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Deadlands Noir Companion
by Roger L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/03/2013 07:28:44
http://www.teilzeithelde-
n.de

Mit dem Deadlands Noir Companion soll das Setting sowohl zeitlich als auch räumlich erweitert werden. Wir verraten euch, was euch in dieser Erweiterung erwartet.


Bereits zu Ende der Kickstarterkampagne angekündigt wurde der Deadlands Noir Companion nur wenige Monate nach dem Grundregelwerk veröffentlicht. Der 200 Seiten starke Band lockt mit vier neuen Städten, in denen die Ermittler dem Schrecken der Abrechner die Stirn bieten können. Das besondere dieses Bandes ist, dass jede Stadt von einem anderen Autor geschrieben wurde und hier praktisch ein achthändig geschriebenes Werk vorliegt. Die Unterschiede äußern sich zum Teil in einer unterschiedlichen Einteilung der Kapitel oder dem Aufbau der gesamten Plot-Point Kampagne, sind aber nahe genug beieinander um sich als stimmiges Ganzes zu präsentieren.


Erscheinungsbild


Das Layout des Companions, der uns als PDF-Datei vorliegt, orientiert sich am Deadlands Noir Grundregelwerk. Eine optische Zusammengehörigkeit oder neudeutsch das Corporate Design ist vollständig übernommen. Die Gestaltung des 207 Seiten starken Bandes wird immer noch durch ein helles Grau dominiert, dass durch den dezenten Einsatz von Farben aufgelockert wird. Neben den an jeder größeren Überschrift vorkommenden Blutflecken wird das Layout durch professionelle schwarz-weiß Illustrationen aufgelockert. Bei diesen Abbildung fällt besonders ins Auge, dass immer bestimmte Elemente, jedoch nie die eigentlichen Akteure farbig dargestellt werden. Da wäre zum Beispiel der in schwarz-weiß gehaltene Penner, der vor einem großen Gebäude mit rot erleuchteten Fenstern steht. Oder die wilde Verfolgungsjagd, in der nur das Blaulicht der Polizeiautos einen Farbakzent setzt. Das buchstäbliche farblose Umfeld fängt den Geist des Settings wunderbar ein. Wie auch im Grundregelwerk gibt es bei der Leserlichkeit nichts zu meckern: Starke Kontraste, lesbare Schriftarten und die klare Trennung von Inhalten strukturieren den Text augenfreundlich. Bei den Seitenleisten hat man allerdings das Gefühl, dass hier etwas experimentiert wurde: Das Layout dieser Informationen ist leider nicht einheitlich, nicht mal in den einzelnen Abschnitten des Bandes. Die aus dem Grundregelwerk bekannten Filmstreifen sind zwar immer noch vorherrschend, aber es werden auch unterschiedliche papierartige Hintergründe eingesetzt. Das ist nicht wirklich störend, fällt aber definitiv ins Auge.


Insgesamt liefert Pinnacle Entertainment wieder ein hervorragendes Werk ab: Tippfehler fielen keine auf und die gesamte Aufmachung wirkt professionell und aus einem Guss. Die Grafiken unterstützen den Text, ohne ihn unnötig zu überlagern. Als kleines Bonbon wurde die Datei in Layern aufgebaut. Möchte ich meine Datei also ohne den Tinte fressenden Hintergrund auszudrucken, ist das kein Problem – im Bedarfsfall können sogar sämtliche Grafiken ausgeblendet werden. So muss ein aktueller Rollenspielband aussehen!


Inhalt


Anders als in vielen anderen Settingerweiterungen werden im Deadlands Noir Companion nicht nur neue Regeln und Schauplätze beschrieben. Das Besondere an diesem Band ist, dass jede vorgestellte Stadt auch gleichzeitig in einer anderen zeitlichen Periode spielt. Leider bedeutet dies aber auch, dass der Inhalt für New Orleans Kampagnen eher dünn ausfällt: Viele der vorgestellten Charaktere und Monster sind ortsgebunden und nur selten kann ein Bösewicht ohne weiteres nach New Orleans verpflanzt werden. So bleiben für Charaktere in New Orleans lediglich die zwei „neuen“ mystischen Hintergründe des Gesegneten und des Sykers. Diese sind zwar aus den Geschwistersettings entnommen, aber immerhin auf das Setting angepasst worden.


Der Aufbau des Bandes ist durchaus schlüssig: Neben den einleitenden Worten, den neuen Settingregeln und einer kurzen Lektion in Sachen geschichtlicher Entwicklung in den USA bzw. CSA von 1913 bis 1956 werden auf jeweils vierzig bis fünfzig Seiten die Städte Chicago (1927), Shan Fan (1939), City of Lost Angels (1946) und die City of Gloom (1950) vorgestellt. Jeder Abschnitt beginnt mit einer groben Beschreibung der aktuellen Situation der Stadt sowie eines kurzen geschichtlichen Einblicks. In diesen Kapiteln wird der Leser an die wichtigsten Macher und laufenden Entwicklungen herangeführt. Anschließend folgt jeweils eine Karte der Stadt und eine grobe Beschreibung der Stadtviertel und wichtiger Orte. Selbstverständlich wird hier auch auf die kommenden Savage Tales verwiesen, sofern diese sich im jeweiligen Gebiet befinden. Der eigentliche Schatz der Kapitel sind die Savage Tales und die Plot-Point Kampagnen, die individuell für jede Stadt zusammengestellt wurden. Die Palette deckt hier einen Großteil klassischer Noir Geschichten wie z.B. Entführung, Raub oder Mord in unterschiedlichen Inkarnationen ab. Genauso wie die in diesem Kapitel enthaltenen Plot-Point Kampagnen wurden die Savage Tales bestens auf den Ort der Handlung zugeschrieben.


Die Kampagnen sind teilweise etwas geradlinig geworden. Hier und da wird sehr stark auf Railroading gesetzt um die Story voranzutreiben. Im Großen und Ganzen ist aber jede Kampagne eine spannende Ergänzung und hält für die Spieler die eine oder andere hässliche Überrauschung bereit. Der thematische Einschlag ist hier noch deutlicher als in den kurzen Savage Tales: Während man in Chicago zum Beispiel einem Gangster-Plot nachjagt, hat man es in der City of Gloom mit einer stark steampunk-lastigen Geschichte zu tun. Durch diese starke Aufteilung in unterschiedliche Genres bietet dieser Band eine unheimliche Vielfalt an Tonalität und Geschichte, ohne dabei zu viel zu wollen. Ein Wermutstropfen ist natürlich, dass die Charaktere wahrscheinlich nicht sämtliche Geschichten begonnen bei New Orleans über die neuen Städte erleben wird, sondern dass jede Kampagne für eine frische Gruppe von Ermittlern ausgelegt ist. Auf diese Weise schafft es der Companion aber auch, die Spieler immer wieder mit neuen Nuancen und Ideen im Noir Setting zu begeistern.


Die Exotik hält sich dabei aber noch in Grenzen. Es werden zwar stets neue Elemente eingeführt, das komplette Setting fühlt sich aber immer noch nach Noir an, ohne aufgesetzt zu wirken. Dies setzt sich auch in den Monsterbeschreibungen fort, die jedes Kapitel beenden. Ein globales Bestiarium mit Schrecken, die sich praktisch in jeder Stadt finden lassen hätte das Buch noch zusätzlich bereichert, fehlt allerdings komplett.


Fazit


Der Deadlands Noir Companion erweitert Deadlands Noir um zahlreiche neue Schauplätze. Jede Stadt erhielt in ungefähr soviel Raum, wie New Orleans im Grundregelwerk zur Verfügung stand. Besitzer des Companions können sich frei eine der ausgearbeiteten Städte nehmen und erhalten ausreichend Informationen um direkt in die Geschichte stürzen zu können. Die Qualität der Savage Tales befindet sich auf hohem Niveau, einen kompletten Totalausfall gibt praktisch nicht. Die eine oder andere Geschichte hätte aber noch etwas weniger geradlinig ausfallen können. Mit den Plot-Point Kampagnen kann der Companion aber auf jeden Fall wieder punkten. Die auf den Handlungsort zugeschnittene Story hat das Potential ein unheimlich dichtes Szenario zu zeichnen, das Spieler wie auch Spielleiter in ihrer einzigartigen Stadt gefangen hält. Das ist auf der anderen Seite aber auch ein kleiner Nachteil, da Monster und Geschichten kaum in einer anderer Stadt als Schauplatz zu leiten sind. Der Companion bietet eine Menge neuer Informationen und spannender Geschichten. Diese sind gleichmäßig auf die neu vorgestellten Städte verteilt, so dass der tatsächliche Nutzen für eine einzelne Kampagne eher gering ist.


Gruppen, die New Orleans bespielen schauen praktisch vollständig in die Röhre, in jeder anderen Stadt angesiedelte Kampagnen können immerhin ein Viertel der im Companion angebotenen Informationen direkt nutzen. Die Zeitreise von Chicago bis hin zur City of Gloom ist eine nette Abwechslung zu anderen Begleitbänden, jedoch ist der tatsächliche Nutzen eher gering. Natürlich wird sich das Setting durch die historischen Ereignisse verändern, dies ist im Spiel aber leider nicht zu spüren. Es erfolgt zum Beispiel keine Anpassung der Ausrüstung oder Technologie, was in einem Zeitraum von über vierzig Jahren realistisch wäre. Ein generelles Problem des Companions ist außerdem, dass nur wenige Themen bis in die Tiefe behandelt werden. Die meisten Savage Tales bestehen aus maximal einer halben Seite, in der der komplette Plot erklärt wird. Weiterführende Details wie Charakter- oder Ortsbeschreibungen sind entweder nur sehr rudimentär oder gar nicht vorhanden. Die Verantwortung für diese Details liegen vollständig beim Spielleiter, der aus diesem Grund auch – wie in den Deadlands Settings allgemein üblich – über einige Erfahrung verfügen sollte.


Mit diesem Werk hat Pinnacle Entertainment eine solide Erweiterung zu Deadlands Noir zustande gebracht. Die beschriebenen Städte und ihre Bewohner sind glaubhaft und in düsterem Noir-Stil gezeichnet. Der Inhalt sowie die Gestaltung des Buches weiß zu überzeugen. Der Preis ist aber für ein unterstützendes Produkt sehr hoch und trübt die Freude über dieses Buch merklich. Nichtsdestotrotz kann für Fans der Reihe mit genug Spielleitererfahrung eine Kaufempfehlung ausgesprochen werden


Unsere Bewertung


Erscheinungsbild: 5/5 Hervorragend!
Inhalt: 3/5 Vier neue Städte für Deadlands: Noir mit eigenem Flair und noch zwei neue mystische Hintergründe obendrauf.
Preis-/Leistungsverhältnis: 3.5/5 Saubere Präsentation, viel Inhalt, aber leider immer nur in Teilen verwendbar
Gesamt: 4/5



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Noir Companion
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Savage Worlds Fantasy Character Generator Toolkit
by colin t. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/21/2013 14:00:58

Picked this up as I'm very new to Savage Worlds and the one time i ran a game it was without understanding the need for playing cards.
So having been listening to the Knights of Reignsborough podcast got me interested in superhero gaming and I picked up the fantasy companion since I've been taking a few steps away from dungeons and dragons and this is one of many I've been looking at.
This toolkit is the first I've bought and I've been using it to get a handle on character generation, although its intended to be used instead of normal character generation I've been using it to provide a starting point for creating characters, I believe its well worth the price and I recommend it to anyone who like me is new to Savage Worlds and looking for a bit of inspiration for creating characters and even ideas for scenarios.
Give it a try you won't regret it!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Fantasy Character Generator Toolkit
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Savage Worlds GM Screen Inserts
by Stephane G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/14/2013 22:50:10

Cool illustrations no matter what setting your using. The pages with the tables are clear & concise, thus avoiding the need to look it up in the rulebook. If the players can see the combat options, then they may be more inclined to use them in game.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds GM Screen Inserts
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Deadlands Noir: The Old Absinthe House Blues
by Cedric C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/13/2013 23:09:38

The Old Absinthe House Blues isn't a bad adventure. But after the Red Harvest adventure of the core book, I found OAHB to have less noir and be less intertwined with the New Orleans of Deadlands: Noir. Particularly with the investigation and bayou locals, it felt like something close to a Call of Cthulhu adventure, without the highly thematic mythos.


The adventure is also more linear than I'd like. The adventure breaks down into three acts: investigation in New Orleans, convincing the locals in the bayous, and a climactic fight against some thugs some high cornfields. But the investigation requires the players to follow a particular path, and the bayous has an encounter with an undefeatable creature. A game master may have to rewrite the adventure to add more flexibility.


On the plus side, the adventure is adaptable. Because it's not deeply connected to the Deadlands: Noir version of New Orleans, and the focus is roleplaying over mechanics, new players (and even game master) can get into the adventure without knowing much of Deadlands: Noir New Orleans, nor must they use the Savage Worlds game system. The adventure has also been designed to allow other adventures, such as personal scenarios, to be played between OAHB acts. Since the adventure starts in New Orleans, the gamemaster can easily introduce OAHB elements into the New Orleans-based Red Harvest adventure of the core book.


At around 30 pages, it can be printed on the laser printer without changing the toner. However, I would recommend playing out the core book adventure first, and seeing what other Deadlands: Noir adventures come out later.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Noir: The Old Absinthe House Blues
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Deadlands Reloaded: Grim Prairie Trails
by Sean F. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/10/2013 18:26:44

SEAN'S PICK OF THE DAY: Deadlands fans still wanting to wander the Old Weird West will be happy about this one. New monsters, classic creatures and archetypes, and lots of adventures.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Reloaded: Grim Prairie Trails
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Deadlands Noir
by Cedric C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/30/2013 23:52:19

Introduction


Alexander L. has written a fantastic review of Deadlands Noir, so, instead of assuming you're incapable of reading his review, I'll some additional comments to add to it.



Do you need Deadlands: Reloaded?


No, but you should be familiar with the Deadlands setting. But, since Deadlands: Noir takes place in the Depression, certainly none of the characters will care about some history lesson from a century ago. They're too busy trying to find a dime for their next meal. The Deadlands weirdness works well as the underbelly of the city, so players unfamiliar with Deadlands can easily play player characters who are discovering things they shouldn't know.


Do you need Savage Worlds?


You should. About a third of the book includes Deadlands: Noir rules for Savage Worlds, stats for important NPCs in its New Orleans setting and a bestiary of Deadlands critters you don't want to tussle with.


The Savage Worlds RPG and miniatures skirmish game system support cinematic gaming very well. The Deluxe PDF edition is ten dollars and really can be used for more roleplaying games by itself. The earlier Explorer's Edition can be found hardcopy for ten dollars or less at the OLGS. You can also get the Savage Worlds: Test Drive edition free on DriveThruRPG or the Pinnacle games site. You're welcome.


Of course, with this being Noir, your players will be investigating and roleplaying more than hacking and looting. So, if your players are obstinate, adapting Deadlands: Noir to your system of choice isn't impossible.


Is this game only for Deadlands players?


No. This game could have been equally called Noir: Deadlands. Deadlands gives the game a unique flavor, but can be suited for your playing group's taste. Investigative Call of Cthulhu players will also enjoy this game, as Deadlands: Noir supports adventures where something spooky lies underneath the story.


In fact, most character types have changed, and some eliminated entirely. Blessed, sykers, and martial artists are rare so will be covered in the Deadlands Noir: Companion. Indian shamans exist, but not in the urban landscape of Deadlands Noir. Mad scientists evolved into patent scientists. Hucksters were hunted down, with those remaning becoming Grifters. Voodoo, however, has risin in New Orleands, allowing players to play shamanistic characters. And the Harrowed are still there. Savage Worlds supports designing characters based on skills, not classes, so players always have the option of playing their favorite noir character idea.


What if I don't want to run premade adventures or don't want to set Deadlands: Noir in New Orleands?


Okay, maybe this book won't work out too well for you. There is a two-page mystery generator you can use to create your own adventures. But about a fifth of the book is dedicated to a seven-adventure campaign, with the shorter mini-adventures usable between these adventures. New Orleands (and its corrupt factions) is the only city covered in this book. See the Deadlands: Noir Companinion for additional cities.



Web Support


As of this writing, the Deadlands: Noir KickStarter is still shipping dead tree versions of its books, so it's not too surprising that the only support are some premade characters and a character sheet. The premade characters are definitely worth looking at. Deadlands: Noir mentions miniatures and printable and purchasable maps of the adventures in the PDF, but I couldn't find mention of them on the website.


PDF Format


One irritation I have with PDFs is that many of them make a PDF of the book, and that's that. IMO, Since PDFs have an unlimited page count, and material that couldn't be included in the dead tree version because of printing costs should be included. Also, PDFs allow printing of individual pages. The artwork includes mug shots of NPCs. So Pinnacle could have included NPC picture profile handouts for the GM to print and cut out for the players to see whom they were dealing with. Also, since Savage Worlds supports miniatures gaming and they have the full-body art of the beasties, I would have liked to see paper miniatures included with the PDF.


Conversely, a 145 page grey-color intensive coffee-table PDF is not something you want to print out. No printer-friendly version is included. Entries for NPCs and beasts have widows and orphans (ie. a one-page entry for a beast will start at the bottom of one page and go to the other side). Artwork that looks purdy in the electronic coffee table book consumes ink and toner when you have to print out the page it's one.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Noir
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Savage Worlds Deluxe
by Cedric C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/29/2013 23:20:14

Savage Worlds is a generic cinematic simulationist RPG, with miniature skirmish rules. Savage Worlds Deluxe: Explorer’s is the newest edition, providing an update to the third printing of Savage Worlds Explorer’s Edition. Savage Worlds is published by Pinnacle Entertainment, with settings Evernight, 50 Fathoms, Necessary Evil, Rippers, Low Life, Deadlands: Reloaded, Tour of Darkness, Necropolis, and Weird War II. Just under fifty companies have been licensed to create product for the Savage World game system.


The Rules


Each character has attributes and skills, collectively called traits. Traits are represented by a type of die, such as d8. Whenever a character performs a Trait Test, they roll the appropriate Trait die, add modifiers, and try to reach a Target Number, typically a 4. If two characters are in a conflict, they each make an opposed Trait Test, with whoever rolled the higher number winning out. A character also has a Race, Derived Statistics, Edges and Hinderances (advantages and disadvantages), and Gear. Additional rules allow cooperative rolls for characters, and group rolls, for Extras.


Sounds typical, right? Well, Savage Worlds adds a number of cinematic rules to the standard "skill roll vs. target number" mechanic. Aces allow "exploding dice", where an additional die roll is added if a die's highest number has been rolled. For every 4 points above the Target Number the hero achieves a Raise for the roll, for additional effects, such as additional damage. Every hero roll includes a d6 Wild Die, whose results can be used in lieu of their regular die roll. Bennies are "plot points", allowing a Trait reroll, and taking the better of the two. And so on.


Initiative is a slightly gimmicky deck of playing cards, with each hero and his allies, or GM group of whatever being dealt a card. Highest rank goes first. Jokers, however provide a temporary bonus and allow the hero to go at any time during the round. A Hold allows a hero to wait on another character's action, and interrupt with a successful Agility contested roll. Player Characters can either Move their Pace of 6 inches, or Run an additional 1d6 inches, with a -2 Trait test penalty.


A Melee Attack is simply an opposed roll of Fighting Skill vs. Parry. Ranged Attacks are a Shooting Trait Test, with Target Numbers of 4 for short range, -2 modifier for Medium Range, and -4 modifier for Long Range. Additional rules allow multiple targets. Melee Damage is the character's Strength die and weapon's damage die. Ranged Damage is the weapon's damage die. Damage dice can also Ace (explode). Total damage is compared to the defender's Toughness, and can have raises.


You've probably seen that crunch before, but the next cinematic mechanic is damage. No abstract hit points here! Characters are either Shaken, Wounded, Incapaciated, or Dead. If the damage roll was successful, the target is Shaken, but each raise causes a Wound. If the character was just an Extra (such as a minion), he's out of the combat. Each wound means a -1 on Trait Tests, and three wounds means Incapacitated. Keep a benny around to soak damage: make a successful Vigor roll to shake off those wounds! Or spend a benny to automatically stop being Shaken. Additional rules cover situations such as Aiming, Area Affect Attacks, Breaking Things, Called Shots, Hazards, etc. Tests of Will is a great cinematic mechanic, in which heroes can Intimidate the bad guys, or Taunt the behemoth.


Dramatic Tasks have their own mechanic. A standard Dramatic Task requires five actions (rounds) and five successes. Dramatic Tasks are typically difficult (-2 Trait modifier), but other characters can cooperate. Just don't draw a Club for your action, or the GM will inflict a -2 Complication, with disasterous results!


Horror and mythos game masters will like the Fright Table. The Fear mechanic is a Spirit attribute trait check. A horrific scene can cause a character to be Shaken. Something from the mythos will have worse effects! Both can result on a roll on the Fright Table, ranging from a useful Adrenaline Surge, to a Charisma-penalizing streak of white hair, to a heart attack!


Additional rules include Interludes (breaks between adventures), Mass Battles (eg. Mars invades Earth), Social Conflict, and Vehicles.


An entire chapter is dedicated towards Powers (magic, psionics, super powers, weird science) using a power point system, and detailing specific powers. Another chapter is Game Mastering advice. The Bestiary chapter has both Abilities (similar to Edges and Hinderances) for creatures, and sample beasts. The book ends with several unconnected "One Page Adventures" designed for a single session of climactic play, plus some templates for area effects.


Buyer's Guide


I do recommend first downloading from DriveThruRPG the free Free RPG Day Test Drive rules, which come with a modern day horror adventure. The additional mechanics in the Deluxe book can be intimidating, and the Test Drive rules provide an excellent framework for new players and game masters. The pdf download of the Deluxe book does not come with a printer-friendly version, so if you don't plan to bring your iPad or laptop to the game table, also check your OLGS for the hardcopy Deluxe Explorer's Edition, for about $10. The Deluxe Edition has some updates, but the two editions are still compatible, and rules changes are on the Pinnacle website. Pinnacles Entertainment has the Test Drive, additional adventures, and other support for Savage Worlds.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Deluxe
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12TM: Fear Effects: Savaged edition
by SJ B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/20/2013 16:14:54

So far the best purchased Ive made on RPGNow!


So useful and full of variety and awesome flavorful options!


Thank you so much for offering this :)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
12TM: Fear Effects: Savaged edition
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Deadlands Fiction Anthology 2: For a Few Dead Guys More
by Flames R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/17/2013 10:23:55

The combination of Horror and Westerns does take a little getting used to. The Foreword to this volume, written by Joe Lansdale, explains the appeal of both genres and how they might work when mixed together. Deadlands explores these themes, mixing elements from TV shows, movies and comic books in a bizarre, but workable, adventure. The fiction in this volume explores the living and the dead, good and evil, drama and humor.


There is a nice two-page introduction to Deadlands just before the stories begin. It offers up information on the arrival of the Manitous and the points at which the supernatural invaded the West. This primer is invaluable for those unfamiliar with the backstory of the Deadlands and makes reading the stories much easier.


The short stories that make up this volume are fitting to the world of Deadlands, and range in quality from very entertaining to pointless. Obviously part two of a three-part series of anthologies, some of the tales in this volume are continuing stories, which then go on to finish up in the next volume. Some introduce interesting characters, ones that might make great antagonists for a group of Deadlands PCs. Exploring different regions of the Deadlands, these tales offer a variety of mysteries and pit the protagonists against foes both supernatural and mundane.


Lucien Soulban’s “No Man’s Law” offers a tale of young Eli Woodrow, a stagecoach robber who is way out of his league. Eli gets himself caught in the middle of a mysterious plot and a nasty doublecross. The best parts of this tale have nothing to do with the supernatural and everything to do with human greed and sin.


Zach Bush offers up a ghost tale of sorrow and vengeance called “Nuna Daul Tsuny” about atrocities done to a Cherokee girl who now haunts the plains seeking her lost innocence. Tragic and eerie, this story proves that not all horror in the Deadlands is about gore and monsters.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Fiction Anthology 2: For a Few Dead Guys More
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Solomon Kane
by Paul H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/04/2013 05:06:57

The Soloman Kane Savage worlds system is as good as all the other Savage world settings. The rules and die conventions are easy to understand.
Combat for novice characters can take a while to play out. Here is an example. Our last combat, This involved 3 players, the combat took two sessions totalling approx., 3.5 hours. Player 1 who was on a -2 for wounds from a previous combat, spent the entire 3.5 hours entangled in a tree, because he kept on getting poor dice rolls. Player 2 Was up against 2 zombies, which he had to fight on his own.
I am player 3 was up against two robed figures, during the start of the combat I got wounded giving me a -1 penalty, about 1.5 hours into the combat one of them conjures a snake. My character has a minor phobia of snakes giving me another -2 penalty making a total of -3. This also causes me to be Shaken, Due to -3 I keep failing to recover from the shaken state and due to poor die rolls from the GM it is.5 of hour before my character is bitten by the snake. I then have to make a vigour roll at -2 for the poison with -1 for being wounded, I fail and become incapacitated, I then have to make a 2nd vigour roll which if I fail I will die. I failed but the Gm is not playing the rules as they are written, so I spend the next 1.5 hours trying to recover from this snake bite finally lapsing into unconsiusness.
It also could do with more detail on Poisons and Diseases and there recovery.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Solomon Kane
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Savage Worlds Deluxe: Explorer's Edition
by David S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/26/2013 12:08:24

Very well written, clean, concise, to the point, with just the right amount of fluff. The design notes really help to get a better understanding of why rules were created the way the were.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Deluxe: Explorer's Edition
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Savage Worlds Fantasy Companion
by jonathan a. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/08/2013 00:50:24

The Savage Worlds Fantasy Companion is very useful for creating and running Fantasy based SW settings.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds Fantasy Companion
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Rippers: Death on Dartmoor
by Tim H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/05/2013 16:34:33

Over all the plot is interesting, with enough twists to throw the unwary off track. Some aspects are a little troublesome in that if the party is lacking a particular skill, it's difficult to advance the story. (someone with Tracking is virtually a must!)


The story itself is engaging, and the NPCs well-fleshed, with plenty of specifics but enough room to allow for GM creativity.

The challenges of the case are such it will not be an easy walk, requiring the full range of combat, social and investigative skills to deal with them.


Aspects of the timing becomes tricky if the party dallies much at all, but they won't know that until the window of opportunity has already closed. Tying in the right culprits into the right places may prove a bit of a challenge for those not of an investigative bent. Combat has the potential to become overwhelming if the group has "kicked the hornet's nest" too hard.


All in all, it's an interesting case for even experienced Rippers, though newer groups would do well to bring numbers.....



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Rippers: Death on Dartmoor
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Weird War II
by Flames R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/04/2013 07:06:04

Review originally posted at FlamesRising.com - h-
ttp://www.flamesrising.com/weird-war-ii-sw-review/

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Tabletop RPGs were born from historical minis gaming. Going in the reverse direction seems to be difficult in RPGs. Unless, of course, you add a supernatural element. Western gaming lay dead until Deadlands came along with a potent mix of zombies and steam guns. It’s no surprise that the company made famous by that game, Pinnacle, might try a similar formula with other times in history. They made a successful foray into the d20 OGL with Weird War II, smashing together the horrors of war with the horrors of legend. Weird Wars are poised to become a brand within Savage Worlds, with rumored entries including Rome and the Crusades. Launching the line felt like a good time to revisit Weird War II, which is available in Print and PDF for Savage Worlds.


The setting is a pretty basic mash-up: take World War II, add zombies, vampires, werewolves, and cultists to taste and stir. It differs from Deadlands in that the fantasy and horror elements don’t change up the world in big ways. Things are more low key, and the Office of Special Intelligence is much better at keeping a lid on the existence of creatures. Players are also less supernaturally aided. A Haunted vehicle can be taken as an Edge, Russian soldiers can eventually be trained to be psychic soldiers and chaplains can use faith to turn the undead but that’s it. More often than not, the PCs will have to use their wits, guts and whatever equipment the U.S. Army gave them to kill the monsters the Axis Powers unleashed.


The Savage Worlds version offers a good fit for the setting and system. Though human is only playable race, there are dozens of branches of military that fit a similar function. The base assumption is that the group will be made up of a unit with a commander and his men. Other options exist, for those who might want to patrol the seas looking for a phantom U-boat or partisans and resistance fighters behind enemy lines. Some Edges even offer traits that play to national stereotypes like unflappable Brits and friendly Frenchmen.


This is a full-color PDF that combines much of the material from the original d20 line. There are chapters devoted to many of the fronts of the war as well as a general overview. The PDF is full color, using artwork from previous books as well as vintage artwork from the period. A few changes from the original Weird War have been made. Players no longer have access to magic. Some of the sillier monsters were removed. The O.S.I. is now interested in covering up the supernatural instead of controlling it. The changes are minimal but fans of the original should take note.


The presentation in the book is top notch. Pinnacle is known for its flavorful core books and this is no exception. Everything is in full color. The art is a mix of vintage posters, authentic photographs and spooky paintings. Each of the chapters is broken up into a different campaign. These campaigns have subtle but different looks and keep things from getting too boring. The presentation makes coming up with adventures as easy as flipping through the book with the History Channel on in the background.


World War II is a huge subject to cover. Material from the original line made it into the book but not all of it did. There are points where it feels like concentrating of a specific theater might have been a better idea. the writers are clearly passionate and knowledgeable about their subject. Focusing in a specific area might have allowed the book to really nail the feel of being a frontline soldier as well add mixing in some strangeness to battle. Unless the group is made up of people looking to play multiple World War II campaigns, a lot of the book could go unused once the players blow up Hitler’s necromancy lab once and for all.


Each theater gets a chapter that details the soldiers, equipment and creatures that fit in the area. But the space each theater takes up leaves little room for one of the best parts of Savage Worlds books. Plot Point campaigns are one of the most well-liked bits about these core books. They offer a campaign structure condensed to be flexible. This book doesn’t have an overall campaign, instead choosing to go with short hooks in each campaign and random encounter generators. It’s disappointing since the authors show a love of history and seeing what they could come up with for an epic campaign would be interesting to say the least.


The book is filled with stats for tons of equipment from the era. Guns, artillery, tanks, airplanes, boats and more get statted out for whatever campaign might need them. In addition to the stats, many of the items get callouts in the text to discuss a little bit of history. The equipment also expands the field of battle, allowing for dogfights over Britain or tense sub encounters in the north sea.


Bottom Line: If you want to shoot Nazis, zombies, or, even better, Nazi zombies, sign up to deploy with Weird War II today



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Weird War II
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Deadlands Noir Companion
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/18/2013 21:27:13

One of the things that I really, really enjoyed in Deadlands: Noir was the amount of work that the team put into building New Orleans as a playable setting. The setting was extremely thorough, breaking down the various locations, NPCs and plot hooks that the players can run into and can easily fuel several campaigns.


The Deadlands: Noir Companion takes that aspect of the game, and spins it off into FOUR new settings, each one taking place in a different point in time. With Chicago (1927), Shan Fan (1939), Lost Angels (1946) and The city of Gloom (1950).


Each of these settings is complete, with discussions on life in each setting, notable locations, a random location generator, Savage Tales, a Plot Point Campaign and the Men and Monsters of each city. Needless to say, this is the book that will give Deadlands: Noir the kind of legs it needs to fuel years of gaming.


But aside from the settings, the book also introduces a few new elements to the Deadlands: Noir game. Fans of the Arcane Backgrounds will be pleased to see that The Blessed and Sykers coming back into play. Meanwhile, martial arts fans get something to enjoy with the Kung Fu Edge tucked into the Shan Fan chapter.


Needless to say the same infectious enthusiasm from the Deadlands: Noir corebook is present in the Companion. While most of the material is more useful for the GM as opposed to players, the few mechanics invovled do present new avenues for players to try different characters from more unique backgrounds.


The idea of each setting taking place in a slightly different time period is also an inspired decision, as it shifts the tone of the games from the Prohibition to World War 1 and even post World War 2.



The Deadlands: Noir Companion is an excellent expansion to the already amazing core book. It expands the setting through both time and space, giving pleny of opportunities to run the entire gamut of sordid stories that Noir is known for. I'm constantly impressed by the quality of the books for the Deadlands line, and I have to admit that now I'm secretly hoping for a Hell On Earth Reloaded Companion sometime in the future.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Noir Companion
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