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Mutant Chronicles Universal Index
by Fabio Z. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/20/2017 12:43:59

Fucking Awesome. A printer friendly version would be very appreciate.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mutant Chronicles Universal Index
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Tales from the Loop RPG: Rulebook
by Kristy C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/17/2017 02:32:22

I really want to get this review out there for people who are on the fence about purchasing this book. I know $24.99 seems a bit steep for a PDF, but really aren't going to regret it if you love any of the following: 80's films (especially films like Goonies, E.T., Stand By Me etc...), colorful and elegant science fiction artwork (by artist Simon Stålenhag, the whole game in fact is inspired by the illustrations he created for the graphic novel of the same name), rules light systems, and the teen noir mystery/science fiction genre.

The mechanics are fairly simple and use The Year Zero Game Engine: You roll a certain number of d6's based on numeric ratings (what the kids are good at) ...sixes are successes and you rarely need more than one success to achieve what you are after. If you get more than one 6, you get bonus choices to add to what you were already trying to achieve. If you fail, you can try again, but you risk hurting yourself or getting scared. The kids can't die in this game, its stated many times, so this is mostly a mystery telling game engine, much like Bubblegumshoe.

When I saw this particular game, I was actually writing a mini-campaign using the Bubblegumshoe system to create a game similar to material presented in this book. The game I'm writing is set in the 80's and is mystery game that is a mix of Stranger Things, Freaks and Geeks, and and Veronica Mars. I was recommended Bubblegumshoe as the best similuation for this style of storytelling, but I can never have too many teenage mystery/noir role playing games so I had to read through this book to see what it adds to the genre.

I think its fair to say that the two games have a lot of similarities. Both are rules light systems; Bubblegumshoe is a lighter, less crunchy and combat based version of the Gumshoe system by Robin Laws. I'd say, Tales from the Loop has less of a learning curve than BGS, and is about half of the length of that particular rule book. Both systems do not feature combat heavy systems, they assume that the kids aren't going to be staying to fight the monsters/creatures/or evil adults, but running away and finding other solutions to the issues at hand.

A lot of the text and style of communal world creation reminds me a lot of Apoclaypse World powered games, I can definitely tell this game was inspired by that particular role playing system. Which, to me, is a positive thing, because I enjoy that the GM ends up having less prep work to do in more collaborative style systems.

I do hope they offer more "Kid" templates to pick from, as the ones in the book do seem a bit too generic (Rocker, Computer Geek, Bookworm, Jock, Hick, Popular Kid, Troublermaker, Weirdo. Drive and Relationships are important to character creation in Tales From the Loop, just like it is in Bubblegumshoe, but the skills are definitely more streamlined in this particular system and are based off your attributes (Body, Tech, Heart, and Mind).

Body- Sneak, Force, Move Tech- Tinker, Program, Calculate Heart- Contact, Charm, Lead Mind- Investigate, Comprehend, Empathasize

Another nod to an Apoclypse World game (Monsterhearts) is the use of Conditions in this game, which gives a modifier of -1 to actions that would be affected by their particular condition.

There are Luck Points in this game, which are pretty much like using Inspiration in D&D 5e...meaning you can spend them to reroll a failed dice roll.

So, which system should buy if you want to run an 80's style, kids game with elements of Stranger Things, E.T., Stand by Me, and Goonies? I'd say it depends. Do you want the system to be more streamlined? Go for Tales from the Loop. Do you want the system to be more fueled by clues and the mystery you are writing for you game? Use Bubblegumshoe, as it has mechanics to ensure your Sleuths never miss core clues. Do you want to run your game as a one shot? I'd say go for Tales from the Loop (also, you can run this game with very little prep as there is a mystery map right in the book if you want to do an open world type of adventure where your sleuths walk around and deal with whatever they come across).

Both books are excellent and I'd say, if anything, I'd give a slight edge to Bubblegumshoe just because I feel it really delves into the socilogcal and psychlogical issues teens face at these ages, while still giving a fantastic engine for mystery solving, but if you want less high school social combat, and more science fiction Tales From the Loop is going to appeal to you more.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tales from the Loop RPG: Rulebook
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Tales from the Loop RPG: Rulebook
by Allen W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/06/2017 16:53:26

If you grew up on the 80s, or wish you did, this is your RPG. Allows for a simple, fun game or campaign that will be like the movie "Super 8" or "Stranger Things." The artwork is stunning and evokes the setting beautifully. The mechanics are very strightforward, making this perfect as a palate cleanser during or between campaigns or as a campaign if your group prefers a story-driven RPGs. A very imaginative world and suprisingly elelegant game mechanics.

Includes clear charachter creation instructions in a seperate chapter, charachter sheets, four adventures that can be linked in a campaign, and helpful advice on both adventure creation and setting suggestions. The adventure design chapter is useful for any RPG.

The art and setting alone are worth the price.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mutant Chronicles Players' Guide
by Mike W. S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/19/2017 12:25:52

the fact of this book have the same content (for players) of the core book isn't a problem, but that a printer friendly version is not available, is a problem.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Mutant Chronicles Players' Guide
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Publisher Reply:
Hi Mike you should be able to turn off the layers to get a printer friendly version :-)
INFINITY RPG FREE Quickstart
by David H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/07/2017 16:30:21

Quick review. A little lack luster. Less emphasis on skills and social situations than even a lot of other barebones rpg's have. Might be more fun to run the miniatures game as an rpg with an alternate set of skills/stats for social situation. Not sure what there is offered in this rpg that's now wholly unique except the setting and the combat.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
INFINITY RPG FREE Quickstart
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Achtung! Cthulhu: Three Kings - Revised Edition
by francesco b. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/02/2017 00:06:02

WORTH THE PRICE OF THE PDF

This is a good read. I am going to run this beginning next week, so I will update later with how it plays. It seems like an interesting mission.

I do have some gripes. Namely, this game needs a fair number of GM tweaks to make it logical, to move the plot along, and to make it actual horror.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD!

First, there is one character who gains regular access to an area, yet later he provides the players with no help or information on this topic when they need to access this area, even though he goes with them. Gaining access is a major plot point and challenge, and how can that be when this ally has done it numerous times? Why doesn't he help? He knows how to get in! This point isn't even addressed or acknowledged by the authors.

Secondly, the characters have a difficult time meeting up with resistance fighters, who distrust them, having to prove themselves and possibly fighting with them, and then it turns out the resistance fighters have had a radio that can call London the whole time. Why not call and verify their identity? Or better yet, why not let the resistance know an operative team is coming to make contact? Why do the PCs drop blind, with no arranged meet, and have to stumble along to find the resistance, to make contact, and to gain their trust? It's a major plot challenge. It makes no sense.

Third, there is no horror in this game until the climax, when there are some creatures and scary things showing up. Most of this mission is fighting or evading human nazis and searching for the resistance. The horror doesn't show up until the fourth part of five. And the fifth part is simply the escape. So, for mabe 70% of the game there is nothing scary, no build-up, no foreshadowing, no hints, nothing moving menacingly in the dark, nothing. It's a straight commando raid.

Fourth, at the time this game is run (1939), the UK and Germany are technically at peace. The mission violates international laws, and basically the PCs will be guilty of murder if they kill any Germans. Also, as "spies" they are not in alot of danger as, in the absence of war, they will probably not be shot or even tortured. Unless, of course, they murder some Germans first. Then they are in danger as murderers, not as spies.

Fifth, many of the NPCs are either missing skills or lack necessary stats. Some of them are exceptionally good at using their weapons in the Cth version of the rules, much more than a match for the PCs should a firefight erupt.

The basic plot is good, the accompanying materials excellent. It will, however take about a 50% rewrite of events, places, and pivotal points in the plot in order for it to make sense, have a decent amount of horror, and still flow as a believable story.

If you are a good GM, with experience designing your own adventures, and have good plotting skills, you can make this into a very good adventure indeed. As written, it is half-baked. A great kernel, though. And the materials and handouts, together with the seed of a good mission, make it worth the PDF price.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Achtung! Cthulhu: Three Kings - Revised Edition
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Modiphia - Issue #1
by Benjamin S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/27/2017 21:24:37

This is was a good little magazine. I’m happy to see that Modiphia keeping some of these line moving. It would be good to see this being releases with further content in the future.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Modiphia - Issue #1
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Modiphia - Issue #1
by Brandon P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/24/2017 12:11:37

I really loved the article about using zbrush called "Sculpting Carter". I can't wait for the next issue.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of core book
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/16/2017 12:49:05

I'm GMing a once-weekly lunch hour game for 4 players. We have one new player who has only played Pathfinder. The rest are old-timers, D&D, West End d6, Savage World, Call of Cthulhu, FATE, etc. I’m using "The Red Pit" from the JToE PDF as the intro scenario and am blending into "Vultrues of Shem" as the main story.

A good system hampered by a bloated rulebook.

Pros:

  • Fast - Did char gen in a one hour session. We've gotten through "The Red Pit" in about 3 hours, with a lttle trimming on my side. To my mind, this is a good thing for a combat-centric scenario. Unarmored opponents go down quickly. Armor adds a bit of enjoyable complexity, but since aimed shots only cost two momentum, a good fighter can take them out fairly quickly by attacking weak points.
  • Perilous - PCs fear taking damage, but not so much as to paralyse them. The fast recovery of Vigour encourages them to take risks, the threat of Harm keeps them from being over bold. Once they realized they could take a turn to recover vigour, we got some fun pacing as they tag teamed an opponent.
  • Simple - My experienced players found it a breeze and my less experienced player grasped it quickly. One player had a hard time believing in "roll under" for about two sessions. I like the balance of Expertise (ability to succeed) vs Focus (ability to critical).The d6 damage mechanic seems complex, but does yield interesting results. Certainly having the custom dice would make it easier.
  • Momentum - popular with players. They enjoy making decisions about when and how to spend it. Momentum is a great way for non-combat players to contribute to the fight, or vice-a-versa in social settings. Assistance rule is simple and rewarding. Our barbarian often glowers threateningly when our Shaman makes the main Persuade roll.
  • Consistent - Basic rules apply across combat, social, and skill tests. Short but broad skill set.
  • Art - High quality and thematic. Doesn’t embarrass me in front of female players.

Middling:

  • Social/Mental Combat - a great idea but I have yet to figure out how to play it out. It may be that Resolve is too high, or that Vigor and Resolve need to be combined into one stat. It doesn't pay for a party to attack a single opponent with both Physical and Mental attacks. Luckily the non-combatants can generate momentum.
    • Details - some combat rules are best ignored in large battles. Reach is a cool concept and might play well in a duel, but we ignore it. Ranged rules make ammo counting seem like an essential part of the game, then you realize almost all the weapons have the Volley attribute which nixes the need to count.
  • Talents - these are really the meat of char gen. I rely on the players to keep track of what they can do, which is fine, but knowing all the talents for opponents is a burden on the GM, especially given the organization of the book.
  • Reactions - Dodge/Parry etc. - not quite sure how this plays out yet. Most of the players have a talent that gives them one free Reaction, when they remember to use it. Some characters choose to take the blows instead of spending Doom, which is fine.
  • Balance - The suggested NPC to player ratios are too high in my opinion, but maybe I’m a softie
  • Doom has some good uses. Some reviewers complain that the GM amasses a pile of Doom. I did not have that problem, but spent it quickly on taking initiative and dodging. I did try to reduce the NPC dodging as it drew that combat out longer than I wanted. I didn’t hate it, I can see it working OK in most cases.
  • Char gen involves creating story elements, which I think is great, but I’d prefer a FATE style pow-wow than the menu of tropes the game provides.
  • Magic - haven’t tried it, may not be dangerous enough to really fit into Howard’s world. On the other hand players get cranky if they can’t have a little magic themselves.

Cons:

  • Book is wordy and hard to navigate. Seriously, I think this is a major flaw. Statements are constantly reiterated. Essential information is buried in paragraphs of fluff, or scattered in separate sections and side bars. Charts are broken up with fluff text. This disguises what is, at it's essence, a nice, simple system. What is needed is a per-topic summary with relevant charts in once place. This is so badly needed I think it should be included in the PDF retroactively. Example - What can I do with my Momentum? Covered in 3 sections, one with a summary chart, the others with fluff text. Why not one or two charts I can hand to my players? How do I heal? Scattered in two or three talent descriptions and buried inside a multi-page section on “Damage and Recovery.” Also a side bar on Fatigue in the Skills and Talents section. Please, a single page could summarize all this information in one place.
  • Gazeteer is cute but the “stories” are dull and lacking useful information. I use the Hyboria wiki instead.
  • Above also applies the the "Vultures of Shem" scenario and the contents of JTotE scenario book. Maps and pictures are pretty but useless and are on the same page as GM only text, making them hard to share with players. Plot summary and character stats are scattered in sections and never summarized. How hard is it to climb the cliff in Red Pit? Scattered over several pages.

I compare this game favorably to FFG Star Wars, which I believe one of the designers worked on. Lots of the same ideas but with simpler bookkeeping and an eye on the end result.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of core book
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Coriolis Atlas Compendium
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/06/2017 10:17:46

Introducing some of the places the party might visit within the Third Horizon, the first part of this book is suitable for both players and GMs. The descriptions focus on the main planet of each system covered, and on one city on that planet. The GM's part contains an overview of the history of the Third Horizon, a good look at who actually built the Portals that enable interstellar travel and provides a system for creating systems and planets of your own.

We then dive directly into the first section. Six systems are described: Algol, Mira, Dabaran, Sandaal, Zalos, and Odacon. For each, there is plenty of flavour text describing what sort of things you are likely to find on a visit - although somewhat more hard-hitting than the average tourist brochure... even the Rough Guides don't tell you where the slave market is in a place where slavery is prohibited! On a more pleasant note there are festivals, interesting sights to see and places to visit, as well as notes on the current political scene and other opportunities. Continuing the themes presented in the core rulebook, this section presents rich and strange worlds that prove fascinating in their own right, even before you consider the plots that have brought you there.

Moving on to the GM's section, we begin with an overview of history with a particular focus on the Third Horizon's troubled relationship with the First and Second Horizons... something that has been mostly forgotten by the denizens of the Third Horizon. The First Horizon is Earth (Terra), the Second Horizon is the first round of colonies and ended up dominated by a bunch of Mystics. Both Horizons viewed the Third Horizon as a good source of natural resources, a view that inevitably leads to trouble when the people living there decide that they are being exploited! The odd spelling mistake (that a good proof-read ought to have caught) doesn't detract from the sweep of history that takes us through several thousand years of strife right up to the present day in a few short pages.

Next we hear about the Portal Builders, or Predecessors as they are sometimes known. Nobody's quite sure who or what they were, just that they departed a good time ago but left a lot of interesting stuff behind. We read of some of these wonders, and of the theories and opinions that have grown up around them. All is still left quite open and vague: a neat move in that should the GM decide that the party is going to discover something about the Portal Builders, he is free to invent it for himself.

A system for creating new worlds comes next. The Third Horizon is a big place, and most of the worlds and systems in it are unknown... so here's the chance to come up with your own locations, stamp your own mark on the universe. There are thirty-six known systems, but even those - if you've flipped through the relevant portions of the core rulebook - have not been described in any detail apart from a few, so there's plenty of scope. (The records might be incorrect as well...) Gas giants, asteroid belts and those rocky planets that you might be able to actually land and walk upon are all covered here, as well as advice as to how to weave the bare bones into a coherent story, describing your new place as somewhere the party might want to visit.

The final two sections consist of ideas for creating missions based on the group concept underpinning the party and notes on travel. The 'mission generator' doesn't produce adventures for you, but it does get your mental wheels turning in appropriate directions - useful if you are struggling to come up with an idea. As the tables are based around the group concept you're using, it's quite hard to get inappropriate reults. By the time you have worked through the process (rolling on various tables) ideas ought to be beginning to spawn - you may well have come up with one before you complete the process, so don't worry, just put the dice away and get writing! Finally, the Travel suggestion is packed with ideas to make travel more interesting (the party may disagree).

Overall, this has the feel of 'Stuff we would have put in the core rules but ran out of space for', which as the core rulebook is almost 400 pages long is quite understandable. It's all useful stuff and fits well with what has already been presented, well worth adding to your game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Coriolis Atlas Compendium
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Coriolis - The Third Horizon core book
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/04/2017 13:50:43

This massive tome, lushly illustrated, hurls you headfirst into a game billed as the Arabian Nights in space. Mixing myths with starships, exotic cultures and interstellar travel, storytelling and technology, it puts an exciting spin on science-fiction and provides a setting that just calls out to be explored!

First up, we learn that this is a new version of a previous game, co-produced by Free League Publishing and Modiphius, and using a modified version of the latter's Mutant: Year Zero game mechanics. Free League Publishing, interestingly, were fans of the original game who started off by writing supplements for it. Then it's on to the first part of the book: RULES. Chapter 1: Introduction lays out in broad sweeps what the game is about (this is identical to the overview in the Quickstart Set) and explains the setting as being the Third Horizon, commonly just 'the Horizon', which consists of 36 star systems joined through space and time by mystic portals. The Horizon of today is a melting pot of different cultures, peoples and factions.

Now we are excited about visiting the Horizon, Chapter 2: Characters provides us with the tools to create characters with which to go there. As characters are assumed to be part of a group (with a spaceship) it is recommended that the group of players get together to create their characters, beginning with choosing your group concept from Agents, Mercenaries, Free Traders, Pilgrims and Explorers. There's advice on the sort of roles that need filling in each concept, as well as variations around the core theme: Pilgrims, for example, may not be particularly religious, the concept would fit itinerent workers or even travelling entertainers just as well. You will also need a Patron and a Nemesis...

Next we get down to individual characters. You start off by coming up with a background and a homeworld as well as a personal concept. Based on upbringing - Plebian (ordinary planet-dwelling folk), Stationary (raised on a space station) or Priviliged (the elite and wealthy) - you get varying points to spend on attributes and skills. There are two types of skills - general ones that everyone has a chance at and advanced ones in which you need at least some training - and five skill levels from novice to master. Each skill is associated with an ability, as the task resolution system (explained later on in the book) requires the rolling of a number of d6 based on the sum of the appropriate skill and its associated ability... and hoping for lots of sixes! There are other things to work out here as well, including which Icon - the local deities - you were born under. Just about everyone believes, at least a little, in their power. There are also some beautiful pages illustrating each character concept and providing further options to enhance and personalise your character. The next two chapters cover Skills and Talents - tricks, cheats and abilities that give you an edge over others - in great detail and show you how they are used.

Characters done, we move on to how they use the rules, and what they have to help them. So there are chapters on Combat, Weapons & Equipment, and Spaceships & Star Travel. Well-resourced and with plenty of examples, the whole system is quite easy to pick up yet elegantly powerful in what it allows your character to actually do. Task resolution is performed by adding up the points in the appropriate attribute and skill for the thing you're attempting and rolling that number of d6s - a single six means you've just managed it, three of them means you've done well, a critical success. The skill descriptions explain what all that means in terms of using that skill. If you don't get any sixes at all, you've failed and the GM needs to come up with some consequence of failure. When everything looks really bleak, you can always pray to the Icons. This pious act allows the re-rolling of all dice that didn't come up with a six. However, praying has its own dangers - every time you do, the GM gets a 'darkness point' from the religion's devil figure, the Darkness Between the Stars, these can be used against the party in a variety of ways. Combat is dangerous, think carefully - if you have the opportunity - before participating in a brawl. It's a turn-based system, with initiative established at the beginning of a fight by each participant rolling a d6, highest goes first... you can choose to lower your initiative by waiting to see what others do, but you are then stuck with a lower initiative for the whole combat. Various actions may be underaken in your turn, and a whole range of options are discussed. Associated matters like injury and healing are included and there's a delightful critical injury table for those who like to get more graphical than mere points of damage. We also find out how to fight with star ships, and about the vast array of equipment and weapons that are available.

Next comes a section THE HORIZON, where a wealth of setting information is to be found. We start with Chapter 8: The Third Horizon, which is where the game is located. It is a cluster of thirty-six worlds connected by ancient portals and the use of more conventional space travel. Our study begins with the region's history and then looks at the current state of affairs and the various factions which vie for power and position. Early space explorers barely knew where they were going, but eventually one group discovered the first star portal and colonisation really took off with the First Horizon and then the Second Horizon being explored and settled. It seemed a golden age but as such things do, something went wrong... and the discovery of the Third Horizon seemed a blessing for those who wished to escape the stultifying monolithic cultures that had developed. These, the Firstcome, spread across the Third Horizon building a beautiful and tolerant culture, and bringing the worship of the Icons with them. Then the fighting began, what history has termed the Portal Wars... although there are many opinions as to why the Wars started or what they were intended to achieve. They culminated in a kind of victory for the Third Horizon, but at the price of not just the loss of an entire system but also of all portals back to the other Horizons. Now isolated, they must forge their own future.

Even within the Third Horizon, there was a bit of a dark age with little interstellar commerce or even contact. Then things were stirred up by the arrival of an ancient generation ship, colonists from the original homeworld of Al-Ardha (this is apparently the name for Earth, although on Earth it's a town in the far south of Saudi Arabia...) who had been travelling for, well, generations direct through the black, having left before the portals were even discovered. As the vessel was called the Zenith these newcomers adopted the name of Zenithians. They explored for a while wondering quite what to do, but eventually set up above the planet Kua, creating a spacestation called Coriolis as a meeting place for all the peoples of the Third Horizon. Slowly it's bringing the Third Horizon back to vibrant life.

Needless to say, there's plenty going on that threatens to destablise this fairly fragile peace. Strange Emissaries have emerged from a gas giant. People have begun developing strange new powers. One of the Emissaries has declared himself the living embodiment of an Icon, which has upset a lot of the faithful. And one planet has been attacked but nobody knows by whom, because vessels sent to investigate don't come back. So amist this maelstrom we move on to Chapter 9: Factions. Here is a wealth of detail about the main factions - perhaps your party will join one, or they may provide customers, patrons, allies or enemies as the campaign proceeds. Those who love intrigue will find it here, be it the public face of official diplomacy or more behind-the-scenes action. As if that were not enough, there are small-bit players as well, groups and organisations operating at a lower level than the factions themselves, never permanently allied to a faction... and a likely source of employment for the party. Small wars for mercenaries, trade contacts, interesting excavations for those of an archaeological bent, there's plenty here.

Next is Chapter 10: The People of the Horizon. Even the true humans are quite a diverse lot, and then there are the Humanites, despised modified humans who have been altered to perform certain tasks or survive various extremes. We read of daily life in diverse places, and how the Icons are all-pervading, with virtually everyone believing in them (or at least saying that they do) and many being devout. A discussion on culture in general is followed by notes on the Icons and what is believed about them. Oddly, belief in the Icons themselves predates the foundation of the Church of the Icons, which has codified beliefs and practices, laying out various commandments that must be obeyed... and outlawing some traditional customs. Not surprisingly, there are many schisms and factions within the faith. To add to the mix there are myths and superstitions galore, and of course the djinn.

The next three chapters introduce and describe the Coriolis station, explore the planet Kua around which it orbits and present a gazetteer of the Third Horizon. For Coriolis, there's a timeline and details of many locations aboard. Much of it sounds like a North African or Arabic souk, teeming with merchants and food stalls, where just about anything can be had for a price. Whole adventures could be run here without ever setting foot off the station. However, reading about the Kua system - or indeed the entire Third Horizon - may change your mind, there's loads to see and do there as well!

The final part of the book contains a chapter on Beasts and Djinn, which is somewhat more than a mere bestiary, and one on the Campaign. As can be imagined, this is GM territory, and players are advised to avoid these two chapters. Mysteries are explained (or suggested), and there is loads more background and flavour to aid the GM in writing adventures and running the game. The Campaign chapter is a mix of advice and game mechanics, notes on the science and art of running a game... and how to use the Dark Between the Stars to good effect as a terrifying evil force that balances the good the Icons do. There's also a mini-scenario, The Statuette of Zhar to get you started, and two 'scenario locations' that can be used in your own plots.

This is an exciting book that leaves you itching to go visit this rich and complex setting, which is reflected beautifully in the sheer visual impact of the tome. The simple elegance of the game mechanic ensures that it will not intrude but facilitate your storytelling. Overall, this promises the potential of a particularly fascinating game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Coriolis - The Third Horizon core book
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Coriolis The Third Horizon - Quickstart
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/02/2017 08:07:04

With lush illustrations to tantalise, this work provides an overview of the setting as well as rules information, pre-generated characters and a complete adventure to play. The Introduction sweeps you up from the outset with quick summaries of what players and the gamemaster in a role-playing game do and an outline of what characters will do: now, crewing spacecraft, exploring and carrying out missions are to be expected in any spacefaring game, unravelling secrets and plotting and scheming even... but there's mention of a space station called Coriolis and the intriguing thought that religious belief and worship are still part and parcel of most people's lives. Clearly this is a distinctive setting to explore, one where technology and myth are wound together in a manner befitting a game billed as 'the Arabian Nights in space'.

We're soon diving into history and learning about the Third Horizon, a group of thirty-six star systems linked by portals which have been colonised in two waves. Interestingly, the first arrivals (the Firstcome) set out after the second wave (the Zenithians): the original Zenith was a generation ship sent out to establish colonies, but when they arrived they found that in the meantime the folks back home had discovered an ancient portal system and got there first! The two groups still bicker, but not to the extent that others did - the people of the First Horizon tried to take over the settlements of the Second and Third Horizons but were eventually defeated in a massive war that has left its mark all over known space.

The central system in the Third Horizon is called Kua, where there's a jungle planet of the same name orbited by the Coriolis space station. Founded by the Zenithians, Coriolis is intended as a place where all the factions of the Third Horizon can meet and trade, establishing peaceful relations with each other. That's the idea, but it's not quite as peaceful as was initially intended. Strange Emissaries, from a nearby gas giant, have everyone a bit baffled as to their intentions, not helped by one of them declaring he is one of the Icons, the deities widely worshipped here. This situation is replete with opportunities for adventure... and here we are in the middle of it!

We now move on to the rules part, with Chapter 2: Skills explaining how attributes (strength, agility, wits and empathy) work together with skills (of which there are two sorts, basic ones anyone can do and advanced ones that must be learned) to enable characters to accomplish whatever it is that they want to do. Task resolution is performed by adding up the points in the appropriate attribute and skill for the thing you're attempting and rolling that number of d6s - a single six means you've just managed it, three of them means you've done well, a critical success. The skill descriptions explain what all that means in terms of using that skill. If you don't get any sixes at all, you've failed and the GM needs to come up with some consequence of failure. When everything looks really bleak, you can always pray to the Icons. This pious act allows the re-rolling of all dice that didn't come up with a six. However, praying has its own dangers - every time you do, the GM gets a 'darkness point' from the religion's devil figure, the Darkness Between the Stars, these can be used against the party in a variety of ways.

After copious details on the various skills available, we come to Chapter 3: Combat. It's dangerous, think carefully - if you have the opportunity - before participating in a brawl. It's a turn-based system, with initiative established at the beginning of a fight by each participant rolling a d6, highest goes first... you can choose to lower your initiative by waiting to see what others do, but you are then stuck with a lower initiative for the whole combat. Various actions may be underaken in your turn, and a whole range of options are discussed. Associated matters like injury and healing are included and there's a delightful critical injury table for those who like to get more graphical than mere points of damage. Naturally there are other ways to die as well as combat - fire, drowning, starvation and vacuum also feature here. A note about vehicles rounds out the chapter.

The rest of the book is devoted to the adventure - Dark Flowers - and the pre-generated characters provided for you to play it. It tells the tale of a long lost space station, a search for a fabled plant, and a scientist obsessed with completing her mission - even unto death. The backstory explains what's been going on, covering an hundred years or so, for the GM then the party is brought into the picture. They are tasked with getting into the space station and exploring it, and will be faced with a difficult decision to make. The adventure is well-resourced with everything you need to make it come to life provided in the text. It's an excellent adventure with a long slow creepy build up...

This quickstart certainly achieves the aim of picquing interest in the full game. The game mechanics are straightforward and easy to understand, and the setting is rich with promise. Put aside any thoughts of this just being Babylon 5 retooled with a bit of help from Firefly and Aliens, this is a vibrant and exciting setting in its own right, a place in which epic tales can be told.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Coriolis The Third Horizon - Quickstart
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Robert E. Howards CONAN Roleplaying Game Quickstart
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/22/2017 03:35:34

Still I do not understand how you can combine, in 2017, a setting so gorgeous (from a literature so strong) with a game system as childish (and outdated as a gaming concept) instead of another who prefers the story.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Robert E. Howards CONAN Roleplaying Game Quickstart
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Coriolis The Third Horizon - Quickstart
by George C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/21/2017 04:33:10

It's really good when companies release these quickstart PDFs, and this one is no dissapointment! I am looking forward to running this, although I don't see a reason it won't go flawlessly



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Coriolis The Third Horizon - Quickstart
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Conan: Jeweled Thrones of the Earth
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/18/2017 12:29:38

This is a collection of seven adventures for Conan, each designed to be played individually as suits, spanning the known world and providing opportunities to explore different aspects and themes. They are deliberately designed to be episodic - Howard's original Conan stories were, after all - and can be mixed up and messed about with if they don't suit your needs as presented here. The adventures are presented as seven chapters with an eighth one devoted to a collection of short adventures and plot seeds to inspire you further.

The first adventure is Devils Under Green Stars. The party has somehow got to Zukundu, a lost civilisation in the Southern Kingdoms beyond Stygia (several suggestions are provided for the exact location), where they find a high-walled city/palace covering an entire island. It looks pretty overgrown, but those venturing in will find that it's not completely abandoned! The idea is that they've found the place almost by accident, but local wildlife makes the thought of going in more palatable than being eaten where they are. Oh, and at least one of the tribes within has lots of gold. Surely that makes it all worthwhile? With warring tribes and hideous monsters, yes, this one has caught the spirit of Conan well.

On, then, to The Pact of Xiabalba, which begins with the party going about their own business at sea when a storm strikes... and ends with them fighting to escape a mysterious city that's about to be sucked back into a nightmare realm somewhere out of time and space as they know it. The city, you see, belongs to a race of Giant-Kings thought to have died out sometime in pre-history... only they are very much around, at least here. The city at first appears ruined, then a timeslip takes them into a siege...

Next up, The Caves of the Dero gives the party a treasure map and, well, you know adventurers. Given a treasure map they'll need to try and find the treasure... the quest leads them into a decidedly unstable mine. The loot may be stupendous, but is it really worth the potential cost to retrieve it?

The next adventure is The Ghost of Thunder River. This starts off in Velitrium, a border town in the Westermark in the Bossonian Marches, the buffer Aquilonia maintains between its border and Pictish territory. The Picts are proving troublesome under the leadership of a weird pale devil risen from ancient days (or so it is claimed). To introduce the backstory, the players can undertake a prelude in which they forsake their regular characters for a bunch of Picts whose hunting trip has ended up with them forming a war party who end up visiting a strange tomb... Once this segment has played out, they can resume their normal characters to start the adventure proper. The prelude can be omitted, but it does add an interesting twist and is rather more fun than just being told what happened in the past. The adventure itself begins with the party enlisting in the Velitrium militia - it's left up to you to decide how they came to be there - and helping to take the fight to the Picts... but there's something odd going on. Plienty of wilderness adventure in this one.

The Thousand Eyes of Aumag-Bel follows, beginning with the party enjoying a well-earned rest in a city when they get robbed of a specific item. Just how they came to have said item is left up to you - anything from an inheritance to loot picked up in a previous adventure will do. This leads to all sorts of fun and running battles through (and then under) the city.

This is followed by The Red Pit which starts with the party as slaves... and it's time to lead a revolt! Again, how they got to be there is left up to you, although a few ideas are provided. This one is a straight-up all-out brawl as the slaves - armed with bare fists and loincloths to start with - fight their way out of the Red Pit, an opencast mine in which they've been put to work.

The final full adventure is The Seethers in Darkness, which sees the party hired to escort a scholar on a quest for a lost ruin in the desert southwest of Zamboula. Needless to say, nobody's heard of the ruins and nothing is quite what it seems. Plenty of classic adventure here with ancient races, cities buried in the sand and other typical Conanesque themes.

Finally we have Chapter 8: Seeds of Glory. This provides a myriad of ideas about running adventures and campaigns, including suggestions for stringing the adventures presented in this book into a coherent plot starting off with The Red Pit - you don't start much lower than being a slave after all - and gathering wealth and power progressing through the other adventures. Or maybe they start off in reasonable comfort and things go badly wrong as their adventures progress... yet such a coherent story arc was not Howard's way of telling a story, even if it is more expected in a role-playing game. Many possibilities are discussed here, it will be up to you to decide how you want to use this material. The chapter ends with several paragraph-long seeds from which you can build further adventures. Who knows, maybe Conan himself will make an appearance, but remember: the player-characters are the heroes of THESE tales!

It's an excellent collection of adventures, and their episodic nature is handled well in the advice given in Chapter 8, with ample suggestions on how to use them whether or not you want them to be a bit more coherent in terms of a plotline. These are probably not adventures to just pick up and run, they will repay careful thought and planning to make your group's experience of the Hyborian World as epic and exciting as the original tales... but the spirit of Conan lives on in these pages!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Conan: Jeweled Thrones of the Earth
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