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Letters from the Flaming Crab: Imaginary Friends
Publisher: Flaming Crab Games
by Kim F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/04/2018 08:49:28

This was originally review on the Open Gaming Network.

We take products and review them, intending to give the reader the best chance of evaluating whether this particular release is for them.

There is, of course, a scoring system, similar to that used elsewhere, in a 5-star rating, which we have determined as follows:

1 – Bad 2 – Mediocre 3 – Decent 4 – Good 5 * – Excellent

The following review is an OPINION piece and only reflects the opinion and tastes (because ultimately, all reviews will be based on personal taste) of the reviewer.

That disclaimer out of the way, let’s get on with the show!

This week we give you Letters from the Flaming Crab: Imaginary Friends

Publisher: Flaming Crab Games

Author: Charlie, Clara, Giorgio, Isaac, Kennedy, London, Lumi, Michele, Oliver

Cover Artist: Charlie, Clara, Giorgio, Isaac, Kennedy, London, Lumi, Michele, Oliver

System: Pathfinder

Page count: 25 ( 1 page cover, 1 page credits, 20 page content and 3 page OGL).

This is a weird one, in that it’s not a “classic” art cover, but considering that the title of the product is Imaginary Friends, it makes perfect sense that the illustrations are some that appear to be made by children (in fact, they are). Does this put me in the right mind? It sure does, it gives me an idea that this is either a product that designed for children, by children or something that’ll appeal to those who are still children at heart. (Not to be confused with those who are childish, as that is two entirely different things in my book).

The book itself focuses on the idea of imaginary friends being real, and protective of children. They all start with a base CR 2 form, and then each takes on a further form if their child ward is threatened. While the base form is CR 2, the manifested forms range from CR 2 to CR 8, depending on the form of the particular imaginary friend. Each form comes with its own illustration (3 of which are used for the cover), and are drawn by children, and (I believe) described by children, and then statted out. Each creature is remarkably well balanced for it’s CR, and each of them is something that I can recall and relate to from when I was a child, or from the children I’ve known myself. There’s a strange pool of color, a gunslinging shark-thing, as well as a robot and a creature made out of shapes. Each comes with different abilities and different names.

If it is not evident yet, I REALLY like these, and the idea of having a protective imaginary friend brings up many scenarios that I could think, especially for those rare adventures where the PCs are children (or played by children, and in need of a protective NPC).

Finally, there are 2 new feats, one which allows you to take an imaginary friend as a familiar and one that allows you to see invisibility once per day, plus granting you a class skill and a bonus on will saves. This is probably the weakest part of the book, as I’m not sure how much use these imaginary friends would be to the spellcasters who could get them (one of the creatures is only obtainable by a 19th level caster), and the other feat (for see invisibility) is probably too powerful, but that really is my only critique.

And so we come to the conclusion:

Editing here is great, I didn’t notice any typos or errors, and the content of the book itself is new and refreshing. As said, the only weak point, in my opinion, is the feats, but that is such a minor thing compared to the rest of the content hidden within. If you have a group who are willing to embrace their inner child or play child-PCs, then this book is for you.

As such, my conclusion comes in at 5-stars. This product is very likely to see use at my own gaming table, perhaps not for my regular group, but once my daughter grows up, I expect she’ll have an imaginary friend. (though, it was missing a dragon friend… Perhaps there’ll be a book 2? J )



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Letters from the Flaming Crab: Imaginary Friends
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Dungeon Crawl Classics #82.5: Dragora's Dungeon
Publisher: Goodman Games
by Kim F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/21/2017 04:40:56

This was originally reviewed on the Open Gaming Network.

We take products and review them, intending to give the reader the best chance of evaluating whether this particular release is for them.

There is, of course, a scoring system, similar to that used elsewhere, in a 5-star rating, which we have determined as follows:

1 – Bad 2 – Mediocre 3 – Decent 4 – Good 5 * – Excellent

The following review is an OPINION piece and only reflects the opinion and tastes (because ultimately, all reviews will be based on personal taste) of the reviewer.

That disclaimer out of the way, let’s get on with the show!

This week we give you…

Dragora’s Dungeon! Publisher: Goodman Games

Author: Harley Stroh (conversion by Daniel J. Bishop)

Cover Artist: Clyde Caldwell

System: Dungeon Crawl Classics

Page count: 28 ( 1 page cover, 1 page map, 1 page interior cover and credits, 22 pages of content, 1 full page artwork and 1 other map, 1 back interior cover and 1 page back cover).

Before we start, I have to confess that this is an older title, as it felt as if there’s been a bit too much Pathfinder and Starfinder being reviewed lately, so I went a little left-field for something else, hence an oldie but goody, Dragora’s Dungeon.

As usual for adventures, I’ll be trying to avoid spoilers, even though this adventure is several years old. If you want spoilers, I’m sure you can find them elsewhere.

First, we have a look at the cover, which is a frankly gorgeous piece by Clyde Caldwell. I do have a weakness for his artwork because I find it to be vibrant and alive, and especially his dragons are just appealing. Perhaps it is the “old-school” feel, that draws me in. Regardless, Clyde has a talent for both dragons and the female form, and the scantily-clad warrior woman on the cover of this adventure cannot be anyone other than the Dragora mentioned in the title of the adventure. The cover itself, with the warrior woman, the dragon, the treasure chest and the castle looking walls in the back, puts me in mind of a dungeon crawl, which, HEY, it’s the name of the system, so mission accomplished there.

Strangely enough, I don’t find there to be that much actual DUNGEON crawling in the adventure. That said however, there’s an encounter in an inn to set things off (classic entry, though I fail to understand why you’d allow a saving throw on such a plot point, in a game where it’spelled out that things will not always be fair (minor spoiler: the spell being used is supposed to be able to affect nations, so why would it not affect this small group of adventurers?)

The PCs are then led on a romp through the wilderness until they find a rift, that they can climb into. Said rift contains a number of encounters as well as an entrance to a Forgotten Jungle, which makes for a nice change of scenery and a cool hop from one area to another. Later though, it takes them to a Forgotten City, and I have to admit that I’d have liked to have seen one of them named something else since it’s kind of implied that they’re both forgotten and lost to time. Regardless though, it’s an old-school staple to use that sort of name, so I won’t complain too much.

Eventually, the PCs enter this forgotten city and end up in a fight with Dragora and the dragon on the front cover (who is, in fact, her lover). Quite nice to see a female BBEG, as I’d semi-expected it to be the dragon who was manipulating her. It was a nice surprise to realize that SHE was, in fact, the one using the dragon, and the one in charge.

And so we come to the conclusion:

I really liked this read. The maps are gorgeously hand-drawn, even if they at times seem a bit busy, and the cover makes me wish that it was available as a poster size. The adventure itself flows quite well, but it does become a bit too much like rail-roading at times. I suspect that’s a matter of taste though, since this is an adventure with a number of years on it, and we’re looking at it through the eyes of a reader in 2017, where we have become used to open solutions being the norm.

I cannot stress too much, however, how HARD this adventure will be, if your players are not careful. It is designed for level 1, but the end boss (Dragora) is level 5, and she has a dragon. That’s some serious opposition right there, even if she will flee if the PCs put up a competent attack. That said, if you’re planning on running this adventure, your players should have their wits about them. This is old-school at it’s finest. If you run into a trap, you are likely to DIE.

And here’s the verdict, I’m going to give this 5-stars. I really enjoyed this little read, but that 5-star comes with a caveat. Had this been for Pathfinder or modern 5e, I likely would have rated it around 3, but because Dungeon Crawl Classics is SPECIFICALLY designed to give you that old-school feel, and because this adventure delivers just that, it rates much higher. If you’re looking at this, as a gamer who wants a more modern experience, you need to look elsewhere for your fix.

For the old-schoolers out there though, this is just the thing.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #82.5: Dragora's Dungeon
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Horizontech Catalogue 002 - Unique Starships
Publisher: Necromancers of the Northwest
by Kim F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/15/2017 13:30:48

This was originally revied on the Open Gaming Network.

Reviews represent the opinion of the reviewer only and are intended to reflect upon the specific material reviewed. Reviews are based upon purchases of the reviewer, except where indicated as having been provided by the publisher or other parties. All reviews are based upon products available for purchase on the Open Gaming Store at the time of writing. The reviewer asserts no interest in the sale or performance of the product(s) in question and has no association with the production of the product reviewed.

NETWORK REVIEWS Network Reviews – Horizontech Catalogue 002 – Unique Starships November 30, 2017 - by Kim Frandsen - Leave a Comment Welcome to our little Review section here on the Open Gaming Network.

We take products and review them, intending to give the reader the best chance of evaluating whether this particular release is for them.

There is, of course, a scoring system, similar to that used elsewhere, in a 5-star rating, which we have determined as follows:

1 – Bad 2 – Mediocre 3 – Decent 4 – Good 5 * – Excellent

The following review is an OPINION piece and only reflects the opinion and tastes (because ultimately, all reviews will be based on personal taste) of the reviewer.

That disclaimer out of the way, let’s get on with the show!

This week we give you Horizontech Catalog 002 – Unique Starships!

Publisher: Necromancers of the Northwest

Author: Alex Riggs, Joshua Zaback

Cover Artist: Not listed, and neither are the other artists, but editor is Rosa Riggs

System: Starfinder

Page count: 8 ( 1 page cover, 1 page credits and Open Gaming License combined, 4 page of contents, another page of OGL and 1 page back cover).

As usual, we start with the cover. This shows us some sort of starship, which I’ll be honest, makes me think of the Enterprise from Star Trek, just with added bits. It’s a nice picture, but I’m not sure if it looks “used” as in the title. And I can’t help but notice that the artist for this (and any of the interior pieces) are not credited, which I think is a shame, as they’re good pieces.

Inside we find 5 starships, of Tier 1, 4, 6, 12 and 16. And first, I have to say that while I’m a fan of the ships here, I’d have loved to have a Build Point cost for them as well, so that players can “buy” them if they wish. That’s a minor gripe though since Starfinder obviously ties level to starship tiers. But it’d have been a nice addition.

Secondly, and a bit more of a worry is the fact that none of them have their PCU costs listed. An enterprising GM can easily go back and rework it, but it’d have been nice to have, just as a quick check, in case the PCs manage to fiddle about with the Power Core of the ships.

4 of the ships come with 1 or 2 special abilities as well, which is a nice touch, especially as it makes up for the lack of new equipment or frames in the system. But it makes for some memorable starships that are easily “dragged and dropped” into your campaign.

But let’s jump into the individual ships:

First up is Planet Hopper, a Small light freighter, which both puts me in mind of both the Serenity and the Millenium Falcon. I can almost hear Watto going “Aaah, I have a deal for you. This beauty here can be yours if you have the credits…” – Great ship for a starting campaign (provided there are no more than 6 players), as it is cheap and easy to modify, especially with that special ability.

Next is the Jade Owl. This Large destroyer is a warship and can be run by the players alone (minimum crew of 6), and reminds me of the Corellian corvettes from Star Wars in many ways. If a bit more damaged than they tend to be. Great ship at tier 4, and one I might well implement in my own campaign, even if I might use it as a location instead of a ship. The idea of an ex-pirate’s ship mysteriously vanishing and possibly having treasure aboard would lead many PC groups to gutting the ship trying to find it.

Thirdly is Ha’zaard, a slave ship, and a Huge bulk freighter. Coming in at Tier 6, this ship has clearly been written as an opponent, as it’s the first of the 3 ships to have the stats for the crew. It fits the story of the ship, however. Impressive ship, but the fact that it only has one weapon (an EMP cannon) lets it down a bit. It’s a very nice special ability it comes with though, on behalf of it’s notorious captain.

Then comes Gold Drift Casino, a Huge cruiser (which I thought an odd choice, instead of a freighter). It is exceedingly heavily armed, and anyone running into that super EMP cannon is going to feel that they’ve been nudged. It is a BIT weird that they haven’t put in guest quarters in the expansion bays, for a casino. I suppose they could be without boarding, but since it has a brothel onboard, it comes across as strange that they would only cater to their crew when it comes to amenities.

Finally the Plastic Dragon Inn, a Gargantuan carrier. Coming in at Tier 16, this again is heavily armed with a super X-laser cannon and some other stuff. The story of the ship, with it being an old base for rebellious heroes made me think of Yavin 4, but this place is way more luxurious, so perhaps a better comparison is the Super Star Destroyer if it had luxurious quarters. I really like the potential of this ship, and it’s a nice touch that the Hyperspace engine has been removed, making it a regular and reliable feature for the system where the GM places it.

And so we come to the conclusion:

There are some minor editing issues here, but nothing really important. It’s just a matter of a misplaced word here and there, that the spell checker didn’t catch, as the word is spelled correctly, but doesn’t make sense there. There’s also the oddity of the choice of “no crew stats” for the first 2 ships, but as said, that makes sense given the backstory.

At a price of $1.49, this is great value, IF you’re a GM who either don’t want to (or doesn’t have the time for) create your own starships. Then you have 4 ready made ones here, with some interesting backstories that you can build on, and insert pretty much at will.

As such the verdict for this one stands at 5-stars.

While I can’t say that I LOVE this product, I do find that it’s incredibly useful, if I’m in a rush to throw something at my players. But I would like for you to credit the artists next time. They deserve it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Horizontech Catalogue 002 - Unique Starships
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Player Paraphernalia #133 The Sorcerer's Secrets Vol I, Core Bloodline Expansions
Publisher: The Knotty-Works
by Kim F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/27/2017 05:22:56

This was originally reviewed on the Open Gaming Network.

There is, of course, a scoring system, similar to that used elsewhere, in a 5-star rating, which we have determined as follows:

1 – Bad 2 – Mediocre 3 – Decent 4 – Good 5 * – Excellent

The following review is an OPINION piece and only reflects the opinion and tastes (because ultimately, all reviews will be based on personal taste) of the reviewer.

That disclaimer out of the way, let’s get on with the show!

This week we give you Player Paraphernalia #133 The Sorcerer’s Secrets Vol I, Core Bloodline Expansions!

Publisher: The Knotty-Works Author: John Buckley Cover Artist: Jeremy Hart System: Pathfinder

Page count: 10 (cover, 1-page credits/OGL, table of contents), 7 pages of content, 1 page back cover)

Right, so let’s look at the cover first. This one doesn’t actually tell us much, though the outline for it, does bring to mind an old leather book with engravings. I have to say that the differences in the text-types is a little off-putting, especially the “133” that’s in stark white, and sticks out badly compared to the Player Paraphernalia (I’m assuming that’s part of the artwork, as opposed to overlaid afterward). But let’s skip to the contents….

First up we have a page explaining what the book is about (sorcerers), and how to give their limited spell selections more options, by expanding on their bloodline bonus spells. This sounds like a good idea, and this can be summed up briefly by A) letting a character choose a single spell from 3 for each bloodline or B) letting the character swap that one around each day, between those 3 spells. It seems like a good idea, but I would have liked for it to dive into the favored class bonus for humans since they can add more spells. I’d basically have liked an option C, that just allowed the sorcerer to use that favored class bonus instead. (That’s my own personal home-campaign solution to it).

Right, onto the bloodlines…

Straight up, I have to say that there’s one thing I’m really missing, although John has mitigated it somewhat. It states “The following bloodlines are available in Paizo’s Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rule Book™.”, which is true, but it, on the very first bloodline, dives into spells from other books. It’d have been nice to have an asterisk or similar marking showing where the various spells come from. Thankfully John has linked the PDF up so that it leads to the relevant spell on d20pfsrd.com, but this is something I might otherwise have used where I would have no internet connection.

Each core bloodline is then presented, with a short introduction (like the one in the Core Rulebook), and each level of spells have a listing of between 2 and 6 spells for the sorcerer to choose from, for his bloodline spell (using options A and B) as mentioned above. This is basically the rest of the book, listing spells and bloodlines from the core rulebook, so I’m going to finish this section here.

And so we come to the conclusion:

This is a book without much original content, which is a bit of a downer. The options are good, however, and due to the low price point, I don’t feel cheated on buying this. Likewise, John has gone to the trouble of linking up all the spells, even if they’re not marked for where they’re from. It’s therefore quite difficult to judge where this should be rated, as it’s a book that I feel that I’m unlikely to look at often, but I might well use the actual options that he has presented in preference to my normal one, of allowing the favored class bonus to grow, since this allows for more interesting gameplay and meaningful choice.

As such, I’m going to rate this a 4-star, but it comes with 2 caveats: 1) If you’re looking for truly original content, you need to look elsewhere. But if you would like some fun options for your sorcerer, and don’t mind a lot of listings of spells you already know, you could well have some use out of this. And 2) If this had been more than it was at $1.79 it would not have been more than a 3-star.

Nice work John, but please give us something more “contenty” next. :)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Player Paraphernalia #133 The Sorcerer's Secrets Vol I, Core Bloodline Expansions
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Legendary Worlds: Terminus (Starfinder)
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Kim F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/02/2017 06:00:18

This was originally reviewed on the Open Gaming Network.

There is, of course, a scoring system, similar to that used elsewhere, in a 5-star rating, which we have determined as follows:

1 – Bad 2 – Mediocre 3 – Decent 4 – Good 5 * – Excellent

The following review is an OPINION piece and only reflects the opinion and tastes (because ultimately, all reviews will be based in personal taste) of the reviewer.

That disclaimer out of the way, let’s get on with the show!

This week we give you Legendary Worlds: Terminus!

Publisher: Legendary Games Author: Jeff Lee Cover Artist: None specified, but artists are listed as Arrahman rendi, Julio Rocha and Takashi Tan System: Starfinder Page count: 18 ( 1 page cover, 1 page inside cover, 1 page credits, 3 page OGL (interesting choice, starting that at the front along with your “About Legendary Games” – I’ll be honest, it’s a bit off-putting. Why not have your “About” on the inside cover, or along with the Table of Contents?), 1 page Table of Contents, 9 pages of content, 1 page back inside cover, 1 page back cover)

Right, so let’s look at the cover first. It shows us two people who appear to be in prison. One wearing some sort of plate mail, and electricity coming out of his fist, and the other, with their back turned, bald (possibly an elf? Not sure if the ears are pointy enough), carrying something that I can’t actually see what is, as the image is blurred over there, but it looks like some sort of long-handled dagger, while that person is wearing plate mail pieces as well as a more barbaric looking fur collar. Right, so this image is of a prison break, at least that’s how I read it, though if I’d had to guess from the image, it’s not a particularly high-tech prison, and more like something I’d find on a low-tech world. A bit odd for Starfinder, but when looking at the other Legendary Worlds releases, it looks to fit their overall feel.

Right, to the content!

So, I’m going to skip straight past the Table of Contents and the OGL beginner there on this inside, and move to the “Welcome to the Legendary Planet Adventure Path”.

OK, the pages labeled 1 and 2 are basically a short history of “This is what inspired Legendary Planet” and by extension “Legendary Worlds”, and it doesn’t really add or detract from the books. It’s nice to see people acknowledging where their inspiration came from, but I’d hoped for more of a “This is how you use this book in your campaigns, whether it’s Legendary Planet or not”, especially as the blurb for the product on the websites state “You can use these in conjunction with an ongoing adventure saga like the Legendary Planet Adventure Path from Legendary Games or with any sci-fi campaign that spans the spaceways.” – And yeah, it is pretty “drag-and-drop”, but nonetheless, it would have been nice to see.

Then we have an introduction to Terminus, as well as a short Planetary Gazetteer, giving us surface conditions (nice touch) and gravity. While the information is there, it doesn’t really stick to Starfinder’s formula for it, so you need to read the whole text block, instead of getting a quick overview. While that’s fine, it would have been nice to have a quick overlook as well.

And here starts the juicy bits: The locations, the factions, the inhabitants, and the conditions. They’re all here, but they are a bit hodge-podge, as they don’t adhere to a particular order. It starts with a location, then a faction, then another location (well, inside), then another faction and so on. It’d have been nice for it to be “Locations, Factions, Condition, Inhabitants” or something similar.

All the locations, factions are pretty cool, though I’d have liked a bit more information on the Overseers. Leaving it as a mystery is a bit annoying. It’d have been nice to know WHO was abusing these folks and why, but oh well. What’s REALLY cool about this though, is the Corruption, Chimaerism, and Undead sections. I like the call-out to people devolving more quickly here than elsewhere (though I’m sure the duergar wouldn’t call it that), and the increase in rises of corporeal undead, i.e. automatic rising. I’d have liked there to be some sort of time frame for when they arose, but as a GM, I’d probably hand-wave it and go “Within 1d6 hours” as the clans are described as taking their time to destroy the bodies of other inmates immediately after death, which seems to require some sort of time pressure. The fact that races that are normally infertile together can have children here, is a VERY nice touch. (Finally an excuse for owlbears! – well, sort of!)

Next up is a more in-depth description of the Clans of Terminus, so maybe this’ll reveal a bit more.

It details 3 clans, the All-folk (the casts out offspring from parents of mixed races), the Glorified (a bunch of power-hungry maniacs who believe that Terminus is a test of faith) and the Ironmongers (who specialize in destroying wardens). All of these are well detailed, but most detail is given to the Glorified. And I am lacking an answer to WHY the Ironmongers are so keen on destroying the wardens. I mean, sure, every prisoner likely wants to kill the guards, but why are these guys so set on it, that they prefer attacking wardens to taking over other clans?

Next up we get a few monsters, the blackfire wight and terminus warden. The Blackfire wights are undead who’ve been killed by blackfire (an environmental hazard on Terminus, that’s described a bit later), but they’re actually CR 6, where the Blackfire itself is CR 4. AND they can create spawn. They just seem a bit overpowered for something that was killed by an environmental hazard. I would have expected them to be a lower CR, than the hazard itself, especially since they can guard the actual black fire.

The terminus warden is a large robot, that has a weakness to critical hits, which I think is really odd. Constructs are already susceptible to critical hits, but does this mean that the warden takes 50% more damage from critical hits? (It’s also vulnerable to electricity, but that’s a common thing for metallic constructs). It’s pretty cool and has some nice artwork.

One thing that’s important to note here, is that the Starfinder Alien Archive has not been launched yet, so these monsters do deviate from the standard that will be established there, looking at First Contact, you can for example see that the Terminus Warden has feats that would not be listed in that entry for Starfinder as it only lists the active abilities. I’m hoping this’ll be updated once Alien Archive becomes available. The Ration Replicator ability is a nice touch as well, though it probably won’t see much use in a normal game.

Next up is New Rules, a section on a hazard (blackfire), stygia (a drug), 2 weapons and an armor. A side note to two of these, it would have been nice to have a page reference to them or even a “see below for details”, for both blackfire and stygia, as they’re both referenced before we see them, within this product. Having a little note stating that “yes, you’ll be able to read more about them later” would have been nice.

Blackfire can be roughly described as a magical backlash effect, and your spellcasters will soon learn not to use area of effect spells near the nightglass mineral deposits, as it’s going to hurt. Stygia is a drug that provides spell resistance (wow!) and immunity to blackfire, but here we run into some real problems. Because it’s not clear what the withdrawal effects are. It merely states that “an addicted creature goes a full day without a dose of the drug, then it suffers the effects listed.” – it would have been nice to restate what these actually are here.

The equipment in this section is also OK, as 2 of them are just variants of existing Starfinder equipment, but the Magebane Bomb is cool. Being able to deliver a Hazard as a weapon is a smart move on the author’s part.

Lastly, you have some adventure hooks, which are pretty standard fare for a prison planet, an Escape (hello Riddick), an Infiltration (hello Escape from New York / Los Angeles), and a Survival (Running Man/Battle Royale!). While they’re standard fare, they’re also pretty evocative, so there’s no need to re-invent the wheel here.

And so we come to the conclusion:

This is a decent (3½-star). I feel like this had the potential to be a 4-star product, but there’s a number of small missteps, and it is annoying with the short introduction being a bit of a shambles. Along with the critical weakness in the terminus warden, and so on, I can’t justify rounding it up from 3½ to 4, so I’m going to have to settle on a 3 star.

Sorry, folks, but this one could have provided better, and while it has the potential, it could use another look. If those issues are addressed (not so much the order of the items, but the other niggling bits), this would become a 4-star instead.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Worlds: Terminus (Starfinder)
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Star Log.EM-003: Collateral Characters
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Kim F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/14/2017 04:13:58

Orignally reviewed over on the OpenGamingNetwork.

The following review is an OPINION piece and only reflects the opinion and tastes (because ultimately, all reviews will be based on personal taste) of the reviewer.

That disclaimer out of the way, let’s get on with the show!

This week we give you Star Log.EM-003: Collateral Characters!

Publisher: Rogue Genius Games Author: Alexander Augunas (AKA Alex Augunas) Cover Artist: Jacob E. Blackmon System: Starfinder Page count: 7 ( 1 page cover, 1 page credits, 3 pages content, 1 page OGL)

So, to start off with, we have a cover that shows us someone polishing an armor that uncannily reminds me of a Samurai version of Optimus Prime. When I originally saw it, I certainly didn’t think of a slave worker, more of a maintenance type character, but the image itself is evocative enough and is reused inside once more. I’m not sure how I feel about the pattern used as a background though, but it seems to vary according to each release.

(Disclaimer: Reading the sidebar on page 3, I can see that this has particular repercussions for anyone using Blood Space and Moon Dust and the Starfarer’s Companion, neither of which I had access to at the time of the review, so this review will stand on its own).

The introduction is an introduction to the Star Logs.Em releases and the sidebar does a good job of giving a feel for an Ex-Slave in the above-mentioned campaigns, though the grammar in it feels a little disjointed. A direct quote here is “Although three centuries have passed since, the Xa-Osoro System underwent a system-changing catastrophe called the Regicide when one of its binary stars, Osoro, suddenly imploded into a miniature black hole.” – It feels like that sentence should have been continued.

Next up we have a theme, that of the Collateral itself:

The Theme Knowledge ability of this Theme is nice, but it seems like it’s missing something. Other Theme Knowledge abilities mention 1 or 2 specific skills that it reduces the DC for in specific circumstances, and this does not. Instead, though, it gives you the choice of either Athletics or Piloting as a class skill, again where other comparable abilities only give you 1. It seems like a slightly more powerful version of the ability for it.

The level 6 ability Back to the Wall, feels good, and characterful, giving you a bonus when you or your starship is 0 Stamina Points or Hull Points. I do question however, HOW a ship is supposed to use this ability when it’s a 0 Hull Points, since the Core Book states that “A starship with 0 Hull Points isn’t destroyed, though many of its systems are no longer functioning and it is no longer a threat to its enemies” – So the + to damage is not very useful in that situation, though it might well be to the skill check.

Next, at level 12, we have Hardy, which gives an always useful little boost.

Finally, there is Flower that Never Wilts. Now, this ability is really nice, making you hard to kill, though I am curious as to where the name came from, but that is a sidenote, and just my inner nerd being curious.

Next, we have the Collateral Diehard an archetype for former child-slaves. Considering the topic, I would have expected this to be very, very grim, and when I read the fluff and the abilities, I cannot help but think of child soldiers, which is probably the intent here.

At level 2, we see the ability Iron Flower, which gives you a nice self-heal, which is always handy, and at level 6, we see Bloodied Frenzy, which provides a bonus against fear effects, and a damage increase when you’re at 0 Stamina Point, both of which are nice, and fit the description of the archetype quite well. Finally, at 9th level there’s Firm against the Tide, which again gives you a bonus when you’re at 0 stamina point, this time giving you temporary hit points.

Lastly there’s a section on how to include this in the Blood Space and Moon Dust setting, which gives a nice little look into the setting, but is probably not of great use to anyone outside the setting, as these cannot really be imported into your own campaign, as the information is a bit short, though they can most certainly be mined for ideas.

And so we come to the conclusion:

This is a decent (3-star), but combined with the Blood Space and Moon Dust setting, I feel like this could well be a 4, as you’d be able to, presumably, expand on the information in both setting and this book, by using the other.

In the end, I’m giving this a 4-star rating.

Well done everyone involved, this was a good read, but next time, give me a bit more to work with on its own.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Star Log.EM-003: Collateral Characters
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We Be Dragons
Publisher: Zenith Games
by Kim F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/22/2016 11:30:27

For $1.99 this adventure is a BARGAIN. (and for the very low price, considering the size of it, I'll rate it at 5/5).

It'll likely take you a few hours to play through, but more importantly it gives players the ability to play dragons, which opens up a whole new series of opportunities for roleplaying and tactics for the players. The opportunity for players to test new dragon types (I hope to see more of these in the future, as in full-fledged rules for them to use as opponents) and to use old favorites if people want is much appreciated. So is the customization options of the (primarily) spellcasting dragons, to suit the needs of the individual player.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
We Be Dragons
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