Disney Villainous Review [Pixelkin]

Read the full Review at Pixelkin

A good villain usually makes for a good story, and one of Disney’s strengths throughout every era was its memorable cast of villains. Some, like Maleficent, have even become more popular than their heroic rivals. Yet we’ve never seen a tabletop game that focuses solely on the darker side of the Disney universe, until now.

Disney Villainous is an elegantly constructed, asymmetrical card game where you play as one of six classic Disney villains. Each villain has their own deck of cards, player board, and goals, all of which reflect their sinister machinations in each film. Being bad never felt so good.

Read the full Review at Pixelkin

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How Hero-U Avoided Disaster and Recaptured 90s Adventure [PC Gamer]

Read the full article at PC Gamer

Six years, two Kickstarter campaigns, and one home equity loan later, Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption has finally been released. “A year after the first Kickstarter we were approached by an outside investor,” says Corey Cole, part of the husband-wife team behind Hero-U. “We would’ve gotten half a million in additional funding. The problem was they wanted 50% of the game’s sales for life. At the time we felt it was too much to give up. Had we looked into our crystal ball in 2015 or 2017, we would’ve jumped on that.”

I spoke to both Corey and Lori Cole about the lengthy, yet passionate development of Hero-U, an adventure-RPG modeled after the 1990s Sierra series that once made them design icons: Quest for Glory.

Read the full article at PC Gamer

D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 65 Recap

It’s the final showdown with Iymrith, the ancient blue dragon.

Streamed, recorded and uploaded every week. Subscribe for our weekly adventures. Join us live on Fridays at 7pm Pacific/10pm Eastern!

Previously on “Storm King’s Thunder”

The Yuan-ti lay dead at our feet. I raced over to Harshang and cut his metal bonds, while Bryseis ran over to the piles of gold coins, a glittering hoard worthy of an ancient dragon.

“Has anyone seen Felgolos?” I called out.

In response, the dragon’s voice echoed off the walls, dripping in mockery. “Has anyone seen that bronze thing? I don’t think they will.”

Bryseis stopped. “Did you eat him?”

“I will eat you all when this is done! You still don’t understand what you are facing. Let me show you.”

A gigantic serpentine head snaked out from the cascading sands behind us. The ancient blue dragon clenched its massive jaws around King Hekaton, who didn’t even have enough time to turn around.

In an instant both dragon and giant disappeared beyond the veil.

“Iymrith you coward!” I screamed.

A cruel chuckle echoed off the walls. “I can do this all day, friends. How long can you last I wonder?” Continue reading “D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 65 Recap”

DMs Guild Review – Undead Races

A short sourcebook featuring four playable undead races, designed for freshly killed PCs.

A review copy of “Undead Races” was provided for the purposes of this review.

Designed by: Matthew Gravelyn

dms guild reviewIn most D&D campaigns the undead serve as antagonists, either through the usual fodder of skeletons and zombies to cut through, or as big bad liches, vampires, and death knights.

Undead player characters aren’t unheard of, but they’re a tricky thing to balance, especially when it comes to healing. “Undead Races” provides four playable undead races: Bound Spirits, Vampires. Specters, and Soulless. They’re designed for existing player characters to transition into should they die, as an alternative means to resurrection.

“Undead Races” is a short, 10-page booklet that devotes about 1 page for lore, and 1 page for stat block to each race. Since most undead don’t really have their own culture, the lore sections explain how a PC could be transformed into their new undead incarnation, and how those creatures typically live out their questionable existence.

Some of the undead work better than others. The Bound Spirit is a nifty idea as your soul (or conscienceless) is put into a construct body, typically a suit of armor. You’re not quite as cool as a Helmed Horror but you do get resistance to piercing and slashing damage, as well as immunity to critical hits (!). That’s kind of bland but also incredibly powerful.

Healing also becomes tricky (a common theme for most undead) as you cannot be healed through resting or magic. Instead you have to be repaired, which equates to spending HD during a rest. It’s unclear if you still regain Hit Dice during a Long Rest, and if you can regain the same Hit Dice you just spent since you’ll be using them to heal.

Of the four, vampire is the easiest one to apply, both thematically and mechanically. For balance purposes PC vampires don’t have to fear the sun, though I find it weird that they aren’t at least saddled with the Drow Sunlight Sensitivity penalty.

Vampire healing is obviously tied to feeding on blood. There are two notes about healing that seemingly contradict each other: “All damage is healed if you consume enough blood” and two sentences later, “When you consume blood, spent Hit Dice as you would during a rest.” Like the Bound Spirit, there are no extra notes about when you can regain Hit Dice (vamps don’t rest!), making another race where I’m not a bit confused on the healing mechanics.

The Specter is the most bananas of the bunch. A ghost PC? As an action you can plane shift between the astral and material planes, and you’re  completely incorporeal on the material plane. On top of that, as a bonus action you can become invisible! That sounds game-breakingly crazy.

The specters have a similar curse to vampires, only instead of bloodlust it’s a strong emotion, like rage or jealousy. This is completely tied to the player’s ability to effectively roleplay their new emotionally-crippled ghost.

Soulless is the most original of the races presented here. Soulless are basically the same as they were before, just, you know, without a soul. Thematically it makes them into bland sociopaths who begin to lose all emotion and purpose, which seems a tad delicate to role-play with others. Mechanically they gain the Deception and Performance skills, and immunity to mind control. By far the the least exciting but also the easiest to transition into.

Undead races are a difficult thing to manage. I appreciate the notes on the hows and whys a PC may transition into each of these forms. A lot of thought when into making their abilities and powers reflect their new forms, but the balance level is a bit questionable, and there could be a few more details about healing with the bound spirit and vampires.

Pros:

  • All four undead: Bound Spirit, Vampire, Specter, and Soulless are very different from each other, with their own thematic traits and abilities.
  • Each ‘race’ comes with a lore box on how and why a PC may transition into their new undead form.

Cons:

  • Healing for Bound Spirits and Vampires is vaguely worded and confusing.
  • Specters are literally ghosts capable of plane-shifting and invisibility at will. What!

The Verdict: Undead Races features four VARIED playable Undead for when You can’t let a Good PC Die.

A review copy of “Undead Races” was provided for the purposes of this review.

Parents’ Guide to Fortnite [Pixelkin]

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Shove over, Minecraft and Pokémon GO, there’s a new gaming phenomenon in town. Over the last year Epic Games’ Battle Royale-style shooter Fortnite has become one of the most popular games on the planet.

Even if you’re not a teen or the parent of a teen, there’s a good chance you’ve at least heard of Fortnite. But what is it exactly? Is it okay for younger kids to play? How much of it is online interaction? What does Battle Royale mean? Read our Parents’ Guide to Fortnite for answers to these questions and more.

Read the full article on Pixelkin

D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 64 Recap

We dodge siege weapons and fight through an army of gargoyles to reach the lair of the ancient blue dragon.

Streamed, recorded and uploaded every week. Subscribe for our weekly adventures. Join us live on Fridays at 7pm Pacific/10pm Eastern!

Previously on “Storm King’s Thunder”

The magic swept over us. One moment we were standing within the damp, underground caverns of the storm giant’s home. The next we found ourselves in the middle of the sun-baked deserts of Anauroch, surrounded by a sea of sand.

To the north lie a half-buried amphitheater – Iymrith’s lair.

We trekked across the hot sands with grim determination. As we neared our destination we could see the ominous sign of the ancient blue dragon – a localized storm cloud brewing overheard. 

“The storm cloud – it’s Iymrith!” shouted Kazin.

The dragon herself descended upon the amphitheater. We responded by consuming the potions gifted to us by the storm giants. Each of us in turn grew three times in size, now looking face-to-face with King Hekaton, who nodded in approval.

We braced ourselves for a bout of lightning or a thundering of wings. But the dragon was in no hurry to engage us. Instead she sneered and descended into a giant hole underground. At the same moment, the amphitheater erupted in a swarm of birds.

No, not birds, gargoyles. We could see them swarming from hundreds of feet away as we charged. A pair of siege weapons began firing upon us as we ran, our gigantic legs creating a thundering stampede across the desert sands.

We’ve officially entered the end game of Storm King’s Thunder.

The Maelstrom’s teleportation magic dropped us deep within the deserts of Anauroch, half a mile south of a half-buried amphitheater. King Hekaton, along with two Storm Giants and Felgolos accompanied us as we made the trek to the ancient blue dragon’s lair. Continue reading “D&D 5E “Storm King’s Thunder” Session 64 Recap”

Sleep Tight Review [Pixelkin]

Read the full review at Pixelkin

Sleep Tight presents the classic monster-in-the-closet tale and transforms it into a kid-themed tower defense game, married with the gun-play of a twin-stick shooter. Both aspects are decently executed if a bit shallow, and the theme of defending your bedroom against an onslaught of Pixar-friendly monsters is a fun one.

Yet Sleep Tight lacks the mechanical depth of other tower defense games, and surviving against the hordes is more of an exercise in quantity over quality.

Read the full review at Pixelkin