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Savage Worlds: Test Drive 2012
by Joel R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/10/2014 16:55:35

Ironically, I was in the process of outlining an adventure inspired by "The Most Dangerous Game" when I happened upon this nicely designed gem. It's got a good back story, well drawn characters, and enough action and mystery to engage even the most jaded player. Very little actual plan time on my part as a GM, but with plenty of room for expansion. My little group had great fun with it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds: Test Drive 2012
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Deadlands Dime Novel 01: Perdition's Daughter
by jeffrey v. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/05/2014 19:13:25

I liked it and was disappointed at the same time. I was looking for a supernatural western to read when this series popped up. We are given ex-Union soldier and now gun-slinger, Ronan Lynch, who is hired, along with others, to find a man’s son who has disappeared to join a church-cult run by a suspected witch.

Ronan is killed only to reappear out of nowhere at the conclusion of the story with no explanation. The final line being: “to be continued.” Yes, it is a hook to buy the next in the series but I feel cheated in a way. I know nothing more about how Ronan becomes the feared supernatural bounty hunter badass he was advertised to be. I signed up expecting to find out this guy’s origin, and if I like what I read to continue on with his further adventures. What I get his Ronan getting killed off before anything even remotely “supernatural” happens. The bulk of the story continues about his companions on a grand adventure where they eventually find the son and take down the witch.

I signed on to read about Ronan so I feel a bit cheated by having to buy another installment to find out what happened to him and how he returned from the dead.

All supernatural aspects aside, the story is well written with interesting characters—just not enough about one particular character.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Dime Novel 01: Perdition's Daughter
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Deadlands Figures: Horrors of the Weird West
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/03/2014 01:29:02

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: The companion product to Cardstock Cowboys, this 8 page document covers pretty much everything from Rascals, Varmints & Critters 1 & 2, including nosferatu, Dracula, demons, the five unique Hangin' Judges, automatons, Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, John Henry and more.

WHAT WORKS: A really good selection, covering the bulk of the remaining official monsters.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: The same limitations of being designed for a print product hinder the PDF of this as well. Running Night Train and want a legion of Nosferatu? Get ready to print page 1 - including trade dress that covers a quarter of the page, as well as a bunch of creatures you don't have an immediate use for - over and over again. You're also going to get a lot of dead space on some of the pages, which is doubly annoying when it's your ink and paper going into printing these.

CONCLUSION: A more specialized selection than the first set, combined with a sub optimal set-up for home printing, and my recommendation for this set is even more lukewarm than for Cardstock Cowboys. Right now, this is as good as it gets for Deadlands fans, but I would love to have newer sets that took advantage of the advances in technology. It wasn't a waste of money, but it wasn't my wisest purchase, either.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Figures: Horrors of the Weird West
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Deadlands Figures: Cardstock Cowboys Starter
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/03/2014 01:28:34

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: This is a printable PDF ($7.49) for figure flats covering most of the major Deadlands needs: Gunslingers, Texas Rangers, Men in Black Dusters, Blessed, Hucksters, Natives of all stripes, shysters, bandits, desperadoes, cultists, most of the previous also on horseback, walkin' dead, Hangin' Judges, wendigos, devil bats, Los Diablos, Mojave Rattlers and even Maze Dragons.

WHAT WORKS: This'll cover most of your Deadlands stand-ups needs. One of the biggest pains we've had is one PC that is a Native who has been Deputized...we managed to find a standup that did a pretty decent impression of him as well. It's cool getting different varieties of the same archetypes. Especially so I don't have to resort to, say, using Necessary Evil figure flats in a Deadlands game. You get 16 PAGES of printable flats, of various sizes as needed (the Prairie Ticks are tiny...the Maze Dragons are massive).

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: This was originally a print product, and the first page has a large trade dress/sidebar that you can't work around if you want to print that first page off. A lot of the art is good, but a bit too small, especially with the color, and it loses something. I've seen smaller images on printable figures that were just line art that printed better because of it. No Harrowed.

CONCLUSION: A really good purchase for a Deadlands fan that uses minis but needs something cheap and easy to fill up his battlefields (i.e. me). I would love a more fully featured product with clearer art and customized printing (like being able to select the figures you want to print off, instead of printing off three separate pages to get to the three figures my players were using, as I had to). I probably would have LOVED this in print, but working with a cheap printer, it is a less than optimal product...still a good purchase, just not a GREAT one.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Figures: Cardstock Cowboys Starter
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50 Fathoms Explorer's Edition
by David H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/30/2013 17:47:17

This was the first setting that introduced me to Savage Worlds. I love the blend of historical elements and pure fantasy mix that with pirates and sea monsters, what' not to love. I can't flip through the book with my imagination running wild and dozens of adventure seeds springing to life.

This one of my favorites.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
50 Fathoms Explorer's Edition
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Savage Worlds Deluxe
by Alexander S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/29/2013 22:49:48

This edition of Savage Worlds Deluxe is PHENOMENAL! It contains all the flavor and mechanics you would need to start up a new campaign setting. The listed rules are easy to learn and compiled in a quick-to-follow structure. There are alternative rules to add to your game, as well as pre-made one-page adventures. Not a page is wasted on artwork or text in this master compendium of Savage Worlds rules. Great for fast-paced, light-hearted adventures or serious, dark dramas. I've played the Savage Worlds system through space pirates, Dinopocalypse survivalists, and earth-invading brain parasites. Of the numerous alternative systems I've tried out, this has been my favorite, surpassing FATE: Spirit of The Century and D&D 2.0-4e by miles. For only 9.99? I would have bought this PDF for its original price at 29.99. It's fully intact and you can use the word finder function if you need to (a big deal-sealer for me). I Highly recommend this file. 5/5 stars.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Deluxe
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Weird Wars Rome: Enemies of Rome Figure Flats
by Keith (. T. A. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/27/2013 12:46:54

These figures are used for Savage Worlds Wierd Wars Rome setting book. Pinnacle Entertainment produces several lines of this product type for playing in various settings. In this case, the figure flats are for the enemies of Rome including barbarians, pirates, and armies of enemy empires.

The artwork is very nice and can be used for virtual tabletops or face to face play. The flats could easily be used for other games from the era or for fantasy settings as well. Overall another good job by PEG.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Weird Wars Rome: Enemies of Rome Figure Flats
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Deadlands Noir: The Case of the Jumbo Shrimp
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/25/2013 11:16:09

Originally published at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2013/12/25/tabletop-review-deadlands-noir-the-case-of-the-jumbo-shrimp-savage-worlds/

Wow. I honestly though 2013 was going to be the year of Deadlands Noir when it was first released at the tail end of 2012. The core rulebook was simply amazing, and then it was immediately followed up by a high quality adventure in The Old Absinthe House Blues. After that though, the campaign setting rather dried up. We had three “dime novels (short stories) released for Deadlands Noir and the less than impressive Deadlands Noir Companion…but that’s been it. In fact, only a single eighteen page story was released for the setting in the second half of 2013, until now. The Case of the Jumbo Shrimp might not sound like something you’d see for a 1920′s noir/horror mashup tabletop RPG, but it covers all the bases: Mob bosses, cannibal cults, crooked unions, murders, a frame up for a crime characters didn’t commit, backstabbings, double crosses, triple crosses (maybe even a quadruple cross!) and so much more. Sure, the name of the adventure is a bit wacky, but it helps to lower the guard of your players and suck them into an ever escalating scenario where multiple sides want their heads and the only way out may be to decide who is the lesser of several evils.

The adventure begins with players being hired by one Travis Evans, a young man running for the leadership role in the local teamsters union. The current incumbent is Simon Beauregard, who Evans believes has mob ties. Evans feels if these are exposed, he can secure the nomination. At the same time Evans’ assistant , Chelsea Golden has a father who has died (and believed murdered) and the players will have to look into this as well. Both paths lead the investigators down an ever growing path of depravity and weirdness that they may never recover from.

Much of the adventure is mundane, such as doing Legwork for information, checking ledgers for embezzlement and racketeering, interrogating/questioning NPCs and the like. It’s a dry adventure compared to what most people think of when they hear Deadlands. It’s much like a Call of Cthulhu adventure without the Mythos aspect. I really enjoyed that this was more or less a straightforward detective piece, but those who want a little more blatant supernatural experience or some monster bashing may be a bit disappointed. That said, it’s not as if the supernatural is completely absent from The Case of the Jumbo Shrimp; merely that it is exceptionally subtle. In the back story there are references to spells of prolonged life and of course, some occult circles believe that cannibalism gives one extraordinary abilities. As the players investigate the crimes before them, they’ll also discover the use of a spell to snuff out a critical NPC’s life. So again, there is supernatural occurrences in this adventure (It wouldn’t be Deadlands otherwise) but it takes a trained eye, ear and nose to spot them. There is one big blatant potential supernatural threat, a Swarm Man, at the tail end of Chapter 2, but it doesn’t really seem to fit the adventure, so my advice would be to excise it unless your players are really aching for combat and/or monsters at this point. It does kind of change the dynamic of the adventure for a single experience though, so I think you’ll find the mood, theme and flow of the adventure is better off without it.

Of course all this talk about subtle supernatural elements goes out the window with act four of this adventure. There, PCs will be travelling to a creepy bayou island full of bloats, voodoo zombies (as opposed to the Romero style zombies) and trying to end the reign of an ancient cult. This is the most action packed and violent part of the adventure, and if PCs are going to die, it will probably be here. Thankfully though, even if a TPK (Total Party Kill) occurs, the PCs can still win. It’s a nice touch and considering how the characters are going to be thrown through the wringer here, I was pleased to see how death is far from meaningless in this piece.

The Case of the Jumbo Shrimp takes place over four chapters, each of which could be considered their own adventure. As such, that makes this more of a mini campaign than a single adventure. It will take you multiple play sessions to get through all of this (more than likely with one or more PCs meeting a grisly demise if they aren’t careful). This helps to offset the $9.99 price tag, which would be a bit high for a single adventure in digital format. As such I think the sheer amount of content The Case of the Jumbo Shrimp ensures players and the GM will get their money’s worth out of picking this up. The adventure works especially well as an introduction to the Deadlands Noir setting due to how the emphasis is on investigation and discovery over combat or supernatural horror. Of course, there are only two published adventures for the setting outside of the core rulebook and the Companion, so it’s not like you have much of a choice if you prefer to run published adventures. Who knows? Maybe Pinnacle will throw more Deadlands Noir content our way in 2014.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Noir: The Case of the Jumbo Shrimp
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Savage Worlds Horror Companion
by Josh M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/18/2013 21:29:27

Originally posted at http://krazyivansrpgs.com/review-savage-worlds-horror-companion/

System: Savage Worlds

Producer: Pinnacle Entertainment

Page Count: 144 pages

Retail: $14.99 (PDF), or $19.99 (Hard Copy)

Content

The book is broken up into several sections. Each section is examined individually below.

Characters This section of the book offers a good number of new edges, and most of them are not dependent on horror setting rules. Several new horror-themed races are presented, from angels, to werewolves, to zombies, that can easily be ported into non-horror settings. Be warned however that some of these races are quite powerful compared to those found in Savage Worlds Deluxe.

Tools of the Trade The equipment section of the book is very useful if you are running, or playing in, a modern setting. Unfortunately, there is not much equipment that would be useful in a fantasy style game.

Setting Rules This is really a mixed bag. Many of the setting rules fit the horror genre just right. The rules for Forbidden Lore are particularly well written with just the right mix of risk to reward. However, some rules like ‘Buckets of Blood’ are overly cinematic (this one has buckets of blood spewing all over the area whenever anyone dies). What should be the crown jewel of this section (considering how many of the new Edges interact with it), Sanity, are overly harsh in my opinion. This is mainly due to how few Sanity points characters get, how easy it is to lose them (particularly for characters with a low Spirit rating), and how hard it is to get them back (particularly for characters with a low Smarts rating). I was expecting more a slow burn, like in a Call of Cthulhu campaign, but got a flamethrower.

Magick This sections has no less than 14 new powers for characters with the Arcane Background edge. All of them are fit well into the horror genre, and mostly have to do with summoning, controlling, and enhancing all manner of creepy crawlies like demons, spirits, and zombies. One thing was a bit of a turn off, however, is that not one of the new powers is available to Novice characters. Most of the new powers come in at Seasoned and Veteran ranks, with a couple for Heroic ranked characters.

Arcane Items Welcome to Krazy Ivan’s Cursed Item Emporium! The section on magical gear is full of things that might be useful to the player, if they don’t mind a some complications. There are also a few ‘standard’ pieces of kit that offer some kind of advantage against the supernatural without any kind of cost. All in all the gear presented here is right at home in a horror game. My problem is that a good many of the cursed items are of the ‘save or die’ type, meaning that they have a particularly serious effect on a character if they fail a trait roll (usually Spirit, and usually with a significant negative modifier). This wouldn’t be so bad, except a bunch of these items dictate player behavior. I am not huge fan of taking away player agency.

Creatures One thing this book doesn’t lack is interesting creepy crawlies for your players to deal with. There are more than 100 of them in fact, and around 50 of them are wildcards. That last point is pretty important because most of those 50-odd wildcards are of the ‘urban-legend’ variety; these are the type of monsters that perfect for playing the antagonist in any traditional horror story. Pretty much all of the creatures in this section can easily be dropped into any Savage Worlds game, horror themed or otherwise.

Game Mastering The Game Mastering section of the book starts with advice on running horror games in multiple styles running the gambit from action horror (think of the movie Van Helsing), slasher horror (think Friday the 13th), and ‘greater evil horror (think H.P. Lovecraft). Advice for running horror games in multiple settings including Sci Fi, Fantasy, Modern, and Historical is included. Ideas are given for making the existence of the supernatural either public knowledge or hidden. There are some ideas for building campaigns, creating a proper atmosphere for horror gaming, and ways to create memorable villains. All in all there is nothing really new here, particularly for a ‘Seasoned’ game master. That said the section is an interesting read, and is not a waste of pages.

Production

The artwork is mostly well done, but a little pulpy for my tastes. While this isn’t surprising for a Savage Worlds supplement, it’s not exactly what I want in a ‘horror’ supplement. I also wish that there were more pictures of the things in the Creatures section of the book. The artwork is well placed, and in most cases is related in some way to the surrounding text.

Page border graphics do not bleed into the text, and do not effect readability of the text. The fonts themselves are crisp and clear, except for the page and section headings. The headings use a typewriter-style font that is a bit fuzzy, but is in keeping with the horror genre. The headers are legible in any case.

Organization

The book is organized along the same lines as Savage Worlds Deluxe, which means if you are familiar the core book then you will have an easy time finding things in the Horror Companion. If you do have trouble finding things by flipping through the book it’s not a problem because the book;s indexing is excellent.

The Verdict

I may have some issues with the art style, and lack of creature photos, in this book on the whole the amount of good, useful material. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to run a Savage Worlds horror, urban fantasy, of straight up fantasy game.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Horror Companion
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Weird Wars Rome: Legionary Archetypes
by Keith (. T. A. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/18/2013 19:21:14

This is a great supplement to the WW Rome Savage Setting. In it you'll find a variety of legionnaires, each with a unique background and distinct traits. Included in the set are the DECANUS - the leader, The Ox - a strong man with a kind spirit, The Face - nobility seeking charmer, The Tough - Too tough for Cerberus to chew, The eager recruit - yeah, you're that guy, and the hunter - your usual woodsman in Roman armor.

The product comes with standees for minis but if you're a VTT users, you can simply copy the images out as tokens. The PDF is extremely well formatted allowing you remove the background, images, or text for printing or copying.

Overall this is an excellent product with great content and high production value. If you're thinking of running a WWR game, this would be a good set of characters to give your gamers or a great NPC set if they've created their own.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Weird Wars Rome: Legionary Archetypes
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Deadlands Fiction Anthology 1: A Fistful O'Dead Guys
by francesco b. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/18/2013 02:48:07

This is an excellent collection of short stories. They are all of relatively high-quality, and very atmospheric of Deadlands. If you are looking for some ideas for your campaign, just want some more Deadlands fiction, or want western stories with a twist, this is highly recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Fiction Anthology 1: A Fistful O'Dead Guys
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Deadlands Reloaded: Murder on the Hellstromme Express
by francesco b. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/17/2013 14:17:56

I have run this adventure three times now with three different groups. It played differently all three times. This is a strong adventure, with a lot of possibilities. It has a nice mix of action, sleuthing, and skill utilization. I would highly recommend it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Reloaded: Murder on the Hellstromme Express
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Deadlands Reloaded: The Flood
by Robert H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/13/2013 12:23:51

If your looking for some good times with your posse, this book is for you. In this book you will get some great background information, one heck of a plot that affects the world of dead lands. Plenty of great opportunities in this book for new and experienced gamers alike. The only thing I wish this book had were some stats for people like me who use the classic system instead of savage worlds, otherwise great buy.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Reloaded: The Flood
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Deadlands Reloaded: Coffin Rock
by Stephen M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/07/2013 18:47:44

Probably the best value for RPG dollars on the market I've ever come across in 35 years of gaming. I got more than 18 3.5 to 4 hour sessions out of what is between these covers. One of the player characters went legendary in the course of that. I had only to pad out the outlines provided. Can also be played as a single adventure using the main plot in maybe 2 sessions.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Reloaded: Coffin Rock
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Hell on Earth Classic: Iron Oasis
by George T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/22/2013 12:52:11

This module was 'okay.' I did not find as much for my campaign as I hoped but, all in all, a well written addition. I did find enough to make the cost worthwhile and some of the hooks for scenarios worked very well in my game. I have most of the "Hell on Earth" scenario packs even though I don't use the game system. They can be very useful for ideas and 'tweaking' into differing post apocalyptic games.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Hell on Earth Classic: Iron Oasis
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