Archive for the ‘Review’ Category

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Review – Shadowrun: Shadow Stock – Lofwyr’s Legions

19 April, 2022

Shadowrun: Shadow Stock – Lofwyr’s Legions is a book of NPCs and introduces the drake, part dragons, Lofwyr's Legionsas an optional metatype. It is interesting and useful for a GM. But the drake write up has some very serious balance issues that should make any GM reluctant to allow them for player characters without considerable revision.

Shadowrun: Shadow Stock – Lofwyr’s Legions is one of the Shadow Stock pdfs for Shadowrun, providing both interesting non-player characters and new character options, in this case NPCs associated with the dragon Lofwyr, his corporation Saeder-Krupp and rules for drakes, part dragons.

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Review – Shadowrun: Emerald City

28 March, 2022

SR-ECShadowrun: Emerald City is a setting book for the Sixth World Edition of Shadowrun covering that most Shadowrun of all cities, Seattle. If you are running a Seattle-based campaign, obviously this book is going to be extremely useful while not indispensable but close. For non-seattle-based campaigns, it is a fun read and gives you some information of things that will have rippling effects on the rest of the Sixth World. However, the lack of district maps and an index do badly compromise its usability during a game.

Shadowrun: Emerald City is the Setting Book for Shadowrun’s hometown, the Metroplex of Seattle. Designed to link into the new city edition of the core and providing a detailed look at the city and its situation following the city’s declaration of independence.

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Review – Shadowrun: Double Clutch

24 February, 2022

SR-DCShadowrun: Double Clutch is a sourcebook, specifically a “Core Rigger Rulebook” for the Sixth World Edition of Shadowrun covering vehicles and more things that can be done with them. This book is an essential addition to a GM’s collection for seeing the state of play for vehicles in the Sixth World and the rules for chases and repairing and modifying vehicles. Obviously, anyone playing a rigger or other vehicle specialist will want access to this book but GM should be careful about letting people go crazy with vehicle modifications.

Shadowrun: Double Clutch, is the Core Rigger Rulebook for Shadowrun, Sixth World Edition, providing a look at the current state of play for vehicle and drone technologies along with expanded rules for piloting vehicles and using drones.

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Review – Forgotten Peoples of the Ancient World

9 February, 2022

FPotAWIn Forgotten Peoples of the Ancient World, Philip Matyszak looks at forty ancient civilizations that are mostly forgotten in the modern world. While ranging from Northern Europe to India, most of them were in the Middle and Near East, the cradle of civilizations.

This book is popular history and there is nothing wrong with that, each culture receives just a brief overview usually with some of the interesting events or important historical contributions highlighted. Each section ends with a “future echoes” piece showing how something from that civilization is still with us today, though some of them seem quite a stretch. But an enjoyable, if light, read.

Looking at the book as a resource for world builders, both in fiction and games, it is an excellent source, giving you just enough information about a group to know if you want to delve more deeply into their culture for your purposes. It also teaches an important lesson, cultures are not static monoliths, unchanging over time but are in constant flux as they interact with their environment and, more importantly, their neighboring cultures. As much as a culture might think it remains the same (and promote that idea), people, ideas and technologies arrive and cause changes all the time. It may not be the constant flurry of new ideas and technology that swirl around us today, but things were continually changing even in the most apparently static cultures of the past and this is good to keep in mind when trying to build cultures for fiction and games.

Notes: The link is an Amazon Affiliate link and if you purchase through it, this site will get a small sliver of money.

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Short Reviews – Archetypes, Backgrounds and New Races for D&D 5E from Cat Tale Press

31 July, 2021

CatTalePressLogoCat Tale Press has been producing support materials for Dungeons & Dragons, 5E, much of which is Pay What You Want.  These reviews look at eight of them, six providing new archetypes, one new backgrounds and the last, new races.  They are good but could be better, so suggestions for things to improve are included.

Starting with the archetypes which are mostly four pages: cover, one page of description and two of OGL.  In all cases they could have used more context for the archetype such as suggestions for where they might fir into a game world and what sort of culture would inspire them.  Also, and this is very common for such materials, is a lack of support material such as a new spell, magic item, place or even a legend to inspire adventure would make them some much more interesting and easier to fit into a campaign.

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Review – Shadowrun: Power Plays

25 June, 2021

Shadowrun: Power Plays is a sourcebook, specifically a “Runners Resource Book” for the Sixth World Edition of Shadowrun covering the Big Ten Megacorporations who, let’s face it, run the Sixth World in a very real sense. While tagged as a Runner Resource, it strikes me as more a book for Games Masters who want to know what is going on at the higher levels so that they can decide what filters down to the level of hiring runners for. Overall, an interesting read with some excellent chapters and lots of inspiration for games.

Shadowrun: Power Plays, is a Runner Resource Book for Shadowrun, Sixth World Edition, providing a look at what is going on in the corporate world, as the megacorps are the primary villains in the world, knowing what is happening with them is important.

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Review – Shadowrun: Street Wyrd

3 May, 2021

Shadowrun: Street Wyrd is the long awaited Core Magic Book for the new edition of Shadowrun, and it is going to be a required book for Shadowrun games masters as it provides so many new resources in spells, adept powers, metamagic, magical groups and so much more. And players will be happy with new ways to improve their characters.

Shadowrun: Street Wyrd, is the Core Magic Book for Shadowrun, Sixth World Edition, expanding the available options for magic in all of its wonderful forms.

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Review – Shadowrun: Collapsing Now

15 March, 2021

Shadowrun: Collapsing Now is a sourcebook, specifically a “Runners Resource Book” for the Sixth World Edition of Shadowrun covering a variety of groups that shadowrunner might work for or against. It suffers from a lack of direction and uncertainty if it is a player or GM facing work. For the lore and background information, worth picking up for Shadowrun Games Masters, but not an immediate must have unless you are featuring one of the highlighted groups in your campaign.

Shadowrun: Collapsing Now, is a Runner Resource Book for Shadowrun, Sixth World Edition, providing a look at some of the groups that shadowrunners might work with, for or against. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Review – The Sixth Shotgun

5 January, 2021

The Sixth Shotgun by Louis L’Amour is a short story of the same title and a novella The Sixth ShotgunThe Rider of the Ruby Hills” in one volume.  I am not much of a reader of Westerns but L’Amour is so well regarded I thought I would give this collection a try.  It is easy to see why his stories are so popular, he has an easy and readable style and a knack for describing characters in a short space that gives you a good sense of them.

If you like Westerns, you should like these stories.  However, they are a product of their time and genre and the women, while competent and more active than I had expected, are defined by their relationships to the men in the stories.

But I am going to put a roleplaying spin on my discussions about them:

The Sixth Shotgun has a light mystery mixed with its Western and is a good example of how to blend genres.  There are no real surprises but it is a fun story and could be adapted for a roleplaying adventure pretty easily.

The Rider of the Ruby Hills is virtually a masterclass on how to run a campaign based around a single character.  The main character is exceedingly competent and goes into the situation prepared and with a plan, unfortunately for him, the situation in the valley in not entirely what he expected . . .

I think this is a good model for single character campaigns, the primary character has to be competent because there is just them at the core of it, I think this should be leaned into.  Almost everyone like playing someone of heroic statue now and then and this sort of campaign structure is perfect for it.  In the story the main character finds allies which could be GMCs or even guest players depending on how you wanted to structure the campaign (and if you had people interested in “guest staring” in your game) but they are very much secondary and support to the drive of our hero.  One of the main role of GMCs will be to provide information and context for the player.

In The Rider of the Ruby Hills, our main character wants to claim land and cattle to build a house and settle down after a life of roaming and working for other people and he has a plan to do such.  Naturally, things do not work out as he had planned.   In this kind of campaign a character’s drive could be anything, restoring their family’s good name, overthrowing the evil duke, whatever but it should be clearly defined at the beginning and they should have the capability to achieve such, if things break their way.  Ultimately everything that happens in the game should be building toward that goal and its final achievement (or tragic failure).

Notes: The links are affiliate links and I will get a small sum of your purchase through them.

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Review – Shadowrun: Slip Streams

30 September, 2020

Slip StreamsShadowrun: Slip Streams is very much a book for Games Masters, lots of information, lots of adventure seeds, all expanding on the effects that magic is having on the world. If the magic side of Shadowrun story is your jam, this is the book for you. Otherwise, it is an interesting read and there are no lack of adventure ideas that it throws off. For players, the in game information is a fun read and the new character option is intriguing but not for all campaigns, talk with your GM first.

Shadowrun: Slip Streams, is a Plot Sourcebook for Shadowrun, Sixth World Edition, expanding on the magical situation across the world but with a focus on events affecting North America.

As is expected, it begins with a brief introduction and a glossary of terms related to astral space, this is very handy and important to what follows. Then the requisite fiction section before the meat of the product begins.

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