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Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells
Publisher: Gallant Knight Games
by David D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/22/2020 09:24:10

With so many other great's in this genre (such as White Star, Stars Without Number, and Traveller) I was reticient to purchase SB&CS... BUT i must say it was money well spent! This one possibly stands on top of the heap for those seeking SPACE OPERA action. It has a very detailed, well written, and exciting setting which (to me) sets it apart from more 'generic' space opera titles. And the mechanics do not dissappoint either. I'd highly recommend SB&CS to anyone seeking a good ol' space opera experience, bonus points if they like OSR an rules-light systems. Top notch black and white art throughout as well.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells
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Sundered Skies - Setting Book
Publisher: Triple Ace Games
by David D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/01/2020 16:24:22

Magitech High Fantasy

The setting is well outlined but rarely gets beyond 'broad strokes'. Many original and evocative ideas are to be found, few are developed very far.

Races include fully sapient baby-dragons (Drakin), plant-based Elves, steampunk Dwarfs, sky-viking Orcs, mutant Goblins (Glowborn), and anthrophomorphic animals enslaved by the Elves (Wildlings)

The setting itself is a shattered world of sky sialnds floating between an icy glacier and a raging inferno. Sky ships navigate this oddly glowing world in search of salvage, and commerce. Sadly many of the physical laws of the world are based on game balance rather than cinematic appeal or intuition (sky ships cannot approach sky islands from the top or bottom, only from the edges for example)

The religion is fairly detailed and involved avatars still walking amongst mortals in the world. But it reads like a bad soap opera or over the top anime. The gods come across more as reckless and childish superhumans than divine personifications.

Half of the book is dedicated to a plot point campaign. This is the story the setting was designed to tell. Sadly it is both a hard railroad and poorly written. Few options are presented besides 'run screaming into combat' and there's not enough detail to support any other play style. The plot itself makes little sense, follows no logical train, build no momentum. It's just a long series of combat encounters with the vaguest excuse as to why a fight is needed. Indeed sometimes I have no idea why the author believes a scenario would ever lead to combat. He just types 'when the fight begins...' leaving me asking 'what fight? why?'

There is not much art in the book. What is there is full color but of variable quality. the PDF is bookmarked.

The setting itself likely deserves a 3/5. Good ideas, just not enough detail. Even the hokey 'religion' can't drag it down too far. The plot point campaign is 1/5. At times it makes no sense and cannot be followed even after several re-readings.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Sundered Skies - Setting Book
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Foreign Element RPG
Publisher: Precis Intermedia
by David D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/01/2020 16:16:54

If you want an 'Aliens' RPG then look no further. OSR style! Over half the book is setting detail, info on the corporate powers which control humanity's destiny, and on the 'Great Blackout' which has left Sol isolated from it's once prosperous colonies. It's up to you; a ragtag band of colonial marines, corporate spies, and ex-cons; to find out what happened to the colonies. And there WILL be giant buggy aliens to battle admist those derelict ruins! Not quite as combat focused as the similar 'We Hunt Bugs' RPG, but brimming with a lot more setting info for sure.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Foreign Element RPG
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Creator Reply:
Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. I just wanted to clarify that it does not use OSR mechanics.
We hunt bugs
Publisher: Orcs Unlimited
by David D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/01/2020 16:15:50

4 classes (agent, grunt, engineer, and hunter), and 8 corporate sponsors to choose from in this 'Aliens' style OSR. Every jump through hyperspace can cause buggy aliens to appear on your ship, and this has led to some insanely dangerous derelicts drifting through the void. Not quite as detailed in terms of setting as the similar 'Foreign Element' RPG, but a more capable 'run n gun' dungeon crawler.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
We hunt bugs
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Symbaroum - Core Rulebook
Publisher: Free League Publishing
by David D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/01/2020 16:05:54

An excellent dark fantasy setting. Knights collide with barbarians, elves collide wth humans, religion collides with magic. This is a politically charged game of clashing cultures against the backdrop of a grim and perilous world full of weird and mysterious magic just beyond the city walls. If you want an injection of politics and horror into your fantasy game then this is an excellent title to pick up.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Symbaroum - Core Rulebook
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Teens in Space: Core Rulebook
Publisher: Hunters Entertainment
by David D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/01/2020 15:57:40

A simple, solid, narrative system married to classic tropes and some decent writing (primarily) in the form of their species gallery. Also a fairly pretty, full colour, book. Not what I was expecting, a lot lighter on the setting info, and a lot heavier on the narrative gameplay elements, but still a solid product.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Teens in Space: Core Rulebook
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Hypertellurians (M)Anvil Edition
Publisher: Mottokrosh Machinations
by David D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/01/2020 15:35:55

A very average narrative RPG with a superficial scifi coat of paint. Definitely not an OSR, despite the advertising as such. Gorgeous book, servicable and functional mechanics (if you like narrative games), but ultimately lacking in cohesion, or setting. I had very high hopes for this product as I'm a huge fan of the (supposed) genre. But there was very little of that genre here. This book could play fantasy as easily as scifi, or some ungodly mix, but it can't play anything to much degree of depth sadly.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Hypertellurians (M)Anvil Edition
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Jovian Chronicles (Mekton)
Publisher: Dream Pod 9
by David D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/12/2019 01:31:10

The setting is solid hard scifi (other than the mecha) and the campaign is strongly written and plotted. I just wish there were a bit more depth to the setting here, and possibly more campaign scenarios. This is everything you need to run the included campaign, but not much beyond that. Still a very good effort.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Jovian Chronicles (Mekton)
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Amazing Adventures -- The Menace of the Serpent God
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
by David D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/12/2019 01:26:37

A very cheesy pulp railroad. Done in imitation of some of the worst pulp tropes. If you don't mind railroads, and love really cheesy nonsensical pulp adventures then this will be for you. If you want logic, consistency or player agency give this one a pass.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Amazing Adventures -- The Menace of the Serpent God
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Lightspeed
Publisher: Avalon Game Company
by David D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/29/2019 07:09:42

Fast and simple point-based ruleset. Lots of gear. Psychic powers. Starship rules. All the basics are covered.

The book includes a 'broad strokes' kitchen sink campaign setting including pastiches of the Empire (Star Wars), the Federation (Star Trek), and a more 'corporate' empire which has a more grey morality. Each region is touched on in brief and campaign ideas are provided for each (rebels vs the Empire, space rangers, free traders, space explorers, etc.). Also many species of humanoid aliens are mentioned in brief, some fairly original but most being pastiches of familiar races from pop-culture (predators, xenomorphs, klingons, hutts, etc.)

The Bestiary and Starship Gallery are extensive. The Art is black and white, but very strong, about as good as black and white art can be, with many illustrations of ships and characters. The PDF is not bookmarked.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Lightspeed
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Fading Suns (Second Edition)
Publisher: Ulisses Spiele
by David D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/29/2019 07:09:28

'A lighter, softer, Warhammer 40k'

Do not confuse this with science fiction! This is science fantasy! Swords, bows, knights, cavalry charges, magic, and just the occassional spaceship or alien seems to be the order of the day in Fading Suns.

The setting goes into lavish detail in some sections, but completely omits other areas which will likely be vital to play. Feels incomplete.

The core mechanic is fast and simple. lots of gear, both psychic and magical powers are included. No starship rules!

The art is black and white but of the highest quality for black and white art. The PDF is not bookmarked.

Hard to give it low marks in the areas they did include. But so many areas are omitted I can't give it any higher rating than a 3/5. If it were a more complete product 4/5 would be more likely.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fading Suns (Second Edition)
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Slipstream
Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
by David D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/29/2019 07:08:44

A wonderful Retro 'Rockets and Rayguns' style SciFi RPG. Look no further for Flash Gordon style adventures in a well thought out pulp setting covered in plot hooks.

A half dozen pulp-scifi style species to play as with good roleplaying details for each

A Large gazeteer of the Slipstream setting

A complete plot point campaign

A dozen 'Savage Tales' suitable for oneshots, sidequests or random encounters.

A random adventure generator

A large bestiary of pulp-scifi baddies and monsters

Full colour art throughout. The PDF is bookmarked.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Slipstream
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White Box : Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game
Publisher: Seattle Hill Games
by David D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/29/2019 07:07:42

Best of the OSRs. Easy to play, easy to reference, gorgeous black and white art.

If you want a bare-bones RPG that lets the rules get out of your way so you can focus on story and characters with little mechanical complexity this is for you .



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
White Box : Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game
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Westward Basic
Publisher: Wicked North Games
by David D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/29/2019 07:06:18

This is a mashup of 4 genres; Steampunk, Western, Mecha, and Planetary Romance

It is an excellent planetary romance with a well developed alien world and ecology, including airships, exotic mounts, and lost technology. The bestiary is one of the best collection of alien beasties you're likely to find anywhere.

It is an excellent alternate-world western with a rich history and varied setting. Many factions and regions are described. Many oneshot adventures and even a plot point campaign are provided.

If they stopped right there 'Old West Planetary Romance' it would be an easy 5 star rating. But then there's a layer of steampunk and mecha slathered on top. Bad science, bad physics, bad economics.... Steampunk and mecha just don't make any sense. Especially when everything else makes so much sense. It just ruins what they've meticulously built by adding this huge dose of unreality.

Sometimes less is more. I can see running 'Westward' as a planetary romance with huge success. But as written I can give it no more than 4 stars. Which is still good, but short of it's potential.

The PDF is bookmarked. Has professional-quality full-colour art throughout. There are a few spelling and grammatical errors as well, but not many.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Westward Basic
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The Pendragon Campaign
Publisher: Chaosium
by David D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/29/2019 07:05:30

The scope, imagination, and depth of detail in this campaign is really impressive. This is an invaluable resource for anyone wanting to run games set within the reign of Arthur.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Pendragon Campaign
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