RPGNow.com
Browse Categories
 Publisher Info













Back
Other comments left by this customer:
Actual Monk
Publisher: Postmortem Studios
by Yair R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/11/2006 00:00:00

Actual Monks is a short (6 pages, about 4.5 of content) pdf detailing a new class, a variant cleric based on the medieval-style monk. I like my priests to not all be skilled and trained warriors, so I frequently look for such variant cleric classes. I think this class goes a long way towards having a simple and effective non-combative variant, but it isn't quite there.

I don't really like most fluff text surrounding classes, so I won't go there except to say it's fair. The bulk of the material however is justly reserved for the class itself.

The monk is a divine spellcaster. It has d4 HD and poor BAB, distancing it from the fighting cleric. They still get simple weapons and light armor, unfortunately. I can't say I see Friar Tuck in a studded leather armor, but apparently my conception of the monk isn't broad enough. In return for giving up combat prowess, the monk gets special abilities. These include lay on hands and four Vows & Devotions. The devotions are simply stackable specializations, such as adding +1 to their BAB, which I think are fairly balanced. The vows make an excellent idea ? the monk could take a Vow of Silence, for example, which would allow him to cast magic without ?needing to fulfill any verbal requirements?. I think it's a great idea, but the execution is unbalanced. Most unseemly is the Vow of Poverty, where in return to giving up all worldly possessions (including, based on the text, magic items) the character gets... a +3 bonus to Fortitude. Now a +3 bonus to Fortitude is nice, but it isn't quite balanced against all those lost magic items...

The product is not entirely without editorial blemish. For some reason they refer to ?armour? instead of ?armor?; I can't understand why running the text through a spell checker with the [b]USA English[/b] option tagged on prior to publication is so difficult. The class table has an explanatory text at the top that disrupts the flow; it should be at the bottom. ?Evil monks []may[] take a Feat instead of a Vow, but []may[] still take Devotions? also is logically meaningless (I suspect one ?may? should be ?must?). The document has a watermark background and a colored (but small) border design that I suspect will interfere with some printers (it printed reasonably well on mine, just a little less clear due to the background), and doesn't have page numbers. The class table is also hard to read without any shading to differentiate the rows. It's clearly not designed to be printed.

I like the simple approach this class has taken, and it almost pulled it off. The lack of balanced vows works against it, as do the flaws in the professional presentation. Ultimately, however, I decided to give it a an average (3/5) rating - it's a simple enough derivation that barring flaws I would have given it only a 4/5 (simply for not having that star quality), and with the flaws I think it merits a 3/5. It is, however, dirt cheap. If you like the sound of it, I recommend picking it up, making slight modifications to the vows or so on, and letting it serve as a the priest class. I think I'll do just that for my next campaign.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: Simple approach, the V&D idea.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Unbalanced vows, unprofessional at places.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br><BR>[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]<BR>



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Actual Monk
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Creator Reply:
It is 'armour' rather than 'armor' because I am English and, so's the language. US English irritates me in much the same way as UK English seems to irritate you. As the author I reserve the right to use my mother tongue :) As to the second sentence, again, that's fairly clear to me. An alternate way of expressing it would be... "Instead of a vow, Evil monks may take a feat. They can still, however, take devotions." In other words, because the vows are denials of base urges etc to make one more holy, an evil monk could not take them. A vow of licenteousness, or loudness for that matter, makes no sense and doesn't require sacrifice. There would be no balance. I test print these products and it turned out fine on a mid-age Epson stylus. So not sure what's up there. I'm probably going to attack an ACTUAL Assassain (without the magic and alignment restrictions) and probably an ACTUAL Paladin (More of a Templar model) at some point. Other suggestions welcome.
GRIM TALES: Gamemastering
Publisher: Bad Axe Games
by Yair R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/01/2005 00:00:00

This is a fast, easy system to determine EL that is superior to the DMG's. It is very useful in aiding you to determine how taxing and dangerous encounters and encounter-chains will be. If you're not relying on the CR system, though, you'll not find this useful. (And if the monsters or PCs have any quality that will give the CR system problems, such as immunity to the dragon's breath weapon or something, it can get wonky.)<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: The sheer simplicity of it all, the ability to figure out the likely aftermath of a string of encounters and plan accordingly.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: It requires a calculator to figure out EL; worse, it requires a logarithm to the base of 2 which it not on most calculators. The author should have chosen another base and altered the constants accordingly.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
GRIM TALES: Gamemastering
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

GRIM TALES: Mass Combat
Publisher: Bad Axe Games
by Yair R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/01/2005 00:00:00

This is a very abstract system for mass combat, essentially based on CR and EL considerations combined with a set of strategic options and tactical situations. If you're looking for an abstract combat system, this is an excellent piece. If you're looking for a more detailed wargame, you may be disappointed by this system.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: The extreme abstraction, the logic it makes considering the CR system.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: The closed list of options is a bit limiting, and hard to remember. It may be a bit too abstract, at times, especially when considering specific abilities and immunities that break the CR system.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
GRIM TALES: Mass Combat
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Ragnarok! Tales Of The Norse Gods
Publisher: Avalanche Press
by Yair R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/05/2005 03:53:54

THE FILE IS CORRUPTED, or otherwise flawed. It's very disorganized, with pages not following one another and sections confused and jumbled with each other.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Ragnarok! Tales Of The Norse Gods
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Infernum - Book of the Damned
Publisher: Mongoose
by Yair R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/28/2005 12:56:01

This is a complete d20 System game set in an interesting setting based on classical Hell. The different demonic factions are interesting and inventive and provide ample hooks for both combat and political games, and the mutations and races allow for some effective and interesting characters. The PCs are expected to play demons who need iliaster (soul-power) to live, fallen angels who can use iliaster, or mortals that can produce it; this creates a nice tension. This should make for an interesting Evil campaign (while a Good campaign is possible, it's somewhat difficult), but would require some learning of the rules. What mars it is that the rules are not written as professionally in D&D, and that ultimately it is limited in scope, and requires using specific mechanics with a learning cost. It is a good setting, but in my opinion not a brilliant one nor brilliantly rendered into d20 (despite some creative ideas).



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Infernum - Book of the Damned
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

The Book of Immortals
Publisher: Mongoose
by Yair R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/28/2005 12:48:11

This book purports to aid in adding 'epic' elements into 'Epic' gameplay, but gets too mired down in mechanics to pull it off. It essentially presents an alternate character progression path, seperate from levels and xp, that aligns the character with primordial powers - allowing him to gain power from his affiliation with abstract goodness or animal spirits, for example - but at the cost of limiting the character's behaviour to fit and serve his power source. All this is accomplished through a confusing and byzantine set of rules and a myriad of options, with no consideration for game balance, and and with no detailed treatment of immortal society and her relations with deities. It also "railroads" a lot, incurring undue punishment for transgressions against what the author sees as the proper course. There are some good ideas in there (unique mythical places, power that restricts, an interesting challenge system), but for the most part it's just too byzantine and unbalanced to be used.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
The Book of Immortals
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Dungeon Crawl Classics #14: Dungeon Interludes
Publisher: Goodman Games
by Yair R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/28/2005 00:00:00

I really like the idea of having a set of adventures that are not linearly following in each other's footsteps but do continue a plotline. Unfortunately, this product does have it's difficulties.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: I've read the adventures, and played out one. They're well made, diverse, with player handouts and overall are just good adventures. The overarching plot is also pretty good, if a bit cliche, and can be easily tweaked.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: The adventurers have little (read: no) effect on the grand plot. Regardless of their success in the previous ploys, the BBEG does his thing without being really affected. The last few adventures are also linked too strongly to be truly considered seperated, while others are somewhat loosely connected to the main plot; the idea of "interludes" spread over between other adventures and linking together is good, but not carried out as well as it could be. For example, there are no recurring villains appearing in the first adventure and a later adventure, although there could easily have been. <br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #14: Dungeon Interludes
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Template Troves, Volume I: Serpents, Spiders & Godlings
Publisher: Silverthorne Games
by Yair R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/28/2005 00:00:00

I just didn't find this work useful. I bought it looking for some templates to use, and I didn't find any that I consider useful. It's a somewhat subjective thing, of course, but I generally think the templates are too focused and just not comprehensive or engaging enough. From the Arnarch which is an aranea-spider crossbreed (that's a MONSTER, not a TEMPLATE), to the Poisonflow creature template that just adds a poison to the base creature, I just didn't like this offering. You can get ideas for some new monsters from this work, but I personally doubt I'll ever use any of the templates to do anything but create the single implied creature. <br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Disappointing<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Disappointed<br>



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Template Troves, Volume I: Serpents, Spiders & Godlings
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Monster Geographica: Underground
Publisher: Expeditious Retreat Press
by Yair R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/28/2005 00:00:00

I was very impressed with this work. There is a wide variety of monsters, and although some were banal or uninteresting there were lots of ones I could definitely use and a few I was tempted to base a campaign on. They are very easily and comprehensively referenced, and it's easy to print just the ones you want. Note that it has lots and lots of creatures in it, but no pictures. You'll just have to rely on that rusty imagination of yours.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: The ability to print out just the creatures I want, the campaign-making monsters.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Some of the monsters were not different enough from existing monsters or did not fit the underground theme. A few simply made no sense to me.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Monster Geographica: Underground
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

The Grave of the Prince of Lies
Publisher: 0one Games
by Yair R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/28/2005 00:00:00

This is an excellent free product. It's got a nice encounter, with new monsters including one the characters will need to find non-trivial ways to overcome, and an excellent map and graphics.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: The wonderful map, the concept of the Prince of Lies and the curse of the grave, the idea of a fake-door at the entrance.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: The guardian skeletons at inside the grave have a weird mechanic to avoid damage that makes it imprevious to a LOT of damage, which to me makes no sense. I changed the "skid chance" to be a "didn't skid chance", and hence solved this issue.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Grave of the Prince of Lies
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Murchad's Legacy Campaign Setting
Publisher: Parent's Basement Games
by Yair R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/01/2005 00:00:00

This product has excellent content, providing a rich setting (of a fairly standard fantasy type), and the bare skeleton of an orc-invasion campaign.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: The rich detailed setting, focusing on the kingdom of Launhym but fully detailing other countries to create an impressive, almost realistic, political complexity. It has detail where it matters (providing NPC descriptions instead of their stat-blocks for example) and in great quantity, and is mechanically sound.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: The graphic design (no border art, only a few fairly-generic if decent pictures with no other graphic elements, poor choice of headline styles that fail to catch the eye), and the inclusion of some "house rules" that are not really pertinent to the setting. I also disliked the choice of having a "creation myth" for the humanoid-like races (everyone except elves and humans, e.g. dwarves, halflings, orcs, giants...) as it detracts from its portability. I can use more campaign advice, but there is already a substantial amount.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Murchad's Legacy Campaign Setting
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

A Magical Medieval Society: Western Europe
Publisher: Expeditious Retreat Press
by Yair R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/28/2003 00:00:00

This is by far the best treatment I have seen of 'Middle Ages in a Nutshell', and has the added bonus of incorporating Core Rules assumptions, classes, and capabilties. Excellent work.

If your setting is not quite middle-ages like, you might find it less useful but I still suggest reading it. You will probably pick up a few ideas, just from seeing how things are divided up or done in the middle-ages. The work does make some assumptions, which means it might not be applicable to your setting for ther reasons. But most of it probably will, to some degree, if your setting is close to being medieval.

The inclusion of magic is not fully elucidated, but this is to be expected in a 'general' work as doing so will diverge too far from the archetype setting into personal opinion. I personally found their city-system unmanagable, but I know some who sear by it so will refrain from further comments. Sufffice it to say it is highly detailed.

In conclusion: read it. Just read it. You won't regret buying it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Magical Medieval Society: Western Europe
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Staves of Ascendance
Publisher: The Game Mechanics
by Yair R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/28/2003 00:00:00

Ultimately, I find that the basic mechanic suggested fails. The idea is to take levels in a 'Scion Class' to slowly uncover the potent abiltiies of legendary staves. It brings about an exaggerated reliance on said item, and worse severly limits the spellcaster's class options, pigeon-holing him into a specific role. I think there are better mechanics to do this.

The staves themselves I found to be rather unimpressive and unispired. I bought this after buying Swords of Our Fathers and expected magic items of the same caliber. I was sadly disappointed.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Staves of Ascendance
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Swords of Our Fathers
Publisher: The Game Mechanics
by Yair R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/28/2003 00:00:00

While it was an interesting concept, I think ultimately the basic mechanics of this work fails. It forces the player to pigeon-hole himself into one of the Scion classes in order to unlock the powers of the ancient legendary weapons therein. I find this highly restrictive, and a 'waste' of a level. The resulting depedance of character on blade is also bad. In conclusion: the mechanics don't work.

However, the swords do. The weapons presented int he work are imaginative and inspiritng, and I strongly recommend purchasing it for them alone. Which is why I gave it such a high grade.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Swords of Our Fathers
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

The Mysteries
Publisher: Bantam Books
by Yair R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/28/2003 00:00:00

This product has been described as "advanced Ars Magica", and for good reason. It adds the elements of mystery groups and cults to the game, which greatly enhance both the depth of the setting's magic and its relations to real-world historical mystical groups. The result is a bunch of secret groups who have access to secret magical lore and the unique powers it brings, and use it to pursue their own obscure agendas. That HAS to be useful for any saga. The reader is warned, however, that the book is tedious in its detail at times, and that the presented virtues are certainly more powerful than existing ones (but then again - balance isn't ArM's strong suit.) It is generally accepted that the official Order of Hermes (with ~800 members) is not big enough to include all groups, and the book suggests either increasing its supposed size or using only some of the groups.

It has been critiqued that the inclusion of mysteries limits the magic of regular magi by requiring special virtues to achieve specific deeds (for example dream-magic now requires 'oneiromancy'). I do not find this particulalry limiting, but if your troupe does you can easily circumvent or ignore it. Even without the mystery-specific rules, this book is well-worth the price for the (semi-)historical information alone, detailing a great deal of occult theories, insights, and groups appropriate to Mythic Europe or similar settings.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Mysteries
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Displaying 1 to 15 (of 16 reviews) Result Pages:  1  2  [Next >>] 
Back
0 items
 Gift Certificates
Powered by DriveThruRPG