Ring Side Report- Quest Calendar

Product– Quest Calendar

System- Sundial games quest calendar

Producer– Sundial games

Price– $31 here https://2023-quest-calendar.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders?ref=SundialGames23 

TL; DR-five minutes of RPG EVERY DAY! 93%

Basics–  NO GM, NO PROBLEM!.  Quest Calendar is a desk calendar that has a simple story that you walk through each day with puzzles, combat, and a solid story to draw you in.  2022 had a fantasy, world hopping adventure, and this year 2023 is a universe spanning Sci-Fi epic.  let’s break it down!

Basics- Each day the calendar has a picture and a short story.  The back of each previous day gives rules for combat, discussions and short side quests with towns folk, or puzzles for you to solve based on the story.

Dice- It wouldn’t be a RPG without dice!  Each character has a bonus to hit, defense, damage dice, and hit points.  Combat is simple where you roll to hit and if you hit you deal damage.  Deal enough damage and the opponent is stunned.  Don’t hit or don’t do enough, you are attacked.  Depending on your defense, you take more or less damage.  Other checks are the same as if you roll a d20, add the statistic used in the check, a number between 0 and +3 typically, and compare to the rules.

Powers and characters- There are multiple characters to choose from each with their own backstory.  Each character has information from levels 1 to 6 as well as powers and abilities.  Powers and abilities range from one per page things, constant bonuses to actions, or powers that have a limited number of uses before you must rest.

Ok, now my thoughts.

Mechanics or Crunch– This adventure a day calendar honestly is like a daily Shadow of the Demon Lord game.  D20 + a number and compared to the results is a fantastically simple RPG that doesn’t get enough love.  You do not get crazy complex here, because you can’t have crazy options since its a simple mechanic.  But, it’s rolling dice everyday to have some fun and play through a story.  4.75/5

Theme or Fluff– This is a simple story that is executed well.  First, the bad- you can’t have a crazy branching RPG when it’s a linear object.  You’re playing through a story like Lord of the Rings, but you can’t really change what the fellowship does.  That’s the inherent limits of this medium.  That said, I loved the story of 2022 and can’t wait for 2023.  Sure, it’s simple fantasy, but sometimes I just want to be a guy on a world saving quest in bite sized pieces.  That’s what this is, and it is done well!  4.75/5

Execution– How much you love what is here will really depend on how much you spend.  30 gets you the calendar.  That’s a bit high for a calendar, and the calendar is a bit small.  It’s a desk calendar, so that’s a bit annoying and since it is small and thick, it can break the glue holding it easily.  But that’s the end of the negatives.  Solid art, easy to read, and a simple flow and layout make this a fun product.  I love the character books and layout of them.  I didn’t like the markers that the books came with, but they fixed that in the 2023 edition.  I also LOVE the tiny dice.  Those went right into my backpack at the end of the year when I got new ones.  And this year its metal tiny dice!  This product has a few small flaws, but it’s still something I love.  4.5/5

Summary– Will this be the greatest RPG you have ever played with branching story and complete autonomy with the most intricate character build options that you have ever seen?  Absolutely not, but the important this is it is not trying to be.  This is a short adventure every day that builds an interesting world and lets you play a quick game as a fun distraction while also being a calendar?  YES!  And its amazing at that goal.  I continue to hate small things because of being clumsy, but if that is the worst complaint I have with the calendar, then you need this now.  2022 is done, but you have plenty of time to get onto the ground floor of 2023.  I’ve bought myself and my wife calendars and I hope you have a fun adventure in space with me!  93%

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of Cults of Cthulhu

Product– Cults of Cthulhu

System- Call of Cthulhu 7th Ed

Producer– Chaosium

Price– $25 here https://www.chaosium.com/cults-of-cthulhu-pdf/ 

TL; DR– Solid Book of bad guys, set ups, and tools 100%

Basics–  Ia! Ia!  Cults of Cthulhu gives you… exactly what it says!  This book is a book of four different cults, adventures to go against each cult, and tools to build your own cthulhu cult.

Mechanics or Crunch–  This book is VERY much a Keeper’s book and not a players’ book, and that’s ok.  This book has new monsters and stats for them, variant spells, and tips for building your own cult.  I am honestly impressed by the depth of ideas for building a cult.  I play too many fantasy games where the idea of how a cult is financed doesn’t come up.  But here, how the money happens is a very important way to build your cult.  Even optional crunch for Pulp Cthulhu is presented!  Players will find nothing in this book, but Call of Cthulhu doesn’t really ever give players much more beyond the basic investigator book.  The crunch doesn’t disappoint in this one.  5/5

Theme or Fluff– Again, this is a Keeper book, but built in a fun, informative way to help the Keeper build a world.  Each of the four presented cults have real depth and personality with individual people and their goals presented.  My one minor negative is like most Cthulhu books, you really only get the 1920s as a playground.  It’s the most popular time for Call of Cthulhu, so I understand why, but I do seriously appreciate the one modern cult that is presented here.  Also, adventures!  There are four adventures against these four cults.  So even if you need a one shot, this book has you covered.  5/5

Execution– I don’t think Chaosium has ever disappointed me.  Hyperlinks, solid handouts, easy reading, separate files, pictures of monsters, and everything else makes this the whole nine yards.  Its 25 bucks as a PDF, which is a decent chunk for a PDF, but even if you just used this for four one-shots, that brings the price down to manageable levels of any other market adventure for CoC.  And it seems that Chaosium is listening and , while I love them, the handwritten notes are hard to read, Chaosium is making just nice plain text ones as well.  My one complaint is I want pregens for each of the adventures, but that is just begging for more on an already solid product.  5/5

Summary– Cthulhu is gonna be the main draw for a game called Call of Cthulhu, so why not have some humans doing bad things for him?  This book is a solid resource that, even if I just wanted some quick adventures and handouts, is well worth the price of admission.  If you want to build your own cults, then this is the book you might want to check out as well.  NOW DO YOG! 100%

Ring Side Report- Preview of The Golden Age of Khares

Product– The Golden Age of Khares

System- Low Fantasy Gaming

Producer– Moose Lodge Games

Price– Kickstarter now!  Check here!  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mooselodgegames/the-golden-age-of-khares 

TL; DR-Solid Bronze Age Fun.  93%

Basics–  Let’s go old school OLD SCHOOL!  The Golden Age of Khares is a bronze age gaming supplement for Low Fantasy Gaming, a hybrid system midway between DnD 5e and OSR games like DCCRPG.  This focuses on much older tech and sword and sorcery in a long lost era.

Mechanics or Crunch– How much you like this game depends on how much you like Low Fantasy Gaming.  I love DCC and DnD, so this is a solid addition to that niche!  You have new classes that fit the Conan-esc mold with bizarre monsters to make the world feel like an old 70s sword and sorcery movie or book.  There are also well done tables to help you randomly get treasure to players, to help you move the game along swiftly, and new areas to expand into like boxing and melee tournaments.  Lastly there are rules for massive dungeon creation for all kinds of fun dungeon crawling shenanigans.  That is decidedly old school.  Solid new crunch here for your Low Fantasy Game!  5/5

Theme or Fluff– How much you like this book again depends on something else-do you like the bronze age?  Not standard European fantasy, but more people long ago dealing with horrible monsters of antiquity and vast empires of slaves where it was just the might of your blade or the strength of your spells to uphold right?  Me?  I’m down for this.  I’m looking forward to making a random dungeon and throwing players into it.  I do want to know more about this world, but the creatures next goal is to make a world book to help fill in the fluff of the world. 4.5/5

Execution– My kickstarter preview edition is well done.  Solid art, solid layout, and solid tables all lead me to be able to read this quickly and move forward fast.  The simple book is free, so I love that.  The good book is $15 for google drive access, and the better book is $20.  Those are not bad prices for a supplement.  I would like to know if it’s hyperlinked, but as of now, I like everything I see here. 4.5/5

Summary– The best part of doing these reviews is learning new things.  I had no idea that Low Fantasy Gaming existed before this project.  It’s honestly a great system that will get its own review one day.  And then I learned about this project.  It has solid mechanics to add to Low Fantasy gaming.  It’s got solid new art, and it’s laid out well and starts to build a world that I can sink my teeth into.  I do want a bit more, but that problem comes because this is a small team.  And, it’s a good problem because when your project is solid enough to interest me I want more of it, that indicates that you got quality work here!  93%