Thursday, March 7, 2013

Reviews: Dragon Island and Magic

A few new products I picked up at the GM's Day Sale at DriveThruRPG.

My boys are getting ready for their huge campaign finale.  The giant battle against Tiamat on the Island of the Dragon Empire.  Back in the dawn of time the Dragon and their Dragonfolk surrogates ruled the world from the Dragon Island.  Those days are gone and the Dragon Empire has fallen.  But the Island remains and that is where the characters will make their stand.

Fantastic Maps - Iconic Island
I am gearing up for the BIG finale of my years long 3e game.  The final battle where the forces of good battle the forces of evil happens on an Iceland-like island in my world.  I could have drawn anything, I could have even taken an older module and altered the island in Photoshop.  With this product I didn't have too.  It even looks almost EXACTLY like what I wanted.  The ZIP file contains maps of the island. Non-marked, marked and hexed variants. Plus a BW version.  There is no text or fluff to go with this, which is great, I have my own.  This is my new Dragon Isle!  I would love to see more products like this one.

My new island is going to need people too.

Archetypes of the Jade Oath (PFRPG)
I got this product for the new witch hexes but the rest of it is great as well.  There is a cool Eastern Flavor to this and I want to see if there is more in this series.  While I have a lot of cultures on my game world the one thing that has been getting the short end of my attentions are Dragonfolk/Dragonborn.  This book, while not explicitly designed for that, is perfect for my needs (and the cover kinda helps with that).
So what do we get? 20 pages (with cover, credits page, OGL statement and 2 pages of "Ads").  While there is an Eastern "flavor" to this, it is presented mostly context free.
The Barbarian is based on totem animals, which is a really awesome variant.  I normally don't play barbarians, but I would try one of these.  The Cavaliers are the Order of the Ancestors and Order of the Creed.  Monks, a natural fit, are presented as Kensai (one of my favorite classes back in the day). Imagine the typical unarmed monk, now armed.  And finally, the Witch, with a bunch of new and exciting hexes based on Elemental magics or Dragon magic (see it is a perfect fit!!). In fact these are some of the best Dragon Witches I have ever seen.  So this is worth the price of the book alone to me.
We also get plenty of new feats.  This was a nice surprise and I am very happy with this.

Midgard: Player's Guide to the Dragon Empire
I own a few of the Midgard products, but this one really called to me.  This Dragon Empire is very similar to the one I was crafting for my own game world, so this saves me some heavy lifting.
The 30 pages of this book is jam-packed.  What did I like in this?
Well I love the castes.  Dragons seem very arrogant and a caste system makes sense. I liked how the castes were set up as well.  Lots of great role-playing potential in these.  We get a bunch of new Traits and Feats.
Classes get a bit of an update as to be expected.  There is a Cavalier archetype, the Order of the Firedrake (which is a PERFECT with my world's own White Drakes). The Druids have the Elemental Exarch. Fighters get Edjet Warriors, and the Magus has the Dragon Magus.  We get a couple new monks, Monk of the Fiery Fist and Monk of the Wind Palm. There is also the Mystery of the Void, Greyscale and Void Elemeentalist for the Oracle, Rouge and Elementalists respectively.  There is also the Dragon Emir prestige class which I am sure my son would love. The book end with new spells, exotic goods and magic items, including magic the magic carpet.  Cool stuff.  I am going to have to look for more books in this series.

Midgard Bestiary for Pathfinder RPG
We always need more monsters. Over a 100 new monsters for Pathfinder.  Lots of really interesting ones too.  I loved the Shadow Fae, Ice Maiden and Red Hag and have hooks already for all of them.  The new dragon types are also very interesting and I can't wait to use a Mithril Dragon or Baby Yaga's Horsemen. In fact there are two completely separate campaigns I want to use this book in, a Dragon based one and a Witch-centric one.  Both need unique monsters that the players have never seen before, and there are a number of monsters here that are perfect for one or the other or both!
Also available for 4e and AGE.

Lineage Draconis
This 28 page (27 + cover) pdf features 6 dragon crossbreads including the oft stated Orange and Yellow Dragons. But you also get the Blade, Steel, Rust and Gray Dragons.  These dragons are pretty interesting and for the game I have coming up I need a lot of interesting dragons.  The book also includes the Dragon Blooded "class" though it is also sort of a race.  They are humanoid dragons.  Plenty of things you can do with this class as well as alternate versions depending one where the blood came from.
In a neat little feature you also get the art from the book in a seperate file.  So now you can show your players exactly what a Yellow Dragon looks like.

The Modern Spellcaster Basic Class
This book is for the d20 Modern Game, Pathfinder and a few other d20 based games.   It presents a generic form of a spellcaster that isn't a wizard, cleric, witch or druid.  In a sense it is a throwback to the older "Magic User" class.  The basic premise here is to provide full powered (up to spell level 9) spellcasters from D&D like games to your Modern Games.  I am not sure how this works out in play, but the concept on it's own is interesting enough.  There are new feats and a fun "arcane death" table.  Frankly I would like to see that expanded into an "Arcane CSI" to be used in any modern game with magical elements.

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