Sign in to create or edit a product review.
Detailed without MEGO EffectJoe Kushner —
The dreaded MEGO, mine eyes glaze over, can often hit when a writer goes into way too much detail. Here that's not a problem. Liane Merciel provides a lot of background and details on a part of the Pathfinder setting that doesn't receive a lot of attention and does so in a way that keeps the story flowing. As an author, her style has earned her a place on the 'list', a shortlist of authors I keep on my cell to check when I'm out and about in order to find and devour more of the work.
Competition is HighJoe Kushner —
The gargoyle has a nice open stance to it. The wings are folded close into the body. Not a lot of color variation. The horns are a nice touch. As a random buy, a solid figure. In terms of what else it out there, this is not the strongest of the Wiz Kids offerings. Reaper also does a prepainted line and at a little over $5.00, if you're not looking for random, that figure is under half the price: http://www.reapermini.com/OnlineStore/gargoyle/sku-down/20031 Be an informed shopper and if you are willing to pay more than twice the price for the same stand in figure because it appeals to you or you want to show support to Paizo, do so, but do not do so because you think it is the only prepaint for that monster in town.
Pathfinder Battles—Heroes & Monsters: Black Dragon BoosterWizKids/NECA
Our Price: $19.99
A Tad On The Small SideJoe Kushner —
I have a ton of miniatures both prepainted and unpainted. When I first placed my order for this product, I assumed that it would be following a similiar size pattern to the figures put out by Wizards of The Coast. It seemed to make sense to me right? The dragon is larger than the large black dragon that WoTC recently released in its collectors boxed set but not by much in terms of the body.
The wings are much larger mind you and this gives the figure a great deal of space. However, when looking at this figure next to an actual 'huge dragon', it pales in comparrison. The figure looks like a large figure mounted on a huge base.
This isn't a terrible tragedy mind you as I've found that some of the WoTC figures were actually too large for their bases and could indeed, be mounted on larger bases.
However, as this is a premium figure that you have to buy a case to even have access to, I expected it to be, well, HUGE and not large.
Maybe next time.
Dungeons & Dragons—4th Edition: Player's Handbook HardcoverWizards of the Coast
Our Price: $31.46Add to Cart
Fighters finally shineJoe Kushner —
The new edition of Dungeons and Dragons boast some of the best art and layout in the industry. Many of the same artists and authors working here work for other companies such as Paizo and their talents, such as the covery by Paizo fan favorite Wayne, continue to shine.
This new edition drops some of the lesser appreicated races like the half-orc and gnome and replaces them with core races of Dragonborn, dragonic humanoids, and tielfings. Unlike previous editions, these tielflings are a true breeding race and have a flair for being like Elric in that they're from a fallen empire.
The game expands the core rules with 30 levels instead of twenty. Magic items, often often if not always used by the players, are found in this book.
The classes remove some old favorites like the bard and barbarian, but throw in new favorites like the warlock and the warlord.
Classes have power sources that indicate the nature of their power. For example, fighters, rangers and rogues are martial. All of their abilities come from being masters of their field. Others have arcane or divine. Future books expand upon this concept.
In essence though, this is flavor and not necessarily a huge difference between the abilities of the classes.
The game continues to maintain a high level of options to it as did 3.5. If you're looking for something that went back to old school in terms of amount of material to learn, while the conditions and other combat options aren't complex, they can be troublesome to recall in the heat of combat. Nothing new there as I remember refering to my 3.5 Player's Handbook all the time for grappling and sunder for item hardness and hit points.
Some have moaned that it's like a computer game. As an old player who started in 84' and saw the rise of computer games, they have it backward. Computer games yanked a lot of material FROM D&D and this edition clarifies how those roles and options can work in a tabletop game.
The biggest difference to me is that fighters and rogues no longer sink to insignifigance at 10th level. Now the fighter remains viable at all levels.
There are other bits scattered about that I enjoy. For example, death isn't at -10 now and doesn't require a flat 10% chance to stabalize. Character's don't tend to rely on magic items as much as they have in 3.5.
In my own playing experience, the role playing elements granted to the core of the game not only by the points of light setting, but by making the dragonborn and teifling races on opposite ends of two ancient warring empires provides a lot of potential seeds. Those who say that there is no possible role playing are playing the game in a way I can't fathom.
4e brings a lot of options to the campaign and finally makes a high level fighter worth playing.
A fine mix of role playing and dungeon crawlingJoe Kushner —
Shrine of Frenzy is an adventure for four to six characters of seventh level. A 14 page adventure, there is no full cover and a page is used for the OGL. Art is minimal but high quality. Maps are well drawn out and easy to read. The adventure saves space by making page references to creatures found unaltered in the monster manual.
The adventure includes three small hooks to get the players started, but misses one of the most obvious ones.
4. Divine Influence: If any of the players have a divine connection, especially to nature based deities such as druids or rangers, they have terrible dreams of the sea opening up and a vast shadow spreading its darkness across the sea and onto land. All of it leading to a fallen shrine whose location almost seems to burn in the characters mind.
After all, it wouldn’t be the first time some foreign deities thought they knew better on how to handle the situation than the local natives ones would it?
Once the Game Master has his hook, he can use the NPC Tulita Joe to get them an audience with the tribal leaders. Once at the meeting, the party has numerous opportunities to impress upon the elders how vital this mission is. This part of the adventure is rife with potential for those who may have skills that don’t always come to the forefront of a combat based mission. For example, anyone who can play a musical instrument can be vital in impressing the natives, while those who are all for combat, can show off their wrestling skills.
The actual meat of the adventure itself takes place in two locations; the first, the Shrine of Frenzy, pits the players against a priest of a dark god and a wide array of traps and monsters. The second is the Coral Seal Caves where the players get to their feet wet. The players don’t necessarily need air breathing magics, as there are several air pockets throughout, but such magics wouldn’t hurt.
The book includes a new monster, Spawn of Dajobas, which takes a mean shark and makes it even meaner. This is a tooth covered shark that’s bigger than your standard diabolic shark. The stat block can also be used for different breeds of shark or for crocodiles that have gained new abilities that the Game Master wants to throw on his party.
Shrine of Frenzy is a quick hit for players to gain some first hand knowledge of the natives and to learn that no matter where you go, the ancient ruins and dire gods will always be on the lookout for brave adventurers to thwart them.
Introductory Adventure for the Razor SeaJoe Kushner —
Mysteries of the Razor Sea 1 is a first level adventure that pits a crew of characters, already at sea on a boat mind you, against a ghost ship.
The book is laid out in two column format. Art is minimal but solid. At 14 pages in length with no cover, the book is a quick play for a group used to getting things done. The adventure’s introduction provides a host of fearsome reasons why the Razor Coast is so dangerous and then gets to the specifics of this adventure, the ruins of the ship Seabear, a fairly well known ship that has outlasted seven captains and been on a thousand voyages.
On this ghost ship, the Game Master must have some reserves of his own. See, the players are in essence possibly, depending on saving throws, slowly taken over by the old crew which killed each other due to a curse. The Game Master is encouraged to sow the seeds of doubt and mistrust. For game masters who may be master narrators of combat but low on the interactive tricks required to make one player turn on another, this could be a little tricky. Read the sidebar a few times, write out ahead of time some of the frictions that may already exist in the party, and roll with what the party itself puts it there.
In terms of the role playing challenge required by the Game Master and players, I’d put this one right up there with Atlas Games old 3e module, In the Belly of the Beast. A good group and game master will make this an adventure you’ll talk about for a long time to come. A group more interesting in just hack and slash with a GM who specializes in that type of game may want to pass on this one.
Players gain personality traits and abilities, depending on which spirit takes them over. It’s an interesting twist in that it still leaves the characters in the players hands but gives them some tools to role play with. The players are able to explore the ship, seek to discover what happened, and either flee back to their own ship or put torch to this one over a series of encounters with a variety of entities and hazards.
In addition to the ‘proper’ adventure itself, the author includes several side treks with various amounts of information that will allow the GM to access several other possible adventurers with the proper fleshing out. For example, having a white albatross making a general nuisance of itself. But those who’ve read the poem or heard the Iron Maiden song know what happens to those who take vengeance on the bird eh?
In some ways the latter information is useless if you’re actually using this as a first level adventure. One of the encounters is the equal to a massive black pudding, another the equal of a elder water elemental. These are not things that first level or even fifth level players are going to be able to do much against save perhaps bleed.
On the other hand, if you’re buying this not only for the adventure, but for background information, knowing that the Snow Witch Ketrelda sends out giant icebergs to act as sentinels of the sea and that sealed crates found amidst flotsam and jetsam may include casks of sugar and spices valued at some odd fifty per barrel, you’ll find the information entirely useful.