Daily Punch 6-19-15 Signature Spell feat for DnD 5e

Everyone has that one spell they always throw out in a pinch.  Let’s build on that.

Signature Spell

You’ve practiced your spells to the point that their second nature.  It’s impressive how well you wield them.  Gain the following benefits:

  • Increase your wisdom, charisma, or intelligence by 1 to a maximum of 20.
  • Select one spell you know, when you use this spell the DC of saving throws against this spell is increased by 2 or increase the attack roll of this spell by 2.

Thoughts?

Daily Punch 6-18-15 Built like an Ox Feat for DnD 5e

Last of the dual saves!

Built Like an Ox

You beat obstacles with your muscles and when those fail you, you beat them by running through them.  Sometimes…. it’s a bit of both.  Gain the following benefits:

  • Constitution saving throws can be made using your Strength modifier, and Strength saving throws can be made using your Constitution modifier.
  • If you add your proficiency bonus to both Constitution and Strength saving throws, add 1 and 1/2 (rounded down) your proficiency bonus instead.

Thoughts?

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Valiant Universe: The Roleplaying Game

Product– Valiant Universe: The Roleplaying Game

System– Valiant Universe: The Roleplaying Game

Producer– Catalyst Game Labs

Price– $40  for the physical book here http://www.amazon.com/Valiant-Universe-RPG-Core-Rulebook/dp/1936876965/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1434994698&sr=8-1&keywords=valiant+rpg, $10 for a PDF here http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/132548/Valiant-Universe-The-Roleplaying-Game, OR PLAY NOW FOR FREE with this PDF http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/128948/Valiant-Universe-RPG-Quick-Start-Rules-Featuring-Unity

TL; DR– The heroic evolution of Cosmic Patrol 92%

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Basics– Step into the pages of the Valiant comic books.  Valiant RPG is designed to use the Cosmic Patrol light mechanics system in the world of the Valiant Comics.  You can fight alongside X-O Manowar or even start fights in the Harbinger Wars!  The book spends half its time setting up Valiant universe and half its time describing the system with adventures provided to jump start you into the system.

Mechanics or Crunch– There is a lot here, but it’s also quite similar to Cosmic Patrol

Non-Combat, Combat, and 90% of the system-Valiant RPG feels like the next stage of evolution for the Cosmic Patrol RPG.  Players use a d12 + a d4 to d12 for all the characters actions vs. the Lead Narrators roll of d20.  Just like Cosmic Patrol, the game is quick and easy to pick up.   For a much fuller explanation of the base rules read my cosmic patrol write up here: https://throatpunchgames.com/2015/06/05/ring-side-report-rpg-review-of-cosmic-patrol/ . Overall, it fits well with the comic book style of the system.  Players feel heroic being able to take blasts from large robots while facing odds that would decimate most small nations.

Powers-The major addition to the Cosmic Patrol system by the Valiant RPG are powers.  Powers are extremely varied with few if any rules guiding their creation.  Players spend points to choose a die type, a bonus to the die, and if the die replaces, if two dice are rolled and the better result taken, or if the two are added together.  How these dice are used is completely up in the air.  Since this is a superheroes game, the powers are all kept loose to allow for a variety of powers to come out.  Everything from flight to energy swords are powers the players can design and use in this game.

Summary-This is a very loose, fun game.  It does play well with all the characters feeling like superheroes.  It all works well as the Cosmic Patrol system is an amazing system.  The powers are a great addition to the system adding a wide variety of options at player creation.  It’s very flexible, allowing for the creation of any superhero a person could think up.  The only problem I have with the system is combat tends to drag a bit.  I’d like player characters to do a bit more damage to make them feel a bit more heroic.  Most people should go down in under one hit from the Eternal Warrior, but based on how damage is dealt, a Visigoth can go toe to toe with him for at least five rounds.  However, this is an area where the powers can be used to fix the system based on player creativity.  Otherwise, this system allows for players to battle through any adventure from the comics well. 4.5/5

Theme or Fluff-   The first half of the book is the quick notes of the Valiant universe.  I’ve read a bit of the comics, but this is a much better introduction to the world than I expected.  Each comic gets four to six pages of explanation as well as the general explanation of some of the major events of the universe.  It’s well done, and if you’re at all interested in Valiant Comics, it will draw you in and make you want to read some of the graphic novels. 5/5

 

Execution– I like what’s here.  Starting with the comic universe helps those who’ve never read the comics get on board in a hurry.  Also, it has enough depth that you don’t feel completely outgunned when the diehard comic guy/gal in the RPG groups starts talking.  It won’t give you a master class in the subject, but it will help you hum most of the harmonies to the Valiant Universe song.  Character creation is simple, and has a few examples to help you make the heroes you want.  I’d like a bit more for game mastering as, like Cosmic Patrol, players can do a round robin GM style with the lead narrator position rotating, allowing everybody to a chance to play.  But, just like Cosmic Patrol, the adventures are barebones.  It allows for quick, on the fly game play and mastering, but it also means that the current lead narrator has to have some serious improve chops.  I do like how much the writers provide by both giving you lots of enemies to fight as well as several adventures to start with, but I think this book needs a bit more to be completely new game master friendly.    4.25/5

Summary– Valiant and Cosmic Patrol occupy an interesting niche in the RPG market.  It’s got more rules then Fiasco, but much less rules then DnD or Shadowrun.  If you need every minuscule rule spelled out for you, then these are not games you will enjoy.  If you want a ton of improve opportunity, then you will enjoy this.  If you want ONLY improve, then you won’t enjoy this RPG.  If you want a bit of dice rolls and crunch, then this is your sweet spot.  It’s a great RPG that’s set in a fun universe with great comics.  It builds upon the solidly squishy base of Cosmic Patrol and adds a fun universe to play in with new powers to destroy it with.  However, it’s not without its faults.  Some combat can drag a bit, and I’d like a few minor additions to the GM section of the book to better teach how to run the game.  But, it’s still a great RPG with lots of options that are only limited by your imagination. 92%

Daily Punch 6-17-15 Speed of Thought Feat for DnD 5e

Let’s keep building on the dual save feats.

Speed of Thought

You can either out think your opponents or simple out move them.  Maybe it’s a bit of both.  Gain the following benefits:

  • Dexterity saving throws can be made using your Intelligence modifier, and Intelligence saving throws can be made using your Dexterity modifier.
  • If you add your proficiency bonus to both Dexterity and Intelligence saving throws, add 1 and 1/2 (rounded down) your proficiency bonus instead.

Thoughts?

Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of Albion’s Legacy

Product– Albion’s Legacy

Producer-Lynnvander

Price– At your local con.  Gaming Stores can’t get this one yet!

Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 120 minutes (2-4 players, expansion to 6)

Type-American

Depth-Heavy!

TL; DR– Arthurian Arkham Horror 93%

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Basics- The kingdom is threatened and Arthur must ride out to face the threat!  In Albion’s Legacy players take the rolls of various heroes (and in the expansion villains) of Avalon who must stop different threats to the kingdom.  There is a lot to this game, but it’s also surprisingly simple to play.

Players start by selecting a hero.  Each hero has a power and a personal quest.  The power is a constant power they have through the game, and the personal quest is a character specific goal that will grant the character their awesome ability or item that will make them that much more powerful.  Each hero also gets a starter weapon and armor.  These don’t do much besides block hits, so better items are a must.  Players also get destiny points that are used in challenges (more on that later).

Players then select a quest to go on.  The quest is the way the players will win.  Each quest outlines specific places the player must go, enemy’s to kill, and with the expansions adds extra enemies and locations for the players to visit.  These describe how set up is modified as well.  Players also select a start player who starts with a key token.  This key token is used to keep track of the number of rounds the players have played as well as determining when the game itself take a turn to move all the enemies and effect the players as needed.

After setup, players all start in the round table room of the Camelot board.  Camelot has several different locations for the players to go, with all the different locations revealed.  Starting with a key players, each player gets to move their characters around the board.  The characters all start with a move of four spaces, but they don’t have to go all four spaces.  For the most part, a character is free to move as many or as few spaces as they want.  Characters only cause events to happen when they enter a space that has an encounter marker on it or moves onto an enemy’s space.  Encounter spaces cause the player to draw an encounter card, and any time a character and a monster share a space, all other play stops and the character must fight the monster!  I’ll discuss combat and monsters in a bit.  Character can keep moving until they use up their movement either moving on known tiles, or revealing tiles for them to move on.  The player’s turn ends when they stop moving and they can elect to use the location ability of their space.  These space abilities range from healing the character, repairing armor/weapons, getting new items, or other good effects.

Combat is quick in this game.  Each character has several knightly attributes ranging from courage, prowess, altruism, and so on.  Every monster or challenge has different attributes that must be select for a combat along with a number of successes that must be obtained.  After the player has selected their attribute, the player rolls the number of dice their character has for that attribute.  These dice are six sided dice with five of the sides being the different attributes and the sixth being a mana burst which is worth two successes.  A player rolls these dice and counts the successes.  If the player succeeds, the monster is beaten or the challenge won.  If not, the player now must make a few choices.  The player can take a wound and continue the challenge, break (flip the card over) an armor or weapon and continue the challenge, discard a armor or weapon to flee combat, or spend destiny points to reroll dice.  The destiny points allow a player to select a second symbol on the die, reroll one die, and see how the combat progresses with the player winning, spending armor/weapons, or taking damage.   It’s quick, simple, and VERY deadly as most characters only have one damage!  Take your second damage, and your player retires out of the game and you have to take a second (or third or more!) character.

After all players take their turns, the key player gets  a second turn.  When they finish their second turn, the monsters all have their turns.  Most monsters move, a brazier is extinguished, some events trigger, and the key marker moves to the next player.  Then play continues as above.  When the players finish their original quest, they win the game!  If they last virtue plaque is removed or last brazier extinguished, they Kingdome descends into darkness, and the players have lost!

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Mechanics– I’ll compared this game to Arkham Horror.  The base mechanic is choose one of your six attributes, roll the number of dice you have in that attribute, and hope for that symbol or wilds to appear.  This is basically the same as the d6 with fives and sixes being successes of Arkham Horror.  Aside from that, the base mechanics of tiles revealing monsters and the basic ideas of the quest you’re on are the major story-based mechanics of the game.  All together, everything is easy enough to run, but hard enough to succeed at to keep players playing again and again.  My major problem is the game does not scale well for less than four players.  If you play one player, then you run all four characters.  If you play two players, then each player runs two characters.  If you’re playing three players then one person runs two characters.  I’d just rather see more scaling stories.  Instead of having to go to eight difference places to get fragments in one mission, why not make it two places per character?  Maybe fewer monsters on each threat card for fewer players?  The quest coins scale, but the rest of the game doesn’t.  That isn’t game ending by any means, but it a slight annoyance.  Otherwise, the game runs quickly and is quite fun. 4.5/5

 

Theme– Homerun.  This feels like a hard, but beatable, co-op game of Arkham Horror set in the world of King Arthur.  All the threats feel like Arthurian legends.  The monsters feel monastery enough, but also the variety of things needed to beat the monsters and threats is interesting.  Sure, the mechanics are basically choose a number besides 6 to roll, but the fact that the numbers of the six-sided die have different names makes this feel more like an RPG and a quest.  While I won’t quit Arkham Horror over this one as I still need my Cthulhu fix, Albion’s Legacy has found a spot in the co-op rotation of games that my wife and I will play when we want to go on a quest together and save the world.  5/5

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Instructions– This game is an example of a game that has everything you need to play written out decently, but not laid out in a way that is as helpful as you might need.  Overall the rules have exactly what you need to play.   But, it will take you a few read-throughs to get all those pieces together.  The rulebook has pictures to really help guide you in, but there are a few blocks of text that could use a break up to make things smother.  But, if you need it, I promise it’s there.  Here is my example.  I was confused over the virtue plaques.  These are plaques that give your character a bonus, but if the players have used them all up, you all instantly lose.  My wife and I couldn’t for the life of us figure out how to use them.  But, after rereading the rules, they function exactly like any other space and resources on the board- go to a location, take your turn ending action to use the space, and get a plaque.  Its written right there in red and white, but something you, like me, might miss on your read through of the rules.  It’s not poorly done by any means.  Maybe I’m just used to having similar things spelled out repeatedly to me in different rule books.  It does read quickly, but you have to be extremely careful that you might miss an important rule that could drastically change your play experience!  4.25/5

Execution– Overall, I really like what’s here.  I even did an unboxing video of this game: http://youtu.be/KG6ZPLTsync   There are a ton of parts to this game!  The box is large enough to hold them all, but you’re going to need to provide your own organization!  While I love the game, I’d like some Ziploc bags to come with it.  It’s a minor complaint, but it’s an important one.  Games like this (Arkham Horror, World of Warcraft board game, Caverna et al) are full of awesome components, but if you don’t keep this monster organized, you will spend more time setting than you ever could playing!  But that aside, the art is great, the characters look good, and the cards read well.  I’d like a few more of the attribute cards to help you determine what the spaces mean or how to fight each type of monster, but again, that’s nitpicking.  Overall, that game is well put together, but a few more additions would help put this over the top.  4.75/5

Summary– Cards on the table, I’ve never heard of Lynnvander before.  I think they are a newer gaming company, so I’m honestly surprised by the quality and quantity of this game.  Albion’s Legacy is an ambition game for any company to put out.  Some multimillion dollar gaming companies completely blow the launches of games like this.  It’s FULL of parts, has a ton of options, and is simple to run.  And all that for the basic intro price of $45.  That’s not bad!  I went with the deluxe of $60, and I got extra characters, quests, and tiles.  That’s well worth the price of admission.  It’s got a few issues-the rules could use another pass/edit, the mechanics don’t scale exactly well with the player count, and I’d like some Ziploc bags for my parts.  But, what is in this box is amazing.  If you want a co-op game that works like a dungeon crawl version of Arkham Horror in Avalon, then it is well worth your time to check this game out. 93%

Daily Punch 6-16-15 Force of Will feat for DnD 5e

I liked the 4e DnD ideas of Will saves being Charisma or Wisdom.  Let’s see if we can’t bring that back…

Force of Will

Your mind is a fortress unto its own.  Gain the following benefits:

  • Wisdom saving throws can be made using your Charisma modifier, and Charisma saving throws can be made using your Wisdom modifier.
  • If you add your proficiency bonus to both Charisma and Wisdom saving throws, add 1 and 1/2 (rounded down) your proficiency bonus instead.

Thoughts?

Blurbs from the Booth- Origins Wrap Up

Last time I wrote about my Origins Experience. Let’s finish up with the last few days of Origins.

Day 3-Friday

Day 3 started like any other: got up, worked out, ate some food, and hit the road.  For food, I brought a Colman cooler full of apples, string cheese, pretzels, and tomato juice.  Hey, I’m on Weight Watchers, so we’re trying to eat a bit healthier at the con!  Also, having a mile long hustle to my station is a bit of a bonus to losing weight.

This was the first day I was able to hit the con floor.  Origins always seems massive, but I know it’s nothing compared to the big dance–GenCon.  It’s also fun to see a few familiar faces as I walk around.  I talked to the fine people at Prolific Games, Stronghold Games, Plaid Hat Games, and Catalyst Game Labs as well as many more.  That’s the absolute best part of this con-small enough that you actually get to KNOW people in the industry, but large enough that industry GIANTS will be there talking with their fans.

I was also able to pick up a couple of games.  Lynnvander was there and they were giving out kickstarter copies of Albion’s Legacy.  I got my copy there, saving everybody some shipping.  I also got a copy of Jarl, the successor to The Duke.

Then it was off to the Catalyst Games room to run some Valiant, Cosmic Patrol, and Shadowrun.  Not too many takers today for Valiant and Cosmic Patrol.  These are still awesome games that run quick, but I know they are not the main attraction for Catalyst.  After Valiant/Cosmic Patrol, I was able to get a game of Jarl in.  It’s a great game that builds on the mechanics of the original.  Can’t wait to play some more.  My time with Catalyst ended with some Shadowrun.  I ran the first level con missions.  I love these Origins Missions as mine is about breaking into the CAS via plane and getting lost in the woods with some hillbillies.  Lots of fun roleplaying and laughter was had by all.

Friday ended with me attending the Secret Gaming Cabal event, but there was trouble afoot.  I later learned the full details, so here they are.  The Secret Cabal sells pint glasses.  They don’t make any significant money off these, but they are still selling items while not playing to be part of GAMA, the show host, or renting a booth.  That’s the kind of offense they take your badge for.  And that’s just what happened.  A GAMA representative took two of the Cabal’s badges and was about to cancel the event.  Some words were exchanged, and my personal hero Stephen Buonocore, president of Stronghold Games and the hardest working man in gaming, stepped in and fixed the issue.  Once again, I’m glad I’m also a demo agent for Stronghold Games!  While at the meet up, I got to talking with some guys from Canada.  Great guys all, and it’s fun to see the international appeal of different board games.

Day 4-Saturday-My Birthday!

Saturday was my birthday, so I was lazy and didn’t work out.  I started the day the same as any other by eating, running to the convention, and then hitting the con floor.

At 10 AM, I had two events: the board game geek exchange and a Dungeon Fighter demo.  I was the only person there for Dungeon Fighter, so I started a demo, and then ran off to the BGG event.  I didn’t know what to expect, but I did not expect this!  People hold up signs with their name so others who bought or traded games with them can get their games.  I got the Bioshock Infinity Game, Caverna, Kingdom of Solomon, and Small World Realms all for about $110.  Great deal!  I was sad my Dungeon Fighter demo fizzled, but that was my fault.  However, Happy Birthday to me!

Then it was off to Catalyst to demo RPGs.  Here is where some awesome happened.  I had groups for both Cosmic Patrol and Valiant.  We had an amazing time; the Cosmic Patrol group was a group of friends who absolutely love 60’s Sci-Fi, and the Valiant RPG was with another group of guys who have read the majority of the comics.  Those demos fly by too fast, so it was then off to running intro games for Shadowrun.  And here’s where it got strange.  We didn’t have enough new players for Shadowrun, so I was the odd man out.  With no players, I got bored and just started grabbing people walking past our room and getting them to join Shadowrun: Crossfire.  I got a full game together (they almost won, but lost in the final scene), and one of the players asked to demo the RPG.  He and another intro player were taken away by the room captain to something special.  I found out later they were sent off to play Shadowrun with the show guest of honor.

Saturday was highlighted with Catalyst buying the Catalyst Demo Team pizza.  I’ve worked for quite a few demo companies, but none have bought me dinner!  Best part was it was my birthday so I got a free birthday dinner thanks to Catalyst.  Once again, Catalyst is showing how much they appreciate and love their demo team.  I honestly don’t need a ton from the game companies I work for, but it is these little things that really make me feel appreciated. That makes me feel proud to go forth and demo these games at other cons.

Day 5-Sunday

Sunday is a sad day as the con’s ending.  I worked out, checked out, and for once, drove to the con.  I barely made it to Christian Gaming Guilds mass.  It was a packed room full of awesome people.

After church, I hit the con for the last time.  Sunday is deal day!  I bought a few games, but the biggest were the deals at the AEG booth.  AEG knows how to make money the last day!  I like to think I’m a hustler, but ho-ly cooow, these people were a well oiled machine!  I ended up buying Empire Engine, the dual expansion to Lost Legacy, and Planes.  They even threw in a laughy taffy to sweeten the deal!  Saved a bunch, but bought more than I was planning.

My final event of the con was a winner takes all game of Realm of Heroes by Mr. B Games.  The rules would be taught, and the winner would get to take the copy of the game home with him/her.  I showed up, and I was the winner-Mostly because no one else showed up!  Not even the person teaching the rules.  I went to the Mr. B Games booth and was told they might not have even registered the event.  So that was a bit strange.  But, they said since I was the winner; why not take a copy of the game.  So in the next few weeks, get ready for a review of Realm of Heroes!

Then it was back to the say good bye to all my demo friends at the Catalyst booth and game room.  Parting is such sweet sorrow!

Post Origins News and Highlights!

Honestly, my best part of the con was something I saw on the way out.  One of the players from my grab-random-hall-goes Crossfire game ended up playing a regular Shadowrun demo that turned into the special guest game.  He ended up back playing a full four hour game that Sunday.  That’s why I do this-not for free games, not for cool swag, but to get people into the hobby.  It felt good to be part of his first Shadowrun experience.  I hope to see him next Origins.

First the sad news-I came down with some major con crud, which is why this is so late.  I ended up going to Urgent Care and getting some drugs to deal with not being able to breathe.  Didn’t get anything that makes me see colors, but I do get to breathe.  So, I’ll call that a win.

But the good news- Despite all the extra fun having to drive around much more than I wanted to; I did get back into working out.  Hotel exercise rooms are always deserted during cons.  I ended up losing two pounds during Origins.  As I’m on Weight Watchers, that’s a loss I’ll take.

So all said and done, I bought a few games, ran as many as I could, and feel appreciated by my friends and the groups I worked for.  Origins may have beaten my physically but emotionally and spiritually, I feel better than ever.  Can’t wait to read, play, and run some more Shadowrun-See you in the Shadows!

Daily Punch 6-8-15 Weak in the Knees negative quality for Shadowrun 5e

If you can stand tall, you can also fall quick.

Weak in the Knees

Bonus: 3 karma

When you take a hit, you don’t get to choose to take a dive-you just do it automatically.  You’re a lightweight when it comes to taking a hit, falling more times than Glass Jaw Joe.  When determining if you are knocked down from a strike, divide your physical limit by 2 (rounding down, minimum 1).  You automatically are knocked down if you take five damage.

Thoughts?