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Warhammer Fantasy RolePlay: The Creatures Guide
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/23/2011 01:29:29

Every fantasy setting has an obligatory Monster Manual, Creature Guide, Catalogue or similar, so it is no surprise that Warhammer Fantasy needs one. Given the decades of development that has seen the miniatures range expand for GW, there is certainly no end of creatures to select - but the authors have assembled a discerning list. All the major races are covered, and ancillary beasts are listed with their 'parent' races (ie you'll find Squigs under the entry for Greenskins).
The descriptions of the creatures are quite well-done, and engaging even for a veteran of the wargame. The value-add however, lies in the Story Seeds. For many (but alas, not all) of the monsters a selection of Story Seeds are provided, to kickstart your imagination or give examples of how and where they might be encountered. My only negative comment here is that there doesn't seem to be a pattern to which races/monsters have these seeds and which don't. There were a few omissions which I felt odd - but this is a matter of personal taste.
I'd highly recommend this to WHFRPG players, but also recommend it to anyone looking to spice up their fantasy game.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Warhammer Fantasy RolePlay: The Creatures Guide
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Valkyrie Anti-Debris Orbital Module
Publisher: Blue Max Studios
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/23/2011 01:14:27

I have mentioned before how much I love the Blue Max Studios ship plans. The D6 stats for them are incredibly welcome, given that West End Games Star Wars RPG has been out of print for so long. New ships are always a welcome addition in my campaign, and they are able to inject new items to the Star Wars universe - but still remain in theme.


The ship plans come with a full set of deck plans that can be printed and are the right size for miniatures, should you need a room-to-room combat. There are additional notes regarding the history of the vehicle and also how it might fit into a campaign. the Valkyrie Anti-Debris Module does fulfill a very specific role and this alone would be enough to spawn story ideas (I shan't elaborate for those who haven't bought the product).


Well worth the asking price. The only suggestion that I might have is that perhaps Blue Max Studios would consider rolling all of these into a single sourcebook? The designs are so good that I keep purchasing them - but a sourcebook of ships would be more economical.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Valkyrie Anti-Debris Orbital Module
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Ships of the Galaxy: The Monarch Courier
Publisher: Blue Max Studios
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/23/2011 01:12:10

I have mentioned before how much I love the Blue Max Studios ship plans. The D6 stats for them are incredibly welcome, given that West End Games Star Wars RPG has been out of print for so long. New ships are always a welcome addition in my campaign, and they are able to inject new items to the Star Wars universe - but still remain in theme.


The ship plans come with a full set of deck plans that can be printed and are the right size for miniatures, should you need a room-to-room combat. There are additional notes regarding the history of the vehicle and also how it might fit into a campaign.


The Monarch Courier does fill a nice niche given its size and armaments, but also the fact that it is almost at the luxury end of starships for its size. As such, it would make a good ship for an enterprising smuggler (a more respectable one at least) or as a utility craft for a group of PCs.


Well worth the asking price.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ships of the Galaxy: The Monarch Courier
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No Quarter 33
Publisher: Privateer Press
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/23/2011 01:05:42

Your reaction to 'No Quarter' is solely dependent on why you think it could be useful. If you are a miniatures player foremost, you'll find the standard array of new miniatures releases, new rules, scenarios and discussion on tactics and army composition to be informative and useful.


Whilst there is a decent amount of tacit information that you glean and extrapolate if you play the 'Iron Kingdoms' RPG, the role-playing line is under supported in the magazine. Whilst you can rely on one article per month, the quality of said article varies wildly. If you are purchasing this to fill the complete void of current product support for the RPG, then be very choosy about which issue you pick up.


If you play both sides of the coin, you'll find something useful every month.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
No Quarter 33
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The Rifter #44
Publisher: Palladium Books
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/23/2011 01:04:21

Having a long fascination with Rifts, I thought it was finally time to check out 'The Rifter'. After examining three issues to date, I have to say that I like what I've read. The production values are the usual for Palladium (that is to say perfect layout and font for a product published in the 1980's) and the art varies from awesome to incredibly average.
However, the content is the focus. Bearing in mind that the Palladium system tries to cover all genres and styles of play, I expected variety and wasn't disappointed. The beauty here is that the material can be slightly tweaked for any setting - the articles for Fantasy can still be included in Rifts, for example.
Likewise, the real strength here is what it can add to any other game. I've seen material that I'll gladly port into my D&D, Shadowrun and Star Wars games, so this is a really good investment. The NPC write-ups are usually of a good quality with plenty of background information and motivations, so your choice of villains (or henchmen, or allies) for your next game can be as easy as picking up the right issue of 'The Rifter'.


The only caveat is to read the Table of Contents before purchasing. 'The Rifter' does do themed issues from time to time, and if they aren't your cup of tea then it's a wasted purchase.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Rifter #44
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The Rifter #43
Publisher: Palladium Books
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/23/2011 01:03:38

Having a long fascination with Rifts, I thought it was finally time to check out 'The Rifter'. After examining three issues to date, I have to say that I like what I've read. The production values are the usual for Palladium (that is to say perfect layout and font for a product published in the 1980's) and the art varies from awesome to incredibly average.
However, the content is the focus. Bearing in mind that the Palladium system tries to cover all genres and styles of play, I expected variety and wasn't disappointed. The beauty here is that the material can be slightly tweaked for any setting - the articles for Fantasy can still be included in Rifts, for example.
Likewise, the real strength here is what it can add to any other game. I've seen material that I'll gladly port into my D&D, Shadowrun and Star Wars games, so this is a really good investment. The NPC write-ups are usually of a good quality with plenty of background information and motivations, so your choice of villains (or henchmen, or allies) for your next game can be as easy as picking up the right issue of 'The Rifter'.


The only caveat is to read the Table of Contents before purchasing. 'The Rifter' does do themed issues from time to time, and if they aren't your cup of tea then it's a wasted purchase. I entered this issue with some trepidation, but was pleasantly surprised that the content was not juvenile in nature. I found the characters to be quite useful and will be including them in a few campaigns I have running at the moment.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Rifter #43
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The Rifter #42
Publisher: Palladium Books
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/23/2011 01:00:57

Having a long fascination with Rifts, I thought it was finally time to check out 'The Rifter'. After examining three issues to date, I have to say that I like what I've read. The production values are the usual for Palladium (that is to say perfect layout and font for a product published in the 1980's) and the art varies from awesome to incredibly average.
However, the content is the focus. Bearing in mind that the Palladium system tries to cover all genres and styles of play, I expected variety and wasn't disappointed. The beauty here is that the material can be slightly tweaked for any setting - the articles for Fantasy can still be included in Rifts, for example.
Likewise, the real strength here is what it can add to any other game. I've seen material that I'll gladly port into my D&D, Shadowrun and Star Wars games, so this is a really good investment. The NPC write-ups are usually of a good quality with plenty of background information and motivations, so your choice of villains (or henchmen, or allies) for your next game can be as easy as picking up the right issue of 'The Rifter'.


The only caveat is to read the Table of Contents before purchasing. 'The Rifter' does do themed issues from time to time, and if they aren't your cup of tea then it's a wasted purchase.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Rifter #42
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The Resurrectionists (Vampire: The Requiem)
Publisher: White Wolf
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/23/2011 00:51:23

'The Resurrectionists' offers a neat mystery that is well-situated in the Vampire mythos - the authors have clearly thought about how to make this vampire-specific.
The scenes are suitably robust to handle a number of player reactions and the core morality of the vampiric condition is brought into play a number of times - which will lead to choices that appear easy on the surface, but have much deeper ramifications. The plot builds at a good pace and introduces a range of interesting encounters and NPCs. There is certainly scope to build on the events and create a mini-chronicle from the players choices in this SAS.
On the whole, I have a high opinion of the SAS product line, even more so when one considers that whilst this is written for the nWoD, Old World of Darkness fans (like me) can still find value in them.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Resurrectionists (Vampire: The Requiem)
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A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying Quickstart PDF
Publisher: Green Ronin
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/23/2011 00:41:55

Green Ronin now gives you the opportunity to explore The Seven Kingdoms. For anyone not familiar with the books, they follow the political and social intrigue of a handful of noble houses in a time of great conflict and when an ancient evil is stirring in the north. HBO has the rights to turn this into a TV series, which launches in a few weeks. Each novel in the series will be a Season and Martin is heavily involved in production (which is why he’s obviously not working on his next book – much to the dismay of fans). The major themes of loyalty, honour, trust and family are easily recognisable to any fantasy fan. Whilst the system has a robust combat system (and bloody, costly battles can be easily integrated as part of a campaign) the focus is very much on the social aspects of the story. Thankfully, the designers have stayed true to the core concepts of the novel and given players and GMs the tools to tell lavish tales of intrigue and betrayal. It offers an interesting system of linked abilities, called Techniques, that allow a character to customise how their character interacts socially with the rest of the world.


‘Journey to King’s Landing’ is a well-written, engaging module that really does deliver on the promise to showcase what the game is all about and can easily be played over a few sessions. There are six characters to choose from and all of them really display one of the unique aspects of the world. The authors clearly spent a lot of time reading the novels and faithfully rendering them into an RPG.


From: http://www.miragearcana.com/news-a-b-
log/40-game-night-blog-12-free-your-mind



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying Quickstart PDF
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Shadowrun: Quick-Start Rules: Fourth Edition
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/23/2011 00:40:53

If you haven’t played Shadowrun before, you are seriously missing out on a good game. ‘Where man meets magic and machine’ is the tagline and it is a gritty, dark-edged game of cyberpunk and street magic in a world ruled by corporations. Taking a page from William Gibson’s vision of a dystopic future, where technology has failed to give humankind a better life, (meta)humanity instead wallows in it’s own decline – and likes it. Rather than the shiny, hopeful theme of the science fiction genre, cyberpunk punches your dreams in the teeth and watches and they fall bleeding to the pavement.


In 2074, governments have little to no authority, as the megacorporations have taken over the world. In fighting their clandestine wars against each other, they need deniable expendable assets – you. As a Shadowrunner, you live off the grid; nameless in the Sprawl with only your Ares Predator and your rep to protect you.


‘Foodfight’ offers (unsurprisingly for Catalyst Games) high production values and attention to detail. The writing is concise, and offers an decent explanation for a world that would otherwise require a lot of reading to understand. The rules are explained well, with marginalia and examples of the mechanics in action. Like the Battletech product 'A Time of War Quickstart', the character sheets are succinct, the artwork evocative and everything logically loaid out for the novice player. The back of the book offers a quick-reference chart for most of the common rolls you’ll make. The module is short, but to the point and you’ll never look at fast food the same way again.


While you’re at it, pick up the GM Screen for free too!


From: http://www.miragearcana.com/news-a-blog/40-game-nigh-
t-blog-1

2-free-your-mind



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Quick-Start Rules: Fourth Edition
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BattleTech: A Time of War Quick-Start Rules
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/23/2011 00:38:14

This game has always fascinated me, and I’ve never played it. However, with the quick-start rules for the latest edition, this is going to change. Battletech: A Time of War advances the timeline to the year 3077 in what is arguably one of the most detailed intellectual properties in the science fiction genre. A cursory search will yield the decades of sourcebooks which came before it and the shelf of novels that you can immerse yourself in (and steal ideas from).


This free PDF offers a fairly in-depth explanation of the basic rules (they take up most of the document) and there are plenty of quick-reference tables for the novice to refer to throughout gameplay. It is clear that Catalyst thought very carefully about this product, and the high production values, catchy art and design layout are all of the quality I’ve come to expect. The character sheets are straightforward and punchy and come with some neat character art for each of the PC’s (of which there are four). The only problem is that scenario provided is only two pages long, but an enterprising GM could easily turn the premise into a few nights of fun. Also, given the amount of rules in here, you could play a few basic games and really get a feel for the game before investing the rulebook (which after reading the quick-start, I’ll be doing).


From: http://www.miragearcana.com/news-a-b-
log/40-game-night-blog-12-free-your-mind



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: A Time of War Quick-Start Rules
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A Dungeon Dash: The Cult of Bane
Publisher: Kurt Sparkuhl Games
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/23/2011 00:36:56

Whilst ostensibly designed with the D&D 4e party in mind, the concepts in each module are quite transferable, whether you’re playing D6 Fantasy, Rolemaster (or even Earthdawn) – it all depends on how much extra work the GM wants to put in. The Dungeon Dash series are lightweight at only seven pages apiece and you really shouldn’t expect too much depth from them (they are free, after all). They remind me of the Dungeon magazine ‘Side Trek’ column, where a short encounter would be detailed and it was up to the DM to decide how to fit it into their campaign and what modifications were necessary. Each Dungeon Dash offers a small dungeon, a series of fully statted-out encounters and some story notes. They can form the basis of some excellent sessions, and the product boasts that you’ll get about four to five hours of gameplay from each. I think this is an exaggeration, unless your DM has planned well and fleshed out the module.


However, the ideas are good, and if you are looking for some filler for your campaign, I’d look no further.


From: http://www.miragearcana.com/news-a-b-
log/40-game-night-blog-12-free-your-mind



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
A Dungeon Dash: The Cult of Bane
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A Dungeon Dash: Wraithwood Cavern
Publisher: Kurt Sparkuhl Games
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/23/2011 00:36:28

Whilst ostensibly designed with the D&D 4e party in mind, the concepts in each module are quite transferable, whether you’re playing D6 Fantasy, Rolemaster (or even Earthdawn) – it all depends on how much extra work the GM wants to put in. The Dungeon Dash series are lightweight at only seven pages apiece and you really shouldn’t expect too much depth from them (they are free, after all). They remind me of the Dungeon magazine ‘Side Trek’ column, where a short encounter would be detailed and it was up to the DM to decide how to fit it into their campaign and what modifications were necessary. Each Dungeon Dash offers a small dungeon, a series of fully statted-out encounters and some story notes. They can form the basis of some excellent sessions, and the product boasts that you’ll get about four to five hours of gameplay from each. I think this is an exaggeration, unless your DM has planned well and fleshed out the module.


However, the ideas are good, and if you are looking for some filler for your campaign, I’d look no further.


From: http://www.miragearcana.com/news-a-b-
log/40-game-night-blog-12-free-your-mind



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
A Dungeon Dash: Wraithwood Cavern
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Misguided Ambitions - An Introduction to Earthdawn Third Edition
Publisher: FASA
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/23/2011 00:34:46

Earthdawn is a great change of pace if you’ve played in the ‘traditional fantasy realm’ for a while. Barsaive is a place that has been in hiding for hundreds of years as the prophecy of the Horrors came to pass. As these titanic creatures of malice and despair broke into Barsaive, the people constructed huge Kaers, warded cities that would withstand the Horrors and their age of darkness. Now, many of the wards have crumbled, and visitors from other Kaers bring word that the world is changed. It’s time to venture forth and explore the world.


Earthdawn offers a very different play experience and host of new races and classes, from the flamboyant, swashbuckling T’Skrang Lizardfolk, to the dimunitive Windlings, the inscrutable Obsidimen and the powerful Troll Skyraiders. The world is comprehensively detailed and diverges from a lot of the fantasy tropes, whilst retaining enough of them to be recognisable.


‘Misguided Ambitions’ is a solid piece of writing that offers basic rules, a short adventure and five pre-generated characters ready to play. The idea is simple – read 38 pages, hand out the characters and prepare for a night’s entertainment. The module does well in showcasing some of the unique aspects of Earthdawn, and the characters are drawn from some of the new races and classes, giving players a chance to run a very different character.


Taken from: http://www.miragearcana.com/news-a-b-
log/40-game-night-blog-12-free-your-mind



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Misguided Ambitions - An Introduction to Earthdawn Third Edition
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Nitro Dice - Street Racing
Publisher: Minion Games
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/24/2011 04:06:26

Why haven't you purchased this card game already? Nitro Dice is a brilliantly delivered game, that promises a ton of fun. The concept is very simple - race your D10s around the track, avoid obstacles and strategically place obstacles in your opponents way. The rules are a grand total of six pages, clear, concise and easy to learn.
I'm going to have a copy on hand to use when our gaming group is waiting for everyone to arrive. It is a perfect, scalable game to fill in some time (whether that time is just before a game or a whole evening of beer and pretzels) and most importantly, have some fun.


Rent a copy of 'Fast and the Furious', grab a beverage of choice, and then play some Nitro Dice - I'll be very keen to see what Minion Games offers us next.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Nitro Dice - Street Racing
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