Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Dreams of the Red Wizards: Scourge of the Sword Coast

Product-Dreams of the Red Wizards: Scourge of the Sword Coast

Producer-Wizards of the Coast

Price-~$18 (PDF)

System-DnD Next

TL;DR– Not bad, but the worst of the three Sundering Modules. 80%

Basics-Time to go back to the Sword Coast.  Problems are brewing around Daggerford with goblin attacks, orc raids, and gnolls stalking the country side.  The heroes arrive outside of Daggerford as the Duke has barred all non-citizens from entering the town.  Can the heroes save the town and the people stuck outside from the horrors brewing in the Sword Coast?  A DnD Next adventure for character level two to level four.

Story: This module doesn’t seem to have as involved a story as the other two Sundering modules.  It kind of feels like a holding pattern as the players get to find some interesting information, but the players will have to wait till next module to use it.  You get to be a hero, but not completely the one you want to be. 4/5

Mechanics:  This module uses new DnD Next mechanics, so that is fun and give more insight into the progress of DnD Next as rule system.  I really missed the random encounter tables and other stuff that gave the last DnD encounters season it’s amazing flare though. 4.5/5

Execution:  This adventure come is in one source book, and I think that hurts the adventure.  The players will not see it, but as a GM I felt things were too cluttered with important information being mixed with bits of encounters.  I also miss the custom GM screen.  I know I would have to print one out, since this product is a PDF.  But, I missed those little extra bits.  The random encounters really made the world come alive in the last season.  I can do that as a GM, but now I need to do extra work!  Furthermore, I felt like the story needed a diagram to really help me to organize my thoughts regarding the plot.  I feel the story is a bit mixed up and won’t help all the GMs across the world coordinate their efforts well.  Also for $18, I felt like I didn’t get enough.  For $30 I got a printed option with the GM screen.  What I got was nice, legible, and a fun play experience, but this should have been much cheaper for a PDF product. 3.5/5

Summary:  I don’t hate this adventure.  I’ve been the roughest to this Sundering adventure path, but I don’t hate it.  This adventure has the unfortunate luck of coming out after the previous one, WHICH WAS AMAZING!  This one feel like it’s in a holding pattern for the next adventure.  These facts make all the flaws that much more visible.  I would have liked two books, a PDF of a printable GM screen, and some help keeping pace of the adventures, so all the encounters GMs can coordinate better.  However, this one isn’t bad, but I hope the next one lets the players get past level 4!  80%

Daily Punch 2-27-14 Run and Gun Feat for 13th Age

Still thinking about Running and Gunning.  How about a feat tree for 13th Age Characters?


Run and Gun

Adventurer Tier: You do not provoke attacks of opportunity when making a ranged attack in melee.  You may attempt to disengage as part of the attack as a free action.

Champion Tier: Gain a +2 bonus to ranged attack rolls made in melee.

Epic Tier: You gain a +4 bonus to saves made to disengage.  You may add the escalation die to all checks to disengage.



Daily Punch 2-26-14 Run and Gun in DnD Next

Still on my Run and Gun kick for this week.  How about the same feat in DnD Next?


Run and Gun

You know how to get out of a tight spot and how to shoot when you do!


  • When you make an attack or cast a spell that hits targets at range and you are engaged with at least one enemies, you may as part of the attack disengage from that group of enemies.
  • When you attack an enemy as part of the move granted by this power, you gain a bonus to the attack or increase the spell save DC by half your proficiency bonus, minimum +1.


Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of Firefly the Board Game

Product: Firefly the Board Game

Producer: Gale Force Nine

Price: ~$60

Set-up/Play/Clean-up-3 Hours

TL;DR– Take me back to the black! 90%


Basics: Time to see the Verse!  This game is based on the popular, cancelled-too-soon television show.  Now, you need get to get a job, get a crew, and keep flying.  Each turn a player can take two actions.  These actions must be different.  The actions range from moving your ship, doing/starting a job, shopping, or getting new jobs.  You can either move your ship one space or burn fuel and move up to your engines’ speed.  Moving the full amount also makes you draw event cards from an event deck for the type of space you’re in, either the central space or the outlying regions.  These events can range from nothing, to “finding” salvage, to having the reavers attack your ship.  Jobs form the bulk of the game.  As an action you can start a job.  When you start a job, you must be in the location indicated on the job card.  Starting may entail picking up a passengers, fugitives, cargo, or contraband.  Later, at any point in the game as an action, you can finish the job when you get to the right planet.  When you want to finish a job, you must have and pay the amount of items needed.  You may also have to do “Aim to Misbehave” card(s).  The Aim to Misbehave cards give you several options to succeed.  Usually, you have to add up the number of skill icons your crew and objects and add a die roll or have a key word/item to succeed.  When you finish the job, you get paid.  Also, when you finish a job for an individual you completed the job for, you also become solid and get extra options with that person.  Shopping lets you look through a deck of cards at a planet or draw random cards and buy two of them.  You can buy fuel, cargo, crew, and ship upgrades to keep your ship flying.  Dealing lets you draw two jobs from a deck of a specific job deck when on a planet. Players compete to complete a mission.  Missions range from pulling off a heist to getting a lot of money.  Often these missions have multiple parts and require going to multiple planets and misbehaving.  First one to complete the mission wins the game.


Theme:  This game oozes theme.  You feel like you’re in the Firefly universe.  You get to go to iconic places and meet people from the show.  The game pieces, mechanics, and board all help with this also.  For me, this game sets the bar for theme for games going forward. 5/5


Mechanics:  The game has some simple mechanics that really help with the theme.  The random encounters, aiming to misbehave, and missions all feel like they belong on the set of Firefly.  The game also has some simple resolution mechanics with the simple dice roll plus numbers.  Those are all great, but parts of this game are completely broken.  The companion captain is amazingly broken by getting free crew.  Some items and crew are completely overpowered.  Some combinations are completely unbeatable.  And this game has a runaway victor problem.  That doesn’t kill the game, but it does hurt the game a bit. 3.5/5


Instructions:  The instructions are clear and well written.  I liked what I saw and was able to figure out how to play pretty quick.  I did have some questions, but these were not game ending questions like some games.  Heck the instructions have that mix of modern and cowboy slang that was famous from the show. 4.5/5


Art/Execution: This game has some of my favorite parts of any game.  This game has Firefly universe money and its real cash!  You don’t know how amazing that is till you hear it slide against each other and feel it in your hands.  The other pieces are great too.  I liked the art.  It’s all feels like it just “fits.” 5/5


Summary:  This is right up there with my favorite games of the year.  I get lost in this game, in a good way.  When I play, I get so wrapped up in the world and doing jobs that I forget about the game wining mission.  Heck, most of the other players do to.  That’s the mark of a great game.  When you want to keep playing so much that you don’t even want to win, you just want to keep playing. 90%

Daily Punch 2-25-14 Run and Gun feat for Pathfinder

Here is a feat for Pathfinder based on yesterdays quality for Shadowrun.


Run and Gun (Combat)

You move quickly and aim quicker.

Prerequisites: Dex 13, Dodge, Mobility.

Benefit: You get a +4 bonus to range attack rolls when you leave a threatened area to make a range attack roll.  You must move at least 10 feet.  Your ranged attack does not provoke an attack of opportunity if you move at least 10 feet.

Silver Screen Smackdown- The Lego Movie Review

Movie- The Lego Movie



Basics- This movie is stupid simple till it takes some amazing turns and become one of the most complex things I’ve seen in a long time.  The basic plot is Lord Business is planning to do “something” to the entire world with the Kragal.  Our hero finds the way to stop it, completely by accident, and now must quest to save the world across different Lego sets.  Along the way he meets an interesting cast of characters including Batman!  I’m keeping the plot vague because it’s best to just experience it!


Plot- The plot is amazingly simple till it shifts late in the movie to extreme nuanced.  It’s laugh out loud funny.  It tugs at your heart.  It’s just pure awesome! 5/5


Acting- The acting is top notch.  The characters alternate between believable to caricatures, but it’s done when they need to be.  Everything fits and the people make it happen.  Heck, the little random cameos even make the movie better than a random grab for attention 5/5


Visuals-  The world is made of Lego, literally.  Character takes a shower?  Little Lego clear single bits fall out on him.  Explosion?  Made of Lego fire and then Lego smoke.  It’s beautiful!  Some things are not made of Lego, but the reason they are is self explanatory.  Every scene is a new Lego play set.  It’s not a commercial so much as the director using the existing worlds Lego has built.  The look makes me think back to when I was 5 and played with different Lego play sets.  I was hit right in the childhood! 5/5


Summary-I want to see thing again.  I want to go see it again after that.  I want to see this so many times in a row I hate it.  I honestly don’t think that’s possible! 100%

Blurbs from the Booth: A tale of two Companies: Is WotC Evil?

I love RPGs.  I love to play crazy one-shots made my obscure companies.  I love to play living games made by GIANT, multinational companies.  I like random pick-up games at con with people I don’t know and will most likely never see again.  I love these game!

But, I noticed something over the last few weekends.  I’m seeing nerd rage on levels I hadn’t seen before.  Lots of this was directed at Wizards of the Coast (WotC).  Some of this came from people who are still made that WotC is owned by Hasbro.  Some is directed at their “money-grabbing” tactics.  Some are gloating of the failure of 4e.

This kind of made me mad and sad.  When I discussed this with many of these people, most of them said the next edition was doomed to fail also, and WotC kind of deserved this.  When I asked, many of these people said they had not tried DnD Next, nor did they want to.  Again, this was because of the negative image that WotC had for them.

I think this is unfair at best.  WotC has some of the best support for gamers and the brick and mortar stores.  While it does befit WotC in non monetary ways, DnD encounters have continued even since WotC stopped releasing purchasable products for DnD.  Heck for the longest time, WotC offered DnD encounters completely for free and gave out dice.  Now you have to buy the adventure, but they still give out promotional material for each encounters season.  In addition to that, WotC has supported the Living Forgotten Realms for quite some time.  This might have shifted to a labor of love as WotC stopped paying writers, but WotC still supported the campaign and helped ensure that this was given floor space at major cons.  Heck stores that run multiple DnD encounter and Living Forgotten Realm events became “premier” stores and were given early access to WotC products.  This support represents a large financial investment in the brick and mortar community.

Now I would like to engage in a thought experiment.  Paizo is often seen as the white knight compared to WotC evil, dark wizard.  I don’t think this holds up.  Paizo does do geek outreach, but this is matched by WotC.  Both have supported Free RPG day.  Both give out random crap at cons (still got my buttons from both!).  However, I see major difference in their support of the physical community financially.  Paizo does have a living campaign, which I play in and run often.  However, this is not free.  WotC’s LFR has been (mostly) free since its inception in 4e.  For the large part, Pathfinder Society (PFS) charges for events.  What’s more, these adventures are only available online.  The brick and mortar stores are unable to make any money from these direct sales.  Furthermore, Paizo’s business model favors direct sales both on line and in physical products.  Through bulk order, online exclusives, and free PDFs, Paizo encourages players to only buy their produces through their website.  In addition, Paizo’s release schedule is several small products per month with few hard cover books per year.  This release schedule of small books forces most stores I have seen to only carry the larger books and leave the smaller books, the bulk of Paizo’s release schedule, to Paizo own sales.  This is in direct opposition to WotC’s business model of few hard cover releases each year that are predominately physical books.

Now, this is not a hippy WotC love fest, nor is this a condemnation of Paizo.  WotC has done some things that have annoyed me in the past.  They have also made some business decisions that have angered me (looking right at you GPL!).  Paizo has also show great support for the RPG community in several ways.  Paizo is an intelligent company who understand the plight of the brick and mortar retailer and is not trying to undermine their existence.  My goal here is to show that both companies are not necessary the paragons of corporate greed, evil, or virtue.  The goal is to show both of these places are businesses that make choices that reflect their best understanding of the market.  It’s in neither of their best interests for the brick and mortar stores to fail.

My point of this is to not hate a company out of hand and to not extend that hate to the products they make.  If a company constantly does thing you hate like employing sweat labor or other egregious business practices, then that is one thing.  If a company made a game you didn’t like some time ago then that’s a different matter.  I had one player randomly show up for a PFS game.  He had a great time, and I mentioned I also run DnD encounters using DnD Next.  He flatly stated he would never play that game because of WotC.  When I finally got him to sit down and play, he now can’t get enough of DnD Next.  I’ve had players go the opposite way.  I’ve had players try one and absolute HATE the other.  And you know what, that’s fine!  Amazing even!  If you hate a game because you play it and think it bad, that’s an honest opinion.  If you just sit in the back and cross your arms and fume because company X made a thing, and company X is bad because of reasons, then that’s sad on a lot of levels.

My point is game on.  So long as the game isn’t actively hurting someone, the game doesn’t cover horrific, offensive material, or the company run my active members of the Third Reich (figured I’d Godwin myself here), then give it a try.  Just game and see what you like and don’t like.

Ok, now time to ride the exercise bike while reading the DnD Encounter story then off to run my PFS game.

Daily Punch 2-20-14 Mass Calm Spell in DnD Next

How about a nice spell like a fireball but for the Bards out there?


Mass Calm

3rd-level Enchantment

Casting Time: 1 Action

Range: 100ft

Duration: 10 minutes

Choose a point within range.  All creatures in a 20-ft radius must make a wisdom saving throw.  If they fail, their general attitude improves two steps as the spell soothes their emotions.  This lasts 10 minutes or until they are physically harmed.