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Ronin Arts
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Other comments left by this customer:
Four-Color to Fantasy (Revised)
Publisher: EN Publishing
by Joshua T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/15/2004 00:00:00
I was initially disappointed to hear that they were not going to be reissuing this product for free to people who bought the first one.

However, considering that a) they released the conversion information to D20 Modern as a freebie, b) they more than doubled the length of the product, and c) they sent a coupon to the original purchasers,

I got over it.

And I'm glad I did. This is a great product, which allows the addition of a little bit of super-power, all the way through a lot of super-power, to your campaign. While I think that Mutants and Mastermind presents a better mechanic and game for the playing of straight-up all-supers game, this is great for those games that walk the line between a modern game and a supers game. And my supers games always wind up resembling "Die Hard" with a bigger CG budget, so that's a good thing!

Good work!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Four-Color to Fantasy (Revised)
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Tournaments, Fairs, and Taverns: D&D 3.5
Publisher: EN Publishing
by Joshua T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/15/2004 00:00:00
Great product! I bought this one day not too long ago, then put off reading it for a while. My loss.

I used the contest rules in the next session I ran, and it worked wonderfully - I resolved a chase scene that otherwise would have been stale and boring.

Don't know when or if I will use some of the games and locations, but the competition rules and drinking rules alone are worth the cost of admission.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tournaments, Fairs, and Taverns: D&D 3.5
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En Ferreus Veritas: Rapier Combat
Publisher: Heyoka Studios
by Joshua T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/15/2004 00:00:00
I had high hopes for this product, but they were not completely fulfilled. For starters, I very much dislike the way the detailed breakdown of different weapon parts was handled - while useful from a historical sense, I think they stretch the game mechanics too far. The ability to add multiple bonuses to a sword without the cost of magically enchanting a blade, seems to be a major game balance issue.

I very much liked the prestige classes from a flavor standpoint, but wasn't thrilled with them mechanically. Most of them seemed, to me, to be inferior to the standard duellist, as presented in the DMG (3.5).

I think that really sums it up - good flavor, mediocre crunch.

The art was pretty good, too, particularly the cover.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
En Ferreus Veritas: Rapier Combat
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Publisher Reply:
If you are buying this book looking for a stand-in for the Duelist, this book is going to do little for you. The Duelist is a "vanilla" PrC purposely designed to fit the common assumptions of the stereotype. We don't do things like that. Why would rapier fighting be standard everywhere? Thats certainly what the Duelist presents. I'll reiterate again, if you're looking for a supercharged rogue, this book is not for you. If you want to add some style into your swashbuckling, perhaps you should consider this.
City Guide 1 : Everyday Life
Publisher: Dark Quest Games
by Joshua T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/15/2004 00:00:00
This is an ok product - the art is average, and the character/location write-ups are a bit... mundane, for the most part. Some of these locations will definitely find their way into my game, some wil not.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
City Guide 1 : Everyday Life
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Everyone Else: A Book of Innkeepers, Farmers & More
Publisher: EN Publishing
by Joshua T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/15/2004 00:00:00
One of my favorite PDF's, and the only one I keep right in my mission-critical DM's binder. Everyone Else has really helped me get a feel for the normal people in my campaign. Great buy!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Everyone Else: A Book of Innkeepers, Farmers & More
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Campaign Planner
Publisher: Ronin Arts
by Joshua T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/15/2004 00:00:00
This is a great product - I have been keeping my campaign notes in an assortment of places, but recently decided to return to the old "pen'n'paper" method. Printed these out, and they really helped me organize my thoughts and create order out of chaos.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Campaign Planner
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Swords of Our Fathers
Publisher: The Game Mechanics
by Joshua T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/10/2003 00:00:00
As many others have noted, the mentality of "get a magic weapon, use it, get a better one, discard the first" is far too pervasive. I have always liked the idea of improving your signature weapon as you go along, instead of discarding it - many of my characters have paid (often great amounts!) to do just that. And I have eagerly read the many articles or web thoughts on just that topic, but always been disappointed. Dragon Magazine's take on it - feed the weapon XP, and watch it grow - was particularly disappointing.

So it was with great excitement and anticipation that I bought Swords of Our Fathers.

I was not disappointed.

The central idea - connect advancement in a prestige class with advancement of the blade's power, representing your character's dedication to learning the art and magic of the blade, is extremely elegant. While it seems similar to Dragon's article, the difference is that instead of choosing to advance either the character *OR* the blade, you now may advance both ? a critical difference.

The PRCs themselves are a bit generic, but that is kind of the point. (This is not to say they are underpowered ? they are about average for PRCs focusing on their particular styles). They are merely a framework for the interaction between the PC and the weapon's powers

The main criticism I have of the product ? that there are no guidelines for writing up your own weapons of legend ? was negated by a posting on their website. JD wrote up a whole article on it, along with two extra demo blades ? all for free.

TGM is a class act, and this is a great product. 5/5 stars!


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Swords of Our Fathers
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Modern Player's Companion, Volume One
Publisher: The Game Mechanics
by Joshua T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/10/2003 00:00:00
Disclaimer: This is not (yet) a playtest review, but will be as soon as I can convince my players to jump to a Modern campaign.

Format: This is a 37 page PDF, which includes two pages of covers (front and back), a title page, and the OGl, so there are 33 pages of content.

Layout is very good, with a nominal, half-grayed-out circuit-boardey themed border alternating between left and right, as though this were meant to be printed and bound in a standard book-style format. There are occasional gaps of white space, at the ends of chapters, which is fine for a print product but was a bit disconcerting on my computer screen.

Unlike their earlier products, this one has the copy/paste setting turned to 'ON', which, in my mind at least, increases their usability greatly.

Writing, by Stan!, is of a style that is clear and un-ambiguous, and has a familiar tone to it. Without talking down to the reader, he makes it very easy to grasp the concepts. Stan! seems like an old friend and gaming buddy just explaining the new material. It also includes a number of sidebars that add extra detail and reasoning behind some of the design decisions. This is one of the best parts of the product.

Art is pretty good, and fits into the "Modern" style

A review, chapter by chapter:

Chapter One: Characters
There are two sections to this chapter, New Occupations and Class Combinations. New occupations are exactly what they sound like, more background occupations that you may select from when your character is first level. These are pretty good, although I don't see a lot of PC's coming from a Domestic (butler/maid/chauffer) background - great for NPC's, though.

Class Combinations is an inspired idea. Instead of writing an advanced class for every profession on earth, this section breaks out a ten-level progression for a number professions based solely on the core six classes. This section is both useful and truly showcases the versatility of the basic system. I would like to see more of this, both from TGM and from other Third Parties.

Chapter Two: Advanced Classes
A number of new Advanced classes, some of which are pretty good, some of which are a little problematic. I especially like the Adept and the Gentle Warrior. Adept is basically a Modern Sorcerer, while Gentle Warrior is a practicioner of the 'soft' martial arts (such as Aikido). Both fill what I saw as gaps in the spectrum of available classes.
The Criminologist and Profiler (both investigative types) seem to require a lot of input and foresight on the part of the GM, but that said, are very well written. If the GM can handle that sort of planning (or improvise well on the fly) then they would be very useful and interesting classes to take.
At least one of them seems a little redundant with a core class (Opinion Maker), and might be more suited for an NPC than a PC - although some of the class abilities are pretty cool.

Chapter Three: Feats
Of course, every new d20 product has feats. Most of these are pretty good. Some of them are a bit worrisome. Some of them are reprints from Ultramodern Firearms d20 by TGM's new partner, Green Ronin. (Personally, I am not a big fan of reprints of feats between sourcebooks - particularly from a sourcebook that is as popular and likely to be widely owned as UMF).

I very much like Back Off, Sidestep and the advanced Dodge feats, which all of which allow for some amount of increased mobility, or advance AC. Very much in concert with the Gentle Warrior Advanced class noted above.

However, there are two feats, Cross-training and Self-Improvement, which allow you to manipulate your attributes. Although the possible (positive) change to be gained by taking these feats is only +2 (by taking them both and applying them to one of the same attributes), and cross-training has a cost, I am worried about them, mostly on principal. As noted by the original game designers, giving a +1 bonus or penalty to anything makes it very easy to hide a penalty or boost a bonus - essentially gaining a +2 to the attribute for half the cost.

Chapter Four: Equipment
The first section of this chapter is pretty mundane - some interesting new survival equipment, and new luggage, but that is about all that is of interest here.
The second section is another really inspired idea - equipment packages. There are four packages listed out, Adventurer, Law Enforcement, Criminal, and Technician. Each has a list of common equipment, at four different price ranges, for characters and NPCs of those types. Most include weapons and a vehicle, and all the basics for that character type. The higher Priced packages contain all the stuff in the lower ranges, plus extras. (The adventurer, for example, has all the items that are written on every adventure's character sheet, right back to Bigby and Mordenkainen themselves - converted for modern times, of course).
The only criticisms I have of this section are:
a) an unclear sentance regarding the purchasing of the packages (which has been cleared up by Stan! on their message boards, and will be included in their errata.
b) Only Four?!? (particularly when this is one of the chapters that ends in a big white space!)



In addition to all of that, Stan! has compiled a list of the feats from this product, combined with UMF and the Core SRD feats, and made it available for download. It notably didn't include the feats from their Martial Arts Mayhem Preview, but I believe this will be fixed soon (if not already).

Overall, I give this product 5 out of five stars! - Great content, Great writing, a little unclear in places, but I really think it was $5 very well spent.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Modern Player's Companion, Volume One
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