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Shadowrun: Harlequin
by Joshua D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/14/2022 09:23:28

Harlequin is a classic, sure, but it falls well short of other First Edition adventures like Mercurial and Dreamchipper. Ultimately, it's closer to a 3 than it is a 5 but I'm giving it a little lee way for being an adventure that paved the way for much of Shadowrun's early lore. Let's get in to specifics though:

Harlequin follows the player team through a series of about 8 adventures, with most of them seeming to be disconnected unrelated jobs to all but the most perceptive players. This is by design, truly Harlequin is meant to be played alternating with at least one other campaign but given the length of the book it's a lot easier to play it straight through even if it weakens the mystery. That's because at 8 adventures, and each adventure being about two or three lessions in length, you're going to be spending half a year or more just on this campaign. Which can be a good thing if you want a longer story to bite your teeth in to!

The greater story itself is interesting. The ancient elven battle between Harlequin and Ehran that the players don't even realize their pawns in is very interesting, and many of the characters are intriguing. Even at the highest point of frustration my players had with the writing (we'll get to that) they were still so intrigued with the mystery they never wanted to stop. Especially because they had been so diligent in collecting clues and putting together that every single job had, in some way, revolved around Ehran.

The biggest weakness of this campaign is all the "cutscenes", that was how my players coined it. Every Shadowrun adventure has a "Tell it to Them Straight" section to introduce each scene. In Harlequin they're long, very long, sometimes a page or two or even three long. I know this is a game from an older era when tabletops were finding their feet, but I can't imagine even back then players enjoyed being read to for 15 or 20 minutes. It seems as if the adventure intends for you to pause or stop to get player input during these cutscenes, but doing so often requires you to awkwardly stop in the middle of paragraphs.

Often times my players felt like they had very little agency compared to other 1e adventures like Mercurial, and often disgruntled on how the adventure seemed to wisk them along or imply thoughts or actions that didn't meet the players view of their characters requiring some small rewrites. Now, to be fair, most campaigns have a little of this, but I want to emphasise here that Harlequin clearly crosses the line from it being an acceptable part of pre written adventures and getting in to frustrating territory.

Many of the missions themselves are fun, well balanced, and interesting, especially the break ins. The old German town you go to, breaking in to the Policlub, stealing a manuscript, and the last mission in Althian all have the feeling of diving in to places you're not supposed to be and it all works very well. Not just the smaller missions however, there's a lot of globetrotting too. The trek through Aztlan will forever be a highlight of my table, as will boarding suborbital flights and being thrown around the world to other countries. It's a great way to show your players just how big thr world of Shadowrun is. However,

The maps are bad, and a few of the encounters are badly designed The perfect example of this is an early mission where you break in to a policlub office building. The layout is nonsensicle, whoever drew the map forgot to put a front entrance, and if you walk in the back door the entire way the mission is written falls apart. This isn't the only bad map in the game, or the only time where a mission can fall apart because players do something that's not even that hard to expect, but it's definitely the worst case of it. Even in the cases of very well designed maps like Althian you have several rooms the players will almost certainly never go in to, that have art and wistful descriptions.

Some of the tone is inconsistent and the humor is often, uhm, just bad. About halfway through the campaign you go to Germany, you have what I think may just be the best and most intriguing adventure in the whole book, only for me to realize at the very end you were supposed to play it...tongue in cheek? Like a joke? Even re-reading it i'm not sure what the 'joke' is supposed to be, other than German accents are funny I guess. The old tired baron and the castle on the mountain, there's a lot of intrigue there. I recommend you play it straight. But I tell you that to tell you this, the campaign's tone is often inconsistent as is a lot of it's humor in a way that isn't offensive but IS definitely eye rolling.

Overall You have an intriguing campaign with a great overall story and characters but with the glaring flaws such as too many "cutscenes", bad maps, and inconsistent tone. As much as I thought about it, I decided not to deduct anything from the adventure for it's outdated writing and language, no writer can see the future, but there's a few things in here that will make you roll your eyes.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Harlequin
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BattleTech: Combat Manual: Mercenaries
by Nate L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/10/2022 15:30:20

A lot of history about mercenary units, along with unit composition rules for creating your own unit.

However, there's no real information on maintaining your own unit. Cost structures, contracts/pay structure. How much do you pay the jump ship? How much do you pay for the drop ship? How much for the quartermaster, the engineers, and so on? How much to replace a damaged AC/5? What to expect from salvage? How much can you expect to be paid for salvaged materials and mechs?

So, is it useful? Yes, but not if you're actually wanting all the details on how to play a mercenary unit. There's really no information here on how to run a mercenary campaign in actual detail. You may as well play House regulars with no real cost structure except to blow sh!t up.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: Combat Manual: Mercenaries
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Shadowrun: Seattle Sourcebook
by Scott W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/29/2022 14:01:15

The book is a great resource or anyone looking to run the shadows of Seatle in 2050, no rules entanglements, just straight information to pull from for whatever you want to do and a full page annotated map to pull from.

The scan? Reasonable. Nothing's illegible and everything's well centered. The OCR, which would let you search for things based on other modules to get more information? Horrible, unsearchable. This is an example of the Matchstick's Bar information that would be referenced on pg 38:

M ... tchstlck·s (I 12. =OJ Nlghl Club .md FilSt FoodfSm.t1l Re51i1urilnl A"he·

rypes/ fourth Avenue North &. Denny W"y/Car! StewMd.

""""nager/ No ~lal 8IaS/LTC_ 2.06 (56-2249).

The Interior of thiS Sffi.\1I. memberHlOIy nightclub

ne=lr the Space Needle resemble5 " jan ·lolm 0( tnt

19lOs. The club 15 iI f"vorlte place foI ~wrunnelS and

rhelr hangers·on.

-- Do note, any = above would normalyl be a less than sign but was causing the review to get cut off

Which I can read from the perfectly legible PDF as: Matchstick's(#12 G)

Night Club and Fast Food/Small Resturant Arche-

types/Fourth Avenue North & Denny Way/Carl Steward. Manager/No Racial Bias/LTG# 206 (56-2249).

The interior of this small, members-only nightclub

near the Space Needle resembles a jazz-joint of the

1930s. The club is a favorite place for shadowrunners and their hangers-on.

So, not exactly usable for searching. Still plenty good for background information, no good for reference.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Seattle Sourcebook
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BattleTech: FedCom Civil War
by Christopher P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/28/2022 22:47:48

A classic BattleTech history book -- it walks you through all the events of the FedCom Civil War, in a more-or-less in-universe style, covering the actions in all parts of the Federated Commonwealth, and the additional fighting against Jade Falcon and the Draconis Combine.

There are some flaws, however. The index doesn't differentiate units by designation -- for instance, "Avalon Hussars" gets a single entry, with no indication of which pages would be telling you about the 17th Avalon Hussars, or the 42nd Avalon Hussars.

The atlas skips over some of the worlds that were involved in the fighting -- six of the worlds in the initial Flashpoint chapter don't get write-ups in the Atlas, for instance.

As warned, this is a scan of the book rather than an original printing file. As such, there are some spots where the scan leaves something to be desired. The maps, with star systems marked in small print, are absolutely unreadable.

The Deployment Tables are difficult enough to read given the small font, close spacing, lack of borders on either columns or rows, or any sort of distinguishing shading. Enlarging it to read the text just makes it fuzzier and harder to read.

Still, if you're looking to cover the 3062-3067 period, there's nothing better to have as a reference at hand.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: FedCom Civil War
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Shadowrun, Sixth World Core Rulebook: City Edition: Seattle
by Jason M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/23/2022 23:45:12

A vast improvement, and integrated Errata from the original Core Rulebook for Sixth World. This game is great for those who have had a difficult time with the crunch of old Shadowrun. The game is far more streamlined, and now with core support books out this system is gaining some traction, and becoming very viable. The companion book has alternate rules, and helping to relieve some of the original naysayers. I hope more people give 6we a chance, or second chance.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun, Sixth World Core Rulebook: City Edition: Seattle
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Shadowrun: Sixth World Companion (Core Character Rulebook)
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/23/2022 13:31:32

Shadowrun: Sixth World Companion, is a long awaited book, with the rules for alternate character building systems, meta variants and infected characters, optional and clarified rules, changelings, new qualities and more. It is a needed book but it could have been better with some odd missteps along the way. Even more so than most core books, Games Masters will probably want this just for the optional rules, which address many of the concerns that people have had with the new edition of the rules and players will want it for the wealth of new character options.

Shadowrun: Sixth World Companion is a core character book. It is designed to provide new general options for character building and development. Note this a long review and you can just take the summary above or if you feel you are interested in my detail critique, read on.

As is usual, it begins with a brief introduction about what is in this book. Next is the required short fiction section, and the only fiction section in this book, which shows some unusual runners in action.

The first section is Runner’s World which is just . . . odd. It spends about four pages written from an in-world perspective breaking down the traditional roles in a runner team (muscle, face, techie, rigger, mage) and talks a bit about what happens on runs. Who exactly is this for, anyone buying this book is likely to be into the whole Shadowrun setup and does not need to be told things like “The face’s jobs are to mingle, negotiate, trick, intimidate, and sometimes interrogate.” It just seems really out of place to me. The next subsection is Ways to Play Shadowrun, which talks about adjusting power levels up or down, playing other types of people ranging from Slice of Life to Artifact Hunters or members of a Sports Team or Street Gang (but not DocWagon team, which is another classic non-runner option for some reason). Some fun ideas here but they all could have been further fleshed out to make them easier to play.

Next is Exteriors and Interiors, again, starts with some in-world advice about what you show to people by how you present yourself and how to use that to your advantage, pretty straightforward advice but sometimes overlooked. The next section is about thinking about how your character presents themself and how their choice of qualities and lifestyle affect that. Next, the return of Twenty Questions to help define your character (and suggestions on how to reward players who take the time to help build hooks for the GM).

Then we have Building a Shadow which goes into detail about alternate character generation methods: Sum to Ten, Point Buy and Life Path. Each has its strength, Sum to Ten and Point Buy increase flexibility in character builds while the Life Path helps you to build a story around your character’s background. It is good to see the Life Path version back as it is a fun way to build a character.

The next section is Suit Up which is a variety of PACKs, which stands for Pre-Assembled Character Kit, which are, as you would expect collections of useful gear on various themes (decker, street samurai, drone rigger, vehicles, weapons and so on and so on). While I like the idea of PACKs, especially for quick character generation, I am not sure if this is the best place for them. It takes up a little over twenty pages (more than one tenth of the book). It seems, to this reviewer, that it would be better suited for a PDF and not a main book, where it would be easier to add new PACKs and adjust old ones as new supplements come out. One of the reasons I would advocate for such a strategy in the future is because things like the missing essence costs for the two rigger PACKs (and a missing list of augmentation bonuses for one of those). Also, showing this reviewers age, I remember when being a decker did not eat all of your essence and why does no one have a datajack? Only two out of the eighteen cyber/decker PACKs have them. Also, again just this reviewers personal preference, but what is up with so many heavy weapons on vehicles? Of the ten normal-ish vehicles (i.e., civilian vehicles) that are armed, three have assault cannons (including one on a motorcycle!), three heavy machine guns and two rocket launchers. Not my style man, just way too much, also concealing that level of weaponry on a modified stock civilian vehicle (even in a pop-up turret) strains believability.

Types and Shadows looks as the variants of metahumanity, also what defines a metavariant in world, and at the other sapiens that are recognized in the Sixth World. There are five metavariants of dwarves, five of elves, two of human and four of each for orks and trolls, quite a wide variety from small gnomes to massive giants. Unfortunately, there are almost no illustrations in this section, one of a cybered dwarf that might be one of the metavariants and another of a cyclops. These really, really need illustrations with comparison to something every day, like a standard modern door, so we the readers can really get a good feeling for what it means when a giant is said to be three meters tall. Or how small a gnome or a pixie really is by comparison to an average person. Without illustrations it is really hard to envision what the metatypes and metavariants, especially the larger one, are like. The problem is not quite as bad in the sapients section, which adds centaur, merrow, naga, pixies and sasquatches to the pool of playable beings, with art of pixie driving a motorcycle (cute), a Sasquatch in a suit (but nothing to compare him against size-wise) and maybe a picture of a centaur at the end of the section. But how big is the average centaur? What does a ten meter long (and just under one meter in girth) naga look like compared to a person? How small are pixies (it is not mentioned in their description)? Can a Sasquatch use troll sized items? How can a GM reasonably adjudicate things in relation to the size of beings without useful references? Now, there are a bunch of charts at the end of the section with average height and weights for the metatypes and sapients (which do not always match the written descriptions) but they are not so useful, this reviewer is not good at imagining what a .8 meter tall gnome or 2.7 meter tall cyclops would look like next to a car or what a height of 6.9 meter height even means for a snake-like naga?

Next up, the infected in a section called Darker Alterations, which talks about those who are infected with HMHVV (Human MetaHuman Vampiric Virus) which comes in a variety of strains (three in fact) which effect the different metatypes in different ways, except for the Krieger strain which turns all of those infected by it into ghouls. There is quite a bit of information about what is know about the virus, how it has changed and how it affects its hosts. An interesting read. It is followed by rules for creating Infected characters, along with a note that some GM may not allow infected player characters so ask first, which I suspect (hope?) will get a lot more use for creating opposition for shadowrunners than used as player characters. Nice to have to hand to scare the players with. Also new disease rules, used hear specifically for HMMHV but adaptable to other things, a new “drug” (‘Renfield’), a negative quality, and three new creature powers.

Express Yourself details the effects of the SURGE (Sudden Unexplained Rapid Genetic Expression) on people where it created changelings, people with radically different appearances and genetic makeup, some of which happened in regional clusters. Some of those region clusters are noted here, such as the Egyptian cluster where people changed into being reminiscent of the gods of Ancient Egypt, or the Indus cluster where there were suddenly people with too many arms or tiger heads, the theory being that local belief shaped the manasphere (local magic) which in turn created those clusters of similar changelings. After that, there are rules for the changeling. The ones that come from one of the clusters have fairly predictable changes, enough that they have particular named types that come from those areas, which can be taken as a package. There are also options for random generation of alterations, if you want to go that route. There are a fair number of positive and negative metagenic qualities most of which are physically visible, one of the reasons changelings have had so much trouble, everything from blubber to mood hair (which is exactly what it sounds like), fangs to quills, animal heads, wings and tails. Quite a variety for people who want to have a really unique character. Unfortunately, some of the qualities are unplayable (such as Insectoid Features, Progeria and Nocturnal) the karma you get for them would never be worth the disadvantage of suffering from them. However, nicely, all of the information of the qualities is gathered in charts at the end of this chapter.

The next part is People of Exceptional Quality is a selection of new, you guessed it, qualities (yes, they have gone all out for pun section titles this time around). Twenty-four new positive qualities and twenty-four new negative qualities, nice balance there, unfortunately many of them show that they still have not fully mastered their own system. Many Edge gaining qualities, Relentless Tracker, I am looking at you, are still out of balance and the entire set of qualities still need to be totally rebuilt (which is addressed in the next section but not well). Now, there are some needed positive qualities, supporting leadership, teamwork and alchemy which this reviewer highly approves of. Some of the negative qualities are returns of classics (Borrowed Time, Hunted), some provide interesting limited bonuses with their disadvantage (such as All Business, Finesse or Hooder) which is a nice design and nice way to define a character. Unfortunately, some are, again, so punishing that no one will ever take them (Glitchy and Injury Prone come to mind). Others seem to be ways for players to justify acting like jerks in game (but he is a Combat Junkie! But she is a Killer!) which is always a bad design call to this reviewer’s thoughts on game design. This section ends with four Quality Paths, chains of qualities you can buy based on character arc: Critter Bond, straight forward, though there no way to return the critter to the wild without being penalized for it, which seems odd. Obsession is a cool concept, the character is totally driven to accomplish something, consequences by damned! Favored Weapon does what it says on the tin, not much to say beyond that. Vendetta is really conditional, requiring a Heat Score of 15 or higher to be able to take it, but it does not cost Karma, so it could be an interesting twist but your teammate are not likely to be happy with assassins or bounty hunter popping up all the time, so use carefully. Overall, some really good options, some really poor options, and a lot of questionable design choices.

Ways to Play follows and it is a collection of optional rules that you can use to modify the game to fit your play style. The first two pages are about variant rules for edge gains and use along with a half-hearted fix for the Analytical Mind/Attribute Mastery problems which does not really help, rather those Qualities either need to be fully rewritten or just flat banned (as they are in this reviewer’s campaign). Some of the other Edge related ideas are quite good though, Banking Edge seems worthwhile as it potentially turns Edge into a shared resource. There are some good new optional edge actions as well. Some optional healing rules which can act as a lethality slider bar (add in bleeding and increased overflow lethality of you want to make people fear combat). Then Magicians and Mundanes, which includes rules for Transhumanism (which functionally overwrites two of the new positive qualities, so odd choice), free will, new limits on spirits and a variety of other things including some errata (the spirit types from Street Wyrd get vulnerabilities and Enchanter adepts get known spells at character generation, both important changes), a small change that makes Alchemy much more viable and more minor tweaks. Rules to make area effect attacks less lethal. New armor rules to improve the value of armor and more ways to use the Strength attribute (both major part of critiques of the Sixth World Edition from some quarters). There are extended combat options, matrix and rigger notes, new rules, including trading karma for cash and vice versa, addiction rules, expanding information on SINs and licenses. Social combat rules with new edge actions. Advice on building your own qualities, which the previous products (and even this one) do not fully conform to, indeed, they even have as an example of building your own quality, a version of Analytic Mind (called Logical Problem Solver) which costs 12! (Which in a round about way proves this reviewer’s point about Analytic Mind/Attribute Mastery being undercosted, but they still have not owned up to it in the main rules, very frustrating.) And, lastly, new ways to use wild die, which is a vastly underused mechanic in the game. There is a great deal of really good material in this section but it is scattered and not indexed (though they are noted in the table of contents). A bit of these rules had already incorporated in this reviewer’s house rules from previous discussions which is amusing.

(Meta)Human Resources is all about contacts, providing ways to distinguish between different types (academic, corporate, street and so on, ten types in all), new rules for gaining contacts at character creation, ways to increase contracts and then all of the contacts from the core book are given a suggested connection rating and type or types. The connection rating on many of these strike me as low, the core book says someone who is new to town would be a 1, while a gang leader might be a 4, here a fixer or a Mr. Johnson, people whose profession is knowing the right people to get things done are both put at 3 (and the noble bartender is only a contact of 1!). Then we get a whole collection of new contacts, twenty-six of them, ranging from armorer to store owner, each of which has a list of similar contacts. And, again to show that the connections are too low on most of these, the news reporter has a connection rating of 2, the same as the average soldier. The rules for favors, expanded definition of what the loyalty rating actually means, and the rules for group contacts really make this chapter useful for the GM in working out how to work out what contacts will and will not do and at what price in a campaign.

What You Get breaks down lifestyles into a more granular system allowing the customization of living places and safe houses, with positive and negative qualities for the life styles as well, with positives being things such as houseplants, inconspicious and meta-accommodating: while negatives are quirks such as corporate owned, leaky faucet or spouse (!!). Interesting but it does not seem fully built out, there are no positive qualities for such items as, a garage, solid Matrix connections, secure comms or workshops, no negatives for being in gang or syndicate territory, again, much like the section on PACKs, these seems like it would have been better suited to a separate undatable PDF (and as this reviewer recall, how it was presented for previous editions). But, for all that, an amusing section that some players will enjoy, but it remains as having an unfinished basement.

A Most False Impression contains expanded rules for Reputation and Heat, reputation as set up in the core book, is strange enough, really being a reputation for how visibly violent a runner is and if you are willing to help after violence takes place, yes, there are a few other modifiers but it is mostly about violence, as framed in the core it is more a public perception reputation and has little to do with the runners success or professionalism, though the GM could choose to make it so. The suggestion here that you track it for multiple factions without any good advice on what should shape those reputations (beyond that corporations like to make money). Though they do have a good chart for how reputation affects the runners relation with a Mr. Johnson and other employers. The same suggestion for Heat, tracking across multiple groups, which is an indicator of how much official attention the runners have attracted, tracking it across multiple groups seem challenging, especially as heat from one group can affect others. Additional rules for fencing items, buying items, bribery and ideas on how to tweak these systems for use for other groups.

We end with Anatomy of a Shadowrun, which walks through a brief scene in a game showing the action and how it plays out in the rules. Sometime the rules used are noted with page numbers, but not always. Overall, a nice thing, but, again, does it really belong here?

The book concludes with an index of tables, a repeat of the tables for the metatypes and variants, and the positive and negative metagenic qualities. And that’s that. No full index.

So, what to think about all of this? Honestly, there is a lot of good stuff here and much this reviewer will use in their campaign but there is also lots of, well, what seems like filler, space that could have been used much more productively to expand on the strengths of the product. To this reviewer mind it needed:

• More information, illustrations and size comparisons for the metavariants and metaspaients. What is provided is the bare minimum for using them in a game, much more could have been done. The same for the Changelings from the various clusters. • A worksheet (or better yet, a link to a PDF, this can still be done) with all of the optional rules from Ways to Play so that a Games Master can easily list which rule they are using and the players can know what to expect. • Sorting out the mess that is Qualities currently, especially with them scattered out over multiple books and poorly indexed within those books. That would be another nice PDF, a list of all of the Qualities and where to find them.

My other critiques are embedded in the section notes above. I do apologize for such a long review but there is just some much to unpack in this product.

Read this and other reviews at my RPG Journal here: https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Sixth World Companion (Core Character Rulebook)
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Shadowrun: DocWagon 19
by William J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/22/2022 16:40:26

I was recently recommended Jennifer Brozek's work and I picked this up on a Bundle of Holding a while back. So I figured I'd finally get around to reading it.

This novella is told from the perspective as YOU, the Viewer of a popular Trideo show. It quite literally describes camera transitions and what imagery the reporter is able to capture using her cybernetic eye drone, smart glasses, also some footage from a third party VTOL aircraft, and studio cameras. And it even has commercials. Honestly, a tiny bit off putting reading a story like a TV show, but you know what; it grew on me. I really enjoyed the narrative presentation, and thought to myself, without some behind the scenes exposition for us to see behind the curtain, would this work? To put it simply, it does. There are a few questions left unanswered, but overall it wraps up pretty satisfactorily.

So, YOU, viewer, are watching Stories with Hart, starring Simone Hart as she does an investigative report on DocWagon High Threat Response Team 19. We learn about the team, which is honestly a pretty standard and well balanced SR team, see them navigate some corporate politics, save clients, save clients in hostile situations (which is why you'd call in an HTR Team in the first place), and get caught up in an elaborate conspiracy. Surprisingly, it really has everything that makes SR great and told in a very condensed format.

Brozek get's what makes Shadowrun an interesting setting and I'm looking forward to reading her other works.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: DocWagon 19
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PseudoTech: Arcade Operations
by A customer [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/21/2022 00:23:35

A fun diversion, nothing more or less honestly.

PseudoTech Arcade Operations is CGL taking the old Tactical Operations power ups and then saying "But what if more?" Some might find this a mere silly April Fool's product and to them I say: Yeah so? Personally I enjoyed reading through this because in the Battletech universe they have simulartors, both military and commercial, for basically playing out a Battletech fight in a cockpit. So all those times we played the various electronic games where we rode in a Mech? Congrats on some strange level of canon someone in the universe too did that. So imagine a Patch Day where their precious Clanner PPCs just fizzled out for a fight because reasons.

The product, as a PDF, is probably the better choice but the print copy itself isn't too badly priced. The reason why I suggest the PDF is because the tokens on the last few pages don't come perforated or any easy way to split them out from the print book. So either you get brave with the scissors or use a printer to get those from the PDF. Or get the combo if that's your style.

The contents of the book are the powerups themselves-some pulled from the decade old TacOps powerups just updated (they even admit it on print), scenarios based on video games like Pac-man or Metal Gear (mostly the sneaking around parts), and then there's the achivement and award system.

On the subject of Power Ups, I can see a use for them because they're just silly fun. Some are overpowered, but there's rules for randomly rolling to acquire or setting a power up location for a player only, giving you reasons to compete over map space like the old Deathmatches of Doom. Your group will need to probably vote on some of the more powerful ones but that should be fine.

On the subject of the scenarios: While most are fun, a lot of them are just Mech centric. I get that, the giant robots are the bread and butter. There are some which can be adapted for space (make a bullet hell scenario like Raiden). Eventually you'll be able to get a feel for which can be updated and which would just break horribly.

Last I'll talk about are the awards and achieves: I like them. I like the loose rules on making your own. I like the ones established, some are simple while others tread upon old Battletech memes (Atlas versus a hoard of Stingers anyone?) You can award money and exparience points to players for getting a "level" of a reward; the easier ones dole out a pittance while the harder ones might take time but reward bigger. Now would I put this in a regular campaign? No. Would I set up some crazy Solaris kind of deal where you don't die, you respawn and all that xp and warchest points could take a green pilot and shape them into someting useful? Yeah I'd do that.

Final thoughts: This is a decent fun gimmick to add to the boxed sets just to shake up your standard "dueling robots" moments we all do from time to time. Don't look for super serious things here, but merely look at what's provided and see how you can extrapolate something unique. Case in point, I plan on taking the Patch Day notes and using them for rolls when shady black market dealers visit my players. Did this "amazing" pulse laser they got just work like a normal one, work better, or was it total crap and they got tricked out of their C-bills? They won't know until they install the thing.

A solid buy, not as focused as say Escape from Castle Wulfensteiner (God I love that April Fool's product) but as welcoming and a playground for ideas like Welcome to Nebula California. Worth a buy if you're willing to say "Okay let's not take ourselves seriously tonight".



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
PseudoTech: Arcade Operations
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Shadowrun: 30 Nights (Campaign Book)
by Jean-Michel O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/19/2022 15:18:27

It could have been an extremely interesting single adventure or mini campaign, but it was badly thought out, lacks critical detail and is full of missed opportunities.

Straight up you need to understand that the whole blackout concept potentially cripples any existing character with cyberware, which immediately makes it unsuitable for most preexisting groups to be present at ground zero. As for the 30 nights worth of adventures following the grand event.... I'm sorry but nothing stands out here, it feels like 30 random adventure seeds presented with the barest of detail while only surface level thought has been given to the social, political, or even logistical effects of a protracted blackout as described. You could do this yourself with a handful of d6 and some rolls on a 'random shadowrun generator' table.

Where are the refugee columns and the stories about guiding or protecting them? where is the UCAS equivalent of FEMA? where are the aid camps? You've chosen to set it in winter and turned the heat off - where are the considerations about winter temperatures, what about exposure? The reasons why either A) power has not been restored in at least key areas in 5 or 10 days or B) why the bulk of the population hasn't simply up and left are duvious and unsatisfying.

If you want to see what this could have been like, you could play the computer game 'the division' for ideas and do a lot better yourself - but should you be having to put this effort in? Wasn't this meant to be a precooked campaign? Don't we buy these to save us all that time?

Badly thought out, lacks critical detail and full of missed opportunities - the quintessential 6e campaign!



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: 30 Nights (Campaign Book)
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PseudoTech: Arcade Operations
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/19/2022 14:44:31

All in all, a fun little toy to add to your BattleTech games, and not bad for the price, but the book does have some issues. First and foremost, it is heavily skewed towards 'Mech-only play, which admittedly isn't really a big problem for most players. However, the author seems to have a limited knowledge of aerospace rules in particular, and it definitely shows in the few instances where it comes up; infantry and combat vehicles are better accomodated, but still find themselves dealing with edge cases or highly exploitable setups. Truthfully, if you're just in it for the powerups, you're better off downloading the old April Fools powerup rules for free.

That being said, the achievements and scenarios do provide some entertainment. The achievements seem like a fun, relatively standardized format to award outstanding, creative, or frankly hilariously improbable play. A few of the pre-made achievements have somewhat ambiguous unlock conditions (most are fairly obviously meant to be done all in one game, while others are clearly long-haul achievements to be worked at over the course of several matches, but a few fall into something of a gray area). The book also can't seem to decide if the achievements are meant for players at your local for the sake of bragging rights, or for characters in a campaign as a way to get bonus money, XP, and occasionally bounties. While I understand that they wanted to keep the achievement system to remain somewhat freeform to allow for creativity between players, the result is, unfortunately, something of a lack of focused identity.

The scenarios provided are interesting, and the accompanying art is incredibly charming. The scenarios aren't always very well balanced, well, at all, but they still have all the ingredients with a good time with your local players if things start getting a bit stale. They feel less like proper game emulations, and more like a video game running a weird server-side script to try and emulate the structure of a completely different game (think of old TF2 server mods like TF2Ware and Parkour Fortress). This gives them a charming, if sometimes brow-furrowingly quaint nature.

All in all, if you're looking for the new set of innovative and well-designed and thought out rules to supplement your collection of core rulebooks and sourcebook rules annexes, this isn't what you're looking for. Arcade Operations is more akin to the BattleTech equivalent of a 24-hour Source engine modding competition entry, complete with all the creative reinterpretations, and all of the jankiness. Still, for $3 digital and $20 physical, there are certainly worse deals out there. I'd say it's worth grabbing a digital copy just to peruse the assorted rules and see if any of the new toys are right for your group, either straight out of the book or with some tweaks to suit your own needs.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
PseudoTech: Arcade Operations
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Shadowrun: Sixth World Companion (Core Character Rulebook)
by Jean-Michel O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/19/2022 11:06:02

As others are saying (indeed as most shadowrun players will say, or so it seems), I was not impressed with 6th ed. Not at all. The more time you gave it, the more you were really just giving it rope to hang itself with. In fact my group gave up on 6th ed, we went back to playing 3rd ed - which wiped the floor with 6e when you played them side by side.

Having given up on 6e once already, this book's only attraction is the lure that the section of 'optional rules' might alter 6e to the point that it's playable, possibly even enjoyable.

It's certainly not a cure all for 6e's ills, theres still fundamental issues with 6e, flaws at root level that just won't get cured with tweaks and the fixes are so deep that they'd really constitute a 7e. To name a few.... skill list (I can't be an ace gunner without being mcguyver? ffs!). Still issues with the entire major/minor action system. Still issues with the way AR/DV is an entirely separate sum to do for every action when the things being discussed would be much more economically dealt with as pool modifiers so we are just counting one thing (like earlier incarnations of the game).

I'd have been happier with a 'we screwed up, we're sorry' statement and an open beta on a 7e where player feedback is actually considered (ie the way FFG developed the star wars and L5R games) But the companion is a start and it goes in a much needed right direction. So for me the companion gets 4 stars just for this one section. I'm not convinced it will win my group back to 6e, but it might yours. Worth a look even if it's the only 6e book you buy alongside the core rules.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Sixth World Companion (Core Character Rulebook)
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Shadowrun: Sixth World Companion (Core Character Rulebook)
by Rion S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/15/2022 18:54:47

This book has a ton of options in it. Some of the best provide alternate character generation methods, and rule variants to patch some of the issues many SR players find problematic with 6e. For a 210 page book, it pack a lot of options inside. Character creation is definitely expanded to be in line with prior editions, but there are also lots of RP options in here.
As someone who has chosen not to play SR6, this book is the one that could make me take a new look at it. The variant rules make certain issues I had go away or become workable. The editing also appears to have had a lot of attention paid to it. I am happily suprised at the content and quality here. Hopefully the quality here is an indication of future products.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Anarchy
by Simon [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/07/2022 18:11:29

Sloppy editing costs it a star but don’t let that put you off. If you want to play Shadowrun, this is a fantastic modern, lite ruleset that keeps the action front and centre. Community created Foundry VTT module means playing it online is a breeze too.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Anarchy
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Shadowrun: Chicago Chaos (Anarchy)
by Simon [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/07/2022 18:05:44

Fantastic addition to Anarchy but has to drop a star for the sloppy editing again. Great opening story introducing Grims Reaper, who is the person on the front of the Anarchy rule book. So I wasn’t shocked by the fact that the name is used for an new pregen who is completely different in every possible way… come on Catalyst you can do better. Anarchy is a fantastic system, if you want to play Shadowrun then pick it up. This fixes up some of the rules, Chicago covered in enough detail too.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Chicago Chaos (Anarchy)
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BattleTech: Recognition Guide: ilClan Vol. 4
by Björn [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/05/2022 05:26:16

The following Mechs are shown the updated art: WSP-1S Wasp, WSP-3M Wasp, WSP-3W Wasp, WSP-4W Wasp, WSP-5A Wasp, Wasp C, Blackjack BJ-5, Thresher II, Trebuchet TBT-9N, Awesome AWS-11H, Warhammer IIC, Warhammer ICC2, Wahammer IIC13, Ice Ferret/Fenris Configs T, F, G, I, J, K



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: Recognition Guide: ilClan Vol. 4
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