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Superluminary
Publisher: Signal 13
by Nicholas C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/22/2017 04:42:04

I got Other Worlds when it first came out, and love the way it is put together. By this I mena that I like the rules themsleves, but also I like the writing style, layout and art, all of which hit the right notes for me.

The only real disappointment was the lack of love and support the game attracted. So I was delighted to see this supplement appear in the run-up to Christmas.

So what do you get? Currently PDF only, the book weighs in at 146 pages.

The cover is full colour and is nicely done, with three characters (one female, one male and one alien against a backdrop of fast-moving spacecraft).

Inside you get an introduction to Space Opera, whcih sets up the intentions of the author straightaway, and also describes how the supplement can be used. It also gives a nod to the works that have inspired it.

Chapter 2 gives guidance on building your setting - how big you want it, how detailed etc - this varies from one planet to the whole galaxy, how many alien races you want, the fate of mankind, what the future looks like (eg 50s retro, 80s industrial, high gothic etc). It also gives guidance on what sort of FTL you want (if at all) as well as how to set your dials for other forms of superscience) and what sort of special powers you might want.

There follows a section on the team's focus, whcih is valuable in setting player expectation as well as guiding the development of the setting.

Chapter 3 is all about heroes and has a large number of templates available, starting with homeworlds (eg Agricultural World, City World, Desert World, Mining Colony and so on). Following this is a long list of professional templates ranging from Assassin through to Xenoarchaeologist via Pirate, Razorball Player etc. It would be hard to think of a trope that isn't covered here.

As you might expect there is a lengthy section on Trademarks inclduing alien artefacts, bionics, special roles such as Agent of Order, Bases (inclduing the vaguely familiar gas mining colony of Cyclone City...), vehicles including Mecha and of course Starships.

Chapter 4 deals with aliens, robots and other similar stuff and includes the obligatory templates. Fans of Flash Gordon will find Bridmen here, as well as "Aloof Supergenius" with abilities such as "Nerve Pinch", "Vocalise Observed Social Cues" and "Repressed" ..... there are also helpful hints on designing your own alien races, and detailed guidance on designing robots

Chapetr 5 deals with special powers and goes into detail in respect of Psionics (think Traveller or B5), The Lifeforce (Star Wars) and Techno-Sorcery (Warhammer 40K and Mutant Chronicles perhaps) together with more templates, guidance on what powers might "look like" etc. Templates include things like "Telepathic Cop", "Mystic Knight", Technomage Adept etc. Mutants are also given a nod here.

Chapter 6 is all about worlds, how to build them and so on. It includes Epoch template (Age of Expansion, Last Days of Mankind and so on), deals with trading and commerce (including a random cargo generator), superscience and the arms race (including random weapon generator), hovercars and spaceships, war machines (with random war machine trait generator - I like "Outrageous Spoiler" and "Smaller Vehicle Emerges From the Wreckage when Destroyed"). There is a similar table for ship traits and a random world generator and a section on Astrophenomena including a random Pocket Dimension table and a random space encounters table - I note nods to things like Star Wars, 2000 AD, Star Trek and Dr Who amongst others.

Then we move onto bizarre landscapes and templates to represent them ("corpse-Choked Seas"...) and a random city and wilderness generator. Of course there is guidance about creatures and templates and tables for those as well as some worked up examples. I like Titanicus Rex, whose traits include "Bat Away Aircraft"! NPCs follow with guidance for developng those and some further helpful random tables as well as full examples inclduing Lord SUlferus the Dark Mantis and The Brood Queen...

A section on Factiosn follows, with some examples such as The Imperial Authity and The Coalition, together with some of their assets (Hellcat Strike Fighter, Coalition Guerrilla) and some scary foe factions like The SKullbot Empire and Disciples of the Black Light.

Finally Appendix A contains a worked-up setting (The Merovinthian Sector) with detaisl and templates for a number of worlds, factions and NPCs

The book has an index (hooray!) and has a detailed table of contents at the start, and is bookmarked.

The art replicates that in the core rules in style (black and white but in a nice pencil-sketch style that I really like).

Overall this is a fantastic product - I would be hard pressed to think of any space opera setting that isn't covered at least in outline, and the templates are just great. A sterling job. Now if only I could have a Pulp sourcebook!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Superluminary
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Creator Reply:
Hey Nicholas, thanks for the great review. Hope you had a great Christmas! Mark
Adventures into Darkness: Truth & Justice
Publisher: Atomic Overmind Press
by Nicholas C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/13/2017 10:27:16

I can't praise this product highly enough! It's just awesome.

It needs a bit of explanation as it is not a "standard" supplement for superhero games. It takes as its premise an alternate to our eath, where H P Lovecraft spent a lot of his career writing for the comics industry, and in particular for Nedor comics. Nedor characters are out of copyright, and not especially well-known, which makes them perfect for this product.

The first part of the book deals with the fictional history of Lovecraft's career as a comic book writer, and there is a helpful afterrword and (actual) bibliography, but the bulk of the book is imaginative write-ups of all the major (and a few minor) Nedor characters, as well as some Lovecraft character using T&J rules, but all with a distinctive Lovecraftian Twist.

For example The Dream Master is Randolph Carter, clearly taken form Lovecraft's tales, but turned into a superhero, with magical powers and the ability to enter the dreams of villains (as well as the Dream lands). The Liberator, who gains his superpowers from the ancient Egyptian serum/formula Lamesis, later discocers it is the blood of a monstrous and inhuman "living mummy" trapped beneath "the Red Pyramid of Abyssinia"!

Many of the villains are taken form Lovecraft's stories - Azenath the Body-Snatcher; Baron von Junzt, the Black Scholar; Dagon; Keziah the Witch and so on. They are all lovingly described and illustrated.

Finally there is a helpful section on how the write comics "the Nedor-Lovecraft way", and rules for sanity (or the loss of it!) with abilities such as Unearthly, and Super-Unearthly.

Its really well put together and highly imaginative, and for those wanting to run a campaign of this particular type, it is indispensable. The group I game with ran the whole of the epic Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign with the characters as superheroes - and it was great. I recommend this product wholeheartedly.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adventures into Darkness: Truth & Justice
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Evil Genius #1: World Domination (Truth & Justice)
Publisher: Lame Mage Productions
by Nicholas C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/13/2017 09:26:02

One of the few support products for the excellent Truth & Justice roleplaying game, this is a bit of a mixed bag.

It contains 5 short adventryes dealing with that mainstay of superhero comics, the evil genius. The book starts with an introduction looking at the "Mastermind Game" and breaking it down into steps. It includes suggestions for some rule changes to suit the Mastermind Game, and then moves swiftly on to the adventures.

The first, High Noon features Dr Null (but any Mastermind could be substituted), who is striking from beyond the grave with a plot to focus the light of the sun on Earth's cities. This is a great little adventure with a potentially nice slow build of the menace and lots of investigative and roleplaying opportunities, and with a good "Action Schtick" of chasing a missile, which can be used in other adventures. A couple of variants are thrown in the mix for you to try. The only weak spot is the finale, whcih is a bit sketchy to say the least - I woudl probably throw in some killer robots or some-such - but it's pretty easy to fix

The Cornfields features giant mutated corn-creatures. For me this is a little bit lame - however it does hit that crazy 1960s-early 70s weirdness, and of course we all know about Groot... This adventure has a lot more opportunity for high action super-combat as the heroes battle the menace, but the overall solution (as for several of these adventures) lies in Science! The action Schtick here is an Evacuation Montage. As before, several variants on the basic scenario are presented

The Brain-Taker could potentially be a quite creepy adventure and realtively easily opend up into a slow-burn campaign thread. It could even be ported over into another genre (horror, x-files type conspiracy etc). It also has an Action Schtick of Crowd Control, which can add a real dlemma to heroes who tend to think with their fists. This one does end with a big finale, which looks as though it could be spectacular

Luck be a Lady has a bit of a mystical bent, and could be good for street level heroes. It does play to a rather old-fashioned depction of the orietnal mastermind, but that woudl fit in reasonably with the comic genre, especially godlen age or silver age. There is no Action Sctick this time, but the adventure itself is cool, and could easily be ported into the pulp era and be a challenge for pulp-style "mystery men".

Ice Age - Dr Null is back from the dead! This is another good adventure, with plenty of scope for expanding it in various directions. The Action Schtick id "Airplane Mayday" so some fairly powerful heroes woud be an advantage, as woudl some Science! abilities. The optional changes are good as well, and there is a highly satisfying showdown involving a secret base, and a final Action Schtick - "Hanging by your Fingernails" - as you might expect involving the classic comic book cliffhanger.

The book finishes with a detailed write up of Dr Null, and some player handouts.

All in all this is a great littel poduct and thoguh written for Truth and Justice, woudl be a good resource for any supers game. The Action Schticks are excellent and can be used agian and again.

The only reason i dont rate it a 5 is that I found the Cornfields adventure too "corny" for my tastes!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Evil Genius #1: World Domination (Truth & Justice)
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D6 POWERS: Revised and Expanded
Publisher: Khepera Publishing
by Nicholas C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/13/2017 06:00:11

I have played in and run quite a lot of different superhero games over the years, and my experience has been that they nearly all have good points and bad points. D6 powers is one of the games that has many more good points than bad in my view.

As you might expect it is firmly based on the skeleton of WEG's D6 system as used in the orginal Star Wars rpg, but also takes inspiration from WEG's DC Universe rpg. However, whilst DCU uses a variant of the D6 system (called D6 Legend if I recall) using special 6-sided dice with symbols, D6 Powers uses standard D6.

What's to like? A good reliable system that is quite intuitive in many respects. A comprehensive power list that is not too complex to deal with (sorry, Champions but I'm looking at you). Masses of other D6 material (most of it now freely available) to raid for new stuff, NPCs, ideas etc.

On the down side. Combat could be a bit more streamlined, along the lines of Minisix. Large numbers of dice to add can slow things down a tad for higher level characters - there is an option for limitign the number of dice rolled, but I think I would have preferred that as the standard rule. The Strength chart for lifting is also a bit odd as the difficulty numbers reach various break points at 6D, 11D, 16D, and 25D - so the difficulty to lift a given weight changes drastically when you pass a break point. I guess it stops super-strong characters rolling to lift things well within their capacity, but I find it a little odd.

Overall, highly felxible an dfun to play



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
D6 POWERS: Revised and Expanded
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Creator Reply:
Thank you for the kind words. When I have the new version of MYTHIC D6 done I hope to see what you think of that product a rough beta of the first chapter can be found at the link below https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8dxyIHRKOjjcmVkVkwtQlRqUFk/view?usp=sharing Thank you Jerry
Tiny Frontiers
Publisher: Gallant Knight Games
by Nicholas C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/20/2017 10:53:49

I picked this game up on a whim, and haven't had the chance to run it yet, but certainly mean to, as it really appeals to me.

OK, so first of all the layout is crisp and clear, and easy for me to read (even without my glasses on) which is increasingly important for me as an aging gamer.

Character creation is a snap - you choose a race (which determines hit points and gives a couple of extras that usually give you an advantage (see below) in some sorts of tests, select three traits, select wepon proficiency and mastery, assign gear and credits, choose a profession and a drive, and you're good to go.

The system itself is very straightforward - any test are rolled on 2d6, with a 5 or 6 rolled on any of the dice beig a success. Advantages add a die to the pool and disadvantages subtract one - veyr straightforward. If a test falls with the scope of your profession, you will get an advantage, and an appropriate Trait will usually give an advantage.

The trait list is excellent, and covers areas that would be skills in another game (acrobat, chemist, tracker) but also things that woudl be advantages, knacks or even powers in other games (cyborg, prepared, psionic, quickshot).

Combat might not suit some gamers, as all successful attacks do 1 point of damage, and armour is only "flavour" as it has no game effect. There are however rules for special actions such as Focus (essentially aiming), Evade, Supressing Fire, and Cover, so combat is not devoid of tactical decisions. Ammo is not tracked, but a test is made at the end of every fight to see if you are "out".

There are also sections dealing with Xeno-Tech (the equivalent of magic items in a fantasy game) and some good tables for randomply generating enemies, planets and settlements.

There is a good appendix on starships, which allows players to all contribute in any ship on ship action, and for starships to have traits of their own such as scanners, reactors, life support, plasma cannon, swarm missiles and so on. This looks like it would be good in play.

A second appendix does the same for Mecha, and I'm really looking forward to trying this out.

Last (but not least) the bulk of the book (more than twice the amount given to the rules) details 16 "micro-settings" of various type some of which are quite differnet and interesting - I have my eye on Marlowe Station, a crumbllig space station with a noir/mystery/horror vibe (think Babylon 5 gone bad...).

I can see me getting a lot out of this - now if only they produce a Pulp version (I already have my eye on hacking this!). Good effort.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tiny Frontiers
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Fudge RPG: Interactive Version
Publisher: Dimensions Game Software
by Nicholas C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/24/2016 16:52:29

Fudge is one of those games that I think people either love or hate. Personally I love it in most of its forms.

Fundamentally it is a toolbox - and this is the ideal tool to use in that way. It makes it very easy for you to design your own Fudge-based game, allowing you to created a customised system of your own, using the Fudge Rules. Want 3 attributes? Or 12? Easy, a few skills, or lots? simplicity itself.

Mkae no mistake - this is not a developed riules system. What it is, is an easy way to create your own Fudge-based set of rules exactly tailored to what you want. If that's the sort of thing you are looking for, this is one of the best things on the market.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Fudge RPG: Interactive Version
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The Zorcerer of Zo
Publisher: Atomic Sock Monkey Press
by Nicholas C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/24/2016 16:43:53

I have to start by saying I am very fond of the PDQ system. Its simplicity and flexibility is something that draws ne back to it tiem and time again.

In many respects Teh Zorcerer of Zo is simultaneously the simplest yet most sophisticated version of the rules, and is very well explained indeed. I would single out the magic rules for particular praise - pretty much anythign can be a magical ability, but every magical effect has both a cost (something that is consumed or damaged to power the magic, such as possessions, relationships, health etc) and a catch (an inherent way of dispelling the enchantment, such as time (it only lasts a day) place (it only affects the village), action (only against Talking Animals) etc).

Wilst not essential to the rules, one of the best parts of hte book is the 150 page campaign write up. It is simply boiling with advice, plot hooks and suggestions, as well as story hooks.

This is a book that really rewards multile readings, and I cant recommend it highly enough



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Zorcerer of Zo
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