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Castle Builder Volume 4: Towers
by Diana L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/25/2013 16:14:36
In the fourth installment of his ten-volume work "Castle Builder," Richard T. Balsley leaves no stone unturned as he writes about towers and their construction. Not only is he thorough in the construction, uses, costs, strengths, and weaknesses of this type of stronghold, but he really does it with a lot of flair. It's clear that he is well-read, and he incorporates many examples of the use of towers from various genres of literature (including fairy-tale and fantasy genres), myths, and so much more.

This volume is such a quick read. I think in part that is due to his wit and style. This book is very informative and useful, but I have to say that the description of the wizard in his tower is alone worth the purchase and the read. I laughed so much and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Nicely done, Richard. I definitely hope "Al" makes an appearance in more of your work!

"Castle Builder Volume 4: Towers" also made me rethink the use of towers, meaning it opened my eyes to uses, layouts, etc. that I had not considered before. I highly recommend this item.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castle Builder Volume 4: Towers
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Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #17: Artifact Conditions
by Justin S. D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/20/2013 00:25:06
Great, great supplement that expands the (woefully uninspired) artifact rules in the Mutant Future core book. Adds all kinds of mayhem to your looting-n-scavenging-n-plundering!

(Lengthier review here: http://afieldguidetodoomsday.blogspot.com/2013/03/radioactiv-
e-review-wisdom-from.html)

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #17: Artifact Conditions
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Swords of Kos: Hekaton
by Clint S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/12/2013 15:37:48
An enjoyable collection of tales, Sword of Kos: Hekaton, is actually the second in a series. I was not aware of this when I purchased the book, but the collection was complete in itself and I had no trouble reading and enjoying the stories without having read the first volume. Based on reading Hekaton, I plan to pick up the first book as well.

The stories in the collection each focus on one or more residents or visitors to a fantasy version of the ancient City of Kos in the eastern Mediterranean. Overall, Hekaton reminded me of other 'Shared World' anthologies, like the Thieves' World' anthologies. Occasionally there is interweaving of main characters in one story as cameos or walk-ons in others in Hekaton, and I would have been happy to see more of this, as I felt the interconnectivity of the narrative especially in these parts.

The main body of the book is encapsulated in the introduction and epilogue - the musings of a Guard Captain regarding his expectations of the wild celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Cataclysm. All the stories take place in and around the Hekaton, but not all of them revolve around it. I think this is a good thing, as having all the stories intimately connected to the festivities would be too much. As it is, with the varied action and plots, some of which are only tangentially related to the festival, the reader gets a broader feel for the City and its workings.

Swords of KOS: Hekaton is written with the understanding of the RPGness of the world, specifically Dungeons & Dragons. This is lovingly done, and obviously with long understanding of the tropes of the D&D experience. Races, classes, class abilities and the tropes of the genre are a part of the world. For example, Adventurer is a profession understood in the world, in the same way as Bricklayer or Highwayman, and is viewed sometimes more like one than the other. The characters in the stories are diverse, possibly with a proliferation of rogues. Paladins, rangers, wizards, clerics and fighters are also represented. As a long time gamer, I have to say, i liked the game references.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Swords of Kos: Hekaton
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Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #26: Energy Weapons
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/07/2013 05:03:14
If you like futuristic energy weapons, come on in and take a read of this! It looks at disintegrators, disruptors, ion blasters, microwave emitters and sonic distruptors - all things hovering on the cusp of science-fiction and contemporary 'what-if' military weapons speculation. All are extremely deadly and high powered, and should be introduced to any game only with caution and after careful thought - someone armed with one of these is going to be well-nigh unstoppable, and if both sides have them it is time for mutually-assured destruction!

Each weapon is described clearly and concisely, and there are some good realistic illustractions. Game mechanics are handled well, and whilst they are written for the Mutant Futures ruleset it would not take much effort to translate them for other rulesets with which you are familiar.

The sonic disruptor is particularly interesting, as it can be used both for crowd control (its original design purpose) or in combat. They come in three forms: a grenade-style device you hurl at whoever you wish to be affected, a larger version that is shot out of a crew-served gun and the speaker-based type that has to be set up but is capable of sustained broadcast as it isn't dependent on an internal power supply. The effects are quite interesting, particularly in crowd-control mode, including 'dizzy' characters who move randomly as their balance and directional mobility is affected!

Neat but potentially game-changing... use with caution but have fun! You may want to make them tempremental, given to overheating or massively expensive in terms of energy expenditure, or find some other way of limiting their use as a means of maintaining game balance.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #26: Energy Weapons
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Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #16: Robots Part 2
by Justin S. D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/17/2013 14:26:59
Great, great product--a worthy addition to the 'WFTW' line. Highly recommended!

(More detailed review here: http://afieldguidetodoomsday.blogspot.com/2013/02/radioactiv-
e-review-wisdom-from_13.html)

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #16: Robots Part 2
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Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #15: Robots Part 1
by Justin S. D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/09/2013 20:13:45
Over the course of reading the 5 pages, I came up with over a dozen inspirational "AH-HAH!!!" moments for my home game. This is a must-buy in the line.

LOVED this issue.

(More thorough review here: http://afieldguidetodoomsday.blogspot.com/2013/02/radioactiv-
e-review-wisdom-from.html)

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #15: Robots Part 1
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The Jester Dragon's Guide to Defects
by Brendan C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/06/2013 01:15:34
Good book, defects as an "anti-feat" is a straight forward and easy to include mechanic for adding character flaws. There's a nice balance of flaws for fantasy and sci-fi, with many of them being relevant for both sorts of settings. The art is whimsical and fits the tongue-in-cheek tone of many of the defects. There are a lot of defects included, it will probably be a while before I have to use the same one twice.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Jester Dragon's Guide to Defects
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Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #24: Weapon Modifications
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/02/2013 11:52:41
This could aptly be described as the 'Gun Bunny' issue of Wisdom from the Wastelands - it's jam-packed with information (both flavour text and good solid game mechanics) for a whole bunch of ammunition types for both firearms and bows, as well as additional rules for range and a few accessories.

For the budding gunsmith, there are numerous modifications that can be made to your weapons. Remember that in the 'post-apocalyptic' genre, the corner gunstore may well not exist any more and if you want to repair or improve your weapons, it will be up to you! Likewise ammunion doesn't always come in bright boxes, you will end up having to hand-load. To make a modification you need to be proficient with the weapon in question, you should have the necessary parts to hand, and you have to make a successful repair roll.

For those who upgrade their sights, there's a neat table which enables modifications to targetting rolls depending on what sights you have - so the effort is made worthwhile.

A little more on handloading, beyond a simple list of ammunition types and their game effects, would have been nice, but otherwise a very useful resource for those who want to take the art of gun and bow combat to greater heights than mere survival.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #24: Weapon Modifications
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Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #14: Aggregates
by Justin S. D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/25/2013 13:52:09
This issue provides thorough, methodical methods to merge two of your mutants into one. Provides a half-dozen all-new beasties (and, really, many more than that, as they evolve through their various lifecycles), and 16 all-new mutations.

A more complete review here: http://afieldguidetodoomsday.blogspot.com/2013/01/radioactiv-
e-review-wisdom-from.html

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #14: Aggregates
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Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #20: Mutation Modifiers
by John B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/16/2013 20:30:46
A random mutation list for a mutation list? I am torn about this issue, the idea of modifying mutations by a whole new level is intriguing but the mechanics offered were a bit awkward in my opinion. The issue offers 50 ways to alter a mutation to make it more unique for the character. The modifications range an entire gamut from requiring some sort of triggering mechanism, linking mutations together, modifications to the effectiveness of the mutation, etc. The mechanic suggested is to roll a d6 for the 10's and then a d10 for the ones to come up with quasi-percentile number. One alternative would be to roll percentile and divide result in half to come up with a number between 1 through 50.
The mutational modifiers do not seem to be type specific though some seemed more suited for mental mutations (such as Psionics) while other seemed more suited for physical mutations (such as Grafted). It would have made more sense to categorize them into their respective types or at least indicate which types they would effect. I was a bit confused as to when a mutation modifier may be gained. Not sure if the author was suggesting all mutations be modified or only a few. I could see assigning a base percentage chance for each mutation or may be just allowing one mutation to be modified. Perhaps allowing a mutant humanoid or animal that gains a new mutation from radition to instead roll for a modification of an existing one instead.
Overall the idea of randomly modifying random mutation would make mutant abilities much more unique and at this point I could see using these for NPCs and monsters to make them a little more unique. The issue is worth the funds and anyone that likes to tweak the standard Mutant Future mutations may find some inspiration in this issue. The big news I gleaned out of this issue is Skirmisher's plans on releasing their own Mutations book, something I will definitely be keeping an eye out as I am a mutations junkie.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #20: Mutation Modifiers
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Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #23: Sea Monsters
by John B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/16/2013 13:52:02
More monsters for your ever mutating world is always a good thing. This issue gives us nine monsters from the deep from the commical Candy Cod to the behemoth Sticky Tree as well as a few new mutations and optional rules on drowning.

Oceanic post-apocalyptic settings seem to get overlooked, especially in regards to possible creatures to stock such environments and this issue of WftW definitely gives the mutant lord several varieties to choose with interesting mutations and environmental adaptations. Each of the creature descriptions were very well written and thought out for the most part. The only monster I could see having issues from a game mechanics side would be the Striking Lump, a coral that entraps its victim over a short period of time. Not sure why a victim would not move away, plus the coral only grows deep under the ocean so I am not sure why a character would be wondering through it (maybe there is an artifact underneath?).

The drowning rule makes sense and if the characters are doing a water borne adventure it would be incorporated easily enough.

There are three new mutations that I think they could have been easily rolled into an existing mutation from the Mutant Future rule book. Also, the mutation type is not given for any of them so it is up to the Mutant Lord to classify them if he wants to incoporate them for character use.

Overall, any very good issue of the Wisdom from the Wastelands and worth the price for the five filled pages of information Skirmisher puts out. Still not a big fan of the stockish art they are using but easily overlooked for the quality of the information they give out. The mutant creatures within should make any mutant fisherman think twice before trying to land the big one. Also, if your character sees a bunch of fish just laying on the beach just keep moving (unless you like fricaseed adventurer).

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #23: Sea Monsters
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Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #23: Sea Monsters
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/16/2013 03:35:45
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...

This issue contains a whole collection of well-developed sea creatures. The scary thing is, they all sound almost plausible, they are written up so well. There is clear evidence of each creature's mutations and abilities having been thought through thoroughly. Ecology and behaviour have been considered and developed so that you can well imagine these creatures actually inhabiting an ocean somewhere... hopefully, not near where you want to go swimming or sailing!

There's carnivorous seaweed, a mutant sea bass that shapes and animates mud, an ostensibly edible fish that makes anything that eats it exude a scent irresistable to other fish which flock to feed on them... even a giant sea cucumber capable of swallowing entire ships. Each one carefully described with its special abilities put in context.

The last time I read such well-devised sea creatures was in the Blue Plant RPG, and that was written by marine biologists! This is an excellent work, and no matter what game system you are running you should check this out if you need some aquatic monsters.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #11: Optional Combat Rules
by John B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/04/2013 12:25:10
This issue of the WftW deals with a lot of combat related issues, from critical hits (and misses) to called shots and disarming opponents, using cover to grappling. These rules are clearly thought out and any Mutant Lord that wants to add a level of regulated complexity to the combat will find most if not all of these rules acceptable. To me, it seemed that the author simply went through the advanced combat rules of the tried and true d20 system and simplified them a bit for the Mutant Future specific rules.
The big draw for me for Mutant Future is getting away from the entire minutia of rules involved with combat and the need to have several different sources available to just complete a single round of combat. The rules for combat are pretty straight forward for Mutant Future and if the character wants to do something that isn’t specifically covered by the rules it is the Mutant Lord’s call. Of course it is up to the Mutant Lord to implement any or all of the combat rules found in this issue anyway.
Personally I will probably pick and choose a few of these rules additions and may do some of my house rules mods to them so overall the issue was worth the money. Again, nothing in this issue seemed really original, but simply modified rules from other more rules centric games with MF specific twists (such as mutations). I do have one pet peeve in the format and layout of the issue, there were a few times where the rules option referred to another rules option by (see below). To me it would have made more sense to place the see below rules more towards the beginning of the issue then just refer back to them later on in the article or just build on them as a subset.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #11: Optional Combat Rules
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Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #15: Robots Part 1
by John B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/02/2013 15:45:19
Oh for the days bygone when behemoths of metal ruled the land and sky! Overall this is another good product by Skirmisher and the review will focus just on the first of the four robotic issues they produced. This issue (along with most of the WftW supplements) provides a lot of usable info packed into five pages (six is OGL and if there is a seventh it is typically an ad). We start out running with eight robots just in this issue alone, ranging from junk bots to fabricators, synthetic animals to the educators that can connect to the minds of the living to pass on their knowledge. All of the robots listed follow the robot stat block found in Mutant Future (more or less) with the addition of the actual movement rate of the robots. In addition, the issue introduces several new robot gizmos that can be included in the robot's repetoire including things like medical scanners and death rays. The issue is filled with photoshopped stock art which again is pet peeve of mine, I would have preferred actual line drawings or crude renditions of what the robots actually looked like rather than what the author could find online.
The issue is well worth the price and it does help develop the sparse section that Mutant Future didn't seem to completely develop (in my opinion). This issue alone about doubles the number of example robots that the Mutant Lord doesn't have to take time to develop on his own. I still dream of Death Machines and War Bots from the days of old and the one robot that seems to try to emulate that style was the Destructor but I would tone down the Hit Dice from 500 to something more managable (maybe 100).
So get your metallic groove on and pick up this issue if you like your animals synthetic or you want to get your education the old fashioned way, with a telepathic cable.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #15: Robots Part 1
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Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #22: Personal Shields
by John B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/02/2013 10:40:34
Where issue #21 was the mutant's answer to magic weapons, this issue seemed to be the mutant's answer to magic armor (or at least the spell mage armor). Force screens/Force fields/etc. basically allow the user to avoid taking damage when hit. Overall the issue was very cohesive with itself and provides an alternate use for these devices as they seem to be more more limited (and some a bit more powerful) than the Force Field devices within the Mutant Future rule book. The issue definitely expands the type and power of force fields versus the two general types found in the core rule book (Force Screen Belts and force screens built into EMAs) with models for everyday civilian use to uber protective versions for the governmental elite. Also included are several devices to get around these protective shields as well.
Overall the issue is very well done and easily usable in any Mutant Future game. It would have been nice if the issue addressed (possibly given alternate stats) for EMA force screens and possibly some redesignation of robotic force screens from their robotic series (which basically allows the robot to ignore all attacks for up to 5 founds per day). I vote for an issue or two about Encasing Military Armors (EMAs) that implement this type of force field system and possibly some new suit mounted weapons and devices.
This issue is definitely worth the price, and "I'll buy that for buck!"

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #22: Personal Shields
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