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Atomic Robo RPG
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/17/2014 21:10:10
Atomic Robo is probably the most impressive RPG I have ever read that works with a licensed IP. It manages to hit all three most important factors in licensed RPGs: it’s fun, the rules reflect the fiction of the setting, and it manages to make me interested in the comic. Likewise fans of the comic might find themselves interested in the game.

The Fate Core rules fits Atomic Robo like a glove, and the custom mechanics for this game enrich the basic Fate Core system while highlighting the strengths of the setting. It’s relatively easy to learn, and there are enough examples to facilitate the learning process.

GMs and players alike are given freedom to make pretty much any character they want, thanks to Weird Modes, and the Brainstorm and Invention rules makes certain that Action Science is still the key theme of the game.

There’s plenty that other games can learn from checking out how Atomic Robo manages to provide a lot of freedom of choice, while adding a structure for guided fun in a game. The mechanics are elegant and each rule exists to further the theme and activities of pulpy fun.

Atomic Robo is a great game for those new to the hobby, and those looking to get into Fate Core. Old hands at Fate will find plenty to like here as well as Brainstorming and Invention Rules can work in any setting that needs it.

Definitely a must buy for any RPG gamer looking for pulpy action-adventure fun.

---

If you're looking for a more in-depth coverage, check out my 6 part Let's Study articles for Atomic Robo over at my blog:
http://philgamer.wordpress.com/category/roleplaying-game-
s/atomic-robo/

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Atomic Robo RPG
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Tianxia: Blood, Silk & Jade
Publisher: Vigilance Press
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/05/2014 20:09:14
Tianxia is a rules-light to rules-medium Wuxia game that introduces the genre in a friendly, easy-to-learn fashion. The book is written well, with a clear language devoid of unnecessary flourish that could distract of obscure the information needed to run the game, something that I certainly find to be very helpful.

The game itself applies minor rules adjustments and a fully formed Martial Arts system on top of the FATE Core rules in a relatively seamless manner, and feels like a system that was intended to work with FATE from the get go rather than being welded on forcibly. Fans of the FATE Core system will find this to be very easy to learn.

Fans of the genre will find that Tianxia covers all the bases when it comes to Wuxia. There’s a little lack of emphasis on the tone and themes of Wuxia in the book, but that’s a minor nitpick on my end as I wish it was brought up a bit in the start of the book rather than at the end with the GM chapters.

There’s an awful lot of mechanical support for GMs, from a campaign creation worksheet, to an adventure menu and pre-generated characters and antagonists to work with.

As a relatively new person to FATE, I feel that I’ll need to get a couple of test sessions to really get comfortable with the combat system to find out the true extent of the various Techniques in the Kung Fu system of Tianxia, but from what I’ve seen they’re certainly formidable.

Overall, Tianxia is a great start to a Wuxia RPG. There’s enough to run a campaign, but plenty of white space around for GMs and the authors to add on new elements. If you’re a fan of Wuxia, you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t pick this up for your collection.

---

If you're interested in checking out an in-depth 5 part study of Tianxia, check out my blog:
http://philgamer.wordpress.com/category/roleplaying-game-
s/tianxia/

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tianxia: Blood, Silk & Jade
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Mindjammer - The Roleplaying Game
Publisher: Modiphius
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/03/2014 23:43:52
Mindjammer is both a complete game, and a universal toolkit for running science fiction games. As a FATE Core game, I feel that Mindjammer delivers the full FATE experience while adding no small amount of additional mechanics to simulate the special cases that matter in sci-fi. While the core mechanic is very simple, the game does run the risk of becoming very complicated very quickly and may take some FATE Core enthusiasts by surprise.

Character creation isn’t as quick as I’d imagined, but that’s offset by the benefits of having a large number of options for your character. The resulting experience resembles that of more mechanics-heavy games that may require a session devoted completely to making characters and hammering out the group.

The main draw of Mindjammer for me however, would be the concepts and ideas presented, all with significantly robust mechanics to follow through. Elements like Transhumanism, cybernetics, diverging evolution, cultural conflict are all heady ideas, but every single one is represented in the rules somehow. Mindjammer doesn’t just drop these concepts on you either, but introduces each one with the care and patience of a schoolteacher, ensuring that any GM who picks up the book and takes the time to study it will have the confidence necessary to run a game in any kind of modern sci-fi setting.

The layout of the book is well done, with proper sidebars and tables to help parse information, and non-distracting layout elements to facilitate easy reading. The artwork is universally good, but I’m afraid no one particular piece of work has stood out as truly breathtaking for me, a shame given the potential of the setting for being really open to high weirdness.

When I started this series, I was wondering just how much detail you could cram into a FATE Core game, and I’m pleasantly surprised by what Mindjammer has done. I would have no hesitation in recommending Mindjammer as a must buy for anyone interested in running a sci-fi game especially given what you get for the price.

---

For a massive 10-part review of Mindjammer, check out the Let's Study series on my blog:
http://philgamer.wordpress.com/category/roleplaying-game-
s/mindjammer/

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mindjammer - The Roleplaying Game
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Pirates & Dragons Core Rulebook
Publisher: Cakebread & Walton
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/07/2014 23:28:05
Pirates & Dragons is perhaps one of the most honestly named RPGs I know of.

In a nutshell, it's a rather well-written game with fairly extensive mechanics that will appeal to those that enjoy more substantial games rather than narrative ones. The Artwork is pretty good and evocative of the setting, which is more realistic than it is fantastic. There's plenty of opportunities to get in trouble in the game, and there are hefty swashbuckling rules to mirror dynamic combat and more than it's fair share of fumbles.

I would recommend Pirates & Dragons to those looking for a pirate game that has a stronger adherence to "realism" as opposed to fantasy, despite the presence of dragons. That said, those looking for lighter games might find themselves looking at a ruleset that is perhaps a little too crunchy for their tastes.

Overall, would definitely recommend this to those looking for something new in the Pirate genre of gaming.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Pirates & Dragons Core Rulebook
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Scarlet Heroes
Publisher: Sine Nomine Publishing
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/07/2014 02:07:27
Kevin Crawford has yet to come out with a product that disappoints me.

Scarlet Heroes is an easy-to-learn old-school game with an elegant set of mechanics that are both easy to implement and a joy to run. With an intriguing setting which mashes up different cultures and races against a mysterious threat, there's plenty of adventuring to do, even with just one or two players! Definitely a strong contender for a weekly game, and works wonderfully for times when you don't have a full party to work with.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Scarlet Heroes
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Prowlers & Paragons Core Rules
Publisher: LakeSide Games
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/01/2014 07:06:45
Prowlers & Paragons is a neat little Supers game with eye-catching artwork, easy-to-read layout and sensible mechanics that are relatively easy to learn. The rules themselves aren't "new" or innovative, but they work, and with the sheer number of supers games out there, having one that has mechanics that are easy to run with without getting into too much detail is a good thing.

The game itself has a strong handle on what supers games it can run, and it admittedly broad enough to be able to run games of a more Pulp persuasion, as well as a few anime-inspired stories as well. Easy to learn, written in a friendly and approachable manner, the game makes for a great entry-level game for new GMs eager to run supers but are intimidated by complex mechanics.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Prowlers & Paragons Core Rules
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Demon: The Descent
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/24/2014 20:56:10
Among the recent releases for the new World of Darkness, Demon is perhaps unique in the sense that you play a supernatural creature that was never human at any point of their history. The Unchained were formerly Angels, agents of the God-Machine, an ancient and unknowable entity whose true scope, nature and motivations are alien to everyone, even the Angels that serve it.

At a crucial point in their time as Angels, the player characters chose to disobey the God-Machine. Whether from pride, anger, love or pity, these Angels fell from the God-Machine, severing their connection in their first act of true independence. This act of free will is what defines the Unchained, and their new fallen state is something that they bear with pride or shame, and how they react to their new existence forms the basis of their Agenda.

The resulting game is an intriguing game of espionage, as the Demons find ways to subvert or destroy the Infrastructure of the God Machine in order to keep their hard-earned independence, while investigating what makes the God-Machine tick in order to keep one step ahead… or to gain an advantage. The player characters have a host of interesting abilities, from being perfect liars to being able to Spoof detection as being anything but a normal person in the presence of supernatural scrutiny. Demons also have access to a remarkable number of Embeds and Exploits, powers that take advantage of loopholes in reality, allowing them to perform specific tricks that can upstage even Mages, but lack the same kind of flexibility.

Interestingly enough, my experience with Demon has been less about horror and more about supernatural espionage. The Demons excel at being able to get into where they’re not allowed, and their ability to shift Cover makes for intriguing roleplaying opportunities, but I can’t help but feel that the players themselves are somewhat divorced from the horror of their actions. Don’t get me wrong, my players were well aware that their characters were involved in some very monstrous activities, but maybe it was the idea that their characters were never human that dulled the sense of shock at the atrocities that they were committing.

Overall, Demon: the Descent is a great game, featuring a protagonist that is truly capable of being an outright monster while fighting opponents that are far more alien and malevolent than they. The powers and abilities of the game are imaginative and interesting, and there’s a whole slew of antagonists that the Demons can contend with. There’s plenty of opportunities to play up espionage tropes, including stories of trying to maintain dual lives, making deals with the enemy and the possibility of double-agents and betrayal within the team. Demon: the Descent is a worthy addition to the new World of Darkness.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Demon: The Descent
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Yggdrasill - The Nine Worlds
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/03/2014 03:05:16
Yggdrasill is perhaps the best Viking rpg that I know of. Focused on bringing both historical and fantasy elements of the culture to life, the game has earned nothing but praise from me in my earlier review of the corebook.

The Nine Worlds is the first supplement to the game, and expands the setting in a way that many fans have been waiting for. The Nine Worlds contains information on the more magical realms of the Norse setting, discussing each one in turn and giving information on the creatures and challenges that the player characters may encounter there.

The book goes into detail into all of the Nine Worlds: Asgard, Alfheim, Vanaheim, Jotunheim, Nidavellir, Svartalfheim, Muspelheim and Niflheim. The worlds receives a description of it's geography, the dangers found in the world, the occasional important location, and plot hooks and artifacts that the GM could use to spice up their Yggdrasill campaigns.

The book also has new options for player characters, the most compelling of which would have to be the option to play Half-Breeds, those born from inhuman parents. The range from the Half-Jotun, to Half-Alfar. They also special traits that influence their starting abilities.

Special powers are also covered in the book, and can cover the various powers and abilities that can be bestowed to the players via magic items.

The book also contains 3 adventures, Winter's Fall, The Hunter and The Forgotten Oath, all of which can be used as part of an ongoing campaign.

---

Overall The Nine Worlds is a good follow up to Yggdrasill. The book expands the setting but doesn't lose it's touch with the historical feel. Fantasy elements are sufficiently fantastic, but also well grounded in the cultural context of the setting.

If you're looking for more ways to make Yggdrasill even more compelling, then you should definitely pick up a copy of The Nine Worlds.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Yggdrasill - The Nine Worlds
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Warbirds Role Playing Game
Publisher: Outrider Studios
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/10/2014 23:45:40
Warbirds is a splendid piece of work. Outrider Studios comes up with an RPG that does more than emulate Crimson Skies, but stands alongside it with an interesting setting of it’s own. The rules are simple, but very functional, delivering the most fun without the pain of slowing down.

With an imaginative setting, fun mechanics, excellent layout and neat artwork, Warbirds is definitely a must by for me.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Warbirds Role Playing Game
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The Ninth World Bestiary
Publisher: Monte Cook Games
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/06/2014 22:42:25
Beautifully illustrated and full of imaginative creatures, The Ninth World Bestiary is an excellent companion product to Numenera, bringing to life the kind of techno-fantastical weirdness that the player characters will be encountering in the setting. Each creature is given a full treatment, including motivations and their basic behavior, notes that are useful to any GM hoping to present players with a unique encounter.

Definitely a must-buy

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Ninth World Bestiary
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Iron Kingdoms Full Metal Fantasy Roleplaying Game: Kings, Nations, and Gods
Publisher: Privateer Press
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/02/2014 21:30:58
Kings, Nations and Gods is a welcome addition to the Iron Kingdoms lineup. The writing is detailed without being cumbersome and the new career mechanics serve to add a layer of distinction between characters without having to add an excessive number of professions to the mix. I hope in the coming expansions the writers would disentangle themselves from the approach used in Urban Adventures, which added a truckload of seemingly superfluous professions just for the sake of doing so, and follow this track instead especially when taking up the non-human factions.

---

One thing to note is that $41.99 is a very high price to ask for a PDF product. While I know that the book itself is very well done, this kind of pricing feels a little too steep.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Iron Kingdoms Full Metal Fantasy Roleplaying Game: Kings, Nations, and Gods
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Savage Worlds Super Powers Companion (2nd Ed)
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/23/2014 00:47:17
I've always had a thing for Supers games. Because of that, when I heard that Savage Worlds was coming out with a new Super Powers Companion for the latest edition of Savage Worlds, I had to check it out.

My experience with superhero systems have ranged from the extremely detailed with the HERO system, to more narrative rulesets like the recent Marvel Heroic Roleplaying game. Unfortunately with my current state of life as being more busy with work than ever before, getting a rule system that will deliver the kind of granularity I was used to without the time investment necessary for HERO was hard to find.

Thankfully PEG has managed to knock this one right out of the park. The Super Powers companion is a lean volume of less than a hundred pages, but one that manages to stuff nearly everything you need into it.

The Super Powers Companion establishes four different levels of power for a campaign, ranging from Pulp Heroes to Cosmic level, with each of the campaign tiers giving a pool of Power Points which the players can spend to buy their powers. There is a power limit of 1/3rd of the total Power Points per campaign that can be applied to each power.

New Hindrances and Edges are also introduced, covering a wide array of superhero tropes from Alien Form to the ever popular Dependent.

One of the more interesting things introduced is a Defeat Table, where the fate of a fallen hero or villain is randomized in an amusing table that covers a wide range of comic book comebacks (and changes) to the character.

The next section details the various gear available for the super powered sort. Ranging from the ubiquitous grapnel gun to more interesting weapons, there's enough here to keep a game going without it devolving to hours spend shopping for gear.

The Powers Construction System is perhaps the very meat of the book, and details how players can put together their character's powers. The system itself is relatively painless, with picking a base powers and applying various modifiers that will either increase or decrease the power point cost.

The complexity of the powers you can generate are admittedly fairly good, and this powers creation set can easily match Mutants and Masterminds in terms of ease of use.

The last creation section of the book involves the building of HQs, including a few examples that can be used by the GM when he needs something right away.

Nearly a good half of the book is taken up by a large rogues gallery for all of the power levels discussed earlier in the book. The villains all have a full treatment, with a short biography and their statistics and powers listed in an easy to use fashion. Definitely a plus for a busy GM like myself.

---

PEG is one of the few companies that can do no wrong, and their latest offering of the Super Powers Companion lives up to that reputation. Creative, useful and fun, this supplement is a must have for GMs looking for a rules-medium supers game that's easy to get up and running with a minimum of GM prep time.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Super Powers Companion (2nd Ed)
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Wreck Age: A Post-Collapse RPG and tabletop game
Publisher: Hyacinth Games
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/08/2014 21:07:28
Wreck Age is a new franchise from Hyacinth Games, and delivers an interesting vision of a post-apocalypse world.



Setting

In the 23rd future, Earth was a pretty screwed up place. A combination of economic and ecological factors forced mankind to flee the planet in a bold effort to colonize other planets to save the race. The plan was to send wave after wave of colonists to settle in the stars, a promise of a great exodus that woudl insure mankind’s survival.

The Exodus, it turns out, was a lie.

After the cream of humanity took to the stars, it became apparent that there was no intention to take anyone else. The rest of humanity had been forced to fend for itself in a planet that was barely holding together. Society crumbled, and humanity bore the worst of natural disasters.

Generations later, whatever was left of mankind clings desperately to life. A new world has emerged and mankind once again forces itself to pick up from the rubble and rebuild.

It’s a stunning (and all too possible) scenario that plays up the idea of mankind’s apathy towards the less fortunate in a way that strikes very close to home. I like that the scenario isn’t a spectactular end like a meteor, but an apocalypse that had happened even before anyone else realized that it was too late.



Factions

Wreck Age has several factions of differing philosophies and levels of technology.

The Stakers are community and family-centric settlers who focus on sustainability and survival who are slow to trust strangers.

Drifters are nomadic barbarian clans who wander and attack stable communities in a throwback to ancient warrior raiding cultures.

Stitchers are gruesome medically trained survivors of an Exodus Ship that crash landed near TooSon. While initially benefactors to their community, the dependence of the ignorant to those with knowledge led to a strange warped sense of entitlement and control their communities with fear and knowledge.

The Order of Reclamation are those who struggle to rebuild from scavenged technology and data. Operating from Data Havens, they are a cult of techophiles that travel the wastes to find lost technology for their own ends.

The ARHK, or the Autonomous Region of Hong Kong are a highly industrialized and technologically capable faction who have forces in Merika in an attempt to scavenge lost technology to support their own society. Following directives from the Board of Directors in the hermetically sealed city of Hong Kong, the ARHK troopers are a strange and terrifying sight in the wastes.

In the midst of an utterly depressing world, The Church of Fun espouses excess and hedonism. The very ethos of “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die” the Church of Fun are a drug-crazed group that is a force of chaos in the wastes.

Unicephalon are a conspiracy of hidden operatives who seek to shape humanity towards the concept of Re-Birth, a plan to recreate society to what it should be. Part illuminati and part knights templar the group is perhaps one of the closest to the “Good guys” despite their reliance on espionage and secrecy as their methods.

The Vale are a death cult that hold the belief that mankind has existed past its due date and they exist merely to clean up by destroying what’s left of humanity.

Caravaneers serve the basic need of trade between settlements. They travel the dangerous roads between civilized settlements, braving raiders and dangers to make sure that they make a sale.

The Fringes are not so much a faction as a catch-all term for small crews that have been forced to work together. They are not members of any of the Factions and simply work towards survival. Many Adventurers fall under this category as they are often mercenaries working for one Faction or another as needs dictate.



Mechanics

Wreck Age is designed to be playable as both an RPG and a Tabletop Game. As I am predominantly an RPG player, I’ll focus mainly on the RPG side, but I’ll see if I can throw in a comment or two with regards to the Tabletop side of the equation as well.

Wreck Age mechanics involve rolling a pool of d6′s against a given Target Number. Unlike other Target Number based systems, the TN applies to each die, much like a Difficulty number from the Classic World of Darkness. Therefore rolling against a TN of 4+ means that dice rolling a 4 or greater count as a success. Some tests also require multiple successes.

Rolling a natural 1 is an automatic failure regardless of any bonuses. While rolling more than a single 6 adds a value of 1 to one of the 6′s’ rolled. This took me a bit to understand, but is fairly simple when you get the hang of it. Rolling three 6′s for example, will add +2 to one of the dice, giving an end result of 8, 6, 6



Character Creation

Creating characters start with the group getting together to put together a community. This dictates which Faction (if any) the player characters will be coming from and the Archetypes that they can choose from.

There’s a large list of archetypes, ranging from “generic” ones with no faction affiliation to those belonging to specific factions. These are then customized later by spending points. Interestingly only the Reclaimers, Stakers, Stitchers and Drifters get full archetypes.



Scenarios and Campaigns

Wreck Age finishes up with the standard Tabletop game rules for scenarios and stringing such scenarios together into a campaign as well as a few pages of advanced rules.



Conclusion

Wreck Age is a Post-Apocalypse game that makes a good effort at being both an RPG and a tabletop game. Part of me feels that the RPG part is a little thin, and the way that the mechanics are presented at the same time make it difficult to learn one without having to try and slog through the other. I also found myself going through the rules several times just to get a few mechanics.

The setting and artwork are very evocative, and I’m definitely interested to run and play games in the setting as presented, but learning to run it is going to require a night or two of focused study.

Wreck Age will be easier to learn if you’re a tabletop player, of course, and the various units and factions are compelling and have a strong visual identity for hobbyists that enjoy the painting aspect of it. From the images of the miniatures in the book, the figures are pretty neat.

Overall, I would definitely recommend giving Wreck Age a shot if you’re a fan of post-apocalypse settings. Tabletop players will find it easier to get into, but rpg players with a taste for tactical combat will find that Wreck Age is right up their alley.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wreck Age: A Post-Collapse RPG and tabletop game
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Covert Ops Role Playing Game
Publisher: DwD Studios
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/08/2014 02:07:11
Once again DwD Studios manages to wow me with the simplicity and elegance of a game. Using the same system from Barebones Fantasy, Covert Ops takes on the espionage genre and delivers maximum fun for minimum complexity.

Covert Ops is an excellent beginner game in the sense that the mechanics are easy enough to understand and teach so that even a new player with no experience with rpgs, but a good handle on the espionage genre can get in on the fun with a minimum of fuss.

One other thing to note is that the Covert Ops product has a whole bunch of pdfs, including a Core Rulebook and a GM Operations Manual and The Usual Suspects, a book on NPCs.



Core Rulebook

Character creation is easy to follow, but surprisingly robust, with a large list of possible backgrounds to support all sorts of characters. Skills function similarly to Barebones Fantasy, where each “skill” functions as a skill group and are used in any situation where that concept is applicable. The Medic skill for example could be used for anything from applying emergency first aid, to studying the nature of a dangrous engineered virus that the bad guys plan to unleash onto the population.

As with all Espionage games, Covert Ops features a neat equipment section that covers everything from equipment packs to cover identities. A neat little trick is that players are also allowed to invent gadgets with GM permission. No complicated accounting here, gadgets are merely costed according to plausibility with modern technlology. Guns and vehicles are also listed here, with respective examples.

Martial Arts is also represented well by Covert Ops, with a large selection of special maneuvers that players can roll for or select from.

Base creation is also covered with a simple point-buy system that is made available to player characters who have reached rank 4. It’s a neat little subsystem that works well for the genre and gives the players an extra sense of ownership over the setting.

The GM guidelines section is very comprehensive, which is a godsend for any espionage GM. There’s plenty of tables to roll for making a mission, getting henchmen and other useful little details especially in a genre where GMs really have to think on their feet.

The last part of the book details SECTOR, a mysterious international paramilitary and counter-espionage organization as a default organization for players to operate in. It’s a neat little hook to have a group of well armed operatives from any nationality able to team up and deal with the evils of the modern world.



GM Operations Manual

This book is an addition 112 pages of alternative rules and guidelines expressly aimed at helping GMs with run Covert Ops. I won’t go into exhaustive detail, but I will say that this is one of the handiest GM handbooks I’ve read in a while.

Each of the options opens up the game to different variants and offers neat ways to customize and tailor fit the game to different gaming groups. The language is accessible and when used properly as options, can go a long way to enhancing the already fun and experience of a Covert Ops game with a cost of a minimal increase in complexity.



The Usual Suspects

The last book in the set is a collection of starting character archetypes and experienced agents for use in a game. The starting archetypes are all rather neat and cover a wide range of character concepts so I’m sure it will be easy for anyone to just grab one and go. The Experienced agents will be handy for a GM to use if they need to put in an experienced agent to work with the player characters as well



Everything Else

Along with the books, the set also contains a Character Sheet, Outfitting Reference Sheet, Enemy Organization Worksheet, Mission Generation Worksheet, an optional Hit Location damage tracking sheet and Development Point checklist for making DP awards easy.



Conclusion

DwD Studios knocks this one right out of the park. Covert Ops delivers an incredible amount of value for its cost and hits all the things I look for in a game: good rules, good art, good layout and options to make the game your own. GMs are supported beyond just a simple chapter at the end, and the game can do anything from Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell to G.I. Joe.

Few games can deliver this kind of value for money and yet DwD Studios does it effortlessly. Great job, guys, this one is a definite must buy for me.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Covert Ops Role Playing Game
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Accursed
Publisher: Melior Via
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/07/2014 23:16:35
Accursed has an interesting spin on the traditional dark fantasy formula by making heroes of the monsters. Players take on the role of the Witchmarked, twisted monstrosities and victims of the Witches that serve as the primary bad guys of the setting.

To just hit the finer points of the history, a group of powerful Witches attacked the world of Morden with armies of monstrosities, and won at great cost. Humanity had lost to the bad guys. The Witchmarked are the few monsters that have struggled to retain their humanity, and are using their powers to fight back against the rule of the Witches, to protect humans that fear and hate them for what they are.

The Witchmarked come in several forms, including the vampiric Dampir, artificial Golems, patchwork Mongrels, ancient Mummies, deceptive Ophidians, wrathful Revenants, ethereal Shades and animalistic Vargr. Each of these present a host of different abilities that make them well suited to the strategies of the Witches responsible for their creation.

Overall, the Witchbreeds are imaginative and interesting, and I can see how a group of these would come off as a formidable team as opposed to a parody of the Universal Studios monsters. Each Witchbreed has a starting package of abilities and weaknesses, and a further list of Edges that they can choose from.

As with most Savage Worlds games, Accursed shouldn’t be mistaken as a horror game. Sure there are monsters and such, but the way that the Witchbreeds are laid out and the role of the player characters are described, the game will swing towards Dark Fantasy Action than anything else. Kind of like what would happen if Alucard from Castlevania decided to go all Solomon Kane on a fantasy world.

Overall, Accursed presents an exciting and interesting setting with all the hallmarks of Gothic fantasy with enough Pulp sensibilities to make it action-oriented and fun. There’s room for swashbuckling monsters righting wrongs, and I certainly can’t complain about that. The artwork is stunning, and the writing is solid. Definitely looking forward to further releases for this line.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Accursed
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