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Axes and Anvils
by Morgan H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/18/2021 18:48:04

Great product! Build your clan, name your king (Archon), create your dwarf and fight for your people against all comers. The game has captured the spirit of the dwarven race like no other. Each dwarf has a way to fight, a way to serve, and a craft to deliver to their clan. Simple mechanics allow a group to be created in a short time. The rules also allow for the cooperative creation of the clan with its own attributes and history. I highly reccomend A&A for anyone seeking to play dwarves against the world!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Axes and Anvils
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Axes and Anvils: Under the Mountain
by Keith M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/01/2020 19:21:59

This RPG is magnificent, a very modern take on some very classic RPG concepts. For one thing: You get to run a party of dwarves going on missions for the glory of their clan, where travel is as important as intrugue. As archetypical adventures go, it's not a bad one!

The first half of the book - and the RPG itself - is literally, to the page, the contents of the Axes & Anvils core rulebook. I've shared my thoughts on that already - to be blunt, I love the thing, and it's fun to play. Classic RPG tropes but with an emphasis on teamwork, and a slightly lesser magical setting than many, making travel and injury meaningful without being a rules slog. The second half of the book does not add a huge number of new rules to manage (Although it does contain additional upgrades and rules for Runes, Alchemy, and Firearms to tweak to your setting - from everything from primitive handcannon to rules for handing your dwarves assault rifles), but instead a truly phenominal amount of extra information to help run a game better. References and generators for creating monsters, loot, rival clans and Archon generators; references for Dwarven timekeeping and traditions and society if you so choose to use the core setting. While it might be setting specific, I and my players have lept on almost all of it as being "Well yeah sure, that works great!" and have embraced most of it as Totally Dwarfy, regardless of strict setting, which is a testament to the writing.

There are rules for mass combat that, frankly, work better than most anything else I've seen; the fact that to take part as an individual hero vs simply leading a squad of your own starts to exponentially increase the risk to the dwarves in question is a really neat premise, and does this without slowing actual play down. The book also contains a lot of advice on GMing in general, which is well written and, while I've run games enough to not need it, even then it had a few salient points I was glad to have seen.

The layout is as solid as it is in the whole set of rulebooks to date - clean B&W, very nicely presented, if limited on art budget there's still enough in the right spots to be pleasing to the eye as you work your way through - and literally everything you could ask for to run the game is in this book.

I've ordered a hardcopy to add to my collection; I'll update this review when it arrives.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Axes and Anvils: Under the Mountain
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Blades in the Dark Heist Deck, Print and Play
by Leonard Z. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/27/2020 15:51:12

Despite one of the comments on this site about this possibly being incomplete I decided to go ahead and purchase this PDF anyway. Things may have changed since 2017 when that comment was written, and to be clear the PDF is confusing in that it states "For a more complete deck with added content and features, take a look here:" and it provides a link to where the physical deck can be purchased. However, the PDF currently contains 50 Obstacle cards, 40 People cards, and 40 Treasure cards, which is exactly the same number that website lists as being available on the printed deck. There is also a second PDF included with the items that presumably are on the back of the Obstacle cards as modifiers to their corresponding Obstacle card to make that card either easier or harder to deal with as may be needed.

Overall it's a pretty decent deck of things that I feel will be helpful for my own BitD game. The cards are, however, all in black and white. It looks like the physical deck is in color and having that available on the pdf would have been nice. Additionally if the second PDF is meant as card backs for only the Obstacle cards in the first PDF it would have been nice to have them laid out so they exactly match to page and position rather than just to use as a written reference. I would also suggest including all of the cards as graphics files, such as PNG files, to make it easier to pull them out and use them in a VTT program (a big deal in those COVID-19 days, that's for sure!) It is possible to extract the images from a pdf and just grab the cards that way (or to select them and copy them out to a graphics program and save them as individual cards) but those are extra steps. That being said it may be a useful extra income stream for Mr. Shields to just put these together on some of those VTT sites as a purchasable plug-and-play add-on (potentially free or greatly discounted for existing customers, would be nice). Further the image layers on the first fiew pages seem to be set at the top layer making it a lot more difficult to do things like select text to copy and paste out from the PDF.

Overall this deck seems to provide some really good ideas with nice details and explanations on the cards, even if the presentation and execution in PDF leave something to be desired. I personally think it is a bit pricey for print and play, and especially for being wihtout color or the other niceties mentioned earlier, but overall I think it will still be a useful and helpful addition for my gaming.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Blades in the Dark Heist Deck, Print and Play
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Blades in the Dark Heist Deck, Print and Play
by Michael D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/31/2020 06:18:50

I've been playing Blades in the Dark for about a year and recently I started my first game as a GM. The heist deck is a great source since it offers a lot of ideas that fit really well into Doskvol and therefore it makes being a GM much easier.

I especially like that there is an additional document that tells you how to adjust the obstacles (make them more or less difficult).

I recommend buying these PDFs and printing the cards yourself - they perfectly fit in standard card sleeves, so you can actually use it like a normal deck (especially if you use sleeves with different colors).



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Axes and Anvils Quickstart Rules
by A customer [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/25/2020 04:03:30

Useful start to take a quick look at the system. Has enough crunch to explain the basic mechanics in full, and enough content to whip up a party of starting-level Dwarves - the full set of starting rules for each Combat Role, and brief descriptions It doesn't have any information for character advancement (which in the bigger books is revealed to be an upgrade system, each Skill and Role having its own specific set, purchased with points earned by doing missions for the clan rather than defeating monsters per se, which is cool) and only some brief worldbuilding, but does contain a useful selection of monsters and a couple of the generators for making mountain paths - which is surprisingly handy for getting a sense of how stuff in the bigger books work, even as the pre-made mission didn't strictly need them.

Possibly the most significant bit of character generation/setting generation it misses which stands out the most compared to the full rulebook is the Clan generator - obviously intentional, as the basic game has you arrive at a specific clan after the mission is over, so I presume the intent is you can play through this thing, get a sense of if you like it (Which hopefully you do; it's good!) and then head off to buy the full game and then have the very next session be generating your own groups clan and getting into the game proper. Not a bad way to set things up, I guess; just notable to realize the Clan is intended to be a major part of the campaign going forward later. Not that you couldn't just stat up the one hinted at in the Quickstart guide, of course, if you were so determined!

Not much in the way of artwork, but what is there is representative of what the rest of the rulebooks contain - black and white linework characters, with everything else being otherwise merely tidily presented. It's enough to get a passing mark, if not bonus points in the content stakes.

And hey, it's (potentially) free. It's hard to knock a solid system releasing the basic rules like this, and the production quality is representative of the rest of the line.

PROTIP: If you're buying just the one rulebook for the group, you really want Axes And Anvils: Under The Mountain, because it has the entirety of all the players handbook in it as well as the setting information, rules customization benchmarks, elves & humans as PCs, and even more generator goodness.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Axes and Anvils Quickstart Rules
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Axes and Anvils
by A customer [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/12/2020 19:30:46

I'll be honest - I never expected this thing to see the light of day. Now that it has, to my pleasant suprise, it's exactly what I was looking for when I didn't even know I was looking.

It is unabashedly a traditionally-inspired RPG (GMs and dice and hitpoints and the occasional dragon) but it's highly streamlined, modernised, and built to let people pick it up and get on with play easily, even while its systems are recognisable enough that new players who've even heard of D&D before can pick up the concepts quickly while avoiding any baggage from more direct roots. Instead Axes & Anvils does its own thing - it uses a d12 for routine skill resolution, players roll all the dice when battling NPC targets (a great timesaver for the GM), and there's nary an equipment table in sight - and one thing it does particuarly well is immediately give everyone a reason to be there: Dwarves serve their Clan - an entity collaboratively created at the start of the game - and everything revolves around furthering its interests via your actions. Drop-ins and intermittent players are supported too, and there's even a GMless option possible if you've got the Under The Mountain GM resourcebook, with mechanics to track just how canon such adventures end up being, in case such a session goes a little off the rails!

It's a lower-magic setting - though rules for magic do exist as an optional component, the system is easily adaptable if you want to play in a different world; and notably it's perfectly possible for a party (and even the entire setting) to function without any magic at all. Either way, the combat manages to stay relatively light and fast while still allowing character differentiation (the system focusing on teamwork and a frequent emphasis on avoiding getting overwhelmed) yet still holds a remarkably elegant amount of grit - take too much damage in one blow, and you risk being Wounded, and it's these mounting Wounds that risk fatal peril. Stubborn as they are, a dwarf can spend their Resolve to fight harder or keep standing, but that's a limited resource... one recovered by morale-boosting victories, heroism, and comraderie itself. Brilliant!

I've yet to spot a typo in the book, and the occasional art - while black and white and largely limited to styleised art of a variety of dwarves - is fitting enough and doesn't get in the way. A lack of even more of it is the closest critique I would have, but I appreciate that's a matter of budget, and the rest of the book remains artistically servicable nonetheless.

Simply put, if you're the kind of person that likes to roll up Fighters in D&D and wished you could do an all-Fightin' party without it being redundant... this is the game for you. If you wanted to run a classic adventuring game without overcomplicating the mundane in the process, this is the game for you.

And if you want play a game about Dwarves, this is the game for you.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Axes and Anvils
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Blades in the Dark Heist Deck, Print and Play
by Lowell F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/10/2018 10:02:09

Solid. I use these when I run BitD. A ton of content on these cards/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Blades in the Dark Heist Deck, Print and Play
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Blades in the Dark Heist Deck, Print and Play
by Merten H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/19/2017 04:16:14

I found this to be very little content for $8. I am not disappointed by the quality. All cards are at least okay, some are really good and will be useful to me. But I would have liked to get more out of it for this amount of money.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
The good news is the content has been updated to include all the information in the print deck! Not only are there more people, treasures, and obstacles, but there's also a reference for the back of the obstacle cards, so you can get even more flavor from them now.
Crumbling Epoch
by Greg C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/26/2013 09:46:41

This game has a lot of interesting ideas.

I really like the weak blooded vampire class and I like the use of combat stances to manage ebb and flow.

The Region and Religion generators are awesome. Easily portable to other systems as well.

Lots of interesting spells as well.

For a pay-what-you-want OSR game, this is a great resource.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Crumbling Epoch
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Crumbling Epoch
by David H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/25/2013 15:05:46

Some interesting ideas here. A collection of adventure seeds. The religion generator is original and well thought out. So too were some of the spells, Candy Wall being both amusing and the fluff text made me laugh. It's very light on explanation and extrapolation, which might turn a few people away. The example of play helped clear up some of my confusion. But when I saw the cut out and fold up cards for easy reference I was a little impressed. While the first few pages suggest a setting, there are no notes of cities, city-states, or countries.

On the whole it's a great collection of original ideas worth reading through. Some great stuff here.

On page 19 there is an inserted image which over laps a list of 8 character classes, but you can figure out the list with a little deductive thought. On the whole the presence of the images wasn't much of a distraction.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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