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5th Ed Book of Familiars & Companions
by Gary W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/06/2016 16:43:16

I would not advise purchasing this product. It states that it is a 5th edition supplement- but the rules and mechanics are foreign to the 5e system. For instance the new bard colleges have abilities for bards at level one and two, but cannot be taken till level three. I question whether the material was ever playtested as a 5e product. I had a conversation with the lead writer on the conversion, and he thinks my objections are probably due to typos. I will review the material again as changes are maid. My advice is to definitely wait to look at a hardcover before purchasing this product, make sure it meets your needs and expectations.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
5th Ed Book of Familiars & Companions
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Victorious Phantasmagoria
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/06/2016 08:20:51

This is a 36-page supplement from Mike Stewart. This supplement details a number of NPC, both good (9 total) and vile (12 total). They can be used as allies, villains, or even as Player Characters. Not as interesting as the NPCs from the Core book, but then again how could they be! Couple of nitpicks here, some the characters are described as having children, though the ages of the kids and the heroes don't always work. For example one heroine, Spellbinder is described as being in her late 20s and having a 12 year old son. She is also described as having a Ph.D. Having a kid at 18 and then continuing to get a Ph.D. THEN getting sucked into the past? It is DAMN hard to work on a Ph.D. when you have kids. I know; so does the author of the book. So it struck me as odd. Make her "late 30s" or better yet "mid 40s". I know the core book talks about the slow aging effects of supermankind, so say she is in her 40s but looks younger. Also detailed is the secret organization "Sceptre"; used to fight the enemies of Queen and Country. A prison, Darkmore Prison, is given as a place to lock up all these bad guys you catch.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Victorious Phantasmagoria
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Victorious Manifest Destiny
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/06/2016 07:09:25

These are "Guide" books for Great Britain and America respectively. Both come with the same city maps of London and New York in PDFs. Rules Britania details Great Britain in the time of Victoria and her world-wide empire. The city of London is also covered in some detail. Manifest Destiny does the same for America and New York. Both books are really pretty system neutral with a lot of background information that is great for any Victorian-era game. Manifest Destiny edges out Rules Britania since America is often ignored in many Victorian games. Granted England is ignored in many Civil War and Western games too. One of the features I really enjoyed about Manifest Destiny were the inclusion of the New York gangs.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Victorious Manifest Destiny
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Victorious Rules Britania
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/06/2016 07:08:59

These are "Guide" books for Great Britain and America respectively. Both come with the same city maps of London and New York in PDFs. Rules Britania details Great Britain in the time of Victoria and her world-wide empire. The city of London is also covered in some detail. Manifest Destiny does the same for America and New York. Both books are really pretty system neutral with a lot of background information that is great for any Victorian-era game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Victorious Rules Britania
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Victorious Hunter & Hunter Catalogue
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/05/2016 22:26:30

This is a 44-page supplement from Mike Stewart.
Now this is a fun one! Meant to be reminiscent of the old mail order catalogs of the time, this book takes its name from two of the premiere heroic NPCs of the core book. The book is full of fantastical and mundane items characters can buy, find or engineer themselves. And it is a full book.
Vital statistics are given including any bonuses it provides or damage it does (or can take) and the equally important availability (%) and price in British Pounds and American Dollars.
This is also a good book for any Victorian era game with a Steam-Punk lean to it. It makes a nice companion piece to Cubicle 7's Victoriana - Faulkner's Millinery and Miscellanea. My only complaint here is Troll Lords really missed out on the chance to make this look like a Vicotrian era catalog, complete with vintage art. I know they were trying to maintain trade dress with the line and readability, but it would have been a lot of fun.
Buy this if you REALLY want to know how much the Nautalis would run you in Pounds Sterling.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Victorious Hunter & Hunter Catalogue
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Victorious Night of the Jackals
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/05/2016 21:52:52

This is a 24-page adventure from core book author Mike Stewart. Now this is something fun. It is an introductory adventure for 4-8 characters of 1st-3rd level. Ok, the DriveThruRPG page says 2-4, but the book says 1-3. It follows directly from the adventure in the core book, Hyde and Seek, and involves none other than Professor James Moriarty. I don't want to give too many details away, but if you are a fan of the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes movies and the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, then this will be a fun romp. A bit of a nitpick, the DriveThruRPG text is a bit misleading. It looks like bits of it were copy-pasted from the Victorious RPG Core page. This is just the adventure.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Victorious Night of the Jackals
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Victorious the Role Playing Game
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/04/2016 14:44:15

Victorious or Victorious: Steampunk Adventure in the Age of SuperMankind is a game that I had been waiting for sometime. I had not been able back it in the Kickstarter so I picked it up this past Gen Con. I was quite pleased to do so.

Victorious is not the game I thought is was. That is not a problem of the game, but rather a problem with my expectations. I thought this was going to be a Victorian steam-punk game closer to Leagues of Adventure. The game I got though is rather fun and different than other Victorian games I have played and own. This is a very good thing.

Victorious is a game of Victorian era Steam Punk Superheroes. Once I got that into my head then the rest was a ton of fun.

The system is the tried and true SIEGE Engine from Castles & Crusades and Amazing Adventures and is largely compatible with both of those games. So adventures for one will work in the other. In fact, I tried out an Amazing Adventures scenario I had used in the past and it worked brilliantly.

Let's look into the chapters. First, though, full disclosures.

  1. I purchased both the hardcover and the PDF versions with my own cash. Troll Lords did not send me copies for review, nor are they expecting reviews.
  2. Links in this review often link to affiliate sites where I get a small percentage of anything bought.
  3. I have authored a Victorian game that could be considered competition to this game. I do not see this as such. Victorious and Ghosts of Albion can be played in similar time periods and even tell similar stories (I am planning on running a Ghosts adventure under Victorious to test this) but the games are not in competition with each other or other Victorian era games.

The Book. The book is a sturdy hardcover with color covers, black and white interiors, 144 pages. The form and format reminds me of the original AD&D books. The PDF comes with two files, one is a little more print friendly than the other. Both are bookmarked.

Introduction gives us the basics of the game, some background and some information on RPGs in general. It should be noted the the GM in this game means "Genteel Magistrate". Damn. I wish I had thought of that first!

Chapter 1 is all about Character Generation. If you have played Amazing Adventures or Castles & Crusades (or even D&D) then you know how this works. First, we go through the standard Attributes and modifiers. This is followed by a simple skill system. In fact, this skill system would make a nice important to Castles & Crusades. Up next is the big feature of this game; the powers that the characters gain as they level up. Again, this is the primary feature of the game. There are quite a few powers listed here and they remind me a bit of Mutants & Masterminds. This is not a surprise really, given the focus of the game. One could, I imagine, add more powers from other d20-derived games. Some hindrances and shortcomings are also discussed. Such things as "enemy" or "fame".
This is followed with some character examples that are roughly character classes. These include the Contraptionist (gadget guy), the Hypnotist, the Inquiry Agent (Sherlock Holmes), the Magician, the Paragon (Victorian Super-men), the Radiant, the Strongman, and the Vigilante (Gaslight Batman). We end with some ideas on completing the character. There are enough character concepts here to create any sort of character you want. I mentally "stated up" a few characters and was able to come up a Victorious version of them.

Chapter 2 covers the rules of the game. If you know Castles and Crusades then these rules will be very familiar. The main addition here are a bunch of Victorian-era firearms and some Steam-Punk gadgets. If your C&C game has black powder then this is a great chapter to have. Unlike some Victorian games there is no lengthy list of firearms (looking at you Dracula RPG), and this is a good thing.

Chapter 3 Equipment and Encounters is kind of a catch-all chapter of money, equipment, vehicles. encounters and worldly goings on. One nitpick, there is a section on "Cost of Living" that details various costs of goods in both British Pounds and American Dollars, but no actual cost of living. Te second half of this chapter details various organizations active in the Victorian era. If you play any Victorian game then this is a great chapter to have. Nearly every Victorian game has a chapter like this and I really can't get enough of it. Many, if not all, of these can be used in any other Victorian game and the societies and groups from those games can also be used here.

Chapter 4 The Victorious Era details some of the world history from the point of view of this game. At this point, I have one major issue with this game. There is the assumption that there are some super powered humans that have time-travelled from the 21st Century here. I understand why the author did this; to help players acclimate to the stranger times of Victorian England. Personally, I thought it was unneeded/unnecessary. BUT it does fit with the game, so that is fine. Personally I am not going to use it. If I am running a Victorian game you are going to play Victorian characters. Ignoring that there is a bunch of information on Victorian life that is great for any game. There is a great section on criminal slang that gives us the expected British slang, but also the rarely printed American/East Coast slang. There is a Chronolgy of the Victorious age next. This lists all sorts of political and scientific advancements made. Included in this are events from fiction (like Dracula and Sherlock Holmes) and events from within the game itself.

Chapter 5 is the Bestiary. Included are a lot of animals and the expected monsters of the Gothic Tradition. These monsters are 100% compatible with Castles & Crusades and Amazing Adventures. So if you need more monsters they can be found easy.

Chapter 6 covers Supermankind. This has some more information on the world of Victorious. This includes many of the NPCs; the good, the neutral and the bad. There are some great characters here including John Henry, Sherlock Holmes and the Spring Heeled Jack. Like most games (and most ficition) the bad guys are the most interesting. Listed here with full stats are Aleister Crowley, Baba Yaga, Dorain Grey, Dracula, Hyde, Moriarty, and Col. Moran. Really a Whos-Who of Victorian Villainy. Really the star chapter in this book. Which is saying something because there is a good game here. These NPCs could be used in Amazing Adventures too.

Next we get and adventure, Hyde and Seek, which is a lot of fun. The Appendices cover the Designer Notes, which are really fun read. I have to admit reading these gave me a greater appreciation of this game. There are sections on quick combat, dice rulings, and my favorite; mob rules. There is a section on "History vs. Fantasy" which is a great read if you have ever tried to run a pseudo-historical game. There is a list of resources that is also a great read. It's not exhaustive and there are some really notable exclusions, but this in not my list but theirs.

All in all this is a really fun game and I have nearly endless uses for it. Mix it with a bit of Castles & Crusades for more fantasy or Amazing Adventures for more pulp. Include some ideas from Codex Celtarum to make a more fantastic faerie-themed game. Mix it even more with Tainted Lands and get something not unakin to Ravenloft Masque of the Red Death. The game has a multitude of possibilities beyond what is presented in the two covers.

The game is full of possibilities to be honest, and I really can't wait to try some of them out.
This is certainly a game I would love to play at a Convention sometime.

Buy this game if you enjoy Victorian games, Castles & Crusades, or superhero games with a twist.

Giving it 4.5 stars, but rounding out to 5.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Victorious the Role Playing Game
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Castles & Crusades Castle Keepers Guide to the Haunted Highlands
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/29/2016 14:25:26

Now this is a huge book. 400 pages and priced accordingly.
Like the Players Guide, we get an overview, real-world and in-world, of the Haunted Highlands. This section contains a number of additions above and beyond the Players Guide. This includes a calendar of months and days. Along with that are some details on various astronomical features. Now the big issue that might cause some concerns for adding to other worlds are this calendar and the two moons. This can be adapted easy enough. For my games I have three moons in my world, so one of the moons is just not detailed here. A recap on the gods from the PG and we have the first two dozen or so pages covered.
For the next 90 or so pages we get a reprint of the modules DB1: Haunted Highland, DB2: Crater of Umeshti, and DB3: Deeper Darkness. Now if you don't have these modules this is a nice value add, but I have them is dead-tree (and for DB1, PDF). I didn't notice too many changes but I did not compare them side by side. Having them in one place is nice, but I didn't really need them. Though there is good reason for them to be there. There are new modules/source guides, DB4: Dro Mandras, DB5: The Conquered East, DB6: Dwellers in the Darkness, DB7: The Duchy of Karbosk, DB8: Mists of Mantua, and DB9: Fanderburg. The adventures are not "leveled" so the CK can adjust them to fit their players. At this point, we are now 330 pages deep into this book. This takes us to the Monsters sections. There is a lot culled from the first three modules, but there are a lot more new ones. 40+ pages to be exact, so enough to keep me happy for a while. This is followed by 25 some odd pages of new fiends, demons and devils. The last three or so pages are dedicated to new magic items. This is a campaign world in the very sense of the term. It is much more akin to Greyhawk than it is to the Forgotten Realms. You are given some locales and locals, some gods and demons, some monsters, some factions and some background. You are told how they all interact and then what you make of it all is what YOU make of it. No NPC is going to overshadow the players here unless of course the CK allows that. Which they won't.
The books are of course gorgeous in the way that all C&C books are. They really feel like something from the 1980s, only better.

In truth what would be better is a nice boxed set with both the Players book and Castle Keeper's book in softcover. Put the modules in there, all nine. Include a big fold out map and some green dice with bronze/gold color lettering.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Castle Keepers Guide to the Haunted Highlands
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Castles & Crusades Players Guide to the Haunted Highlands
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/29/2016 12:10:54

This book is everything the player needs to play in the HH. It is 114 pages and includes some very basic C&C rules, but you are going to want to have the full C&C Players book to really play. The book begins with a bit of an introduction to the HH; both real world and in-world. The in-world material is compelling and well thought out. I certainly feel that this is a world with some history (again real world and in-world). In the overview a number of locales and some groups are covered, all from the point of view of what the characters would know. This covers the first couple dozen pages or so. This flows right into the gods, demi-gods and fiends of the lands; about 10 pages. Chapter 1 covers Character creation. This is largely a condensed version of the C&C rules. Chapter 2 covers the Races of Karbosk. This chapter discusses the variations from the fantasy norm for the various races. Your C&C "Value Add" here are rules to play Orcs, Goblins, and Hobgoblins. New races, the Zvarguth (Dark Dwarves) and Meshkuri (pale humans), are also covered.
Chapter 3 details Character Classes. The traditional classes are mentioned and detailed. More value adds are new and revised classes. The assassin gets a remake as a cult to the goddess Shambere. The Conjurer is a new spell casting class that has access to both cleric and wizard spells, but at a cost. The Necromancer with spells from the Black Libram of Naratus. There is also a witch that is very much of the "old hag" archetype and followers of the Hag Queen. There is a monk class known as the Pammakoni, which is an interesting addition. Chapter 4 continues the class idea with Dual Classing. Some of this is detailed elsewhere in other C&C books. Also covered here is magic and new spells. Witches gain the new arcane spells and select divine spells. I will say this book is worth it for the classes and spells alone, but obviously it shines more with the Castle Keeper's Guide. Don't see this as a complete guide to the game, but rather an add-on to an exsisting C&C game.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Players Guide to the Haunted Highlands
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Amazing Adventures Book of Powers
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/20/2016 13:53:17

The Amazing Adventures Book of Powers for the Amazing Adventures RPG is really, really interesting book. Interesting in that it opens up the Amazing Adventures game, and thus Castles & Crusades and Victorious RPGs into new and interesting realms of play. It does in a sense to Castles and Crusades what the BESM d20 rules did (or could have done) to d20 rules.

Let's start with the basics and then move into specifics.

The Book of Powers (BoP) is a slim book, 48 pages. The covers are full color, the interior is black & white. The list price is $14.99 but as of this writing, the PDF is on sale for $10.99. We get right away to my first gripe about the book. The cover. I love Peter Bradley's work and this cover is gorgeous. However, it is not really "pulp" to me at all. Sure if this were a modern supers game (which in fact you can use this book to turn AA into) this would be a great cover, but acrobatic girl with green hair, in skin tight lycra/spandex outfit with plunging cleavage isn't my idea of the 1930s. Sorry. I mention only because I fear that people might not grab it.
Moving on. The premise of this book is pretty cool. Take AA's Gadgeteer class and turn gadgets into powers. These powers can be used along side gadgets and other powers to make some truly heroic characters. I did a few quick and dirty character creations this morning and I am pleased so far with what I was able to do.

Expanding on this idea Vey also presents a "Sorcerer" class, a magical power wielder that could fit in right next to the Arcanist class in AA OR even the Wizard in C&C. For my next character I want to create an AA style sorcerer for a Castles & Crusades game to see how well it works.

Expanding on these powers even further we are given rules on how to make Vampire, Demon and Angel characters. Now this is a REALLY cool option. I don't often pull this card, but today I will. Jason knows his shit here. We worked together on WitchCraft, All Flesh Must Be Eaten and of course the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG. Jason is above and beyond qualified to give us these rules. And these rules are really fun. So much so that one idea I had for a supers game I want to now convert over to an AA game with powers, sorcerers, vampires, angels and demons. It's actually quite silly how well it work for me.

The book also has a host of new character options including a modified skill check system. I believe is the same as the one in Victorious. Though I am not 100% sure. It's a nice simple system. Though reading it I realize I almost never do skill checks in C&C/AA; just ability checks.
There is also a new advantage system or perks for each class. Totally optional, but allows for greater customization. Not enough here? They are similar enough to feats to allow importing from other d20 games. Add these to Castles & Crusades and you basically have D&D5.

Speaking of which there is also a section on "Amazing Crusades!" with guidelines on how to get Amazing Adventures Peanut Butter into your Castles & Crusades Chocolate. I would also add that you can add the sweet, sweet creamy caramel of Victorious to this.

I was going to like this book anyway since it does a lot of the things I tend to do in my games anyway. It also has a lot of things I love adding to my games. So how do I give an unbiased opinion?

Well, I will say this. If you love Amazing Adventures, then you should check this out.
If you want some more flexibility with powers and even races in Castles & Crusades, you check this out. If you want more Steam Punk gadgety goodness of Victorious then definitely buy this.

I highly recommend this.

Disclaimer 1: I received of a copy of this book in the mail as thanks for being a playtester. No review was ever mentioned, promised or implied. Disclaimer 2: I was a playtester for this book. Disclaimer 3: I am good friends with the author, Jason Vey, and we have worked on many RPG projects together over the last 16-17 years.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Amazing Adventures Book of Powers
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Victorious the Role Playing Game
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/20/2016 03:52:33

When I saw this game on sale i knew i had to get it. Victorian, Pulp, Steampunk Superheroes. Every one of those genres is something I like in an RPG so this was right up my alley.

And to be fair it does deliver on what it promised. It has decent rules for building a superhero, giving them access to steampunk science, magic, inventions and superpowers with good list of power choices with straightforward effects that scale up in power when taken multiple times but still function well when only taken once.

Character creation itself is fairly solid, with a level system that let's you build your character from the ground up. amusingly this is a point build system disguised as a level system, all the presented classes are basically just example character archetypes, as the classes are all identical, with the same points allotted, and careful examination shows that the different hit dice between classes is just due to having taken the 'robust' power multiple times, increasing hit dice. this actually appealed to me as i enjoy leveling up in games as it gives more general increases of power rather than encouraged minmaxing and adds to a feeling of reward for success but i don't like feeling that my character is pidgeonholed by whatever class I'm using preventing me from taking my character in a new direction. The example classes themselves are quite appealing bringing in ideas such as a badass normal batman-esque vigilante with a wrist invention that shoots darts and a grappling hook, to the sherlock holmes consulting investigator, a british themed captain america and the unusual and interesting suggestion of a hypnotist.

so overall this game looked like a very appealing work well worth my time and money

It's a shame then that it isn't very good

The major problem is one of formatting and layout. this is not a well organized, concise or well explained work and i gave myself a headache trying to figure out the rules that would actually make this game playable.

This game does not sort it's chapters well, immediately dropping it's reader into character creation without any introduction to the rules and barely more than lipservice to it's setting. from their the work goes on to make my head spin by citing off rules, not explaining them or giving them any reference and expecting me to understand what it's talking about.

A good example of this is in the way that skill checks are explained: the game tells you to make a d20 roll + attribute modifier + class level. the difficulty is based on whether you have specialized in a given attribute (making it considered 'prime'), having a lower difficulty for your prime attributes. this is somewhat convoluted as it means that on every given roll a GM has two different difficulties for characters within the party, and i imagine player's might feel somewhat annoyed when their fellow players succeed on lower rolls. odd but manageable. what makes this confusing is that in character creation it's stated that taking a skill allows you to add your class level to the roll, something that the rules section states you do all the time. this is not further clarified. Another major headache is that the game seems to assume you already know the rules and feels little need to explain them to you. now, full disclosure, i do not own castles and crusades, this is my first product of that system and i have no desire to acquire any of the editions of the core rulebook. however this should hardly be necessary as the work states that it is a standalone work. as such while there may be expansions and further explanations to these rules i should not need them. so imagine my surprise when i see the term temporal damage under attack powers and weapon damage and at no point in the entire book is temporal damage explained. anywhere. at first i thought it had something to do with time travel considering the setting but i realized after checking it that this just referred to basic physical harm, however this is a best guess only and for all i know bullet damage may displace you in time and i have no intention of buying another corebook just for this rules clarification.

and speaking of bullet damage...

Complicating damage even more is the nature of saves. earlier it seemed that the game was using the armor class system however in the section on saving throws it shows a list of things that one would save against, upon which i noticed firearms. now i had previously assumed that when shooting someone it would be a roll against their AC, however it states that several attacks including magic blasts require saves (apparently there are multiple attack and damage types but again this isn't elaborated on well if at all), now while magic blasts require a dexterity save, firearms require constitution saving throw. this struck me as odd but there was a note on it so when i looked down much to my surprise i found that if one were to fail this saving throw, depending on their game's tone, that the shot individual is killed instantly. this explicitly includes PCs. this despite guns having a damage rating like every other attack. again there is no further clarification as to why firearms require Con saves, how these apply to damage, or why bullets are instantly fatal but all other forms of harm (including listed firearms) just do mundane temporal damage (whatever that is)

This complicated by innumerable small problems such as the odd math where when one raises the power of their blast attack they may raise their d6 of damage (an average amount) to a d8 (a slightly higher amount) or may choose to add an additional die (2d6, a much higher amount). now i don't have a math degree but one of those options seems clearly superior to the other. Adding onto this is a few relics from D&D that seem to conflict with the tone of that game, notably that one still rolls 4d6 and drops the lowest to determine attributes, this despite that everywhere else the game is a clear and straightforward point build system that rewards specialization in things your hero would be good at according to their archetype.

This honestly makes me wonder if there was some major writing miscommunication. Early parts of the book seem to be running on a different set of rules from the actual rules section and a number of really basic system features seem to be used in places but never explained or elaborated on (like the different types of damage and attacks, an explanation of which seems somewhat important for damage and resistance based powers). I have to wonder if there was a major rewrite for the book that didn't actually make it through every chapter, like the character creation got updated but the rules section is on an older version. Alternately it may have been intended as an expansion for castles and crusades intitially and made a standalone work later in the writing process. Either possibility would explain the organizational issues this book faces

This isn't to say the game is a total flop however.

While the core system is not well done the setting is quite strong. Equipment goes past just combat gear and also includes services and effects, listed in both american and british currency with an exchange rate at the start of the chapter.

London and New york are elaborated on, giving the game two different basic settings and giving explanations of daily life in the time period, helping to really get a feel for what your characters will be experiencing on a day to day basis between mad scientists and super villians. It also goes into detail about various social issues that are apart of everyday normal victorian life (such as racism and poverty) and how they can be addressed in game and a wonderful list of slang and terminology to make npcs stand out a bit more. There is a good timeline set bringing the reader up to date on current events both in the time period normally and in the alternate universe of the setting that included steampunk and supermankind as they're called. This goes on to further flesh out the world and give a good feel for the setting. There are also some rather wonderful random event tables in this game that throw the players against everything from natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes, to sudden attacks by supernatural creatures to the spontaneous emergence of a riot that go wonderfully well along with some lovely rules for mobs in the appendices, that include different mob sizes, how much damage they can do and random events that can influence a mob. It even has a nice adventure involving dr jekyll and mr hyde. Not being able to play this game I haven't run it but the scenario itself seems pretty solid.

So overall while the system may be a wash there are some very strong things in the setting

Unfortunately it loses some of this good will in the example characters section where it details a company of heroes in this wonderfully unique setting, how they got here, what they've been doing and how they can fit into the game. They make for a great pregenerated party of heroes. Who are all here due to time travel from modern times. Yeah. Really. They made a unique setting that puts a much needed and interesting twist on the superhero genre in gaming and the example characters are stock standard superheroes from stock superhero verse #1497 and then placed in this setting. This isn't even the first time playing a character from modern times is mentioned, the game really seems to push for it. While a fish out of temporal water story can be neat and maybe having one character like that in a group could be cool the game seems to really encourage you to play a party that literally doesn't fit into the setting and hails from a more generic game.

Also the game doesn't have an index. I hate that.

So in conclusion: this game has a neat setting, evocative character archetypes and a good explanation of how everything fits together, on top of some neat mechanical toys that can really make a party's day out more interesting. Unfortunately all of this is buried under a poorly organized, even more poorly explained, practically unplayable system. Seriously it's bad enough that on it's own the game is practically non-functional. I can safely say I will never play this game out of the book.

If you own castles and crusades, know the answers to all the missing or poorly clarified rules, and want something new this game might be worth your money. But make no mistake this is NOT a standalone game. It can't be played on it's own and I regret having bought a copy. I might at some point use an entirely different system and make use of the setting but quite frankly I’m annoyed enough by the apparent lack of investment into the work's creation that I’m not going to touch it for quite some time. As it is, while there is good stuff here that could deserve a higher rating were it a supplement for another game, the work advertises itself as a standalone corebook for it's setting that does not require the 20$ corebook for castles and crusades. This game cannot stand on it's own, it is nigh unplayable and a below average rpg. So while there is a lot to like I can only give it 2 stars

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Victorious the Role Playing Game
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Castles & Crusades Beneath the Dome
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/15/2016 16:49:18

Beneath the Dome is an adventure for the Castles & Crusades game by none other than James M. Ward. The current versions out in game stores and OneBookShelf are a combination of four smaller adventures. It is really like a small campaign or a longer adventure in four parts.

Each section challenges characters of progressively higher levels (1-5, 4-7, 10th and above) and deals with the invasion of a race of giant humanoids, the Amdromodon. Aside: While the new monsters here are interesting enough, I couldn't help but think it might be cooler if instead, I replaced them with Slaadi from the old Fiend Folio. But that was only a thought.

The adventures are interesting and I love the whole "invasion" and corruption vibe. It made it feel a little different than your typical adventure dealing with outer planar creatures. A little fleshing out with some other adventures the Castle Keeper could really make a nice campaign with this. The only thing really missing is a very high level adventure where the PCs go to the plane of the Amdromodons.

There is a lot going on in this adventure(s) and it is a lot of fun really. In addition to the new monsters there are also some new spells.

The book itself is 36 pages.

Now. I hate to be "that guy" but today I am going to be. If your book needs so much editing that I notice it then you have some issues. There is more going on here than the odd typo or comma splice. Some sections are so awkward in their phrasing and the way they were written it really made it difficult to read. I know these complaints have been leveled against Troll Lords before and I have for the most part ignored them. But this book for whatever reason seemed to be really bad. Now the PDF might be updated, I don't know. But the physical copy I have needs a lot of help.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Beneath the Dome
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Castles & Crusades I3 Dogs of War: Felsentheim
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/15/2016 12:23:56

22 pages, for 4-8 characters levels 3 to 5. Felsentheim is the epic conclusion to the I series of adventures. As with the last adventure the GM should be knowledgeable on all the NPCs and factions in this adventure. Again it can be played on it's own, but works best as the conclusion to the I series. While the adventure is shorter there is quite a lot of combat in this one.

All together these three books are greater than their parts and make for an interesting set of adventures.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades I3 Dogs of War: Felsentheim
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Castles & Crusades I2 Under Dark & Mistry Ground: Dzeebagd
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/15/2016 12:09:00

34 pages, for 4-8 characters levels 2 to 4. Following up on the events of I1 Vakhund the party finds the missing girl but uncovers a larger plot involving many local factions. The conceit of the adventure is the party will be drawn in, but as far things go this is not a bad one. This one is a bit longer than the last adventure and a bit more involved with all the factions. This adventure can stand alone, but it works best as part of the I trilogy. Interaction with the NPCs is really what makes this adventure so the game master should read up on all of them and their motivations ahead of time.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades I2 Under Dark & Mistry Ground: Dzeebagd
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Castles & Crusades I1 Into the Unknown: Vakhund
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/15/2016 11:52:26

26 pages, for 4-6 characters levels 1 to 2 Vakhund, Into the Unkown is a short adventure that builds up to some epic events in the later I series from Troll Lords for Castles & Crusades. It starts out simple enough really. The party has been hired as guards for a caravan. Soon the wealthy merchant is dead and his daughter kidnapped.
Vakhund is interesting since for an adventure that has it's DNA in a game known as "Dungeons & Dragons" there are neither dragons nor dungeons (for the most part) in this adventure. Typically for low level adventures there is a dungeon to explore. In this one the PCs are thrown right to a plot and it is rather interesting to be honest.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades I1 Into the Unknown: Vakhund
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