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Dark Heresy: Damned Cities: Haarlock Legacy II
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/20/2015 08:23:42

This, the second part of the Haarlock's Legacy trilogy of adventures (although it can be played on its own if preferred), is a murder-mystery set in the city of Sinophia Magma on the planet Sinophia. A decaying corrupt city, the format is designed to allow the Acolytes to investigate when and where they like with other intrigues unfolding about their ears - these may or may not be connected with the task in hand. To this end, there's a detailed gazetteer of Sinophia Magna and loads of detail about local personalities and the intrigues they are involved in as well as all the necessary information to run the murder investigation, thus providing a rich setting with a lot going on... oh, and if they fail to solve the murders, it's likely the whole city will erupt into bitter civil war. And there's a trapped demon trying to get out as well. No pressure then.


The adventure itself is made up of three stages. The first introduces them to the city and the trail of gruesome murders they are tasked with investigating. In the second part, events swirl about them as they are caught up in growing conflict between the underworld and local law enforcement (the State Enforcers) - each seem as bad as the other - and in the final part matters come to a head and there are difficult choices to be made. Throughout, there are scheduled events and encounters which you can use as appropriate in response to the Acolytes' investigations and movements around the city.


There's plenty of advice for the GM, both in a specific section on running murder mysteries and throughout the entire module, as well as copious detail on the city itself and the people to be found there. If you enjoy hectic city-based adventures with a myriad of intersecting plot threads, this is worth considering for that alone. Clues are well signposted with suggestions on how to make them obvious to the Acolytes whilst letting them feel that they are rooting them out for themselves (always a challenge in an investigative adventure. This is definitely an adventure where prior preparation and thorough knowledge of the plot and setting will stand the GM in good stead - you can then let your players loose and react to whatever they decide to do seamlessly.


The gazetteer is a wonderful resource which will support future visits to Sinophia and spawns plenty more plot ideas as you read through it - it's something you may well want to come back to after this adventure has been completed. It's very atmospheric and provides plenty of tools to enable you to set the scene well for your players. To add to this, there is in-depth background material on the various factions and other factors at play within Sinophia Magna - even if there were no murders to investigate, there is plenty for the Acolytes to get involved in! There's a real feel of a living - albeit decrepit, corrupt and decaying - place here, it is no mere backdrop for the adventure's core plotline.


It all makes for a fascinating and memorable adventure that brings home the real nature of the Warhammer 40K setting, the air of grandeur and decay is all-pervasive; whilst the adventure itself is replete with twists and turns to keep the most avid dectective happy. Thoroughly enjoyable from both sides of the GM screen (at least, I think it would be fun to play... it certainly is a delight to run).



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Heresy: Damned Cities: Haarlock Legacy II
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Dark Heresy: Tattered Fates
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/09/2015 09:26:12

Designed to be the opener of the Haarlock's Legacy campaign (although it could be run as a stand-alone adventure), this adventure comes in three parts which begins in survival horror, then sweeps the party through investigation and intrigue to the need to fight for their lives. Faint-hearted Acolytes need not apply!


The adventure can be used to start off a new group of Acolytes, but notes are provided for those who wish to use existing characters. It's based on a planet called Quaddis and is based around long-held secrets of the Haarlock rogue trader family and the lengths some people will go to get their hands on them. There's plenty of background on Quaddis which is an unspoilt pastoral world given over to noble estates, a complete pervesion of the orderly colonisation process handled adroitly by an early Haarlock. Even the so-called city that is its capital, Xicarph, is more a collection of palaces and town-houses than a real city. It is home to many pleasures and host to plenty of intrigue... and dark secrets lie beneath. Xicarph is also home to a great carnival, the Festival of Tattered Fates, that occurs at the time of a bizarre astronomical conjunction in the home system. The central point of this, which fortunately only happens once every few decades, is a period of darkness during which what rule of law there is here is completely suspended, anything goes.


The action begins in media res, the Acolytes being thrust abruptly into a situation where their only objective is to survive... some players may be none too happy, but the very shock of the opening is best presented as is to get the full flavour both of the opening scene and the rest of the adventure. The Game Master is advised to read the adventure thoroughly in preparation for running it: there's lots going on and plenty of scope for allowing characters free reign in their reactions, to which the GM will then have to respond. Even if they feel railroaded by the opening, the Acolytes have plenty of options to find their own responses to the situation, and there's plenty of detail provided to enable the GM to deal with whatever they come up with.


Needless to say, once the Acolytes have escaped their fate, that dread carnival is in full swing, and they'll have to navigate Xicarph through its chaos as they seek the answers they need. This again is quite free-format, with a whole bunch of events and NPCs that they can encounter but no set sequence or timelimits imposed. Hopefully they'll find out where they need to be when darkness falls before it actually does! Amidst this swirl of events, it may be difficult for the Acolytes to figure out what is actually going on, the GM will need to be well-prepared and ready to gently steer them into finding the answers should they begin to flounder.


The climax of the adventure is, of course, the falling of darkness as the astronomcal conjunction reaches its height. In a weirdly-warped estate that has at its heart the mysterious Steel Clock, they should find their answers... but need to be prepared to fight for them as of course they are not the only people on that quest.


By its nature, this adventure can be sprung on existing Acolytes whenever you please, or can be used to start a new campaign in dramatic fashion. However it is approached, those who survive will appreciate the sheer heights - or depths - to which nobles can attain, and have glimpses of some of the stranger things underlying the most established. A fine cinematic caper with scope for plenty drama and excitement and, if played as part of the Haarlock's Legacy trilogy, one which leads to a growing realisation that even greater horrors might be unleashed.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Heresy: Tattered Fates
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The Sinking: Animation
Publisher: 0one Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/06/2015 06:23:59

Whilst this adventure starts in an inn, it's not the usual cliche of a bunch of adventurers being approached by a stranger with a job or a treasure map for them... well, not quite. For a start, it's the landlord and he needs help with a gremlin problem. Up for a spot of extermination?


The Great City, in which the adventure is set, has suffered a cataclysm, a giant sink hole has appeared. The adventures in The Sinking series are all in some way linked to this event, but can be played in any order or as stand-alone adventures, rather than as a true adventure path. This one is no different, with a plague of annoying events rapidly escalating into something quite dangerous. Gremlins are the least of the characters' worries.


The adventure is well-paced, with the initial contract to deal with gremlins developing into a mysterious event that leaves all manner of items, including street furniture, animated and causing trouble. Chaos erupts swiftly, and the party is on hand to deal with it - if they can but figure out what is going on. Interestingly, you are given two explanations: one to use if playing this as a one-off adventure and a variant if you are using as part of a linked sequence with other adventures in The Sinking series.


It's a neat short adventure, occupying but an evening in-character and likewise playable in a similar timescale. The chaos can prove entertaining as well as exciting, and ought to keep the characters on their toes. It is well supported with maps of the inn and surrounding area, and with good descriptions of encounters, and a couple of new things - a construct and a magical item - that may prove of use in your own adventures. This should provide for an amusing evening's play.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Sinking: Animation
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Dark Heresy: Creatures Anathema
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/02/2015 09:04:09

This work is a lot more than a bestiary of assorted 'monsters' to throw at your Acolytes - although if that's what you are after you will find plenty combat-fodder for them. There's a lot about the nature of threat that they will face as they serve the Emperor, things that will widen your appreciation of the dark and grim nature of the setting and help you bring it to life in your shared alternate reality.


Divided into chapters based on monster type, there are in-character commentaries by Inquisitor Felroth Gelt of the Ordo Malleus - considered very knowledgable about the Calixus Sector but somewhat morally dubious: readers are advised caution - and each monster entry comes with suggestions and plot hooks to help the Game Master bring them into the plotline seamlessly. The final chapter takes this further, being a discourse on the use of adversaries, including scaling notes and additional rules that may be of use.


The first chapter, Mutation, begins with a discussion on what mutation actually is and how it is regarded by mainstream Imperium society - an outward form of inward corruption. Seems they've never heard of genetics! In places where they are not exterminated outright, most mutants face a life of dangerous drudgery as part of an underclass of serfs and indentured labourers. We then read about some notable mutant individuals as well as types of mutant that might be encountered, all with ideas of how they might turn up in your game to best effect.


Next, Chapter 2: Forbidden Science explores the use - or is that misuse? - of tech-science leading to the blasphemous experiments of tech-heresy. Some of these monsters are the results of such experiments, others are the experimenters themselves. Hideous fusions of man and machine are poised ready to rampage across your table, the saddest thing is that often the original experiments were actually attempts to improve the lot of humankind rather than to threaten it. This section in particular demonstrates the deeply-embedded religious nature of the game, that your Acolytes stand not just for 'truth' or 'justice' or 'fairness' but as bastions against the encroachment of evil against the light that is the God-Emperor.


This is followed by Chapter 3: Death Worlds. These are planets that are too dangerous to support much in the way of human settlement yet for all the danger they pose they are often the source of valuable resources. Dangers can be anything from the very environment to vicious wildlife and malevolent plants; and several well-developed death worlds are presented here to use directly or as inspiration for creating your own.


Then comes Chapter 4: Vermin and Predators. There's plenty of those around! There's a short discussion about how to use them to effect in your game, then a good ten of them are presented in gory detail ready to use. Each, of course, comes complete with descriptive text, illustration, stat block, plot hooks and Gelt's notes all aimed at empowering you to bring them to life as vivid threats to your Acolytes.


Moving on we come to Chapter 5: Xenos. This section provides seven well-detailed alien races as well as notes about utilising aliens in general and plot hooks for involving all seven (preferably not at the same time!). Whilst the Imperium views Xenos races as a threat, the feeling is often mutual, especially amongst those that once lived in the area now designated the Calixis Sector but who were driven out. An immense amount of detail is packed in here, enabling you to use these races with confidence.


The last 'monster' chapter, Chapter 6: Forces of Chaos explores the role of chaos and its agents as an ever-present dire threat to the Imperium, indeed to life itself. There are notes about how this threat can be brought to bear as well as eleven fully-described agents of chaos to bring into the game. Adventure seeds and realistic commentaries and notes accompany stat blocks, illustrations and descriptions.


Finally, Chapter 7: Adversaries discusses the core nature of Dark Heresy and indeed Warhammer 40K itself: unending war. But this is more than mere combat, dark and bloody: it's a story of survival and of hope, the hope of preserving the Imperium, imperfect though it may be, against the darkness that could so easily engulf it. Moreover, in running this game you don't just want brawl after brawl, you want to create and share stories that you and your players will remember long after the dice have been put away. Not all the foes they will face are as monsterous as the ones in this book, of course: many will be men just like them but with differing opinions and allegiences. There's discussion of balance, ways in which to face a few Acolytes with what appear to be overwhelming odds yet giving them a fighting chance. The use of fear of the unknown to effect, the involvement of the alien and the horrific - there are plenty of ideas for you to consider as you plan adventure or campaign. How to make things cinematic, how to let individuals shine, how to handle character death should it happen, and more for you to chew on as you actually run those adventures is to be found here too. Of all that I have read so far in the Dark Heresy range, this is perhaps the best bit about writing plots and running games that I have found so far and it will repay careful study.


Everyone needs a ready stable of monsters when running a game, and the final chapter alone makes this an essential work for every Game Master's shelf (or hard drive).



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Heresy: Creatures Anathema
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The Sinking: Doom Golem Rising
Publisher: 0one Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/01/2015 10:09:41

Intended as the climax to the entire saga of The Sinking - a series of stand-alone yet linked adventures set in the Great City - this could also be run as a one-off adventure although it might be a bit confusing and would certainly involve a fair bit of explanation and even some handwaving to convince the characters that they are where you'll need them to be to begin the adventure. It would be much better if they are familiar with the Great City and have experienced at least some of the earlier adventures, that way they should have a handle on what is going on!


The adventure starts in media res with the characters stepping through a dimensional gate. From there, they have an underground complex to explore and some evil creatures to deal with, interestingly there is scope for interaction as well as combat... they can even be convinced to be helpful! The complex is described vividly and as they explore they should gain some understanding of what makes its denizens tick, and just how much danger previous visitors pose to surface dwellers particularly those living in the Great City.


As the adventure proceeds, the characters will be able to gather information and equipment necessary to defeat those who created the sinkhole in the first place before coming up through it to find them on the surface busy announcing that they are the heroes of the day... leading to a climactic fight between two 'doom golems' in the finest mecha style! The Great City won't forget this day in a hurry.


Throughout the adventure, there are references to earlier adventures in the series, which are explained well enough for those who have not played them although they'll work better if the characters have their earlier experiences to draw upon. There's plenty of scope for political double-dealing, or at least the exposure thereof, so players who prefer intrigue to brawling will also have plenty to do, whilst those who revel in combat will have a blast!


You ought to get several sessions of high-octane adventure out of this one, especially enjoyable if you have played at least some of the preceding adventures and can follow the strands that have led to this point. It's a cracker!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Sinking: Doom Golem Rising
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Dark Heresy: Disciples of the Dark Gods
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/30/2015 08:48:52

If you are an Inquisitor, life gets pretty boring without a few heresies, cults and other such issues to investigate. This book goes a way towards alleviating the boredom, providing the Game Master with plenty of foul cults that hide, often in plain sight, throughout the Imperium emperilling the lives and very souls of honest citizens. There's a wealth of information (some of it even true) about what these cults do and believe.


The book is divided into several sections, each dealing with a different aspect of the problems your Acolytes may be sent to deal with. Heretics, mutants, psykers, xenos (aliens), and daemons can be found here, with all the legends and conspiracies that have grown up around them, liberally bestrewn with ideas about how to put them to use in your game. These first few chapters are followed by a chapter on the enemy within, looking at dissent, misunderstanding and strife in the very organisations designed to protect the Imperium. It's not all about weird beings and religious debate, of course, and there's a chapter jam-packed with crime lords and villains as well.


So, Chapter 1: Shadows of the Tyrant Star presents a collection of fragmented prophesies and legends about a rogue dark star that used to, or so it is said, float through the Calixis sector, dragging fear and terror and destruction in its wake. Much takes the form of reports and scrawled notes, suitable to present to your players - although you will have to mess around a bit to take them out of the distinctive page edgings if you are printing from the PDF, and if you own the 'dead tree' version, even a photocopy may not give as full a flavour as might be desired. It would be an enhancement to provide straight PDF versions for GMs to print out for use in play. Some suggestions are made as to how you might weave them into your plots or even base a whole campaign around this star.


Chapter 2: Hereticus then looks at the threats posed by heretics, mutants and psykers. Of course, in an Imperium ruled by an Emperor who is also a god, heresy can take the form of any kind of dissent - pursuing forbidden scientific research, say, political corruption or even being over-vocal in support of progress, it's not always a matter of having got your doctrine wrong or gone off worshipping other deities instead of dutifully following the state religion. Different kinds of cults are discussed, along with some of the rarer abilities some psykers manifest (mainly intended for antagonists but you may wish to allow more advanced Acolytes access to carefully-selected ones). A major heresy called the Temple Tendency is gone into in considerable detail ready for you to use as an underlying plot, background or even a major adversary, depending on your needs and wishes. And if that were not enough, there's another bunch called The Logicians. They seek progress through scientific method and rational analysis rather than religious faith. Again there's plenty of detail on them, as well as on the Pale Throng and the Night Cult, other mischief-makers with which to contend .


Then Chapter 3: Xenos explores the alien threat with, again, plenty of detail about what lurks in the blackest reaches of space and hungers to devour or corrupt the honest citizens it is the Acoloytes' duty to protect. More subtle than ravaging war-fleets, the threats are many and diverse, and there's plenty of scope for missions against them with the information provided here. This is followed by Chapter 4: Malleus, where chaos raises its ugly head to cast a malign influence where it may, the deadly interaction between humanity and the warp. Survival is impossible without it, yet the threat is immense and must be guarded against at all times. Sorcery, dark relics and more are to be found here, again with commentary about how they may be used to effect in your game.


Next, Chapter 5: The Enemy Within is all about dissent that could lead to open strife within the very power structures of the Imperium itself. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Who watches the watchers?) Perhaps your Acolytes will be that bastion that stands firm. There's an overview of the causes of conflict, dispute, and factionalism within the authorities and powers that govern the Imperium, an opening of a lid on self-interest, territorialism and other blights that even those involved may not recognise as being against the interests of the greater good within the Imperium they honestly think that they serve.


Chapter 6: The Hunted presents the Most Wanted list, a fine array of transgressors for eager Acolytes to track down and bring to book, along with notes on villain design and the use of the nemesis. Plenty of good advice here for Game Masters to absorb as they plot away.


Finally, there's a scenario ready to play, pitting Acolytes against the dark forces that have gathered to misappropriate the legacy of a Rogue Trader. Called The House of Dust and Ash, there is plenty to keep your Acolytes busy, all presented clearly. Recommended for more experienced Acolytes of the 4th or 5th career rank, it comes in four main parts with plenty of optional encounters and room for expansion as you see fit. There's plenty of advice and scope for stamping your own mark on proceedings... and I'm wishing I hadn't read it now, it would have been fun to play!


Overall, this is an excellent resource, full of information to help you craft adventures that fit the ambience, the feel, of this setting. The Acolytes may not thank you for reading this, but their players will!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Heresy: Disciples of the Dark Gods
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Dark Heresy: Inquisitor's Handbook
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/26/2015 09:49:28

This rules expansion delves deep into what it means to be an Inquisitor, providing a wealth of information about the setting of Warhammer 40K and the Inquisitor's place within that setting as well as a host of options to consider in customising your character - everything from new origins and professions to details of different worlds, the religious philosophies he might be exposed to and the nature of life as an Acolyte. There's a lot here, a lot to take in!


Chapter 1: Advanced Character Creation is the home of many of these new options. Building on the core rulebook, there are new homeworlds, backgrounds and character origins from which to choose. Neatly, the Homeworld table from the core rules has been rewritten to incorporate the new ideas so you can just read through (or roll if you prefer a random origin) the one collection rather than having to juggle the information from two books at once! Various sub-options have been provided to allow for even greater variety. This all serves to enhance the rich tapestry of the setting, it's worth reading through the options you don't intend to play just to get an idea of what else is out there!


The chapter moves on to review some unique worlds of the Calixis Sector - useful if you will be visiting, essential if you (or the dice) decide that is where you come from. There are also optional background packages, tailored to suit characters of different career paths and designed to help you give depth and personality to your character - another neat idea. In choosing them other requirements quite often need to be met, ensuring that the background fits your character well.


Next, Chapter 2: Calixian Careers suggests a new career path and offers modifications to existing ones as well as an array of what are described as elite advance packages. First, though, in the male-dominated environment that is the Inquisition, comes the Adepta Sororitas or Daughters of the Emperor, which consists of various orders involved in all aspects of endevour from warfare to diplomacy, teachers to investigators. They're powerful and very straight-laced, unable to tolerate the slightest deviation from orthodoxy or taint of the forbidden. It's not so much a career path as a whole battery of them, driven by faith and providing a wealth of opportunity for those who'd like to play a female character. This is followed by a collection of alternative ways to follow existing career paths, allowing you to customise a character in depth. Interestingly, all the alternatives are rooted in conspiracies, organisations or cults to be found in the Calixis Sector, helping to embed the character deeply into the region in which they operate. You won't change career path, but your advancement through your chosen one will take twists and turns unavailable to others. Each option comes with copious background notes as well as new skills and abilities to apply to the character. Elite advance packages, on the other hand, allow the character to remain on the core career path but take a few non-standard options as they advance, often due to something they've done or experienced along the way.


Chapter 3: Feral and Feudal Worlds begins a look at a vast range of weapons and other equipment that can be found on specific planets within the Calixis Sector. Characters who come from a given world ought to be at least familiar with them and may choose to wield them, others may take a liking to them when they encounter them and go to great efforts to seek them out and learn how to use them to effect. The next two chapters, Chapter 4: Hive and Forge Worlds and Chapter 5: Frontier Worlds and the Void, continue this pattern. Hive worlds are manufacturing centres with high population densities, while forge worlds are also industrial but in the grip of the Adeptus Mechanicus with many things rich and strange (and deadly) to be found there in the shape of the techno-devices that they make. As Calixis Sector is on the edge of the Imperium, there are quite a few frontier worlds which are even more dangerous that one might imagine. And then there is the void. The black between all these worlds and the ships that ply the spacelanes. Naturally, special skills and equipment are needed to survive let alone prosper there. Acolytes often have to travel as part of their duties, sometimes a vessel will be provided but often they will have to find their own way, the details here will help both party and GM organise transportation when it is required.


This survey is followed by Chapter 6: War Zones. There are plenty of them in Calixis Sector (indeed, anywhere in an Imperium which thrives on and is sustained by warfare), and this chapter touches on the weapons and equipment needed to survive there. Properly the domain of the Imperial Guard, there will be occasions when Acolytes' duties take them close to the action. Those interested in military weapons will find plenty here.


Next, Chapter 7: The Holy Ordos takes a look at some of the specialised and rare items used by the Inquisition itself, some are actually unique or extremely specialised for a specific task. Whilst Acolytes are expected to deal with situations using whatever resources they have to hand, it can be useful to know what is available and where to get it if the need arises.


Chapter 8: Religion and Superstition is more philosophical in tone, talking about religious faith within the Imperium. Belief in the God-Emperor is a given - it's not faith, he's actually there, a tangible presence: and he does not tolerate those who do not worship him. However, not everyone is devout, not everyone wishes to listen to preachers, even if they'd say that they venerate the God-Emperor as they should... and here you can find out about the varied roles religion plays in citizens' lives. The priesthood, saints, relics and pilgrimages that may feature in an Acolyte's religious life are discussed here, as well as common heresies that he might encounter. It all helps to add depth and flavour to the setting.


Finally, Chapter 9: Life as an Acolyte gives an inkling of the day-to-day existence that is the character's lot. Threats to overcome, positions to jockey for, the ways to stand out and gain advancement... and how alter-egos and contacts work, both mechanically and in-character. Sometimes an Acolyte does not wish it to be known what he is, hence the need for alter-egos, legends and disguises. And if you are investigating something, contacts always come in useful - as they do if you need something specific to complete the task in hand. Notes on expanded skills and the ability to craft things round out the chapter, and then an Appendix contains collected weapons tables from throughout the book.


There's a lot here, but all serves to contribute to the rich variety of the setting. The sheer scope, the vast sweep, is what makes the Warhammer 40K setting what it is, and this work encapsulates that nicely, bringing information about places and equipment, organisations and ideas, to your hands, and should prove valuable to players and GMs alike.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Heresy: Inquisitor's Handbook
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Dark Heresy: Purge the Unclean
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/23/2015 10:25:06

This work contains three linked adventures which will take a party of Acolytes to some quite unsavoury corners of the underbelly of the Calixis Sector. They are all suitable for characters of Rank 5 or below, and follow on quite nicely from Illumination, the introductory adventure at the back of the core rulebook, thus helping you to get your campaign off to a flying start. However, they are open enough that it's a trivial matter to retool them to take place elsewhere if you do not happen to want to use the Calixis Sector. Again, although linked, you do not need to run all of them if you campaign takes a different direction, and each provides suggestions for further adventures and special notes for those who want to exploit the various factions or Ordos within the Inquisition.


There's a brief introduction explaining all this, then it's on to the first adventure, Rejoice for You Are True. This takes the Acolytes to Scintilla, the capital of the entire Calixis Sector, to investigate a burgeoning new cult called the Joyous Choir. They believe that the main purpose of the Emperor is to ensure that all citizens of the Imperium are happy and hence hold that they should be contented with their lot, whatever it might be, to gain his favour. It's proven popular amongst young nobles and middle-echelon individuals, who seek to become True (as the cult terms it) through attending workshops and individual sessions run by cult Counsellors. Unfortunately, a few members have gone missing, and it is this along with discovery of xenotech devices that has led to the Acolytes being sent to investigate.


The Acolytes will be able to use a variety of routes to investigate, including posing as ‘visiting cousins’ to the noble and thus getting the opportunity to infiltrate the upper echelons of the cult, as well as wandering the streets to find out whatever they can about it. This is definitely an adventure for players who enjoy interaction, investigation and intrigue. There is a lot of atmospheric description to help you set the scene and create a convincing alternate reality for the Acolytes to wander through, and vividly-described NPCs for them to meet. There’s even a pamphlet that the Joyous Choir hands out on the street for you to give them, while there are many unusual rules and customs to catch them out. Make sure you have read the adventure thoroughly beforehand so that you know what they are! There's a lot going on (and a lot for you to keep track of), but there is plenty of advice as to what the Acolytes might do and how to deal with it in their quest to find out what's really going on.


The second adventure is called Shades on Twilight. It's a classic action adventure where the Acolytes are sent to explore a mysterious space hulk that has just emerged heading straight for Scintilla - so they are under pressure to find out what's going on, retrieve anything useful and ensure that it does not hit the sector capital! Pressure indeed, a scant 15 hours are allowed for them to complete their work. There are all manner of threats and downright oddities for them to contend with as they explore. Again, the adventure is well-resourced to enable you to run it to good effect.


The final adventure, Baron Hopes, takes the Acolytes to Sepheris Secundus, a planet where downtrodden serfs live a life that is only slightly less hard than that of mutants. A Baron there attempted - heretical idea! - to better the lives of the mutants but was eventually dealt with, however now the mutants have formed a 'terrorist' group, the Broken Chains, which has been causing trouble - and it seems that even once killed they won't stay dead. Or at least, a recent photograph shows someone believed killed. The Acolytes are sent to find out what's going on in what appears to be another investigative adventure, but which will soon turn to full-blown horror as the investigation turns into an exercise of pure survival!


All three adventures can be summed up with terms like 'atmosphere' - as well as providing plenty of action they also give a real feel for what this alternate reality, the world of Warhammer 40K, is like, highlighting the curious mix of priviledge and constraint that is the Inquisitors' lot within it. They should contribute well to a memorable campaign.



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Dark Heresy: Purge the Unclean
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Dark Heresy: Game Master's Kit
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/20/2015 08:47:23

This product has two components: a Game Master's screen and a book containing an adventure and some additional rules. Depending on whether you've gone 'dead tree' or electronic, you either get a cardstock screen and printed book or two separate PDFs to download.


The screen has some useful tables - the ones you are likely to need most often during combat - on one side and some quite dramatic art on the player-facing side. If you have gone for the electronic option, you'll have to print these out and stick them on card for the full effect, of course. Whilst pleasing to the eye, the art is dark and will use up a lot of ink - it may be best to have it done at a copy shop, or decide that you just want the tables for your own convenience. They are in greyscale, clear and easy to read.


The adventure is called Maggots in the Meat. It's set on Acerage, a backwater planet within the Imperium with a feudal ruling structure and hordes of quarrelsome lordlings perpetually squabbling over who is in charge of what, even more so since the High King died without troubling to name a successor! However, this is of no direct interest to the Imperium as long as tribute is paid and the world's surplus food output supplied...


The adventure itself begins with the party of Acolytes (it's suited to 1st or 2nd rank ones) being sent to investigate reports of 'unnatural' attacks on citizens of one lordling's domain, rumours of 'daemons' and 'monsters' fly around and it's their job to get to the bottom of them. Needless to say, the region in which they will have to conduct their investigations is being fought over at the moment.


There's a lot of atmospheric description of the areas they have to visit, along with people to interact with and rumours to pick up in the course of their investigations. Enough is provided to enable you to steer them in the right direction to the source of the problems, and there are plenty of opportunities to brawl along the way, never mind the likelihood of a spectacular combat with said source once they find it. It's a good open-ended adventure with options for you to take it in whatever direction you please, including suggestions for further adventures.


There's also an Appendix which contains details of a xenos (alien) race, rules for creating your own aliens - which can, of course be a sentient race or 'monsters', alien animals to fight, as you need, and a section on poisons and toxins. This includes a list of 'Infamous Toxins of the Calixis Sector' and their effects.


The adventure is good fun, with plenty going on yet open enough for you to run it in a fairly sandbox style to enable the characters to conduct their investigations however they please. The xenos generation system is excellent, and should come in useful whenever you need an alien monster (or race).



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Heresy: Game Master's Kit
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Dark Heresy: Core Rulebook
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/19/2015 10:22:03

This massive tome launches the Warhammer 40K Roleplaying line, something long-awaited by those who'd watched the richness of the setting unfold around the original minitatures skirmish game. Unsurprisingly, it begins by explaining the underlying concepts of that setting, clearly enough that even those of us uninterested in miniatures can understand. Set in the 41st Century, it paints a bleak picture of galaxy-spanning warfare across decaying worlds where much of technology has been lost, presided over by an undead - or at least, not properly alive - emperor, who is as much deity as ruler.


Interestingly, characters are not the iconic 'Space Marines' of the skirmish game, but acolytes of the Inquisition, whose role is to search out threats to the Imperium of Man from within and without. The first part of the book explains how to create your character and shows how the game is played, with later chapters detailing the role of the Game Master, providing a lot more information on the setting, and even an introductory scenario to get things going.


The character creation process is laid out clearly in Chapter 1: Character Creation. It is a six-stage process beginning by determining your home world. You next work out your 'characteristics' or capabilities both physical and mental and then choose a career path to follow. Next you have points to spend on skills (or improving characteristics if preferred) as well as money for weapons, armour and other equipment. That's the main number-crunching part of the process. Then you need to flesh out the character a bit, deciding everything from what he looks like to how he behaves and thinks, maybe even his hobbies or favourite food! Each choice made has a bearing on what comes after, and in the main you have the option of making a choice or rolling random results, although you do have to roll characteristics. Plenty of detail on all the options is provided to help you make up your mind, and it's written in such a way that you are absorbing background on the setting as well - neat!


Chapter 2: Career Paths comes next, giving a wealth of detail about what the path you have chosen to follow has to offer, both now and in the future as your character gains experience. Each is unique, indeed each character on that path can choose a different route, and it is worth studying your chosen one thoroughly from the outset. The entire process of advancement is described here too, it's complex but elegant and quite easy to follow once you get the hang of it. Again, the background is woven in seamlessly so as you read you discover more about your niche within the setting.


The next few chapters continue in similar vein, with detailed examinations of skills, talents, equipment and psychic powers, if you are lucky (or unfortunate?) enough to have any. Throughout, it is explained how each one will work both mechanically and in character, enabling you to use them to good effect in play. The final part of the opening section is Chapter 7: Playing the Game which draws everything else together and gives you the lowdown on how to make everything work. Examples and advice abound, and although there's no substitute for trying it all out, preferably in the company of someone who already understands it, this chapter provides a good start.


Then comes Chapter 8: The Game Master, which seeks to provide aspiring Game Masters with what they need to know to run the game effectively. It is comprehensive, starting from the basics and hence being suitable for someone who has never GMed before, as well as providing system and setting specific information to empower you to run Dark Heresy well. There is a wealth of material here and it will repay careful study (along with the rest of the book, as the GM, of course, needs to have a thorough grounding in rules and setting alike).


The next three chapters provide more detail on the background and setting, looking at life in the Imperium, the Inquisition itself and one part of known space, the Calixis Sector. Unlike many combined rulebooks (i.e. those intended for both GM and player) which divide into a 'Player' section and a 'Game Master' section, these are of equal use to both players and GMs despite being located after the chapter dedicated to the art of game mastering, certainly the chapter on life in the Imperium. The GM may choose to reveal the inner workings of the Inquisition through role-play, if the characters begin as new recruits to its ranks, and likewise may wish to restrict knowledge of the Calixis Sector until the party actually goes there.


Chapter 12: Aliens, Heretics and Antagonists provides a bestiary and details of those whom the characters may encounter in their travels, with particular note - of course - to those who they might be investigating for heresy or who would provide opposition.


Finally, there is a full-blown adventure, Illumination, to get your campaign off to a good beginning. It's a tale of treachery and dark secrets to be uncovered, with action and danger aplenty, showcasing many of the perils that the average Inquisitor faces on a day-to-day basis. A bunch of newly-recruited Acolytes (guess who?) are sent to escort a senior Inquisitor as he heads up an investigation of a barbaric world... but they have to get there first.


As well as providing all the game mechanics necessary to play the game, this richly-presented tome provides an excellent introduction to a darkly fascinating setting. Whether you are a long-time player of the skirmish game wanting to know what else those characters do but brawl or a role-player looking for a vivid and rich setting with depth, this is worth checking out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Heresy: Core Rulebook
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Shadowrun: Street Grimoire
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/18/2015 10:08:30

Magic in the Sixth World is a diverse and fascinating topic. Practitioners range from the studious academic magician who'd as soon write a paper about a spell as cast it to the street mage who doesn't care about theory as long as it works. This book is designed to open the lid on the practise of magic with everything from underpinning theory and beliefs to organisations mages can join and (of course) plenty of new spells. Then there's material about spirits, alchemy and the role of the talismonger as well.


Of course, after the introduction explains what's in the book, the first thing we get is some fiction. It's intriguing, a story about a girl returning home to see her sick mother, with the magic she wields being almost incidental: a nice touch, it is about a person not her magic!


Story told, along comes Surviving Magic, a discussion about what it means to be a full-blown magic capable part of the Awakened world. For some it is a joy, for some something fearful - and for most, a mixture of the two. Much of this is conversational in style, with contributions from others chipping in. It's a wide-ranging discussion beginning with finding out that you are magically-endowed - and how that makes you a target for everyone who wants to use or abuse you - and looking at popular conceptions about mages and so much more. This is useful reading even for those who are not playing mages, because it helps set the scene in which both mage and mundane operate. Many people are scared of magic, whether they can wield it or not. Others seek to exploit it... and in some parts of the world it's illegal. Most schools test for magical aptitude like they test for other potentials and capabilities, and track those who show signs of it, whilst most universities run courses in magic - which interestingly are not just for those who can cast spells, there are programmes for those interested in the underlying theory, the social ramifications - well, you know academics, they'll study a topic from every possible angle! Of course, shamans stand somewhat outside of this, as they rely on a spirit guide rather than book-learning. Corporations and even religions also take an interest, recruiting magic-users and making use of their skills. And then there's the shadow world...


Next, Magic in the World gets down to the nuts and bolts of how magic actually works. Or at least, as much as is popularly understood. It's not just the laws of magic that are talked about here, it's also the law as it relates to magic: licences to practice or even to purchase magic items can trip up the unwary. You can also find out all about mana and background counts and rifts and other strange manifestations of natural magical power.


Then comes Magical Traditions with a round-up of the myriad beliefs and theories underpinning magic. There are a lot of them, and it depends on your background and upbringing which you'll decide to apply. Most faiths have quite strong ideas on the matter, but if you are not religious there are plenty other paths to follow. Each tradition has its own core style and preferred spells.


This is followed by a section called Magical Societies. People like to band together and it's as true of mages and shamans as it is of anybody else. Some operate openly, others are hidden - and probably find you rather than the other way around. There's everything from religious orders and learned societies to street gangs here. They could provide allies or opponents for the characters, even if they choose not to join up.


The next section is rather ominously titled Dark Magic. Now, those not magically-endowed may see all magic-wielders as being involved in the dark arts but the more enlightened know that magic isn't anything like that, it's a tool like any other and can be used for good or ill... but... well, there really is some nasty stuff out there in the magical world. You may not want to dabble yourself, you may never even encounter it, but it is best to be prepared! Some comes from within, drawing on the worst ideas and emotions that people can have, and some comes from without, from alien entities. Whatever the source, those who choose to make use of it risk their very metahumanity - and quite possibly, yours. The reasons why someone might want to go there are explored, as well as the different paths into darkness that might be followed. All manners of nastiness, most suited more to be used against your party of shadowrunners than used by them (indeed some of the anecdotes and comments suggest scenario ideas as you read them!), and there's plenty of detail such as spirit statistics to enable their use.


Then on to the Expanded Grimoire, which provides a wealth of new spells with which to experiment. They are grouped by nature, so you have combat spells, detection spells and so on. Each comes with a detailed description of its effects and uses as well as the necessary detail to cast it during a game. There's a lot here... but if that is not sufficient, the next section is Shadow Rituals. This is a more detailed look at formal ritual magic than you find in the core rulebook, with plenty of ideas and examples for those who have the patience, discipline and desire to perform castings of this type.


Next comes Secrets of the Initiates. Here, those who wish to expand their powers can find out about different routes they can follow to gain even more arcane knowledge through enlightenment. Not for the faint-hearted, but for those willing to make the attempt the rewards can be potent indeed. Various ordeals may be required, but whole areas of knowledge may be opened up: geomancy, necromancy, psychometry and more. There's even a note about a fascinating career path, that of the forensic thaumaturgist. This role revolves around the use of magic to solve crimes rather than the solving of crimes in which magic was employed (although a good one can probably do that as well). The concept suggests a whole campaign based around a fusion of police procedural, magic and general CSI/forensics... but before I get sidetracked, there's loads more in here, which will be of interest to the more thoughtful mages, those interested in the theory and philosophy of their art as well as the practical applications thereof.


There's another fiction segment, Butcher's Bill, then on to a section called Physical Magic. More goodies for the physical adepts amongst us. Like each section, this begins with a short (page or so) fictional excerpt to set the scene, before launching into detailed material which starts off by explaining what physical adepts are and how they fit into Sixth World society. To give more scope to adepts, several paths or ways for them to follow are presented, each allowing the adept to specialise and focus on a specific area based on their underlying philosophy. There are some juicy new adept powers as well.


The final two sections, The Immaterial Touch and Turning Lead Into Nuyen, deal with spirits and alchemy. The section on spirits delves deep, looking at where they come from, the whys and hows behind the stat blocks we are used to, and should help you make them more of an integral part of your world. Different types of spirit and a collection of new spirit powers round off this section, along with things as diverse as how to create an ally spirit, avatars and more. Finally, the section on alchemy looks at the practice of that ancient craft, providing scope for those who'd like to try it out or for making more rounded NPCs whom the characters might consult. There's a lot about magic items and their manufacture too; and then the discussion moves on to talismongers - what they do and how, and the things they have to offer.


This book reaches down into the core essence of Shadowrun, showing how magic is integral - this is not just a cyberpunk world where magic works, but a true natural revolution, a world changed by the resurgence of magic. Most of us have got that idea already, but the depth and breadth presented here really brings it home and makes it all come to life. If you want the full picture, add this and Run and Gun to your library along with the core rulebook.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Street Grimoire
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Shadowrun: Stolen Souls
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/12/2015 09:55:51

Here we have a wide-ranging and varied text, a mix of immense plot ideas and the tools to help you incorporate them into your campaign, from the broad sweeps to the nitty-gritty of actually managing extraction 'runs... there's a lot here and it repays careful study. Even if you do not fancy the main thrust of the plot, you will find material that could enhance your game.


The whole plotline suggestion is based around the spread of a nasty mental illness, one which is spread disease-like from afflicted individual to afflicted individual. It's causing panic, of course, even in corporate circles... and when corporates panic, there's usually work for shadowrunners! Or your 'runners may know someone with this disease, or actually be motivated to try to save the world from it. To bring this plot into your campaign there's a wealth of resources, even down to patient records (unfortunately, not done as handouts, but possible to manipulate into in-character material if that's what you want to do). Fact and rumour, reports and speculation all work together to build up a picture of what is known about the condition and how various entities are reacting to it. You might choose to let this bubble along in the background, to gauge player interest, before deciding how major a role it will play in your campaign.


One odd side-effect is that there's been an upsurge in corporate extractions. It seems this disease, or whatever it is, strikes at those best suited to actually combat it... and so people with the right capabilities are in high demand just as they are getting scarcer. So much of the focus of the book is on extractions with everything from good locations to snatch people from (with a detailed look at the corporate hothouse of Manhattan) to discussions on the most effective way to perform them and a toolkit of useful equipment. Of course, studying the 'how to' of extraction is just as useful if you earn your nuyen protecting people, suggesting alternate slants if you might prefer to put your characters on the other side, so to speak.


Particularly of use should any character contract the condition - called Cognitive Fragmentation Disorder or CFD - or if they find themselves looking after a victim, is an extensive section on treatment which discusses a wide range of approaches from physical (anything from psychoanalysis to surgery or drugs) through magical and even use of the Matrix. It's presented as case studies, complete with narrative results. It will be up to the GM to put some numbers to any such treatment characters decide to try, though.


The neat thing is, that virtually all of this book is player-friendly. There's a short section at the back which gives the low-down about the real nature of the condition which explains a bit about what is going on and provides the necessary game mechanics, but the GM should feel able to let players read nearly everything else. Even the details about Manhattan and other corporate information is stuff that good research ought to discover.


Presentation is good, if sometimes a bit fragmented - a read-through is recommended first, so that you know where to find whatever you are after later on. It's really an idea-spawning and planning tool rather than an actual campaign guide, you are going to have to come up with your own campaign arc and individual adventures. In some ways, it is a bit narrow to be the focus of a whole campaign (is defeating a disease really what you're playing Shadowrun for?), yet in other ways it is ideal - a massive world-spanning threat which your characters might, just might, be able to defeat. Perhaps it could serve as a background thing or a sub-plot, bubbling up every so often amidst the other things going on in your shadowrunners' lives, then maybe taking centre stage when you decide it's ripe for a climax. It's thought-provoking, providing plenty of ideas worth thinking about and developing further - whilst the material on extractions is of general use to any 'runner.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Stolen Souls
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Shadowrun: Run & Gun
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/11/2015 10:03:40

This mammoth tome is billed as the 'core combat rulebook' for Shadowrun 5e, and provides a wealth of detail to supplement and expand on what the core rulebook has to say on the matter. A lot of it is gear - weapons, armour and suchlike - but that in many ways is the least important part, however much your characters like shopping. There are loads of new rules too, but again whilst they will enhance combat by giving you more options, these too are ancillary. The best bits are the more thoughtful ones. Advice on tactics, working as a team, and how to use all the new weapons and combat actions to best effect. In essence, it's a graduate school for shadowrunners, how to develop from being mere street scum to a force to be reckoned with.


But as always, we begin with some fiction. A compelling tale of a 'run going wrong fast, how familiar does that sound? Then the first chapter, Fight for your Life, presented as an online discussion of various aspects of combat along the general lines of what you don't know is the thing that kills you. It looks at fighting itself, weapons, armour, hand-to-hand brawling, tactics, teamwork and the creative use of explosives. Some of this you may have considered already, some may be new to you, but study it well. Someday it may save your 'runner's butt. It's the sort of advice that any beginning character would love to have before he steps out into the underbelly of whatever city he's in.


Next comes Arsenal, a massive listing of just about any weapon you can imagine. It's not just firearms either, perhaps you'd fancy a Highland Claymore (it's a sword, not an explosive...) or want to go all Indiana Jones with a bullwhip, and there are plenty others that are even more exotic. The firearms range from tiny holdout guns to heavy artillery. One novel one is the Shiawase Arms Puzzler, which breaks down into component parts that are disguised as items you might legitimately be carrying, everything from jewellry to commlink accessories, so you can take it someplace you are not supposed to be carrying a weapon. Each is illustrated and comes with description, commentary and a stat block.


Then Armour and Protection does the same for all the stuff you need to keep you safe - as it's pointed out earlier in Fight for your Life, it's really rather silly to spend loads on fancy weapons then skimp on protection. That nice shiny weapon is of no use to you if you are no longer alive to wield it. Neat items include several lines of designer combat wear, so you can look smart and stay safe at the same time. Of course, depending on what you are doing and where you are doing it, a full suit of heavy-duty armour may be more appropriate. That's here as well. Then it all gets exotic. People ignore you if you're dead, right? So why not have some armour specially-rigged so that any damage looks like a kill-shot and fall over when you're hit. Let the brawl move away, then get up again... On a more practical note, you'll also find all that you need for environmental protection - be it too hot, too cold or underwater or even out in space that you want to go!


The next chapter is Tactics and Tools, and here we get back to the discussions that make this book particularly fascinating. It's all about taking small-unit tactics beyond that Shadowrun standby, 'geek the mage first'. Building a team, defining roles, communications, and then holding it all together when the lead and spells start to fly, again this is well worth study if you want your team to be truly effective rather than relying on strength through superior firepower. Veterans will recognise a lot of what is here, but it is no great leap to apply basic military small-unit skills to a group of shadowrunners even if they are less disciplined than a squad of soldiers. The rule mechanics to enable you to model these techniques are included to make this section even more potent... and there are more 'tools of the trade' to empower your group to operate at peak efficiency.


This is followed by Killshots and More, which looks at effective combat, the actual delivery of force part. Options to make combat even more deadly, and ways to pursue non-lethal yet effective methods of putting your point across on the battlefield. Again every suggestion comes with the game mechanics to put it into action. Perhaps you'd like to call shots with precision accuracy, or produce devastating effects based on what ammunition your are using. You'll find plenty of ideas here, along with novel combat moves and much, much more.


Next, Staying Alive addresses other dangers that you may face. Environmental hazards, extreme weather conditions and the ills that come with them - dehydration, sunburn or frostbite... you name it, you'll find it here along with the rules to implement it in your game. Man-made problems like pollution and radiation are included as well. Or perhaps you'd rather venture into the air, under the sea or into the blackness of space?


Then there's Blow Up Good, everything you might want to know about the combat applications of explosives. You may think that blowing stuff up looks like fun, but it's dangerous - and not just in the obvious way, for example you might like to consider the legal implications of being caught with a load-out of illicit explosives. It doesn't matter if you want to purchase or make your charges, or if you want to drop a building or a troll, just about everything you need to know is here.


Finally, there's a another piece of fiction, Hostile Extraction; and an accummulation in one place of a whole stack of useful tables.


Overall, this takes combat to an art form, with plenty of ideas to enhance the use of violence in your game, coupled with the equipment and rules additions to make it happen. Even if combat is not your favourite part of role-playing, this will make you reconsider joining in the next brawl with enthusiasm!



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Run & Gun
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Shadowrun: Gun H(e)aven 3 Weapon Cards (SR5 Stats)
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/09/2015 09:06:59

Whether or not you are using Gun H(e)aven 3, these are handy ready-reference cards for the weapons contained in that book. Each card covers one of the weapons, complete with an illustration and the weapon statistics, so organised players can depict their loadout on the tabletop with the relevant cards - and even better, not have to look through the book or on their character sheets to find the data when they need it. After all, the middle of a firefight is not the best place to be looking something up in a book!


The illustrations are the same ones as in Gun H(e)aven 3, which some people found rather bland and unexciting however I find them crisp and clear... some idea of scale would have been nice, though. The stat blocks are for Shadowrun 5e only, although the book was dual-statted for 4e as well - although a separate set of cards is available for those who prefer the earlier edition. Makes sense, the convenience of the cards would be lost if you had to pick the right stat block out every time you consulted one! If you buy the PDF version, there's a single card back provided if you want to have neat double-sided cards, printed/stuck on card or perhaps laminated - they'd be a bit flimsy else.


If you are using these particular weapons, a handy reference tool indeed. It's a nice additon to the main Gear Cards set released earlier, hopefully the same will be done with the weapons and other items to be found in other supplements (or perhaps as part of that supplement?).



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Gun H(e)aven 3 Weapon Cards (SR5 Stats)
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Island Keep
Publisher: Ars Phantasia Press
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/07/2015 09:20:32

If you have need of a well-fortified island settlement for your next game you might take a look at this one. Indeed, if you do take a look anyway, you may find plots spawning as you explore the potentials.


The download is jam-packed with four large JPEGS - at 8.5 x 11.6 inches - offering black and white or colour, labelled or unlabelled versions, plus 2 PDF files (A4 or letter) which have single page copies of the same core versions as well as larger multi-page ones you can print out and stick together.


So, what's the place like? It's a roughly teardrop-shaped island with a rocky shore and an extensive harbour area with wooden staging. Most of the buildings are protected by curtain walls, and the highest point is well-fortified with a central keep surrounded by a wall with towers. Given the harbour provision and the presence (if you use the labelled version) of a Fishmonger's Hall, it's likely that the place makes most of its income from fishing. There's also a Shipwright's Hall, although nothing that really shouts 'shipyard' at you. Looking at the labelled version, there are also two inns - one scruffy one on the docks and a more upmarket one within the walls - and several general businesses to provide for most of your needs. Certain somewhere a seafaring party might find a useful port of call, if not a base.


Visually, it's a neat image with the appearance of being hand-drawn, inked and coloured... it could almost be the work of a local cartographer and so could be used as an in-character handout, as well as being used to inform players of where their characters are.


It's an interesting place with plenty of scope to develop into an important feature of any seafaring campaign.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Island Keep
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