Sep 162016
 

PrintBrendan Davis from Bedrock Games has been creating a few interesting games in the last few years. Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate is their latest and most ambitious proposal yet.

A game based on the Wuxia genre from China, this is not the first time the company attempt at recreating cultural aspects of a real life society to a game. With Arrows of Indra, Bedrock Games tried with only moderate success to create a game that would integrate Indian culture into an OSR, though it sadly fell short of the mark.

In this case, though, I am much more hopeful as the author is indeed very keen and passionate about the topic.

With over 400 pages of game, this one has a great deal of potential to offer detailed and accurate information, so I thought it would be a good idea to check with one of the authors what the game is all about and what sort of measures they have taken to get the best game possible.

Hope you enjoy the show!

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Sep 152016
 

aha-momentSometimes we have ideas, lots of ideas, and we want them to grow wings and fly to the skies until they reach heights never suspected by humanity.

And then they get nowhere.

Ideas are very hard things to deal with because we love them, we get attached to them and we look after them like they are our children, regardless of how ugly or useless they can be.

So what can you do with them? How can you identify if an idea is any good and worthy of your attention? And what happens if you want your idea to get super high up there but can only get to about eye-level?

Well.. here are some pieces of advice from Jim and I.

Hope you enjoy the show!

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Sep 112016
 

7_icons_campaingBy Endzeitgeist

7 Icon Campaign clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, 7 icons, hmm? Concept-wise, the following have been combined: Dwarf king and crusader (=Dwarf King), emperor and gold wyrm )=Golden One), archmage and priestess (=Hierophant), diabolist and lich king (=Queen of Hell), the three and prince of shadows (= The Three), elf queen and high druid (=The Wild Queen). The Orc lord is still just the orc lord – no combination there.

The new icons do come with new sample options – the servants of the Dwarf King may take the a feat that completely changes the “That’s Really your Best Shot?” racial power: 1/battle as a free action, you can react to being hit with a healing recovery. If the escalation die is less than 2, only at half strength, though. You have to roll this one…because you get half the rolled result as bonus damage to the next attack that hits the enemy. OUCH. That being said, the ability does not work if you’d drop unconscious. The damage this nets is pretty nasty and not something suitable for all 13th Age campaigns, though it should work in the majority.

Paladins of the Golden One may select a new talent which allows of vs. PD golden flame attacks while also providing resist fire – scaling via feats and levels. Solid one. The Hierophant’s followers get feats that allow for the exchange of cleric and wizard talents and the swapping of spells. The Queen of Hell gets a new 7th level necro-spell – that puts a helpful demon/undead spirit into your ally, healing them and keeping them alive…but yeah, it’s friggin’ possession…and yes, this spell can have some nasty consequences and narrative effects. Bards of the Three can take a new talent that adds an effect when you end a song or fail to sustain it: Either a better critical range, lightning damage or a quartered recovery as a free action. A couple of design-aesthetic points: Quartered recovery is not a particularly elegant mechanic. Expanded crit range is nasty and further adds to 13th Age’s massive damage output. Oh, and via feats, you get the improved versions – the three effects don’t feel particularly well-balanced among themselves and The Red = healing feels odd to me.

The Wild Queen’s sorceror followers can Gather Wild Magic via a new sorceror talent, replacing the basic gather power feature – you roll 1d6 and have one of 3 effects, with each tier getting better and respective feats unlocking more. The defensive gathering here is pretty cool and makes sorcerors be a bit tougher; at the same time, it does not really alleviate the fact that gathering magic still is the default MO of the sorceror, meaning you’re only doing cool stuff when not gathering power. My players don’t particularly like this mechanic of the sorceror and neither do I. Your mileage may vary, of course.

The pdf closes with some notes on ancient history in a campaign featuring the 7 icons as well as some questions for the respective races and classes. These range from “useful” to “wasted space”:

“We haven’t tinkered with the chaos mage mechanics as they’d need to be tinkered with for the 7 Icons campaign, partly because Jonathan wasn’t going to welcome one into the campaign. So the real question here is probably: can you and your GM figure out how to translate the icon-mechanics embedded into the chaos mage into a 7 Icon framework?” – Okay…thanks for nothing, I guess? Some contemplations are valid and useful, but why couldn’t the authors be bothered to include suggestions for all? That’s kind of what we buy such books for, right?

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to 13th Age’s 2-column full-color standard and the pdf provides neat re-shaped icon-symbols for the 7-icon-campaign championed here. The pdf has no bookmarks, which is a slight comfort-detriment.

The 7-icon scenario is something I very much enjoy and one can see Rob Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet’s mastery of their own system here -I like this. After all, from a narrative perspective, this means that each icon (minus orc-lord) becomes more interesting: Has e.g. the Dwarf King gone off the deep end? The icons presented here feel less one-note to me, and this is a good thing. The new crunch ranges from awesome to fluff/crunch-discrepancy – I mean, come on: The Red allows for healing, really? I don’t understand the rationale here.

I also really would have loved the new icons to get the full-blown, detailed write-up like in the core book, including “everything’s all right…”-sections and the whole shebang – as written, they feel a bit more rudimentary than what they could have been. Which is jarring, since, especially to me, their more diverse focus would have provided ample space to explore shades of grey and uncommon thematic overlaps. All in all, this is a solid addition to the 13th Age Monthly-series, but one that suffers from the brevity of the format. I can’t help but feel that better questions at the end, slightly more details for each icon, would have made this pdf truly awesome. As presented, it is a solid choice, but by no means required or for every campaign or even a 7 icons campaign- my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

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Sep 082016
 

10_ingdom_seeds_forestsBy Endzeitgeist

10 Kingdom Seeds: Forests clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So what are these kingdom seeds? Basically, you can consider them to be mini village-backdrops – each of the villages comes with a full village statblock as well as information on unique places associated with the village as well as three rumors that can be considered to be micro adventure seeds. The villages are intended to be inserted into a given kingdom (or any other campaign) – thus the name of the pdf.

What makes the villages unique? Well, they exhibit Rite Publishing’s interesting, trademark high-concept ideas: The village of Butteroak, for example, is protected by a double palisade between which assassin vines are planted to keep out the dread predators outside – oh, and if you’re caught breaking the law, you get a dagger, are stripped down and have to run around the village…if you’re not eaten by the vines, you get to leave…chilling combination of might makes right and pragamtism here.

More common, Calddell is defined by its bowyers, while Eristan is known for their syrupy birch beer and Fayebridge, set in a caldera, utilizes its ample bees to defend the town and keep the massive copses of fruit trees fertilized. Garrant is a nasty place, but one defined by unique copper jewelry made with the help of odd leaves, while Maplelea is defined by the less sinister eponymous maple produce. Mournesse may be snowed in half the year, but is a village of survivors that live via lumber and skins. Nulukkhir, a primarily dwarven and gnomish hamlet, is defined by its half-over-grown houses and pig-farms. Soulmerrow, an elven hamlet defined by the massive cinnamon trees, is similarly an interesting place and finally, Whitespell, is a place where charcoral is made by a kind and welcoming populace.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing’s two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked in spite of its brevity – nice! The pdf also sports nice full-color art.

Liz Smith delivers a per se cool array of brief village-write-ups, with the respective industries and raisons d’être providing enough variation to make this a compelling buy for the low price-point. At the same time, I found myself wishing that there was a little bit more detail and more material that reaches the level of uniqueness of Butteroak’s assassin vine palisade – compared to that one, the other hamlets featured fall a bit short. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

10 Kingdom Seeds: Forests is available from:

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Sep 072016
 

purchase_electronicLone Wolf Development has been going for a number of years and Hero Lab has become the go-to application for a lot of people when is about character creation and campaign management.

A hugely comprehensive set of stats and data, it makes the task of managing your character, campaign or adventure easier and with less things to remember.

It has been a while since they released the Pathfinder Adventure Path to help you run your campaigns and now they are releasing modules, smaller adventures with everything you need to keep track of encounters, locations, treasure, NPCs…

I thought a few questions were in order and Colen McAlister was the perfect person for that. Because he knows pretty much everything about Hero Lab and the company.

You can download a free trial for Windows and Mac here.

So here it goes… hope you enjoy the show!

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Sep 042016
 

bad_coverThe last podcast Jim and I discussed a lot about bad graphic design in RPGs and some of the very many reasons for it.

But we didn’t really get to discuss everything (maybe because we can’t really discuss everything without spending the rest of our lives talking about it) so we decided to have another go at it and this time we got help.

Help from someone who is one of the best in the industry, Jonny Hodgson.

As creative director for Cubicle 7, he is the person who has the responsibility to get the company products and games to be the best they can be. And, let’s face it, they are pretty excellent, so I guess he knows a thing or two about his craft.

This podcast is a bit (as in even more) chaotic than usual, but then it is also a lot funnier and rather informative, so I hope you will enjoy it.

Let us know!

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