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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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THRILLING TALES: Omnibus Edition
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/12/2012 11:09:22

I will admit that the Pulp Era is not one I seek out to either read or play games in. I see the appeal and every interaction I have had with the material has been a positive one. Thrilling Tales then is no exception, except for the fact I might actually seek out to play this one more often.
Physically this book is very nice. The layout is clean and easy to read. The art is very evocative of the time and my first thought was the old Universal movies from the same time frame (and movie still from the serials was really nice). That is a very good thing in my mind.
I loved the time line of the 30s.
The game is designed with d20 Modern in mind and I think it is a very good fit. I love the minor changes like renaming the core classes to something more "Pulpy" and addition of the Seduction skill, something I pushed for in other games.
There are a bunch of new advanced classes appropriate to the era. If you have ever seen a movie, serial or read a book from this era then the cast will look very familiar.
The section on weapons and gear is great, and perfect for any pulp-era game, not just a TT one or even just a d20 one. What I liked most about it is it is full photos and illustrations.
This is followed by sections on how to run a Pulp game and a wonderful section on Villains. Again the villains section is great for any game in this era or even a supers game in any era. Besides any game with a Nazi Vampire cult leader as a villain is an instant win in my book!
Speaking of which, all of chapter 8 is devoted to the only human enemy everyone can openly hate and kill without moral repercussions; the Nazis. Not so much a history of the Nazi, but a a history of the Nazi-as-a-boogeyman; the all-Enemy.
The Thugee likewise get a chapter, but I am sure this is due 100% to Temple of Doom.


The book ends with a Random Adventure generator. Which is 100% appropriate to this sort of adventure era. Watch the old serials, it sometimes looks like they were rolling on a similar table while writing the scripts. A bit of tweaking and this could work for any era. Replace Nazi with "Drow" or "Soviets" or "Dark Cabal" and you get the idea.


All in all this is a great game and one that makes me want to play some two fisted pulp adventures!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
THRILLING TALES: Omnibus Edition
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Far West: Amble's Map
by Matthew B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/10/2012 15:06:15

I love maps.


Real maps, alternate history maps, fictional maps, game maps. I don't care; I love pouring over them for hours. This map is for a setting that I have barely introduced myself to but it is already proving useful and fascinating. Reading the Tales of the Far West collection of short stories and being able to follow the travels of the heroes, and villains, is a truly wonderful experience.


The map itself is also well put together, it comes with a full version to view on your monitor as well as a multi-page version suitable for printing. The details and cartographic artistry make it a beautiful and seemingly authentic example of the kind of map one would expect from the setting.


All in all, a wonderful little package for any cartographil fan out there.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Far West:  Amble's Map
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Tales Of The Far West
by Judd G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/09/2012 19:30:54

A very solid offering of short stories from around a very intriguing setting. The mix of Western genre with Wuxia trappings is a compelling one and the stories here show that off in style. Each tale has a sense of that dusty trail with a hint of silk robes. Some of the stories are action and adventure, and some are more character studies with the occasional gunfire and/or kung fu, but whether action or emotion are on primary display in each story the writing keeps you hooked in. Well worth the price-tag and a rollicking good setup for the coming game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tales Of The Far West
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FOE FACTORY: MODERN
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/08/2012 12:51:24

Although I really enjoyed d20 Modern's attribute-based character creation rules, they did exacerbate the preparation problem that all d20-era games had, that it was difficult to quickly create adversary NPCs or villains for the players to face. The Foe Factory attempts to address this while still acknowledging the complicated nature of a lot of d20 Modern systems.


Foe Factory's approach is to focus specifically on things that will be rolled against the player characters, like initiative, attack bonuses, and equipment. The idea is that rather than a full set of stats, what you need is a clear picture of the level of challenge the NPC poses to the PCs.


It jumps right into the technical details with several pages of tables, followed by rules for adjusting NPCs created with the tables to the challenge level desired. The end has several sample characters.


As always with Adamant, the quality of the PDF is high. It's in landscape format, well-edited, and easy to follow. There are no bookmarks, but the length of the work isn't such that they're really needed.


I question whether a PDF is the right format for something like this. This sort of product seems ideal for a foe creation program in Flash or other simple programming language.


Another area of improvement that might be useful is in figuring out what challenge levels to "feed into" the Foe Factory. In other words, how do I decide how tough a particular encounter should be? Some insights or ideas regarding that subject would really elevate this solid work above the pack.


But it is solid and it provides an approach to NPC creation in D20 Modern that's beyond "winging it". If you're looking for that, this is probably the best thing out there.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
FOE FACTORY: MODERN
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Bloodlines: New Options for Sorcerers
by Kenneth A. C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/03/2012 02:58:02

I love playing sorcerers, and in Pathfinder, they have a lot different bloodlines that allow a player to create a unique background. With this short pdf, nine pages of content, the sorcerer gets a whole bunch of new bloodline options. The author is Stefen Styrsky and I've noticed how much he loves to make bloodlines for sorcerers, and fortunately, he does this very well.


Bloodlines presents us with 13 new bloodline options. They are based around various monsters, such as the barghest, naga, medusa, treant and my favorite the lillend. Each of these have some signature abilities that makes it easy to understand the background of the sorcerer, such as the medusa's serpent hair and petrifying stare, or the barghest ability to change into a wolf. I didn't think these monstrous bloodlines would work, but actually, the do! Most of them seem perfectly balanced, but there is a few abilities that seem a little too powerful, like the serpents of the medusa, which each deals 1d3 points of strength damage, and the sorcerer has a number of these equal to his Charisma modifier. It is a level 15th power, so of course it should have some level of power.


Finally, the layout is simple and nice, with a couple of boring illustrations that has nothing to do with the bloodlines. I didn't find a lot of mistakes, which is also a huge plus. However, don't expect anything beyond what the title offers... you get 13 sorcerous bloodlines, nothing more. At this price, a couple of feats and spells would have been nice as well, to build on the bloodlines, so I'll settle for a 4 star verdict.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Bloodlines: New Options for Sorcerers
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40 Alchemical Items
by Stephen Y. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/24/2012 05:33:15

15 and a bit pages of decent alchemical data/help concerning the Craft Alchemy skill.
Some items include: De-icer, Instant Sobering, Liquid courage, Rage gas.
The few bits of artwork I've seen in other PDFs, but the alchemical content is what it's all about.


Well worth the £1.90.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
40 Alchemical Items
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THRILLING TALES Advanced Class Collection One
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/23/2011 21:01:48

Adamant Entertainment's Thrilling Tales has been a top-notch pulp game for many years, whether in its d20 Modern incarnation - as in this collection - or in its current Savage Worlds incarnation. By going directly to the source material - 1930s and 1940s pulp stories, Thrilling Tales has a unique, authentic feel that "neo-pulp" approaches like the Indiana Jones movies lack. It's not afraid to shy away from the weird - period pulps emphasized action and adventure over perfectly assembled plots or deep characters.


The Advanced Class Collection assembles 8 advanced classes from the Thrilling Tales line.


The Mystery Man is a masked crimefighter, who combines combat effectiveness and investigative prowess, the Air Ace is a stunt and combat pilot, the Paragon is a unique Doc-Savage-esque near-superhero, the Mesmerist is a powerful hypnotist, the Mad Scientist, Mastermind is just what it sounds like, the Noble Savage is a Tarzan-esque master of the wilderness, and the G-Man is an investigator who also has abilities related to government backup.


Although each of these are very fun and flavorful, there's a few things to note: first, game balance is not a goal of these advanced classes. The Paragon is just better than any other advanced class out there, which is as it should be - in Doc Savage stories, he really was better than most of his compatriots. The idea is that this would be the central character of your series, and the other characters would be support characters. It's not a problem exactly, but it's something to be aware of.


If there's a weakness to the collection, it's that there's not much attention to integrating the classes into your campaign. While each of them are flavorful and interesting, it is hard to decide exactly how to use them. Some attention to how the Air Ace would fit into a campaign would especially be nice, since plenty of times characters based around vehicles or transportation have a difficult time becoming part of the action outside that transportation. While the Mastermind is mentioned as being a villain, I think it could be interesting to be a Mastermind player character - some incarnations of the Shadow are best understood this way. Developing how these classes affect gameplay would be the best way to improve this product.


In general, if, like me, you use your advanced classes as a way to make d20 Modern campaigns distinct and flavorful - even if they're not perfectly balanced - this product is for you. You might even get some good ideas for character types for your Savage Worlds Thrilling Tales game if you don't have a lot of experience with pulp archetypes.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
THRILLING TALES Advanced Class Collection One
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