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1948: The Vimana
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/17/2006 00:00:00
1948: The Vimana is a short product detailing a new type of vehicle for Modern d20, from Bloodstone Press. The zipped file is 0.22 megabytes in size, containing a single PDF file that is marginally larger. The PDF has a non-hyperlinked table of contents and bookmarks. The book is fourteen pages long, with a page for the cover, a page for the credits and legal information, a page for the table of contents, a page of ads, and a page for the OGL.

Despite its length, this book has a fairly large amount of artwork. All of the pieces are black-and-white, including the cover, and a number of pictures are placed throughout. Additionally, each page has a green border, making it seem as though these are pages in a file folder (which is enhanced by the sidebars appearing as notes held on with paperclips). A printer-friendly version would have been helpful, despite this product?s brevity.

While this work is nominally presented as part of Bloodstone Press?s 1948 campaign setting, this work is largely presented in a setting-neutral manner. Vimanas can easily be placed into any campaign, even fantasy ones, with little adaptation. Several words in the book are hyperlinked to allow easy access to further information. While some of these are game terms that link to the Hypertext d20 SRD, others lead to websites with further information about subjects of this book, such as Nagaland (a part of India).

The book begins by explaining just what a vimana is. A vimana is a type of flying craft, constructed around India thousands of years ago. Using the mystic knowledge sacred geometry (of which science and magic are just small parts), ancient peoples built these vehicles, which could fly incredibly fast, use powerful weapons, and even travel to other worlds. A quick paragraph is given on how to construct a vimana (requiring a large number of high Craft checks, and numerous materials). Following this are a few paragraphs on where a vimana can be found.

A few paragraphs are then given on flying a vimana, and their weapon systems, before stats for the vimanas themselves are given. Four basic types of vimanas are given, each of which are quite large, with associated tables giving their standard Modern d20 statistics. The product closes out by discussing three types of death rays that can be found on vimanas. Each is given at least a paragraph of coverage, along with Modern d20 weapon statistics.

Altogether, 1948: The Vimana presents a very cool new vehicle type for your Modern d20 game. The mystic element of Indian lore is preserved while still giving us useful stats and information. Any game, pulp or otherwise, that introduces vimanas will get a unique thrill from these mystic vehicles.



LIKED: This book excellently balanced the mystique of these new vehicles while still statting them fully. Also, the manner in which the product presented itself as being an in-character file (such as the notes at the bottom of every page about this being top secret) was quite colorful.

DISLIKED: Despite the good material here, a few errors crept in. The M-21 death ray, for example, says it inflicts 10d6 damage, while its entry on the weapons table says it inflicts 8d6. Also, despite this product being short, a printer-friendly version would have been helpful.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
1948: The Vimana
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Random Encounters: Rabid Monkey Troop
by Paul R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/09/2006 00:00:00
I'd like to able to fill this box in without having to put anything in this comment box, alas I cannot- I apologise but I've not got a lot of free time and yet I want to rate the products.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Random Encounters: Rabid Monkey Troop
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Random Encounters: The Hunt
by Paul R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/09/2006 00:00:00
I'd like to able to fill this box in without having to put anything in this comment box, alas I cannot- I apologise but I've not got a lot of free time and yet I want to rate the products.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Random Encounters: The Hunt
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Random Encounters: Roadblock
by Paul R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/09/2006 00:00:00
I'd like to able to fill this box in without having to put anything in this comment box, alas I cannot- I apologise but I've not got a lot of free time and yet I want to rate the products.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Random Encounters: Roadblock
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1948:Top Secret Explosives
by Jose L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/29/2006 00:00:00
This products goes into many different types of explosives and just as many types of detonators. Its reasonably well written, but I think it doesn't quite fit the setting its meant for. There is no occult or alternative type products described, but what is there is very interesting.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
1948:Top Secret Explosives
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1948: Top Secret Serums
by Jose L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/29/2006 00:00:00
This product is a neat idea and its reasonably balanced, yet interesting as well. Its very easy to adapt to any modern system campaign, and it can add an interesting dynamic to otherwise normal "thugs". Plus, it can be a cool reward for characters, or something to make for those chemists in the group.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
1948: Top Secret Serums
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1948: Basic Training Manual
by Jose L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/29/2006 00:00:00
I bought this as part of the Complete Training Manual bundle, and I must admit that this product AND the bundle are a mixed bag. On one hand, you get all the stats and information you need to portray most kinds of characters from the genre. On the other hand, you get almost no setting descriptions or flavor. This product and the bundle come with NO background information or campaign information. Their "Hell on Earth" product helps a little in this regard, but not much.

All in all this is a decent value, but the authors need to get some campaign flavor stuff release or some modules. Something to portray some flavor.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
1948: Basic Training Manual
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1948: Elite Training Manual
by Jose L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/29/2006 00:00:00
I bought this as part of the Complete Training Manual bundle, and I must admit that this product AND the bundle are a mixed bag. On one hand, you get all the stats and information you need to portray most kinds of characters from the genre. On the other hand, you get almost no setting descriptions or flavor. This product and the bundle come with NO background information or campaign information. Their "Hell on Earth" product helps a little in this regard, but not much.

All in all this is a decent value, but the authors need to get some campaign flavor stuff release or some modules. Something to portray some flavor.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
1948: Elite Training Manual
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1948: FX Training Manual
by Jose L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/29/2006 00:00:00
I bought this as part of the Complete Training Manual bundle, and I must admit that this product AND the bundle are a mixed bag. On one hand, you get all the stats and information you need to portray most kinds of characters from the genre. On the other hand, you get almost no setting descriptions or flavor. This product and the bundle come with NO background information or campaign information. Their "Hell on Earth" product helps a little in this regard, but not much.

All in all this is a decent value, but the authors need to get some campaign flavor stuff release or some modules. Something to portray some flavor.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
1948: FX Training Manual
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1948: Specialized Training Manual
by Jose L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/29/2006 00:00:00
I bought this as part of the Complete Training Manual bundle, and I must admit that this product AND the bundle are a mixed bag. On one hand, you get all the stats and information you need to portray most kinds of characters from the genre. On the other hand, you get almost no setting descriptions or flavor. This product and the bundle come with NO background information or campaign information. Their "Hell on Earth" product helps a little in this regard, but not much.

All in all this is a decent value, but the authors need to get some campaign flavor stuff release or some modules. Something to portray some flavor.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
1948: Specialized Training Manual
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1948:Clandestine Weapons
by Jose L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/29/2006 00:00:00
This product details any interesting weapons that secret agent type characters can use. They are very interesting and reasonably balanced, especially when used in the setting they're designed for. They're easy to adapt to and modern system campaign, and they can definitely surprise players who've gotten complacent.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
1948:Clandestine Weapons
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Bane Ledger
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/23/2006 00:00:00
The Bane Ledger volume I is a monster collection from Bloodstone Press. The monsters in this book are themed, containing creatures from pre-colonial Australia, America, and Polynesia.

The zipped file and the PDF itself are roughly 850 kb. The PDF has both bookmarks and a hyperlinked table of contents. The book has a color cover, and roughly two-thirds of the listed monsters have pictures, though these are universally in black and white. The entire book is forty-two pages long, including the cover and OGL. No printer-friendly version is given, though this is largely a non-issue due to the relative lack of color and illustrations.

The Introduction mentions that most of the monsters included here are from an earlier release, the Primal Codex, and have since been reprinted here for 3.5 updates. It also notes that the document uses web hyperlinks not only for related products, but also to link key terms (such as shaken) to their entry in the Hypertext SRD. A brief list also confirms which monsters come from which cultures.

Following this is a list of monsters by Challenge Rating. This nicely breaks down the variety of creatures. The product has a fairly diverse range of CRs covered, up into the mid-twenties if you count the dragons at higher age categories (and a single creature in the low 30?s). The product has, counting sub-types of various monsters, thirty creatures altogether.

The individual entries are written well, though the lack of pictures for some creatures (such as the mannegishi) can make visualizing them difficult. However, in reading them over more than once, a number of mechanical errors become noticeable. Outsiders don?t have Native or Extraplanar subtypes. Some abilities lack Ex, Su, or Sp tags. A lawful evil creature is said to have access to the Chaos domain, etc. None of these are major errors, but they add up, and altogether they tend to sour one?s opinion of the product in question.

Sidebars dot the product, describing two new feats and a new disease. Likewise, three new animals (the piranha, electric eel, and kangaroo) are given after the main monster entries. The product closes with a single page ad for the Bane Ledger volume II, and then a page for the OGL.

Altogether, the Bane Ledger is a good source for monsters with an ?old-world? feel. However, the execution leaves something to be desired. The rules errors and monsters without illustrations (which are very important for creatures) make this book feel like it didn?t live up to its potential. Regardless, GM?s looking for monsters with a folklore feel to them will be served well by the Bane Ledger.



LIKED: This product had an excellent selection of creatures from pre-colonial cultures. The sidebars with the new disease and new feats were quite well done also.

DISLIKED: Rules errors popped up a number of times throughout the book. Also, many of the creatures lacked pictures, which are important for displaying what the monster looks like.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Bane Ledger
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Hell on Earth (1939-1945) World War II
by Dave A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/15/2006 00:00:00
It's not too easy to find d20 supplements for a WWII-era campaign. This supplement did a great job of getting my game group's PCs ready for a European theater campaign pre-1939 and early war period. I would recommend it for anyone considering running a front line or espionage type of game in the late 30's/early 40's.


LIKED: Extensive information about new classes, skills, and feats related to the era. Good optional rules for combat scenarios (rules like Suppression, etc). Nice tables for weapons and vehicles.

DISLIKED: Needed a little more editing for grammar, but it doesn't tkae away from the functionability of the booklet.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hell on Earth (1939-1945) World War II
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Another 22 Talent Trees
by Rob M. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/24/2006 00:00:00
This 13 page PDF (19 with cover, credits, OGL declaration & 3 pages of advertisements) provides 22 new talent trees for use in D20 Modern games, and four martial arts feats.

In the D20 Modern system, not only do characters have Feats as in the D&D3.x/D20 system, but they also have Talents. Talents are extraordinary abilities a character can acquire, each basic D20 Modern class, Strong, Fast, Tough, Smart, Dedicated, & Charismatic has a number of talent trees available to it, receiving a talent each even numbered level. Talents provide character?s with unusual bonuses to various actions, or enhanced abilities or new actions, such as the Strong Hero?s Damage Reduction Talent, which provides points of damage reduction at various levels, or the Smart Hero?s Exploit Weakness Talent, which lets him substitute his INT modifier for his DEX or STR modifier on an attack, from the Strategy Talent Tree. The talent trees are specific to a character class, unlike most Feats, and offers abilities that tie into the basic class? ability based theme. However, the selection of talent trees provided in the SRD is fairly anemic, with the Smart only having two talent trees available to it, most other classes having 3 or 4.

The 22 talents trees mentioned in the title break down into three talent trees for the Strong Hero class, consisting of 17 different talents. There are five talent trees for the Fast Hero class, made up of 20 different talents. There are four talent trees for the Tough Hero class, consisting of 21 talents. There are only two talent trees for the Smart Hero class, dividing 13 talents between them. There are six talent trees provided for the Dedicated Hero, splitting 31 talents between them. Finally, there are just two talent trees for the Charismatic Hero, divvying up 12 talents between them.

The talent trees for the Strong Hero class are Brawler (which would have been better titled Grappler since all of its talents provide grappling related abilities), Melee Brute, and Rage. The talent trees for the Fast Hero class include Accuracy & Precision, the talents from which offers bonuses to hit and bonuses to damage, respectively, with ranged weapons. Also available to the Fast Hero are the Lightning Fists, Speed Wrestling, and Agile talent trees, the talents of which offer multiple unarmed attacks, multiple grappling attacks or other bonuses, and bonuses to reflex saves and enhanced dodging, respectively. The talent trees for the Tough Hero class include Grappling Resistance, the talents of which provides bonuses to AoO made against those trying to grapple him, an reduced damage, Survivalist, the talents of which provides various bonuses and enhancements to resisting exposure, starvation, and dehydration, Thick Skinned, the talents of which provides natural armor bonuses, and Toughened Grappling, the talents of which provides bonuses to grappling and allows the character to attempt to fatigue opponents he is grappling with.

The talent trees for the Smart Hero class include Arcane Secrets, the talents of which provide ability bonuses and spell casting & Psionic ability enhancements, the talents require spell casting or Psionic talents however, and Brains over Brawn, the talents of which allow the character to use his intelligence bonus on attacks, or to gain an advantage against opponents on a successful Knowledge (Tactics) check. The talent trees for the Dedicated Hero class include Astral Sense, the talents of which provide bonuses to spot check, or allow the spending of an action point to detect hiding or invisible creatures, Dedicated Warrior, the talents of which provide attack bonuses with a favored weapon, Divine Balance, the talents of which provide bonuses to dodge or reflex save, Hated Enemy, the talents of which provides bonuses when fighting an opponent of that type, Nature Lore, the talents of which provide bonuses to terrain related skill checks or special movement abilities within a favored terrain, and Zen, the talents of which provide bonuses to spot and listen checks, craft checks, and combat bonuses. The talent trees listed for the Charismatic Hero class include Fancy Fighter, the talents of which allows a character to cause opponents to act as if shaken, cower, or fight defensively, and Heroic Deeds, the talents of which allow the character to add his Charisma modifier as bonuses to attack and defense checks.

Finally, 4 martial arts feats are included, Devil Finger, which causes damage that cannot be healed normally, Locust Leap, that allows character to make leaping attacks against opponents 10 feet away or more, One Ton Kick, which is a kick that can knock the target back, and Zen Combat Focus, which provides bonuses to the character?s melee combat actions.

The PDF itself is a passable affair laid out in two columns, with easy to read fonts and tables, a few text-boxes, white text on a red background (a major ink waster), are used as well. The cover illustration is ok, a dark-red textured background with a line art piece of a female martial artist, and the title text in large black type. However, you will likely want to skip printing it to save ink. There are eight pieces of interior artwork, all line-art, about half of which are of good quality, and the other of poor quality. There are also 3 pages of ads tacked onto the end of the product, another ink waster.

Overall, this is a decent product. A majority of the talent trees in this product focus on combat abilities, which can be good or bad depending on the campaign. Some of them, such as the Tough Hero?s Grappling Resistance talent tree, or the Strong Hero?s Rage talent tree don?t feel very thematically appropriate to their class. Also, the value of the grappling based talents seems a bit dubious for most campaigns (Unless the campaign involves pro wrestler?s fighting evil, which would be cool.) The Accuracy and Precision talent trees for the Fast Hero class are also kind of iffy thematically, and would work just as well as feats for all classes. So, if a GM or player finds any of the talent tree?s appealing, this would make a good product to bulk up the talent trees available in the D20 Modern rules.




LIKED: Brains over Brawn talent tree, Hated Enemy talent tree.

DISLIKED: Too many grappling based talents, Why 3 pages of ads?

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Disappointed


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Another 22 Talent Trees
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22 Talent Trees
by Rob M. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/22/2006 00:00:00
This 13 page PDF(18 with cover, credits, OGL declaration & 3 pages of advertisements) provides 22 new talent trees for use in D20 Modern games, and a new use for Treat Injury, transplant surgery, and a new feat, Transplant Surgery.

In the D20 Modern system, not only do characters have Feats as in the D&D3.x/D20 system, but they also have Talents. Talents are extraordinary abilities a character can acquire. Each basic D20 Modern class, Strong, Fast, Tough, Smart, Dedicated, & Charismatic has a number of talent trees available to it, receiving a talent each even numbered level. Talents provide character?s with unusual bonuses to various actions, or enhanced abilities or new actions, such as the Strong Hero?s Damage Reduction Talent, which provides points of damage reduction at various levels, or the Smart Hero?s Exploit Weakness Talent, which lets him substitute his INT modifier for his DEX or STR modifier on an attack, from the Strategy Talent Tree. The talent trees are specific to a character class, unlike most Feats, and offers abilities that tie into the basic class? ability based theme. However, the selection of talent trees provided in the SRD is fairly anemic, with the Smart Hero class only having two talent trees available to it, most other classes having 3 or 4.

The 22 talents trees mentioned in the title break down into five talent trees for the Strong Hero class, consisting of 17 different talents. There are four talent trees for the Fast Hero class, made up of 16 different talents. There are only 2 talent trees for the Tough Hero class, consisting of just 7 talents between them. There are three talent trees for the Smart Hero class, dividing 13 talents between them. There are four talent trees provided for the Dedicated Hero, splitting 19 talents between them. Finally, there are four talent trees provided for the Charismatic Hero, divvying up 14 talents between them.

The talent trees are fairly solid, most offering significant enhanced abilities instead of just modifiers to a few skill checks. Some of the standouts are the Mighty talent tree for the Strong Hero, letting him add his Strength modifier to various saving throws, allowing the character to draw on his Herculean physique to give him the extra oomph to resist the effect. The most interesting Talent tree available to the Fast Hero is the Quicker than the Eye tree, the Talents of which, with the expenditure of an action point, let him move so fast as to seem a blur to other character?s, granting the character a concealment based miss chance against foes. The standout talent tree available to the Tough hero is the FX resistance tree, which provides him bonus to resist FX abilities, achieving a hefty bonus of 20 plus his Tough Hero class level with the Maximum FX Resistance capstone talent.
The Tactical talent tree is the most interesting available to the Smart Hero, from this tree, the Outsmart Talent, with the expenditure of an action point and a successful check, allows the character to avoid all attacks from a particular character for a number of rounds, and the Keen Attacks talents let him, with the expenditure of an action point, increase the critical range of his attacks. All of the 3 talent trees provided for the Dedicated Hero class seem desirable, I found the Virtuous talent tree most interesting, as it allows the character?s single-minded dedication to an ideal or ethos to provide him with bonuses on skill uses, for the base Virtuous talent, and, with the expenditure of an action point, even inspire his friends & allies, or discomfit his enemies, using the (Greater) Aura of Virtue, and Aura of Righteousness talents, respectively. The Charismatic Hero has the Intimidating talent tree available as a standout, giving character?s a chance to get in touch with their ?Inner Batman?. Honorable mention goes to the pulchritudinous talent tree, for using the Gygaxian pulchritudinous in its title.

Finally, the new use for the Treat Injury skill, only available for use by those character with Treat Injury and the Surgery feat, lets a character, on a successful DC 25 skill check, transfer hit points between characters, healing them by transplanting organs, skin grafts, or blood transfusion. If the character doesn?t have the new Transplant Surgery feat provided in this product, they suffer a -4 penalty to the skill check, and can only transfer one hit points to the transplant recipient for every 2 points provided by the donor. The Transplant surgery feat removes the -4 penalty, and allows a 1 to 1 transfer. Additionally, the Life Support talent from the Dedicated Hero?s Selfless talent tree, allows this to work on a 2 for 1 basis, if the surgeon posses the Transplant Surgery feat, otherwise it is on a 1 to 1 basis.

The PDF itself is a passable affair laid out in two columns, with easy to read fonts and tables. The cover illustration is ok, a brown-red textured background with a stylized illustration of a trench-coat clad individual weathering some kind of blast from ominous looking figures emerging from a row of cars in the background, and the title text. However, you will likely want to skip printing it to save ink. There are six pieces of interior artwork, most of which are merely passable line art, including a repeat of the cover art. The illustration in the Charismatic Hero talent tree section is a standout, being of higher quality than the other pieces, and an ?h4wt chixx0r? to boot. There are also 3 pages of ads tacked onto the end of the product, another ink waster.

Overall, this is a solid product, filling in the rather limited selection of talent trees provided in the D20 Modern SRD. I recommend it to both D20 Modern players and GMs looking to expand their character creation options.





LIKED: Lots of substantial ability based talents, instead of +2 to skill talents

DISLIKED: Why 3 pages of ads?

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied

[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
22 Talent Trees
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