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User: Martin Ralya: RPG Item Collection
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Title Version User
Rating
Geek Rating Status User
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Comment
N/A
6.323
Owned
Limited Edition
Year: 2013
10
Jul 2014
7.544
Owned
Pelgrane does fabulous limited editions, and this one is no exception. It's just as marvelous as the standard edition inside, but with a stylish leatherette cover. Good stuff!
2014-07-25
Hardcover Version
Year: 2013
10
Jul 2014
7.544
Owned
This is one of the best gaming books I've ever read. Not only does 13th Age look like the best parts of the d20 System -- plus some new tech and changes that are right up my alley -- but the presentation is top-notch.

I absolutely love context, such as designer's notes, and this whole book feels like sitting down with Rob and Jonathan to talk about the game. The tone, the little design notes, and the feel of the book work perfectly. Their experience with 3e and 4e shows, as does what they learned from it and from running 13th Age themselves.

This book fired up my imagination, prompted me to invest in the whole line, and has me excited to play d20 fantasy again for the first time in a long time. Alongside d20 Modern, which I also love, 13th Age is my favorite thing to come out of the d20 era -- after the fact, in this case.

It's rare for me to read a long gaming book cover to cover these days, doubly so if -- like 13th Age -- it's full of mechanical stuff, but I devoured this one. Every single damned class was a fascinating read, and made me want to try that class.

Simply a wonderful book.
2014-10-27
N/A
6.176
Owned
6
Aug 2011
5.654
Owned
I thought these were pretty cool when I picked them up in '91, back when I was pretty into trading cards, and I still do. They don't have any real purpose for me, but they're kind of fun to own. These days I don't collect many things solely for the sake of collecting them, but I hold onto these. The fact that there's a priest card named Martin is probably part of their appeal.

Maybe someday my daughter will think they're kind of cool!
2011-12-06
PDF Version
Year: 2008
7
Mar 2014
7.184
Owned
This looks like a neat single-serving RPG, and I like the landscape format and the overall presentation. Flashbacks are nifty, and it drives hard at its theme.
2014-03-04
43AD (2012)
N/A
N/A
Owned
8
Apr 2014
6.255
Owned
From the mood to the cool cover to the structure, this game looks great -- and right up my alley. The rules are simple and encourage collaborative, narrative play; they also look like they'd nicely push the game into fear and paranoia, which is fitting.

It reminds me of Psi-Run, though (at least based on reading it) it looks less meaty. Narrative outcomes in Psi-Run have more and richer hooks to them, but 44 introduces the delicious potential for characters to join the bad guys mid-game.
2014-04-23
8
Jan 2012
6.648
Owned
Per the item page, this is the slipcase only -- and it's a great slipcase. Solid, well-constructed, and nice to look it. I was thrilled that this slipcased set was an option when 4e launched.
2011-12-06
N/A
N/A
Owned
4
Oct 2012
5.453
Owned
This is a good book if you like all-crunch supplements for D&D 3.x; I did at one time, but no longer do. Like most of Green Ronin's crunch, the rules in here look fine and I would have had no problem including them in my game back when I played 3.x.

Some of the options are pretty interesting, and these two races often get overlooked in other products. I wish it included more fluff about them.
2012-10-06
1st Edition Hardcover
Year: 1999
9
Jan 2012
6.576
Owned
Aberrant planted itself in my brain when it first came out, and it's never left -- it's awesome. This is among my favorite WW core books for a variety of reasons.

For one, it's a nifty size; not too common back then for gaming books, and it feels good in my hands. The production values are great, and WW's "fiction then rules" approach really works.

I don't like the "WoD .5" rules quite as much as either WoD or nWoD, but it's still a solid rule set. The mechanics for mega attributes are fantastic, and across the board WW managed to create a supers game that captures the feel of supers.

On top of that, the story behind the novas and the metaplot that swirls around them are both really cool, and set Aberrant apart from more generic supers titles. I really hope I get to play this one at some point.
2011-10-13
8
Jan 2012
6.235
Owned
This is an essential Aberrant supplement. It's all stuff that could easily be in the core book, and it's all good. I wouldn't run Aberrant without it.

Like most Aberrant books, it has a great mix of flavor and mechanics, and it's both evocative and useful.
2012-10-06
7
Jan 2012
5.664
Owned
As screens go, this is one is pretty good: four panels, cardstock, decent tables, nice artwork. What I like most about it is that it's Aberrant book-sized, which means each panel is small than the average portrait-orientation GM's screen -- and the end result is a nice compact form factor.

The accompanying book offers up an adventure, plus information on religions and corporations in the world of Aberrant. Most screen pack-ins aren't all that useful; this one is neat.
2012-10-07
7
Jan 2012
5.677
Owned
I like the "skinny" Aberrant supplements, of which this is one -- they remind me of the clan/tribe/etc. books from WoD. It's all fluff, no mechanics, and all diegetic: Everything in the book is presented as if it were part of the game world, as emails, news stories, etc. That makes it easy to include in your game, including as a prop to give your players.
2012-10-06
8
Aug 2011
6.097
Owned
A mix of source material, diegetic elements from the game world, and NPCs, this is one of my favorite Aberrant sourcebooks. I love that you finally get to see what Totentanz looks like mechanically, and as elites are important in the game world it's a sourcebook that's likely to see good use at the table.
2012-10-06
7
Jan 2012
5.452
Owned
This is a weird little book, but it's interesting. The premise is basically "What if Hunter S. Thompson wrote about novas and the Aberrant world?" No stats, no NPCs, just pure setting material from the no-holds-barred perspective of one nutty guy -- which is an interesting window into the world.

I wish they'd done a similar book but with a more "average" perspective, as in Joe and Jane Average from different parts of the world, but that might have been a harder pitch.
2012-10-06
8
Jan 2012
6.042
Owned
Project Utopia is one of the niftier aspects of the Aberrant setting, and it gets a great treatment in this book. Like the other thicker sourcebooks, it's a mix of source material, diegetic elements, and NPCs; no new rules.

"What if superheroes turned their attention to fixing the world's problems?" is the central question that this book answers. There are factions within PU, but it's one of the closest-to-purely-good things in Aberrant -- and yet not one-dimensional. Good stuff.
2012-10-07
6
Oct 2012
5.570
Owned
This is one of the weaker entries in the Aberrant line for me, though still a pretty good book. Sure, there would be something like ReignofEvil.com and its followers in the Aberrant world, but it's just not all that interesting to me. It could come in handy in the right kind of game.
2012-10-07
8
Aug 2011
6.295
Owned
Teragen -- the supervillain organization of Aberrant -- is one of the key elements of the setting, and this book is just as important. New info, new powers, lots of fuel for the GM, and lots of flavor to inject into your game. If you're running Aberrant, you need this book.
2012-10-07
8
Jan 2012
5.922
Owned
One of the things I love about Aberrant is how good the line is at exploring logical what-ifs in cool ways; this book is a great example of that. The Directive is what an intelligence organization would look like: multinational, "good" for a certain definition of good, sinister in its own way -- and always watching. Great sourcebook.
2012-10-07
8
Aug 2011
6.077
Owned
The future of Aberrant's setting is Trinity, and this is the first of two books that bridges the gap. It offers up four adventures for Aberrant that advance the canon timeline and metaplot, but do so in a way that doesn't lock the PCs into doing X because they're supposed to do X.

I usually enjoy reading metaplot/timeline advancement books, but generally don't use them as-is; instead, I steal the parts I like and work them into my own game. If the whole group is into the "core Aberrant" experience, this book will make for a great campaign.
2012-10-07
8
Aug 2011
6.030
Owned
The canon Aberrant timeline begins in 2008, and this book's four adventures (picking up where Phase I left off) advance it from 2010 to 2015. My guess is that there was supposed to be one more book, going from 2015 to 2020, but the product line ended before Phase III was produced.

Like Phase I, I like that I can use this as-is and advance the timeline according to canon, or just pilfer from it as I see fit. It's a neat book.
2012-10-07
7
Oct 2012
5.816
Owned
What would wrestling entertainment be like in a world with superheroes? Totally awesome -- and a neat sidelight in an Aberrant game. It's not vital supplemental material, but there's an adventure or two worth of stuff in this book and it's a fun premise.
2012-10-07
9
Oct 2012
5.972
Owned
Year One is an overview of life in the world of Aberrant in 2008, the official starting year of the game's canon timeline. I love books like this because they make it easier to present an immersive world, to answer my players' questions about things, and to get my head in the right spot to run the game.

Novas are going to travel the world; this book offers details on major cities. They're going to interact with society and technology; this book covers both. They're going to meet people, and novas; this book provides NPCs.

It's essential, and every game based in large part on our world should provide a book like it.
2012-10-07
PDF version
Year: 2013
8
Jan 2014
N/A
Owned
Graphically this could use some work (the very first release could, at least: narrower margins, a bit of intro text, etc.), but as a game this is neat: All you have is ability scores, and it fits on one page. Rolls are made against fixed DCs with story-oriented results, much like in Apocalypse World.

Want to play supers? Add ability scores like Mega-Strength or Super-Genius. Horror? Add Flee and Acquire Unwholesome Knowledge. It's a bit like Unknown Armies, or like mashing stats and skills into one. For such a simple device, there's a ton of mileage you can get out of this, and it's very clever indeed.

Added bonus: This would be a great one to play with kids. Your sheet has a half-dozen words and numbers on it, and nothing else.
2014-01-06
8
Sep 2013
5.901
Owned
This is a superb little booklet -- a sort of "traveling sandbox." It includes a description of the ICSV King Richard, a luxury liner; a lovely 15mm map, two-sided; outlines of numerous possible adventures; key NPCs and their motivations for doing interesting/nefarious things; a passenger brochure; and more.

It's packed with more stuff than its size suggests, and it looks like it would be easy and fun to use in play.
2013-09-08
9
Oct 2012
6.635
Owned
This is a fantastic grab-bag of stuff: adventures, including lots of partially developed Code 7 plots and the standout Me and My Shadow, Mark IV, secret societies, tips insanity tests, rules for drugs, and more. Oh, and rules for playing robots in Paranoia and an adventure, Botbusters, featuring a cast of robot PCs.

It's worth it for either of the two adventures alone, and maybe even just for the new societies. Getting everything in this book in one book is fantastic -- it's one of the best supplements for Paranoia out there.
2012-10-07
8
Aug 2011
N/A
Owned
The order books for MtA are solid across the board, and this one's no exception. If you play an Arrow mage, you need it; if the Arrow features prominently in the campaign and you're the GM, you need it. It's pretty, useful, and packed with stuff.
2012-10-07
4
Oct 2012
5.990
Owned
This is a great book wholly unsuited to my GMing style and system preferences. It's all templates, which, while they're a clever idea I could see implementing in D&D from time to time, require a lot of work that doesn't seem worthwhile to me. I don't mind template creatures -- they're cool -- but I have zero interest in templating them myself.

I bought this back when I was big into 3e and would buy most things 3e-related and all things monster-related, but I've never used it and likely never will.
2012-10-07
8
Oct 2012
6.847
Owned
The AEC takes the new options from AD&D 1e and renders them in basic D&D form (technically, Labyrinth Lord form), no more and no less. That's a fantastic idea, and gives me a lot more things to use in basic D&D.

It looks good, it's a clear read, and it's jammed with goodies. I bought it primarily for the monsters and spells, and while I could just use the originals I like that this book fits in with the look and feel of LL. Even if I never pick LL over B/X D&D, having AD&D monsters and spells tuned for LL makes them useful to me.
2012-10-07
8
Oct 2012
5.710
Owned
This is a GMing grab-bag, and a good one. About 40% of it is d20-specific; the rest is useful for any fantasy game, and portions of it are useful for just about any game regardless of genre. System-neutral GMing books are few and far between, so I often buy books like this -- books that offer advice that transcends their game system.

Everything from player types to plots, campaign design tips to new fantastical elements, tips for designing antagonists to group dynamics, and a whole lot more, is jammed into this book. It ranges from the tried and true to the truly new, and it's good stuff.
2012-10-07
6
Sep 2013
5.151
Owned
This is an oddball product. The Author's Note asks that readers not discuss it online, and I'm content to respect that request, save for commenting on it here for my own future reference.

Adventure Number Ten is probably not a book I'd use in my own game as-is, but it's a fun read. Things change, and I can envision a time when I might use it whole cloth; I can certainly see stealing bits and pieces. It's unlike any other RPG book I own, and it's got an interesting point of view. I bought it because I buy everything James writes, and I'm glad it's part of my collection.
2014-01-09
8
Apr 2012
6.583
Owned
What makes ACKS such a nifty looking game, for me, is the little stuff. You have to dig a bit. Behind the awesome cover (seriously, one of my favorite RPG covers in recent memory) is a simple layout and good artwork that, somehow, combine to be not terribly inspiring. But look past that and man is this a cool game.

It's more like AD&D or even 3.x than basic D&D in some ways -- combat is pretty spelled out, for example, and it has skills (which are nicely implemented and pleasantly simple). It's a bit crunchier than I need it to be right now, but by no means too crunchy for me.

The real sauce is the economic system, though. It promised to be integrated into the game, and it is. Everything the PCs do on a grand scale can be mapped out financially, from stronghold building to how many 6-mile hexes each type of stronghold can control. It's beautiful and highly portable.

I also love little touches like the XP legacy option, whereby a PC can blow gold with no useful purpose (carousing, etc.) and invest 90% of its value in XP that's available to that player's next PC. The book is full of stuff like this -- and it's all made for play, not stuff you'll never use.

It's very much a second-generation OSR game (like Castles & Crusades), building on that foundation in different ways than other OSR games I'm familiar with. It's really good, too.
2012-04-30
8
Feb 2013
6.289
Owned
This is a great book. The classes look like fun, the templates are fantastic, the spell and class creation guidelines would be useful for any OSR/pre-4e D&D game, and the whole thing is well illustrated and impeccably organized. It's an excellent complement to the ACKS core book.
2013-02-01
4
Jan 2012
6.282
Owned
There's nothing wrong with the rules or even the items in this book, but it lacks flavor. It's like a big bowl of plain oatmeal: bland, but filling. There are some occasional raisins, and many of the actual items are pretty cool, but the presentation is off.

The sense of mystery around magic items -- so fantastic to experience in play -- began draining out of them in 3e and has continued in 4e. This is an uninspiring, boring book filled with cool items that could be so much cooler.

Apart from that, it's a typical WotC book: It looks great, it's well-written, and the artwork is excellent.
2011-10-13
4
Jan 2012
6.248
Owned
Yay, more bland oatmeal! I miss what magic items used to be in D&D.
2011-10-13
First printing
Year: 1979
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
9
Dec 2013
6.465
Owned
What a fantastic book! It looks like Dungeon World, with its creme paper and understated design, while at the same time feeling like a pulp novel; it's brilliantly designed. The writing is crisp, straightforward, and gets across what it needs to with a minimum of fuss.

And the goodies are great: Everything you need for a pulpy Dungeon World game set on an alien world, in a different genre, and nothing more. The classes are great, the GMing tools are great (and useful outside of DW, too: The techniques AoDP offers up for quickly creating whole societies, for example, are applicable elsewhere), and the whole package just shines.
2013-12-30
8
Apr 2012
7.095
Owned
There is a LOT in this slim little volume: a complete starting town, Orlane, which is quite good in its own right; three mapped locations in town, all quite central, including a mini-dungeon; a two-level mapped dungeon outside of town that's different because it's dug out of dirt beneath a marsh, not stone; a sinister plot that will take some puzzling to sort out; and some deadly encounters to challenge the party.

The only thing I didn't like was the level 7 NPC the party is expected to bring with them in order to succeed, complete with notes about how he could totally overshadow the PCs but shouldn't. I'd skip him, use the suggested option that they find a couple of high-level spell scrolls, and move on.

Apart from that, this is a fantastic introductory module full of good advice for novice (or new to the old school ways) GMs, excellent content, and plenty of adventure.
2012-04-01
9
Feb 2013
7.452
Owned
All three of these adventures are cool, with tons of opportunities for strategic and tactical decison making and even more opportunities to get into trouble. I enjoy Gary's approach, with sparse but evocative descriptions of every location, tactics for monsters, nifty traps, devilishly well-hidden secrets, and moral quandaries.

For me, Steading is the star here. Not only is it a fresh, non-dungeon setting, but in just 7 pages (8 with the cover), and only a single page of background, Gary presents an adventure that looks like an absolute blast. It's amazing.
2013-02-23
6
Jan 2012
N/A
Owned
This was one of the first 3e adventures, and after skimming it I was pretty underwhelmed. Like a lot of Atlas's stuff from around the same time, it felt dry and unsexy.
2011-12-06
N/A
5.862
Owned
8
Aug 2011
6.288
Owned
This is an essential book for any CODA Trek GM, adding a host of iconic races for PCs and NPCs alike. The production values, quality of the writing, and enjoyment factor are high, and it's a great book all around.
2011-12-06
9
Sep 2013
6.556
Owned
Cubicle 7 has brought the boxed set roaring back with their Doctor Who line, and this one is fantastic. It includes dozens of creatures in a monster manual, and then again on individual cards -- picture on the front, stats and brief summary on the back -- that look like great play aids. Plus gadget cards, an adventure, and more story points.

My only niggling complaint is that it's not a proper telescoping box, but a side-opener. It's of good quality, though, and given the amount of stuff inside it I can see why they skimped a bit on the box itself.

I hope they do another one of these with more creatures, and I would love to have cards like these for so many other games -- it's an awesome idea.
2013-09-08
7
Jan 2012
6.941
Owned
AFMBE was my first exposure to Unisystem, and it looks pretty slick. Mechanics aside, this is a clever, well-produced book -- kind of a zombie RPG toolkit, with lots of options to choose from in terms of how the apocalypse began, how zombies can be killed, how the infection spreads, etc.

If I was to run a zombie game, I'd be torn between this and Outbreak: Undead. OU is designed to deliver a more specific experience, whereas AFMBE is a grab bag of neat options that can be used in different ways.
2011-10-13
PDF version
Year: 2013
6
Aug 2013
N/A
Owned
This looks like a fun, light (think Treasure Island or Disney) pirate game that my kiddo might enjoy someday. I'd probably enjoy it as well, but it doesn't grab me by the throat and scream PLAY ME.
2014-01-06
8
Dec 2011
6.048
Owned
I've gotten some great mileage out of this book in my CODA Trek series -- it's packed with time travel episode seeds, the element of it that I've used the most. Just skimming through it givesd me ideas -- it's an excellent resource.

along with seeds, it includes advice on running a time travel-based series, how the various races and factions in Trek approach time travel, timeships, and a whole lot more. The majority of it is system-neutral and works just fine in any Trek game.
2011-12-06
8
Aug 2011
N/A
Owned
* Disclaimer: I was a contributing author. *

I liked the premise of this book -- multiple authors each tackling a section of the Endless Traders' journey around the DM world -- and writing my chapter was a lot of fun. The ETs are a nifty idea, and basing a book on them is a clever way to present large swaths of the world without resorting to pure fiction or going the gazetteer route. It's a neat book.
2011-12-06
PDF version
Year: 2015
N/A
N/A
Owned
7
Oct 2012
6.246
Owned
This is an epic Paranoia adventure of the zany parody variety: The PCs infiltrate a rival Alpha Complex, go outside, get mixed up with a Mark IV, and wind up lampooning Star Wars and Indiana Jones in the process. It's got neat handouts, but I miss the Holloway art that defines 2e Paranoia for me.

Even at the height of my Paranoia-playing days, I'm not sure we could have kept things together for an adventure with this many sections. It's not dull or over-long, but it's a LOT; maybe a bit much, in places, although with Paranoia it's always hard to tell.
2012-10-07
8
Aug 2011
6.517
Owned
AO is one of the most gorgeous gaming books I own -- landscape format (unusual in and of itself), full-color, beautifully designed and laid out. It also has an awesome premise, a twist on the usual post-apocalyptic fare: After the apocalypse, people resettled and focused their energy on rebuilding the cities, eventually turning them into high-tech (as in sci-fi-level) bastions in an otherwise blasted world. Plus there's angels and demons, and they actually fit the backstory really well!

This is a unique game with a quirkiness factor that might at first seem off-putting, but it rewards a close reading. I wasn't too far into it before I got sucked in; the premise is clever, engaging, and clearly built for gaming (as opposed to built for fiction and transitioned to gaming).

The system seems solid as well, but I haven't played enough of it to form a nuanced impression. What I have played, I largely enjoyed.
2011-12-06
7
Aug 2011
6.313
Owned
I snagged this because I like Dark*Matter and wanted its base system in case I wanted to run it as-is, and it looks pretty solid. There's some good campaign design stuff that can be applied to other SF games in it, as well.
2012-10-07
7
Aug 2011
6.256
Owned
I picked this up so I could have the option of running Dark*Matter in its native system, and was pleasantly surprised to find that it looks like a fun game. I like the core mechanic -- roll d10 + another die, adding or subtracting the control die according to the situation. It looks like it would give pretty fine-grained control over difficulty, which I dig.

The book's got a nice layout, clean and useful, and its own feel. I would happily run or play this.
2012-10-07
8
Aug 2011
7.131
Owned
Amber is amazing. It sounds terrible, like "diceless" would just equal "GM fiat," but it's not at all. The core mechanic is simple but elegant, and perfectly represents the Zelanzny books: If you're better at X, unless your opponent can twist the contest to be about Y, you're going to win.

My other favorite aspects of Amber are the attribute auction and lenses. Starting the game by bidding against the other players for dominance in stats -- in a game where dominance is absolute, thanks to the absence of dice -- is brilliant. It sets the mood, injects just the right amount of thematically appropriate conflict into the party, and just plain works.

Lenses are how Amber approaches describing the canon Amberites: differently depending on the feel you're going for in the game, or when it's set. So there are multiple versions of Corwin, for example, each of which reflects a different viewpoint, tone, or moment in Amber history.

I played a few games of Amber in college, and I've always wanted to get back to it. It feels like it would work best with people who've read at least the first five and preferably all 10 books, though, and that's a bit of a barrier.
2011-10-13
8
Sep 2013
N/A
Owned
A&A is a tight, clean, nicely presented OSR game that shines in the way it describes and addresses meta-stuff: tropes you can assemble into adventures, the levels of player choice inherent in different kinds of campaign, player skill in OSR games more generally, and the like.

It's not an introductory game any more than most OSR games, but it would make an exceptionally good introduction to OSR-style play and gaming. Everything is well thought out, easy to understand, and the result of considerable forethought.
2013-09-08
6
Nov 2013
6.012
Owned
There are some great moments in this adventure, but it doesn't grab me as much as some of the others in the line. I'd probably steal the good stuff for use elsewhere before I'd run it as-is.
2013-11-14
7
Aug 2011
5.887
Owned
I love the tribe books for WW, and this one's a solid entry. The werespiders don't grab me quite as much as some of the other breeds, like corax, but they're cool. I particularly like that spiders aren't something one normally thinks of as having a were-version.
2012-10-07
7
Oct 2012
5.771
Owned
The concept of a sandy desert directly adjacent to a vast glacier gives a lot of folks pause, but on balance I think it's a neat idea. It immediately begs the question "How is that possible?" This sourcebook answers that question; it's a cool answer.

The parchment treatment on the pages makes this book a bit annoying to read. Apart from that, though, this is a good book -- like the rest of the FR# region sourcebook line, it's full of good adventure fuel, little touches, and things that make me want to set part of a game here. I also have fond memories of my first Forgetten Realms GM -- the guy who got me into the Realms -- and the memorable portion of our solo campaign he set here.
2012-10-08
8
Jan 2012
6.289
Owned
Before reading this book for the first time, I knew almost nothing about the Andorians. After reading it, I wanted to play one.

This is probably the best single-race resource I've ever read. It conveys so much information in such a readable way that you come away knowing a lot about the Andorians -- and not pointless crap that will never come up in play, but genuinely interesting and fun stuff you can use.

It makes the Andorians feel like a fully realized species, and makes me want to use them in games. That's pretty much all I can ask for in a book like this, and I wish they'd done a book like this for the other iconic Trek races.
2011-08-19
PDF version
Year: 2013
8
Apr 2013
6.222
Owned
Like Civil War, Annihilation is a mix of sourcebook, new rules (just a few), and campaign. The sourcebook stuff is all geared towards cosmic-level heroes, as are most of the new rules. The coolest rules snippet is the timer, a complication that steps up every round it isn't dealt with, representing things like approaching enemy space fleets.

The campaign looks like a lot of fun. Planets will die, species will be wiped out, and you'll fight plenty of villains with stats like 4d12 in Solo. Good stuff!

I wish this had seen print; my spiral-bound copy just isn't as appealing.
2013-04-29
9
May 2012
6.763
Owned
[SPOILERS] The cover of ASE depicts morlocks fighting an adventuring party in a surprisingly modern-looking dungeon while a giant statue with a single horn, on which are impaled seven human hearts, looks on. There's a monster called a sasquatron that's a sasquatch with one giant crab claw and a gem-studded cylinder in a plastic bubble in place of its head. When the PCs open the dungeon's main entrance, robots dig out several entrances that lead directly to the lower levels while giant floodlights emerge from the ground and shout the existence of the ASE to the entire region.

In other words, ASE is totally awesome.

It's a gonzo, Barrier Peaks-style dungeon with the crazy turned up to 11, but the crazy makes sense and never feels forced or pasted on. It's a damned fine dungeon in its own right, too. And you get close to half a book worth of regional information on the world around the ASE (though it's also drop-in suitable for some types of game).

My only complaint is that there should be more ASE in this book -- I want the deeper levels now, not later! But bar none this is one of my favorite OSR supplements overall, a fantastic read that looks like an absolute hoot to play.
2012-05-02
7
Jan 2013
6.266
Owned
I love ASE1, and while ASE2-3 is a good product and looks like it'd be a lot of fun to play, the special sauce is different and a bit less appealing. That's largely due to the factions: clowns, a mad surgeon, robots, cod-men, etc. interest me less than the factions in ASE1.

That said, it's chock full of lunacy, awesome rooms (including one of my all-time favorite dungeon rooms), new monsters, tons to do, and a great deal of clever stuff. It strikes me as one of those products that's likely to reveal its greatness in play, rather than on a read-through.
2013-01-06
9
Nov 2012
8.001
Owned
This game looks amazing, and the way it's presented and what it presents are paradigm-shifting. The GM never rolls dice, clever techniques are applied to ensure that what happens at the table is interesting, and the GMing advice has amazing potential outside AW as well as within it.

It's a holy shit moment kind of book. I can see why folks are taking this framework -- which is frankly brilliant -- and applying it to other genres of game. It makes my brain's dick hard, and it's one of the most interesting and compelling gaming books I've ever read.

Wow.
2012-11-08
6
Mar 2012
6.265
Owned
I played this in my teens, and had fun with it. It's pretty cheesy, but the system was reasonably tight, the encounters were challenging, and it was enjoyable overall. I don't think it would hold my interest now, but I'm glad it was around back when it did.
2011-10-12
4
Oct 2012
6.260
Owned
Back when I was gung ho about D&D 3.x, I really liked Monte's alternate take in AU. It's a good book full of interesting options, nice touches, and the combination of clarity and solid, fun mechanics that I expect from Monte. The layout -- three columns and rather minimalist -- is easy on the eyes.

It gets a 4 because over years of play I found that I strongly dislike 3.x/d20 System games in general, and fantasy ones in particular. The play style has some overlap with things I like about roleplaying, but not enough; it's generally not a good fit for me.
2012-10-08
PDF Version
Year: 2009
6
Sep 2012
6.168
Owned
This sounds either really neat or not at all my cup of tea, but my guess is that it would be neat. It's got shades of Fiasco and Dawn of Worlds and the card game Once Upon a Time, so that's good. It looks like it would be fun to try with my wife, as it's creative without actually having many rules.

The presentation is brief, clear, and packed with good examples. There's very little in the way of layout and the like, but: free.

On balance, I'd love to give this a shot sometime.
2012-09-25
7
Sep 2012
5.773
Owned
It's almost impossible not to like this book. Is it essentially David Hargrave's house rules for D&D? Sure. Is it riddled with typos and plagiarism, notably the "% Liar" chance given for every monster (a typo in early D&D; it's "% Lair," as in the chance the monster is in its lair -- and Hargrave tells you how likely every monster is to lie)? Yep. Is it packed with gonzo stuff like the Techno class, which has a chance at higher levels to figure out how nuclear weapons work? Absolutely.

But there's so much STUFF, much of it evocative and awesome and over the top -- like spell names (and effects), and the better monsters -- that there's bound to be something in here you can use. Some of it's funny, some of it doesn't belong in most games, but I can see stealing plenty of it for my campaigns.

I saw a lot of things I did myself in my days of heady experimentation with D&D, and that I suspect most GMs did after discovering the game. Most of us didn't have the balls to publish it, and to Hargrave's credit my first contact with Arduin material came at my local game store in 1989 -- 12 years after this book came out, his stuff was still on shelves.
2012-09-23
PDF Collection (4 Files)
Year: 2010
6
Aug 2011
N/A
Owned
From what I've seen of it, the world of Reign doesn't really blow my skirt up -- but the system does. There's some neat Reign crunch in these PDFs, and the ransom model means that they're now entirely free.
2011-12-06
9
Jan 2015
6.558
Owned
I wish more settings had an atlas like this one: two-page hex map spreads with tons of detail, covering a vast swath of the world. It's nicely done, and a great companion to the doorstop coffee table thundertomes it accompanies.
2015-01-11
7
Oct 2012
6.276
Owned
I bought this for Death Station, a classic space dungeon crawl, and it looks pretty solid. Maybe not quite as creepy as it should be, but it's creepy in ways that feel very Traveller to me.

The Argon Gambit, a political adventure revolving around a burglary, also looks worthwhile. I wish it had a bit more info in it, like maps.
2012-10-08
9
Jan 2014
7.444
Owned
Hot damn but this is a cool book. A sandbox investigative campaign sounds like it would be problematic, but it's handled very well: The book is a toolkit for creating linked adventures based around the titular Armitage Files, including the people, organizations, and other elements you need to run it.

And the handouts are awesome, taking up a good chunk of the book. Each is presented as an in-game object, complete with handwriting and ink blots and all that, as well as reproduced in plain text for easy reference.

It's all designed to be run in any order, based on what's come before and how your individual group approaches things. It's a novel approach and one I've never seen before, and it all comes together beautifully.
2014-01-02
7
Aug 2011
6.284
Owned
Armory is a good book, but not an essential one. It's not really a gun bunny book, which fits the setting, but it also doesn't provide enough stuff to really justify the title. Some of the new rules are pretty good, and it's a useful reference to have onhand, though.
2012-01-13
5
Oct 2012
5.547
Owned
I'll buy just about any gaming supplement full of arms and armor, so I bought this one. It's just okay. The art is pretty bad, and the book's in color for no real reason.

I don't regret buying it, but I really can't imagine a situation where one of my other better books of this type wouldn't serve me better.
2012-10-08
8
Aug 2011
6.626
Owned
When I think "equipment book," this approach so isn't what I'm thinking of -- and yet it's brilliant. I devoured this book in my times, multiple times, and learned a lot about medieval arms and armor in the process. It offers a good mix of "here's cool stuff to drop in your game" and "here's some history about this type of armor," all with superb illustrations and a vibe that just works.

If someone asked me to recommend a book of fantasy equipment, there are others with more stuff in them -- but none I'm aware of that come at the subject quite like this one.
2012-10-08
7
Oct 2012
5.639
Owned
This isn't so much an arms and equipment guide as it is a book of stuff PCs tend to buy -- which isn't the same thing. It's got weapons and armor, sure, as well as interesting equipment, but it also has pets, guards, mounts, ships, and hirelings. It's a catalog for players and, in places, a book of inspiration (especially in terms of vehicles and mounts) for GMs. Neat book.
2012-10-08
7
Jan 2013
6.424
Owned
This comes off as a complex book, but the payoff is detail and the glorious critical system. WFRP's crits are a bit more graphic in general, but RM beats WFRP on volume and detail level.

I like that this book, unlike SL and C&CL, is saddle-stapled so it'll lay flat on the table. It's going to come up a lot, with lots of flipping and cross-referencing; that's a great binding choice.
2013-01-27
8
Oct 2012
7.136
Owned
Ars Magica has fascinated me for over 20 years, despite the fact that I've never actually gotten to play it. The magic system looks superb, and the other core mechanics look good (if perhaps a bit fiddly when it comes to combat). Troupe play sounds awesome, and I love the idea of collaborative covenant creation. "Medieval Europe, except everything people believed back then is true" is a great hook for the game's Mythic Europe setting.

Apart from the layout, which is blah, and the amount and quality of the artwork, this is a great book -- and those aren't dealbreakers by any stretch. I'd love to try this game.
2012-10-08
7
Aug 2011
6.776
Owned
While I miss the Street Samurai Catalog, this is a good book in its own right. It has less flavor and style, and a LOT fewer illustrations, but much more stuff. It's a book of things to drool over as a player -- and as a GM, a guide to making the world seem more Shadowrun-y by way of cool props, security systems, and the like. Solid.
2012-10-08
6
Aug 2011
6.681
Owned
Artesia is a gorgeous labor of love created by a very nice guy (and based on an awesome comic), with great production values, great artwork, and a ton of material -- as a book, it's amazing.

That said, my reaction after looking through it was that it's moderately well-suited to my play style, but much too reliant on knowledge of the Artesia world and backstory to be a viable option for my group. Based on presentation and quality, it's much better than a 6.

2011-12-06
9
Jan 2012
6.872
Owned
This game is superb -- one of my favorite things Robin Laws has ever written, which is saying something. My initial reaction when I first read about it was "Oh great, now I have to learn about a whole new IP and a bunch of weird races." I kept thinking about it on and off for so long that I eventually bought it, and boy was I wrong.

There are no chores here. The IP is great, unique and distinctive without being overly fleshed-out; it's a sketch with sharp detail in some areas and fuzziness in others -- a hard balance to strike that it strikes perfectly.

Apart from having more typos and other minor errors than I expect from a book this nice, it's an amazing book. It's well-organized, it wastes no space on fluff you can't use, the rules are tight (including the major extension it adds to GUMSHOE, the starship combat), and it looks like an absolute blast to play. Totally awesome.
2012-01-27
7
Aug 2011
6.004
Owned
This looks like a fun adventure. There's a lot to do, the setting -- Middenheim -- is one of the coolest places in the Old World, it's well written and organized, and the presentation is clear. The maps look good, and the callout boxes are helpful. I don't need boxed text, but that's not unique to this adventure by a long shot.
2012-10-08
6
Aug 2011
5.277
Owned
As a book of d20 stuff, I no longer need this -- but as a book of ideas for presenting and using assassins in a fantasy game, it's pretty cool.
2012-10-08
8
Aug 2011
N/A
Owned
As a grab-bag of ideas for a Mage game, this is a great book. When I was running Mage, it was one of my go-to "flip through it and see what shakes loose" books, and at least one key campaign element came straight from this book.

It's got both a "check out this wacky shit" (in a good way) and a "this is actually pretty deep" vibe to it, which is a neat combination that's perfectly suited to Mage.
2011-12-06
N/A
5.704
Owned
2
Aug 2011
6.602
Owned
I like breasts. I like mature content in my games. I even like weird fucked-up shit like Spectres and Freak Legion.

But there's no place for acid-spewing cyber-breasts -- a real item from this book -- in Shadowrun. And including them in a book so boring I'd rather do just about anything else than read it, with no pictures and precious little cyberware, just added insult to injury.

The folks who created the earlier cyberware and biotech books for Shadowrun got it: lots of cool augmentations, some fluff, some interesting things around the edges, and pictures. This book has none of that, and it sucks ass.
2011-08-29
8
Jan 2012
6.753
Owned
This is one of my favorite FR books, favorite 2nd Edition books, and favorite D&D books overall. It's full of flavor, it makes me want to roll up a character, the artwork is excellent, and the somewhat silly framework/presentation somehow just works for the Realms. I love this book.

Back when I played 2e, this was a go-to resource for every PC I created in the Realms. Most of the equipment did unusual things, occasionally better than other types of equipment (but usally just different), and the mundane gear was great for immersing myself in the feel of the world, as well as for communicating that flavor to my players when I was GMing.
2011-12-06
8
Dec 2013
N/A
Owned
This is an excellent hexcrawl, full of weird, challenging, dirty, game-changing stuff, all described tersely and with plenty of room for on-the-spot improvisation.

No read-aloud text, no padding, no bullshit: Just good hexes, a fun dungeon, and an unusual theme (sword and sandals, as opposed to vanilla fantasy).
2013-12-22
8
Aug 2011
N/A
Owned
This book is full of cool stuff you can use right now, from crunch to fluff to setting material to NPCs. It's a great browse when looking for ideas, and given the importance of banishers in MtA it's a great supplement to own.
2012-10-08
7
Jan 2013
6.603
Owned
This is a good little game, and remarkably complete for its size and length. It's clear, well-written, and offers a lot of bang for $14. Its subtle, too -- it seems like it must skimp somewhere, or take well-trodden routes to save space, but if you look closely it doesn't do either. I love the way it handles alignment, and the use of descriptors, and the system looks simple and solid enough.

The only thing I don't like is the use of black text on a too-dark grey background. The background adds nothing to the look of the book, and just makes it harder to read. (Apparently this is being fixed in future printings.)
2013-03-16
7
Dec 2013
N/A
Owned
Neat adventure. The dungeon has some surprises, and some of the adversaries should prove very nasty indeed. The whole thing hangs together well, the encounters are interesting, and it's just a solid effort across the board.
2013-12-22
8
Apr 2012
6.350
Owned
This is a really cool megadungeon, classic in its presentation and contents, well-executed, and engaging. It looks like a lot of fun to play.

While I wish there was a bit more weirdness in it, it sets out to be a big, sprawling tomb filled with traps, undead, and unforgiving encounters (especially for the unwary), and it's exactly that. There are three factions in the dungeon, lots of new creatures, some great set pieces, and loads of risk vs. reward moments. It's creepy, sinister, and I could see it evoking a sense of dread in players.

Barrowmaze could have benefited from an editor and a proofreader. It has too many typos, and some awkward phrasing in some entries, and there are some annoying math errors throughout (most calculations involving turns vs. hours are wrong). I'm also not wild about the font and the format of the entries. It's a testament to how good this book is that none of that kept me from wanting to run it, or from reading it from cover to cover.
2012-04-01
6
Aug 2011
5.704
Owned
This book looks and feels dated now, and BRP comes off as a very dry system...but it works wonderfully during play. My BRP experience comes from CoC, and mainly from one-shots at conventions, but in my experience the use of percentile skills and the generally streamlined, intuitive nature of most of the rules makes it very easy to pick up on the fly.

This particular book, however, doesn't do a great job of getting across what a good system BRP can be.
2011-12-06
8
Apr 2014
7.128
Owned
I'm divided on the aggressively 1980s -- and bland -- look and feel, but BRP (mainly CoC) is one of my favorite systems and this is a great book overall. My favorite things about BRP are its ability to more or less disappear in play, resurfacing only precisely as often as needed, and how easy it is to run and teach.

I'm not usually a big fan of generic systems, but this book preserves what I love about BRP while offering tips, optional rules, sample "foundational" spells and powers, and tons of stuff to hack it to one's liking. It's awesome.
2014-04-20
5
Oct 2012
5.954
Owned
Like most of my d20 books, this remains on my shelf primarily as a possible source of ideas -- the half-breeds it introduces are neat, and there are some really cool ones. As rulebooks go, it's standard Green Ronin: well done, well illustrated, and solid across the board.
2012-10-08
PDF Version
Year: 2009
6
Jan 2014
N/A
Owned
I snagged this because it has a funny name and sounded like it might make for an enjoyable pickup/Hangout game. having read it, the name's still funny and the game sounds enjoyable.

I like games that are freeform and which require a lot of improvisation, and this is one of those. I wish it had a hair more in the way of mechanics, and I'm not wild about the fact that all players but one spend time filling out a character sheet and only one of them gets to use it.
2014-01-06
8
Jan 2014
5.803
Owned
A toolkit of short and long adventures, hooks, setting material, background information, and other stuff related to the Schaeffer belt and asteroid belts in general, Beltsrike is a neat. It's divorced from the Third Imperium setting, and feels like classic hard SF in a lot of ways.

It can be used as-is to play a whole campaign in the Schaeffer belt, as a grab-bag to fuel belter adventures elsewhere, or as a book of adventures to use as sidelights in a non-belter campaign. I'm not sure how it would work in a Trav game with lots of connections to the canon setting, as it's so distinct from it.
2014-01-01
Kickstarter Uncensored Cover
Year: 2013
10
Jan 2014
6.628
Owned
This is the coolest Free RPG Day product I've ever seen, and one that succeeds on many levels. It successfully expresses LotFP's design philosophies in several ways: It's an adults-only 96-page book released for an event that encourages short quickstart products; it's a sandbox where the PCs might see all or relatively little of what's in the book; and it's disturbing, dark, and full of troubling things for the PCs to encounter -- and especially full of hard choices with interesting consequences.

I wasn't a huge fan of the real-world setting until I delved deeper; it's a good fit, and as the book points out it's often easier to adapt the real world to your game than to adapt another game world to it.

It features a wild and awesome array of crazy, messed-up shit for the PCs to get involved with. Much of the darkest content is grounded in the real world -- for example, witches who confess are hung, stripped, and then their corpses are beaten by the village children. No monsters are needed to make that a fucked-up situation for the PCs to run into.

There's a lot here: lots of locations, lots of great creatures and encounters, and lots of fun problems. There's a timeline, there are compelling and disturbing NPCs -- including the most evil wizard I've ever seen in a gaming product, WIllibald Schwartz -- and there's cogent and useful advice on how to run the adventure.

It's one of the all-around best gaming products I own for all these reasons and more. And the uncensored cover is not to be missed.
2014-01-02
N/A
N/A
Owned
9
Jan 2012
7.959
Owned
From the background to the story to the scope and presentation, this campaign looks amazing. I've always wanted to run it, but never had a group that was up for campaign-style CoC.

BtMoM is one of my favorite HPL stories, and this book's treatment of the source material is top-notch. It feels like the book without being a retread, and it's fantastic across the board. It takes into account the high likelihood that PCs will die, and provides a range of believable mechanisms to introduce new ones.

On top of that, it takes The Narrative of Arthur Gordon-Pym -- an amazing Poe story I read because of this book -- and finishes it in a way that rolls right into the campaign; it's awesome.
2011-08-19
8
Aug 2011
6.396
Owned
This is a gorgeous bundle, from the mood-setting screen to the period maps and other little elements -- it's just a great package. Someday, I will bust all of this out and run BtMoM, and it will be epic.
2011-12-06
7
Sep 2013
6.772
Owned
This is a solid book, and I'm glad I own it. The campaign is a true campaign, one that should take plenty of sessions to complete. My expectations when I heard the plot were different than how it goes, and I was slightly disappointed by how it does go in places. Prewritten campaigns are meant to be adapted, though.

The campaign covers a number of locales and offers a variety of challenges, including plenty of surprises. It's full of sidebars suggesting ways to tweak it, offering hooks for extending it, and providing tips on what to do if things don't go as expected. That's welcome in any adventure/campaign, and it would make it easy to plan further sessions in the campaign's locales and around its elements and themes, adding value.

As a GM, I also dig having write-ups and stats for new stuff I can pilfer, from NPCs and monsters to ships and planets, and Beyond the Rim is full of those. Even if I never run the campaign, there's a good amount of stuff I can easily steal for my game.
2013-09-20
PDF Version
Year: 2011
7
Aug 2011
5.812
Owned
This is an unconventional scenario, and looks to be a bit more complex to manage than I expected, but the hook is cool: The PCs are Robert and Virginia Heinlein, Tony Boucher, and Philip K. Dick. DUDE.

It's well written and the designer's notes are helpful, and the scenario itself looks excellent. I'd love to run this someday.
2012-10-08
9
Feb 2013
7.226
Owned
When BR came out, setting fatigue and a bit of TSR/AD&D fatigue were setting in, and I dismissed it as not my cup of tea. Fast forward to 2010, when my group picked BR as one of our ongoing games, and I found out what I'd been missing.

The BR world looks and feels generic at first, but that's intentional -- it's a solid fantasy world that serves well as a framework for getting you involved without needing to learn much about it. Many of the realms have Earth analogs, and the feel overall is so familiar that most gamers will identify with the setting right off the bat.

At the same time, it's so well-developed, and so detailed in meaningful ways (ways that will actually impact play at the table) that it feels like a fully realized world -- and one designed from the ground up for gaming, not fiction. It's much more compelling than it looks at first glance.

So many little things add up to make this setting great, from the names -- authentically hard to pronounce, strongly setting-flavored -- to the maps, which look like they could maps found in the game world.

This boxed set is awesome, and does a great job of conveying what the world and the game are all about. Reading it makes me want to dive right in and run a realm.
2013-02-18
7
Feb 2013
N/A
Owned
For a promotional item, this is actually pretty cool -- especially as a handout for players. It sums up the key concepts behind Birthright, describes most of the major cultures, and on the reverse is a gorgeous map of Cerilia.
2013-02-18
7
Aug 2011
N/A
Owned
* Disclaimer: I was a contributing author. *
2011-08-04
7
Aug 2011
N/A
Owned
* Disclaimer: I was a contributing author. *
2011-08-04
7
Aug 2011
N/A
Owned
* Disclaimer: I was a contributing author. *
2011-08-04
7
Aug 2011
N/A
Owned
* Disclaimer: I was a contributing author. *
2011-08-04
7
Aug 2011
N/A
Owned
* Disclaimer: I was a contributing author. *
2011-08-04
Collector’s Edition
Year: 2012
N/A
6.949
Owned
N/A
6.567
Owned
PDF version
Year: 2013
N/A
N/A
Owned
8
Dec 2013
6.301
Owned
I bought this module solely based on its fantastic premise: Easy resurrection doesn't exist in DCC RPG, so if the PCs want to restore a fallen comrade to life they have to travel to Death's realm and witn the soul away from him. Boom, you can drop that into any game.

And it's a great adventure, too, with all the usual DCC trappings: interesting encounters, evocative artwork, cool maps, and lots of challenges. It's groovy.
2013-12-26
8
Feb 2013
N/A
Owned
This is a marvelous zine. The adventure is simple but rich in details -- though thankfully short on description. Every element is described as minimally as possible, which tends to be my favorite approach for this sort of thing. There are plenty of surprises and opportunities, things to drink (that do different stuff), and odd corners to explore.

It's not just an adventure, either: There's the skeleton of a little region, a mini-monster manual of new creatures, beer recipes, food recipes, and more. Especially considering the price, Pilz is a great value.
2013-02-19
8
Jan 2013
N/A
Owned
I expected very little from this book -- an evil swamp that might be loosely based on the area around New Orleans. It's so much cooler than that, though: It's an evil swamp that's shaped and imbued with power by people's dreams, and its ruler can project a portion of the region anywhere in the world, hold a dark carnival there, and use the resulting dreams to further fuel the bayou.

Blood Bayou has a lot of character, and it's all stuff you could actually use in play, not just fluff the players will never see. There's a tower made from corpses, the carnival itself, a castle that's mostly a jumble of random rooms and corridors (with a system for generating them), a city built on little islands, and more.

I expected this to be one of the weaker entries in the Scarred Lands line, and I'm glad I was wrong. It's a fantastic region, and it's presented very well.
2013-01-06
8
Oct 2012
6.440
Owned
The awnsheghlien -- monstrous rulers of realms in Cerilia -- are a big part of Birthright, and this book does them justice. I love the presentation in Birthright books, and this one is no exception. Each awnshegh introduces itself, then you get setting material and background, and finally any rules you need to use them in the game -- all in full color, whimsically illustrated (if not always well, in this case). It seems like it would be difficult to run BR without this book.
2012-10-08
N/A
6.748
Owned
8
Dec 2013
6.621
Owned
I don't like the look and feel of this supplement quite as much as the core book, but there's no denying the quality and quantity of the content. The advice section is excellent, and the variety and coolness of the many, many series pitches is great. It's a neat approach to a supplement overall.
2013-12-24
Electronic Version
Year: 2000
6
Oct 2012
5.589
Owned
Released for free when the BR line got cancelled, this is only available as an art-free PDF, making it a bit of a funny animal. It's 75% monster book, but lacks illustrations; that's a bummer. But it's also 25% adventures, which are fine without artwork. And of course it was free, so it's hard to complain.

It's a decent book overall, though not essential. The Shadow World -- Faerie, in BR -- is a sidelight to me, though an interesting one. I could see mining the book for an idea or two in any BR campaign, though.
2012-10-08
7
Aug 2011
6.247
Owned
This gorgeous little book looks almost as good as the core book (it lacks color artwork, for the most part), and it's full of flavor and background material for BE. It's not essential; there's already quite a bit in the core book to chew on -- and of course there are the comics, too.

But this book was written with gaming in mind, and if I ever get to run a sustained BR game I can see myself using it for inspiration and to immerse myself in the setting, if nothing else.
2012-10-08
10
Aug 2011
6.163
Owned
I like most of the old pamphlet-style FR supplements, but this is the best of the bunch. It's a largely self-contained region, lovingly described and incredibly well-suited to play -- and the region is awesome (and wintery, which I love!).

On top of that, they did something really clever: It's written around several factions, and the factions are currently in balance -- but all trying to shift the balance, of course. As soon as the PCs arrive, they're going to have to learn the lay of the land pretty quickly -- and they're inevitably going to shift the balance.

Someday I'm going to run an entire campaign using just this book.
2012-03-06
PDF Version
Year: 2009
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
6.732
Owned
6
Aug 2011
6.762
Owned
Blue Planet looks like a great concept -- it takes place on a water planet, which really does change everything -- wedded to a somewhat clunky system with too much crunch for my tastes. This book in particular is long and full of stuff, but it feels a bit like work to wade through it all.

It's not bad, it's just not to my tastes -- and of course I could be wrong, having not actually played it. I'd totally give it a try as a player, but I wouldn't run it as-is.
2012-10-08
8
Oct 2012
6.538
Owned
This is a surprising book: It's almost entirely a worldbook or gazetteer, secondarily a monster manual, and only offers a little advice on running the game plus a handful of other tools. It should really be called Blue Planet Campaign Setting.

If you want to run BP without using the system, this is the book to buy -- it's mostly system-neutral, and packed with info on the planet. And man is it a neat-looking world.
2012-10-08
PDF
Year: 2014
5
Mar 2015
N/A
Owned
It's hard to separate my feelings about the hot mess that was this Kickstarter from the book, but as best as I can tell this isn't a game for me. Maybe it would have been two years ago, when I was supposed to receive it, but now it feels like an awful lot of reading in order to play a relatively simple system, which isn't a combination I enjoy.

I do like that it's based around Cairn, and Cairn has stats. Harmony seems pretty neat in terms of enforcing tone.

As a book, the PDF is kind of blah. I like the artwork; the Laubenstein cover in particular is just fantastic. It's not bookmarked or hyperlinked, which sucks.

It's not bad, it's just not my cup of tea.
2015-03-26
4
Aug 2011
5.897
Owned
For a book about traps and hazards and cool dangerous stuff, this is a really boring read. Nothing about it made me want to wade through the process of statting out traps or including pretty much anything herein in my game.

Making a book about traps boring is no mean feat -- good job, Book of Boring Challenges.
2011-10-12
5
Apr 2013
5.426
Owned
The book of Erotic Fantasy in a nutshell:

"Okay, so I've got the magic buttplug up my ass. I'll put on this magic cock ring, too."

"Sorry, you can't do that."

"Why not?"

"Because buttplugs and cock rings both occupy the same magic item slot, the belt slot."

It's not as funny as I thought it would be; the authors approach sex in D&D seriously and in a way that embraces all gender and sexual preferences. The artwork doesn't quite match that inclusiveness (boobs: many, dongs: one).

There's some stuff at the front that might actually be useful, but the real problem with the book is that it's a 3.x splatbook: prestige classes, feats, spells, and magic items. It's pretty soulless, like most 3.x splatbooks.
2013-04-07
2
Aug 2011
6.124
Owned
It's like the Book of Vile Darkness -- diarrhea in book form -- only this time there isn't even a thin justification for the mature label, it's just there to make you buy the book.

And I did. Fuck.
2011-08-29
8
Oct 2012
5.943
Owned
If you like weird-ass demons and devils (and I do), this is a great book. It combines Armies of the Abyss and Legions of Hell, adds a third volume's worth of new stuff, and bundles it all in an attractive hardcover. (There's no reason to buy the smaller books.)

While I have zero interest in d20 fantasy these days, it's not hard to convert d20 monsters back to earlier editions of D&D -- or just use them as inspiration. That's part of why I love monster books so much: They never really lose their value as sources of ideas.
2012-10-09
6
Aug 2011
5.623
Owned
There are a lot of neat options in this little book, and the concepts can be extended to tweaking D&D in general, not just d20/3.x. It offers up a little bit on lots of things, from new spells to new ways to consider paladins and clerics; good stuff.
2012-10-09
8
Oct 2012
5.593
Owned
In theory, all of the Western Dead are part of a Legion, whether they're civil servants in Stygia's fucked-up bureaucracy or soldiers on the front lines fighting spectres -- or something in between.

Like most Wraith books, this one's full of weird shit, disturbing and compelling artwork, and fantastic setting material (plus a few new mechanical bits and some NPCs). It's excellent.
2012-10-09
N/A
5.940
Owned
8
Aug 2011
6.161
Owned
This is a great read, and a comprehensive look at mages and arcane magic in Cerilia. I was most interested in the ley line stuff, since that's so critical to running one's realm, but the rest -- what mages from each society are like, new spells and magic items, etc. -- is also good.

As always with BR books, I love the flow, the presentation, and the intermixing of diegetic and game stuff -- it's a great approach that really helps make the world its own.
2012-10-09
7
Oct 2012
6.205
Owned
This is an essential book. It's organized around the topics Storytellers and players are most likely to be curious about -- everything from tone and theme to specifics on the Ascension War. And they're the right topics, too.
2012-10-10
6
Aug 2011
6.152
Owned
I'm not actually sure why I bought this; probably because "Hey look, a Vampire book!" It's pretty, but I don't usually pay much attention to fiction in games. If I was running a Vampire game, I'd give it a longer look.
2012-10-10
7
Oct 2012
6.086
Owned
From the investiture ceremony to gods, churches -- and the location of every temple, which actually matters to domain management -- this book is full of foundational BR stuff. It's not as pretty as the full-color entries in the line, but it's useful and well-written.
2012-10-10
8
Aug 2011
5.803
Owned
This book made a lot of the meta-mechanics of Birthright click for me. It's required reading for anyone wanting to play a ruler (and by extension, for any BR GM), and it's too bad that it came late in BR's lifecycle and never got printed. (It's available as a free download.)

It covers a lot of ground, from dynasty campaigns to the nuts and bolts of rulership, and does a solid job across the board.
2011-12-06
6
Aug 2011
6.139
Owned
It's more stuff! For your mages! It's pretty good, like the Player's Guides for most oWoD lines, with lots of new options to choose from and background material to add extra depth to the game.

Most of the book uses a plain white background, but by my count there are 12 textures used in different places that make those sections really annoying to read: pebbly leaves, swirling sparks, blotches, big spiral, more swirlies, parchment, graph paper, twigs, flares, FUCK YOU EVEN CRAZIER SWIRLIES, gray stuff, and dot matrix printer paper. All that trying too hard adds nothing to the book.
2012-10-10
8
Aug 2011
6.137
Owned
I didn't expect to love this book, but it's a great resource. It sheds a lot of light on a side of the setting I'd never given much thought to, and it makes it easy to stat up your own interesting spirits. It's just plain good.

When I ran Mage, this was one of the books I brought with me to nearly every session -- it's tremendously useful.
2011-12-26
8
Aug 2011
6.689
Owned
This is what a book of gods should be: plug-and-play religion, suitable for most fantasy games, usable piecemeal or whole cloth. My only complaint, if you can call it that, is its intimidating length; it's so long I'm not likely to ever read the whole thing, because I just don't need this much depth to my fantasy religions.

But stack it up against any other similar book -- and especially Deities & Demigods, a book of stats you're unlikely to need and precious little else -- and it's easy to see why it's so cool. Ready-to-use churches, holy orders, doctrine, myths, saints, holy days, titles -- it's all here, all ready to go. Plus GMing advice, adventure hooks, and tools for pantheon creation.

There's d20 rules to use or ignore, but the bulk of the book -- at least 75%, I'd say -- is system-neutral. If you only buy one book like this, get this one; it's insanely comprehensive.
2012-10-10
6
Aug 2011
6.080
Owned
The Weaver never really grabbed me, so neither did this book. It's not a bad book -- pretty average for Werewolf books of this area.
2012-10-10
8
Aug 2011
6.222
Owned
Weird-ass shit you need in any Werewolf game, Black Spirals, fantastic artwork, and all sorts of goodies -- this is an excellent book. There's plenty of nightmare fuel in here for a campaign, or even several campaigns.
2012-10-10
N/A
6.313
Owned
2
Aug 2011
6.228
Owned
Three things about this book sum it up so well:

1. The sticker on the cover loudly proclaiming how extreme it is.
2. The fact that boobies apparently = mature.
3. The Nipple Clamp of Exquisite Pain.

This is one of the worst, most uninspired gaming books ever written.
2011-08-04
9
Oct 2012
N/A
Owned
This sounded like a compelling concept when I first heard about it, and it holds up -- in fact, it's one of the best RPG concepts I've encountered in some time. On August 13, 2002, something happens that causes Earth to diverge into 13 Earths. On ours, nothing much changes; on the other 12, something terrible happens -- electricity stops working, solar events bake the planet, etc. The PCs are Nearsiders, people who can travel between the Earths and manipulate reality in different ways.

The 12 alternate Earths are sketched out with just the right amount of detail -- not enough to get boring, or fill in the cracks, but enough to evoke the mood and give you plenty of ideas. The whole thing is movie-ready; it feels a bit like Inception.

The hook combined with the other Earths makes me want to explore, and to set things up and watch my players explore. It's primed for a fantastic "guided sandbox," with some mission structure or goals but plenty of opportunities to go off and just see what happens.

I didn't focus on the system, but it looks solid. The book could use a tighter edit and some proofreading, and would probably benefit from a layout with less whitespace, but those don't detract much from an otherwise excellent game. It's the only gaming book I can think of that uses stock photos run through PhotoShop filters for 99% of its artwork and actually pulls it off.

I really want to run this someday.
2012-10-13
N/A
5.598
Owned
8
Feb 2014
6.637
Owned
This is a solid book, nicely laid out, well organized, and pleasantly concise. The index is decent, but could be better; on the other hand, at least there IS an index.

I haven't read the background stuff, as my group is using Bulldogs! to play Mass Effect. The rules are good, though -- I like this flavor of Fate, and it's proven to be fun in play and fairly easy to pick up.
2014-02-23
N/A
5.663
Owned
First printing
Year: 1976
9
Oct 2012
6.284
Owned
This is one of my all-time favorite RPGs. The system is a bit clunky in places, very mid-seventies, but in play it mostly either a) gets out of the way and lets the unique elements of the game shine (which I like) or b) encourages interesting play.

The concept on its own -- you play intelligent rabbits -- is great; that's about all I need to enjoy the game. But what makes it special is the little things: The classes are whimsical and charming (empath, storyteller, maverick, scout); you can find herbs that do interesting stuff; the languages are all scientifically named (Common Lagomorph); there are rabbit games you can play, and rules for cheating; and so much more.

Rabbits can only count to four, so everything five or more is "fiver." How many cows live on the farm? Fiver. How many rabbits are in our warren? Fiver. How about in their warren? Fiver! Fiver is a huge part of what makes B&B fun -- it sets the tone and leads to amusing situations.

I've only played this in one-shots, and sadly never run it. I'd love to try campaign play, and try GMing it. In just 74 pages it presents a complete, compelling framework for fascinating play, and I love it.
2012-10-11
Softcover version
Year: 1983
3
Jan 2014
5.704
Owned
I picked this up because it's the second-ever horror RPG (after Call of Cthulhu and before Pacesetter's Chill), knowing virtually nothing about it. It's a short book, but man is it a wall of crunch: gridded hit location diagrams; tables, tables, tables; stats out the wazoo; rules for everything. It's not a bad game, but it's extremely 1980s and not my thing at all.

Alongside all those rules are some interesting bits of setting, including a rather fun list of supernatural encounters that's actually quite good. It's all accompanied by cartoony artwork that doesn't match the seriousness of the text but does sort of fit with the overall tone of the game. A monster-hunting agency founded in 1860, fighting classic monsters that influence world events, is a great premise; it could be a lot of fun with lighter rules.
2014-01-04
9
Oct 2012
7.044
Owned
This is one of the most gorgeous gaming books I own. It's also engaging, fantastically written, clearly presented, and maybe just a bit intimidating. It's a lot to absorb -- but so good.

The world is great, and BW mechanics merge well with it. The structure of the game, with its scene economy, is unusual. I'd love to try a campaign of BE as a GM or player.
2012-10-11
7
Aug 2011
6.291
Owned
Burning Sands is as well-written and intriguing as Luke's other work, and reading it made me want to give it a shot. It felt unfinished somehow, though -- maybe just because of the pamphlet approach. Lots of potential, clever ideas, Dune with the serial numbers filed off.

Then Burning Empires came out and took everything in this book and polished the shit out of it, thereby eclipsing any real need for Burning Sands. BE is BS on steroids.

But still: It's a cool little book. In the right hands and with the right group, this could be a fun, compact experience that diverges quite a bit from traditional approaches.
2011-10-12
9
Jan 2012
5.922
Owned
I was drawn to Classic BW by its funny size (now not at all uncommon, but it was back then), understated cover, and the fact that it was two books in one bundle. When I actually got a chance to play it, I was blown away.

Although this edition has been eclipsed twice by the smoother Revised and the reworked Gold editions, it remains a fantastic RPG. The presentation is straightforward, intense, and usability-oriented, but it doesn't lack for flavor. Luke's voice is strong in the book, which can be a downside for some people (it's more familiar in tone than a lot of gaming books), but it's a strength for me.
2011-08-16
10
Jan 2012
7.494
Owned
This is an amazing book. It's polished, it's packed with useful, practical, inspiring, and awesome things, and it's definitely the edition of BW I'd break out if I was going to run a game.
2012-02-24
9
Jan 2012
7.385
Owned
Burning Wheel is an engine for delivering amazing gaming experiences.

It diverges from traditional RPGs in some places, like in its scripted combat system (which is a lot of fun in play), but hews to them in others. And its systems are brilliantly executed, from the Duel of Wits -- its crowning jewel -- to forking dice to wises to every other corner of the game.

It's set up to make it more or less impossible to create a boring character, and everything on your character sheet matters. And it connects mechanics to roleplaying beautifully, dovetailing them so that the rules encourage roleplaying and vice versa -- something it does better than any game I've ever played.

One day, the stars will align and I'll get to run or play in a long-term BW campaign -- and that's going to be a good day.
2011-08-16
8
Aug 2011
7.259
Owned
I really like the approach this book takes to teaching you to design BW adventures: It opens with three example adventures (tried-and-true demo scenarios), plus 42 characters, and then guides you through the process of creating adventures with BW in mind.

It also includes lots of info about how best to run the game, with copious designer's notes, tales from the trenches, and an in-depth look at numerous different topics. It's essentially a primer to running BW, not just creating adventures, and it's thorough and well-done.

(I'm also a character in this book -- p. 47.)
2012-10-12
8
Jan 2014
7.324
Owned
Like the other BW books, this is a marvelous little tome packed full of stuff. Plus art by Kurt Komoda and Ian Miller, among others!

It's got ready-to-use stuff for a variety of magical traditions, from the gruesome to the PG, plus lots of spells, artifacts, things to do with your magic, and of course the burners for rolling your own.
2014-01-17
8
Aug 2011
7.190
Owned
Like other BW supplements, this is a toolbox of awesome stuff. Questions to spur your monster creation, rules for creating monsters, tons of already-created monsters, new PC-suitable monster races with lifepaths, and of course lots of practical I've-tried-this-and-it-works advice. Solid book.
2012-10-13
9
Jan 2013
N/A
Owned
Burok Torn is great: A believable high-fantasy dwarven city that feels right, with awesome architecture and a compelling history. Dark elves and dwarves were once allies, but the titan Chern's influence led the dwarves to betray the dark elves (though that's not how they remember it).

The heart of Burok Torn is a mile-wide, 700-foot tall core ringed with individually fortified dwarven strongholds. The dwarves have tunneled for centuries, expanding throughout the 30,000-foot peak of Burok Torn -- and they've been at war for centuries, too.

The book covers defenses, sources of food and water, the layout of a typical stronghold, notable families, and a lot more. It's a slim volume, but there's a lot in it. It also addresses Dier Drendal, the city of the dark elves -- which is made of thousands of stone golems, from individual brick-sized ones up to much larger creatures. Dier Drendal moves, sliding brick-by-brick into a new location without losing its integrity.

Burok Torn is one hell of a book. It stands beside Dwarves Deep and Hammers of the God as a truly superb take on dwarves, compelling and full of hooks.
2013-01-06
Black Dog Version - Buttery Wholesomeness
Year: 1995
7
Aug 2011
5.685
Owned
Did HoL need a supplement? Nope. Is it a good supplement anyway? Yep, it sure is. More madness, more art, Spud and Tater Tott, Pope Man and Altar Boy, extensive character backgrounds, gear, the Diaper Swamp. It's HoL, only more.
2013-02-15
N/A
6.370
Owned
6
Jan 2013
N/A
Owned
This is a good book in the technical sense -- it's easy to read, looks easy to use at the table, and covers everything I expect it to about Calastia. The problem for me is that Calastia itself just isn't that interesting.

It has a role to play, though: generic-ish lawful evil kingdom. That's a good role, and the fact that it feels a bit vanilla for the Scarred Lands is probably by design -- the setting can't all be big ideas and weird shit, after all. And the mirror court is downright brilliant.

But on balance, it still could be better. It's a bit flat.
2013-01-08
First printing in 2-inch-deep box
Year: 1981
8
Jan 2014
7.546
Owned
1st, 2nd, and 3rd edition (in the U.S., at least) are pretty much the same in terms of what they include. I love boxed sets, but with CoC I prefer the later single-volume editions for play. Regardless, every edition presents an amazing game with clear, versatile, straightforward rules and a style all its own, and CoC is one of my favorite RPGs.

The first-ever horror RPG, I can see why CoC got off to a good start: This is a great boxed set. The core book is clear and well-written, though it could use more art, and its brown text gives it a period feel. The supplemental material is useful, and the whole package is nicely done.

I lucked into winning an auction for B. Dennis Sustare's personal copy, and as he designed one of my all-time favorite RPGs, Bunnies & Burrows, that makes it a particularly special piece of my gaming collection.
2014-01-02
US boxed set
Year: 1983
8
Jan 2014
7.343
Owned
1st, 2nd, and 3rd edition (in the U.S., at least) are pretty much the same in terms of what they include. I love boxed sets, but with CoC I prefer the later single-volume editions for play. Regardless, every edition presents an amazing game with clear, versatile, straightforward rules and a style all its own, and CoC is one of my favorite RPGs.

I've never played 2e, but it's not materially different from future editions as far as I can tell.
2014-01-02
Hardcover edition
Year: 1986
8
Aug 2011
7.650
Owned
I've never played 3e, but mechanically it's pretty much the same as the other editions. This one was hardcover, which didn't happen in the U.S. until 4th edition, and features some classic Games Workshop artwork on the cover. It's a nice piece to have in my collection of CoC editions.
2014-01-02
Boxed edition
Year: 1986
8
Jan 2014
7.650
Owned
1st, 2nd, and 3rd edition (in the U.S., at least) are pretty much the same in terms of what they include. I love boxed sets, but with CoC I prefer the later single-volume editions for play. Regardless, every edition presents an amazing game with clear, versatile, straightforward rules and a style all its own, and CoC is one of my favorite RPGs.
2014-01-02
First printing
Year: 1989
8
Aug 2011
7.388
Owned
This edition of CoC was my first, and it'll always have a special place in my collection. It was part of what got me into CoC, and it's a great book.

Setting aside the rules, which really don't change much from edition to edition, it's got less in it than later editions. As core books go, it's pretty slim. The comics and the fold-out relative size chart are my favorite features in this edition. I love the flavor and feel of this edition, especially the cartoons at the back. (They were taken out of 5th and restored in later editions.)

As a starting point for CoC, 4th edition has been eclipsed by 5.6 and 6th edition.
2014-01-02
Edition 5.1 Softcover
Year: 1992
8
Aug 2011
7.978
Owned
I'm not sure why the 5th and 5.6 edition are bundled into one entry in the database, but they are -- so this is my comment on the 5th edition, not the 5.6 edition.

This edition has always fallen flat with me. The rules are basically the same as previous and later editions, as always, but it's not as fun as 4th edition and not as polished and useful as 5.6 and onwards.

There's nothing wrong with 5th edition, it's just not as right as some of the others.
2011-08-15
Hardback Edition 5.6
Year: 1999
9
Jan 2014
7.978
Owned
The 5.6 edition differs significantly in presentation from the 5th edition. 5th edition has always felt like the plainest, least coherent of the editions in terms of presentation, whereas 5.6 and 6 provide more tools and more directly useful material for keepers -- and do it with more style.
2011-08-15
Edition 5.2 Softcover
Year: 1995
8
Dec 2013
7.978
Owned
It's like the 5.1 edition, only with 0.1 more Cthulhu!
2013-12-07
Soft Cover
Year: 2005
9
Jan 2012
8.060
Owned
Like 5.5 and 5.6 before it, CoC 6e really nails the presentation of the game. It feels more unified than previous editions, which often looked a bit kludged together visually (part of their charm, but still).

This an 6th edition are probably my favorite starting points as far as CoC core books go, excluding the leatherbound versions.
2014-01-02
30th Anniversary Collector's Edition
Year: 2011
10
Aug 2011
8.060
Owned
Like the 20th anniversary edition, this one feels like a forbidden tome from the game -- it's simply gorgeous. The leatherette cover is buttery and lovely, and the layout and design is the same (or nearly the same) as that in the 20th anniversary edition -- IE, excellent.

Where the 20th used thicker, non-gloss, sepia-toned pages, this edition features thinner (but more dense), semi-glossy, white pages. That makes the interior feel a shade less like a Mythos tome than the 20th's interior, but it's still very attractive in its own right.

Rules-wise, this is the most refined edition of the game, and the best-presented. I can't distinguish every detail between 5, 5.5, 5.6, and 6, but this feels like the slickest CoC rule set.
2011-08-16
Hard Cover
Year: 2004
10
Dec 2013
8.060
Owned
Like 5.5 and 5.6 before it, CoC 6e really nails the presentation of the game. It feels more unified than previous editions, which often looked a bit kludged together visually (part of their charm, but still).

I have so many editions of CoC that writing a unique comment for each of them gets old fast. It's an awesome game. This hardcover, unsurprisingly, is nicer than the softcover because it's more durable.
2013-12-30
20th Anniversary edition
Year: 2001
10
Aug 2011
7.341
Owned
This edition is gorgeous -- it's like an artifact from Lovecraft's world, and it includes all of the best parts of previous editions in one amazing package. The only thing it lacks are the two pages of cartoons from 4th Edition; even so, as a rulebook this is my favorite edition of CoC.

There's something very straightforward about Chaosium's presentation that I love, and CoC showcases it well. They don't bullshit or mess around, they just give you everything you need to run great Mythos games.
2011-08-04
6
Feb 2013
6.321
Owned
As gaming artifacts, these are gorgeous. As dice to be used at the table, they're pretty hard for me to read. I like my set, but I don't keep it in my dice bag.
2013-02-21
8
Aug 2011
6.440
Owned
d20 Modern didn't sound like a great baseline for a CoC game, but it sure looks like fun. I like that it embraces the more pulpy aspects of Lovecraft's tales while still feeling very CoC. The mechanics for spells and sanity are clever and well-implemented, and this is one of the few d20 System games I would still like to play (having largely soured on the system).

As a book, it's gorgeous -- one of the best things to come out of the d20 era, hands down. Where it really shines, though, is in its concise, evocative summary of the Mythos -- the best of its kind in any CoC book I've ever read, better even than Chaosium's BRP CoC core books (strangely).

It works because it's written specifically from a gaming standpoint, but doesn't neglect what makes Lovecraft's work so cool. If I wanted to introduce a gamer who was new to CoC to the Mythos, I'd hand them this book and have them read that section. It's worth the price of admission all on its own.
2011-10-12
PDF Version
Year: 2010
7
Sep 2012
5.945
Owned
I absolutely love that Mongoose made a complete free campaign available for MongTrav. I printed it all out, had it spiral-bound at Kinkos, and now have a couple hundred pages of what looks like really solid Traveller adventures to run.

The meat of the campaign looks solid and the individual adventures generally sound enjoyable. If I was running Traveller, I'd give this a deeper look and very likely start out with it. It's good stuff.
2012-09-23
PC CD
Year: 2006
7
Jan 2012
6.267
Owned
I hear very conflicting things about CC3 in terms of its usability and its learning curve -- it's either super-simple or painfully complex -- and for me a bit of both are true. It's an unfamiliar UI for non-CAD folks (like me), but the tutorials and free support available are excellent. Once I got the basics down, it took making a few crappy maps before I felt like I could hash out a decent one.

There's a LOT CC3 can do, but like PhotoShop (etc.) it takes some figuring out. I got it for half price, and I'm happy with what I got. I wish it was more modern in its approach, and a bit less clunky, but on the whole it's a useful tool that's going to be part of my toolkit for years to come.
2012-02-28
8
Aug 2011
5.744
Owned
I fell in love with these at GenCon and bought a set on the spot. These guys did an amazing job of producing fantasy coinage that actually looks and feels like fantasy coinage. The coins are just plain fun to handle, and the little touches -- using different materials, theming denominations by race, etc. -- are really well done.

Unfortunately, they're also pricey and, at least in the core set, not broken down into the most useful spread of denominations. I've also found that the idea of using them to track in-game money is more fun than actually using them to do so; it's easier to just use pen and paper.

As a mood-setter and a gaming artifact, though, they're awesome.
2011-12-06
7
Oct 2012
6.525
Owned
This is a good book that I've never actually sat down and used, which is a shame. There's plenty of useful stuff in here, from dungeon and world creation advice to tips on running the game, making judgment calls, sample dungeons, and more. As grab-bags you can hand to a new DM go -- especially a DM of a pre-3e D&D game -- this offers a lot of bang in a small package.

That said, I think other D&D books, and other gaming books, have eclipsed it -- although at the expense of devoting more pages to each individual topic than the CSCG does. Being "survey-style" is its strength, but if I want to know about this stuff these days I tend to reach for a dedicated resource on a narrower topic.
2012-10-13
7
Jun 2012
7.118
Owned
This is a weird book. As a physical artifact, it's gorgeous -- probably one of the coolest looking gaming books I own.

It's well written, if a bit dry for its subject matter -- because its subject matter is crazy and gonzo and horrific and weird in roughly equal measure. You've got dinosaur riding aliens with plasma rifles roughing up D&D characters, horrific Lovecraftian monsters, truly disturbing rituals, and disembodied mummy brains as villains.

The hex descriptions get boring after a while, but some of them are outstanding. There's tons of stuff in here to lift for other games, and the amount of material makes it a good resource.

I wish it didn't include child rape, because it doesn't need to. The rituals are horrific enough without going there, and it didn't add anything to the game for me. I like my horror transgressive, but apparently that's my one of my hard boundaries: spells the PCs can cast that require them to rape children. (From a free speech standpoint, I support the author's right to include whatever the hell he wants in the book.)
2012-06-12
9
Jan 2014
6.168
Owned
There's so much here to love: Swamp ghosts hovering behind the other players, whispering in their ears. Two-card spreads chosen by other players, their halves lining up to create characters. History without the burden of historical accuracy. A tight set of rules. Gorgeous cards. And on and on.

My only regret is that the cards seem like they'd make it pretty hard to play over Hangout, so it might be a while until my book and deck see any action.
2014-01-01
7
Sep 2013
5.901
Owned
Carry's design, which looked like a military field manual (right down to referencing paragraphs instead of pages), is fantastic. It's also clearly written, wastes neither space nor time in getting where it's going, and provides plenty of context and good examples; it's a good core book.

With a fixed pool of characters, a dice mechanic built around Burdens and passing dice to other players -- not always who you'd like to wind up with them, down the road -- it looks engaging, with the potential to be disturbing and heavy (both of which I like in games). The location and scene suggestions at the end really tie it together.
2013-09-28
8
Jan 2013
7.011
Owned
This module looks like a hoot, and it nicely defines "fun house dungeon." It's a bit cheesy in places, but it's the sort of cheesy that I strongly suspect would be splendid at the table in actual play.

I like the Averoigne element, the mix of indoor and outdoor dungeon environments -- plus Averoigne itself -- and the general nuttiness of the castle. For 28 pages and a handful of maps, there's a LOT here -- tons of gaming, new monsters, a small country to explore, a French pronunciation guide, and more.
2013-01-06
PDF Version
Year: 2010
8
Aug 2011
6.011
Owned
The hook made me buy this on the spot: The PCs are naval personnel in 1954, taking part in a Bikini Atoll test shot, and when the nuke goes off things get...weird. It's well-written, well-presented, and intriguing, like all of the ToC modules I've read.

There's a LOT to manage behind the scenes, though, and on one read-through I found myself wondering if I could pull this module off. Someday I'll return to it with the willingness to do the level of prep it would require, but for now it seems like too much work.
2012-10-13
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
PDF Version
Year: 2007
5
Aug 2011
5.692
Owned
I love Ed Greenwood, and the premise behind Castlemourn sounded intriguing, but this is one underwhelming book. It's plain, dry, uninspiring, lackluster, and unappealing in almost every way.

Maybe it's incredibly well-written, or there's amazing material there if you look hard enough, but the way it's presented and the parts that I did read leave me with no desire to find out.
2011-12-06
7
Feb 2012
7.047
Owned
In my quest for an OSR game that modernizes some aspects of basic D&D, I picked up the C&C PH -- and I'm glad I did. The SIEGE Engine core mechanic is great, and it's almost enough to run the entire game on its own. It's simple and versatile, and even its one quirk (setting all base CCs at 12 or 18) exists for a reason: To move math to the GM and away from the players, where it complicates things for some folks.

The presentation feels a bit dry and it's pretty light on art, but I can see why so many folks play C&C: It looks like a really fun game. It's funny to see the guts of 3e splayed out and reconfigured in a way that feels like basic D&D -- and impressive, too.

I'm looking forward to trying this out sometime, and even if that's a ways off I can easily see porting the SIEGE mechanic into OSR games (as it can resolve almost anything).
2012-02-19
N/A
6.107
Owned
White box; also add black box
2014-08-20
7
Mar 2012
N/A
Owned
It's hard to rate gaming products (even ones I consider gaming products sort of loosely, like this one) from my childhood.

I love this book because it was my first brush with gaming, albeit without knowing that gaming existed. I remember almost nothing specific about it, but just being able to look back to reading it for the first time and see a future lifelong gamer being born is pretty magical.
2012-03-06
9
Jan 2014
6.846
Owned
This is a stellar module. It's varied, interesting, huge, and hangs together incredibly well. Jennell Jaquays' (then Paul) love for the game, and for the dungeon she designed, is obvious throughout. There are factions, the dungeon is clever and varied in its design, and there's just a ton for PCs to do here.

There's zero read-aloud text, a page of backstory that's actually interesting and useful, and then you're off and running. There's zero fluff, too: Room descriptions are short but not too short, and the cover exactly what they need to and nothing more. It's like a master class in old school module creation.
2014-01-04
Silver Foil - Kickstarter Boxed Set
Year: 2014
N/A
N/A
Owned
7
Oct 2012
6.397
Owned
This pair of adventures feels a bit like Alien, then Starship Troopers; it's a bug hunt. The bugs are neat, and well-detailed. The plot in both cases is thin, but looks like it would prove fun at the table. I would run either or both of them.
2012-10-13
N/A
N/A
Owned
8
Feb 2013
6.539
Owned
This is an awesome boxed set. I always enjoyed the Princess Ark stories in Dragon, though I didn't follow them religiously, and having a wealth of material about them for D&D is neat. The main attraction for me is the skyship stuff, though; I love airships in fantasy.

Like Spelljammer, the ship cards are great -- wild concepts than nonetheless make a lot of sense in a D&D context. It all looks pretty easy to incorporate into most D&D games, too.
2013-02-18
6
Jan 2013
6.481
Owned
On a first pass, this book doesn't look well-suited to my tastes. Where it lost me was the experience system, which -- while technically optional -- wants everyone at the table to track how many hits (HP) they've done in battle, as well as a half-dozen other things. From a bookkeeping standpoint, it sounds like a real pain in the ass.

I do like the level of customization and detail, much of which looks like it'd be a lot of fun for players. That's another takeaway for me: I'd love to try RM as a player, with an experience RM GM, but I don't think I'd want to run it.
2013-01-27
7
Jan 2013
6.101
Owned
That someone decided to publish a gaming book about the Holocaust is pretty incredible; that it succeeds at being respectful of its subject matter, as much history book as gaming book, is perhaps even more so.

I can imagine few groups where a Wraith game informed by the Holocaust would work. This is a hard book to read and to look at (some of the artwork is truly haunting), and using it in play would have to be even harder. Can "play" even apply to gaming and the Holocaust? I doubt it.

I'm glad I own this book. It's a unique piece of gaming history and a real accomplishment for Black Dog.
2013-01-19
5
Mar 2012
N/A
Owned
The premise of this module -- a chasm magically appears in the area every few decades, and the PCs (and others) learn its likely location -- is fantastic. It makes me want to run/play it immediately.

The execution, though, is so-so. The chasm is mainly composed of individual cavern complexes, each with a loose theme or central element, which sounds fine but reads kind of blah. It could still prove fun in actual play, and I may be overlooking something central, but as it stands I don't see this getting used.
2012-03-22
N/A
5.989
Owned
8
Jan 2014
6.070
Owned
I bought Chill because it's the second-ever horror RPG, after Call of Cthulhu (and before Bureau 13), and I'm glad I did. This is a fabulous boxed set, including a pleasantly short rulebook, a book of monsters and spells, a map, an intro pamphlet, an intro adventure, cardboard tokens, and all the dice you need to play. Perhaps best of all, every piece of artwork -- covers and interior -- is by Jim Holloway, one of my all-time favorite RPG industry illustrators. The whole thing looks great.

Chill is a game of classic/cheesy monster horror, with vampires in red vests and black capes, buxom ladies in diaphanous nightgowns, rotting zombies, and dudes with muttonchops confronting evil with their walking sticks. The system, combining simple percentile rolls -- one of my favorite basic mechanics -- with its clever action table, is well matched to the tone of the game.

The whole thing is a tight package that looks like a lot of fun.
2014-01-04
9
Feb 2015
N/A
Owned
Circle of Hands is so clear and precise that it's calling into question how a lot of other gaming books are written. And it looks like a brutal, bloody, intriguing experience driven by player agency and almost entirely devoid of prep. (What prep there is is brief and explicitly prohibits planning a story.)

It opens with an info-dump, a couple of pages summarizing everything, and I've never seen this before. It's fantastic, and eminently suited to being a player handout -- which it can be, as it's free on the Adept Press site.

Everything in CoH is so TIGHT. Not a word goes to waste. There's no fluff; instead, the setting material is actual useful and gameable. Everything means something, and Ron wastes none of your time. So good.
2015-02-04
7
Feb 2013
5.900
Owned
Though it has exactly zip to do with the Realms and shouldn't be part of the FR series -- save, perhaps, that Waterdeep is one of the best known fantasy cities, a thin connection indeed (as the box has nothing to do with Waterdeep) -- this is a solid, if odd, product. The modular street sections are neat and the buildings look like they'd be fun once assembled (though the art isn't phenomenal).

The booklet is generic, but entirely serviceable. It covers all the basics of a fantasy city, covers them well and concisely, and presents an example city that's a perfect length -- it could reasonably be produced for a home game, and it looks like a pretty interesting city.
2013-02-13
7
Oct 2012
6.046
Owned
I like the skinny BR boxed sets, and this one's no exception -- naval and trade rules, lots of info about the region, and a great presentation that includes things like nomenclature (which I love). The Khinasi lands are magic-heavy, awash in awnsheghlien; the flavor and template are Middle Eastern, but the result is pure BR. It looks like a fun place to adventure.
2012-10-13
8
Sep 2012
6.491
Owned
I snagged this for the expanded career options, which include a host of civilian occupations that integrated nicely in the Traveller Universe. It's a great little book, simple and well-presented just like most CT material.

I'd use this in lieu of the advanced and expanded options in Mercenary, etc. -- the basic character creation system, which is used in this book as well, looks a lot more appealing to me. This is a nice addition to the three original LBBs.
2012-09-23
7
Dec 2013
6.109
Owned
As I might play it someday, I deliberately avoiding reading or even skimming this. I'm rating it based on the presentation, which is solid; the premise, which sounds fun (an open-air solo T&T adventure is a neat idea); and the fact that it includes a truncated version of the T&T rules -- it's a complete adventure and game in one book.
2013-12-24
6
Aug 2011
6.284
Owned
I bought this because it was an FR product, and it may be great, but I don't really like the presentation of 3e-era adventures. The plot is neat, and there's some good drow flavor here.
2012-10-13
8
Aug 2011
N/A
Owned
This is a pretty awesome map. I love the look of the FR maps from this era.
2011-12-06
7
Feb 2013
6.200
Owned
The title is a bit of a misnomer: This isn't so much a system as a box of maps with numbered/lettered axes for easy reference. But having all of Waterdeep -- every street -- rendered at poster map scale is pretty awesome, and with the grid you can add campaign-specific locations and relate them to what's already there.

The book sums up some of what's in FR1, and it also includes random tables for events and so forth. They complement each other, and both complement Cities of Mystery, as well. I like that the maps include building floor plans in the "extra" space not taken up by the city proper, adding an extra level of utility.
2013-02-23
7
Oct 2012
5.960
Owned
I prefer this to the D&D-branded Cityscape, which sometimes feels like it's checking off boxes ("A city sourcebook should have X, Y, and Z), because this feels more directly useful overall. This book is more useful for building a city, and for some aspects of running one; Cityscape is more useful for running one, and some aspects of building one. Both are worth owning.
2012-10-13
7
Oct 2012
6.243
Owned
It's a bit bland, but this is a pretty good resource overall. Even setting aside the mechanics, it's got lots of material and ideas to help you build 3e-feeling fantasy cities and use them in your game, and it can be extrapolated pretty easily to fantasy games with a different feel.

On the whole I prefer City Works, but interestingly they don't overlap in every area; it's worth owning both.
2012-10-13
9
Dec 2013
7.009
Owned
This is a gorgeous book. I would have picked up the Essentials version, but the cancellation of the MHR line and the condition of my core book prompted me to pick up the Premium to get the core rules in hardcover.

Civil War looks like a fun event, although having not read the comics I would have loved an overview of the whole event right up front. As written it feels a bit disjointed; the information is there, but seeing it in overview form would make it much easier. The event also assumes you've read the comic -- for example, saying that the Stamford event occurs as it happened in the comic, which isn't much help to me.

The wealth of hero and villain datafiles, the optional rules, and the peek behind the character creation curtain -- a complete random system I'd be unlikely to use as-is, but which could be helpful in creating characters from scratch sans randomness -- is a nice addition. Even if I never use the book for the event, there are tons of scenes and characters to pull out and use for other things.

The index, as in the core book, is pretty bad.
2013-04-28
9
Dec 2013
6.294
Owned
Full of background on the Fifty State Initiative, this is something of a toolkit for MHR games. Setting that element aside, it's also a massive grab-bag of datafiles -- oodles and oodles of them, which I love.
2013-12-25
9
Dec 2013
6.212
Owned
The X-Men are great, and so is this book. Even if you don't want to use them or their iconic foes in a game, there are plenty of datafiles to steal. But if you want to use them, it's an essential supplement. Looking it over makes me want to play or run an X-Men campaign.
2013-12-25
8
Dec 2013
5.943
Owned
Like the rest of the line, this is a solid book. The adventure elements look fun, and it offers up a heap of datafiles. It would be useful in many MHR games, not just a Civil War game.
2013-12-25
6
Aug 2011
6.199
Owned
For me, this book tries a bit too hard. It opens with a priest having sex with a young boy (the boy, of course, is a Baali) and insects surging out of the boy, through the priest's penis, and surging into the priest's insides. Years later, I still remember that opening -- it makes an impression -- but it's backed up by a book that goes out of its way to offend. I'm not offended, but the whole thing feels a bit forced.

Compared to other Black Dog books, notably my personal favorites, Fomori and Spectres, Baali misses the mark. Some of the concepts are very cool; the Baali are certainly creepy and disturbing -- and the artwork, as in all BD books, is fantastic. Much of my favorite WW art is in BD books, and this one's no exception. Guy Davis and Vince Locke always deliver.

In the right kind of deeply disturbing Vampire game, this could be a really good addition.
2012-10-14
5
Oct 2012
5.817
Owned
It's hard to separate how boring I find the Brujah from this book, but the book is fine. It doesn't make Brujah any more interesting to me, but it's about average for a clanbook in terms of overall quality.
2012-10-14
8
Jan 2012
5.791
Owned
This is one of the most fun-to-read gaming books ever produced. Children's drawings, a page with backwards text, in-jokes like "page XX," and so much more -- it feels like it was produced by a Malkavian, which is fantastic.

Back when I wanted to use it as a sourcebook for playing one, it didn't tell me quite as much about how to do that well as I would have liked. But to read? Sublime.
2012-10-14
7
Aug 2011
6.094
Owned
This is a solid of the clan, and reading it made me more interested and more knowledgeable about them than before. It all hangs together, and it makes the Nosferatu look like a fun addition to any WoD game.
2012-10-14
7
Aug 2011
6.501
Owned
I like the feel of the first edition more, but this is a solid book overall.
2012-10-14
N/A
N/A
Owned
8
Aug 2011
5.966
Owned
This book came out at the height of my involvement with BT, and it was an amazing resource. My buddy and I used what we liked, changed a few things, and could generally just grab this book when we had a question.

FOr a game with such a long development history, with so many supplements, having a book like this is a great idea. I wish more companies did this.
2012-10-14
7
Oct 2012
7.017
Owned
This is a tricky item to rate. It's the best point of entry into Classic Traveller if you want a print book, bar none, thanks to the price and contents. (If you want PDFs, get the $35 DVD of -every- product in the CT line instead.) But the landscape softcover format is annoying to read, though it does stay open on the table, and the slight reduction in type size required to fit two LBB pages on one landscape page makes them less pleasant to read.

The stuff in it, of course, is excellent. Tons of material, tons of resources, and a fantastic RPG.

I prefer the LBBs, but I'm glad I own this and it's not a hard book to like.
2012-10-14
8
Jan 2014
6.118
Owned
I collect editions of Basic D&D, and while I prefer Moldvay this is a killer boxed set. TSR really nailed the total package: clear rulebook with great Terry Dykstra art (and a different feel than previous editions), poster map, screen, dice, cardboard standees, and plastic minis, all put together with a Mentzer-like framework for teaching you the game as you read. I love it.

It's also nicely self-contained, featuring two starter adventures, a monster section, and plenty of advice. It's one of the coolest gateway RPG products I've seen.
2014-01-02
8
Aug 2011
6.485
Owned
I love the concept behind this book, and it's well executed: revamp classic D&D monsters in a way that's both faithful to the originals and fresh and new. It works.

There's a lot of info about each of the iconic monsters and monstrous races covered in the book, and it's a fun read.
2012-10-14
N/A
N/A
Owned
7
Dec 2013
N/A
Owned
This is a decent-looking dungeon crawl, though I wish it had more weirdness; it's a bit straightforward for my tastes. Still, that makes it a good fit for X-plorers, which itself is pretty simple and straightforward.
2013-12-10
Electronic Version
Year: 2002
6
Oct 2012
N/A
Owned
Lots of weird little bits you can add to kill puppies for satan -- tomes, zombies, sorcerers, scenarios, and even a recipe for cockroach souffle. It's pretty good overall.
2012-10-18
7
Aug 2011
5.992
Owned
I like the Harpers, and this book does a good job of fleshing them out. There's a lot here to inspire the GM (I ran a Harper campaign once, and it was helpful to me) and players, and it's presented well.
2012-10-19
5
Aug 2011
N/A
Owned
I snagged this because the premise -- an RPG specifically created to be used via chat client -- was unique. It's a fun little book, too, pint-sized and nicely produced. It didn't inspire me to play it, though.
2012-05-02
7
Jun 2012
N/A
Owned
In all of 5 pages, Cold Soldier looks like it could deliver a really disturbing -- and fascinating -- play experience. I love solo (one GM, one player) RPGs, and I'd like to try this one.

For a 5-page game with two editors, I was disappointed that it has a couple of errors in it. But for $6 shipped, I'm happy with my purchase. I can see it leading to some really creepy sessions.
2012-06-10
PDF version
Year: 2015
5
Feb 2015
N/A
Owned
Thr game looks like it could be enjoyable. The PDF looks good layout-wise, but needs an editor and a proofreader.

For $3, I would have liked more in the way of examples of play and tips from the designer on how to make it run well. It feels like a beta product.
2015-02-07
8
Jan 2012
6.761
Owned
Over the past 20 years, I've gotten a ton of inspiration and mileage out of this book. I haven't cracked it open much in the past few years, but it was a major touchstone of my gaming experience for several years, and it's got a special place in my heart.

Yes, the majority of the weapons have terrible, child-like illustrations, and yes the stats are useless to me -- but I love big books of weapons, the castle stuff is awesome (I want to visit Harlech, the coolest castle ever designed), Steve Long's artwork is outstanding, and the historical information and unusual todbits (repeating crossbow!) are awesome.

It's a hodgepodge that shouldn't really work, and it's not really in step with where gaming is today, but man is this a cool book. I don't know that I've ever used anything directly from it, but it inspires me. It makes me think about what it would be like to live in a fantasy setting, and it gets me in a great mindset for character creation and the like.

There's something magical about this book that's hard to qualify or quantify, but I don't argue with it -- I just enjoy it.
2011-10-12
5
Aug 2011
6.451
Owned
More stuff for a game I no longer like, yay! The stuff isn't bad, nor is the game, but there's nothing in here I can really use now that I don't play 3.x. It's not my cup of tea, and unlike some other sourcebooks from this era it's mostly crunch city. There's a 20-page section at the end about running an arcane game which could come in handy sometime, though.
2012-10-28
6
Aug 2011
6.148
Owned
Setting aside the (good) crunch I no longer have any use for, the thing I like about this book is the substantial section on magical locales. These seven locations are evocative, badass, and interesting no matter what system you use; good stuff.
2012-10-28
4
Aug 2011
5.988
Owned
The Complete Book of Broken Rules for Twinks who Jerk Off to Drizzt Do'Urden.

This book is the poster child for why roleplaying-based penalties for mechanical advantages don't work in most RPGs, but especially D&D.
2011-12-06
6
Oct 2012
N/A
Owned
There's nothing wrong with this book -- it's pretty good, in fact. It's more Og, simply and cleanly presented, and it provides some interesting ideas and other stuff.

I'm just not sure Og needs more Og. I've never played it as the sort of game where you need to know what it's like to be a Grunting Caveman, or where you need a lot of extra stuff to include in the game. The basic formula is so solid on its own that I have no idea why I bought this book, but buy it I did.
2012-10-28
5
Aug 2011
6.164
Owned
Apart from a sliver of the book devoted to talking about the divine in D&D, this is wall-to-wall crunch I don't have much use for. It's not a bad book, and I used it when I played 3.x, but separated from that context it's not terribly useful anymore.
2012-10-28
PDF of First Printing
Year: 2009
N/A
5.570
Owned
5
Aug 2011
6.496
Owned
This book makes playing a fighter sound about as exciting as doing the dishes. It's flat, boring, and underwhelming. I used it grudgingly because it was there, but always wished it was better -- more like the Complete Thief's Handbook, which was full of awesome.
2012-05-18
N/A
6.026
Owned
8
Aug 2011
6.578
Owned
I love this book, and I especially like that even separated from AD&D it's a useful resource because most of it isn't crunch. There are some 2e rules, sure, but there's also a ton of fascinating insight into playing thieves, thieves in the D&D world, and the awesome tools that thieves use to do their thing.

It's packed with ideas and inspiration and information about things that are relevant to just about any fantasy game, and it all stands the test of time.
2012-10-28
5
Aug 2011
6.284
Owned
As with the other 3.x era Complete books, this one is 90% useless to me now that I don't play 3.x. The other 10%, the stuff about warriors in D&D settings, has some neat ideas and background in it that I could taking advantage of in future games.
2012-10-28
9
Jan 2014
5.834
Owned
I see why this is regarded as an overlooked gem: It's a great boxed set, and the game looks fantastic. I love how lean and stripped-down it is: 2d10, one resolution table, and a list of Talents -- that's the whole game, barring a few rules for things like drowning and falling, plus equipment and a short wound table.

The core book is just 32 pages, and that plus a portion of the 16-page reference book accomplishes a lot. This would be an easy game to explain to novices, as well as a simple and fun game to run -- and it seems like it would feel like Conan. I like the split of having Talents in the reference book; that's a strength of boxed sets when it's done well, as it is here. Even mashing both books together you have a complete game in 48 awesome pages.

The rest of the box is just as good: a gazetteer of the Hyborian Age, offering just the right amount of detail on a wide range of places, people, and monsters, plus a gorgeous (gorgeous!) map, a reference sheet, and some cardstock character sheets.

This is one of the coolest boxed sets TSR ever put out.
2014-01-20
4
Oct 2014
5.223
Owned
My gaming group gave this to me as a joke, since they long ago took away my man card because I like Sex and the City, and I've flipped through it but not actually read it.

It doesn't look bad, but it does look a bit too twee to be worth my time.
2014-10-15
N/A
N/A
Owned
8
Oct 2012
6.024
Owned
Wereravens are the shit, and so is this book. Weres devoted to secrets and information, watching and spying, the corax are conceptually interesting and look like they'd be a blast to play or feature in a WoD game. Reading this book makes me want to do just that, which is what I think books like this should accomplish.
2012-10-28
9
Mar 2014
6.232
Owned
This book is fabulous. The rules are clear, the examples are many, and it's right up my alley style-wise. Only a relatively slim slice of the book is taken up by rules; the rest is character and enemy dossiers, mission briefs, and the like. I like the balance, as it means the game is a quick read and it would be easy to teach.

And what a game! GMing duties change hands every scene, if you're out of plot points at the start of your turn...you just get one, for free -- this is a fine-tuned engine for improvisational theater-style gaming, with "Yes, and..." baked right into the rules as the default mode of progressing the story.

As a physical book, this puppy is gorgeous. I'm a sucker for digest-size hardcovers with a matte finish, which this is, but the interior is just as pretty: fantastic pulpy artwork, bold but not distracting layout, the whole nine yards. It's a pleasure to hold and to read.

And to boot, the whole thing is CC-licensed. I would never have guessed that Catalyst would publish a game like this, but I'm thrilled that they did.
2014-03-06
7
Oct 2012
6.167
Owned
This is a neat boxed set, and I'm glad I own it. The Blood Isles seems like a fun setting, the maps and extras in the box are nice, and the hook (play a dragon!) combined with the trouple play option (...and its kindred, AKA normal non-dragon PC buddy!) is a neat twist on the AD&D formula.

Dragon PCs look like they'll be less schlubby than normal PCs out of the gate, which is good, and there's plenty of advice on how to play them and how Council games will be different from non-dragon games.
2012-10-28
8
Aug 2011
N/A
Owned
Back when I played 3.x, these were a fantastic resource. They're nicely illustrated, easy to tell apart, cheap, and easy to use. The selection of monsters is excellent.

I never bothered mounting them on cardboard/foamboard, but if I'd kept using them longer that probably would have paid off.
2012-10-14
8
Aug 2011
N/A
Owned
Back when I played 3.x, these were a fantastic resource. They're nicely illustrated, easy to tell apart, cheap, and easy to use. The selection of monsters is excellent.
2012-10-14
8
Aug 2011
N/A
Owned
Back when I played 3.x, these were a fantastic resource. They're nicely illustrated, easy to tell apart, cheap, and easy to use. The selection of monsters is excellent.
2012-10-14
8
Jan 2014
6.693
Owned
This is a fantastic monster book, particularly as a one-off supplement to the also-fantastic Rules Cyclopedia. I love Basic D&D and I love the monsters in this book.

I rate it an 8 and its predecessor, AC9, a 9 because this one lacks a bit of the old one's flavor. It does improve on its presentation, though, by putting the whole book in alphabetical order.
2014-01-01
9
Jan 2014
6.381
Owned
This is one of my favorite monster books. I love Basic D&D, I love this book's presentation and style, and I love the monster mix. It's just a damned good book.

Compared to the later DMR2, it's not as easy to reference: Monsters aren't presented in front-to-back alphabetical order, but rather alphabetically within each monster type section.
2014-01-01
5
Aug 2011
5.974
Owned
Rushed to print to beat the 3.0 Monster Manual to market, this book is riddled with errors. It's also not the greatest collection of monsters ever assembled, and I'm a fan of the Scarred Lands as a setting.

Still, it's a monster book with some pretty nifty creatures in it, and I'm an easy sell when it comes to monster books.
2012-10-28
7
Oct 2012
6.092
Owned
CCII is superior in every way to CCI: fewer errors (at least to my untrained eye) and more interesting monsters across the board. It's also a better window in the Scarred Lands as a setting, and more useful as a monster book for that setting AND others.
2012-10-28
8
Aug 2011
6.298
Owned
I love CoC monsters, and this book is full of them. It just does what it says on the tin: provides oodles of creatures and weirdness, with good artwork. As supplements go I wouldn't say it's essential -- you can do a lot in CoC with the menagerie in the core book -- but it's pretty close.
2013-06-17
8
Oct 2012
6.203
Owned
This is a bit of an odd fit as a Trek product, but like the rest of the Decipher Trek line it's an excellent book. It's an odd fit only because when I run Trek I rarely use it -- I generally use non-intelligent life forms as a sidelight, not the main course, and unlike some other games it's not expected that the PCs will fight a lot of random beasties. Still, it's a solid book with great artwork and lots of interesting critters in it.
2012-10-28
7
Jan 2013
6.501
Owned
This is a dense book, with tiny type and tons of stuff crammed into a relatively slim profile. It feels like a medieval bestiary, a vibe that comes across in many of the illustrations.
2013-01-27
7
Oct 2012
N/A
Owned
This book has great artwork, a good amount of interesting creatures (and some boring ones), and some great features I wish more monster books would emulate. Notably, it offers up adventure hooks, uses for monster parts (as spell and magic item components, familiars, etc.) and info on what specific skill checks will reveal to the PCs about each monster.

I love this approach. Even though there aren't that many monsters in this book for its size, there's a LOT of cool stuff about each one -- a nice balance between providing a stat block and not much more and giving a full-on Ecology of... treatment to each monster. It also makes this book useful outside of the context of 3.x, as the extra stuff makes for good inspiration regardless of the system.
2012-10-28
8
Oct 2012
N/A
Owned
Like other Atlas books from this era, this book is so boring to look at that I've never really paid it much attention. Which is too bad, because it's actually a good book.

It covers just about everything I can think of related to crime, punishment, and D&D: how alignment plays into things, how and why societies punish people, spells and how they play into crimes and the law, and much more -- plus how to put all that stuff into your game in fun and useful ways. It's remarkably comprehensive, and unlike some books like this it avoids being too general as well as being inapplicable to games -- you can grab stuff from C&P and drop it right into your campaign.
2012-10-28
N/A
5.723
Owned
PDF version
Year: 2010
8
Oct 2012
6.605
Owned
This is absolutely brilliant in its simplicity. It distills the best parts of Call of Cthulhu gaming down to the dark heart of the play experience, and does so elegantly and in a way that looks like it would be a ton of fun at the table. So clever.

I desperately want to try this.
2012-10-17
6
Aug 2011
6.650
Owned
"It's the Medieval world, but there are Cthulhu monsters."

"So it's D&D?"

"No, you don't have cool powers."

"So it's D&D, but it sucks?"

"No, you investigate stuff and eventually go insane, just like Call of Cthulhu, but it's all Medieval."

"Right...so it's D&D, but it sucks."
2011-12-06
8
Aug 2011
N/A
Owned
This is a sharp book for a fun game, well-organized and full of rules that lead to enjoyable play. It includes tons of advice on running a Cthulhu LARP, plus two adventures to get you started. Good stuff.
2012-10-28
9
Jan 2014
6.222
Owned
These dice are beautiful. I was worried that they'd be hard to read, as gold and silver ink often are on anything but solid-colored dice, but they're not. And the color mix, the bubbles and swirls, and the Elder Signs make them feel very eldritch indeed.

Despite playing Call of Cthulhu for 20 years, it wasn't until I bought this set that I realized that CoC doesn't use d12s. (There's no d12 in this set.) I'd always assumed they were used occasionally, as is often the case in other games, and that I'd just never come across them.

These went straight into my main dice bag. They're great!
2014-01-20
6
Apr 2013
6.480
Owned
I bought this primarily for the ad hoc city system and secondarily because the plot sounded interesting, and I'm glad my priorities were in that order.

The city system is neat and doesn't take up much space. The map is keyed with circles for businesses and squares for taverns, and if the PCs focus on an area you can roll a few times to determine the nature of each business and the unique name of the tavern. It's not too detailed, sounds easy to use, and could be used without the map; I dig it.

The module, while pitched as involving detective work, features a powerful NPC who, while disguised, will beat the PCs over the head with clues between "acts." Ugh. Throw in dull rooms in the various building-dungeons (lots of things waiting to attack, very little of actual interest until the lone Important Chamber) and lots of read-aloud text and you have a pretty bad module.

I do like the duke's decrees and the overall plot, which while thin is interesting and somewhat unique. Rhoona seems like it could be a fun base for further adventures, and hooks for several are included. I love that it provides pregens, something every module should do, and the maps are great.

Had I bought this for the adventure I'd be disappointed; having bought it for the city system, I'm not.
2013-04-30
7
Feb 2013
6.254
Owned
I devoured cyberpunk fiction as a kid, starting with Neuromancer, and Shadowrun was the third or fourth RPG I ever played. It's funny to contrast this decidedly garage band-y boxed set with FASA's gorgeous, polished 1e Shadowrun book, which came out just a year later.

But under the hood here is something cool that I wish I'd tried before the future arrived and didn't look like Cyberpunk's future in many particulars (though, enjoyably, it looks a lot like it in others). It's full of attitude, it looks deadly, and I bet it's a fun game.
2013-02-18
7
Nov 2012
6.542
Owned
Not as cool as the Street Samurai Catalog or Biotech, but a fine book. Nice cyberware section up front, cybermancy rules, and some interesting tidbits.
2012-11-09
2
Oct 2012
4.555
Owned
This is every bit as wretched as I'd been led to believe it would be. The core concept is fine -- pretty cool, actually: Aliens invade the Earth. They win. The remnants of humanity fight back.

But why do we fight back using cyborgs whose primary weapon is laser fingers and whose internal batteries only last for five minutes of combat? Why do we promote cyborgs based on battery life, which is sort of like promoting people to General based on dick size?

On the system side, why did the designers think what gamers really want was a box full of population statistics that would begin dating themselves as soon as it was in print? Or that we needed an overly fiddly core mechanic with strange probabilities that doesn't really add anything to the game?

It's not F.A.T.A.L., or even The World of Synnibarr, but it's bad. It's just bad in a way that only talented designers who, in my estimation, ran with some poor ideas could produce.
2012-10-01
2
Aug 2011
N/A
Owned
I'm 99% sure I got this book for free at GenCon, and I can see why: It's godawful.

The sad thing is, I bet someone loved this book into existence. And hell, someone else had to think it was worth spending money to publish. Those people made a bad decision called CyborGladiators.
2011-08-04
8
Feb 2013
5.709
Owned
One of the best of the mini-sourcebooks for d20 Modern, this would also be useful for other post-apoc games. It's got general info, several sample apocalypse "scenarios" (wrath of god, nukes, etc.), and plenty of crunch and tools for d20 Modern. It also covers mutations, tricking out vehicles, and other staples of the genre.
2013-02-07
8
Feb 2013
5.834
Owned
I expected this to be a boring book, but it's anything but boring. It's a great sourcebook, right up there with Sprawl Sites in most respects, and useful for d20 Modern as well as other modern-era games (there's crunch, but not so much as to reduce the utility of the rest of the book for other games).

The maps are great, which is important: gridded for easy measuring (or reproduction on a battlemat), clear, and believable. The locations they picked make a lot of sense -- for the most part, they're places you'll encounter in any modern-era game. There are some nice bits of flavor, as well, plus adventure hooks for every location.
2013-02-07
7
Feb 2013
5.536
Owned
This book covers all the basics you'd need to run a cyberpunk campaign, with a focus on cyberware and other technology. Solid.
2013-02-07
8
Feb 2013
6.170
Owned
This is a really cool toolkit, succeeding at what it sets out to do: Give you the bits and pieces you need to run d20 Modern in just about any future era or SF setting. Mecha? Check. Cybernetics? Check. Rules for creating aliens? Check. Starships and all sorts of tech goodies? Here.

It's not just a hodge-podge, either -- it focuses on useful stuff, covering broad bases without being so broad as to be useless, and giving you the tools you need to fill in the blanks in your chosen setting.

That said, I wouldn't quite call it complete. A mecha-heavy game is still going to need d20 Future Tech, as is one that features space combat and starships; a cyberpunk campaign will still need d20 Cyberscape; a post-apoc campaign will need d20 Apocalypse. But what it does cover is impressive, and it would be enormous if those three books had been folded into it.
2013-02-07
8
Feb 2013
5.664
Owned
This is good stuff: lots of mecha and robots, lots of starships, an expanded space combat system, and more personal gear. Like it's big brother, d20 Future, it's a toolkit; there are rules for building starships and mecha, and the whole book is a grab-bag of cool stuff. The art is great, too.
2013-02-07
9
Feb 2013
5.918
Owned
This is one of the best monster books I own. The artwork is fabulous, creepy and edgy and modern in a way that works perfectly for d20 Modern and for the assumed setting. It's perfect for Dark Matter, which is great, and the variety of entities on offer is large -- all of them interesting, many genuinely creepy. Unlike a lot of WotC monster books from the same era, the art doesn't feel overly polished or static; it's dynamic, compelling, and sets the tone.

For a fairly crunchy system, the section of pre-statted NPC types is actually useful. It's a good mix, too. Even better are the sections on organizations and NPC groups, both of which are packed with ideas and are drop-in friendly.

If there's one essential supplement for d20 Modern, this is it. Weapons Locker is a close second. Plus: drop bears! Which I'm pretty sure is a Discworld reference, and a good one at that.
2013-02-07
8
Aug 2011
6.302
Owned
d20 Modern is one of my favorite books to come out of the d20 era. It's a great game that solves two of my biggest problems with d20 (escalating complexity around characters and, on the fantasy front, the outsized need for magic items) while preserving its fast-playing, swingy nature, all of which makes for a great game.

It seems bland at first -- "Fast Hero" and all that -- but in play it just WORKS. It's probably too long, but the core is easy to learn and teach and fun to play.
2012-11-09
7
Feb 2013
5.927
Owned
This is a surprisingly good little book. The d20 Modern system flexes pretty well when used for pulp, Sherlock Holmes, Three Musketeers, and other not-too-old, not-too-recent settings/milieus. The sample eras, and the spin put on each, are solid.
2013-02-07
7
Jan 2014
6.036
Owned
Tables are the low-hanging fruit of RPG releases, in some ways, like prestige classes were in the days of the d20 glut, so I resisted buying this book for some time. It's not cheap relative to its page count, either.

Having bought it, though, I needn't have worried: A ton of work went into producing it, and it shows. The cleverest thing is how many ways it uses a single d30 roll: roll and get one number, the obvious one; roll and use the 1s digit for a result and the 10s digit to modify that result (type of trap and deadliness, for example); and roll and determine two things about something (a chart with 30 numbers in a grid of columns/rows, so each roll is really an intersection.

Couple that with the charming artwork, the tight layout, the organization, the index, and all of its other features (all tightly packed in there) and it's a neat book. I'm not sure I see myself using most of the tables in this volume, though, and I like it less than the d30 Sandbox Companion. But some of them seem like they'd be useful, and others I could see coming up down the road. I'm glad I own it.
2014-01-15
8
Jan 2014
6.082
Owned
Tables are the low-hanging fruit of RPG releases, in some ways, like prestige classes were in the days of the d20 glut, so I resisted buying this book for some time. It's not cheap relative to its page count, either.

Having bought it, though, I needn't have worried: A ton of work went into producing it, and it shows. The cleverest thing is how many ways it uses a single d30 roll: roll and get one number, the obvious one; roll and use the 1s digit for a result and the 10s digit to modify that result (type of trap and deadliness, for example); and roll and determine two things about something (a chart with 30 numbers in a grid of columns/rows, so each roll is really an intersection.

Couple that with the charming artwork, the tight layout, the organization, the index, and all of its other features (all tightly packed in there) and it's a neat book.

In terms of the tables, this book is more immediately interesting to me than the d30 DM Companion. A couple of the tables are true gems, including adventure elements (Mad-Libs style; brilliant), tavern charactertistics, and cults. You could easily sit down with this book and a d30 and have an adventure for the night in just a few minutes, rolling only a handful of times each on those tables.

The other tables are nifty too, but those three are the reason I bought the book. They're worth the price of admission on their own.
2014-01-15
9
Jan 2012
5.901
Owned
The clanbooks have always been one of the best things about Vampire, and this is the best of them that I've read. It sucked me in, delivered on multiple levels, and made me excited to play a Daeva character.

Clanbooks are sometimes hokey, but not this one. The framing devices work, the presentation is top-notch, and I came away with a nuanced impression of the Daeva as a clan.

Totally awesome.
2011-09-20
N/A
6.654
Owned
6
Aug 2011
6.247
Owned
As monster books go, this one's pretty bland-looking and the monsters are a mixed bag that, for me, trend towards not so interesting. The art is mixed as well.

But! The extra stuff -- ecology, things specific to each monster, the little map showing each monster's range on Tellene -- is pretty cool. I like those touches in a monster book, though they're secondary to providing a heap of monsters I want to use.
2012-11-09
PDF version
Year: 2014
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
6.128
Owned
8
Jan 2013
6.046
Owned
Nostalgia aside, DC remains a great book. It's all the little things: using supermarket tabloids to get adventure ideas, because that's how people who know The Truth communicate in the game world; proles, poor people whose proxy votes have been bought by corporations; cockroaches just under a meter long, because that's the right size to still be creepy; and so much more.

And the art! Most of the artwork is glorious. The system is serviceable, if not my perfect cup of tea; this isn't a game about the system, for me -- it's the ideas, and their implementation, that I love. It's also a very complete core book, even 20 years later.
2013-01-31
2nd (orange) version hard cover
Year: 2010
7
Feb 2012
6.025
Owned
At first blush I thought this was just another retro-clone (in this case, a BECMI (Mentzer)/Rules Compendium clone), but it's much more than that. The author clearly loves the source material, and he remained faithful while also cleaning things up, incorporating elements that were optional in the RC -- notably weapon mastery, which is core here and also applied to all monsters -- and otherwise improving without changing too much.

This is really nicely done overall. The meat is in the writing; the public domain artwork is appropriate, but doesn't wow me. But for the whopping price of a free download, this is a pretty amazing book.

The print edition looks great in hardcover, thick and black and filled with potential. It's priced at cost (no profit to the author), which for an undertaking this massive is frankly pretty amazing.
2012-02-11
9
Jan 2013
6.031
Owned
I love the approach GDW took with this book. Every monster gets at least two pages, with folklore, the truth behind the folklore, what it looks like, what it does, and more provided for every one. Every monster is illustrated, and the artwork is great. They're all brimming with adventure hooks, and there's not a dud in the bunch.

Dark Conspiracy is all about confronting your players with the unknown, and this book succeeds well at providing plenty of new ways to do just that. It's a superb monster book in every way.
2013-01-31
9
Oct 2012
5.920
Owned
God I love this book. It's a fucked-up souffle of demented shit that really gets across the mood of Wraith, which is great, but it's also a showcase for Guy Davis and Vince Locke's amazing and disturbing artwork -- which gets across the feeling of spectres unbelievably well. It's my favorite Black Dog book, and one of my favoreite WW books overall.
2012-10-22
N/A
6.213
Owned
9
Jan 2014
6.698
Owned
This is one of the coolest modules I own. The dungeon design, with its opposing factions and twin towers, is brilliant. The rooms are great, particularly the traps, and the whole place is packed to the brim with good encounters, options, and interesting stuff.

Like Caverns of Thracia, there's just one page of backstory (good backstory, too), and zero read-aloud text. Unlike Thracia, there's a rather lengthy section up front detailing the factions, which is excellent. This is old school module design at its finest.
2014-01-04
9
Jan 2013
6.195
Owned
I love gear books, and this is one of my all-time favorites. DarkTek is every bit as weird and unsettling as it should be, and every item is illustrated (a key ingredient for any good gear book). Sure, the electronics seem wildly outdated now, but the bulk of the book is just as creepy and weird and useful now as it was 20 years ago.
2013-01-31
8
Aug 2011
6.137
Owned
I find the original Alternity version more interesting to read, but this is a tight little book in its own right -- and it is pretty little, shorter than the original. Plus it's for d20 Modern, a system I thoroughly enjoy.

Compactness doesn't make it incomplete, either -- there's a lot here. More than enough to get a campaign off the ground, all really nicely presented and without any fat. It's lean, and that works.
2012-11-09
8
Feb 2013
6.105
Owned
This is an excellent gear book. The art is good, most items are illustrated, there's an excellent cross-section of goodies aimed straight at the average DM character, and the way rules material is broken out -- in eye-catching, non-irritating gold text in each entry -- is very clever. They even use the insides of the cover to share a couple of ship plans, which few books would have done. It's a slim book, but it packs in a lot of useful info.
2013-02-17
8
Aug 2011
7.051
Owned
This is a really neat setting, and a gorgeous book; it makes me want to run Dark*Matter. Wolfgang Baur and Monte Cook are both excellent authors and designers, and both excel at clear and interesting presentation of fun material -- that's D*M in a nutshell.

The hook is great, the hierarchy and structure for the PCs is excellent, and there's tons of weird and interesting shit for them to discover out there in the world. Good stuff.
2012-11-09
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