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Stealing Cthulhu
by Richard C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/25/2014 03:32:56
Really loved the content of the PDF but its format, an odd combination of single and double page spreads in different orientations made this impossible to print out in an easily read manner (yes folks, I actually prefer reading a hard copy but as I can no longer buy one I had to resort to this pricey alternative), made this a bit of a frustrating waste of time/money.
In all, 5 stars for content, 1 star for presentation - and I'm so miffed at the presentation I can only give it 2 stars!

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Stealing Cthulhu
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Play Unsafe
by SJ B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/17/2013 16:17:23
I truly wished I clicked on the preview button to see the size of the pages before i had purchased this.

Ill make this short.

- The pages have roughly 1/4th the text of a normal page.

- This book has 80 pages.

- This book is $8.00

Summary:
20 pages worth of information for $8.00

Worth it? Not for me... decide for yourself.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Play Unsafe
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Play Unsafe
by Bruce L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/18/2013 09:40:49
I like this book, as it really helps GM's, and players, to go beyond the mechanics of a game. The author stresses improvisational theater techniques for use within an RPG, and I like that. It is a bit short on page numbers (hence the 4 of 5 rating -- not as in-depth as I would have preferred), but what it has, is rich, and valuable. It is not as good as "X-treme DM'ing", but it is along those lines, if you are familiar with that book.

I would definitely recommend this book to friends, whether GM, or player. It may stretch folks, and that is very good -- that is its entire purpose! This book is not for min-max'ers, who concentrate on power-up's, and goo-gad's. It is about *interactive story-telling*, first, and foremost (aka, cooperative gaming, as in non-competitive). I've been playing AD&D since 1980, and I discovered much of what this book recommends, on my own, through the school of hard knock's. If you want to maximize your enjoyment of the game, without getting caught up in mechanics, and rules manipulation, this is a fantastic place to start. Cheers!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Stealing Cthulhu
by Cedric C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/17/2012 23:02:54
As much as the Call of Cthluhlu roleplaying game revolutionized roleplaying (all we had back then was D&D and various clones), it wasn't exactly Lovecraft. The single brooding (and sometimes passive) protagonist was replaced by a squad of skilled active investigators. Stealing Cthulhu brings us back to Mythos roots (tendrils?) by first deconstructing HP Lovecraft's Mythos stories, then applying them to a conventional RPG. It's an excellent analysis of HP Lovecraft's writing style, although it does take out some of the mystique of the author's writings! The author also enlists RPG personalities Kenneth Hite, Gareth Hanrahan, and Jason Morningstar to contribute their opinions to his work. And the author includes his short rules-light Mythos RPG at the end of the book. While the publication is aimed towards Keepers designing their own scenarios, the book is also a must-have for anyone wishing to write Mythos stories, or analyzing them for, say, a research paper.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stealing Cthulhu
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Play Unsafe
by Nenad R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/17/2012 07:48:35
I have heard of Play Unsafe by Graham Welmsley when it first came out, but I only got around to reading it in the last couple of days. I really wish I have read this earlier, since I think it would have improved my gaming no end. While the book is very short, it is packed to the brim with information, suggestions and ideas. In the book, Graham draws on some lessons from improv, about how to make the game more enjoyable for everyone at the table. The central ideas are one of trust, doing the obvious and taking risks.

TRUST
A gaming group always needs trust around the table, and Playing Unsafe emphasises that fact. Trust enables the players to relax, and to go with the flow of ideas around the table. I have experienced a flowing game, where the whole table gets on the same wavelength, and we just push forward, riffing off each other. Every time that happened, I played with people I trusted.

DOING THE OBVIOUS
I found the idea of doing the obvious mindblowing. Something may seem completely obvious to you, but to the other players it will seem like a breath of fresh air. I have spent too much time and effort in the past trying to come up with an elaborate scheme, just to see it fall flat.

TAKING RISKS
The idea of taking risks is linked with the idea of trust at the table. It means that you are free to do interesting things with your character, and to take the story in unexpected and different directions, while knowing that you will have the support of the rest of the table.

Overall, Play Unsafe is a book that I wish I had gotten when I started roleplaying, It is packed full of ideas and new ways of looking at things that would help in any game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Play Unsafe
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A Taste For Murder
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/09/2012 09:50:43
Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/10/09/tabletop-review-a-taste-
-for-murder/

One of my all time favorite board games is Clue. The fun in using different tactics to try and deduce the killer, location, and weapon in a grisly murder is something I can never get enough of. Interestingly enough, the film adaptation of that game is one of my favorite movies. If you haven’t seen it, do so now. You won’t regret it.

I mention this because the description of A Taste For Murder instantly reminded me of the classic board game. It involves a character getting murdered, and various characters going around trying to figure out who the culprit is. Of course, as I would discover upon reading the book, there is a lot more to it than that.

A game of ATFM is meant to be a one off game that you play to have some fun. Once the killer has been caught, the game is over. There is no combat, leveling, stats, or overly complex mechanics to get in your way. There are, however, a loose set of rules on how to get the game going.

First, you need a character. You merely need a name, gender, and general personality during setup. Then, you need to establish a relationship with the other player characters. These don’t need to be too specific, but you can have fun with them. For example, the book shows a gardener whose relationship to the lady of the house is “blackmailing her”. These relationships should be designed to create instant talking points. It isn’t enough to say “such and such is this person’s daughter”.

After initial setup, everyone is given six dice, all six-sided. These are then distributed on the character sheet however the player wishes. These are called “influence dice”, and are used to determine how many dice you roll when influencing a specific character. So, in a game with four people, each person would need to distribute their six dice to the other three characters in order to represent their influence each of them. You can do this however you like. Two on each? Sure. Six on one and none on the others? That’s fine as well.

Gameplay then moves forward into the first act, where the characters each get a turn to influence one other character. The two players involved roleplay a situation in which one player would try to get the other to do something they wouldn’t normally agree to do. There are two dice, called the “black die” and the “white die”. These “dice” are actually diagrams that have several terms listed on them. The black die has more negative terms, while the white die has more positive ones. For example, the black one has bloodletting and wanton destruction. These dice are awarded to players that exemplify the marked term during the roleplaying session. So, if one player acts in a way that causes wanton destruction, the other players could award him/her the black die.

What do these dice matter? Well, the success of an attempted influencing is determined by dice rolls. Each player rolls when determining this outcome, even the ones not participating in the exchange. The “attacker”, so to speak, rolls the number of influence dice that they have over that character, while the defending player counters with their influence over the attacker. The other players do the same as the attacker. Whichever player has the highest single die roll decides if the attempt was successful. If the attacker wins, he/she steals an influence die from the defender. If the defender wins, the attacker must move one of his/her influence dice over to another player on his sheet. Thus, a successful attempt grants you more influence over a player, while a failed attempt gives you less.

After everyone is given a turn to gain influence, it’s time for someone to die. Yes. One of the player characters will become the murder victim. Interestingly enough, the players vote on who the unfortunate one is. That person decides how they died and where they were found, and then surrenders their characters sheet and all dice. They’re not out of the game, however. Instead, they become the inspector, who will try to solve the case in the second act.

The second act has each player trying to gain influence and/or investigating other players. Influence attempts work the same way as before, but investigations are different. The roleplaying is still played out, and the dice rolls work the same. However, a successful investigation reveals some clue about that player’s motivation for murder. For example, the gardener’s relation to the lady in my above example was that he was blackmailing her. If she is killed, and he is successfully investigated, new light is shown on this fact. The group then decides on the new bit of information. They could decide that he was blackmailing her because he was her illegitimate son and she wanted to keep it secret. New information is meant to be more shocking and scandalous than the piece that came before it. When a person has been successfully investigated three times, they are a final suspect. When two players have reached this point, the game progresses.

So what does this inspector do? Well, he doesn’t get any influence dice, but get gets two investigation dice. He also participates in each roll, and gets a chance to investigate one player each turn. A successful investigation gives him an extra die to work with. This makes him a powerful player in the game.

When the two suspects have been decided, the game moves to its conclusion. The suspects give one last plea to their innocence and are awarded the black/white dice if they fit those categories. Everyone rolls the appropriate dice, and the winner decides who the killer is. That person goes to jail, and the game is over. It’s kind of anticlimactic, but it brings a decisive end to the game.

ATFM is really about creating a fun roleplaying environment where improvisation is required to make the game interesting and score those elusive bonus dice. There are a number of examples throughout the book to inspire you. In addition, the setting for the game is 1930′s England, and there are many pages dedicated to helping you set the tone. There are pages dedicated to understand social hierarchies, sex relations, and what would bring about the most scandal. The book even includes authentic English recipes and instructions on how to brew a proper cup of tea. It’s true you could use the gameplay mechanics and use them for another setting, but I wouldn’t recommend it. After all, goofing off in English accents and acting foppish in general is one of the most fun parts of roleplaying this game.

Overall, this is a pretty fun game. The key here is that players not take things too seriously. It’s meant to be funny and almost random. The group deciding key events helps keep things moving, and reacting to a bit of scandalous information is a big draw here. There’s no way to “win” really, unless you don’t want to be called the winner. There is still strategy though. You can forgo investigating people and instead attempt to gain more influence, thus making is less likely that you will lose future investigation attempts. You can also target players that have low influence on you to give you a better chance at winning dice rolls. Or, if you want to be the killer, you could do the opposite.

Anyway, if you’re looking for a fun one off roleplaying game that doesn’t have a lot of complex rules and mechanics, this one can definitely fit the bill. If nothing else, the book itself is an entertaining read. I found myself laughing out loud at several points just reading the examples. This is a pretty sweet party game.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
A Taste For Murder
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Cthulhu Dark
by Gene L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/07/2012 01:08:33
The is an awesome Rules-Lite, er Rules-Dark RPG.

Character creation is a snap -come up with a name and a profession and off you go.

One the basic ideas is that if you attempt to fight an eldritch horror -you die. You're not going in guns a' blazin' as this is not that type of game.

The mechanics are simple, roll 1D6 sometimes 2D6. The simplicity of the rules really keep the game moving. It's very easy to adapt this game to any existing published scenarios. I'll be using this game system with some of my mods for all my future Cthulhu gaming.

Do check out Graham's thievesoftime.comwebsite along with his "Stealing Cthulhu" book -a must read if you are designing your own Cthulhu Scenarios.

Buy This Game!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cthulhu Dark
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