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Against the Darkmaster Core Rules
Publisher: Open Ended Games, Inc.
by Marcus M. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/08/2021 12:24:10

Against the Darkmaster is a new fantasy tabletop RPG, a retroclone of Rolemaster. I’ve not played Rolemaster before, so this review won’t be able to compare the two.

This tome is REALLY massive rulebook, containing character creation, rules mechanics, game mastery, bestiary, magic lists, and an adventure. There’s a lot to it, but it’s all contained there in a single book, and would be very easy to run an entire campaign all out of this one 563 page book. The book is much thicker than Zweihander, though fewer pages. The paper’s a lot thicker, so it all feels really durable.

The basic mechanics of Against the Darkmaster are pretty simple: A D100 percentile roll is used for all rolls (with a few exceptions using a D10). Your skills and attributes have values both negative and positive. You’ll roll your D100 and add or subtract the appropriate attribute, trying to meet or beat 100. The game has degrees of success and failure, so 75-99 will get you a partial success, while over 175 will give an outstanding success.

Character creation has a lot of different components to it. Players will choose their character’s Kin (race), Culture (which tells where you came from), Vocations (your class), Background (where you’ll choose to spend Background Points for different advantages), as well as Passions and Drives.

Combat works in phases. All characters declare their actions, then move into the actions. First spells prepared in the previous round go of, followed by instant spells. Then ranged weapons prepared the previous round are fired. Close combat then happens (longest to shortest weapons in order). Then ranged attacks that hadn’t gone off before are fired. Finally, all unprepared spells go off. I love the way this goes, allowing tactical preparation, and then watching a cascading effect take place as all of the actions play out.

Taking damage is very dangerous. Tables for each type of weapon determine the severity of damage, and how likely critical hits are. As you take damage, you’ll suffer penalties, which can lead to a death spiral. Luckily, your enemies are also under the same effect, so it balances out.

One of my favorite aspects of the game is the creation of The Darkmaster. There is a large section for creating your own Darkmaster. A series of D100 rolls determine the epithet of the powerful being, as well as the coveted artifact that is tied to them. The game master and players can work together to determine the Darkmaster’s origins, their goals and servants, and their powerful dark fortress. There’s also a great selection of premade Darkmasters with great backgrounds and info. Here, the pages are inverted, so the black pages actually stand out when the book is closed, which I like.

Magic is another cool aspect. There are a collection of Spell Lores. Each lore must be purchased separately as a skill, but each rank grants the next highest spell in the list as you weave more complex spells. For example, Communion: first gives you Question Animal, allowing you to summon and speak to creatures. Higher levels allow you to cast auguries, divine visions, and speaking with he dead.

The art throughout is REALLY solid, all in solid black and white, very evocative of the implied setting.

I really like this ruleset. I can see why people love Rolemaster and MERP. It’s has straightforward rules that’s a lot less complicated than it seems at first. I can’t wait to try out some one-shots soon to really run the system through its paces.

If you’re looking for a grim and brutal system, Against the Darkmaster is a solid contender.

Dice Monkey was sent a copy of Against the Darkmaster by Gamerati for review.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Against the Darkmaster Core Rules
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Wrath & Glory: Core Rules
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Marcus M. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/06/2020 23:42:28

For 10,000 years, endless war has engulfed the galaxy. From the decimated ruin of Cadia to the war-ravaged battlefields of Armageddon, and from the Hive cities of Necromunda to the Aeldari craftworld Iyanden, a billion billion souls have been lost to the eternal conflict.

In Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay: Wrath & Glory from Cubicle 7, you will be taking on the role of one of the pitiful souls who inhabit this universe, one where the fascist cultic dictatorship of the Imperium comes into conflict with servants of the dark gods, mindless war-hungry orks, mindless Necron automatons, or a littany of other alien races just as horrible. 40k is a world where there are no good sides. Everyone is despicable in their own special and unique way.

The previous version of 40k roleplay by Fantasy Flight was broken down into multiple books depending on what flavor of 40k you were interested in, separating Imperial Guard from Space Marines from Inquisition, and only allowing you to play as either a member of the Imperium or, in the case of Black Crusade, the forces of Chaos fighting the Imperium. In Wrath & Glory, the rules cover all of those, as well as playing as the Aeldari and Orks.

Let’s take a look at the rules.

Every campaign begins with a framework. This is essentially a group template, where the table decides what they want to play as in the universe. Do you want to all be Imperial Inquisitors? Hive gangers? A squad of Aeldari rangers lost on a planet at the edge of the galaxy? It’s important to set up the group’s framework, so you don’t end up in a game with a Space Marine, an Aeldari Howling Banshee, and an Ork Loota with no explanation as to why they’re all in the same party. In addition, because your stats are determined by spending XP, you’ll choose whether the characters will be Tier 1 through 4, which will give you different amounts of XP to spend at character creation. If you really wanna play as a Space Marine, you can do so, but you’re unlikely to be playing alongside an Inquisitorial Acolyte or Ministorum Priest. Here, more than in most RPGs, setting the expectation for the campaign is very important.

Whereas the FFG rules utilized a percentile system assembled from the WHFRP and Inquisitor rulesets, the ruleset here is the same as C7’s Age of Sigmar Roleplay: Soulbound. You roll a pool of D6’s, trying to get a certain number of successes above the target number, with the difficulty of scoring each success determined by the complexity of the test.

Here, you have three stats that will fluctuate throughout the session. Wrath, Glory and Ruin.

When rolling your D6’s, one die should be a different size or color representing your Wrath. A 1 or 6 on the die can activate specific effects. When you roll a 6, add 1 Glory to the group’s total. In addition, a successful check that also contains a 6 on the Wrath die is a critical success. When you roll a 1 on the Wrath die, you now have a Complication. This is a modifier to the final result, making it a “yes, but,” or a “no, and,” depending on whether the overall check succeeded or failed.

Wrath Points represent your character’s inner rage, fire and wrath. You can spend these points to reroll dice, claim narrative control, and restore shock.

You’ll note that there… well, there doesn’t seem to be any relation between Wrath Points and Wrath Dice. I’m not sure why a different term wasn’t used, as it could be pretty confusing for players during the course of a game. I asked Cubicle 7, and they said it’s a holdover from the original system.

Glory is a group resource. Your party always begins with 0 Glory at the end of the session, and represents the group’s determination and grit. These points are spent to add dice to a pool, make criticals more severe, and increase damage. Glory is gained from rolling a 6 on your Wrath die, as mentioned above, or you can shift a die from your pool. This means that when you roll any other 6’s, you can choose to remove that die from the dice pool (presumably seeing you succeeded without that die) to gain Glory. You can also shift in order to gain info, speed up the process you’re rolling for, or improve the quality of the test.

Ruin is a resource that the GM gets to use against the players. Whenever the players fail a fear or corruption test, or the GM rolls a 6 on their Wrath, Ruin rises. The GM can use it to reroll failures, or activate special Ruin actions that powerful enemies possess.

Psychic powers work how they do in most 40k games, in that failure causes horrible Perils of the Warp, strange happenings that make things very interesting. An optional rule exists that lower-level NPC Psykers and any bystanders fail any checks from Perils of the Warp, meaning horrific things happen around Psykers, making them always strange, wierd and dangerous.

The star system detailed in W&G continues the traditions of Calixis Sector (detailed in Dark Heresy), Scarus Sector (detailed in Eisenhorn), and Caligari Sector (detailed in Inquisitor – Martyr). It’s a new region given great detail. In this case, it’s a VERY busy solar system with multiple worlds of various types. With the terrible perils found in warp travel, you likely won’t want to leave the system, so it’s nice to see that you could easily run multiple campaigns here. There are Space Hulks, two bizzare worlds known as the Membrane Worlds, Hive Worlds, and Shrine Worlds. There’s a lot to see, and a lot to invent on your own.

This game is fantastic. It’s a really dynamic system that’s definitely set up to make the players feel like the anti-heroes everyone in 40k is, while still keeping the pressure on them and making them feel like they’re always one step away from destruction. If you’re a 40k player, I definitely recommend it, and if you aren’t, embrace the dark far future. It’s a terrible place, but it’s OUR terrible place.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Wrath & Glory: Core Rules
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Warhammer Age of Sigmar Soulbound Rulebook
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Marcus M. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/03/2020 23:36:36

The Mortal Realms are in terrible peril. The only thing standing between the fall of the Cities of Sigmar and the beginning of a new Age of Chaos is you, an elf pirate, a dwarf rune smith with a massive mowhawk, and a blind elf riding a gigantic flying fish.

In AOSRP: Soulbound, you are one of the Soulbound, a member of an ancient order who sacrifice their own souls and immortality to guard the Mortal Realms.

The game is set in the world of Age of Sigmar, a wargame by Games Workshop, while this RPG is published by Cubicle 7, who created the 40k RPG, Wrath and Glory, as well as The One Ring.

When I first started playing Age of Sigmar, I didn’t know too much about the lore of the setting. I knew that the Warhammer Old World had been destroyed and that Sigmar rebuilt everything into Eight Realms, each aligned with one of the Old World winds of magic. I ended up diving into the lore, however, and love it.

Soulbound presents and explains the universe. These eight realms are each drastically unique, having no defined border, but connected through realmgates. They’re like extreme versions of the planes of D&D.

The setting is a lot more dynamic and unique than the generic fantasy world of the Old World, which cut and pasted elements of real-world history onto a map that vaguely resembled our own.

The shakeup of the Old World also changed the races of the world. There’s a lot of speculation that the purpose was so that Games Workshop had a much narrower and specific IP. As a result, Dwarves are now Druardin, divided into Fireslayers (drawn from the Slayers of old) and Kharadron Overlords, which are like steampunk dwarves in heavy armor and flying ships. Elves are now Aelves, split between the Idoneth Deepkin who are blind undersea elves, Black Corsairs who are the old dark elves, and the new Lumineth Realm-Lords who are based on the old high elves. There are other races, such as the dryad-type creatures known as the Sylvaneth, Orruks (Orcs), and others. There’s also the forces of Chaos, both mortals and demons, who are out there trying to tear the Mortal Realms apart.

It’s a really dynamic setting, and is really well fleshed out and explained in a concise way.

The rules are pretty straightforward. When you’re rolling, it will be to make a test.

A test will have both a difficulty and a complexity. The difficulty is the number you must roll in order to succeed on each die, while the complexity is the number of successes you need to succeed.

If, for example, you are making a Dexterity check, it may be a 4:2 Body (Dexterity) check. This means you’ll need to roll a 4 or better, and need at least 2 successes to succeed. You’ll roll a number of dice equal to your Attribute score, plus your level of Training with the Skill being tested. An easy check may be 2:1, meaning you only need to roll a 2 or better and score at least one success to win. Pretty straightforward. There are also degrees of success. Getting more successes than you were required to will provide larger benefits.

Soulfire and Doom are two other important mechanics. The Soulbound all have souls intertwined with each other. Characters are able to tap into this with their Soulfire. Spending Soulfire allows characters to automatically succedd on checks, reroll dice, recover their Toughness, and even cheat death. Soulfire is increased by completing short-term goals, making a last stand, and other things. Because this is a shared resource, if any other members of your party don’t want you to spend it, you have a choice. You can either agree with them and not spend it, or spend the Soulfire anyway, which will increase your group’s Doom.

Doom tracks the unease in the Mortal Realms. It increases because of the reason above, but also when party members die, when they flee, etc. As Doom grows, enemies will gain extra armor, extra attacks and some extra abilities. It makes everything far more dangerous. It’s a really cool mechanic.

The art throughout the book is absolutely gorgeous. The realms are gorgeously given life, as well as the various beings that fill the land.

The bestiary section is well fleshed out, and the stat-blocks are nicely laid out to make it easy to give you the information you need without needing to flip through the book to find further details. The forces of Chaos, Greenskin Horde, the Skaven, and the new AOS army Ossiarch Bonereapers, are all detailed.

This is a really fantastic book. The mechanics are really interesting and well executed, the setting is impressively explained, and is great for both Age of Sigmar fans and those unfamiliar with the setting.

This review originally appeared at DiceMonkey.net



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Warhammer Age of Sigmar Soulbound Rulebook
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Adventures in Middle-earth - Erebor Adventures
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Marcus M. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/20/2019 07:00:03

Erebor Adventures is the new adventure book from Cubicle7, adapting the One Ring's Laughter of Dragons to their D&D 5e adaptation, Adventures in Middle Earth.

I previously reviewed Laughter of Dragons, a collection of adventures that cover the region around Erebor, the Lonely Mountain. Since you can read the previous review that covers the adventures themselves, I'm going to dive more closely into the meat and PO-TAY-TOES of the book. I do highly encourage you to read that review, as the adventures are the same, and they're really fantastic. I'm not going to individually go through the small minute differences in Erebor Adventures and Laughter of Dragons, but there are some, due to the system differences.

The One Ring and D&D have different advancement systems, and Erebor Adventures has a nice system, where throughout the book, you'll see small green and red highlights. These represent group (green) and individual (red) rewards. This is really useful, as it helps Loremasters quickly identify where they should give out experience.

I really love seeing the Nazgûl in D20 form. Now, I'm sure if I went through more of the Middle-Earth Adventures I would have seen them before, but I hadn't. Here, they are presented in two forms, as they are in Laughter of Dragons. They appear as Dark Undead, and as Unclad and Invisible. If you think about it in terms of the films, Dark Undead is them as the Black Riders, while the Unclad and Invisible is more as they are in Dol Guldur in The Hobbit. The Unclad are CR 8 and completely invisible, making them difficult to see, and their abilities aren't physical, just inflicting terror. The Dark Undead have a wider variety of abilities, including the Dwimmerlaik, a reaction that allows the Nazgûl to shatter a hero's weapon and turn the damage back on them. Honestly, by renaming these guys, you could easily use the statblocks to strike fear into your non-Middle Earth D&D adventures as well.

The appendices are useful to anyone playing Middle Earth Adventures, regardless of if they run these adventures. The Loremaster Characters appendix covers every NPC you'll encounter, telling you what pages they appear. This means you can more easily weave in the characters into other adventures by finding them quicker. The Places & Things appendix is useful in that you can easily drop in small encounters if you find yourself in the region, or if you need a description of a location.

The book overall looks absolutely beautiful. It matches the style of The One Ring, which I absolutely love. Though I own many of the books for the other system, and a lot of the information is the same, I'm VERY tempted to pick all the books up Middle Earth Adventures form too. This book is highly recommended. I'll be reviewing the core rulebook for Middle Earth Adventures soon, so that I can get into the mechanics of the game to see how it plays differently than vanilla 5e. Cubicle7 provided a copy of Erebor Adventures to Dice Monkey for review.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adventures in Middle-earth - Erebor Adventures
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The One Ring - Laughter of Dragons
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Marcus M. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/02/2019 07:47:46

Then Smaug really did laugh… “Revenge!” he snorted, and the light of his eyes lit the hall from floor to ceiling like scarlet lightning. “Revenge! The King under the Mountain is dead and where are his kin that dare seek revenge? Girion Lord of Dale is dead… where are his sons’ sons that dare approach me?”

The Laughter of Dragons is a new book of adventures from Cubicle 7 for The One Ring RPG. In the same vein as Ruins of the North, Tales from the Wilderland, and Oaths of the Riddermark, The Laughter of Dragons is a collection of adventures, in this case focused on the region around Erebor and Dale. These adventures allow the players to stick around near the Lonely Mountain. The book recommends picking up Erebor – The Lonely Mountain supplement to get more information about the area, but it’s not essential; It really just depends on how much you want to improvise and add more content as a Loremaster. The adventures can be played together, or used as you pass through the region. Smaug’s death has brought calm and peace to the region, as it now bustles with business and intrigue, the perfect place for a little adventure.

Sauron, despite having been driven from Dol Gulder, still seeks to gain a foothold in the area, and has sent a Nazgül to stir up trouble. This Nazgül is known by the Elves as Morlach, the Black Flame, but is known in the area as the Sorcerer of Forod, which is how the players will first encounter rumors of him. He sits behind the plots of each of the adventures in the book. Let’s dive in.

The Silver Needle begins outside the gates of Dale, as the players are introduced to a few different NPCs and rumors of a group of bandits led by a mysterious figure known as Longo. When the enchanted needle of Dale’s most talented seamstress is stolen, the players must piece together clues and try not to get decieved by the words of not-so-suspicious folks in the city. I really don’t want to spoil the surprise the players will encounter in this adventure, so I don’t want to go into too many details. I was wary of this adventure based on the idea of a stolen sewing needle, but it actually all make sense, and feels like a genuinely human story, with sorrow, suffering, and the slow discovery that there are larger forces at work in Dale. There are some great elements of play here including travel, ambushes, investigation, and combat. You could definitely kick off a whole campaign with this adventure, but I feel like to run it really effectively, you should probably break down certain scenes into bullet points in order to remember everything going on here, particularly certain key plot points.

Of Hammers and Anvils also takes place in Dale, but moves the story toward Erebor, so after the more mundane natural elements of The Silver Needle, you begin to discover the wonder of ancient Dwarven halls. Also, you get to interact with Balin, companion to Frodo and Thorin, which is pretty exciting. This adventure is full of corrupt dwarves and men who have been utrned bitter by the forces of the Shadow. They find Balin, fallen over a ravine after being attacked by bandits. They eventually learn he believes there is some sort of plot against him, and fakes his own death to go into hiding. He needs the heroes’ help to unravel the plot. The heroes will eventually journey to Erebor, where they’ll have to stop the sabotaging of the dwarven forges.

In To Dungeons Deep, the company will travel to the Grey Mountains. Meeting Dwalin, they are sent to find a scholar who has been abducted. Orcs and brigands abound, and they eventually find a forgotten mausoleum filled with ancient treasure. Both Darves and Bardings lay claim to the treasure, driven to disagreement by forces behind the scenes. In the end, they’ll get to meet Gandalf, as he begins to suspect there are larger forces at play in Dale.

Sleeping Dragons Lie has the heroes go on a dragon hunt as smoke rises from a distant watchtower. “Dragon-smoke one day brings Dragon-fire the next,” they say. King Dain Ironfoot places a bounty on its head. The heroes will need to venture through the new desolation, fight through the dragon’s orcish guards before facing off against it. This is the same dragon from Tales from the Wilderland, unless the heroes played that adventure and defeated it, meaning that if they played and merely drove it away, they’ll have a history with the beast. This adventure uses the Eye of Mordor rules found in Rivendell, but modified so that the Eye is instead the Dragon’s Eye, measuring how aware the dragon is of your group’s presence. It’s a pretty cool mechanic.

In Dark Waters, the company finds itself in Laketown, and involves a bit of detective-work. Searching for the sculptor of the new statue in the village, the players will venture all over Laketown during a fierce seasonal thunderstorm. This storm acts as a character throughout the adventure, giving weight and atmosphere throughout. The players will have to piece together what happened the night the sculptor disappeared. It takes you all over Laketown, including the Elven quarter of the city. There’s a fantastic and nasty eel-like serpent the players will have to deal with at the end.

Summoned by Balin, the company is sent to the Netherwood in Shadows in the North. within the Netherwood they will find an ancient and massive but lame warg called The Devourer. His whole scene is built like a horror show as the heroes discover the amputated wings of giant bats, and discover they’re walking on a pile of skulls before they even face the albino beast. Is is here that the company will finally discover that a Nazgül is behind the plot, and that its final goal is to claim the Arkenstone. Returning to Dale, the heroes will be framed for crimes they did not commit (with charges assembled from all the previous adventures), be forced to escape (or be exiled from Dale), and eventually find their way into Erebor, where they will face off against the Sorcerer of Forod, the mastermind behind all their plots, only to realize this is not one Nazgül, but many. The Arkenstone must be kept safe, so they must flee deep within the heart of the mountain. There, the Nazgül may be driven off.

One thing I love about all these adventures is that each one introduces or reinforces a mini-game within the system, or uses the rules in new and interesting ways.

Of course, the art is as gorgeous as always. There are maps in many of the adventures which are clearly laid out and should be easy to describe without necessarily needing to draw them out.

This is a fantastic set of adventures. I highly recommend them to any Loremaster looking to add more adventures to their catalog, or as great inspiration for their own adventures. I’m kicking off my own One Ring campaign in the Fall, and I think will be my starting point for the campaign.

Cubicle 7 sent a copy of The Laughter of Dragons for Dice Monkey to review.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The One Ring - Laughter of Dragons
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A Night in Seyvoth Manor (DnD 5E)
Publisher: Darklight Interactive
by Marcus M. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/14/2018 11:28:22

A Night in Seyvoth Manor is an adventure for 6th level characters written by David Flor. The adventure plays as a giant mashup of classic monster movies as the players venture into a large old manor and attempt to tame its horrors.

Spoilers follow. If you are planning on being a player, read no further, just know you should pick this up for your DM.

The adventure is an adaptation from David’s 4th Edition adventure of the same name, and it serves as an incredibly dangerous dungeon for those not prepared. Not only is it particularly deadly, it also has a points-scoring system and a real-world timer, making it perfect for tournament play at a convention. If you’re incorporating it into your normal campaign, there’s no need to score the adventure, but beware of the danger your players face.

Two girls have gone missing. As the players approach the large house, they have no idea what lays inside.

Players have exactly four real-world hours to find the girls before they are transformed into terrible monsters. This puts the players on their toes, and also works to fit right into a single game night.

Every place in this manor has a tactical map for it, meaning you’ll get to see, in detail, every bit of this place. From the entrance in the courtyard to the library, laboratory and grand ballroom it’s all there. As the book points out, just because it’s a tactical map doesn’t mean there WILL be a fight in every room, but it will keep players on their toes, leaving them guessing where the next threat is coming from.

The book also features small sidebars explaining the inspiration behind many different locations and creatures, which can help you determine how you will present each area.

So, let’s look at the adventure!

I’m not going to spoil many of the details here. Each room is carefully laid out, with a ton of detail and interesting choices to make. The graveyard features a haunting scene which descends into chaos as you are attacked by both a ghost and a Graveyard Golem. I’ve been wanting to do an encounter with a Graveyard Golem for a while, ever since seeing the one by Reaper, so this is the perfect opportunity, and a beautiful and terrifying encounter.

Encounters with werewolves and grotesque carrion golems follow. In the laboratory, you find a massive body stitched together, but missing its brain. On the shelf are rows of brains. Choosing the correct one will provide you with a Frankenstein’s Monster-like ally. Choosing the wrong one will cause it to awaken, turn violent, and fight the players. The way you figure out the right one is quite ingenious.

As you venture through the manor, you learn of its history and tragic downfall, leading to the final confrontation with Count Syvoth himself.

The adventure contains a ton of cards as well. Tons of new magic items to find within the house, rumors (both reliable and unreliable) as to what lies within the house, and even a deck of cards for a small mini-game to find your way through the hedge maze on the grounds of the manor.

I definitely recommend picking this adventure up. It’s the perfect adventure for a single session to really get the feeling of a classic monster movie.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Night in Seyvoth Manor (DnD 5E)
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CRUSH the REBELLION
Publisher: DDE Adventures
by Mark M. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/08/2016 11:33:52

We will crush the Rebellion in one fell stroke!”

Crush the Rebellion is a structured storytelling game with an emphasis on competitive worldbuilding. What does that mean? It’s an RPG where the players are working against one another to accomplish their own agendas and build and establish the setting.

Designed by C. Steven Ross of Triumph & Despair, Fourthcore Team Deathmatch, and DDE Adventures (man, this guy gets around!). The game is a bit of an Apocalypse World hack, but also contains a lot of elements of Night Witches.

In the game, each player will take on the role of elite imperial agents working for the Emperor himself. These characters each have specific an secret agendas they must accomplish in order to win the game. There is no single game master. Instead, that role shifts around the table as the game progresses.

The game mashes up elements of Star Wars, Dune and Warhammer 40,000 to create a multi-galactic-spanning empire with mystical abilities and dark secret agents. The Emperor is reclusive, but a known prophet. Each player holds a piece of prophecy the Emperor has told them, which will factor into their actions during the game.

Speaking of actions, the actions you can perform in the game are on a large, sweeping scale. You don’t “Move” and “Attack”, but instead “Betray an Agent,” “Travel,” perform an “Operation”, or even “Face the Emperor”. Actions have long-reaching consequences, and operate on a large scale. As an example, in The Empire Strikes Back, Admiral Ozzel’s tactical operation of dropping the Imperial Fleet close into the Hoth system would be a “Prepare” action, attempting to get the upper hand on the rebellion. Unfortunately, it failed, requiring General Veers to perform an “Operation” action, which would act to fulfill the entire Battle of Hoth.

The game utilizes both cards and character sheets in order to randomly ascribe secret identities and agendas to each player, keeping everyone in the dark as to everyone else’s true motives.

The art in the book is simple and straightforward, utilizing Galactic Empire iconography, as well as nazi wardrobes (even more nazi than Galactic Empire regalia is anyway). A few pieces of art call to mind Dune as well. They are straightforward, simple line drawings, but they get the point across.

With a few hours with your friends, you can create a fascinating story of triumph and betrayal as you and your friends take up arms and Crush the Rebellion.

DDE Adventures sent a copy of Crush the Rebellion to Dice Monkey for our perusal and review.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CRUSH the REBELLION
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Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space - Tenth Doctor Adventure Book
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Mark M. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/02/2012 19:08:35

Another fantastic product by Cubicle 7.

I picked this up, since I had the 11th Doctor Edition of Doctor Who. This short and compact guide gives you a great wealth of adventures to play in in the time of the 10th Doctor. The great thing is, they all work with the 11th Doctor as well.

I would recommend anyone getting the 11th Doctor Edition to pick this one up as well.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space - Tenth Doctor Adventure Book
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Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space (Eleventh Doctor Edition)
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Mark M. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/02/2012 19:06:12

I've just recently gotten into Dr. Who, and have really been enjoying it. Now, there's magically a new edition of the Good Doctor's RPG? Perfect timing!

This game is just gorgeous, with fantastic photos throughout, featuring the 11th Doctor, Rory, Amy and River Song.

The rules are nice and basic, allowing for more roleplaying, less rollplaying. There are also some really fantastic adventure ideas.

I thought it would be hard to come up with stories within the Dr. Who universe. After all, there's the Doctor and his companions. Then what? Turns out, there are an infinite number of possibilities in the world of Doctor Who.

Allons-Y!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space (Eleventh Doctor Edition)
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Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Basic Game
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Mark M. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/21/2012 00:32:45

Here it is! The big review of the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Basic Game. I was kindly sent a review copy from Margret Weis Productions, and wanted to share my thoughts here. Face front, true believers!

The Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game is unlike anything you've seen before, while at the same time, familiar. It shares a similar ruleset to Leverage and Smallville, and to a lesser extent, Serenity and Battlestar Galactica, but is interpreted in a whole new way, to create a more dramatic and combat-focused game.

Whereas Smallville spent more time dealing with relationships, Marvel Heroic Roleplaying focuses more in interaction between characters, as well as combat. It isn't a combat-centric game, but, being about superheroes, the rules definitely give you the ability to hit things.

The Mechanics

The Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game uses a dice pool mechanic. Using various options on your character sheet (Affiliations, Distinctions, Power Sets), you add dice to your pool, roll the dice, and choose your best two. All rolls are opposed rolls.

You are then able to choose one other die that's left over to use as your effect, basically determining how powerful your roll was, if successful.

If you roll any 1s, those dice are given to the Watcher (Game Master), which are added to his Doom Pool. The Doom Pool can be used for all kinds of bad things, and work similarly to Plot Points.

Plot Points are given to players in certain circumstances, including a player purposefully giving themselves a bad roll. They can use these Plot Points later to get more dice in their roll, as well as activate more powerful abilities.

An interesting thing a player gets to add to their pool is their Affiliation. Each hero works well as either a Solo character, a Buddy character, or a Team. If you have a d10 in Solo, you will have a d10 to roll in your pool, whereas if you only have a d6 in it, that's what you'll roll. This means you'll have to use some tactics to make sure you're paired-up (or not) to what works best for you. In addition, the Watcher can use their Doom Pool to either separate or push heroes together in order to disadvantage the players.

Distinctions are a key word or phrase that can be used to advantage or disadvantage a player. For example, Captain America's Man Out of Time could be used to allow him to remember something that happened in the 40's, but used to disadvantage him when covering something that happened while he was on ice. If it's used as a disadvantage, the player is given a Plot Point. Pretty nifty.

Characters also have specialties, which are similar to Skills in other games, and an either be Expert or Master level. Basically, if you are in a situation where one of your specialties apply, you can use that die.

Milestones are a mechanic that is similar to Lady Blackbird, where you have certain key roleplaying moments that give you XP for performing the actions on the milestones.

One interesting thing about the way a character's turn works is that a character is able to perform any action that could be performed in a single frame of a comic. In addition, whoever's turn it is decides who next gets to act, meaning that there is no set turn order from round to round.

Character creation is fairly robust, but has no real hard or fast rules. It's more of a "do what works best, and ask your Watcher if this is okay." I like the idea behind it, and look forward to making characters of my own.

Breakout

There's a mini-event in the Basic Game, similar to the Event books that will be coming in the future (Civil War, Annihilation, Age of Apocalypse). The event is basically issues 1-6 of the New Avengers. It deals with the breakout of the supervillains from the Raft prison in New York. The storyline is pretty straightforward, but features a lot of villains that will lead to interesting conflict between them and the heroes. For example, the Purple Man is one of the prisoners, and if one of the players is playing Luke Cage and knows the backstory between the two, you can have a really fascinating scene.

There's a wide variety of villains, but most are fairly minor bad guys. This gives you the opportunity to introduce bigger villains that you've made the stats for yourself later on.

Halfway through the event, the heroes can make their way to the Savage Land, which leads to some fantastic "superhero vs. dinosaur" action.

It's a great event to introduce players to the system and the world (if they're unfamiliar with it).

Datafiles

There are a great variety of heroes in the book, including all of the major players in the universe, such as Captain America, Spider-Man, Iron Man and more. There's quite a few women to play, which was encouraging to see, such as Invisible Woman, Emma Frost, Shadowcat and a few more. Each datafile really captures the feel of the heroes.

Overall Impressions

This is a great, fantastic game system, one which is robust, easy to use, and will, I think, stand the test of time. Go check it out now.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Basic Game
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Cerberus Stock Art - The Next Decade of Fantasy: Volume 1
Publisher: Cerberus Illustration
by Mark M. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/12/2012 13:19:53

This is some great stock art. While there are some weaker points to the set, there are some phenomenal pieces that could easily be used for the cover or interior artwork of your next RPG book.

Of particular note is the white dragon, with its intricate armor, and the ice giant battling the group of adventurers. Both are fantastic works, and I'll be looking at adding them to my next book. Pick it up!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cerberus Stock Art - The Next Decade of Fantasy: Volume 1
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Survival Horror Urban Magic Set 1: The Amazing Zandi
Publisher: DARKMOOK Paper Miniatures
by Mark M. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/12/2012 13:11:52

Once again, Darkmook has made a fantastic piece of art. This set features a modern magician, flying carpet, and some excellent mummies. They've also begun to include some very cool sets for use in your games. I highly recommend this set, along with any other Darkmook paper minis.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Survival Horror Urban Magic Set 1: The Amazing Zandi
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The One Ring™: Adventures over the Edge of the Wild 2011 Edition
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Mark M. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/19/2011 12:21:45

A fantastic portrayal of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit, the One Ring is a gorgeous book with fantastic rules that are reminiscent of Mouse Guard.

I highly recommend it. It's the most accurate portrayal of LOTR in any RPG.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The One Ring™: Adventures over the Edge of the Wild 2011 Edition
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Worldbreakers: Etherkai, the Nightmare Dragon
Publisher: Omnivangelist Media
by Mark M. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/23/2011 16:08:49

Quinn Murphy sent me a review copy of his first Worldbreaker, Etherkai. The terrifying creature is a creature literally of nightmares.

What is a worldbreaker? To quote Quinn: “Imagine a monster of such power and presence that, for a short period of time, it drastically alters the world around it. A monster that changes the rules of the game, presenting players with unexpected twists, new and interesting mechanics and previously unfathomable problems. A worldbreaker is a solo unlike any other in 4e. Each monster comes with an engaging story, evocative art, and exciting mechanics.”

There will be nine monsters total, with Etherkai being the first.

The great thing about Etherkai’s back story, is the use of elements of the world that you recognize, but aren’t copyrighted: Underearth, the Chained God… If you know your 4e D&D lore, you’ll recognize their analogues in the world easily, making the dragon feel like it’s a part of the world you’re already playing in.

Etherkai was imprisoned by the Chained God, and has now escaped. His twisted psychic powers feed on nightmares, and his mechanics reflect that.

All Worldbreaker monsters unleash a Worldbreaker power. In Etherkai’s case, it’s the Nightmare’s Gate. The players must rush to close the Nightmare Wells that fill the battlefield. Anyone who fails a skill check while near these wells loses a healing surge. Gone. Etherkai also gains an extra temporary 120 HP. Yikes.

At 10th level, Etherkai makes the perfect villain for the end of a Heroic Tier adventure. All events can lead up to the final showdown with him, as Etherkai summons Nightmare Warriors (one per turn, at 40 HP each!) and throws off conditions like they were made of paper.

It’s a terrifying monster, one that Quinn has done a fantastic job of bringing to life.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Worldbreakers: Etherkai, the Nightmare Dragon
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Survival Horror Set 7: Extraction
Publisher: DARKMOOK Paper Miniatures
by Mark M. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/11/2011 16:27:44

Once again, DarkMook knocks it out of the park. Evocative, well drawn and well colored, this set features troops in biohazard suits ready to take down and contain zombies or other horrors. Fantastic once again.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Survival Horror Set 7: Extraction
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