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Exalted 3rd Edition
by Etienne O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/15/2018 00:27:07

I really wanted to love this, but there are just so many choices made in this book that run counter to what I feel makes a good game. And that has disappointed me to no end. I backed it on kickstarter and waited patiently for the follow-up to the first RPG I ever really played. I had hoped for a lighter, more table-friendly game, with a good flow and rules that were more focused on the bigger picture than the details. What works for me: The setting is cool as all heck. Anything that touches the world of creation is awesome. There are little hints and rumors that aren't immediatly explainable, which function great as inspiration for stories and adventure. If anything, the setting part of this book is too short, and more pages should have been assigned to this. What doesn't work for me: The artwork, most of it is dull and uninspired, there is no "freedom" to the art styles, most of it locked by tracing after 3-d models. Some are great, the cover in particular is very cool. The system, There are too many subsystems. Rules are overly specific instead of being broad. The charms, there roughly 200 pages of charms, that do not have an easy overview. I completely understand that adding extra pages to this monster, in order to add charm-trees or something must have seemed like madness. The length: This book is almost vulgar in size, which isn't a problem as such in pdf, but with the print product it is pretty bad. it is pretty neat having a Big Book (tm), but it is nigh-unusable as whenever I open it I fear that the book will tear itself to pieces.

In summary: Great setting - really one of the best out there. Too long, and filled mostly with bad art and overly complex rules. I guess that it would be pretty great for some, but working full-time and having children this game has become a hard pass.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Exalted 3rd Edition
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Arms of the Chosen
by Chazz K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/11/2018 12:08:47

Overall, I thought this was an excellent first sourcebook for Exalted 3rd edtion. To hear my complete thoughts, check out our review: http://thestorytold.libsyn.com/episode-3-exalted-arms-of-the-chosen-review



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Arms of the Chosen
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Game Master Companion and Adventures
by Alain G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/05/2018 13:46:06

This book contains valuable ressources for any Scarred Lands game and provides 40-ish pages of awesomeness.

Chapter 1 presents new races. The half-elf and half-orc both return, which is a nice throw-back to the previous edition of the Scarred Lands. The gem of this chapter (and the whole book) is the tiefling race, with 18 (if I counted correctly) subraces, each tied to the different planes of existence of the Scarred Lands. This is a great addition to the setting and fits perfectly well in the mythos (in fact, the existence of tieflings are hinted at in several books in the previous edition, so here we are). Each subrace has unique abilities that fit well for their plane of origin. Also, some of the art used here is superb.

Chapter 2 provides reference table to complement the DMs screen. Includes a very useful list of magic items from the Player's Guide and The Wise and The Wicked. Small bemol here, the table of the titans is far away from the table of the gods, and the list of nations doesn't include city-states. But having the list of nations with the list of languages spoken there is terribly useful for quick reference.

Chapter 3 provides conversion for two 3E adventures. This means new DC and skills for skill checks, new stat blocks for NPCs and monsters (around 10 NPCs and 10 monsters, including some converted from Creature Collections). The converted monsters seem well-defined and use very well the 5E monster framework, and some are among iconic Scarred Lands monsters (yes, I'm looking at you, spider-eye goblins!)

Chapter 4 provides 17 spells converted from Relics & Rituals, mostly to be used by the NPCs described in the previous chapter, as well as one true ritual. Iconic Scarred Lands spells (and favorites of mine) make their return, including the bloosdtorm, corpse armor, among others. Too bad there is no information about which class can cast these spells, but that can be easily infered by comparing with the old R&R or the 5E spell lists.

Overall, a great product that can be useful in many different ways! Highly recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Game Master Companion and Adventures
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The Pugmire System Guide For OGL 5E Creators
by John P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/05/2018 11:12:19

Travis Legge has provided a quick reference to Pugmire. Although it is written for those familiar with OGL 5E and cleanly makes the correlations between the two systems, I would recommend it to anyone interested in Pugmire development or new to being a Guide (a Pugmire GM). It is organized and written well, making it a ready reference to Pugmire specific terminology and mechanics. It also looks great, which is inspiring to develop in this system.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Pugmire System Guide For OGL 5E Creators
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Creator Reply:
Thank you VERY much! I am glad to hear you've found it useful and I hope this reference can help those developing for Pugmire, or even Guides at the table with quick reference to areas that might be confusing for people accustomed to running 5e. I truly appreciate the review! -Travis
W20 Cookbook
by Philip H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/02/2018 04:10:41

I have always been a fan of Werewolf the Apocalypse and I love to cook! So when I discovered that there is a Werewolf Cookbook, I had to check it out... I only got the book yesterday and have already made three of the dishes and while I would love to go into detail about the awesome lore associated with each tribe and sing the names and virtues of each recipe, I think I'll leave it to the potential buyers reading this... and let me say, you won't be disappointed!!!

Quick Note If you're like me and like to have your books in the best condition possible, I strongly suggest that you purchase a second copy for reference only and not to used in the kitchen... the ink tends to smear with apple juices, and I'm sure with other liquids too.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
W20 Cookbook
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V20 Beckett's Jyhad Diary
by William b. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/28/2018 20:12:09

This is now one of my favorite vtm books There are so many characters and places with well thought out stories. Great detail was taken to write about every clan/sect and gives you an idea about what's happening in the metaplot. Many chapters have addition rules or plots you could use or modify to your game. Thank you to all involved in writing this.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
V20 Beckett's Jyhad Diary
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Guide to the Night
by Micha N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/27/2018 08:26:07

When I picked up this book, I really didn't know too much about it, and other than my group is in the middle of playing a Vampire game right now and we were all for getting new books for it. I heard about the new social combat rules, and were interested in giving it a spin; Social Manuevering is rather limited in that regard. Sadly, this book didn't really do much for me.

The book starts off in the Introduction giving you roleplaying tips, how actors get into character, and more. Nothing really exciting; either it matches with how your table likes to play and have fun, or it doesn't, and isn't a big help. Different people have different playstyles, and this definitely favors a specific style over others.

Chapter 1 got into a big Mirror-shard like analysis of different games in different settings. Space, in the past, etc. Can be cool, but not really something that will help you with a regular modern day game, and we were already inside of a game. Not that helpful for something to add into our ongoing game. For some groups looking for new, far out ideas vastly different from a standard game, could be great. Some solid ideas that I think could have been fleshed out a bit more in detail like Dark Eras was, but a solid start for ideas if you're interested in exploring them.

So far, the book was hit or miss - either it matched your needs, or it missed. And, if it hit those needs, then it was great for them. Chapter 2 is where I felt the book's had its first major issue. This chapter started talking about clans and covenants in power, which is a fine topic to cover. The problem is that I have to wonder if the writers and I were playing the same game. As in, the book was confusing Requiem with Masquerade. The Daeva section read like something for the Toreador, constantly referencing art and french-nobility beauty. The Carthian blurb was all about how everyone hated them, and they're all bloody revolutionists, coming off more as Anarchs than the Movement. The Invictus reads like the arcane rules-bound Camarilla, and never once mentioning their self-imposed Keepers of the Masquerade. That's just a few examples, but I felt like each writeup was just a bit off from the Requiem I know. All in all, I felt like the writer didn't even read the Requiem core book, but relied on ideas from Masquerade. This is severely disappointing to me. Maybe, with everything going on with V20 and V5 going on, they got confused with similar material, but that's not okay.

Chapter 3 goes on to talk about different ways to shake up or group your cotorie together. And I actually feel that this part was solid. It was immediately relevant for just about any game, had a few different mechanics, such as the idea for Group Touchstones, to help bring a group together. This is full of ideas you can choose to incorporate, or not, into your game based on each table's preference. In short, its much like Chapter 1 in that its hit-or-miss depending on the group and personal play style, but it does work well for those who find the ideas intriguing. The second half of the chapter gives more ST advice, and how to build cotories that will matter to the PCs. Again, good if its something that matches your playstyle, ignorable if not.

Chapter 4 gives us some ideas on how to create and map out your chronicle. It had some decent ideas, good outline for writing stories for STs. All in all, this part actually reminded me quite a bit of Damnation City, but focusing on how to twist and tweak the game away from the core book like DC's later chapters. Again, great if you like doing that kind of thing at your table, but less if its not something that your group enjoys. The chapter wraps up with some sample chronicle ideas that might be good to browse through for ideas if you want them.

Chapter 5 finally reveals the new social-combat rules that I was looking forwards to seeing. This is probably the forth or fifth different variation on social-fu that Requiem has put out. The new Lingua Bellum (literally "language of war," a fancy way of saying social combat using latin) isn't meant to work alongside Social Maneuvering, but rather completely separate. Now, this is basically just taking the combat system, renaming things, associating different stats, and rolling like normal. You have Maneuvers (attack actions), Dominance (social health), Timing (initiative), Guile (defense), Ego (armor), and Audience/Stage Conditions (environmental and personal Tilts). The problem? No weapon damage equivalents; imagine two characters in tactical armor punching each other, and that's pretty much the default Lingua Bellum. Which is where I come to the second major problem I have - how do frenzy checks factor in? Ego makes resisting frenzy harder, but what happens if we do fail frenzy check? And what about Disciplines? Or pretty much every other vampire trait? The rules feel incomplete.

All in all, most of the book isn't bad. However, the good parts are only relevant for certain play styles, so its questionable if any buyer woiuld be able to use the material. Combine with the problematic parts, and this book becomes something I can't really recommend on the whole.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Guide to the Night
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Changeling: The Dreaming 20th Anniversary Wallpapers
by Arthur W. L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/24/2018 06:53:57

I love Changeling the Dreaming and its art. I bought the wallpaper thinking it is a pack containing multiple designs, but there is only one design with different sizes.

The problem with the wallpaper is that there is so much going on, and it is difficult to see the icons on my desktop. This can easily be fixed by leaving some space on either side of the wallpaper. As a wallpaper, it is not really suited for its purpose, which is why I rated it 2 stars.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Changeling: The Dreaming 20th Anniversary Wallpapers
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Guide to the Night
by Morten L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/18/2018 07:05:15

Again they hit the bullseye with this book. I must admit, I was skeptic when I read some of the previews, but the focus of the book, like Thousand Years of Night and Half-Damned, is still telling stories. It outweighs the crunch by far. It has already inspired me to new characters and stories. Sections like Faces of the Night just nail it. This is the kind of stuff that is needed to be inspired to tell new stories with new characters. And after 25 years with Vampire, I need that once in a while. Good job :-)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Guide to the Night
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V20 Beckett's Jyhad Diary
by Petri W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/10/2018 03:08:13

Absolutely fantastic; this just might be my favorite WoD book of all time... and I've read a lot of them. Ties together metric oodles of metaplot theads in clever ways, contains tons of new twists, and in general is a joy to read. Surprisingly funny in places, too.

The only downside: this will be absolutely incomprehensible to anyone not at least somewhat familiar with Vampire: the Masquerade metaplot.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
V20 Beckett's Jyhad Diary
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Werewolf: The Apocalypse 20th Anniversary Edition
by Nathaniel C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/08/2018 13:23:51

This is a massive book, do not be fooled. You will be reading this for days and I love it. There is so much lore and hirtory in this book to get your setting right. The art inside really captures the feel of the world of darkness and tone for the entire Werewolf setting. This is my favorite book in my collection. I love this game and I love this setting. fantastic work.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Werewolf: The Apocalypse 20th Anniversary Edition
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Master of the Scaled
by Alain G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/31/2018 07:30:40

This new rogue archetype is a straight-up adapatation of the Master of the Scaled prestige class from the previous edition.

Mechanically, it is a variant of the Arcane Trickster subclass from the PHB. In particular, it gains spells much faster than the Arcane Trickster (as fast as a paladin or ranger), thus reproducing the spell progression from the 3.5 prestige class. This seems slightly unbalanced, and perhaps a slower sneak attack progression (as in the original prestige class) would compensate. The Fast Talker class feature seems also very powerful in a social context, and I would limit it more (either recharging in a long rest or by forcing the expenditure of spell slots to activate it).

Otherwise, it works pretty well and fits the Scarred Lands mythos perfectly.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Master of the Scaled
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Creator Reply:
Alain, Thank you very much for the thoughtful review. With regard to the spell progression, the Arcane Trickster is not Open Game Content, so when designing the subclass class I had to start from scratch. I looked at relative power levels compared with other sources within Scarred Lands, as well as within the SRD. The design philosophy here, when compared to other classes, was to make the Master of the Scaled comparable to the Wizard in the same fashion that the Paladin is comparable to the Cleric. I think that is most suitable to the lore. While the Master of the Scaled DOES gain access to spell levels a bit faster than PHB designed 1/3rd casters (which are not Open Game Content and cannot be used as direct design templates) I believe you will find the number of spells known to be comparable. This causes the player to have to be more tactical about spell choice as they are spreading less spells across more available slots. I think this as well as the truncated list of available spells for the subclass enforce a potent, but balanced mechanic. In terms of reducing the Sneak Attack die, I hadn't considered it. My gut reaction would be to leave it alone as altering the base class mechanic in such a way introduces a level of complexity that generally goes outside of the scope of subclass design. Both of these points I am willing to further examine based on "in the field" play feedback, and would encourage you and any other players or GMs using the class to start a thread on this topic in the product's discussion panel. With regard to the Fast Talker feature recharging on a short or long rest, I think you hit the nail on the head. I like the idea of spending spell slots for a little extra oomph, so I have altered the mechanic as follows: "Once you have used this feature you may not do so until you finish a long rest. You may expend a spell slot of 2nd level or higher to gain one additional use of this feature before completing a long rest, and may not do so again until you have completed a long rest." Thank you very much for your review and your feedback. It is INCREDIBLY valuable. Travis
Rangers of Ghelspad
by Alain G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/31/2018 07:19:04

This presents three ranger subclasses. They all fit perfectly in the Scarred Lands settings, even though I would have preferred them to have generic names instead of being named after some of Ghelspad's rangers traditions (there is a disclaimer in the introduction stating that one doesn't need to be of one of these organization to follow these path, but still, I would have preferred it the other way around). That is a very minor detail and just a question of personal preference I guess.

These are very solid subclasses from a mechanical perspective, and most abilities seem very well balanced and fit the themes very nicely. Among some of the things I have noticed:

  • Paralytic Strike seems quite overpowered since it doesn't seem to be limited other than by the fact that it "consumes" one attack. I would probably make it so each creature can only be affected once every 24 hours.
  • The bonus/malus tradeoff in Whirling Defense seems weird, as 5E generally uses disadvantage/advantage for this type of mechanics (similar to the barbarian reckless attack feature) Also, it is useless if the player doesn't fight with two weapons, which seems somewhat limiting (especially given that the Unarmored Defense feature leaves it open for the player to choose its weapon combination)
  • Dehydrating Retaliation also seems pretty overpowered, for the same reason as Paralytic Strike (no apparent limit)


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rangers of Ghelspad
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Creator Reply:
Alain, Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a thoughtful review on Rangers of Ghelspad! I appreciate the feedback and insight. With regard to the subclasses being named after the ranger traditions of Ghelspad, I felt that it was a nice, shorthand way to evoke the setting and feel of the Scarred Lands when selecting these subclasses. In terms of mechanical concerns. Paralytic Strike consumes an action, not an attack. It cannot be used with the extra attack feature, and requires the ranger to sacrifice a significant portion of action economy in order to potentially paralyze a target. Though it is infinitely repeatable, it is also easily defeated by saves each turn to escape, which grant advantage if the target is damaged. I feel these limitations, combined with the advanced level required to activate the feature don't bring things too far out of balance, considering the sacrifice made in terms of action economy and tactical follow up to use the feature. The whirling defense mechanics are based off of the parry feature seen in creatures such as the Knight and are definitely designed to encourage two weapon fighting but the exclusion of a shield as an option for the offhand was an unintentional oversight and has been rectified in the V1.1 update. Regarding the Dehydrating Retaliation feature, this too relies on action economy and a comparatively easy to beat saving throw (for the user's level) in order to make it manageable in terms of balance. It can only be used as a reaction which means the ranger must exercise relative caution in choosing actions. This feature becomes particularly nasty if aimed at low Constitution creatures or used on targets who have not been minding their hydration, but considering the prevalence of immunity to exhaustion among titanspawn, I feel that this is a feature that looks far more potent than it is. In a fight against other humanoids it is one hell of an advantage to be sure, but most humanoids of comparable CR will be able to resist that exhaustion at least 40% of the time. As always, I am open to feedback from the field. If anyone sees these features playing out in a different way at your table, particularly if they prove to be extremely dominant choices in your players' tactics, I would love to discuss it further in the comments section on this product. I am certainly open to making further tweaks should they prove necessary. Thanks, Travis
Blood & Ink: Tattoo Magic
by Alain G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/31/2018 06:10:16

A very nice addition to magic tattoos in the Scarred Lands. The new bardic college is nicely done and seems to work very well mechanically, even though more description about who uses this tradition in the Scarred Lands would have been welcomed.

The new tattoos are straight-up conversions from tattoos from the old Relics & Rituals. Most of them work pretty well, even though the Belsameth's Servant could provide more details on how the transformation works from a practical perspective (hit points, ability scores, etc). A couple of them seem to be duplicate of tattoos found in the Scarred Lands Player's Guide (albeit with a different names and slightly different mechanics). A very interesting addition was the use of titan's blood as ink for magical tattoos.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Blood & Ink: Tattoo Magic
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Creator Reply:
Alain, Thank you VERY MUCH for taking the time out to review Blood & Ink. I would love to expand the lore regarding the College of Needles, and may look to doing so in a future update. I have been in the process of a deep dive into the setting's lore in preparation for the Scarred Lands: Myths and Matchmakers stream and have some exciting ideas. With regard to Belsameth's Servant, I have added some clarifying language to the tattoo's description directing users to the SRD to find the appropriate lycanthrope's stats and effects. The variants of those tattoos found in the Scarred Lands Players guide (such as the Tar Dragon Tattoo) are designed to reflect gaps in the lore left by the space limitations of the Player's Guide as well as give a few options to players who wish to customize their characters with tattoo magic. I'm glad to hear you liked the idea of titan's blood tattoo ink. It felt like a natural (if dangerous) extension of tattoo magic. Thanks, Travis
Tyna's Tattoos
by Alain G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/31/2018 05:58:16

This provides some very nice ideas for magic tattoos. The comments from Tyna are a nice touch, though the font used is a little bit too small.

My biggest concern (and the reason why I didn't give a 5 stars rating), is that the description of the effects themselves, while generally understandable, don't always follow the 5E format and jargon. This causes confusion in some cases, such as for the Aegis Tattoo (where it is not described which condition can trigger the reaction). Tattoos that have prerequisites should probably necessitate attunement, as this is the way 5E deals with prerequisites for magic items. In other cases, the tone is very direct and abrupt, and doesn't give a 5E feeling (such as the Mark of Protection, in which there is a sentence without subject, or most of the cursed tattoos, that use "the wearer" instead of "you", or the use of the abbreviation "mins" instead of "minutes"). This gives the feeling of a draft rather than a finished product.

Mechanically, most of the effects herein are interesting and balanced, and fit very well within the Scarred Lands mythos. A few seem to be overpowered (effects that grant advantage on attack rolls should probably last for 1 minute) but these are rather rare.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tyna's Tattoos
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