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How to be a Great GM
by Michael H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/10/2012 13:45:21

How to be a Great GM might be of interest to those brand new to GMing, but experienced GMs will find little in the book of use. That isn't to say that the book is bad: it's simply not something that anyone with a decent amount of experience under their belt will likely find very interesting. For novice GMs, the book does offer some solid advice to put the reader on the right path, though it tends more towards traditional advice which appears in many "GM guides."



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
How to be a Great GM
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Avalon Magic, Vol 2, Issues #1, Magical Jewelry
by Debra L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/05/2012 15:41:08

This is the second item I've bought. Luckily, these were cheap so wasting another buck and a half on a completely useless product isn't going to break my piggy-bank.


Please explain how this can be a gaming product since it contains so little actual gaming material. Nearly all the information contained herein can be found in the Pathfinder Core rule book or free on Wikipedia. I know what a ring is and how it works. If you own the Pathfinder Core book, this information is all there. Furthermore, there is some misinformation that was expressed. There is no sympathetic magic (yet) in Pathfinder. Just because the necklace has an amethyst in it, does not necessarily mean it wards off drunkenness Furthermore, it gets even basic information wrong. "Worn, the magical jewelry does not take up space or weight and is not as obvious as a wand or staff.." Really , because that crown might weigh a few pounds as the Prince Edward Crown weighs over 4 pounds,. That's why HRM Queen Victoria didn't wear it on her coronation. A Navajo squash blossom necklaces made of turquoise and silver can easily weigh more than half a pound.


The writing is juvenile and, sadly, lacks imagination: "It should seem odd for a ring of water walking to be in a cave at the center of a desert. More importantly, it should seem strange that there’d be more than one or two magic jewelry items in a dungeon." I thoroughly disagree with both of the above statements. For starters, if there is a cave in the desert, that's the first place a sensible person would go. It provides shelter from the heat and sand. Deserts simply evoke images of Egypt and the Valley of the Kings where King Tut's tomb was unearthed and where Indiana Jones discovered the Ark of the Covenant. Granted, it's not the middle of a desert but the Nile is certainly surrounded by desert. If my world contains sphinxes that can fly, it can have a ring of water walking found in a desert, probably discarded by said sphinx.


As for the second statement, she apparently thinks that the only time a dungeon is visited is when the PCs go there. Dungeon Ecology 101 is in order. Why shouldn't a GM give out more than 2 pieces of jewelry in a dungeon? Do you think no female adventures have died there? What happens to their stuff. Yeah right, the dungeon dwellers never take stuff and never leave the dungeon, not even to go raiding. Just reviewing this products is making me a tad sad and grumpy as it was such a disappointment. The information it contains isn't even worth the virtual space it takes up on my computer.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Avalon Magic, Vol 2, Issues #1, Magical Jewelry
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Avalon Treasure, Vol 2, Issue #1, Zoological Treasures
by Debra L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/05/2012 12:53:48

This product merely reiterates common knowledge. There were no new information that cannot be found free elsewhere and contained no actual gaming material no new item, animal or other gaming mechanism. There were no charts just a list of animals -- for that I paid a buck fifty and feel ripped off. If this were a preview for an actual product, I'd understand but as is, don't waste your money on this drek.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Avalon Treasure, Vol 2, Issue #1, Zoological Treasures
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How to Use Religion in Your Game
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/04/2012 21:28:08

The content of this “how to” guide is rather helpful. The book starts with a discussion of various ways a GM might populate the divine realm—if any—in his or her game world, followed immediately by judicious consideration of approaches to divine intervention. The author, Michele Armellini, is careful to help GMs see the implications of their decisions for various character types, especially clerics, paladins, and the like in fantasy settings. Armellini also gives plenty of attention to the structure of institutional churches, their social roles, and the implications for using them in-game. Several examples and plot hooks round out the guide. Unfortunately, the production values don’t match the quality of the content. The writing isn’t bad at all, but does need some grammatical and stylistic polishing; the typesetting lacks imagination and skill; the stylistic inconsistency of the artwork—commercial clip art that you can buy right here on DriveThruRPG/RPGNow—creates dissonance. The content is worthy of four stars, but the production values bring that down a bit.



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[3 of 5 Stars!]
How to Use Religion in Your Game
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Infinite Futures
by Stephen Y. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/04/2012 09:56:16

Infinite Futures seems a better 'effort' than World of Wonders.
But, it still has some flaws.
Typing errors (someone really should have proof-read it before releasing it).


The artwork (CGI), seems rather good in some sections, but not so good in others. In some sections, the artwork seems to have been 'attached' rather roughly, giving it a rough outline.


It's not a bad attempt at a D20 future theme.
I'm going to be generous, and give it 4/5.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Infinite Futures
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Worlds of Wonder
by Stephen Y. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/04/2012 09:04:51

What looks like a rather good RPG at 328 pages, appears to be ok, rather than good or very good.
Why?
Every page is coloured a pale olive green (background), with various shades of green, purple, etc; in other words: print heavy (by the truck load). Don't get me wrong, it looks colourful, but it's guaranteed to use up a LOT of ink.
I tried printing a few character sheets, and the ink levels dropped noticeably.
The task numbers don't appear to have been play-tested, as Near Impossible is only a 20, which seems rather easy.
EVERYTHING is bought with gold (Gp). Some items are 0.5Gp or 0.25Gp?
What about using silver, might be a good idea.


The usual typos here and there throughout the PDF.
A full copy of the core rules set in a print friendly format? Where?
I tried the Avalon website as well, but no luck finding the print friendly version.
It seems to be a mixture of D20 & Chaosiums Call of Cthulhu & Basic Roleplaying (resistance table).


Some will like it, some won't.
I'm more 50/50.
It's ok, it's not bad.
I'll have a look at Infinite Futures soon, hopefully it'll have a better impact than Worlds of Wonder.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Worlds of Wonder
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Nova Blast Core
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/02/2012 11:39:02

Indeed there is, as the Introduction says, nothing new under the sun. People have been mixing wargames/miniature skirmish with traditional character-based role-playing from the very beginning of the hobby, whether it is deliberate (such as role-playing extensions to BattleTech) or coincidental (like D&D 4e combat being far easier to run as a miniature skirmish), or as an adjunct to bring the wider sweep of battlefield events to bear on your role-playing (as has been attempted in Exalted 2e). Even the concept of a shared setting for tabletop combat and role-playing has been done before, for example in Iron Kingdoms from Privateer Press.


In your download, you get three books (well, 6 if you count the printer-friendly versions): Core Rules, The Fringe and Game Components. The Core Rules contains the basis for a solid miniatures skirmish game set in a science-fiction universe (the Fringe, of which more later). It is based around Units, which can be anything from a squad of, well, squaddies to a main battle tank or something more exotic (mecha, monsters or ???). Once you have sorted out scenario, terrain and starting positions, gameplay proceeds with turn-based combat. You begin each turn by placing Order Markers by each unit you intend to do something. These are placed face-down, simulating the real-world situation of having to issue orders without knowing what the enemy is up to, and it means that all players can get on with issuing orders without having to wait for each other. Then you roll initiative, and whoever wins decides which of his units will act first. Thereafter, in each phase of the turn, it is one of his units that will act first. As well as move and fire orders, there is a neat Reaction Order mechanism, which allows a unit a pre-emptive ranged attack if a certain event occurs. Throughout there are loads of examples of play and good diagrams to illustrate each rule as it is introduced. There are conversion notes for Infinite Futures RPG characters, so that if the occasion arises they can mix it in your skirmishes. The book ends with rather an excessive amount of advertising for other Avalon Game Company product - 11 pages in a 41-page PDF.


Next is The Fringe. This book introduces a far future star-faring setting, which is due to be to be released later this year (at the time of writing this review) for the Infinite Futures RPG and which provides a solid context for skirmish games. The Fringe is a wild border or frontier area where there is a wealth of scope for exploration, colonisation, trade, conquest or pretty much whatever you want to get up to, with a range of different factions and races all set to squabble over resources and anything else. It's a kind of meeting place of spheres of influence, several alien races as well as human beings are adjacent. You have Terran Marines, Star Marshals, pirates and all manner of mercenary and 'security company' forces scampering around... and that's just the humans. Chuck the aliens in and there is ample scope for all the conflict you can handle. This rounds out with detailed discussion of the Terran Marines and an alien race called the Too-Nia (but not exhaustive, further source books are planned), because...


... these are featured in the third book, Game Components. This contains all you need to actually play Nova Blast. A selection of basic scenarios, paper miniatures, terrain pieces, unit information cards (complete with fancy backs if you like that standard of presentation and are good at the fiddly bits of printing, cutting out and pasting onto card to make it work) and the all important Order Markers that are core to the system.


Overall it's a neat skirmish system firmly rooted in its setting, with the scope for future expansion to link it more firmly with the role-playing aspects. Get it if you think your Infinite Futures RPG characters are likely to get down and dirty with military-style skirmishes or if you wonder what Terran Marines do in their downtime and fancy role-playing it!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Nova Blast Core
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Lightspeed
by Geoffrey W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/25/2012 21:49:49

Two stars. There was potential here. Lots of people like it because it's a mash of star wars and star trek, along with a MESS of other sci fi properties with the numbers filed off. I wanted to like it for the same reasons, but I can't.


Ultimate it's too slim on information for anything OTHER than the Federation, and even in that regard it really only tells you details about how the StarForce and AstroPol operate. The Empire, the Old Earth Empires... the core book basically disregards them. Even the Criminal sections don't mention much other than AstroPol. It's really disappointing. Hell, there isn't even detailed information on the history of anything other than Human expansion in the galaxy. Each alien species has its own little blurb in its own little section, and other than those blurbs they're barely mentioned in the text of the setting chapter.


I know that there are other source books, but for even the most basic information about the structure of these other portions of the galaxy to be nearly completely absent from the core game? It's egregious. I haven't even gotten to the system information yet. I'll read it eventually, maybe the Fuzion system itself is worth the purchase of this book... otherwise, however, I can't recommend this. If someone goes through it, trims some fat and then gives all the Galactic civilizations equal treatment, then we'll talk.


PS: Why are the Ranger starships (Peacekeepers) given a write-up TWICE? You get very detailed information in the AstroPol Ranger section and then a full ship writeup in the back with the rest of the ships. Things like this are what I'm talking about. The layout isn't very good on top of a heavy bias toward one group.



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[2 of 5 Stars!]
Lightspeed
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Avalon Models, Heroes & Villains 3
by David W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/21/2012 14:56:12

This set wasn't quite as good as their other sets. There are a couple nice-looking figures in this set, but overall, there are some scale and proportion problems.


The set DOES offer a dozen figures, and they are good quality, but things like a figures head being too large or too small takes away from a "professional" set.


The characters are original, and they are well represented. It wasn't a "bad" set, just not up to par with other sets offered by this and other publishers.


A little refining next time can raise your rating substantially.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Avalon Models, Heroes & Villains 3
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Avalon Models Free Sample Mar 2012
by Te K. P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/19/2012 01:46:39

I found the product somewhat lacking in content. Perhaps a couple more figues would have been good.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Avalon Models Free Sample Mar 2012
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It is only a preview, remember.
For Love or Power
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/12/2012 09:43:23

For Love Or Power is a brief set of tips on introducing elements of romance into Pathfinder (or most any RPG), with a page and a half of tips and suggestions, and about one page of game mechanics.


The mechanics cover the more gameable elements of building a relationship in a pseudo-medieval setting - the social status of both parties, determining the expenses and time of courtship, and so on - with most of these factors representing challenges to the courtier's Diplomacy roll.


It's a workable system and probably worth the cover price if you are interested in gaming this aspect of your Pathfinder campaign, but it's not of much use to anyone who prefers to roleplay romantic relationships in their game.



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[3 of 5 Stars!]
For Love or Power
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Avalon Models, Adventurers
by David W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/11/2012 14:34:39

This set was interesting. Graphically, is was "ok," but the thing that I liked the MOST about it was the different scales that were offered.


I LOVE the One Monk-style bases, that blend in well with my other miniatures, but more than that, the textures were outstanding. The figures were basic, and the artist has a unique style that isn't too flashy. The miniatures are well represented as to what they are when you see them on the gaming table.


I also like the "egg" versions for quick and easy assembly to get some figures on the board quickly.


I have not been a huge fan of ALL of Avalon Models sets, but this one really IS worth the price. Great job!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Avalon Models, Adventurers
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Magical Haul One
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/06/2012 22:46:27

A pretty good collection of 9 magic items of variable quality and utility. Some items are somewhat vague in their descriptions, like the Boots of Fate, which lead the wearer to adventure (But -which- adventure? The nearest one? Is there a range limitation?). Likewise, the Two Knot Snake Ring has as one of its powers the ability to change into a small viper - but no benefit for this use is listed (Is the viper friendly to the user, and will follow his orders?)


Of course, any good GM can fill in these details as they wish, and as a short list of magic items that could serve as springboards for adventures, this collection is likely worth the price.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Magical Haul One
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Mystic Item Cards [BUNDLE]
by Tremon T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/04/2012 10:15:23

As one of the previous reviewers says, the pictures are decent. The descriptions are brief, touching on the description of the item itself, and not its properties. It should be noted that the cards do not list magical properties. It is up to the GM to write the information on the cards. The cards are little more than "ideas" for what the item could be. If you are looking for a card with detailed magical properties and suggestions for use, look elsewhere.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Mystic Item Cards [BUNDLE]
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Infinite Horizons Issue #3
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/16/2012 11:30:19

A nice little sci-fi magazine that reminds me of the classic print RPG fanzines of days gone by. This one includes a bit of material for d20 sci-fi games, a mini game called Space Armada, and a mini sci-fi RPG campaign for 4e called Altered Earth. A pretty good package, and the price is certainly right.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Infinite Horizons Issue #3
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