Originally published at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2014/04/11/tabletop-review-dar-
When you’re a reviewer, sometime a piece so weird comes up that you have to review it. In this case it is Ducks, a supplement for Labyrinth Lord by Okumarts Games. Labyrinth Lord isn’t a system that is known for its sense of humour, but the cover and description of Ducks was so hilariously odd that I had to see if the piece was a nice piece of levity for the system or if it actually was taking itself seriously. Well, thankfully this is meant to be a comic piece. However, once it is on your table you or your players can treat it as seriously as you want. After all, is a race of duck people really that different from Dragonborn, Lizardmen or Wolfweres? I’d say no. Anything is possibly in YOUR fantasy world.
For $2.50, you get two nine page PDFs – one for PCs and one for Macs. Each format also gets two ads for other Okumarts products. Now $2.50 might seem a bit pricey for a mere nine pages of content, especially when one of those pages is actually just the OGL. The highlight of the piece is the comical duck-person art by David Okum. It’s no Carl Barks or Don Rosa in quality, but the art kept making me thinking of a Disney/D&D mash-up, which is wonderfully bizarre.
The duck race appears to be an ancient curse brought upon by a cranky wizard, but it’s never said why or to whom. The duck race as a whole seems to take its cues from Donald Duck as they are cranky and awkward. Being ducks they have a harder time on land than on water (although not if they are wearing full plate armor obviously) and they get penalties to hiding their tracks and disguising themselves for obvious reasons. It is interesting to see that Ducks are also grumpy and unlucky as a race, making me wonder if the author did indeed pattern this after the Carl Barks version of Donald Duck. It really seems like it, as the credits thank Disney’s greatest creator ever. However, what do you do with a Gladstone Gander type duck, a Gyro Gearloose or even an Uncle Scrooge? Why not a playable Ranger class considering the importance of the Junior Woodchucks? There are multiple lost opportunities with the piece, although perhaps due to the size of the PDF rather than the imagination of the creator.
After a history and overview of the Duck race, readers are treated to both NPC stats for common ducks and also player progression stats/charts for playable Ducks, as well as four class options: Fighter, Magic-User, thief and Cleric. Ducks get a lot of restrictions especially in the fact they can only have d6s for Hit Dice and their terrible saving throws vs magic, but they also get a wide range of bonuses including the ability to 100% read magic, even if they are a non-magic-using class. The challenge and comic potential of playing a Duck character will be intriguing to some.
After looking over all the options, a Duck Cleric and Magic-User seem to be the best options due to their bonuses and hindrances involving magic. A Duck Thief is going to have challenges due to its appearance, waddling speed drawback and lack of disguise options. A Duck Fighter will be held back by the armor and weapon restrictions the race faces. Now this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play a Duck Warrior if that is what you really want – just a heads up about the potential challenges these characters would face. Duck Clerics and Magic-Users are pretty much the same as any other races that has access to those classes, so they’d be the best to try using this class with in my opinion.
Overall, Ducks is a very interesting product. The piece is definitely presenting with its tongue in its cheek and the artwork is fabulous, but the piece is also written in such a way that the race can be taken quite seriously if you and your players choose too. It’s a cute idea that I am really glad I picked up. My two complaints are actually parallel to each other in that the piece is a bit pricey for what you get and that there is a lot of missed potential because of the brevity in the PDF. Still, that means we might see further supplements down the road, right?