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FrontierSpace Player's Handbook
by Moreno A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/10/2017 09:01:27

I had the honor to take part to this game's playtest and it's a pleasure to finally see it published.

This is a work of love and passion. You can see the guys at DwD studios put an insane amount of work and energy into this project, and the result is a top notch, rules-lite, modern RPG which also retains that nostalgic "old school" feeling.

The game is openly inspired to "old school" RPGs (specifically, the classic RPG "Star Frontiers" from TSR), but don't get fooled: this is a modern game, which benefits from all the experience gained in decades of Role-Playing.

Presentation:

The layout is clean and professional. The art is very good, especially considering the low price of the final product.

A special mention should be made for the included fillable PDF character sheet, which is invaluable for modern players IMHO.

Rules:

This new incarnation and evolution of the D00 Lite system used in previous games from DwD studios (BareBones Fantasy, White Lies and Covert Ops) gives more value to an already great ruleset. Basically, all abilities and skills are percentiles, and rolling less than or equal to your score on a D100 grants you success. You get a critical success or failure when the tens die and the units die show the same number. It's a system that's both very effective and very easy to use in practice.

There are six base abilities (strength, agility, coordination, perception, intelligence and willpower) which can be used directly for actions that do not require any specialization or can be combined with 12 skills that cover all the needs for any modern or sci-fi setting, ranging from Academic to Explorer, Marksman, Pilot, etc. And you can add your custom skills to cover anything that's specific to your setting or not in the rules. My personal pet peeve, and possibly the only weakness in the ruleset, is the absence of a charisma ability (willpower is used instead) - although you can easily add it if you want: all the rules will just keep working with no conversion or adaptation needed.

Skill may have specializations, and some skills (like for example Technician or Scientist) require you to specialize, granting you a bonus on a more specific field of application (for example, a Scientist can specialize in Life Science or Physical Science, etc.).

There's also a neat rule for Advantage and Disadvantage, which is tightly connected with how the skill system and racial bonuses work.

Most rules are either optional or very easy to modify to your liking, and that makes the game an excellent starting point to build your customized RPG experience, if you need to. In my opinion this may be one of the best selling points for this game!

Characters:

Character creation is a process that can take only a few minutes, but does not sacrifice anything in terms of flexibility and character customization. With the way skills work, you can actually create your customized class every time you create a new character - all in an easy and quick way.

There are five playable species in the game, including humans and robots, each with a specific set of options to create a unique character. In the Referee's Handbook, which should get published in a few weeks, you also get an awesome chapter with rules to create your own customized species, and a few other boons like psionic powers to further enhance your characters.

Character progression is designed to be sligthly on the slow side, in line with the "old school" feel of the game, but it's never punishing or frustrating. And you can still have your characters progress at a faster rate if you prefer.

Benefits are probably the best progression option in the game. When your character attains new "ranks" you get Skill Benefits, linked to your skills, and Loyalty Benefits, linked to the organizations you work with or for during your adventures. Benefits can grant you all kind of boons, ranging from special bonuses and advantages to in-game use of facilities like specialized laboratories, starships, etc.

You get destiny points, which let you re-roll, change the result from failure to success, etc. These are assigned based on a simple but very effective rule that helps compensate some of the character's weaknesses when they have particularly low abilities or lack the skills to survive dangerous situations, like for example combat.

At the end of the Handbook you get a full set of 20 pre-generated characters ("Archetypes"), which cover a wide range of specializations. These are incredibly well made and really make you want to check them out and play them!

Content:

A ton of weapons, armors and technology is included in the Equipment chapter. You'll find everything you need here, and a lot of surprisingly clever and interesting pieces of equipment (like for example all the different kinds of Scanners). A special mention should be made for how well the game combines different kinds of damage (physical, energy, sonic, stun...) in a very simple and effective way.

With dedicated chapters for Robots, Vehicles and Starships full of pre-generated, ready to use stuff, the Handbook packs a whole lot of content considering the price.

There's also a chapter on the standard setting for the game, which is exhaustive enough to get you started and interesting enough to spark your imagination. The galactic map of the "Frontier" (the sector of space where the setting takes place) you get together with the manual is really well made and useful. The game never forces you to use the included setting, but it's a great starting point for your adventures.

Conclusion:

The game is a must have for any Sci-Fi RPG enthusiast out there. Whether you like hard sci-fi, space opera, cyberpunk or any other sci-fi-related genre, this game has all you need to kick off a great and incredibly fun series of adventures!

We never stopped playing it after the playtest, and are sure to keep at it for many long years yet. :)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
FrontierSpace Player's Handbook
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FrontierSpace Player's Handbook
by Anne H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/04/2017 14:08:35

Review for frontier space. By Christopher Lee House and Anne House I give this offering 4 out of five stars. I would have possibly gone as high as 5 stars except that it requires a game master manual; since I don’t know what is included in the Game Masters Manual (and that is where I suspect the bestiary is), that takes a star way in my opinion. I believe it’s still got a lot of possibilities that are not fulfilled as a whole. Art: Fair to good. I found the space ships kind of dull, been-there-seen-that types. I must say that the art is very reminiscent of older games of distant past. Done by Khairul Hisham and Wayne Peters, it delivers on atmosphere old-school style. Considering that DWD is an indie company that kinda cut their teeth on fanzine reminiscence of an older gamer), I see they tried to carry that on in this work. Its 240 pages - three time bigger then Barebones Fantasy. I thought they would stick to the Barebones and Covert Ops system, but they expanded by adding three more attributes. Barebones Fantasy and Covert Ops has Logic, Strength, Dexterity and Willpower. Frontier Space has added Perception, Coordination and Intelligence, and replaced Dexterity with Agility. 18 pages (minus 3) are needed to explain the system, and character creation takes 3 pages. It is quick and easy and by page 21 you have gone through 6 step program to make your character. It took me about five minutes to go through and make out two characters (Leigh Poll and Anne Poll). You get human with all types of human origins, aliens (do not think you are going to get same species from the reminiscent older game), and robots, so you have a good start for any game. Now, this is just the players hand book, so there weren’t any psionic or mystical abilities listed here. I will say that it would be easy to convert over from Barebones Fantasy or Covert Ops to this game. You also get the rules to build your robot. This is a good change from reminiscent older games that did not even allow you to pilot till you bought another box set. There is enough here to make a good character, with a few custom options. However, there appears to be nothing on the staple Psionics, mass fleet combat, planet making or in-depth starship construction– perhaps that in the Game Master Manuel. The layout is clean

  • Introduction
  • The Basics
  • Character Creation
  • Species
  • Skills (12, with specializations for Art, Academic and Technician)
  • Equipment and Technology
  • Character Development
  • Robots
  • Vehicles (which come with upgrade options, but not so much construction)
  • Starships
  • Frontier settings
  • Archetypes
  • Character sheets It has enough to keep you busy for a few game sessions, possibly a whole campaign! It has its own world and the background is light and fluffy as the tradition. In my opinion its worth at least the $9.99 price-tag for the pdf. Go ahead check it out! As a sci-fi game its got potential and I say get in on the ground floor and ride this baby to the top - woohoo!
    Post script or notes: Editing and spelling corrections are brought to you by Anne House, not only is she Beautiful wife and my bestie Friend and fellow Gamer,, but she is a fair enough editor and Very fine Writer and game master.


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
White Lies
by David O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/13/2017 12:48:33

I keep going back to this book because it has so many wonderful ideas that inspire me in everything from my modern spy campaigns to my OSR classic fantasy game. It's totally worth it. I have the print copy because it is handy to pass around the table during a game. Great character classes and tables.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
White Lies
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BareBones Fantasy Role Playing Game
by John G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/14/2017 17:06:38

I'm impressed. So many lite RPG's leave so much out, they are only good for one sitting or you have to make up more rules than they provide. BBF packs alot of material in 80 pages, way more than I expected. The core book contains everything you would expect; character creation (d10 based), weapons, armor, equipment, spells, a GM guide, monsters, an adventure creator, a world map and more. The core book also came with a free adventure (at least from DTRPG). I love the simple mechanics (percentile and d10), and character generation is a breeze (5d10 +30 for 4 abilities). If there is a down side, it would be that beginners may need an assist from a more experienced gamer to help figure out how to use the "open" description spells and skills. Lets face it, we are all used to a long list of individual spells or skills, not a sentance saying "you can do all of this". There is a good amount of BBF support material available for download; adventures, spell cards, status cards, and fantays settings. I'm very happy with what I've purchased so far. Wish I could have gotten it all in a bundle... This is very playable for new and experienced gamers.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BareBones Fantasy Role Playing Game
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White Lies
by Judd G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/03/2017 16:36:58

White Lies is an OSR spy game from DwD Studios. It is a variation of the old white box rules (hence the name), and the classes are types of operatives in an intelligence agency.

The rules are simple and tooled to a genre best described as cinematic spycraft, but easily used to run more grim and realistic espionage as well. Support for the game is as well-wrought as the base rules.

The graphical presentation is on target with cool silhouetted spies doing spy stuff. The whole 'vibe' here is perfect for that Bond or Bourne feel.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
White Lies
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BareBones Fantasy Role Playing Game
by Tod C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/07/2017 18:46:34

I bought this after a bunch of research to introduce a friend to role playing games. BareBones Fantasy is a really nice "lite" RPG, which lets the GM and players concentrate on playing their characters. Production values are good, as with all DwDStudios projects. The system is simple but best of all it introduces the DwD moral code and character descriptors, which give a baseline (not requirements) for players to use to gain extra experience by role playing their characters according to how they were designed.

My players loved it and never want to play a game that doesn't have some version of the moral code and decriptors.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BareBones Fantasy Role Playing Game
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Flesh & Blood - BBFRPG Accessory
by Tod C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/07/2017 18:43:11

I bought this as part of introducing a friend to role playing games. Flesh and Blood adds a bunch of new races to the BareBones Fantasy world. My players really liked the setup with well-organized and easy to read entries of different species. As always, it has nice DwDStudios production values.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Flesh & Blood - BBFRPG Accessory
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Flesh & Blood - BBFRPG Accessory
by Mark M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/22/2016 11:30:51

Excellent addition to expand playable races. Some additional comments on how to add these races into your world. Simple and brilliant!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BareBones Fantasy Role Playing Game
by Mark M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/22/2016 11:28:54

Incredible! Simple with sandbox qualities that beg for new adventure. Good art, simple instructions and open gamesetting. Beautiful!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BareBones Fantasy Role Playing Game
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Covert Ops Role Playing Game
by Michael M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/16/2016 22:06:08

I was looking for something to replace my Top Secret RPG. After some looking arounf I cam across Covert Ops. Its actually not bad and has some neat features (players design organization, headquaters). Still deciding how much I like the combing of skills uses under each a sklll. I have played two sessions and it game flow and task resolution mechanics are sound.

Having played d20 and d% espionage RPG I find this game to be a welcome change for anyone looking for something new to try. And you can not beat the price for such a high quality product.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Covert Ops Role Playing Game
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BareBones Fantasy Role Playing Game
by Todor P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/12/2016 07:15:34

What a great product! There's a great elegance to the rules-liteless of the product, the percentile 2d10 system is a breeze and the classless "skills-are-classes" system really clicks with me, as it allows for mixing and matching class features as you progress. The second part of the book has some great generators and ideas and can really come in handy. Easy recommendation if you're up for something lighter that is not quite FATE (and thank God!).



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BareBones Fantasy Role Playing Game
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Oath of the Dead (fiction)
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/17/2016 19:47:30

The short story takes a brief glance into the world of BareBones Fantasy's 'Karanak Kingdoms' setting. In its 24 pages gives me nothing I did not enjoy. The writing style is accessable and fun, without the kind of shorthand jargon that so easily can be taken for granted in the fantasy gaming community. The only thing really wrong with it is that I now want to know the rest of the adventure and just what happens to the people in the story, which is really quite easy to imagine just how to run in a game of my own. I am prone to leaving a lot of five star reviews, as when I like something well enough to review it, I am usually that pleased wirth it. This story stands well in that esteemable company.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Oath of the Dead (fiction)
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Graystone Tower
by Marcus B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/12/2016 04:15:27

The author of Graystone Tower asked me to review his adventure and I am happy to do so. I crossed the path with Jim the first time a long time ago when I wrote Savage Space. He provided me with a review copy of his adventure. This is a reading review, I have neither run nor played it. I try to avoid overly specific spoilers but if you read this you WILL be spoiled about certain aspects. You are warned. Players: get out.

Graystone Tower consist of two PDF, one in the usual, good-looking BareBonesFantasy trade dress and one printer friendly. Additionally all maps from the adventure in 300 DPI JPG depicting the tower itself and an area map. Both are full color and look very nice. The Tower map is sparse, just showing the interior but no furniture or other details. Works for me though, makes it easier to be creative with a rooms contents and makes it possible to easily hand it to the players after the adventure when they want to make the place their own. The maps included are very re-usable, as usual from DwD Studios.

The adventure aims at low-level characters. The basic premise: There is this tower where someone evil sits and someone hires the characters to clear it out. As a reward they can win the title to the Tower and the surrounding lands. This is a great price to win indeed, even though the setup is very formulaic.

The PDF begins with a short overview of what to expect within. There is also some advice given on how to place the locale in the Keranak Kingdoms, BBF's official setting. There are sidebars encouraging GM to change the adventure to suit their needs. I appreciate these tips, even though they aim at newer GM. That is not a bad thing at all.

Before the characters actually reach the Tower they first have to travel along a road towards its. During that journey there are three different encounters. One ties to the deeper background of the Keranak Kingdoms and two set up the tower as a dangerous place as well as the potential enemy. There is one where the characters can help a victim of the BBEG with tips on how to “escalate” the situation in interesting ways, turning it into a dangerous roleplaying situation (Peasants with Pitchforks anyone?). Even though the encounters have numbers 1, 2, 3 the sidebar in the beginning advises any GM to not necessarily railroad the players in them. However on the map they are in the same order. You can shuffle the order of course, or leave something out. But still, the overall journey part is very straight forward .

Upon reaching the Tower the players propably will investigate and try to figure out what is going on. The structure consists of 12 rooms, only three rooms are actually occupied. You can discover something interesting in every room though. There are some really cool features in the tower that make it perfect for a spellcaster home as well as some unique and hidden treasures. Just do not expect tons of fighting. But there is enough and even one that might proof very deadly very quickly. All room descriptions begin with a short stat block like entry. Here an example:

Room 2: Door O‐2: Heavy Oak door, unlocked, untrapped, opens into room 2. Door 2‐3: Heavy wooden door, unlocked, untrapped, opens into room 3. Room: “torchlit”, quiet, occupied.

I totally dig this. More adventures should use this kind of no-nonsense stat block for room descriptions. It shows me what I need to know at a glance. More detail in the text. If a room is occupied the creature or NPC stats are right there in a sidebar, so no searching. Very thought out.

In classic dungeon crawl method the players sooner or later will discover that not everything is as expected. Sadly I feel the ending is not as strong as it could be. For one there is no motivation given for the final NPC. Why does he do what he does? A question I find important to answer. Also it seems written with the assumption that the players are not totally paranoid and a trusting lot. In my experience that is rarely the case. I would like to see more details here on ways this can go south and flow differently than expected. While the beginning of the adventure is beginner friendly the ending leaves you a bit alone. Because I can guarantee that not a single thing expected to happen here would happen in any of my groups. They are all a suspicious lot. Additionally some tips on roleplaying the character would be appreciated, as it is mainly a dialogue and any guidance is helpful in such a situation.

Lastly there are some seeds for further adventures. The appendix contains all the NPC, new monsters and magic items. Everything easy to find.

Overall a solid adventure, well written. Just a bit short of what it could be. There is this a good-looking hex map of the tower and surrounding area, but there are no locations given for further adventures. A missed opportunity I feel, especially considering the players can inherit the place. The ending could use some work, as it expects things going a certain way without offering any advice on what to do they don't. In its sum the adventure does more right then wrong and I hope a new adventure by Jim improves on the groundwork he has done here. Overall for 2,99 it is a good offering, enough adventure to last you an evening with a cool player base as a reward for further shenanigans.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Graystone Tower
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Decahedron Magazine #5
by Marcus B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/06/2016 09:28:46

The already established Fanzine with an irregular schedule released their 5th issue. It is still PWYW and has again a mix of content for their various products. There is a table of fantasy city encounters that is system agnostic and should be useful to many OSR gamers as well. There is some benign and some weird stuff (I am not saying it is aliens, but it is aliens!) and many that could kick off a great session.

There is GM advice from Tony Demetriou dealing with player trust and “when to roll” issues. It is more an opinion piece then really advice, but I appreciate the perspective he gives on the “What I imagine and the players imagine might be extremely different” issue many GMs regularly fall for, myself included, and how this relates to the question of when to roll.

Then we have a plot hook by Mitch A. Williams that is a summary of an adventure with some information on the location. I appreciate this kind of adventure ideas instead of fully detailed ones. It gives me enough to start from but I can flesh it out with details that resonate with my players. The premise of “Wizard’s Lake” contains old ruins, fighting brothers and an interesting way to source ones water, so to say.

The next article by Glenn Davisson deals with interrogations. Gives some light real world background of certain aspects and expands the interrogation rules from Covert Ops. While interesting to read the rules seem to add a level of complexity I do not need, but they still seem very usable and might be something you need in your game.

After this we get another expansion for Covert Ops: “The Agency Uniform” by Bill Logan. It is basically an armored outfit with various available upgrades. For any proper spy game there can never be too many gadgets and this adds something interesting to the arsenal for your operatives.

And finally a nice looking ruin map with some background.

Decahedron #5 is again a great offering. I am glad the zine seems to find its release stride and hope they can keep it up, I thoroughly enjoyed it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Decahedron Magazine #5
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Hyperspace Messenger Compendium
by Nickolas H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/23/2016 13:46:35

I love this supplement for everything it brings to my White Star game. Aliens is one of my all time favorite tools and I much prefer the d20 skill system presented in Hyperspace Messenger over the d6 skill system introduced in the White Star Companion. Stunners, Robots, Vehicles, and Cyberwear all bring a bunch of useful goodies and systems to use as you desire and I'll be bringing some of these things into my games to keep my players on their toes. Finally, the last chapter is a handy addition for quickly designing sectors of space.

My only complaint is the main font used for most of the text. It appears slightly faded. That being said, it is still highly readable and the rest of the art and graphic are very nice looking.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hyperspace Messenger Compendium
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