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!