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Dragonslayer Pantheon: The Cult of Summation
Publisher: Chubby Monster Games
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/08/2013 08:25:34
The Dragonslayer Pantheon products by Chubby Monster Games are designed by author Andrew Shields to be incorporated into existing game worlds and provide a new take on one of the religions attached to a god. Each religious order presented includes the common knowledge about the order as well as the secret knowledge of the initiated, non-player characters tied to the order, its practices, suggestions for power levels and adventure hooks using the order and advice for incorporating the group into an existing setting.

The Cult of Summation seeks to reduce the knowledge of each individual life to a clear, concise and complete summary, unfortunately they tend to do so through the carefully applied arts of torture. The Cult maintains prisons, libraries and torture chambers, usually in the same complex. The Cult is pleased to serve their Goddess through these tasks, though direction is often given through visions that the cultists receive when undergoing near death experiences. The Cult is unlikely to be friends of adventurers but they may be a place that prisoners can be housed and information gained, if one is willing to bend to the dictates of the Cult. A map of the Prison Library of Stavrok Falls is also provided.

Overall, I think the Dragonslayer Pantheon product provides a useful set of ideas and options to spark adventure and interest in various religions in a game world.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dragonslayer Pantheon: The Cult of Summation
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Dragonslayer Pantheon: The Silent Bite
Publisher: Chubby Monster Games
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/08/2013 08:24:45
The Dragonslayer Pantheon products by Chubby Monster Games are designed by author Andrew Shields to be incorporated into existing game worlds and provide a new take on one of the religions attached to a god. Each religious order presented includes the common knowledge about the order as well as the secret knowledge of the initiated, non-player characters tied to the order, its practices, suggestions for power levels and adventure hooks using the order and advice for incorporating the group into an existing setting.

Silent Bite is a secret religious society of hunters and revolutionaries, dedicated to driving the corrupt from power and promoting the will of the goddess. It is an aristocratic conspiracy that, at its best, seeks to break foreign domination, cull corruption and promote a meritocracy (through the better class of people of course), at its worst, it uses terror to maintain the aristocracy. It is a group that could recruit the player characters or be in opposition to them or both. It also includes a nifty random conspiratorial cell generator.

Overall, I think the Dragonslayer Pantheon product provides a useful set of ideas and options to spark adventure and interest in various religions in a game world.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dragonslayer Pantheon: The Silent Bite
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Dragonslayer Pantheon: The Brass Horseshoe
Publisher: Chubby Monster Games
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/08/2013 08:21:36
The Dragonslayer Pantheon products by Chubby Monster Games are designed by author Andrew Shields to be incorporated into existing game worlds and provide a new take on one of the religions attached to a god. Each religious order presented includes the common knowledge about the order as well as the secret knowledge of the initiated, non-player characters tied to the order, its practices, suggestions for power levels and adventure hooks using the order and advice for incorporating the group into an existing setting.

Brass Horseshoe is a branch of a warrior cult which knows that wars are not won by courage alone, training, discipline, and logistics win wars far more often. The Order of the Brass Horseshoe seeks to provide and perfect those skills to anyone going to war, seeking perfection in their craft and efficiency in war and in clearing up its aftermath. There is a good question and answer section about how the members of this sect view war and their place in it. The Brass Horseshoe Order is extremely useful allies but it is a pain if they are aiding your enemies.

Overall, I think the Dragonslayer Pantheon product provides a useful set of ideas and options to spark adventure and interest in various religions in a game world.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dragonslayer Pantheon: The Brass Horseshoe
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Dragonslayer Pantheon: Order of the Sacred Deep
Publisher: Chubby Monster Games
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/08/2013 08:20:10
The Dragonslayer Pantheon products by Chubby Monster Games are designed by author Andrew Shields to be incorporated into existing game worlds and provide a new take on one of the religions attached to a god. Each religious order presented includes the common knowledge about the order as well as the secret knowledge of the initiated, non-player characters tied to the order, its practices, suggestions for power levels and adventure hooks using the order and advice for incorporating the group into an existing setting.

Sacred Deep is a mystery cult dedicated to keeping the secrets of the caves and under-earth, secret. They are shadowy but not evil, though their action could easily prove disruptive to adventurers, they are not overly confrontational -in most cases- more an annoyance. Yet they could also become allies under certain circumstances. A very flexible group that could be entirely overlooked by player character yet could still impact them in interesting ways. Also, this volume, the first of the Dragonslayer Pantheon products is free, so you can try it without risk and see if the structure and layout appeal to you.

Overall, I think the Dragonslayer Pantheon product provides a useful set of ideas and options to spark adventure and interest in various religions in a game world.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dragonslayer Pantheon: Order of the Sacred Deep
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#1 With a Bullet Point: 7 Sinful Feats of Pride
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/03/2013 16:44:04
#1 with a Bullet Point: Seven Sinful Feats of Pride is just better than the rest, or maybe that is just the Prideful feat talking. Those who are prideful want to be the best, but being treated as the best will be a close second, and their feats allow them to gain additional bonuses when they succeed magnificently and when others fail (though some cause penalties if the prideful fails to succeed which is a nice touch) .It concludes with a brief discussion of the role of sinful feats in a game as they are not just for evil characters. These feats are ones I can easily see being taken by player characters, many of whom have inflated ideas of their own self-importance, why not reflect that with an appropriate feat?

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
#1 With a Bullet Point: 7 Sinful Feats of Pride
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#1 With a Bullet Point: 7 Sinful Feats of Lust
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/03/2013 16:42:39
#1 with a Bullet Point: Seven Sinful Feats of Lust as promised seven feats all building off the Lustful feat which allows for the projection of desire across language barriers and rewards the possessor for fulfilling their desires. The other six feat focus said lustfulness towards various purposes, of which are mostly fairly obvious but Write ("You are expert in maneuvering while in tight spaces") amused me. It concludes with a brief discussion of the role of sinful feats in a game. As lust and sex appeal can have a place in games these feat can be used for a variety of character builds, but not the feats you will often see most adventures take.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
#1 With a Bullet Point: 7 Sinful Feats of Lust
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#1 With a Bullet Point: 7 Sinful Feats of Gluttony (Full Clip!)
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/03/2013 16:38:39
#1 with a Bullet Point: Seven Sinful Feats of Gluttony is a just what it says, seven feats, all keying off the Gluttonous feat, which allows the consumption of massive amounts of food and gaining minor benefits there from. The other six feats build off that basic idea, expanding the limits and capabilities of the glutton (best name 'Feast Healing'), to the point where they can learn to consume even magic to feed their endless hunger. It concludes with a brief discussion of the role of sinful feats in a game. Useful for unusual character builds, but not the sort of feats you will be needing all the time.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
#1 With a Bullet Point: 7 Sinful Feats of Gluttony (Full Clip!)
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Folk Fey and Fair [PFRPG]
Publisher: Lee's Lists
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/03/2013 16:36:56
Folk Fey and Fair by Lee's Lists comprises a new species, Fairblood, a prestige class, Knight of Frost Court, and two archetypes, one for the bard and another for the monk. This is all framed by a brief introduction to the thirteen courts of the fae before moving into the mechanics of the product. The Fairblood is the child of mortal and fae, gaining gifts from their fae parent one of which (Luck of the Fair Folk) seems a little over the top, unfortunately they are given no further support. The Knight of the Frost Court, as one would expect, masters cold to be used as a weapon, but there are some oddities in the class construction such as gaining no resistance to cold until 5th level when they suddenly become immune and they can summon a blinding zone of cold, which they can make people immune to, which is enormously powerful and is given no limitation on the number of times it can be used. The Knight is a good concept but it needs to be rewritten to be playable. The Mirror Court Student is a Bardic archetype which gives the bard more ability to manipulate emotions but with limited mechanical support for this idea (and some poor editing) makes it nearly unusable. The Brawler of the Clawed Court trades flurry of blows for enhance, claw based damage and it is suppose to be more animalistic but it is not given sufficient support for that idea, which is unfortunate as it has some potential. Overall, while there are some good and interesting ideas here, they need further development to be more than just ideas.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Folk Fey and Fair  [PFRPG]
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Shadowrun: The Assassin's Primer
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/26/2013 15:26:57
The Assassin’s Primer provides information about assassins, killer for hire, in the Shadowrun setting. While I was worried about the choice of professional killers for an early sourcebook, after all Shadowrun characters can be quite violent enough as it is, the (in game) author of this work advises restraint and minimizing damage beyond the target. Such things are welcome in the realm of character (and player) advice. Beyond that, it provides a useful -if short- reference to the types of assassins and a basic overview of how they work.

Shadowrun: The Assassin’s Primer, is a short piece on assassins and other killers in the Sixth World, how and why they operate and some advice on what sort of skills and tools they will need to survive and prosper. It is a good general overview and of use to shadowrunners as the tricks of the trade overlap considerably.

The only new toy is the venerable (very by 2072) SVD sniper rifle and there are five new assassin’s creeds (code of honor) qualities, four of which are positive and one negative, which give a few more tools to flesh out hitters but some of them are definitely better suited to NPCs. There is also a short section for the GM on integrating ‘lone wolf’ characters (like assassins) into a game, which is nice.

Overall, a not unuseful resource and a good read, but nothing really new is presented here. It may be best suited as a handout to new players to shadowrun as an “in game” introduction to some of the main themes of the setting.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: The Assassin's Primer
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Chrome Compilation: Cyberpunk Style Guides #1 & #2
Publisher: R. Talsorian Games Inc.
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/20/2013 20:22:36
Chrome Compilation of Chrome Books 1 and 2, originally published in 1991 and 1992 respectively, wear their era of origin heavily. Chrome Book 1 is especially heavy with nostalgia and unintentional irony with faxes, wired modems and 80s fashion figuring heavily, the weapons and vehicles being a mix of (then) cutting edge modern and attempts at extrapolation. However, some of the cyberware (including the decentralized heart, one of my favorites) and chipware are still solid conceptually and the services section is full of interesting ideas. Chrome Book 2 is better at not being locked into its era of being made, well except for the computers. There are useful things to adapt for any cyberpunk setting including full conversion cyborgs, exotic body-shaping and crazy weapons. Most of the contents of these books are just good fodder for products and things for a near future setting, the rules are a bit more iffy.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Chrome Compilation: Cyberpunk Style Guides #1 & #2
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Chrome Compilation: Cyberpunk Style Guides #3 & #4
Publisher: R. Talsorian Games Inc.
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/20/2013 20:20:50
Chrome Compilation (2) of Chrome Books 3 and 4, first published in 1994 and 1996 respectively are more successful in being still felling like things from the potential futures also, no weapons in these books just gear and reference. Book 3 succeeds in being more forward looking even the computers are not so wince inducing, but the sections on full conversion ‘borgs and powered armor both require other books for full rules (Chrome Book 2 and Maximum Metal respectively). But the general tech items, cyberware, cyberpets (enhanced animals), robots and WADs (Working Assistant Droids built off the powered armor rules), are all very evocative and useful. Book 4 is good on cyberware but really shines on biotech, the vehicles are interesting though more illustrations would have been welcome. The fashion section is a little dated but still so much fun to read and has some useful note on clothes and the character. These are the best of the Chrome Book line, benefitting for the experience acquired on the first two and full of valuable inspiration for any cyberpunk styled game.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Chrome Compilation: Cyberpunk Style Guides #3 & #4
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Shadowrun: Dirty Tricks
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/16/2013 16:50:35
Dirty Tricks provides information about politics in the world of Shadowrun, which is a vicious and dangerous game even more so then today. It is a useful reference for games masters who want to mix politics with their games or just understand the way such things work in the Sixth World

Shadowrun: Dirty Tricks, a Deep Shadows Sourcebook, begins with the usual short piece of fiction, next it moves into a short primer on politics, focusing on what makes voter tick and what tricks are used to manipulate them. There is some good information here, mostly using mid to late 20th century examples. It then moves onto scandals, executive entertainment (escort services), and taking the bullet (bodyguards and security). These sections contain good general information on politics and are a useful reference for both the GM and players.

After laying the groundwork for political games (in both sense of the word) it moves on to various political hot spots:
• Seattle, at the exact point that Proposition 23 is going to the vote . . . and its immediate after effects. It’s a good time in old Seattle, oh, yes.
• UCAS, an overview of the politics including the upcoming presidential election, senatorial races and various local flashpoints. This provides good adventure seeds and some additional background on the hot issues in UCAS politics (and how they affect runners) is provided at the end of the section.
• The South, mostly about the CAS but also some information of Aztlan and Pueblo, there have been big changes in that region which have opened up jobs for shadowrunners.
• Tsimshian, politics at the edge of the NAN, a small nation and in rough shape -and thus open to Shadowrunners- but it gives a window into some of the wider debates as well.
• United Kingdom, the Mother of Parliaments is not in the best of shape, new politics, new coalitions. This section is very much an overview of the current situation in the UK with a few hints towards potential jobs.

Next, the Power Brokers section gives some details on the secret societies and individuals who shape politics from behind the scenes and what their goals are, probably. Not sold on conspiracies myself, but they do make good gaming fodder.

Lastly, Game Information, a slim six pages of how to apply the information in the book and at least two plots hooks (but not more than four) for each section of the book.

If a GM wants to bring politics to the front and center of their Shadowrun campaign, this is the book for you, otherwise, it is a useful reference as to how politics work in the former US parts North America (with some new info on Tsimshian and the UK). Though, oddly, the California Free State is only mentioned obliquely, you would think that the UCAS and CAS would have a little more interest in it.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Dirty Tricks
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Shadowrun: Mission: 04-10: Romero and Juliette
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/21/2013 14:03:57
Shadowrun Missions: Romero and Juliette (04-10), part of the Artifacts arc of adventures and is optimized as a Halloween adventure (with a nice sidebar discussing the moods it can be played in). Amusingly, Dark Angel’s music gets a sidebar in the initial scene of the adventure and it ties back to an earlier mission (2010-04 Humanitarian Aid) which could be fun for groups who have played through that. It does assume that the GM will have access to several of the Shadowrun source books (Street Magic is especially important) to run this adventure. It is ideal for anyone who ever wanted to include a zombie uprising in Shadowrun, though some of the parts of the adventure do not interlock as cleanly as I would like.

SM: Romero and Juliette seems like it should be a perfect Halloween adventure for an experienced team of characters, though groups that have been playing through the Artifacts track of the Shadowrun mission will obviously get more out of it. However, unfortunately, there is no star-crossed romance subplot, as the title would imply (it is instead a reference to the famous director of zombie films, I imagine).

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Mission: 04-10: Romero and Juliette
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Shadowrun: Dark Angel
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/21/2013 14:00:14
Dark Angel, from 1993 (when Shadowrun was moving from 1st to 2nd edition), has the characters hired to find out what happened to an up and coming rocker (the Dark Angel of the title) and get the rights to his music back. Of course, it is not a simple task, soon bringing the characters into conflict with the Yakuza. As an early scenario, it is fairly rigidly structured but it was trying to be more flexible using a decision-tree format but it still strikes me as heavily structured and tends to combat, but not a bad adventure all the same especially if you want to get your group involved in Yakuza politics.

Though, as I have said before in my other reviews of the older adventures, I think Catalyst missed a beat by not providing a conversion document to a more modern version of the Shadowrun rules set.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Dark Angel
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Shadowrun: Storm Front
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/26/2013 22:21:52
Shadowrun: Storm Front provides a bridge from the end of the 4th edition storyline to the new world of Shadowrun, 5th edition. It does so in some fairly spectacular ways, making the world of 2074 a brave new one . . . But unless you are a huge metaplot junkie, your can probably glean what your need to run a game from the fifth edition core book along and be happy

Storm Front is a source book for Shadowrun, it moves the Sixth World’s time line forward and with it, many of the metaplots, some drawing to a close, others continue to accelerate laying the groundwork for the brave new world of Shadowrun, fifth edition.

Big things resolve in the Aztlan-Amazonian War (spoiler: Aztlan wins) and what with the Dragon Civil War moving along, the setting loses two great dragons, one through a massive amount of raw military might, the other though dragon on dragon violence. The world is changing and probably not for the better especially given the weird things happening in orbit and further afield.

Denver is in chaos but the Japancorps are pulling back together, Ares has hit a rough patch and the matrix is adjusting to closer (read corporate) oversight. Vampires and ghouls are getting hungrier, while the Tir is calming down, and Mayor Brackhaven of Seattle may finally be falling from power.

While most of the book is time line and metaplot advancement, there are some game rules and statistics for major characters in the back along for some scenario seeds. But a lot of important information that is mentioned in the main body, such as some actual information the chemical anti-dragon weapon that has weird effects on people as well, or suggestion to how to adjudicate the changes to the infected.

Overall, a useful book for those who enjoy seeing how the Sixth World evolves but it is of more limited value to those who are not avid followers of the metaplot.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Storm Front
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