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Avatar Legends: The RPG Quickstart
by Cameron E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/20/2023 08:41:04

It was fun enough to run, but I'm looking forward to seeing the final version of the rules to see if the combat improves in complexity and narrative consequence.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Avatar Legends: The RPG Quickstart
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Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game
by Søren H. P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/21/2023 14:49:46

I kickstarted this project because I was so happy to see it choose a system and principles that focused on narrative gameplay and the group talking with each other.

And most of the system does that. The players describe what their character tries to do and the GM calls for rolls or describes how the narrative reacts.

All this however comes to a screeching halt when combat comes into the picture. It is rigid and slow. And even worse, it doesn't flow naturally from the conversation at the table. It also feels like they chose this specific method of combat, just to be able to sell reference materials. Because that is certainly needed to run combat somewhat smoothly.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game
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Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game
by Jack S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/19/2023 07:26:58

TLDR; This is the polar opposite of 5e. A 2 minute combat will take 2 minutes of table time with at most one or two rolls and a long rest will take 4 hours at the table with a ton of dice rolling.

This is not what I was expecting. I was hoping for a rough and tumble bending and butt kicking action adventure style game. There is a tremendous amount of game mechanics and focus on personal development and balance of moral attidutes. It has rules for all the teen drama from the TV show. If you want a game that forces interpersonal role play with a goal of personal development along moral guard rails, you'll like this game.   Sorry Uncle Iroh this is not my cup of tea

The book is dazling and the source materials from Avatar are well written and very detailed. As an Avatar fan I'm glad I got the book, but it probably won't hit the table anytime soon.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
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Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game
by Steve W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/21/2023 03:54:13

Who would not want to get a chance to play around in the world of Avatar? The way bending is incorperated in such a nice way made me happy, I had been worried it would be limited by "you can only do these things you pick"

It really does capture the feel of the world, and there is much seeds one can use when making an adventure. I personally like the small notes on different npcs on how to play them, or what to think about when they are present in a scene. I've already started to plan out a possible adventure for some friends, so we will see how that goes.

I do have some feedback

The combat, is slow, and for a game like Avatar it feels like combat should be simple and fast to capture the essence of the show. I always find when combat rules become to cluttered, players tend to lose interest in the story itself, it becomes less rpg and more count the numbers.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Passing: Ashcan Edition
by Sydney J H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/03/2023 07:48:26

I really, really enjoy the basis and focus of this game. It feels like an innovative way to explore themes as nuanced as transitioning, queer experiences, trauma, politics... If you're not new to Powered By the Apocalpyse, it's really easy to pick up and get going with a creative, roleplay-focused group!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Passing: Ashcan Edition
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Urban Shadows (2nd Ed.) Quickstart
by Rick S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/15/2022 07:24:15

Lately, I've come across several RPG's which say they are 'Powered by the Apocalyse' (PbtA). This game system must be good if so many other games are copying it, right? Urban Shadows - Quickstart (US-Q), is PbtA and its free! I figured I would down-load this, and in one reading of the rules become an expert, er, know a little bit about PbtA.

A thing about my tastes, I am not a fan of 'urban fantasy'. Generally, I want my fantasy literature to be in fantastic settings and stories written in realistic settings to be realistic. So US-Q has a couple of big strikes against it right off the bat. I'm not going to game master this, I have no interest in playing this game - I don't care about it, and I'm not fond of the genre. I'm just reading it to see what PbtA is about.

This game IMPRESSED me.

PbtA is a rule light RPG. That is fine, there are many such. In US-Q everyone has a bunch of common moves, and their architype has some specific moves. The key thing is that most of these moves, create drama, and add connections and relationships between PC's and NPC's. This is cool, I can understand why PbtA is a flexible system and creators will want to use its ideas.

But the 'faction moves' are what really made me take note. Each player belongs to their own faction which they want to grow and prosper. There are faction moves, which ALSO help create drama, and add connections and relationships between opposing factions and other PC's and NPC's. (The factions and architypes are further organized by circles which adds another excuse for tension.)

Wow! As a GM I have been creating complex plots for my PC's to enjoy / dismantle. But in this game, a GM can relax a lot more. The game mechanics will generate a lot of storylines. The players will do a lot of the work of creating problems and goals for them to dive into. The GM can sit back, adjudicate questions between PC's in conflict, and occasionally stir the drama pot to keep things bubbling.

US-Q has a lot of clever ideas.

I strongly recommend this game, if you have ANY interest in urban fantasy in a noir setting. It is gorgous, and feels like a labour of love by the creators.

Warm regards, Rick.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Urban Shadows (2nd Ed.) Quickstart
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Avatar Legends: Wan Shi Tong's Adventure Guide
by Jorge C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/28/2022 16:17:32

Love the material, worldbuilding and adventures! Though I've noticed there's possibly a printing error on the pdf page 35 (Toph's Legendary NPC stats) where Rapid Tunneling's effect is different than the one listed on the glossary and identical to Suki's move "Unstoppable Path"



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Avatar Legends: Wan Shi Tong's Adventure Guide
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Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game
by Ezekiel K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/30/2022 22:11:45

I'm a kickstarter backer and I've been GMing a semi-regular game for about seven months, completing one full season and being a player here and there. There are people who've put more time in this game than me, but there's not that many lol. I also happen to be among those who are Trekkie levels of invested in the Avatar franchise. Basically, I'm in the exact target demographic for this game.

The Good It 100% captures the feel of the shows, comics, and books. The entire game is structured around the concept of "Balance," the inner struggle each character faces between two conflicting principles. At any point, the GM can shift your balance a step towards one principle which pulls you away from another. What this leads to is a tightrope walk where you always keep your PC's traits in mind otherwise you risk going overboard on one side and fundamentally alter your character in the process.

It is super accessible for new players. My campaign consists of two D&D 5e veterans and a friend who needed me to explain what a TTRPG even was. Funnily enough, the newbie player has consistently been able to understand and engage more than the couple who've been playing these games for years. Here's my personal theory. The two D&D players have had all the "D&D things" drilled into them so innately that they kept on approaching the game like they were heroes on a mighty quest and everything happens "the D&D way." Meanwhile, my newbie player was approaching the game like collaborative Avatar fanfiction. She was just trying to be a decent person in the world we created and it went perfectly. I constantly tell people about the time that my friend who had never played an RPG before yelled at a racist and changed her character at her core. It was incredible.

The artwork is gorgeous. Full, two page spreads for every chapter. Clever uses of TV show material. It's got it all on that front.

Running games feels GOOD. Everything is built around character advancement so the players always leave satisfied with clear start, middle, and ending spots in each session. Starting a campaign and building characters is a incredibly fun experience because all the players are involved in everything. Just by going off of the included campaign worksheet, we were able to make a story that perfectly set up the group to work as a team and there was a major conflict that took signifigant effort to overcome. The players even snuck in a team mascot with a pig named Dumpling. It's hard to find areas where the players aren't entirely involved. But if that's not your jam...

The game is very open to large scale planning. There's very little restrictions on what you can plan for between sessions. Once a thing is introduced to players, it should be locked in but you can get really in-depth with your planning. No joke, I tried mapping out where the pig would go if she got lost in the mail and I ended up finding plot hooks about systemic racism and police brutality. By the end of my first season of my campaign, I had an absolutely stupid amount of complex relationships and intrigue mapped out on a flowchart. ...Or you could just make it all up. Powered by the Apocalypse games are very firmly in the "GM must be good at improvising" camp of RPGs and this is no exception. Sometimes. you'll encounter some fringe case where there's no rule for it (or you just plain can't remember where it is in the book). Take a page out of the OSR playbook by sticking with "Rulings, not rules."

The Bad The combat suuuuuucks in my opinion. Seriously. In theory, it's supposed to operate like a bunch of quickly calculated risks depending on your position, stats, and objectives. In reality, it's by far the most clunky and boring thing in the game. It takes forever to get through a single turn which, in the fiction, is actually about five seconds. There are literally seven whole steps you have to go through for every action you can conceive of in combat. Seven! Even my player who loves strategic combat disliked it. My group started dreading it so much that they were avoiding fighting anyone. Good for roleplay, bad for fun. Eventually, I ended up homebrewing the combat out entirely with my own system that's worked a lot better. That said, your milage may vary. I've heard a decent amount of praise for the combat from some people.

The book is organized weird in my opinion. For a player, they only need to read about half of the (rather lengthy) book. So why is it that all the chapters that are exclusively for GMs are placed so that players have to read every other chapter? Trying to find specific stuff is a nightmare sometimes, especially as a player.

It can be a little difficult to understand what you should be doing as the GM if you're not familiar with PbtA games. I personally would've liked a little more guidance on when to do stuff and I still find myself BSing my way through situations sometimes. If you're ever lost, just remember that you can screw with your player's character sheets a lot more than in other games.

The Other AL heavily relies on improv. I love that stuff but you might not.

There's not a lot of extra content beyond the Wan Shi Ton's Adventure Guide supplement. It's not necessary but there's not a lot to really sink into.

Speaking of extra content, the game has a different license than other Magpie Games titles meaning it is very hard to find homebrew content that is actually allowed. My aforementioned combat modification got removed instantly when I shared it to the Discord even though several people were hoping on using it in their games. (Free playtesting, yay!)

TL;DR If I could give it a 4.5, I would. I freaking love this game but when it sucks, it sucks HARD (see combat). It's easily my favorite game to lure new people into RPGs because of the pure dedication people have toward the franchise, myself included.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game
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Masks: A New Generation
by Charles W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/29/2022 16:18:31

Not only is Masks my favorite Superhero roleplaying game, it's currently my favorite TTRPG right now. If you'd like to run or play in games that emulate Young Justice and other teen superhero series, this game is for you! This game is SO much fun!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Masks: A New Generation
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Masks: A New Generation (Phone Edition)
by Aidan B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/24/2022 00:23:25

I think we all know how good Masks is, so just focussing on the phone version: it is really well put together and the navigation for half the book is amazing.

However the character sheets are much longer in this format and the internal navigation was awkward. Trying to compare the different classes was notably painful. However, once you have picked your class it's pretty straightforward, and there shouldn't be a problem mid-game.

I was very impressed.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Masks: A New Generation (Phone Edition)
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Our Last Best Hope
by Rusty N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/02/2022 16:51:28

For such a rules-lite system, the dice pools could have been much better explained. The liberal political bias of the author was also quite apparent through the included sample characters. All in all not bad otherwise. Expect to spend more time setting up the story than actually playing it, though.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Our Last Best Hope
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Urban Shadows (1st Ed.)
by Ian F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/01/2022 16:33:06

Note: There is a 2nd edition available, so some of the review for this 1st edition may not be applicable for the current edition.

A game focused on the political/factional struggles in a modern supernatural setting. You can easily run a game to reflect your favourite novel or television series, be that Dresden, Vampire Diaries, or something else - as long as there are factions involved, and those factions have conflict between them. The game is Powered by the Apocalypse, and uses all the familiar trappings of that rules style; 2d6 resolution, moves, etc. If you are new to PbtA games I would reccomend checking out some gameplay of any of the major PbtA games to get a sense of the playstyle and some of the specific quirks and features of the style.

The game is illustrated in sharp black and white images, generally of high quality. It is is easy to read, and rules are introduced in a logical fashion as you progress through the book. The game has many examples to help a newer player or GM see how the "moves" in the books work, and to give one ideas on how to run and play the game. The focus on making the urban enivronment have character and divesity is excellent - you can tell that the author(s) wish to get us out of thinking of these cities as the way you would see them on a CW show. These cities are multicultural, dirty, and have potential for exciting drama and intrigue just oozing out of the corners.

There are some structural problems with the game.

  • Corruption in particular is a consistent complaint from my play group when I ran the game for them: many players complained that corruption is added too quickly, and often for choices that don't feel like they deem it. As you gain corruption points you can access new powers, but the ticking clock until your character is "one of the monsters" (read: no longer playable) appears to be too aggressive for playgroups I've run the game for. I see this as a correctible problem (introducing some corruption mitigation would be easy).
  • The advancement mechanic is arbitrary. Like the old "gold for XP" out of classic D&D, the advancement mechanic forces you to engage with each of the 4 factions in the setting to advance. The idea is sound: just like gold for XP, incentivize the thing you want players to do - in Urban Shadows, that's get out and mix it up your allies and your enemies. In play however many players struggle to work this into the narrative. This may be because the overall structure of the city and the factions needs to be presented in a way that allows the fluidity of allegiance and the drive to "rub shoulders" to be more accessible in play. This is the only piece of the game where I felt some better examples were needed.

Final thoughts: medium-low complexity, ease of play is medium, high hackability (like most PbtA), and good quality for cost.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Urban Shadows (1st Ed.)
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Avatar Legends: The RPG Quickstart
by Andreo O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/26/2022 17:55:58

I really liked the way the RPG works, only the fights that I found very confusing at first, but when I understood it, I found the way it happens very interesting.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Avatar Legends: The RPG Quickstart
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Bluebeard's Bride: Book of Rooms
by Cannibal H. G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/04/2022 14:01:29

"Should you open the door and grab the Book of Rooms? If you’re planning to run Bluebeard’s Bride, I’d say definitely. It doesn’t have the ‘even people not interested in playing’ appeal that the Book of Lore has, because it’s entirely focused on content for use in the game, but that content is top notch. You could run multiple games of Bluebeard’s Bride and still not cover every room in the Book. You could simply use it as inspiration, and even if you use material right out of the Book you still have great creative freedom as Groundskeeper thanks to half of the horrors behind Mysterious Objects being left up to you. So, basically, it takes care of one of the hardest parts of being a Groundskeeper without robbing you of the best part." You can read the full Cannibal Halfling Gaming review (along with the Book of Lore) here: https://cannibalhalflinggaming.com/2018/12/07/bluebeards-bride-the-books-of-lore-and-rooms-review/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bluebeard's Bride: Book of Rooms
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Bluebeard's Bride: Book of Lore
by Cannibal H. G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/04/2022 13:59:39

"Is the Book of Lore good? Yes. Though the format at the end threw me a bit, it was an enjoyably creepy version of the story that, at the same time, helped me better understand how a game of Bluebeard’s Bride might look. Even if someone wasn’t interested in playing Bluebeard’s Bride, if they’re a fan of the Grimm-er variety of folktale the Book of Lore would be worth checking out, and like I’ve said before that’s exactly what this kind if supplement wants to be." You can read the full Cannibal Halfling Gaming review (along with the Book of Rooms) here: https://cannibalhalflinggaming.com/2018/12/07/bluebeards-bride-the-books-of-lore-and-rooms-review/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bluebeard's Bride: Book of Lore
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