Daily Punch 3-16-15 Large Weapon Master feat for DnD 5e

Let’s keep rolling with DnD.  I’d like to build on the thoughts of the Dual Wielder feat, but this time for one large weapon.

Large Weapon Master

You avoid the safety of a shield or the quickness of two blades for the power of large weapon.  Gain the following benefits:

  • When you use a two-handed weapon, double your strength bonus to damage.
  • When you use a two-handed weapon, gain a +1 bonus to all attack rolls for that weapon.
  • When you use a two-handed weapon, you are still considered to have a free hand.  However, if you use a free hand, you can’t make a an attack with the two-handed weapon until you only have your hands on the weapon.

Thoughts?

Daily Punch 3-13-15 Hold Your Ground Feat for DnD 5e

You can charge and do damage.  What if you could stand tall and hold a position?

Hold Your Ground

You are a wall!  You don’t move the fastest, but you no one moves you or around you.  Gain the following benefits:

  • Gain +1 to your strength or constitution to a maximum of 20.
  • Gain advantage on any saving throw that would move you.
  • When you don’t move for a turn, gain a +1 bonus to your AC and any attack you make.
  • When a creature moves to engage you in melee, as a reaction you may make an attack against that creature.

Thoughts?

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Baker Street

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Product– Baker Street: Roleplaying in the world of Sherlock Holmes

System– Baker Street

Producer– Fearlight Games

Price– $20 here http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/142228/Baker-Street-Roleplaying-in-the-world-of-Sherlock-Holmes?term=Baker+Street

TL; DR– If you want to investigate some Victorian crime, you can’t do better. 93%

Basics– Holmes is dead, but the world still needs heroes!  In Baker Street, the players all take the roll of inspectors hired by Scotland Yard to help solve cases that would normally be throw to the late Sherlock Holmes.  Are you on the case?

Mechanics or Crunch– This is its own complete system, so let’s break this up.

Base mechanic- This is completely a skill based system.  You only have a handful of trained skills, and when you do an activity, you choose a skill and roll that many six-sided dice along with a Sherlock die.  If you are not trained and you need a skill, you roll two six-sided dice.  You succeed on a 4, 5, or 6.  The Sherlock die will add some randomness to the other dice.  The Sherlock die has a 1, 2, 3, Watson, Moriarty, or Sherlock face.  The 1, 2, and 3 sides of the Sherlock die make the 1s, 2s, or 3s successes on the other dice.  Watson gives you a free assist to help another player or an extra success.  Moriarty makes all non-successful die faces count against the successes!  The final face Sherlock, Sherlock himself, allows you to name a dice face number and those dice now count as successes.  The last thing to mention is professional skills and specialties.  When you use a professional skill (think a skill you have ranks in) any 6’s you get on dice allow you to reroll the die for extra successes.  This can continue until you don’t roll a 6 again!  Specialties allow you to gain two extra dice on a check because of your degree of training in a particular area.  The whole system is quick and easy.

Combat-Combat happens, but this isn’t the main push of the system.  Sherlock fights some foes, but that’s not the big pull of the books.  However, this game does have some interesting twists to fighting.  The basics of combat work just like any other skill.  If I try to hit your character, you would roll you dodge skill, and I would roll my weapon or attack skill just like the base mechanics above.  If your dodge roll has more successes than my attack, you didn’t get hit. However, if I have more successes on the attack, I roll a weapon damage roll.  This weapon damage roll works just like above, but I use a chart to determine how many dice I would roll for the attack instead of a skill.  I still roll the Sherlock die however.  The most interesting thing is combat is not done with initiative like any other RPG.  It’s done by naming another character or the game master.  Players start, then after the first player goes, and he/she chooses who gets to go next.  However, keep in mind if all the players go, and choose the bad guys run by the GM to go last in the round, the GM can choose to have the bad guys go again at the start of the next round almost taking two turns in a row!  That’s a simple turn order mechanic, but it does lead to some interesting thoughts and discussions around the table!  It’s also fun to see a novel way of managing combat in a RPG.

Investigation- Here’s the real meat and potatoes of Sherlock Holmes!  When players investigate a murder or a crime scene, they enter a new phase of the game to gain and eliminate clues through several sub-phases.  First, players Observe the scene revealing clues. One player rolls the dice for their observe skill, but every other player can give that player half their dice pool rounded down for their observe skills.  The number of successes reveals clue cards that the players can begin to investigate.  Each clue has a description as well as three leads that may go deeper down the rabbit hole or throw them off the trail.  After the Observation round, players then do a Reason round.  One player rolls his/her reason skill and other players aid as above.  This will eliminate a number of clues that are false or erroneous.  Finally, players then enter the Deduction round.  Just like the previous two phases, one player rolls deduction while the other players help.  This phase gives players a number of times they can ask the GM about different leads on each card to ask if they are real or not.  Some leads on a clue card are not useful at all, while some are the next area that they players must observe or interrogate to determine who did the dastardly dead.

Threat-Sometimes a player want to ask more questions to a NPC then there is time to do.  Sometimes a player want so re-investigate a room.  Sometimes a player just wants to ask the GM for an assist to find the best way forward.  When that happens, the threat level of the investigation raises!  This is a behind the GM screen level of general tension that can only hurt the players.  When the threat level rises, some bad events may occur like thugs ambushing the players, making the Sherlock die’s 1 phase not work, or just adding extra bad guys to the final fight.  It’s an addition to keep pushing the players forward in their quest to solve the crime while preventing them from spending days looking over the first room.

Characteristics-This game doesn’t have feats like Pathfinder/DnD, but what it does have are characteristics.  You start with two personal characteristics, two professional characteristics, and two negative characteristics.  These characteristics not only give you roleplaying hooks, but when you invoke a professional or a good quality you get extra dice on that skill roll.  The negative characteristics give the GM some story hooks in you as well!

Resolve-I love story candy for my players.  Resolve is that currency in this game.  It’s used for several things from adding dice to a dice pool to preventing damage when you are hit with a weapon.  Also, when a GM invokes a negative characteristic of your player, you can spend a point of resolve to avoid the flaw.  If you don’t have some resolve, then you follow your darker impulses and do something that most likely won’t end well!

Summary- Overall, this is a good system, but it does some minor flaws that are flaws in how investigations are narrated in all stories.  You know every day you sit at the gaming table that there will be an investigation scene, kind of like every episode of CSI will have an investigation scene.  If you can’t get past that or don’t want that in your game, then this system might not be for you.  The system of investigation means that pretty much every charter has to have some ranks in the three skills used to find and discard clues and leads.  Now, that isn’t too much fun to have some of your character planed before you get to play, but then again you are playing a criminal investigation game!  The basics of the skill system and the ease of it use do work really well.  It’s quick, fun and easy to play this game, even if I’d like a bit more flexibility in the game overall.   4.5/5

Theme or Fluff- You want some classic Victorian crime novels?  You got it!  This game has some great world building describing in vivid details the different classes of servants the upper class has to the various different kind of criminals that stalked Whitechapel in the 1890’s.  Baker Street is set up to tell a Sherlock Holmes’ story well, and it succeeds in spades!  Even the provided adventure looks like it’s printed on a newspaper from the time!  5/5

 

Execution– Overall, this book is really well set up, but there are some problems.  The general character building and how to play are all done well.  It reads quickly and has some good spacing, all of which are very important to me.  The PDF is presented like an old book with some wear and tear, which does give some excellent flavor.  However, the PDF isn’t really hyperlinked well with the hyperlinks just listing all the pages.  Also, the adventure that is presented has great flavor as it looks like an old newspaper, and I’m happy to see an adventure here to help me run my first game.  However, the use of Victorian newspaper format makes it harder to really read and digest quickly.  You can’t really scan it to find what you need in a hurry as it isn’t really spaced well.  It’s some minor complaints, but these small things did hurt my overall experience slightly.  4.5/5

Summary-This is a great way to run an investigative RPG, but the problems you might have are if you want an investigative RPG.  This game solves the absolute hardest and worst problem to correct in a RPG investigation-are the players and GM out-thinking each other?  Much like old school point-and-click adventure games, investigation in a RPG might stall out because neither side of the GM screen finds the train of logic from the other side.  The investigation system here is top notch allowing for really deep stories to be told.  However, my only real problem with this system is its build really well to do what it does.  If you want to do something that the system isn’t designed for like run a Sword and Sorcerery campaign on Mars, this isn’t what you should use.  Also, you need to want to play a criminal drama and build your character for that.  Pathfinder/DnD will have this one beat for variety, but if you want some really well done Victorian sleuthing, then you can’t do better than this out of the box!  93%

Daily Punch 3-12-15 Bow Expert feat for DnD 5e

How about some feat for DnD 5e.  If there is a crossbow feat for DnD 5e, then let’s make a longbow/short bow feat for DnD 5e!

Bow Expert

Your skill and speed with the longer bows makes you a formidable foe.  Gain the following benefits:

  • Increase the damage dice for any longbow or shortbow you you by one step.  As an example a d6 weapon would instead deal a d8.
  • As a bonus action each round, you can shoot one additional arrow with a longbow or a shortbow.
  • As a reaction each round, you can make an attack with a shortbow or longbow when an enemy moves into its melee range and engages you for the first time.  This one attack does not suffer disadvantage.

Thoughts?

Daily Punch 3-11-15 Glass Jaw quality for Shadowrun 5e

In the rules, you never decrease your body rating for damage soak rolls in Shadowrun 5e.  Let’s play with that…

Glass Jaw

Bonus: 7, 15, or 25 karma

You might be awesome in a fight, but when you get hit, it hurts!  For seven karma, when you have three boxes of physical or stun damage, you take a minus -1 penalty to all damage soak rolls.  For 15 karma, when you have two full tracks of physical, stun, or a combination of both, you take a -2 penalty.  For 25 karma, when you have three filled tracks of physical, stun, or a combination of both, you take a -3 penalty to all damage soak rolls.

Thoughts?

Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of Regnum Angelica

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Product– Regnum Angelica

Producer-Black Locus Games

Price– $45 here http://blacklocustgames.com/regnum-angelica/

Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 30-60 minutes (2 players)

Type-American

Depth-Medium

TL; DR– A fun combination of chess and Magic: The Gathering.  99%

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Basics-IT’S TIME FOR DIVINE WAR! Regnum Angelica is a battle between the forces of heaven and hell played out on an epic scale.  Each player takes a side represented by a deck of cards.  These cards come in three types: angels, angelic scripts, and pillars.  Angels are the bulk of the cards in the deck.  These represent the attacking forces for each side.  They have a movement range and a power rating.  If you move the angel all the way across the field into your opponent’s side, you gain points equal to their power.  Also, if you score points with an angel/demon, you will lose all your power, which gets you movement for your angels and points to spend to cast scripts.  Scripts are best thought of as instant spells from Magic: The Gathering.  After paying the power cost for the card, each script has an immediate effect inducing more movement, teleporting angels, removing angels from the field, or other options.  Pillars increase your angel’s/demon’s power, and change the type of angel until they are removed.  They also give your angel/demon a shield as an angel/demon that is defeated in combat with a pillar just has the pillar removed instead of losing the whole angel/demon.  Each turn is very simple.  First a player gains a number of movement tokens equal to their current power or one token.  Then, a player may play one angel face down.  Next, a player can turn one face down angel/demon face up.  Some angels have abilities that range from gain power, reduce your enemy’s angel count, or other abilities and these trigger when they are turned face up.  The active player can then spend movement tokens to move angels up to their movement range.  Unspent tokens are removed at the end of turn.  The last action a player can do is discard pillars and angelic scripts to gain extra power equal to the cost of using the card.  At the end of your turn, you draw up to four cards or one card if you have four or more cards.  The above is simple, but what makes it interesting is the way combat is resolved between cards.  Each card has a grid indicating element and directions.   Angels and demons can move in eight directions (up, down, right, left, and all diagonals).  At each of these locations on the mini grid on the card is an element symbol.  When a card would move on top of another card, you compare the elements and directions of those cards.   The three elements are earth, water, and fire.  Earth beats water; water beats fire, and fire beats earth.  It’s like a quick, stylized version of rock paper scissors.  If the two elements are the same, then the angel/demon with the higher rank wins.  If that’s tied, then both are destroyed and move to the void.  Pillars come into play here as a pillar effectively makes all the symbols on an angel/demon’s directions that element.  Turns go back and forth until one player scores 35 points, and that player’s side is victorious!

Mechanics– I liked this game.  The basic elements of the game are top notch.  Honestly, if you want an awesome combo game of Magic: The Gathering that you don’t have to build decks for, this is it. Combat is quick, but you do have to think.  Knowing when to move, when to score, and how to best move a card to attack another card are all amazingly complex while still being simple enough to be quick and fun.  If you like chess and Magic: The Gathering, this is a game that should be part of your collection.  5/5

Theme– I love the theme and its execution, with one small problem.  The manual opens with a multi-chapter story.  As a RPG geek and a bibliophile, this makes me happy!  The creators of this game not only took the time to tell me a story, they wanted it front and center.  That takes some guts.  The art is great, and each side feels like the monsters and saviors they are.  However, my only problem is also a bonus to this game.  The two different decks are basically identical.  Each has a card with similar abilities and similar elemental grids at the bottom.  That’s good, but I would have liked each side to feel a bit different.  The art does separate the different decks, but if you didn’t have the art, the decks wouldn’t be different at all.  That does beg two theories: 1) are the creators of the game saying that looks aside, heaven and hell are basically the same? or 2) did the creators want knife edge balance for their game and used the same deck twice to keep that balance? (It’s most likely 2, but 1 does bring up a good philosophical argument…) 4.8/5

Instructions– I mentioned above that the rules start with a long story.  That makes me happy, but the rules also do a rather decent job of explaining the game.  After cracking up the box, my wife and I were both playing after 10 minutes of reading.  That’s pretty good for a game with this much depth.  Also, each side getting a simple turn diagram and element combat chart card really does speed up the game as well. 5/5

Execution– Just like all my other recent board game reviews, I’ve included an unboxing video here: http://youtu.be/qa2CcG4wjFI  The contents of the box are pretty well done.  I like the nice glossy board as well as the card stock for the cards.  I always appreciate not having to sleeve my card game and still be able to shuffle the cards without destroying them.  I also really enjoy the art.  Each card and the board have beautiful gothic art on them.  Also, I’d almost give these people extra credit because they not only give you clear spots to put the tokens and cards, BUT they also give you bags for you tokens.  I think I’m in love! 5/5

Summary– I really liked this game.  My wife who HATES Magic and chess even thought this game was the best it could be as a combination of those two.  It’s got great balance with even the over powered characters being balanced by the other side having cards to remove those cards from play.  The power mechanic of scoring reduces the power pool also makes driving for several scores at once impossible really balancing the sides.  The art is great, and the tokens made me happy.  This game has moments that make you think hard, but also isn’t a analysis paralysis game.  If you don’t like Magic or chess, then this game might not be for you.  Also, there is an elephant in the room I didn’t mention.  It is a game of heaven vs. hell.  I’m fine with that, but if you don’t like that theme in your games, then this isn’t for you.  But otherwise, if you want a fun, two-player game that you don’t have to build decks for and tire of chess, then this is the game for you. 99%