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    Faeries Wear Boots!: Original
    by Nick G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/17/2020 09:32:30

    I bought this book largely on the strength of its high-concept premise: urban fantasy in Thatcher's Britain. This is an interesting idea for a setting, with great potential (the Battle of the Beanfield, the Poll Tax riots, the miners' strike, etc).

    However, Faeries Wear Boots! is not a product that I can recommend in any way; while it has a few high points (notably the art), it's a poor piece of work overall.

    FWB! uses the authors' Dark Stars system. This has a percentile task resolution system in the tradition of BRP or Rolemaster, and while otherwise reasonable, it seems overly complex for a background that's likely to be more narrative-driven. I should stress that this is my personal preference: chacun à son goût.

    The character generation system is rather bland; the main effect that the different fae races have on characters is on their base attributes and perks, with little effect on their skills. FWB! has no provision for things like professions. Given that fae characters may have been raised in human society, or may be trying to pass in human society, there's no thought given as to how the fae actually interact with human society; some consideration of professions would have been useful. The lifepath aspect of the character generation system seems to have been influenced by that of R. Talsorian's Cyberpunk (in a company blog post, the author notes that the Dark Stars system and background originated in a Cyberpunk 2020 game), but is rather trite.

    The equipment lists are a curious mixture of the banal and the overly-specific; the authors give over six pages to detailed descriptions of electronic goods which have been taken verbatim (complete with extraneous linebreaks) from the 1980/81 Tandy Catalogue.

    This highlights a more general issue with the setting information (about which I'll say more below): the authors seem to believe that time stood still during the 1980s. For example. the equipment lists state that the Commodore PET is "Britain's No.1 Computer". Perhaps this was true in 1980, but by the time Sinclair (note: not "Sinclare" as the authors have spelled it) launched the Spectrum in the early 80s this was no longer true (also: whither the BBC Micro?). Similarly, the prices given for firearms are most definitely from before the Hungerford Massacre of 1987, after which significant controls on the sale and ownership of firearms weapons were introduced. As an aside, the pejorative adjective "chavvy" (p. 65) is an anachronism; it didn't come into use until the late 1990s.

    The majority of my gripes with this book lie with the setting information. This takes up 12 pages (of 122 total), of which 5 are images - this is thin at best. For a game that's set in 1980s Britain, I was disappointed to find that the setting information was a poorly-researched mess that consisted largely of material taken verbatim from Wikipedia, and that was frequently of questionable relevance. The original setting information (perhaps two and a half pages) was generally cliched and ill-considered. The authors appear to be unfamiliar with both the 1980s and with the UK, and there doesn't appear to have been any attempt to Britpick the text (i.e. check the validity of the text with someone British).

    As a result, the setting information contains some absolute howlers:

    • "Detailed within this book is a section of the city of greater London but other settings like Brixton, Liverpool would work just as well and perhaps better." (p. 76) Brixton is a district in London, you utter numpties. Also: it's spelled "Chelsea" and not "Chealsea". (p. 79)
    • "Both [Catholic and Anglican] Churches have been practicing their religion for a Millenia in the British isles." (p.76) First, the singular is "millennium". Secondly, Christianity has been in the British Isles since the 3rd century, and the Anglican church only dates back to the 16th century.
    • "The right to buy is a continuous issue." (p. 78) Possibly even also a contentious one.
    • The Church of England (conventionally abbreviated as C of E and not C.O.E. as the authors have it) operates in Ireland? (p. 84) That'll be news to the Church of Ireland (i.e. the Anglican church in Ireland).
    • "Ireland has a very charged history, essentially Catholics hold sway over most of Ireland and in Ulster Protestant (sic) are in control"? (p. 84) That's an offensively simplistic characterisation. I note that the authors don't seem to be able to distinguish Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland (let alone Ulster from Northern Ireland), and also that their celtophile mythologising of Ireland as "The Emerald Isle" is likely to irritate Irish readers, regardless of which side of the border they're from.
    • "The Welsh people at this time are part of the United Kingdom, like the rest of Britain." (p. 85) At this time? Wales has been part of Great Britain since the 16th century (and effectively so since the 13th century.

    Yes: I'm British and I grew up in the 80s, so I'm taking this lazy, slipshod writing personally.

    In terms of presentation, FWB! is a sloppy mess. The text contains frequent grammatical and typographical errors, and has chunks of repeated text. I very much doubt that it was proofread.

    In short: this book is an embarrassment. The authors should feel ashamed to be asking people to pay for work that's this shoddy.



    Rating:
    [1 of 5 Stars!]
    Faeries Wear Boots!: Original
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    Creator Reply:
    Hi thanks for the feedback. We could probably add a lot more to the setting. Our work has improved since this review but you only recently purchased it.
    Hi, These items have been noted down, and there were multiple things that did go wrong with this book. We will make a revised edition and try to do better. At the time we made this book, we didn't have the rigor we have now with our latest books. That said, we can do better with this one as its the core of this setting. Thanks for taking the time to write a detailed review, and we will do better next time. We talked about it internally, we want to add a bit more history to this, focus on our concept and the London area. Our editor is from the UK so that should make a big difference in the revised edition. When we wrote this book, we didn't add archetypes like we do in our new book (professions as mentioned in your review). We will extend the character generation. I found it very enjoyable reading the text of the catalogues, so I did basically use that. This was because it inspired some nostalgia, but obviously it has been taken the wrong and that wasn't seen in the way it was intended. Our later games, have been more thoroughly checked, specifically because of feedback like this. Most people don't produce anything that gets public feedback, its hard to take but sometimes its necessary to build a better product. Anyone who purchased the book will receive the revised edition in at least PDF form, we will consider print form too. Sorry to disappoint.
    Death in Knossos
    by Derek P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/08/2020 06:28:46

    Loved this book! Loved the attention to detail in the setting and the careful blending of the mystical and the historical, creating a new and unique mythology. It's always great to see this type of quality in writing and setting. Another great addition to Faeries Wear Boots!



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Death in Knossos
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    Beyond The Black Sea
    by Michael P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/27/2020 15:00:03

    I'm a sucker for "savage world"-type settings, so purchased this on a whim when it popped up. Review based on overall impressions after reading through; note that I haven't tried the game system or any of the publisher's other games.

    Game system looks fairly streamlined. Skill-based with ability scores, on a d100 scale. There are no "classes", but characters can have "archetypes", which are Civilised, Barbarian, Nomad, or Primitive, and which determine starting skill point allocation. Alternatively, you can assign base skill points yourself and "roll your own". Checks involve rolling against your ability and skill scores with d100, and can be opposed.

    The game world has all the standard Conan-type places and races (Cimmerians, Hyperboreans, Picts, Stygia, etc.) albeit set in an early version of "our" world map with areas corresponding to real countries. There is a bit of backstory about the rise and fall of the serpent men, the arrival of Lemurians from another world, and so on, as well as a small gazetteer; it's not particularly original or rich, but provides enough to provoke the imagination and weave stories in the setting. The magic mechanic cleverly represents it as, "things mankind was not meant to know" by ensuring characters slowly lose Empathy/Humanity points for spell casting, which is cool; there's a nice teaser list of spells ("Call Kraken" being my favourite...) and rituals and a separate listing for "true" magic, which is beyond the ability of humans (or should be). There is a list of monsters too, but no sample adventures.

    Overall, the product looks pretty good. Text is occasionally clunky (mostly in the setting sections) but generally clear and readable. Art is in colour throughout, and is high quality, but some of it is clearly "stock art" and really doesn't fit the setting at all - there are pictures of elves, dwarves, etc. in standard "medieval fantasy" garb and poses, which is a little jarring. There are also just a few too many references to the publisher's "other system" ("Faeries Wear Boots!" yes! with that annoying exclamation point! all the time!) and some content about the faerie realm which again doesn't really "fit" and may have been lifted straight from the other product.

    The biggest thing that keeps me from recommending this product outright is: Primeval Thule. If they are the same price point, I'd have a hard time recommending Beyond the Black Sea over that, simply because Thule is vastly more rich in terms of setting detail and "atmosphere" - this just feels a lot more sparse. However, if you're looking for a "savage world" game & setting all rolled into one, that is quick to learn and doesn't require a bunch of other sourcebooks or systems, or if you're a fan of classless/skill-based systems, it's worth giving Beyond the Black Sea a try.



    Rating:
    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    Beyond The Black Sea
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    Creator Reply:
    Thanks for your comments, when making this product we wanted to make it tied to our Faeries Wear Boots! setting for a few reasons. There is no limit to amount of detail you can put into a book, and I tried to make the world open enough for game masters to make it their own. It is heavily influenced by other Sword and Sorcery fiction, and I think we achieved what we wanted to with the overall feel. Our approach as company is supply large sagas with world areas defined. This book also could not be contained and released a month early, before the saga was ready which is currently in play testing. The Saga takes the characters to a lost world area north of Zar'Grim where we unveil more mysteries of the past. Here is a link to that cover https://tinyurl.com/y9avvotq I think our price point is OK, as most of this is printing costs we make about $5 for the product. Ill take the criticism on board about the flow of that history text, and see what can be done there. Thanks again.
    Legend Quest
    by Simon R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/23/2019 22:03:03

    The detail and artwork was good and I enjoyed the mechanics of the game.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Legend Quest
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