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Chronicles of Mhoriedh Map 00 Olden Lands Continent
Publisher: James Mishler Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/22/2014 15:51:21
7 maps and a guidebook. Pay What You Want.
The maps are all hires PNG files.
The guidebook lists various monsters and resources of the areas. No descriptions of the lands or anything else. That is all coming in the in the Gazetteer of the Olden Lands. But it works as a huge sandbox and I was already mentally placing it in my own world. Easily worth the price of a look and throwing a few bucks into James' hat. Easily more things to do here than I can put down on paper (pixels?) now. IT really recalls that feel that getting the original Expert Set box and seeing the maps.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Chronicles of Mhoriedh Map 00 Olden Lands Continent
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Ogres of the Olden Lands
Publisher: James Mishler Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/22/2014 15:40:54
Ogres are the boogeymen of the Olden Lands. Or at least that is how they are depicted here. I love what James is trying to do with the ogres here. Give them something more of the supernatural. It works to be honest and for how little this book costs you have no excuse not to be using this to spice up the ogres in your own game. Ok though, I do plan on using this information for goblins instead! The random ogre feature tables for both Ogre and Ogre Magi is just great.

Though the STAR of this book is the Half-Ogre as a player character. Gamers of A Certain Age (like James and myself) grew up on a steady diet of fantasy and the half-ogre is the result of that. Either from the pages of Dragon magazine or the pages of Piers Anothony, the half-ogre was something that was sure to show up in someone's game in the early 80s. This half-ogre does that memory justice.

As a bonus we get the lands of the ogre and full color maps!

This book is designed to be used with any Old-School game. It is overtly labeled for Labyrinth Lord and dual-stated for Castles & Crusades, but really you could pick up anything from the *D&D family and play these.

The look of the books is certainly Old-school with the Souvenir/Soutane font.
The layout is crisp, clean and easy to read. Like other books from this publisher it lacks art (save for the maps), but I don't think it is lessened because of it.

All in all a great addition to my game library and something I plan on using in my own game world.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ogres of the Olden Lands
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Hercynian Grimoire #1
Publisher: James Mishler Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/22/2014 15:31:53
46 pages (cover, OGL, 44 pages).
The first of hopefully more books in this series as well. This is also the first of the Olden Lands and the Chronicles of Mhoriedh line. The book is divided into a recognizable "Men & Magic", "Monsters & Treasure", "Underworld & Wilderness" and a newer, but still recognizable "Gods & Demi-gods". So needless to say I am hooked so far.

First up a great few of pages on Gnolls and their human-half breed kin the Gnoles. I never gave gnolls a second thought but this is some good stuff.

Another feature that you see the d66 table. Roll two d6s like percentile dice and get 36 outcomes. Like Traveler used to do.
Next up is a section on spells. What I love about this and can get 100% behind is that Magic-user/Wizard spells are also labeled as "Intelligence", Cleric spells as "Wisdom" and Witchcraft spells as "Charisma". It is like it is custom made for my Witch class!
There is a Gnoll encounter table, a random faerie table.

The next section is a collection of new magic items.

About half-way we get to a monster manual like section. Plenty of new hyena types and more. All monsters are dual stated.
Following some more tables we talk about some of the Olden Lands. Up first, the Realm of Alspadia and it's major settlements.
This is a pretty packed book at 46 pages. Lots of things to use to be honest and all can be added to your current game with no troubles.

This book is designed to be used with any Old-School game. It is overtly labeled for Labyrinth Lord and dual-stated for Castles & Crusades, but really you could pick up anything from the *D&D family and play these.

The look of the books is certainly Old-school with the Souvenir/Soutane font.
The layout is crisp, clean and easy to read. Like other books from this publisher it lacks art, but I don't think it is lessened because of it.

All in all a great addition to my game library and something I plan on using in my own game world.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hercynian Grimoire #1
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Gods, Demi-Gods, and Cults #1: Chaos Queen of Ants
Publisher: James Mishler Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/22/2014 15:03:08
This 21 page (cover, OGL, and 19 pages) book is the first of the GODS,DEMI-GODS, AND CULTS series. This one features Khraliche Karinkhamür the Chaos Queen of Ants. Presented here is plenty of detail about the cult, the sub cults and the important figures. Worshipers are detailed and discussed. We also get some new spells for both Wizards and Clerics and some new monsters.
What I like most about this is that it can be easily added to any game world. The feel is overwhelming old-school and sandbox, but that is great.

This book is designed to be used with any Old-School game. It is overtly labeled for Labyrinth Lord and dual-stated for Castles & Crusades, but really you could pick up anything from the *D&D family and play these.

The look of the books is certainly Old-school with the Souvenir/Soutane font.
The layout is crisp, clean and easy to read. Like other books from this publisher it lacks art, but I don't think it is lessened because of it.

All in all a great addition to my game library and something I plan on using in my own game world.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gods, Demi-Gods, and Cults #1: Chaos Queen of Ants
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Masque of the Red Death and Other Tales (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/12/2014 13:51:01
Original posting here: http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/2014/05/review-masque-of-red--
death-and-other.html

A couple of caveats. I love Victorian RPGs. Also, I primarily reviewing the PDF release.

Wizards of the Coast and their partner DNDClassics.com has released the latest PDF from the TSR/WotC back catalog, this time a product I know very, very well.

Masque of the Red Death and Other Tales is nominally released under the Ravenloft line and you will need one of the Ravenloft core books to be able to play this along with the AD&D 2nd Edition rules. However if you know the AD&D rules well enough you might be able to get by. The premise of the game it rather a simple one. What if the Dark Powers from Ravenloft found their way to Earth? Well...I should state out and out that they never actually say that, but imply it rather heavily. The is a dark, malignant force controlling things on Earth, known here as The Red Death, and this Earth of the 1890s certainly has a lot more in common with Ravenloft.

Pretty much from the time it was published to the onset of the new 3rd Edition rules, Masque of the Red Death was my campaign world of choice. I still played AD&D2 in Ravenloft, or rather, I ran AD&D2 in Ravenloft, but the lines between Ravenloft proper and "Gothic Earth" became very, very blurry.

For this review I am going to talk specifically about the PDF and only discussing the original boxed set format when appropriate.

To begin with we get five PDFs in this package. These correspond to the four books and the DM's screen.

Book I is the main Masque of the Red Death book. It is 130 pages of a high quality, OCR scan. Some the images are fuzzy, but I feel that is more due to the source images rather than the scan itself. The scan comes in at just over 35 meg.
We begin with an overview of what this campaign guide is about. I might be mistaken, but this is the first official AD&D product to take place on Earth. This followed up with a history of Gothic Earth. Things began to go downhill for everything around 2700 BC when Imhoptep (yes, same as the Mummy movies) began experimenting with darker magics. The next dozen or so pages bring us to the present day (1890s). The history is a fast read and I would not ignore it. It sets the tone for the entire game.
Chapter II details character creation. There are different methods used than the PHB to reflect that characters are not your sword wielding barbarians of a bygone age. So characters are more average.
There are rough parallels to all the classic AD&D classes, Soldiers, Adepts, Mystics, and Tradesmen. The AD&D Proficiency system is used here as well. Interestingly the system seems make more sense here (since skills are really what sets characters apart) but also shows its wear and tear.
Money and Equipment is also detailed in Chapter IV. Interestingly this one of the few Victorian era games where the default currency is listed as American Dollars rather than Pounds Sterling.
It should be of note that this also the book that adds guns to AD&D2. Quite a number of guns are detailed here as well.
Chapter V covers magic and you really need the Player's Handbook for this section.
Chapter VI covers the changes to combat.
Getting back to what really makes this special is Chapter VII An Atlas of Gothic Earth. I should point out at this point that the large poster sized map that came with the boxed set is not included here. It gives a brief overview of the world. This section is done much better in the full fledged product that shares it's name.
The first Appendix covers various character kits. If you remember 2e at all, you remember kits. Quite a few interesting ideas are detailed, but you could also do these with the base four classes and good roleplaying.
Appendix II covers some villains of Gothic Earth. There are plenty of old favorite here and some new takes on old characters. Though I will admit the one thing that still gets on my nerves is Moriarty re-done as a Rakshasa. In my games he was human. And yes, Dracula is there as well.
And finally Appendix III covers adventuring in Gothic Earth.

Book II is an adventure in 3 parts by future Pinnacle Entertainment head honcho Shane Hensley and featuring the rock star of Gothic fiction, Dracula. The advantage of this PDF over my boxed set copy? I can print this out and make changes to it. Yeah it is a good adventure, but I can't help but feel it is a pastiche of Hammer and Stoker's original work.

Book III is a Jack the Ripper adventure, Red Jack. Unlike Moriarty's change into a supernatural creature, this adventure make "Jack" into something more mundane. Normally I would be fine this, but the name of the adventure itself and some of the elements BEGS it to be tied to the old Star Trek episode The Wolf in The Fold and Redjac.

Book IV is the Red Death, an adventure based around elements of the Edgar Allen Poe story. Some details have been changed and added, but the spirit is the same. Again, I am tempted to make the main antagonist, Prospero, the Prospero.

Book V is the DM's screen.

Again I'll point out that the large poster sized map is missing.

Once upon a time this boxed captured my imagination like no other game. This PDF makes me want to crack open some 2e.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Masque of the Red Death and Other Tales (2e)
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Modern Basics: Feats of an Adult Nature
Publisher: NUELOW Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/06/2014 15:14:39
This is a hard one to judge.

The feats are for the most part exactly what you expect. They pander to stereotypes in broadest sense and most are somewhat immature.
I think the authors were going for that to be honest. So maybe a point up for blunt honesty.

But the trouble is that most of the feats are not much as unusable but worthless. Will "Gaydar" help me in a situation? Will I ever say "wow I am glad I took that instead of Cleave". No. Plus it would work better anyway as a specialized skill.

The price is even tongue in cheek, so I know they don't take this that seriously. Still though I like to get something for my money.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Modern Basics: Feats of an Adult Nature
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The Werewolf Hunter #1
Publisher: NUELOW Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/06/2014 15:03:29
I am not 100% sure what this product is trying to be.

The cover is from Weird Tales, so that caught my attention.
There is a short story from Robert E. Howard. Some other stories all around a werewolf theme.

There are some comics featuring the PD character Lady Satan.
There is some ideas for a game, and the OGL.

I like that it feels like an old Pulp or Golden Age comic, but I think it is trying to do too much in one book.
For RPG elements some character write-ups say using a couple of the most popular open Supers games (Icons, BASH, M&M) would have been useful.

Lots of potential here but it needs focus.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Werewolf Hunter #1
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NUELOW Stock Art Collection #5: Visions of Beauty and Nightmares
Publisher: NUELOW Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/06/2014 14:56:40
Clipart Collection #5

30 pages, split between black & white and color versions of Golden Age inspired art.
A license is included for you to use the art on your website or publication, but you are warned that the images might not be of high enough resolution.
The art has a cool Golden Age Horror comic vibe to it. Not sure what I am going to do with it yet, but it is pretty cool and only $2.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
NUELOW Stock Art Collection #5: Visions of Beauty and Nightmares
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Publisher Reply:
Hi Timothy, Thank you for your review! I just want to clarify that the content is adapted from Golden Age comics art, not inspired by it. It consists of retouched and/or edited cover images, or individual panels from stories. Also, the resolution on all the illos should be fine for any digital use--even at 200 times the size we present the art in, I think, if you want to crop this or that detail for a particular image for a spot illo. Most of the scans are NOT high enough resolution for quality print products, though. --Steve Miller
The Complete Vivimancer
Publisher: Necrotic Gnome Productions
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/14/2014 21:40:21
I recently downloaded The Complete Vivimancer the new book from Necrotic Gnome Productions, the same folks that gave us Theorems & Thaumaturgy.

Gavin Norman, of the City of Iron blog, gives us a new(ish) class, the Vivimancer. The book is 88 pages and advertised as Labyrinth Lord compatible with both Basic and Advanced stats (more on that in a bit).
The class was introduced in Theorems & Thaumaturgy. The basic class is a type of Wizard/Magic-User and detailed on two pages. The experience per level, saves, spells, and attacks are not too different from the Magic-user normal.
For the Advanced option elves and half-elves can also be vivimancers. Interestingly enough elves can advance to 11th level and half-elves to 10th. I would have expected it to be the other way around.

The next substantial chapter is on Spells and Laboratory procedures.
The biggest expense in gold and time for the vivimancer is his laboratory. The vivimancer according to the rules needs to spend 6 hours per day in his lab. I wonder how much time this leaves for adventuring, eating and sleeping. Sure some apprentices can cover this time. Upkeep costs is 10 gp per spell level, so about 1980gp per month at 20th level. Not unreasonable really.

The next 65 pages detail spells levels 1 to 9. Like most Labyrinth Lord compatible products the spells are compatible across a wide variety of products. You could use these with any old school product wizard, magic-user and yes witch. Though to do so I think robs the class of some it's charm and power.
The spells are a varied sort. There are some very useful, some are variations on a theme and others will have limited utility to the adventuring vivimancer. But all have a lot of style. If you prefer your games a little more G-rated then this isn't a book for you. While not as over the top as Carcosa or Lamentations of the Flame Princess, there are a lot of cutting things up and putting them back together.

The chapter on magic items is nice varied lot as well, with attention paid to things the vivimancer needs to perform his craft.

We also get Appendices on Psionic Powers and Mutations. Both are fine and work but in use I might swap out the same rules in the Labyrinth Lord compatible Mutant Future.

Overall I really liked it. Like the book said why let Necromancers have all the fun. There is a lot here that can be used in any game really even if you never use them as a class. Personally I wonder what a bad guy team of a Vivimancer and Necromancer might produce. Heck with the Advanced rules, a Vivimancer/Cleric.

There are couple of places where Insanity is mentioned but not a lot of details on how insanity would work in a game.

The art is somewhat sparse, but it is all original and unique to this book (ok maybe 1 or 2 are in T&T). So that gives it a sum positive in my mind.

The book is 88 pages, as mentioned above, and lists at $10.00 for the PDFs. Maybe a bit higher $/page ratio, but I'll be honest I am not sure where to price these things. I think $7.50 would have been best, but I am not judging.

I have to admit I was set to like this book. "The Complete Vivimancer" reminds me of the old Bard Games "The Compleat Spellcaster" and "The Compleat Alchemist". Not just in terms of title and feel, but in terms of content. This is the sort of thing I enjoy from the OSR/Old School publishing realms. I like something I can drop into my games with no issues. Plug and Play gaming.

I would like to recommend this book. I particularly recommend it as a change of pace from the evil Necromancer NPC.

There is a lot to love about this book.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Complete Vivimancer
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks for taking the time to write the review Tim! Just to clarify what you mentioned about the rules for laboratory usage: the requirement of spending 6 hours a day in the lab is only when a magical procedure (i.e. a spell) is underway. The rest of the time the vivimancer is free to go adventuring or get up to whatever mischief he or she should wish.
Witch Girls Adventures: Director's Cut
Publisher: Channel M Publishing
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/26/2014 12:49:42
A lot of what said about Witch Girls is still true from my original review. Here it is, with edits to reflect this newer version.

We now have 2, soon to be 3, versions of Witch Girls Adventures.
WGA = Witch Girls Adventures (1st ed)
WGA-DC = the Director's Cut, this version. 1.5 Edition.
WGA-BoS = Witch Girls Adventures: Book of Shadows, 2nd Edition. Out sometime in the future.

Witch Girls Adventures is a a "Drama Diaries" game, using the "Drama Dice" system from Malcolm Harris. This version, WGA-DC is using the first ed version of the Drama Dice system with some of the modifications of the upcoming 2nd Edition.

It is aimed at new players predominantly and girls in particular. The book begins with 10 pages of the Witch Girls Adventures comic to set the tone and mood of the game.

The book continues as it goes on to your typical introduction into what is a roleplaying game and is written for a young or teen girl audience ("just tell the geek (trust me; they are used to being called geeks) behind counter you need... ") cute. But too much of this would ruin the presentation of the game for me. Thankfully this is the only time, but it does establish one thing right away; this game is going for a different audience. The intro stuff continues with some terms both for the game and for RPGs.

It makes an odd left turn to give us optional rules (we haven't had any rules yet for these to be optional to) about how to run a "Harry Potter" like game with this. Eh. Nice, but this should have come last, not first. I still think this would have worked better as an appendix.

Chapter 2 gives us "Cliques" . So perfect. In another game these would be "Factions" or "Classes" or even "Traditions" or "Associations" or "Backgrounds", but given the Middle-school/High-school this is great. Cliques basically give your starting dice and what skills you are likely to have. The system is very easy. The dice system (The Drama Dice system as it is called) quickly reminds one of Cortex or Savage Worlds. Attributes are scored d2 to d12 for most types. The spread even looks the same as Cortex and Savage Worlds. Not surprisingly, afterall it is a logical progression. You have six attributes Body (which combines Strength, Agility and stamina), Mind (intelligence), Senses, Will, Social and Magic. Right away you see there is only one body type attribute but four mental ones. This is the way it should be really, WGA is not about beating people up, it is about the social aspects of the game and about magic, our last attribute. There are some secondary attributes that are derived. Rolls are made depending on the dice vs a difficulty table very similar to d20 or Unisystems' success levels. Cliques are detailed and they are your basic magical girl stereotypes (the Goth, the insider, the outsider…) . Plenty here to work with and if you are so inclined create your own (which is what the "Harry Potter" bit tries to do).

Chapter 3 moves onto skills. Each chapter has some fiction to introduce you to the Witch Girls world. It seems to be a cross between Charmed, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Buffy and the Craft mixed in with anime magical girls. Skills. Unlike Cortex or Savage Worlds, skills are given a + score like Unisystem or d20. Roll the die associated with the attribute (each skill is connected to an attribute like d20) add the bonus the skill provides, check your success, or roll greater. There are 34 mundane skills and 10 magical skills. A little too much in my book, but I am willing to see how it works out here.

Chapter 4 Traits details traits, which are like Edges or Qualities. They are broken up into Talents (which you can get later in life) and Heritages (which are inborn and never change). Heritages have both a positive and negative aspect to them. Typical ones are there like "Beautiful" and others which have to be unique to this game like "Drama Queen".

Chapters 2, 3 and 4 are all well detailed and very straight forward.

Chapter 5 is Magic. Really this is what we came here for. There is a lot more here on what magic is and what it means to a witch. There are different types of magic (necromancy, mentalism, cybermancy…) which you can spend points on to improve your rank. This can provide a lot of variance between witches. Think of it as somewhere between Harry Potter's classes and Mage's spheres. As GM (a Director in WGA) I might limit some of these to NPCs (Guest Stars) and not to PCs (Stars). Spell casting is broken down into a lot of detail. More than maybe the seasoned gamer needs, but given the audience it might be about right. Effects are broken out into Magic Type Rank (MTR) and the overall feel is like a table you might see in Mage or Mutants & Masterminds with what MTR (read as Power level) you need to achieve a certain effect. Want to cast that spell across the world? Better have an MTR of 9.
There are rules for Signature Spells, which take less Zap (read: Mana, Essence), choose only one and from the "School" with your highest MTR (which makes sense really). I like the idea of the signature spell and might try it in my other games too.
This is all followed by 20+ pages of spells and these by no means seem to be all of them. Since your cast member (Star, remember) isn't going to be buying swords, guns or anything else that characters spend money or points on then this is a good thing.

Chapter 6. Your Star gets an allowance allowing her to buy things like magical computers, flying Vespas, and more brooms than found in Home Depot. There are familiars, clothes, wings and all sorts of magical equipment here as well. You could build an adventure on just shopping for these things cause I am sure getting them is not as easy as going to the mall. Lots of neat wands and I have to say the books for young witches are pretty funny ("Samantha's Guide to Merry Mortals" yeah that made me laugh). And a bunch of mundane stuff like DVD players and skateboards. The allowance system is nice, I like it better than the Modern d20 purchase DCs and easier than keeping track of cash.

Chapter 7 is some odds and ends. A character questionnaire (nice) and a filled out character sheet (also nice). Good detail on what things mean and if you are new to games a certain boon.

Chapter 8 is for Directors, so all the rules of the game. The system, some combat rules (yes this is the FIRST game I have seen where the rules for shopping are longer than the rules for combat. ;) )
Some nice background fluff and some ideas for different types of stories, basically you can do Buffy, Good vs. Evil, Charmed, and Magic School. The experience system is "interesting" (Voodollars), but it looks like it works.

Chapter 9 is the world background. Now this one is kind of neat. I details the various races (witches are a different race) and they are not alone. Some history, some magical places (Santa's Workshop, No joke and it looks cool!) The ruling council of Witches (I am yoinking this for my Unisystem games), Spelling Bees, groups and other schools. Even how the mundane world reacts to all of this.

Chapter 10 presents some creatures. But if the art is any indication most of these are not for combat purposes, but potential dates (well there is only one witch kissing a vampire…) Nearly every kind of creature is covered from fairies to Cthulhu like horrors. But no demons. Seems a bit odd, given it all. Some NPCs (Guest Stars) of note.

Chapter 11 details the Willow Mistt School. Lands, buildings, faculty, everything you would expect to find is here. Willow Mistt is not Hogwarts, but it is easy to make the comparisons. I actually found it closer to Claremont Academy from Mutants & Masterminds.

We close with a sample Episode, some plot ideas, a lexicon, and a list of Witch names (see how many you recognize!), and some NPCs with sheets.

The Good:
Harris obviously has a love for this genre and it shows. The rules are well crafted and while there is nothing earth shaking here, they are familiar mechanics done up in a very nice way. The point of view of the work is nice. This is anti-Grim-Dark. It's not all unicorns, princesses and kittens (though it does have all that), it's a fun game. The art is not D&D 4e, but it is good and more to the point very appropriate for this game.
For new players this is a great little game. More experienced players may want more, but that is not due to the game itself, but rather expectations. Do not expect this to be "WitchCraft: The Junior High Years" (though you can do that).
This Director's Cut has been update to mostly full color interiors. Especially the art.

The Bad:
I know Harris is basically a one man operation so I am willing to cut him some slack here. But there are a large number of typos that should be fixed and some terms that might have either been mistakes or from earlier versions (the Magic attribute is called "Zap" in one spot.) I am willing to overlook those IF they are corrected in the 2nd Edition. They should have been corrected in this edition to be honest, but I am going to cut him the slack here but none in the 2nd ed WGA-BoS.

The Ugly:
Well....WGA has something of a weird rep online. I am not sure it is entirely justified to be honest. Gamers can get really weird about the oddest things. Are some of the witches depicted here anti-social monsters? Yeah. The poster child, Princess Lucinda is exactly that, but it is presented in the same vein of cartoon violence.

So. Who is Witch Girls Adventures for?
Well , that sort of depends but here is what I see.

New players and Game Master get a lot with this book. I see them having a great time.
People that enjoy the more social aspects of a game (and of gaming) rather than a bunch of combats.
Anyone that is a fan of Magical Girl Anime, Witches or even high school based games.
Anyone that has ever wished for a Harry Potter RPG.
Anyone that looks at the setting and resists the urge to make it "darker". WGA is not about being dark. You can be evil sure, and as a witch the entire world is after you, but the setting does not need the WoD feel at all.


Last Words
This is a fun game. Take it as it is, not as you want it to be, and you will have fun too. If you are an old pro, use this game to introduce younger people to the hobby. I hope that Malcolm Harris is successful and ends up getting a lot of new people, boys and girls, to our hobby.

The Director's cut adds a few more pages and most of the interior is now full color. There are some new pieces of art and some of the older b/w art is now in color. Whether or not this is worth 10 bucks is up to you. I enjoyed the 1st ed so much I wanted to get this.

I have two hopes for Witch Girls now.
1. That the final copy of 2nd edition, WGA-BoS, is out soon.
2. That Malcolm Harris gets someone to help with the editing. It is a shame to mar a great and fun game with some easily fixed typos.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Witch Girls Adventures: Director's Cut
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Universal Adventures Caves of the Unknown
Publisher: New Realms Publishing
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/25/2014 12:00:02
I just finished taking my boys through the classic modules B1: In Search of the Unknown and B2: The Keep on the Borderlands.
This module is in the same vein, but much more barebones.

You get 7 pages with 30+ encounter areas. You can customize as you wish. The feel is very, very old school but it could be adapted to pretty much anything. It can be used with any version of D&D, Gamma World or even a planet you touch down on in Traveller. I think you get the idea.

At $2.50 it might be on the high side for what you get, but maybe the optimal price is something like $2.25 or $2.40, so not really enough to quibble. A larger map as a seperate PDF would have been nice though.

But you get exactly what is described here, so no complaints. For Old School D&D you could empty it out in a longer session and your characters would be home in time for supper.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Universal Adventures Caves of the Unknown
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Cartographer's Guide to the Creatures of Eira
Publisher: Genius Loci Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/17/2014 14:56:16
27 pages of fae-like (or related) creatures for your Old-School games.
There are some familiar names here (Korrigan, Slaugh, Ragman) but all neat takes on some classic monsters.

Use to use and read and can be dropped into any old-school game.

Can't wait to try some of these beasties out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cartographer's Guide to the Creatures of Eira
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Thank you for the review and I\'m very happy you enjoyed the Creature Guide! May they torment your players for years to come!
Fighting Fire - Ernie Gygax Benefit Adventure
Publisher: Creative Mountain Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/17/2014 07:44:34
Originally posted here:
http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/2014/03/fighting-fire-ern-
ie-gygax-benefit.html

The adventure itself is 32 pages (minus cover and title pages) with some NPCs. It is edition agnostic (neutral in their words). While they could have used something simple like Swords & Wizardry to give it some crunch, there isn't anything here an experienced gamer could run in about hour of prep time. In fact while typing this I have gone from wanting to run this at as an "Old-school" adventure with something like Basic D&D to maybe running it under 3rd ed. instead.

The adventure is a simple, if tongue in cheek, one. Defeat the evil fire wizard.
There is a lot of self-referential material here. So knowing a little bit about the gaming industry and some of the people involved over the years will help you see some of the inside jokes. But if not the adventure does not suffer for it.

It is described as a fairly simple adventure and it doesn't disappoint on the that regard. Easily dropped into any game and any campaign.

A lot of the art and maps come from various sources. I personally think it is kind of cool. Everyone contributed something to this.

While I can be accused (and rightly so) of waxing too nostalgic at times, I like the idea of the town of Gamington. I also like the idea of adding it to my own world as a place where old adventurers go to retire. They bring their treasure hoards and retire in style.

In any case, this is a good cause and worth the money spent.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Fighting Fire - Ernie Gygax Benefit Adventure
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Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space Limited Edition Hardcover Edition
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/11/2014 14:14:11
Fantastic! Allons-y!

ORIGINAL REVIEW: A great and worthy game to bear the name of the highly acclaimed "restart" of the Doctor Who series.

Using a simple 2d6 + stat, roll over target number system, DW:AiTaS though goes beyond what is typically since in RPGs. Talking and Running are preferable to fighting, just like in the show and there many ways to measure success.

The system is similar to Unisystem and even GURPs, but not as "crunchy". This is a game of normal humans and the occasional alien battling foes that out match them, out gun them and out "tech" them. You are going to need to be very clever or lucky (or both!). While this could have fell into the Call of Cthulhu end of the spectrum on hero survival, heroes are expected to survive and even win.

The trade dress and artwork is all from the 11th Doctor/Moffat era, so it resembles the 11th Doctor set in that respect. But if that were all then there would not be much need to buy this. In fact there is quite a bit of "new stuff" that feel this is much more of an update than a simple re-edit and design.

It is an extremely attractive book (256 full color pages). If you are new to this game then this is the place to start. If you are new to Doctor Who, well then I would say grab the Tenth or Eleventh Doctor version of the rules. All the same rules, but less emphasis on the the show's own history. Though there are the story/adventure seeds for all 12 doctors and that is very nice.

If you have either of the 11th or 10th Doctor version of this game then you have most of the rules and text, though some things look like the are a bit clearer (or I am rereading them for 10th time). This is one full document as opposed to the multiple PDFs of the "boxed sets". It also updates the text to reflect the last bits of the Matt Smith seasons and the Day of the Doctor 50th Anniversary special. So stats for the War Doctor and updated Zygons.

I plan on picking this one up in hardback as soon as I can to be honest. That's how much I enjoy this game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space Limited Edition Hardcover Edition
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Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay (PDF)
Publisher: Small Niche Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/03/2014 11:26:38
Wow.

I have been waiting for this book for a while and I have to say it was worth the wait.
Dolmvay is not only a highly detailed city complete with maps, npcs, new monsters and pretty much everything you need, it is also a shared city.

Let's talk about the product first. It's Pay What You Want, but it is certainly worth at least $19.95 or more (so pay at least 5 buck or more!). You get 223 pages worth of material. There are the maps I mentioned, but there is also a fairly detailed history. You could easily drop this into any game, and let's be honest, any system. If you are familiar with other products from SNG then takes place in the World of Amherth setting. But this book (and most of the Amherth books) are easily adapted to any setting.

There is a chapter on adventuring in the city. How the local churches react to magic and what can be expected of travelling adventurers.
Makes it perfect for a way point between adventures, but you would be missing all the fun.
The book also details an number houses, factions and NPCs and their own desires for the city. If you like games of political intrigue and courtly drama then this is a good place to start.

The bulk of the book details the layout of the city. In this respect it reads like a guide book. NPCs, hooks and other information is given. There is plenty here for new GM to use it as is and plenty more for an experienced GM to add their own information.
It strikes a nice balance between detail and flexibility. Among my favorite items are the random rumor table and the common greetings and gestures. Things like this give a setting life of it's own.

Common businesses are covered as well as a sampling of Taverns and Inns. City encounters and even some new monsters.
Venture into the sewers or the Island of Heroes.

There is a section on random NPC generation as well.

Dolmvay the concept is the idea that this is a shared City. If developers want to create their own encounters, adventures or anything else really and set it in Dolmvay then there is an easy to use and free license to do so.
It is such a great idea I am surprised that no one else has done it before.

This book is steal at any price.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay (PDF)
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Publisher Reply:
Thank you Timothy! I\'m glad you like the idea of a shared city. I still think a witch\'s coven would fit in nicely!
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