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Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Event Book (Essentials Edition)
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Ubiratan A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/27/2012 14:03:24
It's got the same high quality as the core game, and a lot of usable hero data files. However, the Civil War storyline, with which I wasn't familiar before, didn't appeal to me very much. On the bright side, the book presents a chance to run things differently from how they were in the comics.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Event Book (Essentials Edition)
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Technoir
Publisher: Cellar Games, LLC
by Ubiratan A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/27/2012 13:58:29
This is a blast to read, and it gets the feel of classic cyberpunk just right. The system seems pretty fun and workable, centered around building a story the whole table can agree on while following the game's main themes. If you don't want to use it, though, the game's mechanics for generating a plot on the fly based on the PC's connections are more or less independent from the rest of the rules, and could easily be lifted for use in other games.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Technoir
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Shards of the Exalted Dream
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Ubiratan A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/27/2012 13:51:16
Quite possibly one of the best Exalted supplements I've ever read, and an excellent sendoff to the game's second edition. The alternate settings are pretty good, and all of them feel new and fresh. The mechanics hew to the high standard of the recent Scroll of Errata and the Glories of the Most High supplements, and bring at long last official support for "modern" Exalted (my first Exalted Modern campaign was in 2004 or thereabouts).

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shards of the Exalted Dream
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Shadowrun: 99 Bottles
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Ubiratan A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/08/2012 16:14:29
This is a surprisingly nice adventure! It manages to present a dark setting while still making the player characters feel suitably anti-heroic, which is more than can be said of some earlier releases such as Ghost Cartels or certain Missions adventures, which expects your group to be downright villainous.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: 99 Bottles
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Shadowrun: Mercurial
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Ubiratan A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/08/2012 16:06:33
This is a classic for a reason. The plot is deceptively simple, and converting this to a more recent edition of Shadowrun or even to another system would be pretty easy. It's more than worth the price tag.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Mercurial
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Shadowrun: Artifacts Unbound
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Ubiratan A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/08/2012 15:55:17
This book is a sequel of sorts to the Dawn of the Artifacts adventure series, which ends in a vague note, promising that all of its loose ends will be wrapped up here. Given this is a full-sized book, I expected it to both deliver on this promise, and to offer adventures and plot hooks for new artifacts, and maybe even rules to use artifacts in play.

I regret to say I was disappointed. "Artifacts Unbound" vacillates between wanting to be a sequel to Dawn of the Artifacts, a companion to the "Artifact Rush" plot line in the Shadowrun Missions adventures, and an introduction to the whole "artifacts" arc. It succeeds somewhat on the later two goals, but not on the first, which is the one I was the most interested in.

The main problem I had with the adventures and plot hooks in Artifacts Unbound was that they focus solely on the same four artifacts your PCs spent four long adventures chasing and obtaining. It weaves a tale saying they "don't want to be together" for some reason, and uses that as an excuse to have them turn up all over the world again and again. And again. And again. Most of the pages in the book are dedicated to sending the players after the same old four artifacts several more times, which devalues the effort they went through during Dawn of the Artifacts.

A few of the adventures here are appropriate as sequels, since they involve chasing after the secret to unlocking the power of these "Dawn" artifacts, or entirely unrelated items of similar power. They're not the majority of the material, though.

In short, this book will be far more useful for groups who haven't played through Dawn of the Artifacts. There's enough information here on the four artifacts from that series, and enough adventures focused on chasing them around to provide context. Groups who have played through Dawn of the Artifacts might as well just skip to the very last fiction piece, which delivers the promised payoff, and then play the independent adventures after that.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Artifacts Unbound
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Shadowrun: Horizon Adventure 2 Anarchy: Subsidized
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Ubiratan A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/30/2012 12:21:07
This adventure contains some innovative systems, and a somewhat unorthodox story, but unfortunately I was still disappointed with it, because frankly the mission itself is a little repulsive.

On the surface, it almost sounds like something out of the early days of Shadowrun - help an oppressed artist leave the claws of her evil corporate masters! Except you're "helping" her through a smear campaign that involves selling a baby clone of her to the black market, and the final goal is to deliver the artist into the claws of another corporate master. For an adventure that claims to bring the punk back into Shadowrun, it sure makes you sell out big time.

Like the first Horizon adventure, it hides the seeds of something good, but making them bloom properly would require extensive reworking. But while you could at least use the first half of the previous adventure basically unchanged, you'll have to rework all of Anarchy Subsizided if you're not okay with its basic plot. I'm not sure it's worth even the discounted PDF price.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Horizon Adventure 2 Anarchy: Subsidized
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Leverage: The Quickstart Job
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Ubiratan A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/30/2011 12:11:53
It's a pretty good introduction, and a blast to play with people who know the series, but it feels a little too "scripted" at times.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Leverage: The Quickstart Job
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6-Pack Adventures: Sickness in Springdale [4e]
Publisher: Postmortem Studios
by Ubiratan A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/18/2011 11:13:12
My previous experience with ready-made D&D adventures was mostly with the ones from Dungeon Magazine. Compared with the long, pointless, blood-soaked slogs published there, this one comes off as short, sweet, to the point, and overall very nice. It packs a lot of atmosphere on its short setting description and introductory chapter, and the pregen characters included here nicely complement the storyline with their differing opinions and potential for intra-party drama.

It also doesn't feel the need to make characters advance levels by shoehorning 10-20 combat encounters into the storyline - the combats that are there are all very dramatically appropriate and serve the story, rather than the other way around.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
6-Pack Adventures: Sickness in Springdale [4e]
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Shadowrun: Horizon Adventure 1:A Fistful of Credsticks
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Ubiratan A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/18/2011 11:04:30
A Fistful of Credsticks is a decent adventure, but not a truly great one. It does a good job of exposing your shadowrunners to the Sixth World celebrity scene, but despite being labeled as a "Horizon Adventure" the part of it that actually has anything to do with Horizon is a bit contrived. It feels like it was added later, and so this book suffers from a somewhat attenuated form of the problem First Run had. The first half of it is a perfectly fine series of shadowruns, with no relation to Horizon. Getting the second part to happen takes a lot of railroading on the part of the GM, or some work to make it better. It does give those who thought Horizon was "too clean" something to chew on, though.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Horizon Adventure 1:A Fistful of Credsticks
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Shadowrun: Mission: 04-01: Hiding in the Dark
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Ubiratan A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/15/2011 07:49:24
Shadowrun Missions have come a long way from their humble beginnings - this one is among the better published adventures for Shadowrun I've read in a while.

It sets the runners up with the job of tracking down a suspect for the police, a mob boss that they can't reach through their normal means. It lays out a fairly logical chain of investigation to get to this suspect, and has a hard, meaningful choice for the players at the end. It's possible the players might guess what that choice is before it's fully set up, but that doesn't take away from its weight. I would recommend Game Masters spend a bit of time thinking about the ending before they run the adventure, and prepare for the case when runners choose an option not outlined in the pre-written material. They should run with it, of course, but shouldn't be caught by surprise. This is one of those sticky situations where none of the "default" choices might feel good, so some players will enjoy thinking up alternatives.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Mission: 04-01: Hiding in the Dark
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Shadowrun: On The Run
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Ubiratan A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/29/2010 10:13:40
This is a fairly good adventure, with lots of advice for beginning GM's, but it has a serious plot flaw, in that about half of it will only happen if your players are curious enough to deviate from their given mission parameters and investigate the true nature of the McGuffin they've been asked to retrieve. If you aren't sure they will do that on their own, you will have to include some extra incentive.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: On The Run
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Cyberpunk v.3
Publisher: R. Talsorian Games Inc.
by Ubiratan A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/29/2010 10:10:01
This was a disappointment for me. The layout is actually painful to look at on a screen, it's hard to find the rules you want, and enough has been said about the doll art that I don't need to elaborate further. Plus, the book is incomplete - the print version has some 18 extra pages that aren't present on the PDF. If you absolutely must own this game, go with the print version.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Cyberpunk v.3
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Ex Machina
Publisher: Guardians of Order
by Ubiratan A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/29/2010 10:05:36
An excellent book about cyberpunk roleplaying. It starts off with a history of the genre, in both literature and RPGs, provides a set of workable Tri-Stat rules for cyberpunk games, and closes off with four very good and very distinct settings.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ex Machina
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Shadowrun: War!
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Ubiratan A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/29/2010 10:02:15
I'm usually generous when evaluating Shadowrun books, for a number of reasons, but even I noticed some problems with "War!"

From what I gather, this was originally supposed to be a generic supplement on how war is conducted in the Sixth World, but the concept was changed to that of a "story arc" book like Emergence and Ghost Cartels. Either of these would have been fine on its own, but it looks like the book that actually hit the shelves was a strange mix of both that does neither well.

The first half of the book is devoted to moving the Shadowrun metaplot forward by describing a war between Aztlan and Amazonia, something which has been hinted at for a while now. Unlike the previous titles mentioned above, which give you a broad timeline with a definite series of events, along with several adventures or adventure ideas for each major stage of the story, you get a handful of chapters that look like a big stream of conscience, with disorganized and somewhat redundant thoughts on the city ob Bogotá and what's going on in there. An actual description of the events that lead to the start of the war doesn't appear until chapter 2, and there are no maps at all. The authors themselves could have really used one, since there's no mention of Bogotá being right in the middle of the Andes mountains - it's instead described as being surrounded by jungle.

In the end, the feeling I got from reading this part of the book is that it went through no editing at all. I have no way of knowing whether this was actually the case, but it feels that way. Things are just sort of tossed together in there. You have a description of how the war starts, but not of how it ends (and no explicit indication that they intended to leave the end of the war for a future supplement). They mention it's a big war, and that fighting happens on lots of places along the border, but nothing outside of Bogotá is described. The Aztlan and Amazonian forces are given cursory descriptions. When you get to the descriptions of how wars are fought on the Sixth World, you get told they're basically the same as they were on the 20th century, despite all the high-tech and magic described in nearly every Shadowrun book.

There are /some/ passages here that are still good, like the one where they describe example shadowrunner teams that could be used as PCs or adversaries, but again, they don't seem to have developed much beyond the draft stage.

The "Global Hotspots" chapter is a better, with short, punchy vignettes about several other places around the world, each followed by 3-4 campaign or adventure ideas. I wouldn't have minded if the whole book had been written in this format. The brevity of each "hotspot" description leaves little room for factual errors or stream-of-conscience style rambling, so it's definitely an asset. Most of the campaign ideas are also pretty good!

Finally we get to the game information chapter, which is a bit of a mixed bag. It has information on how to run a mercenary/military campaign in the Sixth World, nothing how it differs from a standard "shadowrunners" game, which I guess is serviceable. There are also rules for post-traumatic stress disorders and when to ask for Composure tests during a war, which are fine. There's also a list of military gear, from load-bearing vests to nuclear warheads, which seems to suffer from some editing problems of its own if the forum discussions about it are anything to go by. Personally, I didn't pay much attention to it, as most of the gear and rules contained there already exist in GURPS, which is what I use to run my Shadowrun games.

All in all, I don't feel this is worth the price of purchase.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: War!
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