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Tunnels & Trolls 1st Edition reprint
Publisher: Flying Buffalo
by William H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/09/2021 03:05:16

This is a faithful reprint of the original edition of T&T, the one that broke out in 1975.

To be blunt, I prefer 5th and 5.5 to this edition. I got it to see how different it was from 5th, and it's not terribly so, but it's also got some very singificant differences. Rogues are slightly different. All saves are on Luck. The weapon list is shorter, and the weapon dice are slightly lower.

There's a good reason the game has lasted, and while this has most of that, it's not the 5th ed I love.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tunnels & Trolls 1st Edition reprint
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Talisman Adventures Fantasy Roleplaying Game
Publisher: Pegasus Press
by William H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/17/2021 22:58:27

This is a delightful game! I've been running twice to thrice a month short (2 hour) sessions for 3½ months, my players' have hit 4th level, and we're having a wonderfully silly time. The game plays fast, plays well, and while tilted in players' favor, isn't obviously so.

The rulebook tone is fairly neutral, but will easily support both serious and humorous playstyles. Now, to be blunt, this is based upon a board game, and embraces the setting therein by making the map a direct morph from the boardgame. It's also a game related to Warhammer, so weapons are very samey... but that's not unrealistic. Yes, it's based upon Talisman: The Magical Quest Game. Don't let that make you turn away, tho', for it's a solid RPG where NPCs have Strength, Crafter, lifepoints, a Threat score, and some special abilities. The ebook is very pretty; there is some errata, but overall it's well written and fairly clear, with great and evocative art.

Key points about the system:

  1. D6 only - but you need either two sizes or two colors.
  2. Skill & Attribute driven mechanics
  3. Player Facing Mechanics - players make almost all the rolls
  4. 7 Ancestries (species), 3 backgrounds each
  5. 10 classes, each providing skills and abilitiees
  6. Robust NPC rules
  7. Simple enough for Theater of the Mind combat, but supports gridded play as well.
  8. Pretty good bestiary.
  9. Tone and art can support a range of tone
  10. Metacurrency: Fate Points. Used for rerolls and/or triggering special abilities, adding an extra die rolled, improving success to Great (but not exceptional)
  11. Weapons list simple
  12. As with Warhammer games, most weapons are pretty generic.
  13. a significant number of magic items, most with good and bad points.

The core mechanic is a 3d6 roll, using one of them being different in color or size, being called the kismet die. The fate die showing 6 gets you a bonus, showing a 1 a side effect or complication. You get to modify the roll by an aspect (comparable to attributes in other games) if you are skilled. The sum of the 3 dice (plus aspect if skilled, and situational modifiers, if any) is compared to the target number, for equal or greater than it. Quaflity of success is by tuples: a matched pair in the roll is a Great Success, and triple is an Extraordinary Success.

In combat, the quality of success matters heavily. Players go in any desired order, picking their opponents. If that opponent can attack back, they do so, and so the player's attack resolves the turn for both. Opponents who were not attacked go at end of round. NPCs don't roll to hit. If they're attacked, the player's success level on attacking determines if the NPC hits. If the NPC wasn't attacked, the player rolls a defense. This lends itself really well to Theater of the Mind play, while not being a problem at all for gridded play. (I've used both with no issues.) If the player fails, they take full damage; a simple success, they do full and take half; Great Success is take none and do full, and Exceptional Success is as Great, but with a bonus.

The various special abilities have 5 kinds of triggers... kismet die shows a 6, kismet die shows a 1, spend a fate point, always on, or a specific condition thematic for the ability.

Advantage: spending fate, having certain special abilities, or particular circumstances can grant a 4th die... the kismet die and 2 of the 3 others are read, player's choice. Sometimes, it's the highest, sometimes, it's the one that gives a tuple so that one can claim a better success.

Note that the key element of NPC's is the threat rating; that's essentially the target to hit them and the difficulty of avoiding their attacks; this makes adding new ones pretty straight forward. Pick a strength, a craft, a life point total, and a threat around 10+Strength or 10+Craft, and add some special abiliteies.

The rules provide robust handling for, and a long list of, NPCs as followers and as stangers. There are a good number of magic items, many of which are taken from the board game. The spells, likewise, will be familiar to the players of the board game.

Advancement is actually a bit quicker than I expected, with our two hour sessions generating 2-4 XP, and the few 4 hour ones being 4-7 XP. Leveling up costs 6+current level XP be spent. Extra XP can be spent on followers. Treat your followers well, or they can and will go away. They also get XP for coming into use in the session.

My group opted for silly; I could easily run this on serious fantasy mode, but if youo want to slow down just adjust the needed XP.

Bottom Line: Solid game, fun take on the setting, well executed.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Talisman Adventures Fantasy Roleplaying Game
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ALBEDO: PLATINUM CATALYST + STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY [Legacy]
Publisher: Sanguine Productions
by William H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/29/2019 03:45:41
Disclaimer:

I'm a fan of the setting and of the other Albedo game... so my expectations are built around that.

The Sanguine Game

The system is largely the same as the other games by Sanguine. They use skill driven rolls, multiple sets of standard polyhedrals needed, and attributes as a pool of bonuses. Their unusual mechanics make this game a hard sell for many on a mechanical basis. They do have a good variety of types, and some others can be ported in from the other games.

The Sanguine Approach to the Setting

Sanguine chose to take an "Active Duty EDF Officer" approach, and an "Active Wartime" approach. This is somewhat different than the prior game, and not quite the take most players I have managed to get to play in the setting liked. That said, it's not a totally wild hair, either - the cold war in the comics between the EDF and the ILR was bound to boil over again, and that's where they took it. There is no support for civilian PC's, but it's not hard to add it. The game is focused on small unit military actions, most likely against the ILR. (Independent Lapine Republic - yes, Rabbits are the bad-guys.) It's well suited for such games, and reads very much like a minitures combat ruleset. The lack of space ship rules is also a problem - I was hoping there would be ship rules, but there are not, unlike the older game; the main characters in the comics are space forces officers...

The PDF itself

The PDF version is the full text of both books, in what looks to be OEF for the core, and scanned and OCR for the second. There are no bookmarks, no covers, and no hotlinking. Usable, searchable, but not to the standard I've come to expect from the industry. Further, it's a single PDF of both volumes, not a bundle.

The price

Given that the Magenta game is essentially the same mechanics , with Mr. Gallachi's IP removed, and is "Pay what you want," $15 seems a bit steep. Value for money? iffy.

Update 2019

I noticed recently that the PDF was updated last year. The issue with the poor scan of Structural Integrity has been remedied, but it's still not bookmarked. The cover scan allows for having it printed by OBS, so dead tree is now available. I am disappointed that they didn't add bookmarks at least for the chapter level.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
ALBEDO: PLATINUM CATALYST + STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY [Legacy]
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Land of OG
Publisher: Ulisses Spiele
by William H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/23/2019 00:16:38

The concept is great. Roleplay cavemen in a prehistory that never was.

The art is thematic and well suited to the game. Some of it is clearly part of the parody element... The Healthy Caveman Class is illustrated with a drawing that is evocative of Richard Simmons in his prime. (Kids, look him up.)

The original layout is nicely done, with a "small press, late 90's to early 2000's" feel, but a few minor issues with not makeing clear section vs subsection header text (subsection header is in the 1st paragraph of the subsection; section header is a line to itself).

The mechanics are the parody element... The rules are playable, they are intelligible, but they seem to be very much OSR-style Early D&D adapted. It is a delightful read, even if one doesn't play it. GIven the mechanics, if one likes Early D&D type mechanics,

The mechanics use 6 attributes, on a 1-18 scale, with 1d6 per attribute, and a second die for your class' prime attribute. Attributes are Strength, Brains, Speed, Banging, Health, Grunting. Classes are Strong, Smart, Fast, Banging, Healthy, and Grunting. There's a 9 point "Attitude" parody of AD&D alignment. Each attribute has several scores, each class has several scores. These interact to provide various resolutions. They are simple, easily understood, but given the 20 statistics, this seems a bit overtaken.

The Big Thematic Rule is that players may only use words off the word list when playing. And not even all of them. There's a small oversight here, in that the characters can only understand those words they know, but since the words known by others will be used, the player has to remember to ignore words they don't know. Still, this restriction makes the game.

Combat is done using d6's, roll low. Attacker gets attack dice from attributes and weapon, loses some for target's defense (from attributes and gear), keeping at least 1 no matter how high the defense, and rolls for hit numbers per die based upon class and level of attacker. Each success is 1 point of damage.

The PDF layout is letter-sized landscape with the original's digest (half-letter) portrait putting two facing pages on one sheet-side... a suboptimal choice. It not only makes printing it into a booklet near impossible, but also makes readability on phones, typical 4-7" e-Ink readers, and small tablets. It's fine on a laptop screen, but any good PDF reader (even before 2004, when I originally got this PDF) could display 2 digest pages at a time and could do booklet printing or 2-up printing.

For many years, I've avoided writing this review... in part, because I love the concept (having written a game about similar subject matter in a far more serious tone), and in part because I didn't want to be harsh on what was clearly meant to be fun. Truth is, I find the concept great, but the rules suboptimal for my range of enjoyed playstyles.

Around 2008, I got the Og: Unearthed edition. It is mechanically almost entirely different... cleaner, simpler... but retains the word list. In all fairness, if one likes Old-School mechanics, this will work; if one wants more focused storygame type simpler mechanics, go for Unearthed, instead.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Land of OG
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Consent in Gaming
Publisher: Monte Cook Games
by William H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/16/2019 03:43:58

This product makes several assumptions explicit that are toxic to good communication of what is and is not in bounds; it becomes garbage the moment it states,

  • It doesn’t matter why consent wasn’t given.
  • Nobody has to explain why they’re not consenting.
  • There may not be a reason why they’re not consenting.

At that point, it's setting people up for things sliding into areas that are tangential but adjacent to the things off limits.

For example, if I mark real world religion, but don't explain why, it's entirely possible that a fantasy parody that the GM doesn't realize is parodying a real world religion is in fact even MORE offensive to me.

Consent, or non-consent, is not a matter for non-discussion; why someone isn't consenting is important, because, unlike the sexual fetish scene, which this seems liberally plagiarized from, the triggers are not black-and-white, and it's very easy to cross lines unintentionally, while this advises as if it is.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Consent in Gaming
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Sword & Planet
Publisher: Raphael Lima
by William H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/10/2018 02:06:29

The rules system needs examples of character gen and the task modes (Knowledge, knowledge in career, advantage, disadvantage), and needs more setting generation to be worth while. The one setting table (arrival via) is a good start, and adding enough additional tables to provide a good hook with at least three components, for example, type of world, type of and number of primary cultures, and primary conflict type would round it out to a useful tool for those quick and casual - by giving a little bit more, it makes it easier to grab the game and go. There is promise, but as it is, it's not enough to be inspirational, and the mechanics math is workable, but not to my taste.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Sword & Planet
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The One Ring - Journeys and Maps
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by William H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/13/2016 19:07:49

The product is, primarily about the maps. The maps, however, are at 1/8th the usual-for-Cubicle7 linear resolution, making half the product of VERY limited utility. The pixelation was noticeable at 100% view in acrobat, unlike other products in the line. Worse, this was an intentional crippling by the company, so as "to prevent competition" with the hardcopy product... (according to Jon Hodgeson, of C7.) In short, the text isn't worth $14.95 even dead tree, and the maps are almost worthless at the included resolution. Being a PDF-Only purchaser, my advice to others like me: Don't. You can find better resolution unofficial maps done by fans already online. (Comparing the 200% view with other products in the line, I had to hit 1600% to get similar pixelation.)



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
The One Ring - Journeys and Maps
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Creator Reply:
From the product description: \"These PDF maps are intended for reference on your computer or e-reading device of choice. They are not intended for home printing - these maps are available in print as part of the Journeys and Map print edition.\" Here is the response to your complaint about the maps resolution from our forums: \"The resolution of the maps in the PDF edition of Journeys and Maps was a deliberate decision, and we flag it up on the Drivethru/RPGnow page. Which of course you may not have read if you got the PDFs free as part of a pre-order. Where maps appear as supporting material in other supplements - take for example Rivendell - we have endeavoured to make them as high resolution as we can. Supplying those at pretty much any size won\'t compete with sales of the physical supplement. Because the maps in Journeys and Maps form a majority component of the supplement, we have scaled the PDF versions for on-screen usage. And they work very well for that purpose. However they aren\'t suited to commercial third-party printing. We\'ll be completely transparent - we want you to buy the physical maps from us, rather than us providing material that copy shops can profit from. If there is a demonstrable problem using screen-resolution maps as part of the PDF product we\'ll certainly look into addressing it.\" If the maps included in this set don\'t meet suitable standards for on-screen use we will happily replace the files with larger versions.
T2000 v1 Twilight: 2000
Publisher: Game Designers' Workshop (GDW)
by William H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/07/2014 02:08:00

1st Ed T2K - a wonderful, if a bit convoluted, character generation. It provides a bit of backstory (tho' less than Traveller), and gives percentile skills, and provide the appropriate competencies. I originally got this in dead tree back in 1984... and I loved it. It had some convoluted rules for armor and gunfire interaction, but it gave a real feel for the combats. And it made combat undesirable yet fun. The art is mostly pencils derived from army stock photos, and the gear is pretty much bog-standard 1980's issue. (They got the early 90's gear dead on - but by 2000, it was well outdated.) The setting makes a great "what if", but many of the assumptions are now quite wrong. Game needs 4d6 and 2d10. Note that mechanically, this is a precursor to the later GDW House System, but is not part of that system. If you ignore the background, this game can be used for any mid 90's US Army actions one cares to play, and with some careful attention, back to the 'Nam war.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
T2000 v1  Twilight: 2000
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Cat (Revised & Expanded)
Publisher: John Wick Presents
by William H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/24/2011 21:11:09

Revised? Expanded? Uhm... only kinda. It's not really all that revised (several obvious typos survived), and the expansions are recovery of magic points, how to run it for kids, and some advice on setting it in other settings. The new layout is not as good as the old (but the fancy font is more relevant, and less used), has almost exclusively silhouette art that gives LESS sense of the theme, and does not even answer questions that have been raised over the years. The examples are no longer readily set off, there's a sidebar of good info that got lost, and in general, 1E looks better (but required me doing brutality inside the file to make it print as a booklet), and given only one short paragraph of rules difference... Recommend: Pass. The only GOOD point is the inclusion of an ePup.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Cat (Revised & Expanded)
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CT-G03a Azhanti High Lightning Original Draft Drawing
Publisher: Game Designers' Workshop (GDW)
by William H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/30/2011 03:32:46

A really cool freebie, the original sketches from which the later deck plans were done. Not useful in game, but a wonderful peek at the process behind the game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CT-G03a Azhanti High Lightning Original Draft Drawing
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Fudge RPG: Interactive Version
Publisher: Dimensions Game Software
by William H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/30/2011 03:29:36

While excellent for building a customized FUDGE rulebook, I found it cumbersome. It also really helps to already be familiar with FUDGE so you know which options you're going to pick, and while I first met FUDGE in its WWIVnet days, I must admit I'm not overly familiar with it. Best way to use: After selecting your options for each section, hit the printer-friendly version button, copy the resulting text, and paste it into your word processor. Then, touch up the format, print to PDF, and then, from that PDF, print your play-copy. Otherwise, you'll end up with lots of white space.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Fudge RPG: Interactive Version
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MT MegaTraveller Imperial Encyclopedia
Publisher: Game Designers' Workshop (GDW)
by William H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/30/2011 03:00:33

This is my favorite MegaTraveller product for introducing people to the game. Which is why I own 4 dead tree copies... It combines the Library data, equipment catalogue, and the Travel Flowcharts, plus the full UWP list for the Spinward Marches. It's one of three core rulebooks for Megatraveller. Having the PDF, however, has allowed easier use. I've hardly cracked the dead tree copies since getting the PDF.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
MT MegaTraveller Imperial Encyclopedia
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Monsters! Monsters! 1st Edition RPG
Publisher: Flying Buffalo
by William H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/08/2010 03:33:51

For those who don't know, Monsters! Monsters! (M!M!) is in fact using the Tunnels and Trolls rules system. It is not, however, using either of the two current editions (5.5 and 7.5 are both current editions), but it is based in earlier rules. Further, it's the 1st edition relayout, rather than the T&T 5th Ed compatible second edition. ——¶——

The material inside can easily be used with 5th edition (simply use T&T 5th edition weapons tables), and includes some material that probably should have been in T&T 5th edition... namely, monster special abilities, and rules for oversized weapons. The Charisma rules are very different from those in T&T 5E and M!M! 2E. That said, it's a pretty good ruleset in itself, and provides the guidelines needed for 5th ed based play.

——¶——

The scans are clean, but not OCR'ed. That's issue 1. It's the older rules edition is issue 2. Still, I recommend it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Monsters! Monsters! 1st Edition RPG
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Career Book 1
Publisher: Spica Publishing
by William H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/07/2010 00:03:05

An excellent addition to one's Mongoose Traveller game, providing over half a dozen new careers, and expanded event tables for a number of core careers.

My personal favorite is the Space Patrol, but having clergy and militant clergy careers allows both modern and sci-fi religious themes pretty easily. Well written and easy to use, it integrates almost seamlessly into a Traveller game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Career Book 1
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Buffy RPG Revised Corebook
Publisher: Eden Studios
by William H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/15/2009 12:11:20

The Revised Core Rulebook is a fully realized RPG in a single volume. The supplemental materials in other products are just that, supplemental. The core mechanic is 1d10 + Stat + Skill +Difficulty Mods for 8+, human stats run 1-6. The game mechanics are tailored well to the style of play; fast, furious, and cinematic. Further, compatibility with the Angel RPG means that more of the buffyverse is available. Sadly, Eden no longer is developing new material for either line. That said, the game is clearly written, simple to play, has both template and custom-build options for character generation, and addresses strongly the needs of running a game that feels like the Buffyverse. There is one hitch, which I found as a player: The GM rolls no dice. That's right, it takes the approach that the GM doesn't roll to hit, the player rolls to dodge, instead. The combat mechanics work quite well, in part because of this, and in part in spite of this. Combat is fast, brutal, and works well both in narrative mode and with minis. Should you go on to expand with the other books in the Buffy line, the tone is consistent. You can also expand with Angel, Army of Darkness, and Terra Primate easily, or with Full Unisystem games as well. • Bottom line: Best licensed game I've played.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Buffy RPG Revised Corebook
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