Thursday, December 1, 2011

DriveThruRPG reveiws

Some random DriveThruRPG reviews.
I wanted to get a lot more of these done this year, but reviews take a bit to do properly.  I am making recommendations that I hope others are reading are them, but I want to make sure they are informed recommendations. 

Diana: Warrior Princess
Diana: Warrior Princess is a game that is so out there it is hard to quantify it.
Lets start with the easy part first, the game system. The game is very cinematic and focuses largely on characters can do that is cool, amazing or fun. So no stats for cooking here, unless of course one of your characters is a notorious Iron Chef (which would totally work with this game).

Now the premise. Take our world, but go many thousand of years in the future. Now make a TV show of our times, but give it the same historical accuracy (and sense of over the top cinema and fun) as Xena: Warrior Princess. That is D: WP, except you are playing in that world and it is all real to you. So tons of characters make appearances that we know of today. England is a land ruled by Queens Victoria and Elizabeth with the undead Thatcher in control. Just tons of over the top things like that. Adding stuff is easy. There might be this new Robber-Baron from the USA that uses technology to suck the lives out of people into his magical book that keeps a representation of their face. This dreaded artifact of the ancient 21st century was known as "The Facebook"! Just like that. Hard to say what being Googled will mean!

Don't take this game too seriously and you will have a lot of fun.
If you are the type though that looks for internal consistency in your worlds and retcon is a dirty word, then maybe don't get this.

But everyone will have a really fun time.
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Field Guide to Superheroes Vol. 3 (ICONS)
A hefty collection of archetypes for the ICONS game. Lots of familiar territory here with some standard comic book archetypes. What I came here for was the Magician, Occult hero and the Psychic.

In all cases an archetype is presented with some explanatory notes on how this character works in the comics and the game. Examples from comics are given and ways to use the character. Then we also get a full write up of a ready to use character, either as an NPC or PC for your own games. Usually 4 pages per archetype.

Very good book for the price and now I want to pick up the first two as well.
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars (bought it for the Zatanna like character on the front).

Hope Prep School Freshman Handbook, Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition
Hope Prep School Freshman Handbook, ICONS
The Freshman Handbook is a great product in the Hope Prep product line. Meant to follow from the Hope Prep Orientation book, this book expands what you know and provides more information.

Like the Orientation Book, this book is multi-system. I had no issue moving from the ICONS version of one to the M&M version of the other.

This book contains everything a new student will need to know about their new school. There are class schedules with information on the teachers (and their powers, listed in back). While there is a wealth of information here it's utility will vary form GM to GM. While somw may like know where the students are at any given moment of any given day, there are others that will hand wave this.

One thing I found a distraction was the multi-colored text of the two students, Maza and Kid Courage. While interesting and provided a good insight to what was "really" going on, I found the font choice and color difficult to read sometimes.
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Hope Prep #0 Orientation, Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition
Hope Prep #0 Orientation, ICONS
Ever since the X-Men went to class and the Teen Titans went to their tower, being a super powered teen has always been popular in comics. It was popular before that too, but let's stick with high school. Hope Prep is another in a long line of Schools for .... you get the idea.
This book was written for ICONS, but I am certain that the same applies for other versions (M&M).
The idea here is a day spent learning about your new school, Hope Prep. A new bad guy organization is introduced, which I really liked and will use. And it works as a good introduction to supers roleplaying and the game systems as well.

Each scene is detailed well, but not in a way that tells the GM what everyone needs to do, but instead a framework of what is going on and how to move from one scene to the next. Very nice.
There is a starter map of the school grounds and some materials to print and give to your players.

All in all, a very fun intro and certainly makes want to get some more from this line of products.

All in all I really like the Hope Prep products and plan to buy some more of these.
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Dryden: Hero or Horror
Dryden: Hero or Horror seriously undersells itself.
At 10 cents it is likely to be ignored and that would be a shame. While I think today it could be released with some slightly better presentation of the art (the art is good, but quality of the scan seems bad) for a much greater price, there is plenty here for nearly any flavor of the 3.x d20 game.
Dryden are a race that can interbreed with other races, even monsters. For this reason they are listed as a character race, a monster and a monster template. It is also for this reason it carries a "for mature audiences" tag, but there is nothing here that I would not consider to be PG-13.
Differing information is given for fantasy, modern and future versions of the game and some plot hooks.
If you like the idea of a quasi-parasitic race then this is a good product. I like it since it designed to be used in multiple flavors of the same game and show the flexibility of the d20 system and this race.

And it is only 10 cents. Grab it before the publishers realize that giving something away that is this good is a bad idea. ;)
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Campaign Builders: Modern High
Campaign Builders are quick books to help you get started with a campaign mode. In this case a modern high school (and two popular variations, the Horror High and Ninja School).
I grabbed this for ideas to help with a anime/supers/magic flavored high school game I Was working on at the time and it was a great help. The coolest feature here (and since used in other games) is the "Allowance" mechanic. This might not be the first place it has been used like this, but what they do have here is very good.

It is a great product for the price. I might have liked to see more school types and paid a little more, but all in all I am very happy with it.
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

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