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Flashing Blades
by William R. j. Date Added: 10/06/2004 15:54:41

Wow...Flashing Blades. ain't played this since...well, since a long time (yeah, I'm old, so what), actually a very comprehensive combat system, very easily converted to the D20 system for a more intricate dueling mechanic for those interested...



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Flashing Blades
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Age of Fighting Sail: Heart of Oak
by David C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/13/2004 15:39:24

I was originally very apprehensive about using a pay for download site, however my experience with DriveThruRPG was painless. Not only did I get "Hearts of Oak" a second hand ruleset I couldn't find anywhere else I was also able to get a hard copy for £2!!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Age of Fighting Sail: Heart of Oak
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Age of Fighting Sail: Heart of Oak
by Azu K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/30/2004 09:49:05

I have downloaded it and can testify to its completeness. The rules are a work of immaculate research. The information itself could be regarded as a rich source for warfare in the age of sail. I have read quite a few works on that subject, including Naval Institute Press' Line of Battle, but none has given me the up-on-the-line perspective provided in these rules.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Space Opera
by James V. Date Added: 08/13/2004 00:41:23

Amazingly enough I discovered Space Opera in 1981 and about 5 months after I discovered the D&D and the AD&D First Edition rules. I was hooked on role-playing and SO really added fuel to the fire. I studied those rules backwards and forwards, upside-down and right-side up. I tore them up. I just could not find anybody that would stop playing AD&D, so I focused on AD&D - but I absolutely never forgot the "Space Opera" RPG.

In my opinion, the SO RPG is not the greatest mechanically designed ''classic'' RPG. SO had both a confusing and weak hand-to-hand combat, space combat heavily based on "wet-navy" mechanics, poor to non-existent martial arts system and a skill resolution mechanic just as poor. Otherwise the damage mechanic and skill result mechanics where pretty cool. SO's primary strength lies in its originality of the material about super-technology, super-science, Psionics, FTL spacecraft details, detailed history, detailed cultures and great inter-stellar civilizations that easily compares to or rivals the SCIFI RPGs classics like: Traveller, MegaTraveller, MechWarrior, BattleMech and even StarFrontier. I think only the StarWars RPG (the original), StarWars D20, SpaceMaster and Star Hero equals SO's potential, in this regard. Get this! 'Space Opera' is the only RPG where a Dorsai-type soldier, a Lensman-type super-agent/spy, a classic scifi Star Marines, StarPatrol and a Jedi Knight warrior can all fight side-by-side - OR fight each other!!! Isn't that cool? Minus the few areas of what I said is bad, the good in SO provides a broad range of material and concept development that is historically one of the best rpg designs since the early 1980's. As you can probably tell, I was happy, when I found DRIVETHRURPG's website! :D



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Space Opera
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Space Opera
by Mark M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/23/2004 15:27:37

Back in 1981 while I was attending college I happened to stumble across this jewel of a game. The local wargaming club had just discovered it and was running original scenarios for it in addition to those of Traveller, which had been around for just a few years.

Space Opera has a unique character-generation system which I've found to be more satisfying than the current crop of "generic" RPG's. It's not a trivial task to create a character (done randomly using the time-honored tradition of rolling dice), but ultimately the player ends up with a true science-fiction player character, with skills and abilities specific to the far-future universe described in the rules and fine-tuned by the Game Master.

Combat requires just a couple of dice rolls to resolve hits and damage, although the Game Master has to keep track of variables such as range, speed, armor and size. The weapons table lists other variables (armor penetration, reliability, range, lethality) for each of the weapons listed -- and there are a lot of weapons, ranging from the dagger to the good ol' blaster rifle.

Perhaps the only drawback to this game is the black-and-white graphics, sprinkled sparingly throughout both rule books. Anyone used to the current multi-color, glossy-paged hard back RPG's may be disappointed with the artwork in Space Opera. But Space Opera is a game for the mind, and hard-core science fiction RPGers could do a lot worse than to choose this product.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bushido
by Lawrence W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/21/2004 10:52:47

Bushido is the seminal 'Samurai' RPG by FGU.

FGU is noted for its attention to detail and the somewhat complex systems used to simulate its subject matter. Bushido is no exception, and its core system is detailed, complex, and not for the novice GM. It does, however, provide a solid base for the background, and its attention to detail covers everything from the caste and position of birth through to mass combat and what happens to characters in those 'down-times' when not adventuring.

The system is a points-based mechanic, with characters enjoying bonuses to their base statistics (Strength, Health, Speed, Deftness Wit and Will) depending on the profession - or class - they choose. This distinguishes them as 'classic' heros or characters, rather than as average characters. Once base stats are decided, there's a barrage of calculated secondary statistics covering things such as how quickly one learns new skills, how many actions one can accomplish in an action round, and how well one concentrates to improve performance ('Zanshin').

Skills derive from stats and are intially calculated on a range from 1 to 100+. However, resolution of most activities, including combat, is handled on a d20, with the skill value being divided by 5 to yield a 'raw' chance of success. This raw chance is subject to further modifiers to provide a 'Base' chance, reflecting such things as character level (there is a maximum of 6th level), and situational modifiers.

As such the system is reasonably simple to understand, if a little fiddly at administer, and study of the rules eventually clarifies the way the system works. Additional ideas include 'effect numbers' which determine differing degrees of success, and 'intensities' used for things such as poisons and magical effects.

The rules are NOT well structured. Concepts and definitions are introduced before they are fully explained, so expect some head-scratching as one works through character generation. But, with perserverance, the rules do make sense and are suprisingly logical when play gets under way.

A mechanic to note is the advancement system. Characters advance in 3 seperate ways: in Level, which is based on gathering experience points (either Budo, if a warrior, or shugendo, if a magician or priest); skill points, based on training and learning through skill use; and 'honour' or 'On' which reflects reputation and personal integrity. On can be lost - and if sufficient On is lost to create a significant loss of integrity, then seppuku, or ritual suicide, might be the only honourable course of action open to the character.

So the rules aren't for beginners, but they are comprehensive. However, where Bushido really shines is in conveying the Japanese background. One gains a real sense of place, despite the fact that Bushido never sets out the background to 'Nippon' in explicit and exhaustive detail. Concepts like birth status, honour, martial competence and other, traditional Samurai conceits, are conveyed gently and persuasively. By the time you have created your first character, you'll know what place he or she occupies in society, his or her relationship to a lord (or not, depending on birth), and what's expected. You'll know how much they earn for serving a master, and what equipment they get for the privilege. It's subtle, complex and involving stuff, and a refreshing change for the tendency to swamp GMs and players with expansive background detail that can't be used to its best extent during play.

A good example is the handling of the two major religions: Shinto and Buddhism. Both co-exist, although they are different philosophies. Shinto is animist in approach, investing every natural feature or event with a spirit and wisdom of its own. Buddhism is based upon enlightenment and study, with the cycle of being at the heart of the ethos. However, both religions provide enough detail to allow you to create a character that is immersed in the chosen religion. You really do gain a sense of faith and what its responsibilities are, rather than simply creating a warrior that wields a holy symbol.

There's lots more to be said about Bushido, but space and time don't permit it. I will conclude with the following points:

  1. If you want a detailed, simulationist RPG, then Bushido ranks amongst the best

  2. Its attention to detail and setting are first rate, and the best of the Samurai games available

  3. Everything you need to run a campaign is present in the rules books - you don't need countless supplements

  4. Not for beginners, or those who like 'system-lite' games, but definitely rewarding if you persevere with the (sometimes) confusing layout and structure.

  5. Bushido's system is innovative, and was used as the basis for two other excellent FGU games, 'Aftermath' (which takes the complexity to the absolute extreme) and 'Daredevils' (where it's significantly streamlined.

And, at the price offered here, it's superb value for money.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bushido
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