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Post-Apocalyptic Dispatch (10 Issue Subscription)
Publisher: RPG Objects
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/24/2009 22:45:27

I was subscribed to the PA dispatch for many issues, and it never let me down. Although of course in a subscription like this you can't possibly use everything that comes down the pike in your game, the ideas were flexible enough, quick enough, and well-presented enough to make it one of the best buys on the website. In addition, if you ever lost or misplaced one of the PDFs, RPGObjects will replace it. I really can't say enough - the RPGObjects subscription is the gold standard for subscription-based small-package gaming material.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Post-Apocalyptic Dispatch (10 Issue Subscription)
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Death: Guardian at the Gate
Publisher: Dark Quest Games
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/24/2009 22:41:37

A very early d20 product, it shows to some degree, as several of the features presented in this product have balance issues. However, the great strength of the product is its detailed examination of a goddess, her place in a a pantheon, and a religion based around death. Death cults have many forms in fantasy settings as well as in the real world, and to have one detailed so thoroughly is a great help to a campaign designer. In addition, the organization is very effective, presenting the character of the goddess first - thereby personalizing and making the rest of the book that much more interesting. It's definitely worth a look, especially if you are considering making a death god or goddess for a pantheon of your own devising. This can take a lot of work off your shoulders.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Death: Guardian at the Gate
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The Elements of Magic (Original)
Publisher: EN Publishing
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/24/2009 22:38:25

This supplement presents a magic system so different from the normal one that it stands alone, permitting magical practicioners to concoct their own spells from various concepts - the elements, good, evil, and so on. This building-block style has been used in many other successful games, including Mage: The Ascencion, Changeling: The Dreaming, and Ars Magica.

The high quality of EN Publishing's work shines through. This version is the original version of the Elements - a revised version came out later that cleaned up several aspects of the rules and took it still further. That product's improvement, however, was incremental to this excellent start.

The PDF is well laid out and uses bookmarks.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Elements of Magic (Original)
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Dweomercraft: Enchanters
Publisher: Dark Quest Games
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/24/2009 22:34:13

This book gives a look into a school of magic from many different points of view. The standard character races, religions and gods, and other schools of magic all have their say and even differentiates between wizard and sorcerer approaches to enchantment. This gives a very thorough background for a player or GM wanting to add more detail to the practice of magic in their campaign world.

It would be especially helpful for games with arcane practicioners at the center, including the various "magical college" and "magical explorers" campaigns that have been published by many companies.

The list of spells is evocative and seems well-balanced for the most part. It certainly is detailed enough and if you're an obsessive spellbook-filler like myself you'll want to concoct quests to obtain many of these spells right away.

The file is in good shape but doesn't use any special PDF features. It's a steal for the price.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dweomercraft: Enchanters
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In the Saddle: Horses and other Mounts
Publisher: Dark Quest Games
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/24/2009 22:29:44

One of the first "horseback" supplements to come out during the d20 boom, this supplement remains a solid outing. Combining it with other supplements that perhaps came out later - mass combat, exploration, chase scenes - makes it even stronger. The rules are relatively simple but cover most of the horse-related stuff that fantasy folk have to deal with.

The additional material covering non-horse mounts is a welcome addition. Battle hares ahoy! Everyone loves a good battle hare.

Ever since the advent of wilderness adventures, mounts have been an important but often overlooked part of the game. One area that might have been interesting to explore in future editions is "what to do with them when we get to the dungeon", and other game-related logistical questions that can sometimes bog down the action.

The file is well-optimized but doesn't have any special PDF features. It is well worth the price.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
In the Saddle: Horses and other Mounts
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Traveller T20 Lite
Publisher: QuikLink Interactive, Inc.
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/10/2009 18:00:36

A good introduction both to Traveller and the D20 version of it. With no bells and whistles, this nevertheless gets the job done well. If you're a long-time Traveller fan like me, you'll appreciate the distillation of a solid generic science fiction system and setting.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Traveller T20 Lite
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Castles & Crusades: 100 More Calamitous Curses
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/10/2009 17:55:15

This is grand fun, exactly as advertised, 100 curses that range from the goofy to the horrendous. No layout bells-and-whistles, nothing to distract, and quite well-written. Each curse has a full description, though some are quite simple. Good job for what it does.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades: 100 More Calamitous Curses
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The Lost Atoll of the Bleu Dragon
Publisher: Usherwood Publishing
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/10/2009 17:52:52

This project is absolute madness - scan in crap from when you were running early editions of D&D in high school and try to explain what you were thinking. But it's beautiful madness of the kind that we can now achieve only through the magic of the Intertubes. And it's free!

The dungeon is pretty standard middle school stuff but I can't figure out the second map at all. New South Wales?! Huh?!

By the by, after the module entry, there are some "notes" sections that are pretty nice, helping you organize encounters and PCs.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Lost Atoll of the Bleu Dragon
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Eye of the Vortex - June 2009
Publisher: Eye of the Vortex
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/10/2009 17:47:29

A decent webzine. I found myself wanting more in-depth analysis from the articles, which shows that they picked interesting topics. The layout was attractive, though I'm not sure it would work out well if printed. There were no bookmarks to jump right to articles, but there were both internal and external hyperlinks that worked. Some manga reviews, a MMORPG review, a couple of movie articles, a card game review, a comic story...if that sounds good, you'll like it! Going to give a one-star boost because it's a new format and I'm all in favor of people trying new things.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Eye of the Vortex - June 2009
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Funkadelic Frankenstein on the Mean Streets of Monstertown
Publisher: Hex Games
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/10/2009 17:41:26

What the hell happened here? A QAGS scenario and brief campaign description about a "monstersploitation movie" called, well, you can read the title for yourself! Goofy, tongue-in-cheek, but also thorough, with a scenario that fits right into the campaign model. There are a lot of ways this could be expanded: I would have liked to see more info on "movie monsters" versus mythic monsters, and perhaps some attention to 1970s movie monsters versus modern movie monsters, not to mention maybe some "what happens next" material....but the real icing on the cake is the under-$1 price. How can you pass that up?



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Funkadelic Frankenstein on the Mean Streets of Monstertown
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Castles & Crusades: Monstrous Menaces #3: Akhlat, Oogloog, and Woodwose
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/10/2009 17:36:44

As advertised, this is a brief stat block and description of three Castles and Crusades monsters. Though there is little enough detail and no bookmarks, the brevity is right for the price and the monsters seem interesting. Certainly I know I'd be happy to stab them!



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades: Monstrous Menaces #3: Akhlat, Oogloog, and Woodwose
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54 - Fantasy
Publisher: Worlds of Adventure
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/10/2009 17:33:04

An interesting fantasy corebook that doesn't stray too far from D&D in terms of the setting presented or the actions of an expected group of PCs, but which uses a deck of playing cards (with jokers, hence "54") as the resolution system, permitting a degree of player control over pacing and character success and failure that dice don't normally give. Further, as character skills increase, "maneuvers" are learned that give additional abilities not available at lower levels.

This is a fully-featured game that can be played with just this PDF - it has a spell list, an extensive monster section, a sample of play, an introductory scenario, and the campaign design advice is far more detailed than most D&D-derived fantasy games undertake. This is a welcome change from many fantasy games that just present something with underlying assumptions that are never explored or explained, and raise the score on this product significantly.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
54 - Fantasy
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Second Look: Fallen
Publisher: Charke Publishing
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/10/2009 16:56:35

This brief but meaty work takes the idea of the fallen paladin, or blackguard, and expands it to all character classes, putting a mechanical component to a ranger who withdraws from nature, or a cleric cast out of their faith. There are even prestige classes for the perennially unlucky!

A good use of bookmarks makes this small PDF function even better. If you're looking for a new way to push a character's career forward beyond just plain-ole-multiclassing, this is definitely worth a look, whether it's first or second.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Second Look: Fallen
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Creator Reply:
Thanks for the review! - Mark Charke
Halfling Name Tables
Publisher: Terra Ferax Innovations
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/24/2009 13:46:18

This book is exactly what it purports to be, a list of names that can be used for halflings in your fantasy game. A little more attention to campaign usability would be nice - say, a bit of space where you can scribble in the role of the NPC with that name in your campaign, or a button that would randomly pick a name from the PDF. But if you want a list of names for halflings, this is what you need.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Halfling Name Tables
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San Angelo: City of Heroes 1.5 (M&M Superlink, Action!)
Publisher: Gold Rush Games
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/24/2009 13:44:03

This excellent work sets the standard for superhero city guides. Detailed, thorough, compelling and evocative, San Angelo is a city any costumed hero would be proud to call home. But probably the most exciting aspect of this product is how the electronic version uses layers and colors to bring different systems into sharp relief - you can easily differentiate Mutants and Masterminds stats from Action! stats, and so on. This product sets not only the gold standard in content but pushes the boundaries of what PDFs can do as well. A top-notch work well worth every penny, and then some.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
San Angelo: City of Heroes 1.5 (M&M Superlink, Action!)
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