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Shadow of the Demon Lord (SDL1000) by Robert J. Schwalb (2015-11-01)
Shadow of the Demon Lord (SDL1000) by Robert J. Schwalb (2015-11-01)
by Robert J. Schwalb
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The beautiful, evil love child of D&D5 and WFRP2, 6 Jan. 2016
I was a Kickstarter backer for this game.

And what an amazing game it is! This is a highly polished game which can be viewed as the spiritual successor to WFRP2, with a dark setting and mechanics perfectly tuned to support a grim and deadly game.

Before I delve into the mechanics (which will be the bulk of this review), let me first comment on the physical product itself. It is a hardback, full-colour gaming book with premium slightly glossy paper throughout, along with a full index at the back. This isn't a Print-On-Demand product, and it shows - this is a premium gaming intended to compete with the likes of D&D, Pathfinder and Fantasy Flight Games. There is also lots of full-colour artwork throughout. Art is a subjective thing - I have to say I really like about 95% of it, with 5% (just a few pieces) not quite to my liking. The author spent a lot of Kickstarter money on hiring good artists with whom he has worked on previous professional RPG's (including WFRP2 and D&D), so these aren't amateurs.

So, the book itself is great - but how does it play?

Like WFRP, the book does encourage ambiguous characters (ie "good" characters with flaws and "bad" characters with redeeming qualities) which is a welcome change from typical heroic fantasy in the vein of Tolkien (mainly looking at you, D&D).

Whilst this is clearly a love letter to Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, it also has mechanical influences from D&D5 (both of which the author professionally worked on). There are other mechanical influences in here, too (Edge of the Empire & FATE Core among others), but if you must compare this to any other game, it should be WFRP2.

The mechanics are brilliant, using a d20 with banes & boons reflected in additional d6s. Target number for most challenge rolls is a straight-forward 10. The banes & boons remind me of the excellent Edge of the Empire RPG, but is far simpler in practice, as the banes & boons cancel each other out, keeping the dice pool down (and not requiring bespoke dice!). There are 4 attributes (Strength, Agility, Intellect and Will), and skills are replaced with your character's profession (career prior to becoming an adventurer). If a challenge could be influenced by your profession, you add a boon. Simple!

Combat is also refreshingly simple yet still manages to have depth, the highlight of which is Fast & Slow turns feature. The PC's always go first (except vs some high-level monsters which have feats allowing them to bypass this), but have to decide to go on a Fast turn (where they can only do one thing) or a Slow turn (where they can effectively move and take an action). Adversaries also have the same option, which means they will sometimes go before the PC's (where the adversaries go Fast and the PC's go Slow). As there is no turn order, the PC's decide who goes when at the start of each round, similar to Star Wars Edge of the Empire. The result is a surprising elegant solution to initiative, which I've never been 100% happy with in previous systems. I love it here.

Paths are the careers / classes you take when you level up, and these are introduced in a structured way that encourages an organic character development, rather than the min+maxing planning that D&D seems to invite. Speaking of levelling up, it is done as a group when it is applicable to the story (usually at the end of each adventure), not individually, a refreshing change to calculating XP.

In terms of races (here called ancestries), Schwalb has taken traditional fantasy races and tropes, and twisted them away from Tolkien (and other games) in a unique way, to fit his vision. As such we see "traditional" races such as humans, dwarfs and orcs, as well as goblins, clockwork and changelings in this core rulebook. Supplements already released introduce unique takes on halflings, fauns, vampires, revenants and salamanders. Future supplements (all due out in 2016) will introduce elves, gnomes, jotuun, nephilim and cambions. It's also surprisingly easy to create your own ancestries (I've created a semi-aquatic people for a pirate campaign). True to it's WFRP roots, there are heaps of random ancestry tables to personalise your character.

The setting is appropriately dark, being on the verge of a supernatural apocalypse. Demons, cultists, beastmen and other horrible creatures all feature. Those familiar with Warhammer Fantasy will find themselves quickly at home.

I strongly suggest finding the free preview online (you can find it at DTRPG), then reading the Foreword (half a page), Preface (1 page) and Introduction (from "Moral Ambiguity" to "Examples of Play", approx 2 pages). They will help give you a taste of what is on offer here. If after reading those sections you are even slightly interested, I would highly recommend buying it, because the rules and mechanics are incredibly well thought out, easy to grasp and highly adaptable to many genres. I can see this supplanting D&D and WFRP at many gaming tables.

There is also a glut of additional material available on DTRPG, including many, many adventures, a campaign (Tales of the Demon Lord), a GM expansion (The Demon Lord's Companion) and a GM screen. More content is out pretty much every week (mainly 3-8 page adventures designed to play in a single session), with more content planned throughout the 2016. A future Kickstarter has also been hinted at!

This is hands down the best RPG I've ever experienced. In addition, my D&D loving group (who also enjoy WFRP2, FATE Core and Star Wars EOTE) are also highly enjoying it.

I give this a hearty 5 out of 5 demonic pentagrams.


SquareTrade 3-Year Warranty Plus Accident Protection (£175-200 Items)
SquareTrade 3-Year Warranty Plus Accident Protection (£175-200 Items)

5.0 out of 5 stars Peace-of-mind cover, 16 Nov. 2011
After shelling out close to £200 on a new Xbox console, spending an extra £36 to fully cover the console for 3 years, in case of accidents or the dreaded Red Ring of Death (RROD), was a no-brainer. Seeing how they cover a wide range of products, I'm actually a little annoyed I purchased my DSLR last year from another site, and so missed out on this cover.

Customer service: I accidentally sent the wrong Amazon invoice to get attached to my SquareTrade account, and phoned up to replace it with the proper one. Not only was the agent extremely helpful, he also stayed on the line with me until he could verify that the new invoice had arrived. This was completely unnecessary from his perspective, so full marks from me on going the extra mile.

I did a fair amount of investigating, to see other people's experiences, and there are plenty of reviews out there [...] where people have made claims without issue.

Needless to say, from other positive reviews and my own experience, I have no hesitation in recommending SquareTrade for peace-of-mind coverage of your electronics.


SquareTrade 3-Year Game Console Warranty Plus Accident Cover (£150-175 Items)
SquareTrade 3-Year Game Console Warranty Plus Accident Cover (£150-175 Items)

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Peace-of-mind cover, 16 Nov. 2011
After shelling out close to £200 on a new Xbox console, spending an extra £36 to fully cover the console for 3 years, in case of accidents or the dreaded Red Ring of Death (RROD), was a no-brainer. Seeing how they cover a wide range of products, I'm actually a little annoyed I purchased my DSLR last year from another site, and so missed out on this cover.

Customer service: I accidentally sent the wrong Amazon invoice to get attached to my SquareTrade account, and phoned up to replace it with the proper one. Not only was the agent extremely helpful, he also stayed on the line with me until he could verify that the new invoice had arrived. This was completely unnecessary from his perspective, so full marks from me on going the extra mile.

I did a fair amount of investigating, to see other people's experiences, and there are plenty of reviews out there (ReviewCentre.com and the main SquareTrade page here on Amazon.co.uk which has over 300 reviews) where people have made claims without issue.

Needless to say, from other positive reviews and my own experience, I have no hesitation in recommending SquareTrade for peace-of-mind coverage of your electronics.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 7, 2012 12:36 PM GMT


Lexar - Micro-SDHC Card (16 GB) 16GB MICROSDHC Class 6 USB
Lexar - Micro-SDHC Card (16 GB) 16GB MICROSDHC Class 6 USB

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Worked great... Until today!, 3 Sept. 2011
I bought this little memory card at the beginning of July and it had been a good, fast card until today. When I woke up, my Sony Xperia Arc phone alerted me that my SD card was damaged. Everything on the card was gone and plugging it into my PC resulted in a prompt to format the blank card.

I deliberately went with Lexar as it is a known brand, so am feeling quite angry that it has failed. I own probably about 8 memory cards, for use mainly in digital cameras and phones, and this is the first time ever that I have had a failure.

Reformatting the card has made it usable again, but my faith in its reliability is gone. I will be hunting about now for a new card, this time from a different brand!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 22, 2011 4:10 PM GMT


Grand Theft Auto IV (Xbox 360)
Grand Theft Auto IV (Xbox 360)
Offered by Game Trade Online
Price: £18.49

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Takes itself far too seriously, with mediocre graphics, 7 Oct. 2008
I loved all the previous GTA games, going right back to the very first one on PC! I couldn't wait to get my hands on this one...

When I eventually started playing, I was in awe at the sheer size of this game. There are lots of things you can do - go on dates (queue mini-games), use a mobile phone, wander into various shops, meet friends and of course, steal cars. However, I found myself slowing losing interest as the game progressed and before I completed 20% of the game, I decided that it just wasn't fun.

Sure, you can do all sorts of new things not possible in the previous games, but that over-the-top drive to rule the city (or state as the case may be!), stealing & killing your way to the top has been replaced with a morality that has changed the flavour of the game and made it... dreary.

Needless to say, I sold this on and am now looking forward to playing some new games (Fable 2, Fallout 3, Far Cry 2) for their escapism and thrills, not for their bleak and depressing take on the life of a criminal trying to make an honest dollar, but failing at every turn.

I'm sure this game will appeal to loads of realism-junkies and teenagers who will love stealing cars and beating to people to death with a baseball bat. It's just not my cup of tea.

Perhaps Saints Row 2 would tempt me, if this had not left such a sour taste in my mouth.


The Darkness (PS3)
The Darkness (PS3)
Offered by Toys 2000
Price: £19.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre and over far too quickly, 7 Oct. 2008
This review is from: The Darkness (PS3) (Video Game)
Decent FPS with good graphics & story, though it is over far too quickly, with not a lot in it to bring you back in for more. To be honest, I was quite relieved when I completed it, as I wouldn't have to watch another one of those annoying cutscenes.

And multiplayer? Well, let me just say that it wasn't enough to keep me from selling this on.


Uncharted: Drakes Fortune - Platinum Edition (PS3)
Uncharted: Drakes Fortune - Platinum Edition (PS3)
Offered by DVDBayFBA
Price: £15.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great action let down by graphics & repetition, 7 Oct. 2008
My favourite game on the PS3 at the moment. The graphics are great... when the textures eventually load up, which seems to be a frequent problem. Gameplay is addcitive and fun, though it does get repetitive after a while. Don't expect to play this for days on end.

Would I buy this again? For £15: definitely!


Halo 3: Limited Collector's Edition (Xbox 360)
Halo 3: Limited Collector's Edition (Xbox 360)

4.0 out of 5 stars Good fun, but yet to drag me in for more, 7 Oct. 2008
Following the huge hype, I must admit to being somewhat disappointed by this game.

Don't get me wrong, single-player is satisfyingly long, and multi-player is extremely fun (if you can keep away from the teenagers), but I found the game to be somewhat repetitive, with repeated enemies and a rather pathetic storyline.

Overall, this is a fun game and worth a purchase, especially if you can get a bargain used one like I did!

The Collector's Edition has a Bonus DVD (the usual making of, etc) and booklet. Yippee.


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