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Oathbound 7 advanced the timeline. The setting's fluff is glorious and Eclipse is a superb setting book. Their bestiary is also great. HOWEVER: Oathbound's crunch is BROKEN and unbalanced - with regard to core-races: Understandable. However, balancing among oathbound races is just as horrid... And there are more issues.
And I hate being the bringer of bad news, but don't cross your fingers for more PFRPG-Oathbound. Epidemic Books unmistakenably posted that they'd stop supporting PFRPG on their Hp and would go with their own system...which was when I stopped looking, mainly since I have all the old stuff and don't want to get the stuff again and learn a new system for it.
Still, might have to bite the bullet sooner or later...Oathbound is such a cool setting...
Thanks for the kind words, Mark et al. - the Reveler indeed is awesome: When gaming unobtrusively manages to say something profound about the condicio humana while providing superb, imaginative crunch and combines that with great prose - well, then you have me hooked.
And yes, I think that the class is just that - a look in the mirror not only for me, but for everyone who uses it - whether consciously or subconsciously. Especially true in our digital age.
So yeah, we all have the potential to be revelers - the question simply is whether we are fey-touched enough to unleash it. ;)
I'll focus on "gothic" horror - i.e. psychological horror as opposed to "kill scary stuff".
-Bleak House. One of my all-time favorites. Downside: Works best if your players are in Ravenloft and familiar with the doctor.
-Hour of the Knife. Ravenloft Jack the Ripper. Nuff' said.
-Against the Cult of the Bat God
-Mockingbird (Richard Pett, in "It came from the Stars"; Coincidentally, also the other modules from that book.)
-Ship of Fools by TPK Games
-Dream Harvest by Matt Banach, in Adventure Quarterly #3
-Up from Darkness by Rite Publishing (set in Kaidan)
-To Walk the Dark Road by AAW Games
-End of Autumn by Murder of Crows Publishing may not be much regarding presentation, but it's a great Ravenloftmodule minus serial numbers.
-0onegames' The Bloody Fix - even as a stand-alone perhaps the best haunted house for D&D 3.X
-0onegames' A Pound of Flesh - great urban horror investigation
These were teh first that came to mind.
This FREE pdf clocks in at 14 pages, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 12 pages of content, so let's take a look at what this offers, shall we?
As you can see, this pdf is FREE and about PUZZLES. Yes, puzzles. Remember those? You know the type that, back in the days of 1st and 2nd edition, provided the awesome brain-teasers, the food for your grey matter beyond crunching combat-numbers? Yeah. There aren't many around anymore, which I consider rather a pity - so what are these about?
Essentially, the idea is relatively simple - you have crystals and rods to poke the crystals with. There are three types of rods - one red, one green, one blue.
Crystals can have up to 4 different colors - red, green, blue and clear. Each of the rods has a specific result when poking a crystal. Taking for example a blue rod to poke a crystal will have the following results:
-It makes a red or green crystal blue.
-It makes a blue crystal clear.
-It also affects all adjacent crystals (not those diagonally adjacent) to the crystal touched.
Each rod has a different array of such rules that make figuring the puzzles out rather fun - and easily expandable.
Each Puzzle herein has a base configuration of colored crystals and a goal configuration to reach and the difficulty ranges from child's play to challenging - the penultimate puzzle took my group about 30 minutes to get right and my guys are good at solving logical puzzles. If you as the DM can't be bothered to solve this, sample steps to solve the puzzles are provided, though it should be noted that these not always are the most efficient way to solve these.
Now if this looks rather underwhelming on paper, rest assured that it's actually fun if your players enjoy actually thinking and flexing their mental muscles. I know my players enjoyed it enough to to make me make puzzles like these the basic technology of hotwiring the creations of one particular ancient civilization in my game.
While primarily intended as a mini-game while waiting for the one guy who's late, the 5 sample puzzles provided can easily be expanded by an enterprising DM to include many, many more. A total of 4 pages of dot-cut-outs to represent crystals is provided as well, if your players need a visual cue - for advanced groups, I'd suggest not providing these, since it makes the task slightly more complicated and is a nice memory-training exercise.
Now the pdf also offers some advanced tricks - If your players have too hard a time, provide a multi-colored rod that can change colors - especially nice if your PCs failed to find one of the rods. If you're sadistic (or to reflect botched UMD-checks, there is a variant which changes a random crystal's color every 5 moves. This should NOT be used for the more complex puzzles, though - your players won't be happy about it. Finally, there is a kind of template for a golem who can be tuned to a color, with different special attacks based on the crystal color they're attuned to.
Editing and formatting are very good - while I noticed some minor non-standard rules-language in the end, that is not something problematic or grievous in a free product. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard and the pdf has rudimentary bookmarks.
Okay, I'll come right out and say it - I love this pdf. A) It's FREE. B) It inspired me - the possibilities of this deceptively simple system are endless - more complex patterns of crystals? Possible. A Ziggurat that needs to be solved, with crystals strewn throughout the dungeon, requiring exploration to get the pattern and then solve it? Possible. Creatures that have superb defensive powers (Vastly increased DR etc.) and need to be solved first, requiring attacks with the rods while they try to bash you to smithereens? Possible. The potential of this humble little book is staggering and it simply is FUN. Now granted, if your players don't enjoy logic puzzles, then this might not be for you - but come on, give it a try. Remember those days when gaming was a teaser for the intellect as well as the imagination, from the time to which we point when we tell ourselves that gamers are above average in intelligence. Unleash your nerd and dare to use some fun puzzles - you literally have nothing to lose with these - they're for FREE and well worth 5 stars + seal of approval - an awesome free product by Bradley Crouch.
You can get this awesome pdf for FREE. Follow the link on my home page.
Interjection Games also currently has a kickstarter running for "Strange Magic" - check it out if you're by now bored by Vancian casting and want to see a Tome of Magic-style book done right!
Reviewed first on Endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here and on OBS and Lou Agresta's RPGaggression.
Reposted from Endzeitgeist.com:
Dear Mr English,
first of all: Thank you for being a gentleman and replying to an arguably harsh review in a civil manner. You have my utmost respect for your professional conduct.
Let me address some of your points:
I do not dispute that there is fun to be had with these races; Indeed, as mentioned, for groups that have a very high power-level race-wise, this might work. Might.
You see, the point is, I *get* that you wanted these guys to be awesome and I understand that you had this bunny-ninja picture that you wanted to make. The thing is, certain abilities are VERY powerful. Whether it would be the movement rates, burrow speed or some of the other issues I mentioned.
PFRPG is a system that has an established hierarchy of components that build on another. Later components may reflect back on the first, but this is the general hierarchy: Attribute->Race->Class->Traits/Skill/Feats/Class features.
Now you may have any attitude you like towards balance in your home-game. The moment you design ANYTHING for the open market and charge people for it, you should at least keep a semblance of balance. There are many groups out there and while I get that you won't cater to those who consider Aasimar or Tieflings OP, aiming for at least that level of strength is a courtesy towards the players of Non-Usa-Chan if a campaign elects to use them. It's a matter of fairness. Now how do you manage to get all these cool options into a race sans bloating it? Via alternate racial traits.
You craft a framework of a base race and bear in mind that EVERY member of the race has these abilities. The grocers, the farmers, the mushroom-collectors and lumberjacks. EVERYONE. Then, you take a look at your abilities and judge which, power level-wise, would make for good trade offs. A good guideline here is to bear in mind that no racial ability should outclass that of a class, unless its cost is high. If e.g. your honorable race XYZ receives a cavalier's challenge at level 1 or unassisted flight at early levels, you're making mistakes. Another balance would be weaknesses like racial penalties to saves etc. - preferably those that actually matter.
Now your aasimar example, alas, is flawed - there is a feat available for 10th level characters that grants wings and the variant aasimar heritage-table is primarily intended for DM-use - as it specifically states. Beyond that, it represents a fallacy I loathe; Making something unbalanced and then pointing towards another unbalanced piece (and yes, Paizo makes them as well sometimes - usually to much complaint...See "useless feats" et al.-threads.) does NOT validate the design behind it. The only precedent it gives, is that other designers have botched as well.
As a designer, your task is, (un)fortunately, to create great ideas (which you obviously can!), but also instill them with an appeal that makes them mathematically feasible within the context of a game. Overpowered races and classes tend to result in strife at tables, with players feeling that their characters are being marginalized etc. If your group is mature enough to handle such things, awesome - so is mine. But not all groups are like this and these people are your audience and customers and "balance" is NOT a phantom, nor is it "artificial." If it were, we could just throw all rules out the window and just play make-believe. Balance may not be a monolithic entity, but it DOES exist as an AREA, and your goal should be to target this area.
Your task and vocation is to spread joy via creations like the Usa-Chan and making sure that the potential for problems is minimal, while ensuring the integrity of your vision is what separates a good roleplaying designer for a DM that tinkers something half-heartedly together for his/her homegroup.
The language-component is another thing entirely, but one I'd personally love to not see repeated. I still CRINGE every time I see "Märchen Der Daemonwulf" as a name (not for the content) or laugh about some pseudo-Scandinavian names and a tiny bit of research can prevent that.
Thanks for being civil,
Interjection Games wrote:
Just figured that would be of interest to potential backers on the fence!
(Oh, and looks like we might see a Metronomicon as a backer add-on to a backer add-on... which would be kind of awesome...)
Have you seen this Kickstarter? Strange Magic expands the Ethermancer, Truenamer and Maestro from single classes to full blown systems with multiple class/archetype/PrC-support. AND you can have your own idea made reality!
Interjection Games is truly creating some awesomeness here, and coincidentally, I'm contributing to this book. :)
Ravenloft (If the best authors who really GET the setting and SUBTLE horror took over...Think VRG to the Shadow Fey/Gazetteer-series/Bleak House)