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Nazis & Nightmares -A swordsmen & skeletons supplement for supernatural World War II gaming
by Chauncey P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/14/2017 15:47:20

This is yes about a page long, a little longer with the new edition. However this is a supplement for two separate games that either works off of or works with. It is an expansion swordsmen and skeletons that puts an OSR in a Weird War II setting. in between theplayers play a modified axis and allies where the Nazis and Japanese get greater powers of both mystical and technological bent. This makes it very hard to win, so the players must work extra hard to become powerful enough to take on the NaziNazi forces and haltforces and halt their plans. For axis and allies there is a free emulator online or Steam has Tabletop Simulator for $20 and almost every game is free, including several versions of axis and allies.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Nazis & Nightmares -A swordsmen & skeletons supplement for supernatural World War II gaming
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Swordsmen & Skeletons
by alexander m. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/18/2017 14:52:00

This boils each aspect of play down to either an elevator-pitch sized one liner, or elides it. What sets this apart from similar products in the super-simple end of the design spectrum is that this one's legibility is crippled by layout.

These three factors compound each other:

  1. the background art that is behind every part of the text swamps the contrast of the text.
  2. every "chapter" is one long line, wrapped a dozen times in a full-justified block.
  3. massive inch-plus margins is eating space that could have been spent on desparately needed text structuring, and looks bad with the background art to boot.

Once you grind past those to the content, you find a bunch of reasonably standard dnd-isms. (As the author mentioned, this is for an already-versed audience.) Instead of these elements being short but building on each other to create an emergent game with some novelty, this looks like what you'd get if you sat a table of gamers together and told them they had 30 minutes and two pages to list the critical mechanics.

There are far more usable one-pagers. It would be harder to use this as a reference for play than to just wing it from memory.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Swordsmen & Skeletons
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Creator Reply:
Sigh. "But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house." Mark 6:4 ;-) Okay, since I neither expect nor want any of my gaming stuff to support me, I don't mind telling reviewers when I think they've gone totally off the reservation, as I believe Alexander has done here. But, for the same reason it also doesn't bother me to discuss my games, even when the review is negative, because they truly are a labor of love. So. Here's your problem Alexander. You didn't read this. If you did, you read the title, saw that the whole thing fit on one page, saw that the typing was cramped, maybe gave the monster list a terse looking-over, and consigned it to the dustbin of role playing. Fine. Not your cup of tea. However, what you failed to see is that Swordsmen & Skeletons DOES EXACTLY WHAT IT SETS OUT TO DO. No higher praise is possible. Let me explain. I'm a kind of a revolutionary's revolutionary, within the Oed revolution. I decided -within this line, and a few others, but by no means all with of my products - to see if I could REALLY create an Oed clone that actually has all the rules necessary to play a long running campaign, to moderately high level, and containing all of the elements necessary to play and enjoy, on a single sheet of paper. I did this because I really wanted to show people that it was possible, and it is. However, and again, YOU HAVE TO READ IT CAREFULLY. If you do, you will see that not only everything necessary, but everything needed to have a good time is all here. You can purchase any Oed module for any Oed system, staple a copy of Swordsmen & Skeletons into the back of it, and have all you will need to play, with a little imagination and without consulting any other rulebooks. See below: CHARACTERS: Within six races and three character classes, and through minimization, you have all that you need to play a variety of character types, certainly at least equal to what's available in the original rules. HOW TO PLAY: The default rules of the system are simple and concise. A single paragraph enters pretty much any question most players will have about what options are available, and how they are adjudicated. In any rpg there will always be calls for GM discretion -that's what keeps rpgs from being Monopoly- but we have found that, in practice, these are few and far between, with no real loss in player options. Of course, you can't compare S&S to something like 3.5, but if you think that level of complexity is desirable, you are probably not into the Oed revolution in the first place. SPELLS: By using default rules and minimization (and, again, you have to read the default rules carefully) you will see that we have over forty spells through two character classes and five spell levels that are geared toward dungeoneering and combat, which are the foci of this game. Most of the spells have only a few very brief words added to the default rules, but, in all cases we (my players and I) have found that the rules are sufficient to describe exactly how the spell functions, whether it is ranged, whether saving throws apply, how many targets are effected, etc. What more do you want? MONSTERS: Within a list of 18 relatively standard fantasy creatures and two special abilities (which can be applied to extend the list literally to hundreds of higher level monsters) you have a playable list that allows dungeon crawls of relatively high levels. This gives a variety of about equal to that found in Oed. I will point out that my players did think the list was too brief, and so I added in another one page product (God help us!) called New Monsters For Swordsmen and Skeletons, which adds in some 80 additional encounters and magic items (see below) and 10 new additional abilities, extending the game to something like an Advanced edition, with literally thousands of monsters and variant monsters possible. Again, all is accomplished by minimization and cross-referencing, with each monster effectively given all of the stats and description needed for play, within a single (yes, somewhat cramped) line of text. MAGIC ITEMS: Here is where all of the minimization, cross-referencing and default rules really come together, and also manage to add a certain campaign flavor to the S&S system. While it would appear at first glance that no list of magic items exist, in fact, there are a large number (roughly 200) as, in addition to relatively basic elements like enchanted weapons and armor, each spell provides one or more magic items, and there is also a simple system of "monstrous amulets" and "spirit amulets" that give us an insight into the thaumaturgical/metaphysics that pervade the world of Kyrthandria, the campaign setting from another of our one page products "A Swiftly Falling Empire." A relatively low maximum spell level combines with a proportionately large availability of those spells to the lower levels of spellcaster, and with the "monstrous" and "spirit" based amulets, gives us the idea that the gods of Kyrthandria are relatively primitive animal and spirit totems; full of raw power and yet not fully evolved. All of this and the relatively warlike nature of most of the spells (including the priestly ones) gives us a primitive and savage sword & sorcery style setting, in some ways reminiscent of fictional realms like those of Brak or Kull. This was intentional. I should also point out that, while S&S is an Oed clone, and was primarily written to give any player and GM the chance to adventure at low expense and easy learning curve in an Oed setting and system, it has its own quirks. Characters are relatively powerful at low levels, though this tapers off as higher levels are attained. This has something of a "squeezing" effect on play, with second-by-second survivability at first and second levels being a little less pronounced, but without characters becoming god-killers at 12th level, which I have often seen happen in other versions of the original system. On the other hand, raising the dead is almost impossible (almost, but not quite, see New Monsters for the lone exception) which means that, while its a little harder to lose your character, you'd better play things tactically, because Death has a certain permanence (as in our real world, and most fantasy worlds of fiction) when he arrives. In closing, I believe that S&S accomplished something I've never before seen successfully done. Within about 1-3 pages, you can game through at least the fifteenth level of play in two detailed campaign worlds in a simple, concise system that answers all of your questions without the need for endless rules lawyering, let alone massive expense, and yet without the gloss and handwavium that keeps players wondering what to do, or just makes them lose interest altogether. These are not just empty words. I have put my money where my mouth is by running a successful nine month long campaign using S&S, New Monsters and A Swiftly Falling Empire, in which much fun was had by all, play ran smoothly, and a lot of in-depth role playing was accomplished. By the end of the campaign, one character was a landed baron, two were Imperial generals and a large number of courtly intrigues had been engaged in, by players who were well immersed in the setting. Not bad for some four pages of rules. At the moment, I am running a campaign on Roll20 using S&S and Nazis & Nightmares, another of our one page products that expands S&S for fast-paced WW2 horror/supers gaming. We have played about four sessions so far. I am sad to say that, for the moment, at least, the Allies are being badly beaten. The Wehrmacht is at the gates of Moscow and the Imperial Japanese army is ripping through East Asia. We can only hope that our valiant commandos will bring about a triumph for truth, justice, and the American way, but this is by no means a certainty. You are more than welcome to stop by our Roll20 "Nazis & Nightmares" group sometime, if you'd care to see how it plays, as opposed to how you think it plays ;-) Cheers
The Black Tide: System Neutral Interstellar Role Playing Campaign Rules
by iii i. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/05/2016 01:22:47

Sadly it is a very raw product with some (small) good ideas. The terrible design aside what makes it even harder to read are random rolls nestled within random rolls which are also nestled within random rolls. Important aspects are not explained (for example, what exactly Psionic Project Honor gives in terms of mechanic? What is 'lab only'? How much and/or how often Influence Points modify Influence Rolls, and how often each player can make Influence Rolls? What exactly 'tied in skirmish' means in terms of mechanics?. Encounters are mentioned as possible but that is all that is said about them. In couple of places the language is just muddy – for example, it is unclear how exactly enemy troops are calculated for Ground/Boarding action: do we have 50% chance of minion robots and 50% separate chance of cyborg troops or it is 1-50 on d100 for minion robots and 51-100 for cyborgs, or maybe something else? I couldn't understand the supposed mechanic at all.

The game relies very heavily on chance and not in a good way: there are almost no decisions that players can make and Influence Rolls (which can allow such decisions) aren't very well explained. To give an example of chance, there is a Death Star-like star station which can be destroyed only by ancient artifact weapon but each of three parts of this weapon can be only 'found' through Honors benefits. Honors have only 5-10% chance to occur on each victory, and each of three pieces of the artifact weapon has a 1 in 10 chance to be 'found' for each Honor.

Mass star battle is resolved by simple d6 roll per participating fleet (who rolls highest simply wins), so any strategy aside of 'toss more troops in there' is not very possible. There are two situations where PC can die simply by rolling badly (on 1 in 6 chance on failed stellar travel, and 1 in 6 chance on failed 'save' when being court-martialled; there are 2 in 6 chances to lose all Honors in the same situation which might mean the loss of ancient weapon, which is the only way to eventually win the game if starkiller station spawns). Role-playing is severely diminished and supposed to be solved by dice rolls and negotiations, not by an actual role-play.

There are some good ideas: I like Galactic Event as idea and Honors as idea, and I like the way the worlds are named, but it is my genuine impression is that this game is a) severely unbalanced b) allows for almost no player input and instead relies mostly on pure luck and c) is way too simplified or not developed enough to be useful even as a 'over-system' for simulation of galactic events between adventures.

The design of PDF is very, very bad. Barely readable white font on a messy-dark background and unreadable display white font for titles and section headers. Random tables are not structured (there are random tables 'nestled' within random tables which are also 'nestled' within random tables). The text come in big chunks without good paragraph structure.

Some (small) good ideas but requires a lot more work to be useable.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
The Black Tide: System Neutral Interstellar Role Playing Campaign Rules
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