Last week I reviewed Shadow, Sword & Spell: Basics, Expert, and Threats. Here-https://throatpunchgames.com/2015/01/19/ring-side-report-rpg-review-of-shadow-sword-spell-books/ This week let’s dig deeper by looking at Player, Gamemaster, and an adventure The Stew.
Product– Shadow, Sword & Spell: Player
Producer– Rogue Games
TL; DR– Hard to follow the last book, but still well done. 93%
Basics– You know what players want? Lots more options! This is another splat book in the same vain as Shadow, Sword & Spell: Expert. It covers a ton of new additions to the system from rules about honor and reputation to new options for martial arts. The biggest change in this book is the change from human-centric to now introducing the full gambit of new races.
Mechanics or Crunch– I really like this one for its mechanical additions to the system. The 12* system really expands itself nicely into all the new subsystems, skills, and mechanics. I also enjoy the addition of templates for quicker character generation. The system is pretty easy to build characters, but the templates really do add a nice touch to the system. Well done! 5/5
Theme or Fluff- S,S&S:Player adds a ton into the system, but this book doesn’t add as much to the story. S,S&S:Expert added the world to the game. S,S&S:Player does have story for all its elements, but it’s less than the last supplement. Not bad, but it’s hard to keep up with a whole world. 4/5
Execution– S,S&S:Player shows that Rogue Games has grown as a company. It’s still the smaller book style with nice spacing, but now with better art! The production quality on this one is much nicer than the previous books. Well done! 5/5
Summary– This book is a good book, but the victim of how good S,S&S:Expert was. The production quality is better, but there are fewer stories in this one than Expert. However, if you’re a player and your GM has made his/her own world, then Player have some amazing options for you! Also for less than a Happy Meal, this is well worth it. 93%
Want more Shadow, Sword & Spell? Here you go!
Product– Shadow, Sword & Spell: Gamemaster
Producer– Rogue Games
TL; DR– Lots of different topics in one book including the dreaded psionics. 97%
Basics– Well, your players got some options in S, S&S: Player, why not you, the GM? S, S &S: Gamemaster give the GM more options for his/her games. This book also introduces the controversial psionics to the game. However, most of this book is more rules options that you don’t have to figure out on the fly.
Mechanics or Crunch– After working my way through the entire S,S&S/12* system, it’s fast becoming one of my favorite systems. 12* is really well done, and expands nicely by adding new skills to accommodate new options. Psionics operate just like magic except you have a pool of points you spend from. DONE! The book also expands on the rules for running kingdoms and domains, adds ship combat, and provides new multiverse rules. All the rules all work well and give some really nice rules that a GM can use and not have to devise on the fly. 5/5
Theme or Fluff- The book has rules on how cities work, but I would have really liked if the book revisited the different cities from S,S&S:Basics and Expert to provide some examples on how those cities should work. That’s not bad, but now I have the numbers to describe what they are and revisiting would help a bit. What this book will be really remembered as this is the multiverse and psionics book. What’s here is full of different descriptive options on how the multiverse could works. And then the book goes crazy by describing deep math physics in chapter to demonstrate the multiverse. As a PhD, I loved this! You might not enjoy this as much. But, if you want some options to throw at your PC’s from the quilted universe model to old school 1st ed. DnD, here you go! As for psionics, I was a little surprised to see this here and not in S,S&S: Player. The authors describe why this is here since the addition of mental magic makes games a pain, but it does stick out a bit. It is described well and given some nice story elements, but it is a bit off in this book. 4.5/5
Execution– Just like in S,S&S: Player, the art budget really helped this book. It still has the small book style with nice font and good layout. But, focused art and even asides for math really made me enjoy reading this book. 5/5
Summary– I really liked this book. It’s up there with S,S&S: Expert on how happy it makes me. The 12* system really shows its versatility by easily just adding a whole new class mechanic here without any real growing pains. The city system is well done and reminds me of city stat blocks from Pathfinder. The multiverse has a section for discussing how real multiverse could work with included simplified math! That warms my heart! 97%
And the last S,S&S book I have- THE STEW!
Product– Shadow, Sword & Spell: The Stew
Producer– Rogue Games
Price– ~$5.25 here http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/84047/The-Stew
TL; DR– A few errors in a pretty nice, standard pulp story. 87%
Basics– Looking for adventure? The Stew is an adventure for the 12* system where the players wander into the town of Flatrock as mercenaries for a wizard. In town, the players learn about a rash of disappearances. Will the players protect their charge and find what’s happening is Flatrock?
Mechanics or Crunch– This is a fairly simple adventure. It’s a town full of people to talk to, a tower the wizard in interested, and the cause of the disappearances. The adventure doesn’t add any major mechanics, but uses the basic mechanics to great effect. Players get to face off against everything from social encounters to magic nicely rounding off all the mechanics of the system. You won’t spend all your time in magic duals or social combat, but everybody will get a chance to shine. 4.5/5
Theme or Fluff- This is a simple adventure. Players are trying to understand what’s going on and keep their charge safe. It’s not Lord of the Rings epic, but it does have good points that keep the storey going. Honestly, a party that works well together and doesn’t mess around will have this whole adventure done in four hours. That’s not bad for a one shot adventure. There is a reveal that you might see somewhat coming, but that’s not handled poorly either. Also, I do like how the different chapters of the book are named based on different types of dinner courses. 4.5/5
Execution– The Stew works well, but has a few problems that hurt things. Some of the NPCs don’t have all their stats. Some characters don’t have stats that let them use the weapons they are carrying. However, all the named characters get nice pictures that you can show your players. Overall, the adventure works, but some elements are not as clean as I would hope. Also, this adventure is priced as much as the core book. That’s a bit steep for an adventure that is relatively short. But, that’s not a major complaint as the total price is still less than a Big Mac. 4/5
Summary– Rogue Games has put out some quality, and this is no exception. It’s a bit short and a bit pricy compared to the other books. But, what you do get is a fun mystery for the players to solve, some psychological terror, and a nice dose of combat and social deduction. It’s not at A Game of Thrones level of storytelling, but it is well thought out. If you want a good intro adventure for your players, this is a great place to start. 87%