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Urban Shadows: Los Cazados
by H. C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/12/2018 13:56:52

Nicely done hack for running a PbtA game of werewolves fighting evil spirits and demons in a world similar to our own but with supernatural underpinnings.

The setting is Mexico and the setup is very cool. The mechanics (while laser-focused on getting the type of story the game want's to tell going) are not nailed to the locale and could be shifted elsewhere if you really want to tell a similar story set in another place. It has a local focus, the pack in Los Cazados should be invested in the specific territory they're trying to take care of.

This is a minigame of Urban Shadows so it doesn't add detailed crunch, though, and if you're looking to translate a certain other shapeshifter game with high fidelity to mechanics it's not going to do what you want.

But if you enjoy these themes, this is a very good take on werewolves for Urban Shadows.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Urban Shadows: Los Cazados
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Bluebeard's Bride
by Mathew D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/14/2018 04:15:42

A richly-textured and persuasively-rendered version of the works of fabulists and critics such as Charles Perrault, Angela Carter and Hélène Cixous.

The game marries the doom-laden exploration and threatening atmospherics of the gothic fairy-tale (a faint echo of the snares and traps and player ingenuity of old-school dungeoneering here) to a stripped-back version of the single shot-improv-playbook style of the Apocalypse World engine (a touch of the deterritorialization-through-collective-effort of indie gaming here).

Well-researched, well-designed and well worth a small portion of the filthy lucre Bluebeard and his landowning descendants have handed down to us.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bluebeard's Bride
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Urban Shadows: The Immortal
by Sean D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/25/2018 12:31:24

My gaming group has had a lot of fun with The Immortal.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Urban Shadows: The Immortal
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Secrets of A.E.G.I.S.: A Masks Supplement
by Daniel T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/16/2018 14:40:40

The Masks team continue to produce excellent material.

Where the Halcyon City sourcebook was a wide-ranging slice of life in the Masks universe, Secrets of A.E.G.I.S. is more tightly focussed, concentrating as it does on a single organisation.

This has good and bad points. The upside is a thorough, tightly aimed look at the interactions between AEGIS and the game. The books opens with a number of reports on organisations monitored by AEGIS agents and their interactions; each of these provides ample fodder for a campaign in a variety of different styles. They cover plots involving crime bosses, supervillains, local politics and superhero activists - something for every GM to work with. Most of this chapter will be useful material will be useful even if the GM doesn't plan an AEGIS-centred campaign.

A chapter is also devoted to discussing how to centre a campaign on players as AEGIS agents, with some good general rules material for handling organisational agendas.

On the down side, the language is occassionally coded in the style of over-formal or jargon-laded AEGIS internal reports; it lends a bit of extra atmosphere but sometimes lacks the breezily readable tone of the Masks rulebook or Halcyon supplement. This is most notable in the opening chapter, so it took me a little while to get started... but the book rewarded the effort.

The new playbooks are clear and provides interesting variation from the base set, without being over-tightly tied to AEGIS as an organisation - it would be trivial to substitute some other organisation in the Soldier playbook if AEGIS is not a feature of the group's play. They'll be useful in any campaign.

The highlight of the book for me was the "Most Wanted" section, a detailed examination of some existing antagonists. A few well-chosen villains from the deck of villainy are given a great deal of personality and scope with in-depth discussion of their history and objectives. Any of these writeups left me with scenes and campaign ideas in abundance.

Disclosure: I'm a kickstarter backer of Masks, so my copy of this book was paid for in advance. But reading it has made me glad I did. A rewarding read full of usable ideas.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Secrets of A.E.G.I.S.: A Masks Supplement
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Bluebeard's Bride: Book of Rooms
by Darold R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/27/2018 12:28:47

The Book of Rooms is a great addition to the game of Bluebeard's Bride. While I love the concept for the game and the fascinating stories it can tell, I was a little unsure of myself heading into the room creation process. The core rules explains how rooms are meant to be horrific, but that the horror should be metaphorically based in a threat common to women in society. I found the concept easy to understand, but hard to put into practice on the fly. The Book of Rooms builds on that concept and gives dozens of examples of the implementation in ways that can be implemented wholesale or used as inspiration for your own ideas. Very happy I picked this up and saw instantly how it linfuenced my Groundskeeper decisions when running the game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bluebeard's Bride: Book of Rooms
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Masks: A New Generation
by Paolo S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/13/2018 21:48:33

I wanted something that sctached that itch when it came to a comic book styled superhero RPG. Its not about being an established superhero. Its about the beginning. The relationships. The hidding it from your firends and family. Creating a group thats new and hasn't yet become a threat to the villians in Halcyon. And because its superheros, i have no trouble getting my kids involved. Highly recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Masks: A New Generation
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Bluebeard's Bride: Book of Rooms
by Rigby B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/06/2018 13:40:49

My biggest struggle in running PBtA games has been coming up with sufficently rich and detailed responses to the unexpected. The Book of Rooms provides well-crafted and detailed rooms that provide inspiration and resources. I've used it both during games and before hand to start putting together ideas for where I want a session to go. The writing, as always, is haunting and beautiful. It is a great supplement for someone new to running this game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bluebeard's Bride: Book of Rooms
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Bluebeard's Bride: Book of Rooms
by Lex P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/29/2018 18:40:37

The Book of Rooms is an incredible read, and a borderline-necessary companion for Bluebeard's Bride. I can't praise it enough, though keep in mind there's a variety of trigges in here for sexual violence, general violence, self-harm, body horror, dysphoria, and many other things.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thanks so much for the review!
Cartel: Quickstart
by Donogh M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/06/2018 03:11:53

I have to admit, I wasn't convinced by the subject matter when I heard about the game initially. But when Mark had a chance to put his case in episode 45 of the Gauntlet podcast I definitely warmed up to it. I played the game and was blown away by the stories it helped us tell; the mix of (melo)drama and dangerous thriller really sang at the table. So impressed that I ran two sessions of it the following week at a local convention. In classic Apocalypse World style, the setting and cast of secondary characters are prompted by the playbooks and then fleshed out by the players; probing questions from the GM help too. But this world is even more unstable than most and a dizzying array of conflicting loyalties and interests will ensue. I'd be interested to see if it'll support longer-term play - at the moment, I'm imagining that things will play out or become untenable for the PCs after 3 or 4 sessions. Highly recommended!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cartel: Quickstart
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Masks: A New Generation
by Rob B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/13/2018 11:28:21

I recently finished running a fantastic game of Masks. It is a great system, especially for short to medium length campaigns. I think longer campaigns might be tougher though, due to the mechanics of character advancement. Some of my observations about the game:

1) The gamebook doesn't include the player classes (playbooks). You can download them for free from Magpie Games or maybe here as well. You can also find some decent handouts with all the moves of the game. Print them out and give them to the players.

2) The hardest thing for me (gaming since the 1982) was the notion of the GM "moves" only after a player fails a roll. I made several that were not readily evident (complications I decided to add from those results)...other times I chose immediate GM moves, if applicable. I should have made it clearer when they discovered something later on that it was a result of a failed roll previously (like failing to do research on a villain in fact triggering a future event (the villain was alerted to the snooping)).

3) The game rewards failure with character advancement. The more unlucky your rolls, the quicker the advancement. This nudges players to do what they are weak at. For example, one hero was a newly sentient robot ("Newborn" playbook from the Halcyon City expansion) who had terrible social skills and was often the one who acted as a "face" for the group. Whereas other games simply punish you for failing, Masks also gives you tangible rewards for failing. I think this is a great way to both push players out of their comfort zones if they've settled into specific character types, as well as in acting as their own obstacles by being suboptimal. I think there is something even deeper here...This is cool. Great idea.

4) Don't work against the game. The game is about teen superheroes. It is designed mechanically around that very idea. In our game there was a moment when half the group was feverishly working to build a device to trap their arch nemesis while the other half of the group were trying to resolve social conflicts surrounding school life (about an upcoming school concert, lol).

5) I read the best advice I have ever seen written for GMs in this book. It instructed GMs to be a FAN of the players and their characters. This is brilliant advice. Sometimes GMs can be trapped into the advisary role.

It is a great game! After I bought the PDF I decided to buy the hardback. Now I hope someone else will run it so I can play in a character!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Masks: A New Generation
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Pasión de las Pasiones: Ashcan Edition
by Aaron K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/01/2018 14:28:36

A perfect adaptation of the genre with clear, useful layout, to-the-point instructions, and great examples and encouragements.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pasión de las Pasiones: Ashcan Edition
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Urban Shadows
by jeremy g. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/07/2018 00:43:54

Paid for an urban themed RPG with fantasy elements. Got a smattering of roleplaying elements and plenty of unsolicited political posturing. There are echoes of World of Darkness, but the gothic angst has been replaced by whining agendas.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Urban Shadows
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Bluebeard's Bride
by Nathan R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/01/2017 14:10:10

I desperately want to run this game, but I don't feel I should, as I'm a male and don't believe I would offer my friends, some of whom are women, quite the same experience. It asks you to get into a woman's complicated psyche (men's psyches are complicated too, just different, perhaps). I would rather my wife run the game and be a player. I'm terribly curious to see where her imagination would take us. All this being said, no game has intrigued me like this one in a very long time. I'd love to hear from someone who has played it!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bluebeard's Bride
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Masks: A New Generation
by JB L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/13/2017 19:03:16

MASKS: A New Generation - Comprehensive Review by DropTheDie

Masks is another Powered by the Apocolypse powerhouse. A simple 2d6 system that uses storycrafting, drama, and continuous "moves" to keep the action and roleplay moving at a brisk pace. This "hack" of the PbtA system is all-inclusive, everything you need to run the game is included in this purchase, excluding the dice.

Masks' general principle, unlike other Superhero TTRPG games I've been part in, is that all teenage supers are dyanmic and capable people struggling to make the world see their merit and learn who they are and what they can do. Each player has access to a wide variety of playbooks that help focus narrative decisions in-game.

A humble Beacon might be more concerened about "living it up" than being a crime busting superhero, or they might be trying to prove exactly how capable an average person can really be in this superhero world. The Bull might be a hulking brute that smashes her way through any and everything, or they might be a teen torn between their intimate relationship with their significant other and their team. No playbook mandates the roleplay; they are designed to help you represent what it is you want your character to be and do - not to dictate it.

The book's layout is very good. Many aspects of the game that are confusing or too vague (as the entire Rules System is meant to be more vague than other traditional RPGs) are delved into to bluntly explain how the moves and abilities were intended to work. Each playbook has themes and examples of where the ideas, the "bones," of these characters came from.

MASKS has one big speedbump, however. No matter how well the system represents the city of Halcyon, or how well the book discusses how the Master of Ceremonies (who runs the game) should engage their players, it is extremely dependant on their skill to tell an interesting story. This game is absolutely not meant to just be fight after fight after fight. The mechanics of the game are such that a player must CHOOSE to "Pass out, flee, ect" only after a certain threshold is reached, which 90% of the time, no one does. This means that if your fights are not intense and dangerous in scope to the world-at-large, they will just be arbitrary roll-till-you-win matches.

*A good example*: "You make your way to the plaza mall and meet up with Becky and Jona. The both of them wave at you from a low seat in the food court - a hot pizza sitting on the table between them. You hear next to you, a very familiar electronic voice that whispers: 'One move, Axle... one move, and I'll bring the building down.' Mirage - the shape changing supervillain looks out at you from under the brim of her wide hat. What do you do?" *A bad example*: "You're eating a cinnamon bun with the rest of your team, hanging out in the caffiteria at school, and the Metal Wombat crashes through the window and screams 'LET'S FIGHT!'"

Luckily there are a ton of resources online to help guide you in your venture to run the perfect game of Masks. Only one person in your group need purchase the book to try it out - as players have very little information in the book that the MC cannot explain to you at the table, making this a perfect introductory buy. We've been playing for months now and each of us has a copy at this point!

This game gets my seal of approval - check it out!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Masks: A New Generation
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Bluebeard's Bride
by Joseph D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/28/2017 22:26:11

Buy this game. Buy it right now. It is a work of art. It is complete, perfect beauty. When I teach children what RPG design can be about (this is my day job, amazingly), this is the kind of thing I point to. This is what it looks like when you consider every element of your game both individually and holistically. This is what it looks like when you pare it down to the bare essentials, so everything communicates theme and message in volumes. It can be a difficult game, emotionally and practically. But it is beautiful. Buy it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bluebeard's Bride
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