Ring Side Report-RPG Review of Pathfinder Adventure Path #163: Ruins of Gauntlight

Product– Pathfinder Adventure Path #163: Ruins of Gauntlight

System- Pathfinder 2nd Ed

Producer– Paizo

Price– $24.00 here https://paizo.com/products/btq023hs

TL; DR– 92%

Basics– Strange lights in the mist!  The old lighthouse calls!  The local crazy calls forth a group of adventurers to see what horrors her harrow cards have foretold!  A dungeon crawl for characters level one to four.

Mechanics or Crunch– This is a straight up dungeon crawl.  There is a dungeon lighthouse in a marsh.  You are told to check it out.  Overall, its slick quick rooms with lots of fights.  There are some things I think are a bit rough like some things are listed with different names, so that made the experience a bit harder to dig through as a GM.  However, the players have solid fights with fun things to discover. 4.5/5

Theme or Fluff– This is a dungeon crawl.  There is a town and it gets a full write-up in both the player guide and the first adventure, but honestly, it’s background.  The adventure literally just starts you at the foot of the dungeon.  I would like a bit more lead up for my players.  Otherwise, this megadungeon ends up like the random generated dungeons where I just mindlessly kill orks on my phone.  The dungeon is nice and atmospheric, so the story beyond the start is built on show don’t tell.  4.5/5

Execution–  PDF?  YEP!  Hyperlinked? Kind of.  The writing is good, the layout is nice, and the flow is quick.  The book has bookmarks in the PDF, but it doesn’t have clickable links in the parts.  That would help as this is over 60 pages and hopping around is a pain.  What I absolutely LOVE is the maps.  There is a separate map file given with the PDF.  That map lets you add and remove things like secret doors and the grid.  That makes life SO much easier to run and align online or digitally.  Paizo knows how to make a solid book. 4.75/5

Summary– Been looking forward to this one for a bit.  Some hack and slash is fun, and having some Pathfinder hack and slash is a blast.  Now, the one thing I think I would like different is a bit more story to the carnage.  Some lead in as my players need to know why they are killing things.  The crunch is good, but a few things are just slightly off enough to annoy the GM.  Players won’t notice.  The book itself is solid and something I loved to read.  This adventure is a solid start to a good old fashioned kick in the door and kill the bad guy campaign.  92%

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of EB-EP-02 Rolling Thunder

Product– EB-EP-02 Rolling Thunder

System- DnD 5e

Producer– DMs Guild

Price– $6.00 here https://www.dmsguild.com/product/335587/EBEP02-Rolling-Thunder?affiliate_id=658618

TL; DR-A great train robbery!  98%

Basics-Time for a train heist!  Can you infiltrate a train, get all the pieces, and break into the vault all while not alerting the entire Breland military? This is a multi table event that can be run with a single table as well.  Now to our thoughts.

Mechanics or Crunch– THIS IS NOT A COMBAT ADVENTURE!  Big alert on this!  If the party is down to kill everyone all the time, they will not have fun!  But, if you want to flex your non-combat expertise, this will be an amazing experience.  The crunch here is well done and the new mechanics are well executed.  I would like a bit more fighting so the fighter with no skills still gets to do a bit more.  From cooking to social to even some puzzles, this is a fun change from the standard kill everything adventure.  4.75/5

Theme or Fluff– Since this is not a dungeon crawl, the fluff here has to be tight.  And it delivers!  There are a lot of materials here to make this feel like an upper class train ride.  Players duck between cooking, gambling, social, and even some stealth all while trying to blend in.  There are a lot of pieces to the puzzles of this adventure, but honestly they all fit well together in a great picture. 5/5

Execution–  PDF?  YEP!  Hyperlinked? Yes there are bookmarks.  The adventure is set up with enough information that you can run as a multi table event or single table easily.  The handouts are well done and easy for the players to read.  The adventure reads well and quick, so there is no confusion on what is going on.  This team executed another solid adventure.  5/5

Summary-I love the new format of epics in DnD.  I love more players being able to play.  That makes me happy, and would alone be worth a good review.  But, the Eberron team is constantly delivering solid adventures that I love.  This is no exception.  If you want to be part of a train heist that is amazing to play and easy to run, then grab this adventure.  98%

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart

Product– Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart

System- Cyberpunk Red

Producer– R. Talsorian Games Inc.

Price– $10.00 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/279014/Cyberpunk-Red-Jumpstart-Kit?affiliate_id=658618

TL; DR– Good appetizer to the whole system! 90%

Basics-Choombatta, it’s time to make some EB!  Cyberpunk Red is the latest version of the popular Cyberpunk series, taking place decades after the last edition.  Players try to survive in Night City as gangs, governments, and corporations all fight for dominance.  What will you do in the dark to make money?  Let’s do a breakdown

basics-This is a 1d10 based system.  You roll a d10, add an attribute, and a skill and you are done.  If that number is better than the difficulty value (DV) or higher then your opponent, you win.  That’s it.  Hacking, fighting, seducing, it’s all 1d10+stat+skill.  Slick and simple.

combat-Combat is the same as above with 1d10 + stat for initiative and each round you get a move and an action.  Attacking vs defending is again 1d10+stat+skill vs 1d10+stat+skill.  You will roll each time for damage and attack.  You crit on a 10 and roll another 1d10 to get bonuses to hit.  Beat the defender and do damage based on melee, ranged, or how much chrome cyberware you are sporting. Armor protects you but each time you take damage over its protection value, it degrades.  When you take enough punishment, you gain penalties to all your rolls.  Eventually you get knocked out and you need help ASAP or you die quick!  Healing is slow as this is a realistic game where bullets hurt!

hacking– Hacking uses the same basics as above except your net actions are accelerated as you get multiple actions in a round if you have better gear.  You also hack in/jack in physically and have to stay close unless you get dumped out and bad things happen.  Once you are in, basically all computers operate like buildings with elevators.  You investigate a floor and see what’s there.  Black ICE and other hackers defend places, so keep your wits about you as you dig for pay data and machine controls to keep yourself alive and paid!

Ok, that’s the basics of the box.  Now for my thoughts.

Mechanics or Crunch– Cyberpunk is a solid game that is realistic, but maybe a bit slow.  The base mechanic of roll dice, add, and done is good, but this is a combat heavy game.  I like the speed that regular rolls have, but I feel that rolling to dodge slows down games like this.  D & D is as heavy a combat game, but I feel that the static defence value helps with that speed.  Otherwise, it’s a pretty slick system where you do move quickly getting past obstacles and negotiating the dark underbelly of Night City.   4.5/5

Theme or Fluff–  This book does a solid job explaining the world, but I would like a bit more for the included adventure.  Night City and the world it is in feels real.  You can tell this was written long ago in the long ago past of 1988 (god I am getting old!) as it has the feel of what they thought the future would be back then.  The world is well built and I’m glad to see a future where Africa doesn’t take the brunt of the world going to hell.  My one minor concern is the adventure that is included.  I want a run where I can score money and fame. This one is more an Assault on Precinct 13.  Not bad, but I wanted something else.  Overall, this box portrays a solid world with only a few issues.    4.5/5

Execution–  PDF?  YEP!  Hyperlinked? Yes!  Starting strong! Overall, the layout is good, but I have some issues as some small things are left out or included in areas away from the revelivent text, like how armor degrades.  It’s here but it’s mentioned in one place and fully explored later. It is a quick, fun read,, but the jumpstart format always leaves a few things on the cutting room floor that are needed.  I do enjoy the maps and other pieces, and the book flows well.  This is a decently executed book that only has a few minor issues. 4.5/5

Summary-Overall, this is a solid introduction to the world of Cyberpunk.  I am left wanting more, but I don’t hate what’s here.  I want more adventures and such. The intro one is good, but not the adventure I wanted.  The world is well built, and the crunch is solidly designed.  I have small issues with game speed and book odds and ends, but those are minor compared to everything else.  This was like a solid taster to a good meal.  I want more, and I look forward to the whole meal.  I like Cyberpunk, and I can’t wait to play and see some more Cyberpunk Red! 90%

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of Dungeon Crawl Classics 2020 Holiday Module: The Doom that Came to Christmastown

Product– Dungeon Crawl Classics 2020 Holiday Module: The Doom that Came to Christmastown

System- DCC RPG

Producer– Goodman games

Price– $6.99 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/335600/Dungeon-Crawl-Classics-2020-Holiday-Module-The-Doom-that-Came-to-Christmastown?affiliate_id=658618

TL; DR– Fun, but you will need to provide your own glue for this adventure! 93%

Basics-Who can save Christmas?!  Santa is sick and who can save him?  Gather his friends, find the horrible Grinch, and save Christmas for all the good little boys and girls!

Mechanics or Crunch–  Goodman Games knows how to make a solid adventure!  They wrote the system, so they know how to make the crunch.  Solid monsters, solid puzzles, and solid extra tables for encounters.  This is a well put together adventure.  5/5

Theme or Fluff– This is a fun adventure, but the story is a bit off.  You don’t need to hit all the major NPC to find the horrible grinch.  And the NPCs are the best part!  This adventure will pull at your Frank and Bass Christmas movie memories.  Lots of the old school heroes like Yukon and even Hermey, who becomes a Dentalmancer!, make appearances and serve to build out the story.  I just wish there was more of a reason to meet more of them!  Solid parts here, but the glue holding the scenes together here is a bit lacking.  4/5

Execution–  PDF?  YEP!  Hyperlinked? Not really, but it’s ok.  This is a well executed adventure.  I love this one. There are crazy fun puzzles for the players to work through and there are monsters to fight that feel fun.  I love all the little touches that are put into the adventure.  Heck this adventure even has a new spell for the players to use.  You can buy this from Drive Thru and be playing in five minutes based on the easy to read format and beautiful drawings and maps.  Goodman Games executes another adventure amazingly! 5/5

Summary-Ho ho holy crap this is a fun one.  If you want something fun to plunk down into your DCC/MCC game, this is a solid adventure to run.  Mathematically, it works perfectly, and it’s executed well.  I love all the little pieces here from new spells to the crazy tables built into this game.  I wish the scenes were better connected, but that’s the one flaw to this amazing adventure.  Check this one out if you get a chance!   93%