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Crimson Cutlass Omnibus
Publisher: Better Games
by Triem V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/18/2019 01:33:06

I am a player in the author's campaign, and the writer of the last two pages of this edition, so this isn't an unbiased review.

Crimson Cutlass is the first (published?) game designed by Rahm and Hillmer, and it remains the best. There are multiple editions available of the game. The 1979 version, you don't have that. The 1989 version goes for way too much money on Ebay. The 2015 edition was released on Amazon Kindle and consists of four volumes. This version collects the four Amazon volumes and adds in another couple hundred pages of new and updated tables from the current campaign, all at a lower price. Therefore, this is the definitive edition of the game.

Pirates! Who doesn't want to play a pirate game! Character generation is super simple. Choose one of the four starting backgrounds, roll a dice to determine your character's Traits (No number ratings here, you're BOLD, or you're not), roll another dice to dertermine your starting skills, check off a couple of boxes, and your character is ready for play in under five minutes.

Cutlass contains rules for dueling combat, small-scale (squads) land combat, large scale (armies) land combat, seige combat, ship-to-ship duels, battles between Armadas, and much, much more. Most of the rules the Player will need to know are in the first 200-250 pages of the book.

Player's actions are resolved with a simple 2d8 roll - 3d8 if your character has the desired Advantage for the task.

Cutlass's mechanics require a shift in thinking for new players. The majority of the in-game actions are generated by tarot card flips on various tables. Most important for new players, one doesn't choose one's target in action in combat - the player doesn't say "I charge the enemy Captain and try to cleave his head from his shoulders with my Cutlass," but, instead, chooses one of eight combat postures, then flips a card on the relevant table. The card result will tell you what happens in that round.... Maybe you'll actually get to cleave the enemy Captain's head. Maybe you'll find yourself dodging a body falling from the rigging. Cards instead of dice yields more potential events on a table (154 vs 100), and more complex interactions, since, unlike a dice table where the same event could be rolled over and over, once that (example) 10 of Swords is flipped, it's gone... At least until the deck reshuffles.

If one can relax into the mindset of following and interpreting the deck, Cutlass is one of the most fun and rewarding games one can play.

For the Referee, Cutlass offers the most interesting mission generation and travel encounter system I've encountered, THE best experience system ever devised for any RPG, and a masterclass in world and campaign generation. Rules and guidelines allow the referee to create a campaign world from scratch with simple systems to track political alliances, generate rule of law, even reform the Church!

1500 pages of rules, ideas, encounters and tables to cover a staggering amount of situations. I can honestly say I've played Cutlass for almost 30 years and haven't come close to seeing everything the game has to offer. Cutlass's rules are streamlined and elegant, but the Mission Generation, Mission Encounter and Experience/Advancment system are what truly set Cutlass apart - and are also the sections easiest to adapt to "your favorite RPG." The Mission, Encounter and Experience systems can (and have been) adapt(ed) to any genre desired (for Fantasy Games, look at the relevant books for Conrad's Fantasy and Outlands, for Sci-Fi, look at the relevant books for Battle Born/Era 10!)

For about $0.01 a page, and the sheer wealth of useable material, Cutlass is hard to beat.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Crimson Cutlass Omnibus
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Outlands Adventures April 2019
Publisher: Better Games
by Triem V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/18/2019 01:03:57

I'm one of the players in the campaign, so this isn't an unbiased review

This document contains the missions 7 and 8 of our current campaign. For people who might have purchased "Chronicles of the Outlands," Crimson Cutlass" or any of the other Better Games Products this will also serve as a bit of a how to/example of fleshing out the card flips from the "Scenario Design" pamphlets. The actual card flips used to generate the missions are shown, then the Referee's notes on how the card flip results were fleshed out for the campaign are given, along with the recaps of "the Campaign so far.

Missions 7 and 8 largely revolve around getting rid of some cursed magical objects, and start getting into some large underworlds. There are goblins, dragons, giants, gods, and some fun puzzles to be found. There's the Womb of Gems - the birthplace of all the world's jewels. In play, we didn't find the Womb of Gems. I'm kind of sad we didn't find the Womb of Gems, even though SOMEONE would have failed the tests of the Womb of Gems, and we've have lost another PC.

Play your cards right and one of the Campaign PCs might end up as an NPC, but in control of all the ocean's tides. Not a bad fate.

Outlands uses a system of card flips to generate most mission encounters, while certain scenes and the mission climax are fully detailed. For these missions, only the overall storyline, one or two plot-specific scenes and the mission's climaxes are fully detailed. Mission Specific Q&D tables are included. For owners of Chronicles, these alone are useful additions for the Ref. The travel events generated in play by the deck anre are not included here. There is more than enough information presented for any ref to run these missions in any game system, but travel encounters are left for individual Refs to flip or detail for themselves.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Outlands Adventures April 2019
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Outlands Adventures Jan 2019
Publisher: Better Games
by Triem V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/18/2019 00:56:31

Certainly not an unbiased review, as I'm one of the players in the campaign.

This document contains the second three missions of our current campaign. For people who might have purchased "Chronicles of the Outlands," Crimson Cutlass" or any of the other Better Games Products this will also serve as a bit of a how to/example of fleshing out the card flips from the "Scenario Design" pamphlets. The actual card flips used to generate the missions are shown, then the Referee's notes on how the card flip results were fleshed out for the campaign are given.

Outlands uses a system of card flips to generate most mission encounters, while certain scenes and the mission climax are fully detailed. For these missions, only the overall storyline, one or two plot-specific scenes and the mission's climaxes are fully detailed. Mission Specific Q&D tables are included. For owners of Chronicles, these alone are useful additions for the Ref.

Travel events were generated in play by the deck anre are not included here. There is more than enough information presented for any ref to run these missions in any game system, but travel encounters are left for individual Refs to flip or detail for themselves.

As a player, it was fun to read these and see all the things we didn't actually do! Also, I missed one session, so got to see more fully what we missed.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Outlands Adventures Jan 2019
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Outlands Adventures Oct 2018
Publisher: Better Games
by Triem V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/18/2019 00:52:05

Certainly not an unbiased review, as I'm one of the players in the campaign.

This document contains the first three missions of our current campaign. For people who might have purchased "Chronicles of the Outlands," Crimson Cutlass" or any of the other Better Games Products this will also serve as a bit of a how to/example of fleshing out the card flips from the "Scenario Design" pamphlets. The actual card flips used to generate the missions are shown, then the Referee's notes on how the card flip results were fleshed out for the campaign are given.

There's also a bit of a lesson here on when NOT to use the tables - for here is where I discover that the third mission in this volume wasn't generated by card flips, but pulled from the Referee's brain as a direct sequel to the first two missions.

Outlands - like other games from this publisher - uses a system of card flips to generate most mission encounters, while certain scenes and the mission climax are fully detailed. For these missions, only the overall storyline, one or two plot-specific scenes and the mission's climaxes are fully detailed. The travel events were generated in play by the deck anre are not included here. There is more than enough information presented for any ref to run these missions in any game system, but travel encounters are left for individual Refs to flip or detail for themselves.

Mission Specific Q&D tables are included. For owners of Chronicles, these alone are useful additions for the Ref.

As a player in the campaign I'll say here that, in the sessions, we didn't actually discover everything to be played in the missions. Interesting.

The following note is for the author: Perhaps at the ends of the missions you should include the recaps from the VOX? Kind of as the "How it played out for us" addendum. Almost zero additional effort on your part and potentially interesting, as (previously noted) we didn't do everything there was to do in the missions!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Outlands Adventures Oct 2018
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