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War of the Burning Sky Campaign Saga - Campaign Guide
Publisher: EN Publishing
by Jason K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/24/2009 20:22:21
This is a review of the War of the Burning Sky Campaign Guide, by Ryan Nock. This is the Gamemaster's guide for the War of the Burning Sky campaign saga published by ENWorld Publishing. This review is for the v3.5 Edition rules set. In the interest of full disclosure, this review is based on a PDF donated by ENWorld Publishing for this purpose.

The PDF is 23 pages long, and contains a front cover, a back cover, and a page for the OGL, leaving 20 pages for content. The Content is divided into four Sections: the Introduction, a Campaign Outline, some Campaign Variants, and Rules Material. Each section, other than the Introduction, provides a significant amount of background detail to support the campaign described by the series of adventures that make up the War of the Burning Sky campaign saga.

Section One: Campaign Outline provides the Gamemaster with an overview of the entire Burning Sky campaign saga. The goal of the Burning Sky campaign saga is to allow players to take characters from first to almost twentieth level. The backdrop of war provides an excellent opportunity for heroes to shine, and a good number of very cool events of a High Fantasy flavor are detailed in the adventures of this saga. (I'll cover some of these in my reviews of the individual adventures.) For those that do not wish to pursue a long-term campaign, this section also mentions a number of shorter options for story arcs that range over a small handful of adventures instead of the complete range of a dozen. This section also provides a rather simplistic line drawing map of the campaign region, a list of key NPCs and places, and a detailed timeline of events over the course of the campaign saga.

Section Two: Campaign Variants explores a number of variants that the Gamemaster can apply to the War of the Burning Sky Campaign. This section provides a lot of specific details and suggestions for implementing abridged campaigns for those that wish to pursue a shorter story arc, providing four alternatives that address options for low-level, mid-level and high-level play. A section entitled "Tweaking the Setting" discusses how to adjust the campaign elements to better fit into your own personal campaign setting, be it a published setting or one you create yourself. A sidebar discusses the use of psionics in the setting, and how a GM might implement it within the flavor of the saga. Finally, there are a number of developed adventure seeds that expand on the locales, events and power groups of the setting, suggesting adventures that maintain the flavor and support the campaign direction for GMs that want to further explore the Regasia region.

Section Three: Rules Material contains game mechanics that support the NPCs and the background of the setting. This section starts by describing the Burning Sky phenomenon that impacts the setting, making teleportation dangerous without aid of a certain artifact that the PCs will discover over the course of the campaign saga, and greatly impacting the region's climate. The GM can also find details on the special weapons, magic items, feats, special abilities and alternate class features of various power groups, such as the Inquisitors, . This section also provides a new monster subtype, the trillith, which are a race of dream-spawned monsters that hold some significant roles in the campaign. A new bardic song ("Song of Forms") and a new spell ("Enforced Flesh") provide some great non-standard treasure that will impact the game further on.

All in all, I found this to be a well-conceived and evocative campaign guide with a lot of great information packed in its few pages. I think this campaign guide provides GMs with a good overview of the campaign saga. I think the game mechanics offer some interesting options to GMs in running the War of the Burning Sky. Unlike the player's guide, however, I do feel that the material in this book is more closely tied to the campaign itself, and understandably so. Still, when you consider it's free, I'd definitely recommend checking it out. Unless you're going to play in this campaign, that is!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
War of the Burning Sky Campaign Saga - Campaign Guide
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War of the Burning Sky Campaign Saga - Player's Guide
Publisher: EN Publishing
by Jason K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/07/2009 20:50:49
This is a review of the War of the Burning Sky Player's Guide, by Ryan Nock. This is the player's guide for the War of the Burning Sky campaign saga published by ENWorld Publishing. This review is for the v3.5 Edition rules set. In the interest of full disclosure, this review is based on a PDF donated by ENWorld Publishing for this purpose.

The PDF is 25 pages long, and contains a front cover, a back cover, and a page for the OGL, leaving 22 pages for content. The Content is divided into four Sections: the Introduction, information on Free City-State of Gate Pass, information on the country of Ragesia and the Surrounding Lands, and Battlefield Guide. Each section, other than the Introduction, provides a significant amount of game mechanics as well as background detail to support the campaign described by the series of adventures that make up the War of the Burning Sky campaign saga.

In Section One: Gate Pass, we get a description of the Free City-State of Gate Pass, where the campaign saga begins. A wondrous city of bridges and walled districts in the middle of a defensible pass between two kingdoms, Gate Pass is colorfully portrayed in this Section. In addition to a physical description of the city, we also get some great detail on the myths and legends of the region, as well as an overview of the various factions that hold power in Gate Pass. This section also contains a special list of feats that represents a character's affiliation with one of the power factions within the setting. This are given as a free first level feat, similar to Regional feats in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. Each of these special Gate Pass feats grant access to a specific skill as a class skill, and gives another special ability as well. I found them to be well-conceived and well-balanced. In addition, this section also offers an alternate class feature for Sorcerers and Wizards (Spellduelist) and two new spells (Gabal's Superior Missile and Stand the Heat).

In Section Two: Regasia and Surrounding Lands, we are introduced to the region in which the campaign saga will likely take place: the orc-controlled Ragesian Empire, the elven Shining Land of Shahalesti, the gnomish Exarchate of Sindaire, the dwarven Kingdom of Dassen and the Khaganhold of Ostalin. In addition to the gazetteer, there's also information on various enemies and organizations that I hope to see in the campaign saga, such as the Regasian Inquisitors, the Lyceum Academy, the Wayfarers, the Knights of the Aquiline Cross and the Monastery of Two Winds. As with Section One, this section also contains new game mechanics. You can find details here on a new alchemical item (Shatterspell), new spells (Cancel, Duellist's Etiquette, Wayfarer's Step), alternate class features for wizards (Mageknight) and sorcerers (East Wind Training, West Wind Training), new feats (East Wind Style, Shining Warrior, Vow of Healing, West Wind Style), and a new magic item (Potion Bracer). Each new game mechanic is well integrated into the setting, but can easily be used in other campaigns, for DMs seeking new elements to add to their own games.

Section Three: Battlefield Guide is all game mechanics aimed at those interested in tactical play. This section starts with eight Leader Feats designed to provide bonuses to allies much like bardic abilities, yet aimed at more battlefield-oriented effects. Following these eight feats is a new core class, the Commander. Picture this as an Open Game Content core class inspired by the same sources that inspired the v3.5 Marshal or the 4E Warlord. This is a nice core class, with no "dead levels" and every ability well designed to focus on the purpose of the class. I look forward to seeing this in play, both from the side of the PCs and from the NPCs that they will face.

All in all, I found this to be a well-designed and entertaining player's guide that accomplishes quite a bit in its few pages. There's enough information to intrigue both players and DMs alike, and lays a nice groundwork for the campaign saga. The game mechanics contained in this PDF are well-designed and balanced, and offer a lot to groups playing the War of the Burning Sky. Even if you are looking for game mechanics to implement into your own campaign, this is a good PDF to add to your collection. (And you might even find some nice fluff to add to your campaign setting in addition to the new rules.)

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
War of the Burning Sky Campaign Saga - Player's Guide
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Back to Basics: Modern SRD Classes for Spycraft 2.0
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Jason K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/10/2007 00:00:00
Back To Basics is a great translation of the D20 Modern classes to Spycraft 2.0, and of the Spycraft class abilities to the D20 Modern talent tree structure (with a name change to call them knacks.) I picked it up to find new things to add to my Grim Tales game, and so some translation was required. However, I did find that the work was very well done, and integrated the Spycraft engine nicely. If someone is looking for a way to do D20 Modern scenarios using the Spycraft Engine, this is the product I'd use. For those that like art in their PDFs, there was none in this one. I don't mind it, as I buy RPG products for content, not artwork; others may disagree, however (and such is their right to do so.)




LIKED: Excellent translation of the D20 Modern classes into Spycraft terms; loved the Core Abilities concept.


DISLIKED: Being a D20 Modern fan, I was hoping for something a little more D20 Modern-oriented, as the game mechanics of the abilities were still very Spycraft Engine-oriented. Still, there's enough here to work with, so that's only a minor setback.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Very Satisfied

[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Back to Basics: Modern SRD Classes for Spycraft 2.0
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A Magical Society: Beast Builder
Publisher: Expeditious Retreat Press
by Jason K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/09/2005 00:00:00
I found this product to be exactly what it was advertised to be: a definitive guide on the construction of monsters for my campaign and maybe even future publishing efforts. The text is well written, entertaining and engaging; it feels like I'm chatting with a knowledgable GM, partaking of his wisdom. It was an exceptional analysis of the monsters of the SRD, and the list of Special Abilities was outstanding!

There are a few typos which stood out for me. I suppose, though, that this indicates how rare they are, since they stood out. Having done proofreading work for another D20 company, I'd have to say I was impressed with the layout as well as the general high quality of the work. I'll be compiling a list of the typos to send on to XRP, in the hopes that the product will be updated. If that happens, you won't even seen them should you decide to purchase this product.

I would personally recommend this product to anyone interested in building their own monsters in d20, whether for their own campaign or for publication. It's simply amazing!

LIKED: The level of detail was exquisite, far beyond what I expect from most d20 publishers these days (sad to say). The charts are very helpful, and I'm just awed and impressed with the list of over 600 special abilities for my perusal. I do hope that the future holds at least occasional updates to the product in this area, as further books are added to the list of those analyzed.

DISLIKED: I only have a few small problems with the product. While there's a reference to a CR estimation scheme in another product, there's very little further notes given on this elusive art. Also, some of the special abilities needed a bit more cleansing of their original creature references, but these are only small details compared to the expansive nature of this project.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Magical Society: Beast Builder
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