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Night's Black Agents
by Gabriel R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/17/2022 22:50:40

I ran a whole campaign in Night's Black Agents and my players and I had a lot of fun. It's extremely well designed for genre emulation combining investigation, horror, and action. You really do feel like you're in Ronin and then you learn the bad guys aren't working for the IRA but Count Dracula (or mutant zombies or the nosferatu or some kind of Lovecraftian god). One thing I especially loved is that there's not just one type of vampire but a generation system that lets you build different types of vampires. Very different types of vampires that go well beyond the goth aristocrat from some minor province of the Hapsburg empire. Among other things, this avoids the problem of the players having read the bestiary and memorizing all the stat blocks. Go ahead and read the GM section, you'll enjoy it but you'll still be surprised by the vampires in my game. I have a few reservations, all related to Gumshoe rewarding system mastery: 1) If you're not used to Gumshoe, a few of the mechanics can be a bit confusing. For example, in theory the distinction is just investigative (I get clues) vs general (I engage in combat or other action) abilities, but some of the general abilities have complicated rules about how fast you get points back and this gives the resource management aspect of the game an aspect of system mastery. For instance, the noob might choose to put points in network and thereby make their character more flexible, since you can use network to recruit lackeys who can do anything ... except network points don't refresh. The rules make sense once you understand them, but there's a learning curve to it.
2) Character generation is a classless system based on point buys and this can make character gen a bit hard. (There are archetypes, but you still have to spend your remaining points). Pelgrane's character generation website The Black Book helps with the mechanical aspects of character generation but you still have to make choices and there are better and worse ways to do it. 3) You can spend points on a roll, the outcome of which is that you lose more points of the same type. This means that instead of thinking about how scared your character is that he just saw someone rip someone's throat out and drink their blood you're thinking about probability theory of spending points vs taking a straight roll. (FWIW, the expected value is worse if you spend points on the roll so don't do it unless you're in danger of going insane). I suggest a house rule that you can't spend points on stability rolls.

These reservations notwithstanding, I still think it's a great game. I enjoyed the campaign I ran and would gladly run it again for new players or play in someone else's campaign.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Night's Black Agents
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Trail of Cthulhu: The Dying of St Margaret's
by Sara D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/17/2022 10:06:36

This game was everything for my table! Atmospheric and spooky, with a lot of amazing historical work thrown in to boot.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Trail of Cthulhu: The Dying of St Margaret's
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#Feminism - A Nano Game Anthology
by Jasen J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/24/2022 11:33:36

In terms of value for money, #Feminism is excellent. You're getting thirty-four (34), one-shot LARPS or "nano games" in one convenient package. Along with various gaming groups, I've played eight of them to thoughtful results. Apart from straight play, however, there's a wealth of character perspective on offer for any of your tabletop RPGs. You can use #Feminism just as readily as a supplement to enrich your other games. Either way, there's a lot game in #Feminism.

(I finally bought a .pdf on DriveThruRPG because my shelf copy has grown a bit careworn!)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
#Feminism - A Nano Game Anthology
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The Esoterrorists 2nd Edition
by Tom B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/05/2022 12:48:48

The PDF works fine for me--the problem experieced by the other user isn't universal/a glitch on a specific system.

This game is an underappreciated gem--get it! Can be played in connection with Fear Itself, also very worthwhile. Concept, content, mechanics, support, all great.

The review that prompted me to buy the game can be read here: https://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/16/16027.phtml



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Esoterrorists 2nd Edition
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Fear Itself 2nd Edition
by Scott M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/05/2021 21:50:47

The perfect vehicle for tales of contemporary horror.

In this game you play as ordinary people, which to me is the key for a solid horror experience. It anchors the game in a baseline of reality, which makes the horror elements really stand out.

The game itself is simple and fast at the table, which is imperative for horror games - the system gets out of the way. Initially I was nonplussed about the "investigative spends" mechanic, however at the table it works just fine.

What I really like about this edition of the game is there is a TON of advice for designing and running "mysteries". For example, it has guidance on how to handle "red herrings" in a way that should satisfy a player, rather than frustrating them for shutting down the red herring.

Given the shift to virtual gaming these days, it's worth noting that Foundry VTT has a nice module for gumshoe games (https://foundryvtt.com/packages/investigator), which includes a Fear Itself setting.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Fear Itself 2nd Edition
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Seven Wonders
by Barbara T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/16/2021 03:00:12

Played 'Before the Storm' online with some friends and had a great time. The card mechanic was a little strange at first, but we figured it out. I'm looking forward to trying out some of the other games.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Seven Wonders
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The Dracula Dossier: Director's Handbook
by Andy W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/09/2021 15:00:47

Our group (experienced gamers with probably 100+ years of role-playing between us) recently finished a six-month weekly campaign using this book. Some of their comments:

'Quite possibly the best campaign I've ever played. So much depth. Majestic.'

'Such a wonderful campaign. Delightfully entertaining, very immersive, clever and action packed. When I look back on where we started and all the twists and turns we had to navigate along the way, the mind truly boggles at the depth and breadth of the story. Some highly satisfying mystery solving and a nice slice of action to boot - 5 stars!'

The book is so packed with material I can imagine running the campaign at least two or three more times without repeating myself. It strikes a superb balance between providing huge amounts of background and characters, and yet leaving the GM and players the freedom to create their own unique story. The premise of the campaign is also so intriguing and inventive, with so many possible angles and layers to explore. This will be a tough act to follow as a GM.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Dracula Dossier: Director's Handbook
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Night's Black Agents
by Joshua W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/30/2021 17:07:23

Angel's Citadel just did a review of Night's Black Agents. You can find our take on it here: https://angelscitadel.com/2021/05/28/review-nights-black-agents/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Night's Black Agents
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13th Age Core Book
by Petr S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/18/2021 04:00:05

I am not a fan of too many rules and thus prefer systems as FATE. However, when I finally jumped into the text (I admit, I did not like the art that much) of this book, I was enthralled. First of all, this book felt after a long while like an honest player to player conversation. The commentaries from the authors and also the system itself feels more natural than many of the RPG books I have seen (especially I got the feeling with Star Wars and Star Trek books). The system itself feels like house rules polished into a diamond. The great and unique additions of 13th Age are mentioned many times and I must say, they work as a charm. For anyone peeking into the book, do not let yourself discourage by its length and especially the fact that it brings with itself already a setting. The system is so natural and easy to adapt that you can basically start creating characters with your players and with them create also the world.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
13th Age Core Book
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Hideous Creatures: Mi-Go
by Donald S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/21/2021 12:03:52

It is nice for what it is. I'd hoped for something a bit more in-depth on the Migo.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Hideous Creatures: Mi-Go
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Night's Black Agents: Solo Ops
by Patrick M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/21/2020 06:34:37

This is a perfectr 1on1 RPG product. The mechanics work great for individual player + GM, the pre-gen PC is great and the three "adventures" are top notch. I love the NBA regular game, but this product is even better.

Mechanics and story are tightly connected, so it is a little harder to prep a story on your own, but the 3 stories included will keep you and a friend busy for some gaming nights.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Night's Black Agents: Solo Ops
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Trail of Cthulhu
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/10/2020 22:51:17

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of Trail of Cthulhu

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea every day!

Product- Trail of Cthulhu System- Gumshoe Producer- Pelgrane Press Price- $24.99 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/55567/Trail-of-Cthulhu?affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR- Do you think Call of Cthulhu has too much Crunch? 88%

Basics- Should the story stop when the players just suck at rolling? Trail of Cthulhu believes that story trumps mechanics as story should drive the game. Let’s look at the pieces.

Overview-Trail of Cthulhu is a skill system like Call of Cthulhu, but unlike Call of Cthulhu you have two types of skills: investigative and general. General covers any contested rolls and investigative covers learning the horrors of the mystery. Let’s break that down.

Investigative Skills- You enter a room, ask to search the library for secret books, and you find all secret books. If you have ranks in the appropriate skills, you find all the books. That’s it. If you couldn't find the books, the story might stop. Trail of Cthulhu focuses more on you learning the mystery and less on you flubbing rolls to learn the mystery. You build these skills with points like ranks, but those points are spent to learn more, not just enough. Characters with even one rank would find all the books, then can spend points to learn more, like find the right places in the hidden books to skip something horrible or learn more secrets beyond the base mystery.

General Skills- Punch a guy, out run a monster, and hide from the cultists are all opposed rolls where the story isn’t the issue, so they become general skills. This system uses ONE d6. That’s it. You want to to a thing? Roll a d6 and aim for a 4. Before you roll, you can spend points from the pool to add to the roll. Some skills give you more damage or more hit points or sanity, but for the most part opposed rolls happen with skills or trying to do a thing that isn’t dependent on the story happening at all.

Honestly, that's it. There is sanity and HP, but for the most part the two types of rolls define the system. Let’s see my thoughts.

Mechanics or Crunch-I like crunch (heck I build point based Shadowrun characters for fun!), but for the most part, this is a quick, light system. My more roll-happy friends freak out when we play as they NEED to roll to search, but the option to make story happen as the goal is a good one. If you just want a game that happens fast without a ton of hassle because you didn’t spec into the right build at level 4 to cast the one spell to put the deepone to sleep, but you will want a horror game then this is the crunch for you. 4.5/5

Theme or Fluff- This game is put out by the premier Lovecraft people in the industry. They know their stuff. It feels right, but it also feels like Indiana Jones as they build Pulp and straight Lovecraft versions of the rules into it. If you want to punch the ghoul, then this can be your game, or if you want to go mad at the sight of a corpse, then this can also be your game. The book builds out a full world in a quick way to help new GMs get running right away. 5/5

Execution- PDF? YEP! Hyperlinked? YES! I have the two big things I want, but why am I not happy? Well… RPG books can be built one of two ways: mechanics first or theme first. This goes character build first. I don’t know what ANY of the math means until WAY far into this book. When I googled it it made perfect sense, and then 20 pages later I saw the explanation. That is not good. I like the world that is built with the book, but it's a pain to read; a three column design isn’t great. This book is modern, but some of the design decisions are just a bit off. 3.75/5

Summary- Slick and simple. This game is a fun one regardless of the book design. I like the game this makes. The solid focus on story first is nice. I would like a bit more crunch, but simple is fun sometimes. The story and theme of the book are top notch. The execution isn't. If you want a game that starts quick and plays quick but still has great Lovecraftian horror, then Trail of Cthulhu is worth checking out. 88%



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Trail of Cthulhu
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The Esoterrorists 2nd Edition Sampler
by William B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/15/2020 01:09:44

I really enoyed Esoterrorists 2nd Edition, and I wish it would have caught on. Similar to another game I ran for a while, Conspiracy X 2.0, it really fills that awesom niche of X-Files type stories, and ventures further into horror elements. The reason I'm not running it today has nothing to do with the book itself. The reason I wasn't able to run the game is that I couldn't ever find anyone to play, and there wasn't any integration with Fantasy Grounds or Roll20. I advertised all over the place; roll20, Reddit, Facebook, but it just seemed to be a completely dead community. Several years ago when I read this, I think where someone might have succeeded in running it would be with an existing gaming group willing to try something new, but that resource was not at my disposal. Today, I think anyone looking for this type of gaming would probably auto-select the current version of Delta Green.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Esoterrorists 2nd Edition Sampler
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Trail of Cthulhu
by Nathan L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/02/2020 23:30:23

This is The Cthulhu game, in my opinion. GUMSHOE and Cthulhu go so well together.

Drives, Stability & Sanity.... The power of Investigative Skills; this game is absolutely amazing. The section on the 1930s, Ken Hite is the master and this book is a must for anyone who is a fan of the era, investigation games, or cosmic horror.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Trail of Cthulhu
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The Esoterrorists 2nd Edition
by Nathan L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/26/2020 20:18:03

So far bad. The PDF causes my iPad Books app to freeze and crash.

Had the same issue with Fear Itself. So far; the Publisher hasn't been helpful.

PDFs with bigger file sizes and larger res, more colourful graphics run fine (City of Mist, KULT). Problem is bad authoring of the PDF.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
The Esoterrorists 2nd Edition
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Creator Reply:
Hi Nathan. I'm really sorry you're also having problems with The Esoterrorists 2nd Edition. I responded to your review on Fear Itself 2nd Edition asking you to contact us so we can assist you with this. I received your email yesterday, and we are currently looking in to the issue. Please see my response to your email for further details. Thanks, Becky.
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