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Gangworld - Dark Dominatrixes
by Benjamin M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/24/2013 07:31:07

I found it a nice piece of background work. I think it is best as an idea book to add flavor to a campaign, or to add a few quick ideas for a few nights of play when a game master is short of ideas otherwise. It is not for the younger players without some modifications, but I am sure any GM can make them if they desire to do so.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Gangworld - Dark Dominatrixes
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Clipart Critters 262 - Head Zombie
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/13/2013 11:15:38

Excellent creepy pen and ink sketch of the head of a zombie, decayed but recognisable as human... (or formerly so)... just the thing for creating the right atmosphere in anything zombie-related you are writing.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Clipart Critters 262 - Head Zombie
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Clipart Critters 259 - Empty Armour?
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/20/2013 07:13:11

A fine detailed drawing of a Renassiance-period suit of armour standing in an alcove. But is it empty?

It might be, a display piece someone keeps around to impress. Or in storage ready for use...

Or it might have someone inside, even if it is a rather fine and expensive suit of armour for a mere guide.

Or is it a golem? A construct of some kind. Such things don't come cheap, so you might well use a valuable suit of armour to make it.

It also appears to be left-handed.

Whatever you decide is going on, it's a fine suit of armour if you permit this particular level of technology in your game.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Clipart Critters 259 - Empty Armour?
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100 Conspiracies
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/12/2013 11:10:57

Nowadays it seems like there's 100 "100 _____" supplements on onebookshelf sites. Some are lists that a simple google search could beat. Others are more creative and give an insight into the setting that they relate to. Few are $7.50, the current price for Postmortem's "100 Conspiracies". However, it would be a huge mistake to conflate those one-page chart-list products with this product.

100 Conspiracies starts with a couple of pages about what a conspiracy is and how to construct an interesting one. The very first GURPS supplement I ever bought was Illuminati, so having a refresher/introduction was useful and welcome. A lot of people (including major screenwriters) don't actually put much thought into how a conspiracy works or what it might be after. This can be overlooked in an action-thriller movie, but at the game table people are going to be asking a lot of questions. The introduction, something many supplements skimp on, gives a good method for moving forward.

The meat of the supplement is 100 one-page summaries of conspiracy theories and how they could be used in your modern roleplaying games. There are 2-3 one paragraph hooks for each of them, as well as a semi-hilarious list of what factions or organizations might benefit from the conspiracy.

As other reviewers have noted, there are some proofing/editing problems, though the layout of the work is definitely top-tier in terms of its usability. If there's a conspiracy you like for your game you literally just print out one page and you're good to go - there aren't any that spill over to two pages and there's no garbage art to clog up your printer.

There are no bookmarks and no hyperlinked index, which is a bit of a problem because the conspiracies are not in any particular order and their titles, while humorous, are not exactly on target. I have to reviewer-tilt down one star for the presentation/proofing problems (at least the ones that exist in early 2013.)

That said, the conspiracy theories themselves are well-written and the relentless focus on "cui bono?" ("Who profits?") helps GMs situate the conspiracies in their game in an organic and satisfying manner. Because of this, the supplement is well worth checking out for anyone who has a modern-day game of espionage or investigation. Supernatural elements can easily be added to many of these conspiracies if they aren't already there - maybe the black helicopters are piloted by psychic agents or servants of the Old Ones!

If I had to identify an area (other than editing) that could improve this supplement, I would suggest a section in each conspiracy that emphasizes what fears or anxieties that the conspiracy promotes. The AIDS conspiracy theories, for example, have racist and homophobic undertones - the Clinton Death List conspiracy theory is a product of right-wing radio. People who believe in conspiracy theories rarely do so because of evidence - the very lack of evidence is normally used as a reason to believe! They believe because the conspiracy theory fits other prejudices, fears or concerns regarding their world and their lives. We don't hear a lot about communist infiltration today (except on Glenn Beck) compared to what our parents and grandparents did in the 1950s, because in the 1950s Americans feared conflict with the Soviets. Similarly for these conspiracy theories, I would like to consider what drives them in order to determine what would be appropriate in my particular game.

All in all, "100 Conspiracies" is MUCH more than your typical "100 __" supplement, because of the high level of detail and the emphasis on constructing plausible conspiracies (not the same as realism) for use in your particular game. It's rare that a "supplement for any game" really is for any game, because most don't give this attention to customizing the material or give a framework for understanding it. "100 Conspiracies' does.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
100 Conspiracies
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Clipart Critters 257 - Like a (Crime) Boss
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/06/2013 05:10:58

A crime boss? Well, maybe. He could just as well be a prosperous merchant or the town mayor.

Whoever he is, this beautifully-rendered greyscale image shows someone who's doing quite well, quite prosperous looking. Quite heavy, fleshy - you can imagine he's enjoyed many a sumptious banquet and goblet of wine. And then probably plotted his next moves - licit or otherwise - over a few more cups of wine with friends, allies and henchmen.

I can imagine holding this one up to the players when introducing them to a Guildmaster or Governor, someone of middle-range importance in whatever township they happen to be. A personage that it might be in their best interests to be courteous to, at least to his face (even if they decide to plot his downfall later...). Perhaps a patron or sponsor for their planned exploits, or someone whose permission they need to get for something.

Or indeed maybe he is a crime boss. Up to you!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Clipart Critters 257 - Like a (Crime) Boss
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Agents of S.W.I.N.G.
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/20/2013 22:13:59

Everyone says my reviews are too long and nobody reads them. So here's my two paragraph summary first:

Want to see an amazing game that nails down a very slippery and specific genre and consistently and effectively pursues it? Buy this game.

Want a game that is mechanically well-balanced and won't lead you into crazy problems? Give it a pass.

Now for the lengthy/verbose/nonsensical analysis.

It seems hard to imagine at this late date, when if you wanted to watch every James Bond movie it would take two uninterrupted days, when the deliberate but tense 1970s Bourne novels have been made into a visceral action series, and when Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy can sucker us in with the professionalism of lying, but there was a time in history when espionage and counter-espionage was just coming into pop culture. Of course The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad was a 19th century venture into the popular spy novel (and modern readers will appreciate terrorism as its central conflict instead of the Cold War), but in the 1950s and 60s, the spy-as-hero jumped into prominence, and a good deal of it was an almost countercultural espionage - the spy not as defender of the stodgy status quo, but the swinger, the con artist, Mr. Suave, the femme fatale, and of course, the only person who could tell that the whole Cold War was a sham, a big crazy lie, man.

To some extent this was because the other arm of visible authority, the police officer, was engaged, quite publicly, in a heart-wrenching shift from primarily being concerned with order to primarily being concerned with law. Cops knew as much as everyone else that when they saw fire hoses turned on voting rights activists in Selma that being a police officer had to change. So in addition to the cop who was in touch with the kids, we gained the spy who didn't play by any rules. And sometimes these spy stories were lighthearted action romps - fantasies about what we'd do if we were trained to the top of our abilities and turned loose in the world with a gun, a quip and some cool gadget nobody else had.

It's hard to remember this now when we can count James Bond's genuine smiles since 1992 on one hand, but Austin Powers is a parody not of Bond but of the goofy/sexy spies that blossomed at the same time, but did not necessarily survive. (I have no idea why people chose to parody swingin' 60s spies in 1997. Why not parody balloonist adventure tales or picaresques about travelling to the Mysterious East? Those would be just as relevant. But that's far afield even for my normal rambling review style.)

It's this fantasy that Agents of SWING targets, and hits, dead on. Not the parody (though I guess you could use it for that) - this is not a satire game, this is a game about that lighthearted fantasy.

Your characters are in an implausible agency, given implausible covers, and must battle against implausible villains, while bedding their unbelievably attractive and somewhat reluctant lieutenants and sorting out ridiculous gadgets. All of these things are given a thorough once-over. The quick-moving FATE 3.0 system (with some changes, see below) is a great setup for this.

It's always a matter of walking a tightrope when replicating social attitudes of past times that might interfere with people's enjoyments - Agents of SWING, I feel, does a pretty decent job of emphasizing that players who are women will have opportunities for fun along with those that aren't. Because the agents are beyond the straitjacketed moralities of the (crumbling, it's 1967) square world they protect, they are able to forge their own way. You can even play up the tension by selecting Aspects that will emphasize this conflict - and you gain fate points when they cause problems for you, so you're actually encouraged to think about the issue and bring it to the table with your own spin on it. This game convinced me that FATE's Aspects (perhaps along with The Shadow of Yesterday's Keys) are an excellent mechanic for putting those issues into the hands of the players rather than having them feel imposed-upon by a GM or a group. There are a few examples of women characters who are not well-turned, but even if it's not a bullseye, this game gets a lot of credit from me for aiming at a difficult target and hitting at least within the first ring (to extend the metaphor.)

The game also replaces the normal FATE 3.0 "Spin" with a third "Swing Die" which you can earn, and then spend in future rolls. (It uses the d6-d6 FATE setup rather than Fate dice.) This is a pretty cool way of putting the application of Spin into the hands of the player and prevents something I've seen in other FATE games, which is people scratching their heads trying to figure out how to Spin something that doesn't really fit so that people don't feel like it's wasted. This is a really good solution to that - it shifts the probabilities significantly but doesn't necessarily make it a slam dunk. (You can put your Swing Die on top of your pile of Fate chips too - a nice stack of your player resources that you have available whenever you're planning for a roll.)

There are a number of ways this product could be improved:

For example, the stunt list doesn't hyperlink to the description of each stunt, so the list itself is pretty worthless.

There's no real explanation of what the NPCs are for or how you decide what NPC stats should be. The advice is just "try to keep it balanced with the player characters", which is sort of bad advice given that there's likely to be 3-4 player characters for each villain, and player characters may have a HUGE swing in their abilities to face off against the villain, since they can buy their skills all the way up to +8 from character creation. This is fine for the somewhat lighthearted/cartoony source material, but can easily lead to one or two characters walking off with the game and leaving others feeling useless without some clear guidance on how to create opposition (or tighter instructions at character creation).

I'm not super thrilled with the handouts. While it's nice to see them divided up, the monospace font makes it hard to work out/remember where things are. (I guess they're a good starting point and I'm glad they're there because all games should have handouts in their PDFs, what are you gonna do, make me go to your website? My mouse only clicks so many times per game, pal.) Also, the stunt section of the character sheet doesn't really give enough space to explain some of the more complicated stunts.

I actually rated this one a bit lower at first because of the difficulty in getting from the player characters to a workable scenario, but I have to reviewer tilt up one because it chases after something very specific, something rarely seen these days, and comes a lot closer than I thought it might when I first began reading the introduction. All in all, this is a pretty special game and it's one that I've returned to many times.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Agents of S.W.I.N.G.
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6-Pack Adventures: Kiss of the Frog God (LotFP)
by John C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/11/2013 00:52:34

This product provides a lot of value for the price: the battlemap, the tokens, the pregenerated characters and finally the adventure. This could easily be utilized for a convention game.

One challenge that I have is finding adventures that are interesting, yet compact enough to be played over the course of a single session. This one definitely succeeds in that requirement. The plot is simple, yet engaging enough, drawing the players in to find a pair of lovers missing in the swamp and ultimately confronting the big bad that resides within the swamp. I liked that the adventure afforded some role playing investigation work to discover where the lovers had gone and why. I liked how well the NPCs were described, both physically as well as their motives. I liked the artwork and writeup for the monsters. I felt this definitely was consistent with the atmosphere of weird fantasy and horror that makes LotFP distinct.

I am of mixed mind regarding the author injecting controversial cultural elements into the adventure. While in and of itself, these things shouldn't matter, the fact is that not all persons are of the same opinion regarding these issues. Honestly I game for fun and not to host culture war debates. I leave that to Facebook. I can't help but feel that the author was using the adventure to promote a particular viewpoint and though I am sympathetic to that viewpoint, it still comes across as preachy and heavy handed. In particular the comment that the author wrote regarding those who might want to change the same-sex relationship between two of the pregenerated characters was judgmental, implying that anyone not comfortable with role playing such a relationship is childish. Furthermore the author's crude language was both unprofessional and unnecessary. The author should be seeking to make a product that the customer feels comfortable using, not talking down to the customer particularly when it comes to something as inconsequential as a pregen, which has no bearing on the actual adventure.

I really want to like this product. I think the author went to a great deal of effort and delivers in many ways a very good product. Definitely worthy of four stars in terms of content. Unfortunately this is marred by the author's attitude regarding anyone who might dare to change the one pregenerated character. Talking down to your customers is not the way to go and for that I have to subtract a star.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
6-Pack Adventures: Kiss of the Frog God (LotFP)
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Camelot Cosmos: GM's Book
by Trey P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/24/2012 15:52:19

Like the Player's Guide I bought this when it first came out. And sadly, it shares many of the Player's Guide's faults (art, layout, lack of bookmarks for the index).

It also has the problem of not giving much advice on how to capture the feel the author is looking for. Lots of behind the scenes and historical material explaining things in the player's guide, but not much on how to use it for what the author was shooting for. And sadly, this game needs a fair amount of advice. I'm an experienced GM and to me it needed the advice. I could write up my own material to make it useful to me, but isn't that what I paid for? For a start, advice on how to handle and use First Empire characters and technologies in the game would have been very useful.

Some better attention to world building, specifically how the gates are operated by the icons that seem to be largely controlled by the church and that has some interesting repercussions right there.

Anyway, again, I wanted to like this more (Arthurian space opera married to the FATE system), but it has some substantial flaws and would require major work by any purchaser to make it more useful for a GM.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Camelot Cosmos: GM's Book
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Camelot Cosmos: Player's Book
by Trey P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/24/2012 15:45:05

I bought this and the GM's book when it first came out and I want to like it so much. I mean, Arthurian space opera married to the FATE system. What could be wrong with that? Sadly, lots. First and foremost, the art could be much better, which is pretty sad given that there is lots of decent fantasy clip art available on rpgnow. Second, this is a .pdf product that does not have a navigable table of contents or bookmarks for the major topic headers. Third, layout could be much better. Fourth, the book is a (and the author comes across as) bit confused about the FATE system and seems to go out of its way to strip away a lot of the open ended aspects of the FATE system by severely limiting the aspects available in character creation, removing the stunts system (not even leaving behind something like Diaspora's build your own stunts). Combine this with an aim at the old school gaming (complete with dungeons to delve in (I kid you not)) and its a bit of a mess. Fifth, the Player's Guide makes reference to a lot of things called First Empire and not really addressed until you get to the GM's Guide. This material should have either been removed entirely, or left for the GM's Guide.

All in all, I want to like this more, but as it stands, it needs more work, from reorganization of the files to the author being more clear in what he's trying for.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Camelot Cosmos: Player's Book
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Clipart Critters 251 - The Last Straw
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/19/2012 11:45:44

I love Clipart Critters.

Often times I am in need of something special for a project, I want to pay for it and have to rights to publish it with my work but I don't spend a ton of money on a custom piece.

These are great. They are more often than not exactly what I need when I need it. This one is no exception.
Great piece of art with easy to understand license at a great price.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Clipart Critters 251 - The Last Straw
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Colony: Moon
by Mysterious B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/12/2012 14:24:44

This is excellent simulationist rpg dealing with the day-to-day running of a lunar colony. It provides an easy framework for negotiation/cooperation or competitive play. Players take on roles of a board of directors in which the game master as a number of pre-defined events that will transpire thus plays a bit like a board game but in the hands of a skilled Game Master could really fly as a freeform RPG thus this would be excellent supplement for something like Zozer Games’ Outpost Mars. Success is measured by applying points of political capital and gaining prestige at what time their strategies work. My one criticism is the over abundant use of white space. It gives the impression that the RPG is vacant of content and the page count is a result inflated.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Colony: Moon
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ImagiNation
by Malin F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/02/2012 13:56:45

Forget the occasional grammatical error, ignore the fact that your min-maxing computer-gaming players will only abuse the system - this is a wonderful thing.

The average reader can read the full text in two hours or under. The plot-line is instantly understandable and fun.

The rules are perfect for new people (simple) but different and innovative enough for old players to take an interest. Each character chooses 5 Adjectives, though some can be doubled up (very brave, strong, cunning, dexterous) - so you will basically choose your own set of Attributes. You then get 3 Profession points (e.g. Novice marksman and Professional painter). For each situation, you add every single adjective which applies, add 1D6 and that's your score. So if this character is trying to concoct a plan to assassinate someone, sie adds Marksman and cunning for a total of 2, then add 1D6. The enemy resists in the same way.

Seriously -that's almost the entire system. Genius.

The plot concerns a strange phenomenon which has come over all of Britain - peoples dreams and nightmares have become real. The people have mostly gone to sleep to dream. The only ones who can dream lucidly are the mentally infirm - the extremely stupid or the relatively insane. Enter the characters - they are the creative and insane of Britain, and they are the only ones who can safely enter the country. And the only ones who can consciously dream and make changes to the reality around them by controlling their dreams. Picture them - a group of slightly unhinged artists, working for the government, armed to the teeth, wandering through a fantasy landscape overlaying a broken country and trying to complete a dangerous mission among strange creatures.

Stories can be easily written as a series of scenes with basic descriptions, enemies can be thrown in and made-up on the spot and there are a few examples to get you going. There are dozen of plot-hooks and details provided.

This book is could easily be used for a full Chronicle, can be started with minimal effort and is definitely the best introduction for new players to RPGs which I've ever seen and looks really fun.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
ImagiNation
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ImagiNation
by Benjamin M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/08/2012 07:19:47

I have read this PDF file book over the last few days and found that it is well layed out. I like that it is very free form in many ways, but I can see how many will try and Min-max their charaters with each game and "forget" their flaws when they are a problem to them, but will "remember" them when they would help them out. I did enjoy reading the background materal, and the few examples of creatures to get the "Imagination" going where all very amusing and also very relvent to both the setting and the real world in many ways. I may have missed it in my reading but little was said beyond the the "Basics" of the Lo-Bots to use them and a bit of how they might be an extra element of the human side of horror with in the whole setting. The materal is enought that you can run a few adventures with minamal research into the real England/ Great Britan before you have to do more then a quick check of names or such on the internet. There is an Index, but no table of contents with in the book. Also there are 2-3 blank pages am not sure if they are there for effect or by accadent, but I may have miss-counted the number of them. As the author states he is doing this as a free book/ game and I cant quible with that. I did not do a detailed read on his discriptions of insanities as I try many times to keep text book level discriptions from my game play on them.

Over all a good product.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Clipart Critters 241 - The Frigid Witch of the West
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/27/2012 07:02:07

Great as an ice witch, frost hag or a female elemental. Easy to read and understand license.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Clipart Critters 241 - The Frigid Witch of the West
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Call of Cthentacle: Spankham Asylum
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/09/2012 13:19:41

When the star(let)s are right, it is said that they shall return…and now they have! Spankham Asylum is the newest expansion for Postmortem Studios Cthentacle card game. Spankham Asylum introduces twenty new cards of various types, and two new characters to suffer the perverse attentions of the Great Old Ones.

While the amount of cards is consistent with previous sets, what makes Spankham Asylum fun is the completely shameless fun it has in its theme. Once again, artist Darkzel beautifully illustrates everything from mild titillation to hot girl-on-polyp action; the cards themselves continue to involve terrible puns, such as The Book of Eiboner and The Color in My Face.

My perennial complaint with these expansions is that the seven types of cards – the 1-5 number cards, the ! (exclamation point) cards, and the SP cards – are in an uneven amount, meaning that you can have, for example, more 4 cards than there are 3 cards. One can say that this is the natural result of trying to squeeze seven card types into a twenty-card set, but I have to wonder if it wouldn’t have been easier to just add an additional eight cards to bring things up to four of each type.

Still, I have to give credit where credit is due, and give a nod to the fact that the rules do include a half-page of card clarification. This is an important point, as card games seem to bring out the rules lawyers like nothing else. My only complaint is that there are no explanations for how cards from this set interact with cards from previous ones – does In the Ghoulies (from The Dunbitch Horror expansion) work against The Spiders of Length?

These aren’t new complaints of mine, which makes them somewhat more disappointing that they haven’t been addressed – these are not difficult problems to fix. On the other hand, it’s not like I haven’t been able to enjoy the various expansions despite this; I just wish there was more seriousness given to the rules when it comes to a card game about hideous monsters tentacle-raping hot young women.

In all seriousness though, Spankham Asylum is a great new expansion to Call of Cthentacle, living up to the sexy, politically-incorrect nature of its predecessors. If you want even more ways in which the lovely ladies investigating the Mythos can be violated for their trouble, send them to Spankham.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Call of Cthentacle: Spankham Asylum
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