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Old School Class: The Necromancer
by James N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/25/2019 20:14:44

I have playtested this class as both a PC and an enemy and I must say, so far, it is great. The necromancer of 2E has always been a generic specialist, but the "Old School Class: Necromancer" of OSRIC is very much like the illusionist of 1E, in that it has a unique spell list themed around the specialty rather than just getting bonus spells from the school.

I know the author personally; he said that he did not read the Dread Necromancer class of 3E, so I am going to compare and contrast them here:

The Dread Necromancer has a d6 hit die and leather armor. It is also charisma based; upon reaching level 20, it gains lichdom. It also has a better selection of weapon proficiencies.

The OSC Necromancer has a d4 hit die and no armor. It is INT based and a chaneller, in other words, it can gather spell energy on the fly instead of having a fixed number of spell slots. The OSC Necromancer has a better selection of spells than the Dread Necromancer. It does not automatically gain lichdom.

Note: The OSC Necromancer was apparently only a chaneller in the special setting that Chuck designed, Solstice. So, see that for more information.

There is a particularly crazy spell in the book called "Black Mass" that lets you bargain away your soul in exchange for fiendish companionship... oh HELL NAH!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Old School Class: The Necromancer
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AZ: After Zombies
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/08/2016 21:52:45

Looking for an all-in-one zombie game that you can get into because nothing else has quite scratched that itch? This could be what you're looking for. I love the whole idea of the Unity mechanics and Values. My favorite part of the book, for sure. My only concern is that all the modifiers that can be in play just isn't going to work for some groups (I don't think my group would take to them very well), though this is mitigated somewhat by the percentile mechanic, which is about the simplest thing in the world to wrap your head around. One other thing: I would recommend the black and white version if you're going hardcopy. I say this because a lot of the art in the PDF is black and white anyway, and Jon Gibbons' art is at least as amazing in black and white as it is in color.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2016/09/tommys-take-on-az-after-zombies.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
AZ: After Zombies
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AZ: After Zombies
by A customer [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/23/2016 17:23:36

I've been following Charles Rice's blog and products for several yeas now and took notice when he formed Apocalyptic Games. I'm a big fan of his work on games like Modern20 and Osric Unearthed. When I saw he was releasing AZ: After Zombies, a survival horror RPG set in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse I knew I had to give it a look.

And I'm glad I did.

I'm going to begin this review by stating that this game reminds me of the types I bought and grew up on in the late 80's and early 90's, especially works by GDW. There is a vibe that this game has that really hit the nostalgia nail squarely on the head for me. Charles covers not just fighting zombies but having to survive in this terrible new world. He addresses scrounging and finding resources and covers group dynamics and the inevitable drama of having survivors deal with and succumb to the melancholy of losing their world.

The first step is to choose a Background that gives you skills and sets your Attributes. You may roll to randomly determine this. Backgrounds include Academic, blank slate, politician, or white collar.

The Attributes are Combat Ability, Health, Insight, Intellect, Leadership, Luck, Quickness, and Strength. They are rated on a scale of 1 to 100 and are the base rating of a Skill and require you to roll equal to or under on a d100. If you do not have the appropriate Skill, you will need to roll equal to or under half your Attribute.

Your second through fifth steps will adjust your Attributes positively and negatively based upon your choices.

Step six is to roll a Trait, which grants an advantage, or you can simply choose one from your background. They include Dove, Sex Appeal, Team Player, or Gifted.

Step seven is to calculate your Derived Attributes, they are Mental Toughness (sanity), Endurance (fatigue), Action Points (number of action in a turn), and Unity (how well your group of survivors get along).

Step eight gives you the option to pick a Disadvantage, they give you slight bonus at character creation, but create complications in play. They include Allergic Reaction, Dark Past, or Enemy.

Step nine has you pick your skills, you get a minimum of one of your choosing and one from your Background. One interesting benefit of complimentary Skills is Synergy, essentially you gain +10% to your Skill check if you have Synergy.

Step ten has you pick your equipment and the Game Master has the option of adjusting its conditions to reflect the After Zombie world.

AZ is a level based game and has no maximum level. On even levels your gets a Survivor Improvement (which grants either a flat bonus or a die roll to increase an Attribute, the bonus depends on how your prioritized the Attribute in character creation) and a Learning Check (a chance to learn a new skill with modifiers based on what you've done to pick it up). On odd levels you gain a Perk (special abilities that enhance existing skills and abilities).

Combat in AZ flows as follows:

  1. Determine Surprise (if any).
  2. Roll Initiative (roll a percentile and add the Quickness Attribute).
  3. Each combatant acts from highest to lowest.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until the combat is over.

One thing that separates AZ from many combat systems are your Action Points, which are determined by dividing your Quickness by 10. During the course of a combat round (6 seconds) each type of action you want to use has a cost from 1 to 3 Action Points. Some 1 point actions: Aiming, Bracing, Reloading, Suppressive Fire. Some 2 point actions: Make a Skill Check, Medium Melee Attack, Quickshot, Reckless Melee Attack, or Take Cover. Some 3 point actions: Block, CPR, Dodge, Headlong Flight, or Heavy Melee Attack.

When you attack someone you determine where you hit them by the "1s" die. So if I roll a 53 on a d100 and succeed with attacking someone, I hit them in location 3 or the Upper Chest. Locations are: Head, Shoulder, Upper Chest, Middle Chest, Stomach, Groin, Arm, and Leg. If my successful attack roll exceeds my target's Health, they take an injury which is determined by the location I hit and includes Bleeding and Trauma.

A great deal of information is presented about different types of equipment and what state they are in and maintaining them.

There is a large section that covers various enemies from zombies to animals to other humans.

And I enjoyed the Game Mastering section and felt it gave good advice on how to run an AZ game.

And an adventure is also presented to get you started right away.

I highly recommend this game and hope you think about checking it out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
AZ: After Zombies
by Jason T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/05/2016 10:56:53

AFTER ZOMBIES is an excellent Zombie Apocalypse game written by a veteran in the RPG field. It's an attractive, easy to read book that provides everything a group needs to start play in one session. If you're interested in the Zombie genre at all, Chuck Rice has you covered.

Mechanically, AZ is more old school than new; this is not a game with "cinematic" or "narrative" combat. This is a game with rules for hit locations and wound infection; this is totally appropriate to the genre. Task resolution uses d1-100, so in that sense the game is reminiscent of Chaosium's system, but its uses of Backgrounds, Levels (but not classes!), and feat-like Perks will be instantly familiar to anyone familiar with the World's Greatest Roleplaying Game. It is worth noting that Rice wrote many successful products for d20 and d20 Modern in the indy gaming boom that followed the Open License. All that experience is in evidence here: AZ spends a lot of attention on the things zombie-hunters care about, like specific models of firearms, scavenging tables keyed to various kinds of buildings, and explosives.

There's a long list of playtesters in AZ, and while there is probably a lot of balancing that went into the back-end, where I noticed the playtesting was in the many many options for character creation. A common concern in a game of this sort is that all the PCs look more or less the same; AZ addresses that problem with 18 backgrounds, 23 "Traits" (optional character features), 16 Disadvantages (when a disadvantage comes into play, you get more XP, so they are incentivized) and 11 PAGES of Perks (think Feats) for every attribute and skill. Making your zombie hunter different than everyone else on the outside is up to the roleplayer, but AZ will make sure they play differently too.

The theme influences the game mechanics. Rice has come up with a couple of really neat genre-simulating rules. Killing things and exploring does not get you XP, because in a zombie apocalypse the only thing that matters is staying alive. The longer you live, the more XP you get. (Killing things and exploring might help you survive, but that's what adventures are for.) Every group has a "Unity" stat, which represents how well the group holds together, and Unity is influenced by many factors, including not just the best Leadership score in the group, but the kinds of government the group has chosen. Unity helps the group resist insanity and fear, which is also a major force in the game as PCs get worn down by the horror of the world AZ.

There's a lot of advice here for making your own setting, and the bestiary chapter includes not just a dozen different kinds of zombies, but also a lot of the human opposition you would expect in the AZ. A sandbox-style campaign setting has been included, ostensibly set in Virginia but easily ported to just about anywhere. There are factions (I particularly liked Detachment 7, which is d20 Modern's old Department 7 with a name change, but still trying to serve the federal government... if only there was one!), NPCs with motivations and secrets, groups that need things and groups that have what everyone else needs. It's a setting with a lot of potential conflict, and your players will have no shortage of things to do in it.

AZ is a solid zombie apocalypse game with a strong visual presentation designed by a guy with decades of experience in the field and a love of the genre. Buy it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Spire Issue #1
by Darren P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/19/2015 16:01:34

The players just finished this. I converted it with only a little effort to the Eberron campaign setting. They really enjoyed their first foray in to 5e. Well written. More please.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Spire Issue #1
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