Sunday, October 14, 2018

Cyphers and Masks update

New Races
The Good: No duplicates. There are some extra interesting background points for a couple of the races here that might lend to fun role-play.
The Bad: None.

New Specializations
The Good: Good trees that seem on point with the Spy theme. A few new talents that are pretty cool.
The Bad: I think these Specialization trees are such that they may have a hard time being as useful in many games that are not intentionally heavy on political or other 'espionage' and diplomacy story arcs.

New Signature Abilities
The Good: Fun sounding abilities. Counterespionage has some serious potential in the right situations. Unmatched Tradecraft is the real workhorse though with a pretty flexible ability to make some important check types MUCH easier.
The Bad: Counterespionage is going to be highly circumstantial and will likely not come up as often as other signature abilities (though when it does it can be a game changer).

New Gear
The Good: On theme, with some fun options for concealed weapons and discrete weapon carry. A good selection of new attachments for weapons, armor and even gear, make this one of my favorite gear sections in a while.
The Bad: Caution: The new E522 Assassin droid has a mini-missile launcher that can easily dish out 20 damage that ignores 20 soak to an entire party on a MISSED attack if they are caught outside of a vehicle....  Planetary scale weapons will always exist, but be aware of what your doing with them, and make sure your party understands the real nature of the threat.

New Vehicles
The Good: A handful of new vehicle attachments is nice to see.
The Bad: literally only 3 new vehicles and one of them isn't even in the vehicle section, its only in the modular adventure in the end (at least they still gave it complete stats).

New Mechanics
The Good: Lots of new charts for uses of different skills (Computers, Deception, Skulduggery, Stealth, and Slicing encounters). These charts are super helpful as both a reference and a crutch when you aren't so sure how to approach these skills and the situations they sometimes involve.
   There are a lot of small sections dedicated to new ways to use certain skills and other various references that range from mundane to very useful.
The Bad: None.

Overview

Cyphers and Masks is a well thought out book that stays on target. At first glance it doesn't feel like much, but as you look closer you start to see the real depth that it lends to the Spy career. It has some of the best gear additions in a while. The new mechanics/rules suggestions provided in the back are thematic and incredibly useful. Solid buy for all and a must get for campaigns that deal heavily in diplomatic/espionage/intelligence scenarios. If your campaign is cloak and dagger, then you're going to want Cyphers and Masks.

Overall Score: 9/10

I have updated the Spy career to reflect the new specializations and signature abilities.
I have also updated the ALL Careers file to include ALL careers and specializations up to the release of Cyphers and Masks.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Unlimited Power update

New Races
The Good: Solid choices all. Thisspiasian is a long sought after addition for many.
The Bad: Thisspiasian will almost always be spelled or pronounced incorrectly.

New Specializations
The Good: Alchemist is a sort of Force healer with some extra potion crafting abilities making it an interestingly versatile pick. Magus and Prophet are both useful in their own right.  Each Specialization feels like it was designed for a race option in this book.
The Bad: Not always a 'bad' thing for some, but there are far too many talents with Conflict costs for my personal tastes.

New Signature abilities
The Good: Unmatched Destiny could be useful to ANY force user, and seeing as how versatile the Mystic Career is, it is well placed here.
The Bad: Prophecy is the kind of signature ability/talent/power/ect designed to give GMs headaches at the table and keep them up at night. As a GM i would constantly be upset by the powers stated ability to tell the characters some portion of the future (this can easily ruin a GMs plan when there is one, and can be rather difficult to accommodate when there isn't one). I feel like as the GM I would constantly be approaching this power with a competitive mind "how can I satisfy the power, without actually giving the player too much or screwing myself". If the GM is successful in technically satisfying the powers requirements without actually giving away too much, then i feel like as the player i would feel consistently feel let down by a virtually meaningless XP sink. All that said: on that tiny razors edge, where the player is satisfied, and the GM isn't driven insane, this power could theoretically be incredibly fun.

New Force Powers
The Good: Conjure and Alter are incredibly cool and will no doubt lead to some amazing characters and even better cinematic moments at the table. They offer strong abilities without being over powered or problematic.
The Bad: None.

New Gear
The Good: Decent selection of new weapons and gear. Very nice that a lot of it relates either directly or indirectly with the new races in the book.
The Bad: None.

New Vehicles
The Good: Two interesting stand outs are the Tagge Dustcrawler (a modular vehicle like a wheeled train that can vary in size) and the Ithorian Herd ship (large space worthy city ship). The new mandalorian starfigher is also pretty good.
The Bad: None.

New Game Mechanics
The Good: New Alchemical and Talisman crafting opens up more options in the game. Follows similar rules to other crafting mechanics.
The Bad: Alchemical and Talisman crafting sounds pretty open ended, but the rules for what you can do with them are very limited so I see lots of house rules and homebrews in the future of any practitioners.

Overview

Unlimited Power is one of the better recent additions to the FFG star wars universe. There is no duplication of material, nothing horribly broken, on the Mystic theme ect. I think maybe the thing i thought was the most impressive was how integrated the book felt. Almost everything in it seemed to tie together, from the races to the specializations, force powers and gear it all felt like it belonged. I might have chosen a different name for this supplement, but Unlimited Power is a very solid offering.

Overall Score: 9/10

I have updated the Mystic and Force power trees to include material from this book.

Alternate title preference:
     Visions of Power

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Nights of Fate Update


New Races
The Good: All new. Phydalons and Dowutin have unique properties beyond the normal fluff that might make them interesting picks.
The Bad: Nothing

New Specializations
The Good: On theme. Steel Hand Adept and Juyo Berserker will net you lots of unique talents.
The Bad: I still think powers having conflict cost just for knowing them is dumb. Colossus is a bit lackluster and one could probably achieve much better results spending xp elsewhere.

New Signature Abilities
The Good: Unmatched Ferocity has huge potential to stack with other stuff and be incredibly epic, but is reasonably counterbalanced with strain and conflict cost.
The Bad: Deadly Reputation is a balance pick designed 'i think' to act as a sort of catch-all to help Warrior characters that may be lacking in other areas. It's not a strictly 'bad' signature ability, but it is a bit boring and doesn't feel very Warrior.

New Gear
The Good: Several neat new weapons. decent variety. Even a couple new vehicle weapons if your willing to make up some rarity and price stats.
The Bad: When you make an entire call out for a cool special weapon like the Arakyd Industires Caltrop-5 Chaff Gun, whey the hell wouldn't you just FULLY stat out the item??

New Vehicles
The Good: Good selection of smaller and less costly vehicles. Fills some of the hole in what i think of as 'personal' (non-party) vehicle options.
The Bad: Nothing.

New Game Mechanics
The Good:
     Mindful Assessment is a fun mechanic that can help boost story and round out some of the potentially less dynamic aspects of a Warrior character.
     Warrior Rewards again help warrior characters to boost some of their non-combat oriented abilities.
     Followers and Assets is a really interesting mechanic that could provide some really interesting mechanical support to Warriors and be easily adapted for other careers as well. This will be particularly helpful to groups with few players or party's with few 'social' character.
The Bad: Followers and Assets could be pretty chucky and difficult to deal with. As much as I enjoy new mechanics that seem to add real benefit, i'm not always interested in adding more 'work' for the players or GM to do.

TLDR: Nights of Fate is about what I have come to expect from FFG career supplements. It provides a little bit of everything. There isn't anything terrible about this one and it has some neat new mechanics along with solid career specializations.

Over all score: 5 of 10

I've updated the Warrior and Force power trees to include material from this book.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Fully Operational update

New Races
The Good: No duplication. Average racial traits.
The Bad: Nothing.

New Specializations
The Good: Many a game will benefit from the Droid Specialist role as he finally fills the lack of a droid 'doctor' role (tangentially filled by mechanics previously).
The Bad: Sapper is what Saboteur always should have been and that's great, but now poor Saboteur looks like the un-focused beta build it was. Shipwrights be wary,  there are several skills that will be universally helpful but check with your GM and make sure your campaign will support your specializations other interests or you may regret this one.

New Signature Abilities
The Good: The Harder They Fall is a fun sounding ability that can really help characters or groups overcome otherwise insurmountable odds allowing for more flexibility in encounters and some really cinematic moments.
The Bad: Nothing too bad, but the more stuff your party has access to the less likely it becomes that Unmatched Ingenuity is going to be relevant or make a meaningful difference.

New Gear
The Good: A handful of cool new weapons (stuff with blast and concussive) and explosives as well as a few neat tools to add to the mix. A couple of circumstantially neat armors. Nice new armor and weapon attachments (can never get enough of these options).
The Bad: Explosive compounds are still awkward.

New Vehicles
The Good: Some good ground vehicle options. Some extra ship attachments and weapons. Probably the shining star of this is the Caisson-Class engineering troop carrier. The Caisson has low Hard Points but it makes up for it in base level versatility (provided by its passenger capacity and vehicle complement relative to its size and crew requirements). Best of all the Caisson is a silhoutte 4 and costs only 190,000 making it a very viable option for a starter ship.
The Bad: Nothing.

Expanded Mechanics Rules
The Good: More options for customization of hardware. Some nice new options in the very small ships category: think speeder bikes and 'cars'. Theoretically there may be some nice options in larger craft?
The Bad: These rules are more poorly (or maybe just awkwardly) written than previous customization option rules (think weapon crafting rules). It also seems far less practical (hard to practice this skill) due to the massive costs involved. I may not be understanding the rules, but I tried to figure out how hard it would be to create some of the base ships using this skill... and as far as i can tell MOST of the base vehicles are either incredibly difficult to replicate using this mechanic or down right impossible to replicate due to un-included special modifications (for instance: the best ship in this book is the Caisson-Class engineering troop carrier, a vehicle that you could not possibly make using the rules provided in this book for vehicle crafting).
If you think ship building sounds fun, makes sure you read this section several times and then come up with a handful of viable goals before you even make a character for this.... otherwise your setting yourself up for failure and dissatisfaction.

Over all score:  6-10

I've updated the Engineering Career with the new Specializations and signature abilities.








Saturday, March 3, 2018

Dawn of Rebellion

TLDR: Good book. Lots of fun, inspirational material with some amazing new universal specialization trees. A very significant portion of this book is dedicated to giving stats to iconic characters/vehicles from the time period and the only possible negative of this book is if like me, you are unlikely to ever use any of this.


NEW RACES
The Good: No reprints.
The Bad: Nothing overly unique about any of these races.

NEW LOCATIONS:
The Good: Some really iconic locations (Jedha, the Death Star, ect) make appearances. Each location is on theme as being big points of interest during the time period the book focuses on. Excellent information. Some locations have small story elements or other narrative add-ons tied to them that could be enjoyable.
The Bad: Nothing significant.

NEW CHARACTERS
The Good: Lots of really iconic characters get official stat blocks. A lot of people will be really excited to have stat blocks available to throw in their favorite characters from the shows or movies. 
The Bad: Lots of really iconic characters get official stat blocks. Creating stat blocks for iconic LEGENDARY characters is always super risky. I have found that many people consider the printed words as an end-all be-all..  "how did Maul DO that? it's not in his stats!"... or you run into situations where your player characters are able to overshadow people they should not be able to. The last thing you want, is to throw Vader at your players expecting them to run in terror, only to have them turn and cut poor Vader down in a single turn. In my opinion stating out these characters is slippery slope that my lead to some dark places I'd rather not risk visiting in any of my games.

NEW SPECIALIZATIONS
The Good: 6 New Universal Specialization Trees, all of which are super on point. They are well organized, with healthy and compelling ability arrangements. Each of these specializations is chalk full of inspirational juju.
The Bad: There aren't more.

NEW ITEMS/WEAPONS/GEAR
The Good: A few stand out items like the MWC-35 Repeating cannon, or the new droids.
The Bad: Nothing.

NEW SHIPS
The Good: Some great ships, with no reprints. Hammerhead is a great mid range ship for successful parties to aim for.
The Bad: There are a few ships before the "player options" section that I really wish were more completely stated and price tagged in this section.

OTHER
The Good: Some potentially useful info for new GMs in the back. Some interesting info about organizations like the Empire, Rebellion and Inquisitors. 
The Bad: Not much.


last thought...
This book is subtitled "an Era Sourcebook"... which has me sort of confused, as I was under the impression that each of the three core rulebooks (eote, aor, fad) was an Era Sourcebook. This book was great, and I want more quality work like this. That said, I do NOT want a bunch of small super focused "era" books. If FFG wants to get out more Era stuff, I think we could all agree that we want a CLONE WARS era sourcebook first, with tons of doids, Clone trooper career tree(s), and some legitimate, complete Jedi Career trees.

Overall Score
If you think giving stat blocks to famous/critical cannon characters/ships is a bad idea = 8/10
If you think giving stat blocks to famous/critical cannon characters/ships is a good idea= 10/10
     two point difference because there is a LOT of this in the book.

Updated Universal Career tree to include new specializations.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Ghosts of Dathomir update

I have finally gotten around to making a much needed update. 

Added  Jerserra's Influence, the new Force power from Ghosts of Dathomir to to the Force power list.
Updated the ALL TREES file to include everything up to Ghosts of Dathomir.
Made several other small corrections.


I don't usually purchase or review adventure books. 
I'm kind of a sucker for Dathomir. I was looking forward to this book for a while and did in fact pick up a copy for myself.
I won't do a full review, but as a huge fan of the Dathomir Witches, Dathomirians and the Dathomirian Force lore, I will say that this was a VERY appropriately named book. When it comes to touching on the true potential of Dathomir and it's history,  Ghosts of Dathomir is not but a shade of what it could have been.

In personal news.
Part of the reason I haven't been updating as often is because I had a second child.
Very happy with my family, but have limited free time.
Another huge contributing factor to my lack of posting, is that the Star Wars roleplay game I had been a part of for quite a long time broke up a little over a year ago and I have not found a replacement group/game.
Not that I have copious free time, but I've been entertaining the idea of trying to get back into a game... 
Anyone in the south Bay Area got a group I can be a part of? lol

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Playset, The Miscreant

The Miscreant



A highly modernized relic from the Clone Wars, the Miscreant is a unique anomaly amongst the Imperial fleet. From her driven Captain and compassionate Commander to the elite Arc Platoon, the ship benefits greatly from the diversity of her crew but will those strengths prove to be her greatest weakness as well?
Jump into the adventure with the Miscreant Playset and decide for yourselves.



What is a Playset?
A playset is a grouping of ideas (that may include; characters, vehicles, rules, etc.) designed to create a modular setting that can be used in full or part, in a variety of FFG Star Wars gaming environments and campaigns. Many details are given in order to spark the imagination and set a complete scene, but in order to facilitate modular functionality of the playset many details are intentionally left to the discretion of the GM.


This idea is by no means incredibly original, there are many variations of this concept out there for various other rpgs. Imitation is the highest form of flattery or something right? While I may not do a ton of these, I like the idea of them. 
It feels more natural to create material for this game when there is some sort of basic setting to build my ideas on. I often do this sort of thing in my head for my own game(s). I just figured, why not flesh my ideas out a bit more and put it all down to share with everyone. Playsets seemed like the way to go for creating and sharing some of these ideas.


fun fact: the ship in the picture is actually a Venator-Class Star Destroyer model from Revell that I built and painted myself.