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Samurai Robots Battle Royale
Publisher: Ganesha Games
by Courtney D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/20/2023 03:17:17

The sibling to Mighty Monsters, of which a good 50% of the text is copy/pasted from one to the other. To copypaste a part of my own review: "A modification of the rules typically used with Ganesha games, upsizing a unit to be multiple parts and having a lifebar that makes things riskier for the monster the more damage it has. With the emphasis being on body parts, the creation of a monster is very flexible and grants plenty of variety. They have been kind enough to include lots of archtypes implemented to create most of the classic giant monsters." Replace "monster" with "giant robot" and you'll get most of the gist.

The biggest key difference here is that mechas take damage differently, suffering more immediate effects and risking their pilot being knocked out. That said, there's plenty of bits and pieces tailored specifically to the mecha genre to give this its own feel from its sibling book.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Samurai Robots Battle Royale
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Mighty Monsters - Giant Monster Combat Rules
Publisher: Ganesha Games
by Courtney D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/20/2023 02:48:59

A modification of the rules typically used with Ganesha games, upsizing a unit to be multiple parts and having a lifebar that makes things riskier for the monster the more damage it has. With the emphasis being on body parts, the creation of a monster is very flexible and grants plenty of variety. They have been kind enough to include lots of archtypes implemented to create most of the classic giant monsters. The damage system is pretty good too for emulating monsters stumbling and struggling to stay up after being worn down. The only gripe I have is that it it is sadly pretty easy to end up in a slugfest where two monsters get stuck together trading blows until one gets lucky and sends the other flying or something else interferes.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mighty Monsters - Giant Monster Combat Rules
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Dreamchaser: A Game of Destiny
Publisher: Imagining Games
by Courtney D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/27/2022 18:03:38

A book that incites the imagination and gets to the crux of the roleplay: What is your dream and what is your part in it? A relatively simple question that can honestly stump you when the universe is your oyster. Do you go for a mundane "Open up a successful business" or go ham with a "defeat an ancient monster"? Why not "Open up a successful business as an ancient monster"?

This setting-agnostic system focuses on working backwards. The players come up with their "ideal dream" which is shared across all players, and then each player designs a character with a role relating to that dream. From there each player delves into how their characters would achieve their goals, and then scenes play out around that. Unfortunately should a player utterly fail their challenge and derail the plot, it's up to the players to get it all working as the book doesn't really offer any help in that regard.

Conflict resolution takes the form of abstraction that works the same whether you're engaged in regular combat with a powerful foe, trying to dismantle a bomb or just get through the school dance without embarrassing yourself. The situation is represented in a manner similar to a character and players have to chip away at its separate healthbars in the form of Mind, Body and Spirit (ie social). What keeps it interesting is that both players and the challenge have Tags (eg "Optimistic", "Battle Ready", or "On fire") which can reroll dice should the player's action relate to them somehow. Certain wins and losses can allow one side to add Tags to the other, opening up weaknesses or nullifying the use of a Tag. The only problem is that characters have to act through their Strategies (eg "Swordsmanship" or "Court Theatrics"), and if you can't make yours applicable then you're SOL. Though this does lead to hilarious things like a barbarian only being able to handle a social event by yelling and fighting.

The book is full of absolutely beautiful art and supplies a good number of example tags, situations and challenges. All to fuel the players and DM's inspiration. While there may be the odd hole in the rules and upon glance some character's aspects aren't as important as others, Dreamchasers tries its best to get those creative juices flowing and allow players to experience their dreams.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dreamchaser: A Game of Destiny
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Golden Sky Stories
Publisher: Star Line Publishing
by Courtney D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/27/2022 16:02:25

A chill, simple but roleplay-heavy system that encourages players (including the Narrator) to reward each other for making the world a nicer or more interesting place. The system lacks randomness, instead pushing a player to simply pay a cost to succeed (or fail, if their stats are high enough) and natually there's an emphasis on relationships between characters (npc and pc). There's no real character progression, but you do keep minor things like memories and previous relationships which can be consumed to provide a boost to a later session. The atmosphere of this book feels soft spoken and relaxed, which is appropriate given the kind of stories it wants the players to tell. It's got some amazing art and a sample setting that's fleshed out enough to evoke the imagination. Definitely a must for anyone seeking a wholesome, low-stakes story.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Golden Sky Stories
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Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine
Publisher: Jenna Katerin Moran
by Courtney D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/13/2022 17:09:56

This book is a frustrating, confusing mess. Through all the verbose flowery text and wistful "You can do this, if you'd like," I struggled to actually see the parts of the game that mattered. Look, it has great presentation with its art and design being great. But I had to read reviews from other sites in order to understand just what the hell this game even is.

There's no character sheet, the example characters are purely conceptual. There's definitely some sort of character structure, but hell if this book lays it out in a way to intuitively understand. There's example skills that get lost in the pages of backstory intwined with them. It depends heavily on inspiring you with What-Ifs and open ideas but the mechanics are small sections hidden between massive walls of text. I've seen and played some systems that encourage creative uses of a character's two-word traits and skills (eg Risus and Amazing Tales) that have explained themselves in a fraction of the text and page-span of this.

My first reading was following along until it eventually got swamped by all these different genres and neat little "you could do this!" prompts and colourful symbols. I tried to skim the book but the layout didn't make it clear what was worth noting and what wasn't and the space wasting images only served to make scrolling take longer. There's an overview of play, even giving you page numbers to things as it explains itself. But sometimes there was no succinct summary of what X was, meaning I had to do even more page hopping to decipher what X meant to this game. At this point I just get fed up every time I try to read it.

For something that is supposed to be easygoing, evocative and emotional, it can only draw out my irritation.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine
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Micro Chapbook RPG Deluxe Core Rulebook
Publisher: Micro RPG
by Courtney D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/10/2022 19:21:31

It calls itself "ultra-simple" and it does not exaggerate. Within minutes you'll be rolling up your one hero to mindlessly hack and slash through a dungeon on the fly. Although there isn't much to it, it can set the foundations for a good dungeon crawl. Does not include magic, towns or world-travel as is.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Micro Chapbook RPG Deluxe Core Rulebook
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Tricube Tales
Publisher: Zadmar Games
by Courtney D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/11/2022 17:48:04

Super compact and focused, with mechanics feeding into one another well. Excellent for an abrupt and quick sessions.

Distills characters down to a core aspect with some perks (trump cards) and quirks (weaknesses), and the mechanics behind challenges are extremely simple. It might feel a little limiting but that intense focus lets you tell at a glance how easy or hard a character will find doing something. The perk and quirks use a system where perks cost karma to make challenges easier and quirks make challenges harder in order to restore karma. This encourages players to bring their characters weaknesses in order to keep using their strengths in play. The optional rules cover a lot of bases and add to the existing rules rather than replacing them.

All in all, good stuff.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tricube Tales
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WAR | MAKER
Publisher: RUNEHAMMER GAMES
by Courtney D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/04/2022 20:20:13

The book keeps things simple, easy to read and supplies some good examples. You could skim the thing and get everything you need to know. The game itself is basic but sets the foundations for a fun and lightning-fast battle.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
WAR | MAKER
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Tricube Tales: Solo Rules (PDF only) & Solo Deck (PDF or print)
Publisher: Zadmar Games
by Courtney D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/23/2022 05:30:51

Plenty of d6/d66 tables to cover most aspects of an adventure, its own oracle for simple and complex questions, general advice and even a given structure to put a cap on an adventure to ensure it comes to a conclusion. Plenty of this is useful for games other than Tricube Tales. I absolutely recommended it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tricube Tales: Solo Rules (PDF only) & Solo Deck (PDF or print)
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Maid: The Role-Playing Game
Publisher: Star Line Publishing
by Courtney D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/18/2022 23:02:44

Maid RPG invites players to bring anime levels of shenanigans to their gaming night. Character generation and rules are simple, taking up a mere quarter of the actual book, with the rest being optional rules, scenarios and demonstrations. Standard games tend to be silly and erratic in nature and encourage players to mess with each other. Shamelessly honest, it embraces anime references, tropes and cliches, all the while acknowledging some of it is not for everybody (both facts I greatly appreciate).



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Maid: The Role-Playing Game
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TOSS, a bus stop RPG framework
Publisher: Conjecture Games
by Courtney D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/16/2022 21:02:22

Simply put, fundamental stuff for setting up a situation and rolling it out. If you don't know where to start with a quick session, this gives you an idea. If you're a seasoned GM who puts together quick one-shots or just someone who daydreams a lot, chances are you're already following these principles.

For a "bus stop RPG framework", it kind of skips the issue of whether you are going to have or even WANT to roll dice while at a bus stop. Which, admittedly is what intrested me in this in the first place.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
TOSS, a bus stop RPG framework
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The Perilous Wilds
Publisher: Lampblack & Brimstone
by Courtney D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/02/2021 20:11:00

Whether you have a pre-existing world or generating one from scratch, or even if you're not using Dungeon World world at all, The Perilous Wilds is highly recommended for GMs expecting to go off the beaten path.

The Perilous Wilds breaks down the locations of a setting into their key details, allowing the GM to quickly categorise the core aspects and keep notes on all the interactive bits. The GM can then draw upon these details to help pick and choose what kind of structures, creatures, traps or obstacles the party may encounter. It also comes with a good number of tables to randomly generate regions, creatures, points of interest and other features relevant to the exploration of the unknown. The tables are tailored towards the fantasy genre if that is of concern (after all, it IS a supplement for Dungeon World, which is also tailored for fantasy). Finally it also covers the often glossed over features of surviving the wilderness such as preparation, hiring guides and navigation.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Perilous Wilds
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CASTLE OLDSKULL - Oldskull Dungeon Generator
Publisher: Kent David Kelly
by Courtney D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/22/2021 07:59:31

If I had to sum this up in a few words, they'd be "Comprehensive and potentially cumbersome." This generator can cover all the bases of a dungeon's generation from corridor to corridor, room by room, from size to the contents within. It gives detailed descriptions from a first person perspective, using precise measurements that easily snap to a grid. If you go entirely by this book to set up the contents of each room, you might roll some pretty special stuff to put in, but the process will slow to a crawl as you jump to and fro throughout the book.

I would've appreciated more images for the corridors and room sizes rather than plain text, but since its descriptions work hard to ensure you actually get the image the author intended, I'll have to settle for that. It is also appreciated to have sections clearly numbered and referenced throughout the book, making it easy to find where you need to go.

For those of you looking for a on-the-fly map generator, this is an excellent option.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CASTLE OLDSKULL - Oldskull Dungeon Generator
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Tales of Blades and Heroes Fantasy RPG rules
Publisher: Ganesha Games
by Courtney D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/11/2021 21:51:00

For those not familiar with Ganesha games's other series (such as "Song of Blades and Heroes" or "Flying Lead"), ToBaH is a tactical-skirmish-game-turned-rpg with tiny character sheets. Characters can be summed up as a few core stats, a short list of traits and maybe a magic word list for magic users. These simplified characters lend themselves to a lightweight system that is (generally) easy to pick up and play. Because this focuses on individual characters rather than a warband, the rules are a step more detailed and complex than its wargame relatives.

For those familiar with SoBaH and whatnot: this takes the current systems you would be familiar with and makes them more interesting by upping the complexity. Quality rolls are done differently, making use of multiple (potentially exploding) dice and traits boosting individual dice rather than the stat itself. Damage is taken a step further, with an additional roll applying additional effects on top of whether a character recoils or is wounded. For example, a character may drop their weapon or give opponents a free hack on a recoil. Also, characters roll for initiative, which determines when they get their chance to roll for activation, and rather than ending their turn outright, they risk a critical fumble.

Most of the traits supplied are tailored towards a stock medieval fantasy setting with some primitive firearms. The magic system is centralised around magic words: combine two or more to create a spell and describe its intended effects, with the ensuing roll determining its capabilities and strength. The flexibility is great but customising a spell on the fly will be a little rough on beginners.

I found the game to be pretty neat, but I found some rules as written to be convoluted or confusing. Also, I made the mistake of thinking this was the only book you'd need to play, finding it lacking at times: Some topics are touched upon but never elaborated and although example characters are supplied outisde the book, it is devoid of any example creatures or monsters. Turns out you will want Tales of Beasts and Perils (aka the GM guidebook) as well.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tales of Blades and Heroes Fantasy RPG rules
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Tales of Beasts and Perils GM's book for TBH
Publisher: Ganesha Games
by Courtney D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/11/2021 19:40:04

Pretty much a MUST-HAVE for GMs intending to handle Tales of Blades and Heroes games. The original ToBaH tells you how to play but skimps on a lot of core details (particularly experience), and this book picks up ALL the slack. The description clearly tells you everything it does, and it delivers on each of them.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tales of Beasts and Perils GM's book for TBH
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