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Insight RPG System Core Rulebook
Publisher: NEVR
by Jimmy P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/20/2014 19:13:21
I yet have to playtest this, but I have already ordered my dead tree copy with Amazon. This should give you a hint about my appreciation of this new entry in the generic ruleset world.

What you get is a system adaptable for any time period (don't let the front cover "mislead" you. Overall, art is good and editing and layout very decent.

The system requires the player to roll a number of (d10s) dice equal to an attribute (1-5, 3 being the usual human level, 5 being the absolute highest human attribute). The higher the level of the skill being used, the easier it is to get a success. For example, you can only get a success on a 10 for an unknown skill. With more training, the success treshold becomes 9-10, 8-10, and so on.

The combat system proposes two types of battlemap; your usual tile based combat or their special battle map. I sense some inspiration from the one ring here, but remains a bit more crunchy.

Speaking of crunch, this one is medium crunch.

It is priced right and believe it is one of the best new rpg systems I got to read recently.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Insight RPG System Core Rulebook
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Shaintar: Legends Arise
Publisher: Evil Beagle Games
by Jimmy P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/29/2013 22:05:27
Shaintar is nearly legendary among the expanding Savage Worlds settings. It is sometimes referred to as Savage Worlds' Forgotten Realms and I can see why; Shaintar is high on the fantasy scale, with numerous races, nations and a thick history. However, I found Shaintar to be more refined and more focused on the heroes than the well-known Dungeons and Dragons campaign setting.

This is not the first iteration of this setting; I have owned the old edition and this one is a huge improvement - not that the old edition was bad.

For those who do not know the setting, SHAINTAR is a medieval fantasy setting for the super simple Savage Worlds rules. In there, you will find your paladins, rangers, elves, dwarves, orcs, bastard swords and spellcasters. However, do not expect classes or levels: Savage Worlds works on a free-form advancement system.


What I liked:
-The author's comments and advice inserted all over the book
-The huge selection of Edges
-The races write-ups and specific racial Edges
-The Art is gorgeous, with very few ''meh'' pieces
-After a quick skim thru, I felt like playing in this Universe - right away
-Nice selection of equipment
-An interesting alternate (and purely optional) way of handling money (à la d20 modern's wealth system)
-Evocative professional Edges and related organizations
-Proper PDF structure (with links for each chapter in the layout section)

What could be improved:
-More Hindrances. Most Savage Worlds settings have a very small list of those, which is unfortunate as it helps define a character. It sure sucks having three characters out of five with the heroic, loyal and stubborn hindrances...
-Some chapters would need more art or a layout that would make it an easier read. Some parts appear a bit cramped up.
-No character sheet included

Overall, very impressed with this product. A must-own for any Savage Worlds fan.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shaintar: Legends Arise
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Publisher Reply:
Thank you. I am very humbly grateful for the kind words, and I sincerely hope you do get a chance to play soon. The character sheet was one of those things we realized we should do, but ran out of time. ~SPF
World of Darkness: God-Machine Rules Update
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Jimmy P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/30/2013 15:24:37
Awesome update to the nearly a decade old NWOD. Lots of great stuff in there. It's free: grab it quick.

I smell a revised NWOD coming...

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
World of Darkness: God-Machine Rules Update
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Shadowrun: Fifth Edition Preview #1
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Jimmy P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/30/2013 01:07:01
This is basically a 5-6 pager containing inspiring art and a decent short story. Nothing new here besides a glimpse of the new layout.

I love the universe of Shadowrun, but the system has always seemed way too crunchy for me. Looking at this preview and browsing Catalyst's information on this upcoming edition, I found no reference to simpler rules. Let's hope that the crunch-lovers find it to their liking!

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Fifth Edition Preview #1
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Achtung! Cthulhu: Three Kings - Savage Worlds
Publisher: Modiphius
by Jimmy P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/24/2012 17:26:29
Achtung! Chtulhu is a strong product, with high production value.

The scenario itself is interesting and flexible, allowing for different types of characters to fit in through alternate scenes designed to suit your group's style. Yet, no matter the type of group, shooting nazis will need to occur to move the plot forward. The story sits in between Inglorious Basterds and the Re-Animator.

The maps are amazing (I love the color scheme, which matches the era and theme perfectly), yet there is not much art besides that and the interesting layout. It is still a pretty product, which makes me realize that with appropriate design, one does not have to paste illustrations in every corner of a book.

As far as Realms of Cthulhu elements goes, stats are all there for enemies and we even get pre-gen characters. The ''slippery slope'' is the default setting for sanity/physical damage grid.


Overall, very satisfied with my purchase. I will keep an eye out for the next chapters.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Achtung! Cthulhu: Three Kings - Savage Worlds
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Iron Dynasty: Way of the Ronin
Publisher: Reality Blurs
by Jimmy P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/03/2012 01:45:36
I was recently discussing with my playing group about inspiration - be it stories for GMs or character inspiration for Players. We came to the conclusion that modern characters - being so close to us, are the easiest to create. Medieval Fantasy characters and stories were, for us, as easy to create. When it came to other genres, like westerns or mythic China/Japan campaigns, stories and characters did not come with the same ease.

Then I read Iron Dynasty.

This book, if read from the start, will give you tons of ideas for both characters and stories. The history will make those come to life easily. The equipment section, new selection of Edges and optional rules (using the usual skills for different tasks, like Stealth for blending) all make this book a must-own for any Savage Worlds enthusiast.

It might be the best Savage Worlds book I own.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Iron Dynasty: Way of the Ronin
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Thousand Suns: Rulebook
Publisher: Grognardia Games
by Jimmy P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/24/2011 17:55:01
I recently purchased this book. I bought the Hardcover version as well, but for now I can only comment on the PDF.

Simply put, Thousand Suns is a Imperial Science Fiction game using the 12° system.


[12° System]

For those of you not familiar with this system, it uses two twelve sided dices (2D12) for all rolls. You determine a target number by adding an ability (average of 6) and a skill (variable value). For example, a Dexterity of 6 and a Shoot of 6 will give you a Target Number of 12. When you roll, you need to roll equal or under the target number. So in the previous example of a target number of 12, you need to roll from 1 to 12 to succeed. The amount by which you succeeds becomes your degree of success.

I have to say that I am not a fan of systems using a roll low approach, but it works somewhat neatly anyway.

[Characters]

The book starts with character creation. You can build any character you can imagine in such a setting, from a grizzled army veteran to a frail scientist. The character creation is based on choices and is NOT class-based, which I like. You start will a pool of 30 points to choose your abilities between Body, Dexterity, Perception, Presence and Will. Then you basically go through phases to choose what your character will be. Each choice adds to your skills and attributes.

The phases are:
1. Determine Ability Scores: Divide 30 points between the character’s five abilities.
2. Select Species: Choose the character’s species. Spend the bonus points listed under the “Traits” section of the species on abilities and/or skills of one’s choice.
3. Select Homeworld Package: Choose one homeworld package for the character.
4. Select Career Package(s): Choose three levels of career packages for the character.
5. Create Hooks: Decide on five hooks for the character, one based on his species, one based on his homeworld, and three based on your his career(s).
6. Benefit Points: Determine how many benefit points the character receives and spend them.
7. Finishing Touches: Give the character a name, age, and gender.

You do not have any freebies after this to add to your character so you must choose wisely. Some choices you make can give you some free points to spend on skills and attributes.

I like this approach to character creation which reminded me of lifepaths.

[The Setting]

In the Gamemaster section is presented numerous options to make the setting what you want it to be. The author claims that the first part of the book was left deliberately free of setting-related information so the Gamemaster may plug his own setting in. It is somewhat true, if the GM decides to replace races and a few character options (such as languages which are already tied in to the setting).

Then the Author gives the Gamemaster a run down of what his setting is. It is brought forward in a fashion that helps understand why such and such choices were made. It also gives the GM the opportunity to choose between and Empire or a Federation to be the ruling body of the setting. It is a very interesting option for GMs!

The setting itself is your usual Imperial Sci-Fi background, with old federations, civil wars, first contact and such. Note that Terrans (or humans) are considered to be on top and the Federation/Empire of the Thousand Suns is top dog. No other Alien race is more powerful (or at least not yet...).

[My Take on it]

Overall, the product is well made. The layout is well done and the art is mostly decent. As for the writing, I have not spotted many spelling errors (but since I am French, what do I know?).

I will need to delve further into it and playtest it, but so far so good.


[Differences with the old Edition]

This is basically the revised edition that was published by Rogue-Games. The layout is way better, the rules are better explained. Psionics are embedded in the basic system and appears to be working fine. Overall, it is a far superior work that its last iteration

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Thousand Suns: Rulebook
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Harp Sf
Publisher: Guild Companion Publications
by Jimmy P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/23/2011 17:23:31
The HARP system is basically the offspring of the old Rolemaster system. It reminds me of MERP (or Middle Earth Role Playing), which was a simplified version of the Rolemaster rule set.

HARP sci-fi and HARP are very similar. If you did not like HARP, chances are you will not like HARP SF.

This book is not for everyone. The rules contained within are very crunchy - maybe not as crunchy as Rolemaster, but still. If you prefer rules light systems, steer clear.

The art contained within is decent and appropriate for the subject.

Overall, if you prefer realism over ease of play, this might be for you. There is a real lack of decent and innovative SF systems out there. This might be the one that does it for you.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Harp Sf
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Strands of Fate
Publisher: Void Star Games
by Jimmy P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/13/2010 22:37:35
I just got this PDF and quickly skimmed thru it.

After the first read, I am really impressed with this product. I liked the FATE system, but I always found it to be not too easy to fully understand. I had to go to Chronica Feudalis to understand the Aspects concept, then I came back to FATE and enjoyed it. Strands of FATE basically makes it easier to understand what FATE is and does a great job simplifying the whole thing.

In there, you get rules for a lot of genres. Fantasy. Modern. Sci-Fi. Even supers. And it looks like it can hold up.

It is different from FATE in many regards. Gone are the very numerous skills, replaced by 12 abilities (strength, willpower, etc). Those abilities are the basis for the rolls, augmented by certain Aspects that may sound like skills and are grouped under an ability (ex. "Axe maniac" under strength, or "Could sell a fridge to an Eskimo" under persuasion). This is one of many differences.

We'll see if it survives the playtest stage, but so far, I am impressed.

If you kinda like FATE but was unsure about the other games, this might be the books that makes you enjoy FATE. I know I will try a sci-fi game with this in my homebrew world...

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Strands of Fate
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RuneQuest II
Publisher: Mongoose
by Jimmy P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/22/2010 18:39:33
I still have to play test this system, but after the first read, it appears pretty solid. There is no classes - which I like. The character creation system is interesting and organic. It allows you to create pretty much any kind of character for a medieval setting - fantasy or not, even if the default setting includes magic and fantasy elements.

The combat system appears a bit more complicated than other systems, and is not what I would call a rules-light system. Still, it looks simple enough. I will reserve my comments on the actual combat system for after a thorough play test...

Overall, I am happy with my purchase. My only complaint would be with the price of the PDF which is very close to the dead tree version.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
RuneQuest II
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Chronica Feudalis
Publisher: Cellar Games, LLC
by Jimmy P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/15/2009 01:32:29
For quite a long time, I have been on a quest to find the ultimate gaming system. With this book in my collection, it seems like my quest is almost coming to an end. It's that good.

If you like a character creation system based on "lifepaths"; if you enjoy a rules light but effective system; if you like the idea of "aspects" à-là Spirit of the century; if you enjoy real-world medieval games; well this game might be for you.

At $10, there is no good reason not to pick up this game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Chronica Feudalis
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