Ring Side Report-RPG Review of Pathfinder Society Scenario #2-02: Mountain of Sea and Sky

Product– Pathfinder Society Scenario #2-02: Mountain of Sea and Sky

System- Pathfinder

Producer– Paizo

Price– $5.99 here https://paizo.com/products/btq024wz?Pathfinder-Society-Scenario-202-Mountain-of-Sea-and-Sky 

TL; DR-A better first scenario! 98%

Basics–  Pathfinder!  The Society calls!  A new lodge is being built and new agents are needed to help with getting the area settled. You won’t be wielding a hammer.  The land needs to be purified and the locals may help or hurt if you make enough friends.  An intro adventure for levels 3 to 6.

Mechanics or Crunch-I love the crunch here.  There are a ton of fights, but none drag on.  Also, there are multiple things like social encounters, exploration, and some solid fights as well.  Heck there is even a hard boss fight, but like all good RPGs, if you play smart and make friends, life is easier.  This feels like a great introduction to the system and world, even better than 2-01.  5/5

Theme or Fluff– Story, combat, exploration, and social-all parts of a solid whole that make a fun adventure.  When I run this I have a blast and so do my players.  Nothing drags; there is always time left but you leave feeling full.  More adventures like this are needed to pull new pathfinders into the fold.  5/5

Execution– PDF? Yes.  Hyperlinked?  Yes.  Good layout, handout, and all the other basics make this a solid adventure.  The only thing I don’t like are the maps that are marked up so I have to buy the other map somewhere else.  That always feels cash grabby, but that is the only bad thing here.  4.75/5

Summary-I love this adventure.  You get new locations, new characters, and solid fights that make a fun adventure.  It’s balanced well with a fun boss fight and great execution that makes running this a blast.  Would like clean maps, but that is my only problem.  If you want some intro to Pathfinder, you won’t go wrong with this one.  98%

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of Starfinder Society Scenario #1-16: Dreaming of the Future

Product– Starfinder Society Scenario #1-16: Dreaming of the Future

System- Starfinder

Producer– Paizo

Price– $5.99 here https://paizo.com/products/btpya08w?Starfinder-Society-Scenario-116-Dreaming-of-the-Future 

TL; DR-Good introduction to the world of Starfinder Society.  92%

Basics–  Starfinder!  Society calls!  New Starfinders are needed to help find the pieces of an old tablet that will open a long lost vault in the stars.  This adventure is four short scenes that are all tied together in one adventure.

Mechanics or Crunch-This is a good introductory adventure that has some exploration, combat, space combat, and a bit of social interaction.  The only downside is the pieces may be a bit easy for most players.  Even pregens have an easy go of this one.  But it’s fun nonetheless.  4.5/5

Theme or Fluff– This adventure is four short adventures that all tie together.  It’s a bit rough between the pieces, but the goal of this one is to be more an intro to the world, Starfinder Society, and the system. It does a solid enough job with a decent story providing the basics of the world and story of it.  4.5/5

Execution– PDF? Yes.  Hyperlinked?  Yes.  Good layout, handout, and all the other basics make this a solid adventure.  The pieces I don’t like are the maps that you have to buy because the maps are marked up.  I understand why, but it’s still annoying.  That’s the worst part of the execution, so that is not bad at all.  4.75/5

Summary-. Dreaming of the Future is a solid introduction with a few rough parts.  The rough parts are all due to the episodic nature of this one.  The pieces are short but that helps with new players learning the system.  If you want a fun quick adventure for a new group of Starfinders, you would have a hard time finding a better one than this one.  92%

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of Dungeon Crawl Classics #66.5: Doom of the Savage King

Product– Dungeon Crawl Classics #66.5: Doom of the Savage King

System- DCC RPG

Producer– Goodman Games

Price– $6.00 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/129075/Dungeon-Crawl-Classics-665-Doom-of-the-Savage-King?affiliate_id=658618 

TL; DR– Appendix N shoot first ask questions never? 97%

Basics–  Time to kill the unkillable!  Doom of the Savage Kings starts out deep in the action as the players come upon a local lord tying a young woman to a pole to be eaten by a beast to sate its bloodlust.  What happens next is completely up to the “heroes”!  Save the girl?  Serve the Lord?  Either way there is an unkillable beast that needs slaying if the sacrifices are to stop.

Mechanics or Crunch-This is an early one for DCC RPG, and it shows a bit.  The mechanics are fine, but sometimes the Judge may have to tone down the challenge for the players to survive.  Especially mine, as my players never met a situation where certain death deterred them in the slightest!  It works well for higher player counts, but lower ones will need a bit of adjusting.  Doom of the Savage Kings mechanically is an early very deadly, very fun adventure.  4.5/5

Theme or Fluff–  This adventure is PURE Appendix N.  Village sacrificing people to save the rest like “The Lottery” and an ancient tomb where weapons will slay not-Grendel?  FANTASTIC!  This adventure is gonzo fantasy that makes DCC DCC.  5/5

Execution– PDF? Yes.  Hyperlinked?  Yes, basically.  This has what I need to run this adventure.  Maps, quick rundown, and detailed enough encounters.  It reads fast as my initial read through was five minutes before the game and my players had a blast completely abandoning the adventure’s basic path within five minutes.  If you like the basic layout of DCC, then you will like this layout.  Like always, Goodman Games DCC modules read like the old modules you used to get with some art in the middle, maps at the end, and a summary at the start.  Since I’m living an era of gaming I wasn’t part when it came round the first time, it’s a blast to be part of it this time as the editing has massively improved the experience!  5/5

Summary– Doom of the Savage Kings is classic DCC RPG.  It’s a bit harder than it needs to be so maybe some love from a Judge will save the PCs from their bad rolls if not their stupidity.  The book itself is well laid out, and the plot is top notch.  Players will have a blast saving a town, delving into old crypts, and killing the monster stalking the helpless in the fog.  If you need your Boewulf fix but want to do it with some crazy DCCRPG rules, this is hands down a fantastic adventure to get into.  97%

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of Have You Found It? Act 1:The Jitters

Product– Have You Found It? Act 1:The Jitters

System- Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition

Producer– Petersen Games

Price– $25 here https://petersengames.com/cthulhu-mythos/  

TL; DR– Good into to solid DnD Horror! 90%%

Basics–  Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the greatest show in the universe!  Have You Found It? Is a horror adventure path focusing on The King In Yellow himself.  This act, Act 1: The Jitters, is the intro adventure.  Players are in a city like Milan or Paris as a series of murders stirs up political intrigue.  The players are drawn into the adventure to solve the murders but are soon into something much deeper and much darker than your average murder.  This adventure goes from levels 1 to 4.

Mechanics or Crunch-Dungeons and Dragons is a much more heroic fantasy game, but this adventure bends the rules enough to make the horror stand out.  It’s hard to make players feel like there is no hope in a DnD game, but the monsters and scenarios bring enough horror to make the players feel the dread that is needed for the edge of cosmic horror.  This book also has some behind the scenes mechanics that are excellent ways to reinforce why the king in yellow is the unnamed!  Good mechanics take a heroic game and make it a horror one.  4.5/5

Theme or Fluff–  The story here is a solid one.  The world builds rather quickly and the players get dragged into something very heavy VERY fast.  That gets the action going, but this is also a level one to four adventure.  Players spend time interviewing people and learning about the world via talking, so there is a lot here for all different character classes and types.  It’s a good mix of combat, exploration, and roleplaying that an intro adventure needs.  Also, by setting this in a city, fragile level one heroes are not decimated instantly as after a battle they can recover somewhere safe.  This is a great intro story to get players into a dark new path.  5/5

Execution– PDF? Yes.  Hyperlinked?  NO! What’s here is good.  Good layout, good text size, good pictures.  It’s all solid.  What isn’t here is what makes me less happy.  This is a new world and city.  I want a player guide with a town map and background as this can get socially heavy in a hurry.  Also, as a GM I need hyperlinks in my PDF.  It’s a longer book for an adventure and being able to hop around would help me a lot as a GM.  Good execution, but I need a bit more from the digital book. 4/5

Summary– The King in Yellow was never my favorite Cthulhu mythos horror.  This book has brought me around and I think I might give the books where he comes from a chance.  It’s a well crafted story for low level characters that successfully pulls them into the social, combat, and exploration of a new world.  I do want a few more things like help for my players to get into the world and some additions to the electronic book, but the first act of this horror story is inviting enough to draw me into the deeper, darker bits of the full play. 90%

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of Achtung! Cthulhu 2d20 Quickstart

Product– Achtung! Cthulhu 2d20 Quickstart

System- 2d20

Producer– Modiphius

Price– FREE here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/347802/Achtung-Cthulhu-2d20-Quickstart?affiliate_id=658618

TL; DR– Let’s kill some Cthulhu Nazis!  97%

Basics– The Weird Wars are back!  Achtung! Cthulhu is a horror/action RPG using the Achtung! Cthulhu world and the new(er) 2d20 system put forward by Modiphius.  Let’s dig into this historical horror.

Base mechanics-The 2d20 system is a roll-under system.  Every time you do an action, you use a skill and an attribute.  You add your skill and attribute together and try to roll under that total on each individual die.  If you roll under your skill, you score two successes and if you roll under the total you just score one success.  Get enough successes, you do the action.  You need between 0 and five successes.

Momentum, threat, and fortune- Since you only get two dice and you might need up to five successes, you need more dice in a hurry.  You can get more dice from momentum.  Every success above what you need earns momentum for the group.  You can spend momentum to get more dice.  You can also give the GM threat to get more dice, but threat is GM momentum.  You also have fortune.  Fortune is story candy.  You automatically crit and earn two successes.

Combat-Combat works just like skills, but if you hit, you roll six sided dice with either 1, 2, or 1 and a bonus event on them.  The bonus things might start fires or do extra damage and depends on the weapons and the person using it.  When you take damage, you subtract either armor or your resolve (mental armor) and take stress.  When your stress fills up, you are out and you take an injury.  This could be from going crazy or from taking a hit to the face.  Too many injuries and you’re out for good!

Ok, now my thoughts on this.

Mechanics or Crunch– I like what’s here.  I love Call of Cthulhu, and 2d20 feels enough like that but it has some things that feel like DnD.  There are feat like traits.  There is a more combat emphasis, and the flow of threat and momentum makes things a bit more dynamic than either parent game.  There are parts I want described more like spending threat.  This is a quickstart for free, so it’s ok if it’s not a complete rules book now, but I want more of that in the final product.  That said, the crunch here feels good and full of combat goodness with hints of story built in to keep the action rolling.  4.5/5

Theme or Fluff– Hate Nazis?  Want to hate Cthulhu Naizs?  I’VE GOT A GAME FOR YOU!  The ultimate killable bad guys are the main villains here, so it always feels fun to fight those guys. It is Weird War, so get ready for some strange elements, from spellcasting Americans to Australians with combat dogs.  But, here is where things shine.  2d20 is built on this back and forth of rolls, story, and tension.  Momentum and threat roll back and forth across the table making things fun.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with some old school gaming, but for story and theme, I love when the mechanics build into that.  This system does that well.  5/5

Execution–  PDF?  YEP!  Hyperlinked? No, but it’s a quickstart, so I’ll forgive it.  It reads well, reads quick, and has great pictures.  Now those pictures are from the original Acthung! Cthulhu, so I hope for new art, but it’s all good.  The player section is at the back and easily prints out to a separate PDF, so my players will not be spoiled.  Honestly, it’s 45+pages of good introduction to the system that you can read in under half an hour and get playing your first game.  5/5

Summary-This is a free PDF, so check it out!  It’s also a solid RPG with a great mix of theme and mechanics.  Lots of fun to be had from this quick read that you will be playing fast.  Go kill some bad guys and save the day in the Weird War!  97%

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%