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Improv for Gamers
by Nathan L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/02/2020 23:16:57

I ran my group through some of these activities and it has made a measurable difference to the quality of my games. An excellent book perfect for groups that want their main goal to be "to tell an interesting story together"



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
Improv for Gamers
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Fate Accessibility Toolkit • Prototype Edition
by Aaron K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/28/2020 18:04:14

This toolkit will save you a lot of research into topics that you may not be aware of -- which makes it even better because you wouldn't research it if you were not aware of it. It gives background on specific issues that you may face with a disability, as well as describing things that you may assume to be an issue but may not be. Very importantly, and fitting for FATE, it gives a positive as well as negative spin on aspects based on disabilities. I'm a bit anxious how much cooler my character with anxiety issues is than me with anxiety issues, but the same goes for their amazing physique.

When actually running a PC or NPC with a specific disability it gives good, condensed information -- that you will probably need to read multiple times to really digest it. This is not a negative, it just means that it's dealing with a complex topic in a differentiated way.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate Accessibility Toolkit • Prototype Edition
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Monster of the Week
by Judd C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/18/2020 11:36:39

> Great for a narrative, so the system isn't very crunchy. > After a succinct and fair reply, playing another session, and finishing listening to The Adventure Zone: Amnesty I'm upping my review. Easily one of my favorite systems and reading the book made me grasp Keeping the game easily. the repetition is good for people not familiar with the concepts and veterans generating new ideas from old tropes.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monster of the Week
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Creator Reply:
Glad you like! The redundancy (I assume you're talking about the text, not the layout) is intentional, in an effort to minimize page-flipping and increase retention of information.
Fate Horror Toolkit
by Conor M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/17/2020 23:06:36

Fate is my favourite system but for years I never ran or played horror in it, because I'd so often heard people say it just wasn't suited.

I bought this because I was curious, and a couple of weeks later I ran my favourite horror one-shot ever, in Fate Core with some modifications and tools I'd gleaned from this book.

I've now run several more and I wouldn't hesitate to run a horror game in Fate these days: with a little tweaking and thinking, the system becomes a great fit. The Fate Point Economy was maybe the one thing I feared would break horror the most, but the advice in the toolkit helps you turn Fate points into a desperate version of the "how much do you want it" central question they usually embody.

It's an excellent Fate sourcebook, but honestly it's far more than that, it's a great piece of writing about what horror in gaming really is, the different flavours of it, why it works when it works and why it doesn't when something is off.

I've been playing and running TTRPGs since 1991 and Evil Hat remains the company I hold in the highest esteem.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate Horror Toolkit
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Fate Core System
by Conor M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/17/2020 22:53:21

Fate Core is my favourite game system, having played more than I can recall going back to 1991. It’s the best system I’ve seen for modeling fiction and it’s the easiest and most fun to play too. The Fate point economy creates a flow in the game, one friend described Fate as having the potential to mix a great RPG with the feeling of a game of poker.

It's true that it's probably not a system that can handle absolutely anything, but I've played and run most genres I can think of in it and it's always performed incredibly.

The Fate Horror Toolkit is also very worthwhile, it's a great guide for horror in Fate, but it's also a great guide to horror in gaming. I used advice from it to run my favourite horror game ever, in Fate.

Quite simply, Fate deserves every bit of praise it’s had.

Oh and if you like it, consider buying the hard copy book, it's a lovely chunky piece that's a pleasure to read cover to cover.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate Core System
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Fate of Cthulhu
by simone b. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/07/2020 05:23:49

I really loved this product (backed on Kickstarter) and we're enjoing playing it so much!

An Italian language review by me (Recensione in Italiano)

https://dungeonwords.blogspot.com/2020/05/fate-of-cthulhu-recensione-my-two-cents.html

A quick summary in English of what I loved:

  • a new approach to the Cthulhu Mythos, no more investigators delivered as packages around the world, but stories build around them (or better, characters established in the story)
  • no more madness or sanity crap, no more investigators trembling in a corner or gaining improbable phobias to justify a loss of sanity
  • a refreshing "pulp" approach to the Mythos
  • many references to the Lovecraft stories (e.g. the Nyarlatothep's timeline)
  • all timelines are a so different playing experience
  • new and exciting magic and rituals system

much more but you should buy the product for it :D



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate of Cthulhu
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Fate Condensed
by Christian A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/06/2020 10:43:42

Remember trying to teach Fate Core to new players, skimming past page after page of fluff to get to the next game mechanic that actually mattered? Remember searching for a rule over and over only to find that you are looking for the same 5-10 pages each time? This book is what Fate Core should have always been. No fluff, straightforward and elegant.

To me, this isn't Fate Condensed as much as Fate Core is now Fate Bloated.

Oh, and they fixed stress tracks so I can stop re-explaining the same rule every time a player takes damage and starts to mark the track off incorrectly. That alone justifies this entire release!



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Creator Reply:
If only Fate Core had had another 7 years past its release to be released!
Fate Condensed
by Ryan S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/05/2020 21:32:07

This is a great version of FATE. I think they cleaned up FATE CORE and made it a bit more accessable for people unfamilar with FATE games. I am not a big fan of a lot of settings, but the core system has been a favorate at my table; you can do any genre and any style of game with this system.

I wish they had better and more unique settings, but a clever GM can easily make their own with this book. Very constomizable, very personal. It ticks all the boxes it sets out to do.

Condensed is a great quick start as well as a great evolution of a the FATE CORE book. I wish they would have made some thing more concrete, but this is it is a catch 22 of the more concrete it is the more setting specific it is. This is a generic system guild, so it tries to be as generic as it can be to allow the most types of play; I cannot knock it for that reason.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thanks for the review! I hope to be posting a new revision-round of Condensed later today. I'm a little distressed that after we've published several dozen different settings in our digital "Worlds" line, that you're saying "I wish they had better and more unique settings," as I think we've got some crazy good variety going there. If you'd like to discuss what you feel is the gap in our offerings, I'd love to hear. You can reach us at feedback@evilhat.com
Dresden Files RPG Preview: Nevermore
by David v. H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/29/2020 11:46:58

I like the TV Show and the Books. This RPG looked fun and I enjoyed playing it as a players. I have yet GM'ed this game.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dresden Files RPG Preview: Nevermore
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Venture City • A Superpunk Sourcebook for Fate Core
by Andrew S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/25/2020 07:42:34

This game does have some pros:

The setting is fun and an interesting take on superheroics, I quite liked this aspect of the book.

The rules are simple and easy add-ons to the basic fate rules. if you know fate rules most things are a direct extension of that so it cuts down on learning time. Or it would except...

Cons:

The rules only work for about 90% of what I want them to do. There are a lot of pretty basic interactions that there are just not addressed. For one example each power gains special effects when they succeed with style. Now that is fun and evocative, but how does it work with powers that don’t have rolls? You can also spend a FP to activate them so maybe they only have that activation method, but that leaves them significantly weaker than those that you can roll well on.

In addition the terminology is muddled the word “Power” can refer to a number of concepts that are mechanical distinct. You build your power out of powers. Either the first concept should have been powerset or the latter one effects.

The Book feels almost incomplete, the listing of power effects is pretty good, but the list of power themes afterwards is incredibly short. Sure you can just say that players should come up with their own, but not enough guidelines are given since there are only 7 of them and 4 of those are energy-projectors of one flavor or another.

There are some effects like the charged shot collateral damage effect that states it “Eradicates a barrier” What happens if you use it on a stationary character? Auto-kill? Standard attack with no benefits? Completely unharmed since they aren’t an obstacle? Some guidance on these interactions would have been great.

All of these issues are things that have actually caused issues in our gaming group, not just nitpicking.

There are also issues that haven’t come up but are still pretty serious. The fact that the base energy blast power does nearly nothing by itself is a good example of this. It is generally assumed that you have the gear to use your skills so being able to make a basic ranged attack with shoot is basically the same as having shoot, but being able to add in special effects. In comparison the Natural Weapons power grants +2 to fight rolls at the basic level, which means it is actually worth taking, even without enhancements.

I could go on for pages unfortunately. I really like the concept of trying to keep things as simple as possible for ease of play, but this errs a bit too much towards simplicity and doesn’t hold up well to creative players. The only way to really make it work is to sometimes just ignore the rules, which is not why I buy a game book.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Venture City • A Superpunk Sourcebook for Fate Core
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Fate Condensed
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/25/2020 04:28:22

Highly concentrated updated Fate rules - a Mephisto review

Fate Condensed

After Fate Core and Fate Accelerated, Fate Condensed has now been released - a new edition based on Fate Core, but integrating rule changes and enhancements from various sourcebooks back into the rule book. However, this does not make Fate Condensed more comprehensive than Fate Core, because the other approach of this book is to concentrate the 300 pages of Fate Core rules on 20% of the page number. In a sense, this set of rules is an edition 4.5 of Fate.

Due to the small number of pages very compact, the set of rules also starts directly without much introduction and quickly works its way through the basic principles of Fate. It explains the dice system, the results of the dice rolls, the different types of tests and then, of course, the aspects and Fate points. After that, it continues with more specific rule concepts: teamwork, challenges, competitions, conflicts, character development and game mastering. So the book arrives at the optional rules after just over 40 pages - and here you will find adaptations from previous supplements such as states, extreme consequences, etc.

But even in the core of the rules, some changes have been made. For example, the damage system, which up to now has worked with differently weighted damage boxes, is simplified.

What I really liked about Fate Condensed is the fact that the ruleset manages to summarize the Fate rules (and not the stripped-down rules of Fate Accelerated) compactly on about 60 pages. The rule changes and also the optional rules are an excellent addition that can improve the game flow. For players and gamemasters who already have some experience with Fate, Fate Condensed is a great set of rules, also for looking up things quickly. However, Fate newbies will probably miss the examples and explanations in this concentrate and will have a much harder start in this compact form. But those who have already gained first Fate experiences with Fate Accelerated, for example, will find Fate Condensed a very good way to expand to the more extensive Fate rule base. The fact that the book is on the pay-what-you-want makes it an extremely attractive expansion for Fate fans.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate Condensed
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Monster of the Week: Tome of Mysteries
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/25/2020 04:22:50

A massive expansion for Monster of the Week - a Mephisto review

Tome of Mysteries

Monster of the Week not only describes an approach to series where each episode focuses on a new type of monster but is also the title of a roleplaying game based on the rules of Powered by the Apocalypse. In Monster of the Week, player characters act as monster hunters, constantly confronting new monsters.

With Tome of Mysteries, the first expansion to this roleplaying game has been released, which further expands the rules system and setting. It starts with new rules that revolve around the traits of the Weird trait, which depicts typically magic. But now Weird can also be used for unusual techniques, psychic phenomena and the like. This way the game master can adjust the setting, whether magic or other phenomena are in the foreground here (or both exist side by side). Thus the possibilities to use the property Weird become more extensive.

Phenomena is also a new type of mystery, where the focus is not on a monster that needs to be hunted, but on a strange phenomenon, artifact or other threat. The idea here is to be able to depict more adventures in the style of The X-Files. The special moves for the use of Luck are also examined in more detail, and the special move for investigations is modified so that the questions a player can ask with this move are more flexible.

Players will also get more material in the form of four new hunters, namely Gumshoe, a classic private detective, Hex, a witch with forbidden powers, Pararomantic, a hunter with a romantic relationship with a monster, and Searcher, who dedicates his life to the search for the unusual.

The second part of the book consists of essays. They are about clear tips on how to improve the game, how to play Monster of the Week with the short time frame of a convention or how to deal with alternative game themes like gothic horror or children as protagonists. Even though some of these game styles are quite special, you will find very well elaborated and new tips that are not only suitable for Monster of the Week.

The rest of the book - well over half - is made up of about 30 mysteries which cover an extensive range and are sometimes based on well-known inspirations. You can find an adaptation of Wells' time machine, a mystery about Elvis and Nixon or the mysterious computer game Orbital Funk Princess.

The Tome of Mysteries provides extensive material for a Monster of the Week campaign. While the rules and the new playbooks are a nice addition, the focus of this book is actually on the tips and above all the suggestions for mysteries. With no less than 30 of these ideas for adventure (as befits a Powered by The Apocalypse game, these only provide the basic information, but never a defined sequence of events) there should be something for every gaming group to help you play Monster of the Week in the long run - or use this material as a source of inspiration for your own campaign. In my opinion, Tome of Mysteries is an excellent addition to a perfect and very exciting roleplaying game, which is highly recommendable.

(Björn Lippold)



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monster of the Week: Tome of Mysteries
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Fate Accessibility Toolkit • Prototype Edition
by Theodore T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/20/2020 23:49:10

I bought this toolkit because I knew I would find use for it in any RPG system. The Fate Accessibility Toolkit gives advice on all things accessibility, guiding players and gamemasters on how to make games both fun and sensitive. It not only gives you guidance on how to create disabled characters (Sword Cane, anyone?) but also provides guidelines on making games accessible to all players. It brings to relief the disabled characters we already take for granted in our roleplay, the characters and players we should include, and how we can do better.

Since I purchased this during its protype edition, it does not have art yet. So consider this my vote for the full edition, which hopefully will lead eventually to a physical release. Our world needs this.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate Accessibility Toolkit • Prototype Edition
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Fate Condensed
by Jim B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/09/2020 10:04:08

I like the way Fate Condensed is presented.

That said, I still find the Challenge/Contest/Conflict distinction overly fussy; you almost need a flowchart to figure out which resolution mechanism and restrictions apply. They're all really the same thing: A) The PCs are trying to achieve a near-term goal. B) You don't want to reduce the whole thing to a single roll of the dice. C) You want a way to treat the series of rolls as a unified whole. In writing terms, it's one beat (and perhaps a whole scene). You're managing the conflict that makes up the beat.

For me, it's all a Contest. Whoever has the best result in the round -- no matter which action they took -- scores a victory (or two) toward whatever goal they're pursuing. The third victory achieves the goal. If you're trying to escape the erupting volcano, you're free and clear at the third victory, or it has cut off your intended escape path at its third victory. If the storm is trying to capsize your boat, it capsizes your boat at the third victory, or you're safe if you get your third. If you're trying to catch the bandits before they cross the border, you catch up with them at your third victory, or they cross the border at their third victory. If the dynamite "wants" to explode, it blows up on its third victory, or (if you're trying to flee the mine before the dynamite blows) you're safely out of the mine on your third victory.

The intermediate victories also mean something in world. Intermediate victories for PCs fleeing the mine could mean they reach certain waypoints. If the dynamite explodes on its third victory, you know how far the PCs got based on their scores. Or you could leave the victories undefined until they happen, but they still mean something in world. PCs trying to sneak across the compound might have a mishap each time the guards score a victory, but you don't decide what those mishaps will be until they happen.

Sometimes I'll decide that ties go to the environment (instead of making the environment a participant in the contest). Suppose "the yacht you’re searching is careening through Hong Kong harbor while a monsoon rages outside and the boat’s library is on fire." Maybe the contest is the PCs' search vs the raging fire. PC victories give partial or secondary discoveries until they find what they're seeking. The fire consumes more of the yacht each time it scores, forcing the PCs to abandon ship if it reaches three victories. If the PCs and the fire tie, I could give the monsoon a victory. If the monsoon reaches three victories, the yacht capsizes. Intermediate victories by the monsoon would be grim reminders that the ship is in danger, such as severe roll, pitch, or yaw.

I've started applying Fate Contests to non-Fate systems. In one RPG system, we had a habit of letting battles take far too long. The Fate Contest structure now keeps those battles crisp and focused. The best result of the round scores a victory. When one side reaches its third victory, the fight is over and the winning side achieves its goal.

I'm not docking Fate Condensed a star over the Challenge/Contest/Conflict problem, however. :-) I see it as a missed opportunity instead of a flaw in Fate Condensed in particular.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate Condensed
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Creator Reply:
I don't know that it's a missed opportunity; running everything like a contest would drive me up the wall. Consider them a trio of tools to suit a variety of tastes.
Fate Condensed
by Alice V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/10/2020 02:10:52

I 100% love this very short formulation of Fate. It keeps basically all the central rules we know and love, adds some gear from the Adversary and Horror toolkits that help make the Big Bads work better, the optional rules are all the best options that have been tried since the original book came out, and even the character sheet has been made cleaner. I still recommend the Fate Core book as a source of great GM advice and an extended discussion of Extras, but in a mere 50-ish pages Fate Condensed gives you some really impressive tools to get your game going.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
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