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Malevolent and Benign
by Brent W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/10/2017 14:49:04

This tome is one of the top three OSR 1e Monster books out there. I'm not saying it's perfect, but it's close enough. And it does stay true to it's name as it has a good blend of both malevolent and benign critters unlike a few other out there. It feels like it fits OSR like a well worn pair of Boots of Striding & Springing.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Malevolent and Benign
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A Magical Medieval Society: City Guide
by Ian W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/10/2017 21:41:43

Where is the magic? Average, could do better. I was surprised by the sub-ordination of magic to might - the lords are still in charge and magicians are just another guild. Not bad for a low magic genre, but it kind of feels too much like 'old europe' with some magic on the end. The thieves guild gets more collumn inches than the guild of sorcerors. And yet i expected this to show how a city in a magical realm would differ from a mundane historical one.

I got the Guide to see how the authors wove magic into a world, and it looks more like an after-market patch rather than magic being inherent in the world. As a friend said, where is the awe? water fountains without the need for aquaducts, healing gates that cure (mundane) diseases of all who enter. Where are the high level sorcerors that rule by magical fiat? the council of seers who can predict crop failures and invasions? The Sorceror's guard who know the location and health of all of their fellows. Blight resistant crops? Zero infant mortality? Equality of the sexes? Surely magic will have solved the basics: shelter, security, warmth, egality, health and food.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
A Magical Medieval Society: City Guide
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A Magical Medieval Society: Western Europe
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/28/2016 12:08:12

Classic, has some useful information but is otherwise overrated.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
A Magical Medieval Society: Western Europe
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Classified
by Michael M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/16/2016 22:12:47

I love espionage RPGs and am always looking for different systems to try. When I heard about Classified it was labeled a Victory Games James Bond RPG clone, and basically it is. I played thee original many times in the 80s and 90s, so I have a bit of experience with similiar game mechanics. That said, it does a much better job of explaining rules and presenting game concepts. This game compared to other espionage RPGs is better run with one or two players maximum. The different levels of success is a great mechanic, something that 7th edition Call of Chtulhu is doing. Skills are a bit clunky, but once you play a couple sessions you get accustomed to it.

Is it great? No, but its good and playable.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Classified
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Advanced Adventures #27: Bitteroot Briar
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/01/2016 02:52:47

Quite nice little adventure for a session or two. It has a strong fairy tale vibe with many faeries and talking animals. At one point adventurers are decreased to one inch tall and perhaps half of the adventure involves interacting with bees, ants, traveling through grass, swimming through stream and similar scenes. It's quite amusing. There are some small editing problems, but nothing serious in my opinion. Three small functional maps and three illustrations - nothing special, but nothing awful neither.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Advanced Adventures #27: Bitteroot Briar
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A Magical Society: Ecology and Culture
by William E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/12/2016 10:30:33

This is a really comprehensive book. Anyone who is interested in world building for rpgs, and writing could find this to be an invaluable tool. It may be much for a casual builder, but at the price I would still suggest it. It really allows someone to look at the dynamics involved in world building, and allows them the tools to create worlds that make sense. The book addresses biomes, climate, weather, culture, and numerous other important aspects. Very pleased with this purchase, and look forward to buying The Silk Road.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Magical Society: Ecology and Culture
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A Magical Society: Beast Builder
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/04/2016 13:42:23

This is, without a doubt, the most useful book I've ever bought (with the exception of books from Core sets).

The last campaign I ran was one of the most sucessful I've ever pulled off. And this book gave me not only the main villains of the story (carnivorous plants that constantly reproduce, drain the life from the area around them, and skewer anyone who comes near them). But also the main roleplaying reward of the game: special powers that can be obtained nowhere wlse.

Long story short: I let the players unlock random powers that they then rolled for on the randomised tables at the back of the book. They loved it, and the unpredictability added a lot to the game.

But it's not just that. I've also used this book to generate literally dozens of new enemies, allies, and random species for my players to encounter.

People in these reviews seem to be complaining about what the book isn't, and that's unfair. I have never found another book that is as easy to use, has such huge variety, and that provide so much fodder for new ideas, regardless of your fantasy roleplaying system.

If you're looking for a book that helps you make monsters or grant special powers then as far as I know you literally cannot do any better than this book.

It's great.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Magical Society: Beast Builder
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Classified
by Charles S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/05/2016 14:20:14

I did not play the original game. I was getting impatient waiting for a new edition of another spy game to be released and I thought, while I’m all excited about playing a spy game why don’t I give this a try? I’m glad I did. This game has some really interesting concepts and I found it to be a really capable game system. It was not too hard to pick up even though I have never played it before. Here are some things about the game that stuck out to me.

Mechanically, everything seems to be decided using a d% roll. So you just need two ten sided dice to play. You calculate your skill level plus attribute bonus for a particular check then consult a table concerning the difficulty and then roll the d% to determine if you succeeded and if so, how well. In combat both hitting and damaging all happen with the same roll. The two tables at the core of this system are pretty wacky looking at first sight but once you “get it” it’s really flexible and brings a powerful sense of possibility and chance to the game. You will want those two tables tattooed on your arm though, you will consult them a lot.

The game has a really good chase system. That’s a big deal to me. Spy games need to have a good chase system. This one rivals the best of them. It’s like playing a game of chess and chicken all at the same time. I love it.

The game system is not flexible in the characters it creates. Stats and skills are really only concerned with things James Bond would do and I think there are some pretty apparent holes in the skills a character can learn. For example, one of my players wanted wilderness survival skills. James Bond does not do camping so don’t look for it on the character sheet. No such skill exists.

I love guns and was underwhelmed by the list of available guns. There were several 9mm handguns available but not one 45. No 1911, no USP, no MK21, even though these are very popular spec ops handguns often fitted with suppressors. I also found it strange that the old Browning Hi Power in 9mm did more damage than the Beretta M9 9mm. Someone help me understand that.

I think the formula that maps skills to characterizes is a little awkward too. Stealth gets a bonus from Willpower not Dex? Local Customs linked to Perception? Charisma linked to Willpower? I’m sure this is all translated from the old game and has to stay intact to keep these rules compatible with the old game but it’s still awkward.

To sum things up though, there are some awkward artifacts from the game this one was probably patterned from and I would have liked seeing them cleaned up a bit, however, this is still a uniquely cool game. I would like to see a revised skill system down the road someday. I really think that would bring this game to the next level.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Classified
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Advanced Adventures #12: The Barrow Mound of Gravemoor
by Thomas B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/23/2015 18:38:41

Subtracting the cover and the OGL from the text leaves us with a pathetic nine and a half pages module. I have not yet read it, but not Hickmann and Niles working together at the height of their powers would be able to produce something worth almost a buck per virtual page. This is steeply priced, to put it kindly. Never ever from this publisher again.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Advanced Adventures #12: The Barrow Mound of Gravemoor
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Pozas Art Pack Fantasy vol. 1: Heroes
by RJ G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/13/2015 03:29:49

The monkey character really sells it, although the other characters are very handsome. Resolution and clarity are excellent. The licensing is no problem at all for a publisher.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Pozas Art Pack Fantasy vol. 1: Heroes
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Advanced Adventures #3: The Curse of the Witch Head
by mike h. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/20/2015 12:24:37

I think that this is a very good adventure I currently play 4th edition Hackmaster the one based on ADD1st edition and can easily drop it into either of the groups I am running. Its the kind of adventure with lots of hooks that could be turned into a campaign or at least a few sessions of game play with a little planning by a GM. It has some very cool artifacts and new treasure and some cool new monsters. I will try to drop another review after run it. I also like that party of adventures is the main "monster".



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Advanced Adventures #3: The Curse of the Witch Head
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1 on 1 Adventures #6.66: The Pleasure Prison
by JK R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/02/2015 06:21:34

This is clearly meant to be a comedy, but basically it just ends up being plain silly. The encounters themselves are competently enough done, if not over-burdened with logic and supplied with very basic maps, but the overall tone of the thing is off-putting and not half as funny as it thinks it is. On the bright side, it's not as rude/puerile as the title implies, either.

To be fair, I can't honestly recall how, or indeed why, I got hold of this (I seem to have had it on my hard drive for a few years... was it given away at a discount with something else?). Although it's quite a long adventure, it is not, to my mind, worth the price tag.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
1 on 1 Adventures #6.66: The Pleasure Prison
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World of Nevermore (True20)
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/17/2015 18:18:50

Although World of Nevermore has a brilliant and crazy aesthetic which appeals to me pretty much on every level, it doesn't nail down certain aspects of how the setting should be used and so falls (perhaps barely) short of a perfect score.

So let's talk about adventures in dreams. This is a theme in fantasy (and horror) literature for many years, and there've been many RPGs that have attempted it. The core problem is of course that waking up back in a world that hasn't been affected by the dream is unsatisfying: why attempt to overcome obstacles that are simply imaginary? H.P. Lovecraft gave his Dreamlands physical reality; Adamant Entertainment had a Dreamwalker game in the d20 era which tried a similar approach. Shattered Dreams, a badly organized 1990s game had the brilliant idea that monsters from the dream world were invading people's bodies via their dreams and a failure in the dream world meant the player characters would have to face essentially demon possession scenarios in the real world - where they had no dream-altering abilities. (Someday I want to see a dream-adventure scenario where the real-world impact of a success is "you work out some emotional or intellectual problem or anxiety that's been hammering at you in the real world"!)

It's that issue that Nevermore doesn't hit square on the head. When, if things get too rough, a significant portion of the inhabitants can simply opt out of the world every eight hours, it becomes difficult to create actual conflict with consequences. The game seems to recognize this, emphasizing that GMs should make events in Nevermore prefigure or subtly affect things in the "real" game world if the whole game's not going to be set there. However, the brief mention of it doesn't give examples, methods, or principles to make this happen - and that's frankly the most important question that I have when picking up a dream walking supplement. What about this is real?

There are even some indications in World of Nevermore that this question was not too well thought out. It is suggested (for example) that characters should retain their levels gained while in Nevermore once they wake up, typically adept levels. This could result in people in your core game world going to sleep as level 3 folks and waking up as level 18 folks one in-character day later - since time in the "real" world (whatever it is) doesn't pass as it does in Nevermore.

The simple way to handle this is to say "Nevermore's the game world. You can't opt out. It behaves in dreamlike ways but for various reasons none of you will be 'waking up'". Certain character types are like this (such as those born in Nevermore or the fey who are its original natives), a GM can simply require that all characters be one of these types.

The most important changes to the True20 system are a boosted Conviction system which allows dreamlike discontinuities to aid the characters, and an Aspect system which gives boosts to characters based on dreamlike aspects that they take on in various situations - I dream I'm a dragonlike figure, so I take on dragonlike abilities. These seem to be well-founded and since everyone in the game world has them, the balance of them seems well thought out.

The majority of the book is taken up with the campaign world description. It involves many realms, each of which has its own personality, and typical dream-effects that can be found in its borders. Probably the best part is the list of potential adventure hooks for each area. Although I'm experienced in turning area descriptions into actionable adventures, it's great to see how the tone and atmosphere of each area is intended to mesh with the typical True20 action-adventure feel. I wish every location supplement was as straightforward with what its intentions are.

Finally, a sample adventure is at the end. Again, a welcome addition to the supplement, showing me how it's supposed to be done (including what typical badguys in Nevermore get up to.)

I do think that Nevermore has a lot going for it, and it's quite ambitious; not just another game with Oz in it, thereby guaranteeing a high score from JDCorley on the Internet. However, there are certain holes in what it tries to accomplish that keep it from getting my highest marks. While the 8-hour cycle of Nevermore is terrific for keeping things changing, dreamlike and mysterious, it requires some really diligent timekeeping on the part of the GM and players, much more rigorous than in your typical True20 game, and there aren't any tools to help us do that. As mentioned above, the way to tie Nevermore to something real and worth doing is not clear.

Nevertheless the work is imaginative and thrilling, I want to adventure here and the game gives me great tools with which to do that. The abilities of player characters and NPCs alike are vivid and compelling. Expeditious Retreat hardly ever misses the mark and it doesn't here. I highly recommend World of Nevermore as an addition to your dream-fantasy library! (You do have one, right?)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
World of Nevermore (True20)
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A Magical Medieval Society: City Guide
by Sylvia R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/30/2014 08:49:40

This is an EXCELLENT resource for games set in the medieval times. It has been well researched and is packed full of information about how a medieval city operated - but with a difference. The difference is that is details the adjustments that the GM needs to make ti the factual framework so that magic and adventurers can fit into the city. NOTHING had been missed. There is even a section on generating cities! A first rate product!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Magical Medieval Society: City Guide
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Classified - Operation Rogue Lion
by Barbara J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/06/2014 21:17:02

"Operation Rogue Lion" is a meaty adventure very much in the style of Victory Games' published modules for the original James Bond RPG. The NPCs and exotic locales are well written and presented. The adventure's plot is laid out nicely, with notes on what the characters could or should learn at each stop along the way, but allows for plenty of room to modify or adapt elements to suit a particular group or campaign.

I don't have the Classified RPG rulebook, but I had no difficulty running the adventure with the original Victory Games rule set; and although "Operation Rogue Lion" is designed to serve as an introduction to the game system for those who haven't played it before (and it's set in modern times), it was very easy for me to adapt it to an ongoing campaign set in the 1980s.

I rate this module very highly, and I hope more Classified RPG modules will be forthcoming. I will certainly buy them!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Classified - Operation Rogue Lion
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