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Freebooter's Fate Quickstart Game Cards English Version
Freebooter's Fate Quickstart Game Cards English Version
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Tobyart 012 - Dwarf Axeman
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/17/2012 13:18:52
More hi-res black and white iconic character art from Toby Gregory, clearly influenced by the high quality art in early D&D hardcovers. This dwarven warrior would like to ax you something.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tobyart 012 - Dwarf Axeman
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Tobyart 020 - Lizard Axeman
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/17/2012 10:48:15
More hi-res black and white iconic character art from Toby Gregory, clearly influenced by the high quality art in early D&D hardcovers. This lizardman warrior isn't very prone to being backstabbed.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tobyart 020 - Lizard Axeman
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Tobyart 016 - Twin Blade Amazon
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/17/2012 10:44:50
More hi-res black and white iconic character art from Toby Gregory, clearly influenced by the high quality art in early D&D hardcovers. This Amazon would like to demonstrate the intricacies of the two-weapon fighting feat to you.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tobyart 016 - Twin Blade Amazon
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Tobyart 015 - Man at Arms
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/17/2012 10:42:09
More hi-res black and white iconic character art from Toby Gregory, clearly influenced by the high quality art in early D&D hardcovers. This is a nice dynamic pic of a human warrior preparing to let someone - or someTHING - have a taste of his blade.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tobyart 015 - Man at Arms
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Tobyart 014 - Mysterious Gunblade
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/17/2012 10:40:54
More hi-res black and white iconic character art from Toby Gregory, clearly influenced by the high quality art in early D&D hardcovers. I'm guessing "mysterious" is really being used to describe this shady character, and not his gunblade, which really isn't that mysterious at all. It's a gun, and a blade. No mystery, right?

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tobyart 014 - Mysterious Gunblade
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Tobyart 013 - Elf Leaf Duellist
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/17/2012 10:38:25
More hi-res black and white iconic character art from Toby Gregory, clearly influenced by the high quality art in early D&D hardcovers. This elf leaf duelist dares you to underestimate the protective nature of his armor.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tobyart 013 - Elf Leaf Duellist
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Tobyart 006 - Elf Sword Priestess
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/17/2012 10:36:00
More hi-res black and white iconic character art from Toby Gregory, clearly influenced by the high quality art in early D&D hardcovers. This elf priestess is giving a bit of divine magic a try before resorting to the sword.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tobyart 006 - Elf Sword Priestess
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Tobyart 005 - Dwarf Valkyrie
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/17/2012 10:33:48
More hi-res black and white iconic character art from Toby Gregory, clearly influenced by the high quality art in early D&D hardcovers. This dwarven priestess appears to be showing us her "last thing you'll ever see before getting squashed flat" pose.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tobyart 005 - Dwarf Valkyrie
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Tobyart 004 - Dwarf Hammer Paladin
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/17/2012 10:30:34
More hi-res black and white iconic character art from Toby Gregory, clearly influenced by the high quality art in early D&D hardcovers. This dwarven paladin appears to be pondering his hammer, and whether or not he should proceed to hurt 'em.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tobyart 004 - Dwarf Hammer Paladin
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Tobyart 003 - Dwarf Nail Hunter
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/17/2012 10:29:08
More hi-res black and white iconic character art from Toby Gregory, clearly influenced by the high quality art in early D&D hardcovers. This dwarven priest has a hammer and appears to be seeing everything else as a nail.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tobyart 003 - Dwarf Nail Hunter
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Clipart Critters 165 - Wizard's Staff
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/17/2012 08:54:05
Nice hi-res greyscale image of a wizard casting a spell with a staff and/or magic ring, would be suitable for an old-school RPG rulebook or supplement. It reminds me of some of the art found in TSR's old Dark Sun setting books.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Clipart Critters 165 - Wizard's Staff
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Tough Justice
by Robert S. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/09/2012 07:38:19
There are many role playing games, both mainstream and independent. However, some of the more interesting RPGs are the independent ones, the best of which find a niche to stake out as their own.

This week I am reviewing Tough Justice, by notorious Englishman Ian Warner, which is a game that found a niche and claimed the spot as its own. In this case, that particular niche is a historical courtroom drama, in the English legal system.

Warner has set this historical game during a time called the Blood Code, which ran from the late 17th century through the 18th and into the early 19th century. For more than a hundred years, a host of laws in England mandated the death penalty if the court handed down a conviction for the accused.

According to the Tough Justice RPG, the list of things which automatically brought the death penalty under the Bloody Code include standard period items such as sodomy, espionage and shoplifting but also grab bag of odd crimes as well, such as blackening your face at night, spending a month with gypsies and cutting down a young tree. Of these the cutting down the young tree feels the most capricious, as there is nothing in the text about what qualifies as a young tree or even the ownership of the tree being relevant – you can get hung by the neck until dead for clearing brush and saplings from your own property.

In any event, at the start of the period, 50 laws mandated the death penalty and before things turned around the list expanded to 220. England at this time managed to outdo Texas for legally ending people, which is saying something. It was a high time for rope merchants. Assuming they did not do something like cut down a small tree.

In any event, that is backdrop of the game but the core is letting the players fight it out, in a period English court of law, as the opposing legal sides battling over the fate of some schmuck caught with a hatchet while standing over a chopped up copse.

That was a pune, or a play on words.

Tough Justice is the only RPG I know of about playing out a legal clash. Imagine it as rather like Law and Order, where not enough people bathe and too many people wear silly wigs.

In mechanical terms, players first think of a concept for their characters and then to match that concept divide up their starting pool of 18 points among six stats, which include Authority, Jibe, Charm, Investigation, Violence and Composure. Jibe and charm function as charisma, more or less, while Composure functions as something like hit points. It is worth noting that in Tough Justice, under the rules as written, it is more or less impossible for characters to die. They are playing the lawyers and associates battling over a case, not the accused. So Composure works as hit points in a situation where losing their shit or having a great big hissy fit would be detrimental to their side of the case. Character creation also includes assigning merits and flaws to the character, which modify the stats under certain circumstances.

Characters created, the players divide into two groups, one for the prosecution and one for the defense. Under the rules as written, only one character on each side actually speaks during the court phase of the game, this character being the barrister. Other players run characters that are lawyers, who do the legal case work as compared to making a presentation, allies and associates on both sides to corral and coerce witnesses, collection information useful to the case and try to sabotage the work of the other side. I am not a legal scholar and certainly not one for English legal history, but everything I have read indicates Warner did a good job recreating in game terms the function of English courts of this period. As part of the accuracy, while the game permits female characters, they may be neither barristers nor lawyers.

The simple mechanic of the game is a rolled d6, with the relevant stat added, and the stat is modified depending on the merit and flaw and the circumstances. Sometimes these rolls are contested roll against the effort of another player. Important here is the degree of difference in a successfully opposed roll. These points are the so-called “win margin” and players must keep track of these win margin points as they play into the final verdict of the trial.

Most of the facts about the accused – gender, age, occupation – are randomly determined. Occupation is relevant because it can give case points to one side or the other; the occupation of pickpocket automatically gives case points to the prosecution, for example. The crime for which the accused is… uh… accused is also randomly determined.

Early parts of a game include the arrest phase and the pretrial phase, allowing for collection of the NPC accused by player characters working for the prosecution, duels between PCs on the opposing sides and case investigation and sabotaging the opposing side. All the results, from opposed investigations, duels and so forth, generate win margin points for use in the actual trial. To reiterate an earlier point, it is not possible for one player character to kill another, though they can injure each other and injuries are a liability during a trial.

There is a specific order of actions permissible during a trial, which again appears to match what was and was not possible during actual English Courts of the period. Anyway, much of the trial phase comes down to opposed challenges to accumulate the most win margin points.

At the end of the trial, if the prosecution has the most points, the court finds the accused guilty and issues a death penalty. If the defense has the most case points, the accused is acquitted. Note that, the actual guilt or innocence of the accused is more or less irrelevant in terms of the verdict. It is possible, though not mandatory, to play through the post trial phase, including execution and burial.

The game has its flaws. For one, it is almost totally without art, and what art there is consists of stock line art of people in period costumes made creepy by their lack of irises and pupils. It is like pictures of well-dressed zombies, who I think should be executed on general principal. Another flaw is the only real way for any player characters do die is during childbirth, meaning the only way to die is if you are running a woman. Men should be able to die as well, not only for the sake of gender balance but it would make the trials more interesting if one lawyer can flat out murder another before the trial, to help their case.

The text is laid out is an acceptable and functional manner, though, the relative lack of art makes the pages appear dense and gray in places. Other issues include the fact, Warner includes a 25-page long section defining jargon and slang terms from the period, which is much too long – it is supposed to be an RPG book, not a period dictionary. Also, there are too many pages of example play - they are good for demonstrating how the game works, but they also go on and on. Finally, early sections of the book giving Warner’s background and talking explaining RPGs are also unnecessary.

To its credit, the book includes a solid table of contents and a detailed index, which help makes up for a lack of bookmarks in the 260-page PDF.

Ultimately, I give Tough Justice a 15 on a d20 roll. While it has its flaws, as niche games go, this unique game fill its chosen niche well and over all the game and book is well executed. The mechanic for adjudicating an over-all trial is smooth, focused and a commendable game tool.

In the opening of the book, Warner describes Tough Justice as a beer and crisps game, or the English version of a beer and pretzels game – a kind of game played during a break from a regular campaign or something requiring little story investment done as a one-shot. It can be that.

I suggest make a Tough Justice game a part of a regular game. In most RPG games, the PCs are always burning things down, blowing shit up and killing people. Perhaps one or more of them are accused of something they may or may not have done. Once accused and arrested, the game temporarily shifts to what would otherwise simply be NPCs – lawyers, court officials, witness and so forth – while the former players characters become NPCs for the duration of the trial.

It would be a good reason for the players to be nice to NPCs. And to stop chopping down small trees.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tough Justice
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Agents of SWING: Gosh, Spies!
by Idle R. H. P. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/08/2012 05:19:53
I'll start this off by saying that I don't own Agents of S.W.I.N.G. (the book that this product is a supplement for). Instead, I picked this title up to mine it for ideas on running games with teenagers as the main protagonists as well as to see what advice it offered on running simplified RPGs for children, especially girls.

There are some good ideas here, both for someone interested in running games for children and having teenage characters in their games. There is a nice discussion on Saturday morning cartoons, and how to attempt to capture that genre in a game. Although specifically created for the FATE, the stunts, flaws, and powers found in this book are easily adapted to other systems.

This title interested me enough to where I'm considering getting Agents of S.W.I.N.G. There are a few typos in the text and a few of the sample characters are a bit too close to the source material the book is taking it's inspiration from, but those flaws are easily overlooked given the rest of material.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Agents of SWING: Gosh, Spies!
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Agents of S.W.I.N.G.
by Emlyn F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/05/2012 02:27:37
I must humbly disagree with the other reviews. I own every FATE game on the market, as well as having looked at every fan-hack I've found available—and I find Agents of SWING the most amateurish, irritating version I've seen, and I am very angry I paid even $10 for it.

The layout is ugly and hard to read, without any pictures or even tables (equipment chapter notwithstanding) to break up the monotype text. The sections are badly organized, with tons of concepts laid out without explanation or even a reassuring "we'll get to this later"—a notable example being the dice section, which describes getting three dice, and setting one aside... and not explaining what to do with that third die until five pages later. SWING's "sections" are also laid out long before explaining what relevance they will have to the game, and the long section laying out (seemingly random) events from the sixties and seventies didn't spark any ideas on how to incorporate those ideas into a game. Even the core combat concept of "zones" is ONLY explained in the "handouts" chapter in the back of the book. The writers pulled a lot of their material from the other FATE products, and I have no problem with that. However, when you're going to change the terminology, change it consistently: The "Minions" conceit from Spirit of the Century is used interchangeably with the term "Goons" throughout the book.

The balance of the game is also thrown off in bizarre fashions from other FATE products. FATE games universally use a skill "pyramid" or "column" to ensure its characters represent relatively well-rounded individuals, and incorporate a maximum skill level a character can purchase a skill at, usually +3 to +5, depending on the game. SWING not only allows characters to take skills without any balance, they can go up to the top level possible on the results ladder, +8. This means that a character could take Guns at +8, making it impossible for virtually any other character to defend, and meaning that in all likelihood, the character will regularly roll results well above the levels the game is designed to handle or even has terms for. Other bizarre decisions include removing stunts from being associated with skills (a fairly common practice), but without replacing it with rules for building your own stunts, resulting in a long list of uncategorized stunts (repeated twice throughout the book before they are described) and stripping away skill "trappings," making the skills more "rules-lite," but so ill-defined they seem very difficult to use in play.

The SWINGERS chapter is simply bizarre: nearly forty characters laid out without explanation on how to use them—are they intended pre-generated PCs? NPCs? Only a couple are described as support staff, the rest seem like they could only be pre-gens... but what do you need with thirty-odd pregenerated PCs, especially when the much more useful "villains" chapter is anemic and undersupported in comparison. A facet of this chapter that I'm torn on is that most (if not all, I'm not terribly well-versed with 60s spy fiction) of the characters appear to be licensed characters with their serial numbers filed off: "John Chain" is James Bond, "Number 8" is Number 6 from the Prisoner, "Joanna Pare and James Ryde" are Emma Peel and John Steed, even "The Professor" is the Third Doctor of "Doctor Who." While it's kind of fun to see game stats for these pop culture icons, I think more general, genre-appropriate but original characters (as shown in the original FATE game, Spirit of the Century) would be much more useful and effective.

I like the idea of a swinging sixties spy-fi game, especially one that takes advantage of the innovative and elegant FATE ruleset. This, however, is not that game. All of the game's good ideas (with the possible exception of the SWING die, a bonus die you can earn by doing well and spend later to help a bad roll) are taken directly from "Starblazer Adventures," while taking away much of that game's charm. If you want to play James Bond or the Avengers, pick up... ANY other FATE game and spend an evening converting it, instead of wasting ten dollars on this badly-designed, ill-formatted mess.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Agents of S.W.I.N.G.
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Urban Faerie: Pocket Edition
by Chris K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/04/2012 04:06:57
This is a very funny set of rules, and a nice simple game system that is fast to learn and play and also drives the gameplay - the faeries need to use "charms" to achieve success, and earn them by doing "class"-stereotypical things. At this price it is worth buying just to read, because it is fun, but you will end up wanting to run a game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Urban Faerie: Pocket Edition
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