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[WOIN] Fantasy Equipment
by Jay S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/22/2016 19:02:55

This book is a great addition to the O.L.D. Fantasy sourcebook, with many different weapons to choose from and enchantments and other equipment it is a must have for your fantasy campaign. I always criticized fantasy games for a battle Axe being a low damage weapon. This source book got it right! Many other interesting weapons to add flavor to characters or npc's!



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
[WOIN] Fantasy Equipment
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[WOIN] Fantasy Core
by Jay S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/22/2016 12:54:36

This sourcebook offers information that will help flesh out your Fantasy campaign using the O.L.D. sourcebook material. I highly reccomend it if you are planning to run a fantasy campaign.



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
[WOIN] Fantasy Core
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[WOIN] Fantasy Careers
by Jay S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/22/2016 12:52:48

I am impressed by the system and how career paths are mapped out. The book is put together well and easy to follow.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
[WOIN] Fantasy Careers
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ZEITGEIST Adventure Path Extended Player's Guide (4E)
by Nathan M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/02/2016 20:22:07

Zeitgeist is hands-down the best adventure path I've ever seen, and it all starts with this Player's Guide. The book is an indispensible aide to creating characters built for and molded by the continent of Lanjyr, and is brimming full of little tidbits to both inform and immerse you in the steampunky-flavored setting.


VISUAL
The art for this guide is very attractive, and instantly sets the mood by giving you concrete visualizations for the fashion and culture of the adventure path's setting. Even the page borders and font style/color choices seem very purposeful here, giving the campaign its own feel while not being overly distracting or difficult to read. Stat blocks, player powers, and feats are all laid out in a manner that readers of the 4E core rulebooks will instantly recognize, making it easy to identify information at a glance.


The organization of the book itself is also very intuitive and useful. The introductory chapter brings setting-vital information to the reader's attention, laying out the differences between a game set in the world of Zeitgeist versus a normal game of 4e Dungeons and Dragons. Somehow, in just two and a half pages, you'll be almost completely up to speed on everything important there is to know about the game world, including a brief account of important historical events, the nature and culture of the different races, names of some key NPCs, and how to use the remainder of the book to your best advantage. There's even a pronunciation guide to many of the setting's invented words, which I wish were an industry standard for these kinds of books!


FLUFF
Beyond the need-to-know background set down in the Guide's introduction, there are three whole chapters devoted to fleshing out the world around the PCs. In the campaign, the PCs begin as constables--agents of the King of their home nation with authority above normal law enforcement. This ends up being a far cry from the typical identity of freelance 'adventurers' that most players are familiar with, but the book goes above and beyond in its delivery of story and world-building to acclimate them to their new role. Particular attention is wisely given to the topic of the agency the PCs find themselves members of, as well as their main city of operation.


In the chapter outlining the various nations of Lanjyr, mixed into the nitty-gritty details of rulers, population diversity, and geography are stories of heroics from ages gone by. This added lore makes it easier to digest the overall 'themes' of each country, and the 13 adventures of the campaign often reference or breathe new life into these stories, rewarding players who take the time to learn more about their world, while not punishing those who don't.


CRUNCH
The biggest draw of Zeitgeist (beyond its wonderfully-crafted and cinematic adventures) has to be the "character themes" from this book. Using an often-overlooked element of 4e D&D character creation, Zeitgeist instantly gives your character a place in the world. Any character can qualify for any of the nine themes, which not only gift you a nifty power or two, but also subtly influence certain parts of the story and gives each character a place in the spotlight during each adventure. For example, choosing the Skyseer theme gives a character limited divination abilities, but also grants them a pre-scripted vision once per adventure about the dangers and opportunities that their party will face in the near future. Choosing Technologist will give a character a robotic companion, and the ability to automatically succeed on Intelligence checks to operate complex new technology they may come across. The Paragon Paths are extensions of each theme, and while they don't tie into the story as much, that's probably for the best. All of them are setting-appropriate and have cool abilities, but they don't pigeon-hole your character's development; you can feel free to use any of the oodles of alternatives from other WotC supplements.


The campaign also uses a new Prestige mechanic to track the party's fame (or infamy) among several of Lanjyr's most powerful organizations. Events in each adventure can enhance or worsen your party's reputation among these groups, which open up new opportunities or trigger optional scenes in the story. One of the most common applications of Prestige is the ability to call in favors: the more Prestige you have with a group, the greater the service you can request. It's a neat addition that gives the DM an easy way to track how the party is viewed by NPCs, and how to determine what resources the party can call upon above and beyond their own wealth and equipment. Also present are rules on how to handle the PCs' government stipends--since they're not adventurers, they can't just loot everyone they come across!


Given the level of technology in the campaign, there are also stats for firearms and other modern trinkets. To function more fully with the (now defunct) 4e online Character Builder, the firearms themselves have similar statistics to crossbows, though they have enough of a distinctness that they're not a simple reskin. Tons of enemies from the campaign use these weapons and (mostly) abide by the same rules of their use that the players have to follow, making for a strong and consistent theme of modernized warfare, even intermingled with magical attacks. Optional rules also exist for phenomena like gunsmoke, misfires, or improving the overall lethality of guns (thus slanting warriors away from the use of bows or swords).


Finally, the appendices in the back contain collections of reference material:



  • Stats for soldiers or police officers that may aide the party at various points during the campaign, allowing for players to use them much like summoned monsters.

  • Stats for ships and rules for Naval Combat

  • Sample skill challenge formats for tailing or interrogating suspects, a HUGE help as these will happen time and again during the campaign.


DOWNSIDES/CRITICISMS
The book isn't perfect (minor typos exist, of course), but nothing is so problematic that it detracts from the overall enjoyment or utility of this Guide. If anything, the greatest flaws are not in the Guide itself, but rather missed opportunities in the campaign's adventures that fail to take full advantage of everything that the Guide provides. Yerasol Veterans don't have as much time in the limelight as the other eight character themes, for example, and more story events could have been influenced by the party's Prestige levels, but both of those elements remain as worthy tools for DMs and players in and of their own right.


If I had to identify the greatest flaw in the Guide, it's that it becomes far too easy for players to mitigate or nullify the longer reload times of guns as related to crossbows. If you're a DM, consider making it impossible to reload a firearm without spending at least a minor action.


TL;DR
This book is awesome, and a great way to get hyped for the Zeitgeist adventure path, even if you currently know nothing about it. Even if you don't plan on playing Zeitgeist, the Characters section is a great resource for building steampunky characters in 4e D&D.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
ZEITGEIST Adventure Path Extended Player's Guide (4E)
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[WOIN] The Haunting of Calrow Ruins
by Ben S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/22/2016 05:35:16

The Haunting of Calrow Ruins is a well detailed horror adventure, definitely worth getting for a good night of spooky play.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
[WOIN] The Haunting of Calrow Ruins
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ZEITGEIST Adventure Path Extended Player's Guide (4E)
by Kai H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/16/2016 02:05:17

This is the basic introduction of the Zeitgeist Adventure Path campaign setting. I wouldn't call it steampunk, but it adds renaissance politics and steam engine technology to the standard D&D fantasy setting.


I would very much recommend the Zeitgeist campaign, because it is full of interesting moral decisions for the players. There is no simple good vs. evil here, but various factions and philosophies in conflict with each other. If anybody ever told you that you can't roleplay in 4E, this is the proof that you can. The player's guide introduces special background themes for the player characters that help anchor them in the world and provide many story hooks throughout the campaign.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
ZEITGEIST Adventure Path Extended Player's Guide (4E)
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ZEITGEIST Adventure Path Extended Player's Guide (Pathfinder RPG)
by Erik F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/10/2016 17:02:04

This is the Player’s Guide for the Zeitgeist Campaign. It’s a thorough and well-fleshed out setting guide, complete with lots of detailed setting information (fluff), as well as a healthy variety of new character options (crunch).


In theory, you could use this as a standalone setting guide to run your own adventures in the world of Zeitgeist, but the intent is that you’ll be playing the associated adventure path. I want to contrast this with other free Player’s Guides that are generally available for Pathfinder adventures: this isn’t just a quick “here’s how the party comes together” followed by “and here’s what favored enemies your Ranger should pick” like you might expect. This is a robust guide that can stand as its own product. Again, you could use this as a complete setting guide for your own homespun adventures, which is pretty good deal for a free product.


There are five chapters, which I’ll review separately:



  • Character Options

  • World Overview

  • City of Flint Overview

  • RHC Overview

  • Naval Combat Rules


The first chapter is where you get the standard “player’s guide” stuff: how the various fantasy races fit into the setting, what classes make sense, a few house-rules, etc.


This is where you also get nine character “themes”: these are distinct roles that highlight key aspects of the setting. (They remind me quite a bit of the “social splats” from nWoD.) These include things like the Skyseers, who are part of the old traditional order who spiritually guides society with their astrological insight, or the Technologists, who focus on developing the cutting edge of the revolution, or the Dockers, who represent the interest of the common workers and their plight against government oppression, to more esoteric roles, like the Vekeshi, a secret society who seeks to sculpt destiny through selective assassination. Every player is supposed to choose a specific theme, which helps define how they fit into the wider fabric of Zeitgeist. It’s important to note how well integrated these themes are in the setting, and how they are continually reinforced (complete with organized-play-esque faction-quests) in the associated campaign. I love the idea on paper, and I’m thrilled to report, that in practice, my players took to these with gusto, and really ran with these ideas. Each theme has enough information to give you a lot to work with (and again, natural setting elements will “call out” to these themes frequently, to help reinforce this), but also each theme is loose enough to allow every player to define what it means for themselves. My players have ended up comparing the themes to the various guilds you can join in Skyrim and other Elder Scrolls games … honestly, that comparison doesn’t ring as true for me, but that’s my PCs' perspective.


Each theme ends up being a prerequisite for a specific three-level Prestige Class (thus, there’s nine PrCs in included in this guide). Most of these are pretty awesome, and my players are very excited for them, as they offer up really interesting crunch, and are exquisitely flavorful. (Mostly: of the nine, seven are great, but two of them I feel like they dropped the ball.) Unfortunately, they have the normal problems that PrCs have (for example, a halt in the caster’s casting progression, but I just houseruled that.) To give a brief taste: the Monument of War can call up memories of dead comrades to defend him in battle or launch artillery strikes, the Mad Shootist crafts experimental weapons and overpowers his gear mid-combat, and the Applied Astronomer taps into the powers of the stars draws them down to earth.


While all of this crunch is designed with the Zeitgeist campaign in mind, my players have asked if they could use it in subsequent campaigns, which to me suggests they worth it.


This chapter also includes rules for spending “prestige”, (which we call “favor” at my table). This works like the old World of Darkness LARP rules, where you can have influence in various political structures in the city, and spend your influence to accomplish setting-tasks. For example, run a false news story, get a priest defrocked, cause a riot downtown, etc. It’s a fun way to mechanically represent political power or social pull.


The second chapter is a 15-page gazetteer of the entire world, with the longest section being dedicated to the country of Risur, which is intended as the PC’s homeland. As the Zeitgeist campaign is geared towards one of international intrigue and conspiracy, and as such, it focuses on six countries with detailed histories and politics, rather than a huge grab-bag of varying locations. Each of these six countries is given notes on their geography, political structure, cultural touchpoints, and in particular, ascendant philosophies. In keeping with Zeitgeist’s pseudo-18th-century feel, each of the heads of state and other movers-and-shakers are detailed as interesting NPCs. The game assumes that you will be playing on a level such that you have to interact with heads of state.


This chapter also includes a discussion of the setting’s metaphysics, namely, the planets that orbit the world, the various planes of existence, and even a bit about the fey courts that rules one of the other planes. The guide also explains the setting’s dominant religions and philosophies. However, it does not contain a staple of other Pathfinder setting guides: a list of deities (and the all-important list of domains and favored weapons). This was intentional, rather than an oversight, and players are encouraged to read up the description of their religion, and invent their own deity within the described pantheon. It certainly strikes a unique tone, but at least for my group, it caused my players to rule out anyone playing a Cleric or Paladin.


All-in-all, it’s a good setting guide, and I really like the world that is both succinctly as as well as thoroughly developed. Here’s the weird thing about it though: everything is Chekhov’s gun. In case you’re not familiar with that literary term: everything mentioned in the guide is of direct relevance to the Zeitgeist campaign. Passing reference to an abandoned city? Your PCs will go there. Sidebar on an old legend? Not only is it true, but your PCs will become the heroes mentioned in it. Any NPCs mentioned? Your PCs will definitely meet, and likely have to kill him/her. Historical event that just sounds like setting dressing? Your PCs will travel back in time and interact with it first-hand. Before you realize that this is what’s happening, the gazetteer just reads like a cool setting. But after you realize every detail exists to be exploited in the coming adventure, the guide becomes a bit surreal, almost like it’s a giant check list of all the things that have to be explored or killed before the end of the campaign. What finally clicked for me is that Zeitgeist is not a western RPG, in the vein of Baldur’s Gate or Elder Scrolls, but is rather a JRPG.


The third chapter is on the city of Flint, the second-largest city in the country of Risur, and is intended as the PCs’ home-base. Risur is otherwise a traditional (read: non-tech), agrarian society. However, Flint is the one city in Risur where industry has been allowed to flourish, and it’s bursting at the seams with cultural strife. We get an overview of its nine districts, two nice maps, and its power players: from its political powers, to crime lords and eco-terrorists. The city gets a lot of love, and my PCs have learned to really call it home. The Zeitgeist setting takes care to detail depth in its urban environment, and supports running entire adventures exclusively within the city of Flint. The city is multi-layered enough (and enough of a powerkeg) to handle such adventures. And no need to resort to sewer-crawls to do it!


The fourth chapter is on the Royal Homeland Constabulary, the FBI-meets-CIA-meets-JackBauer that the PCs are supposed to be apart of. Here you learn about the organization’s chain of command, meet your coworkers, get a map of your office, learn about rules and regulation, and get a list of boats you can rent. It’s up to each GM how much they want to emphasize this part of Zeitgeist. It’s possible to play in Zeitgeist without including the RHC, or by playing it down. My group, however, took to it with a passion, and detailed out all their relationship with their coworkers, office protocol, and even put together their in-game schedule and Scrum-board. But my players are weird. :-)


This section also includes some rules on how to shadow a suspect, and perform advanced interrogation. I tried to use these, but they didn’t feel natural for my group, so we don’t use them anymore.


The fifth chapter is a bit incongruous: it’s naval combat rules. Unlike all of the above, which is very setting-speciifc, this chapter is not, and feels like it’s been imported in from another product. Anyway, it’s included because Zeitgeist exists in the age of sail, and canon-battles on the high-seas are a thing. (As are blowing up smuggler’s boats in the harbor, or trying to evade experimental u-boats hiding in a reef, or battling the kraken out at sea, etc.) The rules are serviceable. They’re probably my second-favorite naval combat rules (I like them better than Paizo’s Skull & Shackles, but they’re not as elegant as FGG’s Razor Coast). Also included are some stats of other ships the PCs might commandeer. Since the Zeitgeist campaign has naval combats built-in to the adventure, these rules get brought out every so often. The rules are certainly generic enough to spin up your own ad hoc naval combats as well.


In Conclustion,
So, would I recommend you buy it? And by that I mean, “is it worth the $17 DTRPG charges for a print copy & shipping?” and the answer is “yes.”


If you’re planning on running the actual Zeitgeist campaign this book is essential. Full stop. You need a copy to design your character and play. And since so much from the player’s guide is referenced during the campaign, you’ll want your players to have that print-copy handy.


If you’re not planning on running the Zeitgeist campaign, this book is still worth a purchase. Yes, even if you’re not playing the campaign. It’s a fun setting, it’s got great ideas, and has some awesome ways to get your PCs enmeshed in the setting, and the moods the setting is trying to invoke.


This review written from the perspective of a GM who has been running from this guide for over half a year now. I actually got my players to read the thing. When's the last time you were able to say that about a 70-page player handout?



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ZEITGEIST Adventure Path Extended Player's Guide (Pathfinder RPG)
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ZEITGEIST Adventure Path Extended Campaign Guide (Pathfinder)
by Matt S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/09/2016 17:05:35

I'm currently running this steampunk(ish) campaign. This is by far the most well thought out adventure path I've ever DM'd. I can't recommend this AP enough. This isn't just your typical hack n slash, dungeon crawl with random NPCs. Everything has a purpose. Every fight has a purpose. Get it. Now.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
ZEITGEIST Adventure Path Extended Campaign Guide (Pathfinder)
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Steam & Steel: A Guide to Fantasy Steamworks
by Mark L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/09/2016 06:51:58

I've been working to introduce steam power into a game setting for a while, and the flavor text in the introduction of this guide was worth the purchase price. The impact of the technology is considered and discussed, giving the GM quite a few ideas to consider in making the choice to add this new technology to a fantasy setting.


Even if the base system isn't d20 based, this guide is worth considering if you're thinking of introducing the technology in your world. Conversion to anther system isn't terribly difficult, and the ideas that can be spawned, not to mention the surprises that can be dropped into a game, make reading the guide worthwhile.


Glad I purchased the material.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Steam & Steel: A Guide to Fantasy Steamworks
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[WOIN] Future Core
by Robert R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/12/2016 19:36:13

As you probably now by this point, Future Core is the game mechanics & rules section of N.E.W., the science-fiction portion of What's Old Is New.
The creator is really great at responding and dealing with issues, so that's always a plus to any game.
On top of that, it's an interesting system that uses dice pools for tasks, and they don't get too large, unless maybe you want to recreate Bambi VS Godzilla.
I and my friends haven't yet played this particular iteration of the rules, but we have played with the earlier stuff, and I've read this latest one in preparation, and so I'm definitely looking forward to it. :)



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
[WOIN] Future Core
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[EN5ider #17] Don't Wake Dretchlor
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/05/2016 10:03:51

Ran it once (will run it again), and its a unique adventure that twists the end of a dungeon crawl.
I thought the BBEG would be harder, but my players squashed him too easy after taking care of 3/4 relics.
Id like to run it again to see if it was a fluke but the relics may have hampered him too much.


I would like to add the maps are horrible if you print or VTT them. Nothing lines up and the wood grain is awful to figure out battle squares.



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
[EN5ider #17] Don't Wake Dretchlor
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[WOIN] O.L.D. Introduction Free Preview
by Stephen K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/20/2015 03:28:14

Of the three WOIN products, this is the one I'm most looking forward too.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
[WOIN] O.L.D. Introduction Free Preview
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[WOIN] N.O.W. Introduction Free Preview
by Stephen K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/20/2015 03:27:11

Can't wait for the full version of this to come out.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
[WOIN] N.O.W. Introduction Free Preview
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[WOIN] What's O.L.D. is N.E.W. Starter Kit
by Stephen K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/20/2015 03:16:34

I have been following and privately playtesting here and there since these materials started to come out of the Kickstarter. I love the way the rules run, they flow nicely and are so easily customisable. I can't wait to get the full versions of these, in the meantime enjoying the starter kit!



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
[WOIN] What's O.L.D. is N.E.W. Starter Kit
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[WOIN] N.E.W. Introduction Free Preview
by Shervyn v. H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/19/2015 08:07:31

This is pretty meaty for a free preview of a new game. The game itself is a setting agnostic system designed to help you build your favorite sci-fi setting. It's towards the crunchier end of the spectrum.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
[WOIN] N.E.W. Introduction Free Preview
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