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Bloode Island
Publisher: Deep7
by David K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/10/2010 20:55:34
Bloode Island is another fantastic 1PG (one page) RPG designed by Deep7. The game attempts to capture the fast-paced swashbuckling genre portrayed by many favorite Hollywood films. This 13 page file includes bookmarks, a color cover page, a page with table of contents and legal disclaimer, and a page of character sheets (two character sheets on one page, which could be readily customizable to a 3x5 inch index card). A brief discussion of the referee’s job follows, along with ship combat rules (which works well in application, but is designed to quick and deadly, much like all 1PG combats, actually). Character creation rules are condensed onto a single page (hence “1PG”) with a muriad of options of game play. Some pirates may be criminals, soldiers, or priests with a history as a native savage, battle hardened lifestyle, or may fit the stereotype as a grimy wanted lawbreaker. An initial character has a small chance of having their own ship, too!

This game provides the perfect opportunity to create an evening of fun, cued with dramatic music and good food and drink. My favorite application of the game is for its quick use for play-by-post or email games. Character creation is fun and easy, taking about five minutes. I think I spent more time crafting a gritty pirate-sounding name than I did with allocating build points! Too often in on-line correspondence games, people invest heavily in characters only to see the plot draw long or get muddled in rules. Bloode Island inspires the imagination, condenses the rules for quick reference or impromptu adjudication (e.g. No tables exist for equipment pricing, but I created a simple rule for weapons and armor costs that took two minutes; it is not perfectly balanced, but won’t disturb game play nor empower munchkin gamers, either.). If the referee finds themselves strapped for time, Bloode Island includes SIX adventures that includes genre-appropriate goals and basic antagonists with simple statistic blocks. This game has all of the fun of a roaring good time on a tropical island…without the guilt of a hangover or fear of a press gang!

Additionally, the Yahoo! Group supporting this product also offers a free four page article on the use of "Island Mojo," or a simplistic magic system of curses and black magic from wicked island natives.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bloode Island
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Broadsword
Publisher: Deep7
by David K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/10/2010 13:19:33
Broadsword is a fantastic sword & sorcery game designed for an evening of friendly gaming. The 1PG (one page) design purpose is to generate substantive characters quickly and begin play. Characters have several degrees of randomness, which allows power-gamers to luxury to try new archtypes without cringing. Diversity abounds with some special features, including over twenty different (yet all too familiar) character advantages. Imagine a barbarian with a wild mountain lion as his personal pet. Imagine a skilled sharpshooter whose arrows do more trickery bouncing and influence the game map more than simply deal damage. Imagine a tough-as-nails chainmail bikini clad Amazonian wielding as powerful two handed-sword over her head…wait, where was I? The combat system and use of armor and gear is intentionally let very vague, yet concrete with how contests are resolved. Players looking for many options for resource books will be happier elsewhere; in Broadsword, the referee makes adjudications for armor, weapons, and other gear, although a baseline description is included. For example, an axe may deal 6 damage, but nowhere is found a cost sheet for how characters can spend their silver pieces. Looking for a torch? Okay…keep looking; it’s not found in the core rules. This game is a fantastic way to illustrate the great S&S genre, although intentionally lacks many examples of magic. Spellcasters are given three basic spells, and expected to work with their referees to create more. Sometimes, this freedom can be suffocating, but others may be liberated by it. For the cost of less than $5 and 20 pages, Broadsword offers a storyteller and a group of friends several evenings worth of entertainment. Isn’t that the point of gaming together with friends?

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Broadsword
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Barbarians of Lemuria (Legendary Edition)
Publisher: Beyond Belief Games
by David K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/10/2010 13:09:02
As fans of the sword and sorcery genre, my fantasy role-playing group thouroughly enjoyed Simon Washbourne’s Barbarians of Lemuria game. Currently, I am the game master for two distinct Barbarians of Lemuria play-by-post games. This review sets to accomplish critical critiques of the Revised Edition layout and substance.

The Revised Edition offers significantly more artwork throughout the book. Except for the cover, all artwork is done in black-and-white, making both editions printer-friendly. By comparison, the previous edition offered about 46 images (including a profession map by Gil Pearse) over 103 pages, while the Revised Edition boasts a whopping 80 non-repeating images over 100 pages, and includes the same high-quality map. In fairness, some graphics are used more than once, but I did not see any image used more than twice. An exception of this art was the image of a ram’s skull that precedes the bottom page number. While this graphic seems like a nice touch, I fear the repeatative nature may at least cost a page of ink over 100 pages. Hopefully, this issue can be resolved before final editing and printing. Some favorite artwork is used again. John Grumph, Keith Vaughn and Matthew Vasey do the interior artwork.

Each of the twenty+ possible character profession gets a bust-style portrait, and the NPC/Example characters found near the end of the book have each received new full-body images. Because the art is very similar throughout the book, the same intense feel can be maintained. In describing geographical areas, some characters receive “boons” (formerly named “traits,”) and possibly some “flaws.” I also liked how each career received some special attention as to its possible play in combat. For example, while an executioner might do well with a two-handed axe, such a character should only gain a bonus to combat rolls if their target is prone.

As a player and a game master, I am exceptionally excited about the new design! The addition of the new caricatures adds a great flavor of the gaming world. I am thankful Washbourne kept the map, because the work was exceptional and has become engrained in many players’ memories. While I hoped for more artwork about the “flora and fauna” (and even the inclusion of the “bloodless” creatures), I am satisfied with what has been provided because artwork can be expensive.

New players to Barbarians of Lemuria will enjoy the rules-lite systems and freedoms this system supports. The artwork helps pace new information, and inspire the imagination. Fans of the game will enjoy the same sword-and-sorcery fun, high quality artwork, and have satisfaction that the author accepts feedback and is actively pushing the game to new heights in Europe and America!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Barbarians of Lemuria (Legendary Edition)
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Kressmer's Bizarre Grimoire: Seven Illusions
Publisher: Silverthorne Games
by David K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/10/2010 13:03:22
Kressmer's Bizarre Grimoire: Seven Illusions offered a great new look to deception magic. More than simple ethereal monsters or geographic modifiers for disbelief, the Seven Illusions magnified the role of an illusionist. This four page file condenses seven spells onto two pages (the other two pages include a cover with quarter-page art, and a final page of legal information). The illusion spells offer a wide range of utility, and target uncommon things like money and language and spell-caster familiars. Even one of these additional spells helps the illusionist fill a special role in any party. Surely, there are two combat related spells rife with trickery and imagination. Personally, I liked the inclusion of the “Shadow Puppet” for an immediate feel of this publication. Designed for 3rd Ed. D&D, the utility for illusionary magic also fits with typical Sword & Sorcery magicians. For example, these spells could certainly be easily modified to Barbarians of Lemuria or Broadsword RPGs. The spell casting complexity ranges for moderate power levels with good humor; these spells should not unbalance any game. For the price (free), consider adding Kressmer's Bizarre Grimoire: Seven Illusions to your shopping cart before it disappears!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Kressmer's Bizarre Grimoire: Seven Illusions
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OBE: Gods of the Shroud for D&D 4E
Publisher: Highmoon Games
by David K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/27/2009 20:32:02
“Gods of the Shroud” is an excellent attempt for a third-party publishing company to realign religious pantheons. Recently, One Bad Egg (OBE) extended its rights of use to use its names deities in other material. I believe that OBE has the gamers’ interests at heart, and that most recent move exemplifies my opinion. The .pdf includes full color images of at least the deity and their associated holy symbol. Additional 4E abilities are reproduced following Wizards of the Coast’s coloring scheme. While this coloring makes printing more expensive, having the references available on the .pdf became very helpful.

The file showcases more than a dozen unique deities, and each god offers at least one new power for their follower. Two personal favorites include The Silent Sister background and mission, and the double-crossing machinations of the Shadow Above and its worshippers. For the price, I was well pleased with the artwork, deity descriptions (without needing an organization hierarchy chart explaining who-is-who), and short adventure tips involving each deity and their believers. This work ties in well with other releases by OBE, including the Half-Dead player race. Although none of my players are at Paragon levels, I think I can envision rich story arc use of this product with the Unbroken, also by OBE.

If you want some darker gods in your campaign, want to separate from over-used and underpowered 4E gods, or enjoy an interesting and well-written mythology, try this product!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
OBE: Gods of the Shroud for D&D 4E
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OBE: Races of the Shroud for D&D 4E: The Apelord
Publisher: Highmoon Games
by David K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/10/2009 12:57:24
This product was one of the first 4E .pdfs I purchased. I liked the primal feel of the race from other reviews, and believe that One Bad Egg creatively infused this interesting, intelligent race with crunch to compliment the fluff. My gaming group added the apelord as a possible race during our first foray into 4E, and we weren't disappointed. In particular, the race offered our group some interesting options: * rich background and options of role-playing the beast-men; * great bonuses to two key combat traits; * interesting feats that encouraged one player to want to climb trees and ambush/attack; and a great resource for me as a GM to make some interesting challenges. Overall, the quality of this product was outstanding for the price an ease of use. Original artwork kept pace nicely with the character options and stories, too. I highly recommend this resource as a player option or a DM reference to change gears on players!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
OBE: Races of the Shroud for D&D 4E: The Apelord
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OBE: Shrouded Classes: The Witch Doctor (Heroic Tier Playtest)
Publisher: Highmoon Games
by David K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/04/2009 11:38:38
Although we can remember playing Assassins, Cavaliers and Thief-Acrobats, our gaming group is new to the 4E movement. As such, you may understand our hesitancy on adding a new player class. However, we have used the HARD BOILED CULTURES by One Bad Eggs Ideas with success in other games (Although the product was designed for 4E, this cultural article had great utility in other gaming systems, too.), and felt that a FREE preview would be worthwhile. We have recently downloaded the .pdf and found it to be very inspiring!

Witch Doctors (WD) fill the niche as 4E controllers, and it appears to be somewhat of an “anti-leader,” too. The WD has many interesting powers, many of which focus on ill effects of Saving Throws. When aimed at an enemy leader, our group believes WDs to be more powerful than wizards of (at least) lower levels. Wizards cannot deal significant damage to a powerful enemy leader, but WDs can provide unsettling curses and similar effects to distract or otherwise render the bad guy less powerful. Also, the “Resolute Witch Doctor” relies heavily on his Constitution score, making this class an attractive difference beyond being a healthy caster.

In addition to the unique powers, our group liked the flavorful background of the WD, especially in light of the newest 4E Players Handbook II that includes more primitive classes and options. An Eladrin Wizard differs greatly from a Dwarf Witch Doctor while filling similar roles! We noticed some overlap with a WD and a Staff Wizard, but the powers are different, especially regarding the wall-powers of WDs. Our group's controller chose to build a Tiefling WD, because the dark and spooky race seemed like a natural fit as WDs, too, and their Charisma bonus helps. Finally, we will look to add the Apelord as a Witch Doctor to our next game, and see how successful One Bad Egg can be marrying two of its products.

Our only regret was not learning about the play-testing sooner…

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
OBE: Shrouded Classes: The Witch Doctor (Heroic Tier Playtest)
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OBE: Hard Boiled Cultures for D&D 4E
Publisher: Highmoon Games
by David K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/04/2009 11:10:51
This product helped me take the plunge into 4E. The quality of this .pdf far exceeds its low price. I enjoyed the colorful art and liked clean tables laid-out through the article. My gaming group feared very constrictive guidelines and racial rules in 4E, but HARD BOILED CULTURES outlines creative solutions and avoids stereotypes. In fact, One Bad Egg Ideas shatters many racial preconceptions by focusing on cultures more than race. I particularly like the common-sense idea of how simple geography may change a race. Furthermore, some racial traits need not change at all- these rules as written by Wizards of the Coast become the cultural “Norm” under which some races may change. HARD BOILED CULTURES need not be restricted to 4E D&D, either! I easily used its suggestions to help make fresh, new encounters in other independent games I played before 4E. Considering the price, its utility in any game system, and easy-to-understand charts and guidelines, I highly recommend this .pdf to two different groups: hard working DMs facing stale NPC encounters, or a plucky group of players wanting to play a party consisting of all the same race…with subtle yet distinct differences within the group. Enjoy…

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
OBE: Hard Boiled Cultures for D&D 4E
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Mythweaver Adventure Journal #1
Publisher: Splintered Realms Publishing
by David K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/20/2008 15:14:35
Mythweaver Adventure Journal fulfills the promises its author sets forth with the release of the 2nd Edition Game: ongoing and inexpensive game content. In this issue, add more beasties to fight (with varying degrees of difficulty), new weapons with character, and a nifty way to incorporate animal companions beyond the typical wizardly familiar or druidic hunting wolf. I liked the inclusion of single-player “bounties” to further play test new character concepts when the regular gaming group cancels a night’s adventure. I was sad to see little player-contributed content, but I expect this will change. With a lowered price to the 2nd Edition, I expect more people will risk less than $10 to buy a game and its first support piece. The online gaming community (see the product homepage) has lots of ideas, and now an outlet to see them in print (and get paid)! This investment is well worth the $1 investment!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythweaver Adventure Journal #1
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Mythweaver: The Splintered Realm (2nd Edition)
Publisher: Splintered Realms Publishing
by David K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/20/2008 15:08:05
Mythweaver openly appeals to classic fantasy player, with richly detailed character classes like the hunter and defender and new races, including a wood troll! The best possible feature of this new edition is its living support from an online community and author. Michael Desing, the author of Mythweaver 2nd Edition, actively solicits serious playtesting, design feedback, and possible articles for future publications.
Mentioning future publications, Mythweaver Adventure Journal has already hit the press on RPGNow.com. The short magazine adds depth to character creation because it builds on existing material within the core rules. Most importantly, the magazine promises scheduled releases every six weeks with potential player content. The game grows…be a part of it.
The magic system allows for many interesting options, although some kinds of magic could be easily abused by munchkin gamers. Some spalls are open only to less-scrupulous races, while most every other race has access to healing magic. The combat system intuitively divides defense and offense categories, with armor and shields versus different weapons. I enjoyed being able to wield a heavy sword as a spell-caster much faster than I would have been able to do it with a more traditional and familiar game, and the sacrifices for doing so were realistic choices, not blanket class rules. I think this last comment sums up the game overall…
Players have many informed decisions to make during character creation, advancement, and even in game by using heroic points. The tools are in place with Mythweaver- make it your game and finally let your imagination (and characters) run free! Now, the game is at an introductory price, too! Buy both the game and the first magazine!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythweaver: The Splintered Realm (2nd Edition)
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Resolute: The Superhero RPG (1E)
Publisher: Splintered Realms Publishing
by David K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/12/2008 12:42:06
RPGNow has regularly showcased independant ideas that improve on current favorite or famliar formats. Desing's newest RPG, RESOLUTE, promises easy character generation with many interesting powers. For the price, it prompted me to check-out this new superheroes game.

WHAT I LIKED:
Page one sets the setting into the near future. The gaming environment risked a lot by adding sci-fi elements with fantasy, supernatural, and large scale wars. However, the setting atmosphere belnds very well, and clearly sets the stage for SOME superhero to step forth from history or the ashes.

Building characters is a simple process, with a lot of options. I like how I was able to use a point-buy system to make my hero, and wrote a quick speadsheet tool to help me caluclate my costs of powers, advantages, and limitations. I made a speedy, water blasting hero in about 30 minutes. My first playtest using this hero against a small gang went well. Desing seperated opponents into the typical villains and the lesser-powered gang members, thugs, etc. Combat goes by quickly, although some powers are definate show-stoppers.

The author also includes some insights into his writing, giving better understanding of what he wanted to accomplish and how he did it.

WHAT COULD BE BETTER:
I would have liked more art, perhaps of the sample characters referenced.

I didn't like the format on a single page (9), but that is a small complaint.

A smaple adventure would have been fun, but the author did include 36 plot hooks.

OVERALL:
For a small price, I found an all-around good superhero game I could bring out to my kids, play on a Friday night with my buddies, and invest time in it. Slight tweaking makes the game a futuristic alien/battle-robot game, or a pulp game, or a comic-book romp come-to-life on your table top. Future on-line support is promised for the future, and the website is currently up-and-running (www.splinteredrealm.com). Mike Desing seems to be pretty open-minded about suggestions and improvements to his game, so I think some player ideas could make their way into a new magazine, online article, or the like.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Resolute: The Superhero RPG (1E)
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks for the review. I planned to fit an introductory scenario into the core rules, but I also wanted to keep it at 24 pages... so that got cut. The good news is that I've posted it on the Resolute site, http://splinteredrealm.com/Resolute.htm and you can download it for free. The site also has additional preview information on Resolute.
Mythweaver Adventure Journal #0
Publisher: Splintered Realms Publishing
by David K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/15/2008 22:20:54
I have anxiously awaited a rules primer of the 2nd Edition, and have followed some interesting discusson on-line. This e-magazine promises to inspire readers to new gaming experiences, not unlike "Dungeon" and "Dragon" did for AD&D. The first issue rolls out some basic rules for the new player while educating 1st Edition Mythweaver gamers on some important changes. I think the author accomplished this smoothly without having to water-down rules or application. This primer magazine is well worth the FREE cost, and makes me look forward to the new edition. The layout looks uniform, new artwork is crisp, and the adventure looks playable. I liked the pre-generated characters, because these give me glimpses into what the game will reveal. What is a "delver," and what is up with "Wood Trolls?" I think a solid combination of the new Edition (October 2008), on-line community support, and this magazine will make this a great addition to gamers' libraries.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythweaver Adventure Journal #0
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Dime Heroes Pack
Publisher: Deep7
by David K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/03/2008 19:35:10
I scoured the horizons for some introductory pulp action, and found very little examples. My choices involved an investment of at least twice of this introductory Pack, without any adventure or supplemental material. What I bought is what I expected- a simple approach to the pulp genre. This pack gives the GM ("Ref") a great deal of information, so much that I couldn't use a 3-hole punch to organize the downloaded material! Character generation takes place on one page, with some additional material in the other articles. The game makes some campy references, like "Grey Matter" for Intelligence, in line with the pulp novels and feel.

Remember, most pulp heroes only stuck around for 2 or 3 adventures. Until recently, even Indiana Jones fit this bill. Knowing this, characters would only play in 2 or 3 games, not quite making a campaign of the experience. With mysticsm and mayhem in jungles or the sky, the supplemental bundles give me the right amount of added and genre-specific material and plot ideas I needed to make this happen. Therefore, I am very satisfied with the Pack, and recommend it as an introductory step into pulp. I would like to see other work done in this series, perhaps something with gadgetry. I am very satisfied with my purchase.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dime Heroes Pack
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Mythweaver Magazine #2
Publisher: Splintered Realms Publishing
by David K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/03/2008 18:16:20
I'll limit my comments about this magazine to the designer's work, outside of my contributions. With that comment, the reader might tell I'm already biased for the game's success.
The addition of the Delver class completes the core classes. This hybrid of rake/mystic does a lot more than the hunter of defender ever did. Without playtesting the class yet, I feel that it might take s few levels to truely come to its own as a class, due to the needed ranks in skills. I think this was the single-best move for the game- a single class, over a lot of other character options. In the future, I'd like to see more perks offered to characters.
I liked the feature article on critical hits, making the game a bit more dynamic. It reminds me of the old ICE/RoleMaster critical hits table. I was impressed to see some much stuff about the different magic examples. In the future, I would like to see something similar with a fumble, like tripping over an imaginary deceased turtle.
The verdict is still out about the new magic system proposed, but keep in mind that it's an option, not the new standard. I expect to playtest these rules within the month (on/before Father's Day).
The adventure continues to keep good pace with appropriate challenges. I especially liked how the author presented his formula for making the adventure (and as a reminder template to make your own). I'm interested to see how long this adventure goes...
Finally, the last article was my attempt to help remind good gamers of some simple tricks to make their gaming experience more rewarding. I hope it helps!
I fully expected the magazine to be jam-packed of contributions from the community! I think the author feeds off of our excitement, and I fully encourage players to write!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythweaver Magazine #2
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Publisher Reply:
I think the argument that "the author feeds off of our excitement" is a fair appraisal of the situation. I'm so pleased about the positive feedback the game is receiving, and I have big ideas for how it will continue to grow in the weeks and months ahead.
Mythweaver: The Book of Magic I
Publisher: Splintered Realms Publishing
by David K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/28/2008 19:19:06
Fantastic addition to the game. This book adds two new types of magic for mystics and any characters taking ranks in Magic talents. The rules of illisions makes sense, and the disbeliving rules seems a familiar and fuzzy throwback to the days of 1st edition. I also liked how other spells groups at various levels were fleshed out in greater detail. I liked the many tables and references in the game, and liked the over presentation. This will be a good resource for my recurring villains!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mythweaver: The Book of Magic I
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