Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana

Product– Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana

System– AGE System

Producer– Green Ronin

Price– $13.99 here http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/153950/Titansgrave-The-Ashes-of-Valkana?src=hottest_filtered

TL; DR– I only wish this had more. 88%

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Basics-Cyberpunk, fantasy, and Wheaton-oh my! Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana is the much hyped book using the AGE System and a setting designed by several RPG powerhouses and Wil Wheaton himself.  On the Tabletop YouTube page, Wheaton played several adventures of this game with his celebrity friends, and now you can play this game at home with your friends.  What will happen when you disturbed the ashes of a long dead war?

Mechanics or Crunch-Titansgrave demonstrates some amazing uses for the AGE system, but doesn’t quite hit the mark I was expected.  The book has some phenomenal new additions to the system like a completely new chart to spend stunt points for one creature type in combat.  Those kind of add-ons to a system show how robust and buildable the AGE system can be.  The book doesn’t quite keep up that new energy throughout however.  The basic Fantasy Age book introduces the system quite well, but Titansgrave doesn’t do enough to expand the system for this universe.  I wanted several new additions, spells, and mechanics, however, I really only got a new race, some new items, and a few character options in the first chapter.  They all work well, but it doesn’t do enough to really drastically enhance the system.  AGE is great itself, but I want more to really make the AGE system Titansgrave own thing. 4/5

Theme or Fluff- Titansgrave tells an interesting story, but sadly one you’ve kind of “heard” before.  The Titansgrave story is the fun romp from TableTop.  Which if you saw TableTop is awesome.  But, if you saw TableTop, then you have a general idea of what’s going to happen.  I was hoping for a bit more original stuff like added adventures, side quests, and a continuing adventure in the world, but there is some things here to keep your players guessing.  Also, the story is a bit linear.  You can’t go too far off rails on this as the story is written ahead of time.  4.75/5

Execution-If you like the layout from Fantasy AGE, you will do fine here.  This book is basically a giant version of the adventure at the back of the Fantasy AGE book with some serious additions.  I’d like a bit more here as the art is good, but I need a few more maps to throw to my players and some more breaks in the text to help me better read the story.  Overall, its well done and something that you can get through with general ease.  4.5/5

Summary-Titansgrave is the first big launch of the AGE system after it got its own push post-Dragon Age.  This book isn’t my favorite RPG book of all time, but I think it does a good job of introducing the system and setting in a big way.  The book provides a completely new world to play in.  I’d like a bit more mechanics specific to the world, but what’s here is well done.  The story is good, but depending on how much your players watch Titansgrave, they may have seen some of the high points.  The book is well executed, and overall a fun read.  After reading this book, I’m hungry for more in the Titansgrave setting.  88%

Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of I Hate Zombies

Product– I Hate Zombies

Producer-Board Game Geek

Price– $ 8 but only through the kickstarter so far

Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 30 minutes (2-12players)

Type-American

Depth-Light

TL; DR-A great, simple game to get a group playing quickly. 95%

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Basics-Man, I HATE ZOMBIES!  I Hate Zombies is a quick party/social game where players get to be either zombies or humans.  After everybody is dealt a card, every other player flips their card from the human side to the zombie side.  Zombies, and only zombies, then attack a human on their right or left by playing rock paper scissors.  If a human lose, they take a wound and turn their card.  If a human takes two wounds, they become a zombie!  If the human wins, then the zombie takes a wound.  Three wounds to a zombie, and that player is out of the game.  Every human has a power that ranges from healing to insta-killing one zombie!  If only humans remain, then the humans have won.  If all the players become zombies, then the zombies win!  It’s that simple.

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Mechanics–   This game is crazy combination of Coup and Rock Paper scissors.  It’s fast, fun, and crazy.  However, only the zombies attack.  That’s kind of boring for the human players as they have to just endure the attacks from the zombies.  It doesn’t make me hate the game, but it is a bit boring.  However, it does move fast enough that players get a great taste of the game quickly keeping them from getting board.  4.5/5

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Theme-This is a crazy American style game.  Play moves fast, so it does feel like a zombie hoard.  Overall, it’s great.  The humans all feel distinct, but the zombies all just feel like the same old thing.  That could be intentional as the zombies are now a hoard, but I’d like for the zombies to feel a bit distinct.  Furthermore, there isn’t much story here.  It evolves as you play if you play with a great group, but the game itself isn’t a story powerhouse. 4.5/5

Instructions– The rules to the game are short enough they could be written on a napkin.  It’s that simple. It’s also simple enough to be quick playing and easy to explain.  Good job!  5/5

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Execution–  This game is a bunch of cards, a bunch of people, and rock paper scissors.  You have to try to screw that up!  What I did get was some awesome art, great physical card stock, and a nice pouch to hold it in that fits in a CD holder.  And the best part is this game costs somewhere around eight bucks.  You get a whole microgame that can get a whole room of people playing for about the cost of a hot and ready pizza from Little Caesars!  5/5

Summary-This is a simple fun game.  It’s not the most complex game out there, and it lacks a little in theme, but it makes up for that in simplicity, speed, and fun.  If you need to get a whole room of people playing a game to break some ice, you would be hard pressed to find a better game than I Hate Zombies! 95%

Daily Punch 8-24-15 Lightning Cuff-links magic item for DnD 5e

How about a magic taser for DnD 5e?

Lightning Cuff Links
Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)
These silver cuff links are each made in the shape of a lightning bolt. Once per day, when you are struck by a melee attack, you can cause the lightning within to discharge. The attacking creature must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. On a failure, the attacking creature takes 5d8 lightning damage, is pushed 15 feet away, and knocked prone. On a save, the creature takes half damage, is not moved, nor knocked prone. If you take at least 20 points of lightning damage from a single attack, the cuff links recharge. Otherwise, each morning at dawn, you hear distant thunder, and the cuff links recharge.

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Pathfinder Society Scenario #7–01: Between the Lines

Product– Pathfinder Society Scenario #7–01: Between the Lines

System– Pathfinder

Producer– Paizo

Price– $3.99 here http://paizo.com/products/btpy9cu3?Pathfinder-Society-Scenario-7-01-Between-the-Lines

TL; DR– DnD-NOW WITH LSD! 92%

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Basics-You’ve been summoned to help procure an item.  Fortunately, you know where it is, and even better, who has it.  They will even sell it to you!  What happens when you get what you want, and it does way more than you hoped for?  What happens when you play with an ancient box that stores the mental history of all who used it before?

Mechanics or Crunch-This is two adventures in one.  The first adventure is the standard one you know and love.  Run some errands, and then you get what you were searching for.  That’s all par for the course.  The second half is crazy, out there fun.  You enter a mental landscape.  That’s fine, but the map and the monsters are a bit off, and a bit more front loading and modifying of stat blocks would help GMs run this on the fly.  It’s not horrible, and if you read ahead (like you are supposed to!), you will be fine.  However, if you’re running this after just printing off your adventure, then you as a GM will be a  bit lost.  4.5/5

Theme or Fluff-  As I said in mechanics, this is two adventures.  Half is in the regular world, and that is something your players can easily grab onto.  This part is here more to help draw your players in.  The real meat of the adventure is the second part.  Here is where things go on and off the rails.  On rails because the players progress through a linear  dream landscape, but have to do so in a specific order.  Off rails because this adventure plays like a LSD trip-and it is amazing!  Lot’s a crazy imagery and fun ways for the GM to really ham up the crazy, psychic nature of the adventure.  I absolutely love this adventure for that.  5/5

Execution-This adventure has your usual Pathfinder Society polish.  What I don’t like is how the monsters are not customized to the adventure.  The players fight some crazy dream monsters, but the monsters are not really customized to the purpose at hand.  It’s ok, but it wouldn’t take much to really fix up the monsters here, so you’re GMs don’t have extra math to fight with.  This adventure will be a bit long if the players and the GM are slow.  Honestly, its about ¾ of two different adventures, so if your GM doesn’t manage his or her time properly, you will be done late if this is run at a convention slot.  I’m complaining that there is too much here, which is a good problem to have, but it can be a major problem if not dealt with properly.  4.25/5

Summary-Occult Adventures kicked off this season of Pathfinder Society, and it shows in here.  This isn’t completely a psychic adventure as it got strange occult influences, and I hope this keeps up through the entire season of Pathfinder Society.  This is a crazy adventure that really provides some great roleplaying opportunities as well as some great scenes for players and GMs to just go hog wild with.  I love what I see here, and I can’t wait for more.  It’s not perfect.  I’d like a bit of customization from Paizo for the monsters as a GM who has missed some important information might try to throw CR 6 creatures at a level one party if the miss the section detailing how the encounter changes.  It hurts the overall presentation a bit, but honestly, I had a blast running this adventure.  If this is any indication of what’s coming next, BRING ON THE STRANGE! 92%

Daily Punch 8-21-15 Harden Skin spell for Pathfinder

Barkskin is a level two awesome spell for any character.  What about a level 1 spell that does something similar, but not as well?

Harden Skin

School transmutation; Level alchemist 1, druid 1, ranger 1, shaman 1,summoner/unchained summoner 1; Subdomain defense 1

CASTING

Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, DF

EFFECT

Range touch
Target living creature touched
Duration 1 min./level
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance yes (harmless)

Daily Punch 8-20-15 Natural Armor spell for DnD 5e

How about some natural armor for DnD 5e?

Natural Armor

1st-level transmutation

Casting Time: 1 action

Range: Self

Components: V, S

Duration: 8 hours

You harden your skin and gain a +1 natural armor bonus to armor class.  Unless you normally have natural armor, this armor stack with any other armor you wear.

  At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, increase the bonus you gain by +1 for each slot level above 1st.  If the spell ever gives you a higher bonus than any natural armor you normally, you may use the natural armor from the spell instead of your normal armor.

Thoughts?

Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of Diamonds

Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of Diamonds

Product– Diamonds

Producer-Stronghold games

Price– $ 25 here http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NFSBU9Y/ref=sr_ph_1?m=A7YAR2WDYOPTK&ie=UTF8&qid=1440129851&sr=sr-1&keywords=diamonds

Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 30-45 minutes (2-6players)

Type-Euro

Depth-Light

TL; DR-Best parts of several trick tacking games. 92.5%

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Basics-Time to throw Eucker, Hearts, and Spades into a blender!  Diamonds is a trick taking game that combines the best of all of the above.  Players are dealt 10 cards, and the dealer will decide to trade one to three cards.  All players then choose that many cards from their hand and pass them to their neighbor.  Next, the player to the left of the dealer will place one card down.  These cards have values between one to 15 and have the four suits found on any normal deck of cards: hearts, spades, diamonds, and clubs.  Each player then has to place a card of the leaders suit, if they have any, or play any other card, if they don’t have the same suit as this trick’s lead card.  Here is where the game becomes more than just a trick taking game.  Each suit has a power associated with it.  Diamond cards place a diamond behind a small screen called your vault.  Hearts place a diamond in front of the vault in your vault.  Spades take a diamond from the front and place it behind your vault.  Clubs steal a diamond from in front of another player’s vault and places it in front of yours.  Whoever played the highest card with the lead’s suit gets to take all the played cards and set them next to his or her screen and then take that suits action.  If you couldn’t play a card with the lead’s suit, you just take the action associated with your suit.  Playing off won’t get you cards for the round’s end, but it does get you whatever power the card you played has.  Whoever won that trick then becomes the next lead player for the next trick.  After 10 tricks each round, all players separate their cards into four piles based on the suits.  Whoever has the most number of each suit gets to take that suits power again.  If you didn’t get any tricks, and thus have no cards, you get two free diamonds placed right into your vault instead.  Play then continues with a new dealer.  After each player deals one or two times, depending on the player count, each player counts their diamonds with diamonds in your vault worth two points and those in front being worth one.  The player with the most points wins!

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Mechanics–  I’m from Michigan, so I knew this game from another game called Eucker.  Eucker is fun, but it lacks depth.  This game is amazingly deep for a trick taking card game.  Sometimes you do better by playing off than ever winning a single trick.  Sometimes, you need to win every trick.  That evolving strategy is amazing.  Also, the game isn’t hard to play.  I do love me some 8-hour, math fueled, Euros where I build cars, but you will learn this game in under 3 minutes, master it in 10, and have a chance of winning in 15.  Honestly, this is a well done game.  5/5

Theme-Theme is a hard concept in your average trick taking game.  What’s here is ok.  There really isn’t a story here.  But then again, I’m not really looking for one.  I’d like more, as I’ve seen some reskinned trick taking card games with more theme, but I didn’t expect too much going in.  The components are nice and do build a bit of a world, but don’t play this game if you need something like Dark Moon’s story.  3.5/5

Instructions-That paragraph above is all you need to play this game.  The rulebook is as short as it needs to be.  The game is an extremely simple to play game, so the rules don’t have to be too difficult or cover too much territory.  The extremely helpful thing included in this game is a cheat card for every player giving some quick iconography on how the different suit powers work.  Honestly, this is a slick, simple rulebook that will get you playing in about 5 minutes even if you’ve never played a trick taking game before. 5/5

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Execution-This game is a small game, but not a poorly put together one.  You can see all the components here: http://youtu.be/dugtHKid-Ko . The game is about a quarter the size and weight of most of my other games, but that doesn’t hurt its delivery.  The game comes with cardboard standee vaults, a deck of cards, and plastic diamonds.  What is here is well done and beautiful.  The art is distinctive, but not distracting.  The diamonds are nice plastic pieces that you want to collect.  It’s a power-packed box.  5/5

Summary-Diamonds is the game I bring with me when I hang out with my family in Michigan.  It’s got the simplicity of Hearts, but the depth I need in a great board game.  It has great components and instructions.  My only real complaint is the theme, and the only reason I ding this game on theme is I play too many RPGs, and I want theme in everything I play.  If a games story isn’t the most important thing to you, then this is an amazing, easy to play trick taking game that’s a great game to add to any collection.  92.5%

Daily Punch 8-19-20 Summon Shield spell for DnD 5e

Let’s do shield summoning in DnD 5e!

Summon Shield

1st-level conjuration

Casting Time: 1 action

Range: Personal

Components: V, S, M (a bracelet of small shields)

Duration: 8 hours

You conjure a shield of any type with you are proficient.  If the shield hits another creature, that is fine, but no other creature may attempt to use this shield.  If another creature attempts to use the shield, it instantly disappears.

  At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 3rd level, the shield is a +1 shield.  When you cast this spell using a 5th level spell slot, the shield is a +2 shield.  When you cast this spell using a 7th level spell slot, the shield is a +3 shield.

Daily Punch 8-18-15 Magic Armor and Greater Magic Armor spell for Pathfinder

Magic armor, but no magic  weapon spell in pathfinder?  let’s make this happen!

MAGIC Armor

School transmutation; Level cleric 1,  paladin 1, ranger 1, sorcerer/wizard 1

Casting Time 1 standard action

Components V, S

Range touch

Target One suit of armor

Duration 1 min./level

Saving Throw Will negates (harmless, object); Spell Resistance yes (harmless, object)

Magic armor gives a suit of armor a +1 enhancement bonus on defense and all the qualities of a +1 suit of that type of armor.

You can’t cast this spell on natural armor.  This spell does not change the material that makes up the suit of armor.

Magic Armor, Greater

School transmutation; Level cleric 4,  paladin 3, ranger 3, sorcerer/wizard 3

Casting Time 1 standard action

Components V, S, M/DF (powdered lime and carbon)

Range Touch

Target One suit of armor

Duration 1 hour/level

Saving Throw Will negates (harmless, object); Spell Resistance yes (harmless, object)

This spell functions like magic armor, except that it gives a suit of armor an enhancement bonus to AC of +1 per four caster levels (maximum +5).

After give a suit of armor a +1 enhancement bonus, further bonuses may be spent to provide the armor additional qualities as if it were created with those magic qualities and traits.  This spell does not change the material the suit of armor is made of.