Oct 232014
 

flesh_and_iron By Endzeitgeist

This racial supplement clocks in at 15 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving us with 13 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

We kick of this book with the Prometheans. These guys and gals thankfully have nothing to do with the ridiculously bad sci-fi movie and its clumsily disguised anti-science propaganda, but rather hearkens to the standard set by White Wolf to describe Prometheans as an euphemism for the created/artificial species – -or rather, for golem-like races.

Here, we make a distinction between cobbled-together Flesh Prometheans in the vein Frankenstein’s Monster, who receive +2 Con adn Int, -2 Wis, can sniff out carrion (and those severely wounded), have darkvision 60 ft, ferocity, may 1/day tap into old memories of one of their parts to get an insight bonus equal to their character level to a skill, get +2 to saves versus diseases and poisons and are healed by negative energy and harmed by positive energy as a drawback (or bonus in the apocalyptic world of Obsidian Apocalypse). All in all, a solid race, with the energy affinity making for a nice tip .in the high-powered OA-default environment, this is a bonus, in a regular setting probably a hindrance. Nice take on the Half-undead race.

The second type of Prometheans would be the Clockwork Prometheans – or, to give you a better understanding – brains-in-a-jar in power-armors. Yeah. Awesome concept. These fellows receive +2 Str and Int, -2 Dex are slow, receive resistance 5 against negative energy, lose no hp when they gain a negative level and also receive a +2 bonus to saves versus death-effects, energy drain, negative energy and necromancy spells and SPs. They also receive a +2 natural armor and +2 to saves versus disease, mind-affecting effects, poisons and exhaustion/fatigue-inducing effects. They need non eat, sleep or breathe. They are considered half-constructs and cannot be raised or resurrected. Both receive the Promethean subtype and the clockwork Prometheans are also rather strong (and not suitable for low powered gaming), but fit in well within the context of Obsidian Apocalypse’s high-stakes gaming. That being said, if you don’t bat an eye at the ARG-races, these probably won’t prove too much either.

Gaining weaponiszed weapon-grafts (or if you’re a machinesmith, even mobius weapons), shutting temporarily down all emotion, stopping bleed effects, natural attacks – okay feat options. Now personally, I don’t like the automatic detection of magical auras and undead one of the feats grants – auto-detects tend to result in broken in-game logic. The race comes with favored class options, which suffer in parts from minor glitches – like “Gain a +1/2 bonus to rolls to critical hits while raging.” Yeah, not all crits are meant – there’s a “confirm” missing here. +1 to CMD versus two maneuvers of your choice is cool, though I would have appreciated information on whether these can be taken again with different maneuvers or whether the bonus always applies to the same two maneuvers. Nice to see – FCOs for both Machinesmith and psionic classes.

Now the spirit-of-vengeance-possessed Raijin, absent from the basic OA-book also make a return. They receive -2 Cha, a Die Hard-like effect (with synergy with the feat), +2 to will-saves and fort-saves, treat any part of their body/weapons/armor as +1 for the purpose of bypassing DR and their possessing spirit receives an ego and follows the rules for magic items – smart. Instead of being a base-race, the Raijin is essentially a story-reward, perhaps the result of a story-feat etc.A total of 7 feats accompany the race and allows the Raijin to affect the minds of otherwise immune mindless undead. Slightly annoying – the cool and iconic, if a bit powerful option to control creatures via possession sports quite a number of easily avoidable editing glitches that make the ability slightly harder to understand than it ought to be. Personally, I think this feat requires a kind of daily limit – control of foes via touch as a supernatural ability sans limit is rather powerful even before further augmenting the ability with supplemental feats. A final feat allows you to make necromancy-spells sickening.

The final race would be the Uzamati-and they are weird – they have darkvision 60 ft., are immune to poison, sleep, paralysis, disease, nausea, fatigue and exhaustion and the sickened condition. Uzamati are healed by negative energy as if they were undead, but unlike undead or constructs, they have con-scores and need to make fort-saves. They also heal damage normally, are not immune to mind-influencing effects, are subject to critical hits, nonlethal damage, stun, ability damage and drain and death/necromancy-effects. As beings of pure negative energy, the Uzamati cannot be raised or resurrected and do not need to sleep, eat or drink. They also get +2 to Int, Wis or Cha and Necromantic Phasing as a bonus feat. …which should simply be part of the race write-up, since every Uzamati gets it.

This feat nets you the ability to phase away for cha-level + chosen mental attribute modifier rounds per day. While phased out, they receive half damage from corporeal damage sources., may phase through and enter solid objects, deal +1 negative energy damage with unarmed attacks that cannot heal the Uzamati or other negative energy-healing creatures. Foes trying to perceive you receive a penalty of -2 to perception and using the ability on a plane “That has a strong negative energy makes you vulnerable to all damage.” So…does this mean double damage from everything? +50% damage? What constitutes strong negative energy? The planar trait for strong negative energy affinity? Don’t know. There are also 4 traits – one of which makes it possible to be healed by positive/negative energy normally…which is weird, for the racial traits specify that these do work normally on you. Something went wrong here. For just a feat, channel energy can have all dice upgraded to d8, which is too strong and phased out damage-increase to d6 is okay, as is affecting incorporeal creatures. Phasing through walls is also awesome.

The Uzamati as a people of artificially created body-simulacra for negative energy-bound souls are a downright awesome concept. I also like quite a few of their rules and the phasing is cool – but since it’s essentially an outsourced racial power, it does far too much at once – had this feat been split up into multiple feats and the race studded with some vulnerability, it would be utterly awesome – as written, it is an overpowered beast that imho even transcends the power-level of the strong Obsidian Apocalypse races with the vast array of unnecessary immunities. Fixable? Sure.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, but not glorious. There are quite a few glitches in here that could have been easily caught, but formal ones and in the rules-language. The pdf adheres to a drop-dead-gorgeous 2-column standard and the ridiculously awesome artworks, all of them originals (though two have been used before in Obsidian Apocalypse) make this one of the most beautiful pdfs out there, especially for the low asking price. The pdf has no bookmarks, which is a minor comfort detriment.

Authors Rich Redman and Wendall Roy have created an array of truly inspired races that all breathe high-concept awesomeness. The balance in respect to the Obsidian Twilight-versions, where available, has been significantly mproved, though imho, there are still some hick-ups and feature-bloat, especially with the Uzamati, to be found here. These races are not for low-powered games, be aware of that. While the Uzamati could use a nerfing, the other races are high-concept and damn cool. On the downside, we get no FCOs for the Uzamati and no age, height and weight tables for ANY of the new races, which is a major detriment in my book – especially knowing how much the massive Prometheans weigh would have been more than crucial; Raijin and Uzamati can be explained by just adhering to base creature/human defaults.

This pdf has all the makings of greatness and awesomeness and falls short by a small margin – with the Uzamati’s balance-issues, glitches and missing age, height and weight tables conspiring to make this slightly less than its awesome concepts deserve. My final verdict will hence clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform due to the high-concept, cool ideas and with an explicit recommendation if you’re looking for strong races, are willing to do a bit of crunch-balancing or just in love with the cool concepts.

Endzeitgeist out.

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Oct 232014
 

126930[1] By Endzeitgeist

This Mythic Mini clocks in at 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page content, so let’s take a look, shall we?

This time, we’re all about feats of protection, so let’s check this out!

Okay, unsurprisingly, this pdf offers mythic versions of the “bodyguard” and “In Harm’s Way”-feats, with the former not requiring you to threaten foes to help your allies and even use mythic power to reach them, whereas “In Harm’s Way”‘s mythic version allows you to use AoOs to intercept attacks, taking the effects upon yourself – this means no AC-tanking per my reading, though the feat could use some tighter wording as to whether the intercepted attack has to hit your AC as opposed to the one of your ally. While this remains a slight blemish, I did enjoy what these two feats do – i.e. offer a mythic version of the base feats that indeed feel distinct in what they do, not just like some generic mythified feat.

The further increased AoE of “combat patrol” doesn’t look like that much on paper, but in-game is rather significant – especially the further reach-increases with higher tiers. Personally, I’m not too big a fan of the first increase by +5 feet at 5th tier, but that may stem from being very conservative with reach and the like – too many deadly builds possible that way. “Coordinated” and “covering defense”‘s mythic versions as feats make for great defensive feats, with the former especially breathing the spirit of military units and scenes like the rain of arrows in 300, so yeah, neat.

“Defensive Weapon Training’s” mythic version allows you to further increase your prowess versus the respective weapon group ad maneuvers initiated against you with it, even allowing you to share half the bonus granted by the feat with allies. Favored Defense on the other hand allows you to extend the bonus granted to adjacent allies – there’s an insane component here, though. The bonus granted by favored defense is a dodge bonus and the ability to, upon taking the feat twice, extend the bonus over a significant range would allow a unit of rangers to stack it through the roof. Not something that happens too often, admittedly, but still – could have been slightly more elegant here.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to Legendary Games 2-column full-color standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Jason Nelson has taken a difficult topic with defensive feats, mainly because the game per se isn’t that great in this regard. That being said, the mythic versions of these feats make sense, often vastly surpassing their base feats in tactical capabilities. While generally, teh feats are vastly superior to the base ones, they do stumble here and there slightly, even when taking the increased power-potential of mythic gameplay into account. Still, a nice, fun array of feats for a low price and hence well worth 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

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Oct 222014
 

basic-pack-walk-to-jesus-150x150[1] By Paco Garcia Jaen

At Spiel I saw a game called “Walk to Jesus”. Yeah, it is a very Christian game with a Christian theme, Christian teachings and Christian people behind it.

To start with I was indifferent about the game. I am not into organised religions, have no affiliation with Christianity whatsoever and I respect the choices people make to believe in whatever they want. I just don’t care.

Unless anyone tries to impose their religion on me or do something in the name of their religion that affects me, like trying to stop me from marrying my husband or tell me that being gay is immoral or sinful. Then I care. A lot. Because bullshit.

Anyhow. I let this game pass me by but I decided to tell a friend of mine during lunch as I know he’s religious and thought he’d appreciate it. Funnily enough he wasn’t interested either. That surprised me!

His reason was a pretty good one, I have to say. If the game is a bad one, people will not just be put off the game, they could be put off religion too. If a bad experience with a bad game is all people have to relate to the theme with, then I can imagine that to be true. And all the games he’s tried with a Christian theme have been pretty bad.

“But what if it was a good game?” I thought. I spoke to my hubby about it and we decided it’d be a good idea to go around their booth and check the game. Also, as I thought about it, it got to me that they had to be very passionate and devoted to take the risk of creating the game and coming all the way to Germany to promote it. Although I don’t care for their religion, I do respect people who have a passion and a belief and put their necks on the line for it (without doing stupid things…)

We headed to the booth to find when we arrived that the game was, in fact, pretty crap. A roll and move dice with a “help the opponent to win the game because that’s the moral of Christianity” sort of gameplay.

I actually got a bit angry. Not enough to say anything, but enough to walk away and not do the interview or talk with them.

That wasn’t a game. That was propaganda wrapped up as a game. Nothing but an attempt to recruit people into religion without a care for the game they were meant to promote. They could have been giving away motivational postcards just as they were selling the game. It would have made no difference to what they were trying to do.

Now that I have a problem with.

They were trying to manipulate people who are into games to come to their religion by disguising said propaganda under a veil of game. They weren’t interested in giving a good gaming experience or even a good game. They didn’t care about the people enough to make the effort to create a game worth playing. They just wanted to get more acolytes.

That’s unethical. Half truths and devious plots to attract people is what I expect from politicians, not from people who pretend to uphold the flagship of morality and virtue.

I don’t care if people want to talk about their religion through their games. I don’t care if you want to put your religion on my table and have a game or two; I would play your game. But at least have the decency to create a good game. Create an experience in which your religion is not the only thing that matters and at least attempt to care about or for me if you want to talk to me through your hobby.

Otherwise you are wasting my time. That and also reinforcing a lot of negative stereotypes.

If that is all your religion has to offer… thanks but no thanks.

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Oct 212014
 

127677-thumb140[1]By Endzeitgeist

This pdf clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page how-to-use, 1 page ToC (including CR/MR), 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 24 pages of raw content, so let’s take a look, shall we?

Now while this book is intended to provide additional adversaries to the Wrath of the Righteous AP, it should be noted that more so than many other Adventure-path-plug-ins, this book and the villains herein do in no way need this connection and can easily be introduced into non-AP contexts – especially due to not making that heavy use of the Mythic Adventures-rules, meaning that even non-mythic campaigns get their due with this pdf.

So what kind of adversaries do we get herein? Well, the first would be the Unique Quasit-bound demon sorceror Terracg p nmvczy. No. Not a Typo. I didn’t fall asleep at the keyboard. In a cool twist, this creature’s name is also written in a strange , glyph-like font that makes identifying its proper name hard. Now the catch is – this creature is the fragment of a greater demon and is usually encountered as something saved from demons – becoming a kind of foul-mouthed sidekick for its mortal masters, one with a keen intellect…and one that is nigh impossible to get rid of. BRILLIANT. The additional hooks provided further cement this creature as something I will gift my PCs with…

Koyo-Shojaxus is a more straightforward adversary – at CR 13, the babau martial artist 7 makes for a deadly adversary and a vile variant of the wandering martial artist-trope. Neat! The CR 13 succubus gunslinger (mysterious stranger) Lilevyrrin gives new meaning to the moniker of femme fatale by pairing both deadly prowess and her succubus heritage’s “needful things”-style manipulation-capabilities into a glorious package of mayhem. And that’s before her Glabrezu lover/mortal enemy enters the fray…

Malcaedix, the shadow demon rogue, takes one of the most powerful creatures for its CR and amps it up to CR 10, adds a new feat for better possession and makes for a strange creature – unlike many demons, she is subtle. She actually cares for her hosts and does her best to eliminate threats to her host…which may include any and all people said person cared about or even those that mildly offended the creature. As a kind of dark guardian angel, she also doesn’t deal well with rejection, meaning you’ll better be able to fend her off if you question all the good things that happen to you… Awesome and the potential for actual deep, psychological conflict and moral questions as well as roleplaying is vast here.

Ser Meridrand Palisard, the disgustingly fat human antipaladin/low templar with an implanted demonic graft for a stomach makes for a truly vile and disgusting cannibalistic foe, who further adds to this imagery with his equipment -a disgusting, bloated individual, a fallen champion and deadly to boot at CR 15, this erstwhile paragon is a great adversary for a “Through a mirror, darkly”-type situation, when the PCs realize how fragile the sanctity of their alignment truly is and how easily they, too, can fall into the clutches of the Abyss and its servants.

Mons’ Verix, the CR 16 Glabrezu-summoner also has a very cool twist – his eidolon looks like an angel. With this tool of deceit, the creature may fool even the most stalwart of heroes and lead them on the first steps of the downward spiral of temptation if played properly – a cool idea indeed ad with all the magic capabilities of the creature, one supplemented by the proper magical oomph! As a minor complaint, the final page of his entry is half empty – more story could have easily fitted in there.

Now so far, we’ve had next to no possession – so what about a demon-possessed inquisitor/assassin build with the erstwhile witch hunter Count Ulus VonKaval? It should be noted that the count is the one character herein who does not get an awesome, original piece of full color artwork, but that does not detract from this example how pride vo make even the mightiest fall.

Finally, at CR 15/MR 6, Dasnikynlin, the mythic coluxus demon with the awesome artwork, its mesmerizing drone, charisma damage AND bleed-damage causing bite, death attack and vicious mythic spell-like abilities makes for a powerful final entry, though one that could have used a unique story-expansion herein.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches herein. Layout adheres to Legendary Games fiery, slightly orange-tinted standard for Wrath of the Righteous-plug-ins and the pdf comes with bookmarks for your convenience. The artworks deserve special mentioning here, for almost all adversaries receive their own, glorious full-color pieces, sometimes even on a full-page spread.

Alistair Rigg, Todd Stewart, Clinton J. Boomer and Nicholas Logue – notice something – yeah, these guys have in common that they know how to WRITE. I don’t mean “write a supplement”, but really WRITE. Evoke moods, atmospheres and multilayered characters. It’s easy to delve into the “wants to destroy everything due to being EVUUUL”-trope with demons and the adversaries herein almost universally manage to avoid this, instead being round, nasty individuals that make sense in a twisted way, providing roleplaying opportunities aplenty, not just within the context of Wrath of the Righteous.

In fact, the writing is so good that you really, really want to use these villains – almost immediately. This miniature rogue’s gallery definitely provides some of the most depraved adversaries I’ve seen in a while – and that is meant as a compliment. But that wouldn’t be enough if their statblocks were bland or boring. They aren’t. While not all statblocks reach the level of complexity I tend to enjoy in NPC-builds, a couple of them do and that, coupled with the awesome writing, is enough for me. Add to that the slight touches – like aforementioned glyphs, like demonic trysts gone wrong, the evocative adventure hooks – and we have a grand collection of villains, well worth 5 stars + seal of approval – legendary indeed!

Endzeitgeist out.

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Oct 132014
 

superhumanSuperhuman: Rise to Power is the super hero based boardgame by newly created company Thought Tank Games LLC, from Alburquerque, NM.

Superhuman: Rise to Power puts the players in the shoes of heroes saving a city or villains trying to destroy it. Which is really cool.

Shawn Avery, Forest Agee and Ross Sanchez are the three minds behind the game and after having seen the prototype they very kindly sent me for review, I had to have a chat with them to find out more about where the game comes from and where it’s going.

And I was really pleased to have spoken to them. As I hope you will too!

Hope you enjoy the show!

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Oct 072014
 

19288530Fire in the Blood is the second book Erin M. Evans has published for the epic series of “The Sundering”.

The Sundering is a collection of novels by some of the best writers out there in which the Forgotten Realms suffer an enormous transformation to bring the world of Dungeons & Dragons into its most recent edition.

In this installment of the series, Farideh reaches Cormyr as the war the Sundering brought is raging across Faerun.

Needless to say we spoke at length about the book, but we also talked about her relationship with D&D and with the rest of the fantastic writers who have participated in this fantastic project.

Oh, and there is a bit of charity that Erin is taking part on and it sounds *amazing*! Please please please visit the Extra Life website and help as much as u can.

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