DriveThruRPG.com
Close
Close
Browse









Back
Other comments left for this publisher:
Tobyart 015 - Man at Arms
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/17/2012 10:42:09

More hi-res black and white iconic character art from Toby Gregory, clearly influenced by the high quality art in early D&D hardcovers. This is a nice dynamic pic of a human warrior preparing to let someone - or someTHING - have a taste of his blade.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tobyart 015 - Man at Arms
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Tobyart 014 - Mysterious Gunblade
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/17/2012 10:40:54

More hi-res black and white iconic character art from Toby Gregory, clearly influenced by the high quality art in early D&D hardcovers. I'm guessing "mysterious" is really being used to describe this shady character, and not his gunblade, which really isn't that mysterious at all. It's a gun, and a blade. No mystery, right?



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tobyart 014 - Mysterious Gunblade
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Tobyart 013 - Elf Leaf Duellist
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/17/2012 10:38:25

More hi-res black and white iconic character art from Toby Gregory, clearly influenced by the high quality art in early D&D hardcovers. This elf leaf duelist dares you to underestimate the protective nature of his armor.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tobyart 013 - Elf Leaf Duellist
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Tobyart 006 - Elf Sword Priestess
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/17/2012 10:36:00

More hi-res black and white iconic character art from Toby Gregory, clearly influenced by the high quality art in early D&D hardcovers. This elf priestess is giving a bit of divine magic a try before resorting to the sword.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tobyart 006 - Elf Sword Priestess
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Tobyart 005 - Dwarf Valkyrie
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/17/2012 10:33:48

More hi-res black and white iconic character art from Toby Gregory, clearly influenced by the high quality art in early D&D hardcovers. This dwarven priestess appears to be showing us her "last thing you'll ever see before getting squashed flat" pose.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tobyart 005 - Dwarf Valkyrie
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Tobyart 004 - Dwarf Hammer Paladin
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/17/2012 10:30:34

More hi-res black and white iconic character art from Toby Gregory, clearly influenced by the high quality art in early D&D hardcovers. This dwarven paladin appears to be pondering his hammer, and whether or not he should proceed to hurt 'em.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tobyart 004 - Dwarf Hammer Paladin
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Tobyart 003 - Dwarf Nail Hunter
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/17/2012 10:29:08

More hi-res black and white iconic character art from Toby Gregory, clearly influenced by the high quality art in early D&D hardcovers. This dwarven priest has a hammer and appears to be seeing everything else as a nail.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tobyart 003 - Dwarf Nail Hunter
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Clipart Critters 165 - Wizard's Staff
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/17/2012 08:54:05

Nice hi-res greyscale image of a wizard casting a spell with a staff and/or magic ring, would be suitable for an old-school RPG rulebook or supplement. It reminds me of some of the art found in TSR's old Dark Sun setting books.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Clipart Critters 165 - Wizard's Staff
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Tough Justice
by Robert S. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/09/2012 07:38:19

There are many role playing games, both mainstream and independent. However, some of the more interesting RPGs are the independent ones, the best of which find a niche to stake out as their own.

This week I am reviewing Tough Justice, by notorious Englishman Ian Warner, which is a game that found a niche and claimed the spot as its own. In this case, that particular niche is a historical courtroom drama, in the English legal system.

Warner has set this historical game during a time called the Blood Code, which ran from the late 17th century through the 18th and into the early 19th century. For more than a hundred years, a host of laws in England mandated the death penalty if the court handed down a conviction for the accused.

According to the Tough Justice RPG, the list of things which automatically brought the death penalty under the Bloody Code include standard period items such as sodomy, espionage and shoplifting but also grab bag of odd crimes as well, such as blackening your face at night, spending a month with gypsies and cutting down a young tree. Of these the cutting down the young tree feels the most capricious, as there is nothing in the text about what qualifies as a young tree or even the ownership of the tree being relevant – you can get hung by the neck until dead for clearing brush and saplings from your own property.

In any event, at the start of the period, 50 laws mandated the death penalty and before things turned around the list expanded to 220. England at this time managed to outdo Texas for legally ending people, which is saying something. It was a high time for rope merchants. Assuming they did not do something like cut down a small tree.

In any event, that is backdrop of the game but the core is letting the players fight it out, in a period English court of law, as the opposing legal sides battling over the fate of some schmuck caught with a hatchet while standing over a chopped up copse.

That was a pune, or a play on words.

Tough Justice is the only RPG I know of about playing out a legal clash. Imagine it as rather like Law and Order, where not enough people bathe and too many people wear silly wigs.

In mechanical terms, players first think of a concept for their characters and then to match that concept divide up their starting pool of 18 points among six stats, which include Authority, Jibe, Charm, Investigation, Violence and Composure. Jibe and charm function as charisma, more or less, while Composure functions as something like hit points. It is worth noting that in Tough Justice, under the rules as written, it is more or less impossible for characters to die. They are playing the lawyers and associates battling over a case, not the accused. So Composure works as hit points in a situation where losing their shit or having a great big hissy fit would be detrimental to their side of the case. Character creation also includes assigning merits and flaws to the character, which modify the stats under certain circumstances.

Characters created, the players divide into two groups, one for the prosecution and one for the defense. Under the rules as written, only one character on each side actually speaks during the court phase of the game, this character being the barrister. Other players run characters that are lawyers, who do the legal case work as compared to making a presentation, allies and associates on both sides to corral and coerce witnesses, collection information useful to the case and try to sabotage the work of the other side. I am not a legal scholar and certainly not one for English legal history, but everything I have read indicates Warner did a good job recreating in game terms the function of English courts of this period. As part of the accuracy, while the game permits female characters, they may be neither barristers nor lawyers.

The simple mechanic of the game is a rolled d6, with the relevant stat added, and the stat is modified depending on the merit and flaw and the circumstances. Sometimes these rolls are contested roll against the effort of another player. Important here is the degree of difference in a successfully opposed roll. These points are the so-called “win margin” and players must keep track of these win margin points as they play into the final verdict of the trial.

Most of the facts about the accused – gender, age, occupation – are randomly determined. Occupation is relevant because it can give case points to one side or the other; the occupation of pickpocket automatically gives case points to the prosecution, for example. The crime for which the accused is… uh… accused is also randomly determined.

Early parts of a game include the arrest phase and the pretrial phase, allowing for collection of the NPC accused by player characters working for the prosecution, duels between PCs on the opposing sides and case investigation and sabotaging the opposing side. All the results, from opposed investigations, duels and so forth, generate win margin points for use in the actual trial. To reiterate an earlier point, it is not possible for one player character to kill another, though they can injure each other and injuries are a liability during a trial.

There is a specific order of actions permissible during a trial, which again appears to match what was and was not possible during actual English Courts of the period. Anyway, much of the trial phase comes down to opposed challenges to accumulate the most win margin points.

At the end of the trial, if the prosecution has the most points, the court finds the accused guilty and issues a death penalty. If the defense has the most case points, the accused is acquitted. Note that, the actual guilt or innocence of the accused is more or less irrelevant in terms of the verdict. It is possible, though not mandatory, to play through the post trial phase, including execution and burial.

The game has its flaws. For one, it is almost totally without art, and what art there is consists of stock line art of people in period costumes made creepy by their lack of irises and pupils. It is like pictures of well-dressed zombies, who I think should be executed on general principal. Another flaw is the only real way for any player characters do die is during childbirth, meaning the only way to die is if you are running a woman. Men should be able to die as well, not only for the sake of gender balance but it would make the trials more interesting if one lawyer can flat out murder another before the trial, to help their case.

The text is laid out is an acceptable and functional manner, though, the relative lack of art makes the pages appear dense and gray in places. Other issues include the fact, Warner includes a 25-page long section defining jargon and slang terms from the period, which is much too long – it is supposed to be an RPG book, not a period dictionary. Also, there are too many pages of example play - they are good for demonstrating how the game works, but they also go on and on. Finally, early sections of the book giving Warner’s background and talking explaining RPGs are also unnecessary.

To its credit, the book includes a solid table of contents and a detailed index, which help makes up for a lack of bookmarks in the 260-page PDF.

Ultimately, I give Tough Justice a 15 on a d20 roll. While it has its flaws, as niche games go, this unique game fill its chosen niche well and over all the game and book is well executed. The mechanic for adjudicating an over-all trial is smooth, focused and a commendable game tool.

In the opening of the book, Warner describes Tough Justice as a beer and crisps game, or the English version of a beer and pretzels game – a kind of game played during a break from a regular campaign or something requiring little story investment done as a one-shot. It can be that.

I suggest make a Tough Justice game a part of a regular game. In most RPG games, the PCs are always burning things down, blowing shit up and killing people. Perhaps one or more of them are accused of something they may or may not have done. Once accused and arrested, the game temporarily shifts to what would otherwise simply be NPCs – lawyers, court officials, witness and so forth – while the former players characters become NPCs for the duration of the trial.

It would be a good reason for the players to be nice to NPCs. And to stop chopping down small trees.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tough Justice
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Agents of SWING: Gosh, Spies!
by Idle R. H. P. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/08/2012 05:19:53

I'll start this off by saying that I don't own Agents of S.W.I.N.G. (the book that this product is a supplement for). Instead, I picked this title up to mine it for ideas on running games with teenagers as the main protagonists as well as to see what advice it offered on running simplified RPGs for children, especially girls.

There are some good ideas here, both for someone interested in running games for children and having teenage characters in their games. There is a nice discussion on Saturday morning cartoons, and how to attempt to capture that genre in a game. Although specifically created for the FATE, the stunts, flaws, and powers found in this book are easily adapted to other systems.

This title interested me enough to where I'm considering getting Agents of S.W.I.N.G. There are a few typos in the text and a few of the sample characters are a bit too close to the source material the book is taking it's inspiration from, but those flaws are easily overlooked given the rest of material.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Agents of SWING: Gosh, Spies!
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Agents of S.W.I.N.G.
by Emlyn F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/05/2012 02:27:37

I must humbly disagree with the other reviews. I own every FATE game on the market, as well as having looked at every fan-hack I've found available—and I find Agents of SWING the most amateurish, irritating version I've seen, and I am very angry I paid even $10 for it.

The layout is ugly and hard to read, without any pictures or even tables (equipment chapter notwithstanding) to break up the monotype text. The sections are badly organized, with tons of concepts laid out without explanation or even a reassuring "we'll get to this later"—a notable example being the dice section, which describes getting three dice, and setting one aside... and not explaining what to do with that third die until five pages later. SWING's "sections" are also laid out long before explaining what relevance they will have to the game, and the long section laying out (seemingly random) events from the sixties and seventies didn't spark any ideas on how to incorporate those ideas into a game. Even the core combat concept of "zones" is ONLY explained in the "handouts" chapter in the back of the book. The writers pulled a lot of their material from the other FATE products, and I have no problem with that. However, when you're going to change the terminology, change it consistently: The "Minions" conceit from Spirit of the Century is used interchangeably with the term "Goons" throughout the book.

The balance of the game is also thrown off in bizarre fashions from other FATE products. FATE games universally use a skill "pyramid" or "column" to ensure its characters represent relatively well-rounded individuals, and incorporate a maximum skill level a character can purchase a skill at, usually +3 to +5, depending on the game. SWING not only allows characters to take skills without any balance, they can go up to the top level possible on the results ladder, +8. This means that a character could take Guns at +8, making it impossible for virtually any other character to defend, and meaning that in all likelihood, the character will regularly roll results well above the levels the game is designed to handle or even has terms for. Other bizarre decisions include removing stunts from being associated with skills (a fairly common practice), but without replacing it with rules for building your own stunts, resulting in a long list of uncategorized stunts (repeated twice throughout the book before they are described) and stripping away skill "trappings," making the skills more "rules-lite," but so ill-defined they seem very difficult to use in play.

The SWINGERS chapter is simply bizarre: nearly forty characters laid out without explanation on how to use them—are they intended pre-generated PCs? NPCs? Only a couple are described as support staff, the rest seem like they could only be pre-gens... but what do you need with thirty-odd pregenerated PCs, especially when the much more useful "villains" chapter is anemic and undersupported in comparison. A facet of this chapter that I'm torn on is that most (if not all, I'm not terribly well-versed with 60s spy fiction) of the characters appear to be licensed characters with their serial numbers filed off: "John Chain" is James Bond, "Number 8" is Number 6 from the Prisoner, "Joanna Pare and James Ryde" are Emma Peel and John Steed, even "The Professor" is the Third Doctor of "Doctor Who." While it's kind of fun to see game stats for these pop culture icons, I think more general, genre-appropriate but original characters (as shown in the original FATE game, Spirit of the Century) would be much more useful and effective.

I like the idea of a swinging sixties spy-fi game, especially one that takes advantage of the innovative and elegant FATE ruleset. This, however, is not that game. All of the game's good ideas (with the possible exception of the SWING die, a bonus die you can earn by doing well and spend later to help a bad roll) are taken directly from "Starblazer Adventures," while taking away much of that game's charm. If you want to play James Bond or the Avengers, pick up... ANY other FATE game and spend an evening converting it, instead of wasting ten dollars on this badly-designed, ill-formatted mess.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Agents of S.W.I.N.G.
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Urban Faerie: Pocket Edition
by Chris K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/04/2012 04:06:57

This is a very funny set of rules, and a nice simple game system that is fast to learn and play and also drives the gameplay - the faeries need to use "charms" to achieve success, and earn them by doing "class"-stereotypical things. At this price it is worth buying just to read, because it is fun, but you will end up wanting to run a game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Urban Faerie: Pocket Edition
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Traveller OGL: Alienist
by Steven S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/29/2012 22:05:17

Below is most of the review (albeit still rather edited) I did for my blog (found here: http://grognerd.blogspot.com ). I received "Traveller OGL: Alienist" from Postmortem Studios, and it occurred to me that I should probably also post the review here, as well.

--The Copy-- "A full career path for the Traveller OGL Many people are fascinated by alien cultures but for some it becomes an obsession and for a few, exceptional people they become a part of the culture that fascinates them. Accepted in a way that most never could be. Caught between their own people and their obsession, the Alienist is a bridge between disparate cultures separated by light years, psychology and even biology."

--What You Get-- The Alienist PDF is a rather short affair, and is pretty no-frills. There isn't even a credits page. It clocks in at nine pages, six of which are what I call "Meat Pages"; as in, ones with rules and aren't OGL licence stuff or the cover. The Meat Pages are breviloquent concerning the description of the Alienist class, and it still manages to be well-written. Then you get a few pages of charts which are laid out in a way that almost made me go cross-eyed at first... However, when I look at the specific part of the chart I need to read, it's not so bad. Charts and tables are available for Skills & Training, Career Progress, Ranks and Benefits, Mustering Out Benefits, Mishaps, and Events. You probably won't be surprised when I say the Mishaps and Events ones are my favourites. And, indeed, reading through them was interesting, but not as entertaining as I had hoped. Then again, Postmortem most likely made the right decision in that case. There are some new rules and new equipment, too, with the new skill "Integration" making perfect sense when an Alienist is immersing themselves in an alien culture (I hear this becomes problematic for those Alienists visiting LV-426). The major standout in the equipment section is "Bodyswap" (TL 14, by the way), in which someone who feels they are born to the wrong species-- called "xenodismorphia"-- can, well, you know, fully integrate themselves. Pretty neat, really. There are a few more items and then that's it... roll License Agreement. To me, everything looks fairly balanced and it's excessively unlikely it will break anything. (Yes, this is a word. I find it friendlier sounding than "laconic".)

--Art und Layout-- Overall, the art and layout remain cost-effective without looking too cheap. The cover art is decent enough, and doesn't make me want to kill myself. Always a good thing, I suppose. It's really not bad, man. In fact, I dig it. Have you seen some of the art in indie games out there? Yee-ikes. There is not much more art to be had aside from the cool cyberspacepunky border bits; which I love, honestly. The layout is simple, single column style, which you should be able to read with ease. There is the aforementioned problem with the tables and the like, which look a bit crammed to me. But once you need to find a particular listing, you should have no problem. As for the editing? It's good. Being the nitpicking editor bastard (and obvious hypocrite) I am, I like the cut of this product's editing jib.

--Bang For Your Buck-- There is no other way to say it: This mofo be fiddy cents, dawg. That's right: 50 cents. Bang/Buck-wise, this is rockin' and rockin' hard.

--The Bottom Line-- The bottom line is that if you play Mongoose's Traveller, you should totally check this out. It's cheap, it's informative and to the point, and I really don't know when the last time I saw something so cool and nifty that's dropped right into any Traveller game for the price of making a crazy homeless dude leave you alone. Personally, I'd put it in my Traveller game if I were running one. And that reminds me: I need to run one. I am dying to do a Judge Dredd or Strontium Dog game. The Alienist class would work well with them, too.

If you play Traveller you would be doing yourself a disfavour not buying this.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Traveller OGL: Alienist
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

The Little Grey Book
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/29/2012 12:55:59

It’s been said that “simple is best.” This is a fairly universal axiom that can apply to almost anything, including games. Of course, it can also be fairly ironic in that it’s also easy to take too far, in which case the simplicity is no longer what’s best. It’s in this vein that Postmortem Studios has released their game – I’m not sure if I should call it a role-playing game or not – The Little Grey Book.

The Little Grey Book is a two-page PDF file. Each page is divided into three columns, with the first column of the first page being the cover image, and the last column of the second page being a “character sheet,” as it were.

I keep equivocating about whether or not this is a role-playing game because, as a game, it lacks a lot of the traditional trappings of most RPGs. There is no randomizer, for instance (e.g. dice, drawing cards, etc.) nor is there any sort of referee or Game Master. The Little Grey Book is more of a storytelling game than anything else, and the quality of the stories are…well, read below for more on that.

The premise of The Little Grey Book is that it takes place in a utopian society. Everyone is equal in every way, and society is run by the Consensus. All permutations of sex and sexual identity are accepted, all ages are accepted, and even names have not only had surnames removed entirely, but the remaining personal names are all gender-neutral.

The game-play here involves each player (of which there need to be at least three) creating a character based on choosing a name, age, and gender/sex. Each player then describes one typical day in their character’s life, from waking up until going to bed. The remaining players collectively play the role of the Consensus; each Consensus member can describe a troubled situation that happens during the day (e.g. someone flirts with you), and the player needs to describe how they resolve it before continuing on with their day.

The rub here is that the (non-Consensus) player gets a black mark from the other members of the Consensus each time he does anything that violates the equality of someone else. This is incredibly easy to do. Frowning at someone is passing judgment on them, for instance. Using a gender-specific pronoun is making an assumption on their sexual identity. Offering a tip to a waiter is a comparative insult to other waiters. In other words, differences (both real and perceived) still exist between people, but every time you fail to pretend that such differences don’t exist, you get a black mark. Hence, virtually every time a Consensus member introduces a troubled situation into your day, you’re going to screw up somehow; it’s a given.

Each player takes a turn as the person describing their day, and all of the other players operate as members of the Consensus, until everyone has had a turn. Consensus members tell the player why they got the black marks they did, but there’s no arguing these judgments. The explanations are final. The game ends when the person with the most black marks is taken away for “adjustment” (which isn’t defined, though you can probably guess) and the person with the least black marks gets off with a warning…making them the de facto winner.

That’s literally the entire game.

It’s clear that The Little Grey Book is presenting us with a minimalist critique of political correctness. However, how much of fun you’ll get out of playing this game is debatable – like all instances of minimal presentation, what’s here is so little that it invites you to fill it in with your own interpretations; you can’t help but imbue this game with your own thoughts and prejudices on the exaggerated premise that it lays down. Likewise, the real fun also comes from just how bastard-ly your friends feel like being when they come up with troubles for you, and how try to wriggle out of the situations they invent.

I do think that there could have been some greater emphasis on some of the unique aspects of the setting, such as noting how the Consensus seems to be a borg-like collective governance, or that the troubles that arise during your day are caused deliberately by the Consensus as a test of a random citizen’s perception of social equality (though how they caused such issues to happen would be a bit tricky to answer).

Ultimately, there’s little to do here, which is sort of the point. Nobody will get through a day without a black mark, but the real fun is in trying. The game here is a very basic framework, and the play style is similarly basic. It’s a simple game, but as they say, sometimes simple is best.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Little Grey Book
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

100 Science Fiction Adventure Seeds
by Bertil H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/13/2012 03:58:31

This product is a GOLDMINE! As a creative GM as you are you can easily twist/tweak the adventures in this book to fit in your setting and world. I use it in my Eclipse Phase campaign.

With this product you can fast and easy create "adventures within the adventure" and side-plots and sidetracks.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
100 Science Fiction Adventure Seeds
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Displaying 106 to 120 (of 351 reviews) Result Pages: [<< Prev]   1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 ...  [Next >>] 
0 items
 Hottest Titles
 Gift Certificates