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Quill: A Letter-Writing Roleplaying Game for a Single Player
by Jim L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/08/2018 04:39:33

This review is a summarised version. You may read the rest at Swords & Stationery.

Quill: A Letter-Writing Role-Playing Game is a gem that really surprised me. It's fun, but more importantly, it is an amazing tool for academic writing purposes, perfect for weaker writers and students with dyslexia. By itself, it's not perfect, but it's a genuine trove of ideas that mean well and work well. Plus, it's PWYW. Easily 5 stars from me.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Quill: A Letter-Writing Roleplaying Game for a Single Player
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Quill: A Letter-Writing Roleplaying Game for a Single Player
by Rafael C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/09/2018 05:49:17

This is an extremelly inovative game. When one hear about "solo RPGs", usually people are jsut talking about "Choose you adventure"-like titles. That's not the case here; Quill is really a solo RPG. I find really enjoyable creating a character with some backstory (usually a single paragraph), and aftwerwards, comming up with how the results of the letter changes this character. I believe that chaining stories while maintainign the same character would be really cool. I'm looking forward to do that soon.

All in all, Qull is a creative writing exercise, mixed with RPG. It's really enjoyable, and I intend to keep on playing it regularly onwards.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Quill: White Box
by Ovy O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/05/2018 19:20:52

Quill White Box

I think the word "Box" preceded by a color (white, red, blue or black) should be used in the role-playing world in the same way a dark mischievous and omnipotent demi-god's name should be used within his realm. That two-word combination, dangerously weighed down with hundreds of nostalgia coins, instantly transports us old-school gamers somewhere between the late 70's and the early 80's. In short if you name your game "White,Red,Blue, Black Box" you better be ready and willing to back it up- like pulling a sword from a stone. While many many old school systems fall far from this responsibility, "Quill White Box" by Scott Malthouse has not. While Quill took first person writing to the realm of medieval courtesy and etiquette, "Quill White box" supplements these rules for full fantasy gaming. In Quill you earn points for using words from a list called the ink pot, hopefully scoring points at the end of each paragraph. In Quill, various medieval scenarios are given as well as characters (like the monk and the courtesan) with class points in penmanship (how well your letter is perceived), language (how the character uses the words) and heart (the emotion the writer has placed in the letter). Going over the rules I couldn't wait to start writing a letter. I started by writing a letter to a grieving father about their son's body being found on or about my recedences and barely scored seven points, a neutral reception to my letter. Since then I have not dared try out the scenario where one writes to the King. Quill White Box takes these basic rules and trebuchets them into the realm of old-school fantasy. For those that have written under the hand of Quill rules, White Box is a true blessing, introducing gold rewards with marketplaces to spend your gold. Items in the marketplace such as King's Parchment, magic ingredients and holy water propel your letters to gracious reception by its fictional recipients. The key to Quill and its White Box is immersion. Almost like LARPing, the letter writing takes you as far as you take it. Being a die-hard dungeon crawler, I confess I crave a way of having a good old-fashioned dungeon-romp. But, since Quill and Quill White Box are heavily supported by its community on Google+, with members posting created scenarios, it's just a matter of time before someone creates a dungeon-crawl scenario to "play-write". When that happens, no doubt I will either post them here, or retreat into my cloisters, a reclusive monk writing letters to the imaginary characters. I can't say right now which one I would prefer.

Conclusion: "Quill White Box" is an old school supplement to the very successful solo writing rpg "Quill". With it, writer/players will take their letters from humble medieval beginnings to the darkest lands of sorcery, swords and magical items. Its simplicity relies on its rules while its depth relies on the player- thus it deserves the title of 'White Box'.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Quill: White Box
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Quill: White Box
by Tarcisio P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/29/2018 14:13:37

When Quill was released, I knew I was facing a very unique product. The game presented a totally different approach to what we were used to when it came to RPG, both exotic and, in its genius, quite simple. After all, it was a solitary experience where anyone could play and have fun. This "Quill White Box" unites two worlds that used to walk separated: a totally alternative and narrativist approach to a totally Old School footprint. The result was, once again, a brilliant product that captures the climate of adventure and exploration that we found in the first RPGs. For me, it's like uniting the best of all worlds: An approach focused on the story and development of it, a nostalgic mood and still the possibility to play whenever I want, however you want. Here we have the basic classes of the first editions: Fighters, Thieves, magic users, dwarves, elves ... each with its peculiarities translated into mechanics within the game in a very creative way. The way it is written also deserves attention; au In short, a RPG more than special, that all should know, such originality. For those who still don't know the game, it is simple to explain: you have to write a letter, with a very specific purpose, to a very specific recipient (we have many different scenarios and situations). You have 3 attributes, wich ones will be tested in order to achieve a specific score. The higher the score, the better will be the results of the message.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
In Darkest Warrens
by Sébastien G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/20/2018 09:50:28

Perfect game in a minimalist form of OSR gaming. Use only one 6 sided die give to the rules a smooth taste. I think it opened to campaign gaming. In my opinion, In Darkest Warrens taster better than Black Hack or Maze Rats and it's very thin with many possibilities.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
In Darkest Warrens
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Tequendria: Fantastical Roleplaying
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/24/2017 20:12:13

An excellent "little" (not that little at 78 pages) distillation of the RPG-worthy setting material extracted from the imaginary worlds of Lord Dunsay for those who find his works a little too heavy-going to read in such detail. Layout and editing is the only reason for 4 stars instead of 5, e.g. the selected stories at the back of the book are a little dense at this size - perhaps a 5.5 x 8.5 inch digest size would have been more appropriate. But when the cost is pay-what-you-want it's hard to quibble about such things, and http://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/4283/Trollish-Delver-Games continue to put out a lot of good material at that price.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tequendria: Fantastical Roleplaying
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In Darkest Warrens
by Heather S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/05/2017 19:01:50
So I picked up Scott Malthouse's “Darkest Warrens” kind of on a whim. I'm not going to lie, I liked the cover. I really like the “old school” look. I've never really looked into the “minimalist” games mostly because I didn't think they would be any fun. I was wrong. My sons and I played this today, character creation to adventure to done in an hour and a half. And we had a blast, six sided dice, army men and cowboy figures all over the table. So here is my review of this nifty little gem.

In Darkest Warrens is a whole three pages, including character sheet, five if the cover is printed: so it's not going to break the bank printing it out. Character generation is two entries totaling six paragraphs; assign attributes and choose a class. There are four attributes: Brawn, Nimble, Mind and Person. The player gets four numbers to assign: 5+, 4+, 4+ and 3+. Lower numbers are better, (we had to get used to that), because tests are a roll-over mechanic. For instance, if you want to notice something it is a Mind check, roll a d6 +/- modifiers and roll over the stat, so the 5+ stat will actually be the worst. Combat is just as simple, each player tests Nimble, successes act before the enemy, failures after. There are two actions; move and attack/other (draw weapon, cast spell, use item). Attacks are made by testing Brawn (melee) or Nimble (ranged) and each successful attack does one wound of damage. There are five classes in the main game, (others in the third supplement) Warrior, Rogue, Mage, Ranger and Barbarian. Each class has a certain number of wounds (hp) and each has one class ability. The Warrior for instance, can (once per combat), make a number of extra attacks equal to half class level rounded up. Spells are simple and quick. The Mage has three spells; Hold, Heal and Hex. Spells are cast by rolling a successful Mind Check and each spell can be cast once per combat. Characters can advance to sixth level each level with each level giving an additional hit. Treasure is randomly determined on a d6 table and there is a small bestiary listing creatures like Bugbears, Goblins and Iron Golems. Page two offers an item list for things like armor (+2 wounds) when worn and weapons (all weapons do one wound of damage). There are some advanced options for combat, like parry and two weapon fighting and a list of status effects. The main rule book also includes an introductory adventure, “The Cow of Boburn.” That's the game in a nutshell, two pages of fun. The great thing about this game is one can do pretty much anything to it and it won't break; you want to go higher than sixth level? Go ahead, you might have to use dice other than a six sider but that's easy enough. More monsters? Go ahead, extrapolate them from other games, we all do that anyway. This game is rare in the minimalist realm in that it hits that syzygy of playability, engagement and fun and does it well. This baby can be put in the old game bag and kept for those times when a gaming chance just happens to present itself. Also, it's my opinion that this game presents solid solo playability for those times when no one else wants to game, ( I hate that). Honestly I paid less than three bucks for all three books, there is no down-side to that. Give this game a shot, there won't be any regrets.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
In Darkest Warrens
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Quill: Shadow and Ink
by Gergely P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/30/2017 04:55:13

I really like Quill. It’s a perfect game to develop my writing skills, and to have some quality time.

On the other hand, I really like the Lovecraft universe. It’s shadowy enough for my taste, and is a very good example on good writing. Even though it’s pretty obvious it’s just fiction, it makes you wonder if there is truth underneath.

Combining the two made me re-read some HPL novels to get in the mood. I really couldn’t get into this bunch of letters without that, so I strongly suggest to read some beforehand; especially if you are not familiar with the setting.

After that, it was a perfect tribute to Lovecraft’s work. Even simply reading through the tasks was astonishing. I can only recommend it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Quill: Shadow and Ink
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In Darkest Warrens: Magnificent Artefacts
by John L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/24/2017 12:42:10

This is a useful supplement for a very easy to use, low-power game which I like working with. The artefacts are also low-power, which fits the structure of the game, and many of them are of practical use.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
In Darkest Warrens: Magnificent Artefacts
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Wired Neon Cities - Minimalist Cyberpunk Roleplaying
by Sophia B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/17/2017 05:06:18

Review at dieheart.net

WNC impresses with a fast character creation. It has iconic classes like Hacker, Mechanic, Gunner, and more. The classes feel unique and have their own gimmicks. For example, the Doc is the only one who can do a Surgical Action and heal 2 wounds. The Face can reroll tests related to personal interactions.

As a player, you might enjoy adding Augmentations to your character. These serve to distinguish your character further. And they add some advantages to your repertoire. E.g. a Derma Shield increases your wounds by 2 for 1d3 rounds once per combat.

WNC uses a simple d6 system. Each character has four attributes: Brawn, Nimble, Mind, and Person. You have an array of numbers you can distribute. It says what number you have to roll for a success. So, if you have Brawn 3+, you need to roll a 3 or more.

Combat runs smooth, too. WNC uses a round-based combat system with Initiative. Each successful attack deals one damage. There is no armor in the game.

You don't make an opposed test or roll against Armor Class. No, you either test your own Brawn (melee attacks) or Nimble (ranged attacks) score. So it is one roll with your attribute.

Characters have a number of Wounds. If characters are down to zero, they are out of combat. Non-Player Characters (NPCs) die. Some Augmentations can make you harder to hit, and some increase your Wound score.

Status Effects (prone, stunned, poisoned etc.) and combat options (Bull Rush, Parry etc.) make the combat system surprisingly versatile for a minimalist game.

The rules fit on 2 pages. The game can be a bit unclear at times because of the small word count.
Can I use a Surgical Kit (heals 2 wounds) without the Doc class? If I have the Doc class, do I need it to take a Surgical Action?
The Eagle Eye Augmentation gives you a +2 bonus. On what? Attack or damage? Probably attack. Luckily, the bonus only works once per combat. Otherwise, it would be too powerful.

Also, I would like to see more stuff. More items, weapons, hacker gear, Augmentations, drones, yadda yadda yadda. I hope that Scott puts out some supplements in the future.

Speaking of drones and hackers, the rules here work well. Mechanics can make drones (e.g. a Spy Drone or Gun Drone) by making a Mind test. I find it a bit redundant to have to roll for it. Players will likely want to try as long as they have the money and time for it. So the test only serves as resource management.

I like the mechanisms for Hacking. The Hacker needs to collect a number of successes to break into a system. For example, a complex network needs 3 successes. So, after 3 fast rolls, everyone knows the result. That means you don't have to spend hours for a mini-game with one player when he tries to hack something. And everyone else is bored. I'm looking at you, Shadowrun.

Game Mastering WNC is a breeze because the game is so easy. The rules for creating opponents are ingenious. NPCs just have one number they roll against for tests and combat, and may have special actions. But that's it! Example:

Juicer: Drugged-up psycho. 5+, 5 wounds, special action: Make a Test. If successful, Juicer regains 1 wound.

How does it get any better than that? I can create opponents on the fly. Stick some special gimmick on them to make them unique. Done.

Kudos for including an example setting. Glow City is a sprawling metropolis without government - ruled by three mega-corporations. This is more a teaser than a fully fleshed out setting. But it should be enough to get you started.

WNC uses a simple layout and good stock art that fits the theme. There are some minor typos. All in all, the game is easy to read and easy to understand.

Trollish Delver Games has already published several good lightweight games. This one doesn't disappoint either. And it is PWYW. If you like the rules, you can also get a Fantasy version and a sci-fi version (In Darkest Warrens and Astounding Interplanetary Adventures).

Final Thoughts:

  • WNC fits the bill of an ultra rules lite game with enough flesh to make it feel like cyberpunk.
  • The system is dead simple. The use of a single d6 makes it lightning fast. But it comes at the cost of having not a lot of room for subtle tones - modifiers have a strong impact. This is offset by the fact that many Augmentations only work once per combat. There is not much room for mechanical character development.
  • Please give me more gear, items, whathaveyou.
  • You can easily expand and mold the game to your needs. Steal some ideas from In Darkest Warren, for example.
  • WNC is a game that makes me want to play it. The rules fit together nicely and are wonderful in their simplicity. It would also be a good introductory system for beginners. No weird AC, grid based combat, and complex sub-systems.
  • I would like to see an open license for this game. That way, others could add to WNC, translate it etc.

Give it a shot.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wired Neon Cities - Minimalist Cyberpunk Roleplaying
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Wired Neon Cities - Minimalist Cyberpunk Roleplaying
by Jesse C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/06/2017 10:16:47

This is a review of Wired Neon Cities, by Scott Malhouse.

Wired Neon Cities is a rules ultra-lite 80’s cyber-punk game consisting of 6 pages, of which there are 3 pages of rules, 1 page character sheet, and a cover page and blank rear page.

Long Story Short: The game works and I would play this over Shadow Run or similar extremely complex traditional games. I also would play this rather than cyberpunk story games because I don’t like story games.

Here is a basic description of the mechanics. Roll over your stat number (3+ is best, 5+ is not so good) on d6 to hit/achieve success. Die modified by difficulty. 4-6 HP. +1 HP per level up. Several classes, each with different HP and one or two special abilities each.

The second page of rules is mostly equipment, augmentation, and NPC stats. The third page (not including character sheet) has the settings, which are pretty good considering it’s made on one page.

This game works because the classes and descriptions match well for the 80’s cyberpunk genre. It also works better than “full” games because cyberpunk games often get bogged down with too many equipment and special powers rules… Wired Neon Cities avoids that trap. There are just enough powers, equipment, augments, etc.

SIDENOTE: What is the difference between 80’s cyberpunk and modern cyberpunk? I think in the 80’s people had this concept that everyone would be either in an evil corporation or they would be punk-rockers. Now, we think everyone will be in evil corporations or we are slaves to Facebook. Or a completely uploaded personality. Or something.

There are a few things I would have done differently as a designer and there is one problem I see which I do not have a ready made fix for. I think there should be variance in weapon damage (ie. different damage for rifles, SMG, etc). I think people who like cyberpunk like the toys, so there should be a little more differentiation here. I think there should be a damage roll for combat, especially for guns. Maybe a roll over armor value, or a roll 1 = no damage , 2-5 = 1 , 6 = 2 damage. Right now the damage is a static 1 point per successful attack. This is made more bland because it ensures that on a one-on-one fight, it will take 4 successful attacks to take out an opponent… that’s often too much. There is plenty of design space to make that more interesting.

A more serious flaw I see is how hacking is done. Not that it is bad, but it will probably be done by the “hacker”. This is a problem that cyberpunk games often have. Unless hacking is something that should be done in every scene (something that could work in an Eclipse Phase setting), I’m afraid the hacker will have nothing to do.

Well… that’s it. I recommend Wired Neon Cities. It’s fun and simple and captures the essence of 80s cyberpunk genre. The game has room for improvement and is very hackable.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Astounding Interplanetary Adventures
by John L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/03/2017 19:16:31

I am a great fan of very simple games which enable creating a wide range of possible scenarios, and this is definitely one of them. In 6 pages it gives characrer creation and action rules, four major competing factions (two of them interplanetary governments, one the criminal underworld and the fourth an organization of good guys) and a set of briefly described worlds, with their native races, rulers and a number of monsters. There are mild touches of humor (there is a doglike race called Fidons) but it is perfectly possible to create serious scenarios from the materials provided. I have already created two, one in which an agent of the evil Dreadcon Empire is trying to subvert the Fidon government (whose planet poduces the vital element ultonium) and another in which an agent of the good Order of Planets is aiding the liberation movement of the insectoid Huuk against the Dreadcon general who has conquerd their planet. This system is easily worth the price of "pay what you want."



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Astounding Interplanetary Adventures
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In Darkest Warrens
by Ralph G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/23/2016 10:21:39

Nice layout, and would be great for beginners. A little scant on monsters and spells, to really get ther most out of the game you almost have to get the suppliments too. I'm thinking of using these rules for a free makeshift version of Hero Quest.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
In Darkest Warrens
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In Darkest Warrens: The Adventurer's Guide to Excavation and Plunder
by James V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/04/2016 14:03:42

This is a fun supplement for a wonderful minimalist game!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
In Darkest Warrens: The Adventurer's Guide to Excavation and Plunder
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Romance of the Perilous Land
by Hamish A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/10/2016 18:53:32

Introduction My god, I have never been so excited to read through a rulebook as much as I have been with Romance of the Perilous Land. Being British myself, British Folklore has always been something I've been fascinated by. As soon as I read the subheading saying it was a roleplaying game based on British folklore, I've never clicked the add to cart button so bloody fast!

Ruleset The rules are a perfect balance of simplistic and interesting. It's simple enough for me to sit down and play a campaign with my mum yet interesting enough to keep me and my friends hooked. If you have had experience with pretty much any tabletop ruleset, you will be able to DM without much hassle.

Classes I'm really pleased with the classes, they're not too extravagant so that they wouldn't fit the lore but they're also unique enough where you would be interested in playing each one. I still think there is room for more classes but it isn't something that is needed imminently, they would just be more material to work with. Each class fits a certain players playstyle:

There's a Knight class for the chivalrous warrior type player There's a Ranger class for the ranged preferred scouting type player There's the Thief class for the cunning, devious, backstabbing type player There's the Cunning Folk class for the magic wielding type player There's the Barbarian class for the heavy hitting, high damage type player And there's the Bard class for the charismatic and charming charmer type player

Each class gains the ability to increase attributes over their levels which means each character feels evenly powerful at higher levels. The Class Features are also diverse and interesting.

Character Backgrounds I would prefer for there to be a better mix of backgrounds, currently, there are 5. I feel like there aren't enough backgrounds for certain characters, It would be much better to have a background like 'Commoner' or 'Farmer' put into the mix for players wanting a different storyline or wanting their character to be normal.

Weapons, Armour and Items Even though there aren't as many weapons and items as, say, D&D. I think that because of the setting, it fits more. The limited amount of weapons fits because of the setting and time era. Personally, Only small adjustments needed to be made in this department, other than that, its good.

Playing the Game The actual gameplay is quite delightful. The combat is simple and easy to learn. Attribute tests are simple and generally all the rules fit into the 'easy to play' feel.

Magic Romance of the Perilous Land aims to give magic an extra special feel. Magic is supposed to be this rare and extraordinary thing that the common man could only dream of doing. Magic works on a point system, each spell requires a certain amount of points, very simple. The thing I like in particular is that the character can try to cast a spell above their level but with the risk of consequences, this feels really exciting to me because it means any cunning folk could attempt to pull off an amazing spell, if they have the points for it.

Bestiary All the beats featured in Romance of the Perilous Land come straight from British Folklore, as the title suggests. It's quite satisfying to see the creatures we read be translated into playable forms. I also like the way creatures are more scarce in the game, a whole campaign could be focused around finding one monster.

Conclusion I highly recommend this title to any fan of British Folklore, the Arthurian legend, or even the BBC series Merlin.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Romance of the Perilous Land
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