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Arcane Outbreak $2.99
Average Rating:4.0 / 5
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Arcane Outbreak
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Arcane Outbreak
Publisher: LPJ Design
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/05/2007 00:00:00
Arcane Outbreak is part of the support for D20 fantasy by Louis J Porter Jr Design providing additional resources on magical diseases, this product was written by Neal Bailey. It is a thirteen-page product (eleven and a half after cover and OGL) with an easy to read layout and lacking art.

Arcane Outbreak is about diseases, but not any disease, but the sort that could appear in a world will with powerful magic, diseases that effect and, in some cases, are spread by magic. Ten diseases are presented ranging from simply strangely incapacitating (memosis, which eats memories) to the brutally deadly (the Dirge, which drives its victims to suicide and reanimates them as undead). While most of the diseases are quite interesting many have the potential to destroy entire swaths of a campaign world and so should be used with care.

Ten new feats follow, the majority, naturally, are related to diseases. Several require the character to effectively be a ?carrier? of diseases and gains special abilities in exchange for permanent damage to their health. Difficult Wounds, which makes wound inflicted by the character hard to heal by magic, Infectious Spawn, which allows you to animate disease carrying undead, and Insomnia, which makes the character sleepless, all have potential for abuse.

The Phage Touched prestige class is also included, a carrier of disease with a symbiotic relationship with diseases, able to manipulate and spread them as needed. An odd class, probably best suited to NPCs, the disease-based powers fit quite well in this product.

Arcane Outbreak takes a look at the effect of magic on disease and what sort of magic disease might result. The ideas are interesting but the execution is rough, you should look carefully at the effects of introducing the contents of this product in your campaign.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Arcane Outbreak
Publisher: LPJ Design
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/31/2007 00:00:00
Arcane Outbreak is a 13 page d20 pdf product. This product is a standalone product presenting a number of new magical diseases, disease-related feats, and a new prestige class focused on diseases. The product is written by Neal Bailey.

Arcane Outbreak comes a single pdf file. Layout and general presentation are fairly straightforward for such a short pdf. There is no art within the product, and given its length one or possibly two pieces of art would've been welcome. Editing and writing is good, and the various disease concepts are well supported by new mechanics. The product contains no bookmarks, but is printer-friendly.

This product is all about magical diseases. At first look I was expecting another handful of diseases that were similar to those found in the core rules. I couldn't have been more wrong. These diseases are different, both in mechanics and the elaborate consequences of contracting any particular disease. While some of the standard mechanics are still present in terms of contracting diseases, the effect of being contagious and the scope of the diseases are all novel and very interesting. In these pages you have diseases that you've not likely seen before, such as diseases that infect people during healing, or diseases that act as gateways to other planes. The ten diseases are very well conceived and very interesting, and I thoroughly enjoyed each one of them.

Having said that, these diseases are probably more suitable to be used as plot hooks and adventure ideas than diseases that infect PCs. They certainly can be used as such, but PCs have so many means of ridding themselves of diseases that it makes more sense to use these great ideas to sculpt adventures. Having the PCs deal with an outbreak or the consequences of these diseases seems like a better idea than actually infecting one of them with it. Either way, there's a lot of good material here that can make for some fun and exciting gaming. These are probably some of the best diseases I've seen in a while for the d20 system. Full of flavor and very applicable to any game.

The second half of the pdf deals with ten new disease-related feats and a new prestige class. The feats build on the disease idea in clever ways, allowing you to willingly contract a particular disease to gain some benefit, or to enhance your own immunity to diseases. The prestige class, the Phage Touched, is a lovely prestige class that is full of flavor and a well executed prestige class based on the disease concept. This prestige class is applicable to both PCs and NPCs, which makes it doubly useful despite the disease background. Player characters will have fun playing this class, and the new mechanics are both interesting and well conceived. The Phage Touched gains a number of abilities, including infecting creatures, auras of disease and others, all culminating in the ability to turn yourself into a living plague. A neat idea and neatly executed.

Arcane Outbreak is a very good pdf. There's a lot of new, clever and useful material in here, and a lot of flavor to support the various magical diseases. DMs should have a lot of fun in using these in their campaign world, both as plot hooks and for infecting their players with. The feats and prestige class are all very good, although some of the feats are probably quite niche for campaigns where diseases are not that common. Overall, a very good pdf, and very good value for money.


LIKED: Arcane Outbreak is a interesting and novel pdf presenting some truly exciting new ideas in terms of diseases. Presentation is solid, material is full of flavor and the utility of this product is high for any campaign world. If you've wanted to make diseases more than a passing nuisance, then this product does just that.

DISLIKED: A couple of pieces of art would've been a nice addition and perhaps some of the disease are more suitable as plot hooks for infected NPCs rather than for infecting PCs.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Arcane Outbreak
Publisher: LPJ Design
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/31/2007 00:00:00
Arcane Outbreak is a short d20 product from LPJ Design. The zipped file is just under a megabyte in size, and contains a single PDF. The PDF itself is thirteen pages long, with a half-page for the cover and a page for the OGL. There is no table of contents, nor are there bookmarks.

There isn't really any artwork to speak of in this product. The cover has a stylized image, though it seems non-specific regarding what is shown. Beyond that, there's not much else. The pages have no borders, save for the product name at the top of each page. The product is essentially printer-friendly all on its own.

Calling Arcane Outbreak a book of diseases is doing it an injustice. These aren't simple listings of save DCs and ability damage, like the diseases found in the DMG. Rather, each of these illnesses is colorfully described and has an insidious effect on the people who contract them. Black Touch inverts your ability to use healing magic, making you cause damage instead; the higher-level the healing spell, the worse you harm the subject. The Dreaming Sickness causes you to become comatose, and makes you a living gate to the Plane of Shadow, letting monsters enter the world. All of the diseases presented here are like that; innovative magic illnesses that have a strange and horrible effect. This is quite clearly excellent game material.

After the diseases themselves are a handful of new disease-related feats. Some of them help you fight diseases better, while others use them to greater effect. A few represent you permanently having a disease, and using it to your advantage. Finally, the Phage Touched prestige class showcases how a character can take a disease into themselves and not be harmed by it, while letting it ravage those around them.

Arcane Outbreak does a great job in portraying new illnesses. However, the product has its share of errors. The Logar Spawn template (a product of one of the illnesses here) says its subjects gain the aberration subtype. Does it mean type, or is it really meant to be as a subtype listing? It's unclear, and little oddities like that dot the book. Still, the new ideas here make those easily overlooked. Let Arcane Outbreak infect your game today.



LIKED: The new magic diseases here are extremely innovative for what they do. Have you ever heard of a disease that makes those sick with it worship a foreign god?

DISLIKED: There's some minor problem with how a few things are worded; "damage resistance" is something of an odd term, though it's explained.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Arcane Outbreak
Publisher: LPJ Design
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/30/2007 00:00:00
Swords may not pierce your ridiculously high armor class and arrows may not penetrate your off the chart damage reduction, but rest assured, Arcane Outbreak, by LJP Design, has a potent enough disease that can take your character out, or at least halt him a bit.

Arcane Break is a collection of unique diseases that are more elaborate than the diseases found in the DMG. Each of the ten gets at least a page of description and horrifying consequences as the disease progresses. Each of the diseases have a diverse origin that distinguishes it from the others in the book. The writers go outside the box of the norm by including methods of getting the disease such as watching a suicide and healing someone. There is even an STD in the book, handled very tastefully, for those riskier campaigns.

The book also contains a collection of feats that give potent powers to those whom have contracted diseases. You might take some ability loss, but gain a disabling breath weapon in return.

For the Player
Towards the back of the book, is a prestige class, the Phage Touched, that turns you into a walking plague victim. I enjoyed this class as similar classes usually require the PC to be evil or chaotic. This one has no alignment requirement which makes it far more versatile. The class gets some cool abilities such as making frightening visages and disease infection. The feats are all useful, but the consequences for taking them may not sit well with too many players. Take the Insomnia disease which permanently fatigues the character, though prevents you from being tired.

For the Dungeon Master
I like that many of the diseases in this book can be snuck into a campaign in random events and have a great impact on an adventure. A pc can go to investigate a murder and catch the suicide causing Dirge or go to heal an individual and later find out they have the Black Touch.

The Iron Word

The ironic thing is that the biggest negative to this book is not in the book itself but in the rules of 3.5. There are some great diseases in Arcane Outbreak but I doubt that the average PC will have anything less than the first onslaught of symptoms do the easy cure disease rules in the rules. Unless a PC is secluded in a far off dungeon, they would likely be able to visit a church or a paladin and be cured rather quickly. That is why I suggest using some alternative disease rules to give diseases more or a lasting or lingering effect. Then pick up Arcane Outbreak and watch your PCs think twice about curing that random NPC.



LIKED: - 10 diseases all of which have different descriptions that make each sound horrible enough to stay away from
- the feats are nice, but it feels like the players take to much consequence
- Great price for what you get. 10 feats, 10 diseases and a prestige class.

DISLIKED: - Some parts are well written but some feel as if the writer is talking to me as opposed to writing a book.
- No artwork to demonstrate those horrid consequences from the disease.


QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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