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Grimm: Core Rulebook
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/08/2012 12:28:10
WHAT WORKS: I love the archetypes. The world is very, very expansive and has a lot of room to play around in. Great production values (love the picture of the Wolf Man being kicked in the nards). Plenty of options without getting overly complicated. I always like a magic system that has a little risk to it.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK: Imagination may be a tad overpowered, as may the Dreamer archetype in general. Despite often being promoted as being a suitable RPG for kids, the default Grimm Lands may be too dark for that. Grimm was originally a setting for the d20 system, and you can still see a few d20isms floating around in it.

CONCLUSION: I was a big fan of Fantasy Flight Games when they were producing stuff like this, Dawnforge and Midnight. The Grimm RPG line only ever had the one book released for it, but it is really complete with enough material in the book to run a full campaign and enough examples for you to expand the game if you need to (such as with Keepsakes and the like). The biggest flaw that the game has is that it doesn’t make a compelling case to not use Imagination as your Iconic Trait or pick The Dreamer over the other archetypes, from a min-max standpoint. Grimm seems like it could be amazing fun for groups willing to play kids…especially since the kids definitely have the ability to kick butt as they grow.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/12/tommys-take-o-
n-grimm-rpg.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Grimm: Core Rulebook
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Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Book of Grudges
by Nathan D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/13/2012 00:51:21
I purchased the Book of Grudges expecting to find the careers inside the rulebook...but was sadly disappointed to find them missing. It's disappointing when the rulebooks don't contain the rules and you have to reference cards & bits to find relevant information.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Book of Grudges
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Dark Heresy: The Lathe Worlds
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/07/2012 19:22:45
In many ways, ‘The Lathe Worlds’ is an essential book for all of the 40K-based RPGs, not just Dark Heresy. The Adeptus Mechanicus are well-deserving of their own book, given that there are a number of cultural, perceptual and even theological differences between those adherents of the Machine Cult and the rest of the Imperium of Man.

The developers for this product have done an excellent job in creating a resource which will see a lot of use at any table, with a clarity of writing, and clean layout which to which I have become accustomed when dealing with materials from FFG. Divided into four sections, the book covers in detail:

The history of the Adeptus Mechanicus, their hierarchy and how they are viewed by the general populace of the Imperium. It provides some interesting social norms about the role of machines and their appointed guardians and how this plays out in day-to-day life; which is invaluable for the GM, but also provides inspiration for players. It concludes with a section on tech-heresy, which firmly roots this book into the Inquisitorial ideology and provides a wealth of ideas for adventure design.
The second chapter is, by necessity, the rules-heavy section. IT deals with alternate career paths, skills and talents and the armoury (providing a host of new toys for your campaign). Overall, the quality of the Career Paths is high, and wargear section doesn’t contribute to an ‘arms race’ mentality which is rife in the 40K tabletop game, so this is a nice divergence for the tabletop RPG to take.
The penultimate chapter deals with the establishment of the Lathe Worlds, the power groups and planets. The planets in particular are given a lot of attention, and fleshed out quite well. The challenge in approaching a subject like mapping an entire system of planets is to balance the amount of detail. FFG handles this very well, providing enough information to spark the imagination and give a unique feel for each locale, but not so much that the reader becomes bored with the level of detail.
Lastly is ‘The Light of Reason’ an adventure which utilises the information and ideology of the book very well. It shows, in practical terms, how tech-heresy and the Doctrines of the Mechanicus are interpreted and what occurs when these teachings are blatantly ignored. Obviously, to get the best out of this adventure (and the book as a whole) you’ll need a Tech Priest in your party, but I can see this book of use to those who have yet to succumb to the lure of the Omnissiah too.

Overall, it is a fine work, capped off by a module which is thoughtfully written and offers a great experience at the table. I would have liked to see an Index included in this book, especially given the new content, but the information is generally well-laid-out, so FFG can be excused for this. The artwork continues to impress, with enough smatterings of established artists to aesthetically link the book back to the wargaming supplements. Whilst Mechanicus characters appear in a few Black Library books (such as the Shira Calpurnia novels) and audio dramas (most notably ‘Red and Black’), they do require a book like this to give them more defined substance. Given that Games Workshop is releasing Chaos equivalents of the Tech Marine for the new Codex, there is scope for this book to be used to develop adversaries as well.

I can see this becoming part of my ‘essentials’ for Dark Heresy and it is proof that sometimes the inner workings of the Imperium are far more strange and compelling than that which lurks on its edges.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Heresy: The Lathe Worlds
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Rogue Trader: Core Rulebook
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/03/2012 20:11:39
In some ways, this is the strongest game in the W40KRP series - as it captures the exploration motif well enough for players to forget what an oppressive universe they are travelling in. The system is developed somewhat on from Dark Heresy in the character generation, while the shift in emphasis allows the inclusion of different alien adversaries and space ship rules. The presentation is as strong as usual, and notably this file seems to cope better with iPad tablets and the like. The setting has aspects most reminiscent of Dune, bred in with Moorecock, but the game play is generally more action orientated. The limited number of character types available still makes the stories seem a little restrictive to me though.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Rogue Trader: Core Rulebook
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Fireborn: Player's Handbook
by Asen G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/30/2012 15:14:29
Very good game, which didn't get the attention it deserves.
WARNING, I'm assuming you have and use the errata file. Don't know why FFG aren't offering it as a free download, but it's relatively easy to find on the Net. If you're not using it, the rules are a mess.
That said, I like the mechanics. It's giving a very authentic feeling, and is one of the first games to solve both the issues of using mental actions in combat, and the issue of a character attempting multiple actions at once. Add to it playing in both modern-day London, and in the Mythic time, and you get a very entertaining game!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fireborn: Player's Handbook
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Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd Edition: Core Rulebook
by Wayde Z. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/23/2012 15:34:54
Very happy with the PoD version of the Core rulebook. The paper and binding are slightly thicker than the original print version making the book almost a half centimeter thicker. While the colours are slightly muted when compared to earlier print runs, this combined with a matte finish on the pages (instead of glossy) increases the readability for me. My only niggling complaint is that while the typography and interior artwork are crisply rendered, the cover art is pixelated as if they used a poorly compressed image -- a minor issue overall. Hoping Night's Dark Masters and an errata'd Career Compendium are around the corner!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd Edition: Core Rulebook
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Rogue Trader: The Koronus Bestiary
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/14/2012 15:39:26
An excellent addition to Rogue Trader, providing a whole host of creatures and races to use in games (along with some some good rules for building new ones). It's a shame that some of the iconic creatures of the 40K universe were not included (where are the Genestealers!?!?!?) but we do get expanded rules for Orks, Eldar and demons.

As always, excellent art and writing which you expect for a product that has such a wealth of material to draw upon.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Rogue Trader: The Koronus Bestiary
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Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd Edition: Career Compendium
by Paul E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/12/2012 14:48:04
I have, indeed, found this book to be absolutely invaluable in my playing of Warhammer Fantasy 2nd Edition, especially since I won't even tough 3rd Edition; too dumbed down for me, thanks. Recently, 12 Sept 2012, this book was updated and re-released. The re-release does not have the quality of the old one in the way of "color" richness, meaning the black of the original release was perfect print quality, while the re-release is lacking in that department. As well, it looks as though someone attempted to put in links to the PDF, though not to each career, which would have been handy. So, I wonder precisely what was updated?

Still, this is an amazing book, well-constructed, and FFG did a fantastic job. Now, if we could just have some errata on what was changed, please, as there seem to be two pages missing over the original file? Feel free to contact me regarding these changes at kwolf71@hotmail.com ; thank you.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd Edition: Career Compendium
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Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Lure of Power
by Fabien G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/09/2012 04:49:19
Unfortunately this electronic version does not inculde the cards. I was looking for the career card that describes the master thief, but it is not in the pdf... :-(

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Lure of Power
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Deathwatch: Honour The Chapter
by Barney H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/31/2012 16:37:48
With Honour The Chapter, Fantasy Flight Games does extraordinarily well to cover the less famous - and in some cases, infamous - Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes. Any collector of the Forge World Imperial Armour books and model ranges will be thrilled to find backgrounds, rules and details to create characters from these, as well as successors to the major Legions of the First Founding. This allows the Deathwatch team to have far more variety, allowing different rivalries, motivations, and of course, abilities.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deathwatch: Honour The Chapter
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Deathwatch: Honour The Chapter
by Jason H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/31/2012 13:44:05
I am thoroughly enjoying "Honor the Chapter" very much. As a GM it provides me more options for my campaigns and give my players more options for the characters they want to create. I was rather pleased with the expediency of the download as well as the quality of the scanned material.

I hope that the partnership between FFG and DriveThruRPG continues to be a long one!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rogue Trader: The Koronus Bestiary
by NB N. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/06/2012 20:24:44
FINALLY! This is the book I've been waiting for. I love Rogue Trader, but don't have the time to generate my own Xenos nor do I want to hand-wave too much in order to preserve balance. This book provides me with all the nasties and big bads I need to punish, er, challenge my players. It's 146 pages of pure sadistic delight. It's organized pretty easily. There are beasts, sentient aliens, creatures of chaos, and your very own quick generator for dangerous plant, animal, and Xenos life. As with all the books, the art is off the hook and really shows the brutality and ferocity of these foes.

You probably haven't seen a lot of the beasts in the source books so far, so I'm digging the new options. It's always fun to throw some feral creatures at your players. I like the diversity. There are great narratives about various Traders running across these, giving you plenty of idea of how to ambush unsuspecting PCs. There are a pretty broad range of just animals to formerly sentient beings and a good selection of environments you might find the things.

With the aliens, I'm glad to finally see a lot more Eldar. I don't play the tabletop game, so I don't have stats at the ready and these are some of the most dangerous Xenos you can pull out of your pocket. All the Xenos have background on their race, motivations, etc. The Orks have a good number of options (you can make those as PCs though also). Then there are a handful of the less well known species. The Tau and some of the previously described races are left out here, but I'm fine with that.

The creatures from the Warp are sure to be the biggest challenge to your players. These things corrupt by just being near them and have huge ramifications on the characters' psyches. I'd probably use these sparingly unless you are unusually cruel. The base stats may not always seem all too crazy. I'd suggest you look at the traits, which more than make up for a 70 Weapon Skill. Again, great representations of the creatures and descriptions of just how evil they really are.

If you plan on running Rogue Trader, and I plan on running it a lot more now, this is a must have. Whenever you feel like it's time to add a hurdle, pull out something nasty and see how many limbs it can remove before the PCs can take it down. I'm so happy right now.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rogue Trader: The Koronus Bestiary
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Rogue Trader: The Koronus Bestiary
by Christian S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/06/2012 19:57:19
A great book with lots of information about the dangers of the koronus Expanse. Not only monsters are described, also a lot of Xenos of the Koronus Expanse and theyr Backgrounds. With the initial Errors in the PDF corrected in under a week, it's a must have book for every Rogue Trader Game master.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rogue Trader: The Koronus Bestiary
by will b. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/06/2012 15:06:00
I previously wrote a review for this book and due to the fact it had a few missing bits of information I rated it at a three. However, today they fixed that and now it is complete. Once again i will say this is a book in the format of FFGs other critter books, with a good section on void and warp beasts, great full info on eldar and ork forces and a xenos generator as well. Not a lot concerning daemons, the only ones i think are seen elsewhere in one of the books (perhaps Daemon Hunter) but overall a great book, i enjoy it much more than the creatures anthema for dark heresy and the enemies seem like they will present a challenge.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Only War: Core Rules Beta
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/25/2012 06:23:35
Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/07/25/tabletop-review-only-wa-
r-beta/

’Join the Imperial Guard’ they said…
‘See the universe’ they said…

Fantasy Flight, those magnificent masters of game production, have put out a “beta test” set of rules for a game that is meant to be the spiritual successor to Games Workshop’s Rogue Trader, that classic tome that originally defined the world of Warhammer 40,000 for those who already knew and loved Warhammer Fantasy (at that time just called Warhammer). Did you know that licensing for RPG products related to Warhammer had been handed over to Fantasy Flight? I didn’t.

Only d10s
The game uses d10s exclusively, and will require both regular d10 rolls and d100 rolls (roll two d10s, one die represents tens, the other represents ones). For special effects like scatter rolls (where a grenade or some similar object hits the ground), a d10 is also rolled to determine the direction that it travels next, according to a diagram. Whatever needs to be decided with a die roll, d10s will be used.

The testing process is similar to many other games, like D&D for example: you take a base stat that corresponds to the action you are attempting, and add or subtract from that according to any modifiers that may apply. The GM can assign bonuses or penalties based on the conditions that the action is taking place in, like cover in a firefight granting defensive bonuses, etc. If you roll equal to or under the final number with a percentile roll, you have succeeded. The result of the test is further modified by the amount that you succeeded at or failed the test by, so that the GM can tell more precisely how the result of the test plays out in the game. There is also a handy table for the GM to consult that gives several levels of difficulty and their modifiers.

Taking a cue from more recent RPGs perhaps, a character will have “Fate” points, that are a sort of currency allowing them to do various things like re-roll or remove damage. This seems to be a standard addition to most games lately, and I can’t say I disagree with the decision. I do wish it had a different name because now I’m thinking about the FATE system and other sort of indie RPGs and I can’t help but think it’s a little cribbed. Whatever though, I look forward to more innovations in RPGs like meta-game currency.


Only Imperial Guard
You will be playing Imperial Guard. I expect that other armies will become available in the future but after a quick glance at the Fantasy Flight website I wasn’t able to confirm that. I did not delve into the forums however, where I’m sure such questions have been asked and possibly answered.

As an Imperial Guard, you have TONS of stuff to choose from. Just about any of the IG factions (as far as I know, I’m not as up on 40k as I used to be) are available: Catachan Jungle Fighters, Mordian Iron Guard, etc. The types of troops are available as classes: Medic, Priest, Heavy Weapons, Storm Trooper, Psyker, even Ratling and Ogryn are there to choose from. The only class I don’t understand is the Commissar. How is someone supposed to play the Commissar in a group? What if the group decides to retreat, does the Commissar shoot them? Well, check this out: if your character is close to death, the Commissar can shoot your Comrade to get you back in the game. That’s right. I think that’s cool, I just don’t understand how a player is supposed to be part of the group and behave like a Commissar. Read the class description yourself and see if you agree. At the very least it would take some creative players to pull it off.

Looking at the classes, a squad might begin to look like your typical D&D group: Fighter, wizard, priest, and rogue turn into Ogryn, Psyker, Ministorum Priest, and Ratling. What is kind of funny to me, is that there is no class for just a regular Guardsman. There are five standard classes, and then seven support classes, but not one of them is a regular Joe. Hm. I mean, the standard classes are supposed to cover skill sets belonging to basic “grunt” guardsmen, but it doesn’t cover the most basic!

Your character, once you’ve chosen a regiment and class, and a few other things, will be given various other attributes that may flesh him or her out as a character or give them special skills or bonuses. For instance, there is a large table (taking up two pages) of “Demeanours” that you will roll on to give your character some aspect of their personality or being that distinguishes them. You might roll “Psycho” or “Dreamer”, and then consult the brief description of the attribute and act accordingly. It’s a bit strange that a table is used to determine a character’s personality, but since I am a proponent of separating the character from the player I actually applaud this decision. It even adds a bit of old school flavor to character creation. Gotta love tables.

One of the most interesting things about character creation is the fact that you will generate a Comrade along with your character. This person is your buddy, and while not all classes get one, most do. After all, the I.G. is all about numbers isn’t it? Basically, a comrade is an NPC that performs various servile functions and may provide some nice backup or cannon fodder from time to time, depending on how a character uses him or her. I think it’s a really cool idea, my only worry is that it will clutter up play by forcing the player to think about what their comrade is doing or remembering in a certain scene where their comrade is etc. Imagine comrades as “red shirts” in the Warhammer world.

Character creation is going to take up some significant time, and it will probably be best if the group is together when it happens. Since the group is functioning as a regiment, or a squad, or whatever, then they will all belong to the same faction and have similar purposes in the course of the game. Players will also have to decide how many of them will be support classes and which will be standard classes, since it could easily happen that everyone wants to be a support class. I could see a cool scenario where everyone is a support class helping out different portions of a regiment in a large-scale battle, going wherever they are needed. However, mixes of regular Guardsmen and special classes might get difficult to work with. Another reason creation will likely be lengthy is because there are pages of things like Aptitudes, Traits, Demeanours, Skills, and Talents (not counting equipment) that will have to be decided on by a player or rolled on a chart. Most of it is decided by the player. I’m not excited about poring over lists of attributes and such things to “customize” my character, since I consider the mere fact that I am controlling my character to be enough to differentiate him or her from the other characters. However, those who prefer a bit of rules crunch will like it I suppose.


Only Gear
My word, is there a lot of gear to paw through. As I mentioned earlier, I am not quite up on my 40k so I don’t know if all of this is available in the miniatures game, but I recognize a lot of it. Las-weapons, various grenades, flamers, even down to bows and flintlock pistols, are all available. Pages and pages of stuff.

After the gear rules are sections on Psyker powers and vehicles, I’ll leave it up to the reader to pore over the stats contained therein.

Only Combat?
This is a serious question: is the game only combat? The answer, of course, lies with the people that play it. However, the game is based on a combat-only miniatures game, and is focused with that in mind, so you have to wonder. Certainly the bulk of the game would be expected to take place in combat conditions.

When in combat, characters have a wide variety of possible actions. You can aim, perform a wild melee attack, fire off a shot, fire off a spray of rounds, run, cover a position, jump…all kinds of stuff. What I love about this is that it takes the action of Warhammer and gives you a granular detail. Imagine that I.G. unit ducking, covering a line of fire, attacking some Ork stragglers, and at the same time tossing grenades over a low wall instead of just standing there on the table, frozen in some sort of action pose. This brings the action that is imagined in the miniatures game and brings it to life.

As described above, attacks will be determined by a d100 roll. If you hit somebody, you also determine the location of the hit, a nice little detail adding more granularity to the combat. At first glance, you might think this will slow down combat, but you don’t actually roll any more dice to determine the hit location on the table, you simply reverse the two numbers you rolled on your to-hit roll. For example, if you hit with a 35, your hit location would be 53 (a body hit). That’s pretty clever.

Did you say something about wanting more tables? Well, let me wet your whistle with this information: there are 8 pages of critical effects tables for doing damage to different parts of a character depending on what type of weapon is being used. Depending on the table roll, the effect will be underwhelming or spectacular and grisly. These effects only happen if a character is below 0 Wounds (the Hit Points of Only War), so if you find yourself in that situation take care, because the next frag grenade could deploy your leg to another front on the battlefield.


Only Rules
There is a lot more in this book, it would take pages and pages to cover it all. You’ve got everything from GM advice to vehicle movement, and combat rules to codexes of bad guys (Chaos, Dark Eldar, and Orks by the way). There is also a beginner adventure in the back, which is always the sign of good decisions being made in my book. The adventure is rather wordy and all of the facts appear to be buried in paragraphs upon paragraphs of text, however. As a GM I would be loathe to run this adventure as is, and would have to make several notes and summaries so that I didn’t have to read through chunks of text just to get some basic information or to try and get a grasp on the scene. The monotony of prose could really use some simple tables or charts or maps or something to stop the wall of text from being so imposing. Of course, this is the beta version and there is a lot of art missing from the book at this point, so it can probably be assumed that some nice art will be inserted somewhere in there.

Overall, I am quite impressed with what the designers have attempted here and how they have done it, to bring Warhammer 40,000 to life in the minds of players on a more individual level has obviously taken a lot of work and a lot of care to get it to where it is. I think it is going to prove an enjoyable game, especially for fans of the miniatures game who also happen to be interested in role-playing. The game is definitely combat-focused, but the RPG element now adds endless possibilities for stories, instead of just battle after battle with nothing in between.

To me this game is not ambiguous; the designers and players know that war is the focal point of everything, and the game does not pretend to be interested in anything else. This game is like an electric guitar plugged into a fuzz pedal and an amp turned up to 9 (11 is too loud): it’s destined for action.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Only War: Core Rules Beta
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