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T5 Traveller5 Core Rules Book (759 pages)
Publisher: Game Designers' Workshop (GDW)
by Chet C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/28/2015 11:37:17

A Work in Progress -


Maybe it's been edited and written (very part time, in a very busy life of Marc's) for years, but I say it's still worth it. For one thing, electronic publishing means that the ebook can continue to be corrected, modified, and improved. A friend (Hi, Elliot!) has been publishing a wonderful textbook for what seems like a decade now, and continues to update it with new chapters that arrive in our e-mailboxes (free to purchasers). Currently, the book is almost 1,000 pages - all quality material for real workers - and I see Traveller Core as that new form of book.


Can anyone say Windows 10?


Meantime, Traveller 5 is - as was Traveller Original - a wonderful tool for creating my favorite SF RPG - and one of my Top 3 favorite RPGs, period - and my individual campaign from here to infinity.


Much applause to Marc for this! It's amazing when you consider it was practically a one-man operation. I'll bet he missed the support staff from the old GDW days!


(Will there be an epub version some day? Or will something better come along soon?)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
T5 Traveller5 Core Rules Book (759 pages)
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Castle of the Mad Archmage Adventure Book
Publisher: BRW Games
by Chet C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/27/2015 23:48:29

Been a long time since I ran this, and I had to go back and skim through it again. You'd be surprised how much you can forget after a year or so -- especially when one has a castle & dungeon THIS large.


It's safe to say that you get a LOT of replay value! It's also safe to say that you'll get a good strong feeling of everything which worked in 1975 - without much of the ambiguity of Those Original Rules. In short, there is both meaning and madness in this setting, and each player will be rewarded for playing in character AND using player strategy. GMs will be rewarded if they study the background and extrapolate further developments - and plant many rumors.


PCs should learn of the rumors, especially, of the creator of this place. This can give them the advantage of guessing (it'll be no more than an educated guess) the meanings and motivations of the designer: the Mad Archmage. PCs should realize that madmen have reasons for what they do - even if the reasons make no sense to sane characters.


For instance, in a nod to That First Dungeon, the dungeon (and maybe the castle?) is still under construction. Signs of the construction crew's work - and maybe the crew themselves - may well hinder the players' characters.


Read the background, take plenty of light sources, and find places to sleep every night (or day) and your PCs may well finally meet that Mad Archmage. And if he makes any sense at all, I would like to hear about it.


This is a good solid adventure or series of adventures, which would easily get 5 stars. One star is deducted for not having the maps included withing the book. I have no problem with purchasing the maps separately (though I have, at other times, run games without using maps...let the PCs deal with the confusion and get lost) but it does annoy some young GMs. But they didn't live in 1975, when the gaming worlds in which we played were more dangerous and, frequently, unknown to even the gamesmaster.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Castle of the Mad Archmage Adventure Book
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Publisher Reply:
In regards to the maps, they were originally included in the back of the book, but in playtesting, it was found that having to flip back and forth between the maps and the text just didn\'t work, on a practical level.
Darkshade Chronicles: A Day in Baru-Kesh
Publisher: Darkshade Publishing
by Chet C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/23/2015 17:07:10

Way back in May 2015 ("Before you were born! Remember, kids?) I posted a really short review of Jerry Teleha's Darkshade Chronicles: a Day in Baru-Kesh. Here's what that little review looked like:


"One of the more entertaining solo adventures I've played, which then turns around and (in the second part of the book) presents the same adventure as a gamesmaster module! You AND your players will be able to enjoy this new city, and you'll find and create portions and adventures that Jerry hadn't imagined!


"You'll love the illustrations too, and they're handy for the GM who runs this for his gamers!


"One of the best bargains to be found on Amazon!"


That was then. This is now. How does DC:DB-K look now that Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls has come out?


Better than ever, and isn't that cool?


COOL that it's completely compatible with Deluxe Tunnels and Trolls (Hereafter and forever referred to as "dTnT.") and at least 95% compatible with even the oldest edition of Tunnels and Trolls. (Forever and hereafter referred to as "TnT.")


COOL is that the solo offers opportunity to practice any skill, trait, etc that you might think of. Most likely that you'll fail if you think the world revolves around your character ("I immediately jump forward and lop off the head of Odin with my penknife.") but you can certainly attempt anything - and there's almost always a reaction or consequence programmed right into the adventure.


COOL is that the solo also allows and encourages (and this is a HUGE strength) you to make gamesmaster calls and choices as well as character choices.


and VERY COOL is that it works even better as a regular GM sourcebook/city for your players. I've run this nicely, and I can tell you that once you have Other People running characters, your options and scope is multiplied by a factor of (some algebraic symbol which references the combination of all players' imagination and paranoia) - the adventure will run several sessions, becoming a campaign city if you but let it.


This is a ridiculously low price and a deceptively small page count for what is weeks and weeks of game play.


(Originally from http://grandparpg.blo-
gspot.com/
)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Darkshade Chronicles: A Day in Baru-Kesh
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Spiritual Warfare the RPG 4th Edition
Publisher: Golgotha Games
by Chet C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/26/2014 23:43:48

Considerably stronger, better than the previous editions. Folks involved in its creation are still rather anti-Catholic and anti-Latter-day Saints, but their design still works, and it's not hard to adapt.


The one thing that it seems everyone else hates and I love is the magic system, which requires scripture quoting. Ideally, the GM could and should require the quotes be contextual and give a much greater success rate (perhaps critical successes) if quoted from memory alone.


It's a system and background that begs for tweaks. The creators might disagree with me, but I'd recommend buying this and tinkering madly with it. Especially the western campaign setting!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Spiritual Warfare the RPG 4th Edition
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Spiritual Warfare the RPG
Publisher: Golgotha Games
by Chet C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/26/2014 23:35:11

Pretty well designed, with realistic magic. Probably would have rated it higher -- but for the fact that the second edition is much better. Usually, the only reviewers who trash it, speak of their hate for Christ.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Spiritual Warfare the RPG
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Zyrian Atrocities
Publisher: Khaghbboommm
by Chet C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/04/2014 11:45:59

In funnier news, I have now played Zyrian Atrocities three times in seven minutes and can safely say I have never laughed so much nor had so much fun in any solo adventure. What a wonderful way to start the day! Political offense guaranteed, no matter what your beliefs! Kudos and Trollish Laughter Points to Mark Thornton writer and StanLee/Ditko cartoonist. This is not your father's TnT.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Zyrian Atrocities
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The Sanctuary of the Sorcerer -T&T Edition
Publisher: Rarr! I'm A Monster Publishing
by Chet C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/25/2014 02:24:21

Loved it when it was QADD. Now it's even better (and faster!) as a TnT adventure.


Remind me to tell you how half the party killed itself before ever reaching the Sanctuary!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Sanctuary of the Sorcerer -T&T Edition
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Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle (D&D Next)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Chet C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/15/2013 21:54:40

(This is where I should have posted my review. To TPTB, please feel free to delete my review in the Discussion thread. Yes, Grandpa is an idiot.)


One of the things which bugged me when Advanced D&D took over from Original D&D, is that suddenly there was this concern about "balance." None of the new players wanted to play in a game where they didn't have advantages over the NPCs (or as the new guys called all NPCs, "monsters"). This alone made the game less of role-playing and living a character IN the story as well as CREATING the story with the GM and other players.


Conan stories were much more thrilling when he was hopelessly outclassed and/or outnumbered, and fought (or cheated or lucked) his way through anyway. Those were the types of characters our groups played - and you could almost see the wood chips from all the pulp.


So the concerns that this adventure was not "balanced" and that the odds were stacked against the PCs? That made me buy it.


And it is deliciously, horribly, unbalanced. We used to call this "danger" and our PCs lived for danger.


....except for that one cowardly human/deep one hybrid in my wife's campaign....


This series plays and reads like an old-fashioned serial, complete with impossible situations that would make my parents HAVE to pay another dime to see the next chapter "Next week, in this theater!"


Me? I got to watch those serials (one chapter a day) on television. From 1976 onward, I got to roleplay them.


Kudos, Mr &/or Ms "et al" -- this is a thinking man's adventure!


*jeep! & God Bless!
---Grandpa Tzhett



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle (D&D Next)
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Saving Fang
Publisher: Flying Buffalo
by Chet C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/16/2013 20:50:04

Ken St Andre has never made a secret of his type of reading, and it shows: Exciting things happen in his adventures, and it's no insult to say they are as plot driven as the stories of Gardner Fox, Edgar Rice Burroughs, or Robert E. Howard.


This solo can be played as pure action, if you wish -- but there are moments when doing the unlikely or thinking like a crazy man might accomplish something equally crazy. This adds a bit more intrigue, and there are real surprises hidden in this solo.


Ken wrote this to be compatible or based on first edition Tunnels & Trolls, but it's as compatible with the latest edition as with any other.


Simon Tranter's art (especially the cover!) sets the mood eloquently! I might quibble about the supporting (?) character of Cherry, who really should have enough sense to wear at LEAST chainmail for protection, but that would be my only quibble. (Or I might have given Cherry the line from Bus Stop that Marilyn Monroe made famous: "It's not Cherry - it's Sha-REE!")


All in all, an exciting and enjoyable romp, wherein we may (or may not) meet and successfully rescue Fang, whom we haven't seen since 5th edition Tunnels & Trolls. He seems to have just as bad luck as he did in 1976!


(abridged only slightly from http://grandparpg.blogspot.com/-
2013/10/fang-returns-unless-you-dont-save-him.html
)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Saving Fang
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Freefall The Role-Playing Game
Publisher: Friz Games
by Chet C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/12/2013 23:00:36

Now THIS is more like it!


For some reason, DTRpgNow wouldn't permit this to be downloaded previously. But now - ah, now I can experience the joy and the chaos that is Sam Starfall and the fight for order and liberty that is Florence Ambrose. Well, yes, I could experience these things in the comic strip, samples of which you'll find right in this game. But to CREATE such chaos? To save the world from planetary explosions? Oh, there's nothing like hands-on!


If you're looking for many, many crunchy rules and have no sense of humor, you're out of your depth here. There are enough rules to play and to let the gamesmaster make the players crazy, and then Mr Frisbee gets out of the way so we can play.


Let me repeat this, for it should be the first law of rolegame design: GET OUT OF OUR WAY AND LET US PLAY!


Combat, skill success/failure, etc - will seem a bit familiar to players of Hero Kids and Fudge. Or something else. The idea is to show us how to simulate lots of technical gizmos and to blow things up. And pie fights. We need to know how to run pie fights.


Did I mention that Sam is a squid-like alien in a body containment suit, to make him look sort of humanoid? Imagine stuffing Cthulhu in a small environment suit. Then have him read one of his books and go insane. Sam's species (of which he is the only example, because the humans went mad when they saw his world and cut off any flights to that area ever) are scavengers. Translate that to a newly-formed almost-hospitable planet with hundreds of humans and millions of robots, and the Flim-Flam Man is running loose, grabbing whatever he can.


Florence is a wolf. No, really. Bio-doubletalked into being a humanoid wolf, with the brains of a technical genius, the conscience of Jiminy Cricket, and the instincts of a wolf. Who is dating her veterinarian.


Sure, you could play one of these characters (you poor soul!) but you could also play robots of all types, the mayor, a baker, or any number of other types and shapes. And every one of them, except for Florence and usually Helix (Sam's robot, he thinks) want to kill Sam. This includes Sam's ship.


Pull two bucks out of your wallet now and send them to Mark and Matt now. You know you want to. But hold onto your wallet. Sam is still running loose.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Freefall The Role-Playing Game
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Playing at the World
Publisher: Unreason Press
by Chet C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/30/2013 18:23:53

Jon seems to be angry with Ken St Andre, for he bad-mouths him frequently in this volume. Otherwise, the research seems pretty objective - a nearly impossible task considering the meager documentation and vague memories of the principles involved.


It seems so long ago, and yet I was around and occasionally involved with some of the principles and innocent bystanders. (No big feat. If you live long enough and travel enough, you eventually meet everybody.) I doubt any would remember me, but I do remember much of what they said - but only because I journaled it at the time.


Jon captures the freewheeling feelings of anything being possible, of the "can do" attitudes of so many of the principles, and almost - but not quite - captures some of the feuds which inevitably occur in creative endeavors. Business sense and creative sense do not usually reside in the same brain (and when it does, we see self-made zillionaires who stepped on no one - these are historically rare) so there are a lot of stories of creative people who got cheated or fell along the way or just couldn't explain what they could do instinctively.


It probably raises as many questions as it answers, and this is what makes it a good history. People are complex, contradictory, and fascinating. Creative people are doubly so. Gamers and game creators are more off the wall. Combine all these, and you have Jon's very satisfying, very fascinating history book -- which is screaming for a sequel as soon as possible!


(review originally printed at http://grandparpg.blo-
gspot.com/
)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Playing at the World
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Fleabitten: Neither Here Nor There
Publisher: Khaghbboommm
by Chet C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/21/2013 18:49:26

This is one of the reasons why I recommend Tunnels & Trolls to any person who has or hasn't experienced rolegaming: Because the most nonconformist and, perhaps, dangerous ideas seem to run through TnT (the preferred acronym, which does imply its danger) first.


Yes, there have been humorous scenarios before, going all the way back to Blackmoor. Yes, there have been humorous solos, going at least as far back as Deathtrap Equalizer Dungeon.


Despite the precedents, there has been nothing quite like Fleabitten, and I don't know how to categorize it.


It's humorous - a lot! And it has the sort of absurdist logic of Lewis Carroll. It's deadly, but only if you treat this adventure as you would most RPG adventures. And it's a solo, which can be adapted for GM use, especially if the GM is just a little bit cracked.


The main track (which you may choose to not take) concerns an underwater adventure of discovery and deduction. You will discover a new type of dwarf and a LOT of things about undersea life that you never suspected. And you would, if this were a Call of Cthulhu adventure (and it could be), lose a lot of Sanity Points.


As always, Mark provides options to options and options OF options. Almost every action has a consequence, and the characters (though absolutely ridiculous at times) usually come off as 3-dimensional - save for those who are not intended to seem realistic at all.


You'll interact with some of your favorite fictional characters from comics and elsewhere...though they may seem a bit more eccentric than usual. They may even carry different names and forms. It's always a toss up whether Mark is seriously challenging your sense of humor, your sense of honor, or your gaming skills. Few people can pull off a comedy which is equally an adventure, or vice versa. There is a difference.


Steve Jackson, decades ago, gave one of my favorite sayings when he stated that there's just not enough silly in games right now. Of course "now" was THEN, but I hope you get my meaning.


And if you understood that last paragraph, much less the previous ones. "Fleabitten" is for YOU.


You'll find it in the usual downloadable places, such as DriveThruRPG/RpgNow, and nowhere else of which I know. But you can always write Mark and annoy him to death. It would serve him right!


(This review originally appeared in 'The Play's the Thing' aka http://GrandpaRPG.blo-
gspot.com/
)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fleabitten: Neither Here Nor There
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Deathbed
Publisher: Khaghbboommm
by Chet C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/14/2013 21:37:33

WESLYNN IS REVENGED!!!


Mark has a talent for creating solo adventures which are NOTHING like the plots which came before. When he has options, he has options for the options; and the results may or may not be to your liking - but you probably won't know until you hit that Hitchcock twist in the plot!


I was overjoyed to play this adventure, and even emerge in a - um - better (?) status than my PC started. If nothing else, he now is wiser and has some facts in hand that will help in the future.


Yes, your "Deathbed" character has a future of adventure and intrigue. If Mark doesn't create sequels for this, an obvious prologue to a long epic story, then you should immediately prepare a long epic campaign and draw in more players.


At one pivotal point, you may choose to be quested, in any number of ways, in any number of forms (literally) and I was lucky enough to have a chance to AVENGE the epic murder of one of the better characters I've seen. No, it was not one of mine - let's just say that "Deathbed" ranks high in honor for cleverly and effectively sequeling from perhaps the best campaign in which I've played.


Mark, you actually lived up to a legend. Go forth and write more chapters!


(originally published at http://grandparpg.blo-
gspot.com/
)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deathbed
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Baloonka: Rescue From the Fungus Planet [Tunnels & Trolls]
Publisher: Peryton Publishing
by Chet C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/03/2013 21:31:56

Without a doubt, Roy Cram turns out adventures which are, at once, tense AND funny. Take 'Balloonka,' for instance. The names of the places and creatures of this world invite chuckles and groans. And yet this is one of the deadliest adventures a player character could experience! If you doubt it's that serious, examine the challenging cover by the always perfect Jeff Freels. If ever a couple of spacemen (women?) thought they were in control of a situation....


It's an old-fashioned party killer, with a thin veil of science fiction to trick us into thinking we know what's going on. As far as the characters are concerned, a formerly-wealthy employer (Roy calls him Victor...I dunno about that.) had to abandon his colony and trade with a world that was literally dripping with riches. Less than eleven years ago, Victor was about to become the most wealthy individual in known space. And then something went wrong.


His fortune dissapated, cut off from his prize (by a "local" war in that sector), he's either hocked everything or else has found backers. Victor wants his world back. But he needs a band of adventurers, bold and tough. In short, he needs YOU and your friends. What? You thought the old fat guy was gonna pilot a ship AND fight the planet's --- um, he would go quiet at that point, and wild horses can't drag further information from him.


But you and your companions are just bold enough and dumb enough - as well as broke - to take on this Herculean task. Thank goodness you had all believed in the ancient legends, which state that the richest adventures will walk up to you, if you hang around in a tavern long enough.


Can't be too tough. You and your fellow adventurers smile at the recordings of the first colony's distress calls, complaining that the local plants grew fast - very fast. They must have been cowards, to fear plants that grow extra fast. The famine worlds could certainly pay well for samples of such vegetation.


And as the spaceship comes into orbit near your destination, your group dons body armor and twelve different kinds of guns. With a smirk, you each enter the shuttle, and think how easy it will be to remove gold and gems from an uninhabited planet.


I was that smirking character, and within 24 hours, my entire party was dead.


Stay away from Balloonka. It's hungry.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Baloonka: Rescue From the Fungus Planet [Tunnels & Trolls]
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Stock Art Collection 3: Alchemist Shop
Publisher: Fabled Worlds
by Chet C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/25/2013 15:29:59

You should know by now that, having been a fan of Jeff's amazing and weird art, I was fortunate enough for the World's Greatest Blind Artist and me to become friends. So take this with a grain of salt, since I am his friend.


BUY THIS COLLECTION!


It's really that good and the illustrations are really that useful. I find myself using them in correspondence, on player handouts, on mailing packages, and probably more than I can think of. They do not have to illustrate only an alchemist shop; as I said, they work in many different settings and projects.


My only complaint (and I should downgrade this and hold my breath 'til I turn blue) is that there aren't ENOUGH illustrations. Thirteen is plenty for what we pay, but I'd pay much more for many more drawings. Literally, I cannot get enough of Jeff's work.


You may not become as big a fan as I, but I have the feeling you'll be very, very happy with this package.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stock Art Collection 3: Alchemist Shop
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