Game Design

April Augmented - 2018

New RPG Product Reviews - 23 April 2018 - 2:09am
Publisher: Dreamscarred Press
Rating: 5
An Endzeitgeist.com review

It’s that time of the year again! Usually, I try to have the April’s Fool-product reviews done in time for April 1st, but this year, I got them all either on that day or after it, so yeah – please excuse the delay! This year’s April Augmented-installment by Dreamscarred Press clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, ½ a page editorial, leaving us with 9.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!


So, first of all, we get a Bloodforge (Infusion)-style new race – the Doggo! And no. It’s not another anthropomorphized dog-race. It’s a dog-race. You know, like in M.I.B. and various other forms of media? You can play an intelligent, talking dog! And that awakened dog? Yeah, you can play him. Doggos are augmented magical beasts, Medium, have a speed of 40 ft. and get +2 Str and Cha, -2 Int. Their language (beyond that of the awakener) is btw. called “Bork”, which made me grin. They get +1 natural AC, +2 to Survival and Acrobatics, low-light vision, scent and a properly codified primary natural bite attack (with size category-based damage noted). Classes that grant weapon proficiencies allow the doggos to wield weapons in their jaw, but casting verbal spells while having an item in your mouth is hard, imposing a 20% spell failure chance. The doggos are quadrupedal, gaining the appropriate benefits. They obviously lack opposable thumbs, which constitutes the properly depicted detriment of the race. There are alternate racial traits included. Instead of the natural AC bonus, they can get Skill Focus in a skill chosen from a list They can also get a movement rate of 50 ft. at the cost of decreased bite damage output. They can also be “Smol” (XD Yes. Deliberate.), being Small and gaining +2 Dex and Cha, -2 Int. The Acrobatics bonus may be exchanged with a swim speed equal to ½ land speed. We also get a racial feat, Slobbercaster, which lets you hold a spell focus in the mouth when casting verbal spells, sans incurring the spell failure chance. (I assume this also extends to material components.) The race sports no age, height and weight table, but come one! You can look these up online and tailor to your favorite dog breed.


Now, a serious section of the pdf is taken up by a new akashic veil and the ramifications of it – I am, obviously, talking about chef’s armory. Slot-wise,w e’re talking about Hands here and all veilweavers classify for it. The veil manifests a set of chef’s knives that are treated as masterwork daggers and that may be conjured and dismissed as a free action. The veil also allows for at-will ectoplasmic creation as a psi-like ability to generate non-edible kitchen utensils; additionally, create water and spark are gained as at-will SPs. The veil also lets you precisely measure weight and dimensions of stuff you pick up. Additional essence invested increases the damage output of the created weapons and the insight bonus. Wait, what? Yep, the veil also nets a +2 insight bonus to checks made to prepare or brew food/drinks and, if enhanced with weapon properties etc., the bonus increases.


“But…veils…weapons…did I miss a memo?” Nope, you did not. The pdf properly codifies the [weapon] descriptor for veils, which adds a GINORMOUS potential for further expansion of the much-beloved Akasha-system, one that I really hope to see expanded further! The chakra bind for hands of the veil, though, ticks off one of the things I consider problematic: It increases the critical multiplier of daggers made via the veil to x4, or by +1, whichever is higher. Yes, this allows you to bypass the usual x4 multiplier cap. Why am I not screaming bloody murder? Simple. We’re talking about daggers here. Not exactly the most PG option out there and doing the math should allow anyone to see why this, for once, in spite of the kneejerk reaction it may elicit, is totally cool with me.


Beyond the veil, we also obviously need to take a close look at AKASHIC COOKING. A creature benefiting from an akashic recipe can do so only 3 times per day, after consuming the whole meal, with only 1 benefit per 4-hour period – no stuffing yourself here! Unless otherwise noted, meals take an hour to prepare and require that the ingredients be present. Speaking of which: Ingredients are classified in 7 distinct groups, with “F” grade ingredients representing spoiled ones; “E”-rank ingredients can usually be foraged and anything better than that becomes REALLY rare. “A”-rank potatoes are e.g. grown in a specific demiplane, infused with mana, while the mythic and highest “S”-rank includes stuff like, to steal another example from the book, “milk from the primeval cow Auðumbla.” Yes, we actually get examples noted for each rank, and no A- and S-rank ingredients are usually not sold. But otherwise, we get concise guidance regarding prices. Recipes for akashic dishes can be purchased for 150 gp per recipe, and they can be developed at half price, though that takes a bit of time. In order to facilitate the creation of your own recipes, we get base DCs and corresponding effect levels as quick guidelines, and we even get suggested price-points for mundane ingredients – cool!


9 sample recipes are provided, listing DCs, ingredients and optional components, as well as effects. Eating Jumbo Gumbo can net a 1-minute expansion, as well as temporary power points. The Vegetarian consists of meat, meat and even more meat and nets temporary hit points. Water of Life is basically a tropical cocktail that heals you. Yes, paper umbrella optional, but oh so stylish! I’m going to be an insufferable chili-head prick regarding Ghost Pepper Poppers: Jalapenos are NOT the correct peppers – they aren’t even hot. The Naga (or Bhut) Jolokia would be the super-hot ones this should use. Anyways, the benefits are hilarious. Feed it to a dead person and they’ll come back temporarily to life, begging for water, allowing for an unreliable, but ridiculously fun chance to question the target before it dies again. And yes, fire breath can be found. Chicken noodle soup helps vs. diseases (minor nitpick: Fortitude should be capitalized.)


The akashic cooking experience can be enhanced further by two new feats: Apprentice Chef, which nets the option to shape the chef’s armory veil even for non-akashic characters, and Master Chef, which not only nets you recipes, but also allows you to bind it. Both yield a point of essence. Brave chefs can drink the vial of rotten food, which can affect them with poison and disease, but which can also fortify the chef’s armory veil. The blessed stone of hearth and flame improves the accuracy of the spark of chef’s armory for cooking and speeds up the cooking process. Traveling chef is a bag of spices that the veil can absorb, thereafter holding ingredients in the veil…and the veilweaver gets some degree of control over the flow of time for these ingredients, allowing for the quick aging of e.g. wines! And yes, synergy with Flaming Crab Games’ culinary magic is not hard to achieve here!


The pdf also includes a new feat, namely Catch These Hands, which requires Improved Unarmed Strike or Catch Off-Guard. These allow you to throw your punches. Literally. As in, they get the throwing property. Come on, that is weird, a bit icky, and hilarious!


Speaking of which: The pdf sports new spells, 4 of which are cantrips: Secluded recliner lets you conjure forth…just that. “Great for sitting on while sharing popcorn with your allies while watching the stalker bungle up their plan.“ Inform nets a +1 competence bonus to a single Intelligence based skill check, for 1 minute. Does not stack with itself. “This is typically enough to inform your party’s stalker on why exactly their latest plan is a stupid idea.” There is also create popcorn, which notes “Comes with salt and/or butter, although if the caster is of an evil alignment, it can also come with caramel.” Oh, and “Good for eating with the medic while watching your stalker enact their stupid plan.” XD Come on, that’s a hilarious visual! Oh, and there would be finger gun. Pew-pew-pew – you can fire one shot of a 1d3 non-lethal force damage with your finger, one missile per finger. Standard action to fire. There is a bigger, more damaging 2nd level version of the spell here as well. We also get the “Watch this Idiot” heraldry, which nets you inform at-will. Your unseen servants can use create popcorn and secluded recliner at-will. Amazing!


Oh, and I failed to mention the thing that made me fall almost off my chair, laughing my behind off. Know how much I adore the GLORIOUS Empath-archetype that DSP released? You know, perhaps my favorite archetype in all of Pathfinder? We get a new supreme Zeitgeist. “Ratbagger, the End.” XD Yep, that would be a little satire on yours truly. In case you didn’t know: I often talk about “kitten-tests”, abilities that “can or can’t be kitten’d” in the context of abilities that grant bonuses for defeated foes– this goes back to the “bag of rats test.” Can you accumulate insane bonuses by slaughtering a bag of rats? If so, it fails the bag of rats-test. This is one of single biggest pet-peeves in design and really rubs me the wrong way, as it can be mitigated and avoided in a variety of ways. Hence, at one point, I started using “bags of kittens” in my examples – after all, no one likes the idea of slaughtering those, right? Anyways, associated events for the zeitgeist would be endings of all kinds. All numbers you include in jokes must be in Base 13 and you may not explain why. Oh, and the goal is that, whenever something is finished, you must evaluate it and describe it to anyone who asks. I was laughing so hard while reading this!


Séance bonus applies to Knowledge (history) and Appraise and the psionic powers would be aura of decay at 4th, second chance at 5th and ex nihilo at 6th level, which is pretty damn funny, at least to me. The spirit bonus applies to things pertaining ends: Proficiency with butchering axes and scythes, and sickles are treated as having an x4 crit multiplier. You get guide the willing at-will. Oh, and you get “Quoth the Raven” – no, not that Ravenloft fanzine. “Quoth the Raven: You lose the ability to speak words, though you can still vocalize sounds—mostly high-pitched, squeaky ones, though. In addition, you gain a raven familiar, as a wizard of your level, and it furthermore has the ability to speak for you. It will not say the word “nevermore,” however, and trying to force it to will agitate it immensely. Finally, this raven cannot die—if it would do so, it disappears instead, only to return in perfect health the next time you contract with Ratbagger, the End” I almost fell off my chair laughing.

Seriously.

Cool: The ability: “A lifetime, no more, no less” lets you touch a creature. Once it perishes, it is treated as having died of old age, with the effect being only countered by wish/miracle and the like. You also are immune to disabled, dying and unconscious and are not staggered when using Diehard. Whenever a creature within 30 ft. dies, you gain an “ending”, which lasts for an hour or until expended. This includes yourself. Upon dying, you may expend an ending every round to continue acting, in no way inconvenienced. If the body is destroyed, you get the uncarnate feature, though sans option to become material unless you already have it. Once the endings run out, unless healed, you die. Drowning’s peculiarities are included.



..

.

And yes, I get it. The ultimate ability of the endzeitgeist zeitgeist is the ultimate bag of rats/kitten-exploit. Picture me laughing loud, slow clapping and grinning from ear to ear.

The joke here even goes so far as to use a font that almost looks like I’m allcaps-“screaming” about something. Every aspect of this is hilarious in some way, at least for me. And better yet, the zeitgeist is a damn cool addition to the roster of the superb Empath – just make sure to include a caveat for minimum Intelligence or HD to prevent rat-bagging/kitten-bagging exploits for…Ratbagger.

The absurdity is glorious! XD

I…can’t… stop…laughing. Well-played, DSP-crew!


Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are almost perfect on a formal level, and super-tight, top-notch, on a rules-language level. Layout adheres to Dreamscarred Press’ nice two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes with a nice, comic-style artwork for the doggo. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Alex Stallings, Jacob Karpel, Jade Ripley, Anthony Cappell and Kevin Ryan, with dev-work by Forrest Heck provide an extremely usable and funny pdf. Each and every aspect of this pdf is not only patently funny and gonzo, they also are actually useful at the table! In fact, this pdf is PWYW and tighter in its rules than 99% of rules-books I review. This is a little masterpiece and whether you agree with my assessments or not, love me or hate me or anything in-between, please check out this gem. I am absolutely positive that you’ll find something thoroughly amazing within. You can laugh with or about me, play a damn cool race and add some akashic panache to your cooking – all for any price you’d like! Pure amazing, my final verdict will clock in 5 stars + seal of approval. I seriously have never laughed this much while reading a RPG-file. EVER. This gets my best-of-tag.


Endzeitgeist out.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Fuzzy Thinking: Signs You Are Dealing with an Old Schooler #5

RPGNet - 23 April 2018 - 12:00am
Fuzzy gumballs.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Video Game Deep Cuts: Rise Of The Ambient Parent Jam

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 22 April 2018 - 6:03pm

This week's highlights include a piece on Zelda & ambient video games, the role of parents in games like God Of War, and a NBA Jam making-of video. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Video Game Deep Cuts: Rise Of The Ambient Parent Jam - by Simon Carless

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 22 April 2018 - 5:50am
This week's highlights include a piece on Zelda & ambient video games, the role of parents in games like God Of War, and a NBA Jam making-of video.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Review Roundup

Tabletop Gaming News - 21 April 2018 - 11:00am
Saturdaaaaaay! It’s the best day of the week (in my opinion). What cannot be accomplished with a day like today? Well, I know what can, going to do some gaming. I put together some Guild Ball minis for my friend last night. Today I’ll go hang out and play some board games up at the […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Wyrd Posts Marauder Preview

Tabletop Gaming News - 20 April 2018 - 3:00pm
You know, most of the stuff for The Other Side has a sort of steampunk/old-timey look to it. Basically a Victorian-era aesthetic. Today’s preview looks much more futuristic than that. As always on Fridays, Wyrd makes them that much better with their The Other Side preview. In this case, we get a look at the […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Saber & Blood Board Game Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 20 April 2018 - 2:00pm
Central Europe. 1600s. The different states within the Holy Roman Empire are regularly fighting against one-another. There’s plenty of opportunity for those that want to make war their business to ply their trade. That’s where you find yourself in Saber & Blood, a new card-driven board game that’s up on Kickstarter now. From the campaign: […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Samsara Board Game Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 20 April 2018 - 1:00pm
Teachers, keep on teachin’. Preachers, keep on preachin’. Worlds, keep on turnin’, ’cause it won’t be too long. I’m so darn glad he let me try it again. ‘Cause my last time on Earth, I lived a whole world of sin. So glad that I know more better than then. Gonna keep on tryin’, ’till […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Sanctum of Twilight Expansion Now Available for Mansions of Madness

Tabletop Gaming News - 20 April 2018 - 12:00pm
As if Arkham didn’t have enough issues already, the secretive Order of the Silver Twilight has been increasingly gaining control behind the scenes. Paying off police officers, installing their own politicians, enacting policies that specifically help them… They’ve got to be up to something. But what? That’s for you to find out in the new […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Hearthstone game director Ben Brode departs Blizzard

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 20 April 2018 - 11:04am

Brode, who has worked on Hearthstone for 10 of his 15 years at Blizzard, has announced that he is leaving Blizzard to 'take a crazy risk' and help start a game development company of his own. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Friday Snippets

Tabletop Gaming News - 20 April 2018 - 11:00am
Fridaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!! Woooooooo!! Well-known by you readers as one of my most-favorite days of the week, Friday just has so much… potential. You get out of work and it’s like, “Man! I could do anything!” Ok, maybe not anything, but you know what I mean. So, as you get set for your weekend adventures, make sure […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Alakazoo Board Game Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 20 April 2018 - 10:00am
A grand magic tournament is being held. Wizards and Witches from all over are looking to compete. The top prize will go to the magic-user that summons the greatest creature to their side. That’s where you find yourself in Alakazoo, a new board game that’s up on Kickstarter now. About the game: Alakazoo is a […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

MegaMetroCity Coming to Kickstarter on April 24th

Tabletop Gaming News - 20 April 2018 - 9:00am
Next week, MegaMetroCity will be making its way to Kickstarter. The game emulates old-school beat-’em-up games like Double Dragon. In the game, players will work cooperatively to clean up the mean streets of enemy thugs. Make it to the end and make these slums safe for the average citizen again. The Kickstarter campaign will launch […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Steamforged Previews Harriet The Hat for Guild Ball

Tabletop Gaming News - 20 April 2018 - 8:00am
I guess that headline should have “spoiler warning” in it, but at this point, if you’ve not read the fluff for the Exiles box for Guild Ball, that’s on you. Long story short, not everybody made it out alive, and Harry is no more. However, his hat lives on and has found a new owner […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

New Aurox APC Available to Order From Forge World

Tabletop Gaming News - 20 April 2018 - 7:00am
Slogging it on foot into battle is no fun. You’ve got enemy small-arms fire, the possibly difficult terrain, and have you ever had to smell what’s going on out there? Whenever possible, taking an APC to the combat line is going to be a better option. And for your Imperial troops, they can now hop […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Lessons Learned From Five Years of VR Locomotion Experiments - by Paul White

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 20 April 2018 - 6:20am
A five-year retrospective on lessons learned from inside the history of VR locomotion by industry pioneers at Cloudhead Games.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Lindsay Lohan Loses Right of Publicity Appeal against Grand Theft Auto V - by Kimberly Culp

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 20 April 2018 - 6:17am
Video game developers scored major points when a New York court recently rejected Lindsay Lohan’s invasion of privacy claims against the developer of the popular video game Grand Theft Auto V. This article discusses the implications of that ruling.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

The Level Design of Super Mario Odyssey's Best Stage - by Josh Bycer

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 20 April 2018 - 6:16am
Super Mario Odyssey may have taken the level design of Mario in a different direction, but there was one stage that rose above the rest and is worthy of being studied more closely.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Realms of Terrinoth Now Available

Tabletop Gaming News - 20 April 2018 - 6:00am
You’ve gone into the world of Terrinoth via a couple board games and a kinda-RPG, but if you’ve really wanted to go all-in and immerse yourself in that fantasy realm, you’ve not had a way… until now. The Realms of Terrinoth sourcebook for the Genesys RPG is now available from Fantasy Flight Games. From the […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Growl Party Card Game Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 19 April 2018 - 3:00pm
Awooo! Werewolves of… well, anywhere you happen to be, really. Werewolf is a game that you can play just about anywhere with just about anyone. But you do kinda need one person to be in charge of things as you play the game. Well, with GROWL, you don’t need that moderator. Everyone gets to join […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

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