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The Between
Publisher: The Gauntlet
by Harper [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/11/2023 17:23:58

This is an intriguing game to read, for sure!

I haven’t played yet, so I’ll have to come back and update this review, but so far I have some very strong opinions after reading through the rules.

The Carved From Brindlewood system is a genuine innovation in TRPGs. Reading through each section, and discovering how each system fits in with the other systems, I begin to imagine how strange, how new, and how exciting this will be to play.

There is such strong support for narrative pacing, character development, and cinematic play in the way this game is structured that I’m guessing I’m going to really enjoy it at the table.

However… the way the book is laid out does not make it easy to reference. A lot of key concepts, referred to later in the book, that are hard to find earlier in the book. Lot’s of command-F going on.

Def worth checking out, but has it’s drawbacks so far.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Between
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Vaesen - Nordic Horror Roleplaying
Publisher: Free League Publishing
by Harper [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/11/2023 17:09:34

I’m in love with everything about this game!

I bought the physical copy which comes with a free copy of the PDF from DriveThru, and the book is absolutely gorgeous, and absolutely top quality printing, so definitely worth having on your shelf.

The art and storytelling in this book have a dark, dreamy, Grimm-fairy-tale kind of vibe that got me excited to play. Each class comes with a short story that got my imagination going and none of the options are predictable.

Playing the actual game is a genuinely wonderful, and proves that the Year Zero engine can handle some VERY different types of games. I’ve been playing Forbidden Lands, which is a totally different feel.

There are some great opportunities for players to inject their own ideas into the world but in a way that doesn’t stress you out like some games do.

Overall the nature of solving mysteries and living in this mythic version of Scandinavia is evocative and thrilling.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vaesen - Nordic Horror Roleplaying
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Mothership: A Pound of Flesh
Publisher: Tuesday Knight Games
by Harper [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/25/2023 09:27:03

This book is a near perfect blend of location and adventure. I was able to pick it up and start using it at my table in just a few minutes, which is more rare than it should be. It also does a great job of ratcheting up the tension on the station as things start to fall apart and everything gets more dangerous for the PCs.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mothership: A Pound of Flesh
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Forbidden Lands: The Book of Beasts
Publisher: Free League Publishing
by Harper [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/24/2023 15:37:15

A gold standard for monster manuals!

While this book only includes 29-ish monsters, it does an excellent job of expanding the variety of foes available to GMs and makes it especially easy to drop one into an adventure at a moment's notice.

I especially love how each monster includes a table for Monster Attacks, that I can roll on to keep an encounter interesting from round to round.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Forbidden Lands: The Book of Beasts
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The Dungeon Dozen
Publisher: Hydra Cooperative
by Harper [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/19/2023 13:19:22

This book works just as well as bedside reading as it does as an RPG resource. So much goodness!

My only complaint is that it's often difficult to know where to look for a given situation since all the chapter headers are more clever than descriptive.

Great book to have at your table!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Dungeon Dozen
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Dissident Whispers
Publisher: Tuesday Knight Games
by Harper [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/19/2023 13:16:28

A massive breadth of perspectives, genres, art styles, and game systems. While some of the adventures in here are a little generic, most are absolutely stock full of new ideas you can borrow even if you don't run the adventure itself.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dissident Whispers
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Class Warfare
Publisher: Chthonstone Games
by Harper [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/22/2023 10:50:58

This book is a real mixed bag.

For players looking to get more of that D&D character creation style crunch, Class Warfare is a godsend. Dungeon World has beautifully simple PC archetypes, but from folks, they're too simple, and CW fills that gap perfectly.

For anyone else, the character creation process feels rather arcane and the book isn't well laid out (especially from a typography perspective).

Phenomenal ideas, relatively poor execution.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Class Warfare
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Shadow of the Demon Lord
Publisher: Schwalb Entertainment
by Harper [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/22/2023 10:46:32

I have heard such great things about this game. Almost everyone who's actually played it gushes about it.

But the textured backgrounds behind all the text makes it such a chore for me to read that I couldn't get past the first few pages.

This isn't a review of the actual content. The way it's presented is simply not accessible to me.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Shadow of the Demon Lord
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The Perilous Wilds - Revised Edition
Publisher: Lampblack & Brimstone
by Harper [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/22/2023 10:38:18

Perilous Wilds is maybe the most important expansion of the Dungeon World rules that I've come across. It flushes out a lot of the aspects of D&D style play that were missing in the original book, and it smoothes over some of the rougher aspects as well.

The rules for recruiting and creating followers are a blast. You get to collaboratively discover what kind of strange, flawed NPCs will join your party.

The rules for collaboratively drawing the world map are equally exciting.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Perilous Wilds - Revised Edition
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20 Dungeon Starters
Publisher: Lampblack & Brimstone
by Harper L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/15/2023 11:31:58

This zine is kind of blowing my mind. Most adventures are too specific for me, so I wind up borrowing ideas and piecing them together into a pastiche that takes a lot of time for me to hit the right mood and requires me to rewrite and write from scratch lots of stuff. But these dungeon starters are the perfect amount of detail and specificity. And the set of questions to ask your players at the beggining of each is super helpful in connecting their characters to the adventure.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
20 Dungeon Starters
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Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master
Publisher: SlyFlourish
by Harper [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/02/2023 10:41:04

I cannot say enough good things about this book. Anytime someone expresses anxiety about GM/DMing a game for the first time, I hand them this book and "it's easy, just read this"

Sly Flourish has distilled the process of prepping for a game down to only the shit that will actually make the game more fun. Half of the garbage in the 5E DMG has been stripped out, AND you can use this process for any other system as well.

I recommend getting the physical copy so you can lend it to friends.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master
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Forbidden Lands Core Game
Publisher: Free League Publishing
by Harper [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/02/2023 10:36:30

I'm conflicted about Forbidden Lands.

About half as complicated as 5e, but still a LOT of rules to learn.

Mechanics evoke the sword & sorcery themes well, but the setting isn't compelling.

Combat is exciting and tense. The failure mechanics give players a great opportunity to narrate how they fail. But overland travel felt tedious for my players who prefer storytelling.

Character progression has enough runway for longer campaigns.

Overall a much slicker alternative to 5E.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Forbidden Lands Core Game
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Mörk Borg English
Publisher: Free League Publishing
by Harper [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/02/2023 10:19:08

At first I thought this would be more RPG-as-art than an actual game. The layouts are... not conventional. Every spread in this book looks like a doom-metal poster. It rocks!

Reading through the book, once I got over how gorgeous the design is, turns out the rules are super coherent, easy to learn, and really drive home the atmosphere the game is trying to evoke.

It takes about 10 minutes to roll up characters and start playing. Prob the fastest getting started in an RPG I've ever seen.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mörk Borg English
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Children of Dust
Publisher: PondStrider Games
by Harper L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/09/2020 17:32:19

A fantastic adventure to drive home the lethal nature of your dying world campaign.

I'm currently running a Dark Sun campaign and I was having so much trouble finding adventures that really communicated the desolate nature of the setting without having to do massive amounts work updating adventures from earlier editions.

Children of dust is a wonderful adventure about the dangers of the world, and extreme measures that people will go to, to keep their loved ones safe.

A particularly well crafted second act sees the PCs tracking a band of lizardfolk across the deasert wastes. Each challange the PCs encounter is well constructed and the whole thing adds up to a very compelling journey that could kill the party at any time.

I also love the length of this adventure. Most published adventures take characters through either 1 level or 5, but finding something that's 2-3 levels long is a refreshing change. This is a perfect adventure to start after a few introductory encounters and your PCs get to level 2.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Children of Dust
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Marauders of the Dune Sea (4e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Harper L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/08/2020 10:30:42

While challenging to adapt for 5e, I've had to change nearly all the mechanics, the story is evocative and pulpy and a great adventure to slip into your Dark Sun campaign's early levels.

I'm currently running this for a group that's new to D&D, and while the story is fairly linear it's perfect for a quick little side adventure to make the world feel more dangerous without adding too much complexity.

There's a number of skill challenges that I find anachronystic. I much prefer my skill challenges to give players an opportunity for creativity, so I've had to overhaul those with my own set of mechanics.

I never played 4th edition, but it seams like all the encounters feature way too many enemies to keep track of. Aside from translating the monsters to 5e, I've also had to rebalance the encounters with far fewer monsters.

If you're looking for a good pulpy adventure to throw at your players, this is great. It just takes some work to update.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Marauders of the Dune Sea (4e)
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