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Of Towns and Heroes
Editeur: DwD Studios
par Paolo P. [Acheteur vérifié]
Date Ajoutée: 01/10/2015 02:35:57

Great resource from a great publisher. You can't roll a miss with DWD. anyway it's not 5 stars until the many typos won't be fixed. They don't really hinder the usefulness of the book but... It's just proofreading and it can be done =)


I hope DWD will publish more and more of those master tools. Keep up the good work!



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Of Towns and Heroes
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The Secrets of the Bravo (PFRPG)
Editeur: Rite Publishing
par Paolo P. [Acheteur vérifié]
Date Ajoutée: 08/31/2014 17:54:06

This is the class I needed for my current PG. Sadly we're at 4th level. Luckily my GM agreed I can convert the character, "backporting" it to the Bravo. The class is amazing, colorful and seems a lot of fun to play.


4 stars are only since the PDF hasn't been proofread enough. There is a layout error at page 7 where "Improved compound attack" appears as an item of the elan list.


Fonts go astray here and there, and the chosen font is all but readable on a screen (please, change it with something less slick and more "in theme").


Maybe the worst problem to fix is a hole in the explanation since it's not stated how elan are supposed to be "recharged"...


A great product anyway. If you are playing a varisian Gipsy who went adventuring in the vast world, take a look at this product.
Good work! Five stars on fixing the small gaps.



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KOBOLD Guide to Magic
Editeur: Kobold Press
par Paolo P. [Acheteur vérifié]
Date Ajoutée: 05/14/2014 10:09:01

First premise: I'm almost halfway in reading this book. My intention was to review the book after reading it cover-to-cover but it's taking me too long and I want to give a quick review in the meantime to share my thoughts with other buyers. I'll come back after finishing the book to give my definitive rating about it.


Second premise: I played a D&D Wizard character for 12 years, porting it from 2nd Ed. AD&D to 3.5 D&D as the campaing evolved. Magic is my dearest topic when it comes to gaming and as a GM I have a sweet spot for the argument, to the point that all of my efforts ever went in the direction of "bringing magic back into magic". This is not a trivial effort for an amateur like me, taking into account I'm probably not a good GM, nor a good game designer. But I had years to dissect the problem and I matured a polyedrical point of view. Maybe what follows won't apply to each and every reader, so please take into account I'm very demanding when it comes to magic in games.


MY TEMPORARY REVIEW:


So, two stars.
For a Kobold publication? REALLY?
Sadly yes.


I read both the "Complete KOBOLD Guide to Game Design" and litterally devoured the "KOBOLD Guide to Worlbuilding". Both are, IMO, must reads for any GM or GD, from wannabe to pro.
This is not the case with this new issue of the series. I won't go deep into details until I'll finish the reading. What I think sums up as follows:



  • 99% of what I've read so far ends up in... nothing. Essays almost always pose a question and don't responde it. It seems that even skilled game designer can't give anything for sure (in game terms) when it comes to magic. There are a couple of noticeable exceptions (an essay by Ed Greenwood and one about secret magical societies which is very very good), but for the rest it seems the "Shoulders shrugging festival".

  • Some of the essays are way under level if you compare them to other KOBOLD products. There is one on divine magic that I can't just read through to the end. I can't make heads or tails out of it and I got bored to death. Personal taste maybe but I didn't even got to understand what the scope of the essay was. Period.

  • There is redundancy. OK, this is not bad "per se", since different points of view on the same central topic could be interesting to read, given they are actually different. And given they ends up in useful, practical advices for the reader. I already read three different essays in "how to bring back magic into magic" (which comes down to: when you have to give magic a structure to it like a tool, is there a way to recover the sense of wonder and the unexpected?). Actually it seems to be no real solution, but I had to read a lot of blurbs to find out that "I can do anything or nothing... who knows?". The Greenwood essay actually ended up into something but the solution boils down to "throw in some ancient magic that doesn't obey the system rules and go with it". Mmmh... It could be a starting point, but it's been widely ab... ehm... overused.


As I told, I could be too unforgiving, but after two weeks of reading I'm bascially muscleing my way to the end instead of enjoying a great reading. It may be me.


I'll be back to fix this blurb (and give more precise indication on what I found interesting and why) when I'll reach the end. In the meantime I beg pardon to the KOBOLD crew. I love you guys, and you always did a great job. I know this is not an easy topic to cover but I expected a bit more.



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Fantastic Maps - Iconic Island
Editeur: Rite Publishing
par Paolo P. [Acheteur vérifié]
Date Ajoutée: 02/11/2013 04:23:47

First and foremost a message to the author: MORE OF THIS PLEASE!!! There is a lack of "bare" hi-quality overland maps (continental/world ones) which are great tools for "worldbuilder" GMs like me. I'd happily buy stuff like this on a weekly basis :)


Coming to the map itself: the quality is pretty good, I'd argue awesome for the price. I admint I spotted more charming works made by amateurs on Cartographers' Guild but again: the price is so low that you get more than what you pay for. The absence of details actually helps you in redefining the scale, from an island to an entire small continent. Mind that there are no hills on the map: greens, forests and mountains so if you want to use it as a detailed continent you'll have to photoshop it out a bit or stuck to what you've got.


I would have rated this 5 stars if not for the bad-thought package content: you could find the bare map and a bunch of very good quality PNG icons to help you mark your map out (and that's good), plus:



  • the map with already placed icons: I'm in doubt about the usefulness of this, but hey...

  • the map with icons and hexes: good, but there is no scale for the hexes so it's of little help per-se (a TXT file would have suffice)

  • the map with icons and hexes, B/W: this was achievable with a minor effort by everyone able to put writings on the map (99.9% of the target audience, I guess)


So, where are the hexes layer alone to place on my self-icon-ized map? Not there. Why not a layered PDF with the hexes at least?
There is no scale-info, not the hexes by themselves, there are no layering or sources to build upon. You're stuck with a good res JPG of very good quality and you'll need photoretouching skills to recreate what's provided with a different icon-marking.


Nothing really bad and the product is worth all the money, but next product in this line (which I hope will be released soon) could be packed with more love. And also double-priced, if you ask me: I would buy it anyway.



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Complete KOBOLD Guide to Game Design
Editeur: Kobold Press
par Paolo P. [Acheteur vérifié]
Date Ajoutée: 01/29/2013 06:38:18

Even if this book is aimed to professionals/freelance (or wannabe) GDs, I bought it to foster my skills as an amateur designer and game master.
It provided a ton of valuable resources, ideas, techniques and tools for my belt.


If you're an experienced game master which wants to step in game design as an amateur this book can be a little overkill, so take it if you can afford the price or turn to the interweb.
If you plan to make the jump as a professinal, you'll find this book is a great kickstarter, covering all expects of the GD art, from worldbuilding to rules design to pitch elevation and how to meet publishers' tastes and needs.


Four stars only since a couple of essays felt like fillers to me.



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Keranak Kingdoms Fantasy Setting
Editeur: DwD Studios
par Paolo P. [Acheteur vérifié]
Date Ajoutée: 01/29/2013 05:10:17

TL;DR version: if you need a solid, well designed, decorated and illustrated traditional-fantasy world to build your campaigns, write novels or to hack and tailor to your needs, BUY THIS BOOK. (No one single rule has been harmed during book writing, so you can use it with your favorite fantasy game with no effort)


Long version: it's a while that I thinker with the idea of building my own world to accommodate a great campaign of Fantasy Dice. While "Crimson Exodus" depicts a great world, full of interesting things to do, I don't like each and every aspect of the setting: too gloomy and magic is far too disconnected from the world, there is a lot of details about its mechanic but it's not clear "how it works" and from where it comes.


Enters Keranak Kingdoms. I bought this book as a source for my own work, since it had very good ratings and reviews, with the idea of using it as a mere blueprint on "how to depict a world in broad lines". But after having read it I'm really in doubt. I'd like to have two days a day so that I can run two games, one on Kernanak, the other on my homebrewed setting.


As for the content, I think this bulleted list can give you an idea if this is good for you:




  • Every setting has a "bottom line": what's peculiar here? Here you are: "The kingdom, comprising all the known world, was founded by the gods and given to a single, gifted bloodline. The lask king died with no heir. The kingdom is still there, governed by the aging queen, but soon it will need a new king... or eventually fall apart." As dull as it seems, this creates a great scenario for mature adventures: will you take part in defending the kingdom? Will you reclaim your province and advocate secession? Will you try to be king? Exciting :)




  • This is a well designed but very "standard" fantasy settings: it has human, dwarves, elfs and halflings (which really behaves like hobbits). When it comes to races, Tolkien is lurking pretty everywhere, from races characterization to idividual names, BUT this is not a mere clone. Starting from classic taste they evolved with good ideas and great characters, so the result is something "familiar but new". "New" don't get in the way here, you won't find anything "strange". Just a deeper characterization compared to other pretty silly settings (next bullet).




  • Cultures are very well-designed: not just races but also location and local history contribute to form a culture. So we'll got stout dwarves, as always, but not all are "blindly" grumpy or fierce, it depends from where they grew, in which culture, etc. Elves in particular are interesting as both PCs and NPCs, divided in separated clans which developed pretty different cultures and histories.




  • There is room for all, but it's not a kitchen sink. Mountains and oceans are the evergreen solution when it comes to create separation between what's "home" and what's "exotic", but the setting always have to adopt a geographical/cultural point of views to pinpoint "home" concept. Here home is the Keranak province, the heart of the kingdom. Far away provinces or territories used to be part of the kingdom, but retained their aura of mystery and unfamiliarity to common people. This creates a world full of different cultures and places but not messy like FR or similar.




  • All is readable by your players: this handbook depicts all that a knowledgable keranakian commoner can know about the world. No more info is given. GM can decide what's real, what's legend, how things work, etc. It's hard to find something so detailed and so tailorable at the same time.



  • Little but dense boxes are scattered around and labeled "Dungeon master advices". You could also let your players read them: they offer some ideas worth developing for GMs but more in form of questions: "what happened in this region? Why X and Y are fighting? Maybe thay know something valuable is hidden there and there?"
    Actually I'd argue that making your players read that boxes will help you disseminating your campaign with red-harrings :D


Summing all up, the product is worth all the money it costs, and more.
Five stars :)



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Fantasy Dice
Editeur: Radical Approach
par Paolo P. [Acheteur vérifié]
Date Ajoutée: 08/18/2012 08:01:57

This is a very early opinion on this product I longed so much for. I'll take the time to write something more detailed after reading the whole book. Let's start saying I already went through Crimson Exodus cover-to-cover and I think FD is the most modern, clever and versatile RPG System I've put my hands on.


The system itself offers a lot to storytellers and method actors, but due to its cleverly light, highly descriptive mechanics I bet it will entice more than a butt-kicker. Tacticians have a lot to chew also while cinematic action is guaranteed by trigger ammos (tokens that players could spend to gain positive contextual twists and gain performing good role-playing).


From a structural point of view, FD is a sum of the best of breed ideas I ever stumbled upon: ever read Greg Stolze's essay for GMs? In love with Robin Law's handbook on good game mastering? Tired of d20 oddities and fond of the novelties in system like Cortex or Savage Worlds? Well, FD has it all, but more streamlined, more lightweight, more cinematic and more tactic!


Even more candies: While the system is designed for a grim&gritty fantasy style, where wounds don't heal overnight and combats require skills and tactics more than high numbers on the character sheet, bending the system to one's own need is so simple that porting your favorite gaming style, campaing and setting to FD can be done with a bunch of notes on post-its in the right handbook. :)


I didn't test the system with non-fantasy settings yet but I bet it outperforms many sci-fi, horror, action and pulp dedicated systems.


So where the 4 star rating comes from? Mainly from two minor annoyances, legacy of Crimson Exodus setting.




  1. The layout and lettering is taken from CE 'as is'... It's not that much of a masterpiece of beautiful layouting and the release of FD was a good occasion for RA crew to put some more love on it.



  2. As in CE, FD suffers from a silly (sorry for the frankness) ordering of information. I extendedly poited this out in my previous CE review... Putting stats before descriptions or people before geography forces the reader to jump back and forth across the book or (worst) to keep on reading in the hope it will all become clear soon or late.
    I can't find any good reason for such information structure and I hope RA will take the time to fix this thing in a future revision of the document.


I'll gladly change my rating to 5 stars then. In the meantime, if you're an experienced player or gm in search for a system to run your next campaign, take this as a five star product and swipe you CC at light speed! You won't be disappointed! :)



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Masks and Eureka: 1,000 NPCs and 501 Plots [BUNDLE]
Editeur: Engine Publishing
par Paolo P. [Acheteur vérifié]
Date Ajoutée: 01/07/2012 06:39:47

I don't think it is worth the pain of writing a full-blown review for Eureka and Masks. Trolling the net you will stumble upon tons of enthusiastic opinions about both products. Here is mine!
I'll cut is short. If you fall in one of following descriptions:



  • game master (or GM wannabe)

  • designer/author

  • writer

  • illustrator/visual artist (yep, I'm serious)
    then, simply put, buy this bundle. Maybe you still don't know but you need both the books. Dot.


If you don't, keep away! Reading such material could spoil years of gameplay, even if your master doesn't use it. Believe me!
These are that kind of books that should be kept right behind GM screen (or in a writer secret drawer) to express their full potential.


With Crimson Exodus, this is the best product I've ever bought on this site.



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Masks and Eureka: 1,000 NPCs and 501 Plots [BUNDLE]
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Masks: 1,000 Memorable NPCs for Any Roleplaying Game
Editeur: Engine Publishing
par Paolo P. [Acheteur vérifié]
Date Ajoutée: 01/07/2012 06:37:21
Forenote: I'll copy and paste these very same words for both Eureka and Eureka+Masks bundle. Actually there is no reason (apart from starvation) to NOT buy the bundle.

I don't think it is worth the pain of writing a full-blown review for Masks. Trolling the net you will stumble upon tons of enthusiastic opinions about this product. Here is mine!
I'll cut is short. If you fall in one of following descriptions:



  • game master (or GM wannabe)

  • designer/author

  • writer

  • illustrator/visual artist (yep, I'm serious)
    then, simply put, buy this book. Maybe you still don't know but you need it. Dot.


If you don't, keep away! Reading such material could spoil years of gameplay, even if your master doesn't use it. Believe me!
This is one of that books that should be kept right behind GM screen (or in a writer secret drawer) to express its full potential.


With Crimson Exodus, this is the best product I've ever bought on this site.



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Eureka: 501 Adventure Plots to Inspire Game Masters
Editeur: Engine Publishing
par Paolo P. [Acheteur vérifié]
Date Ajoutée: 01/07/2012 06:36:04
Forenote: I'll copy and paste these very same words for both Masks and Eureka+Masks bundle. Actually there is no reason (apart from starvation) to NOT buy the bundle.

I don't think it is worth the pain of writing a full-blown review for Eureka. Trolling the net you will stumble upon tons of enthusiastic opinions about this product. Here is mine!
I'll cut is short. If you fall in one of following descriptions:



  • game master (or GM wannabe)

  • designer/author

  • writer

  • illustrator/visual artist (yep, I'm serious)
    then, simply put, buy this book. Maybe you still don't know but you need it. Dot.


If you don't, keep away! Reading such material could spoil years of gameplay, even if your master doesn't use it. Believe me!
This is one of that books that should be kept right behind GM screen (or in a writer secret drawer) to express its full potential.


With Crimson Exodus, this is the best product I've ever bought on this site.



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Fantasy Dice One Page Primer
Editeur: Radical Approach
par Paolo P. [Acheteur vérifié]
Date Ajoutée: 10/07/2011 14:04:28

Nice FPoTW that made me discover a masterpiece in indie games like Crimson Exodus. This single page PDF is not meant to be a real example of how CE system works but is good in summarize those aspects of the game that renders it peculiar and worth your bucks. Thumbs up.



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Crimson Exodus
Editeur: Radical Approach
par Paolo P. [Acheteur vérifié]
Date Ajoutée: 10/05/2011 18:19:49

I purchased this book after a glance to FantasyDICE Primer (Gods from Below bless "free content of the week" :D)


If you're not in the mood for long readings, just: BUY THIS BOOK! And since you'll be likely to use it for years on, buy a softcover and a PDF, one for the table and one for quick and easy information finding, copy/paste, partial printings for your characters and so on!
OK. Since Adam and David already covered both game mechanics and settings information, I'll give some more info on the structure of contents and what you'll find in, and since I'm in a WOW moment, I'll do it with WOWs here and there! :)


First and foremost: I think I didn't see such a quality and innovations since the release of D&D 3rd edition. Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about piles of illustrations by famous painters. On that side this book is quite good but clearly a low-budget production. What I mean is that both in content quality, writing style and general information layout (how information is given to you and when, not just graphical layout), this book ROCKS! As I've never seen in indie productions.


Content is prince here. You'll get 331 dense pages, that depict one of the most complete world I've ever seen. At a first glance it's overwhelming and the fact that chapters order is somehow odd at first could scare more than someone (a PDF copy will definitively help rapid cross-references). Inside you'll find (chapter by chapter):



  • Core game concepts

  • A HUGE chapter on people and their habits (yes, elves and dwarves are there but they are much like "different" humans, not quirky beings... more like melniboneans in Moorcock's Elric saga)

  • Rules for character creation

  • Paths for your hero (think them not as classes but as heroic archetypal paths to excellence)

  • Some detail on skills

  • Rules for barter of both goods and money (this is one of the best twist: since GP-based trade would result in a very unlikely world, but tracking different coins and values in different places would be a PITA, a simple but effective wealth mechanic has been used and the barter is often the only way to trade at all. Nothing really new but details here are a lot)

  • Weapons and armors

  • A chapter titled "Rolls and rules", basically covering all task-resolution related rules, from fatiguing to social conflict, to emotional statuses, to crafting new items, and such

  • A two-pages chapter is dedicated to character advancement, both for PCs and NPCs

  • Combat rules

  • Damage and recovery from various sources like combat, burns, suffocation, etc.

  • A sample scenario (The Ambush)

  • A useful chapter on game mastering

  • Demons and spirits (lore and reality of the evil things from the other side)

  • Three chapters on magic: Witchcraft, Sorcery and Black Arts

  • A whole chapter on artifacts

  • Herbal for magic, poisons, healing and more

  • Alchemy

  • Geography of the Known World (finally... somewhat tells me that this would have been better put in front of the whole thing! :P)

  • Brief but USEFUL information on travels

  • A chapter on setting's secrets (wonderful! Finally someone thought about isolating this in a chapter for GM's eyes only!)

  • Doom and Gloom, a complete introductory adventure to taste how roaming the Known World is.

  • A 20+ pages original bestiary


Well, we can't say it will be a short reading uh?! :)
Apart from information quantity, the world itself is not only detailed but it's very likely. It just could be and I like realism in RP.


What entice me, beside the completeness of this setting, is that it explicitly targets mature players. Its state of the art (!!!) rules will make you enjoy a reflourishment of good old RPG paradigm. Unlike new-age games, GM is there to give you drama and storytelling but with something more. Some examples:



  • No math (read again: NO MATH) but a full tactical system. This is really blowing, and you can't see how much without trying it at least once.

  • No balancing. You as a GM should give some clue about the menace to your players, but if they enter "that cave" without knowing what they are doing, well... bye bye. So thinking, talking or even fleeing are often better options.

  • No balancing but no sheer cruelty: game should be funny and instead of trying to fake your dice rolls or worse, your player have some token to spend to avoid critical situation. But they're a few and won't be back for free. BTW, even wounds don't heal overnight.

  • You won't fight for treasures, at least not against a quasi-animal horror in a dark forest. Obviously I'm talking about treasures made of coins and jewels. But more important treasures such as good allies, reputation or simply your life are prizes that worth the effort.

  • This is one of my favorites: in action scenes your player will take control of their allies. This relies on maturity and good role-playing, able to avoid metagame, but is a powerful tools for running a great game session as even whole campaigns! First of all, the master could focus on running "adversaries" avoiding long turns with players doing nothing. Moreover players will have a great responsibility in that other characters, maybe those they perceive necessary to the story, are in their hands. From time to time you could switch allies between players so that they feel the burden of their destinies or the excitement of some different mindset/skills. But again (and this is a powerful tool in the hand of a clever GM) you could make players role scenes about their allies in which their characters are not present. This could reveal small parts of the plot and create suspense, giving a great storytelling cut to your campaign. As every power it should be used with wisdom but this book gives you some rules of thumb even on this.


Before closing, just a couple of downsides: an overall detailed map of the land is missing, so it's a bit hard to wrap your mind on geography, jumping back and forth from a small global representation to detailed regional maps, but this is a minor flaw.
The chapter order is a little bit odd: some info would be of better use before other ones, but again, you will probably have to read this stuff more than once to grasp it all, and nobody is pointing a gun forcing you to read it in the order they're presented.


Meh, sorry for writing that much but my WOW effect is still on! I think I'll begin planning a long term campaign NOW!



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Salvage Run
Editeur: Gun Metal Games
par Paolo P. [Acheteur vérifié]
Date Ajoutée: 10/04/2011 15:50:54

Compared to its prequel "Virus", this module shines as a little masterpiece. Context is depicted well and extensively, almost all possible heros' actions outcomes are taken into account both in the global timeline and in the scope of every single encounter.
The plot is thrilling and intriguing and what seems to be a simple race against the clock to salvage a dead alien wreck, turns out to be a perilous situation. Even if your players won't miss breathtaking action, they won't earn their prize without investigation, cleverness and intuition. Most of all, if you as a GM feel comfortable to act dramatic scenes, you'll see you players' faces turn pale in some really touching (and sometimes disgusted) scene.


I really think it's one of the best adventures I've ever run in my life, not to mention it's the best product in RoD series! A must have.



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Reign of Discordia: Virus
Editeur: Gun Metal Games
par Paolo P. [Acheteur vérifié]
Date Ajoutée: 10/04/2011 15:39:16

This first adventure for RoD True20 setting is a pretty good and quick introduction to the game. The adventure is not "short" by itself but the context is enough complex to allow player to find many shortcuts to reach their goals quickly. If your PCs are swashbuckling troublemakers, you'll enjoy a lot of laser action but not a lot more. If your players are cunning enough, be prepared to some diplomatic affair and a fast resolution.


The product is a little "naive", it depicts more a storyline that a balanced context, so if you players will go out of the path you could either bring'em back on track (cheating) or be good with improvisation. Anycase, this adventure serves well as an opener for a long term campaign and is definitively worth the price!



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Reign of Discordia
Editeur: Gun Metal Games
par Paolo P. [Acheteur vérifié]
Date Ajoutée: 10/04/2011 15:10:20

I bought RoD both in Traveller and True20 edition. Me and my friends are always eager to try new game mechanics from time to time so I headed to Traveller edition. Since I'm a great T20 fan however, I spent some more buck to enrich my T20 collection also! :)
Due to a heavy lack of time and the fact that I didn't bought the whole Mongoose Traveller stack we went with True20 edition so that it was not necessary to convert the two adventures I also bought: "Virus" and "Salvage Run".


But here is my impression on the product itself.


PROS:
The overall experience with Discordia has been very good. As a GM I've been provided with almost all I needed to run a campaign, while my players (two fantasy-junkie and a sci-fi nerd) all enjoyed the game a lot.
RoD build steadily on T20 mechanics without abusing them as some other product tends to do. If you already played T20 before you'll have a comfortable feeling running the game, both as player or as GM.
Beside the first chapter about history and environment setting, that I find very well written and somehow charming, noticeable boons are well detailed racial backgrounds, a long list of examples worlds and planets, very clever characters advancement paths, useful in the very first stage if players are not sci-fi addicted: they can stick to proven space-opera archetype before losing days building a consistent character. In addition, space-vehicle combat rules are yay: they basically follow standard True20 combat (so that you won't have to learn a whole new domain) but with a space-ace flavor.
Illustrations are very good quality all along the book, with some wonderful ones and text quality seems pretty good to me (a non native English speaker).
The setting itself is plausible and believable... so much, in fact that GM is sometimes put in a corner by unexpected (and perfectly legitimate) player questions (read further for more explanation).


CONS:
Something could have been done better.
First of all, printing this book without page border layer (a large frame with a stellar field, 99% black) will make you lose page numbers... Meh. Typography is also not state of the art: paragraphs and subparagraph headings are all the same font, in slightly different size. It's not easy, print in hands, to find what you're searching for (say: "Feats" section seems equal to single feat name, as "Bounceback"). This renders searching rules and information during gameplay pretty hard.
On the content side I think I just have to point out two non-critical flaws: first of all, this settings provides more playable racial backgrounds but they're far from believable. Aside from Lamogos (that are perfectly human, but blue-skinned) for which some fancy explanation based on divergent evolutions from a common spacefaring ancestor could be imagined (or even become the base plot for a whole campaign), other races are pretty all humanoid, one is unable to breath air and aside lamogos and humans, none has phonetic systems that allows them to talk without the use of an electronic translator, making them not really feasible choices for long-term campaigns (at least to my tastes). The whole setting itself is presented (historically and philosophically) from a human point of view, so it's not easy for a player to grasp an alien mindset that's described in a few paragraphs. Think Star Trek and you'll got the feeling: humans are the heroes, there are rivals (the Lamogos), a common enemy (the R'Tillek) and a lot of other races which goal is to flavor a slightly different cultural mindset. That's not bad "per se" but it subtract from likelihood of the setting as a whole. Actually official adventures themselves focus on political rivalry between human and lamogos, that seems to be the spinal-topic of the (interrupted?) official campaign.
The other flaw, even if it's not a real flaw, has been already touched: the setting is HUGE, both in space and time spans. Centuries passed since game "today" and a great portion of the galaxy has been pioneered. An empire rose and fell, and you'll play in the wasteland that remains. It is not possible to fit the whole situation in a single book, but the structure of the product itself (a single introductory narration chapter followed by mere lists of resources) renders hard to a GM to grasp the setting in a way that helps him to give the players the perception of a consistent world.
An example will clarify this: I was running "Virus", that is sort of a stealth rescue mission. One of the PC is a geeky hacker. The player's questions concerned details such as network connection in public areas, compatibility standards, data availability and such. His first thought always was "What the heck, we're in 2011 and we could reach Wikipedia from everywhere with a simple smartphone... you won't tell me that in 2800 I cannot at least try to hack a wireless network in an enemy facility?". Again, when social interaction with alien races becomes a central topic, it is not always clear how you as a GM should set things up and the pitfall of improvisation is, as always, that you could create incoherence. If this is acceptable in a fantasy setting, in sci-fi it could lead to some frown.
So, be prepared to plan ahead what "your" RoD will looks like. My personal advice is to stick to a movie/book archetype: Star Trek? Star Wars? Battlestar Galactica? Dune? Pick your one and stick to it, or if you have enough time, build your own.


All-in-all RoD is a wonderful indie product. It seems official adventures production stopped after "Salvage run" and it's a sin, since they was great resources for GMs in a hurry like me. I don't think I'll ever play Traveler Edition (that is BTW, a not-perfect rearrangement of True20 one, but with a lot of stuff stripped away since it relies on Traveler's core rulebook), but True20 panorama was missing a serious, hi-quality Space Opera setting. Well, no more! :)



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Reign of Discordia
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