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The Hollow West
Publisher: D101 Games
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/29/2017 23:47:50

BLUF:This is too lite.

The idea behind the setting is fantastic. Cowboys vs Dinosaurs vs Native Americans vs Cattle Barons vs Power Hungy madman vs Occultists vs Serpent Men vs Atlanteans and I am sure I am missing somebody. Frankly the mash up is very satisfying. What isn't satisfying is the lack of a good engine. Fortune absolutely guts Fate Core and FAE for the sake of simplicity. If you want simple use FAE. If you want more crunch use the myriad tools available from Evil Hat to tweak Fate Core. Hollow West uses a simplified Fate system and advertises it as self-contained. However, the author is relying on scanty rules, with few examples, and implicitly that you have seen/played Fate or FAE before. Fate Core is full of examples because it isn't a game familiar in style to most RPGs out there. It is Theater of the Mind with the players having as much control of the story as the GM. This is unfamilar territory for most players/gms. It needs more explanation than is present in the short Hollow West book. If you do want to use this setting and are not familiar with Fate I would suggest you check it out for free on the Evil Hat website.

The only reason I would give this three stars is because of the setting. I will run this, but I will use Fate Core.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Hollow West
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Blade and Lockpick. A game engine for solo and two player games
Publisher: Nordic Weasel Games
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/16/2017 00:44:10

Bottom line up front (BLUF): 6 USD is entirely too high a price for what you get. The group mechanics for overcoming challenges is interesting and looks like it could be really effective for narrative style gaming. This is a very lite set of rules. The author frequently points out that it can be used with other systems. Use the oracle with your favorite system to use those rules while running solo or use the mechanics in place of the rules of your aforementioned favorite setting. In other words this is just a quick set of rules to run your favorite game/setting using other mechanics and... There are some quick tables for jumping into a randomly generated setting. FATE does that better. The oracle could be easily replaced by Mythic or any other solo system out there (the oracle is very basic). The only really original (at least to me) bit is the dice pool system for overcoming challenges.

The book lacks art. It has few (and basic) examples. There are no pre-generated PCs or settings. The page layout wastes a lot of space. I imagine the book could have been done in half the pages.

I have a soft spot for solo games. This one presented one unique (and effective) idea for running challenges. The rest of the rules are done better elsewhere. So for just the unique group creation/rules in a solo setting it deserves a 3 star rating. If there were more to these rules it might be worth 6 dollars, right now I couldn't recommend more than 1 or 2 dollars at most.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Blade and Lockpick. A game engine for solo and two player games
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Creator Reply:
Cheers and appreciate the review! We will definitely add more examples and some pre-generated player characters. Appreciate the feedback. Not adding art was deliberate for print-friendliness but we'll take the feedback into account for the future.
Blood Space and Moon Dust
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/10/2017 01:32:44

Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF): Great adventure well worth the price. This is a very reasonably priced alternative to the Adventure Path adventures from Paizo.

Art: 4/5 Not the same style as the Starfinder CRB, but effective! There aren't many pictures but they will give your PCs a good idea of what they are looking at/interacting with.

Layout:5/5 Use of two columns, multiple fonts and colors, as well as text boxes to set off important information makes finding and reading the document quite easy.

Execution: 5/5 This is execution of story objectives. Very well done. The NPCs motivations and plans are laid out in black and white. The GM should have no trouble ad libbing when (not if) his/her PCs go off script. Each NPC has tactics laid out sometimes round to round. Nothing seems to be disjointed with each transition between scenes logically progressing the story without forcing the PCs on any set path. Information is laid out in tables that cover most of the possible questions that PCs would ask (or try to learn). Included in the adventure are 4 very detailed pre-gen PCs using only the Starfinder CRB. There is also a ship for the PCs.

Story: 5/5 The story is imaginative. The back story is effectively told in a very concise manner. (The PCs get to learn about Blood Space literally from the moment they start the adventure) PCs don't get bogged down with exposition, but learn through the action. The pacing for the most part is quite fast paced, however, there are opportunities to slow things down to allow the PCs time to acclimate themselves to this new star system introduced by RGG.

PS: Starfarer's Companion goes into greater detail about the star system (and new classes, races, feats and more), but is not necessary to play this adventure. I really appreciate that RGG went to the trouble to make this adventure work for purchasers of just the CRB as well as folks who buy the Companion.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Blood Space and Moon Dust
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Rude Awakening
Publisher: Gamer Printshop
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/14/2017 00:26:20

It's free. Some niggling errors with spelling, missing stats, etc. A very interesting premise. This would be an out of the box start for any campaign.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Rude Awakening
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Gravity Age: Creature Update 00
Publisher: Stroh Hammer
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/09/2017 23:02:34

Yes this is free. But it would still be worth a dollar or two if it wasn't. Granted this is an appetizer, but this little pdf packs some interesting ideas for creatures. It is also evocative in a way that informs the setting. If you want a setting with intelligently designed critters impacted by technology and fantasy take a look at this.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gravity Age: Creature Update 00
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Wonders of the Cosmos: Fine & Diminutive Starships
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/24/2017 18:02:16

5 pages devoted to book cover, advert, table of contents, legal boiler plate, and finally a section on "why this book was important". The rest is actually usable...sort of. You find out how to make Fine and Diminuitive ships using the rules from the corebook as well as the table necessary for engines. You find out how to modifiy weapons for use on such small ships. You find out how small ships can be used in atmosphere. You also get ramming rules...but no boarding rules? I am still not sure of the effectiveness of escape pods and life boats as neither seem to be able to carry many "people" at all. However, if you are willing to do some math you should be able to quickly figure out how to build a Destroyer for pixies.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Wonders of the Cosmos: Fine & Diminutive Starships
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Stars Without Number: Core Edition
Publisher: Sine Nomine Publishing
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/29/2017 13:59:40

Perplexed by the System. Why do I need to roll 2d6 for skills and 1d20 for combat? System is full of inconsistencies, but don't worry the author is preparing a new Kickstarter for summer 2017. He has made lots of changes just visit his Google + page to see all the changes he is planning, including a total revamp of the system. Don't buy this. Download the free version and wait for the new updated version to come out.

The setting is a blast. The generators for worlds, factions, and adventures are great. Just get the stuff for free.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Stars Without Number: Core Edition
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Creator Reply:
Honestly, you vote down this game because it adheres to old-school mechanisms? You do realize this is an OSR game and that both D&D and Traveller were chief influences and that this game sort of pays homage to them, right? Sure, you are perfectly allowed to dislike it, no problem. But weighing this so highly against hundreds of pages of sci-fi goodness (which you seem to enjoy) is beyond me.
Dark Camelot
Publisher: GRAmel
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/28/2017 18:10:59

Off the charts imaginative setting. Just waiting to be updated to 2nd edition. Made for classical mid to late middle ages mythology present in such movies as First Knight or Excalibur. I am presently running a solo campaign geared more towards dark ages Britain in the 400s AD. Don't have to change much more than add Sub-Roman Britons.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Camelot
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Adventurers! Revised 2Pages Edition
Publisher: GRAmel
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/21/2017 16:58:13

Free and complete version of the revised Adventurers! rules. These rules use 2d6 plus stat modified by Skills (skills generally don't add + this or that they give "Advantage" roll 3d6 drop lowest).

With just three stats Strength, Agility, and Mind this is dead simple to choose your stats starting with just 6 points.

You have derived stats Attack, Defense, Endurance (Hit points), and Heroism

The first three are easy to understand. Heroism gives points per session that the players use for agency to affect his rolls either a +1 to his roll or she can re-roll (in the case of Learning Skill they can use Heroism points to declare facts about a setting). Or use Heroism points to change something about the scene, "Theres a fireplace? Then there must be fuel I can set fire to!"

There is a short list of powers available for players. Small Gear list. Etc. Each table and each set of rules is complete enough. Meaning that a GM or player can extrapolate anything easily. Yes there is even Scale and Mass Battle rules!

This is a great tool for quick play created by GMs and PCs alike. If you add the various settings you have hours and hours of fun!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adventurers! Revised 2Pages Edition
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Adventurers! Revised Kickstarter Edition
Publisher: GRAmel
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/21/2017 15:16:46

Why are they charging for this? There is a free version (available from the KS) on this site that is more complete and compact. Notice I said free. I love the system. It is compact, neat, and easy to understand.

Having said all that I understand that this is a part of the book that KS supporters got. I hope that it was proofread more diligently than this version. There are more errors in this version than in the above mentioned free version.

If you want to use this game and its settings then get the free verision.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Adventurers! Revised Kickstarter Edition
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Strange Stars Fate Rule Book
Publisher: Hydra Cooperative
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/18/2017 23:04:34

Splendid. In the review of the Setting Book I stated that Art took precedence over content. Way more art in the first book than in this one. This book however is chock full of content. Everything is fully explained in Fate Core rules.

The first section of the book is taken up with how Strange Stars differs from regular Fate (not much). You could even run a game without the Fate Core rules if you wanted (but why since you can get the Fate Core rules for free on this site?).

The remaining sections cover character creation. You have High Concept, Trouble and Stangeness as your first three Aspects. Strangeness should add some weirdness to the mix. Life in the Strange Stars is going to leave you affected--maybe you have an unusual gadget, or ethos, what have you.

Clade templates--Each clade is referenced with page number in the Setting Book. There are aliens galore in the Strange Stars and most of them are "human". Every clade mentioned in the Setting book is here and encouragement abounds to make your own.

Adventures and campaigns. If you are used to Fate Core the lightness of this section will not daunt you. There are enough ideas here to get your juices flowing.

Threats. A plethora of threats to use, but not enough to fill a universe. Just enough to figure out how to create your own to match your weird universe.

Worlds and Cluster creation I'll lump together. If you have played Diaspora (for sale on this site) you will understand how this works. Several differences bear mentioning. You are not tied to just the worlds of a cluster. Hyper Gates connect to at least one other of the areas in the Setting book. Higher technology is sought after not feared.

Finally, Factions are given several pages and a reason for existence. Many Fate Core books mention factions but this is the first time I remember any one discussing how they impact the PCs during roleplay.

Overall this is a very good addition to the Fate Core products that exist out there. It will take a bit of work to create your universe, but that is unlikely to deter anyone used to many of the Fate products out there.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Strange Stars Fate Rule Book
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Strange Stars
Publisher: Hydra Cooperative
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/16/2017 10:04:18

A bit expensive for just 32 pages...if you want your books to be jam packed with writing. If you go with the author's "bottom up" method of universe creation it won't be such a problem. And if you like evocative art to get your juices flowing then this is right up your alley.

If you were to cross Guardians of the Galaxy with the Heavy Metal movie and toss in a dash of MST3K you are begining to get the idea of what this setting can be. However, since this is a Player driven creation you could really use whatever comparisons you want.

This would be a great framework for any group that wants to explore/create their setting as they go, because it has enough info to get your creative juices flowing without putting you in a strait-jacket.

There is a Fate Core add on that you can purchase separately, because this is a system agnostic product.

I didn't give it 5 stars because I wanted more. However the concept is intriguing and well executed.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Strange Stars
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Fate Solo
Publisher: Cabbage Games
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/14/2017 00:08:08

This product needs a lot of work. It is very confusing as written. There are three "modules" for Fate Solo. First is the Oracle or engine for answering yes/no questions. A yes/no question is asked about a situation roll Fate dice and based on your roll and what odds you have determined for the answer to be true you get a result of yes or no. This yes or no can be modified by getting a plus + result or a minus - result. How? I am not really sure. Examples aren't given within the module on the Oracle. However, at the end the author gives a very quick example of play, but doesn't explain how he arrived at his results that aren't contradictory. Also in this section he refers to using a randomizer for framing questions but gives no examples of such randamizers.

In the Character Module the author describes his recommendation for generating characters. This is straight forward. The characters are initially quite over-powered in comparison to a normal character. This is so they can handle a variety of activities without being stuck for the lack of other players.

The module on Surprises relies on figuring out surprises based on results from the Oracle module. Since the explanation of the Oracle module was muddled this module isn't any better.

Recommendation: Don't buy this. Don't get it for free. I would recommend getting Mythic or something similar.



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[1 of 5 Stars!]
Fate Solo
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Savage Worlds Deluxe
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/16/2017 00:41:10

If you are looking for a simple yet not simplistic universal rules system that gives you plenty of tactical crunch for you combat; this is it. If you love using polyhedral dice definitely the game you want. If you are tired of getting stuck in a class based advancement system this is worth the price of admission.

This game system came out of a mix of the very detailed Deadlands and a table top game called the Great Railwars. The designers used the experience gained from the above mentioned games and came up with a streamlined rules system that covers a lot of ground and presently has dozens of settings.

This game is for gamers who like to push miniatures around on the table top, but don't want to spend an hour fighting a battle between a half dozen figures. I have consistenly been able to run combats with in excess of 2 dozen figures in a half hour or less. The action is Fast, Fun, and Furious. A great game for grognards and neophytes alike.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Deluxe
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OneDice Universal
Publisher: Cakebread & Walton
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/16/2017 00:15:08

Simplistic not simple. I can't imagine why anyone...including myself spent money on this.

I checked out the quickstart. I for some reason thought that there had to be crunchier rules in the actual settings/universal rules...there aren't. No ranged combat. Even though weapons are given ranges. I figure the GM is supposed to SWAG that. Since it appears that despite PCs having a movement rating there seems to be no apparent reason given for having one. No rules for covering distances on foot at all. No rules for cover. Although the GM can arbitrarily determine if a roll has advantage or disadvantage. This book has no setting, but costs as much or more than the setting books. Here's the catch the setting books have the same set of minimal rules in them. I bought this Universal set of rules on sale for a little over 5 USD. Each setting book is regularly 7 USD. You can get the entire Fate Core set of rules and Fate Accelerated, over 400+pages of complete rules, for pay as you want. You can presently get 25+ complete settings for Fate Core each pay as you want.

The price point of this material is grossly overrated. Give it a pass. Spend a bit of time shopping on RpgNow and find something worth your money. This ain't it. I also bought another setting book from OneDice brand; Steampunk. Again, way over priced. You can get other settings with complete rules for steampunk such as the original Space 1889 from GDW.



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[1 of 5 Stars!]
OneDice Universal
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Creator Reply:
Hi Dillard, I'm sorry you didn't find the game to your tastes. To clarify, there are Initiative, Ranged Combat and Movement rules included. Some of it is covered here: "...they won't be able to start fighting until someone moves into the range of the other sides weapons." p.19 and Moving on p.20 "If a character isn't in a hand-to-hand fight and wants to move, up to his or her Move in metres, they can (instead of attacking - you don't get to do both). This includes moving into a hand-to-hand fight." We always welcome queries and try to respond in a timely fashion. Often rules queries can be aired on the OneDice Google+ page and the Renaissance and OneDice Facebook page or simply email or message our company. All the best, Peter Cakebread
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