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Dollar Dungeons #7 The Tunnels of the Wraith Knight
Publisher: Art of War Games
by Daniel H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/28/2012 17:51:26
This dungeon was randomly generated by http://donjon.bin.sh, as the bottom of the PDF says. As such, you can get a good idea what the product is like by using that site to generate a random dungeon. The theme for this one is undead, as the name might suggest. Ironically, there does not appear to be a Wraith Knight in the dungeon.

For $1, this product will certainly save you the trouble of fooling around with the parameters of the random generator and then downloading the artifacts from the web site. However, the PDF included wasn't even edited to fit the page correctly (the last entry has a line that is split between two pages, making it almost illegible.

I can't recommend this product unless you find you have trouble getting random generators to work for you. I'm giving it an extra star because at least the price is right.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Dollar Dungeons #7 The Tunnels of the Wraith Knight
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The Bloody Cauldron
Publisher: KromeDragon Games
by Daniel H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/27/2012 17:24:20
I played this adventure with my "at home" game (two pre-teen children wife), and enjoyed it.

The Good:
Editing and art were excellent. The included encounter maps were a very nice touch, and very well done.

I also liked the continuity of the encounters - the story is effectively told "backwards", as you fight through minions towards the ultimate encounter. This helps keep the players in suspense. This was my players' first encounter with the kind of opponents they were facing, and they found the "theme" of the opponents challenging to deal with.

All in all, a fun side-trek to pick up a few extra xp and some cash. Zuzu may become a recurring character in our campaign.

I was able to transplant this adventure into Varisia with almost no changes, using the Ordellia suburb of Magnimar as the "city" in question.

My only complaint is that the "beat cop" investigation part goes on a bit in actual play, and my players almost decided not to help these reticent citizens. Perhaps more competent investigators would have been able to meet the DCs involved, but I would suggest that with so many people apparently willing to discuss their problem, that only the "interview" part should be played; assume there are a ready group of informants available.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Bloody Cauldron
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Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Daniel H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/11/2012 15:59:17
This is a brilliant re-visit of the old "Dungeon Module T1" concept. Others have given very detailed reviews which I agree with.

My only complaint is that I don't have any low-level parties to run through SKotB right now.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands
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Outer Veil Sector Map
Publisher: Spica Publishing
by Daniel H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/03/2011 09:55:53
Beautiful! The product consists of two pages, one normal A4 sized sheet that is the cover sheet, and one humongous one roughly 4x the dimensions (that's 16x surface area). The hexes themselves have artwork that shows at a glance if the world is an asteroid belt, a world-free bright star, a desert world, etc. and what bases and ruins are there.

The large map is infinitely zoomable in the standard acrobat reader, and ALL of the text is stored as searchable fields, so if you want to find a world or hex coordinate, just search for it. If you zoom in first, you might even be fooled into thinking you are using travellermap.com. :)

My only complaint is that it might be hard to print this thing out. Including a "negative" page that swapped white and black (but not the other colors) would have made printing a more sane proposition. But if you have a printer capable of inverting colors, you could take care of that yourself, I guess.

All in all, Very Well Done!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Outer Veil Sector Map
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Outer Veil
Publisher: Spica Publishing
by Daniel H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/02/2011 18:01:21
A Short Review:

"Outer Veil" is the lower-tech, smaller Traveller setting I've been looking for!

The book is chock full of a frankly stupefying amount of data, from 20 new ships, 8 new character careers, some new setting appropriate weapons, long writeups on the history of the sector and who the "movers and shakers" are, some asteroid mining rules, patrons, an adventure, and UWPs of over 600 worlds! And thanks to some extra data Spica put in their UWP tables, you know more about those worlds than you typically would in a Traveller sector book.

Also: no aliens are alive in the setting. There are ruins of two variety of "ancient aliens", one an ultra-mysterious race that only left stone monuments and nothing else, and the other a high tech race that appears to have disappeared from the sector only a few millennia ago. If you want to imagine them as "Grays" or "Chariot of the Gods" types, that might be appropriate. Their artifacts are mostly corroded and worn down junk. Mostly. Both aliens have sites dotting the sector.

Artwork is competently executed but minimal, and is either "Poser" type scenes or line drawings. The artwork seems to be properly employed to help fill blank space on pages rather than to inflate page count. Thumbs up.

Things I Loved:

So, so many worlds! I've estimated that there are over 600 of them, with 2/3 being at best "frontier" and at worst "an unexplored blip on a star map". The distribution of technology on the worlds seems much less haphazard than usual for Traveller, which is a nice touch.

SPICA has added some new statistics to the classic UWP line, most notably the Stellar Classification of a world's star(s) and more interestingly, a "Life" stat that tells not only how advanced the local life is, but how compatible with Earth biology it is. This is a fantastic idea, and really helps breathe life (no pun intended) into UWP stats.

The setting appropriate ships, weapons and careers give a lot of character to "Outer Veil", and I like the "book 2" approach of having most ships well under 2,000 tons. That 800 ton frigate just became the most powerful ship within a half-dozen parsecs.

Things I Didn't Love:

The subsector maps are rough; maybe they're bitmaps instead of vector graphics.
There isn't a full sector "zoomed out" view. SPICA has said they are planning such a thing though.

In Summary:

You really will not find a more detail dense setting book for this price. Possibly for any price.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Outer Veil
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Golden Age Starships 2: Corsair
Publisher: Mongoose
by Daniel H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/07/2011 15:09:34
GAS 2: Corsair gives a GM both a new type of "pirate ship" to use for and against his players as well as a few example crews, ranging from a "Gentleman pirate" who is only interested in the cargo and will try to make sure his victims survive to more sadistic and cruel adversaries.

The deck plans are serviceable and the level of descriptive detail is average for this sort of product, consisting of a single page text overview, a single page of "ship stats", and the deck plans. You won't find the kind of details you would find in a product like "Safari Ship". The write-up is much more like a "Traders and Gunboats" ship.

If that were all that there was to this booklet, it wouldn't get more than 3 stars, but the additional crews, rule suggestions and adventure ideas make this a worthwhile purchase.

What is not good, however, is the exterior ship art. Frankly, players would be more likely to laugh at a ship that looks like this one than be afraid of it. I would have liked to see at least one interior artwork picture as well, either a bridge shot or even just some prisoners being escorted to the brig. (There is one interior shot, but it is of a pirate boarding another ship.)

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Golden Age Starships 2: Corsair
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30-ton Ship's Boat Deckplans 1.01
Publisher: Loren Wiseman Enterprises
by Daniel H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/07/2011 14:46:08
The Low-down:
I can only echo what others have said: "a classic design rendered by one of the masters of the game". For the price, you really can't beat this booklet if you want to know more about this vehicle.

The Great:
Tons of details (esp. if you read the MegaTraveller stats) and "chrome" that help bring this ship (and 4 other variants) to life, including equipment locker contents, access and escape hatch locations, etc.

The Good:
Classic Style deck plans, stats for Classic Traveller, MegaTraveller and GURPS Traveller.

The Meh:
The game stats are included in-line with the text, and it all kind of runs together. The LKW "Ship's Boat" booklet puts the stats at the end, which I feel is a better choice.

It would have been nice to have an exterior "Eye Candy" view, and maybe some interior artwork, but for under $2us, it's a very understandable choice.

No Mongoose Traveller stats are given, but they're close enough to Classic Traveller and MegaTraveller that synthesizing the information isn't hard.

The Bad:
Nothing, nothing at all.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
30-ton Ship's Boat Deckplans 1.01
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Six Guns Gauss Weapons
Publisher: Terra-Sol Games LLC
by Daniel H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/07/2011 10:51:08
The bottom line: As long as Terra/Sol maintains the standards set with "Gauss Weapons", I'll buy any other entries in the "Six Guns" series without hesitation.

"Gauss Weapons" starts off with a few pages delving into the whats and hows of electromagnetically accelerated personal slug throwing weapons, including more detailed descriptions of the standard Traveller rules for these weapons (including a whole page on the batteries!) and additional rules and equipment options to make things more interesting. (This includes accessories and different types of ammunition that would work in any Traveller setting.)

The remaining 2/3 of the book is like a magazine review of a series of gauss weapons, from pistols and carbines up to assault rifles. These reviews include pictures, expert testimonials and opinions, and statistics (both "real world" sounding and actual rules). This section is quite amusing in many places, with comments like "such-and-such manufacturer markets this as a 'prestige weapon'...". Though the "fluff" references "Twilight Sector" specific corporations, there is nothing setting specific about the weapons themselves, and they would trivially drop into any other Traveller setting.

The final page of content contains a quick reference sheet of all of the relevant Mongoose Traveller statistics for the included weapons.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Six Guns Gauss Weapons
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Mythic Role Playing
Publisher: Word Mill
by Daniel H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/07/2011 10:32:26
Very original and well produced, Mythic has a different style of roleplaying than many of us are accustomed to. Though there is still someone 'driving' the game, all of the players take a more active role in deciding their own fate. At its core, Mythic is almost a super-evolved form of the old "magic 8-ball" toy - players ask yes/no questions, decide how likely they are to be true, then roll on a very clever table to determine the outcome. The table's results shift as you progress into an adventure, with different events increasing the "chaos factor", which can lead to more extreme results.

This central mechanism is wrapped within a more familiar scene/act structure, and most of the book is dedicated to helping players learn how to best structure the flow of their adventure, and what sort of "questions" work best within the system.

In fairness, I must disclose that I have not yet had the chance to play Mythic as it was intended. I have used the "GM Emulator" (a set of guidelines for playing without a dedicated GM) to good effect in other game contexts, and with an open-minded (and like-minded) group of players I have no doubt that Mythic would provide a sufficient framework for campaigns of fun.

The only reason I didn't give 5 stars is that, although there is an example session transcript, there is not a lot of guidance on settings and creatures. Granted, the rules have mechanisms to generate that stuff during play (and that seems to be the intent of the authors - generate as you go and make the setting your own), but I suspect a group that were not experienced roleplayers would have more of a learning curve for Mythic than for other, more mainstream games.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Role Playing
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21 Plots
Publisher: Gypsy Knights Games
by Daniel H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/06/2011 10:51:47
Nicely done, and does exactly what it says on the cover.
For Traveller players, the classic "Patron" format is familiar - you are given a brief situation setup, the reward, and then a list of 1-6 possibly complications. The intent is that the GM will secretly roll one of these so the players never know exactly what they are in for, but of course the GM can riff on the theme or just choose one of the options that fits his or her campaign the best.

The plots themselves are good, general and full of potential. I could see using well over half of them in my own game without any modifications. And at least one plot would be fun to play "inside out", with the players being the ones to try to stop some other group from completing the mission.

If you are a GM who likes having a set of "Patron Encounters", you should consider adding these plots to your staple.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
21 Plots
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CT-A10-Safari Ship
Publisher: Game Designers' Workshop (GDW)
by Daniel H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/06/2011 10:40:44
In my opinion, this is one of the best Classic Traveller (CT) adventures for a new GM or party. Many CT adventures take a more sand box approach, but Safari Ship gives the players a mission to accomplish. They have been hired by a biologist who wishes to discover (and name after himself, of course) a new, beautiful life form, rumored to exist on a backwater world halfway across the subsector. The players are hired on at the last minute as his crew, and begin a race across the subsector to find, capture and catalog this new creature in time to present it at an upcoming convention.

Needless to say, things do not go smoothly.

In addition to the adventure, this supplement has an exceptionally detailed write up of the "Animal" class Safari Ship, including floor plans and quite a lot (for Classic Traveller) of interior and exterior illustrations, done by William H. Keith, Jr., who needs no introduction to fans of Classic Traveller artwork. I wish that every Classic Traveller ship (especially the Scout/Courier and Free Trader) had been given this much love and attention.

The book also includes the subsector data for District 268, where the adventure is set, some rules for hunting and a set of Animal Encounter tables for use on the destination world. The GM is referred to Supplement 2, Animal Encounters for additional encounter tables for use outside the creature's habitat.

And the book has one final surprise, which I won't share just in case it turns out to be a spoiler.

On the technical side, this book is well scanned, though in some places the text is a little hard to read. I did not see any outright illegible spots though.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CT-A10-Safari Ship
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CT-ST-Starter Traveller
Publisher: Game Designers' Workshop (GDW)
by Daniel H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/06/2011 10:23:22
I started playing Traveller with the "Little Black Books", but picked up "The Traveller Book" when my old LBB's started to fall apart.

Starter Traveller is almost exactly the same contents as The Traveller Book, minus the (admittedly confusing) vector-based space combat system and one or two other minor rule sections. What it DOES have is the seeds for countless hours of fun.

The product is organized into multiple books, but unlike the classic "Little Black Books", the breakdown is functional, not by topic. The first book contains all of the written rules of basic Traveller. The text of this book is extremely close to the wording in The Traveller Book with no inconsistencies that I could find on a cursory side-by-side comparison.

The second book contains all of the tables and charts that the first book refers to, and is my favorite part of this package. This book serves as a GM's screen and play reference, and the layout of the information makes it easy to open the book (or print out a pair of pages) that will cover one particular topic completely. This is a really fantastic way to collect the important parts of the rules for easy access, and I wish more RPGs would do something like this.

The last book contains two adventures, Mission on Mithril (an overland exploration adventure) and Shadows (a dungeon crawl). The version of "Mission on Mithril" is reworked a bit from the one in Double Adventure 2, but seems substantially the same. Shadows appears to be the same version found in The Traveller Book. Both adventures can give a new play group a few evenings of entertainment, and give the GM tools to use in future adventures.

All in all, if you already have one or more Classic Traveller rule sets, Starter Traveller may not give you anything new (except the charts book - that's pretty useful in its own right), but for someone looking to get into Classic Traveller, or who just wants to get a feel for what the original Traveller game was all about, at $6us, you can't beat this package.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CT-ST-Starter Traveller
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20-Ton Launch
Publisher: Loren Wiseman Enterprises
by Daniel H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/06/2011 10:04:56
This product is very much in the style of the original Traveller "Little Black Books". It presents the classic workhorse of small spacecraft - the 20 Ton Launch - giving more detail and some background flavor over the basic rule book descriptions. But aside from adding flavor to the standard launch, this book also details 8 other variants, including Lifeboat, Liason, Survey, Search&Rescue, Hunting, Retail (think travelling salesmen's wagons from the "Old West"), Estate (A travelling office for officials) and Gig (the "gunboat" version).

Keyed and legended floor plans in the classic style are given for each ship, as well as a few paragraphs of description. Stats for Classic Traveller, MegaTraveller and GURPS Traveller are given for each variant.

All in all, this is an excellent resource concerning the ubiquitous launch and some of its many variants, and the production, while spartan, is clear and easy to read. (Again, much like other Classic "Little Black Books".)

The *only* reason I didn't give it top marks is that it lacks any exterior illustrations of a Launch and does not have stats for Mongoose Traveller (which may not have been available at the time of printing?). If neither of those two factors are important to you, then this booklet should get 5 stars.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
20-Ton Launch
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Badass
Publisher: Stargazer Games
by Daniel H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/09/2011 14:42:00
Oh man, this game looks like a blast!

Super simple mechanics (opposed dice rolls with what amounts to a sort of dynamic dice pool called "Badass Points") combined with a really badass attitude should make this game a high-octane standard. In a group with the right attitude, this game would make a great break from the more serious RPGs where things like skills or careful planning pay off. (In fact, careful planning can cost you Badass points if you don't have a Flava that allows careful planning.)

Throw some one-liners and describe your attack (slo-mo attack sequences!) to boost your BP, and mow down mooks like there's no tomorrow. "Is that all ya got?"

Artwork is minimal but appropriate, and there's even an example setting and a bibliography for inspiration.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Badass
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The Starfarer's Gazette #1
Publisher: Terra-Sol Games LLC
by Daniel H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/20/2011 18:40:43
The Starfarer's Gazette is somewhat of a spiritual heir to the old "JTAS" magazine as produced by GDW.

It starts off with some news items (set in the Terra/Sol universe instead of the Spinward Marches though) that help add some flavor for GMs and players, and then heads into a series of detailed articles as can be seen from the TOC in the preview. The central "idea" of the Gazette is that the reviews are published by a travelling starship whose crew visits the listed locations and reviews the products they are given. This is a mildly droll format, and the Gazette does not over-do it, which I appreciated.

"Valediction Freeport" is very nicely done and establishes enough material while leaving quite a lot of leeway for GMs to customize the setting. This semi-legal asteroid port could prove to be a very handy base of operations or at least a consistent destination for spacefaring players looking for legal, barely legal and less-than-legal items.

A new faction called the "Octopi" (or sometimes "Octapi" - I suspect this second form is a typo) is introduced, and could be anything from a rogue group of AIs to a nutty clan of mutants to a full-on alien threat. The Octopi could make a useful recurring "weird contact", and like most things in the Terra/Sol repertoire are detailed enough to be useful but vague enough to use.

Also included are writeups on a few corporations who supply the sorts of goods that players might encounter, as well as some "gun magazine" like reviews of a few of their wares. These reviews read just like an enthusiast magazine's review would and are enjoyable to read as well as introducing new equipment that can be more interesting than, say, a stock "TL-9 AutoPistol".

Curiously, after the end of the gazette on page 55, you have another 20 or so pages of equipment, vehicles and a brand new Traveller career ("Average Joe" - the career for those guys who only get credited as "Office worker #2", "Taxi Driver", "Well Dressed Executive" or "Pretty Waitress" in a movie). I guess this was some material that was too good to leave out, but didn't fit well in the format?

Either way, it's some fun stuff, and the more advanced "stunner" treatment and the ability to pimp your "Agus Familia Viajando" grav car with a rear spoiler and cup holders to protect your rich, neocorinthian leather seats (brought to you by Eridani Aerospace, of course!) holds a lot of potential to spice up a Terra/Sol Traveller game, or any other Traveller game for that matter.

I hope Terra/Sol does more of these Gazettes.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Starfarer's Gazette #1
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