01 February 2011

Gaming Bonanza

I didn't find this out until yesterday, but apparently EN Publishing was having a $1 off sale on everything they published.

After raking through it, I found out that most of it was pretty poor. Far be it from me to knock other hobbyists' dreams, but who in the world is the target audience for Blackhammer Tech: Shape-Memory Polymers, or E.N. Arsenal: Hooked Hammer. I mean, really. They're both roughly 30 pages for ~5 bucks, aimed at people who play 3rd edition D&D or its derivatives who still have not quite gotten their fill of excessive rules. It's like they're imagining somebody saying, "Hey, you got any prestige classes I can multiclass into that focus on the Hooked Hammer?", and then having somebody go, "Yeah, man, I just bought this sweet PDF, you should check it out!"

I mean, that's not entirely fair, but look at this. The "hottest items" are "Tournaments, Fairs, and Taverns," which apparently are ways that you can roll dice with a tavern theme, whether you're rolling dice to pretend to play a card game, rolling dice to pretend to drink, or rolling dice to have a "battle of the wits!" Look, dice-rolling is cool and all, but there comes a point where you don't need to roll any more dice.

But I digress. Heavily. I meant to say that I managed to pick up 5 PDFs for the healthy price of $5. They are: The Elements of Magic by Matt Blakely, The Dark Art of Visceromancy, The Elements of Magic: Mythic Earth, The Fantastic Science: A Technologist's Sourcebook, and Wild Spellcraft. The only two I'm really expecting anything interesting out of is Mythic Earth and Visceromancy, but the rest of them were too deliciously-priced to pass up.

As you can see, I'm interested in getting some sort of new magic system, and, more importantly, looking for something to save from the rules-bogged 3rd edition morass and bringing the raw, beautiful gems into a more rules-light focus, where you can look at the ideas themselves without trying to figure out exactly the best build for your Wizard3/Necromancer7/Visceromancer2/GreyMage1 or whatever. There's nothing wrong with that sort of gaming, per se, and there's no reason you can't enjoy it. And with an almost identical reasoning, there's no reason I can't lament that good creative minds were wasting so much time creating so much for it when there's perfectly good systems with less baggage attached. After all, when you're trying to describe how, exactly, the Dread Lumpherant snatches up its victims, wouldn't you rather not have to worry about whether giving it a Swift action instead of a Standard action might warrant moving its Challenge Rating up 2 points since it can combo it's Fearful Grab attack with its Rend and give it 5 attacks a round? Sounds boring to me.

Before I forget, on a quick skim of the Elements of Magic, I just want to say that the art is awful. Absolutely awful. The whole book is garish, the inside peices are lame, uninspired, and fairly painful to look at. I can only hope it was done by an amateur; if they paid for it, they paid too much.

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