DriveThruRPG.com
Browse Categories















Back
Other comments left by this customer:
You must be logged in to rate this
World Building
Publisher: Bards and Sages
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/14/2011 14:12:43

There are many worldbuilding products available to a GM, and this is one of the simplest, cheapest, and easiest to follow. It's 16 pages long, including workbook-style sections that leave plenty of room for people to write their own notes in. There's no art - this is for working with, not for oohing and aahing over.

There are five sections in World Building. The first emphasizes the logic of your world The second asks you to try to evaluate the purpose of the world you are creating as well as its place in various classifications of fictional worlds. Third, you now have a direction in which you can develop the logic of the world you're creating. Suggestions for research also come in here. Part Four is about the civilizations and mythology of your world. Finally, you are asked to focus on the workings of the world, whether fictional or game-mechanical.

The most fun part of this supplement are the worksheets that I mentioned earlier. These have several open-ended questions and a blank space for you to answer for your particular world. Keeping these documents throughout a campaign will help you improvise during game sessions and will remind you of what your game is all about when you are in the midst of a campaign. Are you still going the way you intended to go in the beginning?

Because this product is priced exactly right and is meant to be worked on rather than shelved or archived, I give it a high rating. The only way it could be better is if the worksheets had been more developed or been form-fillable, so that people who prefer to type for their archival copies could type directly on the sheet.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
World Building
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Amazing Triple Action #1
Publisher: Adamant Entertainment
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/28/2010 17:35:56

The Mutants and Masterminds Superlink license allowed many companies to produce material for it. As always, Adamant brings a high quality of product to the table. ATA1 supplements the base M&M material with both time-saving measures for those who are looking to use it more efficiently, and new material for those wanting to extend the base game. The format is that of a "magazine" type of supplement, something that I think the e-format is extremely well suited for.

The first few pages are taken up by several thorough characters, detailed, with vivid art and several options for where individual campaigns can take them. My favorite is the Cybercorps, who remind me of the Reavers (villains from 1990s X-Men titles), particularly the hook that might permit them to return from their crazed mercenary killer ways to normal life. This would be a fun scenario for any group of heroes to face.

There's a page of very basic new powers, nothing spectacular, more to "fill the gaps" in M&M's base system than anything else.

A couple of new archetypes follow. I think these are very undervalued by the M&M community, since they provide quick and easy ways for people who don't want to dig around in the character creation section and want to get started fast. I like the Charmed Scrapper a great deal, it reminds me of martial arts heroes of the 70s/80s.

An interesting plot hook in the form of a decentralized network of super-technological kitbashers is presented...I would almost rather have seen this expanded into its own work! The role of gadgets/technology in comics is well explored, but something that puts a human face on it and centers challenges around it is hard to come by.

A location and linked scenario are presented, surrounding a mysterious island and an alien who seeks a powerful hero to save his home planet. Pretty good, though very straightforward, stuff.

An article about team formation is very helpful (much of this would eventually make its way into the ICONS RPG, where it was also quite good.)

Although ATA didn't last as long as the postscript indicated it was planned to, this issue is full of solid material and for the now-ridiculously-low price tag, you absolutely cannot miss it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Amazing Triple Action #1
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Vengeance is Nigh
Publisher: Basic Action Games
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/24/2010 15:47:39

This supplement is everything that an introductory superhero adventure supplement should be. It contains a straightforward plot with several solid, genre-appropriate set pieces, interesting characters and gives the strong impression of a larger, wider world.

The characters (optional pregenerated characters are provided, along with colorful character sheets) face off against a vigilante who has crossed the line and has been killing gang members in a bad part of town. Of course there's more going on than meets the eye, and a superscientific organization is also introduced, trying to cover up their involvement as well.

Probably the most important thing that sets this adventure supplement apart is the extensive appendix, in which all the players in the scenario are detailed very thoroughly, so that the GM has a great deal of material to extrapolate from, to make the world more real-feeling. This is very important in a genre about people in dance outfits shooting lasers at each other.

The adventure really gives a solid introduction to the BASH system and I would highly recommend it for a first night of play for anyone wanting to get things started in that system without jumping in cold.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vengeance is Nigh
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

The Dance and the Dawn
Publisher: ndp design
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/24/2010 15:20:15

The Dance and the Dawn combines two of my favorite things in gaming: roleplaying and chess. By using chess pieces to simulate the movements of an eerie, magical dance, the game uses miniatures in a new way, not to simulate tactical movement, but instead to create a narrative structure.

The premise of the game is that three women (this is a game for three players and a narrator) have come to a mysterious ball in order to court and be courted by several suitors. There are some pairings that will end happily - the woman's desires match the man's ambitions and vice versa. There are others that are just mismatched. There is one suitor who is soulless and the fate of his woman, if any pick him, is horrible.

The group creates the details and tone of the dance together at the beginning - character creation is as simple as completing a few sentences...and then writing a couplet of poetry! By altering the details from being comforting and warm to being terrifying and harsh, the tone of the game can shift from romance to horror. The narrator also has several tools which can address this tone - the Queen of the dance will decide who gains her favor or not by the use of secret criteria, which might include how cruelly the women treat each other or how cleverly they interact with their suitors. The Duke can compel characters to duel and the ladies then reveal who they support in the duel.

The game is well-stocked with examples and the illustrations of the board and proper means for movement are very well done. The game is on square paper, so can be adapted for on-screen use relatively easily (though it does have a lot of blank marginal space.)

The game does have bookmarks, and includes character sheets, a chessboard and paper chesspieces if you are a plebian fool who owns no chess set of your own.

All in all, this is a phenomenal game and well worth not just a look, but a playthrough or two.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Dance and the Dawn
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Three Black Crows, Three Dead Men
Publisher: Galileo Games
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/15/2010 11:59:25

Three Black Crows, Three Dead Men is an interesting story game well worth a download and a play-through. It tells the story of three dead men, hanging from the gallows, from the point of view of the three crows who are about to eat their corpses. The players, naturally, play the crows.

The three black crows are Bitter, a cynic, Pity, who sees pathos and tragedy, and Hope, who is always looking on the positive side. These three personalities also become the three forces pulling the story in different directions.

Each stage of the game corresponds to one of the three corpses. The crime of each corpse that led to their hanging is in turn described in three stages: motive, means and opportunity. A simple die roll permits each of the crows to establish each step of the stories of each of the corpses. The crow who has completed the most stories at the end of the game wins. (It is possible for there to be a three-way tie, in which case "everyone is a winner.")

This innovative little game deserves a close look. After you see how the crows' personalities provide the story impetus, players may be able to introduce other crows into future rounds, with other personalities and agendas, or to alter the setting the game takes place in, with more fantastical or historical details.

Especially for the free price, this excellent product will provide you with several evenings of fun story play. It is also very easy to teach to those who haven't played story-creation games before.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Three Black Crows, Three Dead Men
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Agate Companion (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/25/2010 18:47:57

The Agate Companion is a brief description of a new figurine of wondrous power, whose purpose is to curse an animal companion with the primal power of wrath, giving it both significant power and making it harder to control. Animal companions often get short shrift in detailed magic items, so it's great to see them get some attention. The designer's notes at the end add a personal touch and give some ideas for other primal powers to affect animal companions with. Another interesting aspect of the figurine is that its curse is difficult to break - although a remove curse spell will work, a specific condition must be fulfilled in order to do so. This is a good chance for a GM to set out a quest or challenge, though there is also a list of possible curse-removal conditions at the end. I particularly appreciate the high-level skill checks supported by this product, revealing more and more secrets about the history and purpose of the item.

The PDF has no bookmarks, but the length is such that this isn't necessary. Due to the texture in the background the pages, it might be difficult to print out legibly. Nevertheless this is a decent product, well worth a look if you're a d20 fan.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Agate Companion (PFRPG)
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Creator Reply:
Just wanted to thank Jason Corely for taking the time to review our product. 4/5 stars Yipee! Steve Russell Rite Publishing
CT-TTB-The Traveller Book
Publisher: Game Designers' Workshop (GDW)
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/14/2010 13:00:52

This is a reprint of the 1982 classic, "The Traveller Book" by Marc Miller. It had been years since I read it, but there are a lot of reasons this is a real classic.

The introductory material is very strong. It lays out a clear picture of what the referee and players are to do. It paints a picture of player-driven campaigns and a responsive GM whose most important role is to listen to the players and aim the campaign events at their interests.

The next section is on character creation, and details the famously interesting Traveller lifepath system (including "rolling for survival" in dangerous lifepath steps). This system has been praised by so many before me that anything I say about it is probably superfluous. It really is evocative and fun to see how your character's experiences help them develop. It provokes the imagination. It makes you want to make another character right away. It is clearly explained, laid out and easy to use. It is everything a background generation system should be. The section concludes with an example and, much overlooked in many games, a section on how to fill out the character sheet. This is something many games overlook, but which has survived in White Wolf and Wizards of the Coast products for good reason - the character sheet is your physical artifact of the character generation process and is really your chief connection to the process when you're actually playing the game.

Next is the combat system, with highly detailed weapons lists and ranges. A combat procedure checklist is included. After combat comes a space travel and economics system, which is highly mathematical and detailed. (Yes, a square root is involved for the calculation of travel times.)

A ship design system is next, which is highly tied in with the amount of debt the characters start in. The hilariously anachronistic computer system is still interesting to see what we thought computers of the far future would be like in 1982.

Other systems included are: space combat, alien animals, encounter creation (including patrons and rumors), and psionics. There's a fully developed set of adventure hooks set in a subsector of space, and two fully developed adventures based around exploring a strange pyramid and getting an exit visa. Both are interesting and exciting.

There's a brief overview of the setting of Traveller (though you may correctly surmise from the above that the game is meant to be highly customized for different groups). One interesting thing Traveller does is that instead of having players ask "what's in the ship's computer about this", there's actually a Library printout of what's in the ship's computer, and they can just leaf through and find it "in character".

This book contains everything you need to play one of the greatest science fiction RPGs of all time.

This presentation is just a scan of the 1982 book, with no copy/paste capability. Although there are bookmarks, for some reason they're just each of the pages' graphic file name. The table of contents, though of course non-hyperlinked, is very effective. Because of the crudeness of the presentation, I'm reviewer tilting down one star, but the sheer breadth of the material presented here along with its well-deserved place in the hobby means that I'm giving it very high marks and recommending it to everyone.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
CT-TTB-The Traveller Book
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Realms of Cthulhu
Publisher: Reality Blurs
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/26/2010 12:48:11

Normally, I pass by adaptations of graphic-heavy print works into PDF, because they slow my computer to a crawl, are virtually impossible to use on the screen and are often hopeless to print out in black and white. However, Realms of Cthulhu, a Savage Worlds adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's pulp horror, takes some strong steps towards ameliorating this problem, and the game itself is excellent.

First, the format. There's a button right on the first "real" page of the PDF to turn off the main backgrounds of Realms of Cthulhu, making the text pages much more printer-friendly. For some reason, though, the same option isn't offered for the text in the sidebars or the headers, making them harder to read when printed. The layers section of the PDF would be the natural place to look for this, but the only other things you're able to turn off are the text itself and the page numbers/headers. Nevertheless, without the color background, most of the text, and all of the necessary text, is easily readable and able to be printed easily.

The layout is better suited to printing than to screen reading, in a two-column format. In addition, the size of the file means that paging through it on your screen remains a slow and laborious process. The bookmarks are well-selected and nested, not too numerous to choose from. Overall the presentation is quite good, again, given the product's print roots there's not much more that can be expected.

The game itself uses the Savage Worlds system to adapt the horrific world of H.P. Lovecraft. Due to the long-standing classic roleplaying game Call of Cthulhu, it's rarely necessary to tell a gamer what is going on in a Lovecraftian story. Savage Worlds is a good match for Lovecraft, having a pulp aspect to it that reflects Lovecraft's pulp horror sensibilities. There's an excellent section on adapting Savage Worlds to the needs of a horror game, including the possibility of making characters more fragile either mentally or physically. A new derived statistic, Sanity, is introduced, and I really liked that there are at least two ways of treating Sanity presented, with the various effects it has on the game if Sanity is (for example) easily lost versus difficult to lose. A great deal of time is spent giving good advice on how to design a campaign, something that many previous Cthulhu adaptations (perhaps taking their nod from the short story format of much of Lovecraft's work) overlooked.

There are several brief scenarios presented with a simple setup and a few brief conflicts connected to it, as well as a larger, more developed scenario. These are extremely varied and are easily adapted to whatever sort of game you've decided to create. A brief monster section rounds out the book - it could potentially have been twice as detailed, since the monsters of Lovecraft are among his most unique and enduring creations.

Realms of Cthulhu closes with a conversion section that will allow you to translate from other systems (including Call of Cthulhu) to Savage Worlds.

This is a meaty, thorough look at Lovecraftian horror, using a simple system that adapts well to the source material. It's definitely worth a look.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Realms of Cthulhu
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Fellowship of the White Star campaign book
Publisher: Thenodrin Presents, LLC
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/08/2010 15:39:23

At this late date in the history of d20 gaming, it's both surprising and gratifying to see a product like Fellowship of the White Star come across the desk. Extraordinarily thorough, containing everything you need to play, the Fellowship of the White Star is a unique product.

The setting is familiar to us - the Earth just before World War I, between 1905 and 1914, but sinister forces lurk in the shadows and horror elements arise everywhere. The Fellowship of the White Star is a group dedicated to protecting humanity from the depredations of the supernatural. The player characters are assumed to be members of the Fellowship.

The book is 359 pages long, occupies a hefty 70 megs, and is arranged for easy printing, since most pages are single column and most of the art is simple enough. The exceptions are period photographs and maps that add flavor or would make excellent handouts. I particularly lingered over the full-page map of Africa as it was in the time period. There are much-needed bookmarks.

All-new character classes are presented: the Everyman, the Laborer and the Scholar. There are also new prestige classes that are fit to the setting as well. The skills of d20 are updated to 1905 uses and are well-presented. New skills include Physics, Spellcasting and Forbidden Lore. The feat list has been similarly customized. Although magic is made to be more ominous and mysterious, the spell list from the d20 SRD is expected to be used as a base.

For me, the most exciting and fun part were the History and Organizations chapters. These presented a mysterious, occulted world in a format that lent itself to practical play and preparation. Rather than go into extensive detail, many of the organizations, for example, were presented with bullet points, some names, a goal, and some "current operations" that the player characters could be involved in. It's more of an adventure seed section than a fully fleshed out setting, and that's very useful to have.

Finally, a section full of monsters for the players to deal with is presented. These are fairly compelling and fairly standard for a d20 horror game.

I've always been attracted to this era in history and feel it's highly overlooked, jammed as it is between the Victorian era and the 1930s. Many of the conflicts that would shape the 20th century had their roots in the events of 1905-1914. Because of this and because of the ambitiousness of the presentation, I'm reviewer tilting it up one star.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fellowship of the White Star campaign book
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Divergent Strike
Publisher: Bailey Records
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/05/2010 12:54:23

I have no idea what to make of this track except to say that "Divergent" should be in letters four miles high. Starting with a pretty drab drum-and-electronic section, at around :47 suddenly the central element becomes a classical-sounding woodwind quartet, increasingly backed by the same sort of electronica. By 1:40, we're fully back into the electronic world, with techno and industrial sounds throughout.

When looking for a game soundtrack, it is important to have a consistent tone - you don't want to get a charged-up techno experience when trying to have a romantic scene. That makes this a difficult track to incorporate practically, although in a technical sense, the techno and electronic aspects of the work are more than adequate.

Certainly it's unique, and that may make it worth a listen on its own.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Divergent Strike
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

This is Pulp City
Publisher: Bailey Records
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/05/2010 12:48:34

This is Pulp City is a fun, funky three minute track. If you're one of those idiots that thinks "pulp" means "1930s adventure", be warned, this is not a swing track - this is a swingin' track. Brass provides the melodic push, a funk guitar and high hat keeps things moving at a high pace. Repetition makes this a good background track, with regular breaks that incorporate new themes and instruments. The soundtrack to an urban adventure of the late 70s or early 80s, This Is Pulp City is a lot of fun. It also loops well. I would use it in a scene, or preferably a montage of scenes of city life in an adventurous, upbeat, modern game - clearly intended for use with superheroes (see the art), but it could be any game with a positive attitude.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
This is Pulp City
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Dudes of Legend (Full Version)
Publisher: White Wolf
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/01/2010 19:00:11

It is, in truth, at least as full of genius as of absurdity; and he who does not find a great deal in it to admire and to give delight, cannot in his heart see much beauty in the two exquisite dramas to which we have already alluded, or find any great pleasure in some of the finest creations of Milton and Shakespeare. There are very many such persons, we verily believe, even among the reading and judicious part of the community - correct scholars we have no doubt many of them, and, it may be, very classical composers in prose and in verse - but utterly ignorant of the true genius of DUDES OF LEGEND, and incapable of estimating its appropriate and most exquisite beauties. With that spirit we have no hesitation in saying that CHUCK WENDIG is deeply imbued--and of those beauties he has presented us with many striking examples. We are very much inclined indeed to add, that we do not know any book which we would sooner employ as a test to ascertain whether any one had in him a native relish for AWESOMENESS, and a genuine sensibility to its intrinsic charm. - WIlliam Gifford, 1818



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dudes of Legend (Full Version)
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

War Profiteers
Publisher: Black Death Publishing
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/01/2010 18:47:25

This is an informal adventure. If you're looking for fancy art or polished layout, look elsewhere. However, there's also a lot of things this adventure does right that more "professional" adventures miss the boat on.

War Profiteers is a simple adventure for Fourth Edition Dungeons and Dragons. In it, the characters become involved with a group of arms dealers who need a war to become or stay hot in order for their work to remain profitable. The war heats up and then the characters decide to take action. That's it.

What sets this adventure apart is the high degree of customization, and specific advice for customization, that it presents. For example, there are two different ways "in" to the adventure, one in which the characters are approached by arms dealers who want their goods protected, and one in which the characters discover a massive cache of magical arms and armor, and must find a customer to buy them. Additionally, once the war has become hot, or heated up, the adventure carefully notes that the characters' actions may be extremely different depending on their alignment and what the players are interested in. They may end up trying to stop the war they helped create, or they may want to take over one of the factions and set themselves up as rulers. Both of these are presented - albeit briefly - as options.

A few encounter set pieces are also laid out. The cool thing about these encounters is that you get a mini-map of approximately where the forces will be, and a description of their objectives (and when they'll stop pursuing them), but it isn't tied to any particular level, so DMs can use the excellent encounter generator tools from the base game in order to populate the encounters with the appropriate level of enemies.

The final area that War Profiteers addresses that many other adventures miss is that it puts the adventure in context, urging different approaches for a one-night or convention scenario and for an episode in an ongoing campaign. An adventure that serves the real-world needs of the players, who would have thought?

It uses bookmarks, though it's probably not strictly necessary for an adventure of this length. There's also a link to the publisher's homepage in the PDF, always welcome.

This isn't the greatest adventure on the site. It's very much a sketch of an adventure meant to be fleshed out for the needs of independent groups. But because, especially for the low price, it gives attention where all adventures should give attention, I'm giving it a high score.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
War Profiteers
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Creator Reply:
Thanks for taking the time to review this adventure in detail. You got way past the 'first glance' and into the core specifics of the writer's (Kyle Nyce) objectives. You recognized the flexibility and the organization of the material.
Huxtropy
Publisher: Silent7Seven Games
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/01/2010 18:30:37

Huxtropy is a Fourth Edition D&D product that incorporates a deck of playing cards into a random, chaotic magic system that adds a new layer of fun and randomness into playing a spellcaster. One criticism I've seen of Fourth Edition D&D is that the system seems very standardized - you use a power, whether it be a spell or an attack, and you always pretty much know what's going to happen. Huxtropy lets a player that looks for more randomness play a character who uses a deck of random cards imbued with magic to sow chaos in combat through drawing cards. As they become more and more powerful and adept at using these magical decks, they are able to manipulate the decks much more effectively, turning bad luck on their enemies and combining cards for additional effects.

I'm not what you'd call a game balance guru, but it appears to me that if it's not perfectly well-balanced, the supplement is fairly close. Although powerful, especially at higher levels, huxtropy characters always have to deal with randomness. You can never count on the card coming up that you need, and that makes for an interesting tactical challenge.

The material also includes a new paragon path, as the character becomes attuned to randomness and probability. There's a new weapon group as well, "cards", which not only includes the magical huxtropy cards but comic book-ish fantasy cards with razor edges. Cool. There's new feats to bump up people's abilities in these areas and a new skill, Gambling, as well as rules for using it to make dough off the yokels who don't know any better than to get in a game with you.

Impressively, the purchase includes the full-color, full-art PDF for view on the screen, a black-and-white, simpler-art PDF for printing, and power cards which can be printed and used, in the same format as the 4e power cards. Bookmarks are well used in the PDF, and there's a full table of contents at the beginning.

I'm not a giant Fourth Edition fan, but material like this is always welcome. It's well-made, the layout is clear, the idea is compelling, the balance is good, and when you get done reading it, it passes the ultimate test: I want to play one of these characters right now!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Huxtropy
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

d66 Ship Names 2
Publisher: Jon Brazer Enterprises
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/01/2010 18:18:23

So you thought d66 Ship Names was a good product but you needed 36 more ship names arranged on a table that can be randomly used with two 6-sided dice? Wait no more! It's d66 Ship Names 2! As with the original, some of the ship names are phenomenal ("Bilgewater Baby", that's my ship!), some are misspelled ("Zepher")and some are a little bit inexplicable ("District of Serendip"). The table is alphabetical, and maybe spelling is a bit nitpicky in a world of alien races and languages, but standards must be upheld, so reviewer tilt down one star for that. Fifty cents, as before, is the perfect price for 36 ship names in a 2d6 table, so reviewer tile back up one star for that. If you need 36 MORE ship names in a 2d6 table, this is the perfect purchase.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
d66 Ship Names 2
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Displaying 91 to 105 (of 206 reviews) Result Pages: [<< Prev]   1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 ...  [Next >>] 
Back
0 items
 Gift Certificates