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8-Bit Adventures - The Legend of Heroes
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/29/2017 10:11:50

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product for the purpose of this review.

This is a 42-page, full-color product... and if the cover doesn't serve as a pretty big hint, I'm not sure what else to tell you. Well, aside from some details on the actual content, anyway.

At the basic level, this product aims to convert a certain franchise (that rhymes with "Legend of Shellda") to the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, including a variety of creatures and character options. After an introduction to the product itself, we begin with monsters like the Gripper, Robed Wiz, and Roctopus. These aren't full stat blocks all by themselves, but rather, suggestions for modifying existing bestiary creatures to work as the new versions. I'm kind of iffy on this as a design choice - generally, when offering a creature, you want to provide a playable statblock. (The exception is actual templates - which these technically aren't.)

Thankfully, we do get a few actual stat blocks shortly after, including the Bladed Trap (a CR 4 Construct), the Burning Skull (a CR 8 Undead), and the Cactus Plant (a CR 11... you guessed it, plant). There's also a CR 16 boss, an Orc Magus with the Cursed Warrior archetype.

The next bit provides a few new thematic feats, from Bomb Jump (add the explosion's damage to acrobatics checks when jumping) to Reflect Shot and Reflect Ray, which let you use an Attack of Opportunity to bounce an attack towards a foe. These do have some fairly hefty requirements, including decent Dexterity scores and the Shield Ally (new) and Shield Focus feats, so they seem like they're definitely meant for fairly specific builds.

There are also a few new spells (Retriever, Freezing Ray, and Magnetism), and various iconic pieces of equipment like a Leaf Mask (a Plant Shape I effect), the Miniscule Cap (Reduce Person 3/day), and the Saga Stone (which Reincartates the possessor when they die). The price for that one is 600 GP... or 1200 GP if you're crafting it yourself, which I can only assume was an editing mistake. (Bought at 1200 GP, however, it is pretty close in price to the cost of buying a Reincarnate spell from a Druid at the lowest Caster Level available. (That said, the Saga Stone is a "CL 6th" item, which it probably shouldn't be, as Caster Levels for items generally shouldn't be below the minimum necessary to cast it.)

This book also includes a few sample adventures - including advice for running it as a one-on-one, rather than as a party, which is a nice touch given the source material. These are essentially brief descriptions of scenes and encounters for a GM to fill out, and range from APL 4 to APL 16 as a climactic battle. It's fairly amusing, but given the wide disparity in levels, you'd definitely want to have a lot of adventuring between these main points... or perhaps just summon the PCs to "Highland" every now and then as they level up in their main campaign world.

Overall, I feel this product is a fairly solid 4/5. There were some definite hiccups in the editing, and the adventures are best thought of as an outline rather than a full game to sit down and play. Despite that, I do think this sets out to do what it's trying to do, which is broadly replicating the feel of a certain popular video game franchise. If that feel is what you're looking for, then this is the right product.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
8-Bit Adventures - The Legend of Heroes
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8-Bit Adventures: Vampire Slayer Gear
by Ehn J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/28/2017 16:33:31

An Ehn’s Gaming Foundry review:

This week we’re looking at 8-bit Adventures: Vampire Slayer Gear; and as you can tell from the art and such, it’s trying to recreate the feel of the old and beloved retro game Donkey Kong.

We start with a small introduction to help ease us into things, giving the reader an idea of what they’re in for with this book, and what that happens to be is gear to help us kill vampires, letting us know that it isn’t just magical gear (which is often the case), but also mundane gear, which I very much appreciate. We also get an explanation of why it’s just gear and not a full setting, which feels extra, but doesn’t really hurt. We also get proper bookmarking in the PDF to help us find our way around.

Next we get some ‘game terms’ mixed in with some pathfinder game terms to help us get more of a feel for things, although not sure ‘mundane’ is an actual game term here. Still, it’s keeping in tone with everything else, and as a whole, I appreciate that. The art inside is very reminiscent of that you’d find in an old instruction manual, which does wonders for keeping you in the proper mindset of this product.

The cleansing fire section isn’t my favorite though. While I get what the writer is going for, mechanics like this don’t really translate as well outside of what they’re hoping to do here. I don’t believe that we’re getting a good point for when to include treasure of this magnitude into games. Different charts for different levels would have been much appreciated here, rather than a one size fits all listing.

The language in the star whip leaves a lot to be desired, and while the author did clear this up in a post, it’s still in the book as a rather confusing item. Also I’m not sure how you’d be able to have an action readied to catch a returning cross boomerang, as attacking with it would generally be a part of a standard/full attack action, thus not giving you a chance to ready an action in response. Even an immediate feels like a bit too much, as you can only catch it once per round, making it not great for full attack actions. Sure, it’s a mundane item and early game it could do well, but it feels less than ideal for mid to late game.

Slayer’s shield of defense feels a bit too ‘spell in a can’ for me, and whip crystal also has imprecise wording (I’m assuming it’s a size increase) making the intent clear for veterans but cloudy for most others. I want to like the Slayer’s Mystic Whip more, but it’s the same issue of spell in a can here, making it a touch too mundane for me to really appreciate.

The rest of the magic items also feel plain, with bracers of the multi-blow most likely meaning “two weapon fighting penalties” rather than the two weapon fighting feat. Hourglass watch is also crazy powerful, it’s effectively an auto kill against any evil creature without spell resistance, and it’s multi target for 9 rounds; that’s just brutal. And at 8k, a mid level adventurer could pick up a few of these to just auto kill a large amount of creatures. Sure, it being mind affecting limits it a bit, but that’s still an I Win button against a lot of foes. The large and small heart crystals are kind of interesting even if the large one feels like it could end up being pretty cheap in the case of staff charges, and the small heart crystal feels undercosted for its effect.

I do kinda like Rosary of Destruction too (though I think it should have a save), and the ability to amp it with turn undead is pretty nice. Sapphire ring is another item that has pretty clumsy rules language that could really have used a more discerning eye. I also believe that wall meat might be the best curative item I’ve ever seen by a wide margin; it doesn’t even give an amount of ability damage it heals, it just heals all of it as well as a very sizeable chunk of hit points. White cross is okay though, it’s thematic and fair for what it does.

We finish with a list of creatures that you can substitute in for others, which is a nice finishing touch.

Mechanics: 1.5/5

Mechanics range from okay to uninspired to just non-functional, and there’s a lot in here that I just don’t care for as a GM. The power is all over the board, and most of it isn’t really that interesting. I’m not really the primary market for this, but it feels like a lot of this was written with the idea of pushing the mechanics of this game into pathfinder without a huge amount of consideration for the rules.

Thematics: 3/5

This is a book for thematics, plain and simple. Personally, I think it does it well enough, but there was never enough here to keep me completely drawn into the setting and ideas held within. It did a good job, I got the jist of what they were going for, but the way that mechanics were smashed into this didn’t make it feel like a seamless transition between two different media, it just felt like I was shoving one into another.

Final Thoughts 2/5

While I respect the effort that went into this project, as a whole it fell flat for me. With imprecise rules text, quite a few items I wouldn’t let into a game if given the chance, and a less than smooth transition between the two properties. Derek Blakely came off as a video game fan who wanted to push a game’s framework into an RPG, and while if you’re more of a rules light group who’s fine with that way of doing things it’ll work okay; for a more rules savvy group, this isn’t for you.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
8-Bit Adventures: Vampire Slayer Gear
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Fat Goblin Travel Guide To Hell
by Peter O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/26/2017 21:08:58

This is an absolutely fantastic resource for someone who is looking to flesh out a Hell setting to be something more than just "There's fire everywhere!" the Travel guide to Hell has detailed information on 7 different environments, and the rulers of those environments, not to mention archetypes, prestige classes and items. The only thing I feel is missing is a list of suggested storylines taking place in the reigon, the book hints at some underlying tensions and you can easily join the dots and create build the story accordingly, but direct suggestions are always nice. Fantastic resource though.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fat Goblin Travel Guide To Hell
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The Crystal Planet: Player's Guide
by Yannick G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/23/2017 15:04:44

I will admit that I didn't quite expect the great quality of this product. It's well done and the mechanics make sense without being overwhelming or trying too hard to make new materials.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Crystal Planet: Player's Guide
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Astonishing Races:The Aasimar
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/11/2017 09:00:22

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this PDF for the purpose of this review.

This is a 34-page full-color product, with 30 pages of actual content. Astonishing Races: The Aasimar is essentially a complete playable race, up to and including things like physical descriptions, society, age, and religious tendencies. This is all written to be fairly setting-neutral, and that's a plus.

Aside from the basic racial traits (functionally identical to the 'official' aasimar), we get a wide variety of alternate racial traits and I'm pretty sure most of them are new. Many of these focus on what type of celestial being the aasimar in question was descended from, helping to provide a little more distinction in their backstory. For example, Born to Battle gives you a bonus to damage and crit confirmations when using a two-handed melee weapon, while Brightest Star gives you a bonus to your level for casting spells with the Light or Fire descriptors. There's a real set of choices here, and I'm glad to see them present.

After this, we get to new aasimar heritages - entities quite distinct from the base class. While normal aasimar are considered something of a "celestial/humanoid blend", the variant heritages are more specific. The Soarynne is an Elf/Outsider mix, for example, while Planelings have no celestial ancestor, but did have a mother exposed to the energies of a celestial plane. These classes aren't given the same variety of alternate racial options as normal aasimar, but a generous GM might allow swapping out equivalent abilities.

To help further customize the character, aasimar in this product are given a full set of Favored Class Options, from core options all the way to occult classes and the Vigilante. Class options follow this, with choices like the Angelic Chorister (an archetype for the Bard that focuses on heavenly instruments), the Blessed bloodline for the Sorcerer (which adds healing to a normally arcane class), and the Peacebonded Monk (an archetype for the - wait for it - Monk, which focuses on nonlethal damage). Note that being an aasimar is not a prerequisite for these class options.

The book finishes up with a variety of other character options, from gear (like Celestial Elixir, which offers additional use of racial spellcasting, albeit at a cost if abused, and also as a supercharged Holy Water when used against undead) to feats (mostly reprints, but copied here because this is clearly meant to be a one-source guide for playing a given race) and spells (ditto).

Overall, this is a nice, comprehensive product for playing an aasimar character, and I probably wouldn't hesitate to pass it over to anyone at one of my tables who was interested in doing so. I'm also quite fond of the race in general - some of my favorite characters have been members of this race - and I would've enjoyed using this product when making them. Either way, this is a solid release. It doesn't have quite as much new material as the size implies, but again, it's not meant to. It's not just a collection of reprints, though - there ARE quite a few new options as well. I didn't notice any major mistakes (although there was the occasional typo), so I'm comfortable giving this product a full score.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Astonishing Races:The Aasimar
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8-Bit Adventures: Vampire Slayer Gear
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/11/2017 08:16:50

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this PDF for the purpose of this review.

This is a 14-page, full-color product - although only 10 of the pages have relevant content on them. As the name implies, this is all about vampire slaying... but with more of a video game twist than most products released for Pathfinder. This is actually quite important to understand - this product is very much intended to work with games inspired by a certain famous vampire-hunting franchise, so you'll want to review the options carefully before making them available in other games. Now, let's get into things, shall we?

The first page of actual rules stuff discusses iconic items from the games, and which items from Pathfinder are best used to represent them. This is fairly straightforward stuff, all things considered. The next page gives us a candle treasure table (to be found by breaking sources of light, generally), holding things like holy water bombs, whip crystals, and masterwork weapons. A second table is given for items found in secret areas. Many of the items on these tables are new items presented later in this product.

Following this, we get descriptions for two new weapons. The Cross Boomerang is a an exotic ranged weapon that deals Bludgeoning or Piercing damage, with a range of 30 feet, an x2 crit multiplier, and a returning property that allows the thrower to catch the boomerang (with it falling some ways away if they don't). The other new weapon (the Star Whip) is an exotic melee weapon - implied to be one-handed, but this probably should have been specified - that has the disarm, finesse, reach, and trip properties. Characters proficient in whips are also proficient in Star Whips, and it does lethal damage even to creatures with armor bonuses.

The next section focuses on magic weapons and armor. The Slayer's Shield of defense is a +2 mithral heavy shield, which counts as a divine focus, allows for a spell that helps protect against ranged attacks, and provides an added bonus when you use the total defense action (written here as "full defense"). The Whip Crystal is essentially a buff for whips, either giving them the Deadly property or - if they already have it or do lethal damage - increasing the damage progression by one step. The Slayer's Mystic Whip is a +3 ghost touch holy undead bane star whip that's also an intelligent item, and it's pretty focused on finding and eliminating undead. It also offers several additional powers, including a protective spell-like ability, detecting magic at-will, and a bonus to intimidate against evil. It's also worth over 150,000 GP, so it's not likely to be seen outside of high-level games.

Most of the rest of this product is taken up by other new items, which include things like boots that give both Jump and Feather Fall effects, bracers that give you an additional attack (at an accuracy penalty), and a holy water bomb that deals holy damage and is extra nasty against undead and evil outsiders.

The last part of this product is another equivalency table, much like the earlier one on classic weapons - although this bit is more for game masters, since it suggests specific monsters to recreate the feel of the games (and provides their source).

Overall, I find this product fairly entertaining, and it definitely accomplishes its job of providing thematic vampire-slaying tools. That said, I do think this product - and especially the items - could have used another editing pass. For example, the Sapphire Ring says it can be 'activated', but doesn't specify the type of action used. (Standard action to set up defenses? Immediate action to respond to a threat? Free action you can take when it isn't your turn?) It also says "any creature that attacks with melee attack takes 2d6 points of electricity damage". Since it doesn't quite specify that it's limited to you, it's arguably saying that anyone in the area (or, heck, the world) takes damage when they make melee attacks, and that probably wasn't the intention.

The errors don't ruin this product, but they do make it a little less solid than it could have been, and it's something to keep an eye on in the future. As-is, however, I'm going to rate this a 4/5.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
8-Bit Adventures: Vampire Slayer Gear
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Epic Races: Adapticons
by Justin I. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/07/2017 12:34:46

Want to add Transformers to your Pathfinder or Starfinder game? It's probably not something you've thought about, but now that I've mentioned it, you're kind of interested, right? No? To each their own. However, if your answer is yes, Epic Races: Adapticons has got what you need.

The pdf is 25 pages (including front and back cover, a page of advertisements, three pages of OGL). It gives you everything you need to play a transfor... adapticon in Pathfinder (or soon Starfinder). The book starts with history and origins of the race. To be honest, if I added them to my game I'd probably just straight lift all of that from Transformers. That being said, the background isn't a bad one.

In game terms the designers created the race emulating racial creation rules from the Advanced Race Guide. Adapticons are "multi-formed constructs" which means they have the construct and shapechanger subtype. They are large and get bonuses to Str, Wis, and Con, while getting penalties on Dex and Cha. They get an alternate vehicle form, though there are also options to have a metallic animal form, or even not being able to transform. There are Pathfinder favored class options and two racial archetypes (Spybot and Transporter). While these are cool, I kind of wish this pdf had came out a little later and we could have seen Starfinder racial archetypes (assuming the game has them). Note that adapticons do use vehicle rules which are found in Ultimate Combat. We get a new vehicle (dwarven dozer), nine feats (metamagic and racial), and several bits of new equipment (some magical, some technological).

Overall, I think this is a fun pdf. It's not a must have by any means, but it's still really cool. The race isn't overpowered and due to its size and actually has some rough drawbacks (beware of rust monsters).

To be honest, I mainly picked it up because I thought it would be cool for Starfinder, and I hope the pdf gets an update once that book comes out. That being said, this is a solid and unique addition to any Pathfinder game.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Epic Races: Adapticons
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Castle Falkenstein: Firearms & Margarine: An Adventure Entertainment
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/07/2017 05:18:17

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This module for Castle Falkenstein clocks in at 44 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 40 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Before you're asking: Of course Captain Thomas Olam is returning as the framing device for this adventure, with the esteemed Mr. J Gray acting as the transcriber of his notes. It should also be noted that the adventure comes with pregenerated dramatic characters - 6, to be precise. In a rather nice manner, the module collects the game-relevant stats on a few pages - but goes one step beyond: In the back, extensive, char-sheet-like depictions of the characters, complete with proper space for notes and even b/w-photographs depicting them can be found, enhancing the immersion. I strongly suggest handing these out to players when running it and not using the dramatic characters. You see, the German iteration of CoC uses period piece photography extensively and it does enhance immersion, so kudos for doing that!

We also get a massive city map of Paris, where the proceedings take place, in the pdf - both with a player-friendly iteration and one for the host, which contextualizes and places the adventuring locales. That being said, I do have a very minor gripe here, one that does not in any way impede the functionality of the adventure at hand, so consider this just me being a scoundrel: The city map as a physical artifact from the time must have been HUGE and as such, the one-page scans make reading streets-names etc. impossible. Now note that this is not required: The city map is here to put the adventuring locales in relation to one another, but as someone who really enjoys old maps, a high-res iteration would have been amazing. (And yes, quite probably, there is no such scan, but one may dream, right?)

Anyways, ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to humbly ask you to excuse my digressions, so let us adjust our pince-nezes, put down our walking sticks and fans and take a look at what this recent account of Captain Olam has to offer. It should be noted that only the most dastardly rogue, tarnishing the good graces of the house of the Host of his regular game, would continue to read the following if he (or she) planned to attend the game wherein the proceedings depicted in this module take place. As the profane rabble is wont to say, from here on out, this review will contain copious amounts of SPOILERS.

...

..

.

Dear hosts, are we alone? Have all preening eyes, all scoundrels and spirits departed to their respective haunting grounds? Excellent, so let us commence with our discussion of the matter at hand! As we all know, this is an enlightened age that will catapult our species to realms heretofore unimagined and at the forefront of one such foray in the advancement of our glorious civilization would be the gentleman known as Martin Hoog, currently approaching the completion of his margarine factory, which will undoubtedly revolutionize significant aspects of our customs. However, as we all know, progress not always goes unopposed, and to the obvious concern of dairy farmers in the rural areas, we have to add the unfortunate sentiment of the brownie population - after all, it does seem like the machines will manage to even outdo the Faerie's vast working capacity.

The leader of this resistance, in case you were not aware, falls in this particular case to the Fae lady usually referred to as Danielle Bendit, and appropriate name, if her detractors are to be believed. The current state of affairs has her and her rabble preventing the opening of the factory. The protest has been going on for a couple of days, with no real progress on either side, as the authorities in their wisdom have to prevent a proper escalation of the proceedings. There are, of course, plenty of justifications for proper ladies and gentlemen to bear witness to the horrid proceedings that are about to unfold, but it should be noted that, if all else fails, one should not discard serendipitous coincidence as a means of getting the proper minds involved.

It is my sad duty to announce that there will be an incident most unfortunate, for, as Mme Bendit and her right-hand man Michel are about to announce the strategies of their further protests and the goals of their fledgling movement, a shot will ring - and provide the first decision, which only the cool heads of those of proper breeding and accomplishment may make: Whether to hound the assailant sniper or to move towards the stage and offer educated help; the chaos of hundreds of fae dispersing into the ethereal and panicked protesters fleeing the scene makes both endeavors rather complicated.

The office, from which the shot was fired, unsurprisingly yields a mystery - very perceptive characters may note signs that the window was kept open, an orphaned rifle with a scope awaiting - and particularly learned characters may deduce the "how" of this dastardly attack: The rifle was prepared by a devious mechanical mind with one of these fancy cells pioneered by Edmond Becquerel in 1839, firing as the fog cleared and light touched it.

At the same time, more compassionate characters with a less analytic bent (we shall not engage in the obvious associations here) may have moved towards the stage to find Michel, murdered in the arms of Mme Bendit, shot by cold iron - and as he lies there, only the most astute of characters will have a chance to collect further evidence before the poor creature suffers the Final Death, shortly before the griefstruck Mme Bendit is spirited away. Those among you illustrious hosts who fear that the obvious murder mystery here would be solved too easily by the inclusion of a certain order of thaumaturgical detectives should rest assured that proper guidance is provided to deal with such potential hindrances in a manner that if befittingly fair for dramatic characters.

Unless our valiant cast has split, the characters will hence have one primary lead, though one should not be remiss to mention that the arrival of the police force will put an end to the investigation of the scene of the deplorable crime. Recognizing the obvious potential for conflict inherent in the situation, and listening to their own valiant hearts and nerves of steel, our illustrious cast hence moves on to question the diverse beings involved in this most puzzling of cases - and here, the classic adage of truth, smoke and mirrors is indeed one that should prove true: The investigation of anarchist involvement and the grieving Mme can yield a surprising variety of rather intriguing clues. Astute individuals, examining the less than trustworthy guards employed at the factory as well as Mr. Hoog himself may even deduce a rather scandalous development and situation, though ultimately, not even that should suffice to coax veritas from the cloaking shadows - indeed, the potentially risky involvement with the préfet de police may proceed to escalate to a duel, though the puzzling demeanor exhibited here by the préfet can be considered to be another piece of this puzzle...or can it?

Indeed, the investigation of the proceedings can unearth a rather puzzling painting predicting the murder - precognition? Perilous premonition? Indeed, the colloquially so-called "red herrings" that are cleverly woven throughout this adventure render both murderous motivation and precise procedure of the dastardly deed a subject suitable for the magnificent minds that you, dear host, elect to entertain. Various ways can lead to the unearthing of the true culprit and the aftermath of the assassination will be strongly influenced by the astuteness of the minds involved - and yes, dear host: Much like any good mystery, there are multiple meandering ways to arrive at the elusive poodle's core, with the supplemental storylines and their conclusions allowing for the concise expansion and continuation of the adventure.

Who is responsible? How was it done? Why, my dear readers - that is only for the distinguished host to discover! It is my duty to mention in this context that the dramatis personae of this curious constellation of characters comes with the appropriate contextualization within the rules of the game. Those of us who enjoy the winding ways of history will be overjoyed to observe that Captain Olam's elaborations of the discrepancies between our world and his curious home have returned. Furthermore scholars of the Fae will most assuredly like the details provided for the Teuz, the brownies most commonly encountered in the Bretagne.

Conclusion:

The all too often thankless tasks of proofreader and editor have been fulfilled to my utmost satisfaction. The visual presentation of the subject matter at hand adheres to a 2-column standard, set against a beautiful, colored backdrop. The artistry of the photographs, portraits and paintings herein, taken from the vast treasure-trove of our species, serves well to enhance the consistent feeling of this book. Should you prefer one of these magical presentation methods, rest assured that more bookmarks can be found herein than would be feasible for a physical book.

Mister J Gray deserves my heartfelt congratulations for his triumphant transcription of this heretofore unreleased account from the fabulous fiction called "Castle Falkenstein." The adventure takes degrees of success and the importance of class, race, etc. well into account and presents a thoroughly compelling mystery that most assuredly is worthy of one or multiple encores. It is my utmost pleasure to be in the fortunate position to announce that the understanding of the period and the special considerations the presence of the Faerie have had on the world, should be considered more than adequate; indeed, I consider them worthy of heartfelt praise.

It is hence my honor and privilege to award this distinguished and entertaining murder mystery the honors of 5 stars as well as the seal of approval for extraordinary merits. A round of applause, mesdames et messieurs!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castle Falkenstein: Firearms & Margarine: An Adventure Entertainment
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Castle Falkenstein: The Second Tarot Variation
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/26/2017 10:54:00

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second of Tarot-based alternate rules-pdfs for Castle Falkenstein clocks in at 6 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, leaving us with 4 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Wait, first, before we do: If you have not yet picked up the first Tarot Variation, please do so NOW. It has made my Top Ten RPG-product list for a reason - it is brilliant. The genius idea here is to use the Rider-Waite-Smythe tarot deck instead of the regular playing cards deck - the result has not only been an increase in atmosphere, but also a more interesting gameplay. I literally never want to play vanilla CF again.

...

Okay, that out of the way, to a degree, this pdf represents more of an amazing thing, we begin with establishing the connection between suites of playing card decks and tarot decks corresponding to another. The values for cards of the minor arcana are properly assigned their values. Since the deck contains one more face card per suit, but no jokers, the fortune deck includes 4 cads worth 15 points instead of 2.

The major arcana deck requires some choices to be made by the game's respective host: First, are major arcana cards held in a player's hand or apart. If they are held as regular cards, that decreases the number of minor arcana cards potentially held and as such, there is a balancing component there. If the major arcana is held on a separate hand, the plot-twisting elements of these cards become more potent, obviously.

The second decision would pertain how many cards the players can hold from the major arcana suite. If players hold these cards in their regular hand, the cards should be limited to a maximum of 1 or 2 held to maintain the option to keep succeeding at tasks via minor arcana. If a separate hand is chosen as the option to go for, the host can elect to cap the total at 3 or even 4 - the more of these a player can hold in a separate hand, though, the more volatile the game becomes, at least potentially - but that does fit well with Castle Falkenstein's high-adventure aspect.

Thirdly, an easy means to balance the impact of the major arcana is the third choice -here, the host determines how many major arcana cards can influence one given Feat. As you may have noticed, this does assume a host at least familiar with the game and confident regarding the ability to interpret on the fly the respective results.

These basics out of the way, the rest of the pdf is devoted to listing the major arcana and their effects - these range from spectacular successes, to conversions into other cards, the option to exchange cards for one minute (nut not those drawn to power sorcery). Returning cards just played to the hand, increasing success levels...and drawing e.g. Justice can result in either fumbling or high successes of the Feat in question. Increased success-levels at the cost of injury and there is also an option to draw a card and increase an ability ranked Poor to Good for the action in question - in short, the proceedings become more volatile.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard that is beautiful and the pdf doesn't sport artworks, but requires none at this length. Same goes for bookmarks - the pdf has none, but doesn't require any at this length.

J Gray's second tarot variation is amazing - while the novelty of the concept and enriched coolness obviously does not extend to the second of these, the matter of fact remains that this represents a glorious option that enhances the gameplay of Castle Falkenstein in much the same iconic manner as the original. All for a single buck. So yes, this is very much worth checking out - and a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castle Falkenstein: The Second Tarot Variation
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Publisher's Choice -Equipment Subscription
by Joel L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/25/2017 22:30:03

As someone who authors adventures I love this subscription. The artwork and in my opinion the value on this set is great. He is always updating it, too. All of the items are high quality artwork and ready to be used at the click of the mouse.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher's Choice -Equipment Subscription
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vs. Ghosts Adventure: The Witch of New Hope
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/24/2017 22:01:20

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the PDF version of this product for the purpose of this review.

This is a full-color, eleven-page PDF with eight pages of adventure content. Two pages of this cover the introduction and background of the game, and another page discusses ways of involving characters in the plot. The adventure itself covers four acts (scenes, really), although as per usual for vsM adventures, these are mainly outlines and the person running the game is given the task of actually creating dialogue and such. There's some flexibility in the scenes depending on what the players end up doing, and it's best to keep that in mind when writing stuff out yourself. Either way, though, this is a pretty solid adventure for any group that enjoys vs Ghosts, and the price is pretty good for the amount of content provided.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
vs. Ghosts Adventure: The Witch of New Hope
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vs. Ghosts Adventure: The Lights of Sand Island
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/24/2017 21:42:31

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the PDF version of this product for the purpose of this review.

This is a full-color, eleven-page product, with eight pages of actual game content. The Lights of Sand Island is a bit more mystery-like than some of the adventures that get published for this system, with the players urged to figure out what kind of force is causing ships to constantly run aground in the same place. The adventure itself takes place over four short acts (each 1-2 pages long), and no maps are provided. You may want to draw your own for this if your group prefers those to mapless play.

Overall, this is a fairly solid release for the system, and it's long enough to be good for at least part of a gaming session.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
vs. Ghosts Adventure: The Lights of  Sand Island
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vs. Ghosts Adventure: A Christmas Carol
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/24/2017 21:41:52

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the PDF version of this product for the purpose of this review.

This is a full-color, two-page product, with one page of OGL and general legal stuff, and the other comprising a one-page adventure. Honestly, this is more of an outline than a true adventure, briefly describing scenes and what's going on but leaving it for the game master to come up with specific dialogue, any maps that the group may be necessary, and so on. I wouldn't run this adventure straight from the page, but rather, use it as the framework and write the rest of it out myself.

My overall feelings on this product are a bit complex. For pre-published adventures, even in generally rules-light games like this one, I prefer things that are as complete as possible. This product is honestly more of an adventure idea than a full adventure in its own right - although it's also priced low, so it's not like you're forking over a ton of money for something less bulky than you expected. Overall, I'd peg this at 4/5.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
vs. Ghosts Adventure: A Christmas Carol
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Creature Card Catalogue: Canny Constructs
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/24/2017 21:13:20

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the PDF version of this product for the purpose of this review. This review does not cover any physical cards.

This is a full-color, eight-page product - although, like Brutal Beasts, four of the pages appear to be identical copies of the OGL as front/back sides for the cards.

The monsters included here are the Arc Hound (Challenge 3), Gallows Golem (Challenge 8), Pelt Amalgam (Challenge 5), and Steel Stallion (Challenge 2). Each creature comes with its full statistics, an image, and a general description of what the creature is and how it behaves, essentially making this product a mini-bestiary of themed creatures.

My feelings here are essentially the same as for Brutal Beasts - four extra creatures on a given theme isn't bad, especially at a price and format that makes them easy to organize if you get physical copies (either as cards or by printing them), but the redundant copies of the OGL make this product slower to navigate than it really needs to be.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Creature Card Catalogue: Canny Constructs
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Creature Card Catalogue: Brutal Beasts
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/24/2017 21:05:40

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the PDF version of this product for the purpose of this review. This review does not cover any physical cards.

This is a full-color, eight-page product - although four of the pages appear to be identical copies of the OGL, one for each of the four creatures contained here. If I understand this right, these are meant to be front-and-back sides (which would make sense for an individual physical product, legally speaking), but it's still slightly jarring to see in PDF format.

The monsters included here are the Apex Ram (Challenge 6), Ridgeback Stalker (Challenge 2), Skullcracker Wolf (Challenge 3), and Tundra Savager (Challenge 8). Each creature comes with its full statistics, an image, and a general description of what the creature is and how it behaves, essentially making this product a mini-bestiary of themed creatures.

Overall, I'd rate this a 4/5 - I really don't think it needs three extra copies of the OGL, and even if those are meant to be included for physical copies, people can simply print out multiples of one copy if need be. That design choice does generally detract from the product, and I'd recommend changing it in the future unless they have a specific reason not to.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Creature Card Catalogue: Brutal Beasts
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