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Best Left Buried: Cryptdigger's Guide To Survival
Publisher: SoulMuppet Publishing
by Nick H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/04/2019 09:58:17

Many games today like to use the words "grim", "dark", "edgey" and "horror" to lure in gullible dice-ers to part with their hard earned gold, only to pass off a half-arsed reskin of the usual dragons-&-stuff-wot-u-can-wack-in-a-dungeon. Zzzzzz.

So it's with a sort of morbid joy that I can honestly say that discovering Best Left Buried has been the answer to my cries of despair. Here is a game that has clearly taken a look at all that is tired, cliched and homogenised in modern (or even retro) RPG's, hacked off the flab with a blunt axe, glued it back on in a new way, and shoved its' still bleeding body into the dankest of crypts to see what survives.

Here you'll find characters with actual character, stats that add filmic dimension, a world that warps the tropes with smile-inducing surprises, and an intrinsic infusion of everything with a real and palpable sense of the excitement of dread blended with the stoic determination of real adventurers...all sprayed with lumpy dollops of horror in both edgey and schlocky varieties.

The word that sprung to mind the most (to me) as we read, created with and then played Best Left Buried was DYNAMIC. There's a fresh edge to this game that I have sought long and hard. Boring it never is...which is more than can be said of many.

It's not perfect, but I find perfect boring...this had us all engaged on every level as we worked WITH those little flaws and rough edges and get truly stuck in; emotionally, mechanically and physically. Bums edged onto the corners of seats, hands gesticulated wildly and expressions of anticipation and repulsion were met with roars of victory or doomed despair. This is RPG'ing as it should be: brutal fun with alluringly dark tones, a creeping sense of real dread with moments of heart-racing kinetic action.

The 70 odd page players' rulebook is tidily laid out, clearly and concisely written and peppered with a sort of charmingly naive art style of scratchy pen and ink that really suits the tone.

Awesome from cover to cover. Highly recommended to anyone bored of false RPG promises and fantasy horror with all the terror and grit of a service station cheese sandwich.

You want something fresh in fantasy RPG's? You want ACTUAL horror and gritty doom? This is the real deal!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Best Left Buried: Cryptdigger's Guide To Survival
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Best Left Buried: Doomsayer's Guide to Horror
Publisher: SoulMuppet Publishing
by Nick H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/04/2019 09:24:55

We live in a golden age for RPG's and self publishing. You know this. You're here aren't you? The downside to this for any new game, system or book is that it has to compete. So why should you pick this one up rather than one of the similarly dark, gritty and gnarly RPG's currently saturating the market?

Why not go splurge on the flabby schlock of Dungeon Crawl Classics, the knowing gory grind of Torchbearer, the crunchy Germanic polish of Warhammer Fantasy, or the straight-to-the-point doom of Blackest of Deaths?

Well, you'd be missing out for a start.

This part of the double whammy that is Best Left Buried books is at base level just fun. Sounds a bit of a bland recommendation but this is a game that will have your players leaning in to hear what lies before them, glints of excited trepidation in their eyes...then frantically scrabbling to survive what befalls them. THAT, for both player and GM, just has to be FUN, right?

This, the gamesmaster's (Doomsayer) guide, does a quite brilliant job of showing where and how to balance your game's tone, style and intension. That's not to say you can derail it, but the author's have realised that the fun for the players lies in staggering breathless from the last challenge, bloodied, mortally wounded even...but alive and defiant. This game excels at that, offering the flavour and concise system to make it happen. The system is not too light, not too crunchy, just right. There are a few rough edges...but they're of the good kind. Edges that make you consider how you are playing, and adjust to your tastes.

The setting and worlds described within are quite traditional and won't alienate the D&D crowd but they offer enough depth and character to differentiate themselves. Their biggest pluses are the constant and varied places you can plug in...THE HORROR. As the title suggests this is a game that really tries to bring back a bit of the psychological yuckness that makes you hesitant to turn your torch to the darkest corner of the chamber. The Doomsayers book has some deliciously insightful steers on how, when and where to dripfeed and layer the horror on your players, and the game really screams for you to turn down the lights and chill some spines.

You could run a grim and dark chop and sock...a creaking door gothic nightmare...a spit and gristle realistic stomach churner...even a gonzoid b-movie schlockfest, but the tone is there with a dial attached and instructions on how to get that sense of grinning desparation from your party...without killing them for sport.

At 80 nicely crafted pages, with a roughly hewn art style and conversational writing style it's one of the best of the gritty bunch of RPG's out there. There is a real sense of passion in this book and that makes running a game enthusiastically for any Doomsayer incredibly easy.

Go on, get grizzly and dig this one up!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Best Left Buried: Doomsayer's Guide to Horror
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Beyond the Supernatural™ RPG, 2nd Edition
Publisher: Palladium Books
by Nick H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/30/2019 13:20:31

I have to admit to having more of a soft spot for the original but blimey this is fun. It's just great to read let alone play and is flexible enought to support the RAW player who struggles to come up with their own worlds, or the smush player who likes to blend games and ideas together. It's huge, has some gorgreously evocative art and a more handmade artisn feel that's more in keeping with the subject matter than any of the super glossy current crop of supernatural RPG's. Highly recommended...a true classic



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Beyond the Supernatural™ RPG, 2nd Edition
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Urban Shadows
Publisher: Magpie Games
by Nick H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/28/2019 07:53:41

I'd picked this off the shelf of my local games emporium in London multiple times. It called out to me. Finally I grabbed the PDF and discovered that it was a superbly written dark urban fantasy game that played out with as much or as little grit as you wanted...from Buffy-eque fun to darker, deeper politically driven opus's. It appealed to the D'n'D heads as it does fantasy but with a refreshingly real-world twist, and to the Palladium heads as it can escalate to gonzo, and to the Monsterheart emo's as it allows for personal interplay and emotive play...in fact it thrives on it.

The winning streak here is it's soooo flexible and so evocative that it draws you in if the thought of rain soaked streets and dark alleys makes you grin. I boght the book in the end as it's beautifully presented too and is a pleasure just to read.

One thing I must say is that this is modern gaming for modern mentalities. I've seen at least two negative reviews here which I cannot fathom the angle of. They speak of agendas hidden in the game. I've read and played this game repeatedly and just cannot understand where this is coming from. I'm going to go out on a limb and take it that it's the liberal urban viewpoint (this is very London/NYC/Lisbon-esque) somehow jars with them. The game deals with enclaves of minorities and threatened peoples fighting for their worlds against the odds and a system stacked against them. This appears to upset people. I'd ingore them, this is not a US-cenric game (YAY!!) and can be reskinned to anywhere really!

Bottom line: fun, imaginative, exhilerating, deep but quick, and inspiring. Get it!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Urban Shadows
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