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Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Champions of Balance

Product- Pathfinder Player Companion- Champions of Balance


Price- $20 or $13 for PDR

System- Pathfinder

TL;DR- Slight story concerns, but awesome character options.93%


Basics- Time for the epic battle of good vs. neutral! Champions of Balance covers the hows and whys of neutral characters. The first section covers the types of neutral characters (LN, N, and CN). Next the book discusses neutral countries and organizations. From here, the book introduces new character options from new subdomains, ninja tricks, feats, spells, orders, archetypes, magic items, and a prestige class.


Fluff or Theme- I liked and didn’t like this one. The story and backgrounds of neutral characters [...]

Fantasy Art Thursday: "Echoes of Glory" by Ralph Horsley

((Click HERE to go to Ralph Horsley's DeviantArt page))Last year when I started this series, one of the first artists I featured was Ralph Horsley. Hailing from the United Kingdom, Horsley is mostly known the work he's done for Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Talisman, and World of Warcraft.

The above piece is the cover for the Pathfinder Player Companion Taldor: Echoes of Glory. The picture depicts two different battalions from the empire of Taldor clashing as the sun slowly sets over the horizon. I love how Horsley has captured the chaotic nature of battle, seeing the two knights clashing [...]

Dr Wholmes - The Final Chapter: The Exile.

     And now we come to the final installment of comparisons, where I take my premise and stretch it truly past the breaking point. The other three have been pretty clear parallels, but this one even I'll admit pushes it. If you're a Doctor Who fan but haven't seen the 50th anniversary special, you might tune out for fear of spoilers. Likewise if you're a House fan and haven't seen the finale.

     After spending who knows how long avoiding the Time War, the 8th Doctor was mortally wounded attempting to rescue a brave [...]

Starter Adventure Proof in Hand

As the title reads, I got my proof copy of Starter Adventures.  It looks good, but the cover needed tweaking.  The reds were muted.  That was my fault.  I used a textured red and it didn't translate well.  I changed it up with a more striking red that will make the words and cover pop a little more.  Ivy also said, "put your name on the damn cover, that's where it belongs".  So I added it at the bottom.  That's a light glare in the bottom right corner.

On the back cover, the picture's colors and reds were [...]

O is for the Owl

The Owl is second creation of cartoonish Martin Filchock to be featured on this trip through the alphabet by way of obscure Golden Age comic book characters, with the previous one being Electric Ray.

The world gets its first look at the Owl! From Funny Pages #1 (vol. 4)The Owl is a young librarian named Jack who uses the hi-tech  flying suit to take revenge against the crimnals who crippled his father. The suit gives him the ability to fly "faster than an airship" and to communicate with his father via radio.
Like all of Flichock's creations, there is [...]

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the big screen again!!

As you well know from regular reading of this blog, I like the TMNT franchise, well parts of it, always have since the days of the old palladium RPG (which is how I got into it in the first place) So other turtles fans will be pleased to hear that the new movie is almost […]

Crowdfunding Spotlight: Fantasy Coins from Fantasy Coin on Kickstarter

While I have the time off from sculpting and modelmaking tonight, I thought I’d catch up on doing some posts, this time a crowdfunding spotlight article featuring some rather nice coinage from Fantasy coin LLC. These lovely looking tokens are intended for use with everything from RPGs, Live Roleplaying games, board games and possibly even […]

Clown News: Creepy Staten Island clown, Manchester and Cambridge Clowns also on the loose!!

  Here’s something I never thought I’d be revisting, but once again I’m back with more new Clown News, a feature that has been rather popular here on the Grinning Skull blog. Ok, so I thought as many did, that the clown craze was just a fad that had died out, but I was wrong. […]

O Is for Oppressive

oppressive: (adj.) unjustly inflicting hardship and constraint

Ogres have long been a threat to civilized peoples. Strong, brutish, given to looting and pillaging, gangs of ogres are menaces that cannot be tolerated for long. Ogres revel in the misery of others. When smaller races aren’t available to crush between meaty fists or defile in blood-red lusts of violence, they turn to each other for entertainment. It takes a forceful leader to keep an ogre gang focused.

Within ogre tribes, few leaders prove more forceful than harridans. An ogre harridan rules by fear and violence, using her superior strength, intelligence, and magic powers [...]

Menoth: pKreoss

Today's warcaster is pKreoss (as in Plastic-Kreoss). When I got to this guy, I had already painted the warjacks from the mega-lot. So I painted him with a scheme that unified the jacks with the infantry. I added the flames to his robes. I like how they came out, but after I was done, I got a different idea on how to paint them, which I later tried on Severius.

But JP, you say, you posted Severius more than two weeks ago! And you would be correct. Although I posted Severius first, I had completed Kreoss WAY before - [...]

Racial Prejudice - Do You Have a Favorite PC Race (or race / class combo)?

I know I'm guilty of it. Given the choice, I'll play a dwarf every time, hands down. If the rules allow multiclassing, he'll be a fighter / cleric or fighter / thief. That's how I roll these days, even tho back in my early days of gaming, just about every PC I had was a human. Racial restrictions were tough to stomach when campaigns often hit their higher teens in level.

I'm not hugely keen on elves. No idea why. Maybe it's the bad taste Bladesingers left in my mouth as a 2e DM.

I have players that will always play an elf (magic user or m-u / something) or some other favorite. Others seem to have no such racial (or class) [...]

Tracking magic item 'quirks'

Whilst I really do appreciate a magic item can provide an excellent spring board for interesting roleplay I often find that they inevitably take a back seat in the story or are forgotten completely. So i'm thinking of a way to enhance the experience at my table - Im looking at giving each magic item (that is powerful enough to have a personality and quirks) a requirement that must be satisfied in order for the item to function. I'll do it per session, not fixed to any in game time scales, so if the requirement isnt met this session - [...]

#MtG's #Zendikar plane as a #13thAge setting! - Part 4: Minor Icons

I still haven't finished the full list of icons in my Detailed Icons mega-post, and I'm already thinking about more icons.

The idea is a bit different though, than just adding more icons. I just noticed that some of my icons were very close to some other powerful figures that should have influenced them somehow. So instead of creating "dual icons" (which might be an option anyway), I will put here these kind of "minor icons" that complement some of the standard ones for my Zendikar adaption.

The write-ups will be smaller, and having relationships directly and [...]

#MtG's #Zendikar plane as a #13thAge setting! - Part 3: Detailed Icons

This post is going to be big, because I want each Icon of Zendikar to receive a treatment comparable to the Icons of 13th Age if not more extensive. However, it would take me too much time to post all Icons altogether, so I'm going to update this post over time, adding Icon over Icon, or possibly even expanding on Icons I already wrote about, although I will try to limit that.

I'm gonna post a small index here at the start of the page, with eventual updates on existing entries, so that if you're interested you can [...]

#MtG's #Zendikar plane as a #13thAge setting! - Part 2: Quick Icons!

A flash of insight hit me suddenly about the icons in Zendikar and I had a stupid idea that proved less stupid than first thought.

It started thinking about the "everything goes" philosophy I was beginning to think was the only solution to the Icons in Zendikar. I thought: "At this point, you could even just take the cards that most closely approximate the 13th Age Icons, and call it a day." - And then I tried the experiment..!

The Archmage: Seagate Loremaster

It can definitely be a legendary (aka unique) figure in Zendikar, even if [...]

Yithalin-The Lord of Shadow and Silence

Yithalin-The Lord of Shadow and Silence(Deity)

He is coniving and sudden. He supports quick thinking and cunning, but especially stealth. He mocks clumsiness and openness.

He is a lonely god as the evil gods know well of his trickery, many of them having been used by him in his tricks. The lonliness suits him. The thieves of the world are eager to befriend him for their shadowy acts. He sees into all shadows and hears every whisper. His dark scouts are in many places. He has a home in the chaos realm.

Alignment:Chaotic Evil (-4, -5)

Worshipers:Thieves, Assassins, Shadow Hunters

Symbols:shadow, closed lips, crow


Blessing: +1 [...]

Crazy Campaign

Recently I was responding to a Google+ post by Gavin. He was putting together a list of potential goals for the wizards in his campaign because he felt that players tend to shy away from doing cool stuff.

I started thinking about the cool things that have happened in my campaign, and the cool things I wanted to happen in my campaign but which didn’t.

First, the failures. These were goals I had hoped players would set themselves but they did not.

In my games, I’ve been trying to let players find books on particular topics. I never went all out and maintained a page on the campaign wiki with the actual books they own. My idea was that the books would allow them to research spells related to these topics (one of my house rules says you can only learn spells from other casters, so this sort of research would be the only alternative). I’d say that “building a library” didn’t happen.

Another thing I had hoped for was that players would actively seek out wizards with particular spells but as it turns out, I have not been placing a lot of rumors about particular spells. All the casters they befriended they befriended because of an adventure they were having and they happened to meet and connect on some level. I’d say that “meeting and befriending other casters” went well, but “actively seeking out other casters and befriending them” didn’t happen.

There have been successes as well, though.

One character is sponsoring four sages (and plans to hire more, each costing about 2000 gold pieces per month; usually one week passes in-game for every session). For one, money spent generates XP (one of my house rules). At the same time, every sage writes a little something about the setting. It’s great for me to provide [...]

Cast Off - Launching of a Kickstarter Project

I've been pretty quiet on a lot of fronts because I've been working hard on a variety of projects (Veronica Monsterhearts, Rent's Due, Third Life, AIR to name a few) but one of them is near completion. Cast Offis now live and we're hoping to get some people to be interested by movie trivia and funny voices! It's the first "big print run" game that I've done. Suitors was a bigger total print

Partial Success and Total Party Kills

I've been, yet again, on a Dungeon World kick lately. I discovered and quickly fell in love with the game last Summer and came back to it recently. In the past month or so I've ran two Dungeon World one-shots and have plans for many, many more. In short, it's the game I've been seeking for a long time when it comes to fighting dragons and exploring dungeons.
Now, that doesn't mean I still don't have love for D&D (4e, 0e, whatever edition strikes your fancy) or even Barbarians of Lemuria, I do. Great love. But for now at least, [...]

My Wife Wants Me to Bring Feltothraxis Out of Retirement for NTRPG Con - Who Shall the Dragon Interview?

Hard to believe it is over two years since I did a Feltothraxis video. Ain't he a cute little bugger?

I do believe +Zach Glazar has agreed to be interviewed by Feltothraxis at NTRPG Con. I guess if I am to do this right, I will need to line up some others.

+Vincent Florio you up to some silliness? ;)


Champions -- Boreas of the Vanguard

Remi Gagnon was talented – one of the very, VERY, few humans who could shape their magic freely, rather than being limited to specific, well-studied, effects. An advanced degree in magical studies was almost inevitable.

Professor Gagnon taught, deciphered and studied ancient tomes of magical lore, and served as a consultant to the authorities on mystical matters, and relaxed with camping and hiking trips with his friends. He was never much for actual wilderness skills – but that hardly mattered when you could compose small magics on the fly.

Disaster struck during one hiking trip. Conventional personal magics might allow him to [...]

Chance and Timing of Wilderness Encounters

This is basically the system I used to use for rolling wilderness encounters back in the day, but I've updated it a bit. It assumes the DM is going to check the chance of an encounter based on the passage of time, not based on distance traveled. That's how it is in the dungeon, and that's how I've always preferred to do it.

Instead of using arbitrary units like hours or days, this system divides time into more natural sections based on sunrise, sunset, and the typical activity cycle of creatures outdoors. If your world has 2 suns [...]

B/X Spell Roundup, 3rd level magic-user spells, part 1

Meanwhile, back on the magic-user spell lists...
Woohoo!  Your magic-user has reached level 5!  Third level spells!  You have truly arrived.  Or so we've always been led to believe.  Let's analyze the Awesomeness Coefficient of these spells and find out how much truth there is to that.

1. Clairvoyance:  It hasn't got quite the range I'd like to see in a scrying spell, but being able to see through the eyes of another creature behind walls or closed doors could be a very useful ability.  You see whatever the creature whose eyes you're using sees, presumably including any special [...]

RPG Review -- Adventure Path Iconics: Path of Undeath

By Endzeitgeist Adventure Path Iconics: Path of Undeath is 25 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving us with a total of23 pages of content, so let’s take a look! From the get-go, I feel the need to mention something – these Iconics are not for a traditional AP in the sense [...]

The post RPG Review – Adventure Path Iconics: Path of Undeath appeared first on G*M*S Magazine.

MAPS! 20,000+ of them!

Apparently I forgot to hit publish on this post, oops.
RPGs are no strangers to the use of maps, many systems utilise them during combat while adventures often employ them to provide players with a feel for the regions they’re exploring and acting in. One of the downsides of maps is the amount of time that can be required for their construction, especially if you want something that incorporates a substantial amount of detail. Luckily for us then that the Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division of the New York Public Library has released 20,000+ historical maps under a [...]

The Village of Larm, Goblin Trouble and a Fallen Hero

This being the continuing exploits of our group of heroes in the Village of Larm:

  • Dai, a human fighter
  • Melian, an Elf
  • Arsenios, a human Cleric
  • Adrog, a Dwarf
  • Ruby, a Halfling thief

Flush from solving the mystery of the dying Olde Oak, the party rested overnight and visited commander MacMillan the next morning. They were glad to learn the rogue Holtz was still in custody, so they inquired about rumors of a Goblin camp outside of town. The Commander told them that a small group of Goblins have been raiding Dwarven trade caravans, and have been even approaching the gates [...]

MAGIC 2015 Designed by some of the world's most renowned game developers!

As if there isn’t already enough excitement around the upcoming release of Magic 2015, Wizards […]

Elemental Lords of Porphyra

Elemental Lords of Porphyra This supplement is 21 pages long, 1 page front cover and […]

Adventure Path Iconics: Path of Undead

Adventure Path Iconics: Path of Undead This installment of Adventure Path Iconics is 25 pages […]

Quick Update

I just wanted to post a little heads up to everyone. My posts for the next week or so may be sporadic.  This morning my grandmother passed away. We didn't always see eye to eye on everything, but I loved her dearly and she will be missed.

 Obviously my blog isn't the highest on my list of priorities, but I will try to get posts together and scheduled.

O -- OLoF NiNe

I’m just gonna leave this <a href=”http://astrangerparadise.com/olof-nine”>here</a&gt;. Use “Fuck, You’re Dead” or “Chateau Rouge” in the background for your next dungeon-crawl. You’ll thank me later.

Against the Giants: Session 104

The party of bold tomb-robbers continue to explore the catacombs, cracking open caskets and urns, lifting the lids on sarcophagi, looting what they can, fighting off wights and wraiths, skeletons, and moving on.

One tunnel opens into a cavern, where the tunnel has fallen into; giants rats swarm up, but are dispatched with ease. Ghouls pop up at the same time, but are also easily cut down; skeletons follow, smashed, then more tombs are robbed and undead destroyed.

They come across a throne room, loot a chest, and continue on through more natural tunnels, where Almahid says he got captured after following [...]

My First world

So we are back in the Pacific North West now and visiting my mom this week. As mothers often do she brought out some old pictures and scrapbooks and whatnot. While we were going through some of this stuff I found a real gem; my first world-building project. I began this in middle school sometime after discovering the Palladium RPG. I never did finish the map, but I had notes and an incomplete picture representing different currency conversions, as well different languages and cultures.

The the three other images were illustrations of various peoples and creatures in the world that I [...]

ICON Sub Deadline

A quick repost from ICON fanzine - the deadline for submissions is in a week, you can get more info here. That is all.

Here Comes the Swarm (Part 3) - Paragon Slivers

More Slivers, this time, ready to take on paragon level adventurers.
Battle Sliver

Manaweft Sliver

Remember, to get the total ability check modifier, add half the monster's level rounded down. 

Book review - Transformers: The Art of Fall of Cybertron

Please welcome to Farsight Blogger guest blogger Richard Williams, a fellow gamer, weird stuff enthusiast, writer and a really good friend of mine. Richard has a passion for art books and for a few weeks he'll be sharing his thoughts on some of his favourites.

I actually cancelled my purchase of Transformers: The Art of Fall of Cybertron at one point, deciding to save money, but later changed my mind. And I am so glad I did.

This is an excellent art book with just the right amount of descriptive text, choc full of pull page and two page [...]


I am never not blown away by the inventiveness of LEGOmaniacs and I loving scour through LEGO blogs and MOC sites. They are also a surprising rich source of RPG ideas ... (all taken from the Brother's Brick site). 
I know they are expensive, but I'm amazed that there isn't a really good LEGO rpg. 

Winter is coming for these figs!

This looks like something out of D&Ds earlier, trippier days (love the eyeball floors). 

This little beauty looks like something right out of Mortal Engines

and if [...]

Underworld Classes: The Underterror!

AdventureAWeek.com is gearing up to explore the endless caves of Aventyr in a host of upcoming products (some of which are part of PATHMASTER contest winner Michael Allen’s adventure path!) that introduce brand new races and classes to the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game! In a post for the playtestback in January we brought out the ahool […]

The post Underworld Classes: The Underterror! appeared first on Adventure-A-Week.

First Phase of 1/32 WWII Forces 2/3 Done!

Last night I finished up 5 figures I've been working on (1 Soviet and 4 US) to bring 2 of my 3 1/32 armies to "first phase" readiness (3 infantry units of 4 figures + NCO  + 1 CO and 1 tank).
Here is the Soviet commander surveying the troops from [...]

Character Thursday-The Gangs of Diervale

In my discussion of Diervale, I covered the factions that lived there. While the mayor, tavern keepers, merchants, and farmers are pretty well explained there, the gangs have a lot of variety and bear further description. I’ll cover the biggest gangs.

TheHardblades are the most powerful gang. They have a reputation for making assassinations happen, even if it means having thugs waiting in the wings to finish the job. This reputation helps them get many of the assassination contracts brought to the city, nearly 20%. While this abundance of contracts attracts many assassins and potential assassins to the gang, their brutal [...]

Loves Me Some Lovecraft...

At The Mountain Of Madness The Necronomicon Cthulhu's Legend The Hunter In The Dark Art by Marc Simonetti, sourced, as ever, from Tumblr.

The Warriors From Vault 54 The Death Valley Raid - An Outlander/Deathlands Book Series Inspired Adventure Encounter For Your Old School Post Apocalyptic Rpg Campaigns

In the blasted waste there have been sightings of raiders on pre holocaust vehicles who have been raiding communities, gathering slaves for some massive project in the desert. These beings are incredibly dangerous and daring. They have some of the best gear that traders who have seen. From out of the deserts known as the Kingdom of Death they have come.
 Trade routes are being disrupted. Communities cut off from the rest of the world and whole villages are vanishing into what was known as Death Valley.
Local traders and village elders are putting together [...]

Savage Odyssey

So this week has been pretty busy, I have a new schedule at work that has allowed me some more free time to pick up this blog again and gotten in some much needed reading. So let's start there:

Last week I talked about Gnome Stew's Odyssey book that goes into the theory craft behind campaign design. Great read if you haven't read it I do recommend it mainly for a seasoned GM. The book assumes you know a little bit about what your doing and that you are doing most of this stuff already at a subconscious level. [...]

Magic Item -- Delver's Rope

Aura faint transmutation; CL 5th Slot none – hand held; Price 8,000 gp; Weight 1 lb. Description

This small coil of fine silk rope is light and easy to handle. When users speak a magic word and uncoil it, however, they will discover that it it long enough for any use, no matter how much rope is needed. For example, the small coil can be lowered all the way down to the bottom of a 300 foot deep chasm, or used to tie a tightrope across a eighty foot gap between two rooftops, and the rope is exactly long enough for the task [...]

Magic Beans

The Magic Beans trick is a GM technique for generating great plot hooks that feel organic and planned, make the world feel rich and interconnected, and tie up loose ends.

During one story (the "old cow" story), the GM plants a story event that looks like a plot hook, but has vague or totally undefined consequents.  This is the "magic beans."  Next, when the GM wants to draw the PCs into another story (the "cloud giant" story), he creates a follow-up event in which the consequents of the magic beans are revealed (the "beanstalk").  The name of the [...]

O is for Octorok--The Legend of Zelda

Climate/Terrain: Any temperateArtwork from the original game booklet.Frequency: CommonOrganization: GroupActivitiy Cycle: Usually DaytimeDiet: Dirt and StoneIntelligence: Low (5-7)Treasure: QAlignment: Chaotic EvilNo. Appearing: 1d4+1Armor Class: 7 [13]Movement: 12"Hit Dice: 1 or 2Thac0 [Bonus to hit]: 19No. of Attacks: 1Damage/Attack: 1d6 or 1d4Special Attacks: Rock SpitSpecial Defenses: NoneMagic Resistance: NoneSize: MMorale: Average (8-10)XP Value:            Red 35            Blue 65

An Octorok is a strange octopus-like creature that travels on land and spits rocks at enemies from its mouth. Somehow, it stores these rocks in its gullet.
In combat, it can shoot two rocks per round (+2 to hit) range of 30 feet, each rock does 1d6 damage. It if moves, it can only shoot one rock In melee, it bites for 1d4 [...]

Last Call for 4e Forever #2!!!

Hey everyone, I know its been slow around here but I have shifted my focus over to getting 4e Forever #2 out before the end of summer. If you want to contribute any material, be it an article, adventure, or (PLEASE) artwork, I have set a deadline for April 30th.

This issue looks to be jam packed and much crunchier than the first issue. If you are thinking of contributing any artwork, I could use images of Trolls, Giants, Orcs, generic combat scenes, and drawings of items found in an Adventurer's Kit. That said, I will happily take ANYTHING [...]

Adventure Hooks: Ogres

They're dumb, and big, and also dumb, and did I mention dumb? Ogres are a mainstay in many D&D encounters that require a big brute who hits hard and acts directly. However, there may be other options for these hulking masses of muscle. Here are some adventure hooks related to Ogres.

Throughout April Dungeon's Master is participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. The challenge is to write a new article ever day in April, excluding Sundays. That's 26 articles over the course of the month. To make things even more interesting the title of each article will begin [...]

When Someone Turns


How do you pull off a player in your group going evil? It can be a tricky prospect, and something that many GMs and players have failed at in the past.

I ran a Star Wars game online for years, the Iron Dawn campaign. At one point, the group’s Jedi joined her former lover in his fortress and turned to the dark side. The other players were forced to fight her until she turned back [...]

The Premise Of Falsehoods -- Luck Vs Skill in RPGs

There’s a debate that has been fought ever since man invented games that have an element of chance has been, “Is it better to be lucky or skilled?” It’s a debate that has a number of unique resonances within the sphere of an RPG. How should a player or GM simulate a character who relies […]
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