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Imperial Age Magick
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/10/2012 11:11:54

I love Victorian era games and I love games with magic in them. So this book was a no brainer for me to pick up. Using the vernacular "magick" this book present magick as seen through the eyes of the Victorian. There are rules to magick and there is heavy reliance of the lieks of Dee and Crowley. But that is what makes this book cool.

Magick is presented in three different styles; the common d20 magic, a skill based magick, and a school based magick where there are many different types of magick being used at the same time. The GM needs to decide how magick works and what level of magick is the game; everything from High (D&D like) Magic to Low or No magic at all.

Plenty of background is given for the various types of magic and the authors really did their homework in terms of reading Dee, Levi and Crowley (among others). d20-wise there are new feats and new uses for skills. All easily adaptable.

There is a section on magickal gear which I would have liked to see more of to be honest.

The chapter on "Running a Magickal Campaign" bears special mention since it is above and beyong the Imperial Age normal game, but it also has plenty of ideas for all Victorian RPGS.

There are some very useful Appendices, including a Hermitic Scholar class (why it wasn't in the main text I am not sure).

This book is not the end-all be-all of magick in the Victorian age or games, but it is a solid resource full of great advice, ideas and tips. My only gripe is there could have been so much more added. But this is balanced with the cover price I guess.

Still a solid piece of work.

All the Imperial Age books are all well written and features art from the age, either public domain art and paintings as well as some original art. In all cases the art is very evocative of the time and very well done.

The books are all easy to read, with clean layout and font sizes. They can be printed with ease without killing your printer cartridge.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Imperial Age Magick
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The GameMaster's Guidebook to Victorian Adventure
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/10/2012 10:58:27

A fantastic guide for running a Victorian Age game. Plenty of background is given about societies, countries and people of the time. Quick overviews of Victorian thoughts on sex, the occult, and other countries can add plenty of flavor to any game. As well as Alternate-versions of the Victorian setting such as Steam-Punk, Horror, Supers and Alt-Reality.

On the d20 specific side of things, a number of feats are given to be used (but can easily become backgrounds or qualities, depending on what your game needs) and even some advise on converting "Thrilling Tales" Advanced Classes over to Imperial Age.

The advice given is quite good, but the book almost pays for itself in terms of the near complete list of weapons (in d20 format) used. There is a brief timeline and some references.

If you enjoy Victorian games like I do then this is a great product whether you play The Imperial Age, another d20 product or something else all-together.

All the Imperial Age books are all well written and features art from the age, either public domain art and paintings as well as some original art. In all cases the art is very evocative of the time and very well done.

The books are all easy to read, with clean layout and font sizes. They can be printed with ease without killing your printer cartridge.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The GameMaster's Guidebook to Victorian Adventure
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Blood Legacy of Mars
by Keith (. T. A. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/07/2012 12:43:04

Blood Legacy of MARS is an adventure in Adamant's MARS setting Savage Worlds. I recommend this adventure for those planning to settle into a MARS campaign. It reads more like a Shakespearean play and isn't your normal "jump in and hack" adventure. For those seeking an immersive MARS experience, then this is the adventure for you.

I give Adamant high marks for their excellent cover and wonderful illustrations throughout that give their MARS setting a strong identity. Props for thoroughness in providing character, npc, creature, and location depth and back-story.

There is an extensive Dramatis Personae section and a relationship chart to help the GM keep all the details in this sweeping 31 page drama. It really feels like a Pulp Space Opera. The GM really needs to study this one so they can give it all the twists, turns, and drama it deserves. 7 pages of Characters, NPCs, and Creatures give the adventure the detail for an adventure that can stretch for week. The adventure takes place over months or possibly years of game time.

Enjoy! The Savage Troll rptroll.blogspot.com

Note: Part of this review was excerpted from a blog review of Adamant's MARS core book and 3 adventures: http://rptroll.blogspot.com/2012/03/savage-worlds-mars-50-off-sale-one-week.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Blood Legacy of Mars
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Sky-Tyrant of Mars
by Keith (. T. A. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/07/2012 12:19:27

Sky-Tyrant of MARS is an adventure double entendre for Savage Worlds MARS setting by Adamant Entertainment. The cover evokes Frazetta and the content wonderfully fulfills it's pulp Planetary Romance mission. The Adventure is well written, very nicely illustrated, and thorough.

I give Adamant high marks including pregens, creatures (with illustrations), and characters in their very useful 6 page appendix.

Note: I'm a sucker for airships, chariot races on the ground or air, and lots of combat! The variety of encounters is extensive and fun. PCs jump directly into a chariot race. It might be time to use the new Savage Worlds Deluxe chase rules.

Enjoy!

Note: Part of this review was excerpted from a review on Adamant's MARS setting and three of it's adventures found on Tales From the Savage Troll - rptroll dot blogspot dot com



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Sky-Tyrant of Mars
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Once Upon A Time In The Far West
by Michael R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/30/2012 18:40:10

Interesting mash-up of new and classic western themes given an eastern spin. Quickly sets up a mental landscape for 'The Far West'.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Once Upon A Time In The Far West
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Once Upon A Time In The Far West
by Matthew B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/30/2012 15:48:13

A wonderfully realized group of tracks which successfully combine the seemingly disparate elements of Eastern music with that of the American frontier. Each new release in the Far West catalogue is an awesome fulfillment of the promise of this unique endeavour.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Once Upon A Time In The Far West
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/28/2012 06:48:19

Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/03/27/tabletop-review-once-upon-a-time-in-the-far-west-music-review/

Once Upon a Time in the Far West is an aural companion to Far West, a role-playing game, book (graphic novel?), comic, what have you that blends elements of Spaghetti Western, wuxia, and steampunk. Don’t ask me to define what all those terms mean precisely and how they work together, I’m just taking their word for it from the site!

Let me start off by saying that I chose to review this because I am a composer myself, so any comments about the music are coming from my own musical background and education.

The Composer

This 14-minute EP of five tracks was composed by Sam Billen, who is one half of the music production duo known as Four Big Watts, a Kansas-based operation, as well as a composer in his own right. Mr. Billen also has a few short film credits to his name on IMDB, if you care to check those out.

The Music

By far, the strongest track is the first one, entitled “Theme from Far West”. This piece is dripping with imagery, evoking all the beloved aspects of music in Westerns: forlorn whistling, beautifully plucked guitar, and harmonica, all against a background of angelic voices and flutes. The track has several layers, all creating this lush atmosphere that makes you close your eyes and imagine riding through a desert at night, or picking through the brush at high noon, lever-action rifle in hand. The opening minute or so of fitful flute and dreamy guitar is a great build-up to the introduction of a galloping rhythm with shakers, strummed guitar, and a punchy snare. The music alternates between these ethereal and concrete states, giving the listener a chance to enjoy each. A great track.

The next two tracks, “The Last Horizon” and “Fistful of Bastards,” are probably the weakest tracks, but still have plenty of Western goodness in them. In particular, “Bastards” tends to have a robotic feel to the rhythm section at times, making it feel processed and inhuman. However, the guitar work, bass, and well-integrated rhythm in other parts make up for it. In “Horizon” the repetitive guitar lick and unchanging feel take away from the track, making it feel like a segue to something better rather than a piece on its own.

The final two tracks, “Showdown” and “Masters of the Dust Road,” each have a particular energy that is a great ending to this all-too-short collection. “Showdown” is practically a must, as every great Western must have some sort of face-off (not in a Nicolas Cage way) and the music here is driven, pushing ahead with intensity. The whistling returns, and jangly guitars give us a steady, slightly quavering melody that seems to come from the breeze as a bell tolls in the background. In “Masters” we get that wandering itch once again, with a lonely melody looking back on the trail over booming electronic drums; the whole picture is complete with shakers and the occasional vibraslap rattle.

It is in this last track that I feel we get the farthest East, even though we are still firmly planted in the West (trope-wise, anyway). The manipulated flute and Taiko-drum feel of the rhythm help to imagine a samurai sword strapped alongside that horseman’s Winchester, but overall the Eastern feel is somewhat lacking. One feels that a few koto sweeps or a little more liberal bending with the guitar might have produced a convincing enough shamisen. I think the flute is the best-implemented Eastern element, but it can also be interpreted as Native American, so a few overt steps toward other Japanese or Chinese sounds would have been useful.

Overall, for the price of anything on iTunes or Amazon you can get five tracks of excellent music to put you in the mood for Far West, or any Western-themed thing you might be doing. They are also great for just listening to by themselves. Keep in mind that you support composers and RPG-inspired music by buying this.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Thrilling Tales 2e: Lights, Camera, MURDER!
by Jeffrey V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/24/2012 01:07:05

Another excellent little adventure for Thrilling Tales. (Spoiler Alert!) This one takes place on a movie set in Monument Valley, but everything is not as it seems. The Players get to participate in filming a movie, stopping a (real) stampede and laying the vengeful mummy of an Aztec priest, all the while interacting with famous Actors and Actresses. There are lots of opportunities here for action and adventure, both real and cinematic, and some excellent opportunities for the characters to do some genuinely heroic stuff and make useful contacts in an important part of the 1920's and 30's American culture. The adventure is tightly woven, without too many loose ends, and despite being somewhat linear has enough individual choices for the characters that they shouldn't actually feel like they are being rail-roaded down the only possible path. The book even has a brief script for the adventure serial episode being filmed! All in all, I found this one useful and enjoyable to a much higher degree than I expected. I can strongly recommend it to GM's and players alike.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Thrilling Tales 2e: Lights, Camera, MURDER!
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Once Upon A Time In The Far West
by Jesus B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/20/2012 15:29:26

A fine soundtrack, but slightly disappointing. I was hoping for a good mix of western and Chinese music. Something that would really give me a feel for the Spaghetti Western-Chinese Wuxia setting that I’m really looking forward to. But all-in-all, not a bad soundtrack.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Once Upon A Time In The Far West
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Buccaneers & Bokor Treasure Chest (Issues 4-6)
by Joshua L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/16/2012 12:52:30

I bought this because I needed a quick Pirate adventure to run in GURPS. These adventures looked good and I think they will be easy to translate. (I have not done it yet.) This was inexpensive, but would have been worth x2 or x3 what I paid.

I'm expecting to get all the "Buccaneers & Bokor" issues in the future. The adventures are worth it!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Buccaneers & Bokor Treasure Chest (Issues 4-6)
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MARS: The Roleplaying Game of Planetary Romance (d20 version)
by Bill D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/12/2012 05:46:45

I downloaded the free preview, and liked it enough to grab the full game. I wanted to jot a quick review while the sale was still going on.

I'd say if you're on the fence about this game, GET IT. I haven't read it cover to cover and haven't had a chance to play it yet, but it is really cool. The setting is great; it does what it sets out to do. They capture the flavor of Barsoom, add a side order of HG wells and a generous dash of HP Lovecraft. The PC white apes are a little more Planet of the Apes than Barsoom (I think, having only read A Princess of Mars) but that makes them more playable as a PC race. THe rules for the Earthman race are cool, and the classes are neat.

A very strong addition to the d20 rule-set is the Stunts rules (Making combat more interesting and swashbuckling), and I like the Device Points mechanic for the Mad Scientist advanced class.

One gripe, and this might just be my ignorance of Savage Worlds in general, is I didn't find it clear if you need the SW core book to play the SW version of Mars. This would be a fun setting in which to explore SW, and I might have tried the SW version if I knew I didn't need the core book. That said, they're both half off right now....

Summary: this seems Awesome! If you like low/non magic swashbuckling pulp entertainment, you'll dig it. Of you're not sure, try it out anyway, it might change your mind.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
MARS: The Roleplaying Game of Planetary Romance (d20 version)
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MARS Free Preview
by Bill D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/10/2012 21:15:54

Looks good enough to make me want the full d20 version.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
MARS Free Preview
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Sell-Swords of Mars
by Billiam B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/10/2012 11:47:13

This adventure is truly epic in scale. It's a war, with heroes, troops, vehicles (airships and alien tripods!), some political ramifications, glory and salvation. There's a useful flowchart in the back of the adventure, where the variety outcomes of the battles and decisions will still lead to the final showdown. I'm guessing that there's plenty of hours of play here. Definitely for veteran players who'd like to branch out into mass combat - so make sure you own the extra rules needed to play (read the product description carefully). Summary: Exotic 40K with a decent plot. ;) -Billiam B. bit.ly/rpgblog



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Sell-Swords of Mars
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Blood Legacy of Mars
by Billiam B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/10/2012 11:44:11

In Blood Legacy of Mars the background reads like a Roman/Borgias/Hamlet paranoid love, daggers and intrigue story. This is a very plot dense adventure. The "relationship diagram" towards the back of the adventure is truly a masterpiece of interconnected PC motivation and all that intrigue and double-crossing stuff (which makes my brain hurt - but in a good way) The main NPCs are fully fleshed out. The line-art in this adventure is absolutely superb.

Definitely an adventure for the readers, talkers and thinkers, spiced up with sexual intrigue and disputes resolved in drunken viscous brawls. Tell the players to keep notes on everyone they meet! Suggested additional rules are the main MARS rulebook for the descriptions of Minor NPCs. Also, if you're enjoying the setting and need equipment resources etc, it's probably near-compulsory to buy the MARS rulebook as well.

Summary: Compelling!

Billiam B. bit.ly/rpgblog



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Blood Legacy of Mars
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Sky-Tyrant of Mars
by Billiam B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/10/2012 11:33:22

This is my favourite out of Adamant's latest releases. Sky-Tyrant requires only the Savage Worlds main rules to play (in my case that's the Explorer's Edition) - so it's a good purchase if you're "just curious" about the MARS Savage world setting, and are not ready to commit to buying the main rules book. Its scenes rush forward into each other with the excitement of Star Wars or Indiana Jones. Pre-generated characters also help greatly in implementing the setting, which is just about generic enough to not require the core settings book. This adventure jumps from straight-forward encounter survival to being part of politics (but still with action). Sky-Tyrant is for the more "cinematic" action favouring players. The accessibility of the scenario means that it is also perfect for conversion to other systems (or maybe different settings). Summary: Fast-action pure-pulp sci-fantasy, awesome! Billiam B. bit.ly/rpgblog



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Sky-Tyrant of Mars
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