Pretty Darn Fun (A look at new PDFs)

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    Pretty Darn Fun (A look at new PDFs)

    There are usually nearly 300 new PDF offerings per week. How do I pick the ones to highlight here? I wish I could tell you that I only select the PDFs that pay me a minimum of $1000 each, but thatís not the case. My criteria are a bit more subjectiveÖ

    -Variety of game systems. Sometimes there might be a bunch of good stuff for one system from a variety of publishers, but since I only have so much space I prefer to showcase a broad selection. If I only showcase Pathfinder and you donít like Pathfinder then I have lost you as a reader. Hopefully, I will let you know about a game system product you do like. One thing Iíve learned is that RPG gamers are a diverse group of people and I think this series should reflect that. Also in this regard, this means that there will be game systems I donít personally play, but that I will put up anyway.

    -Variety of publishers. Sometimes a publisher will release a bunch of stuff all in the same week. Even if they are good material I prefer to only show one or two of their products. Different publishers bring different approaches, even to the same game system. It also means Iíll mention a PDF from a publisher or game system Iíve never heard of before. Again, itís that diversity thing.

    -Useful. Is the product going to be useful at the gaming table? If the answer is no, then Iíll avoid it, unlessÖ

    -Interesting and Unique. Sometimes I will break my Useful rule if a product does something different. In the past Iíve highlighted books about the industry. These sorts of books canít be used at the table but they still might be of interest. Also, there are game systems/adventures/splatbooks that give us a new twist on the usual or just look too interesting to pass up even if Iíve never seen the system before. PDFs allow us to take a risk on the unusual without going broke.

    -I like it. Truth to tell, Iíll put something up here that I like personally, even if I know most everyone else has no idea what game system its from.

    Sometimes, Iíll miss a good PDF during a week, so there is always an open invitation for anyone to make a comment about a PDF they saw come out in the previous week. Iíll have some upcoming comments on what turns me off from picking a PDF in a future article. But now, onto my choices for the weekÖ

    Solar Echoes
    To start off with we have a full sci-fi rpg. Actually, it is billed as a Tactical Teamplay RPG. The focus is on a streamlined, fast system of rules that promotes group decisions and tactics. This focus on teamwork extends to all of the game systems such as combat, ship combat, chases, hacking and social encounters. The game is broken into two books the Playerís Guide and Mission Controllerís Guide. Between the two books it looks like a complete game. They do, however, seem a bit pricey, running $35 and $30 each, but they might be worth it.

    Castles & Crusades The Giantís Wrath
    I like to see content for smaller systems that are still worthy of note. This is an adventure for Castles & Crusades, a rules-lite fantasy rpg that has a significant following. This adventure looks like one that touches on Celtic myths which often allow for deep role-playing. The adventure is for levels 3-8.

    CHALLENGE Magazine No. 46
    PDFs allow us to look at another time in rpg history. This offering does exactly that. The CHALLENGE Magazine was published by the GDW game company from 1986-1994. It focused on rpgs and offered up supplemental information for a variety of systems. This one is from 1990 and gave us stuff for Twilight: 2000, Traveller, Star Trek, Shadowrun, Paranoia and other games. If you still play any of those games there may be something for you to use, or you can just take a stroll down the rpg memory lane and see what it was like ďback thenĒ.

    I love setting books, especially ones that sounds intriguing. This one is for Pathfinder and details a world that lost its history on one fateful day. Since then the nations have rebuilt as best they could and have reached a Renaissance/Colonial level of society; I like this because it means the setting is something a bit different than the typical medieval era. It also is designed to be low-magic and is maxed out at level 10 for the player characters, thus keeping things gritty. Campaign worlds with mysteries bound into the setting is always a lot of fun to explore and this one looks very interesting. This bundle set includes the Playerís Guide and Game Masterís Guide and an Introduction to Shadowglade. If you want to check out the setting before buying, you can get the Introduction for free.

    Deadlands Reloaded: Ghost Towns
    I like products with more than one use. This supplement for Savage Worlds Deadlands provides seven towns complete with descriptions, relevant NPCs and plots. Included is a random generating system for creating your own towns. This is one of those products that can be used in other game systems. Immediately, Aces & Eights comes to mind, along with other games based in a Western setting, but by simply replacing Western tropes with fantasy versions, this supplement would useful for any campaign.

    2012 Catalog of Palladium Books
    While not an rpg book, this is still of use for those who like Palladium rpgs. It is in full cover and shows all the rpg material Palladium has put out and is scheduled to put out this year. Missed a book? Now you can see what you missed and put an order in. See something that looks cool? Now you can put an order in. This sort of publication is great, especially since itís a free catalog.

    Ultimate Mass Battle Guide
    One of the best parts of the Savage Worlds rule system is the ease of switching between individual combat and group/army combat. This product promises to add more facets and options to the systemís mass combat rules. It includes more details on troop abilities, info on character impact on battles and more character options that focus on the battlefield. If you are the sort of person who likes this level of additional options, this may be of interest to you.

    The Modern Grimoire
    Using magic in a modern day setting involves more than simply porting over the rule set from the fantasy version of your favorite rule set. This d20/Pathfinder compatible supplement works at detailing new spells for a modern setting that fit best into that style. It also includes a section on how to alter the way magic works so you can better customize your setting. Running 51 pages it looks like they have a bunch of good ideas.

    Classes and Races: Dinosaurs
    Magic wielding dinosaurs! This supplement for Pathfinder gives us 2 dinosaur races, a new class based on dinosaur pack tactics, and cleric and sorcerer abilities for dinosaurs. A must-have for any campaign! Another nice thing about PDFs is that they allow for the gonzo. The chance of this product would ever see the light of day before the onset of the PDF market is slim to none, but now there is an outlet for such material. And for those gamers who like the unusual, this is perfect for them.

    Spotlight: Most Interesting PDF of the Week

    Hero Kids
    There has been a lot of buzz around the internet for some time now about creating an rpg designed specifically for children (and there are a few out there). This is a sleek rendition targeted at kids aged from 4 to 10 as a means to introduce them to rpgs. It aims to provide a math-lite system that is fast but engaging. This offering is actually a bundle set which includes the base rule set and four adventures.

    Hero Kids is a fantasy RPG for kids aged from 4 to 10. This game offers a fast and fun introduction to RPGs, perfect for younger kids who are just getting interested in role-playing games.

    • Develop your kids' imagination and skills
    • Simple mechanics using only six-sided dice
    • Beautiful presentation, with fully illustrated heroes, monsters, and maps
    • 10 heroes, including boys and girls
    • Challenge kids with combat and exploration
    • Playtime from 30-60 minutes
    • Includes a full adventure: Basement O Rats
    • More adventures available now
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