Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Shipwrecked on the Razor Coast!

Razor Coast is yet another huge campaign by Frog God Games, as assisted by Necromancers.

This book is 532 pages of mostly overland and overseas adventures!  It is packed to the brim with pirates and swashbuckling adventure, tempered well with dark fantasy.

Yes, this is another huge book that occurs in Frog God's universe, just like "Slumbering Tsar" and "Rappan Athuk".  It consists of seven chapters: #1) "Into the Razor", #2) "Build an Adventure Path", #3) "Port Shaw", #4) "Beneath and Near Port Shaw", #5) "To Sail the Razor Sea", #6) "Night of the Shark", and #7) "The Kraken Strikes".

It also has no less than eight appendixes: #1) "Everything New Except Monsters", #2) "Recurring NPC's", #3) "Bestiary", #4) "Gazetteer", #5) "Book of Indulgences", #6) "Deep Waters", #7) "Handouts", and #8) "Campaign Worksheets". as well as a couple advertising sheets in the very back for other games produced by Frog God.

Folks, this is a great book for GM's who would love to set their campaign firmly in an age of Piracy and Sail!  The "Adventuring Path" allows GM's to meld the facts from "Into the Razor" with "Port Shaw".  If you are going to use this as your entire campaign (and you can!), it is recommended for characters level 5 through level 12. Good GM's will probably be able to take their party from Level 1 to Level 5 easily by using some of the info in this book.  I would like to recommend that you encourage your players and their characters to use "Port Shaw" as their home base.

Created by Nicolas Logue, Chapter One details an overview of history of the Razor Coast, and has a great deal of summary material.  Chapter Two is the meat of how to use this tome to create an adventuring path.  You may already have good ideas for testing your PC's to their limit, even before they get to the material in this book!  If you do that's great!  Chapter Three, Port Shaw, introduces Port Shaw as a very viable place for PC's to rest up and re-equip. Chapter Four has even more material - this time both under the city (read: dungeons!) and near the city.  Chapter Five takes the PC's on their first true adventure into the Razor Coast and surrounding areas.  Chapter Six should be the GM's favorite chapter!  It has the Were-Sharks. With this, you can even start designing and putting your own touches onto the waters of the Razor Coast.  Chapter Seven should probably be the concluding chapter to adventures in the Razor Sea, as it introduces the final adversary, the Shark God! 

I don't want to totally ruin the fun, but one of my favorite things in this book was (get this!) Were-Sharks!  Were-Sharks can transform from what appears to be a normal human into a combination of man and shark (which I am fond of calling their "Crinos mode") and yet another transformation into a total Great White Shark! 

The appendixes claim a huge amount in this book - 187 pages!  The first is a flotilla of new items and rules.  The second is a group of recurring NPC's - which canny GM's will not let the players kill!  A virtual cornucopia of monsters (of course) makes up the next appendix, including some templates to add spice to already existing monsters, as well as a host of totally new ones!  The Gazetteer has a limited amount of starting info on the areas that are part of the Greater Razer Coast - but a few places that should be investigated by the PC's!  The Book of Indulgences starts with some fragmentary info on campaigns, some new Player Options, a complete adventure for 7th level characters, and finally, "What would happen if the group went out into deeper waters beyond the Razor Coast?".  A few options for further adventures is presented last, with a NPC Checklist and seven more charts for GM's use to manufacture the whole game!

Once again, Frog God hits the nail firmly on the ship's plank on this one.  Although the cost may seem to be prohibitively expensive, remember, this book essentially, produces an entire campaign from start to finish.  Buy one and see the Razor Coast claim even more victims!  One of my higher recommended recommendations!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

This City isn't slumbering....

My first comment has to be..... what a monster  of a book!  Over five pounds (!) of one of the biggest dungeon crawls I have =ever= seen! 

Divided into three "books" - "The Desolation", "The Temple City of Orcus", and "The Hidden Citadel" - and a slightly smaller "bonus" chapter called "Sleeping Dogs" - this has to be one of the very largest books for Role Playing Games ever.  There are a few others, such as "Rappan Athuk", "The Blight", and "The Northlands Saga" that come close.  This version of "Slumbering Tsar" was put together out of smaller modular parts - if I remember right, it was 15 pieces!

At best, I call these Magnum Opuses "Mega-Dungeons".  Meant, in most cases, to take a role playing party of adventurers from 1st level to 20th and possibly beyond!  TSR has some of these now too, such as most of their 5th edition hardcovers like: "Curse of Strahd", "Hoard of the Dragon Queen", "The Rise of Tiamat" and others.  But Necromancer Games and Frog God Games beat them to the punch!

I've got to admit that I was blown away by just the sheer size of this tome - 960 pages of nothing but dungeon crawl crunch and great illustrations.  In the first section, "The Desolation", you are taken from your first base camp to a crossroads - one of which leads to "The Slumbering Tsar" and the other one leads to "Rappan Athuk"!

Upon reaching "The Desolation", the party sees the outskirts of The Slumbering Tsar - an area of blasted ruins that surrounds the supposedly sleeping city.  Just using the 'feel' from this place should give players a warning that they are approaching a very evil place indeed.  After about nine days of travel with plenty of adventures  through the blighted area, they reach the entrance to the 2nd section - "The Temple City of Orcus"!

Although about a thousand years have passed since the Temple City was supposedly destroyed, DM's should =really= play up the area around the entrance as being extremely dangerous.  If the players decide to go further, after many encounters with evil monsters both human (mostly Cultists and the like), and non-human (like the many creatures and monsters that inhabit the area since just after the ruination of the Temple City), the party would be wise to make a second camp near the entrance to the underground areas.  If they don't keep a =very= good watch, the deserve what they get.

Entering the Hidden Citadel should really tax any character to their limit!  Once inside the Temple City, characters are taken on a roller coaster ride through various ruined temples for worshipping evil deities, and the old city that surrounded them.  If the party isn't dead by then, there is always the 3rd "book" - "The Hidden Citadel. "

The final object of this, believe it or not, is to eventually challenge Orcus himself!  If, by some miracle, the party manages to "kill" Orcus, GM's should remember that the only way to really destroy Orcus forever is to challenge him on his home plane.  If the party succeeds in dispelling Orcus, the first thing a good GM should remember is that Orcus, like any other Demon (or Daemon, or Devil) is that he can remanifest himself on this plane after a year and a day - and he will be hopping mad at the characters that did it!

Folks, I cannot say enough good about this huge saga.  I was really impressed by the way that this book allows a GM to raise a party from essentially 1st level to 20th level.  It is very obvious to me that this is not your usual 'cakewalk'.  It is deadly in the extreme - filled with high level monsters and creatures, and bunches of traps.  If you can handle the huge price tag ($150.00!) it is absolutely worth the money.  One of my very highest recommendations.

Now that you've read all of this about one super mega dungeon, let me remind you that "Slumbering Tsar" is on the same world as "Rappan Athuk" - another mega-dungeon!

My compliments to Frog God and Necromancer for this masterpiece!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Net Neutrality

Re: Net Neutrality
On the Net Neutrality link I provided, for those who are still unclear as to what this is about, there are really good articles out there. The short answer is this: without Title 2 oversight of ISPs, your Internet provider, Comcast, Spectrum, AT&T, whoever is free to do several things they currently can't. One is to block sites they have decided are places they don't want you to visit. More importantly, they can throttle data back to the 2400 baud days on certain services and sites, should they choose to. So, if you have (the mythic) Zowie Internet service, maybe they make a deal with Google, so if you're not using Chrome, things slow down for Opera, Safari, Firefox, MSEdge, or they make a deal with Microsoft so Edge and Bing work like magic, but Yahoo is a turtle.
And . . . if you want to visit ESPN, CNN, and another handful of sites, you can buy a monthly bundle! Think of the current TV streaming options on Sling, Hulu, YouTube Red, and probably a bunch more, and suddenly besides your normal connection fee (let's say Zowie charges you $50 a month for "Zippy!" at 50 Mbps) but only for those sites on their internal "approved list," and if you go off that list they cut the speed to 10 Mbps. You find that the latency on all the online games you play, Warcraft, Battlefield, world of Tanks, etc. is killing you, but if you pay $5 month for the Game Bundle, it's going to go to 20 Mbps, but for the "Elite Game Bundle," it's back to 50! So, another $5 a month gets the TV bundle, then another gets the movie bundle, the streaming sports bundles, etc.
OK, simple example, but that why I use the phrase, don't let them turn a freeway into toll roads. Those in favor of abolishing Net Neutrality have all sorts of BS reasons to explain why, but the answer is simple. It gives them another way to monetize the service and make more profits. Great for stockholders. Not so great for end users.
So, let your Congress creature and the FCC know you want no part of this!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Seventh Continent

If there was a board game that reminded you of the classic "Choose Your Own Adventure" books, or the old "Myst" series of computer games, look no further than The 7th Continent.  Now in it's 2nd Kickstarter campaign, the Black Box is already in my hands and I've looked at the rules, and basically know how to play.  (P.S.: Yes, there is a solo mode).  Wonderful board game that takes you on a trip to remove curses you receive at the beginning of the game. 

It's in the home stretch now, as there are only 8 hours left to pledge.  Please consider taking a look.

I feel fairly confident about this being at least Board Game of the Year 2017, but may make it even to the top 10 board games =ever=.  I love it, and I'm in for the Veteran Plus level and hope this message reaches a few of you before the deadline!


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Primeval Thule - the ideal Pathfinder setting?

Primeval Thule Campaign Setting

Authors: Richard Baker, David Noonan, and Stephen Schubert

Some may like what I have to say about this book, and some may not.  As usual, Your Mileage May Vary.  This 272 page book from relative newcomer Sasquatch Games presents a campaign setting like no other.  Folks, if there were ever a campaign setting made especially for me, it could not be any better than Primeval Thule.

Unlike almost every other medieval type fantasy setting, this book is not about Kings and Queens, or elegant cities - the basic medieval times rolled liberally with various monsters both creature and human.  This book is a =lot= more like "Conan the Barbarian", or "King Kull of Atlantis", or "John Carter of Mars", or "Krull".  Magic is relatively rare and generally leads Mages into deeper and deeper evils.  There are =no= Monks.  It is a setting of Barbaric proportions, with unexplored savage wildernesses and wicked cities.  Thule, at its heart is supposed to be mysterious - full of ancient evils, freebooters, mercenaries, and opportunists. 

I'd be willing to bet that you're thinking about the movie featuring Arnold.  No way, Jose!  You must read the source materials - especially the various "Conan" books, as well as the John Carter of Mars series, and the Tarzan books at least to catch a glimpse of the real Primeval Thule. 

There are only seven headings for chapters and an appendix. 

1) Primeval Continent
2) Heroes of Thule
3) Atlas of Thule
4) Thulian Campaigns
5) Quodeth - City of Thieves
6) Monsters and Villains
7) Magic and Spells

The art is great throughout the book, and also matches the theme well.  The short timeline of Thule deserves a close look.  There are great sections devoted to helping players personalize their characters.  A =huge= section for GM's wanting to run a Thulian Campaign.  Also primarily for the GM is a big write up of the largest city in Thule, Quodeth.  You can, of course, use creatures from any Pathfinder materials, but, there is also a big section of the book for Monsters and evil humanoids. 

The magic and spells chapter should be of vital interest to a prospective GM.  There are also a few items and spells that can only be used by certain races, certain classes, or both.  The appendix contains some info on character creation, broken down into the various classes and races you can become in Thule.  A great index, and of course the obligatory OGL page comes last.

I know some people have not liked this book for one reason of another.  But if I could give it 10 stars, I would.  Absolutely one of my very highest recommendations! 

PS: Make sure the copy that you get includes the nine panel fold out map!

Review of Advanced Races Compendium

So, after my experience with Kobold Press' "Tome of Beasts" (reviewed elsewhere) I began a search locally at my Friendly Local Game Store (FLGS) to find other Kobold Press editions.

What I ended up buying was the "Advanced Races Compendium" - a book created to allow Player Characters to choose from over 20 new races for Pathfinder/  So, I bought it.  What a tome again!  336 pages (with three pages of ads for other Kobold Press books).  Over twenty new races possibly for players.  However, I found that I probably would not use the vast majority of these races for PC's.  Certainty the more evil races should always be NPC's - but the rules for evil races in this book allow for great customization for the GM. 

Everything from Aasimars to Werelions - but a few should have been better off in the Appendix  - which includes much shorter write ups of four races.  Also, a couple of the detailed races should have gone into the Appendix and good races brought out to expanded write ups.  If it had been me, I would have shortened the "Werelion" section to the Appendix, and enlarged the Kitsune. 

Kobold Press has done a decent job of converting these unusual choices to characters that would not overbalance a game.  The Centaurs section is my personal favorite.  About 10 pages of gorgeous art an equal amount for statistics.  Lizardfolk would probably become Serpentfolk in my campaign.  Then, somewhere, there is a Kitsune settlement or two.  The Drow section took me back to my first real exposure to D&D, where I played a half-Drow/Half-Human hybrid that =hated= Drow because they had raped his mother and, oddly enough, conceived him.

Overall, this is just about as nice a book as the fantastic Tome of Beasts (5th Edition).  Every Pathfinder GM should at least take a look at it.  One of my highest recommendations.  If i was allowed, I'd give it 4 1/2 stars for including a couple races that should have been relegated to the Appendix, and at least one race in the Appendix that should have been one of the choices for expansion to a full entry.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

True Tome of 5th Edition Monsters

Folks, if you are a 5th Edition Dungeon Master looking for ways to spice up your campaign, there's nothing better than a few new monsters ....

Few, did I say? There are well over 400 new 5th edition creatures ranging from a Nihileth Aboleth (listed under Aboleth, Nihileth) to Zmey. There is a very comprehensive Table of Contents. There is also a very handy Monsters by Challenge Rating index for, believe it or not, everything fro CR 1/8 (yes, folks, that is one eighth CR) to CRs of 20 or more. In fact, the only thing keeping me from giving this tome a perfect 5 is the lack of an index.

432 pages counting the standard OGL statement and a single two sided advertisement for other Kobold Press books.

If this is any indication of their ability to produce a great book, I know I shall be seeking out other Kobold Press Books.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Totems of the Dead GM's Guide

"Totems of the Dead - Gamemasters Guide" by Matthew Kaiser
Published by Gun Metal Games and distributed by Cubicle 7
ISBN = 978-0-85744-126-3 - 140 pages

Table of Contents
Chapter 1 = Intro
Chapter 2 = Bestiary
Chapter 3 = NPC's
Chapter 4 = GM Tools
Chapter 5 = Savage Tales
Appendix A = Hazards

1) Intro

Not counting the full page black and white art, there are 8 pages here.

2A) Animals

22 different creatures from this setting start the Bestiary.  Everything from Alligators to Wolverines.

104 different monsters with which to terrorize your players.  Including an incredible 62 pages of the 140 page softcover.  Starting with Animated Trees, and finishing with Woodland Stalkers.

Animals normally will not attack a character unless very hungry, or threatened, or protecting its eggs or young.  Monsters, however, will generally attack PCs, NPC's, or any food source.

3) Supporting Cast

These 24 humanoids virtually add at least 24 new NPC classes, or possibly even new Player Characters.

4) The Adventure Generator and the Nameless Horror Generator are dang near wonderful if stuck in a place where you have nothing planned.  You simply roll the dice, and "poof!".  There's your Setting for the day and/or a totally new creature or monster.

5) The Savage Tales section is a list of ideas for adventures and campaigns.  Elevan plot ideas can be filled out with material from this book, or, you could conceivably make an entire campaign out of one.  If you own other Savage Worlds books containing various creatures and monsters, you don't even need to convert!

Appendix A = Hazards

Various poisons and diseases make up this short section.

Once again, it is the North American "medieval" setting that makes this unique.  I can't say enough about the Native American type setting.  Quite a bit of common fantasy RPG's use a European medieval type setting.  This book has both a Table of Contents in the front, and an index in the back - having both is a real help.  The art is very good even if it is black and white.  This book uses the Savage Worlds  ruleset, and you must have a copy of the Savage Worlds books - either the Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer's Edition or the Savage Worlds Deluxe Hardcover edition.

I'd say if you are a GM that thi is worth at least a real good look.  I have both the Player's Guide and the GM's Guide, and there a PDF on Drive Thru/RPG Now that adds quite a bit of South AMerica.  They rarely sell you less tha n original price, and the fact that they are hard to get will do nothing except eventually raise this cost.  Get both - exactly like mine!
Hi friends - and especially MtG players!

I've been playing MtG since the very beginning. But the time has come for MtG and me to part ways. I have two four-row boxes of assorted MtG cards - some going back as far as the Arabian Knights expansion. The first box is just about packed. That's about 4,000 cards. The 2nd box has three rows packed, and the fourth contains other MtG material. An educated guess would be right on about 7,000 cards of varying condition, rarity or lack thereof, and many decks - both pre-made and customs - and other items. 

I would be willing to take $1000.00 for all. Please write me here on Facebook, or e-mail me direct at - or, if you are in a hurry, call (540) 434-4671. I'll give it a shot or two till the end of the month. If I get no response, I'll be taking the lot to Star City Games in Roanoke. A great deal like this may come along only once.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Review - Totems of the Dead - Players Guide

"Totems of the Dead - Players Guide" by Matthew Kaiser
Published by Gun Metal Games and distributed by Cubicle 7
ISBN = 978-0=85744-122-6 - 160 pages

Table of Contents
1 = Intro
2 = Heroes
3 = Gear
4 = Magic and Sorcery
5 = Gods
6 = Setting Rules
7 = Gazetteer
8 = Index

Finally!  A Fantasy Role Playing games that does =not= use medieval European myths and legends as its source!

Let's look at the breakdown:

1) A short guide to the basics of the "Untamed Lands".  Here, we discover that the setting is not the usual, but is firmly based on primarily Native American myths and legends, along with other civilizations throughout North and South America.  Although some of the other parts of the world creep in, the characters that will be created for this game are from tribes in North America. 

Even in the introduction, we are presented with the other races in the world as being the enemy.  For example, the Sea Wolves, or "Skadians" are sort of Vikings.  A relatively quick look at other enemies follows. 

2) This chapter gets right into the game by presenting all of the various character classes available.  By my count, there are no less than 29 of these!  Another 14 "races" are available, although almost all of these are humans of various tribes.  The Savage Worlds Deluxe System is used very well here, as it gives a flavor of the setting that implies that it will be "savage".  There are 18 languages that can be learned, but the emphasis is to learn your own language first.  You are encouraged to select your race first, and it is here that a more detailed description of the races is given.  My favorite of these is the "skinwalker" - a character from any other available race who may shape shift into an animal.  There are no less than 12 of these!  Edges, a characteristic of Savage Worlds (which you will need at least the Core Rulebook in addition) are given that compliment the setting. 

3 - Even the currency used gives a flavor to the setting - it is called the "bead".  Several pages are devoted to equipment.

4 - 23 pages regarding the creation of a spell user - whether as PC or an NPC.  The spell list, called "powers", is a great start towards a Arcane background.  Alchemy, Blood Magic, Runes, "Sangoma" - sort of like priests or shamans, "Seidr" - Viking magic, true Shamanism, and the 56 various spells!  There's also a small section on magic items.

5 - No less than 70 deities covering not only the gods of the natives, but the gods of their enemies as well.  Atlantean, Native, Maztlani (these are sort of a synthesis of Aztec, Mayan, and other South Americans), Shenese (a synthesis of Japanese, Chinese, and other Far Eastern) gods, and the Skadian gods.

6 - It is here where we find what makes a campaign set in this setting different.

7 - Fronting this section is a map of the Untamed Lands.  Although quite similar to a map of North and South America, the differences are obvious.  Virtually the remainder of the book is a look at the people who make up this land.  This is where the true beauty of this setting shines.  Pages 107 to 153 cover the known world. 

Chapter 8 is just a eight page index to the book - very comprehensive!

If you couldn't tell by now, I am =very= fond of Totems of the Dead.  It is very unfortunate that Gun Metal and Cube 7 only produced one other book, the GM's Guide, for this world.  I, for one, would have liked to have more.  The art, although black and white, is very good and evokes the atmosphere well,  The layout of this book is well done, and includes an unobtrusive border.  I must say that the author appears to have really done his research into this background. 

If you like the idea of a setting that is radically different from the norm, I suggest you at least look at this book.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Hurry Up and Wait Syndrome

Why is it that so many people are in a hurry these days?

Jesus Christ said: "Many Shall Run To and Fro" (Dan 12:4)
Have you ever said to yourself that time seems to pass so quickly now?
If you have children, they seem to grow up all too fast.
Has it seemed to you that many people are in a real hurry to get to wherever they are going these days?
A while back, a friend of mine and I were on our way to a movie. Another car pulled up next to us with a screech of tires. The instant the light changed, another screech of tires. This happened over several lights all the way to the movies. You guessed it - they were exactly six people in line in front of us.
I'm not sure exactly what they accomplished by this except for proving that they were a bonehead.
Jesus Christ said "Many Shall Run To and Fro". If this "emphasis" on what I like to call the "hurry up and wait syndrome" is any indication, this is yet another sign that the times are right for the return of Christ to the world.
If "Hurry Up and Wait Syndrome" isn't "Many Shall Run To and Fro" - I don't know what is.


So, what do you do about it?
Just take the time to "smell the roses". Why?
Let's look at the value of time.
To realize the value of one year - ask a student that failed a final exam.
To realize the value of one month - ask a mother who gave birth prematurely.
To realize the value of one week - ask a soldier on leave.
To realize the value of one day - ask a daily wage earner who has children to feed.
To realize the value of one hour - ask a person who was late for work.
To realize the value of one minute - ask a person who has missed their flight.
To realize the value of one second - ask a person who has survived an accident.
To realize the value of one millisecond - ask a person who won a -silver- medal.
To realize the value of one nanosecond - ask a space scientist.

We begin each day with 86,400 seconds in the Bank of Time.
Every day opens a new account.
Every night the account is closed out.
If you fail to use your day's deposits - the loss is yours.
There is no going back.
There is no drawing against tomorrow.
You -must- live in the present day on today's deposits.
Invest them.
The clock is running.
Make every second count.
Redeem your time.
Even Jesus said: "Save tomorrow for tomorrow and think about today instead."