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Maps for The Vile Worm of the Eldritch Oak
Publisher: Lord Zsezse Works
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/23/2012 18:24:51
“The Vile Worm of the Eldritch Oak” is a Pathfinder adventure by Brave Halfling Publishing. I’m not familiar with that adventure, so I don’t know the narrative context for these maps. I do know that the artwork lives up to LZW’s pattern of excellence, without question. The package gives you battlemaps for three areas: the titular “eldritch oak” itself (cut away to reveal the small room inside), a torture chamber that apparently sits at a level below the oak, and the lair of the titular “vile worm” (who apparently lives below and is fed from the torture chamber). A bit more of a key or comments on how the artists envision the spatial relationship between the three areas would have been helpful for DMs like me who don’t know the storyline. If you want a 1" grid on the maps, use the PDF layers feature to turn on the grid layer; it’s off by default. JPG files are included for virtual tabletop users. The only things “missing” here are LZW’s famous isometric views, which always enhance their products. At any rate, this is a great map set, whether you intend to use it with the published “Vile Worm” adventure or just build your own scenario around this interesting set-piece.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Maps for The Vile Worm of the Eldritch Oak
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ICONS: Hero Pack 2.5
Publisher: Ad Infinitum Adventures
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/23/2012 18:23:14
Hero Pack 2.5 presents six super-powered individuals, four of them heroes and two of them villains. While some of the heroes interest me, especially the Shepherd, a roster book serves GMs best when it’s full of villains. As in Hero Pack 2, only 1/3 of the characters presented in Hero Pack 2.5 are villains. I’d have added another star to my review if the proportion of villains were higher.

On the other hand, Hero Pack 2.5 offers GMs a couple of features that Hero Pack 2 lacked. For the two villains, Ephemera and her sidekick Sequence, Hero Pack 2.5 provides GM tips and adventure ideas in addition to an origin/personality writeup. These few paragraphs make Ephemera and Sequence significantly easier and quicker to use than the villains in Hero Pack 2.5.

Additionally, almost half of Hero Pack 2.5 consists of a mini-adventure entitled “Enter: Galacticron.” This mini-adventure includes its own supervillain, Lady Omega, along with alien soldiers and a potentially world-altering event. The mini-adventure itself is worth the price of Hero Pack 2.5.

Unfortunately, Hero Pack 2.5 seems to be more poorly composed and proofread than most Adamant Entertainment products. In particular, missing and misplaced punctuation dot the landscape. The frequency of such errors makes me wonder whether anybody actually copy-edited Hero Pack 2.5 at all.

Despite the “2.5” in the title, the duplication of Hero Pack 2’s cover, and the brief errata for Hero Pack 2 on the first page, Hero Pack 2.5 is really an independent product. You don’t need Hero Pack 2 to use Hero Pack 2.5, and you don’t need Hero Pack 2.5 to complete Hero Pack 2.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
ICONS: Hero Pack 2.5
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ICONS: Hero Pack 2
Publisher: Ad Infinitum Adventures
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/23/2012 18:22:49
A product like this pulls me in two directions. On the one hand, I love seeing what my fellow ICONS fans have created in their own worlds. On the other hand, a book full of superheroes—emphasis on “heroes”—doesn’t actually add much to my ICONS games. A typical ICONS GM already has plenty of heroes in his or her world, namely, the player characters. Most GMs would be better served by a villain pack instead of a hero pack. Hero Pack 2 does, in fact, include eleven villains, but that’s barely a third of the 30 characters featured.

Unlike the original Hero Pack, where villains were grouped together after heroes and called out with different background artwork, Hero Pack 2 sorts heroes and villains together, just placing all the characters in alphabetical order. No graphic cue differentiates villains from heroes, nor are villains marked as such in the table of contents. The only way to tell the difference is by the villains’ lack of Determination values (they have asterisks instead).

In terms of the quality of content, Hero Pack 2 is a bit like a roller coaster. Dan Houser’s artwork is, as always, every good and evocative. In my opinion, he did particularly good jobs on Alien Mastermind, Necrovore, Scarlet Sabre, and Shadowform. On the other hand, Kumbhakarna and Technomage need to give Wonder Man’s and Dr. Doom’s costumes back, and the artwork for Hekate comes off oddly, making it a little hard to tell at first which way she’s facing. Since the various heroes and villains were all designed by different people, some are naturally better than others. A few stand out from the pack. Mechanically, Blueshift comes off as basically a super-smart Flash, but his origin and backstory are rich for the space allotted. Cancer is a compelling villain in a very, very creepy way. Gravedigger is pretty funny. The Mook is eminently useful and will very likely find his (their) way into adventures that I run. Maybe it’s just his resemblance to Carnage, but I found Necrovore an intriguing villain, rife with possibilities.

Unfortunately, the Grammar Gremlin started working his impish mischief right from the beginning, inserting a comma splice into the very first page and scattering punctuation errors and inconsistencies (such as American marks used in British positions) throughout the book. He also apparently rampaged through the book, snatching the quotation marks away from some catchphrases (but not others) and peppering quotations with inconsistent capitalization. He planted tense-change bombs in several characters’ origins, resulting in inexplicable shifts from past to present. He even replaced the Arabic numeral 2, used in the product’s title on the front cover, with a Roman numeral II in the interior page headers.

If you want to see some other ICONS players’ superheroes and perhaps use them as NPCs in your own world, by all means buy Hero Pack 2. If you’re mainly looking for supervillains, you’ll only get eleven of them from this product, and not all eleven are equally interesting. On balance, I’d consider Hero Pack 2 a worthwhile purchase, as long as you know the hero-villain ratio going in.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
ICONS: Hero Pack 2
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Fantastic Maps: Pirate Ship
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/23/2012 18:19:46
A large ship—defined as a pirate ship in the product title, but equally suited to be an imperial warship or something like that—plies the sea in this large map by Jonathan Roberts. Although this map pack only provides the top deck of the ship (with no interior views), two things make it stand out from similar products. First, Roberts included the sails, making them nearly transparent so that you can see their positions without allowing them to obscure the deck beneath. Most printable ship packs simply omit the sails. Second, Roberts mounted ballistae on the deck of his pirate ship, whereas most such products give you cannon—anachronistic in many fantasy RPGs. Roberts also gives you a generous wide margin of water-only tiles to make room for bringing other ships, or monstrous sea creatures, alongside.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fantastic Maps: Pirate Ship
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Raven Downs Keep Map Tile Set: A Torn World Gaming Accessory
Publisher: Torn World
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/23/2012 18:18:59
I don’t know anything about the Torn World setting, but I very much like this large map of a ruined keep. The product includes an isometric view of the keep to help give you a 3D perspective. The artwork is very nice, although the scattered displaced bricks look somewhat odd; they almost seem to float above the ground. The publisher used a full 8" x 10" for the tiles, so you’re won’t be able to use this map effectively if your printer leaves more than a 1/4" margin on any side of the printed page. The product also includes files for using the map via online virtual tabletops—an increasingly important consideration.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Raven Downs Keep Map Tile Set: A Torn World Gaming Accessory
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Plague
Publisher: Expeditious Retreat Press
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/23/2012 18:17:48
This well-conceived and well-executed supplement gives DMs a robust toolkit for incorporating plagues into fantasy role-playing campaigns. The crunchy parts are for D&D 4e, but the first three (of five) chapters are largely crunch-free and could be used by GMs running any system. Those first three chapters describe the onset, progress, and aftermath of a plague. Author Creighton Broadhurst has done a particularly good job in these chapters of balancing realism/verisimilitude with compelling and efficient gameplay. Chapters 4 and 5 present 4e-specific options for players and DMs, including magic items, rituals, disease stat blocks, skill challenges, monsters, and even a god of disease. The text seems to have been well-edited, with very few grammatical errors slipping through. The typography needs more polish; in particular, using Times New Roman for the body text and Georgia for the footnotes creates an unpleasant clash of serifs. Aside from these relatively minor aesthetic points, I wholeheartedly recommend this supplement.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Plague
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Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Event Book (Premium Edition)
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/23/2012 18:13:09
Which side will your players choose in the clash between heroes for and against the Superhuman Registration Act? Whether your group wants to join Iron Man in enforcing the law, or to join Captain America in standing up for individual freedom, you’ll find plenty of depth in the Civil War Event Book for compelling gameplay. The book even provides a new option called “troupe play” to enable players to run multiple characters, perhaps even on opposite sides of a conflict—and no other recent comics event has been more ideal for promoting player vs. player combat.

The event book lays out the events of the superhero civil war in three acts: “Road to Civil War” (the SHRA passes at the end of this event), “Registration,” and “Rocket’s Red Glare.” Each act includes multiple action and transition scenes, with great role-playing and combat/action opportunities for heroes on both sides of the SHRA debate. The presence of other opportunistic factions like AIM, Hydra, Atlantis, and Wakanda complicate matters, of course.

Thirty-two superhero datafiles appear in the “Hero Datafiles” section of the book. Comparing the versions of heroes that appear both here and in the basic game gives a great sense of how the MHR game can treat “snapshots” of heroes at different points in their careers. Shorter datafiles for various allies and enemies—which, in this event, are terms at least partially relative to which side of the SHRA you’re on—appear throughout the book at opportune moments. Fortunately, there’s a complete index to the datafiles at the end of the event book, so you can easily find the various supervillains and supporting cast wherever they appear.

You can buy the Civil War Event Book in “essentials” and “premium” flavors. The only difference is that the premium edition includes the Operations Manual, for those who don’t already own the basic game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Event Book (Premium Edition)
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Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Event Book (Essentials Edition)
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/23/2012 18:12:57
Which side will your players choose in the clash between heroes for and against the Superhuman Registration Act? Whether your group wants to join Iron Man in enforcing the law, or to join Captain America in standing up for individual freedom, you’ll find plenty of depth in the Civil War Event Book for compelling gameplay. The book even provides a new option called “troupe play” to enable players to run multiple characters, perhaps even on opposite sides of a conflict—and no other recent comics event has been more ideal for promoting player vs. player combat.

The event book lays out the events of the superhero civil war in three acts: “Road to Civil War” (the SHRA passes at the end of this event), “Registration,” and “Rocket’s Red Glare.” Each act includes multiple action and transition scenes, with great role-playing and combat/action opportunities for heroes on both sides of the SHRA debate. The presence of other opportunistic factions like AIM, Hydra, Atlantis, and Wakanda complicate matters, of course.

Thirty-two superhero datafiles appear in the “Hero Datafiles” section of the book. Comparing the versions of heroes that appear both here and in the basic game gives a great sense of how the MHR game can treat “snapshots” of heroes at different points in their careers. Shorter datafiles for various allies and enemies—which, in this event, are terms at least partially relative to which side of the SHRA you’re on—appear throughout the book at opportune moments. Fortunately, there’s a complete index to the datafiles at the end of the event book, so you can easily find the various supervillains and supporting cast wherever they appear.

You can buy the Civil War Event Book in “essentials” and “premium” flavors. The only difference is that the premium edition includes the Operations Manual, for those who don’t already own the basic game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War Event Book (Essentials Edition)
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Hamlet's Hit Points
Publisher: Gameplaywright
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/21/2012 17:12:04
In Hamlet’s Hit Points, venerable game designer Robin Laws describes a method of breaking down narratives into a series of “beats” falling into nine different categories. Laws uses square and arrow-shaped icons to chart at-a-glance the progress of any narrative. Three long examples—Hamlet, Dr. No, and Casablanca—illustrate Laws’s method. The analyses are fun to read and convincing. However, I was disappointed with the advice section, which seemed rather thin after the rich analytical meat of the book. This book is very good, but I don’t think it quite lives up to its press. At the end of the volume, I felt that I had learned a new way to describe what goes on in a story (including an RPG campaign’s storyline), but not really how to “lay compelling track for an emotional roller-coaster,” to quote the DTRPG product description. The book is engaging and enjoyable; the benefits of the system aren’t as obvious as I expected them to be, and I think the publisher exaggerates when describing the book as “an indispensable tool.”

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Hamlet's Hit Points
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Hael Soundscapes - Untamed Sounds
Publisher: StoryWeaver
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/21/2012 16:32:51
I’m not familiar with the HAEL setting—except for what I learned in the bonus “Welcome to HAEL” track included with this collection—but I’m always interested in new gaming soundscape products.

“Cavern of the Soul” is a subdued, mysterious track, excellent background for scenes of exploration where you want to create a sense of isolation, mystery, and a lurking danger. The track doesn’t loop very well, however; the abrupt beginning is jarring following the decrescendo at the end. “A Chant for the Dry Bones” evokes a tribal ceremony of some kind through the use of percussion and long ambient vocals, and the track loops pretty well. The moans that punctuate “Danger in the Forest” are less effective; they overpower the music and are so inarticulate that they almost become comical. That’s a shame, because “Danger in the Forest” has some really good musical lines, even though it doesn’t loop well at all.

“Journey of the Warlord,” a percussion-only track as far as I can tell, offers a good bed for scoring a battle against primitive or savage humanoids (like gnolls). The first 20 seconds or so have a clearly introductory character, so this track doesn’t loop very well. Also, in the ID3 tags, “warlord” was misspelled as “warlard” (is a “warlard” the chief battlefield chef?). “A Military Engagement” starts out percussion-only as well, but adds other instruments beginning around 45 seconds into the seven and a half minutes of this track. The other instruments fall out near the end, such that “A Military Engagement” loops perfectly. I don’t really get the idea of a large battle from the music, though; the relatively slow tempo and ponderous beat make it more like “preparing for” or “marching toward” a military engagement.

The longest piece in the collection is “Kirene Dreams,” weighing in at over ten minutes in duration. I don’t know who the kirene are, or why their dreams require ten minutes of vaguely Asian-sounding music with an odd “growly” undertone. Still, it’s a flavorful, exotic track that loops pretty well.

The ID3 tags have the album, track, and composer’s names in all the right places—something that publishers of RPG background music sometimes overlook. However, the tracks aren’t numbered. Album cover artwork would have been nice, too, and would help the collection stand out better. The poor looping on several tracks hampers the overall collection, but you can probably put all of these tracks (well, except the “Introduction to HAEL”) to good use in any fantasy world.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Hael Soundscapes - Untamed Sounds
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Doomstone Soundtrack
Publisher: Nackter Stahl Verlag
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/21/2012 15:39:10
I don’t know anything about the Doomstone game or its setting, but the Doomstone soundtrack is a marvelous compilation of neo-Western industrial instrumental rock—if I can put all those adjectives together without sounding silly. The whole album is characterized by creative and variegated instrumentation accented by occasional ambient vocals. Composer Ralf Kurtsiefer pulls everything together superbly, producing an album that vividly evokes an “industrial west” and offers a great listening experience.

“Doomtitan” is a thunderous, ominous piece, heavy on percussion and accented by vague vocals. “Skalpjaeger” (“Scalp Hunter”) evokes an attack by stereotypical Hollywood Indians. “Vollstrecker” (“Executioners”) is plodding and mournful, as if following a condemned criminal to the noose or the firing squad. “Todesbote” (“Death’s Messenger”), accented with the cawing of crows, announces that death is coming. “Messias” (“Messiah”) has a hymnic yet still ominous quality, with a lush vocal accents. “Jenseits des Grabes” (“Beyond the Grave”) starts with a “tinkly” sound, more melodic than wind chimes but of about that timber, but then layers into long, mournful tones that give way, about halfway through, to a sense of danger.

“Staubreiter” (I’m not sure how to render that in English) includes a whistled melody that then gets picked up by guitars. My copy ends rather abruptly at 0:53; I don’t know if this is by design or if there’s a problem with OneBookshelf’s copy of the file. Heavy guitars announce the onset of the “Duell der Raptoren” (“Raptors’ Duel”). “Scharfschuetze” (“Sharpshooter”) creates an air of suspense with a lowered volume and airy effects. “Deathrock Canyon” sounds a lot like “Todesbote” at the beginning, but remains subdued throughout.

“Frontaler Angriff” (“Frontal Attack”) returns to heavy guitar and drums; both the name and the music imply a violent confrontation. Then, from out of nowhere, the beautiful “Ruhiger Ritt” (“Quiet Ride”) turns to light rock, with a sound almost approaching New Age. A “Saloon” lies at the end of that quiet ride, though the funky music puts me in mind less of a Western saloon than a modern lounge.

“Erbe der Wanagi” (“The Wanagi’s [Ghost’s] Legacy”) is a spooky piece, remind us that all is not well even after a quiet ride and a stop at the saloon. “Rebellen” (“Rebels”) bring us back to violence; the music makes me think of a determined band of heroes marching purposefully toward a big confrontation.Like “Saloon,” “Sonnentanz” (“Sundance”) has a very modern feel; its techno elements evokes images of a nightclub or even a rave. Since I don’t know anything about the Doomstone setting, I don’t know what “Imperial City” the name of the track refers to; it’s a big, sweeping piece that feels like it should be playing in a move when the heroes arrive to save the day. “Sturm” (“Storm”) wraps things up with a combination of fear and hope, underscoring the sense of a climactic fight.

Alas, I cannot give this album unqualified praise (at least, not yet). Although offered as background music, the tracks have definite beginnings, endings, and internal movements, and none of them loop well. Since it’s hard to orchestrate RPG scenes so that they hit their peaks and valleys at just the right moments, music that aspires to score an RPG—especially short tracks like those on the Doomstone soundtrack—must loop gracefully (and “seamlessly” would be even more desirable). Sadly, the tracks on the Doomstone soundtrack don’t accomplish this important goal. Also, the ID3 tags for these tracks were poorly populated, as of my download on June 21, 2012; in fact, only the comments field was populated at all—with the comment “From DriveThruRPG.com.” I don’t know whether Nackter Stahl Verlag chose not to populate the ID3 tags, or whether DTRPG’s process for injecting its “comment watermark” stripped the other tags. Either way, the ID3 tags need attention.

Other than those relatively minor (because they don’t affect the sound at all) points, Doomstone is an excellent instrumental rock album. I might end up using the music while gaming; I’ll definitely listen to the album when I want some energetic but nonintrusive music.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Doomstone Soundtrack
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Venture 4th: Pact of the Vermin Lords
Publisher: Adamant Entertainment
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/20/2012 12:49:34
Pact of the Vermin Lords was one of the first third-party warlock pacts to appear after the publication of D&D 4e, and deserves props for that alone. The idea behind the pact is a bit “icky”: you’ve bound your soul to whatever mystical forces control vermin. Yuck. The power structure follows the typical template for a warlock: one at-will power that distinctively exhibits the pact, a special effect when an enemy under your Warlock’s Curse is reduced to 0 hp, and a bunch of thematic powers. Unlike the pacts in the original PH, the pact of the vermin lords provides an extra encounter power as a boon; however, author Stefen Styrsky has tried to balance this by turning off the character’s Warlock’s Curse while the bonus encounter power, Recognize the Master, is in effect. The optional powers at each level do a good job of distinguishing the vermin lords pact from other pacts. The supplement also includes a paragon path and one new feat designed to improve the basic pact boon. As a reader, I cringed repeatedly at grammatical mistakes and proofreading oversights, as well as departures from established D&D 4e stylistic standards. As a player, the very idea of the pact makes my skin crawl, and I want nothing to do with it. As a DM, I wouldn’t object if a player wanted to run a vermin lords pact warlock in my campaign, though I’d probably apply some social stigma in NPC encounters. Overall, my feeling about this product is basically, “Take it or leave it.”

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Venture 4th: Pact of the Vermin Lords
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Venture 4th: Pact of the Dragon Lords
Publisher: Adamant Entertainment
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/20/2012 12:49:00
Dragons have an almost universal appeal—certainly among gamers, at least—and this supplement capitalizes on that appeal by presenting a warlock pact for D&D 4e that binds a warlock to a primal dragon. The power structure follows the typical template for a warlock: one at-will power that distinctively exhibits the pact, a special effect when an enemy under your Warlock’s Curse is reduced to 0 hp, and a bunch of thematic powers. Unlike the pacts in the original PH, the pact of the vermin lords provides an extra encounter power as a boon; however, author Stefen Styrsky has tried to balance this by turning off the character’s Warlock’s Curse while the bonus encounter power, The Object of Your Wrath, is in effect. The special at-will for this pact is basically the same as a dragonborn’s dragon breath power. The supplement includes one paragon path, four feats, and four magic items for dragon lords pact warlocks. The descriptions and power effects do a good job of evoking a draconic feel. The artwork style varies drastically from one piece to the next, and the character featured on the cover and on the paragon path page isn’t a recognizable D&D 4e race at all. As a reader, I cringed occasionally at grammar and usage mistakes and proofreading oversights (“exhale” used as a noun, backward apostrophes, etc), as well as departures from established D&D 4e stylistic standards and the lack of page numbers. As a player, this is a pact that I could get excited about. I’ve never chosen to play a warlock, but I might if this pact were on the menu. As a DM, I’d be happy for a player to run a dragon lords pact warlock in my campaign.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Venture 4th: Pact of the Dragon Lords
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Venture 4th: Pact of Ghosts
Publisher: Adamant Entertainment
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/20/2012 12:48:38
I think this supplement was originally published before Wizards of the Coast released Arcane Power, with its vestige pact. Thematically, there’s a bit of overlap between these pacts, but mechanically, the ghost pact stands on its own. The power structure follows the typical template for a warlock: one at-will power that distinctively exhibits the pact, a special effect when an enemy under your Warlock’s Curse is reduced to 0 hp, and a bunch of thematic powers. Unlike the other pacts in Adamant’s pact series (by the same author), this one includes only one piece of art (on the front cover, repeated on p. 10, uncredited). The formatting could use some improvements (adding page numbers, for example) as well. The supplement includes one paragon path, four feats, and three magic items for ghost pact warlocks. The powers offered here do a good job of evoking the feel of a ghostly patron, but they don’t make me want to play a warlock in order to use them. I wouldn’t choose this pact for one of my own PCs, and as DM, I wouldn’t really consider it appropriate for heroic PCs (and I feel the same way about WotC’s vestige pact, by the way).

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Venture 4th: Pact of Ghosts
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Venture 4th: Pact of Blood
Publisher: Adamant Entertainment
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/20/2012 12:48:14
Drawing on the mystique of blood, this supplement presents another alternate pact for D&D 4e warlords. The power structure follows the typical template for a warlock: one at-will power that distinctively exhibits the pact, a special effect when an enemy under your Warlock’s Curse is reduced to 0 hp, and a bunch of thematic powers. Unlike the pacts in the original PH, the pact of the vermin lords provides an extra encounter power as a boon; however, author Stefen Styrsky has tried to balance this by turning off the character’s Warlock’s Curse while the bonus encounter power, The Chosen Victim, is in effect. To evoke the feel of bloodletting, many of the powers feature effects that either require blood pact warlocks to injure themselves or grant bonuses if they choose to do so when using those powers. The supplement includes one paragon path for blood pact warlocks, along with four new feats limited to blood pact warlocks and four new magic items intended especially for blood pact warlocks. As a reader, I cringed occasionally at grammatical mistakes and proofreading oversights (for example, using the noun “knick” where the context calls for the verb “nick”), as well as departures from established D&D 4e stylistic standards. As a player, I don’t have any greater desire to play a blood pact warlock than other pacts; options are always nice, and the various elements capture the blood pact’s flavor well, but nothing here excites me with its character-building possibilities. As a DM, I would probably try to talk a player out of using the blood pact, though I wouldn’t absolutely forbid it; the whole flavor of the thing seems unheroic to me. Overall, I’d say the product accomplishes its goal, but not with excellence, and not in a way that gets me behind the goal in the first place.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Venture 4th: Pact of Blood
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