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Dresden Files RPG: Core Rulebook Volume 1 - Your Story [Hardcover]

Ryan Macklin , Fred Hicks , Jim Butcher , Leonard Balsera , Chad Underkoffler , Amanda Valentine
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

27 July 2010 Dresden Files
Beneath the "normal" surface of the world are things and people which most of us don't want to know about, and will do our best to forget about if we ever come near them. People won't see what they don't want to see. But that's most of us. And you - you're not most of us. What's Your Story? Whether you're a champion of God, changeling, vampire, werewolf, wizard, or plain "vanilla" mortal human being, this volume of The Dresden Files RPG gives you all the rules you need to build characters and tell your own stories in the Dresdenverse. Inside, you'll uncover the secrets of spellcasting, the extents of mortal and supernatural power, and the hidden occult reality of the unfamiliar city you call home.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC; Brdgm edition (27 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0977153479
  • ISBN-13: 978-0977153473
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 3.2 x 27.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 151,664 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Presentation, nothing overly innovative. 26 Sep 2013
Comparing this to the world of darkness games (the most similar 'themed' game') I have to say that I think this is an inferior game.

It has a reasonable amount of 'crunch' with a relatively large amount of fluff throughout - little margin notes and the design of the interior making it look like an actual spiral bound 'file' although I found the 'notes' to be distracting and unprofessional for the layout of the game. The FATE system is slightly modified for this game which is fine since that is what it is meant to do - provide a simple but versatile system. However I could not help compare the 'dots' for average/fair/good etc to the WoD dot system which is basically the same thing, though obviously the mechanics are different.

The city creation guidelines are good, though provided quite early which in one way makes sense but in another seems a bit 'forced'. The tables/sheets for designing a city and NPCs are actually useful for other similarly themed games (like Hunter or Vampire) though again I get the nagging feeling that the writers were heavily inspired by the WoD or nWoD books. Even the non obvious supernatural - changelings in particular are a white wolf favourite - seem a bit 'photocopied'.

It is a versatile system, and contains all you need, it is quite thick and other books really aren't needed, unlike say WoD with its millions of splatbooks. If you have WoD/nWoD I wouldn't bother, if you are looking for something a bit more flexible, with a more investigative than 'personal horror' aspect then go Dresden Files.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful HEAVY full-colour book 14 April 2011
This is definitely the heaviest book in my roleplaying collection, and every page has been lovingly bound, stitched and glued into the heavyduty spine. No pages falling out randomly from this beauty, no matter how often you leave it laying wide open on the floor. One of the few hardbooks I've seen where doing so is easy and doesn't require some sort of heavy weight on it to stop pages trying to turn over and close, perfect for a reference book. Laminated, full-colour and the content is the best roleplaying game I've ever played. Currently we are translating our long-running Fireborn campaign over to this system, which has been surprisingly easy. Lots of thumbs up, and the system is great too.

This review is mostly for the people deliberating between the digital and hardback copies. I use both, partly because I run my game online, but if you run it face to face, I think this lovely tome is a must.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  23 reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the wait 9 July 2010
By Eric Christian Berg - Published on
Based off of Evil Hat's FATE engine, the Dresden Files RPGs do an excellent job of modeling the varied magic and supernatural elements of Jim Butcher's modern fantasy setting. It doesn't just allow you to take the role of a wizard like Harry, but also has rules allowing you to play the sorts of characters he allies with from regular humans to werewolves, psychics, minor talents, Knights of the Sword, the Red Court-infected, or even a White Court Vampire. The magic system is wonderfully versatile, allowing you to model any sort of magical effect you want, and customizable enough that you could create half a dozen characters using the wizard template that are radically different in capabilities, specialties, and tricks.

Not only are the mechanics up to the task of simulating the setting, but this book contains some of the best advice to gamemasters that I have ever seen, from the practical matter of adjudicating skill use and setting difficulties to a detailed method for the creation of scenarios that ties them in directly with the aspects of the characters and setting. This book contains everything you need to run a game in the Dresdenverse, as well as a sample city setting. The only thing missing is a bestiary of the creatures and characters of the books, which are in The Dresden Files RPG: Volume 2 - Our World.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very different but worthwhile game system 27 Mar 2011
By Paul O'Connor - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've run the game a few times and now feel confident enough to write a review.

The first thing I want to note is that this system does a beautiful job of simulating the Dresden file books, which is a real tribute to the designers. I particularly like the remarkably different feel of the game for the different power levels. The game system feels completely different for a character who's just getting their feet wet compared with a Dresden-like power-level. It really is the same very simple system but it feels so completely different you have almost can't believe it.

The second thing to note is that this is first and foremost a system for story-tellers. The designers actually urge the GM to assign the duties in creating the city environment. This has two major impacts: it causes the players to become intimately acquainted with their role-playing environment and it reduces the load on the GM, which is a GOOD thing!

Th design decision to emphasize story has a very large impact on the system. Luck is removed from the game as much as possible to avoid having it mess up the story. It's also hard to kill characters in this system by design (unexpected deaths might mess up the story).

Third, while this game system is REALLY simple to play (it is more like cooperative story-telling than a traditional player group vs. the world game system) and it REALLY keeps the GM and the players on their toes. At any given moment the player may be asked to describe how they were wounded and to assign a penalty to themselves as a result of the injury. On the other hand, the game system encourages the players to go even further afield than they normally do. I would say that this system offers less support to the railroaded, single direction adventure than I've seen in my 30+ years of gaming.

Fourth, this is a skeletal system by design. There are great big sections of the system that are literally left up to the GM and players to handle. This leaves very little down-time for the GM and players. You don't have the usual predictable 2-hour long final battle where the players can start swinging their swords and don't have to consider the consequences. Combat in this system is short, nasty, and brutish. There's tons of room for tactical maneuvering (mental and social, the game doesn't stand much on setting up a scene and using lots of mini's, that would just slow things down) but the situation constantly changes and the GM and players have to adapt to the new circumstances very quickly.

The only bad experience we've had with the game system so far is when I (as the GM) didn't sleep well the previous night and just wasn't up to the subtleties of the player's requests. We're back on track now and heading for the epic conclusion but it was pretty rough session on everybody.

If your group is able to handle the challenges this system presents and are looking for some outstanding Urban Fantasy action, I'd suggest you dump whatever system you're running and jump on this ship. The system is very simple, very smooth, and rather elegant. Very well done!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Storytelling at its Best 2 Oct 2010
By Eric E. Johnson - Published on
Jim Butcher has a vehemently loyal crowd of fans. Most of them will mention the latest Dresden novel as a brilliant piece of urban fantasy. Some will admit that they love the short-lived Sci-Fi Dresden Files television show. About half of them will spew sentiments of the Codex Alera series.

The truest fans are all about one of the newest roleplaying games available.

The Dresden Files Roleplaying Game - Volume One: Your Story is all about introducing anyone to the world of Harry Dresden, from the thematic laws and character creation all the way to advice on running the game. Sure, any decent rpg is going to have the same 'sort' of content, but Evil Hat Productions does nothing in halves. Every aspect of the book assists the would-be players and game masters in telling the greatest story possible. Player character creation is steeped in a solid method that is almost, but much more enjoyable, just like outlining a character for any other work of fiction. The book also contains a hefty section on the nature of magic within the Dresdenverse, and it is here that fans see the devotion of the producers of the game - it works *exactly* the same as it does in the novels. As impressive as that may seem to be, they one-up themselves by making the option to play a mundane human being just as compelling as playing a Wizard. Plus, the book itself gets a rather unique treatment in regards to presentation and artistic design.

The one downside: Volume Two is the book containing all the write-ups for just about every character presented in the novels. But seeing that you don't *need* this second book to enjoy the game, I can't fault the guys one bit.

The game is first-rate. Join the die-hard fans. You know you want to.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent game 8 Dec 2011
By Fletcher - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Dresden Files RPG Volume One: Your Story is an excellent roleplaying game. It runs off the FATE system, which is a roleplaying game system that focuses more on describing characters than mediating action and therefor places a lot of focus on story interaction. Veterans of the World of Darkness roleplaying game system will find themselves right at home while people tired of the more crunchy roleplaying games like Hackmaster, Dungeons & Dragons, or Pathfinder, might find the cinematic feel of the FATE system to their liking while still being able to bite their teeth into the magic system and character customization. The most interesting aspects of the system is that character generation is done as a group and you first start by creating the city (or state, or realm, or nation) that your characters live in, giving it places and names that make it familiar for the characters.

The game is also based off the successful novel series The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. The creators took years scouring over the books (that were out at the time) in order to try and best emulate the action and drama in the various novels. The Dresden Files is about a character named Harry Dresden, who is both a private investigator and a wizard in a modern day world that doesn't believe in magic or monsters. Sadly magic and monsters don't need humanity's permission to exist.

This book is titled Volume One because there is a second compendium book called The Dresden Files RPG Volume Two: Our World. You do not need this book in order to play the game but a storyteller might like to have access to it. The second volume focuses primarily on explaining the Dresden Files universe, stating out non-player characters, and such. Volume one has a primer for the world and the types of characters one can play and is more than sufficient for players of the game or lovers of the series, although lovers of the series might find the second volume a treat in and of itself as it has a short story written by Jim Butcher in it.

So far I have been in two games of The Dresden Files and I highly recommend trying out the game.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much Anticipated, Still Struggling And I'll Tell You Why 21 Jan 2011
By Stephen Mann - Published on
First let me say a couple of things off the bat:

The job of designing a game system that would reproduce the events in the Dresden Files books is one I wouldn't have undertaken on a bet, but these guys have managed to figure it out. Kudos for that.


I'm currently running a game of DFRPG, or trying to. Everything I'm going to say is from the heart and from experience. This is the first time I've played anything like this kind of RPG (I run Call of Cthulhu, D20 and Savage Worlds) and it has been an uphill climb to get a grasp of the system.

CAVEAT: There is an official help forum you can access to get answers to questions on this game. Unfortunately, it requires a confirmation email which for reasons beyond me never reached me in several attempts to sign up, preventing my access to the knowledge base it represents. Read accordingly.

This is a review of the Hardback version of the Your Story book for Dresden Files Roleplaying Game.

The game system may have started life as a FATE-based one, but it morphed in the process into something that bears no resemblance I can see to the currently downloadable version of FATE. If you have prior experience of FATE-style games I've no doubt you'll have an easier ride learning DFRPG. I don't, and got no helpful insights from reading the current FATE rules.

The rules system is by necessity very involved (not difficult; involved). It is my opinion that a GM new to FATE-style games would need to read just about the entire book before it began to make complete sense. This has certainly been my experience. Skimming the rules proved to be inadequate to running the game this time (I'm a GM of 35 years standing in many other game systems).

I also find myself paging madly back and forth as I examine this or that aspect of the game. I don't doubt this is a learning curve issue but that curve is extremely steep, much steeper than any other system I've had in my hands.

Is it all worth it? I think so. I'm certainly still running a game twice a month for a keen group, though three months and six sessions in we're still having problems with the mechanics because they are so different to our gaming community's other RPGs. I think the payoff will be worth it. I hope so.

Clearly I'm not the best person to talk to on the mechanics, and I'll happily cede that the other reviewers have more knowledge and a better take on the whole thing. My perception of the game system complexity isn't why stars fell off this review.

[EDIT 11/22/13] I never did properly understand how the "Fate Point Economy" worked from the information in this book, but because I often don't know when I'm beat I picked up a copy of Fate: Core System and after a few minutes reading had my Fate Point Economy epiphany. Now I want to try the DFRPG again.[/EDIT]

Production-wise the book is a hardback, with a cloth binding to which the signatures have been stitched. It should last for many many games providing you don't get it wet (glossy pages don't survive moisture well). Well done Evil Hat for getting the book's construction right.

The pages are glossy, as I said, with full color illustrations derived (I think) from the graphic novels. Each page is colored and decorated as though it were part of a spiral-bound magical notebook, and the text is littered with post-its, blue highlighter and marginalia purportedly between the collaborators of the design team.

And that's why the stars fall off this review.

The graphic designers have gone to a great deal of trouble to make the book look like a work-in-progress, with notes from "Billy" the RPG designer and "Harry" a playtester, and with the occasional aside from "Bob". Sometimes this stuff clarifies a rule, much as a sidebar would in any other rulebook. Sometimes they are simply running in-jokes.

I found the joke content got old (very old very fast) when I began to struggle with the internals of the system itself. It got in the way. It used space, driving up cost of ownership. It was distracting. It was, and remains, annoying. Your mileage may vary.

The index is also particularly vexing. In at least one case the only reference to the subject I was looking for resolved (eventually, after much searching the page text) to a stupid joke post-it. Call me finicky, but indexing the jokes in preference to actual useful entries is unhelpful and worth dropping one star. Indexing them at all was a questionable decision in my opinion.

So, to sum up: Flexible (but complex) game rules with a steep learning curve for Trad. RPG fans, achieves the very difficult goal of modeling events in the DF books, sturdily bound but marred for me by the desire to "gussy up" the contents in a way I found intrusive and unhelpful.

You are going to need FUDGE dice. Cheapest option for the GM: Fudge Dice GMs Multi-Color. [EDIT 11/22/13] It seems the vendor in this listing has gone insane and repriced these dice according to the "used kidney" listings instead of the "game accessory" one. I think these guys have a more realistic expectation, though it pains me to say it since my review is on the original page I linked. No more "helpful" votes for that literary gem then.[/EDIT]

Most evocative sets (in my opinion) for anyone: Q-Workshop: Set of 4 - Carved Ancient Fudge d6 Black & Yellow Fudge Dice and Q-Workshop: Set of 4 - Carved Ancient Fudge d6 Beige & Black Fudge Dice. I think the beige set works best (the dice look like carved bones) but that is just my opinion.
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