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OBE: Hard Boiled Cultures for D&D 4E
Publisher: Highmoon Games
by Doug S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/21/2011 15:12:38

This is a concise, useful overview of the questions one needs to ask and answer when creating cultural variants on established 4e "races," which have always seemed like species to me. It offers a framework for addressing these questions, based upon identifying the key cultural traits of the default version of a race and then creating variants by exaggerating, opposing, or twisting those traits in some fashion. The examples are brief but well-chosen to illustrate the points being made.

The .pdf is quite a nice length for an onscreen publication, actually, because it's easy to read through. That being said, it is well-bookmarked, something many book-length onscreen documents don't bother with. This supplement won't help someone seeking detailed advice on how to create a culture or a new species; rather it provides helpful mechanical guidance for how to reflect your own ideas in the most efficient fashion using D&D 4e stats. Recommended.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
OBE: Hard Boiled Cultures for D&D 4E
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Thousand Suns: Foundation Transmissions
Publisher: Grognardia Games
by Doug S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/05/2009 11:32:24

The technical problem I had with the images in the original download of this .pdf has been resolved.

Rogue Games believes that the problem stemmed from the Preview app in Mac having trouble reading the layered file. I haven't had this problem with any other .pdfs, but since I didn't tell them what I application or operating system I was using and they were able to quickly fix the problem, I think they are right.

The adjusted rating reflects the value of this .pdf for the price. The new systems for weapons, armor, and robots add some complexity, but they use a cafeteria style approach that lets you quickly add up traits to produce a piece of gear based on its in-game effects, without a lot of number crunching.

The Lingua Terra section is fun and the Way of Scheming looks interesting as well. All in all, a good value.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Thousand Suns: Foundation Transmissions
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Thousand Suns: Foundation Transmissions
Publisher: Grognardia Games
by Doug S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/03/2009 19:44:09

I downloaded this on 9-3-09 after seeing it mentioned in Ken Hite's Out of the Box column. It looks interesting, but unfortunately the current .pdf has a significant glitch: MANY of the pages with artwork have significant areas of obscured and/or distorted text that cannot be read. This is a particular issue for the weapons and armor modification sections, where a lot of needed info can't be read.

I found this problem on pages 8, 17, 34, 43, 46, 48, 58, 66, 71, 76, 84, 88, 94, and 116. (Less test is cut off on pages 88 and 94, but the problem is still there.)

I appreciate the larger amount of art in this book and it looks to have some interesting additions for the game, but until a corrected .pdf is made available and I've gotten a copy, I'll have to say I'm disappointed and give it a lower rating than I otherwise would, because the blocked text issue makes it harder to read and understand the examples in some of the more interesting sections.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Truth & Justice: The Turtlezilla Dossier
Publisher: Atomic Sock Monkey Press
by Doug S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/09/2006 00:00:00

For those of you familiar with Mr. Underkoffler?s Campaign in a Box series in Pyramid magazine, the format and style of the Turtlezilla Dossier will undoubtedly seem familiar. I consider that a Good Thing.

The first page of the .pdf is a TOC and credits. The following Page One (going by the footer) gives a brief Introduction explaining the organization and possible uses of the document plus a set of 13 haiku-inspired verses written by Underkoffler. I think my favorite is ?At the sight of kaiju/Fighting in a rubber suit,/Even the critic?s critic/Would get more popcorn.?

Pages Two and Three provide a summary of the basic features of the Turtlezilla as well as a breakdown of its sightings and appearances, along with unusual phenomena associated with its manifestations. In classic Underkoffler fashion, not all the ?experts? commenting on Turtlezilla agree on the known facts. There are tidbits sprinkled in here that could be either MacGuffins or critical clues depending on how a GM decides to use Turtlezilla. There are a couple of lists at the end of Page Three summing up the possible answers to the questions ?What is Turtlezilla?? and ?Why Does it Attack?? based on the facts presented.

The GM section begins on Page Four. It provides a brief buffet of even more events that might be red herrings or crucial plot points depending on your tastes. Then you get suggestions on how to utilize Turtlezilla in each of the three mini-settings presented at the back of the main Truth and Justice book. Of these, Second-String Supers meet Turtlezilla has the most comic-book feel to me (reminiscent of the Giffen Justice League for some reason). On the other hand, the SuperCorps option is the one I would be more inclined to run personally. It?s kind of like Mutual of Omaha?s Wild Kingdom meets a giant turtle monster. (?Jim will apply the tag to Turtlezilla now . . . oh my, Jim seems to be on fire.?) Or maybe that Life Aquatic movie with Bill Murray. In any case, it provides a level-headed rationale as to why a bunch of super-powered people would be paid to put a tracking tag on Turtlezilla. I really like the idea that you?re not trying to blow Turtlezilla up in this scenario. Because you probably can?t.

At the bottom of Page Six and running through to Page Nine you get another tasting sampler: three different writeups for Turtlezilla?s origin, motivation, and T&J stats. Turtlezilla Prime and Alien Atomic Reptile Family are both clever, while Kaiju Projection is a bit predictable. Though honestly, if it wasn?t there, you?d say, ?Boy, he missed the obvious option.?

The Dossier wraps up with a ?hits the highlights? description of Turtlezilla?s use in Underkoffler?s own T&J campaign. It sounds like an entertaining session and provides at least one more clever twist to pull on the players. Personally I find these sorts of things quite helpful as examples of the system in action, as long as the home campaign in question isn?t filled with power-mongering knuckleheads, which this one thankfully wasn?t.

As far as art goes, there?s a drawing of Turtlezilla on Page One and an ad at the end of the Dossier. But you don?t really buy Truth and Justice for the Art. <br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: The writing and ideas are well-crafted. I?m not a particular fan of kaiju, but this manages to provide functional GM advice along with a surprising number of options. Different GMs could take this and use it in very different ways. I would have no problem using it for a one-shot in a game in the Animated Style.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Nothing other than there aren't more items like this out there.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Truth & Justice: The Turtlezilla Dossier
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