Ring Side Report-RPG Review of Colonel Bull’s Body

Product– Colonel Bull’s Body

System- Any system but fits well with Savage Worlds/Deadlands

Producer– Dragonlaird Gaming

Price– $7.99 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/376305/Colonel-Bulls-Body?affiliate_id=658618 

TL; DR-A great intro to Deadlands. 98%

Basics–  THE DEAD WALK!  A friend of yours has died, but now some see horrors off in the distance.  You don’t care either way as getting his body back for burial nets you a massive pay day.  Can you find his body and get your money?

Mechanics or Crunch– Solid work here for a fantasy cowboy game and fits well into a Deadlands game.  There is investigation, combat, and roleplaying in equal measure here so all three pillars of a good session are on display.  This is just good, well done crunch.  5/5

Theme or Fluff– More solid work here by Dragonlaird for their story.  My one, very slightly negative point is that it’s similar to a predictable Deadlands plot.  There is always some evil sorcerer guy off-screen doing a bad.  That’s why this feels like Deadlands, but it could be a bit too predictable for your hardcore Deadlands fan as not much comes out of left field.    4.75/5

Execution– Dragonlaird excels again with their making of a nearly flawless book.  Hyperlinks, layout, text size, scannability, art-everything is just on point.  My one issue is cost.  It’s 8 bucks.  Not horrible, but it’s that much for about one solid or two shorter four hour sessions.  But, you are getting what you pay for with this one. 4.9/5

Summary– I’ve always wanted to get deeper into the old west and while not a Deadlands product, it would lead you deeper into it.  It’s an interesting world, and it takes advantage of the Savage Worlds rule set.  Colonel Bull’s Body is an excellent intro adventure for both.  It’s got classic cowboy fantasy themes and solid mechanics.  Your older Deadlands fans might not get as much out of it, but for those looking for a good intro to the fantasy cowboy world or a solid session, this would be a great one to pull out for game night.  The price is a bit high, but you are getting what you pay for with this product in terms of art, design, and layout.  Another great product by Dragonlaird.  98%

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of SCP The Tabletop RPG

Product– SCP The Tabletop RPG

System- SCP The Tabletop RPG

Producer– 26 Letters Publishing

Price– $19.99 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/334521/SCP-The-Tabletop-RPG?affiliate_id=658618

TL; DR-Secure this book! 96%

Basics–  Secure, Contain, Protect!  SCP is probably the internet’s best and worst kept secret.  The SCP is the largest collaborative storytelling project in the world, outside of the Lovecraft Mythos, and all of the Lovecraft Mythos fits into the SCP!  The SCP is a clandestine organization that is lawful neutral at best, doing horrible things in the name of saving as many as they can.  Players take the roles of SCP personnel, attempting to deal with the things that bump in the night and hopefully kill as few as they can along the way.  Let’s look at the pieces.

Breakdown-

Base mechanics-  Character generation is point buy, but you buy dice.  When you do anything you roll up to four dice.  From those four dice you take the maximum of two of them and add any skill ranks you have in the action.  If you hit the difficulty, you succeed!

Dice-This game uses everything from D8s to d20s.  When you buy dice, for every three D8s you buy, you can then buy 1d10.  This gives you an extra bonus.  For every two d10s you buy, you can buy a d12 and get an additional bonus.  You can build an absolute unit for strength but if you can’t do intelligence actions, you will have some major problems!  Remember your team when you build characters.

Exploding dice-If you roll the maximum result you get an extra dice that you roll and use.  You can get some truly powerful rolls when your D12 explodes into a d20!

The rest-The rest of the system breaks down like most other similar systems with lots of skills.  The skills are the bread and butter of this game as you focus your abilities to do awesome stuff.

Now the breakdown!

Mechanics or Crunch-This game feels like a fun remix of Savage Worlds.  The idea of different sized dice and the mix of multiple dice means you get more average results.  I love random dice, but sometimes you just get hosed by probability.  When you throw four d12 at a problem, the law of averages doesn’t bite you as hard as it can, most of the time.  It’s simple and easy to play.  This system’s only problem is there are a ton of skills.  The good of a ton of skills is you can truly build that character you have in mind.  The bad of a ton of skills is your awesome mountain man can be lost in the big city as overspecialization is fun but if you are not keyed into the adventure, it can lead you to be sidelined.  That’s the only real issue I have with the crunch here, so this is a solid system!.  4.5/5

Theme or Fluff– SCP, are you the good guys or the bad guys? YES!  The fluff here backs up the nature that the SCP are here to help, but maybe not here to help you in particular!  If you want to play a morally grey character, then this gives you the solid background to do it well.   5/5

Execution– PDF? Yes.  Hyperlinked?  Yes.  I like the layout, the text, and the makeup of the whole book.  There are pregens and an adventure to get you playing right away.  I really love how the character creation is set up with step by step instruction, even pointing to the areas on the character sheet.   My one minor problem is some of the set up.  The book divides itself based on the class of personnel.  Which isn’t bad, but it means you have to go to multiple places to see all the toys and equipment.  It’s not a major issue, but a small annoyance.  Otherwise, this is a solid book that shows how I want things done.  4.9/5

Summary– Let’s not be a bad guy, let’s not be a good guy, let’s be the one keeping everyone safe.  The SCP is a fun playground where horrible things are done to prevent something even worse.  That’s a fun setup and combined with solid mechanics and an amazing book this is well worth your money.  If you like Savage Worlds and want the best collaborative horror you can find on the internet in your game, this is a solid addition to game night. 96%

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%