Wolfgang Baur wrote:
Yep. He's talking about me. Although I don't do much stick poking. :)
I happily played 1E for over a quarter of a century. Then the recession made all but one of my players leave the state to find employment, and for the first time ever I actually had to try recruiting players. I figured most prospective players would be more familiar with the then-current 3.5 edition than the old 1st edition, so I bought a bunch of 3.5 books and updated my long-running homebrew world.
Only a few months later, 4E was announced.
I like everything I've seen of Pathfinder, but I just don't have the money to go on a more than one massive book-buying-binge per decade. So, for a few more years at least, I'm sticking with 3.5.
However, because Paizo wisely decided to make PF backward-compatible, I have purchased a decent number of PF suppliments to use in my 3.5 game. Thanks Paizo, you guys are great!
I thought it was a very well written article, displaying a lot of thought and imagination. Also I was quite pleased that it was an in-depth treatment rather than a wimpy little paragraph like the archetypes in the official rule books always are.
Regarding the Witchblade comparison... Well, yes, it seems obvious that Witchblade was the inspiration. But y'know what - that's perfectly fine! The entire FRPG industry exists because some guys in Wisconsin were inspired by the works of Jack Vance, Michael Moorcock, and J. R. R. Tolkien. (Remember, the spells-per-day magic system is even referred to as "Vancian," after Jack Vance.)
I suppose it would have been nice to add a note that said something like "With thanks to Top Cow comics, whose stories inspired this article." But I hardly think such a note is *required*.
I was one of this project's Open Design patrons, so I had the privilege of seeing the project grow and come together. Armed with this foreknowledge I knew it was going to be really good... But I'm still astounded at the magnificence of the finished product!
There are lots of new ideas in Midgard. I don't just mean new monsters (although there are plenty of those) or new magics (even though it has plenty of them too), but really genuinely *new* *ideas*. Stuff that will rock your game world (literally).
I find it unique that there is a list that uses the d30. Being a fairly new RPG'er I have never run across a use for that particular die yet.
Heh... As it happens, I own a 30-sider but I hardly ever use it. Not only are d30 tables scarcer than hen's teeth, but with thirty sides it's darn near spherical - it takes forever for it to come to a halt!
Richard Pett wrote:
Every time you mention your "tureen of sprouts" I keep reading it as "tauren of sprouts".
I suppose a Tauren of Sprouts might be some sort of druid character from World of Warcraft. Good luck on getting that through airport security!
John Benbo wrote:
I was supposed to be reading John Kotter's "Heart of Change" last night for my leadership class but instead found myself reading Pett's "20 Local Dares" and wondering how many of this he envisioned through personal experience.
You did the right thing. Kotter was a feature in my leadership classes too, and I'd say he deserves four stars at most. On the other hand, Pett is a full five-star author.
So came out one star ahead!
Waitjustaminute... John P. Ling is Zherog's Secret Identity? Ooh, I feel like I've just had a peek under the Lone Ranger's mask!
I too was worried that "The Elven Archer" would be just another "Elves are better than you" article, but then you gave us Halfling Knife Throwers. How cool is that! Halfling Knife Throwers. I like them so much I'm going to say it again:
Oh yeah, definitely cool.
Overall I think this is the strongest issue yet. Every article, absolutely every single one, was top-notch. I really can't imagine how the Spring issue could be any better, but I'm already itching to find out. :)
Wolfgang Baur wrote:
Alas, my FLGS isn't um... all that welcoming. The owner seems like a nice guy, knowledgeable and friendly, but its in a bad part of town with crummy parking and it smells funny! I routinely drive forty miles past the local store to a mall in the next county over. Or, better yet, thirty additional miles to Sci-Fi City in Orlando. Sci-Fi City (formerly Enterprise 1701) is the revered granddaddy of all central Florida game stores, still going strong in its forth decade.
Agreed! In fact, even the 4E stuff is usually quite useful in my half-breed 3E/PF game. For example, the wonderful werewolf article in this issue: The stat blocks are 4E but most of the article, at least three-quarters of it, is aggressively system-neutral. Even the explicitly 4E stat blocks provide quick and easy inspiration for stuff to do in my campaign..
I would say, regardless of the "official" article count, at least 90% of this issue is directly PF compatible! The other 10% is compatible with only the tiniest amount of work.
Since I normally tend to focus pretty narrowly on RPG's, I probably would never have given this book a second glance if I hadn't been sent a review copy by KQ.
And oh my, what I would have missed!
I enjoyed this book every bit as much as I enjoy Open Design’s regular RPG publications - maybe even a little more!
I tried to write my review, as much as possible, to target others who might have been as narrow-minded as I was; to tantalize and coerce them into taking a second look. I made sure to include things in my review that I would have found enticing had I read them in someone else's review.
Also, this book has given me a new hobby: Toy companies are already starting their annual advertising run-up to Christmas. I've noticed that, since reading this book, I now can't resist "grading" the toys I see in the commercials. How simple or complex is it to play with? Does it have the possibility of different levels of play? Does it follow a solitary or interactive model? Does it have replay value? So far I haven't spotted any new toys that look like real winners, but I have noticed a few that I think are going to be real losers.
If anyone reading this post is still undecided about purchasing The Kobold Guide to Board Game Design, let me say this: Stop hesitating and buy it.
Yes, it is absolutely a system-neutral article, useful in any RPG environment. I really liked your step-by-step instructions on setting up a mystery.
One of the really great things about giving players a mystery like this is that they are not tempted to solve it by using their normal kill-things-and-loot-the-corpses approach. Most urban adventures center around stuff like "the mayor is really a doppleganger", or "someone in town is a werewolf", all of which invite the players to use combat as their first step in resolving the issue. That's really no different from a typical dungeon encounter, except the bystanders are wearing nicer clothes. The best urban adventures should (in my opinion) save the violence for the Final Showdown.
The current adventure arc in my campaign should be wrapped up within a few more weeks. On the strength of this article, I'm planning a mystery as their next challenge.
Marc Radle wrote:
I liked it quite a lot. This is the first time in thirty years that I've seen a viable, playable version of the character type from the movie. Making it a feat instead of trying to build an entire twenty-level base class around it was pure genius!
I totally agree with Tower of the Lonely GM: "Small Treasures" is a wonderful addition to the game. It definitely falls into the “why didn’t anybody do this before” category.
Overall, “Alleys of Zobeck” put me in mind of the old Judges Guild products. (Judges Guild was, I think, the first non-TSR company to produce supplements for D&D.) Their “Ready Ref Sheets” booklet was also an eclectic mix of interesting and useful stuff, which I still occasionally use even today (most recently, about two weeks ago). May Alleys of Zobeck have an equally long and useful life!
Over a span of quite a few real-life years (I'm stingy with XP) my players achieved and passed 20th level. I ran a sandbox style game, and although it was very different from low-level dungeon crawls (which I did occasionally miss), it was quite a lot of fun. Finally broke up when several of my players had to follow their jobs out of state.
I wish I could say I had some special trick or insight. Maybe it worked because we all kind of "grew into" the levels together.
Anyhow, I've got a new set of players now (although we could use one or two more in the group). Everyone is still low level at this point. I'll let you know how its going in a few more years...
On a side note, it is *really* hard to get players to stop calling it D&D. I started running PF for my daughter and some younger friends, and they had no preconceptions. Then, one day, someone's dad said "Oh, you're playing D&D." Now they all call it that.
Well, D&D does have a thirty year lead when it comes to what an FRPG should be called. Kind of like "Band-Aid", "Kleenex", and "Asprin". All of these are (or in Asprin's case, were) brand names. However, everybody uses them as generic descriptions now-a-days.
My problem with unlimited 0th level spells isn't that its "broken" in terms of Create Water or any other spell... Rather, that its broken in terms of internal consistency: Why are 0-level spells treated differently from any other level of spell? It just doesn't make any sense, and therefore spoils my "willing suspension of disbelief".
If a first-level caster can have unlimited 0th level spells, why in the world can't a twentieth-level caster have unlimited 0th through 8th level spells? Or at least unlimited 1st level spells, for goodness sake!
I'm not against the idea of spellcasters having some sort of unlimited-use minor magic. However, I would have liked it much better if the unlimited-use powers hadn't been lumped in with limited-use spells.
Maybe they could have done something like this: "By the time they have reached 1st level, spellcasters have learned how to call upon some minor powers at will. A 1st level caster gets to choose 5 powers from the Minor Powers List (the 0th level spell list) which the character can use at will, once per round, as often as desired. Every time the character gains a level, he/she can choose 1 additional power from the list..."
How about that? Now they're not spells, so the fact that they are unlimited doesn't clash with the fact that spells are limited.
As for 16 straight hours of casting: "The use of Minor Powers does exert strain on the caster, even though they are far easier to use than spells. Using Minor Powers continuously for long period of time causes exhaustion just like hard physical exertion. The rules for physical exhaustion are found on page..." I don't remember the page number, but I know I've seen it somewhere in the 3.5/PF rules.
I am not actually a fan of the Magus class itself. I like "strongly typed" character classes, where each class has its own clearly defined territory. This class seems to be a blend of two classes that could actually be better done with a multi-classed fighter/wizard combination.
However, I really liked Mr. Trent's feats! In fact, as I said in my review, I trust his feats to make my game more interesting without breaking it. I would not ban my players from using the Magus class, but if anyone expresses an interest in it I would encourage them to consider fighter/wizard instead. And I will strongly recommend this set of feats to them. Actually, I think a F/W character with Mr. Trent's feats would be a *better* Magus than an actual Magus.
Actually, the best way I’ve ever found to combat any “game breaking” aspects of high-level play is to let the monsters occasionally do to the players exactly what the players are doing to the monsters. Once the players have weathered a scry-n-fry attack, they will come up with all sorts of creative and imaginative defenses… Which the next BBEG can also use.
Of course, not every villain will be warded like this, but it only takes a couple of spectacular failures sprinkled in with the successes to make your players more cautious. Thereafter, if they take the time (and risk!) to infiltrate the evil villain’s lair and sabotage his defenses to ensure that their next scry-n-fry will work, then their next scry-n-fry *should* work - they’ve earned it!
Just thought I should point something out: One of the reviews mentions that “Crush Windpipe” (a Rogue talent from page 15) is overpowered because it takes away the victim’s ability to speak or use breath weapons until the victim is healed.
Fortunately, that reviewer missed part of a sentence: The effect lasts for two rounds OR until the victim receives healing, whichever comes first. I certainly agree that having no time limit would make this a badly broken rule, but with a two round limit it becomes quite acceptable.