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Dark Heresy 2nd Edition Beta
by Alexander M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/04/2013 16:27:13
pros:
+ reorganization of skills, looks streamlined. No stat looks ignorable for any character class. intrigued to see how it plays out.
+ drastic re-org of talents, much easier discovery of short/long term goals, flexible dependencies instead of "you must be a militant 5... or a pilot 1... or a AD INFINITUM"
+ new character creation process. no artificial class boundaries, easier expression of character concept. Like dnd-next, you get a lightweight layering "origin/background/class" and then buy a few tweaks with starting XP.
+ best darn "adventure at the back of the book" I've ever seen -- instead of your usual plot-rails, it's a template where you tune each faction's heresy-quotent, and then let the faction heads persue their goals and react to PCs. And even a "loyal" faction has an interesting effect on the scenario, as disastrous plans can spring from good intentions.
+ combat rounds have replaced "full/half/react/free" with an action point system, akin to XCOM, that might possibly be excellent... I've cautious optimism about how it'll play out.
+ psi is mostly rogue-trader style power rolls, except fettered/push is a continuous gradient now, and powers are organized into trees like the talents chapter.
+ counting degrees of success/fail has had the math streamlined, which looks like it'll help a bit -- but we've been using fading sun's even faster success metric anyway.
+ damage is more gritty: gone are the HP where you only start taking crits when you hit zero; any hit past the TB+armor of a named character is going to roll on the tables'o'pain for some flavor. As a FATE/narrative GM, this is a win at my table.
(righteous fury no longer needs any to-hit or damage rolls, it's just automatically a HOLYCR*squish* roll on the crit tables.)

cons:
- vehicle rules are about 8 pages of clumsy looking mechanics; I'll toss half of them to make it an abstract system.
- like rogue trader, finances are abstracted to availability and influence tests, plus a group's subtlety score for how alert the sector is to there actions-- I like thrones for in person shopping, and abstract for campaign altering stuff, but it's the subtlety thing that smells gamey. Instead, I'm following the spirit of the concept by having influence and subtlety be per faction.

- character sheet doesn't take advantage of the concepts introduced, so I'm busy creating a refactor of the characteristic/skills sector over on my ashnazg.com/blag -- and mine won't have an page-wide inkwash! Common publishers, think of the poor printers you're killing for no reason!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Heresy 2nd Edition Beta
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Dark Heresy 2nd Edition Beta
by Sean P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/02/2013 14:02:53
This is tough to rate because perhaps it deserves to be rated all on it's own - but on the other hand, it's tough to rate it without the context from where it came from. Also tough to rate because I haven't actually played these Beta rules yet. But there doesn't appear to be any reviews here at this point, so I'll put down my thoughts.

Let's start with this, the WarHammer 40k setting is off the hook. It's dark, rich, grim, complicated, gritty & deadly - but that's been true for a long time and has little to do with this 2nd Edition Beta of the Core Rules.

Dark Heresy 2nd Edition Beta is a widely unexpected rewrite of the rules. Unexpected in it being released at all, since FFG had not released a 2nd Edition in the history of its WH40k RPG product line. Even more unexpected in that the changes are radical enough that the numerous Dark Heresy sourcebooks it sold to its customers the last five years are not mechanically backwards-compatible.

In doing so, FFG has taken a huge risk of alienating the significant fanbase. FFG books are beautiful, well done & a bit pricey. How would you like it if a publisher purposefully chose to make the last 8-10 books you bought from them to be mechanically out-of-date? Exactly. So that's the backstory, the context if you will...and you'll see a big flavorful dose of it on the FFG forums.

So...the 2nd Edition Beta in and of itself? IMO, it's got some intriguing ideas and a decent number of question marks. "Action Points" replace the Half/Full Action scheme and immediately stood out to me as probably offering players more control over their PC's actions in a combat round. Action Points committed to an attack are multiplied by the weapon's Rate of Fire to derive a new key metric called "Rate of Attack". The Degrees of Success/DoS (which is calculated differently in 2nd Edition) on the attack roll are the number of hits, up to the Rate of Attack. The target's DoS from its Evade roll ("Dodge" in v1) subtract from those hits. This is v2's combat core mechanic.

2nd Edition eliminates Hit Points and replaces it with a scheme where you track the # of times a character's been successfully hit. The large majority of the time, and significantly more than in v1, successful hits will result in "Wound Effects", that are much like v1's Critical Wound tables. Past successful attacks cumulatively make a new successful attack more dangerous on that Wound Effect table. The pro of this is more realistic effects from being wounded sooner, rather than a PC showing absolutely no effects from his 4 separate previous wounds and then suddenly being dead. The con is a concern, the way the Wound Effect tables work, that it's much (Much much?) harder to kill someone with the first shot.

There's a new vehicle section, that v1 lacked. The psyker section has vast changes from v1: psyker levels are now 1-10, manifestation test is d100 against Willpower now, no more Minor Powers and no more Phenomenon of the Warp table - straight to the customized Perils table for the Discipline of the power being used. Character generation is very different; they've added a tenth characteristic called "Influence" that's much like the section of the same name in the Dark Heresy Sourcebook Ascension. A new Acolyte group metric called "Subtlety" is introduced. Stats are calculated differently. There's changes everywhere, really.

It's a surprising complete rewrite but there is some intriguing stuff in there. Personally, I think it costs at least one star for not being backwards-compatible with previously published material - and I could see some good customers with a shelf full of books dinging it more than that. I haven't played it yet so I can't be sure it all actually works but, IMO, it looks pretty well done - so I don't see giving it 2 Stars. So that leaves 3 or 4 stars - I optimistically gave it 4 stars.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Rogue Trader: Fallen Suns
by Cr B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/21/2013 10:45:13
Fallen Suns is a large adventure, with interesting hooks, and with dangerous opponents (I've counted a few ways so far that an unwitting GM could pull a total party kill given the forces in a couple of the sections), but it's not perfect.

The threat seems credible, as does your rival. Your explorers will interact with a few characters worth keeping around, and there are a lot of Eldar names and stats that will be very useful. The information on the Craftworld is good too, and could easily be reused depending on how much your explorers like (or dislike) dealing with Eldar. While not completely generic, Fallen Suns at least tosses some good motivations and forces at you for different Eldar groups, which could be useful if your group skips over certain parts.

My biggest problem (and the reason this didn't get a 5/5), is that the writers seem to have no sense of scale and the proofreading is typical of FFG products (not bad, but confusing if you aren't paying really close attention). In one section, they never do explain the Chaos forces actually arrayed against you, and flip back and forth between calling lead ships Cruisers and Heavy Raiders (big difference if your Explorers have a Grand Cruiser!). Given the stats for Chaos ships at the back of the adventure, the GM is going to have to modify the end to make parts of it a credible threat to the explorers. Not a huge dealbreaker, but I'm a detail type that has a serious issue with those sorts of things, especially in a book like this.

They also switch between calling the main Eldar ship a Cruiser or a Battleship (less of a deal, but its obviously a Battleship), and toss a couple important challenge rolls at your explorers that, if they fail the roll, stops the adventure cold in its tracks at critical moments. Modifiable, sure, but I'm of the opinion that the players should always be able to move forward, even if they mess up - it might be harder for them, but shouldn't bring them to a dead stop.

I'm planning to run this, since it sounds interesting, we've already run Frozen Reaches (a good adventure), and my game has a pretty heavy Eldar focus; but a GM is definitely going to have to read this and modify it a bit to make it work.

Characters: 5/5
Threat to Explorers: 5/5
Plot: 4/5
Editing: 3/5
Scale of the Universe: 2/5

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Rogue Trader: Fallen Suns
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Black Crusade: The Tome of Excess
by Timur D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/19/2013 15:07:49
Well, i wait The Tom Of Excess for soo loong ang finally i have it, but i think it was moore Slaanesh'y book..muhaha!

What can i say? Thanks to DriveThruRPG! :)

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Black Crusade: The Tome of Excess
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Anima: Dominus Exxet - The Dominion of Ki
by Thomas R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/12/2013 13:35:46
Fantastic supplement with alternative Martial Arts and more about Ki. However they exclude prices and weights for armors and weapons in the book.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Anima: Dominus Exxet - The Dominion of Ki
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Legends & Lairs: Sorcery & Steam
by Warren S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/05/2013 12:17:56
Very well written and comprehensive ideas on integrating steampunk into your fantasy RPG.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Legends & Lairs: Sorcery & Steam
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Rogue Trader: The Navis Primer
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/14/2013 16:26:48
Another excellent addition to Rogue Trader, detailing the mysterious lives of the Navigators, their noble houses, and how their kind is critical for space travel. We also get a detailed look at other psykers, such as Astropaths and their Choirs, and Weirdboyz. The intricacies of space travel are detailed, with various tables that can help determine - or mess up - a warp jump. Such is space travel in Rogue Trader. Of course Warp travel is not an exact science, and we are given insight into the omens and rituals captains and their crew entertain. We even get a cool map that shows how the Warp space tides flow and swell. We also get a look at the renegade tech priests - the Acolytes of Abraxas, and other advanced careers. As always the art work is excellent.

The Navis Primer is an excellent addition if you want to give your space adventuring more depth, and your Navigator players more to chew on.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rogue Trader: The Navis Primer
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Black Crusade: Core Rulebook
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/04/2013 03:26:15
Attractively designed, albeit with a large datafile that makes it hard for some devices to process it quickly. The book makes for an interesting, evocative read, although I cannot ever imagine wanting to play a Chaos cultist or marine to be honest. As such, it's more of an antagonists book for me.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Black Crusade: Core Rulebook
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Only War: Core Rulebook
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/04/2013 03:22:49
Good 'final chapter' of the 40KRP line of Core books (assuming it is!), with good presentation and organisation to match the other books in the series. It is a smaller file than some of the others however, which means you can download and manipulate it easily enough.

The premise of playing a military combat unit is a strong one for a rpg, although not that original when compared to other sci-fi games. The enjoyment of fighting orcs never get's old though!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Only War: Core Rulebook
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Deathwatch: Core Rulebook
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/04/2013 03:17:49
In my view, the best 40KRPG.

The 'Deathwatch' provides a good narrative device for pulling together Marine characters from a variety of otherwise disparate Chapters, while the military squad role choice ensures that teamwork is still paramount. The characters are competent in combat situations t a near superhuman level, although they never seem to quite lose their human condition. While the main focus is on military assault style missions, you can still throw a bit of investigation and exploration into their stories, so it's actually becomes a more flexible premise than the other games in the series. Moreover, almost every gamer will instantly recognise the iconic Space Marines, and be able to settle into play with little need for exposition.

The presentation and organisation within the book is outstanding, as you might expect, but the file itself is much smaller meaning your iPad/computer won't suffer a heart attack each time you save it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deathwatch: Core Rulebook
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Dust Warfare: Core Rulebook
by Matheus C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/19/2013 13:36:34
It's a very good book and great game! Very easy to start and very fun to play!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dust Warfare: Core Rulebook
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Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: The Enemy Within
by Michael A. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/06/2013 07:40:09
This is it. This is the capstone of WFRP 3rd Edition.

The Enemy Within 3rd Edition is not a reprint of the classic 1st Edition campaign. It is a reimagining and worthy successor. Even better, there are hints and plot threads that allow this 3rd Edition campaign to tie into the 1st Edition one, indicating that the Purple Hand might be related to the Black Cowl. Best of all, you can easily port this campaign back to your prefered WFRP edition - the writers realized for this adventure that mechanics can't get in the way of story.

That said, it should also be noted that this Enemy Within has a slightly different tone than the previous. There is definitely a more epic feel towards the end, with characters brushing shoulders with luminaries of the Empire, attempting to stop assassinations, and facing a larger-than-life foe. It's all in keeping with current Warhammer Fantasy lore, but it just needs to be pointed out that the entire campaign isn't down in the gutters.

This PDF version does spend some time discussing the bits provided in the boxed set. Most of these aren't necessary. However, the background cards sound cool and I wish that had been provided in the book. Additionally, there are a number of handouts, maps and letters, that really should have been appended to this PDF - there's no reason these can't be included.

Luckily if you buy the boxed version nothing is needed for this chronicle beyond the contents of the Core Box or the Corebooks. If you get this on PDF only and want to use it in WFRP 3rd, you'll need to get a little creative with enemy ability cards, but it's nothing impossible.

The adventure is divided into three parts, with an optional "Epic Level" story at the end. Characters begin at tier 1 and go all the way to the end game. The campaign is also broad enough that you can fit in side trips and extra adventures - and the campaign includes some loose ends that could tie into these.

The optional story at the end is, I feel, the weakest part. It essentially culminates in a big battle - and not a particularly interesting one. There's cool stuff along the way and it puts characters in a strong political position for future adventures... but it just feels like an underwhelming finish. I'd suggest grabbing some of the more psychadelic adventure material found in The Thousand Thrones and using that for inspiration.

So yeah. The Enemy Within is awesome and WFRP fans of every edition are going to get a lot of mileage out of this. I highly recommend it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: The Enemy Within
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Deathwatch: Ark of Lost Souls
by Malcolm M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/03/2013 18:13:56
A Warhammer 40K adventure/campaign which will appeal to players of all the WH40KRPG games. A major Space Hulk finally appears in the Koronus Expanse, ready to terrorize players with Genestealers, and worse!

While Ark of Lost Souls is meant for Deathwatch Space Marines players, it can be readily adapted for other WH40KRPG games with some work by the Gamemaster. The module is primarily a branching storyline, with significant encounters, and NPCs and enemies described.

The module also includes a descriptive random-encounter generator, which means that this Space Hulk can be as large, and as expansive, as the Gamemaster desires.

Even without inserting randomly-generated story content, Ark of Lost Souls falls somewhere between a standard adventure and a campaign. By adding in additional content, this Space Hulk could be home to an ongoing series of adventures -- a full-blown campaign. That's what I'm planning to do.

Those hoping to use the Ark of Lost Souls in a Rogue Trader, or a Dark Heresy, campaign will have to scale back the strength of the enemies here, or swap them out for appropriately-levelled similar enemies from the Rogue Trader or Dark Heresy creature books.

For those who don't already know, a starting Deathwatch Space Marine is built on 14,000 xp; while a starting Rogue Trader character is built on 5,000 xp; and a starting Dark Heresy character
is worth 1,000 xp.

These equivalancies are _very_ rough, because gear, wealth, and specific skills and talents all play a part in how "tough" a character might be -- but some adjustment of the combat scenarios in this adventure must happen if a Rogue Trader crew, or agents of the Inquisition, are investigating the Space Hulk instead of Space Marines.

It's worth noting here, however, that Rogue Trader statistics for Genestealers, and a Broodlord, recently appeared in the Rogue Trader supplement Stars of Inequity.

All in all, I have to give Deathwatch: Ark of Lost Souls a 5 out of 5. It delivers more than I expected, including an intriguing, branching storyline, and a random-content-generator which will extend the lifespan of the adventure setting at the Gamemaster's whim.

In my reviews, a 5 score never means instant perfection for any and all who might look upon the material (I review in the real world); it means that I found a well-made, well-presented product which offered more than I expected, and carried no obvious flaws.

Recommended to any who might be interested.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deathwatch: Ark of Lost Souls
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Rogue Trader: Stars of Inequity
by sebastiano s. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/23/2013 13:21:28
I think this is the best rogue trader supplement I bought. I love the simple but well done star systems generation rules; I'm a fan of all edition of traveller from the first to mongoose one and nowhere I found rules to generate a star system so pleasurable, simple but detailed and above all it's captured the unique feeling of WH 40k universe.
The colonial rules are a marvel and I found it enjoyable, making the colonial endeavour a challenge for every team of explorers.
Useful and well done the encounters and treasure chapter with a lot of tables for the lazy and short of time gm.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rogue Trader: Stars of Inequity
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Rogue Trader: Stars of Inequity
by Malcolm M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/10/2013 01:39:25
Another solid Rogue Trader support product which hits all the usual strengths of the best products in the RT line.

The book gives a solid chunk of useful detail on the central topic -- building WH40K science-fantasy-appropriate star systems and colony worlds -- with mechanics in place for handling things like player-sponsored colonies, in the abstract.

Those looking for hard-science detail regarding solar system creation are looking in the wrong place, as this is Warhammer 40K -- fundamentally, a science-fantasy universe, for all its gear and tech.

Most of what's here is conceptual, and meant to facilitate adventure-running and storytelling. It respects the _appearance_ of astronomical and planetological science, for the most part, but it does not set out to replicate science in this regard.

As with the best RT products, this book also provides goodies and details one might not expect from reading the back cover blurb. For example, a Genestealer is presented here, using Rogue Trader stats, as well as its Tyranid cousin, the Broodlord.

Add to all this the quality production values, and the imagination-inspiring color artwork, and Stars Of Inequity seems a welcome addition to the line.

All in all, a worthy purchase if the main focus of the book seems useful to your campaign.

NOTE: My 5 out of 5 score represents solid content and production throughout the work, with no major or obvious failings relevant to what the book appears to promise. It does not signify universal and perfect satisfaction. for all who may purchase it. I review in the real world. :-)

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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