Archive | RPGs

Night’s Black Agents RPG Review

Posted on November 5, 2012 by

Protagonists cut off from the real world. Men and women forced into violence to survive. Agents of powers that skulk in shadow. Are they spies or vampires? Both types of characters share a startling amount of similarities. The two genres seem tailor made for each other. Ken Hite brings them together in his newest RPG, Night’s Black Agents. But be aware, it’s not vampire spies. It’s spies vs. vampires.While playing vampires in RPGs has been extremely popular over the past 20 years or so, this one is about putting stakes in hearts and walking away while the bloodsucker burns in the sun.

The PDF is full color and laid out in a very modern style. The game includes several sidebar callouts explaining why certain rules work certain ways as well as giving examples of what happened during playtesting.

[...more]

Road of the Dead (Pathfinder) RPG Review

Posted on October 26, 2012 by

This adventure is located in Raging Swan’s Lonely Coast campaign setting but, as it deals with remnants of a far-distant past just about everybody has forgotten about, it can be placed in a suitable location in your own campaign world with minimal effort. Before getting into the adventure, however, there is a very clear explanation of how encounters are set out showing you exactly where to find each item of information you might need whilst running it. A lot of people lay encounters out clearly, but actually explaining your methods in advance is a nice touch. Traps and monster stat blocks are similarly laid out in detail, and this is followed by an overview of the Lonely Coast, to enable you to establish the adventure’s location easily, complete with a good map.

[...more]

Conspiracy X 2.0 RPG Review

Posted on October 19, 2012 by

The 90’s were a dark time in fiction. Conspiracies abounded everywhere. The end of the world was near. Genre television was abuzz with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The X-Files and dozens of shows of a similar nature. RPGs went through their own dark period as well thanks to the World of Darkness. Many games set their PCs as regular people who stumble into a world where the supernatural was real and tabloid headlines were prophets. But only one put the unmarked helicopters in their control. Conspiracy X offered a world where aliens have sinister plans for humanity. The most recent edition recently held a Kickstarter to continue the line.

[...more]

Curse of the Sickled Hand (Pathfinder RPG) Review

Posted on October 10, 2012 by


Do not be deluded by terms like ‘basic’ and ‘introductory’… this adventure promises full-bore excitement, well-resourced and smooth to run, no matter whether players or GM are novices or experienced. It takes place in a wilderness area near to a rural village called Gafolweed, which can be placed anywhere suitable in your campaign world; those who have played the adventure Fangs from the Past may recognise some NPCs and locations, but it is not necessary to have done so to get full enjoyment from this scenario.

[...more]

Primeval RPG Review

Posted on October 9, 2012 by

Primeval is a new licensed setting from Cubicle 7 Entertainment that uses the same engine as their Doctor Who line of games. For those unclear about the television show, it centers around a group of people who investigate anomalies, which are rips that permit treacherous travel between points in time. The primary focus for the setting are anomalies that stretch back to prehistoric times, as they are the most common. The rips actually can go to anywhen though, opening up quite a bit of sandbox for a game, which is really what this review is about.

[...more]

Blood Sorcery Review

Posted on September 27, 2012 by

Blood Sorcery lures us back to the beginning of Vampire the Requiem and takes a long look at one of the most interesting aspects of the game. While blood sorcery has always been “good” it was probably not as well developed as it could have been in hindsight. The Storytelling system has matured and now Requiem is benefiting from years of experience with a revamp of blood sorcery, an alternative approach to the system and a plethora of interesting additions to your chronicles. Coming in at just under 70 pages of content this is one of the best new books available to fans of Vampire the Requiem.

[...more]

Never Unprepared: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Session Prep Review

Posted on September 20, 2012 by

Every gamer loves game night. We all gather around the game table with snacks and our beverage of choice ready to roll some dice and tell a story together. There is something magical about the tale that unfolds from a collaborative storytelling experience (also known as playing a roleplaying game) and the game master is the lynch pin to that process. It seems so effortless on the player’s side of the game screen but good game preparations are necessary to create that effect at the game table.

Game prep is not an intuitive process for most of us and there are very few resources out there for game masters wishing to learn it. Fortunately Phil Vecchione has come to our rescue with Never Unprepared: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Session Prep his newest book published by Engine Publishing.

[...more]

Encounters ~ Plots ~ Places Review

Posted on September 17, 2012 by

Encounters ~ Plots ~ Places: Creatures, NPCs, Items, Places and Adventure Hooks for any fantasy system is not only an impressively long title it is also the creation of writer Benjamin Gerber, egg-lobbing world traveler, lover of zombies and game writer. Throw in some bits about IT, sock puppets and cats on fire and you have a writer’s bio that makes me grin from ear to ear.

EPP (for short) is a system independent sourcebook of inspirational material for game masters running fantasy roleplaying games.

[...more]

Trail of Cthulhu: The Book of the Smoke Review

Posted on September 7, 2012 by

The Book of the Smoke is an oddity. The intentional use would be as an in-game prop for any setting where an occult London would be researched; however, it is best suited for Trail of Cthulhu, particularly the Bookhounds of London (a great read, by the way).

My initial impression of the book was lackluster. The cover is not eye-catching and doesn’t look right for a book from the intended era. The artwork, maps, and photography inside do seem to belong with such a tome though. The layout (single column) strikes the look of a journal. While the end result is fitting, it still proves dull upon examination.

[...more]

Hell on Earth: Reloaded Review

Posted on September 4, 2012 by

I have to make a confession: I’m not overly familiar with the original Hell on Earth setting. A friend who had both it and Deadlands offered our gaming group at the time the promise of a storyline that would stretch from characters in Deadlands all the way to the far flung future of Hell on Earth. We never made it to the second-tier of his story; other games came a’knockin’. That said, I had a faint overview of the setting, strong familiarity with the system, and powerful motivation for the revised material.

Hell on Earth (HoE from now on) is a large (209 pages) full-color bear with tons o’ teeth.

[...more]

Vampire the Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition Companion Review

Posted on August 31, 2012 by

Thanks to the efforts of the numerous backers who helped with funding the Vampire the Masquerade 20th Anniversary Companion (V20 Companion) has been completed. PDFs of the book have been distributed to backers and the leather bound copy is being shipped. The book is a companion to the V20 core book and it includes a lot of interesting additions to the core mechanics as well as a few tidbits which were left out of the first book.

[...more]

The Rotten Apple Manhattan (Shadowrun) Review

Posted on August 17, 2012 by

A short piece of fiction depicts a fragment of a ‘run: the forcible extraction of, of all targets, an opera singer! Then some recent history, beginning with an earthquake in 2005 that caused many people and companies to leave, and others to offer to cover the costs of rebuilding in return for deregulation, freeing the city to grow in its own sweet way. Whilst bodies like the New York Stock Exchange and the United Nations left, a new body – the Corporate Court – established its headquarters there, paving the way for a new role for the city as massive extra-national corporations developed. Much of Manhatten – the primary focus of this book – was paved over and new corporate skyscrapers built on top. Much of the subway and other below-ground areas, if not destroyed in the ‘quake, remain as the domain of the dispossessed and those who nibble around the fringes… and, of course, shadowrunners and their contacts!

[...more]

V20 Companion RPG Review

Posted on August 16, 2012 by

The V20 Companion is the companion book to the more crunchy Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary rulebook. The V20 Companion has lots of fluff and little crunch, but as alluded to just now that is a contrast to the V20 rulebook, and, I think, a good one. I’ve only seen the pdf, but it is well laid out and easy to navigate.

First after the maybe a little too sexy cover we get pages of dedications from the Kickstarter. There are a lot of names here, folks. Ancille were the bulk of these. I know I am in there somewhere. The Introduction begins with the classic Bradstreet picture of the man feeding submissively from a woman’s wrist. The section gives us an idea how the book was put together, and a little history of it’s development,

[...more]

Call of Cthulhu: Delta Green RPG Review

Posted on August 13, 2012 by

Many years ago, in a scene that came straight out of these pages, a car drew up outside my house and the driver handed me a copy of this book before whizzing off again! Unfortunately, it was a loan, but the release of a PDF version gives me the urge and wherewithall to sit down and review it.

It opens with a facsimile letter, the rant of an aging veteran steeped in disgust at the modern world and in the urban myths of conspiracy theories about Roswell aliens and military-industrial complexes… or is it a clear-headed look at what many do not, cannot see? This is followed by the Introduction, blending the real reasons for general public mistrust of government seamlessly into the alternate reality of Call of Cthulhu where the Cthulhu Mythos is all too terribly real and ready to drive those who investigate it insane. This book brings the whole Mythos bang up to date, bringing forth a group, Delta Green, dedicated to combating it wherever it dares raise a slimy tentacle, keeping the world, unknowingly, safe one day at a time.

[...more]

L5R: Imperial Histories Review

Posted on August 9, 2012 by

Each of the previous editions of Legend of the Five Rings was connected to a specific time period. The first edition was set before the events of the CCG. The second edition bumped the timeline to the Time of the Void. The third edition came out current with the CCG story at the time. The fourth edition opted to be timeless to allow fans to use whatever time period they wanted. This left a lot of the game’s history out of the core book. This makes the fourth edition versatile, but left out a lot of the player created history and backstory. Imperial Histories was created to fill that void.

Imperial Histories is a guide to various points in the history of Rokugan. Many of the periods have been seen in other sourcebooks or editions. Some have been referred to in historical accounts. And a few are brand new to the book. Each of these is set ups as a campaign possibility with new rules, new schools and, in some cases, modifications to the existing rules for different eras of the Empire. This book is aimed at GMs looking for campaign ideas or fans wanting historical information in one place.

[...more]

Falling Scales Chapter Two RPG Review

Posted on August 9, 2012 by

Denver was not such a great city after all. You’re out on the town one night and you get mixed up with some nightmare straight out of Filipino folklore. Then a cult which called itself the Unmasked “recruits” you and that doesn’t work out so well. They end up trying to kill you and get you into all kinds of trouble. In the end you were forced to kick their sorry butts to the curb. Well, at least it’s over now, right? No, not so much. Welcome to Falling Scales chapter two!

Four months have passed since the dark events which took place in Denver and your lives have become a living hell. Apparently Anna Christopher had friends in high places, the kind of friends who know how to screw with you in the worst possible way. Just when you think it can’t get any worse there appears a glimmer of hope, a light at the end of the tunnel. Freedom from this nightmare can be found in Washington D.C. if you can find it.

[...more]

Never Unprepared Review

Posted on August 7, 2012 by

Due to being a full time student for the last 18 months, I’ve not been very active in writing reviews for Flames Rising. I’d also retired from gaming for more than a year due to said schooling, but recently I’ve come to realize that gaming is too much a part of my being; it’s far too hard wired in me as a creative outlet to be able to give it up forever, much less for years at a stretch. So for the last few months I’ve been trying to make it work again, taking up the gauntlet as a weekly Game Master. But I couldn’t do it like I used to; changes in how I managed my Game Master duties needed to be made, and so I’ve been trying different things to varying results.

[...more]

Deadlands Reloaded: Marshall’s Handbook Review

Posted on August 2, 2012 by

You can’t keep a good game down. Deadlands has been around for over 15 years. It’s gone through two editions, a d20 version, and two Savage World editions. It’s spawned spin-off games ranging from sequels like Hell on Earth and Lost Colony to acclaimed CCGs like Doomtown. The game recently returned to Savage Worlds for the line’s budget minded Explorer Editions. The Marshall’s Handbook is built for the brave soul looking to take his or her players on a tour of the Weird West. It’s built for fans of the setting that want to use the slimmed down Savage Worlds rules, which were born out of the original Deadlands rules.

[...more]

DCC: The Emerald Enchanter Review

Posted on July 31, 2012 by

Those wizards! Give them half a chance and they will conduct bizarre experiments without a thought for their neighbours… and this adventure, designed for 8-10 2nd-level characters, is all about stopping one such wizard in his tracks. He lives on a clifftop near a village, and the rascal has even been using some of the locals in his experiments. Maybe some of the locals were friends or relatives of the characters, or maybe these budding heroes have been asked to help out.

[...more]

City of the Fallen Sky Review

Posted on July 30, 2012 by

This is the first Pathfinder novel that I have read, since getting into the world of Golarion as a DM and player I have wanted stories about it. Turns out there are quite a few available. This is my review of one of them.

First of all I am going to tell you the things I liked the most, then a brief plot description and some final thoughts.

One of the best things this book did was show that it is a Pathfinder story, not just a generic fantasy novel. Yes, the Pathfinder organization was briefly featured, but there was so much more than that to ground this book in the Inner Sea. The way the setting, peoples, places, culture, and even game mechanics was worked into the story really made it come alive. This was more than just mentioning nations and gods, going to Absalom, and using unique monsters. The culture of different areas was discussed, both while the characters were there and by the characters themselves, it felt like a living world that was straight out of the Inner Sea Campaign Setting.

[...more]

Email Newsletter Sign Up

Click Here to Sign Up for FlamesRising.com's Weekly Newsletter.

You will receive horror and dark fantasy updates, news, and more once a week!


11 Tales of Ghostly Horror

    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.

    The Devil’s Night WoD SAS

    Free Devil's Night | White Wolf