Posted on August 23, 2010 by Megan
The Introduction jumps right in, explaining what is unique about the Dark Sun setting. Athas is a dying world, where mere survival is a constant battle… and where any sensible person would concentrate on creating a stable sustainable environment, ‘heroes’ of course prefer to seek glory. The differences between Athas and more conventional fantasy settings is encapsulated in the Eight Characteristics of Athas – it’s a desert planet, most people living there are pretty unpleasant selfish types, metal is scarce, arcane magic caused a lot of the current problems and still does damage if you try to use it, long-lived sorcerer-kings rule city-states as the main centres of power, deities seem to have lost interest in the place, the monsters are deadly, and even ‘familiar’ races are not quite what one would expect. Handy thumb-nail sketch, which makes me wonder if I actually want to visit… well, I do like deserts!
Posted on May 21, 2010 by Megan
This book is aimed at the players of characters who look to the deities of their world for inspiration or power, and presents new ideas and options for any paladin, cleric, avenger or invoker character. The main part of the book consists of chapters for each class mentioned, giving new class features, builds, powers and paragon paths for each. The final chapter looks at divine domains with new feats, epic destinies and rituals available, and at deities in general.
First up, the avenger. Introduced in Player’s Handbook 2 he is an agent of divine justice with a mission to smite the enemies of his deity wherever they arise. There’s a new type who specializes in bringing his targets to justice through power of numbers, gaining strength from his allies. Lots of new ‘prayers’ of course, and some interesting sidebars about underlying motivation.
Posted on April 8, 2010 by Robert A. Howard
The Plane Below greatly expands on the Elemental Chaos, which is one of the fundamental planes of the Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition cosmos. To be sure, this supplement is primarily intended for Dungeon Masters and is best suited for paragon and epic tier games. There is no doubt that the Elemental Chaos is aptly named, for although there are some relatively stable places to visit, much of the plane is filled with a roiling chaos of raw elements from which the rest of creation is derived. It is a hostile and alien place — just the sort of place to drop your players into unexpectedly to watch them squirm.
Posted on February 15, 2010 by Michael Brewer
When I first saw Goodman Games’ D&D 4e adventure, Death Dealer: Shadows of Mirahan, I had mixed reactions. First, I love Frank Frazetta’s Death Dealer. I’ve seen all the Frazetta paintings, read the novels by James Silke, collected the comics written by Glen Danzig, and bought the Molly Hatchet album with Death Dealer on the cover when I first saw it back in the 80s (it was actually released in 1978).
However, the gamer in me balked. I was wondering how they could pull off an adventure about the Death Dealer without having the nearly omnipotent figure overshadow the player characters. There is only one Death Dealer, and surely the players would not be playing as the legendary anti-hero. I was also wondering how the adventure dealt with non-human races (I couldn’t remember reading about elves and dwarves in the novels).
Posted on September 3, 2009 by Billzilla
If there is a single grouping of monsters that are a favorite, undead would probably be at or near the top of everyone’s list. From ghosts to zombies and from vampires to mummies, undead are the critters we love to hate. In Open Grave: Secrets of the Undead, Wizards of the Coast offers up a tasty book filled with intriguing information for GMs wishing to get the most out of their players’ encounters with those who refuse to stay dead.
It’s important to note that this volume isn’t a simple monster manual for the Undead. It doesn’t bother to cover the basic types; skeletons, zombies, and even straight-up vampire types are totally ignored, being covered in some depth elsewhere. What it does offer are variations on the standard creature, with strategy tips and useful tricks for effective deployment.
Posted on April 28, 2009 by Flames
The magazine comes in a robust 60 pages. That is not as big as their major competitor, but it is very, very, full. The initial editorial lays out all of the article types that the magazine plans to pursue in the coming quarters and every one seems interesting and with a constant mind toward having something for all players. There was always an eye toward having both solid fluff (flavor) and rules (crunch) in each article. More over, a focus on making sure the flavor and crunch aligned. Readers will notice if there is a disconnect and will be turned off by a product that does a bad job of aligning these two very important aspects of game design. That is not the case here.
The articles are similar to classic articles we, as a gaming generation, have all grown up with. There are articles that detail new weapons and talk about the fighters that use them, articles that introduce a new god, his followers and other important doctrines of the faith.
Posted on April 6, 2009 by Megan
Intended to serve as a collection of information about red, blue, green, black, and white dragons (as described in the Monster Manual, as well as a few newcomer dragons in the shape of grey, brown and purple ones, this work launches straight into its subject with a chapter on Dragon Lore. Much has already been written about dragons and yet the surface of the possible information about these truly epic creatures has been merely scratched. This chapter takes a wide-ranging look at dragons as they exist in the alternate reality of Dungeons & Dragons, including origins, biology, society and outlook, culminating in details of the chromatic dragons. Did you know that a dragon has no ears, and that it grows a complete new set of teeth each time it increases in size? But lest such comments suggest a mere biological creature to studyas you would any other, fear not: the notes portray a clear picture of a being that is truly awe-inspiring, the stuff of legend indeed.
Posted on March 13, 2009 by Matt-M-McElroy
From the bright towns and darkened wilderness they come: mighty heroes intent on exploring dungeons, slaying monsters and battling evil.
The Player’s Handbook 2 offers Dungeons & Dragons players new options with new Races, Classes and more. This book introduces the primal power source, which draws on the spirits that preserve and sustain the world. Wizards of the Coast has offered up a handful of previews and excerpts on the Dungeons & Dragons website and a few lucky gamers out there have already received their pre-ordered copies of the book (some have even posted spoiler threads if you have the energy to dig through them).
Flames Rising was lucky enough to get an advance copy of the book for review and we are teaming up with a handful of other websites to explore some of the new options being made available to players of Dungeons & Dragons. Specifically we are going to be taking a look at the Shaman Class today. After our Look at the Shaman you will find a series of links to other sites examining other sections of the book.
Posted on February 27, 2009 by Flames
Elkram is a tightly focused PDF supplement for 4E D&D. It offers a new race and all the requisite information needed as a player or DM to integrate this race into your game world. The creatures in question here are “Elk-Rams,” or bi-pedal elks with large sharp horns. The supplement offers a complete overview of this race, their place in the world, rules for players and feats as well as a paragon path.
Elkram is an interesting concept for a 4E supplement. The 4E platform is very modular, which is to say it is easy to design a single piece separate from the rest of the game and then drop that into an existing game world. There is no end to the possibilities of what could be designed in this fashion (e.g. single races, classes, paragon paths, epic destinies, small collections of magic items or rituals, etc). It is a shame that the first such supplement I have seen use this insightful creation method leaves a great deal to be desired in the area of design.
Review by Vincent Venturella
Posted on January 30, 2009 by teampreston
As I was currently playing a Wizard in a D&D 4E campaign, I figured that when the opportunity to review The Quintessential Wizard came up it was serendipity. When I created my character I was a little let down at the lack of options and flavor for building my arcanist. The choices available in comparison to the other classes seemed a bit…bland, or maybe un-unique. Same-ol, same-ol. The Quintessential Wizard goes a long way towards rectifying this.
One note: the book was designed by Italian studio Asterion Press, and there are a few instances where the translations show. Nothing major, the work they did was exceptional and I seriously doubt any of us could do better on an Italian published book. When reading, be a bit forgiving of a few awkwardly worded sentences.
Review by Jeff Preston
Posted on January 19, 2009 by Flames
The syrallax rivals the dark elf and aboleth for domination of the subterranean realm. While syrallaces lack the sheer numbers of other races, they make up for it with the impressive stable of minions and thralls they keep and their ability to maximize those forces through superior strategy. Through intimidation and their poisonous gaze, they force others to serve them out of fear.
In this first set of poison pages from One Bad Egg’s Poisoncraft Fourth Edition line, you’ll find a set of monsters bound to make your upper paragon-tier players quake as they reach for the anti-venom.
Poisoncraft 4E: The Syrallax is available at the Flames Rising RPGNow Shop.
Posted on January 14, 2009 by teampreston
The first half of the adventure is a straight up series of linear deadly encounters. By linear I mean that while there are a few options given, there is really only one path to succeed. By deadly I do indeed mean DEADLY. A party of 1st Level Adventurers needs to be balanced and smart. They need to be absolutely cautious or face mortality. True Dungeoneers only please! All other should stay on the porch. No real RP at all in the first half. It’s a series of combat encounters and traps only.
The second half of the adventure introduces some roleplaying opportunities. Actually, it’s a big opportunity for characters with social skills to shine because failure at this stage could almost certainly result in TPK as well. Poor rolls and accidentally insulting a faction can result in a massive attack or ambush by vastly overwhelming forces.
Review by Jeff Preston
Posted on January 6, 2009 by Matt-M-McElroy
Jeff Preston has been working in the RPG industry as a freelance illustrator and concept artist for several years. His art has been featured in products released by Chaosium, Atlas Games, Catalyst Game Labs and many others.
Recently Jeff was one of the featured artists in the Halloween Horror series here at Flames Rising. Jeff has also been busy working on some of the Shroud products with the folks at One Bad Egg.
I recently had the chance to ask Jeff a few questions about his work…
Posted on January 4, 2009 by Flames
Goodman Games has posted details on their February and March releases!
DCC #61: CITADEL OF THE CORRUPTOR (FEBRUARY)
GMG5060, 48 pages, $12.99
Level 7-9 adventure. In a world of arcane magic and divine might, some secrets are best left hidden. When the forces of the wicked Mountain King discover an eldritch weapon of unmatched power, the future of the Northlands hangs in the balance. Following in the wake of bloody, madness-induced slaughter, can the heroes prevail where an army has perished? Blood and madness are in store, for where Lord Ablair the Corruptor passes, death must surely follow. Only the most cunning and courageous of heroes can triumph against the Citadel of the Corruptor!
More info at http://www.goodman-games.com/5060preview.html
Posted on December 30, 2008 by Flames
Raw magic power: the essence of all true fantasy role-playing games. In a world where magic permeates all aspects of daily life, a wizard is the undisputed lord of arcane lore. If you think that a wizard’s only way to express his true might is by casting a mundane fireball, take a look at the QUINTESSENTIAL WIZARD and think again!
In this book you will find a brand-new origins system, over 70 new powers, new rituals, 14 paragon paths, new feats, four new arcane implements, and many magic items specifically designed for arcane casters, including runes. Your wizard will be truly unique and will be able to choose from a wide range of options. This book also features guidelines to play your wizard in combat and non-combat situations, organisations that may help or hinder your efforts, and new rules to build your perfect mansion, a magical tower to keep all your treasures and secrets.
Posted on December 8, 2008 by Flames
The coming of the Shroud changed the landscape of the once-frozen North utterly—and called the dead forth from their graves. But its most subtle of changes was perhaps its most profound. Babes born after the Shroud came developed odd appearances, evincing milky skin, pale eyes, and strange auras in even the mildest of transformations. That would have been strange enough, but it soon became clear that more than just appearances had changed for these so-called shroudborn. They became creatures half a step outside of our own world, attuned to the call of the spirit-world, and at times living lives more in tune with that realm than our own.
Shroudborn Multiclass is available at the Flames Rising RPGNow Shop.
Posted on November 26, 2008 by Flames
One of the challenges of any fantasy role-playing game is coming up with new, unpredictable and fearsome foes to tangle with your heroes.
“The Random Esoteric Creature Generator” by Goodman Games is sub-titled “For Classic Fantasy Games and their Modern Simulacra.” Simply put, it’s a monster-maker for d20 and similar fantasy
The 31-page .PDF document is filled with random roll charts to help you design bizarre and unique creatures, giving you everything from size and body shape to special attacks and defenses.
Review by Michael Erb
Posted on November 19, 2008 by Flames
The gods of the Shroud know that names give you power over them. So it is that they are not called by their true names, but instead by their titles within the sacred zodiac. The Silent Sister. The Rider. The Bone Witch. The Shadow Above. The Root. And more… Thirteen gods in all, though their newest member is an upstart, fresh-born of a once-low race now taking its place among the tribes of men. All vie for power and position through their faithful intermediaries, each one shaken by the coming of the Shroud — or perhaps secretly its source.
Gods of the Shroud is available at the Flames Rising RPGNow Shop.
Posted on November 5, 2008 by Flames
I recently received a review copy of Races of the Shroud: The Apelord, the initial offering from One Bad Egg, and authored by Fred Hicks and Lee Hammock. This product, weighing in at 12 (electronic pdf) pages, currently retails for $1.99 at RPGNow. This is a 4e GSL (!) product which adds a new race to the D&D rulesets, complete with powers, feats, sample characters, and even a few sample adventure ideas.
First, despite the low price tag, The Apelord is really an aesthetically pleasing product. A clean, professional look, combined with some excellent art by fan favorite Storn Cook, really makes Apelord a pleasure to look over.
Review by Zachary Houghton
Posted on October 31, 2008 by Flames
This PDF is described by its author as a “World Seed,” a small idea that has no home in ay particular world that you can pick up and drop into the fertile soil of your own game world. You can nurture it and watch it grow in to hours of adventures, exploration and heroism. This is an excellent idea, as most market research has shown that the majority of D&D games that are being played right now are not set in Eberron or The Forgotten Realms but rather in Steve’s World, Jimmy’s Land or some other Random Homebrew Campaign Name Here.
Review by Vincent R. Venturella