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Corporia: Character Dossier (Form Filable Sheets)
Publisher: Brabblemark Press
by Mark M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/21/2016 12:46:06

Great product and fits very nicely with the look and feel of the rest of the Corporia products. I love the fact that it's fillable and something you can hand to players and have them work through like a set of office paperwork.

I dropped one star because after filling it in the PDF (at least in my reader) doesn't populate the actual character sheet at the back, so there is a level of transcription required. A minor quibble though. On the whole it's a fantastic product and nicely bridges game reality and player reality.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Corporia: Character Dossier (Form Filable Sheets)
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King Arthur Pendragon: 4th Edition
Publisher: Nocturnal Media
by Mark M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/26/2014 10:35:45

First things first...what this game ISN'T...

This is not any form of D&D, or an old-school retro clone. This is not high magic fantasy. This is not level-based D20.

What it is, is a game of Arthurian fantasy filled with knights, damsels in distress, mysterious magic and an elegant system for backing up role play with mechanics. The Passions and Traits are a beautifully simple way of having consistent (well, consistent-ish) characterization while not feeling intrusive during play.

The game's mechanics are simple, but not simplistic. Combat is realistically brutal and harsh, but not arbitrary. When you win, you won with skill, and when you lose, you lose because your opponent was likely more skilled. I like too that the damage dealt with hand weapons is based more on the character than on the weapon type, with modification made for the type. It feels more right to me.

Character creation can be long, but as a process in itself is fun. It isn't just a case of slapping down stats and then figuring out where you fit in the world. You truly build a character from the ground up with a background, history and a place in the rich campaign world that is part and parcel of the Pendragon system.

And speaking of that campaign world, it is richly detailed within the book, and well supported by the author and the community with many additional books and adventures. But that said, it would be convertible to other realms. I'd prefer this system to run a Middle Earth campaign.

I will say that I went with 4th edition over 5th because this edition includes magic rules, which the 5th doesn't. Personal preference but I like to have the magic rules. But I really like the fact that the changes between editions are evolutionary not revolutionary so there's a lot of compatibility even back to the 1st edition!

This is the game I've been looking for since I got my 1st Ed AD&D books and wanted to play a chivalric knight.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
King Arthur Pendragon: 4th Edition
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Phantasm (2010)
Publisher: End Transmission Games
by Mark M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/21/2012 22:23:24

Let me start by saying that I can't believe this is a free game. The production quality is outstanding! I've had games I've paid for which weren't half as beautifully laid out and produced. I wish all game makers made product as lovely as this is. Not printer friendly mind you, but I use a tablet so it's not a big concern for me.

I remember seeing Phantasm back in the old days. Plus Killdozer, Hellraiser, and the original Salem's Lot. I remember being scared witless by that shiny ball with the spikes in it. And I'm thrilled to find it here, in RPG form.

What do I like about Phantasm (2010)? Character creation is fairly quick and easy, using a point buy system for both attributes and skills. And I like the fact that the level of Badassery of the characters is customizable from Joe Normal to Samuel Jackson on a good day.

I also like the system, which seems to be fast for play and simple to remember. It's a set of rules that you can teach anyone quickly, and not have them always asking "what do I roll now?"

It also has a nice little campaign setting built in, with some good suggestions on how it can be used, as jumping off points for GMs. But the setting isn't so locked in that groups are trapped in system-given storyline and the only way out it so basically scrap everything they give you and start fresh. And I like how they wrap it all around The Tall Man.

What didn't I like about Phantasm (2010)? There are a few minor quibbles about the editing. There are one or two Techniques (such as Boom! Headshot) that are referenced but I couldn't find in the book. And there are a couple of instances of Techniques (Critical Attack for example) that say if you roll a natural 12 you automatically hit, but earlier on we're told you need to roll low to succeed and a natural 12 always fails. But really these are minor quibbles easily fixed or house-ruled into submission.

One thing I did miss is the lack of a "supernatural" system. There's no magic except what the creatures have a creature abilities. There is an attempt to use "faith" as a means of countering monsterly-evil but it doesn't seem developed enough to my thinking. There's no way you're making Willow if you want to run a Buffy vs the Tall Man type of game.

I think the biggest issue that Phantasm (2010) suffers from is indecision. It's almost like it should be two products. It tries to be both normal Joe Normal vs the Evil Dead AND Ash with his chainsaw, but the two are to me very different sorts of things. In the movie Phantasm (and others in that category) the characters are really just normal people without special skills who are forced to battle unnatural monstrosities. But the system is far more geared toward a grindhouse sensibility with characters able to have dual-wield capability and combat masters starting the game with twin AK-47s. And the equipment section has a weapon list more geared toward a special forces game than a horror game. Don't get me wrong, I can appreciate the effort in producing such a list, and it makes it a snap to play a "28 Days Later" game. But 28 Days Later isn't Phantasm.

Overall I'm happy with Phantasm (2010). You can't beat the price or the production quality. There's a lot there to work with and it looks like it would make for a good pickup game or even long-running campaign with the right setup. For the spirit I'm looking for I'd only ever run it in Badass-normal mode, on the Joe Average end of the spectrum, but that's just me. I'm happy that the system will let me do that. I gladly would run or play this game.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Phantasm (2010)
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks very much for this review, and we're so happy you liked it! This is the art director writing, so I can only speak to the editing and layout and art, but I will check out the missing hyperlinks to the Headshot technique. As a side note, if you like this system, we're going to be kickstartering another project using the same system (Cinema6), centering around more supernatural stuff/player characters and drawing from a more original/less fannish perspective. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts! -M. Barree, Art Director
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