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Starjammer: Medical Marvels
Publisher: d20pfsrd.com
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/19/2017 11:44:09

Starjammer: Medical Marvels.

The first release in what is shaping to be a promising product line and a spiritual successor to Spelljammer that is living up to it's hype. What we have here is a 32 page pdf, -5 for Front/Back Cover, Editorial Stuff, advert for the OpenGamingStore, the Open Gaming License, as well as half a page for the introduction Leaves us with 26.5 pages of content to dig through. From the get go we're given a the first of 7 "Audio Logs", which are sidebar flavor text sidebars from the perspective of a Dr. Karer, conveying thoughts from an in character standpoint about the topic the page it appears on is covering, the first of which even comes with a portrait of the good good doctor. Afterwards we are given data on Pre-Tech prices (see Golarion's tech level at the time the Technology Guide was printed), Post-Tech prices (Starjammer's current day), and Legality codes. These lay out how to parse the information presented in the rest of the book with the why's and hows of each legality level, why currency moved to credits (a briefer version than Starjammer's entry), and even an odd little quirk on essentially 'sales tax' for using coins still.

After that we are given nine tables spanning across pages with fun art that can convey the different styles of Space Opera character art, laying out pre and post tech prices of things Paizo made in the Technology Guide with their Legality codes. I can't find any readily available formula they used, implying that each item was taken on a case by case basis instead with things such as the lighter going from 10 gp to 1 credit, but the Vortex Gun went from 182,000gp to 150,000 credits (as well as a hefty legality code). Gives players a more reasonable opportunity to access tech gear in a setting using this but still doesn't make past tech items such as the bow, or sword, completely outdated. One thing I kind of wished they addressed, and I might have missed this entirely in Starjammer core, is firearms that are not presented in the technology guide and where they are assuming the technology level is for those. Just a little thing that could help a DM gauge things and manage expectations of players walking into this universe.

With the bookkeeping of the past items handled they jump into new toys for players in the shape of Cybertech and Pharmaceuticals. Each is presented in the same way you would expect to see a technological or magical item, including the pre and post tech prices and legality codes here as well, with my personal favorite being the smuggling compartments leg slot cybernetics and Altraeg for Pharmaceuticals. The fun doesn't stop there however, we're given three new sets of option rules and one revisited, Spirit, Cyber Sickness, Pharaceutical Addiction (revisited), and Miscibility.

Spirit is the option for Cybernetics implimentation costs. Instead of being keyed off the lowest of intelligence or constitution, they instead have you base it off the average of Constitution, Intelligence, and Charisma citing mind body and soul all helping keep you grounded as you get yourself chrome'd out. This helps mitigate an issue I was little soured on when I first saw that in Paizo's book as it felt like it forced only specific people could be decked out in said tech (namley the smart tank), or have the terrible penalties apply.

Speaking of, instead of the typical -4's to all the things of the Technology you have the neat option of Cybersickness. The rules are laid out under the assumption that you do not use Spirit with a notation on the back end that replaces the appropriate saves with 'Spirit' Saves, altering the base DCs for Spirit. Stage 1: If you go over your implmentation value you immediately make a fort save that scales based on how high you go exceed your cap by. On A failure, roll on a table for bad stuff which can be not as bad as the usual -4, only penalizing a skill or two, to reduced healing, or even electricity vulnerabilibility. On a pass, you're safe for a month, but the DC increases by 1 on your next save. So far so good right? You can have plenty of fun managing roleplay opportunities of losing yourself to the machine, or even pushing your body to the limits from decking yourself out as much as possible for a specific mission. Stage 2: After Obtaining stage one, you make a well save, this time off of will, and with a higher base DC, every week. On a failure you roll on another chart, and these penalties do stack with your stage one bad stuff, these are going hurt dramatically more than the base penalty some dictating how you act. While Stage One was mostly inflicting penalties to how you interact with things physically, this is more corruption of the mind and how you handle things socially. If you make your save you are safe for a week but your DC increases by one for the next save. Stage 3 (aka Severe) : After obtaining Stage three, you again make will saves. This time it is against a flat DC that scales for each previous week you succed by. If you fail this one, you shift alignments and become under the GM's control (very much like the final stages of corruption). The way to cure these maladies? Remove your overage and wait out as your body normalizes back

With Pharmaceutical Addictions, it felt nice to to see they brought up the situation. I personally do not like how Paizo itself handled their addiction rules, but from a mechanical standpoint it makes sense how they expanded upon the rules here. If you enjoy the addiction rules Paizo presented, these will feel like a nice refinement to those things.

Lastly, we are given Miscibility. Holy cow was I excited when I saw this in my table of contents. Being able to answer "what happens if I drink/take both at once" with something more than "Effects as normal" and have an easy readily available chart to do so? It brightens my day and if nothing else I'd view it worth it buying just for this little gem. There are seperate charts for mixing Pharmaceuticals and Potions, with good and bad effects being extreme when they happen, but far from the norm (however there are slightly more 'bad' effects, making it still a risky task to do this). A curiosity I have and I would work out with your DM should you use this system for potions is when you roll a 100, which can lead to permanent effects. The chart cites the condition as a 'curse', as curses are handled a couple of different ways in Pathfinder, ranging from needing a Remove Curse to handle, to needing a 'to restore from this point you need a remove curse or a <X> CL check' you might want to clarify with your DM how they wish to handle that.

The Good: We have a neat tightly packed PDF that gives us plenty of updated and new mechanics. Interspaced between the tables and charts we are given fun pieces of art, and flavorful pieces of fluff to read. It can be used with or without Starjammer Core in any pathfinder game where this technology is available. The writing makes me feel like this was very much a labor of love project.

The bad: I'm a little saddened that nearly a quarter of the PDF is updating old products. I understand the why of it, just that could have been 8 more pages of neat things or fun ideas.

The Meh: As I mentioned above, the addiciton rules didn't flip my trigger. Looking closely at the potions rules on extreme cases you can gain some pretty bonkers effects (permanent Resist Energy comes to mind)

From a layout standpoint the book is wonderful, neat, and had a nice ratio of art to text so it's not a drab technical manual but isn't using art as filler space either. Mechanically it gives potential for so many interesting stories just on the obtaining items through the legality code, dealing with cyber sickness, or a miscibility accident gone wrong. Final Verdict. 5/5 Stars.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Starjammer: Medical Marvels
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Hypercorps 2099
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Jay N. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/10/2016 18:28:40

I'll skip the stats that Endzeitgeist typically gives on the assumption that Thilo G. will handle that and instead give my thoughts on each chapter of the book

Chapter 1: Hyper Gaming: First page we get a general sales pitch of the setting and some notes involving the expectations of the players/gm when they play/run a story with this book. Some warnings about power levels, general theme and risks that may differ from a typical Pathfinder play experience. From there you get this timeline of earth with the assumption that any point in time before the first entry lines up with what we have in the real world. It is colorful, a fun read and draws me in with the basic information on a global scale to make this world feel real without becoming a history textbook. You get mutants, super powers, spells, mega-corps, virtual reality, time travel. Finally in this chapter we get a couple brief boxes involving exchange rates of Dollars and Gp and a small list of lingo for this world. Right from the get go I am getting this vibe in flavor of the general feel of Champions (from HERO System) or Mutants and Masterminds meets Shadowrun.

Chapter 2: A Hyper World: First Page goes back to manging expectations on the universe and how it differs from your typical Pathfinder experience involving things we might take for granted (Travel) as well as how to reflavor prexisting classes to fit. The Hypernet: For those who play Shadowrun this is their The Matrix. The time difference is less out of wack between time flow on the net and on the prime and each of the servers use Planar Traits already existing in Pathfinder and a few new ones to handle the unique traits on each server, going as far as to create a unique server for Mike Meyler's other product using the Veranthea Codex. Murder-Ball: A sport that has the flavor of GW's Bloodbowl if cranked up to 11. A full list of simple rules are given with a chart to represent regional/league differences around the world. We're given a tour key points around the globe ranging from the sample City of Cleaveland 2099 to the Hypercorperate Megametropolis of Lucrum. Most of this is only useful if you use this as your gaming universe but there are bits and pieces in these sections to part out into your own world quite easily.

Chapter 3: Organizations This comes in mostly two parts: Organizations and Hypercorporations For those familiar with Shadowrun Hypercorps are the AAA Megacorps of this universe. Globally reaching and are above the concepts of the laws of sovereign nations. Organizations are very much like Pathfinder's factions, just on a larger scale ranging from Anonymous (yes, that one) to the Church of Cthulhu to The Triad. In concept reading these seems very silly, but taking the setting as a whole it fits the very Over The Top feeling that's being built up here.

Chapter 4: Operating Cast A sort of NPC Codex built into this book for all the mentioned NPCs throughout the book, with CRs ranging from CR 7 to CR 33 (with one at CR 20/ Mythic Rank 10). A nice touch giving you a series of tools from the get go, a few very humorous like the a certain CR 15 member of Zodiac Defenders to the serious business Hyper Vampire listed.

Chapter 5: Hyper Bestiary Front loaded with a collection of templates to augment monsters from other Bestiaries/NPCs to fit in this setting both in sense of power and theme. Afterwards it's a mixture of humanoid generic NPCs and quite a few Constructs/Robots. As a huge fan of the Netjacker (a class appearing later in this book) free PDF when I first saw it the one minor gripe I have here might be when they give sample Proxy and Drone monstersmaybe a step by step on how to reassemble these or even at various breakpoints. Maybe a feature to be added in a future product?

Chapter 6: Gamemastering: Ah, hard crunch for all the fluff we receive in chapters 1-3. Rules for Bullet Armor Class, rules I think I will be adopting in normal Pathfinder games to help balance a personal issue I had with them in the base Pathfinder game New/Adjusted Skills: Perception is removed, replaced by Awareness (Wis) and Search (Int) while Climb and Swim are squished into Athletics (Str) with Knoweldge Technology, Use Technology and Vehicular Control rounding up the cast of skills. Luck and Reputation: 2 new ability scores added to our base 6 (Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma) that are derived from a different formula than through typical ability score generation methods. They kind of round out the more out there requests people can make in a t ypical table and give resources in the form of "Chance" and "Sway" points for Luck and Reputation respectively that can be spent, regenerating back each day/week. Within this GM section it mentions rules for powered teamwork allowing your party to develop neat tricks very much like in DC Comics with Superboy and Robin doing the 'Fastball Special', reminds the reader that the the intent is for a high paced action oriented game. Afterwards we get some sample traps and rules how to make hyper traps, suggestions for eras of play ranging from the late 1800's to Current day 2099+

Chapter 7: Hyper Classes: An Archetype for the Monk, Ninja, Cavalier (complete with new Order), and Netjacker each with their own unique feeling that fits quite well. Two New Classes in the shape of the Netjacker and the Veloces.

The Netjacker: The master hacker/robot controller, coming in with his own full suite of drones and proxy. 3/4 BaB, Good Ref, Good Will. D6 HD. 2 + Int Mod skill points and a solid Skill List. As you progress your Drones/Proxy improve as well does your prowess in operating on the Hypernet/Dealing with other robots. For a Shadowrun Player this will feel like playing a Decker/Rigger without potentially spending an entire night doing your thing while the party waits.

Veloces: 3/4 BaB, Good Fort, Good Ref, d8 HD, 4+Int Mod, another solid skill list. The quintessential speedster. If you ever wanted to play as The Flash/Quicksilver, this alone can give you the tools that you need. However to keep up in a world where wizards can rewrite campaigns at a whim at higher levels you get the ability to apply your speed to operating magic items from potions to wondrous items to staves/wands, firing off multiple per round.

Chapter 8: Hyper Equipment Here we get a new material (arcanosteel), advanced craftsmanship rules that work like (and stack with) enchanting magic weapons/armor rules. We get another version of Armor giving Damage Reduction compared to what Pathfinder has as an option, allowing you to pay a little extra to reduce the item's armor bonus to instead give DR. Cybernetics: Should feel familiar if you've looked through Pathfinder's Technology guide however there appear to be no Implement costs associated with these items in the form of Implementation Points, only a limitation of body slots and some requiring an Install DC. Gear: A nice wide array of technological toys, complete with craft DCs and feats/labs needed ranging from VR rigs to Translators, to Rebreathers, to magical potions that restore spell slots (Whoo mana potions!) Weapons: Firearms are now simple weapons and we have a new table of firearms. Quite a few of these are slick with the Razor Shotgun holding a special place in my heart. Misfire is still a thing even in the 22nd centur unless you pick up one of the three new exotic firearms. For those not interested in guns you only snag two new toys, the Molecular Whip and Sword-chucks. Now while I only say 'only' these two weapons are really neat and have some very fun rules. Vehicles: So these feel a little better than Pathfinder vehicles (and thus feel dramtically better than say, 3.5's Stormwrack) and it makes me feel really excited to have quasi Mad-Max type stories to be able to play now

Chapter 9: Hypercore Mythic Adventures has Mythic Rules. Hypercorps 2099 has Hyper Rules, those familiar will see a vaguely familiar trend but it is different enough that they distinctly different. This is where the players get their raw power boost to keep up with some of the expectations of what is an appropriate challenge rating for this universe. I can take or leave this part of the section depending on any given type of game I'd run with this book, using the system for a high powered M&M feeling game while not using them to give a grittier Shadowrun-esque feel. I will say however, this system feels better in balance/application than Mythic Rules, probably as you are given guidelines for what is an appropriate CR to throw at people based on their level/hyper score.

All in all if you're looking for Shadowrun or Champions style game but you/your playgroup do not want to learn those systems, Hypercorps 2099 is worth looking at



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hypercorps 2099
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