Ring Side Report- Video Game Preview of Shadowrun Online

Game– Shadowrun Online

Producer-Cliffhanger Productions

Price– ~$30

TL;DR– It’s up to you. Do you like preorders?


Basics- Hoi Chummers!  Time to step into the world of Shadowrun again, but this time online!  Shadowrun Online will be coming out later this year, but if you did the kickstarter OR pay to join on Steam, you get a preview of the game.  Right now you are NOT getting the full game, but if you join, later you will.  The game features a short campaign where you play a mage and a gunner as you plow you way trying to find a kidnapped girl or a multiplayer death match.


Mechanics-This game feels like Shadowrun Returns.  That isn’t a bad thing as I liked Shadowrun Returns, but some reviewers feel this game was made for the tablets like my Ipad.  Again, that’s not bad, but it is a thing to consider.  Basically, this game is a turn-based, small squad tactical battle in the Shadowrun world.  Each turn you move a character and have them attack.  My biggest complaint is that I can’t attack then move.  Not huge, but its something to consider.


Visuals-The game looks nice.  The parts you get to play in all look like they belong in Shadowrun.  You can rotate the screen which is a nice feature that’s not in Shadowrun Returns.  All the buttons for your character do look really pretty too.  However, I don’t like the tilt that the screen has.  I found it sometimes hard to visualize where my character was standing in comparison to other people.  This lead to me missing a few shots and dying!


Story-Here is the meat and potatoes.  Shadowrun Online has to have a decent, cyberpunk, dystopian story. This is where the game lives or dies.  The story you get to play is pretty short, but done well enough.  The characters do speak to one another in the missions, but between missions the characters mostly get walls of text expanding on what’s going on.  I’d like more to engage me, but it’s not bad.  I sit and read walls of text in Shadowrun Returns, and I love that story.  What I see from this game, I like.  But, this game HAS to keep up what it brought to the table as a minimum!  More story telling will keep this game from the fate of so many MMO’s littered at WoW’s feet.  This game can’t beat WoW through anything else but story.


Summary-I’m not grading this one.  I usually do, but this one is just a nice tech and story demo of what coming out later this year.  What I see happening is a simple MMORPG that will do well with the touch screens set in the Shadowrun Universe.  It you take out the MMO part, that describes Shadowrun Returns.  Both games use an extremely similar, simple interface.  I don’t mean that as an insult, as the simplicity doesn’t bog down the experience with clutter and won’t keep newer players who have never heard of Shadowrun from coming to the table.  The visuals are very similar which is good for not only bringing players in.  The story is fun, but it’s short.  I played the demo in 1.5 hours.  For $30, that’s a bit much, but I have to keep in mind that I’m paying for the full game and getting delivery in pieces.  Most of us hardcore Shadowrun fans want more like riggers, deckers, astral combat, customizable characters, more missions et al.  I do recommend this game, but you have to decide if you are ok with buying a game ahead of its being ready.  Right now, you don’t get much of a game as it’s a 2 hour tech demo.  I love kickstarter, so I’m fine with one year lead times and paying way ahead for a game.  If you love Shadowrun Returns, then you will love this.  Now, you just have to decide WHEN you buy it.

Fighting Gear- Loot Crate April 2014

TL;DR- Ill keep buying this!


I recently signed up for Loot Crate http://www.lootcrate.com/  Its a monthly, random box of stuff that you get in the mail.  The prices run from $13 to S and H to $11.  One lucky subscriber each month gets and EPIC CRATE full of lots of awesome gear.  It wasn’t me this month.    Let’s see what got…


Here is the base box.  I put in a standard playing card box for a size comparison.



Here is what comes inside.


There is a lot here, so I’ll give you an item by item run down.



April’s theme was Dragons.  You get a short magazine.  The magazine gave a abbreviated history on dragons, an interview with a youtuber, covered Elder Scrolls Online, and then gave a run down on the loot crate’s contents.  All and all, its not a bad little magazine.  Its full of ads as article, but not bad.  Also, I got dragon jerky.  I tasted like regular beef jerky, but it had this green spice covering it.  Not bad.


The crate also came with two small cartoon figures.  One is an exclusive Nord figure for Skyrim.  That’s pretty cool.  He even came with a sword and an ax.  The other was a random Game of Thrones figure.  I got a dragon.  Since the month’s theme was dragons, I wonder how random the figures were….  In either case, these are good quality figures.


DICE!  As a geek, I need more of these.  One is a standard D20.  Nothing wrong with that!  The other is a loot crate stress ball D20.  Unfortunately, the stress ball is a count down die, so the numbers are not random on its surface.  Oh well.  Still pretty cool.


Random geek stuff!  Nothing geeky is complete unless you get random geek stuff.  This crate came with a loot crate dragon button and a dog tag necklace showing off I’m a dragon killer.  Since random necklaces and buttons are always fun for geeks, I wasn’t surprised this was in here.


This doesn’t look like much, but this pretty much made me happy to have bought the loot crate.  This is a screen cleaner for your phone or anything else.  You gently open the package, use the side with the logo on it to wipe down the screen, the re-stick the cleaner to the packaging.  It fits in my wallet and cleans my screen well.  This i the best part of the crate.


Final Thoughts

So I payed about $16 bucks since this was my first month begging the question was this worth it?  Well, I don’t think I would have bought this stuff if I was in the store and saw this stuff mixed in with my standard comic book stuff.  But, that doesn’t make it any less cool.  Also, its fun to get random stuff in the mail.  What I really wanted was a T-shirt, and, I know some of the past months have had some AMAZING t-shirts.  But, I’m pretty happy I bought this.  I’d pay a bit more each month to guarantee I get a shirt, but, the random stuff I did get was nice.  The magazine is a bit heavy on targeted advertising as the topic of the month usually some sort of geekery in the media (Titanfall and Attack on Titan when Xbox One game out etc).  But the magazine is well done, and, it did give a well done, quick historical context on dragons.  So when its all said and done, I’ll keep subscribing to this.

Daily Punch 4-28-14 Strong Spirit Quality for Shadowrun 5e

Been playing all the SR games lately.  Here’s one I with my decker had…



Strong Spirit

Cost: 10 Karma

You are stronger then most.  The things you’ve done to your body would have killed lesser men or women.  Your essence score starts out at 7 instead of 6.  Anything that would normally decrease your essence still impose penalties to all the associated checks.




Daily Punch 4-24-14 Shield Reposte feat for Pathfinder

Time for some love for Pathfinder.  How about a feat that allows you to respond to an attack with you shield.


Shield Reposte (combat)

When people get close to your shiield, you know how to make them pay.

Prerequisite(s): Improved Shield Bash, Shield Proficiency

Benefit:  Determine your AC with and without your shield.  When an attack would fails to hit your normal AC, but would have hit your AC without your shield, you may as an immediate action, make a shield bash against the attacker.



Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Run & Gun

Product– Run & Gun

System-Shadowrun 5e

Producer– Catalyst

Price– PDF $25

TL;DR– What fans have been dying for! 93%


Basics– Time for the first hardcover expansion for Shadowrun 5e.  This book focuses on physical combat.  It starts off covering several new weapons ranging from swords to laser guns.  Next, the book presents new armor and clothing options.  From here, Run & Gun begins to focus on combat heavily starting with small squad tactics and new teamwork combat maneuvers.  After team combat, the book spotlights called shot locations, special attacks with different ammo types, and more combat options.  Following general combat, the book introduces martial arts with new combat maneuvers specific to each art.  The last two sections of the book focus on environment hazards and demolition.


Fluff or Story- This book is full of stories.  Catalyst takes great care to build story in across all the levels of the book.  Each section of the book is introduced with a story building the world of Shadowrun.  Every weapon is treated with some banter between different characters as they review the items as if they were talking about items in an internet forum.  Even major rule sections get snark like summoning fire elementals underwater (spoiler-it’s a bad idea!).  Every inch of the book builds 2075 America into a living, breathing world. 5/5


Crunch or Mechanics- This book is also full of mechanics.  The book introduces armor pieces, new armor/weapon types, martial arts forms, rules for all sorts of things from casting spells in a space suit to explosive decompression underwater.  Even better, the book emphasizes and re-presents small rule sections that players and GMs may have forgotten.  I really enjoyed quick rule summaries of these important, minor rules in sidebars.  Building on this, the book provides examples of how to do the math that makes the game work.  And as I said before, the book has lots of fun with its own rules and seriousness.  A perfect example is explosive decompression.  You fail a little, and it’s bad.  You fail a lot, and it’s really bad.  You completely screw-up, and you summon a kraken and die (most likely).  It’s an excellent way to meld rules, the world, and theme. 5/5


Execution- I’m reviewing a digital copy.  What I saw, I liked.  The text is nicely divided so you don’t have solid pages of block text.  The whitespace, side bars, tables, and pictures makes this a pleasure to read.  The book has lots of pictures, but could use a bit more.  In Gun H(e)aven 3, each gun got its own picture.  This book doesn’t have the space for that, but I think more pictures of the items would have helped me with my mental pictures of the game.  Also, this is the first printing/release of the book, so there are a few errors that are being compiled to help with future releases of the book.  Honestly, it’s a fun read, but I felt like I wanted more to see and a bit fewer errors.  The faults are by no grind them to a halt, but they are noticeable as you dig deeper into the book and system. 4/5


Summary- This isn’t the book I thought it would be.  That is not a bad thing, but I don’t know if this was what I thought I was going to get.  But, I am happy with the end product.  I feel like I’ve learned a bit more about the world of Shadowrun.  I love the new abilities that were carried over from forth edition or created for fifth.  The last two section of the book are not as useful if you just play in the urban sprawls and want to gun down any go-gangers you see, but if you ever need to blow up a space station, there are well-done rules that will help you and your GM carry out whatever pyromaniac dreams you may have.  Yes, plan B can be twice as much explosive as plan A.  The Shadowrun community has been dying for some new Shadowrun 5e content, and this product delivers.  While this product has a few flaws, if this is the quality of the next books, then I will happily buy each and every one. 93%

Daily Punch 5-22-14 Evil Spine Magic Item for DnD Next

How about a nice magic item for DnD Next?



Evil’s Spine

Rare magic weapon (staff)

This staff is made from a spine of a single creature.  The end of the spine is topped with a human skull.  It has been cleaned and bleached white.  No visible factors hold the spine together except for sheer power.  Increase the DC of all your spells cast by 2.  Also, three times per day when you cast a necromancy spell, impose disadvantage on the saving throw for that spell or gain advantage on any check needed for that spell.




Ring Side Report- Board Game Review of The Red Dragon Inn 2

Game- The Red Dragon Inn 2

Producer- SlugFest Games


Set-up/Play/Clean-Up-30 minutes to one hour (four players but with other expansions longer)

TL;DR-Better than the original! 97.5%


Basics- Come back to the bar again!  The Red Dragon Inn 2 is the sequel and stand alone expansion to The Red Dragon Inn.  This game has exactly the same mechanics as The Red Dragon Inn.  Players take the role of four different adventurers who just completing an adventure and are going to a tavern to relax and play some drinking games and gamble.  Players can now play as a bard, an illusionist, a half-ogre, or a dwarf.  Each turn players start by discarding as many cards as they want then drawing up to seven cards.  Then, a player can play one card that has the action keyword on the top.   Other cards have sometimes or anytime keywords and you have to read those cards carefully as they often interrupt other player’s actions.  The action cards give you the ability to gamble or harm other players.  After an action, you give one drink card to another player, and then drink one drink from your drink card pile.  Damage reduces your fortitude and drinks increase your alcohol level.  When your fortitude and alcohol levels meet, you pass out and lose the game.  If gambling causes you to lose all your money, you lose the game.  You win the game when you are the last conscious person with money in the inn.


Theme- I was a little bit rough on the original The Red Dragon Inn, but this expansion really made me pretty happy.  I feel the designers flexed their wings a bit here and the different decks play that much different making you feel like different characters.  Also, the little things like the half-ogre’s cards are all broken English make the character each feel that much different.  This game really ramped up the character feel for me. 5/5


Mechanics- This game is pretty simple.  Draw cards, play one, save more for other off turn maneuvers.  With such simple mechanics, there is a surprising amount of thought that went into this game.  The decks feel balanced and the different character all have different powers.  In the previous game, the different character had some differences, but in this one the designers just let the characters go hog wild.  The illusionist can increase your alcohol content with a card, or the bard can just steal two gold.  These differences not only make the characters feel different, but it makes the characters play different.  And that really sets this one apart.  You will still lose based on card draw, which is and isn’t a problem. 4.5/5


Instructions- Just like before, the rules are clear and easy to understand.  There are few examples, and it’s pretty easy to teach and learn this game quickly. 5/5


Execution- This game uses 80% of the same parts from The Red Dragon Inn.  Same coins, same play mats, same stones, everything.  The real newness comes from new art, new powers, and new drinks.  And because of this, the game is amazing.  The producers didn’t fix what wasn’t broken, and they brought some amazing new material to really make this game pop. 5/5


Summary- I love this game more than then original.  That is pretty hard to do, but SlugFest pulled it off.  It’s a great, low complexity game that will make a group of people fight amongst each other in the right way.  People will cheer a fight between two players while also feeling each other pain when you draw 12 alcohol content on turn one.  The randomness of the drinks and each player’s individual deck makes this game fun, but also frustrating as lucky will beat smarts almost every time I’ve played.  Pick this one up right away if you can. 97.5%

Daily Punch 4-21-14 It’s Clobbering Time! Technique for Shadowrun 5e

Been reading Run and Gun, and its awesome!  But I had an idea for a Martial Art Technique….


It’s Clobbering Time! (Unarmed only/ 1 edge)

When you get mad, you get MAD!  When you make roll that uses your physical limit, you may spend one edge before the roll to increase your strength by 1.5 (round up) for the roll.  This also increase your physical limit by 1.5 (round up).  Dice explode as normal.