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Micropend6 RPG
by Carl M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/11/2018 04:52:02

This is an excellent little addition to any OpenD6 library. I agree with the previous reviewer; letting the players make all the rolls is a nice touch. The use of static target numbers is also very good. Only one suggestion: how static numbers can be arrived at from a dice figure could be covered in a couple of lines (I appreciate that creatures only use statis numbers, I just think it would be a useful thing for a new GM to know).



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Micropend6 RPG
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Belly of the Beast RPG
by Tim B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/24/2018 15:40:16

A neuronphaser.com review.

Belly of the Beast is a roleplaying game with a terrifyingly unique premise: the players are scavengers living in the guts of a giant, world-eating monster. The entire game is laser-focused on hardy, grim survivors collecting whatever tools, technology, and food they can to stay alive in an environment that is absolutely opposed to their continued existence, and it does a brilliant job of crafting thematic rules to achieve this.

Rating: Content 5/5 and Form 5/5.

Form (5/5)

A standard element of Sigil Stone’s games is the use of brief Summary text-boxes at the end of each section, covering either the rules or setting material presented in that section. This provides extremely useful reinforcement of the material just covered, and can easily be provided to players as a capsule explanation of the game’s setting, rules, or both.

Otherwise, this book is a great example of simple, clean layout that is optimized for PDF, ePUB, and similar reading. I don't have the physical book, so I can only comment on the electronic version(s) of the game.

Content (5/5)

Setting

Hundreds of years ago a massive rock fell from the sky, crushing kingdoms and continents beneath its force. Eventually, life in the realms returned to a state of normalcy, and the many clans continued their incessant struggle for power.

Three generations past, the skyrock – said to possess foul energies and discordant vibrations – erupted in a disgusting ball of effluence and viscera, revealing the creature that dwelt within it – the Swallower of Worlds, the Insatiable God, the Devourer, or simply: the Beast.

Incalculably large, the Beast unfurled its great girth upon the land, consuming thousands of leagues of soil, stone, and forest. One by one, the mighty strongholds and great armies of the age fell against its inexorable consumption.

And yet when legions, empires, and cities are swallowed whole – not all is lost. A rare few survive the Devouring, and test their mettle living in the belly of the Beast.

You are one of these exemplars of grit and greed: a scavenger. Hundreds of great civilizations have been consumed, but their wares, artifacts, and materials are ripe for the taking deep within the recesses of your new home’s guts.

You really can’t get much crazier than that. There’s not a whole lot of pre-built NPCs, locations, or setting material detailed in the core rulebook, but rather there is ample information on the logistics of a world inside a monster’s digestive tract, and even a whole chapter of rules that bring the environment to life.

Thus, an interesting premise is offered, with all of the tools a GM and enterprising players need to run the kind of campaign they want in this unique environment. It’s up to the players and GM to define the type of campaign they want to run in this environment, and you won’t be lacking for details when it comes to questions like, “How would ABC work in this kind of environment?” You have a lot of leeway to build your own setting or steal from existing campaign settings across many game lines, and simply mash them together.

Kinda like what the Beast already does: mashes things (people! towns! continents!) down its gullet and continues on.

Characters

Belly of the Beast focuses on stories that revolve around a ragtag group of scavengers doing everything they can to not only survive, but to thrive living in this stinking cesspit of a monster’s gut.

The characters are tough, cruel, greedy bastards that care mainly about themselves, and the very few people who they might feel a hint of loyalty toward. Driven by instinct and need, only the cunning and the grim can make it as scavengers.

Personal tales of struggle, triumph, betrayal, greed, and the constant and incessant need for supplies in the face of danger fit well with Belly of the Beast.

Characters are made up of several traits:

  • Choose two Instincts that define your character. Instincts include Curiosity, Fear, Greed, Loyalty, and Violence.
  • Each Instinct provides a Maneuver.
  • Define a Specialty that tells what your character is really, really good at.
  • Rank your Skills, of which there are eight. These include things like Awareness, Wits, Stealth, Might, and Resolve.
  • Select or define a Talent, which is kind of like a lesser version of a Specialty, which tells you something that you’re really good at (as opposed to really, really good).

There’s a central set of traits that tend to have a lot of mechanical implications, and in this case these would be the Instincts. They define how your character interacts with the world in a thematic way, define how you go about regaining Instinct Dice which can be used to supplement your dice pools, and provide you Maneuvers that are like special abilities you can activate during combat, social interactions, exploration, and scavenging.

Game Mechanics

Belly of the Beast’s gameplay has a relatively consistent and mechanically enforced cycle: encounter a problem or run out of stuff, look for the stuff that’ll solve the problem, get the stuff, and bring the stuff back in order to fix the issue.

Like all of Sigil Stone Publishing’s Ethos Engine games (such as Vow of Honor and Hunt the Wicked), players do all the rolling, and use six-sided dice they build into a pool. A single Base Die is supplemented with Advantage Dice (from gear and circumstantial benefits) and Instinct Dice, the latter of which is a resource that is awarded and spent throughout the course of a scene.

Once you’ve built your pool of dice, you roll and check each die against your pertinent Skill to see if you get a success or failure. Each success counts towards a Difficulty, and if you equal or exceed that Difficulty, you succeed at the task. Some simple things get one roll, while extended tasks might allow you to keep rolling until you either hit that Difficulty, or until you’ve reached a certain point and fail or simply run out of time.

Enemies, complex tasks, and everything else tend to work in a similar manner: they represent the Difficulty (and whether or not you’re rolling an extended series of rolls or not). The GM never rolls, concentrating instead on the narrative of the scene and the actions, and using the traits of the enemies or environment to determine the damage a player character takes or the general threat they face when they fail at a task.

A neat little trick in Belly of the Beast regarding Instincts is the ability for players to choose to Succumb to or Transcend one of their Instincts to automatically succeed at a task or end a scene in their favor. The thing is, this carries a huge change to that character’s being, and will have a telling affect on them going forward.

If a character Succumbs to their Instinct, they irrevocably give into that Instinct and act in almost animalistic manner, driven by it for a time, and feeling Ashamed afterward (a mechanical game state similar to being Injured or faced with a consequence). If a character Transcends their Instinct, they can no longer gain Instinct Dice or use the Maneuver associated with that Instinct, and have to “Advance” (level-up) in order to select a new Instinct.

Considering the setting, Horror and Sickness both get their own little subsystems, but essentially just act as complex tasks or enemies. Similarly, there is more complex systems than previous Ethos Engine games for dealing with equipment, specifically encumbrance, breakage and wastage. After all, you’re adventuring in the stomach acids of a giant beast, and a key piece of a character’s motivation is to haul loot, food, water, and supplies back to base.

Last but not least, there are several points about the beast’s physical status, which can be affected by the players, but that will in turn have drastic repercussions on the environment they adventure within. The beast has traits such as Hunger and Pain that the players can take advantage of or feel the consequences of. The environmental Hazards are given their own rules, and can grow more dangerous depending on the status of the beast.

For more reviews and resources, check out neuronphaser.com!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Belly of the Beast RPG
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Belly of the Beast RPG
by Patrick H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/27/2016 21:24:57

This is excellent. I love the system (the dice engine is fairly standard, but the way characters are built is awesome), I love the setting, and I love how much freedom there is as far as what the world looks like.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Belly of the Beast RPG
by Adam W F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/28/2016 09:35:07

I absolutely love the artwork in this book, and that combined with the unique setting is why I backed the project when it was on Kickstarter. I'm planning to take the Belly of the Beast setting, and use it with another RPG rule set that my group loves. I showed some of the full-page artwork to my group, and they can't wait to start an adventure! Looking forward to see what other products will be developed for this setting.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Belly of the Beast RPG
by Doug T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/27/2016 21:27:55

The minute I saw Belly of the Beast proposed on Kickstarter, I knew I had to have it. I was immediately struck by the originality of the setting, one so rich and interesting and filled with the potential for original roleplaying situations, I wished that I'd thought of it myself. Since backing the project, I was incredibly impressed with the professionalism and care with which the project was handled... traits that obviously carry through in the game itself. The product itself is beautifully written and illustrated. This is a game that I'm looking forward to enjoying.

-Doug Tabb One-Time Line Editor of Role-Aids, Chill, and Underground at Mayfair Games



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Belly of the Beast RPG
by Allana G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/27/2016 05:35:27

This is an awesome game, I've only had time to run it once but everyone seemed to enjoy it. The concept is good, the system is easy to get your head around and easy to run with. It would be perfect for a one shot or a whole campaign of fighting through increasingly difficult odds just to eek out a megre living.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Belly of the Beast RPG
by Duncan K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/26/2016 18:44:55

What do Resident Evil, World of Darkness, and Deadspace all have in common? They, like many other games, have the label of HORROR put upon them, when that is not what they actually are. Sure, they are all good, and yes, they may be scary at times, but they are not true horror. These are games of Action, Intrigue, and the Supernatural, with elements of horror. A true horror game is one that you have no chance of beating, only surviving. And only if you are very lucky. Horror comes from sense of helplessness, not a struggle to over-power the darkness.

Amnesia, Silent Hill: PT, and Call of Cthulhu are all true horror games, where at best, surviving through the game is your only hope. Heck, even Five Nights at Freddy's is even in this category, even if it is all about jump-scares.

Up until now, Call of Cthulhu has been the only tabletop RPG I could find that truly immerses it's players in an atmosphere of dread. Unfortunately I have never been much of a fan of Lovecraft's work.

Belly of the Beast is a truly unique and horrifying game, played entirely within the digestive tract of a creature the size of mountain, still consuming the land you once called home. You have no chance of escape, no chance of ever seeing daylight again. There will be betrayal, there will be insanity, and there will be horrors. Welcome to the Belly of the Beast.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Belly of the Beast RPG
by Nolan O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/26/2016 16:18:31

Belly of the Beast is a fun, easy to learn and implement fantasy setting unlike any other I've seen. The world is well described with enough gory details and rules to give you the idea while leaving plenty for your imagination to start generating your own ideas on what could be lurking in the Beast’s gut. It should be said that I don’t enjoy post-apocalyptic games that much. Belly of the Beast immediately captured my imagination and my mind started spinning off possible stories.

The system they use seems to be one that the devs have previously developed and the polish shows. I haven’t extensively run the game or stretched the rules yet the rules have been easy to learn and held up well so far. Particularly the rules on gear, and your ability to sacrifice it as a story consequence, has been one of the biggest things to cement the gritty post-apocalyptic feel as well as creating some memorable scenes.

The biggest problem I have with the game isn't necessarily the game itself but the layout of the book. It's done poorly, things that should be simple section headings given bold title pages. The art is beautiful through the book, greatly enhancing the descriptions of the Beast and the survivors struggling inside but character portraits are left on their own pages with no background, left to spoil surrounded by whitespace. Wrapping text around the portraits seems like it would have been a much better way to do it, though more difficult to setup in regards to layout. These things, combined with someone strange layout quirks or decisions make the PDF feel like a rough draft or reference document more than the relatively substantial RPG book that it is.

The layout issues may seem like a small thing to focus on but significant enough to be the reason that I’m not getting a physical copy of the game. Rather than something I’d be excited to show off it makes the game an interesting curio, a unique idea that is well thought out and executed but held back from being great.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cornerstone RPG - Basic
by Mike K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/03/2016 14:38:16

This is a nice game system. I can see playing a lot of different kinds of games with it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cornerstone RPG - Basic
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Cornerstone RPG - Basic
by Jose F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/20/2016 00:44:26

This game is exactly what it says it is. It is heavily FUDGE/Fate inspired with some interesting new conventions. It's very simple and should play fast and would be excellent for one-shots or convention play.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Hunt the Wicked RPG
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/29/2016 18:06:54

Hunt the Wicked is one of a growing string of successfully Kickstarted roleplaying games by Sigil Stone Publishing, and I’ve been singing their praises in past reviews for a while now. Well, it’s time to add another to the list, and it may well be the best one yet!

THE SETTING Hunt the Wicked features an expansive space opera setting, detailing planets, systems, orbital colonies, and more. There are three main species (humans, a race of amorphous lifeforms, and a race of beings whose sentience has essentially been uploaded into techno-organic bodies…or even across the neural net). While Earth features in the setting, it’s been a long time since humans ventured out into the universe and contacted both these other races, as well as supercomputer-like, godly sentience known as the Archon.

The Archon is essentially a godlike being that has more or less forced the three main species onto equal footing. This supercomputer is basically the size of a sun, and it uses its vast power and intelligence to destroy militaries that grow too powerful, or individuals that threaten the enforced order that the Archon has created. Ultimately, the Archon is a major background element of the setting, but what’s important is that it is a key reason why bounty hunters are a focus of the setting: if there weren’t bounty hunters to keep some semblance of order (even if it’s really motivated by personal gain in a lot of cases, rather than any sense of duty to justice and law), there certainly wouldn’t be any kind of cohesive military or law enforcement organization to do so. The Archon would make sure of that. Thus, poorly organized or even downright lone wolf bounty hunters are the order of the day.

While each settlement is given only a paragraph or two of information, consideration for story ideas and inhabitants is given in spades, and the general “feel” is clearly established for each settlement. All told, there are over two dozen settlements, and since some home in on a specific orbital station, while others tackle entire planets or small systems of a few inhabited worlds, that’s a lot of ground covered. While this may leave folks cold if they are looking for extensive amounts of background history, timelines, and nitpicky details about every single culture or city, it’s clear that Hunt the Wicked‘s text is solely concentrated on giving you immediately gameable information and the necessary inspiration to devise any number of conflicts for the players to face.

This provides an enterprising setting enthusiast with a strong foundation to work from, or provides simple direction and substantial inspiration for more collaborative world-building handled during the initial Game Concept stage, or during play. Each settlement is categorized by either the species or organization that founded it, which can help provide further character background fodder for players of any of the main three species featured in the game. Furthermore, the Archon is given its own chapter to help with understanding and using it as a plot device. It even has its own mechanic: Ire. It turns out that Bounty Hunters’ actions can increase (or decrease) the Archon’s Ire, and that’s very important to the denizens of the universe; we’ll talk more about that shortly.

THE SYSTEM The system used is the Ethos Engine, introduced in Vow of Honor Rolepalying Game. Basically, players roll a pool of 6-sided dice, built from a single free die, Advantage Dice that come from circumstances and gear, and Motivation Dice that come from a limited pool based on story factors that face a player’s Bounty Hunter. These Motivation Dice refresh every so often; we’ll get into that a bit more in a second, because that’s what truly sets Hunt the Wicked apart from Vow of Honor.

As in previous games from Sigil Stone, the GM doesn’t roll dice. Enemies and tasks are rated by difficulties or by their traits, but this are applied as opposition towards the players’ dice rolls, rather than actively rolled against them by the GM. While successes on the dice pool roll are determined by comparing each individual die to the Bounty Hunter’s Skill ratings, the difficulty level of the task or enemy determines how many successes are necessary to harm or defeat them.

As mentioned, Bounty Hunters have Motivations and ratings in eight general Skills, and their Species will also give them access to another special trait, as well as a bump to some skills. Beyond these, they have Talents that form a concept of what the character does well, such as Explosives Expert, and their gear, which includes weapons, survival gear, equipment for capturing their bounties, cybernetic technology, and so on. Lastly, each Bounty Hunter has a Technique, which is an especially potent ability that more or less defines a mechanical bonus representing the “how?” of their bounty-hunting style.

The Motivations are really the core of what makes Hunt the Wicked the game that it is: there are several, but an individual character chooses two, unlocking specific abilities (Motivation Maneuvers) from those that they choose. This gives each character an individual feel and unique abilities. The Motivations include: Community, Esteem, Justice, Liberty, and Power. Based on a Bounty Hunter’s chosen Motivations, they are awarded Motivation Dice when they face a Trigger (an event that causes one of their Motivations to come to the fore), when they resolve a Trigger (such as by capturing a bounty who triggered their Justice Motivation), and simply by pursuing and capturing other bounties along the way. The more you seek out, the more you’re going to be earning Motivation dice…but of course, the more times you may be facing danger, or Motivations that aren’t among your chosen ones.

Which neatly segues to some trouble Bounty Hunters face, namely becoming Haunted or Obsessed. For each, there is an action (called a Narrative Action) that a player can take to basically make something happen automatically, without regard to dice, but at an extreme consequence. One of those is Collateral Damage — the Bounty Hunter shoots down the target of the bounty, without regard to the innocent bystanders nearby — and that can lead to the Bounty Hunter becoming Haunted until absolved of their guilt. The other is Let Them Loose, where the Bounty Hunter lets their prey go for now, only to become Obsessed with getting them later on down the line. There are other means of becoming Haunted or Obsessed (some mechanical, some not), but these have palpable, narrative and mechanical consequences on a character, and show why Motivation is such an important aspect of game play.

While the rest of the game works pretty much exactly like Vow of Honor — which has elements of Fate in its Consequences and perhaps Apocalypse World — there’s discussion of chases, illness, fear, and favors. Chases are discussed at great length, with two alternative systems provided to vary the complexity of them. Favors are given a fair amount of word count as well, as owing favors and being owed favors makes up a huge part of the roleplaying aspect of hunting someone down, whether they are a low-life, a political leader, someone on the fringes, or perhaps a traitor to the local government.

The GMing side of things is clearly explained, and devotes plenty of space to building an actual manhunt, as this might be a little different than a typical “dungeon crawl” scenario, or even a roleplay heavy “political action” game. Understanding the crimes, how to move about a space opera system, and tracking someone down is all crucial, and well developed here. This even goes for how to portray dead ends, bad leads, and keeping the chase interesting over a long period of time.

Something I found to be especially strong among all of designer Ben Dutter’s work is the initial campaign creation stage that can be handled as its own conversation, or as a part of character generation. It starts with the creation of a Game Concept, a discussion between GM and players that will determine the general themes, mood, tone, and more specific information, giving everyone at the table plenty of say in where things will start, where they might go, and how to fit their characters into it. It sort of looks like this:

  • Game Concept: determine the overall theme and tone of the game.
  • Purpose: determine the primary purpose of the player characters, giving them a strong connective tissue for creating a cohesive party.
  • Place: determine the setting.
  • Color: determine aspects of the mood and tone and how they relate to the player characters.

Like Vow of Honor, this game is set to include a Quick Start Rules section at the end that provides a shorthand guide to all of the rules. It also includes a brief “Synopsis” text box at the end of each major section, which reinforces the themes and rules of the game in a narrative way, and can provide an excellent method of teaching the game to new players, or to give an overview of what the game is truly about. Considering the author’s commitment to having part of the gaming process to be “discuss what this campaign is about with your group,” these sections allow the GM and players to get into a game fast, have the same assumptions about the campaign’s tone, and allow for some collaboration to fill in the setting’s details that pertinent to the playing group.

An example hunt in the Quickstart, a fully fleshed out scenario titled “Terror on the Superlume,” some random tables — to flesh out the setting or a particular bounty — and lastly, a series of “Vignettes” round out the book. The vignettes are like prepackaged setting material that scream ADVENTURE HERE!, providing locations, NPCs, and mysteries that mesh well with the themes of the game and expand the universe.

ART & LAYOUT Hunt the Wicked is beautiful. It conforms to other Sigil Stone releases in that text is laid in one column (aside from the Quickstart), which means that it’s optimized for digital formats: it’s going to be a pleasant read on computer screens, tablets, e-readers, and hell, probably on your cellphone, too. It’s fully bookmarked and section headers and chapter breaks aren’t just easy to spot, they wonderfully designed.

The artwork is evocative and generally of stellar quality (pun intended). There are a few pieces that are very simplistic — generally those that simply highlight a new race or a single piece of equipment — but they are done well, providing a template that helps you understand the species/gear at a glance. The full page and locale-related artwork is just flat-out gorgeous, depicting a cohesive-yet-varied sci-fi space opera setting that truly feels like a universe of multitudinous peoples and places. All of them ripe for some bounty hunting action!

As is always the case when something is done right, we want a lot more of it, and this is no exception. There’s a few parts of the book where several pages go by without artwork, but when you hit the next piece, let me tell you, it’s great! That they layout is so clean helps avoid the feeling of “walls of text” without images in those sections, so there’s no trouble there.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hunt the Wicked RPG
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Micropend6 RPG
by chris m. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/04/2016 09:55:08

This is a nice introduction to the D6 system popularized by West End Games' Star Wars and the Open D6 games that followed. taking inspiration from MiniSix, Freeform Universal (FU) and many others, its clear that a lot of thought went into creating a manual that is up to date with current trends and honors the original system.

I especially like how creating the game concepts involve the whole table coming up with a few of every character's skills. I also like how players roll all the dice in this iteration of the D6 system.

Its a terrific free product and would make a great paid product as well. Definitely worth checking out!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Micropend6 RPG
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Cornerstone RPG - Basic
by Daniel D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/03/2015 13:06:59

I never trшув this ruleset because I use FATE and PDQ# - which both are somewhat similar: very simple, very easy to pick, and quite story-based

But i like this rules a lot. It's bright and simple/ Requires some imagination

Especialy Character generation and Equipment parts

Why I didn't swith to it? Because it's new rules, instead of well known FATE. But ALSO because players have much less input, like in old-school RPGs. The GM is god and all that. It could be rather advantage, not weakness, depending of how imaginative and active your players want to be. My players just like to co-create, and that's all



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cornerstone RPG - Basic
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Cornerstone RPG - Basic
by Michael J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/17/2015 13:47:43

I'm not really sure why. But the games it is based on I liked a lot, yet this improved version just doesn't interest me. I am very confused why I don't like it better, when I probably should.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Cornerstone Fantasy
by Alan M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/15/2015 16:55:31

Another great product by Sigil Stone Publishing. Easy to pick up rules, enough bare bones to get you started in your setting of choice and quick character generation. Great for novices and experts alike



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cornerstone Fantasy
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