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    Hoodoo Blues the Role Playing Game
    by Anthony C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/15/2010 20:39:50

    This is seriously one of the best games I've seen this year. The PDF price at less than five dollars makes this massive book a must-have for any gamer with a supernatural bent. The setting allows players to take on the role of various immortal types from Southern American folklore. One of the shining aspects of the book is the history section, which offers an insightful (especially for a RPG) look at Southern American history.

    In the mood for something different in the horror vein? This book is it.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Hoodoo Blues the Role Playing Game
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    Fates Worse Than Death: Spare Change Edition
    by Richard G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/04/2010 20:07:40

    Fates Worse than Death is an interesting and creative game, which takes the cyberpunk mood and makes it feel more real. The character creation system is set to make quality and vaired characters. Players can pick the same socioeconomic class and have completely different characters. The game has unique concepts and detailed rules ranging from computer hacking to drug addiction. The spare change edition is free to download and is worth checking out. Containing charater rules for playing only the street level people, it is still worth playing. Even without the rules for playing Wells or Indies thee is enough in this free download to play numerous complete games. Spare Change is like a teaser trailor, if you don't like it no loss, however if you do like it you're going to want more.

    If you like role paying games, it is definetly worth at the very least checking out.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Fates Worse Than Death: Spare Change Edition
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    Tibet the Role Playing Game: Monastic Edition
    by Luo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/01/2010 12:57:40

    While certainly highly detailed and informative with regard to Tibetan mythology, it's treatment of the Chinese, especially the Peoples' Liberation Army that suppressed the fascist uprising of 1959 is quite ill-informed and indeed racist. Taking its cue from 1950s US propaganda, it presents the Chinese as child-like drones of the Maoist regime in China that so many of them had been instrumental in bringing to power. Revolutions require a mass of popular support and many Tibetans died in support of the ant-Japanese and revolutionary wars.



    Rating:
    [2 of 5 Stars!]
    Tibet the Role Playing Game: Monastic Edition
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    Fates Worse Than Death: Spare Change Edition
    by RAISTLIN W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/24/2010 20:58:10

    Fates Worse Than Death is an absolutely fascinating concept: a realistic version of a cyberpunk style society without all the things that make cyberpunk silly (like, for one, the flashy loud cyberware). There's also more of an emphasis on the varied nature of human existence; the character class system is unbelievably flexible.

    The conscious choice was made to keep the mechanics complex so that players would have a precise idea of what their characters can do. I can respect that, but I'm still likely to use this as a sourcebook with my own homebrew system (or, given the emphasis on character, a LARP).

    This edition only provides the information for playing the homeless, not the middle-class or voluntary social outcasts. Still enough for a HUGE variety of characters.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Fates Worse Than Death: Spare Change Edition
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    Hoodoo Blues the Role Playing Game
    by John D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/23/2010 11:33:31

    Just when I think there is nothing new under the Louisiana sun, premise-wise, in roleplaying games, some inventive souls come along to prove me quite happily wrong. "Hoodoo Blues" is an obvious labor of love; I know because I'm a folklorist and history teacher with over twenty years' interest in American folk religion and magic, and I love the game's subject matter too. Fortunately, you don't need to be a scholar to appreciate the depth and vitality of what Vajra Enterprises has accomplished with their newest game -- all you need is an interest in rich, complicated characters and their struggles across years of conflict and upheaval.

    In "Hoodoo Blues" players take the roles of the ageless, Southern individuals granted (or cursed with) supernatural longevity. Character class selection further defines the reasons behind characters' ability to transcend the aging process, and also suggests internal conflicts and goals. As another reviewer has noted, players will need to create their characters carefully so as not to produce irresolvable interpersonal differences during play; on the other hand, one of the strengths of Southern history as a gaming backdrop is that characters of disparate races, social classes, and religions will come into conflict with each other, and it seems that the game designers welcome this tension to a large extent.

    The game centers on the folkways and magico-religious traditions of three groups in the South: Blacks, Native Americans, and Whites, with the emphasis definitely favoring the first. Characters might be root doctors in the syncretic hoodoo tradition, laying hands and conducting a shadow war against other hoodoos; priests and priestesses of the American voodoo tradition most often associated with New Orleans; or traditional medicine workers from one of a number of Southern indigenous cultures.

    All of these options are sensitively and accurately (within the confines of a gameable milieu, anyway) presented, and each is rich and entertaining in its scope and abilities. However, "Hoodoo Blues" also offers another sort of player character role: that of an individual desperately trying to outmaneuver the Devil, who gave her supernatural power and longevity in the first place. This broader category includes Robert Johnson-esque "Crossroaders" who sell their souls to Old Scratch in exchange for various sorts of power; Loups Garoux, the cursed werewolves of Cajun and Creole legend; and Hags, women (and a few men) who ride mortals during the night in order to drain their vitality. Again, all of these options feel right (to this folklorist, at least), and show the deep and attentive research the authors have clearly done.

    Each character type has its own strengths and weaknesses, but in addition all character classes can take skill levels in Conjure, the game's catch-all term for Southern magical practices. Conjure includes the making of hoodoo hands, the petitioning of voodoo loa, and even the ability to summon the Devil at a lonely crossroads at midnight. The rules for Conjure are detailed and well-thought-out, and contribute greatly to the richness of the setting.

    Speaking of which, it's hard to imagine a denser and more wonderful context for great storytelling than the past two hundred years or so of Southern history (and I'm saying that as a Yankee); impressively, "Hoodoo Blues" offers a truly massive amount of gamer-friendly historical and cultural detail covering everything from the daily wages of Confederate soldiers to the code phrases of the Underground Railroad to the etiquette rules that comprise Southern manners.

    All of this information is potentially highly relevant, because "Hoodoo Blues" supports what it calls flashback play, a style of game in which gamers explore earlier periods in the ageless's long lives -- your 150-year-old Hoodoo Doctor might be powerful, prosperous, and respected today, but flashback play allows you to tell stories about his suffering under the lash of slavery during the Antebellum Period, and about his harrowing escape to freedom. Flashback play is practically a must in such a historically rich game setting, and while the game's mechanical guidelines for this style of roleplaying aren't tremendously extensive, there is certainly more than enough cultural and historical information to get GMs and players started.

    The rules themselves derive from Vajra's house system, the Organic Rules Components, or ORC (heh). I find them a bit fiddly in places, but no more so than most tabletop rulesets I've encountered over the years. There's a rules-light version in the back of the PDF for anyone who wants less crunch, but really, the amount in the default mechanics isn't onerous. Creating characters will take a long time -- my first took me about two hours -- what with all the different aspects of characters' abilities and lengthy personal histories, but it's an investment of time that will certainly bear (strange) fruit during play.

    To sum up, it's been a long, long time since I've been this excited about a new RPG, and I recommend "Hoodoo Blues" with enthusiasm (even if you're not as much of a folklore wonk as the authors or this reviewer, you really can't go wrong paying $4.95 for 312 pages of really nifty material). And heck, any game that asks me to define my character's personality by specifying his favorite musical styles is a game I wanna play.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Hoodoo Blues the Role Playing Game
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    Hoodoo Blues the Role Playing Game
    by RAISTLIN W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/21/2010 11:44:45

    This is an absolutely fascinating game at an incredible price point.

    Hoodoo Blues is steeped in the mythology, folklore, and religion of the South, particularly the Antebellum South. PCs are members of a community of the ageless, immortal for one reason or another (each character class uses a different justification) and witness to the atrocities and heroism that have comprised Southern history. The book doesn't shy away from the darkest depths, which is why I will say this game isn't for everyone.

    I have only two small quibbles with this book that prevent me from giving an unrelieved recommendation.

    The first is that the character classes as presented have to be carefully chosen to create a viable play group. Several character classes have as a primary motivation the eradication of a couple of the others! Simple hostility could work, but having a medicine worker and a loup garou as friends is hard to imagine.

    The second is the crunchiness of the Light (L) ruleset. This is part of Vajra's design philosophy and so I don't see it as something to criticize in the Regular (R) ruleset -- but the LARP rules section in the appendix, while lighter on the numbers than the main book, still isn't quite light enough to work away from the table. A little more tweaking is needed there.

    As a tabletop game, though, and with a carefully-selected party, this game is potentially a masterpiece. The concept and characters are fascinating, the authors actually know what they're talking about with Hoodoo, Voodoo, and Voudoun, and the world promises to offer a very deep and serious roleplaying experience.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
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