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Weird Wars Rome: Enemies of Rome Figure Flats
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Keith (. T. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/27/2013 12:46:54
These figures are used for Savage Worlds Wierd Wars Rome setting book. Pinnacle Entertainment produces several lines of this product type for playing in various settings. In this case, the figure flats are for the enemies of Rome including barbarians, pirates, and armies of enemy empires.

The artwork is very nice and can be used for virtual tabletops or face to face play. The flats could easily be used for other games from the era or for fantasy settings as well. Overall another good job by PEG.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Weird Wars Rome: Enemies of Rome Figure Flats
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Weird Wars Rome: Legionary Archetypes
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Keith (. T. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/18/2013 19:21:14
This is a great supplement to the WW Rome Savage Setting. In it you'll find a variety of legionnaires, each with a unique background and distinct traits. Included in the set are the DECANUS - the leader, The Ox - a strong man with a kind spirit, The Face - nobility seeking charmer, The Tough - Too tough for Cerberus to chew, The eager recruit - yeah, you're that guy, and the hunter - your usual woodsman in Roman armor.

The product comes with standees for minis but if you're a VTT users, you can simply copy the images out as tokens. The PDF is extremely well formatted allowing you remove the background, images, or text for printing or copying.

Overall this is an excellent product with great content and high production value. If you're thinking of running a WWR game, this would be a good set of characters to give your gamers or a great NPC set if they've created their own.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Weird Wars Rome: Legionary Archetypes
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Counter Collection Digital v3.0 Heroic 3 Expansion
Publisher: Fiery Dragon
by Keith (. T. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/18/2013 19:01:43
This is a nice select of tokens for your 4e game. I liked the jpgs for virtual tabletop use. You simply unzip the product into your resource library and you're ready to go. The artwork leans towards cartoonish rather than realistic but I don't see that as a drawback.

For you face-to-face gamers, the product contains some pdfs that allow you to place images onto an 8.5x11 page to be printed and cut out as needed.

Overall a good product and well worth the price.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Counter Collection Digital v3.0 Heroic 3 Expansion
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Quick Maps: Super Dungeon I
Publisher: Project Zero Games
by Keith (. T. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/18/2013 18:49:44
This pack features fifty-three pages of 8x8 maps with numerous version of rooms and halls. There are quite a few special features including pits and rooms with iconography. You're supposed to print this out for use in a dungeon but I'm a virtual tabletop person so I stripped the images out for use in MapTool.

To do this I loaded the PDF into GIMP export one image per layer as a jpg. The resulting images have a grid size of fifty. It seems the printed grid is just a bit off but not enough to affect game play.

Overall this is a good product for both face-to-face and online gaming but you'll need to put in a little work to get it ready for online play.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Quick Maps: Super Dungeon I
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Interface Zero 1.0
Publisher: Gun Metal Games
by Keith (. T. A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/16/2013 15:58:46
Interface Zero is the goto book for cyberpunk savagery. It has detailed history, equipment, characters, and setting information for this dystopian future. The authors do an excellent job of drawing you into the setting with a writing style that's engaging and informative. The system does a great job of shoehorning cyber into Savage Worlds via a method that is clean and elegant.

The only negative I have is the amount of history presented up front. It's great stuff but it took a while to get through.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Interface Zero 1.0
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The Shrine of Olikulese (FAE)
Publisher: Chubby Monster Games
by Keith (. T. A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/16/2013 15:50:37
Nice, clean module with a great layout and maps. The adventure uses the Fate Accelerated system which is east to comprehend and run. The authors have a nice selection of magic items, monsters and pre-generated NPCs. This would be a great, short adventure for those getting back together for the holidays.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Shrine of Olikulese (FAE)
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Publisher Reply:
Thank you for the review, we appreciate the feedback!
Savage Worlds Deluxe: Explorer's Edition
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Keith (. T. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/14/2013 14:16:11
A Deluxe treatment of the Savage Worlds Core rules brings a few new elements without alienating the throngs of Savages that hold their SW Explorer's Editions as the best RPG they've ever bought. Or, at least the best value and definitively lives up to it's Fast, Furious, and Fun pulpy play goodness.

Those that have the original Savage Worlds Hardbound will notice that we're seeing the evolution of a game system that has gone from the 146 page hardbound that was a fun alternative to d20 (d20 conversion guide included), to the 160 page (and famously $10) Explorers Edition and now back to a hardbound Deluxe Edition. I believe everyone can admit that the SW:EX form factor took SW from established indie/fringe to something every gamer and podcast has talked about for the past few years. I grinned and chuckled to myself as I made my weekly game store visit many months ago and saw the DnD 4e "Essentials" format books. I thought "Oh, how the mighty have fallen!" In a way, it's one of the nicest compliments Pinnacle could have received. WOTC's 4e Gamma World rules were also in SWEX sized format but proved that the right size with crap rules is still a poor combination. That's another rant for another time. Recently, I've seen Troll Lord's 3 book, smaller than SWEX, Castles and Crusades "Digest" set that has gone a bit too far. But, you get the point, the market has changed and Pinnacle was a driver to a new and better way.

The covers of the 3 SW editions tell an evolving story. We see it visually. Originally SW is carved in stone and with the Deluxe Edition's SW logo - it's embossed gold. But for those of us who loved DnD in it's primitive days have learned, really great art doesn't a great system make, but it helps.

First Blush:
Great Art. Cover: newish logo with multiple genres telling the story. Full page ads for Pinnacle settings between the Intro and Chapter 1: Character Creation that capture the different genres nicely. The Ripper's ad with it's hunter sporting wolverine-like claws confronting a Promethean monstrosity rocks! Lots of full page great looking art sprinkled throughout.
Design Notes - as you could guess, it's a paragraph that focuses on an aspect of the game that the designers want to emphasize. Good insight from the creators!
GUTS are gone! - out of the core rules and into setting rules that need it. Makes sense.
Dramatic Tasks - adds a mechanic for when a hero is in a dramatic situation and needs to perform a task to save the day under a tight time restriction. This mechanic or element adds to the feel of the pressure.
New Setting Rules - ie "Blood & Guts: Characters can spend Bennies on damage rolls! Use this rule when you really want to up the carnage." Also, Born A Hero, Critical Failures, Fanatics, and Gritty Damage.... are some other examples. Gritty Damage sounds ALOT like the styles found in Reality Blurs: Realms of Cthulhu. Interesting! There are quite a few new ideas here that can really add a new feel to the very same adventures you've played.
Interludes - essentially using character down-time to add to character development. A simple mechanic that involves the GM picking a character and that player picks a card (Clubs-tragedy, Spades-Victory, Hearts-Love, and Diamonds-Desire). The player then tells the tale of the type chosen (tragedy, love, etc..). Assuming a moving or entertaining tale is told, a reward is given of a Benny or Adventure Card chosen by the player.
GM section - The Countdown - (a Design Note) put a limit or sense of urgency to limit those that are taking too long to make decision of what to do next. Not to be overused.
Fun new One-Sheet adventures
While not exhaustive, I think you'll agree there's quite a bit of good new stuff to add to our Savage Worlds adventures. I didn't get the feeling that the system suddenly changed but just had some additional mechanics that can add to the fun...and some stress! I think I'll go start prepping some stories for an interlude.

Here's a much longer list of features by a current GM for our 1930's Pulp Campaign, John Riggs who dug through the Pinnacle forums for this compilation:

CHANGES

- Guts skill removed from core rules (but mentioned as a possible setting rule)

- Driving is now a free action unless the character is performing a maneuver

- Leadership Edges can be used on Wild Cards

- Background Edges can be taken after character creation

- Double Barrel Shotgun slightly tweaked in how it works

- A Shaken while on Hold loses Hold Status

- Shaken results now merely limit the character to free actions (instead of no actions) and do not halve the character's Pace

- new Incapacitation table (including some "Bleeding Out" rules)

- Healing can now only be attempted on each individual's fresh wounds once in the "Golden Hour." (Plus an attempt to revive if the target is Incapacitated.) They can't cause an additional wound through rolling a 1 or less however.

- area effect attacks now get an extra 1d6 damage for a raise (like most attacks)

- prone defenders may no longer rise to defend themselves automatically (it requires an action and takes 2" of movement)

- new Chase rules (also, the Climb stat for aircraft works differently in this context)

- tweaks to some powers (e.g., the Bolt power can be used for multiple bolts, or one increased damage bolt, but not both at once)


ADDITIONS

designer notes (explanations and reflections on the rules by the PEG folks)
archetypes (character templates that let you create NPCs easily on the fly, or allow new players to jump right in)
example Races (e.g., elf, dwarf, android, etc.)
race creation rules (similar to those found in the Fantasy Companion or Slipstream)
clarified rules on common knowledge v. specific knowledge
Knowledge: Language rules
about 20 new Edges (including some new combat and leadership edges)
many more vehicles included in the gear section (more similar to the old hardback SW rules than SW:EX)
some notes for playing without miniatures, including how to approximate area templates without a battle map
rules for Improvised Weapons
rules for Push (which can be used to push, shield bash, or knock someone prone)
rules for Rapid Attack (basically three attacks in one round, all at a penalty)
rules for Firing Blind
rules for Social Conflicts
rules for Dramatic Tasks (basically performing tasks with a time limit - e.g., diffusing a bomb)
rules for Interludes (sort of like little "flashback" scenarios for in between major parts of the plot)
a section on common Setting Rules (e.g., the Guts skill, gritty damage, etc.)
inclusion of a bunch of new powers (including many from from the Fantasy Companion)
inclusion of power trapping rules
Combat Ratings (notes on balancing and scaling combat encounters)
several one-sheet adventures
a character sheet

This is truly one of the best values in gaming. I played for two years in the core rule book before every buying a supplement. If you like rapid-fire combat and intuitive rules, Savage Worlds is the system for you.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Deluxe: Explorer's Edition
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Savage Worlds Horror Companion
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Keith (. T. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/14/2013 14:08:49
Review originally appeared at http://rptroll.blogspot.com/2011/12/review-savage-worlds-hor-
ror-companion.html

Pinnacle Entertainment Group released a new member of their Companion series for the Horror genre. This work joins the Super Powers and Fantasy Companions as supplements to the Savage Worlds rules set. Like the others in the series, the Horror Companion is in the smaller Explorer’s Edition format.

One important note: this rule book does not stand on its own. It is a supplement. You must have either the Savage Worlds Deluxe Edition or Savage Worlds Explorer’s Edition in order to fully utilize this product.

The Horror Companion contains generous amounts of artwork, reference tables, encounters, character additions, and equipment for all your Horror genre needs. It’s information-packed pages contain rules and setting advice to recreate Horror/Super Natural adventures in the Victorian worlds of Bram Stoker and Mary Shelly, the modern slap-stick humor of Ghostbusters, the serial action/horror adventures of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the star-spanning terror of H. P. Lovecraft's creations, or the futuristic nightmare creatures of the Alien franchise all packed in 144 pages.

Character Creation

In the Savage Worlds tradition of Fast, Furious, and Fun; the Horror Companion jumps right into character creation. Savage Worlds is one of the best game systems for replicating the theatrical adventure one finds in movies and novels. To that end, the work includes a number of customized Edges and Hindrances to allow for characters pulled straight from the movie house.

The new Edges and Hindrances for your players and NPCs include:


Hindrances
Angst
Bleeder
Bullet Magnet
Cursed
Combat Shock
Doubting Thomas
Jumpy
Screamer
Slow
Touched
Victim
Edges
Relentless
Fanaticism
Exorcist
Necromancer
Master Necromancer
Talisman Craftsman
Monster Hunter
Sound Mind
Tower of Will
Hardened
Occultist
One of the Chosen
Visions
If your campaign is a little more powerful, you can also have non-human characters and NPCs. Be warned, they will be distinctly more power than the humans. If you plan on running a mixed character group, you might want to consider starting humans as Seasoned while starting other races out at the Novice rank.

Character Races
Angel
Demon
Dhampyr - half vampire
Patchwork Man - like the Frankenstein Monster
Phantom - ethereal
Vampire
Werewolf
Zombie - has a thing for fresh meat.
The Tools of the Trade

The Horror Companion equipment section was truly a joy to read. I was pleased to see Ghostbuster-style equipment present. Other equipment mimicked that found in movies series like Blade or Underworld. Below is a partial list of equipment found in this section.


Atomic Ghost Hunting Pack
Ultraviolet Grenade
Garlic Bullets
Silver Nitrate Bullets
Ultraviolet Bullets
Ghost Trap


Fear and Loathing in Gaming - Setting Rules


The Setting section adds horror tinted ideas to create custom styles of play. Your game setting might have a horrible price for magic, people splatter when killed, heightened magical effects based on the calendar day, or the fact that immoral behavior is a serial killer magnet.

For the Lovecraft fans, the Horror Companion includes a Sanity attribute which measures the character’s Spiritual toughness. It starts at half the character’s Spirit+2. Carnage, super natural terror, and forbidden knowledge lower Sanity while triumphing over evil, rest and relaxation, and psychotherapy heal it.

If a character’s Sanity drops too low, they are odd in some way and pick up a negative to their Charisma. If it drops to zero, they get the joy of rolling on the Psychosis Table. Luckily, the rules allow for Sanity healing, so your characters might be brought back from the brink.

Other setting rules include
Forbidden Lore - containing information “Man Was Not Meant to Know”
Rituals and the Price of Failure - magic in horror settings isn’t often as easy or available as fantasy settings. The Ritual rules contain some variations to simulate this in game terms. Rituals that fail carry special consequences. Depending on the setting, Villians may use Sacrifices to power their evil Rituals and spells.
Signs & Portents - Horror often includes foreshadowing from a fortune teller or dreams. The Horror Companion includes a Portents Table to help the GM determine the value of the visions or advice. Unlucky characters receiving a fortune of Doom may have their Bennies removed for the rest of the game.
Wards & Binds - an important aspect of Horror is the ability to ward against evil or bind an unstoppable being, so the Horror Companion has rules governing these aspects including how such a creature breaks free.



Magick

Much like the equipment section, the Horror Companion contains new powers to simulate popular Horror fiction. In addition, powers derived from Dark sources may drain sanity if the caster rolls a critical failure. Even if your character does not have an Arcane Background, they may still be able to cast spells via Rituals (see setting rules, above).

Some of the new powers include:
Banish Entity
Bind Entity
Consecrate Ground
Corpse Senses
Drain Years
Enhance Undead
Grave Shroud
Grave Speak
Nightmares
Spirit Shield
Strength of the Dead
Summon Demon
Summon Spirit
Suppress Lycanthropy
The Horror Companion also contains a list of Arcane Items for inclusion in your game. Some of these items are cursed, others are ancient and unique, while still others can be made with the proper ingredients. The items include:
Bandages of Anubis
Frankenstein’s Laboratory
Hockey Mask of Terror
Sacrificial Knife
Voodoo Dolls

http://frankensteinia.blogspot.com/2008/09/frankensteins-
-laboratory.html

What’s a Horror adventure without terrifying creatures to fight, overcome, or evade? The Horror Companion doesn’t disappoint with a list of mundane and super natural beings for encounters. They aren’t all monsters. Some are people like Vampire Slayers or Occultic Investigators that might help your characters when things go bump in the night.
Dark Man
Collector Demon
Pazuzu
Dreamreaver
Evil Clown
Haunted Car
Haunted Portrait
Mad Scientist
Serial Killers
Stuffed Animal Fiend
Chinese Hopping Vampire
Were-Creatures
The last section on Game Mastering guides the GM through a setting creation by describing the various genres of Horror. Before starting, the GM needs to decide the Horror style to use including: Action, Greater Evil, and Dark.

Action settings involve lots of combat where the characters wade through monsters, kicking super natural butt and taking names. The heroes are more akin to fantasy settings than helpless teenagers running way from a serial killer. Fear rules are rarely used in this style of play.
Greater Evil settings feature super natural creatures as far above us as we are above ants. The human race is an insignificant speck in the universe and all their technology is useless against being of cosmic power. Heroes are normal men and women who are drawn into the dark to keep mankind safe from the greater cosmic horror. Fear and Sanity rules dominate this style of play with the characters struggling to stay sane.
Dark settings are somewhere between Action and Greater Evil settings. In this case, there may be monsters that are easily killed but others, like vampires, are difficult and take planning. Fear rules are used often but the Sanity rules are de-emphasised. Things are scary but not mind bending.


After the GM picks the style, they must decide on an era of play. Will the campaign be in a Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Modern, or Historical era.


Fantasy is a well worn path with which most gamers are familiar. It’s also likely the hardest to separate from a classic fantasy campaign. The Ravenloft modules can be easily transformed into Savage Worlds using a combination of the Fantasy and Horror Companions.
Sci-Fi campaigns are another setting players should be familiar with. Aliens or Warhammer 40K would both do well Savaged using these rules. Likewise I could see moving the Horror Companion rules into the existing Savage Worlds Necropolis setting.
Modern is another era setting that would be easy to implement. Thanks to the Internet, maps and locals are easily found and used for game purposes.
History era settings are probably the hardest to create. The GM will need to spend a good bit of time on research to get the story-telling touches down to make the players feel like they’re in the time period. That said, the Victorian time period has many game supplements available including Space 1889, Rippers, and Deadlands. Other historical settings include Weird War II, Pirates of the Spanish Main, and Solomon Kane.


Conclusion

I enjoyed reading this supplement cover to cover. It’s packed with ideas, statistics, and other content to help GMs and Players create a fun (or scary) Horror campaign. While the content isn’t as extensive as other Savage Worlds horror supplements like Realms of Cthulhu or Rippers, it contains more than enough to get you started on a lenghthy campaign.

As a side note, the fact that the Creature list includes Pazuzu and Dark Man entries made me wonder if Wiggy’s been in my computer since those are the creatures I used the Thomas Gunn Detective Stories of The New Moon Murders and Prescription for Revenge.

On the up side, the Horror Companion gave me lots of idea’s for my third novel. After all, isn’t the reason we game to tell good stories and have fun? That’s what the Savage Worlds Companion series is all about.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Horror Companion
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The Unspeakable Oath 19
Publisher: Arc Dream Publishing
by Keith (. T. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/14/2013 14:05:32
How much fun can it be to thwart evil only to be eaten alive or driven insane for your efforts? As it turns out, quite a bit. Cthulhu fans everywhere rejoice in the return of a quarterly magazine dedicated to their favorite tentacular genre, Unspeakable Oath.

The periodical publication is overloaded with material that takes a while digest. It’s not that the 80+ pages couldn't be read quickly. it’s just that you’ll want to stop ever so often to contemplate ways to work the material into your campaign. WARNING: The Oath is not a light read.

The Oath is back and better than ever. The quarterly is packed with information to spice up your existing Cthulhu game or can be the source of great campaign ideas to start a new adventure in Lovecraftian horror. The contributors' love of the Mythos shows on every content-loaded page. For the money, there’s hardly a better deal for Cthulhu fans.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Unspeakable Oath 19
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Deadlands Reloaded: The Flood
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Keith (. T. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/14/2013 13:58:34
This review originally appeared at http://rptroll.blogspot.com/2012/04/review-deadlands-reloade-
d-flood.html

The Savage Troll continues its trek through Deadlands and I must admit, it's a scary journey. Those of you who read the reviews of the Player's Guide and Marshal's Handbook will be glad to know this review will ere on the side of brevity. While I believe in exhaustive reviews of rule books, adventures - such as this one - need to remain far more secretive. We don't want to give away any surprises to your posse.

Deadlands is easily the largest property in the Pinnacle Entertainment Group's product line. The 15+ year old setting has seen four RPG systems with a mountain of supplements including rule books, adventures, trail guides, and plot point campaigns. The Flood is a plot point campaign centering around the starved region of the West coast.



The campaign takes place in the 1880s and so would mesh well with other Victorian campaigns such as Rippers, Space 1889: Red Sands, or even The Kerberos Club. You could easily rip information and characters from The Flood to populate any of those settings. In fact, were I to ever run a Deadlands campaign, I suspect Ghost Rock powered ships would lead to a Space 1889-like setting with the characters encountering horrors on other planets as well.

Events Leading to The Flood


During the Quake of ‘68, California fractured as large ribbons of land dropped over fifty feet allowing the Pacific Ocean to rush in. The remaining landscape became a series of large mesas surrounded by brown, briny water flowing through canyons. The Maze, as it is now called, became a popular destination for those looking to strike it rich by mining the fundaments exposed on the new cliff faces.

Ghost Rock, the miracle mineral, is abundant in the Maze and the people and powers that make up the world are mad to have it. Ghost rock burns five times hotter and 100 times longer than coal. It’s also used in the production of Ghost Steel, which is lighter, stronger, and has a higher melting point than regular steel. On top of that, chemists and pharmaceutical makers use Ghost Rock to create all manner of potions, elixirs, and formulas for just about anything.


As the Rail Barons direct their employees to drive spikes and lay rail in order to reach the gold mine that is Ghost Rock, their soldiers and thugs fight it out in the Great Rail Wars. Greed and a thirst for power drives the Barons onwards as rail companies form the North, South, Deseret, and Shan Fan all compete to see who will reach the port city of Lost Angels first. Each company is only a few miles away from the de facto capital of California and it won’t be long before one of the biggest battles in history decides who will control the supply of Ghost Rock to the USA and/or CSA.

This is the setting for The Flood and your posse falls (literally) smack dab in the middle of it.

A Big Setting


The Flood contains a full plot point campaign centered around the Great Rail Wars, the Servitor of Famine, the Chinese Triads, Santa Anna’s undead army, and an intrepid reporter who seeks the assistance of your posse. It would be bad enough if that’s all the characters had to deal with. On top of that they must ply the dangers of the Maze which includes the effects of Famine. Food becomes a major concern on top of dodging merciless pirates, nations on the verge of war, and boom towns full of prospectors and those that prey on them.


The book has several new Edges and Hindrances and a greatly expanded selection of martial arts extras. With the city of Shan Fan and the Chinese Warlords being a major component to this supplement, the characters can expect a lot of Kung Fu action. The mafia thugs aren't the only martial artists, however. The Shaolin are present as well and work as a force for good in the area. Their hidden training ground sends out adepts to help fight the servants of the Reckoners. Mad Scientist, or New Scientist as they like to be called, should avoid this temple. The monks don't take kindly to Ghost Rock-powered devices.


The book includes all manner of waterborne vehicles. To get anywhere in the Maze you’ll need them. It also contains a nice section on Chinese fighting weapons. One word of warning, though. Due to the difficulties of getting goods into and out of the Maze, almost everything is 3-6 times more expensive than usual.

The Numbers


1 New Martial Arts Hindrance
17 Celestial Kung Fu Moves
1 New Hindrance for the non-Kung Fu types
11 New Edges
8 Martial Arts Weapons
10 New Ships
2 New Infernal Devices
27 Strange Locals

8 Plot Points in the Campaign
34 Savage Tales
12 New Critters
4 New Famine’s Servants
27 Famous Folks

That adds up to a lot of content.

To Live and Die in Lost Angels


Much of the action occurs in and around the city of Lost Angels. The Right Rev. Grimme is the ruler of this area and demands all city residents attend his church. Even without his edict, they would likely attend anyway. He has the only food in the area that satisfies the otherwise insatiable hunger people feel in Famine’s domain.

The book goes into great detail about the city and its surroundings. The characters even witness the creation of a Dealands ( Fear Level 6 ) during the adventure. This event will erase any doubt about the need for heroes to literally save the world. And that’s just in plot point two.

Your posse should be mindful of the Lost Angels laws. Violators are often sent to prison and never heard from again.

Shan Fan City, Here We Come


Shan Fan is Lost Angels equal in size and power and The Flood devotes a large section of the book to the city and its surroundings. It also adds a lot of flavor. Shan Fan is like the worlds largest Chinatown and the authors do a good job explaining what that means.

Like Lost Angels, Shan Fan is a city full of powerful personalities. You and your posse get to know the leaders of the Chinese mafias often coming into conflict with them. If you think this is all Kung Fu action you’re wrong. Most are gunslingers abandoning the ways of their ancestors for the favored weapons of the West.

Horrific Adventure Awaits

This book is chock full content. One of the problems I had was absorbing it all. Some things are stated in the Strange Locals that hop around in time. In some cases they are dependant on the plot point campaign so if you get confused, skip to the adventure then come back and read about each area.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Reloaded: The Flood
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Deadlands Reloaded: The Last Sons
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Keith (. T. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/14/2013 13:55:54
This review originally appeared at http://rptroll.blogspot.com/2012/07/review-last-sons-deadlan-
ds-plot-point.html

Pinnacle continues their release of Deadlands’ plot point campaigns with Last Sons, adventures in War’s domain. The story picks up with The Flood left off taking your posse into the Disputed Territories of Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and the Sioux Nation.

For those those of you not up to speed on the Deadlands setting, below is a little alternate history.

Come the Reckoning

Monsters once roamed and Magic was commonplace on the Earth until the North American Shamans sacrificed themselves to ensure humanity was safe from the evil spirits inhabiting the spirit realm they called the Hunting Grounds. The Old Ones, as the shamans were called, sealed the Hunting Grounds keeping the spirits, both good and bad, separated from the physical world. This left the Native Americans at a disadvantage when the technologically superior Europeans arrived to colonize the western hemisphere.


We all know the history. Some settlers preferred to take the land they wanted rather than look for another plot. The fact that land was inhabited by the natives was a problem solved with enough bullets and gunpowder. Several tribes were completely wiped out as the Europeans and their African slaves moved west.

One such tribe was the Susquehanna. A young, talented shaman named Raven saw his tribe wiped out by a band of white men. His hate for the white man never cooled. Raven found other natives and preached war and retribution against the white man and his evil ways. He drew others to his cause that lost their tribes to the white man’s expansion. They called themselves the Last Sons and moved Heaven and Earth (literally) in search of revenge.

The Last Sons passed into the Hunting Grounds and undid the Old Ones spiritual barrier. The spirits, both good and bad, were free to roam the Earth once more. The most powerful evil spirits, called the Reckoners, took on the form and function of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and sought to turn Earth into a mirror image of their home, the Deadlands.

To accomplish this task, the Reckoners spread fear across the world. The power from that emotion allows them to Terrorform sections of the physical realm into Deadlands. Once enough has been Terrorformed, they can walk the Earth and collect the fear personally.

On July 3rd, 1863 the Battle of Gettysburg was in full swing. The Last Sons emerged from the Hunting Grounds victorious and the spirits were released from their bonds. General Lee lost the battle, as he did in our history, except the dead rose from the battlefield covering his retreat. The Reckoners, especially War, knew a continued Civil War was in their best interests and so they kept either side from a decisive victory. In the world of Deadlands, USA and CSA exists with an uneasy ceasefire with large swaths of the Americas remaining as ‘Disupted Territories’. This is War’s Domain.

Return to the Old Ways

Once the spirits were released, the Native Americans had access to their nature spirits again. Shamanistic magic flowed granting the Indians powerful weapons to use against those who would take their land. They congregated in two areas.

The Sioux Nation formed to the North in the Dakotas after the Battle of Washington in 1872. Since the Union had other troubles, they decided to let the Sioux have their territory and entered into the Deadwood Creek Treaty. No one tribe or chief could unite all the Sioux so the Wicasa Yatapickas, or tribal council was formed. There are four Wicasas appointed by the tribes to speak for the Sioux Nation.

The Wicasas insisted their people keep to the old ways foregoing the white man’s technology. There are many who consider this insane and believe the Nation needs guns and other technology to survive in the white man’s world but they don’t say this loud or often unless they want to be expelled.

The Coyote Confederation formed in Oklahoma under the mysterious, hooded war chief known only as Coyote. The Confederation consists of multiple tribes and is generally on good terms with the CSA. The Old Ways aren’t as popular in the Confederation since some of the tribes still war upon one another.

The Disputed Territory

Kansas, Colorado, and the part of Oklahoma that’s not part of the Coyote Confederation make up the Disputed Territory. After the Civil War ended, both USA and CSA agreed to withdraw troops from those areas until the populace decided which country to join.

Bloody Kansas had an active guerrilla war even before the Civil War started with Confederate “Border Ruffians” from Missouri fought Unionist Jayhawkers for the hearts and minds of the Kansas settlers before the war to get the state to side with either the North or South. Far too often this battle turned into an actual shooting war between the two groups. That pattern continues during the Last Sons’ plot point campaign. Dodge City is the primary local in Bloody Kansas.

Colorado is a little different. They don’t really see the need to join either side and can take care of their own business, thank you. Both nations claim Colorado as their state but neither is in much of a position to do anything about. Things would be pretty calm if not for the Great Rail Wars.

Denver is the center point to many destinations and at least four separate rail lines are attempting to make their way out to the Ghost Rock mines in California. Colorado lies right in the path.

Another Big Piece to a Big Setting

Last Sons is another gargantuan volume in the Deadlands setting. Much like The Flood, it takes one of the Reckoner’s Domains and sets the characters against the plots and plans of that Reckoner. In this case it’s War.

Since you’re in War’s Domain, you need to understand that peace and understanding aren’t the norm. As the Marshal, you’ll have to force conflicts a bit more than usual. That Persuasion roll just might be a little harder in the Disputed Territories or the Indian Nations.

Also intolerance is everywhere. Whether you’re a white man in the Indian Nations or a Johnny Reb in a Union controlled area, you’d better expect folks of different persuasions to be unfriendly. Likewise the Disputed Territories are ground zero for the Great Rail Wars. Expect the Rail Barons heavy hands everywhere.

Whereas The Flood covered new ground for the Chinese martial artists, Last Sons covers the Native Americans. Your campaign will be greatly assisted if at least one of your characters is either an Indian or sympathetic to their cause. To that end, the book gives you several options for Indian characters and lots of information about the various Indian tribes found throughout America in the 1880s. You have your choice of the following archetypes.

Berdache - you’re a male but dress in women’s clothing and are usually an artisan.
Chief - you’re the leader of a village or tribe. You’ll have the Noble hindrance.
Priest - you’re a caretaker of your people and holy relics and places
Medicine Man - like a priest but your specialty is courting favors from spirits and embarking on vision quests to solve problems.
Scout - you’re fast, stealthy, and wise in the ways of survival. Your skills are in high demand just about everywhere in the Weird West.
War Leader - Part Shaman and part Warrior you specialize in the spirit magic of battlefield victory.
The Hunting Grounds are another large part of this work. Last Sons gives full stats for the spirit critters you’ll likely encounter along with setting rules particular to the dimension. Much like the Christian concept of Heaven and Hell, the World Tree can be pleasant or downright dangerous depending on where you go.

There’s another large section on the Union and Confederate Secret Service (Agents and Texas Rangers) including large sections containing new equipment. Getting that equipment is free but it’s far from easy and is often greatly depending on Rank.

The Plot Point Campaign

There are 9 plot points to the Last Sons’ campaign and, much like The Flood, Last Sons is a BIG story. It helps to have Legendary characters at the end for the last big battle but not to worry. If you’re starting out with a Novice posse there are plenty of Savage Tales to help with their advancement before the end.

As mentioned before, many of the principle characters, both good and bad, are Indians so you’ll need to coax your posse into adopting a kindly attitude toward the Red Man. If not they’re in for problems. Of course, nothing says the the journey to the land of tolerance can’t be part of the posse’s adventure.

The only odd thing to the plot point is the epilogue. While you're told you don't need to run it, it's in there and seems a little odd. The players participate in the end of Rail War II which is important to the setting but a little out of place in the overall adventure. If your posse made it through The Flood, you'll find the Rail War adventure eerily familiar.

By the Numbers

Last Sons has the following attributes for those of you just judge a product’s worth by size of its content.

337 Pages filled with
More information about American Indian tribes, territory, and equipment than you ever wanted to know
1 New Hindrance
7 New Edges
1 New Power (and a very important one at that)
9 Point Campaign
36 Savage Tales
21 Strange Locals
15 Corporeal Nasties
21 Spirits (both good and bad)
5 new Human encounter types
9 Servants of War
31 Notable Folks


That’s a lot of content!

Conclusion

If you want to play an epic campaign, Last Sons is the book for you. You’ll also want to pick it up if you place an Indian or Secret Service character in Deadlands. The Savage Tales can be used in any Deadlands campaign if you’re not interested in the Last Sons Plot Point.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Reloaded: The Last Sons
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Deadlands: Toxic Tunes Soundtrack
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Keith (. T. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/14/2013 13:50:35
This really isn't my cup of tea but it might be for others. Overall I'm neutral on the product. I think you can tell by the price drop others are as well. If you like western-rock then this might be for you.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands: Toxic Tunes Soundtrack
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Space: 1889
Publisher: Heliograph, Inc.
by Keith (. T. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/14/2013 13:46:55
Years ago I picked up a game book with a Victorian Era British soldier on the cover fighting off gold-skinned ape men with fin ears. The logo had "SPACE" drawn as riveted metal with a stylized "1889" below it. I picked up the blue book and read the back cover.

"Role-Playing In A More Civilized Time. Everything Jules Verne should have written. Everything H. G. Wells could have written. Everything A. Conan Doyle thought of, but never published because it was too fantastic. Everything you need for adventures of the century! The Space 1889 role-playing game covers the exciting background of Victorian science fiction: ether fliers and Martian cloud ships, the canals and ancient civilizations of the red planet, Venus' swamps and dinosaurs, the honeycombed interior of Luna, and the thrills of inventions and inventors; the driving force behind Victoria's multi-world empire!"

In the game's history, Thomas Edison invented a device called the Ether Propeller which allowed ships raised to high enough altitude to travel through space at amazing rates of speed. In the 19th century, Ether was believed to be light's medium like water for waves and air for sound. SPACE:1889 uses ether and other scientific theories from the 1800s to build a universe consistent with the mindset of the day.

Space: 1889 and its companion Sky Galleons of Mars ignited my imagination the way few settings ever have. While other science fiction RPGs sent characters to the far future, Frank Chadwick sent gamers into the past. The character combat system wasn't great but the ship-to-ship rules were first rate . The original work gave you atlases of Mars, Venus, the Moon, and Mercury along with the indigenous races for each planet. I fought the cursed Belgians from one end of Mars to the other and knew victory captaining the screw galley Texan's Pride. Now THAT was a setting!

The game has since been redone in Savage Worlds and a soon-to-be-release Ubiquity system. I can't say enough about the setting or it's creator, Frank Chadwick. Go forth, young adventurer, can conquer the skies of Mars.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Space: 1889
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Introduction to Space: 1889
Publisher: Heliograph, Inc.
by Keith (. T. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/14/2013 13:43:33
If you're interested in learning about Space 1889, this is the product for you. It contains the relevant setting history along with some of the equipment found in the rule books. Give this to your players regardless of which flavor Space:1889 you plan to play - Original, Savage Worlds, or Ubiquity.

Note: This product is a scan from the original text.

You can find a review of Space:1889 Red Sands at http://rptroll.blogspot.com/2010/09/review-space-1889-red-sa-
nds.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Introduction to Space: 1889
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The Unspeakable Oath 23
Publisher: Arc Dream Publishing
by Keith (. T. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/14/2013 13:33:49
“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” - The Dread Page of Azathoth

Shane Ivey is the purveyor of horror over at Arc Dream Publishing. He cares about the Mythos and the games run within it. This TUO 23 he picks at the overuse of mundane horror elements when the games should illustrate the cosmic horror present in the Cthulhu Mythos. Thus the beginning to another great installment of The Unspeakable Oath begins.

Following its tradition. TUO presents three one-page adventures called Tales of Terror. Each Tale has three options of how to run it. This quarterly’s offerings include a creepy little girl in a big box store (horrific enough on its own with Mythos), a funeral cut short by resurrection, and investigators being investigated.

If you're looking from something with a little more rotted flesh on it, TOU 23 also includes a 50 pages adventure (yes, 50) called Cold Dead Hand set in Russia. There’s nukes involved so you know it’s gotta be fun. It includes loads of maps, NPCs, critters, and equipment.

Other enjoyably horrific elements include short fiction, book/movie reviews, articles about odd firearms, and a new frightful painting that collects people. But those aren't the only reason to purchase Unspeakable Oath. Shane and his crew are true devotees to the Mythos. It shows on every page so if you love the Universe started by HPL, buy The Unspeakable Oath and revel in an unfair universe.

Remember, Cthulhu and all the other Great Old Ones aren't out to get us. Cthulhu doesn’t care.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Unspeakable Oath 23
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