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Neverwhere
by Frank C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/07/2022 17:45:46

I must say that DTRPG is also hosting the 3rd edition of this beautiful indie game. Revised, more defined and with cleaner graphics. However, I wanted to write this really short review here, as it was the one I first played many years ago and I remember it as the first game (at least I had played) using adjective-based mechanics. It was interesting and it worked quite well. Now it is no longer a rarity anymore, but back then I found the idea really innovative and I still remember Neverwhere RPG as something special.

The rules are simple and easy to learn. You can create characters pretty fast and the mood and basic background information of the setting are all in just 20 pages. That was also a pretty modern approach.

That said, it is obviously a work of a big fan of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere world, and you can see it from the vast encyclopedia that closes the book: the “Guide to London A-Z”, where you will find many characters and places from the original works. The only flaw is probably that all the contents of the guide are not divided into thematic chapters (which also in the 3rd edition). That being the case, the places, organizations and relevant characters are all in the same place, so if you don't remember the name of what you are looking for, you are forced to scroll through a long list of items to find it.

For an indie product so dated it must also be said that most illustrations and pieces of photographic art are definitely appreciable.

So the 3rd edition is probably the most complete choice, but if you like it, i suggest to download even that previous version.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Neverwhere
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Zelart 046: Samurai-Ko & Dragons (Scholarship Donation)
by Scott B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/14/2022 01:49:30

This just became a goddess in my game world. Very loosely based on Amaterasu.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Zelart 046: Samurai-Ko & Dragons (Scholarship Donation)
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Actual Fucking Monsters
by Kevin S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/06/2022 21:10:15

The grown up version of Nightbane. Not for the weak minded or SJWs.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Actual Fucking Monsters
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Courtesans: Sex & Society
by Nate L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/04/2022 17:53:12

I really do like this. I was looking at various titles about sex workers because I liked the idea of one of my squaddies in "Five Parsecs from Home" being a former sex worker (a familiar action movie theme), and while the subject is there in "Alpha Blue", the subject matter is more on the gonzo side than a broader societal thing like the Companions in "Firefly".

This title, "Courtesans", is a lot more about that context. Honestly, I was more interested in the sci fi bits in the supplement... but after reading this, the British Empire context was a lot more interesting. If you're a fan of the Napoleonic War era, the book does cover a very broad span of time... from the Georgian, to the Regency, all the way through Victorian and to Edwardian England. The game is about Courtesans... not prostitutes. These are independent women with the ability to travel through high society (the game even presents stats for historical Monarchs of the period!)... so perhaps your Courtesans might become companions or consorts to Royal Navy officers, Prime Ministers, or even the King of England. Or not... they could be pulled down by catty, mean courtesans that they share a house with.

It's an interesting underside of life. Like the toast in "Master & Commander"... "To wives and sweethearts" ("May they never meet" LOL). You play the sweethearts of men from high society in this game. And that toast to wives and sweethearts? It's exactly the context of this, I think.

Another idea/parallel might be Lady Jessica, the consort of Duke Leo Atreides. They never married. Nor did Muad'ib and Chani... yet, as Jessica concludes in "Dune", they are the ones who the histories will remember as wives.

That's all part of this... as well as your character being good at various sex acts (if you choose to describe them as such).

Can I recommend this: Yes, if you are interested in a rules-light game about players in high society with a dose of historical context and more than a little potential for raunch ("fade to black" is a fair way to move past such scenes, as stated in the book).

If you're a fan of the context, especially the Napoleonic era, Regency era (think Jane Austen, maybe even "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies"), Victorian and/or Steampunk (i.e. Victorian + Gears), then I can easily recommend this as a way to think about the broader context of your other characters. (Like, British infantry officers in the RPG wargame, "Duty and Honour".)

EDIT: You know, this game is rather structured, which some say in a critical way. However, as something one might adapt to a solo game, structured play is actually an extremely good thing. Solo play ought to have a rigid turn structure... otherwise, it gets very loose and ungovernable in a hurry. A more strict adjudication is a huge benefit, I think. It's why "Five Parsecs from Home" and "Rangers of the Shadow Deep" make more sense to me... there's a framework for your imaginative stuff. "Four Against the Darkness" as well... structure helps define the bounds, and it's those boundaries that force choice and drive action.

It's hard to set up guardrails in purely speculative, loose structures... which is where you need a good GM to say yes, or roll the dice.

With a strict, formal turn structure, there's specific scene markers and mileposts for you to play the game while engaging your imagination.

So, while not strictly set up for solo play, I think "Courtesans" actually is fairly ideal for it. (Just add an adjudication system on top, like the Mythic GM emulator, to help you through the questionable points.) The well-defined turn-based structure of play in Courtesans is absolutely spot on for solo flights of imangination.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Courtesans: Sex & Society
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Courtesans: The Weird and the Wonderful
by Nate L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/05/2022 17:31:00

This game presents 3 scenario/settings for Courtesans if you do not want to play the "historical England" setting.

Rather than a toolbox for general Sci Fi, for instance, these settings are very much patterned after other RPG franchises.

The Vampire setting? There's a certain publisher of goth-ish supernatural personal horror games. (I thought Vampire was more interesting as a Superhero game, myself.) The Vampire thing in this book is a Courtesans riff on that "Vampire: the Whatever" series of games... and you play Vampire Courtesans, with Blood mechanics, etc.

The Fantasy setting? Dungeons & Dragons, where you play a "party" of sex worker-adventurers (Barbarians, Clerics, etc.). Races, classes, etc.

The Sci Fi setting? Litigious grimdark far future game setting parody... where you're part of an Inquisitor's (err, ah "Quizzer") fireteam, serving the eternal Empress of Man and guarding the empire against Heresy.

So, yeah, if you're a fan of those other games and you want to play a Courtesan-ized parody, then you'll find a lot to like here. If you want generic Sci Fi, then you're probably better off just taking the core Courtesan concepts, filing off the serial numbers that attach the game to England, and writing your own stuff. You might find some useful ideas for hacking Courtesans into your own universe in this book (like Races and Classes in the Fantasy Dungeons & Dragons setting)... but this book is not about "Generic". This is very much inspired by other, time-honored Roleplaying franchises.

As a general book/supplement to Courtesans? I'll rate it 4 stars. Bump the rating up a star if you want the specific franchises for your playthrough of Courtesans. Each setting definitely evokes those other franchises... so if you're a fan of grimdark farfuture onlywar, for instance, then you might just find something here to amuse you & your gaming friends.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Courtesans: The Weird and the Wonderful
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RPG Design from Start to Finish - Video Course
by Robert P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/13/2021 06:00:11

I've been gaming for over 35 years and finally decided to start writing some material. For me, this course was more than just a simple 'how to'. James goes into some deep gaming theory but yet makes it exceedingly accessible at the same time. But he also goes into a lot of the 'why' which really makes you start looking at your game in a completely different light. Overall I’d say this was great value for money, and from someone who’s got a proven track record within the games industry. Highly recommended.

If there’s a follow up course to this I’ll snap it up in heart beat.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
RPG Design from Start to Finish - Video Course
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Creator Reply:
What would be useful to you in any follow-up series?
Giallo: Orpheum Lofts
by Robert P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/13/2021 05:48:54

I loved this! Well worth a purchase. The author has put together a unique framework for creating various scenarios from this one book - so it’s open ended . The NPC characters are very well fleshed out, and all very interesting at the same time. They all interact in some way so you've got plenty of reasons why bad stuff is going down. The setting is also fluid. That is to say, the author sprinkles some good seeds throughout, while not holding your hand. Meaning, that this scenario has a lot of reply value, and the horror can be dialled up as needed (and could be number of things depending on your taste). But whatever you do don't look in the basement, that's all I'll say…



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Giallo: Orpheum Lofts
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Agents of S.W.I.N.G.
by Marc C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/07/2021 00:30:47

Wow! This book is packed with detail that helped me understand FATE better. Plenty of examples and narrative guidance as well. The layout and graphics may not be the best you've ever seen, but the 340+ pages here are extremely generous with more than everything you'd need to play.

The broader genre information and history (Ch. 11--The Years) is generically useful as well. It could benefit any spy or cold war game you want to run.

Pre-gens galore, many of them resembling personalities you already know. I love the illustration for Number 8 on page 248!

There are gobs of stunts to pick from too, from "Army of One" to "Minions" to "Prototype Vehicle" and "Sceptic's Ear"...oh and Strange Stunts, like "Astral Travel" and "Psychokinesis"..."Super Speed"..."Super Strength"...basically this game is ALSO A SUPERS GAME if you want it to be, you read that right. It's fun to read about the stunts and imagine various plots and scenarios.

Run anything from French Connection to When Eight Bells Toll to Austin Powers. Give Gene Hackman a cape if you want, or cause Patrick McGoohan to turn into TV's own Incredible Hulk. Helpful GM information abounds as well. Big thanks to the publisher.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Agents of S.W.I.N.G.
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Agents of S.W.I.N.G.
by Judd G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/01/2021 20:58:47

A pitch perfect rendition of the genre mixed with a light and tight FATE backbone. This game has much to recommend it: 60's styling, genre background info, and sample characters that are most of the signature characters of the genre with the serial numbers filed off. Groups looking to run a "League of Extraordinarily Groovy Gentlemen" style game, a homage to an old favorite, or just set out on that show you wished they'd made will be very hard-pressed to find a game better suited.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
RPG Design from Start to Finish - Video Course
by luke G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/10/2021 19:15:52

Five videos in so far, will update after finishing. New to ttrpg design, I've dabbled for a few years as hobbyist listening to any and all free podcasts/videos on design. This though is by far the best resource I've seen, information is consice and will completely change how you percieve why you are designing games.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
RPG Design from Start to Finish - Video Course
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Grimdark: Deadly, Nasty Rules for the World's Most Ubiquitous RPG
by Tom W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/07/2021 04:01:32

This is the best hardcore hack of 5e there ever was. Everything my players tried to front on was in it. When I presented it, they felt the horror of their hubris, the weight of their folly - they quaked in anticipation of their fates. It's not just the difficulty. The stuff that you always wished for in a grim dark 5e hack is in it. The overhauls are near perfection. There is no other option over Grimdark for grim-dark 5e.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Grimdark: Deadly, Nasty Rules for the World's Most Ubiquitous RPG
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Giallo: Orpheum Lofts
by Ludmila d. F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/08/2021 12:11:54

Very charismatic setting, well written, with many interesting characters. I like the tables with the various possibilities of events for the story, which can be decided by rolling the dice. I recommend!!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Giallo: Orpheum Lofts
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Machinations of the Space Princess
by James M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/03/2020 16:31:12

While I wasn’t expecting a one-to-one port of LotFP to sci-fi, with lazer swords and plasma crossbows and psion-elves, I was at least expecting MotSP to keep what I saw as the coolest innovations and themes of Lamentations. This included the character-sheet based encumbrance system, the strong focus on human characters, the weird and disturbing magic, and a general theme of survival horror that is the hallmark of LotFP adventures.

That is (mostly) not at all what Desborough and Phoenix created. I was expecting Saturn 3 and ALIEN and Pitch Black and the ’72 Soviet Solaris. Not really my bag beyond one-shots and the like.

But that’s not what we get. What we get is something more like Buck Godot: Zap-gun for Hire meets Barbarella meets Flash Gordon meets The Sword’s Warp Riders.

And that is totally my thing.

Now, this is not some giant stops-bullets book like Lancer. This is a “mere” 240 pages in a 6” x 8” paperback format. This is a construction-set of an RPG, very much like Star Siege or GURPS. However, unlike those two games, Machinations doesn’t really give two flips for balance. MotSP doesn’t pretend to know what your games are going to be about. Your game could be about blaster-slinging space cowboys, a team of highly skilled mercs taking on the most challenging jobs in a galaxy dominated by heartless megacorps, swashbuckling radium-cavaliers living and dying for honor and love, tomb-raiders cracking open the trapped vaults of the Elder Races, or super-powered psions staying one step ahead of the Psi-Pstasi. MotSP isn’t here to tell you how to play your game.

And so Machinations doesn’t lose much sleep in crafting a fully “balanced” experience. It’s very Old School in this respect. Sure, there are some nods towards niche protection, echoes from B/X D&D in what your character is good at and how quickly they go up levels and stuff like that. But there’s nothing stopping you from cobbling together a Frankenstein’s monster of abilities and powers.

Take, for instance, race creation. There are dozens (maybe over a hundred) options for racial characteristics you can use to build your character’s race. The list of race traits you can pick is 20 pages long and might be the longest single section in the book. They’re organized by theme, but you don’t need to stick with the theme; there’s nothing to stop you from taking the blob-creature’s ability to rip off chunks of itself and send them scurrying about as miniature versions of you, and combining that with the ammonia-based life’s slow metabolism ability and the reptile’s scales.

If you love lots of character options, this is your game. Want to craft a team of bizarre creatures who band together to bring peace to a fractious galaxy? Want the flexibility to build a tentacle monster with poor understanding of personal boundaries or a Space Pirate Amazon Ninja Catgirl who carves said tentacle monsters up into calamari? Want the challenge of crafting the ultimate mechanical bad-ass by pushing the rules to their limit and then hurling your creations into the deadliest dungeon the GM can devise to see who emerges victorious?

Machinations can do that.

And it doesn’t stop at race-building. While there’s relatively little customization in the four classes (Killer, Specialist, Scholar, and Psion), everything else oozes with customization options. For instance, each weapon category, from Small, One-handed Close Combat Weapons to Rifles/Shotguns is further divided in what amounts to a Small, Medium, and Large category. On top of that, you can pile on the added modifications, from concealable to larger magazines to a selector for different damage types to “vicious” levels of damage. In short, there’s no list of races with pseudo-clever names like Ignians and Reptiliods, or guns like ARES Predator Mk II or AK-97. What we get instead is a fun tool kit you can use to build your own universe.

Want to build the ZF1 from Fifth Element with the net launcher, poisoned arrows, rocket, flame-thrower, and “all new ice-cube system?” Yeah, Machinations can do that, too.

As you’d expect from something built on the LotFP chassis, the mechanics are a mish-mash of stuff. We’ve got D&D 3.x’s d20-roll-higher for attacks, LotFP’s d6-roll-under for skills (of which there are many more in this game) 5e’s a-save-for-ever-stat and your choice of roll over or under for saves. Your poor dice won’t know which way to go!

And on top of that we’ve got psionics (complete with a randomly chosen “witch’s mark” that can either be a (usually pretty weird) boon or bane), a wide array of cybernetics (which can cause psychosis if you take too many), and vehicles ranging from one-person bikes up to space battleships.

What surprises is the stuff left out. Most especially, encumbrance. Not even mentioned. Ditto for logistics; ammo is managed by saving throws (you need to reload when your weapon fails its save) and most tech doesn’t appear to need recharging of any kind. The cigarette-pack standard-energy-clips of Star Frontiers are nowhere to be found here. Because it’s Desborough, we do get some rules for dealing with exposure to vacuum or radiation (that doesn’t include a mutations table), but the guidelines for generating planets are all about what sort of adventures you can have on them, rather than orbital radius or axial tilt.

The result is a rules-lite, cinematic game that you could go beer-and-pretzels with but has enough heft to it for long-term campaign style play. Don’t play it if your group isn’t united in their goals; munchkins can craft real curb-stompers from the race options while your story-gamers will devise original and shocking personalities that are mechanically incoherent.

But do play if you’re looking for something flexible and not very demanding. You can pick up all the mechanics in an afternoon and you can craft your first adventure over a lazy weekend (be sure to give yourself time to create gear and aliens and maybe a ship or two). If you and your players love sharing world-building responsibilities, you’re going to love all the options available to you. And if you instead want to keep firm control over the setting and factions, it’s easy enough to build a cheat-sheet for the players and some pre-made races and go to town.

In short, it’s as flexible as B/X and possibly even more rules-lite. Character creation isn’t as quick but offers greatly expanded variety. If you’re looking for a science-fantasy rules set to craft your own fun on, check this game out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Machinations of the Space Princess
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05: Black Daggers
by Brandon C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/07/2020 22:43:41

This proved to be a perfectly paced and managable one-shot rpg. I adapted it for my group's John Carter of Mars sessions and found the central moral delemma far more satisfying than many of the other planetary romance scenarios we'd tried before. I plan on adapting more of these Gorean scenarios for my group's adventures on Barsoom in the near future.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
05: Black Daggers
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Cloak of Steel
by Robert B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/20/2019 13:35:18

I'm a sucker for mecha in fantasy settings.. and this book does an excellent job of making a D20 game of it.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: Nice art work, the various kingdoms are well thought out and interlock in history. Also loved the vehicle design system.. very simple and keeping the flavor of the setting.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: needed an index.. really really needs an index<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>

I had forgotten I had this, but found the printed copy I made. :D This game plays well and has a lot of background. It actually does have an index the version on line now. :D Postmortem should do a little editing and maybe upgrate the rules to more of a 5e-ish thing (lots of modifiers in this game but not that hard to keep track of).



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cloak of Steel
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Creator Reply:
Just checked my proofs and there IS an index, at the end of the book no less :) Unless you mean a hotlinking index, which appears to have somehow vanished from the uploaded version. Something I'll amend as soon as I'm able (Have just moved house) Cheers for the feedback!
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