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Dark Harvest: Legacy of Frankenstein
Publisher: Iain Lowson
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/21/2012 01:30:00

WHAT WORKS: The presentation is fantastic. There's a lot of information in here, but it never feels overbearing. The art is well-done and well-placed, never dominating the book but adding appropriate flavor. The setting is quite disturbing, with the wealthy preying off of the poor in a most unique manner, and the horrors of Frankenstein's machinations revealed in excruciating detail. The sealed off nature of Promethea also allows for extra intensity in setting that might not be there in a more "open" environment.


WHAT DOESN'T WORK: The health system seems unnecessarily complicated. I probably would have liked more Talents, but with Augmentations, Assets, Privileges and Contacts, there are more options there than it appears on the surface. Perhaps my biggest gripe with the setting is that, as cool as it is, it seems to be building to a Frankenstein vs Creature encounter (okay, it says so a few times), and that seems like it would exclude the PCs from playing the major role in the future of Promethea.


CONCLUSION: A top-notch product with an inventive spin on alternate history and the Frankenstein mythos. Certainly not the first product I've seen to place the Creature in the role of the hero and Frankenstein in the role of megalomaniacal madman (Dean Koontz' series did it as well), but it still has its own spin on it that feels quite cool in its own right. Not sure I'm 100% sold on the system, as it has a few parts that feel unnecessarily complicated (like Health dice), but that may just be unfamiliarity with the system shining through. The setting alone places it on the higher end of alternate history games I've read.


For my full review, please visit: http://mostunreadblogev-
er.blogspot.com/2012/05/tommys-take-on-dark-harvest-legacy-o-
f.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Harvest: Legacy of Frankenstein
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Deadlands Reloaded: The Last Sons
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/22/2012 23:11:33

WHAT WORKS: The book opens with a special thanks to Deadlands fans for keeping the setting around for 16 years...and with all the shoutouts to the history of the setting, it feels reeeeaaally appropriate. I don't know if all of those callouts were were planned that way or not, but a ton of the stuff included in this book are the things I think of when I think "Deadlands". Throw in the setting rules for the Hunting Grounds, an epic plot point campaign that again brings major change to the game world and the fact that they once more made the Player's Guide a freebie, and Pinnacle nails the mark again.


WHAT DOESN'T WORK: The art was my major gripe. Some of itwas recycled from classic books (though appropriately placed to draw attention to the callouts) and some of it was just a bit too comic booky for what I want out of Deadlands comics.


CONCLUSION: A beefy, beefy tome that outstrips The Flood by almost 150 pages, and much of that is new content that can be used outside of the PPC, which is impressive in its own right. As a Deadlands fanboy, I'm very pleased. The Stone and Hellstromme PPCs have big shoes to fill.


For my full review, please visit: http://mostunreadbloge-
ver.blogspot.com/2012/04/tommys-take-on-deadlands-reloaded-l-
ast.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Reloaded: The Last Sons
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Deadlands Reloaded: The Flood
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/14/2012 23:11:14

WHAT WORKS: Epic conclusion? Check. Still leaves the setting intact? Check. Righteous butt-kicking of major NPC, entirely at the hands of the PCs? Check. Random Adventure Generator and expanded Martial Arts Edges are just very sweet icing on the cake.


WHAT DOESN'T WORK: I'm not really sure what you want. I mean, even if you have no use for the Plot Point Campaign, the entire player's section is free. New mechanics and all. That said, more than a few of the art pieces are recycled, and that does tend to bug some folks.


CONCLUSION: The book blows up Reloaded martial artists, provides 34 new Savage Tales and a plot point campaign that gives players the chance to get right up in the face of one of the Big Bads of the Deadlands setting and be Big Damn Heroes. $35 ain't much for a hardcover these days, and it's a gorgeous book to boot. The first of the Deadlands PPCs sets a high bar for the rest of the series.


For my full review, please visit: http://mostunreadblog-
ever.blogspot.com/2012/04/tommys-take-on-deadlands-reloaded--
flood.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Reloaded: The Flood
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Low Life
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/09/2012 21:46:47

WHAT WORKS: It is, by far, the most unique setting I have ever read...for better or for worse. A common complaint about the plot point campaigns is that they tend to wreck the setting...this one really doesn't. Atmosphere is jam packed into the book, with the extensive listings of trappings for the powers as well as one of the most eclectic sets of Edges and Hindrances I've ever seen.


WHAT DOESN'T WORK: The setting DEFINITELY isn't going to be for everyone. Snot Goblin Pimps are a bit harder to get into, usually, than something more "basic".


CONCLUSION: Andy Hopp's artwork has a bizarre, yet charming feel to it. The book has a lot of things that you just can't re-skin from Savage Worlds, and does a nice job filling in the gaps. It's definitely the book I would most like to use but am the least likely to ever be able to do so, because I cannot get anyone to take it seriously when I describe it. A shame, really, because I think a lot of fun could be had with it.


For my full review, please visit: http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.co-
m/2012/04/tommys-take-on-low-life.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Low Life
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Deadlands Reloaded: Smith & Robards 1880 Catalog
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/04/2012 23:29:44

WHAT WORKS: I love it when awesome stuff from Classic gets updated to Reloaded...and that's what this is. The Scrappers aren't going to be for everybody, but the insane elements of Deadlands are part of what I love about it. Plus the random tables, customization options and so on...and yeah. Good stuff here.


WHAT DOESN'T WORK: We've never used a ton of Weird Science devices in our games, but MAN they seem like they would be an almost pointless money pit sometimes.


CONCLUSION: This book really is just an updating of material from Deadlands Classic, bringing it in line with Deadlands Reloaded, but as far as I'm concerned, that's not a bad thing. As more and more Deadlands Classic stuff is brought up, the less people can complain about the alleged "lack of flavor" Reloaded has, and the less work I have to do converting Classic stuff to Reloaded. Thumbs up. A MUST BUY? No...but I am sure pleased with it.


For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadbloge-
ver.blogspot.com/2012/04/tommys-take-on-deadlands-smith-roba-
rds.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deadlands Reloaded: Smith & Robards 1880 Catalog
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Servants of Gaius
Publisher: Bedrock Games
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/21/2012 00:59:59

WHAT WORKS: The way the Minions of Neptune are presented sells the book. You are given the Minions, their tactics and relevant stat blocks...and then a list of options for who and what they actually are and what they are doing, even including options like "They are time travelers come back to interfere in events". They could have been presented as a straight adversary serving Neptune, but the author blew the whole thing wide open instead.


WHAT DOESN'T WORK: The biggest gripe I have is some of the interior art, especially the NPC portraits, just did not feel up to par for a commercial RPG release. I'm also a bigger fan of Greeks over Romans, but what are you gonna do?


CONCLUSION: The Network System is about the only heavily skill based system that I like, so that's a plus, and like Terror Network and Crime Network before it (as opposed to Horror Show), it hits on a game type that ISN'T being heavily served right now. Combined with all the crazy options built into the game by dialing the supernatural up and down, as well as whatever route you choose to go with for The Minions of Neptune and you are left with an impressive piece of work. If only Caligula had been Greek instead, I would have been thrilled.


For my full review, please visit: http://mostunreadblogever.bl-
ogspot.com/2012/03/tommys-take-on-servants-of-gaius.html
-



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Servants of Gaius
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Leverage: Hitters, Hackers, & Thieves
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/11/2012 21:43:25

WHAT WORKS: The Hitter section may be my favorite section written for the Leverage RPG, possibly my favorite section ever appearing in an MWP book and just a great read. Your mileage may vary, but I loved it. I also love the addition of the ready made compounds and the security system mechanics, a very useful set of additions to the game mechanics.


WHAT DOESN'T WORK: I wasn't feeling the whole "psychology of a thief" thing, which is weird, because Parker's not my least favorite Leverage Crew member (that would be Sophie...and I still like her). In fact, from a Role standpoint Hacker and Thief would probably be most least favorite of the five.


CONCLUSION: I was reaching for complaints. I applaud the work the MWP crew has done with Leverage, starting with a strong core book and then two supplemental books that are not essential but dramatically expand the five roles in the game. As with Grifters & Masterminds, if you like the Leverage RPG, there is no real reason not to buy the supplemental books, at least in PDF. A great RPG treatment for one of my favorite shows.


For my full review, please visit: http://mostunreadblog-
ever.blogspot.com/2012/03/tommys-take-on-leverage-hitters-ha-
ckers.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Leverage: Hitters, Hackers, & Thieves
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Leverage: Grifters & Masterminds
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/07/2012 23:21:27

WHAT WORKS: The sheer amount of detail on the mindset and process of the Mastermind (especially) and the Grifter is very helpful. The "Dozen Grifters" and "Dozen Masterminds" is also useful for giving some ideas on how to make characters of those roles who aren't just Sophie or Nate renamed. The alternate settings sections was also fun, and basically any ideas on how to NOT just be playing the Leverage crew renamed is always welcome.


WHAT DOESN'T WORK: A lot of the GM advice is nothing special that you haven't seen before. I'm also not quite convinced that the Masterminding the Rules section successfully provides that mechanical bridge for Masterminds that some folks feel was missing compared to Hackers, Hitters, Grifters and Thieves.


CONCLUSION: An unessential but incredibly useful book for Leverage. It doesn't dramatically change anything from the core rules, but it does provide some very useful tidbits on Grifters and Masterminds, both as PCs and NPCs. Basically, if you really like the Leverage game and either want some more options or are struggling with the Roles at all, it's well worth it. And don't complain about the extra books: There was a time when each role (including Fixer) would have been padded out into its own book.


For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.bl-
ogspot.com/2012/03/tommys-take-on-leverage-grifters.html
-



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Leverage: Grifters & Masterminds
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Due Vigilance- The Oktobermen (ICONS)
Publisher: Vigilance Press
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/07/2012 01:14:49

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: Oktobermen is "issue 1" in the Due Vigilance line, fitting in the same universe as the Smoke & Mirrors supplement I reviewed back in January. This is the ICONS version of said product, $5.99 for a 19 page PDF filled with a team of supernatural killers and assassins. Oktobermen is more than just a villain book. I mean, it IS a villain book, but it includes a relationship map for the six members of the Oktobermen, complete with a paragraph on each of the six explaining their viewpoints. The book also includes four common sets of tactics employed by the Oktobermen. The bulk of the book is taken up by the character bios and stats for the six members:


Bookbinder - An escapee from a mysterious organization called The Library, Bookbinder is the most reluctant of the Oktobermen, having joined up when Springheel Jack saved her from The Library. The can use magic in some powerful and freaky ways, like trapping people in stories or summoning literary characters to do her bidding.


The Floating Skull - He is not unlike a D&D Demilich, the floating skull of a powerful sorcerer. He can never use the same spell on a given target more than once. Luckily, he knows 666 of them.


Hexenwulf - Hexenwulf is a werewolf, but not of the common type. No, he's a werewolf of the "wearing wolf skins" type. Heavily resistant to magic, so he's usually the lead man in taking out sorcerers.


L'Enfant Terrible - The prototypical Creepy Kid, born with a soul of evil. Often used to take people by surprised...has a "bodyguard" named Mr. Bear who has a VERY disturbing secret.


Sister Sanguine - A creepy (ex)nun who answers to evil fae and gains powers from drinking blood.


Springheel Jack - A half-demon in charge of The Oktobermen, Springheel Jack is on a quest to consume take a number of souls and become a Lord of Hell. There is even a sidebar explaining how to alter his stats if he succeeds.


Also included are four plot seeds (including two related NPCs) and a set of standees fot the Oktobermen.


WHAT WORKS: Some GREAT character concepts here, as well as some nice tidbits hinting at the larger world (like The Library). I also love the amount of detail as to how the villains operate and treat each other, making this more than just a set of stats.


WHAT DOESN'T WORK: My only real complaint is the dramatic art shift from the cover to the interior. I don't think either one is inherently better than the other, though the cover seems to fit the source material better, while the latter fits the ICONS feel better.


CONCLUSION: Another fantastic product by Vigilance Press, providing a slew of baddies that are just downright frightening (in power level as well as concept). At one point, this product wasn't going to be released for ICONS, but I'm glad it ultimately was.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Due Vigilance- The Oktobermen (ICONS)
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Interface Zero Game Masters Screen
Publisher: Gun Metal Games
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/06/2012 23:56:25

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: GM Screen's as we know them are fading fast. There was a Savage Worlds GM screen a while back that was clear plastic panels that you could slip cardboard panels for the game you were running in. The Interface Zero GM screen is along those lines...a "do it yourself" GM screen. The three art panels consist of some gorgeously thematic art, running a decent range of IZ material, including an android, cyborgs and mercenaries...(and a cyberpunk street samurai looking figure). The three rules panels include the Gritty damage rules, Zeek fatigue and the Hacking 2.0 rules.


WHAT WORKS: Great art, all the relevant IZ setting rules...about what you would want from a GM screen.


WHAT DOESN'T WORK: It feels a TAD cluttered...but there's just a metric crap ton of tables on this thing (all relevant to your needs).


CONCLUSION: Unless you hate GM screens, this is a very good pick-up for $3 if you have access to a good printer. Much better deal than the $20 GM screen standard we've seen in the past, especially if you have one of the clear Savage Worlds screens to slide the panels into.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Interface Zero Game Masters Screen
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Interface Zero Hacking 2.0
Publisher: Gun Metal Games
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/06/2012 23:39:55

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: This mini PDF requires Savage Worlds and Interface Zero for maximum use, as it is an overhaul of the hacking rules from Interface Zero. The PDF has a short intro from Gun Metal Games' David Jarvis, explaining why this document was released (folks having issues with the hacking/virtual world/etc)...IZ 2.0 is coming later this year and will provide both Basic and Advanced Hacking rules. This document is presenting the Basic rules in advance of IZ 2.0's release. Some of the changes on the character creation end is that Hacking gets its own skill, some Edges have been removed (like Programming 101 and Advanced Programming) and new Edges are introduced (Cool Under Pressure lets you ignore penalties when a system goes on Active Alert and Interference makes you harder to hack, for example). There are also three Hacker specific Hindrances, with advice warning the GM to not allow them if a character who isn't REALLY a Hacker is trying to take a Hindrance that won't affect him. Hyper Gloves are also introduced (the first example that comes to mind to me is the FBI Agent from Heavy Rain, but you have seen them in various other media). The system for Hyper Gloves is pretty simple, a basic stat set that can be upgraded. The Gloves determine everything for the Hacker: Armor, Damage, Hacking Bonus and Range and can be set into three modes: Control (in case you need to manipulate a gun turret or an elevator), Edit (for heavy changes to things) and Destruction (when you need to inflict damage). Additionally, Hyper Gloves have additional MODS that can be used to provide extra bonuses. The hacking itself takes up the final few pages: Essentially, it's a normal skill roll in Savage Worlds, with the level of security providing a penalty to the roll and the Hyper Glove and/or Edges providing a bonus. Unlike most skill rolls, however, Hacking is NEVER without risk: Any Hacking roll failure will have consequences (determined on a die roll against the table appropriate to the type of security firewall).


WHAT WORKS: That cover art is awesome. I'm not sure what it has to do with Hacking, but that is probably the single most compelling piece of artwork I have seen on an Interface Zero product. I like the Hyper Gloves a lot. It's a clean, easy to modify system that fits the Savage Worlds vein.


WHAT DOESN'T WORK: Well, if you're planning on buying IZ 2.0, you might not want to pay for content that's going to be in the eventual release.


CONClUSION: Though designed for Interface Zero, there's not much here that you can't use without it, and it's both inexpensively priced and not a huge document, so if you are running any kind of game in which futuristic hacking would be helpful, it's worth a pick-up. Interface Zero got kicked around (a tad unfairly) for changing "too much" about Savage Worlds, but this is a step back to the feel of SW without sacrificing the unique flavor of IZ.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Interface Zero Hacking 2.0
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Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Basic Game
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/23/2012 01:22:00

WHAT WORKS: Top notch production values. Lots and lots of detailed examples. A supers system in which neither magic nor powered armor seem to be giant headaches or hopelessly busted. Lots of promise for support is out there, (really looking forward to the Cosmic Stuff for sure). Fantastic price point. Probably the most logical advancement system I have seen in a supers system (with the second best being "Well, comic book characters don't advance like normal anyway, so just handwave it)". Also, I totally dig the Solo-Buddy-Team set-up.


WHAT DOESN'T WORK: I've never been comfortable with "Stress" systems. A bit more abstract than I prefer. I'm also not sold on the "Event" set-up, especially with the default assumption that characters will be dropped from Event to Event.


CONCLUSION: Well, just by reading it I like it better than I do the "Stones" system. It certainly seems like it could be a blast, but until I see it in play, I couldn't put it ahead of Marvel SAGA which has stood the test of time for me. We have always been a fan of playing our own characters in the Marvel Universe, even though there has never been a Marvel game with a GOOD character creation system. This game doesn't change that, but it does bypass horribly busted attempts and just says "Hey, make what you want, here's how". Marvel Heroic Roleplaying is probably the most mechanically interesting Marvel system (behind SAGA) to me. Hats off to the crew at Margaret Weis Productions. Not only have the released a gorgeous product, they did it at a very nice price point. A very impressive effort using a system that has had its foundation tested twice before. And if you were nervous about the final product, don't worry...this isn't a "You punched Spider-Man in his Mary Jane" game. Very much excited to see how things develop from here.


For my full review, please visit: http://mostunreadblogever.blogsp-
ot.com/2012/02/tommys-take-on-marvel-heroic.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Basic Game
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Mistborn Adventure Game Digital Edition
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/22/2012 21:54:06

WHAT WORKS: I feel pretty confident that someone could go into this not knowing a thing about the Mistborn series and come out of it with a pretty strong impression of the setting. A lot of care went into explaining things to the non-gamers who may pick this up, I thought, and I certainly liked the extra time put into cross referencing rules sections in the GMing chapter. The entirety of Book 2 is freaking cool, with the metals and their uses in the powers sets. For a book that's closer to 600 pages than 500 pages, not only is it very reasonably priced, but there is NOT a lot of wasted space at ALL. I also rather enjoyed the intertwining of Secrets, Destinies and Tragedies, complete with mechanical benefits.


WHAT DOESN'T WORK: I fear that the system has a bit of a "whiff" factor, although I may be underestimating the number of "matches" one can get with a d6 dice pool. I also question how newbie friendly this RPG would be, given that it's so close to 600 pages. The emphasis on "scripting" and "storytelling" is bound to turn off a segment of the RPG population that prefer a more "traditional" approach to gaming. That said, there is also a free primer you can download to check it out first.


CONCLUSION: Mistborn certainly isn't Just Another D&D. A great price on a massive volume grounded in a game system that has a lot of cool features to it. I'm probably going to look the Mistborn novels up on the Nook, and pick them up if they're available, because this game has convinced me this is a setting that interests me. If you're a fan of the novels and nervous about it being too much for you, don't worry...the authors offer you several hands along the way (including some insightful sidebars). Just a fair warning: If you haven't read the books and think you might want to, there are spoilers all over the place (though they do a pretty good job of warning you first). Great product, especially for the price.


For the full review, please visit: http://mostunreadbloge-
ver.blogspot.com/2012/02/tommys-take-on-mistborn-adventure-g-
ame.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mistborn Adventure Game Digital Edition
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Olympian Breed - Setting Primer & Character Creation Guide
Publisher: Palewolf Publishing
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/18/2012 01:24:00

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: The first release by new Savage Worlds licensee Palewolf Publishing is a the basic character generation primer for their new line of Greek Myth-themed adventures. The PCs are Demigods - spawn of mortals and Gods - and so have an extra edge on the rest of the world. Olympian Breed uses the Super Powers Companion (with a modified Edge that lowers the amount of points available to spend, reducing the power level hat your standard Super Powers Companion game is going to have). The primer also includes a Hindrance for those watched closely by the Gods, as well as a map of ancient Greece, some setting-appropriate equipment and a character sheet.


WHAT WORKS: The big hook for me is the use of the Super Powers Companion combined with the Greek myth hook...two things I love very much. That, and it's free.


WHAT DOESN'T WORK: Well, there's just not a ton of material here, mostly a few pieces of equipment, as well as the new Edge and Hindrance. It's also at least a three product buy-in to really get rolling, as you need the Savage Worlds rules, the Supers Companion and the first adventure. The primer also says you would need the Fantasy Companion, but other information I have received indicates that's not necessarily the case.


CONCLUSION: They've hooked me into checking out at least Act One to see what it's like, with the "Greek Myth plus Super Powers Companion" hook. I'm a sucker for new fiddly bits, so I would have certainly enjoyed more Edges and Hindrances and so on, especially since there is no setting book available, just a series of adventures. You can also check out the Olympian Breed pre-gen freebie file to get a feel for the kinds of characters that "fit" the setting.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Olympian Breed - Setting Primer & Character Creation Guide
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Altus Adventum Primer
Publisher: Sacrosanct Games
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/18/2012 01:19:57

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: I feel very bad about this one, because I was asked to review this quite a while back, apparently misplaced the file, and have let WAY too much time go by without touching it. Altus Adventum is isn't a retroclone, but it is an attempt at recapturing earlier experiences with fantasy RPGs. The primer is a very meaty 92 page document that covers character generation, combat, skills and even a selection of monsters. Literally everything you need for at least an adventure or two is right here, completely free. The races are fantasy standards (human, elf, dwarf, halfling, gnome) with six attributes (Strength, Agility, Endurance, Intllect, Willpower and Luck) that run a range of 1-100. Combat uses dice pools in which each side compares the highest die in their pools for success. Magic is also included in this primer, with nine different forms to choose from, all operating off of the same basic mechanic, but with tweaks for the type you use. The monsters included cover basic animals as well as orcs, red caps, carnivorous plants and plenty more.


WHAT WORKS: For a free product, this primer has a ton of usable material in it. I mean, we're talking more than some smaller commercial PDF releases. I'm not sure what's missing from the main core book, but it is 204 pages, so presumably there is quite a bit extra there above and beyond the impressive amount of material here.


WHAT DOESN'T WORK: If you've gotten used to RPGs that tend towards using unified mechanics, Altus Adventum's different approach to combat versus skill checks is going to annoy you.


CONCLUSION: Look, I can't complain much about an incredibly complete free product. The primer covers all the rules you need to play, including skills, combat and magic, and even includes a decent amount of setting material, monsters and magical items. If you have any interest in checking out an another fantasy RPG, you have no reason not to at least download the primer...there is ample material here to decide if the full game is worth your purchase or not.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Altus Adventum Primer
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