$2 Generals: Deiro Domine (PFRPG) PDF

2.50/5 (based on 2 ratings)

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By design, the deck is always stacked against the GM in RPGs. If the players aren’t winning then the game has to restart. Players with overly strict or egotistical GMs end up quitting and sharing tales of caution. However, when things are simply too easy and the game lacks challenge, the players get bored and leave.

While the flavor and core mechanics of Pathfinder are excellent, the challenge rating system, or CR, often falls short of providing the expected challenge. The foundation was built on the mechanics of the Core rules with an assumption of a 15 point buy and 4 player characters. With multiple rule expansions, higher point buys, tables with more than four players or a variety of NPC allies some of which can be basically bought with the Leadership feat: the foundation is crumbling.

Even 4 player groups with a strict GM have to face, new classes, archetypes, feats, spells, and optional rules that has allowed for a level of optimization that the CR system just plain fails measure up against. CR completely falls short against veteran players with even a slight desire to optimize and an experienced hand at approaching the game.

To underline my point all of the following encounters are CR 7.

  • A single 9th level human expert
  • A single 8th level half-elf sorcerer
  • A troll with the half dragon template
  • A 5th level cleric/1st level cavalier gnome riding a wolf and leading a group of four level 2 fighter 1/rogue 1’s.

The first two encounters can potentially end before the “enemy” can act if the GM roll poorly on Initiative. Neither experts nor sorcerers have the standard mechanics to makes them particularly high hit point pools and the actions economy of four characters to one is going to make this a speed bump at best.

The third encounter has the potential to challenge simply because trolls have more HP to go around and with the half dragon template a way to damage all foes at once, a way to possibly negate actions (by flying,) multiple attacks in melee, and generally better defenses. The action economy still favors the PCs strongly and against even a 5th level party the outcome of the battle is a foregone conclusion barring unusual die rolls.

The final encounter potentially divides the party’s actions and if terrain or preparation favors the bad guys we might actually present a challenge. In the very least we might go more then 1-2 rounds.

Against a veteran group of players with even 4th level characters I’d call none of those encounters challenging. Add them together and you have a moderate challenge for a 5th level party of my players. The only worry I’d have is if I started rolling hot with the troll. Things get ugly fast when a player falls, the action economy may well shift.

The boring way to fix the problems of CR is to nerf and houserule your players into a box. Yet restrict magic items and lowering point buys just isn’t as fun. Pathfinder needs a new scale, one that meets the realities of a GM facing a better class of player. Our solution is APCR!

The APCR or advanced player challenge rating is based off of a few design concepts that experienced GMs have used for years that level the playing field. The $2 General line will give you a masterfully built NPC with a CR and APCR that has that extra kick that will test your optimized players. Each NPC will be complete with minions, something new to toss your veterans a curveball, a sensible yet compelling backstory, and sound tactical advice.

For our first installment we give Diero Domine. Like some of the best villian's he's a dark mirror to some common hero tropes. A peasant Robin Hood magus taking a dark path, he needs to be stopped but he isn't entirely in the wrong.

Capable GMs will definitely get more than one fight out of this one!

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2.50/5 (based on 2 ratings)

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Has good background and tactics, formatting is off.


The first problem with this book is one with the stat-block. Deiro lacks a spell book, and as a magus, without a spell-book, he cannot cast spells. The second one is minor. Bulls Strength; as in Transmutation-Bulls Strengh, is not in italics.

Diero's saves are low for his level, which; as another reviewer mentioned, make him vulnerable.

The good parts of this book is Diero's background, as well as the tactical advice. The background presents a dark twist on the peasant hero/robin hood concept. The tactics include things Diero would do, in response to the PC's, as well as tactics for the enemies in the lair.

In conclusion, the tactics and Deiro's background are good, but the errors let it down.

Interesting concept let down by errors


$2 Generals: Deiro Domine earns points for being a cool concept; prepackage a powerful NPC that can be dropped into any game quickly and effectively, or woven in from the beginning. However, the actual construction of the product leaves much to be desired.

Deiro's statblock is confusing in a lot of ways, ranging from an unclear indication of how he was built to numerous formatting issues such as spells not being presented in italics. Paizo uses its format, and other companies copy it, because it works, and Flying Pincushion took a big risk by not following the standard. Additionally, it's difficult to tell whether or not Diero's statblock is pre-buffed, and with what.

Diero seems to be a caster magus, but no spellbook is included in his statblock. This is frustrating, as many GMs would like to customize while remaining true to the NPC's concept. This lack of information further hurts Diero, and by RAW, leaves him unable to prepare spells.

Tactically, Diero *can* present an interesting challenge in the right environment. However, apart from his mimic rogues, his other help is vague - referred to as “his men” or “bandits” throughout the product, and only at the end given levels and classes - and he doesn't stack up very favourably without backup. His saves are quite low for his level, which makes him dangerously vulnerable to an optimized party, and he lacks the ability to deal with multiple enemies by himself effectively.

One bright spot for Diero is his backstory, which offers a glimpse of how Diero came to be and what his motivations are. He seems to be an interesting character, and it's a shame that the crunch doesn't do him justice.

Community Manager

Now available!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Mixing it up a bit we'll give three copies away for the low price of a review.

Sovereign Court

Come on, all you GM's out there! Check this guy and his cronies out. He's sure to give all your heroes fits and challenges!

Do it and you're cool![/peer pressure] XD

Yes, do it, one of us, one of us! All the cool GM's are doing it!

Sovereign Court

I think all the GMs who would take interest in this were all getting ready for their holiday weekends. Just my guess. ^.^

Three free reviewer copies still up for grabs, low price of a review is the only trade we ask, come on, you know you wanna be bad robin hood, steal from the rich, give to yourself...yeah, that sounds about right.

Sovereign Court

And Deiro, the bandit lord magus waits with tented fingers. Plotting, scheming, carefully pondering his next move, he sits on his throne of stolen goods.

I shall sweeten the pot, anyone willing to provide an honest review for $2 Generals: Diero Domine will be also granted a free copy of any one other Flying Pincushion product upon posting said review, 2 for one deal, this week only!

Two for one offer only good until Sunday of this week, speak now or forever hold your peace. One copy of $2 Generals: Diero Domine + one honest review ='s you get any one other Flying Pincushion PDF for free. Sounds like a heck of a deal to me, don't be shy, step right on up and claim you copy, three still to go around!

Still no takers? Alright, I'll take one. I've got a con this weekend, but I'll hopefully have a review up by the end of next week.

Sovereign Court

Yay!!! Deiro is pleased that you have decided to hear him out! ^.^

Thanks for the kind offer El Ronza, seems I no longer have your email on file however, if you could PM that to me, I will get that out to you ASAP. Soon as the review is up, feel free to also let me know which Flying Pincushion Games product you would like for free, and thanks again!

The two for once review offer has closed, however there are still two free reviewer copies available should anyone want one.

I haven't forgotten my promise to review this, however, my tablet died recently and I'm restricted to posting, browsing, and reading on my smartphone. When my replacement device arrives, I'll hammer out the rest!

I'd like a copy. Thank you very much!

I would take the final copy if there is no problem with that.

Legoguy and Nicos get the last two, just PM your preferred delivery email to me, and I will get two packs of bandits dashing out on the e-trails to your gold stash, er, I mean in-box shortly.

Review posted. I'm sorry, I went in wanting to like this, but I came out wanting to fix it.

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