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Warlock! Kingdom
by Eric B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/16/2020 23:08:15

Warlock! comes with its implied setting and it's great for what it is. It seems as though each career has some little element somewhere that you can use to start hanging a story from. But maybe you want a little more? Who's the King of the Kingdom anyway? Kingdom gets you there, it's a great example of giving you a ton more details, hooks to hang your scenarios and adventures from but doesn't make the mistake of being too detailed or thurough. I think this is the perfect mix that keeps you with almost all the freedom you could want but also lots of bits and pieces ready to get seized upon and made into fun play sessions. The map of the Kingdom itself, included in Kingdom, is drawn to not be overly precise - and this is a fantastic design choice. Kingdom just continues to do what Warlock! does so well, it gives you the tools you need and many you might want and then it gets out of your way. Finally, included in this setting expansion is a full deep-dive on one city in the Kingdom which is chockablock full of scenario hooks and tables if you want a place to start running adventures tomorrow with very little setting work. If you like Warlock! and want more Kingdom, here it is, get it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Warlock! Kingdom
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Warlock!
by Eric B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/16/2020 22:43:18

Warlock! is a fantastic little game that, pretty remarkably for an indie title, could make a great entrypoint into the hobby. Warlock! is inspired by the early days of fantasy role-play gaming but divorced from a lot of the vestigial wargame nonsense that continue to burden some of the larger old IPs in the genre. Warlock!'s rules are simple but not to the point of removing interesting choices and are also largely not interconnected such that you can modify bits and pieces without a million unintended consequences in some other subsystem. My players are really enjoying it and I'm enjoying running it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Warlock!
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Warlock!
by Dave S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/27/2020 01:58:27

Nicely written clean set of rules. Recommended reading, regardless of whther you get a chance to play.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Warlock!
by Henry A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/30/2020 23:43:36

A genuinely awesome little game; the rules are short, fun & well laid out.

Warlock! is ready to be hacked and turned loose on homebrewed settings or published adventures.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Warlock!
by David S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/07/2020 05:16:00

For five British pounds or so you really can't go wrong with this at all. It's pretty much an homage to Advanced Fighting Fantasy and Warhammer, and it tackles that brilliantly. It's clearly written, the style gives you a good sense of the aesthetic they're going for (more grimy and plague ridden than your average American OSR game), and it has simple but flavourful mechanics that I can already tell are going to be very easy to hack into what I need them to be! I love the artwork as well, which again captures the 80s British aesthetic brilliantly. The only complaint I have is that I don't think the font is all that great, but I'm not so petty as to knock a star off for that.

£5, a ton of great content - buy it!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thanks for the review, I hope you enjoy the game!
Warlock! Different Paths
by Andrew M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/26/2020 20:51:41

Great stuff. Bought and read a couple of days ago. I really appreciate the (mostly) linear expansion that Fire Ruby is going with so far. This piece simply takes the demihuman communities further on, with a good number of interesting new careers. Not scads of them, but all interesting.

Excellent layout again, clear and simple, with great black and white art. This is how you deliver solid information with zero fluff. The art here serves the document, as does the layout, the typography, all of it. This is excellent design in service of an excellent short book. Another worthy addition to Warlock.

Here is the brilliant thing about designs like Warlock's and games like Sharp Swords and Sinister Spells. With careers, or in SSSS vocations, you get in essence a whole suite of advantages and disadvantages in one phrase, for instance the "Halfling Gong Farmer" depicted on Mustafa Bekir's typically excellent cover. YOU define case by case what a dung cleaner would be good at and bad at. So you get not only the neat and funny background of being able to say that your PC literally shovelled sh*t, but practical effects easily applied with no need to consult any rule.

Buy all Warlock products right now! They are cheap, well written, great layout, great art. One of the best bargains in gaming.

My only gripes are (1) still too many typos and (2) the design should incorporate a back cover for the sake of printing while maintaining the four-up folio format. I print and bind my own books, so I've been rebuilding the doc with a back cover, but to be perfect, these docs should printable from the go in booklet form with a divisible-by-four page count, blanks where necessary to maintain that, and a blank or art-only back cover.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Warlock! Different Paths
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Esoterica
by Jonathan F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/03/2020 23:29:38

This is the game I've been wanting to play since 2015.

I will likely never get a chance to play/run this game, and it deeply disappoints me. The story-mechanics portion of the game all re-inforce each other in the powerful way as to create a perpetuating cycle: the need for power, which necessitates the need to gather soul jars (to sequester corruption), which requires the use of magic (to overcome defenses guarding soul jars), which require power and can leave a mark of corruption on you.

The game itself uses a modified OpenD6 (roll Xd6+Y, where X is equal to [skill + stat]+[modifier]). All together, the system depends heavily on a disciplined Narrator negotiating difficulties (guidelines included) based on Player actions. For example, a player wants to sneak into an apartment building; the narrator sets a difficulty XX and says failure results in alarms going off. The player does not want to risk an alarm, and tells the Narrator that spying on the apartment from a tree instead; the Narrator reduces the difficulty, and says failure results in a civilian calling the police on a peeping Tom. It can make for a good give-and-take between the Players and Narrator, provided the Narrator can stand firm on difficulty ratings.

This is a short review, but I would highly recommend this game. It works incredibly well with a number of recent urban fantasy games. This is a relatively rules-lite game, is set in a "low/gritty magic world", and is waiting for Narrators to create desparate situations for players.

I'm hoping an "adventure generator" collection of tables for adventures.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Esoterica
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Creator Reply:
Hi Jonathan, thanks for the review, glad you liked the game.
Warlock!
by Lee R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/30/2020 20:19:42

An awesome blend of most of my favourite elements from British fantasy.

Great book with a nice clean layout and aesthetic.

Yes it is heavily influenced by two well-known British RPGs but that's definitely a feature, not a bug!

I did a more indepth review here: https://youtu.be/-JKBfuR5PN8



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Warlock!
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Warlock!
by KEVIN D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/28/2020 04:03:09

POSITIVE ELEMENTS:

Simple, Unified Mechanics:

It's an interesting mash up of two of the older British RPG systems hacked together. If you're a fan of either system or looking to have the feel without overcomplicated mechanics, and boasting a unified system this book will serve you well.

The Author had managed to achieve a simple mechanics system that still retains some of the traits beloved in both systems. Do not discount a simpler system for not having depth: The system satisfies a lot of that traditional feel both derived systems have without overcomplicating things.

Character Creation Easy and Unique:

The characters, while simple to create, have some nice random options to give them some distinction to avoid them becoming clones of each-other, while the simple skill system gives a player a mix of point-buy and dice rolls to make their character more unique.

Characters can Try Anything:

Like the more traditional approach with OD&D, characters can try anything and are not hampered by their class choice. Every character a player uses will have some skill in the usual challenges they will face, depicted succinctly on their character sheet.

This system relies on a simple skill list to indicate to the player what chance of success they may have, rather than relying on DM fiat and interpretation of their signals for the success.

This style may not suit all readers who prefer a huge list of skills or a more fluid style of Gamemastering but it works quite well, hearkening back to the system's influences.

Careers, not Classes:

One of the best things about the system is the progression a player can make. Starting in their initial career, they can multi-class and delve into Advanced Career options, each providing unique options to attain expertise in certain skills.

By blending the concepts of skill and class, the Career system takes the best of both to allow players to define their characters easily, while still providing unique traits. As the characters grow, they can branch off in interesting directions, mixing Careers to produce memorable figures for the players every time.

Opposed Combat Tests:

Another favorite mechanic derived from the British style is the opposed roll. Allowing every combatant attacking to possibly receive damage from their opponent in melee makes things very active and dangerous. It allows a player to pull a Conan, mowing down weaker creatures in one round but also makes other, more powerful creatures far more dangerous as entering conflict is always dicey.

It's a good system that keeps players and the Gamemaster actively involved in the combat rounds without playing the 'wait till my turn to do something' game that can kill the excitement of many encounters. The result is a great approach to the chaos of combat without overburdening it with complicated rules.

Attrition & Criticals:

I'm not a fan of having a player who has done everything right, receives an critical insta-kill, due to a bad dice roll result.

The system uses Stamina as hit points but does have critical results that worsen once the player's Stamina amount run out. It's a good blend of strategy with the potential for players to be tactical but also potentially hobble away at the end of combat with lasting scars or worse. There is also a rare potential of the player or opponent achieving a Mighty Strike for double damage, to keep everyone on their toes with unexpected consequences.

Players can be somewhat heroic but will be faced with times when running for their lives is the smart choice. No safety nets here like some more modern systems. Players should approach combat more creatively than just wading in every time and whittling down the monsters which can get quite boring.

This is not D&D:

It's nice to see a system that breaks away from being yet another D&D clone. Employing unfamiliar characteristics and mechanics could be a welcome change, paying well-deserved homage to some of the less known older British systems.

POTENTIAL DRAWBACKS:

Details, Details:

While the writing is very evocative, do not expect a full set of rules for wilderness travel, journey rules, etc. and tables to roll for tackling every occasion. There are no elaborate tables of treasure or a fully fleshed out world. There is certainly some flavour and a semblance of the world and how it works, but the many details are left up to the reader to elaborate upon.

There is some Tolkien influence, but it is somewhat sparse. Don't expect pages of detailed history, elaborate treasure tables and a descriptive, established game world. The Bestiary is also decent but not overflowing with hundreds of choices like other systems.

No Mechanical Distinction for Player Races:

Surprisingly, while the Careers and Advanced Careers are plenty, the same cannot be said for this trait. In the system, depicted as 'Communities', the traditional classic choice of races, based on older B/X D&D are depicted. Humans are the most common and established, Elves and Dwarfs can see in moonlight, and Halflings are quiet and stealthy; a traditional fantasy approach.

However, there is no system mechanic differences between them. There are no rules or similar bonuses to dice rolls associated with any class, rather it is descriptive and left up to the Gamemaster to decide.

While this may be liberating for those wishing to avoid players who choose a character's kin, solely for its potential bonuses and not for how they fit into the fantasy landscape, it does again leave it up to the Gamemaster whether to incorporate the flavour text as specific rules.

Unexpected Class Archetypes:

The system breaks away from some of the stereotype traditions of the fragile Wizard and the healing Cleric archetypes. There is no real distinction between the two, other than some extra skill limits and are essentially interchangeable. The spell list is unified where a Wizard could be the one that heals and banishes undead, rather than the Cleric, which may confuse new players.

While a somewhat brief pantheon of Gods is described, again there are no bonuses involved with which a Cleric-style player chooses to follow so it really doesn't matter. However, it does mean that if one wants to be a sword-wielding, armour wearing Wizard, they are free to do so. Indeed, one of the advanced skills for a Wizard is 'Brawling' which I found unexpected but amusing. I suspect the Author may also be a bit tired of overdone Class tropes.

CONCLUSION:

Solid Framework to Build Upon:

The system is tight, unified, and simple. While it lacks in detail in some areas, it shines in many others. Thankfully, the areas it crucially shines are the core rules and a solid foundation to build and customise a framework upon. It will take an adept and creative Gamemaster to get the most out of the system for a campaign but it it is flexible enough to simply serve as an entertaining one-shot night with minimal preparation needed to get playing.

The flexibility of the system allows one to graft on as much complexity and house-rules as one desires, without breaking the core rules. I think those that like tinkering with systems mechanics and enhancement designs will enjoy making this system in their own distinct style.

I feel Warlock! certainly deserves 5 stars for breaking from the OSR traditional options, delving into new areas of Old-School play, producing an enjoyable core system with great potential for expansion.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Hi Kevin, thanks for the review, much appreciated!
Warlock!
by Matthew G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/23/2020 07:03:35

I've always been interested in things that where non-D&D old school games. I looked at games like Troika! and found it trying to reinvent something that wasn't really broken( that's just me though.) and the setting/style wasn't for me. Warlock! however, was something special, and while not perfect, it is pretty close to a copy of old school gaming.

with that said, I loved what I read so far, and I'm willing to run this game at some point for a group of friends as a one night dungeon crawl or a short campaign.

Good job here.

Edit: Fixed the error once Greg pointed it out about professions, that was my mistake and I corrected it. Once everything is edited and squared away, I will buy a P.O.D. version of this game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thanks for the review! To clarify, you don't roll a d66, you roll four d6 which gives you four selections (one from each of the d6 lists). You then choose the one you like. So there's a random element, but of the four randomly-generated careers, you get to pick the one you fancy. I hope that makes sense!
Warlock!
by Andrew M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/19/2020 17:54:04

Obvious from the most cursory reading:

  • A solid, elegant, and easily hacked skill-based game written with clarity by Greg Saunders and illustrated very well by Mustafa Bekir, Denis McCarthy, JM Woiak and Heather Shinn.
  • Rock-solid layout with clean lines, ample whitespace and an excellent choice of font (some species of the typewriter font Letter Gothic). Well done by designer Paul Bourne.

Great work. This game is based on several of the more ancient games popular in Britain in Roman times or something. The only knowledge of FF or WHFRP I come to this with is that I own and have read Zweihander, and I am itching to play this. Right now my friend is running a game using a system we're not too crazy about and I've been recruited to choose the new system. I'll likely be choosing Warlock.

The single resolution mechanic, the Skill Roll, is simple. The Skill Roll is executed by adding your rating in Skill X to a d20 roll and try to match or beat the number 20.

What gives a lot of flavor to this simple mechanic is the Career system, with which many will be familiar. There are 32 Skills which will initially range from 4 to 6, whatever way you choose. After that, you choose a Career, which choice dictates the skills package you have, and thus which skills, and their maximum value, you can increase during the Career. And a design bit I love is that the Career itself is a skill, with a rating of the average of all the skills under its rubric. So if I am a Soldier, and I have ratings of Command 8, Bow 6, Dodge 10, Large Blade 8 and Polearm 6, that's 8+6+10+8+6 = 38/5 = 7.6 or 8, for a Soldier skill of 8. What's that good for? Well that's for when your Skilly skills don't exactly apply but you think for example "I'm a Soldier, I should be able to judge the worth of this unit tactic" or whatever. If it's important and another skill doesn't cover the act, and most importantly if the GM agrees, your "appraise tactic" skill is 8.

It's hard to describe, I guess, why this game balances (on a read, at least) so well on the simplicity - challenge axis. For those of us who tend to more simple frameworks upon which to erect our game stories, this is just plain good simple design, both in the game and in the book. Still too many typos in it for me to buy the hardcover just yet, but whatevs. 5 Stars, easily.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Warlock!
by Chad K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/19/2020 17:35:15

Really fun, evocative game. Rules light- 2 stats - Luck & Stamina, and then Skills. Flavors of Warhammer, Fighting Fantasy and "choose your path" adventure books. Different bits in the character creation process really spark the imagination with d6 lists of " What you have seen" and " Who is after you" along with others. Wizards Apprentice (Magic-user), Initiate (Cleric) and many other flavors of the "Thief" (Beggar, Footpad, others) and "Fighter"(Mercenary, Militiaman, more) types. Open to hacking. I would add basic firearms and give more style to Wizard/Priestly magic and some other small twists. But this is a great game to add your own house rules to. Five stars from me.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Warlock!
by Nick K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/18/2020 11:10:51

Warlock! was a practical insta-buy for me. The name and the subtitle (inspired by british tabletop roleplaying) drew my attention and the price was really low. At worst I would be bying the creator a beer. At best... Well this is actually what happened.

Warlock! is a love letter to both warhammer fantasy and the fighting fantasy playbooks. My love for fighting fantasy is great, my only concern being the clunky damage dice and the fact that skills are increased without any thematic consistency. Warlock! fixes both issues. Damage is based on regular expressions as in most rpg (1d6, 1d6+1, 2d6 etc) and advancement is based on careers, which the player is supposed to actually change over the course of his adventures.

Furthermore, every career has interesting bits of information for the character which provides hooks for a more sandboxy campaign and also vaguely outlines an implied setting which has my attention.

The only disadvantage in the system lies in the way it handles shield. Personally I would advice everyone to use the rule from Dragon Warriors (another lovely British rpg) On a roll of 6 on a d6 the attack is ignored.

I rate the game 5/5 and encourage everyone to purchase, hoping that the creator provides further support for it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thanks for the review! Yep, one of the things I tried to do with Warlock was make it easy to hack, so if the Dragon Warriors (great game) shields rule works for you, go for it!
Warlock!
by Ilias L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/18/2020 09:07:58

AMAZING work, as usual, from Greg Saunders. I don't know why I came to this with so few expectations. I have enjoyed immensely every one of his books so far. This might prove to be one of my go-to systems, especially for medieval stuff.

A nice amalgam of ideas and systems from AFF, WHFRP, and others that seems to solve most problems of the old systems. This looks like it will run like hell.

Highly recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thanks for the review, much obliged!
Golgotha - Engaging Player Characters
by Jim C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/15/2020 22:49:36

Advice here should be reasonably familiar, but well put together. New specialties look useful for each class to make an important contribution to a scenario.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Golgotha - Engaging Player Characters
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