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The Black Bestiary Volume II
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/30/2016 01:05:46

Disappointing, especially for the price.


Of the 90+ monsters in this book, there are only about 34 new ones, plus 4 unique kaiju. The rest are either statted-out characters / character types ready to use, or recycled from prevous books by the author. I spotted monsters from the Witches of the Blue Skies, Tournament of Rapists, Black Tokyo:Electric Town, and the Battlechangers setting among others.


There are also a few minor spelling mistakes scattered through the book and, in my copy at least, there's a problem with the layout of page 94 (the Namazu Kaiju) where the picture obscures the text on the left side of the page. It's necessary to highlight, copy, and paste the text into a Word file to make any sense of it.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
The Black Bestiary Volume II
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Skortched Urf' Studios Sketchbook: Modern figures #3
by Daniel G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/09/2016 17:27:33

I just purchased this product and was under the impression the art was in a useable format. Is there any chance I could get this art in tiff or jpg or some other format than pdf? While I could just screen cap and grab the art (and likely simply will) I had expected a publisher resource to be in a format used by publishers. Also, uncoloured line drawing versions would have been nice.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Skortched Urf' Studios Sketchbook: Modern figures #3
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Adventure Princesses
by Björn A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/26/2015 09:04:29

Chris A. Fields „Adventurer Princesses“ is a curious product, which made me a bit hesitant at first, but in the end, curiosity won.


The strangeness begins with the cover illustration, a manga-style princess in a blue ball gown and a golden crown on her head, which seems to fit in a grimm-style fairy tale but doesn't seem too adventurous. I'm not too wrong with this interpretation but we'll come back to that. The layout of the product is fine with and while I not particularly like all of the interior illustrations that's certainly a matter of taste and it doesn't take away from the product in any way.


The strangeness continues with the categorization of the Adventurer Princess as a race (instead of a class as I had assumed first). So the product starts on the first three pages of this 16-page product with a description of the background of this „race“. Princesses typically aren't of noble blood but most often maidens from the common folk who excel with courage, charisma and leadership abilities. And while they are humanoids with the human subtype, they have different racial traits; the have their own ability modifiers, start with an animal friend who functions like a wizard's familiar, can choose between different skills they get bonuses for, and they get a 3x/day spell-like ability as a bard of the same level.


There are also some alternative racial traits offered, for example the Foreign Princess which enables you to play a non-human adventurer princess, or the Modern Princess to use in a modern setting (immediately Lara Croft comes to mind). For Xena-style characters, there is the Warrior Princess. Other alternatives modify the spell-like ability, the skill choices and look interesting and playable as well.


Next three pages are filled with 19 base character traits. For combat traits, we have the Air Princess (fly as class skill with +1 bonus on skill checks), the Dragon Slayer (bonus against dragon-type monsters) which I really like for how it plays with the normal stereotypes. The Duell Princess gets a magical one-hand weapon from the start and the Tomboy gets bonuses when competing with men (see my criticism at the end of the review).


With the magic traits we'll finally land in the realms of Grimm fairy tales I alluded to at the start. Animal Helper makes Cinderella's doves (or other animals) help with the daily chores and the Fairy-woven Finery obviously comes from the same source (the ball gown even changes back to normal at midnight), while the Little animated Buddy seems inspired by the Disney version of Beauty and the beast (I mean, come on, who wouldn't want a two-legged candelabra as companion – or better yet- an animated snowman). The Ball-gown Parachute does exactly, what he says and the Elemental Birth Sign increases the damage of elemental spell damage. At last, there's the Princess countersong, which enhances the respective bard's class feature.


The social traits encompass the Centre of Courtly Life, the Fairest of them All (Mirror, Mirror...), the Orphan Princess (free Courtier's Outfit), the Rat Princess (which prefers Intimidate over Diplomacy) and the Student of History, who gets bonuses on Knowledge (nobility) and Knowledge (history).


Finally, there are racial traits like the Fairie's Blessing (Little Briar Rose says hello), the mysterious Night's Princess (gets low-light vision) and the Sibling's Bond which creates an especially narrow bond between Little Brother and Little Sister. This trait seems mechanically problematic, because it relates to the psion's sense link ability which is known from 3.5 but has no official equivalent in Pathfinder. Now we have the Dreamscarred version, but as there's no entry in the OGL section 15 and as this version not quite equals it's predecessor, I assume that the author rather meant the older version. I guess one could easily adapt the Binder's sense link ability but if so, that should be clarified in the text.


Now let's return to the fairie tales realm with the racial feat Fairie Coach functioning like Disney's Cinderella version (even transforming the animal friend into two coach horses). It gets even better at level 10 when you get two winged coach horses instead which enable the coach to soar through the air. The second racial feat, the Noble Equipage is a bit more down to earth and may be inspired by Joan of Arc. It's mainly chivalric equipment you get (including a war horse or pony).


And then, there's five and a half pages full of magic items. I won't go into detail too much, but it's 3 armors, 3 weapons and 10 wondrous items, some of them also inspired by Grimms' Fairie Tales. For example, there's the Applewood Bow bestowing resistance bonuses against poisons, or the Princess' basket preparing fine meals from the raw ingredients put within. Another item, the Farie Dust, gold certainly takes its inspiration from Peter Pan (and I let you guess what it does ;) )


Conclusion: I'm still not sure what to make out of this product. I can see the advantage in making the Adventure Princess a race rather than a class, because it enables the author to take inspiration from diverse sources; still, most members of this group are of human stock, so the concept doesn't quite fit into this mechanic. Another thing is about the definition of this „race“. There's basically no need for a category including extraordinary women in a game, which already defines an adventurer as an extraordinary person and makes it quite clear that men and women are absolutely equal in game terms. Which would make every female adventurer to an Adventurer Princess.


This said, I still like the product. I don't think that children are it's main target group but I guess that the fairie tale elements are perfect to introduce them into the game. I can easily imagine my daughter wanting to play an Adventurer Princess inspired by Frozen's Elsa (especially if she is allowed to use an animated snowman as familiar). But even for me as a male adult, who likes to play female characters, the product contains quite some ideas to use in my own games. I mean; what's not to love about Xena, Joan of Arc or Lara Croft inspired characters.


And even if you don't like the Adventure Princess as a race (or even as a concept), the product still contains 16 pages full of rules material to use or be inspired from in your own game, and that for a real fair price. So 3 of 5 stars, because you still get useful material even if I have my doubts about the concept. Should you even like the concept, than add another star to my rating.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure Princesses
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Publisher Reply:
Bjorn, thanks so much or the lengthy, super detailed review. My rationale for making the Adventure Princess a race rather than a class is instead of having the concept tied to just one thing, by making it a race you could have Adventure Princess Fighters, or AP Bards, or AP Druids, or any other class combination you liked. I\'d wanted to do something Disney-esque for a long time, but couldn\'t find a way to do it that seemed mechanically interesting. I got the idea to do Adventure Princesses while I was working on a revamp of my Heavy Future setting, and I invented a few new race that was genetically human but so culturally different they had mechanically distinct powers and abilities. I realized if I could stretch the definition of \'human\' to play to the tropes of 70s sci-fi I could also bend the definition to do Disney. Finally, give your daughter an animated snowman and let her go adventuring! That sounds like the perfect use of this book. Have a good one, CHRIS
Black Tokyo -Unlimited Edition
by James G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/18/2015 19:47:06

I picked this up largely because in the wake of the controversy caused by Tournament of Rapists (from the same author) there was a pretty strong likelihood this item might not be long on the site. I think the subject matter is not unworthy in itself - because actual Japanese erotica is if anything MORE weird - but the execution could have been done better. For example, the text needs more organization and editing. As in, any organization or editing at all. Also, this is the second edition of an older title that was originally modeled around D20 Modern, whereas this "Unlimited" Edition is more like a travelogue of the various locations in the Black Tokyo version of Japan. Thus it doesn't have a lot of the game material (like feats) that used to be in the older version of the book and are now in other sourcebooks for the line. The book is not completely worthless, but the aforementioned issues mean that it's only worth picking up if you're really invested in the subject matter, namely the utter fracking weirdness of Japanese sex culture. Which in this case apparently means not just rape but scatology.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Black Tokyo -Unlimited Edition
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Free20: Troublemaker
by Chris B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/11/2015 13:55:17

So outside of a couple of *bad examples (assuming you know or even care about comics) which are a tiny little niggle that quite frankly doesn't matter on the whole, this is an excellent product even outside of it's intended usage of the creator's settings. It's designed for D20 Modern, but it can be adapted to other versions and quite frankly, I'm going to be using it as an idea mine for another game system all together. And it's a steal at a sale price of FREE. If you want some ideas for superhero style sidekicks, this is a great little PDF.


The only reason I'm taking a mark off is that it's tied (mechanically) to D20 Modern, which frankly, was a bad system for what it wanted to do.


*(The only issue is that he uses Kitty Pryde (X-Men's Shadowcat) and Jubilation Lee (X-Men's Jubilee) and claims that they were 'petite'. Kitty Pryde started off at 13 at about 5' 2" and ended up being 5' 6" as an adult, she was never petite. And Jubilee ended up at 5' 5" which is average for an American woman, and tall for her Asian background. Not to mention that she got turned into a Vampire that magically gave her the chest she always wanted. But again, as a Comic Nerd, little things like that bother me, but not enough to remove marks, simply because I know what the author was trying to go for.)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Free20: Troublemaker
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Mil Tech '09
by abraham e. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/11/2015 12:55:10

Mil-Tech 09 is misnamed -- it should really be called Miscellaneous updates to X RPG -- because the tech part is fairly paltry. Details about new characters is OK, but not what I was looking for.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Mil Tech '09
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The Advanced Arsenal
by abraham e. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/11/2015 12:51:02

The Advanced Arsenal is an OK product, but not as detailed as I would have liked.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Advanced Arsenal
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Black Operators
by Angelo C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/15/2015 00:31:01

This product greatly improves the races presented in the Psi-Watch campaign book (both Original and Ultimate Edition) and adapts them to the Pathfinder way of making races. They all have a number of alternative abilities to help further customization and make even a team made of a single race (such as Cityborn or Military Post Humans) feel varied. Hopefully there will be a Pathfinder edition of the Psi-Watch campaign book that will contain this and (fingers crossed) the excellent material from Psi-Watch: Issue Zero supplement.


If you have bought products from Skotched Urf or Chris Fields before you kind of know what to expect in terms of art quality and layout. This is probably one of his best looking books he has put out. There are some errors in the text, mostly repeated words but nothing that makes the text hard to understand.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Black Operators
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S.C.A.R.E. Vol.4 - Vasko Anurin
by Jim C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/25/2015 21:16:29

He's a complex individual serving what strikes me as a very useful function for a GM.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
S.C.A.R.E. Vol.4 - Vasko Anurin
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The Black Bestiary
by Barbara H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/20/2015 15:56:24

Hello everyone and welcome to the Black Bestiary review! For the purposes of full disclosure, I received a complimentary copy of this book for review.


Clocking in at 225 pages, this book has a massive 218 pages of creatures, with the rest of the page count being the cover, table of contents, monster-by-CR, and OGL.


As a caveat to readers, the book definitely has some mature material, seeing as how it was made for the amazing but extremely mature Black Tokyo setting. That said, many of the creatures can be reflavored to suit a less racy campaign, so if the problem lies solely with player sensibilities, you should be able to get a lot of use out of this book.


Many of the creatures are drawn from Japanese mythology, pop culture, and, of course, anime, so there is quite a wide range of creatures in this book. The monsters are well-researched and it shows throughout the book. I will, for the purposes of illustrating how great this book is and for brevity's sake as well, list some of the more iconic creatures within the book.


The CR 10 Amakaze are the souls of ancient businessmen corrupted by the Oni into fiendish undead with golden talons. These guys get SEVERAL abilities, including the ability to fire bolts of cold and dark Chi energy, put a 'spiritual bounty' on foes to induce a sort of frenzy on allied Outsiders, bribe dark spirits into coming to their aid by offering up some of their wealth, an aura that makes them and their allies look completely human, enhanced social and combat capabilities against poorer characters, and even the ability to steal wealth, sustenance, knowledge, or even a target's youth with their claw attacks. All and all, a VERY cool creature! To top it all off, there is even a more powerful version of the evil creatures, termed 'Executive Board Members', who are CR16 monstrosities that not only have the powers of their lessers, but can also become a dark shade that dims light and sheds murderous cold by shifting partially into the coterminous Black Else, they revive in their estates almost like a lich revives with it's phylactery unless their source of wealth is taken from them or destroyed (Which should prove quite a difficult task!), and it's claw attacks can now steal spells, INT, and even memories, in the form of levels, from those hit by their claw attacks! The executives are also bound to whatever country they reside in and suffer when leaving it, making it a pretty cool, if hard-to-exploit, weakness.


The CR 2 Aosaginohi are heron-like spirit birds whose silent presence foretells death and woe. They can turn into an ethereal mist-like state that allows them to enter any non-airtight building that is not hallowed or from which tantric sex has occured. They also have a permanent Deathwatch effect and can cast Death Knell, plus they have an aura that bolsters undead. While I would have liked to see this creature's statblock get more signature abilities, the flavor is just awesome and anyone who plans on using undead or evil outsiders owes it to themselves to use this bird as an ominous precursor to the attack, because it just adds SO much flavor to the encounter!


The CR 18 Bake-Kujira are the vengeful undead remnants of whales. These things are DEADLY with a capital D. They, quite obviously gain Swallow Whole as an ability, but this is the least of the massive beast's powers. It can sweep it's tail to deal slam damage to all creatures in a cone (Presumably in the back 180 degrees of the Bake-Kujira's profile, but it is not specified,). While above the waterline, they burn noxiously, creating concealing smoke that sickens and nauseates nearby creatures. Their most deadly ability, however, is Sonardirge. This ability, even while above water, is deadly, because it paralyzes those who hear it and fail their saves. When the Bake-Kujira and a target are below water, it is even harder to resist and deadlier as well, because being paralyzed while sinking in the ocean's depths is a very quick way for a character to drown.


The CR 14 Corpse Gallows is quite interesting. It is the remains of a gallows infused with the suffering, fear, and anger of those who died within its embrace, granting it a gruesome unlife. The base creature has 'noose arms' that allow it to quickly strangle those it catches, but it REALLY becomes deadly once it has a corpse within one or more nooses, using the corpses to deflect attacks from its main 'body', using the dead to bludgeon the living, and even consuming the corpse to heal and free up more Strangling Noose attacks. It can also freeze and look like a normal, if macabre, gallows. For all the power of the Corpse Gallows, a Resurrection or similar spell can instantly kill it by driving out the animating spirits, which is a neat weakness.


The CR 13 Dollmaker Ooze is something that bears mentioning. These acidic oozes were created by the Oni to turn the beautiful into sex dolls, gaining paralyzing slime, a suffocating engulf, and the ability to turn the dead into sex dolls. While I am deliberately trying to shy away from the more 'sex-themed material', this thing is EASILY reflavored as the tool of mad artists or demons, who use it to produce extremely life-like 'statues'. This should be roleplaying gold for even GMs who run campaigns in settings other than Black Tokyo.


Familiars are also covered, with several new familiars and reskinned or reimagined familiars also being present.


The CR 3 Hell's Maids are perfect tools for depraved nobles and evil arcanists everywhere! While hardly a physical threat, they can cast cantrips at will and heal nearby devils if they choose to not perform a full round worth of actions. The idea of a fiendish maid or butler is just awesome!


The Hyakki Yokai, a new player race, are HILARIOUS! They are, essentially, numerous very small demons who inhabit a 'woman suit' that they build out of leather and clockwork components, which they don to go about and have fun in. The little demons bicker amongst themselves, drink themselves silly, are extremely frisky, and have little grasp about human nature, which means roleplaying the little buggers is a study in silliness as they, unsuccessfully, try to ape humanity and come off as being some of the oddest people ever.


The CR 3 Ironbrother Yakuza are basically fiendish toughs who emulate the Yakuza. With abilities like Murder Zen and Too Honest, how could one not enjoy using these creatures?


The CR 15 Tottori Horrors are massive, Lovecraftian-esque monstrosities who operate on different terms in regards to space and time, able to 'store' rounds of inactivity and then unleash them in bursts of frenetic activity. Their alien intellect can incapacitate those who touch their minds, causing severe neural hemorrhaging that, if lethal, can transform the victim into another Tottori Horror. Not only that, but these beasts have 1,000 ft 'death rays' and powerful claw attacks and Regeneration 10 (Good or Lawful), making them extremely capable combatants. Make no mistake, these things are TPK machines!


All of the above creatures are but a small fraction of the well-made creatures in The Black Bestiary.


So, let's break down the book. The material is well researched and quite flavorful, giving the 'Fluff' score 5. The monsters are all relatively balanced according to CR, with a few small squicks here and there, but nothing that should diminish the 'Crunch' score of 5 that I feel it deserves. The art is a mix of stock art and commissioned art, both drawn and computer-generated, and is appropriate for the book, with several excellent pieces of art that remind me of the long nights watching anime back in high school.


All in all, I rate the book as being 5 star and highly recommend it to anyone that is looking for a book of solid, interesting monsters. I especially recommend it to anyone who has the Black Tokyo setting, because the material is spot-on for the setting.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Black Bestiary
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Free20: The Haunts of Black Tokyo
by Ben S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/08/2014 04:09:04

A nice group of plot ideas for a GM to flesh out based in Japan. Definitely worth your time to check out if you're looking for modern Japanese adventures.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Free20: The Haunts of Black Tokyo
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Otherverse America Campaign Setting
by Andrew K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/14/2014 02:25:42

First off does the author know what editing and formating are? Because the "book" seems to show a complete lack of both. Secondly I had no idea it was even humanly possible to be this laughably ham fisted about a political message, farms around the world are missing their scare crows because this book has so many straw men in it.



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[1 of 5 Stars!]
Otherverse America Campaign Setting
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Sentai Sequel!
by Curt M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/27/2014 10:50:40

Rarely do I print out the PDFs I buy on rpgnow. This series is an exception. It contains a lot more options and some nice advice for integrating Fursona. Even if you don't play d20 / Pathfinder, there's some good genre emulation here that could port well into other games. A great follow-up would be a Fursona-style rubber suit kaiju / giant robot builder.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Sentai Sequel!
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Keys of Magic
by Micah B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/15/2014 10:45:12

This book contains 10 Magic keys. Many of which are interesting and even has one key which is split into four pieces and can be used as a campaign hook. The reason for getting 3 stars is because unfortunately 3 of the ten keys are somewhat unoriginal. Two simply add bonuses the way an amulet would, one adds a lock picking bonus.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Keys of Magic
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Fursona -The Definitive Guide to Creating Anthropomorphic Characters
by Patrick G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/08/2014 13:34:47

I purchased this looking for a TMNT/Yosag Jimbo type of rules. I was looking to create a homebrew "Justifiers" conversion to the D20 modern/future rules.


I was very disappointed in the furry fetish comments throughout. I really did not want to have obscure and sexualized material in the book.


I hope the author takes feedback and adjust future products accordingly.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Fursona -The Definitive Guide to Creating Anthropomorphic Characters
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