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Zelart 042: Elven Pair (Scholarship Winner 2013)
Publisher: Postmortem Studios
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/12/2014 11:26:55
This is a well-constructed picture of a pair of elves - a male archer and a female spell-caster - nicely understated and natural looking. Perhaps they show your character, or they may be people you meet during a forest stroll.

It also marks the first award of a scholarship programme in memory of the late Darkzel, an artist who has featured in some 40 of Postmortem Studios art pieces. Someone who will be missed greatly by those who like his work, but who will live on not only in his published work but in the scholarship programme established to use the proceeds of his existing work to fund the studies of up-and-coming fantasy artists. An excellent idea for which Postmortem are to be commended.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Zelart 042: Elven Pair (Scholarship Winner 2013)
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Worlds of Pulp: Generic Random Event tables for Super Heroes
Publisher: Scaldcrow Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/09/2014 11:30:16
What do super heroes actually do?

The average super hero's day is spent racing around in a fancy outfit fighting super villains, stopping criminals in their tracks and dealing with accidents and natural disasters, right? But have you ever stopped to think about how they find out what's going down and get to the right place to deal with it? Not everyone has a good enough relationship with the local police to have their own version of the Bat Sign beamed out when they are needed, and not every plotline walks up and taps on the door of their secret lair.

For that matter, how do you, the GM, decide what this week's exciting adventure will be?

This product has an answer. Imagine that our super heroes go 'on patrol' around their local area, and then deal with whatever comes up. When they go out, grab these tables and roll some dice. The first table gives a storyline in broad strokes, then sub-tables refine the ideas... Just reading through the options may suggest an idea for an adventure, or an idea may strike as you roll.

To add a little spice, there are several tables of 'Plot Twists' to add to the core outline already generated. It is recommended that they are used quite sparingly, and not until you are several sessions into a campaign as many build on events that have already taken place in your game world - which is, of course, an excellent way of reinforcing the shared alternate reality that you and your players are creating.

This is a fun and useful resource worth a look for any GM running games in this genre, irrespective of the game system being used.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Worlds of Pulp: Generic Random Event tables for Super Heroes
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Mindjammer - The Roleplaying Game - FREE PREVIEW
Publisher: Modiphius
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/08/2014 12:15:15
Opening with a spectacular 2-page spread showing the worlds of the New Commonality of Humankind in a pseudo-3D that shows spacial relationships extremely well, this preview gives an overview of the Mindjammer RPG in its latest incarnation using the FATE core ruleset.

Chapter One provides an introduction which explains what the full corebook will contain, with 24 chapters that cover everything from explaining the history and background of the New Commonality of Humankind to generating characters and scenario ideas to get you started, before providing a whistle-stop tour of all the basics in one-tenth of the pages.

Next, Chapter Two: The Basics provides a skim-view of everything you'll need to play, from introducing what a role-playing game is anyway to running through the choices you will have to make as you create your character. Some may seem a bit confusing if you are not familiar with this setting, but it is quite easy to pick up with the explanations given, although if you want a real feel for it try the 'Mindjammer' novel by Sarah Newton (author of this game as well) - it's an excellent read, I recommend it.

Back to this work, though... and Chapter Eleven (?), which explains the Mindscape, possibly the defining element of this setting. It is a sort of Internet but one that connects direcly and permanently via the mind rather than by means of external technology (would my reviews read better if I merely had to think them rather than type?) and which allows location of obscure data or even mental control of devices. There's a whole lot more to it than that, of course... and then there's a wierd jump to what appears to be the middle of the chapter on Starships, and then another jump to World Creation - it appears that whole sections have been sampled and stuck together, rather than an overview written from scratch.

Well, there's quite a lot on world building, the factors that have to be considered and the options available; and then we find ourselves precipitated into the equally fascinating subject of Alien Life (which is Chapter 21). Again a stutter, launching us mid-sentence into an interesting discussion of Themes, Genre and Styles of Play. The setting is in some ways a mere backdrop, you can play just about any sort of game you want here - quite a delight, but almost scary in the range of possibilities this opens up. Finally, a couple of fully-developed worlds are presented.

This preview is a somewhat breathless glimpse into what the full game contains. It's not a 'quick start' but it does give a real feel for what is to come, and if it's anything to go by, I want a copy!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mindjammer - The Roleplaying Game - FREE PREVIEW
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Instant NPCs: Elves (PFRPG)
Publisher: Asparagus Jumpsuit
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/08/2014 10:52:59
Like me, author Berin Kinsman reckons that the most dangerous monsters come on two legs, thinly disguised as the other people around you... and whilst major villains deserve full development, the 'bit-part' NPCs can be a lot more basic. Yet although many can be roughed out in a few descriptve words, sometimes you need to know their stats as well.

Here, then, is the solution: a ready-made collection of 'character frameworks' to put the mechanics into the NPCs you need all the time, the ones who you can readily describe to your players but need the stats for when the dice come out - be it a full-blown brawl, a game of cards or someone attempting to sneak by undetected.

The core of the product are the stat blocks for the five NPC classes - Adept, Aristocrat, Commoner, Expert and Warrior - each for levels 1 through 20. To make everything clear, there is quite a lot of explanation, and the stat blocks themselves have been laid out for ease of use (including links to the Pathfinder SRD if you are using it online). NPCs who can be expected to use spells have prepared spells listed (and there are notes on changing these if prefered), and weapons used, feats, skills and equipment carried are also included. Interestingly, each one is given TWO XP totals: one is the XP accrued by that NPC to reach the level he's at and the other is the XP that the party can earn by defeating him - this can be in combat, or could even come by thwarting his plans or otherwise outwitting him if you choose to allow it. Indeed, any resolution to an encounter that results in the party gaining their objective can lead to the XP award.

As these NPCs are elves, their racial bonuses and abilities have already been factored in, so you do not need to worry about them. As these are NPCs, built using the NPC class, they are not really suitable to be used as player-characters, although the suggestion is made that they could be used as 'less complicated' characters for newcomers to Pathfinder, or as GMPCs to fill out a party as needed - being easier for a GM to play whilst attending to his other duties.

If you make use of a lot of interactions between the party and an array of NPCs, this can help with your prep work, or even supply the NPC you need on the fly mid-game. A nice, handy resource.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Instant NPCs: Elves (PFRPG)
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Dreams of the Red Wizards: Scourge of the Sword Coast (D&D Next)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/07/2014 10:25:04
This is an interesting way in which to lay the groundwork for the upcoming edition change, both in terms of giving everyone (not just the diehards who have slogged through ten iterations of the playtest materials) a chance to play 'D&D Next' before it is released and also because the in-game groundwork is being set for a cataclysm that will be literally world-changing for the Forgotten Realms... thus setting the scene for the changes in the way you will play there.

There's quite a lot of background to absorb, especially if you haven't seen the previous campaign Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle - although this is perfectly playable if you have not played through it - but the action soon starts with the characters arriving at Daggerford in the midst of a refugee crisis. Plenty of opportunities for interaction, and even a spot of brawling, from the outset and a chance for the party to get to know Daggerford if they have not previously visited the settlement.

Once they actually gain admittance to Daggerford, there are opportunities to find out what is going on... or at least why there are refugees trying to get in and why the local lordling is less than friendly towards them. Missing persons and missing items, as well as the raids that have displaced the refugees, provide ample opportunity for a party of adventurers to get involved. Loads of detail is provided to help you make the place and its inhabitants come to life, it is presented as a dynamic living township whose locals have their own lives to lead, not a backdrop for your party's adventures, which all goes towards creating a rich shared alternate reality for the characters to inhabit.

One notable feature of the mechanics is that encounters and monsters do not come with XP values: instead, the DM is to reward the party by advancing all of them to the next level as they achieve certain goals in the adventure. Some may find this a bit rough and ready (well, go calculate your own rewards as appropriate), while others may find it convenient (it is something I have been doing for years anyway!).

There are lots of opportunities for adventure other than the main thrust of this scenario, which creates a good free-form air - just about anywhere the party decides to go, there will be something going on for them to interact with. However, the second part of the main plot takes the party to the village of Julkoun and other locations in the area such as a hunting lodge, a ruined castle and a beautiful manor house and more. Some maps are provided within the adventure covering all the locations, but most would be quite hard to share with the players - a few players' maps would enhance this product.

All monsters encountered are presented in an appendix with D&D Next stat blocks. The download also includes several documents that cover all that you need to play this edition of D&D, necessary if you have not been following the playtest and handy even if you have.

Overall, this is an excellent introduction to what the next edition of D&D will be like, and a good way to find out relatively inexpensively if you are going to want to play it once the full release is out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dreams of the Red Wizards: Scourge of the Sword Coast (D&D Next)
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Spell Innovations, Mirror Image
Publisher: The Knotty-Works
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/06/2014 11:21:07
The Mirror Image spell is quite fun to start with, and an innovative wizard can do a lot to confuse his enemies (or entertain his friends) with it. Here there are a full ten variations on the basic spell, with the potential to cause even more mayhem.

One neat variant is Duplicate Target. To cast it, you make a touch attack on an enemy, and it is designed to confuse his allies making it harder for any healing or buffs to be applied to him. Although there are now several of him (just like Mirror Image) you can distinguish which is the real one, even the other members of your party can tell who they ought to be hitting.

Or maybe you'd prefer Mirror Image Intervention, which cuts down the random chance of someone hitting you rather than one of your images - the mirror images actually get in the way of attacks, the basic spell allows for one such intervention, and as you rise in level more of them do so.

If you really do not wish to be hit, go for Mirror Image Evasion which not only creates mirror images of you, you yourself become invisible.

A neat little collection for those who want to try something a little different with a classic spell.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Spell Innovations, Mirror Image
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The Jester Dragon's Random Brothel Generator
Publisher: Skirmisher Publishing
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/06/2014 10:06:04
This is the kind of resource that you never knew you needed until you have it in your hands (or at least, on your computer screen)! It is the nature of things that adventurers will have, ah, certain needs and may need to associate with those of 'negotiable affection' to have those needs satisfied; sometimes an adventure may even involve a visit to such an establishment... I remember a very embarassed Paladin in a Dungeons & Dragons game who was required to interview the Madam of one of the town's houses of ill repute during a murder investigation - as the DM, it was quite entertaining to watch the player squirm!

Here then is a series of tables to enable you to generate 'instant' brothels whenever the need arises. Everything from the name of the establishment to which fetishes they cater to, what diseases incautious patrons may catch, the rules of the house (and the penalties for breaking them)... even the 'signature moves' of those who work there can be determined.

Perhaps your character's pillow partner for the night claims to be a writer doing research for a book... maybe the establishment hides behind the facade of the Friendly Local Game Store... and of course your character does know that there's to be no spellcasting on the premises - because he'll find himself getting a spanking if he does!

You may find that a visit to the house of ill repute becomes a feature of future adventures rather than an aside after a night in the tavern once you start using this resource.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Jester Dragon's Random Brothel Generator
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Traveller Adventure: Three Blind Mice
Publisher: 13Mann Verlag
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/06/2014 07:14:06
This is an interesting and very open adventure which can be run in many different ways depending on what the Referee wishes to achieve. The basic concept involves stowaways on a starship, but notes are provided such that the characters may be crew, stowaways or... possibly most fascinatingly... both at once. Pre-generated characters are provided, with the stowaway ones in particular being given extensive backstories as to just why they have decided to travel in this manner. Given the background, I think it best that if the players are to be the stowaways the pre-generated characters should be used: although the crew pre-gens are nicely-rounded characters any characters with the appropriate skills will do.

The adventure is divided into several phases including the loading and departure of the ship, events on board and what happens on arrival at their destination and beyond. Plenty of detail is provided for administering these events from either standpoint: the party being the stowaways or them being the crew, or indeed both. In this last case it is recommended that for best effect the two groups be separated for play until the stowaways are discovered.

Given the nature of the stowaways' reason for fleeing their homeworld, there are interesting ethical issues over and above those of dealing with stowaways which are of particular note if you have player-character crew attempting to deal with the situation - and these could lead to longer-term involvement, or even drive your campaign for a while depending on how involved your players wish to get.

As mentioned, the adventure is well-resourced with background material as well as with loads of pre-generated characters; and there is also a map of the downport at the destination world which comes into play if the characters either are the stowaways or decide to aid them after arrival. Throughout, numerous options are offered, making it easy to cope with player actions. The adventure could also work well as a convention adventure with limited running time and using the pre-generated characters.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Traveller Adventure: Three Blind Mice
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New Paths Compendium (Pathfinder RPG)
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/05/2014 11:55:08
Whether or not you have been collecting the 'New Paths' series, if the idea of being something just that little bit different appeals this is well worth a look... and there is new content as well as an efficient reorganisation of the material to make this a very useful reference, be you a player looking for a novel character or the GM who has to handle him in play.

The first chapter looks at the new base classes introduced in this series: Battle Scion, Elven Archer, Savant, Shaman, Spell-less Ranger, Theurge and White Necromancer. Each comes with a dramatic full-page illustration of a member of that class and extensive game mechanical and flavour details about what it is like to follow this profession and all the rules you need to do so. As well as the Class Features and necessary tables, there are also notes on how best to play one, role-playing ideas to help you bring the character to life, and a sample character - use it straight off if you are in a hurry, or as a template to build your own.

The next section provides a whole bunch of archetypes for each of the new classes as well as for the existing ones. Excellent for those of you who like to plot each and every element of your advancement - and if some of my players are anything to go by, this is something that is growing in popularity. So even if you are not looking to play one of the new base classes, there are still plenty of ideas for new and fascinating directions in which to take your Gunslinger or Monk or... and of course, if you are willing to take levels in more than one class it can get even more interesting.

This is followed by a mammoth collection of new Feats and Traits - put it this way, the one-line summary chart runs to 3 pages before you even get to the detailed write-ups. Again, this is well worth looking over whatever class you play, there's bound to be something that will give that tailor-made twist to your character.

The next chapter has a selection of new spells. Many are referenced in the spell lists available to the new classes, but most can be used by anyone with the necessary casting abilities. Finally, there is a catalogue of new magic items and magic gear for anyone who has the shopping (or crafting) urge. The highest level group of my players has just started to get into magical item crafting big style - they even asked that I held off the next adventure for a couple of weeks game-time so that they could finish making what they wanted! - and this can be an exciting angle to develop as characters get to sufficiently high levels. Even if you are not so much into the magic, there are some new weapons and other items of equipment to consider.

OK, you now have all these exciting abilities at your disposal, so you may find the bunch of Tracking Sheets provided of use to, well, keep track of them - everything from tracking your arrow use to keeping a tab on what your summoned creatures are up to.

If you like pushing the limits and trying out new character concepts and ideas, this is recommended.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
New Paths Compendium (Pathfinder RPG)
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USR Cyberpunk
Publisher: Trollish Delver Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/03/2014 09:56:47
To be used in conjunction with the Unbelievably Simple Role-playing system, this provides the resources and game mechanics necessary for running a cyberpunk game.

Beginning with a very brief introduction to the cyberpunk genre, it then launches in to creating a cyberpunk character under the USR rules. This is, as you might imagine, really straightforward. Core attributes are Action, Wits and Ego, with subsiduary ones being Hits and Humanity. The primary attribues each have a die assigned to them, one each of a d10, a d8 and a d6 - choose depending on what you intend your strength to be. You complete character generation by picking three Specialisms, skills you are particularly good at, these give you an initial +2 to a roll of the appropriate die for the controlling Attribute for that Specialism. The one oddball Specialism is Weapon Proficiency, which only gives a +1 to your roll.Then you need equipment and cyberwear, and to write some background for your character. That's it. Pretty simple.

The next chapter deals with Character Archetypes - the standard cyberpunk ones of a Face, a Hacker, a Mechanic and assorted combat types. Each comes with a brief overview of their role and suggestions as to Specialisms. The following chapter gives more detail on each Specialism. Throughout, players are encouraged to invent their own Archetypes and Specialisms so as to create precisely the sort of character they'd like to play.

Then there is a chapter on Weapons and Armour. Each weapon gets a modifier to an attack roll, and has a range, possible special features and a cost. Armour negates a certain amount of damage if you're unlucky enough to get hit.

The next section is on Cyberwear, which includes 'OverNet Decks' - the interface Hackers use to connect with the OverNet, this game's term for what the internet has become. Other Cyberwear includes sensory enhancements and body enhancements/replacements... but no implanted weapons.

Next up, Hacking, which gives a quite comprehensive overview of how to go about it in terms of game mechanics, and is followed by chapters on Writing Software and Viruses. It's good to see a cyberpunk system go into plenty of detail, often the poor Hacker is neglected in favour of more action-based characters. Here, the software creation system gives the Hacker something to do apart from actually messing about online - although if you know many serious coders, you'll know that they can be as uncommunicative when writing code as the popular image of a cyberpunk Hacker netrunning!

Another classic aspect of cyberpunk culture comes next: Drugs. A lot of those presented provide enhancement to mind or body (at least until the effects wear off), and quite a few of these are actually street-legal. There's also a brief note on creating your own.

Next there is an overview of life in a cyberpunk world, and the work finishes with a couple of example characters.

For a cut-down basic ruleset, this has most of what you need although it is best if you already have a clear idea of what 'cyberpunk' means, the overview of life in a cyberpunk world is quite thin.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
USR Cyberpunk
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Grave Undertakings: The Tomb of Caragthax [Revised]
Publisher: Total Party Kill Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/01/2014 12:34:59
I never saw the original version of The Tomb of Caragthax, but apparently it was one of Total Party Kill Games's very first adventures and by all accounts deadly enough to be worthy of the company name! Now its back, revised to accommodate both advances in the Pathfinder RPG and the improved capabilities of its publisher... starting with the magnificent cover art that almost reaches of the page to grab at you, and almost doubled in size.

The backstory presents a picture that would surely scare even the bravest adventurer, and deterr them from entering the cairn the discovery of whose entrance is the starting point of the adventure, did they but know it. Keep this to yourself! Three 'hooks' are provided to sucker them in. Whichever one you use, they will soon find themselves at a small circle of stones, in the centre of which is a sinkhole, through which they can see some steps leading down into darkness...

And the fun begins! Each location, event or encounter is well-resourced with 'read aloud' text, appropriate stat blocks and tactical notes to accommodate just about any character reaction. That said, the nature of the adventure's opening event means that you will need to be on your toes and well-prepared to deal with what is to follow. Without giving too much away, the party gets split up and you will have to manage individual characters as they strive to regroup with their fellow adventurers.

There is a nice touch in that when they have managed to do so and cleaned out the crypt they suddenly discover that it is by no means over and there is an even more fateful foe to fight (and a whole other complex to explore). It is suggested that adventurers should be at 5th level when you begin this adventure, and that they be allowed to level up to 6th for the second part... suffice to say they'll need it.

If you relish truly deadly dungeons and are not afraid of inflicting a Total Party Kill (it's quite possible here), this is an excellent example. You might prefer to run it as a one-off with characters created for the occasion, though.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Grave Undertakings: The Tomb of Caragthax [Revised]
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Bosun's Booty: Extras for Journeys to the West (Pathfinder RPG)
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/31/2014 10:32:43
If you cannot get enough adventure on the high seas (you are not alone), this work contains four complete new islands in Midgard's Western Ocean (already featured in Journeys to the West and Pirates of the Western Ocean) along with a glorious 2-page map, more monsters, a selection of NPCs and more.

The islands are described as 'lesser' but come provided with a wealth of information on history, geography, interesting locations and notable inhabitants. There's a nice colour map too... everything you need to facilitate a visit by the party to the island in question. Even better, there are interesting features to investigate and full-blown adventure hooks to kick matters off to a flying start. Snippets of poems and songs, and exerpts from the journals of one Bellalucca Caravicci adorn the pages too, building up a rich and living background that you can present to your players.

If you enjoy Bellalucca Caravicci's contributions, she is also written up as a full NPC, perhaps the party will meet her - maybe even feature in future journals!

The monsters are fascinating and unusual... the Diving Bell Spider (which traps air in its webs so as to live underwater although it's air-breathing!) and the Carnivorous Ship stand out, but there are other intriguing creatures there to meet/fight with.

Finally, there's a full plan of a galleon: views of each deck from above and a side elevation which helps you make sense of the layout.

A good addition to the Western Ocean, and even if you don't play in Midgard the islands could be located in any suitable sea with little modification - and of course the NPCs, monsters and the galleon are useful wherever you play.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bosun's Booty: Extras for Journeys to the West (Pathfinder RPG)
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No Quarter Presents: Iron Kingdoms Urban Adventure
Publisher: Privateer Press
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/30/2014 09:47:33
Urban adventures are always fun, never more so than in a steampunk campaign. This product contains a wealth of material for taking your Iron Kingdoms game onto the city streets, from new skills and classes for your characters to detailed background information on cities and an urban-based adventure for the GM. As such, the GM is going to have to look over the book and decide which bits the players will be allowed to access.

First up, Urban Adaptation looks at new careers for non-human races living in urban areas. Ogrun, for example, can put their strength to use as labourers as well as on the battlefield, while gobbers seem tailor-made for a role as Guttersnipes, surviving on petty theft and information brokering. Both ogrun and trollkin make formidable Pugilists, fighting to entertain their betters or working as doormen to some of the dodgier nightspots and gambling dens. Those interested in more legitimate careers might, if dwarves, become Searforge Traders with unmatched negotiation skills whilst an iosan might become a Seeker, a religious sect whose quest for knowledge can lead them down strange paths with even stranger company. Some nyss find that their natural hunting skills translate well to life on the streets as Urban Nomads. Each career comes with all the details needed to create and play a character - skills, assets, abilities and background notes on what it's like to be one. This chapter also has a selection of new abilities, mostly open to characters of any profession or race.

Next comes Urban Gear, being a collection of useful items that any urban adventurer may find of use. Weapons, equipment, alchemical substances... you name it, it might be found here. Characters who enjoy shopping will revel in these delights.

This is followed by a chapter on Urban Combat. This has lots of ideas about brawling effectively in an urban area, as well as the necessary game mechanics to make it happen. Things like using a large sword in tight quarters as well as an extensive section on unarmed combat - carrying an arsenal around with you is not always practical, socially acceptable or even legal in a city environment after all! Such skills can also be used in the arena by those who fight for pay. Also covered are improvised weapons - you may need to defend yourself with whatever comes to hand in an emergency.

Next up, Urban Labourjacks - with an array of new uses and modifications suitable for urban workplaces such as foundaries and manufactories.

We then move on to Five Fingers: A Concise Guide to the Port of Deceit. History, a beautiful map and copious notes on what it is like to live and work in the city, or just visit it for a few days. Crime, law, the Watch, and the costs of doing business are covered. There's also the chance to meet some leading citizens and notable organisations, before a detailed breakdown of the city island by island. The wealth of information here sparks plenty of ideas for adventures embedded in the life of the city... indeed this section is best kept for the GM (and possibly players of characters who are natives born and bred of Five Fingers).

Now we are into GM territory proper, with a collection of Urban Encounters which can be used as passing events, side-adventures or even full-blown plot-driving elements of your campaign as appropriate to your needs. In-character hooks are provided in the shape of news snippets, then there are notes about what is really going on and suggestions for what adventures or activities this situation might engender. Even outline stats for people involved are included.

Next, The Servants of Thamar introduces the cult of a dark goddess popular in the underbelly of crowded cities. As well as a description of the cult and its beliefs and practices, there are the necessary details for creating and running a cult member, spells and new abilities... and more. Not all of it nice - they practise necromancy amongst other unsavoury habits.

A chapter on Risk and Reward follows, a study of criminal activity and criminal enterprises, spreading well beyond the city limits and across all of the Iron Kingdoms. There's a comparative table of punishments in different cities and kingdoms - for all, it's best just not to get caught!

Finally, a full-blown adventure called Friends In High Places. It's designed for characters newly-arrived in Five Fingers - always a neat move, as characters and their players can learn about their new surroundings together, rather than players trying to cope with an unfamiliar setting that their characters have lived in for years. It's an exciting ride of gang warfare and intrigue, with plenty of action and opportunities to establish the party as a new force in town.

Overall, recommended for anyone running the Iron Kingdoms RPG especially if cities and the associated opportunities for intrigue and high-octane action appeal.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
No Quarter Presents: Iron Kingdoms Urban Adventure
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Super-Powered: Operation: Marshal Law
Publisher: Misfit Studios
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/29/2014 12:20:29
In a world where superpowered characters - villains and heroes alike - are to be found, it is necessary for official law and order organisations to adapt to the new threats and opportunities they pose... and the US Marshal Service is no exception. After all, governments never feel comfortable leaving things to vigilante groups, so law enforcement agencies need to prepare themselves to cope.

This product details how the US Marshal Service has changed, both in developing new doctrines for dealing with supervillains and in recruiting superpowered individuals into the service. This recruitment programme is known as Operation Marshal Law. Here we have notes on the recruitment and training process, as well as the roles superpowered US Marshals are likely to fill within the organisation. As this programme is in its infancy, it is unlikely that there will be many veteran superheroes who have done a stint with the Marshal Service, but characters might be approached with a job offer. For a campaign with an organised approach to law enforcement, the party could all be US Marshals - a move which makes it easy to direct the superheroes to undertake missions and gives a framework to their activities. (And, of course, rules and codes of practice which they'd better not transgress...)

Mechanically, becoming a US Marshal requires characters to obtain a Professional Edge US Marshal, reflecting the training they undergo. This includes a +2 Charisma bonus when exerting their authority as Federal Agents. A local office is described, including the resources and equipment available and the type of work undertaken.

There are also three adventure ideas to incorporate Operation Marshal Law into your game. One, interestingly, involves the party getting deputised, which is a good way of floating the idea of federal service to see if your players might be interested in a full-blown US Marshal-focussed campaign.

It's a neat idea, and a good way to get away from the vigilante approach taken by many superheroes.

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Super-Powered: Operation: Marshal Law
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Super Powered Bestiary: Aboleth to Cyclops
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/27/2014 05:29:54
Superheroes need foes! To be honest there isn't much point in being a superhero unless there's someone or something to fight. Often, it will be someone else who likes spandex costumes and has superpowers only they like to use them for evil, not good: a supervillain, in other words. But what else might you fight...

How about all the fantasy monsters that many of you know and love from fantasy, swords and sorcery RPGs?

Here the good folks at Rogue Genius Games have made a start at a systematic retooling of monsters from Dungeons & Dragons 3X (under the OGL) to Mutants & Masterminds 3e. They are not the only people doing this, from inhabitants of various online communities to other game publishers, but this is the first systematic bestiary (rather than a handful of monsters selected for a specific purpose) that I've seen.

The approach is systematic too, with each beastie getting a full stat block as well as descriptive text and sometimes an illustration. The descriptions are quite concise: if you need more, consult the 'fluff' element of the original, modifying it as necessary to suit the campaign world that you are using for your superhero game.

Not every creature gets an illustration, but the ones here are fresh and new, and in an appropriate comic-book style.

This is an interesting innovation. It won't suit everyone's superhero game, but many creatures can be used as 'aliens' (or their pets) if you have alien invasions as a theme in your game, whilst some may have developed under the influences of the same forces that have caused some individuals to develop superpowers in your world.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Super Powered Bestiary: Aboleth to Cyclops
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