Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Quick 6: Can't-Miss PDF Recommendations

One thing I hate is feeling like I just paid some hard-earned cash for a pdf that isn't going to do diddily-poo for my gaming. I'm pretty choosy with my pdf purchases, but that are a few I've picked up that have turned out to be absolute home runs. I'm also a sucker for a bargain, and can't stand seeing pdfs for sale for $39.95. We can do better. For this edition of Quick 6, here are some of the best RPG pdf recommendations I can make:

1) Disposable Heroes Series: Seriously, forget what you knew about minis or counters. If you've ever had need of an army of skeletons or orcs, a host of superheroes, a gaggle of animals, a brave company of mercenaries, fearsome redcoats, a sci-fi hero, a Wild West posse, or just about any other type of miniature you can ever think of using in an RPG, you need to check out the Disposable Heroes line of paper miniatures. For a fraction of the cost of buying a plastic minis collection, you can print out a fully customizable line of minis you need. Numbered, color, black and white, flat counter, stand-up--pure and simple, this line is not only one of the best accessories in all of gaming, its one of the most affordable and customizable. And you can take that to the bank.

2) Bits of... Series: Look, I'll admit it: I don't have the time I once did for game prep. (Family life will do that to you). And even when I do, there are nights when my descriptive text comes out like a poorly-translated Japanese grill instruction manual. Thank goodness for Tabletop Adventures, whose Bits of... series provide some nice descriptive and flavor text for various wilderness and urban settings alike. It may even give rise to a plot hook or two. If you're a GM, regardless of what system you're using, this line will do right by you. (I would especially recommend Bits of the Boulevard and Bits of the Wilderness: Into the Mountains).

3) Two-Fisted Tales: This is the second Precis Intermedia product on this list, but it is a well-deserved placement. This is my favorite pulp RPG of, well...ever? Its supremely easy to jump into, and can be easily used to run anything from deadly serious pulp fiction spinoffs to the Venture Brothers. This is a book that really almost reads like a tutorial in parts--an inspiring one, at that! Simple, elegant resolution mechanics and a real feel for helping make the game your make this product an absolute home run. Nearly everyone I have let borrow this game has gone absolutely wild over it.

4) In Harm's Way: You knew it would be on here! As I've mentioned before (repeatedly), this game gets the nod for "Game I Love The Most That I Never Get To Play", but that doesn't mean it wasn't worth every penny. Clash Bowley's mechanics are a delight, and this game brings to mind the best of Captain Jack Aubrey, Horatio Hornblower, and dozens of other nautical heros from fiction and history alike. There's so much to love about the game: competitive play, the voluntary wound system, the Interest/Notice mechanic, the well-realized troupe play... Even if you have as hard a time as I have convincing your regular players to take on this genre, I guarantee you'll be adopting or thinking about some of the mechanics for your other games.

5) Dungeon Sets 1 & 2 (Fat Dragon Games): I am, quite possibly, the worst miniatures cardstock assembler on the face of the earth who can still claim reasonably normal motor control in his daily life. However, as much some of Fat Dragon's other products were a bit tough on me, the Dungeon sets were a nice 2-D/3-D blend, allowing me to create really nice dungeon scenes without blowing a ton on ink to boot, and were easy enough that even I had no problems with them. The Caverns set is also pretty nifty.

6) D&D Rules Cyclopedia: Because its still considered by many the finest rules compilation of all time. Because regardless of the edition you play, reading and perusing this volume can give you a better idea of many of the "whys" of Dungeons & Dragons, as well as make you think as to why certain things are as they are. Because for $5.95, you are getting one hell of a bargain.


Olman Feelyus said...

Thing is, for me, I want the Rules Cyclopedia in dead tree form. It's out there and not that expensive, I know, but you have to move fast. I'll find it one of these days.

In Harm's Way. Hmmm, I just finished Master & Commander and friggin' loved it. I like Clash's attitude, but there is always something unsexy about the layout of his products so they don't grab me right away. I'll take another, more mature look as your recommendation holds weight.

I have to throw in EvilDM's World of Broadsword. I know I'm a bit of a pimp for that product, but I just found it really hit my sword and sorcery buttons. It gives you a great little campaign world, city by city with just enough info for the players to get mixed up in.

Zachary The First said...

@olman: I ended up with a pdf and a deadtree on the RC, and haven't regretted it.

I hear you on the layout for Flying Mice products. But its an area clash has made more functional (if certainly not aesthetically pleasing), and IMO, his games are totally worth it. I hope you'll feel the same. :)

Richard said...

Hmm..I saw Tabletop Adventures at Gen Con, but really didn't have the time to stop by. It looks like they're filling an interesting niche! I'm going to d/l a couple of those Bits of.. items tonight or tomorrow. Thanks!

Zachary The First said...

I should add Fat Dragon's Tombs & Horrors set includes a Gelatinous Cube that's just too cool for words:

clash bowley said...

Urg! My suckitude at layout has now reached mythic proportions. I should probably just retire before my name becomes a synonym for crap layout. "Man, you just totally clashed that book, dude! What happened - you went blind and had to lay it out in braille?"

/me slinks quietly into the dark, dark night...


Zachary The First said...

Awww, clash, you gotta give us SOMETHING to complain about! :)