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World of Darkness: God-Machine Rules Update
by Talen S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/23/2016 16:45:32

Great Stuff. I have had 8 of the books in the WoD series for quite a while. These additions helped a lot bring the life back to the system I have read over and over again.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
World of Darkness: God-Machine Rules Update
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W20 The Poison Tree
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/22/2016 00:18:01

Was actually excited to pick this up as the Shadow Lords are one of my 3 favorite tribes. When I read it though it felt as if the author never read the WtA corebook or even glanced at the SL tribe book. Felt like he was just throwing out terms here and there to make you feel it was a WtA book. The book was entertaining and some parts resonated with the WtA/WoD vibe. Other parts felt out of place.
Overall not bad, not great. Mediocre.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
W20 The Poison Tree
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Tales of the Dark Eras
by Crystal M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/11/2016 10:10:24

First Reviewed on Crystal's Game Reviews


Tales of the Dark Eras is a collection of short stories that connect with the Chronicles of Darkness. The short stories tie into each of the genres that Chronicles of Darkness hosts. The collection is set in chronological order, starting before recorded history and ending with the current era. Each story plays heavily on the theme of the setting in which it is written.


If you enjoy the Chronicles of Darkness, you will enjoy reading these stories. Each story has its own sense of horror, though it does skew toward the ‘fight to live or die trying’ aspect. Several of the stories have a psychological horror twist, make for a thrilling to read. It is a quick read as well; I was able to finish it in several plane rides.


The weakest story of the whole anthology was the first one, “Hoarse”: (Chronicles of Darkness 450 B.C.E.). The story took place so early in human history, it was hard to connect with the characters. It felt disconnected and jarring, and had no hook in the story for me.


My favorite story was “No Signal”: (Chronicles of Darkness 2015-2016 C.E.). This was a psychological paranormal story that focused on the God Machine in Chronicles of Darkness. It was a wonderful take on how easily mortals get pulled into the workings of the paranormal without ever wanting to. The ending was a great twist, and not the twist I was expecting. This was a wonderful end to the anthology.


Another highlight of the book was Jess Hartley’s “Ravens and Roses”: (Changeling: the Lost 1600-1700 C.E.). It takes place in the elite social circles of Paris. This story was a personal favorite of mine because it held all the makings for high fantasy, with a Changeling: the Lost twist, making it into personal horror.


You should look into this anthology if you enjoy Chronicles of Darkness or fantasy/horror stories. History fans will enjoy the settings of the stories, as they all take place in different eras across the globe. Storytellers will find many ways to tie plots into various chronicles they may be running. The quick read and captivating short stories will keep you entranced and horrified at the same time.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tales of the Dark Eras
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World of Darkness: God-Machine Rules Update
by Lisa A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/09/2016 16:24:29

I like streamlined rules, so I like it.


I will ignore some of the new rules for Vices, my players can pick from a list that has nothing good sounding on it. That is, unless someone comes up with a well worked out idea, that doesn't make me feel I'm looking at a character with no flaws like a persona created for a job interview.


But, hey, it's a nice option, for those who like it. Likewise, I will choose whether to use the updated experience costs depending on whether I want mastery to represent something great that takes effort you can imagine doing, or rare that takes superhuman effort.


Aspirations is ingenious, get the players to tell you what they want. Breaking points is a smart way to get some background on characters, skewed in a horror setting. Respec-ing merit points is great, for keeping one player from hurting another by blowing up their resources (or outing the identity of someone with social merits to an evil conspiracy, or similar). It also means that players are more willing to risk those resources, if the story calls for it. I mean, it takes time to spend those points, but it's pretty neat. Also new merits and guidlines on making more merits and I like all this stuff.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
World of Darkness: God-Machine Rules Update
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A Festival of Blades: A Cavaliers of Mars Jumpstart
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/02/2016 12:35:56

So this is a short little booklet introducing the game.
It is in the form of an outline of the rules, 4 pre-generateed characters, and then a short scenario.
I have not played the scenario so this is my impression of the booklet as an introduction.


The outline of the rules gives a very nice taste of the eventual game.
I suspect they will change as they are finalised before the final print run.
They are interesting and just cover enough to make me want to see the complete set.
There are new ideas for what would be initiative and fighting skills in other games
Plus a good mechanic for creating a flow that follows the theme of the game
They are good enough to run the scenario but you will have to adjudicate where there are gaps!


The pregen characters are a nice selection.
They give an insight on the mechanics of character creation and world backgound
They are optimised for playing and perhaps they should have been re-arranged to make it a little more obvious where elements of the sheet come from and how they could be used.


The scenario at the end is as you would expect, essentially 3 scenes played after each other. There is sufficient detail to get you through, but you'll have to make stuff up on the fly if the characters diverge too much!
It is definitely enough to give a good feeling of the world.
With the city the scenario is set in called 'Vance' the influences are very clear,
also noticable Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom, and I felt a bit Space 1889y too.


Overall being a steam-space-punk fan I found the product great and cannot wait for the final version.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Festival of Blades: A Cavaliers of Mars Jumpstart
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Promethean the Created 2nd Edition
by Paul B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/31/2016 16:56:15

I love this book. I love this game. I was a playtester for this Second Edition version, in fact. All that said, I appreciate and acknowledge that everyone may not share these feelings. Promethean: the Created offers experiences that run the gamut from extremely personal journeys to over-the-top transhuman craziness, and while my goals tend towards the former, I understand that mileage varies. So, what about the book? I think that it tends towards catering more to that personal side, but it does not negate any other options. I’ll go into more detail below…
The book is a true new edition of the game, with some heavy revisions, big additions, and refinements (not just the ten philosophies of the Created) that shift some of the game’s base assumptions. Much of it is based on focusing and enhancing the experience of the Pilgrimage, the journey towards the New Dawn of becoming truly mortal. You see this right away with the ten Refinements – divided into Basic and Complex, where the former are ‘intuitive’ to follow while the latter require some teacher – and the addition of Roles that are tied to Transmutations that are no longer the one-to-five dot buffet of First Edition, but now nested sets of effects that tie strongly to Roles and their Refinements, all of which are somewhat based on your character’s Elpis and Torment archetypes (think along the lines of Virtue and Vice), but they lead to one of three forms of milestones that add to your Pilgrimage score (kinda like Humanity), leading to Vitriol and the eventual New Dawn.
Does all of that sound complex? Yeah, it kinda is until you play it. At that point, you see just how many OPTIONS this game offers! Getting to that point, though, may prove difficult for some of us. New players may feel that entering the game is a bit like a trial by fire, and even seasoned veterans of Promethean can find the additions and changes jarring. That’s when taken as a whole, but when broken down to the individual character, it’s far more manageable.
There are seven Lineages (adding the Unfleshed and Extempore from First Edition supplements) and a whopping ten Refinements (double the First Edition’s), but each is distinctive and well presented. The chapter on the Promethean experience – what some would call ‘fluff’ – is a wonderful introduction to the perspective of the Created, and it segues well to the chapter on mechanics. Here you’ll find character creation, new Merits, and all fifteen of the Transmutations, as well as mechanics for Azoth and the Pilgrimage. Again, it is a lot, for sure. Again, too, it doesn’t need to scare you off.
The chapter on antagonists isn’t as robust as maybe I’d like, feeling like it only skims over Pandorans and Qashmallim, and the view of the Alchemists focuses more on what they DO than why they’re to feared. What this chapter does, however, is offer more options, which is good.
I’m not a big fan of the ‘location splats’ that have appeared in each of these Second Edition books, but this one has a reasonably good one. Where the book truly shines is the last chapter, on Storytelling, where we find a bunch of great advice on how the game works, what may not work, and ways to let it work without fighting the basic concepts of Promethean.
I could have given this a four-star rating for the steep learning-curve or the added complexities, but I choose to see those as wonderful reminders of how nothing in the Promethean experience is easy, and anything worth having is worth working for. Uh, also just on account of how much I LOVE this game! Five stars, and worth every cent I paid.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Promethean the Created 2nd Edition
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Miracles of the Solar Exalted
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/30/2016 07:18:18

Adds a bunch of really useful charms to the Exalted 3ed roster. Especially one of the craft charms (which allows you to retroactively apply craft) is amazing, and just what the ability needed.
Low price for the pdf and a vaste increase in the usefulness of charms, I highly recommend this for any circle of Solars traversing the plane of Creation.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Miracles of the Solar Exalted
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Storypath System Preview
by Chris G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/29/2016 08:05:31

I liked what I read in the Storypath System Preview and can't wait to learn more! It is a nice blend of old school Storyteller system with some of the more modern RPG innovations mixed in to tell a more dramatic story. I'm really looking forward to playing a game with it!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Storypath System Preview
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Tales of the Dark Eras
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/26/2016 14:28:43

Pretty good work. Some of the tales were a bit difficult to follow if you didnt already know what the subject matter was supposed to be, but overall i would recommend this.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tales of the Dark Eras
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Werewolf: the Forsaken 2nd Edition
by Chris L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/25/2016 21:10:02

I read Apocalypse and Forsaken 1E, but didn't play either. This game, though, deserved to come down off the shelf and stay off, dammit.


In Werewolf: the Forsaken 2nd Edition, you play the ultimate predator. You don't have a sacred mission as in Apocalypse--not really. You're just a killer with a sense of community. That sense of community is omnipresent in both the core book and the first supplement, The Pack, and it comes up organically when roleplaying, which is nice.


Although I didn't have a lot of Werewolf experience, some of my players have, and they've noted with no small amount of pleasure a few differences here. In particular, they've hailed the changes to the Oath of the Moon over previous werewolf codes of honor. The meaning of respect your prey and the low honor the high; the high respect the low can be interpreted in enough ways to effectively be tailored to every group. For example, our ithaeur (shaman, effectively) is a smart-assed Brit that threatens spirits with inconveniences or worse; some groups might call that disrespecting prey, but we think it's fun.


My personal favorite part of the setting is the sheer variety of spiritual resonances. You don't just deal with the spirits of animals, or of objects, or even of emotions. Spirits of cybersecurity usher bit-motes on luminal pilgrimages. Spirits of HIV crowd out and suffocate spirits of excitement at a South African cultural celebration. A spirit of the local college's biology department, bloated with funding, trades essence with spirits of scientific observation to taste their secrets. The spirits of a company's shares swarm over the corporate spirit itself, commanding it in a terrible cacophony. And these ideas are just from the first few sessions!


If you're new to Werewolf, buy this. According to my players, if you're 20-year Werewolf veterans, you should buy it too.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Werewolf: the Forsaken 2nd Edition
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Chronicles of Darkness
by Chris L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/25/2016 20:53:22

A much-needed update to the previous iteration of the World of Darkness. This review is targeted at people with some knowledge of nWoD 1E.


Highlights:
-Much better experience system that rewards participation and roleplay, while also simplifying trait purchase costs.
-Social Maneuvering system that, while not perfect, provides a mechanical framework to schmoozing. GMing this aspect for social characters always felt a little like pulling stuff out of your ass before, but no longer!
-New combat mechanics make firearms much better, which makes sense, while simultaneously widening the gap between humans and the supernatural templates.
-The chapter on "Horrors" provides a great framework for creating antagonists that don't fit into one of the other supernatural settings. This is completely underappreciated, IMO, because it's a perfectly streamlined system that could be integrated into any Chronicles game, human PCs or otherwise.


Biggest complaint:
The Clue systems make for lazy roleplay and GMing. It's always better to let the players decide what's a relevant clue, and then to direct their investigation as they see fit. "You look in the cabinet and find X," is less compelling than describing the cabinets, letting the players decide to look in them (or in the other room that you didn't expect them to investigate!) and then describing what they found "through their own intuition." I dunno, there's probably a way to use the Clue system without ruining scenes, but I can't figure it out. And that makes it a bad, or at least poorly communicated, system.


Net opinion:
The new experience system alone would make the new ruleset worth using. Adding in Social Maneuvering and the Horrors chapter are just delicious icing on the cake.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Chronicles of Darkness
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Exalted 3rd Edition
by Pasi L. 7. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/25/2016 18:47:16

So far the only issues with this book that I have spotted thus far, are fourfold. First and formost are the combat mechanics, I find that there is truthfully no reason for there to be both withering and decisive attacks, that just makes things more confusing than they need to be, and players will often forget to mention they'll be using one or the other, in my opinion it needs to go, easy enough to house rule I suppose, it just means that the combat charms will have to be taken from the earlier additions. Don't get me wrong it's an interesting thought, but having played dissidia, I feel like that game has influenced the combat of the 3rd edition way too much.


Secondly is the crafting, crafting has become the second most complicated thing to play with aside from the combat mechanics, these "white, gold, silver, etc" points are well fluff if nothing else. They need not exist, and in my opinion are way too complicated for players to get around, as they will, if they wish to play a crafter, have to keep tabs one every single point they gain... on a seperate page, this is one of perhaps the biggest mistakes the writers for the combat and crafting system have made, which means in order to make it playable, as a ST you're going to have to rewrite or transfer over the charms from 2nd edition just for combat and crafting purposes. From my understanding, this was something that was supposed to be avoided.


Onto the third issue... languages, this does not need to be a merit, I know it's a small blip in the system, but in the previous 2 editions the number of languages you knew, depended on how many points you put into language ability, so if you had one dot, you knew 2 languages, and by 5 you knew 6 with ways of learning more as it was a stat that was allowed to be increased beyond 5 just so that you could know more if not all the languages, so once again pointless when it comes to it being a "merit" now, as it would be frankly... a waste.


And finally the Martial Arts merit... why? Why is this a thing? Why does Martial arts need to have it's own merit in order to use a martial art style? Most of the time that came from the mentor ability with what you could learn, but no, now you have to extensively pay merit points just to play a martial artist, this is dumb, but once again house rules I suppose, which I recall were supposed to allow for less of them.


As for the good, I love the social mechanics of this, it is absolutely brilliant, as Social combat was a silly thing in the previous two itterations of Exalted, so the fact that they changed it to what they did makes me happy, which brings me to my final point, no more combo charms! huzzah! Oh this was one of the most aggrivating things players had to go through, and pay xp in order to combine the right amount of charms just so they could get something going, but no more! Poof it's gone, and this thrills me to no ends.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Exalted 3rd Edition
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A Festival of Blades: A Cavaliers of Mars Jumpstart
by umberto p. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/25/2016 15:22:30

I'm a sucker for Mars settings and this one looks very evocative. Interesting ruleset too and nice, clean layout. Hope to see the final game soon!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Festival of Blades: A Cavaliers of Mars Jumpstart
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Vampire: The Requiem 2nd Edition
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/24/2016 14:01:03

I feel kind of bad,for giving this book a bad review and i do not want to sound like ranting,but i also want to be honest about what bothered me with this product.First of all,the rules are nice and do some necessary revision (Vampire have lowlight vision and sharper senses on default,Disciplines are now useful on lower Level,humanity loss does not make you insane but gives you vampiric banes ......and much more good stuff).
So why do I not like it?Because of the Style and the quality of the Fiction.
The Fiction in this book is just dull and uninspired.Compare it with (for example) the excellent Clanbooks or requiem for rome.Those books where dark and interesting with lots of immersive Background.Sure....it is kind of unfair to compare splatbooks to Corerules,but even the WoD2 corebook,was superior in this department.
The other thing which bothers me,is the constant switching between He/she when reffering to the player/a vampire.Is this supposed to be progressive? (honest question),because it would fit in the picture.The World of darkness was always very diverse and its bloodsucking ,murderous Vampires came from all kind of Backgrounds,had all kinds of sexual prefferences,Belives ,etnicitys....(you see what i mean).This book,is the first Requiem book i read ,which seems to make a fuss about it and beeing overly PC.When you look at the artwork (which is nit pretty imho) you see basicly a mixture of vaguely erotic Art and fight scenes.While the vaguely erotic scenes only in 1 (or maybe 2 scenes.....not sure about the bathroom picture) featuring people of opposite sex,the fightscenes are mostly exclusevly women beating up man.
This is neither progressive nor empowering ,but just catering to a special Audience.
The generel writing is cheesy & pretentios and does not create any mood or makes me want to play in this world.
one Star fore the crunch,another for the ammount of material ,no star for the Fluff.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire: The Requiem 2nd Edition
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Splintered City: Seattle
by Roger L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/24/2016 02:54:48

Seattle ist eine Stadt der Zukunft. Softwarefirmen beschäftigen übernächtigte Arbeiterdrohnen auf zu viel Koffein, während in der lebendigen Independent-Szene neue Gesellschaftskonzepte ausprobiert werden. In den Chronicles of Darkness herrscht hier die Gottmaschine. Doch ein Programm, das eine Sicherungskopie der Stadt erstellen sollte, machte sich selbstständig. Seitdem entstehen Splitter-Wirklichkeiten, die die Stadt überlagern. In ihnen hat die Maschine kaum Zugriff. Dämonen lieben diese Splitter, verbergen sich dort und versuchen sie zu ihrer persönlichen Hölle zu verwandeln. Da wäre 1887 mit Seattle als Boomtown am Ende des Cowboy-Zeitalters, 1932 auf der Höhe der Wirtschaftskrise, 1969 zur Weltausstellung und 1999 in Panik vor dem Y2K-Virus und dem Ende der Welt. Die Splitter resetten sich nach einer bestimmten Laufzeit, nur die Dämonen in ihnen behalten ihre Erinnerungen.


Seattle ist die Signatur-Stadt von Demon: the Descent. Dadurch ist sie eng an die Ideen und Themen der God-Machine Chronicle gebunden und deutlich futuristischer und abgedrehter als andere Städte der Chronicles of Darkness. Das Konzept der Splitter ist Daumen4maennlichNeureizvoll und zahlreiche kreative Plothooks des Städtebandes drehen sich um sie. Der regelmäßige Szenenwechsel macht den Ort sehr abwechslungsreich, wobei der Hintergrund der Anomalien Zeitparadoxa vorbeugt. Hier kann man gefahrlos Elvis umbringen und Marylin Monroe verführen! Doch ohne Splitter hat Seattle nicht so viel zu bieten und es mangelt an coolen Locations und Gruppierungen, abseits der Dämonen. Die Kapitel zu anderen Kreaturen der Nacht (Vampiren, Prometheanern, Magiern etc.) sind kaum mehr als grobe Skizzen mit ein paar Ideen und Namen. Hier muss ein Spielleiter etwas Arbeit investieren.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Splintered City: Seattle
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