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J B Collins's page

11 posts. 4 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist.

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Captures the essence of pulp fantasy

****( )

I bought "Shadow, Sword & Spell" on a bit of a pay day whim, with no real intention of playing it (yes I'm one of those geeks who just likes reading different rules and settings) but have been really, really pleasantly surprised; so-much-so in fact, that I now fully intend giving it a go. The system is lite-ish; I’d probably go a bit lighter for a pulp setting but it manages to be pretty comprehensive whilst keeping things simple, which alone is no mean feat. What really shines out above all else with this product is a deep love of the genre, which it shamelessly plunders left, right and centre with joyous abandon. There’s super simplified echoes of early editions of Runequest in the character creation mixed with bat-winged tenticular horrors from between worlds, cities of thieves and strong sword arms for sale. Very good and alluring pulp fantasy.

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Well cool.

****( )

Totally brilliant. Gripping yet simple plot that is so atmospheric in its writing, I kept thinking about the journey north in 'The Island at the Top of the World' and the giant walrus in 'Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger', even though I haven't seen either film for over thirty years! It manages to capture the essence of both the Viking world and the epic journey into the desolate and unknown "further north" so well, that you can't help but feel like you're the heroes in a seventies adventure movie. Highly recommended.

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Great book but still disapointed.

***( )( )

Before I say why I found this was one of my most disappointing purchases for a long time, I'd like to say that this is a fantastic product; the changes to the rules that it introduces bring a breath of fresh air to 3.5, and more importantly, they are really, really, really cool.

My gripe? Well, gripes actually because there are two.

Firstly that the book addresses changes to 3.5 in such a way as to completely ignore all the brilliant work on Pathfinder. I think it’s pretty safe to say that most discerning gamers have moved from 3.5 to Pathfinder (3.75?) and appreciate the updated character classes presented there. This (brilliant) book also updates (and up-powers, it must be said) the character classes but to implement those changes into my Pathfinder campaign will require too much work. I, for one, buy a book where someone has already done the dirty work of play-testing for me and not to then slog my guts out adapting the rules to fit my game.

My second gripe involves Sorcerers. What has Mr Cook got against Sorcerers? They get a brief mention that says you don’t need them with the new rules, which is fine as far as 3.5 goes but in Pathfinder they are not only way cooler but also add a huge dollop of flavour to a character’s background. Again, Pathfinder is ignored, which is fine for those still playing 3.5 (if they exist) but I'm sure that they are few and far between these days.

So all in all a great book that I could have done with two years ago and if Monte adapts it to take the improvements already presented in the Pathfinder rules into account I’ll probably buy it again but for now it’s just a very good, idea provoking read on the shelf in my loo.

Substance over style.

****( )

This is a fantastic, atmospheric and thought provoking set of scenarios and encounters that will lead your players into tricks, traps and scraps in equal measure. If you have never played the slavers then have a look (it's only four bucks). Be prepared though; if you run them together it's likely you'll lose about half your party - players will die even if they plan well.

My only gripe? The art is shocking. The worst that I've ever seen. When this compilation was first released I didn't buy it because of the bad, bad art, even though my originals were battered and needed replacing. It is so bad, it distracts you when reading the adventures. It's from the 'if I take some photos of my mates then make them into pictures...' school of bad art. Buy it and you'll see.

Other than that, an absolutely brilliant, must have set of adventures.

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