Ring Side Report-RPG Review of Marvel Multiverse Role-Playing Game

Product– Marvel Multiverse Role-Playing Games Playtest Rulebook

System- d616

Producer– Marvel

Price– $9.99 here https://www.amazon.com/Marvel-Multiverse-Role-Playing-Game-Playtest/dp/1302934244 

TL; DR-A solid evolution of GURPS 93%

Basics–  AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!  The Multiverse Role-Playing Game is the newest version of Marvel role-playing game.  Let’s look at the game play, theme, and execution in our break down of the Marvel Multiverse role-playing game.

Basic mechanics/d616 system-  Like most other RPGs, this system is roll dice, add number, see if successful. What sets this system apart is the basic mechanic of 2d6 and a separate d6.  The separate d6 is your Marvel die where the six is a six, but a one is used as a six. Thus you have two normal dice and a die with two sixes increasing the likelihood of higher rolls.

Edge, trouble and Karma– Like most other modern RPGs, this system has reroll abilities.  If your character has advantages like equipment or special powers, you can reroll dice, taking the higher roll. Trouble is the opposite of edge where the game master, called the narrator, can make you reroll dice and take the lower value.  Karma is a resource you can spend when you choose to reroll a single die on any check.

Character Generation-  Character generation is relatively easy.  Your group chooses a rank between 0, basic human, to 25, god-like power, a concept, archetype, basically a class, spend ability points, pick backstory elements that function as traits, choose powers,and calculate final scores.  This is a very class-based system, so you choose a class and that’s what you do.  Right now you can’t blend classes, but this is a playtest.  The archetype you choose determines how your different character attributes change as you level up and spend points to advance.  Interestingly, each attribute also has a corresponding defense value similar to DnD 5e for saving throws.

Powers- Powers are the equivalent of feats in DnD.  Your backstory, rank and concept affect what powers you have access too.  Also interestingly, there are the equivalent of feat trees as you can become more powerful in a particular area.

Combat-Combat is similar to most other RPGs.  You start with initiative and on your turn you can take different actions like easy actions, actions like talking quickly, standard actions, attacking or doing something complicated, movement, and off turn actions like reactions.  Attacks are against specific defenses, and success means you do damage according to your archetype. Damage is reduced by specific damage resistances which give a specific value.

Ok, let’s see our thoughts on it.

Mechanics or Crunch– This system feels like an interesting evolution of the GURPS system mixed with modern ideas.  The system works decently well, but the system makes a few strange steps to make the d616 system happen.  The idea of a die having two sixes is interesting but it’s done because the basic universe for the Marvel comics is the 616 universe ( for reference we live in the universe 1218).  That said, the basic ideas are things most RPG players will know and love and pick up quickly.   4.5/5

Theme or Fluff–  There isn’t much to say except this is done well.  You have the Marvel comics people doing the Marvel Comics RPG.  They know their characters so what you see here feels like the Marvel comics.  5/5

Execution–  I love everything I see here with one exception. The book has a great layout, solid writing, and good pictures.  It has several premade characters and a whole adventure all for under 10 bucks!  What I don’t like is I can’t just buy a PDF. I can buy digital via roll20, but I can’t just go to drive thru RPG and buy a PDF.  This is good for the comic shops, but I want to read this via my tablet or phone via PDF.  This is strange as I can buy via Kindle, so why not the usual places? 4.5/5

Summary– Marvel Multiverse Role-Playing Games is a good evolution of game design and production.  The system is good despite the quaint use of the die that breaks down to two sixes on it.  The story is solid as solid stories and theme is what Marvel does.  The execution is great, but I am annoyed that I can’t buy this where I get most of my RPGs.  Overall, this is a solid game that, if you or your fellow true believers want a comic book adventure oneshot, is well worth picking up.  93%

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of Colonel Bull’s Body

Product– Colonel Bull’s Body

System- Any system but fits well with Savage Worlds/Deadlands

Producer– Dragonlaird Gaming

Price– $7.99 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/376305/Colonel-Bulls-Body?affiliate_id=658618 

TL; DR-A great intro to Deadlands. 98%

Basics–  THE DEAD WALK!  A friend of yours has died, but now some see horrors off in the distance.  You don’t care either way as getting his body back for burial nets you a massive pay day.  Can you find his body and get your money?

Mechanics or Crunch– Solid work here for a fantasy cowboy game and fits well into a Deadlands game.  There is investigation, combat, and roleplaying in equal measure here so all three pillars of a good session are on display.  This is just good, well done crunch.  5/5

Theme or Fluff– More solid work here by Dragonlaird for their story.  My one, very slightly negative point is that it’s similar to a predictable Deadlands plot.  There is always some evil sorcerer guy off-screen doing a bad.  That’s why this feels like Deadlands, but it could be a bit too predictable for your hardcore Deadlands fan as not much comes out of left field.    4.75/5

Execution– Dragonlaird excels again with their making of a nearly flawless book.  Hyperlinks, layout, text size, scannability, art-everything is just on point.  My one issue is cost.  It’s 8 bucks.  Not horrible, but it’s that much for about one solid or two shorter four hour sessions.  But, you are getting what you pay for with this one. 4.9/5

Summary– I’ve always wanted to get deeper into the old west and while not a Deadlands product, it would lead you deeper into it.  It’s an interesting world, and it takes advantage of the Savage Worlds rule set.  Colonel Bull’s Body is an excellent intro adventure for both.  It’s got classic cowboy fantasy themes and solid mechanics.  Your older Deadlands fans might not get as much out of it, but for those looking for a good intro to the fantasy cowboy world or a solid session, this would be a great one to pull out for game night.  The price is a bit high, but you are getting what you pay for with this product in terms of art, design, and layout.  Another great product by Dragonlaird.  98%

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of Jobs and Adventure Hooks for Space Freighter Campaigns

Product– Jobs and Adventure Hooks for Space Freighter Campaigns

System- System Neutral

Producer– Dragonlaird Gaming

Price– $4.24 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/374855/Jobs-and-Adventure-Hooks-for-Space-Freighter-Campaigns?affiliate_id=658618 

TL; DR– Solidly made for a specific audience. 100%

Basics–  HAVE CARGO?  WILL SHIP!  Jobs and adventure hooks for Space Freighter Campaigns is a source book to build adventures, cargo, and passengers on the fly.  If you need charts to build something quick, this is the book for you.

Breakdown- Not much more to say, this is a book about building random cargo and passengers for space adventures and building hooks from that.

Mechanics or Crunch– This is a pretty system neutral book helping you run games from the Star Trek universe to Pathfinder.  No real crunch here for one specific game. -/5

Theme or Fluff– Here is the meat and potatoes of the book-story through randomness and ideas.  The book is set up with lots of tables to roll on to help you build that adventure quickly.  Need something to ship somewhere? That’s this book.  From colonists in hypersleep to  guns to space rebels, that’s the random stuff the tables will help you build.  It’s well done with flow charts to help you build the people, places, and things you will ship to other people, places, and things.  5/5

Execution– Solid and well done execution!  Hyperlinks, good layout, and nice text spacing makes this a breeze to read, skim, and navigate. 5/5Summary– This is a great book that only some of you will need.  If you are playing Warhammer 40K as a space marine, this book won’t really help you.  Space, but no shipping.  If you are playing a pirate in the age of sail, you won’t need this book either.  Shipping, but no space.  But if you need a cargo and personal manifest for your Firefly game, this will be your absolute jam.  This is absolutely the reason DriveThruRPG exists-solid work done by independent creators that major studios would not be able to do.  It’s well done and has great ideas, but the audience would not be as broad as a generic DnD book.  However, if you want some space shipping and all the random stuff that happens in between, then this is the book for you!  100%

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of After the Rain

Product– After the Rain

System- After the Rain

Producer– Desks and Dorks

Price– Coming soon!  Check here-https://www.desksanddorks.org/after-the-rain

TL; DR– Sad done well. 100%

Basics–  Depressing!  That is After the Rain, a soon coming RPG from Desks and Dorks.  This isn’t just one setting, but all of them that are sad.  This game is a game of loss as an ever present rain takes away part of who you are.  Let’s talk about what that means in depth.

Breakdown-

Base mechanics-  You build a character by rolling four six-sided dice and choosing three.  These three become facets of your character. Facets define you from your child to your job to the person you swore to kill.  Over the course of the game, when you do an action you choose a facet that relates to the action. Your actions must therefore be from things that that part of you would allow.  A mother of six would not use her mothering skills to build a nuclear sub, but the same woman might be a nuclear physicist and use that facet to build the sub.  But, and here is the key, when you use that facet, reduce it by one.  The game will slowly wash away in the rain.  Once a facet reaches zero, that aspect stops defining who you are.  You don’t care about the kids or you just don’t feel you can do science any more.

Dice and doing something different-When you do something with a facet that is way out of bounds for that part of your life like a mother building a sub, you risk the facet.  You roll a six sided die and add the facet level. If you roll high, things are great, medium, less so, and low, you lose the facet.  Maybe the kids help and the rain makes the sub slip the mooring, roll, and kill them (This is not a happy game!).

Now the breakdown!

Mechanics or Crunch– This is a simple game of loss and the mechanics help build this up well.  Everything you do costs you.  The math of the game beats you down as every way you solve problems in the game costs you bits of yourself as the rain quite literally takes it away.  It is simple, beautiful, and mind numbingly depressing. 5/5

Theme or Fluff– This game is theme.  The settings you and your friends make are all about costing you for a goal.  Pieces of you are left all around your pretend world as you attempt to survive the rain. The game’s whole motif is the world and the rain are beating you down.  And this game does just that.  This all sounds bad, but it’s depressing in the same way a sad movie is depressing.  It’s well done sadness.   5/5

Execution– This one I won’t comment on.  The PDF I had was a simple word document on it.  -/5

Summary– What kind of game do you want to play?  My wife loves heroic fantasy.  She wants feats and math and clicky clicky dice.  I told her about this game and she hated it.  I told my friends at the comic store and they loved what After the Rain is, and I do too.  This game is A Grave of Fireflies come to life.  The world and the rain are just taking who you are as you try to survive in a world of constant hardship.  That does not make this game horrible.  That makes this a VERY specific kind of game for a VERY specific kind of table.  My wife and her friends hate this thing.  It isn’t a hero’s journey.  But, if you want a game of loss and struggle while the world is taking from you, this is your game.  Its mechanics completely reinforce the theme and its theme completely reinforces the mechanics.  It’s a beautiful sad ballet.  I would put this up there with Dread in terms of one night solid RPGs.  If you want a game of loss, struggle, and emotional weight, After the Rain is the beautifully tragic game you are looking for.  100%

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of SCP The Tabletop RPG

Product– SCP The Tabletop RPG

System- SCP The Tabletop RPG

Producer– 26 Letters Publishing

Price– $19.99 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/334521/SCP-The-Tabletop-RPG?affiliate_id=658618

TL; DR-Secure this book! 96%

Basics–  Secure, Contain, Protect!  SCP is probably the internet’s best and worst kept secret.  The SCP is the largest collaborative storytelling project in the world, outside of the Lovecraft Mythos, and all of the Lovecraft Mythos fits into the SCP!  The SCP is a clandestine organization that is lawful neutral at best, doing horrible things in the name of saving as many as they can.  Players take the roles of SCP personnel, attempting to deal with the things that bump in the night and hopefully kill as few as they can along the way.  Let’s look at the pieces.

Breakdown-

Base mechanics-  Character generation is point buy, but you buy dice.  When you do anything you roll up to four dice.  From those four dice you take the maximum of two of them and add any skill ranks you have in the action.  If you hit the difficulty, you succeed!

Dice-This game uses everything from D8s to d20s.  When you buy dice, for every three D8s you buy, you can then buy 1d10.  This gives you an extra bonus.  For every two d10s you buy, you can buy a d12 and get an additional bonus.  You can build an absolute unit for strength but if you can’t do intelligence actions, you will have some major problems!  Remember your team when you build characters.

Exploding dice-If you roll the maximum result you get an extra dice that you roll and use.  You can get some truly powerful rolls when your D12 explodes into a d20!

The rest-The rest of the system breaks down like most other similar systems with lots of skills.  The skills are the bread and butter of this game as you focus your abilities to do awesome stuff.

Now the breakdown!

Mechanics or Crunch-This game feels like a fun remix of Savage Worlds.  The idea of different sized dice and the mix of multiple dice means you get more average results.  I love random dice, but sometimes you just get hosed by probability.  When you throw four d12 at a problem, the law of averages doesn’t bite you as hard as it can, most of the time.  It’s simple and easy to play.  This system’s only problem is there are a ton of skills.  The good of a ton of skills is you can truly build that character you have in mind.  The bad of a ton of skills is your awesome mountain man can be lost in the big city as overspecialization is fun but if you are not keyed into the adventure, it can lead you to be sidelined.  That’s the only real issue I have with the crunch here, so this is a solid system!.  4.5/5

Theme or Fluff– SCP, are you the good guys or the bad guys? YES!  The fluff here backs up the nature that the SCP are here to help, but maybe not here to help you in particular!  If you want to play a morally grey character, then this gives you the solid background to do it well.   5/5

Execution– PDF? Yes.  Hyperlinked?  Yes.  I like the layout, the text, and the makeup of the whole book.  There are pregens and an adventure to get you playing right away.  I really love how the character creation is set up with step by step instruction, even pointing to the areas on the character sheet.   My one minor problem is some of the set up.  The book divides itself based on the class of personnel.  Which isn’t bad, but it means you have to go to multiple places to see all the toys and equipment.  It’s not a major issue, but a small annoyance.  Otherwise, this is a solid book that shows how I want things done.  4.9/5

Summary– Let’s not be a bad guy, let’s not be a good guy, let’s be the one keeping everyone safe.  The SCP is a fun playground where horrible things are done to prevent something even worse.  That’s a fun setup and combined with solid mechanics and an amazing book this is well worth your money.  If you like Savage Worlds and want the best collaborative horror you can find on the internet in your game, this is a solid addition to game night. 96%

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of DCC Day #2: Beneath the Well of Brass

Product– DCC Day #2: Beneath the Well of Brass

System- Dungeon Crawl Classics

Producer– Goodman Games

Price– $6.00 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/352617/DCC-Day-2-Beneath-the-Well-of-Brass?term=beneath+the+well+of+brass?affiliate_id=658618

TL; DR– Great intro fun with some crazy story elements. 97%

Basics–  Dragged by a brutal “king”, you have to find the secret of immortality or your village dies.  You are nobodies when you go into the volcanic tunnel under a mountain, but you will emerge heroes if you survive!

Mechanics or Crunch-This is a great adventure for starter heroes.  The players will get a kick out of this adventure as they get the basics overall.  One issue is that there isn’t much combat here.  There are traps, some crazy bits, and a finale, but not a ton of fights.  A bit more would make this more fun.  Also, most of my players get through this adventure in about three hours, so it’s a bit short.  A few more fights might help this one.  But what is here is nicely balanced, and a fun intro for your newer players.  4.5/5

Theme or Fluff– Oh DCC, never change!  This story is crazy as you just get dumped into the dungeon, and then planar transport before level 1!  Solid crazy stuff here; hellknights, a city of djinn, and a thug who needs killing all feature into this adventure.  This adventure is just crazy gonzo fun for your players.   5/5

Execution– PDF? Yes.  Hyperlinked?  Yes.  THIS IS LESS THAN 20 PAGES AND IT HAS HYPERLINKS!  Goodman games knows how to put out some solid stuff.  It has crazy, old school art.  It’s easy to read.  It’s fun to read on its own.  It’s all the things I want in an intro adventure.  5/5

Summary-Solid work here for DCC Game Day.  If you want to have some quick intro fun for your players to enter the world of DCC RPG.  This is a well written, well crafted, easy to read adventure that is something almost every DCC gamer and honestly every RPG player should try.  Check this one out quickly!  97%

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of Pathfinder Society Scenario #2-02: Mountain of Sea and Sky

Product– Pathfinder Society Scenario #2-02: Mountain of Sea and Sky

System- Pathfinder

Producer– Paizo

Price– $5.99 here https://paizo.com/products/btq024wz?Pathfinder-Society-Scenario-202-Mountain-of-Sea-and-Sky 

TL; DR-A better first scenario! 98%

Basics–  Pathfinder!  The Society calls!  A new lodge is being built and new agents are needed to help with getting the area settled. You won’t be wielding a hammer.  The land needs to be purified and the locals may help or hurt if you make enough friends.  An intro adventure for levels 3 to 6.

Mechanics or Crunch-I love the crunch here.  There are a ton of fights, but none drag on.  Also, there are multiple things like social encounters, exploration, and some solid fights as well.  Heck there is even a hard boss fight, but like all good RPGs, if you play smart and make friends, life is easier.  This feels like a great introduction to the system and world, even better than 2-01.  5/5

Theme or Fluff– Story, combat, exploration, and social-all parts of a solid whole that make a fun adventure.  When I run this I have a blast and so do my players.  Nothing drags; there is always time left but you leave feeling full.  More adventures like this are needed to pull new pathfinders into the fold.  5/5

Execution– PDF? Yes.  Hyperlinked?  Yes.  Good layout, handout, and all the other basics make this a solid adventure.  The only thing I don’t like are the maps that are marked up so I have to buy the other map somewhere else.  That always feels cash grabby, but that is the only bad thing here.  4.75/5

Summary-I love this adventure.  You get new locations, new characters, and solid fights that make a fun adventure.  It’s balanced well with a fun boss fight and great execution that makes running this a blast.  Would like clean maps, but that is my only problem.  If you want some intro to Pathfinder, you won’t go wrong with this one.  98%

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of Starfinder Society Scenario #1-16: Dreaming of the Future

Product– Starfinder Society Scenario #1-16: Dreaming of the Future

System- Starfinder

Producer– Paizo

Price– $5.99 here https://paizo.com/products/btpya08w?Starfinder-Society-Scenario-116-Dreaming-of-the-Future 

TL; DR-Good introduction to the world of Starfinder Society.  92%

Basics–  Starfinder!  Society calls!  New Starfinders are needed to help find the pieces of an old tablet that will open a long lost vault in the stars.  This adventure is four short scenes that are all tied together in one adventure.

Mechanics or Crunch-This is a good introductory adventure that has some exploration, combat, space combat, and a bit of social interaction.  The only downside is the pieces may be a bit easy for most players.  Even pregens have an easy go of this one.  But it’s fun nonetheless.  4.5/5

Theme or Fluff– This adventure is four short adventures that all tie together.  It’s a bit rough between the pieces, but the goal of this one is to be more an intro to the world, Starfinder Society, and the system. It does a solid enough job with a decent story providing the basics of the world and story of it.  4.5/5

Execution– PDF? Yes.  Hyperlinked?  Yes.  Good layout, handout, and all the other basics make this a solid adventure.  The pieces I don’t like are the maps that you have to buy because the maps are marked up.  I understand why, but it’s still annoying.  That’s the worst part of the execution, so that is not bad at all.  4.75/5

Summary-. Dreaming of the Future is a solid introduction with a few rough parts.  The rough parts are all due to the episodic nature of this one.  The pieces are short but that helps with new players learning the system.  If you want a fun quick adventure for a new group of Starfinders, you would have a hard time finding a better one than this one.  92%

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of Achtung! Cthulhu 2d20: Operation Vanguard

Product– Achtung! Cthulhu 2d20: Operation Vanguard

System- Achtung! Cthulhu 2d20

Producer– Modiphius

Price– $6.99 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/355128/Achtung-Cthulhu-2d20-Operation-Vanguard?affiliate_id=658618 

TL; DR– Almost perfect but not what I wanted.  97%

Basics–  Time to go, soldier!  You just stopped a Black Sun ritual, so now it’s off to stop more Nazi shenanigans!  What could they be doing off at sea?

Mechanics or Crunch-Achtung! Cthulhu 2d20 does almost all the things I want and does them right, and this adventure has that as well.  Solid monsters and encounters lead you through a stealth to destruction mission with lots of fun along the way.  Just well done crunch if you like the 2d20 system.  5/5

Theme or Fluff– The theme/fluff/story is where I have my one major problem.  The story itself is great.  Investigate Nazi base, destroy, stop bad guys-all the fun things players want to do in Pulp Weird War II.  But, this was billed as the sequel to the starter adventure, and it is, but it’s just a second adventure after the first.  They are not connected in any real way.  It doesn’t tell as much of a continuing story aside from “go destroy more weird stuff.”  Go destroy the weird stuff is honestly 90% of A!C 2d20, and that’s why my players and I are here.  But, I wanted the escape from France of the last adventure.  My players LEVELED the castle in the last one as nothing stops evil like 40 TONS of stone to the head.  So my expectations were slightly let down.  If you don’t have the same expectation, you will have a blast.  4.5/5

Execution– PDF? Yes.  Hyperlinked?  Yes, extremely well done.  I LOVE THIS PRODUCT.  A page with pictures to cut out to give to players for handouts, hyperlinks EVERYWHERE, easy to read, nice stat blocks, and TWO VERSIONS as a less graphics intensive one makes my tablet run better all make me a happy GM.  This is how I want books made.  5/5Summary– Oh A!C 2d20… you make me so happy.  It’s a well done, slick system, and this is a well done slick adventure for it.  I just wish this was more “direct sequence” and less “continuing adventures”, but oh well.  If you don’t have my singular crazy obsession with continuity, then you will absolutely LOVE this book.  From crunch, to story, to just general production, I’m glad to have this one. 97%