Ring Side Report-RPG Review of EB-03 Where the Dead Wait

Product– EB-03 Where the Dead Wait

System-DnD 5e

Producer– DMs Guild

Price– $4.99 here https://www.dmsguild.com/product/302373/EB03-Where-the-Dead-Wait?affiliate_id=658618

TL; DR– Solid semi-side episode of an awesome campaign. 95%

Basics– Time for Dawn of the Dead in Eberron?  You’ve escaped from the Warforged with a magic talking box, but now the dead hunger for you in the Mournland.  Can you get out, keep the box, and stop the dead from eating you?

Mechanics or Crunch–  The crunch here is strong!  It’s a fun adventure. Mechanically it works well.  It might be a bit much for some players if they don’t think straight and want to do a smack down outside with an army of undead and don’t keep track of what’s happening with the NPCs.  Overall solid, but sometimes the hint stick may be needed to help if the players just can’t keep themselves from killing themselves.  4.5/5

Theme or Fluff-Combine Dawn of the Dead, Evil Dead 2, and From Dusk till Dawn, and you have this adventure.  It’s fun.  It’s mostly a side adventure, but it doesn have a major plot tie in.  Even the filler episodes of this campaign are fun.  5/5

Execution–  PDF?  YEP!  Hyperlinked?  No… I like these adventures.  They are a blast to run as they read quick and I feel I can tie the player into the story.  Reads quick, layout is nice, art makes me feel like it’s the 1920s between the wars period, and the additional newspapers are a great touch.  Just give me my hyperlinking to move easily through the materials, and it would be perfect.  4.75/5

Summary-Oricle of War keeps delivering.  This isn’t the main plot for the most part, but honestly you won’t care.  Solid plot, decent mechanics, and a good execution make this an adventure to play if you want to get deeper into this campaign.  95%

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of EB-02 Voice in the Machine for Dungeons and Dragons 5e

Product– EB-02 Voice in the Machine

System-DnD 5e

Producer– DMs Guild

Price– $ 4.99 here https://www.dmsguild.com/product/299680/EB01-Voice-in-the-Machine?affiliate_id=658618

TL; DR– Solid rescue adventure!  93%

Basics–  ONCE MORE INTO THE BREACH!  Continuing the Oracle of War storyline (or maybe starting it), the players are asked to go on a rescue mission into the Mournlands.  Will they find the missing salvage crew, survive the warforged separatists, and understand what’s up with the crazy talking box?

Mechanics or Crunch– This adventure is a bit higher level for the players.  It’s written for tier one, but one wrong step or even a few bad rolls can tank this quickly.  The adventure forces stealth, which for a party of pure beatsticks isn’t as much fun as they hope.  Overall, it’s doable and not too far outside of expectations, but I think toning down the challenge as written would help with this.  4.5/5

Theme or Fluff-This is a really fun adventure setting the tone for the Oracle of War story as the players finally get into the main event.  It’s actually a dungeon crawl.  Which is always nice to see, but it’s set in a town.  So why don’t they go around?  That’s the one part that kind of puts a damper on the situation.  Otherwise, it’s a good intro to the meat, story, and setting of this campaign.  4.75/5

Execution–  PDF?  Yep!  Hyperlinked? no…  I really like what’s in this with two versions of the adventure for the pretty version and the simple printer version as well as the newspaper that you can hand out.  I still like hyperlinks as it will help me hop around between parts of the adventure!  But amazing art, font, and layout make this a dream to read.  Aside from my love of hyperlinks, this is a really well done adventure.  4.8/5Summary–  I love Eberron.  I love playing in the Mournlands.  I also love a good dungeon crawl.  This is all three.  The missteps are minor and if you look at your group and see a bad mix for some parts, then as a GM a few changes will help.  Also, you may have to add pieces to keep your players from skipping the adventure.  “Voice in the Machine” is a solid start to the real campaign of Oracle of War. 93%

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of Oracle of War- The Iron Titan

Product– EB-EP-01 The Iron Titan

System-DnD 5e

Producer– DMs Guild

Price– $4.99  here https://www.dmsguild.com/product/308553/EBEP01-The-Iron-Titan?affiliate_id=658618

TL; DR– Something for us all!  95%

308553

Basics–  Multi table event?  With my home group?  OH YES!  I’ve been part of lots of multi table events, but never one at home with a solo group.  The Iron Titan picks up with the players dealing with the giant they adventured under in the first Oracle of War adventure causing havoc in town.  How well does a multi table event translate to home?

Mechanics or Crunch– This adventure is pretty much the same event in both the multi table event and the single table.  The multitable event has rules for multiple tables, and it’s well written.  There are small sections added to this adventure that help you run it as a single table event.  The players honestly don’t get a different experience in terms of single table crunch vs a multi table event.  That’s quite frankly awesome.  5/5

Theme or Fluff– The story of this one is simple.  Zombies come.  You kill zombies.  Then Big Moe attacks, and you run around Big Moe killing pieces of him till you win.  Here is where something strange happens.  This is a battle interactive, and I liked it when I ran it with several other tables.  But I think I like it MORE as a single table event.  My players felt like they were the stars.  They blew up both arms then went for the head.  In the multitable event, you turn off a hand, but then another group does that as well.  That’s kind of strange…  It’s a fun story where everyone gets to play, but this multitable event actually runs better in single player mode!  4.5/5

Execution–  PDF?  Yep!  Hyperlinked?  No, but it doesn’t really matter (I’d still like it though).  This is well done.  I think the hyperlinks are needed more here than ever as this gets long and finding the sections you need on the fly is pretty important.  Overall I like what I see.  It reads fast, is well set up, and let’s you go from downloading to playing in about 10 minutes.  And you can play well after 10 minutes!  Solid execution in this one but I miss my hyperlinks.   4.8/5

 

Summary– I like this adventure, but this goes beyond me liking the adventure.  We’re in the middle of the plague.  Some people can’t make it to a regional con.  Some people have limitations on where they can play.  Some groups can’t travel.  Now every group playing the Oracle of War campaign can play this.  Of all the things I like about this adventure, that’s the best part-accessibility.  More groups will have the shared experience of this adventure.  You will enjoy this kaiju killing adventure, but the fact that any group anywhere can play this makes this a homerun I hope I keep seeing more of.  95%

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of Oracle of War- The Night Land

Product– EB-01 The Night Land

System-DnD 5e

Producer– DMs Guild

Price– $4.99  here https://www.dmsguild.com/product/296403/EB01-The-Night-Land?affiliate_id=658618

TL; DR– Standard start to something great.  93%

296403

Basics–  Eberron?  In MY 5e?  OH YES!  Let’s hope in and look at the new TWENTY adventure long story for Eberron The Oracle of War Storyline called The Night Land.  You start by rolling into the town of Salvation on the Mournland border, and like all poor hungry souls, it’s time to find a job!  What’s the job board got today?

Mechanics or Crunch– This adventure is pretty balanced for crunch.  It is the same formula you’ve grown to love or maybe be annoyed with in this first adventure by Shawn.  Three small quests with some time between to rest up.  The party does some crazy stuff, rests, repeat.  The players learn how to be their characters, get a bit of a challenge, and then 4.5/5

Theme or Fluff– Standard well done 1st level adventure!  Shawn does 1st level adventure well.  Small packages to not kill the party day one.  It has a bit of Eberron feel, but like most things, it will require the DM to amp up the world feel.  You do hang with some goblins, changelings, and some horrors of the mournlands, so you get a good intro of the horrible things that want to eat you!  You can get a bit bored as your party might recognize a formula when they start.  But its level one!  You’re off to run errands and kill low level monsters, not take on the Lord of Blades day one!  4.5/5

Execution–  PDF?  Yep!  Hyperlinked?  No, but it doesn’t really matter (I’d still like it though).  This product has THREE PDFs.  One is the adventure in glorious color with lots of pictures that you run through the home printer.  The second is a slimmed down black and white no frills product that you run through the home printer.  Third is a newspaper to throw the players!  That’s some awesome world world building!  In addition, the adventure organizers have FULL PAGE sheets the players get after the adventure.  The things they check off let them know some serious crap is up.  Heck, I as a GM who isn’t fully aware of the campaign knows some crap is up, so I’m buying in too.  I also like the authors’ use of the DMs Guild to full effect by putting lots of pictures in.  These are pictures I’ve seen before, but it’s a nice touch to the other pictures that they throw in.  I like the art deco style of everything.  It honestly makes me feel more like we are between wars and I know something bad is coming….   4.9/5

 

Summary-I like Eberron, and The Wife LOVES Eberron.  This adventure brought her back to 5e and weekly gaming at the store.  That’s the sales pitch that I can give.  Now, is it perfect?  No.  It’s 1st level fare.  Small tapas portions of adventures as your cleric might be able to roll out two cure wounds and a real bad round of two crits can completely wreck a party.  Is that a problem?  No.  This is fun.  I’ll equate this to my favorite above average hibachi restaurant.  I know exactly what the chef is going to do there, but guess what?  I’m going to show up and be happy I went! 93%

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%%

248589 (1)

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%

247882

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?