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Savage Characters, Volume 1 - SWADE
Publisher: Dragonlaird Gaming
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/18/2015 21:04:35

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Savage Characters Volume One Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday!

Product- Savage Characters Volume One System- Savage Worlds Producer- Dragonlaird Gaming Price- $5 here http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/137955/Savage-Characters-Volume-1?manufacturers_id=6270 TL; DR-An excellent book full of useful Savage Worlds characters. 95 %

Basics- Need some characters quick for your Savage Worlds game? Dragonlaird Gaming provides several characters for fantasy, horror, western, and sci-fi settings for the Dragonlaird Gaming Savage Worlds settings. Each character get's a full write up including a picture, a background, a character sheet, a novice character sheet, some character hooks for different character levels, and an advancement plan for the character. Some characters also get extra setting rules.

Mechanics or Crunch- The best comparison I have for this book is the NPC codex for Pathfinder, and honestly this is much better. Instead of providing several different characters at each level, this book provides less NPCs and gives you an easy way to drop each NPC into your game at any level. That makes this an easy to use resource for you game. Awesome. Even better, this book adds a few new traits for your characters to use. I didn't expect to find new character options in this book, so that's a present surprise! One bad thing about this book is, if you don't know all the Savage World rules, then the character write ups will not be as helpful. Every character has a great write up with all their traits, but if you don't know those traits off the top of your head, you're going to be spending some time going back and forth between this book and your other Savage World books. 4.8/5

Theme or Fluff-Each character gets a full right up with a background, description, pictures, and character hooks. I've got a picture to show the players, and I can jump into that character on the fly as a GM based on the character hooks and story provided. These are well done complete characters that can help me carry the stories in my games. 5/5

Execution- Overall, this is a well done book. I have a few minor problems with the execution of the PDF. I would like the book to be hyperlinked. Also, the art is good, but some are not as great as others. One more issue I have is I'd like a bit more discretion of the different worlds presented in the book. The character presented work well in any setting, but a bit more description of the worlds would possibly entice me to pay in those places a bit more. However, overall the book loads quick, looks great, and reads easily. 4.5/5

Summary- Need some well done characters quickly for your game? This is the resource you should consider getting. It reads quickly, is well designed, and has some great characters for your games. I do have a few minor qualms, but these problems don't hurt the overall presentation of the book. If you want to find out how to write a well done NPC book, this is the book to mimic. 95%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Characters, Volume 1 - SWADE
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CAL1 Calidar, In Stranger Skies
Publisher: Calidar Publishing
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/29/2015 19:57:35

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Calidar: In Strange Skies

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday!

Product- Calidar: In Strange Skies System- Pathfinder Producer- Calidar Publishing Price- $10 here http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/133973/Calidar-In-Stranger-Skies TL; DR- How about some Spelljammer in Pathfinder? 90%

Basics- Set sail for the first star on the right! Calidar is a setting for a universe focusing on flying sky ships that sail between planets with most of the focus on the world of Calidar. While the book goes small enough to detail the kingdom of Meryath on Calidar, the book also has enough universe detail to give any game master enough ideas for how to run the universe. Let's break this book down into its parts.

Mechanics or Crunch- This is not a crunch book, but it also doesn't want to be. Any book that starts with 45 pages of story to introduce the world via fiction wants you to get the world feeling first before even considering the mechanics of the system. For the majority of the crunch here, the system uses Pathfinder for its base mechanics. It does build where it needs to by adding some creatures that are specific to the world. The book does have new sky ships as well as maps for the setting as well. It's done reasonably well, but there isn't anything that really builds on Pathfinder's mechanics to make it its own. That's not horrible as building on established mechanics system is ok, but I would have liked a bit more to make Pathfinder its own. 4/5

Theme or Fluff- Hand's down, this is the best part of the book. The book begins with a fun 45 page story and spends most of its pages building a world for the players to play it. The fantasy isn't completely original with elements like orcs are evil and many common tropes, but that doesn't made it bad by any means. If you want Pathfinder Spelljammer, this is the setting for you. 5/5

Execution- This book does something different and uses three columns for its text. The text isn't bad, but the three columns don't really suit my reading and understanding style. The art here is well done as this is the first RPG book I've ever read where the air currents are laid out! That kind of attention to detail is impressive. Honestly, a little more art to break up some text and changing to the use of two columns, and I'd be much happier with the execution of this book. That and maybe a small adventure to help me as a game master get into the world a bit better. 4.25/5

Summary-If you want Spelljammer in Pathfinder, then this is the book for you. You will get the feeling of the old school with his book. This book has lots of details while still giving the writer room to build out into the different planets and still zoom into the micro scale of each city. It's a good book that really does build its own universe. It's got its faults as I would have liked to see some Calidar specific Pathfinder mechanics to really own the rules it runs on, and I would suggest a few changes to the layout to help me as a reader get into your text. That said, if you can get past a few minor faults and you want some planet sailing fun, then the best place is to start with a contributing author to Spelljammer back in the TSR days and this book. 90%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CAL1 Calidar, In Stranger Skies
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Baker Street: Roleplaying in the world of Sherlock Holmes
Publisher: Fearlight Games
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/17/2015 18:12:41

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Baker Street

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday!

Product- Baker Street: Roleplaying in the world of Sherlock Holmes System- Baker Street Producer- Fearlight Games Price- $20 here http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/142228/Baker-Street-Roleplaying-in-the-world-of-Sherlock-Holmes?term=Baker+Street TL; DR- If you want to investigate some Victorian crime, you can't do better. 93%

Basics- Holmes is dead, but the world still needs heroes! In Baker Street, the players all take the roll of inspectors hired by Scotland Yard to help solve cases that would normally be throw to the late Sherlock Holmes. Are you on the case?

Mechanics or Crunch- This is its own complete system, so let's break this up. Base mechanic- This is completely a skill based system. You only have a handful of trained skills, and when you do an activity, you choose a skill and roll that many six-sided dice along with a Sherlock die. If you are not trained and you need a skill, you roll two six-sided dice. You succeed on a 4, 5, or 6. The Sherlock die will add some randomness to the other dice. The Sherlock die has a 1, 2, 3, Watson, Moriarty, or Sherlock face. The 1, 2, and 3 sides of the Sherlock die make the 1s, 2s, or 3s successes on the other dice. Watson gives you a free assist to help another player or an extra success. Moriarty makes all non-successful die faces count against the successes! The final face Sherlock, Sherlock himself, allows you to name a dice face number and those dice now count as successes. The last thing to mention is professional skills and specialties. When you use a professional skill (think a skill you have ranks in) any 6's you get on dice allow you to reroll the die for extra successes. This can continue until you don't roll a 6 again! Specialties allow you to gain two extra dice on a check because of your degree of training in a particular area. The whole system is quick and easy.

Combat-Combat happens, but this isn't the main push of the system. Sherlock fights some foes, but that's not the big pull of the books. However, this game does have some interesting twists to fighting. The basics of combat work just like any other skill. If I try to hit your character, you would roll you dodge skill, and I would roll my weapon or attack skill just like the base mechanics above. If your dodge roll has more successes than my attack, you didn't get hit. However, if I have more successes on the attack, I roll a weapon damage roll. This weapon damage roll works just like above, but I use a chart to determine how many dice I would roll for the attack instead of a skill. I still roll the Sherlock die however. The most interesting thing is combat is not done with initiative like any other RPG. It's done by naming another character or the game master. Players start, then after the first player goes, and he/she chooses who gets to go next. However, keep in mind if all the players go, and choose the bad guys run by the GM to go last in the round, the GM can choose to have the bad guys go again at the start of the next round almost taking two turns in a row! That's a simple turn order mechanic, but it does lead to some interesting thoughts and discussions around the table! It's also fun to see a novel way of managing combat in a RPG.

Investigation- Here's the real meat and potatoes of Sherlock Holmes! When players investigate a murder or a crime scene, they enter a new phase of the game to gain and eliminate clues through several sub-phases. First, players Observe the scene revealing clues. One player rolls the dice for their observe skill, but every other player can give that player half their dice pool rounded down for their observe skills. The number of successes reveals clue cards that the players can begin to investigate. Each clue has a description as well as three leads that may go deeper down the rabbit hole or throw them off the trail. After the Observation round, players then do a Reason round. One player rolls his/her reason skill and other players aid as above. This will eliminate a number of clues that are false or erroneous. Finally, players then enter the Deduction round. Just like the previous two phases, one player rolls deduction while the other players help. This phase gives players a number of times they can ask the GM about different leads on each card to ask if they are real or not. Some leads on a clue card are not useful at all, while some are the next area that they players must observe or interrogate to determine who did the dastardly dead.

Threat-Sometimes a player want to ask more questions to a NPC then there is time to do. Sometimes a player want so re-investigate a room. Sometimes a player just wants to ask the GM for an assist to find the best way forward. When that happens, the threat level of the investigation raises! This is a behind the GM screen level of general tension that can only hurt the players. When the threat level rises, some bad events may occur like thugs ambushing the players, making the Sherlock die's 1 phase not work, or just adding extra bad guys to the final fight. It's an addition to keep pushing the players forward in their quest to solve the crime while preventing them from spending days looking over the first room.

Characteristics-This game doesn't have feats like Pathfinder/DnD, but what it does have are characteristics. You start with two personal characteristics, two professional characteristics, and two negative characteristics. These characteristics not only give you roleplaying hooks, but when you invoke a professional or a good quality you get extra dice on that skill roll. The negative characteristics give the GM some story hooks in you as well!

Resolve-I love story candy for my players. Resolve is that currency in this game. It's used for several things from adding dice to a dice pool to preventing damage when you are hit with a weapon. Also, when a GM invokes a negative characteristic of your player, you can spend a point of resolve to avoid the flaw. If you don't have some resolve, then you follow your darker impulses and do something that most likely won't end well!

Summary- Overall, this is a good system, but it does some minor flaws that are flaws in how investigations are narrated in all stories. You know every day you sit at the gaming table that there will be an investigation scene, kind of like every episode of CSI will have an investigation scene. If you can't get past that or don't want that in your game, then this system might not be for you. The system of investigation means that pretty much every charter has to have some ranks in the three skills used to find and discard clues and leads. Now, that isn't too much fun to have some of your character planed before you get to play, but then again you are playing a criminal investigation game! The basics of the skill system and the ease of it use do work really well. It's quick, fun and easy to play this game, even if I'd like a bit more flexibility in the game overall. 4.5/5

Theme or Fluff- You want some classic Victorian crime novels? You got it! This game has some great world building describing in vivid details the different classes of servants the upper class has to the various different kind of criminals that stalked Whitechapel in the 1890's. Baker Street is set up to tell a Sherlock Holmes' story well, and it succeeds in spades! Even the provided adventure looks like it's printed on a newspaper from the time! 5/5

Execution- Overall, this book is really well set up, but there are some problems. The general character building and how to play are all done well. It reads quickly and has some good spacing, all of which are very important to me. The PDF is presented like an old book with some wear and tear, which does give some excellent flavor. However, the PDF isn't really hyperlinked well with the hyperlinks just listing all the pages. Also, the adventure that is presented has great flavor as it looks like an old newspaper, and I'm happy to see an adventure here to help me run my first game. However, the use of Victorian newspaper format makes it harder to really read and digest quickly. You can't really scan it to find what you need in a hurry as it isn't really spaced well. It's some minor complaints, but these small things did hurt my overall experience slightly. 4.5/5

Summary-This is a great way to run an investigative RPG, but the problems you might have are if you want an investigative RPG. This game solves the absolute hardest and worst problem to correct in a RPG investigation-are the players and GM out-thinking each other? Much like old school point-and-click adventure games, investigation in a RPG might stall out because neither side of the GM screen finds the train of logic from the other side. The investigation system here is top notch allowing for really deep stories to be told. However, my only real problem with this system is its build really well to do what it does. If you want to do something that the system isn't designed for like run a Sword and Sorcerery campaign on Mars, this isn't what you should use. Also, you need to want to play a criminal drama and build your character for that. Pathfinder/DnD will have this one beat for variety, but if you want some really well done Victorian sleuthing, then you can't do better than this out of the box! 93%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Baker Street: Roleplaying in the world of Sherlock Holmes
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Insight RPG System Core Rulebook
Publisher: NEVR
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/09/2015 05:40:04

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Insight RPG System Core Rulebook

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday!

Product- Insight RPG System Core Rulebook System- Insight RPG Producer- NEVR Price- $10 here http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/127515/Insight-RPG-System-Core-Rulebook?term=Insight+RPG TL; DR-An interesting, simple universal RPG system that's worth the intro price. 92 %

Basics- It's time for an every system RPG! The insight RPG system is a universal RPG system that uses a d10 based mechanic for all its rolls. Let's give this system a point by point break down.

Mechanics or Crunch- Like all good universal system RPGs this needs a few points for the mechanics. Let's break this up. Base mechanic- This system uses d10 for all its rolls. It's an attribute and skill point system that plays a bit like a combination between the Synthicide RPG I reviewed last time and 4th edition Legend of the Five Rings. Basically, you are six different stats that are similar to the standard D&D array most roleplaying gamers are comfortable with. This determines the number of dice you roll. Then, you have skill ranks that you use to determine your success range. If you are untrained and the skill is something simple like dodge (the basic don't-get-stabbed skill), then every dice you roll can only succeed on a 10. However, as you put points into the skill, the success range increases with two ranks meaning the success range is now a 8-10. If you roll a 1, it is a fumble and never good side effects can occur. So a person with four body control (think dexterity for D&D/Pathfinder) who is shooting a gun with four ranks in the skill will roll four dice and can succeed on a 7-10. Some skills are complex meaning they are a mixture of two skills. When that happens, on skill is instead added as a bonus to your dice pool instead of modifying the success range. It all works well and quickly after some adjustment.

Difficulty and Challenge rating-Insight builds on the base mechanic by adding two different side mechanics to the game. Difficulty modifies the success range in the opposite range of skill ranks. A difficulty 2 task with a character with four skill ranks would only succeed on a 9 or 10. Challenge is the number of successes needed for a task. Climbing an ice wall while being followed by a polar bear would be a challenge 3 task needing three success at whatever range and dice pool you have.

Combat-Like most RPGs, combat is a pretty central tenant of the game. What makes this game interesting is that two different mechanics are introduced for movement and range. One is a custom system that is a hybrid of theater of the mind miniature combat, while the other is a standard D&D/Pathfinder battle map mechanic. In the Insight system, players are different distances and these distances represent different areas of the map. A basics quick diagram of the combat would be a middle band of the combat area where melee combat happens with five different range bands extending on both sides of the melee middle ground. Both systems use an action point mechanics to determine how many actions you can do on your turn. Using a larger, heavy hitting weapon takes more action points to swing, while stabbing quickly with a small knife would be fewer points per attack. One final subject of combat is damage. Damage works by the attacker rolling his attack dice using the base mechanic of ability dice number and skill number determine success range while the defender rolls defense in exactly the same way with the defender subtracting successes from the attacker's success total. If the attacker still has successes after defense, the number of attacker successes remaining is multiplied by the weapons damage value and the defender subtracts his/her armor value from this damage. Damage also affects specific areas of the body as a random dice roll is used to determine hit location. Each location can only take so much damage before the character begins to take penalties to attacks, defense, and skill values.

Magic- Insight is a universal system set up to run your steampunk game to your high fantasy, future magic system. Magic is a complex skill with a separate pool of points a player spends to cast spells similar to magic points from the Final Fantasy games. It's also elemental based with different elements being separate skills and granting separate effects such as fire doing damage and spirit healing and summoning creatures. Like everything else, it's well presented with examples.

Summary-Overall, I liked this system. I do have a few problems with it. First and foremost is the way skill dice work. It's confusing to get a higher skill number but that lowers the acceptable dice values for a skill check. Now, if you can follow the basics and you play for over 30 minutes, you will be fine and completely understand how the game is played. But, it's a little new user unfriendly. I do like the addition of the two ways to set up combat. I don't think I'll use the Insight introduced distance system at my table, but it's a new, well designed system. In summary, Insight might not be a perfect system, but it's got things that I love like variable actions per turn with action points and successes determining damage. It's worth checking out if you get a chance. 4.25/5

Theme or Fluff- Full disclosure-I was not expecting any theme from the Insight RPG. Insight is a universal RPG, so most authors don't put the time in to make a world for the players to destroy. However, the last chapter of the book is a fantasy world to play in as well as an adventure. It might not be your favorite world, but this book does have a setting as well as a quick adventure. There is even a map of the place! Well done! 4.5/5

Execution- This book has my new favorite execution mechanic-icons for important subsections. The book understands that the system might not be as simple as say Pathfinder/D&D to get on your first read through. However, the writers just put an icon next to an example to grab the reader's eye. The book also does this for important rules, notes, and optional sections. It speeds up your reading and rereading when you can glance over a page and get the rules you need right away. Also, the book does a simple introduction before the first chapter. You get the game rules as an intro before the book even starts, and as a person who reads lots of RPGs, that really helps me know what I'm getting into. And, it's a great reference for advanced players who need a quick start. There is even art from several different RPG styles and the world in the last chapter has a map that I never expected to see. From something I always complain about, the book has well done spacing, layout, tables, and font again making this a pleasure to read. 5/5

Summary- This is a well done system that has more in it than I expected going in. The system is pretty simple if you are accustomed to RPGs. If you are not, then the skill system might be a bit much for some intro players. That's the only negative thing I can really say. It's got a story to it that I didn't expect to read, and the execution of the book makes it fun to read. Honestly the only thing I want from this RPG is more. And, NEVR has several extra PDF available to build on your favorite aspects of the system. You don't get the custom, out of the box fit for a specific setting you would if you get a system specific RPG, but with a little work this RPG could easily be the campaign setting/system you've been searching for. 92%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Insight RPG System Core Rulebook
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Liber Arcanum
Publisher: Cognition Pressworks
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/01/2015 16:11:12

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Liber Arcanum

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday!

Product- Liber Arcanum
System- Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG Producer- Cognition Pressworks Price- PDF ~$10 here http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/139777/Liber-Arcanum TL; DR- More wizard options than you can shake a wand at. 90%

Basics- Behold the Book of Secrets! Liber Arcanum contains new wizard and elf player options for DCCRPG. This book contains the expected new spells but also has patrons, new subclasses of wizard, magic items, and more.

Mechanics or Crunch- Here is where the book shines. I love DCCRPG, and play it every other week. But, Goodman Games doesn't make many player options. This book is an excellent addition to any player wizard. It's got an impressive amount of spells as well as new patrons that come fully fleshed out. Every spell get's several pages describing it in detail as well as giving all kinds of interesting flavor. It's an easy drop into any DCCPRG game. 5/5

Theme or Fluff- Theme is another home run for this product. I'd expect, in book of spells and patrons, spells and patrons, but the book goes a little further by adding little story bits as well as art to draw you in. The arts not perfect, but it does a great job of telling a story. Furthermore, the book even has a cosmology. That is way more than I expected from a simple spell splat book. 5/5

Execution- Of the areas I review RPG products on, this is the one area where this product struggles. Some white space would really help this product. The first chapter adds lots of content, but it's pretty text dense. A few tables and some more art would have really helped break that up. On the subject of art, this product's are is ok. It's not bad, but it's not as good as the core DCCRPG book. That can take away a bit from the text, but overall, I'm just happy to see some art here. A little more space, some organization changes, and some art touchups would help this product make it over the top. 3.5/5

Summary- It's always good to read some more DCCRPG. Strange fantasy is always a crowd pleaser, as is this book. It's a massive 300 pages with lots of content ranging from the expected spells to the unexpected planer diagrams. That's pretty impressive from a third party publisher. However, it's not without its faults. The art is a bit off in places and the font size and spacing could use a bit of work. However, that doesn't detract from the awesome content in this one. A well done tome that should be found in any wizard's library. 90%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Liber Arcanum
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Corporia - Core Rulebook
Publisher: Brabblemark Press
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/03/2015 12:15:37

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Corporia

Product- Corporia System- Flux System Producer- Brabblemark Press Price- ~$10 here http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/127226/Corporia-RPG?term=corporia TL; DR- Night Watch played with a quicker, simpler version of Shadowrun. 99%

Basics- Time for an Arthurian Knight in Media Corp! In Corporia, players take rolls in the Knightwatch, humans touched by the flux, who now take up arms against the reincarnated forces that once King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table fought. With a reincarnated Lancelot and M.E.R.L.I.N., the supercomputer, at your side, can you put down the forces of Chaos?

Mechanics or Crunch- Like any full RPG, let's break this one down into its base parts. Base Mechanic-The Flux System- I can write the entire rules of the flux system down in a tweet- Roll 2d6 (called flux dice), take high die roll, add ability (called core values) and skill, consult GM. Done. That's the entire base rules-for EVERYTHING YOU DO. Pretty impressive! It runs quick, but still has more than one die to allow for flexibility in the system. Want to convince a person you're not a knight in plate armor hunting demons, but just a cosplayer riding the subway? 2d6(take high)+wits+influence, add role-play, and then consult GM. Boom! Done. All your numbers range from 1 to 6, so it's not math clogged or new play unfriendly.

Combat- Want to hurt somebody or something? 2d6(take high)+ability+skill. Here is where some of the Tongue and Cheek come into play. Want to hit somebody with a sword? The skill is Getting Medieval and the ability/core value is strength. Shoot somebody? It's deftness and firearms. However, this one doesn't just roll against a static number; you instead have to dodge an attack which depends on the method of the dodge and the attack. Parry a sword is 2d6(take high)+deftness+getting medieval. Dodge a bullet is deftness+getting medieval. Unlike in other RPGs, defenders win ties. If the attacker gets a higher number, he or she rolls the damage dice for the attack (this system does use more than just 2d6), adds the core value for the attack such as strength for hitting with a sword, and subtracts the defender's armor. If the damage is greater than the defender's mettle (think a combined wisdom and constitution from Dungeons and Dragons/Pathfinder), the target takes a wound. But, this game also has hit locations. To find the location, you look at the total on both the flux dice of the attack and consult a chart. Just like in a real fight, most attacks hit center mass as 2d6 average to a seven which is the torso. And just like in most fights, the wounds you take cause you to lessen your abilities to fight! Take enough total wounds to be double your mettle? Make a Strength+Mettle test to not pass out. You can keep fighting until you pass out. Quick, lean, and simple.

Magic-Where would urban fantasy be without magic? Magic in this system is a bit like Dungeons and Dragons. There are two major different schools to magic-witchcraft and sorcery. Witchcraft is a divine magic from D&D, and Sorcery is a bit like arcane magic. Want to know how to do magic? 2d6(take high)+magic+spell type. Done. Just like combat, it's easy, slick, and user friendly. Each day a spell caster can cast a number of spells equal to his/her magic core value. If you cast more than that you start to take increasing penalties to the roll. Spells can also be modified to add more targets or increase range by adding penalties to the roll. It's not the cast till you pass out system I love. But, it does have push your luck, and if I can't have my players pass out, I'd like them to push their luck.

Computers-It wouldn't be modern fantasy if it didn't have hackers. This game has them, but hackers basically work just like magic. Roll dice as above, add numbers, and compare to a target difficulty for a device. Quick, clean, and user friendly.

Flux Points- I love player driven narrative control. I want my players to have some chips to cash in to make things happen, and in this system that's flux points. Players can spend flux points to shrug off wounds to keep fighting or to add to a roll before the roll happens. That's always fun. Also, flux points are used as experience points to buy new improvements. That adds a level of cautions to how many points a player wants to spend on a roll. Flux points are earned by playing to your traits and having the game master temp players into doing crazy things. Unlike some other RPGs, players never have to spend experience points to avoid an action the game master wants, but I can crank up the flux point offer to almost ludicrous points to entice a player to do what I want. And that's always fun to do!

Character Generation- PC generation is a snap. Near the back is a one page sheet that will easily give you the layout of character generation. You choose an archetype, but that just helps you, not hurts you as some abilities are cheaper depending on the archetype and the system is basically classless. Then, you define traits to help you build the persons personality and use a simple point buy to build your attributes, skills, and feats (called assets). Then you get flux points to get a bit of narrative control/point buy attributes and spend money on gear. As a final step, the future has a combined facebook/Foursquare system that allows you to log on to places to be more popular and have more social pull in a location, but you might also be tracked, so you decide how much of that you wish to use as a character. Done. I always love systems where half an hour is the longest character build time you need.

Summary-I like this system. Quick systems make me happy. However, unlike the quickest system out there Numenera, this one also has a touch of math that makes me ecstatic with the flux dice. That also builds in some extra room for manipulation. Take charging or running in combat- You get one move and one action per turn. You could run twice or run once and cast and run. When you do that you roll normally, but now you take the lower of the two dice. It punishes the player for doing too much, but doesn't punish as much as you would expect. Also since the number curve is flatter, nothing spirals out of control too quick. Honestly, this is a great system what works really well as well as working really fast. As I've said over and over again, quick, clean, and user friendly. 5 /5

Theme or Fluff- This book walks an interesting line. I originally approached this RPG thinking it would be like Shadowrun. It has elements of it like cyber modification, urban decay, and urban fantasy, but this RPG feels more like Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko. That novel is in the suggested readings, so that warmed my heart. Players wake up to being touched by the flux, but they are hired by Knightwatch to stop the forces of chaos in the world. Chaos isn't really represented as its pretty evil in this RPG. That said, the book itself reads more like a corporate new employee manual than your standard RPG book. At every chance the authors got, the book uses corporate manual layouts for things like the character sheets and the magic sections is a pamphlet that the players get to read through. Even the abilities are referred to as "core values". It's those little touches that really help make this feel like you would be sitting around the coffee pot at 3PM on a Tuesday talking about filling out those pain in the butt reports to Lancelot and then at 8PM running around in plate armor with an taser bat hitting vampires in a nightclub. Well done. 5 /5

Execution- You can tell that the people who made this book put some real effort into this one. There are a ton of pictures here that show the staff all got into character. I would have liked a bit more white space on some pages, but overall I was really happy reading this one. I didn't feel like I hit too many walls of text. Even the world guide to The City gave each area with nice pictures. You don't get as much details about each district, but you also get a better feel for each place. It's not perfect as I would have liked a combat example as well as a few more tables-especially for things like the wounds. It's written in the text, but some of that information would really help as a quick reference or on the character sheet. But honestly, that's nitpicking. What is fun though is the book comes with enough adventures that if you wanted to you could play from the start at character finding and joining Knightwatch all the way to a dual with Morgan Le Fey and ending the incursion of Chaos once and for all! Not many books are that bold as to give you the end of the game in the first book, but this one does it well. 4.9/5

Summary- My one sentence review of this system is: Night Watch played with a quicker, simpler version of Shadowrun. If you don't need some overly complex mechanics in your game, this is an excellent system. Some aspects that Shadowrun has are not here, but that comes with some significant rules and mechanical baggage. For the setting, this is an amazing retelling of the standard Arthurian trope. It's fun to read on a story that is familiar, but does stand on its own. Honestly, if you want something quick, easy, and fun for 10 bucks you won't go wrong. Well worth your time and money to look at this one! 99%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Corporia - Core Rulebook
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Urban Steampunk (Über RPG: Steampunk sourcebook)
Publisher: Uber Goober Games
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/23/2014 08:58:54

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Urban Steampunk

Product-Urban Steampunk System- Uber RPG Producer- Uber Goober Games Price- ~$ 13 here http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/100785/Urban-Steampunk-ber-RPG-Steampunk-sourcebook TL; DR- Ankmir is a fun playground, but this book isn't full of player options. 85%

Basics-You can't have steampunk if you don't have a Victorian city full of machines! This book provides a perfect city of steam Ankmir to play in/destroy while giving GM's the options to build their own world.

Theme or Fluff-Much like the other setting books by Uber Goober, this book does a great job of building three different worlds in the same city. Uber Goober sets up a world of steam tech, a world full of rebels, and a world for magic all in the same city. Whatever game you want to play, Uber's sets up the world and gives good background for a great setting to start your own game. 5/5

Mechanics or Crunch- And here is where the book suffers. Just like Steampunk Uncharted, this book isn't a splat book for characters. There are few mechanics discussed here, but don't get this book if you just want more player options. There is a great deal of information regarding all the different important population information a player could want if you want to get super crunchy in your story. It's a story book, but that aspect is done well. 3.5/5

Execution-This book could use some more pictures to distract from the walls of text. But the book does have lots of maps, so that helps. There is textbook problem here as many pages are just two columns of black text on a white background. That doesn't draw the reader, but what is here is set up as best as it could be giving the amount of art that is in this one. Each area gets a description, how to play in the three types of steampunk, story seeds, and persons of interest in the area. 4.25/5

Summary- As with Steampunk Uncharted, if this book and the core Uber RPG: Steampunk book were put together, they would add up to one amazing book. Uber RPG: Steampunk introduced the city of Ankmir, but this book expands on the main city presented there. Ankmir is a fun playground to run around in, but if you only want new stuff for your characters, you might want to look at the other books by Uber Goober. 85%



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Urban Steampunk (Über RPG: Steampunk sourcebook)
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Universal Airship Combat System (Über RPG: Steampunk sourcebook)
Publisher: Uber Goober Games
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/12/2014 08:08:10

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Universal Airship Combat System Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday!

Product-Universal Airship Combat System System- Uber RPG: Steampunk Producer- Uber Goober Games Price- ~$ 13 here http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/101071/Universal-Airship-Combat-System-ber-RPG-Steampunk-sourcebook TL; DR- Two books in one! 87%

Basics-Time to hit the sky! Universal Airship Combat System is a book covering the rules for airship and mech combat in the Uber RPG system. This book covers combat in the RPG as well as giving simple rules for a tabletop miniature system.

Theme or Fluff- Back to the fluff first reviews for the Uber system. This book is not a theme book, but it gives enough options that you can fit any theme into it. Uber RPG: Steampunk doesn't have a default setting, so this book provides the mechanics to build whatever options you want into your own world. One of the saving graces for theme in this book is how damage is dealt. The system uses a 52 card deck to determine where shots hit and how it damages the ship. That kind of story elements really marries theme with mechanics as you get a short snippet on how the attack happens and some mechanical details to. As with the base Uber RPG: Steampunk, the book doesn't do much give you a world, but provides the tools to build it. The only problem with that is you, the GM and players, have to do much more heavy story lifting. 4/5

Mechanics or Crunch- While this book isn't a theme book; it is an amazing book for its mechanics. Much like Uber RPG: Steampunk, the base system is d6. The system presented here is amazingly simple and quick. Movement happens in ascending dexterity order. Slower ships move, and faster ships can react. Attacking happens simultaneously. You add up all the attack power your ship has, and then subtract the defensive powers your target has, and roll six sided dice. For each five rolled, draw a card from a deck of cards. For each six, draw two. The book has a chart detailing how the card damage and affects the ship as each suit and number focus on specific areas of the ship. Done! It's a slick and quick system that makes combat not drag as some large scare combat systems do. The book even provides mech combat if you want to climb into a steam powered mechanical walker. And rules for mech vs. airship combat! AND rules for a table top miniatures game! Honestly, this book is jam packed with a quick, easy to use, fun to execute combat system. 5/5

Execution- Uber Goober is a small company, and small companies don't have the art resources to make large scale book full to the brim with art. This book has lots of pages with only text. That kind of hurts the overall appeal as you have major textbook problem. However, this book has more tables and lots of art to show what the authors meant for each type of ship and mech. It's better than the original book, but still a bit flawed. 4/5

Summary-This is an easy to use, short book that give you multiple ways to integrate steamtech into your world. This book isn't the most reader friendly, but there is more art than the base book for the system. If you like the quick combat style of Uber RPG: Steampunk, then this build upon that and give more flair to large scale combat. Honestly, if Uber would add the random table of hit locations to the base Uber RPG: Steampunk I would love that system even more. If you you're looking for a good tabletop system to handle steampunk miniature combat or a way to integrate more steam machine combat in your Uber RPG: Steampunk game, this is a great book to add to your collection. 87%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Universal Airship Combat System (Über RPG: Steampunk sourcebook)
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Uncharted Steampunk (Über RPG: Steampunk sourcebook)
Publisher: Uber Goober Games
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/12/2014 07:15:40

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Uncharted Steampunk

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday!

Product-Uncharted Steampunk System- Uber RPG Producer- Uber Goober Games Price- ~$ 13 here http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/102911/Uncharted-Steampunk-ber-RPG-Steampunk-sourcebook TL; DR- Marry this with the base book, and it's amazing. 83%

Basics-Need a world for your Uber RPG: Steampunk players to roam in? This is a companion book to the base Uber RPG: Steampunk game. This book provides a world to play in/destroy while still letting GM's build their own world.

Theme or Fluff- Uber Uber Goober likes to let GMs build their own world. This book, while a setting book, still let's GMs build their own world. How? Well each part of the world gets a description in the three main Steampunk styles that Uber introduces at the start of their books: steam tech focused, rebelling against society, and fantasy steampunk. Honestly, this has to be the best approach I've seen to getting the theme of your game out there. The author basically says "Here are three different worlds and their themes to play with. Choose one and go!" 5/5

Mechanics or Crunch- And here is where the book suffers. The book discusses the survival skill and gives ideas for encounters, but this book doesn't have many new mechanics in it. What is here is good, but the books main purpose is to build the world for you, got give you new toys for that world. It doesn't add to many new enemies or options, but what is here is well fleshed out. 3.5/5

Execution-PICTURES! This book has more pictures! The pictures of the continents are well done. However, much like Uber Goober's other books, there are still a ton of pages with just black text on white page. This book is, by definition, a geography/history textbook, and it suffers from many of the same problems old textbook do. That makes this much less exciting to read. A few more pictures of the peoples and scenes of different places would have really helped draw the reader in. 4/5

Summary- If this book and the core Uber RPG: Steampunk book were put together, they would add up to one amazing book. This book has all the world building and steampunk theme any player could ask for. The core book has sleek mechanics that make the game run well. This book and the core both fill the gaps the other is missing. On its own, this book is a good world book that gives the GM enough options to make the game they want happen in the world of their choosing. What this book doesn't have are many more mechanics and some more pictures to help set the stage and scenes. All together, this is good foundation for GMs to build the world they want. 83%



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Uncharted Steampunk (Über RPG: Steampunk sourcebook)
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Über RPG: Steampunk
Publisher: Uber Goober Games
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/06/2014 18:23:51

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of Uber RPG: Steampunk

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday!

Product-Uber RPG: Steampunk System- Uber RPG Producer- Uber Goober Games Price- ~$ 20 here http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/100784/ber-RPG--Steampunk?site=&manufacturers_id=2798 TL; DR- A dense, but good, all purpose steampunk RPG. 82%

Basics-Have a steampunk idea in your head, but don't have a way to execute it? This is the RPG for you. Uber RPG: Steampunk is a generic system designed to allow players and GMs to build the Steampunk world they want. Let's dig into the individual parts.

Theme or Fluff- Usually I look at the mechanics of a book first, but this RPG's theme needs a bit of an introduction First. Uber RPG: Steampunk is designed to be completely setting agnostic. If you want superhero Steampunk, then you can make this game superhero Steampunk. You want fantasy Steampunk, here you go. Magic? Same deal. That's great, but you now have to bring many more of your own ideas to the party. The book does have examples of what kind of worlds you can build, but you're the director on this one. This level of freedom is a double edged sword as now a GM and the players have to do much more of the heavy lifting instead of letting the RPG come prebuilt and prepackaged with its own world. The Steampunk is strong in this one as the author spends an incredible amount of time describing steampunk and the different forms of it. That is an excellent introduction to anyone who isn't sure what Steampunk is. But, the saying "good at everything, master of nothing" kind of creeps in as so many different ideas a brought forth with only a little focus on each one. 4.25/5

Mechanics or Crunch- The system is a d6 based system. It's quick and painless when you know what you're doing. Let's break down the different areas of the game. Character Generation-Characters are made via a point buy system. As with the theme, anything goes as long as you all agree with what you want in your world. Several different examples of prebuilt characters are in the book, so you get a great idea of how to build a character. Look at the examples as your character build can kill you if you do it wrong! There is that much freedom here. If you know what you want, you can build that person from the get go. However, if you go in blind, you can make some serious mistakes that will end you in the first fight you get into.

Base Mechanic-This system is a d6 based system, but does not use the standard two numbers are good/one bad mechanic. Fives are one success, six's are two successes, and ones represent complications. Every roll is mostly independent of any other number with successes dictating how well you succeed at a task. Dice pools are made in the standard attribute + skill ranks method common to d6 systems. If you roll more ones than total successes a botch happens where the GM dictates your failure somehow. This system is meant to speed up the game as the size of your dice pool can also dictate automatic successes. The larger the pool, the mightier the task you are assumed to instantly succeed at. I think that's an awesome addition to the rules of any RPG. You reward players for building in one direction, but don't slow the game down having to make them roll the dice.

Powers-This game uses powers to determine your attacks and other actions. Since the game doesn't have one setting, Uber RPG: Steampunk gives you the ability to build whatever power you need ranging from magic missiles to Tesla coil ray guns. Each power builds a Mighty Dice Pool which keeps powers balanced. It's easy to build lots of different powers quickly, and the balance also keeps things working like clockwork (Ha, Ha, Steampunk pun!) during combat. Powers can also be pushed which means that you roll extra dice or do extra effects, but this comes at the cost of doing damage to yourself or reducing the Mighty Dice Pool of your weapon. This represents over exerting yourself, running out of ammo for the gun, or causing some Steampunk device to go haywire.

Combat-Combat is quick and deadly! Each turn players get to announce and perform an action in descending dexterity order. Attacks use the Mighty Dice Pool determined earlier during character creation. Some powers reduce the effectiveness of an attack, but aside from that, there is no set number to determine if an attack hits and how hard. Characters do not have hit points. Instead, characters have conditions ranging from stunned (out of combat for one turn) to dead. After your attack with a power, you determine the number of success you got on your roll and compare that on a chart to the constitution of the target. Some powers and abilities reduce the dice pool rolled, but beyond that there is no defense roll or armor class from the target. It quick, clean, and very deadly!

Summary-This is well done universal system. You get all the toys you could ask for, but you have to build them yourself. Again, that's heavy lifting for the GM as well as the players. Combats quick, but you do give up some say in what happens as aside from some powers, you don't get to determine how attack affect you. This system works well if you invest time into it, but you do have to invest that time. You can also see the LARP roots in this system keeping combat quick and focusing on the narrative on the encounter rather than the numbers of the encounter. 4.5/5

Execution- I like the system, but the book itself has a classic case of text book problem. The book is incredibly full of information leading to several pages of text with few pictures. The text is small, but you can easily resize on an iPad if you read the PDF. I do like the quick summary of the game in the first few pages, but the sheer number of pages with text explaining everything in this book makes the book drag a bit. The content is good, but more pictures and white space would really help this one. 3.5/5

Summary-If you want flexibility; this is the system for you. The rules are well done to the point that anything anybody could want to make happen can happen. The theme is light, but that's a direct result of the book being open to anybody who wants to make their own Steampunk game. The mechanics really reinforce that theme of open Steampunk design by focusing on balancing all the different things people could create. I do like the balance presented in this game. My only real concern with this game is it gets lost in its own open design and the density of material presented. The art is good, but there just isn't enough of it. And, white space is your friend! However, if you can get past the problem of getting too much in a book, and don't mind completely building your own world and powers, this book is a well stocked tool box for building your own Steampunk world. 82%



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Über RPG:  Steampunk
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Victoriana - The Concert in Flames
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/29/2014 18:19:14

Ring Side Report-Concert of Europe

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday!

Product-The Concert in Flames System- Victoriana Producer- Cubicle Seven Price- ~$20 here TL; DR- Great adventure, but only for the GM. 87%

Basics-Can you stop Europe from burning? An ancient evil is being awoken by a small group trying to upset the tentative balance of Europe and bend a fiend to their will while the fate of the Concert of Europe rides in the balance. This book also provides GM with extremely detailed notes on the geopolitical standing of the Europe countries in 1856.

Mechanics or Crunch-This is NOT an option book, but that doesn't make it a bad book. This book adds some new mechanics like new races and a new country specific creature or enemy for each of the different regions discussed. It's good, but you should not expect some new options and creatures each page like a player's option book or monster manual. The countries do have great write ups describing the make-up of each country, so you can quickly create things like a group of upscale Russians if you need them at a moment's notice. The adventure has simple stat blocks for each enemy which will make running the adventure easy and quick. What's here is well done, but you cannot go into this one hoping for tons of new crunch. 4.5/5

Theme or Fluff- This is where the book truly excels. Just like the base book, this book could almost be an excellent historical reference if you strip out the steampunk and magic elements. Each country in 1850's Europe gets an in-depth write-up. The adventure itself has a ton of depth as well as a great story for your players to run amuck in. The story has elements of government intrigue, magic, religion, and some trans-country train adventure. It's great steampunk fun. 5/5 . Execution- While the fluff and crunch are great; the execution has a few problems. There are some art to break up the text, but there are too many pages with just black text on grey background. This is a classic case of textbook problem. I do like some the way the book is divided. But, the font is a bit too small. And, there is just too much of it. This book also makes an inexcusable error for any fantasy book discussing geography. There is NO detailed map of Europe! Nor is there a map of the adventure train routs. While the countries are basically the same as real world 1856, a better map would have really helped with adventure design and the adventure in the book. I do like the pictures from the adventure as you get some nice hand drawn pictures of some of the major characters. All together, this isn't a badly executed book, but some flaws do hurt the overall presentation. 3.5/5

Summary- If you want to take your players across Victoriana Europe, then buying this book is a no brainer. GM's get all the information they need to make each European country feel distinct from one another with far more depth than there is in the base Victoriana book. If you want crunch options, then this book isn't for you. The adventure in this book is a fun romp across Europe as the players try to keep the Concert of Europe from falling apart. If that's the kind of adventure you and your players want to play, this is a great adventure. However, if you don't want to control the fate of the world and just want to play a game in London, then this is one to pass. There are some concerns I have with the execution, but those won't prevent you from enjoying this book if you want some excellent write ups describing Europe. If you want some cross European intrigue and a great adventure to start that controversy, go get this one. 87%



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Victoriana - The Concert in Flames
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Victoriana 3rd Edition
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/18/2014 21:43:47

Ring Side Report-Victoriana 3rd Edition

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday!

Product- Victoriana 3rd Edition System- Victoriana Producer- Cubical Seven Entertainment Price- ~$25 here http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/116730/Victoriana-3rd-Edition?term=victoriana+3rd TL; DR- You can't go wrong with Steampunk, Lovecraft, Penny-Dreadful Shadowrun! 93%

Basics-Ever want to mix steampunk with Victorian sensibilities and add a ton of Middle Earth to the equation? That is the mix for Victoriana-an RPG set in 1856 where magic is semi-common place, steam power is beginning to conquer the world, and "heroes" are called from all walks of life. This is a whole RPG in one book, so let's break this down into its important parts and numbers.

Mechanics or Crunch- At this games core, it's a simple d6 pool game. Let's see how that plays out on each level:

Base Mechanic- Victoriana is a d6 dice pool game. Each task you do will be a combination of an attribute and an associated skill. Shoot a gun? Dexterity and firearms. Ride a Wyvern? Presence and Animal Handling. A few small things make this game amazingly fun and different from other dice pool games. One is the numbers you want. You are looking for 1's and 6's. Even better, 6's explode and you roll them again counting 1's and 6's. AND THE 6's KEEP EXPLOIDING! I love the dynamic addition of exploding dice in any game!

Task Difficulty-Most tasks you perform require two successes with some task allowing partial successes. That is a quick and easy mechanic for deciding failure and success. The system builds on this simplicity by adding "black" dice. Want to mix dangerous chemicals on a bumpy train ride? Well you roll your normal Attribute and Skill, but you also roll 3 BLACK dice. These black dice work just like normal dice, but they take AWAY successes. AND, they explode like normal dice! AND, THE PLAYERS ROLL THEM! This puts some of the pressure on the player and it's just pure fun as a GM. If you have negative successes at the end of a roll, then you have a foul failure. These situations are where the GM gets to absolutely play with the player. Guns break. Mechanical arms are ruined. Spells summon crazy monsters. It's the whole nine yards of bad things for a player. Some tasks have opposed rolls like attacking and dodging, but black dice can still be added to both sides of a combat. If you're shooting in the dark, and my bad guy is dodging while on a slippery floor, both sides get to add black dice to their rolls. Whoever has more successes wins.

Combat-You could have an RPG without combat, but why!? Each round players can choose to do one action (move, attack, cast a spell, etc) at no penalty. However, a player can do up to his/her dexterity in actions per round. Each action the player performs divides the dice pool for that action. Run and shoot? Divide your pool by two. Run, shoot, and mix a bomb? Divide your pool by 3 for EACH action. Your black dice are NOT changed as your divide your pools! You can do anything you want, but the more you do, the worse you can fail! Damage also is dependent on d6's. Each weapon has a damage value. If you score more successes than your target, you get to roll a number of d6's equal to the damage value for your weapon counting the 1's and 6's as before WITH EXPLODING DICE! After you count your successes, you add your initial number of successes to your count and the opponent subtracts his/her armor and takes the difference as damage.

Character Generation-Character generation in this system is divided into two broad categories: completely homemade or guided. If you make your own character from the soles of your feet up, have fun! If you want a little more guided approach, then you can build your character by selecting your background, breeding (social standing and race), build package (where you fit in the breeding and background), spend attribute and skill points, and earn and assign extra build points via drawbacks and other abilities. It's pretty simple, but flexible allowing all kinds of different characters to populate the world. As a word of caution, this system has the kind of flexible that a few example characters could help to keep players from killing themselves during character generation.

Magic and Machines-It wouldn't be magic and steampunk without magic and machines. Magic is divided into a few different categories. Basically, each mage has training in one of these areas of magic and makes still tests as previously discussed. It's simple and quick. The different types of magic all feel different as hermetic wizards throw around all kinds of elemental magic, while people of faith have much more religion based magic like healing and exorcism. All magic uses another metric called quintessence. Quintessence is spent to cast spells and is recovered over time and rest. Also, if you don't have quintessence, you can just take damage. I LOVE cast till you pass out systems! This is only the tip of the iceberg, but magic does feel like magic and not just another skill roll. Machines on the other hand are built once and then never have to be paid for again. They may require fuel like steam or gas to run, but the different machines fell like they have different functions. Most of these functions have different actions than magic, but part of the theme is how magic is beginning overtaken by the age of steam. Some of these devices even require magic to be built! Whatever steampunk idea you have in your head, based on the marvels here, you can build your favorite toy! Order and Chaos- Victoriana's spiritual fight isn't between good and evil. Don't get me wrong, good and evil are here, but the major fight is between the forces of entropy and order. The RPG spends some time outlying that order isn't necessarily good as a crazed priest of order can easily be as evil as a demonologist of chaos. Players can decide to side with one or the other, and when they do an action that advances their side, they can get dice depending how advanced they are on the cogs of their faction. Order provides a straight bonus to an action, while chaos provides many more dice than order, but you have to roll these dice to see if you succeed. It's a fun addition to the game, but one that your players and you will have to choose to get deep into. Summary-I love what is here. It's simple in a good way, quick, and flexible. It's got a fun feel with action and puts some of the dirty, hard choices in the players hands themselves with black dice. I love when I make the players be the bad guys for a change! 5/5

Theme or Fluff-Victoriana is an "almost Earth" setting. Even with elves, magic, and steam powered robots, people are not all that different. So, this book assumes that history will pretty much follow the same path to 1856. And, you know what? It works really well! I liked the world this book built. Also, if you remove all the "wizard/steam robot did it" references in the setting back story, the first half of the book is a well done summary of European history till 1856. Honestly, a world with different races (really different races not just Spanish compared to English, but Ogre compared to hog-faced beastmen soon to be German Chancellor) explains the wars in Europe better than the petty motivations that have occurred through all of our real history. The story of this world drew me in, and I sat and read the intro fiction as well as the world guide. It's a well done world with lots of depth to help you understand the world and live in it as you game. 5/5

A note on history, truth, and the "isms"- Victoriana is set in a time when it was amazingly awesome to be a white, European, rich male. For every difference from that standard, things got steadily worse. This RPG introduces the realities of that life, but doesn't dwell on them. It leaves how much of that you want to throw into your game up to you. That's important since some players might not be too comfortable roleplaying in a time when a husband could not technically rape his wife. And, if you wanted to, things could get worse from there. Sexism, racism, and specisim are alive and well here, but the book walks that line well and wholly lets the GM and players decide how much of the more horrible parts of history and alternative history they want to explore. I feel it's important to note that there are some possible adult themes, but they are handled well. If you just want some pulp steampunk with orcs and magic, then you can easily get that from the system too.

Execution-I liked this book, but the problems I have with this book are not getting enough book. What's here in this book is great, but could use a bit of help to distinguish information from background text. The book is black and white. That's not a bad thing, but some of the information isn't as highlighted as well as it should be. My next major complaint is the lack of examples. Combat and character generation could both really benefit from an example of creating a character and how to systematically tear another character to bits via combat. I liked the layout in general. The pictures did a great job explaining the world and people and keeping me engaged. Even with this complaint, my comments are positive. 4/5

Summary-If you want some steampunk, some magic, and some Victorian history; you can't go wrong with this system. Character generation is easy, actions have the players doing more thinking then just roll one die, and combat is quick. This RPG runs like a good watch-it looks like lots of too complicated moving parts, but when you really get down to it, you see its got a simple, elegant design. Magic and machines are there, but the subsystems that make them run are not overly complicated. A new player could easily play with either of those systems with no trouble. My only complaint is I feel more examples of combat, encounter generation, and characters in general would have really helped players get into the system easier. It's not a game breaker, but it's something to note. Overall, I love this system. If you're looking for your steampunk Shadowrun fix, you cannot go wrong with this one! 93%

Full disclosure: I was provided a reviewer copy.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Victoriana 3rd Edition
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01AE01 - SagaRPG Arc Excursions: Barrow of the Cursespawn (PFRPG) PDF
Publisher: SagaRPG
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/30/2014 08:02:33

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Barrow of the Cursespawn

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday!

Product-Darkwood Arc Excursions: Barrow of the Cursespawn Producer- Saga RPG System-Pathfinder Price- ~$6 here http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/132931/01AE01-Barrow-of-the-Cursespawn-PFRPG-PDF TL; DR-Zelda puzzles in Pathfinder!? 93%

Basics- Welcome back to the world of Darkwood. Miners are missing, and OTHER adventures are on the way! But, after a chance meeting in a bar, you and your friends are dragged into the events at the mine. Can you save the day and find out what's happening in the wilderness? This is a Pathfinder adventure that is designed to fit well into the Darkwood Adventure path for characters level 7.

Story or Fluff-This is an interesting one. To really get all you can out of this mission, a GM worth his/her salt must deeply read the background. This company excels at building story in their adventures, and it shows in this one. At its heart, this adventure is a simple dungeon crawl with adventure set in Saga's world of Darkwood, but these people write an awesome intro to get your involved and build story into the dungeon to make it interesting. However, like some fantasy or Sci-Fi adventures and stories, this adventure has the Dune problem for names-way too many terms are introduced to describe thing that have a general name like a burial mound or a shaman. It's not bad, but as a reader, it can sometimes be confusing. 4.5/5

Mechanics or Crunch-When you look at this one, it's a pretty short adventure. If your table doesn't mess around, you can easily get through this adventure in about three to four hours. The monsters are pretty par for the Pathfinder course at seventh level, but what will make this stand out are puzzles! I love adventures that have more than just fights. The puzzles are pretty nice. Now as a person who's played every Legend of Zelda game, these puzzles are not world endingly difficult, but anytime you have a TIMED puzzle in a tabletop RPG, it's going to be a good evening! The traps and monsters are all normal stuff, but its standard stuff you'd expect to fight at this level. There is new stuff here, but I don't think any seventh level party will be overly challenged by this adventure. However, those issues maybe more of a Pathfinder system problem than anything that is written by Saga. It's a good stand along adventure, but you'll need all the standard Pathfinder/Paizo books to run the adventure, but to get the most from this adventure you will also need Saga original AP book (reviewed here http://throatpunchgames.com/2014/06/06/ring-side-report-rpg-review-of-the-deft-and-the-deadly/ ) 4.75/5

Execution-This is a pretty short product, but the price is right. Like I said before, these writers are great at story, but there are a few pages of nothing but text with lots of new terms. I'd like a bit more art, but what is there is art, its put to good use. Also, the puzzles and some of the traps get great layouts and art to really help the players and GM understand what's going on and how to run the adventure properly. 4.75/5

Summary-This isn't a perfect adventure, but it's a damn fine one. It's got a good plot that factors into Saga's other metaplot for their adventure path. It's a nice evening adventure sized adventure with fighting, traps, and puzzles. If you like Saga's current AP, then you're getting this one regardless of what I have to say. But, if you want some good third party Pathfinder adventure, for six bucks, you can't go wrong here. 93%

Disclosure: I was provided a review copy of this adventure.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
01AE01 - SagaRPG Arc Excursions: Barrow of the Cursespawn (PFRPG) PDF
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01AA01 - Saga RPG Adventure Arc: Darkwood #1 - The Deft and the Deadly (PFRPG) PDF
Publisher: SagaRPG
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/30/2014 07:57:27

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of The Deft and the Deadly

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday!

Product-Darkwood Adventure Arc #1- The Deft and the Deadly

Producer-Saga RPG

Price-~$13 available here

System-Pathfinder

TL; DR- A well done 1st product from a new company-90%

Basics- Welcome to Darkwood, Mudder. Seeking either revenge, glory, or money, you and your friends stumble into Darkwood. This is a town on the fringe where several powerful people (and not people) battle for dominance in a new world. Can you make your name out here, or, will you end up face down in the mud you’re covered in? This is the first adventure in a five part series. Besides the adventure, the book provides large appendices on Darkwood, new items and diseases, example start characters, rules for coalition affiliations, NPCs, and a whole new world!

Fluff or Story- The people at Saga RPG put together a heck of a product for story. Every part of the town gets a bit of writing. All the shops have stories and a menu. The main story is more sandbox and with linier sections. This is to be expected as the characters are entering the world and have to be giving some quests to move them along, but eventually, the players are just told to have some fun and make some money in town. It’s a lot of fun. Aside from the main quest, the book covers a whole new world and its kingdoms. That’s pretty ambitious for a new RPG company’s first product. For less than a Paizo adventure product, you’re getting a higher page count of stories. I’m pretty intrigued on what going to happen over the course of this story. 5/5

Crunch or Mechanics-You don’t expect much mechanics from your standard adventure or a third party, but, these guys went above and beyond on this. There are a new mechanics ranging from measuring faction relationships to a new god with two new domains. Of course, there are new items and all the other standard things expected for a Pathfinder adventure, but, this comes from a third party. It’s well done, thought out, and an excellent addition to the systems library. 5/5

Execution- Here is the ONLY place I have negative things to save about this product, and at WORST these guys are above average. One thing I hate is recycled art. These guys reuse the same art a few times across their first book. The second thing I don’t like is there are some layout problems. It opens a little slow on my iPad, but that’s ok. However, there are some layout choices I would not have made for spacing. That leads to the third problem I have-“text book problem”. This book has A LOT to say. The book moves from AMAZING depth in a town to a whole new WORLD. That’s a lot of ground for one book to cover. That said the book covers it in depth, but does so with more than just a few pages of just text. That’s not the worst sin out there, but it makes this read a little like a text book in places. I would have liked a bit more art to interrupt the text, grab your attention, and guide the reader’s eye. But, I’d like to put that in perspective. I am complaining about there being too much in this book. 3.5/5

Summary-This is a well done product. If you’re tired of the Paizo product scene, this product is done well enough that is up there with a standard Paizo project with a compelling story and interesting additions to the system. I would like a player handbook like the other Pathfinder products I’ve read, but, this product is already full enough. My complains are in how this thing looks, not what it contains. This is one of the best Pathfinder products I’ve seen in a while. 90%

Disclosure- I was provided a review copy of this product.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
01AA01 - Saga RPG Adventure Arc: Darkwood #1 - The Deft and the Deadly (PFRPG) PDF
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