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Player's Handbook Like A Fucking Boss $5.00 $3.75
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Player\'s Handbook Like A Fucking Boss
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Player's Handbook Like A Fucking Boss
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/17/2018 12:12:02

An review

This supplement clocks in at 33 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page Kort’thalis glyph, 1 page editorial, leaving 30 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, the eagle-eyed reader will have spotted, at this point, that this Player’s Handbook is a system neutral book. This may seem counter-intuitive at first glance, considering how PHBs are mostly splatbooks, but bear with me for a while. First of all, while system neutral, the book does offer some crunchy bits – in d20/D&D-based games, these should be represented by a +2 bonus, for d6 dice pool-based games, +1d6 instead. Similarly, the pdf assumes that you know what advantage and disadvantage are. So, while mostly system neutral, the pdf does offer some options to make the content matter mechanically.

Anyways, as we’ve come to expect from Kort’thalis Publishing, the book does contain quite a few random tables: We begin with 30 fantasy-sounding names, before providing 8 different fantasy signs/allocated to months. For example, Iar’tan, the sign of the serpent’s foe, is associated with the color green and nets advantage when fighting serpentine, demonic, etc. creatures. Unique here: The months have variable durations, which can be rather interesting when implemented into your game. The table is interesting and flavorful.

From there on, we get a massive d100 table of oddities you may start your adventuring life with – a 6’ long piece of unbreakable string, a weird, purple wizard’s hat made of velvet, an eternal candy cane, a test tube that makes anything poured inside acidic…you get the idea. We have a lot of delightfully odd bits and pieces here, all of which provide some sort of unique angle, a roleplaying hook or simply something weird. The table is one of the finer ones in Kort’thalis’ oeuvre, and considering the amount of tables Venger has written so far, that’s saying something. It should be noted that this table is just as meaningful and helpful for the GM – something that btw. can be said regarding the whole supplement.

Now, in particularly rules lite systems and minigames tend to gravitate towards serious lethality, which is intended, yes, but once in a while, it may be nice to introduce the “Second Chance”-table: 1d4; dead on 1, unconscious on 2, reduced damage on 3 and totally negating damage on 4. Considering the system neutral nature of this pdf, this is surprisingly nice. The pdf also provides an easy to implement honor/infamy system: The system tracks your deeds, associates and reputation as well as your bonds, a term that encompasses deities worshiped, allegiances, etc. For each honorable or dishonorable deed, 1 point is gained. You roll under your honor value with a d20 in your home turf, d30 in borderlands, and d100 in underworld –on a success, you’re well-known and respected, usually providing advantage for different social skills etc. Both honor and dishonor provide 6 suggested, different degrees of fame/infamy.

Need a name for a named item? A handy table lets you roll prefix, root, suffix, each with a d12, resulting in fantastic names:”Vokfenz’mo”? Sounds like something magical! 20 English names/titles for items are also included. I know that I’d like to wield “Evisceration Complete.” The next page provides a d30-table (updated and expanded from a previous pdf) for abilities for legendary weapons – from creating silence-areas to being poisonous, the list contains a lot of suggested abilities. The verbiage is precise, but this table may be most useful for e.g. Crimson Dragon Slayer and similar VSD6-based games, as there is overlap in benefits with regards to other, more rules-heavy games.

More universally applicable would be the d6 “Did you bring it?”-table. It’s basically a quick and dirty means to determine whether a PC has the given item; if you’re preferring a non-simulationalist item-management in your game, this does the trick. I really like the notion of the influence of personal growth: The section codifies a philosophy or weltanschauung of a character in a 4-step progression linked to levels. The respective developments can each provide a one time static/dice pool bonus to one check. This notion is simple, but one that I enjoy and that is pretty easy to implement for even really rules-heavy systems without breaking the games. A d30-table of core values and belief systems can help you decide some of these for yourself – this is certainly a table that could be expanded further.

Inspired by the parody product “50 Shades of Vorpal”, we get a d30-table. Once per combat, a warrior may roll on the table instead of making the usual attack. This has a couple of issues. One, “per combat” makes no sense in game – a combat can last for anything between a day and a round. You kick in the door, kill a goblin. Combat ends. Door opens, reinformcements arrive. Combat resumes. You get to vorpal in each combat, RAW, If you hadn’t killed the goblin quick enough, you’d have just one roll in the same timeframe. Per combat is a flawed metric to determine ability availability in a logical manner in game. The table includes chances to vorpal allies and yourself…or everything. This table, in short, makes most sense for games that don’t take character mortality or the like very seriously. There is a second d30 table for casters as well. This section was my least favorite part in the book.

If you think that bards suck in your game, there is a list of 12 bullet points that bards may use, at advantage. These are, in a way, mostly social tricks. There is also such a selection for clerics. If you’re playing Crimson Dragon Slayer, this section is absolutely REQUIRED for your game, as it finally provides context for healing. You see, beyond the “big” houserules/tables/etc., the pdf also has crunchy bits/suggestions. On this page, one such boxed text codifies cleric healing (1d8 + level); on a result of 1 rolled, the character can’s be supernaturally healed until after 8 hours have passed. This is an interesting way to limit healing-availability without bogging the game down. Personally, I’d have the no-healing-chance escalate with each healing, but that is just my preference and the tweak is easy enough to implement.

The pdf also contains a massive table, where strange physical characteristics can be found. While nominally a d30-table, the respective entries sport different variables as well, 2 or more, in fact. The pdf also has a rather complex and extensive d30-table that spans multiple pages, with each entry providing a defining moment for the development of your character; from new servants that attempted to murder you to foolish marriage, staggering family debt, etc., there are a lot of diverse angles for taking up adventuring.

Next up is another house-rule, end boss battle bonuses. Each may be cashed in once, and only in fight with the final boss. This adds a component of resource-management based on roleplaying for the boss fight; tragic backstory, catchphrases, etc. can yield bonuses. Particularly rules lite systems will benefit from this, as the variant rules make it easier for the GM to create more potent foes, while maintaining a chance for the PCs to win.

Reflecting upon your life can yield advantage or heal 1d6/level, once per session. The pdf then proceeds to provide a quick and dirty rules to determine the outcome of combats versus swarms etc. – for convention games, this can act as a means to skip past the filler etc. when time’s running out.

The pdf ends with one of my favorite aspects of the book, the “Play Like a Boss”-checklist, if you will. This basically gamifies the act of roleplaying your character! If your phone goes off sans emergency, you lose two points. Attuning new magic items nets 2 points, wiping out factions and settlements, inventing quirks/mannerisms/etc. – all with point values added. This is a really great idea and it actually rewards failing saves etc. – in short, the checklist encourages playing your character in a way that is more fun for everyone. This is amazing, and frankly, I wished it’d be even longer! At 3 pages, it is detailed, but the universal applicability of the section makes it really cool.


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious glitches on a rules-language or formal level. Layout is, as always in Kort’thalis Publishing books, gorgeous and adheres to a 2-column full-color standard with red veins in the background. The pdf sports a ton of really nice, original b/w-artworks, including a couple of full-page artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks for your convenience, and there is a second, printer-friendly version of the pdf included in the deal.

Venger Satanis’ Player’s Handbook works much better than a system neutral Player’s Handbook would lead you to expect. Now, if there is one weakness to the book, then that would be that there is no truly distinct separation between the more house rules-y components and the dressing/flavor-centric and truly system neutral components. That being said, this pdf should be considered to be worthwhile for a wide variety of groups.

If you’re playing in a VSD6-based game, then consider this to be THE must-have expansion that you definitely want to have. From healing to the optional means to make the combat engine a bit more nuanced and interesting, this must be considered to be a must-own book for such games.

If you’re not playing these games, the book will still have a lot of inspiring ideas for your games: The dressing is high-quality and helpful, and the checklist at the end is genius. Now, not all aspects herein will be sensible or helpful for every group, and you will not use all materials herein, but as a whole, this pdf is worth owning. Now, yes, I maintain that sticking to a system would have potentially increased the use for a single group, but it also would have diminished the overall appeal of the book. This notwithstanding, you get a lot of nice dressing and houserules for a fair price here – my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Player's Handbook Like A Fucking Boss
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
by Chad R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/02/2018 03:24:47

The book is a set of tables for helping you flesh out characters. Ideas for appearance, equipment, life events. Its got sweet pulpy art and, even if you don't end up using his ideas, its just fun to read. Worth the small price.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Player's Handbook Like A Fucking Boss
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/12/2018 10:22:31

You gotta love Venger Satanis and his Kortthalis Publishing.

He is out there doing his own thing. Doing to make the stuff he wanted to play with back in the day and if we want to come along, well great. While he takes himself far less seriously than other publishers, he takes his games and books very seriously. And it shows in his production values. Out now is Venger's latest in his "Like a Fucking Boss" series.

Venger is a man after my own heart, and PHB-LAFB takes many nods and cues from Basic-era D&D, or at least his reading of it which is just as good.

PHB-LAFB is not a rule book or an adventure, but a collection of various tips, tricks and odds and ends to help your game along. There are some very obvious nods to classic/Basic/OSR style play and there are nods to more modern/D&D5 style mechanics and design. The bottom line here (and a big one for me when reading this) is I can use it with just about any game I play.

In truest old-school fashion there are plenty of tables. "Stranger Things" gives us a table of various odds and ends, emphasis on the odd. "Honor and Fame" and "Dishonor and Infamy" are also very useful tables for rewards that reminds me of some the rules I have seen in AGE and Blue Rose; again a natural idea given Venger's own twist.

There is a lot of great character building ideas too. Tables, checklists, backgrounds. It's all here.

For $5.00 and 33 full-color pages, it is quite worth it.

I am not quite sure if it is up to the level of awesomeness that is How to Game Master like a Fucking Boss but it is also more focused on players and characters and is half the price too.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Player's Handbook Like A Fucking Boss
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
by Shane W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/28/2017 11:50:04

Even though this f**** book is called a "player's handbook" there are a ton of awesome resources for DM's as well! The book is technically system neutral, although it leans towards old school games that use polyhedral dice. As is the case with everything that Venger puts out, the layout and artwork is fucking fantastic. I originally downloaded the printer friendly pdf and read it the other night, (which btw is a wonderful thing to add as an extra in the downloads section), but flipping thru the actual pdf, the whole thing pops!

The book is filled with tables, charts, and interesting ideas for old school (or stripped down 5e games) for players. For instance my players always have f**** trouble coming up with a name. Well there's a excellent table for that!

There is a cool table for basically what "sign" you are born under, which of course gives extras to players. It reminded me of Oblivion (the video game) where you get little bonus's depending on the month of your birth (beats the crap out of being a Cancer anyways). My only issue at first was "k wait there's only 8 entries for months, aren't there 12 months". However when you look closely some of the months last longer that Earth's typical 30,31 day cycle. And why shouldn't it? I mean we are talking about fucking fantasy world's here!

The "stranger things" table is similar to the trinkets table in 5e, however it has the wonderful fucked up Venger twist to it. "this table is a list of items, abilities and weirdness to start your adventuring career". This table is getting printed out and put in my DM binder next to my character backgrounds table

I thoroughly enjoyed the table for naming magical weapons. This is another table that I will start using on a regular basis. option 1, player: "I hit it with my plus three axe", option 2: "I unsheathe Zod Bjorn Crushing Blow" fuck that is fantastic!

Some of the background mechanics presented here will also be of use to me (I'm guessing as time goes on in a session). The dishonor & infamy and "did you bring it" tables specifically.

The book comes in at 33 pages, and there are little nuggets of things on every single page. As a DM/Player you don't have to use every single table. Heck you might only use one, maybe another character will use a few of the options. The thing I like about this book, is if I was say going to run a basic old school game it adds a nice little spice to it. However it doesn't make my old school game all new and fandangled like a 5e game. As an example I use adv/disadvantage in my old school games, because it makes thing's fun. I enjoy the flip flip that can occur. I don't use it all the time however, only when situations dictate. The same goes for some of the fun tables in this book.

I agree with Eric F.

This book is a solid effort, my only thought is that its not really a "players handbook" per se. Well it is and it isn't. If this book had a bunch of f* up spells in it, maybe a table of "weird trainers and what they cost", proficiency's, etc (Your basic "player's handbook" that we have seen time and again). Counter point, this is a cool fucking book that gives a player some inspiration, fuels the imagination and gets them ready to game. That's a f handbook isn't it?

As a somewhat side note, I really do like the idea of O5R. I would be very curious to see the outcome of a book (set of rules) if someone locked Venger in a basement with the 5e SRD for a month. His version of the game, would be super fucking cool!

Player's handbook like a f**** boss is going to be sitting on my gaming table in the near future. If you like weird things, random tables, excellent naming resources, interesting fucking mechanic ideas and you play elf games with fucked up dice, this book is for you!

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Player's Handbook Like A Fucking Boss
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
by Justin I. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/25/2017 01:12:21

I don't think Venger Satanis ever takes a break. His newest release is Player's Handbook Like A Fucking Boss.

What is this pdf? Essentially its thirty some pages of mostly system neutral material that is useful for any version of D&D or games like it. What we're given is a series of new rules, random charts, and suggestions to flesh out any sort of games with swords and magic. It really does fit the whole spectrum of these games too. The vorpal charts are over the top and metal as hell (while still being well designed). In contrast if you have a low magic game, The Art of Barding and Be the Best Cleric You Can Be To Cleric Like A Fucking Boss are excellent suggestions for doing your thing when you don't have a game full of Drizzt's and Raistlins. These two sections really fit well in OSR games.

As with all of Venger's books, the layout is fantastic, the art is top notch, and the random tables are ueful and interesting. If you like Dungeons and/or Dragons, you should pick this one up. Your players and DM will thank you.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Player's Handbook Like A Fucking Boss
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/24/2017 11:16:31

Christmas confession time I've been reluctant to do a commentary review Player's Handbook Like A Fucking Boss By Venger Santanis .Why pray tell? Well, because I'll be honest I'm not a Fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons dungeon master or player. I've tried the system , looked it over, wrapped my head around it, & sorry folks its not for me. Basically I did all of this at the behest of a player of mine & to convert or use some of the Fifth edition stuff if necessary. If you love it then fantastic! Go for it but for me & my players Fifth edition hasn't made an impact. I'm an OSR & retroclone system dungeon master. Fortunately Player's Handbook Like A Fucking Boss By Venger Santanis is actually almost entirely system neutral. So what the heck is it?! Well according to the Drivethru add; " This is a grab-bag of fantasy goodies for use with O5R roleplaying games. That means everything from Basic D&D, AD&D, all the various retro-clones, systems similar but not identical (like Crimson Dragon Slayer), and 5th edition." This is more or less what Player's Handbook Like A Fucking Boss By Venger Santanis is. This a bunch of PC options that can more or less add punch & power to your player characters. " But it done in a slim style & with the razor style of Venger. But first let me say that Glynn Seal of Monkeyblood Design must be a God damn genius. The layout is clear crisp but easy on the eyes. The artwork is good and there's a fold out piece battle scene artwork piece that is killer. The philosphy of the book touches on something that I've been finding with folks in the OSR over the last couple of years; "Though I grew up on Basic D&D in the mid-eighties, my old school tastes have straddled the dark, mistladen past, as well as, the contemporary conventions of today. My own fantasy heartbreaker, Crimson Dragon Slayer, had done away with the more cumbersome elements of the game. To me, the old school renaissance is about taking the essence and philosophy of the past and then making innovation after innovation until everything that seemed inordinate, clunky, and weird is made smooth - sanded by decades of theory, practice, common sense, and talking to other gamers with a shared passion for RPGs. But sometimes we can go too far, innovating ourselves right off the map." This past summer, I decided to re-read the many fantastic posts at Grognardia. That inspired me to go back to basics, or Basic D&D. I kept all the funky stuff that I usually threw out - rolling for initiative, racial access to certain classes and level limits, different tables for saving throws and experience points… pretty much everything except descending Armor Class, one spell per day magic-users, and worrying about circumstantial modifiers (just used Advantage/Disadvantage).To my surprise, I really got into it. The minutia which, for many years, I assumed to be awkward relics that stood in the way of progress actually turned out to be absorbing and a whole lot of fun. When every point of experience is counted (fighting monsters, looting treasure, exploring, making the game world your own, etc.), then every experience (point) counts. It matters if the PCs wait in ambush for the ogre to walk by or if they charge into the next room. A couple dozen XP might be the difference between going up to level 2 and staying level 1. It's amazing what simple pleasures you forget about after the game's been streamlined. In my desire to maximize our enjoyment of the macro-game - the story, overall battles, interacting with NPCs, and exploration - I had neglected the micro-game that takes into account precious resources and their management. Not only arrows, torches, and rations but also gold and kills before having to rest. Even silver pieces are cherished when they can be spent on training!" So, even though I'll continue to run and primarily write for Crimson Dragon Slayer, that recent minicampaign reminded me just how awesome old school retro-clones can be. For all of our renaissance, innovation and renovation, there's something about the original iterations of the game that can't be beat… even with a ten-foot pole."

So it seems to be really well written, nicely thought out, from the heart, & then we get chart after chart of system neutral character options for your old school games. From 'fantasy sounding names' to 'dishonor & infamy tables'. I admit the random 'CRIMSON PHASIC DETH WYZARD VORPAL' table is very METAL & well done. Its basically a metal table for battle wizards to get an extra edge & it would fit quite nicely into Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea second edition or Dungeon Crawl Classics game. Behold the sort of effect I'm speaking of; "Invisible fire strikes 2d6 opponents for 3d6 exploding damage, as well as, affixing them to the floor and walls as if they were caught in a spider's web." Cue guitar or keytar syth riff here! Then he goes into short essays on bards, clerics, reflecting in battle as an optional rule, cut down swarm rules for play, a fun list of possible character actions, words,and accomplishments in order to gauge your raw quotient of awesome in a given adventure, awesome point rules & that's it!?!

What the hell did I just read?! At thirty two pages this was way too short of a book. Venger is a solid writer & designer who needs to settle down & do more writing & designing. This is a three & a half or four star book because of the fact that I was expecting more from a book with the title Player's Handbook Like A Fucking Boss. This book seems to be a catch all of random tables & PC options for players with a few solid random tables and it seriously needs a lot more expansion before it hits the four or five star territory. Alright Venger so you've been playing since the mid Eighties then I'd love to see more essays & actual options of yours on the subject. Players actually value your wisdom & by the fallen Gods I'd love to see more of it from you as a writer! This book should be about hundred pages with all kinds of bits & bobs about your gaming over the years that pepper your blog & books. Player's Handbook Like A Fucking Boss feels like a bit of catch all and in that regard I was a bit on the disappointed. But as a player optional reference well that's a bit of a different story. As a book of player options Player's Handbook Like A Fucking Boss

if your DM agrees to using it at the table its a book that works as a quick fill in & fill out for players. There are tons of optional pieces that the player & DM can easily & quickly work into an adventure on as a part of the on fly & seat of your pants style that Venger loves. So in this regard its a four out of five. Understand exactly what your getting into when you purchase Player's Handbook Like A Fucking Boss.

Eric Fabiaschi Swords & Stitchery blog Want To See More original OSR Content For This & OSR Systems? Subscribe to

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Player's Handbook Like A Fucking Boss
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
by Hal G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/24/2017 11:14:44

First of all, what D&D player can resist a book called Players Handbook Like A Fucking Boss? I couldn't, and being a bit of a fan of Venger's work, I wanted to look inside of this. If you have any of his other works like Alpha Blue, you sort of know what to expect: loads of charts filled with the wierdest crap around to flesh out a character or game in one way or another. You get the obligatory name chart that I actually sort of like and some more charts to add birthdays and unique backstories/detasils to a character at roll up. One of the tables might even have you generating a character with one eye a bit larger than the other. Who thinks of this stuff? But thats a pretty unusual and cool distinguishing mark that really makes the character feel "alive". And dont tell me you havent seen that guy in Walmart with one eye bigger than the other!

I run a bit of a dark and serious game, but I'm still going to try some of these. Its the kind of stuff a good DM can use mid adventure to turn the normal monster in a room 12 into a real plot device that makes the player feel like part of the world. He has a section on swords thats pretty damn cool. It talks about naming swords... another chart... and how they develope when a character dies. Makes sence right? A sword that has been wielded by 10 generations of heroes would be more powerful than one right out of the fire. There is even parts about rewarding/acknowledging player's actions outside the normal realms of collecting gold and killing monsters.

I plan on using a few of the tables and charts in the book. It's well worth the money if you're a DM because it makes you take a look at and think about some stuff in a different way. If you write your own adventures, its a MUST!!! as its just blowing up with plot hooks. I give it 5 starts and stand behind each star. I hope to see more works in the future that are compatable with the old AD&D rules!!!

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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