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Cthulhu Britannica London Boxed Set
by Jeffrey V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/17/2015 18:52:08
This product is a result of a major Kickstarter effort launched back in November (and concluding on 12 December) of 2012. It's been a long time coming, but is well worth the wait thus far. There are three basic "books" in the package; a Keepers' Guide, an Investigators' Guide, and a package of handouts for the included scenarios. Kickstarter Backers should note that the adventures do NOT include the forthcoming "Curse of Nineveh" package promised as part of the Kickstarter and are instead a series of stand-alone scenarios for use in London and it's immediate environs.

Like all Cthulhu Britannica products, this one does a superb job of helping players get into the setting being provided, but this one goes a good step further than any of the previous ones have; perhaps fitting considering that we are discussing "the Smoke," the largest city in the world at the time. There is generally excellent discussion of the city overall, most of the major districts, and many of the nuances that make each district unique within Greater London. In addition there is a ton of background information on the 1920s in England and London particularly (train stations and their various connections are amazingly important...and thoroughly discussed) in the book along with lots of tid-bits of local color and history which will inspire even the most casual leader to hit the internet to find out more. Speaking as an American player, one of the more jarring things for me (as it would have no doubt been had I been alive in the 1920s and ventured into London) is the lack of Prohibition, but that alone may provide an extra incentive for your wealthier (dare I say it -- more dilletantish) characters to go to London in the first place! There are many detailed maps of various locales within London, including parks, zoos, museums and so on, along with quite a few period photographs that will help the players visualize both the location and the era. The attention to detail on this one has been simply fantastic, and while it still can't come close to covering everything there is to know about London, this is far and away the best effort yet. Comparing this to the old "London Guidebook" is like comparing Shakespeare to Gershwin -- both are great in their particular areas, but in the big scheme of things, there is just no comparison. I suspect when we are holding the finally completed package together with all the extra goodies we helped fund through the Kickstarter, we will have the last word in 1920s London at our fingertips. Cubicle 7 has done another fantastic job thus far, and I can hardly wait to get the hard copy in my hot little hands!

Overall the quality of the reproduction on this one is unsurpassed -- not surprising when you consider it was probably a copy (more or less) of the files to be sent to the printer, as opposed to a scan of an already extant product. Purchasers of this item will definitely not regret picking it up!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cthulhu Britannica London Boxed Set
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Doctor Who - The Eighth Doctor Sourcebook
by William E J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/06/2015 14:31:41
First of all, I am VERY fond of Doctor Who. I have all the DVDS. from the series. I also am very critical of books about The Doctor. I have all of the source books on the Doctor. This one is excellent even though there is little material to draw from. Keep up the good work! Are you going to do a source book on the War Doctor?

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Doctor Who - The Eighth Doctor Sourcebook
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The One Ring™ Roleplaying Game
by Ian A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/08/2015 15:24:37
If you want a different rpg experience you have to try The One Ring game. It isn't about exterminating the rest of the multiverse: the opposition is too much for that. You have to measure your own success by your survival, then the survival of those around you. Finally, has your part of Tolkien's world been helped to survive? If so, then you have realised the aim of the game.
In this game true hero status is achieved by making and taking the right decisions and actions. Best advice: be true to yourself and keep on struggling against the odds.

One of the main differences in the system is the limited role of direct magic; another is the enhanced role of interacting with the general population. after all, who are you trying to help? if just yourself, then that's not very Tolkien-hero is it?

I like this system because so much control will stay with the players as they narrate the action. If you are the Loremaster (read:DM) in this, then you are much more of a referee than I remember of the D 'n' D guys who would spring another trap on my unwary half-elf..
The down side for some people is that you are stuck with being on the side of Light, so if you are secretly an Uruk berserker - it's best to think a bit before joining this party.

The additional supplements are all real bonus material. This Core book is great - but the other stuff will delight you and stretch your experiences. Good luck!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The One Ring™ Roleplaying Game
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The One Ring™ Roleplaying Game
by Doug T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/07/2015 10:31:05
This game is the best at capturing the true feel of Professor Tolkien's works. Its predecessors had their strengths, but this one does everything well, giving players (and the Loremaster/GM) an immersive experience in the wonderful world of Middle-earth.

While the first edition (the slipcover) was tough to navigate, this revised edition compiles everything into a single volume. The formatting and editing is greatly improved, as is the extensive index. For the PDF, this means searching for a particular term is much easier, as you now only have one book to look through. Another new feature (over the slipcover version) is the addition of more great art (all of which is very evocative of the books).

The mechanics are brilliant. Magic is subtle, but infused throughout, both in characters and items. There is a mechanism for the growing Shadow, but players have Hope to struggle against it. Beginning PCs are competent and strong, but not super heroes right out of the gate. Campaign play is rich, with many mechanics that beautifully feature the passing of years.

If you're a fan of The Hobbit and/or The Lord of the Rings, this is the game you've been waiting for!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The One Ring - Rivendell
by michael v. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/26/2014 13:30:26
Another excellent supplement. Great artwork and very well thought out enhancements for magical items and expanded treasure boards. As always the only complaint is that some of the source material seems a bit sparse. Rivendell is flushed out well but the other areas: the Trollshaws, cold cells and Ettenmoors, could have used a lot more material IMO. The Heart of the Wild set the bar pretty high and this one falls slightly short. I hope the upcoming Ruins of the North makes up for it. Still well worth it, all that being said.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The One Ring - Rivendell
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Victoriana - The Concert in Flames
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/29/2014 18:19:14
Ring Side Report-Concert of Europe

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday!

Product-The Concert in Flames
System- Victoriana
Producer- Cubicle Seven
Price- ~$20 here
TL; DR- Great adventure, but only for the GM. 87%

Basics-Can you stop Europe from burning? An ancient evil is being awoken by a small group trying to upset the tentative balance of Europe and bend a fiend to their will while the fate of the Concert of Europe rides in the balance. This book also provides GM with extremely detailed notes on the geopolitical standing of the Europe countries in 1856.

Mechanics or Crunch-This is NOT an option book, but that doesn't make it a bad book. This book adds some new mechanics like new races and a new country specific creature or enemy for each of the different regions discussed. It's good, but you should not expect some new options and creatures each page like a player's option book or monster manual. The countries do have great write ups describing the make-up of each country, so you can quickly create things like a group of upscale Russians if you need them at a moment's notice. The adventure has simple stat blocks for each enemy which will make running the adventure easy and quick. What's here is well done, but you cannot go into this one hoping for tons of new crunch. 4.5/5

Theme or Fluff- This is where the book truly excels. Just like the base book, this book could almost be an excellent historical reference if you strip out the steampunk and magic elements. Each country in 1850's Europe gets an in-depth write-up. The adventure itself has a ton of depth as well as a great story for your players to run amuck in. The story has elements of government intrigue, magic, religion, and some trans-country train adventure. It's great steampunk fun. 5/5
.
Execution- While the fluff and crunch are great; the execution has a few problems. There are some art to break up the text, but there are too many pages with just black text on grey background. This is a classic case of textbook problem. I do like some the way the book is divided. But, the font is a bit too small. And, there is just too much of it. This book also makes an inexcusable error for any fantasy book discussing geography. There is NO detailed map of Europe! Nor is there a map of the adventure train routs. While the countries are basically the same as real world 1856, a better map would have really helped with adventure design and the adventure in the book. I do like the pictures from the adventure as you get some nice hand drawn pictures of some of the major characters. All together, this isn't a badly executed book, but some flaws do hurt the overall presentation. 3.5/5

Summary- If you want to take your players across Victoriana Europe, then buying this book is a no brainer. GM's get all the information they need to make each European country feel distinct from one another with far more depth than there is in the base Victoriana book. If you want crunch options, then this book isn't for you. The adventure in this book is a fun romp across Europe as the players try to keep the Concert of Europe from falling apart. If that's the kind of adventure you and your players want to play, this is a great adventure. However, if you don't want to control the fate of the world and just want to play a game in London, then this is one to pass. There are some concerns I have with the execution, but those won't prevent you from enjoying this book if you want some excellent write ups describing Europe. If you want some cross European intrigue and a great adventure to start that controversy, go get this one. 87%

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Victoriana - The Concert in Flames
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Rocket Age - The Trail of the Scorpion
by David N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/20/2014 06:07:16
This campaign book is excellent, incredibly meaty and just plain fun. The overarching threat of the Red Scorpion feels incredible and really unites all the very different missions.

It also acts as a tour of the Solar System, taking you to some very exotic locales and introducing a huge variety of new creatures, people and technology. The ever-present story hooks are as interesting as ever of course and even include the possibility of exploring the truth behind CS Lewis' greatest work.

I really recommend this book even to those who aren't a fan of pre-made campaigns. Even if you only took parts from various adventures I think your money would be well spent.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rocket Age - The Trail of the Scorpion
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Victoriana 3rd Edition
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/18/2014 21:43:47
Ring Side Report-Victoriana 3rd Edition

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday!

Product- Victoriana 3rd Edition
System- Victoriana
Producer- Cubical Seven Entertainment
Price- ~$25 here http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/116730/Victoriana-3rd--
Edition?term=victoriana+3rd
TL; DR- You can't go wrong with Steampunk, Lovecraft, Penny-Dreadful Shadowrun! 93%

Basics-Ever want to mix steampunk with Victorian sensibilities and add a ton of Middle Earth to the equation? That is the mix for Victoriana-an RPG set in 1856 where magic is semi-common place, steam power is beginning to conquer the world, and "heroes" are called from all walks of life. This is a whole RPG in one book, so let's break this down into its important parts and numbers.

Mechanics or Crunch- At this games core, it's a simple d6 pool game. Let's see how that plays out on each level:

Base Mechanic- Victoriana is a d6 dice pool game. Each task you do will be a combination of an attribute and an associated skill. Shoot a gun? Dexterity and firearms. Ride a Wyvern? Presence and Animal Handling. A few small things make this game amazingly fun and different from other dice pool games. One is the numbers you want. You are looking for 1's and 6's. Even better, 6's explode and you roll them again counting 1's and 6's. AND THE 6's KEEP EXPLOIDING! I love the dynamic addition of exploding dice in any game!

Task Difficulty-Most tasks you perform require two successes with some task allowing partial successes. That is a quick and easy mechanic for deciding failure and success. The system builds on this simplicity by adding "black" dice. Want to mix dangerous chemicals on a bumpy train ride? Well you roll your normal Attribute and Skill, but you also roll 3 BLACK dice. These black dice work just like normal dice, but they take AWAY successes. AND, they explode like normal dice! AND, THE PLAYERS ROLL THEM! This puts some of the pressure on the player and it's just pure fun as a GM. If you have negative successes at the end of a roll, then you have a foul failure. These situations are where the GM gets to absolutely play with the player. Guns break. Mechanical arms are ruined. Spells summon crazy monsters. It's the whole nine yards of bad things for a player. Some tasks have opposed rolls like attacking and dodging, but black dice can still be added to both sides of a combat. If you're shooting in the dark, and my bad guy is dodging while on a slippery floor, both sides get to add black dice to their rolls. Whoever has more successes wins.

Combat-You could have an RPG without combat, but why!? Each round players can choose to do one action (move, attack, cast a spell, etc) at no penalty. However, a player can do up to his/her dexterity in actions per round. Each action the player performs divides the dice pool for that action. Run and shoot? Divide your pool by two. Run, shoot, and mix a bomb? Divide your pool by 3 for EACH action. Your black dice are NOT changed as your divide your pools! You can do anything you want, but the more you do, the worse you can fail! Damage also is dependent on d6's. Each weapon has a damage value. If you score more successes than your target, you get to roll a number of d6's equal to the damage value for your weapon counting the 1's and 6's as before WITH EXPLODING DICE! After you count your successes, you add your initial number of successes to your count and the opponent subtracts his/her armor and takes the difference as damage.

Character Generation-Character generation in this system is divided into two broad categories: completely homemade or guided. If you make your own character from the soles of your feet up, have fun! If you want a little more guided approach, then you can build your character by selecting your background, breeding (social standing and race), build package (where you fit in the breeding and background), spend attribute and skill points, and earn and assign extra build points via drawbacks and other abilities. It's pretty simple, but flexible allowing all kinds of different characters to populate the world. As a word of caution, this system has the kind of flexible that a few example characters could help to keep players from killing themselves during character generation.

Magic and Machines-It wouldn't be magic and steampunk without magic and machines. Magic is divided into a few different categories. Basically, each mage has training in one of these areas of magic and makes still tests as previously discussed. It's simple and quick. The different types of magic all feel different as hermetic wizards throw around all kinds of elemental magic, while people of faith have much more religion based magic like healing and exorcism. All magic uses another metric called quintessence. Quintessence is spent to cast spells and is recovered over time and rest. Also, if you don't have quintessence, you can just take damage. I LOVE cast till you pass out systems! This is only the tip of the iceberg, but magic does feel like magic and not just another skill roll. Machines on the other hand are built once and then never have to be paid for again. They may require fuel like steam or gas to run, but the different machines fell like they have different functions. Most of these functions have different actions than magic, but part of the theme is how magic is beginning overtaken by the age of steam. Some of these devices even require magic to be built! Whatever steampunk idea you have in your head, based on the marvels here, you can build your favorite toy!
Order and Chaos- Victoriana's spiritual fight isn't between good and evil. Don't get me wrong, good and evil are here, but the major fight is between the forces of entropy and order. The RPG spends some time outlying that order isn't necessarily good as a crazed priest of order can easily be as evil as a demonologist of chaos. Players can decide to side with one or the other, and when they do an action that advances their side, they can get dice depending how advanced they are on the cogs of their faction. Order provides a straight bonus to an action, while chaos provides many more dice than order, but you have to roll these dice to see if you succeed. It's a fun addition to the game, but one that your players and you will have to choose to get deep into.
Summary-I love what is here. It's simple in a good way, quick, and flexible. It's got a fun feel with action and puts some of the dirty, hard choices in the players hands themselves with black dice. I love when I make the players be the bad guys for a change! 5/5

Theme or Fluff-Victoriana is an "almost Earth" setting. Even with elves, magic, and steam powered robots, people are not all that different. So, this book assumes that history will pretty much follow the same path to 1856. And, you know what? It works really well! I liked the world this book built. Also, if you remove all the "wizard/steam robot did it" references in the setting back story, the first half of the book is a well done summary of European history till 1856. Honestly, a world with different races (really different races not just Spanish compared to English, but Ogre compared to hog-faced beastmen soon to be German Chancellor) explains the wars in Europe better than the petty motivations that have occurred through all of our real history. The story of this world drew me in, and I sat and read the intro fiction as well as the world guide. It's a well done world with lots of depth to help you understand the world and live in it as you game. 5/5

A note on history, truth, and the "isms"- Victoriana is set in a time when it was amazingly awesome to be a white, European, rich male. For every difference from that standard, things got steadily worse. This RPG introduces the realities of that life, but doesn't dwell on them. It leaves how much of that you want to throw into your game up to you. That's important since some players might not be too comfortable roleplaying in a time when a husband could not technically rape his wife. And, if you wanted to, things could get worse from there. Sexism, racism, and specisim are alive and well here, but the book walks that line well and wholly lets the GM and players decide how much of the more horrible parts of history and alternative history they want to explore. I feel it's important to note that there are some possible adult themes, but they are handled well. If you just want some pulp steampunk with orcs and magic, then you can easily get that from the system too.

Execution-I liked this book, but the problems I have with this book are not getting enough book. What's here in this book is great, but could use a bit of help to distinguish information from background text. The book is black and white. That's not a bad thing, but some of the information isn't as highlighted as well as it should be. My next major complaint is the lack of examples. Combat and character generation could both really benefit from an example of creating a character and how to systematically tear another character to bits via combat. I liked the layout in general. The pictures did a great job explaining the world and people and keeping me engaged. Even with this complaint, my comments are positive. 4/5

Summary-If you want some steampunk, some magic, and some Victorian history; you can't go wrong with this system. Character generation is easy, actions have the players doing more thinking then just roll one die, and combat is quick. This RPG runs like a good watch-it looks like lots of too complicated moving parts, but when you really get down to it, you see its got a simple, elegant design. Magic and machines are there, but the subsystems that make them run are not overly complicated. A new player could easily play with either of those systems with no trouble. My only complaint is I feel more examples of combat, encounter generation, and characters in general would have really helped players get into the system easier. It's not a game breaker, but it's something to note. Overall, I love this system. If you're looking for your steampunk Shadowrun fix, you cannot go wrong with this one! 93%

Full disclosure: I was provided a reviewer copy.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Victoriana 3rd Edition
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Rocket Age - The Lost City of the Ancients
by Ian S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/14/2014 14:25:33
Very good starter adventure, lots of options, plenty of play options.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rocket Age - The Lost City of the Ancients
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Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space - Arrowdown
by Ben S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/08/2014 04:41:17
Good Doctor Who adventure complete with the Doctor himself. Well written and well presented.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space - Arrowdown
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Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space - Arrowdown
by Sebastien A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/07/2014 12:30:33
It is a good adventure for a first time game master and it is easy to run.

I can only give it a 4 stars because you kinda have to know what are the Autons and because the bit with the Dalek being the source of the problem is a bit confusing, or could be for non fans of the show.

I would run it in a heartbeat to introduce people to Doctor Who.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space - Arrowdown
by arthur w. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/31/2014 22:41:20
For a good sample of how to play the game its valuable.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rocket Age - The Asteroid Belt
by David N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/31/2014 02:04:19
An excellent quick introduction to a region of space so far unexplored in Rocket Age. Like most Rocket Age supplements the emphasis is on story telling and adventure hooks. It also provides a number of new careers and factions to work for and against. You want to be an independent miner trying to eke out a living? A pirate? A corporate enforcer? Done.

The options are all there. For the price, there's no reason not to buy it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rocket Age - The Asteroid Belt
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Rocket Age - The Asteroid Belt
by Andrew B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/30/2014 02:19:35
I have to say, if anyone hasn't grabbed one yet, these short PDF offerings are really good value at under two quid! Avoiding spoilers here, but this one adds a decent new antagonist (or employer, depending on your PCs) in the form of 5th Orbit Excavations, and a number of interesting adventure sites to boot! Go get it!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rocket Age Core Rulebook
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/28/2014 00:56:36
This is pretty much a perfect game for what it sets out to do. It emulates the pulp/planetary romance genre with a real warmth and enthusiasm, whilst building on a simple system and rich setting within which there is a huge variety of options for gameplay. If you find traditional sci-fi games a bit too involved, complex and serious in tone, then this may well be the antidote. The system is completely compatible with the Doctor Who range also, and the production standards (especially the layout) is topnotch. As stated, a perfect game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rocket Age Core Rulebook
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