It’s been a little while, hasn’t it? No particular excuse on my part; just laziness and procrastination, mainly. But I figured, since I got a lot of games and game-related stuff for Christmas, I’d better post my impressions of some of this stuff.
Martial Power: This book is just chocked full of D&D goodness. It’s mainly stuff for the players rather than the DM: new feats, new paragon paths, new epic destinies, and lots and lots of new powers. It’s all really good stuff, particularly the new builds for the fighter, warlord, ranger, and rogue. What’s interesting is that some of the powers and paragon paths allow you to branch out a little bit from your class’s role without actually multiclassing. The Guildmaster Thief paragon path is designed for the rogue (a striker), but most of its abilities are decidedly leader-ish. Also, the beastmaster ranger is very, very cool, and I like the idea that, when Wizards decides to incorporate companions, it’ll be on a class-by-class basis, allowing each class’s companion to be unique to that class. I’d imagine we’ll see a warlord build at some point with access to all sorts of followers, and I don’t think that a wizard build that utilizes a familiar is outside the realm of possibilities.
The Draconomicon: Where Martial Power is primarily for PCs, this book is all about cool stuff for the DM to use. The first chunk of stuff is all information on chromatic dragons: phyisiology, psychology, society, etc. It’s not game rules, but it’s really interesting to read, and I feel like a lot of it is useful for role-playing dragons. There are also draconic rituals, some traps, a lengthy section on hoard generation (which could easily be applied to generating any treasure hoard, not just one belonging to a dragon), nine sample lairs, and a bunch of draconic monsters, including new dragons and some lower-level threats, like kobolds. It’s good stuff.
Fallout 3: Wow. Just wow. I’m so hopelessly addicted to this game it’s not even funny. The formula feels a lot like a refinement of Oblivion, but it also feels distinctly like a Fallout game in many ways. There’s a lot of the trademark dark humor and some very interesting post-apocalyptic characters and scenarios. The quest design is fantastic; there’s almost always a twist that you don’t expect, even in relatively minor quests. The combat system (VATS), while not particularly deep (you usually want to shoot the head or, occasionally, the weapon) is fun and satisfying, and slow-motion ultra-gory kill shots never really get old.
Resident Evil 4: Very cool and creepy. I’m not all that far into it, as I’ve been mostly playing Fallout 3, but I am enjoying it quite a bit. I like the atmosphere and the story so far, and there have been some cool set-piece battles, too. I’m enjoying the controls (it should be noted that I have the Wii version, which allows you to aim with the remote) and the combat, and while the voice acting and translation is somewhat silly occasionally, it’s a good survival horror game through and through.
The Growing Hunger: This is the expansion for Last Night on Earth, which is one of my favorite games. The expansion adds some cool new scenarios, new characters to play, new cards for both the heroes and the zombies, and a bunch of optional rules that you can add in or not, as you like. I’ve only gotten a chance to play with the expansion once; I played the Plague Carriers scenario as the heroes, and just barely lost. It was a lot of fun, and it’s very cool to see seven additional zombies on the board.
A Touch of Evil: Another game by Flying Frog, the makers of LNoE. This time it’s a colonial-era supernatural horror game, which can be played competitively, cooperatively, or in teams as a hybrid of the two. It bears more than a passing similarity to both Arkham Horror and Runebound (both games that I enjoy quite a bit), but it’s a much simpler game than either and, once you’re used to it, can probably be played much faster than either. I’ve played it twice now, once with three friends cooperatively (it was fun and we vanquished the Vampire, though we found out later that we had neglected to use a few rules that would have made the game harder), and once on my own. Solo play is not officially supported in the rulebook, but it’s pretty easy to figure out how to do it regardless. I lost, not because the game was particularly difficult, but because the Shadow Track moved really quickly, and when it hits zero, it’s game over. There’s a debate online as to whether to use the competitive or cooperative rules when playing solo, and I feel now that a combination of the two should be used. I think that cooperative rules should be used for the Shadow Track and for the Town Elders, but I think that using the cooperative Mystery Phase Chart makes that Shadow Track move much too quickly, considering that having only a single player gives you little chance to counter its movement most of the time. I believe my game was over after about five or six turns, which seemed way too quick, and I feel like I didn’t really get to do much.
Well, that’s it for now. I may post about more stuff later.