RPGNow.com
Close
New Account
 
  
 
 
You will lose your chance to get the free product of the week.
One-click unsubscribe later if you don't enjoy the newsletter.
Close
Log In
 
 Forgot password?
 

     or     Log In with your Facebook Account
Browse
 Publisher Info
 Follow Your Favorites!
NotificationsLog in or create an account and you can choose to get email notices whenever your favorite publishers or topics get new items!









Back
Other comments left for this publisher:
e-Publishing Secrets
by scott g. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/19/2013 23:25:01
Seriously, if you are thinking about starting a company- read this first. It is written a little tongue and cheek, but it's serious.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
e-Publishing Secrets
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Click here to issue a publisher reply
e-Publishing Secrets
by Dan H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/29/2011 23:03:12
I cann't find the download please tell me where I can find it?

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Click here to issue a publisher reply
e-Publishing Secrets
by Gerwazy B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/18/2011 09:16:21
A very interesting read, I must say that I feel a bit smarter now. There is not really much to add, but still it can give you a basic insight.
Also - an editor is really a must (good point with in/visibility of writing depending on the quality of it) and a good advice to all - if you tend to be getting late on a continuous basis (in any field) you piss people off!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Click here to issue a publisher reply
e-Publishing Secrets
by _ D. U. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/22/2010 13:15:08
Utterly essential for anyone considering getting into e-Publishing, whether for the RPG market or any other.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Click here to issue a publisher reply
Steamworks
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/10/2010 06:17:00
Intended as a guide for introducing technology to a fantasy setting, this book sets out to explore aspects of how ideas spawned by contemporary technology can be implemented in a consistent way to a fantasy world without distorting its alternate reality too much! The Introduction explains that every society has 'technology' - whether it's a abacus or a computer - but that in fantasy you are not limited to mediaeval levels of technology if you don't want to be. Technology is merely the application of natural laws to create an effect, and needs no magic to operate. However, to fit in with accepted game mechanics, a technological device can be regarded in the same way as a magical item - it will need power (measured in 'charges') to work while using it will require a deliberate act on the part of its operator. And - to make the book 'technology friendly' - as well as a conventional PDF there's also a fully-hyperlinked version in HTML (web code) which runs in your browser.

Chapter 1: Technological Classes looks at two types of character who make use of technological ideas - the Tehcnologist and the Inventor. The Technologist is the in-game version of an engineer - building, testing, studying the theory as well as the practise of technology. He fills his days with learning and equiry as well as hands-on in the workshop. A Technologist is limited to the number and complexity of devices he can use at any one time in a similar manner to the restriction of a wizard's use of spells by number and level - and even has to have his notebooks handy when preparing or repairing his devices! The Inventor, on the other hand, is a curious tinkerer usually without benefit of formal training. Also using devices, he can also build a 'contraption' which develops over time as his knowledge increases, and which - like a familiar - also gives him additional abilities and advantages.

Next, Chapter 2 looks at Skills and Feats. Technologists and Inventors make use of the same skills as everybody else, although they have new uses for many, especially the Concentration skill. A new Repair skill allows both hasty (jury-rig) and proper mending of broken devices, while Techcraft is the equivalent of Spellcraft giving understanding of what you encounter and Use Tech Device replaces Use Magic Device for those wishing to operate these infernal machines! These skills are followed by a fine array of technology-related Feats to choose from including general, construction, metadevice and metatechnology feats. Metadevice feats are used to alter the device's operating parameters, while metatechnology ones affect things like size and ease of use of a device.

Chapter 3: Technology explores the rules governing devices, looking at their construction, charging, readying, use and repair. Nothing happens in a hurry! Next comes the different types, which are armament, chemical, energy and mechanical. There are various sub-categories of armament ranging from protective devices to grenades; while chemical ones are classified by the state of matter: solid, liquid or gas. Oddly, liquids and gases are stated to only affect living creatures - what happens if you pour a corrosive liquid onto metal, or create a cloud of flammable gas, one wonders?

This is followed by Chapter 4: Devices, which presents the actual devices in a set of 'device lists' which function in a manner akin to spell lists. All manner of devices are listed, from the useful to the bizarre... including a dark brown liquid chemical device which is a stimulant and makes you slightly jumpy! Oddy, this is called 'coffee' - I could have sworn I had some this morning. Flashpowder is rather fun: it makes its target sneeze violently, and then uses the force generated by the sneeze to power its secondary effect, a blindling flash right under the target's nose!

Just in case you thought all this was designed to replace magic in your fantasy world (although I suppose it could be used that way), Chapter 5: Spells and Powers looks at arcane and divine spells and psionic powers which interact in some way with technology. Useful if you intend technology and magic to exist side by side - for example, Druids can now 'turn' a construct in the same way as a cleric turns undead. Indeed, most of the spells are used to neutralise or damage technological devices or repair (heal) the damage they do.

Chapter 6: Characters is a collection of five prestige classes which Technologists and Inventors might aspire to. They also make good NPCs in a world where this kind of technology works. The classes are the Automatist (who makes automatons), the Engineer (who sees technology as both an art and a science, and seeks to expand his knowledge), the Technician (who has an altogether more practical approach, but never stops tinkering with things), the Technomage (who loves magic and technology equally and tries to combine the two), and the Wraith. This last is fascinated by cloaking (hiding) technology and studies it obsessively... and I expect they are hard to find unless they want to meet you! There's also the purely NPC class of Tinker.

Next comes Chapter 7: Integration, which is aimed mainly at the DM and gives ideas on how to integrate technology into your existing fantasy setting or to build one from scratch in which magic and technology both work. To create a convincing alternate reality, you are going to need to consider not only what technology to have but how it arose and has developed up until the 'present day' in which your game is set. One classic approach is to have the present day technology as a pale remnant of that devised by an ancient and long-gone culture far more advanced than the people of today. This approach calls for yet another class, the Archaeologist, to research what went before. Another idea is to see technological development as either a gradual or a sudden process (and so you might want the Researcher prestige class to push it along a bit...).

Probably even more than magic use, technology will vary between different cultures and races in a fantasy world so you will have to decide how people in various communities use and react to it. The level of technology also must be set, and this can limit not only what the technology does but to what extent ordinary people have access to it or even are aware that it exists. The interactions between technology and magic also have to be considered, and it is worth splitting out arcane and divine magic here. Religious institutions in your world might view technology as heretical or as a blessing from the gods, or even as a way to put those upstart arcanists in their place by finding ways to duplicate what they do. Likewise practitioners of arcane magic may be fascinated or repelled by technological advances. It might even play a part in social upheaval, if the ruling class clings to magic (or of course technology) forbidding it to their underlings, who develop the other method of gaining power and advantage as a response.

Chapter 8: Technological Items deals with the sort of gear - technological and otherwise - that a Technologist or Inventor character carries and possesses. It also looks at those devices that anyone can use, although they might require activation by a techonologically-skilled individual, and certainly will need one such to recharge them once they are expended... no 'pop in a fresh battery' here! Puzzle-loving characters can find cube, pyramid and sphere mechanical puzzles - and cruel DMs who still have them might dig out an old Rubic's Cube when these items crop up in play.

Finally, Chapter 9: Monsters is a collection of automatons, constructs and swarms which can be made. Some are 'cognizant' or capable of independent thought (and so become subject to mind-affecting effects). There's plenty on how to design and customise these creations.

Indeed, there's a lot about the how-to within the ruleset to do whatever you want with technology. It is a well-balanced collection of rules to empower you to make technology work within the alternate reality that is your game setting, combined with considered ideas on how it will fit in there. This is a book to read carefully and think about before adding technology to your game, but once you have decided that you want it, you are provided with just about everything you need to both choose what goes in and then make it work during gameplay. It's good to see both well-constructed rules AND a thought-provoking discussion of how to use them in the same book.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Steamworks
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Click here to issue a publisher reply
Secret Societies
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/10/2010 06:14:38
Intrigue. Who you know rather than what you know. Sinister conspiracies. Patrons who employ you for strange purposes that somehow further their ends, only you don't know what they are. Funny handshakes or greeting phrases. Sound familiar? Maybe there's a secret society or two knocking around in your game world. Never mind the real world, there are plenty there...

This is a sourcebook aimed primarily at GMs (while this book is in the Dungeons & Dragons section, most of it transfers well to any genre of role-playing and - D20 rules bits aside - irrespective of the game mechanic you are using. Whether you design your own settings, use published ones or run a contemporary or historical campaign in the 'real world' you'll find that the odd secret society or two will enhance your game, even if they don't become pivotal... and this book will help you set up and run them convincingly.

The book starts with an introduction, giving an overview of the contents and suggesting that a GM dips into it, looking at the bits most relevant to the game he's planning, rather than reading it straight through. There are both real-world secret societies that can be transplanted wholesale into your setting, and ideas and rules for how to design your own if you prefer. Hmmm... Mossad in your next D&D game?

Chapter 2: Secret Societies in Gaming provides an overview of how to use one (or many, the things tend to multiply once they gain a foothold!) within the confines of an RPG. It starts off with general aspects of the underlying concepts involved, and how to have the society working behind the scenes but eventually revealing more of it to your players. It then moves on to look at more specific aspects involved depending on whether your game is fantasy, contemporary or science-fiction - with the note that if it doesn't fit handily into one of these genres, read all 3 and skim out the bits that fit. Next it moves back to more general topics - how much influence or control do secret societies have in your setting, and whether there is one or several exerting that influence. Finally, it looks at how the presence of secret societies can have a direct influence on the characters, what roles they can play and what challenges they can present. If you are considering whether or not to make use of secret societies, it is well worth reading this chapter: it should help you make up your mind as to whether or not they will be right for the game you are planning, your GMing style and the players who will be participating.

Chapter 3 is 'Six Societes in Depth' and looks at six well-known real world organisations. They could be used as-is, or with the serial numbers filed off, or just to provide ideas for what your own societies might be up to and how they are organised and operate. To help with this, each is accompanied by a fictional secret society inspired by the 'real' one, ready for you to use or to in turn be inspired yourself. The featured societies are the Assassins, Aum Shinrikyo, the Freemasons, the Knights Templar, Mossad and the Thule Society. Apart from those running very accurate historical or contemporary games, it is likely that the spin-off ideas and concepts will be more useful than the actual societies - and also less likely to run the risk of offending, say, a genuine Freemason who might be playing in the game.

Chapter 4: Societies in Brief continues the theme, looking in much less detail at a whole bunch of real world organisations. Again, you may wish to use them 'as is' or use the concepts as a basis for designing your own society that is more in keeping with your setting.

Next, Chapter 5 looks at creating your own secret societies from the ground up, as well as a few brief notes on converting a real one to suit your needs (by and large unhelpful or restating what's been said before). The actual complete creation bit is more interesting, with some ideas to think about when doing the overall design and tables that can be used to flesh out the details either by giving you ideas or even by just rolling randomly on them. One key factor for making your secret society work well is making sure that any society's members have realistic motivations within the context of your setting. The best one is that they genuinely believe in what they are doing - either because they think it's 'right' or because they can see personal or other advantage in it. Even people who come over to the rest of us as completely 'evil' usually have some good reason - in their own minds - for how they act. (Go read Evil if you want to know more about this interesting ethical question from a role-playing standpoint.) You also need to figure out their traditions and beliefs, and what 'signature' methods they have for pursuing their aims and punishing those who cross them. Oh, and where do they get their money from? There's a lot of food for thought here, but it does suggest that, like most things, if you want to design realistic and believeable secret societies for you games, it requires some hard work and thought.

Overall, this is a fascinating book to read and comes up with some good ideas for how secret societies can enhance a role-playing game. Virtually all of the material is of use even if you don't run a D20 game. About all it lacks is some good reference material - but reasonable skill with a search engine ought to find you plenty more resources once your appetite for conspiracies has been whetted here!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Secret Societies
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Click here to issue a publisher reply
e-Publishing Secrets
by James P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/20/2009 15:11:32
I am not a publisher, but have entertained the idea of getting into the RPG Business. This is a great book for those considering game designing, or publishing. It talks about the serious subject, of how to start a publishing business, in a humorous way. It is a well thought out piece of writing.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
e-Publishing Secrets
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Click here to issue a publisher reply
Last Rites of the Black Guard
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/24/2009 22:00:25
Last Rites of the Black Guard is a d20 Modern ghost-hunting adventure, produced by 12 to Midnight, for low-level characters. It includes suggestions for adjusting to higher-level campaigns, a bookmarked PDF, and a printer-friendly version. The scenario also features rules from the OGL Horror ritual system. The 12 to Midnight website also offers free downloads of cool extras such as audio recordings of ghosts, pre-filled initiative cards, and more. Please note: this review contains spoilers!

If you’re familiar with the Karotechia in Delta Green, you know that it is led by a triumvirate of Nazis on their last legs: the ancient Olaf Bitterich, the artificially sustained Gunter Frank, and the immortal Reinhard Galt. Advancing the Delta Green timeline thus causes a bit of a problem, because Bitterich should be dead of old age. The solution: Last Rites of the Black Guard (LRBG).

In LRBG, the investigators visit Rosetta, Texas, home of a dirty little secret: it was once home to a Nazi, Franz Heimglimmer. Though Heimglimmer is dead, his legacy lives on in his secret acolytes, who are both trying to rob him of his power and keep him from returning to life. The investigators start out visiting the home of Lisa Gray and her two children, Marissa (7) and Matthew (6). Marissa is in contact with the spirit of Aimee Resnick, a little girl who was murdered at the hands of Heimglimmer. Matthew is protected by the spirit of a Rabbi, but that doesn’t stop glowing atmospheric balls of energy and poltergeists from terrorizing their home.

LRBG has difficulty structuring the plot such that the events flow from one to another. In my experience, players crave clear paths – it helps move the game along, gives them hints to their next clue, and ensures that the game master is appropriately prepared. Because LRBC is largely freeform, it's possible for players to skip whole swaths of the game…like skipping the haunted house to visit Heimglimmer’s home.

The free downloads are awesome, including audio clips of the various spirits speaking and photos of each of the main characters. These really add to the horror, which is why it’s all the more important that don't skip it by going to visit Heimglimmer’s home immediately.

LRBG assumes the characters will conduct a séance, which isn’t necessarily something every group will try. Instead, I had our resident psychic character possessed by Aimee’s spirit and let him role-play out the answers with the other characters. Only after enough clues were gathered about what happened to the spirits did I reveal that there was once a Nazi living next door.

LRBG then moves to the second part of the scenario, which is essentially a death trap. There’s reference to a gold tooth that’s part of the next installment in the series (as far as I know, there’s never been a sequel). Then the investigators find a secret door down into the basement…or they would, if it were on the map. There appears to be only one set of maps, labeled as handouts which are presumably for both the players and game master. This means that secret doors aren’t labeled on the map, and one of those secret doors is critical to finding the finale. The map of the Gray house, conversely, has several rooms labeled “Jeana” – we figured out that this was supposed to be Lisa and the name must have been changed.

Once the investigators find their way down to the secret door, it locks behind them and they are engaged in a fight for their lives with a Risen of Osiris, an undead monster. Since I adopted this monster to a Delta Green setting, I changed it to a Screaming Crawler. The effect is the same: the investigators have to slog it out in a toe-to-toe fight. My players were unhappy about this, expecting to uncover some plot-device to destroy it. The monster has no other purpose than as a guardian, which surprised my players, who expected it to be the Nazi himself (more about him later).

Once the investigators defeat the monster, two undercover cultists arrive to finish the job. When one of the cultists dies, the spirit of Heimglimmer appears (he’s also responsible for locking the characters into the chamber) and absorbs his soul. The other cultist flees, screaming “you’ve doomed us all!” I wasn’t content to just let the scenario end like that, so I had the police, already spooked from the swirling spirit activity around Heimglimmer’s home, fire on whomever ran out the front door waving a pistol.

It turns out that the characters’ actions have led to the resurrection of Heimglimmer and we get to see his return in a cut scene. In other words, the investigators have managed to unearth a great evil. This didn’t make my players happy, who felt like they were being manipulated all along.

It bears mentioning that one of the Nazi cultists has a Jewish-sounding name. For a scenario that spends a significant amount of space dedicated to respecting the Holocaust legacy, it seems peculiar that it was could casually cast a Jewish person as a Neo-Nazi without explanation.

Overall, my players really enjoyed the first part of the scenario but were frustrated by the second half. The lack of an overall story arc may irk some game masters, who are left with a newly revived Nazi cultist without a plan as to how to proceed. For Delta Green keepers, however, it’s the perfect way to put Dr. Bitterich back in action. I recommend The Painting by Modern Misfits as a follow-up.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Last Rites of the Black Guard
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Click here to issue a publisher reply
e-Publishing Secrets
by Kenneth A. C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/11/2009 03:19:13
An interesting read, although I certainly don't agree with everything.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
e-Publishing Secrets
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Click here to issue a publisher reply
Brainwashed
by Ron M. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/10/2009 11:58:41
Brainwashed 
From: 12 to Midnight, Inc
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Brainwashed  is a new d20 Modern Horror Adventure PDF from 12 to Midnight, Inc.
From the website:
“East Texas is an unlikely spot for a commune, but Harmony Farm has a long-standing reputation in the community as a place for kooks and weirdos.”

Brainwashed is intended for use with the 12 to Midnight, Inc, product Fear Effects (... a quick, easy, and flexible system for incorporating the effects of extreme fear into your modern game...), but it is not required. The adventure is available in both d20 Modern (d20M) and Savage World system by Great White Games. In this adventure, the characters are contacted by a concerned father about his son. His son has apparently joined a cult called the Harmonists and severed all ties to his friends and family. The father requests help finding his son, and if he is in trouble then he is to be removed from the cult, willingly or unwillingly. The author claims the adventure "combines the classic style of H.P. Lovecraft with a little Hellboy thrown in for good measure."  

Brainwashed is a modern horror adventure for four 4th-level heroes.This adventure starts out expressing the importance of mood. Horror games are a mood-critical genre, in most cases. This adventure is one of those types of games. Set in the modern remote regions of Texas, visions of the Waco Branch Davidians siege ran through my mind. On a remote farm home to many Harmonist cultists since 1969, something strange has happened. Until now, the cult was slowly devolving into a shelter for outcasts and homeless, but after a mysterious earthquake that baffled geologists, the cult began to change.

From page 5-6:
“The flesh harvester hovered over its victim. It had not intended to deal a deathblow, but these new creatures were soft and weak.”

The players are simple friends or general thugs hired by a man named Jim Simpson. His son, Russell joined the cult some time ago and the father wishes to perform an intervention. He has already contacted a "deprogrammer." Through their investigation they discover not only the cult's original relatively innocent nature, but also the dark and shadowy changes that have come over Harmony Farm. The adventure takes the characters from an un-named Texas university campus to the remote Harmony Farm, where the cults reside. I will not give away anymore about the plot, but it definitely sets up some great opportunities to creep and scare your players. Not only is the premise creepy, but the creatures are too.  

In conclusion, I am almost driven to run this adventure. It is good, right up my alley. Well written, I like the complete synopsis in the beginning. It is definitely an inspiring story written by someone who has an appreciation for modern horror and modern horror role playing. Well done.

For more details on 12 to Midnight, Inc and their new d20 Modern Horror Adventure PDF “Brainwashed ” check them out at their website http://www.12tomidnight.com.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Brainwashed
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Click here to issue a publisher reply
Silven Trumpeter March 2006 - The Ptolus issue
by Christopher H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/25/2009 10:22:55
I picked up Silven Trumpeter vol. 4 no. 1 a couple of years ago for its special Ptolus features. One of these is an interview with Monte Cook, designer of Ptolus. The interview isn’t quite as revealing as I might have liked—the focus seemed to be as much on the design process as on the product’s content—but I was quite intrigued by the exchange about the Church of Lothian. The second Silven Trumpeter special feature on Ptolus is a two-page insert that corresponds to pp. 188-189 of the Ptolus book itself. This excerpt is part of Chapter 9: Guildsman District, and these particular pages detail three locations: Longdraught Brewery, Mason’s Guildhall, and The Midden Heaps. Each location includes a map key, economic information, and a text description whose length varies from entry to entry. This is fairly typical urban gazetteer stuff, perhaps, but the quality of these three entries is rather hight. Page 189 includes a detail map of the Midden Heaps. An exceptionally nice feature—which according to the Silven Trumpeter interview with Monte, is typical of the whole product—is the appearance on each page of a sidebar with notes and cross-references.

This product is one of the reasons I went ahead and bought into the Ptolus campaign setting. However, now that Ptolus has been ought for almost three years, this issue of Silven Trumpeter isn't worth $8.50. At the time, however, I was glad to get it.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Silven Trumpeter March 2006 - The Ptolus issue
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Click here to issue a publisher reply
Forsaken Hwellan - Lair of the Plague Priest
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/05/2008 09:05:56
Hwellan is a forsaken, indeed forgotten, village high in the mountains in some wild frontier area, the sort of place where barbarians and kobolds can roam unmolested. The weather's generally bad and life was hard even when things were normal... and now, of course, they are somewhat worse!

Within this loose description, you can put Hwellan into your campaign world anywhere that's convenient, as it is neatly self-contained. It is a long way from civilisation, so it can be added to even a well-established setting, because until your characters stumble across it they probably will not have heard of the place at all. However, if just encountering adventure locations does not suit your style, or if you have a bunch of characters who plain won't head for the hills, there are some plot hooks provided to entice them in the right direction.

Once the characters are heading up into the mountains, the fun begins. The weather and environment are treacherous enough, even before you add in the other residents of the area. Snow, hail, high winds and avalances are commonplace, while the cold itself has deleterious effects on the unprepared. There is plenty of detail on how to inflict this all on the characters (although you might wish to consult Frostburn for additional information). There's plenty and enough here for you to present the dangers to good effect, though. In addition, most of the local wildlife is hungry and on the lookout for easy prey.

And so, assuming you get there, the village itself. Originally inhabited by the sort of independent-minded folks who prefer to struggle against the rigors of nature rather than live in more comfort but under another's governance, things have gone dramatically wrong over the past year or so. Without going into game-spoiling detail, suffice to say that disease plays a large part, and there are several nasty new ones for your characters to contract!

After an extensive background explaining what's been going on and the current state of play, there is a section detailing how to build up the atmosphere of horror that hangs over Hwellan. This is very well done, and shows how to make this an adventure that will be the very stuff of nightmare through suggestion and innuendo. It also gives an overview of how to organise the characters' progression through the adventure.

Next comes a detailed description of the village of Hwellan and its buildings, linked to a comprehensive map. Everything can be at your fingertips as the characters explore.

The rest of the book is made up of appendices describing the monsters, NPCs and new items and spells involved in this encounter. The NPCs are presented with statistics at 3 levels to enable you to pitch the challenge appropriately.

Overall, this is really a complete adventure built around the location and villain promised in the series introduction. It is presented clearly and should prove easy to run. The illustrations are apposite and overall presentation is good although there are one or two sloppy errors which a good proof-read should have caught. All I need to do now is entice some adventurers up into the mountains...

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Forsaken Hwellan - Lair of the Plague Priest
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Click here to issue a publisher reply
e-Publishing Secrets
by Noah A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/14/2008 13:14:33
This had a lot of good stuff in it; I might have to consider entering the e-Publishing business. I had considered it but really didn't know how to get started.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
e-Publishing Secrets
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Click here to issue a publisher reply
Journal of American Paranormal Research issue 3
by Jason G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/10/2008 15:20:35
Proof that sometimes less is more. With its newspaper style three column layout and minimal illustration, this little freebie is still a slick adventure. The adventure plot is pretty linear, but still just fine for a starting adventure. You really can't go wrong with alien fungus and zombies, can you?

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Journal of American Paranormal Research issue 3
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Click here to issue a publisher reply
Steamworks Deluxe edition
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/23/2008 13:51:51
Integrating fantasy and technology in a role-playing game has never been easy. This is doubly true when the game’s standard focus is fantasy, and technology is being added in as a supplement. If you’ve got a suit of powered armor loaded with mico-nukes and multi-phasic lasers, for example, then one can simply walk into Mordor…which kind of ruins the point of playing in Middle Earth. Questions of balance, compatibility, and verisimilitude all make it very difficult when adding tech of any sort to your favorite fantasy games. Which is why 12 to Midnight goes out of its way to try and handle all of those problems in Steamworks Deluxe Edition.

For those who don’t know, this Deluxe Edition contains everything found in the standard edition, but it also comes with an HTML browser. This makes the product read very similar to how the SRD is set up at www.d20srd.org, in that the entire thing is hyperlinked to everything else, allowing for easy cross-referencing as needed. It’s likely to be very useful when you’ve gotten the book’s contents down pat and need to quickly look things up.

The book itself comes in two versions. There’s a full PDF and a printer-friendly version. The full PDF is one hundred sixty-five pages long, and is also easily navigable with full bookmarks and a hyperlinked table of contents. It has a number of black and white illustrations, and the sections headers are slightly colorized, though there are no page borders. The printer-friendly versions dispenses with the covers altogether, removing all of the interior illustrations and makes all of the text black and white. Clearly, 12 to Midnight has the technical side of things down pat (which is reassuring for a book of this nature).

As the title suggests, Steamworks is a book regarding the integration of steampunk-themed technology into your Fantasy d20 game. It’s worth noting that the nature of this technology isn’t truly steam-based in the sense that a grognard would define it. Rather, these are the sort of tinker-built items that you’d expect to find cobbled together in a world that puts magic first, rather than being the slick and sexy items you’d find in a space opera. There aren’t any micro-nukes here, but there are ornithopters, polyvolvers, and tangler grenades. The manner in which Steamworks handles this from a crunch perspective is where the product is truly interesting, however. In fact, I suspect that people who buy this product will either absolutely love how it handles technology, or utterly despise it. Simply put, from a mechanical perspective, this books makes technology into another form of magic.

No, seriously. Technology in this book is treated exactly the same way that spells are, from a mechanical standpoint. The two new base classes, the Technologist and the Inventor, are the Wizard and Sorcerer all over again. The tech devices that they can make/use are grouped into tech levels that range from 0 to 9. There are Knowledge (technology) and Techcraft skills and Metatechnology feats. Simply put, if you know the d20 magic system, then you’ll find it very easy to pick up the new rules presented here. I personally don’t think this is a bad thing at all, but I’ve heard some people say how they dislike that, for example, psionics has become just another form of magic; I have to wonder how those people would react to technology being relegated to that same status.

It’s also worth noting that the book doesn’t stop until its gone the extra mile in regards to what it presents. Sections discuss how to have technology interacts with magic (and psionics), new technology-related spells and psionic powers, an entire chapter is devoted to discussing how to integrate this new technology into your campaign, and more. The book leaves no stone unturned in making sure it gives you the complete, holistic picture of the new technology it offers. My only problem with it was that the section on new monsters seemed much too brief.

Ultimately, Steamworks is a complete package of totally new material that you’re already familiar with. Some people won’t like how it’s derivative of the magic system, but it works very clearly, and integrates seamlessly into the existing d20 mechanics.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Steamworks Deluxe edition
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Click here to issue a publisher reply
Displaying 1 to 15 (of 184 reviews) Result Pages:  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 ...  [Next >>] 
0 items
 Hottest Titles
 Gift Certificates
Powered by DrivethruRPG