RPGNow.com
Close
New Account
 
  
 
 
You will lose your chance to get the free product of the week.
One-click unsubscribe later if you don't enjoy the newsletter.
Close
Log In
 
 Forgot password?
 

     or     Log In with your Facebook Account
Browse
 Publisher Info









Back
Other comments left by this customer:
Basic poker playing cards 1
Publisher: FSpace Publications
by Justin P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/03/2012 01:01:50
It is what it says in the description. The artwork isn't to my taste but if you're a fan of FSpace's art then you'll recognize it immediately. The tutorial for cutting out the cards is great.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Basic poker playing cards 1
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Chronica Feudalis
Publisher: Cellar Games, LLC
by Justin P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/12/2011 19:28:31
An excellent game by Jeremy Keller, Chronica Feudalis is both an entertaining read and a fantastic system. This is one of those games that seems to straddle the line between 'story game' and 'traditional game' very well.

Chapter 1 - Imagine. This is your fairly standard introductory chapter that tells you the mechanics of the system and what you'll need to play. The writing here is pretty fantastic as the whole book is written from the point of view of a monk who is telling you about the game he and his brothers play. The system uses a die step system of Skill + Tool, which I found interesting. Someone could have Strike d6 and a Tool (Spear) d8 for their die pool. My only complaint is that it sometimes feels like the Tool matters more than the Skill and is far easier to raise/earn.

Chapter 2 - Create. Character creation is found here as well as Skill descriptions.

Chapter 3 - Play. This is where you get into the meat of the game. Aspects, Tools, Ardor, Sorcery and Witchcraft, Actions, Maneuvers are all found here.

Chapter 4 - Conflict. Combat is detailed out here, explaining the way a fight works and the different options when it comes to social combat. I was very happy that a social system was worked into this game as the whole tone of Chronica Feudalis seems to be less about the combat and more about the characters. This is not to say that combat isn't fun, just that it is nice to see good support for playing a courtier or charlatan instead of everyone being a knight in shining armor.

Chapter 5 - Explore. As I pointed out toward Chapter 4, the focus of this game doesn't seem to be about combat but the scenes and situations that the characters find themselves in. This chapter is all about putting those situations together. Building a setting isn't always easy but this chapter gives you plenty to work with and includes an example in the form of "The Banquest of Warwick Castle". Each step is covered here, from the Situation you decide to go with to the Setting to the Political Backdrop... While a small chapter, it is one heck of an idea farm.

Following the five chapters you'll find some appendices. Mentors, Antagonists, Animals, and so on, including a Character Sheet. Truly, everything you need to play Chronica Feudalis is found in these pages, which is a huge value for the $10.00 price tag. Jeremy Keller has definitely earned my respect and I will be watching what he decides to do next with eager interest.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Chronica Feudalis
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Kingdom of Nothing
Publisher: Galileo Games
by Justin P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/09/2011 03:47:03
As the blurb says, Kingdom of Nothing is an urban fantasy game, reminicient of Niel Gaiman's Neverwhere, where the players take on the role of a homeless person who has slipped through the cracks of the world to be devoured by The Nothing.

Character creation is collaborative, where you describe your character as they are in the moment - how they look, their name, and what's in their pockets. The other players will fill in the Secrets, detailing the history and traumatic event that landed the character where they are today. To me, this is a perfect system for a game where the character doesn't remember what happened and it goes a long way in increasing player buy in. Granted, you'll need to have the right group to make a game like this work but in the hands of the right group you end up with an amazing experience.

The setting is also collaborative, with the Narrator and each player filling in the details of the city the game is set in. Similar to Dresden Files, this sort of setting creation definitely increases player investment as they are encouraged to include locations that mean something to their character, even if they don't know exactly why.

The system uses coins in a cup, adding a bit to the penniless feel of the character. As a player, you decide how much you're willing to invest in the situation at hand by the number and type of coins you throw in the cup. During the course of play, characters will discover magic, monsters, and try to reclaim their memory, dealing with the tragedy that pushed them into The Nothing's grasp.

If you are a fan of urban fantasy, collaborative story creation and story-focused gameplay, you can't go wrong with Kingdom of Nothing. While the group makeup can make or break any game, the way the Secrets are developed does require a level of trust in your fellow player. Where you envision your character as being a former firefighter who failed to save someone from a fire, you could end up with a dark secret that your character is really a pyromaniac and the helmet you wear is nothing more than a joke. It's a selling point for me but some people dislike having that level of control taken away from them. I can't count it as a flaw (I love it!) but some might.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Kingdom of Nothing
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Apocalypse Prevention, Inc.
Publisher: Third Eye Games
by Justin P. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/25/2011 18:33:30
Billed as an “action horror game with a twist of humor,” Apocalypse Prevention Inc. (or API) has been described by others as what you’d get if Joss Whedon and Mike Mignola wrote Men in Black. When you open the cover, the game definitely stands up to that description - API is a global shadow organization that has protected the world from demonic forces since the time of the Black Plague. How do they do it? Through magic, cybernetics, intense training and hiring on some of the demons (meaning any non-human) that have made Earth their home... with API’s permission, of course.

Introduction

Upon opening the book you'll see a clean black and white interior which uses a two-column layout. I found this format very easy to read, even with the greyscale blood spatter in the center of each page. Greyscale art is found throughout the book and ranges from very good to mediocre. In this chapter things start off with a quick "What is Roleplaying" section (and I'm glad it was kept short) before seeing an introduction memo which welcomes a new agent to API. The book could definitely use more of this interdepartmental flavor to help build on the organizational feeling of API, but it's not a big deal.

Chapter 1 - Character Creation

A quick five-step process guides you through character creation. I had thought about building a sample character but Tommy Brownell has already done that for me. I highly suggest taking a look at his post to see a Spectral take shape.

Step one involves picking a Concept, a Passion and a Race. The Passion is something I really liked about API but also something I didn't focus enough on when I was running the game. This is what drives the PC and playing to it can earn the PC extra experience, so I may have cost my players some points here. To new GMs, I'd suggest keeping track of the PC's Passion on a notecard during play.

The Races you can choose from are a Human, Burner, Changeling, Lochs, Spectral, Taylari and Wolf People. Burners are fire demons who have fled to earth to seek refuge from a machine race that has taken over their home while Changelings are fae demons who can assume change their form. Spectrals are ghosts, Wolf People are werewolves and Taylari are "living" vampires. The Lochs are a race of large humanoid fish, which I think is pretty cool for some underwater adventures. There are also three illegal races, which means they pose a threat to earth, but I’m not going to deal too much with those at the moment.

Step two has you spending your Attribute Points in a point-buy character creation system. I found this system to be very flexible, with each of the PCs that were generated being very different from one another. You get 30 points to spend here and distribute them among Power, Agility, Vigor, Insight, Intellect and Charm with 4-5 being considered the average out of 10 possible points in each. Each stat ended up being very important during the game so keep in mind that there are no "dump stats" in API.

Skills come next, allowing you to spend another 30 points between 20 skills and 12 different possible styles. The styles were part of what made me hesitant about this game, what with all the modifiers and no difference between a bonus to strike with melee vs. ranged, but I found in play that these styles can go a long way to really defining a character in combat. In my eyes that should be the primary point behind offering different martial arts for players to choose from and API does an excellent job without getting caught up in the tiny details like other games I’ve played have.

This step is where the system comes to the forefront as well. The Dynamic Game System (or DGS) which powers API uses a 1d20+Attribute+Skill system in an attempt to beat a target number. These target numbers are 10 for a trivial task all the way up to 40 for a near impossible task. Skills and Attributes are both hard capped at 10, so that 40 truly is nearly impossible to succeed at.

Next up is destributing bonus points among Gifts (special things that help to define your character, like magical abilities), your skills or attributes. You can also take Drawbacks to give yourself more bonus points and there’s quite the list to choose from. Again, click on the link to Tommy’s blog up above and you’ll get a good idea of how a character is created.

Step five is calculating your derived stats like Health, Initiative, Movement and so on. Past this you only need to buy your equipment and you’re good to go.

Chapter 2: Combat

This chapter is the one that almost prevented me from giving API a try. On first glance I just wasn’t sure about the initiative tracker or the tick system for actions, but during play it works very, very well.

Each round has 20 “counts” which represent about half a second of real time. The winner of the initiative roll, found by rolling 1d20 and adding your Initiative score, goes on count 1 with the other participant's counts determined by how much lower they rolled than the winner – every four points equals one more count. If you have someone roll a 28 for initiative and another person rolls 20, the first person would go on count 1 and the second would go on count 3. It doesn’t take long to get used to at all.

Characters will have a number of actions based on their fighting style and other modifiers and there are several different maneuvers that can be performed. Everything from a light, accurate strike to a heavy haymaker, to a grapple or disarm and the list goes on. The defender will also roll to dodge, parry or block depending on the attack. Each action or reaction will cost stamina, which is another part of the combat system that I was hesitant about.

To strike a combatant would roll 1d20 + Strike modifiers + maneuver modifiers. A defender would roll 1d20 + Block/Parry/Dodge modifiers. Both would keep track of their Stamina cost for their different maneuvers and each needs to keep track of the number of actions they have remaining in the round. I found that this was sometimes difficult as people tended to fall into the I Go, You Go mindset on occasion so providing counters, like glass beads, to represent their actions remaining worked well. The amount of bookkeeping at this stage sounds like a lot but it ended up fading to the background easily during play.

All in all the combat system plays far better than it reads and I encourage everyone who has any doubt to give it a run.

Chapter 3: The World of Magic

API definitely has its own flavor when it comes to magic. There are 13 different paths, each with a different theme and each with three “circles” or levels. For example, Path of Elements allows for control of the different elemental forces including the ability to take on the form of that element. Path of Augmentation allows the caster to enhance their body, granting benefits like regeneration or super-speed. Each spell from each path requires a sacrifice to be able to cast the spell, which is very similar to spell components in other systems, and you can also buy upgrades for the different spells as well. One of my players was an Elemental adept who upgraded his Blast spell several times, becoming quite formidable in the process.

Chapter 4: API Organization

This chapter is all about the setting. What I said earlier about Joss Whedon and Mike Mignola writing Men in Black is explained here. If you can picture J and K taking down a demonic hellgate in their mission to protect the earth then you’re well on your way to understanding what API is all about. If you don’t know what any of that means, then this chapter will spell it out for you.

Long ago, during the time of the Black Plague, the Circle of Ten founded what came to be known as Apocalypse Prevention Inc. in the hope of keeping mankind safe from demonic influence. They have 10 major headquarters around the world, each controlled by a descendant of the Circle of Ten, so if you want to run a game in Russia, the UK, Brazil or China then feel free. The sourcebooks have only been released for Alaska and Europe at the moment, however, so detail is lacking.

There is also some information on the API hierarchy, how the agency works and what it means to be an agent in its ranks. There is a lot of flavor crammed into the chapter and it is surprisingly well written. I don’t mean that to say that the rest of the writing is bad, just that setting descriptions in some games has come across as a little too vague or a little too specific. API walks the line between the two, letting you know what you need to and leaving a lot open for you to do what you want.

Chapter 5: Demonology

This is where you’ll find information on the different races available in API, explaining how they feel about the world and how API feels about them. The story of the Burners, as an example, explains how they came to end up in Florida and what they are running from…

Chapter 6: Telling Stories for API

Here’s the GM section, which gives advice on running games set in the API universe. It gives some good pointers on using the different themes of the game, from comedy to horror, and provides stats for many different creatures, animals and opponents. The three illegal races I mentioned before are detailed here and their sections explain why they are not allowed on Earth.

Finally you get your sheets, a glossary and an index, along with a random demon making chart.

Conclusion

Even though it was released in 2008 I had never heard of Apocalypse Prevention Inc., Third Eye Games or Eloy Lasanta before the Haiti bundle at RPGNow. Now that I have I can’t help but think that I’ve been missing out on something this whole time. My score for Apocalypse Prevention Inc. is a solid 9/10, which for the folks over on RPGnet means a 4/5 Style and a 5/5 Substance. This book provides all you need to get going with the game, introduces a fantastic combat system in the DGS and provides a setting that I thoroughly enjoy with enough information offered to bring the setting to life. While a few pieces of art do not really click with me I don’t think that they detract from the book, instead just failing to add to it. API's writing is clear and concise, not bombarding you with minute details to drive the setting home or forcing the different aspects of the game down your throat. The combat system is intimidating at first glance but after I actually gave it a run at the table I saw just how smoothly it plays. This is a game that definitely deserves to be played and I hope anyone who has doubts about the DGS will give it a try. I bet you’ll be surprised.

This was linked from my blog and the formatting didn't hold. To see the formatted review you can go to - http://www.thevigilant.net/?p=300

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Apocalypse Prevention, Inc.
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Battlescenes: Operation Bookbinder
Publisher: Vigilance Press
by Justin P. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/08/2010 17:34:17
This is the first Battlescene I've run and both myself and my players had a very good time with it. Taking place right after the decisive Battle of Midway, Operation Bookbinder sets the stage for retaliation by Japanese super-soldiers. There are two ways to play this out, one using a giant death robot (complete with mini death robots) and one against the Japanese super team, Shinjuwan Juunigatsu (found in Pearl Harbor December: Villains of WWII). I chose to run this against the giant death robot and the flavor for the encounter was perfect. The characters start out as transfers to the USS Enterprise after a message is intercepted which tells of an impending Japanese attack against the ship. The Enterprise had been positioned to look like she was in distress in hopes of luring the attack to the waiting American heroes...

My players chose Old Glory, Captain Miracle, Marauder and Minuteman to take on this Battlescene and they were pushed to their limits trying to handle the scenario. In the end they were victorious but it was down to the wire and required some very quick thinking.

If you are looking for something that really adds flavor to the Vigilance Force setting and provides your players with a difficult challenge that is not easily solved by beating up the bad guy, then I highly recommend Battlescenes: Operation Bookbinder.

Vigilance Press nets a 5/5 rating for this scenario. Even though it's short, it's a well designed encounter that directly adds to the flavor of the setting no matter which antagonist you use when you run it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Battlescenes: Operation Bookbinder
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Vigilance Force: Heroes of WWII (ICONS)
Publisher: Vigilance Press
by Justin P. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/08/2010 17:28:11
Vigilance Force by Vigilance Press

World War II has always been my favorite setting for superheroes and this line of products from Vigilance Press reminds me why. Starting with an interview of Old Glory, which reveals how he got his name, and ending with the Atrocity, Vigilance Force provides a solid base for running a WWII game where the PCs have a major impact on historical battles. This particular offering introduces the American heroes of WWII.

What you'll find inside: Vigilance Force starts with an interview with Old Glory, who tells us a little of the backstory behind the team. Next is the Introduction where you get some information on the big picture of the setting and then you get right into the Heroes. They are:

* Captain Miracle - A teenage super-genius who is constantly in trouble with his superiors.
* Deuce - A gadgeteer who is driven by justice.
* Freight Train - An invulnerable speedster who is haunted by the innocents left broken in his path.
* Hornet - She is a world renowned scientist that can shrink and control insects, and is also the only female on the team.
* Marauder - A vicious bulldozer of a soldier who is nearly impervious and heightened senses.
* Minuteman (my personal favorite) - A mechanized suit of armor whose wearer can control time.
* Old Glory - A young boy who can manipulate fire.
* Agent Liberator - A super-soldier who is the only American ever to survive the transformation.
* Talon - Native American superhero who can control wolves and eagles.
* See Bee - Half Human/Half Merman, this hero can control water.

Next up is the adventure hook you can drop in anywhere called "The Atrocity Incident." I'm not going to get into the details of it but suffice to say that the players will probably need to use something other than pure muscle to take this guy out.

One thing I really appreciated from this supplement is that Vigilance Press does a good job of humanizing these larger-than-life heroes, giving the characters offered here their own distinct flavor complete with flaws, relationships and short-comings. Captain Miracle's backstory is missing for some reason, though. Vigilance Press also gets a tip of the hat for the adversaries they come up with which aren't easily taken out with a simple slugfest, requiring the heroes to think outside of the box to take them down. The Atrocity does not disappoint on that level.

Icons never really had me excited until I sat down to play with Vigilance Force in Operation: Bookbinder. Now I am eagerly awaiting the next time I'll get to run one of these.

Vigilance Press gets a 5/5 for Vigilance Force and from what I've seen of the other offerings by them, they're not slowing down. There are some flaws with this first book, such as Captain Miracle's backstory not making it in and the formatting. I'd much prefer having the characters on one single sheet for easy printing and handouts, but I am not going to dock them a star for these shortcomings on a five-point scale. My final scoring would be a 9/10 for Vigilance Force as I feel it is a good introduction to a WWII supers setting with likable characters and a good snapshot of why things are the way they are in the world.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vigilance Force: Heroes of WWII (ICONS)
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

The WatchGuard Sourcebook (Preview Edition)
Publisher: Xion Studios
by Justin P. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/08/2010 15:38:42
This look at what The WatchGuard Sourcebook will be definitely got me interested in what they're going for. The PDF contains quick descriptions of the setting, fleshes out two characters (one hero, one villain) and provides a sample encounter which, in my opinion, really defines the characters in their roles.

The layout and art are great, proving that you're going to get a quality product when this is complete, but the writing leaves a tiny bit to be desired. For example, a lot of text points to things that I am sure will be explained in the final product but feel too rushed or vague to be included here. Rather than take a snippet of text from the finished book this preview would be more enjoyable as a concise summary, almost like a quick-start, than a "teaser". However, this is a very small problem and is not a problem throughout the whole text. Where the writing does shine is in the look at the villain. I think they did an excellent job of focusing on this character to really flesh him out, making it easy to get into his mindset right away and giving you enough information to drop him into any game.

My score for The WatchGuard Sourcebook (Preview Edition) is 4/5 due to some flaws in the writing. However, those flaws are not enough to turn me away. If you like original supers settings I would suggest putting this one on your radar. It's on mine.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The WatchGuard Sourcebook (Preview Edition)
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Zombie Pirates (Collector's Edition)
Publisher: Dust Devil Studios
by Justin P. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/03/2010 00:55:09
Because of formatting I have written a detailed review at my site, but this is a very entertaining linear tower defense game (much like Plants vs Zombies) in which you play Smilin' Jack O'Hurlihan - a pirate who knows he needs to save the world from the zombie menace if he wants to keep plundering it. I give it a 9.5/10 with the only complaint being that the voice-overs sometimes get a little repetitive during play. If you'd like more information, please visit this page for my full review:

http://www.thevigilant.net/freerpg/?p=118

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Zombie Pirates (Collector's Edition)
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Vengeance is Nigh
Publisher: Basic Action Games
by Justin P. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/24/2010 21:16:06
Vengeance is Nigh is the first published adventure for BASH Ultimate Edition. I jumped on this as soon as it was released and recently had a chance to run it for a group of friends. We enjoyed the adventure, as it scratches the itch of an introductory superhero adventure and serves as a fantastic introduction to the grittier side of Megapolis. The end also comes with a rather surprising twist for how the adventure begins.


My only complaint with this one is that this adventure falls victim to the standard flaw of the great heroes looking to the little guys for help, and comes off as too much of a rail-road. If there was a little more setting description and a little more information that made this adventure feel like more of a comic book and less of a "quest" it would have gotten five stars. Still, it was an enjoyable introduction for new players to the mechanics behind BASH and the setting of Megapolis.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Vengeance is Nigh
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

BASH! Ultimate Edition
Publisher: Basic Action Games
by Justin P. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/24/2010 21:08:11
Let me start by saying I am a huge fan of superhero games. The first RPG I ever got my hands on was Champions, which I picked up from a used book store when I was nine years old simply because it had something to do with comic books. Because of that, Hero will always have a place in my heart but I always looked for the supers game that really lets me mimic what I see in the comics without putting a lot of work on anyone. Then I found BASH.

BASH Ultimate Edition quickly moved to the top of my list for superhero games because of simple, fast-paced mechanics, a flexible character creation system and, most importantly, the ability to handle heroes of vastly different power levels without a hitch. This is a game where you can have Dazzler and Thor standing side-by-side and neither one of them is out of place. This is the first game I've played where I can accurately play out the team-ups we see in comics all the time. How is this possible? Hero Points and Hero Dice.

It is a clean, simple system that emulates comic book action. The basic mechanic has you roll 2d6 and multiply it by a number, which is decided by what you are trying to do. Do you want to punch someone? Roll 2d6 times your Agility. Are you shooting someone? Roll 2d6 and multiply it by your Mind. If you roll doubles your dice explode, allowing you to throw another d6 and add it to your roll before multiplying. Hero Points allow a player to modify rolls while Hero Dice can be used to add an additional die to your roll or temporarily gain the use of a new power. Yes, you read that right.

If you are a fan of comic book action I strongly suggest you give BASH Ultimate Edition a try.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BASH! Ultimate Edition
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Displaying 1 to 10 (of 10 reviews) Result Pages:  1 
Back
You must be logged in to rate this
0 items
 Gift Certificates
Powered by DrivethruRPG