Malice Tombs: Starter Set Review

Every time I open an new Package from Dark Arts Minatures, I am always supried at how much I love them!

After using the tomb set for a couple of months now I can say without doubt that the Dark Arts Miniatures Malice Tomb Set is the best set I’ve used. The size of the pieces, being 25mm square, make it extremely easy to build out a nice-sized tomb complete with coffin and foreboding statue, platforms, and other interesting scenery. Adding in the accessories and doors and other extensions can help you create literally millions of tombs or dungeons.

My primary intent for the tomb set is to run fantasy DND style games. However they have been put to use in other settings too including Scifi, and a few sets together can make some great Zone Mortalis games. Beyond that, however, I was able to use the set immediately in my Rifts game, all of the players remarked at the detail of the set.  On how much crisper and detailed it is compared with the likes of Hirst arts and Dwarven forge.

This highly detailed resin Starter Set is great for DM’s to use as encounter layouts.  It is also ideal for those wanting to try out the range or acting as a solid core for you to expand on.  Each square measures 25 x 25mm representing 5ft sq and is suitable for miniature scales 25-28mm but can also be used up to 32mm. The set includes:

Passageways (1)  1×2 (1)  2×2 (1)  3×2 (1)  4×2 (1)  5×2 (1)  4×2 curved passage (1)  45 degree cut tile

Room tiles (1)  4×4  (1)  2×2  (1)  2×2 curved quarter tile  (2)  Crescent tiles (1)  4×4 feature tile

Feature pieces  (1)  Upper stairway (1)  Lower stairway (1)  Stairway going down (1)  Double doors with removable doors   (1)  Archway (1)  Stone door with removable door  (2)  Short ‘dead end’ feature walls (1)  Stone statue (1)  Stone pillar (1)  Broken pillar (1)  Lords casket with removable lid

The set also includes ‘The Awoken of Dwar Ri An’ mini adventure suitable for most RPG’s. It gives great atmosphere to the terrain and also serves as a guide on what kinds of layouts can be made with the sets.

At only £25 for the Starter Set, that’s a great bargain for any role playing game working out at only £1.00 per piece.  When I use them, however, there is no doubt that they are built to last, my group has even tested the by stamping and jumping on the tiles and they are still intact.

The creator creator of Dwarven Forge. once made a  bold statement  that Dwarven Forge are the best 3D dungeon models in the world. I beg to disagree.  The quality of these tiles shine through, and with the sheer cost of importing Dwarven forge to the UK you could literally fill a whole table with Tomb tiles for the same cost of a single set of Dwarven forge.

Overall if you are looking to invest in some RPG tiles look no further than Malice Tiles.

Check them out over at


DiceShaker D&D short review for Android

Being particularly forgetful, Dice Shaker D&D is an almost essential part of my gaming kit. It is always with me when I have my phone and I have forgotten my dice for a session.

DiceShaker D&D is a 3D RPG dice roller app with realistic graphics and advanced physics. It contains a full set of polyhedral dice for role-playing game sessions.

– d4, d6, d8, d10, d12 and d20 RPG dice, including percentage dice
– shake the phone or tap the screen to roll the dice, or flick the dice individually
– switch between five separate dice screens
– realistic graphics and physics – tilt the phone upside down and the dice fall on the glass
– total score

For a game like D&D, this is a great tool. You can have some dice presets for things like a single d20, a set of dice for your typical damage roll, etc. For games like most Storyteller system games, it can get bogged down. Adding just a handful of d10s will drag the program to a frustrating crawl.

It’s also missing several key features, such as the ability to use d2, d3 and fudge dice, the ability to add modifiers, or the ability to count successes over a threshold again, for Vampire or Exalted systems.

For a newbie RPG player who don’t have much in cash; you’ve got numerous things to buy before you can get started, including handbooks and manuals that can run you up to £50. Like the books, multi-sided dice are an integral part of the game, and a set of 10 standard dice will run you £5.00 it can make the asking price of this app seem reasonable.

There are many other dice rollers on the Android he market, you can even find a couple for free. What individualizes Dice Shaker from the rest , is that it fully renders 3D dice to be thrown on a table and uses the phone’s accelerometer to simulate just that. You can actually pick up your phone and shake it, and the dice will react as if they’ve been thrown. This can also lead to the same familiar frustration as real dice where some of the dice land on edge, however a simple nudge of the phone will soon sort that out.

Flinging your dice gives you a very satisfying sound as they bounce around, which is just another layer of polish to a beautiful app. The fact that numbers are printed on the sides of the rendered dice can eliminate questions of whether the dice rolls are truly random, as they react as any normal set would.

Dice Shaker also, includes three different table tops and seven colors of dice. The dice can be mixed and matched as well, truly allowing for a personalized experience. In order to aid in ease of use during gaming, you also have also five “tables” which can be flicked through like home screens: each save the dice that are placed on them, so you can call upon roll combinations you use often. I personally use this feature a lot for example one page having your characters attack dice then next page having your damage dice.

In the end this is the best 3D dice app I’ve seen for Android, but as far as the potential to become the great Android App app, it’s got a tweaks to make, especially exploding dice support. For storyteller games or Rolemaster.  All in all it is well worth the asking price even for a part time gamer.

Rifts Review

Its been almost a whole year since I’ve submitted any new posts,  I do have a personal goal of reviewing at least a small amount of book that I have sitting on my shelf. I am known to some of my friends as a Palladium Fan-boy so this review may seem someone biased but I will try to remain objective.


I fist started playing rifts as one of my first RPGS when I was around 14 years old, having previously learnt about role playing from the Palladium Fantasy game and have since collect a large collection of its various expansions and spin off books some of which can be seen in the above photo.

Some of the following information has been taken from many online resources including Wikipedia and Palladium books own information.

Rifts is a multiple genre role playing game created by Kevin Simbieda in August 1990 and published continuously by Palladium Books since then. Rifts takes place in a post-apocalyptic future, deriving elements from cyberpunk, Sci Fi, fantasy and many other genres. It is often referred to the kitchen sink of genres.

The Setting

The foundations for the Rifts world were originally developed in Beyond the Supernatural, which uses Lovecraft storytelling techniques for a role-playing experience based on horror fiction

The Rifts world is Earth, but hundreds of years into the future. Magic energy exists, and is called potential psychic energy (PPE). PPE can be found in certain places, objects, and animals, but one of its greatest sources is human beings. While this has a variety of applications, upon a human’s death, the energy is doubled, and then released into the surrounding environment. Ley Lines, lines of magic energy, intersect the earth forming supernatural areas such as the Bermuda Triangle.


In Rifts, points where ley lines intersect, called a nexus, are places of powerful magic, such as the Pyramids of Giza and Stonehenge. If a ley line nexus grows very strong, the very fabric of space and time can be torn thus creating a rift, a hole in space-time leading to another place, time or a new or parallel dimension. Ley Lines are normally invisible, but in the magic-saturated world of Rifts Earth, they become visible at night as massive bands of blue-white energy half a mile wide, and stretching for many miles. If the PPE nearby is extremely strong the Ley Lines could be seen during the day too.

Rifts history first begins with, that there will be a golden age of humanity with tremendous advances in science, technology, military, and society. Humanity as a whole will get along as a majority of Earth’s nations decide to stop a world war and begin to share ideas and technology freely. Much of the solar system will be conquered, humanity’s wars will end, and harmony will reign.

Second, this golden age will be followed by an apocalyptic nuclear war that starts with a border incursion by NEMA (North American Economic Military Alliance, comprising Canada, The U.S., and Mexico) forces in South America during the year 2098. The special circumstances of Earth’s mystic position in the Universe at that changes what would “normally” be the deaths of a few million living beings into a psychic energy flood that triggers the eruption of ley lines and triggering natural disasters across the world and also causes the return of Atlantis which raised the water levels causing even more death. The additional deaths in turn releases even more mystic energy in a vicious cycle.

Ultimately, the psychic energy of billions of human beings dying nearly simultaneously, multiplied by the mystic alignments mentioned earlier, energized the ley line networks crisscrossing the globe and caused many rifts to open, both on Earth and throughout the Megaverse – while simultaneously ripping untold numbers of alien beings from their own homeworlds and alerting the Great Powers of the Megaverse of a new planet to conquer.

Many creatures, both mythical beasts and alien beings, come through the Rifts – some of them now permanently opened – to wreak havoc.

The old world is gone, a new dark age has dawned and humanity’s shrinking population is reduced, due to catastrophe and domestic failure, immeasurably.

Rifts game play takes place roughly 300 years after this event, described as 103 P.A., or “Post-Apocalypse”, a calendar established at the formation of the Coalition States.

This is equivalent to the year 2389, according to the New German Republic. Although different story lines may begin before or after, such as with the invasion of Chi-Town by the Federation of Magic (before) or as the Four Horsemen appear in Africa (after), most of the series “World Books” are described with a kind of snapshot of 103-109 P.A. In the latest World Books, the current date is around 110 P.A. (2396).

By this time, most of the disasters have quieted down, though Earth is still bathed in the released PPE. The planet’s mystical energy has added untold numbers of alien beings from other dimensions, who continue to arrive through the Rifts both accidentally and deliberately. These creatures include humanoid Dimensional Beings (called D-Bees).

Some are familiar fantasy races, such as elves and dwarfs, others have never before been seen before. Also now sharing the planet are monstrous creatures and mystical demons with hides as strong as tank armor.  The most powerful are the Alien Intelligence’s  Lovecraftian, living mountains of flesh, lidless eyes and wriggling tentacles with great supernatural powers. In some rare cases, even the ancient gods of mythology have returned to reclaim their former lands.

To cope with these natural, supernatural, and alien menaces, the human race has tried to change in a variety of ways, many of them borrowed from the technological developments of the lost Golden Age.

Augmentation of the human body has become common with three basic categories: the “Juicers” do it chemically, the “Borgs” do it mechanically, and the “Crazies” make use of performance-enhancing brain implants.

Another popular theme used by humans to combat the dangers of Rifts Earth are powered armor suits, and giant robot vehicles or Mechs.

Some turn to other means to become “more” than human. Magic abounds on Rifts Earth, and many people turn to the magical arts. Others form pacts with alien intelligence’s or deities in exchange for great magical knowledge, almost always becoming pawns of the beings they dared turn to for power.

Still others discover that they have great psionic potential, and dedicate their lives to discovering the abilities of their own minds.

The Book

There are numerous editions; the one I currently looking at is, 256page , double column typical of Palladium Books, very well perfect bound that has taken years of abuse without pages falling out.

It has a  table of contents but no index.

The black and white art is excellent and is often cited as the reason some people buy these books. There are also some full-color plates which have a couple of very nice examples by Kevin Parkinson. who also illustrated the famous cover.

The organisation of the book and unfortunately a lot of other rifts books  is haphazard and clunky organization; it starts off sensibly enough with character generation, but then moves into skills and combat before character classes. Psionic and magical abilities are described after setting information.

Character Creation

Character gen is familiar to anyone who has played any other Palladium game.  Roll 3d6 for 8 attributes; if you roll a 16, 17, or 18, roll another 1d6. This can lead to some very unbalanced parties, however this can lead to some interesting character concepts.

Hit points  are directly derived from Physical Endurance, plus 1d6 per level. In addition to hit points there is Structural Damage Capacity (SDC), which ranges from 3d6 to 1d4*10 depending on character class. Damage is applied to SDC before hit points;

In Rifts, most weapons do mega-damage, where 1 MDC is the equivalent of 100 SDC .

In most games I have played it ie extremely rare to see  an SDC based character  using MDC armor and weapons is the only level that a character has any chance of staying alive.

This is a class-based system, specifically “Racial Character Classes” and “Occupational Character Classes”, one per character. This includes a range of cyborgs, juicers, various magic-using professions, and perhaps the most iconic class the Glitter Boy.

The classes range from Terminator style cyborgs to Ray Mears Wilderness survival guys .

The System

Rifts comes with a huge list of skills, split into the groups of Communications, Domestic, Electrical, Espionage, Mechanical, Medical, Military, Pilot, Rogue, Science, Technical, Weapon Proficiency  and Wilderness. With a roll-under percentage system for resolution

The  skill choices available are suited to the setting however the skills themselves can sometimes seem to be placed in the wrong grouping which can lead to some searching back and forth through the book during character creation.

The combat system in Rifts is based on rounds, with a d20 roll for initiative, and a to-hit roll versus the armor rating (AR) of the opponent, with a 1-4 representing a clean miss. The defender may respond with a parry, dodge, or entangle.

If the defender fails the attacker rolls damage, with critical strikes (natural 20) doing double damage.

The Magic

There is a huge list psionic powers which cost ISP (Inner Strength Points) to activate. ISPs are recovered by sleep and meditation.  In addition to psionics there are 150 spells, differentiated by class level (one to fifteen). Spells are powered by Potential Psychic Energy, which can be derived from ley lines, living creatures.

The End

Overall, there is much to like Rifts. The system is know as clunky at times and most game will involve some serious amount of house ruling. The setting is by far my favorite of all the games I own and can lead to some very interesting games. The system itself is compatible  with what would probably amount to hundreds of book and is compatible with all the other Palladium line up which means you can Have your Glitter boy rubbing noses with a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, or battling a Super Powered Villains from Heroes Unlimited. The list is truly endless.

The writing in this book certainly shows a lot of passion from Kevin a style which is evident in all his books, however there are a multitude of typos and errata. This can lead to frustrating read, but in the end it will be well worth the work being able to play with this amazing setting and you will enjoy some truly unforgettable games.