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****½ (based on 3 ratings)

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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.

High Concept: Examples of anachronistic “modern” armor for use in fantasy games where characters (or at least equipment) from different eras may end up in the bazaars of magic markets, or fantasy adventures may end up, at least briefly, in modern settings.

The six anachronistic armor types included are:

  • Ballistic Vest: This is a form of protective covering made from advanced fabrics which are woven, knit, or spun together to form a bullet-resistant protection.
  • Ballistic Vest, Tactical: This is a more covering version of the ballistic vest, with thicker protection over vital areas and coverings for the lower abdomen and shoulders.
  • Ballistic Armor, Reinforced: Reinforced ballistic armor covers a larger area of the body and includes a layer of chainmail, ceramic trauma plates, or similar material to improve its protection against non-ballistic attacks.
  • Ceramic Armor: Ceramic armor is a form of ballistic armor that has been augmented with overlapping strong, lightweight ceramic plates that can decrease over time.
  • Riot Shield: This is a clear plastic shield designed to protect against rocks and similar weapons of opportunity.
  • Tactical Shield: The tactical shield is a large, heavy steel shield with a plastic, ceramic, or ballistic cloth backing designed to stop even heavy weapons fire.

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Product Reviews (3)

Average product rating:

****½ (based on 3 ratings)

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Great armors with minor ambiguities

****( )

All right, by now you know the drill - 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page content, this time going for 6 anachronistic armors!

We kick off with two types of ballistic vests and from the get-go, both feel not only different, but actually use rules in a way that is befitting of their anachronistic origin, making them feel distinct from diverse enchanted medieval means of keeping alive: Since modern armor is made mainly to protect versus bullets, these anachronistic pieces of equipment sport an increased AC-bonus versus firearms and more importantly, don't have firearm attacks being resolved as touch attacks versus these armors - interesting take for these armors indeed. On the light armor side, we get two versions of ballistic vests.

Reinforced ballistic armor is also interesting as a medium armor, since it does not hamper movement with regards to charges and run maneuvers. The other medium armor, the Ceramic Armor, also sports an interesting rules-options - if the armor is damaged, its armor-rating is reduced. I actually really like this simulationalist approach and use it in my home-game as a house-rule for all types of armor, but repair DCs in an anachronistic context would have been appreciated - can the blacksmith do the job or do you require a potter or some other profession? Also, as a medium armor, shouldn't it reduce movement to 20 ft or is this superior speed part of the armor's rules?

On the shield side, we get riot shields and tactical shields, with riot shields working especially well versus improvised weapons and allowing for the dealing of non-lethal shield bash damage sans incurring the usual -4 penalty. Unfortunately, the shield fails to specify whether it counts as a heavy or light shield for purposes of base shield bash damage.

Tactical shields hamper firearm attacks just like the armors and count as heavy shields that feature lights mounted and a viewport. Nothing to complain here!

Editing and formatting are very good, apart from the ceramic armor's glitch. Layout adheres to SGG's 3-column, landscape presentation and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

I really, really like how the armors herein feel distinct in crunch and application from standard PFRPG-fantasy armor and the overall ideas featured make them valid options without being overpowering.

Gunslingers most definitely will hate these! ;) That being said, the lack of information on the riot shield combined with the ambiguity in the ceramic armor make it impossible to rate this short pdf the full 5 stars. Instead, I will settle for a solid 4 stars.
Endzeitgeist out.

Awesome anachronisms for your Pathfinder characters


A lot of gamers forget (or quite often never knew in the first place) that the dividing line between fantasy and science fiction used to be far more permeable than it’s generally considered to be today. Indeed, high-tech-versus-magic remains a sub-genre of its own today, though usually moreso in fiction than in role-playing games. However, we do still see technology creeping into our fantasy in tabletop RPGs, with all of the results that come from getting peanut butter in our chocolate.

#1 With a Bullet Point: 6 Anachronistic Armors, by Super Genius Games, is a product that dives directly, albeit briefly, into this genre mashup. As the title suggests, it provides Pathfinder statistics for six kinds of armor (actually four kinds of armor and two shields) from contemporary Earth.

I had some reservations about this product before I looked at it. I was dubious that the author would simply assign statistics to these armors and shields that would put them on an even keel with standard Pathfinder defensive equipment. That would, in my mind, have defeated the entire point of making these anachronistic armors different – after all, contemporary armor and shields are supposed to be better than older ones, usually in terms of their level of protection versus their weight and bulk, and so just making them have parity with their “medieval” counterparts would have defeated the purpose of statting them at all.

Of course, these guys are called the Super Geniuses for a reason. Author Owen K. C. Stephens saw right through my initial concerns, and did indeed make these armors different, in a way that made them unique and desirable without being overpowering.

The key here is that, for the armors, the bonuses they grant against firearms are much greater than against other kinds of weapons. Indeed, not only does its AC bonus increase, but it makes the attack roll be normal, rather than a touch attach. That’s a HUGE benefit! One of the shields (the tactical shield) offers similar benefits; only the riot shield is not as effective against firearms, but does gain modest benefits against improvised weapons (as well as attacking with it).

That said, there were a few minor quibbles I had with the product. The ceramic armor, for example, apparently has an error in it in that, despite being medium armor, it doesn’t seem to reduce the wearer’s speed rating; there’s no text about that, so I presume it’s in error. Moreover, the armor has a drawback in that its ceramic plates can lose their protective value when damaged; I don’t disapprove of this level of simulationism, but rather wish that there was even a single sentence about what sort of Craft check it would be to make new plates – presumably it’s Craft (armorsmithing), but the DC would presumably be different (since you’re not remaking the entire armor).

That said, some small issues with one armor out of the six here is still a very high bar! Given that the product surprised me by dealing with the issues I was concerned about, and how small its few problems are, I can’t give this less than five out of five stars. If there’s any sort of way your PCs can get access to equipment from other times and places, they’d do far worse than to pick up some anachronistic armors.

An RPG Resource Review

****( )

If you intend to mess up your timelines good and proper, so that either fantasy characters find themselves in the present day (either 'real world' or the future self of their own campaign setting brought forward in time) or a few modern people somehow end up with at least some of their kit in an alternate fantasy past, this might be of use to you. (And it does happen, I ran a modern game in which the characters ended up scampering around Conan the Barbarian's world, being transported from 20th century Miami... but that's another story!)

Anyway, what we have here is the sort of kit a modern SWAT-team trooper might have: two types of ballistic vest, ballistic armour, ceramic armour and a couple of riot shields. Who knows where they might turn up? And be quite puzzling to your average fantasy character, to whom armour means leather and metal, and it keeps swords and arrows away from your person, not bullets. Each item has been carefully considered from the standpoint of the Pathfinder ruleset, and statistics assigned. It might have benefited from a little more consideration as to what mediaeval weaponry will do to your 'bullet-proof vest' - most of us have a fair idea of how well it protects against firearms but less concept of what would happen if someone clobbered you with a bastard sword when wearing one.

That aside, get this if you are planning a cross-over, or indeed are using the Pathfinder ruleset in a modern setting.

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