Thursday, October 27, 2016

Endless Vigil Update

The Good: 2 new races: the Muun and Pantoran.
The Bad: 1 duplicate race: the Gand.  The 2 new races are pretty blasé.

The Good: no duplicates. lots of force related talents. All three trees are pretty strong in RP flavor and have some cool powers that will make them fun to play. More than a couple pretty cool new talents.
The Bad: I personally feel like the Racer specialization is completely out of place under the Sentinel career and has no right to be here. I hate every talent that has a conflict cost associated with it (my table ignores conflict costs for knowing powers).

The Good: My City is a pretty cool talent that will prove useful to many who have heavy rp games with lots of figuring things out. Unmatched Vigilance is also a power...
The Bad: My City has some vaugeries that make it odd.  it says 'when in the chosen urban setting' but doesn't specify how you choose a setting or what the options are?  it reads like it means that you choose whatever setting (city/town/village/urban-place) you are currently in... and proceed from there. but since i'm left to assume i choose each time i use the power, it could feel kind of weird to be on a mission and show up at planet X where you have never been and you need some info in city Y (where you have also never been) but you make a good roll and suddenly the city is an open book for you and you apparently know all kinds of crap about it...  it's possible to explain this, but for me, after a time or 2 it would start to feel pretty dumb and very forced.
Unmatched Vigilance has the power to be completely useless (using it on a less important encounter) or completely break the combat depending on what the fights are... one big bad boss?.. better beef that bad boy up to the high heavens if he is going to get a turn. It also seems like the power is designed to encourage the player using it to make the players go last with powers that grant PCs boosts against NPCs that have already gone, and giving NPCs setback against PCs who have NOT gone yet. Unfortunately, the numbers game almost always means that it is unequivocally better for players to go first. When all the players go first they can take out 1 or more baddies before they get to even have a chance to roll those setback dice... or the players can get cover or run away or whatever.. before the baddies practically know whats going on.

The Good: its new? Has lots of commit options which can be circumstantially helpful. If you like to RP a character that has no actual 'skill' but just 'makes things work', this is going to help a lot.
The Bad: Feels like it has no place in this SENTINEL book.. over all the power is VERY weak, and if you want to be good at repairing mechanical things and making them last longer, your XP would be far better spent in a career tree that is designed for it. The "FORCE" part of this does not provide very much that you can't get somewhere else for cheaper. also the actual text in the actual book has a duplicate entry for a talent that the tree only has one of, and an entry for a talent that doesn't appear in the tree at all. The entry that appears in text but not in the tree says that it allows you to use the Manipulate power to 'heal' droids. If this is actually supposed to be there, it would would definitely give the power some real power (maybe too much, and that's why it's not there?). But these errors just show that they really didn't know until the last second how this power was stacking and lining up. It probably should have gone through some more testing, and probably should have been in a different book.

The Good: fair amount of new stuff. a new saber type (crossgaurd), and some new droids.
The Bad: The Lightwhip is all the proof you need that Star Wars is Space Fantasy and not Science Fiction because the Lightwhip will never make any real sense EVER. It's not allowed in my house and shouldn't have been allowed in this book. (this is obviously just my personal opinion, and your welcome to disagree (be wrong) if you like. :P )

The Good: a few decent small shuttles/couriers.
The Bad: Pod Racers.      thats really all i should have to say... but...
pod racers feel like they dont make any sense in a Sentinel book. To make matters worse they are their own special kind of vehicle thingy.. so that its unlikely that normal vehicle mods would work in most cases and the mods for pod racers don't translate to non-pod-racers. making this addition extremely limited..   also, i though that Force and Destiny took place much later in the star wars cannon, where (and maybe i'm wrong about this part) pod racing had kind of lost its popularity (which was debatable to begin with)...

The Good: nice to have urban go getters? and there are some decent hooks and RP material.
The Bad: seems sort of inconsistent at times, making it hard to pin down the role of the career.

The Good: interesting concept that could be worked in as a sort of side-questy thing for some characters.
The Bad: once a solid contact network has been established, it could easily get out of had by providing answers that the GM may not want the party to have yet.  (obviously the GM can just say no, but it always sucks when you know you passed a roll, and still don't get what you want - doubly so when there is a specific game mechanic you have invested in in order to make that exact kind of roll.)

The Good: nice to have more complete rules for this.
The Bad: Technically, all the basics of this were already covered in the beginner adventure thingy, so if you have that, this isn't going to feel nearly as cool.

Over all I'm giving this one a lower rating 5/10
due in large part to the fact that there isn't an over abundance of new stuff and what is here often felt out of place, off theme, and kind of beta.
If it wasn't for the cool Investigator Specialization i would have said 4/10

Updated Sentinel Career tree.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Forged In Battle update/review

Average quality Career expansion book.

4 New Races.
The good: no duplicate races from pre-existing books. A couple Cool powers in the Eloms Digging Claws, and the Dense Musculature of the Kyuzo.
The bad: Shistavanen have a power called Hunter's Instincts, which lets them use the Survival skill in place of Discipline or Cool when making an initiative check. This is nice ONLY for characters that don't plan on ranking up those other skills anyway. I would say 80-90 percent of the time that initiative is rolled at my table we roll Vigilance, as most combats are 'unexpected' or otherwise un-anticipated to the extent that making a cool or discipline check would not make sense. For groups like mine this power goes from circumstantially OK to a virtual non-entity.  Not worth the low 80 starting xp that Shistavanen have.  I would NEVER play one of these no matter how cool the theme is, because that's just way too big an xp hit at character creation considering it feels like i get nothing in return.

New Specializations.
The good: There are two.
The bad: A complete lack of luster. Trailblazer doesn't hardly seem to fit with the 'soldier' theme and felt shoe-horned in to me. The Heavy tree is a duplicate from previous publications.

New Signature Abilities.
The good: the first ability The Bigger They Are... is a cool one, that helps squishy parties in their pajamas take out vehicles and giant monsters without actually being completely OP.
The bad: nothing overly offensive.

New Items/Weapons/Gear
The good: a decent volume of new stuff, with a few items that really stand out as interesting.
The bad: Nothing that screams 'terrible'.

New Vehicles
The good: I like the throwback to older vehicles, and the focus on military function/style vehicles.
The bad: none.

The Narrative of Soldiers
the good: lots of good talk about soldiers and how to incorporate them. Plenty of hooks/flavor and muse material here.
the bad: can feel a bit repetitive at times and doesn't add to the mechanics of the game.

Cool idea, with a decent implementation. 

Combat Environments.
I absolutely love this stuff. Mostly just new ways to spend advantages/triumphs/threat/despair in different environments with mostly combat theme. Nothing bad to say at all about this stuff, though i do wish there was a single reference for all this stuff now.....  hmmm..

Soldier Rewards.
The Bad: The book is called Forged in Battle (a sourcebook for SOLDIERS).. since there are books for hired guns, bounty hunters ect (all people who regularly get into combat) I assume that when they say "soldier" they mean MILITARY personnel. I am not even remotely a 'military man'.. and even I was kind of taken aback by the idea that the only way they could think of to reward people for their military service was through being wounded. Battle Scars may have a place in the rules, but as a reward mechanism for military service it feels pretty distasteful.  Basically the exact same mechanic could have been used but under a different header IE: Commendations & Accolades. 
Under Commendations and Accolades a GM, having viewed the Soldiers actions may choose to award a medal/ribbon/award to the player for those actions. Similarly to Battle Scars, each Award would have a list of common reasons to be given and a list of possible skills that it grants.
Since this is exactly how real life military's (on behalf of the organization itself and the people they serve) recognize and reward their service members, it would seem like a VASTLY more appropriate way to suggest rewarding a soldier. Not to mention that Commendations and Accolades would actually be something that a player could strive for, a goal to be achieved, as opposed to the Battle Scars which are basically a random chance event. 
The Good: The mechanics for Battle Scars are pretty cool. Being wounded or suffering a Critical Injury could happen to ANYONE from ANY Career, not just 'soldiers' so Battle Scars can definitely be added to basically anyone's game.

Forged in Battle gets an over all 7/10

Updated Soldier Career with new Specializations and Signature Abilities.