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Deadlands: Toxic Tunes Soundtrack
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/04/2012 18:52:39
“The Last War,” the first track in this collection, perfectly blends rock music with melodies straight out of old (spaghetti) westerns for seven and a half minutes of pure listening pleasure. Unfortunately, the other tracks don’t match the excellence of “The Last War.” “After the Bombs” (track 2) is pretty good, though it has some parts that drag and it’s unsuitable for looping, making it inconvenient to use in the background. “The Rock Hard Saloon” doesn’t imply a “saloon” at all, musically; it’s more like “the irradiated disco lounge,” with nice enough music but violating genre expectations if you’re listening to the album in track order. “Denver” made me think of 60s sci-fi movie and TV scenes where explorers interact with an unfamiliar computer. I didn’t care much for “Drifter,” and although I liked the middle four minutes of “Junker’s Jam,” those strange two minutes on the outside really diminished it for me. The first six minutes or so of “The Ruins” would make great ambience music for post-apocalyptic desert scenes, but the track gets weird and almost literally painful (due to the specific tones and pitches used) for about a couple of minutes starting around the six-minute mark. “Law Dogs” has the right tempo, beat, and energy for a good chase scene, but it lacks the western vibe that I liked so much in “The Last War.” “Welcome to Hell” is only a minute long; “The Fight Goes On” is good, but feels more like “the song that plays under the credits.” This collection turns out to be very much a mixed bag for me. Given a chance, I’d rate it as three and a half stars. Since half-stars aren’t available, I rounded down just to be on the “safe” side.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands: Toxic Tunes Soundtrack
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Deadlands Reloaded: Marshal's Handbook Explorer's Edition
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/31/2012 19:24:57
I first found Deadlands when it was it's own stand alone system. For all intent and purposes, it was the precursor to the Savage Worlds system.

Now I find myself looking at it through a new lens - Deadlands Reloaded: Marshall's Handbook (Explorer's Edition) for Savage Worlds. In a way, we've come full circle.

I still love the divergent history that is the setting of Deadlands. American Western movies are pretty much our version of Avalon, King Arthur and the rest of the English / Celtic legends. Deadlands starts with that Western assumption, throws in undead and magic, changes some major historical events and gives us a huge amount of awesomeness - if your players like Westerns.

Some folks don't like sci-fi, some don't like fantasy, some don't like westerns and others don't like horror. Deadlands is a fantastical western horror setting (with some steampunkish elements), so it will either hit a lot of buttons for your group or miss a lot. It hits all of the sweet spots for me.

The Marshal's Handbook gives us background and history, the major players, critters, new rules for the setting - pretty much everything you need to get the game moving from the GM's side of the table.

The PDF itself is well bookmarked and hyperlinked. For a PDF coming in over 175 pages, these are pretty much necessities. Heck, they even give permission to print the document for personal use. You can even use layer controls to efficiently print the pages, which is nice.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Reloaded: Marshal's Handbook Explorer's Edition
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Savage Worlds Deluxe
by David G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/23/2012 12:33:11
We played this for the first time the other night. I like the quick character creation and swift combat rules. We picked up the system very quickly. The inclusion of poker chips and playing cards as aids was fun and it was nice as GM to give out "benny" awards rather than having to give XP.

Why not five stars?

The character progress is much steadier than than D&D or GURPS, which isn't necessarily a bad thing but will probably upset power gamers. The high level combat also gets a bit broken. With raises being given out for every 4 points beyond the target number dice rolls with large variance are going to cause wildly different effects. I'd like to see the threshold for raises scale in relation to toughness so a high level creature/npc/vehicle/pc would have to have maybe 6 or more to get a raise to wound them. I'll try it out a bit more but I think that will undoubtedly become a house rule. A simple table of toughness to raise threshold fixes that without complicating the rules.

The book itself is laid out well and includes a beastiary without needing to buy a supplement. Yay! It would have been nice to have some more npc stats too, such as a mixture of guards, common people (or whatever) as standard but I suppose those will be in the supplements. It doesn't take long to knock them up but GMs are lazy. There are sample wild card characters in there to start play quickly which means you could be starting a game from scratch in minutes.

The vehicle/items list as more than sufficient for instant play but I would have liked to have seen some rules for flying/space combat. It felt like those were missing especially in my Sci-fi campaign.

Overall a very flexible and fun system. I emphasize the "fun" aspect. Having been playing GURPS for two years it's very nice to get away from the simulation style game to something more swashbuckly. I noticed my players were just having fun rather than adding up stats and modifiers even in the first session. I'd happily recommend it to any level of gamer and expect to get a lot of use out of it. If Pinnacle just did one of two of the tweaks I mentioned I'd happily have given this five stars.

Easy and fun without sacrificing flexibility.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Deluxe
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Deadlands Reloaded: Marshal's Handbook Explorer's Edition
by Berin K. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/14/2012 09:13:11
So many great things, all rolled into one! The original Deadlands (specifically, The Great Rail Wars) had a large influence on the Savage Worlds system, and then in 2006 a Savage Worlds version of Deadlands was released. Now, finally, both the Player's Guide and the Marshall's Handbook have been released in the digest-sized Explorer's Edition format! Every word from the larger, hardcover editions, reformatted (some of the artwork reduced and rearranged) and lower in price. Deadlands is the benchmark against which all other "weird west" settings should be measured, for both the richness of the setting and the wide array of character types open to players.

The Marshal's handbook has all of the "secret history" and background details on the setting that the player characters get to discover in-game, as well as a nice array of critters to combat.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Reloaded: Marshal's Handbook Explorer's Edition
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Deadlands Reloaded: Player's Guide Explorer's Edition
by Berin K. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/14/2012 09:11:03
So many great things, all rolled into one! The original Deadlands (specifically, The Great Rail Wars) had a large influence on the Savage Worlds system, and then in 2006 a Savage Worlds version of Deadlands was released. Now, finally, both the Player's Guide and the Marshall's Handbook have been released in the digest-sized Explorer's Edition format! Every word from the larger, hardcover editions, reformatted (some of the artwork reduced and rearranged) and lower in price. Deadlands is the benchmark against which all other "weird west" settings should be measured, for both the richness of the setting and the wide array of character types open to players.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Reloaded: Player's Guide Explorer's Edition
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Savage Worlds: Test Drive
by warren f. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/02/2012 22:55:55
For a free sampler, this is an amazingly well done product that both introduces the rules of Savage Worlds & offers a sample adventure that is pretty cool as well. I don't have any major gripes, but I may once I get into actually playing through it.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds: Test Drive
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Savage Worlds Horror Companion
by Jon S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/24/2012 13:35:09
I have the other SW "Companion" books, so I knew that this one would likely be as good. Supplements can be so much fluff, particularly in a system like SW, where sandbox style is so encouraged. Who needs it, right? I can make up my own stuff without it! What I've found with these Companion books though, is that there is so much juicy inspiration for both player and GM, that they're worth having.

As has been stated in other reviews, I really dont so much need the GM tips section, but the spells, magic items and critters sections are worth the price of admission. I'm running Deadlands, but this stuff is usable in horror western, modern, or sci-fi horror settings perfectly well.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Horror Companion
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50 Fathoms Explorer's Edition Player's Guide
by Idle R. H. P. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/10/2012 08:20:02
50 Fathoms Explorer's Edition Player's Guide is a nice little book of nautical heroism for the Savage Worlds system. It introduces a hefty selection of new Edges and Hindrances, gear, and setting rules that really bring out the swashbuckling theme. There is a whole section on ships including deck maps, mechanics on how to navigate and sail them, how to crew them and how to make sure the sailors get paid enough to not mutiny.

The included setting of Caribdus seems a bit like a aquatic-themed D&D. There are eight new races (not including humans) which makes the world feel rather cramped to me, especially given the small amount of dry land available. The setting is definitely high fantasy, with a few new appropriate spells and spell trappings. These elements are easy enough to strip out if you wanted to run a mundane swashbuckling campaign, though. I could even see these rules being used to run a steampunk style game, with flying galleons and sky pirates.

Basically, 50 Fathoms EEPG is a great resource at a great price for players and GMs looking to add some high seas adventure to their games.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
50 Fathoms Explorer's Edition Player's Guide
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Savage Worlds Horror Companion
by Idle R. H. P. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/09/2012 05:31:50
I'll start this review off by saying that I'm not really a fan of the Savage Worlds system. Which is why I was surprised when I found myself actually liking the Savage Worlds Horror Companion.

The book is basically a collection of new rules and options for GMs and players who want to run horror style games in Savage Worlds. The book doesn't have to be used as a whole, but rather allows players to pick and choose specific options and rule modifications to create various flavors of horror. There are rules for making different sort of monstrous characters if your players actually want to be the things that go bump in the night; there is new equipment that ranges from serious to silly and spans several eras; and there are setting rules to turn your game into a gore-drenched slasher flick, a Lovecraftian game of cosmic evil, or an action horror game of monster hunting. There is a substantial section of horror creatures taken from many different traditions, a chapter on using magic in horror games, and a great section on how to game master horror games.

I think I like this book so much because it tones down some of the "heroes should be heroic" feel that the standard Savage Worlds game has. I prefer games that feature ordinary people thrust into extraordinary situations and seeing if they are able to rise to the challenge. This book allows me to do precisely that. I would even encourage people who find Savage Words a bit too heroic to give this title a look. You may find that the system is capable of doing things you didn't think were possible.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Horror Companion
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Savage Worlds Deluxe
by Craig D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/02/2012 21:54:58
I've been running Savage Worlds at game conventions since 2003. Most of you in the gaming community know me as "Lord Mhor". This new edition is excellent. The best rules from the previous editions have been compiled with material gathered from other sources, making this the best comprehensive representation of Savage Worlds so far.

The rules are well-organized. Clarifications of system elements that were once confusing will help new and veteran players experience a fast and rewarding game.

The art is nice. Pages 7 - 15 are well-rendered advertisements for some of the excellent settings published for the system. Each of these settings has the virtue of a "twist" on the usual stereotypes encountered in the role-playing genres. These art pieces add nothing to the rules, but they're well done anyway.

The list of Powers is extensive. Variations in game style have been systematized under Setting Rules. Large encounters are covered with a concise Mass Battle system. Rules for chases have been improved and interludes between scenes now have a systematic approach. The excellent selection of creatures in the bestiary include circular images that well-sized tor use as markers on the gaming table, if desired.

As in all publications, some errors were caught after printing. The errata sheet can be downloaded from http://peginc.com/Downloads/SWD/SWDUpdates_Errata.pdf . For my own copy of the hardbound edition, I just cut the sheet down to size and pasted it to the blank page right after the character sheet in the back.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Deluxe
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Savage Worlds Deluxe
by Kenneth N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/29/2012 10:31:12
With lots of support, both publisher and 3rd party, this game is really flexible. (As shown on from the front cover.) It is well written and well laid out. If you're looking for a new, simple, yet deep game I would recommend checking it out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Rippers
by Kevin D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/23/2012 03:02:48
Rippers, my second favourite Savage Worlds setting (after Deadlands), this is the original version only available in PDF (unless you are very lucky), the long hoped for Explorer's Edition has yet to arrive.

The premise is simple take your favourite Victorian horror stories - Dracula, Frankenstein, Dr Jeykyll and Mr Hyde add some historical events with a twist - Jack the Ripper, create a party of extraordinary gentlemen (and ladies) who have been hired by Van Helsing to fight the evil and then add the option to allow the good guys to "rip" abilities from the monsters they fight and add them to themselves.

The concept of Rippertech is the best part of this game, by adding Werewolf claws for example your character's hand-to-hand capabilities are increased but at the cost of your very humanity, add too much Rippertech and your character may well become a monster the rest of the party have to put down!

The campaign rules include running your own lodge which means you have to find funding and recruits, and a mechanism to send your NPCs out to find the evil on their own missions to help "Hold back the night"

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rippers
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Savage Worlds Sci Fi Gear Toolkit
by John P. H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/10/2012 21:09:42
For the price I was happy with this product, but I was hoping for a little more crunchy-ness. The rules for creating the various kinds of gear are very, very lightweight and, in some cases, amount to little more than "hey, it's your game; make up whatever you want." Also, while there are numerous examples of vehicles, ships, mechs and robots, the section on personal gear contains only a handful of weapons and a few other items.

This would probably be very helpful for a beginner, but is less so for an experienced GM.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Sci Fi Gear Toolkit
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Necessary Evil Explorer's Edition
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/26/2011 16:48:04
WHAT WORKS: As noted, I largely prefer the Super Powers system to the Power Point System. The campaign is one of my favorite pre-written campaigns, even if it is very "directed" (by Dr. Destruction, of course), because basically everything has to be done by the PCs. The campaign has a couple of nice twists, one being the origin of the V'Sori and the other being Dr. Destruction's true plan. I am truly disappointed we never reached that point, because my players were WAY off base.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: My only real gripe is that while I prefer the powers system in this book, it just never felt as flexible to me or my players as the Powers system in other supers games. If you have the Super Powers Companion, I did provide a solution to this on my blog. Some of the powers, namely Decay, come across WAY too weak to actually be worth buying, in our experience.

CONCLUSION: One of my favorite Savage Worlds releases, due in no small part because of the sheer amount of fun we had with the campaign. The PCs experienced rousing success, crushing defeat and even heartache, a range of experiences that I have been told are impossible with both Savage Worlds and supers RPGs...and yet, here we are. If you already own the Super Powers Companion, and you don't want to make your own campaign, I am very fond of the provided campaign. If villains vs aliens doesn't sound very good, then you might just consider getting the Super Powers Companion instead.

For my full review, please visit: http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2011/12/tommys-take-o-
n-necessary-evil-explorers.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Necessary Evil Explorer's Edition
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Savage Worlds Deluxe
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/05/2011 19:21:44
I think I could run a Savage Worlds game just fine, so long as no one chose anything from the "Powers" section of the rule book ;)

The reason I say this is not because the powers look all that difficult to grasp, but for someone that grew up on D&D and the like, it's a whole new language to learn. I think the next time I get to play in a SW game, I'm going to play a Powers user so I can get a hands on feel for the system.

Now that that is out of the way, the powers section looks really nice. Powers are initially broken down by Arcane Backgrounds - Magic, Psionics, Weird Science, Super Powers and Miracles. Trappings and Effects allow powers to be tweaked and individualized, so no two fireballs (or anything else) will necessarily be the same from different casters. I like the ability to individualize powers while still keeping to a defined list. It's a pretty neat system, I just need to get comfortable with it.

I really like the total package that is Savage Worlds Deluxe - I just need to spend some time as a player before trying to run a game with it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Deluxe
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