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17 Plants
by Derek H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/29/2006 00:00:00

A useful collection for those who want to increase the value of herbalism. A few (3-4) plants were not very interesting to me, but that is obviously subjective.<br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: Converts to Atlas' Occult Lore's herbalism rules fairly easily.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
17 Plants
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17 Bard Spells
by Andrew B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/28/2006 00:00:00

The poor, misunderstood bard. He doesn't get much love...or respect. He's a support class without much support, and I'm always glad to see new bard related supplements.

To this end, The Le Games gives the bard their ?17? treatment, which usually means that the book in question contains more than 17 of whatever it offers. In this case, however, the precedent has been broken. 17 Bard Spells actually contains 17 Bard Spells. As with the rest of The Le's products, these new rules come at a very inexpensive price. This book is also one of the better looking products I've seen from this publisher. A lot of the art looks like clip art, but its GOOD clip art. The layout is simple but clear, with nice bookmarking throughout.

17 Bard Spells presents its new spells as part of an item called ?the manual of the minstrel.? This is a spellbook with a very clever illusion-based security feature. There is also a magical journal hidden in the back of the book where previous owners have detailed their exploits. These are neat ideas, but one obvious question comes to mind: what use do bards, who are spontaneous casters, have for a spell book? The rules answer this by giving characters that possess the book a number of bonus spells per day. Not bad, but it still doesn't fully answer the problem that bards can't really learn spells from books. Finally, the book grants a HUGE experience award to anyone that reads it, making it somewhat on par (though not quite) with a minor artifact. That's not a flaw, but it does make the book harder to drop into any given campaign.

I'm either hot or cold on most of the spells. Spells like Switch (which allows the caster to magically swap the contents of two containers) and Perfect Addiction aren't overtly powerful, but they could certainly be put to good use by a clever player.

Other spells seem too close to existing core spells. Silent Sneak, for example, is probably workable, but it fills a niche already covered by Silence. Seductive Kiss, as far as I can tell, is just Charm Person with a flavorful descriptor.

There are also a few spells that are either too powerful or just oddly designed. Honesty Aura is way too powerful for a 1st level spell. It basically grants the bard an 85% chance of succeeding at every Bluff check for a number of minutes, regardless of the skill ranks of the bard or his targets. It is a clunky spell, and it doesn't work within the standard d20 rules at all.

Improvised Spell is a good idea, but it lacks mechanics. Basically, it allows you to just make a spell up on the spot, without giving much instruction on how to adjudicate this. A secondary effect allows the bard to cast this spell to duplicate the effects of a lower level spell.

Overall, though, there are some clever spells in this book. Like the bard itself, these bard spells are not overly powerful, but they offer a creative player a lot of options.<br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: With 17 spells at a mere $2 and change, 17 Bard Spells is certainly worth the download. Creative players and GMs will find a couple spells usable right out of the box, and the rest should work fine with a little tweaking. Even the poorest of the spells in this collection should serve as inspiration for a GM looking to make some homebrew bard spells.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: The Ley continues to play fast and loose with d20 rules. A few of these spells are just poorly designed. Thankfully, these are in the minority.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
17 Bard Spells
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17 Bard Spells
by Derek K. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/22/2006 00:00:00

The Manual of the Minstrel contains 17 bard-specific spells. It is a brightly-colored book that appears quite useless to non-bard characters, but when a bard uses it, or even approaches it, its supposed power is made quite clear. The drawings inside dissuade non-bards from the text within; the bell attached to the bookmarker rings for bards but ignores other classes. The spells are obvious bard-centric.

Tony DiGerolamo is the writer of ?17 Bard Spells,? and the 7 levels of bard spells are all represented here (although in some cases, there is only one new spell for some of the higher spell levels).

The spells are all certainly playable and usable; most the material is well-balanced, but some spell schools seemed a bit questionable (I don?t know if ?instant hangover? really should belong to the necromancy school).

Some of these spells, especially the earlier-level spells, seemed more annoying than useful. While it certainly may be interesting for a bard to be able to cast ?invitation? and instantly create and send a number of invitations to his or her upcoming performance, I don?t know how often a spell like this would be used in a gaming session. ?Perfect addiction? allows the bard to cause a target to become addicted to an item (food or drink) or activity (like gambling), and while this certainly may produce some interesting in-game scenarios, I don?t know how often a player will chose to use this spell at the table (especially with the accompanying 100 gp cost). (Although I could see how some of these spells could be used by a DM/NPC to interesting result.)

Spells like ?roadside repast,? which creates a feast for the bard and his or her companions, or ?the amazing escape trick,? which allows the bard to instantly teleport to a prepared safe location at the utterance of a trigger word (spoken by someone other than the bard), might be more useful in the hands, or spellbook, of a PC.

?Improvised spell? is one of the final spells in the Manual of the Minstrel. Its description is a bit vague; a bard can use this spell to ?make up a 1st to 3rd level spell on the spot.? There is little direction given to help players and DMs in determining just what a 1st level spell would be, versus a 2nd or 3rd level spell. Something like this is just too open-ended for a structured spellbook.

Overall, ?17 Bard Spells? is a nice package, and if nothing else, can provide the DM with a few ideas for interesting NPC spellcasting.<br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: This is a nicely-structured package; The Le Games is notorious for putting together products that are easy to read and use, and "17 Bard Spells" is no exception. And for ease of use, the bard class listing is listed in an appendix at the back of the supplement.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Some of the clip art artwork has appeared in other gaming supplements, and the type of artwork was inconsistent.

As for the content, I don't know how useful some of this would be for players. "17 Bard Spells" might be better targetted at DMs.

A spell list at the beginning of the supplement and incorporating these spells in the the bard class listing in the supplement would have been appreciated.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
NEO FIGHTERS: The Fire Knight
by Derek K. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/22/2006 00:00:00

?Neo Fighters: The Fire Knight? is The Le Games? latest entry in their Neo Class line, and as the title suggests, writers Christopher Sniezak and The Le present a variant fighter class called the fire knight, a warrior who?s mastered the fiery passion within and has learned to project it in a variety of offensive and defensive ways.

This download includes two versions of ?Neo Fighters: The Fire Knight? ? a landscape version of the .pdf and a printer-friendly version. For the most part, the printer-friendly version of this supplement was used for purposes of this review.

The fire knight is a 20-level playable class designed for the PC in mind (although there is enough descriptive material, or ?fluff,? to inspire DMs when it comes to creating interesting NPCs). This is a variant fighter class; the writers don?t forget this with the base attack bonus and saving throw progression. But instead of picking up a new bonus feat every other level, the fire knight earns some very specific class abilities.

From the start, the fire knight gains fire resistance (he or she starts with fire resistance equal to his or her level, but at 12th level, the resistance equals the fire knight level?s x one-and-a-half). At second level, the fire knight bonds with a chosen weapon, using the ?soul sword? class ability. As the fire knight progresses in level, the abilities tied into the soul sword increase, starting with gaining a bonus to Search checks and moving up to being able to cast ?scorching ray? through the weapon. Eventually, the fire knight?s bonded weapon becomes a ?flaming burst weapon? and can even fire fireballs.

Eventually, once the fire knight reaches his or her 20th level, he or she can cause an opponent?s blood to boil over and instantaneously combust, causing 10d10 points of fire damage. (This class ability rightly belongs at the 20th level mark.)

This is a well-balanced class, and while it doesn?t introduce any tweaks or additions to the core D&D game mechanics like some of the other Neo Class products, ?Neo Fighters: The Fire Knight? presents an interesting class nonetheless, and definitely deserves a look. There are a few minor grammatical and typographical errors in the document itself, but the supplement is still instantly easy to use and even incorporate into your existing game. <br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: This is a solid product, and the descriptive text for the fire knight (pun intended) sparks more than a few ideas for interesting PCs and NPCs.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: There are a few typograchical errors throughout the document, but perhaps the most off-putting element of this document is the first page of the printer-friendly version of the supplement; it is a near-full-page ad for Politically Incorrect Games' Disposable Heroes Paper Minis. If you're not careful where you click on this page, your internet browser will be hijacked and you'll be taken to Politically Incorrect Games' website. This was quite frustrating.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
NEO FIGHTERS: The Fire Knight
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Creator Reply:
Thanks for the comments! We are happy to work with Politically Incorrect Games and we were very pleased with the Disposable Heroes (DH) product they provided to us. The DH attachment actually features *four* heroes that can be used in any fantasy campaign! Note that DH is only available only on the portrait PDF version (remember, Neo Fighters comes as a zip file with 3 versions!), and does not count towards the official page count. So saddle up, and give it a try, because we are certain you will love Neo Fighters and we know that you will love Disposable Heroes!
Unorthodox Bards
by Erica B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/19/2006 00:00:00

This book was great. It gave several wonderful alternates to the bard in the player's handbook, as well as adding extra dimension to a seldom used class.<br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: The artwork was fantastic, and I loved the formatting of the files: landscape for screen, portrait for printing, and a cut and paste word document. Incredibly useful!<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Unorthodox Bards
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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.
<br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: 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. <br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: 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.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



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.

<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: 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!)<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: 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.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br><BR>[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]<BR>



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.
<br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: - versatile pirate classes

  • good magic items<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: - gun rules really aren't innovative <br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>


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.

<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Disappointing<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Disappointed<br>



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.
<br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: A lot of good material to use for a nature-geared game. Good price.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Art doesn't do anything for the product, and the mechanics aren't fleshed out.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



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.<br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: 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.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: 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.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



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. <br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: 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.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: The excessive reprinting of Core material seemed like wasted space, instead of saving the reader the trouble of flipping between books.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



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. <br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: 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<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Two stories was a bit too much for me to start the book with. <br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



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.<br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: 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.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: 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).<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



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. <br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: Good variety of characters and good mechanics<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Didnt too much care for the artifacts at the back of the book. Felt like filler. <br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
UNORTHODOX Ranged Combatants
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