RPGNow.com
Close
Close
Browse









Back
Other comments left by this customer:
Shadowrun: Splintered State
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/20/2015 08:30:58
Designed as an introductory adventure for Shadowrun 5e, this can meet a myriad of needs. Your group (indeed, you too) may be new to Shadowrun, or you may just wish to have a structured introduction to the changes brought in by the Fifth Edition - it's a lot more enjoyable to play through them than merely read about them, after all. Hence it is designed to be adaptable to suit the group you have in front of you, and yet provide excitement and adventure, challenge and sheer fun, however much they know about the game mechanics and/or the setting.

At its most basic, the adventure concerns information and the lengths some people will do to get their hands on it. This will mean that the party of shadowrunners will meet a range of different factions, many quite powerful, and they'll have to pick their way carefully to come out alive, never mind on top and with bulging credsticks. The opening chapter, Politics and Paydata, lays out all the background to what is going on: read it carefully and see how it all fits in to the background of Seattle life at all levels. Run well, this adventure will also provide a comprehensive introduction to Seattle and its movers and shakers, setting up a successful shadowrunner team for a potentially profitable future there, if that's your long-term aim for your game.

It all begins with the 'runners being arrested for something they didn't do (however many offences could actually be laid at their doors). From then it's a sequence of unfortunate events as they come into possession of potentially explosive, not to mention valuable, information and have to decide what to do with it... and the delight is, that it is very much up to them what they do. The whole adventure is open-ended, full of options provided in such a way that you can react appropriately to whatever they get up to - a real treat to run (unfortunately I cannot tell you if it's a treat to play, but they looked as if they enjoyed it!).

Open and flexible it may be, but it is structured enough that you are not left waiting on your players, there are plenty of events to run that will keep them moving - if they do not go out to find the adventure, it will come and kick their door down. There are at least five factions who would dearly love to get hands on that information, and not all are prepared to pay for it. Time to make friends and enemies, with repercussions that can echo on for the rest of your campaign.

An added bonus is an opening scene which is designed to enable you to actually form the shadowrunner team if your players have newly-generated characters who do not know each other yet. This is helpful if you are using this adventure as a campaign-starter. From then on, things move fast but well-structured, with plenty of advice on how to portray places and people and how to deal with whatever problems arise... or even make more problems if you think the 'runners are having too easy a time of it!

The adventure should appeal to all types of players with opportunities for interaction, investigation and role-playing as well as enough combat to keep anyone satisfied, with plenty for hackers to do as well. Multiple routes lead to the exact same key events, giving the players the illusion that they are in control of their own destinies whilst actually keeping the adventure firmly on track.

Overall, a cracking adventure perfect for getting your Shadowrun 5e campaign off to a flying start.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Splintered State
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Shadowrun: Firing Line
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/19/2015 08:35:46
This is a collection of four adventures originally written for convention use, but equally interesting for any game. These take the shadowrunners out and about, visiting remote islands, New York and South America, providing plenty of travel as well as opportuntities to make a few nuyen and get into trouble.

The adventures are set up in the standard format used by all Shadowrun Missions scenarios, one which is easy to follow and makes it easy for the GM to run the adventure flexibly in response to character actions yet keep it on track. As they are designed for conventions, they can be run in a standard four-hour convention slot but if you are not constrained for time they can be run over a longer period (or of course in a single session, as suits). They can be used as a one-off or as part of a campaign.

It appears that - despite the wide geographical spread of the actual adventures - it's been assumed that the characters are in Seattle to start with, as before the adventures proper there's a one-page Arrival section which gives you some ideas for getting 'runners from elsewhere to Seattle.

Well, the first adventure - Lost Islands Found - concerns a small chain of islands that has mysteriously appeared in the Puget Sound, so being in Seattle already puts the characters handy to be hired to 'collect' an academic their patron wants to help investigate what's going on. Of course, other people are likely to object, and there's always that little bit extra, the task added on to the one already accepted... What starts off as a fairly straightforward and standard 'extraction' gets more interesting with the opportunity for a boat ride and a spot of archaeology thrown in.

The next adventure is Deconstructing Patriots, and involves another extraction, this time of a senior corporate executive in downtown Manhattan, who is apparently a fugitive from justice wanted in UCAS. If they are not in Manhattan already, you will have to get the 'runners there, probably as a result of the initial call offering them this job. The scene is well set and there are opportunities for researching their target, all too necessary if he is to be acquired without too much difficulty. This is a fairly straight-line adventure with the characters obliged to go to certain locations because that's where the target (or information about him) happens to be, but has an interesting twist in a counteroffer made by the target's employer... overall, though, this is a standard shadowrun, albeit a good one with some interesting twists.

Then comes Congressional Conspiracies, which can be run as a follow-up to Deconstructing Patriots as hints are dropped in that about another target involved in the same bit of bother and also with a price upon his head. The political background is quite complex, and the actual tasks which end up being offered to the 'runners are somewhat different from what they might have been expecting, but profitable nevertheless. Different openings are provided depending on whether or not they played Deconstructing Patriots and what happened there, and then we're off, with a spot of hostage rescue and investigation of a covert ops team to keep everyone entertained.

Finally, Stormcrow Undone takes the 'runners to Bogotá in Colombia, to collect evidence of wrong-doing (and to try and avoid any riots...). The set-up is decidedly original, bringing them to Cartegena for completely different reasons and then stranding them there, the real job that is the meat of this mission being a way for them to save themselves from the mess you've just dropped them into. Neat, and a good opportunity to enjoy watching your players' faces as this unfolds. All the difficulties of travelling and operating in what, to the average shadowrunner, are decidedly primitive conditions are well presented, and this adventure should prove to be an original and memorable one.

A well-supported set of adventures that should be good for dropping in when you need a self-contained 'run whatever the main plot arc of your campaign might be.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Firing Line
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Shadowrun: Sprawl Wilds
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/18/2015 08:44:19
Sprawl Wilds is a collection of adventures gathered with the purpose of introducing your group to some of the interesting and exciting places that are to be found in the underbelly of Chicago. Originally written for convention use, they ought to slot in neatly to any campaign.

Each adventure is structured in the same way as the Shadowrun Missions series, which provides a clear framework with plenty of scope to let the adventure develop fairly organically as you and your players wish, yet with enough signposting to help you keep it on track. There are several 'scenes' which come with an overview, some read-aloud text to set the scene and more detailed information to enable you to run it effectively... and not forgetting a section on what could go wrong and how to deal with unexpected player actions. Ruleswise, you can use these with Shadowrun 4e or Shadowrun 5e as you prefer.

OK, what if your campaign isn't set in Seattle? No worries, there's a one-page mini-scenario designed to give your party a reason to be in Seattle even if it is not their regular haunt. They might like it and stay, or after sampling one or two of the adventures herein, they may prefer to go elsewhere. Neat.

There are a full four adventures here - Manhunt, Carbon Copy, Ashes and Humanitarian Aid. Each could be run in a single session (they were, after all, built around standard four-hour convention slots) but you can take longer if you prefer.

Manhunt begins with a request to help someone who's investigating mysterious animal attacks and killings out in the Barrens. Naturally, there's more than meets the eye... and there's the added complication that you are out in the country with things like weather, not 'safe' on the city streets. The first problem is actually getting out there, and once there the action comes thick and fast in this alien environment.

Carbon Copy, back on the city streets but no safer, involves a hunt for a serial killer. There's just one thing. That killer's been dead for years, and even the copycat killer who operated for a while over a year ago has not been heard from in ages... another edge-of-the-seat ride for the party including a visit to the Ork Underground and dealings with Knight Errant.

Ashes again involves the Ork Underground, putting the characters at a pivotal event, a moment in history from which hangs the future of an entire society - yet it all begins with a 'short courier job'. This soon develops into an intense and time-critical series of events. And a major fire.

Finally, Humanitarian Aid sends the characters to the aid of a township in Salish territory who have fallen prey to a rather nasty virus. Supplies of vaccine have been stolen from the local clinic, and it's the party's job to retrieve them so that the ill can be treated.

All serve as stand-alone adventures that can be played as one-offs or slotted into an ongoing campaign. Each presents an interesting take on the world of the shadowrunner, broadening the scope beyond the usual corporate bickering... and they're fun to run. Everything is well presented and laid out so as to be easy to use, with comprehenive maps, handouts, rumour tables and more to make the game master's life easy.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Sprawl Wilds
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Shadowrun: Fifth Edition Quick-Start Rules
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/17/2015 08:03:31
Designed to give a flavour of what Shadowrun is all about, this opens with 'Everything has a price' - the mantra by which the mercenary world of the shadowrunner operates. It then presents the romantic view of shadowrunners as the brave few who won't dance to the megacorporations' tune and aid their pursuit of profit above all else.

It then dives straight in to an outline of how the game works, written with the complete beginner in mind. Pre-generated characters are provided, but there's a clear run-down of all the main components of one: metatype, attributes, qualities and skills, although it doesn't explain how to actually create a character - after all, this is designed to give you a flavour of the game. The task resolution process (or 'test') is explained quickly but clearly with examples, along with a short concise summary of the combat process.

Next, the 'awakened world' of magic is covered with explanations of how to cast spells and how to defend against them with counterspells. For those who prefer the technological, this is followed by details of the wireless augmented reality world in which the characters live, in constant realt-time communication with the Matrix (the beast into which the Internet has evolved). And that's everybody, not just the deckers whose specialist skills enable them to explore and warp the Matrix in ways never intended.

Armed with this rather breathless yet comprehensive overview of game mechanics, you are then provided with a short scenario, 'Fast Food Fight', in which you can try them out using the pre-generated characters provided. For reasons adequately explained this revolves around a brawl in a fast food restaurant, a place which makes the burger joints we're used to sound like fine dining. A plan of the place is provided as well as clear descriptions of every location (and the hazards therein). NPCs are also provided, and there is even a copy of the establishment's menu... along with some rules to determine if anyone eating from it gets food poisoning!

Although simple, the adventure does provide plenty of action. There are suggestions throughout for running it and even for digging a bit deeper and taking it to a full-blown adventure, as well as some hints for more astute players to develop some interesting tactics during the brawl. There's even a sheet of handy tables to use as a Gamemaster Screen.

A nice introduction to playing the game, suitable even for newcomers to role-playing never mind Shadowrun, but an experienced Gamemaster would be advantageous, if you have one. If you are interested in shifting editions of Shadowrun, you'll have to decide where the differences lie between this and the edition(s) you are used to playing, as there is no indication here. But overall it gives a good feel of basic shadowrunning and ought to leave players ready to get to grips with the full game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Fifth Edition Quick-Start Rules
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

The Mysterium
Publisher: White Wolf
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/16/2015 13:46:22
The Mysterium is the order of mages that seeks to preserve wisdom and magical lore, sometimes by keeping it secret from those who might use it for ill or who would be themselves damaged from knowing it... and if your character decides to join this is essential reading, certainly if you have embraced the underlying concept of the game as being about individual growth and development in a world where magic is real. It opens with a compelling piece of fiction about a man who is somehow accessing secrets of magic without actually being Awakened, which sweeps the reader along in fascination.

The Introduction explains who the Mysterium are and the sort of things that they do, how they recruit and what happens to those who join up - in a word, ongoing enlightenment (Sorry, that ended up two words) - and then lays out what is in the rest of the book.

Chapter 1: A History of Wisdom traces the history of magic itself from its early beginnings, back through the ages to the days of Atlantis and forwards until the now. Of course, this is the history of magic as told by the Mysterium. Others may have different views... and even Mysterium members do not agree about everything! There is still much hidden knowledge, and finding it is a challenge that a group of Mysterium mages might well embrace. The chapter discusses how they have sought to find and preserve knowledge throughout known history, and sometimes even shared it.

Then, Chapter 2: Those Who Know talks about knowledge itself and how the way in which Mysterium mages handle it defines them as much as do their practices. There is even more magical theory here, however, showing how they operate on a day to day basis and the ideas underlying their actions. A core belief is that magic is itself alive, but of course there are many ways in which they handle it on that basis - be it ecologically (rationalising that if magic is alive, so is all of the universe), through mathematics, or by developing advanced mental powers. Knowledge, it is said, is divided into three strands: a High Path that studies magic and mages themselves along with the Supernal Realms, a Central Path that looks at the supernatural world and its denizens, and a Common Path that explores the regular arts and sciences available to everyone, mage or not. Research goes hand in hand with exploration and experimentation, Mysterium mages often infiltrating archaeological expeditions or consorting with tomb raiders in their quest to discover what has been lost over the ages. There are certain standards by which they live, however, which include never deliberately misleading another mage, the duties between master and apprentice, and a requirement for fair trading when knowledge is to be exchanged. There are plenty of ideas on how to incorporate these concepts into your game, even suggestions for complete chronicles.

Next, Chapter 3: The Ladder of Mysteries focusses on the organisation of the Mysterium and charts how one progresses through it via a series of initiations. This section is full of ritual (and funny handshakes if you want them) that can be used to mark a character's growth within the order from initial recruitment and the ceremonial surround entry into the Mysterium through to higher levels few may attain. Signs, symbols, mystical phrases abound: anyone who has studied mystery cults or belonged to one will recognise the pattern.

Chapter 4: Factions and Legacies explains how the Mysterium is not one monolithic block sharing uniform customs but instead is made up of many different groups working together (at least most of the time) towards a common cause. These factions may on the face of it be defined by their role within the order - librarian, curator, archaeologist, ritualist and so on - but if you dig deeper there is much more to it than that. History, motivations and approaches to life and to magic are discussed for each group. There are plenty of ideas here for developing a character's distinctive personality and style.

Then Chapter 5: Spells and Artifacts explores some of the magical knowledge, spells and tactics that the Mysterium shares only with those within the order. There's a lot here, from typical ritual gestures of spellcasting to (naturally) some new spells.

Finally, there's an Appendix: Allies and Antagonists which provides a selection of well-developed Mysterium NPCs which may be encounter - as friend, foe or just someone passing through - during the course of a game.

It all makes for a fascinating read but begs the question: just who ought to read it? A player with a non-Mysterium character would likely know none of this, and even a Mysterium character will grow into his knowledge as the game progresses. Yet it's not really for Storytellers alone, and even players may well play several different characters over the course of time. What it does do is give a magnificent insight into how this particular order operates and thinks, being excellent information for those who want to get into the very head of a Mysterium mage.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Mysterium
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Legacies: The Ancient
Publisher: White Wolf
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/12/2015 08:02:34
Opening with some decidedly adult fiction in which mages and ordinary mortals mix at a convention with unsatisfactory results for just about everyone, this book is a second collection of legacies adding to the rich tapestry of mage society and perhaps offering a path which your mage character might like to tread.

The Introduction: Long Ago and Far Away explains the significance of legacies in a mage's journey through life, how they can contribute to his development as an individual and Awakened mage. The focus of this book is the ancient traditions, those that trace their lineage back through the mists of time or which seek to rediscover ancient truths lost to modern mages. Thirteen legacies are presented here including a couple from the Left Hand Path, teaching their adherents dubious practices which make them more suited for NPCs than player-characters and so best left for Storyteller use.

The bulk of the book is given over to detailed discussions of the thirteen legacies, providing ample material for anyone wishing to play a mage embracing one of the legacies or a Storyteller who wants to embroil that legacy in the storyline. Although necessary game mechanics are included, the main gist of each one is the underlying mindset and concepts involved, helping the reader to understand how a mage will grow and develop as he pursues that legacy. Each one includes the attainments a mage gains as he advances within it and a sample character should you wish to make use of it as an NPC representative of the legacy (or as inspiration for building your own character or NPCs). There are also story hooks based around each legacy which can be woven into the plot or even used as inspiration for an entire chronicle focussed on it.

Reading through the different legacies gives an idea of the vast and magestic sweep of history that lies behind magic within this game. Like its companion book Legacies: The Sublime this one delves deep into the underlying philosophy and addresses the core of the game: the development of the individual as a wielder of magic in modern times. Many of these legacies involve mastery over something - the elements, dreams, even death itself - and speak to the need of many to control things around them, something that lies at the very heart of magical power. Others address the equally powerful urge to create, be it in stone or metal or music, or to understand the underlying pattern.

This makes for a fascinating read, once you have got past the opening fiction which will be a bit too explicit for some readers. The legacies are varied and provide valuable insights into what it means to be a modern-day mage, and for those who choose to follow them provide a vehicle to develop characters into potent practitioners of their art.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legacies: The Ancient
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Basic Paths: Murder a la Carte (Pathfinder)
Publisher: 0one Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/11/2015 08:11:36
This adventure is designed with the novice GM in mind, and involves a series of unfortunate events in a mansion near the rural settlement of Gafolweed. It's intended for 3rd-level characters, ideally from the area. This mansion is the home of an adventurer called Marcellus Drake... an adventurer who has ensured his fame lasts by penning a series of autobiographical stories about his adventures.

The characters are brought into the story by an ingenious twist: the late adventurer's lawyer contacts them stating that they are his heirs, but to claim their inheritance they must solve the mystery of the adventurer's own murder!

With most adventures, this is where I'd make some comment about not everything being quite so straightforward, but in this one it is not a case of all is not what it seems - nothing is what it seems! The mansion is, needless to say, absolutely bursting with traps and other dangers, and the dungeon beneath is inspired by the stories of the adventurer's exploits.

The adventure begins in Gafolweed, where the legends around Marcellus Drake have become a cottage industry. Copies of the stories and related merchandise can be obtained here, and it is here that the party will be approached by the 'lawyer' informing them of their good fortune. Everything is well laid out with helpful hints and tips for the GM on how to run each encounter, even in the fairly loose and freeform early stages. Stat blocks for each encounter are clear and placed just where you need them. Good notes are given on playing each NPC as that individual is first presented, whilst descriptions - of people, places and things - paint vivid pictures. In addition there are neat "GM's Tips" that give additional advice on how to deal with various issues from concealing that an NPC is lying to keeping track of a horde of them.

The course of the adventure is quite free-form, with the characters able to wander around at will, interacting with the household staff and exploring the various parts of the mansion. Yet everything is laid out clearly so that the GM will be able to let the party have free rein while being able to respond appropriately. Ways of passing information on to the characters are suggested, including gleaning clues from knowledge of Drake's exploits (even if they have to speed-read the books - assuming they bought any - mid-dungeon!).

Several battlemaps (0one are good at them!), paper standees for the monsters and handouts are provided. The handouts are slightly marred by obtrusive product branding, but it is just about possible to cut around it if you prefer 'realistic' looking handouts.

This is a novel and well-resourced take on that old classic, the puzzle dungeon. It's coherent and logical, and should make for an entertaining game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Basic Paths: Murder a la Carte (Pathfinder)
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Origin of the Species: Transmechs Revised
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/09/2015 08:10:22
The Origin of the Species series of supplements is all about providing options for including non-human races - be they characters or NPCs - in your Spycraft game... but this one takes it to an extreme, providing all that you need to play a 'transmech' or in other words a transformer, a self-aware autonomous robot that is capable of switching form between two appearances, based on those common to the world in which they live. Product of some alien engineering - or even 'extreme science' on Earth - you might think they'd be better suited as invading opponents to your band of spies... but it could be quite entertaining to play one instead.

A transmech is a fully-conscious robotic lifeform, not someone piloting a strange mechanical exoskelton ('mecha'), and its important to remember that especially if you are playing one rather than fighting them. They tend to be large and quite obvious, at least in one of their forms. Naturally, they do not work quite the same as people: they do not eat or breathe and do not heal damage in the same way as a human being does. One form is the classic 'robot' style upright bipedal thing, the 'alt-mode' shape it can shift into (quickly, it's merely a full round action) can be just about anything provided it is at least approximately half the mass of the bipedal form (where the rest goes, nobody knows!). Things like vehicles, objects or even animals are allowed. Objects can include weapons, of course. A vehicle can be 'driven' by someone else, just like any other vehicle, and objects can be used as ordinary objects of that type, which could give rise to some interesting situations.

There are a lot of specialties and feats to enable you to customise a transmech to meet your needs, and copious advice on actually building and playing one. There's also a master class to aspire towards, the Legendary Transmech.

Next comes a good collection of campaign ideas - if there are going to be transmechs in your campaign, you will need to work out what they are doing there! As well as these one-paragraph ideas there is a full-blown campaign seed complete with a new organisation whose purpose is to protect at least some of humanity from encroaching transmechs. To get you started there is a horde of developed transmech NPCs, which provide good examples of what you can do with the basic rules herein.

Finally, there are three ready-to-play scenes involving transmechs. They begin with the party as human operatives in a world that has no knowledge of transmechs... but that doesn't last for long! The second one pits the characters as transmechs arriving on a new world and the final one involves said transmech team finding an ancient artefact and having to deal with it as well as the inhabitants of the world they are on.

It's an interesting concept which could prove the basis of a dramatic campaign if it's the sort of thing that appeals. An intriguing thought would be if a party of human agents find a single transmech who becomes part of their team, but you would need some strong role-players to pull that off successfully.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Origin of the Species: Transmechs Revised
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Origin of the Species: Classic Fantasy
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/07/2015 06:58:04
This supplement is about adding classic fantasy races to Spycraft. Now you may think that dwarves and elves and the like have no place in a contemporary espionage game... but what if, for some reason, they did? You may choose to run an alternate world in which they do exists - have you ever wondered what Greyhawk or the Forgotten Realms would be like in modern times? - or perhaps the sudden emergence of such beings is going to be central to your plotline. 'Ordinary' human characters serving as agents of their government might then be tasked with finding the answers to such questions as Where do they come from? Are they a threat? and so on. The potentials are enormous if you are willing to give this a go!

This, of course, presupposes that the fantasy race(s) you choose to incorporate are NPCs. It's also possible for players to have characters of non-human stock, depending on what sort of game you are intending to run, and all the resources needed for the generation of such characters is included here. If non-humans are not integral to your campaign world, an interesting twist would be for players to portray the first few dwarves (or whatever) encountered by regular humans in a world similar to the real one, turning the sort of investigations mentioned in the first paragraph upside down.

The races covered here are dwarf, elf, orc and pech (basically a halfling/hobbit-style race). For each, the modifications from a base standard of 'human' are enumerated, and all the necessary game mechanics are provided to create and run characters of these races. Due to the completely open-ended nature of how they are present in your modern world, however, there is none of the background material common to most fantasy games. This is something you will have to invent for yourself, or turn to fantasy resources to provide.

Each race has an associated master class to aspire to, the Legendary. Before they get that far there are assorted specialties, abilities and feats that can be chosen to reflect the fact that they are not merely humans with pointy ears, short stature or whatever, but a completely different race altogether.

Finally, there are not only sample NPCs but a neat idea called 'character seeds': outline concepts for characters which you can then flesh out to finalise the design of the character that you will play. It's a good way to help steer you through the bewildering array of options available.

I must confess I opened this book thinking that it might not be a particularly good idea, now I'm having ideas for campaigns flooding in! This is one of the delights of reviewing: the opportunity to study concepts that do not initially appeal often reveals hidden gems you might have passed on at a first glance. It won't be a classic James Bond spy game, but used with thought the material herein could create a very enjoyable and memorable game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Origin of the Species: Classic Fantasy
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Spellbound: The Seer
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/04/2015 08:06:15
Spellbound: The Seer is part of a series that allows the incorporation of magic into a Spycraft 2.0 game. Each volume presents a 'school' of magic and a corresponding base class for those magicians who wish to practise it. In this one, we meet the Seer, described as a student of mystery, master of secrets, and wielder of devastating words of power... if you are running a Spycraft game that allows for the supernatural and magical powers, this could be an interesting and potent addition to the classes available to your players... and probably great fun as an NPC too!

The supplement begins with some general remarks about having magic in your game, beginning with the need to set it as a campaign quality and then choosing which schools of magic exist in your setting. The discussion moves on to some thought-provoking ideas as to how magic might work - what's the source, how do you access and use it, what does it look like and what are the consequences of loosing magic on your world? Once you come up with your own answers to these questions, you have gone a long way to doing the groundwork to embed magic into your game.

There are some differences to 'standard' D20 magic, such as you find in Dungeons and Dragons. You make a skill check to cast each spell, for example, and can cast any spell you know without preparation provided you have sufficient power. Oh, and you can be wearing whatever you want, and various other changes. It makes for a simple and straightforward set of mechanics to underpin spellcasting.

Right, here we are looking at the 'Seer School' of magic, which has three strands or disciplines, being artifice, divination and word. Artifice is about exerting control over machinery, divination is about detecting things and observing even at a distance and word is using the very language of magic to sometimes devastating effect. Thus introduced, all that you need to generate a Seer character is provided. Depending on how you choose to interpret it (and several suggestions are given) a Seer ought to be a source of wise counsel to his colleagues, a practical ideas man for the party. He's an interesting character, with high skill points, a well-rounded class skill list, strong progressions, and a spell list that can create offensive, defensive, knowledge and crafting effects.

Next, the whole process of spellcasting using these rules is explained. Basically, it is a 'spell point' system where the caster expends a set number of points based on the spell he wants to cast. The points he has is based on his level and they refresh every scene (unless he is still maintaining a long-running spell, when he doesn't get the points powering that spell back). Normally spellcasting is quite noticeable (you need a Sleight of Hand check if you try to conceal what you are up to, and they still might notice the mumbling - you have to be able to speak to cast). You also need a 'spell kit' - the equivalent of the infamous 'material components' required of a D&D wizard - although its up to you and the GC to determine just what you need to have with you to cast effectively.

Once you have all that in hand, there are some magic-related feats to choose from and a goodly array of spells... as well as sufficient information on how they are put together to let you construct your own if you are that way inclined. The collection of spells just begs to be tried out and could provide a very interesting spin on an otherwise conventional Spycraft game if you decide to let magic in!

It's an intriguing proposition and one that could make for some memorable ones. Try it if you dare.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Spellbound: The Seer
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Real American H.E.R.O.es Revised
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/03/2015 08:38:26
This work presents a bizarre fusion of military covert operations and comic book capers and yet - unless you are a die-hard realist - it works! In fact, even if you are a die-hard realist it takes little more than stripping off the silly names and as much of the exotic equipment as you are uncomfortable with to still get it to work.

Opening with a history of the United States Headquarters for Eminent Risk Oversight and a timeline of some of their major operations, we're soon immersed in the current structure and operational landscape of H.E.R.O. Somewhere along the line they have acquired an enemy organisation (over and above normal bogey-men like Communists and more recently terrorists) and this is the main focus of present-day skirmishing. This enemy is called National Military Exports (N.M.E.) and in true comic book style, H.E.R.O. operatives wear green uniforms and N.M.E. ones have blue uniforms. (Does N.M.E. mean something special, I wonder? The only acronym I know is a UK music magazie, the New Musical Express that's always known by its initials...)

Both H.E.R.O. and N.M.E. are presented as Spycraft 2.0 'factions' with all the associated game mechanics - so you can choose a side with ease. If you fancy N.M.E. or just need to know more about them, there's a potted history of how they came about, led by an insane megalomaniac who calls himself the Arch-Enemy. Calls himself that, mark you, it's not an epithet his opponents coined for him! Building N.M.E. up from a small private security contractor to its current state, they are apparently behind such 'incidents' as Three Mile Island, the first Palestinian Intifada, the Ethiopian famine, the Challenger tragedy, the War on Drugs, the Tiananmen Square massacre, Big Hair Bands, the Loma Prieta Earthquake, the Exxon Valdez oil spill and 9/11 - plenty here for a conspiracy theorist to get their teeth into.

Just in case these two factions are not enough, there are three more - the Morrigna Corporation (arms dealers), the Shirobikou clan (ninjas), and the Wreckers (a biker gang) - to spin into the mix. All much smaller, they shift allegiances as it suits them, allies one day, opponents the next... or maybe playing both sides at once.

Next comes all the details you need to build a character who is part of one or another of these factions, but with the apparent assumption that you'll be joining H.E.R.O. As well as lots of build hints, there's new material: new master classes, new feats... and lots of new toys! Much of this material will be of use whether or not you want to run this setting. If you enjoy cinematic action movies and want your characters swooping in on a monowing or a jet pack, this is the place to look. There's a vast array of vehicles and weapons to choose from, complete with brief descriptions and a chart with all the game mechanics you need to use them in play.

This is followed by various tables to help you administrate the faction mechanics Renown and Allegience. There are rank charts for each of the five factions so that you may measure your progress in them.

Then we get down to the real stuff: how to run a 'Real American H.E.R.O.es' campaign. It needs to be cinematic, larger-than-life and a bit black and white - clear distinctions between the Good Guys and the Bad Sorts. Big threats, high stakes and big action scenes in thrilling locations. Themes, objectives, a 'diabolical plot generator' (yes, really!) and even a system for creating handy McGuffins are explored. Finally, there's a whole bunch of NPCs from all five factions to sling into the melee.

Taken in a spirit of fun, this larger-than-life approach can prove very entertaining. Don't try and take it seriously - if you want to game that way, mine this for the bits you want and put them into a different setting. All good fun...

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Real American H.E.R.O.es Revised
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Agent X: Firebrand
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/02/2015 08:03:31
The Firebrand is an interesting expert class, one that would be rather fun to play if you have the gift of the gab because at the core, this character is a rabble-rouser. He knows all the right buttons to press to get people worked up - and if he gets tired of espionage he could always retire to politics!

There are plenty of roles such an individual could fill, and some are suggested here. However, many might be better suited to an NPC unless your campaign is structured carefully to accommodate your Firebrand. From revolutionary to political activist or corporate raider (just a few of the suggested roles) it's quite easy to see how to weave a plot around him, less easy to know just what to do with him if your plot is about something else entirely.

Understandibly, the core attribute is Charisma, with Wisdom and Intelligence following along behind. There are plenty of interesting and useful class abilities to fit the Firebrand up as a figurehead that can sway the hearts and minds of those who hear him.

The game mechanics you'll need to run this character are provided: the usual table plus suggested feats and three new ones - the 'Cameraderie' tree which is used to enhance group combat by letting members of the team support each other better. There are also ideas for building the character, including different sorts of Firebrands depending on their origins - one who started life as a Pointman might have a completely different approach than one who was a Fixer or a Scientist, for example.

It is an interesting concept, used well in adventures that will make use of the Firebrand's particular talents it could prove memorable.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Agent X: Firebrand
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Bag Full of Guns: Dragon's Fury
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/30/2015 07:14:07
This is a rundown of contemporary Chinese small arms, which have been developed in isolation due to embargoes imposed on China in response to human rights violations. Just how useful it's going to be depends on whether the action in your game will visit mainland China, or someone from there might turn up elsewhere.

Starting with a plethora of different service pistols, there are also details of submachine guns, various kinds of rifles (bolt action, semi-automatic and assault), squad automatic weapons, machine guns, grenade launchers and mortars. Each comes with a quite detailed description as well as an entry in the master table at the back that gives all the game statistics. If public order is your reason for arming up, there is a collection of non-lethal loads for the riot gun (which is, for some reason, hiding amongst the machine guns).

The usual grumble of no illustrations aside, this is an interesting look at an arsenal that has developed in isolation from Western gun research. As they are real weapons, you can quite easily find pictures online, though.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Bag Full of Guns: Dragon's Fury
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Agent X: The Runner
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/29/2015 07:45:48
This short supplement introduces an expert class called the Runner... but no athlete, he. Forget running-and-gunning, this runner is a 'netrunner' scampering along the information superhighway, getting into all the places he should not and copying (or destroying) that which others might wish to keep quiet. For profit or through ideology, it matters little. But he is not the traditional hacker lurking in his Mom's basement, this Runner is adept at physical infiltration as well.

All the usual information necessary to plan, build and play a character are provided. Intelligence is the primary attribute, but closely followed by Charisma and Dexterity. The Charisma is important because his core ability is Social Engineering - the art of getting information out of people rather than their computers (how else do you find out passwords without doing a brute force attack?) that is too often forgotten in fictional portrayals of hacker types. One, especially, of the class attributes is rather neat too - it's called Twitch and gives defence and initiative bonuses based on spending too much time dodging virtual bullets when playing first-person shooter video games!

There are plenty of other neat features, as well as notes on playing such a character, good feat and gear selections and a few new feats that ought to come in useful.

My main Spycraft character is a hacker type who's generally happier in the van maintaining contact with the rest of the party via headsets. This might just tempt him out...

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Agent X: The Runner
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Agent X: One-Man Army
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/28/2015 08:11:24
This short supplement presents a new expert class, one designed to provide a character with the same unstoppable and violent determination as shown by movie action heroes like Casey Ryback (Under Siege) or John McClane (the Die Hard series)... indeed although not mentioned by name McLean is referenced within the class abilities!

This character is designed as a tough combatant ready to both hand out damage and absorb a good deal, so unsurprisingly Constitution is his most important attribute, with Dexterity or Strength (depending on his preference for gunplay or fisticuffs) coming next. He has plenty of hit points, and will probably need them. Most of the class abilities are built around standing up (often alone) to overwhelming numbers of opponents... and include 'Yippee-Ki-Yay' (the McClane reference) which gives a defensive bonus for the rest of the scene after a critical success is scored with a skill use or attack and the character comes out with his catchphrase.

As well as all the game mechanics you need to generate and play a One Man Army character, there are notes on suitable talents and specialties to select and on playing him to best effect. There are also several new feats based around working with a partner as well as suggestions for existing ones that you might like to consider choosing.

Ideal for those who enjoy full-on cinematic action this is an interesting class to consider developing into as a campaign proceeds.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Agent X: One-Man Army
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Displaying 91 to 105 (of 1842 reviews) Result Pages: [<< Prev]   1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 ...  [Next >>] 
Back
You must be logged in to rate this
0 items
 Gift Certificates
Powered by DrivethruRPG