Daily Punch 2-21-14 Quick talker Feat For Pathfinder

Ran a game of Pathfinder.  Here is a feat they players really needed.

Quick Talker

You might not have meant to say what you said, but your quick talking saved the day.

Benefit: A number of times per day equal to half your charisma modifier, you can reroll a failed charisma based skill roll.

Thoughts?

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.

Ring Side Report- Numenera Source book Mega Review

How about a multi-part review of the recent Numenera source book releases?  Ok, let’s go!

 

Product: In Strange Aeons: Lovecraftian Numenera

Producer: Monte Cook Games

Price: ~$3

System: Numenera

TL;DR–  If you love Numenera and Cthulhu, then it’s a no brainer! 90%

 

Basics:  Time to mix Cthulhu and Numenera like chocolate and peanut butter.  This book gives the GM’s ideas, mechanics, and monsters for Numenera.  The book starts with a discussion of what Lovecraftian horror is then moves to mixing that in with Numenera.  From there, the book dives right in to rules for the cosmic horror in the game system.  To round out the short 13 pages, the book gives some new descriptors for the PCs and monsters as well as some classic Lovecraftian horrors for your game.

 

Theme:  Knocked it right out of the park!  The book uses its short run to really hammer home the ideas of cosmic horror and explain the basics of to the uninitiated.  And this book comes with a short suggested reading list.  That is necessary!  What’s there is a great way to get someone into the mythos quickly and efficiently.  And the whole idea of Numenera really does work well with Lovecraft unlike some other games. 5/5

 

Mechanics: Again, this section is amazing.  The use of the cypher system works well here to illustrate how different types of damage hurt the player in different ways.  The added rules are not the bulky and really do bring home the Lovecraft with sanity damage.  The book doesn’t add a whole lot of extra in terms of player content, but what it does have is really focused Lovecraft content.  The monsters that area added are also well done.  One thing that really hurt the book though is the absence of a particular giant, tentacled horror that really should have been in this product! 4.5/5

 

Art:  The book has new art that is atmospheric.  I love what I see, but I think there should have been a bit more or varied the pictures more.  I don’t particularly like the blurry style that some of the smaller picture.  Nothing is bad here, but a lot of the art is repeated in a small book.  However, this book has one of the best pictures of a shoggoth you will ever see. 4/5

 

Execution:  The book is well put together.  The text reads well, and the flow leads your eye.  I like the side comments in the margins.  Those little tidbits really make the book come alive.  It feels like a Lovecraft and Numenera book.  The price isn’t horrible.  I don’t like the $3 price for 13 pages, but it’s comparable to other PDF only books by other publisher. 4.5/5

 

Summary:  This is a great book to introduce a Numenera group to Lovecraft.  The book is short, but does pack a punch.  Anytime you add a new aspect to a game, I love a reading list and this one has one.  This book isn’t perfect, but it is amazing.  If you want to add some Lovecraft flare to your game, this is your book and you need to buy it now.  If you don’t want to add that, then this isn’t the book for you. 90%

 

Number 2!

 

Product: Cypher Collection 1

Producer: Monte Cook Games

Price: ~$3

System: Numenera

TL;DR– Want some more cyphers?  Here you go! 95%

 

Basics: Need some more one time use, random items from all across the previous eight worlds?  This book is cholk full of them!

 

Theme:  For a book of items, I didn’t expect many.  However, I was wrong.  Monte Cook Games likes to put random little side things in the margins.  That is amazing as it adds depth to each of the items they talk about.  The items do get some nice descriptions even if they don’t get text in the margins. 5/5

 

Mechanics: This book should almost solely be dedicated to mechanics since it’s an item book.  However, that would merely make the book passable.  This book goes a step ahead and gives you a random item generator early in the book.  That right there is why the book gets a 5.  5/5

 

Art: This book kind of suffers from the same art problem as all the other Numenera books.  The art isn’t bad, but it’s reused a lot for a short book.  Also some of the art is this book looks a bit out of place as some looks almost like clip art.  Nothing bad and it does give some world building via pictures, but it’s not my favorite. 4/5

 

Execution:  In terms of text and layout, this is another well done book.  It reads quick.  It’s entertaining, and it doesn’t hurt my head to look over it.  The 1st page is the random item generator because that the page I’m going to use the most from this book.  And that right there shows that this was made by gamers for gamers.  Heck, for 50 items for $3, I won’t even complain about the price!  5/5

 

Summary:  If you like Numenera, then you need this book.  Now, everybody won’t need a copy, but if the GM has a copy, then the table will benefit.  This is a simple, well done book with lots of new random items, and you need a copy for your Numenera game. 95%

 

Number 3!

 

Product: Artifacts and Oddities Collection 1

Producer: Monte Cook Games

Price: ~$3

System: Numenera

TL;DR– Want some more random items for Numenera?  Here you go? 100%

 

Basics: Need a bunch more powerful, random items and random, strange items for your Numenera game?  Here you go?  This book give you 50 artifacts, powerful items that may not deplete after use, and 50 oddities, not powerful items that may give much smaller effects like on the scale of a flashlight.

 

Theme: Again, there is a suppressing amount of story in this item book.  Much like all other Numenera books, the authors add side notes in the margin that add to the Numenera world.  Also, the items have great descriptions to help you visualize the objects in question. 5/5

 

Mechanics:  This is basically a mechanics book since it’s dedicated to items.  What’s more, this book has TWICE as many items as the last one with both artifacts and oddities.  The items are all fresh and interesting, so its value for money in my opinion.  And RANDOM TABLES!   FOR BOTH ARIFACTS AND ODDITIES! That is amazing!  Why is that not in more item books?! 5/5

 

Art:  I’ve only started writing these reviews, but in this book the authors look like the listened to my comments.  This book has fewer reuses of pictures and less random pictures.  There is a semi-random welding mask, but I like the art here.  Much better! 5/5

 

Execution:  This book follows the Cypher collection 1 book and follows a similar layout and text arrangement.  I loved it there, and I love it here.  And for $3, you get 100 things.  That’s a good value. 5/5

 

Summary:  Again, a simple, well done item book that add to the world of Numenera.  You will only need one at the table, but it’s something that any Numenera table needs one of at their table. 100%

 

How about a Monster Manual?

 

Product: The Ninth World Bestiary

Producer: Monte Cook Games

Price: ~$14 (PDF)

System: Cypher System

TL;DR– How about a bunch more Monster for your Numenera game? 100%

 

Basics:  The Numenera book comes with a selection of monster to throw at the PCs.  However, it’s not a lot.  This book adds lots of different monsters to the world describing the motivations, environment, and even life cycle of the various denizens of the ninth world.  After the monsters, the book goes into specific people that the PCs could encounter in their travels.

 

Theme:  The ninth world is not a simple place.  Goblins don’t just eat people because that’s what goblins do in this game.  In this game, everything has a motivation.  Some things might be things from millennia ago who are robots executing instructions that should have stopped eons ago.  In this book, each enemy gets a write up like that.  The attacks have themes rather than just damage.  The horrors of the ninth world get vivid descriptions and little bits of text from survivors help build the world more.  When all’s said and done, I found myself sitting and reading this book not being able to put it down just based on stories along!  5/5

 

Mechanics:  The Cypher system is pretty simple, so the mechanics could have been just a level.  However, the creatures of this world get full page descriptions describing different aspects of the numbers behind the creatures.  That’s great.  What propels this book into amazing is the random tables.  The random tables give different encounters in different environments.  While I know random encounter are not everybody’s favorite, when I want to throw something at my PC, having a table that I could just roll on quick really helps me move the game along! 5/5

 

Art: Most books that add monsters to a system fail to add pictures to most of the monster.  I want something I can show my friends and get them to be scared right away.  In this book each monster gets about a page spread and almost all get a picture.  Right there is awesome.  Even better, most monsters have a small picture showing a size comparison to an adult man.  Those bits of art makes my job as a GM that much easier and build the world that much faster.  5/5

 

Execution:  I love the Numenera book style.  It’s sleek, reads quickly, and isn’t cluttered.  The background isn’t hard to see the text through, and I have enough white space to not feel like it’s the ravings of a madman in a notebook.  Heck, the price isn’t even that bad for the PDF.  5/5

 

Summary:  This book should come free with the purchase of the Thunderstone Advanced: Numenera game.  Almost all the monsters in that game come from this and NOW I know what horrors I was playing against in the card game.  For the RPG, make sure the GM picks this book up.  Players don’t really need a copy of this one, but it will really help any Numenera group if the GM gets this. 100%

 

And the most controversial item produced by Monte Cook Games thus far….

 

Product: Sex and Love in the Ninth World

Producer: Monte Cook Games

Price: ~$3

System: Numenera

TL;DR– An adult discussion of sex and love in the Numenera Game. 87.5%

 

Basics: This is the most controversial book released for Numenera.  This book covers the hows and why of adding sex and love as factors in your Numenera game.  While the book covers an adult subject, the book does not go into any graphic detail, making it relatively non-offensive.  However it does mention some things that may offend some readers.  Much like “In Strange Aeons: Lovecraftian Numenera” the book starts with how to introduce sex as a concept into Numenera games. This is accompanies by a large discussion of all the ways this may affect your game, both positively and negatively.  Next the book describes different mechanics aspects of sex and love in Numenera covering grounds from amounts different gifts cost to different STD effects.  The book finishes with different artifacts, cyphers, and oddities that may appear in your Numenera game if sex is an element of your campaign.

 

Theme:  This book is an interesting one.  Overall I think it was well done describing how sex and love can affect the world of Numenera.  I have to save I disagree with the author as she maintains that most sexism will not be present in one billion years, but that view may be my low faith in humanity speaking. 5/5

 

Mechanics:  Unlike ” In Strange Aeons: Lovecraftian Numenera” this book doesn’t has as much mechanics for the players.  This is well done with the addition of several artifacts, oddities, and cypthers, but I felt there was not as much here as a lot of the book was warnings to GMs to seriously consider if sex is appropriate for your campaign.  I felt that took away a little from the book. 4.5/5

 

Art:  This book suffers from some of the original Numenera book problems as much of the same art is repeated through the short book  The art is good, but in a 13 page book one pages is art and that picture is repeated on two other pages as a small pictures.  4/5

 

Execution:  This is a well laid out book.  Like all the other Numenera books I’ve reviewed, it’s laid out in the same, well thought out style and is an easy read.  However, the price is a bit high for a source book that mostly discusses problems in execution of the source material.  Also, I felt that section of the book was a bit long and that impacted some of the available material.  Nothing is horrible, but I felt that the book was a bit over-concerned with warning the GM. 4/5

 

Summary:  This is a good book.  It has its flaws, but mostly this book will help you add a new dimension to your Numenera game.  The book is very conservative giving the subject matter compared to other books on the topic (looking right at you Book of Erotic Fantasy 3e!, then sheepishly looking away quickly) in both pictures and discussion.  This is a one copy at the table book as only the GM will need this for both its advice and mechanics.  If you want to add this to your Numenera game, then I think this is worth a read. 87.5%

Daily Punch 2-19-14 New encounter type for the Lord of the Rings LCG

I love the Lord of the Rings LCG.  We have the standard will power quest that uses willpower, we have battle that uses attack, and we have siege that uses defense…how about one more?

Endurance-This questing mechanics works much like the other quests.  Players assign characters to the quest as normal, however, the total threat of the enemy is compared to the health of all assigned characters.  Players do not gain threat as normal, however, any difference between the threat total and the enemy total is damage that must be assigned to each players heroes and characters.  Characters can only have as much damage assigned to to as they have health preventing one character taking all the damage, and if you do not quest, you will receive a high amount of damage.

I envision this as an environmental mechanic.  Think of the original quest for quest on Caradhras.  Instead of question with will power, the quest will wear down the characters health.  Characters will freeze to death because they die instead of giving up the will to live through will power.  In addition, the monsters and encounter cards could represent smaller attacks on the players or more environmental, single event dangers.

Thoughts?

Silver Screen Smackdown- Robocop (2014)

 

I saw Robocop this weekend; let’s give this the rundown…  I’ll try to keep this spoiler free.

 

Movie: Robocop

tl;dr– its “ok”, it’s about the level of Robocop 2. 60%

 

 

Plot: It’s the basic Robocop plot.  A cop is killed, his body is used for a robot, man vs. machine drama, man rights his own murder, conniving corporation backstabbing, and end gun battle.  It’s kind of cliché at this point.  What was changed from the original really didn’t need to be changed.  The original was very much in your face with MORE stuff in the side of your vision to build the world.  This one feels like tunnel vision.  I don’t get the world building from the original.  Lot’s happens, but little really goes on.  Also what little subtlety the original had is completely gone.  That run on sentence above is the plot.  You won’t remember much more than that.  This movie doesn’t really trust that you will feel what the director wanted you to feel, so it BEATS you upside the head with the message.  So the move has all the marks of “eh” SCI-FI.  Also, WHY WAS THIS PG-13!?  2/5

 

Acting: It’s not bad.  The main actor Joel Kinnaman does a pretty good job as someone over his head.  The rest of the cast does a pretty good job.  You know who you have to hate (almost a little too much) from the get go.  Again, it’s a little too heavy handed. 3/5

 

Visuals:  The movie is pretty awesome when it comes to the visuals.  The movie is a popcorn movie and it shows with lot’s of fun moving parts that wiz by and look cool.  If you just want to watch a stupid movie where lots of stuff goes boom, this is the movie. 4/4

 

Summary-This is not a good movie and it’s not bad.  It’s ok.  It’s way too heavy handed.  It doesn’t have the world building of the original.  The fun extra bits that used to be in the old version are not there.  The movie likes to call back to things from the original, but it’s kind of like watching a sad parody on the SyFy.  You know what it is you wanted to watch, but you don’t quite get it.  This is worth a rental, but then when that’s done, you can go ahead and move on with your day.  When your kids ask to watch Robocop, this won’t be the movie you show them.  Not bad, not good, just ok like Robocop 2.  60%

Daily Punch 2-18-14 Feats for Cure Wounds in 13th Age

I haven’t done some 13th Age feats for  awhile.  How about some for the Cleric?

Feats for Cure Wounds pg. 98

Adventurer Feat:  The target cure wounds add the escalation die to all saves for a round including any given by Cure Wounds

Champion Feat: One other nearby ally may spend two recoveries to heal a recovery in addition to the target of the Cure Wounds.

Epic Feat:  Cure Wounds recharges on a 9+

Thoughts?