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Cast of Thousands - Count Dracula
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/05/2012 17:29:42
Nothing here of any surprise. The history of the fictional Dracula mixed with history of the book Dracula. Game stats are provided.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Cast of Thousands - Count Dracula
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Passages
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/18/2012 11:03:21
Passages is a rather interesting game. First the premise is one that all the literature of the Victorian age is true...somewhere. These stories exist in multiple parallel worlds that can be accessed via the Passages. So in some ways it is like Victorian Age Sliders, or Stargate. The mechanism for trans-versing these worlds is one of the more clever ones and wholly compatible with Victorian Age ideas. This is my favorite part of the game; the magic of the Passages and the very clever means of how they can be employed.

The game itself is a Victorian Age one with the aforementioned twist. It covers the time between 1837 to 1901, so a full Victorian time line is presented. Though what it has in breadth it lacks in depth as compared to games that only focus on a few years or a decade of the Victorian era. That being said though, that information is easily found anywhere. Game Masters should instead focus on which tale they want to interact with. Is this an Alice in Wonderland game? Well then that is all you need plus this book. Dracula? Likewise.
Passages does spend some time on character creation in a Victorian Age and that is a very nice touch. In fact I found the character creation portion of this book my second favorite part.

The game system itself is a simple version of the d20 system, somewhere between d20 proper and True20. I think I might have liked it more as a True20 system, but this is a nice middle ground. The system does add Advantages and Disadvantages to the d20 character creation, but most everything else is skill based. There are no classes, but there is HP.

There is a great section on the known world and again is a bit broader than other Victorian era games. This is a game obviously about adventurers, since so many options of places to go and things to do are given.

I love the Sherlock Holmes and Prof. Moriarty sidebars. Gives the game a really nice touch.

This is great game all by itself and one I am happy to own both the PDF and Print versions of. Where I get the most use out of it though is as a means of going between different Victorian games. Create characters and use the rules outlined here so they can move from game to game.

The layout is clean and easy to read. The art is a nice mix of original work and select PD images from the time.
In truth the only way I would like this more is if it had been created for True20. The "feel" of the book screams True20 to me and I think it would be a fantastic choice of a system. Not that there is anything wrong with the system it is using now. This is just a personal thing.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Passages
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d20 Master Table
by Roger S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/07/2011 08:46:16
This is a useful too for D20 games. Not everybody can quickly figure the odds, therefore this is good for those who cannot.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
d20 Master Table
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d20 Master Table
by Randy O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/23/2009 13:46:45
Ok product was somewhat usefull for the D20 system

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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d20 Master Table
by Ronald W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/06/2009 12:22:13
a neat accessory for those of us that like to know the odds (percentage wise) of acheiving a desired DC result.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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d20 Master Table
by Ronald W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/06/2009 12:22:01
a neat accessory for those of us that like to know the odds (percentage wise) of acheiving a desired DC result.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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Passages
by Stefan C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/03/2009 12:57:09
The game is based on the classics in fantasy literature, mostly those written in the Victorian Age (1837 – 1901). The game mechanics are OGL (characters have Strength, Constitution, etc.) with certain simplifications - there are no character classes or experience points. Characters evolve through energy points which allow them to gain advantages such as increasing skills and hit points.

The game presents a series of genres: Fantasy, Horror, Science fiction, Adventure, Comedy, etc. For each genre it lists works of literature of that genre. The system permits play in each of these genres.

The setting of the game is a “multiverse” called the Book without End. It is an infinite number of universes which all linked through portals. For example, Jonathan Swift created a portal to Lilliput in his London living room. One of Melville’s characters – Bartleby – found a way to access a utopian world in the numbers of the accounts he was working with; which explains why he doesn’t want to leave his office (“I prefer not to…”). Alice found a world of her own.

Not only is the game very good, it also creates incentive to read the authors which are mentioned throughout the rules.

The art is brilliant. It is a mix between modern drawings, and drawings from the 19th Century.

There is a long presentation of 19th Century London which gives a good feel of the place.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Passages
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Poisoncraft: The Dark Art
by Jim C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/31/2008 22:53:16
A comprehensive, professional and well-integrated description of poisons as a major sub-system of the game - numerous effects and modifications, harvesting and brewing, antidotes, feats, classes, a broad range of venomous or poison-related creatures and adventure possibilities. It's easily comparable to products like the Psionics Handbook in breadth as well as usefulness.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Poisoncraft: The Dark Art
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Poisoncraft: The Dark Art
by Simon G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/18/2008 03:48:35
As a PDF:
The clean and simple layout works well for PDF format, and the influence of Malhavoc Press is clear. Full-page colour pictures are all very well in a glossy hardback book, but a complete pain when chugging past in your Acrobat Reader - Blue Devil Games are wise in avoiding such unnecessary fluff.

As a Supplement:
This book follows the usual 'spaltbook' format of providing new spells, new feats, new prestige classes and new monsters. For me, it is one of the better examples of such work as it passes the acid test - do I feel inspired to use the material? The answer is yes. Most ideas are simple yet elegant (such as the venomous template), and many spawn adventure ideas (a personal favourite are the Bleak Gnomes). The addition of Arcana Unearthed conversion notes are particularly useful to this AU player.

And all at a very cheap price, too.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Dawning Star: Operation Quick Launch
by Jeffrey V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/01/2007 06:19:55
Excellent product, that makes good use of the d20 Future ruleset and is full of imaginative ideas.

Its a good place to start a d20 future campaign as it focuses on just one planet, albeit one with a long history that will only gradually become apparent to the players.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dawning Star: Operation Quick Launch
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TERRAFORMER 2 - Bone Orchard Encounter
by Eric O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/31/2007 20:39:02
Bone Orchard is the first terraformer product I purchased to help support the Dawning Star setting. The adventure meshes well with the politics in the setting and helps introduce the danger in exploring some of the old ruins on the planet. While it was designed for Dawning Star it can be easily adapted to other sci-fi settings. The only negative was the lack of maps. The complex isn't large and I had a fairly good idea of where things are from the write-up, but a map would have helped and would be a good refence for the players.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
TERRAFORMER 2 - Bone Orchard Encounter
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Dawning Star: Operation Quick Launch
by Eric O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/31/2007 20:32:07
I recently picked up Operational Quick Launch and I'm very happy I did. The setting and writing are both excellent. I had stayed away from pdfs as I look at a computer screen all day at work and didn't want or think I would enjoy reading a large pdf rpg. I was wrong, reading through the book in a little less then two days. The setting allows a mixture of play styles from pulp to wild west to aliens. There is a metaplot hidden in the background but for people who don't like metaplot, it can be ignored pretty easily. Definately worth purchasing.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dawning Star: Operation Quick Launch
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Passages
by Chris G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/18/2007 00:00:00
Passages

Role playing games are many times compared to stories. But it is the rare game that combines stories with a role playing game. Usually it is a licensed game that just tries to do one book or series of books. Passages might be the first role playing game that takes a whole bunch of stories from the classic Victorian era and places them into a role playing game. I love the tagline for the game. It is Passages: Adventures Penned by Literary Giants.

Passages is a role playing game by Blue Devil Games. These are the people responsible for Dawning Star one of the better sci fi RPGs I have ever read. That set the bar pretty high fir this game. The RPG comes in a print and PDF formats. I have both and must say the print version is a lot easier to work with. They contain the same content but the PDF one has no book marks making it a little harder to use. The book is almost three hundred pages long and that can be a bit unwieldy with out the aid of book marks in a PDF. The artwork in this book is really top notch. Jennifer Rodgers does a fantastic job on the cover and her and Annelisa Ochoa have great work inside the book. The lay out is top notch and seeing that Phil Reed did that came as no surprise.

The basic idea for the game is the setting of Victorian Earth. It is a time that many of the classic stories have been published like Alice in Wonderland and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The game?s catch is that these stories are not about fictional places and people. The writers of these stories traveled to them and possible experienced the stories for themselves. And the player characters will be able to do similar things and be able to travel to these fantastic places and get to experience what it is like to walk the Yellow Brick Road. The hook for the game is a great strength but can be the biggest weakness. The RPG has great information on the Victorian age and how characters are like and how the world is. But it does not have that much about the stories themselves the characters will be traveling to. While I am sure many people have read some of the classic novels from this era it could take a bit of research and reading to build an adventure patterned after one or more of them. It could be a lot of fun to experience the adventures of White Fang but I like many people haven?t read that book in fifteen years. What would be very useful is a page or two of almost cliffnote like text but geared towards running the stories as an RPG adventure or just having ways to use the setting and characters in different plot lines would be immensely useful.

The game system is pretty simple. One just uses a d20 and adds to the die result. Combat is a skill and hit points are few. It is a simple and easy to learn system. It does look like it can be a little deadly with combat. Character advancement is also pretty easy though it does say it is intended to be a little bit slow. Characters start out pretty competent so character growth is no as important for the mechanics. Character creation is basically a point buy system. There are character arch types to choose from and there is an advantage and disadvantage system. There are some great advantages and some that will probably only be gained through character adventuring and advancement.

The book is a great resource for characters in the Victorian age and so if one is playing another game set in this time period like Chuthlu by Gaslight or Rippers for Savage World the information in this book can be very helpful. For instance it has two great sidebars that are the Qualities of a Gentleman and the Qualities of a Lady. The book also goes into many of the cultures available at the time and has a great basic time line that goes from 1837 to 1901.

Passages is a very creative role playing game. It will be great for lovers of Victorian age literature but can be appreciated by almost anyone. I do think it will take a little effort and research from the storyteller unless one happens to have a Lit degree. But it can use characters that most people are familiar with like Sherlock Holmes and Hawkeye and present a new little twist to them



LIKED: Great and creative way to bring the classics in literature to life

DISLIKED: needs more info on the literature

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Passages
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TERRAFORMER 7 - Trains of Eos
by Colin D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/14/2007 00:00:00
This is the first of the Terraformer products that I've purchased. Sad to say, I likely won't purchase any more. The writing is fine, though the layout is a little cramped. Material seems to be good, but, like most of the inexpensive pproducts, images are sadly lacking. When I buy a PDF on trains, I would expect to see a picture or two of trains, aside from the front cover, perhaps even a car layout or two. Here, not so much.
Something like the Shadow Rising Adventure, while only a few dollars more, is a much better value.


LIKED: Well-written, good supporting material with a great deal of detail on trains in the world of Dawning Star.

DISLIKED: Cramped layout, and the absolute lack of any pictures.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Disappointed


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
TERRAFORMER 7 - Trains of Eos
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Dawning Star: Operation Quick Launch
by Chris G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/22/2007 00:00:00
Another setting but this one is quite a bit different. It is not fantasy. I have done a fair share of reviews on fantasy settings and read plenty more. A change of pace is always good. No orcs and goblins invading, no magic or gods to fear; just good old technology and people exploring the world they live in. With d20 Modern and d20 Future both out there for setting to be built from I am hoping to see more of these modern and futuristic settings.

Dawning Star is a futuristic setting by Blue Devil Games. These guys have done a few really good PDS and this is really the first big release from them. Dawning Star is a two hundred and eight page PDF. It is black and white but very well laid out and with some great art. The product has high production values and is very professional in look. The book is well book marked and comes with a great index something not usually seen in PDFs. The cover of the book is a separate PDF and is a really cool full color cover.

Dawning Star is a futuristic setting. Basically in the late 22nd century a large object is seen coming toward the Earth and people have to evacuate. One of the great big evacuation ships encounters an alien space platform that transports it with all of its crew and all of its cryogenically sleeping passengers thousands of light years away. There they find an inhabitable planet and start a new life. The planet does have some native intelligent life forms as do seemingly some other planets in the system. There are spaceship wrecks of a few different racial designs and ruins of a civilization long ago. The new plant has many new and interesting things for the humans to explore as the set up their new lives.

The Dawning Star Campaign setting is filled with a variety of different play style. It can have a very western feel as there are boom towns being set up and places of lawless activity. The settlers are going out into the world and away from the safety of the established government. There are other small forms of government people have set up and in many places the law of the land whoever has the power. The game can also have a very strong pulp feel. The ruins are deep and hold great secrets and bits of technology for people to discover and find. They can travel to unexplored areas and be the first people to brave these new and dangerous places. The game can be set up to be even more dangerous. The atmosphere can be a little more hostile allowing for equipment to breathe it. The aliens can be more mysterious and unknown allowing for a dark campaign style of unknown beings with impossible to understand motives. Lastly, the setting can emphasis the space side and be more space opera. There are other planets in the solar system to explore. The DM can also have other space fairing aliens from other places in the galaxy show up and just use this as one planet of hundreds the players can visit. The setting was specifically designed to be versatile and they succeeded on that very well.

The book starts off with a nice timeline of events. It starts with the after effects of some nasty global events on Earth and the discovery of the great rock that eventually kills the planet. It details the discovery of the planet Eos where this campaign setting takes place and through the many years of setting up a community and scientific endeavors to make the plant livable. The time of the players the humans have been there for a while though most where still in cryogenic sleep during a lot of the early ears.

There are plenty new mechanics in this book designed for the campaign setting as well as for sci fi campaigns. There are nineteen new talent trees presented here with at least three new ones for each of the six basic classes. There are thirteen new occupations, plenty of new uses for skills, lots of new feats, species classes, advanced classes, and prestige classes. Species classes are like the racial classes Unearthed Arcana and other books for the fantasy game have in them. They are just levels in one?s own race and one gain abilities suitable for that race. There are lot of new and interesting character options in this book that can easily be adapted to other d20 sci fi campaigns.

The game has lots of great intrigues, mysteries, options, and plenty of great adventure potential. However, when the curtain was drawn back and the secrets revealed I just was not that happy with the way it goes. Pretty much all the secrets of who the aliens are, what their relationships are , and what happened to them are spelled out in the book. This is not always a bad thing but for me I was just not that impressed with it. I am not going to give it away here but I was just hoping for something different. Like a movie that has great build up and great characters, but the end just does not live up to the rest of it. That is how I felt with this book. But unlike a movie the end and reasons can easily be molded and changed to fit the DM?s vision and one is not locked into the way it is presented here. And obviously, I do think there are plenty of people who will like it as is. It is well thought out and creative, just not what I wanted to have happen.

Aside from the reveal that did not like the book is really well done. Plenty of adventure ideas from exploring ruins, to alien technology, to dealing with survival and humanity await players and DMs in this book. This I do believe e is he first setting for d20 Future. Anyone looking for something to use with d20 Future has got a good product right here for them.



QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied

[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dawning Star: Operation Quick Launch
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