Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Unbroken (One Bad Egg)

I have two words for you guys. Must. Have. The Unbroken is a paladin paragon path simulating a paladin that has broken with his god, but wants to do things that must be done, be they good or evil. Thematically, it’s hardly breaking new ground, but it is IMO a very important option to have in your campaign. But the best thing about this short PDF is that it gives you a smart way to not only handle the paladin code introduced, but that you can easily use it with the normal paladins and their relationship with their god. Hell, it could fit for any character that wants some sort of code. At $1.49, it’s worth every penny several times over.
Rating: * * * * * *

DCC54 Forges of the Mountain King (Goodman Games)

FotMK is an oldschool dungeon crawl if there ever was one. No roleplay, many rooms, many monsters in small rooms (9 monsters in a 3x5 room!!) and extremely lethal traps, all of it sprinkled with a riddle and an ancient evil. Liking that is a matter of taste I guess. I <3 the lethal traps, which incidentally are very fitting with the whole dwarven theme, but the lack of room to move around during many of the fights create some very static encounters in 4e. There are some random editing (?) issues, like an item power that should be a free action and not an immediate reaction, and also a referral to the wrong room at a point, but overall, I didn’t notice any huge problems on my first read-through. I must however mention how very impressed I was with the int 1 zombies’ ability to perform a circling move, in order to be able to ambush the players from behind. That’s putting very little to very good use ;)
Rating:* * *

Anthropophagi (Alea Publishing Group)

As I see it, there are several issues with these monsters. First of all, the crunch seems a bit off. Maybe it is just me (I haven’t compared to other than a few monsters), but 1d8+4 and 1d6+4+weaken for a mere level 4 brute seems nasty. Also, the aura will be a killer, for players that go below 0. The Marauder is also a bit odd, with an immediate reaction that is a bit cryptic. Also, I find the fluff hard to swallow. I mean, in what kind of world are official papers granted to undead, so that they can prowl the battlefield, looking for corpses. Maybe it fits Alea’s world, but it seems hard to fit in a “normal” campaign world.
Rating: * *

The Linotaur (Adamant Entertainment)

Maybe it is just me, but, as mentioned when I talked about the Apelord, I have always had a thing against talking animals as player races. The Apelord won me over, so I thought, why not expand that even more. However, four legged talking animals are just not doing it for me, apparently. I never was a fan of the centaur as a player race. I guess there is nothing wrong with the Linotaur per say, aside from the fact that I would probably not have chosen to copy-paste the gnoll’s racial power, ferocious charge. Originality is a great thing. While I won’t allow my players to play one, I kinda like the fluff and feel of the race, so I will most likely use it and create some barbaric tribes roaming the savannahs of the south.
Rating: * * *

Wraith Recon (Mongoose Publishing)

Wraith Recon is a supplement for all that want the opportunity to run a different campaign. With Wraith Recon, your players will be able to play a different brand of heroes. Here nothing matters beyond the next mission. No one cares who you kill, as long as you get the job done. Looting every creature or running around searching every single room is a thing of the past, as all you need will be provided. All you need to worry about is putting together a kickass team, and getting ready to follow orders.
Wraith Recon provides a really good framework for making a campaign where the players are part of an elite strike team. With some sort of game-mechanics innovation in it, it would have scored higher, but sadly there is none. Also, do not expect too much from the art…
Rating: * * * *

Forgotten Realms Player’s Guide (Wizards of the Coast)

I am one of those people that the idea of breaking campaigns up in a book for the DM and a book for the players is a great idea. The FRPG gives the players all the information they need to create a character in the Realms. You get two new races (Drow and Genasi), a new class (Swordmage), Realm-specific feats, and a host of paragon paths, also specific to the Realms. You also get an overview of all the major areas of the Realms, and the knowledge someone native to those parts should have. Even if you do not run a FR campaign, the book is worth the money. The drow and genasi could appear in any campaign, and the Swordmage is an awesome gish-class, even better when multi-classing into wizard. The paragon paths are easily made more generic to fit any campaign.
Rating: * * * * *

Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (Wizards of the Coast)

After reading this book was the first time in more than 10 years that I have considered running a campaign in what was one THE campaign of choice for me. The book does a great job at describing the Realms, in a short and to the point way. It gives you an awesome framework for a campaign, with lots and lots of plot hooks, without going so much into detail that you have no room to maneuver. If you are one of those who think a campaign book should tell you everything, down to the price of inns in the different wards of Waterdeep, or the color of Manshoon’s underwear, this is not a book for you.
Rating: * * * *