Basics– Strange lights in the mist! The old lighthouse calls! The local crazy calls forth a group of adventurers to see what horrors her harrow cards have foretold! A dungeon crawl for characters level one to four.
Mechanics or Crunch– This is a straight up dungeon crawl. There is a dungeon lighthouse in a marsh. You are told to check it out. Overall, its slick quick rooms with lots of fights. There are some things I think are a bit rough like some things are listed with different names, so that made the experience a bit harder to dig through as a GM. However, the players have solid fights with fun things to discover. 4.5/5
Theme or Fluff– This is a dungeon crawl. There is a town and it gets a full write-up in both the player guide and the first adventure, but honestly, it’s background. The adventure literally just starts you at the foot of the dungeon. I would like a bit more lead up for my players. Otherwise, this megadungeon ends up like the random generated dungeons where I just mindlessly kill orks on my phone. The dungeon is nice and atmospheric, so the story beyond the start is built on show don’t tell. 4.5/5
Execution– PDF? YEP! Hyperlinked? Kind of. The writing is good, the layout is nice, and the flow is quick. The book has bookmarks in the PDF, but it doesn’t have clickable links in the parts. That would help as this is over 60 pages and hopping around is a pain. What I absolutely LOVE is the maps. There is a separate map file given with the PDF. That map lets you add and remove things like secret doors and the grid. That makes life SO much easier to run and align online or digitally. Paizo knows how to make a solid book. 4.75/5
Summary– Been looking forward to this one for a bit. Some hack and slash is fun, and having some Pathfinder hack and slash is a blast. Now, the one thing I think I would like different is a bit more story to the carnage. Some lead in as my players need to know why they are killing things. The crunch is good, but a few things are just slightly off enough to annoy the GM. Players won’t notice. The book itself is solid and something I loved to read. This adventure is a solid start to a good old fashioned kick in the door and kill the bad guy campaign. 92%
Basics-Time for a train heist! Can you infiltrate a train, get all the pieces, and break into the vault all while not alerting the entire Breland military? This is a multi table event that can be run with a single table as well. Now to our thoughts.
Mechanics or Crunch– THIS IS NOT A COMBAT ADVENTURE! Big alert on this! If the party is down to kill everyone all the time, they will not have fun! But, if you want to flex your non-combat expertise, this will be an amazing experience. The crunch here is well done and the new mechanics are well executed. I would like a bit more fighting so the fighter with no skills still gets to do a bit more. From cooking to social to even some puzzles, this is a fun change from the standard kill everything adventure. 4.75/5
Theme or Fluff– Since this is not a dungeon crawl, the fluff here has to be tight. And it delivers! There are a lot of materials here to make this feel like an upper class train ride. Players duck between cooking, gambling, social, and even some stealth all while trying to blend in. There are a lot of pieces to the puzzles of this adventure, but honestly they all fit well together in a great picture. 5/5
Execution– PDF? YEP! Hyperlinked? Yes there are bookmarks. The adventure is set up with enough information that you can run as a multi table event or single table easily. The handouts are well done and easy for the players to read. The adventure reads well and quick, so there is no confusion on what is going on. This team executed another solid adventure. 5/5
Summary-I love the new format of epics in DnD. I love more players being able to play. That makes me happy, and would alone be worth a good review. But, the Eberron team is constantly delivering solid adventures that I love. This is no exception. If you want to be part of a train heist that is amazing to play and easy to run, then grab this adventure. 98%
Basics-Choombatta, it’s time to make some EB! Cyberpunk Red is the latest version of the popular Cyberpunk series, taking place decades after the last edition. Players try to survive in Night City as gangs, governments, and corporations all fight for dominance. What will you do in the dark to make money? Let’s do a breakdown
basics-This is a 1d10 based system. You roll a d10, add an attribute, and a skill and you are done. If that number is better than the difficulty value (DV) or higher then your opponent, you win. That’s it. Hacking, fighting, seducing, it’s all 1d10+stat+skill. Slick and simple.
combat-Combat is the same as above with 1d10 + stat for initiative and each round you get a move and an action. Attacking vs defending is again 1d10+stat+skill vs 1d10+stat+skill. You will roll each time for damage and attack. You crit on a 10 and roll another 1d10 to get bonuses to hit. Beat the defender and do damage based on melee, ranged, or how much chrome cyberware you are sporting. Armor protects you but each time you take damage over its protection value, it degrades. When you take enough punishment, you gain penalties to all your rolls. Eventually you get knocked out and you need help ASAP or you die quick! Healing is slow as this is a realistic game where bullets hurt!
hacking– Hacking uses the same basics as above except your net actions are accelerated as you get multiple actions in a round if you have better gear. You also hack in/jack in physically and have to stay close unless you get dumped out and bad things happen. Once you are in, basically all computers operate like buildings with elevators. You investigate a floor and see what’s there. Black ICE and other hackers defend places, so keep your wits about you as you dig for pay data and machine controls to keep yourself alive and paid!
Ok, that’s the basics of the box. Now for my thoughts.
Mechanics or Crunch– Cyberpunk is a solid game that is realistic, but maybe a bit slow. The base mechanic of roll dice, add, and done is good, but this is a combat heavy game. I like the speed that regular rolls have, but I feel that rolling to dodge slows down games like this. D & D is as heavy a combat game, but I feel that the static defence value helps with that speed. Otherwise, it’s a pretty slick system where you do move quickly getting past obstacles and negotiating the dark underbelly of Night City. 4.5/5
Theme or Fluff– This book does a solid job explaining the world, but I would like a bit more for the included adventure. Night City and the world it is in feels real. You can tell this was written long ago in the long ago past of 1988 (god I am getting old!) as it has the feel of what they thought the future would be back then. The world is well built and I’m glad to see a future where Africa doesn’t take the brunt of the world going to hell. My one minor concern is the adventure that is included. I want a run where I can score money and fame. This one is more an Assault on Precinct 13. Not bad, but I wanted something else. Overall, this box portrays a solid world with only a few issues. 4.5/5
Execution– PDF? YEP! Hyperlinked? Yes! Starting strong! Overall, the layout is good, but I have some issues as some small things are left out or included in areas away from the revelivent text, like how armor degrades. It’s here but it’s mentioned in one place and fully explored later. It is a quick, fun read,, but the jumpstart format always leaves a few things on the cutting room floor that are needed. I do enjoy the maps and other pieces, and the book flows well. This is a decently executed book that only has a few minor issues. 4.5/5
Summary-Overall, this is a solid introduction to the world of Cyberpunk. I am left wanting more, but I don’t hate what’s here. I want more adventures and such. The intro one is good, but not the adventure I wanted. The world is well built, and the crunch is solidly designed. I have small issues with game speed and book odds and ends, but those are minor compared to everything else. This was like a solid taster to a good meal. I want more, and I look forward to the whole meal. I like Cyberpunk, and I can’t wait to play and see some more Cyberpunk Red! 90%
TL; DR– Fun, but you will need to provide your own glue for this adventure! 93%
Basics-Who can save Christmas?! Santa is sick and who can save him? Gather his friends, find the horrible Grinch, and save Christmas for all the good little boys and girls!
Mechanics or Crunch– Goodman Games knows how to make a solid adventure! They wrote the system, so they know how to make the crunch. Solid monsters, solid puzzles, and solid extra tables for encounters. This is a well put together adventure. 5/5
Theme or Fluff– This is a fun adventure, but the story is a bit off. You don’t need to hit all the major NPC to find the horrible grinch. And the NPCs are the best part! This adventure will pull at your Frank and Bass Christmas movie memories. Lots of the old school heroes like Yukon and even Hermey, who becomes a Dentalmancer!, make appearances and serve to build out the story. I just wish there was more of a reason to meet more of them! Solid parts here, but the glue holding the scenes together here is a bit lacking. 4/5
Execution– PDF? YEP! Hyperlinked? Not really, but it’s ok. This is a well executed adventure. I love this one. There are crazy fun puzzles for the players to work through and there are monsters to fight that feel fun. I love all the little touches that are put into the adventure. Heck this adventure even has a new spell for the players to use. You can buy this from Drive Thru and be playing in five minutes based on the easy to read format and beautiful drawings and maps. Goodman Games executes another adventure amazingly! 5/5
Summary-Ho ho holy crap this is a fun one. If you want something fun to plunk down into your DCC/MCC game, this is a solid adventure to run. Mathematically, it works perfectly, and it’s executed well. I love all the little pieces here from new spells to the crazy tables built into this game. I wish the scenes were better connected, but that’s the one flaw to this amazing adventure. Check this one out if you get a chance! 93%
Basics-Who’s the man in the mask?! Shiver is a horror RPG with some serious table top influences. Let’s look at the pieces and give a review.
Basics– This is a mostly d6 based system. Each time you do anything, you roll a number of d6 equal to your stat for the skill. The game uses speciality d6s with specific symbols on them. Every symbol that matches the task (like strength for a strength based task) is a success. Get enough successes and you do the thing. Don’t, and you fail! You can also roll luck symbols which allow you to add additional dice to later rolls by banking those points. There are also strange symbols. These have OTHER effects depending on the scenario or character you are playing.
Talent dice– you can also get d10s in each skill for a specific action in a skill. These have much higher chances of success and have a few strange symbols for good measure.
Combat and monsters- wouldn’t be horror if there were not monsters that would show up and kill you! Combat works pretty much like everything else. You mostly use grit as the skill and the brawling ability. Each monster has a challenge rating and that is the number of successes you need to hurt the monster. If you get two more than needed, then you get a critical hit. Critical hits are random and you get a random effect, ranging from extra damage to knocking down the target.
Monsters also have random effects when hit depending on their type. Basic monsters only do something every once in a while, but big monsters respond to each hit!
Combat rounds are quick with people acting in the beginning for fast characters, middle for characters who don’t need to go fast, and last for hurt characters or slow people.
DOOM!-Horror needs suspense and you get that with doom! Each failure and some strange dice rolls result in the clock ticking closer to midnight. As we get closer and close to midnight, the game gets harder and things happen! Success means good things, and failure has consequences. Sometimes the heroes don’t win!
Ok, now my thoughts.
Mechanics or Crunch-Got to love a committed horror game! Shiver is an easy to learn game. Heck, what you saw above is the basic rules! Roll d6s, see if you win. The doom mechanic means randomly doing things has consequences. This means the basic mechanics of rolling ties right into the theme. Also, that mechanic of dice, doom, and failure reminds me of many board games I’ve played, and I love those games! That is some good mechanics execution! 5/5
Theme or Fluff-Already said I love the mechanics and they flow right into the horror of the theme. This game is amazing for its flow of dice rolling going right into the basic mechanics. I love the horror and the difficulty of the game. People will focus on their roles as each die only gets you a ⅙ chance to succeed at an action, so less random rolling happens and people play their roles in the horror story. I love what’s here! 5/5
Execution– PDF? YEP! Hyperlinked? Maybe? I got a prerelease, but I like what’s here. The art looks like Hellboy, which is good. The only thing I don’t like is fancy dice. I know, I know, it’s a small thing to whine about, but fancy dice are hard to get after a kickstarter. You do get rules to deal with regular dice, but that’s my one minor issue. Outside of that, this is an amazing RPG that you need to get onto. 4.9/5Summary-DON’T SLEEP ON THIS! There are less than 50 hours left. Go get this. Solid rules, solid theme, and good execution of the book mean this is a game you can get playing in under 30 minutes when you get the PDF. For 21 bucks or 15 magic foriegn money ( I kid I kid!), I am already in, and YOU SHOULD BE TOO! 99%
Basics– SOMETHING TOUCHED MY LEG! Your band of rag tag….honestly level zero losers has to survive a ship flooding but wait! There is a mysterious island on the horizon. What could be there? Time for another level zero funnel! No spoilers for the fun secrets of why the ship sank or what’s to be found on the island in this review.
Mechanics or Crunch-I love the crunch of the DCC level zero. Lots of death whittles characters away until you get a character with its mettle tested. This adventure is no exception as characters die on ship, in the water, and on the mysterious island. Not only that; there is a ton of new content, from crazy weapons to new toys for the players and Judge. This adventure has a ton of new material that any DCC fan will love. 5/5
Theme or Fluff-This story is a fun one, but has a bit of trouble with the final touchdown. The story is great up to the point of why you explore the island. The basics are to get off the ship and survive. From there the adventure is basically up to the GM. The players are not given a goal aside from what the Judge gives them. The adventure gives you tools to make it happen, but it’s up to you. The judge given free reign isn’t bad, but I would like a bit more direction for the judge. 4.5/5
Execution– PDF? YEP! Hyperlinked? Yes! This is solidly DCC. The art, the layout, and the text are all great DCC standards. This is exactly what I want from a DCC module. My one complaint is I wish this would be the retail price. I did the kickstarter for $10 which came with the extra materials. This doesn’t come with the extra stuff, so the price is a tad high for what you get. Overall, a solidly produced adventure for DCC RPG. 4.5/5
Summary-Yar! Time for a funnel at sea! I like this funnel. There are never enough funnels, so more is always better. This stands out by providing a lot of fun toys for the Judge and players to have after the adventure as well as a fun location to play in. It’s a bit pricey for what you get and it is a tad open ended without a clear goal for me, but those small things aside, it’s a great adventure. If you need a funnel that your players have not seen, this is a solid new adventure they will enjoy. 93%
Basics– Need some space in your DCC RPG? Want to play Starfinder and DCC? Then Star Crawl is for you. Let’s see what the new things are from DCC RPG.
Basics-Can you play DCC RPG? Then you can play this. Honestly that’s the big mechanics of this. Seriously! That’s not a bad thing.
Races- Star Crawl introduces race templates. You choose a race template that you add to a character at level 1 or 0. It’s a few ability changes and a few extra abilities. Nothing too crazy, but some solid additional crunch to the system.
Space ships- You can’t have space opera without space ships. This system adds in space much like Starfinder. Basically, pilot checks determine who goes from low to high as you outmaneuver other ships. It’s simple to keep in the flavor of DCCRPG.
This is’t a complete change so much as an incremental change. Let’s look at my thoughts on this.
Mechanics or Crunch-This is both the high point and the low point of the book. Why high? The new stuff is great! I love what’s here. Solid new classes. Solid application of the basic ideas of DCC RPG. Solid new races. Everything here is great. Why low? It didn’t feel like enough. I want more spaceships. I want more space options. It’s kind of a short book. It was great, but I was just left wishing for more to help me build my space world.
Theme or Fluff-I was looking for some Star Wars DCC RPG, and this delivers. You get new settings to play, and the fluff to get there. What I do need more of is world building. It’s a solid intro book with the basic ideas of the universe, but I need more. The included adventure builds that out, but I would have liked a bit more history, background, and details to draw me in and help me make it my own. 4.5/5
Execution– PDF? YEP! Hyperlinked? no…I can live without the hyperlinks, but they help, especially for an intro book. The rest of the book is well done. The art is simple, but charming. The layout works well. It reads easily, and is approachable. Overall, this is a solid book, but I still want a few more tech toys. 4.5/5
Summary– My players and I are chomping at the bit to get into this. I like this book and world. The mechanics are good, but I need more toys for the sandbox. The world is solid, but needs more to help me build and expand. All in all, for a small publisher, this is an amazing book that I really recommend to anyone who needs a bit more scifi in their fantasy. If you want some space fun, throw your DCC RPG players into this space opera. 88%
TL; DR– Do you think Call of Cthulhu has too much Crunch? 88%
Basics– Should the story stop when the players just suck at rolling? Trail of Cthulhu believes that story trumps mechanics as story should drive the game. Let’s look at the pieces.
Overview-Trail of Cthulhu is a skill system like Call of Cthulhu, but unlike Call of Cthulhu you have two types of skills: investigative and general. General covers any contested rolls and investigative covers learning the horrors of the mystery. Let’s break that down.
Investigative Skills- You enter a room, ask to search the library for secret books, and you find all secret books. If you have ranks in the appropriate skills, you find all the books. That’s it. If you couldn’t find the books, the story might stop. Trail of Cthulhu focuses more on you learning the mystery and less on you flubbing rolls to learn the mystery. You build these skills with points like ranks, but those points are spent to learn more, not just enough. Characters with even one rank would find all the books, then can spend points to learn more, like find the right places in the hidden books to skip something horrible or learn more secrets beyond the base mystery.
General Skills- Punch a guy, out run a monster, and hide from the cultists are all opposed rolls where the story isn’t the issue, so they become general skills. This system uses ONE d6. That’s it. You want to to a thing? Roll a d6 and aim for a 4. Before you roll, you can spend points from the pool to add to the roll. Some skills give you more damage or more hit points or sanity, but for the most part opposed rolls happen with skills or trying to do a thing that isn’t dependent on the story happening at all.
Honestly, that’s it. There is sanity and HP, but for the most part the two types of rolls define the system. Let’s see my thoughts.
Mechanics or Crunch-I like crunch (heck I build point based Shadowrun characters for fun!), but for the most part, this is a quick, light system. My more roll-happy friends freak out when we play as they NEED to roll to search, but the option to make story happen as the goal is a good one. If you just want a game that happens fast without a ton of hassle because you didn’t spec into the right build at level 4 to cast the one spell to put the deepone to sleep, but you will want a horror game then this is the crunch for you. 4.5/5
Theme or Fluff– This game is put out by the premier Lovecraft people in the industry. They know their stuff. It feels right, but it also feels like Indiana Jones as they build Pulp and straight Lovecraft versions of the rules into it. If you want to punch the ghoul, then this can be your game, or if you want to go mad at the sight of a corpse, then this can also be your game. The book builds out a full world in a quick way to help new GMs get running right away. 5/5
Execution– PDF? YEP! Hyperlinked? YES! I have the two big things I want, but why am I not happy? Well… RPG books can be built one of two ways: mechanics first or theme first. This goes character build first. I don’t know what ANY of the math means until WAY far into this book. When I googled it it made perfect sense, and then 20 pages later I saw the explanation. That is not good. I like the world that is built with the book, but it’s a pain to read; a three column design isn’t great. This book is modern, but some of the design decisions are just a bit off. 3.75/5
Summary– Slick and simple. This game is a fun one regardless of the book design. I like the game this makes. The solid focus on story first is nice. I would like a bit more crunch, but simple is fun sometimes. The story and theme of the book are top notch. The execution isn’t. If you want a game that starts quick and plays quick but still has great Lovecraftian horror, then Trail of Cthulhu is worth checking out. 88%
TL; DR– The Cypher system and Shadowrun had a baby! 93%
Basics– What do you want to play? The Pip system book is a generic system book that focuses on the mechanics of the pip system and all the different worlds you can play in. Let’s dig in.
Basics-This is SOLIDLY a skill based system. Everything you do is based on how many skill dice you have and EVERYTHING is a d6. Basically you take however many ranks you have in a skill plus your quality ranks (think specializations that may count for some activities) and roll that many six sided dice, counting 4s, 5s, and 6s as successes. These are called your white dice. Then you or the GG (game guide, the GM for this system) roll a number of dice equal to the challenge rating of whatever you’re up against and counts 4s, 5s, and 6s. These are the black dice If you get more white successes than black, you succeed.
Combat, AC, and the rest- We don’t really do that here. You have hit points, but as a skill system you basically tell the GM how it goes down. You just dodge the hit, then you roll athletics to dodge, but you might say I roll stealth to hide and avoid or survive to get out of the way into cover. You succeed on the dodge, you don’t take the hit. You attack with different traits as well,and damage is just difference in hits if you succeed on the attack.
Gear and Character Building- Character building is quick too. You choose a basic archetype that gives you some mental and physical hit points, basic starting skills, an ability, and a hindrance to roleplay. Then you spend build points buying skills, quality ranks (specializations in a part of a skill), and advanced qualities (feats you have to meet prerequisites for). Gear is the same way. You spend other build points buying different gear. It’s all generic to help you build a character for any setting that you might want to pay.
Fortune- Magic cheaty points! Fortune is how you can control your rolls. Everyone wants rerolls, HP, and other things so you can control the action a bit, and Fortune is that thing. Roleplay well, do cool things, and play nice and you get fortune tokens.
Ok, what do I think of all this?
Mechanics or Crunch– For the crunch here, you have to ask yourself one of two very important questions-”Do I like the cypher system, but want a tad more crunch?” or “Do I like Shadowrun but could use a bit more speed?”. If yes, you will love this. It’s a simple system where you make lots of choices and control a lot without having too many rules in the way. That also means that players can have a HORRIBLE time if the GG and they just don’t work well, so it’s got that OSR vibe of the system flexes a lot for fun, but your GM can ruin your experience. Overall, the base mechanic running EVERYTHING is amazing to me. You do need to coordinate with your GG to make sure your awesome character isn’t completely built against what he/she is thinking so your game time won’t be an issue. Solid quick mechanics make this a good system to learn and get into. 4.75/5
Theme or Fluff– It’s always hard to review a generic system without a world. There are some splashes of places to play, but mostly this book is how to play and check out the other stuff we got for specific places to play. It’s got good intros so I like what I see. The book does go a bit more fantasy than modern or future, even though it supports everything. Good intro to a gateway to several new worlds. 4.5/5
Execution– PDF? YEP! Hyperlinked? YES! Solid execution here, but a few issues that hurt it a bit. Text is easy to read. Pictures break up the flow, and I like a lot of the toys on offer. However, I would like a few more examples of actual play. Tell me how numbers happen. That’s the big issue here. It’s a generic system, so as the GG I need more guidance on what to throw at my players and how my players make the dice pools. Overall, it’s decent, but if it were to provide a bit more walkthrough of a game and a combat scene, I would love this more. 4.75/5
Summary– Well, I’m in. This is a fun system that I can get my players running in about 10 minutes after they select pregens or 20 minutes if they have to build people. It’s quick, easy, and negotiable. Players have control, but with all negotiable systems, dialogue will be key. Make sure everyone is on the same page, and players will enjoy this game. I like Sci-fi, so I want a bit more of that in the base book. But, what’s here is good. As for the physical build of the book, it’s done well. I still need more examples, but I think I can run my first game well enough. I like what I’ve found in this one. If you want some quick d6 gaming in any universe, this is worth a look. 93%
Basics– GONNA BE SORE IN THE MORNING! Hellboy jumps from three movies and multiple comics into an RPG. This kickstarter is for a Dungeons and Dragons 5e expansion featuring the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defence. Is this a cash grab or something full of soul?
Mechanics or Crunch– This is 5e, which is good, but it’s so much more. This game has the standard 5e mechanics but adds its own touches like new ways to heal in a fight as well as doom and ingenuity. These are new pools that are like inspiration or hero points, but a full new system that makes this feel like the comics. Players roll an extra d10 with 1s earning doom points, points for the GM to hurt/mess with players, and 10s earning ingenuity, points for the players to play with. It feels pulpy and something that honestly DMs might steal for other games they run that need a comic feel. It’s easy to slap a coat of paint on a fighter and be done, but honestly this book does a lot more to make the game its own. 5/5
Theme or Fluff– This isn’t a full product, but the adventure and the overall pieces makes me think Hellboy. Sure I know where the pictures come from as there isn’t a ton of new art, but who cares. I like the pieces here and think that this feels right in the Hellboy world. Heck there is a full free adventure that feels like a BPRD comic. Solid world building here. 5/5
Execution– PDF? YEP! Hyperlinked? YES! The big boys of the RPG world can’t even pull that off and this FREE PRODUCT comes out swinging with solid text design and flow, good execution of its pieces, and a great explanation of how to play 5e that even the base 5e book might have trouble matching while giving me new toys to play with. I would like a bit more pictures to break up text, but if this is the full book, I’ll be happy. 5/5
Summary-I love the Hellboy comics, the hellboy movies (yes even the latest one), and I love DnD 5e. This is a no brainer for me. Solid old and new mechanics, solid world building and theme,and solid execution of a PDF make this something you should get NOW. Heck, even if you don’t want to pay THIS IS FREE! The base buy-in of the RPG is about 14 bucks, and I honestly expect that from MUCH smaller companies for MUCH less. Check this one out! 100%