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ALIEN RPG Core Rulebook
by Britton [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/03/2024 12:08:07

I love this system and the quality of the book. I only wish the PDF were hyperlinked internally.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ALIEN RPG Core Rulebook
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The One Ring™ Character Lifepaths
by Patrick [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/02/2024 03:37:35

I can only agree to what another reviewer wrote and should have taken his advice! "Nothing in there that I would expect from a Lifepaths system i.e. Tables to roll on wit a ton of different options to flash out characters. Here you basically just get lists of half-premade characters with two lines of very basic and superficial background story. Disappointing and useless. Even at its low price a waste of money." - Manuel

Maybe this is useful to someone else, but I would have expected much more. In other games more comprehensive documents full of nice ideas are either included (Cyberpunk 2020 or Red) or available for free as a little add-on (Warhammer Dark Heresy)



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
The One Ring™ Character Lifepaths
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Embers of Horncrest
by John [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/24/2024 18:55:30

Excellently crafted Module. A perfect Forbidden Lands tale. Intelligent, Rich, and Fun. Can be run as is or has plenty of suggestions to change things up.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Embers of Horncrest
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LEST COIN FLOW LIKE BLOOD
by Rui [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/21/2024 18:31:39

I ran this scenario last night. As per a user's feedback, I replaced the changelings by demons, and it was terrific. There are potential loopholes, such as the changeling being gagged, but also being able to become a rat, which would allow him to drop the gag and be able to shout for help while in the cellar. I circumvented these by having both demons face each other at some point, with the meditation of the party. The effect was very similar to what I think was intended for the scenario. Overall a good one to run in less than 3 hours. Well worth it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
LEST COIN FLOW LIKE BLOOD
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Dragonbane Quickstart
by owo [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/20/2024 06:18:39

Short: Cool simple system Quickstart does showcase mostly dungeon crawling, but system itself seems quite flexible in terms of supported gameplay.

Long: I will say that the system in quickstart is quite fun and does allow for interesting choices despite it's simplicity (even if resource management isn't everyone's cup of tea). Also, one of the players brought up how all characters felt kinda same-y due to not having many unique moves and such I will say that the biggest problem for this quickstart is that it's a sole quickstart - the game's website points at the system accomodating for non-combat gameplay too, but this is the only quickstart and it's a dungeon crawl. Not everyone's cup of tea, even the crawl included was interesting. So yeah, nice system, but it could use a quickstart showcasing other gameplay styles it can be used for. It sure seems less focused rules-wise on dungeon crawling than dnd5e (even though i suspect this game is more suited for dungeon crawls than dnd5e, despite this).



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dragonbane Quickstart
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Dragonbane Bestiary
by Austin C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/17/2024 12:12:10

This review was originally posted on my site: https://akhelas.com/2024/05/17/review-dragonbane-bestiary/

Last year’s boxed Core Set for Dragonbane was one of the best launch products I’ve ever bought. Its combination of clear rules and dozens of hours of playable content left me eager to see what’s next! The latest book in Free League’s game line is the Dragonbane Bestiary. This collection of new beasties excited me for several reasons. First, one of my few criticisms of the Core Set was that its bestiary felt a little light (although considering how much is packed into the box I was hardly “disappointed”). The second—and more substantial—is that I really like Free League’s Book of Beasts for their Year Zero Engine survival fantasy game, Forbidden Lands.

With all that in my mind, there was just one question remaining: would the new Bestiary live up to the hype? Let’s dive in and find out.

Disclaimer: I received a free hardcover copy of the Dragonbane Bestiary in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Free League!

WHAT’S INSIDE? The Dragonbane Bestiary is a 148-page book which contains 63 entries describing creatures ranging across a variety of fantasy adventure antagonists. These are organized into thematic chapters loosely following the fiction that the book is a work penned by the in-world halfling Theodora Sneezewort. Each entry begins with a quotation from someone else in-world which usually provides an “uneducated” opinion on the creature. This is followed by Theodora’s description, which is typically about one paragraph. A random encounter and an adventure seed follow, along with the creature’s statblock and a monster attacks sidebar (if required).

In addition to providing a bevy of antagonists for the gamemaster, nine of the Bestiary‘s entries are also available as new Kin for player characters. This includes both traditionally hostile “nightkin” species like orcs and goblins, as well as reclusive “rare kin” such as lizard people and satyrs. Those creatures which are intended as a player option are provided with suggested names and a unique innate ability. Unlike other fantasy games, Dragonbane‘s rules for Kin focus on one or two traits rather than more detailed differences, so this is in line with the Kin options in the Core Set.

For a game with a focus upon classic dungeon-crawling goodness, I was pleasantly surprised with how much humanity is written into many entries. I was also pleasantly surprised that this humanity is not presented in a “preachy” way. Theodora’s notes and the encounter/adventure seeds hint at nonviolent resolutions to conflicts. I feel they also acknowledge that people in the world may well have good reasons for being wary when dealing with these creatures! The emphasis on options and choices works well.

Each entry is laid out as a two-page spread, with no overlap onto prior or following pages. This provides the Bestiary with a fair bit of utility, since a gamemaster doesn’t need to flip around to find the relevant information. In a similar vein there are some entries reproduced here which are also present in the Core Set. For example, the ghost is described in both (with the same stats), but the Core Set’s descriptive paragraph is replaced with Theodora’s notes and the encounter/adventure seeds are added. Some of the “overlap,” in fact, is illusory. The Core Set has a single entry for dragons and for demons, while the Bestiary has sections dedicated to each of the game’s marquee monsters. Providing options such as guardian demons and shadow demons provides the gamemaster with additional tools and story ideas.

Overall I found the Bestiary‘s entries to be flavorful and interesting, but they didn’t quite live up to my expectations. A comparison with the Book of Beasts might help explain why.

Several of the Dragonbane Bestiary entries struck me as, frankly, short. The two-page spread is often about a page of text and a page of art. Much of that text, too, is the creature’s game mechanics. I found Theodora’s notes and the encounter/adventure seeds had good flavor, but that flavor worked as a “hook.” It left me wanting a deeper explanation of the topic. For example, the giant spider’s adventure seed mentions the ancient, telepathic spider Krikelbik and her family. Telepathy isn’t mentioned elsewhere in the entry (including the monster attacks table). Don’t get me wrong—talking gigantic spiders are kind of hilarious to inflict on players—but situations like this are a missed opportunity to provide more of the “living” context which the humanizing element seems interested in exploring.

Curious about gigantic spiders in my own work? To Hunt a God includes the philosophic vegetarian Yama-kisintha, who only eats Aldryami because logically, only entities which have blood are people. She horrifies and amuses me, and I bet she’ll make your players feel squeamish too.

More plainly, the book does feel somewhat … barren. It feels like there was both conceptual and physical space on the page to add more content. Even when I compare the Bestiary to the Monster Manual for Dungeons & Dragons 5E I feel the latter has provided more contextual information on its creatures’ habits, desires, and lives.

In contrast, one reason I love the Book of Beasts is its abundance of useful content and interesting ideas. For example, each entry has a “Resources” section which describes what adventurers might harvest from the monster. The inclusion of Lore rolls increases the detail about each entry, and it feels that there’s just plain more text on each page.

That said, it is worth noting that the Book of Beasts is digest-sized, so filling four pages per entry isn’t the same as filling four pages of US Letter. Nonetheless, I hope that comparison still demonstrates what I was hoping would be included in the new Dragonbane release.

PRODUCTION The production quality of the Dragonbane Bestiary is excellent. In particular, I want to note the high-quality polish given to the book’s text. This is something I think doesn’t get mentioned often in reviews when done well. (If you’re familiar with any of my other critical work, you’ve probably noticed I’m a teensy bit finicky about text.) Throughout the whole work, I think I noticed a single typo. That’s really, really impressive.

On a related note, I also compared a few page references to the rulebook in my Core Set, and they all seem accurate. I don’t have the separate Dragonbane Rulebook which is available as a hardcover from Free League, but from the product information I have reason to believe that the pagination between the two versions is identical. The Bestiary ought to be user-friendly regardless of which rulebook you’re using.

As Free League notes on the Bestiary‘s product page, much of the art is reused from a prior edition of Dragonbane. Since I’m unfamiliar with any prior edition this doesn’t bug me much—and I’m fairly sure this is the first English edition, anyway?—but it’s worth noting for consumers who do care. I do want to note that, to my knowledge, none of this art overlaps with the Core Set. If you’re new to the game like me, all of the art is essentially brand-new.

That said, the art is very good. My disappointment in the “barrenness” certainly is not due to the quality of the art! I do think that in layout some pieces I would have selected as “half-page” or “quarter-page” illustrations have been used to fill even a whole page. This hasn’t led to reduced resolution or visual quality.

CONCLUSION The Dragonbane Bestiary is a pretty good product, but didn’t live up to my expectations based on Free League’s prior works. If you already have and like Dragonbane, I do think buying the Bestiary is a no-brainer. You’ll get plenty of use out of its helpful combination of mechanics and story ideas.

If you haven’t already bought in, I don’t think the Bestiary is providing a must-follow example of how to create this type of collection. I also don’t really think I can recommend the Bestiary if, like me, Dragonbane is mostly on your Kink Shelf. This strikes me as a book which will be very helpful during games at the table, but struggles to be engaging for the armchair enthusiast.

(Not that I wouldn’t love to take Dragonbane for a drive but, y’know, scheduling…)

For DriveThruRPG scoring I’ve decided to give the Dragonbane Bestiary a four out of five because I do feel the book fell short of my expectations, and because I feel past products validate those hopes. This Bestiary certainly is not a “bad” book. I do, however, feel that it fell short of Free League’s (admittedly high) average book. Dragonbane is still an intriguing system, and I’m certainly still looking forward to Free League’s next release for the game line.

The Dragonbane Bestiary is available in PDF on DriveThruRPG for $19.99, and in hardcover on the publisher’s website for 438.00 kr. That’s currently $41.80, but I believe the listed price could change between the time of writing and publication. (No, I’ve never had to pay exchange rates or out-of-country shipping costs when purchasing a book from Free League; they don’t have any “hidden costs.”)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dragonbane Bestiary
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Twilight 2000 4th Ed. Referee Aids
by Matthew [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/07/2024 15:02:04

Great information! Looking forward to using these in my first game. I do wish that they were multi-page files BUT here is a solution -- Steps to convert single-page to a mutli-page PDF: 1a. Install Irfanview & 1b. Install Irfanview Plugins

  1. Open PDF in Irfanview -> Options -> Export Tile Images -> 1 row, X Columns (# of pages changes depending on file but keep 1 row). This will 'chop' up the long horizontal page and create a set of images (tiles), one for each page (tile) in target folder.
  2. In IrfanView -> Options -> Multipart Images -> Create Multipart PDF. Select all the image files (tiles) in the correct order.
  3. You now have the file in page format.


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Twilight 2000 4th Ed. Referee Aids
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Profession: Barbarian
by Grant [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/05/2024 18:41:50

Love this profession! Can’t wait for more quality content like this! Keep it up!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Profession: Barbarian
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Modern Vaesen - Horrific Folklore in the Digital Age
by Laura B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/05/2024 10:46:09

Having been introduced to the base game of Vaesen by one of the auhors, I was excited to hear that they were releasing a supplement that would enable GMs and players to update things for a modern setting. Alongside the core rulebook, this contains everything you might need to create modern fantastical stories using folkloric creatures from all around the world. This contains new archetypes and talents, and also new ways to repair and upgrade your base of operations. My favourite section of the supplement involves a discussion about how vaesen may have responded to the changing world around them. They describe vaesen who are tied closely to one area, whose main motivation may be to guard and protect that area; vaesen who have adapted their form, purpose and powers in order to fit more easily into a modern world and those who have stayed pretty much the same over the last couple of centuries who may be rarely seen, but definitely still exist. I particularly like the suggestion of including newer creatures, their inspiration coming from urban legends, such as Slenderman, Bloody Mary, and even chain emails. This is a great supplement wth lots of ideas, and also a great jumping off point for creating your own adventures and vaesen if you so choose.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Modern Vaesen - Horrific Folklore in the Digital Age
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Mörk Borg English
by Edward [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/04/2024 08:13:08

Ring Side Report- RPG review of Mork Borg

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea every day!

Product- Mork Borg System- Mork Borg Producer- Free League Publishing Price- $19.99 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/en/product/295910/Mork-Borg-English?affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR- Death Metal DCC RPG mixed with Cypher system set in Dark Souls. 90%

Basics- Hear the call of the double two-headed basilisk! Mork Borg is an old school RPG with themes that feel like you’re playing in an 80s death metal album covers. Let’s break this game down.

Basics- This is a d20 rpg. Your character has four stats and you roll 3d6 for each and use a chart to determine your bonuses for each stat. From then on you will use the bonus for each statistic and roll a d20 with it for any test. The default test success result is a 12.

Combat and Rounds- Each round of combat is about six seconds. This is a VERY old school game as someone rolls a d6. Roll high, the players go first as a group, and low the enemies go first as a group. Each round, each character gets on action and a move. That’s it. What’s interesting is the GM really doesn't roll dice. You attack with a bow? Roll presence+d20 with a DC of 12. You are attacked? Roll agility+d20 DC 12 to not get hit That’s it. It is NOT a deep crunchy system. If you hit or are hit, you roll damage dice and take that much damage.

Classes- There are a few presented classes. These classes give you hit points and different abilities. These are pretty random like most of the system.

Powers- Characters can gain powers. These are either holy or sacred spells. You can use them a number of times per day equal to d4+presence. These allow you to do attacks, talk with animals, or any of a handful of different abilities.

Morale- Monsters run. If they are hurt enough or the leader dies, the may bolt. When they are dealt enough damage or enough of their friends die, someone rolls 2d6. If the result is over their morale, they monsters either run or surrender.

Monsters- Monsters are simple with a number of hit points, a morale score, abilities, and damage for attacks. Each has a beautifully horrible picture.

Alright, thats the basics, let’s dig in.

Mechanics or Crunch- This is a VERY rules-light RPG. You already know almost everything you need to play. It’s not deep, but it works. Some things are not described well though. That’s kind of intentional as this is much more a fun, gritty RPG and not a deep musing on the human condition. It’s much more a SOLID OSR game where you know how to play since you’ve got dice older than some of the kids at the table. But, that rules light approach makes it harder to start playing. 4.5/5

Theme or Fluff- If this game goes deep into one thing, it’s the theme. This game feels like what Dark Souls wants to be. It’s gritty, it’s dark, and it has mysteries wrapped in mysteries and isn’t afraid to make it harder to play to make the atmosphere perfect for the game. It really does feel like playing DnD in a death metal cover. 5/5

Execution- I like this game, but the commitment to theme hurts presentation. The book is hyperlinked. So, it’s good. But the commitment to the zine and hard core metal makes it hard to follow everything. Also, the reliance on audience assumption of how games work is maybe a bit too much. I know what I am doing, because I’ve gamed for over 20 years, but newer players will be completely lost. 4/5

Summary- Mork Borg is an artist committing to their vision. The game itself is exactly what these people wanted. It’s light on rules and deadly without being a slog to play. The theme is exactly the dark world they wanted with enough places to play.and explore. That commitment is admirable, but it does take away from the ease of getting into the game if you don't know what OSR is or how to play old school DnD. It’s a bit of an ask for new players, but for the old grognards like me I understand what they are aiming for. I like what’s here but if you’re newer to RPGs, then ask your older Forever DM friend and we’ll blare some Cannibal Corpse and show you a good time! 90%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mörk Borg English
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Reforged Power (for Forbidden Lands)
by Allen [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/03/2024 18:35:14

I have been using these rules for almost 15 sessions now and can not even think about playing without them, they are so easy to use and add so much to the game, I can not recommend them enough!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Reforged Power (for Forbidden Lands)
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Exploration & Encounters
by Allen [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/01/2024 14:31:39

I really love this one! Encounters are something I can always use more of! I would love to see something like this for Bitter Reach and Bloodmarch or even just a Vol 2 of this! My only complaint is I wish the random tables you can use to make your own Encounters were different for each terrain type but other than that the pre-written Encounters themselves are wonderful!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Exploration & Encounters
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Dragonbane Quickstart
by Chris [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/28/2024 09:34:54

A good solid quick start for a super game. Dragonbane is now my go to Fantasy RPG. Try this and then you'll want to buy the full game. Just do it, its great. :)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dragonbane Quickstart
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Sugar And Spice - Vaesen
by Andrew [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/20/2024 03:12:03

I really enjoyed running this mystery. It took our group four 3 hour sessions to complete. I found it well presented with handy maps and relationships of the NPCs drawn out. It's a bit more on the frivolous side, which was a welcome change in atmosphere, and we all had a good time with it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Sugar And Spice - Vaesen
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Blade Runner RPG Fiery Angels
by Alexander [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/18/2024 14:30:08

I think that this Case is not as good as the one in the Starter Set. Without really spoiling too much I can only say, that there are some questionable choices on the side of the villains in this one and one "surprise" is just pretty lame I feel like. But what really irks me in this one is the design of the PDFs you get when you buy it. Because they are just not suitable for use with VTTs for example. Unless you want to show everyone your real name, because of the watermark. Also the Map PDF could really use one without notations and the background. All the maps look kinda noisy and that is because of the background you have to get rid of. All the Mugshots have the watermark in such a way, that it is going right into the text of the Name. I feel like this could easily be avoided for the publisher but maybe it is a good way to sell their VTT produict of the case. I can still recomment the whole case but know that u will have some work when you want to use it in VTT and make it look good



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Blade Runner RPG Fiery Angels
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