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Alien Starship (interior) - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
Publisher: Ambient Environments
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/23/2014 05:52:12
It's all a bit off... not quite identifiable sounds that will make looking around an alien starship all that more scary...

Much of it almost subliminal. If you concentrate you hear it, but as soon as your mind moves away or someone speaks to you it becomes inaudible... yet it's still there.

It's just pottering along in the background as I write... in some ways almost restful yet it is edgy as well.

Just the thing for playing when your party is exploring Traveller Hephaestus by 13Mann Verlag, available hereabouts, for example.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Alien Starship (interior) - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
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Publisher Reply:
I think that\'s the best review I\'ve ever read. Thanks!
Laser Battle - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
Publisher: Ambient Environments
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/23/2014 05:42:20
Loads and loads of zapping sounds... a few 'tings' and bangs for variety.

I don't know about your players, but mine are very good at generating zapping sounds of their own when there's a laser battle in progress.

It makes for an intriguing and atmospheric scene-setter, though, and as there is no real patten to it you can just turn it on when a brawl breaks out. It certainly makes you want to keep your head down... and I did wait until the house was empty before playing it!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Laser Battle   - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
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Into the Breach: The Magus (PFRPG)
Publisher: d20pfsrd.com
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/21/2014 12:07:18
The Magus is a fun class to play anyway, but here is a whole bunch of options to explore to make it even more interesting.

The bulk of the book is taken up with a collection of new archetypes. Each one comes with a description, notes on any changes to a regular Magus build and an array of special abilities to amend the class features appropriately for the archetype in question. There's an illustration of the archetype in action as well, which gives an indication of possible styles of play. The different archetypes explore various aspects of the balance between arcane power and martial skill, often giving a specific focus for the character to specialise in. Some are fun to play, others are best left for NPCs, often adversaries - unless, of course, your campaign allows the party to explore the depths of the dark side.

Many of the class features are original inventions, all with notes on their use and all necessary game mechanics. Some replace named elements of the class as originally published, others add options which may be chosen at appropriate levels alongside existing ones.

Next comes a Prestige Class, the ki magus. He blurs arcane power with his inner ki and often delivers a spell with a blow or strike. It's quite an interesting idea and could work well in conjunction with monk unarmed combat abilities.

This is followed by a selection of extra arcana and new spells, and a bunch of new feats rounds the book off. Overall, if you like the Magus class and want to add to its range and capabilities, you will find plenty of material worth considering here.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Into the Breach: The Magus (PFRPG)
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Publisher Reply:
On behalf of all the contributors from Into the Breach: The Magus, thanks for the review, we appreciate feedback.
Monsters of Porphyra
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/21/2014 11:26:02
You can never have too many monsters... and with this product the Purple Duck team has scoured the highways and byways of old OGL material released for Dungeons & Dragons 3e and retooled it for Pathfinder complete with special notes for the Porphyra setting and some truly glorious illustrations. And when I say 'scoured' put it this way: the Section 15 of the OGL copyright notice spreads over FIVE pages!

The Introduction explains the background: that the book was initial conceived as a Monster Update Project where subscribers were invited to select five monsters each to have rebuild under the Pathfinder ruleset: - a project launched back in 2010... so long ago I cannot even remember what my five monsters were! The development of Purple Duck Games, a then newly-formed company, somewhat got in the way, but here it is at last.

Each monster has a brief introduction that is suitable for reading aloud when the party first sees the beastie, a full stat block, gorgeous full-colour illustration, and notes about its ecology, behaviour, combat style and anything else that might be pertinent; including a mention of its particular niche in Porphyra. Each monster has a page (or two pages) to itself, making it easy to print out just the pages that you want for a game.

If you are missing a favourite monster from games past, it may be here. If it's not, sponsors are already being sought for a second volume!

There is a fine selection of creatures here which should provide a good number of opponents and beasties to marvel at in your game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monsters of Porphyra
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Mythic Minis 6: Guardian Path Abilities
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/21/2014 10:35:18
Mythic characters are defined, at least in part, by their path abilities; and so here are a collection of them for characters following the Guardian path.

They make interesting reading, combining good observational skills with some ferocious combat abilities - just the thing for the aspiring protector. Several, as appropriate for this style of play, will enable you to pull off spectacular if not cinematic exploits.

At the first tier, there is the choice of Analytical Eye (spot opponent's weak spots), Flanking Foil (dodging even when flanked), Pike Chopper (fun one, lets you attempt to sever a pole arm you are being attacked with), and Terrible Courage (fear effects? Nah, don't work on you...).

In second tier, you have access to Mythic Rider (you stay onboard your mount when lesser mortals would fall off), Parting Shot (they may think they've downed you but you can still strike back), Shielded Perimeter (protect your allies as you move around them), the wonderfully-named That Trick Doesn't Work on Me Anymore (having previously used Analytic Eye on someone, he cannot use a feat you know he has against you) and Trick Rider (again enhancement of your riding or animal handling skills).

Finally at sixth tier there is Healing Sink (maximises healing effects applied to you) and To The Last Breath, which lets you remain clear-headed and active even at death's door.

Play with these, and build an awesome Guardian.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Minis 6: Guardian Path Abilities
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Toys for the Sandbox 107: The Trade Market
Publisher: Occult Moon
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/21/2014 08:02:15
Trade fairs and markets always have great potential for adventure, particularly if you enjoy intrigue and gathering rumours rather than merely being marched to the dungeon entrance...

This one's particularly good, because it is the melting-pot meeting point of diverse societies that otherwise might only meet across the battlefield if at all. It's not only used for trade either, as warriors and chieftains of all the communities involved attend as well. Treaties can be discussed and negotiations held... and there's likely to be the odd brawl as well.

The background as given is quite detailed about the situation. If you already have an established campaign world you may need to change a few names or races to make it fit in, but the general concept should hold good provided you can call upon a variety of groups who generally rarely mix without serious bloodshed. Once you reach the actual description of the woodland clearing that is the setting for the gathering, all you will need to do is designate a suitable location and you are good to go. The arrangement would work equally well in the middle of a large area of grassland if that's more convenient in your world.

Several NPCs are outlined. At best, all you need to do is provide them with appropriate statistics for the game system you are using; you may find that names of deities, homelands, etc., need tweaking as well. The overall concepts, however, are ones worth having in this situation to make it interesting. A priest, a veteran military man, a trader... and someone described as a reluctant bridegroom: plenty of story potential there!

And that is before we get to the actual 'possibilities' - suggestions for sweeping ideas for adventure. Each starts with a short paragraph that sets an outline scene, then there are several 'twists' from which you can choose one or more to make the original scene even more interesting. Investigations, wedding shenanigans, dodgy trades, stolen goods and even something lurking in the forest: they're all there awaiting your development into full adventures.

A couple of new items (complete bar any necessary game mechanics), tables of encounters and rumours and a map of the trade market clearing round out the product. Plenty to get you started on a market-based adventure or two.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Toys for the Sandbox 107: The Trade Market
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Heroes Weekly, Vol 3, Issue #24, The Academy of Crime
Publisher: Avalon Game Company
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/20/2014 11:13:32
The concept of a high school for budding superheroes is a common theme... but here is a place for all the would-be supervillains to get their start!

There's an outline of the Academy, buried in a bunker deep below an ordinary and quite innocent high school, with notes on some of the teachers and students. The students are graced with full write-ups and stat blocks, the teachers merely get an outline of their (decidedly crazy) personalities and teaching style. The supervillain community, not usually noted for its generosity, has funded the Academy generously.

Several adventure seeds are also provided. Two are aimed at regular superheroes, one in particular at those attending a high school for young 'heroes; whilst two more are intended for supervillain-focused games. One of these involves students at the Academy, the other puts the party as supervillains invited to an open day.

It's a neat idea, and one which could develop into an interesting part of your campaign.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Heroes Weekly, Vol 3, Issue #24, The Academy of Crime
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SCIFI MONEY CARD: Silver Standard Government Issued
Publisher: Ranum Graphics
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/19/2014 11:21:57
The odd prop always adds flavour to a game, and there's nothing like having actual 'money' to pass around...

These are nicely-done 'money cards' suitable for any science-fiction game, presented in both colour and in black and white depending on your printing facilities and desires. The instructions for printing, cutting and folding are clear: it's good that these are designed to be double-sided. For best effects use a reasonably stiff card (or stick paper print-outs to card), but given as it's a PDF, if they get tatty you can always print some more.

The design is clear and straightforward, with a slightly SF feel (yet not so futuristic that you couldn't use them in a near-future game). There's some convincing legalese on the back, which looks good. I just hope the 'serial number' refers to the 'silver standard' on which the currency is based and does not relate to individual cards, as it is the same on each one. (Of course, if you are a particularly mean GM, you could see if your players notice this and if they don't haul them up on forgery charges!)

So if you run a tabletop or LARP SF game, and feel the need for some 'money' this is ideal... and doesn't cost too much either.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
SCIFI MONEY CARD: Silver Standard Government Issued
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The Ephemeris Encyclopedia Galactica: Sector Eight (Althani Space)
Publisher: Nomadic Delirium Press
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/19/2014 10:42:39
It's always good to look at a collection of new systems to explore, and this has some interesting places to visit. It opens well too, when the introduction begins "The version you are reading is in the Human’s lingua franca. If you are not human, and would like to read it in your species’ native tongue, please consult a data bank on one of your species’ planets and download the appropriate version" you know you are in for an in-character treat.

And you are, with each system described vividly in a few paragraphs, a pen-picture of what is there, who might be living there and what they are doing. Often, this mere description spawns thoughts of the kinds of adventures you might run if the party chooses to go there... and this is enhanced in many entries with a separate note aimed at the GM, giving any game mechanical details needed, such as rolls required to survive a virulent plague or a hostile atmosphere, for example. Yep, not all places are welcoming or safe to visit!

The one drawback is - no map! There's no indication of any spacial relationship between any of the systems mentioned, all we know is that they are in this Sector Eight, or Althani Space. The most information is the distance of each from Earth, and that just in light years without any directional component. Your astrogator will be tearing his hair out, or wringing his tentacles or something, depending on species.

Other than that, it's a nice collection of systems to explore... where's my starship?

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Ephemeris Encyclopedia Galactica: Sector Eight (Althani Space)
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Chronicles of Mhoriedh Map 00 Olden Lands Continent
Publisher: James Mishler Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/19/2014 09:05:47
This is a rather fun collection of maps reminiscent of a school geography atlas. You know the ones, where you can see all manner of different information about the same bit of land - political boundaries, topology, population density, produce and so on. Having this sort of information about a campaign world helps to bring it to life on so many levels.

Here there are some seven maps of the same area - Mhoriedh - to examine. The first is a plain geographical one, the second is the same but with the features labelled. The third has the regions marked out and named. Then there's one with all the settlements marked and named.

The next one is labelled The Great Plague. I'm not sure what this shows, is it which bit was affected in which year, or numbers of people who died? That's followed by one which shows the paths of three 'nomad invasions' each spreading out from a different origin to assault different parts of the region.

The final map shows sub-divisions into different areas - possibly a pre-cursor to some more detailed maps of each.

It's interesting to see these different maps of the same region, but slightly hard to determine how to use them. If you know the names and locations of settlements, you probably are in a position to name the rivers (and other features) and the regions as well. Both the plague and the nomad invasions maps are probably best for the GM's use, he can use them to describe the spread of plague or invaders over the course of time, working out how they affect wherever the characters are. But it's an interesting concept and one worth exploring further.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Chronicles of Mhoriedh Map 00 Olden Lands Continent
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Mythic Mastery - Mythic Heritage: Demonic Heritage
Publisher: Necromancers of the Northwest
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/18/2014 11:48:45
OK, so you're a Mythic figure. How did you come to be so? Your Path represents your destiny, but your Heritage speaks of your origins. Interestingly, this may not be something that you are aware of even once you've realised that you are Mythic...

This work explores one route to becoming Mythic, that you might have some demonic heritage. It may come in one of a range of ways, not just having a demon somewhere in your family tree. It might be the result of a ritual, or perhaps a cursed item imbued with the taint of the Abyss is affecting you. Whatever, any character whose alignment is neither Good nor Lawful could have a demonic heritage.

Having a demonic heritage opens up a range of new Mythic Abilities that are available to the character any time he becomes eligible to gain an ability from his Mythic Path. The character may choose to take a Path or a Heritage Ability, picking from the appropriate tier.

All that explained, the rest of the work lists the Abilities available. Many are pretty nasty as you might imagine, but at the 6th Tier you can even put temptation in someone's way with a Wicked Wish... all devilishly good fun, what?

Now, you might have eyes on telling rather more noble Mythic tales, but for darker stories - and of course for antagonists in a Mythic game - these could prove quite interesting.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Mastery - Mythic Heritage: Demonic Heritage
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Bangers (for Trigger Happy)
Publisher: TaleSpinner Holdings
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/18/2014 11:29:58
You may think teenage urban gangsters are bad enough... but what if they had superpowers to go with the bad attitude?

This supplement for the Trigger Happy RPG gives you the tools to find out, a mechanism for adding superpowers to what is already an explosive mix. The fear and horror felt by the authorities might be alleviated a little did they but know that such powers are temporary, fading as the teenager ages, and may even be beneficial with the 'rush' the youngsters feel so great that many abandon a drug habit as their powers burgeon... yet sadly most of then end their days in violence or behind bars.

The first part of this work explains all this, then we turn to the game mechanical aspects starting with how to amend a standard Protagonist (i.e. Trigger Happy RPG character) build to include such powers. There are detailed notes on how to create your superpower and decide on the triggers that make that power appear. A power is classified by offence, defence and utility ratings from 0 to 5; with there being a maximum of 10 points with which to build the power: remember that these are youngsters with at best erratic control over their abilities.

After a discussion of how to actually use the powers once designed, some sample powers are given to get you started. Finally some fully-developed characters are presented, including full stat blocks as well as background information.

It's an interesting and unusual variant to bring into a street-gang game, and if you want to take it out of grim reality without losing too much of the grimness yet adding a fantastical edge it's definitely worth a look. And Banger? It's the nickname given to these superpowered juveniles, apparently derived from the sound one of the first obverved made as his power manifested.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Bangers (for Trigger Happy)
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Publisher Reply:
Thank you for the review. If you have further questions regarding this or other products, reach out to me and I\'ll answer them as I can.
F14 - Bog of Jelaneus
Publisher: Adventures in Filbar
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/18/2014 10:24:38
This is not so much an adventure as a very dangerous area to explore, suitable for quite high level characters (maybe about 8th-10th level) who may wish to investigate it. The Bog of Jelaneus, you see, is the remnants of an ancient and powerful empire which came to grief over 200 years ago, Jelaneus himself being one of the last emperors. Some say he brought down the wrath of the gods themselves, others say that he was performing some dark ritual that went very wrong... whatever the truth, this is all that remains of the Adurite Empire - and of course, as any brave adventurer knows, many wonders and riches might be found in such a place.

Characters travelling around the bog will come across certain locations, for which descriptions and other resources (including some of the wonderful photo-illustrations this publisher is known for!) are provided for the DM. Most will require further development before play, although there is an overview of what is to be found there and which monsters might take exception to the party's intrusion. There is also a large hex map for the party to plot their progress as they explore, and two maps (DM's and players') for a ruined city.

So for a party that fancies coming out of the dungeon and having a good squelch around a swamp in their ongoing search for fame and fortune, this should prove interesting - and potentially deadly. I don't think there's anything friendly there!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
F14 - Bog of Jelaneus
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AntiMagic Source Book
Publisher: Little Red Goblin Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/17/2014 07:56:48
Just how accepted is magic use in your campaign world? I don't mean is it possible, if you are playing Pathfinder - indeed any fantasy RPG - it's likely that there is at least some magic around; but how does society react to the use of magic? Consider the plot potentials of there being at least somewhere in the campaign world where magic is feared or even forbidden. Then crack open a copy of this book.

First up is a new base class, suitable for use when established religion (perhaps in league with civil authority) has taken against magic use... it's a Mage Hunter, a Paladin retooled for the purpose of stamping out magic wherever it rears its ugly head. An alternate use is also suggested, that mages themselves might use them to deal with rogue magicians who refuse to abide by the rules of whatever body controls magic use, perhaps a powerful college of magic which holds sway over magic use in the area, requiring its graduates or indeed anyone using magic there to abide by its codes of practice. They tend to a professional approach and often do not hold any actual emnity towards those who practice the arcane arts.

Next is a prestige class, the Spellweaver. This individual is an arcanist himself, but enjoys dissecting spells, analysing in great detail how they work... and can disrupt and manipulate the arcane energies that others have brought into existence. The description of how this works is a bit muddled, but it's a potent concept.

Another prestige class follows, the Arcane Luddite. This fellow distains any magical assistance, as a warrior he relies on his own prowess alone. Or at least that's what he says. Many use magic if they must, but only with the ultimate end of ridding the world of its taint.

Next comes a collection of feats to use against arcane magicks. They are quite interesting, and have a range of prerequisites, so carefully planning is necessary to ensure that you can qualify for the ones you fancy. There are also some new class options - for example a Ranger may take 'Spellcaster' as a favoured enemy - and a new weapon enhancement, spell void.

This supplement opens up some quite interesting possibilities. Most campaigns delight in magic use, so you could turn things on their head and run a game where the characters are determined to stamp it out. Or you may choose to equip the NPCs in a particular magic-hating area with these abilities and harry the party when they, all unknowing, trespass...

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
AntiMagic Source Book
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Wilderness Dressing: Deserts
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/16/2014 10:11:03
Sitting in a wintery Cheshire, the nearest I am to a desert is the large Bedouin cloak that's keeping me warm... but here is a collection of ideas to bring a desert to life in your game.

First up is a table of an hundred 'minor events' - sights, sounds, even smells that can occur when the party is travelling in desert areas. Some could lead to an encounter or even a side-adventure all of their own, others serve just to enliven the monotony - for not everything that happens needs to end in a brawl, and it would be a dull trip indeed if nothing except those events designed to end in a brawl took place.

The next table, again with an hundred entries, consists of 'Desert Dressing' and it is more concerned with interesting features. In many ways this is interchangeable with the first table, these too are minor details, sights and sounds that serve to break up a desert journey. But who can resist #35 - A djinni sits in front of a chessboard, he invites a party member to play?

The final table gives 12 desert encounters. You could roll your trusty d12, but unless you favour the truly random and expect your party to have the wit to flee encounters too powerful for them you might prefer to pick whichever encounter is at an appropriate CR for the characters. Each one is not merely the NPCs or creatures encountered, there is a couple of sentences to set the scene for the encounter (which may or may not end up with a fight...).

Finally there are some notes on desert terrain features include how easy (or not) it is to be stealthy and sandstorms as well as the vegetation you may find underfoot - it's not all rolling dunes, you know!

A nice assortment of ideas for the next desert journey in your game... but it has left me dreaming of Tunisia, which is where my cloak came from!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wilderness Dressing: Deserts
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks very much for the review, Megan. I\'m delighted you enjoyed Wilderness Dressing: Deserts!
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