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EB-03 Where the Dead Wait
Publisher: D&D Adventurers League
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/28/2020 22:04:15

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

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea every day!

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%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
EB-03 Where the Dead Wait
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Modern AGE Basic Rulebook
Publisher: Green Ronin Publishing
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/21/2020 20:56:14

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of Modern Age

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea every day!

Product- Modern Age Basic Rulebook System-Modern Age Producer- Green Ronin Publishing Price- $6.99 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/243966/Modern-AGE-Basic-Rulebook?affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR-Three games in one where every roll matters! 88%

Basics- Dragon Age in your modern age? Modern Age Basic Rulebook is a stand alone game, applying the basics of the Fantasy Age system to a modern or near modern setting. Let’s break this up into pieces.

Basic mechanics: Modern Age is Fantasy Age is Dragon Age. All three of these use 3d6 + ability + focus to do anything. Like all RPGs, it's the basic idea of "roll dice, plus a number, to get a different number to win" idea. Easy enough to pick up and play.

Abilities and focuses: Modern Age has a pretty simple number addition pool where you add an ability. Ability is just like your base statistics in DnD. These range from -2 to +4. You also have focuses, which are basically like skills in DnD except that you get a flat +2 to the roll instead of different values. Later you can specialize so you have a +3 instead of the +2.

Talents and Powers: While abilities and focuses do give you some room to build some fun characters, it's not enough to really differentiate your characters from the pack. That is where talents come into play. Talents are the feats of the system. Talents provide a bonus that makes your character distinct. Talents range from being rich and getting bonuses in buying things to being a bruiser who hits harder. What makes these distinct from DnD feats is there are three levels of each talent. As you level up you can take higher levels of each talent, making you more powerful in your given area. This is how spells/powers/psychic abilities are handled as well. You choose a magic school and that school functions pretty much like a talent providing you new options like making a light happen to casting fireballs. This isn’t a Vancian magic or powers game as characters have a number of power points they can spend at will to do whatever powers they want as often as they can.

Stunt Points: This is the bread and butter of the system. The Age system itself isn’t completely novel as dice + numbers vs a different number isn’t anything new, but this system uses 3d6 with ONE die being a different color. This different die is your stunt die. If any dice show doubles and you succeed, you get to a number of stunt points equal to your stunt die value. These points range from tripping people to better haggling in the market to adding power to your psychic blasts. All dice rolls have a table of stunt points you can spend to make things interesting. This differentiates the system from other roll + number systems, making it its own thing.

Game version: Modern movies are really three different kinds of movies. You have your ultra modern, gritty movies where one bullet kills someone. You have fun pulp where you punch nazis with a satisfying SMACK. You also have movies where one hero kills hundreds of monsters while only getting a single cut over his eye to make him look even more amazing. Modern Age gives you rule tweaks to play in any of these settings by changing damage from weapons, hit points, and number of bad guys you throw at the hero.

Ok, that’s the basics of the game. Let’s look at my thoughts at the game.

Mechanics or Crunch- You can see the direct line from the Dragon Age video game to the Dragon Age game to Fantasy Age to Modern Age. And that is a good thing! I like the basic idea of powers, magic points, and mechanics of the Dragon Age video game, and Dragon Age the RPG system implemented that well. Those basic ideas go from Dragon Age to Fantasy Age and finally to Modern Age. It's a solid, simple to play system. Stunt points and the fact that any roll can make them happen really makes this game pop. Every roll matters. Something that happens in one roll might have big changes to the next as the points can change things in ways you might not have expected. It’s a great touch to make this stick out from all the other roll vs numbers games out there. My one minor gripe is I would like more powers in a character. Characters don’t get a whole lot of powers to play with if they go that route. If you are ok with a pretty simple system without an overabundance of options, this is a good one to jump into. 4.5/5

Theme or Fluff-This book is light on fluf, but that is decidedly on purpose. Modern Age is a modern setting. It’s just today. You have today’s guns. The only fantasy bit is magic powers, and that’s honestly optional. The game references a comic setting as an option to play, but mostly it leaves the game up to you. The three different versions of the game do help you set the game how you want to play. Gritty, pulp, or cinematic are good options for a GM and players to decide how the world should be played. It’s setting light, but that’s by design, which doesn’t hurt the goals of the book. 4/5

Execution- PDF? YEP! Hyperlinked? YES! Ok, we start solid. Overall the book is well done. The font and tables are not my favorite, but that's a print issue as they are a bit cramped for my taste. I also think laying out some items in a table for character advancement would help as opposed to telling me in text. Those small issues annoyed me a bit, because I want to be able to glance over things quickly to get what I need to know quickly. Aside from that, the book is well done. The one thing that stuck out to me is the weapons page. WEAPONS HAVE LABELS IN A PICTURE! I can’t tell you how many RPGs I have read where they mention a weapon, and I have to google what they mean. That’s a small thing that keeps me in this book as I speed read through the thing. Reads quick, easy to navigate, and good art to boot make this a solid product. 4.75/5

Summary-I can’t wait for the next Dragon Age video game. That system was solid. This game is a grand child of that video game, and it’s got all the things I know and love from it. The mechanics are simple and the fact that dice rolls have a chance to make something cool happen besides a critical keep things interesting. The fact I can run three different games from one book makes this pretty versatile for the games I want to play. The book was a quick read that got me playing fast. What I don’t like as much is I would like a bit more about the basic setting, but the basic setting is today. So, I could just look outside and see what it's like. Characters don’t get a ton of options, but that is something from Dragon Age as well. It’s a solid game that makes every roll count, so give this one a try if you crave some modern day gunfights at your table! 88%



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Modern AGE Basic Rulebook
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Dungeon Crawl Classics #94: Neon Knights
Publisher: Goodman Games
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/05/2020 20:56:11

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of Dungeon Crawl Classics #94: Neon Knights

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea every day!

Product- Dungeon Crawl Classics #94: Neon Knights System-DCC RPG Producer- Goodman Games Price- $6.99 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/221855/Dungeon-Crawl-Classics-94-Neon-Knights?affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR-Two tastes that don’t quite go together. 78%

Basics-How do we stop a hoard who feels no pain! Zombies or unfeeling monsters have surrounded the town, and you are called to aid the defence. But mid-meeting you are whisked away to do the bidding of a wizard. Can you save the town and stop being a mister fixit on call?

Mechanics or Crunch-This adventure is short! The major bad guy is the wizard who keeps summoning you. You can fight the zombies, but the book makes it seem like you will die. As a DM I would kill you as well. The tower with the wizard isn’t bad, but he also is pretty much the only thing in it. It’s a short dungeon with balanced fights, but just not enough of them. It’s a little too old school as you have to find the fights and the goods here as opposed to them being out in the open for you to pillage and kill. I didn’t hate it, but it will require you to punch up the adventure to keep your group involved. 4/5 Theme or Fluff-There are not one, but two things for the PCs to face. But, they are tied together. BUT, only you, the GM, really get that. The wizard only brings you in when he needs help. You have to find and explore the place in seven rounds before he sends you back. The zombies are ok, but why are they here? I know why because I read the book, but it feels like two different adventures put together. I didn’t hate this, but even after reveals, my players felt like there were really two adventures here. Both of the singles are good, but together it’s three Michelen star steak mixed with gold ribbon winning chocolate. Maybe these two things shouldn’t go together. 3/5

Execution- PDF? YEP! Hyperlinked? no...That’s honestly my biggest gripe here. The execution isn’t bad. I would like clean maps I can show my players without having things marked on the map that they find. Text read fast and I could play quickly. It is one of the standard well put together DCC modules I know and love. 4.75/5

Summary-I don’t hate this one, but this might not be the first adventure I show to new players. I was able to turn this to keeping my players on the purple planet. It works well that way, but the basic story gets lost in most of the GM fluff. Not bad, but unless the players work to make friends with their captor, they won’t get it. The dungeon needs more pieces and stuff to play with in the form of fights or toys. The presentation is good, but I still want hyperlinks! Overall, it's an ok adventure that is maybe a bit too stuffed with disparate things. 78%



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #94: Neon Knights
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Ghoul Island Act 1: Voyage to Farzeen
Publisher: Petersen Games
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/01/2020 22:41:52

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of Ghoul Island Act 1: Voyage to Farzeen

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea every day!

Product- Ghoul Island Act 1: Voyage to Farzeen System-DnD 5e Producer- Petersen Games Price- $15.00 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/308667/Ghoul-Island-Act-1-Voyage-to-Farzeen?affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR-Solid book that tells you what it is. 95%

Basics- What horrors lurk under Farzeen? This is the first part of an epic heroic fantasy campaign from Sandy Petersen. This adventure starts off with mutiny aboard a ship, involves the crew being battered by horrible dreams, losing the crew, finding the city of Farzeen, and eventually finding the crew after they flee to a temple below the island. Along the way the players meet monstrous deep ones, less monstrous ghouls, and an ancient evil long forgotten below this island.

Mechanics or Crunch-This is a solid adventure. The math checks out as it’s just applying the basic 5e rules for the crunch. It uses Sandy Petersen’s dread rules, so you will need the Cthulhu Mythos book for that. Overall, a solidly put together adventure full of fun fights and exploration for low level characters. 5/5

Theme or Fluff-This part is where expectations have to be set early. I honestly think the best way to play Call of Cthulhu is a one shot. People in a normal world, thrown into a crazy situation, damaged beyond repair, then left to deal with the horror for the rest of their lives. That’s good cosmic horror. This isn’t that, and the book is VERY up front with that. This is heroic fantasy with horror thrown in. This adventure isn’t written to be 20 levels of just sheer cosmic horror. You get to be awesome stomping a deep one. Also, some of the main characters are ghouls. Some players are going to miss this, but Lovecraft ghouls are not DnD ghouls. They are more dog men really. It’s things like that that will require your players and you to adjust expectations. Nothing is bad, but you have to read this and see exactly what the author intends. 4.5/5

Execution- PDF? YEP! Hyperlinked? no...That’s honestly my only gripe here. The layout is good. Text size is good. Art is well done. There is even a separate book that is the Farzeen Gazetteer that gives you background on the town and island. That’s an amazing value for 15 bucks considering this is a full length adventure and a whole small book on the island itself! Just hyperlink and this would be one of the best products this year. 4.75/5

Summary-Sandy Petersen’s team put out another top notch product here. It has solid crunch for the adventure. The story is good, but you HAVE to read what it is and what it is not. I also love the pieces of this thing. My gripes are small-I always want PDFs with hyperlinks now, and I went in expecting only cosmic horror all day long. If you can get past those small issues, then you have an incredible start to what is shaping up to be an amazing campaign with the resources you need to make a fun, in depth game for your players. 95%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ghoul Island Act 1: Voyage to Farzeen
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Sandy Petersen's Cthulhu Mythos for 5e
Publisher: Petersen Games
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/25/2020 18:57:45

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of Sandy Petersen's Cthulhu Mythos for 5e

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea every day!

Product- Sandy Petersen's Cthulhu Mythos for 5e System-DnD 5e Producer- Petersen Games Price- $19.99 here https://www.dmsguild.com/product/286002/Sandy-Petersens-Cthulhu-Mythos-for-5e?affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR-How the mythos is meant to be played in 5e! 99%

Basics- Ia Ia Cthulhu Fhtagn! The grand cleric of the elder gods is writing for DnD 5e! Sandy Pertersen’s Cthulhu Mythos for 5e is a MASSIVE book with new races, class options, feats, spells, monsters, and mechanics that you can throw into your 5e game. Let’s break down the pieces to see what's in here.

The tcho-tcho in the room-Ah Lovecraft...I love his work, but MAN he would not fly today. From mental illness to racism, Lovecraft in his original form isn’t post #METOO or #BLM friendly. So, how do you handle the insanity and cosmic horror with the subtext or just text of Lovecraft? Sandy Peterson walks this line extremely well with sidebars dealing with handling mental illness to just dropping the racist parts of the mythos monsters and human acolytes. We can go mad with terror from learning the true history of the universe without having to go to HR!

New Eldritch Toys- This book is a BEAST of content. This book features THREE new races with race specific class options. The old standards of 5e all get some toys as well with feats for everyone, class options for all the core classes, books of unholy lore, and a boat load of new spells. There are also several new items that all cover the fan favorites of star mead to things I haven’t heard of before.

New Mythos Monsters-A hero is only as good as the monster is bad. Then let’s make your heroes LEGENDARY! This book has everything from simple monsters you can throw into your game just because you want something weird to freak out the power gamer who memorized the monster manual to GAME ENDING TITANS who would be the final bad guy in your campaign. Again, you have the fan favorites here like cthulhu to some of the more esoteric, even for the Lovecraft alicionadio, like Byatis. This book also adds in new options for you to throw onto worshipers so your bland cultists into true harbingers of the mythos even at low levels.

New Mythology Mechanics-This book isn’t just a highlight reel of Lovecraft’s old toys. This book adds new crunch to 5e. There is a whole revamped madness and dread system. All characters can now learn how to cast some spells called formulas. There is even a whole new skill dedicated to understanding the cthulhu mythos. The final boss of a campaign now has a solid progression system where the fight becomes epic tales you will tell for years to come. Ok, now my thoughts.

Mechanics or Crunch- Sandy Peterson is one of the foremost game developers in the Lovecraft mythos, and it shows. This book isn’t just a reskin book where you take a scary monster and now it's cthulhu. The crunch here is truly Lovecraftian. Monsters feel like they are beyond human ken. There are DEEP dives into the mythos, and not just into the new stuff from people writing in Lovecraft’s shadow. Stuff that gets a small mention that even I forgot like the gnorri get a full race write up. The stuff that is in the base DnD 5e book gets revamped well. I don’t like the madness system in DnD 5e, but this book provides an amazing system that has a great write up that you can drop into a non-cthulhu campaign. I like most of what's here, but there are a couple of things I have some minor quibbles with. The new mythos skill is called yog-sothothery. I just want it called mythos lore or even to borrow from Call of Cthulhu- cthulhu mythos. Also, I want stat bonuses you get from eldritch tomes to be permanent. But honestly, those are pretty small issues. This book is a solid addition to the Dungeons and Dragons 5e crunch regardless of if you want to run a Cthulhu based campaign or not. 4.9/5

Theme or Fluff-Sandy Peterson is one of the foremost Lovecraft scholars today, and it shows here too. This isn’t just a pile of reskins with tentacles so Lovecraft. This is a well crafted library of Lovecraft eldritch lore. I MYSELF learned stuff about the Lovecraft world from this book. This will teach you not only how to run a solid horror game but also about the world of Lovecraft. But, let’s say you just want a splat book to draw some scary stuff from? This has you covered too. This book is a solid addition to my collection as both a DnD DM and a someone who love the mythos. 5/5

Execution- PDF? YEP! Hyperlinked? YEP! AND IT NEEDS IT! This is a BEAST for 20 bucks. It’s over 400 pages. The base DnD books are not that long and cost twice as much! It’s easy to read but still feels familiar with the font and backgrounds looking like the base books with a decidedly eldritch flare. Monsters have TONS of pictures, so I can throw pictures to my players quickly without having to do a google image search. This book is a solid example of how to produce a 3rd party book. 5/5

Summary- I love Lovecraft. Any idiot can stab me, so that’s not scary. Any punk rogue can sneak attack my character and kill him-not scary. But learning the horrible history of my family and what cost I too have to pay to keep the thing in the basement “pleased” so my family prospers? That’s horror. This book will help you do that. I can’t heap enough praise on this book. I have my minor issues, but those are so minor it almost doesn’t matter. For the amount of content alone for 20 bucks, you can’t go wrong. If you want some monsters to throw at your bored players? Done. You want a book that will be the key and the gate to a world of horror you might never have known existed? This is that book! 99%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Sandy Petersen's Cthulhu Mythos for 5e
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EB-02 Voice in the Machine
Publisher: D&D Adventurers League
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/18/2020 17:30:29

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of EB-02 Voice in the Machine

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea every day!

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. 4.8/5

Summary- 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%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
EB-02 Voice in the Machine
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Carbon 2185 | A Cyberpunk RPG Core Rulebook
Publisher: Dragon Turtle Games
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/03/2020 10:40:27

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of Carbon 2185

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea every day!

Product- Carbon 2185 System-DnD 5e Producer- Dragon Turtle Games Price- $ 25.10 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/283725/Carbon-2185--A-Cyberpunk-RPG-Core-Rulebook?term=carbon+2185?affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR- Dungeons and Shadowrun, kind of 90%

Basics- Want some cyberpunk with your DnD 5e mechanics? Carbon 2185 uses the DnD mechanics you love but moves them to a nonmagic, cyperpunk future. Let’s break it down

Mechanics-If you can play DnD 5e, you honestly know everything you need to. It’s d20 + ability modifier + proficiency modifier if they are proficient. This is the elegance of the DnD 5e system, and it's fully on display here as skills, attacks, and saves all come across into this game.

Character generation-Again, DnD 5e is on display, but there are some drastic changes. You choose a not-race called an origin, then you choose a background. This is honestly the biggest change from DnD 5e. Here you choose an occupation then roll 2d6, adding half your Intelligence modifier to see if you last five years in your chosen occupation. Roll below your threshold and you are injured and lose your job! Survive long enough, and you get paid as well as gain a skill. You can take as many five year time periods as you want, gaining skills and money along the way. All characters get a retirement gift when they leave but if you go long enough you get a retirement bonus. This also changes the game in a weird way. This is an old mans game. If you need four times five years to get a retirement bonus, then your 18 year old going into work ends up 38 coming out. Heck, if you pull another five years in for the sweet, sweet money, you end up middle aged! Age alters the stats a bit, but it’s something to consider.

Classes-Carbon 2185 is DnD 5e, so there are base core ideas that will be here. The Daimyo is the barbarian and so on, but Carbon 2185 has subtle changes to the system that will keep it fresh. Your Daimyo also has bard abilities that make it a bardbarian. Most of the classes are represented, but they end up with a Carbon 2185 twist that does make them fun.

Cleric/Doc-You can’t really have a high hit point game without a healer, so this system has the Doc. The doc doesn’t get spells, but gets a lot of other toys that make them kind of a fighter or other splash classes. Healing abilities refresh after short rests to keep your characters fighting.

Wizard/Hacker-Everyone wants a spellcaster in their DnD, and cyberpunk is no exception. The hacker is the class that has nanobots that do things. In this system everyone basically has Matrix-like hookups that allow them to go online, so you can use that to manipulate them either with pain or distractions. This character also is the one who can manipulate computers, but there is also the hacking skill.

Now the breakdown!

Mechanics or Crunch- I like the crunch here, but I feel that other cyberpunk games have ruined me. Shadowrun has deckers who are hackers, but in this game you can’t really hack a computer and make it do all the things you want to do. Hackers have limited uses of their “spells” so it feels a bit off. Why can’t my hacker hack more than three computers a day at first level? I know the “why” is mechanics based, but it doesn’t quite fit. It's fun, and it’s fast, but some things don’t fit as well as I want them to. Also, this game is VERY random. Character backgrounds have a very wide variety as some lucky players can get MASSIVE amounts of money and skills while an unlucky one won’t get money or skills from their background. Base abilities are the same with no point buy in the basic system . There is the basic array, but I still want my point buy. Furthermore, no feats!? You get character advancements, so feats may come one day. But, I want them! Let’s hope they come out in another book. Overall, Carbon 2185 works mechanics, but there are some issues that may affect your fun in the crunch. 4/5

Theme or Fluff-Carbon 2185 is its own setting. It’s not exactly just cookie cutter cyberpunk, but is it's own world that builds fairly organically from today. It's depressing as all hell, but it feels real. I enjoy playing in this setting while I would NEVER want to live there! 5/5

Execution- PDF? Yep! Hyperlinked? YEP! I like the book in general, but I feel that more is needed to further define things like computer security level and how some skills work. More are the major things I need here. Like more pictures of enemies in the back of the book. More explanation of things that are talked about, but not shown. I like what's here, but give me more to help better understand the world. 4.5/5

Summary-I like this book, but other things may have influenced me. Cyberpunk is a fun world to play in, and the DnD 5e system works lightning fast. But, some of those pieces don’t work well, like the hacker’s “not spells” and hacking computers. That hurts things a bit in terms of flow. The world is fine, but I want more stuff to show myself and the players to help me see the world and better understand the flow and crunch of it. I foresee a number of expansions to this and that would really help the players make the characters their own. It's a solid RPG with a few issues that hurt it. If you want some Cyberpunk and some simple gaming, this will be your new favorite. 90%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Carbon 2185 | A Cyberpunk RPG Core Rulebook
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EB-EP-01 The Iron Titan
Publisher: D&D Adventurers League
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/06/2020 12:51:53

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

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea every day!

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%

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%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
EB-EP-01 The Iron Titan
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EB-01 The Night Land
Publisher: D&D Adventurers League
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/30/2020 15:34:45

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

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea every day!

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%

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, changelenings, 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 blacka nd 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%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
EB-01 The Night Land
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Castles & Crusades The Adventurers Backpack
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/18/2020 19:03:08

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of Adventurer's Backpack

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea every day!

Product- Adventurer's Backpack System-Castles and Crusades Producer- Troll Lord Games Price- 19.99 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/234183/Castles--Crusades-The-Adventurers-Backpack?affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR- OPTIONS! 86%

Basics-It's time for a solid player option book for CnC! This book features TONS of new classes, spells, items, niche rules, and even a complete new magic system. There is even a whole chapter dedicated to backpacks of tools each adventurer would need to do their job. How does it stack up?

Mechanics or Crunch- Ah old school… you provide us with gonzo options and allow the DM to do whatever they want. The problem is, this is pretty rules-light for how some of the crunch works. A perfect example is the warrior priest. That class has Cure Wounds which allows them to heal other characters. Awesome! I love it. But the rules don’t describe: do you roll once per day, or do you roll all hit points and then give them out as you want, or do you spend dice as you go? I could hunt online and find the answer. I don’t want to do that. I just decided and went with it. This is old school, so once the group decides, we roll with it. That's the bad; the good is this book gives you new character classes, character options like spell casting rangers, paladins,and bards, lots of equipment options, spells, and all sorts of tools adventurers might need to fight evil. It's not perfect, but the flaws are all part of OSR rules' light touch. The good is amazing and makes this worth the price. 3.75/5 Theme or Fluff- I would not call this a fluff book, but I do think what is here is done well. It mostly gives you ideas how the new things fit into the fantasy worlds of Castles and Crusades. It's world-agnostic in a decent way, so you could plug these into any fantasy world and have a fitting character. I would like more, as I want to build out the world and campaign setting, but the book gives you enough that you can find the equivalent in your world and plug and play right away. 4.25/5

Execution- PDF? Yep! Hyperlinked? YES! This book is well done. It's an old school game, but it's modern design makes me happy. It's not perfect - I would like the font to be a bit larger, but this thing has all the things I think a modern book should have. 4.9/5

Summary-My summary of this book comes down to one very specific question-do you want more character options for CnC? If yes, then get the book. It’s not perfect; I think things need another round of writing to fully explain what the writers wanted me to do in some spots, but if you can look past some small issues, you will enjoy this. The fluff is decent. I want more, but it's not bad. Just not the whole world laid bare. Physically, the book is done well. Links, layout, and text all work well. I’m glad this is in my collection, and I know my players are always happy to have this as a place to get spells, classes, and toys to help them put down evil. 86%



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades The Adventurers Backpack
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Refractions of Glasston
Publisher: Chaosium
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/28/2019 15:37:04

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of Refractions of Glasston

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea every day!

Product- Refractions of Glasston System-Call of Cthulhu, 7th ed Producer- Taylor University PWR Press Price- free! https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/297601/Refractions-of-Glasston?affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR- A college work! 90%

Basics-All is not well in the midwest….In a small glass making town in Indiana, something ancient and evil is stirring. Can our heroes learn the horrific secrets in time or will fail and end up consumed by the glass as well? Let's break this down!

Mechanics or Crunch- This is mechanically well done for an intro adventure. Honestly, the only major tool in the CoC toy box that isn’t on display is a chase scene. There are fights, ancient, evil books, spells, investigation, and lots of social interaction. If you play your cards right, don't lose your head, and look everywhere (all the parts of a smart CoC investigator), you can put down something TRULY evil, and it will feel natural when you do it. 5/5

Theme or Fluff-Here things suffer a bit. The story is decent once you are in. However, it's a big rough getting the different investigators together, into the town, and working together. That's a pretty rough start other than "YOU SEEM TRUSTWORTHY! LET'S INVESTIGATE HORRORS BEYOND HUMAN KEN TOGETHER!" But once you are past that part of the story, it opens up well and you will have a blast. 4.5/5

Execution- PDF? Yep! Hyperlinked? no…. For a first outing by this team, I like what's here. Need my links, but it's not bad. There are rough spots like there is a character that they characters will need up with who plays a major role in advancing the story, but she’s not in the Dramatis personæ at the back of the adventure, so that's a minor problem. Aside from minor issues like that, the adventure is solid. The pregenerated characters have a mix of types that are fun, but their skills are thought out enough that they compliment the problems you see well. I would like for pulp options in the next adventure like how that is handled in the larger adventures Chaosium puts out, but again, that's going beyond in development. What's here is relatively solid and reads well out of the box. 4/5

Summary-I majored in the hard sciences in college, so I never did anything as cool as write a CoC adventure for credit. But, if this is the quality I can expect going forward, I think I really missed something awesome. This is a good intro adventure with a fun variety of toys to spring on and for the adventurers. The story has a harder start, but once it’s going, it takes off. The execution is decent. It's not perfect, but the issues are minor enough that the players won’t know if you think on your feet as a keeper. Good layout and text make this easy enough to read. I did enjoy the line about completely reading the adventure before you start because that NEVER happens. Overall, this is a fantastic intro adventure I feel like I can spring on any group of new players and get an amazing CoC experience that will hook them for decades to come. 90%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Refractions of Glasston
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Keeping It Classy: The Cleric
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/07/2019 17:53:42

Ring Side Report-Keeping It Classy: The Cleric

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea every day!

Product- Keeping it Classy: The Cleric System-Dungeons and Dragons 5e Producer- DMs Guild Price- $ 5.95 https://www.dmsguild.com/product/290873/Keeping-It-Classy-The-Cleric?affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR- Routinely amazing 93%

Basics-Time for class options for my favorite class-the cleric! How does this one stack up compared to the others?

Mechanics or Crunch- This is a well done book with a few things that I would not have done myself. The book has new cleric domains. That was a given, and these are well done mechanics. Perhaps a few too many rely on playing with the channel ability, but I like them all. The book has new items. Again, solid things I expected. The book also has a new race. This I am less a fan of. It’s well done, but I want all the races set out before I start a game. That’s just preference. What I would like instead is more spells and feats. But, that’s again a personal preference. What is here is solid, but I would just like more. 4/5

Theme or Fluff- The Keeping It Classy series keeps it classy here. The race is well done. The domains feel right. The items have good fluff to make you feel them in the world. I love what is in this book! 5/5

Execution- PDF? Yep! Hyperlinked? Yep! Ok, all the things I want standard in a book written in 2019! It uses public domain art well to break up the flow and makes the book easier to read, so this honestly is how I want books written out. New art is nice, but for the price you can’t beat what is here! Text is well laid out. If you want solid design of a book, this is a good example to use. 5/5

Summary-The Keeping It Classy series is a precision machine that keeps spitting out precision product. Think less McDonald’s machine and more Fine Dining expectations-the routine should be phenomenal. And this is true. The book has good races, items, and class parts that if you want new options for your cleric, then this is worth your time. I’m not as much a fan of new races as other DMs, but the race is well done. I’d just like more other “things” like feats and spells, especially for this spell casting class. However, that boils down to the problem of me wanting more from this book, which means I like what’s here. This is as always a routinely amazing book from a routinely amazing team. 93%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Keeping It Classy: The Cleric
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Esper Genesis 5E Threats Database
Publisher: Alligator Alley Entertainment
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/19/2019 20:09:12

Ring Side Report-Esper Genesis Threat Database

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea every day!

Product- Esper Genesis Threat Database System-Dungeons and Dragons 5e Producer- Alligator Alley Entertainment Price- $ 24.95 https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/285863/Esper-Genesis-5E-Threats-Database?affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR-Solid world building in a monster manual! 95%

Basics-They have a multidimensional cave troll! Esper Genesis Threat Database is Esper Genesis’s Monster Manual, BUT it has so much more. Let’s dig into my thoughts on this.

Mechanics or Crunch-Ok, it’s a monster manual. You follow the basic rules put out by WotC and you get solid, well executed monsters. Alligator Alley Entertainment put in good effort and created good monsters to challenge your heroes. You will always have your favorites. I like Lovecraftian horrors and xenomorphs like the movie Alien. I have both those things, so I’m happy! You will find your own favorite monsters and organizations to throw at your players. The one thing I miss that this system needs to steal wholesale from Starfinder is the monster manual also being a second player guide by providing new races for players. Again, I’m asking for a solid thing to be more. However, since most of the bad guys are not horrible spider animals but humanoid-ish creatures, it fits that players could be them. It’s a small gripe on an otherwise well made crunch book. 4.5/5

Theme or Fluff- Honestly this is where things shine. One of my MAJOR complaints about the base book was who are the bad guys? This books delivers on that by not only having flushed out monsters but a WHOLE SECTION on alien threats and organization. Like all monster manuals you get a page per bad guy that has a picture, some crunch, and some words about the bad guy, but the cherry on top is the fact that this book adds universe to the universe not just by throwing all of that into the book, but also a section on organization that threaten the universe, making this a world building book as well. I love what’s here for the monster and world story! 5/5

Execution- PDF? Yep! Hyperlinked? Yep! Ok, all the things I want standard in a book! Aside from that its a well laid out easy to read monster manual. It’s got all the small issues I hate in a monster manual with the key one being when you have a monster group of things like a bunch of different robots, not all the robots get pictures. You know they exist and you get a picture of one or two of the five, but I need something to throw up on a tablet to show my players so they know what the heck is going on! That’s a pretty small thing in an otherwise amazing book. However, there is one thing this book does that really makes me happy and it’s honestly, quite literally the smallest thing. If there is a picture of the creature in the book, they took a small blue representation of it and set it next to a standard human for scale. That’s it. That right there fills me with with all the happy because if you show me a space cockroach and say this is the key threat to the galaxy I think that might be the size of a planet when you meant as a literal space cockroach and they just swarm their prey and are getting everywhere. I love that as its something again I can throw up on a tablet, show don’t tell my players, and have them get their heads into the fight! Fantastic work on the production of this book! 4.75/5

Summary-Esper Genesis is honestly a sleeper system with some real power in it. It’s got a new take on DnD 5e, and this book proves that Esper Genesis has a solid creative team in it. The Threat Database provides a ton of monsters to throw at your players, great world building, and an excellent example of how to build a book. My gripes are far and few with most of them being things this system needs based on other Sci-Fi systems and problems I see in all monster manuals. Overall, this is an amazing addition to the Esper Genesis universe. 95%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Esper Genesis 5E Threats Database
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Esper Genesis 5E Sci-fi - Core Manual
Publisher: Alligator Alley Entertainment
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/26/2019 12:51:15

Ring Side Report-Esper Genesis 5E Sci-fi - Core Manual

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea every day!

Product- Esper Genesis 5E Sci-fi - Core Manual System-Dungeons and Dragons 5e Producer- Alligator Alley Entertainment Price- $ 24.95 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/240798/Esper-Genesis-5E-Scifi---Core-Manual?cPath=26435?affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR-5E IN SPACE! 92%

Basics-Want some DnD 5e but also want some spaceships and don’t want the less serious nature of Starjammer? Then Esper Genesis is the game for you. Hard space opera on the level of a Mass Effect with the crunch of the Forgotten Realms. Let’s go into the pieces first and then my thoughts on it.

Base Mechanic-Can you play DnD 5e? Then you know this system. That's it. That’s not a bad or a good, it's just the basic mechanics you know and you may love.

Classes-Like any system that bases itself on another base game there will be some reskins and some out of the box thinking taking the game in new directions. You have a not-fighter and a not-rogue, and the DnD 5e system needs those to work, but you also have whole new classes and a different magic system relying on new abilities, due to a new material found in moons across the galaxy. These new classes feel like combinations of clerics and wizards, and truly it's not bad. It breaks fun new ground on the mechanics of the system.

Spaceship Dogfights-DnD is NOT a crunch heavy system that requires a battle map to play, so the spaceship part of the game can’t use that either. Each player gets a role on the ship and can do different actions in a round from repairs to shields to killing people with lasers. However, this is all done quickly via theater of the mind.

Those are the basics. Let’s look at my thoughts.

Mechanics or Crunch-Honestly, this is the shining highlight of the book. You have the cloned classes that you know were going to be there from the not-fighter to the not-rogue, but the changes in mechanics really help the players see a new universe of potential to the system. I like what I see here. Now, this is a reskin and cut and paste of some DnD things from spells that have to be healing word and cure wounds, but it is different enough so you get new things for you to explore. Heck, you can’t even say this is just a combo of Starfinder and DnD5e, as the stuff feels fresh enough that it has its own feel distinct from either of those properties. This isn’t just a hack job of reworked DnD 5e material, this is its own thing that stands strongly on its own two feet. 5/5

Theme or Fluff- I like what I see here, but like any gourmet meal, I left wanting more. There is a whole universe here to explore, but I felt like not enough time was spent on the world itself. It's some amazing stuff, even if it does take some strong references from the Mass Effect series with elements like humans fighting then joining a galactic UN, a mystery element that gives powers. Now, this doesn’t make this game and its world derivative. The basic plot of "magic/science things give magic/science powers to people and now we deal with it" is a staple of the scifi and fantasy field, but what I don’t like is the limited amount of information on display. I wasn’t so much as left wanting more as I was left not getting enough. I wasn’t full waiting for my next book, but was more often than not given enough story to start strong. The world is fun, but not flushed out enough. I’m down to play and read more. What is here does draw you in, but I feel I need another 30 or so pages to really know the world or universe, from bad guys to who the main races are. That said, what is here is well done. I enjoy every piece of it, but just need more of it. 4.25/5

Execution- PDF? Yep! Hyperlinked? Yep! Ok, all the things I want standard in a book! The book is laid out well and typeset well, but the big issue I have is too many pages of double column text. Even the best world book or rule manual is simply a guide book or math textbook, and those NEED to be broken up to keep the reader involved. So I want more pictures to show me cool stuff of your world. Also, this is a third party product, so it has a limited budget. Many cool things are discussed like the monster manual in the back of the book, but I need pictures to see what you're showing me. I want to see what you got. Also, as a new world that is whole-cloth your own, you NEED a short adventure to tell me your pacing and story structure. I read this as standard action adventure scifi, but you might have meant this to be hard R space horror. Overall, it's well done, but it's missing a few pieces to make it excellent. 4.5/5

Summary- From my review, you might think I don’t like this, but this is an amazing rpg. It's got scifi using the nuts and bolts of the DnD 5e system while not just becoming spelljammer. It's full of new flavor that is all its own and not just a copy paste from Star Wars. It’s got solid layout in a format I BEG the major RPG producers to do. All these things mean it is a solid game! My issues are minor, such as wanting more story in the base book, even though the authors clearly indicate other books that have come out since this game was published to build out the world like trailers for coming attractions. The execution of the book is good, but needs more pictures. I just want more in the book, but for a whole RPG from a small press RPG company, this is an amazing product. However, the inevitable comparison comes forward-Is this just Starfinder with 5e? And the answer, I think, is no. This is more light scifi with no space wizardry and none of the more fantastical elements that make Starfinder science fantasy while this is science fiction. The systems stay very separate from one another, as Starfinder embraces the hard crunch of Pathfinder while Esper Genesis has its own mechanics from 5e and modified as needed to give this the speed that 5e is famous for. With this book and the base DnD 5e book, you could make your own Starfinder game, but honestly, I'd use this book by itself to play an awesome game among the stars. If you are looking for your fast, fun, 5e scifi, look no further than this game! 92%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Esper Genesis 5E Sci-fi -  Core Manual
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Keeping It Classy: The Bard
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/02/2019 18:17:59

Ring Side Report-Keeping it Classy: The Bard

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea every day!

Product- Keeping it Classy: The Bard System-DnD 5e Producer-Kim Frandsen Price- $5 here https://www.dmsguild.com/product/281863/Keeping-It-Classy-The-Bard?affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR-Another Solid Entry in the Series. 98%

Basics-CAN YOU HEAR ME! Keeping it Classy: bards is another book in the keeping it classy series this time focusing on bards. This book has items, bard colleges, a new race, and backgrounds all focusing on the musical characters in the party.

Mechanics or Crunch-What’s here is great! I like the new mechanics, and they all feel balanced with everything else. I like the items and the backgrounds as they fit as well. I’ve never been a fan of new races because it’s strange to just have a group of creatures that have always been here just appear out of nowhere, but the new race feels balanced as well. What I want more of is feats. This book and the bard need some more feats, so this feels like a bit of a missed opportunity. Aside from missing feats, I love the stuff that’s here. 4.75/5

Theme or Fluff-This again feels right. That’s what I want in a book for a class. The stuff here feels appropriate for the class and the various settings that the bard plays in. That means its done well. 5/5

Execution- PDF? Check! Hyperlinked? CHECK! Great layout and ease of readability? CHECK! This is how I want products made. It’s got some original art, but the art that is there does exactly what it was supposed to do- break up the text and intrigue me. The layout is nice. The font reads easily, and the overall presentation is top notch. 5/5

Summary-This is a 6 dollar book that provides a solid punch of material. You get great mechanics that build the class in a new direction by playing with some different resources. You get some new backgrounds, and you get solid items. I always want more,and here I feel a few feats would help round out the product. But, aside from that, the book has an amazing execution, and all the new toys feel like they belong in the fantasy world of DnD. This is a rock solid book most bards should at least check out! 98%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Keeping It Classy: The Bard
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