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Into the Dark
Publisher: Off Guard Games
by Don M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/28/2023 15:42:04

"Into the Dark" is a deceptive little gem of roleplaying rules and storytelling style adventuring reminiscent of old school games around the table. It uses a cleverly honed down and efficient set of rules based on the popular "Forged in the Dark" roleplaying engine. As one might look at the innovation that the Black Hack 1st and 2nd editions brought to a D&D experience, so has this tightly written set of rules brought similar design and innovation to the Blades in the Dark experience. Make no mistake, even though this document is just under 50 pages, (it does include seperate playbooks, player and GM aid sheets as well) it is smart, easy to learn, and expertly captures the spirit of cooperative storytelling roleplaying that you would expect from a Forged in the Dark based game. The Theme is nicely woven into the game rules and adapts the play and feel of the dark moody themes of a fantasy adventure world where a "night-covered realm, is insidiously invaded by Murk threating and blotting the Light—stealing its people, and extinguishing the fires that keep at bay the malevolent elements".

The manual places at the finger tips of the GM several basic tools and story components that can be easily put together on the fly for a creative play experience or expanded into more developed intricate adventures, all of which allows for a build as you go “Forged in the Dark” story or a more calculated deeper play style. The old school feel is especially fun and I appreciated how quickly we were able to dig right in and get into playing the game instead of crunching and digesting piles of rules. The game is able to handle good definition and detail due to the engines flexibility and streamlined design.

Many sections double in duty. For example, the chapter on adventure hooks and setting triggers, while providing a nice set of building blocks for random or planned play, also contain a desent set of well organized monsters, each with descriptions and stats.

The four Murkdelver character “Classes” are very distinct in their functions, role, and story flavor, while having many ways to be diverse, unique, and pursue advancement, thus allowing each player a fun but creative character to play.

It should be no surprise that the GM and the players can “Hack” this system to tailor fit it to their needs. At first, I thought that a small set of rules like that found in “Into the Dark” would limit me and my players, but I soon found that the designers had done their homework. This is a very good tabletop roleplaying game and honors the grim old school era flavor very well in theme and has a well thought out quick, effective, and trimmed down set of rules based on the fine “Forged in the Dark” environment of games.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Into the Dark
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Butcher of Braggarton: A Mid-Level Adventure
Publisher: Radiance House
by Don M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/21/2018 11:38:45

The authors have stated “This adventure has been a long time coming.” And it shows. This is a professional and well thought out package.

In their own words they state better than I can the advantages they bring together in this adventure module.

“It brings together many elements of Radiance RPG including combat, exploration, horror, magic, mystery, period culture, romance, and technology. The single-column novel format, with focused chapters, makes the book easy and efficient to use electronically during play. Even if you don’t run a game with others players using the adventure, we hope you enjoy the atmosphere, ideas, and gripping story herein.”

The brilliance and flexibility of this large adventure is that it is set in a well designed town where anything can happen while the story unfolds before the characters.

The adventure also takes place in a larger campaign setting of O’arth, which is described by the authors as a “world akin to our own mid-1930s depression-era world with dirigibles, drones, electro-mechanical computers, nucleonics, rifles, and other technologies, but also magic, monsters, and various intelligent species such as dwarves, goliaths, and warmechs. It may well be a starker, less confident, and more insidious world than our own.” As such, I cannot help thinking that more adventure packages are coming down the road that build on this world.

The travel brochure for Braggarton, that visiting eager new comers might pick up and read who are looking for intrigue and adventure could easily read , “a small riverside city filled with everything a man or woman could wish to find, and some things a person might wish they had never found.” This really sets the stage for how the adventure is constructed. It has a clean presentation and allows for flexible diversion for the players to explore and taste while in Braggarton.

The impressive part of this adventure module is how well it has organized the details from which a Game Master can prepare for a session with their players. This adventure package utilizes the roleplaying system it was initially designed around very well, the Radiance RPG system, and easily lends itself to sandbox play and a broad spectrum of play styles for players. This allows a GM to quickly customize this adventure with their own ideas and approaches from the core rules consisting of the players guide, game master’s guide, and a handy expansion toolkit of wonderful goodies. Hence, you will find that this adventure exploits the power and opportunity found in the Radiance RPG system. Nevertheless, it would be easy to adapt this adventure to many other popular D20 systems.

The layout of the adventure is setup in five parts and provides maps, tips, plot seeds, triggers and many other excellent well written advice and supporting materials for unfolding the story of this adventure. There will be many opportunities for the characters to use their “other” skills and unique abilities not just the standard cave crawling hack’n’slash combat routine of killing monsters (though, there will be opportunity for that as well, so fear not this adventure has it all). This adventure requires that the characters tap into a very well balanced cross section of skills and will explore a variety of different activities in order for the your party of visiting adventurers to succeed.

If you are looking for a fresh and exciting well planned adventure experience that expands beyond the traditional dungeon crawl and provides a tantalizing urban steampunk/dieselpunk fantasy campaign setting with a nice mystery woven into the story, then look no further, “The Butcher of Braggarton” has it all.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Butcher of Braggarton: A Mid-Level Adventure
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