Showing posts with label review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label review. Show all posts

May 8, 2019

Cockatrice Nuggets #52 5E D&D what I hate and what I love show notes

Cockatrice Nuggets #52 5E D&D what I hate and what I love
Episode 52
Published on 5/8/2019
5th edition Dungeons and Dragons likes and dislikes and call ins!

Aron from Keep It Simple

Colin Green from Spikepit

Frothsof from Thought Eater

Thanks for listening! As always you can find me on Patreon, Blogger, Anchor, and the various socials; Facebook, Twitter, Audio Dungeon Discord and I have a room at Tenkar's Tavern Discord. Hope to see you there!

Review on Itunes.

Follow along with my campaign:

#avengers #dnd #ttrpg #anchorcast #podcast

Nov 19, 2018

Waterdeep: Dragon Heist and new rulings

Waterdeep: Dragon Heist (W:DH) is more than just a setting or adventure; Wizards of the Coast used it to sneak some new interpretations of the rules. Reading through this adventure, I caught a lot of unique situations that gave old rules a new twist or brought up something hither-to uncovered by the fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons rules. Here, in order of useful, interesting and annoying, are the things I found in W:DH.

Stealth is an oft used skill at my table, the ability to sneak past or up to your enemy is a nice option to have. W:DH gives two additional options in the case your sneak-thieves need a little help. Take disadvantage on stealth to give someone else advantage, I really like this as it moves the math around and someone with a high stealth can be seen to pad load armor or cast stones off in a different direction to distract the perceiver's attention from the character being aided. A second little tweak gave advantage to those trying to sneak through a carpeted house. From this we can see the developers (of this adventure, at least) intended to have advantage handed out regularly.

Stealth wasn't the only check that got some options, gambling players (Three Dragon Ante) get to roll Intelligence (Gaming Set) to win a game. I never came up with this myself, using sleight of hand instead, but now I will have this to fall back on. I think if I use it I will restrict it to cards/dice/board games depending on the gaming set chosen by the player. There is a combination safe hidden somewhere in Waterdeep and if you want to try to open it you need to make a Dexterity (investigation) roll. I would have went for Intelligence (Thieves' Tools), but the designer's choice fits better (and there is no stethoscope in Thieves' Tools). Combat got a little love, with the first ever strength based longbow appearing. It acts like a normal longbow but is larger and its damage is 2d6 plus strength modifier, bumping up average damage by 2.5! 

Instead of making non-player characters entirely new stat blocks, the writers just directed you to currently published stat blocks and added racial abilities to them. This is something that third party publishers (like Kobold Press in Tome of Beasts) have used before, but to my knowledge, this is it's first appearance in fifth edition. This makes good use of the NPC Features table in the Dungeon Master's Guide. Speaking of tables, the awesome Rooftop Chase Complications table has some good ideas for things to throw at players in cinematic rooftop chases.

Some of the more interesting things I found are more niche uses. There is a slime covered floor that causes problems (difficult terrain) for creatures without the slippery trait. A fresco that charms you in to hanging around and protecting it. More information on running a business is great to have. Faction quests, Scroll prices, and weather effects round out this list of may be useful in your campaign things.

Only a few things stuck out as bad in my eyes. Advice on ending chases mostly came to "or when you want the chase to end," which is to say they aren't relevant and are just exposition. In my eyes that's stuff that should just be explained; giving a player no chance of changing the outcome is a bad presedent to set. Also making a map with ten foot squares is another odd choice of the developers. Fifth edition dungeons and dragons uses a five foot square grid for miniature play and all the maps in it's products should support that. The only other thing bad I can say about W:DH is that they use pages to reprint monsters who aren't in the monster manual. I get the idea behind this, but it feels like a waste to have multiple sources with the same monster.

All in all, if you like official adventures this is another step forward for wizards of the Coast. I like that the adventure makes me reconcider some of the ways to use rules by giving new examples. I really like the modularity of the book and will reuse a lot of the material in here for my homebrew campaign even though I am not planning on running it yet. You can buy Waterdeep: Dragon Heist at your friendly local game store or on Amazon (affiliate link).

Oct 9, 2018

D&D Review - Frostbitten and Mutilated

I love A5 or digest sized books

Zak Smith's latest release Frostbitten and Mutilated (March 2018) is about a cold, harsh land and the amazons that inhabit it. The players enter for whatever reason (probably making money in the untamed north) and begin a cycle of events that could end the world. By default the attempt fails, but more on that later, for now lets start at the beginning. 

I really OSR/DIY D&D book for their A5 (digest sized) books and the general quiality of binding and paper choice. The next thing I notice in almost any book is the art, Zak had previewed a lot of this on his blog but seeing it in print is another thing. I really like black and white art (because I'm color blind) and Zak brings so much depth to his pieces. By far, my favorite is a frost giant reaching down to grab the viewer. All of the pieces have the potential to enthrall me for hours and distract me from the text within.

Frost Giant of the Hatemountain
After initially flipping through looking at the art the next thing that catches the eye is the use of endpapers. This is an OSR/DIY D&D thing that take what the author thinks you will use the most, in i search the body and the map, and puts them in an easy to reference place; inside the front and back covers. I usually tear apart the pdf and put it into OneNote, but if i were running one of Zak's books, I could run it with little else; probably only a bullet journal. The map is a simple grid, with rectangular sections to make the reading easier, is well laid out, and there is something in every section.


The book starts out with a bit of advice from Zak about playing the environment. See, the rough landscape and inhospitable cold are not merely that, it are the ultimate foe of the party, the lands seeks to destroy those who interlope, crush the weak, and basically wreak all of humanity that it can. Those who can survive here are changed by the icy cold. Amazons born on the ice, witches with strange ways and new magic, and animals smarter than we. The animals are an interesting bit that make the land feel different from the usual dark fantasy. Opinionated goats, envious rats that seek to take all the humans build and wolves who don't stop until they get one of you. The animals here are truly unique to this land and have a voice of their own, if you can speak with animals.

The arrival of the party (re)starts a Groundhog's Day like cycle of failure to summon the demon Belphagor the Beast, trapping them until they deal with the powers that are trying to summon it or they succeed and end the world. Its a unique spin on an adventure that I have tossed around in my head a few times. The staging is sound and the reasons make sense, if I do run this, I will make sure the party goes through at least one cycle and restarts. There are two dungeons in the book, one plot related and the other one I'd like to drop into my current world. They both breathe the atmosphere of the setting and expand upon it to the players. Giving the players some knowledge of the setting is one of the harder jobs of the Dungeon Master and having a bit of help is a good thing.

After 100 pages of mostly setting and exposition come the crunch, the first of which is two new classes. The Amazon and the Witch. Both of these take a base OSR class (fighter and mage, respectively) and add a random roll to level ups instead of traditional gains from attaining new levels; like the Alice class in A Red and Pleasant Land. These are some great thing like a plus to an ability, weapon making, damage resistance, souring milk with a glance, bathing or eating requirements, modifications to spells and so many more differentiating abilities to make each character unique. These thing are going to make their way into my current campaign as boons and curses. This section of the book rounds out with substances, survival and some really good (like I'm going to use it RIGHT NOW) advice for running a wilderness sandbox.

The last bit is random tables. Adventure elements for making innocuous connections into adventures, random locations for adding to the map, Amazon divination results and tables to make new amazon tribes, twenty drastic measures to rid yourself of a curse, non-player confrontations for figuring out why these two groups are hanging out, mutations, two treasure tables; the regular 'I search the body," and "If you look closely," descriptive combat injuries for spicing up combat, random encounters and rival NPC parties for quick determination of who the party stumbled upon. Again most of these are going right into my current campaign in some form or other. I really dig random tables and the quality of these goes beyond the regular to the outlandish and sometimes gonzo that I've come to expect from OSR/DIY D&D.

Overall another success for Zak Smith, I can hardly say a bad word about it, but if I did I would say that Zak's writing is a bit above my grade level and I need a dictionary to read it. Also this is a hard thing to just drop into a regular 'vanilla' fantasy game. If you've already established a base line for regular orcs and goblins, then you may have a difficult time getting buy in from the players. Even though I will probably not play this through as a campaign, I will definitely cherry pick some a lot of the ideas and themes from it.

Sep 3, 2018

All creatures great and small

KuSo I posted a picture of the new Creature Codex from Kobold Press to my D&D groups Facebook and said, "Boy are you f*cked."

Man I love this book. I just finished demons and already have encounters germinating in my head. I even have some that could spring into multi session adventures! My thoughts so far:

There is a good spread of creatures with amazing nuggets of flavor. I've caught myself thinking this is to high or to low for a sprouting idea in my head, only to see the CR is opposite what I would have thought. So far the CR does not effect the depth of background at all.

Did I mention variety? As the second Kobold Press (5th if you count the WoTC three) monster tome there could have been a lot of variation on the same sets of monsters, sure there's enough new clockwork, derro and other staples to add to your collection, but the vastness of the content in between is varied and mostly unique.

So what dont I like? KP has to steer clear of WoTC IP, no beholders, going and other property of Wizards, so they see the need to fill that gap with stuff of their own. This is a problem with the Kobolds supporting their own setting, Midgard. They can't say going live here and use kuo-toa there, they need to make up creatures for that gap (cueytal and deep ones respectively).

That the short and sweet first look. I only got the pdf, so I didn't really do a flip through, just started reading from the beginning. Let me know what you think!

Jul 1, 2015

"What Did I Just See?": Creed Trailer #1

Well, just like the rest of the internet, I’m going fucking crazy over this Creed trailer. This movie has been on my radar for quite some time, and I’ve been a bit skeptical about it’s existence. All of my doubt has been quelled, and I am now 100% behind this film. It is getting everything right and landing all the punches. Let’s get back up after getting hit by that trailer, and begin to break it down!

What Worked?
Position in This Universe
One of the things I was most worried about was this becoming another Rocky story. I am so done with that character being the center, and I was hoping to see him as a true mentor to Adonis. Luckily, this trailer makes it very clear that Adonis is the star, and Rocky is nothing more than the guide and mentor. There is even a part in the trailer that states, “You legacy is more than your name.” I love this because it is starting us on a new journey with a character that is completely autonomous and not reliant on the history that came before. However, the history and prior movies are just sprinkled into this one which only makes this movie richer. It is the perfect amount of connection to the Rocky movies, while remaining different enough to tell its own story. I couldn’t be more excited for the approach they are taking with this.

Michael B. Jordan
It’s fitting that he’s playing the Human Torch because he is on fucking fire right now! Ever since I saw Fruitvale Station, I had no doubt that he was going to be a super star. He is nothing short of excellent as an actor. He embodies the emotions and lives of each character he portrays. He also has such a sense of realism to him. I truly forget he’s acting when he’s on screen, and I don’t think there is anything greater an actor can do than that. He is so intense and heartfelt in this trailer. There is a hard balance in boxing movies between intensity and heart that the Rocky franchise defined, and it’s great to see that Michael B. Jordan has that same magic that Stallone did back in the day. I have no doubt I will love seeing him perform as much as I did seeing Stallone for my first time in Rocky and the subsequent Rocky films. He had big gloves to fill as a hero for this new take on the franchise, and hasn’t just filled them, but surpassed expectations completely.

The greatest part of the Rocky franchise has been the feeling of realism and the triumph felt from hard work. When we first see Philly, we are brought back to that blue collar environment where hard work is the only way to work. There is this grittiness (and I mean that in the best way possible) about Philly that just serves as the perfect background for a story of an underdog. The tone is very reminiscent of the original Rocky, without feeling like a carbon copy.

Italian Stallion
Thank you Stallone. Thank you for finally doing what we’ve wanted you to do for so long. You are finally approaching one of your existing franchises in a way that is not only believable but a great fit for where you are in not only your career, but also in your life. It’s great to see you be the mentor you deserve to be. I’m confident, just as you are, that Michael B. Jordan will be a worthy successor to the boxing drama genre that you defined. Thank you for guiding and seeking a man of his talent to reinvigorate the franchise you worked so hard to build.

The Music
I don’t know what song that was, but holy shit was it a great fit for this trailer! The way they synced up beats with the punches was fantastic. I also liked the gradual increase in intensity as tension built up with Adonis’s training. The words also fit the boxing genre. Sometimes music can make or break a trailer, and in this case it helped elevate it even further.

Overall Assessment
I would usually do another section called, “What Didn’t Work?” however this trailer was absolute, solid gold. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this trailer and it didn’t leave me with any expectations unfulfilled. It delivered everything and more that I could hope for. It also got me excited for the film as well as giving me a great general sense of the story. The trailer landed every single punch and has definitely knocked me out!

Score: 10/10 Knockout!

As always, let me know what you thought! Did you like the trailer? Is there anything negative you found in it? How excited for this film are you? Please be sure to comment and be sure to follow me on Twitter @HaneyCasey, catch me on and of course on my website Thanks for reading!

Jun 4, 2015

Entourage Movie Reaction and Review

As someone who didn’t watch the tv show and wasn’t too excited for the film, Entourage was a great time at the movies. It had a million cameos, fast cars, good-looking women, drugs, alcohol, and celebrity problems. Basically, everything that everyone has come to expect from the show was present and delivered well. The movie definitely wasn’t an Oscar caliber movie, but it was definitely an enjoyable, funny movie. I will say that you must go into this with the correct expectations.

The overarching conflict in the movie is getting Vince’s movie made and on to screens. However, during this process all kinds of shenanigans take place. Turtle finds love with Ronda Rousey which makes for some great scenes where they fight and she demolishes him. E is having a baby with Sloan, while also getting involved with other women. He thinks he got another woman pregnant, however she and yet another woman he slept with are actually punking him. I think it would have made for a better story if he had actually gotten this other woman pregnant, but the movie seemed to be really focused on having each character come out on top since it was the final time we’ll see these characters. Vince struggles with his insecurities because his movie “Hyde” is his directorial debut. His insecurities are actually refreshing considering everyone else in the movie is basically riding a constant high, except for his brother Johnny Drama. Drama is struggling with his lack of success, and is trying to come to terms with being number 2 to his little brother. His storyline helped humanize a very fictionalized version of Hollywood. Ari made for the funniest scenes in the movie by switching between lovable father and family man to uncontrollable rage machine that fights to get his way. He has to deal with being studio head, while also dealing with Vince and his crew going over budget. However, his loyalties to Vince and his entourage are what cement the film together and you feel the sense of brotherhood between all characters. Although, there don’t seem to be very high stakes in any of the storylines, the ride each takes you on are filled to the brim with hilarity. This makes up for the lack of serious conflict, but I do wish they would have taken some bigger risks in the movie.

What kind of person would I be if I didn’t at least talk a little bit more about the signature cameos in the movie? As I said before, I have never watched the show, but even I know that the show is infamous for copious amounts of cameos. Although, I felt like I was left out of some of the inside jokes associated with a few cameos, most were very in the moment and hilarious. What’s great about Entourage is the fact that most of the actors who appear get to play versions of themselves. The best was Gary Busey rambling at the screening party. He is just so wild off camera that when you do seem him on camera you feel like you’re not even scratching the surface of his insanity, but it is still great. Another was Jessica Alba throwing a fit about doing an action movie, when she really just wants to make her passion project. One that I felt a little lost on, but was still very pleased with was Liam Neeson flipping off Ari. Ari asks him if he was still mad at him, and I don’t know what he was referencing, but Liam immediately flipping him off was priceless. There are countless others, but those were the highlights for me.

Should You Care?
Absolutely! I think the fact that I had such a great time watching this film without any background on the show just speaks volumes about how good this movie actually is. I know that most critics are panning this movie, but they don’t seem to understand that this movie is meant to feel like a victory lap for a team that won years ago when they ended the show. This is the epilogue to a show that already had it’s ending. If you go into this movie expecting to have a good laugh, then you will be very pleased, but don’t go in expecting to see an Oscar contender.

Score: 7/10

Please let me know in the comments what you think because I’d love to hear what you have to say about Entourage. Do you agree? Am I being too noncritical of this film? Did you enjoy it? And will you see it? Sound off below and please follow me @HaneyCasey on twitter.

Jun 1, 2015

Really Late Movie Reviews: City of God

Image result for city of god wallpaper

There are few movies within the multitudes of film that are truly exceptional. City of God is absolutely one of them, and yet very few people today have heard of it. Like most people, I too have seen it come up on my Netflix recommended section but did not give it a go. For me, it wasn’t until I had heard praises from film reviewers and experts that I decided to watch it. Once it began, I was hooked. From the cinematography, nonlinear plot, characters, and sense of realism (considering it tells you it’s based on a real person and his life at the end actually makes the realism even better). Let’s dive in and flesh out the reasons you should spend your binge time on City of God.

The movie is told through the eyes and mind of Rocket. His observations shape the way everything is shot and told, and gives a great sense of presence. You feel as if you are there too, or were there and are remembering as he is too. Also, the way the camera tracks the characters whether it be in scenes where there is just dialogue or fast paced violence it sets whatever tone the scene is calling for. For instance, when Rocket is just walking with a friend, the camera tracks them calmly and slowly. However, when in scenes of violence there are fast cuts and shaky cam. The way it is all shot makes the viewer feel as if they were a reporter or spectator in these events just as Rocket was.

Nonlinear Plot
Many movies employ this storytelling tactic, but not all use it very well. City of God presents its plot successfully by introducing a conflict in which we have no context, and then teaching us not just who the players are in the conflict, but why there is conflict in the first place. It skips back and forward generations and gives us defining moments in characters lives as if they were chapters in a book. Each chapter focuses more on the development of certain characters while others are left to be developed afterward. The formatting of the plot really makes the viewer feel as if they’ve gotten all angles of the story by the end of the film. I felt like I knew all I could about each character, and all of their arcs came full circle.

By far, what will grab you the most are the characters. We see some succumb to the harshness of the slums, while others rise above, only to be shot down. Some, like the main character Rocket, simply spectate while all the vitriol happens around them. Lil Ze, the villain, is someone you will come to hate and fear while watching the movie. Although he is young throughout the film, he is truly unpredictable and menacing. What makes it even more interesting is the fact that there isn’t really a defined hero in the film. It really becomes a collection of villains turning others into what they are, or them killing others already like them. There are only a few untouched by disgusting influence of these people, but even they seem to simply survive and overcome their specific situations, rather than solve major problems. Some character’s fall into villainy is very sad and tragic like Knockout Ned who comes very close to living life unscathed by the dirt of the slums, only to become one of the most violent criminals. Each character’s story will have you enthralled whether you hate them, love them, or just hope they survive.

If you’re going to spend some of your precious binge time to branch out from usual things on Netlfix like Breaking Bad or House of Cards, you should definitely give this a watch. You will be completely captured by the beauty of this movie. It will make you laugh, cry, get angry, and give you a sense of hope all tied up in one movie. The movie is City of God and it deserves your viewership, so watch it!

As always if you care about what I have to say, share this and thumbs up it or +1 it. Do whatever your heart desires to do with it, and I’ll still appreciate it. Let me know if you want to see more Re-Viewed articles. I am planning on making them part of my upcoming podcast. Thanks for reading and keep an eye for more new content! You can follow me on Twitter @HaneyCasey.