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Fateforge - Encyclopedia 40-page Preview
by Nimrod B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/28/2021 03:11:28

What a greatly detailed resource, flexible enough to be adapted to your personal setting without compromising the details and surprises it brings to the table. Thouroughly excited about the full product coming down the pipeline!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fateforge - Encyclopedia 40-page Preview
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Fateforge - Encyclopedia 40-page Preview
by Chanachol P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/27/2021 14:47:26

If this is your first time trying 5e campaign just like me Fateforge going to be the best choice for you : )



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Fateforge - Spellcaster's Guide
by Jodie D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/27/2021 11:58:57

I love the ideas involved with Geomagic - potentially having a region with so much magic that even non-spellcasters have cantrips or the various region types with less magic or even none at all - can give players a unique challenge. I'm running Fort Ardraco this week and can't wait to try Fateforge stuff out. Someone even showed interest in having corruption, so I'm excited to see how that plays out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Fateforge - Player's Guide
by Nick C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/27/2021 00:29:40

From the first text describing the backstory of Eana, I was hooked. Fateforge is an expansive campaign setting for 5e -- and also a standalone ruleset for the game -- that pulls together a unique and engrossing story with amazing artwork to offer players and DMs the most compelling character and world options since the creation of Forgotten Realms.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Fateforge - Encyclopedia 40-page Preview
by Rick B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/26/2021 18:25:57

this looks like it will be a great additive to any game



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Fateforge - Character Sheet
by Jodie D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/21/2020 04:58:34

There are some things I really like about this character sheet - one is the separation of traits and features into recharge frequencies: per short rest or per long rest. It seems set up to support play well. However it is long and isn't yet available as a fillable PDF. Hopefully that will come soon.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Fateforge - Player's Guide
by Jodie D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/21/2020 04:55:49

I love the illustrations in FateForge and the wonderful subclasses specific to Eana. I purchased this as part of a Kickstarter All-In for the Beastiary and spent hours engrossed in this first book, reading about the specifics from beginning to end. I like the modular system and the way it makes alternative playing options easy to adapt to the party playing. I can't wait to try out my Urban Ranger Gnome in a game with other fans of Eana.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Shadows of Esteren - Book 1 Universe
by Michael P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/16/2019 12:47:17

Okay so a little big of background here. I have backed this project since this book and continued to back the project up until dearg part 1. I know i'm a bit late with this but it's appropriate. So i'll try to be thorough here and be as fair as I can. I'll start with the fact that i loved the idea of the world, the art and even the music accompaniment.

The Good

  • The Art, its fantastic and evocative.
  • The world, barring a few eccentricacies it is well done. Seperated into 3 kingdoms that are basically science vs religion vs tradition.
  • The skill and attribute system, i liked the idea of domains. Much like a skill group you raise the entire group until you reach a certain point you put points into specific specialties. Like close combat > swords. You're good in close combat but youre really good with a sword.
  • Simple to understand rules.

The Bad

  • The system math is a bit quirky play. For example, roll 1d10 + attribute + skill vs Defense. Meet or exceed target number. If its a hit, weapon damage + the difference. So it ended up being something like (1d10+ attribute + skill ) - (defense) + (weapon damage) - (Armor). Realistically we just added weapon damage and armor to attack and defense and did the difference. Either way there is no clean quick way to calculate it.
  • The game is incomplete, large portions of important pieces of information are missing regarding both the game system and the world. Even a basic bestiary would have been nice with templates for general npc extras like guards or knights or even horses and dogs.
  • Expensive for what you get. 25 dollars for a pdf, 50 or so for a hard copy for an incomplete game and simple system where most of the answers end up being "you the game master figure it out" on how sorcery works, who fiondas are, and how to create challenges and extras.
  • Here is the worst part, the kickstarters. Every book starts with a kickstarter as crowd funding. I understand they are a small studio but they manage to get a bunch of random products out while the material we actually paid for takes a backseat. I understand things happen but for example, Dearg part 1 was supposed to come out in the summer of 2017, which means i probably ordered it sometime around q3 of 2016. I just got my books in 2019. 2 and a half years is unacceptable for a paid product.

So in summary they take too long on their kickstarters for a game worth maybe about half the price its actually selling for.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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Shadows of Esteren - Monastery of Tuath
by Michael P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/16/2019 12:22:16

This was probably one of their better adventures that can be dropped in most campaign settings. I loved the use of clue cards as the players explore the monestary. My biggest problem while running it was the players threatening to leave at the first sign of danger.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadows of Esteren - Monastery of Tuath
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Shadows of Esteren - Book 0 Prologue
by Michael P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/16/2019 12:12:32

Great couple of one shots and fantastic art. The game master should be a bit experienced for some of them, particularly in running mysteries.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadows of Esteren - Book 0 Prologue
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Shadows of Esteren - Of Men and Obscurities OST
by JOHN C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/26/2016 19:09:01

I really enjoy this sound track. It's a great thing to chill out to at work. Trying to speed metal your way through life can be exhausting at times. I may have derailed, lets get this back on track.

This track is an excellent pairing with the setting. A constant stream of classically based music, the contemporary and ambient sounds keep this from being a slog despite it's down tone. The soundtrack remains surprisingly fresh. I listen to this sound track in between studies of the main rule books just because it seems to exemplify and even amplify the mood of the setting so well.

I'd enjoy thick album on it's own, the fact that it is expertly honed to a wonderfully moody world makes this a rare gem. I'm not a huge user of background music in games, so I don't really have strong feeling of it's use as a background track while running the game. I don't find this obtrusive in anyway so I think it would still work great.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Shadows of Esteren - 12 Pregenerated PCs
by A customer [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/26/2016 15:36:30

Not only were these pregens free, but they are also useful and beautiful. Esteren is a marvelous game and these characters make getting into the game easier and faster.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadows of Esteren - 12 Pregenerated PCs
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Shadows of Esteren - DEARG OST: 2 Free Tracks
by Brian S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/12/2016 19:01:53

These are really good!

Encore un Espoir - This is very evocative of an epic journey, probably on horseback, through amazing sites and countryside. There's an underlying pulse that feels like hoofbeats and a grand, sweeping melody led by traditional instruments. Everything builds, feeling like there's more wonder around every turn. The ending, however, is calm, peaceful, and a bit reassuring... like finding home at last.

Manteau de Corbeau - Hardship, struggle, possibly even battle if not all out war, is coming and this track begins by rallying for it. Percussion and vocals that are often poorly used and seem to hit you are the head are actually beautifully combined here to give the listener just the right hint of scale. A little over a minute in, the focus changes and we seem to move forward, making progress against all odds. Strings and muted brass are joined by vocals and pipes to evoke determination and purpose. A short, quiet movement follows, perhaps to survey the battlefield or count the dead. Then pipes triumphantly lead percussion and some vocals in a driving beat to the amazing climax.

These tracks are very well done and gorgeously produced. Well worth a listen over, and over again.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadows of Esteren - DEARG OST: 2 Free Tracks
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Shadows of Esteren - Book 0 Prologue
by Mike K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/19/2016 17:47:03

If you're into hack and slash adventure, this probably isn't for you.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadows of Esteren - Book 0 Prologue
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Shadows of Esteren - Black Moon Handbook
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/13/2015 07:06:44

originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2015/08/03/tabletop-review-the-black-moon-handbook-shadows-of-esteren/

The Black Moon Handbook originally began its existence as Ghost Stories a free bonus for various Shadows of Esteren Kickstarters like Travels and The Monastery of Tuath, but eventually the project became so big that the Esteren team divided Ghost Stories into two separate works –a fiction collection entitled Hauntings (which we will review down the road) and The Black Moon Handbook, a supplement that acts as both a book for GMs to run spooky occurrences in their SoE games, and as an in-game item that PCs can find and use in their travels. You don’t see something like that very often. As such, this makes The Black Moon Handbook a bit of an experiment which succeeds and fails in very different ways.

The best part about The Black Moon Handbook is the art. Like with any Shadows of Esteren release, the art is by far the best you will see out of any gaming product in our industry. For three years running, Shadows of Esteren has picked up our “Best Art” award in our year end awards and between The Black Moon Handbook and Occultism, it’s definitely the front runner to get the award again this year. Seriously, the book’s art is that fantastic and even if you don’t plan to play Shadows of Esteren, it is worth picking up the books just for the art and stories.

The bad news is that The Black Moon Handbook is the worst written book for Shadows of Esteren so far. Hmm. Let me rephrase that. The Black Moon Handbook is the worst TRANSLATED book for Shadows of Esteren so far. If you’re new to the game or merely a casual fan of it, you might not know that Shadows of Esteren is a French game and each book is written in French and then eventually translated into the English language. All of the previous releases were fantastic. You couldn’t tell that the games were localized. With The Black Moon Handbook though, it’s really obvious. Grammar, sentence structure, phrasing and the like are all very off in the English translation. Some parts of the book are sound and actually read like they were written by someone fluent in English. Other parts read like they used Google Translate to localize the text into English. It’s very disjarring. As someone who reads, writes and speaks both English and French, I could see what the passages were trying to say, but also how whole paragraphs could have been stated/translated better. This made the book hard to read at times, and more importantly, hard to enjoy. Hell, some of the text is STILL IN FRENCH and they didn’t bother to translate things at all. In one of the adventures, an “Item of Power” has its stats and mechanics still in French. There is no English translation for it. That’s extremely sloppy and goes back to highlight how exceedingly poor the translation of The Black Moon Handbook is. So many of you that pick this supplement up will have to have Google Translate on standby if you play this adventure. Due to the lack of quality in the translation you may want to wait and pick this release up once (IF) the digital versions are corrected…or not at all for a print copy.

So now that we’ve got that big warning about the translation out of the way, let’s talk about what you will find in The Black Moon Handbook. The book is primarily written as if it was written by an in-game author, Steren Slàine, who is an occultist in the Shadows of Esteren world. As well, you will be sidebars which act and notations or critical (snide) commentary from a skeptic named Enly Mac Bedwyr. This means the topics in the book often contain two opposing viewpoints – one who believes in ghosts and one who believes only in cold, hard science. It is primarily up to the reader to decide, which author is right – if either. Well, at least until the last two pages when the book makes it abundantly clear which is right by having one of the two die horribly in a short piece of fiction that showcases their belief structure is horribly wrong.

The first chapter gives an overview of hauntings in Tri-Kazel. How they can occur, traditions, folklore, legends and spiritual beliefs. That sort of thing. Haunted houses and spectral manifestations are the bulk of the piece though as the “author” gives theories and conjecture as to how a haunting can occur and the way one can rid a location of the ghost tied to it. The book also designated a difference between a haunting and cursed place, the latter of which is a haunting that was no exorcised or where terrible things keep happening in a once mildly haunted area. You’ll find mechanics for spiritual combat, exorcisms and possession if you wish your Shadows of EsterenBlack Moon Handbook herself.

Chapter three is “Ghost Hunting” and it contains five story seeds. I can’t say that they are adventures since the pieces aren’t fully fleshed out. It’s merely the framework and guidelines for turning these pieces into adventures. A GM will have to do a lot of the work themselves, but each of these seeds are fairly straightforward and simple enough to pull off. The book does say that each seed requires little prep work which is true, as each piece should take no longer than one or two sessions to get through. Besides those scenarios, there is advice on homebrewing your own haunted adventures in Tri-Kazel, a few maps and information on education in Gwidre, which is helpful as your first potential adventure takes place in one.

“Rounding Up Stray Souls” is the first adventure and it takes place in a boarding school. One of the students has gone missing and the characters are hired to find out what happened to her. At the same time another student is starting to see her ghost and slowly but surely things begin to happen? Is the school actually haunted or is it a case of teenage imagination leading to mass hysteria amongst the students? In truth, either can be correct. The story is designed so that the GM can pick either a supernatural or mundane cause behind the events at the school – whichever fits his or her purposes better. In fact, all of the adventures on this collection, save one, give you the choice of supernatural or mundane events behind the adventures. I personally prefer the non-supernatural choices simply because they are more interesting. A bonus that comes with doing the mundane choices is that when you finally DO spring an actual ghost on the players, they’ll be so used to “Scooby-Doo” endings that they won’t be expecting a real haunting, thus making it all the more memorable. If there is one thing I have learned from decades of playing and running Call of Cthulhu is that horror games run the risk of their monsters become the equivalent of Kobolds or Orcs in D&D if you use them too much.

The second and third adventures are tied together and, in fact, really should be one piece rather than two. I’m not sure why the authors made this into two as the first one doesn’t have a real ending and the second really doesn’t work as a stand-alone. The attempts by the writers are…not good. Let’s leave it at that. ANYWAY, “The Key to the Past” sees the characters having to enter a haunted castle. Why? They have been hired to retrieve paperwork that will allow their employer to own the property and then tear it down to make way for a new road. Hey, new infrastructure and a terrible evil place gets razed. Win-win, right? Well, not for the characters who can’t leave once they enter due to the machinations of all the ghosts that dwell within. What follows is a survival horror type affair where the players have to figure out how to escape the castle. The next part, “Bloody Trail” is why the characters are released. It’s to track down the last surviving member of the clan who owned the castle in “The Key to the Past,” who is not only a NPC from Chapter Two, but also a paranoid psychotic assassin who is why all the ghosts are in the castle to begin with. Fun times as you track down this character.

“The Return of the Missing One” is the fourth adventure in this collection. Here a husband long thought dead has returned after fifteen years. He looks very different physically though. Is the answer a con man trying to play off a wealthy widow’s grief or is it that the soul of her husband has taken up residence in a new body. Again, the choice is up to the person running the adventure. This was my favorite in the collection as it’s a lot of fun and can go many different ways.

Our fifth and final adventure is “Spectral Dance.” Here the PCs have to figure out what caused a mass killing at a ballroom gala. Thirty people died at this soiree with people rumbling that a local legend, an apparition known as the WIng of Death is responsible. Was it? This adventure has a lot of detective work and in many ways feels like Call of Cthulhu adventure. It’s a lot of fun whether you go for a supernatural reason or not. The PCs will have to really work to solve this one!

Chapter Four ends the book with a “Bestiary.” Here you will find the stats and ecology of four different supernatural creatures. This is pretty cut and dry. All of the creatures are fabulous and the art that goes with them….well, it’s Shadows of Esteren. There is no better art in tabletop gaming right now.

So that’s the book. The English translation can be BRUTAL at times, but the actual meat contained in the Black Moon Handbook is a lot of fun. It’s a fine supplement that just needs to be re-translated in parts. You get a nice amount of fluff, some new monsters, four or five adventures and a lot of information about the supernatural (or what passes for it) in Tri-Kazel. It’s not the best release for Shadows of Esteren so far, but if the localization can get fixed, it’s well worth picking up if you are a fan of the game.



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[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadows of Esteren - Black Moon Handbook
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