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Godbound: A Game of Divine Heroes (Deluxe Edition)
by Matías C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/28/2016 19:08:42

[Full Review with actual play here: http://dayst-
archronicles.blogspot.com.ar
)


I want to start this review by saying I genuinely love this game. I haven't been so hooked and in love with an RPG in a long while, probably not since I played Exalted 1st Edition for the first time a little over 10 years ago.


The setting goes like this: over a thousand years ago, mortals stormed the halls of Heaven in search for the One God, battling the Angelic Host along the way, so that they may know the truths of the universe. That didn't end up well, though, since the Throne was empty. Furious, mortals looted the Celestial Engines to build their own divinities, the Made Gods, according to each people's philosophies and dogma. It wouldn’t be long before Made Gods clash in the blattlefield, with each conflict tearing the fabric of the universe a little more. In the end, the Last War produced the Shattering, a cosmic cataclysm that broke and scattered the world into many Realms, each one floating alone among the Uncreated Night. Meanwhile, the Angels were forced to withdraw to Hell, a safe heaven from where they could plot to destroy the world in order to recreate it anew.


With the Made Gods dead or weakened, and the Celestial Engines at the blink of collapse, hope was all but lost. But then, the divine energy contained in Heaven's dead Made Gods poured into the world below, gifting ordinary men and women with divine might. These are the Godbound. Whether the world is to be saved or doomed, it's their fate to carve its ultimate destiny.


Like I said before, the core engine is recognizable to anyone who has played classic D&D before. You have six attributes (Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Wisdom, Intelligence and Charisma) rated 1 to 18 to measure how good you are on a particular field. If you need to make a check to see if you succeed or fail, you roll a 20-sided die. High is good, low is bad. The usual stuff.


What sets Godbound apart? For once, no skills. Instead, players have Facts, which work in a lot of ways similar to Fate's Aspects. If you have a Fact applicable to a non-combat die roll, you add a +4 bonus to the roll. Quick, simple, and customizable to each PC's backstory and deeds. Players may also use Facts to get a general idea of a character's resources, and it's possible to gain stuff like Lesser Magic (wizardry used by mortals) or a Divine Artifact in lieu of the +4 bonus. You start with three Facts, gaining a new Fact with each experience Level you reach.


Of course, that alone wouldn't make for unstoppable demigods, so we have Words, the spheres of divine might that tell us what a Godbound can do. Some Words are Fire, Beasts, Command, Passion, Sword, and many more. Each character starts with three Words, although it's possible to bind to more as they level up. Just be bonding with a Word, characters get access to some related perks or Attribute increments. For example, anyone who bonds with Fire will be immune to flames, while someone who bonds with Might will automatically have Strength 19.


Once a hero’s Words are chosen, the player selects Gifts among those Words, powers his character will always have available (some are constant, while others must be activated by the Godbound). In addition, Godbound may invoke Miracles from their Words, either to emulate Gifts they didn't buy or to create their own effects (of course, doing so costs more than having purchased the right Gift for the job). That way, Godbound have both fixed powers and free-form magic they can access in times of need.


Some Gifts and powers are free to use, but most require the character to commit Effort in order to activate them for as long as the power is on. One the Godbound no longer needs the power active, he may instantly reclaim his spent Effort (for example, if a Gift enhances an attack, the Godbound can reclaim the Effort as soon as the attack is resolved). The strongest powers require the hero to leave Effort committed even after its effects have ended, either for the remainder of the scene or the whole day. A Level 1 character starts with Effort 2, and increases this score by one each time they Level up. It's incredible how much you can achieve even at first level with just two points, making bookkeeping quite easy.


How does this all play in game? Awesomely. Combat is fast and furious, with lesser enemies possessing no treat to a pantheon unless in very large numbers (luckily, Godbound has fantastic Mob rules). All Godbound have a Fray Die (1d8 by default). Every turn, regardless of their action, they get to roll their Fray Die to represent minor miracles that inflict damage on lesser foes. That way, Godbound can dispatch larger number of lesser enemies quite fast.


On top of everything else, the book itself is incredibly helpful for the GM, full of advice and techniques to design epic adventures for your players. Even if you don't like OSR, and even if the quite streamlined and polished rules in this book are not to your taste, the book is so full of rules and tips that can be easily converted to other game systems that it's worth buying it just for that anyway.


My favorite subsystem in the book is Influence and Dominion. As they gain Levels, characters increase their Influence pool, which they can commit (just like Effort) to alter the world around them off-screen based on his Words. For as long as the Influence remains committed, their divine powers sustain the change, only returning to its original state if he withdraws the points or an external force interferes. For example, let's say a Godbound finds an isolated island village that is constantly raid by pirates. He has to travel to a far place to deal with the tentacled abomination the pirates have for a deity. He fears the village is not safe until his return, so he works on a plan to defend them while he's away. Working for a few days, he crafts a metal-men army, imbuing them with life with the Artifice Word. For as long as the Influence remains committed on the task, the army will be upkeep and functional. If he ever withdraws it, though, they will start to fall apart and malfunction.


If a Godbound wants to make one of this changes permanent, he has to spend Dominion. Once he has done so, the change is permanent and he no longer is required to commit Influence to upkeep the change. Once spent, Dominion points are lost, and the character needs to earn more (usually from receiving worship, performing heroic deeds or looting Celestal Shards). Following the previous example, the Artifice Godbound could spend dominion to make his metal army a permanent addition to the village, ensuring that even after he has long gone they will still protect the village.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Godbound: A Game of Divine Heroes (Deluxe Edition)
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Stars Without Number: Free Edition
by Alex L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/04/2016 16:19:14

Excellent product. I have had no issues with the scan quality or file download. It was a quick and painless acquisition. I've been through it dozens of times already and have seen no issues. It is also a huge help as I just started playing in a campaign of Stars Without Number and we only had one book between all 6 of us. Thank you for the time and care spent making sure we get the best product possible.


- Alex

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stars Without Number: Free Edition
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Scarlet Heroes Art Pack
by Patrick P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/29/2016 20:01:44

The different artists all have thier own styles and it is all very good! A lot of stock art for free. Very awesome!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Scarlet Heroes Art Pack
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Silent Legions
by Ray W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/08/2016 21:14:10

Sine Nomine? More like Sine Qua Non, amirite? Kevin Crawford has been killing it with these OSR sandbox supplements, and Silent Legions is no different. Each SN setting tends to add a couple innovations over old-school mechanics, but nothing too radical. Silent Legions is no different, using the "slaughter die" to make combat a significantly more dangerous affair - at least for human beings (lots of monsters are immune to the slaughter die). Other than that, there are evocative setting details, and scads of inspirational tables. That's the Sine Nomine way.


It's not always easy to capture what makes these products so brilliant. I'd say it's all in the details. Crawford doesn't just churn these out, although it would be easy to do so with the Sine Nomine formula (maybe he has tables for making tables, somewhere). Instead, everything here is very quality and professional. There's just the right amount of detail. The prose gives you just enough detail to put the flavor of the setting in your head, without crowding out your own ideas. The tables themselves are uniformly excellent - one gets the impression that Kevin actually uses these. His kickstarters meet their goals and deadlines. The man is a machine.


Anyway, Silent Legions has all you want for your own Mythos-inspired campaign. The idea of having the GM come up with his or her own cosmology is actually a pretty radical idea, when you consider that Lovecraft has been appropriated not just into games like CoC but even lots of sword and sorcery settings. Who would have thought to ditch Cthulhu as a starting point for a Mythos setting?


There are plenty of tools in here that help not just to define your own personal Mythos, but also to build secretive cults, magical artifacts and plot hooks aplenty. I'm curious to know how a sandbox campaign would work in such a setting, but if that's not your speed, you can still get a lot of use out of this product whenever your own creativity runs a little dry. If nothing else, you can just read this stuff, and get inspired.


Suffice to say, I recommend Silent Legions without reservation.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Silent Legions
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Stars Without Number: Free Edition
by RP F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/04/2016 13:19:47

I absolutely love this one! It's easy to learn and brings a lot of freedom. It's a sandbox rpg so you can make whatever you want. And it's populair so there are a lot of generatots and automated excel sheets and all on the internet.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stars Without Number: Free Edition
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Silent Legions
by Tristan T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/21/2016 23:35:18

This is a very good game. If you are a fan of OSR gaming but also really like games like Call Of Cthulhu, this is the game for you. It has a unique skill system and very simple character creation, as well as a unique comabt mechanic (the slaughter die). But obviously the true star of this system is the GM's toolkit. The creation of alien races and gods is awesome.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Silent Legions
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A Brief Study of TSR Book Design
by Vik S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/14/2016 23:18:28

Amazing. This is so much win. Thank you for taking the time to put this together. I find myself trying to express this to so many people at least every few weeks. now I can refer them to this incredibly insightful analysis. I love it!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Brief Study of TSR Book Design
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Red Tide: Campaign Sourcebook and Sandbox Toolkit
by Howard J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/30/2015 10:13:29

I have a difficult time understanding why anyone would rate this lower than 4 stars, or, honestly, 5.



  1. The layout and art are professional and evocative.

  2. The writing is top-notch. When describing mechanics, it's crystal clear. When it's describing the setting, it skillfully conjures a strange new world.

  3. The sandbox construction mechanics are amazing and among the very best available. It's possible to buy this product for that purpose alone, because of their utility for any fantasy role-playing game…
    4…. but the setting is top-notch as well, supplying a good reason for western and eastern hero archetypes to journey together. There are plenty of foes large and small, some intended for one-shot scenarios, and some for the long term campaign, including some great mysteries. It just begs to be played.


Kevin Crawford's work sets a very high bar. Highly, highly recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Red Tide: Campaign Sourcebook and Sandbox Toolkit
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Red Tide: Campaign Sourcebook and Sandbox Toolkit
by jarick P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/26/2015 19:40:50

First, I am new to this review writing.
I read the other reviews and contemplated for several weeks.
On first skim, I get to this part about an island chain as the campaign setting.
And then we have climate bands squeezing from cold northern to tropical.
I am no expert and have not read in detail, but nooooo.
It is explained as;
Quote 'The Isles are located between two massive oceanic counter-currents.
The Great Northern Flow./snip/ In the south, the Southern Gyre brings hot,
humid air to blanket much of Ektau and leave the rest warm and
welcoming to agriculture.'


Surely this would produce crazy weather patterns; violent storms and what ever else as they rub up against each other. Someone tell me I am wrong, or its explained in the text to make sense.
Sure its fantasy, but now I really have to stretch my (and players) suspension of disbelief.
Such a pity.
Not sure I will look into any further products.
Allan



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
A Brief Study of TSR Book Design
by jesse M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/17/2015 12:08:45

I wish I'd had this a year ago when I attempted my first RPG supplement layout. Kevin goes through the nuances of historic layout and points out what works and what doesn't. Much of what he documents I've had to learn through trial and error.


It's short, sweet, and to the point. If you're looking at publishing your own indie RPG supplements, this should be a must read.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Brief Study of TSR Book Design
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A Brief Study of TSR Book Design
by Shannon F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/12/2015 08:33:22

Just took a brief look at this after I downloaded it. What a ton of info in this little package. If you want your work to look like the classic work from TSR, this guide is perfect. Thanks for your work and scholarship.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Sandbox #2
by Michael O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/04/2015 12:20:01

Collection of a few very interesting tables. Worth the read-through.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Sandbox #2
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Stars Without Number: Free Edition
by Carl O. N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/23/2015 02:19:18

Pretty good, most of it is explained well and you honestly get more info than you expect from a 'free edition'. There are a couple of minor issues, for example psychics have their info all over the place, so could be a bit more organized.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Stars Without Number: Free Edition
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Red Tide: Campaign Sourcebook and Sandbox Toolkit
by Mathias B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/06/2015 14:18:37

This one is a very good product, which is a) an interesting campaign setting (with a twist), b) a fine sandbox c) an campaign creation kit.
Do yourself a favour and buy it together with 'An echo resounding' as it is a very nice add-on.


Although I don't use D&D or any derivative of it, I used parts and concept of it for one of my savage worlds campaigns. That proves how flexible this is. Along with a couple of other, more generic products I think this is a must for any GM.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Red Tide: Campaign Sourcebook and Sandbox Toolkit
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Grandfather's Rain
by Thomas R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/02/2015 14:25:44

Grandfather's Rain offers a well structured, flexible adventure perfect for introducing both players and GM's to the smooth yet old-school play of Kevin Crawford's 'Other Dust'.


The module is a good example of the interesting and dynamic environments anyone can create using the sandbox mechanics that feature in Other Dust and once the proposed story-line is exhausted there remain plenty of adventure possibilities to explore in this FREE publication.


Use this as the foundation of your campaign or adapt the material to the system you enjoy most. I think you will be pleased by the useful content and hopefully encouraged to explore more from the talented Mr. Crawford.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Grandfather's Rain
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