Ring Side Report- Heirs of the Wizard King! Pre-Kickstarter copy!

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Ring Side Report-Starfinder Core Rulebook Review


Product– Starfinder Core Rulebook



Price– $60.00  here http://paizo.com/store/starfinder

TL; DR-DND 3.5 IN SPACE!  94%


Basics-SPACE WIZARDS!  Starfinder joins the Pathfinder universe in the future after a massive, mysterious catastrophe.  Mankind’s homeworld has disappeared, and other races have joined us as we explore the cosmos looking for new peoples, places and our lost world.  Let’s break this down.

Base System- This honestly is Pathfinder 1.5.  It’s a little bit DnD 5e, a little bit DnD 3.5, and oddly enough DnD 4!  The basics don’t change.  Everything is roll a d20, add your ability modifier, then add your ranks in a skill or base attack bonus.  If you want to hop into a Starfinder game but don’t have any experience, you can easily get into this game with about three minutes of reading the rules.

Combat- If you know Pathfinder combat, you know Starfinder combat.  Characters still roll initiative to find who goes first, then when they attack they still have a base attack bonus and add damage based on stats like before.  But there are two major differences, and those deal with hit points and armor.  For hit points, a character now has three pools to draw from:  hit points, stamina points, and resolve points.  Hit points are the same pool of life we all know and love.  They are healed by magic and time.  Stamina points are new, and they represent you getting banged up but not broken.  When you rest, you can spend a resolve points to completely heal up your stamina points.  Resolve points are also spent when a character is knocked out and they want to wake up or stabilize.  However, you can’t regain stamina points through the standard mystic cure (the not cure wounds or cure minor wounds of this edition).  Armor class is also slightly modified.  Now you have two armor classes: elemental armor class (eac) and kinetic armor class (kac).  If the damage has slashing, piercing, or bludgeoning damage types, alongside anything else, the attack goes against kac, otherwise it’s against eac.  Done!  It’s just that simple.  This also causes a reduction in rules, as now all combat maneuvers go against kac instead of having to figure out combat maneuver defence, and honestly, it’s a good trade off!

Technology-This is hands down my favorite part of what changed between Pathfinder and Starfinder-ITEMS HAVE LEVELS!  This doesn’t seem like a big deal, but now technology and magic can compete on an equal footing.  In most magic heavy games as soon as the wizard learns fireball, any alchemical/technological items are instantly useless.  Technology in those games seems like a crutch to get to level five and FIREBALL!  Here, you have your fireball, but I have my level 7 grenade.  Its damage values increase and so does the DC to dodge the attack.  Instead of having to guess about what the DC of an item identify check would be, now you can just do extremely simple math on an item’s level and have a DC in seconds.  Everything has a level which corresponds to a price, which corresponds to DC and a whole host of other things that make the system work.  Outstanding.

Magic-And here is the low point of the system.  Magic now caps out at level 6.  The save against magic is spell level + ability modifier + 10, so it maxes out at 16+ ability.  The save against character powers is half character level + ability modifier + 10, so it maxes out at 20+ ability.  I’m going to be honest and say this feels wrong somehow.  The system works, but it’s different in a way that you might not like on first trying it, akin to a fine wine.  It’s good, but might not necessarily be the tasty thing you hoped for on the first pass.

Spaceship and Vehicle Combat-This is the new, big thing of this system as running around in a vehicle is essential to Sci-fi.  Vehicle combat isn’t hard, but it mostly works by using zones where characters move between using their speed values.  Overall, its an easy system to use.  Spaceships are much more involved, but no less easy to use.  BUT, THIS ASPECT OF THE GAME ADDS FACING TO AN RPG!  That is a sentence the fills me with dread as now I have to spend HOURS fighting over how defenses work on different sides.  However, this system fixes most of that and simplifies it well.  Ships do have facing arcs for weapons and for shields, but it’s pretty simple.  Combat rounds are broken down into three steps:  engineering (science scans/moves shields, engineering fixes stuff/supercharges stations), helm (pilots make checks and loser goes first), gunnery (ships shoot at one another).  Honestly, it’s pretty easy to do, and since there are lots of different things to do, EVERYBODY gets to roll dice during a turn from the captain who can yell or ask nicely for another crewmember to do better/get a bonus to gunners lighting up the other ship.

Review Time!

Mechanics or Crunch-Starfinder is a damn good system, but it’s going to suffer a bit because it gets compared to Pathfinder.  If Starfinder came first, then it would not be an issue.  There are things here like the magic DC compared to item and class DCs that are just a half bubble off.  It works, but it’s not as clean as Pathfinder.  Magic seems much less powerful as well.  That might be a style choice, but it’s a style I don’t enjoy as much right now.  Maybe after playing this game much more, I’ll see the light, but now, I’m having fun but also confused on some choices.  Also, this book needs a solid chapter describing the differences between Pathfinder and Starfinder to get experienced players up and running in minutes.  Small things like shooting into melee doesn’t have penalties, but attack of opportunity to shooting in melee still occur are important and need to be explicitly told to the players.   Overall, this is a solid RPG and system, but I want just a bit more in their already massive tome.   4.25/5

Theme or Fluff-PATHFINDER IN SPACE,…. but it’s not!  It would be really easy for this book to phone in dwarves on a mountain planet schtick and call it a day, but this one has races where your puberty now encompases choosing to grow up super smart or super strong, insects who are addicted to individuality as a community, and even a fleet of undead that are disavowed from the other undead because they are too evil.  The book does have your old races, but they take a back seat to new ones who now are exploring the galaxy alongside mankind.  It’s got a mix of old magic from Pathfinder, the technology feel of Star Trek, and its own universe to draw you in. 5/5

Execution-Look, this book was put out by Paizo.  You can say that some of their books might not have been the best, but it’s hard to argue that they don’t put out a quality constructed book.  Lots of awesome art, diagrams to walk you through, nice text spacing so I don’t hate it when I read it.  My only problem is I’d like a bit more in the index, but those are only minor concerns on an otherwise great book.  4.9/5

Summary-Starfinder is an awesome book that has a few minor problems.  In terms of execution, it’s top notch and a phenomenal resource for how to make other books.  The book tells an amazing story that will draw you into the world and give you ideas on what stories to tell and what characters to put in it.  My one place where I am slightly put off is the mechanics.  This isn’t to say the mechanics are wrong, but they don’t feel completely right.  That’s a minor difference, but it’s an important one.  I will happily sit down and play a Starfinder game, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the next major source book they announce is something called Ancient Magic that brings back the nine levels of magic from Pathfinder.  That said, this book is an amazing addition to the Paizo family of products and one I’m glad to get at GenCon.  I can’t wait to have more adventures across the galaxy, stomping space goblin ships and battling reptile wizard people on the moon!  94%

Ring Side Report-Board Game Review of Lazer Ryderz

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday!

Product-Lazer Ryderz

Producer– Greater Than Games

Price– $40 here https://www.amazon.com/FABLED-NEXUS-Lazer-Ryderz-Game/dp/B01MTG3KQH  PREORDER!

Set-up/Play/Clean-up– 30-60 minutes (2-4 players)

Type- American


TL; DR-Lisa Frank and Saturday Morning Cartoons made X-Wing! 93%

Basics-   PREVIOUSLY ON LAZER RIDERZ! Our heroes and travelers of the void ride on lazer rails attempting to secure enough prisms to power themselves on their various journeys.  From an undead cosmonaut drifting through space for reasons unknown to a hammerhead shark searching for the fabled blood nexus for her breeding grounds, each hero has a reason they need the prisms, but only one emerges victorious in this episode!

The game starts by each player placing one unclaimed prism on the table equidistant from the other prisms and at places agreed upon by all players.  Then players select a gear to start in from one to five.  Highest gear starts each turn, but if you and another player select the same gear, both spin out and start at 1!  The player with the highest gear is the first player, setting the tie breaker marker to their left.  From now on all ties are broken using this marker.  Players then get turn markers based on their speed with ties broken by the tie marker.  Players select a place along the edge of the table for their start selection, and the game begins!

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Turns are quick.  In turn order, each player does the following: change their speed by one or stay at their current, place a piece of the lazer track, see if they crash, and then see if they score.  Every character has a speed indicator that shows who they are, and at their start, they can change their speed by one, up or down, if they want.  Then they place a piece of track.  Tracks come in two types: straightaways and turns.  Straightaways are simply just go straight.  Turns are where luck comes in.  When you place a turn piece, you then have to roll.  If you roll equal to or higher than your speed, you do the turn.  If you are lower, then you go straight!  Finally, if you roll the grouchy symbol, you turn, but you spin out to first gear!  Next in your turn, you see if you crash.  If your lazer path goes over another path or off the table, you crash.  You have to your start marker back at the edge of the table and next turn you start from there.  You also remove the piece of lazer path you crash into, freeing up more table space for others.  Finally, you see if you claim a prism.  If your path goes over a  prism, you score.  If it was a neutral prism, you place one of your unclaimed one at the end of your current lazer path, stand up, close your eyes, and gently throw the neutral prism onto the table.  If it’s a claimed prism, you replace it with one of yours, then hand the original prism to the owner.  You turn your marker over to show you went, and then the next player plays.  After everyone has gone, you check to see who has the fastest gear, change turn order markers based on speed, then continue until someone has claimed three!

Mechanics– This one is a mix.  If you like X-Wing with quasi-dexterity game elements, you will have a blast.  If you hate estimating distances, don’t like randomness controlling most of your actions, and just tossing stuff on the table, then you will hate this one.  My wife and I fell into these alternating camps.  It’s a fun filler game, but don’t expect too much depth from this one.  If fun filler racer is up your alley, then this one’s mechanics are what you’re looking for.  4/5

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Theme-The 80’s are back, baby!  This one’s box to pieces are all well done and completely fit the theme well.  As a solid child of the 80’s, the box feels like those padded VCR cassette boxes, the hologram/gem coating is amazing, and there is a space soldier with a mullet!  FANTASTIC! 5/5

Instructions-The instructions here feel paradoxically too much and too little.  There are a lot of words here for as simple a racing game as this is, but not many pictures to show how the game plays.  I’d like more show and less tell to this book.  It will get the rules across quickly, but for what this is, it doesn’t need as much as it has.  4/5

Execution– I love what’s here, with one small exception.  The boxes are amazing.  They look worn like my childhood video boxes.  The plastic inserts are the right amount of crappy.  They hold the pieces well but feel like the cheapo plastic that the used to put VHS cassettes in to.  The art is on point, and the lazer pieces look great and are the perfect shades of neon.  The only thing this thing is missing is leg warmers!  But, my one complaint is the trays.  The trays don’t fit well, and pieces can fall out.  That’s annoying.  I like the big box slipcover to hold everything, but I’d like a bit more leeway in the box as I’ve had to pick up pieces from my wood paneled and spray painted van the first day I took the game to the arcade.  If you want to see all the pieces check out our unboxing video here!  https://youtu.be/eCUn3hVJzg0   4.5/5

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Summary-This is a blast from the past.  If you like racing games and trackless racers at that, this is your game.  If you’re a child of the 80s looking for video store nostalgia, this is your game.  If neither of those is you, then maybe don’t sit down to play this one.  It’s good, but it is most definitely not your game! I wish the box would be a bit better constructed, but overall, it’s not built badly. As for me, I’m gonna blare the hulkamania theme on repeat, put my old Bravestarr videos in the VCR, get my giant tinted glasses on, and play this in my wood paneled basement.  93%

​Ring Side Report- RPG Review of RuneQuest-Free RPG Day Product

Product– RuneQuest Roleplauing in Golantha




TL; DR-Call of DnD! 97%

Basics-Follow your passions!  In this revamp of a classic fantasy RPG from Chaosium, players take the rolls of heroes of Glorantha, a land of gods, monsters, and heros.   This world feels a bit like a more DnD’ed version of Rome.  Let’s break down the game into its pieces.

Base System- If you can play Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu system, you are ready for this.  Players have a number of skills or attributes.  When you attempt to do anything, you get to roll a 100 sided die.  If you roll under your skill or attribute, you succeed.  if you get under half, you get a special success.  If you get under one-fifth your skill, you get a critical.  It’s slick.  If you are up against somebody, then you just compare the degree of success using this progression-critical Success bets special success beat regular success beats failure with ties going to the defender.

Passions-A major change from 7th edition Call of Cthulhu is the loss of the advantage die, but this system adds passions.  Each character has a number of things they care about.  When you want to see if you can dig deep and fuel an action through your love of a thing, you try to roll under the level of your passion.  If you succeed, you add to the skill you are trying to perform.  The higher degree of success the more you add.  Failure and critical failure cause you to LOSE from your skill.  It’s another slick add-on to the Call of Cthulhu system.

Combat- Here is a major departure from the Call of Cthulhu system.  Each action you do takes time.  Each round you select what actions you want to do, then everyone tells the GM.  The GM then ranks the combatants according to their action times with slower times going last.  These actions include moving, attacking, casting a spell, reloading, and many other possible things you can do in under 12 seconds.  Actions can take longer, but they happen multiple turns later if they need to.

Magic-Spirit vs. Runes-Magic in this system is an interesting mix.  First and foremost, its TWO systems instead of one.  Spirit magic is the base magic everyone uses with a character casting spells by spending points to make the spell go off.  This is the slow magic.  The second way you cast magic is through runes.  As you almost level up in different factions and religions, you unlock new runic magic and points.  Runic magic goes earlier in combat and is slightly more powerful, but you get less rune magic points.  So knowing when to use each spell is an important part of combat.  Some skills require resistance tests like saving throws, while some do not.  Beyond that the system effortlessly uses percentile dice for all its execution.

Ok, now the review!

Mechanics or Crunch-I love everything I see here, but maybe there are two things that sticks out a bit for me.  Overall, everything is amazing.  This system uses the base percentile system Call of Cthulhu 7th ed.  That would be a cop out if they just copy/pasted the system, but this system add more  pieces, so it honestly feels like a new, better iteration of the same product.  That’s amazing.  I even don’t hate hit locations as this game does it lightning fast.  That doesn’t feel like it slogs the system as players can just roll a D20 in the pile with their percentile dice and their damage dice.  I only have two minor gripes of the system, and one seems like it’s been corrected.  First, I miss penalty/advantage dice from Call of Cthulhu.  But, the game adds passions, so consulting your feelings can provide a similar function by adding or subtracting from your likelihood to succeed.  Second is the order of combat.  Combat is this game works well, but the game uses a system to track actions each round that is a bit more complex than I’m used to.  Players plan out their actions, and those actions alter when they get to act as faster actions go first.  It’s much more realistic, but it’s also a bit slower.  It might not be my favorite way to work initiative, but It’s not bad by any stretch of the imagination.  All told, this is a well put together percentile system.    4.5/5

Theme or Fluff-The book doesn’t have too much fluff, but what’s here is good.  It’s a new world of magic and gods where every character is a tiny bit a mage and cleric if they choose to be.  The world feels different and fun, but familiar enough that I get a DnD/Rome vibe.  I want more, so this book’s got me hooked.  5/5

Execution-This is a pretty meaty product for free RPG day.  I love what’s here.  It explains the system pretty well.  I have a few tiny questions like in what order to characters declare the actions?  But, this book can’t give me the whole system in a free RPG product.  The art is nice even if not color, and the story is fun.  Fantastic amount of material at this price.  5/5

Summary-This is a book I will buy when it’s out fully.  The combat is fun and new.  The world is a novel place for me to throw my players.  The characters have drives that affect the game through passions.  Players get a decent streamline view of the rules and characters in this short book.  I get the Chaosium percentile system I like, a Roman world to play in, and an amazingly well crafted book for FREE!  Even given my slight misgivings,check this one out, then look for the full book in the fall.   97%

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Psionics- The Next Stage in Human Evolution

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Psionics- The Next Stage in Human Evolution


Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday!


Product–  Psionics- The Next Stage in Human Evolution


ProducerEnd Transmission Games

Price– $20 here http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/151035/Psionics-The-Next-Stage-in-Human-Evolution?term=psionics++end+transmi?affiliate_id=239993

TL; DR-Angry teens with psychic powers-THE RPG! 88%

Basics-We all want to crush someone’s head with our mind-BUT NOW WE CAN!  In Psionics, you play a person, most likely a teen, whose outsider status has fueled your transition to something greater.  You’ve developed psychic powers that make you now stand out.  However, now secret groups all over the world want you to study, to be a near god, to use as a weapon, or to just destroy as an act of faith.  Let’s break down the absolute basics.


Base System-  This system is called the Dicepunk System.  The basics of the dice punk system is roll under sometimes, but not the standard system you expect.  You have skills and attributes, and you want to roll under.  Want to sneak somewhere?  You roll 2 six-sided dice and try to roll under your Speed attribute (a value from 1 to 10) plus your Stealth skill (a +0, a +2, or +4 to the attribute).  A natural 2 is always a success, and a natural 12 is always a failure.  One of the saving graces of Dicepunk is EVERYTHING is a d6.  Dice will never be hard to find.


Combat-  Combat is an interesting mix.  Instead of roll under or using a flat skill, initiative is two six-sided dice plus a mix of attributes.  On a turn you can move, do an action, and do some free actions like yell something.  Action range from attacking, doing other things, to using psychic powers.  When you attack, instead of roll under, you roll two six-sided dice then add skills and try to beat a defense value.  Beat or equal it, and you do the damage on the weapon.  After you go, the next person goes, with each turn being 10 second of combat.  First one to die-loses!  Armor reduces damage, but you only have so much health.  When it’s out, you’re down.


Psychic Powers-Alright here is the main attraction to a psychic game!  This game uses Power Points for its magic which you spend to power your abilities.  Bigger powers use more, and smaller powers use less.  Psychic powers also have a cost to your health in the form of drain which causes half the amount of non-lethal damage as the power points spent.  This can knock you out!  Also fun is Overflow.  Every time you use some psychic powers, you fill your overflow.  When you completely fill it, you overload and unleash crazy psychic powers on the world and basically become a psychic hand grenade harming yourself and all others around you!  Overflow also fills as you get angry.  Remember you’re an angsty teen, so being angry is a big part of the deal!

Powers basically work as an attack or with targets making an attribute check.  If you throw a car at someone with your mind, you make an attack roll.  If you throw a fire blast at some people, some of them may have to make a speed attribute check to see if they get hit by the secondary damage of the blast.

Powers are divided into three groups based on colors with some subgroups.  Blue is telekinesis, red if pyrokinesis, and green is psychokinesis.  You can level up each individual group, and as you level them up you unlock more powers in each ability and the ability to take subgroups like mastering entropy, magnetism, or luck with pyrokinesis.  


Ok, now the review!


Mechanics or Crunch-Overall, the system is strong, but it has a few issues.  Dicepunk is a different beast.  It works well, but I always have issues with dice systems where you sometimes roll up, sometimes roll under, and sometimes have a strange mix somewhere else.  It’s not difficult, but it could take a bit to always make sure you’re doing the right thing.  Things are balanced, so it fun and feels fair, but my own personal preferences do take away a bit of the fun.  4.25/5


Theme or Fluff– This is the high point of the book.  You can tell the author really focused on bringing their world to light.  It’s got secret societies, anger management issues that fuel powers, stories for character development, and art to make you see what they saw.  The nature of emotion in the book is strong, and the really forms what the story of angry kids against the world.  Some of the aspects of the story are a bit cliche, but that doesn’t hurt this product.  4.5/5

Execution-This book is put together pretty well.  It’s laid out well,and finding what I need is pretty easy.  That’s good.  What I don’t like is the PDF isn’t hyperlinked, and it’s over 300 pages!  That can make life a bit harder as you scroll through the entire book to find what you want.  As for what’s in here, there are a lot of stories, which is good, but there may be a few too many for my taste in a RPG.  Also, I’m not the biggest fan of the art.  These are petty concerns though.  Overall, this is a well-crafted RPG with no major issues in execution. 4.4/5

Summary-If I was going to run a psychic teen RPG, this is the system I’d use.  It’s made well with lots of story starters and is easy to use.  It’s got a few issues like why some things are roll under and roll above, but those are problems you can get past pretty quick once you get into it.  The theme is on point, and overall the book has great execution.  The best praise I can give this book is this-this system feels distinct from magic.  Most psychic RPGs feel like it’s magic with people holding their heads.  Here, Psionics make me feel like I have psychic powers.   88%