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Stalwart: The World's Niftiest Superhero RPG
by Tony [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/12/2024 13:41:49

These 16 pages comprise one of the best "mid crunch" superhero rule systems that I have read in a long time...

and for one American dollar!!

AMAZING!

If you are a fan of superhero TTRPG's pick this one up, an elegantly and logically designed game and there appears to be plenty of support on the blog... a great game...



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stalwart: The World's Niftiest Superhero RPG
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Creator Reply:
Thanks for the kind words. It's been a lot of fun to work on.
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Stalwart: The World's Niftiest Superhero RPG
by Maxwell [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/05/2024 16:57:04

I've followed Dr. Desing's game design journey for quite a while now, and if you look, you'll find several other 5-star reviews of his efforts here in my name. They were all earned at the time, and they still deserve them now. However this latest iteration of his approach to the supers game, "S:TWNSRPG," has also earned 5 stars from me. This in no way "takes away from" previous games like "The Stalwart Age" or "Sentinels of Echo City." Those are still awesome and playable in their own rights. What THIS game represents though, is an evolution in quickness of character creation and sheer playability that could only have been achieved by going through all of the previous designs before it. What we have here is brevity achieved without nearly as much of a loss in granularity as one would think, with the optional levels of complexity often being left up to the player in the moment (see the rules for multiple actions/attacks). I'd get into the rules a little more here, but this game costs One Dollar, is sixteen pages long, and is already supported by tons of free additional content on Dr. Desing's blog. Get it!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Creator Reply:
I am glad that you see the game that way. I am very pleased with how the pieces all fit together. Appreciate the kind words.
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Mini-Mod MM-S1: The Tomb of Myriad Horrors
by Bob [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/30/2024 17:21:34

Recently, I soloed my way through The Tomb of Myriad Horrors (3 pages at DriveThruRPG). It was designed for Hack’D & Slash’D, but I used Ordure Fantasy (a d6 system, 19 pages, same place). To solo it, I used two tools. The Bing Copilot answered my questions and I used Oldskull Underworld Generator 1: Rats in the Walls (260 pages, same place) to generate two additional rooms and two outside encounters. For the PCs, I used Chalk and her four friends, this was their third adventure. So, the PCs heard about the Tomb from a wandering peddler and headed off in that direction. Before they saw it they heard the sounds of orcs talking loudly. Terence the PC summoned an orc and then the group attacked the orcs guarding the entrance. The PCs killed the guards and then entered the tomb.

On a wall they saw the riddle. They had no idea what it was about. In the first room they found a bunch of dead orcs. Traps had killed them. In the second room their was a puzzle. The PCs were clueless and they triggered an Animated Statue. Terence got rid of his summoned orc and summoned an Animated Statue. The PCs won this battle. There was also a trap in this room and Chalk did not notice it. Luckily, Terence saw the trap and they were able to avoid it. In the third room (puzzle) they fought gargoyles. One of them had to be killed twice. In the fourth room they saw a sarcophagus on a platform. The PC’s animated statue investigated it. Another trap was triggered. The statue flew up to the ceiling taking damage, and more damage when it fell back down to the floor. It was now dead. Terence summoned another one. It then went on the platform to investigate the sarcophagus and a mummy came out of it. The PCs killed it.

At this point they had to make a choice and they did pick the better one. In the next room they killed giant rats. They did find electrum and gold pieces hidden in the debris. In the final room they found a skull on a stake and a skeleton (not animated). They then exited the tomb and headed back towards the nearest town. The next encounter was two aggressive chaotic wizards. Terence started a wizard duel with one and that wiz went down. The other wizard summoned an animated statue and the battle started. The PCs won that battle. They searched the dead bodies and found a wand of magic missiles (seven charges remaining). So, the PCs finished the adventure and had plenty of loot to pay for meals, lodging, and supplies.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Mod MM-S1: The Tomb of Myriad Horrors
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Hack'D & Slash'D
by Bob V. G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/24/2022 20:57:02

Gremlins Take Ostenwald (7 pages, a DMDave adventure) is a fun adventure for third level characters D&D Fifth Edition. To create my solo engine, I changed five lines in table #333 in the FlexTale Solo Adventuring Toolkit (613 pages at DriveThruRPG). The RPG system I used was Hack’D & Slash’D (1$, 21 pages at DriveThruRPG). I used five second level characters.

For the first scene, the characters enter the township of Ostenwald. Within minutes, they are in combat with five gremlins (like in the movie Gremlins). The PCs kill the gremlins. During the second scene, the PCs encounter two PCs and a dog. They gain valuable information. During the third scene, they fail an IQ check, pass a Wisdom check, kill five more gremlins, and find the apothecary’s den. For the fourth scene, they heal the apothecary, acquire a magical bead, climb down a level, and blow up 50 more gremlins. For the fifth scene, the PCs fight the Boss gremlin, take more damage, and watch as a PC kills the Boss (well, that was a surprise). For the last scene, they climb back up to ground level and encounter a fighter and his henchman. They have a chat and the fighter pulls out a scroll. There is a tense moment and the fighter explains that it is a list of quests. He marks off the gremlin quest, and reads the next quest from the list. The adventure ends when he tells them. “Let’s go!”.

Give this RPG a try!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Hack'D & Slash'D
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Creator Reply:
Sounds like a fun session! Thanks for giving my game a try.
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Tales of the Splintered Realm Complete Rules
by Maxwell T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/07/2022 09:53:51

Dr. Mike Desing has condensed and refined his already great Fantasy RPG into a concise 54 page book without losing any of the funor sense of completeness that one expects from a core rulebook. Character classes, Races, an excellent Magic system, a packed Bestiary, world-building, and an adventure are all here, and all spelled out in clearly written and eminiently playable fashion. If you're looking for a new FRPG with an old school feel that gives you "more" in less than 100(s of) page(s), look no further!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tales of the Splintered Realm Complete Rules
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Shards of Tomorrow
by Andrew M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/29/2021 14:35:08

(Apologies for the delay on the review- better late than never...) I bought this title on sight, just a few years ago, and I enjoy everything about it. From the art to the game content, I'm a happy customer. It's sci-fi. It's Dungeons and Dragons. It's small press, with an intriguing setting. Ergo, it's getting my money. I'd love to see more content for this game!

Lastly, this title is very lean on certain details throughout- I consider this a good thing. While I am not a simple man, I nonetheless enjoy simplicity for its own sake, particularly in this instance- I will cheerfully fill in all the blanks as and when.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shards of Tomorrow
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Creator Reply:
Thank you for the kind words! I'm glad that you like it. I have some notes for a revised version of the game using the upgraded engine I've been tinkering with... maybe someday...
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Saga of the Splintered Realm Book 1: Core Rules
by Bob V. G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/20/2021 11:56:54

Recently, I soloed my way through House of Whispers. It is an interesting free third level Fifth Edition adventure at adventuresawaitstudios.com (six pages). The system I used to play it was Saga of the Splinter Realm (free/pay what you want at DriveThruRPG). I used Solo Cutz as the solo engine (same price and place). Halfway through the adventure I generated an interesting encounter. At this point in the adventure, the adventuring party had explored half of the rooms and had not seen a ghost (they did have to fight some beasties). So now, a sleepwalking girl walks onto the porch and proceeds to rock in the rocking chair. The female ghost senses her presence, walks up to her, and gently touches her on the head. The girl wakes up and runs back home. What is interesting, is that the characters did not know this even happened. - -

The Saga RPG system is 144 pages. It includes an index, bookmarks, 12 races/classes, 4 cantrips, 78 spells, 100 + monsters, 30 talents, and uses a d20 system. Give this smooth system a try!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Saga of the Splintered Realm Book 1: Core Rules
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The Stalwart Age RPG Core Rules
by Maxwell T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/03/2021 08:28:59

"The Stalwart Age" is a sequel to or even a reboot of the "Sentinels of Echo City," which until recently was my favorite superhero RPG. Now, as you may have guessed, I have a new favorite: this one! Really, though, this game takes everything that worked about SOEC and tweaks it and trims it into a leaner, meaner, smoother-working package. The action economy is designed to be even more "comic-book-like," and there are plenty of creative options for heroes, using "Resolve,' and viallins, using "Tenacity," to keep things interesting and exciting. Perhaps my favorite part of this game, though, is the immersive quality of the universe it's set in. Not only is there a GREAT overview of the world, but there's a brief but very complete overview of a new home-base city (Midvale, which is located between the two cities featured in previous iterations of the game), and a very well-written three-part starter adventure, complete with four 1st level villains and plenty of other monsters/traps/puzzles for the players to encounter. All of this is fit very nicely into a startlingly low page count without feeling cramped or rushed. What's more, at the Stalwart Age and Splintered Realm blogs, Mike Desing is building and detailing this world all the time, including "summaries" of various issues of "comic books" from the history of this universe! If you join his Patreon, you get to see even more stuff, too. Really, folks, if you're looking for a new superhero RPG that's built for fun, speed, and creativity: look no further. Mike has more releases planned, and I can't wait to see 'em.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Stalwart Age RPG Core Rules
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Lairs and Locales #1: For Sentinels of Echo City
by Maxwell T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/16/2020 08:35:27

This is yet another excellently written and crafted supplement for what is, in my opinion, the best superhero RPG on the market. Like all of Mike Desing's work, this product contains just enough detail and information to inspire GMs and Players, without bogging things down with of self-indulgent "fan-fiction overdoese" exposition. I want to take chanracters to this Hideaway, and I want to create new bad guys for those characters to interact with. This is fun, enthusiastic, entertaining stuff!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Lairs and Locales #1: For Sentinels of Echo City
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Echo City Sentinel Issue 1
by Maxwell T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/24/2019 11:10:29

Support for Sentinels of Echo City is back, and it couldn't be cooler! In one page, you get two new superheroes, and one new supervillain for your game....and also for 50 cents! Heck, the publisher isn't even forcing you to pay that much! They also aren't stopping you from paying more than that, either, which is what I did. Get it! Encourage the creation of more issues!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Echo City Sentinel Issue 1
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The Stalwart Age Issue 2
by Maxwell T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/17/2019 21:11:52

Another fantastic issue! This a perfectly bite-sized but power-packed product, filled with just enough short fiction and statted-out gaming goodness to make you really feel like you are taking a quick vacation into the Stalwart Age of the SOEC universe. Buy it, enjoy it, and encourage the author to make more of it!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Stalwart Age Issue 2
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Creator Reply:
Thanks for the kind words! I hope to have the third issue out in the next few days...
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Michael T. Desing's Army Ants RPG Legacy Edition
by Quinn M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/22/2019 11:03:12

Better late than never? I regret not making time to review this RPG back when I first got it, but on the plus side I've had plenty of time to think about what to write. Maybe?

So, I came across the first edition of the Army Ants RPG back in 1997. Not sure how my local comics/game store even got a copy, but the cover and concept of anthropomorphic ants caught my attention and I bought it. From there I collected the Army Ant comics. Simple, B&W art with an interesting style and enjoyable characters. I bought the second edition of the Army Ants RPG the following year, which was a much higher quality product as far as production value. In 2013, I supported the Kickstarter and got a soft cover of the third edtion of the Army Ants RPG (this Legacy Edition).

The RPG game system changed quite a bit from the second to the third edition, but seems perfectly fine for the setting. Well, I've never liked having a level system in my RPGs since I started playing Chaosium RPGs back in the day, but that's more about me than the rules in this Legacy Edition being unplayable or bad in some way. I've only taken the time to learn three new RPG game systems in the past 20 years and I've forgotten most of how ONE of those worked.

So, all this time Army Ants has been on my list of RPGs I'd like to play in or run a campaign for someday. I'm still not keen on learning the details of the game system though, but I found out in the last several years that I really just need the setting details and an easy and familiar game system to run adventures in. I'm actually in the process of converting a BRP (Basic Role Playing) character sheet to use for an Army Ants BRP campaign. The BRP game system is easy to teach to new players (everyone gets it when you point them to their percentage chance with a Skill) and with no worries about remembering the rules I can focus on bringing out the fantastic setting. And that is the real strength of the Army Ants RPG Legacy Edition -the unique setting. At this discount price, just grab a copy and use whatever game system you want. Pretty much any RPG that can handle modern firearms can be used to play Army Ants. You may even prefer the rules as written, which would make running a campaign even easier.

Now, I gave it a four out of five star but I'd go four and a half stars if I could. I dislike leaving no room for improvement. No RPG game system is perfect.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Michael T. Desing's Army Ants RPG Legacy Edition
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Creator Reply:
Quinn, Thanks for the kind words. I agree about game systems; in the intervening years, I have found how robust the basic OGL engine can be, and I've been modifying and stripping down that system for years now. I am quite confident that I could release an Army Ants hack that uses the same rules I've used for Tales of the Splintered Realm and Sentinels of Echo City easy enough, but I don't necessarily feel up to writing an entirely new rulebook; I may release a hack at some point which is a free plugin that you could use with these rules. Thanks for the idea!
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Tales of the Splintered Realm Module B1: 49 Dungeon Denizens
by Vladmir K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/06/2019 06:19:49

This is very good. I'm enjoy every bit of it!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tales of the Splintered Realm Module B1: 49 Dungeon Denizens
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Creator Reply:
Thanks for the kind words, and for taking the time to review the book.
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Cupcake Scouts the RPG
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/26/2019 10:50:02

I’ll admit that “Cupcake Scouts” was an instant-buy for me. So it already started with the advantage of being unique and something I haven’t seen before.

But I was pleasantly surprised to find it was a simple single six-sided dice system married to a very clever background.

In a quaint town, the monsters and have agreed to a sort of truce created by the bribes of baked goods. This mission is carried out by the Cupcake Scouts gathered by an elder spirit called the Scoutmaster. In addition to delivering a wide variety of baked goods, are also trained to do battle against cursed creatures of darkness.

So in essence, it’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” where every player gets to be a ‘chosen one’!

The system as a simple 1d6 difficulty system with the scout’s “level” added to the roll.

Levels in the Cupcake Scouts is granted by earning Badges.

It’s important to note that this game has NO attributes (Strength, Mind, Personality, etc.) and this may be a deal-breaker for some.

You have your Troop (class), Level and Health and your special abilities.

The difficulty checks are broken down into well-thought out categories that make it easy to adjudicate without adding any rules overhead. The checks are Attack, Knowledge, Resist, Skill and Social checks.

Like “Swords & Six-Siders” a roll of 6 is an automatic success and a roll of 1 is an automatic failure.

Advantages and Disadvantages are also given in the same manner as in the “Barbarians of Lemuria” game (and now I think even in “Dungeons & Dragons”) with easy to remember ‘cancelling out’ rules.

Combat is handled as an Attack roll against a monster’s “Challenge Rating” which serves an armor class/defense. Scouts have Health points and are merely ‘defeated’ when they reach 0 Health. Challenge Ratings are derived from a monster’s level.

Cupcake scouts are always supposed to exemplify good behavior - brave, capable, friendly, helpful and smart - but they are categorized by “troops” which exemplify certain behaviors and acts a ‘Classes’ for the game.

Each troop gives special bonuses and a spell-like abilities. The troops are well-done, being unique and following standard RPG tropes (cleric, wizard, ranger, bard and fighter). I like the way these are done, but ‘disguised’ but definitely given unique roles and abilities, though the smart/wizard-like troop seems especially powerful.

The brilliance of the troop idea is that every character must embody the scout trait - pretty much restricting bad behavior (or encouraging good behavior as you will).

Scouts are already geared up with weapons, magic gems, a backpack, cupcakes and their handbook.

The Handbook serves as a clue-finder/portable google that allows scout-specific knowledge (including magic and lore) to be gained on the trail.

The Backpack is a fully stocked bag of tricks for monster hunters.

Even the cupcakes (or other treats) have a chance of having magical powers.

Levels are gained by earning badges and provide all sorts of bonuses, including one optional ability per level.

Optional abilities work like talents or feats and it’s great that even in a simple game like this you have mechanical and choice-based ways of distinguishing your scout from the others.

Earning Badges including Baking, Hunter, Slayer and Troop badges. You do the straight forward thing a certain number of times to earn them. Baking, killing, more killing and being exemplary at your troop’s trait.

Its like experience points, but the adventure itself is what gains the advancement.

The Scoutmaster is given the common Gamemaster advice, but also noted that they are a character in the game as well. Rather a ‘Mary Poppins’ type of character. It gives an outline of a typical adventure that gives them an episodic structure. This might not work for everyone, but I like it a-lot.

It also gives simple rules for random events and guides on setting ‘challenge ratings’ (the difficulty levels that need to be rolled over), and suggestions on assigning Advantages and Disadvantages. Very thorough and well done for such a light rule system.

Now because the game has no ‘skills’ of any kind, it talks about common situations - climbing, holding breath, leaping, swimming. It also talks about the effects of darkness. It even has a sort of ‘challenge rating’ for determining the difficulty of the opposition. It’s things like this that indicate that the game has actually been played rather than just written and very much appreciated. Even in “rules-light” games, these kinds of things are very helpful and for me, determine whether something is truly playable or not.

There is a fairly typical “Treasure” section, though it admonishes that cash is not really a viable option. Against the code and doesn’t travel to the mortal world. I’m not sure I wouldn’t like to see a little more creativity in this area. Maybe something that had to do with earning badges.

The Creature chapter is suitably brief, giving monsters a single Challenge Rating Number and ‘Tags’ which seem to correspond to something like ‘creature type’. Corruptions, Cursed, Elementals, Lycanthrope, Spirits, Undead, Vermin, etc.

Special abilities are buried in the monster description. The monsters would not be out of place in a “Dungeon Scouts” game. So much so that it’s almost a disconnect. The rules are written to work with the game, but for example the bite of a Hellhound can only be healed over time. While there is plenty of healing in the game, doing it over time is never described.

The Adventures are suitably short, but thankfully each of them has a map which is always appreciated. The artwork in generally is excellent in its own quirky style and suits the game well.

There are four of them which makes for a very nice start. They are rather dungeony, though, and the rewards for them are mostly of the ‘monster’ hunter badge type. I’m sure it’s fine for a game played with your daughter but I could certainly see more variety in the types of adventures for cupcake scouts.

The adventures tend to suggest that the town of Raven’s Hallow may in fact be in a medieval fantasy world rather than the modern world. There is a gnome apothecary, a family of (apparently) halflings and faun’s running the town library. I guess it was never explicitly said that the scouts were in the modern world, but it would be nice to have this explicitly stated. Maybe it’s just not the kind of thing the audience for this book would be too concerned with, but I’d like to know!

Believe it or not there is a Campaign section. THIS is the place where it talks about the ‘world’ of Cupcake Scouts. I wish this chapter was a LOT earlier.

So it states that there is a “land of humans” but it doesn’t actually say if that is a modern land.

Well, at the end of the day its a charming, playable rules-light system with an imaginative background and a great premise that seems fun as hell to play.

I’d play it in an instance and buy a printed version.

I truly hope there’s more coming!

PS: The only reason it's a 4 instead of a 5 is that the background world isn't explained very well.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cupcake Scouts the RPG
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Creator Reply:
Thank you so much for the detailed review. I am glad to see that you responded so well to many of the design decisions. The game really came together nicely, but I know that it absolutely fits a certain 'niche'; although I did think of it as a game that you would play with a Supernatural or Buffy vibe. For the record, it is a modern town that is basically a 'borderland' between the mortal and mythical worlds. So it's got kindly grandmothers who tend their gardens with the help of gnomes, and everyone gets along quite nicely, thank you very much.
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Tales of the Splintered Realm Module A1: Core Rules
by A customer [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/19/2019 21:42:21

In 16 pages, Mr Desing delivers a nice simple ruleset that provides a lot of flexibility in character development, monsters, treasures, GM info and a small dungeon. The archtype concept is a great idea that falls into the perfect balance between race and class being completely separate and race as class. The only complaint I have would be the lack of human archtypes, While the demi-human archtypes are well done and showcase one of the highlights of the system, not including at any human archtypes diminishes the overall ability to play the game right away.

I am looking forward to future releases in the series, hopefully soon, with the human archtypes, expanded Arcane and Nature magic,and the inclusion of Faith(Divine) magic.

(Updated Review) The four additonal pages in the latest release hits all the marks, making this a complete game, in only 20 pages.For me this game checks all the boxes in what I want in a RPG.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tales of the Splintered Realm Module A1: Core Rules
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Creator Reply:
Thanks for the kind words. I intentionally left the 'big four' out of the game so as to distance it a little from the source material... and I plan to get around to updates :)
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Thanks for the review. Rather than putting the missing elements you mentioned in a supplement, I have instead expanded the core rules to include them. The more I worked on them, the more I realized they belonged in the core game rules. Thanks for your feedback!
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Thanks so much for taking the time to update your review. I appreciate it!
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