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Brass & Steel: The Curse of Althan-Ya
by Frank B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/02/2015 07:55:21
I ran this adventure as a one-shot for my regular gaming group over the New Year holiday and it was very well received by my group. The game took about 5 hours, which included time spent picking characters, eating liberal amounts of food, explaining the rules and a good deal of setup. I have a fair bit of familiarity with the Brass & Steel rules set and it was easy enough to run with that, but I would certainly say the content could be ported into a similar system without a great deal of fuss. Most of the wealth of the information in this adventure is in the character and setting detail, in which you can really see the love the authors put into it.

The book is divided into a scene structure which is fairly easy to follow, but it follows a pattern of discovering what the adversaries are up to and preparing for a journey to stop them, the pursuit and final confrontation. At one point I had my group divided split 4 ways scrambling around Cairo, either dodging thugs trying to beat one of them up outside their hotel, finding contacts in the black market, confronting suspicious characters in a cafe, and chasing after a local boy carting off a weapons shipment to a group of raiders set on slowing them down.

Our session was fairly light on combat, as my players elected and enjoyed diplomatic and clever dodges over straight fights, but it could easily swing the other way if your group is so inclined. Mine managed to work out a way to jump ahead and skip a scene or two in the book, but the content of those scenes still came out and came in handy so it worked out well enough. I might allow an extra hour of game time on that consideration.

The adventure is light on mechanics overall, particular for the npcs and adversaries. Generally a number is given to test against and light description on their gear and armaments and there were a few places where I could have used a few more details. It would have been nice to have had the armaments of the Austrian soldiers spelled out more in the npc sections in the final battle for instance. It's mechanics-light overall, though plenty is there for resolving the exploration and pursuit angles and the system tends to be pretty easy to work off the cuff, so if you are comfortable with that style or willing to put in a bit of time arming up the adversaries, it works well.

The pre-generated characters provided offer background, goals and how they know other npc sections as well as a one page character sheet. I found all of the characters well fleshed out and contributing well, perhaps with the possible exception of Victor Loret, who doesn't provide quite so much as a bunch of funding to the equation and knowledge skills that are destined to lead towards a dead end. Making sure that money matters would be important and something I neglected running it personally, but the player still had a good time and there's plenty of character to make role-playing him fun.

There are 6 kids and a lot of distractions at our gaming table and it's common to have a lot of people check out and split their attention elsewhere during a game, and this one nobody ever went for their cell phone or seemed to be less than engaged straight through, which is a big success in my mind.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Brass & Steel: The Curse of Althan-Ya
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Brass & Steel: A Game of Steampunk Adventure v1.5
by Rob B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/08/2012 10:38:08
Such a great book and it's only the 1st edition. The rules are fairly simple and the flavor text within it's notes just keeps you interested while reading the rules. Something I want to point out that not every rule book does, it's nice to have a good laugh while reading some of the rules or item descriptions instead of just boring box text.

The only thing I'm looking forward to the next edition is maybe organizing the character creation a little better. Having background advantages first then leading into advantages and disadvantages, then attributes and skills. It was only a little confusing while making our first character from scratch. Otherwise it looks solid so far!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Brass & Steel:  A Game of Steampunk Adventure v1.5
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Brass & Steel: A Game of Steampunk Adventure
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/16/2012 09:04:12
Brass and Steel is a steampunk RPG with a simple system that lends itself well to both tabletop and LARP play - or even any combination of the two.

The system uses a single D20, and actions are resolved with a simple mechanic - Attribute + Skill +/- modifiers = Target number to be rolled or under on d20. Additionally, a Tarot deck is used for Fate Cards - (and a method for using standard playing cards is also presented). Before a session, players draw a number of cards equal to half their character's Fate attribute, and can use these cards to affect their actions in the game. Minor arcana cards allow up to rerolls of any skill roll, while Major arcana cards can allow the player to change certain elements of the story.

The skill names are fun - "Barking Irons" is the name of the firearms skill, "Devious Devices" is the name of the set/disarm traps skill. These sorts of touches, while completely cosmetic, do a lot for maintaining the mood of an RPG session.

The art is sparse, but good - most of it is classic, vintage-era stock art, with a few original pieces of line art included. This does allow for a lot more text, which the authors definitely took advantage of.

Other items of note include glossaries of RPG terms and world/setting terms (always a bonus in my book, and should be included in every RPG with a lot of unique background) and a slew of sample characters to run as-is or inspire character creation.

It's only natural that as the steampunk genre has grown in popularity, steampunk-themed RPGs have become increasingly more common. Brass and Steel is an excellent choice for roleplayers looking to do some steampunk-themed adventuring - it has a simple system with lots of potential for story-driven games, and is reasonably priced.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Brass & Steel:  A Game of Steampunk Adventure
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Brass & Steel: A Game of Steampunk Adventure
by Robert O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/20/2011 10:19:11
Great job! Brass & Steel refreshes steampunk RPG idea. If you like steampunk, You have to try it. And, I am sure, You will not regret.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Brass & Steel: A Game of Steampunk Adventure
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/31/2011 08:14:04
Brass & Steel is a great book with more than its fair share of interesting ideas that make it more than just about steam and cogs. It's clear to see that the authors are very passionate about their work, and that translates for great reading.

The system is one of medium complexity, and one that is easy to learn and teach, and the setting is a broad one with plenty of ground to cover. The use of an alternate history is one that I approve of, as it gives a chance to draw on real-world places and history for inspiration while having enough wiggle room for neat things to happen.

Brass & Steel might as well be the Castle Falkenstien of the new generation. If there is one flaw in this product, it would be the lack of a character sheet. Given the lovely logo and layout, it's a shame that there wasn't one in the product, something that will be hopefully addressed in an updated pdf.

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This is an excerpt of the full review on my blog. To see the entire article, please visit: http://wp.me/p5H0U-OR

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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