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Sparks of Light
Publisher: Twisted Die Productions
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/01/2015 11:56:53

Sparks is a light hearted game of Magical Girls. I uses the Fate system, but it can be used as a guide for any magical girl game regardless of system.

I think the most important thing about this book is how do the characters relate to each other and too the NPCs. This is the key feature of any magical girl story whether or not it is Sailor Moon, W.I.T.C.H., Cardcaptor Sakura or even Charmed. It is the relationships that define the character. Take someone like Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon, he is (let's be honest) useless. But he does have relationships to the rest of the cast and that makes for drama. Would it make for a good game? No, maybe not, but consider Angel in the first season of Buffy. He was basically Tuxedo Mask.
I also really liked the Hope Points mechanic. Magic Girls rarely see last death or injury (Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune not withstanding), so hit points don't really make a lot of sense. Plus the Darkness is not about killing really. It's about snuffing out the light or hope of the heroes.
In this respect it might make it a better game for little kids. Don't get me wrong, I have played D&D with grade-schoolers and they are a vicious, blood thirsty lot. But they don't have to be.
If you like Fate then is a good game to try out, especially given the price.

If you like Magical Girls then this is a must buy (even if some of this is covered in other books as well).



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Sparks of Light
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Witch Girls Magical Minutia: Crossover
Publisher: Channel M Publishing
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/01/2015 11:16:03

This book for Witch Girls Adventures previews a bit of the rules we will see in WGA 2.0 and the upcoming super hero games from Channel M. WE are introduced to Nemsis Earth, an Earth populated by superheroes and some differences in history. Chapter 1 covers the details of this new Earth and it's features, both magical and tech.
The book is presented from the point of view of a Witch Girl travelling across the dimensions.
There are plenty of new equipment for Witch Girl stars and even a new heritage (Half-Metahuman).
Chapter 3 covers Channel M's new "Youthquake" team of superpowered teens.
The general feel of this "Crisis on Two Earths" and honestly I really like that. I wish I had had this back when I was working on Season 3 of my Willow & Tara game where I crossed over to a super powered Earth that resembled the Earth int he DC universe. While reading this I was also wishing I had an Icons version of this. Same ideas, characters and text, but Icons as the rules. They would mesh together rather nice I think.
If you are a fan of supers and Witch Girls Adventures then this is a good buy.
One issue. I hate to bring this up, really. I love Malcolm's work but he should really hire a good proofreader and editor to help clean up his work. That leaves him to focus on the big ideas and let others do the editorial work.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Witch Girls Magical Minutia: Crossover
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Star Sailors: The Magical Girl Supplement for White Star RPG
Publisher: Okumarts Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/01/2015 10:38:43

Oh, this one is a fun. This little book (11 pages, including cover and OGL) is packed full of great material. Basically this presents a Magical Girl class, the Star Sailors. Each level the Star Sailor gains a "Heart Power" of a different color. Very cool. They also get a "Starlight Blast" that is blasted out of her "Star Sailor Starlight Wand". I know this all sounds silly, but trust me, this is exactly the sort of thing you would see in a Magical Girl show or book. I also love how each power has a catchphrase. I would totally make my players say these to activate each attack.
The powers are described, with effects. Also some background on the Starlight Entity. The sailors also can have mascots, aka pets.
There is also a great monster/big bad for the sailors to fight, the appropriately named "Gloom".

While the book is overtly for White Star it includes some ideas for Modern Times and S&W.

Really, really fun. The art also really fun and appropriate.
Don't like Magical Girls? You could, with minor tweaking, turn this into a Green Lantern like organization.
Either way, this is great stuff.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Star Sailors: The Magical Girl Supplement for White Star RPG
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Avalon Clip Art, Sci-Fi Genre [BUNDLE]
Publisher: Avalon Game Company
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/27/2015 21:32:16

Sci-fi clip art. It is in PDF format, so not very useful if you are planning on reusing it. Fine for printing out at the game table. Wish I had seen some samples first. Not really to my liking.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Avalon Clip Art, Sci-Fi Genre [BUNDLE]
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Avalon Clip Art, Sci-Fi Genre
Publisher: Avalon Game Company
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/27/2015 21:28:51

Sci-fi clip art. It is in PDF format, so not very useful if you are planning on reusing it. Fine for printing out at the game table. Wish I had seen some samples first. Not really to my liking.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Avalon Clip Art, Sci-Fi Genre
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Avalon Clip Art, Sci-Fi 2
Publisher: Avalon Game Company
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/27/2015 21:28:31

Sci-fi clip art. It is in PDF format, so not very useful if you are planning on reusing it. Fine for printing out at the game table. Wish I had seen some samples first. Not really to my liking.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Avalon Clip Art, Sci-Fi 2
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X-plorers Printable Player's Guide
Publisher: Brave Halfling Publishing
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/15/2015 13:20:00

Read my full review here: http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2015/05/rev-
iew-x-plorers.html


This is everything the play needs to get their characters from cool concept to play. Best yet, print it out and give copies to your players.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
X-plorers Printable Player's Guide
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X-plorers QuickStart
Publisher: BD Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/15/2015 13:18:23

This quickstart gets you set up with characters to play X-plorers.
Want to know more, read my full review here: http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2015/05/rev-
iew-x-plorers.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
X-plorers QuickStart
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X-plorers RPG (FREE No Art Version)
Publisher: Brave Halfling Publishing
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/15/2015 13:14:16

X-plorers is somewhere in the middle of Starships & Spacemen and White Star. Both thematically and in terms of rules. There is a more of an old school vibe of this one. So to continue my analogies to the point of breaking, X-plorers is more Buck Rogers, the old serials and 50s sci-fi movies.


The book itself is 41 pages. This includes cover, title page, ogl page and a trademark license. The trademark license is nice. You can make content that is "X-Plorers Compatible" as long as you abide by the license. Yes other games do this too.


Characters have class, hit points, and levels just like most OSR books. The characters in X-Plorers though only have 4 attributes; Agility, Intelligence, Physique and Presence. They are still ranked 3-18. There are also four classes; Scientist, Soldier, Scouts and Technicians. Personally I think some sort of Royalty or Ambassador class might have been a nice inclusion as well.
There are some multi-classing rules too which are nice to see.


Equipment is covered next. The basic unit of commerce is the credit (cr). It functions largely the same way the gold piece does. Gear and weapons are covered, but also vehicles and robots. Near the end we cover skills as well.


Chapter 3 covers running the game. This includes saves, combat and skill checks. All similar territory to other games.


Chapter 4 details Space. This covers ships, buying and outfitting with crew as well as combat. Each phase of combat is discussed, so the gunner, engineer, pilot and so on. This reminds me of some the of old school Naval ship battles. Ship repair is also covered.


This is followed by a referee's section. This covers creating a game and running one. There is a small section on Aliens and Planets.
NPCs, Allies and Monsters are featured in the next section. I would have liked more, but again, these are easy to take from any fantasy game.


Chapter X is an adventure/background piece on Roswell. There are even stats for the Greys, whic is really cool to be honest.
Chapter Y covers psionics and pyschic characters. This is also pretty cool.


We end with some sheets for characters and ships.


X-plorers is a light game and designed to emulate the games of the 70s. So in that respect it does the job well. Some people will want more, but there is still a lot here. Rule-wise it reminds me more of White Box Swords & Wizardry, in fact you could use S&W as the rules and the rest as add-on.


This is the same as the full featured version, only no art.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
X-plorers RPG (FREE No Art Version)
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X-plorers RPG
Publisher: Brave Halfling Publishing
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/15/2015 13:05:57

X-plorers is somewhere in the middle of Starships & Spacemen and White Star. Both thematically and in terms of rules. There is a more of an old school vibe of this one. So to continue my analogies to the point of breaking, X-plorers is more Buck Rogers, the old serials and 50s sci-fi movies.


The book itself is 41 pages. This includes cover, title page, ogl page and a trademark license. The trademark license is nice. You can make content that is "X-Plorers Compatible" as long as you abide by the license. Yes other games do this too.


Characters have class, hit points, and levels just like most OSR books. The characters in X-Plorers though only have 4 attributes; Agility, Intelligence, Physique and Presence. They are still ranked 3-18. There are also four classes; Scientist, Soldier, Scouts and Technicians. Personally I think some sort of Royalty or Ambassador class might have been a nice inclusion as well.
There are some multi-classing rules too which are nice to see.


Equipment is covered next. The basic unit of commerce is the credit (cr). It functions largely the same way the gold piece does. Gear and weapons are covered, but also vehicles and robots. Near the end we cover skills as well.


Chapter 3 covers running the game. This includes saves, combat and skill checks. All similar territory to other games.


Chapter 4 details Space. This covers ships, buying and outfitting with crew as well as combat. Each phase of combat is discussed, so the gunner, engineer, pilot and so on. This reminds me of some the of old school Naval ship battles. Ship repair is also covered.


This is followed by a referee's section. This covers creating a game and running one. There is a small section on Aliens and Planets.
NPCs, Allies and Monsters are featured in the next section. I would have liked more, but again, these are easy to take from any fantasy game.


Chapter X is an adventure/background piece on Roswell. There are even stats for the Greys, whic is really cool to be honest.
Chapter Y covers psionics and pyschic characters. This is also pretty cool.


We end with some sheets for characters and ships.


X-plorers is a light game and designed to emulate the games of the 70s. So in that respect it does the job well. Some people will want more, but there is still a lot here. Rule-wise it reminds me more of White Box Swords & Wizardry, in fact you could use S&W as the rules and the rest as add-on.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
X-plorers RPG
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MA1e Human Character Sheet
Publisher: WardCo.
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/14/2015 09:20:13

Nice old-school style sheet for Metamorphosis Alpha, 1st Edition. This one is for humans.
While many sheets are free, the game this goes to is relatively inexpensive so it all evens out in my mind.
This sheet is only for the people that really want it. There is a functional sheet in the game pdf, but this one looks much nicer.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
MA1e Human Character Sheet
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MA1e Mutant Character Sheet
Publisher: WardCo.
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/14/2015 09:19:51

Nice old-school style sheet for Metamorphosis Alpha, 1st Edition. This one is for mutants.
While many sheets are free, the game this goes to is relatively inexpensive so it all evens out in my mind.
This sheet is only for the people that really want it. There is a functional sheet in the game pdf, but this one looks much nicer.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
MA1e Mutant Character Sheet
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Metamorphosis Alpha 1st Edition
Publisher: WardCo.
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/14/2015 09:15:46

MORBIUS: Back. To. The. Beginning! - Doctor Who: The Brain of Morbius.


There is a game going all the way back to the dawn of time, or at least the dawn of the roleplaying age, that has fascinated me. I knew of it's children games, Gamma World and Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, but it has not be till recently that I have seen the father of sci-fi games.


Metamorphosis Alpha is considered to be the first popular Scifi game available. While many of us heard of and purchased Traveller first (and that could be another entire week for me) MA really is the first. Published a year before the Traveller books. Written by James "Drawmij" Ward, MA has deep ties with D&D. The game was playtested by Ward and Gygax and others at TSR. This lead to the aforementioned Expedition to the Barrier Peaks and Gamma World. The forward of the game was written by Gygax and Brian Blume.


The basic game outline is that characters, human, mutant and other all live on a fantastic colony ship, The Warden, that has broken down. The ship is basically a giant flying dungeon. In space.
The character creation rules, monsters and everything are like Original D&D through a distorted lens. To use an analogy from computer programing if D&D/AD&D is Pascal then Metamorphosis Alpha is Modula. Naturally this makes Gamma World Modula 2, AD&D2 Turbo Pascal, D&D3 Borland Pascal, D&D4 Oberon, D&D5 Delphi and so on...


It would be a fantastic game to play when you are in a great old-school mood and I do know people that have made great long campaigns with it. Think about it, the idea would later pop up in the series Red Dwarf.


The book itself is 40 pages which includes front and back cover, an updated errata sheet, pages of tables, character sheet and maps of the Warden.


The game itself is complete and a prime example of old-school minimalism. Modern readers might be tempted to ask "is this it", but to these eyes it is succinct and complete at the same time.


MA of course is perfectly playable on it's own. Has been for 40 years.
But it also works great as a setting or a as a "Mega dungeon" in space.


Mix MA with any of the games I have been reveiwing over the last few days and you have a mysterious, ancient colony ship. 80 km long, 40 km wide and 14 km tall and filled with humans, mutants and who knows what else. Think of the ship in "WALL-E" now fill it with mutants.


Honestly I am using it in my own old-school D&D game and it is part of my world's history. The uses and re-uses of this game are endless.


The mutant rules in the book are easily ported over to any game. So use them as mutants or aliens or even demons in your fantasy game.


At just under 6 bucks it is also a steal.
There are character sheets too for humans and mutants at a buck each. Normally I think sheets should be free, but I am only paying $5.99 for the pdf. If the sheets were free and the game was $7.99 I would not balk or fret at the price.


If you have any interest in old-school gaming, sci-fi gaming or even the roots of our hobby, then this is a fantastic game to add to your collection.
If you are playing any of the new "old-school" sci-fi games then I consider this a must buy.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Metamorphosis Alpha 1st Edition
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Strange Stars
Publisher: Hydra Cooperative
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/13/2015 13:49:37

Every so often you come across a product that is so different than the rest it is hard to know what to do with it. +trey causey's Strange Stars is not exactly that. Strange Stars is a product so different it is hard to know what I can't do with it.


The book is a joy to look at. Yes it is only 32 pages with cover, but each page is so rich with art and color it must have cost a lot to make. Since art is important to how this book can be used it is a better investment than say page after page of text.
Let's start with that cover. There are homages to late 70s, early 80s sci-fi shows and movies. I can feel the influences of Star Wars and even Jason of Star Command here. Not to mention the obvious, but loving, nod to the classic Star Frontiers. Really, I should be able to buy that as an art print for my game room. I put that cover up there with some of the best RPG covers ever.


Strange Stars is not a game itself, but a setting book for other sci-fi games. Not just the OSR-flavored ones of my last few reviews, but any sci-fi game. As a mental exercise I kept asking "can I use this in Traveller? Star Frontiers? Alternity?" most times I was saying yes.


The book starts out with a historical overview of the setting. The "Ancient times" in this case is humanity leaving "Old Earth". So already this is a setting far flung into the future.


Various forms of life are introduced, or Sophonts. This can be your garden variety human or other life form that is mostly biological, self-aware robots, or AIs. Or, most likely some combination of the above.


Really a couple of the great features of this book are not chapter by chapter but concept by concept.
Free of system Causey's mind rushes down dark un-explored pathways, strange lands and truly alien worlds. BUT, and this is very important, this not so far removed from our experiences to be really out there. There are roots here. Roots with names like "Star Crash" and "Buck Rodgers" (the TV series on NBC, not the serials) and "Logan's Run". Jenny Agutter's "Jessica 6" practically jumps off of page 12.

Speaking of which, the characters here BEG to be stated up for your favorite system. Siana Elizond, the previously mentioned Jessica 6 clone, is more interesting in a picture and paragraph than some characters with pages and pages of back story. Plus I can't help but think that Elphaba Mandrake was made as a personal challenge to me!


So yes. The page count is small, but it is chock full of great ideas, eye catching art and more than enough to get you going on a campaign set out among the stars.


You can find Trey at http://sorcererss-
kull.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Strange Stars
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Machinations of the Space Princess
Publisher: Postmortem Studios
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/12/2015 12:17:14

Written by James "Grimm" Desborough and art by Satine Phoenix this game has a really cool, sexy vibe.
Firmly planted in the PG-13 area, this game does more with a nudge and wink than some games try to do with out right R material.
The game is described as a game of "Kick Ass Heroes". It is. It is also a game of rogues, smugglers, free wheeling pilots, more-than human psionics and accountants. Seriously, you can hire them. But more on that later.


This game is built on Lamentations of the Flame Princess, but it takes more than a few liberties with it. Bottom line here; you can add this to any of the OSR Sci-Fi games I have been reviewing.
The book itself is 244 pages which includes cover, OGL, title pages and acknowledgments. There are a few pages of "What is Roleplaying" and examples of play. Anyone reading this review though can likely skip these sections.


There is a section on the default setting, the Urlanth Matriarchy, and it's fall. Also each page has a note with some tidbit of information. Don't ignore these, there is a lot colorful commentary here.
The section on Kick-Ass heroes is a good one and even though it feels like something we have read before it is worth reading again (or for the first time). MotSP is fully character focused. The empire, the aliens, the tech, that's all just backdrop to playing a Kick Ass character and having a good time. This is refreshing for an old school game and honestly for me it nudges MotSP ahead in my book.

The mechanics of building a hero are also here. This is old hat for most of us.
Note: Ability score bonuses are more in-line with D&D 3.x than old-school D&D. But you could use whatever you like really.
MotMP has Seven attributes. Comeliness is back.
There are actually a few compelling reasons to include Comeliness and MotMP is a good game to use it.

Races are covered with the default humans and various archetypes of other races (Amoeboid, Aquatic...). Races are also divided up by Species (an actual species), Cultural (many species or one species that make up a culture) say like a planet of criminals or Exotic (something about them is very different), for example everyone is dead or a cyborg. There are a lot of of these races given and they can be combined in different ways.

Classes cover many of the basics; Experts, Killers, Psions, and Scholars. Each class has their own sub-specialties, HD, Attack Bonus and Skill Points. Psions get Psi Points and Power Points. In what seems reversed to me Psi-Points are your reserve of power to use your psionic powers and Power Points allow you to buy your Psychic Powers. I am planning to spend some time with the Psion since it is the closest thing I have seen to a witch-like character.


Skills define what a character can do. The skill system is a d6 roll under the skill points you have for a particular skill. There are some common skills that everyone can use, the Psi skills (Psions), Combat skills, Scholastic skills, and General skills (ones that anyone can learn but don't start out with).


After skills we discuss gear, which includes arms and armor. Some basic ship stats are also given. Ships can also have a number of qualities. My favorite so far is "Killer Paint Job" which makes your ship "look totally rad". Seriously it like this is the only game that remembers that fun is important! Ok, not really, but fun is in the forethought here.


Of course you are are going to get all that loot from doing what ever your kick-ass characters do, but can you afford that "killer paint job"? Better hire that previously mentioned accountant. Retainers are discussed next. How many hit die they have (space is a dangerous place) and how much they need to be paid. So do you want 10 accountants or 1 elite assassin?


There is a chapter on cybernetics and enhancements. It isn't as fully transhuman as say Stars Without Number, but it gets the job done.


Bodly Going is the chapter on space and planet exploration. It can also be called 1,001 Ways to Die in Space. I give Grim a lot of credit here. I know the guy outside of the gaming world and he is what I call a science-cheer-leader. He does not hit us over the head with hard core science in this, but he is paying enough lip service to the real thing to make this chapter fun to read. I know he could have dialed this up more, but since his goal is fun this is perfect.


Rocket's Red Glare gives us more details of spaceships. This includes a lot on combat. What I do like here is that ships are treated like characters. It is something a lot of games do so there is a real pragmatic approach to it all.


The rest of this section covers things characters can do and psionics.


A little after the half-way point we get into the Game Master's section.
If the players make kick-ass characters then the game master is instructed to be a bad-ass Game Master. Additionally advice is how to keep the game fun.
So everything from planetary romance, swords and planets stories, sexy (or sleazy) fun, traps, killing things and taking their stuff and more are discussed.


The book ends with an index and character and ship sheets.


There is so much here to be honest that I doubt I'd ever run out of things to do with this game. It may be more tongue-in-cheek than other sci-fi games. There are plenty of "Serious" sci-fi games that play great and are fun, but I doubt I will find one with a bigger sense of fun than this one.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Machinations of the Space Princess
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