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Gamescapes: Story Maps: Distant Planet 1
by Justin S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/30/2013 00:21:32

The dark features are too dark and don't print well. Also, the images on each page take up only part of the page, but are centred so close to the top that in some cases the top line doesn't fully print. If you're going to have an image fill only part of the page, why have it almost touching the very top of the page?


I like the concept of it, but frankly can't recommend it as it currently is set up.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Gamescapes: Story Maps: Distant Planet 1
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Clockwork Dreams Character Options
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/18/2013 12:20:13

Beautifully-presented introduction to Savage Mojo's 'faerie meets steampunk' setting covering races and skills. There's an opening timeline with some flavour text which is unreadable due to an over-fancy background, but then things settle down to an ancient parchment style that doesn't obscure what is being said.


The first topic under discussion is the skills that your character can have, and how he can use them to best effect... and the underlying game mechanics that you will have to understand to do so. They are alchemy and invention, both based around the character's Smarts, and will be suitable for those - faerie or not - who want to be the tinkerers and experimenters in this setting. There are also specialised Knowledge skills, of the sky and the land of the campaign world.


Next comes a selection of racial edges, which will come into play based on which race you choose for your character. Not just edges, there are hindrances and special abilities as well. They are nicely balanced and fit well with conventional lore about sidhe, brownies, goblins, elves and the like, yet flow well into a steampunk setting.


Interesting material especially if you anticipate a lot of faerie characters in your game.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Clockwork Dreams Character Options
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Dungeonlands: Fear of Life (PDF)
by Keith (. T. A. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/15/2013 19:13:24

This is an illustrated Story by Matt Forbeck for Dungeonlands:Tomb of the Lich-Queen from their Kickstarter of the same name. You may remember Matt from Brave New Worlds and the formation of Pinnacle Entertainment Group with Shane Hensley to publish Deadlands. Yup, that Matt Forbeck.


The story shares how two adventurers, Lexa & Skargar, team up and descend into an ancient tomb... and discover the horror that is the Tomb of the Lich-Queen. It's a short story and doesn't spill all the beans but gives a nice introduction. The illustrations are well done. It seems to be quite a bit of art for such a short story. It's a very quick read so $1.99 might be a little high but it's only $1.99. For a full review of all the Dungeonlands: Tomb of the Lich-Queen see: https://rptroll.blogspot-
.com


Enjoy!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeonlands: Fear of Life (PDF)
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Dungeonlands: Into The Black (Savage Worlds)
by Keith (. T. A. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/15/2013 19:07:57

The Dungeonlands: Into the Black for Savage Worlds is more of a monster listing than an adventure. The work is essentially a 7 page full color teaser: the Cover, 2 pages of the encounter, and 4 pages of Suzerain adverts. Fair enough! The encounter is a great nasty Toparkil; a darkly enchanted undeadish aquatic lurker. It reminds me of the Watcher in the Water by the magic back door to Moria in Lord of the Rings with some very nasty differences. Put this critter in a deep dark pool in your dungeon and let the fearful fun ensue. And did I mention, it's free? Smartly done. I was now curious. What is Dungeonlands: Tomb of the Lich Queen? read the full review of Dungeonlands: Tomb of the Lich-Queen: http://rptroll.blogspot.c-
om



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeonlands: Into The Black (Savage Worlds)
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Shaintar: Legends Arise (Players Guide)
by Daniel L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/30/2013 01:34:19

Shaintar: Legends Arise


Bias Warning: I know the author/creator of Shaintar personally and consider him a friend.


My introduction to Shaintar was also my introduction to Savage Worlds, and in a single convention setting I fell in love with both. Shaintar: Legends Arise is the newest iteration of a game that technically began decades ago when a few heroes went to a particular Keep near some Borderlands. The love the creator has put into this work shows through every page, but enough gushing let’s get to the product.

Legends Arise takes players through Novice to Veteran, leaving Heroic and Legendary to the next book Legends Unleashed. It opens with some general background to get everyone on the same basic page for the setting and feel of the game (classic High Fantasy) before kicking into the character creation.

Let’s get to races, we have eleven to choose from: Three types of elves, lizard people, cat people, three “monster races”, half-elves, dwarves, and humans. Pretty standard right? Except unlike almost every other High Fantasy setting I’ve read/played the only stereotype you’ll find here are the dwarves (which the author fully admits to). Those elves? Each is a distinct “type” with unique histories and worldviews, those lizard people (Dregordians) are master psionicists struggling with internal demons, those cat people (Brinchie) are a dying culture (via assimilation) of a self-exiled people fleeing a demon haunted land, you get the point. From the start of this book you’ll see a rich vein of stories to draw on, and we haven’t even gotten to the lore yet.

Then character options: alchemists, sorcerers, druids, psionicists, warriors, thieves, spies, ex-slaves, knights, etc. The author provides a long list of ideas for you to draw from to build any kind of character you can imagine.

While there is a “standard” starting point for your games, there is enough in just the Player’s Guide to take it anywhere run any kind of game you want. From standard monster slaying (though this would a grave misuse of the material), to court intrigue, to high adventure.

Throughout the book you’ll find little asides, direct talk from the author explaining the ideas and inspirations behind certain decisions, that really help you connect with the work that went into building the world.

Now I won’t cover every aspect of the book so let me break it down to this: Shaintar is what classic D&D should have been, instead of dungeon crawls and copper piece counting, it should have been battling Childer and stopping Necrolords. In a an over flooded market of classic fantasy with a twist, Shaintar is just good classic fantasy no twist just strong story. I can give no higher praise other than I wish that when I first started gaming it had been with Shaintar.

But really I don’t think I can say anything better than telling you to check out the book. And if you like it, then you should check out the Kickstarter for the Legends Unleashed book.

Evilbeagle Games: htt-
p://www.evilbeaglegames.com/products/shaintar/

Kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/7648-
02981/shaintar-legends-unleashed



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shaintar: Legends Arise (Players Guide)
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Shaintar: Legends Arise (Players Guide)
by Stephane G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/07/2013 12:54:42

I'm already a fan of this campaign setting, since the previous edition. I've been looking forward to this re-tooling of the setting. I like many if not all of the different aspects of the world.


Sean makes some decisions about what belongs here and what doesn't and explains why. And his explanations make sense. Like the setting rule that allows PCs to re-roll damage if they spend a benny (No need to take the ''No Mercy'' edge, all players have this benefit)


I love the artwork. Lovely layout too.


And I really like the Greyson's Gray Rangers as an orginization that the players can be a part of. This can justify why a Dregordian adept, an Eldakar sorcerer, a Dwarven warrior and a Human paladin are together for various missions. They get orders, they have access to gear & other resources and a home base too. A perfect recipe for them to travel across the land and do good deeds.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Caladon Falls: The Noble Houses of Caladon
by Matthew M. T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/31/2013 15:40:27

This is a good-sized document offered free of charge. I'll begin by saying that I have difficulty in coming up with names. I found this offering to be very helpful in that it detailed, as the name says, noble houses in the Caladon setting. I don't recall all this author's or design teams' work, but they offer a small handful of other free PDF documents. I am happily satified with this product and will use it to spur my own creativity in future adventures and stories. It is provided free of charge, therefore a true bonus. High marks.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Caladon Falls: The Noble Houses of Caladon
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Shaintar: Legends Arise
by Jimmy P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/29/2013 22:05:27

Shaintar is nearly legendary among the expanding Savage Worlds settings. It is sometimes referred to as Savage Worlds' Forgotten Realms and I can see why; Shaintar is high on the fantasy scale, with numerous races, nations and a thick history. However, I found Shaintar to be more refined and more focused on the heroes than the well-known Dungeons and Dragons campaign setting.


This is not the first iteration of this setting; I have owned the old edition and this one is a huge improvement - not that the old edition was bad.


For those who do not know the setting, SHAINTAR is a medieval fantasy setting for the super simple Savage Worlds rules. In there, you will find your paladins, rangers, elves, dwarves, orcs, bastard swords and spellcasters. However, do not expect classes or levels: Savage Worlds works on a free-form advancement system.


What I liked:
-The author's comments and advice inserted all over the book
-The huge selection of Edges
-The races write-ups and specific racial Edges
-The Art is gorgeous, with very few ''meh'' pieces
-After a quick skim thru, I felt like playing in this Universe - right away
-Nice selection of equipment
-An interesting alternate (and purely optional) way of handling money (à la d20 modern's wealth system)
-Evocative professional Edges and related organizations
-Proper PDF structure (with links for each chapter in the layout section)


What could be improved:
-More Hindrances. Most Savage Worlds settings have a very small list of those, which is unfortunate as it helps define a character. It sure sucks having three characters out of five with the heroic, loyal and stubborn hindrances...
-Some chapters would need more art or a layout that would make it an easier read. Some parts appear a bit cramped up.
-No character sheet included


Overall, very impressed with this product. A must-own for any Savage Worlds fan.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shaintar: Legends Arise
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Publisher Reply:
Thank you. I am very humbly grateful for the kind words, and I sincerely hope you do get a chance to play soon. The character sheet was one of those things we realized we should do, but ran out of time. ~SPF
Dungeonlands Original Soundtrack
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/04/2013 17:41:34

Let’s start with the most obvious plus: this is beautiful, inspiring music. I can’t really place it in the context of Dungeonlands, because I don’t know anything about Dungeonlands and the only Savage Mojo products I use are system-neutral (maps and such). Therefore, I can’t comment on whether or how the music fits the implicit storyline. But I can tell you that “Anat’s Lament” is haunting, “Heroes Arrive” is epic, and “Battle for the Catacombs” takes a while to build up to its exciting peak. Each of the six tracks comes in two versions, its standard version and then a “trailer version” that is more or less half the length of the standard version.


Now for the bad part: if you’re thinking about using these tracks as soundscapes to score an RPG session, I think you’ll be disappointed. Each individual track has a lot of ups and downs within itself, making for great listening but poor backgrounding. There are also a lot of vague choral vocals that could distract from your speech around the table. Also, the tracks don’t loop. At all. The beginnings and especially the endings are much too distinct for that, and the tracks are short enough (ranging from 3:31 to 6:37 for the non-trailer versions) for the transition to be very noticeable. Compositions like these could be great in a movie where the length of the scene and the length of the music correspond precisely; they are not so good at the gaming table, where the length of a scene can be unpredictable. I’ve never known an RPG meeting with a dragon to take precisely 5:43, for example.


And so the value of this product depends on its purpose. I won’t be using any of these tracks at the gaming table, because of the looping problem I mentioned earlier. However, I’m very glad to have this music in my listening library. It’s great for inspiration while I plan and prepare as a GM.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeonlands Original Soundtrack
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Shaintar: Legends Arise (Players Guide)
by Tommy G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/23/2012 20:23:29

I have enjoyed Shaintar since its first printing but Sean has outdone himself in this revision. He has embraced the new elements of Savage Worlds and used them to good effect for the world of Shaintar. Not only does the game flow well, but what sets is apart from many other products is that Sean includes a lot of tips and explanations to help new or experienced GMs run high quality games. The basic rules are there and clear but in sidebar tips, he explains a little more of how to use the rule or make it sparkle. A reader is free to ignore those side comments but a wise reader will take those comments to heart since it will really help whether you are playing a character or running a game. Most other products do no offer those tips and tricks in how to play or run so this is like getting two products at once. Some might ask what makes Shaintar different from just running a basic fantasy campaign but the answer will become clear as soon as you start reading. Shaintar is a fully developed turn key world that is ready for you to use. You could develop your own world, races, factions, etc. but I doubt you would do any better and most likely, after many hours of hard work, you would wish you had let Sean bring you into his world. The world of Shaintar!


Don't miss this!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shaintar: Legends Arise (Players Guide)
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Shaintar: Legends Arise (Players Guide)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/22/2012 12:05:58

Beginning with a note on how this version came to be, author Sean Patrick Fannon then gives tribute to the three writers he regards as seminal influences on this work: Lawrence Kasdan (who worked on Star Wars and other epic films), Ed Greenwood (creator of the Forgotten Realms and Joe Straczinsky (creator of the Babylon 5 TV show), explaining what it was about each of them that inspired the development of Shaintar. It is good to know where you are coming from and what has influenced you along the way; above all, Fannon's own love for his creation and desire that it will become as real to those who play there as it is to him shine through. That's the way to create alternate realities!


So, on to Chapter 1: A Shaintar Omnibus, designed as an introduction to the setting for player and GM alike... indeed, GMs are encouraged to share this so that players can get a jump start on the world their characters inhabit, something always difficult to manage as a game begins with characters familiar with their own surroundings, but their players still feeling their way.


The known world consists of but a single continent and a few scattered islands, but it is a place full of mystery and magic, a place where adventure and legends abound. This moves swiftly into the calendar, with mention of the three moons that can cause the seas (little explored beyond coastal waters) to become quite rough. The calendar is just a little different from our own, close enough to facilitate familiarity yet different enough that you're certain you are someplace else. Neat.


Next, the deities are reviewed. They're all based on legends and seem a quarrelsome bunch, involving mortals in their squabbles. Magic is a bit more tangible, being based on the channeling of Essence (or spirit energy) that influses the land. There are four primary powers making up this Essence: being Life (its pure form), Darkness, Flame and Light, each bringing contrasting influences to bear. Both magicians and followers of religion manipulate Essence, in different ways according to their particular beliefs and philosophies. These are followed by the different races: the standard fantasy ones for the most part with the addition of felinoid and lizard-like ones, and winged fae. This section ends with the sweep of history, which is often difficult to separate from legend, and an overview of the current state of affairs.


Chapter 2: Heroes of Shaintar begins by talking about some of the paths that may be taken on the journey to become a hero about whom legends will be woven. An organisation called the Rangers, orders of knights, soldiers, druids, priests, magic-wielders of various kinds... rogues and other villains, former slaves, diplomats and other wanderers have their place as well, and of course everywhere are the common folk, the ones who keep the place running and food on the table but any of whom might have the potential for adventure within them. This leads on to the mechanics of actually creating your character. Naturally, it draws on the Savage Worlds core ruleset, with a few minor tweaks to suit this particular setting. Both race and trade give advantages and disadvantages, choose wisely based on your core concept of who you want to be. There's a lot here but one thing is clear: your character will be embedded in the setting from the outset, and he'll not be boring!


Once you have decided on who your character is, he can then select appropriate skills from the lists provided, learn languages and suffer apposite hindrances (if you want a few more points for anything else). It's recommended that characters start with about 10 experience, to give them that extra edge and to reflect that they've already begun to develop signs of potential Herohood. Some of the skills, hindrances and edges available are drawn from the Savage Worlds core rules, others are new to this setting: all, however, come with the distinct flavour of Shaintar woven through them. The whole is built around the concept of epic heroism: if your character isn't the sort of person that one day legends will be written about, he's not right for this setting. This doesn't mean you have to play some kind of goodie-goodie by any means, but selfish or angst-ridden characters who care about nobody but themselves and cannot be bothered to look outside themselves don't really belong here!


This section ends with gear, weapons, etc., and an abstracted system of determining resources and what you can acquire. The setting isn't about loot-grabbing, hence the abstraction, although there's sufficient to let you be a bit more precise if you want to keep accounts.


Then comes magic the Shaintar way. It's based, of course, on the Savage Worlds standard system, but with plenty of tweaks and new bits, so even if you are familiar with core rules magic you need to get to grips with how it's done here. The effort is worth it, with a coherent magic system truly embedded within the world that powers it. Seven styles of magic, no less, all distinct and full of flavour. Once met, you'll recognise a Shaintar magic wielder. Mechanically, the core system has been torn down and reconstructed from the bottom up, an effort repaid in an elegant and coherent set of rules for spellcasting.


Then come 'Setting Rules' - all the other tweaks, modifications and house rules that make adventuring in Shaintar different from merely playing Savage Worlds in a generic fantasy setting. It's all designed with an eye to the epic nature of this setting, a place where epic legends are just waiting to be written. One gem is the use of a 'golden bennie' that can literally change events, deus ex machina-style - epic storytelling at its best!


Finally, there's 'A Glimpse at the Lands of Heroes' being a brief gazetteer of the fascinating lands in which you will be adventuring and a few of the groups you might meet - just enough to tantalise and to cause a genuine shock that you've reached the final page of the PDF.


What can I say? If you want epic adventure, to become the hero of your own legends, this could well be the game for you. Now, to round up some players....



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shaintar: Legends Arise (Players Guide)
by Betty L. M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/21/2012 18:00:36

My very first RPG was only about four years ago and it was Shaintar with Sean as GM. I took a pre-gen character and turned her into something he'd certainly never expected! Since then I've played a lot of different games, including a lot of Shaintar, and I still love it. There is so much to explore in this world. There are places where life is grim, difficulty and dirty; places where it is beautiful and happy; and all sorts of places in between. The variety is why I keep coming back again and again with new characters who don't resemble previous ones in any manner.
You can be a winged elf who lives in a giant tree, a pirate captain sailing the high seas, a behemoth ogress who's smarter than she looks, a transformed bad guy from the darker regions of the world. There are so many playable races and you are not locked into this race is bad/this race is good. And your characters can grow, evolve, change over a campaign. In fact, it's encouraged.
The magical and religious system are well thought out and simple to understand while showing the great diversity possible. Shaintar is a fully realized world, carefully developed over many years of play. "If you like LOTR, you'll love this world" us a statement you'll hear a lot. I say if you like fantasy of any kind you'll like Shaintar because you can fit most any type of character you want.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shaintar: Legends Arise (Players Guide)
by Leonard P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/21/2012 16:57:33

If you like high fantasy, stop reading this review and buy this already. I have loved this product since the first edition. I love this version even more. Here's why:


This is a wonderful high fantasy setting that blends the familiar and the unknown into a perfect amalgam. It gives you what you expect out of high fantasy, yet it has more than enough of its own original ideas to make this feel like something completely new. That makes Shaintar worth buying, even if you don't like Savage Worlds.


It really shows what you can do with the Savage Worlds game engine in a fantasy setting. The book provides you with loads of rules and options that can be applied to Savage Worlds for any high fantasy game. That makes Shaintar worth buying, even if you don't like the setting.


It gives you the author's insight, throughout the entire book, about how to use the information presented in your own game. And it does so, not with a heavy-handed "This is how you MUST play this game," but rather as a humble "This is how I ran it and it worked well." The book is overflowing with real insights about running high fantasy, from someone with a deep love of the genre. That makes Shaintar worth buying. Period.


Oh, an by the way, it's free. If you're still reading this review instead of getting this product, then shame on you. Shame.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shaintar: Legends Arise (Players Guide)
by Barry G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/21/2012 12:00:52

Great add-on to the savage worlds core rules and a great fantasy setting.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Suzerain (Savage Worlds)
by Doug P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/30/2012 13:11:18

Expands the Savage Worlds system to a level useful for a wide range of genres. Could easily be used to
convert Rifts or Unknown Armies to the SW system. We will definitely be using it for our local campaigns.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Suzerain (Savage Worlds)
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