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Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #50: Artifact Quality
Publisher: Skirmisher Publishing
by Randy M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/25/2015 14:56:38
Wisdom of the Wastelands is a regular favorite of mine to read and use in my P-A games. Number 50 - Artifact Quality is a must read for those that like to add a bit more realism to their game.

Derek and Chris have done an excellent job describing the rationale behind the need for such charts as well as breaking them down for ease of use. There are charts for weapons, armor, and much more here. Each one easy to use and gives an ML (or in my case, GM) a great tool for describing the PCs new-found toys.

Anyone playing in a post apocalyptic game knows that stuff is old and it breaks...regularly...and often at the worst possible time. This tool gives the players the ability to gauge their artifact value and usefulness, and, of course, gives the ML a means to reward or penalize PC actions.

Get it today and be ready for the next game you play!

Outstanding job, Skirmisher!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #50: Artifact Quality
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100 Oddities for a Creepy Old House
Publisher: Skirmisher Publishing
by Randy M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/17/2015 10:44:25
100 Oddities for a Creepy House is a concise, but very useful tool to add flavor to your role-playing experience.

As the title suggests, the list of oddities are for a haunted house, which are typically associated with the Horror genre, but with a little imagination and a few subtle twists, could easily be adapted to Fantasy, Modern or Post-Apocalyptic games as well.

The list is your standard d100 roll in its simplicity, but I would simply pick from it for added description. In fact, there are several things on the list that could easily be linked to form a description of a room. That makes this tool perfect for storytelling games too.

I particularly like how the author pulled one selection from the list and expounded on it, giving the reader not only the basic read, but showed how to use these items as adventure hooks and lead-ins as well.

I great read and well worth the money. Highly recommended!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
100 Oddities for a Creepy Old House
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How to Create Great Fantasy Maps (Even if You Can't Draw)
Publisher: Draken Games
by Randy M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/02/2015 20:47:13
I picked this up because I was curious as to what method the author was going to use to teach this technique. I was pleasantly surprised that it was indeed good old-fashioned pencil (and pen) and paper.

This is a great resource for anyone that thinks they cannot draw. I, myself, can draw pretty well, but even I learned a thing or two (the highlighter techniques come to mind here). The author teaches in plain simple English and the results are great.

If you're looking for one of those "use this tool" how-to docs, then this is not for you. However, if you are just an average gamer who would love to make some cool maps without 4 years of Art school and thousand dollar computer programs, then this is just what the doctor ordered!

For a buck and a half you can change your skillset. Not many things today can deliver on that!

Buy it...and start mapping!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
How to Create Great Fantasy Maps (Even if You Can't Draw)
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Template Pack #10 Steampunk
Publisher: Lord Zsezse Works
by Randy M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/30/2015 09:49:27
Template Pack #10 Steampunk is a beautiful assortment of covers and pages for use in PDF and Print documents.

As I looked through these this morning, I was blown away by the detail and color of the pages. They made me wish I had hardback books that looked like this! Each of the pages and covers are intricately detailed and will drastically improve any document that uses them.

I will DEFINITELY be using these in my upcoming PDF releases...and Lord Zsezse, you will DEFINITELY be credited, despite not being required to do so. Work like this needs to be shared and credited!

Outstanding product I highly recommend to any and all witers out there. They even make beautiful scrapbook pages!

5 out of 5...Keep up the great work!!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Template Pack #10 Steampunk
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Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #4: New Races
Publisher: Skirmisher Publishing
by Randy M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/08/2012 12:49:29
I haven't had a chance to read through (or review) all of these issues, but I wanted to be sure that this issue got some props.

New Races is a great addition to Mutant Future (and any other similar PA-type game). It takes the basics and kicks them up a notch...several in some cases. They all fit well and will easily drop in to any game you have in progress as well.

There are seven races discussed, 6 of which are variations of the human genome, but much more detailed and well thought out. The 7th is insectoid. They are: Ancients, Aquatics, Body Masters, Exotics, Regular Humans, Mind Masters, and Insectoids. The first four are different spins on genetically enhanced/engineered humans. Each of these cover a specific form of modification as well as their original intention. The fifth, Regular Humans, gives everyone a glimpse into the true origins of mutant humans. Basically, they are the "true" stock in that they have not had any enhancement or modifications. Think of them as you and I. From this pool, the mutants were spawned. The last 2 are mutant varieties of human (Mind Masters) and Insect. Each of these are pretty much self explanatory.

What I like about these new races is their "out-of-the-box" usefulness in a game. Players can select any one of them and run with them without needing a separate book to describe their traits. Each is also detailed in that a background history for the characters should be easily (and plausibly) derived by a few moments of thought.

They all seem well balanced and will easily fit right alongside the standard Pure human-mutant-android list already in place.

If you want to add some variety and flavor to your campaigns or just create some cool new NPCs, pick this issue up today! Great stuff!!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #4: New Races
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Creatures of the Tropical Wastes (Mutant Future)
Publisher: Skirmisher Publishing
by Randy M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/15/2011 10:32:37
Skirmisher Publishing has been cranking out good stuff for years now, so it was no surprise when I opened this newest installment and found yet another gem.

Chris Van Deelen, co-author of the Outlanders novel "Mask of the Sphinx", pens a great list of mutants, mutations and more! I thought just to skim this originally, but was so caught up in what I read that I ended up reading the entire 60+ pages in one sitting.

There are a lot of devious creatures here...lethal, in fact...that GMs amd Labyrinth Lords alike will find to challenge their players. Chris uses the Phillipine mythos as a model for some of his creations. He fills his descriptions with excelent "wasteland" history as well as their traditional stories, making them an execellent blend for any campaign. Creatures, like the Ahas Folk lend themselves to possible PC types, whereas creatures such as the Palmers will be sure your players never look at coconuts the same way again!

I've laways been a fan of new mutations, so the selection included in this installment also caught my eye. I like in particular the concept of "companion mutations" (ones that remain dormant unless the PC also possesses another pre-requisite mutation), such as the Memory Erase mutation included here. I have created similar mutations for my players and the fact that they can build on one another makes their play much more interesting. There are others, such as Shapeshift and Unique Sense that are the blueprints for powerful mutants as well.

Chris and Derek Holland's personal commentaries set the stage and give you a glimpse into what the author was thinking when these goodies were devised. As a fellow writer and GM, I especially appreciate this sort of insight into a work such as this.

Bottom line: 5 Stars...GO GET IT!!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creatures of the Tropical Wastes (Mutant Future)
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Creatures of the Wastelands: A Menagerie of Mutants and Mutations
Publisher: Skirmisher Publishing
by Randy M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/23/2009 22:10:05
I've been waiting for Creatures of the Wastelands to be released ever since I first got wind of it being developed...and it was worth the wait! I have corresponded with the author over the years in a newsgroup we both frequent, so I already knew that a high quality product awaited me. Let me break this down into the main components and give you the pros & cons (if any) for each section:

Mutants:
Mutant Future opened the door to "old school" ruins raiding and this product is a great first accessory for the game. With over 200 new mutants to choose from, the Mutant Lord (DM/GM) has quite an arsenal to throw at their players. Everything from the wild & wahoo creatures to the very deadly ones, this covers the whole gamut. I like the parasite mutants in particular, because sometimes, it's the little things that matter! :) It's easy to convince a party to stay away from a T-Rex, but the parasites have a way of putting fear into the toughest warriors. I wasn't too big on the various stones...for some reason, they just didn't work for me.

Mutations:
What I like about this section is the idea that these mutations are generic enough to be tweaked, not only for Mutant Future, but for almost any P-A game out there, giving this product added flexibility and usefulness. The breakdown of them is also very helpful in finding exactly what you're looking for, without a lot of hassle; just look up the type you want (physical, mental, plant) and start reading. I find that the mutations are quite good as well. However, a few seem a bit out of balance and, depending on the way the players acquire them, could make for a very lethal character.

Terrains, Hazards and misc odds and ends:
This collection of miscellaneous items was one area I would have liked to see more of. To me, these were good solid ideas...and teasers, leaving you wanting more (perhaps that's the whole point).

Artwork:
As always, Skirmisher has great artwork included among its PDF pages. Some were excellent, others...well...not quite as good, but every picture was a great fit for the theme.

In Summary...
Liked: The entire concept of expanding Mutant Future and the genre in general, and a great many of the mutants, mutations and misc. other goodies. Excellent writing, well organized and bookmarked for easy reference...and it includes a printer-friendly version.

Room for improvement (because I didn't really "dislike" anything): I feel that there was too much of some things (mutants) and not enough of others (terrains and hazards). I also feel that this is an excellent candidate for another Skirmisher series (like their City Builder collection). By breaking out the mutants, mutations and other items into separate PDFs, plus maybe some new expansions, each can get the true attention it deserves.

Bottom line: A solid, first product for Mutant Future. It's well thought out, packaged and full of great material...a definite Must-Have for all Post-Apocalyptic gamers!!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Creatures of the Wastelands: A Menagerie of Mutants and Mutations
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e-Adventure Tiles Weekly No. 1
Publisher: SkeletonKey Games
by Randy M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/19/2009 15:42:29
Ed's stuff is simply the best out there! I have a lot of his sets, but I can always work with more!

The "weekly" idea seems a long time coming...and something I'll look forward to. The greatest asset, I feel that this type of concept is variety. This is kind of a something-for-everyone idea...like a mini sampler...which not only adds to your existing tilesets, but allows you to try new ones. Couple this with the free bonus tiles that are available through the SkeletonKeyGames website and you can try out any set, then buy the larger ones of what you really like.

As the other reviewer stated, this also allows users of the Adventure Town to begin to flesh out their shops and such...something I really like and have been looking forward to for a while!

Thanks for another great idea and great product!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
e-Adventure Tiles Weekly No. 1
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City Builder Volume 10: Governmental Places
Publisher: Skirmisher Publishing
by Randy M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/24/2009 09:22:33
I really can't say enough good things about this series. It is informative, well written and USEFUL right from the start...and Volume 10: Governmental Places is no exception!

When I saw this one listed, I wasn't too excited about picking it up. I seldom deal with behind-the-scenes political intrigue in my games. After it was released and I saw what this one included, I quickly changed my mind. :)

With almost a dozen places detailed in this installment, it is clearly one of the most useful pieces I have read in the series...and you get a lot of bang for your buck here. The normal "government" establishments are discussed here, a manor house, a courthouse, a palace and the like, but what I found the most useful was the other places that tend to lack description in cities; the workhouse, barracks, a jail and other areas. The harbor and harbormaster's office were both nice additions as well.

As is the case with all the installments in the City Builder series, this is not system specific, which means that no matter what genre you play in, this product is very useful. All it takes is a bit of imagination from a clever GM to transform this material into places to explore; a harbor becomes a starport, a manor house becomes an CEOs office building, and a barracks...well, okay, a barracks, but you get the idea! :)

Pick this one up today and give that boring quarter your PCs never visit some new life...and a purpose for your city!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
City Builder Volume 10: Governmental Places
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City Builder Volume 9: Religious Places
Publisher: Skirmisher Publishing
by Randy M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/24/2009 08:58:52
Another nicely done package for the City Builder series!

Volume 9: Religious Places puts an informative spin on an often overlooked area of RPGs. Whereas most adventures have the PCs running to the temple/church looking for a Cleric to heal them, this product actually gives a GM a plan and purpose for said Cleric outside the healing spells. The historical descriptions of the monastery and convent are definitely something you wouldn't find in an adventure module (c'mon, how many of you actually have convents in your games?). Areas like these give the GM the ability to add life, and a touch of realism to his or her city, and with the adventure hooks, even a place to explore in more detail.

While graveyards and cemeteries seem like places for the once-living to reside, this volume shows that there's quite a bit of living activity there as well. They're not simply rows of tombstones and dirt, but places of business as well. This is often overlooked while killing off zombies and ghouls. :)

Personally, I found the temples section very useful, particularly because is also includes a floorplan of a cathedral, a REAL cathedral. The descriptions and other illustrations not only round out these buildings, but give them a sense of purpose and possible bases for adventure.

There is, as always, a LOT of good material in this installment, great for GMs to expand their narrative skills and interesting enough to make players WANT to go there. If you have clerics, paladins or druids in your game...pick up this one and really make them shine.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
City Builder Volume 9: Religious Places
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City Builder Volume 11: Underworld Places
Publisher: Skirmisher Publishing
by Randy M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/21/2009 21:26:55
Welcome to the Dark Side! City Builder Volume 11: Underworld Places focuses on the shadier sections of your cities and towns...the places you send your party of heroes to root out the bad guys!

This installment covers such things as Gambling Dens, Pit-Fighting Rings and of course, Brothels. :) Each with its own unique features and adventure hooks to get your creative juices flowing. Since there are no limitations on a GM (predetermined encounters, maps, etc.) the GM can concentrate on making them work his or her own way. These areas can be their own location, or basements in a more reputable part of town. It all depends on your imagination.

In addition to the dens of iniquity, there are also the legitimate (if such a phrase can be used) "businesses" of the Thieves’, Assassins’, and Beggars’ Guilds. Each of these are also well detailed, yet leave room for the GM to expand, change or otherwise cannibalize for their campaigns.

The artwork, as ever, is useful as props for the PCs as well as inspiration for plot hooks. The sections are short enough to read through quickly, yet full of great information, both historical as well as in-game usage.

I must say that I am sorry that this series is complete. I enjoyed getting a new addition to my cities and towns each month. :) It ends as it began; excellent writing, great content and inspiring artwork, rolled into one package.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
City Builder Volume 11: Underworld Places
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City Builder Volumes 1-11 [BUNDLE]
Publisher: Skirmisher Publishing
by Randy M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/21/2009 20:34:43
For all of you that have been keeping this one on your wishlist...GO GET IT! :)

City Builder has been a wonderful set for me, not only to review for all of you, but to actually get use from as well. This compilation includes all 11 volumes at a discounted price. The price may be lower, but the quality certainly is not!

From the very first volume to the very last, the Skirmisher team has produced a fantastic product; systemless, reusable, informative as well as historically accurate. For those of you looking for "realism" in your games, you'll get it here. For those of you that want great ideas for various parts of a city, again, here it is.

I have used this collection, with very tweaking, for a post-apocalyptic campaign as well as right-out-of-the-PDF for a fantasy milieu. Excellent writing and quality art, along with adventure hooks make this a MUST BUY for GMs.

Bottom line...buy this one!!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
City Builder Volumes 1-11 [BUNDLE]
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City Builder Volume 8: Scholarly Places
Publisher: Skirmisher Publishing
by Randy M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/25/2008 20:38:16
A pleasant surprise...and I'm glad!

City Builder Volume 8: Scholarly Places found its way into my colection, though at first I wasn't sure if I'd ever really use it. I play a lot of Sci-Fi genre games and places like the Alchemists’ Workshops, Fortune Tellers, and Wizards’ Towers almost never exist in such games, but since I have all the other volumes of this set...I thought I'd give it a read.

As the description mentions, there are sections devoted to descriptions of Academies, Alchemists’ Workshops, Fortune Tellers, Libraries, Scriptoriums, Scrollshops, and Wizards’ Towers; all very well detailed verbally (no maps here, folks!) and the adventure hooks could also prove to be very useful. However, what I found the most useful were the sections on academies, libraries, scriptoriums and believe it or not, fortune tellers. Once I read through these sections, I couldn't rest until I found a way to incorporate them into my game (and I did, by the way!). Great details and a lot of really good information for GMs looking to flesh out those "other buildings" on the game map that you always gloss over on the way to the tavern. :)

One ot the things I failed to mention in other reviews is the fact that this entire series thus far has both high-res and low-res versions of the books, for both ease of screen reading as well as light on the printer cartridge. I only wish that others would tap into that wisdom!

Combine this series and one of the other map-related series out here at RPGNow and you've got yourself a great detailed city, with only the need to flesh out the key characters and background. Lots of great ideas here!!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
City Builder Volume 8: Scholarly Places
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City Builder Volume 7: Service Places
Publisher: Skirmisher Publishing
by Randy M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/25/2008 20:23:01
This series continues to shine! City Builder Volume 7 helps fill in the gaps that are often times skimmed over by GMs when building their game worlds. Honestly, I must say that I hadn't thought of a few of these, but after reading through Barbershops, Bathhouses and Hostels, for instance, I saw quite a bit of use for such places.

The rest of the places covered in this book, Inns, Kitchens, Restaurants, Rooming Houses, and Taverns, in one form or another have become staples of the fantasy game genre. What makes this product stand out, however, is the historical details that are pointed out, which I'd imagine quite a few GMs either don't know or ignore feeling they have no use. This product gives these old places a new look (at least for yours truly) and the adventure hooks help shape their usefulness as well.

As always, the book is comprised of useful content as well as visual aids to hopefully spark creativity when the writer's block sets in (what veteran GM can say they've never had that?). The quality continues to be top notch and the series itself is really starting to coalesce. The price is a little higher than the previous installments, but then, there are more locations in this one as well, so it all balances out.

A great value and great material!!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
City Builder Volume 7: Service Places
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City Builder Volume 6: Mercantile Places
Publisher: Skirmisher Publishing
by Randy M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/30/2008 09:39:02
Once again, another great addition to this line!!

I read through the last review and it's one of the few times I can say "Yeah, what he said!" :) Skirmisher continues with #6 in this line with still more goodies for the intrepid city building GM. This installment covers Banks, Brokerages, General Stores, Marketplaces, Pawnshops, Trading Posts, and Warehouses as the description states. I must say that this is the one I have been waiting for...and I was not disappointed! The ideas generated by this PDF alone have greatly aided in my own pet project.

These places, like others in the series, are geared toward the fantasy milieu. However, as my son and I learned, slight tweaks in the content allows this material to be used in sci-fi, post-apocalyptic and other environments as well.

There are accompanying pictures to aid the GM's creative juices, but no maps or floorplans to restrict the flow. For some, this may seem a bad thing, but keep in mind that this product is designed that way. In fact, I have found that using this, along with some of the other products, such as tilesets out here, allow me to creative personalized places to visit, rather than the canned stuff that almost never fits my settings.

It is a 22 page PDF, but there is a LOT of great material in these pages. What I'm enjoying most about this series is the fact that Skirmisher refers to its other listings, but doesn't force the buyer to purchase them (but you REALLY should...they are that good!). This allows the buyer to take what they want, without having to pay for several other places you don't need.

A great expansion to an already top-notch series. HIGHLY recommended to any GM that wishes to truly create his own worlds for their players to explore!!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
City Builder Volume 6: Mercantile Places
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