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Eric Lofgren Presents: Female Elf Fighter
Publisher: Misfit Studios
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/08/2014 10:14:47
A fine female elf fighter ready to do battle 'sword and board' style, dressed in sensible adventuring clothing and armour that actually offers protection - what's not to like?

In full colour, her armour has a greenish tinge and has a design inspired by leaves. Other than that, there is no real indication that she is an elf as her pointy ears are very sensibly protected by her helmet (aging LARPer who often played elves thinks this is a Good Idea...). Hence you could use her as a female human fighter if preferred.

Has anyone noticed how many of Lofgren's characters are left-handed? You could flip the image, but if you are going to publish it, make sure that the signature appears correctly!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Eric Lofgren Presents: Female Elf Fighter
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Eric Lofgren Presents: Female Human Fighter
Publisher: Misfit Studios
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/08/2014 10:01:14
An excellent pen-and-ink drawing that manages to convey both femininity and practicality, the fighter being caught in mid-draw, a dynamic pose as she reacts to a sudden attack.

And she manages to do so wearing sensible armour and clothing suitable for adventure...

It would make an excellent character illustration, or a picture to enliven a dungeon module.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eric Lofgren Presents: Female Human Fighter
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Rocket Age - Rocket Racers
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/07/2014 12:19:08
Fancy a race around the inner solar system, looping around Mars and Venus?

Well, it's attracted quite a lot of attention, not all of the desired sort. Some rotter calling himself the Ghost Racer has threatened to disrupt the race unless he's paid a load of money. The party - who would be best off if at least someone can pilot - get hired by the Solar Cup Race Commission to pose as late entrants and keep an eye on things, protecting the real competitors and spectators from this Ghost Racer.

The characters will have some time to prepare, but the race is soon underway, around Venus and then to Mars, where there's a stop-over. All the time, they'll have to be on the alert to spot the Ghost Racer... if he's there.

Everything is well-laid out, with all the information the GM needs ready to hand and plenty of appropriate atmosphere to help you bring the alternate reality to life around your table. Characters can work on their rocketship, and there are copious notes about possible custom modifications. They can also pursue their investigations, and people with whom to talk are provided a-plenty. What's even better: the whole rocket racing community is brought into existence with other racers and even some of the notable events mentioned - so if your characters get a taste for the sport you will be able to weave it in to subsequent adventures.

Once the race begins, the actual mechanics of running it are explained clearly and coherently utilising the Chase rules from the core rulebook with appropriate modifications. This should help you meld die rolling into an exciting narrative as rocketships jockey for position. Various incidents to weave into the race are also provided.

Overall, a well-presented exciting little adventure. Gentlemen, start your engines!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rocket Age - Rocket Racers
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Wasteland Gangs: The Termites
Publisher: Fishwife Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/06/2014 06:09:54
This is a very nice collection of well-developed NPCs, organised as a low-powered but coherent urban/biker gang that might be encountered in a post-apocalyptic township somewhere. (I think my Deadlands: Hell on Earth character would fit in well with them if he ever stops roaming around with his current party...)

There is a whole range of different types here. Many of them could make interesting encounters - or useful contacts - on their own. As a gang, they really shine giving a real impression of a functioning group of people doing their best to survive whatever apocalypse has struck your world... and who will continue to do so irrespective of whether or not the party is around or not - something you always want to achieve in creating a believeable alternater reality.

The details for each member of the gang are copious - appearance, nature, capabilities, what they have with them and what they are likely to be doing. All you need to do is add in any apposite game mechanics, but unless a brawl breaks out or you need them to attempt a task for which the outcome is not certain, you'll barely need any as you really know all you need to know about them from the write-up.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wasteland Gangs: The Termites
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[SSK] - Starship Kit - Volume 4 - Weapon Generator
Publisher: Ennead Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/06/2014 05:07:53
Many science-fiction game systems have their own spacehip design rules, but these tend to throw out very standardised vessels, so it is good to have a series of more generic works to aid in the creation of the wide diversity of vessels that are far more likely to be found out in the black. Use them in conjunction with your chosen ruleset to develop original and interesting starships.

This volume deals with offensive weapons. You need to be able to defend yourself out there after all!

It works by means of a series of tables, although if you prefer more control you can of course select the options you want rather than roll for them. These tables enable you to determine the 'class' of weapon (i.e. how powerful an example of the sort of weapon it is), its 'variation' (which provides wonderfully descriptive terms but also allows for a wide range of differences between otherwise similar weapons), its location, the sort of damage it does and the actual weapon type itself.

You will then need to do a bit of work to convert what you have got to your chosen ruleset, to cater for those details like how much damage that weapon actually does, in terms that work for the game mechanics you are using. That ought to be reasonably straightforward, compare your weapon description with existing ones in your rules and decide if it does more, less or the same damage...

A neat example of how to add more variety to starship weapon systems.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
[SSK] - Starship Kit - Volume 4 - Weapon Generator
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Quick Worlds 26: Winston
Publisher: Gypsy Knights Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/05/2014 11:48:00
Located in a quiet corner of Gypsy Knights Games's Clement Sector, Winston is a ice-bound world in an otherwise uninhabited system. Indeed it is only marginally habitable, with an atmosphere that requires a filter mask as well as being on the chilly side of cold.

Some 88% of the world is ocean, but an ocean completely covered by sheet ice. It thins a bit in places, but never enough to actually leave the ocean open to the air although these so-called 'blue spots' do allow for photosynthesis by aquatic life. Four major landmasses (and a few minor ones) poke through the ice, however, and this is where settlements are to be found... even though they too are inhospitable with glaciers, rocky landscapes and active volcanoes to contend with.

Rather surprisingly, over four million people have settled here in the 40 years since Winston was first colonised, initially following the promise of rich mining. Indeed the first settlements were sponsored by mining companies. Following the collapse of the mining companies, a weak democracy was overthrown by the last president declaring himself king. His son was less successful at ruling than he was, and a civil war ensued. The leader of the strongest armed group involved in the war has recently placed herself on the throne.

The rule of General Mary Webster is quite strict and completely despotic, yet she is hailed as more fair than her predecessors. Visitors to the planet need to be aware that firearms are prohibited and visas are needed to travel outside of the downport areas. Most recreational drugs are also banned apart from alcohol. However, the locals do enjoy playing a game called rugby, and a bizarre event called a tomato hurl. Life otherwise is quite tough, and death is commonplace especially in the government-controlled mines.

Temperatures are low, below freezing even in daytime, so most people live in domed settlements which are maintained at a more amenable temperature. There are three main domed cities which are described in reasonable detail. There is also a section on adventure ideas for this planet... should anyone actually want to go there. Many are based around the harsh regime, involving characters either in supporting roles (perhaps mercenaries hired to train local troops) or mixed up in a rebellion. Other worlds are quite curious and might sponsor a spy mission to find out what's really going on in a difficult-to-access world, whilst merchants will find profit selling off-world products - legal or otherwise - to the natives. If nothing else, they might need to import tomatoes for the tomato hurl.

Never thought so much could happen on a rocky ball of ice? Think again, and visit Winston. Just take care: misbehaviour can lead to imprisonment or even being shot out of hand, and it is said that not everyone survives a gaol term here.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Quick Worlds 26: Winston
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Wondrous Items 1: Armor Made from Monster Hides
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/04/2014 12:28:17
Most of us have spent an entire combat wondering if our weapons will ever penetrate a monster's natural armour... but how many of us have thought about using that armour for ourselves after that monster lies dead on the floor?

This product not only poses the suggestion, it also offers practical advice as to how to go about it and a wealth of ready-made samples. To collect the materials, use the Survival skill (which includes useful tricks like how to field dress game - this can be re-purposed to skinning a creature with the care needed to keep the hide intact) and then use the Craft skill to fashion the armour you want. There's even a note on how to work out what it's worth, if you decide to sell. Or want to know the value if you are counting collected hides as part of the party treasure and need to divide it up equally.

The example armours all give the DCs to harvest and make the armour (and you're shown how to work these out for other creatures), as well as any special properties your new armour might have as well as the regular protection element. These are generally based on the natural abilities of the monster that formerly owned the hide, and can be quite inventive.

The adventure potentials are immense. Not only will you eye up every monster in a different light, you may even decide to go hunting for just the right creature based on what you can make from it, or the party may be hired by a less-adventurous craftsmen in need of particular items to fill an order.

Neat idea, and plenty of potential for this to be more than merely 'more loot' for the party!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wondrous Items 1: Armor Made from Monster Hides
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0 hr: Gryphon Poster Images
Publisher: 0 hr: art & technology
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/04/2014 11:57:34
You get two beautiful - and HUGE - jpeg images of two ships built on a common framework, the Gryphon-class.

The detail is amazing - down to the keyboards in people's staterooms and various almost-recognisable read-outs in the bridge and engineering! It all makes you want to hop in and speed off into the black...

One side depicts what must be a show vessel for the class, beautifully turned out and in pristine condition. The other is decidedly scruffier, but is very well-armed... now, I wonder which would suit the average party best?

Round the margins are a few exterior views to set the scene.

These are just delightful to look at, and for online players, or ones who have computer projection facilities where they game, can be of practical use as well. Or I suppose you could print them out - although I understand that the publisher has poster versions available for people who want a physical version.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
0 hr: Gryphon Poster Images
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Modern Floorplans: An Average Modern Fast Food Restaurant
Publisher: Fabled Environments
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/04/2014 11:23:22
Here's a very nice plan of a fast food restaurant... and if you don't think you'd ever need one, think again. I once wrote an adventure that centred around one, and even if the main action doesn't happen there, your characters do need to eat from time to time!

The layout is fairly conventional. Double doors to enter and a large seating area with tables and booths, some on a higher level, with a children's play area. The kitchen area is open to view behind the cashier's station where you place your order and pay. Behind the kitchen is the staff area with a couple of offices, a storeroom and the back door. (I think you normally need a staff break room and staff restrooms as well, but that may be a quirk of UK legislation...) There are customer restrooms and a drive-thru window as well.

There's a single-page overview and then a massive version that is battle-map scale which can either be printed out entire if you have access to that sort of print facility or paginated and stuck together if you are home printing. Before you print, you can choose between hex, squares or no grid at all and even eliminate the furniture if you so wish (perhaps it is an abandoned fast food restaurant!).

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Modern Floorplans: An Average Modern Fast Food Restaurant
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D12 Calendar with bonuses 2014 by Kev's Lounge
Publisher: Kev's Lounge
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/04/2014 10:54:24
A rather fun (and free!) sample of Kev's Lounge work... and practical to boot!

The main feature is a D12 calendar - you read aright, a calendar printed on the faces of a giant D12. A nice novelty item for your desk, with the added advantage that if it gets tatty, doused in coffee or pinched by a co-worker you can always print out another one. You can choose any one of the elements (earth, air, fire and water) or a greenish version the artist has named Life.

But there's more. A rather buxom barmaid standee, for whom you can choose both dress colour and hair colour. She brings back memories of a LARP when I was playing an NPC barmaid and borrowed a 17th century style bodice from a re-enactor friend. Boy, did the gentlemen players stare....

There is also a collection of 'markers' showing the various elements, which can either be activated (coloured) or not. You might devise a puzzle which your players can actually solve physically on behalf of their characters, or use them to denote who has elemental powers operational. Or something else... I'm sure there are other uses to which they could be put.

There are comprehensive instructions which show not only how to actually make the 'D12 calendar' but how to play with the customisation features (mainly clever uses of layers) to have everything turn out just how you want. Nifty, useful and free... what more could you want?

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
D12 Calendar with bonuses 2014 by Kev's Lounge
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Mythic Mastery - The Mythic Glabrezu
Publisher: Necromancers of the Northwest
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/03/2014 08:27:30
Making good use of concepts and information presented in the Paizo book Mythic Adventures, this brief work crams a lot in - not just the titular Mythic Glabrezu (a thoroughly nasty character), but a collection of mythic abilities suitable for a range of evil and demonic creatures and even a discussion of summoning rituals including two worked out in full.

Whilst the glabrezu is an unpleasant creature to have around, evilly-disposed individuals are tempted to summon them because they can grant virtually any desire the summoner might have. Being evil, however, the glabrezu does its utmost to maximise the damage it does in the process. They are nasty enough in their normal form, but mythic ones are worse... the regular sort delight in turning the summoner's desires back on himself, whilst a mythic glabrezu prefers to spread its malice far and wide, causing suffering to as many people as possible. They are sneaky as well, once loosed on the world, they slink around in disguise seeking to sucker the unwary to make use of their wish-fulfilling services... and only later allowing them to discover the cost.

A selection of mythic abilities follow, which you may apply to any suitable creature. The one I like (if that's the word...) is Demonic Possession, which gives the creature the ability to take over, possess, another living being in a manner akin to a magic jar spell, only the living being serves as the 'jar' - and, horrifically, remains fully awake of what the demon gets up to when in control of his body! Ugh, but great potential for plot development.

The final part deals with summoning rituals. Mythic demons require specialised spellcasting and ritual to make them appear and (more importantly, at least from the summoner's standpoint) to bind them. Both researching and then performing the ritual involves time, expense and several skill checks... get just one thing wrong and potentially you have a demon on the loose! The material here gives an indication of how to devise such a ritual - both in terms of flavour and game mechanics - and two sample rituals (including one to summon a mythic glabrezu) are given.

It's amazing just how much has been crammed into a few pages, and it's all good stuff. Just the thing for those budding demonology hackers in your campaign world!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Mastery - The Mythic Glabrezu
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Traveller Hephaestus
Publisher: 13Mann Verlag
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/03/2014 06:30:57
A classic space adventure: explore a wrecked alien ship packed full of unknown technology and dangers. Add in competition from pirates, scavengers, agents of various authorities and what is there not to like?

There is quite a lot of background for the Referee to absorb, this is an adventure for which thorough preparation is recommended. There is an extensive introduction explaining the people who built the vessel, their culture and their purposes - just how much characters will manage to discover is questionable, but diligent and inquisitive ones with an archaeological bent should find it fascinating.

The ship is vast - 9km long with multiple decks - but not all of it has survived. That which has is described in good detail, which should make explaining what the party can see easy (one you get over the word 'bulkhead' being used to describe a hatch rather than an internal wall!). There is a lot to explore, and that would be an adventure in itself.

The next section provides some reasons for visiting the ship as well as introducing the other individuals and factions who have taken an interest and who will provide, if anything, more opposition than the derelict ship and its systems... opposition which may have ramifications over and above squabbling over the ship itself. There are also three potential 'employers' who may approach the party regarding the exploration and salvage of the vessel.

Further notes cover possible future events and the results of experimentation/tampering with ship systems (in addition to information already contained in the description of the ship itself), and details of the notable 'special salvage' items that the party may retrieve and try to sell on.

The whole is presented in a very open-ended manner. There is this alien ship, these are the other parties interested... now introduce your party and leave them to decide how they wish to become involved and what they want to do. In some ways it's reminiscent of the classic Traveller adventure 'Annic Nova' but this adventure has a lot to commend it, bringing out the alien yet familiar feel of technology and providing a lot to do. Recommended.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Traveller Hephaestus
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Village Backdrop: Chasm
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/02/2014 07:48:16
Devastated by a natural cataclysm, this village in the back end of nowhere is struggling to survive against the odds. As the sole settlement on the one road through some badlands, travellers may find themselves there by chance if their business takes them in that direction.... or they may come on purpose as the armour produced here is very fine indeed.

Some years ago massive subsidence led to the village being nearly destroyed by the appearance of a great chasm through its heart. Outwardly a disaster, this also caused problems for a tribe of duergar living deep beneath, yet the calamity has caused the survivors - duergar and surface-dwellers alike - to band together and they are finding new strengths, like the manufacture of high-quality armour, to sustain them.

The chasm is bridged by a latticework of precarious rope ladders and bridges which now link the surface with caves beneath. A sketch map is provided (but if you want a bigger version one is available separately). Several noteable establishments are detailed including smithies as well as a couple of taverns and the 'Holy House' - an ingenious response to travellers of all sorts insisting on bringing their diverse religions along. This cavernous space offers room for shrines of any deity providing a fee is paid and no proselytising is carried out.

There are notes about the history of the village and its surrounding area, including a ramshackle and abandoned wizard's tower. Some say that it was the wizard's meddling that caused the calamity in the first place...

The place has a bit of a boom-town economy with a frontier feel and could provide an interesting night or two for your party. There are a few events - which could be developed into more if so desired - that you can run whilst the adventurers are in town. There is even some political in-fighting between various factions... and should anyone be curious about the wizard's tower or how the chasm came to be there... well, there's plenty to keep people occupied here.

An interesting little settlement, ripe to be dropped into a suitable location on your campaign world.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Chasm
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Greatest Hits & Epic Misses (PFRPG)
Publisher: Asparagus Jumpsuit
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/01/2014 10:37:19
For many gamers, just rolling dice and doing damage in combat just doesn't cut it. Here's a way, following in the steps of an early Dragon magazine article that's referenced in the work and - for me at any rate - some glorious tables from the Rolemaster game produced by Iron Crown Enterprises, to make your damage rolls far more interesting than a steady attrition of hit points.

So here is a set of tables to bring into action whenever a critical hit is scored. There are several tables to cater for different weapon types - bludgeoning, piercing, slashing, etc. - and also, as these assume a vaguely humanoid target, a table for critical hits on animals. Each works on a percentage roll and nicely whenever a specific condition or other game mechanical effect is caused, that descriptor is hyperlinked to the Pathfinder SRD (natuarally, only if you are consulting the table electronically with an internet link!).

To redress the balance some, there is also a fumble table for all weapons, to consult if you are unfortunate enough to roll a 1 on your d20 attack roll. Whilst this is based on weapon use, most results will work for unarmed combat as well with little or no modification.

While there are plenty of this kind of 'colourful critical' tables around, this one has been written specifically with the Pathfinder RPG in mind, so if that's the ruleset you use, this is worth picking up.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Greatest Hits & Epic Misses (PFRPG)
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Prepare for War - Basic Training (PFRPG)
Publisher: Amora Game
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/01/2014 10:00:48
You might think that the average adventurer would take to all out warfare like a duck to water.... wrong! The basic recruit training programmes devised by real-world armed forces the world over is designed to get the hapless recruit to abandon everything he knows or can do and re-aquire the skills needed to be a small cog in the military machine... and this module aims to recreate the process for a fantasy army.

It starts with a neat move. Put aside you ideas about what you fancy playing and develop a character from Zero level over the course of the adventure. Yes, it's a railroad, but so is 'boot camp' or basic training. Those of you who, like me, are veterans (or indeed still in service) will find themselves on familiar territory. On passing out (graduating) from basic training, the characters become first level.

There's another novel idea here: the patron deity under which this army operates is only prepared to heal those who worship him! A cleric can heal anyone using divine magic, but if the recipient is not a devotee or at the very least a citizen of the areas the deity is patron of, he only gains one-half of the normal benefit of the healing magic and the cleric feels rather ill as a result! Incentive, if nothing else, for clerics to proselytise on behalf of their deity.

The concept behind the adventure path of which this is the first adventure is that all-out war is brewing, and so there is plenty of background information to set the scene for GM and characters alike. Ending with a quick summary of the various elements of the armed forces of the Empire of Thaddeus, the adventure proper begins with the characters as ordinary citizens who have chosen to enlist.

Even as new recruits, the powers that be have discerned the seeds of something above the ordinary in them, and so they are sent to a remote compound to complete their basic training in the company of others who have the potential to become members of the elite forces. From then on it is the gruelling round of exercise and drills that make up basic training. I'd recommend that you take no more than one session running this or your players might get fed up. The characters WILL be fed up, that's a given and to be expected with basic training.

The various areas of training are given in quite some detail. Groups who enter into the spirit of this will gain some benefits as well as the skill levels that their characters acquire. It's all quite nicely put together (although could do with some proofreading in places) and captures the flavour of basic recruit training well. There's a neat trick here too, as the recruits master each area, they gain certain skills as class skills and if they do particularly well they can even gain a bonus to future uses of that skill. It's a nice way of reflecting the learning process in game mechanical terms - and means that those parties who do participate with a will get a mechanical advantage for their efforts!

The whole is well-supported with NPC details, some ready-reference sheets and plenty of maps (for both player and GM) of the various areas visited during the course of the adventure. Given the basic premise, it holds together surprisingly well and ought to make for a good start to a military-style campaign. By indicating from the outset the characters' selection as potential elite forces, this sets the scene for later adventures involving 'special operations' style missions, which work far better in the context of a role-playing game than straight mass combat warfare.

Overall this is original and well-handled, worth a go if you want something a bit different.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Prepare for War - Basic Training (PFRPG)
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