Apr 202014
 

jolly_rogersBy Paco Garcia Jaen

Recently I almost got into a conversation about piracy with someone in Google+ who claimed several things I find totally idiotic:

  • Piracy is a great way of publicity.
  • People download illegal movies, music, etc. for many reasons and not because they save money or “because they can.”
  • I download so I can see the game and then decide if I want to buy it or not.
  • It should be legal to copy and distribute the books you buy.
  • Culture should be freely available.

There were more, but those were all the needed ones to get my blood boil. However there was one that truly got me angry. Angry enough that I left the conversation before I said something someone else might regret:

  • “As far as I’m concern the games industry can go bust and I wouldn’t care.”

I believe the gaming hobby has a healthy future ahead. Very healthy. And I believe that because I can see companies becoming more and more professional. And whether people like it or not, Kickstarter and crowd funding are helping a lot. Tons of people are learning what it takes to release a game and that even the launch of a PDF product is a costly affair, both in time, money and resources, not to mention the stress of having to deal with deadlines and feedback.

But we have assholes out there that don’t care. And they think it’s OK to download illegal copies of books.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are assholes in every hobby and every industry, so that’s not new. However that doesn’t mean they don’t damage the industry and the hobby. And it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t call them out for what they are: Parasites. Sucking and consuming from a hobby without giving anything in return.

And no, “great publicity” doesn’t cut it. The only publicity you generate when you promote something by means of piracy is that you’re a douchebag.

Admittedly I am somewhat biased because I know a lot of people in the gaming industry and some of those people I love very much, so I don’t want anyone to do anything that hurt them. Not everyone is as privileged as I am and we care less for things and people we don’t know enough about.

Which doesn’t justify the pirate behaviour.

I haven’t downloaded anything illegal for many, many years, but I have downloaded some stuff in the past. So I am no saint (as I doubt anyone out there can claim to be) but I try to be responsible.

Disagreeing with someone’s price is not “having no other choice” though. If you think a PDF is too highly priced at $20 then don’t buy it. Buy another game for the amount of money you want to spend, but don’t download it illegally.

When you do that, you’re just being petulant and puerile with an attitude of “I want it, I want it I want it and I’m gonna get it regardless.” You are a parasite. Get out of my hobby please.

Actually no… just get off my hobby. Scrap the please. You don’t deserve it.

Downloading the book before you buy to check it out is total crap. There are tons of people out there who write reviews and most publishers give away a chapter so you can take a look before you buy. Feeble, feeble and stupid excuse.

I tell you what. I am going to go to your home and help myself to your food in the fridge so then I can go and buy it in the supermarket if I like it. Yes, of course I’ll replenish your fridge. If I like what I eat and end up buying it, of course!

I agree that culture should be freely available. This is why you have libraries. When you go to the theatre to watch a Shakespeare play you’re not just watching the play he wrote, you’re also watching and paying for the production you can see.

You want free Shakespeare? The library has it. You want a free performance of a Shakespeare play? Do it yourself. Either that or pay the actors and actresses, producers, light technitians… They deserve to be paid for their job.

Just like the game author, designer, layout artist, editor, printers… See why the free culture bit is bullshit?

No? You can’t see it… ah… that’d be because you’re an idiot. Get off my hobby!

And then we have the assholes who simply don’t care.

I’m not going to try to convince them to change their minds. They’re way too stupid for that. And they’re worthless. Yes, sorry human. You’re worthless.

Because anyone who tells me “I don’t care about the livelihoods of the people who work in a whole industry” is a worthless human being.

Get off my planet. Seriously… this Earth would be a lot better off without you. And if you’re reading this and feeling the indignation, explain to me why I should feel differently about you than you feel about the people who write or create the game you enjoy.

No. Exactly. I don’t care if you go to hell either.

So go to hell, and pirate from there.

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Apr 192014
 

pic1778033_t[1]Dig Mars is a quick to play game we found at Spiel 2013.

In this game players must turn tiles to reveal value and gather fortunes that will allow them to win the game. A simple gameplay that promises to make it a good game for beginners, the box’ contents have an average production that, although doesn’t blow away, it does what is supposed to and does it well.

But is the game any good?

Michael and Max had a first play of this game to find out!

Hope you enjoy the show!

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Apr 172014
 

120781[1]By Endzeitgeist

Adventure Path Iconics: Path of Undeath is 25 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving us with a total of23 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

From the get-go, I feel the need to mention something – these Iconics are not for a traditional AP in the sense of Paizo’s published paths. They’re rather intended for the recently released Obsidian Apocalypse setting/campaign toolbox by LPJr Design. While the characters herein might work with Carrion Crown, they are ALL very uncommon races, i.e. those from Obsidian Apocalypse, meaning that they’re slightly stronger than the core races and that they, fluff-wise, tend to be rather monstrous. Personally, I draw a line between gothic horror and apocalyptic survival horror like Obsidian Apocalypse, so that’s something I *THINK* you should be aware of. The characters have been created with 150 GP starting gear and 20 point-buy. The characters also come with information to modify the characters to 15 and 25 point-buy as well as suggestions to improve them over the first couple of levels. Each character comes with a sample quote that gets you in the mood for playing him/her.

The first character herein would be Mik’Quol An-Str-Natk, an Osirian cleric of Zebadiah. Osirians are essentially dark-skinned humans that can tap into necromantic hellfire – which is much less impressive than you’d think – it’s essentially temporary fatigue-causing rays at will that act as disrupt undead against the undead. Per se, I have no gripe against the ability, though the very “cool” name and the rather puny effect would get a chuckle out of my group. Osirians also get some bonuses to skills, improved initiative etc. – but for racial info, please check my soon-to-come review of Obsidian Apocalypse. Saved from the deadly vampiric predators that roam the world of Abaddon by the legendary last, half-burned angel Zebadiah, Mik’Quol may not be the sharpest tool in the guerilla shed of Osirians, but he is an interesting character.

The second character in the array would be an infernal sorceror called Xasturian. As an Infernal, he is essentially one of the red-skinned tieflings of Abaddon and thus has natural claw attacks and makes use of the alternate racial trait that nets him +1 to all saves. The son of a succubus, he was raised by his now disappeared big brother – and as befitting of his bloodline, he is both adept at blast foes and charming the ladies. He also has a habit of speaking of himself in the third person. Generally, a rather cool build, though personally, I probably would have gone with one of the more interesting infernal racial traits. His statblock also suffers from a formatting glitch – the Offense-header is not properly highlighted against the rest of his statblock.

The third character is one I have a certain positive bias towards – why? Because Ilita Faara is a Khymer. What are these? Essentially, they are discorporated, corpse-possessing sentient puddles of psionically-charged, toxic blood that require fresh bodies to sustain their existence. They may also burn their body to enhance their psionics, increasing ranges, empowering powers or even regain power points. The latter has me a bit concerned, I might add. Personally, I’m also not a big fan of the fixed DC for the fort-save they have to make to determine whether this body-burning deals one or two points of con-damage – a more flexible DC would have made more sense to me. It should be noted, though, that at least regarding the psychic warrior (yes, Ultimate Psionics-compatible ) Ilita, this is not too relevant. She is an interesting character, striving to meet the demands of a forgotten code of conduct, buried in her memory by the cataclysmic event that transformed her species into sentient blood. Her choice of weaponry with slings and rapiers is not too interesting – but her power selection is solid with biofeedback and call weaponry, if not too creative. Over all, a nice character that comes with all required pieces of information to run the strange race and that also comes with nice angles for roleplaiyng in her propensity for wind instruments.

After that, the next character would be Treeshearer Snarltooth Swifttongue, a Lykian ranger. Lykians are essentially werewolf-like humanoids. Snarltooth uses an alternate racial trait that allows her to emit a howl 1/hour that can cause her enemies to become shaken. Lykians also get a primary bite attack at 1d3 that also comes with a dex-damaging disease rapid onset disease, usable con-mod times/day. Lykians also get 50% miss chance in concealment (but this increase does not make total concealment!) and generally are adept at stealth, but also suffer from double damage by silver weapons. Born to a Lykian pet of a powerful wizard who had to escape to the wild, her standing in the tribe was precarious and once when her animalistic rage burst forth, she once ripped a bigoted human apart – thus requiring her to leave the tribe behind – a tribe that never liked her in the first place. A gruff and hardened survivor, she makes for an interesting choice, though you should be aware that the Lykian race imho is more powerful than e.g. Osiriani.

When there are a special kind of tieflings, there better be also descendants of heavenly forces and indeed – in Obsidian Apocalypse, these beings are the offspring of the last angel Zebadiah and thus, these beings, known as Exalted, bear their father’s name – like Yeremil Al Zebadiah, the Exalted monk. Among the racial abilities chosen, Yeremil chose for cure light wounds and remove fear 1/day. As a character, Yeremil was born to a farmer’s daughter, who was first ostracized, then revered for her child. Yeremil believes in his preordained destiny -he is fanatic, an ascetic monk…and believes, he has a claim to godhood. He is per se a cool character, though his statblock once again has one header not properly highlighted – this time, it would be “defense.”

Setiphet Sir Lykash, the harrowed fighter, would also be interesting – first, by her race. The most reviled of the races of Obsidian Apocalypse, Harrowed are the results of the union of the living and the living death and thus, these beings are exceedingly hardy and come with some undead-like traits. Setiphet was born from a terrible tragedy involving the death of a true love and violations – but still, her mother managed to love her and provide what few harrowed get – a loving environment where they can develop a sense of right and wrong. Thus Setiphet has developed into an egalitarian champion of the downtrodden – a champion the ignorant fear and loathe.

Finally, there would be a Genesai rogue, Mouse. No, that’s not “Genasi”, it’s “Genesai”. Yeah. Not a fan of the name, but the race’s idea is actually quite awesome – born from the mix of angelic and demonic heritages, these beings contain the blood of both upper and lower planes, marking them with an unnatural aura, but also allowing them to create a blade of conflicting energy, the shattersoul blade, and damage foes with force damage bonuses. A streetchild born into poverty, her fate would have been grim in any other world – in Abaddon, this is doubly true. Thankfully, she was recruited early into a thieves’ guild – unfortunately for her, though, the Boss of the guild tended to lock her up, even though she proved a superb cat burglar. Breaking free, tipping off the guards and no, truly liberated for the first time in her life, she wanders the world. A cool, nice character, though her selections of daggers as weapons of choice isn’t that impressive.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, though not perfect – I noticed a couple of minor formatting and editing glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes with a more printer-friendly version as well. All characters get DROP-DEAD-GORGEOUS mugshots by Juan Diego Dianderas and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Kalyna Conrad and Eric Hindley have created a nice array of characters here, with several diverse backgrounds and interesting histories. That being said, the per se vivid prose tends to feature some minor hick-ups here and there. Another slight issue would be that, if you’re looking for core-race characters, you won’t find any humans here and the Obsidian Apocalypse races aren’t perfectly balanced among themselves – e.g. the Lykians could be considered rather strong and among themselves, the characters have different degrees of efficiency in their choices of equipment, skills, etc.

That being said, the characters per se are well-written, if not as brilliant as some I’ve seen in the line – probably also due to the lack of an explicit campaign starting point, they don’t have much in the way of tying them together – one of the smarter things both this series and similar pregen-collections did. So yeah, get ready for coming up with a way why these guys and gals hang out together. This, of course, is partially the result of Obsidian Apocalypse being highly modular in its primal catastrophe.

I maintain, though, that by writing connections into their background, the value of these folks could have been further increased. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m complaining on a high level here, but another thing I won’t get used to is the amount of blank space – each character comes with 3-4 pages, 1-2 pages for the statblock, 1 full page of background, description etc. and on the final page, the rest of said personality/background information – which amounts sometimes to 2/3 of a page covered, which is nice…but also has instances, where one or two paragraphs are all that is on the page. Yes, this is graphically offset by a greyed image of the mugshot in the background and not TOO aesthetically jarring, but I caught myself thinking that all this blank space could have been used for something – more story, more distinguishing features/mannerisms, more level progression advice, variants…something. This phenomenon did show in other Adventure Path Iconics-pdfs, but in this one, it is especially jarring, with two characters (who have some tantalizing tidbits in their background that could use further development!) sporting using about 1/6 of their final page.

Now don’t get me wrong – this is by no means bad. In fact, It’s rather nice…but still, I found myself just not as moved by the characters as in other installments of the series. As pregens, though, they do a serviceable job that allows you to jump right into Obsidian Apocalypse and thus, I’ll settle on a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

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Apr 142014
 

116416[1]By Endzeitgeist

Wilderness Dressing – Bandits is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC/foreword, 1 page stock art, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Unlike most dressing-pdfs, this one is rather statblock heavy, offering us 8 statblocks ranging from CR 1/2 to CR 4 and kicks off with a page of rank and file bandits, including a d10-table of names and short backgrounds for the bandits. Beyond that, we also get d4 half-elf backgrounds for the CR 1 statblock provided for them, while Half-orc bandits get 5 backgrounds.

We also get 4 sample statblocks for bandit leaders ranging from CR 4 to CR 1, featuring rangers, fighter/rogues, cleric/fighters and a rogue/enchanter as well as 8 sample backgrounds as well as 6 sample bandit groups from EL 3 to 6 and d12 hooks and complications that include having the bandits starving, having bandits having been ambushed themselves etc. – all well-written, as we’ve come to expect from RSP’s mastermind Creighton Broadhurst.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adhere to RSP’s elegant 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked and in two versions, one optimized for screen-use and one for the printer. Both come fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Creighton Broadhurst knows how to create neat backgrounds and the statblocks are nice as well – low level and not a challenge for experienced players or particularly interesting builds, but ones that fit well within the context of the role of bandit lords and easily integrated into a given setting. And yet, the pdf, while useful, feels like it could have used another format – one pdf stats and one fluff or a bigger book – like one that actually also features ambush tactics, traps, concealment etc.

There is nothing wrong with this pdf, but it’s a) short and useful, but not as useful as a collection of encounters (spanning more levels) supplied with fluff tables would have been. Thus, I’ll remain with a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform – unless you need bandits for the lowest levels. As written, this pdf offers nice content, but perhaps could have used another format to truly shine.

Endzeitgeist out.

If you have enjoyed this RPG review, please consider donating a small amount of money to help support this website or simply click the advert below. Every click helps us a great deal!

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Apr 132014
 

legendary_gamesLegendary Games has been creating Pathfinder material for a while now and they do indeed know what they’re doing. Our very own Endzeitgeist has written numerous reviews of their products and more often than not he’s very complimentary, which is a good sing indeed!

It seems that now they’re setting themselves up for something bigger and better than anything they’ve done before and for that they’re in Kickstarter.

They have teamed up with Rogue Genius Games, Kobold Press and Dreamscarred Press to create an amazing looking compendium of books to expand on the Pathfinder Mythic rules. Three books, no less.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Rachel Ventura and Jason Nelson and got to ask them a lot of questions about the project, their company, their future and a lot more.

Hope you enjoy the show!

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Apr 102014
 

pic1727619_t[1]Quantum is fantastic. Let me say that from the start.

I saw this game at Spiel 2013 and spoke to the minds behind Funforge to find out about the game and I was sold pretty much right away. It looked gorgeous, people seemed to be having a great time playing it and it was quick and easy to play.

What’s not to like, right?

Well, I didn’t really know what wasn’t to like because I hadn’t played it, but now I have, which is what this podcast is all about, so we can tell you about it.

Although it’s not without its problems, this game delivers big time and you might (as in should) want to consider getting a copy!

Hope you enjoy the episode!

ITunes-logo15222222222222222222222 Click here to download this episode of the G*M*S Magazine Podcast.

If you have enjoyed this podcast, please consider donating a small amount of money to help support this website or simply click the advert below. Every click helps us a great deal!

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