Blogs

Thirty Eighth Issue: The Great Space Operas March 2018

The thirty eighth issue of RPG Review has been released. Either download the PDF or read online.

Thirty Seventh Issue: Gods, Religion, World Design December 2017

The thirty seventh issue of RPG Review has been released. Either download the PDF or read online.

Thirty Fifth and Thirty Sixth Issue: Antipodes June and September 2017

The thirty fifth and thirty sixth issue of RPG Review has been released. Either download the PDF or read online.

Thirty Fourth Issue: Design March 2017

The thirty fourth issue of RPG Review has been released. Either download the PDF or read online.

Thirty Third Issue: Transhumanism December 2016

The thirty third of RPG Review has been released. Either download the PDF or read online.

Letter of Support to Games Workshop RE: PETA

Kevin Rountree, CEO Games Workshop

Dear Mr. Rountree,

The RPG Review Cooperative, Inc., is a non-profit association based in Melbourne, Australia. Part of our objectives is the advocacy of RPG games. As a result we must comment on a recent 'blog post on the PETA UK website (http://www.peta.org.uk/blog/peta-warhammer-fur-free/) which described their correspondence to you.

Annual General Meeting 2017

The Annual General Meeting of the RPG Review Cooperative was held at the Doug Hull Adventure Park, Coburg North. With an agenda provided by the Secretary, Andrew Daborn, and a committee report provided by the President, Lev Lafayette.

Thirtieth Second Issue: The Founding Company, TSR, September 2016

The thirtieth second of RPG Review has been released. Either download the PDF or read online.

GURPS Undead

Introduction and Physical Product

GURPS Undead comes a part of a stock-standard product for the third edition line; softback, a solid glue binding, 128p, and with a good cover piece by Rogerio Vilela. The interior art includes many pieces but the irrepressible Dan Smith, with a scattering of others that supplement rather than detract from the style. The artwork throughout shows talent and creativity (the undead are always fun to draw) and are occasionally contextual - however one does get the sense that these started as "undead filler" and were placed after-the-fact. The format switches between two-column justified to single-colum with side-bars; it is a little disconcerting and probably detracts from the overall presentation.

There are six main chapters to the book, roughly of similar size. It starts with a history of the undead, followed by "dealing with the undead", then various game system mechanics, sample undead beings, sample characters, and finally undead campaigns. There is also a two page table of contents, a solid index, and recommended reading. The writing style is typical for GURPS products - a mixture of formal and informal, the occasional joke and semi-random use italics. It's not really to my personal taste, but it is not a disaster by any stretch of the imagination.

Facts, Theories, and Mechanics

The first two chapters can basically be described as 'facts and theories', with one chapter on each. The factual part is a historical and cultural overview of the undead, It starts of on a few tangential matters (funeral rites, eschatology) before delving into various cultural beliefs, covering in a rather sweeping manner the classical world, "eastern" beliefs, medieval approaches, the pre-Columbian Americas, and finally modern and cinematic approaches. Surprisingly included in its own section is various "trappings" of the undead; mummification, tombs, grave robbing, and so forth - even though these are very much culturally specific.

This approach continues in the second chapter. It starts with undead origins, giving an scatter-gun overview of cultural and fictional approaches, with a split between "the restless" (e.g., ghosts), "the willful" (e.g., vampires, liches), and "the enslaved (e.g., zombies). The same approach is taken to describe what their strengths and weaknesses are, and how does one put the damn things down.

The third chapter, "The Mechanics of Reanimation" is various theories of how the undead operate. That is, how do they come into being, what form do they take. The first section is essentially how to build your own undead by starting with a broad form-based template and adding in strengths and weaknesses after that. It is not, one must emphasise, as crunchy as a "GURPS Vehicles" for the undead, but it's sort of in the same principle – unlike that book there is more attention to providing examples of actual undead rather than just how to build them!

Phaemorea: A Classic Setting for Dungeons & Dragons

Adapted from Kieran Brannan and Ryllandra Rose's Phaemorea

http://www.phaemorea.com/

Phaemorea is a classic High Fantasy genre game world designed for the classic BEMCI Dungeons & Dragons rules, however it can easily be ported into any version of Dungeons & Dragons , or with a little more tinkering, any system that supports high fantasy. It is designed as a new entry level world for beginning players, as well as an alternative world for older players who want to experience D&D in a new way, without losing any of the charm of the old way. References will be made to 1991 edition of the D&D Rules Cyclopedia.

Why BECMI Dungeons & Dragons?

There is a misconception that Advanced Dungeons & Dragons is the advanced version of Dungeons & Dragons. However, D&D does have an easy-going loose system that is very easy for a new player to pick up. There are less numbers to worry about, less jargon and less confusing options. Basically, you can take a new player though level 1 character development in five minutes and have them ready to play. Once playing, the rules are amazingly easy to pick up.

BECMI D&D still has all the depth of AD&D and D&D3.0+, it's just that that depth is introduced more gradually. This allows a new player time to learn each new option as they advance their character. In short, AD&D and D&D3.0+ gives an information dump at level 1, while D&D is designed to level up the complexity as the character levels up.

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