Ring Side Report- RPG Review of What’s Past is Prologue

Product– DDAL-ELW00-What’s Past is Prologue

System– DnD 5e

Producer– DMs Guild

Price– $4.99 here https://www.dmsguild.com/product/248589/DDALELW00-Whats-Past-is-Prologue?affiliate_id=658618

TL; DR-I can get my DCC RPG in DnD now!  92%%

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Basics-A get rich quick job in Eberron?  That CAN’T FAIL! The players take the roll of level zero characters as they attempt to earn a ton of money on a simple pick up and deliver job.  Along they way they get a ton of thing to sell for millions of GP, but how will they do it?

Theme or Fluff-The story of What’s Past is Prologue is a pretty simple one, but it’s done well.  The players get pregenerated characters that they will meet later in the Eberron adventurers league adventures.  This story tells how the characters got together, how they get a ship, and how they are amazing wealthy. That part of the story is fun and really tells a great Eberron based story while giving me the GM a jumping on point to dump the Eberron goodness on my Forgotten Realms/old school fantasy only players.  The only real problem with a prologue based story, is players always do things they are not supposed to do! The adventure gives some guidelines for this, but honestly, my players could not ditch the skyship fast enough! It might have been easier to instead of having a Sharn based section where the players can go off the script have some other story of how the characters fix their newly acquired ship.  It’s not game ending, but be ready for this eventuality! 4.5 /5

Mechanics or Crunch-This adventure features something new in DnD-level zero characters!  I love level zero character in Shadow of the Demon Lord and DCC/MCCRPG, so this was great for me!  My players had to adjust to this, but they dealt well. Aside from that, the encounters are balanced with the limited power of the players.  Running DCC style funnels in DnD 5e is a valid way to build characters now! 5/5

Execution-This is a solid modules that is spaces nice, reads quick, and provides most of what I want in an adventure.  Its a PDF, so that makes me happy! But, it doesn’t have hyperlinks between the parts so I can quick navigate.  Also, this modules again doesn’t have much if any box text. BOX TEXT IS SUPER IMPORTANT! It lays the scene for the GM to get in the right headspace on the fly as well as making sure the author lays out what information the PC have right away without the GM having to take notes on what’s in the scene.  The first paragraph of each section is like box text, but I as a GM have to read that, chop out my parts, and give a good scene starter to the players. Another issue is the number of pregens. You can have seven characters at a DnD Al table, but this adventure only comes with six. If you want to run seven, you have two of the same character, and that’s not as much fun.    Aside from those issues, the book is laid out gorgeously. The layout uses lots of old Eberron artwork. For a non-WOTC product on the DMs Guild, this is the exact reason the Guild was made-get non-WOTC people to make great product using art assets that usually only WOTC could reprint. This book has some obvious flaws, but it’s still a solidly produced book. 4.25 /5

Summary-The best and worst part of a DnD story are the players.  In a homebrew game, where the players can completely 180 degree their characters because they want to, free choice is amazing.  In a prologue adventure, that freedom hurts the story a bit as the PCs behave in ways the regular characters would not. That said, the story here is a great one and I can’t wait for the next part of the story and how players own characters will interact with their prologue selves.  The new mechanics here work well, are simple to implement, and easy to understand. That’s the trifecta of new bits on an RPG system, so good job! The execution is a bit off, but not in a way the will destroy the product. GIVE ME HYPERLINKS AND BOX TEXT! We’re exploring a ship, so having a ready to go box text will rapid fire my players through the exploration and get me in the rooms mood.  But, the book look AMAZING! I love the layout, text, spacing, and all the wordy bits that some modules forget are an important part of the human reading process. If you want to jump on the Eberron Adventurers League season, then this is an excellent way to start. 92%

 

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Wayfinder’s Guide to Eberron

Product– Wayfinder’s Guide to Eberron

System-DnD 5e

Producer– Wizards of the Coast

Price– $20 here http://www.dmsguild.com/product/247882/Wayfinders-Guide-to-Eberron-5e?affiliate_id=658618

TL; DR– A much needed update on nearly everyone’s favorite modern crazy setting.  88%

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Basics-Whose ready for some Dragonpunk?  Wayfinder’s guide to Eberron is a 5e update to Eberron from Keith Baker.  Eberron debuted in 3.5 DnD, received a 4e update, and this is the updated 5e version.  What Eberron is is hard to describe. It’s a post-magic war, Noir, fantasy, semi-modern sci-fi non-standard epic with sprinkles of Cthulhu mythos added in, with massive changes to the standard DnD world as magic is extremely common and every race doesn’t follow any of the normal conventions set before.  The book itself has one chapter setting the tone and feel of the world. After that is a chapter on the geography of the main continent followed by a chapter on the different races of Eberron. From there the book shifts to magic, focusing one chapter on Dragonmark houses (think magic family guilds with tattoos that appear under stress providing magic powers), and then new magic creation rules as well as items for the world.  The book wraps up by focusing on a major city of the world called Sharn, and finally providing additional resources like extra reading, a glossary, and pictures you can use for your game.

Theme or Fluff-I like the stuff in this book.  It is travel guide to the world of Eberron providing a much needed update for the most recent system of DnD.  Players get to learn about the world, and GMs get enough story seeds that they can set a story anywhere. The races feel fresh since that is a major point of Eberron, and the world is deep.  My major complaint is this book feels short. Under 3.5, whole books were written about each of the different countries, and here each place gets about a page. For a book published by Wizards of the Coast itself, I expect a bit more for a $20 PDF.  Nothing here is bad, but I expect a bit more from the main publisher. 4.5/5

Mechanics or Crunch-Wizards of the Coast put out a book, so they know their own system.  I love the new races and am glad to see the races specific to Eberron get a 5e DnD coat of paint.  I also can’t give enough praise and love to how Dragonmarks and magic item creation is handled. Dragonmarks are one of the core elements of the Eberron setting as these magic family businesses run large chunks of the world, at least by proxy.  Previous editions handled this by feats, but this one sets them up as races. You are born a Dragonmark, which feels thematically true, but I also like the crunch of how each Dragonmark is handled. Magic items are extremely common with an almost cellphone like network existing in Eberron, so magic item rules needed an update.  This book provides new item creation rules and providing costs for items. This is an update the system needed long ago as some DnD Adventurers’ League players are swimming in gold but have no real use for it. In Eberron, that gold has a place to go! 5/5

Execution– HOOOOLLLLYYYY COW!  Wizards of the Cost put out a PDF and its hyperlinked!? Overall, I like the flow in this book.  I don’t hate reading the book as it doesn’t hurt my eyes to scan or dive deeply into each topic.  The text is laid out well, font is good, and I like the art. Now, the art is very recycled, but the DMs Guild lets authors use art from previous editions, so I don’t hate it.  I would like a bit more from the mothership, but its is not bad. The book does feel short, and that short nature hurts it a bit. I could easily see expanding each country to two pages and adding in more art assets from other books.  This also kinds of makes me angry as your charging roughly full price compared to Chaosium and Paizo for a book that the fluff is already written for and your art is already written for. The art is already made, and you have the graphics sitting on a hard drive, so why not use them?  The maps are ok, but they are the most general ones from the setting, so you don’t even see the capital cities on them. This would also break up the text a bit more as multiple pages are two columns in a row. There is enough white space to not make reading boring, but I’d like more. 3.75/5

Summary-Eberron is an amazing setting that everyone should experience.  From how it flips the script of traditional RPG elements to its Noir setting of morally gray characters, it should be on every RPG player’s bucket list.  This book provides a great new update to the world, providing both DMs and players with a wealth of information. My main complaint is that I would like more.  For a $20 PDF, I would like a bit more, and some of the more I want are things that Wizards of the Coast already has like maps and art assets. Some are included in the back of the book, but putting them where they are mentioned in the book might help a bit more.  That said, you can’t really go wrong with this book. If you are tired of the same Tolkien inspired fantasy, then check out Eberron. This book will give you the 5e shot in the arm you’ve been looking for to start your own game. 88%

Daily Punch 2-2-15 Expanded Dragonmark feat for DnD 5e

Eberron just was added to DnD 5e!  The link is right here  Let’s build on what they put out.

 

 

Expanded Dragonmark

Prerequisite: Dragonmark

You are a scion of your family and even more powerful the most would remember.  Gain the following benefits:

  • When you cast a spell using your dragonmark, the spell is assumed to be one level higher than the base level it would be cast at.
  • Gain two additional casting of any spell you gain from your dragonmark.

Thoughts?