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Castles & Crusades Fantastic Adventure
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/15/2016 07:23:59

This is a short adventure, 16 pages, for 4 to 8 characters of 1st to 3rd level. Actually it is three very short adventures in a general area. One flows to the next easily and Tcan be run in a couple of sessions. The starting adventure revolves around finding a missing gem and this leads to the PCs saving a deranged golem. There is also a host of really weird and interesting NPCs that could, if needed, be used as characters. I know that C&C typically takes it's cues from AD&D1, but this adventure felt like something right out of D&D Basic to me. I mean that in the best way possible; I love D&D Basic. This would make for a good first adventure to anyone new to C&C, but familiar with other FRPGs.
I often gush at the nostalgia fuel that Castles & Crusades often is for me, but this adventure really does capture a lot of the fun of playing in the late 70s and early 80s. Particularly the early 80s. It is set in their larger, and somewhat more dangerous, World of Aihrde and can lead up to their other adventures. Or it can stand alone for a couple nights of rolling dice and having fun.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Fantastic Adventure
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Girls Gone Rogue
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/13/2016 14:44:04

Girls Gone Rogue (GGR hereafter) is an 80-page supplement for Alpha Blue. The book expands on the options and tables found in Alpha Blue. There are additional character options and lots of tables but really sets this book apart, and makes it a must have for AB fans, are the adventures. If you are a fan of Venger's style of mixing and matching various pop cultural references then these adventures are a real treat. In particular, the mixing of Galaxina and Ilsa She Devil of the S.S. is quite fun really. Venger obviously grew up on a steady late night Cinemax. Actually, that explains a lot of GGR to be honest. This one is a bit harder to judge in terms of a game book. I will say that if you enjoy Alpha Blue, then this is a good buy and will be very useful. If you don't like Alpha Blue then GGR will be more of the same really. Though there are a some that would enjoy the adventure seeds for use with other games.

So. Who should buy these books? Well it's pretty simple. If you have Alpha Blue or like playing it then these are "must buys". If you play some other Sci-Fi game and want to add a little "Sleaze" to your "Scum and Villainy" then these are must buys only behind Alpha Blue itself. If you like lots of pop-culture references, especially ones that are more R or even NC rated, then this is also for you. But if that is the case you already know this.

Who should avoid this? Well normally when reviewing a product I stay away from these sorts of discussions. But in this case, I will say those who are easily offended should not bother. More to the point with me though is don't go into these books expecting to find a lot of material you can use for other, non-sci-fi, games. Can I use it with say a Modern game? Sure, but there are a lot of conversions I'd have to do. Not game mechanics, but style.

Both books are a lot of fun and I am certain I can still find a lot to use here even in my PG and PG-13 rated games.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Girls Gone Rogue
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Universal Exploits
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/13/2016 14:43:32

Universal Exploits is a 110 page book for Alpha Blue. UE tackles the universe beyond the space station Alpha Blue. Like Girls Gone Rogue it is an expansion, but it also setting material. The universe is a big and dangerous place. Well, dangerous in the same universe that has a space brothel/space station orgy happening. Or maybe that is just a result of some the horrors going on around them. There are also some short adventures/scenarios you can use. Again, these are presented system-neutral/system-lite so they can be used for just about anything.
In truth this reads a bit like a collection of Traveller articles, that is if Traveller went really gonzo. Or, chances are, like many used to run Traveller anyway. The real treat comes in the form of the special Alpha Blue Character sheets. Honestly every game should have great looking Character sheets and these are among my favorites.

So. Who should buy these books? Well it's pretty simple. If you have Alpha Blue or like playing it then these are "must buys". If you play some other Sci-Fi game and want to add a little "Sleaze" to your "Scum and Villainy" then these are must buys only behind Alpha Blue itself. If you like lots of pop-culture references, especially ones that are more R or even NC rated, then this is also for you. But if that is the case you already know this.

Who should avoid this? Well normally when reviewing a product I stay away from these sorts of discussions. But in this case, I will say those who are easily offended should not bother. More to the point with me though is don't go into these books expecting to find a lot of material you can use for other, non-sci-fi, games. Can I use it with say a Modern game? Sure, but there are a lot of conversions I'd have to do. Not game mechanics, but style.

Both books are a lot of fun and I am certain I can still find a lot to use here even in my PG and PG-13 rated games.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Universal Exploits
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A3 Wicked Cauldron -- Adventures for 5th Edition Rules
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/06/2016 08:02:10

I am reviewing the print and pdf versions.

The premise is a fairly simple one. There is a ruined ziggurat in the Barren Woods that is the home to many foul things. It also has a long and evil history and currently is home to one of the fabled Witch Queens. The PCs must investigate and stop her.

The adventure itself is particularly original, but that doesn't make it less fun. There is a good balance of overland and dungeon exploring, plenty of new monsters to fight, a threat of an ancient evil. Given that this module is coded "A3" should give you an indication it is part of a larger series, and it is. It can be played as part of Troll Lords "A" series that began with "Assault on Blacktooth Ridge" and "Slag Heap" and continues in other Airhde products and adventures. But it can also be played as a stand-alone adventure. The adventure is very reminiscent of the old Basic adventures of the early 80s, especially B2 and B4. In fact, it is almost a perfect mix of these two classic adventures. So in the nostalgia department, it gets a perfect score from me.

My biggest issue with the PDFs and the Print versions are the maps are fairly small. I can redo them on my own and larger, but having something I can print out or read easier would be nice.

The 5th edition conversion is good and really, C&C is so close to D&D5 as to almost make the conversion unnecessary, but still I did enjoy looking through both to find the subtle differences. The most interesting changes were to the Witch Queen herself.

The Witch Queen, Neb–Eprethat, is the central figure in this adventure and stopping her is the main goal. In the C&C version she is a Lawful Evil 5th level human cleric/wizard. In the D&D 5 version she is a Chaotic Evil 6th level human cleric.

All in all a really fun adventure.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A3 Wicked Cauldron -- Adventures for 5th Edition Rules
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Castles & Crusades A3: Wicked Cauldron
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/06/2016 08:00:43

I am reviewing the print and pdf versions.

The premise is a fairly simple one. There is a ruined ziggurat in the Barren Woods that is the home to many foul things. It also has a long and evil history and currently is home to one of the fabled Witch Queens. The PCs must investigate and stop her.

The adventure itself is particularly original, but that doesn't make it less fun. There is a good balance of overland and dungeon exploring, plenty of new monsters to fight, a threat of an ancient evil. Given that this module is coded "A3" should give you an indication it is part of a larger series, and it is. It can be played as part of Troll Lords "A" series that began with "Assault on Blacktooth Ridge" and "Slag Heap" and continues in other Airhde products and adventures. But it can also be played as a stand-alone adventure. The adventure is very reminiscent of the old Basic adventures of the early 80s, especially B2 and B4. In fact, it is almost a perfect mix of these two classic adventures. So in the nostalgia department, it gets a perfect score from me.

My biggest issue with the PDFs and the Print versions are the maps are fairly small. I can redo them on my own and larger, but having something I can print out or read easier would be nice.

All in all a really fun adventure and the start of something really fun for the players.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades A3: Wicked Cauldron
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Villains of the Undercity
Publisher: Maximum Mayhem Dungeons
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/01/2016 12:31:38

Mark Taormino is like some sort of mad genius. I love his Maximum Mayhem Dungeons and each one "delivers the goods" in terms of hitting that nostalgia feel. What if the Keep on the Borderlands was destroyed and then humans came in and built a new keep on top of the ruins. Let's also say the caves of Chaos have been cleared, but not all the monsters were killed. Where did they go? What did they do? Now invite the Slave Lords from the A series over. You would get Villains of the Undercity! This adventure is an ode and homage to the great dungeon crawls of the day. While this adventure fits the gonzo style of the other Maximum Mayhem Dungeons this one can also be played straight. Well...sorta. There is a crazy Halfling Illusionist Assassin, but that is for the players to figure out. With this one anyone that has ever been inside a classic dungeon will find something to love. There are lots of deadly traps, monsters and puzzles to figure out. Of course plenty of treasure too. This adventure is also the one that I can see fitting into a larger campaign, even with adventures from other publishers. I was mentally placing it in Greyhawk or even Dolmvay. Just really a lot of fun.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Villains of the Undercity
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The Secret Machines of the Star Spawn
Publisher: Maximum Mayhem Dungeons
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/01/2016 12:30:35

Mark Taormino is like some sort of mad genius. I love his Maximum Mayhem Dungeons and each one "delivers the goods" in terms of hitting that nostalgia feel. Let's play a game of what if. What if the Expedition to the Barrier Peaks had been written in the 80s instead of the 70s? What if there were influences of Star Wars, Buck Rogers, 50s sci-fi movies and just a little dash of 70s Blaxplotation? You might get something like The Secret Machines of the Star Spawn, but it would not be as good as the module Mark Taormino wrote. The module follows a similar flow of the other Maximum Mayhem Dungeons; something weird is happening, there are rumors, a long history of strangeness and a thin excuse to go adventuring. What they PCs will uncover is...well I don't want to spoil it. It's no shock that this adventure will feature a downed starship and some lasers. But it doesn't end there. In truth there is a lot to really, really like about this adventure. In a different setting the monsters would be scary ass deadly and really, really awesome. Also there is so many references to pop culture, espeically sci-fi and 80s pop culture, that it would be pointless to address them all. The rock band KILL was one of my favorites. Designed for OSRIC, I played bits and pieces of this using D&D5. Though it would work just as well with AD&D1, Castles & Crusades or any other OGL based clone game. The one issue I have with it (and very minor) is that players that didn't grow up in the 70s and 80s would not get all the jokes. I ran Hanging Coffins for my kids and they loved it, but some of the jokes fell flat on them here. No surprise they have no context for them. I thought they were hilarious to be honest. Loved the Pinball Wizard! If I were to run this again I would either merge it with a little bit of Expedition to the Barrier Peaks and run a huge Star Spawn mega-adventure. Or I'd run it as is with some disposable characters and guys the grew up in the 80s too.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Secret Machines of the Star Spawn
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Wizard Tradition: The Witch
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/27/2016 07:13:05

This presents three witchcraft Wizard traditions: White, Black, and Gray and two Patron: the Fiend and the Earth Mother. This one is more in-line with other TSR/WotC versions of the Witch, esp the 2nd and 4th editions where the witch was akin to the Wizard. The author even states that the 2nd ed Witch kit was one of his favorites and I can see that here. The Patrons and the traditions offer mostly role-playing favor to the witch, but that is fine. The witch gains ritual casting abilities and boons. The odd thing about this one are the minimum ability scores required. I don't recall any D&D class having minimum ability scores required in 5e. There are some good ideas and certainly a witch I would like to try playing.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Wizard Tradition: The Witch
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The Dungeon Master's Handbook II
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2016 17:31:18

The largest book downloaded from the DM's Guild so far. Lots of lists of monsters and encounters, most of which I have no need for. Sadly that accounts for about 40 some pages. There are about 30 pages of monster stats with minimal descriptions and no art. If you are running Curse of Strahd I see that there is some use in this.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Dungeon Master's Handbook II
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Archetypes for D&D
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2016 17:25:16

ive new archetypes including a witch (sorcerer) and the witch hunter (any). The witch gets some new spells (from other classes) and four new powers. If I were to use this with other witch classes I might call it a Witch-kin or a Witch-blooded.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Archetypes for D&D
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3 Archetypes #04 - Druid
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2016 17:21:20

What is says on the tin. Three new Druid circles including a Circle of Witchcraft. Interesting ideas, but not entirely sure it works for me. The Circle of Rebirth and Circle of Seasons are more interesting and come a little closer to what is expected from a druid.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
3 Archetypes #04 - Druid
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Druid Circle - Circle of the Eremite
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2016 17:17:39

Potion brewing druids. Comes with printer friendly and screen versions. This class has a Hedge Wtich feel about it to be honest. A bunch of new potions are listed at the end.
Not a bad idea, but feels a little off to me somehow. I have not put my finger on it to be honest.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Druid Circle - Circle of the Eremite
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Pacts & Patrons (and eldritch invocations!), new class options for the warlock
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2016 17:13:42

Two new pacts and five new patrons for warlocks. The art and layout is nice. The Aegis Pact is similar to Pact of the Blade. The Pact of Concoctions makes the warlock into a brewer of potions. The patrons are for me the more interesting part of the book. These include The Archmage, The Ascendent (almost a god), Fate, Mother Nature and the Phoenix. Each comes with some flaws and an expanded spell list. The last couple of pages are devoted to new invocations.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Pacts & Patrons (and eldritch invocations!), new class options for the warlock
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New Warlock Invocations
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2016 17:05:48

Four pages of new Warlock invocations and two pages of a new Fighter archtype, the Hexblade. The Hexblade obviously gets some ability from the Pact of the Blade Warlock, but some martial ability as well. The artist is not listed, but I found his work here: http://rodimus25.deviantart.com/art/Fantasy-Warlock-174156589



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
New Warlock Invocations
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Glamour Mage Class
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2016 17:00:10

This one is nice since it comes in both screen and print ready versions. While not exactly a witch, it covers a lot of the same ground. Spellcasting is like a warlocks and a emphasis is given on glamour and flashy spells. There is actually quite an interesting and unique class here and one I'd like to try playing. Maybe an NPC would work well.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Glamour Mage Class
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