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BattleTech: Isle of the Blessed
by Christian G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/26/2014 07:51:16
Not a native English Speaker - so i hardly can say something about the narrative style.

But the story is great, it was a thrilling read. No typical good vs bad - no superheros - only humans that fight and die for the right reason - and both sides have good reasons to keep fighting.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: Isle of the Blessed
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Shadowrun: Shadow Spells
by Steven H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/25/2014 22:58:00
I am just not impressed. All of this should have been in Street Grimoire. In my opinion nothing in this book is imaginative or new. It is a rehash of 4th Edition. I frankly wish my group had stayed in 4th at least we had all the books.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Shadow Spells
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Shadowrun: Shadow Spells
by Matthew B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/25/2014 18:27:54
This is the RPG equivalent of Day 1 DLC. Lots of content that should have been in SG, such as the Norse tradition, but wasn't. It's only $7, but it's a ripoff just the same.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Shadow Spells
by Jordane T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/25/2014 13:45:07
Like other people mentioned it is a pretty straightforward supplement. Nothing ground breaking, but overall some nice additions for a pretty decent price.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Shadow Spells
by Jonathan K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/25/2014 13:40:43
Fun little addition to the SR5 line - I really like these mini-pdf's - and totally worth the price of a latte + scone to me.

Four new traditions, a smattering of organizations & threats, and some welcome new spells & adept powers. It's a pretty straightforward little supplement, nothing really life-altering here, but I'm happy I picked it up.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Shadow Spells
by Jon R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/25/2014 12:22:48
After lackluster Street Grimoire, I was hoping for spell creation rules - not here

Traditions are nice but nothing special.

A few more adept powers from last edition make it in.

One new type of combat spell (nova type, aka frost nova) makes it into the book….

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Street Grimoire
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/20/2014 16:45:41
Shadowrun: Street Grimoire is all about magic in the Sixth World, from both from a roleplaying and mechanic side. It is a useful book, almost required if you intend to highlight the magical side of a Shadowrun campaign, but it could be more tightly organized and better edited, a few parts being confusing to read. That being said, it does have a lot of useful material allowing for magic to be used in much more interesting ways and it should spark a host of ideas for any Shadowrun GM even though it lacks any explicit GM direction in the book.

Shadowrun: Street Grimoire, is the second major sourcebook for the 5th edition of Shadowrun providing more information for GMs and the players on the role and dangers of magic in the Shadowrun world.

The book begins with one of the ubiquitous fiction sections, then an (in game world) discussion on what it is like being one of the rare group of people who can manipulate magic in the Shadowrun future. It is a very general overview and touches on how magic colors education, tradition and (of course) dealing with the corporations and in the shadows. While just an overview, still a useful introduction to how magic fits into society in the 2070s.

Next it moves into magic in the world, which discusses a bit of how magic works on a theoretical level but mostly in about the strange magical phenomenon that are out there, ley lines, mana storms and other such strange things that can just ruin a magically active character’s day. Then magical traditions are expanded upon giving more cultural options from all around the world, and the appropriate rules for playing them, but sadly the psionic tradition (one of my favorites from earlier editions) was not included.

Magical societies are explored from with sample societies from corporate to religious, local to secret societies, this gives a good look at the wide range of such groups in the Sixth World and most include a paragraph about how they interact with the shadows. Dark Magic follows with the best of the worst: blood magic, toxic magic, alien and insect spirits. The dark paths get their own magical themes and powers, which are suitably disturbing, but there is not much of a framework for how to use them beyond some very basic discussion of the sorts that are attracted to such magic. But what do insect shaman look for in a lair? How would they recruit? Is toxic magic infectious? Some more advice on how to use these dark tradition to build interesting scenarios and antagonists would have been very helpful.

Players and GMs alike will enough the options presented by the Expanded Grimoire with more than one hundred new spells, including the fifth edition version of such favorites as Fashion and Turn to Goo, new elemental effect of water and (for toxic magic) pollution and radiation are presented as well. But, no rules or even guidelines are presented for creating new spells, which is a bit of a shame. Shadow Rituals gives new ways to use ritual magic including lots of new wards, ways to interact with ley lines and more including some neat tricks allowing links to animals and forensic magic. Secrets of the Initiates expands the skills that can be learned and used by initiates and provides and expands the roles and profession that magic can be used for including forensic magic, exorcism, advanced alchemy while adepts get focused ways to apply their paths.

Physical Magic is all about the adepts, including mystical adepts, and includes a wide variety of new adept powers as well as the ability to focus in particular types of adept powers by use of the Ways (way of the artist, the invisible way and so on). The Immaterial Touch delves into the spirit world in more detail, covering ally and free spirits, new spirit types and even new mentor spirits (though only four of those). Lastly, rules for one’s reputation in the spirit world are provided, providing penalties to those who routinely abuse spirits.

The last two sections of the book are for the alchemists and talismongers: Turning Lead into Nuyen provides new ways to use alchemy and advanced alchemical preparations. While The Life of a Talismonger provides a primer for the business aspects of being a talismonger including enhanced rules on harvesting reagents and focus design.

Then the book ends, no index, no collection of tables. Which is a drag, though it does have a decent table of contents in the front, a gathered list of where to find the new qualities scattered through the book (at a minimum) would have been helpful.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Street Grimoire
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Counterattack: BattleCorps Anthology Volume 5
by Clive F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/12/2014 16:37:18
Love these anthologies. From classic battletech 3025 to the Jihad. Carrion of men a fav.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Counterattack: BattleCorps Anthology Volume 5
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BattleTech: Record Sheets: 3039 Unabridged
by Eric O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/12/2014 12:13:47
This is my first set of Record Sheets for Battletech. This contains a lot of new mechs for me to try out. The table of contents has links into the PDF which is nice. The PDF is just images so you can't search it.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: Record Sheets: 3039 Unabridged
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Shadowrun: Sail Away, Sweet Sister (Enhanced Fiction)
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/30/2014 04:57:17
By now you probably already know that 'Sail Away Sweet Sister' is the sequel to 'Another Rainy Night'. If you didn't, go back and pick up the first in the series. Whilst some will say that this novella could stand alone, readers will have a much more coherent experience if the companion volume if read first.

Now - on to the actual story. It is a well-written piece of fiction that pays attention to little details, good characterisation, vampires-as-monsters, and Shadowrun continuity. The author is obviously a fan of the setting and this shines through in their style. All of the characters are given solid personalities, drawbacks, and (in some cases) slightly disturbing vices as coping mechanisms for the Sixth World. It would be really easy to mine the concepts in the novella to flesh out NPCs for your next game. The story ties into the hints from 'Storm Front' (a brilliant source book from 4e) that those afflicted by HMHVV are experiencing far worse symptoms than usual. The novella offers no deep revelations, but does show some practical effects of this situation.

It is always refreshing to read a novel about vampires that treats these creatures as monsters. The Monster part of the psyche is written well, and the struggle to retain humanity echoes World of Darkness themes and was really appreciated. Lastly, the author paid attention to the smaller details, reminding long-term fans what the Sixth World is like. One great example was how Thomas' magical ability was perceived by those around him. Most reacted with suspicion or were deeply unsettled by anything magical - which is exactly how it should be.

I'm amazed that a title like this is available at this price point. It represents excellent value, and I look forward to reading the third instalment in this series (and maybe a compilation volume). Highly recommended for any Shadowrun fan.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Sail Away, Sweet Sister (Enhanced Fiction)
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Shadowrun: Nothing Personal (Enhanced Fiction)
by Martin W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/29/2014 07:52:47
In quite enjoyed this book; plenty of intrigue coupled with an interesting point-of-view that I've rarely, if ever, seen in a work of Shadowrun fiction.

The story held my attention throughout, and I found both the characters, their stories, and the plot twists to be highly engaging and amusing.

Well worth the low price of admission.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Nothing Personal (Enhanced Fiction)
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Shadowrun: Nothing Personal (Enhanced Fiction)
by David W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/24/2014 17:32:30
Shadowrun seems to be going through a resurgence of popularity of late with a new video game and RPG edition and it made me want to pick up this story to give it a try. Once upon a time I loved the stories of Nigel Findley, Robert N. Charrette and Mel Odom who in my mind have already gone and set a standard for the setting of Shadowrun. A Shadowrun story brings some expectations for me. A world of magic and near future where machines invade everyone's life and even their bodies. A grey world of cyberpunk meeting the light and dark of fantasy. With Street Samurai, Native Shamans caught up in the schemes of ancient elves and dragons. A genre of its own where other unlikely genres come to meet and interact.

The story while well written didn't evoke any of that for me. It started with a cold sex scene that had me wondering what I was reading right form the start. None of the traditional mixes of Japanese slang or other Shadowrun slang are used in the story that I noticed It isn't a cyberpunk walk through culture ruin and invasive technology and it isn't a fantasy with any characters having any redeeming qualities that make me want to care for them. I usually would reserve a low rating for something with bad writing mechanics which this story does not have and had it been written for a different setting I easily could have given it a higher score.

I haven't read any of the other short stories released to go with the 5th edition roleplaying game, but with this as a measure I think one could do better just reading fan fiction from the Shadowrun community on steam.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Nothing Personal (Enhanced Fiction)
by Alan M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/23/2014 20:54:13
Nothing Personal is a relatively entertaining read. Looking at a run from the perspective of Mr. Johnson definitely isn't the usual take you get. The bevy of double crosses and intrigues amuse as always. This is pretty light on the metaplot elements, something I am always grateful for. The only point I noticed was the changes in hacking in the new era in Shadowrun, and that isn't really integral to the plot.

I do have three criticisms, though I'll acknowledge the first two are matters of taste. Nothing Personal uses more conventional profanity and slang rather than the more traditional Shadowrun terms. I know that has fallen out of favor in recent years but I still prefer my "slots" and "frags." The second criticism I have is that there is a somewhat explicit sex scene near the beginning of the story. While I understand that the protagonist is supposed to come off as a slime ball, I think it's a case where alluding to it would be better than showing us his misogynistic nature. Again, I'll say those two things are a matter of taste. My final criticism is that some of the action sequences at the end felt both rushed and muddled. The climax should be savored and clear. It's an exciting part of the story and develops the character of the protagonist, so it would have been nice to have been polished and expanded.

On the whole, I enjoyed Nothing Personal, and recommend the piece. I hope to see more of the character Martin in the future, and hope to read more from Olivier Gagnon.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Stolen Souls
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/15/2014 13:34:12
I agree whole hearted with the above reviewer. I got this book hoping for a long running campaign source for New York. Nothing of real use to GMs. Save your money, even on sale it was a waste.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Stolen Souls
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Shadowrun: Street Grimoire
by Joanna N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/13/2014 16:35:33
I feel like I might be too easy on this book, because on the one hand it's brimming with potential. The fluff is good and the package, on a superficial level, looks good. Certain sections read just fine, such as the write-up on traditions. But once you get into the technical sections, the layout quickly becomes difficult to follow with way too many haphazardly placed side boxes that don't read well in pdf format. And that isn't the only problem.

This still a major supplement for any magic user. THE magic supplement of 5th edition, this edition's Street Magic in scope. There are a number of adept powers that are extremely desireable, including the new Elemental Body power. Understanding alchemy with the core book alone makes it difficult to imagine the possibilities, but here, you have a much fuller picture of what you can do with the enchanting skill group. The spirit write-up fleshes out the rules for summoning that are barely touched upon otherwise. There's a lot of roleplay inspiration for Initiation that I find handy for visualization purposes. Plus, on the GM side of things, you get more toxic magic and rituals to build your team of ultimate magic baddies to challenge your runners with.

But for all the good that this book does for character options, world building and RP, it suffers in the technical department and some sections are virtually useless. Drain codes for magician spells are all over the place, hardly worth the time to obtain in many cases. There's no rhyme or reason to it, especially compared to the core book. A lot of spells are very questionable in their usefulness, are drain-heavy and are full of mistakes regarding their designation as a mana or physical spell. The adept powers, metamagics and ways are full of missing prerequisites and are a victim of some of the worst layout in this book with no easy way to reference the different sections that apply to them. There are literally at least three sections where Ways appear with no page references between them. Nearly everything is also overcosted, much like the rest of this book. And some powers are just terrible in their cost-to-effectiveness ratio, like Blind Fighting. Some even badly contradict the powers that were present in Stolen Souls, with completely different effects and costs.

For an instance of poor rule clarity, Elemental Strike/Weapon vs Elemental Body. While Elemental Body is a new power and thus is fairly explicit about how it works, Elemental Strike does't really tell you anything about what it does beyond adding an elemental effect for a certain duration. To what degree? Does it boost AP and DV in any way because of the power stacking restrictions? There is so much guesswork that needs to be applied here to figure out just how to work this power into a game.

Honestly, I like having this pdf on hand because I came into the game in 5th edition and therefore the fluff gives me a huge amount of inspiration and insight for using magic in the 6th World. I don't have the kind of knowledge base that 4th edition players might already have from Street Magic. I think this book is more informative than some people give it credit for. But the errors are absolutely glaring and the release probably should have been withheld for at least another month. However, I did see the apology from Hardy about the state of this book and that errata will be forthcoming. Some of the errata has been incorporated just in time for GenCon, though most of it is in regards to the core book and Run&Gun due to them being legal books for GenCon usage. If this book has the spells and adept section revised, this could be a really great product. I don't even care about the spelling and grammar issues really. I just want the Ways and the powers to be useful and comparatively costed to the core.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Street Grimoire
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