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Monsters Macabre (Cryptworld)
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/26/2016 12:26:21

Originally published at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2015/-
09/23/tabletop-review-cryptworld-monsters-macabre/

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Monsters Macabre is the first supplement for Cryptworld, the spiritual successor to the first and second editions of Chill. This is not to be confused with the actual Chill, Third Edition which has the legal rights to the game’s name, but none of soul from the previous Pacesetter and/or Mayfair versions. My strong advice would be to forgo Chill 3e and instead purchase Cryptworld. it’s closer to the original spirit of the game, has better art, and costs less money. You can read my review of the Cryptworld core rulebook here. That way, we can get more supplements like Monsters Macabre, which was a mild success on Kickstarter that deserved more attention AND more money.


Monsters Macabre is essentially the game’s Monster Manual. There are seventy-one monsters to be found in the pages of this supplement, which should keep you busy for a while. Some of these are classic monsters like Banshees, Minotaurs, Gargoyles, Mothman, Liches and Mad Scientists. These are things you would normally expect to find as antagonists in a RPG, be it fantasy or modern horror. Then there are some that are less unexpected but fit the theme of Cryptworld perfectly. These are creatures like the Plague Bat which a giant bat that well… eats people and spreads virulent diseases. I’d also include things like the Headless Huntsman, Incan Mummies, La Llorona and the Vapour From Space into that category. Then you have the really weird things that even veteran gamers might not see coming. These are the creatures that are just so weird and unexpected that they are perfect to throw into a game because how the heck can you prepare for a monster like the Batsquatch, Mongolian Death Worm, Murdermobile or the Creeping Eye? As long as you can craft an adventure where these creatures make sense, you’re sure to knock both the players and their characters for a loop when they finally encounter them.


Every creature in Monsters Macabre is well done. There is a nice balance between background text and stat block, so you get a real sense of how to run one of these monsters and how difficult a time the PCs will have in dispatching them. Obviously no GM will use everything creature in Monsters Macabre, but anyone who is even remotely interested in Cryptworld will want to grab this supplement as it really adds to the overall feel of the game. Plus, less work for the GM who previously had to design his or her own monsters outside of the few in the core rulebook.


There is more to Monsters Macabre than just stat blocks for monsters though. There are five other sections of the book to consider. “It’s Alive!” talks about how to build your own things for Cryptworld. It’s some advice on designs stats, background information and how much experience to dole out once the thing has been dispatched. Meanwhile “Play Things” gives you advice on having monsters as PCs. Of course, Cryptworld is designed to be humans facing evil monsters, but this section gives you ways to work around that. Here you can get a feel for how the game would play if the PCs are sympathetic monsters or if they are playing irredeemably evil horrors as the regular version of Cryptworld supposes. Either way can be a lot of fun if you have the right mix of players and GM. There are also steps for creating a monster PC including the way that they will earn and spend XP. For those of you who like a lot of mechanics and rules – you’ll find a lot here in regards to monster PCs. What to do when there are witnesses to the creature, mundane reaction tables, what to do when a monster is outed to the general public and more. It’s all stuff I personally won’t use as I’ll keep monster PCs to World of Darkness games, but what’s here is really well thought out and written. There’s some good stuff here and it will really change the dynamic of your Cryptworld game.


Section Five is “Random Organizations. This is two pages of tables that will allow you to roll up that are helping, hunting or harming monsters. Section Six is “Tangled Threads” This is a full adventure for Crypt Masters (I wish it was Cryptkeepers) to run for players. It’s a quick one-shot adventure where the PCs must investigate a spooky house that seems connected to four disappearances in small-town Pennsylvania. Of course, this being Cryptworld, there is something not quite natural at the root of the problem.


Monsters Macabre is an excellent supplement and should make most Cryptworld fans very happy. I’m very happy with what is here and I know I more than got my money’s worth out of this release. Here’s hoping we don’t go another two years before we get the next Cryptworld release though.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monsters Macabre (Cryptworld)
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Labyrinth Lord: Revised Edition
by Michael W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/08/2016 09:05:36

My son was six when we started playing D&D. Digging my AD&D rule books out for the first time in 25 years, I quickly realized what an overly complex, disorganized, and over-explained mess they were. So I went back for B/X books and we played with that for a year. Until I discovered this excellent "retro-clone" / rewrite, which expands on the two slim original books just the right amount - reorganizing, refreshing, and extending the game without changing the tone. In the past year I've used Labyrinth Lord as the foundation for some house-rules and more substantial edits (e.g. imported concepts from Dungeon World) and 20+ year old ideas that I've always wanted to have in place. Labyrinth Lord's simplicity allows this.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Labyrinth Lord: Revised Edition
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Shadowbrook Manor
by Greg F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/29/2015 07:27:47

Absolutely brilliant level 1 or 2 adventure. A wonderfully interesting house. Creepy encounters. Very thematic. It's had my players on the edge of their seats for the two groups that I've run through it so far and it's produced some very exciting moments.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowbrook Manor
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Cryptworld
by Will H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/13/2015 03:26:49

It's really a masterpiece. I've run it at game shops and a convention. A true successor to the Pacesetter horror classic. Don't even consider "3rd edition Chill": you don't want a horrid Mayfield rewrite at 3 times the price (I wouldn't run 3rd if it were free). Buy Cryptworld instead - my best RPG purchase in years.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cryptworld
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Monsters Macabre (Kickstarter Preview)
by Scott G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/02/2015 20:40:43

Very nice teaser. I have the full 64 page draft from the Kickstarter, but I was curious as to what was included here. This may be only 15 pages, but it’s a very good sample of what the full supplement includes, providing a page or more from just about every section, and giving a pretty good idea of the diversity of the 71 new Things included in the complete book. And the full Table of Contents should whet the reader’s appetite for more information on the rest of these creepy creatures and malevolent monsters, as well as the other expansions to the CRYPTWORLD world offered in the supplement.


This sample of 15 pages from throughout the Monsters Macabre supplement includes the new unsettling powers, 6 pages of Things (some complete, others partial, depending on their placement on the pages), a couple pages on playing Monster PCs (a particularly interesting take on that idea, IMO), a page on variable damage, and the first page of a new adventure, “Tangled Threads.” So just on its own, this free sample has some interesting content that would be useful to any Crypt Master. But once you see it, you’re virtually guaranteed to want more! And to want it illustrated, which is what the Kickstarter is all about.


Scott



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monsters Macabre (Kickstarter Preview)
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Cryptworld
by Richard T. H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/28/2015 16:12:55

CryptWorld is really the spiritual 2nd edition to the pacesetter game called “Chill adventures into unknown”. This 96 ‘page book is surprisingly comprehensive and complete, with 29 or so monsters and 15 animals, a dozen paranormal talents for player characters, clear rules for fear, information for car/vehicle chases and a fairly comprehensive skill list. My overall impression is that the rules are a little tighter than in the original making it a smother for a CM, (referee). For example I particularly like the simple range modifier rules for weapons.


In a slight change of style, some skills like Art criticism, hypnotism and psychiatry are missing from the skill list making the overall feel a bit less gothic and a bit more modern slasher movie. These skills however would be easy to add back in. The almost complete lack of historical material and equipment such as mentioning popular songs, films, events and relevant inventions and prices from a particular time period means that the game rather has to be focused in the here and now, which is fine but there’s nothing like a good 1800’s 1920s gothic horror in my opinion.


CryptWorld maintains the same action table and simple percentage system that made the original popular.


The 100% compatibility with Rot world RPG and in particular Majus RPG, (both of which are also from Goblinoid games) actually means that there is already quite a bit of new to CryptWorld supplementary material out there, which can be easily shoed in to any CW campaign.


This is an excellent game and well worth the purchase price for both the PDF and dead tree formats.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cryptworld
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Starships & Spacemen 2e
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/07/2015 11:07:36

So what is Starships & Spacemen (S&S)? It is a "military style" missions-based, old-school game in the milieu of Star Trek. First off it is important to point out that while this is the "2e" version of Starships & Spacemen it is more compatible with Goblinoid Games other products like Labyrinth Lord, Realms of Crawling Chaos and Mutant Future. In fact I would go out on a limb and say Mutant Future is a must have since it has rules that can used to create mutants aka aliens. Realms of Crawling Chaos is Cthulhu and those creatures are aliens after all. Labyrinth Lord of course provides more monster/alien creatures.


The author, Dan Proctor admits his love for Star Trek in the forward of the book, and the cover is certainly evocative of the Original Series.


Also, given that it is compatible with Labyrinth Lord it is also compatible with 100s of other products also compatible with LL. It is also compatible with 1000s of other OSR/Old School products too.


The book itself is 95 pages of content, some ads for other Goblinoid Games products, two full color covers (front and back), character sheet, ship record and hex map. There is no OGL page that I could see.


The system is class and level based. There are various races your character can belong to. Three basic classes all in the "Confederation" military-like branch; Military/Command, Sciences and Support/Tech. Or if you prefer, Gold Shirt, Blue Shirt, and Red Shirt. There is Officer level advancement to level 12 and Enlisted advancement to level 9. So if you are running a game of a starship "boldly going where no one has gone before" then you are set. While I am enjoying class/level systems much more now than ever before I do have some issues with this, but I will talk about that later.


The introduction covers the basics of the system; very much the same as Labyrinth Lord.
Section 2 covers the characters and character creation. Here we have our classes and basic races.

Each class has some basic skills that improve with leveling and each race has ability modifiers. The races are as expected pastiches of the expected races. This is fine since it works so well here. There are a couple of others too, including some reptoids and a frog like race.
Equipment covers the expected range too. Though there are two entries that caught my eye. The robot dog for you K9 or Daggit fans. Also there is a telepathic dog. This caught my eye because back in college I ran a brief "Trek" game where the medical officer had a telepathic dog on board.


Section 3 covers Psi powers. These are not class based, but a random d6 power. The powers are detailed like spells and there are couple of special powers for stronger characters. Like other sci-fi games built on the d20 core adding new powers can be easy, but care should be given as to not make the game too much about powers.


Section 4 covers Planetary Adventures. Or what your away team is doing. This covers a lot of "adventuring" style topics including mapping, various weapon damages, and other hazards.


Section 5 is the meatiest of the book. This covers Galactic Adventures. I think my favorite bit here are all the space hazards. Space Mirrors, Gravity Wells. Enough for a full season of starship disaster scenarios. Atmospheric combat, diseases and even time travel is covered. So of the top of my head nearly any episode of the classic series can be reproduced with this chapter. How is plays out of course is up to the players.


Section 6 covers Starships and discusses their basic use, creation and stats. Combat systems are covered, energy weapons, solid projectiles and shields. Transporter Teleporter systems are discussed including the ever popular mishap (yes there is a table). Computer systems are covered (yes they can run more than one program!) Ship to ship combat gets a pretty decent section since it covers new ground.


Section 7, Alien Encounters is the biggest. This covers not just sentient aliens, but "monster" types as well. Again move creatures from other games back and forth here with no effort. The best section is the random "forehead" alien system. Roll some dice and you have a new alien race. You can even randomly determine a background and environment.
The flows right into Section 8, Alien Artifacts. Lost tech of ancient civilizations.


Section 9 is advice for the "Star Master" or Game Master. Some brief background on the setting is given. There is just enough information here to start a campaign and then get going. Really this is all you need. The game is one about exploration and discovery. So it follows that much of the galaxy should be unknown. This game is so flexible that you can do just about anything with it.


Frankly, the game really is awesome and has all the joy of Labyrinth Lord, only with spaceships and lasers.


Critiques
Ok so this game is perfect for a Trek-like game where everyone is serving aboard a starship. The class/level system works for this. But I do have two issues I want to bring up. One is outside the scope of the game, the other is inside it.
First off. If I want to play a game of "Orion" Pirates or Smugglers I have to bend my Officers level advancement a bit. Indeed, some of the classes would not quite work with a group of characters where everyone has to do a little bit of everything. Yesterday my friend Greg Littlejohn (gm for my oldest in his other game) talked about a Smuggler class. That might work well here too.


Secod point is the level titles them selves. While it make perfect sense to have a bunch of Ensigns (1st level) running around doing things, it makes less sense when everyone on 10th+ level and all Admirals. For this I would use the level titles as suggested ranks only. Or maybe make the PCs part of a special task force that allows them to work outside the normal ranking system.


Despite this there is enough here to make it all work.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Starships & Spacemen 2e
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Labyrinth Lord: Revised Edition (no-art version)
by James M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/19/2015 22:21:23

Labyrinth Lord is hands-down the best classic B/X retro-clone/simulacrum system available; the only way to get a closer experience to the original Moldvay/Cook is to buy the original Basic and Expert books!


When you add in the material from the Advanced Edition Companion, the overall game plays more like the "Best of the LBBs" than Advanced D&D, which I feel is a definite feature, not a bug. The two volumes together have everything one needs to play for decades of campaigning.


Even with all the improvements in the new, 5th Edition of D&D, Labyrinth Lord is the best way to introduce young players to fantasy role-playing. As with the original, the system is clean, simple, and easy to understand, yet leaves wide vistas open for the imagination, on the part of the player as well as the Labyrinth Lord.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Labyrinth Lord: Revised Edition (no-art version)
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Labyrinth Lord: Revised Edition (no-art version)
by James W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/04/2015 15:36:52

As a B/X fan I look upon any attempt to emulate or clone it with great criticism. This book does not disappoint. It is lovingly true to its source material while being its own thing at the same time.


The key difference between LL and B/X is that this game takes your PCs all the way. Each XP chart goes through 20th level (or to the level limit for the class). The spells go through their 7th or 9th level limits so you can play your campaign at any level you prefer.


I own print version of bot the LL and AEC so I highly recommend picking those up and buying the full PDFs. The art is wonderfully old school.


Whether you are a game writer creating material compatible with B/X or simply wish to play something like the best version of the greatest game, Labyrinth Lord is right in the sweet spot.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Advanced Edition Companion (Labyrinth Lord, no-art version)
by James W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/04/2015 15:03:29

The Advanced Edition Companion, or AEC, is a companion to the core Labyrinth Lord rules, playing on the word "companion" as promised in the 1981 B/X rules. But instead of giving us rules for higher levels of play (we already got that in the core LL rules...basic, expert AND companion all wrapped up in one), this book gives us a B/X-style treatment of "advanced" rules. We get the classic 1e classes (Ranger, Monk, Druid, etc.), many more spells, many more magic items, and many more monsters.


And we don't get any more crunch. No combat segments, casting times, or weapon speed. This is basic play with advanced stuff, period.


Highly recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Advanced Edition Companion (Labyrinth Lord, no-art version)
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Labyrinth Lord: Revised Edition
by James L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/12/2014 07:54:22

This is the retroclone I keep coming back to. Simple and solid foundation of rules; not too skimpy, but not overbearing. Great layout and artwork as well. While the originals are once again available in PDF, and they're great to have for nostalgic reading, Labyrinth Lord will continue to be my fantasy RPG.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Labyrinth Lord: Revised Edition
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The Tomb of Sigyfel
by Joe J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/02/2014 20:15:03

This one page-ish adventure is really cuts to the meat of Old School RPG. While it is a module for novice adventurers, it is clearly not an introductory module that holds the game master's hand. That's a Good Thing. This little dungeon can be inserted into almost any other place you need a side quest. And the price? You can't bet it.


Dan Proctor is known for his rulebooks, but he's got module designer chops to boot.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Tomb of Sigyfel
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Majus
by Michael M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/23/2013 01:02:01

Another sound Pacesetter RPG. It feels more like a sourcebook even though its a stand alone rpg. The rules for magic use could easily be used for the other Pacesetter game worlds (Cryptworld/Rotworld/Timemaster). On its own though it desperately needs some support products. Its a good game if you like the Blood Shadows, Dresden Files, Cast a Deadly Spell type genre.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Majus
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Cryptworld
by Michael M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/23/2013 00:54:23

If you are or were a fan of the Original Pacesetter Chill: Adventures into the Unknown RPG then you are gonna love Cryptworld. It truly is the spiritual sucessor of the original, one could even say it's the 3rd edition of the game. if you have access to any of the original modules or sourcebooks they are instantly usable with minor modifications (e.g. XP intead of IP point awards), etc.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cryptworld
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Starships & Spacemen 2e
by Jonas M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/12/2013 03:13:06

Starships & Spacemen is roleplaying game of 1960's original series Star Trek with serial numbers filed off. It's rules are based on Labyrinth Lord that is 1980's Dungeons & Dragons serial numbers filed off. Dispite perhaps lacking on originality it does not lack enthusiasm. This game is in short really skillfully put together fan tribute to the TV-show.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Starships & Spacemen 2e
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