Full disclosure: I received a review copy of this product.
One of the things I love about Letters From the Flaming Crab is their strange and unique take on things. This company takes something overlooked, seemingly dull, or otherwise unexplored and turns it into something intriguing or thought provoking.
I loved the way Hygiene raised some great points about how nail care can affect a disguise, I had my taste buds tickled with magical food in Culinary Magic, and I appreciated the exploration of banks and lending institutions in Coins and Credit.
So What About Murder Bunnies?
This is a bonus letter, which means it was not one of the initial letters scheduled for release in 2016.
The letters released this year have generally been longer than those compiled in 2015, and as such the price was increased slightly. Murder Bunnies is back to the lower page count (clocking in at 9 pages), and priced accordingly at $2.99.
The focus of the letter was exploring the race of trius vrai, more commonly known as lepus hostili or "murder bunnies." It opens with a note from Aldus Emberidge, a sage and advisor unfortunate enough to have been held for a time by these strange rabbit folk. I loved this. It is the stuff of the letters.
The PDF went on to detail the physical descriptions, alignment, society, relations, adventures, and all of the typical things that need to be discussed when introducing a new race. From there it features four different racial archetypes, new racial rules, including trius vrai equipment such as the abduction rope. There's a collection of feats, some neat magical items specific to this savage and creepy race of rabbitfolk (lucky halfling foot anyone?), and then a few spells.
I loved the idea of this race. I think it has a lot of (creepy) potential. And the society and relations write-ups were a lot of fun to read. And then...
(Honesty here) I'm not a big lover of reading mechanics. I know: Pathfinder has a ton of rules, and they are meant to be followed, and you need the mechanics to make the game work. I get it. I get this is a letter about a race. And I was prepared for that.
The archetypes use the kineticist, spiritualist, brawler and druid classes, and I appreciate the way these archetypes suit the race or trius vrai, and also use a variety of class types. The visual of the primal vessel archetype with its manifestation of the ancestral spirit of the trius vrai race is particularly cool, and a neat take on the class.
But the bottom line is that I love the fun twists FCG's puts on their letters. I love how easy it has been to incorporate the ideas from the letters into our game sessions. A bit here, a bit there, heck a whole fair ready to go.
Murder Bunnies fell short. It's "just" a race. A cool race. An interesting race. A race with potential. But it's a race, not an easy to use/adapt/insert Letter From the Flaming Crab.
It did get me thinking about some cool things to do, but I guess the bottom line is I wanted some of these ideas or springboards included. I wanted that little extra that made Letters from the Flaming Crab: Murder Bunnies easy to drop into an ongoing campaign. That made it a Letter.
At the end of the day, I have to give Letters from the Flaming Crab: Murder Bunnies 3.5/5 stars. I'm rounding it up to 4 stars, you know, for purposes of this platform, and because once you mull it over, there's some cool potential. If you are looking for a new race to test out, this is a fun little PDF full of flavor and potential (and some creepy art). If you are looking for a fun and funky letter you can easily drop into your campaign, this PDF is lacking that little something.
After running the first module in this adventure, my kids were begging for more. I actually ended up running the first half of this immediately after the 1st module, and had barely had a chance to read it.
Even with a quick skim while the kids talked about the first module of the adventure, and what they could see in the rabbit hole, this module was easy to run.
We all really enjoyed the encounters, especially the first one which was great for the kids and a family friend with limited English visiting from Japan.
I think my biggest complaint with this module is that the kids are desperate for more and they aren't available yet. The module ended with the players desperately wanting more, and I don't want to make up an ending only to deprive them of the beauty that is J Gray's delightful take on Wonderland. (We took a detour into another Playground Adventure, but they didn't enjoy it as much as these ones.)
Even with my very limited experience as a GM, this mini adventure was really easy to run, and none of the players had any problems getting the hang of the game - and they were all first time gamers. I think it helped my husband also played, and he was able to help his fellow players, but the file gives advice for running this adventure for kids so other GMs shouldn't have any issues when playing with newbies.
I ran this for my kids (4&6) and a family friend with limited English visiting from Japan. While I have experience gaming, I have very limited experience as a GM; this mini adventure was really easy to run, and none of the players had any problems getting the hang of the game - and they were all first time gamers. I think it helped my husband also played, and he was able to help his fellow players, but the file gives advice for running this adventure for kids so other GMs shouldn't have any issues when playing with newbies.
My only complaint would be with the board game (which I should note I loved and was a great way to ease people into RPGs) in that the players aren't staying together, which meant that one of my kids got upset he wasn't right there to help when trouble arose with a fellow player. That said, it was a great lesson in waiting your turn.
I would recommend this to anyone with kids. We are all anxiously awaiting the rest of this adventure path!
I wasn't sure how needed this Letter was, but reading it was quite enjoyable. As always, Letters From the Flaming Crab takes things to a whole new level with great concepts and expanded ideas. The mix and meld of real world information and fantasy setting is impressive. This product is obviously well researched, and explores a lot of great ideas:
- How much do all those coins weigh and how do you transport them? And how many can you fit in a bag of holding?
- What's the bank like? And who runs it?
- How hard is it to find a bank?
- How do you set up a tab at a local establishment, and how big is the tab?
- How do you use letters of credit?
Plus I love the idea of coins from one country potentially being illegal to carry in another (there are lots of great things like this in there).
I noticed a few minor editing issues, but nothing too major.
All in all, I'd say this is a great product and I whole heartily recommend picking it up.
We purchased the original Plot Twist Cards for use in our game and loved them, so it made sense to expand our collection to include this set.
Like other reviewers I find some of the descriptions/uses a stretch from the basic description on the card, but they can still be inspirational. The cards in this second set are more of a stretch than the first set and some of them made us say "huh?".
In our game they are used as player reward for keeping a campaign journal. Provide an interesting and detailed recap of the previous session: earn a plot twist card. You can then cash in the card to help the story along. It puts a little more power in the player's hands, which can be fun and take some pressure off the GM. Cards have been used to reveal a secret child of a powerful empress, have an NPC get kicked out their rented home (and forced to come to us for aid) and avoid disintegration (though sadly the legendary shield was lost in the PC's place).
We have mixed both sets of cards together and since the picture on the back of the cards is almost the same (one has darker lines in the image), it is difficult,thought not impossible, to tell the difference between the sets.
If you liked the first set of Plot Twist Cards, this one bulks up your deck nicely and provides some additional options, but if you are deciding which deck to get, go for the original.