Archive | RPGs

RMS Titanic: The Millionaires Special RPG Review

Posted on June 25, 2012 by

Here’s a fun idea: Take a tried and true Cthluhu story of brave investigators stopping a mad cultist achieve his evil designs. Players have to contend with Sanity checks, grave danger, and, most likely, the rise of something that must be promptly put back down. Then, set the whole thing on the Titanic.

That’s the real beauty of this adventure, a little fiction laced throughout some tragic fact. I’ve always been a fan of that, which makes the recent emergence of the, for lack of better word, genre a hit with me.

The artwork of the adventure (25 pages, no ads) is sparse and mostly photographs from the era. I usually like art spicing up my text, but it’s really not an issue here. There is more than enough material to keep the reader interested.

[...more]

DC Adventures: Heroes and Villains Volume 1 Review

Posted on June 22, 2012 by

The first thing you have to ask yourself is where this game fits on a horror-themed website. It’s a fair question, no doubt. There are two specific ways that come to my mind. First, the game uses the Mutants and Masterminds D20 variant. This means that, with a little work, you could have a group of dungeon-crawling adventurers stumble upon a cult as they summoned forth their deity-infused messiah (with Black Adam stats) or a vicious demon (with Etrigan stats). I’ll be the first to admit that those two options are a bit on the overkill side, but horror sometimes works out that way. Secondly, this volume includes tons of entries for a horror-based supers game.

[...more]

Designers and Dragons Review

Posted on June 18, 2012 by

Let’s say you’re going to teach a course on the history of role-playing games. You have the diploma and teaching certification. You have the tweed jacket. You have everything, but a textbook. With Designers and Dragons, you have a hulking 442 page textbook that examines this specific gaming culture since its creation in 1974. You’re ready to teach.

I’ve been playing RPGs since 1987 put TSR’s Marvel Super Heroes: Advanced Set into my local Waldenbooks, which means, according to this book, that I missed a massive amount of gaming history. I’ve played lots of games, read lots more that were not worth playing, and read about tons more through reviews or blurbs. I know a bit about what is going on in the industry.

[...more]

L5R: Strongholds of the Empire Review

Posted on June 12, 2012 by

Strongholds of the Empire had a long, strange journey to publication. It was originally intended as a book for Legend of the Five Rings Third Edition. Then it was going to be a free web supplement. Then it was going to be a transitional PDf between Third and Fourth Edition. The book finally realized its destiny as AEG’s pilot into print on demand. It is now available as a fully realized PDF as well as a physical book. Was it worth the wait?

The physical book is 193 pages. It costs more than the other supplements for Fourth Edition. It also looks different. The outside is a solid glossy finish rather than the matte finish with gloss art highlights of the other books in the line.

[...more]

Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Emporium Review

Posted on June 11, 2012 by

Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Emporium is the third magical item supplement for Dungeons and Dragons Fourth Edition and was written by Jeremy Crawford, Stephen Schubert and Matt Sernett. Much like its predecessors (Adventurer’s Vault and Adventurer’s Vault 2) the book is packed full of the kinds of adventuring gear that players love to collect for their characters but unlike the previous two tomes of lore this book has been injected with a healthy dose of flavor as well.

[...more]

The Dungeon Survival Handbook Review

Posted on June 8, 2012 by

Evil has always lurked deep underneath the ground and now Lolth’s children are clawing their way to the surface to consume the realms of Dungeons & Dragons. Few will survive the coming darkness. Into the Unknown: The Dungeon Survival Handbook is the first roleplaying game supplement released by Wizards of the Coast as part of The Rise of the Underdark ongoing event.

Sightings of dark elves on the surface have grown steadily—turning from dismissible rumors into disturbing reports. Brave heroes are needed to discover what plot or purpose is driving the children of Lolth to so boldly intrude upon our realm. Drow-laden encounters and challenges await you in stores everywhere—along with an array of products that will help you in your attempt to survive The Rise of the Underdark.

[...more]
Flames

Spell-Less Ranger (Pathfinder) Review

Posted on June 7, 2012 by

There has always been a bit of controversy surrounding the ranger class in Dungeons & Dragons. The archetype of the “ranger” has a solid foundation in literature as an expert woodsman (or woods-woman) that is skilled with sword or bow, who knows the land better than anyone else and fights for an important cause. The Dungeons & Dragons’ ranger is all of these things but there is one feature which has nagged at gamers since AD&D; the ability to cast spells.

“Aragorn Didn’t Cast Spells”

[...more]

Haunted Temples Map Pack Review

Posted on June 4, 2012 by

Wizards of the Coast has released more support product for the tactical play style of Dungeons & Dragons 4E. The Haunted Temples Map Pack is a collection of three full-color, double-sided maps which come in packaging which converts into a convenient envelope to protect the maps in transportation and storage.

[...more]

Cathedral of Chaos Review

Posted on June 1, 2012 by

Wizards of the Coast’s latest dungeon tile set, Cathedral of Chaos, arrived in the mail today. I am an avid collector of dungeon tiles and I use them quite often at my game table so please keep that in mind when I say Cathedral of Chaos is both the best dungeon tile set I have seen in quite a while as well as the worst.

The set provides quite a few interesting architectural pieces as well as several inspired tiles which made me cheer as I popped them out. Smoke filled tiles, demolished areas, raised daises and ice/fire tiles add a lot of interesting terrain options to a DM’s arsenal.

[...more]
Megan

Fangs from the Past (Pathfinder) Review

Posted on June 1, 2012 by

The brief introduction lays out this product’s purpose: it is not just an introductory adventure for four new characters beginning their adventuring careers, it is also designed with the novice GM in mind, replete with hints and tips to aid good gamemastering from the start – the sort of things a more experienced friend might whisper in your ear the first time you try to run a game. It’s an admirable intention…

OK, so roll up some characters and let’s get going. The introduction to the adventure contains a story commonly told in the village of Galfolweed, the characters being either locals or youngsters who have set out from a nearby town in search of adventure and ended up here in the village tavern. It is a nicely-written tale, suitable to be recounted in the bardic storytelling style – indeed the GM notes suggest that whilst you can mine the story for hints for the characters to pick up in conversation, one of the village elders is renowned for his dramatic recitation of this tale and can easily be persuaded to perform!

[...more]
Billzilla

The Resurrectionists Collection Review

Posted on May 30, 2012 by

The thing about being a Storyteller is you always need more stories for your players. How often you need new material depends on how efficient your players are at having their characters conclude business from night to night. There are plenty of adventures out there, but few are so nicely tailored to dropping into any campaign like those from The Resurrectionists Collection.

The first adventure, “The Resurrectionists”, involves the PCs in plot to resurrect a torpid elder – a scenario that will likely result in more questions than answers by the end.

[...more]
Megan

Devil of Dark Wood (Pathfinder) Review

Posted on May 29, 2012 by

If you go down to the woods today… the surprise will not be teddy bears eating al fresco! Whilst the introduction tells an intriguing and innovative backstory as to who really is there for the GM’s eyes, the characters will first be approached by a worried village mayor who is concerned by the absence of a local hunter who was hired by a shepherd who feared that a bold wolf has been snacking on his sheep…

The village has had other problems, the sage’s house was broken into and books and alchemical equipment stolen. It seems that something is afoot, and the characters, as passing adventurers, are asked to help. Assuming that they do, a trail will be found that leads into the Dark Wood and whatever it is that lies in wait for them there.

[...more]

Investigator Weapons: Volume One (Call of Cthulhu) Review

Posted on May 22, 2012 by

When I first got this assignment, I was underwhelmed. Why on Earth would I care about guns from a century ago? I’m not the manliest guy in my gaming group. I zone out when people start talking weapons and cars. Tell me you’re shooting at the red convertible with your rifle and I’m good. I know for the Purists out there that is a lot more to it than that, but that’s your game, not mine. I’ll research a little out of love for my gamers, but I’ll be researching the occult side of the horror game quite a bit more.

I mention all of this because this book seemed to be akin to the ultra-horrible World of Darkness: Combat book or some lame D&D PDF for an arrowhead. As much as my ego forbids me to say this, I will: I was wrong about this book.

[...more]
Flames

Northlands (Pathfinder) Review

Posted on May 18, 2012 by

Alright, my first real RPG book review. Bear with me folks.

Today I’ll be talking about Northlands, the Norse themed sourcebook for the northern realms of the Midgard world. From what I gather Midgard is a homebrew setting writ large. Created with help from a proto-Kickstarter system called Patronage through Kobold Quarterly, fans can chip in to the design process and get special supplements. This is one of the first books to explore outside the Free City of Zobeck that is the heart of the Midgard Campaign Setting.

Overall this was a very well put together book. The maps are good, the art is very nice black and white and the content is engaging and well designed.

[...more]
Flames

Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Po’Kesteros, the Lostling RPG Review

Posted on May 15, 2012 by

Po’Kesteros, the Lostling.
This is one of the Faces of the Tarnished Souk series NPC’s for use with the Rite Publishing campaign setting/ adventure arc Coliseum Morpheuon. This is a setting of adventures and intrigues in the Plane of Dreams, where people can burn their dreams (Dreamburning) to influence fate and events. Not only can someone choose to burn a dream to control their circumstances but dreams can be stolen. On the Plane of Dreams, a dream is power. From what I can gather this high level setting, 16-20th levels, has roots in Planescape, with intrigue between factions, gladiator games, crazy occurrences, otherworldly landscapes and things unusual and odd to throw at your players.

[...more]

Legend of the Five Rings 4th Edition Review

Posted on May 14, 2012 by

Many of gaming’s long-lived members began as mash-ups of other media. Dungeons & Dragons grew out of a love of Lord of the Rings, The Grey Mouser and Conan. Shadowrun mixed Gibson’s cyberpunk with classic fantasy elements. World of Darkness grew out of Anne Rice and urban fantasy media. Legend of the Five Rings combined Asian fantasy elements like samurai, shugenja and oni with western mythology like Zeus that appeals to audiences that grew up on everything from Kurosawa films to Avatar: The Last Airbender. L5R, as it’s known by its fans, released a fourth edition of RPG rules to celebrate 15 years of blood, steel and honor.

[...more]
Megan

Kobold Quarterly # 21 Review

Posted on May 7, 2012 by

Hmm… an Editorial on that contentious question: semi-naked female characters. Traditional game fare, perhaps, but provoking comment. Being of the female persuasion but pragmatic rather than sexist, my only complaint is that if I were participating in a fantasy adventure I’d want a decent layer of armour between me and the monsters – and that doesn’t mean hiding behind the nearest paladin! A few bare-chested blokes would be nice, to maintain balance, though.

The first article proper introduces a Shaman character class for Pathfinder. Opening with an evocative narration of a shaman performing a divination (not for the squeamish, she’s using rabbit entrails!), the class is described as very druid-like, recognising the spirit with all components of nature. They are shape-shifters and healers, whilst the most powerful can send their very essence forth from their mortal body on a spirit quest. Spell lists are limited, but unlike most divine casters a Shaman does not have to prepare but can cast any spell he knows, up to his limit, when he chooses. They have a bond with an animal spirit, which takes the form of the animal in question and acts pretty much like a companion.

[...more]

Deadlands: The Last Sons RPG Review

Posted on May 4, 2012 by

Pinnacle Entertainment brings Deadlands’ fans a monster tome (337 pages/no ads) that focuses on fleshing out Native American characters. There is also a bit of metaplot going on with Raven and his schemes. Coupled with the apparent removal of a major threat, the book has a very “new” feel to it, similar to what Shadowrun captures with its constant updating calendar.

Despite its size, the book is truly a supplement, a gorgeous supplement loaded with all the bells and whistles one expects from a corebook. The layout follows the Deadlands format by starting with fourteen pages of the Disputed Lands edition of the Tombstone Epitaph.

[...more]
Megan

The Ship of Fools (Pathfinder RPG) Review

Posted on May 1, 2012 by

Opening with a truly beautiful plan of the ship itself, and detailed background that explains how The Green Lady came to be drifting empty, Marie Celeste-style across the face of the ocean, we continue with little ado into various ways in which your characters can be enticed to explore, to risk the unknown dangers that await… Perhaps the ship they are on is sinking? Or someone aboard the ship owed one of them money? Or they heard a rumour about treasure concealed aboard? Or… maybe you have a better hook, you know what intrigues and attracts them, after all. There are even ideas to deal with the minor hindrance of the group not being at sea when you want to run the adventure!

[...more]
Billzilla

Masks of Nyarlathotep Review

Posted on April 20, 2012 by

Masks of Nyarlathotep is a masterful campaign by Larry De Tillo with Lynn Willis created for the Call of Cthulhu tabletop role-playing game. In it, the investigators are drawn into a plot to throw open the gates keeping the Great Old Ones at bay, causing the earth to become a nightmare landscape of death, destruction, and mind-shattering horror. Spanning five continents, Masks is an epic adventure of mayhem and supernatural evil that will consume many game-nights of play, and is suitable even for a larger group of investigators. Available again in a revised 4th Edition, it once more rears it’s terrifying, blood-red tentacle to drive us all over the brink.

[...more]

11 Tales of Ghostly Horror

    Monthly Newsletter Sign Up

    join our monthly mailing list
    * indicates required

    The Devil’s Night WoD SAS

    Free Devil's Night | White Wolf

    Become a Fan on Facebook!

    Reviews Wanted!

    The new Review Guidelines have been posted on the Flames Rising website. We are currently seeking a few good reviewers to help us expand our collection of horror and dark fantasy reviews. RPGs, fiction, movies, video games and more are all welcome on the site...

    What do you get out of it?

    Beyond helping out fellow Flames Rising readers by letting them know what you think of these products, we're giving away some pretty cool stuff. Regular Reviewers can earn free products to review, which is their to keep after the review is submitted to the site.

    Note: We are especially looking for folks interested in reviewing eBooks (both Fiction & Comics). We have lots of great titles in digital format and even get advance copies sometimes.

    Use the Contact Page to submit reviews or let us know if you have any questions.