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Running Out of Time
by Anthony D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/21/2021 14:09:01

Fuller review can be found at StickyBunton on 2/24/2021.

I acquired Running Out Of Time via the Kickstarter, as well as the other two zines from the same line.

Mechanically speaking, the game is a simple OSR mechanic, rolling low on a d20 to determine success. Unlike other OSR-style games, combat is sincerely fast and deadly, with attacks that always hit and damage that can take you out in one hit, buit character creation is almost equally fast to balance things out. That said, the mechanics as a whole are simple; I read the full set of three in an afternoon, and could have run any of them comfortably by that evening, making this a great purchase for a convention-bound GM.

The biggest appeal to this zine is the number of useful tools within it. Diogo does not skimp on random tables to help generate interesting situations or characters on the fly with a couple dice rolls, and even if I'm not running the game the tables alone are worth the price of admission.

Sadly, the color schemes of each of these may cause problems for those with eyesight issues and/or color-blindness. While the text is light color on a darker background, these are overlapping images on every page, which can be a bit problematic at times.

If you like OSR titles, useful tables for other games, or the general themes of this zine, absolutely pick it up. If you're not a fan of brutal combat and potential character death, dislike OSR, or don't like the theme of the zine, you'll want to give it a pass.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Running Out of Time
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The Dead are Coming
by Anthony D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/21/2021 14:08:57

Fuller review can be found at StickyBunton on 2/24/2021.

I acquired The Dead Are Coming via the Kickstarter, as well as the other two zines from the same line.

Mechanically speaking, the game is a simple OSR mechanic, rolling low on a d20 to determine success. Unlike other OSR-style games, combat is sincerely fast and deadly, with attacks that always hit and damage that can take you out in one hit, buit character creation is almost equally fast to balance things out. That said, the mechanics as a whole are simple; I read the full set of three in an afternoon, and could have run any of them comfortably by that evening, making this a great purchase for a convention-bound GM.

The biggest appeal to this zine is the number of useful tools within it. Diogo does not skimp on random tables to help generate interesting situations or characters on the fly with a couple dice rolls, and even if I'm not running the game the tables alone are worth the price of admission.

Sadly, the color schemes of each of these may cause problems for those with eyesight issues and/or color-blindness. While the text is light color on a darker background, these are overlapping images on every page, which can be a bit problematic at times.

If you like OSR titles, useful tables for other games, or the general themes of this zine, absolutely pick it up. If you're not a fan of brutal combat and potential character death, dislike OSR, or don't like the theme of the zine, you'll want to give it a pass.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Dead are Coming
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Screams Amongst The Stars
by Anthony D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/21/2021 14:08:23

Fuller review can be found at StickyBunton on 2/24/2021.

I acquired Screams Amongst the Stars via the Kickstarter, as well as the other two zines from the same line.

Mechanically speaking, the game is a simple OSR mechanic, rolling low on a d20 to determine success. Unlike other OSR-style games, combat is sincerely fast and deadly, with attacks that always hit and damage that can take you out in one hit, buit character creation is almost equally fast to balance things out. That said, the mechanics as a whole are simple; I read the full set of three in an afternoon, and could have run any of them comfortably by that evening, making this a great purchase for a convention-bound GM.

The biggest appeal to these zines, but especially in Screams Amongst the Stars, is the number of useful tools within them. Diogo does not skimp on random tables to help generate interesting situations or characters on the fly with a couple dice rolls, and even if I'm not running the game the tables alone are worth the price of admission.

Sadly, the color schemes of each of these may cause problems for those with eyesight issues and/or color-blindness. While the text is light color on a darker background, these are overlapping images on every page, which can be a bit problematic at times.

If you like OSR titles, useful tables for other games, or the general themes of this zine, absolutely pick it up. If you're not a fan of brutal combat and potential character death, dislike OSR, or don't like the theme of the zine, you'll want to give it a pass.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Screams Amongst The Stars
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Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells - Addendum
by Luiz F. B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/09/2021 08:34:22

Great book! Amazing rules & lots of nice tables. If your thing is OSR, just get it!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells - Addendum
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Eorathril
by Lee S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/05/2021 16:44:12

A great low-fantasy rpg system based on Swords & Wizardry White Box. There are no elves, dwarves or halflings as PCs in this. They're briefly mentioned as being part of the writer's personal campaign world, but only as NPCs.

Instead, there are multiple types of fighting-based classes, and one magic-user.

The one magic user is the Sage, which cannot use any spells until at least level 4. The writer mentions that if you want to bring in the Mage and/or the Cleric from the White Box, you are free to. I, personally, will be keeping the Mage, but as a rarity, while Clerics and Paladins will be restricted to NPCs.

I will say that I do like magic in rpgs, but not as pew pew as it has become. Magic in my perfect rpg would probably bore most players with its less showy effects and having to wait 1d20 days to see if it was a success or not.

My personal setting will be using Earothril as a base, with White Box Gothic overlayed, with the addition of the Witch class (from The Witch for Swords & Wizardry White Box). This will give me a nice Castlevania/Ravenloft setting where the PCs are a bit more vulnerable (and human) and have to rely more on outside sources for healing.

Back to the actual product, Eorathril is a great foundation if you're wanting an OSR game reminiscent of Dark Age of Camelot, Conan or even Ray Harryhausen films (or, as in my case, Castlevania). The book is well laid out and easy to read. And the illustrations are top notch. Some of the best art I've seen in an rpg game book.

I was also thrilled to see that the print size (6x9) places it perfectly the same size as some of my books for Dragonlance: Fifth Age, a game that I thought of when I say the cover design and the interior flourishes. I think when my physical copy gets here, I'll look through my Fifth Age material to see if there's anything in there worth mining for it.

Thank you again for releasing your personal setting book to the public through Eorathril. Others do share similar tastes.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eorathril
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Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells
by Christopher L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/04/2021 16:08:44

From my blog: https://sisypheantales.wordpress.com/2021/02/04/sharp-swords-sinister-spells/

Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells, by Diogo Nogueira, is an OSR style, swords and sorcery game all about minimalist rules, quick play, and giving Referees and Game Masters the tools to craft adventures, locations and items on the fly with plenty of tables and idea generators.

It is 46 pages of easy to learn, quick to practice medieval fantasy roleplaying goodness. The layout is digestible. Paragraphs are not cluttered together, each topic and section is given space for the reader to take in the information without distraction from art or a blurring of tightly bound paragraphs. Keywords in the rules are put in bold print to make them easier to reference. In three pages, an aspiring Game Master or player can become familiarized with the basic rules of the game and be ready to play.

In this game, character creation is broken down to 3 Archetypes ( Warrior, Specialist, Magic User) using 4 Attributes (Physique, Agility, Intellect, Willpower). Sharp Swords uses a roll under d20 system with some additional bells and whistles like luck and usage die for adding an additional layer of chance and simplifying inventory respectively.

While the base game is simple and easy to pick up, what makes Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells great is the GM tools in the back. The first 24 pages of the book get players and the GM ready to start play and the last 13 give the GM the tools to keep the good times coming. It has what you’d expect any good Game Master section to have, a bestiary, reaction table, morale rules, and how to reward players with XP and treasure. One of my favorite things to see are the tables and kit designed to give GMs longevity. There are tables for goals, locations, NPCs, adversaries, complications and rewards. All of which are system agnostic and can be used in any other game, as a result is a simple 2d6 roll away.

Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells is an ideal addition to any Game Master, Referee, DM, etc. that enjoys light, hackable, sword & sorcery roleplaying games that not only aim to provide a solid rule set for play but a competent tool kit as well.

Post Script

There is also an Addendum to Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells that offers an expanded tool kit with optional rules for expanded vocations, handling zero level characters, sanity and madness rules, monster generators, forgotten artifacts and random life events. It, like the GM section in the core book, is just as valuable to anyone looking to run Sharp Swords or any other sword and sorcery RPG.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells
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TinyZine: Issue 32
by Dennis S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/02/2021 14:15:26

I'm not good at giving reviews so here is what I said about it elsewhere.

It's a solid addition all around. What's in it?

  1. Monstrous Heratages that are interesting and add a lot of 'story' elements for Players and Gms alike. I usually roll my eyes at monster pc's, but I felt many of these had a lot of good rp potential.
  2. A nice tiny bestiary of interesting creatures from a region I feel is often overlooked and can add some outside the cliche options to anyone encounter lists. Why settle for just another goblin?
  3. A, what I will call a boss or encounter focus, creature that is just some silly fun. (Careful, it can still wreck you!) Might be a little past its best seasonal introduction, but hey, now you are ready for next year!
  4. Some interesting variants creature types for Zombie fans, and a new encounter mechanic that adds a nice escalation of tension.
  5. Thematically related and combat expansion focused traits that I think will be enjoyed by Munchkins and character designers alike.

Thoughts and notes; Zombie Encounter mechanic: I get why the focus is on Zombies, as they are traditionally very psychologically disturbing, and mentally fatiguing. I know I'd S%&t myself if under siege by zombies, or really any creature of the night such as vampires, werewolves, ghouls, etc. Basically any Supernatural vs Mundane encounters. I like the mechanic so much that I think it could translate well in to a state of morale clock should someone want to try and build up a large scale battlefield scene with different troop regiments, etc. Maybe something for others to pounder on. In regards to 'The Beast' and it's play mechanics, I felt that it would translate really well into a Kulu type creature is someone was wanting to do a certain 'Hunter of Monster's' type campaign. Just a thought.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
TinyZine: Issue 32
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Tiny Supers
by Henry P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/21/2021 17:47:23

Here is my full review of Tiny Supers... https://youtu.be/qi7sLXfeE-A



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tiny Supers
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For Coin & Blood: Second Edition
by Michael C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/12/2021 08:18:33

It may or may not be a game I actually run at some point. The games gritting setting and play elements were great to incorperate into my homebrew world.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
For Coin & Blood: Second Edition
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Screams Amongst The Stars
by larry h. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/05/2021 19:09:53

This horror themed space game only has 3 stats for your character but its enough to get them into action and use their gear and good sense to keep out of trouble, or else they'll have to make a d20 save vs. the ability score in use. Best to just try and avoid a risky situation, make the odds in your favor and don't hesitate to cheat. Rules for space travel/exploration, Elder races and rumors and jobs related to them, really a lot of gaming goodness in this 64 page game. The one page rules summary at the end of the book is a nice touch!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Screams Amongst The Stars
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Aliens & Asteroids
by Marco R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/15/2020 16:49:24

Aliens & Asteroids (and i20 ad well) is a concrete example of two fundamental design factors: accessibility and theme. I love intricate systems and some storytelling engines ad well: here you can find a good balance of those elements, with easy to grasp mechanics and a lovely background to enhance the "feel" of what is a dark action oriented sci fi. You can dig deep into the political intrigues or just sit down and play a wondrous alien-style mission with dread and psychic struggle; or you can grasp the feel of some space marine goodness along with some well thought dice rolling. Overall, this is good modern design, with an (probably not so hidden) emphasis on (simple and effective) gamey mechanics. 5 stars.

If you are looking for a simple and deep, tablet friendly, sci fi rpg with a nice compromise between hard sci fi and 80s movies feel, just grab this and you won't be disappointed for a second.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Aliens & Asteroids
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Tiny Dungeon: Second Edition
by Davide C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/08/2020 15:49:46

All through my first reading I was wondering how well the game would behave when put to the test, and I've been pleasantly surprised. Tiny Dungeon flows seamlessly at the table, without feeling too limited or repetitive in spite of its minimalistic mechanics.

A joy to play with kids as well.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tiny Dungeon: Second Edition
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Quest for Dragon Spire
by Zackery H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/29/2020 17:02:36

This adventure is a perfect starting adventure not only to get players introduced to Tiny Dungeon (or role playing in general), but is also perfect for new DM's. I've been playing table top role playing games since the late 90's, but for the last 10 years or so my play has been sporadic. After some interest from my wife and kids we decided to run a family RPG night. I haven't DM'd in quite some time so I was a bit rusty, but a quick read through of this PDF and I could see that everything was set up in an easy to understand way that would make it easy for me to be successful.

This adventure includes flavor text to read out loud to your players, and if you play as written it has a nice, easy set up which throws your players right into understanding the situation at hand, (there is a village suffering from a terrible miasma) and accepting a quest. There are several encounters early into the game which will give your players opportunities for combat (wolves in the forest), negotiating/coming up with a clever way through a situation (bandits in the forest), and thinking outside the box to overcome an obstacle (the flooded river). This is a perfect way to introduce new players to the concepts of role playing games.

Once you reach the village the local NPC's of note are described for the DM that can give your players further information about the miasma, get equipment to help your ascent of Dragon Spire, do a bit of shopping, and most importantly give a good opportunity for a new DM and player to hone their skill at role playing. This section however is the only part that I have a slight nitpick with - the first section, as I described earlier, did a great job with the included flavor text of setting up the encounter that really got things rolling. This section has flavor text which describes arriving in village, but has no further text to help set up any interactions. This is no problem for an experienced DM, but for somebody who has literally never ran an adventure before they may be left wondering what to do. This wouldn't be a problem if they had included some possible hints as to how to set something up, but there wasn't much of anything. The best advice it gave was that this section was intended to be player driven, but if your players are brand new they may not know what that means. I realized at this point as well that when the quest was given to the characters they were never given a name for somebody in the village to seek out. As stated earlier this section goes over who the NPC's in the village are, but this could be overwhelming for a new DM to think about how to have the players meet these folks if it's up to the players to drive this scene, and could be overwhelming for new players to figure out what they want to do. I personally had the Baron name drop the mayor in the beginning to plant the seed for my players that "I need to talk to the mayor". Overall this is really just a nitpick and not an issue if a new DM just puts some thought into it, but overall I think they did a great job at setting up every other section in this adventure for a new DM so this one kind of stood out to me as odd.

After spending time in the village and learning what they can from the villagers it's time to climb this mountain and end this terrible miasma! If they were able to get the location for the secret pass from Reda the players can gain advantage on their search for the pass, which is another good opportunity for characters to learn the mechanics of Tiny Dungeon. There are a couple more really nice interactions the characters can have on their way up the mountain. There is a section for the characters to be caught in a rock slide - another opportunity to gain advantage on a Test if they were able to get the climbing gear, and a great fight with a Gryphon. The Gryphon fight is a good learning opportunity for a DM and players to learn that fights aren't always to the death, and that NPC's and monsters can have motivation too - this Gryphon was just a mother protecting her clutch of eggs.

Finally the last section is finding out what is causing the miasma... A great Red Dragon!.... I know - I bet you would have never guessed there would be a dragon up on Dragon Spire right? This is a fun section that really lets your characters role play and problem solve. If they try to fight the dragon they will almost certainly die, if they try to steal his treasure horde this will enrage him and they will probably die, so they have to be clever to come up with a way to get the dragon to leave. I love the way this is set up in the rules mechanically - a character trying to convince the dragon to leave must be persuasive in their arguments, and must succeed on 3 Tests (somehow my son made all 3 in a row, with one being a critical success!). The text also does a good job at explaining to a new DM how to role play the dragon by describing his temperament, and how he might react to being awoken, and how to play up his growing frustration. This was a really fun section to play!

After the final conflict, the next section moves the characters, uneventfully, back to the castle. This I think is fine, but maybe there could have been an inclusion of interacting with the village after they get the dragon to leave, but not a knock by any means and if you play through this scenario straight through you've probably been playing for a couple hours and your players may be ready to end things. As the characters return triumphant the characters receive their reward, and the DM is given the suggestion to have the Baron ask the players if they would be willing to become agents of the kingdom. If they agree he names they Royal Agents of Calda. This was a nice touch, as the epilogue gives a few adventure hooks that the Baron could ask of the players next.

Overall at $1.99 this is an absolute steal, and I don't think you can go wrong with everything this offers for new players and DM's. My family and I had a blast playing through it, and it definitely made it easier for me to ease back into DM'ing. Don't miss this adventure - give this one a shot!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Quest for Dragon Spire
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Cold Shadows
by Arturo P. Z. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/23/2020 14:22:00

This excellent and immersive game was sadly star-crossed throughout its production, perhaps mostly due to the untimely and tragic passing of Stewart Wieck —founder of Nocturnal Media— in the middle of the process.

Due to this and other difficult circumstances, this version of the book is severely under-revised. It includes an amazing collection of ideas and concepts entirely worthy of the genre, suggesting diverse and rich stories; however, the ruleset is seriously underexplained. I was a kickstarter backer of this book and received it back in 2018; however I've been unable to understand it throughout these years until I recently read the much clearer explanations in the House of the Blooded gamebook, which shares a part of its system. The short explanations of key concepts and insufficient examples in Cold Shadows makes it very difficult for a reader to grasp its mechanics using only this book.

Moreover, there's a significant amount of missing content and errata. There's a short official Errata file that adresses a few of these issues, but some major ones are yet unsolved. Sadly this is stuff serious enough to hinder play: for instance, at character creation you'll select an Agency Director and this will give you a powerful, everlasting ability that will influence your style of playing in each of your sessions...unless you chose a Cunning Director, which should give you "an extra Espionage action (see the Seasons chapter for more details)" but, sadly, this is the only mention of "Espionage actions" in the entire book.

Also, if you built a COMINT Asset or a School Asset in your Headquarters (once again, "see the Seasons chapter for more details"), good luck figuring out what do they do because you'll find no other mention of them in the entire book. It looks like sadly a few entire pages of the Seasons chapter got lost in the editing process.

Despite all that, this is actually an exciting and unique game. Sadly, this current edition of the game is unadvisable unless you're already familiar with the House of the Blooded or Blood & Honor books, which explain all the rules that this book fails to develop by itself. A revised edition or an updated errata file would make it definitely worth of your time and money.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Cold Shadows
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Tiny Taverns
by A customer [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/15/2020 21:10:34

My group just finished up a horror-ish DnD game and when we started talking about what to do next one of the group mentioned he had joined the kickstarter for this. We thought this sounded pretty fun and have played 3 sessions now (We run the Jolly Holly, an inn on the borders of Santa's Workshop). Maybe it's just an effect of 2020, but I think this is the most fun I've had with an RPG, and I've been playing since the early 80s. There is so much just fun, hilarity and just pure joy in this game. It is definitely very rules-light, so if that's not your cup of tea certainly look elsewhere.

The best part of the game is deciding how you failed or what got in your way when something doesn't work. The GM can make that decision, but it's a whole lot more fun if the players do it. It's definitely a game where failing a test can be as much fun as succeeding. The rules-light nature means it's extremely flexible and even a whole new race wouldn't need much work. If you want to run Mos Eisley cantina it wouldn't be hard at all.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tiny Taverns
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