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That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Holy poo poo, I bought a few packs of Dragon Dice when it came out, and even managed to play a game or two. I think they might still be in some old box in my mom's basement. I recall it was pretty much "Magic, but worse in every conceivable way."

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FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

To the extent that TSR had any lasting influence on anything, it was because of Williams. She took the company away from the Blumes (who, at one point, had several dozen relatives on the TSR payroll, each with a company car), imposed some professional discipline (employees couldn't just play their home D&D campaigns all day and get paid under the rubric of "development"), invested heavily in production values, moved aggressively and smartly into new spaces that paid off huge dividends like novel (the Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms juggernauts) and and computer games (Gold Box, Baldur's Gate, etc.). Her voodoo stopped working in the 1990s as the RPG marketplace changed (hello, Vampire), TSR missed the boat on new forms of gaming (especially Magic), and they were unable to develop a third franchise to follow up DL and FR. She was far from a saint - that Buck Rogers stuff was pretty inexcusable - but she saved TSR when it was in danger of being looted down the baseboard by a family of good ol' grognards from the days of Gary's table, and she ran the company through its most lucrative glory years (all those setting people loved about AD&D - Planescape, Ravenloft, Dark Sun, etc - were all done under her watch). She frankly deserves to be carved on Mount Grogmore, yet for some mysterious reason she has gone down in nerd history as The Horrible Bitch Who Ruined Everything.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





MadScientistWorking posted:

Yeah the sexism comes in when the other people running the company were inept morons who couldn't actually make a decent business deal with it was standing right in front of them. Seriously, in terms of lovely business deals WoTC and Hasbro are still screwed over by the inept deals that Gygax made but no one talks about that.

See..... No one ever mentions the stupid things that the Blume brothers did which actually put the company in dire straights.

could you elaborate on these?

RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

gradenko_2000 posted:

What was that like? I remember they even made a PC game out of it and I saw it once on G4TV or whatever the equivalent of it was in 90s and seeing 3d dice get thrown across the monitor blew my teenage mind.

It was kind of like the Marvel Dice Masters game but they had more than d6's. This was also in 1995, back when Magic the Gathering was a high concept game and no one was ready for anything collectible like that beyond a card game.

The game had no real branding too which I think hurt it big time. All the dice were just generic D&D monsters. The thing that helped Marvel to me is that when you buy those dice, it's a character you're probably intimately familiar with. You want Cyclops, Magneto, or Spider-man because not only are they good in the game, I don't actually know if this is true so don't hold it against me, but you also want them because you like the characters. Very few people are going to get excited at the prospect of owning a die that's a "remorhaz" or a "beholder" without a stat card with artwork that grabs the player.



I think Dragon Dice is only really getting a shot now is because of word of mouth over the Internet, gamers having this nostalgia for the "good ole days", and the fact that people are so familiar with collectible everything it's now a lower concept item.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Plague of Hats posted:

Holy poo poo, I bought a few packs of Dragon Dice when it came out, and even managed to play a game or two. I think they might still be in some old box in my mom's basement. I recall it was pretty much "Magic, but worse in every conceivable way."

MTG but worse in every conceivable way = Spellfire
MTG but worse in every conceivable way + dice = Dragon Dice

My guilty weakness from D&D attempts to horn in on other company's wheelhouses is fully assembled and painted armies in both Kilsek and Mordengard factions.

RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

My favorite recent CCG rose tinted nostalgia glasses was an article from Kotaku that a friend posted on FB about how the Decipher Star Wars card game was a perfect, balanced experience that should still be made and played to this day. The friend totally believed it too even though he used to bitch about power creep and the last sets when the game was still going. :psyduck:

Everybody remembers how cool the EU sets were because they had real people portraying characters like Mara Jade but no one remembers the convoluted set only rules and a rule set that relied on silver bullet cards.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

PresidentBeard posted:

could you elaborate on these?

FMguru posted:

the Blumes (who, at one point, had several dozen relatives on the TSR payroll, each with a company car)

MadScientistWorking
Jun 23, 2010

"I was going through a time period where I was looking up weird stories involving necrophilia..."


PresidentBeard posted:

could you elaborate on these?
In terms of the Gygax thing I'd have to dig it up again but the rights for the D&D movie were something that he was involved in which is still a giant catastrophe for Hasbro and WoTC. Even the first movie had legal issues going for it as it was in perpetual hell.

Rangpur
Dec 31, 2008



My understanding of Williams' tenure is that--aside from the Buck Rogers license thing, which was genuinely greed-driven corruption--most of the nerd resentment was driven by Gygax himself, and his circle of friends. The cold and unfeeling avatar of Big Business who took control of the company they built and treated it as a source of profit to be squeezed instead of the precious hand-crafted treasure it was meant to be! The craftsman versus the accountant is a real common story in business. Problem is that you can be a genre-defining pioneer and still not be qualified to run the company. Hell, same thing happened to Osamu Tezuka.

I'll be fair though and say I don't think Gygax and the rest were trashing her because of her gender specifically--I think they would have hated her regardless. But once you send it out into the wilds of comic shops and game nights it gets filtered through all the weird baggage the hobby seems to carry about women.

Xelkelvos
Dec 19, 2012



Surely that can't be all? (Please say there's more)

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!


Man, I grabbed the Dragon Dice videogame back when it was new and... I'm not sure if it was just me being a dumb kid, or terrible UI design/manual design, but it felt loving incomprehensible. I'm pretty sure it was only supposed to make sense to anyone who'd played the actual dice game.

I also seem to recall it had like ten kinds of elves, which is also usually a pretty dire warning.

MadScientistWorking
Jun 23, 2010

"I was going through a time period where I was looking up weird stories involving necrophilia..."


Xelkelvos posted:

Surely that can't be all? (Please say there's more)
Supposedly, the Blumes used TSR to acquire latchook rug kits but with Wikipedia being Wikipedia its not exactly something I would believe right off the bat.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

PurpleXVI posted:

I also seem to recall it had like ten kinds of elves, which is also usually a pretty dire warning.
The red and orange dice represented the faction: lava elves

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Seriously: lava eleves

MadScientistWorking
Jun 23, 2010

"I was going through a time period where I was looking up weird stories involving necrophilia..."


FMguru posted:

The red and orange dice represented the faction: lava elves
I don't know about you but in any other context that sounds amazing.

Terrible Opinions
Oct 17, 2013





Yeah specifically deals Gygax made that are still hurting the company. Those sort of legal ramifications are just plane fascinating.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




PresidentBeard posted:

Yeah specifically deals Gygax made that are still hurting the company. Those sort of legal ramifications are just plane fascinating.

Care to elaborate on some of them? Were any aircraft-related? :v:

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




FMguru posted:

Seriously: lava eleves
Man, elven abilities to settle in a place and take a generation or two to pick up location-specific adaptations doesn't really have a limit on what kind of environment it'll work on does it.

RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

MadScientistWorking posted:

Supposedly, the Blumes used TSR to acquire latchook rug kits but with Wikipedia being Wikipedia its not exactly something I would believe right off the bat.

There's something about that in Designers & Dragons: The 70s. I believe they were propping up the business of a relative under the banner of diversifying the company's portfolio. There's nothing especially damning but that's because the book is really objective about everything and doesn't take sides.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

The Blumes selling their stocks to Williams was framed as a deep betrayal of Gaming's Grandpa in the story I was given. Vague telephone-game reports of Gygax being sued over trying to sell a new game (Dangerous Journeys) just deepened the impression that his former partners (and partner) were straight-up out to get the old dork.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

Zereth posted:

Man, elven abilities to settle in a place and take a generation or two to pick up location-specific adaptations doesn't really have a limit on what kind of environment it'll work on does it.
The blue and green dice were: coral elves

hyphz
Aug 5, 2003




Dragon Dice is still going, I think - it got bought up by another company who rewrote most of the rules to eliminate breakages in the original.

MadScientistWorking
Jun 23, 2010

"I was going through a time period where I was looking up weird stories involving necrophilia..."


hyphz posted:

Dragon Dice is still going, I think - it got bought up by another company who rewrote most of the rules to eliminate breakages in the original.
Yeah it is. I didn't realize it was the TSR game at the time but I can definitely go play it.

Payndz
Sep 22, 2006

I'm Peter Graves, and I was wondering if you could direct me to the natatorium, as I'm attending a Scuderia Ferrari team-building exercise. Thank you. I'm Peter Graves.


RocknRollaAyatollah posted:

I think a big problem with the perception of Williams and TSR is that most the other principal actors are these mythologized gaming icons. Gary Gygax is held up on a pedestal even though he made terrible business choices and most likely spent most of his time during the Hollywood period using TSR money on hookers and blow.
Any time some grog goes on about how great Gygax was, I think about that edition of Dragon (editorially independent from the rest of TSR, honest! :v: ) which he used as a bully pulpit to spend 3000 words tearing into the fanzines of a couple of random guys who said mean things about his company. Professional, he wasn't; it was the kind of rant a teenager would have done given a soapbox and no editorial control, only he was in his forties.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


But Dragon Dice won an Origins award! That means it's good, right? :v:

This is an anecdote, so take it for what it's worth...

While waiting in line last GenCon, I met a guy who lived within driving distance of Lake Geneva, and he had a friend whose father ran a junkyard. Supposedly during the closing of TSR, that junkyard had something curious arrive: skids of unsold Dragon Dice. He and his friends were able to load up a van to the brim with boxes of the game, and took it home where they stored it in the garage. They were able to give away full sets to pretty much every nerd they knew and apparently had a high old time playing it.

Fast forward about a decade and he's at GenCon and he sees a booth adverting Dragon Dice (SFR, Inc.). He's excited to see it again and goes up to the guys at SFR and tells them the above tale. Suddenly they get pissed, since apparently they had paid for WotC's full stock, but a certain amount they had paid for had apparently... gone missing. "So that's where it went!" Feeling justifiably uncomfortable, he made his exit.

And that's the story of how one company's trash became another company's lost treasure.

Alien Rope Burn fucked around with this message at 19:01 on Mar 13, 2015

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


gradenko_2000 posted:

Isn't Dark Heresy also a BRP/percentile-based game? The dichotomy hit me because System Mastery reviewed that too and they seemed to like it (although spellcasters in either game end up being that much better than everyone else).

If Dark Heresy is anything like Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd edition, then it uses Warhammer unit stats made more granular to work with percentile rolls, with skills and other abilities being covered what is essentially feats.

And being a psyker in the grim future of the 41th millenium is far from caster supremacy. Everyone distrusts you, and spell failures can summon Greater Daemons or just straight up turn you into John Carpenter's The Thing.

RocknRollaAyatollah posted:

I think a big problem with the perception of Williams and TSR is that most the other principal actors are these mythologized gaming icons. Gary Gygax is held up on a pedestal even though he made terrible business choices and most likely spent most of his time during the Hollywood period using TSR money on hookers and blow. After reading the history of the gaming industry in the 70's it's pretty obvious that the founding fathers of D&D were incompetent, consistently misjudged the market, failed to innovate, and were unnecessarily vindictive against other hobbyists.

Don't forget the abyssmal editing and scatterbrain writing that resulted in just about every OD&D group playing a different permutation of the game.

FMguru posted:

Seriously: lava eleves

There exist multiple different elven sub-races for all sorts of colors and places, so lave elves are far from surprising.

(Really, the only surprising elf race would be "totally not tall dwarfs with pointy ears" elves, though that might already exist somewhere. Might also be closer to Norse mythology if I remember correctly)

Foglet posted:

I dunno, there's the obvious ability to take a running start, flop down on your belly and go all wheeeeeeee in any direction you want quicker than walking.
(you can't always formalize a happy little penguin into game terms, is all I'm trying to say)

Add some mercury armor (not sure if the nanobots can handle the lack of friction, but who cares?), and you're a T-1000 penguin.
And quicker than walking can actually be accomplished with the so-called "slippers", essentially rollerblades without the blades. Reminds me of those giant robots from the Armored Core series who can somehow use their thrusters to glide on the ground without actually hovering.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 20:07 on Mar 13, 2015

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Doresh posted:

And being a psyker in the grim future of the 41th millenium is far from caster supremacy. Everyone distrusts you, and spell failures can summon Greater Daemons or just straight up turn you into John Carpenter's The Thing.

This is true in 40k. In the version of Dark Heresy we read, it was less than a 1% chance that anything like that would happen, and most of the old 1 in 6 perils fear was replaced by 1 in 100 chance of the room smelling like eggs or something. Really took the teeth out of it.

PJOmega
May 5, 2009


Alien Rope Burn posted:

Suddenly they get pissed, since apparently they had paid for WotC's full stock, but a certain amount they had paid for had apparently... gone missing. "So that's where it went!" Feeling justifiably uncomfortable, he made his exit.

If true drat is that unprofessional. Wish more companies would treat conventions as trade shows. I know its ridiculous to bitch about unprofessionalism in the hobby but drat.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



Granted, can't blame those guys for being upset about finding out part of the merchandise they paid for but never got had gotten sent to the loving dump. Still unprofessional to be openly angry about it.

Hyper Crab Tank
Feb 10, 2014

The future of crustacean-based warfare


theironjef posted:

This is true in 40k. In the version of Dark Heresy we read, it was less than a 1% chance that anything like that would happen, and most of the old 1 in 6 perils fear was replaced by 1 in 100 chance of the room smelling like eggs or something. Really took the teeth out of it.

I'm not sure I would prefer having a chance on any spellcast to instantly end the campaign.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Well, like I said, anecdotal.

Kobold eBooks
Mar 5, 2007

EVERY MORNING I WAKE UP AN OPEN PALM SLAM A CARTRIDGE IN THE SUPER FAMICOM. ITS E-ZEAO AND RIGHT THEN AND THERE I START DOING THE MOVES ALONGSIDE THE MAIN CHARACTER, CORPORAL FALCOM.

Hyper Crab Tank posted:

I'm not sure I would prefer having a chance on any spellcast to instantly end the campaign.

The spirit of Dark Heresy(And WH40k in general) always struck me as such that if your old party got wiped, you'd make a new one and get sent in to clean up the mess.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Hyper Crab Tank posted:

I'm not sure I would prefer having a chance on any spellcast to instantly end the campaign.

Oh no of course not. The game suffered from psyker supremacy and it was terrible. The way to fix that perils aren't as conducive to RPGs as they are to tabletops isn't making perils rarer. They should have just weakened the class across the board. Smaller powers, smaller perils. Real shame. The techpriest class in that game was fantastic by the way. Just awesome.

bathroomrage posted:

The spirit of Dark Heresy(And WH40k in general) always struck me as such that if your old party got wiped, you'd make a new one and get sent in to clean up the mess.

Which is fine if character creation doesn't take most of a session all by itself (it would).

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


theironjef posted:

Oh no of course not. The game suffered from psyker supremacy and it was terrible. The way to fix that perils aren't as conducive to RPGs as they are to tabletops isn't making perils rarer. They should have just weakened the class across the board. Smaller powers, smaller perils. Real shame. The techpriest class in that game was fantastic by the way. Just awesome.


Which is fine if character creation doesn't take most of a session all by itself (it would).

Techpriests get out of control pretty much the second you step into either the splatbooks or the other lines, unfortunately. I love the DH Techpriest, but past that point they have so many sources of permanent ability boosts and special powers and they keep getting more with each book.

Hyper Crab Tank
Feb 10, 2014

The future of crustacean-based warfare


On an unrelated note, I read some more of that DoD book and I remembered this book has misfire tables. The melee attack one has twenty possible effects ranging from "You swing your weapon so hard it snaps it half" to "You swallow your own tongue and fall prone, and will choke to death in a number of rounds if no one helps you".

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Night10194 posted:

Techpriests get out of control pretty much the second you step into either the splatbooks or the other lines, unfortunately. I love the DH Techpriest, but past that point they have so many sources of permanent ability boosts and special powers and they keep getting more with each book.

That's a shame. We don't usually talk too much on the show about splatbooks so we hadn't really considered it.

That said grnegsnspm just showed up with the greatest splatbook in history, which we'll cover in a month or two.

MartianAgitator
Apr 30, 2003

Damn Earth! Damn her!

The story of Dragon Dice is, as has been noted by its popularity and its winning awards, the success that killed TSR. Spellfire was not the Magic card killer TSR wanted and Dragon Dice weren't either, but the game had a drat fine run. The issue was that TSR was making deals with big book stores like Barnes & Noble and Waldenbooks to carry their stock. That's fantastic for TSR! So they wanted to push their collectible dice game on the same market, and its profitability was good or at least better than most CCGs of the time.

The deal with book publisher/retailer relationships is really weird. At the end of a year, each retailer sells its excess stock back to the publisher. So when the end of the year came around, TSR had to buy back not only a larger portion of their books than they expected (because of course of the competition taking sales away from them) but also aaaaaaalllll those bags of dice that sold well but were not the Magic-killers they had really hoped they were. They couldn't cover that with their already dwindling finances and, luckily, Peter Adkison threw them a life line.

The big, big failure of Dragon Dice, as has been wisely pointed out, was lack of branding. Lava elves and coral elves would not only sell like crazy then, they would probably sell like crazy now. But what the gently caress do they look like? I dare anyone to find a piece of actually cool art for this game. Even their ads were bland as gently caress. That's the weirdest part - in the 90's TSR made so many amazingly rad game worlds. But their killer app's setting was a bizarre mishmash that made FR look like it was designed by Steve Jobs.

Tasoth
Dec 12, 2011


Hyper Crab Tank posted:

I'm not sure I would prefer having a chance on any spellcast to instantly end the campaign.

Perhaps if you handled it similar to how Ars Magica does and have everyone with a super awesome psyker/space marine/Inquisitor, a back up not-as-cool but still rad character like a rogue trader or Commissar and then a pool of grunts. That way when your super awesome character is in the spot light and does something terrible, it's not a party wipe and you still have a rad back up characters to roll with until you can make a new hermetic psyker. You could even scale combat so that the awesome characters are okay in it, the rad ones will most likely survive and then your slew of grunts are going to die violently in the end.

What I'm saying is Ars Magica is rad and has ideas that could be fun in other games.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:



Feats and Prestige Classes

There's maybe one feat and one prestige class in this whole bunch that are good. The rest range from salvageable to hot garbage.

Feats


Additional Familiar(Sorc/Wiz level 6th)
Hey! You know that thing that's more of a liability than an asset?
Do you want another one that's even weaker?
Hey! Where are you going?

Avoid Technological Mishap (Skill Focus (Use Technological Device))
So to use this you need to have skill focus in Use technological device, which is not the skill you use to make them, and is a skill that has a hard upper limit on the number you need to hit, in order to reduce the malfunction rating of devices, but anyone worth their salt is going to try and keep the MR at 1 or 0 anyway because a 25% "Your device is now a pile of slag and you're missing an arm" rate is kind of ridiculous and lovely.

Capture Spell(Arcane Energy Control, Block Spell)
This feat allows you to capture spells that you counter as long as they would normally appear on your spell list, however it's somewhat more difficult than it would originally appear. First you need to counter the spell, then expend an additional spell slot equal to or greater than the spell that you countered. Then make a caster level check DC 11+The Spells Caster Level. So you're only going to succeed roughly 50% of the time. Though once you've captured it you can either A:) Cast it, or B:) Scribe it in your spellbook. On the one hand it's a neat way to get extra spells as a wizard, on the other hand it's 3 feats deep into an only okay feat tree.

Consummate Machinist(build Firearms, Build Siege Weapons, Build Small Devices, AND Build Vehicles)
Your TL for devices is increased by 2. This is an alright feat I guess, if you're going to be a level 20 tinker you're going to get all the prereqs eventually, might as well make a slightly more powerful railgun.

Dismissible Spell
By increasing the level of a spell by 1 you can add Dismissible to it's duration!
I cannot for the life of me think of a spell with a duration that isn't dismissible that you would want to at any point prematurely dismiss, or couldn't wait out the duration of.

Fel Infusion(Any other metamagic feat, ability to cast 3 spells with the Fel descriptor)
A Spell modified by this gains the Fel descriptor, which increases the saving throws by 3 and gives it a +10 bonus on caster level checks to overcome spell resistance. And any damage inflicted by the spell is Fel damage instead of it's normal type. This does have some odd caveats though, it doesn't change the existing descriptors of the spell. So a creature that's specifically immune to fire spells would still be immune to a fel fireball, but a creature immune to fire damage would not be. It increases the level of the spell by +3

Fork Spell
When you cast a forked spell, two copies are cast at once but each is at half effectiveness. Damage is cut in half, if it doesn't deal damage it's duration is cut in half, if it doesn't have either of those it's area is cut in half, if it lacks all of those features then it can't be forked. +1 level.

Hasten Spell
You can make a spell that normally takes a standard action take a move action instead for a +2 spell level adjustment. It still provokes AAOs.

Link Spell
When preparing spells you can link two spells together. They must be cast at the same time, when you cast one the other is also automatically cast, the casting time is equal to the longest casting time, each linked spell takes up a spell slot one level higher than normal.
Greater Link Spell(Link Spell)
Exactly the Same as Link Spell except you can now link any number of spells together. So go ahead mister wizard, fill up your entire spell book with metamagiced fireballs of various permutations and levels. Kill the final boss in one round by hurling your entire spell allotment at them. Good for you.

Spell Specialization(Spell Focus, caster level 4th)
Choose one spell that's a part of your spell focus school. Your caster level is 2 levels higher when casting that spell, and any metamagic feats increase it's level by 1 less.
Greater Spell Specialization(Greater Spell Focus, Spell Focus, Spell Specialization, caster level 12th)
Increases the bonus of it's child feat to +4 and -2.


Technological Weaponry(Use Technological Device 6 ranks)
You can use any technological device as a weapon, even if it wasn't designed as a weapon, as long as it's one size category larger than you or smaller. However each time you attack with it you need to make a Use Tech check at a DC equal to 2 higher than normal, and the Malfunction Rating of the device applies to both that check and the attack roll. Just bring along a staff, or a gun.


Transcendent Spell
For the low low cost of increasing the spell slot of a spell by seven levels you can remove the upper limit on variable effects based on caster level. Let me just be frank, this feat is very, very bad. A Transcendent Scorching Ray is not as good as meteor swarm. A Transcendent magic missile is a hilarious waste of an 8th level spell slot (9d4+9 damage? Scandal!) Just learn some new spells and let this feat be.

Undead Supremacy(Spell Focus(Necromancy))
All undead under your control gain +4 dex and bonus HP based on their size like constructs do. Note that this says under your control not just ones you create. So if you're being a necrolord this isn't a bad thing to grab.

Prestige Classes


Bombadier
Hit Die: d6
Requirements Craft(Alchemy) 5, Craft(Technological Device)5, Knowledge (Architecture and Engineering)5 Build Small Devices, Scavenge Materials, Must have killed a man in tahoe just to watch him die blown up a group of 3 or more creatures or a structure with a single explosion of some kind.

First of all, this class doesn't actually increase your Tech Score capacity for making bombs, as only the tinker class can do that, even though this is basically a tinker exclusive class. Second of all they buried a class feature in the weapon/armor proficiencies in that you can take weapon focus with explosive and splash weapons. Okay. Goblin Sapping reduces the hardness of wooden structures by the Bombardier's intelligence bonus when you're blowing them up Bomb Bouncing Lets you skip grenades along the ground to double their range increment. Excelent Timing Lets you set a delay on an explosive without increasing the use Device penalty on it. Trick Toss Lets you throw curveballs with grenades, like "90 degree corner" curveballs. Sure.

Boom lets you double the explosive yield of existing grenades by upgrading them... which is a thing you could do anyway using rules that they include later in the book. Dwarven Sapping is like Goblin Sapping except it applies to stone and metal buildings. Big Boom lets you upgrade explosive devices to always deal maximum damage. Improved Excellent Timing lets you precisely time grenades and other timed explosives to go off at specific ticks in the initiative count. Master Sapper lets you apply your ranks in Knowledge (Architecture and Engineering) as a bonus damage on a placed explosive as long as you spend a full round action targeting a large or larger structure.

Ground Zero is... interesting. The sapper can apply double his hit point total to the damage an explosion does by standing next to a bomb and manually executing a precise detonation. A DC 25 reflex save avoids all damage for the Bombardier, failure means you take normal (unmodified by your hit points) Damage. The game says that this 'normally kills the bombardier' but, not really? I mean, run up to your opponent, pull a grenade pin and smile as it deals 1d6 damage to you but 1d6+120 damage to them.

All in all this is an interesting class, but only because the game's technological device creation rules lets you do some absurd poo poo if you've got a tinker feeding you pocket nukes.


Engineer
Hit Die: d6
Requirements Leadership, Craft (Tech Device) 10, Must have completed a device with a TS of 10 without assistance.

Master Tinker's Touch Makes your Engineer levels count as Tinker levels for the purposes of determining your TS, in addition you can add your ranks in Craft(Tech)/5 to your TS capacity as fake tinker levels. Specialization at 1st, 5th, and 8th level an Engineer picks an Area of specilization from the types of Technological Devices that are avaliable to craft. the Engineer gets a competence bonus to craft checks within his areas of specialization +1 at 1st level, and an additional +1 at every odd level after that. But they take a -3 penalty in any area they are not specialized in. Lead Collaboration allows an Engineer to use his feats and Tinker's Touch to determine the Tech Level of any device a collaboration builds, and lowers the virtual GP that needs to be met to build the device from Market Value X 10 to Market Value X 7. Though if he takes a week without working on it it reverts back to it's lower TS and market value X10.

Draft Schematic lets him draw up plans for any device he has personally constructed. If he makes one additional craft check after the device is finished he makes plans that anyone but him can use to gain an Engineer Level/2 bonus on all checks to construct a copy of the device. And finally Hold Together lowers the MR of any technological device he is operating by 1.

It's a great class for an NPC I guess, or someone who really really wants to break the tech crafting system over their knee.


Graven One
Hit Die: d4
Requirements: Non-Good, Independent Affiliation, Knowlege(Arcana)8, Knowlege (Religion)8, Spell Focus(Necromancy), Must be able to cast 3rd level arcane spells. Must have spent one night buried in a graveyard during a new moon.

This is a full casting level class like the Necromancer was, and it is everything that the Necromancer wishes it could be, the spell lists are mostly the same though the Graven One doesn't get any level drain spells. It does get the new Summon Undead spells but the Necromancer gets those too. There are a few new Necromancer Only spells (ANd one that's really good) but otherwise they're mostly the same.

At 1st level a Graven One crafts their own Bone Scythe as a manifestation of their bond with death. It starts as a +1 Scythe, at 3rd level it becomes a +2 Keen scythe, at 6th level its a +3 keen ghost touch scythe, and at 9th level it's a +4 keen death touch unholy scythe. They can summon the scythe to their hand from anywhere as a standard action, and only they or their Awakened Minion can wield it.

Awaken Minion The Graven One can make a Skeletal Warrior or Skeletal Mage from the bones of a Fighter/wizard/socerer. Both of those templates are from the Manual of Monsters and are fairly decent upgrades to the basic skeleton so this isn't a bad thing. They start out as a level 2 F/W/S and gain 2 more levels at 4th, 6th, and 8th level. The only downside is that if it's destroyed it takes 1 month per effective character level to rebuild. So at 10th level if your warrior dies it takes 8 months of downtime to rebuild it. Bolstered Bones makes any skeletal undead the Graven One summons have +4 turn resistance and +2 hp per HD, and her awakened minion gains +4 turn resistance. Imbue Ability lets the graven one transfer supernatural ability from one Undead to another by destroying the original creature and spending a number of XP equal to 10 times the original creatures maximum HP. This seems super expensive when there's no guarantee that the second creature won't die. Seize Ability is similar, except the graven one can steal it for themselves (int bonus) times per day. Though it only lasts 24 hours it also doesn't cost Experience points.

Armor of Bones and Shadow is the 9th level ability that lets the graven one summon a suit of +4 full plate made of bones and shadow (:v:) that doesn't have an armor check penalty, maximum dex bonus, or arcane spell failure chance. With a command word the armor can be shattered and distributed amongst 10 minions within 100 feet, giving them all a +4 bonus on saving throws and +4 AC. And at 10th level the graven one becomes Undead through Undying.

Yeah, from both a flavor and mechanics standpoint the Graven One is pretty amazing. The necromancer gets some free death coils, the Graven One gets a magic scythe and the highest AC in the game, as well as an unstoppable skeleton army.


Shadow Hunter
Hit Die: d8
Requirements: Horde, BAB+4, Know (Religion)5, Survival 5, Must be able to cast 1st level divine spells

The Shadow Hunter is a full caster class like the Shaman, and there are some similarities, but the fact that their are shadow hunter only spells means that if you want to get them then you're probably waiting until healer 10 to gain access to this class.

Spirits of the Loa are the sole class feature. At 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, and 10th level you can pick an ability. Except there are only 6 abilities so it's basically "Pick the order you're getting these abilities in."

Battle Stride Once per day he can give any number of allies within 30 feet of him a +4 bonus on init checks and a +10 bonus to their land speed for (Shadow Hunter) Rounds. This does not affect the shadow hunter. Healing Wave is a situation where they made an ability far more complicated than it really needed to be. It's a wave of healing that bounces between allies that are at least within 10 feet of each other. It starts at 1d8+(shadow Hunter) Hit Points, and then decreases a die step each time it bounces, to 1d6 and then stopping at 1d4. at 5th level it starts at 1d10, and at 10th level it starts at 1d12. It can bounce back and forth between two allies as many times as it can as long as they stay within 10 feet of each other. "The shadow hunter may sacrifice a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd level healing spell to use this ability a number of times per day equal to his wisdom bonus", the way this is worded it sounds like one sacrificed spell earns you (Wisdom) uses. And this ability is strictly better than Cure Light wounds in every way. So that can't be possible. But it also doesn't increase in efficacy when you use higher level slots, and you can't use 4th+ slots at all. No I have no idea why.

Hex is the only one that has a level requirement (5th) which allows them to cast a special baleful polymorph on someone once per day. They need to make a fort save dc 10+(Shadow Hunter)+(Wisdom Mod) and it lasts 1 round per 2 shadow hunter levels. They gain all the statistics of a toad but keep their own Hit points and saving throws. Which sounds to me like a "Turn them into a toad and let the fighter and barbarian attack something with AC 10 for a few rounds"

Serpentine Form The shadow hunter can wild shape into a snake. That's basically it. Smite Undead (Wisdom Mod) times per day the shadow hunter can add his class level as a bonus to attack and damage rolls against an undead. Storm Spear (Wisdom Mod) times per day the shadow hunter can make a touch attack that deals 1d4+(Shadow Hunter) Electricity damage. it's better than nothing I suppose.

Other than Healing Wave this is sort of a worse Shaman, they get some choice spells from the wizard list though, like Symbol of Death, Symbol of Insanity, and Crushing Despair.


Spirit Walker
Hit Die: d8
Requirements Tauren, Follower of the Totem, 2nd level divine spells

The spirit walker is a half caster, gaining one level every odd level, and one of the few that we'll encounter. They do gain proficiency with Tauren Halberds, medium armor, and shields. Their first ability they get is Ghost Dance once per day for every 2 class levels the Spirit walker can perform a ghost dance to gain his wisdom modifier as a bonus on attack and damage rolls against undead, demons, and any other known foes of the tauren tribe. No you didn't miss anything, they forgot to give a duration. Also "any other known foe" is amazingly broad. 'those dudes who are attacking me' are known foes.

Spirit Companion Is a druid's animal companion except they've got the extraplaner subtype and killing them returns them to the emerald dream for 1d6 days. Hero's Spirit lets the Spiritwalker to gain a morale bonus equal to his class level on attack and damage rolls as well as saving throws for a number of rounds equal to his wisdom modifier once per day. Spirit of the Kodo is another temporary combat buff, +4 natural armor and a +2 bonus to strength and con for (new con mod) rounds per day.

Ethereal Form lets the Spiritwalker go incorporeal for a number of rounds equal to his spiritwalker level once per day, but he can't affect the physical world except with spells. Chant of Ages lets the Spirit walker add his Wisdom bonus to any skill check he could take a 10 or 20 on. War Dance allows a sprit walker to buff any allies within 30 feet of him by dancing. They get a +4 morale bonus on attack and damage rolls for as long as he concentrates plus a number of rounds equal to his spirit walker level. Which is a minimum of 6 rounds by the time you get it. So just dance for a round, then get back to killing. Mass Ethereal Form just lets him bring other people along for the ride when he uses Ethereal Form. Avatar of the Ancients once per year the Spirit walker can summon an ancient of war to aid him for a single day. The thing is that Ancients are supposed to have class levels per the monster manual, and it doesn't say how many it has, so maybe the Dm is supposed to scale it up. Considering it's a thing you can only use once per year it should probably have about the same effect as a nuke.

The class isn't bad, it gets a bunch of temporary combat buffs, and depending on how you spread them out you can either be a godlike killing machine for one combat a day, or pretty good all day long. I'm not sure if it's worth giving up 5 spellcasting levels though.


Steamwarrior
This class is bad, it does not give any bonuses over just staying a tinker other than the ability to keep your steam armor up to date rather than having to build new armor. In fact you lose class features. Just, don't.


Warden
Hit Die: d6
Requirements:Night-Elf, non-chaotic, Alliance, BAB+5, Gather Information 8, Move Silently 6, Dodge, Mobility

The warden is a spellcasting prestige class, and gains access to the Ranger's spell list. They're rather light on class features though.
Slicing Torrent is the major one, but it's not that impressive. You deal 1d4 points of damage per 2 class levels in a 40 foot long cone. But only to the 5 closest targets in that cone, be they friend or foe. and they can make a reflex save for half damage. You can only use it 3 times per day at 1st level, but you gain additional uses and a longer cone as you level up. But the longer cone is kind of worthless because it always hits the nearest 5 creatures, and you're at maximum doing 20 damage, trending more towards 10, 5 if they make their reflex save. Woohoo. Blink lets you do short-distance dimension doors 1/2/3 times per day. Lesser Shadow Strike is a spell that we get to later that they can cast 1/2/3 times per day, as is Avatar of Vengeance but since that's a capstone they only get to use it once.

The class isn't great, all the spells that it can get are spells that the wizard can also get, the only unique feature it does have is terrible. The requirements to get in it are also really specific, and the only advantage it has otherwise is it inexplicably has a 1/1 BAB.


Witch Doctor
Hit Die:d4
Requirements: Troll, Non-Good, Craft(Alchemy)7, Brew Potion, 2nd level arcane spells.

"But Kurieg" you cry "Witch Doctors are divine casters", and I reply yes, they are, in 2nd edition, in this edition they're arcane casters, so they're evil, also they're only half-casters like the spirit walker was.

Their first class feature is Ward Craft which increases the armor class, hardness, and hit points of "ward spells that create totems" by the witch doctor's intelligence bonus. There is precisely one spell that fits those criteria. Moving on. At 2nd level the witch doctor can add a few drops from his Shaka Brew cauldron to any potion or alchemic item to maximize the variable numeric effects. This increases the cost of brewing potions by 5xp per level of the spell, or the dc of creating the item by +5.

Bad Juju lets the witch doctor make a voodoo doll as long as they have 1 hit points worth of flesh/blood/hair from a creature which allows them to deliver any harmful touch attack or enchantment(compulsion) spell of up to 3rd level through the doll as long as they're on the same plane... but only once, then the doll explodes. Voodoo Weapon allows a Witch Doctor to make a wooden weapon that can, once per day as a full round action, gain the frost, flaming, or thundering property for (Witch Doctor) Rounds. no one else can use the weapon, and if you lose it it takes a month to recreate. You will never use this. Doom Rattle allows a witch doctor to do a sort-of bardic music thing by shaking his voodoo rattle and causing anyone within 60 yards to make a will save or be shaken. But the witch doctor can't move, and has to concentrate on doing nothing but shaking his rattle.

Bambe Brew lets you create 2 potions for 150% of the XP cost of one, which is sort of okay I guess. saves you a little bit. Heap Bad Juju lets the witch doctor cast any level spell through the doll. Zuvembi Brew lets the Witch Doctor create a special potion that mind controls anyone who drinks it, it costs 100 times normal in material components though the Xp cost remains the same, at any point within 1d4 days after drinking the potion the witch doctor can dominate them as long as he has line of sight to them. It doesn't say if they get a saving throw, but it lasts (witch doctor) days.

Finally they get Death Rattle requires an expensive and fragile carved gourd as a focus that the Witch Doctor must carefully protect at all times, once per day he can shake the gourd, targeting 1+Int living creatures in a 20 foot radius, but you don't get to choose who, it's whoever is closest to you. It's also sort of terrible. Creatures with less than 3 hit dice die on a failed save, success means they take 6d10 damage (and probably die anyway). from 3-9 hit dice take 6d10 damage on a failed save and half on a successful one. 10+ take 6d10 damage on a failed save and no damage on a successful one. Or you could cast fireball.

The potion things are sort of neat, Zuvembi Brew especially, but the rest of the features are situational and basically the kind of thing that a villain NPC would use as his gimmick.

Up Next: Spells, Magic Items, and Technology(that they haven't really fixed)

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Ratpick
Oct 9, 2012

And no one ate dinner that night.

Doresh posted:

If Dark Heresy is anything like Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd edition, then it uses Warhammer unit stats made more granular to work with percentile rolls, with skills and other abilities being covered what is essentially feats.

And being a psyker in the grim future of the 41th millenium is far from caster supremacy. Everyone distrusts you, and spell failures can summon Greater Daemons or just straight up turn you into John Carpenter's The Thing.

Having played WFRP 2e and heard trip reports from my friends who are hugely into the 40k RPGs, the problem with Psykers (and WFRP Wizards) is that they're a bit too unpredictable. Like, making their abilities potentially dangerous as a way of combating caster supremacy is a good balancing act in theory, but in practice it means that the die rolls of a single character can potentially bone the entire group. In trying to make Wizards/Psykers not dominate the narrative by making their abilities have potentially dangerous they've actually made said characters doubly more important to the narrative, because a single die roll from said characters can result in "Welp, you accidentally summoned a Greater Daemon, campaign over I guess?"

Incidentally, this is why my friends don't allow psykers in their 40K RPGs.

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