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Legendary Realms - Player's Handbook
Publisher: On The Lamb
by Jose F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/21/2016 02:11:52

This book is such a train wreck I don't even know where to begin.

The layout is hard to read with two columns with little space between them and greatly oversized text.

You're told to assign values to stats without knowing what the values mean.

Sections of rule-like information have no introduction and no explanation for use. Blocks of talents and/or abilities are presented with no master lists or even alphabetized!

Rules aren't described until Chapter 10 (!) and you are told the GM will come up with target numbers, but I couldn't find any information on what those target numbers might even look like.

This is what the result of a random RPG generator program may look like.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Realms - Player's Handbook
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Far Away Land RPG: Core Rules
Publisher: Simian Circle Games
by Jose F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/02/2016 00:50:53

Fantastic little game. The author calls it fantasy heartbreaker-esque but it's not as it doesn't resemble D&D at all. It has simple rules which make sense and intentionally vague definitions to harken back to the old school days. The art has a wonderfully unique style too but don't be too fooled by it, it may be a little frightening for younger children.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Far Away Land RPG: Core Rules
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Cornerstone RPG - Basic
Publisher: Sigil Stone Publishing
by Jose F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/20/2016 00:44:26

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



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cornerstone RPG - Basic
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Mazes & Perils RPG
Publisher: WG Productions
by Jose F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/20/2016 00:41:26

I cannot fathom why someone would play this over D&D when they've done nothing to differentiate themselves.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Mazes & Perils RPG
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Aetherianica - Public Playtest
Publisher: Dark Spire
by Jose F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/18/2016 04:41:39

This is pretty much impossible to read. 80%+ of the material is jammed into tables. Table color changes for most sections meaning it looks like a rainbow threw up in it. The tables are also unreadably formatted. Here is a sample of text from a column formatted the same as it is in the PDF:

Choos e a Specie s. A creatur e of that species

I tried to read the material but honestly I could find no redeeming qualities to inspire me to keep going.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Aetherianica - Public Playtest
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Gamers Guide to Fantasy Role-playing, Volume I
Publisher: Roleplayers Chronicle
by Jose F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/10/2015 02:53:51

Features one page per RPG with not much more than cut & paste description from product pages. Useless.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Gamers Guide to Fantasy Role-playing, Volume I
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Anathema
Publisher: End Transmission Games
by Jose F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/18/2012 04:39:56

This RPG was written in 24 hours by one person, so I did not expect much from it. Boy was I wrong. The author packs more creativity in a scant 27 pages than most would-be RPG designers do in hundreds.

The PDF is well bookmarked. There is a table of contents but no index. The typesetting is not great and the section titles are rendered in a hard to read font. The cover image is the only art.

The game world is set in the near future where Earth's population is at 9 billion. The Balance has decreed that the population must be reduced by 4 billion. Players are Shrouds, the definition of which is surprisingly lengthy yet concise at the same time. Shrouds are former humans which now serve The Balance and are now responsible for harvesting human lives - as many and as quickly as possible.

Action resolution is dice pool and threshold based using D6. Every roll of 4-6 is a success, and each action requires a certain number of successes in order to succeed. Opposed tests result in the character with the larger number of successes subtracting their opponent's lower number of successes to determine their own level of success.

Characters have 6 abilities, 5 shared among both humans and Shrouds - Combat, Perception, Manipulation, Resistance, and Will - Life unique to humans, and Anathema unique to Shrouds. Humans start at 5 life and die when reduced to 0. Shrouds spend Anathema to activate supernatural powers.

There is a surprising amount of unique content here that is somewhat hard to describe. Central to character creation is describing how your Shroud's human Husk died. There are three sample reasons why the Husk was chosen by The Balance, and a great list of "powers" such as Accident Freak and Typhoid Mary.

I can't see a long-running campaign evolving from the setting, but it would make a fantastic one-shot. Highly recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Anathema
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Creator Reply:
Thanks so much for your review - we're so glad you enjoyed the game! Hope you have a good time playing it :)
Daemornia: The Role Playing Game
Publisher: D6 Studios
by Jose F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/18/2012 04:14:24

Daemornia is a post-apocalyptic fantasy RPG set in a daemonically-ravaged Earth. I won't speak to the setting as I am more system-focused. (That, and its only 6 pages at the start of the PDF.)

The PDF totals 157 pages, fully bookmarked, with a pleasant watermark and fairly good layout. There is a table of contents, no index, and a nicely organized 3-page character sheet. The art consists of rather poor black & white sketches, but at least there is art for all races and monsters.

Characters have 13 attributes, including Hit Points, which are handled differently. The attributes are combat-heavy and determined by 2d6 rolls allocated in order. One re-roll is allowed, but that value must be taken even if lower. HP are determined by (2d6+3) * 5, which produces a very large spread of 25 to 65.

There are several races to choose from, each native to another world that was invaded by the daemon hordes: humans, 3 flying races, cat-men, lizard-men, and the brutish Night Stalker. Humans automatically have 3 mutations, but they are randomly determined. Each race has their own language, which could prove problematic for those wanting a mixed group.

Skills are 3d6 roll-under, with 111 always succeeding, and quite nicely, 666 always failing. Skill values are based on attributes, and most skills are IQ based, making IQ grossly linked to a character's overall competency.

The system is career/level based, with 15 careers available (all annoyingly named "Path of the XXX"), many of which are somewhat unique and creative. Each race has a unique career only available to them, which provides a nice bit of flavor. Each career has a few special abilities.

Advancement is similar to Warhammer FRP in that there are 4 levels for every career. Once advancement is complete, you are free to pick another career.

Melee combat is 3D6 + Dexterity, highest goes first. Ties are broken with additional D6 rolls until there is no tie. To attack, use the attacker's Attack attribute - defender's Defend attribute + 10 and roll over on d20, with a 1 always a miss and a 20 always a hit. It's quite strange that skills are roll under on 3D6 while combat is roll over on D20 and the decision seems somewhat arbitrary.

Missile attacks are calculated differently: 20 - Aim attribute, roll over. I can't fathom why a third resolution system was introduced here.

Damage is attack or weapon damage + strength. On a hit, roll another D20 for a Roll to Pierce any armor the target may have. Rolling under the armor value means the armor was hit. Damage appears to be substantial and combat should be somewhat deadly.

There are many combat maneovers to choose from as well.

Characters will receive 2D3 magic points every level they gain in a magic-using career. A character's Magic Level is equal to magic points / 10. Casting magic requires an IQ skill roll, with the MP used to cast the spell subtracting from the roll.

The initial spells learned are acquired randomly at each career level. Levels 2-4 allow for additional spells purchased through experience. Random spell determination is just not fun for spell casters, so I'm not sure why this mechanic is in place. I estimate there are about 75 spells detailed in the game. Some have a fixed point cost, others will vary in effect by how many magic points are spent casting.

Some careers provide psionics. Psionics are very similar to magic, but they use PSI points and a Will Power attribute test. There are 30-40 powers provided.

Rules are provided for "saves" and the like, as well as damage and healing, travel, and all the normal information game systems provide related to adventuring.

The equipment list is somewhat small, but it includes items such as shotguns and inferno spheres.

The bestiary rounds out the book, consuming fully one third of the book. There are some interesting looking creatures and they flow rather well with each other.

Unfortunately there is nothing outstanding about this game. It is rather average throughout, with neither the rules, characters, or setting containing much of anything special, unique, or even interesting. I would have liked to see unified system rules. The non-human races are of poor quality and their addition actually detracts from the post-apocalyptic feel. I probably would have enjoyed the concept more if it was more gritty. The Gamma World influences, while slight, don't really make sense in context.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Daemornia: The Role Playing Game
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World of Arator Core Rule Book Version 1.0
Publisher: Midnight Rise Publications
by Jose F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/18/2012 02:58:09

I deleted my previous review which complained about all text being centered as this is no longer the case. However, this is still by no means a good game.

The language used is childish, and editing was done by a spell checker (e.g. "Creating You First Adventure"). There are 235 pages and no bookmarks in the PDF, no table of contents, and no index, making it entirely useless as a reference. There isn't very much art, but every character class has a large portrait, and the art that is included is full color and rather attractive, especially for an indie product. There are no author, editing, or art credits, nor even any copyright notice, a glaring omission.

Character generation is class & race based, with some restrictions, and some races having a Preferred Class, which means essentially nothing. Which is fine, as despite being told we should pick race second (right after naming our character), races are not detailed in this book at all. Only a list of 20-something names is provided. You can't even tell what their preferred classes are from this book. There are many many references to different books in the "World of Arator" series.

The system feels like the author played many video game RPGs and tried to simulate that in pen & paper. "A calculator is essential", a solid warning sign if there ever was one. Characters have a base 5 points in all stats but their class gives stat and skill bonuses. Health (hit points) is calculated by using a base 100 points + stamina score + class health bonus percentage. The example character is 100 + 5 + 50%. This information is on page 3, and I have already mentally checked out. There are several mentions of "after level 50". Clearly the large numbers and percentages are why you need a calculator, and greatly contribute to the video game feel.

Characters use physical energy points in combat and will regain stamina points every 5 seconds. To measure success you add your skill and agility stat to get a percentage score... which you don't use as a percentage. Instead, this percentage is compared to the target's percentage score (which is intelligence + agility, because it is a thief, for what reason I don't know...) and the higher percentage wins. I can't say I even understand how damage is even calculated after re-reading the paragraph a few times. It looks like its a fixed calculation. I have trouble understanding why dice are even necessary to play at this point.

Character stats include: Perception, Charisma, Wisdom, Intelligence, Strength, Will Power, Stamina, Agility, Fighting Skill, and Weapon Skill. In addition to Physical Energy Points, there are Spiritual Energy Points, Mana Points, Hit Rating, Movement Rating, Armor Rating, and Haste Rating, if the character is "capable of hastening themselves". Sample armor rating calculation: "if a character is wearing chain mail armor with an armor rating of 150 and they are level 50 with an agility score of 54 they will have an overall armor rating of 254". So... level and agility add to armor?

Experience is dolled out based on killed monster hit points, with a paragraph explaining quest XP. To level you need (level + 1) x 1000 XP. If monster hit points line up with character hit points (and I have no idea, as monsters aren't covered in this book), I would guess characters level very quickly, maybe once per adventure.

Classes have beginning alignment restrictions, and the alignments are pulled straight from D&D. Classes have roles which are pulled from MMORPGs (DPS, tank). They have many other class-y type bonuses and penalties and restrictions. Classes also seem to have many special abilities, all of which are unlocked at level 1. This reduces character advancement to a matter of raising existing numbers. There are at least a wide variety of classes to choose from, including multiple evil-only classes, although the classes are all pretty standard. Each class has an automatic "upgrade" once they hit level 50, which gives them a new name (e.g. Bounty Hunter => Renegade), extra bonuses and talents. Class descriptions take up the entire remainder of the book.

With a few additional sections I didn't go into, like armor and weapon durability and environmental damage, that's all there is to this book.

I can't say that I can recommend this product in any way. The rules system is not salvageable and should be dropped completely. The world design would benefit from a narrower and more creative focus and less of a kitchen sink approach.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
World of Arator Core Rule Book Version 1.0
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