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Kai's Scoundrels $3.99
Average Rating:4.3 / 5
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Kai\'s Scoundrels
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Kai's Scoundrels
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/21/2011 08:28:59
This pdf is 20 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page blank inside of front cover, 2 pages editorial, 1 page ToC & SRD, 1 page explaining how to read statblocks to novice DMs, 1 page advertisement and 1 page back cover, leaving 12 pages of content.

This pdf introduces us to a rag-tag band of smugglers called Kai's Scoundrels. While morally dubious and including two humanoids, the scoundrels are not all evil and can be considered rather pragmatic people that might go either way - salvation or damnation lie in the future of this group, possibly at the hands of the PCs. Their business being smuggling, the scoundrels might become allies, adversaries or both to the PCs and thus maximum usability is guaranteed.

After an intital background story and lore section as well as rudimentary information on safe-houses etc, we are introduced to the members of the band, starting with Kai. "Killer" Kai Linnow is actually a female (Kai being a common male name in German) magus 7/rogue 1 and, low cha notwithstanding, the leader of the scoundrels. The once idealistic woman has been hardened by the tragedies of her life and her resulting pragmaticism is only skin deep, making her an interesting character to develop over the interaction with the PCs.

Marra Brandywine is another character I'd consider interesting - the cheerful, hedonistic halfling woman is not only a beauty, but also a summoner 7/ranger 1 with a twist - her eidolon is an incarnation of bad luck that has killed her parents and her survival and the eidolon's presence forever reminds her of the capriciousness of life and the possibility of imminent death. She comes with a new spell to summon your eidolon to your side. This character is AWESOME and the one of the bunch I truly love - tragic, cool and offers a new fluff-twist on the existing class. Two thumbs up!

Captain LeVar is a clichéd pirate (rogue 3/fighter 4) and makes for an inherent force of potential tragedy for the smugglers - the amnesiac and actually rather nice man has been infected with lycanthropy and turns into a were-shark. Should his condition prove to be permanent, he will have to be put down, casting a dread pall over the band of associates/friends. His black-outs are also a reason for the band to keep on the move. He thankfully comes with all 3 statblocks, not necessitating you creating Lycanthrope-stats..

Marrowsplitter (druid 7) is an interesting character - the gnoll druid is the second heart of the scoundrels, making for a cynic, pessimistic comrade with a bleak outlook on life. What's kind of unsettling about the gnoll is the budding inter-species relationship between him and Kai, which might push one or the other over the edge, should the target of their affections perish. In contrast to what one would expect, though, Marrowsplitter is in fact not one of the bad guys in the group, this role falls to another one.

Namely, the half-elf rogue 1/ bard 7 called Mercutsio, who turns out to be a charming sociopath, devoid of any motivation beyond his personal gratification. It is this psycho whom LeVar wants to take down, should he eventually succumb to his curse. Mercutsio also makes for yet another reason the scoundrels are on the run - broken hearts, dead people and chaos tend to be left in the wake of the half-elf.

The final member of the rag-tag band is the arcane arsenal, the orcish fire-sorceror Torn Tusk, who, while evil, genuinely cares for his fellow scoundrels and via his pessimistic nitpicking of plans tries to keep them alive and their hides intact, in spite of his belief that the world will burn. Or already is.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are not exactly up to the prime standard Raging Swan set for themselves, as I noticed some minor typos, in itself not enough to rate the product down, though. Layout adheres to the classic b/w-2-column standard and the artworks for the characters are neat. It's a pity that Marrowsplitter and Torn Tusk didn't get artworks, though. The pdf is extensively bookmarked and comes with an additional version optimized for use with e-readers.
I'm a bit torn on the scoundrels. They do make for an interesting group of NPCs and come with the full NPC-treatment, i.e. with sections on distinguishing features, mannerisms etc. I also like the fact that we get a Magus and a summoner with a very unique background and eidolon. The characters per se (with the exception of Mercutsio, who is rather one-dimensional) feel organic and are well-written.

Edit:

Raging Swan press shows their stellar product support by adding 2 pages on how the group actually smuggles, smuggling gear etc. - excellent additional content and thus, +1 star, resulting in a final verdict of 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Kai's Scoundrels
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by thomas c. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/11/2011 12:38:06
This one lives up to the reputation I've come to expect from raging swan. Great npc's with well thought out motivations.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Kai's Scoundrels
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Dark M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/09/2011 17:09:29
Kai's Scoundrels by Raging Swan

This product is 20 pages long. It starts with a cover, ToC, intro, OGL, and credits. (6 pages)

Kai's Scoundrels (12 pages)
It starts off with two pages, a brief overview of the NPC's, Lore, how to fit them in your campaign, their operation, safe houses, tactics and three sample encounters. This first section could have used a couple of more pages honestly.

After that we get full stat blocks, history, personality, looks, mannerism, hooks relationships, tactics etc for each of the NPC's. All but two of them have black and white art head shots. The 6 NPC's are.
“Captain” LeVar – male human afflicted wereshark rogue 3/fighter 4, He gets three full stat blocks for each of his three forms. He is a interesting tragic character.
“Killer” Kai Linnow – female human magus 7/rogue 1, A very cool background and interesting character that can either go dark or return to the light.
Marra Brandywine – female halfling summoner 1/ranger 1, very neat background with a well done character. There is also a stat block for her eidolon.
Marrowsplitter – male gnoll druid 7, is neat but lacks a big history or a lot of information which is a shame cause of the potential he has. There is also a stat block for his animal companion.
Mercutsio – male half‐elf rogue 1/bard 7, He is the only truly evil member of the group that is likely beyond redemption.
Torn Tusk – male half‐orc sorcerer (elemental [fire]) 8, A fairly typical background, he is the most flat of the characters in the book.

It ends with a ad and back cover. (2 pages)

Closing thoughts. The art work is black and white, and pretty good. Layout and editing was so so, not as good as most Raging Swan stuff but nothing to bad. Three of the characters are very well done, two are ok but could have used another half page or more about them and one is just so so. Which makes this a different book, the quality at least for me varied a lot. There internal relationships are very well done, though some might find the brewing romance between the human woman and the gnoll off putting. The biggest short coming though is it really could have used more information about their safe houses, maybe a sample one and a lot more information about HOW they go about doing their smuggling job. These are things the GM of course can do themselves but it would have really been nice to have those things. So I find this a very neat idea some some very cool parts that just feel a bit short. So what's my rating? I am going to give this a 3 star, solid pickup if you want some NPC stat blocks and story idea's but needs a bit of polish and filling in the cracks. Add another half page or so of information on Marrow, Mercutsio, and Torn, A page or two about how they work and a sample safe house, and finally artwork for Marrow and Torn and this could have easily been a 4 star or better product, likely better.

Trust me, I'm a Succubus.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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