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Listen Up You Primitive Screwheads!!!!!
Publisher: R. Talsorian Games Inc.
by Hans S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/15/2021 15:17:33

If you would like poorly edited essays on why you should put more "gotcha" moments and TPK in your games, you can pay for it here. Or you could just search the internet and get likeminded GM to say that it is better to assert power over your PC.

I strongly disagree with this position, and frankly resent the idea that conflict should (or even can) be resolved with passive-agressive methods like those recommended here. Even having recently kicked a player for the first time, I prefer reconciliation (to be fair, some essayists make a passing reference to reconciliation, but overwhelmingly assume it will fail).

Some advice "nuggets" from the book include:

  1. the idea that you should come up with a story first and then try to find players that will fit your vision, or else compel them to take skills and backgrounds that will fit;
  2. the idea that "power players" merely want to annoy you or steal your authority and must be punished by unbeatable NPC or unwinnable situations;
  3. taking away from players the things that make their PC cool or interesting because you should punish "abusive power gaming";
  4. finally, this gem of a remark: "gaming has been for too long the hiding place of pseudo-intellectuals... watch out for them"

Take the author's advice and "watch out" for the pseudo intellectuals that authored this document. I genuinely cannot reconcile the overall ratings with the content of this book. Not recommended.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Listen Up You Primitive Screwheads!!!!!
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A Very Northern Christmas
Publisher: Rowan, Rook & Decard
by Hans S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/28/2021 09:04:04

SUMMARY: A silly game where everyone is Sean Bean, trying to survive to the end of a low-budget picture while performing every role and crew duty.

ABOUT US: Six players and a forever GM (me), some of whom have improv training. The PC prefer "rules-lite" systems. We play once a week for 2hr.

THE GOOD:

Concept is funny (all Sean Beans). The directed storyline may appeal to some player.

OPPORTUNITY FOR IMPROVEMENT:

Unplayable without rules changes. There are two dice mechanics which seem to contradict one another. One has the GM setting difficulty of rolls, one says to interpret all dice results according to a table. We went with the table in our game. I used clocks to progress each Act (4 clock for Act I, 6 clock for Act 2, 8 clock for Act 3, 6 clock for Act 4, 4 clock for Act 5). A success according to the table would advance the clock. I also added items to help distinguish the Beans from one another, similar to the Amulet. There was a bear-skin rug, "a lot" of varnish, a "hellish" basket, six small bungee cords, and a sad story.

OUR GAME:

Open on Sean Bean putting on gloves and adjusting his beard. The mirror at his dresser then shatters, cutting him severely. The camera and boom are flawlessly recording everything and the scene is so lovingly shot that the crew run out of time and cram all other introductions into the same short scenes. Villain Bean and Mentor Bean share a flashback in which Mentor Bean is berating the youngster (played by adult Bean) for negligence in his duties. Meanwhile, Damsel Bean is a work-aholic and doesn't understand the meaning of Christmas, so Protagonist Bean is trying to win her heart and persuade her that Christmas is a good time.

In Act 2, more scares are needed. Villain Bean gives a sinister Prezi (TM) about how his killer-app will literally kill Santas and he plans to burn down Christmas Village to get it started. His minions (Sean Beans) are badly wounded by malfunctioning equipment. We have another flashback in which Villain Bean didn't get the Krampus (TM) toy he wanted for Christmas, and Mentor Bean tells him to buck up in a pool scene with Pool Noodle (TM) and makeshift sharks.

In Act 3, Protagonist Bean rescues Damsel Bean from the tank of makeshift sharks, but the shoddy sharks damage Damsel Bean's period-accurate costume and wound this Bean in the process. There is a power overload in the studio and the Beans find a Honda (TM) generator which they can use to restore power. They have inordinate difficulty getting the generator going, and end up accidentally filming another film crew without their consent, but luckily one of the Crew Beans has a 9-pack and can distract them.

Act 4, more slapstick is needed. The crew add a scene in which historic comedians Laurel and Hardy and Groucho Marx (played by Beans) bust through a wall in the style of Kool-Aid Man (TM) to assist Protagonist Bean in writing his love letter to Damsel Bean.

Act 5, more action is needed. Damsel Bean turns down Protagonist Bean. Heartbroken, he confronts Villain Bean, who has a flamethrower ready to start burning the village. He seems powerless against such a weapon, but Mentor Bean tells him that "the Christmas Spirit has been in you all along", triggering a transformation into a Christmas Megazord (TM pending) which empowers him to destroy villain bean.

Epilogue: The Beans chose their deaths. One Bean got overconfident in his ability to survive a movie, and died his true death by choking on his Coffee (TM) in the next film, a third of the way through the script. One Bean walked into the ocean, finally overcoming his fear of sharks. He is killed by a snapping turtle. One Bean fights a bear hand-to-hand and meets his demise, inspiring a copycat Bean to do the same. One Bean walks off into the sunset and is never seen again. The last Bean has a private funeral for himself.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
A Very Northern Christmas
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Goblin Punks
Publisher: Rowan, Rook & Decard
by Hans S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/11/2021 11:53:46

SUMMARY: A silly game that has some issues with storytelling because it is too easy to get critical successes.

ABOUT US: Six players and a forever GM (me), some of whom have improv training. The PC prefer "rules-lite" systems. We play once a week for 2hr.

THE GOOD: Goblins are comic by design. The random table has a nice variety of plot hooks. The slang idea is interesting, but feeds into the opportunities for improvement, as it makes it even easier to inflate the dice pools.

OPPORTUNITY FOR IMPROVEMENT: The central storytelling mechanism of most RPGs is the uncertainty around a dice roll. In this instance, you take the single highest value of multiple dice, which are very easy to add to the pool. The chance of seeing one six (Crit Success) on 1D6 is 16.6% but once you add a die to the pool, the chance of a crit success increases to 30.5% on most rolls. Allowing the players to easily get crit successes is ok if you want the players to dictate the entire story, but IMO failures and setbacks are what make a story interesting or amusing.

OUR GAME: It's the day of the science fair at Azhog Jr High School for Goblins, and our misfit goblins have forgotten (again). In a school assembly, they are reminded of the need to humiliate a rival kobold school, and warned that superscience kobolds will be hard to beat. They are also ordered to report any suspicious occurrences, as bad kobolds might try to cause mischief. While later trying to persuade their school advisor that waterboarding their fellow goblin to explore the "limits of goblin endurance", their idea is met with tears of enthusiasm and a full endorsement, followed by a slammed door, the sounds of bottles uncorking, and muttering.

Our heroes decide that the school's Wolf-mascot costume is critical to their efforts and try to get the groundskeeper to let them into the locker room. But, the groundskeeper has spotted some kobold mischief himself, and wanders off instead (the first time a failure is rolled). One of the goblins suddenly remembers that he's incognito the scool mascot (the identity is kept a secret) and knows where the costume is kept, though they will need to break into the storage closet. On the way, they trip the superscience kobolds to sabotage their dynamo project, and they also draw moustaches on the statues in the hall of heroes to frame up the mischief-making kobolds and get them tossed from the competition.

Rolling (yet another) crit success to get into the closet, the goblins get in nice and quiet and make off with the costume, setting up in front of the fountain in the central courtyard. While asking "What's the safe w---" they ram a hose down the throat of "Snobgoblin", their rich friend. As he thrashes and kicks, (another) crit success has one of the judges spy their antics and start raving about their recreation of "archeo-choreography" from ancient goblin times.

Meanwhile, the goblins take another opportunity to sabotage the hastily-patched together kobold dyno and make their way to the school laboratories, where they encounter the bad kobolds with an unknown cauldron of boiling material. They offer some grog but the kobolds refuse, as it's "uncool" to drink underage (2/2 failures for the entire game). Instead, the goblins attack, throwing a trained sparrow into the eye of the biggest "thuggiest" kobold. In the confusion, another goblin flails around with his baseball bat and the kobolds are subdued. The kobolds dump the cauldron into the sewer "in a responsible goblin way" and get the school security officer to have the bad kobolds put away to do time in "juvenile hell".

At the awards ceremony, the enthusiastic judge gives the goblins another encomium for their performance piece and asks for a re-creation, which Snobgoblin re-creates effortlessly, starting a new fad and winning the affection of the homecoming princess.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Goblin Punks
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Honey Heist
Publisher: Rowan, Rook & Decard
by Hans S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/07/2021 07:18:02

SUMMARY: A silly game where failures are usually as silly and interesting as successes. The bear's misconceptions about what humans are like is central to the comedy.

ABOUT US: Six players and a forever GM (me), some of whom have improv training. The PC prefer "rules-lite" systems. We play once a week for 2hr.

THE GOOD:

  1. Bear types are rolled and are distinct from one another with powers. You could extend the table with a little creativity for larger groups.
  2. Failures are interesting and the stress track is used frequently.
  3. Quick prep. I read the rules, drew some story cards, and was ready to play the game in 30min all together.

OPPORTUNITY FOR IMPROVEMENT:

  1. Relies heavily on player creativity. Shy players and those slower to improv will contribute less to the story. Note: this cannot be corrected in a one-page RPG. This is what you are signing up for.
  2. Larger tables could be useful. I had some players re-roll many times trying to get unique bears and hats.

OUR GAME: Honeycon 2020. Held on the pier of Bayport Harbor, the bears have gotten it into their heads that Carmen, the bee-queen costumed mascot of Codger's Honey is an actual giant bee and plan to abduct her for the honey payout. The megahoney, to be awarded to the winner of the BBQ contest, is being held in a safe inside Wolf's Bar and Grill.

The bears manage to crash through the fence with a stolen van and disperse into the public. They find giant panda mascot heads as prizes in a throwing-game booth, which they use as disguises. Ironically, the panda accidentally shreds his fake head while attempting to disguise himself, but humans "can't tell the difference anyhow". After successfully flirting with a drunk using approximate human speech, one of the bears learns that the megahoney is in a safe in the back of the bar. While some bears do some coordinated choreography to distract the barkeep, the thief sneaks into the back and effortlessly cracks the safe, but forgets her disguise and the barkeep recognizes her trying to exit while holding the jar, which is straight outta Winnie.

With security hot on their heels, the bears need a distraction, and end up terrorizing the judges at the BBQ tent, drawing heat off the driver (who now has stolen an ice-cream truck). Meanwhile, the other bears are -ahem- escorting Carmen from the clapboard castle where she has been getting ready for the awards ceremony, after their attempt at "diplomacy" fails. The badger discovers a great big red button on the control panel near the stage and figures out that it launches the fireworks, igniting a fire and facilitating a clean getaway.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Honey Heist
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