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Enhanced Racial Guide: Bhriota
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/22/2014 09:53:14
Deeply embedded in the lore of the Shadows over Vathak setting, the bhriota are beastial and savage hominids, most of whom are irredeemably evil... not promising stock at all. They are tribal, with shamans who lead them in worship of the Old Ones and most view weakness of any kind as shameful. Those few who show any shreds of compassion generally find it politic to leave their tribal homes and seek their fortune elsewhere... becoming the small number of bhriota adventurers.

Full rules mechanical details are given for those who wish to play a bhriota. Large (often over 7' tall), with bonuses to strength and constitution and to Intimidate - due to their racial reputation - they present an interesting alternative to a pure barbarian character, and one which is embedded into the Shadows of Vathak setting. Those who do seek the adventuring lifestyle can follow most careers, often flavouring the chosen class with aspects of their tribal background - for example bhriota bards generally drum and recount tales from bhriota dark oral history. Many racial traits are available, mirroring different aspects of tribal custom and nature.

Next comes a collection of racial archetypes. The insane assailant is a barbarian archetype, whilst the savage huntsman is a ranger one. An esoteric binder is a strange summoner archetype and there is a witch doctor one based on the witch.... one with a penchant for pain and suffering. Other racial feats and campaign racial traits follow.

Bhriota also practise rune magic, and this is explained in detail. There are eight known rules than can be mastered, and although their effects are magical, runic lore may be studied by any class of character. Once a rune is mastered, a process that involves study and often a quest, it may be inscribed on an object permanently or 'improvised' on the fly to access the inherent powers associated with it. As well as the runes themselves, there are several associated feats.

Next comes a prestige class, the bhriota shaman, who employs curses, shamanistic dances, and herbal medicine and remedies to accomplish his ends. Their method of cursing is interesting. To gain the effect of a bestow curse spell, the shaman enacts a ritual naming the target and drives a nail into a special 'curse board' - and unlike the spell, this can target anyone known to the shaman who is on the same plane of existance... never mind having to touch them! Some other shamanistic powers are accessed by dancing, thus making it a quite unusual and spectacular class.

Bhriota equipment, weapons and magic items follow, and then there is a discussion of known tribes and their identifying characteristics... and their own specific tribal traits which may be taken by members of that tribe alone.

If you are using the Shadows of Vathak setting, this is a well-integrated race that will enhance your game. If you do not, but would like a savage and strange race to populate some dark corner of your world, this is a well-considered one that could prove an interesting challenge.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Enhanced Racial Guide: Bhriota
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Sathar Destroyer Technical Manual
Publisher: Frontier Explorer
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/21/2014 08:15:12
Whilst designed for use with the Star Frontiers RPG originally published by TSR, the Sathar Destroyer would make an excellent alien vessel whatever ruleset you are using.

The first part describes the general style of the vessel, which is built by and for a race called the Sathar. If you need to know who they are, consult Frontier Explorer Magazine #6, which is available for free download here, although if you use this as a derelict alien ship to be explored, it is not so important to know about its original owners. The whole appearance is 'alien' and hints are given as to how to convey this to the party. The whole layout, too, reflects an alien philosophy and approach to life rather neatly.

This section is followed by an overall plan and detailed deck plans for each level. These are reference plans for referee use, there are also full plans - at a size suitable for miniatures or counters if you use them - provided as part of the download. Here, though, there are descriptions and notes on what is to be found where.

There's a short section on ancillary vessels - work pods, shuttles - and robots that are carried (which may or may not be present if a derelict destroyer is to be discovered; and then comes a section on shipboard life - assuming that the Sathar are there to enjoy it. A couple of pictures show you want they look like.

Overall, this is an interesting ship with a genuinely alien feel to it. Particular features are the low ceilings (1.5m), rounded corners on everything, the use of 'pool beds' for sleeping, relaxation and acceleration couches, and the fact that you cannot reach all parts of the ship - being a caste-based society, they see no need for interaction over and above basic communications between different areas. A spot of proofreading would have helped, but you can generally work out what was intended.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Sathar Destroyer Technical Manual
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Supplement 16: Adventure Seeds
Publisher: Mongoose
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/20/2014 12:52:05
This is something that any Traveller referee needs to keep handy. Not only is it a practical way to get out of trouble if the party decides to go somewhere unanticipated leaving you without anything prepared that's suitable for wherever they went, it can also help spark ideas when you are planning adventures in the normal manner.

It is divided into three sections: Patrons, Plots and Rendez-vous. The first two are pretty obvious, the third is a collection of locations to use with your patrons and plots (or indeed in anything else you have planned).

The Patrons section begins with a swift overview of what you need to have in hand for a good adventure - boiled down to the '4 Ps' of Plots, People, Places and Props. It gives good advice about how to make your NPCs come to life for the party, how to make them into individual people rather than clone Barkeep #7 or Gangster #17. Then there's a wonderful collection of '36 Dramatic Situations' which you may choose or roll 2d6 on a table for... any could provide the meat for at least a single adventure if not a whole campaign. Each one states what is needed - people, other plot devices, etc. - and gives an example in a couple of sentences. Then there's advice on mixing different situations together to create something even more exciting than one on its own, and then how to cope when the party doesn't do what you'd intended them to do... a frequent occurance, at least in my games.

Oh, and then we get on to the actual Patrons! Each one is presented in the standard format with a notes as to requirements in terms of the skills and equipment that the party will need, the actual task - as both player and referee information, so it's clear even if you are in a hurry what you actually tell the party - and a selection of twists and outcomes you can either roll a d6 on or pick the one that takes your fancy. Even a quick glance shows that the various situations are very inventive and will feel like well-thought-out adventures from the player side of the table.

And there's more: a collection of 'situations' where events overtake the party and they'll have to deal with them before getting on with whatever adventure they're engaged in, 'elaborations' where there's a whole bunch of detailed material that will make their lives interesting (and occasionally even profitable as well), and 'starport chatter' - a collection of news items and rumours that can fly around any starport, it's up to you if they are meaningful or just background colour. Finally, there is a selection of 'world seeds' which are little nuggets of information you can throw in to make a particular planet sound that little bit more interesting.

Next up, Plots. This contains even more classic patron encounters, all interesting and repleate with potential. There are also some 'introductions' which are designed to bring something - that may feature in an upcoming adventure - to the party's attention, such as a brawl breaking out in the starport concourse between two groups or factions at least one of which they will be getting involved with in the future. A neat idea. Advertisements, red herrings (things which sound profitable but probably are not), a selection of personal ads and 'gimmicks' - strange and sometimes useful items they may see or someone might attempt to sell to them. A collection of Library Data rounds off this section.

And so we come to the Rendez-vous section. This is a vast collection of locations in which you can set part of the action, or use in any other way that seems appropriate. Beginning with a note on adapting these locations - basically all designed for standard 'human' space - to alien settings, it launches into listings categorised by type: accommodation, restaurants and bars, entertainment, emergency services, sites of interest, shops, education, services and the nooks and crannies of starports themselves. For each location, there's a name, a description and notes on associated costs, NPCs likely to be there and suggestions for things that might happen there over and above whatever reason has brought the party there in the first place. Oh, and one location - Flashing Blades in the entertainment section - is derived from a place I invented in the course of an adventure I wrote for BITS many, many years ago. Good to see that it is still going strong!

However inventive you might be, you will still find ideas that can improve your game. Definitely one to add to the collection.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Supplement 16: Adventure Seeds
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Heroes of the Siwathi Desert
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/19/2014 13:03:14
Fancy visiting (or coming from) a nice warm desert region?

Here you will find a whole bunch of things to aid you in creating a truly fantastical desert setting within your campaign world - much is transferrable to any campaign world, even if you don't want to use Porphyra. There are notes about using the material in the Porphyra campaign setting which enhance it further.

First up are new player-character races suitable for the desert environment. The anpur - upright bipedal furry creatures, gnolls (OK, not new but not normally found as PCs) and zendiqi, who are desert-adapted aboriginal humans. Then there are the elemental kin, seriously different and quite unusual.

Next is an overview of the Siwathi Desert itself - history, government, settlements... and a nice map. Most settlements are fairly small, the largest (the Tent-City of the Grand Wazir) being some 4,000 souls. Each has some flavour text, a stat block and quite a lot of detail to help you bring it to life.

This is followed by a selection of archetypes, class features and prestige classes that are appropriate to denizens of the desert. One interesting prestige class is the Five Spirits Master who basically is a guru of mystical martial arts based around the elements and passed on by the genies to a favoured few. There are new feats and spells too, and some sample characters.

Useful to anyone venturing out into the desert is some new equipment, other things are ones you will only find there (like a clockwork chess player). Those who are familiar with the Dune series of novels will recognise the wind trap and the zilzala (a 'thumper' like those used for calling worms on Arakis). There are also some magical items which could make an interesting addition to a treasure hoard, even one far away from the desert. This section ends with comprehensive price lists for just about everything required for the well-equipped desert explorer.

Finally, the rules - and even a game board - for a popular desert game, Arbakampsi. It is a gambling, territorial game of two sides. Put simply, each player states a number before rolling a die, and the number of tokens he may place depends on both the stated number and the die roll. The tokens are placed according to strict rules, and the objective is to cover more squares with your tokens than your opponent can. One of those games it takes minutes to learn and a lifetime to master. Whilst it's explained how to actually play it, an abstraction for those who don't want to play it out might have been helpful.

If you like deserts in general, or want to incorporate the Siwathi Desert, this is rather good.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Heroes of the Siwathi Desert
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Player's Secrets of Tuarhievel (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/18/2014 11:35:03
Fancy governing an elven realm? If playing in the Birthright setting, you get the chance with Tuarhievel. The situation, of course, is not straightforward. Currently, there's a human - yes, HUMAN - regent acting on behalf of the yet-unborn heir to the throne. If she has to flee, you may end up running the place, or as an elf noble you might be an advisor or be in charge of one of the provences. Of course, if you want to play a more regular game, Tuarhievel becomes a very interesting place to visit with some intense intrigue going on at the highest level, all of course with an elven twist.

The overview is penned in character by Savane, the Prince's Consort and mother of the unborn heir. She is understandably well clued up about the political situation and explains it well. And a muddled story it is, with the Prince missing in defence of the realm - he's gone to negotiate a peace-treaty with a Gorgon - having asked Savane to rule until his return or the child's coming of age; and many elves quite unhappy about a human acting as regent. Added to this, the seat of power, the Thorn Throne, is an intelligent artefact with a habit of making it very clear whom it deems worthy to sit there!

The history and geography of the realm is detailed, along with the various provinces, flora and fauna and so on. Elven politics and culture are also covered, as well as religion, the military and art and entertainment - a matter of great importance to the elven mind.

Several notable NPCs are described along with their stat blocks, and then there are notes on the holdings that accrue to whoever is the regent. There's a selection of rumours, which could easily be expanded to campaigns never mind adventures, and finally some suggestions as to what strategies might be employed by Birthright players in partiticular in furtherance of the good of the realm.

There are a few maps, although the one of the full realm appears to be missing half while the plan of the area where the Thorn Throne is gets duplicated. Other than that, it's a fascinating realm and could easily prove a good site for a long-running elven intrigue game in its own right.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Player's Secrets of Tuarhievel (2e)
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NPC Strategy Cards
Publisher: Rising Phoenix Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/18/2014 08:37:06
A simple, neat and elegant GM's tool... labelled for Pathfinder but useful whatever game system you are playing.

In the heat of battle, it is easy enough even as a player to lose track of your character's considered goals and the best path to achieve them: even harder as a GM with a whole mob of NPCs to handle as well as the overall moderation of the game! It also helps you give NPCs some individuality: this one is cautious, this one is rash especially if he's had a few drinks, this one fights dirty whilst that one is clinically efficient until someone insults his Momma...

A brief key and a sample card is provided, then there are several blanks. Being a PDF, you can print out as many as you need. They are not set up to enable typing in, you are expected to print and scribble - but if you use Adobe Acrobat, go into the Comment|Annotations menu and pick Text Comment. If doing this, remember to save a blank copy so that you can reuse the cards again and again first.

The card covers a range of things: to start with the NPC's name (Fred, Spear Carrier #2 or whatever), a reference for his full stat block (scenario notes, a bestiary...), and the vital ones, his AC and hit points. His role - why he's wherever he is - and morale too.

Then there are a variety of situations with space for you to jot down what he will do in those circumstances. It starts off with Ease, or what he does when not under any kind of threat. Then Alert, what he does when he thinks something's up. Then there are spaces to record his likely actions in Melee and Ranged combat, and the final slot is Blood - what he's going to do when it's all going wrong for him and he's dropping below half his hit points.

It's a really neat idea. Of course, you can come up with other things you might want to have. What does he do if intimidated? What are his 'triggers' for flying into a rage? Can he be bribed and if so, what does it take? I guess that's what the back of the card is for!

And best of all, they're free :)

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
NPC Strategy Cards
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Parsantium: City at the Crossroads
Publisher: Ondine Publishing
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/17/2014 12:28:59
City adventures are always a delight, and here is a brand-new city setting replete with opportunity... a group that gets really embedded into the life of Parsantium could see out their entire adventuring careers without leaving the city limits. Whether it is home, or a place a bunch of country boys and girls arrive at in search of adventure, there is ample opportunity to be found here. Should you be in any doubt, plot hooks are liberally strewn over every chapter bar the first (which is designed to be player-friendly, a good introduction to the city for new arrivals or would-be players of residents.

The idea of a 'city at the crossroads' merely enhances the potential. Think of Istanbul/Constantinople in the real world: different cultures mixing, trading routes crossing and so on. Whether you want to pursue profit, diplomacy or intrigue, there's plenty to do here... and a huge map to help you get it all into context (provided as both a double spread in the PDF and as a whopping JPEG image). The city is located on the border between two continents and no less than five major trade routes meet here. Parsantium itself is build on both continents, which are joined by massive stone bridges, and there are plenty of docks for those who prefer to travel by water, with two oceans and the lands beyond to beckon them away.

More detailed information follows thick and fast. History, Races, and Character Backgrounds - all you need to prepare a character who will fit in and thrive here. Most of the backgrounds, set up so as to allow for suitable traits if it's Pathfinder that you are playing, rely on the character having grown up in or around Parsantium. You may or may not choose to run your campaign this way, as the characters will know more about the city than their players, which can get a bit awkward. Generally, I find it more fun to play new arrivals, thus player and character can both enjoy exploring their new home. Neatly, although the city itself is laid out in glorious detail, the world beyond is painted quite vaguely, thus making it a trivial matter to fit Parasntium into an existing campaign world - or indeed to detail it later once the party shows some signs of wishing to venture outwith the city walls.

Chapter 2: Life in the City explores every angle of what it is like to live, work and play in Parsantium. Government and politics - even if you are not so much a fan of intrigue, the city is home to a massive bureaucracy with which characters will have to interact frequently... and intrigue can be so much fun, whether characters are mixing with the movers and shakers of the city, or just get hired to perform mysterious tasks the significance of which only appear in hindsight! A list of crimes and punishments are included - a mix of appaling barbarity and lenience, depending on what you did. Best not to get caught! A section on Culture and Customs includes all-important information on local cuisine - think Eastern Meditteranean with lots of fish, curries and spice added in - as the locals are united in a love of good food. Clothing, festivals, entertainments - even if not adventuring, there is plenty to keep you busy here!

Now you know the city, Chapter 3: Running a Campaign is jam-packed with ideas to help you organise an enjoyable campaign set in and around Parsantium. Themes can range from intrigue or gang warfare to gladiators or charioteers, delving into the past or trying to effect religious changes... not to mention trading, opening a tavern, joining a guild or working for the government or military. Mixing more than one is often better as it allows for a mix of adventures to suit all tastes. There's a wonderful section on 'the Living City' - how to interweave random and non-plot-related events and the things that pertain to ongoing adventures into a mix that gives the city a life of its own independent of the characters. Many of the events, depending on how the party reacts to them, have the potential to spring into the ongoing plot regardless.

Chapter 4 presents a detailed Gazetteer, and needs to be read in conjunction with the map. Notable locations in each Ward of the city are described, along with hidden places and some of the most important ones outside but near to the city limits. There's also a Hidden Quarter, the underbelly of the city, mostly literally underground. This is followed by Chapter 5: Organisations which introduces the most powerful groups - and naturally, plenty of plot ideas involving them.

The final chapter deals with Religion, providing details of the vast array of deities worshipped in Parsantium. Many are drawn from the surrounding area and the two continents beyond: if your campaign world is already established you may wish to swap in your own faiths to replace these. Or it may be that the ones given here are the names by which your existing deities are known within the city.

Overall, it's a magnificent city and I think I want to visit... see you there!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Parsantium: City at the Crossroads
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Quick Decks 6: Frontier Starports
Publisher: DSL Ironworks
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/17/2014 10:29:15
If you are looking for a 'plan for a starport' you are in the wrong place: but if you are looking for the components to map out bits of a starport when who's where becomes important, here you will find the tools that you need.

I generally think of starports a bit like airports, places to pass through or hang about waiting for departure (or when meeting someone). So you need lots of space, facilities for dropping people or good off or picking them up, and there's likely to be security, retail outlets, food and drink and facilities appropriate to whatever immigration and customs controls there might be wherever your starport is located. Then there's the underside, the working side. This includes the facilities to support the folk who work there - who need offices, stores, break rooms, comfort facilites and somewhere to eat. There is also the services required by those who use the starport as part of their work, from people who crew spaceships to those who supply and repair them. Workshops, storage and so on.

So, what do you get here? There's a lot of rather bland floor and wall tiles you can use to make whatever space you need. There are some quite good seating areas for the places people have to wait in. There's a nice security barrier for ground vehicle traffic in and out of the starport area. There are offices, staircases, even more waiting areas, tables, kitches, rest rooms, bars, smart entrances and rather more mundane ones... the sort of sleeping facilities suitable for transients, even a shower block, workshops, medical centre, corridors... and a few examples where all of these have been put together to provide sample locations.

There is an Introduction that gives a few hints and tips, mostly to help with printing; and a contents list which helps you make out what each sheet is supposed to be (not all are that obvious just looking at the plans). There is also a comprehensive legend (map key) to explain all the symbols used. The 'Layers' facility can be accessed to customise the plans somewhat, quite neatly.

Overall, this is a useful toolkit - but you will need to work out the overall plan for yourself, and decide which bits you need to have in more detail. This will no doubt be determined by what you intend to take place there - a party just passing through may need no more than a brief verbal description, but if the characters get into a brawl, you will find this very useful indeed!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Quick Decks 6: Frontier Starports
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VonAnstee's Library (Contagion)
Publisher: Solace Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/16/2014 11:16:00
It's a bit off-putting when the first sentence misses out two quite vital words, but persevere and it improves considerably; the content is worth it. For this work tells the story of a vast hidden store of arcane and esoteric knowledge... a character with an interest in such matters may have heard rumours of it, they may even have acquired the password to gain entry - or think that they do, it is changed frequently so they may be out of date!

We meet its owner, and his full stats are presented should the party meet him. There's also quite a bit about what is in the library and why Von Anstee accumulated it, which could prove interesting if only you can get in.

Then there's some other useful stuff. Characters who like books and finding things out might like to try one of the new occupations: book buyer, collector, researcher or tome thief. Even if you don't fancy these occupations yourself, their skills might make them useful hirelings when you are after a particular volume or piece of knowledge. There are some useful feats for people interested in scholarly research (although Speed Read is quite a good one if you are a reviewer too!). There are a few new monsters/creatures as well, suited to the mountains where the library is situated. (No precise location is given, think one of the more mountainous and wooded areas of the United States, the sort of place you might visit a national park or go hunting in.)

Finally. just in case the mere thought of a vast store of knowledge doesn't get you headed in the right direction, there are a couple of adventure ideas to start the action rolling.

A nice useful adjunct to a game where knowledge can be vital.... and once that could, with a few rule mechanical amendments, be used in any game system where knowledge can be the route to power, or to survival.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
VonAnstee's Library (Contagion)
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Player's Secrets of Medoere (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/15/2014 10:54:10
In playing a full-blown Birthright campaign, each player is ruler of a domain... and of course, if you are in charge of a place you need to know all about it. This product is aimed at a player taking on the role of the regent of Medoere, a small but potent theocracy. However, it is an interesting place, and could be incorporated into a more regular campaign as an interesting place to visit (or to come from). While the book supposes that you are playing the regent, and the in character flavour text supports this, there are plenty of notes to facilitate the use of the information herein in other ways if preferred.

It opens with a briefing from the Grand Curate (or Prime Minister) to a newly-appointed Celestial Archpriest, as the regent of Medoere is known. This paints a vivid picture of the realm and the people in it, as well as discussing current relationships with neighbouring domains. If you are playing Birthright, these are likely to change swiftly as play progresses.

Next comes a historial account of the domain. Until about a century ago, the three provinces that make up Medoere were part of Diemed, one of the neighbouring domains. Then a war of independence led by one Daen Roesome led to the formation of the domain named after him, and left these three provinces a bit on their own. However, a priest by the name of Brun Szareh received a divine revelation in which the deity Ruornil imparted much information and directed him to bring people and cultivation to the land, although despite his requests Szareh was not allowed to establish the domain, that task being left for others who followed him.

The history is followed by details of geography, climate, topography and even flora and fauna of the land. Each province is described, with major settlements, places of worhip and other sites of interest being detailed. This section ends with the family tree of the ruling Enlien dynasty (complete with space to insert your character's name!) and details of religious foundations and other holdings.

Next comes a look at the society of Medoere. As well as noble titles and social structure, you will find information about the law, money and the ordinary people of the realm. This rounds off with a discussion of 'game demographics' showing how the population stacks up in game mechanical terms, and a selection of notable NPCs. A section on religious and legal matters follows, then on to rumours, plots and secrets that can be gathered by inquisitive visitors or used as sources for ongoing plots. Finally there is a page of strategy and advice, particularly aimed at Birthright players.

There are several maps and plans to enjoy as well. Even if you're not playing Birthright, this could prove a fascinating place to visit in the course of your adventures.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Player's Secrets of Medoere (2e)
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Mythic Mastery - The Mythic Balor
Publisher: Necromancers of the Northwest
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/14/2014 11:01:16
Some people may think balors are small fry compared to other demons, some may have been raised on tales of Gandalf facing off against one on a bridge in Moria... and this work recreates THAT sort of balor, the one that scares you rigid just when you really, really want to run out of range of its whip!

We start with a full, detailed stat block for the Mythic Balor in all its terror including a range of special abilities that recreate the sort of balor Gandalf fought in vivid detail. The Ecology section reinforces this, painting a dire picture indeed and ending by advising the inquisitive demonologist to refrain from attempting to summon one!

Three new spells - Fiery Conclusion, Summon Balor Whip and Form of the Balor - are presented, along with the mythic modifications applicable to them; then there is - should that inquisitive demonologist decided to ignore the warning - the ritual for summoning one. Don't try this at home, as they say.

Keep this to hand for when you really want to pull the stops out. An impressive and really scary demon that I, for one, do not wish to encounter - ever!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythic Mastery - The Mythic Balor
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Simia Aerodyne Limousine
Publisher: Christian Hollnbuchner
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/14/2014 10:33:45
This product presents a small and quite neat aerodyne vehicle which apparently was pulled from the market before it even had a chance to be a failure. There's nothing to suggest that it would have been either a failure or a massive success... a few are around, however, so it is the sort of thing that will have people scratching their heads when they see one. (Something I know all too well, I used to drive an unusual Renault model called a Safrane which even puzzled the cops who attended when someone rear-ended me!).

Anyway, it's a civilian pleasure vehicle requiring a driver and carrying up to four passengers. In how much comfort is not clear, but it looks quite roomy and the comfort no doubt depends on how much you want to spend on the interior.

Perhaps the party will notice it and need to describe it to cops or insurance people, but cannot identify make and model...

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Simia Aerodyne Limousine
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Two Page Adventures - Under the Horn
Publisher: Genius Loci Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/14/2014 10:01:42
Up in the mountains in the ruins of a long lost civilisation is the Horn. A massive horn the purpose of which nobody knows. Only it has recently started to glow and night, and young apprentice wizards sent to look didn't come back...

Adventurers who are bold (or foolhardy) enough to go take a look will find themselves exploring a subterranean cave system, for which the GM is provided with a nice full-page map and short notes for what's found where.

If you and your players enjoy exploring caves and fighting the creatures they find there, this hangs together quite nicely. Those who want more of a plot will need to add it for themselves.

Can the adventurers find out why the Horn is glowing or what's happened to the young magelings? Up to you.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Two Page Adventures - Under the Horn
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Publisher Reply:
Thank you Megan! I can say it is quite an honor to get such a fine and well received review and I am very thankful to you for it! May you have many advenetures and fun times with the adventure and I hope that future releases will be just as impressive!
Powers For Good #0
Publisher: Sage Kobold Productions
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/13/2014 10:00:55
The introduction is brief, explaining that this first work in the Powers For Good line keeps it simple: one team of super heroes to play, one bunch of villains to go up against and the rules necessary to make it all work. One person is the GM, everyone else plays a 'hero apiece. Oh, and you need funny-shaped dice (the sort that are familiar to most role-players!).

On to Getting Started. Here we learn how to create characters. It's simple. Start with the team of superheroes, giving the team a name and listing the members, each person present (including the GM) suggesting two names. Then each player chooses which of the team they'd like to play (which doesn't have to be one that they suggested) and rounds that character out some. Those characters not chosen are the supporting cast and have greatly reduced statistics, being reduced to a brief description of their personality and powers. The player-characters are described in much the same way, only in greater detail - but still in narrative form. No numbers or dice as yet.

Next comes Playing the Game. Play is divided into two phases: Preparation and Action. Action occurs when the characters are acting in the face of an external threat provided by the GM, Preparation is everything else they get up to. Both are handled in the main by verbal descriptions of what characters are doing, the dice generally only come out during Action when a character wishes to use a superpower to accomplish something.

And here's the fun part. That's when you choose which dice to roll for what power - and it's not fixed, you choose each time. The thing is, as a 'core' each character has a d12, a d8, a d6 and a d4 - each can be used once during a given sequence of actions. Once you have chosen, roll the lot and compare the total against a GM-set target number - exceed that and you have succeeded in whatever you were trying to do. To reflect the character getting tired, those dice that were used are then reduced in size (a d12 becomes a d10 and so on down the line until the d4, if used that's gone), but are available for the next thing that you want to do. Once the Action is over and things calm down a bit, you increase the dice by one step again; and once the whole scenario is done, you reset back to the core values. Oh, and you can gain determination from various circumstances, which can be added to your die rolls.

The next section explains the GMs role, how to run the game and what sort of things you need to provide: information, threats and so on. There are some wonderful ideas for spurring the characters into action - vital components hit, things that collapse (under the characters, maybe) and the like. There are notes on managing the dice, setting target numbers and creating (and using) villainous plots to effect.

Finally, there's an adventure for you to try all this out on: Doctor Fission vs. The World. It is presented in outline, but is clear to follow and - being quite basic - should not require too much preparation to run effectively. The action should be fast and furious in the best comic book style!

If you want a fast, simple game that captures the essence of superhero action in an elegant and straightforward style, this is worth a look.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Powers For Good #0
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Pieces of Fate: Drop Bears & Ursanauts (FATE)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/13/2014 07:05:49
Bizarre yet somehow weirdly plausible... what if bears were even bigger, fiercer and more intelligent than they are? Smart enough to organise a civilisation, use weapons, even attack those pesky humans. Maybe these are alien bears, or perhaps those grizzlies paid just too much attention to what hunters and rangers were getting up to.

So here are all the details, under the FATE ruleset, for you to run these intelligent bears - Ursanauts, perhaps, coming from far away in giant spaceships. Is it a hunting trip, to chase humans for sport? Or is it a scientific mission, to tag and study them? Or a miliary one, to take over some bear-friendly real estate?

Are you going to stop a drop bear and ask him his business? Or will you be too busy running away?

The stats and various stunts available for bears work well and are consistent with the postulated extension from what real bears can do. While the core idea is to introduce them into a contemporary game as alien invaders, several suggestions are made as to how to make use of them in other genres.

The only thing is, I've always been led to believe that drop bears hide up trees (from which, of course) they drop onto you. These ones are just too darn big to hide up trees! Otherwise, they have loads of potential for mayhem.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pieces of Fate: Drop Bears & Ursanauts (FATE)
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Publisher Reply:
I wanted to thank Megan Robertson for taking the time to do a review. Steve Russell Rite Publishing
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