Daily Punch 7-30-14 Special Spell Training quality for Shadowrun 5e

We all focus on what we’re good at, so how about some focus for spell casters in Shadowrun?

 

Special Spell Training 

Cost: 10 Karma

Benefit: You’ve spent time working on one type of spell, so much so you don’t even feel the spell as it drains you.  When you take this quality choose a type of spell (combat, detection, etc), when you cast that spell of that type reduce the drain by 2 to a minimum of 1.

 

 

Thoughts?

Ring Side Report- DUAL RPG REVIEW of 13 True Ways and 13th Age Bestiary

I haven’t gotten any new 13th Age products in a while, and now I get two!  Let’s go through these starting with….

 

Product– 13 True Ways

Producer– Pelgrane Press

Price– ~$40 here http://www.pelgranepress.com/?p=12292

System– 13th Age

TL; DR– Love 13th Age?  BUY THIS NOW!  98%

 

Basics– MORE 13th AGE!  This book is the first player focused book for the 13th Age system.  This book covers several areas including new classes, items, monsters, living dungeons, and much more.  As always, the systems assumes you make up whatever you want and gives enough to get you started, but suggests you dump anything you want to make the story your own.

 

Mechanics or Crunch– Sweet jumping archmage, this book is full of new mechanics.  The new classes themselves are a crazy mix of new ideas.  I felt there is more of focus on modifying the encounter die which an interesting take on the mechanic.  There are the standard fare that people have requested like the necromancer and the commander (warlord from 4e DnD), but monks and druids really shined in this book for me.  Monks feel real to me now.  Sure, I like the Pathfinder monk and whatever system lets me punch goblins in the face, but this system is the first one to add some surprisingly heavy and accurate depth to the class.  Monks now have different kinds of strikes and forms just like any other real word martial art.  Druids have levels as the focus on different aspects of nature resulting in the class covering a shape changer who with different magic spells on different terrain or just being a crazy woods warrior guy/gal.  Both these classes get some serious focus in the book.  The new monsters are amazing and fun as well.  Items are great.  The best part of all this mechanics discussion is the banter between the writers.  The writers want you to write your own game and mechanics, so when they don’t have a consensus, they give you each side’s opinion and let you have fun.  Great book! 5/5

 

Theme or Fluff– Here is some balance combined with some amazing writing.  The book doesn’t tell you any story, but give you all the stories to tell.  An example of this is devils.  A major crux of the 13th Age system is that demons are going to destroy the world.  That’s the one thing that is universal in 13th Age, and that’s something you can completely disregard or rewrite and everybody’s happy!  Now devils are introduced with this book, but where do they come from?  Well this book gives you different origin stories relating to each of the icons.  And NONE of those are the reason in your game if you want them to be!  The book does an excellent job of providing Lego blocks for you to play with and showing you how the writers put them together but encourages you to build whatever you want to play with. 5/5

 

Execution-This book is laid out pretty much like the first book.  That was done fairly well, but it does have a bit of a “textbook problem”- lots of words on pages that are not broken up enough.  More pictures or colors on the powers, or space would help break up the text a bit more to help engage the reader.  I do like the pictures that are in the book, but I would like a bit more.  This isn’t by far a badly laid out book but, but a few more breaks would really help here. 4.75/5

 

Summary-THERE IS MORE 13th AGE OUT THERE!  Fans like me have been clamoring for more 13th age since there was a 13th age!  And, this product shows it’s been made with care and love for the system.  I love the new classes, powers, places, monsters, and items.  This book does monks right for the first time!  If you like 13th Age even a little bit, GO BUY THIS ONE NOW! 98%

 

Well now that I’m done drooling over one 13th Age product, here is another!

 

Product– 13th Age Bestiary

Producer– Pelgrane Press

Price– ~$40 here http://www.pelgranepress.com/?p=12144

System– 13th Age

TL; DR– More well done pieces to fit into a 13th Age game. 100%

 

Basics-Here ther’ be dragons!  This book is the first stand alone bestiary for the 13th Age system.  Each section describes a monster type, giver several versions of the monster, stories about the monster, a picture, and how it relates to the icons and the world.

 

Mechanics or Crunch– Need more monsters?  Here you go!  All the monsters work well and feel like cogs that fit the 13th age system.  The most important thing here is there is a TON of monsters to throw at the PCs and all the monsters feel like they belong and are fresh, yet something you expect in this world.  All the toys in the monster’s arsenal are well done.  Heck, if things are going too well for the players every monster gets an extra section on how to make this even nastier!  5/5

 

Theme or Fluff– Like I said before, everything fits.  That’s the most important part of this system.  Things “fit”.  All the monsters have story driven components that make them easy to just throw into a 13th Age game.  Monsters just don’t get a stat block and you hope for the best, you get a story, icon relations, and pictures-the whole nine yards.  This book is as much a story book as it is a bestiary. 5/5

 

Execution- Honestly, no complaints here.  I love the way 13th Age handles monsters-minimal stat blocks combined with stories and pictures.  Lots of breaks in the text make this a breeze and a joy to read.  This is a page turner making you want to read the next entry.  This is an awesome bestiary. 5/5

 

Summary-This is quite frankly an amazing bestiary.  If you run 13th Age, you need this book.  It’s got great stories to help you write your adventures and excellent pictures to help your players visualize the monsters.  And those are the tools I need to actually use any product in my games.  Simple put-13th Age GMs need this book. 100%

Ring Side Report- Video Game Review of South Park: The Stick of Truth

Game– South Park: The Stick of Truth

Price– It’s a bit old so you can get this for cheap!  ~$20

TL;DR– Ah nostalgia! 90%

 

Basics-You’re the new kid in South Park, so go make friends!  Soon you get drawn into a fight between the elves and the humans over the world’s most powerful artifact-The Stick of Truth!  You are recruited by Cartman, but soon you have to choose who you fight for as the stick is soon stolen!  Along the way aliens, the government, zombie nazis, and even stranger things all try to take the stick away.

 

Mechanics-The game drags on a bit.  The combat system is extremely simple.  It’s fun for the most part, but it gets repetitive very quick.  Combat is handled by timed button responses either attacking or defending.  Honestly, there seem to be less than 50 total normal enemies, so you will be attacked with the same attacks occur over and over and attack back with the same attacks over and over again too.  Most of my combats went less than one round.  Your power points for moves refresh at the start of each battle, so every battle was I use my super move, partner uses super move, enemies dead, wash rinse repeat.  The awesome moves that each character unlocks later in the game are fun but have long animated introductions that you have to wait through.  They are fun….the first 10 times, but after 100 uses of the same power with the same 30 second introduction, I was done.  Mercifully the game does set up outside of combat events that you can use to attack enemies reducing the amount of combat you have to do.  It makes life a bit easier and rewards smart play.  Make no mistake, the game is fun, but it just gets repetitive semi-fast. 4/5

 

Visuals-This one looks amazingly like the TV show which is to say pretty crappy!  Everything looks like an old school episode of South Park.  That in and of itself is amazing.  The walk actions are random half hops.  All the action looks great.  The locations are what you remember.  But the game follows the cartoon and some people, locations, or objects have crazy detail or different styles entirely.  The consistant inconsistency really makes you think you are watching an episode.  Later you enter Canada which is apparently stuck in the SNES era and is 16bit.  That whole section was just amazing and fun.  This game is a 20 Hour walk through memory lane as every part of the TV shows run is somehow represented in this game. 5/5

 

Story-If you don’t like toilet humor, don’t play this game!  If you can handle fart jokes, ass humor, mocking Christianity, racial humor, and too many other warnings to count, this game is amazing!  It feels like an old episode of South Park.  The boys and you are the only people in town who can figure out what the heck is going on, but you and your friends don’t care because you just want to play your elves vs. humans game.  It’s a great ride that I really enjoyed.  It does get a bit long as some humor doesn’t carry over well at the 20th hour mark as well as it did at the 1 hour mark, but it’s funny all the way through. 4.5/5

 

Summary-This was a blast to play.  I couldn’t put it down.  It’s not the most complex RPG I’ve played in a while, but it hit nostalgia buttons all over.  It reminded me of Super Mario RPG at the same time it reminded me of classic South Park.  This one doesn’t have the modern messages that most new South Park episodes have.  It’s just a game exploring what the boys do during their free time.  You will have a blast…if you can handle the NC-17 content and some repetition. 90%

Daily Punch 7-29-14 54 Card Pick-Up feat for Pathfinder

I’m currently reading a few of the Pathfinder Harrow books, and I think this feat will help.

 

54 Card Pick-Up

You know how to use the Harrow, either to help or harm, but when you’re done you always get your cards back.

Benefit:  When you use a Harrow deck in a way that destroys a card or cards, if you shuffle the deck for five consecutive minutes after the card is destroyed the card or cards reappear in the deck.  These new cards are unmarked, and allow you to use the Harrow Deck for all feat, powers, or class abilities that requires a full deck of cards to draw from.

 

 

Thoughts?

Silver Screen Smackdown- Movie Review of Snowpiercer

Movie– Snowpiercer

TL;DR-GO SEE THIS! 100%

 

Basics-We’ve fixed global warming by freezing the world solid!  In Snowpiercer, almost no humans remain after a plot to fix global warming results in freezing the world to death, and those that do survive on a train.  The train is divided into two sections: those in the head, and those in the tail.  Those in the tail are second class citizens who must scratch out an existence in a hard life while those in the front live in the lap of luxury.  Our hero Curtis is starting a revolution to bring equality to the train.  What follows is a series of fights, a dive into Dante’s Inferno among other ideas, and much more than he or you the audience bargained for.

 

Acting-This acting in this movie is amazing.  Every character has different motivations, and every actor brings those to light.  No one acts like they don’t belong in the world.  I loved everyone from minor character to main actors.  Even the villains are well done making them the rare villains you just love to hate. 5/5

 

Plot- I love this movie.  The plot is well done.  While the idea of world spanning train or a CO2 fixing plot are somewhat farfetched, the plot rolls with that well and bring you along for the ride.  Nothing in here is stupid or only smart for a sci-fi movie.  Everything makes sense.  And, the movie doesn’t let up either.  The hits just keep coming all along its run time.  New angles keep coming into play that just add to the feel of the world and the characters.  It’s an amazing story told really well.5/5

 

Cinematography-This movie was made on the cheap, but it doesn’t show.  The special effects are done well, and the cheap is hidden behind the train.  Everything looks beautiful.  The train looks crappy when it should look crappy.  The train looks beautiful when it should be beautiful.  Everything looks just like it should!  It’s near future sci-fi, so the world of the movie looks like it could be from today.  Amazingly well done. 100%

 

Summary-This is a story with so many levels that I almost want to watch this again right now.  There are elements of Dante’s Inferno, Frankenstein, Atlas Shrugged, and so many more ideas here that just keep you thinking.  Even the heroes in this one are not necessarily heroes as you come to learn.  It’s such an amazing, well acted story that I’m just glad I got to watch this.  GO SEE THIS RIGHT NOW! 100%

Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of Fleet

Game– Fleet

Producer– Gryphon Games

Price-$25 here 

Set-Up/Play/Clean-Up– 45 Min (2-4 players)

TL;DR– Fish meeples for the win! 90%

 

Basics– Hit the high seas for some cold cash!  In Fleet, you take the role of a sea captain on a newly opened sea trying to make the most money fishing.  What makes this game unique is the nature of the cards.  There are two types of cards: licenses and boats.  You must have a license to fish.  These licenses also give you extra abilities like drawing extra cards, using fish (points) to buy more cards, or cards being cheaper.  Licenses also give you more of that ability as you have more of one particular license.  The boat cards are used for money, as the boats themselves, and as captains.  So you have to decide, based on the cards you have, how you will pay to buy licenses, pay to launch boats only for licenses you have, or use the card as a captain.  Each turn starts with an auction phase for licenses.  You may only buy one license per turn, so no player is left completely out to sea.  Next, you can launch a boat that you have a license for by paying their launch cost from other cards in your hand.  After that, you can place a card face down on a boat (regardless of the boat type).  This boat is now captained.  Then, all captained boats gain one fish cube (point) each turn, to a maximum of four.  The final part of each turn is each player drawing two cards and discarding one.  The game continues until all the fish cubes are gone or there are no more licenses to buy.  When that happens, the player with the most points from fish, boats, and licenses at the end of that turn is the best fisherman and wins.

 

Mechanics-I like the mechanics of this game.  The fact that cards are money, boats, and captains all at once makes every choice you do very important.  You sometimes have to decide between giving up a boat to get a license to get more cards next turn OR to not get a license so you have more boats to get fish or a card to captain your boat.  BUT, you might not have enough boats to captain the boats you have, so you have to decide what will have to happen this turn.  It’s a fun level of frustration, and those little quick choices are important and fun.  The only major problem with this game is a serious run away victor problem.  There is NO mechanic to balance the game.  If someone is ahead, they will stay there until they themselves lose that position.  I enjoy the fact they can’t be attacked as it adds to the theme, but I would like some way to slow a player who breaks out ahead of the group.  Overall, it’s fun, quick, and surprisingly deep. 4.5/5

 

Theme-The game is fun, but I didn’t necessary feel like a fisherman.  You do several fishermen like things like get licenses, launch boats, or captain boats, but I would have liked a bit more story to my actions.  It’s not an abstract game by any means, but a little light on theme.  The game is fun, but don’t expect Arkham Horror levels of theme in this game. If you get the chance, buy the fish meeples (they’re cute and add that much more thematic elements to the game), 4/5

 

Instructions-The instructions work well, but there are a few problems that I still don’t think were answers.  The rules address the many mechanics built in fairly well giving lots of examples for how the licenses work etc., but I was left wondering about the roles of processing ships.  It’s a minor question, but the rules left me with a few of those.  There are no problems in these rules that will stop you from playing and enjoying the game, but little questions that will cause you to run to Board game Geek a few times a game. 4.5/5

 

Execution-This one is well put together.  It comes in a small box, and it’s cheap, sturdy, and well done.  The iconography works reasonably well after some explanation.  The cards themselves are good card stock and easy to read and understand.  The game come standard with blue cubes to represent the fish you catch, but this game is much better with the fancy fish meeples you can buy separately.  They are worth it! 5/5

 

Summary-I picked this one up when I bought Rococo (reviewed here ).  I loved that game, and this one was originally just part of the package deal I was working with the publisher to try to get some extra games since I’m greedy.  Honestly, I’m really glad I did.  This game is a ton of fun, plays fast (even on a first play through without reading the rules before hand), and is much more complex than you would think for a fishing card game.  The multiple uses for the cards will make you start to think hard on what to do on your turn, and you don’t often get that in a 45 minute card game.   This is a cheap fun game that is well worth the price you pay.  But if you can, buy the little fish meeples because fish meeples! 90%

Daily Punch Ready for the Strike Feat for DnD Next

A lot of powers give you disadvantage in DnD Next.  How about a feat to help counter that….

 

Ready for the Strike

you know that your blade is about to be knocked aside, so you stop your opponent from doing just that.

Benefit:  Gains the following:

  • Gain a +1 to strength or dexterity to a maximum of 20
  • When you make a melee attack and an opponent imposes disadvantage on your strike, once per round you are not considered disadvantaged for that one strike.

 

Thoughts?

Silver Screen Smackdown- Movie Review of Lucy

Movie– Lucy

TL;DR–  Good, but not for everyone-88%

 

Basics– Lucy is the story of a young women who is unwittingly drafted into a drug smuggling operation.  Drugs are hidden inside of her, but during an attempted rape, she is kicked so hard the drug bags rupture flooding her system with a mind expanding drug.  Now, the drug gives her the unprecedented ability to use more of her mind’s capacity than any human before.  What happens next is crazy!  There is a cartel after her as she travels the world to deliver all the knowledge she has gained to the one man who can use it.  Get ready for heavy philosophy in between car chases, gun battles, and torture.

 

Story– This one requires a bit of imagination.  Lucy is a fun ride, but has a few moments where you as the audience have to decide to not think.  For the high points, the movie is great, but for some minor sticking points, the story doesn’t make sense.  Not the 10% figure on brain use, that is better explained in the movie than the trailer, but some elements like the drug cartel actions and people attacking a lady who can change gravity make no sense.  It’s fun, it will make you think, but if you think a bit too hard some things will stop working on the level of movie disbelief.  If you can get past that, you will have an awesome time and begin to really think about some of the messages in the movie. 4/5

 

Acting– For the most, part the acting is done well too.  Scarlett Johansson does a great job playing several different roles as she basically loses her humanity to become something else.  Some things are a bit off like why would drug smugglers act the way they do, but it’s only some minor problems.  Scarlett is the focus.  And, the movie stays with her, and that’s how it should be. 4.5/5

 

Cinematography– This movie uses lots of quick scenes to flash ideas into the audience’s minds.  It works well.  The special effects are done pretty well.  A few things like Lucy at the end seemed a bit simple for modern CGI, but that’s more me being nitpicky than it looking like something from the SCYFY channel’s midnight movie release.  Also, get ready for lots of deific imagery.  I don’t hate it, but it’s here! 4.75/5

 

Summary– I really “liked” this one.  It’s billed as one kind of movie (ass kicking not Black Widow with more brains then NASA), but it’s really quite another movie (what is man’s role in the universe).  The movie is not bad, but my enjoyment of this movie didn’t come from the destruction.  Yes, people get shot up.  Yes, car chases.  But, the movie is really about how important knowledge is.  I’ve heard others say it’s the most pro-science thing since Cosmos ended, and I kind of felt that way.  This is good, classic sci-fi.  It’s got guns et al for the low-brow fun, but it’s also got some really heavy things to think about after.  This is a great movie to take any geek to and have fun conversations after discussing what it all meant, but it’s a bad movie to go see because you just want an explosion-a-thon. 88%

Blurbs from the Booth-The End of the Sundering

I just finished reading the Sundering series for the Forgotten Realms.  I’ve reviewed them all Here:

Book 1- http://throatpunchgames.com/2013/11/14/book-bout-the-companions-the-sundering-book-1/

Book 2- http://throatpunchgames.com/2013/11/14/book-bout-the-godborn-the-sundering-book-2/

Book 3- http://throatpunchgames.com/2014/01/22/book-bout-book-review-of-the-sundering-book-iii-the-adversary/

Book 4- http://throatpunchgames.com/2014/03/16/book-bout-book-review-of-the-sundering-book-iv-the-reaver/

Book 5- http://throatpunchgames.com/2014/04/18/book-bout-book-review-of-the-sentinel-the-sundering-book-v/

Book 6- http://throatpunchgames.com/2014/07/27/book-bout-book-review-of-the-herald/

 

Now that it’s done, what do I think?  Let’s answer a few yes/new questions to keep thing simple (somewhat…):

Will I read more Forgotten Realms Books: yes*

Am I happy with what the Sundering did to the Realms: no**

Do I think the Sundering is a good way to bring new people into FR: yes***

Did you think the Sundering novels had a formula: yes

If you thought the Sundering novels had a formula, did you like it: no****

Are you still a Forgotten Realms fan: yes

Will you run Forgotten Realms games in the future: yes

Was the number of novels appropriate for the setting: no****

Are you glad you read these novels: yes

 

 

How about you?  Have you read the Sundering?  What did you think?  Fill out my survey above and tell me what you thought!

 

*-I was invested in the Realms before.  It was the first real fantasy setting I was part of, so its got a place in my heart.  Some of the books really made me happy to be reading them.  Others….I more suffered through.  I still don’t really like Drizzit, but for some of the new characters, I would like to learn more about them.

 

**-The Sundering, to a large extent, treated the fourth edition Forgotten Realms as a mistake.  I LOVED the fourth edition Forgotten Realms!  But, then again, I loved fourth edition.  For the most part, anything that was novel (pun intended) about the Realms was washed away by the Sundering.  I can deal with that, but since I spent a lot of time and energy to learn and loved that material, it felt like a small slap in the face.

 

***-This really varied book by book.  Some books did an excellent job introducing established people and the Forgotten Realms as a whole.  Some books made even me, who has read 20 to 30 of these novels, not know who the author was talking about.

 

****-The formula to me was: 1)introduce some established people/make some people, 2) introduce the setting 3)introduce a problem for the people in the setting 4)change the setting back to 3.5 Forgotten Realms to fix the problem .  I didn’t think FR was broken, so I don’t like some solutions.  Seeing everything you’ve learned about and cared about changed to move things back to where they were was somewhat saddening.  I have the same problem with comics.  Comics are a sine wave.  If you pick any point on a sine wave, and draw a parallel line to the horizon, you will eventually hit a point exactly as far from zero on the wave again.  To you the wave never changed if you have those two points as your reference.  Comics are the same way: Spider-Man is married-single-then married, Wolverine is alive-dead-alive,  People are on a team-kicked off-back on.  Nothing changes.  You don’t want to rock the formula that works for the comics.  Fourth edition changed things.  Now, it’s back to where it was again.  I don’t want things to change if the change doesn’t matter.  Why bother making things different if they can’t stay different?  No one grows or evolves if everything goes right back to where it started.

 

*****-What I would have loved to see at the end of the sundering was a setting guide.  I’ve heard this complaint repeated several times.  I want to know how things are in the world.  I have a few points of light at best as to what is going on, but for the most of the realms, I don’t have a clue.  I want to jump back into the realms with both feet!  Let’s start gaming!

Book Bout- Book Review of The Herald

 

Book– The Herald: The Sundering, Book VI

Author– Ed Greenwood

Buy It Herehttp://www.amazon.com/Herald-Sundering-Book-VI-ebook/dp/B00H6J6KQQ/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406468742&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=the+harald+Ed+Greenwood

TL;DR– I need more background-66%

 

Basics– Magic is wild in Faerun.  Elminster is working frantically with the bard of Shadowdale and his too many great grand niece to fix the remainder of the magic weave.  However, new threats to Candlekeep and Myth Drannor call him to save the world once again.  Can he stop evil liches, an army, and the combined force of the Princes of Shade all at once?  Will he save magic once again or is the goddess of magic lost forever?

 

Story-This story was kind of hard to get into.  A major problem of this story is the lack of background and some daus ex machina.  Stories are continued from previous novels without really giving a introduction of what happened before.  The Sundering was ment to be a great introduction to the realms, but this didn’t really introduce me to what happened before or during.  The ending of the book kind of came out of nowhere and was completely fuled by daus ex machina.  I’m fine with some of that, but I never really felt all that interested in what was going on.  So, I wasn’t really interested in the ending. I’m happy to have learned more about the realms, but I’m equally happy to be done with the book.  I listened to the audiobook, but I never really felt pulled into the book.  I was mostly moving through to finish the book. 2.5/5

 

Setting– Ed Greenwood invented the Forgotten Realms, so he’s great at sending you to a place that he’s invented.  I would like a bit more introduction of what some things are though (that will be a common complaint through this review).  Aside from any minor problems I had with the setting, I did feel like I was in the realms when I read this book. 4.5/5

 

Characters-I know who NONE of these characters are.  I’ve read several Forgotten Realms books, so this isn’t my first rodeo.  Most of the other Forgotten Realms/Sundering books have done a fare to good job introducing who any of these characters are and why they matter.  This book brought in random people who, if you’ve followed all of Ed Greenwood’s books before, are important, but I had no idea who they were even at the end of the book.  I learned a bit about some of the characters, but not enough to judge if some of the main characters were written against type.  Elminster is Elminster, so that’s done well, but the rest I was kind of lost on. 3/5

 

Summary-The main problem I had with this book is background.  Ed Greenwood made my favorite fantasy setting, and he carved out a section of it for himself to write in.  However, I didn’t feel like he tried to include me in his world.  I didn’t know who anybody was for the longest time, so I didn’t feel engaged.  I finished this one mostly because I wanted to know about the Realms and the Sundering.  I’m glad I read this, but I’m kind of equally glad it’s done.  66%