What I'm Backing on Kickstarter:

What I'm Backing on Kickstarter:
After Winter Dark Campaign Setting

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Charity and Castles & Crusades

For many of my gaming-savvy reader, the Humble Bundle and Bundle of Holding are two services you undoubtedly already know about.  I came across the Bundle of Holding some time ago after I already became a huge fan of the Humble Bundle.  The difference with the Bundle of Holding is that it is pretty much exclusively to do with putting together Table-Top RPG bundles benefiting charity.

I don't buy from the Bundle of Holding as much as I would like to since I tend to be a lot more discerning about what RPG products I do buy.  More often than not, stuff I would be interested in, I already have but it did help introduce me to some games I wouldn't have normally.  But this time around, Troll Lord Games have partnered with them and has up for grabs a whole bunch of Castles & Crusades stuff for a really great price!

With the Bundle of Holding, there are two tiers.  The entry tier at a fixed price and a higher tier of goods which you get when you beat the present threshold ($21.28 at present).

The starting tier gets you three books (retailing at $47):

  • The Players Handbook (full color, 6th printing)
  • Castellian's Guide to Arms & Armor
  • Rune Lore

Beating the threshold will get you another five books (retailing at $73):

  • The Castle Keepers Guide (full color, 2nd printing)
  • Classic Monsters
  • Engineering Dungeons
  • Engineering Castles
  • Lion in the Ropes

All in all, a decent haul of products for less than $22 and a great way to dive into Castles & Crusades.  In fact, the only 'key' book missing from this lineup would be the Monsters & Treasure book (also in full color) but, given the roots of this game, hardly needed if you have classic D&D books or even d20 monster books.  The Classic Monsters also has an index of monsters in the back that includes the basic stats for the monsters found in the original M&T book as well as a whole host of interesting critters as well!

Unlike the Humble Bundle, you can't set how much goes to charity.  The amount for charity is a fixed amount (and calculated after the gateway fees are paid) which means that 10% will be going to Heifer International.

While not garnering the same sort of numbers that Paizo is doing with the Humble Bundle right now, the amounts for the Bundle of Holding are steadily rising.  It would be REALLY nice to see it climb much higher though.  If I didn't have every single title listed, I wouldn't hesitate to participate.  Instead I'm doing what I can by passing this along.

You can find this particular Bundle of Holding deal over HERE.

However, if you are like me and already own all or most of this stuff, maybe you should check out Paizo's bundle benefiting charity which I talk about over HERE.

Happy Gaming!


Charity and Pathfinder

For many of my gaming-savvy reader, the Humble Bundle and Bundle of Holding are two services you undoubtedly already know about.  I came across Humble Bundle a few years back and I have bolstered my Steam collection of video games by an almost embarrassing amount during this time.  To my delight, and financial dismay, they started doing similar things with books of all sort as well as comics.

The way it typically works is simple, there are typically a few tiers with the first one often being a 'pay-what-you-want' though sometimes this will just be a set, but ridiculously low priced tier.  Then there are a couple other tiers available -- usually gotten by a 'beat the average' amount or higher fixed amount and, the highest tier which is fixed.  All of this is digital which is part of the reason they can do this for low prices to begin with.  With the growth and success of the Humble Bundle, they are now able to run multiple campaign bundles simultaneously and the really nice things about these bundles is that benefits go to charity.  With whatever amount you end up pledging, a percentage goes to the publisher who is offering these goodies, a percentage goes to the Humble Bundle group, and a percentage goes to a particular charity (which will vary depending on the bundle).  The splits for the money are predetermined by default buy you can customize who gets how much if you like (I often tend to bump up the charity amount compared to the other two but everybody gets something).

However, what took me by surprise is Paizo partnering up with Humble Bundle and offering a MASSIVE Pathfinder related bundle.  Don't get me wrong, it's not that I was surprised to see Paizo participating -- I have just never seen any table-top RPG offered up in that way on Humble Bundle before.  Frankly, this is fantastic and the offerings are impressive.

For a single $1 (or more -- this is for charity), you get the Core Book, GameMastery Guide, the Digital Beginner Box, Character Folio, Advanced Class Guide, GM Screen, and the first part of an adventure path.

If you pay $15 or more, you add on to that a copy of Ultimate Magic, Ultimate Campaign, Ultimate Combat, Bestiary 2, Inner See Post Map Folio, Year of the Sky Key Scenario Mega Pack (23 adventures), and another part of that aforementioned adventure path.

Paying more than the average (currently $17.19) gets you the Inner Sea World Guide, Strategy Guide, Bestiary, Ultimate Equipment, the Advanced Players Guide, and another couple of scenarios.

As it stands, for less than $18 -- you get a whole lot of Pathfinder.  And, for those of you who would like something a bit more tangible, a pledge of $25 or more will also get you a physical copy of the Pathfinder Beginner Box.  Well, at least $25 plus shipping.

That said, unlike most other Humble Bundle transactions, this one did not run smoothly right out the gate.  Paizo greatly underestimated the demand when they decided to do this and in the past few days, over 40,000 bundles have been bought.  Paizo is hosting the files themselves and the demand on their servers with the watermarking process creating an interesting bottleneck has led to a lot of frustration for regular users as well as all these new users.  It has taken me the better part of a couple of days to get all my files and I had waited a couple days before that even trying.  Paizo apparently took steps after the problems arose to try and cope with the increased demand and I can say that this morning shows a vast improvement over the past couple of days.  The good news is, once they are bought, they are yours and there is no time limit to get them or if you need to re-download them.

However, had Paizo allowed Humble Bundle handle the hosting of these files, it might have allowed them to prevent these issues from even happening.  But that would mean skipping any watermarking (or personalizing) of the files in the first place.  Yes, it means forgoing any updates to the files (correcting typos or whatever), but that's hardly a deal breaker either.  It would also mean that people wouldn't have to create a Paizo account if they didn't already have one in order to get their PDFs.

Let's focus on the good though:

With over 40,000 purchases... over $690,000 has been raised so far.  Paizo is getting a nice boost as well as charity and there are still 10 days for these numbers to grow.  With tremendous value, this bundle is a great way to get into Pathfinder or grab them for reference.  I'm not a Pathfinder guy but I admire what Paizo has done and I had no qualms about doing my part.

You can find the bundle HERE.

But maybe you already are a huge Pathfinder fan and have most (if not all) of these already.  Up next, I will tell you about another tabletop RPG bundle benefiting charity.


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Kickstart This: Familiars & Companions for 5th Edition

Troll Lord Games pretty much started with at the start of the d20 era though their first releases predates d20.  Thanks to the OGL though, as well as a couple twists of fortune, they had started with some promising and interesting books -- including material from Gary Gygax.  But the wheel keeps turning as as the 3rd Edition era was phasing out, Castles & Crusades became an increasing focus for the company.  When Gygax passed away, C&C and other games using the same mechanics, became their sole focus.  It stayed that way for the past few years.

This has begun to change however, and at the end of last month, they launched a Kickstarter to release a gaming book for 5th Edition.  While it is true that TLG is testing the waters with this product, the material that makes up the book isn't something that hasn't been tested before.  The present kickstarter is to put out a full color hardback detailing Familiars and Companions for your 5th Edition D&D game.  Prior to this book, TLG has produced 'The Book of Familiars' for 3rd Edition and, a C&C version a few years later but this book is not just a conversion of something we have seen before.  At best, it builds on the foundation and concepts previously introduced and builds up fully embracing 5th Edition mechanics and aesthetics.  In fact, this approach will likely result in a much better product than C&C's Book of Familiars simply because it isn't a rehash or simple conversion.  It is also nice to see a much more focused approach for 5th Edition as opposed to releasing a 'catch-all' product that tries to juggle many different subjects.

Now, I have enjoyed the aforementioned C&C book for what it offered.  Some things seemed to be a bit overpowered to my liking but, I lay the blame for that at the foot of the original d20 version.  I found it a bit ironic that some aspects of this new 5th Edition book will be toned down compared to what was done previously.  Certain mechanical aspects found in the original d20 and C&C versions are no where to be seen in this new one.

For instance, the whole point of this book is to open up the possibility to have Familiars and Companions expanded beyond just a couple of classes.  One of the way they treat this is through the spending of character experience points.  This won't be how 5th edition gaming accessory deals with this.  Rather, these familiars and companions will be a true extension of the character and advancing along with them.  The best part is that these won't just be restricted to a animal or magical creature.  Imagine, a fighter linking with a 'legacy blade' or a rogue's own shadow becoming something more and fighting alongside him.  While some of these things might have been introduced before, they seem to fit much more naturally with 5th Edition.

If you are a FAN of 5th Edition, and want something more that what is currently being offered for that game, this Kickstarter may very well be for you.  Troll Lord Games has come a far from its humble beginnings and the recent products that have been released the past few years have gotten many to take notice.  A full color hardcover $35 USD with some extras thrown in is great value -- especially if you consider the C&C Book of Familiars retails for about $30 and that's in black and white.

Curious for more?  Check out the campaign that is winding down over HERE.  They haven't reached their funding goal yet, but reaching hit isn't impossible at this stage.  It's just taking a bit longer to get there.