Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Reviews. Books of the Dragonslayers

The great thing about a long game like I have been playing with my boys is I have had the chance to try out a LOT of different things.

Here are some of the books I have used to date.

Children of Wyrms
My oldest son loves dragons.  One of the things he loved the most about D&D4 was the ability to play a Dragonborn.  But we didn't get to play that much D&D4, he does get to play a lot of Pathfinder.  So Children of Wyrms is a great product.

Let's start with the obvious.  You get to play half-dragons, quarter-dragons and dragon-bloodied (not their word) characters.  So dragon plus some other race.  The details for the race creation is detailed.  The bonuses are detailed as expected and follow from the Pathfinder source.  So nothing is unexpected here.  All four "races" are detailed and special attention is give to Draconic Sorcerers.
Plenty of feats are included as are magic items.
For the old-schooler there is even a table of random physical traits varying by generation.
Part 2 deals with the "Birds and the Bees" aspect of dragons and birth.  It is assumed for the most part that the father is dragon and the female is humanoid.  I suppose the reverse does not pose as many problems for a dragon female.

The book is only 30+ pages, but packs it full.

The artwork and layout is top notch, what I have come to expect from FG actually.  And works as good companion piece to Sisters of Rapture.  I am guessing from the point of view of both books the Sisters spend a lot time with dragons.

I am not 100% sure I'll use the entire book.  But I do plan to use the feats next time my son's "3.x Dragonborn" levels up and it really has a lot of potential.

My only con in this book?  No rules for playing 1/2 Chromatic dragons.  Not that I can't figure it out from all of this, but the assumption here is that only good dragons do this.  I get that and I understand where the authors are coming from, but the option would have been nice.
5 out of 5 stars

17 Archer Feats
My youngest son loves to play archers.  So this was a no-brainer really.

This collection of 18 (not just 17!) feats really help highlight what a good archer should be able to do.
What is good?  Well I like the names, feats (and often times spells) don't have evocative names.  Not so here, "Ring the Bell", "Until You see the Whites of their Eyes" are cool sounding and you want to take them as feats!  The sound more like super-powers really.  They are though what feats should be, something extra special you can do that others can't because of your training.

There are several here my son has used including his favorite at lower levels, Instill Arrow.
Obviously there is a bias her towards elves and rangers, but since he is a half-elven Ranger/Bard he is perfect for this book, or it is perfect for him.

The art is above the normal standards of The Le books, which is nice.  Really in a book like this I would prefer to see old woodcuts of archers.  I think it adds to the feel that the feats are adding to the game, no need for "cartoony" art (of which there is only one piece and it is not really that bad).

The feats work, and they work well.  What more do you need?
Printer and screen versions.  Works great with 3.x and Pathfinder.  Some even look like they would work well in D&D4 (but I have not tried).
4 out of 5 stars

Demon Hunter's Handbook
As we moved later in my 3.x/d20 games, Demons became major antagonists for the characters.  This book was one of many I bought on the subject, but one of the better ones.  The book begins with a a couple of new races for PCs based on Monster Manual/SRD races, the Steward Archon and the Aasimar.  Next we go to a discussion on how each of the core classes can be a "Demon Hunter" using what they already have.  I lked this part since it also encourages better role-playing.
We follow up with demon-hunting prestige classes, which are a better sort than other books like this one.  My favorite was the Righteous Sword and his power "A Good Man's Wrath".  Very nice.
Chapter two gives us the options; new feats, new uses for skills and new spells.  As well as new equipment. All of which have had a place in my game at one time or another.
Chapter Three gives up campaign advice and how to keep a demon hunting game going.  I particularly like the Urban adventures parts since I love to play in cities and there is not much in the way of good material out there.
Chapter Four (which thematically could have been just more of Three) gives us the organizations that fight demons.  After years and years of playing horror games this was less useful for me, but good for someone just getting into the demon-hunting RPG biz.
Chapter five gives us the monsters.  Not very many here and other books do have better choices, but I don't think that a huge list of demons was the prime motivator of this book; so that is fine.

All in all a good book and a very nice collection of demon hunting ideas for any group of characters.
4 out of 5 stars

[PFRPG] Player’s Options: Aasimars, Tieflings, and Elemental Templates
One thing I think Pathfinder players miss out on are the number of races that the 4E players have.   4 Winds Fantasy Gaming though knows how to solve that.  Presented here are various racial templates for new player character races for use with Pathfinder.  Now these are not "copies" of the 4e ones, but they are "influenced" by them.  Taking races from the SRD we have some very interesting new choices for players.  We get 3 types of Aasimars, 12 elemental types and 3 types of Tieflings.  With this there is certainly enough ideas to figure out other Plane-descended races.  What I felt was nice, and glad to see it was not omitted, was how these different racial templates mix with the various types of Sorcerers.
There are also plenty of good feats here for the various bloodlines.

While this is not a long book, it is packed and for the price it is an absolute bargain.
I have come to have a high opinion of the 4 Winds products.  I have not been disappointed and I am glad to have gotten this one.
5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic Maps: The Dragon's Lair
Sometimes I don't need a module, all I need is a good map.  "The Dragon's Lair" is a good map.  My kids love to play with minis and while I can scribble on graph paper, a good scale map for minis is more than I want to do.
This product, plus some printer ink and little imagination became "The Lair of the Stinky Dragon" for my kids one rainy afternoon.

Give yourself some time to print, cut and put this together, but in the end it is worth it.
I love the cutaway view of the dungeon to know what is where in three dimensions, after all the mins are.

I'll be honest here.  I grabbed this one over all the others because it had lava in it.
5 out of 5 stars

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