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Deadlands Reloaded: For Whom the Whistle Blows
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/30/2011 03:30:40
This is a fine example of genre-blending that has been the hallmark of the entire Deadlands game line. There are a number of iconic Western elements here from bandits to steam trains and frontier towns but all with a healthy (or not so healthy for the characters) dose of the supernatural.

The backstory for this module gives the entire product a great sense of consistency. The premise for the game is that the posse is hired onto a steam train for a simple job, but there are greater machinations at play here. Whilst the story elements and the ideas are quite straightforward, I found them novel and engaging. I'd firmly believe that players would react in the same way once they figure out the story.

As such, it is very difficult to give too much detail without some major spoilers. That said, the writing is of a high quality, the scenes compact and easy to run and there is scope to have this run over two or three sessions. I would recommend this for any group with a few games under their belt as this does require a bit of knowledge about the game world to grasp fully.

The only criticism is about the train diagrams. There is a note in the text indicating that the Marshall can visit the Pinnacle website and download the maps of the train scaled for miniatures. I really don't see why they couldn't have been included in the product and saved the Marshall the extra step to acquire them.

Overall, this is easily of the same standard I fondly recall from the older Dime Novels and should give a few sessions of enjoyable play.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Reloaded: For Whom the Whistle Blows
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Deadlands Dime Novel 01: Perdition's Daughter
by Flames R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/18/2011 06:45:59
Deadlands, the very name speaks of dark tidings and sinister shenanigans. For those unfamiliar to the setting, Deadlands is an Old West role-playing game that was initially released in the mid-90′s. It met with quite a bit of success and has recently been re-released employing the Savage Worlds system. Both games were written excellently by Shane Lacy Hensley and I was quite happy to see my beloved game in print once more. With Deadlands, Shane transports us to the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood where he mixes it liberally with horror. He then throws in dashes of Steampunk and science-fiction to make it one of the best genre spanning settings. It can be dark, irreverent, gritty, and surreal all in the same session without a pause.

While Deadlands was good, Deadlands: Reloaded is better. Shane took a rather fine system, trimmed it, and then sped up the play so enjoyment was exponentially increased. This isn’t a review of Deadlands though, but some knowledge of the setting does help. In the world of Deadlands all is not quite right. It is 1879, evil is lurking, and the United States is still reeling from a Civil War that didn’t quite end. Most people turn a blind eye to the ‘stories’ they hear from travelers to keep their minds safe and secure. But, the stories are true. The dead are walking the earth, it’s just not all of the walking dead are bent on foul deeds. New creatures roam the land and magic is quite real. Science, both natural and unnatural, is making leaps and bounds pushing the imagination of what is possible.

It is here, in this twisted landscape, that Perdition’s Daughter takes us through Shane’s writing. We start off following Ronan Lynch, an officer in the Union Cavalry, during his final battle of the Civil War. We witness a veteran and competent commander that only lost his nerve when faced with overwhelming odds and a terrifying new weapon. He is, of course, deemed a coward and drummed out of the service to humiliating anonymity. Several years pass and Ronan travels the west as a gun-for-hire that harbors deep resentment to all things Southern. He eventually ends up in Denver, a city entirely too Eastern for his taste, and is approached by a mine owner to do a job. Ronan knows that there is only one job anyone would want him for: someone needed someone else dead. He is then introduced to those that will be his associates, both hail from the South. Velvet Van Helter, originally from New Orleans appears to be a dandy more interested in fashion and cards than anything else, while Betty McGrew is a rifle-woman out of Texas. Ronan gets along with them as well one would hope. His surly demeanor and openly hostile attitude towards the pair of them fosters a tension that plays out with entertaining results.

The short story unfolds as the mine owner admits he has a son that has fallen pray to the wiles of a seductive woman, and has been led astray. The woman heads a strange cult and the group left Denver a while ago. The father, quite naturally, wishes for his safe return. He offers them the tidy sum of $250 each for his son to be brought back, and $500 if his son is returned and the woman denounced as a fraud. Ronan inquires about what he might have to face and then doubles his price. He wants $500 for the son and $1000 for the son and denouncement of the woman. Such gall embarrasses Velvet and Betty and the mine owner asks if he is to pay such an amount to the others. Ronan shrugs and replies that he was only negotiating for himself.

They leave in the morning to find cult and while en route they witness Ronans blinding speed as he kills two highwaymen. The group dynamics do not change when they hit the next town and Betty refuses to even sleep in the same building as Ronan after he makes another crass remark. The trio is soon embroiled in the meat of the adventure. They discover truths and secrets, fight side by side, and even ‘bond’ as friends.. ok… they’re sort of friendly. I won’t reveal too much of story other than it was almost a road map of what a Deadlands game should be.. well.. what a game session could be if the party doesn’t try to annihilate one another (as can often happen).

With Perdition’s Daughter, Shane introduces fresh minds to his game. Hucksters, harrowed, the politics of the age, and darker magics are all touched upon with hints of broader wickedness afoot. I found it to be the perfect initiation to Deadlands, and with further installment’s on the way the background information will simply become richer. It was fantastically woven story, and I look forward to the future Dime Novels. The possibilities for future use of this short story is only curtailed by the imagination of the game master.

There was little to not enjoy about Perdition’s Daughter. It was a glorious tale in which the characters were all decently built up with quirks, the story moved at a steady pace building momentum till a climatic battle, and the over-all layout helped reinforce the ‘old west’ feel. Dialogue between characters was natural and avoided being stilted or dull. If future editions of the Dime Novel’s are as good as this one then I am sure they will be a huge success, a success that will catapult the Deadlands setting into the minds and greedy hands of gamers everywhere. My only hope is that in the following Dime Novels, that we discovery the histories of Velvet and Betty as the trio continues to romp through the west.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Dime Novel 01: Perdition's Daughter
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Savage Worlds Horror Companion
by Craig D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/11/2011 12:45:10
If you want to run a horror adventure using the Savage Worlds system, this item is like a pile of golden coins in your coffer!

Every horror element is covered, with a host of new Edges and Hindrances that are perfect for this genre.

There is also a vast collection of gadgets and baneful beasties with which to torment the minds of your players.

Excellent setting rules are included for Doom and Dread, Sanity, Forbidden Lore, Rituals, Signs & Portents, Wards & Binds, and an extensive section on Magick that extends the basic Powers into the horror realms very effectively.

The latter portion of the book is filled with sage advice for the GM on all aspects of how to include horror in the narrative flow of a Savage Worlds game.

Buy it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Horror Companion
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Deadlands Reloaded: Devil's Night
by Chris W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/04/2011 19:34:41
Not a bad addition to the Deadlands mythos, but I just can't shake the feeling that this was written by someone just going through the motions. This feels more like a generic Halloween adventure template with some Old West/Deadlands paint liberally applied to it. There's none of that old school "holy sh-t!, only in Deadlands!" appeal to this adventure. As a huge Deadlands fan, I really miss that.

I understand this is a free product, but I am a bit bothered by the fact that this seems to be little more than an ad. "The Coachman," a major villain in this adventure, is not even given game stats. Instead, the very last sentence of this adventure reads "The statistics for both the Black Coachman and the hell hounds can be found in the Savage Worlds Horror Companion," followed by a full page ad for that book.

I've been a Deadlands fan from the beginning. I've followed Deadlands through the original and revised classic editions, watched as they ground the game to a halt with the D20 conversion, and I am now essentially being asked to buy even more books which contain largely the same information as the dozens of books I already own. Kind of a slap in the face when what I was told I was getting was a free Deadlands adventure.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Reloaded: Devil's Night
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50 Fathoms Figure Flats
by David W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/04/2011 15:48:26
There are a LOT of figures in this set.

The artwork is very good, and if you want triangle flats, then I recommend this set.

If you are looking for more miniature-style figures, then this will miss the mark.

Also, there are MANY duplicates of the various flats. If you want to print out full pages of one figure flat, this is good. If you only needed a couple, then not so much...

I have mixed emotions over this set, but without a doubt, there is a lot of nice artwork contained in this set.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
50 Fathoms Figure Flats
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Savage Worlds Horror Companion
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/01/2011 11:27:20
There is a lot of meat here (145 pages). There are new Hindrances and Edges for heroes (though a lot of the horror standards are in the main core book) There are even ways to make monsters into friends (to quote the late, great Joey Ramone) or rather to make monsters into Player Characters. I particularly like their Dhampyr and might yoink it for Unisystem. There are new weapons, not as extensive as the listings in some other games, but still fine, though if you wanted to do "Savage Ghostbusters" or even "Savage Blade the Vampire Hunter" then everything you need is here. There is an obligatory section on sanity. It is better than most, but I still don't like it (AGAIN that is more about me as a former QMHP than as a gamer). There is a good section about Rituals and one about Magick (with a k) that does much in strengthening what I have always perceived as SW's greatest weakness, it's magic system. Lots and lots of great monsters too, much more than I expected. So this is a huge plus. The book falls down a bit at the Game Mastering Section. But in it's defense what it does cover is perfectly suited to a Savage Worlds game. So SW Gamemasters can start here and then move out to other sources to get more info. All in all this was a good purchase.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Horror Companion
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Deadlands Reloaded: Devil's Night
by Jim C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/31/2011 07:36:02
So it's free and it's seasonal. It offers some reasonably forgettable business leading up to (on the last page) the suggestion to buy Savage Worlds Horror Companion to get the stats for the final encounter. If you have that work, you may find this a useful adjunct.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Reloaded: Devil's Night
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Pirates of the Spanish Main RPG
by Vic G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/29/2011 06:15:08
Pirates of the Spanish Main RPG, is an awesome book and game. The system rules are simple, easy and fast to learn. It is quite fun to play and to run games in this setting. Who hasn't pretended to be a pirate as a kid, at one time or another? Well here you go, now you can do it as an adult without people looking at you funny! Ok, so they will still look at you a little funny, but it is hard not to when you yell out "ARGH! Avast ye matey! Answer true or I send ye to Davy Jones Locker!" LOL But it is definitively worth the price of the book.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pirates of the Spanish Main RPG
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Zombie Pirates Plus [BUNDLE]
by Vic G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/29/2011 06:13:10
I am not much for writing reviews, as I never read many myself preferring instead to make up my own mind. I have read many a review in days gone past, some bad and some good. The good ones got me to buy what, in my opinion, were horrid things that I didn't like at all, or didn't understand in the slightest. Bad ones caused me to not take a second look at, what I would usually later find out, were great and wonderful things. Of course, that was not always the case, but it was the usual and more common case. So I never bothered to write many either. As a result, I never quite learned really how to write a decent review, good or bad.

But in this case I feel I must make sure people know a small fact about this bundled set.

Pirates of the Spanish Main RPG, is an awesome book and game. The system rules are simple, easy and fast to learn. It is quite fun to play and to run games in this setting. Who hasn't pretended to be a pirate as a kid, at one time or another? Well here you go, now you can do it as an adult without people looking at you funny! Ok, so they will still look at you a little funny, but it is hard not to when you yell out "ARGH! Avast ye matey! Answer true or I send ye to Davy Jones Locker!" LOL But it is definitively worth the price of the book outside this Bundle.

Zombie Pirates? Collectors Edition or Regular? Not off this site. Or any other that delivers you a activation code. The codes won't work. The DRM servers are gone and you won't be able to register the game to play it. I got this line in a message to the developers: "I'm afraid the development team for Dust Devil is all gone." Now they also said they are going to work with DTRPG to get my money back. So good there, but it took over a month to get a reply from them. If you bought this and are 'waiting for the DRM servers to go back up' don't. The DRM servers won't be back apparently. How's the game? Beats me. I played the demo and it seemed good, pretty good in fact for a top down shooter style game. I am glad I will get my money back, but an very disappointed and a bit angry that I can't have the game I wanted. I want the game, not my money back. But if I can't have one, I'll take the other. From everything I saw in the demo, it looked like a great game I would have enjoyed a lot for years to come...

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Zombie Pirates Plus [BUNDLE]
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Savage Worlds Horror Companion
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/27/2011 00:21:53
WHAT WORKS: The updated Bestiary, the swell new powers and PC Monsters. Yes, it may not be your cup of tea, but I love-love-love-LOVE seeing that in here. The fortune telling rules also look great (and simple), as well as the ritual rules.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: The GM section is nothing special, and nothing we haven't read before. The cover is another cheesecake scantily clad cover like the other companions, which is kinda disappointing.

CONCLUSION: Probably my favorite companion thus far, as I felt like the Fantasy Companion kinda lost something from the Toolkits and I like Necessary Evil and its plot point campaign more than I like the Super Powers setting rules and slew of NPCs. This one, on the other hand, felt packed full of goodness and whatever it may have lost from the Toolkit PDFs, it more than made up for with better organization and the monster races. Best companion by far, in my book.

For my full review, please visit: http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2011/10/tommys-take-o-
n-savage-worlds-horror.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Horror Companion
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Savage Worlds: Explorer's Edition (3rd Printing)
by Robert S. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/08/2011 10:12:38
Greeting from the Extra-Steamy Jungles of Mad Adventure.

A wanderer through the occasional magical door, I move from world to world and when not running role-playing games for some and causing trouble for others, I make podcast columns and reviews of role-playing game material. My companions include legendary demi-lich Acererak and grandmother hag Baba Yaga and we waltz across time and space in Baba Yaga’s magic dancing hut. This is a typical life for a podcaster. By comparison, one of the guy’s behind Canon Puncture is a Sith Lord and another guy at the same show is a Jedi Knight, but I’m not going to tell you which is which because that would spoil their surprise.

This week I am reviewing Savage Worlds, Explorer Edition.

This is a theoretical review…

ACERERAK
You mean it is only a review only in theory? Then what is it actually?

GRUMPY
Allow me to introduce Acererak, legendary demi-lich and pain in the ass. When I can get a word in edge wise, I mean to say my actual exposure to Savage Worlds is fairly limited – I’ve only played it a few times. So, this review is me discussing the game more in theory, based on my reading of the text, than in fact based on lots of experience.

ACERERAK
Oh, so you mean the review is you talking out of your ass? Well, it’s not like that has ever stopped you before.

(thump)

ACERERAK
Ow.

GRUMPY
One more out of you like that and I’m sticking you in the hatbox.

ACERERAK
I’ll be good.

GRUMPY
Or I’ll hit you again ‘cause that hallow sound I get when I thump you makes me smile.

ACERERAK
Bastard.

GRUMPY
What?

ACERERAK
Nothing.

GRUMPY
Hrmph.

Savage World, Explorer’s Edition is role playing game book which presents a generic RPG game engine and is published by the Pinnacle Entertainment Group.

Savage World’s is an excellent example of concision – it covers everything it needs in 160 pages, which makes it smaller than any single volume of the three books of D&D for the last three or four editions. Savage Worlds provides a two-page table of contents, letting you know where everything is and making up for a lack of an index.

The composition and layout of Savage Worlds is good. A map appears behind table of contents and it is distracting, but this design only appears at the table of contents and at few other places. Elsewhere the layout is suburb, sporting what appears to be Arial font or something similar, with an easy to read size presented in two clear columns. Ample white space and art means the pages appear bright and are easy on the eyes.

The book also sports a good selection of art, with at least a small piece appearing every few pages, presenting a range of styles and covering a range of subjects, from fantasy to science fiction to superheroes and so forth. About two dozen artists contributed to the book, including long time RPG artist Todd Lockwood and Cheyenne Wright, who does the coloring work for Phil Folio’s “Girl Genius” series.

The stated purpose of Savage Worlds, as a RPG system, is to provide a game that emphasizes speed of play and reduced preparation over realism or detail. In this, the game succeeds quite well.

The mechanic system grew out of the Great Rail Wars miniatures game, which itself uses a simplified version of game mechanics Shane Hensley developed for the Deadlands RPG. Savage Worlds received the Gamer's Choice Award in the Roleplaying Game category at Origins 2004. After a revision later that year, Pennacle released the main rulebook as a PDF format eBook in late 2004, with a print version following in early 2005. The same year, they began releasing rules expansions – such as for fantasy, superheroes, Cthulu horror and so forth – in the form of PDFs genre toolkit books.

This review is of the basic book and the basic engine and does not cover any of the expansions.

ACERERAK
The expansion for my little pony is great and a must have for any true brony.

GRUMPY
I’ll take your word for it.

Where was I?

Pinnacle Entertainment also licenses Savage World’s for the use of other publishers, similar to how Wizards of the Coast operates with 4E D&D. However, the Pinnacle Entertainment’s license is vastly easier to acquire and employ than the license employed by Wizards.

In terms of the book, chapter one covers character creation, chapter two provides rules for equipment, chapter three provides game rules, chapter four gives rules for magical abilities and other super powers while chapter six gives rules for special situations and chapter seven provides guidelines for running the game.

In terms of mechanics, character stats are dice, ranging from the d4 up to the d12. If you want your character to catch a baseball or dropped baby or something and the character’s agility is d8, then the player rolls a d8 and adds the appropriate modifiers to try to beat the target difficult. The basic difficulty is 4, though this can go up under certain circumstances, such as angry GM whim.

The game includes the exploding dice mechanic…

ACERERAK
Which is false advertising

GRUMPY
What?

ACERERAK
The dice don’t actually explode.

GRUMPY
Acererak, they never actually meant the dice exploded, they just meant when you rolled the highest number any particular dice allows, you could roll that dice again and add the cumulative result.

ACERERAK
I know that now. But I was so disappointed the first time I played through the game.

GRUMPY
Right. Anyway, the game also provides elements called Edges and Hindrances, which is the Savage World version of GURPS Advantages and Drawbacks or the Merits and Flaws is the White Wolf Storyteller system. In other words, they are a set of additions that allow players to tailor a character to something very specific, to suit themselves and the game.

Despite the brevity of Savage World’s Explorer’s Edition, it feels complete – which is interesting again, compare it to 4E D&D, which is bloated by comparison and still managed to feel as though it is lacking in flexibility in comparison, if for no other reason than D&D’s narrow focus on sword and sorcerers while Savage Worlds is more adaptable.

I say that even though I am a fan of 4E D&D.

Initiative is determined by cards – the players draw from a standard deck of cards and their initiative is determined by which card they draw.

Because the player characters are heroes – or at least assumed to be heroes – they get an addition d6 to roll whenever they make a roll and they can keep whichever result is higher, the result of the stated dice for that roll or the result of the additional d6.

Combat is quick, usually resolved in a quarter of the game time required to deal with a similar combat sequence in D&D. However, a corollary is that damage in combat is often lethal – death comes easily to characters in this game.

The system is so rules light and flexible, it is easy to hack, that is to say it is easy to adjust and change both with careful modulation and on the fly during a game.

As others have observed, a potential flaw to the Savage World’s game is its tone or flavor – namely, it encourages a quick and high energy style of play, heavily lending itself to pulp adventures, gun blazing, comic book action and so forth. It does not appear to lend itself easily to more somber tones of something like the Call of Cthulhu or a slower paced game of plotting, scheming and the like.

This is not necessarily a bad thing – a specific focus can be a good thing, as it gives a game direction and focus. For example, I have issues with Dogs in the Vineyard, but its specific focus and purposes is not one of them. However, this focus is worth noting and does reduce Savage World’s potential usefulness, dropping it from a perfect 20.

In the end, I give Savage Worlds Explored Edition, a 15 on a d20 roll. It is quite good at what it does, though it does have a narrow, and thus limiting, focus. However, as a “generic” game system promoting fast play and high-energy play, it is good, just do not expect much in the way of depth or philosophizing of any kind.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds: Explorer's Edition (3rd Printing)
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Savage Worlds Fantasy Companion
by Douglas M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/07/2011 15:35:03
Excellent foundation for running a fantasy campaign with Savage Worlds. Not too big and not too small. Just right.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Fantasy Companion
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Deadlands Reloaded: Player's Guide
by Michael H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/02/2011 02:13:35
Deadlands is a classic genre mash-up for which the Savage Worlds rule system works really well. It's nice that Pinnacle has finally updated the rules to fit in to the SW core rules (rather than being an offshoot from them). This book contains all of the core setting information (but not the SW rules! You need to buy the rule book for that), including character generation options. With this and the Deadlands Reloaded Marshal's Handbook, a group has everything they need to jump right in to weird western horror inspired adventures.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Reloaded: Player's Guide
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Zombie Pirates Plus [BUNDLE]
by Alex P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/27/2011 07:15:59
There are two products in this bundle.

The Pirates of the Spanish Main is a good rpg with fun flavor using the quick and easy Savage Worlds rules.

Zombie Pirates might be good, it might not be. I have no idea. The DRM prevented me from being able to ever activate the thing. According to the software's sales department, their servers were having trouble. And have been since my purchase of the game.

OVERALL: This is probably worth the price for The Pirates of the Spanish Main rpg. The DRM/registration servers for Zombie Pirates didn't work for me.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Zombie Pirates Plus [BUNDLE]
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Slipstream
by Luke M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/26/2011 12:52:16
Return to the days when Sci-Fi meant rocket ships with fins, countless alien races, and an evil queen intent on conquering the universe.

Slipstream is a great return to the roots of pulp Sci-Fi serials such as Flash Gordan.

The settign includes many worlds, adventure starters, alien races, as well as a fully playable plot-point setting with many options for continuing beyond the included 'season 1'. As with most savage products, a copy of the savage worlds core rules is required.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Slipstream
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