Monday, October 4, 2010

Tommy's Take on Blades, Dungeon Dwellers & Dragons

5 MAGIC ITEMS: BLADES

Another in Misfit Studios' line of microsupplements, we get 5 magic blades. The introduction informs us that each Blade's powers should be hidden, and gives guidelines on researching them...complete with a table to roll on (there is a unique one for each blade), detailing just how much information the researcher finds. A Critical Failure means that they get it ALL wrong. This is a great concept, but stumbles just a bit in execution: If they players roll it, they will know they got a Critical Failure, and will suspect something. If the GM rolls it, they essentially lose the right to use a benny to modify the roll, which some could construe as unfair. Other than that, I love it...and I have been told by the author that a benny solution is coming soon.

Bloodletter: The first item is an intelligent longsword that actually makes those that hold it less intelligent. Being an intelligent sword, it has a Smarts and Spirit die, as well as Skills and Goals, plus special powers. The blade uses the Tests of Wills for Magic Weapons from the Fantasy Companion to try to drive its wielders insane. Crazy stuff.

Dagger of Piercing: Much as it says...this little dagger is the Ginsu of the fantasy world, though it does have limitations...

Deathsever Dagger: A dagger with cool extra bonuses against the Undead and essentially granting the Sweep Edge. However, they were designed for a VERY specific, hidden purpose.

Demonbane: Another unique blade, at first glance...but extra research can again reveal a very cool, hidden purpose.

Frostheart: This one is a bonafide artifact, with Power Points and everything. Conceptually, it's probably my least favorite of the five.

The first magic item collection from Misfit Studios for Savage Worlds is very cool for your $1.55...the plot hooks for the Demonbane and Death Severe Daggers are probably my favorite parts, honestly. Another fine entry.

MONSTER BRIEF: DUNGEON DWELLERS

The second Monster Brief by Misfit Studios takes a different tack: Rather than focusing on one monster, like the Goblin, we get some dungeon classics.

The Carnivorous Cube: A giant, man-eating gelatin cube?  Ridiculous...that'll never fly. Frankly, it's just as scary as you remember.

Mad Mouthers: Mad Mouthers are slightly less iconic than the inspiration for the Carnivorous Cube...in fact, Mad Mouthers are one of the few quasi-classics I don't think I ever used. I've gotta compare the entries for this and its D&D inspiration...'cause this is cooler than I remember.

A minotaur remix is up next, designed to focus on the minotaur in the labyrinth, taking them back to their roots. FRIGHTENING if it is allowed to get a full on charge going.

Troglodytes: My biggest memory of troglodytes are their appearance in one of the D&D arcade games, where they still emitted the musky ordery stuff (though I think it was more like poison in that game, I think).

All told, not as cool as the expanded professions, or even quite as cool as the Goblin brief, but still very nice to see some renamed D&D classics slink into Savage Worlds.

MONSTER BRIEF: DRAGONS

The third Monster Brief by Misfit Studios produces four new dragons for Savage Worlds!

The first entry is the Arcane Dragon and it is absolutely scary. In addition to being big and mean, it has Power Points, knows spells and can cast the Dispel power at will. They don't seem to be overtly good or evil, preferring to be left to their own devices to study.

Mock dragons (that's Smoke Dragon to you) are tiny, smoke spewing dragons not much larger than a housecat. Back in the day playing D&D, I had a friend who played a solo Mage, and I would totally have stuck him with a Mock Dragon. They're perfect for that sort of role in a game.

The Sand Dragon looks a whole lot like one of the Metallic dragons from D&D...Brass? Copper? I don't recall...regardless, the Sand dragon is obsessed with collecting magic (for some reason), and does not fly, instead preferring to burrow in the desert.

Finally, the Viper Dragon is another flightless dragon and is barely more than an animal in intelligence...it doesn't come across particularly malevolent, but is still a definite adversary due to its predatory nature.

I'm kind of surprised at the lack of "evil" dragons in this. The closest seems to be the Viper Dragon, with the Sand Dragon also seemingly capable of filling an antagonistic role if need be. The Mock Dragon makes for an awesome companion in a game, while the Arcane Dragon just wants to be left alone.

The variations are nice, but the product isn't brimming with plot hooks for your Savage Worlds game...however, the Mock Dragon and the four write-ups as examples in changing up dragons within the Savage Worlds rules set are still very cool.