June 16th, 2013
For the past few years, I’ve participated in Free RPG Day as a collector and reviewer of materials. I’ve done this for the past five years, and reviewed almost everything (I fell short last year) I collected each year.
It didn’t happen this year. *sigh*
I was evacuated from my home due to the Black Forest Fire, and was in the middle of returning home for most of Saturday. This meant I had zero chance to hit my FLGS and pick up the Free RPG Day offerings.
I have found a Google Doc that lists the PDF offerings. I’ll download those and review them when I get a chance to do so.
At least I’ll get a little bit of reviewing done from Free RPG Day!
June 15th, 2013
Happy Free RPG Day! Enjoy it!
I am late on the Friday Five by a couple of hours. I received word this evening that I could return home after the Black Forest Fire was at 30% containment. There is still tons of work that has to be done in order to stop the fire from spreading and in rebuilding after the disaster. I spent the time I had thought I would spend on the blog at my house. I drove from my temporary home as an evacuee to my normal home north of Black Forest.
Everything is in good shape. The home is standing and our belongings in the house are intact. We’re in good shape.
It’s now after 2 AM on Saturday, and I’m completely beat. It’s time for some overdue sleep. I’m very sorry for the lack of comments, but all I can throw in this week are the links. I hope you understand.
When PCs Kill the Final Boss Too Soon
Adventurers Wanted! (Part Three)
What do the players get to roll?
Johnny’s Fifty – Fifty Small Resources For You To Run A Great Cave Based Game
[Random Thursday] d12 Dwarven Subclasses
The Dam Cracks: A Deluge of GURPS Approacheth?
July 4th, 2012
One of the items I picked up from Petrie’s Family Games for Free RPG Day 2012 was the Map of Harn. The front side of the poster-sized paper is a suh-weet map of the island of Harn. I’ll admit that I’ve never played in the realms of Lythia before even though I own quite a few PDFs that I bought years ago. I’ve just never managed to make the time to read through all of the goods I have to see what it’s like. The map really inspires me to break out those PDFs and see what else I can discover in there!
The back-side of the map is a brief overview of some of the nations, races, cultures and guilds that can be found in Harn. It’s very obvious there is much more information available in the full products than what can be found in the freebie. Once I’m done reviewing the various materials I picked up (and Reign and Birthright) I may dig up those Harn PDFs I own and review them. We’ll see how things go.
Grade: A+ — This freebie really demonstrates the depth and breadth of thought that went into the island of Harn and deeply hints at what can be found in the full products. Good job, Columbia Games!
July 3rd, 2012
I’m finally going through the loot I picked up at Petrie’s Family Games last month. Life has settled back down to a state of semi-normalcy. I’ll be posting two reviews per week until I’m through the materials. That gives me 4 1/2 weeks of posts. I have eight physical items to review, and I’ve managed to track down one PDF of something I missed out on. I’m still searching for the rest. If I find them, I’ll add them to the queue for review.
I’m not sure just yet what order I’ll be reviewing the items. I guess it depends on what I grab off the top of the stack.
Oh. I’ll also be reviewing Reign, which I picked up from Petrie’s as well. That’ll come after all of the other material. Once I’m caught up with the Free RPG Day goodies, I’ll jump back into Birthright.
June 16th, 2012
I ran by Petrie’s this morning and managed to come away with the following items:
- A Time of War: BattleTech RPG/Shadowrun Quickstart flipbook
- Cosmic Patrol RPG Quickstart
- Harn setting material with world map
- Conspiracy X Quickstart & Adventure
- Warhammer 40K Roleplay Only War Adventure, “Eleventh Hour”
- Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG Quickstart & Adventure
- Pathfinder Adventure, Dawn of the Scarlet Sun
- D&D 4E Adventure, “Dead in the Eye”
There are a few items that had so few in the box, they were already gone by the time I managed to get there. I’m hoping the following things will be released in PDF format somewhere on the Internet. I haven’t searched yet for the PDFs, but if someone wants to leave me a comment pointing me to a PDF, I’d be eternally grateful. Here are the items I’m missing:
- “Slavers of the Sunken Garden”, Pathfinder Adventure
- Pathfinder, “Shadowsfall: Temple of Orcus”
- NeoExodus Pathfinder Adventure
- Brass & Steel Quickstart
- Castles & Crusades Adventure
I’ll post images of my haul a little later when I get a chance to drag out the camera.
Oh. One other thing. I picked up Reign by Greg Stolze in hardcover. I’ve seen it floating about the shop for a while, and I finally took the plunge to pick it up. I’ll review it along with the rest of the Free RPG Day goodies.
June 15th, 2012
Free RPG Day is coming up soon! Oh. Wait. It’s tomorrow!
If you haven’t found an FLGS to assist you in acquiring some wonderful freebies, then head here.
If you’re not sure what’s being given away, you can check the main Free RPG Day site, and the front page has a list of materials you can pick up, depending on what level your FLGS signed up for.
Last year, I had some trouble finding a truly friendly FLGS, but Petrie’s Family Games came through for me!
I’ve already contacted Petrie’s again this year, and they’re willing to hook me up with the goods again this year. Score!
I can’t wait for tomorrow to get here to see what kind of quality work I can pick and how I can expand my already-lengthy RPG wish list. Last year, I also ran into a good friend of mine that I’d not seen for over a year at Petrie’s. I wonder who I’ll run into again this year?
May all of you find a quality FLGS that will hook you up with some RPG goodness tomorrow.
PS: Just a kind request from me on behalf of your FLGS… Don’t just walk in, mooch some free stuff and walk out. While you’re there, do some shopping! Buy something! It’s the only way they’ll stay in business. You want that, right? Right?!?
October 17th, 2011
I hit my FLGS today and picked up a copy of Arcanis for my RPG collection. I reviewed the Free RPG Day offering here, and I was so incredibly impressed by the work I found in the free book that I picked up the full RPG today. I wanted to get it earlier, but finances just wouldn’t allow for it. I’ll be digging through the full book in short order and I’ll let you know what I think of the full RPG as I get through it. I’m not sure if I’ll do one huge blog post about it, or do it one post per codex. There are four large sections to the book, so I’ll probably break things up logically and review each section as I get through it and then do a final summary of my thoughts.
August 16th, 2011
How was the overall offering for this year’s Free RPG Day? Very excellent, I must say. The highest grade was A+ and the lowest was C-. A good range and none were failing scores. Most of the books from this year received at least an A- or higher.
Here’s the breakdown of the final grades in the order that I reviewed them:
We Be Goblins (Pathfinder) / A-
Rescue Mission (Tunnels & Trolls) / A
Dragon Age Quickstart Guide / A+
Broken Chains (Black Crusade) / A-
Histaven (D&D) / C-
Hollow Earth Expedition / A+
Aspect / B-
Arcanis / A+
The Waking Dead (AFMBE) / A-
Castles & Crusades / A
A Day Late, A Shilling Short (WFRP) / C-
Prime Directive / B
Dungeon Crawl Classics / A
Final Sanction (Deathwatch) / A
Under the Rose (Exalted) / B-
A Nightmare at Hill Manor (WoD) / A+
I want to extend my most heartfelt thanks and gratitude to the organizers of Free RPG Day and the participating publishers. I may have been a little harsh on some of you at times, but I do thank each and every single one of you for giving me the chance to review the materials you worked on with every last drop of your blood, sweat and tears. Keep up the good work, everyone!
The average grade point average for this year’s Free RPG Day came out at 3.41375 on a 4.0 scale. That’s a solid ‘A’ grade, there.
Again, thanks to everyone participating in Free RPG Day (organizers, publishers, consumers, readers, commenters, players and everyone else.) I hope see you here again between now and next year’s Free RPG Day as I start reviewing various RPG materials that I come across. Of course, I’ll still keep on doing the Friday Five offerings as well.
August 10th, 2011
At 64 pages in length, this is a tome for a freebie! When I first picked it up, I thought I had two copies in my hand because of the thickness and weight. When I realized that it was a single offering from White Wolf, I was quite happy to have it in my pile o’ loot. I didn’t save this particular book as the last review (oh, btw, this is the final Free RPG Day review for this year) for any particular reason. It just happened to be on the bottom of the pile when I stacked them all up after scanning the covers for the images that you’ve seen here.
The first 28 pages of the book cover rules, Storyteller adjudications, character traits, skills, merits, combat, morality, derangements (these were especially fun!), and the basic seven steps of creating a character. I truly believe that a fresh character can be created based off of these 28 pages instead of relying on the four well-done pregenerated characters that are found at the back of the book.
Following these sections of the book comes the Storyteller section: the adventure. This section of the book runs from pages 29 through 53 and is some of the best, creepiest, darkest and most inspiring adventure work that I’ve seen thus far this year in the Free RPG Day offerings. Maybe I just like the dark stuff over the light and fluffy stuff. Who knows? Regardless, this really reached out and stroked my inner gamer with a glancing touch that left shivers up my spine. It’s good stuff. Even if you don’t like the World of Darkness setting or rules (I happened to like [but not love] both), then I’d suggest you find this somewhere on the Internet and give it a good, hard read. Even though there are no maps, there is a “flowchart” of sorts right up front that assists the Storyteller in how the flow of the game should go.
After the adventure is a three-page appendix covering how ghosts work in their basics. Why an appendix on ghosts? You’ll just have to play the game to find out!
Grade: A+ / This is a well-written piece. When I got into it, I was expecting 60 pages of fluff and 4 pages of crunch since it’s a White Wolf production. I was pleasantly surprised to find it evenly balanced and very exciting.
August 8th, 2011
Wow. This Free RPG Day adventure for the Exalted system by White Wolf jumps right into the adventure and keeps on running. I was a little taken aback by this development as I was expecting some form of introduction to the game, the system, the setting or the general feel of the game system. None of that was to be found, so it took me a bit to get into the adventure. There was quite a bit of assumed knowledge on the part of the book, so I found myself lost from time-to-time while grok’ing the adventure.
Despite the fact that I felt lost at time (and I’m sure that if I knew the Exalted genre/feel/system/etc. that it would have been fine,) the adventure was well written, very thorough and looks like a hoot to play.
After the 23 page adventure concluded, there were five pregenerated characters for use within the system. The characters were prefaced with a short blurb about their power level, so that an existing group or Storyteller could inject this adventure into an ongoing Exalted campaign or series. That’s a key piece of information considering the power level for the adventure is quite a bit higher than the “just beginning” level that is normally found in most freebies.
The five characters are packed with crunchy knowledge, but very little fluff on how the character’s attitudes are supposed to be played. This is kind of odd coming from White Wolf which is known for their top-notch fluff. (If you don’t know what I mean about crunch vs. fluff, then hit Google and type it in. There’s a wealth of information [and opinions] on the matter.)
Grade: B- / They didn’t include rules or enough information for this to be a stand-alone, but the writing is so well done that the grade gets a bump up from the standard ‘C’ that I give folks that don’t allow me to run a freebie stand-alone.