Complete Book of Humanoids

A good way to spice up your D&D gaming sessions. The selected races available as potential PC's are diverse and believeable, from Pixies to Orcs. The book contains good role-playing notes on racial backgrounds/tendencies and how to bring humanoid races into a campaign. It certainly is interesting and well-written. However, the sections on superstitions and monstrous traits seem grossly inappropriate for some character types.

Still, at heart I think the complete book of humanoids was a great idea. I just started running an ogre mage in a Forgotten Realms campaign and he is definitely one of the most interesting characters I have ever played. It's a fun, unique challenge to play a character with such a radically different perspective from the typical human/demihuman. I do think you need a skilled, experienced dungeon master for humanoid characters to work successfully.

Novice DM's should not include this book in their campaign-- handling the racial details isn't easy, and some of the more powerful humanoid races could get out of control without a good DM to keep 'em in line

Hey girl...

I love you so much! You know that, and I try to prove it everyday, but even if my bad bad bad temper can appear between us, it's true, and the most important, I really love you!


In Fireborn, the PCs are scions, the human reincarnations of dragons. Set about 10 years in the future, the central location is London, where there are quite a bit of strange shenanigans going on. While magic has been around for a while, it only has come out to the public within the past year or so. This boils down to not having to sneak around and be subtle like the WoD, but still having grand displays discouraged by the cops, government, and what have you. While this sounds like “Dragon: The Barbecuing”, there is a twist to the game play. During game, the GM runs flashback sequences to when the PCs were big and scaly back during the mythic age. Dragons are the big kids on the block. The mechanic allows the players to flirt with high-level, experienced characters right off the block.

The modern setting comes off in a different enough way to feel different that the dozens of other ‘World o’Angst’ games in the market. Magic is on the rise like any upstart technology, there are people trying to master it. The PCs are bound together as broodmates, having been a family in the mythic era. The mythic era provides its own challenges, allowing both players and GMs a chance to ratchet up the epic level gaming. Dragon PCs are as powerful as they sound and it can be challenging to come up with opponents and situations that challenge those PCs. The game feels like driving a fast car in city streets during the modern era, but really throwing her into gear during the flashbacks. Players may also get a kick of playing two different characters as their modern character may be a saint and their dragon may be a bloodthirsty savage.
The bottom line You’ve probably noticed a lot of comparisons to Shadowrun in this review. That’s no accident. Fireborn feels like a prequel to Shadowrun in many ways, in world, system, and feel. It is a unique game that continues FFG’s interesting selection of settings. I hope FFG realizes that its RPG division has some legs and gives it the respect that it deserves. The game isn’t without flaws. The first edition is riddled with errors. Some players may be turned off by a game that isn’t able to be picked up on the first read-through. Some players may be frustrated by the divide between the dragon and the modern characters. Those people shouldn’t pick up this book. For the rest, give Fireborn a try.

Player's Handbook 3... uuuh...

The book is misleadingly named, as only one new class is introduced for the Divine and Primal power source each. Instead, the focus is clearly on the Psionic power source, which introduces four new classes to the table: The Ardent, a leader who uses psionic magic to psychically influence the tide of battle; the Battlemind, whose psionics allow him to gain the tactical advantage that a defender requires; the Monk, a striker who uses harnesses psionic power to achieve total mobility and the Psion, a controller who brings down her foes through telekinetic assaults or psychic attacks.
The first thing you should know about the Psionic classes is that they introduce several new mechanics. The Psion, Ardent and Battlemind make use of power points – the quantity of which depends on a character’s level and is replenished after a short or extended rest – to augment their psionic powers, and have no encounter powers to speak of, save for some utility powers. Instead, they have a host of at-wills that can be boosted by these power points. For example, a Level 7 at-will called Ego Crush, allows a Battlemind to deal 1[W] + Constitution damage, and denies his target the ability to gain combat advantage until the end of his next turn. When boosted, it can be used as an opportunity attack or when maxed out, deals double damage against each enemy within a close burst.
All in all, the Psionic classes are exciting new choices for players. My only real misgiving is that it continues the trend in 4th Edition towards more book keeping. Between healing surges, daily item powers, encounter powers and daily powers and class features, there are already plenty of exhaustible resources to track without adding power points into the mix. Granted, previous editions had a disproportionate balance of resource tracking: fighters worried about little more than their next attack while wizards fumbled through reams of paper and post-it marked rulebooks to track casting times and mark spells to learn and memorize. Still, the Psionic classes are probably recommended for more experienced players. Thankfully, they aren’t just designed to be exotic for the sake of it, and are great additions to the game.