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Dragon World Hack 0.4
by Kris S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/11/2018 23:11:12

This book is a freeware variant on "Dungeon World", which in turn is part of the Apocalypse rule system. I haven't gotten to play this one yet but it looks mercifully simple and story-driven, with all of the necessary rules here but no specific setting. (That's meant to be sold separately, but you don't really need one just to fool around with a fantasy adventure.) It is somewhat simpler than the default DW rules, for instance because it ditches the vestigal "make D&D stats, derive modifiers, then mostly ignore the stats themselves" rule. Hit points are abstracted out, too. The rules in general are desgined around giving the players tough choices like, "Your fire breath hurts the enemies, doesn't hurt your friends, and doesn't cause collateral damage... pick two." Or even "pick one", if you roll poorly!

The character types are pretty similar to DW's, but with sillier descriptions (eg. Paladin becomes Shiny Paladin, with character traits like "fantasy armor with lots of crystals") and shorter, simpler sets of moves. There's also a rule system about gathering Clues and MacGuffins to defeat powerful foes, which is a substitute for the fact that nobody actually has hit points. So, again, the focus is on simplicity and storytelling. I see that as a good thing, mostly. It should be possible to pull in aspects of the full DW rules if you ever feel like adding their more complex features like the design of villain organizations.

This book seems like both a good intro to DW itself, and a fun system to play in its own right. Looking forward to either.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dragon World Hack 0.4
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Faerie Skies
by JR F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/09/2017 10:56:24

Truly delightful game. Simple, elegant, and fun. Easily run for children and adults alike, An excellent addition to the Golden Skies family.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Faerie Skies
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Maid: The Role-Playing Game
by Dustin H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/11/2017 23:15:24

Maid is a game that can be started in a matter of minutes. Your entire character can be created by rolling, and all the character creation is comedic and cosmetic. This game has very few, if any, mechanics, and is focused on story-telling and having a fun time pining after Master, or protecting Master, or assassinating Master... and then bringing him back to life... to assassinate him again... because you want to. To date, Maid has been my favorite roleplaying game, because of how easy and fun it is. I highly suggest buying it for times when you have an hour or so to kill with some friends.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Maid: The Role-Playing Game
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Maid: The Role-Playing Game
by Mirko F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/18/2017 05:19:05

Gioco molto bello, regole semplici ed immediate, creazionedei personaggi rapida ma non minimale. Inoltre ilmanuale ti lascia completa libertà per quanto riguarda avventure e ambientazione. Tabelle ben costruite e che non lasciano nulla al caso. Unica pecca che ho trovato nel manuale sono gli scenari introduttivi, la maggior parte li ho trovati banali e poco coinvolgenti. Il manuale lo ho trovato per caso e lo ho pagato poco, ma vale tutti i lsoldi che chiede



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Maid: The Role-Playing Game
by James G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/26/2014 12:17:53

This games is brilliant in it's simplicity. It's tongue in cheek nature and the way the GM has very little story to write is great.

It is character and story lead and highly amusing, with brilliant things such as loosing your underwear acting as a negative modifier.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Golden Sky Stories
by Brian P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/15/2014 15:48:57

This is definitely the cutest RPG I've ever read.

I've had Golden Sky Stories--夕焼け小焼け (yuuyake koyake, "sunset") in the original, which is the name of a song that plays over town speakers in Japan at the end of the day--for a long while. I kickstarted it a year and a half ago and got the final version six months ago, and have barely looked at it since then. It turns out that was a mistake, because this might be my favorite non-traditional RPG ever.

When I say traditional there, I'm not talking about the trad vs. indie RPG divide, but rather about its focus. Golden Sky Stories is about playing henge (変化, "shapeshifter"), animals that can turn into humans. Or partially into humans, since it's often easier for them if they leave their tails and ears showing. They live in a small town in the Japanese countryside, and they help people with their problems. Not major problems, like murders or political strife, but small things. Two children who've had a falling out. A lost kitten. Someone who's moving away and is scared to say goodbye. That kind of thing. It's slice of life media, the game.

The description of the kind of town that a game should take place in really stuck out to me, because I lived in a small town in the mountains of Hiroshima Prefecture for three years that would have been perfect for this. So when I read:

--"Only a single rail line passes through it. A two-car train comes every hour, and no more. In front of the station are a row of shops not seen anywhere else. Many of the roads around the town are narrow, too small for cars to pass. Some of them are mere dirt paths, used by cats and rabbits more than people. You can see open fields here and there. The rice paddies outnumber the houses. If you look into the distance, you'll see only mountains and trees. Narrow rivers flow from mountains, from ponds, gathering into one big river. The water flows in, the water flows away."

...my main thought was that that's actually more connected than Kitahiroshima was, because we didn't have a train line. Twenty thousand people spread out over fifty square miles of wooded mountains, where the children went to school on a raised path through the rice fields, the parents worked in the local stores or in the aluminum plant, and the grandparents farmed rice and tended traditional shops. The kind of place where I could easily believe there were henge out there, at twilight when the sun went down behind the mountains.

Mechanically, the game is quite simple. Each character chooses a henge type, from rabbits to birds to foxes, and gains powers based on Japanese associations with that animal, in addition to being able to take Weaknesses to gain extra powers. For example, birds can create wind, foxes can have a shrine dedicated to them, and rabbits can make mochi. Each henge has four attributes that determine how they interact with the world. Adult is for being serious and using technology, Child is for emotional connections, Animal is for senses or using the abilities of one's animal form, and Henge is for supernatural power. The attribute is compared to a difficulty, and if high enough, whatever you're doing is successful. No dice are used.

To make up for low attributes, there are three spendable currencies that increase their values for single checks. Two of these are derived from Connections, representing ties to other people, places, or supernatural beings. Connections have various types, like Rivalry, Like, Admirae, and so on, and each henge is connected to the other henge and the town itself. The Connections then become Wonder, which represents supernatural power used to fuel the henge's mystical abilities and is drawn from Connections from the henge to others, and Feelings, which are used to increase attributes for checks and is drawn from Connections to the henge from others. The third is Dreams, which are awarded by players to each other or to the narrator (or from the narrator to players) when they do things that are cute, heartwarming, clever, or funny. Unlike the other two, Dreams are used to increase Connections, not directly on powers or attributes.

In a great bit of mechanical convergence, humans don't have Wonder, they can only use Feelings to increase their tests, which means that they can't do things on their own. They need others to reach out to them to give them the strength to carry on, which ties perfectly into the themes of the game.

There's a lot of discussion about the kinds of games that Golden Sky Stories is designed for, and the example of play is about two children who are close friends, but were made fun of for holding hands on the way home from school, and the tanuki Riko and cat Kuromu's attempt to reconcile them. As it points out, for the majority of people, violence plays very little part in their daily problem solving, especially in the various small difficulties that arise in life. The basic structure for a game is:

--"Someone is troubled by something."

There's rarely a dark lord that we can quest to slay when we've had a falling out with our friends, but it can certainly seem as bad when it's our problem.

I'm usually a very mechanics-focused, crunchy RPG kind of guy, so I expected that I'd like the background of Golden Sky Stories but not be interested in playing it. The main reason I kickstarted it was interest in Japanese cultural products and nostalgia from having lived in Japan. Now that I've read it, though, I really want to play. Heartwarming slice of life is probably my favorite genre of anime, and I love the way this game is focused on evoking that kind of feeling. This is a great addition to RPG shelf.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Golden Sky Stories
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Maid: The Role-Playing Game
by Kate K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/14/2014 22:21:01

Even if you don't play the game, you'll enjoy this book on a purely nerdy level. It features a lot of asides and nods to not only otaku culture but roleplaying as a whole, as well as a plethora of anime references. There are a few "sample" characters wandering around that are really a great representation of the fun that can be had, even if you're creating characters on your own, and not actively getting a game together.

From a fairly brief scan of the book-- I purchased both the PDF and the physical copy-- I found the art to be charming, despite being a little sparse, and the gameplay relatively easy to pick up. It requires few die or supplies, so you don't really have to do a lot of work to set up. Once you have a scenario in mind, you just follow the tables in the book to flesh it out and go to town with maids either randomized with dice rolls or completely customized, from their hair color and uniform of choice down to their personality and type.

There is some combat, but the crux of the game is pleasing the master (or mistress, as the case may be)-- who is the equivalent of the DM, sporting a character similar in construction to a maid but with different rules and autonomies. In some game styles, the 'master' is omitted entirely, or played by everyone, allowing each player to have their own character.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Maid: The Role-Playing Game
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Golden Sky Stories
by Billy L. I. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/08/2014 05:41:10

If you're looking for epic clashes against the forces of evil... Keep looking. If you're looking for an adorable slice of life? This is your thing.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Golden Sky Stories
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Golden Sky Stories
by Cedric C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/12/2014 20:27:13

Introduction: I'll preface this review with a high recommendation for the free Golden Sky Stories Demo PDF. It actually contains most of what you need to understand and try out a henge roleplaying game. Henge (pronounced hen-gay) are animals who can transform into humans, and their stories take place in small countryside towns in Japan. Henge adventures are small, slice-of-life stories about helping others by doing little things. It's a child who's lost something, a Japanese shrine protector who's lonely, or a misunderstanding that needs to be taken care of.

The demo PDF not only summarizes the rules (although presents them in an alternate form for purposes of learning the game), but includes a complete introductory adventure. Print multiple copies so players have their copies of the rules and character generation. The PDF truncates the complete rules and does not have all the henge character types (see character generation), nor game master support. But, for some players and game masters, henge roleplaying can be so far from conventional combat-oriented RPGs that they may find the demo quite useful to get used to it. Individual pages from the PDF can be printed as rules summaries, character type summaries, and the character sheet. I would recommend first playing through the demo, then using the book for further storytelling.

GSS demo: http://starlinepublishing.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/2013-GSSDemo-StarlinePublishing.pdf

Character Generation

Each player will play a henge. (GSS still has a game master, called the narrator.) A henge is an animal who is able to take human form, and, in Japanese countryside culture, many animal types have stereotyped personalities: Foxes are haughty centuries-old creatures, often associated with the local gods surrounding the town; Raccoon dogs, or tanuki, are shapechangers, including into inanimate objects; Cats and dogs are close to their western perception as independent or friendly creatures; and Rabbits are needy -- but spoiled -- creatures. The setting for a henge is typically a small countryside Japanese town, with local gods (more like supernatural entities) reflecting aspects of the nature around them.

Each character receives a set of powers associated with their henge, and selects up to three weaknesses associated with their henge. For example, the Cat powers are Kitty (0), Fuzzy (4), Peek into Hearts (6), Stealthy Feet (8), Cat Paths (10), and Friends (14). Numbers indicate the cost in Wonder tokens to activate the power. Each Weakness also provides an additional Power. The Can't Swim weakness, for example, is paired with the Acrobatics (4) Power.

Each character has four attributes: Henge, Animal, Adult, and Child. Henge represents supernatural abilities; Animal strength and animalistic power; Adult the ability to do adult things, including technology; and Child the ability to do emotional things, like wheedle adults and have fun.

Each player then defines the connection their henge has with each other player's henge. A connection is a description and degree of a relationship that you have with another entity. For example, your character could have a Rivalry of strength 1 to another character. While connections need to make sense, they need not be the same -- one character may have Protection 2 towards another character, but the other character may have Love 2 towards the first! The strength of each connection is 2 if there are two other characters, or otherwise 1. Player henge also have connection to non-player entities, such as humans, animals, and even the town itself.

Mechanics

Rather than conventional "roll dice to beat or exceed a number", GSS uses a currency-based system. The game has three currencies:

Dream: Dream tokens are awarded during a scene by players and the narrator for good roleplaying. At the end of a scene, players spend dream tokens to increase their connections with other characters (including themselves) that they've encountered during the scene.

Wonder: Wonder tokens are used during a scene to pay the cost for a character to use one of his powers. For example, the shapechanging raccoon dog has the Become Anything (8) power, so would spend 8 Wonder whenever he shapechanges. Players gain Wonder tokens at the beginning of scene equal to the total of their connection strengths TO others.

Feelings: Feeling tokens are used during a scene to add to an attribute to make a "check". Similar to adding a dice roll to a stat to make or beat a target number, the Narrator tells the player which attribute will be used and what total result will be required. The player may spend any Feeling he needs to pass or exceed the check. Players gain Wonder tokens at the beginning of scene equal to the total of their connection strengths FROM others.

While the mechanics aren't difficult, the terminology and gameplay is quite different from conventional, combat-focused RPGs. I found it tricky to understand the complete rules of the book, so recommend learning from the demo. A glossary and index would also have been useful. The mechanics are probably best learned through the demo pdf, and the rulebook used once the narrator has the basics down.

Stories

GSS provides support for the narrator to adjust to this different sort of roleplaying: story design advice, town setting advice and a premade town, two introductory stories, an animal bestiary, descriptions of the various types of people in town, and both play sessions and an example story. The descriptions of the types of animals and people in the town include adventure seeds narrators can use to form adventures. After all, henge stories are often about helping others. Despite henge stories being different than western generic fantasy roleplaying, they may be well-suited for improvisational play: the narrator presents and open-ended problem, the players brainstorm a possible solution, and the narrator runs with it. After all, if a boy wants to try to confess his feelings to a girl, there are many ways of doing it! Also, like slice-of-life manga stories, GSS stories may be one-shot, as well as longer-running stories.

Art

The primary artist is manga artis Ike (altitude attitude). His own manga, Nekomusume Michikusa Nikki, "Catgirl's Wayside Grass Diary", is about a henge cat girl who lives in a small countryside town. (The manga is occasionally risque, so would be rated for older teen or higher. Most of Ike's art on Danbooru, Pixiv, and Konachan are SFW.) Unlike the generic fantasy art in most rulebooks, the art in GSS not only supports the section of the book it appears in, but often shows a glimpse of the personality of whoever is in the picture.

Conclusion

If you're looking for a gentle, non-violent, all-ages roleplaying game, this is it! Mechanics still stay within the realm of conventional roleplaying, but the simple countryside setting and "helping others" gameplay are entirely different. The slice-of-life genre allows the narrator to adjust the story to the amount of time available for the gaming group, and subject matter to the group's sensabilities.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Golden Sky Stories
by Georg M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/27/2013 11:03:50

This is a wonderful game. If you look for a place to spend your time with meaningful adventures, good deeds and building relationships, this is your game. Don't expect combat; this is a subtle game about feelings and wonders.

The signature characters (the Henge) are both cute and offer different tricks you can use to solve the riddles of everyday life. The only thing I'm looking for, is a group to play this with. It is such a lovely game!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Golden Sky Stories
by Matthew B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/21/2013 14:13:44

This is wonderful alternative to gritty sci-fi or dungeon crawlers, offering a gentler alternative and an opportunity to tell some emotionally engaging stories.

The setting has the feel of a studio Ghibli film. I would point out that unless you have a genuine interest in Japanese culture and tradition this might leave you a bit cold.

One thing I would warn people about is that where the game is light on rules and has no combat to speak of, how much fun you have is tied directly to how well the players roleplay and get into character.

Personally I love it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Golden Sky Stories
by Kevin H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/07/2013 17:34:19

This is not your typical role-playing game. It has many of the classic elements: characters, powers, stats and rules. What it doesn't have are villains, or even "bad guys." This is a game about life, and looking at humanity from an outside perspective. An adorable, fun perspective.

Golden Sky Stories is an English translation of a Japanese RPG. You don't have to be well-versed in Japanese lore to play, since the book has nicely written sidebars explaining the differences that matter in-game. You also don't have to worry about "Engrish," as the game received a professional translation thanks to its Kickstarter campaign. It actually has fewer typos than most games written natively in English!

The PDF itself is beautifully done. The artwork is manga-style, with all the big eyes and intricate shading you might expect. The layout and art compliment each other, rather than feeling as if any one element was pushing the rest out of place. Text is easy to read, even in the darker sidebars, and the art layers are quick to load on my PC. Characters are just plain cute, fitting with the overall theme of the game.

In Golden Sky Stories, you play as a magical animal known as an "henge." These animals can understand human speech and take human form to interact with us. The setting is a small, unnamed Japanese rural village, but this is easy to adapt to a more familiar locale if desired. Players create their characters as one of these animals and interact with the townsfolk. Most humans don't realize what you really are (unless you transform right in front of them), though some children or elders can figure things out. After all, you may look human, but you still have animal instincts!

Where we in the west have legends like Aesop's Fables, with trickster foxes and wise turtles, the Japanese have similar legends about their own native creatures. Golden Sky Stories draws from these legends, as well as pop culture, to make the animal characters each have their own unique personalities and quirks:

Fox henge are long-lived and wise, but prone to vanity, as well as being a bit stubborn & set in their ways. Older foxes may dress out-of-style, or insist on doing things the old-fashioned way.

The Raccoon Dog (or "tanuki") henge are your lovable, bumbling neighbors. They are a touch clumsy, but mean well and have an innocent, childlike outlook on life. Tanuki are also master shape-changers. As GSS is meant for all ages, they don't have some of their other, erm, traditional endowments.

Cat henge are basically what you'd expect, as their personality is pretty much the same in the west as in Japan. They're finicky, independent and sometimes put their own desires in front of others (especially when it's time for a nap), but they are very curious and good at sneaking up when you least expect them.

Dog henge are excitable, friendly and a bit daft. Whether they have a human home or live on their own, they get along with people better than any other henge.

Rabbit henge are perhaps the best example of different legends between east and west. Rabbits in GSS are masters of dreaming and very nimble, but a bit impatient and desperately want to be surrounded by friends. A lonely rabbit is a very sad sight!

Bird henge are, quite literally, bird brained. They have strong associations with the wind and sun, and are master singers, but don't expect them to hold onto a complex thought for long.

Players create their characters by choosing one of these animal types, describing their human form (often children, even if the character is hundreds of years old, but you can play as a teenager also) and picking from a list of available powers. These aren't your typical "fireball" spells, but abilities that either affect your shape-changing or let you influence people around you. GSS uses a system of Connections to describe your relationship with other player characters and NPC. These connections provide you with points in Wonder and Feelings. Feelings can be spent as a bonus to your Attributes when you want to accomplish something, while Wonder points are spent to use your powers. Both of these refresh every "scene," depending on your Connections to the characters present. Everyone at the table can also award Dream points for when your character does or says something particularly helpful or just plain cute. Dreams are used to improve your Connections, and anyone can award Dreams to a player even if their own character isn't in the scene; there's no set number of Dream points, it's just a way of saying "Good job!" to your fellow players.

And this is the real focus of Golden Sky Stories: interacting with people and helping them solve their problems. The example of play, for instance, involves two players meeting a young boy who is running away from a young girl. Through various conversations, social faux pas and use of powers, they finally determine that the two are in love. However, the girl has outgrown the boy, and he's being teased about being shorter than his girlfriend (hence the running away). The story then shifts to helping the pair get past that awkwardness so they can enjoy their relationship.

That's the kind of adventure you have in Golden Sky Stories. Rather than fighting off evil, you are helping the people of the town (and other PCs) figure out solutions to their everyday problems. As it's put in the introduction:

"People are strong creatures. They build towns, they make tools, they build houses to protect themselves and words to express their feelings... Still, sometimes people become weak. Sometimes because of their words, sometimes because of their complicated hearts... Since you’re a henge and not a human, you can create the opportunities they need."

Golden Sky Stories, then, is an opportunity to tell very human stories about life and relationships, but through the unique lens of these magical, mythical creatures. It's about helping others figure out the best way to solve their problems. It's also about making strong. lasting relationships with the people around you. Plus, it's about just plain having fun with friends. Which is really what RPGs are for.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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