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Giants
Giants
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NEO FIGHTERS: The Fire Knight
by Eric A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/14/2006 00:00:00
I would recommend the fireknight for characters looking for a low or moderate level fighter with some magical abilities. In my opinion, after 7th level the value of what is earned and the low number of feats you have don't seem to make the character worth leveling up for what you get . I would recommend multiclassing a human fireknight with a fighter, duskblade, or a hexblade for damage dealing or with a cleric or druid for some fire effects. Another use would be as a nice a moderately leveled evil enemy character that uses fire effects.

Even though some of the character details are a little underdeveloped, I like what I see so far and would be interested to see where the author goes from here with this character class.

Overall, this character has some real possibilities for some dramatic flare in the game.



LIKED: This character has a lot of spell-like abilities and special abilities. This is an alternative to a fighter at it appears to provide a similar attack bonus progression.

The fire abilities of the fireknight provide some offensive and defensive possibilities.


DISLIKED: Needs more development on character history, religion, and why the fireknight has the abilities he has.

I also would have liked to have seen a list of spells a fireknight could have.

The fire effects are nice however they don't seem to have long lasting effects.

There were effects for shields and weapons, however there didn't seem to be any for armor. I would like to request to the author to create some armor abilities for the fireknight.

Some custom feats and spells would have been nice to include in the character class.

Some of the high level abilities were fairly week for the high level they are earned at.

Needs more bonus feat slots during leveling up to help strengthen the character.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
NEO FIGHTERS: The Fire Knight
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Unorthodox Sorcerers
by Derek K. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/12/2006 00:00:00
The Le Games scores another hit with ?Unorthodox Sorcerers,? a collection of variant sorcerer classes for use in your Dungeons & Dragons game. There are two short stories (?Playing God? by Martin Jenner and ?Farm Boy? by Melinda Moore) that are entertaining, but as fun as they are, they are not the reason you will want to pick up this supplement. Rather, there are five variant classes that demand attention.

(As with all their products, The Le Games includes two versions of ?Unorthodox Sorcerers? in this supplement ? one printer-friendly version and one formatted for easy screen viewing. For purposes of this review, I?ll be referencing the printer-friendly version.)

Each of the sorcerer variants is not just a sorcerer with different class abilities. What makes each of them stand out is the accompanying text explaining why they are different. This material isn?t just written for a player?s use; DMs paying attention can find inspiration for interesting NPCs or organizations.

The numeromantic sorcerer is a numerology-based caster, expressing their spells through numbers rather than words. Immanent heresiarchs believe that humans are on the path of transcending themselves and becoming something greater (perhaps even greater than the gods). Followers of the sixfold septateuch are sorcerers that combine their spellcasting with a fanatic religious faith in a demon god.

The two unorthodox sorcerers that stood out, however, are the suppresser (a sorcerer that believes that magical power should only be used by the select few who truly values and deserve it) and the occult detective (a sorcerer that acts more like a magical policeman/woman and crime scene investigator, pursuing crimes perpetuated by magic users). The descriptive text of these classes alone more than makes this supplement worthwhile.

A prestige class called the pyramid mage is introduced, and, as its name suggests, he or she derives most of his or her magical ability through the use or focus of pyramids (even going as far as sleeping with a small pyramid on their head). The flavor here is interesting, but it should be noted that one of the class skills for the pyramid mage is listed as Alchemy, which would be contrary to the current Dungeons & Dragons rules set in which the skill should have been listed as Craft (alchemy).

A handful of spells (including an interesting one called ?map dungeon? which allows the caster to send his or her spirit into a dungeon or underground complex to create a map within the area of effect of the spell), baubles and urus of power, and a thorough glossary providing complete spell lists, select spell descriptions and core sorcerer class information from the SRD.

Clip art is peppered throughout this supplement, and most of it is used effectively. Some pages are devoted to nothing but this clip art, however; there are over ten pages that could have been either devoted to more material or eliminated completely. Also, as I?ve read and used a number of The Le Games? previous products, I?m starting to recognize some of the clipart. (For example, a portrait used in the occult detective section was also used as a cultist in ?Unorthodox Clerics.?)

Overall, however, ?Unorthodox Sorcerers? is a solid supplement and is well worth its cost. As a player, I?m eager to give a few of these classes a try; as a DM, I plan on incorporating them into the game I run.





LIKED: The creativity and diversity shown here is top notch, and is indicative of most of The Le Games' products. The five classes are unique and playable, and the extra effort made in explaining just what these classes are and how they work, they can be used in your game soon after downloading this product. (And including a piece of excellent gaming music is a definite plus!)

DISLIKED: Saying I didn't like the short stories is a bit strong, but I don't know if I would have enjoyed the product any less if they were absent. The repeated artwork was a bit distracting as well. However, these factors did not cause me to think this was anything but a 5-Star supplement.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied

[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Unorthodox Sorcerers
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UNORTHODOX Pirates
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/03/2006 00:00:00
Movie theater box offices are not the only ones sailing on the waves of success of the latest Pirates of the Caribbean Movie.
Le Games presents Unorthodox Pirates, another good entry to their Unorthodox PDFs. Now you have the right tools to make your own Jack Sparrow or Will can?t remember his last name because he?s so lame in the movie.
Unorthodox Pirates dishes out 6 different types of pirate classes, a few magic items, some cool and a set of gun rules within its 61 pages.

The pirate classes are the obvious strength of the book and present 6 very unique types of pirates. Unfortunately, as with most pirate classes, they tend to limit the pirate to the open seas. Though, they do a better job of trying to make them more land friendly than other classes I have seen.

The Gun rules are the weakest part of the PDF. Let?s call them Will. I have seen better gun rules in other Le Games supplements (Unorthodox Ranged). The gun rules are pretty mundane and do not feel as potent as they should be.

The magic items are really useful for sea bearing characters and really adhere to the theme of the book. What character would not want a Magic compass that can point in an y direction or a hat that makes you a little more nimble.

The book winds itself out with a few useless pieces of information which has become a trademark of the unorthodox books. Why the PDF needs to regurgitate the SRD listings for Druids, Sunder and Weapon Finesse is beyond me.

For the Player:

Want a character with a little personality, the swashbuckler is about as cool as they come. The Major Victory of the book, this character?s skills contain cool abilities such as Witty Quip, which lowers an opponents initiative and Break Hearts, which allows for charisma bonuses against the opposite sex.

For the Dungeon Master

Want to bring some ump into your friendly little pirate campaign, send a pack of Ravagers, the books dark pirate class, after your PCs. Ravagers are the barbarians of the seven seas. The writing for them is a little darker and their Lick the Blade abilities are an unexpected Will save ability from a martial class.

The Iron Word

The pirate finally gets a lot of justice. Unorthodox Pirates gives you some usable pirate classes that are not necessarily forbidden to a pirate campaign. The magic items and pirate familiars such as sea monkey and parrot are a nice touch as well.



LIKED: - versatile pirate classes
- good magic items

DISLIKED: - gun rules really aren't innovative


QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
UNORTHODOX Pirates
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RACES I: Animal Kingdoms
by Chris G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/29/2006 00:00:00
Animal Kingdoms

Race books are not near as common as class books and for that I am thankful. Race books seem to either be a mix of new races or the expansion of the races presented in the Players Handbook. Of the books that have new races too many it seems either have the latest version of either elves or dwarves or just a batch of not that creative races. Frankly, I have yet to be amazed at any of the new race books. The best I have read have been by Silverthorn Games. Their Races of Evernor series has given a good selection of interesting races. But this race book here is really just a group of unexciting races.

Animal Kingdoms is the first race book by The Le Games. Their earlier works have all dealt with artifacts. The book is a pdf of twenty one pages. It comes in a small zip file of under a meg. Inside are versions of the book for print and on screen viewings. The format is east to read but there is quite a bit of white space in the book. There are pictures of each of the five races and the art is pretty average. Two of the pictures have little text that I guess is supposed to be cute as in funny cute. However, it really does not seem fit the overall theme of the book.

The five races presented here are as to be expected by the title races inspired by animals. The first are the Anatidae Kingdom, or the country of the Duckman. There is a brief description on the kingdom and then the race is detailed. Luckily, there are not like Howard the Duck, but still they really are not that inspiring and when reading them I had no inclinations to want to use or play one. Mechanically they have some odd attribute bonuses and penalties. This is usually frowned upon as the bonus can become meaningful at the same time the penalty can be hidden. They also have two favored classes. Or maybe it is just one as the classes are listed as Cleric or Wizard. I guess the player is supposed to pick one. It would have been preferred if this issue of how this is handled was addressed.

The second one is the Buteo Kingdom or the Hawkmen. Again the race has odd attribute modifiers and has the very good ability of flight. To balance this they have a chance to take double damage from any hit. The double damage is done with a reflex save so this negative is going to be meaningful at low levels but at higher levels its not going to matter much.

The third group is the Probsocidea Kingdom. This is the race of pachyderms or elephant men. There are the odd modifiers to the abilities and the double favored class. This is two favored classes as it is written. They do have tusks and can attack with them.

Next is the Rana Kingdom, the Kingdom of the Frogmen. This race has the same problems with attribute as the one above and seems to have more weaknesses then bonuses. They take double damage from fire and need water to survive. They do have small acid and cold resistance (cold resistance because they are cold blooded, I don?t understand that) as well as being able to breath in water and good at swimming. They gain no attribute bonuses.

Lastly is the Ursidea Kingdom, the Bearmen. The attribute modifiers are odd as well as even, but what is really interesting is that since they live on a mountain they are wise and very well versed in philosophy. I fine that interesting because in the picture the bear is saying ?Must be Honey cause Jam don?t shake like that.? while looking at a woman?s backside. They are very wise indeed.

Overall I found this product not that good. The races are not that original, the mechanics are badly done, and there just is not a lot of information here.



QUALITY: Disappointing

VALUE: Disappointed


Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
RACES I: Animal Kingdoms
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17 Plants
by David P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/25/2006 00:00:00
Well, I just got roped into running a game, and since everyone is playing elf tree-huggers I figured I should get me a few products to keep the nature lovers happy. This will definitely do the trick. Each entry includes information on how the plant can be harvested and the special properties it offers. Each plant is interesting and seems designed for a specific type of ecosystem, making the product useful in a wide variety of environments.

Unfortunately, the explanations aren?t really fleshed out well. The product alludes to a lot of stuff that can be done with the plants, but doesn?t really get much involved in the mechanics. So DMs need to read, understand, and plan a mechanic beforehand before using some of these plants.

I?m not sure how I feel about the art. A lot of it is real-life photos, which obviously don?t represent the fantasy plants. Others are medieval woodcuts. Others look like generic clip art. It makes for an awkward looking product.



LIKED: A lot of good material to use for a nature-geared game. Good price.

DISLIKED: Art doesn't do anything for the product, and the mechanics aren't fleshed out.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
17 Plants
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NEO CLERICS: The Opus Priest
by Derek K. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/16/2006 00:00:00
A cleric class that avoids magic? No magical aid? No spells? No domains? That?s exactly what ?Neo Clerics: The Opus Priest? presents, and presents well. Written by David Gallant, this installment in The Le Games? Neo Classes line creates a priest-based class which functions well despite its lack of divine magic.

The opus priest is dedicated to showing others how to live without magic, both arcane and divine. Believing that the solutions to life?s problems should be found through more mundane means, the opus priest is willing to work for his or her solutions. Rather than being confrontational with other PCs who do rely on magic and spells to help them succeed, the opus priest serves more as an example rather than an adversary. In fact, if the opus priest uses magic or benefits from spells, he or she will lose all of his or her class abilities for a day.

The class abilities for the opus priest all fit together well. Opus priests are granted the Endurance feat at 1st level as well as a bit of spell resistance (the spell resistance increases with each opus priest level). Further bonus feats are offered as the character advances, and while the available feat list is a bit small, the feats are devoted to the class? work ethic (some of the feats are Athletic, Diehard, Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative and Iron Will). A new feat called Personal Craftsmanship is also introduced (and granted to the opus priest at 3rd level) which grants the character a +1 circumstance bonus when using an item created by that character (this bonus can also mean a +1 to attack roles or a +1 armor bonus to the character?s Armor Class).

The opus priest introduces a new mechanic to the game in the form of divine boons. Instead of casting any kind of healing magic, an opus priest can call upon his or her deity ? the Patron of Works ? to grant healing. At all even levels, an opus priest is granted a number of boons based on his or her level. At first, the boon only heals 1d8 + 1 hit point per opus priest level, but as the character advances, the number of d8 increases. At higher levels, the boon can also restore ability damage. This is a clever and in-character workaround to having a cleric-based class with no healing magic, but the boons are finite. Once the opus priest uses them, there is no strict game mechanic for the opus priest to gain more. (Fortunately, there is a sidebar detailing how a player and a DM can work out a system in which the opus priest can earn more divine boons. Some examples, like creating masterwork items, are given.)

This class is solidly designed. Writer Gallant has done an excellent job in creating a cleric-like class that stands on its own merits and is also rich in role-playing opportunities. For gamers who prefer a lower-magic world, the opus priest is an obvious choice, but even in a higher-magic world, this class would be fun to play.


LIKED: This is a great product! The non-magic using opus priest more than makes up for its lack of spellcasting with its own class abilities. This is a character rich in flavor and solid in mechanics. Of The Le Games' Neo Class releases, the opus priest is easily one of my favorites.

DISLIKED: While the opus priest's stance on magic use is made quite clear, no mention is made of how the opus priest may view psionics. This is a minor omission, however, and an attentive DM (if he or she even uses psionics in the game) can easily overcome this.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
NEO CLERICS: The Opus Priest
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FORGOTTEN WEAPONS: Stonebow
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/13/2006 00:00:00
Forgotten Weapons: Stonebow, is a short product from The Le Games. The zipped file is just over 2.2 megabytes in size. It contains two PDF files of the book, a Rich Text File of the book, a JPG picture of the cover, and a readme file cataloguing the contents. The two PDF files are the same ? one is in landscape format, meant for onscreen viewing, with the other being in portrait format for printing. The viewing PDF is 20 pages long, including a page for the credits, and three pages for the OGL/legal information. The printing PDF is the same, save for being a single page shorter due to formatting. The RTF file is also the same, save without any pictures or graphics.

The PDFs have several pieces of artwork throughout them. A few are black-and-white pictures by Larry Elmore. The remainders are drawings that are almost black-and-white, but seem to have been slightly shaded with a single tone (such as brown or blue). Both PDFs have borders along the top and bottom of each page, and bookmarks for the various sections of the book.

The book opens by describing the stonebow itself, a crossbow-like weapon meant for launching small stones. After this, the repeating stonebow, and the stonebow?s ammunition (including magical ammunition), are described. It?s also here that we see the book reprinting some information from the Core Rulebooks, something it does through the product (for example, it reprints the Rapid Reload feat, as that works with the stonebow). While this is understandably to cut down on flipping back and forth between books, it seems like something of a waste of space. In regards to the repeating stonebow, the book also references ?quality slots? from ?The Book of Qualities, or Half-Feats,? which is mildly frustrating ? as it?s referring us to another product for rules on using something in this book. Luckily, this is the only place it does that.

Two new feats are then given. While both seem like they?d be perfectly useful for crossbows (or even slings) in addition to the stonebow, both seem to be specific to that weapon.

A dozen new magic spells come next. The majority of these are meant to be cast on projectiles, improving their range, damage, or other effects. Unlike with the feats, these work on any sort of ammunition, giving great new options for spellcasters who attack with ranged weaponry.

A new prestige class, the Stonebow Sworn, is given next. This dwarf-only PrC gains several stonebow-related abilities, as well as a small selection of spells they can cast. Oddly, they?re said to cast spells as a bard does (that is, spontaneously), despite using Intelligence as their spellcasting-based attribute. The book then gives us a fully-statted Stonebow Sworn NPC, before spending an entire page reprinting the information on bardic spellcasting.

Altogether, this is a good product that could have used a bit of cleaning up. The weapon itself, along with the associated feats, spells, and prestige class are interesting, and work well in a fantasy campaign. However, reprinting things like the true strike spell, or what the dazzled condition does, seems like an excessive waste of space. The stonebow may be a forgotten weapon, but with a little more polishing, it?d truly be worth remembering.



LIKED: This product has not only a new weapon, but also new magic items, spells, feats, and a prestige class for it, nicely rounding it out.

DISLIKED: The excessive reprinting of Core material seemed like wasted space, instead of saving the reader the trouble of flipping between books.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
FORGOTTEN WEAPONS: Stonebow
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Unorthodox Sorcerers
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/11/2006 00:00:00
If there is one thing I enjoy about these Unorthodox books, is that they take routes on the current classes are completely out of left field. With Unorthodox Sorcerers, they give our favorite natural spellcasters a series of six spellbinding makeovers, each of which providing a diverse and unique take on the sorcerer class.

Sorcerors is a small 99 page book of variant sorcerer classes. The book begins with two five page stories featuring sorcerors, which are possibly the weakest part of the book and should have been regulated towards the back. The stories are nice and intriguing, but add nothing to the reason for the book?s purchase. After the writers? feel they have shown their fictional prowess, the meat of the book is presented to the reader and it is quite meaty.

There are six variant classes. Each class not only introduces a class, but also introduces uses of the class and its backstory. The additional information makes the classes more than just a few new abilities traded out for traditional ones. It gives each class a specific purpose of why it is different and unconventional that your traditional sorcerer. It is also not too lengthy, which makes it easy to insert into a campaign world. There are also new spells and Baubles and Uras, small magical stones with unique powerful abilities. They have been featured in previous books and I believe this may be the best crop yet.

For the Dungeon Master

It adds a bit of flavor to a campaign when you replace one of the campaigns with something more ?campaign world? specific. Each one of these classes can really add a dynamic to your world. The numeromantic sorcerer is a magic user whom uses complex mathematics to cast his spells. This is a brilliant idea as I have recently started playing a caster whom does a similar thing, believing magic is actually just complex mathematics. DMs can easily build a campaign world or portion of one where magic is replaced with hard nosed science. You may also enjoy the magical police occult detectives, the demon worshiping Sixfold Septateuch, the magic hording Supressers and the prestige class, Pyramid mage, which reminds me of an astrology type mage.

There are also some neat spells
For the Player

Introducing a new class into some campaigns can be destructive and some of these are obviously harder to integrate without DMs consent than others. Again I think the Numeromantic Sorceror is easy to integrate. I also like the Suppresser and Immanent Heresiarch for players. Both classes have ideologies and abilities that properly match.

More importantly, players will enjoy throwing these new spells into the mix. Spells such as Switch target (which there are three of) can really mess with a DM, allowing players to replace themselves in a bad situation with an NPC or monster. The most useful spell may be map dungeon. I can imagine the look on a DM?s face when you cast map dungeon and they hand you the poorly designed sketch they have.

The Iron Word

Another strong entry of classes by Le Games. I even liked the Baubles and Uras this time around and now understand their concept. The best part, as usual, is the classes which provide a strong enough variety to influence a campaign world.



LIKED: Variety is always good and all six classes are strong this time around

The spells here are useful

The Urus and Baubles are interesting this time around

DISLIKED: Two stories was a bit too much for me to start the book with.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Unorthodox Sorcerers
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Unorthodox Barbarians
by Derek K. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/09/2006 00:00:00
There are five new fully-playable 20-level classes in The Le Games? ?Unorthodox Barbarians,? and while it would have been easy for writer Robert J. Grady to put together simple variants of the barbarian class (note that I didn?t capitalize the ?b? in barbarian!), he didn?t. Instead, this supplement is made up of five new barbarian-style classes that present unique role-playing material for players and DMs alike. Aside from all of them being illiterate, there is little to confuse the classes with one another.

The conqueror can best be described as a barbarian with commitment. Any alignment choice is open to characters of this class as they devote themselves to a lifestyle of war and plunder. The descriptive text inspires perhaps a general-like character in a barbarian tribe, or perhaps a tribe made up of conquerors themselves, out to take your gaming world by force. As the character progresses, it gains new bonus skills as part of its ways of war class ability (available skills to be added to the conqueror?s skill list include Bluff, Hide, Sense Motive and Move Silently). There?s a bonus feat in the class level progression, but the class ability that stood out is the conqueror?s inspired initiative. In a round in which the conqueror has a higher initiative than his or her opponent, the conqueror?s melee critical threat range increases by 1.

Most planar marauders hail from the Material Plane proper, but their ties to the other planes (the Elemental Plane of Fire, for example) make characters of this class especially unique. They are dangerous barbarians, as writer Grady describes, ?in search of loot and glory.? Early in the class? progression, the planar marauder can sense portals as a spell-like ability, but as the character advances, he or she can enter into a planar rage, the effects of which are dependant on the plane the character chooses to take advantage of. A fiery rage makes the planar marauder immune to fire damage and gives his or her natural and unarmed attacks the ?flaming? enhancement; the positive energy rage grants the character fast healing 2 and allows him or her to cause an additional 1d6 or positive energy damage to undead targets.

The wild rider is a true nomad, and many of the character?s abilities revolve around or rely upon his or her mount. Feats like Mounted Combat, Mounted Archery and Ride-By Attack are included in the class? progression, and a new feat ? Extend Spur Frenzy ? is included at the end of the class description (spur frenzy is a class ability that allows the wild rider?s mount to rage).

These are only three of the five unorthodox barbarians, but the other two classes ? the corsair and the savage screamer ? are just as interesting, useful and playable.

?Unorthodox Barbarians? is a solid supplement well worth the price. At the very least, players and DMs will find inspiration for playing their barbarian PCs or NPCs in a slightly different manner, breaking out of any ?dumb barbarian? stereotypes. At most, someone?s going to get to play a fascinating barbarian variant and enjoy a fulfilling gaming experience.


LIKED: The Le Games takes care of the consumer; both screen-friendly and printer-friendly versions of this supplement are included here. The classes are interesting and unique; all five of them fill a different niche at the game table.

DISLIKED: Class names are not proper nouns; there is no reason to capitalize the 'c' of conqueror or corsair. Also, spells should be italicized. These are nit-picks, to be sure, but they can be a bit distracting when trying to incorporate this product's text into your own gaming material (and because they're nitpicks, I'm still giving this product a 5-star review).

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Unorthodox Barbarians
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UNORTHODOX Ranged Combatants
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/21/2006 00:00:00
More than just another batch of random bow prestige classes, Unorthodox Ranged Combatants, by Le Games, hits the bulls-eye with five imaginative core classes and two equally creative prestige classes.

For the DM
If you are like me, you are hesitant to add any more core classes to your already overcrowded world. Because of this, class books can be somewhat uninteresting for control freak DMs (like myself). Unorthadox Combatants is more than just a book of classes, hidden within its pages are several rule mechanics that can add some additional flavor to your game. My personal favorite is the pistolier. I have been attempting to find a ?decent? set of gun rules. The problems with guns in fantasy is that they are either too powerful or too complicated. The pistolier uses a gunsmith point system as it levels to increase the potency of the guns.

Even more problematic than guns in an RPG setting is explosives. The Demolitionist seems to handle this problem really well, allowing the class to make more powerful and unique grenades as he gains levels. Lastly, check out the Improviser for some cool new rules on ranged improvising.

For the Player
If you are interested in specializing in ranged weapons other than bows, you will enjoy the depth of the five core classes. If guns and grenades are too advanced for your campaign, try the archaic Leviathan Slayer class, which allows you to heave spears as if your arm is a bow, or the wand slinger, a sorcery/fighter hybrid class that makes for some nifty spell slinging action.

The Iron Word
If you are looking to beef up the potency of ranged combatants in your game, Unorthadox Combatants could be what you are looking for, whether you only want to implement certain mechanics or import a class. There are a series of minor artifacts at the back of the book, but the real meat is the classes.



LIKED: Good variety of characters and good mechanics

DISLIKED: Didnt too much care for the artifacts at the back of the book. Felt like filler.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
UNORTHODOX Ranged Combatants
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Unorthodox Witches
by Andrew B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/15/2006 00:00:00
The new classes in Unorthodox Witches all contain elements commonly associated with the mythology of witches. No one class really mimics the classical witch, however, which is a bit of a disappointment. Since there isn?t a witch class within the D&D core rules, it would have been interesting to see at least a core or prestige class in this product that attempted to emulate the potion-brewing, broom rider of mythology. As it is, we have potion-brewers and we have broom riders, but we don?t have a lot of both.

As a whole, the new classes are a pretty creative takes on the idea of ?witches.? The Beguiler is a magical charmer, the Crescent Flyer the iconic broom rider, and the Wyrd One is a mistress of fate. Other classes include the Gyria, the Moon Dancer, and the Shade Summoner.

The Le?s art is good for a small publisher. Unorthodox Witches uses some pieces by Larry Elmore, as well as some well-chosen clip art. The art?s not up to the full-color illustrations of Wizards of the Coast, but it goes a long to adding to the book?s professional look.

I?ve criticized some of The Ley?s past projects for poor writing and editing. While there are a number of small errors, Unorthodox Witches doesn?t seem to suffer from the volume of mistakes I?ve seen in other products. There are instances of what I found to be poor wording, but the class flavor and rules intent rarely suffer adversely because of it. A particularly humorous mistake can be found in the Shade Summoner?s insanities chart, in which the authors continually use the word ?the Player? where they actually mean ?the character.? As in, ?the Player gains an eating disorder.? That?s one heck of a committed roleplayer.

Game balance is at times questionable, although for some reason The Ley tends to lean toward underpowered when they make these mistakes. The Crescent Flyer, for example, gains a favored enemy ability every few levels. While favored enemy is a logical power given the class?s description, I?m not sure how useful a bonus to damage would be to a non-combat class. The additional bonuses that the ability provides to Bluff, Listen, Sense Motive, Spot, and Survival checks would probably balance things out a bit?if the Crescent Flyer actually had more than one of these skills on her class list.

The Moon Dancer is another victim of really underpowered class abilities. Many of her powers hinge on her ability to make a successful skill check during a certain event or time of the day. In one case, all she gets for her effort is the ability to prepare spells from the cleric?s Sun domain. That seems like a lot of in-game work to go through just to gain the ability to prepare Heat Metal.

In another example, the Wyrd One, whose powers deal with the manipulation of fate and fortune, doesn?t get any kind of luck ability until 13th level. At that point, she gains the power to reroll up to three failed saving throws per day. Note that a cleric with access to the Luck domain can reroll any roll once per day starting at first level. The Wyrd?s ability is slightly better (if only because it can be used more times per day), but why must she wait 13 levels to acquire it?

It?s a shame that the Wyrd One?s abilities aren?t better designed, because the idea of a woman that pulls the threads of fate is very?witchy. The non-mechanic aspects of the class, particularly the names and descriptions of the class abilities, are very evocative. Still, as cool as ?Fire Burns and Cauldron Bubbles? sounds, it?s disappointing to learn that it simply allows the Wyrd One to boil a whole cauldron of water in 1d6 rounds. Granted, there is no listed game benefit to doing so, but hey?that?s a whole cauldron of water.

All of this isn?t to say that there aren?t good things to be found in Unorthodox Witches. The Gyria is a clever class seemingly inspired by the legends of the gypsies. The Shade Summoner, which is probably the best designed class of the whole group, is a Summoner that specializes in conjuring up ghosts and other spirits. I have small balance concerns with both of these classes, but nothing that can?t be easily fixed with a few slight modifications.

I think the best part of Unorthodox Witches is the ideas behind the classes. Instead of giving generic witch classes, The Ley has designed a half-dozen core classes (plus one prestige) that positively drip with witchy flavor.

The book ends with a number of new magic items, called Baubles and Urus. These are a new kind of magic item that can be infused with an existing weapon, shield, or other bit of gear. Once so infused, the target item gains certain powers depending on the bauble / uru used. I have mixed feeling about this section. The concept isn?t a bad one, and some of the powers are certainly useful, but there is a major flaw: I can?t find a price on a single bauble. Also, this section really has nothing whatsoever to do with witches in general, or any of the classes presented in this book. Since it?s just an appendix and it seems to be tacked on as an added bonus, I?ve decided not to alter my final score based on this section.


LIKED: I didn?t realize that my D&D game needed some kind of witch class until I downloaded this book. Some of the ideas here are very cool, and a reworked version of a few of these classes will probably find a home in my campaign. A appreciate the flavor given to each class, and an honest effort was made to fit each concept into the overall fantasy milieu.

DISLIKED: There are enough small errors (both in the design and the writing) that I can?t give Unorthodox Witches better than three stars. It does very well with flavor and concept, but it falls through too often when it comes to actual design and implementation.

So, I guess its three for effort.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Unorthodox Witches
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NEO MONKS: The Dragonlord
by Derek K. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/05/2006 00:00:00
The Le Games? ?Neo Monks: The Dragonlord? takes one of the traditional player classes ? the monk ? and presents, as the title suggests, a ?new monk.? This class is less a variant of the standard monk, however, and more a completely new class with monk-like tendencies.

The Le is the writer behind this product, and also handled the layout. This supplement comes with both a printer-friendly version of the product, as well as a screen-friendly version. Both versions are presented in an easy-to-read/easy-to-use format, and for purposes of this review, the print-version was used.

The dragonlord is a fully-developed 20-level playable class. The class? roots are definitely monastic; many of the dragonlord?s abilities are derived from deep meditation and reflection. As one would assume, many of the class abilities are dragon-related. A dragonlord receives Dragon Knowledge (a bonus to all dragon-related knowledge checks and a +1 bonus to all attack roles versus dragons) and Dragon Meditation (the ability to meditate for an hour to receive a full night?s rest and healing) at his or her first level. Many of the other class abilities are tied into the dragonlord?s Soul Points, a points-based mechanic introduced here that allows the dragonlord to receive abilities as varied as Soul Edge (adding a +2 bonus to the dragonlord?s next attack roll or saving throw), Dragon Reciprocation (granting the character an additional attack of opportunity), or Dragon Stomp (allowing the dragonlord to, when jumping 10 feet into the air, landing with enough force to cause a tremor within a 20-foot radius).

Even though the common monk abilities like Improved Unarmed Strike and Evasion are also listed among the dragonlord?s class abilities, this Soul Points system really sets this class apart, and not in the best of ways. I found this new mechanic to be a bit too clunky and a bit at odds with the established d20 system in that it is a bit unwieldy to use easily. The affects of the dragonlord?s abilities are unique and bring an interesting flavor to this unique class, but keeping track of and using these Soul Points adds an unnecessary component of complexity to the game.


LIKED: The presentation, the layout, and the art are all brought together in this professional-looking package. Even though stock art was used in "Neo Monks: The Dragonlord," the art used adds to the overall supplement. Also, The Le Games has been great about including multiple versions of their products in each download. This package includes a printer-friendly version, a screen-friendly version and a Word-document version of "Neo Monks: The Dragonlord," and also includes a .pdf of the core monk class for reference and comparison.

DISLIKED: As mentioned above, I did not find the implementation of the Soul Points to add anything of benefit to the class. I felt it to be a bit cumbersome, and would prefer to see the class abilities that are dependent on the Soul Points enjoyed by PCs in some other fashion. Also, as a nitpick, there is no reason to capitalize the letter 'D' of dragonlord in this material. As the core rulebooks do not capitalize the 'C' in cleric of the 'F' in fighter, this was slightly distracting.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Disappointed


Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
NEO MONKS: The Dragonlord
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks for the comments! During testing, we found that the players were very happy with the abundant number of Soul Points, allowing the Dragonlord to go toe-to-toe with a fighter or barbarian! While we understand that some are uninterested in keeping track of daily Soul Points, we also determined that all our playtesters found this aspect to be as simple as keeping track of Hit Points and/or Action Points (from the modern system). Still not convinced? Well, we encourage everyone reading this to download and check out the free demo! The Le Games ? We Enhance Worlds.
17 Necromancer Spells
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/31/2006 00:00:00
17 Necromancer Spells is a short book from The Le Games. The zipped file is just over 2 megabytes in size, containing five files; two PDFs and an RTF of the product, a JPG of the cover, and a text readme file.

The two PDFs are an onscreen-viewing PDF in landscape format, and a printable version which is in portrait format. The former is seventeen pages long, while the latter is sixteen. Both have no table of contents, but full bookmarks. Each PDF has a single page for the cover and credits, three pages for the OGL, and a page of advertisements.

Both PDFs contain artwork, both color and black-and-white. Curiously, the art is rearranged between the two products, with at least one picture being in one PDF but not the other.

The product opens with a single magic item, and here problems immediately begin. This item has no creation information given, nor any of the standard magic item statistics. While the item is still interesting, this lack of conforming to basic standards is disconcerting.

After that come the spells. Despite the name of the product, 17 Necromancer Spells actually contains eighteen spells. The spells are listed in ascending order of spell level, from 0 through 9; each spell level has two new spells listed, except for the last two spell levels ? there?s only one eighth and one ninth level spells listed. While the spells are interesting, errors creep in; the spell Zombie Decoy refers to the corpse it enchants as being a material component, as opposed to a focus.

17 Necromancer Spells is a good product, but one that could have been much better than it was. Had this book gone through editing a few more times, the spells (and item) it contains would be truly spectacular in their necromantic power. As it is, they?re still useful with some GM polishing, but not all they could have been.



LIKED: The necromancy spells in here are useful to any arcane spellcaster, not just necromancers.

DISLIKED: The material here needed more editing to make it truly shine.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
17 Necromancer Spells
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NEO MONKS: The Dragonlord
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/30/2006 00:00:00
Neo Monks: The Dragonlord is a book detailing a variant monk class from The Le Games. The zipped file is 3.32 megabytes, and contains a grand total of nine files, one of which is a text readme file describing the others.

Three of those files are advertisements, each in PDF form. They?re already moved into a folder (appropriately labeled ?Shameless Advertisements?) when you unzip the main zip file. There are ads for several feat-related products (1 page), Disposable Heroes (1 page), and Neo Rangers: The Spider King (3 pages).

The cover of the product is a separate JPG file, whereas the file itself is given in three forms. The first one is an onscreen PDF with the book laid out in landscape form. The second is a printable file (though it?s not printer-friendly) laid out in portrait format. The last one is a Rich Text File of the book.

Both of the PDF versions of this book are fully bookmarked, though there?s no table of contents (nor is one necessary). The onscreen PDF is twenty-one pages long, with one page for the credits, two pages for the OGL, and one page for legal information. The printable PDF breaks down the same way, but from a total of eighteen pages.

The PDF files both have several pieces of black and white artwork spread throughout them, including two by Larry Elmore.

The dragonlord is a new base class presented in this product. The book opens its presentation of the class with PHB-style information, such as characteristics, religion, background, etc. before it gets to the class abilities. While it has several monk-like abilities, don?t be fooled into thinking this is anything like the monk you know. The first major difference is that there?s no alignment requirement, to say nothing of no multiclass restrictions.

The dragonlord has a wide variety of powers, many of them dragon-inspired. The majority of their class skills are predicated upon one of two things: either using their dragon meditation in the previous twenty-four hours, or expending a soul point ? soul points being a small pool of points that are renewed every day, kept expressly for being spent on a dragonlord?s powers. A new feat, Soul Mastery, is introduced, which grants an additional soul point each time you take it.

Appendix A is three pages listing seven spells from the PHB. This is most likely done because several of the dragonlord?s abilities can mimic PHB spells, and these are reprinted here for ease of reference. However, I found that to be wasted space, since it?s a virtual guarantee that everyone will have access to the PHB (or SRD) whenever necessary, particularly during game play or character creation. This space would have been better spent on additional information about the dragonlord, such as an epic progression.

Altogether, Neo Monks: The Dragonlord is an excellent supplement for a change of pace. It?s still undeniably a monastic character, but offers a boldly different choice from the standard monk. The Dragonlord isn?t just a breath of fresh air for the monk; it?s a breath weapon of it.



LIKED: The Dragonlord is still a recognizably monastic character, but with innovative new powers and abilities that make him a world apart from the traditional monk.

DISLIKED: The last three pages of reprinted PHB spells could instead have been used to include further new material.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
NEO MONKS: The Dragonlord
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17 Plants
by Jeff T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/28/2006 00:00:00
Decent product, with a homemade appearance. The idea behind the product is nice, but there are many more options out there that have more for us to use on similar topics. However, not too bad for the price.


LIKED: The print-friendly version is available.

DISLIKED: Some of the magical effects of some plants are too powerful, and should be much more valuable.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
17 Plants
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