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Superior Synergy: Fantasy $2.00
Average Rating:3.8 / 5
Ratings Reviews Total
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2 9
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Superior Synergy: Fantasy
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Superior Synergy: Fantasy
Publisher: Misfit Studios
by Jim C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/29/2009 03:15:49
Two innovative ideas, thoroughly developed and well executed. Well worth a look if you might want to place a little more emphasis on skill development or less-spectacular feats in a campaign.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Superior Synergy: Fantasy
Publisher: Misfit Studios
by Steven W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/30/2005 00:00:00
A very good product that helps expand the D&D skills. I like the concept, and in most cases I like the execution. I much prefered the synergy effects that added new abilities or altered the effects of skill use over the ones that simply added a straight bonus to another skill. The big drawback I see is that characters with a lot of skill points (rogues, bards, etc) can get more complicated using this system as they rack up more and more synergy bonuses and effects.

Overall, I do plan to use this system in my next D20 game, and may even take concepts over to other game systems.



LIKED: This helps make D20 more Skill oriented, a good thing especially in a low magic style game.

DISLIKED: Some of the synergy bonuses were bland. The bonuses for the various KNOWLEDGE sub-skills really should be broken up by sub-skill, instead of listing them all by Rank under one header.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Superior Synergy: Fantasy
Publisher: Misfit Studios
by Derek H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/11/2005 00:00:00
Though the skills section is mostly obvious with a few gems, the feats sections is awesome. The only issue is if the DM has a good handle on balance since this can throw that out of wack.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Superior Synergy: Fantasy
Publisher: Misfit Studios
by Mario m. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/19/2005 06:39:44
Skills has always been the week spot of all D20 games out there. This nice pack is a well written and well done innovation that will help those who like to use their skills with a greater efficiency. The feat synergy is also a great idea and I just wish we could see more of those. For two dollars this is a must buy for any fantasy D20 setting. I also like the fact that they made a printer friendly ink light version.

well done. A proof that you dont need a 300 pages plus to do something right.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Superior Synergy: Fantasy
Publisher: Misfit Studios
by Mark C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/06/2005 00:00:00
I jumped into this book wanting to dislike it but I found myself liking many of the ideas presented within too much ? I want more.

First, I don?t think a synergy book is necessary. It is too easy to increase skills. Once a skill check has a +20 modifier, you will almost never fail checks. At 8th level, the average spellcasting has 11 ranks and a 1-4 bonus to Concentration and Spellcraft and rarely fails checks for learning spells, combat casting and so forth. People who take feats like Combat Casting are laughed at by this point for their lack of foresight.

Diplomacy is worst abused. A 2nd-level character with an 18 Charisma score (+4), who takes 5 ranks in Diplomacy and its 3 synergies (+6), has a Diplomacy modifier of +15. If he takes Skill Focus (Diplomacy)(+3) and Negotiator (+2) it jumps up to +20. Skills with only 1 or 2 synergies max out at only +16 and +18. In 3.5 there was an effort made to increase the DC?s of several skills but the system is still flawed after the first few levels.

Superior Synergies are well done. They proceed in a logical fashion based on the original system. If your players are not power gamers, these new rules add another dimension to the game ? unfortunately it is power gamers who look for advantageous rules such as these.

I did not expect the feat synergies and I very much like them. They give some of the less useful feats more use. I really like this part of the book, and I would have liked to have seen a much longer list of feat synergies. One synergy in particular allows characters to take a 5 foot step while using whirlwind to extend the range of their attack. Whirlwind can be difficult to use, but I debate the wisdom of giving it more firepower.


LIKED: This system opens up a lot of new possibilities. It?s the sort of thing you expect to see in the next edition of D&D. It is well thought out and executed.

DISLIKED: This is something of a patch for existing problems in the skill system but it only aggravates the system by letting players get even higher bonuses to their skill checks. Characters become better for free. Power gamers will rush to these rules to see what little extra they can squeak out of their characters. I would have liked to have seen more feat synergies.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Superior Synergy: Fantasy
Publisher: Misfit Studios
by Anthony R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/04/2005 00:00:00
Skill synergy is a simple concept from the core d20 rules. Essentially, some skills give a +2 bonus to other skills if the character has five or more ranks in the first skill. For example, if a character has five or more ranks in the Use Rope skill he gets a +2 bonus to Climb and Escape Artist checks. Superior Skill Synergy takes this concept and expands it. Synergies are expanded to include bonuses for five, ten, fifteen and twenty ranks. For example, if a character has ten ranks of Use Rope, in addition to the bonuses for five ranks, he has only a -2 penalty for accelerated climbing and it takes him only 30 seconds to make an Escape Artist check to escape from bonds. The synergy goes on to include addional bonuses for having fifteen and twenty ranks of Use Rope.

In addition to the expanded rules for skill synergies, Superior Skill Synergy introduces rules for Feat Synergy. As you might imagine, feat synergy gives bonuses to a character for having two or more specific feats. For example, a character with the Athletic (mislabled Athletics in several places in the rules), Endurance and Great Fortitude feats can hold his breath for his Constitution X 1.5 rounds. Unfortunately, since a character without these feats can hold his breath for his Constitution X 2 rounds, I assume this is an error. Perhaps it should have been Constitution X 2.5 rounds? Other combinations of feats give a variety of other bonuses like reduced times, additional damage, etc.

Of course, whether or not all this will be useful to you is another matter. Do you like the concept of skill and/or feat synergies? Do you want to add what is arguably another level of detail to the already detailed d20 system? If so, you might want to give Superior Synergy a look. The price is certainly right. And aside from a few grammatical and textual errors, some of which I have pointed out, the product is well-written. Misfit Studios does deserve praise for logically and cleverly extending a d20 rules concept.

LIKED: It logically and cleverly extends a concept from the core d20 rules.

DISLIKED: There are a few errors. The rules add a level of complexity to an already complex rules system.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
The Athletic feat typo has been addressed and the instance of holding breath has been changed to "50% longer than normal"; there is a discrepancy between how long the SRD says one can hold one's breath under the Swim skill (Con x 1) and in the drowning description (Con x 2.) I've always gone with Con x 1 because this is used in both the Swim skill AND drowning rules for d20 Modern, but the revision will cover either direction the GM decides to use. Thanks for the review!
Superior Synergy: Fantasy
Publisher: Misfit Studios
by Brian E. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/02/2005 00:00:00
Superior Synergy asks the question: why does skill synergy begin and end at five ranks? It's an interesting question, to be sure. In a nutshell, skill synergies now have four 'benchmarks': one at five, ten, fifteen and twenty ranks. Some are simply higher skill bonuses, while others allow you to use skills faster, or cause skill effects to last longer.
Slightly more interesting, but possibly less balanced, are feat synergies. When you take certain combinations of feats, you gain bonus abilities related to the required feats, without having to spend another feat slot. These abilities tend to be more potent than skill synergies, but not quite as powerful as true feats.

LIKED: In general, the new skill synergy effects are easy to integrate, seem to be balanced, and are pretty useful on the whole. While the feat synergies may seem somewhat unbalanced (and the author as much as admits to this), this concept is not without precedent. In Wizards' own Oriental Adventures there is a similar mechanic used to emulate mastery of a martial arts style. Still, look at feat synergies with a careful eye.

DISLIKED: It should be mentioned that more effort could have been put into editing this work. I noticed a number of spelling and grammar errors, though this hardly makes the book less useful as a resource. In addition, those looking for something to add flavor to their game should look elsewhere; this work is almost one hundred percent mechanics.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Superior Synergy: Fantasy
Publisher: Misfit Studios
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/01/2005 00:00:00
This product expands on the basic idea of skill synergy, giving enhanced bonuses for higher levels of skill as well as a new feat synergy system that gives new abilities and bonuses for synergy between feats.

This is a good idea for encouraging playing to emphasize certain skills. But does this idea work? Yes, to an extent: In most cases the additional bonuses are small but still worthwhile. In some cases, new ways to use the skill are added. The only problem is Bluff, which already give the largest number of synergy bonuses, gives neat tricks to all four of the skills it modifies. I would recommend that a DM look very closely at the bonuses gained from Bluff. A possible solution might be to restrict the superior synergy bonuses from Bluff to apply only to the skills that the character has the same minimum number of ranks as the ranks of Bluff that the synergy bonus is gained at.

The feat synergy system gives minor bonuses from having feats that share a similar theme. Many of the feat synergies key off of the ?descriptor? feats such as acrobatics or persuasive making these often neglected feats more interesting and more useful.

Superior Synergy is good source material for encouraging the use of skills and non-combat feats in a campaign. The material seems to balance fairly well and nothing seems to be game breaking, but if used skill-based character (like rogues) will get even more advantage from their skills then they do now.

LIKED: Makes 'descriptor' feats more useful.

DISLIKED: Nothing, except for the concern about Bluff mentioned in the review.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Superior Synergy: Fantasy
Publisher: Misfit Studios
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/01/2005 00:00:00
Superior Synergy: Fantasy is a product that details expanded synergy options for not only skills, but feats as well. The product comes with two versions of the same PDF. One has no borders and doesn?t shade headers, presumably to make for easier printing. Curiously, this printer-friendly version is the only one with the color cover.

The first half of the product details the expanded synergies for skills. In this system, all of the skills that grant synergy bonuses (and only those skills) in d20 Fantasy are listed. The change is that, in addition to listing the synergy bonus granted with 5 ranks, each now has expanded bonuses that are gained when attaining 10, 15, and 20 ranks. In some cases (such as with the Knowledge skills) the expanded bonuses are merely the increasing of the same bonus granted at 5 ranks. The majority of the skills, however, give new (or improved) skill abilities for at least some of the increased synergies. For example, 10 ranks in Spellcraft increases the range of your empathic connection with your familiar to two miles.

The design philosophy behind this section seemed solid; if rudimentary proficiency in one area granted a bonus to another, then why wouldn?t expanded proficiency grant a correspondingly greater (or more diverse) bonus? However, the product didn?t give any mention of the fact that epic uses for skills do address this, albeit in a much lesser fashion. While it certainly doesn?t detract from the section on new skill synergies, it would have been nice if the product had dealt with the epic skill synergies already presented.

The second half of the product focuses on feat synergies. While the preceding section was good, it was here, to my mind, that the product truly shined.

Feat synergies are predicated on the idea that when a character takes a certain grouping of (thematically-related) feats, they?ll gain a new ability. This need not be restricted to merely two feats, either. For example, a character who has Improved Unarmed Strike, Combat Reflexes, Lightning Reflexes, and Deflect Arrows may deflect more than one arrow per round (the rules listed are more expansive than just that, but you get the idea).

I found myself quite liking this idea, as it seemed close to the idea of martial art styles, but without the limiting the bonuses to just combat. The author does briefly address the idea that feat synergies ?may tread to close to replacing feats,? saying that they should just be ignored if a GM feels that way. I?d think a more worthwhile suggestion would have been to make the feat synergy abilities into feats themselves, with the synergized feats becoming prerequisites. Luckily, that isn?t too great of a leap of logic to make.

The ideas laid out here are good ones. My only real complaint with the product is that it could have gone further in presentation and style. Tables regarding the skill and feat synergies would have been great for ease of reference. Also, some flavor explanations would have helped in certain places (why exactly does expanded understanding of Spellcraft allow you to increase the range of your bond to your familiar?). However, these don?t truly detract from the product?indeed, it?s a testament to the product?s innovation that it spurs the imagination to see what else can be done. If you?re looking to expand your character?s abilities without weighing them down under more prestige classes or magic items, Superior Synergy: Fantasy is definitely for you.


LIKED: The synergies presented made thematic sense, and were interesting and well-scaled.

DISLIKED: It didn't address at all the existing epic scaling for skill synergies. Also, tables summarizing the new synergies would have been nice.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Superior Synergy: Fantasy
Publisher: Misfit Studios
by Josh B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/01/2005 00:00:00
The concept behind skill synergy is that being skilled in one area can help you in others. In practical terms this translates as the familiar five ranks in one skill offering a +2 bonus to one or more other skills. Superior Synergy expands on that concept, adding new milestones at 10,15 and 20 ranks.

Two versions of the file are provided: a landscape version which features a colorful border but no cover, and a portrait version that has a cover but no border; I have to say I like this particular way of doing things. Both versions are attractively laid out, and feature bookmarks for the front page, OGL page, and then the beginning of the two content sections.

First up is the section on skill synergies. You won't find every skill listed here; just those that offer bonuses to other skills. The mechanics are well balanced. Those milestones that simply increase the numerical bonus cap at a reasonable +5. Other milestones offer expanded capabilities for your skills.

Part two of this product is given over to the idea of feat synergies. This essentially allows a combination of feats to grant you access to a special ability; which tends to itself resemble the effects of a feat. A caveat is provided warning of this fact. As with the skills mechanics, everything here seems well balanced. I like the idea, and while it may seem odd at first it really isn't. Prestige classes often require a feat or combination of feats to enable entry; this is a similar principle, just on a smaller scale.

LIKED: A balanced system which allows you to increase your character's abilities.

DISLIKED: Synergies which grant only a skill bonus give a +4 at 15 ranks. Synergies which offer expanded capabilities also raise the bonus to +4 at 15 ranks; I would have preferred to see this bonus held at +3.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
I'll release a free revision to address the Athletic feat typo and will change the instance of holding breath to "50% longer than normal"; there is a discrepancy between how long the SRD says one can hold one's breath under the Swim skill (Con x 1) and in the drowning description (Con x 2.) I've always gone with Con x 1 because this is used in both the Swim skill AND drowning rules for d20 Modern, but the revision will cover either direction the GM decides to use. Thanks for the review!
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