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The Witch of the Tarriswoods
Publisher: Sharp Mountain Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/02/2015 10:07:54

Full reviews are here: http://theothers-
ide.timsbrannan.com/


A 24 page OSR adventure (2 covers, toc, ogl, 3 maps). It's a good adventure of the "there is something strange going on in the woods, let's investigate!" type. The hazards make this more of a challenge for 3-7 level characters instead of say 1-3. That is fine really. I would use this to lull seasoned players into a false sense of security and then show them there are still dangers to be had in simple settings. This is the perfect adventure for say a lazy afternoon. You can drop it nearly anywhere in your world. Our main bad gal is Llorona, Witch of the Tarriswoods. She is a 5th level magic-user.

Does it work with The Witch class book? Yes. I say change Llorona to a 5th or 6th level witch and give her some more spells. Given her name, dress her in blue and white gowns and focus on water-based spells. change the "wizard staff" to a trident or tined fork. This would make her much more of a threat.


If you have a couple bucks and need something fun for the afternoon then this is a great choice.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Witch of the Tarriswoods
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks so much for the kind review and the good suggestions. GM\'s should feel free to adjust the Witch to their needs and change her attire and such to their liking. Thanks again, I really appreciate it!
Thanks so much for the kind review and the good suggestions. GI did make a few adjustments based on your suggestions. Thanks again, I really appreciate it!
Sparks of Light
Publisher: Twisted Die Productions
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/01/2015 11:56:53

Sparks is a light hearted game of Magical Girls. I uses the Fate system, but it can be used as a guide for any magical girl game regardless of system.

I think the most important thing about this book is how do the characters relate to each other and too the NPCs. This is the key feature of any magical girl story whether or not it is Sailor Moon, W.I.T.C.H., Cardcaptor Sakura or even Charmed. It is the relationships that define the character. Take someone like Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon, he is (let's be honest) useless. But he does have relationships to the rest of the cast and that makes for drama. Would it make for a good game? No, maybe not, but consider Angel in the first season of Buffy. He was basically Tuxedo Mask.
I also really liked the Hope Points mechanic. Magic Girls rarely see last death or injury (Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune not withstanding), so hit points don't really make a lot of sense. Plus the Darkness is not about killing really. It's about snuffing out the light or hope of the heroes.
In this respect it might make it a better game for little kids. Don't get me wrong, I have played D&D with grade-schoolers and they are a vicious, blood thirsty lot. But they don't have to be.
If you like Fate then is a good game to try out, especially given the price.

If you like Magical Girls then this is a must buy (even if some of this is covered in other books as well).



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Sparks of Light
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Witch Girls Magical Minutia: Crossover
Publisher: Channel M Publishing
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/01/2015 11:16:03

This book for Witch Girls Adventures previews a bit of the rules we will see in WGA 2.0 and the upcoming super hero games from Channel M. WE are introduced to Nemsis Earth, an Earth populated by superheroes and some differences in history. Chapter 1 covers the details of this new Earth and it's features, both magical and tech.
The book is presented from the point of view of a Witch Girl travelling across the dimensions.
There are plenty of new equipment for Witch Girl stars and even a new heritage (Half-Metahuman).
Chapter 3 covers Channel M's new "Youthquake" team of superpowered teens.
The general feel of this "Crisis on Two Earths" and honestly I really like that. I wish I had had this back when I was working on Season 3 of my Willow & Tara game where I crossed over to a super powered Earth that resembled the Earth int he DC universe. While reading this I was also wishing I had an Icons version of this. Same ideas, characters and text, but Icons as the rules. They would mesh together rather nice I think.
If you are a fan of supers and Witch Girls Adventures then this is a good buy.
One issue. I hate to bring this up, really. I love Malcolm's work but he should really hire a good proofreader and editor to help clean up his work. That leaves him to focus on the big ideas and let others do the editorial work.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Witch Girls Magical Minutia: Crossover
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Star Sailors: The Magical Girl Supplement for White Star RPG
Publisher: Okumarts Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/01/2015 10:38:43

Oh, this one is a fun. This little book (11 pages, including cover and OGL) is packed full of great material. Basically this presents a Magical Girl class, the Star Sailors. Each level the Star Sailor gains a "Heart Power" of a different color. Very cool. They also get a "Starlight Blast" that is blasted out of her "Star Sailor Starlight Wand". I know this all sounds silly, but trust me, this is exactly the sort of thing you would see in a Magical Girl show or book. I also love how each power has a catchphrase. I would totally make my players say these to activate each attack.
The powers are described, with effects. Also some background on the Starlight Entity. The sailors also can have mascots, aka pets.
There is also a great monster/big bad for the sailors to fight, the appropriately named "Gloom".

While the book is overtly for White Star it includes some ideas for Modern Times and S&W.

Really, really fun. The art also really fun and appropriate.
Don't like Magical Girls? You could, with minor tweaking, turn this into a Green Lantern like organization.
Either way, this is great stuff.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Star Sailors: The Magical Girl Supplement for White Star RPG
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Avalon Clip Art, Sci-Fi Genre [BUNDLE]
Publisher: Avalon Game Company
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/27/2015 21:32:16

Sci-fi clip art. It is in PDF format, so not very useful if you are planning on reusing it. Fine for printing out at the game table. Wish I had seen some samples first. Not really to my liking.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Avalon Clip Art, Sci-Fi Genre [BUNDLE]
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Avalon Clip Art, Sci-Fi Genre
Publisher: Avalon Game Company
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/27/2015 21:28:51

Sci-fi clip art. It is in PDF format, so not very useful if you are planning on reusing it. Fine for printing out at the game table. Wish I had seen some samples first. Not really to my liking.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Avalon Clip Art, Sci-Fi Genre
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Avalon Clip Art, Sci-Fi 2
Publisher: Avalon Game Company
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/27/2015 21:28:31

Sci-fi clip art. It is in PDF format, so not very useful if you are planning on reusing it. Fine for printing out at the game table. Wish I had seen some samples first. Not really to my liking.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Avalon Clip Art, Sci-Fi 2
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X-plorers Printable Player's Guide
Publisher: Brave Halfling Publishing
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/15/2015 13:20:00

Read my full review here: http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2015/05/rev-
iew-x-plorers.html


This is everything the play needs to get their characters from cool concept to play. Best yet, print it out and give copies to your players.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
X-plorers Printable Player's Guide
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X-plorers QuickStart
Publisher: BD Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/15/2015 13:18:23

This quickstart gets you set up with characters to play X-plorers.
Want to know more, read my full review here: http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2015/05/rev-
iew-x-plorers.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
X-plorers QuickStart
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X-plorers RPG (FREE No Art Version)
Publisher: Brave Halfling Publishing
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/15/2015 13:14:16

X-plorers is somewhere in the middle of Starships & Spacemen and White Star. Both thematically and in terms of rules. There is a more of an old school vibe of this one. So to continue my analogies to the point of breaking, X-plorers is more Buck Rogers, the old serials and 50s sci-fi movies.


The book itself is 41 pages. This includes cover, title page, ogl page and a trademark license. The trademark license is nice. You can make content that is "X-Plorers Compatible" as long as you abide by the license. Yes other games do this too.


Characters have class, hit points, and levels just like most OSR books. The characters in X-Plorers though only have 4 attributes; Agility, Intelligence, Physique and Presence. They are still ranked 3-18. There are also four classes; Scientist, Soldier, Scouts and Technicians. Personally I think some sort of Royalty or Ambassador class might have been a nice inclusion as well.
There are some multi-classing rules too which are nice to see.


Equipment is covered next. The basic unit of commerce is the credit (cr). It functions largely the same way the gold piece does. Gear and weapons are covered, but also vehicles and robots. Near the end we cover skills as well.


Chapter 3 covers running the game. This includes saves, combat and skill checks. All similar territory to other games.


Chapter 4 details Space. This covers ships, buying and outfitting with crew as well as combat. Each phase of combat is discussed, so the gunner, engineer, pilot and so on. This reminds me of some the of old school Naval ship battles. Ship repair is also covered.


This is followed by a referee's section. This covers creating a game and running one. There is a small section on Aliens and Planets.
NPCs, Allies and Monsters are featured in the next section. I would have liked more, but again, these are easy to take from any fantasy game.


Chapter X is an adventure/background piece on Roswell. There are even stats for the Greys, whic is really cool to be honest.
Chapter Y covers psionics and pyschic characters. This is also pretty cool.


We end with some sheets for characters and ships.


X-plorers is a light game and designed to emulate the games of the 70s. So in that respect it does the job well. Some people will want more, but there is still a lot here. Rule-wise it reminds me more of White Box Swords & Wizardry, in fact you could use S&W as the rules and the rest as add-on.


This is the same as the full featured version, only no art.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
X-plorers RPG (FREE No Art Version)
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X-plorers RPG
Publisher: Brave Halfling Publishing
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/15/2015 13:05:57

X-plorers is somewhere in the middle of Starships & Spacemen and White Star. Both thematically and in terms of rules. There is a more of an old school vibe of this one. So to continue my analogies to the point of breaking, X-plorers is more Buck Rogers, the old serials and 50s sci-fi movies.


The book itself is 41 pages. This includes cover, title page, ogl page and a trademark license. The trademark license is nice. You can make content that is "X-Plorers Compatible" as long as you abide by the license. Yes other games do this too.


Characters have class, hit points, and levels just like most OSR books. The characters in X-Plorers though only have 4 attributes; Agility, Intelligence, Physique and Presence. They are still ranked 3-18. There are also four classes; Scientist, Soldier, Scouts and Technicians. Personally I think some sort of Royalty or Ambassador class might have been a nice inclusion as well.
There are some multi-classing rules too which are nice to see.


Equipment is covered next. The basic unit of commerce is the credit (cr). It functions largely the same way the gold piece does. Gear and weapons are covered, but also vehicles and robots. Near the end we cover skills as well.


Chapter 3 covers running the game. This includes saves, combat and skill checks. All similar territory to other games.


Chapter 4 details Space. This covers ships, buying and outfitting with crew as well as combat. Each phase of combat is discussed, so the gunner, engineer, pilot and so on. This reminds me of some the of old school Naval ship battles. Ship repair is also covered.


This is followed by a referee's section. This covers creating a game and running one. There is a small section on Aliens and Planets.
NPCs, Allies and Monsters are featured in the next section. I would have liked more, but again, these are easy to take from any fantasy game.


Chapter X is an adventure/background piece on Roswell. There are even stats for the Greys, whic is really cool to be honest.
Chapter Y covers psionics and pyschic characters. This is also pretty cool.


We end with some sheets for characters and ships.


X-plorers is a light game and designed to emulate the games of the 70s. So in that respect it does the job well. Some people will want more, but there is still a lot here. Rule-wise it reminds me more of White Box Swords & Wizardry, in fact you could use S&W as the rules and the rest as add-on.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
X-plorers RPG
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MA1e Human Character Sheet
Publisher: WardCo.
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/14/2015 09:20:13

Nice old-school style sheet for Metamorphosis Alpha, 1st Edition. This one is for humans.
While many sheets are free, the game this goes to is relatively inexpensive so it all evens out in my mind.
This sheet is only for the people that really want it. There is a functional sheet in the game pdf, but this one looks much nicer.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
MA1e Human Character Sheet
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MA1e Mutant Character Sheet
Publisher: WardCo.
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/14/2015 09:19:51

Nice old-school style sheet for Metamorphosis Alpha, 1st Edition. This one is for mutants.
While many sheets are free, the game this goes to is relatively inexpensive so it all evens out in my mind.
This sheet is only for the people that really want it. There is a functional sheet in the game pdf, but this one looks much nicer.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
MA1e Mutant Character Sheet
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Metamorphosis Alpha 1st Edition
Publisher: WardCo.
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/14/2015 09:15:46

MORBIUS: Back. To. The. Beginning! - Doctor Who: The Brain of Morbius.


There is a game going all the way back to the dawn of time, or at least the dawn of the roleplaying age, that has fascinated me. I knew of it's children games, Gamma World and Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, but it has not be till recently that I have seen the father of sci-fi games.


Metamorphosis Alpha is considered to be the first popular Scifi game available. While many of us heard of and purchased Traveller first (and that could be another entire week for me) MA really is the first. Published a year before the Traveller books. Written by James "Drawmij" Ward, MA has deep ties with D&D. The game was playtested by Ward and Gygax and others at TSR. This lead to the aforementioned Expedition to the Barrier Peaks and Gamma World. The forward of the game was written by Gygax and Brian Blume.


The basic game outline is that characters, human, mutant and other all live on a fantastic colony ship, The Warden, that has broken down. The ship is basically a giant flying dungeon. In space.
The character creation rules, monsters and everything are like Original D&D through a distorted lens. To use an analogy from computer programing if D&D/AD&D is Pascal then Metamorphosis Alpha is Modula. Naturally this makes Gamma World Modula 2, AD&D2 Turbo Pascal, D&D3 Borland Pascal, D&D4 Oberon, D&D5 Delphi and so on...


It would be a fantastic game to play when you are in a great old-school mood and I do know people that have made great long campaigns with it. Think about it, the idea would later pop up in the series Red Dwarf.


The book itself is 40 pages which includes front and back cover, an updated errata sheet, pages of tables, character sheet and maps of the Warden.


The game itself is complete and a prime example of old-school minimalism. Modern readers might be tempted to ask "is this it", but to these eyes it is succinct and complete at the same time.


MA of course is perfectly playable on it's own. Has been for 40 years.
But it also works great as a setting or a as a "Mega dungeon" in space.


Mix MA with any of the games I have been reveiwing over the last few days and you have a mysterious, ancient colony ship. 80 km long, 40 km wide and 14 km tall and filled with humans, mutants and who knows what else. Think of the ship in "WALL-E" now fill it with mutants.


Honestly I am using it in my own old-school D&D game and it is part of my world's history. The uses and re-uses of this game are endless.


The mutant rules in the book are easily ported over to any game. So use them as mutants or aliens or even demons in your fantasy game.


At just under 6 bucks it is also a steal.
There are character sheets too for humans and mutants at a buck each. Normally I think sheets should be free, but I am only paying $5.99 for the pdf. If the sheets were free and the game was $7.99 I would not balk or fret at the price.


If you have any interest in old-school gaming, sci-fi gaming or even the roots of our hobby, then this is a fantastic game to add to your collection.
If you are playing any of the new "old-school" sci-fi games then I consider this a must buy.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Metamorphosis Alpha 1st Edition
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Strange Stars
Publisher: Hydra Cooperative
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/13/2015 13:49:37

Every so often you come across a product that is so different than the rest it is hard to know what to do with it. +trey causey's Strange Stars is not exactly that. Strange Stars is a product so different it is hard to know what I can't do with it.


The book is a joy to look at. Yes it is only 32 pages with cover, but each page is so rich with art and color it must have cost a lot to make. Since art is important to how this book can be used it is a better investment than say page after page of text.
Let's start with that cover. There are homages to late 70s, early 80s sci-fi shows and movies. I can feel the influences of Star Wars and even Jason of Star Command here. Not to mention the obvious, but loving, nod to the classic Star Frontiers. Really, I should be able to buy that as an art print for my game room. I put that cover up there with some of the best RPG covers ever.


Strange Stars is not a game itself, but a setting book for other sci-fi games. Not just the OSR-flavored ones of my last few reviews, but any sci-fi game. As a mental exercise I kept asking "can I use this in Traveller? Star Frontiers? Alternity?" most times I was saying yes.


The book starts out with a historical overview of the setting. The "Ancient times" in this case is humanity leaving "Old Earth". So already this is a setting far flung into the future.


Various forms of life are introduced, or Sophonts. This can be your garden variety human or other life form that is mostly biological, self-aware robots, or AIs. Or, most likely some combination of the above.


Really a couple of the great features of this book are not chapter by chapter but concept by concept.
Free of system Causey's mind rushes down dark un-explored pathways, strange lands and truly alien worlds. BUT, and this is very important, this not so far removed from our experiences to be really out there. There are roots here. Roots with names like "Star Crash" and "Buck Rodgers" (the TV series on NBC, not the serials) and "Logan's Run". Jenny Agutter's "Jessica 6" practically jumps off of page 12.

Speaking of which, the characters here BEG to be stated up for your favorite system. Siana Elizond, the previously mentioned Jessica 6 clone, is more interesting in a picture and paragraph than some characters with pages and pages of back story. Plus I can't help but think that Elphaba Mandrake was made as a personal challenge to me!


So yes. The page count is small, but it is chock full of great ideas, eye catching art and more than enough to get you going on a campaign set out among the stars.


You can find Trey at http://sorcererss-
kull.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Strange Stars
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