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8-Bit Adventures: Vampire Slayer Gear €5,56
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8-Bit Adventures: Vampire Slayer Gear
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/12/2017 03:51:44

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the 8-Bit adventures-series clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 10 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Okay, so this time around we take a look at items that are designed to, bingo, duplicate the experience pertaining one of my most beloved video-game franchises, namely Castlevania. No, not the less than impressive 3D-games. I’m talking ‘bout old-school, baby. No save states, no continues. The clock tower was FEARED.

So, first, we take a look at the names of the in-game items and correlate them to PFRPG-items in a handy table: Keys from the Castlevania games, for example, act as skeleton keys, PFRPG-rules-wise. So yeah, so far, so good.

Anyone who played Castlevania will recall whipping candles. A LOT of them. The pdf does provide some advice on how to use this as a very transparent leitmotif in the game – and it sports a treasure table for candles. The use of this table, however, remains limited – one table is provided for all levels. I get it. Castlevania had no level-increases for Trevor. It was a platformer, not an RPG. That being said, PFRPG IS an RPG- and as such, more differentiated tables for different PC-levels would have significantly increased the value of this section.

The pdf then proceeds to present two new weapons, the first of which would be the cross boomerang – and as sad as I am to say this, it does not work RAW as written, requiring a readied action to catch (an impossibility) or a weird immediate action attack versus AC 10 that just eats an important action and is yet another delay at the table. It also fails to specify how many hands you need for it – assuming default 1 for thrown weapons, but yeah. The second item, the star whip fails to specify this as well. While both of them have been cleaned up in an errata by the author, the information has not found its way into the file and as such, can’t be taken into account.

Next up are 3 magic weapons and armors, starting with the slayer’s shield of defense…which sports one of my pet-peeves: It calls the wielder of the shield wearer instead. Shields in PFRPG are wielded. It also is a spell-in-a-can and has “goes into total defense” – which is NOT proper rules-language for that. Whip crystals can be added to a whip, bestowing the deadly special weapon ABILITY (not property!) and if the whip already possesses it or already inflicts lethal damage, it “increases the damage progression dealt by the whip by one step.” – yeah, that’s not how this is phrased. Does this refer to damage die size? Weapon size? No idea. Slayer’s Mystic Whip is a really potent star whip with spells-in-a-can. It “ constantly seeks out and can detect any undead within 60 feet, warning the wielder with its empathic link when danger is nearby.” Oh boy. How does it seek them out? Does it detect undead as the spell or instantly? What are the precise stats of the empathic link? Does the whip need to be drawn? Is it undead or danger? What are the effects – no surprise possible? No idea. This is non-operational.

The final section of the pdf deals with new magic items, ranging in price from 50 gp to 11.520 gp. The latter, btw., would be angelic wings of ivory, a jump/feather fall spell-in-a-can item. The blue crystal, a single use invisibility, also is a bit weird, in that shattering it has not been codified, action-wise. Bracers of Multi-Blow let you incur a -3 penalty to get an additional attack at the highest BAB. Which can be really strong, as it stacks with TWF. Interaction with flurry, etc. is wonky and the 1/day bonus damage is weird, as the damage is not properly codified. Candles of secrets outline secret doors and hidden compartments – like the visuals here. The holy water bomb deals holy damage. Which does not exist, and the item is even inconsistent in its own damage caused. Next. Hourglass watch is utterly OP: 1/day hold monster, AoE, for 9 rounds. For 7650 gp. WTF.

Hunter boots are better than comparable items as well. Large heart crystals replenish limited use charges when shattered, which can be rather problematic. Small heart crystals double the base weapon damage for some time when used – okay, how does this work with crits or similar multipliers?? Master keys are slightly better skeleton keys with spells-in-a-can added. The rosary of holy destruction cuases a burst of…holy damage. It also lacks an activation action. Urgh. The sapphire ring’s rules-language, alas, is also a bit wonky and contradicts itself, lacks a reach caveat…nope. Wall meat is a powerful healing item and the white cross is needlessly verbose – and for once, should reference the spell that it actually duplicates.

The final page of the pdf is devoted to a monster table, noting classic monsters and pathfinder substitutes.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting can no longer be considered to be good – while formally, the pdf does a pretty good job, the rules-language quality leaves A LOT to be desired. Layout adheres to a really nice two-column full-color standard that evokes the classic Nintendo-booklet/cartridge-aesthetics – kudos! The artworks similarly are neat. The pdf has bookmarks for the chapter-headers, but not for individual entries.

I really wanted to like Derek Blakely’s pdf. I’m a huge Castlevania-fan and these items tug at my heart’s strings. Their execution, alas, is simply not up to par. They provide bland spells in a can, sport a lot of glitches, and even if I could take the errata into account, this would constitute a failure as far as I’m concerned. Unless you are a really hardcore old-school Castlevania-fan, I can’t find a justification for this pdf, even considering its very fair and low price. Even then, this falls very short of what it easily could have been. Personally, I did not get anything from this pdf – there are too many issues here. My final verdict will clock in at 1.5 stars – if you really are a hardcore Castlevania-fan, you may want to round up…and since these fans are the target demographic, my official verdict will also round up. Otherwise, I would have rounded down.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
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8-Bit Adventures: Vampire Slayer Gear
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Ehn J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/28/2017 16:33:31

An Ehn’s Gaming Foundry review:

This week we’re looking at 8-bit Adventures: Vampire Slayer Gear; and as you can tell from the art and such, it’s trying to recreate the feel of the old and beloved retro game Donkey Kong.

We start with a small introduction to help ease us into things, giving the reader an idea of what they’re in for with this book, and what that happens to be is gear to help us kill vampires, letting us know that it isn’t just magical gear (which is often the case), but also mundane gear, which I very much appreciate. We also get an explanation of why it’s just gear and not a full setting, which feels extra, but doesn’t really hurt. We also get proper bookmarking in the PDF to help us find our way around.

Next we get some ‘game terms’ mixed in with some pathfinder game terms to help us get more of a feel for things, although not sure ‘mundane’ is an actual game term here. Still, it’s keeping in tone with everything else, and as a whole, I appreciate that. The art inside is very reminiscent of that you’d find in an old instruction manual, which does wonders for keeping you in the proper mindset of this product.

The cleansing fire section isn’t my favorite though. While I get what the writer is going for, mechanics like this don’t really translate as well outside of what they’re hoping to do here. I don’t believe that we’re getting a good point for when to include treasure of this magnitude into games. Different charts for different levels would have been much appreciated here, rather than a one size fits all listing.

The language in the star whip leaves a lot to be desired, and while the author did clear this up in a post, it’s still in the book as a rather confusing item. Also I’m not sure how you’d be able to have an action readied to catch a returning cross boomerang, as attacking with it would generally be a part of a standard/full attack action, thus not giving you a chance to ready an action in response. Even an immediate feels like a bit too much, as you can only catch it once per round, making it not great for full attack actions. Sure, it’s a mundane item and early game it could do well, but it feels less than ideal for mid to late game.

Slayer’s shield of defense feels a bit too ‘spell in a can’ for me, and whip crystal also has imprecise wording (I’m assuming it’s a size increase) making the intent clear for veterans but cloudy for most others. I want to like the Slayer’s Mystic Whip more, but it’s the same issue of spell in a can here, making it a touch too mundane for me to really appreciate.

The rest of the magic items also feel plain, with bracers of the multi-blow most likely meaning “two weapon fighting penalties” rather than the two weapon fighting feat. Hourglass watch is also crazy powerful, it’s effectively an auto kill against any evil creature without spell resistance, and it’s multi target for 9 rounds; that’s just brutal. And at 8k, a mid level adventurer could pick up a few of these to just auto kill a large amount of creatures. Sure, it being mind affecting limits it a bit, but that’s still an I Win button against a lot of foes. The large and small heart crystals are kind of interesting even if the large one feels like it could end up being pretty cheap in the case of staff charges, and the small heart crystal feels undercosted for its effect.

I do kinda like Rosary of Destruction too (though I think it should have a save), and the ability to amp it with turn undead is pretty nice. Sapphire ring is another item that has pretty clumsy rules language that could really have used a more discerning eye. I also believe that wall meat might be the best curative item I’ve ever seen by a wide margin; it doesn’t even give an amount of ability damage it heals, it just heals all of it as well as a very sizeable chunk of hit points. White cross is okay though, it’s thematic and fair for what it does.

We finish with a list of creatures that you can substitute in for others, which is a nice finishing touch.

Mechanics: 1.5/5

Mechanics range from okay to uninspired to just non-functional, and there’s a lot in here that I just don’t care for as a GM. The power is all over the board, and most of it isn’t really that interesting. I’m not really the primary market for this, but it feels like a lot of this was written with the idea of pushing the mechanics of this game into pathfinder without a huge amount of consideration for the rules.

Thematics: 3/5

This is a book for thematics, plain and simple. Personally, I think it does it well enough, but there was never enough here to keep me completely drawn into the setting and ideas held within. It did a good job, I got the jist of what they were going for, but the way that mechanics were smashed into this didn’t make it feel like a seamless transition between two different media, it just felt like I was shoving one into another.

Final Thoughts 2/5

While I respect the effort that went into this project, as a whole it fell flat for me. With imprecise rules text, quite a few items I wouldn’t let into a game if given the chance, and a less than smooth transition between the two properties. Derek Blakely came off as a video game fan who wanted to push a game’s framework into an RPG, and while if you’re more of a rules light group who’s fine with that way of doing things it’ll work okay; for a more rules savvy group, this isn’t for you.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
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8-Bit Adventures: Vampire Slayer Gear
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by James E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/11/2017 08:16:50

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this PDF for the purpose of this review.

This is a 14-page, full-color product - although only 10 of the pages have relevant content on them. As the name implies, this is all about vampire slaying... but with more of a video game twist than most products released for Pathfinder. This is actually quite important to understand - this product is very much intended to work with games inspired by a certain famous vampire-hunting franchise, so you'll want to review the options carefully before making them available in other games. Now, let's get into things, shall we?

The first page of actual rules stuff discusses iconic items from the games, and which items from Pathfinder are best used to represent them. This is fairly straightforward stuff, all things considered. The next page gives us a candle treasure table (to be found by breaking sources of light, generally), holding things like holy water bombs, whip crystals, and masterwork weapons. A second table is given for items found in secret areas. Many of the items on these tables are new items presented later in this product.

Following this, we get descriptions for two new weapons. The Cross Boomerang is a an exotic ranged weapon that deals Bludgeoning or Piercing damage, with a range of 30 feet, an x2 crit multiplier, and a returning property that allows the thrower to catch the boomerang (with it falling some ways away if they don't). The other new weapon (the Star Whip) is an exotic melee weapon - implied to be one-handed, but this probably should have been specified - that has the disarm, finesse, reach, and trip properties. Characters proficient in whips are also proficient in Star Whips, and it does lethal damage even to creatures with armor bonuses.

The next section focuses on magic weapons and armor. The Slayer's Shield of defense is a +2 mithral heavy shield, which counts as a divine focus, allows for a spell that helps protect against ranged attacks, and provides an added bonus when you use the total defense action (written here as "full defense"). The Whip Crystal is essentially a buff for whips, either giving them the Deadly property or - if they already have it or do lethal damage - increasing the damage progression by one step. The Slayer's Mystic Whip is a +3 ghost touch holy undead bane star whip that's also an intelligent item, and it's pretty focused on finding and eliminating undead. It also offers several additional powers, including a protective spell-like ability, detecting magic at-will, and a bonus to intimidate against evil. It's also worth over 150,000 GP, so it's not likely to be seen outside of high-level games.

Most of the rest of this product is taken up by other new items, which include things like boots that give both Jump and Feather Fall effects, bracers that give you an additional attack (at an accuracy penalty), and a holy water bomb that deals holy damage and is extra nasty against undead and evil outsiders.

The last part of this product is another equivalency table, much like the earlier one on classic weapons - although this bit is more for game masters, since it suggests specific monsters to recreate the feel of the games (and provides their source).

Overall, I find this product fairly entertaining, and it definitely accomplishes its job of providing thematic vampire-slaying tools. That said, I do think this product - and especially the items - could have used another editing pass. For example, the Sapphire Ring says it can be 'activated', but doesn't specify the type of action used. (Standard action to set up defenses? Immediate action to respond to a threat? Free action you can take when it isn't your turn?) It also says "any creature that attacks with melee attack takes 2d6 points of electricity damage". Since it doesn't quite specify that it's limited to you, it's arguably saying that anyone in the area (or, heck, the world) takes damage when they make melee attacks, and that probably wasn't the intention.

The errors don't ruin this product, but they do make it a little less solid than it could have been, and it's something to keep an eye on in the future. As-is, however, I'm going to rate this a 4/5.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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