RPGNow.com
Browse Categories
 Publisher Info













Back
Other comments left for this publisher:
Heroes of Hope
by Chris G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/24/2007 00:00:00

Heroes of Hope is a book for a charity. The Charity is for the Tsunami victims of the Tsunami that happened last December. All the profits from this book go towards relief for that disaster. Now the good intentions of the book are not going to be weighed in for the review. Buying the book though to help out the charity is never a bad idea though.

The PDF is by a variety of people who helped on the project. There is also a list of web sites that helped in this PDF. The PDF is seventy four pages long and has some nice art and layout. But it has color, backgrounds, and will be heavy on the ink if the PDF gets printed out. It has no book marks to help using it on the screen and book marks would be a big help. Because of the heavy backgrounds and art scrolling through the PDF on screen can go a little slow.

The book consists of NPCs for a variety of genres. There a re no particular game the PDF is attached to. So there are also no mechanical information for any of the NPCs. Each has a picture, extensive personality and backgrounds. Everyone needs NPCs and this has NPCs that can work in most games especially the ones of the most common genres like fantasy modern and sci fi. Most of the NPCs are of a normal sort but there are a few odd ones in there showing a nice level of creativity. Each NPC also ha a few good plot hooks attached to it for easy use and adventure ideas. Most of the NPCs take up about two pages in the book and since none of that is game info there is a lot of good background and personality information on the characters.

The product I think tries to be a little too useful to a lot of different genres. One gets about twenty pages of each of three major genres in the book. There is more fantasy character then the others with modern characters being the fewest. It is easy to use though and I am sure there are a few characters everyone will like. They made it useful to as many different types of gamers as they could by keeping it generic and crossing over many genres. Hopefully that strategy will pay off for them.

It is nice though to see gamers trying to help out the world at large. There are just not that many different charity projects that I see involving gamers. The company has another product for the same charity as well though I am not going to be able to review that one. There is useful stuff here and knowing the money goes to help a good cause will appeal to some people and hopefully they will pick this up. This is the type of book that will not be used a lot all at once but can remain useful in many different campaigns and game genres. If you pick it, do not forget about it in a few years as this book will be useful then as it is now.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Heroes of Hope
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Unlikely Heroes Compilation
by Chris G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/29/2007 00:00:00

The common folk are usually ignored. That may be putting it a little blunt but in the world of adventures the little craftsmen, the laborers, the town guard rarely get any thought. The classes for them in the DMG are basically a joke. They are boring and offer very little. The game seems to have designed them to be bland and ignored. There has been a few attempts to make them a little more interesting and to help people use them like Everyone Else. But no one has really created individual classes for them that actually give characters a reason to advance in them and offer things the regular core classes do not. Unlikely Heroes does this and does it well.

Unlikely Heroes is a PDF by Plot Device. It is really their first product even though it is actually eight. One thing that they did that is really good is they offer each class separately so one only has to get the classes they want. However, one can not buy them all together like what I am reviewing just yet. One can buy all seven and then get bonus material from them and its not like these are expensive.

Unlikely Heroes has standard layout. It does the job but is a bit plain. The art is pretty much the same. There is a color cover and some color in the front of the book but most of it is black and white. The book is book marked and comes in two forms. There is a pdf and rich text format of them, but the individual classes only come in PDF format. They have some color, no book marks (not that they need them), and are only a few pages each.

The first think I was concerned about with the book was the balance of these classes to the core ones. While these are stronger then the standard NPC classes they are still a bit weaker then the PHB classes. At lower levels there will not be as much a difference but at higher levels there will be some. That is not to say that the classes cannot adventure beside each other, it will just take some getting used to. The classes here are usually more skill base so they do have advantages. They tend to have good hit points as well.

The first class is the Arcane Dabbler. This is a wizard but weaker. They get better hit points, better skill points, and more bonus feats. They however only can get up to seventh level spells and at twentieth level they are only casting as a thirteenth level wizard. This is a great replacement for the wizard in a low magic campaign or for someone who wants a wizard but is more of a dabbler as the name suggests. It has a much better survival rate at low levels.

The Guard is really self explanatory. It is interesting because it gains weapon proficiency and armor proficiency as it gains level. So a guard that is using a heavy armor the players will know is pretty skilled as they need to be fourth level to do so. They have the same hit points as a fighter but do gain more skills. They do not get nearly as many bonus feats but do get other abilities like Shield Other which works like the spell except has a range of five feet. I like they at first level they still have things to learn like weapons and armor. I think this would make a great addition to a game that uses training for instance and for people that don?t want their character to automatically know how to use all the weapons and armor.

The Laborer is both cool sounding but probably the weakest of the classes. It gets some great abilities like increased encumbrance and can lessen the penalties of wearing many armor types. It gets damage reduction; a d12 hit die and some good skills and skill points. But the abilities are more passive then active and even though carrying much more then a normal person of same strength can be useful it really is not that powerful. They also have a lousy base attack bonus. In a low magic campaign or even a city based on this class could really do well though.

The Mystic is perhaps the one class that not only has about equal power of the PHB classes it is in my opinion more interesting then the sorcerer which it is very much like. It gets better hit points and more skill points. It cast spells spontaneously and does get up to ninth level spell access. It does not get a familiar, but more importantly its spells known are restricted to domains. The Mystic starts with two domains and learns one more every 5 levels. These are the only spells the Mystic will ever know. The Aura of the Mystic is a really cool idea. Basically, a good character can get power from an evil good or vice versa so the alignment aura of the character will show up as both. It is a fascinating idea and I think this is my favorite class out of all the ones presented here. It can work well in most campaigns that sorcerers work in.

The Noble might be the least likely class here I would use. It does a good job of presenting the Nobel, but frankly other books have done a much better job. This is one concept that has been published more then a few times. Still, the class here works for people looking for one. It does have one thing that is sort of neat, the idea of the servant and mechanically it works much like an animal companion. That it is gains power as the noble does and not based on its own experience points.

The professional truly is. They get great skill points, good hit points, good saves, and the ability to enter the ?Zone?. The ?Zone? is the state of working that they just excel at what they are doing; it works quite similarly to the Barbarian?s Rage. They do not really get much else but it could be a good class for a low magic and or city based games.

The scholar is the skill oriented class. It gains more skill points then the rogue. It also gets less hit points then them as well. They get skill mastery, and abilities that deal with intelligence and skills. They are probably the least combat oriented class but they excel in many other areas. Like most classes this will be useful in low magic but also low combat campaigns.

The bonus material is eight plot seeds and some design notes from the writer. The plots are designed more for characters that are these unlikely heroes then the truly adventurous ones. The design notes are very insightful and I am a big fan of authors who include them.

Unlikely Heroes fill the role of characters from a more normal background adventuring. The classes are mostly well thought out and very interesting. The power level is toned down and rightfully so. With some tweaking these classes would work well in Conan, Slaine, Arcana Unearthed, and other alternative d20 settings. I also really like the options of just buying the classes one wants instead of having to get them all.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Unlikely Heroes Compilation
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Unlikely Heroes: The Guard
by Malcolm M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/04/2007 00:00:00

This is one of the best alternative classes for d20 fantasy that I have seen to date. It's short and to the point, and it absolutely nails the concept of the ex- (or current) city guard as a D&D adventuring class.

The feats and abilities granted absolutely capture the flavor of a "D&D Cop" -- combat-ready character who is more focussed on defending and preserving life, than making war or collecting monster hides.

More importantly, the class design opens up play possibilities, instead of dictating how the player should run his or her character.

Like all the archetypal official D&D classes, The Guard class allows players and GMs lots of room for personal interpretation, while the core mechanics remain solid.

The design of the class makes it equally useful for designing city guard NPCs, or for running a campaign where all the players are current members of the local guard. Hmmm, now THAT could be a fun campaign!<br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: Everything! See above ...

This class, and the Holy Warrior class from Green Ronin, are the only two third-party character classes for D&D that I feel truly meet a need the official classes don't address.

Most third-party classes are just variations on what we've already got, but The Guard is an obvious background for a fantasy adventurer that's somehow been overlooked -- until now.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: This product is great -- I'm just sad that others haven't taken advantage of the OGL liscence and used this character class in other d20 products.

Buy it. Use it. Love it. :-)<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Unlikely Heroes: The Guard
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Colours of Magic: Purple
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/31/2006 00:00:00

The Colours of Magic: Purple is part of the Chromatic Arcana line of products from Plot Device. The zipped file is just under half-a-megabyte in size, and contains a PDF and a Microsoft Excel file. The PDF is twenty pages long, including a page for the OGL, and has a short table of contents as well as bookmarks.

There is little artwork in the book. The first page has a purple border on the left side, and the symbol for this colour of magic, but beyond that, a single interior illustration, the symbol for Yellow (Purple?s opposed colour) magic given at the end, and the Plot Device logo at the end of the OGL, there?s no other art in this product, making the lack of a printer-friendly version largely justifiable.

Purple is part of a series of products (The Colours of Magic) that reorganizes the spells of the PHB from eight philosophical schools into twelve different colours. Each colour has a theme for what its magic represents. Purple is the magic of death; its sorcery is that of draining and unlife.

The book starts out with a short bit of fiction, leading into the explanation of Chromatic Arcana. As part of removing schools of magic from the game, it also has merged the idea of sub-schools and descriptors, calling the new category spheres. These spheres both differentiate spells of the same colour, and sub-categorize them, as each sphere has a domain of the same name, made up of some of the spells from its sphere. For example, Purple has the Void, Mortality, and Siphon spheres, each with about eighteen spells; meaning that each has about half of their spells appearing in their domain for divine spellcasters.

Similarly, a few changes are made to how domains work. First, all domains now include a 0-level spell. Also, each of the domains presented here has a base domain power, and an advanced domain power. Only Mystics (from Unusual Heroes: The Mystic, another Plot Device product) and special classes like the Devolutionist class given here, can access an advanced domain power.

After each sphere (and domain) is described ? each one having a full page of description ? the Devolutionist core class is given. Only able to cast Purple spells, this core class is given a full PHB-style write-up, including fluff text before getting to the crunch. To compensate for its relatively small spell list, the Devolutionist has a number of special powers granted to it, as well as a fairly good base attack bonus.

The last half of the product reprints all of the spells from the PHB that are now Purple spells. Other than listing their colour and sphere (along with their school of magic, apparently for reference) each is otherwise-unchanged. The book closes out with a page noting the schools from the colour Yellow, as that is the opposed colour to Purple, and gives a name-only listing of all Yellow spells.

It?s slightly difficult to review this product in a vacuum, as it?s one part of a larger work. That said, the entire idea of Chromatic Arcana is interestingly-done, and Purple, being the necromantic colour, is excellently presented. The Devolutionist class gives GMs a way to use Purple magic in their game even if they aren?t having all magic be Chromatic Arcana. I do wonder if it was necessary to reprint all of the relevant spells though, given that they and their colour, sphere, and level (along with level in a domain, if they had one) were listed in the accompanying Excel file. That said, Purple remains an excellent colour to inject into your game. <br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: The regrouping of spells was innovatively done, as was the new Devolutionist class.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: It seemed a bit redundant to reprint all of the spells from the PHB that were reorganized to be Purple spells.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Colours of Magic: Purple
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Radical Re-Alignment
by Jeremy S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/27/2005 00:00:00

This is a good way to add more specific personality characteristics to a d20 character. You get an in-game effect and define the personality at the same time.

No more declaring an alignment like "Lawful Good" and wondering just HOW lawful or how good, and if maybe a given character sways a bit in some of the traits that define that "lawfulness" or "goodness".<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Radical Re-Alignment
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Unlikely Heroes: The Scholar
by John S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/27/2005 00:00:00

Great stuff. All of the classes in this series seem very playable, especially from a GM stand-point. Even if they don't all make it into my game, elements of them will.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Unlikely Heroes: The Scholar
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Unlikely Champions: The Artisan
by James S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/06/2005 00:00:00

In my campaigns the "NPC" core classes in the DMG actually see a fair amount of play as PC classes. This product was a nice and welcome extension. Very well thought out, decent job at balancing.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Unlikely Champions: The Artisan
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Unlikely Champions: The Commander
by James S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/06/2005 00:00:00

Like the Artisan, this book and class option will most likely see itself being used not only as an NPC but as a PC. If you or your players really enjoy pimping out the leadership side of their characters, then I strongly urge you to give this product a try.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Unlikely Champions: The Commander
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Unlikely Champions: The Disciple
by James S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/06/2005 00:00:00

This product isn't as useful as the Artisan or the Commander, well not as a PC - but then it wasn't intended to be! A

ctually, I like this particular approach to your run-of-the-mill zeolatry and am already using it to stat out some of my favorite NPCs that I have never been able to get the right "feel" for.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Unlikely Champions: The Disciple
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Unlikely Heroes Compilation
by George W. K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/15/2005 00:00:00

Not a bad product, with a lot of interesting ideas and potential, but also a lot of flaws.

The product spends a lot of time reinventing the wheel, with new (and, in my opinion, needless) takes on ideas that already exist in the d20 system. For example, the Shield Another ability could easily have been replaced with the Bodyguard ability that exists in various d20 prestige classes. Similarly, although the Noble is an interesting idea, such a class already exists (in d20 Star Wars and, I think, Wheel of Time).

There also seem to be numerous game balance issues. For example, the Scholar can gain a number of abilities (eg, Slippery Mind and Jack of All Trades) at level 3 that other characters can?t gain for another 5 levels or more. The Noble is so power-packed in it?s first two levels that I don?t see why any player wouldn?t start off that way. Not only do you get 3 feats at 2nd level, but a Servant at first level!

Although better edited than some pdfs, the product suffers from sloppy editing, particularly with respect to punctuation. There are some content problems, as well. For example, the Servant?s class ability, Anticipate Desire, serves no real purpose. It allows a Noble to issue a command to a Servant as a free action, but since conversation is normally a free action anyway, what?s the intended usage? The Guard?s weapon proficiency progression pushes him to take exotic weapons, since he?ll get access to all martial weapons soon enough anyway.

I guess one of my biggest gripes is that, while it?s his prerogative to do so, the author has ignored the point of the NPC classes in D&D. They?re not SUPPOSED to be as powerful as the adventuring classes. An interesting game could be based around characters of the NPC classes evolving into adventurers (a character who starts out as a warrior, then starts taking levels of fighter once he has some experience under his belt). With this product, the local butcher has a decent chance of beating the tar out of the party?s fighter, and woe to the adventurers who get involved in a barroom brawl: the local farmers will most likely leave them bleeding on the floor.

If you?re looking for new classes and option, this is a good product, but be warned that it doesn?t necessarily mesh well with existing d20 rules. I prefer products that add to the existing material rather than reinventing them, so was a bit disappointed. <br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Disappointed<br>



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Unlikely Heroes Compilation
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Creator Reply:
Thanks for the review, George. Well, I can understand the philosophical disagreement you have with the classes. I don't agree, of course, because the very point of the product is to give heroes that are not as combat focused as the core classes, and have a difference in origin. These classes are not intended to replace the NPC classes for those that want to keep the disparity in ability from PC to NPC, but are intended to display what might happen if an exceptional individual does not go in for adventuring. Under the normal rules such exceptional people don't exist. What you call reinventing the wheel, I call expanding on a theme. As to game balance, I do have justification on each of the points you have mentioned (compare Ranger progression to Noble for example). As to punctuation, well, my bad. Once again, sorry you have not found it useful, but thanks for your thoughts. Warm regards, Evan
Radical Re-Alignment
by David L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/10/2005 00:00:00

Radical Re-Alignment presents some interesting and thought-provoking discussions and alignment concepts. It uses the colours of magic as basis for new alignment poles.

Personally, I feel the added complexity isn't really worth the added realism. The text does acknowledge that new alignment dimensions will complicate and fudge things. I suppose in the end it's all about the players, whether they are willing to take extra levels of characterisation.

But I do admit that these new alignment poles are a nice way to help flesh out an NPC or favourite character even more. It helps to clarify a character's perspectives on different things. This may prove useful if you're already incorporating chromatic arcana in your game.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Radical Re-Alignment
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Colours of Magic: Chrome
by David L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/08/2005 00:00:00

The colour of Chrome isn't really a colour at all. It's more like the universal school of chromatic arcana, only much more encompassing. It's sort of like the pure form of all the colours. Hard to explain, since I'm not too sure whether I'm right or not. It's just that I find the explanation not very clearly worded, probably because of an attempt to squeeze the whole thing into one page. It would've been nicer if short examples had been given. For example, there were alot of mentions of 'chromatic alignment', but nothing to actually define what it is. You'd have to draw your own conclusions. Another thing not addressed was that while an entirely exclusive new spell progression is fine, there was no mention on how this would fit in with other prestige classes that add also to spellcaster levels.

Reading through the prestige classes provided, the classes are specific enough that they can be used as is, but still with alot of room in the rules for adaptation. The concepts of the prestige classes cover enough ground that they form the advanced paths of chromatic mages. Most are nicely designed, although the ultramancer was a bit plain in that its abililties do not reflect the flavour given to it.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: The prestige classes.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: One thing though, in most of the colours, there was always this mention of referring to the Chrome product for information regarding multi-classing between the colours. But aside from the information scattered across the prestige classes descriptions, there wasn't really any mention of rules regarding multi-classing between the colour-specific base classes.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Colours of Magic: Chrome
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Colours of Magic: Grey
by David L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/04/2005 00:00:00

The colour of grey is more the magic of illusions than the school of Illusion; just as the colour of purple was more the magic of necromancy than the school of Necromancy. The magic of figments, illusions, darkness, and shadows all come under this colour.

The opening short story is not as well written as all the other colours, it's confusing even.

Rather than normal spellcasting, the new class presented uses card magic, with similarities to rune magic and such types. The rules for creating, acquiring, and using those cards feel pretty well thought out and unique, perhaps drawing from CCGs. Applying metamagic feats is an added layer of complexity and gives more uniqueness to it.

The class table is incomplete though, as it fails to include the card-related abilities. Also, while the explanation tries to be extensive, I think it should've had more examples than explanation.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Colours of Magic: Grey
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Colours of Magic: Blue
by David L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/01/2005 00:00:00

This colour is quite interesting. It represents the theory and knowledge of magic, symbols, and time. I can't say I'm enthusiastic about this colour, but it sure does present quite a bit of flavour. The effort put into differentiating and "flavouring" the 3 domains are nicely domain, as well as the attempt to differentiate the domains of Magic and Arcana.

It doesn't really feel opposed to Orange though, at least, not much emphasis on that.

The metamage is the mage of magic itself, able to manipulate the magic of others to some extent. A great class for those who like the much under-used counterspelling spellcaster. A metamage is more like an indirect spellcaster, not even a support spellcaster, as most of the blue spells are more indirect in nature when it comes to combat. I think an NPC metamage would make a really memorable enemy when grouped with a bunch of bodyguards.

Lastly, there's a typo in the class writeup which mentioned Red instead of Blue. A couple more typos can be found spreaded out.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Colours of Magic: Blue
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Colours of Magic: Orange
by David L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/01/2005 00:00:00

Orange is the colour of chaos, entropy, mutation, and all that is not orderly. Compared to the other colours (I've read 10 so far), this one didn't seem as interesting. The attempt to impress the theme of this colour is certainly there but the impression is just not strong enough. Unlike most of the other colours, I think the suggestions for deities who grant these domains are not as well written. Some of them just feels inappropriate IMHO.

While I don't particularly like the Orange as a colour, I really like the Unmaker as a class. It has a very interesting way of randomising the spell power cast by the Unmaker. It's akin to a wild mage, yet different at the same time. You could potentially increase the power of your spell incredibly, or you could just fail to cast it. And I like the fact that this arcane spellcaster is bolstered a bit to survive the earlier levels when the random spell power might prove quite a hindrance.

Some of the domain names (including other colours) are rather scientific in nature. I'll probably have to look up a thesaurus to find a more "fantasy-ish" name.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Colours of Magic: Orange
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Displaying 1 to 15 (of 68 reviews) Result Pages:  1  2  3  4  5  [Next >>] 
0 items
 Hottest Titles
 Gift Certificates
Powered by DrivethruRPG