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Wraith the Oblivion (2nd Edition)
Publisher: White Wolf
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/09/2014 03:57:44
White Wolf’s biggest artistic and critical success, but also a commercial flop. The central (death) concept is very taken with thematic Jungian ideas such as archetypes, complexes and individuation, whilst being very easy to play out ghost stories where the ghosts play the antagonists (such as in The Others or The Sixth Sense).

The rules are largely the same as with previous WoD games, but the central mechanic revolves around the conflict between the persona of the PCs and their (dark side) Shadows, normally played out by other players. The impact of this is to provide a cathartic aspect to the game, which was a very original idea which influenced other games thereafter.

There is some sloppiness in editing (unbelievably Willpower is overlooked for a trait description in both first and second editions), but the interior layout, grayscale art and design are very easy on the eye. The general depth of the setting material and quality of writing are still the main reasons to buy this book. Timeless.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wraith the Oblivion (2nd Edition)
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Project Paradigm
Publisher: Eschaton Media
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/11/2013 15:59:31
Clearly owes a bit to White Wolf's Mage: The Ascension in it's premise, although it develops the idea in different ways. The similarity lies in the notion of paradigms and consensual reality, along with affiliation groups (7) that espouse differing philosophies about reality and what to do with it.

The layout is attractive, and the manga style art (which is very good) gives it something of a Matrix/Kill Bill feel as much as anything else. The system mechanics work easily enough, with lots of examples provided. Again the core mechanic is similar to White Wolf's dice pools, although it is stripped down a lot. Notably the combat system operates on a playing card-based action system which is novel, while the 'paradigm push' is a lot more open-ended than Mage's Spheres of Magic(k).

Basically, this is a great game for those who liked the premise of Mage, but felt that it was out of ill-suited to the broader World of Darkness setting. In some regards, it can be seen as the equivalent of Lords of Gossamer and Shadow to the original Amber, except for Mage instead.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Project Paradigm
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Dark Streets
Publisher: Cakebread & Walton
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/28/2013 05:23:06
The first printing of this was a little sparse, and I'm happy to see it's been updated with an atmospheric interior layout. Upon reading it, there is a massive potential for highly intriguing investigation within this setting. The Lovecraftian elements have been done a lot before, but are well illustrated and fit into the grimy London setting pretty well. In fact, the 18th Century seems quite an overlooked era for Cthulhu gaming generally, and sets up a strong 'Bow Street Runner' (protocops) hook that is very useable. The London maps and personalities are well researched, and in all, this is a very good supplemental game for the (excellent) Renaissance rules.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Streets
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The Shining Host
Publisher: White Wolf
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/15/2013 01:43:37
When you consider live-action games, there is a tendency to rate the appeal of the tabletop game first, and only then consider the viability of gameplay in the live-action medium. Yet the tabletop and live-action offers different opportunities of gameplay and has different advantages and disadvantages. For example, Wraith's live action game - Oblivion - doesn't quite capture the 'personal horror' motif as well as the tabletop game because the Shadow Play is run by Narrators (rather than other players). Similarly, it's actually quite hard to play live-action Werewolves or Mages.

The Shining Host, on the other hand offers real roleplaying opportunities in a setting and premise that is ideally suited to the live-action medium. Playing Changelings in an imaginary world, replete with their petty conflicts, intrigue and adventures can provide a very clear appeal of essentially being able to play the role of children. It's arguably a better premise than playing Vampires. It's like the bright sunny day compared to Vampire's bleak night.

The writing is top notch, and although it's not as colourful as the tabletop version of the game, it's neat enough in presentation. I prefer it to the tabletop game in all other respects.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Shining Host
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The Sense of the Sleight-of-Hand Man: A Dreamlands Campaign for Call of Cthulhu
Publisher: Arc Dream Publishing
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/22/2013 03:28:27
One of the most interesting premises for a Cthulhu campaign I've read in a while. Yet to play it, but it's definitely a book you can read easily enough and it's littered with original ideas.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Sense of the Sleight-of-Hand Man: A Dreamlands Campaign for Call of Cthulhu
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D&D Rules Cyclopedia (Basic)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/04/2013 03:37:37
The most concise yet complete version of D&D you will ever own.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
D&D Rules Cyclopedia (Basic)
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Black Crusade: Core Rulebook
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/04/2013 03:26:15
Attractively designed, albeit with a large datafile that makes it hard for some devices to process it quickly. The book makes for an interesting, evocative read, although I cannot ever imagine wanting to play a Chaos cultist or marine to be honest. As such, it's more of an antagonists book for me.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Black Crusade: Core Rulebook
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Only War: Core Rulebook
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/04/2013 03:22:49
Good 'final chapter' of the 40KRP line of Core books (assuming it is!), with good presentation and organisation to match the other books in the series. It is a smaller file than some of the others however, which means you can download and manipulate it easily enough.

The premise of playing a military combat unit is a strong one for a rpg, although not that original when compared to other sci-fi games. The enjoyment of fighting orcs never get's old though!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Only War: Core Rulebook
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Deathwatch: Core Rulebook
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/04/2013 03:17:49
In my view, the best 40KRPG.

The 'Deathwatch' provides a good narrative device for pulling together Marine characters from a variety of otherwise disparate Chapters, while the military squad role choice ensures that teamwork is still paramount. The characters are competent in combat situations t a near superhuman level, although they never seem to quite lose their human condition. While the main focus is on military assault style missions, you can still throw a bit of investigation and exploration into their stories, so it's actually becomes a more flexible premise than the other games in the series. Moreover, almost every gamer will instantly recognise the iconic Space Marines, and be able to settle into play with little need for exposition.

The presentation and organisation within the book is outstanding, as you might expect, but the file itself is much smaller meaning your iPad/computer won't suffer a heart attack each time you save it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deathwatch: Core Rulebook
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Rogue Trader: Core Rulebook
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/03/2012 20:11:39
In some ways, this is the strongest game in the W40KRP series - as it captures the exploration motif well enough for players to forget what an oppressive universe they are travelling in. The system is developed somewhat on from Dark Heresy in the character generation, while the shift in emphasis allows the inclusion of different alien adversaries and space ship rules. The presentation is as strong as usual, and notably this file seems to cope better with iPad tablets and the like. The setting has aspects most reminiscent of Dune, bred in with Moorecock, but the game play is generally more action orientated. The limited number of character types available still makes the stories seem a little restrictive to me though.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Rogue Trader: Core Rulebook
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Mage: The Sorcerers Crusade
Publisher: White Wolf
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/03/2012 03:50:20
Very pretty book that holds together well as a pdf copy. Pushes the Mage game fully in the direction of a full on, high fallutin', kitchen-sink fantasy with Renaissance Europe merely as a convenient historical backdrop. Of interest to anyone who found the Mage game a wild and engrossing read (this book is made up of it!), although it's a little inconsistent and ahistorical to be a true classic in my view - and it's not entirely complete as a standalone game (really more of an advanced supplement to the uninitiated).

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mage: The Sorcerers Crusade
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Chicago by Night - 1st Edition
Publisher: White Wolf
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/03/2012 03:44:05
Perfect expansion of Vampire: The Masquerade's 1st edition - highlighting the energetic creativity the team had in reinterpreting their own urban landscapes into a gothic fantasy world. I like the way each Clan/Faction helps to break down the complexities of a politically driven game. If anything, it's an inspiration for gamers to do the same sort of thing with their own hometowns.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Chicago by Night - 1st Edition
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Judge Dredd
Publisher: Mongoose
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/03/2012 03:40:58
In some ways a great adaptation of the Traveller rules - especially the lifepath character generation that creates richly varied Judges with colourful backgrounds. The setting material is also enthusiastically written and gorgeously presented in full colour (arguably Mongoose's best presented RPG ever). It is a supplement to the Traveller game, but the background material is fully comprehensive giving scope for all sorts of directions and storylines. The only downside is that the Traveller standard combat rules are a bit too efficient in their approach to appeal to some gamers' comic book sensibilities. In some ways, you kinda feel in could have been better to have redesigned it as a standalone game.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Judge Dredd
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Strontium Dog
Publisher: Mongoose
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/03/2012 03:35:35
A fun Traveller setting. Absolutely anarchic, but loads of options and a good interior layout that prints well. It's almost like a Feng Shui game on steroids - but with a sci-fi/spaghetti western feel. There are notable rules for mutations and sorcery here too.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Strontium Dog
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Primeval RPG Core Rulebook
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/21/2012 19:14:57
There is a lot to like in this book - not least it's near 100% compatibility with the Doctor Who game. It's easy on the eye, fun to read and provides a time-hopping premise that is, if anything, more suited to roleplaying than it's sister game due to it's provision of the ARC organisation for PCs to be part of. The selection and descriptions of evolutionary eras, and the creatures that goes along with them is the major highlight for me - but the whole game is pretty slick and professional. My only disappointment was that they've gone overboard in the use of bookmarks to the point that there are multiple entrees on pages in too many cases. As such, it's pretty hard to navigate as a pdf.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Primeval RPG Core Rulebook
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