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White Star: White Box Science Fiction Roleplaying [Swords & Wizardry]
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Chris F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/06/2015 19:12:19
White Star is worth five stars for the bestiary chapter alone.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
White Star: White Box Science Fiction Roleplaying [Swords & Wizardry]
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Project
Publisher: Postmortem Studios
by Chris F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/27/2015 08:57:15
Open D6 seems to be undergoing something of a Renaissance, with Project and Breachworld both producing excellent sci-fi content for the system.

Project runs on a slightly modified form of the engine that powered the classic Star Wars RPG from West End Games. So if you enjoyed that classic game, you know basically what to expect from Project's system. It's the setting that sets Project apart from other RPGs.

In brief, the world is recovering a global psychic disaster that wiped a good portion of mankind's memories when the walls between dimensions come crashing down. Enter Project, a massive NGO dedicated to protecting what's left of humanity. Project fields an assortment of agents- the player characters- who are basically cybernetically enhanced psychic superheroes. It's a great, gamable premise, with lots of potential for action and exploration. There are occasional moments of brilliance in the writing, such as the amazingly evocative description of an angel's wings, or the psychology of a Borg.

The setting reminds me quite a bit of the Appleseed anime and manga, both in its high-tech, post-apoc setting, its transhuman and pyschological elements, and the feeling that despite its propaganda to the contrary, the Project organization might not be as benevolent as it seems.

Like Breachworld, which is really its closest competitor, Project seems somewhat inspired by Rifts, and if you have visions of a homebrew Rifts D6 campaign, buying the two books and mixing and matching as desired seems like a good choice. I know I will be.

Oh, one final thing, if you're still unsure about buying this book.
Remember those horrible, creepy-ass squid robots from the Matrix?

Yeah, those guys.

Well, they're a player race available in the book. How awesome is that? My first character is going to be Squiddy the Death Robot.

CHRIS

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Project
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JEStockArt - SciFi - Humanoid Transforming Vehicular Robot - CNB
Publisher: Jeshields
by Chris F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/07/2015 18:05:07
Great Transformer-esque mecha! Despite the excellence of Jeshield's stock illustrations, I've hesitated to pick any of them up, because like 3/4 my output is 'sexually explicit', but I've definitely got a use in mind for this beautiful blue-green robot.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
JEStockArt - SciFi - Humanoid Transforming Vehicular Robot - CNB
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Ponyfinder - Campaign Setting
Publisher: Silver Games LLC
by Chris F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/25/2015 22:10:40
You know how many Pseudo-Europe there are for Pathfinder?
About 12,000 by my last count, three of four of which actually rock.
It's great to see a company doing something different, which Silver Games does very adroitly with Ponyfinder.
I love cartoon and comics based settings rather than endless iterations of Tolkien-esque fantasy, and Ponyfinder is nicely imaginative, has great art, which obviously attracted and involved a lot of talented fan-artists, and might help get young girls more interested in D20 based gaming. Awesome on all fronts, and thanks for doing something different, mechanically sound, and just off kilter enough to be truly fun.
CHRIS

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ponyfinder - Campaign Setting
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Little Red Goblin Games Racial Guide 4: Nontraditional Races
Publisher: Little Red Goblin Games
by Chris F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/25/2015 19:54:25
Racial Guide 4 (hereafter RG4) is a very impressive collection of new races for Pathfinder, most of whom are like nothing I've ever seen before. Taken as a whole, RG4's new races present a surrealistic fantasy world, and if I were to run a campaign with RG4, I'd set it on a world where these 32 critters are the only intelligent species available. It reminds me of off-kilter fantasy like the classic Bashi Wizards, 9, or even the Dark Crystal or even unusual kids fantasy like Fraggle Rock. In short, maybe its the artwork, but I imagine these new races as imaginative Muppets, having semi-psychadelic adventures, and that's a very good thing.

With more than 30 races in the sourcebook, RG4 is mixed bag. There are some stinker races mixed in with some truly imaginative concepts. My favorite races in the book have a really strong theme, and I'll talk about them below, while some of the others seem merely like random mutations stapled together.

Of the races described my favorites include:
Arma- who are hyper-competitive humanoids who can transform into magical weapons, basically a fantasy version of the Targetmasters from Transformers.

Behemoths- four armed, headless braichators.

Cuills- basically an Elf-like species whose race wide fertility problems (think Children of Men) have made them fierce protectors of children, distinguished by a thick bone crest on their neck that looks almost like a body-horror parody of Edwardian collars.

Kapre- spindly and physically frail stoner giants.


Talli- extremely fast breeding humanoids with a massive problem with death in childbirth, due to their incredible metabolic needs, ancestral memories, an adventurous disposition and iron-clad code of honor.

The book is a fine value. I'm giving it 4/5 stars, because as I mentioned it's a mixed bag.While I loved the races above, there are several others I can barely remember, or which had serious mechanical problems. For instance, while you can tell the authors really liked the Ouphre, and dedicated both page-count and several illustrations to this race of Labyrinth type critters, I wasn't too crazy about the mechanics behind the race. I felt their somewhat mutable mutations could of been handled more smoothly; for example, in Neo-Exodus, Louis Porter has a race that can potentially shift its survival adaptations regularly and he covers the same ground in fewer (and clearer) words.

Still, if you're a fan of non-traditional fantasy, get this book. You'll find at least a handful of new races to love., a few more races to like, and a handful to ignore.

CHRIS

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Little Red Goblin Games Racial Guide 4: Nontraditional Races
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Crimson Blades: Dark Fantasy RPG
Publisher: Beyond Belief Games
by Chris F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/04/2014 21:25:17
Crimson Blades is an interesting modernization of Basic D&D, which drops the d20s for a d6 based resolution mechanic. The smaller die size gives combat a more consistent, less 'swingy' feel, and several other innovations distinguish Crimson Blades from other OSR games. Their interesting take on Elves, which owes a little more to Moorecock than Tolkien, well thought out Fighter and Rogue options make this my favorite retro-clone out there.

I also have to commend Beyond Belief Games on making good use of stock art and public domain artwork- they're taking advantage of Sine Nomine's generosity in putting much of their in-game art into the public domain. The designers made some smart choices- though a relatively small company, they were able to put out a great looking, well illustrated game with a minimal art investment. Good for them.

CHRIS

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Crimson Blades: Dark Fantasy RPG
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Deep Magic (Pathfinder RPG)
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Chris F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/17/2014 16:03:48
Deep Magic is an amazingly innovative beast of a sourcebook. Deep Magic boasts almost 400 pages of extremely thorough content, including hundreds of new spells, dozens of new ways of wielding magic, several innovative new schools and subschools of magic, as well as pre-generated spellbooks you can toss into your campaign as treasure. Kobold Press has always had really high production values, but the art in this PDF is among the best I've ever seen, from them or any other company.

I hope there's a POD edition of Deep Magic coming soon- I want a copy of this on my bookshelf.
CHRIS

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deep Magic (Pathfinder RPG)
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Scarlet Heroes Art Pack
Publisher: Sine Nomine Publishing
by Chris F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/29/2014 15:08:21
Sine Nomine puts out incredibly fun, OSR games and the fact they release the majority of their art into the public domain is an incredible gift to the gaming community, especially other small press publishers.

Scarlet Heroes includes dozens of high quality black and white images, as well as a color cover image and color map. Most of the included images have a pan-Asian flavor; the collection also includes images of some genuinely disgusting monsters and very creepy undead, especially useful for horror games.

I already can see lots of use for these image in my own future releases, and I'm sure the Scarlet Heroes Art Pack will be as useful to other small press publishers.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Scarlet Heroes Art Pack
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Solo char: Rogue
Publisher: Shaman's Stock Art
by Chris F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/26/2014 21:49:26
Like always Anthony turns out great work. His recent run of post-apocalyptic and sci-fi characters have been especially useful, and will be filling out several future products of mine. Good stuff.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Solo char: Rogue
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Stock Art (Sci-Fi/Horror/Fantasy)
Publisher: Wooden Vampire Games
by Chris F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/30/2014 17:05:38
Great and very usable CGI stock images. I've already used some of the images in my products, and will certainly look for more work from Wooden Vampire.
Thanks for the awesome free art!
CHRIS

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stock Art (Sci-Fi/Horror/Fantasy)
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The Ninth World Bestiary
Publisher: Monte Cook Games
by Chris F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/30/2014 17:02:10
Absolutely beautiful product, and one of the best bestiaries I've ever encountered for any game, in any genre. Even if you don't play in the Numenera setting- even if you are not a gamer- there's lots to love in the Ninth World Bestiary. It's got tons of wild creature ideas and beautiful art, and is pretty much a 21st Century version of Barlowe's Guide to Extraterrestrials. It's filled with tons of great concepts that can easily be poached to your favorite sci-fi or cross-genre systems (especially Rifts, Cthullutech, classic Call of Cthullu or anything else). It's an awesome book.

CHRIS

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Ninth World Bestiary
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Cheben
Publisher: Michael LaBossiere
by Chris F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/28/2013 12:27:25
Cheben is a rather basic adventure. It does very few things wrong, but doesn't do anything particularly imaginative either.

The basic premise of the adventure is there is a rather typical fantasy village besieged by low level monsters: goblins in an old armory, skeletons and zombies out by the graveyard, and some rather neat low-level constructs in an abandoned library.

However, the world, the village and the threats are nothing that even an entry-level GM couldn't come up with on their own. Local NPCs are defined mostly by what gear they have to trade the player characters rather than by personal motivation, and the example dialogue is flat and noninflected. There's no roleplay hooks for any of the local NPCs- they are as emotionless as the townsfolk in an early Final Fantasy CRPG. They have one or two lines of dialogue and a few things to sell the PCs, nothing more.

I would love to see the adventure re-released with expanded personalities and goals for the major NPCs, more villagers to interact with. Even bullet-pointed lists of personality tics or relations with other villagers would go a long way in bringing the villagers to life.

As it stands now, the layout is very clean and mostly legible (though there were some cut and paste errors in the statblocks of the abandoned library's guardians). The pages are sparse though, with only 3-4 pieces of amateurish, 'old school' art scattered throughout. I'm sorry, with stock art as cheap and readily available on this site as it is, there is no excuse for poorly illustrated gaming PDFs.

However, the basic skeleton of the adventure had potential. I'd love to see Cheben re-released soon with corrected statblocks for the library monsters, additional art and a punched up layout, and more NPC depth.

CHRIS

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Cheben
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Necropunk Campaign Setting
Publisher: Little Red Goblin Games
by Chris F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/30/2013 14:38:55
One of the best and most imaginative space opera sci-fi settings I've ever seen. Necropunk has a great premise and explores the possibilities inherent within that premise fully. This awesomely weird setting takes the concept as far as it can go and leaves me wanting some more splatbooks soon.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Necropunk Campaign Setting
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DC ADVENTURES Universe
Publisher: Green Ronin
by Chris F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/17/2013 14:12:48
DC Adventures Universe is easily the best of Green Ronin's DCU campaign guides. More than the two alphabetized character rosters, Universe really captures the feel of the classic DCU as a place of oddities, awesome second string heroes, obscure trivia and wonders. I've barely begun reading through Universe, but I've already discovered some neat things I never knew about the DCU. Universe is a great historic record of the DCU post Infinite Crisis and pre-Flashpoint, presenting fans with a very complete look at the universe as it stood just a few years back. As always, presentation is wonderful, and the comic art used is well chosen and neatly laid out. I'm hoping Green Ronin gives us some more DC sourcebooks in the future. I'd love to see more Legion of Superheros related content, because the 31st Century has enough plothooks for a dozen gaming hardbacks, as well as a second volume of Universe dealing the places and planets of the New 52 DCU.
CHRIS

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DC ADVENTURES Universe
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NeuroSpasta (FREE PREVIEW)
Publisher: Dias Ex Machina Games
by Chris F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/17/2013 17:15:15
NeuroSpasta looks like its going to be an excellent cyberpunk campaign setting, one obviously inspired by great anime like Ghost in the Shell and Appleseed, as well as computer games like Dues Ex. I'm looking forward to the full release. I'm not even much of a D&D 4th fan, but I really like the twists Dias Ex machina has put on the rule set. Just an aside to the authors: lower the opacity of the 'circuit' page borders, please. Those things are so dark they're very distracting.
CHRIS

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
NeuroSpasta (FREE PREVIEW)
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Publisher Reply:
The full game has been released. We'll address the page border opacity with the next update. Thanks for the positive comments.
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