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[WOIN] Universal Upgrades
by Timothy S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/20/2017 11:16:40

As a Science Fiction sourcebook, Universal Upgrades fills the bill. It's worth the cost, and has great information that will help any N.E.W. game flesh out better. The new races are interesting... but I was disappointed with the obvious Predator knock-off. It may have been a joke, but it wasn't necessary to include, and somewhat cheapens the book. Other than that, W.O.I.N.'s Universal Upgrades should definitely be considered by anyone running or planning to run/play N.E.W.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
[WOIN] Universal Upgrades
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ZEITGEIST #13: Avatar of Revolution (Pathfinder)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/07/2017 09:33:36

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This is it. The finale of the Zeitgeist AP clocks in at 89 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 84 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This being the FINALE of the Zeitgeist AP, the following, unsurprisingly, will contain copious amounts of SERIOUS SPOILERS. Potential players should definitely jump to the conclusion.

...

..

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Only GMs around? Okay, when the PCs were in Av, the world of dreams and fey, a massive blast left reflections back in the gyre and sent the PCs back into reality - but due to mutable time in Av, months have gone by in the real world and Obscurati control has been more than solidified. Few beings still resist the all powerful New World order, one of them being none other than Benedict Pemberton. If his daughter did not survive #6, he'll be a shaky ally at best, but in the rich tradition of reaping what you have sown. When the PCs awake from the shock of Av's destruction, Pemberton will bring them up to speed - just in time before a powerful killer-commando of the obscurati, with Nicodemus hijacking one member, offer a final chance to come to his side (He has cookies! ... Sorry, old goth joke...)...and the PCs will find out the hard way that the Ob now have the metaphysical power of their strengthened godmind behind them....it is also here that the eye of rot and a chance for the PCs to find out means to subvert hivemind control happen...they'll need every bit of strategy and power they can muster.

Pemberton also has a subject, Pardo the gnoll - which is good, for in order to subvert the sacrament, the PCs will have to actually wrestle people from the hivemind control of the Obscurati...which is very much required. Why? Because Nicodemus sees the big picture. He sees the PCs for the demigod-power threats they are...and he is willing to torch every single city on the planet, kill millions, if the PCs continue to thwart his plans. After all, who will care once utopia's reached? Who will mind in a thousand years? This is where Pemberton comes into play: He is convinced that, if the PCs can deal with Harkover Lee, who lords over Risur, that he can jury-rig his duplicant-magics to allow the PCs to enact a ritual in several cities at once, simultaneously breaking the hold of the Ob and foiling Nicodemus' scorched earth protocol.

However, at this point, we return to adventure #12.

Speaking of which and the dragon formerly known as Harkover Lee: Scorched earth here is to be taken literally. The gas lines are ready to erupt with elemental fire directly sapped from the plane, as the heroes with their attempts of freeing folk from obscurati mind-control, witness firsthand the fruits of Nicodemus' age of reason. Foiling literally scorched earth is one thing...but the dragon still needs to be dealt with - and the dragon tyrant is not a foe to be trifled with - CR 23, all death. Oh, and you know all those other metropolises, all those other characters the PCs interacted with, from snipers to shamans? this is where pretty much everyone becomes important, for, within a scant few minutes, the scorched earth protocol must be stopped EVERYWHERE. While the pdf acknowledges that players tend to care less when their PC's not "on stage", it should still be noted that the duplicants and their control can make for an amazing "simultaneous" run, if your GM-mojo is really strong. Then again, you have run one of the most challenging APs ever written to the final chapters, so I think you should be able to handle that!

One final task. The Axis Seal ritual. Nicodemus and his colossus Borne. All forces of the Obscurati. The PCs now truly reap what they have sown. They need to gather their forces and allies, deal with the Obscurati armies and the aforementioned entities. The goals can diverge: Stop Nicodemus. Complete the ritual themselves. Redeem William Miller and thus allow them to redeem, to an extent, Nicodemus and put him to rest...or reject the divinity and new world by utterly destroying the half-completed ritual set-up. Nicodemus is basically the god of this world by now - empowered by all minds who want him to complete the ritual, hampering his ability to do so may make him vulnerable.

Know how #12 had these cool tracking sheets? Well, the axis ritual (full color map included) and the massive energy tendrils involved here make for a final combat that cannot conceivably be solved by brute force - it is, at once, a massive puzzle to reconfigure the pillars with icons to determine the new world's form...and better yet, we actually get sample taunts and even a proper grandstanding monologue for Nicodemus...and a GM checklist for the encounter. You know, usually, I'd follow that up with "but a good Gm can handle that"-blabla...but frankly, this encounter is so complex and cool at the same time that the inclusion is very much appreciated!

In fact, PCs can actually get a cool series of handouts that helps them grapple with the axis seal's ritual, for each manipulation actually changed the rules of the world! Nice: You can duplex print two pages and print them out as cards, if you want. And yes, if the players wish to engage in the sacrament of apotheosis, that is similarly covered in a handout.

Indeed, the ends are complex and reward attention: Destruction of Nicodemus...amounts to genocide. Completion of the ritual...just delays him and makes the world, changed, basically a partial success for him. Making Miller take control can subvert Nicodemus and allow for his destruction...and finally, rejection of any form of change, of a realignment of the world, can similarly sever his quasi-deific link...and allow the PCs to end him. Oh, and guess what? The campaign ends in style, with a proper denouement for each character theme.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I only noticed a couple of minor hiccups. Layout adheres to Zeitgeist's two-column full-color standard and the pdf has full-color artworks. The pdf is layered, allowing you to customize it for printing out. The pdf is also fully bookmarked for your convenience. Cartography is in full-color and nice.

Ryan Nock's finale to the Zeitgeist AP is one I see with a laughing and a crying eye: I am honestly glad that this book was made, that this glorious AP managed to reach its end. I am also exceedingly happy to report that the saga managed to maintain its exceedingly high standard, its high concepts, its courage to expect smart players. It is a fitting end for one of the best villains I have ever encountered in any roleplaying game, a conclusion of epic proportions that may not reach the far-out OMG-level of #12, but instead brings things full circle - where #12 was about averting destruction, this book is about creation and what we're willing to risk for it; it is a question of how we'd act when confronted with absolute power. It takes the various decisions and consequences of the AP into account and represents the most challenging, rewarding final encounter I have ever read in a published AP. Zeitgeist ends with a bang quality-wise, though failure on the PC's side may indeed make it an in-game whimper for them. In short: This is a masterful conclusion to the AP, though one that absolutely REQUIRES being run in conjunction with #12. The final verdict will, unsurprisingly, clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

I should talk a bit about the AP as a whole. PFRPG, D&D (whether 4th or 5th edition is irrelevant), 13th Age and similar rules-heavy systems have a bit of a bad reputation in some gaming circles. One complaint is that the rules get in the way of invested storytelling, often pointing towards rules-lite games and their investigation scenarios and then towards the fun, but mindless dungeon-crawling that is often the default modus operandi for these systems. The Zeitgeist AP is, in one sentence, the furious and definite rebuttal that the systems can't carry complex, amazing and intellectually engaging plots. Don't get me wrong - I enjoy mindless dungeon-crawling as much as the next guy. I don't need highly complex plots in every module. In fact, please spare me - more often than not, complex plotlines end up being a colossal mess. Particularly if you insert metaphysics, philosophy and the like - most modules fail hard at being smart and just end up being referential - which is NOT the same. (Brief tangent: That's why current comedy is often not funny to me. References to 80s, 90s etc. are not funny or clever in and of themselves.)

Well, guess what? Zeitgeist handles one of the most complex and rewarding plot-lines I have ever witnessed in any medium. It also accomplishes two additional milestones as far as I'm concerned: 1) The AP features one of the most compelling and relatable villains ever put to print. 2) For perhaps the very first time in a published sequence of modules or mega-adventures, I did not find myself rationalizing some dumb flaw in the plan of the opposition. You see, nothing irks me more than, as a GM, having to play a supposedly almost all-powerful conspiracy of hyper-smart folks and failing due to transparent fiat. The opposition in Zeitgeist is exceedingly clever, potent, acts in a concise and well-reasoned manner and feels internally consistent. There is no "a wizard did it/he's mad/he's arrogant/etc." lame justification here - the plans are clever, the responses are similarly smart and the AP expects not only GMs, but also players to be smart, involved and clever.

In short, if your group consists of intelligent people (as most of us are, knowing roleplayers!), if you ever had to insert x plot-fixes to account for players punching holes in plots, if you ever had to insert a ton of complications (or blend multiple modules into one) to challenge your players and provide a sufficiently engaging storyline, then it's time to take the plunge and give this a try. If you're burned out on the xth dungeon crawl against a villain with a lame, flimsy motivation or a dumb guild...then it's time to look at this. This AP is indeed an action-packed AP that very much stays true to its tenets of being smart and being an investigative/espionage-saga. This AP is a monument as far as I'm concerned, one that should be on pretty much every self-respecting GM's shelf.

The AP is not perfect, though. The main issue I see lies in the horrid naval combat rules, which I'd strongly suggest to ditch and replace with those of Fire as She Bears/Ships of Skybourne. While the latter book is hard to get at first, it is the perfect toolkit to making this AP's naval combat less reliant on the basics. The AP also has, here and there, some minor hiccups that stick out like sore thumbs in the rules-department of minor components like hazards etc. - these are never many, but they do show up, which means that you'll here and there need to make some minor modifications. That being said, the absolutely fantastic storyline, the sheer level of involvement, the visuals - pretty much everything about this saga makes this work more than justified. In the hands of a capable GM and an experienced group of smart players, this may well be one of the best complete campaigns ever penned, regardless of system.

Now the campaign can also be found in massive books. While I have reviewed and own Act I, as per the writing of this review, I have not yet had a chance to read the Act III-compilation. It'll grace my shelves, though - and frankly, you should give this series a shot. Act II and III's compilations, in time, will get their own briefer reviews in which I will comment on the compilation and less on the plot and respective single modules, mind you.

Smart, glorious and very cinematic, this saga is phenomenal and frankly leaves me puzzled how EN Publishing ever wants to top it. Again: Monument. Get it. If you've been disillusioned by published modules and their bugs or just the relative simplicity of many a plotline, this is the ultimate panacea for your roleplayer-weltschmerz.

Endzeitgeist out.

P.s.: Since someone asked: I'm not affiliated in any way with the AP or EN Publishing; I had my nick long before the first zeitgeist-installment hit shelves.

P.P.S.: If someone playing this module makes an endzeitgeist, drop me a line. ;)

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ZEITGEIST #13: Avatar of Revolution (Pathfinder)
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ZEITGEIST #12: The Grinding Gears of Heaven (Pathfinder)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/07/2017 09:31:35

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The 12th installment of the massive Zeitgeist-AP clocks in at 92 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC,1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 87 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This being an adventure-review, the following will contain SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion. It should also be noted that I may reference other installments of the AP, so you HAVE been warned. From here on out, the SPOILERS reign.

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..

.

Okay, only GMs left around? Great! So, in my best impression of one of my players' catch-phrase: "My friends, the stakes have never been higher!" The massive conspiracy, the Obscurati, have tinkered with the world. Their powerful ritual, intended to reshape reality, was foiled by the PCs. In the epic aftermath of the sundering of the world from other planes, the brave constables of the RHS have fought collective intelligences, saved nations and defeated Kaiju-sized monstrosities. They have established free will as a paradigm and foiled the masterplan of immortal Nicodemus. And now, the world is spinning towards the gyre in an evocation of the classic "Second Coming" - the center cannot hold; massive gears in space, where creation annihilates dying worlds, grind them into the raw stardust of creation. Nothing short of world-wide annihilation and the dread end-game of the Voice of Rot need to be foiled. The PCs are leaders of their world (hopefully - there is a pretty high chance that they botched at some time, with every failure putting more control into the Obscurati's hands), known across the globe...but what does that matter when planar flight's impossible and the world is spinning into the multiverse's gyre?

The PCs will begin their deliberations to be contacted by Rock Rackus, celebrity adventurer, who is possessing a medium to tell them that a weird golden airship is attacking Av, the plane of dreams - it is thus that considerations of dealing with the Obscurati-controlled Danor need to rest for a bit, as the PCs try to use the planar rift of cauldron hill to arrive at the Bleak gate. Here legions reminiscent of those of Egal the Shimmering have been attacking - oh, and the plane is also spinning towards the gyre; depending on the fey in charge (which was influenced by the PCs), they will have different ruler to save- though saving said ruler from the world mote Egalitrix will be tough.

And yes, worlds will be shattering, falling into the gyre, which brings me to a weird peculiarity - a cinematic explosion that may smash a PC into an endless vortex of flame has terrain mechanics like: "+33 vs. Fortitude"....which makes no sense. Fortitude denotes a bonus, not a value. Doubly weird: The text before that mentions a correct solution, a Ref-save and a DC. This may be a small hiccup in the presentation, yes, but things like this feel jarring in light of the quality the module otherwise presents. We have troops of ghosts, taking control of airships...and the overarcing metaplot of making planar icons from the planes that are plunging into the gyre, for without these icons, the Axis Seal ritual is impossible to complete.

When the world of dreams is collapsing, torn asunder by the gyre, a shockwave sends the PCs unconscious....and doubles as the reason why you see this and #13's review back to back.

Again, this is a MAJOR SPOILER.

You have been warned.

So, the world's collapse sends the PCs into unconsciousness - which is an interesting narrative device. You see, the true PCs are back at home and a dream echo is what'll be the protagonist for the remainder of the module...which makes sense, considering that nothing can leave the gyre. The knowledge gained by these echoes can, in the end, be projected back to the proper PCs, as they try to stop Nicodemus in #13. So basically, this and #13 happen at pretty much the same time, which makes for a more interesting climax than back in WotBS (War of the Burning Skies), which had 3 potential climaxes that could be run in any sequence...or just pick one. In the end, that was one structural weakness of the otherwise neat WotBS-AP and it's nice to see EN Publishing not repeating it.

I digress. So, the PCs are in the gyre, where worlds are churned asunder and they need to generate planar icons to tether their world in the ritual - but which to choose? Well, that would be the next chapter and it is here we dive into a time-tested favorite of mine, genre-wise: Hex-crawling. Yeah, you heard me. We're hex-crawling through world motes plunging into total annihilation. We're fighting mandala beasts and in the best of hexcrawling and planeshopping/spelljamming traditions, we find pirate strongholds, tombs of dwarven all-kings...and finally, on Ascetia, the hidden jungle (yeah, the symbolism sometimes hits you over the head), the PCs meet...Nicodemus? Yep, William Miller would be proper, though, for he is Nicodemus' reflection, much like the PCs are reflections...and it is here that #13 should be started. Sure, you can finish #12, but from a narrative point of view and a structure/pacing perspective, this switching is amazing.

So yeah. Please switch towards #13. I'll be waiting here for you to read up on #13's inflection point switch back here.

...

..

.

All right, so, William Miller's as different from Nicodemus as possible - he shares the same soul, but centuries of detachment, a lack of massive magical power and a thoroughly different perspective mean that the PCs may actually pull William Miller to their side, providing a very powerful means to finally defeat Nicodemus in adventure #13 - provided they play their cards right and realize the guilt-impulse that is so crucial to character motivation. It should be taken as the highest accolades that the BBEG of this campaign is indeed interesting enough to warrant such closer examination. It is also here that the PCs can meditate upon the grave of Kavarina's daughter and learn about Srasama, the eldarin goddess who remains in the gyre, courtesy of teh aftermath of the great malice. The deity, if destroyed by the gyre, has one final act she can perform - whether it'll be vengeance or the resurrection of those fallen to the Malice will determine to an extent the ultimate outcome of the saga.

In the southern part of the gyre (hexcrawlin'!), the PCs will have a chance to visit a graveyard world in the throes of a deadly magical, seemingly incurable plague; as the Pcs collect planar traits and visit strange and metaphysically relevant places, the PCs will still have to deal with Egalitrix, a powerful flying fortress manned by infernal troops. Yeah, they act smart, are deadly...and as pretty much any time when the AP insists to employ its horrible ship-combat options, I'd strongly suggest a proper redesign with the Fire as She Bears/Ships of Skybourne-rules. (The latter book, while harder to grasp at first, EXACTLY has rules that can deliver flying fortresses like this!)

And then, the PCs arrive at Reida, the broken arc of history, which is within the very coils of the Voice of Rot - and indeed, the famous "rough beast" of the famous poem. And it is one for the ages. The Voice is LITERALLY destroying the metaphysical embodiment of the PC's home's history, as its gargantuan bulk (Suggestion: Serpent skull + 30 coins...this thing is BIG) slithers over the arc, constantly moving, constantly tearing away...oh and it has 2 thresholds, where is becomes ever more dangerous, calling forth all the dead of history and even wrecking the PC's maximum HP. This titan is also where you can let loose like crazy - it's incredibly lethal and the PCs being reflections, it can kill off them sans impunity...after all, in the end, the only thing left to do will be to fall into the gyre, rejoin with the proper body...provided they have someone left with an emotional connection to. Fun fact: I actually pulled exactly that emotional anchor transition in my very first campaign's climax. That just as an aside.

The reflections of the PCs are ground to stardust. They may or may not take a goddess and more with them. They have the tools to undo the damage Nicodemus has done and prevent him from permanently solidifying the new world order. One final task. The fight for the very soul of the new world, the chance to create one's utopia, to form design the zeitgeist. It's now.

...to be concluded in #13.

The pdf concludes with a full-color map of the hexcrawl (several full-color tactical maps are included as well), a massive bestiary of the high-CR beings encountered, a handy GM cheat sheet of planes with associated energies and traits, a similarly handy list of gyre planes and dying worlds, a handy list of color-coded planes by type, sample combinations that could result in e.g. technocracies, pastorals, etc., a sheet to track bonding with energies, as well as player's sheet for tracking gyre-exploration and, finally, a player's version of the gyre-map.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good. I noticed a couple of minor typos and small hiccups as that mentioned before. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard and sports a blend of full-color original and stock art. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Cartography of both hex-map and tactical maps is in full-color and nice, though the tactical maps don't come in the usual, blown-up-to-one-page standard, which is slightly annoying. The pdf is layered, which can render the file pretty printer-friendly to print out.

Ryan Nock's grinding gears of heaven is perhaps the most far-out module I have read since Coliseum Morpheuon. It's also the highest-level hex crawl I have ever seen...and makes full use of being high-level. The module throws pretty much a huge sandbox that will make fans of Planescape and Spelljammer cackle with glee at the PCs and represents one of the most poachable scenarios in the AP - you could conceivably ignore the whole saga and just run this as a climax for your weird planes-hopping campaign. It would lose some of its emotional impact, obviously, but yeah.

That being said, this is very much a part of the saga: A thoroughly unconventional one that has one of the most epic boss fights I have ever seen. Oh, and if that wasn't enough - if you're a well-read person or consider yourself to be a scholar, then this book's continuous barrage of subtle allusions to literature and tropes will make you smile from ear to ear. Indeed, while the intrigue aspect is less pronounced here than in the rest of the AP, the very real scope, the massive array of what's at stake render this one of the most epic-feeling modules I have ever read. How often do you get to adventure to puzzle together your world's ideology? That's basically a more player-agenda driven Shin Megami Tensei's Lucifer's Call...but you don't have one planet...you have a ton of them. Much like all installments of Zeitgeist, the ship-combat imho needs replacing...badly. And much like every installment of the AP, it needs a capable GM and involved, proactive players that can juggle the concepts...but for any group that wants to play something SMART, this is absolutely amazing. My final verdict will obviously be 5 stars + seal of approval, in spite of the minor hiccups...so let's see whether the finale can hold up this level of quality...see you in #13's review.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ZEITGEIST #12: The Grinding Gears of Heaven (Pathfinder)
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Party of One [5E]
by Todor P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/17/2017 06:43:16

This is the biggest heap of useless, disconnected drivel that I have ever spent money on. The material offers no guidelines for scaling campaigns and adventures to a smaller party or a single PC, no mechanical advice, not even 5E-specific advice - why is this even tagged as 5E? It includes literally NOTHING specifically related to 5E, just general advice and largely useless generalities.

You get 3 pages beyond the preview page and it's all completely useless if you have even a tiny bit of sense as a DM. You can get the same or better advice by googling the topic and clicking on free, far more expansive articles.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Party of One [5E]
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Tournaments, Fairs, and Taverns: D&D 3.5
by Rose T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/09/2016 15:00:05

This product is well done and easy to add into the game it added a lot to my last game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tournaments, Fairs, and Taverns: D&D 3.5
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N.E.W. The Science Fiction Roleplaying Game
by Nathan T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/24/2016 19:53:39

Comprehensive. As a DM, this is the type of tool I need. There comes a time when, as a DM, you require more out of your game engine. This is where all the homebrew content for all our beloved RPG systems comes from, falling anywhere inbetween moderately balanced to completely out of place.

Using this system, it provides you not only a deep dice pool based resolution mechanic, but all the tools (and more) that you need to make your own content without the fear of it being totally out of place or imbalanced.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
N.E.W. The Science Fiction Roleplaying Game
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N.E.W. The Science Fiction Roleplaying Game
by Charles K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/18/2016 04:34:26

-On first impression the book seems very well laid out, and it is fairly easy to see where everything is. As you flick through it for the first time you see it covers a lot of ground. However, there are some issues too. The rule writers have throughout the book failed to give examples. In one or two rare places they do give an example, but you have to read and re-read some sections to try and fugure out what you are supposed to do, and I found in several places you had to make a decision on rule interpretation that simples example would have clarified in a second. There are also some ommissions too.

The first section of the book deals with character creation and then equipping him or her. There are several races to choice from that are failry standard RPG types. Dwarves, Elves, Orcs, androids, all thinly disguised are to be found! I would say that this game aims to provide a mechanism to play games in the Star Trek / Star Wars genres, and it is flexible enough to cover most settings from low tech near future to highly advanced ones.

The second section of the rules deals with the game mechanics. Tests are based on the core mechanism of dice pools being thrown to beat a difficulty target number, or beating an opponents dice pool score for an opposed test. All dice are D6. Attributes skills and equipment all provive dice pool additions. The level of the character acts as a dice pool cap, giving a less experienced character a smaller dice pool to play with. One really nice idea in the rules is a count down dice pool. This is a dice pool that is thrown at intervals, determined by the situation, and dice are removed from the pool on a 6 or f a quicker dice pool is required on either a 5 or 6. When the dice are gone the reason for the count down happens, the bomb goes off, the character bleeds to death etc.

Combat and space ship combat use grids, or what the game calls "Theatre of the Mind," which means no grid, and people have to calculate ranges from the grid based figures in the weapon tables. Combat also has some strange ideas added into it. A grid represents 5'. For me, this is where first major issue in the rules crops up. A ranged weapon gets a penalty for each grid over the first. So if you fire at a target 4 grids away you get a -3D6 penalty! This is the future, you are not firing inaccurate black powder smooth bore muskets or pistols! Add to the fact that from the dice pool you have to buy extra damage or effects I feel this creates a real problem. The rules do say that without buying extra effects and damage character will take a long time to take a foe down. As you have to spend two hit dice to get a dice of extra damage, you have to juggle between actually hitting the enemy at all, and whether to do serious damage or death by a thousand cuts! Death and wounding is dealt with not by one mechanism but two! It is not terribly clear whether the two methods effect eachother, producing yet another example of the lack of examples causing problems. hen damage takes a characters health to zero they fall unconscious and if it is below zero they form a dice pool and start a count down to die. The other system uses tracks which are start at mild and go up as more damage is accumulated. When you reach the end of the track you die. The concept is good, it provides a more graphic description for players of what their character is experiencing. I feel however extra clarity is needed. For instance critical hits move you aong the track for that weapon, but it is left to the GM to guess whether damage is also added as well as tack movement. I assume it is, but I can't be sure this is what the designers intended.

The final section of the books deals with world building, travel, and the the GM. It provides rules for travel, space combat and encounters.

Starship combat is a cross between a roleplay game and a miniatures game. It is time consuming to play and as this is a RPG and not a Wargame it seems a little out of place. It is not detailed enough to please a wargamer, and will soak up too much time in a RPG.

Space travel and journey times form another area of the rules where examples would make a huge difference to rule clarity. Add the rather clunky system of jump increments, to drive type, and an odd medical test, and whole series of tests you are supposed to make and space travel using ships becomes a nimber crunching chore. Crew always have a chance of suffering some penalty the longer they are in space. This seems a little strange, unless it is part of a characters makeup like sea sickness, but that is something that the rules don't provide. I feel a huge number of GMs will probably rework, tweak or ignore a lot of these rules.

There is a really short section of foes near the end of the rule book. These are humaniod enemies for the characters to have encounters with, like street thugs etc. Once you finish this section you realise there are no animals detailed in the system at all. There is a small reference to creatures in a section on size and characteristics, which actually tells you that creatures have their own stats are not covered by this, then it does cover them briefly!

The games good features are : A comprehensive character creation system, that allows well rounded starting characters, and allows characters to improve as part of a career, or as individual skill/attribute training. It has an interesting trait system that can make characters more than just stats. There is a good selection of equipment.

The bad points are : An almost total lack of examples. A few places where the target numbers for well described tests seem to be missing. A few failures to clarify how rules impact on eachother. Space travel calculations are a chore, they are poorly explained, and lack of examples, forcing the GM to read the section several times carefully. Space combat is not really quick enough for many groups, and is not detailed enough to satisfy wargame inclined players. Ranged combat penalties seem odd in the future. Also the idea of tying ranges to grids and forcing players to convert these to feet is inconvenient, when both figures could have been given in the tables. The lack of any real rules and guidence on animals is a shame. The GM has more work to do initially than is normal making decisions on rules targets, and interpretations.

In conclusion the game system has a lot of potential, but, a failure to provide examples, some odd penalties and tests, and the omission of rules for animals let the game down. All GMs tweak add or ignore rules to some extent, this game however will require more work before play to get the system sorted out, depending on what the GM intends to include. Combat will probably be the one area where everyone has to accept or tweak the rules. This can be a fun game, and many players will enjoy it a lot. It is not an original rules set, with nothing that I have not seen used in other game systems. As the rules stand they fail to live up to the promise of what might have been.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
Just as a clarification, you do not take a -4d6 penalty to fire at a target 4 squares away. You take a -1d6 penalty per range increment. So if your weapon has a range increment of 10 squares, you take a -1d6 penalty for each full 10 squares. Hope that helps! :) You can find lots of enemies and monsters on the official website. Like D&D, Pathfinder, etc. they are mainly to be found in the comprehensive upcoming Bestiary. But for now, lots on the website for free. :)
N.E.W. The Science Fiction Roleplaying Game
by Ian S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/11/2016 10:13:59

I very much like systems that are a toolbox and this is one of them. This has most of what I need, it certainly ticks most of the boxes, creature design, alien design, weapon/armour, worlds and star systems etc. It also let you run scifi at various levels, from hard, opera and space fantasy. Alas no ship design, but I can live with that and I have the seperate book. It's certainly an adaptable and well rounded book, with the vaguest hints of it's own setting, so it's easy to plugin and create one for yourself.

Great layout and good art. Being an artist I appreciate good art. Certainly a fine book and a pleasure to read, some fiction too, that I always like.

The core mechanic is easy to understand and is very flexiable. You can certainly use or chuck out bits you don't like and add your own easily enough.

On top of this it has additional content and support via EON a Digital Magazine on patreon, certainly a good thing in my book.

I highly recomend this book.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
N.E.W. The Science Fiction Roleplaying Game
by Evan M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/10/2016 10:30:36

Where to begin. N.E.W. is not what I was expecting and I was very disapointed in the game.

In the world of RPGs, you can have what I call "life simulators" that try to mimic a world logically, in detail. The other end are the story based games where the goal is not to simulate "reality" but tell a good story with PCs becoming part of the story. Life simulators tend to be more data driven or "crunchy" while story games have little focus on the numbers and stats but on methods to move the plot into interesting areas. I favor the simulator games, BRP, MERP, Rolemaster, Runequest, these games all have great detail and logical design. N.E.W. is presented as being crunchy game, a life in the future simulator, but unfortunately it has "crunch" but not logic. Too many things in the game make it hard to "suspend disbelief" as the logic behind the design failed to work in my head. It fails to be a life simulator, and it is waaay too dice intensive to be story based.

Another issue, and this is with many SciFi games, is that they fail to predict the future. What they do instead is take the world of 2016, add spaceships, aliens and blasters and WALLAH the future. Eclipse Phase does an outstanding job of bucking this trend and that setting does a fantastic jobs of giving gamers a believable future in which to roleplay. It is not just 2016 with window dressing. N.E.W. on the other hand sadly seems to stick to the former trend. The aliens take a page from the Star Trek rule book of alien creation, just add make up and funny ears and there you have it, alien. In N.E.W. they just happen to be future orcs, dwarves, elves and Tieflings/Klingons/Nietzscheans. N.E.W. is more about the future according to Hollywood and DnD than actually giving us something different and well thought out.

Finally, and this is NOT the games fault but my own bias. I really do not like D6 systems. Sometimes I will buy a D6 source book to glenn ideas. This book failed to give me anything original or useful in the idea department - stale. The good news is that with so many cool RPGs out there, this one is at no risk of becoming a time suck in my life.

The good, it is organized, the art is okay (better than some worse than others) and if you like D6 and want something that you could play out that soft SciFi Hollywood hit, you should give this game a try.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
[WOIN] Starship Construction Manual
by navy f. n. f. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/07/2016 12:49:00

Two Thumbs Up! This expansion to WOIN SciFi Core is full of ideas on how to create highly detailed starships for the WOIN SciFi core rules. Adding over 40+ pages to complement the starship rules in the Core book, this supplement allows the GM to make just about any type of starship one could come up with.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
[WOIN] Starship Construction Manual
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N.E.W. The Science Fiction Roleplaying Game
by navy f. n. f. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/07/2016 12:41:15

I am a little short on time so this will be a quick review.

I just picked this up a couple days ago and I have to say it is chock full of 'CRUNCH,' just the way I like my SciFi games! Like many of the reviews below, I can say this book is loaded with excellent ideas on how to run just about any sci-fi game you can come up with! It has extremely detailed character creation and the concept of using exploits to handle any kind of special training, psionic and special abilities makes for a simple, yet detailed way to present these types of character/NPC characteristics.

Two thumbs up!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
N.E.W. The Science Fiction Roleplaying Game
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[WOIN] Fantasy Core
by David D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/17/2016 10:07:21

The 'Whats Old Is New' game system holds alot of promise. From the Kickstarter campaign:

"These are crunchy games! You can spend hours tinkering with them, or just throw yourself straight in! Play itself is designed to be fast, but both games allow you to spend as long or little as you like on the "back end". So if you enjoy optimizing characters, or building starships, or designing planets, spells, magic items, settings, races, and careers, you can - and it all funnels down into easy rules in-game."

The author states that these products are the result of years of tinkering and development.

The Good: The prose and short fiction that accompanies the rules is excellent, evoking a fantastic world and the endless possiblities spread out before the reader. Both short story and examples of play are liberally scattered throughout the text. The core mechanic is pretty simple to grok, and game play can be smooth and enjoyable. Players have alot of options available to them courtesy of a mechanic where you trade attack dice for activating abilities. I expect that the adventures that will be published will be of high quality and entertaining.

The Bad: You need to get at least the Core book, Carreer book, and the Magic book in order to run the game. In many cases, you will need to reference between the books, and often different locations within the individual books, to find all the relevant rules. Additional content and rules can be added either through the supplements or signing up with Patreon, rapidly expanding the content but also expanding the 'where do I find that rule' quandry. The feel of the mechanics is very similar to early editions of DnD, with various fiddly bits and minimum enforcement of 'balance'. There are options that are clearly 'better' than others. Your starting characters are mostly competant and need to grow into being heroes. Generalization is encouraged through the use of an artifical dice cap.

The Ugly: This is not an elegant game system, and some mechanics seem forced and, quite simply, wrong. In many cases I get the feeling similar to 2e DnD with different mechanics kludged together with baling wire. For example, the aforementioned artificial die cap limits your skill checks based on your Grade {level}. Quality equipment can add dice to your skill check, but if you are already good at the skill the die cap negates the equipment dice until you are much higher Grade {level}. Mechanically speaking, quality equipment is only good to characters with mediocre skills.

Combat. The 'Fantasy Bestiary' has yet to be published, I beleive this is in part because the dynamics of combat are a bit fuzzy still and the current guidence on monster creation is very close to 'just wing it'. The effectiveness gap between Grades {levels} of characters is exponetial, which means the lower Grade usually gets curb-stomped. The player options that exist are effectively eliminated due to the combat math aiming for a standard 50% to hit rate. Dropping attack dice for a special ability often means a miss.

Is it worth the purchase? That depends. The game has a very different feel to the other offerings on the market. You may think this is a good thing. Or not.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
[WOIN] Fantasy Core
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[WOIN] Real Solspace: A Guide to our Stellar Neighborhood
by Omer J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/17/2016 02:37:40

A brief, concise and very useful product mapping the actual stars around Sol. Based on up-to-date real-world information, it provides the Game Master/Referee or publisher with an excellent basis on which to build a near-Sol setting.

It includes a short but clear explanation of teh astronomical information contained in thsi product, followed by a hex-map of the stars around Sol (with their actual colors), and a list of stars with their astronomical data. It also mentions a few relevant WOIN rules regarding interstellar travel.

Highly recommended for the WOIN sci-fi gamer.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
[WOIN] Real Solspace: A Guide to our Stellar Neighborhood
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N.E.W. The Science Fiction Roleplaying Game
by Christopher S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/06/2016 15:29:46

I am really sinking my teeth into this system. I really took a shine to the character creation and progression, since it makes it easy to build a very nuanced concept of whatever kind of character you would want. Can't wait to get my players on board, and looking forward to the Fantasy rulebook.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
N.E.W. The Science Fiction Roleplaying Game
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N.E.W. The Science Fiction Roleplaying Game
by Timothy S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/06/2016 14:51:44

I'm one of those people that are never satisfied 100% with an RPG. I read them, tweak them, house rule them, generate tons of characters, and unless they are really very good, I end up putting them on my virtual shelf. N.E.W. is NOT going to sit on that shelf. Sci-Fi games are hard to pull off, and even harder to do very well, and E.N. Publishing has set a new bar for content, dice mechanics, and playability. I especially like the CountDown mechanic; very unusual and it can be quite a suspenseful tool for a game. The art is great, the non-human races (one place many Sci-Fi games fall flat) are well done, the character generation procedure with the careers is reminiscent of Traveller without all the dying during generation, and the broad range of all the great Sci-Fi tropes in equipment is well represented. Overall, I'd put N.E.W. up there on the top of the list of best Sci-Fi games; the same list that has all the classic great games like Traveller, Star Frontiers, Alternity, Space Opera, and Star Ace. If you're on the fence about purchasing this game, then climb on down and do it. You won't be disappointed at all.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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