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Thrilling Tales 2e: The Steel Legion
by Dustin S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/03/2014 18:39:35
A play on the classic “Giant Robot” pulp era story, this is a fairly fun play through inline with weird fiction of the time.

The story is great for your mystery men or ace pilot since the robots can easily be scaled for different leveled characters (such as in “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow”)

These unstoppable robots are balanced by humans henchmen to an evil scientist. (I mean you have to be able to fight the enemy right?)

There are a limited number of items added, but depending on your game they can be confiscated and used in future play through.

Since I prefer to play a non-lethal mystery man (the Green Hornet) I can see the value of the technology found and how the items can be disputed over in future play through of a campaign.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Thrilling Tales 2e: The Steel Legion
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The Five Families: Criminal Organizations for Every Campaign World
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/02/2014 04:33:57
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 43 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with a massive 40 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



We kick off this pdf with a short introduction and then delve into generating an organization - which is surprisingly simple: Organizations receive stats, just like characters. These would be Force, Response, Resources, Information, Magic and Influence - if you haven't noticed by now: They are rather self-explanatory and analogue to a character's attributes. Now hit points for such organizations are interesting - they are calculated via members, strongholds etc. and high-level members provide more hit points. Loss of members via events etc. is covered with concise rules, as is an organization making skill-checks. Since it represents a pooling of resources, skills used take longer, but quite probably also yield rather nice results. From obtaining a mount to diverse levels of military support and making requests, the list here is pretty concise, makes sense and in-game, turns out to be working rather well. Much like characters, organizations may take feats - organization feats. A total of 15 of those are provided and my only gripe here would be that I would have loved to see this expanded much, much further. So these basic rules out of the way, let's take a look at the sample families created, shall we?



The first would be the House of Nath, which, like all organizations herein, comes with full stats and background information. This one would be a powerful criminal syndicate, appropriate for a large city or metropolis. The curious reader will also notice that no less than 4 sample NPC-builds with full stats are provided - from the lowly street-thug to the boss. While the statblocks lack the respective CRs, they do come with XP and all other relevant information. Beyond these nice builds, we also get information on the manse of the family, their signature sleep-inducing magic saps and 4 adventure hooks provide even further inspiration. While the manor's maps in full color are aesthetically perhaps not the best maps one could ask for, the sheer fact that the stronghold is mapped already is a nice bonus in my book - so kudos!



Now if you were looking for something more out there, what about the second organization, the Carnival of Air - devoted wholly to the grand game of cons. With dreamweavers, fireworks and illusions galore, this mobile organization brings something completely different to the table - once again, with fully mapped carnival's grounds, an AWESOME piece of b/w-art for the kitsune lord of the place and two damn cool signature magic items. And that's before the neat hooks. Two thumbs up ! (Even though no carnival will ever come close to my love for a certain evil one in the Scarred Lands...)



The third family is no less awesome - the "Daughters of Repose" as a secret organization of all-female assassins in service to the Deity of Death - you can't contact them, you donate and pray and hope they'll hear your prayers and end the target - especially if said target has been brought back from the dead. After all, we can't have those folk try to prolong their allotted time now, can we? Now these killer-nuns become even more awesome once you realize they can meld weapons via a new special quality with their bodies...Lethal, iconic in imagery...neat.



Now the Minders could be considered a conglomerate of academics, scholars and those embittered by those in power - all devoted to dragging the ugly, pesky secrets into the open and profit from them. Think "The Riddler", Wikileaks or just an extortion ring meets paparazzi, all combined with massive intelligentsia. Yeah, if the DM plays these guys right, the result will be nasty for the players...Have I mentioned the magical tape recorder brooch?



Now the final organization would be the Skrinn - think Warhammer's Skaven ratfolk gone full-blown sewer-drug-dealers - living in subterranean cities long buried and build over, this syndicate deserves special mention for a small array of nice traps to add to the 3-pages of dungeon levels that constitute their warrens. plus, I always liked evil ratfolk, so this is another winner for me. Add to that grappling liquid and sleep-inducing smoke and we have another neat one.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are better than in most Adamant-books I've seen so far and actually good - not much to complain on that end. Layout adheres to a 2-column b/w-standard and the b/w artworks range from stock art to beautiful pieces I haven't seen been. The maps are okay and do their job, but come sans player-friendly ones, which is a pity. The pdf has no bookmarks, which is a major comfort detriment.



Author Peter Aperlo delivers an easy-to-grasp, concise system for handling organizations, any organizations, really, herein and then trumps it with 5 awesome sample organizations full of interesting statblocks and even maps to supplement them. I...I didn't expect this, but I really, really loved this book. Sure, there could be more organization feats. (And why stop there - go for TRAITS as well - only dwarves, only elves, drug-focus etc. - the possibilities to expand the system are endless!) And what I'd give for proper synergy with the downtime-rules from Ultimate Campaign to get a full-blown organization stronghold-kit... Or for a guideline for Prestige Awards/tie-in with the request-system...



But honestly, you can make this synergy work out yourself. The organization-as-character-system is simple, easy to grasp, remains firmly in the DM's control and does not invalidate characters, but allows you to depict full-blown shadow-wars, campaigns in which powerful organizations are the adversaries of the PCs, etc. This book is surprisingly glorious. Yes, it has some glitches. No bookmarks. And overall, these formal nitpicks add up. But it's still just...awesome. Inspiring and immensely useful. Note that these rules can easily make a village, a thorp etc. a character-like entity as well!



This is one of those humble, overlooked underdog pdfs I just love - and it should have so much more exposure. While I can't rate this in the highest echelon due to formal, NOT writing/quality-issues, I still can recommend the hell out of this damn fine, cool supplement - even if you ignore the organization-creation-rules and just go for the organizations themselves, this offers ample bang for your buck due to the cool ideas, neat characters and generally iconic options these families bring toa campaign. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at an unusual 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 and still add my seal of approval as a sign of my personal love for this beast.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Five Families: Criminal Organizations for Every Campaign World
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Modern Dispatch (#66): Superheroic Adventure Generator
by Dustin S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/19/2014 16:50:03
A fairly cost effective muse.
I have used this as a method to devise simple scenarios for my players.
It's not very intense and it will definitely require imagination on the part of the GM, but it does help create the framework for a story.

Scenarios I have created involved:

1. Saving an alien defector from space police while on the Moon (Thus limiting the PC's use of their powers).
2. Infiltrating another team who is searching for a Vampire in a crowded market; with the secret goal of helping the vampire escape.
3. Stopping a mad Occultist who runs people off the road using an 18-Wheeler which he has imbued with a fear spell.
4. Rescuing one of the PC's arch-nemesis from a haunted house after the rival botched a spell to summon a demon; things are complicated when the rival sees a way to escape by offering the heroes up in his place

There are several options, but they will require 2 d8 dice and the application of imagination.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Modern Dispatch (#66): Superheroic Adventure Generator
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Saga: An Optional Story-Based Combat System
by patrick r. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/17/2014 22:56:33
For a book claiming to reduce all the math and complexity out of combat, it's astounding how it manages to do exactly the opposite of that. Each and every narrative combat roll is split into different stances, divided by needlessly minute factors that increase the math exponentially, and make 'narrative combat' take 5 times long as normal. The sheer amount of addition, subtraction, and division (?!) applied to a single combat roll is mind boggling.

For example, every single feat is translated into a specific bonus or mathematical application to your narrative combat, including a specific narrative phrase to accompany it. If I have to flip through a book just how every feat is operates differently to modify a single attack roll, how is that quicker than just using my normal feats? If I have to repeat a specific phrase to describe something as mundane as feat, something is seriously wrong with me and my ability to "narrate." Some combat rolls have over 5 phases to pass through before being resolved, at which point you throw up your hands and have to ask yourself "what's wrong with just a basic combat roll?? What fever addled brain could possibly think remainders from division makes combat easier???"

By far the worst purchase I've made on DriveThruRPG, and I've been using this site for over 5 years. If you want this much math to speed up your combat, just a buy a 4th grade math textbook and make everyone at the table practice their long hand division. It'd be faster than running combat using this atrocity.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Saga: An Optional Story-Based Combat System
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Thrilling Tales 2nd Edition (Savage Worlds)
by Matt J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/15/2014 11:33:30
Thrilling Tales is the quintessential “Savage Pulp” book. Whether you’re a pulp vet or new to the genre this book has it all. The first chapter provides background on what pulp was and the genres it encompassed. This is followed by a timeline of historic events from the 1930’s to help fuel adventure or campaign ideas based on what was happening at the time.

The new edges and hindrances really fit the setting and for the most part would work in other Savage Worlds settings as well. The character types suggested in Thrilling Tales provide the framework for just about any pulp archetype you can think of.

Thrilling Tales introduces a few new mechanics to Savage Worlds which are optional but you’d be doing the setting a great injustice by not working them into your game. Examples of two of these are stunts and story declarations. A stunt is an over the top flashier and more difficult way of accomplishing an action that if successful results in bennies for the player. Story declarations allow the players to spend a benny to shape and direct small aspects of the story.

The last section I want to touch on is the adventure generator. By rolling a series of dice across a number of tables you will end up with a well plotted adventure broken down by acts and supplying everything for you from story hooks to plot twists.

I can’t say enough great things about Thrilling Tales! If you are in the least bit interested in pulp or have always been curious but didn’t know where to start this is the best book out there.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Thrilling Tales 2nd Edition (Savage Worlds)
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Once Upon A Time In The Far West
by Dustin W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/02/2013 00:00:00
Not a bad soundtrack overall. I definitely enjoy the whole "Far East meets Wild West" feel that Sam Billen has provided in each of these songs. My only beef is that I wish there were more tracks, especially for the price ($5.00 regular price, $1.99 sale price when I'd bought this album).

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Once Upon A Time In The Far West
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ICONS Team-Up
by Curt M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/17/2013 11:03:35
This is a work of pragmatic rpg genius. Team Up essentially contains the elements of a full-fledged GM's guide writ shorthand for ICONS. ...worth the year plus delay of its release.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ICONS Team-Up
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The Imperial Age: True20 Edition
by Ron M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/11/2013 09:40:07
The Imperial Age: True20 Edition is a RPG Setting Sourcebook from Adamant Entertainment. I have had a few PDFs in my archives that were given to me to review but due to unforeseen life complications, I was not able to. I felt I owed those products a review, and since I have started Gamer’s Codex, I have gone back in my archives and found a number of those products. The Imperial Age: True20 Edition is one of them.

Up front, I have to confess that I am a big True20 fan. I love the basic d20 mechanic but never liked the clunkyness of the system. True20 solved all those problems for me in one simple and concise generic system. I do not want to turn this into a True20 review but in general, this book already has that in its favor.


See the rest of my review here at www.thegamerscodex.com/index.php/the-imperial-age-true20-edi-
tion/ on The Gamer's Codex.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Imperial Age: True20 Edition
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Thrilling Tales 2e: They Kill By Proxy
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/07/2013 10:47:49
This is a rather fun adventure taken from a specific sub-set of pulp fiction - the 'wierd menance' adventure, as explained in the introduction, which gives plenty of ideas to help you set an appropriate mood for your game.

Structurally, the adventure is made up of three 'acts' each leading in to the next... provided, that is, that the characters both survive and find the clues liberally scattered around for them to find. For this is an adventure in which investigation and interaction predominate, with every NPC well-described and provided with his or her own agenda, motivations and intentions. Keep the pace brisk and let the horrors mount up - however, there is plenty material in each act for you to run this as a multi-session adventure, one act per session, if this suits your group's style.

The notes include a delightful selection of 'booby traps' with a range of them - defined as being hazards designed to stop or kill those who stumble in to them - being detailed along with the relevant game mechanics. There's also a sidebar on running cinematic and thrilling court scenes again complete with the necessary rules for moderating them effectively.

Thorough pre-game preparation is recommended and you may wish to source some floorplans for the main locations involved in the adventure, which spans a creepy old country house, central New York, various offices and a courtroom and finally an ocean going yacht!

Presentation in the main is clear, with a nice battered effect giving the impression of an old pulp magazine which does not interfere with the text. One or two errors ought to have been caught by proof-reading, but in general it is possible to figure out what was intended.

Overall, this is a cracking pulp adventure, very true to the spirit of the genre, that should prove entertaining for both GM and players alike!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Thrilling Tales 2e: They Kill By Proxy
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Hot Pursuit: The Definitive D20 Guide to Chases
by Andrew P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/07/2013 02:32:51
If you're looking to run chases in your D&D/Pathfinder game, this product will serve nicely, as long as the following conditions are met:
1. You (the GM) are *planning* to run an exciting chase scene and have time to do the necessary prep-work.
2. The chase will take place in vehicles (cars, chariots, etc.).
3. The players have all studied this guide in preparation for the upcoming exciting chase.

The rules work pretty much like combat, with a few tweaks. They fit well into the existing D&D/Pathfinder rules (some minor conversion-work necessary for Pathfinder, obvious and easy). It doesn't feel like some clunky new system that has been hammered onto the side of the existing ruleset. On the contrary, it feels like a natural extrapolation of the existing rules; simple yet deep, elegant really. It's everything the chase rules in the Pathfinder Advanced Player's Guide aren't.

So what's the problem? Well, in the end, it's just not useful for the majority of chases you're likely to have. The biggest problem is a failure to recognize the most notable feature of a chase: spontaneity. In RPGs, as in real life, chases tend to happen suddenly, without warning, and these rules simply don't work that way. These rules assume that chase scenes are to be scripted by the GM ahead of time. If a chase just suddenly happens, because the players decide to run (well, drive), these rules will not work (unless the GM calls for a break, which would be like kryptonite to any sense of pacing in this situation).

Also, these rules assume that all chases happen in vehicles. If someone gets the idea to use their character's run speed to get away, you're out of luck with these rules. (There is a supplement to these rules that covers footraces. If you buy these rules, buy those rules too. I know, I know... just do it.)

Finally, there is the practical matter of familiarity. This is one of those game mechanics where everyone needs a pretty thorough understanding of how they work from the start. Actions during chases are resolved much like combat maneuvers in a fight. Like combat maneuvers, the players need to be familiar with them in order to use them. For example, in order to use the Disarm action in combat, the player needs to know: 1. that attempting to disarm your foe is an option in the first place; 2. what the disarm action actually accomplishes in game terms, and hopefully 3. how to make the attempt, though the GM can supply this information as needed. Familiarity is actually more important in Hot Pursuit, since literally everything you can do in a chase (and it's quite a list) is equivalent to a combat maneuver. The players need to be aware of all their options, so unless you think passing a copy of these rules to the active player each turn is good for pacing, the players have some studying to do before game day. (A better option, as a GM, might be to have the first chase or two run using these rules play like a tutorial, the way video games do. That's how I like to introduce new mechanics in my game.)

It's a shame I can't rate this higher, because I really do like these rules. Hot Pursuit is a stroke of brilliance in rules design (you'll see what I mean if you check them out). It's just that they don't fit in with the realities of the actual gaming table. I'm not even disappointed that I bought it, because I'm convinced that, with a little creative tweaking (which is on my always-growing to-do list), these rules could be made to overcome their biggest problem (spontaneity), or at least be taken as inspiration for some homebrew alternative. I will say this at least: the Hot Pursuit chase rules (including the Hot Pursuit: On Foot supplement) are better than any other chase rules yet devised for the d20 ruleset, and are a clear foundation for a workable yet exciting method for running chases in a tabletop RPG.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Hot Pursuit: The Definitive D20 Guide to Chases
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Venture 4th: Pact of the Angelic Choirs
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/17/2013 19:26:26
One of my players asked to play a demigod character, and after looking at some of the "canon" 4E options as well as other third-party supplements, I ended up using the Pact of the Angelic Choirs to represent a demigod. Since she didn't just want to happen to have a god as a parent, but truly wanted that to be core to the concept of her character, the abilities and even the flavor text worked great for her character. I used the option mentioned on page 11, and made her power source divine, but changed little else.

I have to note that I was creating a solo adventure for this player, so balance with other characters wasn't important. In fact, I wanted her to be more powerful than a standard 4E character. It fit both her character concept as well as the adventure. I would caution others that some of these powers are powerful -- more so than your average 4E powers. You may need to work with your player/DM to make a few changes before introducing this class into a campaign.

For my needs, this (potentially) divine, ranged striker fit my needs better than the Avenger class did. So far, the player has enjoyed her choice, and the character has been a fun addition to the game.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Venture 4th: Pact of the Angelic Choirs
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City-States of Mars: Korium
by Ralf K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/14/2012 07:40:58
I really like the MARS setting.
Korium is a good place to center a campaign. The City is well described, has colorfull NPC's that suit a planetary romances / word and scientist setting.
The inhabitants of the city are not arrogant old Martians but former nomads. So you have proud, honorfull citizens that your players have to like. ;-)

The City sounds very good to center a campaign around it. Its possible to play as corsairs, palace guards and nobles, adventurer and explorer. There are many targets for expeditions, enemys and shemes.

There are many, many adventure hooks. Many of them are clever hooks, weaving the enemys of the city in the hooks. But most of the time they are still only hooks, so the GM need to put a lot of work in such hook to get a adventure out of it. I would have prefered fewer "hooks" but more details-More like the Savage tales that are part of many savage worlds campaigns, but other surely prefer many hooks instead some savage tales.

The bad:
There are many typos in the text. Normaly I didnt see them, but at this text they really stand out. Sometimes I get the feeling I read a old scan that get OCR'ed.

The stats: I get the feeling that most NPC's have way to high parry. For example, Itaana-Intense Scholar have fighting d4, but Parry 7. Even with the 1 for her Rapier she should have Parry 5. And a Rapier should have a damage of Str+d4, not d6. And that was only one example.

The rules for the races are nice but some notations sounds more like d20-rules(for example TEST AGIL) and the whole text about races seems structureless.

To sum up: A nice, likeable city. many hooks, many typos. As I write this its reduced to barely 4$. For this price you couldnt do wrong!
I could imagine using it for something like space 1889, too.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
City-States of Mars:  Korium
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THRILLING TALES: Advanced Class-MASTERMIND
by shane c. Date Added: 08/10/2012 19:02:13
Thought I was buying a story/module. As Thrilling Tales in the description says. Obviously I was wrong. If you read deeper into the description it says that this is a character sheet essentially. 2.00 for 5 pages not 7 of charts... anc character stats. If you play this system this might be for you. Otherwise it is a wast of money.

Description:

Adamant Entertainment continues to bring the pulse-pounding excitement of the pulp genre to D20 Modern with Thrilling Tales!

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
THRILLING TALES: Advanced Class-MASTERMIND
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MARS: Savage Worlds Edition
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/06/2012 10:55:00
Adamant Entertainment distilled some of the best features of the Planetary Romance/Sci-Fantasy genre into their Mars books. The lineage is obviously Edgar Rice Burroughs, with Green, Red and White (Ape) Martians. There is also a fair enough amount of H.G. Wells, but I have a hard time seeing this dying Mars invading Earth. As they advertise this is not the Mars of reality, this is the Mars that never was. This is Barsoom as it were. While not "John Carter of Mars the RPG" it can be played that way. There are even some surprises in the form of the Grey Men of Mars. Hint, they are not the "Greys" of later UFO mythology.

There are plenty of options for characters with an emphasis on high heroism and great feats. Imagine all the adventure of Victorian Times and the Pulp Era with the feel of a Space Opera in a D&D campaign then you get an idea of what Mars can do or be. This all reminds me a bit of the "Dying Earth" genre as well, since Mars is dying. Maybe that invasion of Earth is not too improbable after all.

I enjoyed this and really want to play a game on Mars now!
I rated this one a bit higher than the d20 version since I feel the fit with Savage Worlds is a bit better.
This is Savage Mars.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
MARS: Savage Worlds Edition
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MARS: The Roleplaying Game of Planetary Romance (d20 version)
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/06/2012 10:54:10
Adamant Entertainment distilled some of the best features of the Planetary Romance/Sci-Fantasy genre into their Mars books. The lineage is obviously Edgar Rice Burroughs, with Green, Red and White (Ape) Martians. There is also a fair enough amount of H.G. Wells, but I have a hard time seeing this dying Mars invading Earth. As they advertise this is not the Mars of reality, this is the Mars that never was. This is Barsoom as it were. While not "John Carter of Mars the RPG" it can be played that way. There are even some surprises in the form of the Grey Men of Mars. Hint, they are not the "Greys" of later UFO mythology.

There are plenty of options for characters with an emphasis on high heroism and great feats. Imagine all the adventure of Victorian Times and the Pulp Era with the feel of a Space Opera in a D&D campaign then you get an idea of what Mars can do or be. This all reminds me a bit of the "Dying Earth" genre as well, since Mars is dying. Maybe that invasion of Earth is not too improbable after all.

I enjoyed this and really want to play a game on Mars now!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
MARS: The Roleplaying Game of Planetary Romance (d20 version)
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