Professor Jimbles Presents!: D&D 5E Review

So while our esteemed host has been trying more esoteric systems like “East Texas University”, I was introduced (read: Dragged screaming away from WoD and Pathfinder) to 5th Edition D&D/”D&D Next”.

Note from the Editor: I wouldn’t exactly call Savage Worlds (the system that East Texas University uses) “esoteric”. It’s just a very solid generic RPG system that can be adapted to a variety of settings with a minimum of effort. I’ll write about it more later.

In short: It’s good. It’s really good. It pokes all my favourite happy buttons.

In long: It was the best of times, it was the worst of tim-   

Anyway – 5th Edition.

I read through the Player’s Handbook and I’m floored. I read it in a single day and was so pleased. The endless lists of modifiers? Gone. Alignment restrictions? Gone. Obvious bias to casters? Poof.

So, yeah. I’m excited. I’m also pretty sure this huge shift away from what is traditionally associated with D&D (Huge crunch, expansive rules and character options, little focus on roleplaying.) is:

  1. Good for D&D.
  2. Good for Pathfinder.
  3. Very controversial.

Pathfinder and D&D 3.5/4 have been holding the same niche in roleplaying for a little while now.  Mechanics heavy fantasy roleplaying with years of experience and a wide community to build tools. (Hero Lab; for example.)

This divergence into a simpler, more open ruleset REALLY helps D&D as the “Beginner’s game” reputation it owns as being the longest running and most visible in the media. The option to make it more complicated is available… By trying Pathfinder.

Pathfinder currently has 89 (At my super-rough count.) books available, not including campaign setting and adventure paths. 89 books worth of customization and additional rules are available for you if you love your mechanics. (Another Editor’s Note: It’s worth pointing out that many of these books are very short, highly focused Player Companions, not full sized splats)

But of course, this means 5E doesn’t look much like D&D anymore. It’s not like the punishing 2nd Ed Tomb of Horrors; the expansive 3.5 filled with ridiculous feats from a third party or even the tactical MMORPG style gameplay of 4th Ed.

And while it’s not Open Gaming Licence, additional crunch is added with each new book. Princes of the Apocolypse has added Elemental races like Genasi. At what point does the scale tip? When does 5E start looking like 3.5?

Book Review – The Cleaners Book 1: Enter the Janitor

Note: Sorry guys, this is way later than I expected it to be. The last couple of months have been a bit of a struggle for me, and I’d found it hard to bring myself to write anything. Pushing myself to get back on track again, and hopefully the fact that I’ve got myself into a bit of a steadier routine should help with that. 

Okay, time for another review! This time around we’re looking at the first book in The Cleaners series, Enter the Janitor, by Josh Vogt. You might recognise the name from my review of Forge of Ashes. Forge of Ashes was Josh’s debut novel, with Enter the Janitor hot on its heels. It’s a bit of a genre shift as well, jumping from the fairly traditional fantasy (with some decidedly non-traditional elements) of the Pathfinder Tales line to urban fantasy with a comedic bent.

Anyway, enough preamble. Let’s get into the meat of this.

Full Disclosure: I was provided with an e-book of this novel by the author for review purposes. This has in no way influenced my opinion of the work, and this review is a full, fair and honest accounting of my thoughts on it. 

Enter the Janitor

Josh Vogt

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

Ben and Dani, ready to fight the literal scum of the universe...

Ben and Dani, ready to take on the literal scum of the universe…

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Painting Guide: Cybertronic Chasseurs (Warzone Resurrection)

Hey all, and welcome to what I hope is the first of many posts for the Grassy Gnoll. I’m Evan, and this month I’ll be running through the process of painting Cybertronic Chasseurs from Warzone Resurrection in a Martian/Frontier colour scheme. For anyone unfamiliar with it, Warzone Resurrection is a miniatures wargame based on the Mutant Chronicles RPG setting.

Some of you may be wondering “Evan, why are you using this colour scheme if your basing theme is Martian landscape?” Well, dear reader, I’m painting it like this because I like schemes with a stark contrast to them. For example the blue-steel of the armour plating and gun casing works well to contrast and tie together both the pallid and sickly looking pale flesh of the Chasseur and the earthy rich red-brown of the Martian hinterlands my various armies will be fighting over (You’ll see a terrain guide for building a similar set up in a future update).

Should I have gone for a red-metal look for my armour? Yeah, probably. But I think this scheme also works well to reflect the cold and calculating approach to warfare that the Cybertronic Megacorporation exemplifies so well.

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To sound less wanky. I think it looks dope and fits the faction’s image and theme nicely. As long as your own schemes fit that criteria (looks good, and suits the faction) I say go nuts.

I primarily use the Citadel Colours range of paints and washes and brushes from Games Workshop. If you use other brands it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out and match what colours I’m using, but I’ve included a list of colours used and their equivalents between the ranges at the end.

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Book Review – The First Tail by T.J. Burgin

Hey guys,

Took me a bit longer to finish this book than I hoped. Still, I got there in the end, so it’s time for the my review.

Full Disclosure: I was provided with an e-book of this novel by the author for review purposes. This has in no way influenced my opinion of the work, and this review is a full, fair and honest accounting of my thoughts on it. 

The First Tail

T.J. Burgin

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

The First Tail

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Book Review – Pathfinder Tales: Forge of Ashes

Well, it’s been a while. No excuses for it, I’ve just been very, very slack on posting. I’m going to try to get myself back to weekly updates, hopefully on Saturdays or Sundays. To make it easy for now, I’m going to start off with book reviews just to get going again.

So on that note, let’s start with a review of the latest Pathfinder Tales novel.

Full Disclosure: I was provided with an e-book of this novel by the author for review purposes. This has in no way influenced my opinion of the work, and this review is a full, fair and honest accounting of my thoughts on it. 

Forge of Ashes

Josh Vogt

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Akina Fairingot, the angriest dwarf in the world, prepars to lay a beatdown onto a Forgefiend.

Akina Fairingot, the angriest dwarf on Golarion, prepares to lay a beatdown onto a Forgefiend.

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Book Review – Pathfinder Tales: Pirates Promise

Alright ladies and gentlemen, it’s book review time! Still working on some other updates, but I thought I’d smash this one out-of-the-way while the book is relatively fresh in my mind. It’ll be a quick one, and free of major spoilers, since I’m kind of pressed for time at the moment. Got a lot of stuff on the go at the moment. If I can, I’ll try to come back and write some more in-depth analysis of the book, but this ought to do to get my opinion of it across.

Anyway, let’s get down to it.

Pirate’s Promise

Chris A. Jackson

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Captain Torius Vin gets ready to throw down against a trollhound

Captain Torius Vin gets ready to throw down against a trollhound

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CIFF 2014 Reviews – Round 2: Appropriate Behavior, Afterlife, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her & Him, Starred Up

Alright, time for the second round of reviews for the 2014 Canberra International Film Festival. I know I said it’d be up on Wednesday, but I’m afraid I had a most insistent migraine that decided I didn’t really need to do anything but take a bunch of painkillers and go to bed that evening. Who am I to tell the migraine no? So painkillers and bed it was. Even better, I couldn’t open my right eye properly the following morning, went to the doctor and found out that I have an eye infection… in the middle of film festival season. Thankfully I got it checked out before it had time to take hold, and it’s not contagious or too serious, with no impairment to my vision, so I’m still able to ride, work and go see the films. So, soldiering on through it. Unfortunately I still had a lot on to work around the festival as well, so this got pushed back further than I’d have liked.

Before I get stuck in though, I wanted to talk about something real quick. I was thinking the other day about what it is I love about film festivals. Interestingly enough, the biggest thing for me isn’t the films (though obviously they’re a pretty damn important part of it), rather it’s the people I meet. End up sitting next to the right person, strike up a conversation, and you can find out some fascinating stuff. At last year’s Freaky Fridays I met a couple of guys that I’m now hanging out with from time to time, going to the movies with semi-regularly and even helped out with a Tropfest entry by playing a minor role (I got to be a messed up looking vampire, good times!). I met a woman who helped setup the festival years back, and still bump into her at the movies from time to time, leading to plenty of discussions about cinema and what we’ve been watching. Just the other night at the Afterlife screening, I met a guy who comes up from Melbourne for a few weeks every year for the film festival, and had a great chat with him about what we’d both seen so far, as well as talking about the film after it finished. Without something like the festival, odds are that I’d never encounter these people, and I feel like that’d be a real shame. I sometimes have trouble meeting new people, and to have something like this where it can be almost guaranteed that I’m going to share some interests with the people around me really helps boost my confidence to talk to those around me.

Anyway, let’s get started. I’ve got five films to review this time around, but two of them will be reviewed as one due to the way they’re meant to be watched… don’t give me that look, you’ll see what I mean when I get to them. Moving along…

As last time, there may be spoilers, I make no promises, you have been warned. If you want to avoid them entirely except for basic setup spoilers, read the summary of the review, which is shown above the poster for each film. Again, titles link to the CIFF page for each film, which will have a trailer if one is available.

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