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Vampire Court
Publisher: Sonic Legends
by NB N. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/14/2010 21:06:12
Harpsichord is all I can say. How can that be bad? It starts with the rather typical harpsichord melody you would expect. It brings in some strings and plucking. I actually think it may be better suited for an elven kingdom or some other regal atmosphere over vampires. It does take a bit of a darker turn at the end, so I won't say it's not useful for what it suggests. I'm just not positive I'd come up with the title.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire Court
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Trick or Treat
Publisher: Sonic Legends
by NB N. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/14/2010 21:01:38
This is a rather quiet track filled with distorted sound effects to creep you out. Most of it seems to be sounds in reverse and very distorted chipmunk-esque voices. Not that it's a bad thing. It's reminiscent of little aliens/demons running around in the dark trying to prey on children that decide to follow them on their doomed trick or treating route. It could be used for other scenarios, even a haunted house or representing the players going insane and hearing taunting voices. Nice track.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Trick or Treat
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Serial Killer
Publisher: Sonic Legends
by NB N. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/14/2010 20:57:20
This is mostly a guitar heavy rock sounding track with some vibraslap thrown in for good measure. Overall, I'd say it's more appropriate if the serial killer in question is more aggressive and patrolling the streets for victims. It doesn't really suggest a hidden danger or someone trying to lure the PC or PCs into a situation where they will be defenseless. Eventually, it turns a bit more mellow with some keys and guitar and I'm not sure how it fits. After listening a bit more, I'd say the end actually works better for a serial killer if the group stumbles upon the killers abode filled with disturbing remains of his work.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Serial Killer
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Lonely Graveyard
Publisher: Sonic Legends
by NB N. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/14/2010 20:51:49
Lonely Graveyard is appropriately named in this case. Very little music in this track. Atonal hums and distortion in the background. Wolves howl. Birds screech. Creatures of some sort cry out now and again. Thunder claps. Finally, the strings begin in earnest as a sense of looming dread sets in. Nice for a dark wilderness trip for hapless PCs who will surely be lucky to survive the night.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Lonely Graveyard
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Haunted House
Publisher: Sonic Legends
by NB N. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/14/2010 20:47:43
I would say this reminds me most of a New Wave synth pop version of the Friday the 13th theme. There are creepy laughs and cackles thrown in very lightly in the background. I'm not as big of a fan of the tracks that sound too MIDI, but it gets the job done for sure. The song transitions to some 80s guitar before going to a distorted sounding version of the beginning of the song. The semi-romantic sounding interlude near the end is a bit confusing, but hey, it's kind of an 80s throwback, so it works.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Haunted House
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Demented Carnival
Publisher: Sonic Legends
by NB N. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/14/2010 20:44:11
Ask and you shall receive for this one. I would say it is very Pee Wee's Big Adventure-esque to start with the typical Big Top melodies and odd theremin in the background. It then transitions to a very creepy percussion bell sound with the theremin again. The more classic carnival music starts again before the big finish and final slow down of bells again. Not too bad if you have a need for a creep circus vibe.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Demented Carnival
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City of Jade
Publisher: Sonic Legends
by NB N. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/14/2010 20:39:27
A fairly innocuous track with Asian inspired strings and woodwinds. It's rather soothing at the beginning and appropriate for just about any Far East setting. It makes for good background music that would fit for a "world map" type situation in a video game or maybe just walking around a town. You could probably use it for other scenarios like a halfling town of tinkerers or craftsman of artifacts the adventurers hadn't seen before. Maybe a Dragonborn village in D&D. It fades before restarting, so the looping isn't a problem at all.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
City of Jade
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Elven City
Publisher: Sonic Legends
by NB N. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/14/2010 20:35:16
This track is dissonant and mysterious, adding the right type of atmosphere to an encounter with a calm and awe inspiring Elven City. It isn't overly heroic sounding necessarily or dark like City of Dark Elves. It allows for a bit of a different mood during your game. I love Sonic Legends and think my players enjoy the added effect of music with our sessions.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Elven City
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Awakened
Publisher: Three Fourteen Games
by NB N. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/14/2010 20:29:48
This is an interesting little adventure if you are looking for a straightforward investigation game. It's written to be system neutral and has hints for translating it to multiple RPGs. Overall, it's a fun premise, but doesn't quite have the supernatural implications that I imagined. I expected much more of a twist at the end. However, if you go into it looking for a real world mystery where your players are seeking the truth behind their incomprehensible actions the night before, you'll be happy. I'm considering using the cold open as the start of a one shot where it does go crazy supernatural though. The clues and locations will still be applicable. It's just a matter of modifying the ending and filling in the gaps.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Awakened
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Rogue Trader: Into The Storm
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
by NB N. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/14/2010 19:10:24
Let me start by saying this book is PACKED with new content. If you play Rogue Trader, this is a must have. You should be buying this book right now, but if you aren’t convinced, let’s go into the details.

The first chapter provides new options for character creation including new origin paths for every single choice from the original core rulebook. That basically doubles your options for building your new character. Sure, it’s only reflected in bonuses and additional starting talent and skills, but it adds so much potential for roleplaying if you want mechanical bonuses for your background choices. I love this addition to the book and it was totally unexpected.

Not only does the first chapter lay out new character creation options, it provides the structure for building your own Warrant of Trade. It involves a number of tradeoffs in starting profit factor and your ship while adding interesting story elements to the game. For example, you gain different numbers of profit factor and ship points depending on the fame of your Warrant. Famous Warrants give you more ship points, Infamous ones provide higher profit factor, and Unknown Warrants are basically balanced. Several of these options exist and the final tally provides your starting resources for your Dynasty. Again, the theme of this book is more detailed mechanics and customization of your character, ship, and history.

Perhaps everyone’s most desired content is the incorporation of Xenos species as PCs. Unfortunately, the only two races included are the Kroot and Orks. It’s not a bad thing per se. It’s just not as many options as I’d like to see. Each race has a new Career Path that you can take as well as new Alternate Career Ranks that players can take to augment their primary path. These add a bit more customization as you can expect along with additional options to buy new skills and talents based on those paths. I don’t want to disparage this section of the book in light of all the other amazing content, but wanted to make sure people didn’t expect a huge set of new races and Career Paths.

I think the next two chapters can be summed up together and fairly easily. They are the expanded Armory and Shipships. Each of these chapters offers at least 3-4 new options for each TYPE of weapon, armor, gear, ship component, archeotech, etc. So it’ll have on average 2-3 new Las weapons, grenades, power armor, engines, Xenos ship tech, the list goes on. It’s more toys for you to kill your enemies with and stop them from killing you first.

The Vehicles chapter is a welcome addition for sure. I expected a list of vehicle rules with tons of stats to use them. I got the rules to use vehicles and of course some standard examples. Where the book provides nice mechanics is how to build your own vehicles for use in the game. It’s probably something I’ll incorporate later, but is nice to have now. The only critique I have is the lack of ground vehicles. Most of those offered up are aerial vehicles and there aren’t really any options for something like a heavy tank, which seems like something my players always want to acquire. I guess I’ll have to whip them one up.

I’ll brush over the Psychic Powers chapter and just say that like the Armory and Starship chapters, it has more options for you. The next big thing (I promise I’m wrapping up soon) is the new game mechanics. GMs get instructions on creating new types of endeavours like Meta Endeavours, which are basically campaign length missions that span several common endeavours. Also in this chapter, you’ll find new acquisition rules. PCs keep buying bling and Terminator Power Armor? Someone is going to notice. Generally, that means something bad happens. No one likes a show off after all. Finally, the chapter has a section on ship roles, so your players can more clearly define what their character would be in charge of on the ship and actually allows for a chain of command if you like. All in all, these are some nice new additions to the game.

Last, but not least, the book’s final chapter details more about life on Port Wander and it’s denizens. My group doesn’t spend too much time there, but with all this information, you could set up some pretty serious political intrigue and social endeavours. Again, I love the inclusion of more information on locations in the universe as I try to flesh out a more realistic world for my players.

So what does all this mean? This book is absolutely crammed with new options for your Rogue Trader game. If you don’t find something you like in this book, you probably haven’t opened it yet. I can’t wait to incorporate these options into a game and see what the players think. Oh, and be careful. Rogue Trader has since started me playing Deathwatch as well. If you can play one, you can play the other with very little start up time. The best part is the additional books can add new equipment and powers to any of your Warhammer 40K games. With Rogue Trader, Deathwatch, and Dark Heresy, every book you buy is leveraged by 3 games! Is very good deal! (That’s from The State if anyone wonders)

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rogue Trader: Into The Storm
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Deathwatch: Game Master's Kit
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
by Neil M. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/14/2010 19:06:07
A group of listeners recorded a Deathwatch session and sent it to me for a listen. I was immediately hooked. It has the same mechanics as Rogue Trader, which I already love, but has a significantly different feel. It’s not better or worse, just different in an awesome way. Now I need to check out Dark Heresy.

Ok, you didn’t read this to hear about Warhammer 40K games in general. I decided to take a look at the Deathwatch GM Screen/Kit because I plan on running a Play-by-Post game and need some guidance. First, the artwork is gorgeous if you have the physical screen or print it out. More importantly, almost every table you need is provided in a nice reference. That shouldn’t shock anyone since that’s its purpose. They succeeded in putting together a nice resource though.

For those of you who like PDFs though, the screen is a nice reference, but the GM booklet maybe an even bigger draw. It includes a very nice adventure to get you into the game. Not only does it give you enough background to make you comfortable leading your players through, it also provides a list of NPCs with plot hooks and possible interactions, all the enemy stats or quick references to the Deathwatch Core Rulebook (also available on DriveThruRPG), and even additional guidance on building your own missions. Obviously, the adventure looks fun with plenty of Xenos to smite and strange technologies to investigate. It is also chalk full of flavor text, detailed descriptions of the environment, and speeches by NPCs.

I think the addition of mission and campaign building tips is great icing on the cake. It lays out the building blocks for a good mission with examples and describes how you can mix and match these blocks to give players a diverse experience while maintaining the mood/atmosphere you are looking for. For military based games, this diversity is critical as it is easy to fall into the “go here, kill that” mentality.

This is a great resource for GMs that want a quick reference to all the tables necessary to adjudicate the slaughter of homicidal Xenos hordes and for those looking for a new adventure to run with suggestions for how you can change up your own campaigns so that your players keep coming back for more. Fantasy Flight is quickly becoming one of my favorite publishers.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deathwatch: Game Master's Kit
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Kobold Quarterly Magazine 15
Publisher: Kobold Press
by NB N. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/13/2010 11:31:43
Another great issue of KQ. I currently run 4E games only, so I paid most attention to the Reasons to Ride and Rig This! articles. The additional mounted combat options are a nice addition with three nice new mounts. They even included some anti-cavalry feats like Forced Dismount to knock a rider off. The Rig This! section is basically a crafting option for rogues (or other sneaky folks) to build mechanical traps. There are 8 rigs through heroic levels. I would love to see an additional feature with higher level rigs since my main campaign is in Paragon tier. I'm sure they'll add more options eventually. In the meantime, check out some fun new options for your game.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Kobold Quarterly Magazine 15
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Firearms of the High Seas
Publisher: EN Publishing
by NB N. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/13/2010 11:21:56
This is a nice supplement to integrate flintlock pistols and muskets into your 4E game. I like the idea of having firearms in my campaign in a way that isn't overpowered and can be integrated without ruining game balance. The reload time is what makes the damage and brutal status not too powerful. Just like in the pirate age, you likely get a shot off and then go back to the sword before you are gutted. For a buck fifty, this supplement provides several firearms options and even a few magic versions to choose from. They'll show up in my New World campaign in a limited way (don't want too many guns out there) soon.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Firearms of the High Seas
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rpgKids (v1.5)
Publisher: Highmoon Games
by NB N. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/23/2010 14:26:59
rpgKids is a fantasic product for getting young children into gaming. It uses very simple mechanics that make it easy for children to learn and play the game, but also helps strengthen their math skills. For $3 there is no reason not to try it out if you small children around 5 or so.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
rpgKids (v1.5)
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Counter Collection Digital v3.0 Paragon 2 Expansion
Publisher: Fiery Dragon
by NB N. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/05/2010 10:29:58
These are great collections and I particularly love this option. Combined with the interactive PDF template that Fiery Dragon offers, you can use the individual JPEGs in this collection to print only the monsters you want in any number you want. Also, if you use MapTools or other programs that allow you to create individualized tokens to represent characters and monsters, this set is perfect to create counters that accurately represent the paragon tier monsters from Monster Manual 2 (4E). Your virtual tabletop D&D and fantasy games just got that much better. The art is high quality, the colors are bright, and I have used Fiery Dragon counters from day one for my enemies.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Counter Collection Digital v3.0 Paragon 2 Expansion
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