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Death Metal
Publisher: Schwalb Entertainment
by Edward [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/21/2024 09:04:32

Ring Side Report- RPG review of Death Metal

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

Product- Death Metal System- When the Wolf Comes Producer- Schwalb Entertainment Price- $3.99 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/en/product/486488/death-metal?affiliate_id=658618
TL; DR-NORSE NUKES! 98%

Basics- You know what Vikings need? NUKES! Death Metal is less about hard core bass riffs and more about particle physics and Norse scientists inventing nukes to finally deal with those pesky giants. Death Metal refers to radioactive metals that cause death in those that play with them. This book has class options, story and theme, and weapons for both When the Wolf Comes and standard Shadow of the Demon Lord.

Mechanics or Crunch- Death Metal has a decent amount of toys for the GM and player. There are three expert and four master paths. This is primarily written for When the Wolf Comes, but it crosses into standard Demon Lord, so the mythic paths are not tied to race. I honestly enjoy that more. It has a few alternative race options for your characters to take in Wolf as well. There are rules for nukes. Everyone loves handheld nuke grenades, so that's new fun for the party. There is not a ton of new crunch here as this is very much a theme heavy book. It’s good, but I would like a bit more. Overall it's solid work that fits well into the crunch that’s out there already. 4.75 /5

Theme or Fluff- This is where the book shines the most. There is LOTS of story for both Wolf and Demon Lord here. Heck, as a chemist, any book that includes what the Norse would have called beta particles makes me irrationally happy. You have an in-lore explanation of why different Norse races would have made reactors, and in Demon Lord you have a story about how a space man created a space elevator to get home and left nuclear tech with some people stuck in gothic horror. It’s a ton of fun! 5 /5

Execution- This book is easy to read, fun to read, hyperlinked, and has good art. That’s honestly all I want in a book. For the page length, the price is pretty standard, but I need to stress it’s well put together. 5/5

Summary- Nothing like nuclear Vikings and atomic weapons to brighten your day or entire coast line! This is a solid book adding new fun twists to both Demon Lord and Wolf. I enjoy how these are added and and something that you can bring in if you want. The crunch is good, but maybe need more. The story is amazing, and something I enjoyed reading from multiple angles. The book itself is a pleasure to read. This is something you should check out if you play Demon Lord or Wolf! 98%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Death Metal
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The True OSR – Obsolete Shi**y Rules - ENG
Publisher: Tin Hat Games
by Edward [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/13/2024 22:40:25

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

Product- The True OSR – Obsolete Shiy Rules System- The True OSR – Obsolete Shiy Rules Producer- Tin Hat games Price- $25.00 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/en/product/454627/the-true-osr-obsolete-shi-y-rules-eng?affiliate_id=658618
TL; DR-What the hell just happened? 87%

Basics- Why don’t we fight about the rules! OSR is to RPG as metal is to music. OSR is an EXTREME rules light RPG. Let’s break this down.

Base Mechanics- This is a d10 based system. You want to do a thing? Roll a d10 and add a bonus from the associated statistics. You get a 6, you succeed! Or not, if the Master(GM) decides the number is higher, or if he or she is just mad that day! This is a rules based game, but not the kind of game where there are many rules.

Combat- Combat is quick and simple. All characters roll initiative. Then in initiative order, you get 2 actions. Actions are moving, attacks, reloading, and anything else you might want to do. When you do an action, you can make it heroic by spending XP and roll on an epic table where you may be awesome or completely fail!

And honestly that's it!

Mechanics or Crunch- This is an interesting one that might be too streamlined! The game is VERY theme heavy and rules light. It might be so rules light that new players might not know how to play, much like early DnD needing a friend to bring you into the cult because the rules were so obscure. That said, it aims to be very punk forward and rules light. And in that it succeeds. What this book does have that is amazing is over 100 pages of random tables full of crazy things for the players to interact with. However, I feel that the rules-light nature hurts it a bit when new players are learning what the hell is happening! 4/5

Theme or Fluff- You can say many things about OSR, but you cannot say it has no theme. This book oozes theme. It’s like hitting a rock concert after hard drugs in a spray painted van. Every page is full of crazy things, art, and words. It is an assault on the reader how much is going on on each page-in a fun way! 5 /5

Execution- This is a good book with one unforgivable sin. This is a fun book, but not a book that honestly reads easily. I “think” I know how to play by reading, but the layout makes following everything a bit hard. There is amazing stuff here, but the disorder overshadows the text. It honestly verges on the distracting sometimes. Also, there are multiple random characters, but I wonder if those are pregens or NPCs. Does it matter? This book also doesn't have an adventure. Give me an adventure to play out of the box please! 4/5

Summary- Someone once said, hippies were mean people cosplaying as nice people and metalheads are nice people cosplaying as mean people. This book feels like that. The book is a full-on assault on the senses, but it's fun. The layout of the rules are kind of all over the place and hard to follow but they are there. Also, they, meaning the author, the rules, or even the community of OSR players, don't care if you use them or not. It's more about crazy gonzo fun. And that is where the book succeeds. This is pure grab your buds, hope you played right, but if you had fun you had fun! It is not balanced in any way, nor is it any sort of guidance in how to run the game. But that’s not the kind of game this is. If you want some even-more-crazy-than-DCCRPG old school tabletop fun, then give OSR a try. If you need even a hint of structure, then this might not be for you. 87%



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The True OSR – Obsolete Shi**y Rules - ENG
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When the Wolf Comes
Publisher: Schwalb Entertainment
by Edward [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/06/2024 21:59:14

Ring Side Report- RPG review of When the Wolf Comes: A Vikingverse Roleplaying Game

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

Product- When the Wolf Comes: A Vikingverse Roleplaying Game

System- Shadow of the Demon Lord

Producer- Schwalb Entertianment

Price- $19.99 here   https://www.drivethrurpg.com/en/product/443491?affiliate_id=658618 

TL; DR-Solid sci-fantasy Viking Shadows of the Demon Lord fun. 99% 

Basics- Where will you be when the wolf comes?!  When the Wolf Comes is a semi-post-apacalypic, semi-fantasy, semi-futuristic Viking version of Shadow of the Demon Lord.  This book covers everything from basic mechanics to how to run a full campaign.  Let’s break this down.

Mechanics or Crunch-  Do you like Shadow of the Demon Lord?  Do you like Vikings?  Do you like Space Vikings?  Then you will like this.  This is just Shadow of the Demon Lord extended to its next evolution as the game moves forward in a solid way.  My one minor issue that is more a personal view is that the end mythic paths are tied to race.  That’s not even bad, just my personal taste in the issue.  The mechanics work and the new stuff here is fantastic.  One of my complaints in TTRPGs in recent years is that character progression was too linear.  This version adds gifts which are akin to feats.  And I love it!  This version fixes my one issue with this system, so this is a solid improvement on an already excellent game.     5/5

Theme or Fluff- The opening of this book is from Schwalb himself praising the author.  This is a solid introduction to the world the author created and ancient Norse as a whole.  It’s a world like our own, but with a split a thousand years ago.  This also isn't just a reskin of a Norse god textbook.  One of the races you expect, dwarves, is not here.  Now you have robots.  Robot servants, so if you want to explore the themes of slavery in your game, have at it!  The base classes are different, and the classes that build off it are all different as well.  This is not just a can of paint on an existing Shadows game, it’s a whole new world to play in.    5 /5

Execution- This is a solid book with one semi-unforgivable sin.  The layout is excellent.  The art is amazing.  And, the book reads well, fast, and fluidly.  I can find what I need as the hyperlinks guide me easily.  There is guidance for new GMs and how to play the COMPLETE system.  This is not just a fluff book, but honestly the whole Shadow of the BLANK system.  There is even an adventure in the back to play right away!  The one thing I want that is not here is four to six premade characters. I know Shadow characters are easy to make, but give me them so I can slam them down and have my friends play in exactly 10 minutes.  Aside from that one, minor issue, this is a fantastic book.  4.9/5

Summary- The most unkind thing I can say about this book is it's simply a splat book for a different version of Shadow of the Demon Lord.  But that does not do this justice.  Any time there are robot dwarves that are not just brass spray painted dwarves with some gears stapled on by another name, but a real, honest to god servitor race with their own issues and even capitalism killing them so you the homeowner have to buy the newest model if you want your floors vacuumed like a roomba with a death sentence, I am hooked.  This takes the simple Shadows gameplay I love and builds it out to a completely new world with new themes and mechanics to explore.  I even get my feats!  It’s not a massive part of the world, but even that small change adds new things mechanically to the system.  I love how the book is put together.  The one thing I want Schwalb Entertainment to do is give me pregens and it will be a near perfect book.  If you even just like the Shadows system and you even just barely like Vikings or you just want to learn more about Norse mythology, then this is the book you need to pick up.  99%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
When the Wolf Comes
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Cryptid Creeks
Publisher: HatchlingDM
by Edward [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/18/2024 08:06:23

Ring Side Report- RPG review of Cryptid Creeks

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

Product- Cryptid Creeks System- Cryptid Creeks Producer- HatchlingDM Price- Pay what you want here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/en/product/480826/cryptid-creeks?affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR-Girl Scouts Call of Needful Things! 93%

Basics- Time to fight the peddler! Cryptid Creeks is a cartoon monster of the week RPG where players are all members of River Scouts. Ghosts and an enigmaticWatcher (think Zordon from the Power Rangers) guide the new scouts as an evil thing called The Peddler gives gifts to people of Clawfoot and bestows curses on them, making them more evil every day. Will you have the day? That’s the hook, and let’s dig into how we play.

Base mechanics- This is apocalypse engine basically with additional parts built in. You want to do a thing? You roll 2d6+modifier. You score 6 or less, bad. 7-9 good with a but. 10-11 good! 12+ CRITICAL and you get some awesome stuff to happen.

Advantage and Disadvantage- If something is good, you have advantage and if something is bad, you have disadvantage. In either case you roll 3d6. For advantage you take the best two and for disadvantage you take the worst two.

Bad things- As you do things, you get misfortune. These are the bad things that happen and give you those disadvantages.

Investigations- The bulk of the game is spent trying to remove curses given to townspeople from the Peddler. To get rid of the curse, the scouts have to investigate. This mostly is the players running around and gathering clues via investigating with their abilities and checks. When the players think they have enough they make a check like above but use the clues they gathered as a bonus and the difficulty of the curse’s investigation as a negative. Know enough and you know how to end the curse.

Sashes and abilities-Players have tools in their arsenal to fight the evil. Players start with one of three classes that give the a watcher’s gift and a playbook move. Both of these give you places where you can throw advantage at a situation. You also have sashes from the past dead members of the River Scouts. You can remove one to gain a bonus to a situation. And lastly you recover clubhouse collections of random things that you can take with you to fight evil.

Ok, let’s review!

Mechanics or Crunch- What’s here is good, but there is not enough to fully help me. I don’t have much experience with the apocalypse engine for RPGs, though it’s easy to run a 2d6+mod as a system. But, the rules discuss moves. I don’t think that term is ever fully discussed. Also, there are examples of how to do all these things, but not enough to fully run through how to do it. That said, I think I understand it. Again, the math is 2d6+mod to see how you do. And furthermore, the game is not designed to be a smash mouth, grind the PC to a paste dungeon crawler. It’s a collaborative story where the GM and the players both have equally active roles in playing and running the game. It just needs more description of how to do this to really make me more comfortable running. 4/5

Theme or Fluff- I love Gravity Falls, and as a child of the 80s, I love Saturday morning cartoons. This is an episode of Scooby Doo that I get to play. If there was a talking dog class, it couldn’t get more on the nose. It’s got a lot of soul in its delivery and world building. 5/5

Execution- While I might be playing by ear for figuring out exactly how to play, there is a lot here. The basics are well covered with hyperlinks, pictures, layout, and two full adventures in the book. What’s more, there are player handouts, black and white maps of the town, character specific character sheets, and even handouts from the get go. This was three bucks for me, and worth every penny. 5/5

Summary-Cryptid Creeks is a fun Saturday morning cartoon. I like the theme and the execution of it, but I need more explanation. It’s very much a narrative RPG and not an adversarial RPG. This is a game you play when you and your friends want to tell a story together and don’t just want to write a book by yourself. So, keeping that in mind, you will have fun. But maybe read the base Apocalypse World book to get a bit more of an idea on the mechanics. 93 %



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cryptid Creeks
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Slav Borg - Post-Soviet Semi-Fantasy Role-Playing Game
Publisher: Slavdom Studio
by Edward [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/12/2024 09:58:51

Ring Side Report- RPG review of Slav Borg

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

Product- Slav Borg System- Mork Borg Producer- Slavdom Studio Price- $26.64 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/en/product/477706/Slav-Borg--PostSoviet-SemiFantasy-RolePlaying-Game?affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR- Mork Borg crossed with Night Watch!. 90%

Basics- Fight the Necromancer Zgol! Slav Borg is Mork Borg set in the eastern block during the fall of communism, but if the world was only goblins, magic, and the fight between the haves, the have nots, people with power(s), and the people caught in the middle, set with the love of cars that Mad Max brings to the table. It has rules for cars, races, multiple new classes, two COMPLETELY NEW ways to play Mork Borg, and even new character elements so your character gets some fun ways to mess with the dice.

Mechanics or Crunch- This is a fun mix, but suffers from some of the same elements that Mork Borg does. What’s here is absolutely amazing. But, I would like a bit more introduction to how to play the game. The new rules are fun, but they also don't have explanations beyond the basics. Running through a few examples would really help. That said, all the Borgs don’t care about being exact with the rules. If you need perfectly balanced encounters where you can rules lawyer through the encounters, just keep walking. This is absolute a grind house epic set in the world of Night Watch (if you don’t know, go check out that underrated classic!) 4.5/5

Theme or Fluff- From my experience, all the Borgs ooze style and this is no different. Honestly, this book is DOUBLE the page count of the original and it uses a hefty bunch of those pages to build a bigger world for you to play in. It’s still gonzo urban slavic and end-stage communist era fantasy, but I am here for it. 5/5

Execution- Slav Borg is a Borg game through and through, and much like the patriarch of the family, this one sacrifices some readability for style. The book is gorgeous in a grime covered, ork infested, end stage communism kind of way. It is a solid love letter to a tragically underappreciated time and setting. That said, its absolute dedication to style hurts legibility. I also didn’t see hyperlinks, and that makes me a slightly annoyed in a book that came out after 2020. And finally, the book is good and gives two new ways to play, with one being a rogue-like adventure method, but it doesn't give a basic adventure. Give me an adventure I can instantly play with my friends when I buy your setting book! But it needs to be stated, my issues are absolutely with what is not here, because what is here is amazing. 4/5

Summary- Slav Borg is in good company. I love the mechanics that are here. I love adding new crazy things to the world. I love the community that decides to take a rules-light world and just throw the craziest damn things at it. This is a new deep vision of a part of the world that lots of people don’t know about and a way to bring it to light. It’s well done, and everything from the miniatures used in the art to the lovingly crafted gritty story is handcrafted. That commitment to the grit motif does make it harder to read and leaves some explanation out. That’s what hurts the product a bit. But my complaints are that I'm wanting more. What’s here is phenomenal and if you want a Mad Max goblin commie block world where you fight the necromancer to save the soul of your family, then this is the book you need to pick up. 90%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Slav Borg - Post-Soviet Semi-Fantasy Role-Playing Game
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Mörk Borg English
Publisher: Free League Publishing
by Edward [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/04/2024 08:13:08

Ring Side Report- RPG review of Mork Borg

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

Product- Mork Borg System- Mork Borg Producer- Free League Publishing Price- $19.99 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/en/product/295910/Mork-Borg-English?affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR- Death Metal DCC RPG mixed with Cypher system set in Dark Souls. 90%

Basics- Hear the call of the double two-headed basilisk! Mork Borg is an old school RPG with themes that feel like you’re playing in an 80s death metal album covers. Let’s break this game down.

Basics- This is a d20 rpg. Your character has four stats and you roll 3d6 for each and use a chart to determine your bonuses for each stat. From then on you will use the bonus for each statistic and roll a d20 with it for any test. The default test success result is a 12.

Combat and Rounds- Each round of combat is about six seconds. This is a VERY old school game as someone rolls a d6. Roll high, the players go first as a group, and low the enemies go first as a group. Each round, each character gets on action and a move. That’s it. What’s interesting is the GM really doesn't roll dice. You attack with a bow? Roll presence+d20 with a DC of 12. You are attacked? Roll agility+d20 DC 12 to not get hit That’s it. It is NOT a deep crunchy system. If you hit or are hit, you roll damage dice and take that much damage.

Classes- There are a few presented classes. These classes give you hit points and different abilities. These are pretty random like most of the system.

Powers- Characters can gain powers. These are either holy or sacred spells. You can use them a number of times per day equal to d4+presence. These allow you to do attacks, talk with animals, or any of a handful of different abilities.

Morale- Monsters run. If they are hurt enough or the leader dies, the may bolt. When they are dealt enough damage or enough of their friends die, someone rolls 2d6. If the result is over their morale, they monsters either run or surrender.

Monsters- Monsters are simple with a number of hit points, a morale score, abilities, and damage for attacks. Each has a beautifully horrible picture.

Alright, thats the basics, let’s dig in.

Mechanics or Crunch- This is a VERY rules-light RPG. You already know almost everything you need to play. It’s not deep, but it works. Some things are not described well though. That’s kind of intentional as this is much more a fun, gritty RPG and not a deep musing on the human condition. It’s much more a SOLID OSR game where you know how to play since you’ve got dice older than some of the kids at the table. But, that rules light approach makes it harder to start playing. 4.5/5

Theme or Fluff- If this game goes deep into one thing, it’s the theme. This game feels like what Dark Souls wants to be. It’s gritty, it’s dark, and it has mysteries wrapped in mysteries and isn’t afraid to make it harder to play to make the atmosphere perfect for the game. It really does feel like playing DnD in a death metal cover. 5/5

Execution- I like this game, but the commitment to theme hurts presentation. The book is hyperlinked. So, it’s good. But the commitment to the zine and hard core metal makes it hard to follow everything. Also, the reliance on audience assumption of how games work is maybe a bit too much. I know what I am doing, because I’ve gamed for over 20 years, but newer players will be completely lost. 4/5

Summary- Mork Borg is an artist committing to their vision. The game itself is exactly what these people wanted. It’s light on rules and deadly without being a slog to play. The theme is exactly the dark world they wanted with enough places to play.and explore. That commitment is admirable, but it does take away from the ease of getting into the game if you don't know what OSR is or how to play old school DnD. It’s a bit of an ask for new players, but for the old grognards like me I understand what they are aiming for. I like what’s here but if you’re newer to RPGs, then ask your older Forever DM friend and we’ll blare some Cannibal Corpse and show you a good time! 90%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mörk Borg English
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Friends in Need
Publisher: Schwalb Entertainment
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/07/2024 07:45:34

Ring Side Report- RPG review of Friends in Need

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

Product- Friends in Need System- Shadow of the Weird Wizard Producer- Schwalb Entertainment Price- $2.49 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/475523/Friends-in-Need?affiliate_id=658618
TL; DR- Solid start to a campaign. 98%

Basics- The blacksmith's gone MAD! The kind hearted man has attacked and been contained but why… Can the heroes save the town from some deeper lurking threat?

Mechanics or Crunch- This is a pretty simple adventure, but solid enough to jumpstart a campaign. The adventure has exploration, combat, and social parts to allow the characters of all types to shine. It’s gonna be a bit hard, but Schwalb Entertainment adventures tend to be a bit killer. Complaining about that is like complaining that spicy food is spicy. It’s balanced for what it’s aiming to be, but still fun for those looking to get into the system and maybe even a campaign. 5/5

Theme or Fluff- Again, this is simple but what Schwalb wants in his adventures for this setting. It's heroic with little to no gore and moral ambiguity. It’s just the heroes finding the cause, finding the solution, and killing bad guys along the way. Solid fun for a hero. 5/5

Execution- I like what’s here, but that’s contingent on there being more in the future. Right now, the item this links to is prepublication. If you want some Weird Wizard, then this is a good enough document (it even has a map!) that will get you playing in about 10 minutes. That’s good, but the layout is a bit lacking. Also, and this is a pet peeve, I want pregens. Give me at minimum a party of four with a better option being eight, two of each base class. They don’t even exist on Schwalb Entertainment’s website. That would make getting this play started even faster, and make getting my friends in even easier. That said, for the price you get a solid adventure with a map to explore. It’s good, but when fully published, it will even be better! 4.75/5

Summary- I do love me some “shadow” system by Schwalb. This is a good, but uncomplicated intro to his vision of how to play. It’s got the three pieces of a good adventure, and will let all the different characters shine. If you need Game of Thrones levels of background and intrigue you will be disappointed by this adventure. For the execution, it works, but this is a prerelease. It’s also pretty cheap, so even if it doesn't massively change after layout, it's still enough to justify the price. So far, I’m happy with how this system is working. 98%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Friends in Need
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The Hidden Library (PF2)
Publisher: Beyond the Horizon
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/30/2024 22:48:34

Ring Side Report- RPG review of The Hidden Library

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

Product- The Hidden Library System- Pathfinder 2nd Ed or DnD 5e Producer- Beyond the Horizon Price- $2 or free! here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product_info.php?products_id=472184%7B1%7D1&discounts_id=99fec55d94&info_message=Discount%20redeemed.%20The%20Hidden%20Library%20%28PF2%29%20has%20been%20added%20to%20your%20cart%20at%20a%20discounted%20price&checkout_after_login=1&?affiliate_id=658618
TL; DR-Good library fun for free! 95%

Basics- Moonlight library madness! Our heroes are hired to infiltrate a library that only appears at night. Can the heroes get in, get the goods, and get out while nature fights them at every turn?

Mechanics or Crunch- This adventure is well balanced and has several different pieces for the players to play with. There’s combat, social, and a big skill test to find the hidden book. Many of the combats use standard creatures, but there are custom encounters and haunts as part of this adventure. Overall, it’s a well done crunch. 5/5

Theme or Fluff- Beyond the Horizon is building a world adventure by adventure. This adventure builds off other published adventures and characters they introduced, and the continuation is appreciated. And as in the crunch, there are social and skill tests to let different players get into the action. It might need a bit more box text to build into the story, but overall it’s well done. 4.75/5

Execution- I like what’s here, but this needs a bit more to be amazing. I like the text and pictures. I have one minor issue with the layout as I think the background color is a bit strong and partially distracts from the text. I like the fact that the adventure has a separate bestiary with all the different monsters in it. I HATE when a book tell me to go somewhere else when I paid for this book! The one issue that might hurt this book is the lack of maps. Other adventures from Beyond the Horizon have had maps, so that might have helped here. But it's hyperlinked and reads fast, so my only issue is I want more. 4.5/5

Summary-The Hidden Library is a solid adventure where my real only issue is that I would like more content. The crunch is good, and the company is building a world piece by piece leading to something bigger. I’m enjoying what is coming out. I would like a bit more story and maps, but if you have some generic maps you will be fine. And for the price of FREE get this one ASAP! 95 %



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Hidden Library (PF2)
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Shadow of the Weird Wizard
Publisher: Schwalb Entertainment
by Edward [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/09/2024 22:16:15

Ring Side Report- RPG review of Shadow of the Weird Wizard

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

Product- Shadow of the Weird Wizard System- Shadow of the Weird Wizard Producer- Schwalb Entertainment Price- $19.99 here https://preview.drivethrurpg.com/en/product/457226/shadow-of-the-weird-wizard?affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR- A LOT more but not what some expected. 99%

Basics- Family friendly fantasy Schwalb! Shadow of the Weird Wizard is Schwalb Entertainment's family friendly fantasy RPG. Let's look at the basics then the breakdown.

Base Mechanics- This game is d20 based with the normal base numbers you would expect. There are only four attributes (strength, agility, intelligence, and will). The interesting part is your abilities directly determine a bonus to any roll. If you are asked to make a will roll, you look at your will attribute, subtract 10, and add that number to a d20 roll. So if you have a will of 13, then then the bonus is +3. Simple. This goes for everything from attacks to opening a lock. The number you are aiming for most times is a 10 for a success.

Boons and banes- Aside from a d20, the other die this game uses often is a d6. If you have an advantage in a situation, then you roll a boon or a d6 and ADD the value to the d20 roll. If you have a disadvantage you roll a bane or a d6 and you SUBTRACT the value from the d20 roll. If you have multiple boons or banes, you roll multiple dice but combine only the most extreme penalty or bonus to your d20 roll. Boons and banes counteract one another, so two banes and three boons mean you get one boon on the roll.

Combat- Combat is a bit simpler than Shadow of the Demon Lord. Here, each side takes a turn with the GM or Sage going first. All their NPCs go first moving, attacking, or casting spells, and then the players can choose whatever order they want to take. Each turn a player can move and take an action. These actions are attacks, spells, and anything else a player can think of.

Leveling up- This is the biggest change Schawlb brings to the world of RPGs. Leveling up in all the Shadow games is simple and occurs quite often. After a four hour adventure, you level up. Not after multiple sessions. Not at specific XP levels. Just after every completed game. Leveling up is also predictable. Level 1 and 2 you get levels in your base class or your novice path. Level 3 and 4 you choose an expert path. 5 is back to your novice path. 6 is your expert path. 7 and 8 are a master path. 9 is your expert path, and finally 10 is the master path final level. The classes/paths are split into four basic areas: fighter, rogue, wizard, and cleric, and this is the same for both the expert and master paths as well. So you can be a novice cleric, then a mountebank (rogue), and finally an alienist (wizard) and the flow will be fun and works well.

Ok, now my breakdown.

Mechanics or Crunch- I like the Shadow games. This is no different. This one doesn't have the slow/fast turn mechanics of the Shadow of the Demonlord, but that will make this appeal to a wider audience of gamers. Aside from that, this game’s goal is to be fast. Schwalb wants to make an approachable game that flows fast. And this does. 5/5

Theme or Fluff- Schwalb is not known for being family friendly. His other stuff is just bizarre and gross AND I LOVE IT. This is meant to be a very different experience. It's well done, but if you want the gothic horror of Shadow of the Demon Lord, you will be disappointed. However, if you want a family friendly game then this is the Schwalb Entertainment that you would bring to the table. 5/5

Execution- This is a solidly put together game that meets all the base requirements I need and want in a book. There is art that breaks up text blocks. There is a solid layout to ease reading. And there are hypertext to make this a breeze to move through quickly. The one thing I do not like is the lack of a walkthrough of making a character and leveling up. I know it's not hard, but those things are something I think really helps the new players. That said, this is a near perfect book for production. 4.9/5

Summary- I have always loved what Schwalb Entertainment puts out. It's a very different philosophy compared to other RPGs and companies. This is no different, but it is a change from the normal tone of Schwalb. Not bad, but different. You have to know exactly what you are getting here. This is a player book, not a full system book. The original Shadow of the Demon Lord was an all in one book. This is not that. If you think that this one book will do it all, you will be disappointed. But this book doesn't skimp on content as you get a crazy amount of things for your money. I just would like a few more examples for perfection. 99%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadow of the Weird Wizard
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The Little Book of GM Gems, Volume 1
Publisher: Dragonlaird Gaming
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/24/2023 22:28:52

Ring Side Report- RPG review of The Little Book of GM Gems, Volume 1

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

Product- The Little Book of GM Gems, Volume 1 System- None Producer- Dragonlaird Gaming Price- $4.99 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/458456/The-Little-Book-of-GM-Gems-Volume-1?affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR- Listen to ancient wisdom! 99%

Basics- Want some free advice? Little Book of GM gems are articles from Knights of the Dinner Table providing ideas for GM of all levels. Let’s break down what’s here.

Mechanics or Crunch- This isn’t a setting or a crunch book. It’s an advice book, so there are no mechanics here. -/5

Theme or Fluff- If this is an advice book, how’s the advice? Honestly, It’s solid. It’s not new, as it's from the Knights of the Dinner Table Comic, but it's good. This is pretty timeless advice that new GMs can use and old GMs can use a refresher on. 5/5

Execution- Overall, this is a well laid out book, but there are a few small issues. Hyperlinks, decent font, good layout, and pictures all make this an easy read. There are some issues with background and the use of a cramped cursive font in the intro of each chapter is a bit hard to read. This is good, but not perfect. 4.9/5

Summary- This is a well done product, but if you should buy depends on what else you have. If you have every Knights of the Dinner Table comic, then this might not be the best purchase. I don’t (one day, but not now!), so this is a solid read as I get some good advice. I’ve gotten some of this advice before from older GMs at cons, but not everyone has that opportunity. This product fits that niche of passing along good advice to GMs who haven’t gotten the expertise from meeting other GMs. It’s not completely new, but it is completely good. It’s a solid product, but make sure you are getting what you want. 99%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Little Book of GM Gems, Volume 1
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Weird Wizard Quick Play
Publisher: Schwalb Entertainment
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/12/2023 22:54:38

Ring Side Report- RPG review of Shadow of the Weird Wizard

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

Product- Weird Wizard Quick Play System- Shadow of the Demon Lord Producer- Schwalb Entertainment Price- FREE here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/447890/Weird-Wizard-Quick-Play?cPath=46428?affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR-Classic fantasy from the Schwalb?! 100%

Basics- We must face the weird wizard! Shadow of the Weird Wizard is Shadow of the Demon Lord brought to a much more traditional and family friendly world from Robert Schwalb. Let’s break down the quick start and then the review!

Mechanics- This is classic Shadow of the Demon Lord game play. It’s d20 based but numbers are MUCH smaller than your classic DnD 3.5. Bonuses to rolls are attribute - 10. A 12 means you get a +2 to the roll and a 7 would mean a -3. If things are good you get boons where you roll a d6 and add, and banes are roll a d6 and subtract. You get the sum total of boons and banes together and you get a total of up to 3d6 taking the best/worst to any roll.

Combat- Schwalb’s games are not crunch forward. It’s VERY quick! Monsters go, then players go. Each turn you get a move and an action. Interestingly enough, most dice rolls are either a d20 or a d6.

Ok, Let’s discuss.

Mechanics or Crunch- I will admit my bias here, but I love Shadow of the Demon Lord's simplicity. You won’t have 20 pages of character sheet at level 10 (as high as this system goes), but you also get to play and understand quickly. But, it is a choice. If you need 20 different levels to pull in your game, this won’t be the system for you. Me? I love my 500 points of character building in Shadowrun and love my 1 die systems, so this is just a well done, slick system that will have you playing in under 10 minutes. Aside from that, the other controversy here is game length. Each session you level up. So if you start out level 0, you get about 11 sessions to play. That seems way too short, but in a conversation with the man himself, he brought up that most game groups might not even last that long till life takes them apart. His focus is on much more tight stories that you can complete. And again, that won me over. 5/5

Theme or Fluff- This is the most controversial part of Schwalb’s work, but this system doesn't do what we would expect here. Weird Wizard is MUCH more traditional fantasy than Demon Lord. Demon Lord I felt was a bit more gothic and MUCH MUCH More grotesque. Now I love me some off the wall Schwalb based horror, but I can see how that would be too much for some people. This isn’t that. This feels much more in line with your classic fantasy. It’s got some interesting elements with the fey, but it's wizards doing strange things and having to be put down. And given what I’ve seen it looks like it will be a fun ride along the way. 5/5

Execution- This is a free product, but it does give a bit of what to expect in the final production. It’s pretty bland in terms of art, but again it's there for a system intro. And I have to say, I like it. The art of the kickstarter is good, so if that’s an indication of a full product, I’m happy. The other books have hyperlinks, art, and all the things I now require to be happy. For a free product, this points in a solid direction. 5/5

Summary- Pretty much whenever Schwalb puts out a kickstarter, I drop about 100 bucks getting all the digital toys. And this is no different. I love the simplicity of the system and the craziness of the world that is built. It’s interesting to discuss a new project where the controversy might be the lack of that gore/craziness. If you want a game you can play with the kids, those of a less cast iron stomach, or those who just want to be regular fantasy knights and dragon slaying heroes, then this is your game. A more traditional world with Schwalb’s simple mechanics, and solid production gets you VERY far with this product and I can’t recommend it enough. Check out this free product. 100%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Weird Wizard Quick Play
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Space Station M - Monster Manual Zines for 5e, DCC RPG, SURVIVE THIS!!, and System Neutral rulesets
Publisher: Bloat Games
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/23/2023 22:05:34

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Space Station M - Monster Manual Zines for 5e, DCC RPG, SURVIVE THIS!!, and System Neutral rulesets

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

Product- Space Station M - Monster Manual Zines for 5e, DCC RPG, SURVIVE THIS!!, and System Neutral rulesets System- 5e, DCC RPG, SURVIVE THIS!!, and System Neutral rulesets Producer- Bloat Games Price- $10.00 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/434966/Space-Station-M--Monster-Manual-Zines-for-5e-DCC-RPG-SURVIVE-THIS-and-System-Neutral-rulesets?src=hottest_filtered&affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR-Solid retro player toys and monsters 97%

Basics- Time to fire the cold beam and then fire some missiles! Space Station M is a love letter to Metroid video games, being both a monster manual and an armory with art and creature breakdowns for all the classic monsters you find in almost every Metroid game.

Mechanics or Crunch- This book gives you the crunch of Metroid! You have the monsters you expect and they do the things you think they should do. I didn't feel anything was broken or game breaking in either the foes you face or the toys they drop when they die. I am impressed that this is both the monster manual and the treasure vault for these in one. 5/5

Theme or Fluff- If you know what you are getting, you are going to get a solid product. This is NOT an adventure. It’s monsters. If you expect a story you can play through, you will have a bad time. But, the book says that explicitly, so it's not a trick on their part. What is here is solid, and the monsters feel like they should. The equipment is almost everything you would expect, but I miss the grapple beam and the ball power ups. 4.75/5

Execution- PDF? Yep. Hyperlinked? No….. Solid Art? Yep. Good layout? Yes. Overall these are a solid books with good art, layout, and a fun art style. The things that I miss are hyperlinks and maybe pictures for all the equipment. Nothing is horrible and it’s a perfectly good product, but I’ve grown to expect hyperlinks. 4.75/5

Summary- This is a solid product, if you know what you are getting. I thought there would be an adventure. That is completely on me. It makes no claim to that. Once I got over that, I saw the product for what it is: solid, retro game vibes and modern mechanics for my favorite sci-fi franchise. I'd like a few more toys and hyperlinks, but you will enjoy this if you want monsters and items to throw into your 5e, Survive This, and DCC/MCC games. 97%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Space Station M - Monster Manual Zines for 5e, DCC RPG, SURVIVE THIS!!, and System Neutral rulesets
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Outgunned - Quickstart
Publisher: Two Little Mice
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/06/2023 16:20:28

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

Product- Outgunned System- Outgunned Producer- Two Little Mice Price- $0 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/433185/Outgunned--Quickstart?affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR- Shadowrun lite action movie?? 98%

Basics- Getting too old for this! Welcome to the world of 80s action movies! Outgunned is a light weight RPG focused on action movies from the 80s. Let’s break this down and see what’s up!

Actions and dice rolls- This game has attributes and skills. When you do anything, you pick an attribute and an associated skill, count the number you have in each, and then roll that many d6s. This number can never go below 2 and can never go above 9. Your goal is to get sets of the same number or symbol on the shared dice. Two is a basic success and three of a kind is a critical. Most actions you want to do require critical success.

Feats and rerolls- You further customize your character by getting feats. These abilities often get you rerolls for specific actions. You can also reroll dice if you get a basic success to try to get a better success. BUT, you lose that success if you fail.

Adrenaline- As story candy! Adrenaline is the story candy of this game that you earn by acting like your characters. You can spend one to get an extra die on a roll, one to activate some feats, and you can spend six to get the spotlight. Spotlight is when you are a god among men doing crazy things, saving lives, ignoring pain, or whatever the heck you want!

Combat rounds- Combat is very free form in this game. The heroes take a turn doing anything, and the bad guys respond. If the heroes succeed on their actions they can do whatever game plan they had or just injure the bad guys. For the response players need to tell the director/GM how they avoid damage and make a roll. Failure means losing grit/HP. There is not a number of bad guys, but instead a giant pool of grit that the bad guys share, so you don't get one shot kills on bad guys too easily, but you do get an action movie vibe where heroes kill a wave of thugs.

Ok, on to my thoughts.

Mechanics or Crunch- This is a prelaunch for the kickstarter, so you can’t see everything. But I am intrigued. The basics of add two numbers, roll that many dice, and count sets is an interesting one. The bad guy hit point pool is fun and an easy way to keep the action movie feel. I do have some rules questions on how to do all that, but the full rules will hopefully explain more. 4.75/5

Theme or Fluff- Ya, this feels like an action movie. I’m honestly surprised there are not that many puns in the book, but it feels like an action movie in terms of the rules, art, and characters. 5/5

Execution- PDF? Yep. Cheap intro? Yep. Hyperlinked? Yep. Free adventure? Yep. Pregens with nice art? Yep. SOLD! That’s all the things I need out of an intro to get me and my friends to the table. I read it in about 15 minutes and now I think I could run the provided adventure. 5/5

Summary- As I get older, rules light and fast is more and more fun. I also like brainless action movies where bullets and popcorn flow in equal, reckless abandon. This feels like that. I have the basic system of Shadowrun (add number and roll d6s) with the simplicity of an indie game. I have some questions on mechanics, but its a FREE intro. Those will hopefully be fixed in the full game. I’m in for the kickstarter, and you reader should at least check out the free PDF. Solid intro to this game. 98%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Outgunned - Quickstart
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Dragonbane Quickstart
Publisher: Free League Publishing
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/23/2023 19:31:28

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Dragonbane Quickstart

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

Product- Dragonbane Quickstart System- Dragonbane Producer- Free League Publishing Price- FREE here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/409397/Dragonbane-Quickstart?cPath=27806_43182?affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR- DnD 5e, The Dark Eye, Call of Cthulhu, and for some reason Savage Words had an awesome baby! 91%

Basics- Time for something different! Dragonbane is a new edition of an older Scandinavian RPG. Let’s look at this new yet old RPG!

Base mechanics- This is the mix of 5e and The Dark Eye. Everything is a d20 roll where you try to roll under a skill. More skill ranks mean more likely to succeed. The solid 5e parts are the notions of advantage/boon and disadvantage/bane. It functions just like in 5e! But even more fun is pushing the roll. That's exactly like Call of Cthulhu. You failed a roll? You can reroll, but things get worse if you fail.

Combat, turns, and reactions- Time for Savage Worlds to stride in! Combat initiative is a deck of cards numbered 1 to 10, so not a perfect copy, but high card goes first instead of high roll goes first. Players on their turn take an action and move like DnD, BUT you can instead interrupt another action to dodge or parry an attack. You roll a d20 vs a skill level to attack or dodge and if you succeed, you deal damage or jump out of the way. Damage is rolled like DnD, but armor reduces damage instead of adding to an AC. When you act, you turn your card over until the next round starts. When anything hits zero HP it's down.

Willpower and magic- In addition to hit points, you also have will power. Will power is kind of like MP in any other RPG. You spend will power to cast spells and to do special abilities. Some abilities and spells have levels where you spend more power you hit even harder. And just like above, you roll vs your own skill to do the ability.

Ok, thats the basics! Time for the review.

Mechanics or Crunch- The mechanics here are all the things I love. Roll under is an amazing mechanic! Advantage and disadvantage and d20 dice for fantasy are always a solid addition. Cards are a fun way to do init that is not crazy hard to do, but different enough to be novel. I love Final Fantasy and adding magic points in is a fun way for me to do something just a bit different. I love what’s here for mechanics! 5/5

Theme or Fluff- This is the hard part for me about this book. The pictures are good, the book has a simple adventure AND sample characters. The worlds looks interesting, BUT there isnt any real discussion of the world and environment. I like what I see, but I just wish I knew what it was about more. 3.75/5

Execution- This is a free, hypertext, PDF with an adventure, MAPS, characters, character art, and solid layout. THIS IS WHAT I LOVE! 5/5

Summary-Just go get this. It’s free and it’s well done. This is all the toys I love in an RPG oneshot. It's got all the things I want in a solid book. My one major issue is I want more worldbuilding. That’s a problem I hope is solved in the complete book, so I can’t suggest this enough! 92%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dragonbane Quickstart
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Basic Roleplaying
Publisher: Chaosium
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/12/2023 17:50:26

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

Product- Basic Roleplaying System- Basic Roleplaying Producer- Chaosium Price- $15 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/24384/Basic-Roleplaying&affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR- Want to play Runequest in whatever world you want? 95%

Basics- Why not do EVERYTHING! Basic Roleplaying is Chaosium’s basic game design for their systems, with rules for a basic RPG and then additional rules to build out different type of games from magic spells, mutations, weapons, and combat actions.

Basic mechanic- This game uses the same percentile system as most of their products. Take the basic skill or attribute and try to roll under it. Attributes are your standard DnD ones, but then you multiply by 3 for hard checks or 5 for normal checks and attempt to roll under that value. Roll under and succeed!

Powers- Powers come in LOTS of varieties here. Mutations and super powers almost function like feats in other games. Magic, psychic abilities, and sorcery are more akin to spells in Call of Cthulhu with a character using power points.

Combat-Combat is a bit more advanced than Call of Cthulhu, but builds well and shows its influence on Runequest. In turn order, you do an action. Opposed rolls like attacks allow an opponent to do dodges or parries, but each dodge or parry has an escalating chance of failure. From there you consult a chart to see how hard you hit or miss.

Ok, thats the basics, let’s look at my thoughts!

Mechanics or Crunch- Do you like Runequest? I do, but it’s not my favorite. I prefer the simplicity of Call of Cthulhu for managing mechanics. Then again, you can’t get the gritty nature of combat like you do in Runequest. It’s much less “roll and check your percentage” and more “let’s compare skills/attributes, then check a chart,then maybe oppose roll” So, there is a trade off of what you want in the game. None of that is bad in any way, but how deep do you want the game to be? Some days you just want a simple ham sandwich and some days you want nine layers of flavor. Both are good at the right time. The one thing that I feel Call of Cthulhu misses is feats or character qualities. This has it, but I still don’t completely get what I want as its not just “You’re better at X or get a reroll with Y.” Sure its simple, but I would like that small thing to make this game just a hair closer to DnD’s bonuses. Overall, solid crunch that misses a few things by a just a bit. 4.5/5

Theme or Fluff- Theme is hard to judge here. This is the basic game, so its basically for everything. I feel its well done, but its also VERY general. But thats on purpose. If you wanted a high fantasy game or a superheroes game, this book would honestly work for both. It also has a bit of art and themes for both as well. 5/5

Execution- What’s here is good, but the book just needs a bit more pizazz. There is art, decent layout, the text reads easy, and there are hyperlinks because this is 2023. That said, the book is completely black and white all the way though, so even though I’m reading a book on a tablet it feels like I’m reading a hardcover in the 80s. That’s nitpicky, but that’s the worst I have to say. 4.75/5

Summary- How much you like this book comes down to how much you like how Chaosium handles games in general. Do you like percentile-based systems? Chaosium does it the best with Call of Cthulhu. I would argue the second best is Runequest. This book feels like the precursor to the latest edition of Runequest with lots of mechanics being identical between them. So, to find out if you like this book and system, just ask yourself “Do I want to play Runequest set in X?” If you want Runequest in a sci-fi setting, then this is a good book. If you want Runequest in Tolkien, then this would be a good book. I would turn down none of those, so I like this book. Still, want my feats and some color art, but for the price and all the things you get with it this is a fantastic general system to get into right away. 95%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Basic Roleplaying
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