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Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG
by Jason C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/20/2012 19:38:24

Pre-ordered it, got the advanced PDF download.


Love it! The best of both worlds - OLD school and D20. I would recommend it for a good old fashioned Hack & Slash Dungeon Crawl any day.


Simple character creation and advancement. A little more detailed with the magic system, but well worth it. And using the d3, d5, d7, d14, d16, d24, & d30 to spice up game play even more is novel. Over all, a straight forward RPG with minimal character details to help make game play go forward faster.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG
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Age of Cthulhu 6: A Dream of Japan
by Billiam B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/09/2012 18:38:28

I'm a sucker for good line-art and Brad "BKM" McDevitt adorns this adventure with some exquisite point-of-view pictures (think D&D Tomb of Horrors player pull-out).
I'd say Dream of Japan comes pretty close to being a perfect CoC mystery. My only issue is that, like with nearly all CoC adventures, it needs a fairly resourceful Keeper to usher the investigators along the right path. However, in this adventure there is a fail-safe - the investigators have been manipulated, possibly since birth (!) by unseen forces, so the Keeper now has a licence for contrivance. ;)
This adventure is a perfect opportunity to plunge the players into a superstitions world, that's just alien enough (the Orient) to make the investigators paranoid about every lucky penny they find. This adventure looks like it has the makings to be a classic - and perhaps even a whole campaign. It has some really nice twists, great art (the maps are good too).
Designed for Chaosium/BRP Call of Cthulhu (5) but could be easily adapted or sourced for other games set in the '20's.


-Billiam B.
bit.ly/rpgblog



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Age of Cthulhu 6: A Dream of Japan
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Age of Cthulhu 6: A Dream of Japan
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/09/2012 06:17:27

Originally posted at: http:-
//diehardgamefan.com/2012/04/09/tabletop-review-age-of-cthul-
hu-vol-6-a-dream-of-japan-call-of-cthulhu/


Age of Cthulhu is the branding for Goodman Games line of Call of Cthulhu adventures. Age of Cthulhu adventures tend to be quite different, yet no less enjoyable than the ones put out by Chaosium. I was particularly interested in A Dream of Japan because I was expecting it to feature yokai or other Japanese mythological creatures. Surprisingly though, it does not. It also doesn’t feature any actual Mythos creatures. Instead it features something completely new for your Investigators to square off again – an evil so subtle, they might not even discover it until long after the adventure is played. I loved this concept, and it’s one of the more fiendish adventures I’ve ever come across. That said, I don’t know if I’d use it in a campaign where players are especially attached to their characters, as there is no real way out of this one.


This adventure, like most Call of Cthulhu scenarios, takes place during the 1920s. The 20s were a very interesting time for Japan, as they became more warlike, very anti-Western and somewhat isolationist. This makes it an intriguing place for the themes and setting of Call of Cthulhu. The players and Keeper won’t have to know too much about this era of Japanese history as the setting is somewhat arbitrary. What little you need to know about the Japanese locations and people of the time period is provided for you in the adventure. It’s well enough to run the adventure although some history buffs or Japan-o-philes might nit-pick a thing or too. Relax. It’s a game, not a thesis, after all.


The adventure starts in the United States, where the players are meant to reside. They can be either a group or completely unassociated with each other. They have been invited to a “coming home” party of sorts for one Edgar Lee-Chadwick. Seems the poor fellow has just gotten out of an institution. Interestingly enough, while this would be the usual hook for a Call of Cthulhu adventure, this is merely the setup for the real hook – something a lot of players won’t see coming and it will be a nice breath of fresh air compared to a lot of other adventures. The real hook is that Edgar’s cousin, Regina Chadwick had invited the players there to hire them for something completely unrelated. It seems her niece Veronica has gone and disappeared from college. She wants the players to find out where she is and retrieve her. Her Alma Matter? Miskatonic University of course. This too however, happens to be another swerve and you won’t be spending too much time (if any) in Arkham, MA. Instead you’ll merely be following bread crumbs until the players realize Veronica, and thus their pay check has gone across the Pacific to Japan. So they’ll have to make arrangements to get there themselves, as well as track down exactly where in Japan she has gone.


The climax of the adventure takes place in Aokigahara Forest. This is a WONDERFUL location for a Call of Cthulhu adventure as it’s not only a real place, it is also one of the creepiest places on the planet. The Aokigahara Forests aka “The Sea of Trees,” is the second most popular” place in the world to commit suicide, after the Golden Gate Bridge. There is little to no wildlife or noise and if you’ve ever been there, it’s hard for even the bravest soul not to be completely creeped out. I love that someone finally wrote a “real world” RPG adventure about this place and that it tries to give a logical (within the system/game world) reason for why such a place exists and how it got that way. Of course what the players will think is behind it and what the true answer is are extremely different. The adventure describes the forest pretty accurately, right down to the signs around the forest begging g people to not commit suicide and seek help instead. I should point out that even today, the number of suicide attempts in Aokigahara continue to climb. In 1998, the record reached an all time high of 78 dead. By 2010, the suicide attempts in the forest rose to 247. Really, there probably isn’t a better real world location for a Call of Cthulhu location than this place.


It’s hard to really go into detail about this adventure without massive spoilers, but suffice to say the story actually works best for the Keeper rather than the Investigators as they alone get the full picture of what’s going on. When the players do eventually discover what has actually happened in the adventure they’ll be blown away and probably love this as it’s very reminiscent of the horror film twists that came out of Japan back in the late 90s/early 00s. However, it will take a quality Keeper who is willing to let this act as a slow burn across several other adventures before the big reveal. It also may be best to lend this to your players after completing it so that they can read and better appreciate the big picture.


The adventure itself runs twenty-eight of the forty-pages. The rest are the front and back covers, six pre-generated character sheets, four pages of handouts, and two pages of maps. Everything here, from the layouts to the artwork, is top notch. All you need besides the adventure is the core rulebook and some dice. The maps and handouts are more stylish than substance, but they really are nice for setting the mood. I only wish the handouts were in full color instead of black and white.


All in all, A Dream of Japan is the single best adventure I’ve read through this year. Couple that with Cthulhu By Gaslight being the best supplement so far and things like Bump in the Night and The Sense of the Slight of Hand Man coming out later this year, 2012 really is looking to be the year of Call of Cthulhu. If you’ve yet to pick up an Age of Cthulhu scenario, this is definitely the one to get. It’s creepy from beginning to end and it will be one of the more memorable adventures you’ll ever play through. Amazing job here and my highest recommendations.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Demon Hunter's Handbook
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/10/2012 22:17:06

As I moved later in my 3.x/d20 games, Demons became major antagonists for the characters. This book was one of many I bought on the subject, but one of the better ones. The book begins with a a couple of new races for PCs based on Monster Manual/SRD races, the Steward Archon and the Aasimar. Next we go to a discussion on how each of the core classes can be a "Demon Hunter" using what they already have. I lked this part since it also encourages better role-playing.
We follow up with demon-hunting prestige classes, which are a better sort than other books like this one. My favorite was the Righteous Sword and his power "A Good Man's Wrath". Very nice.
Chapter two gives us the options; new feats, new uses for skills and new spells. As well as new equipment. All of which have had a place in my game at one time or another.
Chapter Three gives up campaign advice and how to keep a demon hunting game going. I particularly like the Urban adventures parts since I love to play in cities and there is not much in the way of good material out there.
Chapter Four (which thematically could have been just more of Three) gives us the organizations that fight demons. After years and years of playing horror games this was less useful for me, but good for someone just getting into the demon-hunting RPG biz.
Chapter five gives us the monsters. Not very many here and other books do have better choices, but I don't think that a huge list of demons was the prime motivator of this book; so that is fine.


All in all a good book and a very nice collection of demon hunting ideas for any group of characters.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Demon Hunter's Handbook
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Dungeon Crawl Classics #51.5: Sinister Secret of Whiterock
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/09/2012 06:10:48

Great introductory adventure.
I have had the chance to to both play it as a character and run it as a GM. Took about two sessions.
Really captures the feel of the old 80's era D&D adventures.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #51.5: Sinister Secret of Whiterock
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DCC RPG Free RPG Day Adventure Starter
by Scott B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/09/2012 10:43:48

This package includes an introduction to the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG, a 0-1 level adventure "The Portal Under the Stars", a 5th level adventure "The Infernal Crucible of Sezrekan the Mad", and gorgeous art. A print version was available free on FreeRPG day 2011. I picked up a copy then, but I found myself wanting to run the first adventure when I didn't have access to my print version so I purchased the PDF version.


I ran this as a quick game over the holidays for family members. There's no quick-play rules (you need the free Beta rules download for that), but they're barely required due to the nature of the adventure. If you've played a d20 game before, you'll pick this up with no effort.


(I used an online 0th level character generator to speed things up, creating multiple set of characters and let my players pick one set each. Google "DCC RPG resources". The rules for creating characters by hand are in the free Beta rule download, and are very fast.)


Spoilers?
"Portal Under the Stars" is primarily exploration of an ancient crypt, with some combat and traps. There's enough information for the players to learn the history of the crypt, and there's a final "boss fight" which can be avoided by clever/lucky/unlucky/greedy characters. There are nine rooms outlined, including the "foyer" and treasure room, but there's plenty to think about and do in all of the rooms.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DCC RPG Free RPG Day Adventure Starter
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Broncosaurus Rex: Dinosaurs That Never Were
by Dennis P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/02/2012 21:11:02

Dinosaur Planet seems like a fascinating setting. I haven't gotten the main book yet but the information in the Broncosaurus Rex: Dinosaurs That Never Were makes me interested in more.


The opening chapter is about the Storm Valley. It is a distinct area in the Dinosaur Planet setting that contains these unusual dinosaurs. It has some mysteries to it that have obvious potential for adventures. The area is under continual storm clouds but it allows light through. The storms make aerial travel dangerous. The valley dinosaurs are even more intelligent those of other valleys. The Confederate and Union are kinda setup in reverse rolls where the Union is trying to use dinosaurs and the Confederate have more technology. They have a set of plot hooks after the history of the valley but I kinda prefer the hints of possibilities in the valley's history.


Dinosaur Planet was made for 3rd edition not 3.5. On top of this the authors have chosen to do some things differently than standard 3rd edition. You could still use the creatures without too much trouble in 3.5. The descriptions of the dinosaurs are very interesting. I do find that some pictures aren't as good a match as I would like. The ankylosaurus peltaspinos picture doesn't have a club like tail and ends up looking similar to the spinoflagella peloros. Similar problem exists with the craspedoceratops gregarium where the picture doesn't seem that different from the multiceratops tarbos. The description (and stats) of the craspedoceratops gregarium explain that the frill should be larger and go back to protect the sides as well as the front. I was surprised there isn't a poison spitter in the monsters.


I'm not currently running Dinosaur Planet or even 3.5. I actually purchased the book with the intention of using the creatures in a 4th edition game. The pictures will work well as visual aid and the tactics of the creatures can give ideas for 4th edition power. Still it has convinced to put the rest of the Dinosaur Planet products on my wishlist.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Broncosaurus Rex: Dinosaurs That Never Were
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Complete Guide to Beholders
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/05/2011 17:42:50

What makes a good monster book? Probably most importantly, you have to be able to finish it and still want to kill them. ("Good" dragons have never appealed to me just for that reason.) Beholders, crazy floating eyeball beings, have been a staple of D&D play since the early days, when they were saddled with cartoony art. They were major villains throughout the Forgotten Realms, where their magical capabilities and scheming methods made them memorable antagonists.


Goodman Games has a reputation of producing high quality, high-detail supplements and the Complete Guide to Beholders is no exception. It contains information about beholder culture, physiology, and their beliefs about the universe. It's a self-contained set of beliefs (nihilism focused on "The Void") that has attitudes about "the gods" without reference to who they are, to help you fit them into whatever campaign world that you have. There are even suggestions for how to incorporate it into superhero, espionage and horror games.


A welcome addition is a section regarding how to roleplay the beholder (don't shake your head! You know how irritating that is?!) This is something that other games should take note of. Specific advice for GMs on this level is highly needed and very effective.


There are some ideas for beholder-oriented campaigns, most of them fighting them from the outside but at least two based on being magical beings connected to beholders, or even beholders themselves! If you like play-the-monster games, it's definitely worth checking out.


I'm reviewer tilting this one up one star because I absolutely adore the roleplaying suggestion/instruction section. Surprisingly flexible and highly effective, the Complete Guide to Beholders is Well Worth The Cheap Price.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Complete Guide to Beholders
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Dungeon Crawl Classics #14: Dungeon Interludes
by Timothy H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/05/2011 14:16:17

This DCC is an excellent resource for ideas for between adventures. They're more than just 'regroup at the tavern and go see what the boss/Laird/Priest wants.'



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #14: Dungeon Interludes
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Dungeon Crawl Classics #11: The Dragonfiend Pact
by Larry L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/04/2011 07:33:14

Nicely done. Very good for starting players new to the game. A bit hokey with the shrunken part, but easily sidesteped. It seems to me I downloaded a supplement that fleshed out the Welwyn and a few of the significant characters. That was great support.


I want more of the same - on both counts. Well done.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #11: The Dragonfiend Pact
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Critter Cache 6: Lovecraftian Bestiary
by Sandra B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/23/2011 05:15:04

This book was created with true scholarship and love. The monsters are helpfully set out each with description, stats, attacks, driving force/reactions and a picture, all the information you need to add them to your campaign seamlessly. Easy to use and a joy to look through. Some magic items at the end are the cream on top of this excellent work.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Critter Cache 6: Lovecraftian Bestiary
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Dinosaur Planet: Broncosaurus Rex
by Shaun W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/03/2011 00:06:53

It's a good product, but my main focus in purchasing this PDF was to see if I could adapt certain feats found inside to a D&D 3.5 dinosaur campaign without the futuristic elements. I was not able to do this, but otherwise was able to make use of the dinosaur stat blocks.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Dinosaur Planet: Broncosaurus Rex
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DCC RPG Free RPG Day Adventure Starter
by Stephen N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/21/2011 18:12:03

I was able to pick this up at Free RPG day, and have picked up the PDF as well. It is meant to be played with the Goodman Games upcoming Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG game - the beta rules for which are now available.


The product itself contains 2 short adventures, one for 0-level play, and another for 5th level play. The B&W artwork is consistent with the tone of that in the DCC RPG beta rules which itself hearkens back to a 1ED D&D thematic feel. The two included maps are quite evocative and should be shared with others at the table once the adventure concludes so all can share.


As the previous reviewer mentioned, much of the fun of DCC system is the 0-level character funnel where player's should create 2-4 PCs each as the mortality rate is expected to be high. The 0-level adventure is a mixture of dangerous trap settings along with a few monsters. Both adventurers will require some clever party thinking to conclude to avoid the TPK.


Two fun little adventure and nice introduction to the DCC system.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DCC RPG Free RPG Day Adventure Starter
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DCC RPG Free RPG Day Adventure Starter
by shawn r. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/30/2011 16:18:18

This game is a nice change from the break down the door and kill them all games that are out now. I played the 0-level adventure at a local comic shop on free RPG day and had a blast. The character funnel is fun. You start with three peasant characters and hope that one survives to become a first level adventurer. The book also contains a fifth level adventure that looked very short. I never got to play it. Great art! If you like old school you should get this book for the art alone.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Crime Pays
by NB N. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/31/2011 14:47:29

Have you ever wanted to start your own mafia with dragons . . . and dungeons? Well you should buy this book! The Crime Pays supplement provides a comprehensive, detailed, and well thought out system for creating, running, and expanding an entire campaign where your players are crime bosses looking to make a profit at others’ expense. I’ll let you know right now that this isn’t just some simple reskin of a few mechanics or a few back of the envelope calculations of how you’d run your gang. This book adds a series of rules to allow you to fully flesh out and direct your posse of henchmen for fun and profit.


You obviously start with creating your mob. Every mob needs lackeys to do your bidding, right? Creation is simple to learn, but still fairly deep. Your mob has a stat block that you build out by hiring coves (bands of street folk that do your shake downs, thieving, and selling), lieutenants to direct their activities, and of course your territory. There are charts and costs for all of these as well as what you would expect to earn from a mob family of your size.


When you actually get things up and running, you can have your thugs commit crimes (a laundry list is provided) with various resources needed and risks involved. For every crime, there are also punishments from the law that result in loss of property, limbs, and if bad enough, your life. Stat blocks for each of your types of crew members and law enforcement that might be after them are provided. Of course the law isn’t all you have to worry about as every other syndicate will be gunning for your territory.


The fun of this type of campaign is the solid world building mechanics that create a pseudo-Mafia simulation game feel while you can personally handle major issues. Obviously, it is up to the DM to come up with situation where your underlings can’t quite get the mission accomplished. That’s when your players (one of them likely the godfather) get their hands dirty to show your adversaries that you mean business. There is plenty of information provided on how to run a mafia campaign and the types of issues your players are likely to run into. It even presents one origin story arc for each tier where you can jump right in if you have an ongoing campaign.


I was surprised at the depth and level of detail presented in the book. It is comprehensive and entertaining at the same time. With the newly released Heroes of Shadow book out, it is a perfect time to roll up some nefarious PCs and see just how good it is to be bad.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Crime Pays
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