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OpenQuest 3rd Edition
by Nick J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/20/2021 12:15:02

A great iteration of the tried and true Basic Roleplaying System, originally published by Chaosium. OpenQuest 3rd edition is a refinement of rules originally derived from the Mongoose Legend lineage of BRP (the same part of the family tree that Mythras and RuneQuest 6th edition came from) and is a way to play BRP without some of the more intricate rules found in more dense versions of D100 games. In OpenQuest 3, you still roll to parry, and armor still deducts damage from hits, but there are no hit locations. Skill point allocations are streamlined during character creation to make getting into the action as quick and painless as possible. There are three included magic systems: Personal Magic (which is essentially Folk Magic or cantrips and other minor blessings), Divine Magic bestowed by cult progression, and Sorcery. A nice touch isthe inclusion of laid out pathways to becoming a shaman, wise-woman/man, acolyte, priest, adept or magus that unlock benefits beyond simple skill increases or additional known spells.

If you are new to D100 gaming, or are just looking for a more streamlined set of rules to run a D100 campaign I think OQ3 is an excellent choice, particularly if you interested in running a game with some of the default assumptions you might find in a mythic setting like Glorantha; i.e. where everyone knows at least a bit of magic. That said, it seems like an easily hackable system that could readily use substitute magic systems or be tweaked to fit different genres or add in different supplements that are broadly compatible.

Some additional thoughts: Compared to OpenQuest 2nd edition (which is no longer available) OQ3 is still very compatible, just refined and expanded in a few areas that were lacking (combat spot rules, etc.) OQ3 uses a serif font which is much more readable, the organization and layout seems improved and makes better use of space, and the art direction and selection of images seems much more unified and consistent throughout. The only con I can think of is that there isn't more guidance for running a low or no-magic game inside the game masters section and the default assumptions that every character knows at least a bit of magic may not jibe with a lot of game master's conceptions of their campaign worlds (hint: ready availability of the healing skill and plenty of heeling potions and charms will probably be essential, unless a GM wants to tweak things to account for the absence of healing magic.)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
OpenQuest 3rd Edition
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Skyraiders of the Floating Realms Zero Edition
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/11/2021 23:28:48

The Good Bad and the Ugly Review

But in reverse order.

You might get the initial impression that I don’t like this game. No so.

The Ugly

This is a zero-edition game. Like a pre-pre-alpha in the computer game world. On publication it won’t look or read like this. I hope.

Firstly, yuk. This is surely a word document uploaded as a PDF. Don’t except a professional layout or presentation. Even a neophyte such as I could do infinitely better with Mac Pages in layout mode.

The tables have thick black lines and black headings, they just looks messy, out of place even. The flavour text, is frankly awful. The intent is good but egad! Dump it or rewrite it please.

There is no consistency in the document — bullet points for example. Sometimes the lines are double-spaced, sometimes indented far beyond those earlier of later.

Commas and apostrophes find their way into all sorts of nooks and crannies and are not welcome when improperly used, which is often.

Many sentences have words missing, confusing the intent. This is near disastrous for a rules document and makes the flavour text almost unreadable and clunky. This is one of the main sticking points for me. There are many examples but here’s a very minor one, “…crew of the Flying Circus, brought the sky ship around in the sky…” Sky ship? In the sky? Surely not.

Newt’s writing is normally very good. Not here.

These are perhaps minor assaults on good grammar and presentation but having editing dozens of technical documents these either pop out at me or genuinely force me to re-read a passage to see where Newt is going wit it. The author isn’t entirely sure whether his game is Skyraiders of the Floating Realms or Floating Worlds. A small distinction you may think but if you can’t get the name of your product right, what chance has the game got? Lots in fact so you’ll need to read on.

This is stream-of-conscious writing with absolutely no editing OK, you don’t expect editing in such a hurried method but, I am paying for this booklet.

The Bad

The author tells us, this game is not about dungeon delving or looting magic and treasure. However, there are numerous references to gaining riches and magic through the time-honoured act of dungeoneering. No issue for me but which is it? Dungeons or no dungeons?

Character generation. Each step of the creation process is broken down into discrete rules. Good. The instructions for those elements are listed as a line of text below each rule. There’s no summary of these steps, instead you must read every section to learn what it is you must do to create your character. This will become second nature very quickly but this is an example of poor layout out and testing — I’m not sure this game has a been play-tested but this is a poor design choice.

Often words are capitalised, becoming proper nouns. There are many, many examples, Caster versus caster, Strength and strength (this happens a lot) Referee or referee. I could go on and on. I doubt the hodgepodge use of such elevated nouns is intentional but, surely some of these words are just your run-of-the-mill words.

Combat is a bit broken. Grappling — just a regular attack, it doesn’t matter whether the target is in plate armour, with sword and shield at the ready or dressed down to his britches and ready to wrestle. An initial successful attack locks the target in a hold — immediately. Bit powerful perhaps? On the next round the wrestlers make an opposed roll using either their Close Combat or the Athletics skill. There is no Athletics skill. If the attacker is successful the target takes damage and his armour offers no protection. That’s the same as a critical hit right there. Suddenly the grapple (or Grapple) is the best melee attack in the game.

Magic is completely broken. There are no Power (see, a capitalised word used as a proper noun) point costs for casting a spell. You can keep on casting the same spell until you get it right and then cast it again and again. Futher, you can blow out a candle with the spell “Blow Out” — a truely awful name for a spell — or blast a foe with 2d6 damage, and yes, the spell name is, “Blast”. These two spells, one far, far more powerful than other are technically identical as described by the rules of casting.

I’m not sure I like the purchasing mechanic. The player rolls their character’s Trade skill with a modifier based on the desired item’s rarity. The reason I’m not sure is because a character begins play with a list of useful gear and the game is not about bookkeeping. Still it would be nice to see an example or two.

An adventure is included. This is a must for all new games, in my opinion. I'm about to explain a major plot point so pease skip this if you're going to run or play.

The adventure is comprised of 7 linear encounters. Some are fights but others require a bit of role-playing. However...the plot. A pair of witches finagled ownership of half the sky island where they adventure takes place. They want the other half. To orchestrate a full takeover they are systematically destroying the island. Hey, what now? To gain ownership of the other half of the island they're destroying it. Those witches should have a chat with me and I'd explain that if they destroy the island...well you can fill in the blanks.

The Good

I’ve played the game. I had to house-rule many of the broken bits or those that just didn’t work for me.

It’s great fun.

You can create your character in an instant which is nicely old-school. The mechanics are d100 based; which are quick and easy to introduce new players. Tell a newbie to throw a d20 versus a cross-referenced table and there may be some confusion. Tell them they have a 56 percent chance of success and all become clear.

I like the treatment of armour. When the character is struck, the player throws an armour die which reduces the hit points lost.

Movement is handled simply, described by four range categories. Although I don’t think rules for moving between these ranges presently exist.

There’s a bit of swashbuckling thrown in for good measure. No rules. The referee adjudicates on the fly based on players’ description and the intended result. I like this, the game is to be played fast and loose.

You can readily wing the oft-mentioned sky ships. There are no rules for them but this is the zero edition after all. A hint would have been nice.

There are good, but short sections on monsters, guilds and religious orders. Examples show how easy it is to create an interesting monster or an element of the game world that might quickly become key and grant the player characters a true place among the realms. Or worlds.

The game is designed for one-shot and mini-campaigns. You can turn this into a longer campaign by reducing the number of improvement points awarded or increasing the cost of advancement. I’d favour the latter but one shots are well received by my crowd.

The game finishes with an adventure. Every new RPG should come with a basic adventure. Nothing sets thee scene so well as the designer’s own imaginings. Some are included here. Your learn that the game is meant to be a bit of a giggle. The main mover and shaker in the area is Boris the Bad'un. The area includes two villages with no means of obtaining their own food. The villages are Big and Little Humbug.

Summary

Will you like this game? I do. You might. If you are looking for a detailed tome with options for every situation. This is not it. Massive bestiary? No. Detailed background? Not yet. On-the-fly style with matching rules? Yep. At the mo, it’s nice and cheap but in need of a little TLC.

Is this game not for you? If you don’t like the sound of the preceding paragraph, no.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Skyraiders of the Floating Realms Zero Edition
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Grogzilla #1
by Jim C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/01/2020 03:19:11

I received a copy as a Kickstarter backer. There's a lot of innovative work in this for a variety of systems. I'll go so far as to bump it a star for the price offered.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Grogzilla #1
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Tournaments of Madness and Death
by J H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/01/2020 03:25:27

You know this is probably a good idea if you are going to publish your own game. Do some convention scenarios. Hone those adventure scenarios then sell them. Capitalize on that shit. Get other people running them, and get more people playing the system. I mean if the adventures are good it'll work.

So these are Newt Newport's convention scenarios for the very excellent Crypts & Things. I have a 38 page saddle stapled A4 booklet. The cover art is nice. The inside art is black and white. The maps are very good. The rest of the art is okay. It's neither quite evocative enough, nor useful enough to show players. It certainly doesn't detract from the adventures, but neither is it good enough to get me amped to run the adventures. (That cover art tho!)

I want to start with the middle section - the part that talks about how to run a good convention game. Some of this is fething amazing stuff. Things like : schedule toilet breaks and TELL YOUR PLAYERS! And KEEP THE PACE UP! And (what should be obvious but probably isn't) BRING PREMADE CHARACTERS AND EXTRAS. I'm all for this. Especially for one shots. This is only four pages but its a really good section. THe first part of the advice is "Focus on what makes Crypts and Things What It Is" which is a great statement. However despite Newt going into four things that he thinks makes Crypts and Things different (and I mean as the author he should know!) he doesn't mention one of the things I'm a big fan of : a simple sanity based system. This point sort of links in with the adventures, none of them have enough potential for sanity loss that it becomes mechanically important. It's a minor point, but I would have preferred failure by insanity to be an actual possibility in these scenarios.

Both adventures are structured similarly. There is a hook, there is an urban environment to explore, then a short dungeon, then a boss fight with a twist. For a timed scenario this is the best you are going to get. It avoids the (far to common) trap of living group play - the travel montage of four short scenes. (Just the memory makes me rather slit my wrists). The hooks are good, solid, and on point. A hanging iron moon is collapsing, and foes are trying to wake up a confined evil emperor. The urban exploration for both is smashingly excellent. Almost every location has a hidden piece of information, that the GM is told only to reveal if the players are clever. These are never essential (yah to no gatekeeping!) but are almost always helpful (again big thumbs up to rewarding players) and will often only be gained by roleplaying (again, reward what you want players to do!).

Then short dungeons (about nine rooms) which in a timed environment is all you want. They're not linear (again fantastic!) and feature a good mix of combat, intriguing situations, and just cool stuff.

Lastly the boss fight, again these are not quite as straightforward as the intro would leave the characters to believe. Here players will be rewarded for actually finding out stuff during play.

They're not perfect. One of the adventures has a powerful wizard quest giver who effectively betrays the party. The adventure points out he doesn't need the party and instructs the GM to ignore this.

Despite this and the redundancy of the sanity system I think this is an excellent product. Whilst hard to integrate into a campaign they will stay on my shelf as 'bloody good one shots'. If convention GMing is your thing, check this out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tournaments of Madness and Death
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Monkey The Roleplaying Game
by A customer [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/17/2018 12:30:50

I became aware of this product through the quickstart rules, although I have since learned there was a KS in 2017, and was awaiting the full rulebook being a fan of wuxia and finding the premise of playing an immortal companion to a questing monk interesting. The card draw system is simple to learn and adapted to the highly narrative concept of the game, but luck plays a great part in the outcome of any action, so using save cards and/or assist from your companions is required if you don't want to fail at something important. The character creation process with its story-like development and challenges is a fun way to set the stage for the campaign, but immediately underline the weakness of the product as is: the lack of sufficient examples and background information. Your immortal is supposed to choose a Yin and a Yang Attitude, which is central to the game mechanic, and have some magical powers and items to help in his adventures. Yet, aside from 13 pairs of basic Attitudes, 14 Weaknesses, the 8 pregens and limited random choices (one per card suit and joker per origin for skills, story challenges and magic items (which may very well mean that a randomly-based party of four might end up with a few identical traits/background), you are left on your own to decide what they are. Same thing with only 5 broad realms basically described (Western & Eastern Heavens, Four Oceans, Earth and the Ten Courts of Hell) with 3 or 4 possible NPCs each. No map of the Tang China setting either. Maybe worst, aside from the 2 complete adventures provided, only 8 adventures seeds are given to provide some ideas of what this Journey to the West campaign could actually be like. You do get rules to play mortal martial artists instead of immortals though, but I feel that the option somehow changes the "celestial" scope of the game. I get that some of the interesting sounding material in the KS, like the Ministry of Thunder adventures and the Golden Register of 101 Immortals and Demons aren't out yet (and may take a while to be), but the aforementioned are essential elements IMHO to run a Monkey campaign, and their unfortunate absence will require more work on the part of the prospective GM to get their Journey on the road. I would suggest to those that want to give it a go nonetheless, to look up Yaos in the Qin rpg Bestiary for Animal Spirit examples as well as Demons and other celestial creatures, and for the Warring States period map and info in the Qin rulebook (which also has usable examples of Weaknesses and Magic Powers), or the very nice setting map and info (as well as random encounter tables) of the Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate rpg, while waiting for hopefully new material for the game. You may also look up the "List of Journey to the west characters" on wikipedia for more adventure seeds and background info. Personally, I'll be using the Hoshin Engi anime/manga slightly different premise of a band of immortals joining an heavenly apprentice "monk" on a quest to capture 365 demons in order to free the emperor from the evil influence of a Fox Spirit as my campaign basis.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Monkey The Roleplaying Game
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OpenQuest
by Steven A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/08/2018 10:06:07

I am extremely disappointed in the poor quality of rules and editing in the OpenQuest refreshed.

I have been trying to make the system work as smoothly as possible but every week either my players or myself find an inconsistency or out right contradiction in the text. Some pretty blatant examples:

Grappling is only mentioned in one place in the book but no where else. So there is not explanation as to exactly what that means.

Sorcery has different requirements if you look at it from character creation versus in play.

Weapon strengths and dexterity requirements are mentioned but not listed in the book.

There are monsters in the bestiary that are not even finished.

These are just the ones that I can come up with at the top of my mind.

Anyone on the Editor and Proof Readers list should be ashamed to see their name there.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
OpenQuest
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Tomb of the Necromancers
by Grahame H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/31/2018 07:16:33

I really like what they have done with the Crypts & Things game, but there is a point where poor proofreading and editing cannot be forgiven. I ordered the pdf and the POD version of this product and have only read the pdf at this stage, so I hope that the poor proofreading is only a problem with the pdf version.

The amount of typos in this adventure is almost overwhelming and I found it hard to make it through the whole thing. Some of the word choices and sentence structures appeared 'off', but this may be because the author is not a native English speaker (?). I can usually let this pass, but the almost complete lack of proofreading is hard to forgive. Here is an example sentence and I'm not kidding when I say this product is full of sentences just as bad as this:

"Nahi is ‚empowered to negotiate‘ with the player characters by his employer, ‚the mighty enchantress, Magda of Tetronis‘."

The adventure itself is not too bad, with a reasonably done crypt/undead encounter area and a hostile town overrun by bloodthirsty berserkers. There are some decent opportunities for roleplaying and the art is pretty good. Something can be made out of this, but you have to have more patience than me and not mind random punctuation marks being randomly strewn through sentences. A thorough proofread, a good edit to remove unnecessary material and you've got something at least decent.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Tomb of the Necromancers
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Crypts and Things Remastered
by Grahame H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/13/2018 04:27:51

Great product. This game certainly does S&S better than Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea (AS&SH). If you want an S&S style game rather than a high fantasy one, this is certainly one of the best options out there. The rules-light system works fantastically to capture the S&S feel, and the magic system, while not perfect IMO, does a decent job of ensuring sorcery is a dangerous endeavour as befits the genre. The treatment of magic items is well done, with most having negative side effects or other unpredictable consequences. This game feels like a dangerous, low magic S&S setting, rather than a form of AD&D minus demi-humans + pulp fiction monsters.

The only negatives I have are that I don't feel that the optional exotic classes added in this remastered version are very well done. They just feel a little too tied into the setting for my tastes and although this is based on OD&D/S&W, I've never been a big fan of the 'race as class' thing. My other negatives were more cosmetic in nature, there being a large quantity of white space in some sections in the book and quite a few typos, though these do not impede comprehension.

All in all a great product for any fan of this genre.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Crypts and Things Remastered
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Life and Death Zarth Edition
by Raymond W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/19/2018 06:28:45

I think Michael T. has a very good point. I also think that this is an excellent open-ended adventure.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Life and Death Zarth Edition
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Life and Death Zarth Edition
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/15/2018 10:29:30

WARNING! This adventure does NOT take place on Zarth!?! WTF!?! If you want to write a D&D adventure,then don't say it's a "Zarth" edition! Call it a "BS pocket dimension edition"! RIP-OFF. I want my money back! }:{



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thanks for the balanced and well thought out review. Its called the "Zarth" edition to tie it into Crypts and Things default setting. From the introduction (which is viewable in the preview): "Where in the World of Zarth? If you intend to use this adventure with characters who have previously adventured in the Continent of Terror, here’s some suggestions on where The Shattered Lands exist: • Far across the Reapers Sea on another continent. • In its own pocket dimension or Other World. Characters from Zarth arrive via a magic portal, such as the one in the Black Monolith in the Haunted Lands in the main Crypts and Things Rule Book ." So as you can see I give two suggestions: one is Zarth based, the other is a pocket dimension/Other World.
Project Darklight
by Gary A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/30/2017 11:20:59

The setting is evocative and is a new spin on the cyberpunk run of the mill settings. However, the execution could use alot more polish. Character creation is kind of a mess. It's muddy and unclear. The book has a cut and paste feel to it. The art is good for the most part but overall the book could have used a professional editor and layout person. The book also lacks any character examples. It would have been nice to see some character templates or a few fully formed characters to get a good idea what they are suppose to look like.

I purchased this as an implulse buy simply because I thought the ancient aliens and cyberpunk mashup sounded refreshing. I wish I just bought the PDF and not the print/PDF bundle. Oh well...



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Project Darklight
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The Hollow West
by Dillard R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/29/2017 23:47:50

BLUF:This is too lite.

The idea behind the setting is fantastic. Cowboys vs Dinosaurs vs Native Americans vs Cattle Barons vs Power Hungy madman vs Occultists vs Serpent Men vs Atlanteans and I am sure I am missing somebody. Frankly the mash up is very satisfying. What isn't satisfying is the lack of a good engine. Fortune absolutely guts Fate Core and FAE for the sake of simplicity. If you want simple use FAE. If you want more crunch use the myriad tools available from Evil Hat to tweak Fate Core. Hollow West uses a simplified Fate system and advertises it as self-contained. However, the author is relying on scanty rules, with few examples, and implicitly that you have seen/played Fate or FAE before. Fate Core is full of examples because it isn't a game familiar in style to most RPGs out there. It is Theater of the Mind with the players having as much control of the story as the GM. This is unfamilar territory for most players/gms. It needs more explanation than is present in the short Hollow West book. If you do want to use this setting and are not familiar with Fate I would suggest you check it out for free on the Evil Hat website.

The only reason I would give this three stars is because of the setting. I will run this, but I will use Fate Core.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Hollow West
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Hearts in Glorantha Vol 1 Collected
by Olivier P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/11/2017 12:00:09

Highly recommended for all fans of Glorantha, really great content (background and scenarios)!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hearts in Glorantha Vol 1 Collected
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OpenQuest
by Simon B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/24/2017 16:35:49

Excellent! The rules live up to their tagline, 'D100 Gaming Made Easy.' The result is a smooth play style, unburdened by the snowflakery to which percentile systems so often succumb.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
OpenQuest
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OpenQuest
by Nicholas B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/27/2017 17:12:24

This is a very nice iteration of the D100-based BRP system, built from the OGL spin-off that came from Mongoose Publishing's version of Runequest a few years back. OpenQuest is closer in design and style to classic RuneQuest and the old Worlds of Wonder's Magic World, with a percentile-based skill mechanic, down-and-dirty combat system (but with fewer layers of complexity, especially in contrast with RQ6/Mythras) and an emphasis on evocking the style of play most familiar to those who cut their teeth on RQ2 and RQ3 especially.

With most of the current BRP/Magic World line OOP now or no longer supported, I decided to take a look at the 2017 upgrade to OpenQuest and am glad I did. Here's the pros and cons:

PROS: --Great artwork in this edition. It's full color and evocative, and looks much nicer than prior editions --Good, elegant take on the BRP/D100 system with four magic systems and a sense of familiarity midway between classic Runequest and Worlds of Wonder/Magic World --The combat revisions are welcome --You could easily run a lengthy series of campaigns with just this book --I believe the vast majority of prior typos/errata are cleared up in this new edition --It's in print and New Newport and co. support OpenQuest like I wish Chaosium would support BRP/MW --close enough in compatibility to other BRP/RQ/MW games that you can cross-pollinate with other material --very fun and easy to play --Has several sourcebooks in print/PDF for support with more planned

CONS: --The layout in the book is still sparse and a bit ugly (contrast with the sister game Rivers of Heaven), but this is a YMMV issue and I like the spartan style --If you've bought in to prior versions the changes in this edition might not be enough to entice you (they did, however, entice me)

A+++



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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