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Witch Girls Adventure Rule book
Publisher: Channel M Publishing
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/16/2019 11:46:23

Terrific set of rules but the inability to search greatly limits the usefulness of the PDF.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Witch Girls Adventure Rule book
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Hex Scouts Guide to Cryptozoology
Publisher: Channel M Publishing
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/26/2019 12:55:18

“The Hex Scouts Guide to Cryptozoology” is a supplement for the Witch Girls Adventures role-playing game that deals with a girl-scout like organization for the magical girl.

Anyone who liked the “Secret Saturdays” cartoon shouldn’t hesitate to pick this up immediately!

A great idea with a terrific backstory and organization. It makes it very easy to get into the structure of a game with “earning badges” consisting of very interesting and varied adventures.

It is a 98 page PDF, with most of the book (around 67 pages) consisting of a ‘monster manual’. The rest is detailing the nature and organization of the “Hex Scouts”.

The PDF has readable fonts but it is on the dark brown ‘parchment’ like background that is extremely unpleasant to read. Searching the PDF is especially difficulty because it’s almost impossible to tell the highlighted word from the background.

There is color art scattered throughout some of it appropriate to the text, some of it not. It mostly depicts Hex-scouts ‘day-in-the-life’ scenes. The style is ...unusual. Almost like stained glass with rich colors. A step up from the “Super Crusader” art if you’re familiar with that style.

I’m not sure why thematically a blood splat marks the page numbers, but it does the job.

Personally I don’t think it even comes close to the art in the “Witch Girls Adventures” core rulebook. It’s not out of place and better than nothing but I wouldn’t call it “playful” or “inspiring” either.

The art for the badges and chapter separators (mostly just badges) is very good and very inspiring for the material.

All in all it does what it says on the tin and gives enough material to easy creating an episodic game of the adventures of a troop of young witches.

What is there is excellent and will be perfect for setting up an easy to run game with a varied cast of characters who can come and go as the players schedules allow (something very much needed in today’s busy world). So if you’re looking to run a “open” game, I can’t think of a better way to organize it.

A great history and background, an explanation of the organization and specifics on meetings and events make it very gameable.

Earning “Badges” is done by accomplishing a certain number of missions, with the older girls getting the more complex missions. The missions are open-ended enough that getting them will be fun and not subject to the “leveling-up” mentality prevalent in a lot of RPGs. There are 12 badges described and all of them seem interesting to play.

For example, earning the “Mermaid” badge requires visiting a total of 12 oceans - including earth and other realms. The adventures practically write themselves.

The scouting activities are well described and inspire great ideas for wholesome adventure where combat isn’t necessary or expected (mostly).

Four new Cliques are added: A horse rider, an archer, a monster whisperer and totem spirit watcher.

Skills gives some new skills are added: Animal Training, including a list of the tricks the animals can be taught.

Crafts including example difficulties and time to craft. It mentions “Wealth” with no explanation as to what that is.

Fighting: Range Weapon is also given, along with a list of nine maneuvers its possible to do with this skill.

Herbalism skill and Languages along with a list of “exotic” languages.

Medicine is also given along with eight example difficulties and modifiers for the type of patient.

Riding skill and Survival skill along with seven example difficulties.

Track along with 5 different example difficulties and terrain modifiers.

Cryptozoology is considered a Magical skill and is a knowledge skill.

An absolutely excellent skill section that doesn’t skimp on the details.

New scout/nature oriented talents are also given: Capricious, Environmentalist, Flower-child, Naturalist, Relentless and Survivalist.

Heritages are also given: Moon Maiden, Monster (with monster examples), Summoner and Shape-shifter all with a good amount of details.

The Magic section gives examples of Summoning and Summoning spells and Totem Bonds with two pages of examples.

Another excellent and well-detailed section. It might be too many rules for some, but they are all well written, detailed and distinctly different from anything else, and well-suited to magical scouts.

The Equipment section is not and has not only a fine selection of camping equipment but “Add ons” which for a cost can add abilities to the weapons as well.

Finally there is the rest of the book - the Cryptids.

It first describes several pocket dimensions where cryptids are kept in a form of magical nature preserves.

Cryptids are given a sort of “Challenge Rating” that compares their difficulty to defeat with the equivalent “Stars” and “Groups of Stars”.

The Cryptid descriptions are pretty standard “monster manual” descriptions and all take up one or two pages.

They give some extra information in terms of the locations where they are likely to be found and their motivations and some “common traits” that can be chosen that mean that not every cryptid of the same type will behave the same way.

They also give some ‘hooks’ that are good for inspiring an adventure and ‘facts’ that can be used to for researching.

Also, every cryptid is illustrated and truthfully, while I’m not very fond of the ‘human’ depictions in this book I think the cryptid illustrations are excellent and evocative. Forget everything I said before! Go figure.

There are some ‘classic’ monsters and some entirely original ones (at least new to me). These descriptions are overflowing with plot ideas and this is something I WILL be using and WOULD be willing to get a printed copy of! Though please get a white background!

The variety is amazing and if you play games like “Monster of the Week”, “Meddling Kids” or “Cupcake Scouts” there is a lot to like here.

There’s even stats for normal animals as well.

Unfortunately it is marred by the worst editing I have seen in quite a long time - and I buy a LOT of PDFs.

Extra spaces in sentences are the smallest of the errors. Extra lines between paragraphs. Misspelled words (that won’t get caught by a spellchecker). Weirdly worded phrases and dropped words are most common. Hex-Scouts sometimes has a hyphen and sometimes doesn’t. Missing commas that make the sentence confusing. Words after semi-colons sometimes capitalized sometimes not. For example:

“Most Covens have three or more, meet twice a month...”. In the next paragraph it states that Covens have monthly meetings. So do they meet once a month or twice a month?

“If the creature isn’t to dangerous...”;

“Hex Scouts depending on their skill explore those places and even help map and them.”

“Hex Scouts competed on broom carpet and flying steed amongst a coven and other covens in various races...”

“...as members as long as the are of age and....”

“.This magical uniform provides +_1 bonuses to resist intense heat and cold, Changes to Standard uniform, Casual uniform and dress uniform for 1 Zap point and is resistant to dirt wear and tear” So if you spend at Zap point they are also resistant to dirt and wear and tear, but if you DON’T spend a Zap point they resist intense heat and cold? And what the heck IS a Standard, Casual and Dress uniform? They are never mentioned again.

“To show this Directors..”

“Basic Perks” What are the basic perks? I think they are the uniform(s) and skill bonuses, but it’s never made clear.

“...don’t have I easy...”

I could go on, but I think you get the drift. It’s mostly understandable but a frustrating and jarring read.

Especially considering the high production values of the other Witch Girls Adventure book, this is especially glaring.

As a supplement to mine for ideas and a campaign, I highly recommend it.

The information is so dense and useful I’d even buy a print copy.

(Like most Witch Girls Adventure products) This Is Good Stuff.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hex Scouts Guide to Cryptozoology
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Cupcake Scouts the RPG
Publisher: Splintered Realms Publishing
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/26/2019 10:50:02

I’ll admit that “Cupcake Scouts” was an instant-buy for me. So it already started with the advantage of being unique and something I haven’t seen before.

But I was pleasantly surprised to find it was a simple single six-sided dice system married to a very clever background.

In a quaint town, the monsters and have agreed to a sort of truce created by the bribes of baked goods. This mission is carried out by the Cupcake Scouts gathered by an elder spirit called the Scoutmaster. In addition to delivering a wide variety of baked goods, are also trained to do battle against cursed creatures of darkness.

So in essence, it’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” where every player gets to be a ‘chosen one’!

The system as a simple 1d6 difficulty system with the scout’s “level” added to the roll.

Levels in the Cupcake Scouts is granted by earning Badges.

It’s important to note that this game has NO attributes (Strength, Mind, Personality, etc.) and this may be a deal-breaker for some.

You have your Troop (class), Level and Health and your special abilities.

The difficulty checks are broken down into well-thought out categories that make it easy to adjudicate without adding any rules overhead. The checks are Attack, Knowledge, Resist, Skill and Social checks.

Like “Swords & Six-Siders” a roll of 6 is an automatic success and a roll of 1 is an automatic failure.

Advantages and Disadvantages are also given in the same manner as in the “Barbarians of Lemuria” game (and now I think even in “Dungeons & Dragons”) with easy to remember ‘cancelling out’ rules.

Combat is handled as an Attack roll against a monster’s “Challenge Rating” which serves an armor class/defense. Scouts have Health points and are merely ‘defeated’ when they reach 0 Health. Challenge Ratings are derived from a monster’s level.

Cupcake scouts are always supposed to exemplify good behavior - brave, capable, friendly, helpful and smart - but they are categorized by “troops” which exemplify certain behaviors and acts a ‘Classes’ for the game.

Each troop gives special bonuses and a spell-like abilities. The troops are well-done, being unique and following standard RPG tropes (cleric, wizard, ranger, bard and fighter). I like the way these are done, but ‘disguised’ but definitely given unique roles and abilities, though the smart/wizard-like troop seems especially powerful.

The brilliance of the troop idea is that every character must embody the scout trait - pretty much restricting bad behavior (or encouraging good behavior as you will).

Scouts are already geared up with weapons, magic gems, a backpack, cupcakes and their handbook.

The Handbook serves as a clue-finder/portable google that allows scout-specific knowledge (including magic and lore) to be gained on the trail.

The Backpack is a fully stocked bag of tricks for monster hunters.

Even the cupcakes (or other treats) have a chance of having magical powers.

Levels are gained by earning badges and provide all sorts of bonuses, including one optional ability per level.

Optional abilities work like talents or feats and it’s great that even in a simple game like this you have mechanical and choice-based ways of distinguishing your scout from the others.

Earning Badges including Baking, Hunter, Slayer and Troop badges. You do the straight forward thing a certain number of times to earn them. Baking, killing, more killing and being exemplary at your troop’s trait.

Its like experience points, but the adventure itself is what gains the advancement.

The Scoutmaster is given the common Gamemaster advice, but also noted that they are a character in the game as well. Rather a ‘Mary Poppins’ type of character. It gives an outline of a typical adventure that gives them an episodic structure. This might not work for everyone, but I like it a-lot.

It also gives simple rules for random events and guides on setting ‘challenge ratings’ (the difficulty levels that need to be rolled over), and suggestions on assigning Advantages and Disadvantages. Very thorough and well done for such a light rule system.

Now because the game has no ‘skills’ of any kind, it talks about common situations - climbing, holding breath, leaping, swimming. It also talks about the effects of darkness. It even has a sort of ‘challenge rating’ for determining the difficulty of the opposition. It’s things like this that indicate that the game has actually been played rather than just written and very much appreciated. Even in “rules-light” games, these kinds of things are very helpful and for me, determine whether something is truly playable or not.

There is a fairly typical “Treasure” section, though it admonishes that cash is not really a viable option. Against the code and doesn’t travel to the mortal world. I’m not sure I wouldn’t like to see a little more creativity in this area. Maybe something that had to do with earning badges.

The Creature chapter is suitably brief, giving monsters a single Challenge Rating Number and ‘Tags’ which seem to correspond to something like ‘creature type’. Corruptions, Cursed, Elementals, Lycanthrope, Spirits, Undead, Vermin, etc.

Special abilities are buried in the monster description. The monsters would not be out of place in a “Dungeon Scouts” game. So much so that it’s almost a disconnect. The rules are written to work with the game, but for example the bite of a Hellhound can only be healed over time. While there is plenty of healing in the game, doing it over time is never described.

The Adventures are suitably short, but thankfully each of them has a map which is always appreciated. The artwork in generally is excellent in its own quirky style and suits the game well.

There are four of them which makes for a very nice start. They are rather dungeony, though, and the rewards for them are mostly of the ‘monster’ hunter badge type. I’m sure it’s fine for a game played with your daughter but I could certainly see more variety in the types of adventures for cupcake scouts.

The adventures tend to suggest that the town of Raven’s Hallow may in fact be in a medieval fantasy world rather than the modern world. There is a gnome apothecary, a family of (apparently) halflings and faun’s running the town library. I guess it was never explicitly said that the scouts were in the modern world, but it would be nice to have this explicitly stated. Maybe it’s just not the kind of thing the audience for this book would be too concerned with, but I’d like to know!

Believe it or not there is a Campaign section. THIS is the place where it talks about the ‘world’ of Cupcake Scouts. I wish this chapter was a LOT earlier.

So it states that there is a “land of humans” but it doesn’t actually say if that is a modern land.

Well, at the end of the day its a charming, playable rules-light system with an imaginative background and a great premise that seems fun as hell to play.

I’d play it in an instance and buy a printed version.

I truly hope there’s more coming!

PS: The only reason it's a 4 instead of a 5 is that the background world isn't explained very well.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cupcake Scouts the RPG
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Creator Reply:
Thank you so much for the detailed review. I am glad to see that you responded so well to many of the design decisions. The game really came together nicely, but I know that it absolutely fits a certain 'niche'; although I did think of it as a game that you would play with a Supernatural or Buffy vibe. For the record, it is a modern town that is basically a 'borderland' between the mortal and mythical worlds. So it's got kindly grandmothers who tend their gardens with the help of gnomes, and everyone gets along quite nicely, thank you very much.
Bulletproof Blues
Publisher: Kalos Comics
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/26/2019 08:32:34

BULLETPROOF BLUES REVIEW

I think Thomas B.'s review said it better than I could. It's well, though sparsely illustrated, well edited and well written. It's just...boring. There's nothing new here. I think that "a poor-mans' mutants & masterminds" is giving it a little too much credit, but that's about the closest it comes to. With 8 attributes and the mutants & mastermind 'power rank' structure, it's not rules "light" by any means. It's not super-crunchy either however. So "rules-medium". There's no sample adventure, nothing in the way of example NPCs, no weapons, no vehicles, no animals. The world background is trite and derivative (though intentional it would seem). It's much less complete that other superhero offerings, being basically character creation, combat and world background. It basically doesn't have anything that hasn't been done before and there's nothing particularly interesting about the way it's done. I'd say why bother, but it is affordable to check out easily if you haven't found anything else you like. But really, this seems more a set of house rules for Mutants & Masterminds than a full game.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Bulletproof Blues
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Creator Reply:
Thanks for leaving a review! I may not understand it, or how you have come to the conclusions you have, but you spent time writing it and you seem sincere, and that's always appreciated.
Barbarians & Basilisks
Publisher: John M Stater
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/04/2018 09:04:41

I didn't have very high expectations for this product and didn't buy it for a quite a long time. I've been burned before ("Barbarians of the Gothic Wastes", "Barbarians, Booze & Battle-Axes", "Crypts & Things") by products with titles promising sword & sorcery but delivering half-baked, hand-wavy games that would take more work to get into playable shape than the time it took to write them originally.

So I was blown away by Barbarians & Basilisks (B&B). It not only reads as completely playable out of the box, but very well thought out and it reads like it actually was played! And even at such a short page count is more complete than many "OSR" style games.

I agree with the previous reviewer - the game is very much in the style of "Swords Six-Siders" (and can make a good supplement/pairing with it). A very bare-bones d6 only "old school" style RPG. But it delivers and deservers bigger recognition.

Wish I'd bought it much, much earlier.

There is a print edition at Lulu and I'm buying it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Barbarians & Basilisks
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Spell Casting 101: Verbal components
Publisher: Rob Masters
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/28/2018 10:44:48

No graphics, not very fancy, but it does what it says on the tin.

A few anacronisms that might seem a little lame ("Magic please don't make me look like a chump.." but most of it is pretty usable and suitable for most fantasy worlds.

Only the second product I've ever seen do this.

I liked it alot.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Spell Casting 101: Verbal components
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Life and Death Zarth Edition
Publisher: D101 Games
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/15/2018 10:29:30

WARNING! This adventure does NOT take place on Zarth!?! WTF!?! If you want to write a D&D adventure,then don't say it's a "Zarth" edition! Call it a "BS pocket dimension edition"! RIP-OFF. I want my money back! }:{



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Life and Death Zarth Edition
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Creator Reply:
Thanks for the balanced and well thought out review. Its called the "Zarth" edition to tie it into Crypts and Things default setting. From the introduction (which is viewable in the preview): "Where in the World of Zarth? If you intend to use this adventure with characters who have previously adventured in the Continent of Terror, here’s some suggestions on where The Shattered Lands exist: • Far across the Reapers Sea on another continent. • In its own pocket dimension or Other World. Characters from Zarth arrive via a magic portal, such as the one in the Black Monolith in the Haunted Lands in the main Crypts and Things Rule Book ." So as you can see I give two suggestions: one is Zarth based, the other is a pocket dimension/Other World.
111 fantasy maps (lowres)
Publisher: Megaton Games
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/26/2016 16:04:20

I'd agree with everyone else - the maps are good, but they are very low resolution. I'd pay for higher resolution.

I'm also not crazy about some of the maps being on multiple pages, but that's a quibble.

Another quibble is that sometimes the map is a very small part of the page for no obvious reason, making it a big waste of ink.

Other than that though, it's a great collection and I'd love to see more of the same (with higher resolution!).



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
111 fantasy maps (lowres)
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Ultimate NPC Deck
Publisher: LPJ Design
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/15/2016 16:04:06

It's okay for what it is, the art is good, but for my money there are way, way, way too many "gonzo" characters. An otter pirate? When am I EVER going to use that? More importantly how could I EVER use that MORE than once!

So while there are 68 cards (and one blank - what the heck am I going to do with a blank), I'll be lucky if I can use 30 of them.

If you're okay with each of these guys being usable only once, you might like this. Otherwise, there's not a lot of 'normal' NPCs here.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate NPC Deck
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Inked Adventures Map and Dice Playing Cards
Publisher: Inked Adventures
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/14/2016 12:57:54

Just a quick note to say these are VERY cool. Better than I was expecting actually. Most 'geomorph' cards like this (and there are quite a few here) have pretty uninteresting pieces, but each card is unique and each card has a very interesting 'section'. It could be used to quickly create a dungeon or even combined with other geomorophic cards.

I like the fact that the card suits are here as well - at the very least they could be used with Savage Worlds.

I'm not sure why the dice are there. Useful I supposs, just not particularly 'neccessary'.

There are no instructions on how to use the deck...but really, it's pretty easy to figure out, though it would be interesting to see what the origionators idea on using them was.

The back of the cards are just plain dull but that's no big deal. Just a note that not even a 'brand identity' is here.

Very much the best card set for RPG's I've bought here - and I've bought a few!

I hope we can see more 'geomorphic' cards from this company. The art is terrific and I personally thing the form-factor is much more usable than 'tiles' or anything else.

Anyway, very nice, thanks!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Inked Adventures Map and Dice Playing Cards
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Role Playing Game Rating Sheet
Publisher: Critical Hit Publishing
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/21/2016 10:23:39

I'd have liked to see the explanation for how to use the survey in the document itself. Maybe even expanded to suggest different ways to approach players and groups of players with this document.

It wouldn't kill it to be two pages instead of one.

I like the 'weird' names. I think they take the edge off starting a game with homework.

I think the "Which system" question is valid. You could always change it to "RAW" (rules as written) or "Rules as Guidelines" but I think most game systems themselves actually give you an idea of how they should be played. And since ALL games have 'house rules' which system is a more informative question.

In short, I recommend this 'as is' and I'll try to use it myself.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Role Playing Game Rating Sheet
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Divine Forces: Benten, the Golden Goddess of Good Fortune
Publisher: NUELOW Games
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/14/2016 16:35:32

WHY REVIEW A PRODUCT? It will still cost you some time to read and some ink to print if you choose. I'd like to know if it's worth it and I thought someone else might as well. Since there are no others reviews, I thought there should be one.

PHYSICAL PRODUCT It is a 16 page PDF that is stamped "OGL 3.5 System Compatible". It is largely black and white with an excellent illustration on the cover and three more adequate illustrations (that appear to be public domain) inside the book. Four if you count a full page advertisement for "Modern Basics Jungle Action". The font is readable and layout is two column.

INTRODUCTION I purchased this product in the GM's Day sale, so I got it for a $1.58 and printed it (two pages to a page). So it's certainly inexpensive enough.

DESCRIPTION The description on the page of Drive Thru RPG for the product is accurate and complete (and has more misspellings than I found in the product).

There is a basic description of the goddess and how she is portrayed in art and some very rudimentary description of who worships her and how she responds to prayer. It also states what spell domains can be chosen from.

While it mentions her relationship to other gods in this small pantheon, they are vague enough to ignore or modify for your own campaign.

It then goes on to give her complete "avatar" stats and gives a lot of detail on two artifact level magic items. It seems strangely geared toward the idea that player characters will at some point have these magic items or be "lent" them by the goddess. Make of that what you will.

Then of course, there is the obligatory Prestige Class, "Priest of Benten". Their particular class features are "Uncanny Luck", "Know Heart", and "Dragon Friend". Pretty self-explanatory and pretty bland.

After that are new Spell Domains, including "Charm", "Community" and "Seduction". There's nothing particularly interesting about them - they really only seen to be bonus plusses, but at least they are theoretically usable outside of the this product. They are essentially the only "new" thing in the whole book.

The Appendix then talks about "The Seven Gods of Good Fortune". Whether or not you want to add another seven gods to your campaign is up to you, though it seems they are very likely to duplicate whatever gods you may already have - one is a god of war for example.

On the other hand, the asian-influenced nature of these gods can easy be inserted into any "exotic" culture that you may have in your campaign.

There are three pages dealing with the other seven gods and the detail is pretty vague, but usable enough. There is even a paragraph explaining the real-world influences for these gods. That I appreciate very much and hope it's a habit other authors follow.

Then there is a page entirely devoted to what happens when you kill an avatar and take its stuff, rather reinforcing the idea that this is really a book about a "monster" more than anything else.

OVERALL Well, I was looking for a Goddess of Luck and this is one. But, it's an incredibly bland one. It definitely appears to be a goddess of only Good luck as well, which is also much less interesting than a goddess of all types of luck.

It's quite possible that I've been spoiled by other more detailed products but I just found so much more missing than what was there.

About the goddess, there are no myths, no legends, no particular history, not very much personality, certainly nothing to indicate a reater purpose in the 'cosmology'. Just "yet another god".

About the religion, there are no ceremonies or rituals, no idea how you would train to be a priest, very little in the way of duties, no prayers, no relation to any other religions, no enemies of the church, no relation to local politics or other secular organizations, no holidays or celebrations particular to the religion. I mean, since it was inspired by real world, it would be nice to have some more research done on the how to clerics interact with the fantasy world - much less the other player characters. No favorite color, no particular clothing, not even a holy symbol! There's not "none", but there is very little.

So I while I can say I was disappointed, it's also true that I was more disappointed with what it isn't than what it is.

If you're looking a for high-level good-aligned "monster" I guess this would work.

If you're looking for a "drop-in" Goddess of Luck...well, it's better than nothing, but not much better. There's no real effect on the culture of the world and no particular "flavor" or interesting aspect to recommend it over any other Goddess of Luck you might run across.

I'll keep the illustration and may make use of the new domains, but the background of the goddess isn't particularly interesting or original enough to stop me from looking for some other Goddess of Luck to use in a campaign.

SHOULD I CHECK OUT THEIR OTHER PRODUCTS? Personally I can't recommend this product. It's no worse than most of the other "deities" books you'll find, but it's not really any better either. You won't be overcharged for it, but it's not likely to give you any ideas on how or why having a goddess of luck in your campaign is a good idea at all.

I hope this doesn't come across as too harsh, but I also hope that it will serve to "raise the bar" on what is truly useful for a specialized product like this.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Divine Forces: Benten, the Golden Goddess of Good Fortune
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Creator Reply:
Thanks for the feedback; like I\'ve said repeated on the NUELOW Facebook page and blog, we can\'t improve if we don\'t hear from customers. The product was made generic on purpose, with the hopes of making it as broadly useful as possible. Maybe I went too far in that direction. There are two other releases what-was-hoped-to-be a series, but they were never released, due to a lack of suitable art/art budget). Two of the illos in \"Benten\" are PD, but the other two were commissioned for the product. My goal for the series was to at the very least have an original drawing of each of the gods/avatars. Bishamon and Jurojin are waiting in the wings. If I ever get around to finishing their booklets, I\'ll do some revisions taking your feedback into account. Thanks again for the feedback and for being a customer. I\'m sorry \"Benten\" fell short for you, but maybe we\'ll do better the next time you give us a chance.
Fudge Relationships
Publisher: Darkstar Eclectic Media
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/24/2015 14:58:33

WHY REVIEW A FREE PRODUCT? It will still cost you some time to read and some ink to print if you choose. I'd like to know if it's worth it and I thought someone else might as well. I will not hesitate to spoil the adventure (SPOILER ALERT).

PHYSICAL PRODUCT This is a three page black and white PDF. It's definitely printer friendly but because it is one column, it's not very easy to read on a phone. I printed the first two pages. The last page is an Open License.

INTRODUCTION I'm definitely interested in making sure that the non-social and social aspects of an RPG are at least as emphasized as the combat part of the game, so I'm always looking for clever ideas on handling relationships and social interaction.

DESCRIPTION This adds a separate stat block to fudge in terms of a scale of +1 to +3. There are no negative values. The rules encourage you to write down the relationship and its associated bonus.

It's not clear what this bonus is used for however.

The first example given is using multiple relationships to "inspire" you to life "for your family". Does this mean you can apply the bonus for BOTH family members? So all you have to do is say it's "For the Children" and you can essentially stack all your bonuses? I don't know and the rules don't say.

It's recommended that you describe the relationship with the reason that you have the bonus.

It recommends starting PCs with a pool of 6 levels.

It also says that you should automatically start out with a +1 relationship with each other player character. It doesn't say if the fellow PC relationship is taken out the pool of 6 or in addition to the pool of 6.

It says that after three sessions together a +1 relationship must be added (or more if you want to spend EP or Fudge Points). Is this to EVERY other PC? Only to the ones you 'bonded' with? Just because? Whether you grow to hate your fellow PCs or not? It doesn't say.

It does say you can leave some levels to be filled out later if you are not sure. But it doesn't say if this is from the initial pool of 6 or from the 'free' levels given to the other PCs.

It talks about changing relationships as well. Apparently this can happen at any time. The example given is "Sold me out to Snitcher, Joe Pearson +2".

So wait? Dude sold you out and you STILL get a +2 bonus? When do you get that bonus? When you're about to stab him in the back?

It suggests that when a relationship deteriorates you can get an extra level to add to another relationship or add a new one.

So, dude sells you out and that will make another relationship stronger or introduce you to a new friend? WTF. But apparently you STILL get the bonus with the dude that sold you out.

It recommends that the GM approve all changes to relationships.

This is followed by six examples.

One of which is "Her death haunts me to this day, Natalie Landon +2".

So apparently, you can just get a +2 bonus for someone you used to have a relationship with, who is now dead.

And nowhere does it say what this bonus (or ANY bonus) can be used for or if there are any limits at all on how you can use them.

I suppose it’s possible that there is something in FUDGE that makes this make sense, but I doubt it.

OVERALL This is the kind of "Free" crap that should never have been anything but a web page at worst and a note in the GM's note book at best. Even FUDGE fanatics would refuse to publish this in a FUDGE fanzine.

It raises far more questions than answers and I can't possibly see this surviving a single character creation session.

There is no reason even given as to WHY these rules should be used.

A complete waste of time.

SHOULD I CHECK OUT THEIR OTHER PRODUCTS? NO. This kind of hand-wavey, half-baked idea should be removed from the internet as a public service.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Fudge Relationships
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Nemezis: Optional Wealth rules.
Publisher: GRAmel
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/10/2015 11:35:27

WHY REVIEW A FREE PRODUCT? It will still cost you some time to read and some ink to print if you choose. I'd like to know if it's worth it and I thought someone else might as well. I will not hesitate to spoil the adventure (SPOILER ALERT).

PHYSICAL PRODUCT This is a 7 page PDF with a blue background on every page. It is not very printer friendly. It has three good character illustrations and a very readable font, but the background required good lighting to read on my phone.

INTRODUCTION I've never understood the complaint that money was hard to keep track of in RPGs, but since I'm currently using a game that doesn't have money (Barbarians of Lemuria) I thought I'd look into rules for managing wealth without counting coins.

This appears to be a single chapter from a larger Savage Worlds product. It's definitely complete, but it assumes a science fiction space faring setting. This doesn't detract from its usefulness in any way, but couldn’t be used for a fantasy setting without some serial number filing.

DESCRIPTION It starts by redefining wealth and poverty advantages and disadvantages, from homeless to Bruce Wayne and modifying the existing (presumably) Edges as well. Then it shows a system for making Purchase Rolls emphasizing that they are only used for 'important' (i.e., game affecting) purchases. It gives rules for multiple purchases ("I'll take battle suits for everyone!") and haggling.

It also talks about going into debt, the effect of savings and gives a nice set of rules for Purchase Modifiers depending on the object, including its availability,

The only things it doesn’t cover are the two common problems with wealth in a campaign - loans and what to do when PCs have too much money. These are easy to fix myself (you can only loan from Savings and...I'm GM I can steal from PCs whenever I want). But that's about all I can think of that isn't covered.

As an added bonus it also gives a system for Employment, in a way that assumes you are adventurers who will occasionally take a break from working to go adventuring. It then deals with a random employment events that can improve or hurt your career. This was a totally unexpected bonus and really well done.

Unfortunately it uses playing cards, so it will have to house ruled if you're not using Savage Worlds, but that's my problem - not the authors.

OVERALL This is quite simply the best treatment I've ever seen for wealth without accounting! This is in fact my new rule set. Not only is it excellently written it accounts for almost everything I thought I'd be 'giving up' by losing the coins.

SHOULD I CHECK OUT THEIR OTHER PRODUCTS? I don't really have any need myself - I have space games and I'm not a fan of Savage Worlds.

But if this is an indication of the quality of their writing and the smartness of their game design I'd definitely check out there other stuff.

I'm often disappointed with 'free stuff' but this one is exactly what I needed, only what I wanted and had clever additions I've never thought of. Rules don't get better than that at any price.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Nemezis: Optional Wealth rules.
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Mini Quest: Curse of the Amber Princess
Publisher: Survive RPG
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/21/2015 14:15:15

Why Review a Free Product? It will still cost you some time to read and some ink to print if you choose. I'd like to know if it's worth it and I thought someone else might as well. I will not hesitate to spoil the adventure (SPOILER ALERT).

Physical Product This is a 6 page PDF that I printed out myself. It's got a few illustrations that look for hand drawn but in a good way, reminding me of the old "Judges Guild" type products. Not sure the Egyptian "bull horn" quite works though. It's a got a hieroglyphic banner down the left side of 5 of the pages, which is quite effective. The title font also does a good job of setting the pseudo-Egyptian tone of the piece.

Introduction This interested me because I'm looking specifically for "Sword & Sorcery" style adventures (rather than D&D Fantasy adventures) and I'd like to spend as little money as possible. I also have several "lost cities" areas in my campaign I'd like to fill up.

Description The adventure starts with a merchant offering to sell the party a treasure map or take them to the location. Not the most interesting adventure beginning but it works.

Each paragraph in the adventure is numbered and corresponds (accurately I might add) to an excellent map on page 2. It's kind of a 3/4 overhead map that seems to be pretty well thought out and even has a direction arrow on it. The numbers are in their own font which gives it a certain look.

The adventure is written for D&D/OSR with one-line stat blocks in parenthesis and familiar spell names. It's a little high in coinage, but also has some not so obvious treasure as well. I appreciate that.

The dungeon is an abandoned city in the desert but it actually has a suitable reason for ending up like this. It's filled (but not stuffed) with genre appropriate monsters. Nothing too weird (like a Manticore in a dungeon).

One rather odd denizen are "Mites", humanoids that have an illustration that make them look like Goblins. I don't necessarily like adventures to add new humanoid species to my worlds, but I also like the fact that they are NOT goblins (that's just lazy), so it evens out.

I don't know what they are doing here or what they eat, but I'm not real worried about it.

On page 3 appear to be small advertisements for other games ("550 Below and 6 Feet from Hell" and "Tribulation of the Dead"). This is small and innocuous so it doesn’t bother me like some of the "6 pages with 2 pages off ads" free products I've seen.

Some of the things are a little too "on-the-nose" however. "Ra-Ramzes" as a name shows a little less imagination that I like.

One of the 'keys' to success seems to require a Genie which seems like it doesn't fit very well with the Egyptian theme.

The illustrations show particular creature in the adventure and are both evocative and convenient.

It even includes a simple board game that plays a part in the adventure.

It doesn't say what happens if the PCs are turned into slaves however, and I'd kind of like to know that.

It has two fierce enemies that could easily become the enemies of the players and the players have a nice option on which of their sides to choose.

One potential end to the adventure has some a rather miraculous outcome that could certainly influence the campaign, so I'd be careful where I placed this dungeon, but I can't help smiling at the thought that this simple dungeon crawl could change the political landscape!

Overall I was very impressed with this product. This is at least the equivalent of the best dungeon adventures that appeared in newsprint fanzines at the time and has a lot of little clever bits and puzzles to it that make it more interesting than the usual deep hole filled with monsters. Since it also meshes pretty closely with the Sword & Sorcery style I'm currently looking for I was especially pleased.

The attention to little details is impressive and this does not seem like it was just 'spewed from the GMs notes'. The illustrations, use of fonts, layout are all very well done.

It was put together as an adventure ready to run with minimal effort.

It's not perfect. There are no page numbers. There are silly misspellings ("clews" and "summing the genie"). Even a free product should not be excused for these types of errors.

Should I Check Out Their Other Products? Absolutely. If there other products (free or not) are this good, I'll definitely be looking at them closely myself.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mini Quest: Curse of the Amber Princess
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Creator Reply:
Hi Michael: Thanks for the review! I\'ve always considered the recipe for a great adventure to be an idea, the game master and the players. Unlike cooking, however, when you mix those three ingredients together you never know what\'s going to happen. I\'m honored you found my idea interesting enough to be a part of your gaming table. You made some great points and raised some good questions! As for what happens if the characters become slaves to genie? I kind of left it up to the imagination of the gm, however, I figured the genie would force the characters to entertain him with a wide range of both ridiculous and tedious tasks. If you have some good ideas please share. All the best!
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