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ICONS: Hero Pack 1
Publisher: Ad Infinitum Adventures
by Jason C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/21/2011 12:41:26
For the low, low price of $1.99, there are dozens of ready to use characters for the ICONS roleplaying game. I have loved Dan Hauser's art from the get-go, but in this character pack you can really see a progression in his style. For example, in the original ICONS rulebook there is a drawing of the Revenant on page 7 that, while nice, is very much improved and detailed in this new character pack. That is not to say that the characters in this pack are do-overs of previous characters. Quite the contrary..there must be close to 100 character cards in this pack, presented as ICONS cards, 2 per page for the first 45+ pages. There are then several pages of cutout standups (much like in the original Marvel FASERIP box sets), and the final 25 pages or so consist of full character sheets for many of the characters drawn in the ICONS core book such as All-Star, All-American Girl, and the Mighty Saguaro.

All in all, I can't think of many RPG products that I've been as happy that I purchased than this one. The characters are all fresh and colorful and described in mechanical aspects, allowing me to come up with whatever type of backstory I want to incorporate them into my games. Like I mentioned earlier, I like Mr. Houser's art, and to see that it's only gotten better and better is an added plus.

And all of this for less that $2. I still can't believe it...

The only minor nitpick I have is that in the villain section of the character pack, the Real Name/Determination/Stamina section is hard to read being black text on a dark blue backdrop. Switching the font out with a lighter color to improve the contrast would help this set of older eyes. But this is a minor critique in the face of what is otherwise total and complete praise of my purchase.

I really appreciate what Adamant is doing with their new pricing structure. I would've bought this product at significantly more than the asking price and been just as happy with it. That it was only $2, means that this went from a merely great purchase to an epic one.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ICONS: Hero Pack 1
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Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #2: Junkpile
Publisher: Green Ronin
by Jason C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/21/2011 12:23:04
I'm really enjoying the Threat Reports. Junkpile is exactly what he sounds like - an animated pile of junk. What makes the character compelling is the art and description of his personality and how much physical force is married to what amounts to a child's intellect. I look forward to using this character in-game.

I couldn't be happier with the purchase. The art, writing, price combo is perfect in my opinion.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Threat Report #2: Junkpile
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ICONS Character Folio
Publisher: Ad Infinitum Adventures
by Jason C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/12/2010 11:37:25
This is a fine program for quickly creating character sheets for the ICONS roleplaying game. I'm reviewing the 1.01 release which recently updated many of the problems mentioned in previous reviews. Please note that the readme in this download indicates that there are a few known bugs that are still being ironed out, but to be fair, I've not run into too many of them in my use of the program. The road map which details the direction the programmer wants to take the program has me excited with the possibilities of the character sheets which will be possible by year's end.

As for the program in its current state - I can't think of an easier character builder to use. Part of this is due to the fact that ICONS isn't an overly difficult game with which to create characters. Much credit must also go to the programmer who kept the process clean and simple. If you want to create a random character, there's a button labeled "create new random character", and have at it. Of course, the options are there to tweak and customize aspects of your character. I especially like the running point count total that is tabulated whether the character is random or not - I foresee this as a great way to prevent players feeling cheated if their characters come out a bit on the weak side...simply add a specialty here or a power there. Good stuff.

One issue that remains in this build is that it doesn't support custom specializations, and should you add a Specialty, then delete it to select another - it doesn't 'refund' the original specialty cost. A minor 'bug', but one that I hope is addressed in the next release.

The printed character sheet is clean and uncluttered, with a good font choice and size. The picture size and location is very good, being about a quarter to a third of the page and in the upper right hand side of the page. The option to place your own art into this frame is accomplished by double-clicking the box. Couldn't be easier.

Overall I very much like this product, and imagine it will go from good to great if the designer is able to accomplish all he sets out in his roadmap.

Still a few bugs, but the good stuff far outweighs the minor issues here and there. The addition of LOTS of future potential makes this $9.95 well spent.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
ICONS Character Folio
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ION GUARD - BASH! edition
Publisher: Radioactive Ape Designs
by Jason C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/06/2010 22:29:57
This is an exemplary product. It is a source book on bringing the ION Guard to your BASH UE game. The ION Guard is a pretty close analog to DC's Green Lanterns or Marvel's Nova Corps. The book includes a history of the guard, a description of their hierarchy, their rules, and their unique piece of equipment, the ION Fist.

Everything about it is top-rate. The art fits the tone of the book perfectly, the formatting and layout is fresh and easy on the eyes, and the words read as though written by one with a true love and passion for the subject matter.

I can count the number of times I've read through a rulebook or supplement in one sitting. This is one of the 2 that I've ever been so compelled to finish without a break of any sort (Day After Ragnarok is the other, in case anyone's intersted). The author loves his characters and the game universe he's placed them in, and it shows. After reading it, there's a vibrant world of adventure that screams to be played in - with ample descriptions and motivations for the organization, the home-world, the mission, the adversaries.

I've never been a huge 'Lantern' or 'Nova' fan, but after reading ION Guard cover to cover, I'm excited to play a Supers game in space. I couldn't be happier with the purchase, and would happily buy a print edition should it come out later. It's that slick.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ION GUARD - BASH! edition
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ICONS: The Skeletron Key
Publisher: Ad Infinitum Adventures
by Jason C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/28/2010 17:17:33
Having recently purchased and very much enjoyed ICONS, it was a given that I'd buy The Skeletron Key. It's written by Steve Kenson, the lead designer of ICONS with a game pedigree that includes M&M, True20, Blue Rose and more. Sold.

The Skeletron Key is a relatively short adventure for the ICONS Superpowered Roleplaying Game. The art style is identical to ICONS, with ample evocative art to capture the feel of the adventure. If I were being completely honest, when first downloaded, I was a tad concerned that there wasn't going to be much adventure in this PDF. The sales blurb clearly says that the PDF is pretty short, coming in at about 14 pages (13 with cover), and I wasn't sure how much good stuff could be fit into such a small product. I should have simply trusted that Mr. Kenson can get a lot done within a few pages - he has before, and has done so again. There is plenty of game here, and any concerns I had were unfounded.

The Skeletron Key is a pretty straightforward adventure that details the origin of an interesting new adversary - and also gives GMs and Players new to ICONS a clear and concise introduction to how to formulate adventures. I can't say a whole lot without perhaps giving away spoilers, but the tale is one which is paced well, provides a few pointers on how to get players back on track in the event that they stray off course, and lastly, provides a few memorable characters to add to your ICONS campaign - both good and bad. The main adversary reminds me very much of one of my favorite Marvel villains...so simply having him as a benchmark to build other characters was worth the price of admission alone.

Overall, this is a very good starting point for any ICONS game, and a fun adventure to boot. Well worth $5.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ICONS: The Skeletron Key
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Supernatural Role Playing Game
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Jason C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/15/2009 20:15:16
This is a very nice product. I bought it, thinking I was going to convert the TV show info to Savage Worlds. After reading it, I'm thinking about switching all of my Savage Worlds games over to the Cortex system.

The game itself is written in a very casual style - like it's being spoken by one of the character's from the show. While some may not appreciate the style; I, for one, really enjoyed it and found it to be a welcomed substitute for the typically dry RPG rulebook. The author clearly knows his subject matter and can 'teach' game rules without putting someone to sleep. Margaret Weiss would be wise to hold onto this guy - he's damn good.

The rules are vintage Cortex (can something only a few years old be vintage?), which means they're very similar to Savage Worlds with a few differences. For example, instead of a static number for success in SW, Supernatural uses a Difficulty number. Players roll their Attributes and Skills to equal or exceed that number. Where Savage Worlds uses Bennies, Supernatural uses Plot Points. I always thought that Bennies were a great part of SW and that every game should use 'em. Having seen and used Plot Points - they're better. They make more sense and make the Player make tough choices. If you use them before a roll, you can get 'em pretty cheap. If you need to use one to save your bacon after the roll, they're more expensive. I think it's brilliant stuff.

The game covers a lot of territory in regards to running a good Supernatural game. It has a pretty good selection of weapons, gear, and all the stuff needed to run a good Hunter. My only real complaint is that there isn't as many monsters as I would've liked. I understand that there is likely a Monster book coming out soon, so that choice makes sense. Another complaint would be that there really isn't a lot of magic, but that wouldn't be true to the show. It's not a high-fantasy D&D style program. For those that want to diverge from the main canon, adding your own magic is mostly going to be up to you. I've found that on the Cortex fan-site (http://cortexsystemrpg.org/index.php?action=forum) there's plenty of options to add to the game, so it shouldn't be too difficult.

The quality of this PDF is right up there with the Eden Buffy/Angel books. Lots of color pictures, nice graphs and tables and a real pleasant look to it. That being said, if you're going to print at home, there wasn't a print-friendly option that I was aware of. Not a deal breaker by any stretch of the imagination, but I'd recommend taking it somewhere to print. It's sure to use up a lot of ink as there's very little unused space.

I really like the Cortex system. It's a kissing-cousin to Savage Worlds, but in many respects it's better. It isn't designed with minis and maps intended as the focus (they can be used, but measurements are real-world distances, not inches on the map-board). I really like the Plot Points better than Bennies, and the dice mechanic, while similar, lacks much of the Savage Worlds goofiness. Really the game stands on its own merit, and I'm not sure why I compared it to Savage Worlds other than that is a system I'm familiar with, and I was pleasantly surprised that this system is immediately 'familiar' - but different enough that I can appreciate that, for me, it's better.

I look forward to the certain follow-on resource books with anticipation. I'm very happy with this purchase and as I mentioned at the outset, if I can convert all of my other games without much hub-bub, I'll be running a lot more Cortex than just this.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Supernatural Role Playing Game
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks for the review, Jason! We at MWP are big fans of the folks behind Savage Worlds, so it's high praise to be compared favorably to them. Glad you like the game, and if you ever have any questions please don't hesitate to drop us a line over at www.margaretweis.com.
The Day After Ragnarok
Publisher: Atomic Overmind Press
by Jason C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/15/2009 19:51:26
Simply put, this is the single most creative game world I've ever read. I've been rolling dice for over 20 years and NOTHING approaches the creativity of this game. I tried to explain it to my wife, realizing how silly I sounded discussing giant snakes, radioactive venom, Humanzees and the like - but it all works, and it works brilliantly.

Certainly there are other wonderful Savage Worlds products, and just as certainly there are other worthy Pulp game supplements. What this game offers better than any other game I can readily think of is an entire world placed into the GM's hand with ready-made fiction with which to tell EXCEPTIONAL stories. If you want the players to start in Europe (or what's left of it), there's a lifetime of adventuring opportunities there. America? It's going through its own hell, and you could run years of games there without ever leaving home. Asia? Well, the war in the Pacific never really ended, so there's conflict all across that continent as well...

Upon reading through the book, my mind raced with the stories I long to tell using this resource. I've never read a resource book cover to cover before, simply enjoying the creativity - but I did here. It's simply that much better than any other SW resource out there. And that's not a knock on Deadlands, Necropolis or any of the other GREAT SW books out there. They are fantastic. This is fantastic-er.

If you like Pulp. Buy it.
If you like monsters. Buy it.
If you like war rpgs. Buy it.
If you like mythology rpgs. Buy it.

I am so glad I followed my whim and bought this product. It is a game world that I see myself playing in and running for a long, long time. I may or may not be running Savage Worlds in 3 years, but you better believe I'll be playing this in 3 years (while it's designed for SW, it's so well written that converting it to other systems wouldn't be difficult at all. Your mileage may vary).

Kudos to the author, kudos to the publishers and kudos to me. Why me? I got to read it - and it's THAT good.

The ONLY criticism I have for the product is that the pdf seems to default print at 6" X 9", so I wasted a few pages reformatting to fit a full letter-sized page. If that's a deal-breaker for anyone - that's too bad, because you're missing out on what is, in my opinion, the best game world available for Savage Worlds or any other contemporary game system.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Day After Ragnarok
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Super Powered Adventure Planner
Publisher: LPJ Design
by Jason C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/07/2007 18:22:30
Bleh!
I have previously used the Superline Campaign Planner (by Ronin Arts, I believe) and while I was mostly happy with that product, I figured for $6, I could see if this product was superior and would better fit my needs.

...Couldn't have been more wrong.

Pages 7 - 23 (about 25% of the PDF) are all reserved for information on Archetypes. Seriously. I could understand a page or two, maybe even three pages dedicated to personal notes regarding archetypes (we CAN print more pages if we needed more, btw) but instead they chose to dedicate 16 pages to archetypes, many of them specific to Devil's Workshop Archetypes which, like many other potential buyers I might assume, don't own and have no intention of owning.

There is literally NO style to the lists, they look as though they were created on Word (or Open Office) and consist mostly of the blank lines with a Header at the top of the page. While I understand this is a campaign planner and artistic style isn't the primary design goal, it would've been nice to see something more than the same chart, page after page, only differentiated by the header.

Should they update this product (or Heaven forbid, make a sequel) how about a nice silohouette outline of a character so players might make a simple costume design, or injury location, or weapon storage???

Had they shown some innovation, ANY innovation, the grade would be better... But this is a derivative waste of $6.

There are a few pages and lists that I may find myself using in my campaign, but there isn't anything here that isn't presented better in the Ronin Arts Campaign Planner. I have no idea what the price for that product is now here at RPGNOW, but it is an infinitely better product.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Super Powered Adventure Planner
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Hunter & Prey: Of Gods and Men
Publisher: Arbor Productions
by Jason C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/25/2006 00:00:00
I was very impressed by the quality. The art was good, the writing good. Suprisingly high standards.


LIKED: As mentioned the art, story and writing was all quite good.

DISLIKED: Everything was quite good, no noticeable flaws.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hunter & Prey: Of Gods and Men
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Mutants & Masterminds Villainous Archetypes 1
Publisher: Green Ronin
by Jason C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/15/2006 00:00:00
I very much enjoy the Green Ronin Templates. They're perfect for instances where you need a quickie villain (or hero, templates are easily adapted to and fro, just change a few descriptors and villainous foes become noble allies) they provide wonderful foundations and time-savers...and the art is great on top of it all.


LIKED: Everything. I've bought all of the GR templates and they've all come in handy. As a suggestion to make a great product even better, it might be nice to have varying PLs of each template to show how a world threatening Android differs from one that is merely an annoyance. Again, NOT a complaint, just a suggestion. The book is 100% up to the same very high standards as the other first-source M&M Books. A+

DISLIKED: I liked everything. Art, descriptions, plot hooks...all of it great. NO complaints.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Villainous Archetypes 1
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Mutants & Masterminds Archetype Archive Collection
Publisher: Green Ronin
by Jason C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/04/2006 00:00:00
Very Good! The archetypes provided are well designed and actually complement the ones provided in the core book, instead of being cheap rehashes. Doesn't take a big stretch of the imagination to take some of these archetypes and easily create your favorite superheroes.


LIKED: Good art, great explanations and plot hooks. Like most MnM products, top notch.

DISLIKED: Not a thing. My only wish is that they could release officially licensed Marvel and DC characters...other than that, A+

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mutants & Masterminds Archetype Archive Collection
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Superlink Secret Files: Organized Crime
Publisher: TPK Productions
by Jason C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/04/2006 00:00:00
Written very interestingly. I probably won't use book directly as written, but I plan to use many of the concepts present in the book. I really like the groups and methodologies and organizations featured, and I think the concept of the Mathematician (a criminal mastermind that has remained anonymous for years) is brilliant.


LIKED: Countless plot threads popped to mind as I read through the book. I value anything that helps foster my imagination...so this is very worthwhile.

DISLIKED: The art was really rather poor throughout the book. The pencils were ok in spots, but the coloring was truly bad. Doesn't hurt the information in the book which I think is invaluable, but nothing special to look at. Also, the borders of the pages have a dark graphic...why? Really need to provide a printer-friendlier version, especially seeing that art is worthless.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Superlink Secret Files: Organized Crime
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Lion's Den Press: The Iconic Bestiary -- Classics of Controversy
Publisher: Lion's Den Press
by Jason C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/04/2006 00:00:00
It's only a few bucks and it has bigfoot in it, all I needed to see.


LIKED: I like the creatures featured in the booklet, looking forward to incorporating them in various games.

DISLIKED: I wish it was longer and had more artwork. Only the Bunyip and Sasquatch have any real art to speak of, for a topic like this they should have included at least a reference drawing for all creatures featured.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Lion's Den Press: The Iconic Bestiary -- Classics of Controversy
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Modern Floorplans Volume 1: Office Spaces
Publisher: Fabled Environments
by Jason C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/04/2006 00:00:00
Maps are well designed and appear to represent buildings correctly.


LIKED: Good breakdown of what building interiors should look like.

DISLIKED: I misunderstood listing, thought there would be many different maps of many different locations. Actually very few different locations, and many scale drawings of those select few sites.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Disappointed


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Modern Floorplans Volume 1: Office Spaces
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Superline #6: Hit the Beach!
Publisher: Ronin Arts
by Jason C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/04/2006 00:00:00
Nice. This was second Superline product I've bought and I've yet to be disappointed. I really like the sealife (sharks and cephalopods) included in the supplement. I'm actively trying to find a way to drop my players in the ocean so I can throw some sharks at them :)


LIKED: Very well organized, nice creature stats included. Adventure sounds like a good one shot to spice up overall arching threads. Overall very good.

DISLIKED: Some recycled art, other than that..really satisfied. Well worth $ spent.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Superline #6: Hit the Beach!
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