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Spinechillers and Silent Killers

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Average Rating:4.7 / 5
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Spinechillers and Silent Killers
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Spinechillers and Silent Killers
Publisher: Thistle Games
by Chet C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/19/2013 16:48:07

Megan may be correct. Perhaps David could use an editor. A good editor can make a good book great and a great book fantastic, and there's not a one of us who is our own best editor.

On the other hand, that would undoubtedly increase the price - and I'd rather see more copies of this book get in gamesmasters' hands than have it become a bit too much professional. There's a part of me which really likes the unstructured "fannish" style of writing.

And the information - the raw data - is what the book is about. Is it easy to understand? Yes! Is it data you will use? Yes! Will you have a hard time using it because you'll be laughing so much? Probably! I didn't NEED to make my PCs feel even more uneasy, but I saw the most delightful thing for them to be served. Y'see, I just happen to have a photo of baked sheep's head.

It's more than just traps, scary things, and PC killers. It's also a means to discomfort your heroes, to make things a little off-center. Just when they think they have your world and its natural laws figured out, you can pull out a LOGICAL shock which makes sense. This is not a traps manual or a TPK manual. It's made (and priced) for fun and for using again and again.

David does have a diabolical sense of humor. An editor might have tried to talk him out of some of this.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Spinechillers and Silent Killers
Publisher: Thistle Games
by David A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/08/2013 14:33:41

I have 1001 ways to kill PCs - do I need this? Turns out it's not really for killing them. Or a book of traps. The start says it's to surprise players and it does. I dropped a runaway wagon, a local delicacy and a jailbreak into my hex crawl. They all worked and the players want more.

Some of the jailbreaks are from old movies and I think the spinechillers are adapted from Lovecraft. I can make 10 or more whole dungeons round the traps as they are. I'm not going to use everything at once and I have to work out how to use half of the headings. I'd like it broken down into urban, wilderness and dungeon sections.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Spinechillers and Silent Killers
Publisher: Thistle Games
by Ben C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/23/2013 13:45:04

This is a traps book, but it isn’t full of mechanical traps like Grimtooths. Almost every encounter makes a trap. Except they are all around and don’t work only once.

The spinechillers are creepy enough to count and the omens will get used. Dark scerets, food, wagons and money pits spread mayhem. Traps fill the longest part and are a load of fun. They go anywhere in a campaign and setup lots of ways. Some are brutal, but PCs get to use skills or ideas to escape.

The big difference between this and other random table books I’ve got is how much will get used. Another difference is the excellent all color look. My favorite GMs buy this year!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Spinechillers and Silent Killers
Publisher: Thistle Games
by Chloe M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/21/2013 18:22:55

Love the layout and the color pics. Take or leave the 15 page intro - guess it's good for beginners.

The spinechillers are good and creepy. The horrible food, extreme sports and jailbreaks are a laugh. The traps cover 50 pages of pure mischief. It's the fun side of the book I like most.

Money pits and serious complications (rivals in the dungeon) are on the fun side too.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Spinechillers and Silent Killers
Publisher: Thistle Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/21/2013 13:18:28

Loads of interesting stuff here, but in places it is quite hard work to extract what will be useful to you. The work opens with a rather rambling discourse (perhaps a editor could have tightened this up?) which appears to be trying to give advice on both how to be a good GM and how everyone around the table needs to work together to make the game fun for all.

Next come some snippets on creating different moods which don't get very much further than suggesting some moods and styles that you might incorporate into your game. This is followed by the first bit of real detail, a discussion on what to do with your prisoners. Apparently the author's experience is of groups - it's not clear if he's talking about PCs or NPCs here - who show no quarter and kill all captives out of hand. My experience is different, just about every GM I have ever played with enjoys taking PCs prisoner (usually MY character, dammit) and the players are not much different, delighting in what they can do with captured NPCs. Be that as it may, here's a table of suggestions for what you might do to keep prisoners alive but out of your hair.

More sections covering different things and offering suggestions, often using a D12 based table (ah, the poor neglected beastie gets some use!) as a vehicle for the suggestions proffered. Dark secrets, debt collectors (now, there's a reason to go adventuring in the first place!), extreme sports (some weird ideas here, although golem combat has some promise...), jailbreaks, local delicacies (not stuff that would make it onto the better cookery shows!), misfortunes (a fair few neat ideas for what can go wrong here), money pits (i.e. ways of relieving your PCs of their hard-earned loot) and more litter the pages.

Some are useful (omens, for example), others less so. They make for entertaining reading (ridiculous laws, anyone?) and may spawn an idea or two that you can throw into your game. Not too many, most will prove quite irritating to the characters even if the players see the funny side of it.

Then the real gem: a vast array of traps. These are more than the standard dungeon fare, these are full of twists and best of all, each has a way of figuring your way round them by the use of wits rather than rolling dice. MacGyver your way out of these...

Good stuff, but rather muddled in presentation in parts. Delve away, it may well be worth your while... but better editing would make it easier to use and eliminate errors and muddled bits.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Hi - I'm not sure where you picked up the idea that the title wasn't edited? (Perhaps because they don't wish to be credited, as they work outside RPGs). The preamble doesn't seem to be your cup of tea, but I kind of feel it's necessary. Thistle Games' titles combine to offer a resource for recruiting to the hobby. This involves setting up a ladder or a step-by-step approach as part of several titles. With Spinechillers the preamble seems particularly important to introduce young or novice players/ GMs to ways of using more surprises and suspense without rushing down the Tomb of Horrors route. Sure, the content can be adapted to make deadly dungeons, but the preamble steps new players/ GMs through how to use the contents to add twists and turns, novelty, calculated risks and a sense of overcoming the odds. I know this type of content can seem a bit tiresome for experienced players. However, it's a short, glossy section that benefits more experienced players in the long run if it attracts new players into the hobby. It has been suggested that I chop titles into short tables for experienced players, but that would negate the purpose. If we wish to attract more players into the hobby, novice GMs need an overview of - in this case - how to raise pulses, inject a sudden change of pace and reward improvised solutions. I was fortunate enough to discuss this with groups of teenagers beforehand and it was very much a case of opening up options which they were unaware of. E.g. a trap can be fun, an Orc can be as deadly as an Ogre Mage or a simple good deed leads to all sorts of complications. Sure they want battles, but they want mystery, exploration, discovery and creep mixed in. For battles they can reach for the rules; for much of the rest it's maybe more about helping to trigger a GM's imagination, as authentic mystery, exploration, . . . aren't things that can simply be plucked out of a table or bolted down in a rule set. As a hobby, imagination and improvisation are our unique selling points. So, while I can see that you would find some of the basics redundant, I feel there's easily enough value for experienced players in the main content to hope they'll take an overview :)
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