Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Shadowrun: Run Faster

Product– Shadowrun: Run Faster

System– Shadowrun

Producer– Catalyst Game Labs

Price– $25 here http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/141788/Shadowrun-Run-Faster?term=Shadowrun%3A+Run+Faster

TL; DR– The Shadowrun edition catch-up book. 87%

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Basics-Time to dust off that chrome plated centaur!  Run Faster is an edition catch-up book.  While the main Shadowrun book had a comprehensive book of characters, Run Faster fills in the smaller gaps by adding all the subtypes for each metahuman race.  This book also has a chapter discussing how to make your vampire and all the subtypes for that as well.  In addition, Run Faster adds new archetypes, qualities, quick start packages for traits and gear, and rules for how to build up your house.

Mechanics or Crunch-This is the edition catch-up race book with a ton of extra character options as well.  When a new edition arises, some people want their old, less represented races back.  Here’s the book for that.  Want to play a naga?  Here you go!  Want to play a vampire?  We got rules for that!  Want to play a centaur?  SURE!  Don’t like the new priority-based character generation plan for SR5?  We’ve got several new ways to make characters from scratch now.  It’s got enough chapters to bring some serious new crunch to your SR5 game.  Some parts are not a useful.  I’m a Shadowrun Missions game master, the entire section on vampires, while interesting, is completely useless to me. It’s well done, but something that might be better served as its own smaller PDF.  There are also chapters that I absolutely love like the section on how to kit out your house.  It’s amazing mechanics, but most of the Missions players will never be able to use them.  What does impress me is the PACK sections.  The preset packages will help you make characters quicker by giving you small, preset groups of skills, abilities, or items that you can plug into your forming character instead of slaving over the book for an hour.  That, as someone who teaches the game often, will be the most useful thing out of this book.   Overall, the book is amazing, but not the most versatile book for all players. 4.5/5

Theme or Fluff- The core book tells some great stories on how the 6th world works.  This book fills in gaps describing how individual creatures fit in it.  It doesn’t just give how the freaks of the world survive, but it also gives how a basic dwarf is seen and judged.  It’s got chapters on how the vampiric-ly gifted survive and try to thrive.  It’s full of stories that will give you ideas for your next run.  It’s a beautiful book full of great art to give you a picture of the world.  This book will help you better understand the world of Shadowrun as a (meta)person who lives there.  5/5

Execution-Oh, Shadowrun, Shadowrun, Shadowrun.  You honestly know how to tell a great story, but making that book useful, searchable, and easy to use is not your strong suite.  Like all Catalyst properties, don’t expect an index.  That right there hurts the book.  Also, organization isn’t their strong suit either.  Here is the textbook example of this boks problems.  In the chapter on vampires and other infected, the book gives a table on the different types of infected on their stats.  Thats a good start.  However, not listed on that chart are the base creature that changes when infected, the type of HMVV that infects them, or their powers.  Now that’s a large chart, so I can excuse the powers not being a part of it.  But, I have to look up the specific infected for each type of virus and the creature it mutated from.  As someone who hasn’t played a ton of the previous editions where that was a larger part of the game, I’m stuck reading text descriptions of each infected.  Those get the point across well, but they don’t get the point across easily.  And that’s the problem wit this book.  Give me more to your tables and more tables.  Give me a table with short descriptions of the qualities and the cost with them.  That was done for 3.5 DnD, and it quickly got the ideas across.  This book gets its ideas across, but not in a user friendly manner. 3.5/5

Summary-I am not an old gamer.  I can not call myself a proud and ancient grognard-one who’s seen the rise and fall of uncounted editions.  I’m actually a recent convert to Shadowrun.  I joined up late 4e, and I have fallen in love with 5e.  That said, I’m way behind my knowledge about the smaller details of the setting.  This is a great book to fill in those gaps.  I like learning how the individual races are treated.  I like learning about the nitty gritty of vampiric life.  I do think some mechanics are a bit useless to most of the player base, but that doesn’t hurt the book too much by providing extra information.  What does hurt the book is Catalyst’s organization of the information.  In the chapters where the book wants to tell a story, it tells amazing stories.  In the chapters where it has a ton of crunch information to bring to bare, it does its job but doesn’t get much help from the layout.  If you love Shadowrun, this is a fantastic book to learn about the world.  If you want to get new players options for your SR5 game, this is a fantastic book.  If you want to learn how to produce a book and need a guide as a refer to, this is not the book to look at.  87%

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Daily Punch 7-8-15 Undead Destroyer feat for DnD 5e

Most undead are not weak to radiant in DnD 5e.  I want to fix this!

Undead Destroyer

The light you bring makes all who serve unlife shrink to the shadows.  Gain the following benefits:

  • Increase your Intelligence, wisdom, or charisma by 1 to a maximum of 20.
  • When you do radiant damage to an undead, it must make a Charisma saving throw.  On a failure, it gains damage vulnerability: radiant for one turn, including the attack you just did.

Thoughts?

Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of Elder Sign: Gates of Arkham

Product– Elder Sign: Gates of Arkham

Producer-Fantasy Flight Games

Price– $25 here http://www.amazon.com/Elder-Sign-Gates-Arkham-Expansion/dp/1616619198/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1436731542&sr=8-2&keywords=elder+sign%3A+games+of+arkham

Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 45 minutes per scenario (1-8 players)

Type-American

Depth-medium

TL; DR-Arkham Horror in Elder Sign! 97%

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Basics- Time to leave the museum.  Games of Arkham is the second expansion to Elder Sign, and now players will explore Arkham trying to stop the spread of the Old Ones.  For the most part, the general mechanics are the same.  Basically, each round a player draws a mythos card.  This mythos card adds new challenges and opportunities for the players.  Then, players take their individual turns.  First, they move to open locations.  These locations have a number of dice symbols in rows on them.  A Player rolls the dice and try to match their symbols to all the symbols on a row.  If they can complete a row, they place those dice on the card, reducing the number rerolled, but succeeding on part of the task, and rerolls the dice.  If not, they remove a die, and rerolls the dice.  That player either solves all the rows of dice symbols, or they fail.  Each location has a success results and failure results.  Then the player advances the clock, and play continues.  When the clock advances four times, either from players taking turns or location effects, a new mythos card is drawn.  The game continues until either the ancient evil coming to destroy us all arrives… and destroys us all or the players amass a number of elder signs to hold the eternal evil off for a bit longer.

Gates of Arkham adds a few new things.  One, a new deck of locations that are all locations in town and not rooms in the museum.  Two, new locations enter play upside down with effects on their back!  Unlike in the base game, cards now will affect the players before they enter play thus forcing players to go to hard locations because these locations have effects that are worse if they are not dealt with.  Three, a new mythos deck dedicated to the town of Arkham instead of the museum.  And four, new gate mechanics.  Gates are now tied to locations as each gate has little standyies that tie a location and an other world location.  You have to enter a gate to to to another world locations cards.  Gates are just as hard, but if you can’t place a gate because all the standyies are out, then bad things are about to happen!

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Mechanics– This is the ultimate step in the right direction for an expansion.  I LOVE Arkham Horror, but it’s 45+ minutes to just set up the game without touching a single die!  This game is 15 minutes of set up the first time you use it and less than five after that.  The core mechanics of Cthulhu yahtzee haven’t changed, and that’s great as they are still simple and fun.  The new ideas of location effects, enter locations semi-blind, and tying Arkham and other world locations together are all amazing and reflect the Arkham Horror mechaincs.  My only real problem are the expansion characters.  Most you will look over, then decide to not use.  This new round seems a bit too topical to be that useful.  They are not broken, but not as great as many of the others.  The game is still as American style as it can be.  You WILL lose because you will roll poorly.  You WILL not have enough time.  But, it WILL be fun!  4.5/5

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Theme-Take Arkham Horror, remove ¾ of its game time, and you have this.  If you read the cards, locations, and fluff text, you have an amazing Lovecraftian experience in under an hour.  It’s a game the builds its own story organically, and something you will enjoy as it does.  5/5

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Instructions– I’m honestly impressed.  The game has great instructions.  It’s not hard to understand, the rules flow well, and they read fast.  5/5

Execution-First, the complaint-there is too much in this box.  The box itself is offset in shipping as there is just too much here.  I know that’s a horrible complaint.  WIth that soft complaint out of the way, the game is amazing.  I like the art.  The card iconography is well done.  The cards themselves are great quality.  I even love the standyies!  They don’t destroy the components when they are assembled!  This is honestly a well done expansion.  You can see all the pieces during our unboxing video here: http://youtu.be/R–M3ZSPZfQ !   4.95/5

Summary-This is as close to a one hour Arkham Horror game as you’re going to get.  Sure it’s got the American Game problem of chance.  But, if you and your friends can enjoy a bit of mutual misery as you all die from creatures outside space time, you will absolutely love this game.  It’s not perfect.  I’d like a slightly larger box and some changes to the new characters in this set.  However, those complaints pale in comparison to how much I absolutely love what’s in this game.  If you want a quick, fun, and easier version of Arkham Horror or an expanded version of Elder Sign with just the right amount of depth added, this is the game for you. 97 %

Daily Punch 7-7-15 Fighting Training feat for DnD 5e

What if you just want to splash a little fighter into your wizard?  Let’s see if we can make that happen!

Fighting Training

All those nights around the fire pit have paid off as you’ve learned how to truly handle yourself in a fight.  Gain the following benefits:

  • Increase either your strength, dexterity, or constitution score by 1 to a maximum of 20.
  • Learn one Fighting Style from the Paladin, Fighter, or Ranger lists.

Thoughts?

Daily Punch 7-3-15 STANK! negative quality for Shadowrun 5e

Looking over some negative qualities, and I’d like to add another!

STANK!

Bonus: 4 karma per level (1 to 3 levels)

Maybe you just don’t shower after binges on the matrix.  Maybe the dumpster you call home just doesn’t have indoor plumbing.  Or maybe that hippy, dippy mage commune doesn’t have hot water.  Whatever your reason, you just STANK!  It’s in the area, it’s all around you, and it so physically palpable, it hurts!  For each rank you have in this quality, reduce the dice pool of any social tests anyone on your team makes by 1.  People who can’t smell are unaffected.

Thoughts?

Daily Punch 7-2-15 Sunday Driver! negative quality for Shadowrun 5e

Reading Run and Gun.  Let’s add some ideas to the qualities…

Sunday Driver!

Prerequisite: at least one rake in a pilot skill

Bonus: 4 karma

You just can’t seem to win!  You follow all the traffic laws, signal properly, stay BELOW the speed limit, and yet EVERYONE give you the one finger salute when they pass you.  When you drive, you vehicle only goes a maximum of 3/4 of its normal speed, and you reduce the handling rating of any vehicle you drive by 1.

Thoughts?