RPGNow.com
Browse Categories













Back
Other comments left by this customer:
GORE
Publisher: Goblinoid Games
by Kenneth S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/28/2017 12:34:08

For my purposes this is an excellent distillation of the early d100/BRP system and specifically Call of Cthulhu. It's clean and clearly written with capable illustrations establishing that it is primarily aimed at horror gaming, specifically of the Lovecraftian bent. My understanding is that it exists mainly as a platform for further game development, free of the concerns a license might bring. At this point it seems to have been nearly abandoned, but I have hope. Seeing as CoC 7e has changed the game somewhat, and not necessarily in a direction that suits all tastes, I hope someone will hit on using GORE to produce some good Lovecraftian horror that avoids some of the CoC-isms. Turn from pulp-action toward darker realms.



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

Add to RPGNow.com Order

The Nightmares Underneath Free Edition
Publisher: Red Box Vancouver
by Kenneth S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/09/2017 19:13:16

I picked up this free version to see what the game was about. I liked idea of living dungeons invading reality... but it turns out this game is so much more. The wider setting is compelling and unique in its flavor. Different than the usual Tolkienesque Eurofantasy but not so detailed that it's intimidating... there is a lot of room (and tools) for making it your own.

The 'Incursions' themselves are an excellent concept and, again, there are tools for creating them and fleshing them out. Each is very unique and thematic to the forces that led to its creation... rather than just being 'wizard built' basements full of random critters.

One small complaint might be that there isn't a full example of an Incursion in the book (perhaps the full version has one?). Thankfully, there is a module available called City of Poison that presents a great example of what an Incursion might look like, how it might spread, and why they are not just your run-of-the mill 'dungeon'.

I really need to go purchase the full hardback of this book... I've heard the artwork is excellent. Since I first got this on a lark it has really sucked me in and I'm chomping at the bit to give it a try. Excellent work!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Nightmares Underneath Free Edition
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

City of Poison
Publisher: Red Box Vancouver
by Kenneth S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/09/2017 18:54:31

I have the free version of Nightmares Underneath and thought that what it needed was an example of an 'Incursion'... and here one is.

I've yet to play it through but it reads pretty well. On the surface it might look like just a small dungeon adventure... but the details push something much stranger without being 'weird for the weird's sake'. It's a clear example of what's suggested in the core book... perhaps a bit less OTT than I'd pictured, but that's probably a good thing for a first example.

City of Poison presents an Incursion that was borne of a crime against man and nature... and has begun to spread throughout the neighborhood. I'm not sure how much of the backstory to the Incursion would come out in play... or how likely PCs would be to go further than their basic assignment to retrieve a painting. It's not an overly detailed situation though, and has openings for a good bit of interpretation/expansion.

As expected, most of the creatures in the Incursion are thematic to the nature of the crimes in some way and are suitably creepy. Like the main rulebook, these Incursions remind me a bit of a small offshoot of Silent Hill... or the 'Enigmas' of Whispering Vault... and I love those things. The maps are basic but functional (though a bit hard to read in places). The illustrations are quite good, but generally not as atmospheric as the ones in the core book. If I were to run this I'd probably want to do a bit of work to flesh out the neighborhood and the book has tools to help with this as well.

Definitely a must-have for anyone interested in Nightmares Underneath!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
City of Poison
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Wield
Publisher: John Wick Presents
by Kenneth S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/26/2017 22:26:13

I picked this up because it sounded like Bloodlust, which was a French game I'd heard about where the PCs were intelligent weapons and other players were the characters using them. So Wield has that same basic concept and some fun suggestions for items and character creation. It's a nice looking book too. It doesn't really have a setting. No bestiary or equipment lists or NPCs or maps... or anything. Beyond the concept of the Vatcha it's just an outline of some simple mechanics... simple to the point that I wonder if the authors' goal was rules-lite or work-lite. I'm not so fond of it's combat system... it feels like something from a kid's party game and is very 'meta'. Overall, it was worth the purchase for some grand ideas... but I think I'll be using the Vatcha in a different system, probably some flavor of BRP. Now... If I could just find a copy of Bloodlust in English...



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Wield
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Casino
Publisher: Cakebread & Walton
by Kenneth S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/25/2017 12:54:15

I don't really think this product fits the 'Flintlock & Steel' header. I bought it under the assumption that it was suitable for Renaissance... a grotty casino that might fit in that general period... but turns out it's a modern era thing with slot machines and skyscrapers. The NPCs are film noir archetypes... so less useful for games set in the 1600s. It does have a Renaissance version of all the NPC stats, so there's that. I'm sure I could change the names, rearrange the floorplan, add in some historical flavor... but at that point I've pretty much written my own location, so why do I want/need this?

Still, it was cheap enough that I can just chalk it up an an 'Oh well'... maybe I can find some use for it in a Call of Cthulhu game.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Casino
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

OpenQuest 2 Deluxe
Publisher: D101 Games
by Kenneth S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/13/2017 15:06:48

After years of hearing rave reviews I FINALLY bought a copy of Openquest. I'm basing the review on a quick read through... not actual play.

Things I like about it: It's descended from Runequest and Call of Cthulhu and the general BRP family of D100 games. Some of my favorite RPGs share that lineage. So that's a big plus right from the start.

Openquest's system sits on the lighter end of the spectrum RPGs. Its author's intent is that it be fast and versatile, and from what I've seen so far, it is. That should make it easier to teach to newbies and faster to just 'pick up and play', as the book puts it.

I also like the writing. It's got that clear, friendly, and conversational tone that makes me feel at home while I'm learning a game. Like I can put my feet up on the coffee table and raid the fridge if I want to. No golden tablets of truth being passed onto mere mortals here... the designer WANTS you to make the game your own. Everything is very clearly explained, with examples.

Openquest covers various levels of play as PCs advance in power. So even though they might start as dirt farmers, there is stuff in place for when they become powerful rulers and can start oppressing the new crop of dirt farmers.

There are already several settings and and adventures for Openquest... as well as rulebooks that take Openquest into other genres such as science fiction and historical adventures. So it's well-supported.

I haven't noticed a lot of typos or obvious errors either. So that's always a good thing.

Things I don't like about it: Well, not so much 'don't like'... since I knew about them going in. There are just a few rules here and there that I'll be tweaking... matters of taste. Openquest's experience system feels like a step down from Runequest's/CoC's 'use a skill to improve a skill.' So I'll be using something closer to how Call of Cthulhu has done it. I'll probably also want to hold onto the traditional BRP Resistance Table/Formula.

I suspect the default power level of Openquest is a bit more 'heroic' than I'm usually drawn too. It shouldn't be too hard for me to adjust that as needed if it still feels that way in play. It's probably just that starting PCs are a bit more capable/well-rounded than I'm used to in something like older versions of Runequest.

Things I'm just 'meh' about: Not a big deal, but I know others might care more than I do. Visually, outside of the cover art, which I LOVE, the illustrations and general appearance of the game is... capable. Nothing amazing... but also nothing distracting. No graphic flourishes to dazzle your eyes. No full page bleeds of photorealistic art. If you're the sort who collects RPG rulebooks for the visuals... this ain't your sort of thing. If (like me) you just want it for the rules and how it plays at the table... then it really doesn't matter.

Anyway, I put off buying Openquest for far too long... and now that I have it and am digging into it, planning a game of it... I'm really glad i've got it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
OpenQuest 2 Deluxe
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

100 Spooky Yet Mundane Dungeon Encounters (Fantasy)
Publisher: Never Engine
by Kenneth S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/14/2016 01:12:49

This is a single random table of weird things for PCs to stumble across... some of them might not even be all that weird in some other context. Just about anybody could come up with such a thing, given a few hours, but for the price of a bottle of soda here's the work done for you. I can spot the source for a few of the entries, which tells me the author has watched/read some obscure bits of horror. Mind you, there is nothing here but a list of short entries... but I can see how many, if not all, could really boggle a group of PCs and get them off on a tangent... worried, obsessed, paranoid... great springboards for side quests and impromptu investigations.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
100 Spooky Yet Mundane Dungeon Encounters (Fantasy)
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Quicksilver Lite
Publisher: UNIGames
by Kenneth S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/30/2016 17:45:35

I bought this on a whime... because I liked the cover art and thought the 'psychic metal' idea sounded cool... lo and behold there's a pretty decent game and setting in there as well! The other review here covers the details, 2d10 roll under, point buy character creation, magic system that's flavored more along the lines of psychic powers than the usual fantasy sorcery. Even though the book isn't long (80+ pages) there's a LOT packed into it. No space is wasted on game fiction or wordy meanderings... this game is meant to be played! There's a good bit of setting information and a bestiary. I also really like they way they've approached the races... right away I made a sneaky goblin character who happens to have a noblewoman as a trusted friend. The text is very easy to read, no distracting background graphics or weird fonts. The artwork is sparse but very well done line art that got me wanting to play the game. It's even got an index! This is a tight product that aims straight at being useful and getting onto the table. The rules are quick and simple... just a bit more crunchy than I'd call 'rules lite' but most of that is because of the combat, which seems to favor the use of miniatures of some sort (like the cardstock figures the company also sells). I hope there will be more coming for this setting, adventures and maybe more Quicksilver uses/creatures.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Quicksilver Lite
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Oubliette Version 1
Publisher: Voidspiral Entertainment
by Kenneth S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/16/2014 17:08:49

This is a fairly rules-lite game that has an imaginative setting that is something like a cross between Gormenghast and Riverworld. It's a mysterious purgatory where death is only a brief respite from fighting for survival. Everything takes place within and impossibly huge castle... millions of sentient beings cast adrift in it's halls and towers and dungeons... forming up factions and impromptu alliances to stay alive. While I was reading it it kept reminding me of prison dramas I'd seen. In some ways it comes off a a bit naive or not fully thought out... the rules talk a lot about 'storytelling' and such but it's never clear what the PCs would be trying to do except survive. The place is so unstable that I can't picture adventures there being much more than a series of battles... with the winners eating the losers... BECAUSE...there's isn't much in the way of farming going on here and no herd animals either... you're going to be eating goblins and werewolves and other humans eventually. The subsistence level resources of Castle Oubliette are so lacking... no food industry... sources of clean water go without mention... the housing is crumbling and dangerous (one whole district is perpetually on fire). It's a dog eat dog fight for survival... so lofty plots of intrigue... subtler motivations born of relatively stable settings... seem improbably here. Given time I suppose the PCs could gain power and followers... take over a less crumbly portion of the castle... but that's kind of like being king of trash hill. The place isn't going to get better... cannibalism is still the bulk of the menu... the place is still a prison they can't escape from (though there might be a way to one of the other castles that get a brief mention). I like Post Apocalyptic games and those often have a similar feel... but generally with a whole lot more potential for the future. As it stands, this is more like an RPG version of Cormac McCarthy's book The Road... with superpowers/magic. It's mentioned early in the book that many who find themselves in the setting commit suicide... I can understand why.

The rules for Oubliette are fairly traditional but stripped down to the bare bones mechanically. The descriptions of the various levels of 'Arts Martial' struck me as having been influenced by anime and video games... exciting and visual... but it's not clear how they come up in game. The combat system is VERY basic so I'm guessing these are just the oratory shine the attacker can put on his roll. Other than that all attacks of a level are pretty much equal regardless of which art they derive from... though there is an option in the back of the book for adding a Scissors/Rock/Paper relationship between the arts as well as suggestions for a way to differentiate pieces of equipment.
It's all pleasantly simple and abstract but I can't see playing more than a game or two before I'd be wanting to put in more crunch to differentiate the Arts.

It's a surprisingly complete game, given its length... there are listings of major NPCs, various factions, the areas of the castle, other castles, all the various combat and professional 'Arts' (pretty much skill families). Two things I'd really like to see in a Version 2 would be running example character ala Runequest 6... showing us a solid example of character creation, how her first moments in Castle Oubliette transpire, a sample combat or two... how she works out character progression... what sorts of adventures she gets up to. That would be a HUGE help in clarifying some niggling questions I have about how the whole thing fits together. The other thing I'd want is some sort of introductory adventure... a solid example of 'here is the sort of thing the characters might get up to.' The book does sketch out some things PCs might do and there is a list of 'Events' that might happen... but again, most of them don't seem like much except a motivation for a battle.

There's a lot here, it's well worth the paltry price being asked if only for the imaginative setting ideas... it's looks like a viable if minimal game... with a bleak setting I wish could be just a bit less hellish. Maybe something that made cannibalism less of a requirement... and enabled a LITTLE more stability to the place.

Oh, and as for the look of the thing... it's minimal but nice. The illustrations are sparse and sketchy but competent. There are several pages where the text appears to flow around a missing graphic. Generally I don't much care about how a game looks... this one puts the effort where it belongs, in the game itself.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Oubliette Version 1
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Cult of the Eternal Void (M&F/Legend)
Publisher: Publisher Archive-CGC
by Kenneth S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/13/2014 02:41:28

Such a disappointment. Right from the beginning, as I started reading, I could see this was going to be rough. The writing feels bloated, to the point that much of it is a nonsensical word salad. Here's an example: "The cult as a whole can seem quite chaotic as different factions, which in their own right are cults according to the Magic & Flintlock rulebook, make up the entire makeup of the group. These factions have their own hierarchies and belief structures that seem to be independent but as a whole make up belief in the void that the higher tiers of the cult make sure all believe in." I get the gist but geez what a scrambled way of saying it! And the whole book is like that! Add in typos and dropped words... it's a challenge to read and gets frustrating.

The author also has a tendency to wallow in minutia... too many details about things that aren't that interesting or unique and probably won't come up in actual play. Overall I felt that a good editor could have whittled this book down by at least half just by cleaning up the text and cutting out the extraneous bits.

Now, what we get for plowing through this mess isn't particularly interesting or inspired. The Backgrounds and Occupations just seem shoveled in because they ought to be there... such as the Devoted Cultist: "These devoted people rely so heavily on what others teach them that they often accept teachings with almost blind faith without researching it themselves." Isn't that pretty much the definition of the average cult member? I don't see how it becomes a Profession or how it relates to this cult in particular.

I was drawn to this product by the suggestion of a bizarre cult that worships a chaotic void of darkness. An outer THING that wants to dismantle reality. But this cult just doesn't seem all that chaotic or strange. It's just evil... and a very bland generic sort of evil at that. If I didn't assume better I'd think it was all rolled up on some huge chart of Evil Cult Attributes. There's no consistent theme at all... it's just a random assortment of evil bits strung together. A lot of the descriptions of the cult infighting and recruiting methods come off as very mundane. The cultists themselves seem like no more than petty bureaucrats fighting over pencils... The Void Gods are just your average destructive demon lords... thriving on fear and suffering. One lies a lot, one likes tempting people into bad choices, one likes watching things burn. Very ho-hum. No real discussion of how they relate to each other or how they function as part of the larger Void. The new spells are a similar batch of uninspired 'black magic'. None seem particularly unique or flavorful or scary. Spells coming from the Eternal Void ought to be scary, right? The Void Creatures are the same... mutated humans and animals with 'Void' in their names but no cohesive aesthetic or concept.

Now... it's obvious that a good bit of work went into this. It's 44 pages long not counting the OGL page. There's a good amount of content... backgrounds, professions, gods, spells, monsters. It looks decent, the illustrations are capable... the layout is quite standard and works well. Even though I was disappointed by the book... it's nothing like I'd hoped it would be... and I don't think there's much here that's all that inventive or unique... it's still a detailed write-up of an evil cult... and that's gotta be worth something. I'd never use it as is... and I think the writing is atrocious... but I'm sure there is some gold in there somewhere worth salvaging. One good thing about it all being so generic in flavor is that most of the parts can slide right into some other purpose. I might use some of the monsters... maybe one of those Void Gods could show up sometime... new spells are new spells even if they're not all that exciting... I can use them to pad out some sorcerer's Grimoire. With a bit of creative interpretation and re-contextualization I'm sure I can get my money's worth out of this book. Heck, it might be just the sort of thing someone else is looking for... though I can't see anyone loving the wordplay. So I give it a solid 2... really a 3 if it were just a bit less annoying to read.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Cult of the Eternal Void (M&F/Legend)
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Lowell Was Right! - A Very Different Now
Publisher: Better Mousetrap Games
by Kenneth S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/14/2014 13:50:45

I've yet to play this game but based on my first cursory read through I'm kind of in love with it. I've yet to grok the mechanics, something to do with pools of D20s... there are two optional forms of this to choose from or mix together. There are Traits and Skills and Edges... some talk about 'setting stakes.' Nothing jumped out at me as being too heavy or too clever/quirky... I'm guessing the system is fairly utilitarian and 'gets out of the way' quickly.

What REALLY has me soaring though is the setting... it's so familiar yet so strange! At first I thought I'd have to suspend a lot, too much, disbelief to run/play in the alternative reality it presents... based on obsolete science... but then I realized how much fun/bizarre stuff became possible without directly confronting me with nonsense I couldn't swallow. As the introduction states, this isn't Steampunk... it's based on science rather than SCIENCE! Everything in here extrapolates from acceptance of 1880's scientific assumptions, but takes part in our present day. So much is different though that it's pretty much another world. No electronics but spaceflight is common (with lots of alien life forms on other planets)... evolution can happen in a flash, as can geological changes. A particular favorite of mine is the scientific vindication of some of the claims of Spiritualism... and the idea of creating ghosts of living beings, on purpose, for various mundane purposes. It's a pretty wild idea in a book full of wild ideas... that aren't all that wild since they are based on a real world science that once was current/modern/up to date.

It's all a bit to wrap my head around... it's not a setting I think could just be jumped into... similar to brain-twisty stuff like Eclipse Phase this game was a bit of a mindwarp as I first read it... but it's a fun one, and not depressing/scary/uncomfortable the way Eclipse Phase felt at first. Definitely recommended for at least a read through and mine for ideas, since I can't speak for how it plays... yet.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Lowell Was Right! - A Very Different Now
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Creator Reply:
Thank you, Ken! I\'m kind of in love with it too! This is the hardest game to describe I have ever designed, but you did a bang-up job of it! :D -clash
Angels, Daemons, and Beings Between
Publisher: Dragons Hoard Publishing
by Kenneth S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/09/2013 02:21:27

I love the idea of Patrons in DCC so this book was a must-have for me, and I was not disappointed. Patrons are like the arch-villains and masterminds of DCC... they can help your magic user out but always at a cost. They're a great source of flavor and motivation for heroics and... less than heroics. This book has 13 new Patrons, ranging from zealously Lawful Good to 'wants to eat all the stars in the cosmos'. Each of them gets an illustration, background info, a list of taints and manifestations if invoked, spells (3 each plus one extra), Spellburn effects and a stats for minions if it has any. Some of these things are just plain NASTY to deal with. They'll do things to your caster that... well, ick! Others will just give him loads of busywork and quests and obligations. A few will eventually kill your caster or drive him bonkers... or convert him into an alien drone. There are a few of these I can't see as likely player Patrons because they're so dangerous, but they'd make great NPC villains.

Cool things: One of these Patrons gives spells that let you summon dinosaurs! Radu, King of Rabbits has a spell for traveling huge distances through rabbit warrens. King Halgaz might give you a retinue of Wraith Knights.

Less cool things: Ummm... I wasn't too fond of the Angel... but I think I can tweak her into something more to my taste.

Really, there is a truckload of good stuff in here. Spells, monsters, weird mutations and creepy villains. I hope the guys that put this out have enough go-juice left for a sequel or two or three cause this was a fun read. Even if I don't use any of them as-is there are loads of useful parts and ideas I can pilfer when building my own custom Patrons. So yeah, definitely a good purchase!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Angels, Daemons, and Beings Between
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Displaying 1 to 12 (of 12 reviews) Result Pages:  1 
Back
You must be logged in to rate this
0 items
 Gift Certificates
Powered by DriveThruRPG