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King for a Day
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/10/2018 05:37:48

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This mega-adventure clocks in at 304 pages if you take away editorial, credits, etc. – these are laid out in 6’’ by 9’’ (A5) – though that page-count is for this version. The adventure comes with a second version intended for e-readers, which not only is much smaller regarding file-size, but which also sports pages per screen; kudos there. I own the softcover PoD-version of this adventure, and my review is primarily based on this version. The pdf version also features something pretty crucial – a bonus pdf that comes with no less than 31 pages (!!) of handouts, including faction glyphs, regional maps in color and b/w (the latter with regions and rivers etc. noted), NPC roster cheat sheets, etc. – I strongly suggest getting the print + pdf version for this, since the PoD book LACKS these. King for a Day is a complex beast to run, and as such, this booklet is very much highly recommended/all but required.

Before I dive into the nit and grit of this book, let me thank profusely the reader who recommended this adventure to me; it would have flown under my radar otherwise.

Okay, so this is a system neutral mega-adventure sandbox, which comes with one selection of rules that deserve mention: There is a social combat-y/trust-mechanic that, while not bad in any way, is not required.

Genre-wise and regarding nomenclature, this mega-adventure sports an Anglo-Saxon theme that is reflected in societal structure, norms and nomenclature and takes place in remote Brycshire. The fantasy aspects of this adventure are rather subdued: While the adventure does feature gnolls and orcs, the humanoid nature of these beings are in no way required for the module’s internal logic or the like; as a result, you could play this as run in e.g. Greyhawk, or even our own world, in the latter case, replacing the humanoids with, for example, Picts, roving bandits or the like. The assumption is that of a low/rare magic environment, so expect no huge assortments of magical items, effects or the like – instead, this has a very gritty, old-world vibe and magic is intentionally rare and potent. Similarly, magic, when it does show up, is all the more striking.

That being said, while I’d usually recommend in such scenarios to write the humanoids out of it, here, I’d actually keep them in the module. There is a reason for this lies within the specific structure that is such an intrinsic part of what makes this mega-adventure stand out from others of its kind, but more on that later.

Now, if you have no idea regarding realities of the quasi Anglo-Saxon society this guns for, rest assured that the book explains societal structure, faith, pronunciation and more in detail; this includes notes on coinage, reputation, etc.; Oh, and this mega-adventure features over 200 NPCs.

No, I am not kidding you. And yes, they actually deserve that name, with basically everyone having things going on in one way or another. This is as close to a viable simulationalist attention to detail as you’re bound to come in published adventures, and in that, it does mirror the level of detail I tend to provide in my own games. This may seem daunting or overwhelming, particularly once you realize that, beyond the personal plot-lines, there is a time factor in the adventure, and there is more than one overarching plot-line. Furthermore, these plotlines, from the personal to the global level, tend to interact, diverge and converge. The book does something rather cool here, namely, provide glyphs to denote, at a glance, customization points, diverging and converging storylines, etc. Farms have names. People have lives. This is a super-impressive achievement as far as storylines and sheer plausibility are concerned. It also means that, in order to keep this review halfway informative, I can’t hope to talk about the highly modular structure of the myriad plotlines herein. I wouldn’t want to, anyways, as the module’s countless quests ultimately serve a truly astonishing purpose.

In another adventure, these details would be nice; in King for a Day, they are frickin’ VITAL and I’m exceedingly glad that they’re here. If this daunting scale on its own is not ample indicator for you, this is not an easy adventure/campaign to run – not by a long shot. There are few campaigns that demand as much skill and smarts from the GM/referee as this one, and fewer still that do so not by incompetence, but by daunting ambition. To make that abundantly clear: King for a Day is hard to run because of its ambition, complexity and attention to detail. It requires preparation and a good memory. Perhaps the only other campaign with such high demands on both GM and players would be EN Publishing’s Zeitgeist AP. Much like that saga, King for a Day does reward you for investing the time and effort. In spades.

There is one piece of advice I’d tell every GM/referee running this module: Don’t tell your players anything about it.

If you’re a player and want to play this adventure at one point, please do NOT continue to read. While I will not spoil the crucial point of this adventure, knowing anything about it will take away from its impact.

This is the BIG SPOILER WARNING. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.

..

.

Okay, only GMs/referees around? Great! King for a Day works because you do not know what it is. The setting presented is a lavishly-detailed, plausible region that would fit seamlessly in borderland- or borderland-adjacent regions in most regions; there are humanoids, there is faith, there are jaded, poor villagers and everything is a bit backwater, a bit jaded. PCs will chalk that up to the harsh nature of the region, its struggles, or sheer xenophobia. In short: We have an expertly-depicted place that most players will consider to be akin to something you’d see in Greyhawk, Raging Swan Press or Frog God Games supplements or in some other classic-style OSR-modules.

They’re oh so horribly wrong.

Now, the xenophobia and jaded nature of the folks, the gritty details of daily life and the various local struggles will make this feel, slowly, like a dark fantasy game without the grimdark elements or gore, but with plenty of anxiety and paranoia galore.

Once more, this is wrong. Intentionally so.

As the PCs investigate, for this IS an investigation, they will unearth wheels within wheels – nothing is as it seems, and this is also when the module begins its constant and detailed payoff, as the PCs start unearthing evidences of politicking and conspiracies, of cults and orders and ancient curses and crimes…and the hostility and gruff demeanor of the local populace takes on a sinister sheen. You see, King for a Day, in one of its central aspects, is the single best example of psychological and truly disturbing horror I have seen pulled off in a campaign. Without gore, without resorting to any of the classic tropes, it is a perfect example on how to make a slow-burn build-up work within a campaign. The more you play it, the more will its leitmotifs organically click into place…and the more isolated the PCs will feel.

We all know the trope: Heroes arrive, are treated badly, solve issues, become welcomed, celebrated even. Not so here. Instead, the PCs and players will find apathy, and since they will be unearthing hidden threads and plots, they will start questioning the motives of everyone – instead of making a new home, making new friends, the module does a superb job of depicting the experience of Brechtian estrangement on a cultural level; not only between PCs and NPCs, but also between NPCs. The PCs get to see the dissolution of the social contracts that bind us together as social animals; not due to violence or gore and blood-spatter, but because of apathy undermining everything. There is no easy enemy to fight, no cackling, mustache-twirling villain, nothing to slay.

This makes King for a Day one of the very few genuinely frightening adventures; to the point where the expected “truth” behind the proceedings, behind the strange behaviors, where the masterminds of the possible coup d’état (one of the complex, interwoven plotlines), where the ancient curses…all of that feels like a RELIEF. When the basically Cthulhu-mythos-inspired enemies show up, players will probably rejoice that they have something to slay; here, horror gives way to dark fantasy, to the familiar, to something that is quasi-Cthulhu-mythos/illithid-y, to Dagon being mentioned.

It’s a catharsis.

It’s a masterstroke of storytelling and the penultimate in a series of truly impressive subversions and thematic changes that is guided by the adventure, that is explicitly stated out for the GM/referee.

It’s the penultimate one, and for the final one, the author actually provides an excuse, explicitly states how it’s not how things need to go, but how things, for him, should go. This final twist even blows the previous one out of the water, transcending the line from comfy and familiar Mythos-Lovecraftiana to genuine, Lovecraftian horror. It’s in these few pages that all the psychological horror unearthed, all the catharsis achieved, once more coils up into a singular scene, one that amplifies the profound, intellectual anxiety and desperation, the genuine HORROR in one catch-phrase.

One that is horrific on its own, but which is vastly outclassed by the truth behind it, by the vast and truly unfathomable. Dagon is a Lie. Even this simple sentence is nothing but a prelude, a final undermining of truths unearthed. The finale beyond that phrase is much more horrifying and genuinely transcends anything I have seen in a horror module to this date, presenting the most efficient, powerful and stunning conclusion to an adventure I have read, providing a singularity of purpose and theme where all the aspects of this vast adventure congeal together into something that genuinely and profoundly left me rattled. Then, I actually clapped. A smile stole onto my face. This is the single best ending this probably could have had.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting aren’t perfect; I noticed quite a few glitches and typos herein; I’d consider the book to be “still good” in that category, though barely. Layout adheres to a 1-column b/w-standard in the pdfs, while in the PoD-version, the only color images are those of advertisements in the back; the borders of the page have bluish borders; here, color-coding could have helped structure the book further. As noted, the pdfs have no bookmarks, which is SUPER-jarring for a tome of this size. The handout-booklet and cartography in both full color and b/w are amazing, particularly the b/w-map of the final location, presented as a player-friendly version, is great. Unfortunately and much to my chagrin, this pdf is NOT included in the print book, not can you purchase a poster map version of a physical version of the handout booklet, which, once more, is just jarring. I expected these to be included in the print version, which imho needn’t be full-color inside, considering that the great, if sparse artworks, are b/w. In short: Get both PoD and pdf, and get ready to print the handouts.

Jim Pinto’s “King for a Day” was recommended by one of my readers; in the highest praises. I did shrug, bought it and there it sat; I kept reading it, made notes, and only slowly did it dawn on me how exceedingly effective this module is; how SMART it is. On a formal level, King for a Day is deeply flawed. The print version’s lack of maps, the pdfs with their lack of bookmarks – there are some serious comfort detriments here that render using this harder, rougher than it ought to be.

In fact, this is pretty much a bit like “Demon Souls” back in the day in its rough and somewhat clunky handling; no one had an idea what was going on, how it worked, and it required work; it took hardcore, skilled folks to use, and then, slowly revealed its brilliance, its genius. King for a Day is a clunky, slightly abrasive, tough nut to crack that requires an expert GM/referee to pull off. Cthulhu dark age, LotFP, weird old-school (à la Midderlands, Wormskin, etc.), Greyhawk – it doesn’t matter: Do you want to challenge your players as well as their PCs? Do you consider immaculately structured, smart and plausible scenarios a joy? Do your players demand your A-Game as a GM/referee? Do you enjoy sandboxes that deserve the name? Do you want a sandbox that sports diverse, modular and complex plotlines, you know, not just “kill xyz”-stuff, but storylines that are worth the moniker? That truly are MODULAR, where the PCs and their actions matter? Well, this massive monstrosity delivers all of that, and more, in spades.

If I were to rate this solely on its accessibility, on its formal criteria, etc., I’d consider this, at best, a 3.5 stars-book; if the like is really important for you, then please take note of that. However, the content, ambition, prose, execution and clever concept underlying everything here make this a true and distinguished masterpiece, one of the hidden gems out there; this can provide potentially years of gaming, will keep even the most efficient groups occupied for at least a couple of months, and ranks as one of the smartest mega-adventures/campaigns I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.

If you even remotely like smart, dark material and want to flex your GM/referee-muscles, then consider this to be a must-have recommendation. I was, even after having read literally thousands of adventures, floored by this. Even with its pronounced flaws and imperfections, this is 5 stars + seal of approval, the type of out-of-left-field recommendation that makes reviewing amazing.

Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS, etc.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
King for a Day
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Calendar Man, Protocol Game Series 9
by Timothy H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/30/2018 14:05:27

Calendar Man

I hosted this game at our local convention. Everyone at the table were first time players, but big fans of murder mysteries. The game mechanics were simple for them to understand, and we used index cards to help remind us of key clues, events and supporting characters in the story.

As players we set the era and location of the “Calendar Man” murders, then drew roles and relationships. By the time we had finished that our characters were connected to one another, and heavily invested in catching the killer. The story commenced with each player directing a scene, the clues were scattered, and then as we attempted to close in suddenly killers style changed radically. We found him finally dying in a hospital bed from a terminal illness, but in his last days he had mentored a new killer, and passed the cultish style murders on. We caught this new killer and ended the cycle of murders… until…

He was not convicted. Had we failed at the 11th hour? No. Our lead officer disgusted by the court proceedings, followed the Calendar man after his release, and executed him for his crimes.

It was such a collaborative process that characters were willing to fail on a personal level if it meant closing in on the killer.

The game does not even suggest that there might be two killers, but is flexible enough to let you develop your own imaginative story.

I hope you can appreciate that the second killer was a “Awe Ha” moment at the table. It made such sense, it was unanimously adapted.

No one dictated what this story could, or could not be. Everyone had fun.

Finally, the story style of Protocol games is such that you can wrap up loose ends to the story as it wraps up.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Calendar Man, Protocol Game Series 9
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Sea of Man, Protocol Game Series 49
by Timothy H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/30/2018 13:29:54

Sea of Man

I have owned this for a while, but just had the opportunity to play finally at our local convention and wanted to follow-up with a review.

Sea of Man, comes off as a Moby Dick style of story set in the same era as the novel. Our group expected to go off on a whale hunt, the key characters in the story (Players) were The Navigator, The Lookout, and the Harpooner. We were all set. The game next develops relationships between the players where we learned that the Lookout and Harpooner were new to the crew, and that the Navigator had vouched for his land lubber nephew (The Lookout) to join the crew. Everyone’s financial futures and reputations were at stake, as we set out to sea. Now there is no guarantee of a whale hunt it occurs randomly in this game… and I really like that mechanic. It forces you to consider other aspects of life at sea, while you hope for a successful hunt. We however drew a hunt immediately. The build-up was dramatic, the harpooner in the forefront selected the largest beast, threw and hit, but the beast was too big, and in it’s prime, too healthy to yield. It sank into the deep sea… We were left to hunt on.

Now in a game like this I didn’t expect the hunt to be in the first round, let alone the first draw of the very first round, no one expected it.

Our characters however remained at sea, and as the days wore on the mood aboard ship changed.

What began as Moby Dick quickly became a run up to Mutiny on the Bounty.

Characters who were not violent began to talk about murder. Who would strike the first blow? Who would have to be taken out first…

The Navigator turned out to be a coward, the Lookout boy lost his innocence, the Harpooner was pressured into becoming a murderer.

What a great story not because good things happened to good people, and not because bad things happened to bad people.

It was a great story because it had those memorable moments (scenes) for my character and the other players that make for a great story.

Did the whales return you wonder, yes, yes, they did. They bore silent witness to man’s inhumanity to man.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Sea of Man, Protocol Game Series 49
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The Carcass, GMZero RPG 4
by Jacob W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/26/2017 10:15:26

Something new and interesting in a



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Carcass, GMZero RPG 4
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The Last 12 Hours, GMZero RPG 8
by Alan B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/04/2017 09:35:04

The Last 12 Hours is the GMZero game I use to teach others the concepts of GMZero. It's got a wonderfully easy to understand as a genre and concept (everyone has seen a Cohen brothers film, or something close), the art captures the mood right, and the revolving nature of the supporting characters lets experienced players get into their scene based play, while the two more "static" characters allow new players to really learn and experience what makes this sort of GMless narrative game fun.

If I had to make a complaint (and I do because this is a honest review), it's that the game doesn't try hard enough to distinguish itself thematically from the "big dog" in the room: Fiasco. It has a bit of a throw-away line around "This isn't innocents making bad choices, but bad people getting what they deserve", but I feel a full called out page or section about that would go a long way to helping prospective buyers and players understand they're not purchasing Fiasco-lite, but instead a fully new game with a totally different focus.

It's a minor complaint in the grand scheme of it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Last 12 Hours, GMZero RPG 8
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Toolcards: Fantasy Towns/Villages Maps
by Shawn C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/28/2017 23:21:13

Once again Jim Pinto's graphic design is on point with this excellent, system-independant resource for generating unique villages for any encounters. I debated between this one and some other similar products but ultimately chose this one because I'm familiar with Jim's work in the past and I knew that visually it would end up the superior option. I was not disappointed.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Toolcards: Fantasy Towns/Villages Maps
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Toolcards: Fantasy
by Alan B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/19/2017 10:38:15

Toolcards: Fantasy is a great accessory to a GM who has to prep or create on the fly (so all GMs). Packed to the tip with useful information, great prompts and some clever ideas, I find this deck to be pretty handy to have next to me when I'm running any fantasy game. It's pretty good bang for the buck too.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Toolcards: Fantasy
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Praxis: The Black Monk
by Matt T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/20/2017 12:33:04

Here's the thing. Pinto is insane. I'm not talking about the fun type of insane either, I mean like walking through a strobe-lit hall of mirrors, backwards, with "They're coming to take me away" playing in the background and blood running up the walls and into randomly-sized disembodied eyeballs type of insane.

It's probably why he writes such interesting games.

I backed the kickstarter for the first set of Praxis games, which included this one. The Praxis rules are based around a group of players constructing a scene together, using a deck of standard playing cards to determine objectives, relationships, and story milestones; and a pool of six-sided dice to determine outcomes.

Players construct the game world around them as they play. Think about a standalone novel or movie - when the first scene starts, you know nothing other than what you can see and hear at that moment, and any background unravels as the plot progresses. As that background hasn't been seen in-game at this point, it's open to players moulding and interpreting it.

This is a game of dramatic concepts, not a dungeon crawler. Sure, combat may occur, but it isn't by any means the focus. You're not going to find tactical combat rules for miniatures here. Instead, you're going to find ways for the players to tell a story, and move it ahead through their plot decisions.

The main book contains a number of character concepts, and once you're familiar with the system you could probably put more of your own together. Special abilities are aimed more at the story than innate powers - for example, a character may have an ability that allows you to steal drama points from another player, or otherwise affect the flow of the story.

If like me, your idea of an RPG is more "directed improv" than "tactical miniatures game", I suggest giving this a try. If not, I still suggest giving it a try anyway, you could end up discovering something new :)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Praxis: The Black Monk
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King for a Day
by Dave C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/19/2017 09:44:27

I've never bothered to 'formally' review anything I've read in RPGs in the 30+ years that I've been gaming. "King For A Day" seeks to change that apparently - because this setting deserves to be talked about more than it is.

I am, personally, a devotee of the OSR and a number of indie press games - this transcends my little niche and has the potential to work for any referee/gamemaster who doesn't mind getting the dirt of worldbuilding under their nails.

All the reviews address the expansiveness of this setting - a regional sandbox, full of early medieval social malaise, hidden agendas, fractured hopes and dreams washing away in contaminated streams - and an evil that defies it's own definition, despite the illusion creating its own deceptive shadows over a slowly crumbling society.

"King For A Day" (KfaD) is the proverbial onion, layers peeling away until you're at the rotten core. Everything seems so consistent within the implied setting, an Anglo-Saxon backwater mining, farming, and logging community. I can't help but feel, despite the late heathen era trappings of the 9th-10th centuries, that this is later than that. Maybe it's the organizational aspects of society, but they seem a bit more modern - especially in the backwash soil of the surroundings. It lends to the air of timelessness which gives this connection, for me, to that dreamlike, yet nefarious, folkloric menace (Folk Horror?). 



As other reviewers have said, this could easily be adapted across time periods - I'm considering a fantasy Renaissance/Baroque/Early Modern retelling myself. The nature of most of the social issues, from ineffectual undermined leadership to brain washing, have a certain ability to speak through many different ages. It would have been easy to make the populace monotheistic and pious - but, the more I dwell on it, it just drives the universal point home by not relying on that trope of ‘heathen roots’ vs. ‘zealots of "One True God’ dichotomy (the friction is still there though, but it seems to gain some level of unfamiliar shaky foundation which benefits the storylines).

It amazes me that more authors haven't tried their hands at writing a system neutral sandbox - some of the OSR releases have done this for retroclones, but KfaD shirks any attempt at being that narrow. The fact that it is not only devoid of rules preference, but bucks RPG genre expectations, is unique. A historically rooted horror fantasy setting with political-social-religious overtones? Very damned ambitious, and remarkable in its ability to not fall flat on its face doing it.

The most lamentable part of KfaD is in its editing and layout - there are numerous typos, all minor, and a nagging feeling that the book could be better organized for the table - more so in print form (the bookmarks in the PDF are extensive and useful). The art is very light for such an ambitious project and I'd love to see a hex map of the region for crawling (personally, I have a .PNG hexgrid I'm dropping on it). Most of the art is good, when it is present - I would love to see this expanded (Kickstarter? Indiegogo?) through thematically inspired renderings of personalities and landscapes. There are a number of 'cut and paste' text portions, especially concerning NPCs, repeated throughout the book that could be trimmed.

I think that for those who intend to use this it is wise to devote a large binder or multiple binders to the material (or use a computer based campaign organizer). I recently found a handful of mini binders that will be perfect for NPC sheets or area map/descriptions. Random tables of encounters for the towns wouldn't hurt, but I can certainly understand the difficulty as individuals will run this module very differently from each other, as it is meant.

Some of the comparisons I came to when reading this were early LotFP publications - and, more specifically, "People of Pembrooktonshire" and "Three Brides...". I had considered those particular publications by Raggi to be a possible basis for a campaign, but KfaD doesn't push the weird as hard into the open - allowing that 'slow burn' to consume everything, quietly and thoroughly. I could see easily uniting NPCs from both, effectively adding more layers of distraction to either side - whilst downplaying the marginally sub-dermal Pembrooktonshire ‘everything is not right’ insanity. After reading KfaD, my current campaign preparations started to wane as I became totally engrossed with this little out of the way hellmouth.

This isn’t for everyone. There is a lot of upfront campaign creation work to be done - which I think is the best way to digest this much material. You have to follow all the strings and tie together the parts to suit player and system. This is a dark fantasy horror setting with a twist of Lovecraft - suspense and friendly nihilism. I think ambitious OSR game referees will find this especially useful - especially with games like “Lamentations of the Flame Princess" or “Astonishing Sorcerers and Sword Men of Hyperboria". Bordered with the Dolmenwood setting from “Wormskin”, this would be a tasteful ‘Wyrd Folk Horror’ “Labyrinth Lord” as well. 2e edition fans of the “HR” series could tear this up with Vikings and Charlemagne era rules. Cthulhu Dark Ages is a natural fit, but something of a giveaway to the mystery behind the suspense.

Despite its flaws and workload, I think “King For A Day” presents a noble offering towards universal fantasy settings - a product description too often unexplored.

This setting doesn’t jump scare, it undermines your minuscule reality with unfathomable creeping doom.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
King for a Day
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Alphabet Soup, GM Advice Document, 100 Orc Habits
by Natalya F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/11/2017 13:58:50

Easily one of the best products I have purchased this year to date. In prepping to play a non-standard orcish character in a forthcoming game, and after research various orc traits that decades of RPG history has put together, I found myself yearning for something different and off the beaten path. POST WORLD GAMES DELIVERED.

Almost every single one of these "traits" (or behaviors) is food for imagination; you don't even have to roll - read through them and within 3 traits you'll be thinking of what they could do for your orcs (or character, in my instance), and by the time you get to the end, you'll be wanting to create an all orc-troupe.

Great ideas, nicely laid out (so many d100 lists are thrown together in word), and easily - EASILY - woth $.99 cents. I mean, come on ... it's robbery at this point to not buy it.

Great purchase.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Alphabet Soup, GM Advice Document, 100 Orc Habits
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Solomon Guild: A Gallery of Rogues Part I
by Alan B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/04/2017 10:49:00

Probably the best NPC supplement I've read.

The pros:

  • Just loads of compelling details. All the NPCs are fully formed, well realized, and consistantly written and handled.
  • Tons of plot hooks. Just, oh so many plot hooks.
  • Interesting organization and detail. Part historical accuracy, part dramatic license, the structural organization of Solomon Guild, it's members, and their operations is detailed enough to be compelling, while vague enough to be easily used anywhere.
  • the writing is easy to read, and keeps you moving through the book.
  • layout is spacious, minimalist, and great.
  • Solid art throughout (see below)

The cons:

  • A few of the art pieces didn't do it for me. It's likely just a matter of personal preference and style over "bad" art, but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention it.

All in all, a book I'm already in the process of heartily recommending to friends and fellow GMs.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Solomon Guild: A Gallery of Rogues Part I
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Death of Ulfstater, GMZero RPG 5
by Alan B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/03/2017 17:12:26

I love this game. I freaking love this game. It plays well, and the crescendo of drama around the table is often a surprsie to players unfamiliar with this style of game. It's well researched, evocative and accurate, while still being interesting and not "dry" (as someone complained about when I pitched it poorly). The art ranges from great to better than servicable, and the layout and graphic design are spot on.

Probably the best GMless game I've ever played. I'd recommend this to anyone in a heartbeat.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Death of Ulfstater, GMZero RPG 5
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The Scarecrow, Protocol Game Series 34
by Wendelyn R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/29/2017 22:22:11

Another great addition to the Protocol RPG line. This is a perfect Autumn/Halloween game or anytime you want to get creeped out. The children's roles presented were especially evocative of the sense of uncertainty and fear of rejection of being a child/teen.

I appreciate the structure provided in the Protocol RPG line that fuels ideas with out being restrictive. I have run Protocol at conventions and with many players who have never tried a story game before and the system helps players form their ideas. The Drama Points are also very important to creating excitement and continued engagement of the players as the turns continue, because even if your character isn't in a scene you can still add in an idea or complication.

As a final note, I played Scarecrow with several friends calling in from across the country on Roll20.net which is perfect for Protocol. We could use the standard (virtual) card deck, voice and video broadcast, and as long as one person has the scenario handy we were good to go. I highly reccommend this method for getting in a game as Protocol only takes 2-3 hours to play with basically no facilitator prep. Perfect game for busy people seeking a role play focused experience.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Scarecrow, Protocol Game Series 34
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Lady Winter, Protocol Game Series 48
by Wendelyn R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/29/2017 22:00:27

After playing/running about a dozen Protocol games Lady Winter is my stand out favorite. Each of the players just "gets it" and the depth of role play has been intense. I've been shocked by the ideas and creativity of other players both times I've played Lady Winter. The ideas seeded during setup and enhanced by the scene and location tables have exceeded expectations. This one feels profoundly personal, which is exactly what story games and role playing are all about.

Masterful work, I look forward to playing again and again.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Lady Winter, Protocol Game Series 48
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Orc Hospital (Card Game)
by Timothy H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/18/2017 22:17:04

This seems like an appropriate time to write a review of this game. Why? Because the "Pop" channel is running a "ER" marathon later this month, and the only thing better than that would be running a "Orc Hospital" Marathon at my house.

The cards ordered via drivethru are good, playing quality cards, and solid art. I recommend the box too, but suit yourself.

This game plays well as you improve tongue in cheek stories about the Orc Hospital it's staff and patients. The professed object of the game is to acquire enough points to win the coveted "Golden Goblin award" but for us that quickly became lost in the satisfaction of telling a good story. That probably defines why I gave this five stars, in that telling a good story trumps card play, and I love a good parody.

This card game is great for kids, who can grasp simple boyfriend, girlfriend, and dating relationships. The rounds play fast, through the deck once and done.

Some things we did that added value to the game, was we brainstormed a quick list of orc names for potential cast members. So that we wouldn't slow down story later trying to make up names for everyone on the fly. Also we kept a log of episode highlights, just a one sentence tally of what episodes had gone before, made return visits into the story, favorite cast members (IE Ambulance drivers) quite satisfying.

A great party game, ice breaker for your non-RPG crowd.

TNH



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Orc Hospital (Card Game)
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