Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Barrow of the Cursespawn

Product-Darkwood Arc Excursions: Barrow of the Cursespawn

Producer– Saga RPG

System-Pathfinder

Price– ~$6 here http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/132931/01AE01-Barrow-of-the-Cursespawn-PFRPG-PDF

TL; DR-Zelda puzzles in Pathfinder!? 93%

 

Basics– Welcome back to the world of Darkwood.  Miners are missing, and OTHER adventures are on the way!  But, after a chance meeting in a bar, you and your friends are dragged into the events at the mine.  Can you save the day and find out what’s happening in the wilderness?  This is a Pathfinder adventure that is designed to fit well into the Darkwood Adventure path for characters level 7.

 

Story or Fluff-This is an interesting one.  To really get all you can out of this mission, a GM worth his/her salt must deeply read the background.  This company excels at building story in their adventures, and it shows in this one.  At its heart, this adventure is a simple dungeon crawl with adventure set in Saga’s world of Darkwood, but these people write an awesome intro to get your involved and build story into the dungeon to make it interesting.  However, like some fantasy or Sci-Fi adventures and stories, this adventure has the Dune problem for names-way too many terms are introduced to describe thing that have a general name like a burial mound or a shaman.  It’s not bad, but as a reader, it can sometimes be confusing.  4.5/5

 

Mechanics or Crunch-When you look at this one, it’s a pretty short adventure.  If your table doesn’t mess around, you can easily get through this adventure in about three to four hours.  The monsters are pretty par for the Pathfinder course at seventh level, but what will make this stand out are puzzles!  I love adventures that have more than just fights.  The puzzles are pretty nice.  Now as a person who’s played every Legend of Zelda game, these puzzles are not world endingly difficult, but anytime you have a TIMED puzzle in a tabletop RPG, it’s going to be a good evening!  The traps and monsters are all normal stuff, but its standard stuff you’d expect to fight at this level.  There is new stuff here, but I don’t think any seventh level party will be overly challenged by this adventure.  However, those issues maybe more of a Pathfinder system problem than anything that is written by Saga.  It’s a good stand along adventure, but you’ll need all the standard Pathfinder/Paizo books to run the adventure, but to get the most from this adventure you will also need Saga original AP book (reviewed here https://throatpunchgames.com/2014/06/06/ring-side-report-rpg-review-of-the-deft-and-the-deadly/ ) 4.75/5

 

Execution-This is a pretty short product, but the price is right.  Like I said before, these writers are great at story, but there are a few pages of nothing but text with lots of new terms.  I’d like a bit more art, but what is there is art, its put to good use.  Also, the puzzles and some of the traps get great layouts and art to really help the players and GM understand what’s going on and how to run the adventure properly. 4.75/5

 

Summary-This isn’t a perfect adventure, but it’s a damn fine one.  It’s got a good plot that factors into Saga’s other metaplot for their adventure path.  It’s a nice evening adventure sized adventure with fighting, traps, and puzzles.  If you like Saga’s current AP, then you’re getting this one regardless of what I have to say.  But, if you want some good third party Pathfinder adventure, for six bucks, you can’t go wrong here. 93%

 

Disclosure: I was provided a review copy of this adventure.

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Daily Punch 8-27-14 Tracer Understanding feat for Pathfinder

Reading stuff for the Iron Gods Adventure Path, and I though of this for androids

 

Tracer Understanding

Be it being better built or a better understanding of your biology, you know how to use the tracing built in your body.

Prerequisites: Android

Benefit: You can illuminate with dim light an area of 10 feat around you.  In addition, can use your tracing to change your appearance to gain a +4 inherent bonus to disguise checks to mimic a humanoid of your size.

 

 

Thoughts?

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of Crawl! #10

Product– Crawl! #10 (Fanzine)

Producer– Stray Couches Press

Price-$3 here http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/133560/Crawl-fanzine-no-10

System– DCC RPG

TL;DR– Class options for demi-humans! 100%

 

Basics-Crawl! is the semi-official fanzine of the DCCRPG.  This month its options for demi-humans.  Instead of the basic race as level options frorm the main DCCRPG , this book presents Dwarven Priest, Elven rogue, Halfling burglar, and Halfling champion (fighter) as options for Dwarves, Elves, and Halflings.  The book also presents a system to take half levels or multiclass and the random stats tables for height, weight, build, hair type, eye color, and other physical features.

 

Mechanics or crunch– The one thing DCCRPG needs more of is options.  This is not a universal opinion, but I know I want more books for this system.  The class options here are still fairly balanced, and things I’d allow at my table.  If you want more options for your dwarf, this is worth a look.  Also, even the tables to add to your character are random, so you get more options, but don’t lose the randomness that is pervasive in the system. 5/5

 

Theme or Fluff-I know it’s not in the OSR spirit, but I don’t want to grow up to be a dwarf!  I like the idea of race shaping your character, but I want more options for that character.  This gives a few more options for what your characters can be instead of the basic dwarf has to be a dwarf idea from old school gaming.  The classes still fit the mold for DCCRPG, so they don’t stick out badly but really just add to the world.  The last half of the book is random tables to make your character more of a living person, not just a few stats, so that is great for story and character building as well. 5/5

 

Execution- All too often a fanzine will be crap because its one guy in a basement.  This one is not one of those.  This is well done with the same layout, art, and style of the DCCRPG main book.  It’s a quick read that’s priced right for its content and size. 5/5

 

Summary-Want some quick options for your demi-humans?  Get the book.  Want some ways to build your character a bit more than just a few stats?  Get the book.  Want more DCCRPG?  GET THE BOOK!  My only problem is I’d like MORE class options, but for three bucks, I’m ok with what I get in this book.  Hopefully, we will see the more options like this soon. 100%

Daily Punch 8-26-14 Arcane Avenger (Ranger) for DnD Next

We have the Eldritch Knight for DnD Next-WHICH IS AWESOME!  But I want to make a ranger who uses arcane magic as well.  Let’s see what we can come up with.

 

 

Arcane Avenger (Ranger Archtype)

Use the standard ranger class abilities except as noted.

 

Spellcasting

You have learned magical secrets as a wizard would.  You cast spells as a wizard does and must prepare them as a wizard does too with the addition of Hunters Mark to your available spell list.  You gain a spellbook, and cast spells based on your intelligence modifier.  While you hold either a sword or a bow in one hand, you may cast your spells adding your proficiency bonus to the attack or to the saving throw DC as a wizard does with an arcane instrument.  You can only cast spells up to fourth level.  Follow your normal spell progression rules, but use the wizard spell selection instead.  Gain a number of wizard cantrips equal to your intelligence modifier.

 

Arcane Attack-Replaces Extra Attack

At level five, when you hit with an attack, as a bonus action you can cast a spell that must include the foe you just hit.  It may include other foes as well.

 

Invisibility-Replaces Hide in Plain Sight

At level 10, you can expend a second level or higher spell slot to instantly cast Invisibility as per the spell.  This spell is cast silently.

 

 

 

Thoughts?

Daily Punch 8-25-14 Augmented Summoning Feat for DnD Next

Its an oldy but a goody-Augmeented Summoning.  Here is my take on it.

 

Augmented Summoning

What you create is just more powerful the other casters.  Any conjuration spell that you cast gains the following benefits:

  • The spell gains additional hit points equal to double your level.  You must split these hit points as equally as possible among all creatures you summoned.
  • The spell gains a bonus to attacks and skills equal to your proficiency bonus.  You must split this bonus as equally as possible among all creatures you summoned.
  • The spell gains a bonus to AC equal to your half your proficiency bonus.  You must split this bonus as equally as possible among all creatures your summoned.

 

Thoughts?

Ring Side Report- Board Game Review of Run, Fight, or Die

Product– Run, Fight, or Die

Producer-Grey Fox Games

Price– ~$35 here http://boardgamegeek.com/geekads/click/361282?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.coolstuffinc.com%2Fp%2F205940

Set-Up/Play/Clean-Up– 10 min per player 1-6 players

TL; DR-Zombies!!! without the annoying length/Yahtzee with Zombies! 90%

 

Basics– Zombies!!! meat Yahtzee!  In Run Fight or Die, you play several different survivors trying to flee the zombie apocalypse while gathering up different survivors in town.  Each turn, you roll the main five dice and an event die.  The event die has random occurrences ranging from a sneak attack from a zombie (lose health) to an all clear night with no more zombies spawning this turn.  After that you have your main dice which can be rerolled two more times after the first roll.  These dice have faces ranging from running, melee attacks, range attacks, finding people, the “book of the dead”, and the zombie symbol which can’t be rerolled normally.  Each player has a board with three ranges on it (close, medium, and far).  Melee kills two close zombies, ranged attacks kill one at any range, and running moves one zombie back one range or off the player’s board.  The “book of the dead” and the finding people sides have different effects ranging from finding locations, healing, killing all zombies in one range, events, or finding gear depending on the number of matching symbols.  The zombie symbol causes one more zombie to spawn on your turn during the end of turn steps.  You can reroll a zombie symbol if you take a fleeing card-these are never good events!  After you attack zombies and get followers/locations/gear, you move all zombies one space closer.  If a zombie moves on to your character (from close range onto you), you lose health.  Then, you spawn three zombies with more for every zombie die side you have at far range, and the next player takes his or her turn.  The game continues until someone dies, someone finds the town line card with enough followers or someone gets the last zombie boss victory point.  Then, its the player with the most points wins!

 

Mechanics– This game is pretty simple and pretty fun.  Make no mistake; this is NOT a brain buster of a game.  It’s a simplified run and gun game.  You run around killing an unlimited hoard of zombies while trying to find people, locations, and gear.  The dice rule this game, and if your dice run cold, you will have a phenomenally bad time.  Each character is enough different from one another because their powers really do separate them from one another.  Each character has a different dice combo that will trigger something amazing if it happens, but it’s usually really hard to pull off, so I’ve never seen it actually happen.  The best description of this game is the old Zombies!!! game mixed with Yahtzee.  You move around town waiting for an end condition card to occur or enough point to happen to end the game.  Most often though, the game will end when someone dies.  It’s not a bad mechanic, but don’t expect any surprises or extreme complexity from this game.  4/5

 

Theme – I like this theme.  It’s zombies, so I know some people think that theme is played out.  But, the way the theme of advancing undead is implemented is a fun one.  The zombies fall down your player board almost like Tetris pieces at an unstoppable pace.  It’s rather tense as you try to stay alive but know that your continued survival is all dependent on the dice rolls.  It’s a very tense game that plays out in less than 30 minutes sometimes.  The different stories from each survivor do make an interesting story for how the world’s ending, and the fact that some followers are detrimental is another interesting way to represent how hard it is to deal with some people under pressure.  This game has a lot of style that really help emerge you in the world. 5/5

 

Instructions-So funny story-When I got my kickstarter copy of the game, it came with the rules, but was missing the middle pages of the rules.  The rules were not on board game geek either.  After emailing the creator, they now posted them there.  With the rules, the game isn’t hard to play.  It’s not horribly organized, but I think it could be better laid out.  Also, some questions like how often I can flee from zombie dice have come up, and the rules don’t specifically answer that question.  The rules are not bad, and the game is playable even with these questions, but a bit more would have helped make this game a bit better. 4.5/5

 

Execution-This game is pretty well set up.  The zombie pieces are well done miniatures, and you get a ton of them.  The cards all look cool.  The different characters have great art, layout, and story.  The player aids and zombie range boards are all done well.  The dice are nice and chunky with easy to read pictures.  The one thing I don’t like is the zombie boss.  It’s a giant zombie, but for most people who buy the game, it’s a cardboard token.  I would have liked to pay a bit more and ensure that everyone gets an awesome zombie boss mini that was part of the kickstarter.  You can buy your own boss mini, but that seems off to me.  I hate paying to make my games a bit better-it feels a bit like pay to win for me.  Like all my other minor problems with the game, the problems I have are not major, but a little bit more would really rocket this one to the top. 4.5/5

 

Summary- This is a fun game.  It’s not the kind of game I’d solely invite people over to play for a weekend, but it’s a great game to bring out late game day as a quicker game to get a bunch of people playing some last minute games.  This game has elements of games like Zombies!!!, but really cuts down on the length of the game.  And, the game has Yahtzee elements as you will try to roll for combinations of different effects to make it to the next turn or find different things.  The game isn’t perfect, but it’s a great way to get your zombie fix without having to spend hours spinning your wheels. 90%

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual

Product– Monster Manual

Producer-Wizards of the Coast

Price– $50 but not now

System– Dungeons and Dragons (5th Edition)

TL; DR– THANK GOD FOR PICTURES AND BREVITY!  99%

 

Basics– Every good hero needs a better villain!  This book introduces several monsters for any devious DM to throw at their players.  Let’s hit the highlights!

 

Crunch or Mechanics-Stat blocks have been leaking out from WotC for some time, and they sleek!  Even the heavy hitters like the previewed red dragon, one of the biggest foes to throw at a PC, has a pretty short stat block.  Also, gone are a ton of keywords and references to other things.  There are powers, but they are explained in each stat block.  I don’t need to constantly look up every feat, power, and ability in some other book to run an encounter.  That was an excellent idea in fourth edition DnD, and it is amazingly well executed in fifth edition.  I can pick a monster, read its stats really quickly (about a page for each monster even at the high!) and be ready to run an encounter mechanically in under two minutes! 5/5

 

Theme or Fluff-The book is full of art, short story bits, and little explanations of each monster.  All these pieces really bring the monster to life.  In addition, each monster gets a story block that really helps build a world or worlds.  Specific monsters from several different campaign settings get short story blocks to draw the reader into the different settings that TSR/WotC has published over time.  Other fun ideas are blasts from the past like devil/demon types along side their names.  Those little nods back to the origins of DnD really tie this modern book back to the beginning.  This isn’t a setting/story book, but it is an excellent way to learn about more than just the monsters stats.  5/5

 

Execution-So, I love the layout of the stat blocks, the descriptions of monsters, and the extra bits of story.  But, you know why is amazing?  PICTURES!  FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, WHY DO SO MANY MONSTER MANUALS HAVE WORDS INSTEAD OF PICTUES!  Every monster in this book gets a picture!  Now instead of showing my players a picture of a generic spider and saying “well….it’s like this, but with this other part….and this thing over here” I can hold up the book and show them an honest to goodness individual picture!  DO THIS OTHER COMPANIES!  The only problem I see in this book doesn’t have an index of monsters separated by CR, only an alphabetical index. 4.9/5

 

Summary-I love this book.  It’s got great art (heck it’s got individual art), great stories, and phenomenal stat blocks.  If you want to play DnD 5e, you’re going to need this book.  If you want to see a really top notch monster manual, give this one a look. 99%