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Bloodnut Pass
Publisher: Chubby Monster Games
by Mark K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/02/2015 16:51:03

I am a big fan of the material that Matt Jackson comes up with. Normally he does maps, in fact he is prolific with his maps, but I came to know him through his fully realised game Edge of Space. A little while ago he came up with a map called Bloodnut Pass and I am going to be frank here, it is possibly my least favorite map that Matt had created as he was trialling a new style. Now, the other thing you need to know is that Matt is a huge Old School Renaissance (OSR) buff and through his love of the game Pits and Perils by Old House Rules I came to be pretty fond of the idea too!

Well Matt has taken the Bloodnut Pass map and has turned it into a mini-adventure approved for use with Pits and Perils. The beauty of this little gem, which you can pick up for a dollar at RPGNow is that it really would not be hard to fit it into any system (which is kind of a thing with OSR games). The map is supplemented with some nice art that is also done by Matt and the sordid, disgusting details of the pass are contained within, including a new monster (the Dark Dweller) and a head Cleric.

The adventure is not one that you are going to want to play with your children however. It focuses of dark material. The Dark Dwellers are torturers, rapists and eat the flesh of the local populace like it was an all you can eat buffet. The module suggests you take the descriptions as a GM and gory them up as much as you can. There are such lovely locales in this mini adventure as the Murder Room and the Shit Pit, so do not look here for a beautiful adventure featuring fey and faeries.

It is a short adventure designed to be slipped into an ongoing game that involves travel for the players. Do they take the longer route adding four days to their journey or do they risk Bloodnut Pass, rumored to be one of the most dangerous mountain passes in the area. Of course, being stout adventurers they will have to take the pass, won't they?

The map, by the way, now makes sense. The style of the map mirrors the darkness of the adventure and I am now fully on board with its use. I have to say that the adventure is one that I really like too. I tend to prefer dark, gritty campaigns as opposed to clean beautiful and fantastic settings so this plays to my strengths. I really would suggest that you pick this up, regardless of the system you use, and keep it on hand. Just when the players need to make some quick travel this may be just the little side adventure that will throw them a curve ball and provide a great nights worth of entertainment. Five out of Five severed man bits for this one. Great work Matt!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bloodnut Pass
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Creator Reply:
Thank you for the awesome review. I am glad you really liked the adventure.
Lords of Gossamer & Shadow Icon Deck
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Mark K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/04/2014 22:40:32

If you have not yet realised, Lords of Gossamer and Shadow (LoGaS) is the dice-less role playing game from Rite Publishing that just keeps pumping out those supplements. It is also one of my favourite games of the past twelve months. It uses the Amber system but applies a much more fluid and interesting setting to it. The Icon Deck is a set of cards full of images of Lords and Ladies (and Dwimmerlaik) of the Grand Stair.

The reason that we have the Icon Deck is that one of the powers in LoGaS that a player can use is called Wrighting and it involves the ability to contact a being through the use of an Icon. An image that represents the being through which this power allows for contact to them. Icons are sold on the Grand Stair to the most open beings (or in the black market for the most private) or a being with the power can create their own Icons by making an image that is representative of the being they wish to contact.

So this deck of cards, 52 in total, each represent an Icon for the GM or player to use as a prop in game. None of the cards have a name to it so the players or the GM can assign those Icon’s to any named NPC or player that they wish to use. The images on the cards are the result of a long campaign of gathering art after LoGaS was funded through the Kickstarter and so some of the images were released as teaser art over the past year by Steve Russell of Rite Publishing. Each piece of art was a beautiful creation and I had to grab them!

You can obtain the cards in a PDF format from DriveThruRPG or as a set of actual cards. I have both versions and I have to say that while I may one day turn my PDF into a digital set of cards for Roll 20 there is nothing like actually holding the cards in your hand. The cards are beautiful, full colour affairs that just look absolutely beautiful and I would not give them up for a month of Sundays. It would have been nice if they had their own box, but they do come with a simple plastic band holding them all together (though very well packed).

The Icons are created by a coalition of fantastic artists. My favourite series of cards are probably those created by Jason Rainville but there are in total 12 artists involved in the creation of these cards. Apart from Jason Rainville the artists are (in no particular order) Jack Holliday, Tommy Arnold, Keith Seymour, Joe Shawcross, Ian Greenlee, Gordon Napier, Juan Diego Dianderas, Jacob Blackmon, Dennis Darmody, Dallas Williams and Joshua Calloway. Some of these artists did quite a few of the cards while a couple did only one. The common thing is that they are all great images.

Sure, there are some cards that I like less than others but that is the case with all art. You will find your favourites and others will not look as good to you. In the long run it is all about your personal taste. There are none there that look like they were made by a 10 year old and a bucket of crayons. They all fit and feel part of a beautiful set of cards that are brilliant.

I love props in my games. Some GM’s don’t but I love giving the players over something and having them look it over and treat it with some reverence. These cards are going to provide that for me when I get an in person game of this running. On the flip side of the coin is the fact that these cards are versatile and while I am coming at this review from a LoGaS perspective, there is absolutely nothing stopping using these cards in Shadowrun or Pathfinder or Traveller or… I think you get my point. There are images that would fit any genre game in there.

The only real problem that I have with these cards is I now want to stat up 52 new Lords of Gossamer and Shadow NPC’s! I once did a run of 30 characters (you will find these on this blog in the archives around late 2013) and now I have 52 new images to inspire me. Perhaps I will do those for my own amusement though!

The images that I have interspersed through this review are my favourites of the cards currently. My favourites change every single time I look at them though the red head with the soviet flare below has remained my absolute fave for a long while now.

I really love these cards. I think they are a great addition to LoGaS and any other game they are employed in. Take a look at them and then go grab them. Keep an artist fed!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Lords of Gossamer & Shadow Icon Deck
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In The Company of Dragons (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Mark K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/02/2014 21:40:50

Have you ever wanted to play a Dragon? Perhaps you already have in the old 2nd Edition Council of Wyrms campaign. Maybe you are a GM that really wants to offer up some surprising modifications to a Dragon and do not know where to start. Well, let me tell you, I have a product that you will be interested in come 1 August 2014. Written by Wendall Roy this book adds to the In the Company of series that Rite Publishing offers for players to take on the roles more traditionally considered monsters. The book is geared for Pathfinder and/or 3.5 and there would be some work converting to other systems.

I have always been a fan of Dragons and yet have had trouble getting the tone and approach right in game. I have bought several supplements that take an in depth look at the Dragon type but I have never really been truly satisfied that I get the motivation or approach right. I was suitably sceptical when I heard that this book was on its way and it offered me some private amusement at the thought of PC’s trying to fill the role of these marvellous menacing creatures.

Cover of the In the Company of Dragons bookThe new source book from Rite Publishing written by Wendall Roy for playable dragons! I now have to apologize for that presumption because from the moment I started reading this book it got me. The tone of the source book for much of it is from the point of view of Thunders in Defiance a Dragon who is seeking the help of us ephemerals to educate his wards in the ways of the material plane. I’ll not go into too much detail here but the background given to the formation of the dragons and their current situations and habitats is compelling and brilliant. The story captivated me, made me laugh and made me intensely curious. Take for example my favourite paragraph;

In the material plane, dragons are seen as forces of destruction and hoarders of wealth by most ephemerals. I will not disagree with this assessment, but it is a very narrow view of our kind. There are exceptions to the rule, but as a whole ephemeral societies avoid rousing the anger of dragonkind and we have little to do with your settlements unless they encroach upon our territory (or possess something we covet).

The tone that is included in this is fantastic. It tells me of the nature and the superiority complex that Dragons have as well as their duplicitous nature. The back-story here is top notch and scary. Hidden here is the idea of an area completely populated by dragons and a fantastic notion of the Well of Oblivion the home of those that follow the Undragon. Great stuff that can be woven into existing campaigns or introduced with the idea of playing a dragon.

The presentation of the book is also top notch. Some great artwork is included and nearly every page has something new and intriguing for you to look at. The layout is exceptional and it all combines into a nice mini book that is really easy to read on an iPad, tablet or computer.

Rules for Dragons

The rules for playing a dragon offer up the rules as a racial template for a character much like any other. They then talk about some alternative racial traits and some archetypes for existing classes. the one thing that I was disappointed with here is the lack of dragon breath. It is not gone completely, but only one class archetype takes it on (a variant of the Sorcerer). To me a dragon needs a breath weapon but apart from the archetypes of the sorcerer and the new class included in the book this is not a staple. Moving away from the archetypes though they offer up a Racial class called the Draconic Exemplar. That is a class that basically increases you to be like a dragon as opposed to focussing on a class (though you can multi-class). It gives breath weapon and modifications to that breath weapon as a possibility and offers a heap of different paths for you to take as a dragon.

You are treated as a taninim (the name the dragons call themselves) and start as a Small creature, likely being a young dragon. There are some archetypes that have you increase in size over your levels including the Draconic Exemplar and your character may end up a Gargantuan beast by the end of their career which is pretty cool when you come to think about it. A nice unique race the dragon is actually very well balanced in the long run and I can not think of a single reason why I would say no to having one in my game.

Dragons and the GM

Largely being a GM though I am more excited about the idea of using this book as a tool kit. A tool kit in which I can create a multitude of alternatives for dragons. Think of this little 39 paged book as a gold mine of ways to surprise your character with one of the most feared and sought after foes! From mirrored scales to complex essences you will find this booklet invaluable if you want to mix things up. In fact it sets my evil GM mind to thinking there are so many possibilities in this little book I do not know where to start…

I wholeheartedly suggest you consider getting this book if you are a GM and dragons figure prominently in your games. If you are a player and want to play as a dragon grab it and thrust it under your GM’s nose. then start whining if they say no. Then if they still say no, tell them to come see me and I will slap them for their stubbornness. It is dragons for dragon’s sake!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
In The Company of Dragons (PFRPG)
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Gossamer Worlds: Verse Arcanum (Diceless)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Mark K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/13/2014 20:11:57

Matt Banach is back with another Gossamer World and this is one of my favorites. Gossamer worlds full of fantasy tropes and wizard towers. I have created a similar one in my own Grand Stair and it was quite nice to see the details that Matt picked up on with Gossamer World: Verse Arcanum.

I have to say that the writing in these little source books keep getting better and better. I even have a favorite passage from this one that reads "would produce inevitable and acrimonious conflict between covetous claimants". Such an awesome descriptive passage and the little book packs these in all the way through giving a layered, textured feel to the world.

I especially like the approach given in here of how many of the Gossamer Lords and Ladies have infiltrated this realm and that they are seen as a threat by the local denizens. They are disgusted by the gaudy towers erected by these interlopers and some of the denizens even have the power to do something about them. I especially like the narrative characters discussion on his own tower and I can see the point of the natives.

This is a world filled with elves, dwarves, humans. There is a touch of Tolkien, a bit of Asgaard and even the fey realms to keep you on your toes. I even think there may be a tongue in cheek reference to disc world in this one if you can find it.

This one is a nice little fun romp into fantasy. It has some beautiful descriptions in it and the art suits it fantastically as well. Great work Matt Banach, I look forward to your next one. If you are looking for inspiration have a look at my NPC's and steal a world from there :) That would be awesome! Anyhow, everybody buy this book. It is fantastic. 5 out of 5 missing dice!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gossamer Worlds: Verse Arcanum (Diceless)
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#30 Mercenary Companies (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Mark K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/13/2014 19:02:25

I have come across one of the best little books that I have seen for my Pathfinder Campaigns in a long time. It is called #30 Mercenary Companies written by Liz Smith and released by Rite Publishing. It suits my game down to the ground as I have not yet really taken the time to develop any mercenary companies for my games and so this slots in perfectly.

Forget what you know about mercenary companies too! I love some of the companies that are presented here as they are so inventive. A mercenary company full of summoners for example! I never would have thought of that and I would have stayed with the grizzled veteran stereotypes that most people immediately think of when they think of mercenaries.

The book is precisely what it says on the cover. 30 mercenary companies set out in a standard format that have interrelations and rivalries in some. All of them would be great to take straight out of the book and drop straight into a running campaign. The format of the companies I love as there is a section that allows information about the company to be revealed based on (I am assuming but it is what I would do) a Knowledge (Local) check. Directly after that there is a paragraph or two of personal text direct from someone in the unit so you can get a feel for the group. These are all excellently written and provide a great deal of information for the GM.

Finally, the artwork in this book is beautiful and plentiful. The art is Public Domain and they have done a brilliant job in sourcing such a finely themed group of artwork for this booklet with an image practically on every page.

There is nothing more to it. This is a brilliant collection of mercenary companies and it is a book that I will use over and over again. I cannot recommend it more at the grand old price of $2.95 USD you should all go get a copy right now. I give this book 5 out of 5 crossed swords. Keep rolling!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
#30 Mercenary Companies (PFRPG)
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Lucien's Guide: The Black Files (Diceless)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Mark K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/30/2014 17:16:17

Released last Thursday this is the latest supplement to hit the LoGaS line. Written by Rob Donoghue this source book offers up some of Lucien's (a major NPC of the Grand Stair) secretive and darker files that point to dangers or threats on the Stair that are little known. The cover of this book grabbed me as soon as I saw it and I was delighted to finally get my hands on this gem.

The book is broken up into a selection of files and they are largely themed to items and worlds that may have been affected by Typhonians at one time or another. The preface to the book talks about how many people attribute a lot to the effects of the Typhonian's and also talks about a possible Typhonian "event" that may have occurred. This makes for a really interesting introduction and gives some great insight into possible genesis events of the Grand Stair, even perhaps the purpose of the Stair.

There is a new mechanic introduced in this booklet that I have gotten excited about too. The mechanic is attached to domains and expands them to include "realms". Now a realm means that you can expand the scope of your domain to perhaps include other realities (like perhaps an astral realm, a fey realm etc) all overlaid to the current world. It would also suit the idea of different planes as set out in most fantasy RPG's. Also there is the option here to include interstellar communities and realms. This is worth the price of the book alone!

The book is very piecemeal by design. It contains compartmentalized information and it is very clear where sections start and end. It is a good format and one that I hope they return to, perhaps giving out more of the "Black Files" in the same format. As a format it also gives the GM the idea on how to and what to write in this way for their own adventures. I can already see my NPC Fambol the Kind trying to get his hands on as many of these as possible.

The art work is incredible and really adds some great visual prompts to the files being discussed. My absolute favourite is the picture of Tyran the Demon God. Check it out as he looks like a horrifying school girl with pigtails. I love it. It is possibly not the effect sought after but it made me giggle like a schoolgirl with pigtails and so it is my favourite picture followed by the image of Sophia.

So, after writing all of that I can see that I have had nothing bad to say at all about the book. Well then, it is obvious that my summary is about to say GO GET THIS BOOK. Lucien's Guide: The Black Files is another top quality addition to the Lords of Gossamer and Shadow dice-less role playing game and I give it 5 out of 5 horrifying school girl's with pigtails! What are you doing still reading. Go get the book!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Lucien's Guide: The Black Files (Diceless)
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Gossamer Worlds: Tetsujin Shogunate (Diceless)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Mark K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/30/2014 00:00:03

Well, one got by me! I was advised by one of my players that the Lords of Gossamer and Shadow had a bundle available through Drive Thru RPG that gives you all of the Lords of Gossamer and Shadow books to date that have been released (it is great value by the way). I went and had a look and I spotted a book I did not have by Matt Banach. Rectifying that mistake I grabbed it and have just finished reading it.

The Tetsujin Shogunate Worlds book is an alternate Earth world where two alien races crashed into Earth, the Oni and the Kappa. They are warring races and that war has exploded across Earth. The Oni have taken much of humanity into slavery by using pheromones to enslave them whilst the Kappa have allied with the humans and are teaching them to make giant samurai robots to fight the Oni and take back the planet.

Yes, that is right. GIANT FREAKING ROBOTS FIGHTING ALIENS PEOPLE. Not sure I should review it any further. That sentence says it all. But I must continue. They are not just giant robots but giant robot samurai...

I just want to play it right now.

The world has a political edge to it all also and ninjas and an Eastern setting and (wipes drool from corner of the mouth) so much goodness all in one little 8 page book. The setting is great, and while I have been getting involved in eastern settings of late with the honor caste and effects I have found this twist on it exciting.

What I did want is more detail in the book. But the way that these are set up is really to give you just enough information to get the game rolling. They leave the blanks for you the GM to fill in. That is all good but I am not really a hundred percent confident with eastern traditions yet and a lot of political detail needs to be fleshed out in that regard so I would have liked to see maybe a list of houses or political factions that I could start to build on. I only know that the structure is built around the shogun, daimyo and the alliance with the Kappa from really one small part of the book and to do that justice I feel would require a lot of work on my part (I am a bit of a perfectionist though).

That said though this book is excellent. One of my favorite world books so far. It may just be the fact that I loved Pacific Rim that is urging me on here but I think it is a little deeper. In fact if I were to run this world in game I think I would focus a lot more on the ninja culture than I would on the giant robots that battle the Oni. Having stealth missions into the encampments of the Oni would make for a tense and drama filled game.

At a $1.49 for the Gossamer Worlds: Tetsujin Shogunate is definitely worth shelling out for. Matt Banach has done a great job of bringing a world based on an alternate history of our own to life and it is not going to break the bank. I give this book a healthy four giant samurai robots out of five!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Gossamer Worlds: Tetsujin Shogunate (Diceless)
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Gossamer Worlds: Empyrea (Diceless)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Mark K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/29/2014 23:56:48

These world source books are a great little addition to the Lords of Gossamer and Shadow because they are short, descriptive and interesting. They make me want to read them and Matt Banach keeps me wanting more from every one of his little gems.

Empyrea is a Grecian styled world with a self styled all-powerful ruler. This ruler has seemingly been experimenting with the subjects of his domain by introducing nanotechnology genetic serums to make them become super-human. The serums are also likely to be reducing the ability for the normal people of the domain to be able to manipulate magical forces. Of course that does not stretch to the tyrants own children.

Of course I make it sound very sinister and it is not necessarily the state of things. The domain has many beautiful, powerful individuals and is surprisingly high tech though much of this technology is well hidden from view. The world is bright and beautiful and many impressive excesses can be experienced here.

The ruler of this world is not a Lord of Gossamer yet. He has only recently become aware of the existence of the Grand Stair and his first encounter with a Lord did not end well. So much so that the door into the world is kept secret and it can be quite a hostile place for people that are unknown. There is a great deal of technical and mystical surveillance on the populace and unknowns tend to be quickly identified and then they are closely watched.

I love this book for its connections to the idea of Olympus and some nice mythological additions that are built in both with sorcery and technology. The rules are basically invisible in this book with the standard domain table being included as the final portion of the book.

The material is very easy to read and the book will likely be devoured in under ten minutes. The details hide a lot of hooks for adventures and provides a good detail of the atmosphere of the world to include in the games that you run with a connection to this world. It is an interesting place to visit and a world that I had not really considered previously for my own game but who knows, it may well be a place my players will be visiting in the future. Get this book for your game, it is well worth it. 4 out of 5 bunches of cyber harpies!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Gossamer Worlds: Empyrea (Diceless)
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Gossamer Worlds: Brokeworld (Diceless)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Mark K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/29/2014 23:54:55

Another world submitted to the Lords of Gossamer and Shadow collection known as Brokeworld. This addition comes from Matt Banach and had me very interested in it soon after reading the first few details of the source book.

This world is a dumping ground where many other Gossamer worlds rubbish is deposited. I like this idea a lot because it is the basis for my own game that I am developing known as Detritus (you can find posts about it on this blog). I was excited to see that this idea was included here for Lords of Gossamer and shadow so read on with my interest piqued.

There are some interesting details to be found here but I was very disappointed to find the book end after only a few short pages. A world that has such possibility with the possibilities of numerous interesting locales and theories as to why things end up there, but there is little to find here in that regard. The book finishes with the mandatory domain details but in my opinion this realm could have been so much more.

There are some nice touches like how the original inhabitants of the realm are becoming more and more disfigured as well as the Gremlins. They are a really nice addition to the world as well as the possibilities listed for the rest of the Grand Stair.

So, in summary you will get a short source book that has a lot of potential though much of the potential is lost with too few details. Of course, as a GM this gives you the opportunity to fill it with everything you want but I just can't help but want more from this book. Overall I give it three huge mounds of rubble out of five.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Gossamer Worlds: Brokeworld (Diceless)
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Gossamer Worlds: Stratospheria (Diceless)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Mark K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/08/2014 19:53:16

The newest Gossamer World to hit the stores is the mini source book on Stratospheria. Its full title being Gossamer Worlds: Stratospheria. It has been written by Matt Banach and looks at the introduction of a world that is populated by airborne cities that circulate around a super large planet with crushing gravity completely inhospitable by regular beings.

Let me start with the quality of the writing in this booklet. It is fantastic! I read the booklet and it read more like a novel than a source book. The stories and possibilities that arise through the text are evocative and descriptive. I just loved the idea of a floating city world but this does so much more and packs the entire booklet from the first page with ideas that would make this a fun setting to run the game in.

The idea of the planet below is largely glossed over for many pages but then there is a small paragraph in the booklet that reveals a possibility of what is on the planet that made me appreciate this little booklet tenfold! Am I going to reveal it? Hell no! Buy it and find it out for yourself.

The beauty of these booklets that are coming out for the Gossamer worlds is they are cheap $1.49 (USD) and made for the game Lords of Gossamer and Shadow but can be used for any suitable system. I can see myself using this booklet for Traveller in the very near future! Sure, there are probably a few bits and pieces that are Lords of Gossamer and Shadow specific but the overall feel of the worlds can be transferred while ignoring those components. For example, there is only one page in this booklet that has anything listed that is mechanically related to the game (great thing about a diceless system). Alternatively it may open up the urge to investigate the game of Lords of Gossamer and Shadow as well and if that happens, pursue the feeling. You will not be disappointed.

The artwork inside this booklet is phenomenal. In reality I am a very shallow human being that is easily pleased by a pretty picture and Rite Publishing's Steve Russell taunted me in the lead up to this products release with some of the most lush pictures of this world. The layout is great and fits with the theme of all of the books so far and makes for easy reading. Great work as always by the people that work on both of these portions.

In short, I can not find a reason to dislike this book. I try to be thorough and I believe I have here and come up with nothing but love for this setting. Once you have finished this paragraph GO BUY IT. Just go buy it! It really is that good. Five out of Five drops to the planetary surface! Are you still reading? Go buy it! And remember Don't keep rolling (with Lords of Gossamer and Shadow at least)!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gossamer Worlds: Stratospheria (Diceless)
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Lucien's Guide to the Grand Stair (Diceless)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Mark K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/23/2014 02:41:45

This is the first material to come out for Rite Publishing's new RPG line, The Lords of Gossamer and Shadow written by Jason Durall. It was created as a stretch goal to the final kickstarter for the game and was released early in January for sale as a PDF from DrivethruRPG.com for around $5 USD. I managed to get a free copy from my Kickstarter involvement but for that price it is certainly an accessible supplement.

The booklet is 24 pages of information that ranges between stylised letters from Lucien to one of his companions through to new rules and mechanics that will expand the game from the core rulebook in new ways. For the most part though the book covers the letters and theories of Lucien that surround details of the Grand Stair. I have to say that this is a welcome addition because the main rules set the stage of the Grand Stair but do not really talk much about it in specifics which can be daunting for a new GM. How do you represent one of the largest portions of the game with little to go on. It does dwarf a bit when you are making the jump from a dice heavy system to a diceless system so my first game was daunting for a different reason but this was certainly in the back of my mind as we played.

I really think that this is a valuable addition to the game. There is one thing that I would have liked to have had included and that was a foreword. Perhaps from Jason Durall giving his comment on the addition and giving a brief word on what to expect. As it is you look at the credits and you leap straight into a letter from Lucien to a person by the name of Luke. As I did not really know what to expect from this addition I actually had to read it twice to get much from the first few letters included in it. Had I had a brief word of warning I think I would have been in a much better mind to soak in the bits and pieces of details that those letters contain.

The letters do contain some really interesting detail too. What is even more impressive is that I am sure with some of the letters that some of the readers will take away different information that is interesting to them. This will create interesting dynamics in play between GM and players as this book contains nothing in it that is illicit to the players (and I strongly suggest the players have a look at it) which is as it should be for this style of product.

There are several additions to the rules as they stand which is great. Jason Durall has stated in several forums and locations that there were more rules that he would have liked to have added to the game but space in the book did not permit it. I think this supplement will go some way to showing how this will be addressed. Every new addition to the core rules may come with a few rules. I have a player in my game who wanted to play someone completely new to the stair but the way the rules for character generation are it makes it hard to represent. In this supplement we see some rules that offer us some abilities to traverse a door without being a warden. Excellent addition. It is an addition that shows me that Rite Publishing are not going to leave us hanging for intermediate, beginner and hopefully advanced powers and they want to grow the line in a sensible manner.

Not only does this booklet offer us the new rules for walking the stair it offers us new cantrips and sorceries! What is more, they are Grand Stair themed (of course) that make you think more about how the stair operates. I love these so much I am already thinking about new NPC's and also adjusting the thirty that I already have! Along with these we also have some new powers for handling expanses (sections of the Grand Stair that you attune to) and Carta as equipment (think of an Atlas for doors and their connections.

Finally we also have two new NPC's. A young Lucien and a shield maiden if you will! Gretchen is the most interesting of the two of these (trust me, I know my NPC's) and the layered history of how she built up to become a warden of the stair makes me want to play her. She is a great addition to the stable. The smart alec Lucien NPC is kind of cool to compare to the Lucien of the main book but he is a bit of a novelty. For me anyhow. I am sure that it may be of interest to a GM to run a campaign that covers Lucien's earlier travels and having the PC's as his companions.

Overall I really like this little book. It fleshes out my thinking on the stair and gives me new, solid rules to play with. It also is something that I can hand to new players to give them an idea on what the Grand Stair can be like. It needs a little love and care so that it does not make you have to read it a couple of times to get the value but this little baby makes me a very happy boy. It shows that one of my big investments on Kickstarter last year is ticking along nicely and that it is heading in a direction that I want to find out more. I give this 4.5 Dwimmerlaik Folk Tales out of 5! Whatever you do, do not keep rolling!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Lucien's Guide to the Grand Stair (Diceless)
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Lords of Gossamer & Shadow (Diceless)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Mark K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/10/2014 20:23:02

Lords of Gossamer and Shadow is the new diceless RPG from Rite Publishing. I was a backer of this game via Kickstarter and it has now come to fruition after being released on the 1st of December 2013.

Lords of Gossamer and Shadow is essentially Amber with a new setting. It has been called the "spiritual" successor to Amber which is something I can't really comment on. As much as I have wanted to play Amber I never actually got around to it. I can say that the new Rite Publishing game is right on the money though. I have often wondered how a dice-less system worked and I have to say that it works well!

The characters are made in a group setting and an attribute auction is held with every player having a set number of points to spend on these attributes. In game play the actuality is all actions are referred back to the attributes and in essence the highest wins (of course tactics and circumstance have a role to play). In essence, the system is elegant and streamlined. It is quick and painless and allows for a focus on story.

This game is a story tellers wet dream. For both the GM and the player it offers an open set of realms to play around with. This game is GURPS except you play with one character across as many settings as you want to! It is a version of Rifts or the TV series Sliders with much, much more powerful lead characters! The setting of Lords of Gossamer and Shadow is that of the Grand Stair which in essence is a realm that exists between realms! It is a stairwell that alters its appearance and structure throughout its entire length (not that anyone has found a top or a bottom to it) and the Lords and Ladies of Gossamer and Shadow travel its paths to enter realities that are connected by doorways.

A Lord/Lady of Gossamer is what the players are. They are beings capable of finding, and opening, the doors to different realities on the Grand Stair. They may only be new to the stair or have had the ability to traverse it for some time. They are an elite few among all of the realities and they see the forms of power that create the realities in the form of the Eidolon (structure and form in magic) or the Umbra (Chaos, destruction and wildness in magic). Players can draw from either aspect but generally a Lady of Gossamer is a follower of the Eidolon or Umbra whilst a Lady of Shadow would be something more sinister altogether.

The lords and ladies of shadow are a race of creatures known as the Dwimmerlaik who use a power separate to that of the Eidolon and Umbra. They war with the Lords as they see the Grand Stair as theirs and theirs alone. They had recently been thought but a myth by the travellers of the Grand Stair but have made attacks that cannot be explained away recently.

So, you have a meta-plot (the Lords of Gossamer vs. the Dwimmerlaik or Lords of Shadow) and you have a Grand Stair that has doors to an infinite number of realities. Realities with any setting and any genre to play with. Same characters for the players and an infinite number of realities. I can see why I love this game so much. I wander the internet and see so much good stuff going on and right here is a system I could use to represent it all, in one game! The book is beautifully written and is a great system for those of us who are story tellers at heart. It talks more about the way to weave a good story and tackles some big topics in its pages.

It is a game that focusses on players and their wants and needs. It seeks to generate conflict and drama for the players and may often even pit them against one another with crossing one players goals with another. The attribute auction from the very get go points to the possibility of this as the players compete against one another to develop their character. So although they may align and travel the Grand Stair together it is quite possible that they will end up at odds with one another in the long run.

The illustrated PDF that I have is lush and filled with full coloured gorgeous artwork with lead artist Jason Rainville . Most of these images focus on one individual giving a feel for them and the world they may come from. You feel like you know these characters immediately and the images help you overcome the initial shock of "so many genre choices" as they are laid out across many genre fields. You may laugh but when I read the rules as a straight pdf I was a little numb to how I would GM this game because of the immense scope of the realities! The artwork really helps me factor all this in to the game as a whole. The small game I did run all occurred on the Grand Stair so I could avoid putting it in a setting! The art is not on every page though and you will get runs of up to six or seven pages at a time where you will see no art at all.

This game will of course not be for everyone. I have had some very strong reactions when I have talked about the dice-less nature of the system and how it works. There are a large number of people that believe that what happens is purely up to the GM which is simply not true. I have had people say that you might as well have no character sheets at all and sit around a circle and tell a combined story. Again not true. I really wish that this game would appeal to everyone but if you are a player that must hold on to the random element or loves the tactile nature of dice and will feel lonely without them then perhaps this is not the game for you.

I do implore anyone though that has a slight interest in this system to give it a go. I love this game and its possibilities. I will eventually run a campaign with this game. It will not be immediately but it will happen. The beauty of the setting combined with the elegance of the rules is just fantastic. I am keen to build a story in this world that centres around the characters and their abilities. The book is beautifully presented and I can not wait to get my game provided by one of the developers that is on offer as part of my Kickstarter backer level.

This game is for me (and see above about dice-less systems that will cause some to turn away from this) a five out of five star game. It ticks every box for me and is written in a readable and interesting format. Once you get your head around the rules and the setting you will see the infinite possibilities that this game brings to your table. No more rolling!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Lords of Gossamer & Shadow (Diceless)
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The Demolished Ones (Fate)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Mark K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/23/2013 18:40:54

Please note, this review was originally published on www.thepathfinderchronicles.com. I was provided a complimentary pdf copy of the book to review by the Publisher.

A second review on a Rite Publishing product for the week. It is the review I have most been looking forward to so there was the chance that it could disappoint me horridly. I pay close attention to Rite's publishing schedule and I had my eye on this little number because it offered two things that interest me. First, it is the FATE system that powers this game, and all I knew about the game was that it largely has the players start as amnesiacs.

Let me address the amnesiac issue first. This interests me because as far as RPG's go one of the biggest tropes you can find is the amnesiac. It is normally the sign of a lazy GM who just cannot be bothered working up a reasonable backstory for their players. On reading the first couple of pages of this book I realise that this book does start out with the amnesia trope immediately. No apologies for its presence so it looks like I will have to read the full book to find the whys and wherefore a of this. I am lead to believe that the players actually start with a blank character sheet too! What madness is this?

This is definitely FATE but not exactly as I know it which is through FATE Core. There are minor variations to the Core rules but there is little to suggest that you cannot adapt this to the Core book and when I run it that is exactly what I will be doing. This book is a weird mix between module and full game system. Certainly all the rules are here should you want to run this as an ongoing setting although I will mention that the advancement rules are very light on and seemingly added as an afterthought.

So, to the module itself. What is it about? Well, it is about a group of characters that wake up in a room in a Victorian England style setting and soon realise that none of you remember who they are. The rest of the module is all about finding the truth of what has happened to the characters and why. It is called the Demolished Ones in part because the players have all had their memories wiped. Their sense of self demolished. The module traces their discovery of themselves and discoveries of secrets, in part. To protect the module I can not really go too much more into the story of the module and In fact I have said all I will about the actual content. This game really relies on the players not knowing anything about what is going on in the city.

So how can you tell if you will like this module? Let me say that if you like movies like The Matrix, Dark City, Sixth Sense, Fight Club and the twists that happen in them then you will love this game. The style of this module is one that builds the players up from the initial scene and then at the end of the first Act changes things up. The whole game the players will be investigating and seeking to keep ahead of the game to find out that next snippet of information because in this game, like no other, truth is power.

As a GM I read this book and went from intrigued, to impressed, to confused, to in awe and then finally a mixture of all of these with a healthy dose of shock. This module is exceptionally well written, well presented and very well thought out. Throughout the module there are sidebars that contain stats for important NPCs and other important information for the module at that point in time. I became a little bewildered when in Chapter 4 they repeated all this information again but then I thought it was a great idea. In essence you can just use what is near the bits in the module or if you have it in PDF you could print out the section of all the stats you need through the whole game and beyond.

What else can I tell you about this? Well I can tell you that there has been only one other module/game that has had me this impressed. As I was reading this it just built this feeling in me as I was reading it. A feeling like you are touching greatness of some form. I have not seen the build up to a product from Rite Publishing before like it has been with this. For example, I have for the past couple of weeks had a purpose made Demolished Ones background wallpaper on my mac and there have been a lot of updates along the way. It was so worth them taking this route as they have here one of the finest role playing products I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

I will answer one criticism that was levelled at this game and that is it was annoying how they had to buy new dice for this game. Well, I am here to tell you that you don't have to. As long as you have d6 you can play this game. The Fudge dice that they talk about are dice that contain 2 + symbols, 2 - symbols and 2 blank faces. If you are not keen to pick this module up because you have to pick up new dice get it anyway and use your d6 so that 1 or 2 stand for a -, 3 or 4 are the blank sides and 5 or 6 are treated as the + symbols.

As the GM, right up to the final pages of the module and into Chapter 4 I was still having my mind reel at some of this information. I am telling you right now that if you are a FATE GM you must get this game. If you have not got FATE Core, get it from Evil Hat Productions (it is pay what you want) and then buy this. NOW. If you are in Gencon, seek the book out. It is being released there. I think again that this is something I want to have a physical copy of and it is the game that I will be introducing to my in person players.

So I have no hesitation. This book is brilliant. The content, fantastic. The game is just so good that you must have it. I give five out of five amnesiacs for this Rite Publishing gem and I seriously suggest you buy it. What are you doing still reading? Get out there and buy it!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Demolished Ones (Fate)
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