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5 Magic Items: Horrific Books
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/17/2010 05:16:26
I don't expect this to end well, with a name like "Horrific Books". Betting everything here has, at least, a double edged sword.

Misfit Studios has announced that they are preparing for Halloween. and this seems to be the first step in that.

The first book is the Arcane Catalog of Dej, which is as it sounds - a helpful catalog of arcane items. Even if you don't otherwise know jack about magic items, this is useful...it, uh, can just get in your head a bit.

The Folio of Fiends is similar to the Arcane Catalog, except it imparts all kinds of useful knowledge on various types of beasties.

Purgatorum can inform a user about demons, including offering resistance against demonic powers...however, it is FULL of side effects, with one of the NICER side effects sucking a user into Hell.

The Tome of the Underworld can be used to enhance the powers of anyone with access to Miracles, infusing them with the essence of the dead. Best check with your deity, though, 'cause they may have a problem with it.

The Necronomicon...you might have heard of it. The Necronomicon makes its appearance, and it can be powerful, if you can understand it. However, it can wreak even more havoc if you don't.

Nice step away from weapons for the new release, with a couple of truly horric items, including the old classic the Necronomicon. A good selection that lives up to the "horrific" descriptor.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
5 Magic Items: Horrific Books
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5 Magic Items: Axes
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/17/2010 04:55:33
This is a set-up identical to the Blades PDF, with five axes, their values, abilities and the Knowledge charts that can give the PCs information on the items...with the possibility of completely misleading information.

Additionally, a rule for using bennies is supplied, in the event that the GM makes the Knowledge rolls. Essentially, PCs can make the roll blind and, even if they fail again, can get a hint that they are remembering SOMETHING wrong.

It's not the most elegant solution, but with the GM making rolls for the PCs in that case, there's not much you CAN do.

First up is the Falcon Axe, which is a nice name for an old classic, an axe that returns to your hand.

The Headhunter Cleaver is an Orcish axe that will seek the heads whenever possible. It's an ugly, violent weapon, with a REALLY nice plot hook that would be GREAT to surprise an unsuspecting user with.

The Magicbreaker Axe is not a wizard's best friend, and is valuable for a warrior battling spellcasting types.

Stonehewer axes can inflict massive damage on stone and anything made of stone, while Treecleaver axes are their plant-fighting equivalents.

This is a really good addition of some solid weapons to the Magic Items list, with the most inspiring item being the Headhunter Cleaver and its awesome plot hook (that requires two raises on a Knowledge roll for the wielder to be aware of).

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
5 Magic Items: Axes
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Monster Brief: Dark Elves
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/12/2010 02:00:22
Meant to go hand-in-hand with Player Races: Dark Elves, this Monster Brief provides some variations on Dark Elves, to be used as monsters and adversaries.

Two Edges and two Hindrances are included, though Poison Resistance and Obligation are reprinted from Player Races: Dark Elves.

The first variation present is the "Dark Elf Arachni", which are pretty much Driders (dark elves morphed into half-spiders), but this thing is freaking scary. A single arachni is absolutely dangerous both up close and at a distance, from throwing weapons to using crossbows to casting spells AND having a poisonous bite.

Honestly, I don't remember Driders being that scary.

Deepstalkers are Dark Elf assassins who are all part of a cult, said to worship something other than what Dark Elves worship. In addition to being specialized sneaky assassins, they also have access to miracles.

Dark Elf Painlords are dark elves who are also masters of torture, knowing how to strike in order to inflict the most pain in combat.

Next are the Dark Elf Priestess and High Priestess, who occupy the same real estate, just one is higher up the food chain than the other. Fit, capable combatants, they are also blessed with Miracles and more than a few Power Points.

Finally, we have the Dark Elf Warlock, which is really as close to magic power as most male Dark Elves get, and that tends to pale next to the Priestesses.

A very good listing of Dark Elf variations, hitting all of the common ones, as well as a new one in the Pain Lord. Very highly recommended if you run Savage Worlds and like your dark elves.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monster Brief: Dark Elves
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Monster Brief: Goblins
by Keith (. T. A. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/11/2010 13:28:23
Misfit is doing a nice job of adding meat to the Fantasy Companion. http://rptroll.blogspot.com

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Monster Brief: Goblins
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Player Races: the Dark Elf
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/09/2010 17:06:16
I can see this one being polarizing.

Arguably the most popular - and hated - fantasy race I can think of comes to Savage Worlds through Misfit Studios' new line of PDFs, "Player Races".

Dark Elves became very prominent in the 90s with the popularity of Drizzt Do'Urden, and now you can't throw a d20 without hitting a D&D player who hates them. That said, I always kinda liked dark elves.

Mechanically, the Dark Elf race has both Infravision (which halves penalities for Dark Lighting) and Low Light Vision (which ignores penalities for Dark Lighting), and unless I'm missing something...that's fairly redundant.

Of the "classic" Dark Elf powers, the race retains the "field of darkness", as the Obscure power.

Dark Half-Elves are also listed, based off of Half-Elves.

The PDF also includes a new Hindrance and three new Edges, as well as four sample Dark Elf poisons and stats for a Dark Elf crossbow.

A sample Dark Elf warrior is statted up, with a sidebar on "Deep Mithral", which is used to make Dark Elf armor but degrades in the sunlight.

A very nice pick for the first Player Race, and what appears to be a balanced take on Dark Elves for Savage Worlds. Combine it with the all the other little niceties, such as the poisons and the
Deep Mithral and you get another jampacked purchase for less than $2.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Player Races: the Dark Elf
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Publisher Reply:
Infravision and low-light vision have some functional overlap, true, but they both pick up some slack for the other considering one is heat-based and the other is light-based. Giving dark elves both means they'll be able to spot heroes who may think some of the tricks they use to hide against normal elves will also work on these guys. It's just a minor thing that makes them just that much nastier to face.
Alortun: The Crown of Skulls, v2
by Jim C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/05/2010 01:34:44
The product description more or less sums it up. I would only add that the game mechanics include the Knowledge checks for its various contradictory legends (with an extended method of telling true from false rumours) and the artifact's powers themselves - no prestige class for the elves, for example, though it seems as if it might justify it. A little rough, but with some work on a DM's part, it could form a basis for a good chunk of a campaign.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Alortun: The Crown of Skulls, v2
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Expanded Professions: The Thief
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/02/2010 17:49:01
Misfit Studios scores again with another Expanded Profession, easily the best and brightest of their microsupplement lines. Ten new Edges and a Knowledge skill, all designed to allow a more enhanced customization of thieves.

A new Legendary Edge, Guild Master, is included...allowing you to begin forming your own thieves guild. Trap Sense allows you to subconsciously detect traps without actively searching for them, and the Trap Springer Edges grant Armor against traps you accidentally set off while trying to
disarm them!

Well worth it, especially if you have a thief-like character in your fantasy game, for a much greater number of customization options, with only one Edge having a direct combat application (Rooftop Ruffian allowing you to fight and climb at the same time). So far, the Expanded Professions are Can't Miss Material.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Expanded Professions: The Thief
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Monster Brief: Dragons
by Shotgun G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/01/2010 02:19:19
Dragon's - mythical flying creatures found in many cultures and in many forms. Said to cause fear and terror, used in symbology as a sign of power or strength. So why does one (Arcane Dragon), look like an over-sized Greyhound dog?

The imagery seems a little disjointed, against the awe inspiring stats that are enclosed in the file. Having played SW's, their is no doubting the lethality of these beasts. Ignore the images, just stick to the stats on this one; which will provide you with some great adversaries for your high level adventures. I really like the Smoke Dragon, playful; yet whimsicle in nature. The Sand Dragon could be a nice plot hook, sending the party off to steal some magical artifact for its collection (or be eaten!).

The Arcane Dragon, well best to not even meet that one; if you can. A possible plot hook for the Arcane Dragon, would be seeking knowledge. Can the party persuade the Arcane Dragon to help in their adventure, or will it just teleport them away.

Fairly good suppliment, but for this reviewer; lacking in the awesome imagery that dragons should inspire.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Monster Brief: Dragons
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Monster Brief: Dragons
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/01/2010 01:27:57
The third Monster Brief by Misfit Studios produces four new dragons for Savage Worlds!

The first entry is the Arcane Dragon and it is absolutely scary. In addition to being big and mean, it has Power Points, knows spells and can cast the Dispel power at will. They don't seem to be overtly good or evil, preferring to be left to their own devices to study.

Mock dragons (that's Smoke Dragon to you) are tiny, smoke spewing dragons not much larger than a housecat. Back in the day playing D&D, I had a friend who played a solo Mage, and I would totally have stuck him with a Mock Dragon. They're perfect for that sort of role in a game.

The Sand Dragon looks a whole lot like one of the Metallic dragons from D&D...Brass? Copper? I don't recall...regardless, the Sand dragon is obsessed with collecting magic (for some reason), and does not fly, instead preferring to burrow in the desert.

Finally, the Viper Dragon is another flightless dragon and is barely more than an animal in intelligence...it doesn't come across particularly malevolent, but is still a definite adversary due to its predatory nature.

I'm kind of surprised at the lack of "evil" dragons in this. The closest seems to be the Viper Dragon, with the Sand Dragon also seemingly capable of filling an antagonistic role if need be. The Mock Dragon makes for an awesome companion in a game, while the Arcane Dragon just wants to be left alone.

The variations are nice, but the product isn't brimming with plot hooks for your Savage Worlds game...however, the Mock Dragon and the four write-ups as examples in changing up dragons within the Savage Worlds rules set are still very cool.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Monster Brief: Dungeon Dwellers
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/29/2010 06:48:14
This secong Monster Brief gives more "classic" monsters to use with Savage Worlds.
The art is nice and the stats look good. There is enough fluff here to make it worth while. The product does make me wish for a full blown monster manual.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Monster Brief: Dungeon Dwellers
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Publisher Reply:
Misfit Studios has plans for a large Savage Worlds bestiary down the road, generally and specifically for SpirosBlaak, so keep an eye open for them!
Monster Brief: Dungeon Dwellers
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/28/2010 01:43:03
The second Monster Brief by Misfit Studios takes a different tack: Rather than focusing on one monster, like the Goblin, we get some dungeon classics.

The Carnivorous Cube: A giant, man-eating gelatin cube? Ridiculous...that'll never fly. Frankly, it's just as scary as you remember.

Mad Mouthers: Mad Mouthers are slightly less iconic than the inspiration for the Carnivorous Cube...in fact, Mad Mouthers are one of the few quasi-classics I don't think I ever used. I've gotta compare the entries for this and its D&D inspiration...'cause this is cooler than I remember.

A minotaur remix is up next, designed to focus on the minotaur in the labyrinth, taking them back to their roots. FRIGHTENING if it is allowed to get a full on charge going.

Troglodytes: My biggest memory of troglodytes are their appearance in one of the D&D arcade games, where they still emitted the musky ordery stuff (though I think it was more like poison in that game, I think).

All told, not as cool as the expanded professions, or even quite as cool as the Goblin brief, but still very nice to see some renamed D&D classics slink into Savage Worlds.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
5 Magic Items: Blades
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/28/2010 01:31:21
Another in Misfit Studios' line of microsupplements, we get 5 magic blades. The introduction informs us that each Blade's powers should be hidden, and gives guidelines on researching them...complete with a table to roll on (there is a unique one for each blade), detailing just how much information the researcher finds. A Critical Failure means that they get it ALL wrong. This is a great concept, but stumbles just a bit in execution: If they players roll it, they will know they got a Critical Failure, and will suspect something. If the GM rolls it, they essentially lose the right to use a benny to modify the roll, which some could construe as unfair. Other than that, I love it...just gotta work that part out.

Bloodletter: The first item is an intelligent longsword that actually makes those that hold it less intelligent. Being an intelligent sword, it has a Smarts and Spirit die, as well as Skills and Goals, plus special powers. The mechanics are a little unclear, as it will try to drive Magic Users and the type that hold the blade insane...but it doesn't say how, as the only codified power of the blood is draining Power Points from those it harms. Cool concept, a little unclear on the mechanics.

Dagger of Piercing: Much as it says...this little dagger is the Ginsu of the fantasy world, though it does have limitations...

Deathsever Dagger: A dagger with cool extra bonuses against the Undead and essentially granting the Sweep Edge. However, they were designed for a VERY specific, hidden purpose.

Demonbane: Another unique blade, at first glance...but extra research can again reveal a very cool, hidden purpose.

Frostheart: This one is a bonafide artifact, with Power Points and everything. Conceptually, it's probably my least favorite of the five.

The first magic item collection from Misfit Studios for Savage Worlds is very cool for your $1.55...the plot hooks for the Demonbane and Death Severe Daggers are probably my favorite parts, honestly, and my only REAL complaint is that I'm not sure how the Bloodletter functions with its influencing the its wielder (potentially). Another fine entry.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
5 Magic Items: Blades
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Publisher Reply:
A good point regarding bennies, Thomas. I'll address how Gamemasters may want to reconcile that with the mystery of using a secret roll in the next product release. Thanks for pointing it out. As for how Bloodletter works, it's based on rules for intelligent magic items that appears in the Fantasy Companion, which outlines how a battle of wills plays out between the wielder and the weapon if the wielder doesn't pursue Bloodletter's goals. I can't recommend the Fantasy Companion enough as a great resource.
Monster Brief: Goblins
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/17/2010 01:15:57
Like the Expanded Professions, the Monster Briefs are short PDFs at $1.55, taking a given subject matter and "blowing it up" a bit.

In this case, we get an expanded focus on Goblins, complete with a couple of variations. The product is a mild letdown from the awesomeness that is the Expanded Professions, but still very cool. First up, we get introduced to the Beast Wrangler, a goblin that trains various animals for chaos and violence. This entry is mostly hampered by a reference to giant rats from the Pulp GM's Toolkit, an earlier Savage Worlds product that is now a bit on the obscure side due to the push for the various Companions (though the Pulp Toolkit is still available).

Goblin Lords are actually kind of impressive...having enough going for them statistically to be a threat, especially to lower ranked characters, even before you realize that they are also going to be surrounded by a whole tribe.

Goblin Wolf Riders are fairly self explanatory, and include vargrs, which are like dire wolves but big and mean.

The Monster Brief concludes with Ragefur mushrooms, a *very* scary mushroom that can send goblins into a furious berserker rage before possibly killing them...and then it does BAD stuff to non Goblins that eat it.

You know, its just not quite as cool or as useful as the first Expanded Profession, but this first Monster Brief is still a very encouraging sign as to what could be coming down the pike.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monster Brief: Goblins
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Expanded Professions: The Druid
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/17/2010 00:59:22
Expanded Professions: The Druid

Holy smokes...now this is what I'm talking about. Misfit Studios officially tosses their hat into the Savage Worlds ring with a tiny supplement...of awesome. For $1.55 you can download a three page PDF that adds a Druid Professional Edge and then...expands it. What this product really is, is nine Edges starting with Druid and then allowing access to a number of special features and abilities,including a new Legendary Edge that allows the Druid to tap into the senses of all the animals in the surrounding area.

Yeah.

Another Edge piggybacks off of the Beast Master Edge and allows the Druid to impart cool abilities on their animal companion, or even boost the animal's stats. Yet another Edge allows the Druid to be powered by the land, complete with a table you can use to modify the Druid's power points with depending on where they are actually AT (a desert bumps the Druid's points down -4, while a jungle rockets them up a whopping +6, for instance).

Some people will say "too many edges" and "use what's already there"! I say "Holy crap, I wanna play a Druid, at least until some more of these come out...what's that? 'Champion' just came out? I need to pick that up..."

I am obviously very much a fan of this concept. The addition of more Edges (that have a reason for existing) can help dispel that notion that Savage Worlds "ends" at Legendary...and this supplement has a neat trick or two rolled into Edges that some might have tried to place into the Powers system.

If future releases hold up with this one...and I kinda hate Druids, so there you go...Misfit should have a bright future as a licensee.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Expanded Professions: The Druid
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Monster Brief: Goblins
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/13/2010 21:52:12
At three pages this might not seem like a lot, but it everything you need to get you started with goblins in Savage Worlds. A good deal for the money, though I was left wanting more. Looking forward to other products in this line.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Monster Brief: Goblins
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