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    Prowlers & Paragons Ultimate Edition
    Publisher: Evil Beagle Games
    by Michael E. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 03/03/2021 01:18:05

    This is a simply phenomenal superhero RPG. The rules are clear and flexible, character creation offers a multitude of options that allow you to create very specific hero concepts, and the narrative currency (Resolve) lets you pick the right heroic moment to give it your all. There are a lot of strengths to this game, here are a couple that have really stood out to me:

    • While there is an option for "traditional" dice results, by default P&P determines the outcome of actions by narration. On a successful roll, the player narrates and on a failed roll, the GM narrates. Not only does this massively incentivize players to get descriptive and creatively engaged with every action they take, it also gives a lot of freedom to the GM to treat a failed roll as harshly or leniently as they think is warranted.

    • In addition to superpowers and mundane talents and skills, players can also choose Expertises at character creation (basically a specialization of a skill) and are allowed to use Specialties in low-powered games. The latter provide specific role bonuses in and out of combat. Together, Expertise and Specialty allow for the creation of very specific character builds that move beyond the realm of superpowers alone, without excessive crunch. This elegant pairing is begging to be borrowed in other games/genres.

    • Powers can be modified by Pros or Cons, and heroes can be granted Perks and Flaws. The former can help shape both the thematic nature of your powers, while the latter let you build out your character with tons of genre classics, like a sidekick, secret base, unique vehicle, or special vulnerability.

    • I have to take the opportunity to mention Preparation, a power I love and kind of want to see in every RPG in some form: this allows you to spend Resolve to declare that you've prepared for the specific scenario at hand and have some advantage ready to deploy at a moment's notice. This is meant to emulate superheroes and villains who love to elaborately plan ahead for every contingency. It's a great option for people who like to play mastermind characters.

    If you like rules-light and you're looking for a new superhero game, this is a great choice, with a clear love of the genre and its history.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Prowlers & Paragons Ultimate Edition
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    Scum and Villainy
    Publisher: Off Guard Games
    by Michael E. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 09/15/2019 13:16:33

    Scum & Villainy is the first game I've used to GM a full campaign (as opposed to one-shots or a short series of games). I'm glad I did. It's an excellent game.

    Probably the main reason I haven't GMed something longer before now is I struggle to link up plot threads into a larger narrative. S&V provides great tools to assist with this, beginning with the starting situations offered for each ship type, downtime entanglements, and ongoing faction plots that keep your crew engaged.

    The rules are a dream. If you're at all familiar with Blades in the Dark/Forged in the Dark, all of the strengths are there. The position-effect-consequences triad is one of the smartest ideas I've ever seen in tabletop, and allows the GM to fluidly progress the session in a way that fits both the needs of the crew and the narrative logic that's been established. The playbooks are fun, and pretty easy to modify if you feel the need. I'd advise any GM to take a look at the advice in chapter 10 of the book if you're likely to consider modding the rules. There are a lot of good ideas here to build on.

    The crew's ship became a fun RP hub in between jobs and the ship abilities were a particular strength because our Pilot always wanted to stay behind on the ship (it was an interesting task keeping him in play for every job). It's helpful to consider how your crew's choices during ship creation can fit into jobs as you create them.

    If you're interested in playing your own custom setting or even adapting other fiction for use (e.g. Firefly), the rules work very well and most playbooks need little if any modification. However, I'd recommend at least checking out the setting provided with the book. It's a lot of fun!

    I'm hard-pressed to think of specific criticisms. My group sometimes skipped engagement rolls or "doubled up" downtime activities to help with relieving harm or renewing stress when the rules felt too restrictive, but I don't think that means these elements are bad ideas; they just didn't work for our group every time.

    If you're interested in space outlaw hijinks and prefer rules that stress narrative over simulation, check this one out.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Scum and Villainy
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