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Crimson Cutlass Omnibus
by Triem V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/18/2019 01:33:06

I am a player in the author's campaign, and the writer of the last two pages of this edition, so this isn't an unbiased review.

Crimson Cutlass is the first (published?) game designed by Rahm and Hillmer, and it remains the best. There are multiple editions available of the game. The 1979 version, you don't have that. The 1989 version goes for way too much money on Ebay. The 2015 edition was released on Amazon Kindle and consists of four volumes. This version collects the four Amazon volumes and adds in another couple hundred pages of new and updated tables from the current campaign, all at a lower price. Therefore, this is the definitive edition of the game.

Pirates! Who doesn't want to play a pirate game! Character generation is super simple. Choose one of the four starting backgrounds, roll a dice to determine your character's Traits (No number ratings here, you're BOLD, or you're not), roll another dice to dertermine your starting skills, check off a couple of boxes, and your character is ready for play in under five minutes.

Cutlass contains rules for dueling combat, small-scale (squads) land combat, large scale (armies) land combat, seige combat, ship-to-ship duels, battles between Armadas, and much, much more. Most of the rules the Player will need to know are in the first 200-250 pages of the book.

Player's actions are resolved with a simple 2d8 roll - 3d8 if your character has the desired Advantage for the task.

Cutlass's mechanics require a shift in thinking for new players. The majority of the in-game actions are generated by tarot card flips on various tables. Most important for new players, one doesn't choose one's target in action in combat - the player doesn't say "I charge the enemy Captain and try to cleave his head from his shoulders with my Cutlass," but, instead, chooses one of eight combat postures, then flips a card on the relevant table. The card result will tell you what happens in that round.... Maybe you'll actually get to cleave the enemy Captain's head. Maybe you'll find yourself dodging a body falling from the rigging. Cards instead of dice yields more potential events on a table (154 vs 100), and more complex interactions, since, unlike a dice table where the same event could be rolled over and over, once that (example) 10 of Swords is flipped, it's gone... At least until the deck reshuffles.

If one can relax into the mindset of following and interpreting the deck, Cutlass is one of the most fun and rewarding games one can play.

For the Referee, Cutlass offers the most interesting mission generation and travel encounter system I've encountered, THE best experience system ever devised for any RPG, and a masterclass in world and campaign generation. Rules and guidelines allow the referee to create a campaign world from scratch with simple systems to track political alliances, generate rule of law, even reform the Church!

1500 pages of rules, ideas, encounters and tables to cover a staggering amount of situations. I can honestly say I've played Cutlass for almost 30 years and haven't come close to seeing everything the game has to offer. Cutlass's rules are streamlined and elegant, but the Mission Generation, Mission Encounter and Experience/Advancment system are what truly set Cutlass apart - and are also the sections easiest to adapt to "your favorite RPG." The Mission, Encounter and Experience systems can (and have been) adapt(ed) to any genre desired (for Fantasy Games, look at the relevant books for Conrad's Fantasy and Outlands, for Sci-Fi, look at the relevant books for Battle Born/Era 10!)

For about $0.01 a page, and the sheer wealth of useable material, Cutlass is hard to beat.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Crimson Cutlass Omnibus
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Outlands Adventures April 2019
by Triem V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/18/2019 01:03:57

I'm one of the players in the campaign, so this isn't an unbiased review

This document contains the missions 7 and 8 of our current campaign. For people who might have purchased "Chronicles of the Outlands," Crimson Cutlass" or any of the other Better Games Products this will also serve as a bit of a how to/example of fleshing out the card flips from the "Scenario Design" pamphlets. The actual card flips used to generate the missions are shown, then the Referee's notes on how the card flip results were fleshed out for the campaign are given, along with the recaps of "the Campaign so far.

Missions 7 and 8 largely revolve around getting rid of some cursed magical objects, and start getting into some large underworlds. There are goblins, dragons, giants, gods, and some fun puzzles to be found. There's the Womb of Gems - the birthplace of all the world's jewels. In play, we didn't find the Womb of Gems. I'm kind of sad we didn't find the Womb of Gems, even though SOMEONE would have failed the tests of the Womb of Gems, and we've have lost another PC.

Play your cards right and one of the Campaign PCs might end up as an NPC, but in control of all the ocean's tides. Not a bad fate.

Outlands uses a system of card flips to generate most mission encounters, while certain scenes and the mission climax are fully detailed. For these missions, only the overall storyline, one or two plot-specific scenes and the mission's climaxes are fully detailed. Mission Specific Q&D tables are included. For owners of Chronicles, these alone are useful additions for the Ref. The travel events generated in play by the deck anre are not included here. There is more than enough information presented for any ref to run these missions in any game system, but travel encounters are left for individual Refs to flip or detail for themselves.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Outlands Adventures April 2019
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Outlands Adventures Jan 2019
by Triem V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/18/2019 00:56:31

Certainly not an unbiased review, as I'm one of the players in the campaign.

This document contains the second three missions of our current campaign. For people who might have purchased "Chronicles of the Outlands," Crimson Cutlass" or any of the other Better Games Products this will also serve as a bit of a how to/example of fleshing out the card flips from the "Scenario Design" pamphlets. The actual card flips used to generate the missions are shown, then the Referee's notes on how the card flip results were fleshed out for the campaign are given.

Outlands uses a system of card flips to generate most mission encounters, while certain scenes and the mission climax are fully detailed. For these missions, only the overall storyline, one or two plot-specific scenes and the mission's climaxes are fully detailed. Mission Specific Q&D tables are included. For owners of Chronicles, these alone are useful additions for the Ref.

Travel events were generated in play by the deck anre are not included here. There is more than enough information presented for any ref to run these missions in any game system, but travel encounters are left for individual Refs to flip or detail for themselves.

As a player, it was fun to read these and see all the things we didn't actually do! Also, I missed one session, so got to see more fully what we missed.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Outlands Adventures Jan 2019
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Outlands Adventures Oct 2018
by Triem V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/18/2019 00:52:05

Certainly not an unbiased review, as I'm one of the players in the campaign.

This document contains the first three missions of our current campaign. For people who might have purchased "Chronicles of the Outlands," Crimson Cutlass" or any of the other Better Games Products this will also serve as a bit of a how to/example of fleshing out the card flips from the "Scenario Design" pamphlets. The actual card flips used to generate the missions are shown, then the Referee's notes on how the card flip results were fleshed out for the campaign are given.

There's also a bit of a lesson here on when NOT to use the tables - for here is where I discover that the third mission in this volume wasn't generated by card flips, but pulled from the Referee's brain as a direct sequel to the first two missions.

Outlands - like other games from this publisher - uses a system of card flips to generate most mission encounters, while certain scenes and the mission climax are fully detailed. For these missions, only the overall storyline, one or two plot-specific scenes and the mission's climaxes are fully detailed. The travel events were generated in play by the deck anre are not included here. There is more than enough information presented for any ref to run these missions in any game system, but travel encounters are left for individual Refs to flip or detail for themselves.

Mission Specific Q&D tables are included. For owners of Chronicles, these alone are useful additions for the Ref.

As a player in the campaign I'll say here that, in the sessions, we didn't actually discover everything to be played in the missions. Interesting.

The following note is for the author: Perhaps at the ends of the missions you should include the recaps from the VOX? Kind of as the "How it played out for us" addendum. Almost zero additional effort on your part and potentially interesting, as (previously noted) we didn't do everything there was to do in the missions!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Outlands Adventures Oct 2018
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Era Ten Character Backgrounds
by Angus M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/14/2019 09:41:05

I have rarely read such an insulting description from a product. This is a great way to drive people away from your game system.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Era Ten Character Backgrounds
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Creator Reply:
You have made the right choice with your money and time. Mens Rea -- “even a dog knows the difference between being stumbled over and being kicked.” Now, as a hobby, we are reduced to reviewing the sales pitch.
Outlands Adventures April 2019
by Joseph H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/26/2019 17:28:01

This is a treasure map to all the dark rewards and terrors of Isborsk and the Unending Gray.

The Author is trying to refine the genre in a different and intriguing way. Nothing in the game is entirely rewarding ... yet ... much can be doom.

Not, every situation works as intended but in 50 pages of notes, one can't go wrong for a dollar.

Of particular note are the Catacombs and the Final Sprawl of the Unending Gray, it seems the author is almost driven mad by the expanse and unbounded realms contained therein. Too much for a simple scribe to capture, too much for a single read. Paired with the rules, all can become clear. Are you willing to polish the burnished metail to see the reflection?

I would give it a 6 out of 5 it if were possible (and who says not) had the author taken a breath between the encounters to introduce new readers to the sorcory that was about to follow. While a word choice here or there seems foreign, when paired with the rules, all can seem clear. (Or, just drink in the words and see where they take you.)

Pitch your pennies in and boldly step forward. Be patient young scholor, there is much to learn.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Outlands Adventures April 2019
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Chronicles of the Outlands
by Joseph H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/08/2018 19:51:18

What ... what ... Cutlass AND Fantasy set in the Western Barons? Did Christmas come early this year?

Pros:

  • Layout is great. Finally a text with a large enough font to read. Plus, Plus.
  • Art is fun and evocative. Not too much. Just enough.
  • Quick and Dirty Tables Galore. One can never have too many. Be careful what you ask for.
  • Character Generation in 5 minutes with a complete, interesting character. Plus. Plus.
  • Aspirational .... Throwing in Brash, Irregular, Escape, Calculated and Recitation off the top. Most would just give you three and charge you for the Schlameals' Book of Schlamealness (Wizards, you know who you are). In Outlands, you get them all off the top.
  • No need for a book for 300 new character classes. You get any class you want to build with one's skills.
  • Ignobles are always great. Those of you still using Experience Points ... noobs.
  • One can actually begin to like Banes (bad results) in this game.
  • Still just die eights needed to play the game. One table to rule them and in the darkness bind them ....

Cons:

  • There isn't a single page of "This page intentionally left blank." in the whole book (okay I'm digging, I'm digging.)
  • Coming in at 316 pages, she's a beast. New peeps should beware. There's a lot here. This isn't a con for pro gamer types who aren't scared of a few extra hundred pages.
  • Where the heck is the print on demand? With comb bind, this would be luxury. (Okay, I'll head down to my Staples and get it done.)
  • No index in the back as opposed to the 6 point font unreadable index in the 5th edition of the World's oldest RPG game. The Table of Contents is complete ... I'm digging, I'm digging.

In short, a fresh take on the RP Fantasy game. Put away your accounting books and come have some Adventure.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Chronicles of the Outlands
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Crimson Cutlass Omnibus
by Joseph H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/16/2018 03:46:53

Wow, 1500 pages plus.

As a Cutlass player and contributer for many, many years, it's great that the product is finally available to any gamer who wants it.

While Cutlass is 30 plus years old, it's not like anything old school or in new school.

Character generation is simplifed to 4 principle Traits (Dashing, Cunning, Stout and Lordly). From there, the player picks a handful of skills and is ready to go. A character can be generated in 5 minutes by a new player and less for an experience player. A role player doesn't need to know their muscle power to three significant digits, they just need to know where to point their Cutlass.

Action is generated by the draw of the Tarot. Players control what they wish to do and let the Tarot drive the action. Sure, you would prefer to use your pistol but sometimes the bad guys won't cooperate. Hit him with the chair instead. The Referee does not need to then spend half the time dicing for the baddies as the actions of the opponents are built into the flip of the Tarot. If the card is inverted, the character is now using his skills to avoid getting poked or a chair upside his head.

Characters don't advance by beating down that same lowly swab thousands of times to collect experience points. The player needs to perform all nine Ignobles to advance. These are like achievements in modern systems (if they had been invented 35 years ago). These include everything from simple combat to ship battles and Character growth. Yea, you have to beat down a lot of ruffians but you have to evolve your character too.

The action included in just the first book includes ship to ship battles, Conflict of Arms (Army Battles for us old time gamers), and even sieges and rules for building ships and companies.

The second and third books describe a way to run complete missions with literally zero prep. Of course, you can add your own Scenarios but you can also flip a few Tarot and off you go.

And, what do you do with the Adventurer who has been taken by the Rival? Well, you could role-play out the upcoming firing squad, or you can quickly resolve what happened to the Adventurer by using the Digression tables. Caught in prison? Well you could role play that ... or Digressions. Held before a judge ... Digressions. Marooned on a Desert Island ... Digressions. The action focuses one one group. If a player wanders off, he's out of the action and is resolved quickly.

Next, the latest books describe a way to generate a full campaign. If you wanted the full Pyrate campaign, here it is.

Lastly, for the history buff. The game text is abundant with historical examples and insights into the world of the 1600s. (Hey man, I just wanted to take out some baddies, I didn't want to actually learn something.)

As a reminder, no orcs or goblins here. Sea Monsters exist only because Players believe they do. (Or maybe not.) This is not a mashup of Fantasy and Pirates. This is an Age of Exploration with both Gentlemen and Pyrates.

Get the books, crack them open and have fun laughing at your fellow players as they fight their way through the Age of Exploration.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Crimson Cutlass Omnibus
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