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Adventure I
by Lee S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/08/2015 17:05:41
Got this and the #2 for side line stuff for my game.

I run a VTT game so being able to copy in the txt is a great way of cutting prep time down.

You can copy all txt on these EXCEPT the blocks on what the PC's See.
The main ones you need to be able to copy.

So if your getting them for a VTT, know that you can not copy the txt you have the most need to do so.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure I
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City of Lies Box Set
by Steve A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/06/2015 22:26:38
Great box set! The only thing keeping this from a 5-star rating is the absence of the Introduction to Ryoko Owari. It's an 8-page booklet included in the original box set that lays out a starting point for GMs new to the City of Lies. Hopefully some day this will be corrected. Lucky for me, I found my old copy tucked inside another book on my shelf.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
City of Lies Box Set
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Legend of the Five Rings: Unexpected Allies 2
by Duncan H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/17/2015 13:13:10
I acquired this as both the Acrobat form and the print on demand. While others have reviewed the content, I would like to review based on the print quality. For anyone that has purchased Strongholds, you will find a similar quality to this PoD product. The cover is glossier than other Alderac L5R 4E publications, and is missing that matte texture. Colour illustrations that appear vivid in the Acrobat version are washed out. Perhaps this is due to the paper selection, which seems to be of a less flexible, lesser quality than books Alderac has published themselves. As with several other 4E publications, there are spelling errors littered throughout the text, as though the copy editors were in a hurry to have this issued. I think readers have come to expect this as Alderac certainly generates more revenue from the cards than the role-playing game and spends more of their resources there. Nevertheless, the quality of the paper aside, I am glad to have this as something I can take with me, and this has not discouraged me from ordering other PoD only products.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Five Rings: Unexpected Allies 2
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Rokugan
by Rafael M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/04/2015 13:31:31
I want my money back! Drive thru should be ashamed of selling such a piece of garbage of PDF. It is a VERY poor scan of the book. I could not be more disappointed.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Rokugan
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Empire
by Andy P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/09/2015 20:55:30
Empire had some interesting ideas but in my opinion failed to deliver them adequately. The rules as-is can't create a believable, medieval world. They need some work from the DM.
As an example, the population growth is so high that easily beats the modern world. You easily get 5% per year, doubling your population in 14 years. Another example is the small size of domains that also needs to be tweaked.

There are three scales: Barony, kingdom, empire, each with a different "population unit", "area unit" and "resource unit" size. That idea is innovating, it's good and it's useful. But the way the book uses this idea, the numbers that go along with the scale, the way you create and develop fiefdoms for the characters to control need work.

There is not enough versatility in "Empire" in my opinion. Whether your campaign is low magic, high magic, set in a the early medieval or renaissance, the rules are the same. There are very few random events with little imagination behind them.
There is a lack of rules for your liege and your vassals. No info on what you pay them or what they pay you.
There is a lack of rules for changing from one scale to another. If you want to go from barony scale to kingdom scale, you have to improvise.

For those interested in such things (I'm not personally), the art in the book isn't very good.

What is good in my opinion is the chapter on the "Empire campaign", that offers useful information.
The chapter on character classes in a campaign of barons and kings also has some interesting rules.
The rules of mass combat are solid, but I have seen similar in different products.

If you don't have a book with solid mass combat rules, want a few ideas and pointers on how to run a campaign where the PCs are rulers and you can easily afford this book, then buy it.
If not, then look elsewhere.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Empire
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The Book of Void
by Roger (. L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/16/2014 02:58:40
http://www.teilzeithelden.de/

Das Book of Void stellt den Abschluss der eher durchwachsenen fünf Elemente-Bände dar. Wie die vier Bände zuvor, so behandelt auch dieses Buch spezielle Details von Rokugan, die mit dem Element (hier die rätselhafte „Leere“) in Verbindung stehen. Dabei liefert das Buch Gedanken und Spekulationen (Leere und Nothingness!) zum fünften Ring und beschreibt die Beziehung verschiedener Gesellschaftsschichten und Clans zur Leere. Phoenix, Drache und Kranich stehen klar im Vordergrund, aber auch die Verbindungen von Naga und Nezumi zur Leere finden Erwähnung. Komplizierte Konzepte wie Zanshin, Erleuchtung oder das Zusammenspiel von Kami und Leere werden verständlich besprochen. Interessant sind vor allem die vielen kurzen Erzählungen, die einem Spielleiter dabei helfen, den schwer greifbaren Ring an konkreten Szenen, Mythen und Legenden festzumachen.

Handfester wird es für Leser mit der Vorstellung von drei legendären Ninja-Familien mit sehr speziellem Hintergrund. Anders als die schleichenden Mörder aus Enemies of the Empire sind Koga, Hateru und Sesai ambivalenter und eignen sich sogar als Verbündete einer Spielrunde. Für Shugenja-Spieler interessant dürfte die Beschreibung der Ishiken sein, Meister der Leere-Magie. Dabei wurden viele Leere-Zauber im Book of Void überarbeitet, so dass sich mitten im Erweiterungsband ein kleines Leere-Grimoire auf vier Seiten findet. Neue alternative Pfade, Schulen und Zauber finden sich im Anhang, darunter nützliche Zauber der Mehr-Elemente-Magie, die, dank einem Coup der Agasha-Familie, allen Clans offen steht.

Wie die vier Elemente-Bände zuvor, so beinhaltet auch das Book of Void ein ausgearbeitetes Setting, dass passend mysteriös geraten ist: Nazo Mori (der Wald der Rätsel) kann dabei in jede Region von Rokugan platziert werden und eignet sich für einen spannendes Zwischenstopp für reisende Samurai – samt geheimniskrämerischen Dörflern, Räuberbanden, uralten Ruinen und einem lauernden Monster. Eine dort spielende Kurzkampagne um eine wahnsinnige Leere-Shugenja rundet den Erweiterungsband ab.

Fazit
Solide für mehr Mystik in Rokugan. Wer einen der anderen „Book of“-Bände gelesen hat, weiß genau, was ihn im Book of Void erwartet: sehr spezielle und teilweise langatmige Betrachtungen der Spielwelt unter dem Aspekt der Leere. Anders als das dürftige Book of Air ist dieser Erweiterungsband ein solides Werk mit nützlichen Informationen, sowie einigen interessanten Überlegungen und Plot-Ideen und damit ein gelungener Abschluss der Elemente-Reihe. Spieler oder Spielleiter, die mehr Mystik in eine L5R-Kampagne bringen wollen, können einen Blick riskieren.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Book of Void
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Unexpected Allies
by Roger (. L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/16/2014 02:57:58
http://www.teilzeithelden.de/

Unexpected Allies war eine der beliebtesten Erweiterungen für die erste Edition von Legend of the Five Rings. Es handelte sich um eine Sammlung von brauchbaren NSC aus dem Kaiserreich zur damaligen Zeit des Metaplots. Für Spielleiter war dies eine wahre Fundgrube und regte manche Kampagne an. Unexpected Allies 2 möchte in die Fußstapfen des Vorgängers treten und die Spielwelt bevölkern. Das ist auch dringend nötig, verzichteten einige der letzten Erweiterungsbände doch schmerzlich auf Beispielcharaktere.

Auf 84 Seiten stellt Unexpected Allies 2 insgesamt 75 Charaktere vor, gleichmäßig verteilt auf die acht großen Clans, Ronin, Spinnen-Clan und sogar nichtmenschlicher Völker. Jeder Charakter erhält dabei eine kurze Hintergrundgeschichte mit Hinweisen auf persönliche Eigenarten, sowie vollständige Spielwerte. Im Buch finden sich dazu zahlreiche hochwertige Illustrationen, die jedoch meist schon in früheren Publikationen verwendet wurden und nicht immer zum jeweiligen NSC passen.

Dabei fällt auf: die Charaktere stammen nicht alle aus der Zeit von Kaiserin Iweko I, sondern aus verschiedenen Epochen, von der „Four Winds Era“ bis zum „Destroyer War“. Manche Figuren sind aus Erzähltexten der Alderac-Website bekannt, samt ihren Todesumständen – das schränkt den Nutzen für Kanon-treue Spielrunden natürlich ein. Findige Spielleiter dürften aber kein Problem damit haben, die Figuren anderen Epochen anzupassen.

Was der Erweiterungsband nicht abdeckt, sind Charaktere aus den kaiserlichen Familien und kleineren Clans. Schade – hier hätte man die fehlenden NSC aus Secrets of the Empire nachreichen können. Dazu finden sich auffallend wenige weibliche Charaktere (insgesamt nur 17) in der Auswahl. Das ist in einem Setting, in dem Damen häufig das Katana als Samuraiko ergreifen, etwas mau. Viele der Figuren sind interessant (lebende Legenden, tragische Beispiele, ungewöhnliche Clanmitglieder), doch keiner hat einen hohen Rang oder zählt zu den herausragenden Machtfiguren des Landes. Ein einleitendes Kapitel zu „Helden und Bösewichtern“, samt fünf einfachen Templates für unwichtige NSC, rundet das Buch ab.
Fazit
Wildes Sammelsurium mit Schwächen. Unexpected Allies 2 ist eine solide Sammlung von Nichtspielercharakteren, viele davon aus Fan-Einsendungen zu einem (im Vergleich mit anderen L5R-Produkten) recht günstigen Preis von umgerechnet 12 EUR. Das ist ein netter Service, tröstet aber kaum darüber hinweg, dass hier einige Chancen vertan wurden. Immerhin erhält der Leser über die Charaktere einen tieferen Einblick in den Spider-Clan und den Rattenmenschen der Nezumi.

Eine generelle Übersicht über Figuren eine Zeitebene wäre aber deutlich nützlicher gewesen, als ein wildes Sammelsurium. Ärgerlich für Sammler: Aktuell bietet Alderac Entertainment das Buch nur als PDF zum Download an.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Unexpected Allies
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Legend of the Five Rings: Sword and Fan
by Roger (. L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/16/2014 02:57:22
http://www.teilzeithelden.de/

Sword and Fan will auf 218 Seiten das definitive Erweiterungsbuch über Krieg und Frieden in Rokugan sein. Diese beiden Elemente prägen das Setting, existieren aber oft jenseits der konkreten Kampagnen-Inhalte vieler Spielrunden. Das Ziel des Buches ist dabei, Hintergrund und rokuganische Eigenarten zu vermitteln und damit militärische Konflikte und Intrigen am Hof spielbarer zu machen.

Die erste Hälfte des Buches dreht sich um Kriege in Rokugan. Hier finden sich allgemeine Hintergründe zu Krieg in Rokugan (von der Musterung der Truppen bis zum „Sieg ohne Schlacht“), sowie kurze Abrisse erwähnenswerter Konflikte aus der rokuganischen Geschichte und ihrer Generäle. Ausführlich wird die Sicht verschiedener Clans auf berittene Kampfeinheiten beschrieben. Das ist interessant, liest sich stellenweise aber recht trocken und enthält kaum nutzbare Story-Ideen. Details zur kaiserlichen Armee und ihrer Funktionsweise fehlen leider. Dafür versuchen erweiterte Regeln für Massenkampf den Platz der Spieler auf dem Schlachtfeld klarer zu gestalten, samt einer Handvoll optionaler Regeln und neuer „Heroic Opportunities“.

Die zweite Hälfte des Buches dreht sich ganz um Diplomatie und Intrige. Hier wird ausführlich beschrieben, was Diplomaten und Höflinge tun und wie sie die Clans subtil beeinflussen. Das wurde zwar schon teilweise in anderen Erweiterungsbänden angerissen, wird hier aber noch einmal zusammengefasst und erweitert. So finden Spieler und Spielleiter auf 30 Seiten die gesamte rokuganische Etikette. Ein besonderer Fokus liegt dabei auf dem Winter Court der Kaiserin und den dortigen diplomatischen Fallstricken und Möglichkeiten. Mechaniken für diplomatische Interaktionen fehlen dafür. Im Appendix finden sich dafür einige neue Paths und Vorteile, etwa diplomatische Schulen des Kaiserhofes (Imperial Observers).


Fazit
Nützliche Details über Krieg und Frieden. Sword and Fan kann als Ergänzung zu Emerald Empire gesehen werden. Es vermittelt Spielern und Spielleitern viel Hintergrundwissen über Krieg und Diplomatie in Rokugan und füllt die Spielwelt damit mit Leben und Eigenheiten. Dazu gibt es eine Palette neuer Charakteroptionen für Höflinge und Bushi-Samurai.

Manche Texte des Buches sind recht allgemein gehalten und decken sich inhaltlich mit Abschnitten aus anderen Erweiterungsbänden. Für Spielleiter und Spieler in einer Kampagne um militärische Konflikte oder Intrigen ist das Buch aber eine Kaufempfehlung.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Five Rings: Sword and Fan
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Swordsman's Guild
by Allan D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/29/2014 22:08:23
1. Anything made in Seventh Sea is Awesome.
2. This is a must have book for any Seventh Sea campaign. It includes multiple schools and Grand Mastering Rules for Seventh Sea. Which are incredibly different and better than the rules posted on the Crystal Keep website.
3. This book also includes rules for running and role playing characters who are members of the Swordsman's Guild to include Razors and named Characters.
4. Book is organized in a great way that makes it easy to read and reference quickly.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Swordsman's Guild
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Glory Days
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/10/2014 08:55:00
This, the last sourcebook published for Brave New World, takes the story back to the Second World War, a time when deltas fought proudly for their nation and were hailed as heroes. It provides a spring-board for running adventures in such exciting times.

Starting, as usual, with an extensive in-character section, there's a change here... presentation is in the style of a news magazine as of course there was no World Wide Web to provide the webpage format of earlier volumes. It's written - as is the entire game - from an American standpoint, and describes the development of the Delta Squadron into which the reader is assumed to have enlisted (or been drafted), being set in 1942 after America has entered the war.

At this time the Delta Squadron is active in three places - the UK, North Africa and the Pacific. There's plenty of material about who is where and what is going on, and - apart from the presence of deltas - it all sticks pretty closely to the real-world version of WW2. They also have a spectacular main base, a flying aircraft carrier.

While the mores of the time meant that female deltas were restricted in the roles they could occupy in Delta Squadron (although they were at least allowed to enlist in it), others preferred to take on other roles such as the Ladies of Liberty - a group of female deltas who maintained law and order on the home front whilst others who'd been vigilantes were away at war. They seem adept at catching spies, too.

Amongst the discourse on what is going on home and abroad, the astute Guide can spot plenty of potential adventures to weave into a campaign wherever it is based. Naturally, the Axis forces have also cottoned on to the concept of recruiting deltas to their cause and so there is some information here about them and what they have been doing. Likewise, the Allies have their own delta organisations - people that the party may wish to work alongside or (especially if your players are not Americans) they may prefer to join.

The out-of-character section begins by detailing how to create deltas suitable for military service, including ten new power packages designed with warfare in mind - although they could equally well be used by contemporary deltas. Each comes with a ready-to-use archetype, who can be played as is or used as inspiration for your own character with that particular power package. Availability and cost of equipment and the military life are covered here as well.

Next comes a chapter on gadgets. There's an almost steam-punk element here, melding 1940s technology with fantastical ideas. The gadgets described range from aerial carriers to communications gear, jetbikes and the 'tank suit' (think mecha), all with a focus on warfare, of course.

Then Chapter 3 looks at new combat rules, designed to accommodate all-out war rather than the one-on-one or small group brawls previously covered in the rules. Vehicle combat (taking the term 'vehicle' loosely - anything from tanks to planes to submarines is included), chases, anti-aircraft fire, torpedoes, and a range of new weapons familiar to the battlefield but less common amongst superheroes are to be found here.

Then the Guide's Handbook section starts with a lot of advice on running a Glory Days campaign. It's quite different from the standard Brave New World one although there are plenty of similarities too. There's scope for a wide range of adventure types and plenty of information to help you make the most of them. There is also some good advice on taking your game forwards from 1942, which bits of real-world history to include, and how to weave in the superpowered elements to form a coherent whole. There are a lot of profiles of regular and superpowered individuals from both sides, and a complete adventure to get you started. It's set in North Africa and would work well as a one-off adventure if you are unsure of whether or not you want to play a full-blown World War Two campaign, or of course it could be used as an exciting start to one...

The Author's Afterword concentrates on two points, his admitted lack of specialist knowledge about WW2 and the need to understand how awful war really is, however much fun it can be to game. This latter point is one your own group needs to be clear on, should you decide to run Glory Days - and some groups may find it a subject not to their liking.

Overall, this is a skillful and exciting blend of fact and fantasy which, provided you don't mind meddling with history and don't think it belittles the true sacrifices made by those who have fought in real wars, should make for a memorable campaign.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Glory Days
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Covenant
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/06/2014 08:49:48
Continuing the detailed analysis of the different factions present in the Brave New World setting, this book looks at The Covenant, the organisation set up by the Catholic Church in response to the delta issue.

As usual the first half of the book is devoted to detailed in-character information delivered in a web-page format (well, as near as you can on paper, anyway!), narrated by a priest who is also a delta. He starts off by introducing himself and tells of how he became first priest and then a delta. He then proceeds to the history of the Covenant and explores the ways in which people become members thereof, before talking about their sacred mission and discussing the structure and organisation under which they work.

Viewing their delta powers as gifts from God, Covenant deltas are saints in the making. You see, to become a saint you need to work miracles and be a virtuous person. Delta powers are pretty miraculous, so all they need to work on is their virtue... and then wait to be dead, the third requirement for sainthood! Those Catholics who are not in holy orders when they become deltas are fast-tracked into being at least a monk or nun when they join the Covenant.

Oh, and we are introduced to vampires who are, you guessed it, another particularly malign form of delta. They show all the classic signs of vampirism, though, and can be dealt with by sunlight, holy symbols, garlic, etc.

One good thing is the way in which theological debate has been woven through the account, the writer of the webpages did say that he'd studied under Jesuit teachers and it comes over well!

The mainstream Covenant works in accord with the American government, members not being required to register and serve in the same way as other deltas - something that causes a deal of resentment amongst deltas of other faiths. There's been a schism, too, within the ranks with some siding (openly or otherwise) with Defiance or at least going their own way... and yet the Covenant itself is covertly in favour of Defiance, or at least opposed to the martial rule and other measures promulgated by President Kennedy... and in time, fell out with the Kennedy administration and became outlawed, their privileges revoked.

The player section looks at what's needed to build a Covenant character. There's an array of special weapons that they can use, and a whistlestop tour of Catholic belief for players who don't know anything about it. There are two orders connected with the Covenant, with different approaches (and styles of dress). And then we come to the power package, which is basically the same for everyone who becomes a Covenant delta and are based around faith and traditions. This section ends with several archetypes.

The Guide's Handbook section, as always, gives the lowdown on what's really happening in the Covenant, and also includes a full adventure called 'For Goodness Sake' as well as some opposition such as the stats for vampires.

The Author's Afterword lets the cat out of the bag: he himself was raised Catholic. This leads to an interesting discussion of the relationship between religion and role-playing. (And here I too confess: I am both Christian and a role-player... not Catholic, though, I'm a Mormon.)

This is an excellent book with plenty of material to spawn ideas for your game. Indeed, when the local group first started playing Brave New World, my character was a 'tent evanglist' whose delta powers involved healing... and he too was convinced that they came from God!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Covenant
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Evil Unlimited
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/05/2014 08:24:32
Evil Unlimited? These unabashed villains are an association of deltas who have chosen to put their powers to use for personal gain... and never mind anyone else. A bunch of criminals in other words, although they claim to be mere service providers, facilitators. Now, that's the sort of 'opposition' that you'd normally expect in a superhero game, but as you'll already have seen in Brave New World things are a little bit different. As a delta you either cooperate with an oppressive government or go 'rogue' in some way, as a dissident with Defiance or as an out-and-out villain... or just keep your head down and pretend you're normal, but there's not much of a game in that!

Presented in the standard format of a wealth of in-character material presented as a series of web pages, this time we have landed on the website of Evil Unlimited. They seem to be a sort of organised crime organisation, with a hierarchy and even the concept of earning a paycheque for your villany... Their stated mission is to perform extralegal services at a premium price. They even claim that they won't do assassinations. Hmmm.

These pages, aimed at new recruits into Evil Unlimited, cover the history and philosophy of the organisation, the sort of jobs they take on (including examples of recent or current ones) and some of the major players in the group. Fascinating stuff. Many, if not most, of their agents are freelancers, with only a few of the most trusted becoming full-time employees. You may decide to have the characters pick up the occasional job to make ends meet, or to encounter them on one side or another in whatever incident they're engaged in. There's plenty of scope. Even if you've gone the Delta Prime route, Evil Unlimited ranks high on the Primers' most wanted lists.

The out-of-character material presents some new power packages particularly suited to a life on the wrong side of the law, complete with archetype examples for each one. One of them is a werewolf, the others include forgers, smugglers and even a poisoner package.

The Guide's Handbook section reveals what is really going on within Evil Unlimited, as well as providing a wealth of advice about how to sucker the characters into working for them. There are a few bad guys to meet as well.

Next comes an adventure involving Evil Unlimited all ready to be run. "Evil Is As Evil Does" can be used to introduce characters to the organisation or to embroil them more deeply with it, as suits, and ostensibly involves rescuing a newly-found delta from a transport taking him to New Alcatraz. Naturally, there's a little bit more to it than that...

Finally, the Author's Afterword chats about what inspired the Evil Unlimited concept and how to use it to advantage in your game, as well as a few meanderings about what other projects he's engaged in.

Overall, a fun work with ample potential to put a distinctive spin on your game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Evil Unlimited
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Crescent City
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/03/2014 08:17:53
Crescent City, built on the ruins of what we know as Chicago, is the default 'home town' of the Brave New World game setting, and this book sets out to inform characters about the place in which they live through the by-now familiar format of an extensive series of in-character web pages.

If you want to base your game in Crescent City, or at least have the characters visit there, this is a useful resource... even if the authors of the webpages have the exact breezy, chatty tone as the writers of all the other webpages in other books in the series. Must be a style taught in the leading web writing schools across the Brave New World, I guess! Never mind, let's see what they have to say.

It's a lot more than a street map or a gazetteer. In fact there are only a few wide-area maps tucked away in the back of the book, unless you count a plan of New Alcatraz. There's history, starting with the battle that destroyed Chicago (and what brought that about, a quite tragic tale of revenge) and how the city that's there now grew out of the very ashes, built by a single corporation and governed by an appointed mayor (as you might expect given the permanent state of martial rule that exists in America). There's plenty about the deltas who live there now - legally and otherwise - from the Delta Prime HQ to a hotbed of Defiance supporters and even the gaol of New Alcatraz in the middle of the lake that has been specially built to hold criminal deltas.

Next comes an area by area description of the city, with a wealth of background to make it come to life... and, if you're the Guide, to spawn plot ideas just about whatever manner of game you intend to run. Lots of people who might interact with the party, hire them or oppose them, places to visit and so on. Some maps would have been nice, but if you need them and have the time, the descriptions are enough to come up with at least a rough sketch of the lay of the land.

Then comes the player material, with a selection of new power packages. These are all linked in some way to living in Crescent City (although most if not all could be used elsewhere). Each comes with an archetype to use as-is or provide inspiration for your own character taking that power package.

The Guide section, after remarking that the Guide is welcome, indeed encouraged, to stamp their own mark on Crescent City, then as usual lifts the lid on what has gone before and tells it like it is. There are quite a few Crescent City based adversaries to throw at the characters too.

This is followed by 'The Teleterrorists' which is an adventure set in Crescent City ready for you to run. It's designed as an introduction to the City as well, so would suit a party arriving from elsewhere or as the start of a new game. As a result, there's plenty going on and it gives the characters a good chance to get embedded into the place quickly... with the climax occurring at a game of deltaball (American Football for the superpowered).

Finally, the Author's Afterword contains snippets of personal information and explains that since the move to AEG he's not writing every word himself but getting contributions, particularly in the shape of well-defined profiles and stat blocks for NPCs (which he doesn't like writing much!).

Overall a very useful tome if you intend your game to visit or be set in Crescent City, as well as the first actual scenario to play.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Crescent City
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Legacy of Disaster
by Dennis L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/01/2014 15:56:20
A Free RPG Day product from a couple of years ago, its a shame that AEG hasn't considered writing more of these. The adventure is a great, quick introduction not just to the system for L5R (which is faithfully represented) but also to the world and the setting. Understandably (word counts?) the adventure doesn't explain certain finer points of detail (why suicide would be better than imprisonment; why the PCs have to endure insults and baseless allegations), so anyone running the adventure should be prepared to answer those questions if they come up, especially since there are no Courtier pre-generated characters. Otherwise, a good adventure when you're looking for something to do other than you're regular.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Legacy of Disaster
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Bargainers
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/31/2014 09:17:54
This book sets out to explain a different path, for characters who want power but without becoming a standard delta. They are the bargainers, magic-users of the Brave New World if you like, doing their thing by making pacts, bargains, with spirits. Generally not very nice ones. The process starts pretty much like becoming a delta, surviving a near-death harrowing experience, only the character does not become a delta. They start hearing voices instead...

The first part of the book delivers in-character information in the form of a series of web pages, these ones written by a Mister Twist for beginning Bargainers explaining to them just what their new-found powers might be. Dealing with demons, basically. There's all manner of background material, the long history of how the demons came to be and how they interact with mere mortals, deltas though they might be. It creates a mythology all of its own, which may not sit too well with players who have religious beliefs - just sit back and remember that this is a game, or decide that you won't play a Bargainer or even have them in your game if you feel this is all too offensive to your faith. This cosmology posits a Heaven and a Hell, each with inhabitants, and it is the Demons from Hell that Bargainers associate with.

The first true bargainer, it's said, was Houdini. There's a fair bit of background on him, and then we get down to the nitty-gritty of how to make a deal with a demon and the basic ground rules that you should adhere to for your own safety and sanity. There's also plenty on bargainer society and support, the folks a new bargainer will associate with and learn from. The main means of communication for these quite solitary types is a mailing list and an annual convention.

Bargainers have enemies too, not just the government and Delta Prime, but the Covenant (representing Christian belief) and even devil-worshippers. They can cause quite a nuisance of themselves, even before they manage to make contact with a real demon... and then there's the Heavenly Host, the angels themselves. And other magic-users like shamans and practicioners of voodoo.

Eventually we emerge into game mechanics with a chapter Bargains and Bargainers, which takes all this in-character material and shows you how to make it work in game terms. There are six bargainer archetypes to use as is or as inspiration for your own character, and a wealth of other material as well. Bargainers gain access to some actual magic spells, you see, and these are laid out for you here.

The Guide's Handbook section follows, and as usual promises to reveal the truth of the matter. Along with that, it explains how to take the demon's part in a bargain and presents a host of appropriate adversaries.

Finally, the Author's Afterword explains how Brave New World is by no means a standard superhero game, and reveals a little about how his vision for it hangs together.

Are bargainers optional? They certainly do not need to play a large role, but if they are not there, somewhere in the background, your game will be the poorer for their absence.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Bargainers
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