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Ultimate Characters Guide (Savage Worlds)
Publisher: Mystical Throne Entertainment
by Neal H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/29/2014 14:23:41
The Ultimate Characters Guide is a must-have for anyone who plays or runs Savage Worlds. It shows how players and GMs can work within the SW system to create races, character types, and even individual characters that are unique and exactly what is desired while keeping the ease of play that is a hallmark of the SW rules. The UCG provides setting-agnostic new Hindrances and Edges, but more importantly, it shows how to create your own Hindrances, Edges, and Special Abilities while retaining balance. In addition, UCG has new ways to look at skill uses and supporting and complimenting actions that add dimension to SW’s skills without adding unnecessary complexity. Every GM should read the section on Villain Creation and the final section on Villain Combat Balance is worth the cost of the product by itself.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Characters Guide (Savage Worlds)
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World at War: Revelation
Publisher: Lock 'n Load Publishing
by Neal H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/28/2011 12:59:18
This is an enjoyable book to read, on par with work by Tom Clancy, Ralph Peters, and Harold Coyl. Revelation ignores much of the global powerplays of WWIII (set in 1985) in favor of an "in the trenches" viewpoint with a handful of characters, not all of whom are soldiers. As a fan of war fiction and horror fiction, this is a good blend of both in genres that don't always work well together. The characters are well written and develop as the novel progresses.

There is a heavy supernatural influence in the plot, with several main characters of supernatural orgin. It reminds me of games such as Wierd War and some Call of Cthulhu supplements. The fact that the story goes back and forth in time is a little jarring, and had me flipping back through the pages to remind myself of the timeline of major events, but anyone with any experience with war fiction won't be put off.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
World at War: Revelation
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Boston: The Broken Cradle of Liberty
Publisher: Gun Metal Games
by Neal H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/21/2011 10:36:13
Interface Zero is a great setting and a fine addition to Savage Worlds, but Boston: Broken Cradle of Liberty is one of the best Savage products I've seen in a long time. The setting is evocotive and B: BCL adds a few handy optional rules to the Fast! Furious! Fun! system of play that makes Savage Worlds such a joy to play and run. In particular, the City Trappings are a brilliant idea and are a great example of an optional rule that adds to the flavor without slowing the game down at all - it should be (and probably will be) copied for other SW settings.

The PDF is an excellent production and better than many e-books put out by major publishing houses. The layering allows you to have a full-color electronic version while also being able to select options for a stripped down printer-friendly version, with everything in between. If you like cyberpunk, post-cyberpunk, or even just appreciate fine game writing, this is an excellent value.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Boston: The Broken Cradle of Liberty
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T2013- Everytown
Publisher: Game Designers' Workshop (GDW)
by Neal H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/18/2010 23:52:15
This is a short but comprehensive look at a single small town of survivors in the aftermath of the Collapse of 2013. Several NPCs are given good descriptions, but the truly excellent aspect of this work is that it focuses on the human nature of the NPCs, which is universal, and doesn't get bogged down in descriptions that would pigeonhole Everytown as set in America or Europe or other locations. Instead of NPC names, titles are given that describe their function within the community and interaction between each other. As I stated earlier, their human nature and motivations are fleshed out, but the descriptions could as easily apply in the American Midwest as in the Arab Middle East. The town itself is mapped out, with a marked map for GMs and an unmarked map for players. Those players and GMs looking for a vast inventory of everything and everyone in town will be disapointed, but there is a lot of room for GMs to insert their own visions. As a longtime fan and collector of post-apocalyptic RPGs, I'd rank this near the top of the heap.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
T2013- Everytown
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GMs Companion
Publisher: Chameleon Eclectic
by Neal H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/16/2009 17:13:26
The Millennium's End GM's Companion is, bar none, the best GM's guide out there. This should be required reading for anyone who wants to run a Modern game, and any other genre as well. The intial chapter is condensed nugget after nugget of solid advice on how to run a game so the pacing doesn't drag, the NPCs are original and yet believeable, and the storylines are thought-provoking and attention getting. The maps themselves are worth price of the book, including such hard-to-find areas as a corporate compound and a tenement building. The section on computer hacking and piracy is simple and yet complete, unlike so many modern and cyberpunk lines. Add to that the NPCs and adventures, and it's a combination that's impossible to beat. Here's how good it is: WOTC hired the author to run the D20 Modern line. The only down side is that the book is somewhat dated, as it was published in the mid-1990s. However, the core concepts are timeless.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
GMs Companion
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T2013- Twilight: 2013 Core Rules
Publisher: Game Designers' Workshop (GDW)
by Neal H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/20/2008 23:19:24
Twilight 2013 is a sort of homecoming for me. As someone who has played the game in an on-again, off-again way since the late 1980s, it's something that I've got a real sweet spot for. So, it should be no surprise that I reallly like the updated version. However, someone has asked already, why should you buy this version instead of older edition and simply update the setting to match what you think WWIII looks like? Here's a couple of reasons -

#1 - The new Reflex system is one of the most technically accurate RPG systems for simulating combat that I've seen in a long time, but it doesn't bog the gameplay down. The tiered appraoch to the ruleset (Level 1 for basic simulation and easiest play, Level 2 for average difficulty, and Level 3 for people who think Star Fleet Battles is too simple) allows you to cater the game to yourself and your players. Also, the "tick" concept for initiative and holding and pressing is so original and workable that I plan to use it in my other RPGs.

#2 - At 348 absolutely packed pages, this book feels like a core book and several supplements slammed together. Compared to D20 Modern, Twilight 2013 is by far more informative and entertaining to read.

One flaw I find in the book is the number of editorial flaws - poor grammer, mispellings, etc. I'm an editor by trade, so these things really bug me. On the other hand, it's still very readable and updated editions will take care of such things.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
T2013- Twilight: 2013 Core Rules
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