Friday, August 21, 2009

No more Ultrashort Reviews

Hello all

I just wanted to let you all know that there will be no more reviews coming from me. Truth is, it has been feeling quite a bit like a grind for a while. And I have little tolerance for grind.

So, instead of spending time reviewing products, I will hopefully spend some more time designing products - or failing that, I will spend more time on my own campaign. I am sure my players would like that.

I hope you guys enjoyed my reviews.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Mentalist (Dreamscarred Press)

While this might not come as a shock to some people, I honestly believe that the Mentalist is by far the best and most flexible controller made for 4e - Mike Mearls (or however wrote it), eat your heart out, because the Mentalist eclipses the Psion by far.

Then again all this might have something to do with me being the author. So take the above as a highly subjective opinion ;)

I set out to create a flexible controller that actually controlled. When I started writing the Mentalist, only the wizard was out and I was very far from happy with the wizard as a controller. Sure, he had some awesome dailies, but often it felt as if many of the spells would have been better off doing no or less damage, all while inflicting harsher or more conditions to the target(s).

That was the goal. A more controllery controller. I think that both sub-builds of the Mentalist (Empath and Kinecist) fit that description, although the Empath is (IMO) quite a bit more controllery than the kinecist. Speaking of the builds: With different class features and a clearly defined "red line" through all the powers, you will hopefully experience two builds that feel very differently.

Anyway, I am starting to ramble. I just wanted to invite anyone with questions of feedback or flames to post as an answer to this article. And I am not kidding. If you have bought the Mentalist and hate it, stop by and flame away ;)

Buy this PDF now (RPGnow)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Immortal Heroes (Goodman Games)

The Arch-fiend (Like the insta-skill challenge, but complexity 1 is 4 wins before 3 failures, love the real summon and really like the the flavor), Bladewind Dancer (a few editing issues which leads to powers that are easier misunderstandable, love ability to always target dex or increase die for SA, but WTF is up with basing duration of a power on the amount of SA-dice - can you even deal anything but 5 die at level 26?), Champion of Slaughter (Kinda weak, with his level 30 power being a tad most and only working when he kills monsters that are higher level - but on the other hand, slaughtering strike is just brutal. Brutal i say. On a crit, target saves with -7 penalty or dies. Simple and brutal), Chosen of Mother Hyena (Awesome flavor of the gnoll out to save gnolls from the big bad demons, but sick broken with allies gaining your wis bonus to all their attacks against your quarry. Pack frenzy will get lethal too, giving allies free action attacks as a minor every round.. And Scavenger's Soul, the level 26 power is just broken, seriously? Who doesn't want an easy 400+ temporary hit points?), Knight of the Unfettered Path (Pretty sick that he cant die except by the hand of an unaligned - not quite sure what to think about that - but otherwise a very flavorful destiny), Radiant Master (Undeads, you better stay the hell away), Sidhe (Sweet and nasty), Winterheart Warlock (like the recharge mechanic of the power, just like monsters, but Wintry blast might be too rough - Eldritch Blast which slows and weakens is a tad much for an at-will I think) and finally Wyrm Brother (crazy stuff here too) make up the epic destinies in Immortal Heroes.

Epic destinies are over the top in general and so are these, and yet I am not quite sure what to make of this product. There is some nice innovative (read different from average) mechanics such as the recharge of powers (first used by Dreamscarred Press afaik), the increase in SA-dice and the summoning of real monsters, but there are also some weird stuff, like durations based on stats and a few totally broken powers. Overall I am gonna risk my neck and say that it's overall worth the $5 cost. The flavor of most of the destinies is great, although you might need to tweak a couple or 4 of the powers/abilities presented in this product.
Rating:* * * *

Buy this PDF now

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ultrashort Reviews - now with links!

Lately, I have been receiving quite a few PM's from both readers and publishers. They want links to the products that I review. I have started with the front page, and I will slowly work my way backwards whenever I have time. The links will always be found at the bottom of a review, and either look like this:

Buy Dungeon Master's Guide 2: A 4th Edition D&D Core Rulebook

Or like this:

Buy this PDF

I hope you find these links helpful in purchasing the products you want. And if you like my reviews, feel free to use the links, that way, I get a little something as well.

Jack99 aka Chris

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

What's Mine's Yours (Unicorn Rampant Publishing)

This short 8-page, 1st-level adventure, supposedly the first in an AP, sees the heroes of the story be hired by "The Guild", a consortium of merchants, to investigate have the players be hired in Fort Wood to do the Guild's work. They need to investigate a mine that has been taken over by some kobolds. As it turns out, the kobolds are in reality slaves of "The Guild", and when the heroes return to Fort Wood to collect, they find themselves about has popular as lepers.

Before reading it, I would never have bought this if I had noticed in time who was publishing it. After reading it, it's pretty much the same. There is just too many annoying things to ignore (DC15 endurance checks to stay awake at night; NPC's with unknown curses and diseases; use of wrong monster names in text, while using the right ones in xp-overview; poor editing with half of sentences missing; maps lacking legends, use of non-4e words like "DC17 agility checks", skill challenges that almost look like a parody, etc etc). Now, if the story/plot was great, one could overlook such things, but as it is, it's otherwise fairly below average with straightforward flavored combats without any cool cream or strawberries on top. One of the encounters even makes the Irontooth one look like a walk in the park.

It's a pity, because the idea of small linked adventures is good. But no one should use this as is. Might work as framework for a quick introduction for some.
Rating:* *

Buy this PDF now