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Diver

DungeonmasterCal's page

2,203 posts (2,224 including aliases). 8 reviews. 3 lists. 1 wishlist. 6 aliases.



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Not for beginners

****( )

The Swordmaster is the Swashbuckler you've all been waiting for!
The Swordmaster is the Kensai you've all been waiting for!

I'm not going to delve as deeply as EZ did in his excellent review, because that would be redundant. But I will say that this class is the first Dreadfox product I've ever seen, and I was very impressed. I really believe the work and playtesting that went into the class' development was thorough, and quite likely, exhausting.

Now, to business. This class is not for the faint of heart or most novice or inexperienced players. Although the instructions to use the sword arts are clear, it's just the sheer amount of bookkeeping that's necessary. If a player doesn't stay on top of the action in a combat session he might slow the battle down having to look at the character sheet and decide which art to use on his next turn. These actions need to be worked out as soon the player's turn ends, otherwise this will result in the dreaded "bored player dice stacking" phenomenon while they wait for the next dazzling display of death dealing.

But for a player willing to take the time and set up the character sheet beforehand, this is a brilliant class. It's the acrobatic fighter so many others have tried to develop (with varying degrees of success). A lot of the sword arts, in particular the advanced ones, call to mind some of the maneuvers found in the Tome of Battle (a book I love, by the way). The moves are easy to visualize, as well, helping paint a picture of a dashing, darting warrior cutting through foes like stalks of wheat. It's a class that really fits both the Western and Eastern styles of play, making it easy to be a swashbuckling musketeer or a wuxia master of the deadly arts.

The layout and look of the pdf are really well done, too. Parchment toned, with heavily decorated borders and good interior art. While truly only cosmetic, interior design and artwork plays a large factor in my decision to purchase a product. To me it shows the publishers wanted to go that extra step to cap off a really good effort.

I wanted to give this a 3 and 1/2 stars review, because of the complicated nature of this really flavorful, powerful class. But with great power comes great responsibility, so the player of a Swordmaster must be ready at the beginning of each turn with his chosen sword art. But I'll round up to a 4 star rating, simply because I am so impressed by everything that went into the product's creation. And now that I've seen my first example of Dreadfox's craft, I hope to review more of them.

Have at thee, varlet!!


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Finally! A workable, logical spellpoint system!

*****

I'm not going to go into the nuts and bolts like Endzeitgeist already has, because he did a great job of doing so. I'm just going to let my feelings flow and say that among all the SGG products I've purchased (and that's lot) this is by far my favorite. I know folks who have lifted the Psionic point system to use as spell points, and I'm sure that works for them. But this reflects the "classic" magic user's method, even down to the fatigue aspect. Easy to understand rules with clear examples and explanations of how they work, and of course SGG's almost paranormally fast responses to questions anyone might have about the product.

In a nutshell, this is perfect. I can't find a mountain high enough to tell it on. Get online and buy this product. Stop whatever you're doing, unless it's CPR or something similar, and buy this pdf. There are rumors of Print On Demand in the future, but don't wait. Buy it. Print it. Love it. You won't be disappointed.

For my longer and more in depth review, see my review at Big Game Productions Reviews. While you're there, if you're a board games fan, you'll find some reviews of some new games for the whole family.


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Magic Missile just got even more magical!

*****

I'm not going to go into a mechanics breakdown, because that's not my forté. I'm a flavor kinda guy; I like the whole whiz bang aspect of spells and related feats. I will say this about the mechanics; I believe a great deal of thought went into making sure these spell modifications are balanced and useful. Prerequisites for them make sure that not every Tom, Dick, and Merlin can just whip these out on unsuspecting foes. Very well thought out.

But I love the new affects these modifications offer. Magic Missile, for all its iconic standing, has for decades just been the go-to first level spell for any burgeoning arcane magic user. But for all its usefulness it's just streaks of light that smack into their targets, usually with little description from the PC or DM to add any flavor to them.

These modifications make this old favorite exciting for casters to use. Imagine the look on your PCs' faces when the realize that magic missile is about to be cast when suddenly they're blinded and staggering around with bright lights clouding their vision. Or to be suddenly stopped in their tracks as though a Hold Person spell had taken effect. And Legendary Missiles when they're slammed with a single missile that does twice the damage they're expecting. Fun stuff!

I love this product. I wish I knew how SGG turns out one home run after another, because I'd build a mind transference machine then kidnap their whole brain trust. Good job, SGG!


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Trapped in a Faerie Ring

***( )( )

That's why it's taken me so long to write a review. I honestly did mean to write this a long time ago, but for some reasons I'd rather keep to myself I'm only now getting 'round to it.

Sam Hing has a gift. The man just keeps on keepin' on, and the creatures he lays down for our wonderment are consistently interesting and challenging. The creatures contained in "Faeries of the Fringe" come from several different sources and cultures (I love the Gahonga from Iroquois mythology) and seem very interesting, offering new challenges to PC's who have become used to encountering "the same old fey" all the time.

The magic items section is a little disappointing, with only three in the offering, and the only interesting one being the nathair, an animated rope made of woven metal strands that can be used as a double weapon. And likewise, the feat selection is a bit disappointing, with three of the six feats being useful only when using the nathair.

The only two spells leave plenty to be desired. Fang Call is just a reworked Summon Nature's Ally, though I will admit Razor Birds could be fairly useful.

My last thing is the artwork. Let me just say that while I'm no artist (I can't even draw attention to myself, let alone fantastical creatures), the art in "Faeries of the Fringe" is disappointing. The best piece is the River Mother and the worst by far is the Glade Maiden. There are hundreds of artists on deviantart.com who produce beautiful fantasy art who'd offer their work for a song just to get the exposure in publications as widely seen as those published by Super Genius Games products.

This would've been a 5 star product if everything had matched the quality of the creatures themselves. I know space is a premium in these .pdfs (they're meant to be small, I think), which means the magic items, feats, and spells need to be real attention grabbers. These fall short of the mark, unfortunately.


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Better and better

*****

I liked this product right from the gate, and the more I read it, the more I liked it. Like the description says, it's an alternative to the anti-paladin, which is an alternative paladin. But really, this class is good enough to stand on its own with only a tip of the hat to its ancestors.

The first four levels make the Death Knight seem a bit front loaded, but I'll be the first to admit I'm not very good at evaluating the crunchy bits. I'm a flavor guy, which is why I love how the descriptions are generic enough to make this an effortless drop into any setting. The "Low Road" and "The Grey Mistress" all have a sepulchral ring to them without labeling them as belonging to any particular milieu.

The Death Knight makes a perfect villain, possibly even better than the Anti-paladin itself. A being focused on the spreading of death at any cost, even using the risen dead to further his ends makes for a formidable foe if not stopped in time.

So get your affairs in order, and make sure your family will be well provided for after your demise. Death comes not on silent wings or with a scythe gripped in bony hands, but thundering on a black steed in blood stained armor with an army of the living dead at his beckon call. The bell is tolling.


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