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White Lies
by David O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/13/2017 12:48:33

I keep going back to this book because it has so many wonderful ideas that inspire me in everything from my modern spy campaigns to my OSR classic fantasy game. It's totally worth it. I have the print copy because it is handy to pass around the table during a game. Great character classes and tables.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
White Lies
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BareBones Fantasy Role Playing Game
by John G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/14/2017 17:06:38

I'm impressed. So many lite RPG's leave so much out, they are only good for one sitting or you have to make up more rules than they provide. BBF packs alot of material in 80 pages, way more than I expected. The core book contains everything you would expect; character creation (d10 based), weapons, armor, equipment, spells, a GM guide, monsters, an adventure creator, a world map and more. The core book also came with a free adventure (at least from DTRPG). I love the simple mechanics (percentile and d10), and character generation is a breeze (5d10 +30 for 4 abilities). If there is a down side, it would be that beginners may need an assist from a more experienced gamer to help figure out how to use the "open" description spells and skills. Lets face it, we are all used to a long list of individual spells or skills, not a sentance saying "you can do all of this". There is a good amount of BBF support material available for download; adventures, spell cards, status cards, and fantays settings. I'm very happy with what I've purchased so far. Wish I could have gotten it all in a bundle... This is very playable for new and experienced gamers.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
BareBones Fantasy Role Playing Game
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White Lies
by Judd G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/03/2017 16:36:58

White Lies is an OSR spy game from DwD Studios. It is a variation of the old white box rules (hence the name), and the classes are types of operatives in an intelligence agency.

The rules are simple and tooled to a genre best described as cinematic spycraft, but easily used to run more grim and realistic espionage as well. Support for the game is as well-wrought as the base rules.

The graphical presentation is on target with cool silhouetted spies doing spy stuff. The whole 'vibe' here is perfect for that Bond or Bourne feel.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
White Lies
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BareBones Fantasy Role Playing Game
by Tod C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/07/2017 18:46:34

I bought this after a bunch of research to introduce a friend to role playing games. BareBones Fantasy is a really nice "lite" RPG, which lets the GM and players concentrate on playing their characters. Production values are good, as with all DwDStudios projects. The system is simple but best of all it introduces the DwD moral code and character descriptors, which give a baseline (not requirements) for players to use to gain extra experience by role playing their characters according to how they were designed.

My players loved it and never want to play a game that doesn't have some version of the moral code and decriptors.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BareBones Fantasy Role Playing Game
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Flesh & Blood - BBFRPG Accessory
by Tod C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/07/2017 18:43:11

I bought this as part of introducing a friend to role playing games. Flesh and Blood adds a bunch of new races to the BareBones Fantasy world. My players really liked the setup with well-organized and easy to read entries of different species. As always, it has nice DwDStudios production values.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Flesh & Blood - BBFRPG Accessory
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Flesh & Blood - BBFRPG Accessory
by Mark M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/22/2016 11:30:51

Excellent addition to expand playable races. Some additional comments on how to add these races into your world. Simple and brilliant!



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
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BareBones Fantasy Role Playing Game
by Mark M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/22/2016 11:28:54

Incredible! Simple with sandbox qualities that beg for new adventure. Good art, simple instructions and open gamesetting. Beautiful!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BareBones Fantasy Role Playing Game
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Covert Ops Role Playing Game
by Michael M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/16/2016 22:06:08

I was looking for something to replace my Top Secret RPG. After some looking arounf I cam across Covert Ops. Its actually not bad and has some neat features (players design organization, headquaters). Still deciding how much I like the combing of skills uses under each a sklll. I have played two sessions and it game flow and task resolution mechanics are sound.

Having played d20 and d% espionage RPG I find this game to be a welcome change for anyone looking for something new to try. And you can not beat the price for such a high quality product.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Covert Ops Role Playing Game
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BareBones Fantasy Role Playing Game
by Todor P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/12/2016 07:15:34

What a great product! There's a great elegance to the rules-liteless of the product, the percentile 2d10 system is a breeze and the classless "skills-are-classes" system really clicks with me, as it allows for mixing and matching class features as you progress. The second part of the book has some great generators and ideas and can really come in handy. Easy recommendation if you're up for something lighter that is not quite FATE (and thank God!).



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BareBones Fantasy Role Playing Game
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Oath of the Dead (fiction)
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/17/2016 19:47:30

The short story takes a brief glance into the world of BareBones Fantasy's 'Karanak Kingdoms' setting. In its 24 pages gives me nothing I did not enjoy. The writing style is accessable and fun, without the kind of shorthand jargon that so easily can be taken for granted in the fantasy gaming community. The only thing really wrong with it is that I now want to know the rest of the adventure and just what happens to the people in the story, which is really quite easy to imagine just how to run in a game of my own. I am prone to leaving a lot of five star reviews, as when I like something well enough to review it, I am usually that pleased wirth it. This story stands well in that esteemable company.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Oath of the Dead (fiction)
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Graystone Tower
by Marcus B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/12/2016 04:15:27

The author of Graystone Tower asked me to review his adventure and I am happy to do so. I crossed the path with Jim the first time a long time ago when I wrote Savage Space. He provided me with a review copy of his adventure. This is a reading review, I have neither run nor played it. I try to avoid overly specific spoilers but if you read this you WILL be spoiled about certain aspects. You are warned. Players: get out.

Graystone Tower consist of two PDF, one in the usual, good-looking BareBonesFantasy trade dress and one printer friendly. Additionally all maps from the adventure in 300 DPI JPG depicting the tower itself and an area map. Both are full color and look very nice. The Tower map is sparse, just showing the interior but no furniture or other details. Works for me though, makes it easier to be creative with a rooms contents and makes it possible to easily hand it to the players after the adventure when they want to make the place their own. The maps included are very re-usable, as usual from DwD Studios.

The adventure aims at low-level characters. The basic premise: There is this tower where someone evil sits and someone hires the characters to clear it out. As a reward they can win the title to the Tower and the surrounding lands. This is a great price to win indeed, even though the setup is very formulaic.

The PDF begins with a short overview of what to expect within. There is also some advice given on how to place the locale in the Keranak Kingdoms, BBF's official setting. There are sidebars encouraging GM to change the adventure to suit their needs. I appreciate these tips, even though they aim at newer GM. That is not a bad thing at all.

Before the characters actually reach the Tower they first have to travel along a road towards its. During that journey there are three different encounters. One ties to the deeper background of the Keranak Kingdoms and two set up the tower as a dangerous place as well as the potential enemy. There is one where the characters can help a victim of the BBEG with tips on how to “escalate” the situation in interesting ways, turning it into a dangerous roleplaying situation (Peasants with Pitchforks anyone?). Even though the encounters have numbers 1, 2, 3 the sidebar in the beginning advises any GM to not necessarily railroad the players in them. However on the map they are in the same order. You can shuffle the order of course, or leave something out. But still, the overall journey part is very straight forward .

Upon reaching the Tower the players propably will investigate and try to figure out what is going on. The structure consists of 12 rooms, only three rooms are actually occupied. You can discover something interesting in every room though. There are some really cool features in the tower that make it perfect for a spellcaster home as well as some unique and hidden treasures. Just do not expect tons of fighting. But there is enough and even one that might proof very deadly very quickly. All room descriptions begin with a short stat block like entry. Here an example:

Room 2: Door O‐2: Heavy Oak door, unlocked, untrapped, opens into room 2. Door 2‐3: Heavy wooden door, unlocked, untrapped, opens into room 3. Room: “torchlit”, quiet, occupied.

I totally dig this. More adventures should use this kind of no-nonsense stat block for room descriptions. It shows me what I need to know at a glance. More detail in the text. If a room is occupied the creature or NPC stats are right there in a sidebar, so no searching. Very thought out.

In classic dungeon crawl method the players sooner or later will discover that not everything is as expected. Sadly I feel the ending is not as strong as it could be. For one there is no motivation given for the final NPC. Why does he do what he does? A question I find important to answer. Also it seems written with the assumption that the players are not totally paranoid and a trusting lot. In my experience that is rarely the case. I would like to see more details here on ways this can go south and flow differently than expected. While the beginning of the adventure is beginner friendly the ending leaves you a bit alone. Because I can guarantee that not a single thing expected to happen here would happen in any of my groups. They are all a suspicious lot. Additionally some tips on roleplaying the character would be appreciated, as it is mainly a dialogue and any guidance is helpful in such a situation.

Lastly there are some seeds for further adventures. The appendix contains all the NPC, new monsters and magic items. Everything easy to find.

Overall a solid adventure, well written. Just a bit short of what it could be. There is this a good-looking hex map of the tower and surrounding area, but there are no locations given for further adventures. A missed opportunity I feel, especially considering the players can inherit the place. The ending could use some work, as it expects things going a certain way without offering any advice on what to do they don't. In its sum the adventure does more right then wrong and I hope a new adventure by Jim improves on the groundwork he has done here. Overall for 2,99 it is a good offering, enough adventure to last you an evening with a cool player base as a reward for further shenanigans.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Graystone Tower
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Decahedron Magazine #5
by Marcus B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/06/2016 09:28:46

The already established Fanzine with an irregular schedule released their 5th issue. It is still PWYW and has again a mix of content for their various products. There is a table of fantasy city encounters that is system agnostic and should be useful to many OSR gamers as well. There is some benign and some weird stuff (I am not saying it is aliens, but it is aliens!) and many that could kick off a great session.

There is GM advice from Tony Demetriou dealing with player trust and “when to roll” issues. It is more an opinion piece then really advice, but I appreciate the perspective he gives on the “What I imagine and the players imagine might be extremely different” issue many GMs regularly fall for, myself included, and how this relates to the question of when to roll.

Then we have a plot hook by Mitch A. Williams that is a summary of an adventure with some information on the location. I appreciate this kind of adventure ideas instead of fully detailed ones. It gives me enough to start from but I can flesh it out with details that resonate with my players. The premise of “Wizard’s Lake” contains old ruins, fighting brothers and an interesting way to source ones water, so to say.

The next article by Glenn Davisson deals with interrogations. Gives some light real world background of certain aspects and expands the interrogation rules from Covert Ops. While interesting to read the rules seem to add a level of complexity I do not need, but they still seem very usable and might be something you need in your game.

After this we get another expansion for Covert Ops: “The Agency Uniform” by Bill Logan. It is basically an armored outfit with various available upgrades. For any proper spy game there can never be too many gadgets and this adds something interesting to the arsenal for your operatives.

And finally a nice looking ruin map with some background.

Decahedron #5 is again a great offering. I am glad the zine seems to find its release stride and hope they can keep it up, I thoroughly enjoyed it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Decahedron Magazine #5
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Hyperspace Messenger Compendium
by Nickolas H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/23/2016 13:46:35

I love this supplement for everything it brings to my White Star game. Aliens is one of my all time favorite tools and I much prefer the d20 skill system presented in Hyperspace Messenger over the d6 skill system introduced in the White Star Companion. Stunners, Robots, Vehicles, and Cyberwear all bring a bunch of useful goodies and systems to use as you desire and I'll be bringing some of these things into my games to keep my players on their toes. Finally, the last chapter is a handy addition for quickly designing sectors of space.

My only complaint is the main font used for most of the text. It appears slightly faded. That being said, it is still highly readable and the rest of the art and graphic are very nice looking.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hyperspace Messenger Compendium
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Hyperspace Messenger 03 - Aliens
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/10/2016 12:12:28

Hyperspace Messenger 03: Aliens is a 20 page book, with 16 pages of content, the other 4 being things like cover, credits, OGL, and a product blurb. The introduction opens up by saying it's meant to help emulate settings like Star Wars, where the vast galaxy has a seemingly uncountable number of alien species where a few are featured but the rest are left to the imagination. To that end, the book is meant for both players and Referees to make their own alien class with a step-by-step series of random-roll tables.

The Meat of the System

HM3 generates an alien class by rolling for core traits, along with miscellaneous details such as reproduction, lifespan, size, and unique abilities. The major details include things such as Hit Dice, Saving Throw progression, Base To-Hit, and Weapon/Armor Proficiencies.

Each table result provides a sample Experience value, which is used to determine how much the alien needs to get from level 1 to 2 and is then doubled from there. Generally speaking, the more powerful results cost more experience: being proficient with only primitive weapons (bows, swords, staffs, etc) adds 100 Experience, while being able to use any kind of weapon is 400. As the basic White Star classes are usually 1,200 at the lower end to 2,000 around the upper end, getting consistently good results for your randomized alien has the trade-off of having you lag behind the rest of the party.

Some traits can result in lowering the Experience value for faster progression, such as an anatomy incompatible with most (human-designed) equipment, lacking an important sense such as being blind or deaf, or a -1 penalty to an ability score rolled at character creation. Overall it seems like a fine, consistent system, but noticed mixed results when trying to build a few of the core White Star classes with similar abilities. The Aristocrat, Mercenary, and Pilot had more or less the same Experience Progression, off by 100-250 points. The Alien Brute was off by a bit, whose base is 2,000, had 2,4000 with its HM3 counterpart.

Special Abilities

The table for Special Abilities is the real highlight of this book, containing ninety features differing widely in form and function (the 91-100 result allows the player/Referee to choose freely). Each Special Ability adds 200 Experience to the initial value, but due to their nature lower the alien's level cap by 1 (10th level is ordinarily the base cap in White Star) for each one taken, to a maximum of 4 Special Abilities.

The Special Abilities vary a lot in scale. One one might grant the alien a +2 on rolls involving interaction with others (Sociology Experts), while another might automatically heal 1 hit point per round (Regeneration). Most of them provide an explicit game effect or ability of some sort, like being able to stick to surfaces due to adhesive, increased movement rate, or even a continuous immunity to mind-affecting effects! A rare few are more geared towards Referee fiat, such as the alien species having a universal positive reputation which can result in social opportunities and opened doors.

My favorite included Symbiotic Immortality, where the alien has a symbiotic life form living inside it accumulating knowledge which can be passed on to others of its species upon death. The game effect is a +1 Wisdom, but this really sets up interesting cultural and role-playing opportunities for said species.

Conclusion

Five sample alien species and a fillable worksheet provide the final parts of this small book. Overall, I really like Hyperspace Messenger 03. The sample tables cover enough mechanical ground to make all sorts of aliens, even ones from popular franchises such as the Vulcans from Star Trek. The best part is that the book's contents are OGL save for typical product identity stuff of art and logos. The author even encourages folks to use his system to make their own aliens for their own works and share on social media. He also suggests using a non-random "pick your abilities" method for generation, which more or less works due to the restrictions on Experience and maximum number of Special Abilities.

I heartily recommend this product; it may be short, but it's very useful as both a player and GM tool.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hyperspace Messenger 03 - Aliens
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White Lies
by Joshua H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/23/2016 17:15:25

I was on the fence about OSR-style games. I could certainly see the value in a lighter rules set, but why would I want an antique? As I started reading through White Lies I began to see the beauty of it. Most gamers already know the basics of it, they can roll up a character and get going right away. I began thinking I could use it to run games in a number of different settings, Leverage, The A-Team, Firefly, and the list just keeps going. There are a slew of tables for creating adversaries and their motivations and organizations to use as a springboard when my well of creativity is running dry. It even includes an intial adventure making it a great complete package at 132 pages. If you want a rules lite spy game that gives you plenty of room to create and hack and improvise it's hard to beat White LIes.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
White Lies
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