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7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
Publisher: Chaosium
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/28/2019 13:31:18

Ring Side Report- 7th Sea

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

Product- 7th Sea

System-7th Sea 2nd Edition

Producer-Chaosium

Price- $18 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/185462/7th-Sea-Core-Rulebook-Second-Edition?src=hottest_filtered&filters=10101_0_0_0_0?affiliate_id=658618 

TL; DR-Great if you like story, bad if you need hard rules. 90%

 

Basics-It’s a Pirate's life for me!  7th Sea is an RPG set in a world on the cusp of the age of exploration after a massive civil war in fantasy not-Europe.  Also key to this game is its unique approach to combat and mechanics. Let’s dive into this one.

Base mechanics and rounds-Each scene in the game is divided into action and dramatic scenes.  Action scenes are high octane events where characters fight to the death against other humans or monsters!  Dramatic scenes are slower time periods where players may try to sway the king in a debate or sail a ship across the sea.  But, unlike most games where you choose an action, know your dice, and roll to see if it happens, in both scenes, you say exactly what you want to do.  THEN the GM says what attributes and skill you must use. You then take a total of 10-sided dice equal to the sum of that attribute and skill and roll them.  This is where the game becomes interesting and extremely different. you can use one or more dice that add up to 10 and that counts as a raise. Each raise is one action you can do in the scene.  Then, the GM will describe the scene where the main goals are, side goals are, possible hazards, and if any timed events are. You can can do exactly what you said you were going to do each turn with the person with the most raises going once first and continuing until his or her raises equal another player.  If you want to do something you didn’t ask the GM to do at the start, it uses two raises. Want to hurt a guy? One raise does one damage. Want to rifle through the desk? One raise. It very simple and very fast. Base monsters and humans are part of brute squads that do damage equal to the number left in a brute squad with numbers ranging from 1 to 10 numbers per squad.  Named monsters and NPCs are treated just like characters and rolling dice just the same.

Advancement-Characters advance via completing story steps.  These are amazingly subjective, but that’s an integral part of this RPG.  Every story step is one advancement and different things like skills and advantages require different advancement costs.

Magic-It wouldn’t be fantasy if the game didn’t have magic.  Magic is an advantage you can take like any other, but the different flavors of magic color your use. Some are things that require a sacrifice.  Some require a code of conduct, and some require you to build up a pool of tokens that counter your ability to do things but hurt the enemy. It's an interesting take on the use of magic, providing a diverse set of subsystems that don't break the game in their implementation.

Mechanics or Crunch-Overall, 7th age plays quickly, but it's VERY loose.  That’s its goal, but it's so loose my players had major trouble with the game.  One player couldn’t comprehend that he could just see the hidden stuff by spending a raise.  Upon being told he already rolled he rolled again and asked what it meant. It's a HARD shift for a murderhobo to join a story RPG.  I like it, but even I would like some more explanation to some of the more fluffy rules built into the system. Nothing here is bad, but it is a game that needs more than just a few quick half page explanations to show how it works. 4.25/5

Theme or Fluff-7th Sea is an amazing world.  It's fully filled out and well developed.  It's a place with lots of stories to tell as well as a lot of places to explore.  It’s got everything the age of exploration needs and all the fantasy that your average Pirates of the Carabean movie needs to tell epic high seas fantasies. 5/5

 

Execution-  PDF?  Check!  Hyperlinked?  CHECK! Great layout and ease of readability?  CHECK! What do I want? Well, honestly more. It's a pretty short PDF and the fluff part of the story is well defined.  That fills my soul with happy. What isn’t well defined is how to play. It took me way too long to see that your raises were your initiative and how you spent them one to one.  I’ve read a few of these books, so I feel that's a bit on this book. But then again, this is a solid paradigm shift. This ISN’T just reskinned DnD, so your traditional frame of reference if you came in as a solid d20 player isn’t as useful as you may think.  If you get used to thinking outside the box, you will be fine, but if you need hand holding like I do during my transition from DnD to story RPG, you might get lost a bit in this book's flow. 4.25/5

 

Summary- 7th Sea is a fun story game with less crunch than I’m used to.  My wife loved it and gravitated to it easily. My other gaming friends couldn’t handle the story based shift.  That’s the major take away-if you want more baked in story, this is the game for you. If you need more solid crunch in your game, then maybe give this one a pass.  The book is solid, if you can handle the stuff it leaves out because it's not important. If you need those pieces, then maybe just play DnD on a pirate ship. But if you can get into the flow of a story game and handle most of the game being hand-waved away because those parts are honestly not part of the story, this is a fantastic take on the pirate fantasy RPG.  90%



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
7th Sea Core Rulebook (Second Edition)
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Keeping It Classy: The Barbarian
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/12/2019 13:43:27

Ring Side Report- Keeping It Classy: The Barbarian

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

Product- Keeping It Classy: The Barbarian System-Dungeons and Dragons 5e Producer-Kim Frandsen Price- $5 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/275287/Keeping-It-Classy-The-Barbarian?affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR- Fantastic Third Party Content! 99%

Basics-BARBARIAN! Can you solve the riddle of steel? Keeping it Classy: The Barbarian is exactly what it puts out to be-a barbarian splat book, but it's even got a more for the rest of the table. Tons of new content for your barbarian characters and a bit of extra stuff for the non-barbarians out there with a new race, backgrounds, and some new toys. Let’s take a look at this book.

Mechanics or Crunch- This is a great book with lots of amazing content! The new paths are great. The new race is fun, and the new toys and backgrounds will fit anybody. Heck this one book has more barbarian content than almost all the current official DnD books out there! It’s not perfect as a few small issues crop up in wording on abilities, but you can easily look past that to see a phenomenal product. 4.9/5

Theme or Fluff-Your barb is not just a dumb meat shield. This book gives your hunk of muscle story from fun backgrounds to each path getting a full story treatment. Each path entry is short enough to not keep it in one world or setting, but long enough for it to be something to latch onto and build more of. This is the same for everything else here. Backgrounds? Not too long to wear out the welcome, but long enough to really get you hooked. Lizardperson race? Fun and full of enough story to make it something you want to read, but won’t lose interest in like an encyclopedia. Weapons? Pictures and descriptions for you to see in your minds eye. All told, this is a great product for the story based groups out there. 5/5

Execution- PDF? Check! Hyperlinked? CHECK! Great layout and ease of readability? CHECK! This is a product you can fly through, see the flow and major beats of in five minutes, and then dive back into for each section you want to really learn about. It's a fun read that flies by. I also like the liberal use of pictures. Most of the pictures are free to use art, and that's not bad! The pictures are related to the text, and the pictures break up the text while reinforcing the ease of readability. There is new art, and that is well done too! There are a few things I do think are a bit different such as weapons getting two sections instead of one describing the weapon and any special properties. Not wrong by any stretch, but it's different. Also of note the book is five bucks for 40 pages. The core DnD book (which isn’t hyperlinked or a PDF!) is 293 pages for about 40 bucks originally, so this is below price for the content your are getting! All of this adds together to a well crafted, fun to read book. 5/5

Summary- I really like this book. It’s a quick read that’s a fun read while still being a satisfying read. It's a barbarian splat book that doesn’t just have barbarian stuff in it. It’s got enough fun pieces that any players may want to pick this up. Have an hour and want to see a well produced book? Check this one out! 99%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Keeping It Classy: The Barbarian
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Castles & Crusades Players Handbook 7th Printing
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/04/2019 08:18:23

Ring Side Report- Castles & Crusades Players Handbook

Originally posted at [url=http://www.throatpunchgames.com]www.throatpunchgames.com[/url], a new idea everyday!

Product- Castles & Crusades Players Handbook

System-Castles & Crusades

Producer-Troll Lord Games

Price- $20 here [https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/105322/Castles--Crusades-Players-Handbook-7th-Printing?affiliate_id=658618 ](http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/105322/Castles--Crusades-Players-Handbook-7th-Printing?affiliate_id=658618 )

TL; DR- An interesting mix of old and new. 86 %

Basics-Onwards to adventure! Castles and Crusades is an Old School game through and through in its seventh edition. Let’s walk through to see all this game has to offer!

Basic Rolls-Castles and Crusades uses the d20 system at its core. Attacks are D20 rolls plus an attack bonus and an attribute. Skills are d20 plus an attribute and possible additional bonuses. If you’ve played any basic d20 system you can hop right into this game.

*Skills, saves, and the Siege System-IWhen you do something in Castles and Crusades, you roll as discussed above, but you sometimes get to add your levels. If the thing you are doing is something your class could do, you add your level. If you would not be trained because this isn’t something you would know how to do, you don’t add your level. The gamemaster sets the number you need to roll based on two factors-attribute and challenge level. Here is the crux of the Siege system. During character generation, you get primary attributes from your race and your class. If the thing you are trying to do or the save you are trying to make is based on a primary attribute, then the number you need to roll starts at 12. If it’s a secondary attribute, then the number starts at an 18. Next the GM adds the challenge level. This is a number representing how hard the thing you are doing is. Open a one tumbler lock might be a challenge level 1, but the king's personal bank vault might be an 8. So, different characters have different required rolls based on their primary abilities.

Everything else-From here on, if you have played Pathfinder or DnD 3.5, you're in solid hands. AC, rounds, and spells all function pretty much like you expect. If not, then the book gives you a solid introduction to the system

Mechanics or Crunch- Overall, this is a decently put together system, but the Siege system has some significant bumps in the road. I have lived through 3.5e to 5e DnD and watched wild swings in how much control a GM has at the table regarding the number required to roll for PCs to get things done. This game is solidly old school as lots left up to the GM, and I feel that hurts this a bit. This game really needs a list of skills and what classes get what skills, if any. Its OK for the rogue to be the a skill monkey and have tons of skills, but often some things just are left up to the GMs discretion. Saves are even left up to the GM! There is a chart of what attribute you roll for each save with different spell and monster effect requiring different attribute saves. All of this falls into the basics of the Siege system with a fighter who didn’t choose dexterity in a worse place compared to the rogue when the fireball goes off or he sneaks around in the dark. It’s not bad, but GM and the players have to really work together to run this game as some things are too complex to run on autopilot like simple roll to dodge a blow. Solid, but some needlessly complex things mar the system. 4/5

Theme or Fluff-.Solid old school fantasy. The book doesn’t have a world per se, but it does have world building with discussions on the nature of magic and character classes. Even each class has a bit of fluff to make you understand who they are and if you want to be them. It’s light, but for building a generic fantasy RPG, it’s doing its job well. 5/5

Execution- PDF? Check! Hyperlinked? CHECK! Tables that lay things out well? Well here is where things break down. This game is solidly in the OSR crowd. That’s not bad as the old school has some great advice for the young, but some things just need a new touch! Things like laying classes out better in tables and saying what I get at each level instead of having me read the complete class entry to see if and when I get different abilities. Spells suffer from the same issue as challenge levels where much interpretation is needed to determine what kind of spell is being cast instead of just leaving me with what I have to roll.and More often that not, I’m left making a call on what I’m doing or what kind of save I have to make. And for some things, I just want to add things up some numbers and see if I succeed. It feels a bit like homework. It does read easily, but modern RPG design elements would really help make this book that much more easier to read and run. 4/5

Summary-This game is a solid entry in the Old School Revolution that is embracing the advances of d20 system, at least for the mechanics. Adding at most two numbers and hoping is easier that thac0 or other previous system, at least for new players. But this book didn’t take enough from modern systems and layout. Listing skills and just saying what attribute to roll for every spell and most common effect will really help me play and enjoy the game. Now, this game is absolutely playable and fun out of the box day one with the basic mechanics being tried, true, and tested, but more specifically, fun. It's old school fantasy RPG with some new additions that build on and preserve the original author's vision. However, some things could be done much better to really help me play and teach this RPG. 86%



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Players Handbook 7th Printing
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Fine Country Folk
Publisher: Schwalb Entertainment
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/03/2019 00:42:03

Ring Side Report- Fine Country Folk

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

Product- Fine Country Folk System- Shadow of the Demon Lord Producer-Schwalb Entertainment Price- $2.79 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/270395/Fine-Country-Folk?affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR-Do you hear banjos? 95%

Basics- We don’t cotton to kindly to your kind ‘round here… In Fine Country Folk, two factions of rednecks vie for dark powers. Can you find the source of their vile power and end it or will you end up dinner for the inbred yokels or one of the made betters?

Mechanics or Crunch-Shadow of the Demon Lord is one of the slickest systems out there, and Fine Country Folk keeps up that fine tradition. The adventure has some great mechanics for a hex crawl. Good, simple to draw map with a good random distribution of events, and well detailed locals with new monsters to fight. The simple nature of the adventure makes its a fun, easy to run, four hour adventure. 5/5

Theme or Fluff-Fine Country Folk is a hex crawl through and through, and it has some of the problems of a hex crawl. Overall, it’s an awesome adventure once it gets going, but like all hex crawls you can drop into the middle of an active campaign, the start is a bit rough. The hook into the adventure is the weakest part. Once the players have a reason to kill he inbred hicks or redneck mechanical abominations in the woods, they will have a great time. As a hex crawl, the DM has more work to do than in a set piece adventures to make sure a story flows and give the players a reason to stay. The adventure has prompts for DMs, but this is an important heads up that you should be aware of. It’s a fun adventure that will require a bit more muscle to get the story to crack over in the beginning but it hums along after the start. 4.25/5

Execution-Fine Country Folk is one of Schwalb’s longest adventure with lots of details and new monsters. This adventure is twice as long as his other individual adventures and FOUR times as long as some of the adventures from the first campaign. It has great art, nicely done tables, and is a breeze to read. Heck, it even references WITH PAGES things that DMs might need to review when they run this adventure. This is what I want a Shadow of the Demon Lord adventures to look like. 5/5

Summary-Fine Country Folk is standard Schwalb, and Schwalb is an acquired taste. I love sushi, but if you can’t stand fish or raw food, go away. Even Michelin star sushi is still sushi. This is some of Schwalb’s best writing, but it is still Schwalb’s writing. If rape, murder, violence, cthulhu-satan, or a whole host of other mean nasty things, you will be turned away by this one. I love sushi and the horrible, monstrous things Schwalb has to say, so this is a great work of dark vile fantasy to drop your players into. That said, it’s not perfect. Your adventure will need to shift into this one and hooking your players into this can be a bit tricky and I would like more explicit ways to get them involved more readily. That said, once you are past that, you will enjoy this fine food and the fine country folk who will try to eat you, skin you alive, or horrible experiment on you. Just pray your PC doesn’t have a pretty mouth. 95 %



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fine Country Folk
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01AA03 - Saga RPG Adventure Arc: Darkwood #3 - The Vile and the Voracious (PFRPG) PDF - 01AA03
Publisher: SagaRPG
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/07/2019 23:36:04

Ring Side Report- Saga RPG Adventure Arc: Darkwood #3 - The Vile and the Voracious

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

Product- Saga RPG Adventure Arc: Darkwood #3 - The Vile and the Voracious System- Pathfinder Producer-SagaRPG Price- $15(PDF)-40(softcover and pdf) here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/249671/01AA03--Saga-RPG-Adventure-Arc-Darkwood-3--The-Vile-and-the-Voracious-PFRPG-PDF--01AA03?affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR-Why does it have to be mutant trolls! 93%

Basics- That troll pillaging the town has an arm growing out of his head! Darkwood 3-The Vile and the Voracious is the third part of an ongoing series where the players adventure through Darkwood, a community on the fringe where different power players attempt to gain sway while horrors in the woods attack unrelentingly. In this one the town is attacked by trolls, but not just any trolls, horrible mutant trolls! All the different groups are united against them, and the players are sent to exterminate the threat. In the dark caves where the trolls call home, long, best forgotten fey things are found as well. The book also features a new mechanics for mutant monsters, crafting rules, items, magic, templates, locations and even gods of the Darkwood setting.

Mechanics or Crunch-Here is honestly where the book shines. This book provides some really fantastic new crunch to Pathfinder with items, guns, templates and a large section devoted to making mutant monsters of old favorites. These are liberally applied to all the things the players experience through the adventure, so it’s fun to see the new crunch dropped on the players mid battle! The new camping expedition rules are a welcome addition as well as “Ok, you set watch” rolls one die per payer on watch “Ok, get back your spells and hp.” rolls encounter table and nothing happens REPEAT TILL DESTINATION is honestly boring. It's fun to make your players’ characters people and give them things to do while living. This book adds some solid mechanics to the Pathfinder RPG 5/5

Theme or Fluff- Here is the low point for the book. It’s not bad, not even close to bad, but this is not a very diverse adventure. This is an unrepentant dungeon crawl and everything about this one is getting you to the place, so the killing can happen. There are fun elements to the place like great descriptions of each room and new monsters to right in each room, but do not expect levels upone levels of intrigue i this one. It’s just a fun romp killing trolls with some extra splash put in to keep the bard from being bored in the back. That’s not a bad thing, but not a diverse adventure. A decent hack and slash dungeon crawl in a lost fey cavern. 4.3/5

Execution- The book is put together pretty decently, but has a few things I’d like changed. It reads pretty quickly and is set up so I, the laziest DM ever, can simply skim enough at the time to get the game running in under three minutes while I say take a bio brake on the phone with clear outlines of plot and locations as well as area descriptions with monster personalities. That’s exactly what I want from every adventure! I HATE having to read and reread a section to find how one of five brothers interacts in a combat when I’m trying to give life to 10 different monsters, and this book makes my life easy! What I don’t like is even on my tablet at the table, I have to do some considerable zooming to read the text. The background looks nice, but the weathered parchment look makes it hard for me to read because I’m getting old! Others things I think are interesting design choices are to put the camping section in the middle. It kind of interrupts the flow, so I don’t think it goes there while other mechanical things are at the back of the book. But, I honestly can forgive that pretty easily because this book HYPERLINKS THE DAMN PDF! I am boggled by how this isn’t industry standard, but these people do it and it makes my day. The art is nice and adds enough, and even better the PDF had maps WITHOUT labels on them that I can easily grab and throw into my online games or print for my table, so that is another fantastic plus to this adventure. Minor issues with the book, but otherwise its a solidly put together PDF. I have a few minor issues, but this is a well put together PDF 4.6/5

Summary-Sometimes you want a fancy 20 course meal with multiple courses. Sometimes you just want to curbstomp a troll in a cave. This adventure might not redefine the fantasy world for its story, but simple doesn’t mean bad. If you are in this deep to the Darkwood Adventure Arc, you are gonna have a blast in this book. If you are looking for your next book of long intrigue in the high courts of nobles, then this isn’t your book. But, if you just want a fun Pathfinder adventure you can spring on your players to have them fight some mutant trolls then honestly for 15 bucks it’s hard to beat, even if your players don’t care about darkwood at all and they just want some good old fashion hack and slash. The other things in here that really stand out well like the expedition camp rules, the mutant templates, and multiple other things are slick pathfinder additions. The Vile and the Voracious is a simple adventure done well and put together smoothly. 93%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
01AA03 - Saga RPG Adventure Arc: Darkwood #3 - The Vile and the Voracious (PFRPG) PDF - 01AA03
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Arcanis 5E Campaign Setting
Publisher: Paradigm Concepts, Inc.
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/21/2019 11:28:07

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Arcanis 5E Campaign Setting

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

Product- Arcanis 5E Campaign Setting System- DnD 5e Producer-Paradigm Concepts, Inc. Price- $25.00 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/234910/Arcanis-5E-Campaign-Setting?affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR-Shades of grey are finally comprehensible! 95%

Basics-For the EMPIRE! FOR ILLIIR! Arcanis was a campaign setting for 3.5 DnD which grew to its own game when 4th edition happened, and finally is coming back into the DnD mechanics with a conversion of DND 5e. How does the world of the Shattered Empires stack up with a 5e rebuild? Let’s get into it!

Mechanics or Crunch-I usually start with theme, but let’s go mechanics first. If you like 5e DnD, then you will like this. This isn’t a scrap to the base boards rebuild of DnD 5e, it’s a new implementation using the same base mechanics of proficiency, hit dice, et al. you most likely love from DnD 5e. And honestly, that a good thing. I could give any person playing “Hoard of the Dragon Queen” an Arcanis character and they would be playing in seconds. So that begs the question, what's different? Well some things are just simple reskins. The Fury is the Barbarian. It’s got some different parts to it, but let’s be honest-it’s just a new name. Not bad, some theme for Arcanis added, but it is what it is. Some get a much more exhaustive change. Paladins are holy champions, and they might be a tad overpowered if you build them right, but that’s a criticism of DnD 5e itself. Holy Champions get god specific paths to take that really hit theme hard with powers appropriate to the gods of the setting. The same thing for clerics. There are new races with instructions on how to change DnD straight races toward Aracnis races like there are no Tieflings, but there are Dark kin. New feat trees are brought in so you can master a fighting style with both introduction and advanced versions of those feats. The book also introduces psionics in a heavy way, but honestly, it’s just the same mechanics you’ve seen time and time again in DnD 5e vanilla. You have powers, the DC of the power is 8 + ability mod + proficiency or you attack with a power and you use ability modifier + proficiency. DONE. Vanilla is my favorite base for ice cream, so this isn’t a bad. Rocky road starts Vanilla, and that's what this book did. It took the base stuff you know and like and made it something you will love. 4.8/5

Theme or Fluff-So what is Arcanis? Well, that's probably the best thing this book does. You get to feel the Shattered Empires honestly better than before. It’s a pretty weighty tome coming in over 400 pages, so you get a lot of backstory. And that’s really what this world needs. I came in when DnD 4e brought about a major change in the RPG world around it. The Aracnis alone system wasn’t bad, but it relied heavily on me having books that we not in print and knowledge for a world that I could not find. So, I was honestly in the dark for large portions of this world. Heck, there wasn’t even a great map available. I had fun with what I understood and playing in, so off I went playing and running Arcanis all over. But, I would always run in to diehards who knew stuff from the wayback. The 5e book fixes this smashingly. I get better breakdowns in things. It’s big, but doesn’t have to dedicate all the pages the base DnD system does to the base rules just saying “GO SEE THE OTHER BOOK YOU BOUGHT!” and can dedicate those words to how the world works. That’s amazing! The mechanics have been adapted and modified to meet the needs of the theme. Again, that's a phenomenal way to build your world. As a GM when I run games with this book, I’m not lost. I feel like I finally know as much or MORE than my players. Sure, they are also republishing all the old books with updated rules, but this is a good way to hop in to a world of multiple different empires and groups fighting and in-fighting for control in a quzi roman world. 5/5

Execution-And the low point because I’m a bit petty. I like the way this book is laid out. I like the text style, but it might be a bit too small. I like the background, but I would like a background free version to read on my tablet. It comes in a PDF from Drive Thru RPG, so I’m thrilled that we’re moving Arcanis to the Paper free world. But the things that makes me the least happy is no-hyperlinks in the text. This book is 400 plus pages. Thats a lot of hopping around trying to find pages. Just link the book! The book is bookmarked, so if you read on some readers, you will be fine. Honestly, it’s small things that minorly annoyed me about this book, but as the RPG industry moves forward, I want hyperlinked PDFs to become the standard! 4.4/5

Summary-The real two remaining question to if you want this book is 1-Do you like the 5e DnD rules? And 2-do you want morally ambiguous semi-roman age fantasy? If you don’t like 5e DnD, then this book still has lots of background that you might want to put into your game. If you don’t like shades of gray in your fantasy but love DnD 5e, then this is a great source book for crunch including psionics which WotC needs to get out there before they end up just copying these guys. I like this book. I like the shades of gray fantasy that Arcanis bring to the table and using 5e is a great way to get people into the world extremely quickly since 5e is a snap to learn. My only qualms with this book are technical. Give me a backround free version if I want to print and bind myself or read on a tablet and HYPERLINK THE BOOK! Will that stop me from reading this? No. This books is a well done resource from a fun world where a fallen Roman empire battles snake people for dominance of long lost relics that belonged to the elven gods that the Roman gods ate for power using slick mechanics. Ya, that’s an Arcanis sentence if I ever saw one. If you want to play in that world, then you need to get this book NOW! 95%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Arcanis 5E Campaign Setting
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DDAL-ELW00 What's Past is Prologue
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/17/2019 08:05:42

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of What’s Past is Prologue

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

Product- DDAL-ELW00-What’s Past is Prologue System- DnD 5e Producer- DMs Guild Price- $4.99 here https://www.dmsguild.com/product/248589/DDALELW00-Whats-Past-is-Prologue?affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR-I can get my DCC RPG in DnD now! 92%%

Basics-A get rich quick job in Eberron? That CAN’T FAIL! The players take the roll of level zero characters as they attempt to earn a ton of money on a simple pick up and deliver job. Along they way they get a ton of thing to sell for millions of GP, but how will they do it?

Theme or Fluff-The story of What’s Past is Prologue is a pretty simple one, but it’s done well. The players get pregenerated characters that they will meet later in the Eberron adventurers league adventures. This story tells how the characters got together, how they get a ship, and how they are amazing wealthy. That part of the story is fun and really tells a great Eberron based story while giving me the GM a jumping on point to dump the Eberron goodness on my Forgotten Realms/old school fantasy only players. The only real problem with a prologue based story, is players always do things they are not supposed to do! The adventure gives some guidelines for this, but honestly, my players could not ditch the skyship fast enough! It might have been easier to instead of having a Sharn based section where the players can go off the script have some other story of how the characters fix their newly acquired ship. It’s not game ending, but be ready for this eventuality! 4.5 /5

Mechanics or Crunch-This adventure features something new in DnD-level zero characters! I love level zero character in Shadow of the Demon Lord and DCC/MCCRPG, so this was great for me! My players had to adjust to this, but they dealt well. Aside from that, the encounters are balanced with the limited power of the players. Running DCC style funnels in DnD 5e is a valid way to build characters now! 5/5

Execution-This is a solid modules that is spaces nice, reads quick, and provides most of what I want in an adventure. Its a PDF, so that makes me happy! But, it doesn’t have hyperlinks between the parts so I can quick navigate. Also, this modules again doesn’t have much if any box text. BOX TEXT IS SUPER IMPORTANT! It lays the scene for the GM to get in the right headspace on the fly as well as making sure the author lays out what information the PC have right away without the GM having to take notes on what’s in the scene. The first paragraph of each section is like box text, but I as a GM have to read that, chop out my parts, and give a good scene starter to the players. Another issue is the number of pregens. You can have seven characters at a DnD Al table, but this adventure only comes with six. If you want to run seven, you have two of the same character, and that’s not as much fun. Aside from those issues, the book is laid out gorgeously. The layout uses lots of old Eberron artwork. For a non-WOTC product on the DMs Guild, this is the exact reason the Guild was made-get non-WOTC people to make great product using art assets that usually only WOTC could reprint. This book has some obvious flaws, but it's still a solidly produced book. 4.25 /5

Summary-The best and worst part of a DnD story are the players. In a homebrew game, where the players can completely 180 degree their characters because they want to, free choice is amazing. In a prologue adventure, that freedom hurts the story a bit as the PCs behave in ways the regular characters would not. That said, the story here is a great one and I can’t wait for the next part of the story and how players own characters will interact with their prologue selves. The new mechanics here work well, are simple to implement, and easy to understand. That’s the trifecta of new bits on an RPG system, so good job! The execution is a bit off, but not in a way the will destroy the product. GIVE ME HYPERLINKS AND BOX TEXT! We’re exploring a ship, so having a ready to go box text will rapid fire my players through the exploration and get me in the rooms mood. But, the book look AMAZING! I love the layout, text, spacing, and all the wordy bits that some modules forget are an important part of the human reading process. If you want to jump on the Eberron Adventurers League season, then this is an excellent way to start. 92%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL-ELW00 What's Past is Prologue
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Delta Green: Lover in the Ice
Publisher: Arc Dream Publishing
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/29/2018 00:46:10

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Lover in the Ice

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

Product- Lover in the ICe System- Delta Green Producer- Arc Dream Publishing Price- $4.99 here https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/184098/Delta-Green-Lover-in-the-Ice?affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR- Good adventure, Hard NC-17 rating! 85%

Basics-Some things are best left unremembered. In “Lover in the Ice”, a snow storm opens up a Delta Green storage facility, and “something” gets out. Can you stop whatever got out from loving its way across Missouri in a blizzard?

Theme or Fluff-The story of “Lover in the Ice” is a solid one. Players race around a medium sized town in the middle of a blizzard of the century. It's got some great scenes that feel real and a lot of little extra fill out the world details. What I miss from most of Arc Dream’s work is intro paragraphs of box text. These set the scene for the players and really the GM to get you in the right headspace for each location. I’m long enough in the tooth that I can cobble one together from the description, but this is something that needs to be part of each place you visit! Players do a breach, bang, and clear for several houses and locations, and a quick section detailing what each room looks like will really help my players and me. It doesn’t make the story any less fun, but it does make me have to do more work. What here though is fun, but HOLY COW it’s hard R. KNOW THIS GOING IN! If your group is ok with that, then have at this one! 4.5 /5

Mechanics or Crunch-Overall, I like what’s here, but I think some things need to be filled out a bit more. There is a monster that can do some very horrible things to the players. I’d like a bit more words on how the attack is done. I have an idea of how it works, but I’d like either a few extra checks or two phase method of attack to make it happen. Otherwise the attack looks like its a one and done prospect. That’s a bit rough. Also Delta Green likes to just give the players information saying if you have HUMINT 30% you know X. I prefer to make the players roll. This is at odds with the ideas Arc Dream has of not making trivial things rolls, but it’s more in line with player expectations. Players like touching dice and even if I say “you know X because of your HUMINT 30%” It feels less fun to the guy/gal holding the dice. Overall, this is much more of a social/explore mission than a straight up fire fight. Don’t expect Fallujah level fights here! This is a contain the problem mission. The mechanics work well, but I had a few issues that I changed on the fly because its my game and I can. I think you will do the same, but I think these changes should be a standard part of the scenario. 4.25 /5

Execution-I like the basic setup of this mission. Now, let’s get petty! “Lover in the Ice” has a decent layout, but for the price, I kinda want a cover page, more art, and hyperlinks. Its a PDF, but not hyperlinked, so I get slightly annoyed. It’s pretty short, so this is a good one shot. But, I’d like a bit more production value. The monster gets a hand drawn picture, but never a nice, graphic picture I can throw to my players. The handouts I gave to my players are amazing and horrified a few of the players to stop reading! But the adventure puts up a few red herrings along the way. There is a section where players can keep finding random crap. Nothing in the random crap box is useful except one item. That is fun to see all the different things in there and what other things Delta Green might have been up to! I’d also like player maps of places without the marks that a GM has. These unmarked maps are VERY useful as something I can plunk down on the table instead of having to remake maps or just cover up points of interest. I like the general execution of this adventure, but I’d like a few more things to really knock it out of the park. 4.25 /5

Summary-I really love this adventure! It's got a solid storyline, good execution, and enough action to keep the players involved. It is not without its faults. I’d like a bit more direction or changes to some of the rules, some extra writing, and some minor things added to the product. None of the faults here absolutely breaks the game in any way. Honestly, if your group can stand Hellraiser and wants to try Delta Green, then this is a great intro game. If your group cannot stand theme of body horror and rape, then give this one a hard pass. Just like sushi, it can be done amazing, but if you can’t stand raw fish, pass and be polite. Don’t force anybody to eat the sushi! But if you want to try this one, it’s a great day to save the world from some crazy horrors in the snow! 85%



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Delta Green: Lover in the Ice
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Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron (5e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/27/2018 22:49:42

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Wayfinder’s Guide to Eberron

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

Product- Wayfinder’s Guide to Eberron System-DnD 5e Producer- Wizards of the Coast Price- $20 here http://www.dmsguild.com/product/247882/Wayfinders-Guide-to-Eberron-5e?affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR- A much needed update on nearly everyone's favorite modern crazy setting. 88%

Basics-Whose ready for some Dragonpunk? Wayfinder’s guide to Eberron is a 5e update to Eberron from Keith Baker. Eberron debuted in 3.5 DnD, received a 4e update, and this is the updated 5e version. What Eberron is is hard to describe. It's a post-magic war, Noir, fantasy, semi-modern sci-fi non-standard epic with sprinkles of Cthulhu mythos added in, with massive changes to the standard DnD world as magic is extremely common and every race doesn’t follow any of the normal conventions set before. The book itself has one chapter setting the tone and feel of the world. After that is a chapter on the geography of the main continent followed by a chapter on the different races of Eberron. From there the book shifts to magic, focusing one chapter on Dragonmark houses (think magic family guilds with tattoos that appear under stress providing magic powers), and then new magic creation rules as well as items for the world. The book wraps up by focusing on a major city of the world called Sharn, and finally providing additional resources like extra reading, a glossary, and pictures you can use for your game.

Theme or Fluff-I like the stuff in this book. It is travel guide to the world of Eberron providing a much needed update for the most recent system of DnD. Players get to learn about the world, and GMs get enough story seeds that they can set a story anywhere. The races feel fresh since that is a major point of Eberron, and the world is deep. My major complaint is this book feels short. Under 3.5, whole books were written about each of the different countries, and here each place gets about a page. For a book published by Wizards of the Coast itself, I expect a bit more for a $20 PDF. Nothing here is bad, but I expect a bit more from the main publisher. 4.5/5

Mechanics or Crunch-Wizards of the Coast put out a book, so they know their own system. I love the new races and am glad to see the races specific to Eberron get a 5e DnD coat of paint. I also can’t give enough praise and love to how Dragonmarks and magic item creation is handled. Dragonmarks are one of the core elements of the Eberron setting as these magic family businesses run large chunks of the world, at least by proxy. Previous editions handled this by feats, but this one sets them up as races. You are born a Dragonmark, which feels thematically true, but I also like the crunch of how each Dragonmark is handled. Magic items are extremely common with an almost cellphone like network existing in Eberron, so magic item rules needed an update. This book provides new item creation rules and providing costs for items. This is an update the system needed long ago as some DnD Adventurers’ League players are swimming in gold but have no real use for it. In Eberron, that gold has a place to go! 5/5

Execution- HOOOOLLLLYYYY COW! Wizards of the Cost put out a PDF and its hyperlinked!? Overall, I like the flow in this book. I don’t hate reading the book as it doesn’t hurt my eyes to scan or dive deeply into each topic. The text is laid out well, font is good, and I like the art. Now, the art is very recycled, but the DMs Guild lets authors use art from previous editions, so I don’t hate it. I would like a bit more from the mothership, but its is not bad. The book does feel short, and that short nature hurts it a bit. I could easily see expanding each country to two pages and adding in more art assets from other books. This also kinds of makes me angry as your charging roughly full price compared to Chaosium and Paizo for a book that the fluff is already written for and your art is already written for. The art is already made, and you have the graphics sitting on a hard drive, so why not use them? The maps are ok, but they are the most general ones from the setting, so you don’t even see the capital cities on them. This would also break up the text a bit more as multiple pages are two columns in a row. There is enough white space to not make reading boring, but I’d like more. 3.75/5

Summary-Eberron is an amazing setting that everyone should experience. From how it flips the script of traditional RPG elements to its Noir setting of morally gray characters, it should be on every RPG player's bucket list. This book provides a great new update to the world, providing both DMs and players with a wealth of information. My main complaint is that I would like more. For a $20 PDF, I would like a bit more, and some of the more I want are things that Wizards of the Coast already has like maps and art assets. Some are included in the back of the book, but putting them where they are mentioned in the book might help a bit more. That said, you can’t really go wrong with this book. If you are tired of the same Tolkien inspired fantasy, then check out Eberron. This book will give you the 5e shot in the arm you’ve been looking for to start your own game. 88%



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron (5e)
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Close Encounters: Hyperspace Fiends
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/20/2018 22:03:20

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Close Encounters: Hyperspace Fiends

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

Product- Close Encounters: Hyperspace Fiends System-Starfinder Producer- Fat Goblin Games Price- $6.95 here http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/222888/Close-Encounters-Hyperspace-Fiends?affiliate_id=658618 TL; DR-Horrors from the low planes in the upper skies! 98%

Basics-Where we’re going, you don’t need eyes to see! Close Encounters: Hypersapce Fiends is a new book in a series bringing old fiendish monsters and things from Pathfinder into space with Starfinder. This book bring demons and devils into space, TOGETHER! Turns out hell and the abyss collapsed into one horrible thing and now they’ve joined a tag team battle against the universe, if they can stop knifing themselves in the back!

Theme or Fluff- The base Starfinder game is devil and demon poor, but this book brings all your classics back, and their stats feel like they should. There are even some crazy fiendish effects on magic, some ships that are stated out, and some environments traps that can affect your players should they enter the lower plane. There is also story to backup why these two age old enemies are working together to kill everyone. Overall, I like what I’m seeing here as it’s a great way to bring back some fun Pathfinder elements to your Starfinder game. 5/5

Mechanics or Crunch- All the crunch is right. The CR are good and the monsters hit the places they did in Pathfinder with basic updates of the mechanics to fit the slight changes between the systems. I love what's here, and it’s going to fit mechanically well into any game where the GM would like to put a Technomancer in Hell. 5/5

Execution- Is this available in PDF since its past 2015? Check. Is it hyperlinked even though its less than 40 pages? Check. Ok we've hit all the basics to make me happy. Now the extras! This book has lots a art with the creatures looking like the demons you’re used to but with a Starfinder art twist. There are demon/devil ships, but I would like a few more and some close up art of them. The art for the ships isn’t bad but its only one picture of the two new ships. The book even includes the rough seeds on an adventure from levels 1 to 20. Also, my favorite devils the low level lemure isn’t in the book, so that makes me a little sad. Finally the price is a tad high as its about $7 for a 30 page PDF. These are by no means going to keep me away, but it's something to note. 4.75/5

Summary-Fat Goblin was one of the first on the scene making Starfinder Compatible products and they have really demonstrated what you can do as a third party publisher. Its some fantastic material. I love putting demons and devils in my game and now I can easily do so. This is only GM book. It's fun, but honestly players need not apply as there are no player specific material here. GMs get fun new toys and things to inflict on their players. It's not perfect with a few minor things like price and some minor monsters being left out, but in total, this is a great resources if you want to put some horrible demons and devils into your game. 98%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Close Encounters: Hyperspace Fiends
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Alien Evolution: Cosmic Race Guidebook
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/09/2018 21:35:28

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Alien Evolution: Cosmic Race Guide Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday! Product- Alien Evolution: Cosmic Race Guide System-Starfinder Producer- Fat Goblin Games Price- $3.95 [here]( http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/223749/Alien-Evolution-Cosmic-Race-Guidebook?affiliate_id=658618) TL; DR-Jack Kirby does Starfinder! 96%

Basics-Tired of just the core races already? Need some more classic 70’s ancient aliens artwork? Then I’ve got a book for you! The Cosmic Race Guide has an impressive amount of new species to plop into any Starfinder game.

Mechanics or Crunch-Starfinder, when it launched, didn’t have a lot of races. None of what was there was bad, but it was a limited picking. This book opens up the floodgates. Nothing here is all that crazy. The races do follow a pretty predictable formula, but its not a bad formula as everything is balanced. I would have liked a few racial feats for each race. But, there are over 10 new races here, so It’s a great place to look for an impressive assortment of new races for any space game. 4.75/5

Theme or Fluff- Here is where the book shines. Every page of this book feels like Jack Kirby wrote it as the art is completely New Gods or crazy space Thor 3 on every page. Everything feels right. You get a full color art picture of each race and its homeworld. The art mixed with the flavor of the races just belongs. Starfinder is already a mix of magic, machine, and the future, so adding the proper amount of crazy Kirby makes me extremely happy. 5/5

Execution- I am really pleased with this book. First and foremost, it's a hyperlinked PDF. Next, the art is great. I would have liked more, but it's enough to break up any monotony. The layout isn’t cluttered. My one grip is the price. It’s a tad high, but if you want a ton of new races, this is the book you need. It’s a well put together book that's fun to thumb through till you find your favorite race and dig in. 4.5/5

Summary-I really like this product. I read this book the week after seeing Thor 3 in theaters, and it feels like an honest extension of the movie. You get Kirby, you get aliens, and you get your magic. Starfinder feels like the 70’s comic vibe will fit better than any serious game play as you have the elements of more space opera than space drama built right in, and this book takes that banner and runs hard with that idea. I wouldn’t consider this the most serious book. This isn’t Lord of the Rings, but it is an amazing romp in the galaxy showing you all the crazy kids at the cantina while giving you the rules to play each of them in turn. Get this book, crank your Flash Gordon soundtrack, and find your next favorite character to play in the galaxy. 96%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Alien Evolution: Cosmic Race Guidebook
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Finders Keepers
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/07/2017 08:18:14

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Finders Keepers

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

Product- Finders Keepers System-Dungeons and Dragons 5th Ed. Producer- Janek Sielicki Price- $3.95 ** TL; DR**-The Great and the Mixed of the DMs Guild 93%

Basics-Need a 20th level adventure in a hurry? Here you go! Finders Keepers is a 20th level adventure set in the Forgotten Realms, but easily ported to any place. Players start in town, but soon enough a rampaging dragon attacks the land. Players then have to save the town, and perusing the dragons leads down a rabbit hole of dead gods, hidden powers, and words that can literally destroy the world!

Mechanics or Crunch-This book is fine, completely fine, but that's the one problem with the book the author can’t fix. The monsters are all directly from the Monster Manual, the items from the DMG, and traps come from there as well. That all works well, but if things are just exactly what you’ve seen before, it's a tad bland. But, the way the DMs Guild and the AL runs, writers can’t change that fact. That little bit hurts the book a bit, but honestly as constrained by the rules as this book is, the mechanics work. What's here is good and runs well, but I would like the author to do a bit more, even though I know he can’t. 4.25/5

Theme or Fluff- This is an awesome story! We get dead gods, demons, devils, entering alternative worlds, and a goal off saving everything. The author can’t write new mechanics, but he CAN write a crazy new story! I love what’s here! It might not be completely the most original as I’ve seen tiny bits of other things, but I’m happy to see all the pieces come back together in a great new way. 4.75/5

Execution- Hay, this book made me change my opinion of how books are put together. This is one guy at a computer putting out fantastic materials. There is art to break up text, there is the standard template to break up text, and there is formatting that works welo. What I have here that puts it over the top is hyperlinking to pages, maps that the GM can copy/past into any software, and a new art that is made just for this material and handouts. This caught me off guard. WHY ARE OTHER BOOKS NOT DOING THIS? This is a less than 100 page adventure, and honestly, it doesn’t need hyperlinking, but the addition makes my life a little bit easier. Also, not many groups make it to 20, so this book comes with pre-generated characters with and without items to make the plug and play that much easier for any group. More books need to do that, and adding this and other little parts makes me honestly love what’s here. 5/5

Summary- This is a fantastic adventure constrained slightly by the DMs Guild. The book itself is put together amazingly well! As I read more and more books on my tablets and phones, simple things like hyperlinking make my life that much more simple! The store is great. It’s got a few elements that you may have seen before but it's not a ripoff of any story, and it’s told well. The mechanics are the low point, but that’s a bit harsh. It’s far from bad in any way, but it’s limiting for the author as you can’t build new material as often. Overall, I found this to be a solid adventure that you can plug and play into any FR game with ease that is well put together. 93%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Finders Keepers
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Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution
Publisher: End Transmission Games
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/13/2017 09:00:24

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Psionics- The Next Stage in Human Evolution

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

Product- Psionics- The Next Stage in Human Evolution System-Dicepunk Producer-End Transmission Games Price- $20 here http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/151035/Psionics-The-Next-Stage-in-Human-Evolution?term=psionics++end+transmi?affiliate_id=239993 TL; DR-Angry teens with psychic powers-THE RPG! 88%

Basics-We all want to crush someone’s head with our mind-BUT NOW WE CAN! In Psionics, you play a person, most likely a teen, whose outsider status has fueled your transition to something greater. You’ve developed psychic powers that make you now stand out. However, now secret groups all over the world want you to study, to be a near god, to use as a weapon, or to just destroy as an act of faith. Let’s break down the absolute basics.

Base System- This system is called the Dicepunk System. The basics of the dice punk system is roll under sometimes, but not the standard system you expect. You have skills and attributes, and you want to roll under. Want to sneak somewhere? You roll 2 six-sided dice and try to roll under your Speed attribute (a value from 1 to 10) plus your Stealth skill (a +0, a +2, or +4 to the attribute). A natural 2 is always a success, and a natural 12 is always a failure. One of the saving graces of Dicepunk is EVERYTHING is a d6. Dice will never be hard to find.

Combat- Combat is an interesting mix. Instead of roll under or using a flat skill, initiative is two six-sided dice plus a mix of attributes. On a turn you can move, do an action, and do some free actions like yell something. Action range from attacking, doing other things, to using psychic powers. When you attack, instead of roll under, you roll two six-sided dice then add skills and try to beat a defense value. Beat or equal it, and you do the damage on the weapon. After you go, the next person goes, with each turn being 10 second of combat. First one to die-loses! Armor reduces damage, but you only have so much health. When it’s out, you’re down.

Psychic Powers-Alright here is the main attraction to a psychic game! This game uses Power Points for its magic which you spend to power your abilities. Bigger powers use more, and smaller powers use less. Psychic powers also have a cost to your health in the form of drain which causes half the amount of non-lethal damage as the power points spent. This can knock you out! Also fun is Overflow. Every time you use some psychic powers, you fill your overflow. When you completely fill it, you overload and unleash crazy psychic powers on the world and basically become a psychic hand grenade harming yourself and all others around you! Overflow also fills as you get angry. Remember you’re an angsty teen, so being angry is a big part of the deal! Powers basically work as an attack or with targets making an attribute check. If you throw a car at someone with your mind, you make an attack roll. If you throw a fire blast at some people, some of them may have to make a speed attribute check to see if they get hit by the secondary damage of the blast. Powers are divided into three groups based on colors with some subgroups. Blue is telekinesis, red if pyrokinesis, and green is psychokinesis. You can level up each individual group, and as you level them up you unlock more powers in each ability and the ability to take subgroups like mastering entropy, magnetism, or luck with pyrokinesis.

Ok, now the review!

Mechanics or Crunch-Overall, the system is strong, but it has a few issues. Dicepunk is a different beast. It works well, but I always have issues with dice systems where you sometimes roll up, sometimes roll under, and sometimes have a strange mix somewhere else. It’s not difficult, but it could take a bit to always make sure you’re doing the right thing. Things are balanced, so it fun and feels fair, but my own personal preferences do take away a bit of the fun. 4.25/5

Theme or Fluff- This is the high point of the book. You can tell the author really focused on bringing their world to light. It’s got secret societies, anger management issues that fuel powers, stories for character development, and art to make you see what they saw. The nature of emotion in the book is strong, and the really forms what the story of angry kids against the world. Some of the aspects of the story are a bit cliche, but that doesn’t hurt this product. 4.5/5

Execution-This book is put together pretty well. It’s laid out well,and finding what I need is pretty easy. That’s good. What I don’t like is the PDF isn’t hyperlinked, and it’s over 300 pages! That can make life a bit harder as you scroll through the entire book to find what you want. As for what’s in here, there are a lot of stories, which is good, but there may be a few too many for my taste in a RPG. Also, I’m not the biggest fan of the art. These are petty concerns though. Overall, this is a well-crafted RPG with no major issues in execution. 4.4/5

Summary-If I was going to run a psychic teen RPG, this is the system I’d use. It’s made well with lots of story starters and is easy to use. It’s got a few issues like why some things are roll under and roll above, but those are problems you can get past pretty quick once you get into it. The theme is on point, and overall the book has great execution. The best praise I can give this book is this-this system feels distinct from magic. Most psychic RPGs feel like it’s magic with people holding their heads. Here, Psionics make me feel like I have psychic powers. 88%



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution
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Homeward Bound - simple rules for player-owned base
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/12/2017 10:14:25

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Homeward Bound- Simple rules for player-owned base

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

Product- Homeward Bound- Simple rules for player-owned base System-Dungeons and Dragons 5e Producer-Jan Sielicki Price- $3 here http://www.dmsguild.com/product/201016/Homeward-Bound--simple-rules-for-playerowned-base?affiliate_id=239993 TL; DR-Finally a use for money! 94%

Basics- You’ve killed the dragon, gotten it’s hoard, and now you just want to go back to the inn to drink? Savages! Time to get and build up your own house! Homeward Bound is a supplement focusing on maintaining a home in the adventure. Instead of just drinking in a bar, you can own land, quest to keep that piece of land safe, and drink in your own home! This book has options for the players and ideas for the DM.

Mechanics or Crunch-This book isn’t built to be a player option book, and that’s very important going forward. This book does have benefits to the player in the form of different things you can build which are nice and some of these even have levels of benefits depending on how much you build up. Those are all good additions to the players’ options in game. However, the major problems I had were the lack of player specific character options and the build your own manner option. Players can build things that give them a better start to the adventure, but there are not feats, spells, or player options that deal with their own manor. Also, players don’t have options to build their own manor out right. The typical ways to get a manor are find one or be gifted one. I’d like to forge my own. These don’t break the book by any means, but I’d like a bit more as a player. Something that might help is a character sheet for your house showing what you’ve added, the rooms that are there, and what bonuses you get from each. As a DM, I have enough from this book to do well with it in my game. 4.25/5

Theme or Fluff- This is a book of how to get and build a manor. Overall it doesn’t tell a story per se, but it gives you the theme of owning and building a house in DnD. The book does include a possible campaign for a DM to throw at the players, which is a nice touch. However, all the things in here have a good theme and description to them. It’s an entertaining read. 5/5

Execution-This book has got pictures, color, columns, art, tables, backgrounds, and story. Then why the 4.9? Size. This book has tiny font. On a tablet, it’s ok because I can zoom in. As a print out, it’s hell on the eyes. That said this is some of the best execution I’ve seen for a DnD 5e book yet. It’s organized well and even hyperlinked! Compared to some of the other stuff with just black text/white background/5 pages/5 bucks, this does raise the bar for the competition. Just be prepared to squint a bit. 4.9/5

Summary- I like what’s here. Here is the biggest part-this book picks up where the core DM’s Guild doesn’t go. You get a house/castle/tent anywhere, what do you do with it? This book gives you options. And the best thing this book does is give you options for what to do with money. Players are drowning in cash with not option for magic weapons as standard int he rules. Here, players get an awesome way to spend cash while building up a place to call home. Is this book perfect? No-I want larger text as I’m going blind, and I want player options. But here is the thing. This is a solo book done by one guy that’s as long as a Paizo player product, with pictures, and a mini-campaign, that costs less than the black and white standard adventures from the Adventure League. This book is not perfect, but book is what most of the DMs Guild need to aspire to be. 94%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Homeward Bound - simple rules for player-owned base
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Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook
Publisher: Green Ronin Publishing
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/09/2015 19:31:38

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday!

Product- Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook System- Adventure Game Engine Producer- Green Ronin Publishing Price- $16 here http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/153066/Fantasy-AGE-Basic-Rulebook TL; DR-A strong successor to Dragon AGE. 92%

Basics-The Dragon AGE has ended, but that doesn’t mean all the stories you wanted to tell in the AGE system have. Fantasy AGE is the basic rule book for the previous Adventure Gaming System(AGE) system that came out with Dragon Age RPG providing all the basics any generic Fantasy RPG could need. Let’s break this down piece by piece and see what I think of them individually.

Mechanics or Crunch- Game Basics- Fantasy AGE uses the same basic mechanics that Dragon AGE did; each player will roll 3d6 for an action, find the sum of the dice with some modifiers, and that will determine the outcome. Contested rolls work exactly the same with the higher sum winning the roll. This is a quick and easy way to have numeric diversity and an average in your dice rolls.

Stunts-One of the more interesting things with this system is stunts. WHen you roll your dice, two of the dice are one color and the third is a different color. If two of the dice have the same result, you get stunt points equal to the result on the differently colored die. These stunts have point values and will allow you to add extra flare and effects beyond hit a guy, cast the spell, or bluff the guard. Each type of action has it’s own stunt point chart that you can select icons to spend your points on with the more points spent, the stronger the effects. When I first read about this system, I was a bit put off, but then my math geek showed through. It’s easy to think that you won’t roll doubles often, but out of three six-sided dice, you roll doubles a little less than half of the time! Again, this is a fun addition to the standard "roll dice, hit guy, next person in initiative" we’re all used to.

Character Generation-Fantasy age characters make a few important choices and have to let some dice fall. When you make a character, you get to choose your race, background, class, and then you let the dice fall where they may! Lots of this system involves you randomly rolling for effects on your character. This results in your average character of a race having some average abilities and likely traits, but overall, I don’t like that part of character generation. While I’ve played older RPG editions, I prefer to let choice occur when you build your person. This system does downplay the negative aspects of low ability rolls, but I still prefer point buy. It’s an option, but most of the book tends to focus on rolling for your character.

Statistics:This game doesn’t have a ton of bonuses to your basic dice roll and that is great thing. Each person has a number of statistics being: accuracy ( weapon accuracy), communication (talking to people), constitution (body toughness), dexterity (agility and coordination), fighting (heavy weapon accuracy), intelligence (what you know), perception (situational awareness), strength (physical ability), willpower (mental resolve). You can generate these via point buy or just rolling 3d6 and hoping for the best, so your number will be between 3 and 18 white the modifier for your dice rolls roughly equal the modifiers most role players have from D&D. You can further focus in these abilities by getting ability focuses like Accuracy(Blades) where you add 2 to your dice results for all blades attacks. Thus, you will really only add two numbers to the three six-sided dice rolls. I do love any system that squashes power gaming at the start and builds in a mean and standard deviation for its die results!

Classes and Advancement-Much like the Dragon AGE RPG, there are only three core classes: mage, rogue, and warrior. These classes are much like you would expect. Mages cast spells, rogues are nimble and skillful, and warriors are heavy people-at-arms. Each level a character will get new options such as ability focus, talents (abilities in sequence like feat trees in DnD/Pathfinder), or class specific bonuses. The talents provide the bulk of the customization in the game. Every warrior has the same basic class abilities, but the warrior focusing on close combat and social interaction will be like that because of the talents he or she choose. You don’t get that many choices, but you do get a method to differentiate yourself from the press of other individuals out there.

Magic-Magic in this system is a point based system where players have a mana pool that is spent to cast a spell. Spells themselves come from the talents that players choose with each level of the talent providing more spells. It’s a simple system that reminds me of Final Fantasy and the Dragon Age video games. Not bad company to be in, but since you don’t get tons of different talents, you won’t have the abundance of spells you’re used to in different RPGs like Pathfinder.

Combat and Damage-Just like this games D20 cousens, combat flows in a turn based manner following every player rolling initiative. On your turn, you can do either two minor actions like moving or a minor and a major like attacking. Players and monsters have a defence rating that you attack just like any other skill in this game. If your attack roll equals the defense, you hit the enemy. Damage is done in this game based on the type of weapon you're wielding with armor reduces the damage that a character takes instead of providing a bonus to your chance to dodge the attack. This doesn't reinvent wheel, but why fix what isn't broken?

Summary-You can see the Dragon AGE in the Fantasy AGE. That’s not a bad thing as I liked the Dragon AGE RPG and the Dragon Age video games for speed and elegance of the systems. However, my major problem is that the character and players don’t have many options. Sure, it’s fun, but I’d like a bit more crunch to my characters. That said, it is a good, quick, and simple system that you can easily use in any fantasy setting. 4.5/5

Theme or Fluff- It’s always hard to judge generic RPGs for their fluff content. By their nature, there can’t be a significant amount of fluff in this book since any fantasy setting should be able to be played with in this system. But, the book does have nice art, good general fantasy additions, and all the standard fantasy pieces you will need for your toy box. Just don’t go in here expecting Tolkien as this book can’t have that level of detail and still be general enough for everybody. 4.5/5

Execution-This book reads relatively quickly and has a decent layout. I can quickly get through the book, find what I need and make a character in under 10 minutes. I’d like more pictures, and some extra tables to make scanning the book easier like in the talents section. I prefer to see something similar to how Pathfinder does summaries of feats before the full descriptions. The book even has a small bestiary with some monsters to throw at your players. It’s not large, but for the $15 I paid for the book, I’m pretty happy to see a complete system, game mastering guide, and monsters in one book. This book even comes with a small adventure, so you can jump into playing after you buy only this book. Overall, good book with a few minor problems keeping it from perfect. 4.75/5

Summary-Fantasy AGE is going to be an awesome RPG if Green Ronin can bring more out for it. Titengrave is coming out, and that will provide an awesome series of adventures and a setting for this game. That is what this book really misses-the fluff. The crunch is good. It might not be my all time favorite gaming system, but it’s well-designed, thought-out, and easy to use-all the things a quality RPG needs to be viable long term. I’d like more options, but that’s my old D&D 3.5 gamer heritage showing through. As for the book itself, it might not be my favorite layout, but it is a great way to present a games information. If you joined the Fantasy AGE for Titan Grave, you will not be disappointed! 92%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook
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