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GURPS Classic: Ice Age
Publisher: Steve Jackson Games
by Michael D. S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/16/2018 09:21:51

GURPS Ice Age is a solid little supplement that adds a wealth of interesting material for a relatively obscure period of gaming.

Complete with a collection of new hominid races, equipment, natural creatures, and spells, there really is a lot of content packed here in a relatively small package.

Presented inside are three ways to play; A historical campaign, a fantasy campaign, and a slap-stick caveman campaign. All provide unique ways to game and to interface with the history within.

While the book's age means that lots of the information in the book has since been replaced or amended by advancing archeological techniques, it manages to hold up for the most part, and shows a surprising amount of research of veracity for its time.

A great little package for anyone interested in the time period, or just to try something way out of left field for their campaign.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
GURPS Classic: Ice Age
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KOBOLD Guide to Gamemastering
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Michael D. S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/25/2017 15:43:06

This KOBOLD GUIDE was the first in the series that I had ever read, and I had high expectations. One interesting detail I noted right away is that famed DM Matt Mercer is clearly the inspiration for the cover, but he doesn't have an essay featured within. Not a big deal, but funny nonetheless.

The book is sorted into different sections, grouped into themes such as Before the Game, During the Game, etc. Each section contained a handful of essays written by a variety of GMs, with quite a broad range of experience and expertise. Some of them are very storied personalities, involved in very key games, developments, or events. Others are... well, just people with a bit of web presence or relatively minor impact. Not that someone's advice should be judged solely on their previous work, but I feel it should at least be mentioned that not every author will necessarily come off as an authority.

To give a bit of context, I've been DM-ing weekly for about 15 years, now, with a variety of groups, people and systems. So while I haven't been playing since the very beginning, I have been around since AD&D, and have a considerable amount of experience in the GM's chair.

That being said, I naturally found a lot of the information in this book redundant. Things like dealing with shy players, allowing players to shine, or improvising sessions. I've come to those conclusions on my own, over the years, and found that a lot of the information corroborated my own experiences. This is not necessarily a criticism, however, since it is always reassuring to read 'advice' that you already follow, in the sense that it gives you the feeling that you are on the right track.

Others might also have very different experiences. I have dealt with many new and shy players, so naturally I've learned how to cope with that. A GM who has not might find these sections more useful, even if they are otherwise just as experienced as myself.

There was also certainly some stuff in here that I found new and interesting, and will be incorporating into new campaigns.

In conclusion, this book really feels like a series of panels given at any given convention, market, or other event. Some of the panelists will be legendary, others will be unknown. Some of the panels will be very helpful and interesting, others will be relatively banal or elementary. You will learn something new, and you will read some stuff you find obvious, or flat-out patronizing. However, if you go through the book, you will come out with an expanded mind, and some new ideas. For that, I found this a worthwhile read for any GM.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
KOBOLD Guide to Gamemastering
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Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd Edition: Tome of Corruption
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Michael D. S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2016 12:08:16

A Good Release, but not without Issues

I love the WarPG 2nd Edition source books. They are always written with a stunningly grounded and coherent tone that really helps the world and the setting come to life. This book is no exception, in that it does a wonderful job getting into the nitty gritty about Chaos in the Old World, and most importantly, delving into the details that a cursory understanding of the setting might overlook.

As an example, in discussing the cults of Chaos, the book talks about the worship of Slaanesh, and how or why one might fall under his sway. The average gamer, slightly familiar with the setting, will know Slaanesh as "the perverted God", who's all about drugs, sex, and rock and roll. The Tome of Corruption dismisses that theory, and details each of the Gods as a fleshed-out and understandable concept, which could serve as a believable point of worship for characters who don't have to be cartoon evil.

That's the best thing this book does. It discusses corruption, chaos, and the dark arts as something born out of real and believable events and concepts, and not as the cartoon enemies that they can easily be turned into. Chaos here is layered and 'realistic'. For that reason alone, I think that this book is a necessity for any GM running a campaign of WarPG. To have that understanding of Chaos will help you create motivated villains that feel even sympathetic, in some ways, rather than always having to rely on the evil cultist or beastman who just wants destruction for its own sake.

The book is a real variety show of material, from new careers, relics, plot hooks, sample cults, and even a mutation chart that requires you to roll a d1000...

My biggest complaint about this book is that like Chaos itself, it's almost incoherent in places. There were clearly deadlines looming here, because the book is rife with typos, repeated sentences, and even some formatting errors in some parts where paragraphs are switched around between subsections. Not enough to make the book unusable, but definitely noticeable enough to dock a point from it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd Edition: Tome of Corruption
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Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd Edition: Realms of Sorcery
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Michael D. S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/18/2016 15:56:47

This is one of the best RPG resource-books I've ever picked up. I was already extremely well-versed in the lore of Warhammer Fantasy, so I didn't think I would get much out of this except for an expanded collection of spells and magic items.

In that regard, this expansion does not disappoint. It just about triples the amount of spells for each of the lores in the Core Rulebok, and adds several pages of new magic items.

What I loved the most about this book, however, was just how rich and interesting the flavour of magic came across. From short stories and quotations, everything comes alive. The essence and nature of magic in the Warhammer Fantasy world have never, to my knowledge, been so thoroughly detailed, complete with excellent notations and suggestions for how to incorporate different thematic elements into your game mechanically.

To top it all off, there are very complete descriptions of each of the colleges of magic, and interesting rules for runic magic that Dwarfs can forge.

The only thing this book does not cover are the traditions and spells of the high elves, but the book itself explains very convincingly why it wouldn't have been an appropriate inclusion.

Overall, I'd recommend this for any WarPG GM, whether his group has a spellcaster or not. It will help one understand how magic operates and interacts with the game setting, and allow one to better depict the whole host of magician allies or enemies any group is likely to encounter along the way.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd Edition: Realms of Sorcery
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