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Star Trek Adventures: Nest in the Dark
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/18/2019 14:07:26

It's always a bit disconcerting when your warp drive fails. The Synopsis explains what is going on, and what the party will have to do to resolve the situation, and there are notes explaining where to fit this adventure within the timelines of several Star Trek eras, although it's intended to fall in the TNG era of play.

The action begins during a routine trip to check on a lost probe. Just around shift change on the bridge of the party's starship the warp drive fades away and a whole shed-load of alarms go off. Once they have figured out the immediate cause - a massive subspace field - they can then discover some other unnerving problems. They are off-course, and time is acting oddly as well. There's a remarkably strange sight on the viewscreen as well. Figuring all this out is likely to be quite difficult, but some detailed information on likely rolls to discover what's out there are provided and the party ought to get there with a little nudging and the expenditure of some Momentum. There is a wealth of information for the GM to take on board and disseminate as appropriate - this is an adventure that will benefit from some prep time in getting your head around what's going on before you run it!

By the end of the initial investigatory phase, the party should be curious and filled with wonder at finding something hitherto unheard of. They shouldn't feel threatened. To begin with, what they have encountered hasn't even noticed them, and once it does, it's only curious about them. Yet... that disruptive field is only going to cause problems: the anomaly is on course for a Federation outpost! However, when the anomaly gets curious, it starts trying to find out what it has encountered, resulting in a series of puzzles for the party to figure out (once they realise that they are puzzles, that is!). Interestingly, a range of variant puzzles are provided for the GM to choose depending on whether the party is more Command or Science orientated. All are well-supported with suggestions of how to solve them, as well as providing the answers. It's important to understand Extended Tasks for this adventure.

Eventually, the party will meet with an individual, or manifestation, with which they can communicate. Or at least try to... the concepts and background understood by this representative are truly alien, and should prove entertaining (if a bit of a challenge) for the GM to role-play. There's plenty of guidance to help, though, and suggestions as to what can be said and explained. The immediate need is to persuade them to change course, which once the message is got across, they will agree to do so. The adventure concludes with the likely aftermath of this encounter and a few suggestions for further adventures.

This is a very cerebral adventure, which some groups might find dull - others will be entranced and thoroughly enjoy meeting something so unusual and possibly unique. It will need thoughtful GMing to make it work well, but should prove memorable when done well with the right group, capturing the real essence of exploration.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Star Trek Adventures: Nest in the Dark
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John Carter of Mars Core Rulebook
by Simon K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/17/2019 22:29:04

Set in the wondrous, dying world of Edgar Rice Burrough’s Barsoom, John Carter of Mars (JCOM) is a swashbuckling science-fantasy game of radium guns and longswords, airships and adventure. A solid rules framework emphasizes narrative play and encourages the action to keep moving forward.

Characters are created by choosing a race (one of 4 types of Martian plus earthborn humans), an archetype (airship pilot, explorer, duelist, etc.), a descriptor (primary personality trait), Talents (special abilities), and a Flaw (a personality trait that gets you into trouble).

Your choices from these options help determine your Attribute ratings (the core scores that define your character). Rather than a skill list, JCOM archetypes tell you what your character knows and is capable of, allowing characters to attempt related actions. These function similarly to Fate Aspects or 13th Age’s Backgrounds.

What’s particularly nice is the game includes notes on how to build or customize your own Archetypes, Descriptors, and Flaws, allowing a wider variety of options. This isn’t a massively in-depth section, as these choices are mostly ways to distribute points, but it’s nice that it’s included.

The game runs on a narrative version of the 2d20 system. As mentioned above there are no skill lists, so all justifications for attempted actions come from the various choices you make in character creation. Your duelist is perfectly able to hold their own in a swordfight, but might be at a loss in piloting an airship, or properly handling animals.

In previous versions of the 2d20 system the target number for a skill check was derived by adding your Skill Expertise to its respective attribute, rolling 2d20, and counting a success for each die that rolled equal to or under the target number. If the die roll was lower than the Skill Focus (starting levels typically 1-3), an additional success was gained.

In JCOM, the target number is found by adding two abilities together, and the “Skill Focus” is the lower of the two numbers. This means that adding two attributes rated 7 and 5 will give a target number of 12, and any die that rolls 5 or under will generate an additional success. Successes are compared to a difficulty rating (and if they match or exceed the rating the check is successful. Any successes in excess become Momentum, which acts as a meta-currency and can be saved in a pool or immediately spent to affect the narrative by adding additional dice to rolls, altering difficulties, or learning information, among a variety of other things. Due to the increased chance for extra successes, the PCs have a greater ability to perform fantastic and daring feats.

As an additional resource, players have Luck Points, which can operate in a similar fashion to Momentum, but also affect how much Threat the Narrator has access to. Threat is the Narrator’s meta-currency, which they can use to hinder the players.

Conflict and combat use abstract zones rather than precise movement and combat is not just restricted to physical conflict as it also includes social combat. Attribute tests are made to attack, with different pairings depending on the method, and resisted with attributes specific to the type of attack. Any damage is inflicted on the appropriate Stress Track.

As a reward beyond the traditional XP, Renown helps track the characters’ reputation and give them motivation to attempt great deeds. It can be used to gain social and political advantages, allies, influence, and titles among the lands and organizations of Barsoom. It gives a solid motivation to be involved in the welfare of Barsoom and encourage the players to effect change upon the setting.

There are thorough sections which detail the history and society of this fantastic world, as well as secrets of the setting, all ripe with plot hooks. While some players may already be familiar through the books, comics, or movie, it’s always useful to have the lore collected for easy reference. Unsurprisingly, events of the books are summarized, so expect spoilers.

Narrators are given useful sections on how to best emulate the pulp, planetary romance genre of JCOM. Campaign foci and structure, summaries and conventions of the genre are all highlighted. The strange world of Barsoom is fleshed-out with the bestiary, with the useful inclusion of plot seeds for each creature.

John Carter of Mars is a great version of the 2d20 system, exhibiting the versatility of the rules and bringing life to a classic setting and genre.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
John Carter of Mars Core Rulebook
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Star Trek Adventures: Trouble on Omned III
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/17/2019 13:51:06

In this adventure, the party's routine science mission (or whatever else you have them embroiled in) is interrupted by orders to head for a planet called Omned III where civil war is about to break out! Living on the fringes of Federation Space, the locals are a human-like species who have achived space travel, indeed the elite in this class-ridden society live on an orbital platform while the 'ordinary' folk remain on the planetary surface. The quarrel is about the failure of a surface-grown cure for a disease endemic to the planet that causes accelerated ageing. Shipments sent to the orbital enclave don't appear to be working, and the elite think it's a deliberate plot to do away with them.

A surface-dweller has contacted the Federation for help, although the elite are not interested in their help. The nature of the adventure is such that it may be played in any era, and Omned III can be located anywhere convenient. Indeed, it would be possible to change the species involved if another one suits your needs better.

As soon as orders come in, the party may research Omned III and the native species (who are called the Shean) in the databases. Their welcome at the orbital facility will depend on how much they reveal of their orders, although they'll get a basically friendly reception whatever they say. Once the matter is aired, the elite are adamant: it's a plot on the part of the surface-dwellers to harm them, and they won't be swayed from their plans to deal with them severely. They will however accept the party's help in studying the afflicted patients, and the 'cure' that they have been sent... but they are reluctant to allow them to make contact with the surface dwellers. The surface-dwellers will, on the other hand, be delighted to welcome them.

There is plenty of information about what makes key players tick, and several ways in which the GM can ramp up threat levels as appropriate both in the orbital station and on the surface. The background to the disease is well-described as is the issue with the 'cure', and it ought to be possible for the party to figure out what the problem is, and to suggest a remedy. Whilst it is entirely possible that the adventure will end in bloodshed, careful science and a measure of diplomacy have a good chance of resolving the situation peacefully. Both outcomes are detailed, and there are suggestions for follow-up adventures.

This is a nicely-constructed adventure that has a real Star Trek feel to it - it's easy to imagine it as an episode in the show. The party's actions will have a lasting effect on Omned III.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Star Trek Adventures: Trouble on Omned III
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John Carter of Mars Core Rulebook
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/15/2019 13:58:08

Lead developer Jack Norris sums it all up in his foreword: the science-fantasy that is Barsoom is one to capture the imagination and hold on to it; and his delight at getting to play in this world shines through these pages. The presentation reaches out to embrace you too, starting with the sweeping red expanses of the end-paper maps. OK, I prefer portrait orientation books but... it's so lush!

So on to Chapter 1: Welcome to Barsoom. If you have so far got through life without visiting, here's your chance to discover what you have missed. It begins with some notes on the author, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and on the science-fantasy planetary romance stories he wrote. Whilst maybe best remembered for having invented Tarzan, John Carter of Mars is a much more rounded character with hidden depths - both in Carter and in the stories themselves - that rise above the whole 'pulp' genre they ostensibly belong to. Noteworthy in this setting: there isn't any 'evil'... just danger and excitement, people with differing objectives, dangerous animals and so on to contend with. There's a brief glossary covering common terms and then we turn to the pragmatic: what you need to play the game and what this role-playing is all about anyway. The three different eras in which you can play are outlined briefly, too.

Next is Section 1, which contains a couple of chapters that take you through creating a character. If you are already familiar with the Modiphius house system, 2d20 or 'Momentum', it's all pretty easy, but even if it is completely newto you, everything is explained clearly. The idea is to create wholly-original characters, but if you want to play the ones from the books, they are presented later on. Characters are created using a nine-step process, beginning with the grand concept of who that character actually is, the undelying basic concept that makes them tick. Next give them some attributes which, unlike many games, are abstract and rather results-orientated rather than specifying physical and mental capabilities. So we have Cunning, Daring, Empathy, Might, Passion, and Reason. Next you choose race: there are several different Martian races as well as Earth humans (who are very unusual) to pick from. Each Martian race is defined by colour, they are fairly homogeneous and serve to provide basic background knowledge and skills. That sorted, you need an Archetype - this is basically what the character does for a living (or did) and allows for a lot of customisation. Each one provides suggestions as to what the character knows and can do; and one or more appropriate Talents are suggested for them. There are all manner of Archetypes: assassins, mercenaries, explorers, envoys, healers, rogues... and if none suits there are notes about creating your own. An interesting feature of this system is that you don't have 'skills' - competency is assumed in the things you know how to do. Now the fun starts. You need a Descriptor. Characters in this game are larger-than-life, dramatic personalities and you pick a word that describes how they approach life - bold, perhaps reckless, courageous or dashing... This has a mechanical effect, in terms of bonuses to appropriate attributes. This is followed by choosing Talents, starting renown and equipment, and a flaw. Finally, you'll need a name, and there are suggestions for how different races assign names.

To aid you, there's a detailed walkthrough of character generation following the description of it, and then some sample characters. Each is presented in quite generic, yet detailed terms. If you're in a hurry, all you need do is slap a name and a few background details on and you could play a 'Stalwart Red Martian Duelist' or a 'Thoughtful Green Martian Guide' or whichever takes your fancy. A separate chapter covers Talents, going into quite a lot of detail as they are pivotal to how a character works. Talents are more than skills or learned abilities. In a game where hypercompetency is assumed, if your background suggests that you can do a thing - or someone has taught you how - you can do that thing... even if it is as complex as flying an airship. Talents are the things that make the character stand out, they can not only do that thing, but do it with style and better than most anyone else. Mechanically, you bring a Talent into play when attempting an action for which that Talent is appropriate.

OK, now you've got a character. Section 2 covers all you need to know to play them to best effect, beginning with Chapter 4: Adventuring in Barsoom, a chapter which explains the basic rules for playing the game. It explains the custom Combat Dice (and how to use a regular d6 if you don't happen to have the special ones), and how task resolution works. It sounds more complex than it is, so try out a few rolls in advance of the game to get the hang of it all. Note that this is for both Narrators and players, and includes all the behind the scenes calculations the Narrator has to do in setting difficulty, etc. It covers Momentum and Threat as well, specialist mechanics that allow player-characters to capitalise on their success - and the Narrator to make things more 'interesting' for them. There is also detailed information on Action Scenes - typically combat - when turn-by-turn tactical play is required. It ends with Damage and Recovery, and Luck. Luck reflects the fact that the Player-Characters are a cut above ordinary people, and gives them a small mechanical advantage - points to spend on die rolls or to influence the story. They are earned back by good role-play.

Next comes Chapter 5: Weapons, Technology and Equipment. There's a selection of weapons, a description of the appearance and significance of the traditional Martian 'harness' (they hate clothes, apparently), and a range of equipment for various purposes. In line with the heroic style, it's generally assumed that a character has whatever they need, unless its absence is part of the plot. The technology chiefly covers the forms of transport unique to Barsoom, but also covers biological science. The last chapter in this section is Chapter 6: Growing your Legend which covers experience, character development and the acquisition of Renown. This is the measure of a character's social and political position, their fame in the community, something vitally important and which can be used to gain accolades or titles.

We then move on to the setting, Barsoom itself, in Section 3, with chapters covering the history of Barsoom and looking at the societies of the various colours of Martian. There's a heady mix of biology, geography and everyday life - religion, social behaviour, warrior customs, slavery, clothing, food and drink (sadly it sounds rather dull), and more. Entertainment, crime, technology, architechture, it's all there. A note is added that the game background reflects that of the Burrough's stories, with things like slavery and gender-designated roles which some modern players may find objectionable. They can always make changes to suit their sensibilities. A chapter on The Green Hordes covers the most common species of Martian, the Green Martians, then The Red Kingdoms does the same for Red Martians (including loads of detail about their cities) and the next chapter in this section looks at the rest of the planet, primarily the northern ice cap, which is a lot more lively than you might think. Finally, the rest of the Solar System is covered in Beyond Barsoom.

Section 5 is Narrator territory, with advice on running the game, a bestiary, a chapter on the secrets of Barsoom and a collection of Champions of Barsoom (this is where you look if you want to play John Carter or Dejah Thoris themselves), loads of interesting and powerful folk for the party to meet and interact with. The advice is sound, much of it applicable to GMing any game, and other bits appropriate to this game in particular (or at least, the sort of sweeping science-fantasy feel this game aims to achieve). There are snippets about using the game mechanics to best effect, and ways to utilise the style of the original stories and their conventions in your game... and how to expand upon the 'known world' in a fitting manner.

The creatures in the bestiary all come with descriptions and even plot seeds involving them, and many are illustrated. There are notes for designing your own beasties too. I'll not talk about the Secrets of Barsoom here: suffice to say there are a good few plot ideas therein! Strange places to explore, too. Chapter 16: Mind Merchants of Mars is a full-blown introductory adventure which opens with the party fighting in an arena as slaves - they'll get a chance to find out how they got there after the fight is over! Then they will probably start to plot their escape... but of course, nothing is plain sailing. Assuming they survive, the next chapter is jam-packed with ideas for further adventures. Plenty there to fill many a gaming session with adventure.

This game captures the epic, planetary romance feel of the original stories well. If you enjoyed them, you will relish the chance to live in Barsoom yourself. If you've never read them, there's sufficient here to get you going (and probably inspire you to track the books down as well). Definately a fun addition to your game collection, perfect for when you need a well-constructed, exciting yet light-hearted game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
John Carter of Mars Core Rulebook
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John Carter of Mars Core Rulebook
by Larry B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/14/2019 17:40:28

Original review at https://ltbergman.blogspot.com/2019/04/back-to-barsoom.html

Based on the Modiphius 2d20 rule system, John Carter of Mars is a pulp, science romance based upon the Edgar Rice Burrough's series of book. Most younger generations will probably know this better from the Disney movie that was released a few years ago. Long before that poorly welcomed movie, John Carter was one of the early pulp heroes. As a fan of the pulp action era, I was excited to get the opportunity to examine and review this product.

Upon receiving the copy (pdf), I quickly opened the file and flipped through. That doesn't sound nearly as heavenly as the old days of cracking open a new book and riffling through the pages to get the new book smell. It was still a lovely book. It is orientated to the landscape format. I found this a little disconcerting at first. I adapted to it as I continued to read and reread the book.

No Barsoom material would be credible if it wasn't accompanied by good artwork. There is a mix of quality on the art in the book. Some of the pieces are reminiscent of the memorable style of Boris Vallejo. Others are more simplified in quality. All evoke the strange world of Mars (or Barsoom as Burrough's inhabitants of the red planet have named it). The character sheets are exceptionally beautiful. The included map (sadly in 4 pieces divided between front and back in the core rulebook) is also a lovely rendition of the planet.

The modified 2d20 system was new to me. The game requires the use of 20 sided and 6 sided dice. Using attributes of the player's character, you roll to achieve a success below the target number. This may be a little foreign to those who are accustomed to the Dungeons and Dragons system that makes higher numbers a success.

The system allows for more player input to action and outcomes. Turns are not limited to a simple time frame, but allow ample opportunity for the thing all role-playing gamers are famous for: vamping. You can say as much as you like during your turn. There is no more vague concept of acting in a nebulous understanding of time. This is simply your turn. And the narrator is just that, the one who narrates the setting and activity. Of course the narrator still must control the other characters in the game, but players have a lot of flexibility in how their behavior effects the environment or things acted upon. I love that aspect.

I felt that the game is a hybrid of traditional d20 format games and narrative style games, such as Fate. For me, it is seems to be a happy compromise.

The area I felt least competent in speaking to was the content of the world. I have read the first in the Mars books. I saw the movie. I am far from knowledgeable about the world, its main characters, or its overarching story. I contacted a friend who was more knowledgeable about the books (but less competent in the gaming arena). After our conversation, I feel that this represents the world of Barsoom quite adequately. Newcomers to the world may need a little catching up, but it wouldn't be too overwhelming for a new player to be dropped into a game.

One feature that may be a little unclear is which time frame is best played. This is really open to the narrator or the players comfort level. As a neophyte to Barsoom stories, I would default to the earliest represented era. There are three to choose from. The latest era, representing the later books, is considered the "modern" era. There are adequate side-notes to point out playstyle differences between the three.

I found a few typographical errors and print-type errors. Those could be artifacts in my pdf file, though. Overall, the quality of the images in my copy were expert level. I own a number of Modiphius products, and the quality is equal to those.

I am looking forward to expanding my John Carter collection with narrator screen and player resources. It may not be a familiar setting to some, but it is a rich fantasy world with a lot of potential for those who are willing to give it a try.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
John Carter of Mars Core Rulebook
by A customer [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/14/2019 17:25:48
In the past I have bought and played in the Conan RPG and the Star Trek RPG from Modiphius so I was already familiar with 2D20 game engine used in this game. First the artwork in this book is excellent and brings the setting to life The color map of Barsoom is stunning and helpful in playing the game. The player charcter sheets look more like art than a charcter sheet. The player sheet is easy to fill out and use The artwork is also helpful in showing players what the peoples and creatures of Barsoom look like as some people are not familiar these books. The oragization of the book is logical and very helpful in creating a player charcter. I like the fact how Modiphius has contiued to adapt the 2D20 engine to fit each of the games individually. The gamemaster section is very helpful. If you have never read the John Carter of Mars books this will help you a great deal. One strength of Modiphius corebooks, including this one, is the amount of explanations and rules examples they give you. The book also covers the three eras of the book series well enabling a group to play a long campaign while staying true to the books if you like. Information on the other planets and moons of our star system is given and how you can use those locations in your campaign. Suggestions from other books, movies, etc are given to aid in creating your own adventures. They also include write ups for the major charcters from the books and tips on how to use or play them from each era. Using a landscape format for the book is an interesting choice. The artwork is further enhanced by this choice. However when I tried to read it as a PDF it was a bit difficult to do so. Being in a landscape format makes printing any page for use difficult to use in a standard game master screen.

Modiphius has done an excellent job of adapting the John Carter of Mars and well worth the price. panny@modiphius.com



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Odyssey of the Dragonlords: Player's Guide
by Jake L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/25/2019 16:24:14

Can't wait to see the adventure module! This player's guide is great!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Odyssey of the Dragonlords: Player's Guide
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John Carter of Mars Quickstart
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/18/2019 12:36:24

This work (which comes as a landscape format PDF, which doesn't work well on screen - except perhaps on a tablet - and even worse if printed out) begins by explaining the 2d20 'Momentum' system that is used for this game. Ideally you need to purchase a special d6 marked with special symbols to use as a Combat Die, but as you probably won't have one, there's a quick chart to enable the use of an ordinary d6 instead. It then explains that each character is described by six attributes: Cunning, Daring, Empathy, Might, Passion and Reason. There are brief descriptions of each, along with notes on how they are used in Attribute Tests, rolled whenever a character undertakes an action with an uncertain outcome. To make an Attribute Test, pick two attributes that make sense for the situation which give you a target number and roll 2d20. Each die that rolls equal to or under the target number scores one success, and each die that scores equal to or less than the character's weaker Attribute scores two successes. The Narrator (GM) assigns a Difficulty to the task, which determines how many successes in the Attribute Test are required for the character to accomplish whatever they wanted to do. Brief examples and advice on setting Difficulty are provided, and Complications and Momentum - the game mechanic from which the system gets its name, are explained.

You gain Momentum every time you score more successes than you actually require. These extra successes can be used to make your action even more mind-blowingly epic, or saved up to bolster a later roll by adding extra d20s. If two characters are operating in opposition to each other, it's called an Opposed Test, and they both have to not only succeed in the Attribute Test, but get more successes than the other character to win out. If you are looking to increase your chances of success, as well as adding bonus dice through Momentum, you can call on your Luck - each point of luck gives you a success. Teamwork and assistance from other players can also help. The whole idea of Momentum is that one success often leads to another, and fits well with the heroic protagonist like John Carter of Mars... but there is another side to the coin, Threat. This works for the Narrator in a similar manner, with all their NPCs sharing a pool of Threat that begins equal to the amount of Luck the PCs have, and fluctuates during play in the same way as each individual PC's Momentum does. Characters can do other things with Luck as well as boost their die rolls, and gain them by doing noteworthy things during a game. The discussion then moves on to Action Scenes and how they are played out. It's a turn-based system, with each character (and NPC) acting in turn until all have had a go. PCs normally go first unless the Narrator uses a Threat point to have an NPC go first - but unusually, there's no 'initiative', the players get to choose who goes first, and each player decides who acts after them! There are many things that can be done in a turn, which are explained here; along with the results of combat such as taking damage... how to recover from damage is also explained. OK, now you know enough to have a go at the playtest adventure.

Pregenerated characters are provided for a short but dramatic adventure in which the party - including John Carter and Dejah Thoris themselves - on a diplomatic errand to the kingdom of Vonika which wishes to enter into an alliance with Helium. There's an opportunity for role-play as the party settles down and gets to know each others - there are suggestions for various pastimes, and notes on how to adjudicate them - and then the peace of the trip is rudely disturbed by another flier attempting to ram the party's craft! It doesn't matter who wins the ensuing fight, both outcomes are catered for, and in any case, the remaining fliers will need repairs before continuing on their way, and this will not be as straightforward as you might think.

As an adventure it is very much an exerpt, but it brings over the flavour of the game well, and introduces the Momentum system if you've not played it before. It's a great way to discover if this game is for you and your group... and if it is, the core rulebook and other materials await!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
John Carter of Mars Quickstart
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Star Trek Adventures: Core Rulebook
by Joachim D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/15/2019 10:14:19

First of all I tought that FFG`s WH40K game was the most jumbled RPG so far until I got this book. There is no-absoluetly no-information on any technological items game effect except for weapons and personal defense. There is in all honesty a usless long explanation of what a Tricorder is, but nothing about how to use it in game. I am lucky that I am only going to play this game and not GMìng it. Should be interessting tough. I will get everything out of my Equipment that is not too far fetched, because there is no rule but sanity itself on what that equipment is capable of or not. :) Otherwise I give points for the artwork, the idea to be able to play an officer and to have spaceships that really involve the players. Problematic about this is the fact that under "Operating a Starship" you will not find any game rules, only fluff text. I fear one has to read the entire book to find everything as it seems strewn far across the pages. And that is a major problem with anything. Interesting to note is that "Starship Combat" is very clearly detailed. So I think this game will be easiest if you just play combat oriented adventures.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Star Trek Adventures: Core Rulebook
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Odyssey of the Dragonlords: Player's Guide
by Sean C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/04/2019 18:59:35

The amzingly high quality of this product expresses an enthusiasm for the material by the creators. Delving into the Greek elements without overdoing them is great so that players and dungeon masters can choose how far into the mythology they want to go. Looking forward to playing this one with my group!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Odyssey of the Dragonlords: Player's Guide
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Odyssey of the Dragonlords: Player's Guide
by Wizard L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/28/2019 17:41:11

This Player's Guide is so awesome, it gets me soooo excited about the full campagn book. The quality of this is abosultly amazing (especially considering its free!), from the artwork to accecability of information. I love greek mythology (both modern fantastical and historical) so it is refreshing to have a solid campagn setting that I think my players will really get into.

A few highlights and critiques from me:

  • Love, love, love the art. It really helps set the mood, is tasteful and high quality.
  • A few of the Flavor texts for the inworld character voice (with the little colored background) can be difficult to read, but maybe its me and my old eyes ;) its only a sentence or two here and there so I'm not really worrried about that.
  • Really like the idea of Epic backgrounds, i think they are going to add a level of immersion for my players. I can't wait like to see how they are incorportate into the Campagin book story.
  • Order of content is well thought out and presented. As a player (and GM) its very digestable, and I'm guessing as a suppliment for the campaign that player will be able to reference back fairly easily (Factions, Names, Gods, etc).
  • Love the maps!
  • Not sure how the Curses will work, they seem really cool, but will they be happening all the time or just every now and then - I guess its also open to the GM to decide how to use this mechanic.


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Odyssey of the Dragonlords: Player's Guide
by Bryan H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/27/2019 09:47:41

As a preview for their full product, I'm excited. The art, layout, and other production elements are all top notch and I like that it's greek inspired and not just greek myth with all the nouns remade. The epic destinies are particularly cool.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Odyssey of the Dragonlords: Player's Guide
by Sara Z. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/26/2019 13:44:00

This setting while promising, pays only lip service to the Ancient Greek mythology and history it claims to be inspired by. There are the trappings of Greek myth, a Gaia and Ouranos figure, a Titanic progenitor race of gods, and the modern gods. But it goes no farther than this. The setting seems to be stuck in a very modern idea of how the ancient world worked, and it suffers for it. In addition to this, the original portions seem singularly uninspired and noninclusive. Why have the authors fridged the goddess of war? Why are gods that remain so aggressively bland? Why is there no LGBT+ rep in the entire setting? Why are there female satyrs and why in the name of everything good do they shave their arms and bodies? The entire setting seems specifically designed to appeal to one specific demographic: straight, white men who read Percy Jackson when they were younger. There's nothing wrong with appealing to specific demographics, of course, but why hobble yourself in this way when all it would take is a little more inclusion to widen your audience? The setting has promise, but it needs a lot of work.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Odyssey of the Dragonlords: Player's Guide
by Russ B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/24/2019 08:43:06

This is a promising start to a world that I'm interested in exploring!

The selling point for me, outside of it being free, was the Ancient Greek mythology inspiration for this setting. As someone who has played TTRPG's for over a decade now, I am well versed in how difficult it can be to draw new players into a setting with zero ties to real life. This book was an easy read and most importantly, it was easy to absorb. I've seen lots of settings that get a little too full of their own product and their books start to make as much sense as IKEA instructions. I like that there were nine deities and not forty. This setting seems to be very DM friendly with simple to understand (but left open for personal expansion if that's your thing) lore, flavor, and names.

My only critique of the setting are the two added races. Their base movement speed is a little too high in my opinion. An additional 10 feet for satrys seems odd to me, but that's just me. I think I'll be replacing centaurs with orcs for when I run my campaign in this setting in order to appease my players, but that honestly seems very easy to do.

I am very much going to purchase this setting in May, I think that I saw it releases in May. I think that the maps are beautiful and functional as well. Please include maps of all the major settlements in the full release. I swear that every setting I look into that only has one or two city maps is hard for me get my players into because they want to see the map, and I feel that it's fair for them to have one so they can explore the city without having to stop every two seconds to ask me what direction is something in or if there is a .... shop around here. If I have to find maps myself then there is a clear difference in look, feel, and the quality of the game suffers. If I may also make a small request; Please include names for things like shops and NPC's. I love reading that stuff and having quick reference for my table when my party hits a city. That may just be me, but I love having those details.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Star Trek Adventures: Science Division Supplement
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/21/2019 09:48:56

The Science Division are often the unsung heroes of Star Trek - a bit odd when you consider the whole mission is about exploration and discovery, things that scientists are good at. Apart from Spock, who was Science Officer as well as the second-in-command of Kirk's Enterprise, the on-board scientists are just produced when there's a problem that science can solve, then sent back whence they came until the next time. Apart from the medics, that is, who are part of Science Division but with a much higher profile. Here's a chance to redress the balance!

The Introduction - To Seek and to Know - talks of science and medicine being at the centre of the urge to explore space. Finding out what's going on is a key driver for exploration and explorers have to be kept healthy whilst doing so. When not treating patients, medics are also interested in exploration - perhaps they'll find a medicinal plant or medical knowledge hitherto undreampt-of on the next planet. However, those scientific and medical professionals who join Star Fleet are quite special. Adventurous, certainly, but this is a part of the organisation that recruits seasoned professionals, older people, as well as train their own at the Academy. With a note from a grateful student whose training saved the day during an exercise, we move on to an outline of the contents of the book. There's also an example of individuals from various branches within the Science Division working together to resolve a potentially lethal problem, and a note indicating that technologies differ depending on which Era you game is set in, and how these are to be highlighted through the rest of the text.

Chapter 1: Science Division goes into detail about training, organisation, responsibilities and so on, with three main strands of scientists, medics, and counsellors. This is presented in the style of a briefing document for new Science Division officers and makes for a fascinating read. It outlines the protocols for exploration missions and science missions, and discusses the Prime Directive at length with some ideas on how to deal with breaches thereof. It also touches on time travel. There is a Department of Temporal Investigation in the assumed present day (TNE era), and some inklings of a Temporal Integrity Commission which appears to have been established in the future (29th century) - their agents won't reveal much, for obvious reasons.

Next Chapter 3: Science Division Characters looks at expanding the core rulebook's character generation process to make more detailed and diverse Science Division characters via extra Lifepath options and new Focuses and Talents. This allows for the sort of specialisation that you'd likely see - geologists and botanists, trauma surgeons and infectious disease specialists, and so on.

Then, Chapter 4: Research and Development examines the vast range of specialised equipment available particularly in the field of medicine, from hand-held devices to fully-equipped hospital ships. There are also details of lifeforms and other phenomena that have been encountered with ideas for further research and a discussion of the Q Continuum and ideas of dealing with encouters there. I'd say 'stay away' but sometimes it comes to visit anyway...

Chapter 5: Using the Science Division is crammed with ideas, providing rules for creating everything from medical emergencies to xeno-biological mysteries (why does every habitable planet grow something that looks exactly like Earth grass, I wonder) and running missions with a science/exploration focus. There's also suggestions for how to run adventures that involve medical interventions to save a ship's company, a planet or even the entirety of known space. This chapter also contains rules to aid the development of new alien lifeforms, sentient and otherwise, even those that live in places an unprotected human could not go. Finally Chapter 6: Sciences Personnel provides an array of fully-developed characters to use as NPCs - perhaps when an exotic specialism is required - or as an example for generating your own.

This is an excellent resource that should inspire you and your group to 'boldly go' like you never have before, with loads of ideas to help your exploration missions make many discoveries - and generate a mound of academic papers!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Star Trek Adventures: Science Division Supplement
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