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Westward Premium Edition
Publisher: Wicked North Games
by Tun K. P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/17/2013 02:47:29
This was a surprise and a delight for ten bucks - a cinematic steampunk RPG with a solid system that's pretty much the same as the one I started gaming with back in Ghostbusters 1st Edition. They even have a Wild Die mechanic that goes a step beyond the old Ghost Die/Wild Die mechanic from the old West End Games D6 games.

The Kickstarter really helped to get a great bunch of artists onto the book - the art varies from painterly loveliness to gritty but competent black-and-white sketches, and I love that every monster and almost every piece of technology gets a separate illustration. The monsters are seriously, seriously creative - bladeheaded birds and land predators, shield-headed horses, electric tortoises and terrifying acid-spitting burrowers.

The 357-page book comes with some basic GM advice and a host of adventure seeds as well as one full-length scenario. It's got a hyperlinked index and bookmarks like you would expect, although the bookmarks aren't grouped by header and there are some odd omissions - why does every piece of tech get a bookmark, while there are no bookmarks for the wildlife at all?

Overall, a very impressive - and complete - effort for Wicked North Games.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Westward Premium Edition
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Ashen Stars: Tartarus
Publisher: Pelgrane Press
by Tun K. P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/28/2013 04:39:35
It's a chilling investigation into an expedition gone horribly wrong, like a bunch of spacefaring CSI detectives crawling over the wreckage of Ridley Scott's movie Prometheus.

Actually, it's almost exactly like that. Ashen Stars: Tartarus isn't just a tense and intriguing sci-fi/horror mystery; it's also the most creative way of writing a critical review of Prometheus I've ever seen! Through the writing, art and design, it's clear that Ashen Stars has created an adventure that works on a higher level for anyone who's had to suffer through the film. If anything, Robin D. Laws improves on the skeleton provided by Prometheus, creating the story we really wanted to see. Best of all, there's even a reasonable in-setting explanation for why all the members of the expedition caught the Stupid Bug: they were purposely infected with a literal Stupid Bug!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ashen Stars: Tartarus
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Cthulhu Apocalypse: The Apocalypse Machine
Publisher: Pelgrane Press
by Tun K. P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/03/2011 21:28:56
This is your Apocalypse, would you like to Super-Size that? Cthulhu Apocalypse: The Apocalypse Machine is a sourcebook full of options for Trail of Cthulhu Keepers to customize an end-of-the-world-and-beyond campaign, dealing with character creation options and maintenance rules in end times, new Abilities (including psychic abilities and other weird powers, which may be useful in certain other campaigns as well), and a shelfload of plug-and-play elements for different types of apocalypses.

The Stability and Sanity rules are particularly important because they allow Investigators to go on ticking even when their Sources of Stability are dying off and their Pillars of Sanity are crumbling - these issues create complications without rendering an Investigator utterly unplayable, in The Apocalypse Machine.

Graham Walmsley writes with his usual dark confidence and style about every aspect of a 1930s apocalypse you can expect to read about, including the effects of worldwide breakdown going forward up to 100 years later. There are also writeups about how various Mythos entities and monsters can play into apocalyptic settings, including the worthwhile inclusion of H.G. Wells' Martians and Red Weed.

An excellent toolbox for end-of-the-world settings, from The Road to The Death of Grass. I may even borrow the psychic powers rules for other ToC games...

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cthulhu Apocalypse: The Apocalypse Machine
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Skyward Steel: Naval Campaigns for Stars Without Number
Publisher: Sine Nomine Publishing
by Tun K. P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/08/2011 08:07:57
If you like a bit of Horatio Hornblower in your spaceship campaign, Skyward Steel gives it to you - and in some ways, its campaign advice is as good as if not better than Clash Bowley's "In Harm's Way." I'm particularly impressed by the writing quality, which seems to have improved a notch from Stars Without Number, which is no slouch in the writing department either...

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Skyward Steel: Naval Campaigns for Stars Without Number
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Chris Perrin's Mecha
Publisher: Heroic Journey Publishing
by Tun K. P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/21/2010 10:11:33
Ever since I've started preferring lighter systems, Chris Perrin's Mecha RPG has become one of my favorites. Combat is still tactical enough that your choices matter, and there's just enough differentiation between different mecha to make any two characters (and their mecha) distinct in their combat styles. But it's definitely a much simpler system, and fairly influenced by indie design elements like scene framing. I've ported Heavy Gear to this system and it works great. Highly recommended.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Chris Perrin's Mecha
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