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Celestial Wisdom
Publisher: Ryan Chaddock Games
by Donald F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/17/2015 08:16:53
While not as flashy as MCG products, Mr. Chaddock, as a one man publisher, puts out a pretty darn good and crunchy product. Very much enjoyed the tour of a small portion of the Ninth World's digital landscape. The supplement weights in at ~48pp. and has four sections: Data Gods, Lost Power, Dritty Tools and Azure Steel Seeds.

Data Gods has a collection of wildly differing sentient programs or AIs hovering in the data-sphere, entombed or trying to find their way into the Ninth World all waiting to manipulate the world or gather followers. Each entity consumes a page and gives you lots of things to think about. If you don't find something that doesn't tweak your interest (I doubt it) you can always use these as a template for your own. Particular favorites of mine where the Archivist, the Life Force and the Old Ones (why would take to long in this venue). This section alone gets you creative juices flowing.

Next up Lost Power, includes an assortment of several new powers to add to Nano, Jack and Glaive tiers as well as additional descriptors and foci. Ryan suggests that these are for characters closer to the data-sphere, I suggest that you as the GM could also use same to bring the data-sphere element closer to the characters. There's enough to chew on here to make some pretty nifty NPCs at the very least if the PCs are not taking this route. You can design a range of NPCs to help or confound your players from really savvy cyber-nanos to psychotic data-cult shaman. I'm particularly fond of Blessed and Ghostly Descriptors. I see having a lot of fun with those! There are a half-dozen foci which all take different directions to engage your PCs or NPCs, I can read into these the feel of everything from religious (good to bad), Mad-Max to Mad-Science and over to Matrix-style or cyber-punk play and a few others. Again, I have a few favorites near and dear to my heart, but I'll let you figure out your own.

In Dritty Tools you are provided a randomized list of a hundred additional oddities, always a handy thing to have to dish stuff out of provide even more inspiration to GMs. To be honest, I found a fair number of these to be more like small unlimited use Cyphers or Artifacts when you consider what some of these oddities allow a PC or NPC to do when relating to data, AIs, robots, etc. I mean really, there's one device here, if I read it and interpret it here at it's most basic level, that could "conceivable" get a Dread Destroyer to turn tail and run away from you for an hour. Regardless, there is a lot of fun reading and inspiration in the oddities list. A small few seem too overlap (by chance) with devices from Sir Arthour's Guide and another small few would seem like mundane technology to you and I, but would add extra depth to characters in how they use them or to a scenario or your overall campaign. Pretty nifty all in all. You as GM should decide where you wish to balance the oddities, leaving them as such, developing cyphers or even artifacts from them. For the more powerful oddities, if you leave them as oddities that PCs regularly use, but they have far reaching affects in play, maybe you can add a GMI for every time they are used? Your call, mileage may vary. Ryan has also provided a hockey-sock full of Cyphers and Artifacts directly related to accessing, manipulating or protecting one's self from all the prior mentioned techno or digital entities. You can never have enough of these. Again, lots of inspiration and mileage to be mined for ideas, scenarios, quests, etc., if not outright used and abused. I'll only add that I like the added touch of the three part artifact quest. Epic!

The seeds section titled "Azure Steel Seeds" provides four short narratives of differing events that PCs may stumble across in your Numenera setting, should you decide to use them. Personally, I already had a dozen or more percolating in my mind from the prior sections by the time I got to this section of the book. One or two are near and dear to my heart due to related interests. That aside they should give you, as a GM, some notion how to write a short synopsis for events, scenarios when they come to mind or when you steel them from an element of your favorite SF novel, short story, TV show or movie. Think of freezing a scene, at a frame of time in one of those, transposing it, making it your own, setting it loose and letting the PCs run with it. That's what you have here.

Being published as PDF's and printing them out, I have found that format handy for marginalia. You might want to have a pen in hand when reading through this product, just to jot down little notes or inspiration. Which brings the only negative I have to give to Mr. Chaddock - the graphic borders in the margins of this product are too wide/dark, making margin marking difficult and are needlessly heavy on printer ink. Lighten these up, based on MCG or other industry product standards and you'll have a better but already "winning" product.

My money was well spent purchasing this product and I look forward to reviewing his other products that I have already purchased, as I get the opportunity.

Don Fougere
@CircaGIS

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Celestial Wisdom
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Alien Planets
Publisher: Wydraz
by Don F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/23/2010 06:35:11
A better bargain when compared with my review against the Art of War products for Living and Barren planets, due to cost and resolution of images provided. Nice full page high resolution images for each planet. As I mentioned in opposing reviews, a crunchy 15MB collection of imagery for ready use in a SF setting. The planetary readouts are enough to set you to thinking, they could be mixed and matched but generally follow the obvious planetary characteristics. My key issues are that the copyright for use is not defined; can I post these on my webpage for my campaign and how do I attribute? I dunno! Also, graphically speaking, the planets themselves are a little more colourful than I would expect, so are in my opinion more geared toward a space opera as opposed to a hard-SF campaign, either that or keep them in reserve as really exotic planets. It is also very evident that they are computer or fractal generated, they could be softened up a bit (unsharp masking), have an atmospheric shell added or can possibly be remapped through colour palettes. Nothing that can be fixed with a little GIMP or Photoshop work.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Alien Planets
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Stock Art Series Living Worlds
Publisher: Art of War Games
by Don F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/23/2010 06:18:02
In my search for planet graphics to add to my website for my online SF campaign I turned to this collection of promising graphics. What is good, is the copyright for use is very clear. What is less pleasing is the quality of the full page renditions of each planet, which are very pixellated, though the thumbnail shots come out nicely. At $3.00 I should not complain... but considering I paid out $1.69 for a copy of the competitions 10 planets "Wydraz Alien Planets 01", which came in a crunchy 15MB file vice 300-500k for the living and barren worlds files, it would be nice to see some competitive quality by improving the resolution of the full page shots. Coming from a remote sensing/geography background, added finite details with better quallity full page images would get the imaginative juices flowing when using these planet images to flesh out planetside adventures.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Stock Art Series Living Worlds
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Stock Art Series Barren Worlds
Publisher: Art of War Games
by Don F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/23/2010 06:16:40
In my search for planet graphics to add to my website for my online SF campaign I turned to this collection of promising graphics. What is good, is the copyright for use is very clear. What is less pleasing is the quality of the full page renditions of each planet, which are very pixellated, though the thumbnail shots come out nicely. At $3.00 I should not complain... but considering I paid out $1.69 for a copy of the competitions 10 planets "Wydraz Alien Planets 01", which came in a crunchy 15MB file vice 300-500k for the living and barren worlds files, it would be nice to see some competitive quality by improving the resolution of the full page shots. Coming from a remote sensing/geography background, added finite details with better quallity full page images would get the imaginative juices flowing when using these planet images to flesh out planetside adventures.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Stock Art Series Barren Worlds
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