability, Simplicity (how complex the vehicle is and what kind of support & maintenance it therefore requires), Terrain Rating (types of terrains the vehicle can traverse without penalty), and Cost (the favored dumping ground for offsetting improvements.).


Each parameter and its associated step costs and improvement/detriment definitions are explained in order, followed by a number of examples and a fair sized list of stock vehicles at a variety of tech levels/periods from the Cold Space setting. Included in the stock vehicles are a jeep, tank, older jet, and then more exotic fun such as contra-grav gunships and an aerospace interceptor that is able to achieve orbit via contra-grav tech.


Overall the system seems workable and reasonable, however, as stated it is not a true design system along the lines of GURPS Vehicles, or CORPS VDS, or even HERO system vehicle design, but more a tweak/customization system for vehicles in the setting. In order for this to be effective, there should be a large list of vehicles from the setting, preferably from various eras of the games timeline, for the players to tweak, which isn?t included in this product.


The PDF is laid out as a single column in readable type with bookmarks to each section. It includes a few small vehicle illustrations, and the cover has a nice illustration of an F-108A Rapier delta wing style aerospace fighter, circa 1964.


Overall I think this system is pretty workable and can be used to unleash the GM & players inner gear-head in tweaking various vehicles, whether their personal ride, or as part of a plot involving a prototype or some such. So I recommend it for people who are looking for a bit of gear-head focus in the arms race for their Cold Space campaign.


<br><br>
<b>LIKED</b>: Streamlined, well-explained system.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Not a full-on design system, thus needs more stock vehicles to be more useful.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Cold Space Vehicle Design Guide
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Cold Space RPG
by Justin K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/27/2005 00:00:00

A beautiful product for a beautiful setting. Science fantasy (in the Arthur C. Clarke sense) meets Cold War intrigue. Who wouldn't want to run a campaign inspired by a fusion of your favorite Tom Clancy novels and Bablyon 5 episodes?


<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: There was a great deal of thought given to capturing the feel of the setting. I could immediately start thinking of campaigns I'd like to run.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: As was mentioned by other reviewers, more spaceship art would have been nice. :)<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br><BR>[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]<BR>



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cold Space RPG
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Cold Space Vehicle Design Guide
by Justin K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/27/2005 00:00:00

The Design Guide is very helpful for figuring out how to add new vehicles to the Cold Space setting. The writeup for the F-108 is a special treat.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cold Space Vehicle Design Guide
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