Daily Punch 9-8-15 Iron Skin Magic Spell for Shadow of the Demon Lord

I like what I see from Shadow of the Demon Lord.  Let’s build onto what I see.

Iron Skin                                                               Technomancy utility 0

Duration 1 hour                                                                                           

For the duration, your skin becomes as hard as iron.

You reduce all damage you take from weapons by 1 + your level per attack.

Your fists also do 1d3 instead of the normal damage.

If your normal unarmed damage is higher, increase the damage

one step.

Thoughts?

Daily Punch 9-7-15 Undead Hate the Living trait for Pathfinder

I want to scream at undead.  I want them be made I’m screaming at them.  I can make this happen!

 Undead Hate the Living

You hate the undead, and they hate you!

Benefit(s): You may perform intimidate checks on undead enemies.  However, you may only cause an undead to become shaken for one turn at most if it is normally immune to such effects.

Thoughts?

Daily Punch 9-4-15 On Target metamagic feat for Pathfinder

I was reading a Pathfinder Tales novel, and one character summoned creatures on another.  I’d like to make that happen in my games.

On Target(Metamagic)

When you create life or unlife, you can cast it on a a target.

Benefit: When you cast a conjuration or necromancy spell that creates or animates any number of creatures under the effect of this metamagic, you can make a ranged touch attack an a target in range for each creature created at a target within the range of the spell.  If you hit the target with this attack, the creature is created on the target either grappling it or doing melee attack damage on the target as if it hit.  The target may also make any attacks it would normally get its on its turn.

Level Increase: +1 (an On the Target spell uses up a spell slot one level higher than the spell’s actual level.)

Thoughts?

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Shadow of the Demon Lord

Product– Shadow of the Demon Lord

System– Shadow of the Demon Lord

Producer– Schwalb Entertainment

Price– $19.99 here http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/155572/Shadow-of-the-Demon-Lord

TL; DR– 13th Age, DnD 4e, and Warhammer in a blender! 92%

155572

Basics-The world is in chaos, and the Demon Lord hasn’t even set foot into it yet.  Shadow of the Demon Lord is the first book by Schwalb Entertainment where characters face a world on the brink.  The empire is falling, and a transdimensional evil stirs.  As it casts its attention onto the world, its shadow falls on the world causing nature to go haywire, the dead to rise, or evil to open gates from other places.  Players fight to keep the world safe.  Will you be able to stop an unstoppable evil?

Mechanics or Crunch– This is its own system, so let’s break this down piece by piece.

Basics-This game plays like a modified d20 system with bits of DnD 4e and Fantasy Flight’s Warhammer Fantasy mixed in.  Almost all actions are resolved with d20 rolls.  Characters have several stats, and the modifier for all these stats is the base stat minus 10.  Whatever the result is the modifier to the d20 roll.  For 90% of the rolls in this game that are not attacks, the characters need a 10 result to succeed at their check; This is called a challenge roll.  That’s it-it’s simple and elegant.  Aside from the basics of a roll, sometimes outside circumstances modify challenge rolls.  These are boons and banes.  In these circumstances, six-sided dice are added (boons) or subtracted (banes) from the roll.  You only ever roll boons or banes as a boon cancels out a bane and vice versa.  These are given for attacking into darkness, having favorable positions, powers, good tools on a disable check, or other in-game effects.  If you have to roll several boon or bane dice, you only ever add or subtract the highest six-sided die total among all the boons/banes.  Again, it makes math simple and elegant.  As you can tell, this is not a math heavy game.  That’s not a bad comment as the game focuses that much more on the story and quick  action resolution.

Skills-This game doesn’t have skills per se- it has professions.  Professions feel like a love letter to the OSR movement.  During character creation, players get two professions.  This is what you did before you became an adventurer, and this will determine some of the activities you can do.  Navigate by starlight alone?  That would be impossible for a cobbler, but it would be an automatic success for a sailor or a desert nomad.  Discover what a potion does?  Possibly a roll with boons for a doctor, but almost impossible (several bane dice) for a grave digger.  Again, being able to use professions as skills is simple and effective.

Combat-Combat is as simple as d20 and 13th Age.  The game doesn’t have the movement-map requirements of Pathfinder, relying more on theater of the mind.  Initiative…just isn’t a thing in this game.  Turns are divided into fast and slow parts.  Players get to take fast turns, then the monsters.  Next, players get to take slow turns then the monsters.  Fast turns are when a creature takes one action such as moving or attacking.  Slow turns are moving, attacking, and possibly other actions all on the same turn.  This game wants players to go first, then monsters. It built this mindset into the system, and it works well.  On a creature’s turn, combat works almost like any other d20 system.  Melee attacks work using the basic d20 plus a creature’s strength stat minus 10 vs. a creature’s defense stat.  Creatures can take banes to this roll to push enemies, escape an engagement, or even knock enemies prone.  Damage for each weapon is determined by the type of weapon wielded, just like most other d20 based systems.  Creatures and players do not have high hit point totals in this game, so combat can be pretty deadly pretty quickly, reinforcing the gritty nature of this game.  In addition to fast and slow turns, you also have triggered actions; these function pretty much like reactions in DnD 5e and interrupt actions in Pathfinder.  They are actions you take off-turn that are the result of other creatures’ actions such as attack of opportunity or spell effects.  Again, quick and easy is the name of the game in this system.

Distance-This is a decidedly old school game with some modern twists.  The game can use maps, but mostly theater of the mind is its goal.  Distance between characters reflects that.  Distances have descriptors like reach (at hand), short ( five yards), medium (20 yards), long (100 yards), and extreme (500 yards).  On your turn as a move, you can move double your speed stat in yards.  On a slow turn, you can do that twice.  Some creatures move fast while some move slow, and it’s just that easy.

Character generation and advancement- Character generation is a bit limiting compared to other systems like Pathfinder and Shadowrun, but on par with DnD5e or Fantasy Age.  Players choose a race and receive some preset stats.  Then, that character gets to modify their stats a little based on what their specific race provides them.  That feels limited, but it also makes all the creatures of one race in the world feel like their stats represent them, as opposed to the normal +2 all creatures of one type received in standard DnD/Pathfinder, where most human fighters have a 16+ strength compared to the majority of humanity with a 10 strength.  As part of creating your character, you also get to either choose or randomly roll a bunch of background information ranging from what you did before to your physical build.  Depending on your race, some of these backgrounds will increase various stats.  Much like Dungeon Crawl Classics, you start at level 0, and try to survive to level 1 through a short adventure.  If you do, you get to choose one of four basic classes called novice paths.  The paths are warrior, rogue, priest, and magician, and they function exactly as you’d expect, with these paths focusing on sheer damage and combat prowess, skills, divine magic, or arcane magic, respectively.  This choice will change how you level up over time.  Leveling in this game is determined on your class at some levels, your race at others, and then you are allowed choices to specialize further in an expert path at level 3 and a master path at level 7.  Expert and master paths function almost like paragon paths in DnD3.5/Pathfinder or class specialization in DnD 5e.  Depending on your style, this type of leveling will either infuriate you or be your favorite method.  Players get lots of options on what type of path to choose at each step, but once you are in your path, you don’t get as many options after that compared to, say, Pathfinder.  This game doesn’t have feats or other minor character choices, so character paths and magic spells are the majority of the choices a character makes.  However, what the novice, expert, and paragon paths offer that is not found in other games is the ability to really forge your own character.  You do get fewer options in a path, but the paths tend to allow any character at any time to really design their own character.  Want a warrior (novice path), druid (expert path), bard (master path)?  Done!  I’m not saying that character would be the most powerful or efficient character out there, but I am saying that that character might be the most fun to play.  And that kind of character design is amazing.

Magic-Magic is gained by learning traditions through path options. As a character grows in a class, he or she also gains traditions or spells and power.  A character’s power rating determines the number of spells and the level of spells a character can prepare each day.  Traditions can be thought of as almost sub-schools of magic with traditions ranging from curse to air and everything in between.  Each tradition has several different spells of different levels in it.  Magic itself follows a pattern similar to DnD 4e with spells divided into either attack or utility spells.  Attack spells have a character make an attack roll against the enemie’s defense or base stat, or the attack spell has the target make a stat challenge roll.  As an added bit of fun, some magic attacks also have an extra effect that occurs if you roll above a 20 on the attack.  These effects do extra damage, push the target further, or some other effect that shows that you are truly a master magician.  Much like the challenge roll systems and banes/boons, magic is extremely elegant and simple.  So unlike magic in a few other systems, magic is very approachable and easily mastered in a few moments.

Summary-Shadow of the Demon Lord presents a new RPG system.  It’s simple and easy to run and play.  The game is built to run efficiently and focus on the story.  One of the things trimmed out of the game is power gaming and too long between leveling.  That is done extremely well.  However as part of that clean up, the game loses many of the options present in other RPGs.  That is not a bad thing, but it’s something that you as a player and a GM must adjust your expectations for.  You will have a blast with the system, but you will run character from level 0 to level 10 in under a year instead of 20 years.  You will also have to get ready for some brutal gameplay and some limitations in character options.  If you and your group can adjust to these changes, you will have an absolute blast. 4.75/5

Theme or Fluff-This game runs like a combination of DnD, Lovecraft, Clive Barker, and Warhammer Fantasy.  Robert Schwalb is a sick, twisted man, and you will enjoy every minute of it.  The world of Shadow of the Demon Lord is already messed up before the Demon Lord casts his influence on it.  You have a world full of monsters, craziness, and feuds long before the horrors from out of time and space show up to the party.  The world is extremely well written, and built in such as way that expanding it will be easy while still giving you enough places to play and build on your own.  Well done!  HOWEVER, this is not a family-friendly game (unless you’re in the Manson family.)  The book itself has graphic depictions of violence and monsters.  Judge if this game would be appropriate for your group and yourself.  As someone with a steady diet of Lovecraft, King, and the entire Aliens vs. Predator franchises, I only wanted more.  5/5

Execution-RPGs generally come in two flavors when it comes to organization: world first or mechanics first.  This book goes mechanics first, but the mechanics are a bit disorganized.  You can get a good understanding of the game from these rules, but you will have to read things a few times.  Also, there are some slight organization problems.  Character races are introduced, then base mechanics, followed by novice paths and so on.  It breaks up the flow and makes you have to move around the book a few times in order to build a character.  It’s nothing game-ending, but it’s a minor problem.  However, the book does have a decent flow overall, a good layout, and reads well.  It doesn’t have many blocks of text that bore the reader.  This might not be the best organized book I’ve ever read, but it is at least better than average.  And, unlike some companies I could name, this book has an index!  The only thing this book doesn’t have that I feel it really should is an example adventure.  Shadow of the Demon Lord is its own system.  I love the system and world, but as a first time GM for the game, I would like to see how Schwalb would like me to run it from his book.  That omissions hurts the system a bit as I don’t have an example to base my own ideas off of.  As a kickstarter backer, I get an adventure, but I’d like that thrown into the book to really help all the new players to this system.  4/5

Summary-This is a great game that is full of absolute horror.  It’s got phenomenal, simple mechanics that allow players to focus on the story.  The story itself is an absolute disaster in the best way possible.  Every element of the world is well crafted and points to a world on the brink with the demon lord being the tipping point to drive things even further toward chaos.  My only complaints are a possible feeling of lack of character options as well as the organization of the book.  These complaints are minor as they don’t really hurt the game.  Once you know how to play, how a book is organized is only a trivial thing.  It’s a great game that I can’t wait to play more of.  It’s a love letter to all the things I treasure-simple game mechanics I enjoy and horror authors who keep me up late at night under the covers. 92%

Daily Punch 9-3-15 Hopper program for Shadowrun 5e

Bull mentioned a program in Data Trails, but it didn’t make an appearance.  Let’s make it happen here!

 

 
Hopper:This program exploits a communication loophole between different grids to give you a superposition in both. You may work on one grid and perform actions on another without any penalties to your dice pool. However, any time your GOD score increases, it increases by 1.5 times as much as several demigods on both grids are working against you.

Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of Nefarious

Product-Nefarious

Producer-USAopoly

Price– $ 30 here 

Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 20-40 minutes (2-6 players)

Type-Euro

Depth-Light

TL; DR-Production issues hurt a decent game. 86%

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Basics-What are we going to do tonight?  TRY TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD!  In Nefarious, players each take the roles of different mad scientists trying to each take over the world.  The game starts simply enough with each player getting  some starting gold and invention cards.  Each turn, players secretly selected one of four actions, reveal them at the same time, and all actions of the same type happen simultaneously.  The actions are: espionage, invent, research, and work.  Work simply earns you more money.  Research earns you a bit less money, and you get to draw a new invention card.  Invent is the meat of the game.  When you invent, you pay money and reveal one of your invention cards.  These cards have a cost that you pay, a victory point total, and possibly some effects like gain money, cost your opponents money, or gain more invention cards.  Espionage is an investing mechanic.  When you do espionage, you select an action and place a meeple on that action on the main board.  When a player on your right or left takes that action, you gain money equal to the number of meeples you have on that action.  Once all four actions are resolved, players then select new actions, and play continues the same way.  What makes this game a little deeper than it seems are the twist cards.  Each game two twist cards are secretly drawn from a deck of cards.  These cards provide new twists on the game like giving you strange new abilities, taking away some actions, or just removing some money from some of the actions.  When a round ends, a player has at least 20 points, and that player has more points than any other player, the game is over and that player wins and conquerors the word!

maim board

Mechanics– This is not a complicated Euro, and that works for and against this game.  The simplicity of the mechanics works as a great introduction to the gaming hobby.  You will know the rules of the game in under five minutes.  The simplicity works against the mechanics as I didn’t feel as challenged as I could be if this game had multiple resources to track.  However, the multiple resources would have made this game that much harder to teach, learn and play.   Overall, it’s a good, simple Euro.  Think of this as an excellent sushi appetizer to the gaming industry-it tastes great, but you might want something a little more filling as you learn to love this acquired taste more. 4.5/5

cards

Theme– This game has some good theme, but something gets lost along the way.  The theme of inventing new items to conquer the world comes through.  And the fact that most items have some side effects also keep going with this theme as you’re battling it out with other mad scientists.  However, some of the theme get’s lost along the way.  I’m fine with most of the actions but some things don’t translate well.  The work actions seems like a misplaced opportunity in that vain.  All of my other actions are downright nefarious, but work feels like I clock in at Amazon to fill packages; even the work action looks like a shipping company.  Why not something like Extort with the action picture being a man/woman in profile with some sort of atomic raygun getting money from a generic civil leader.  It’s those little touches that cause this game to lose some of its theme.  You will still feel like a mad scientist inventing crazy machines, but maybe one who moonlights as a DHL driver.  4.25/5

Instructions– The rules a simple, sleek, and short-all great descriptors for a board game’s rules.  This game isn’t as hard as Twilight Imperium, but the rule book does explain the game in simple terms that gets the point across quickly and well.   5/5

spres

Execution– Here is where I think things need a bit of work.  Overall, everything is serviceable.  That said, there are some issues.  The cards for the game are printed on very thin cardstock.  It’s not bad, but it will tear easily.  The art in the game is awesome and has that retro-science feel to it.  The worst part of the game is the coins.  The coins are printed on sheets of several cardboard pieces pressed together, but the cardboard didn’t adhere to itself properly, so the cardboard is spongy and bows.  The coloring of the cardboard is a single sheet of sticker.  That’s not horrible, but the cutter for the cardboard didn’t cut the cardboard and stickers well, so when you punch out your money it will have all these random bits of extra sticker attacked like flaking paint.  USAopoly has acknowledged the problem, and future print runs will be better.  But, for right now my copy gets a C overall.  If you want to see the components, I’ve made an unboxing video where you can see all the components here http://youtu.be/Qdtz9YQDKHA  3.5/5

Summary-This is a good quick Euro.  It’s a great game with lots of replay.  I like the mechanics as I can teach random people how to play quickly, and they get autonomy in a short game.  Also, this game has some meat on its bones as it’s a Euro with some decent thinking power behind it.  You can’t go into this game hoping for Kanban or another four hour Euro though.  This is excellent at what it wants to be, and you have to know that going in.  I think the rules are great, but I’d like some minor, cosmetic changes to help the theme a bit.  The production quality is ok.  It will be better, but if you get a first print run, expect a few, minor problems.  But, if you’d like a good game that will have you thinking for 20 minutes with your friends, then this a great game of world domination to pick up!  86%

Daily Punch 9-2-15 Slumming it positive quality for Shadowrun 5e

I’m catching up on my Shadowrun.  Let’s get some positive qualities out there!

Slumming It
Cost: 3 karma per rank (1 to 3 ranks)
When you were in the cradle you mommy told you stories about how the little girl in red was tricked by the wolf looking like granny?  Well you make your avatar look like crap to be a little more like the big bad wolf and little red….except this wolf gets to eat the little one! You purposefully make your matrix avatar look like a crappy standard avatar to lure matrix security, deckers, and spiders into a false sense of security. For every rank you have in this quality, you gain a +1 bonus to your dice pool for all checks that use the firewall attribute of the device you are using.

Thoughts?

Daily Punch 9-1-15 Your Fu is \/\/34k! Interrupt Action for Shadowrun 5e

I haven’t seen a ton of the interrupt actions since Run and Gun, but I think there should be more. How about one for the decker?

Your Fu is \/\/34k!
Interrupt Action (-7 Initiative Score)
We’ve all seen a drek head who think he’s nova hot when he gets his first Erika. And sometimes, just sometimes, Mommy needs to step up to the plate and tell this little fart where he ranks in the pecking order. When your deck or an object slaved to your deck is attacked via the matrix, you are aware of the attack, and your willpower + firewall or intuition + firewall beats the attackers dice total, you may immediately respond with your own complex matrix action. You gain a bonus to your dice pool for this matrix action equal to the difference between your defense successes and the attacker’s successes.

Thoughts?

Daily Punch 8-31-15 Cunningham’s Law quality for Shadowrun 5e

How about a new quality for Shadowrun.  My Deckers pull double duty as the legwork person.  Let’s build on to this using Cunningham’s Law.

Cunningham’s Law

Cost: 5 karma

You know how to make the g33ks fr33k.  Nothing like hitting the spectrum with your faux-knowledge fab bat to really get their blood pumping.  When learn about a subject using only the matrix, you don’t spend edge, and don’t glitch, you get a free reroll of all the dice that rolled a 1.  You only gain knowledge about the subject of your search and may not spend edge to reroll the total result of your search.  This quality can not be used for any other matrix related task.

Thoughts?

Daily Punch 8-28-15 Cartographer trait for Pathfinder

I’m reading a book now, and the main character maps several rooms to find secret rooms in them.  I think this should happen more often in Pathfinder!

Cartographer

Knowledge (Engineering) and Knowledge(Dungeoneering) are considered class skills for you.  As you explore underground locations or building, you may make a map.  If you do, you may use either Knowledge(Engineering) or Knowledge(Dungeoneering) instead of Perception to find secret doors or rooms.

Thoughts?