Bullet Points: 6 Nonmagic Special Qualities for Weapons (PFRPG) PDF (based on
Rogue Genius Games
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Sometimes rules supplements read like the world-setting bible of frustrated novelists. While solid world- building is a useful skill, you don't always need four paragraphs of flavor text to tell you swords are cool, magic is power, shadows are scary, and orcs are savage. Sometimes a GM doesn't have time to slog through a page of history for every magic weapon. Sometimes all that's needed are a few cool ideas, with just enough information to use them in a game. Sometimes, all you need are bullet points.
Bullet Points are a line of very short, cheap PDFs each of which gives the bare bones of a set of related options. It may be five spells, six feats, eight magic weapon special abilities, or any other short set of related rules we can cram into about a page. Short and simple, these PDFs are for GMs and players who know how to integrate new ideas into their campaigns without any hand-holding, and just need fresh ideas and the rules to support them. No in-character fiction setting the game world. No charts and tables. No sidebars of explanations and optional rules. Just one sentence of explanation for the High Concept of the PDF, then bullet points.
The High Concept: Six new nonmagic weapon special qualities (similar to brace, reach, and trip) to vastly expand the options a campaign has for unusual or bizarre tools for killing things. This is the latest in a series of products to celebrate the "Summer of Bullets" event!
The qualities included are:
Back Spike: A back spike weapon is a weapon that has a pick-like spike as a counterweight, allowing you to do their normal damage type or piercing damage.
Basket Hilt: A basket hilt weapon increases your CMD against disarm and sunder maneuvers made against the weapon, and gives you a shield bonus to AC when taking the full defense action.
Flamberge: A flamberge weapon has an undulating, wavy pattern along its length, allowing you to attack your foes when using the parry class feature.
Parry Hooks: Parry hooks (also called parierhaken) are forward-curing spikes or flukes mounted just in front of the ricasso (unsharpened section of a blade) of a twohanded sword or bastard sword, or partway along a 2-handed hafted weapon (such as a longspear).They function exactly the same way as the flamberge feature.
Ringed: A ringed weapon has a number of metal rings added along its length, giving it additional heft and momentum when swung. Increasing damage dealt at the expense of accuracy.
Springy: A springy weapon is more flexible than normal, able to bend by a considerable angle and still spring back to its original shape. A springy weapon is harder to pin down with combat maneuvers, and the wielder gains a +2 bonus to his CMD against disarm and sunder maneuvers made against it.
6 Nonmagic Weapon Qualities for Weapons follows the standard look and feel of the Bullet Point series, so let us not waste time discussing those points, and get to why you are here, are these qualities worth it...lets see.
Weapon Qualities are a great thing to add to a weapon to help set it apart from the standard, without having to invest in magical enchantment, so I'm all for a larger variety, as options are almost always a good thing. First up we have the Back Spike, the classic spike of the reverse head of a hafted weapon, allowing for not only normal damage, but piercing as well. Basket Hilt trades off the option of 2-handedness for a better advantage against disarm/sunder attempts, as well as a shield bonus during the full defense action. Flamberge refers to those blades with an undulating pattern to them, causing some issues for a foe during parries. Although this weapon quality is written to allow pretty much any fantasy weapon to take it, I cant help but think this one I might limit to just the blades at my table. Ringed adds metal rings to a bludgeoning or slashing weapon, increasing damage from weight at the cost of some accuracy in attack. Ending with Springy is that quality for the player who understand the advantage of having a normally rigid melee weapon be on the more flexible side. Gaining a bonus vs. sunder/disarm against the player, this quality comes with a negative for when you attempt sunder moves of your own.
Parry Hooks are mounted spikes aimed forward upon a weapon designed to intercept and complicate parry maneuvers in which a foe will “ride” your weapon down to your hands. Now, given my initial read, I couldn't help but notice this quality blatantly states that it is the same thing as the Flamberge quality...but wait, wha? Hang on, have no fear folks. There are subtly differences here. First off, flamberge states that in a fantasy setting it "can" be applied to weapons other than blades ( of which I have already given my opinion), where-as the parry hooks make sense for hafted weapons such as spears, pikes, heck even long axes. Secondly, and this truly to me was the most important factor in deciding these two qualities are in fact different, the fluff. I personally would never build a character carrying a wavy bladed sword...sorry, I think they look stupid...my personal opinion. But, they idea of a well placed parry hook along the length of a two-handed sword...that I can get behind. In the end, the parry hook is far more restrictive in what types of blades are allowed (it lists the bastard and two-handed) then the flamberge, which further separates these two qualities.
Are they almost to similar to be in the same product as two separate qualities? Almost. But if Owen had included parry hooks later, I could see folks accusing him of simply re-skinning the flamberge anyway. Should he perhaps have written a "bonus" feat to make sure folks didn't feel cheated? Maybe...but he didn't. Is this collection still worth it? Of course.
After going back and forth on this one. One the one hand two of the qualities were nearly identical, which essentially would mean we got 5 for the price of 6 and the PDF failed to live up to it's promised material. On the other hand, they are not the same, they share some similarities in crunch, but that is all. One specifically permits non-bladed weapons, the other assumes in a fantasy setting it might be possible. Not to mention the concept of fluff, which to me is just as important as crunch...always has been, always will be. Without fluff, we are playing a boring board game of math...pure and simple. Taking this into account, I feel this PDF did deliver on the promised 6 qualities, and rate it at it's deserved 5 star rating.
False title - these are only 5 qualities and one reskin
All right, you know the deal: 3 pages content, one page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, 1 page content, let's check these out!
I'm not a friend of too many magic items flooding my campaign world and thus I really welcome the option to add weapon qualities that don't need to be magic, so what do we get here?
-Back Spike: A weapon with this enhancement gets an additional spike and can then do either its normal damage or the same amount as piercing damage.
-Basket Hilt: These enhance your CMD and additionally your AC if you choose the total defense action, but make a weapon a lousy option to throw at foes.
- Flamberge: When using the dueling rules from UC, a Flamberge-wielder may hit a foe with an AoO when rolling a natural 20 on a parry-attempt.
-Parry Hooks: Now I feel somewhat insulted. These do EXACTLY THE SAME as a flamberge, but don't stack with it. Yes, you read right - they are essentially nothing short of a reskin of the flamberge-quality. This should be a footnote in the former's entry, but it is NOT another weapon quality. And yes, it says so in the publisher's blurb. But it still reads "6 qualities" where we get only 5.
-Ringed: These weapons add rings to make them hit harder: -1 atk, +2 damage. VERY cool!
-Springy: +2 to CMD for -2 to CMB and 1 harness less due to flexibility.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to SGG's 3-column standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length. I feel honestly insulted by the false advertisement of this pdf. Yes, it's Super Genius Games. Yes, the content is top-notch and the qualities per se are awesome. And yes, the price is low. Can't I look past the lazily reskinned quality?
No. And I don't want to. This is simply false advertisement, providing essentially only 5 different qualities, not 6, depriving us of one sixth of the promised content of the title. If this pdf was even a tad bit more expensive or had any other flaw whatsoever, I'd rate it 1 star for this. Instead, I'll settle for a verdict that will reflect my utter disappointment at this business practice that I hope SGG will not continue but still take into account the great quality of the other content - 3 stars. If this pdf is renamed "5 Non-magic Qualities for Weapons" or a new one added/Parry Hooks revised, I'd happily revise my review.