Tracy

I love games, and I love to write about games. Hopefully when I write about games, you'll find something to like. I actively play Pathfinder and Savage Worlds, but am always willing to give something new a try. Follow me on Twitter, and check out my openly developed campaign setting for Pathfinder, Savage World, and Fate: Sand & Steam.

Nov 302011
 
TestyHeader

I’ve talked about Hero Lab from Lone Wolf Studios before, specifically, when I wrote a review of their dataset for Ultimate Magic. I liked the Ultimate Magic dataset, and without spoiling the rest of this review, I like the Ultimate Combat dataset. The data seems to be (mostly) there, and alternate rules seem to have been implemented well.

To test out the dataset properly, I made a quick character using all of the alternate rules from Ultimate Combat; piecemeal armor, armor as DR, wound/vitality points, and called shots (meaning the inclusion of called shot feats). To see how those thing have been implemented, take a look at Testy McTesterson, my 6th-level half-orc fighter:

As you can see, all of the extra functionality seems to be well-represented. Testy is carrying a lot of extra armor because I wanted to check and see if the piecemeal armor bit was working properly. It is, and it even calculates the total bonus correctly if you’re wearing a full set, but at least one armor piece, the Agile Plate Torso, was missing. No, the point of piecemeal armor is so you can mix-n-match from different armor sets, but for those that want to be able to build full armor sets this way, missing a torso piece is a big deal.

The longer I use Hero Lab, the more I like it, though I am finding myself building my character in the program, then transferring all the data to a regular pencil-n-paper character sheet. It might just be me, but checking a box, or choosing something from a drop-down menu doesn’t cement in my mind what an ability actually does. Writing it down helps me learn it. Still, Hero Lab continues to be a great resource for Pathfinder. I’m not sure my current character (Lv 19 Rog/Assassin) would be quite so easy to manage without Hero Lab.

The Ultimate Combat dataset is a nice addition to Hero Lab, if you like to content of the book. There are rough spots (I really wish there was a way to see a breakdown of where all bonuses come from for saves and armor, for example), and as always, the dataset doesn’t replace owning the book, or checking out the full descriptions in the SRD, but for character building, there’s nothing better. If you are interested in analyzing stats like this, online education classes may be of interest to you.

Full Disclosure: The Ultimate Combat dataset was provided to me for review purposes by Lone Wolf Development. I purchased my own copy of Hero Lab, however.

 

About Tracy

I love games, and I love to write about games. Hopefully when I write about games, you'll find something to like. I actively play Pathfinder and Savage Worlds, but am always willing to give something new a try. Follow me on Twitter, and check out my openly developed campaign setting for Pathfinder, Savage World, and Fate: Sand & Steam.

Nov 222011
 
PFO-Logo

The press release speaks for itself:

Paizo Licenses Pathfinder MMO Rights

Goblinworks to Produce Next-Generation Fantasy Sandbox MMO

November 21, 2011 (REDMOND, Wash.) – Paizo Publishing, LLC has licensed the MMORPG electronic gaming rights to its smash-hit Pathfinder Roleplaying Game intellectual property to Goblinworks, a Redmond, Washington game developer and publisher that will create Pathfinder Online, a next-generation fantasy sandbox massively multiplayer online game. Founded by Paizo co-owner Lisa Stevens (Pathfinder RPG, Vampire: The Masquerade, Magic: The Gathering), game industry veteran Ryan S. Dancey (Dungeons & Dragons Third Edition, EVE Online), and experienced MMO developer Mark Kalmes (Microsoft, Cryptic Studios, CCP), Goblinworks is an independent company that will work with Paizo Publishing to bring the award-winning world and adventures of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game to the online gaming market. The process has only just begun, and there is plenty of opportunity for gamers to get in on the ground floor of this exciting new project. Paizo and Goblinworks are committed to soliciting player feedback about the Pathfinder Online project, and more information can be found at goblinworks.com.
Pathfinder Online will cast players as heroes in a unique online fantasy world filled with sword & sorcery adventures and kingdoms inhabited and controlled by thousands of competing players. Players can explore, develop, adventure, and dominate by playing fighters, rogues, clerics, or any of Pathfinder’s many character classes, or they can go beyond the standard options to create nearly any type of character imaginable. Find lairs, ruins, and caverns filled with monstrous creatures and incredible treasure. Build glittering cities of castles and bustling markets. Take to the battlefield with vast armies to seize and hold territory. Players change the world and create new stories as they compete for resources, land, and military might. The possibilities are endless.
“I’ve been hoping for a chance to work with Lisa and the Paizo team on a Pathfinder project for years, and now that we’re joining forces to produce Pathfinder Online, I couldn’t be happier or more excited,” said Goblinworks CEO Ryan S. Dancey. “My goal is to bring the high-quality experience Paizo has delivered for Pathfinder to the MMO platform, and to give players another fantastic way to experience the world of Golarion.”

Learn more about Pathfinder Online at goblinworks.com.

ABOUT PAIZO PUBLISHING

Paizo Publishing®, LLC is a leading publisher of fantasy roleplaying games, accessories, board games, and novels. Paizo’s Pathfinder® Roleplaying Game, the result of the largest open playtest in the history of tabletop gaming, is currently the best-selling tabletop roleplaying game in hobby stores. Pathfinder Adventure Path is the most popular and best-selling monthly product in the tabletop RPG industry. Paizo.com is the leading online hobby retail store, offering tens of thousands of products from a variety of publishers to customers all over the world. In the nine years since its founding, Paizo Publishing has received more than 50 major awards and has grown to become one of the most influential companies in the hobby games industry.

ABOUT GOBLINWORKS
Goblinworks is the developer and publisher of Pathfinder Online, a next-generation fantasy sandbox MMO. The company is located in the Seattle suburb of Redmond. It was founded in 2011 by a dedicated group of creative professionals with backgrounds in tabletop hobby gaming and online videogame development. Goblinworks is dedicated to creating a fun, immersive online gaming experience for the fantasy roleplaying enthusiast. Its goal is to deliver the best sword & sorcery massively multiplayer game on the market by starting with a carefully designed core of features and iterating on the content continuously after launch, with the input and feedback of the player community.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

No word on release date, format, pricing, or anything else along those lines. I’m sure that more information will be forthcoming. My hope is that they make a good game, and do so along the free-to-play lines, rather than a monthly subscription. There’s only one fantasy MMO who can get away with monthly fees, and its name is WoW.

About Tracy

I love games, and I love to write about games. Hopefully when I write about games, you'll find something to like. I actively play Pathfinder and Savage Worlds, but am always willing to give something new a try. Follow me on Twitter, and check out my openly developed campaign setting for Pathfinder, Savage World, and Fate: Sand & Steam.

Nov 172011
 
Screen

I’ve been in something of a daze since about 12:01am early Friday morning. You see, that’s when Steam let me play The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I usually write about tabletop RPGs here on TitC, but my interests are varied, and a good computer role-playing game can get its hooks into me easily if I let it. Suffice it to say, Skyrim has its hooks in me, and it has them in deep. Skyrim is, quite possibly, the best video game I have ever played. And, for me, that’s saying a lot.

To give that “best ever” statement some context, I have to give you some history. I discovered computer role-playing games when Icewind Dale came out in 2000. One of my roommates at the time had purchased it, and I spent hours watching him play it, then hours playing it myself on his computer. From there, I discovered Baldur’s Gate, and Baldur’s Gate II. The original Baldur’s Gate got its hook into me. A combination of great story, great gameplay, and the ability to master the system (to game the game, if you will), won me over. I’ve played BG1 more than any other game that I can think of, to date. It held the crown for best game I have ever played.

In 2006, when Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion came out, it was again roommates that saw me get sucked in. I had looked at no media about the game, but both of my roommates were going nuts for it. On their suggestion alone, I bought it. Much like BG1, the combination of story (often a story I made up, since the world was so open), gameplay, and game mastery pulled me in. To date, I have put in somewhere well over the 300 hours mark into Oblivion. Suffice it to say that when Skyrim was announced, I was a bit giddy.

Friday, during the afternoon, I went to my friend’s apartment, the same apartment in which I played Oblivion for the first time, and played Skyrim for hours. Other friends were over as well, and we all did the same: played Skyrim. We did the same on Saturday, and the same on Sunday. Since then, I have found as much time as I reasonably could to play the game. It has its hooks into me, deeper than any game ever has before. Why? What makes Skyrim such a great game for me?

Continue reading »

About Tracy

I love games, and I love to write about games. Hopefully when I write about games, you'll find something to like. I actively play Pathfinder and Savage Worlds, but am always willing to give something new a try. Follow me on Twitter, and check out my openly developed campaign setting for Pathfinder, Savage World, and Fate: Sand & Steam.

Nov 032011
 
shooters

When I was walking the show floor at the Origins Game Fair this past June, I happened across an interesting booth. Green felt, which always means cards or dice, lined the surface of one of the tables, and upon said green felt was a product called Square Shooters. The name struck me as a bit odd, but I checked it out. Turns out, it was a good idea for to have done so.

Square Shooters is a dice game. The faces of the dice, however, don’t have numbers or pips on them. They instead have all of the cards that one would find in a standard deck of playing cards. Ace of Spades all the way down to the Two of Clubs, plus two Jokers. What’s unique about this set of dice is that you can roll any Poker hand possible, as well as forming any of the needed hands for games like Rummy.

The standard game that comes with Square Shooters involves drawing a card, and then using no more than three rolls to attain whatever hands of cards is indicated. If you get the hand exactly, you get the full allotment of poker chips. If you get the right numbers or face cards, but not the right suit, then you get half the chips indicated. It’s a simple game to pick up and play.

What really got my mind whirring was the possibilities for tabletop RPGs. In a game like Deadlands: Reloaded, for example, initiative if handled using a deck of cards, as are some class abilities, such as Hucksters dealing for power points. It might be a neat experiment to see if Square Shooters would work for such an application. There would likely be less of a wide deviation in the “cards” that are dealt, as every time one face on the die is showing, there are five others that are not available. As well, with there only being nine dice, the odds of a Joker coming up seem far more likely than if you were dealing from a deck of cards. That said, dice are a more common item to find on a gaming table than cards, so maybe there’s something there.

The product itself is good quality, with well-made dice. The deluxe product, the one featured in the picture, comes with not just the dice, and the standard game, but also a throwing cup, and oddly, a deck of cards. I’m not entirely sure why a deck of cards on dice also comes with a standard deck of cards, but this one does.

The best part of the product is that the deluxe set is only around $18 on the company’s website. A set of dice by themselves is only $5. If you want more info, check it out.

Final Verdict: If you want an alternative to a regular deck of cards, or just a fund game to play while you’re waiting for your regular game to start, give Square Shooters a look. 5 out of 5 stars.

About Tracy

I love games, and I love to write about games. Hopefully when I write about games, you'll find something to like. I actively play Pathfinder and Savage Worlds, but am always willing to give something new a try. Follow me on Twitter, and check out my openly developed campaign setting for Pathfinder, Savage World, and Fate: Sand & Steam.

Sep 292011
 

Image Source

It’s been a while (too long) since I’ve found the time to post in my usual Thursday morning spot. What made me carve out some time today was an odd thought that occurred to me recently. I’ve been putting in a lot of work on my multi-system campaign setting, Sand & Steam. Due to a promise made to a friend, I’ve been concentrating most of my recent work on Fate. You see, I have a Fate Sand & Steam adventure to run at DC Gameday in a little over a week. I have only little experience with Fate, but since it is one of the systems I’m going to use for Sand & Steam, I figured that things would work out.

Things are, indeed, working out. My odd thought happened as I was exploring the Fate mechanics in more detail. It occurred to me that I have been running Fate for quite a long time without having even known it. And I’ve never run a game of Fate before in my life.

Let me explain.

One of the hallmarks of the Fate system is the collaboration between the players and the GM. In fact, there is a nearly 50/50 split between the players and the GM when it comes to who has narrative control. Through the use of Aspects, players can define things about the game world, or the narrative, that were not true before they made their declaration. I think this is awesome, and it is something that I have been doing with my Pathfinder group for as long as we have been together. I’ve told them numerous times, “If you make something up in the world, I’ll use it and run with it. This is as much your game as it is mine.” That’s an idea that is codified and built right into Fate.

My use of skills is also very Fate-like. Ever since I played D&D 4e, I have liked skill challenges. However, I do not like the rigid structure that has there being key skills that can only be used so many times, and higher DCs for skills that may not apply. What I like to do with skill challenges is have the players pick whatever skills they want to, and justify to me how that skill is applicable. Some are obvious, others are not, depending on the situation, and the results are often awesome. I ran a skill challenge in a Pathfinder Sand & Steam game at GenCon which involved the PCs avoiding a beating by some thugs during a theatrical production in a fancy opera house. It was great. We had PCs swinging from chandeliers, we had PCs bluffing with their combat skill, and generally playing to the crowd for support in the fight. It was one of the best skill challenges I have ever run.

All this is to say: be aware of what system you are really running. Not that you need to stick to the rules as written explicity (gods know I don’t), but if you take the time to examine other rules systems, you might find actual, codified rules that support the way you already run your game. Now that I have firm examples from reading and working with Fate, I have a better idea of how to keep doing what I’ve been doing with players having narrative control, or malleable options in skill challenges. Every GM tweaks the rules to suit their style, but that tweaking shouldn’t be done in a vacuum. Do some reading and see what else is out there. You might find that the game you run is not the game you think it is. And that’s a good thing.

About Tracy

I love games, and I love to write about games. Hopefully when I write about games, you'll find something to like. I actively play Pathfinder and Savage Worlds, but am always willing to give something new a try. Follow me on Twitter, and check out my openly developed campaign setting for Pathfinder, Savage World, and Fate: Sand & Steam.

Sep 152011
 

My history with D&D 4th Edition has been a rocky one. When 4e first came out, I began a campaign with a bunch of old friends. We played fro about four months before the burden of GMing—which was, sadly, a burden at the time—became too much for me. I transitioned to being a player in the same group. It wasn’t long before I had a falling out with a member of that gaming group, and subsequently, left, ending up gameless for another six months or so. The problem was that I conflated D&D 4e with the troubles I had with that person, and began to intensely dislike it. I talked about all of that, as well as my reconciliation with D&D 4e in this post.

Both I and D&D 4e have come a long way since those days. I have matured, and so has the product. When I went to GenCon this year, I talked with some folks from Wizards of the Coast, and I was excited to hear about what they were doing with their (then) upcoming campaign setting, Neverwinter. I got myself on to their review list, and received my copy of the Neverwinter Campaign Setting a few weeks ago. I’ve been giving it a once-over, and I am liking what I am seeing. As this is the first 4e D&D product that I have actively looked at since the Adventurer’s Vault came out, I am going to look at this product both as what it is—obviously—as well as what it does as a representation of where 4e products have come. (Hint: they have come a long way).

When I take a look back at the three original core books for D&D 4e, I see what amounts to some unpolished work. And I mean that in a very specific way. It’s not that the books were not put together well, or that the information contained within them was unfinished, but they seemed to be lacking a support structure. The “Points of Light” campaign setting ideal was one that I really liked the idea of, however, the traditional Greyhawk underpinnings felt like they were forced to work with the racial changes—Dragonborn, Eladrin and Teiflings. It never completely meshed for me.

Now, I realize that WotC updated the Forgotten Realms, Dark Sun and Eberron to reflect these changes, and they succeeded to one degree or another. I am not familiar with those products, so I can’t comment on how successful they were. From what I have heard about them, the Neverwinter Campaign Setting is a refinement of the  presentation of the original settings.

What’s Different?

The biggest thing that I can see if the introduction of the Themes, which I understand were introduced in Dark Sun. They really give a DM a hook to hang their hat on in terms of campaign planning. The city of Neverwinter and the surrounding areas are full of plot hooks, great detail, and a lot of interesting directions in which a campaign could go. As well, the presentation of that information is spot-on. The book is very easy to follow, in contrast to what I thought were some relatively cludgy layout choices in original Core books. The art is also uniformly good, and since I am new to the book, it is all new to me. I have heard that some of it is reused from other products, and if I knew the books fr0m which they came, it would bother me a bit. I realize art is expensive, but it always rankled that the 4e Core Books reused art from 3rd Edition, especially the Monster Manual.

As well, the Neverwinter Campaign Setting caps out at 10th level, or the end of Heroic Tier. I think this is a great idea, as it provides a much-needed sense of scale to both the setting as presented, and the Forgotten Realms in general. I love Faerun, but many people have this sense that there are so many super-powerful people running around that those people should fix all of the problems, not their characters.

What’s the Same?

Well, furor over Essentials aside, this book looks like a 4e book. I know that there have been errata changes out the yin-yang, but I feel like I could use this book with my Core books with little issue. That thought might stem from my naivete, and my lack of a regular 4e game, but it feels right as I look at the books in comparison. This is still 4e, even though it has been updated and tweaked. I like it.

Final Thoughts

If you’ve been looking for a place to set an upcoming 4e game, I really recommend this. I love all of the setting detail, and the improvements in presentation that I see from the Core books to this book. Also, capping things at Heroic tier makes this game much more manageable, which I enjoy as a DM.

Before I give my final score, I realize that it might be unfair to compare what is essentially a settingless trio of books to a fully developed campaign setting that has the benefit of a few good years of development. In fact, they’re not even really the same thing. I get that. However, I have not actively worked with a 4e product since the end of the campaign I mentioned above, so for me, the comparison was necessary, as I had to see for myself how far the D&D 4e product line had come.

Final Verdict: 4.75 out of 5 stars. I love the setting, I love the presentation, and I recommend you check this out.

About Tracy

I love games, and I love to write about games. Hopefully when I write about games, you'll find something to like. I actively play Pathfinder and Savage Worlds, but am always willing to give something new a try. Follow me on Twitter, and check out my openly developed campaign setting for Pathfinder, Savage World, and Fate: Sand & Steam.

Sep 012011
 

The noise is loud, nearly deafening. It’s not surprising, really. What else would you expect from a division of of Engels walking across the ruins of a city? The giants mechs make more noise than you and the rest of your murder, that’s for sure. Part of your is a little weirded out by the man/machine monstrosities as they walk by. Sure, you’re bonded to an extra-dimensional being from beyond time and space, but at least you committed to your choice. Engel pilots, they get to unjack whenever they’re not on-mission. Seems too… impermanent.

Your musing are interrupted as static busts into your ear. The sound quickly resolves. “Alpha Pack, your target has been spotted. Coordinates are being transmitted.” A pause. “Looks like a testing facility of some kind left behind by the EOD. Good luck.” A testing facility. That would mean anything. With a sigh and a glance at the Engles hunting for bigger prey, you shift, your human form melting away, replaced by a being of terrible power. You stretch your wings, relishing the freedom. “Bloodflight is go.” It is time to hunt.

Usually when you look at RPGs, you find that a game sticks to a specific genre. You’ll have a fantasy game, or a sci-fi game, or maybe steampunk, which has now become a genre in its own right. Sometimes you get mash-ups that seem on the surface to not work (like the samurai steampunk of Iron Dynasty), but that turn out to be awesome. Cthulhutech is of that last group. Set in a world shattered by various forces of the Cthulhu mythos, Cthulhutech lets you pilot a mech, or be a shape-shifting holy warrior, or a regular member of the military, just trying to survive. All of it works well together, which is the biggest surprise. It’s a very pleasant surprise.

If you look at the title of this review, you will see the words “Book Review” are suspiciously absent. That’s because I actually had a chance to play Cthulhutech at Origins 2010. In fact, it was the first game that I had ever had a chance to lay that didn’t involve a d20, so it has a special place in my heart. What you will find with Cthulhutech is a flexible game that provides you with any number of different possible stories to tell.

The main portions of Cthulhutech are two that I already mentioned: mechs and monsters. This is Earth after two invasions (one ongoing) from the Migou of Pluto. The Esoteric Order of Dagon, The Children of Chaos, and The Disciples of the Unnamable (Cthulhu, Nyarlathotep, and Hastur’s cults, respectively) are all working their agendas, and then only thing that is keeping the world from burning (or drowning, or dissolving into a murderous frenzy) is the military of the New Earth Government, with help from the Engel Project and the Eldritch Society, of course.

All three of those factions are available for you to swear allegiance to, and the faction that you call your own helps define who your character will be. NEG or Engle Project members might be scientists or arcanotechnicians, or (more likely), they might be mech pilots. Engel Project members might even pilot the half-biological, half-machine Engel mech. If you are a member of the Eldritch Society, you might serve any number of functions within the group. More likely (because it’s awesome), you will be a Tager, a human who is mystically bonded to an extra-dimensional power.

All of the above options only scratch the surface of what is a really cool set of ideas for a game. The question is, how does it play?

The mechanics for the game use a dice pool (all d10s), where instead of counting successes, you’re really playing a variant of poker dice. You’re looking for matching numbers, or a string of sequential numbers. You can call in all kinds of abilities and attributes to try and increase your dice pool (the more dice, the better, right?). As well, you or your party members can spend Drama Points to change dice, or add dice to your pool. Drama Points let you affect the outcome of attacks, help someone’s dice pool, or make other cool stuff happen in the game. The neat thing about Drama Points is that they can be spent by any player, on behalf of themselves or any other player, at any point in time. You don’t have to be in the same part of a scene. That helps keep everyone at the table involved in the events of a scene, even if the in-game party is actually separated.

When I played at Origins, I had a good time. The system was a bit confusing to me, and if I were going to run it or play it again, I would have to take some time to get comfortable with it. I did not play a mech pilot, so I can’t speak to how well that portion of the game works. The Tagers were fun and very capable, though.

Overall, I love the concept of this game. The mixing of the styles, and the manner in which the information is presented in the beautiful book, works really well. There is some weirdness for me in the system, and I really think it could be made less complex, and still retain the awesome feel and flavor that Cthulhutech has.

Final Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars. Great-looking book, amazing content, hampered by an overly complex system. Definitely check it out. Cthulhutech is published by Wildfire, and was written by Matthew Grau and Fraser McKay.

About Tracy

I love games, and I love to write about games. Hopefully when I write about games, you'll find something to like. I actively play Pathfinder and Savage Worlds, but am always willing to give something new a try. Follow me on Twitter, and check out my openly developed campaign setting for Pathfinder, Savage World, and Fate: Sand & Steam.

Aug 252011
 

EDIT: We have our free PDF winners! Congratulations to Malcom and Will!  I’ve already sent you the code for a free download.  -Ben

The large shapes crashes through the countryside, a fiendish combination of metal and bamboo. It is a kikai, a machine built for one purpose: to destroy all that its pilot wishes to see destroyed. Your hand tightens on the hilt of your katana. You spring forward.

 A few well-timed leaps send you up the back of the monstrosity. The creation pitches and bucks below you, the pilot attempting to dislodge you. You will not be denied. The moonlight flashes off your blade as it plunges through bamboo, past metal, and into the neck of the pilot. A spray of blood covers the cockpit. As the kikai falls, a smile crosses your lips.

Pain rips through you…

Your companions find your cold form the next morning, broken beneath the wreckage of the kikai. As one, they salute you, and being the funerary rights. Though your spirit has passed, your sacrifice was not in vain. One less kikai in the world means more lives saved.

If the above text intrigued you, then Iron Dynasty: Way of the Ronin is a game that you seriously need to check out. Reality Blurs went out of its way to create a full, vibrant setting in which some awesome samurai/gun/mech action can happen, all using Savage Worlds. Full disclosure, this review is being written based on a PDF copy of the book that I received for review purposes.

When I first heard about Iron Dynasty, back at GenCon 2010, I was intrigued. I mean, the idea of Samurai Steampunk just sounded cool. When I had a chance to look at the book, I was sold. The game is set in the Bright Empire, an empire divided. The classic trope of twin brothers divided due to inheritance issues is used very well as the basis of the conflic that lies at the center of this game.

The short version of the story is that Karasu, the brother denied the inheritance, was exiled. In exile, he grew to rule another kingdom, but never forgot what he truly believed to be his. He traveled back to his homeland and struck a deal with the Oni-Kaji, created the Ikusa Kikai, and took back the kingdom that was rightfully his. This was the beginning of the Iron Dynasty. (As an aside, if you liked my abbreviated version of the events, you should read the history at the beginning of the book).

With the attack on the kikai, the world changed. Technology was introduced into a sword-bearing society, and it is in that world, a world of conflict between old and new, that the game sessions take place. Any walk of life that you can think of in a feudal Japan-type setting is available as a character background, from Warrior to Craftsman, from Engineer, to Peasant. Some areas hold tightly to the old ways, with castes and firm hierarchies of rank. Other areas have embraced the change that guns and technology bring, realizing that might can make right, and that the efforts of an individual can change their station in life.

The rules do a good job of supporting all of these ideas as well. New Background Edges let you express your heritage and outlook on life well. And, as you might imagine, the Combat, Ki Power, Professional, and Social Edges do a good job of helping you continue to mechanically express your character as you level up. Savage Worlds has a lot going for it as a generic system, but it often needs good tweaks to make a given setting feel original and differentiated from other Savage Settings. Iron Dynasty does a very good job at this.

Similarly, the setting information is rich, allowing for a variety of stories to be told therein. The thing that is true throughout is that the stories will be of a certain type, usually. If you’re not looking for a samurai movie, with amped up blood spatter and a dash of anime, then you’d be better off not looking at Iron Dynasty.

Reading the book is a pleasure, at least in the PDF. I assume that the good layout and good font choices would hold up in a print version as well.

Overall, this is a Savage Setting that I can completely recommend, if you’re looking for this kind of setting in which to game. This is the kind of setting that scratches a particular itch, and if you’re not looking to have that itch scrated, then move on to something else. If, however, you want to find out what it’s like to face down a 15 foot tall bamboo mech, with nothing but a sword and your wits, then this is the game for you.

Final Verdict: 4.5 out of 5 stars. High marks, all around. Iron Dynasty is published by Reality Blurs and was written by Sean Preston.

About Tracy

I love games, and I love to write about games. Hopefully when I write about games, you'll find something to like. I actively play Pathfinder and Savage Worlds, but am always willing to give something new a try. Follow me on Twitter, and check out my openly developed campaign setting for Pathfinder, Savage World, and Fate: Sand & Steam.