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Death in Freeport 20th Anniversary Edition (Fantasy AGE)
by Marc C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/27/2020 12:23:51

Overall an intersting urban adventure. I would like to see the other chapters of the story translated to the AGE system.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Death in Freeport 20th Anniversary Edition (Fantasy AGE)
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Dragon Age: Blood in Ferelden
by Andrew B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/29/2020 11:39:19

This is a great collection of pregenerated adventures for use with the Dragon Age RPG. It also includes a number of adventure prompts that gamemasters can flesh out into further adventures. If you like the RPG, this book gives great options no matter what type of game your players like. Just be aware that the title is "Blood in FERELDEN". No Orlesian Court intrigues here (unless you want to add your own tie-ins).



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dragon Age: Blood in Ferelden
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The Expanse Roleplaying Game
by Audun L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/28/2020 07:26:42

So. First off. The 5 stars is because, despite some limitations (I'll touch on them as we go through this structured stream of consciousness), this game is - I'll say it now - the best version of the AGE engine I've read so far (yet the only one I've gamemastered) and as close to what I believe is possible to a representation of the Expanse book-universe (keep your canon-pants on) that we could get. There may be "better" systems out there, whatever that means in your book, but the design-fit here is nigh on perfect. One of the reasons I think so is because the the authors of the book series were involved in the design of the game (they are also roleplayers/gamers), the results of that, and how the inner workings of the AGE system are designed. So, at least by intent it is nigh on perfect, in execution (i.e. actual play) experiences will probably vary.

So, take a gander about the shop and consider other systems that could work well with this storyverse, I believe 2d20 by Modiphius could work well (somewhere between Conan/Infinity and John Carter. More crunchy than Dishonoured, but less cumbersome and fiddly than Infinity). Another system that could work is Genesys, however I believe that Genesys would perhaps take too much away from the feel of the universe and replace it with the game engine's premises of how to play the game. Still, both those system families could also quite well do what would be needed to represent the Expanse universe (Genesys would need some far better vehicle rules though).

AGE mixes something akin to the predictability and rigid framework of 5E with elements from Genesys/Star Wars and Coriolis (and 2d20). We see this primarily in that it is a pass/fail system, with levels, and level-dependent benefits (5E), the Churn mechanic (Darkness points and Doom), but also in how Fortune (renamed HP) is described and represented in the game (working similarly to Strain in Genesys/Star Wars), and of course the famous Stunt Points (SP) that is reminiscent of Advantages in Genesys/Star Wars by FFG/Edge Studio.

There was some excitement about the Churn mechanic from the designers. This GM mechanic tracks increases in potential small, big, and major interruptions into the story and narrative, bases on the successes and luck of the players. Roll well? Well, Churn increases. When the Churn tracker reaches a certain threshold, something bad happens (most likely), in increasing order of magnitude. The book here is somewhat confusing, particularly as it pertains to action encounters and the specifics of the Churn tracker, and the points that make up the Churn. At first glance it seems that it is only at certain thresholds that bad stuff can happen due to the Churn. However, when it comes to running out of ammo and jamming weapons, the rules also states that the GM can "spend Churn points" to cause this effect (hence my reference to Doom and Darkness points above). The rules are therefore somewhat ambiguous in this area. Personally, I’d suggest using them as Darkness points for smaller and personal effects, and use the threshold (10, 20, and 30 points) as group-related effects. The game also runs quite well without this mechanic, but it is also a good way for the GM to let go of control and let the story take twists and turns that are not pre-planned and scripted.

Fortune is aptly named. While you could make the short-sighted argument that “it is still hit points”, this would be to ignore the intent and the feel that this design change promotes and can create in players. Particularly with how Fortune points (FP) can be spent on dice rolls, and the necessarily attached Conditions mechanic that makes the characters in Expanse so at risk and fragile. Sure, FP is still reduced by weapon “hits” (i.e. the dice roll beats your Defence), but you can also spend the FP to improve your dice rolls. FP cannot be “healed” because it is (by definition) not real damage. There are however several ways of regaining FP during play (by spending SP and some talents), but first aid is pointless, you cannot “fix” someone’s fortune. Furthermore, some good attack rolls producing enough SP can injure, even wound (and ultimately kill) a character that still has most of their FP left. This is an elegant way of solving the issue several games have with the disconnect between hit points and critical injuries. It is, in my own not-so-humble-opinion, far superior to Modern and Fantasy AGE’s reliance on hit points. Also, conditions cannot easily be fixed during encounters, but require Interludes and doctors (live or inanimate ones) – there are however ways to ignore or postpone the negative effects (drugs for instance).

The SP system is a great addition to a pass/fail system, it is however missing the feature that is so great in Genesys/Star Wars; the fail that has positive side-effects. This is sorely missed. Also, the stunt lists are long, and the rules don’t go far enough to promote and recommend players and GMs coming up with their own stunts. As it stands, the stunt lists looks more like a shopping list you are bound to choose from, rather than making up your own. While it is good with example stunts, there is a big hole where the basic idea of what kind of effects 1 SP can cause, what effects you can “buy” for 2 SP, or 4 SP – as is present in Genesys/Star Wars when it comes to spending Advantages. This can severely limit the enjoyment of the game for more experienced gamers (if not the most veteran of us), but I can understand the desire to have a plethora of choice, if not for the newest players, then for the slightly more experienced ones. The notion of Favoured Stunts should be emphasised more strongly.

Character creation in this game is easy, and a somewhat smaller sibling of the 2d20 Life Path system. Luckily, there are no classes, only where you are from (so there is social class) and what you do/did for a living (profession). It is straight forward and gives you ample options for customisation. It also creates a fleshed-out character with a background and profession that will inspire a player to create a character in the Expanse universe. It is one of the parts I love, reminding me of Conan by Modiphius in the best of ways.

Sore teeth in the book are the Equipment and Starship chapters. The equipment chapter has a lot of fluff but is severely limited on crunch. Everything you need is there, but example weapons and armour, and other gear like drugs and medicine, is absent. The descriptions get idea of the intent across (i.e. customisation), but more examples would be great and severely improve the accessibility for new players and GMs (cybernetics and implants are also absent). The starship chapter is, on the surface, awesome. However, the system for travel and combat is condensed – and combat is, according collective wisdom missing in effectiveness, group involvement, and excitement. This last will soon (hopefully) be remedied with a new Starship book coming out, but the vanilla system will for mangy groups probably relegate starships (like in so many sci-fi and space opera games) to be a short Interlude (a nice mechanic, similar to the Fellowship phase in The One Ring) on the way to some asteroid, station, moon or planet.

When it comes to setting information, there is an assumption that the GM at least has read at least some of the novels. Still, there is a lot of information about the solar system and the various factions, we also know that the authors of the books wrote extra entries and sections for this. So, what is there, is what is known (in addition to the novels and novellas). It may be short and limited in some people’s eyes, but as a GM who loves making settings my own, this kind of open-ended writing and design is liberating and a generative. It frees me from having to stick to strict timelines and canon, to read up on specifics and avoid paradoxes and the existence of certain characters. The rulebook also covers this well enough; the choice between sticking to canon and what canon “means”. The Gamermaster chapter also has a lot of input on how to design a campaign (or series), but I'll admit that I have not read that particulalry closely, it seems (on the surface) to be similar to most of these chapters in other games, a primer for new gamermasters.

The included adventure is fun and gets you into the Expanse feel, investigation, mystery, and action - my group spent some time running through it as they are prone to distractions, but it creates a healthy scepticism in the players when it comes to entering combat and how to approach a potential dangerous and lethal situation (much needed in the Expanse). There are some discrepancies between the map and the descriptions, but this is easily overcome with some creativity.

To round up this long blurb. For a pass/fail system, Expanse (and by relation AGE) is a great narrative system which asks the GM and players to adjust their perspective on how games are structured and played in a very accessible and friendly way. It promotes cinematic and dramatic playstyles, with a lethal undertone that is certainly very suitable for a setting such as The Expanse. It is a simple system, with focus on action and the momentum players cause (and the side-effects), not in specific skill ranks and specialisations. It has an eye for detail, while keeping other aspects sweeping and general.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Expanse Roleplaying Game
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The Expanse: Salvage Op
by Florent C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/10/2020 14:46:26

Great mission, perfect as a 'first session' or gap-filler in any campaign.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Expanse: Salvage Op
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Abzu's Bounty
by Florent C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/10/2020 14:44:53

Excellent campaign, very neatly written and easy to use - despite the size i would definitively recommend to beginning GMs. It captures the essence of the Expanse and takes the player group onto an arc that is not 'spoiled' by the TV series or books.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Abzu's Bounty
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Foes: Undead
by Seth W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/19/2020 23:43:51

Know what's scarrier than wights? Stuff in this book.

Buy it. Terrify your players. Have a good time.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Foes: Undead
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House of Orphans
by Seth W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/19/2020 16:22:44

Cool couple of Elven houses to drop into any setting, along with hooks and drama to get players involved.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
House of Orphans
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Sword Chronicle - Feudal Fantasy Roleplaying
by Seth W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/18/2020 14:52:43

I'm really happy to see this game re-released with more support for the fantasy elements that make RPGs a fun escape. I always enjoyed the system, and the polish on intrigue, warfare, combat, and magic makes it even better. Plus, the House system gives a great foundation for players to have a common goal or org.

I'm off to build a House that can take over the world in my homebrew setting!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Sword Chronicle - Feudal Fantasy Roleplaying
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Danger Zones: Bank
by Martin R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/13/2020 07:41:27

Considering that this product has no useable maps for VTT, which was the reason I bought it, and what was implied by the description and the cover, this product is an unfortunate disappointment. At the very least, some image files of the bank map itself would have been expected.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Danger Zones: Bank
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Modern AGE Basic Rulebook
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/21/2020 20:56:14

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of Modern Age

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

Product- Modern Age Basic Rulebook System-Modern Age Producer- Green Ronin Publishing Price- $6.99 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/243966/Modern-AGE-Basic-Rulebook?affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR-Three games in one where every roll matters! 88%

Basics- Dragon Age in your modern age? Modern Age Basic Rulebook is a stand alone game, applying the basics of the Fantasy Age system to a modern or near modern setting. Let’s break this up into pieces.

Basic mechanics: Modern Age is Fantasy Age is Dragon Age. All three of these use 3d6 + ability + focus to do anything. Like all RPGs, it's the basic idea of "roll dice, plus a number, to get a different number to win" idea. Easy enough to pick up and play.

Abilities and focuses: Modern Age has a pretty simple number addition pool where you add an ability. Ability is just like your base statistics in DnD. These range from -2 to +4. You also have focuses, which are basically like skills in DnD except that you get a flat +2 to the roll instead of different values. Later you can specialize so you have a +3 instead of the +2.

Talents and Powers: While abilities and focuses do give you some room to build some fun characters, it's not enough to really differentiate your characters from the pack. That is where talents come into play. Talents are the feats of the system. Talents provide a bonus that makes your character distinct. Talents range from being rich and getting bonuses in buying things to being a bruiser who hits harder. What makes these distinct from DnD feats is there are three levels of each talent. As you level up you can take higher levels of each talent, making you more powerful in your given area. This is how spells/powers/psychic abilities are handled as well. You choose a magic school and that school functions pretty much like a talent providing you new options like making a light happen to casting fireballs. This isn’t a Vancian magic or powers game as characters have a number of power points they can spend at will to do whatever powers they want as often as they can.

Stunt Points: This is the bread and butter of the system. The Age system itself isn’t completely novel as dice + numbers vs a different number isn’t anything new, but this system uses 3d6 with ONE die being a different color. This different die is your stunt die. If any dice show doubles and you succeed, you get to a number of stunt points equal to your stunt die value. These points range from tripping people to better haggling in the market to adding power to your psychic blasts. All dice rolls have a table of stunt points you can spend to make things interesting. This differentiates the system from other roll + number systems, making it its own thing.

Game version: Modern movies are really three different kinds of movies. You have your ultra modern, gritty movies where one bullet kills someone. You have fun pulp where you punch nazis with a satisfying SMACK. You also have movies where one hero kills hundreds of monsters while only getting a single cut over his eye to make him look even more amazing. Modern Age gives you rule tweaks to play in any of these settings by changing damage from weapons, hit points, and number of bad guys you throw at the hero.

Ok, that’s the basics of the game. Let’s look at my thoughts at the game.

Mechanics or Crunch- You can see the direct line from the Dragon Age video game to the Dragon Age game to Fantasy Age to Modern Age. And that is a good thing! I like the basic idea of powers, magic points, and mechanics of the Dragon Age video game, and Dragon Age the RPG system implemented that well. Those basic ideas go from Dragon Age to Fantasy Age and finally to Modern Age. It's a solid, simple to play system. Stunt points and the fact that any roll can make them happen really makes this game pop. Every roll matters. Something that happens in one roll might have big changes to the next as the points can change things in ways you might not have expected. It’s a great touch to make this stick out from all the other roll vs numbers games out there. My one minor gripe is I would like more powers in a character. Characters don’t get a whole lot of powers to play with if they go that route. If you are ok with a pretty simple system without an overabundance of options, this is a good one to jump into. 4.5/5

Theme or Fluff-This book is light on fluf, but that is decidedly on purpose. Modern Age is a modern setting. It’s just today. You have today’s guns. The only fantasy bit is magic powers, and that’s honestly optional. The game references a comic setting as an option to play, but mostly it leaves the game up to you. The three different versions of the game do help you set the game how you want to play. Gritty, pulp, or cinematic are good options for a GM and players to decide how the world should be played. It’s setting light, but that’s by design, which doesn’t hurt the goals of the book. 4/5

Execution- PDF? YEP! Hyperlinked? YES! Ok, we start solid. Overall the book is well done. The font and tables are not my favorite, but that's a print issue as they are a bit cramped for my taste. I also think laying out some items in a table for character advancement would help as opposed to telling me in text. Those small issues annoyed me a bit, because I want to be able to glance over things quickly to get what I need to know quickly. Aside from that, the book is well done. The one thing that stuck out to me is the weapons page. WEAPONS HAVE LABELS IN A PICTURE! I can’t tell you how many RPGs I have read where they mention a weapon, and I have to google what they mean. That’s a small thing that keeps me in this book as I speed read through the thing. Reads quick, easy to navigate, and good art to boot make this a solid product. 4.75/5

Summary-I can’t wait for the next Dragon Age video game. That system was solid. This game is a grand child of that video game, and it’s got all the things I know and love from it. The mechanics are simple and the fact that dice rolls have a chance to make something cool happen besides a critical keep things interesting. The fact I can run three different games from one book makes this pretty versatile for the games I want to play. The book was a quick read that got me playing fast. What I don’t like as much is I would like a bit more about the basic setting, but the basic setting is today. So, I could just look outside and see what it's like. Characters don’t get a ton of options, but that is something from Dragon Age as well. It’s a solid game that makes every roll count, so give this one a try if you crave some modern day gunfights at your table! 88%



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Modern AGE Basic Rulebook
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Astonishing Adventures - NetherWar 0: Master of Earth
by Sean D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/21/2020 08:52:51

A decent adventure marred by some technical issues

Between the Emerald City Knights adventure not meeting sales expectations, the downturn in the economy, and the generally low profit margin of adventure modules, I was pleasantly surprised when Green Ronin committed to doing the NetherWar adventure line. After getting a chance to play the first entry, Master of Earth, my feelings are a bit more mixed. It's not a bad module overall, covering how Seven wound up Queen of the Netherworld in the 3E timeline, and it's got an interesting twist where one player gets to be a PL 12 Seven while the others play PL 8 teen heroes, complete with battles that are intended to sort out with Seven fighting the greater threats while the minions take on the teens, and situations where she needs their skills and non-magic abilities (a number of characters in the Netherworld are reistant to magic by nature). And there are also a few bits where it genuinely matters whether characters stop to help people or push forward, which provides opportunities for skill checks and roleplay.

Unfortunately, the execution falls a bit short. The provided Hero Lab file only contains about half of the characters in the module, the abbreviated stat blocks in the scenes don't carry all of the information needed to run the fight, forcing you to move back and forth from the scenes to the expanded profiles in the back, and Bres's detailed entry is missing entirely. I've sent an email to Green Ronin to see if they plan to put out errata, which would likely be sufficient to bump this up to four stars for me.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Astonishing Adventures - NetherWar 0: Master of Earth
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The Lost Citadel Roleplaying (5E)
by Liam V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/14/2020 02:11:37

Incredible setting book with insanely immersive atmosphere. New mechanics that feel at home in 5e and aren't too complicated to pick up, and a cool new race of very good dog boys. I'm very excited to explore this world further at the game table.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Lost Citadel Roleplaying (5E)
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Idol Pursuits - A Mutants & Masterminds Novella
by Jim M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/10/2020 22:27:48

A great read left me wanting more of the story and the way it is written makes that seem likely. I look forward to the next chapters. The characters are very well developed and the story absorbing so you want to turn the page to find out what happens next. It would make a great screenplay too. Initially I was a bit hesitant to buy something from an author of the same last name as mine but was not disapointed in the least. Well worth your time.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Idol Pursuits - A Mutants & Masterminds Novella
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Dragon Age RPG Quick Start Guide
by David v. H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/05/2020 10:02:33

The Dragon Age RPG Quick Start Guide is a very easy to use to get you and your group playing Dragon Age very quickly. I highly recommend it so tha tyou can check out Dragon Age.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dragon Age RPG Quick Start Guide
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Duty Unto Death
by David v. H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/04/2020 11:07:59

Duty Unto Death is a fun Dragon Age Module. I enjoyed this module and it's a great introduction to Dragon Age.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Duty Unto Death
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