Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Wrath and Glory

Product– Wrath and Glory Warhammer 40K Roleplay Core Book

System– Wrath and Glory Warhammer 40K Roleplay

Producer– Ulisses Spiele

Price– $ 40.00 here https://www.gamenerdz.com/warhammer-40k-wrath-glory-rpg-starter-set-preorder?gclid=Cj0KCQjw77TbBRDtARIsAC4l83noBu-k1Ixh3su554S-3-k3nQS8VplfBm-A82w6EaBzdBMWaEWEzWIaAsxYEALw_wcB

TL; DR– In the Grim Dark Future there is only a surprisingly indie RPG!  93%

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Basics-For the God Emperor!  Wrath and Glory is a new RPG from Ulisses Spiele that covers the  world of 40K, a grim, gothic world of alien threats to mankind and the equally horrible men and women who fight the xeno threat while burning heretics by the score.  Let’s bust up how to play.

Core rules- Wrath and glory uses a modified d6 system like Shadowrun.  Every action taken by the character is done by adding up the character’s attribute plus their skill for that action and rolling that many six-sided dice.  One die is kept a separate color and is called the wrath dice, and is important later. Players then count all the dice that roll 4s and 5s for single successes.  Each 6 counts as two successes. Most tests require 3 successes to succeed, with some harder things requiring up to 11 almost impossible to get successes while easy things that always succeed might only require 1 success.  Players have access to a number of different pools to alter these rolls.

Icons and Exalted Icons-Each 4 and 5 counts as an icon.  This means successes, but it opens up design space.  Not only do sixes count as two success, but sixes also count as exalted icons.  All players share an icon pool that extra exalted icons can be shifted into or take from called glory.  Exalted icons provide extra dice on damage, making tests go fasters, getting better results, or moved into the glory pool. Glory give you extra dice, extra damage, increase critical hit severity, and mess with initiative.

Wrath-Wrath is the last pool players can play with.  Wrath allows players to reroll failures on a test, gain back shock (think stamina points from Starfinder), gain bonuses on some checks, and add elements to a scene.  This is the most powerful pool a player can use, so they only gain more points by role playing well, completing objectives, and some out of combat campaign goals.

Ruin-Ruin is the last pool that players can generate, but this is a GM toy.  Ruin operates like a combination of wrath and glory but for NPCs. Players generate ruin when the roll a 6 on the one separate wrath die.

Combat-Combat is interesting because combat has much more indie vibe to is.  Players take turns nominating characters then NPCs to act leading to a much more narrative structure.  Attacks work just like all other rolls with an attacker rolling attribute + skill vs. targets defence value.  On a success, the attacker rolls a number of dice equal to the exalted icons shifted from the attack or glory pool plus any from the weapon itself plus the weapons base damage value.  Success on the extra dice add to the base damage. If damage is equal to or lower then the targets resistance, then it takes some shock (again, it’s kind of like stamina points from Starfinder, they come back quickly on a quick rest but you can be knocked out when you lose them all).  If the damage if more than the resistance, you take wounds. When wounds equal your total, you’re dead! If you roll a 6 on the wrath die,not only does ruin generate, but you do critical hit damage.

In addition to the narrative structure of combat, players can spend glory to further mess with initiative.  Instead of nominating an NPC to go after a player, the players can spend glory to force another player to go after another player.  When the story demands awesome, the pools of player toys provide!

Also in combat are mobs of creatures.  It would not be Warhammer if you didn’t fight 40 orcs at a time!  When more then one unnamed creatures is present, they can fight as one giant mob with each extra creature beyond the first adding extra dice to the attack pool.

Psionics- Warhammer 40K doesn’t have magic, it’s got psionics or psykers!  Psionics fit in simply like any other skill roll. You make willpower + psychic mastery roll and need to hit a number of success based on the power to activate it.  In addition, each power also has a number of extra abilities called potency that can be activated if a character hit enough exalted icons.

Those are the major parts of the game.  Attribute + skill for rolls looking for 4s, 5s, and hopefully 6s to do cool stuff and move the story forward.  Let’s see what I think.

Theme or Fluff-Well done RPGs that introduce a new world fall into two major camps-story first or crunch first.  This game starts story first. Overall, it’s well done. I don’t know a lot about the imperium of mankind and the horrors of the warp, but I know there is A LOT.  This book CANNOT teach you all that you can learn about 40K. That is just impossible as there are entire youtube channels that release videos daily and still find 40K content to cover months later!  The book is more human centered, but later the book give lots of rules for non-human characters. It makes me want to know more about these xeno races. That’s not bad, but a bit more would make me feel like I could run a xeno game without needing other books.  However, as your first introduction to the world of Warhammer 40K, this is a great place to start from. 4.5/5

Mechanics or Crunch–   I really like the mechanics of this game.  Warhammer 40K is a game where you throw buckets of d6s at problems until they die.  This game uses the same mechanic, but slimmed down. Unlike the wargame, you do not compare defense values before rolling and checking charts to find what the numbers on the dice need to be to hit a creature.  This games uses a Shadowrun inspired d6 system that is amazingly slick. Shadowrun isn’t the perfect example, but its the system that comes to mind when I roll d6s and look for specific numbers. The comparison brakes down further when you add in glory, wrath, and ruin.  I love everything I see here as Wrath and Glory has carved out its own mechanics from other games. What’s more, the narrative nature of the game really draws you in. You can’t sit on the sideline waiting for your initiative. Every player has to be engaged to really survive as a team.  The tier system of character development and determining appropriate challenges will help the games running smoothly and let players know if that orc is just another nob loser to kill in a hit or a major problem that will kill the entire crew! Nothing here feels like it will just slow down the game.  I can’t say how much I love everything that I see here. 5/5

Execution-I like this book.  I was reading a PDF, so I can’t comment on if its hyperlinked, but it looks great.  It’s also over 400 pages so that’s amazing for the price. However, the one thing I wish the book had was more pictures.  I know enough 40K to hum a few bars, but I can’t keep up with the deep lore. I never got into the miniature game because models had to be accurate to play in a tournament, and I don’t know a bolter from a lascanon.  I’d like more pictures in the book to show me what all the weapons, armors, and toys are. Wanting more is a great place to leave your customers, and I can tell this one will have several more splat books. It’s a great book, but more fluff would help follow what all the action is about as well as break up the text in the book. 4.5/5

Summary-This game had a tall order to follow.  Wrath and Glory needed to deliver an RPG that let players throw a buckets of d6s, play quick, and let bloody glory for the god emperor rage across the galaxy.  And I think it does it! The system need more books to cover everything as ANY 40K RPG can’t be complete in one book. Just the 30+ years of lore means that any one book that is made can’t come close to explaining all of what is going on here.  But this tome does start the RPG at a good place. The mechanics are slick and play fast. The pools of different tokens make me feel like I have control of the action. The narrative nature of combat further brings in players to a visceral RPG where story comes first.  The fluf of the world feels good, and even a novice like myself feels like I’ve learned enough to at least start. The book is laid out well, but needs more pictures to help break up text and show not tell me more about the world. None of these complaints are game ending bad though.  I love what I’m seeing, and I just can’t wait for more! 93%

Silver Screen Smackdown- Movie Review of Alien: Covenant

We’ve got movies baby!

TL; DR-good, with an asterisk.  81%

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Basics-You know this drill-spaceship, people mean monsters, aliens come out of people, more people die, some mystery robot, people die.  This time is a group of colonists in the 2100’s who check out the mysterious signal, are attacked by different monsters, and then escape.

Story–This is the low point, but I can’t hate what’s here.  Overall the story is a C.  Its compelling, but has some choices happen that just shouldn’t and parts of the movies own logic just stopped happening.  Find an alien plant?  No helmets and touch everything!  Some dude just shows up out of nowhere and is creepy as hell?  He’s our new best bud-ALL THE TRUST!  Facehuggers need less than 20 seconds to do their job now!  Aliens mature in about the same amount of time!  But, I followed what the laid out, saw the turns coming, but enjoyed the ride.  It’s a rollercoaster, but maybe one I’ve either ridden too many times.  You’ll enjoy what you see, but don’t think too much or your enjoyment will not survive the experience.  3.25/5

Acting–  The people in this act well, but not perfectly.  Overall all the characters are believable.  There are a few moments where people do things like the new captain being mad people are mourning the death of some people early on due to some solar weather (not a spoiler, it’s two minutes into the movie), the seem to just be there to make him seem like a dick.  The humans act smart enough but they fail some of the basic logic checks like let’s touch all the strange stuff without gloves or abandon our friends in a room to die!  The heroes at least pass the smart test, so you feel they are moving in the right direction.  3.5/5

Cinematography–Film looks amazing.  I like all the stuff they have to show with stunning visuals.  The creatures look amazing, and even though you know jump scares are coming, you still jump.  The creatures are mostly CGI, but it’s hard to tell, so I’ll take it.  4.5/5

Sound-This movie sounds amazing.  The aliens sounds like they should.  All the standard sounds come back in the right ways.  The ships sounds like you’d think ships should.  The environments sound right.  Everything felt and sounded like it should. 5/5

Summary–I want to like this more, but I also kind of want to hate this more too.  These movies explain the origins of the xenomorph.  That’s not a surprise, but this is one of the reasons I really, really want to despise this movie.  The logic of where the alien came from kind of falls apart.  If they xenomorph is from around 2100, then how does predator, AvP, and anything else work?  If preditors hunted aliens for centuries before the Aztec empire, how do they come from the future?  What I’m seeing with this movie is what happened to the Star Wars fandom.  The fans kept the idea going with comics, books, and games, but when popular culture comes back to it, those comics, books, and games are all abandoned.  I don’t like the feeling I have of being abandoned by the people who make the stuff I like.  But, I also want to like this more as now I’m getting more Alien movies!  The movies is a strong OK.  I get some great visuals and sound, ok acting, and a story that kind of works.  But the ultimate question is this-When the next sequel comes out, will I go?  And the answer based on this movies is a yes.  Here are my predictions: this movie was fan service in strange way.  It answered plot holes from the original.  Now, the next movie will fix plot holes in this one, while making fun new ones!  It kind of feels like an expansion pack to a computer game that hot fixes issues the fans found.  But, I’ll still go see it.  It’s the next Alien movie!  81%

Silver Screen Smackdown- Movie Review of Big Hero 6

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Movie– Big Hero 6

TL;DR-A nice movie about family and belief 93 %

 

Basics- Hiro, our hero of the film, is the orphaned robot design prodigy.  His older brother sees him wasting his design potential away with underground robot fighting and convinces him to compete for a scholarship to a robot design university.  He wins, but fire at the competition clams Hiro’s brother’s life.  Hiro finds that his award winning robots were stolen in the fire, and now Hiro must team up with his lost brother’s last robot project to defeat the evil villain who stole his project and his brother’s life.

 

Story– This is a kid’s movie, and therefore a bit too short.  But that’s a good feeling!  I’d rather be left wanting more than being bored.  This movie doesn’t pull any punches though for a kids movie.  Lots of different themes are discussed, and the villain when he/she shows up is well conceived, not over the top, and somewhat sympathetic.  It’s a sleeper hit just like Meet the Robinsons.   4.5/5

 

(voice) Acting– The dialog is well done here.  There is even a Wayans brother in this one, and it’s well done!  All the characters feel real. 5/5

 

Cinematography– It’s a cartoon world, but it still does look well done. Everything is the right amount of cartoony while still looking semi-realistic.  I like what I see in this one. 4.5/5

 

Summary– This is a fun little movie.  It’s over way too quick, but the stories and characters in this one are a blast.  Honestly, this movie and Meet the Robinsons seem to be on par with one another.  Both are animated sleeper hits.  Great fun, but overshadowed by some other movies that recently came out.  93%

 

Silver Screen Smackdown- Movie Review of Guardians of the Galaxy

Movie– Guardians of the Galaxy

TL;DR– GO SEE THIS! 100%

 

Basics– Meet Quill, our not Han Solo hero, as he steals some random item from a dead world.  He is now on the run from Thanos, his former allies, and bounty hunters.  Along the way he will team up with a walking tree, a talking/shooting raccoon, an assassin, and a berserker as they save the galaxy while causing untold property damage.

 

Story– This story rocks!  The world of the movie is full of crazy characters, fun places, and untold destruction.  So many things are given a quick introduction, but all the pieces got just enough intro to keep you interested but not be boring.  It’s a wild ride that moves at such a fast pace that its over two hour run time just flies by. However, the pace is so well done that I didn’t have the rushed feeling I got from the Harry Potter films. 5/5

 

Acting-Everybody hits this out of the park.  Every person does an amazing job bringing all the crazy characters to life.  Some actors only have a voice to make you feel that a character is real, but they pull that off with amazing results.  Everybody shines in this one.  I AM GROOT 5/5

 

Cinematography– No surprise here as this film is an amazing piece of art.  The CGI is top notch while the real shots are no less amazing. 5/5

 

Summary– I have two favorite movies this summer-Snowpiercer and Guardians of the Galaxy.  These both hit great spots in my soul for different reasons.  If you want a fun movie that isn’t stupid with amazing dialog and great acting then Guardians of the Galaxy is the movie for you.  If you want a movie that will keep you thinking and wondering with amazing dialog and great acting then choose Snowpiercer.  Guardians of the Galaxy might not be the high brow cinema that will make you question the human conditions, but man, it is a fun time, wild ride, and an all around great movie! 100%