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Rogue Trader: Battlefleet Koronos
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/04/2011 23:16:21
I had the opportunity to review 'Rites of Battle' recently and concluded that no 'Deathwatch' GM could run the game without it. Given the focus of 'Rogue Trader', I feel exactly the same way about this book. Chock-full of information which simply would not have fit in the main rulebook (a hefty tome in itself), this definitely required a separate supplement.

Perhaps the authors wanted to start with a bang, as it jumps straight into a vast array of new weapons which are simply devastating. Torpedoes are given a full treatment, followed by attack craft, then the impressive Nova Cannon and rounding off the chapter with a selection of new starship hulls. Each hull comes with an illustration in the best 40K style - aficionados of the wargame will not be disappointed. In fact, with 11 pages dedicated to new starships, the players and GM alike will not lack for choice. Having played a number of sci-fi RPGs, I can say that I'm always on the lookout for new vehicles, and this sentiment is obviously shared by the games' designers.

Chapter 2 gives an interesting overview of the form and function of the Imperial Navy and provides a range of interesting nuggets of information which can be seamlessly woven into your campaign. Chapter 4 likewise gives a host of new information for the game in terms of space warfare from squadrons to scaling space battles and is well worth the read.

Chapter 3 was actually the first one I read in the book. As a GM for 'Dark Heresy' and 'Deathwatch' I'm on immediate lookout for anything Xenos, and this chapter, whilst designed for 'Rogue Trader' is eminently useful for the other game lines too. Herein you'll find Orks and Eldar (among others) with new weapons, information and of course ships. In my opinion, the most useful 30 pages in the book, although I shan't disparage the quality of the other chapters.

The book has internal links which I have come to expect from FFG e-publications and this improves navigation immensely, especially as I see this primarily as a reference book. As I mentioned before, the artwork is wonderfully faithful to the wargame and the layout logical and readable.

I can't honestly see how one runs 'Rogue Trader' without a copy of this book and 'Into the Storm' as they form a core trilogy of purchases for any newcomer to the game.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Rogue Trader: Battlefleet Koronos
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Prince of Darkness
Publisher: Serpent King Games
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/04/2011 21:46:48
The beauty of this product is in how well it dovetails with the other Dragon Warriors mini-campaigns ('Elven Crystals' & 'Sleeping Gods'), but also that it is solid enough to stand alone if required.

The sidebars throughout the first section on the city of Glissom are a great addition and highly entertaining (especially the one on games played at one of the local tavern) and have been designed to give the GM a bit of insight into how the average day in the city could be played out. There are plenty of cultural quirks to make life interesting (for example, the section on the law should give rise to all sorts of roleplaying opportunities in this city), whilst there are also lots of memorable locations. For the latter, I'd highly recommend the very short section entitled 'Into the wild.'
Next, we are treated to a range of one paragraph adventure hooks linked to the locations discussed previously. There is a good mix of ideas, but really these are only very small sparks for the imagination. In true 'hook' style, you'll need to put a lot of work in if you want to construct an adventure around them. The overall quality is good, with a mixture of seemingly mundane and overtly arcane ideas, so a GM will be able to find an idea that will appeal to their party.

The adventure provides a good mix of challenges and there are definitely some old-school flavoured encounters sprinkled throughout, such as the Inn, the Siren Wood and the City of Mimir. However, there is a clever, consistent design to most of them, which adds to the story and the goals of the NPCs. In fact, the entire section in the Woods could be lifted and placed into any campaign world for a full night of challenge - you'll never look at the terrain, or the inhabitants in the same light again.
The final encounter has a number of surreal elements which give it a strong, mythic feel. Dragon Warriors authors have always been good at this - I often feel that when one relates the tale of one's adventure, the authors have given you the tools and experiences to make your story sound like legend.

On the note of terrain, this was the only part of the book which really needed a bit more work. As the weather was described evocatively, the scenery changing to delineate each scene, and the story hinging on a great thaw - I expected there to be a bit more interplay between the environment and the party. Alas this was not so. Whilst it would have been nice, it takes little effort to include some conditional effects and challenges, so this hasn't influenced my rating too much at all.

As a mid-level adventure (5th - 7th level), the combat encounters are appropriately pitched to give the characters pause, but unless they do something incredibly stupid, I can see consistently hard challenge as opposed to a total party kill. That said, the encounters are easily scalable, and the environment and encounter terrain can always be used to give critters an advantage.

The production values are up to usual Dragon Warriors standards in that they evoke the feeling of old school RPGs in the artwork and cartography - both of which are very pleasing to the eye. The layout of the book aids its usefulness, and all the information you need for an encounter or scene is usually on the same page - a welcome change from some other fantasy RPGs. I'd recommend this adventure book to any GM of fantasy RPGs, not just Dragon Warriors.

A top-notch product, and Serpent King should be applauded for keeping this classic game in print.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Prince of Darkness
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Deadlands Reloaded: For Whom the Whistle Blows
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/30/2011 03:30:40
This is a fine example of genre-blending that has been the hallmark of the entire Deadlands game line. There are a number of iconic Western elements here from bandits to steam trains and frontier towns but all with a healthy (or not so healthy for the characters) dose of the supernatural.

The backstory for this module gives the entire product a great sense of consistency. The premise for the game is that the posse is hired onto a steam train for a simple job, but there are greater machinations at play here. Whilst the story elements and the ideas are quite straightforward, I found them novel and engaging. I'd firmly believe that players would react in the same way once they figure out the story.

As such, it is very difficult to give too much detail without some major spoilers. That said, the writing is of a high quality, the scenes compact and easy to run and there is scope to have this run over two or three sessions. I would recommend this for any group with a few games under their belt as this does require a bit of knowledge about the game world to grasp fully.

The only criticism is about the train diagrams. There is a note in the text indicating that the Marshall can visit the Pinnacle website and download the maps of the train scaled for miniatures. I really don't see why they couldn't have been included in the product and saved the Marshall the extra step to acquire them.

Overall, this is easily of the same standard I fondly recall from the older Dime Novels and should give a few sessions of enjoyable play.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Reloaded: For Whom the Whistle Blows
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1920s Investigator's Companion
Publisher: Chaosium
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/26/2011 05:40:02
When running Cthuhlu, I have a firm desire to stick predominantly with the Victorian age. Foggy London back alleys, dark cults and secret societies hiding under a veneer of respectability all call strongly to my sensibilities.

The '1920's Investigator's Companion', though, has gone a long way to making me think about alternate timelines to run the game in. Written in the usual informative style and peppered with 'authentic' images, the book does a great job of evoking a sense of another time. The sidebars are just as useful and stand out to give the Keeper a bit of extra flavour when designing their game, or running a set module from this time period.


The book is divided into four sections:

Part One provides a historical overview of the 'Roaring '20's' and notes about most of the major occurrences of the decade. The game information really comes to the fore in Part Two, which describes specific occupations, extra rules and some pointers for playing a character in the 1920's. Part Three, which provides and overview of the technology, science and culture of the time is my favourite part of any Cthulhu book - and this one doesn't disappoint. The section on research tools was especially illuminating and there are plenty of prime examples which an enterprising Keeper can use to bring disparate information resources to the attention of the investigators. Whilst the further notes on transportation, general equipment and weapons were interesting, it was the former section with held my attention. It would be a good counterpoint to modern games where information is usually seen as a ubiquitous, highly accessible resource - in Cthuhlu, the secrets should be a little harder to find and put together (although we know the price of doing so).
Part Four is a must-read for any player, presenting a range of tips and advice for playing an investigator. There are hints on effective questioning techniques, licensing, using force and firearms, and an overview of the state of forensic science in 1920 (which is a great read by itself).

In all, this is a brilliant book and up to the standards I expect from Chaosium. Cthuhlu has been running for a couple of decades now, and with sourcebooks like this is isn't hard to see why. I'd recommend this for the shelf of all Cthuhlu Keepers.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
1920s Investigator's Companion
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Shadowrun: Mission: 04-03: Rally Cry
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/26/2011 05:08:03
'Rally Cry' does work best when combined with the other organised play modules for SR4, but does stand alone well enough to offer a great nights' play. The 'Missions' style of play is very well-executed idea, especially when used outside of convention play. The modules, this one included, are written very tightly with a keen eye to keeping the plot moving and reasonably achievable in a short time.

The overall plot for 'Rally Cry' is classic Shadowrun - it looks easy on the surface, but plenty can go wrong for a group that is not organised or lacks a grasp on the subtle. There are enough twists to keep a one-night module interesting and enough leeway for the 'runners to get creative and take the plot in a direction which interests them. There is the return of a few characters from previous 'Missions' in this season so opportunities exist for character development too.

The one stand-out section for me occurs at the rally, and was written such that I had to re-read it a couple of times to make sure that I hadn't jumped to the wrong conclusion (which I had). If you can get this to play in the same fashion in your game, the PCs will have a moment of pure, complete terror. Enjoy it.

Stylistically, this is a great addition to the Shadowrun line and should offer an enjoyable play experience. In the tradition of other 'Missions; modules there are lots of tips and design elements which make GMing a breeze.

Highly recommended.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Mission: 04-03: Rally Cry
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Ultimate Chase Decks: Forest & Jungle Chases (PFRPG)
Publisher: LPJ Design
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/05/2011 20:12:33
As Paizo seems to be releasing decks of every possible use (Critical Hits, Item Cards and Adventure Path-specific decks), it was inevitable that other companies would take this idea and run with it.

The chase deck relies on a very simple idea. Narrate a chase, and then turn over cards to provide an evolving landscape with various challenges which must be overcome (usually by rolling against a target number) in order to continue the chase. The fact that this is environment-specific is a huge bonus, as the cards you'll draw will all be useful. If there are certain types of encounters you don't think fit in your campaign, simply remove those cards before play.

These are very inexpensive and I think that once you've seen (and used) a set you'll be able to gauge the usefulness of such an item for your own group. IT won't be to everyone's tastes, but I have, at times, really grappled to be creative in an unexpected chase scene. I've often felt that my examples have been a little less exciting than they should be, and the inclusion of a deck like this would provide some good inspiration in those cases.

My only gripe with these cards is mitigated by the price. Give the price tag, I can't expect high-quality, fantasy art (which is good, because that's not what is on them). I think that by using photos of real-world locations, the deck fails to evoke a sense of a fantasy world and provide stirring elements that would really take inspiration to a higher level. If these cards were a little more expensive, and with far better art, I believe that they would be a much better product.

That said, the idea is sound, the examples are diverse enough to ensure that they are useful and could generate excitement at the table. The price is extremely reasonable for this product, and I'd recommend DMs give this deck a chance.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Chase Decks: Forest & Jungle Chases (PFRPG)
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Sleeping Gods
Publisher: Serpent King Games
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/18/2011 18:17:44
‘Sleeping Gods’ is another high-quality instalment to the newly reprinted ‘Dragon Warriors’ RPG, and once again the folk at Serpent King Games need to be commended (if only for bringing one of my favourite RPGs back in print). The title consists of seven interlocking adventures, but there is a true flexibility to the modules. A GM could run any of them as stand-alone quests (by simply rubbing off the serial numbers and inserting their own NPCs and locations), as a larger campaign, or as part of an epic campaign mixed with other modules. This scalability is the first aspect that really appealed to me.

The modules are designed primarily to introduce the world and the social and political structures and expectations which are part of the fabric of the world. It illustrates these through the actions taken by the PCs and also in the types of encounters each module offers. Anyone wanting a fine example of ‘show, don’t tell’ should look no further. New players will not feel overwhelmed, but (and I’ll cover this in more detail later) neither should a new GM.

The first module; ‘The King under the forest’ is a dungeon crawl, and an excellent ‘first quest’. The character of Odo (introduced quite early) is one that has stayed with me since my first reading of this module in the 80’s and crops up from time to time. He is an example of a simple concept that can be re-used in any campaign to add some roleplaying opportunities for the characters. This simplicity of design is a recurring element throughout this product, and even if you don’t play ‘Dragon Warriors’, you should buy any of their modules if you enjoy fantasy role-playing.
There is a wry humour to some of the writing, which makes the text quite enjoyable and lends a sense of levity to some of the scenes (which is counterbalanced against the darkness and horror in some of the later modules). The humour also acts as a good icebreaker in some cases to encourage players to feel less inhibited about interacting with a scene. It was just more evidence that Dave Morris either had a lot of experience in dealing with new players, or simply has an excellent mind for designing for this group.

Each module in this series turns the spotlight onto the skills of a particular class, but not at the expense of anyone else. In doing so, it gives a well-rounded party equal opportunity to shine, and achieve goals that are directly tied to their own character. However, the absence of one of these classes in the party won’t overly detract from the play experience – it might just mean that some challenges are harder than others. On that note, the challenges faced by the party as they progress through each module vary greatly in difficulty. One skill all players will need to learn is how to approach problems intelligently, as some have quite lethal consequences.
Additionally, the watchword of the title seems to be ‘simplicity’. ‘Hunter’s Moon’ and ‘Sins of the Fathers’ are prime examples, where the premise is incredibly simple and straightforward – but the actual adventure has quite a bit of depth, and offers some unexpected twists.

The structure of the campaign is actually quite clever. Whilst the players are building their familiarity with the world, the NPCs and also creating relationships through roleplaying (something well-supported by the plot and tone of the adventures), the modules also scaffold the GMs abilities. Each module introduces something new, or a new rule to learn that would allow a novice GM to start building their skills. Additionally, the modules progress from a linear-style plot to increasing complexity of choices. The last module is a very loose series of events that a GM could use to tell their own story. With the preceding six stories under their belt, a green GM shouldn’t find this daunting.

This is definitely a product that is much more than the sum of its parts. I’d run any of these modules separately, but it is the consistency, attention to character (and uniquely enough, the GMs) development and authentic feel to the world that transforms these modules from ‘stand-alone’ to stand-out’.

I’m moving on to ‘Prince of Darkness’ with high hopes now…

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Sleeping Gods
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Dark Heresy: Church of the Damned
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/23/2011 17:20:01
‘Church of the Damned’ is a very strong follow-up to ‘The Black Sepulchre’ and proves without a doubt that sequels can be as good as the first instalment. It offers from the outset a promise that there will be something for everyone, whether you like action, mystery or simply just immersing yourself in the creepy horror that is the forty-first millennium.

It shares the same format as ‘The Black Sepulchre’, offering three interlocking stories. What is very appealing about this is that the authors have taken great care in making each adventure a distinct, unique experience, and have utilised the backdrop of the 40K universe effectively for this purpose. The first adventure takes place in a cathedral and offers insight into the daily workings of the Ecclesiarchy from sermons, holy texts, relic authentication and the medicae (including treatments for ailments of the mind, body and soul). The second moves to Gunmetal City and a tromp through the Underhive in pursuit of the less than salubrious elements of society. The adventure wraps up with a visit to a Shrine World where the level of blasphemy has been ‘turned up to eleven’.

As you can well imagine, the product delivers on its’ promise to offer all characters a chance to shine, but it was the little details that really made this a joy to read. Snippets of information about the daily duties of the Sisters of Battle, odd currency systems in the Underhive and even artwork which reflects the current range of Games Workshop miniatures (like the Skyshield platform just visible on p. 52) show that the authors are just as enthusiastic as the players in creating a believable, faithful world. The player handouts in the Appendix are excellent props and care has obviously been taken to make each look authentic – print these in colour for your players (accept no black and white substitutes).

I really can’t fault this product in terms of content, art direction and layout. The production values are high; but I would have liked to have seen the internal links to chapters and pages that have been evident in other FFG products. This is, however, a minor flaw in an otherwise perfect product. I’ll be eagerly awaiting part three to see how this all ends (which will hopefully be with a bang, and lots of fire).

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Heresy: Church of the Damned
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The Elven Crystals
Publisher: Serpent King Games
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/22/2011 17:53:35
It has been happy times since the classic ‘Dragon Warriors’ game has seen the light of print once more, and the republishing of this 1986 classic is a fine addition to the product line. This module excels on a number of levels, especially as an introductory adventure, and I really can’t recommend it enough for any gamer who is either an ‘old school’ devotee, or simply newer gamers after something of that milieu.

The great strength of ‘Dragon Warriors’ has always been in that the world is recognisable enough as a quasi-European Dark Ages, but with strong points of differentiation. It has always had a sword and sorcery ambience to the environment, the characters and in the way that the world works (even down to the choices of monsters included in this world). The background story about the wizard Elvaron and the forging of the crystals has a strong mythic element, and this is carried forward throughout the encounters in the module (my favourite being the Lyre of Ornas – this feels like something straight from a folktale). Again the recognisable elements of a kingdom that has fallen from glory, and artefact that can save it, and three quests all play to the sense that this is a legend unfolding for the characters.

The adventure is essentially three interlocking modules that form one continuous story. The locations have been well-chosen (the first is a forest, the second a castle and then on to a seaside village) and each has a distinct flavour that really does well to set each chapter apart from the others. There is also a great blend of underlying genre, moving from an almost fairytale-like story, to one that is almost classic dungeon crawl and finally onto a very creepy horror story. Whilst there is a fourth instalment (the heroic conclusion), this doesn’t take too long to run, hence my focus on the other three parts.

The encounters in the modules are challenging, but well-balanced, and in a ‘Keep on the Borderlands’ style, there are some NPCs who can be hired to even the odds. There are plenty of opportunities for canny characters to take advantage of terrain and creatively approach encounters; rather than a simple ‘stand and fight’ approach to combat. Scattered throughout you’ll also find a few homages to earlier fantasy games.

Overall, this is a brilliant experience. I’m also looking at ‘Sleeping Gods’ and ‘Prince of Darkness’, but I have no reason to believe that they will be any less than excellent. Serpent King should be congratulated for allowing this adventure to see light of day again and also for faithfully staying true to the original ‘Dragon Warriors’ game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Elven Crystals
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Into the Void
Publisher: White Wolf
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/18/2011 22:23:27
I'm actually quite surprised that this topic for a module hasn't appeared earlier. However, even in the oWoD metaplot, most of the Princes were deposed by NPCs or external forces bent on shaking the world up (and possibly selling a few new sourcebooks). The point of interest for this SAS is in the centre stage position of the PCs to the action (and even the act of killing the Prince, if so desired). It quite intelligently deconstructs the role of the Prince as a stabilising force in any city; so despite any misgivings a character might have about a tyrannical Prince, this should give them an appreciation for what the role actually does in ensuring a relative peace.
The featured McGuffin is tantalising enough to get even the most jaded character involved in the plot, the NPCs suitably well-detailed with solid purposes and motivations and the locations are generic enough to be dumped into any setting with minimal work. The main selling point lies in scalability, however. If you want to run this as a minor disruption occurring behind the veil of the Masquerade (with the odd breach or three) then it is possible. However, if you want full-blown news coverage of vampires in the streets, hordes of Inquisitors arriving to 'restore order', National Guard on the streets and opportunistic home-grown terrorists as plot points, then the tools are here two. Chances are, you'll want something in between, but everything is here for you to tailor the game to your groups' tastes.

Clearly one of the better SAS products I've read, and a welcome addition to the collection of any Vampire (Masquerade or Requiem) Storyteller.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Into the Void
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Legend of the Five Rings: The Great Clans
Publisher: Alderac Entertainment Group
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/17/2011 22:32:54
The recent AEG L5R products have shown a dedication to consistent excellence that would make a Crane proud. They are clearly working on conceptualising the game from a players perspective and offering titles that really flesh out the world of Rokugan and add to the immersion in their game.

'The Great Clans' is truly staggering in scope and also in the amount of flavour information they offer. The book is predominantly narrative, and general information, with each Clan given a single chapter.

The information presented in each chapter really goes a long way to making each Clan a very distinct entity and showcasing the diversity possible within the scope of each Clan. It generally avoids stereotypes, but does so in a manner that makes NPCs and ancestors more human whilst adhering to the distinct flavour of the Clan. Every Clan is treated to a historical overview of its roots, major achievements and conflicts throughout the history of Rokugan to give players an appreciation for how the Clan grew into its 'present day' format. There is strong attention to detail here with a solid internal consistency, but presented in a manner which is easy to read. Most of the history is presented as stories, with sidebars and additional boxed text providing clarifications or interesting facts. On this note, whoever was responsible for the layout needs to be congratulated. The text is easily broken up by high-quality art, and the text boxes provide something else to draw the eye to snippets of information.

In addition to this, you can expect to find some Alternate Paths for each Clan (I quite liked the Kitsune Ranger), new Schools (like the Daidoji Scout which is currently vying to be my favourite), Ancestors and NPCs (with full stat blocks which could be used for nay range of purposes), new Techniques and even new rules (such as Rural Traps, in the Crane section, which will be really useful).

In summary, excellent content, high quality production values and a book that should be on every L5R table.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Five Rings: The Great Clans
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Glimpses of the Unknown
Publisher: White Wolf
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/16/2011 17:33:06
You know that a product is going to be good when the intro fiction sends shivers up your spine and fires your imagination for Chronicle ideas. By the end of the book, I only had three words - top notch product. This is worth way more than the 6.99 price tag and I sincerely doubt that anyone would have enough free time to implement all of the really well-thought-out ideas - so you will get years of mileage from this title.

Essentially, 'Glimpses of the Unknown' offer a look at the 'weird stuff' (or as the writers term it 'Unnatural Phenomena') that leaks in through the Woprld of Darkness. The rationale is that in a world where there are blood-sucking monsters, rage-filled werewolves, stitched-together people and faerie-abductees, there has to be some residual oddness sloshing about.

The multitude of ways that this can manifest are detailed in each section, demarcated by game. There are a range of 'Seeds' which are one paragraph inspirations for stories and 'Plotlines' which are much more fleshed out ideas. All of the games receive a few new rules or useful game mechanics too.

The beauty with the product is twofold. Firstly, there is enough information in both Seeds and Plotlines to act as the catalyst to a game. You'll need to invest some time in building plot, but the ideas are brilliant - I could see potential for everything in this book. The Plotlines offer a little more in terms of aligning the ideas to a particular, but leave the idea open-ended, which I find quite valuable. The second aspect worth mentioning is that the ideas are easily transferable (and some even more interesting) if you transplant it to another game. The 'Waste not, want not' Plotline for Changeling, for example, would be an awesome Werewolf game and create a lot of tension if done well, whilst the 'Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat' Plotline (from the same section) could easily be redone for Mage. An enterprising Storyteller will be able to re-purpose and leverage the ideas here for any World of Darkness game (I'll be using it in my oWoD chronicles) or even any horror or urban game. In reading through the book, I could find nothing to complain about - hence it receives one of my rare 5-star ratings.

This aptly named product has given me a glimpse into the creative genius currently on-board at White Wolf and I'll be looking forward to any future multi-game products they release.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Glimpses of the Unknown
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White Wolf GenCon 2011 Promotional Materials
Publisher: White Wolf
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/16/2011 17:14:32
I've been wondering for a short while what direction White Wolf would be taking in the future. There has been a lot of references to the Old World of Darkness, Print on Demand, Digital-only Products and not a lot of firm information. To be perfectly honest, I didn't expect any concrete details, especially given the business model White Wolf were interested in pursuing.
This overview of the product release schedule provides those details, and there is some very exciting stuff in here. The folks behind the wheel at White Wolf seem to have a very clear vision backed up by extremely good products for 2011/12. Grab this file, and take a look for yourself - there is something for everyone in here from Translation Documents to Changeling: Victorian Age and lots of new SAS material.
Enjoy!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
White Wolf GenCon 2011 Promotional Materials
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Shadowrun: Street Legends
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/11/2011 22:20:54
These kinds of titles are just pure fun - and if you approach them in this fashion then you can't go too far wrong. I really have to be 'in the mood' to read through a book of NPC's as most that are published (I'm thinking of D&D in particular) are dry catalogues of characters who are cooler than the PCs and achieve this 'coolness' by breaking established rules.

Not so here.

'Street Legends' is actually quite a good read. Whilst I have always enjoyed the BBS-esque format of Shadowrun books, this one diverges and instead presents each NPC from an in-character perspective. The interspersed fiction is welcomed, and is quite well-written. As with the 'Sixth World Almanac' the fiction is used to change gears and provide some points of differentiation for the reader.

As for the actual characters chosen, it is a very eclectic bunch - mostly drawn from the newest iteration of SR (there are some exceptions, but not many). Does this detract from your enjoyment? Certainly not. What I would like to see, though, is a Volume 2 focusing on the 'old school' runners from previous editions - that would be a very neat supplement. There are methods of brining any of the NPCs into a standard campaign, without them overpowering the plot and taking centre stage, but any GM worth their salt can do this. The only disappointment for me was that there didn't seem to be an even enough spread among the types of characters offered - I feel that Catalyst could have covered a greater range of meta-humans. The meta-humanity angle seemed to be a missed opportunity, especially given the current 'Shadowrun: Missions' plotline.

In summary, it is a well-written, fine addition to your shelf, virtual or otherwise. It is fun reading for any Shadowrun fan. Ultimately, your appreciation (and use) of this supplement will purely depend on what your intended use for the title is. The newly discounted price makes it somewhat more accessible (and worth the price of purchase) - I certainly would not have paid USD45.00 for this PDF title.

I'll finish with the same thought as I started - if you want something that is a bit of fun to read then certainly pick up this latest SR4 title.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Street Legends
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Ships of The Black Desert: MC-30 Command Module
Publisher: Blue Max Studios
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/03/2011 05:14:31
Another awesome addition from Blue Max Studios which will have you wanting to purchase a lot more from this range. Suitable for any sci-fi setting (but with D6 stats), this outlines the full deck plans for a self-contained module. The idea is well imagined, and there is a strong internal consistency to the design that makes it more playable and believable.
The deck plans are interesting and would be extremely useful to minis games as well as RPGs. Overall, the production values are great, the text clear, well-written and easy to digest; whilst the graphics are sharp, and despite the maps being well-populated with furniture and fixtures, each icon is easily recognisable.
Hoping to see a lot more cool designs coming from Blue Max.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ships of The Black Desert: MC-30 Command Module
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