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The Earth Codex
Publisher: Ryan Chaddock Games
by Henry d. V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/27/2015 11:53:07

(Full disclosure--I received a copy for review purposes.)

Another fine little supplement for The Strange! As seems to be the standard with anything from RCG, they pack a lot of information in to a relatively small package, including notes on three particular flavors of play, new foci, new descriptors, and (especially) new cyphers.

If you're running The Strange and are thinking about having your group spend more time on Earth proper, or if you want to tailor your campaign to one of the three presented 'flavors' (high tech espionage, military operations, or mingling with high society and big politics), then this is a truly useful supplement to have. It's also good for a normal game if, as invariably happens, someone in your group wants to fine tune a particular focus--the line between Idolized By Millions and Harnesses Social Media is a thin one, but those nuances can be vital. (If you want to be sneaky about it, this is helpful for those occasions when you have two players who want the same Focus.)

As with the Translation Codex, if there is a downside to this, it lies in the abundance of material provided! There simply isn't enough time to use everything in here, but you'll almost certainly find something worth your trouble.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Earth Codex
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City of Judas
Publisher: Dreamlord Press
by Henry d. V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/14/2015 12:18:58

Full disclosure: Playtester, here.

This game initially gave me a sort of Assassin's Creed vibe (so you know which playbook I'm claiming if anyone in my local group runs this, right?) but it quickly proved to be far richer, deeper, and more interesting than that. This is not your childhood DM's take on the Crusades, folks. Be prepared to be surprised. In all candor, the alternate history that M. Pignedoli has envisioned really helped this setting take off for me--it captures the feel of the period and the setting while being different enough to reinforce the awareness that this isn't just a re-enactment.

Mechanically it's a little crunchier than straight A*World, which was a bit of a stumbling point for us at first since we were playing online by post. (My gut feeling is that when you're around a table, the parts that puzzled us will flow much more naturally.) It's also got a mission-based format instead of the more freeform "what are you doing today" flow of the original.

Combat is a messy business, as in any *World game, but here it's complicated by an Advantage Die that gradually goes up as time goes on. Used well, it can and will save your bacon. (There's an optional rule that can speed combat up a little but makes it just a bit more lethal. Try it both ways!)

Magic is, as it should be, very strange and unsettling...and somewhat hazardous to the wielder's well-being, much like being a Brainer in A*World can be dangerous. The Sorcerer is also the single most complicated playbook in the game, but when the chips are down they have a lot of game-changing potential. Just don't ask them to cast Fireball on a moment's notice, 'cause this is a slower and more subtle style of ritual-based casting.

Overall, if your tastes in fantasy run low, grim, and a little gritty, or you want something that isn't just another dungeon crawl clone, this is worth checking out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
City of Judas
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Wits Alone
Publisher: Ryan Chaddock Games
by Henry d. V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/28/2014 16:32:51

Yet another excellent supplement for Numenera, this one focusing on the down and dirty, the cruel and cunning, the criminal element. Like Whisper Campaigns before it, this adds some Descriptors and Foci to the mix, a variety of groups with which to flavor your campaign, and a bit more fleshing out for a specific setting within the Ninth World. Like the ten great houses in the political supplement, the crime organizations laid out all have that touch of weirdness that makes this much more than 'yet another fantasy gaming book'.

(Included is a chapter on the likes of the City Watch and those whose role it is to pursue the criminal element! Appropriately enough, the title is "Watch Keepers", which makes me think of Discworld and Sir Samuel Vimes, for no particularly clear reason. There are some descriptors and foci for the lawkeepers as well, and a number of useful organizations to give them their marching orders.)

If you intend to have a campaign involving less than legal activity, unscrupulous skullduggery of a mercantile nature, and general shenanigans that don't involve the thud and blunder of great houses butting heads with a Crown, then you probably want to pick this one up.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wits Alone
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The Translation Codex
Publisher: Ryan Chaddock Games
by Henry d. V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/28/2014 16:21:57

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this for review purposes but have no other connection to Ryan Chaddock Games.

In a nutshell: wow! Just plain wow! This is a very useful supplement, fully in line with the high quality I'm coming to expect from anything from Ryan Chaddock Games. You aren't likely to use every single one of these options over the course of your group's flirtations with the Strange, but there's bound to be something that will come into play for your group.

I'd put this down on list as a must-have for the GMly toolbox or reference library!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Translation Codex
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Whisper Campaigns
Publisher: Ryan Chaddock Games
by Henry d. V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/08/2014 14:28:12

This was my first purchase from Ryan Chaddock Games. It won't be the last.

Where do I start? This is an incredible bit of work! From advice about building player character involvement in matters political, to an entirely new application for the Cipher System that handles the ins and outs of dirty political tricks (courtly version), to a collection of noble houses and knightly orders as strange and weird and wonderfully diverse as the rest of the setting, there's just too much good stuff here.

As someone who likes a touch of the ol' Machiavelli in his plotlines, I am greatly pleased to say that the Great Houses in this book are structured to reflect the Ninth World in a way that makes even the 'tried and true' sort of political plotline stand out a little bit more.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Whisper Campaigns
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Celestial Wisdom
Publisher: Ryan Chaddock Games
by Henry d. V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/08/2014 14:19:00

Definitely worth the time to peruse! There's a surprising amount of good material in a short book--I was expecting a bit more filler, in fact, and was pleasantly surprised to be wrong.

I don't normally involve the gods (or equivalent) in my games, but if interacting with the irascible and ineffable is a cornerstone of your vision of the Ninth World, then this is a good set of things to add to your toolbox. The additional ciphers and character options are all entirely too useful, and should one of my players take to a focus like Resurrects Dead Gods I may have to reconsider my usual reluctance to bring the likes of Zeus to bear on my heroes.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Celestial Wisdom
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