Daily Punch 8-8-14 From the Hip feat for Pathfinder

I’ve been thinking about the heroes I love to read about, mostly the sneaky bastards…this one goes out to them!

 

From the Hip

Wen you draw down for a fight, you move so fast you strike with the weapons hilt before then with your blade before you opponents know what hit them.

Prerequisite: Quick Draw

Benefit: When you draw a weapon for the first time in a combat and use the quick draw feat, you gain an extra attack that uses your highest attack bonus and the weapons normal damage dice with the exception that this attack deals bludgeoning damage.

 

 

Thoughts?

Daily Punch 8-7-14 Extra specialization quality for Shadowrun 5e

How about being able to specialize in more then one thing in Shadowrun 5e?

 

Extra Specialization

Cost: 10 + 5  karma per specialization beyond the first.

You focus on one area and really spend your time working on that to the point all facets of that task are almost second nature to you.  When you take this quality, you may spend additional karma to specialize in a skill that you are already specialized in.  You must specialize in a second area.

 

Thoughts?

 

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Emergence Roleplaying Game

Product– Emergence Roleplaying Game

Producer-3mergent Games

System– Emergence RPG

Price-~$16 here http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/131828/Emergence-Roleplaying-Game-Core-Rulebook

TL;DR– A bit of Hero, Eberron, and Shadowrun all together. 85%

 

Basics-Man is not alone in the universe, but he’s still the worst thing out there.  In Emergence, mankind has discovered a stone allowing us to travel to another world, Stargate style.  There we meet elves, dwarves, and orcs and begin to treat them poorly leading to a war cumulating in the other races destroying our gate home.  Now a portion of mankind lives on this world in relative peace over 100 years later.  Players take the role of one of the people in this brave new world which features a combination of magic, technology, and a fusion of the two.

 

Mechanics or Crunch-HOLY COW THIS IS A CRUNCHY SYSTEM!  That is by no means bad.  But, if you were looking for Fate or Fiasco levels of rule complexity, then look elsewhere.  The book clocks in at over 300 pages, so this system has some serious meat on its bones.  Let’s go over the highlights:

Races-First thing I noticed about this system’s mechanics is the way you build your character.  It’s a standard build point system, but the races are much different.  When you create your character, you get four race build points.  Each race has abilities that cost between one to three build points, so if you wanted to play a quarter human, quarter dwarf (on my mother’s side), quarter elf ( on my father’s side), and quarter orc (don’t ask), then you can!  I think that’s pretty cool.

 

Character Generation-Characters start by selecting a background that will give them default stats, building your race, and then spending 100 build points to make whatever kind of character they want.  I always love any system that allows for that much customization, but it does slow down character generation.  Also, the BEST part of these build points is build points are the generic points used for experience points.  And, post character generation build point spending is exactly equal to during character generation build point spending.  I HATE systems that change the rules for that after character generation!

 

Talents and Combat-Another option that characters have are talents.  Talents are like feats that give the character better abilities.  You have to meet requirements to buy a talent, but they do give the character that little bit more.  Also, the talents are designed like trees with multiple levels for your character to take and specialize in.  Talents handle several different aspects of this game ranging from a multiple shots with a bow to magic spells.  And, these talents and some action in combat burn stamina.  Stamina represents your character being more winded and worn down.  You only have so much stamina, so you have to be smart when you use these points. And since your spells use stamina, you have a system that includes “cast till you pass out” mechanics which always makes me happy!

 

Base Mechanic-This system uses a fairly simple mechanic of 3d6 + ability + skill ranks vs. a static number for most rolls and tests.  I love systems that use multiple dice as it makes a nice bell curve, so all numbers have a meaning!  I’ve written about how much I love this before, so I’m pretty happy to see this appear again.

 

Health and Damage-Something I really love in a RPG is conditions tracks.  This game has four different health ranges.  As your character is damaged, you lose hit points from the left most track.  When on track is empty, you lost some abilities or now have penalties to some actions.  This neatly solves the “more than none, ready to run” problem I see all too often in games like Pathfinder and DnD.

 

Tools, Armor, spells, items, weapons, cybernetic body parts-This game has a lot of toys for the average player to look over.  The rules give you options for running just a crazy spell tattooed shaman to being a mostly robotic cyber-knight with a shotgun.  The book has a ton of player options ground to cover, but it does it well.

 

Monsters-Something that kind of annoyed me was the lack of monsters in this book.  The back of the book does introduce a few monsters of a few different types as well as comprehensive rules on how to make more.  The rules to make your own monsters are well done, but I, as the GM, have to put that much more time into this game ahead of the game.  Adding in more monsters would really help this book.

 

Mechanics Summary-The rules might be thick, but the base idea is a quick one that you can learn in 10 minutes.  This book is crunchier then a box of broken glass, but that doesn’t make the system bad.  Don’t get his one if you want Fate levels of rules, but if you want a very solid rules system that give you a lot of room to build and play, get this game. 4.5/5

 

Theme or Fluff-This book has a lot of stories in it.  A world where man has only existed for less than 150 years and where he’s the bad guy from the start is an interesting place to start a setting.  Each race and their cities get a bit of a section in the opening chapter of the book.  This system is most definitely a mix between the dragonpunk of Eberron and the cyberpunk of Shadowrun.  I would have liked a few more story ideas as the world and its different environs are well described, but not as many ideas are given to the GM to start the game.  It’s not hard to make up your own ideas, but giving a jump start to the GM is always appreciated. 4.25/5

 

Execution-I liked this book, but it does shave its flaws with the two main ones being recycled art and “textbook problem”.  The book does recycle a lot of its art.  I know the company is a smaller one, but the same few art assets are reused several times throughout the book.  Again, it’s not the worst thing, but it always annoys me a little.  The much bigger problem is the “text book problem.”  This book has a LOT of ground to cover providing rules ranging from spells to shotguns powered by magic as well as introducing a whole new setting.  The opening chapter reads just like an atlas/guide book giving all kinds of important stats and short introductions to each section of the world.  The rules sections are dominated by two column pages of black text on a blue/white background.  Those pages tend to drag on a bit as there are several of them in a row.  The pages do introduce several important things, but page after page of the same layout does get a bet daunting to read.  More tables for rules and color art would really help this book be that much better.  It’s just that dense! 4/5

 

Summary-This is a good book if you like crunch.  The world itself is nothing to sneeze at, but I would like some more example problems to face to help me design adventures for my players to go on.  However, the mechanics of the rules are amazingly well done, and I think the mechanics are the star of this book.  It has a lot of the things that really make me happy when I read a rules set.  To really make this game a grand slam, I’d like a small book on threats to the world, a GM screen to keep all the mechanics straight, and a monster book to give me some foes to throw at the PCs in a hurry.  But even without those tools, this is a great game that reminds me of other great systems like Shadowrun, 3.5e Eberron, and the Hero System.  85%

 

Discloser- I was provided a review copy of this game.  I have not been paid or compensated in any other way.

Ring Side Report- Board Game Review of CO2

Game– CO2

Producer– Stronghold Games

Price-~$55 here http://www.amazon.com/Stronghold-Games-8007SG-CO2-Board/dp/B00AKVLMY2/ref=sr_1_1?s=toys-and-games&ie=UTF8&qid=1407249487&sr=1-1&keywords=CO2

Set-Up/Play/Clean-Up-35 min per player (2-5 players)

TL; DR-A few problems mar an otherwise good game. 83%

 

Basics-The world is in trouble, and you have to fix it through capitalism!  In CO2 you play a company specializing in green/renewable power starting in the 1970s.  Each round starts with players gaining money, coins or both based on how much research their companies have in each type of green energy.  Then, each of the six areas of Earth gains more CO2 producing power plants if they do not have enough power plant in that region for each decade( 2 in 1980, 3 in 1990 and so on).  Each CO2 producing power plant increases the global CO2 parts per million rating and can lead to ecological disasters on a continent.  After that, in each decade you are given a number of turns based on the number of players.  On a turn you can do one of three actions: propose, implement, or build a green power plant.  When you propose a power plant, you place a project token in one of three sections that either gives you money, technology cubes, or scientist meeples.  When you implement a proposed plant you spend a carbon credit to gain resources depending on the type of plant with resources ranging from technology cubes to money or both.  If your company has enough research in a particular type of plant and enough money, you can build an implemented plant gaining more research in that plants type as well as victory points.  Also on your turn, you have several free actions where you can move a scientist meeples, buy/sell carbon credits, and play cards.  Scientist meeples can be moved to an implement or proposed project, from one project to another, or from a project to a research convention with the same energy type as a project the meeple was on.  If all the spaces on a convention are covered, all companies gain research in each type of energy the scientists were on as well as one research in any type of energy from that meeting.  If you implement or build a project with another player’s meeple, that player gains one research in that type of energy, get to move that meeple for free, and you must pay them an extra dollar for the privilege.  In the center of the board are the carbon credits.  On your turn you can buy or sell credits, but not both.  The cards are UN mandates give you bonus points if you build specified types of power plants.  The cards in your hand give you bonus money, credits, tech cubes, or scientists if you do an action specified on the card.  You may only perform one free card action each turn.  At the end of your turn, you gain one research in one type of energy based on a project one of your scientist meeples is on.  And the game continues like this.  After each player has taken a turn, and the first player advances the action counter.  When there are no more action spaces left for this decade, the decade advances, and research points/money are given out, disasters happen, and then the turn counter is reset based on the number of players.  The game continues like this until a few events happen:  1) the CO2 level gets high enough that mankind dies/everybody loses 2) the decade is 2030 or 3) the CO2 level drops below 350.  At the end, players who controls the different areas of the board based on number of power plants in each area gain carbon credits based on the region, the players spend those for money, get research money/points one last time, sell money for points, and the player with the most points wins.

 

Mechanics- When you get past the instructions (see below), this game is really fun!  The game makes you think on your feet a lot while having to make smart choices based on what the other players are doing.  You CAN’T build stuff alone.  You need to work with the other players to get the power plants built and experience to do it, but if you let the other build everything, you will lose.  This game does semi-cooperative really well, maybe almost the best I’ve seen for a while. 5/5

 

Theme- The game does do some justice to the theme of different green energy companies working together/against one another.  The mechanics do enforce the theme of needing other to help you and the theme of environmentalism.  An example is the ecological disasters.  When an area of the world has a problem, each company WITHOUT power plants in the area has to pay a cube to the region or be seen as callous.  These cubes can be used by other players who build in the region because now grants are available to help fix the damage.  I do have some problems with the theme as the components could use a bit more to make things a bit more thematic.  Yes, this is a euro game, but that doesn’t mean it has to have cubes.  Give me some other kinds of meeples like little computers or something. 4.5/5

 

Instructions- This game was written by a lawyer.  The rules are divided into sections and subsections that make this game not fun to read.  The rules are several pages of three columns of words with few pictures.  The pictures that are in there are awesome and really help to explain the rules.  But, there are not many!  The rules reference sections like 2.2.1.  DON’T DO THAT!  Have a nice flow that invites me to read!  I’ve been sitting on this game for a long time (six months) because I couldn’t make it through the rules.  When you do read the rules, you see the game is pretty standard euro-game fare, so it’s not too complicated.  But even after the several subsections in the rules, I and my gaming group were still left with questions regarding scientist movement and other important aspects.  Overall, it’s not the worst set of rules I’ve read as I was still able to play the game without a visit to Board Game Geek, but only just. 3/5

 

Execution- The game components are not bad, but I would have liked a bit more.  The game uses small, half standard cards for all the cards in the game.  That’s not bad, but there are less than 60 cards in the game.  So, the cards are more of a pain.  Adding to the pain, the cards don’t have any words and unless you know what cards you’re looking for, it’s really a pain as you need to constantly look at the rules to find which cards are separated into which piles.  Bigger cards with different colors would have really helped distinguish the types of cards.  Also, the box is kind of flimsy.  The board is well done and the iconography is good, except where the rules fail it.  Overall, it’s the product is ok, but some minor problems hamper the whole.  4/5

 

Summary-This is a fun game.  The game itself is a great Euro game.  The theme is fun as it’s a controversial subject-global warming-while being executed well.  This game is semi-cooperative worker placement on two different levels-projects and scientists- which I haven’t seen for a while.  If you love worker placement/development/resource management euro games and can get past the dry, boring instructions, you will have a blast trying to outwit your opponents on a global scale.  83%

Daily Punch 8-4-14 On the Money quality for Shadowrun 5e

I’ve had quite a few players at my table get mad when they only grazed a target, let’s fix that.

 

On the Money

Cost: 4 Karma

Life is a lot of absolutes for you: food/no food, rent money/sleeping in the car, hit/miss.  When you attack a target with a melee or ranged weapon and you score a grazing hit, you are considered to have hit the target doing base damage for the weapon or ammunition.

 

 

Thoughts?

Silver Screen Smackdown- Movie Review of Guardians of the Galaxy

Movie– Guardians of the Galaxy

TL;DR– GO SEE THIS! 100%

 

Basics– Meet Quill, our not Han Solo hero, as he steals some random item from a dead world.  He is now on the run from Thanos, his former allies, and bounty hunters.  Along the way he will team up with a walking tree, a talking/shooting raccoon, an assassin, and a berserker as they save the galaxy while causing untold property damage.

 

Story– This story rocks!  The world of the movie is full of crazy characters, fun places, and untold destruction.  So many things are given a quick introduction, but all the pieces got just enough intro to keep you interested but not be boring.  It’s a wild ride that moves at such a fast pace that its over two hour run time just flies by. However, the pace is so well done that I didn’t have the rushed feeling I got from the Harry Potter films. 5/5

 

Acting-Everybody hits this out of the park.  Every person does an amazing job bringing all the crazy characters to life.  Some actors only have a voice to make you feel that a character is real, but they pull that off with amazing results.  Everybody shines in this one.  I AM GROOT 5/5

 

Cinematography– No surprise here as this film is an amazing piece of art.  The CGI is top notch while the real shots are no less amazing. 5/5

 

Summary– I have two favorite movies this summer-Snowpiercer and Guardians of the Galaxy.  These both hit great spots in my soul for different reasons.  If you want a fun movie that isn’t stupid with amazing dialog and great acting then Guardians of the Galaxy is the movie for you.  If you want a movie that will keep you thinking and wondering with amazing dialog and great acting then choose Snowpiercer.  Guardians of the Galaxy might not be the high brow cinema that will make you question the human conditions, but man, it is a fun time, wild ride, and an all around great movie! 100%

Book Bout- Book Review of Skin Game: A novel of the Dresden Files (Book 11)

Book– Skin Game: A Novel of the Dresden Files (Book 11)

Author-Jim Butcher

Buy It Here– ~$16 http://www.amazon.com/Skin-Game-Dresden-Files-Book-ebook/dp/B00HUVUSZ4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407159924&sr=8-1&keywords=skin+game

TL;DR-Good, but don’t start with Dresden’s 11. 93%

 

Basics-Dresden’s at it again!  Once again, Dresden is behind the eight ball as Mab has loaned the Winter Knight out to Nicodemus to pull a heist job with some of his oldest worst enemies.  Can Dresden be the Winter Knight, somehow not be a monster, complete the heist, and do all this before the psychic parasite in his mind kills him in three days?

 

Characters– This book is all about the different characters Dresden has meet in all of the previous books.  The characters feel like they belong and are written properly compared to the previous books, but do manage to grow and change in this book.  That’s no easy feat itself.  No one feel out of place, and you get enough of an introduction to each character that even if you did something as foolish as read this as your first Dresden Files novel, you wouldn’t be completely lost. 5/5

 

Setting-The Dresden Files have taken place less and less in Chicago over time.  While that is not horrible in any way, the original premise of the books was that Dresden was a modern wizard in Chicago.  The other places he goes are well described, and I had no problems visualizing them.  But, I think things need to go back to the source a bit. 4.5/5

 

Story-I liked this story, but you can tell it’s mostly there to get all the old gang back together.  With the exception of only a few major characters, all the boys are back.  Not horrible, but the book feels like it has to check in with everyone to hit all the fan favorites.  Again, not horrible, but as book series get longer it’s a problem that tends to creep into the series.  What is here is a fun ride that doesn’t feel stupid or stupid for a fantasy book at any turn.  The book even has built in “breathing sections” where the readers and characters get to live for a few minutes instead of just run/fight all the time, so the pacing is awesome.  Also, the idea of characters questioning if they are evil or good is another well done part of this story.  Overall, I like what I see in this book.  4.5/5

 

Summary-Here’s the straight deal-don’t just start reading this book.  Go read Storm Front if you want to start reading the Dresden Files.  It’s the first book, so start there.  If you like that one, odds are you will like this one, but please work your way up from there.  If you loved the previous ones, like me, you will love this one.  This book continues a lot of the last book’s themes which I enjoy while still delivering the action too.  It stands on its own, but don’t start here if you can avoid it.  As for the book itself, it a great book, but suffers from some of the same problems that most large series do. 93%

 

Audiobook EXTRA–  I’ve listened to every single Dresden Files book as an audiobook.  James Marsters is amazing as a narrator making every single character come to life, so that in and of itself is a reason to get this as an audiobook. 5/5

Daily Punch 8-1-14 Summoning Sickness quality for Shadowrun 5e

I’ve been making a lot of good qualities for Shadowrun 5e, how about a bad one….

 

 

Summoning Sickness

Bonus: 5 Karma per Level (Max 4)

RequirementSkill ranks or skill group points in Conjuring skills equal to the level taken for this quality.

You play with spirits, but they don’t play nice with you (kind of like cheap McHugh’s sliders)!  When you use a skill from the Conjuring skill group, you gain extra drain equal to the level(s) you take in this quality.  Determine if the drain is physical or stun before adding the additional drain from this quality.

 

Thoughts?