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Dark Champions - PDF
by Alan F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/13/2012 12:51:08

I've been a long-time Champions player; I started playing way back in 1985 or 1986 in the original Champions, Champions II, Champions III era. I've seen the ruleset explode from a simple pamphlet of 60 or so pages to the multivolume rules compendium that it is today with 6th edition. So, I've been around a while.


Dark Champions sets itself to be the "gritty, realistic" genre of play, allowing players to take their brand of justice to the streets with guns a-blazin'. In it, players will stand in the grimy streets, facing down pimps and drug dealers, corrupt politicos and on-the-take cops, and all manner of "street level" of crime. The characters may dress in fancy uniforms, but everything is tinged with grey, black, and red. The inspiration for this is declared to be characters like Marvel's Punisher and Elektra, DC's Batman: the Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen, and (in my opinion) a heavy dose of Frank Miller's seminal "Sin City". It also draws heavily from cinematic thrillers from the 'eighties, 'nineties, and new milennium: Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, Heat, Cobra, and so on...


The introduction runs a little long at the start. From page 9 to page 24 we receive lots of information about "What is Dark Champions?" including genres, subgenres, themes, elements, and so on. This seems to be geared towards the newer player, especially in its recommendations as to how to mix certain genres together. And the Dark Champions elements chapter reads like a Hollywood Blockbuster do-it-yourself kit when we find that Dark Chapions is about: Amazing Escapes, Car Chases, Car Go Boom, Contacts, Crisis Management, Dead Relatives, Guns, etc... (these are the actual section headings). Not what I personally needed, but probably good information for someone who is breaking into a different game system.


For the Crunchier chapters (rules and recommendations), I couldn't decide whether this was a background sourcebook with some rules in it or whether it was a rulebook with heavy sections of background information. I really liked the sections on Forensics and Combat and Adventuring. Sections on Firearms and equipment seemed long and not very enlightening (since the Hero system pretty much allows you to tailor your Ranged Killing Attacks however you want the several pages of add-ons and equipment for guns seemed a little excessive and really not all that useful, except to create verisimilitude in that a .22 doesn't do as much damage as a .45). We receive several pages worth of information about guns; so much so that it began to feel more like an arms and equipment guide with some background thrown in for balance.


Background chapters were generally informative at a basic level. I liked the sections on terrorism and adversary types (stereotypical bad guys like Mafia, yakuza, and triads as well as Robbery Crews and government agencies). This had more of a genre feel than the equipment sections. The section on LIBRA mentions the Harbinger, but no stats are provided (which to an old hand like me makes sense, but may be confusing to a newer player). The five villians provided are solid, but perhaps to be expected all center on their equipment and not very much about their personality or history.


The writing was fairly solid throughout and the artwork ranged from decent to good. My recommendation is that if you are looking for a good source for equipment in a hurry, this is a solid work. As a piece of genre-development, I'm not convinced this is a complete "how-to" to produce any particular genre other than "shoot-em-up" John-Woo style.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Champions - PDF
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Book of the Empress
by Alexander O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/10/2012 09:30:51

The Book of the Empress is a sourcebook that tackles a cosmic level antagonist in the Champions Universe: Istvatha V'han.


What's intriguing about it is how the book not only adds layers to the character of Istvatha V'han, but also how she relates to two other well-known cosmic level antagonists in the Champions Universe, and just how complicated invading dimensions and conquering them can be.


The history of her rise to power is not entirely one-note, but the complexities really arise when she begins to encounter other expansionist players in the multiverse with designs on what she claims as her territory (Champions Earth). There are enough interesting wrinkles to that history and the workings of the multiverse to overcome one of the problems of many super-heroic settings not based on ongoing comics series: insufficient twists and turns and a stunningly small amount of major players. In the Book of the Empress, the field that she plays on is complex, peopled with many varied types of opposition, and the history has the feel of a rich comic book universe.


The Empress of a Billion Dimensions is statted out, but has variant versions for other genres, should you choose to limit her magnificence.


Her minions are statted out as well, and a rich mix they are: general forces, several select races, an elite force, and the equivalent of an Imperial Battalion populated with heroes and villains from alternate universes that will be familiar to the heroes of your campaign.


There's also a good explanation of the Champions Multiverse (which is based on the Sephirothic Tree of Life), notes on Imperial Technology, Vehicles, and a guided tour of the Empress's Empire -- government, domains, and how all them are gearing up for the invasion of Earth.


Most useful: the in-depth look into the personality and plans of Istvatha V'han. A must for GMs trying portray a fiercely competent, accomplished, and powerful individual who may, at some point, interact with the PCs.


For someone looking to do an ultra-mega-crossover in a super-heroic campaign, this is the book for you.


(review also appears on http://armchairgam-
er.blogspot.com/
)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of the Empress
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Fantasy Hero 6th Edition
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/28/2012 19:34:22

I've not had a lot of experience in dealing with the HERO system, but have a member of my gaming group who swears by it. That alone was reason to do some digging to understand the system and whether this product added anything to the host of other fantasy books out there. At almost 500 pages, this does qualify as a Tome though, and shows what I come to expect as a comprehensive and fulsome treatment from the authors of HERO.


If you are only to purchase a single book about fantasy role-playing, this is a good contender. It is clear from the outset that the authors are not just casual consumers of the genre, and know fantasy intimately. There is an impressive annotated bibliography which put me to shame and has now formed a core reading list for the future. They effectively and concisely analyse the different elements of fantasy and investigate the key features of the fantasy sub-genres.


The rest of the book is dedicated to rules. Everything from character creation, archetypes, combat, magic, geographical effects and even morality is discussed in stunning detail. Given that a lot of HERO is based on designing specific instances from a generic idea, there is an underlying discussion of rationale which flows through most sections. I'm sure that any GM/DM who has previously run an FRPG will find some enlightenment from this book. Most of us never question why something is so in a game, so being forced to think about it is always a good exercise. The scope of the magic section alone should give even the most die-hard fantasy player pause for thought.


Overall, this is a very impressive piece of work. The authors clearly show a mastery of the genre, and write with an incisive style which is rarely seen in the hobby. The layout and artwork are both of a consistently high standard and should appeal to a range of tastes. The main warning is that this is a companion volume to the core rules for HERO system, you're not getting a complete game here. That said, I firmly believe that with a copy of this, the main rules and a homebrew setting (or even adapt one of the hundreds already on the market), you'd never need to purchase another book.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fantasy Hero 6th Edition
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Champions: The Super Roleplaying Game
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/18/2012 04:15:07

An iconic RPG setting, with a really authoritative and detailed write up of the history of the genre. Beautifully laid out too, in full color, to emulate it's source material. It's not a complete game, however, as you will need to Basic Hero rules (130 pages!) at least to play. The rules themselves scale very well in the supers genre (better than most other 'generic rules'), but are pretty arcane in their implementation of three-letter acronyms and the like.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Champions: The Super Roleplaying Game
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Bloodsucker Rampage
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/05/2012 17:57:46

A great little supplement for anyone interested in bringing vampires into their Hero game, this book contains lore and game stats for several different types of bloodsucker: Standard (with lesser and greater varieties), Dhampir, Bestial, Realistic, Asanbosam, Baobhan Sith, Chiang-Shih, Langsuir, Loango, Penanggalan, Sundal Bolong, Vpir, and Vrykolakas. This book is in black and white, the art ranges from the fair to very good (one or two pieces are cartoonish), and the whole book is full of info - there is very little wasted space.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Bloodsucker Rampage
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Hudson City Map
by John P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/02/2012 13:38:04

Most awesomest product for HERO system, ever! Been wait for years (4e Dark Champions) for this.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hudson City Map
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Champions Universe
by Tim R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/10/2012 09:54:08

Champions Universe is an unbelievably complete setting book. With the 6th edition of Champions Universe, Steve and Darren continue to create an incredibly detailed world with a multitude of plot hooks, ready-to-go villains, and a long list of possibilities for a superhero campaign in any era. It's particularly suitable for relatively modern era games, but has enough to go on for older-style campaigns. Thumbs way up.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Champions Universe
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Scourges Of The Galaxy
by Ben H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/22/2012 16:01:50

Even though this is 5th edition I still found the character concepts useful fodder for my planned for Star Hero campain



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Scourges Of The Galaxy
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Star Hero
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/02/2011 00:05:56

Star HERO is a great example of the crazy level of detail present in every HERO genre book. It covers a huge amount of the genre, and has something for everyone. The discussion on subgenres elements, genres, hybrid campaigns, gming advice, and a plethora of info on stars, planets, psionics and even time travel is exhaustive and enlightening.


Even if you weren’t a HERO GM, it would still be possible to learn something new and interesting that you could use in your game with this book, and I would -still- recommend that people pick this up out of sheer usefulness.


Overall, it’s a giant book at 358 pages, but what you’re paying for is the density of information. Whether you’re looking for source material for cyberpunk, space opera or hard sci-fi, Star HERO has you covered.



This is an excerpt from the full review on my blog. To see the full review, kindly visit http://wp.me/p5H0U-P5



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Star Hero
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Thrilling Hero Adventures
by Aron W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/23/2011 11:19:31

I love the concept of these little mini-adventures. Individually, they are worth the $1.50 or so that each of them costs. Even if you don't use the Hero system (which I don't), they're nice, concise plots, each with a very "pulpy" feel. Taken together, they can make the basis for a great, long-lasting campaign, especially with the inclusion of the "Inner Earth" material. The artwork and maps are much improved in the combined volume, and definitely worth the price.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Thrilling Hero Adventures
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Thrilling Hero Adventures
by michael f. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/24/2011 15:12:41

My only problem with this book is that almost every adventure requires you to have other books, like the Bestiary or Pulp Hero. When I purchase an adventure I expect it to include everything I need to run it. The adventures themselves seem well written and interesting. Most are "fortune hunter" type adventures with a few "weird science" adventures.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Ps238
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/14/2011 12:31:16

Great introduction to the Champions/HERO system and a fun concept that is different than all the "Superheroes in High school". Based on the PS 238 comic this game is a streamlined version of the same Champions game. I found it much easier to get into and start playing.


IF you are playing a supers game now, this is a great resource on how to do things a little different and if you are at all a little curious about Champions then this is also a fantastic place to start.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ps238
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Hero System Equipment Guide
by Stu V. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/17/2010 17:03:33

I wish I had this book when I was prepping my last game.


It contains hundreds of weapons, from medieval weapons, both historic and modern fire arms, scifi weapons and Superheroic weapons (which include point costs for Superheroic rules).


There are lists of different types of armor from different eras, including information for sectional army by hit location. There's also a informative section on the practicality of armor in games and rules to coax PCs out of their armor occasionally.


The HSEG doesn't cover vehicles, but there are several examples of "weird science" and Superheroic movement equipment (ie, suction cup climbers, arm wings, jet boots, rocket surfboard, etc.).


This is a great boon for those of us who find Hero game prep a bit daunting.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hero System Equipment Guide
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HERO System 6th Edition: Combat and Adventuring
by Stu V. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/09/2010 01:54:34

Volume 2 of Hero 6th covers everything that doesn't involve chargen.


The Hero combat system is both complex, flexible and fun. It provides the flexibility during combat to make all sorts of attacks, rather than the standard "I hit."


It has one of the best hit location systems I've ever encountered, including the very innovative "high shot" and "low shot" that provides easier hit modifier penalties.


One of my favorite things about Hero is the initiative system. Characters with a higher speed get more actions in a turn, which makes more sense than the standard init system most games have.


The adventuring section covers nearly every possible situation the PCs will encounter. And the book is very well-organized, so finding the rule you need on the fly doesn't take a lot of time.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
HERO System 6th Edition: Combat and Adventuring
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HERO System 6th Edition: Character Creation
by Stu V. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/09/2010 01:47:07

Hero System has the most flexible character creation system in existence.


Like most point-based systems, it's critical to come up with the character concept first. This is especially true for Hero, because you can make ANY character you can think of.


Additionally, there are often several different way to make the same character (though there will be subtle differences in game play).



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
HERO System 6th Edition: Character Creation
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