Sunday, May 12, 2013

Thistle Games - RPG Hand Book Review And Commentary

RPG Handbook - Getting Started
Thistle Games has been offering some interesting products lately and the Rpg Hand book is system neutral and harkens back to an earlier era of gaming. Alright who I'm I kidding this is a massive book that covers every facet of rpging the author could get between the covers.
The discription really says it all and its alot of all here. From DriveThruRpg: 
UPDATE - A bundle including an Artpack and a copy of Renegade ~ Corruption has been added on 11/5/13. For the same $1.99! Pop over to the Thistle Games page on DriveThru to grab the extras. You can take a look at Thistle Games right over HERE
UPDATE - A full colour version has just been added on 30/4/13 :)
The RPG Handbook is a system-free guide to playing tabletop roleplaying games (RPGs). The RPG Handbook looks at:
  1. Inviting new players to try out tabletop RPGs.
  2. Getting kids involved in trying out imaginative games.
  3. Emphasizing deeper character development.
  4. Making it easy to run and vary solo and team RPG gameplay.
  5. Turning players into GMs - and GMs into games designers.
  6. Offering GMs the means to rapidly create custom campaigns.
  7. Building more player choice into adventures and campaigns.
* - Please note the hardback comes with the black cover and gold lettering shown on the website.
Including: RPG Handbook ~ Sovereignty files
The Sovereignty file delivers the adventure builder and world builder chapters of the RPG Handbook as editable wordprocessor files. The styling, lists and tables can be combined for a fast route to building very presentable RPG content - the .doc files I wished I'd had as teenage GM. The files also work in Openoffice and Libreoffice.
Options include:
  1. Creating completely custom RPG adventures/ scenarios.
  2. Structuring RPG campaign settings.
  3. Preparing campaign gazetteers.
  4. Devising random or partly random encounter tables.
  5. Designing solo RPG gameplay to suit your RPG of choice.
  6. Developing custom solo RPG gameplay.
  7. Constructing fantasy boardgames.
Introduction p8
Part 1: Roleplaying Games
What are Tabletop Roleplaying Games? p10
Playing Tabletop RPGs p10
The Basics p10
Dice p11
Adventurers aka Player Characters aka PCs p11
Styles of Play p12
Options and Opportunities for Kids p13
Roleplaying Game Fun: Kids p15
Roleplaying Game Fun: Older Kids p18
Roleplaying Game Fun: Young Adults p21
RPGs for Kids and Big Kids p25
Part 2: Getting Started
Roleplaying Games p31
Roleplaying Game Genres p33
Roleplaying Game Props p34
Finding a Game p38
Actual Plays p40
Seven Times the Color of Fire p40
Frankincense p45
Organizing a Game p52
Setting Up a Game p53
Supporting New Players p55
Settling Outcomes p56
Part 3: Colorful Characters
Fleshing Out a Player Character p58
Prior Experience p58
Skills p63
Playing To Win? p69
Pets and Animal Companions p70
Part 4: Running Play
Ready-To-Run Adventures p74
Gamesmaster (GM) Skills p75
Mapping and Cartography p81
Prompts and Interrupts p83
Hack and Slay or Remix and Play p86
Mixed Messages p88
Making Monsters p89
Killer Traps p91
What Kind of Player or GM am I? p94
Player/ GM Profiles p94
Part 5: Campaign Planning
Signature Events p100
Player Choice, Campaign Challenges and Campaign Planning p103
Campaign Challenges and Adventure Playparks p104
Campaign Challenges and Adventure Holidays: Part 1 p108
Campaign Challenges and Adventure Holidays: Part 2 p111
Exploring Campaign Challenges p114
Part 6: Adventure Builder
Designing Adventures p122
Missions p122
Plots p123
Locations p126
Rooms, Caverns, Furnishings and Accessories p129
Tricks and Traps p138
Non-Player Characters aka Monsters and Aliens p143
Traits p143
Preferred Actions p148
Solo and Team Play p149
Creatures p152
Dangerous Creatures p152
Very Dangerous Creatures p153
Extremely Dangerous Creatures p154
Lethal Creatures p156
Tricks p157
Out and About p159
Part 7: World Builder
Landscapes p166
Gazetteers p168
The Eaglesridge Gazetteer p168
The Build p171
Exotic and Alien Worlds p171
Using Signature Events p173
Climate and Terrain p177
Characters and Creatures p180
Worship p181
Era/ Technologies p182
Territories p182
Boundaries p183
Governance p183
States and Nations p185
History p185
Currencies p186
Festivals p187
Weather and Sky Events p188
Transport and Communications p190
Weaponry p190
Commerce and Major Industries p192
Entertainments p193
Landmarks, Buildings and Premises p194
Conditions of Structures p202
Alien, Exotic or Enchanted Structures p204
Events p204
Glossary p207
Acknowledgements p213

Meat Of The Product 

 This is a 213 page massive tome of  old fashioned rpg adventure building and tool kit for any DM. This tome has everything you need to get a Saturday night special game going right out of the box. Seriously the author does an excellent job of covering all of the bases for a DM. 
 This book is a tear down book so that a DM can introduce a group of kids to role playing one night and run a down and dusty grit fest rpg the next night. The book works for just about any game system and overlaps quite nicely to existing retroclones. 
The book covers the gamut of rpg styles as well.  
 At a hefty 213 pages (counting covers) the RPG Handbook by David Morrison is quite a bargain! This is page after page of random tables to provide a DM with what's needed for that night's adventure. 
This book is a throw back to many of the Flying Buffalo tomes of yesteryear in style and substance. 
 The Chapters on Campaign Planning are especially well done. The whole thing comes together quite nicely. You could do worse then to take a look at this book for organizing a game from the foundation up.All and all this is very useful. 
Speaking of useful. The whole set up for all of the products in the bundle read very well and work fantastically for creating and customizing your own part of the rpg handbook for table top gaming. 

Using The Rpg Handbook In Your OSR Game 
Because of the generic nature of Thistle Game's products this is a sure fire way to plug and play with the OSR game of your choose. There's plenty of ways to deal with the myriad of tables here. This book along with any of the stuff offered in the deals they have going is easily adapted to the game of your choose. This is a good read and  has tons of tables and lists for creating adventures on the fly. Packed with helpful info that is actually useful instead of more filler that seems to come with some OSR books. 
 The Rpg Handbook is solid in the way that it lets the DM create new stuff over and over again. This is a book that should have been out in 1986 or so. The information in here ranks up with stuff found in a Game Science book from this time period. 
 Take a few random tables, your favorite story hook and sinker, and add what you want from the book and your ready to go.  
Final word
These books are on sale by the author at the moment. Get them quickly or they're going to go back soon to the regular price. Not that they're not worth it but its nice to have what you want when you want it and this is a great bargain! 
You can find the book right HERE 
31/2 stars out of four for this product! 

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