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Pendragon: Core Rulebook
Publisher: Chaosium
by Chris [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/14/2024 09:09:11

I was greatly looking forward this but I'm now greatly disappointed. The book should not be called "core rulebook' it should be called a player's handbook. It constantly tells you about something at a high level only to pull the rug out from under you and then say you need a completely different book that isn't even published yet. It's frustrating as heck.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Pendragon: Core Rulebook
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Pulp Era Tokens Set 11, Civilians 2
Publisher: Greg Bruni
by Christopher J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/25/2022 08:40:22

I've bought more Greg Bruni tokens than I can count at this point. There absolutely perfect. I can't praise this guy enough. My only complaint is there aren't more of them :)

I run a Call of Cthulhu (Pulp) game and have all of this 1930s themed token. I also own a metric ton of others for my one off D&D games and what not.

Lovely art!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pulp Era Tokens Set 11, Civilians 2
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Southlands Worldbook for 5th Edition
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Christopher J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/09/2021 10:11:41

No map outside of the book.

I'll leave a review about the content once this is addressed.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Southlands Worldbook for 5th Edition
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Creator Reply:
The kobolds are happy to say that a digital map is available outside the print book in three locations, at Kobold Press Store in PDF, at the Midgard Map site, and here on DTRPG. Check it out! https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/374938/Southlands-Regional-Map
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Genesys - Shadow of the Beanstalk
Publisher: EDGE Studio
by Christopher J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/02/2019 18:05:09

Like almost all FFG books, the production values are top notch. The content is... well, it's both good and bad. The mechanics are solid and thoroughly vetted, like the Genesys core rulebook and undoubtedly thanks to the predecessor Star Wars books. As such, it comes with all the benefits and flaws of the narrative dice system. If you don't like Star Wars, you won't like this much. Conversely, I enjoy the hell out of SW and Genesys so this is right up my alley. The expansions on Net "running", cybernetic modifications, and genetic modifications are well thought out and streamlined so as not to drag the game down when a character leverages those mechanics. The archetypes are decent, if a bit narrow, and typical of the genre.

The setting is where the book stumbles. Android clearly has years of development behind it as a setting, and a lot of creative depth that does not adequately come through in the SotBS book. To be fair, that's understandable given the book's size constraints and the need to address the game mechanics. What's frustrating is that the editors basically did a half-assed job at choosing what to present of said setting, and how to present it. There's a depressing lack of maps to put the district descriptions into better context. There are small write ups of one or two "notable" denizens per district but they mostly miss the mark. There's a surprising amount of text repetition (not concept repetition, but text), typos, and an overall lack of clarity ("L-platforms" are only explained, with one sentence, about 150 pages in, for instance). Given the futuristic cyberpunk setting, you don't need the authors to walk you through every neologism and slang term right off the bat as that allows the reader to gradually immerse themselves in it, but better editorial vision and cohesion would have made reading this less of a burden. There's clearly a need to pair this with the Worlds of Android book; that's fine. I'd be more than happy to pay for it since, despite the above criticisms, it's a good book and a great setting. It's just not really designed for people who are new to the Android world, like myself. Unfortunately, the Worlds of Android book doesn't exist as a PDF -- I'll nonetheless pick up a hard copy, but since I bought the SotBS PDF here that's a bit of a pain in the ass, to be frank.

Edit: The Worlds of Android book is out at DriveThru Fiction; it's a much needed addon and makes this purchase well worth it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Genesys - Shadow of the Beanstalk
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Element Class Cruisers: Ship Builder's Blueprints
Publisher: Mongoose
by Christopher J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/08/2019 21:32:38

This is the kind of dense, meaty product that makes Traveller shine. The writer is one of the best in Mongoose's stables (IMHO); his prose is clear, concise, and flows smoothly from one page to the next, even in the rule systems sections. This product has a plethora of rules additions and modifications for running a thoroughly immersive naval campaign. The crunch is modular, so you can pick and choose to use the bits you're comfortable with. Then there are the blueprints - holy cow, these are massive and high quality. The actual blueprints have 2 more files than the print-friendly black and white ones (Forward comms and the Courier / High Guard poster).

I wish Mongoose had a more aggressive publication schedule because products like this make me want to buy more, more, more.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Element Class Cruisers: Ship Builder's Blueprints
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Truth or Dare
Publisher: Mongoose
by Christopher J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/30/2018 08:17:37

The book is not funny, which is sad because of the sheer joy and giggles one can have with the other books in the Paranoia line. A lot of the "jokes" are forced and land with a thud. The adventure itself is also disappointing in that it railroads the PCs even more than usual. Fully half of the book is the GM sheparding the PCs from one costume change to the next with only lip service paid to the possible permutations. (I would have said "amusing permutations" if there was any legit humor evident.)

The core conceit is actually interesting, just so poorly executed. 1 participation prize out of 10.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Truth or Dare
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Star Trek Adventures: Command Division supplement
Publisher: Modiphius
by Christopher J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/07/2018 09:43:47

Significantly better written and edited than the STA core rulebook, it provides an interesting overview of the backbone of Starfleet, and to a lesser degree the Federation as a whole. There is also a refreshing lack of flavor text, something which nearly cripples the core rulebook. The new command-centric talents are a welcome addition, and the command discipline is presented in a very comprehensive way with regard to how it plays off of the other disciplines. While the book doesn't patch the most egregious flaws of the core rulebook, it does a nice job of triaging many of them.

The only serious complaint I have about this book is the utter derth of starship pictures to accompany the 14 new ships. In a game where the ship is as important a "character" as the PCs, describing a bunch of ships with no visual reference seems rather absurd.

Fortunately, Google is our friend. Unusual Suspex at DeviantArt has a comprehensive catalogue for orthograpically-presented Starfleet ships for your reference. (https://unusualsuspex.deviantart.com/)



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Star Trek Adventures: Command Division supplement
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Infinity: Infinity RPG Core Book
Publisher: Modiphius
by Christopher J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/02/2018 18:03:18

Bad, bad writing and the worldbuilding is astoundingly lazy. The logic behind how the future history unfolds is lacking and displays only a superficial understanding of how the world and cultures function. It tries to be Very Serious Science Fiction but it's just incredibly pretetious twaddle.

The 2d20 system is quite good, though, and the book has very high production values. Too bad it isn't more like Conan or Star Trek.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Infinity: Infinity RPG Core Book
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S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks Conversion (5E)
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Christopher J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/17/2017 07:40:16

Well worth the price of admission. The author does an outstanding job of sensibly converting the monsters and encounters. What makes this product that much more awesome are the tiny touches of baroque sci-fi he adds to the original descriptions (reminsence of WH40k). They are not in-your-face intrusive, just small telling details here and there.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks Conversion (5E)
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Creator Reply:
Thank you. May you not be infested with russet mold!
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Pugmire Core Rulebook
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Christopher J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/02/2017 08:20:13

A good game clearing written for young adults and novice roleplayers. It features a seriously slimmed down take on the Fifth Edition SRD, and a level cap of 10. The setting is charming if a bit shallow. The writing is simple, with the author talking in the first person to the audience; this serves the purpose of making the text more affable but also a bit condescending. The two "social commentary" digressions are an apology for the use of the gender-neutral "Man", and a reminder that love isn't constrained by gender or species. Both of these are wholly unncessary and rather tedius, to be honest, especially in this day and age.

Although a young adult game, actual adults can clearly enjoy it as well. It would be especially entertaining diversion from other games, perhaps as a series of loosely interlinked one-shots. Unless you're playing Werewolf: The Acronym, this is great alternative for playing anthropomorphic characters.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Pugmire Core Rulebook
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Guide to Alpha Complex
Publisher: Mongoose
by Christopher J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2017 08:18:02

A really enjoyable, as with anything James Wallis et al touch. It's short, and expensive. The length is what it is -- honestly, this really feels like it was designed to be part of the boxed set and then pulled out to be sold separately. As with anything Mongooses produces, the pricing is ridiculous for the page count.

As mentioned in the description and Megan's review, this is essentially a Read This First document for newly awakened clones. It provides and a very gentle introduction to the Paranoia setting in a highly amusing way. It's the perfect counterpart to the player's guide.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Guide to Alpha Complex
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Eclipse Phase: Panopticon
Publisher: Posthuman Studios
by Christopher J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/18/2017 10:19:49

I have a love/hate relationship with these books. On the one hand, they are insanely comprehesive and well written, and the setting is fantastic and unique (even where it borrows from other novels, games, etc, it does so in such a way that it's with love and not a blatant ripoff). On the other hand, science aside (which is always plausible and well thought out) the authors exhibit careless, lazy thinking when it comes to extrapolation of future culture, economics, politics, and social structure. Basically anything the hard sciences don't address.

At first, I had attributed this to the in-character voices of the narrators, but after purchasing a ton of their PDFs and hardbacks I've come to realize that this is not the case. It's the writers' own wishful thinking and biases seeping through. This is not good sci-fi. This has nothing do with whether I agree or disagree with said biases, that's irrelevant. If you want to use sci fi to comment on the human condition or as a fanciful reflection of the real world, fine. There's a long tradition of that. The problem is that it's so poorly executed and ham fisted.

I've left out specific examples because this isn't a review of any one's politics or beliefs (I may very well agree with a lot of them). I'm merely looking at the craft behind this book (which as yet is the most egregious example of this).

Regarding the expansion of the EP universe: I love it, despite my above reservations. These guys are passionate world builders and it shows. The mechanics, as always, are relegated to later in the book. A person who doesn't run EP could buy these books for the setting alone and they would work fantistically.

I've spent entirely too much money on this game and don't regret it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: Panopticon
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