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Deathwatch: Rites of Battle
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/26/2011 21:27:54
How anyone could be expected to run Deathwatch without this book is completely beyond me. It’s simple – pick this up at the same time as you buy the rulebook and you’ll very soon see why this will become the most-used book at your table-top for players and GM alike. Adhering to Fantasy Flight’s top-notch production values, ‘Rites of Battle’ offers a staggering amount of information in an easily-digestible format, extremely good artwork and a logical layout for ease of access. This is definitely going to be a reference book at your table, so I took great notice of this last criteria especially.

As for the content, it is a good ‘all-round’ sourcebook. Chapter 1 offers rules for including the Imperial Fists and Successor Chapters in your campaign and rules for designing your own Chapter. Why anyone would want to design their own, given the huge array of existing source material in the 40K universe is completely beyond me, so I didn’t see much value in this at all – but your tastes may differ. It also presents some practical advice on integrating Deathwatch with its sister games Drak Heresy and Rogue Trader, with some plot points and caveats for doing so. What was apparent was that the authors had spent some time wrestling with how to create games in which the superhuman defenders of humanity could play nicely with regular folk. I’m still extremely sceptical that such a mix is possible, but there are options presented.

Chapter 2 introduces the idea of Deeds. Chapter and Campaign Deeds represent pivotal turning points in your characters history (or even during play) and allow you to purchase Deeds which come with an in-game benefit. I was glad to see that these primarily add flavour to your character, and the mechanical benefits are quite low-powered. There are also Deeds of Disdain, functioning as a ‘black mark’ on your record and providing you with a story goal to pursue and thus rid yourself of this taint. The absolute high point of this Chapter is the inclusion of Specialities – types of Space Marines that can be purchased with xp (think ‘Prestige Classes’ from D&D). We finally see rules for the Chaplains, the Epistolary (and many more) and the Dreadnaught opened up as a player class. Yes, I initially took a dim view of this, but there is an entire section on the practicalities and drawbacks of playing one. There are some good GM and player tips that allow these behemoths of destruction to be used sensibly.

Chapters 3 & 4 don’t disappoint, covering more wargear (guns and armour) and Vehicles. All the stock standard Space Marine vehicles (like the Rhino, Bikes and Land Raider) are her, but Thunderhawk Gunships are also covered. Chaos Space Marine Vehicles and the Tau are given some exposure (so now you have enemy vehicles to attack in your vehicles, obviously). The Renown section in Chapter 5 clarifies some points in this system, and I mostly skimmed it – this will be something you’ll need once the games is well underway, and I was predominantly looking at what I can cram into my first few gaming sessions. The fact that it came after all the exciting guns, power armour and vehicles felt like a sudden (unwelcome) change of pace.

Rites of Battle wraps up with an excellent (and too short) section on Watch Fortress Erioch, with details about its history, how it basically runs and some more information on the Omega Vault (which is the ultimate lure for me – there is always tantalisingly too little information on this magnificent device). Next to the Vault in terms of interest though was the segment on the current prisoners of the Watch Fortress. All of these could spawn entire campaigns, and there has been a lot of thought put into them.

In all, if you are wanting to seriously run Deathwatch, you need this book. The scope of the content means that everyone should find something of interest, and it represents a high-yield investment for your game.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Deathwatch: Rites of Battle
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Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Player's Guide
by Ronald B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/26/2011 15:27:06
Fantasy Flight seems to have seen the writing on the wall with this re-packaging of WFRP Third Edition. I am among those who bristled at the very board game-like presentation of the boxed set. I absolutely get the special dice--Fate/Fudge games are the same in that manner--but all the chits and cards and such just seemed to take away from the experience for me. This book iteration gives you the option to play the classic pen/paper way, just add dice. All the "board game" trappings are now completely optional, though they are definitely recommended. Still the option, perceived or otherwise, is nice.

This is one of my all-time favorite settings, and this new rule set truly does an admirable job of presenting it. The dice themselves provide guidance for roleplaying in combat, something oft-forgotten at the table. They pretty much force you to not simply roll the dice and call out damage.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Player's Guide
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Warhammer Fantasy RolePlay: The Creatures Guide
by Robert H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/25/2011 19:37:39
The product gives a large number of new creatures to add to a campaign and presents many interesting features and powers for them. As another review notes the "Seeds" for using monsters are also useful. The "quick template" guides for making human NPC's into dwarfs etc are also handy.

It has two flaws: significant internal duplication of content and "a step backward" on guidance previous products have about monster actions.

Regarding duplication, monsters are presented one in a "mostly narrative" section and once in a "mostly stats" section. So you have to flip back and forth to see both. Doing this you will see duplication of the text on special non-action card features and abilities such as Night Vision, Swarm features etc. (e.g., you will read twice what each of those means). Leaving aside the "divided content" approach, adding the duplication up across every creature, this amounts to considerable space being dedicated to repeating content rather than giving something new/additional.

Monster actions, up until now monsters have been published in formats where you see a group of 4 or so, which may share a very basic action and then each have specific ones. The Guide adds more possibilities so you can vary creatures (not every Gor Beastman is the same etc.). However what it doesn't do is give any advice on staring points and how many core actions each creature has. Monster actions are listed completely sepearately. There are lots and lots (great!) and they have traits indicating which monsters they go with - so you must review them and determine which ones to give a monster from scratch. There is no "basic starting point allocation of what actions a Vampire gets" that lets you quickly "run with it". This could have been provided as a quick index of actions, using the space instead allocated to duplicating the existing content.

So in all, worth the $15.00 but you will have to work harder to make use of the content than I think you should have to work.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Warhammer Fantasy RolePlay: The Creatures Guide
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Deathwatch: Rites of Battle
by NB N. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/20/2011 22:17:26
Does your genetically perfect super soldier in hulking power armor feel a little lacking? BUY THIS BOOK! Yeah, as with all of Fantasy Flight's Warhammer 40K supplements, there are hundreds of pages of new amazing stuff for your Space Marine. There are new Chapters that are sure to be fan favorites. Is your favorite Chapter still not there? Build your own with the new rules. There are tons of other new options for every Marine, deeds, distinctions, and even advanced specialties. Um . . . my Techmarine can literally die and be entombed in a giant rolling mech-fortress as a specialty. Check that box.

Want more awesome stuff? It's got that too. More weapons, gear, power armor, vehicles, and more. There are new mechanics for renown, gaining honors, and requisitioning crazy stuff from the Imperium. Finally, the book adds a ton of information on Watch Fortress Erioch for your campaign with NPCs, adventure seeds, and even prisoners onboard. This supplement just makes me that much more excited for my next Deathwatch game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deathwatch: Rites of Battle
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Anima: Beyond Fantasy Game Master's Toolkit
by Cedric C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/20/2011 02:32:57
The description pretty much states what you get, so I'll fill in more details with a review of the adventure and the format of the PDF.

The adventure is a three-act multi-session adventure for 3-5 first level characters. Each act is unique. The first takes place on a zepplin, involving the characters daringly saving the passengers and crew from a hijacking. The next find the characters lost on a settled island, slowly sinking into fear and despair. The last brings the characters to a climactic conclusion, in which they must release a Lady of Nightmares to defeat not one, but two, Between Worlds Beings. Quite a bit for first level, eh? The adventure has a healthy dose of combat, investigating, and interactions with colorful NPCs unique to the Anima universe. While the plots of the acts aren't too far from your typical FRPG adventure, the NPCs are definitely of the romance and villainy of Final Fantasy and similar computer RPGs.

The PDF is in beautiful color, and is best for iPad and color laser printer output. I do wish that a printer-friendly version of the book was included. Some of the rich color art becomes too dark in greyscale. And, of course, much of the eye-candy that impresses in a publisher-printed book becomes a source of ink and toner consumption when printed by the purchaser. The PDF comes with a four-panel reference screen that I had trouble printing on four separate sheets. That being said, a major advantage of printing out the PDF as individual sheets is that the game master can let the players access the first half of the book (new rules and new options) while keeping the rest of the book (the twenty pregenerated first-level characters and the adventure) to himself.

So if you're an iPad owner who's considering this supplement, you're definitely better off buying the PDF than the book. Others will have to judge how much the aesthetics of a beautifully published book from the publisher matters against the half price of the PDF.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Anima: Beyond Fantasy Game Master's Toolkit
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Dark Heresy: The Black Sepulcher
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/18/2011 18:42:54
This is the reason why I think that Fantasy Flight Games is the current powerhouse in the industry. I am seriously amazed every time that I open one of their books. The artwork and layout are always top-notch and serves to enhance the game, which is incredibly important when dealing with xenos beasts and technology - a good, detailed picture is a GMs best friend.
The writing continues be be as strong as ever; consistently proving that they are as invested in this game world as any wargamer - but bringing to the table fresh new elements that make this more than simply narrative wargaming.

'The Black Sepulchre' is an all-round excellent module. It kicks into high gear with one of my favourite 40K vehicles in a first scene starring role and it captures the immediate excitement and action very well. The module is well-paced, moving from high-intensity action and combat, to occult investigation, to horror and possible insanity all in the same storyline.
There are very helpful 'Troubleshooting' sections which provide advice for scaling, keeping characters on track, and even ways to weave this story into a much larger arc.

The 'big reveal' will be breath-taking for your players, especially if they figure it out by themselves (and this is supported in the game text) and sets the stage at the epic level you'd expect from 40K.

Whilst designed for all levels of 'Dark Heresy', you could easily run this with either 'Rogue Trader' or 'Deathwatch' with a little work.

I cannot wait for the next two installments as the bar has been set so high with this product.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Heresy: The Black Sepulcher
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Anima Beyond Fantasy: Core Rulebook
by Michael W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/10/2011 16:59:06
Anima Beyond Fantasy is a very good-looking roleplaying game that is heavily influenced by Japanese Anime and JRPGs. If you are into games like the Final Fantasy series, you will definitely like Anima's setting. The rules of the game remind me a lot of Rolemaster. It almost looks like a direct clone in certain aspects. While I am normally into more rules-light games, I found Anima's system strangely compelling.
The campaign setting included in the book is a mixture between fantasy and historic elements. As noted before the artwork is top-notch and I could see people picking this title up for the artwork alone.
The only drawback is the steep price. While the hardcover edition is well worth its price because of the high printing quality and size of the book, I find $30 are a bit too much for a PDF. But aside from that, I wholeheartedly recommend Anima Beyond Fantasy.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Anima Beyond Fantasy: Core Rulebook
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Deathwatch: Game Master's Kit
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/09/2011 07:40:44
The GM Kit provides an excellent introductory adventure for Deathwatch. It gives some additional information on the Watch Fortress Erioch and some key NPCs to flesh out your own depictions of this location. There is scant more detail on the Omega Vault, but it takes centre stage in the first scene - for me, I'm hungry for as much information on this device as I can get. It offers almost unlimited levels of creepiness for the 40K universe.

The module is great and pits you against a reasonable foe, with enough techno-supernatural blend to the mystery to mark it as keenly 40K. Te objectives are challenging, yet achievable, and the battles are frequent enough to allow the action to punctuate the drama nicely.

The last section on Mission Construction is very helpful, providing a wealth of advice about how all of the elements can be drawn together to create something greater than the sum of it's parts. There is a small among of discussion about theme, and my one complaint is that this was far too short. Ere needed to be a more fulsome segment on themes, given that the 40K universe has no immediate parallels with any other genre. Perhaps it has already Ben flagged for expansion in another supplement.

There are some neat tidbits of information scattered through the book too, such as stats for Landspeeders and Thunderhawks, as well as armament stats for both vehicles and some new Xenos equipment.

Just keep in mind that despite the extra info, this is a module, so the use is limited to th couple of times you're likely to use it. Given the recent reduction in price, I'd recommend it's purchase.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Deathwatch: Game Master's Kit
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Deathwatch: Game Master's Kit
by Dennis S. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/08/2011 17:11:09
As usual with Fantasy Flight Games, they produce some excellent game mastering products for their games. The GM Kit is a screen, a pregen adventure and very useful tips for building missions. The GM Kits for the Warhammer 40k line have always been pretty excellent, with a lot of useful reminders on them, but if you've seen any GM Screen before you'll know whether you want to use it or not. It has enough Deathwatch specific info that you probably wouldn't want to just stick your Dark Heresy screen on the table or somewhere. But at the end of the day it's a GM screen. The enemy for the pregen adventure is the Tau and the adventure has some pretty cool stuff like an attack by a Manta craft and a chance to use a few Space Marine vehicles, like a thunderhawk and speeder. I don't want to give a lot of the module away, but there are a few cool optional rules and a plot that make this just a bit more than "Space Marine kill a bunch of Tau and leave." The section on building missions is rather short, it isn't a like having a whole chapter in a major book from the line, but what succinct info it has is very useful. It breaks down the mission-building process into bullet points for easy digestion, tackling Location design, stocking the mission with Enemies, assigning Objectives, utilizing Assets, etc. For its brevity, it holds a ton of information and I can see myself going back to it before every adventure and consulting it quickly. If you're a Deathwatch GM, you will likely enjoy this book. However, if you are not a believer in GM screens, and if you don't really care about module adventures, the pamphlet-length mission design section may not be enough for you. Overall though this is an excellent product. FFG has yet to disappoint me with their GM-oriented products.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Warhammer Fantasy RolePlay: The Creatures Guide
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/23/2011 01:29:29
Every fantasy setting has an obligatory Monster Manual, Creature Guide, Catalogue or similar, so it is no surprise that Warhammer Fantasy needs one. Given the decades of development that has seen the miniatures range expand for GW, there is certainly no end of creatures to select - but the authors have assembled a discerning list. All the major races are covered, and ancillary beasts are listed with their 'parent' races (ie you'll find Squigs under the entry for Greenskins).
The descriptions of the creatures are quite well-done, and engaging even for a veteran of the wargame. The value-add however, lies in the Story Seeds. For many (but alas, not all) of the monsters a selection of Story Seeds are provided, to kickstart your imagination or give examples of how and where they might be encountered. My only negative comment here is that there doesn't seem to be a pattern to which races/monsters have these seeds and which don't. There were a few omissions which I felt odd - but this is a matter of personal taste.
I'd highly recommend this to WHFRPG players, but also recommend it to anyone looking to spice up their fantasy game.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Warhammer Fantasy RolePlay: The Creatures Guide
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WJDR: Warhammer, le Jeu de Rôle
by Julien M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/10/2011 11:55:45
Après avoir joué aux éditions précédentes je goute aux joies de la nouvelle édition en PDF,
sur la forme :
Super produit, bien scanné, qualité très correct on en a pour son argent sans hésiter !
La copie numérotée et retéléchargeable c'est top.
Conquis sur la forme donc.
Sur le fond :
Cette édition est une blague, inintéressante, pompée sur l'ancienne.
Des illustrations mal découpées vieille d'y à 20 ans. Warhammer est donc un produit moins bien fini que certains jeux amateurs, oauis ça fait peur.

Donc des jeux en PDF oui, Warhammer même à 18 euros c'est cher. Après à 30 euros c'est du vol.

En tout cas encore super content d'avoir succombé à la tentation du JDR téléchargé !

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
WJDR: Warhammer, le Jeu de Rôle
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Deathwatch: Core Rulebook
by jamie i. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/02/2011 10:44:25
Been playing this game for a few weeks adn I can safely say it was worth the wait. this is teh best version of FFG's 40K RPG series and not just because you get to play the iconic Space Marne. The detailed game world absed on GW's warhammer 40K universe and the new cannon material sit together perfectly and make for a slick game in an atmospheric setting with lots of game play oportunities. well worth the money and now I have an ebook version to go with my hearnia inducing hard copy "Book O' Doom" version.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deathwatch: Core Rulebook
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Deathwatch: Core Rulebook
by Kevin S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/12/2011 21:54:29
I find this to be the most complete of FFG's Warhammer 40k series. You can see where it has built on a solid system and is also a service to the fans.
Space Marines feel as devastating as they should, able to shrug off minor blows without a thought. This goes hand in hand with any space marine focused novel you have read. They feel right.
While Rogue Trader is a game about trying to get rich or die trying in a harsh universe and Dark Hersey is a game out standing up to forces beyond your power, Deathwatch gives you that proper feeling of being as superhuman as you should be.
I can't recommend this game enough.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: The Edge of Night
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/26/2011 22:30:43
'Edge of Night' follows on from the events in the module 'Eye for an Eye' presented in the back of the Warhammer Fantasy GM Guide. It is a robust, highly detailed module that could be played over a number of nights.

The basic plot revolves around the rumours of Chaos taint and political upheaval in the town of Ubersreik in the lead-up to a Masquerade Ball. There are plenty of class and race hooks to believably entice characters into the adventure (certainly a lot easier if they have played through the events of 'Eye for and Eye'). these hooks can also be used easily to create a number of minor subplots that can entertain players and really flesh out the module.
Ubersreik is well-presented, with plenty of detail on the locals, services, commerce and superstitions and there is a comprehensive historical section for GMs wishing to ring ancillary facts into the game. It all works to create a realistic town that has its own internal consistency.

The plot progresses logically and there are enough elements here to ensure that players don't become bored. There are some classic villainous races presented as foes; and the main ones (no, I'm not telling what they are) is presented with just enough mystique that convincing the townsfolk of the truth will be just as difficult a task.

The Masquerade Ball at the centre of the story shows that intrigue can be presented on a number of levels and there is plenty of direction for the GM in this section.

Finally, the GM tools in the back are designed to help keep the small army of NPCs manageable and acts well as a quick guide for the stats needed in the module.

Again, it benefits from the consistently good artwork, engaging writing style and sensible layout that I have come to expect from Fantasy Flight.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: The Edge of Night
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Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Game Master's Guide
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/20/2011 22:15:22
The more that I see of Warhammer Fantasy RPG, the more I think that this is a game line worth watching (most intently). The ‘Game Masters Guide’ has reinforced this belief.

The book opens with a considered section on the role of the Gamesmaster, that whilst common for this sort of book, is well-considered and has lots of common-sense advice. Starting with ‘you’re a partner, not an adversary’, it moves to running your first adventure and even practical tips about reusing the unused portions of your modules in later games (‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ the Guide says), and some criteria for making off-the-cuff rules calls (and living with the consequences). Whilst seasoned Gamesmasters would be tempted to skip over this chapter, I would warn against it – there are some true gems in here.

The next Chapter deals with pacing the adventure and planning ahead when building a story, as continues to build on the solid foundation of the opening chapter. From there we explore the gamut of situational and environmental rules (Social Encounters, Travel, Fatigue, Disease and Corruption) that anyone who has ever owned a DMG (in any of its’ incarnations) would expect from such a tome, with hints on how to spawn a campaign-style game and logically link stories. All through these sections are small examples of ‘how it all works’, practical applications for the theory presented. The book then gives an in-depth look at Faith and Wizardry, with some very thought-provoking sections on the Theories of Magic, that should be able to give any GM (or player) plenty of fodder for discussion.
It then closes with the adventure ‘Eye for an Eye’, a three-act story designed as a ‘first quest’. In this, it succeeds admirably. There is a logic to the plot, with a mixture of occult, investigation and combat that allows players to comfortably explore their characters (and the rules system). It is structured with the beginning GM in mind, with plenty of ‘read aloud’ boxes and lots of dot points to summarise the key issues. Any GM taking the books advice in Chapter 1 (especially about being prepared) should have no problems at all.

Whilst the first chapter was a pleasure to read, the standout for me would be Chapter Six, dealing with ‘Enemies and Adversaries’. There is a lot to be mined from here from making memorable villains and even designing a personal ‘Nemesis’-level NPC for the party. Whilst only short, there are plenty of good ideas to latch onto in the section. The other personal favourite was the Campaign Log in the back of the book, a useful addition which can be used as a living document for any game, really.

The production values are quite high, the artwork used appropriately and of consistently good quality, with the writing clear and concise (in some places almost conversational in tone) which makes reading the book and easy task. This PDF copy has bookmarks within the text, which aids in navigation, and would be exceptionally handy at the gaming table. However, one suggestion that I would make is in how the Index has been overlooked. Whilst a very comprehensive index is given, would it not make sense to put bookmarked links in here as well? Likewise, there are top-level Chapter links, but not to the subsections of each chapter. These improvements would enhance what is already a good product and empower the ready-reference aspect of this title.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Game Master's Guide
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