Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Insight RPG System Core Rulebook

Product– Insight RPG System Core Rulebook

System– Insight RPG

Producer– NEVR

Price– $10 here http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/127515/Insight-RPG-System-Core-Rulebook?term=Insight+RPG

TL; DR-An interesting, simple universal RPG system that’s worth the intro price. 92 %

 

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Basics– It’s time for an every system RPG!  The insight RPG system is a universal RPG system that uses a d10 based mechanic for all its rolls.  Let’s give this system a point by point break down.

 

Mechanics or Crunch– Like all good universal system RPGs this needs a few points for the mechanics.  Let’s break this up.

Base mechanic- This system uses d10 for all its rolls.  It’s an attribute and skill point system that plays a bit like a combination between the Synthicide RPG I reviewed last time and 4th edition Legend of the Five Rings.  Basically, you are six different stats that are similar to the standard D&D array most roleplaying gamers are comfortable with.  This determines the number of dice you roll.  Then, you have skill ranks that you use to determine your success range.  If you are untrained and the skill is something simple like dodge (the basic don’t-get-stabbed skill), then every dice you roll can only succeed on a 10.  However, as you put points into the skill, the success range increases with two ranks meaning the success range is now a 8-10.  If you roll a 1, it is a fumble and never good side effects can occur.  So a person with four body control (think dexterity for D&D/Pathfinder) who is shooting a gun with four ranks in the skill will roll four dice and can succeed on a 7-10.  Some skills are complex meaning they are a mixture of two skills.  When that happens, on skill is instead added as a bonus to your dice pool instead of modifying the success range.  It all works well and quickly after some adjustment.

 

Difficulty and Challenge rating-Insight builds on the base mechanic by adding two different side mechanics to the game.  Difficulty modifies the success range in the opposite range of skill ranks.  A difficulty 2 task with a character with four skill ranks would only succeed on a 9 or 10.  Challenge is the number of successes needed for a task.  Climbing an ice wall while being followed by a polar bear would be a challenge 3 task needing three success at whatever range and dice pool you have.

 

Combat-Like most RPGs, combat is a pretty central tenant of the game.  What makes this game interesting is that two different mechanics are introduced for movement and range.  One is a custom system that is a hybrid of theater of the mind miniature combat, while the other is a standard D&D/Pathfinder battle map mechanic.  In the Insight system, players are different distances and these distances represent different areas of the map.  A basics quick diagram of the combat would be a middle band of the combat area where melee combat happens with five different range bands extending on both sides of the melee middle ground.  Both systems use an action point mechanics to determine how many actions you can do on your turn.  Using a larger, heavy hitting weapon takes more action points to swing, while stabbing quickly with a small knife would be fewer points per attack.  One final subject of combat is damage.  Damage works by the attacker rolling his attack dice using the base mechanic of ability dice number and skill number determine success range while the defender rolls defense in exactly the same way with the defender subtracting successes from the attacker’s success total.  If the attacker still has successes after defense, the number of attacker successes remaining is multiplied by the weapons damage value and the defender subtracts his/her armor value from this damage.  Damage also affects specific areas of the body as a random dice roll is used to determine hit location.  Each location can only take so much damage before the character begins to take penalties to attacks, defense, and skill values.

 

Magic- Insight is a universal system set up to run your steampunk game to your high fantasy, future magic system.  Magic is a complex skill with a separate pool of points a player spends to cast spells similar to magic points from the Final Fantasy games.  It’s also elemental based with different elements being separate skills and granting separate effects such as fire doing damage and spirit healing and summoning creatures.  Like everything else, it’s well presented with examples.

 

Summary-Overall, I liked this system.  I do have a few problems with it.  First and foremost is the way skill dice work.  It’s confusing to get a higher skill number but that lowers the acceptable dice values for a skill check.  Now, if you can follow the basics and you play for over 30 minutes, you will be fine and completely understand how the game is played.  But, it’s a little new user unfriendly.  I do like the addition of the two ways to set up combat.  I don’t think I’ll use the Insight introduced distance system at my table, but it’s a new, well designed system.  In summary, Insight might not be a perfect system, but it’s got things that I love like variable actions per turn with action points and successes determining damage.  It’s worth checking out if you get a chance.   4.25/5

 

Theme or Fluff- Full disclosure-I was not expecting any theme from the Insight RPG. Insight is a universal RPG, so most authors don’t put the time in to make a world for the players to destroy.  However, the last chapter of the book is a fantasy world to play in as well as an adventure.  It might not be your favorite world, but this book does have a setting as well as a quick adventure.  There is even a map of the place!  Well done! 4.5/5

 

Execution– This book has my new favorite execution mechanic-icons for important subsections.  The book understands that the system might not be as simple as say Pathfinder/D&D to get on your first read through.  However, the writers just put an icon next to an example to grab the reader’s eye.  The book also does this for important rules, notes, and optional sections.  It speeds up your reading and rereading when you can glance over a page and get the rules you need right away.  Also, the book does a simple introduction before the first chapter.  You get the game rules as an intro before the book even starts, and as a person who reads lots of RPGs, that really helps me know what I’m getting into.  And, it’s a great reference for advanced players who need a quick start.  There is even art from several different RPG styles and the world in the last chapter has a map that I never expected to see.  From something I always complain about, the book has well done spacing, layout, tables, and font again making this a pleasure to read. 5/5

 

Summary– This is a well done system that has more in it than I expected going in.  The system is pretty simple if you are accustomed to RPGs.  If you are not, then the skill system might be a bit much for some intro players.  That’s the only negative thing I can really say.  It’s got a story to it that I didn’t expect to read, and the execution of the book makes it fun to read.  Honestly the only thing I want from this RPG is more.  And, NEVR has several extra PDF available to build on your favorite aspects of the system.  You don’t get the custom, out of the box fit for a specific setting you would if you get a system specific RPG, but with a little work this RPG could easily be the campaign setting/system you’ve been searching for.  92%

Daily Punch 3-4-15 Mystic Arcanist Class for Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG

You know what I haven’t done for a long time?  Made a class for DCC RPG!  Let’s mix the wizard and the cleric and see what falls out?

Mystic Arcanist

Hit Points: A mystic arcanist gains 1d6 hit points per level.

Armor and Weapon training: A mystic arcanist is proficient with all armors and weapons a cleric is proficient with.

Alignment: Mystic arcanists are called from all alignments as the gods grant power to all who serve them as they serve them.  Depending how they see themselves, they may choose to name themselves based on the names for wizards or clerics of their same level.

Cleric and Wizard Powers:  A mystic arcanist gains all the powers of a cleric, but does not gain the turn ability using personality for all cleric spell  and lay on hands checks.  A mystic arcanis gains the magic abilities of a wizard using intelligence to cast all the wizard spells.  A mystic arcanis may never have a patron that is not a greater devil, greater fiend, or  a god as those are the creatures that grant the mystic arcanist his/her spell casting ability.

Disapproval and Corruption: When a mystic arcanis gains disapproval or corruption from a cleric or wizard spell, the mystis arcanis also gains the other effect.  If a wizard spell causes corruption, he or she also gains disapproval.  When a mystic arcanist gains disapproval, the mystic arcanis chooses an equal leveled known wizards spell and gains the corruption effect of that spell.  If unable to choose a spell of the same level, the next highest level spell is chosen instead.

 

Luck: A mystic arcanist’s luck score is added to all spell casting checks for both divine and arcane magic.

 

Level Attack Crit Die/ Table Action Die Wizard Spells Known Max Wizard Spell

Level

Known

Cleric Spells Known Level 1 Cleric Spells Known Level 2 Cleric Spells Known Level 3 Cleric Spells Known Level 4 Cleric Spells Known Level 5 Ref Fort Will
1 0 1d7/II 1d20 2 1 2 0 0 1
2 1 1d7/II 1d20 2 1 3 1 1 1
3 1 1d8/II 1d20 3 2 3 2 1 1 2
4 2 1d10/II 1d20 3 2 3 2 2 2 2
5 2 1d10/II 1d20 4 3 3 3 1 2 2 3
6 3 1d12/II 1d20+1d14 4 3 3 3 1 2 2 4
7 3 1d12/II 1d20+1d16 5 4 4 3 2 1 3 2 4
8 4 1d14/II 1d20+1d16 6 4 4 3 2 1 3 3 5
9 4 1d14/II 1d20+1d20 7 5 4 3 3 2 1 3 3 5
10 5 1d16/II 1d20+1d20 8 5 4 4 3 2 1 4 4 6

 

Thoughts?

Daily Punch 3-3-15 Lite Ice program for Shadowrun 5e

How about some love for Shadowrun?  What if you could get a touch of black ice for you deck?

 

Program Avail Cost
Lite Ice 6+6xRating R Rating x 10,000Y

 

Lite Ice was reverse engineered by back alley deckers who’ve had their brains burned a few too many times by Black Ice.  When you have this program active, any device or icon you have a mark on and has three boxes of matrix damage takes a -1 to all actions.  The target takes additional penalties for each full three boxes of matrix damage beyond the first three up to the rating of Lite Ice you have running.

 

 

Thoughts?

Ring Side Report-Board Game Review Ortus Regni

 

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Product– Ortus Regni

Producer– Jon Sudbury Games

Price– $45 here http://jon-sudbury-games.myshopify.com/collections/frontpage/products/ortus-regni-core-box

Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 30-60 minutes (2-6 players)

Type-American

Depth-Medium

TL; DR– This is the coffee table game you need! 95%

 

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Basics-Forge your kingdom!  Ortus Regni, “Origin of the Kingdom,” is a two to six player card game of dueling earls fighting to create their own kingdom.  The only way to do that is to be the last man or woman standing.  Each turn, a player can take one action and then has to draw one card.  That’s honestly the whole game, but don’t let that simplicity fool you.  The actions range from declaring battle, starting a joust, using a monk to look at another players hand, sending emissaries to the Vikings, and just playing any card from your hand face down to act as a defense of a location.  Every player starts with one location:  their palace.  From there, cards will give you new locations, such as castles which can start a new location, lands to get more soldiers, churches to get favor in battle, and even markets to get more soldiers from lands.  Other cards can be played from your hand, like vassals and champions, whom you can make lords of your various locations, or intrigue cards that can kill other players’ lords or steal soldiers.  Battles are also very simple, as the attacker sends a number of cards at the defender.  Some of the cards may come from the soldier draw deck and some may be lords of fiefs.  The defender can play cards just like the attacker. Then a card is drawn from the battle deck which randomizes the results of the battle, with results ranging from determine damage as normal to a side may not be damaged in this battle.  The other aspect of the game is the Vikings.  The Vikings represent the wild cards of the game.  Each round, if no player attacks, a black token is placed next to the Viking deck. After eight black tokens are placed near the deck, the Vikings arrive.  Control of the Vikings is determined semi-randomly; influence cubes corresponding to each player are placed in a bag and drawn blindly.    Every player starts with a cube in the Viking bag, but some cards allow you to put extra cubes in the bag.  Whoever’s cube is drawn from the back gets to use the Vikings like a club against other players in battles described like above.  The last area I want to talk about is the joust.  Jousts allow earls to steal land from other players.  A player can use a banner card to cause another player to ante up a piece of property as well as ante up a wagered property of his or her own.  Players then draw two cards from the joust deck and see who makes the better hand with the lord they send to the joust with the winner taking the anted lands.  This isn’t all that complicated a game, but the most interesting part of all this is the fact that the game isn’t played with any rules on the cards!  That’s right; every card is just a gorgeous medieval painting.  If that doesn’t grab your attention, I don’t know what will.

 

Mechanics– Let’s start with the bad before I start heaping praise on this game.  Ortus Regni doesn’t add anything completely new to the card game genre.  It’s got deck building, attacking card bases, different paths to victory, as well as non-player characters that attack other players.  However, what this game does really well is incorporate all those things together.  When I say it doesn’t add anything new, that kind of like saying eggs, flour, butter, and sugar are not really new.  Separate, they are all great things that are done well by others, but together they make an amazing cake.  This is a cake game. Good pieces mixed well together.  It’s not the most revolutionary card game out there, and for some, it won’t kill their Magic addiction.  However, if you want a card game with a single buy in with multiple strategies to exploit, then this is well worth your time and money. 4.5/5

 

Theme-If you’re willing to invest in theme so much you’ll exclude words on your cards to keep players that engaged, you get a five.  It’s just that simple.  However, past the artistic choices in the game, the game does feel like a battle between lords.  It changes on a dime, shifting constantly as intrigue, Vikings, and straight out battles all cause the world to shift as any political landscape would.  While there are points where the writing is on the wall for an individual game, even then a few events like defenders don’t get damaged, or a random draw of the Vikings can change a game’s outcome.  It feels like I’m making good choices as well as walking the luck line.  I don’t feel like I’m cheated when I lose by luck or win by luck.  It’s got that balance down phenomenally. 5/5

 

Instructions– The rules are good, but a few things could help them be great.  First the good.  The rules are well done with lots of spacing, examples, and pictures to help new players learn how to play the game.  This is even complemented by the quick start rules that get players into the action really fast.  However, the rules tend to be a bit long, and the absence of an index really hurts quick look up when you need it most mid-game.  The game is simple enough that after that first, semi painful game where you have to constantly look up the rules over and over again you won’t need anything more complicated than the quick rules.  Adding an index would make that first game a little smoother, and make future trips to the rules move even faster.  However, overall the rules do a good job, but need a few tweaks to be excellent. 4.5/5

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Execution-Hands down a 5!  I can completely understand the apprehension players may have with a card with no instruction on the cards.  But, anyone who sees this game absolutely is astounded by the art and the packaging.  Here is my video of the unboxing of this game. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GnAYl-tCwc  Just look at those parts!  Everything in this game is a painting.  The box is nice thick cardboard that won’t fall apart.  The instructions are well done, with a few small problems, but they are printed on nice thick paper.  Heck, even the paper is the nice textured paper that feels more like an ancient manuscript than a simple rule book.  It’s got quick start rules to help you get right into the game, and the training decks teach you the rules without having to spend a ton of time even learning the rules from the book itself.  This is the kind of game you buy and put on a coffee table as an art piece.  5/5

 

Summary– I’ll admit I was a little hesitant to dig into this one.  It looks beautiful, but the loudest question you will have going in is “How do you play a card game with no printed rules?”  But, honestly, you don’t need them.  The fact the game comes with such top notch components like a cloth card indicator really helps you as a quick reference.  And the lack of words makes the game that much more immersive.  The only way I could have gotten more into this card game was some mead and a turkey leg roasted on a spit.  You do feel like an earl in your hall trying to dominate the others at the table.  The instructions are good, but a few tweaks would make them great.  However, the execution of this game steals the show.  The card game isn’t the most unique game that I’ve ever played, but when you see the parts work together and how they look on the table, it’s honestly the most beautiful game out there.  Heck, the game even comes with wood deck holders!  This is a game you set out for other to see, and play when you get a chance.  Deck building isn’t that long, and it will well be worth your efforts to do so.  For the price, fun, and sheer look of the thing, this is a must add game for your collection.  95%

Daily Punch 2-27-15 Support quality for Shadowrun 5e

I always like when another character helps another character in an RPG.  Support classes might not get the accolades they deserve, but behind every troll tank is a medic keeping that meta standing!  How about a quality to help those players?

 

Support

Cost: 10 karma

You don’t have the lime light too often, so you’ve focused on helping those who are in it.  You’ve got skills to pay bills, but you let the others cash those checks.  When you assist another character with an action, in addition to all the dice you normally provide when you succeed at a check, the character also get a number of dice equal to 1/4 of the dice pool you used for that skill.  Normal limits apply, and the dice pool you count from does not factor in edge if you spend it.

 

 

Thoughts?

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Liber Arcanum

Product– Liber Arcanum

System– Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG

Producer– Cognition Pressworks

Price– PDF ~$10  here http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/139777/Liber-Arcanum

TL; DR– More wizard options than you can shake a wand at.  90%

 

Basics– Behold the Book of Secrets!  Liber Arcanum contains new wizard and elf player options for DCCRPG.  This book contains the expected new spells but also has patrons, new subclasses of wizard, magic items, and more.

 

Mechanics or Crunch– Here is where the book shines.  I love DCCRPG, and play it every other week.  But, Goodman Games doesn’t make many player options.  This book is an excellent addition to any player wizard.  It’s got an impressive amount of spells as well as new patrons that come fully fleshed out.  Every spell get’s several pages describing it in detail as well as giving all kinds of interesting flavor.  It’s an easy drop into any DCCPRG game. 5/5

 

Theme or Fluff- Theme is another home run for this product.  I’d expect, in book of spells and patrons, spells and patrons, but the book goes a little further by adding little story bits as well as art to draw you in. The arts not perfect, but it does a great job of telling a story.  Furthermore, the book even has a cosmology.  That is way more than I expected from a simple spell splat book. 5/5

 

Execution– Of the areas I review RPG products on, this is the one area where this product struggles.  Some white space would really help this product.  The first chapter adds lots of content, but it’s pretty text dense.  A few tables and some more art would have really helped break that up.  On the subject of art, this product’s are is ok.  It’s not bad, but it’s not as good as the core DCCRPG book.  That can take away a bit from the text, but overall, I’m just happy to see some art here. A little more space, some organization changes, and some art touchups would help this product make it over the top.  3.5/5

 

Summary– It’s always good to read some more DCCRPG.  Strange fantasy is always a crowd pleaser, as is this book.  It’s a massive 300 pages with lots of content ranging from the expected spells to the unexpected planer diagrams.  That’s pretty impressive from a third party publisher.  However, it’s not without its faults.  The art is a bit off in places and the font size and spacing could use a bit of work.  However, that doesn’t detract from the awesome content in this one.   A well done tome that should be found in any wizard’s library.  90%