Mucho reach-arounds as thank you to Prince of Nothing for this review of John Tarnowski’s bedshit of a game Arrows of Indra. Pity poor PoN, Holland’s favorite son, this assignment nearly killed him: like a wretch forced to wade through Wilbur Whately’s diary or Zak Smith’s chapbook, the horrors that touched his eyes caused him to run through his entire monthly allotment of government heroin, piss his van Persie kit, and something else Netherlands. Without further ado, take it away Sweet Prince:
[I finished my fucking review. Unfortunately its a screed of Alexian proportions. I hope blogger wordpress will accept this shit.]
Prince of Nothing Reviews: Arrows of Indra.
A Tale of Shameless copy-pasting and cynical Hucksterism.
Disclaimer: As most of you reading this already know, I am peripherally affiliated with the entity known as YDIS. YDIS as a community does not condone the actions, statements, products or indeed, very existence of Jon Tarnowski(a.ka RPGPundit, Defender of Doing Gay, Scourge of Norway). As such I cannot truthfully state that this review is free of personal bias. However, I have striven to be as honest as humanly possible in reviewing as Arrows of Indra. Take what grains of salt you deem appropriate.
This is a long-ass review so you might want to read it in shifts and take frequent coffee-breaks.
Reading Arrows of Indra was not a pleasant experience for me. Unlike some of you here I do not believe the OSR is entirely creatively bankrupt. I love D&D, I’ve run 2nd edition, Basic and 3.5 and even a one-shot game of Carcosa in the past, and I like the philosophy of old school gaming in general. I believe there is room for innovation in the OSR and that people use retroclones to explore new ground(i.e adventures, settings) with an old system. Arrows of Indra made me question this assumption. Maybe the OSR is pointless and we should have let D&D die along with TSR.
Moving on, for this particular review I have used the pdf version, generously donated to me by a close personal friend on 7chan. The cover(which is nice and well-executed) allegedly contains a depiction of a transvestite character(as Pundit is quick to remind anyone who cares(i.e nobody), and many who don’t), but this is hard to verify and not immediately obvious. The layout is fine, the artwork varies from acceptable (some landscapes, deities, items and animals) to terrible(everything else). The in-game map is serviceable.
We start with our Introduction by Pundit where he proudly proclaims that you do not need to know anything about Indian myth outside of this book. Remember this point. He follows it up with the obligatory stupid disclaimer where he informs us that it should not be taken as an authoritative source on anything relating to Hindu religion, with the addendum that he does not advocate any caste system and acknowledges ‘the equality of all regardless of circumstance.’ Will Dark Albion contain a similar disclaimer about hereditary aristocracies and goblin slaying? However, a lot of rpgs feel the need to contain such ridiculous disclaimers so I will let this one slide.
Chapter 1 contains character generation rules. You will be pleased to know 4d6 drop lowest, order or whatever the GM deems fit is still as functional as it was in the 80s. Everything is pretty much B/X with a resurrection probability table for Con. Next up is a caste system(roll randomly), which offers cultural context and ability bonus scores/penalties along with a recommendation that you should think twice about letting people play a Dalit(untouchable caste). Please note that class choice is determined by caste for humans. Overall, this section works fairly well and provides the necessary context for playing in caste.
The we have random family generation (which they mention is important in Arrows of Indra so I guess it is then) and this little gem.
“When the number of surviving siblings have been determined, the GM should roll randomly to determine which point in the birth order that PC is found; for example, if there are 5 surviving siblings, the GM could roll d6 (with a 1 indicating the PC is the oldest, 2 the second
oldest, etc). If the number of surviving siblings is less convenient for a simple die roll the GM should pick the method that works best.”
I think he might be on to something here. The next fucking rule section anyone writes should just have ‘THE GM SHOULD PICK THE METHOD THAT WORKS BEST” plastered a several hundred times across each page, The Shining Style. I want to make merry and mock Arrows but it is so uninspiring even its failures are pedestrian. It fails not by the virtue of its grasp extending its reach, it fails by having no reach and by being made by a hack-job with no creativity or talent.
Next up we have the different races drawn from Indian myth, which are all mechanically superior to their human counterparts(token level limits here and there) and, with the omission of some flavour text, more or less mechanically identical to the demi-humans we have been gently inoculated with for all our role-playing lives(exception, Rakshasa’s). Gandharva’s get a +1 to dex and a -1 to con and are immune to charm(ahem, Mantra of Irresistable Presence), sleep, aging and get +1 to ranged weapons and +1 additional with bows. Vanara’s are monkey men that get an AC bonus versus medium or large creatures and a bonus to saves vs poison magic items spells/sneaking/ and a strength penalty/dex bonus. Yaksha’s are mountain spirits that get a +4 AC vs Giant sized creatures.
THIS IS THE REVERSE OF WHAT A NEW RACE SHOULD BE LIKE. A new race should bring variety and role-playing opportunity and mechanics should reflect that. If your new race amounts to an elf with a bollywood coat of paint and two paragraphs of background slapped on you should rework it until it is something new. The worst thing is that Pundit claims this is a deliberate choice so it would be ‘familiar’ to DnD players. Yes. Pundit deliberately chose to do a hack-job cut-an-paste, because he knew anyone stupid enough to buy his stuff would be too dumb to protest. He is giving you something nearly identical to something that already exists, and he is charging money for it.
Case in point for new races well done: Empire of the Petal Throne. I will be referring to EoPT(OD&D edition) more often in this review(later editions of which have been much maligned by Tarnowski, possibly as part of a plot to cover up how much he ripped off the OD&D version in writing Arrows of Indra). In many ways Arrows of Indra is a mirror-universe EoPT, derivative where EoPT was original, uninspiring where EoPT was overflowing with creativity etc. Arrows of Indra lacks depth, and nearly all the background material is just a thin veneer covering yet another retroclone. If you just want a retroclone, get one that is free. If you want an original setting, look elsewhere. This is a scam.
Classes are inoffensive because they are identical to AD&D 1st edition with token tweaks and different names to make them more Indian-y and to avoid accusations of directly copy-pasting the Player’s Handbook(Priests can’t turn undead, Paladins can summon a giant eagle(Garruda) instead of a horse, Yogi’s are monks but called Yogi’s etc.). XP is now the same for every class. Saving throws are reduced to a single saving throw(which was pretty balsy when Swords & Wizardry did it). Stealing mechanics from better games and incorporating them into itself is also very Arrows of Indra.
Alignment has been changed to Holy, Neutral and Unholy, and covers one’s standing with the gods(Holy means the gods like you Unholy means the Asura’s like you). That’s okay and reflects the setting a bit better. Next comes the vaunted skill system, which Tarnowski is quick to add is new, which either makes him a fucking liar or simply unaware of the definition of the word ‘new’.
We get a hybridized d20 system for the skill resolution which works reasonably well. D20+ability score bonus+Proficiency ‘score’ roll against DC 10, 15 or 20.
As Pundit mentions, you get both ‘background’ skills based on your randomly generated caste(e.g proficiency-esque skills like brickmaking) and class skills(class abilities for the anyone except the monk I mean Yogi) for which you roll randomly each level.
This innovative new approach is so undeniably brilliant, M.A Barker resurrected himself, read arrows of Indra, was blown away and invented time travel so he could put pretty much the same system in EoPT(page 18). Of course Barker calls them ‘original skills’ and ‘professional skills’ and you roll randomly for which skill group you select them from(Unlike AoI, which uses random dice to determine which skills you get based on caste) and to his credit Barker did change the way you get new skills each level.
To further illustrate what a hack Barker is, he also had the temerity to copy Pundit’s professional skill I mean class skill system. Barker did remove some of the randomness in the skill selection, but that’s a taste thing. So on to the class skills themselves. Every class rolls a d6 and gets a skill from the Tier 1 skill table.
Priests need skills to cast spells(though some of the skills they get per level just allow them to learn things like languages, a design Barker cynically copies in his hack-job Empire of the Petal Throne Indra-clone). Most of the skills give the user the ability to conduct rituals, which are mostly defensive or utility based spells that take several minutes to cast and require incense. When you randomly get a particular spell-like ability you can generally use it once per day.
This is a lot different from priest skills in EoPT, which are mostly defensive or utility based spells that you can generally use about once per day. No tier system in EoPT, simply a line of skills and the order in which they are to be taken though.
Fighter skills are sort of what you’d expect, you get bonuses on specific weaponry, some charioteering, same proficiency twice means more bonuses, some Tier 2 stuff for improved defensive fighting, command and chakrams.
On to the Siddhi skills(different from a wizard, Siddhi’s cannot wear armour and are bad at fighting). Here we see the Pundit really shine. Skills include a mixture of offensive, defensive and utility spellike abilities that can be used 1/day in general, and a really cool skill that is the first skill on the first table called Asana, that allows you to freeze your entire body in place or hold your breath for an extremely long period of time(1 breath per day).
Of course that time-travelling asshole Barker has to ruin things again by making Control of Self the first skill magic users get in his hack-job Arrows of Indra Clone(page 21), which allows them to hold their breath for extremely long periods of time and freeze their body into place. And he also has the gall to make most of the magic user abilities spell-like abilities with a mixture of defensive, offensive and utility based powers that can generally be used 1/day. And of course Barker bases his last power, the Grey Hand(p. 21), a touch spell that destroys a target utterly and is usable 1/day, heavily off of Tarnowski’s THE BHAIRAVA-MUDRA, a touch spell that destroys a target utterly but with a saving throw that is usable 1/day.
Now, I have been slightly cynical towards the Pundit’s work, but thankfully Pundit has incorporated another way of getting spell-like powers for wizards and clerics, a wholly original system called Enlightenment Powers, and oh boy has he earned back my trust. You have a percentile based chance to get 1 randomly generated spell-like power, generally useable 1/day, from each of the 3 tiers of enlightenment powers each level. Sounds pretty cool, and guarantees each priest/wizard is different. Naturally the percentile based chance of gaining powers from different tiers increases as one goes up in levels.
Would you care to guess at the nature of the bonus spells system for priests and magic-users in World of Tekumel? If you guessed percentile based chance of getting 1 or more spellike abilities from 3 different tiers of powers each level(some of which are essentially the same spells across editions) with increased percentage based chances as you go up in level, you are not a customer of Arrows of Indra.
Lest I be accused of anything but the utmost diligence, the equipment section is next. It is mostly unoffensive and contains pretty much exactly what you would expect in an equipment section for mythic India. Of interest to some of you(Kent!) might be the listed price for concubines and various other slaves, where special mention is made of the existence of ‘kliba’ or tranny concubines. Delicious.
This section gives EoPT a break and instead borrows the weapons vs AC from AD&D 1st edition. Chariots and elephants included along with some rules for how to use them(chariots were lacking imho) Of particular interest to historians might be the encumbrance system, which is streamlined and very easy to use and stolen from Star Without Numbers GODDAMMIT I WANT TO READ SOMETHING NEW GIVE ME SOMETHIOQUIIOUDHFISHDFOIASJF
A crash dump has occurred. Rebooting in safe mode.
…Welcome Prince of Nothing
Moving on to GM procedures, this section amounts to little more then house rules and minor modifications to B/X and AD&D. I should be fair and say this section, while undoubtedly stolen from various sources with rodent-like ingenuity and Satine Phoenix’s lack of shame, is pretty well done. The house rules are a decent interpretation of Basic, with a few additions, tweaks and clarifications that will no doubt make it fun to play for the shadowy un-beings that hide in the spaces between worlds where deleted pdf files go. Notably missing is underwater combat as well as mass combat rules, an essential part emulating in Indian Myths(the latter, not the former). It turns out a system that has withstood over two decades of continued play is pretty functional and most of the house rules work out some of the tweaks. I say house rules, but that’s only because I don’t feel like going through each retro-clone and figuring out when exactly Pundit stole what from where.
On to the big selling point, the Gazetteer of the Bharata Kingdoms. This section is a lot less painful then the rest, but that also makes it the most tragic. Because this could have been a very good setting. Instead it is decent at best. I blame this on one central flaw; It adheres too closely to the Mahabarata(or whatever it is based on), at the cost of playability, maybe because Pundit didn’t feel confident enough in his abilities as a writer to put other shit in there. The Bharata Kingdoms as a setting needed more hooks and more shit going on. What is there is good, there is simply not enough of it, and some of it needs more description.
When the gazzeteer is good, its pretty decent; most of the rulers for each kingdom are described and have various histories, feuds and other stuff that makes them reasonably interesting(a bad-ass emperor(Jarasandha) that seeks to sacrifice 100 kings to Shiva in order to complete some sort of ritual that will allow him mastery over all the worlds, a Rakshasa King, An Asura King who is a total pussy and loyal to the emperor out of fear etc). Mention is made of the occasional Naga(snake-dudes) city ruins, Asura Kingdoms and so forth, but details are very sparse and the single sentence descriptions are not evocative. While it could have used more structure(im thinking Greyhawk boxed set with population figures and shit, and maybe some levels and classes for the npcs?), it gives a decent amount of background information. I should point out that most of this is high level shit, entire kingdoms at eachother throats, super-powerful mythical demi-god warrior stuff etc. and for most Pcs, a lot of this shit will be background stuff for a long time. What also happens sometimes is that you get a region where Shiva or Rama did something cool and now it is a wasteland with no reason to go there. Overall, while what’s there is decent, it needs more. More descriptions of Asura kings kicking ass and impaling midgets, more Rakshasa warlords burning villages, more mad and feuding kings etc. Give us some ruins with descriptions and origins and some reason to go there and find shit other then treasure. THERE IS AN NAGA CITY HEAAR is not a good hook. Nevertheless, this section is alright.
Next up is the dungeon section, or Patala underworld, a gigantic cave structure with seven lairs that runs all the way to hell, filled with Asuras, Nagas and other cool shit that you can beat the shit out of. This section is undeniably badass and I am unequivocally positive about it.
We get an overview of all seven lairs of the Patala underworld, one requires you to sneak/fight past a Naga king with poison breath to even get in and is ruled by a badass Asura named Bala with his 1000 strong succubi harem(or the Indian Equivalent). They will try to charm and seduce guests into “Unholy acts of sensual lust until they die of exhaustion.” Aw yeah.
Second lair is populated by ghosts and goblins(no wonder they call him ‘Pundit’. Ha ha. Get it? Pun?), Haragrivya, an Asura king who can only be slain by someone who is also called Haragrivya(I shit you not, that kicks ass). Also a city by Shiva for players to discover and retrieve something from.
Third lair is a paradise-prison guarded by Deva’s(demigods) trapping Bali, an Asura king so powerful he once almost conquered the universe. He seeks penance now but the gods are still understandably nervous about letting him go. Good place to have shit happen.
4th layer is ruled by Mayu, Asura lord of deception and architect of hell. He used to build gigantic floating death cities and now his entire clan has been imprisoned in the 4th layer, a labyrinth filled with architectural marvels and he likes to corrupt and torment visitors until they go insane. My first though was ‘why the fuck am I reading about cities that have already been destroyed? That sounds kickass. Why wasn’t I there? Fuck!’
5th layer we have our Naga-demi gods and our Asuras and our Rakshasas. Nothing special.
6th layer is ruled by a special tribe of Asuras but we don’t know what makes them special so we don’t care.
7th layer leads into the hell realms and holds the largest Naga City ever, with plenty of stuff to loot and magical aging-retardant disease curing milk to loot, along with a shitload of Nagas and a Naga god-king to guard your shit.
There’s a bunch of tables for generating random caves, tunnels, contents and different encounter tables for each level. This section is very useful but the random encounter tables are strange. We would expect the encounter tables to get progressively harder as you descend into the underworld, instead they actually get slightly easier as you descend, which is an odd choice.
Overland encounters is okay, encounter tables for overland shit. Nothing spectacular that you have not seen before, but it’s useful. Random quest table bears an unerring resemblance to the one from EoPt(p. 41) but I am inclined to let it go since the quests are very vague and general.
Next comes the monster section and it is bizarre(and not in a good way). People have pointed out the monsters are derivative(goblins, giants etc.) and Pundit retaliates by hiding behind mythological accuracy. He mentions 84 different creatures specifically taken from Indian mythology. What we actually get are 84 creatures, 40 of which are mundane or giant animals, reptiles, vermin or humans(bandits, barbarians etc.). We get giants, goblins, living dead(zombies), animate statues, air deva’s(air elemental), earth deva’s(guess), Fire Spirits(yup), Ghost ; Bhuta(like a ghost but indian and with the same stats) and skeletons. That’s 49 creatures we have seen before, not sufficiently different either mechanically or flavour-wise to qualify as different.
We get Type A to Type E Asura’s, which depressed me to no end, as well as pundit smugly mentioning that the GM can modify them to no end as these are meant to be general categories, along with a general purpose Asura Prince and King template. They might as well have been ripped straight from the AD&D monster manual. Terrible. Why isn’t the random monstrosity generator(there is a random creature in it, which also doesn’t count) used to generate Asura’s? Another bizarre case is the Preta, a super interesting creature from Hindu myth(looked it up on wiki) that Pundit actually went out of his way to make mechanically identical to a ghoul. This is symptomatic of Arrows of Indra as a whole. It doesn’t turn D&D into something cool. It turns something cool into D&D. It is anti-creative. It smothers heterogeneity wherever it rears its ugly head. We could go on, but the monster section was a massive letdown, and even a seven headed cobra couldn’t save it. Fucking throw out half the giant animals, rewrite every undead creature so it feels weird and exotic and make at least 6 entries about Asura Princes/races. Go nuts. Raktaveya, Ravana, Vritra, Trisias. Make up some yourself. These things are a major antagonist in your setting. Show us them.
The treasure section is the coup de grace. The fucking headshot to this abortion of a retro-clone. The paint is scraped off and reveals the corpse of D&D underneath. Again we see the pattern of Arrow of Indra taking shit that could have been really unique and fun and making it resemble the D&D we already know as much as possible. It’s almost as if it was made in some kind of alternate universe totalitarian world government controlled by a council of TsR Gygax androids where everything that deviates from the accepted parameters of D&D is ruthlessly supressed.
The Herb section. (Potion section with the serial numbers filed off). Curing Herb. Endurance Herb(gives con bonus). Herb Against Cold. Herb of Invisibility. Herb of Swiftness.
Minor Sutra’s! Like scrolls only they replicate enlightenment powers(which mostly replicate wizard spells).
Major Sutras. Like Librams and Tomes. This section feels slightly less derivative. Honourable mention to the Supreme Bhakti Sutras, which increases the chance of divine intervention by 5% for anyone who studies it. The rest mostly gives a level to certain classes or a permanent +1 to attacks or damage with something.
Mala beads(Palette swapped amulet section). Mala of Calming Animals. Mala of protection from affliction. Mala of sensing magic. Is this deliberate or is Pundit one of those Perilous dreamer kind of guys who hate everything non-OD&D?
Staffs. Like the staff section in D&D only the staffs have less abilities and may even have different names. For example, Pundit re-named the Rod of Cancellation to the Staff of Annuling Magic, and I think you should donate to his blog to support him fighting the good fight(no, no you shouldn’t).
Ring Section. Ring of Protection+2. Ring of True Vision. Ring of Aescetics(sustenance). Terrible.
Conch shells. Like horns. Guess which horn they correspond to. Shanka of devastating force. Deva-summoning Shaka. Shaka of Confusion in Battle. To be fair, these are the worst offenders, the conch shells have a lot of different powers. I would almost give it a pass if by this time I was not seething with rage.
Wonderous Items. Mostly derivative garbage(e.g gauntlets of ogre power in a dress, rope of climbing, plentiful cup that is a decanter of endless something), with a handful of decent items. A flying chariot of the gods. A magic wicker basket with a palace inside that is impregnable against all but the most powerful magic(If it’s a Daern’s instant fortress clone, it’s at least well disguised). A third eye that lets you control winds but not to hurricane strength.
A magic item and weapon section with an emphasis on bows that is not worth the price of admission but is not actively offensive either. Be prepared to gaze in awe at magic things that inflict 1d6 extra fire damage. A child could have thought of that.
Last and certainly not least is a list of artefact weapons to be granted by the gods themselves for specific quests. All of them are ridiculously powerful(an arrow that instantly disintegrates anything below 9 HD within 2000 feet, an arrow that gets +20 to hit and instantly kills his target(printed twice for no reason, once for shiva once for Vishnu, different names) etc.). They have no drawbacks and are likely to function mostly as plot devices(arrow that transforms into a rain of arrows and chakrams inflicting the enemies HD d8 to each enemy within 2000 feet). However, some have at least some lore attached to them and the effects can be a little badass, so these too get a very perfunctory pass. Note that some form of mass combat rules would have greatly increased the utility of shit like this.
And…close off with a decent overview of major religions. Recent amount of detail is given. No information of Asura princes and their rituals. Lame. Guessing its Unholy acts and perverse reflections of what the gods want. Whatever. Two appendixes, dealing with higher level play(what you would expect in B/X only without siege rules or mass combat) and one detailing future events in the Mahabharata. Not likely to see much use, but more interesting then 80% of the book.
Overall, while Arrows of Indra is undeniably functional, it is uninspired, derivative and falsely advertised. Pundit’s claims of only having to read the product to get a grip on Mythic India gaming are a sham. The few nuggets of creativity buried here and there do not save it from a likely unmarked rpg-grave at the bottom of a pit. I would pay perhaps $3.50 for the setting and underworld sections. The GM section should be free on a blog.
My recommendation is you spend your 10$ on reference works for Indian Mythology(you can read the Mahabharata and probably others online for free btw), download a free copy of labyrinth lord, OSRIC or swords and wizardry, and make your own setting. You can do better then this drivel.
Utility: Derivative but undeniably functional.
Presentation: Shitty art.
Creativity: Source material is great. Presentation thereof is lacking and the author should not be afraid to go beyond his source material a bit more. Game is overall a derivative waste of time, with the possible exception of the gazetteer and underworld sections.
Use your $10: To check out Against the Dark Yogi Instead.
[EDIT: The review continues…]
“They’re largely dissimilar. EPT is not based on D&D as such (though it shares some similarities) while AoI very clearly is. There’s some similarities in the magic system, if you’re talking about mechanics, and pretty much nothing else. I suppose you could say there’s also some similarities in the caste-skills system (if I’m remembering correctly, I haven’t read EPT in quite a while) but then again you could argue there’s about as much similarity to either with AD&D’s “secondary skills” system, except that AoI organizes the background/caste skills by social class, and actually has a skill-check mechanic (which is pretty similar to OGL/D20, which EPT obviously is not).”
-Pundit, on EoPT/Arrows magic similarities.
Fuck it, in for a penny, in for a pound. Now where is that fucking 7chan link…
(sorry if im stealing your thunder Shiz, i need to know)
We should probably do a double blind test but fuck it. One of these has a tier system and the other does not. Note that in AoI’s case a power may be taken more then once. A power is usable 1/day unless clearly marked.[Edit: We disregard minor variations in the number of times a power can be used]
Identical powers are marked with an asterisk.
4. Light for 2 hours(30 foot radius)*(1/day)
5. detect holy/unholy(1/day)
6. Heal wounds(touch, minor)* 1/day
7. Sense thoughts (1/day)*
8. Send telepathic message to single person 1/day 18 mile range with reply*
9. Protection from Evil – 3 turns 1/day*
10. More Healing*
11. Dominate (specified non-undead, non animal non-construct)*
12. Remove curse*
1. Languages(modern)** (single asterisk for both powers)
3. Light(30 foot radius) 1/day. – Ten turns duration.*
4. Cure wounds(touch, minor) – 1/day*
5. Sense thoughts – 3/day*
6. Telepathic message with reply 3/day ambiguous range*
7. Protection from evil/good – 3 turns 1/day*
8. More Healing*
9. Dominate person(specified non-undead, non animal non-construct)*
10. Remove curse*
11. Raise dead/revivify
…I think Pundit might be in trouble.
10/12 vs 10/11 convergence(Telepathy was not literally identical because the range was different but i am counting it). Forgive my shitty math but is that an 86.9 percent match? And thats the ones that are identical. Holy shit!
Magic user skills:
1. Control Self(own body).*
2. Illusion power*
5. Telekinesis *
7. Speak with dead 3/day(unspecified method) and talk with people far away.*
8. Control animals/plants**(once for a control power)
9. Control undead/animate dead*
10. Control specific Underworld Creatures(might be Asura’s, might not be)
11. Touch of Death attack*
Magic user skills:
1. Control self(own body)*
3. Illusion power*
7. Speak with dead(astral travel) and talk with living beings/outsiders**
8. Control non-intelligent creatures(including monsters)
9. Control people(multiple)**
10. Control undead/animate dead*
11. Protection Spell
12. Touch of Death*
…I’d start sweating right about now if i was Pundit.
8/11 vs 8/12 approx. Thats still 69% with a lot of slack.
Acid test time. Enlightenment powers vs bonus spells. And these we CAN do by Tier/Level. Note that the means of aquiring them are identical.
1. Calm water/wind/people*
2. Create food/water*
3. Summon monsters*
5. Dispel illusion*
6. Dispel Evil/good Spell*
7. Hold portal/open portal*
8. Cause fear*
9. Heal wounds(minor)*
12. Locate gold/gems
13. Locate objects*
14. Cause madness*
15. Cause disease*
16. Protection from evil/good*
17. Send wave of shadows that blind*
18. Detect other planar/invisible shit/True vision*
Tier 1(fucked up the order)
2. Calm water/wind/people*
3. Protection from evil/good*
4. Dispel Magic spell*
6. Charm monster*
7. Send field of warped perceptions that blind*
8. Find object*
9. Cause insanity(Gaze)*
10. Create food and water*
11. Heal wounds(minor
13. Open Portal*
14. Dispel illusion*
15. Cause disease*
16. Hold Portal*
17. Summon Monster*
18. Cause Fear*
19. True vision*
20. Blind Gaze
…If you are reading this Pundit. This is going to get out. We are coming. (17/18 + 19/20). 94.7 % identical. This is some deep next level matrix shit.
1. Charm monster(identical to charm monster tier 1, different game)*
2. Blast of cold*
3. Summon monsters(medium)*
4. Curse Disease*
5. Dispel Magic(Greater) – also works on items*
6. X-ray vision*
7. Bigby’s crushing hand(equivalent)
8. Moar healing*
10. Neutralize poison*
11. paralysis(chance of permanence second save)*
12. petrify(level drain chance)*
15. transmute mud/water/stone
16. poison cloud*
17. wither limb
18. Curse people to act like animals*
1. Dispel magic(Greater) – Also works on items*
3. Walk on Water/Liquid surface
4. Poison cloud*
5. Cure Disease*
6. Moar healing*
7. Become intangible/Walk through solid matter
8. Curse people so their minds become like animals*
9. Paralysis gaze(can become permanent)*
10. X-ray vision*
12.Summon monsters(illusionary, function like monsters)*
13. Polymorph Self/Others*
14. Gaze that deals damage over time
16. Summon monsters(medium)*
19. Wave of Cold*
20. Neutralize poison*
…And it will be damaging to your already tarnished reputation. I promise you this.
15/18+17/20. 86.8 percent convergence. What are the standards for plagiarism again?
1. Create illusion monsters(different tier)*
2. Polymorph self/others(different tier)*
3. Control terrain/earth
4. Greater summoning(single monster)*
5. Call Demon*
6. Doomkill area save or die spell, unpredictable, uses fire
8. Blue lightning bolt that deals damage
9. Glittering protection that requires 18 or higher to pass(fuck you im counting it)*
10. Protection from normal weapons(companions also)*
11. Geas(or permanent dominate)
15. Develop new spell(research)
16. Spread Plague(cause mass infectious disease)*
17. Protection from missiles and spells(works on user+companions)*
18. Steal soul*
20. Walls(fire/ice/stone/swords/wind etc.)
21. Weather control*
2. Spread plague(cause mass infectious disease)*
3. Control weather*
6. Enchant weapons/armour
9. Earth swallows up someone to hell
10. Volley of magical darts
11. Protection from missiles and some spells works on companions*
12. Shield that forces saving throw to attack pc*
13. Summon Greater Being(not singular)* [yeah real creative you made it 1d3)
14. Summon Demon/Deva*
15. Heal/Restore withered limb
16. Protection from normal weapons*
17. Magic lightning bolt that desintegrates all who fail saving throw(going to say that one is sufficiently different for the purposes of this exercise)
20. Fire area attack
The rabbit hole goes deep. 15/22+14/20 = 69.0 % identical, with a few cases that are open for debate is the best the magic system can do as far as originality. Jon? This will get out.
[EDIT: MOAR BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD]
While Pundit is in full Historical Revision mode, allow me to adress the fact that i may have described spells simpler then they appeared in an effort to create a similarity that does not exist(implying that i would need to do this, which is sadly not the case). To reiterate my standpoint(which Pundit has been strawmanning to no end, dragging everything from Forge swine, grognards.txt, SA goons, the KGB, the Big Purple to SJW and my alleged transphobia(but that’s neither here nor there) into the discussion in a futile effort to obscure the actual point), he lazily based his entire magic system on EoPT, gave zero credit for it, tried to obscure the similarities, and now suddenly admits it but its not a big deal its mechanically similar guys. It wouldnt have been a point, had you actually done some work of your own and mentioned, oh yeah i based it off of EoPT, what a fun game, just not accessible.
-OSR is fine. New take on old system. Less corporate bullshit. More of a hobby culture with diversity. Fun.
-Direct Retroclone is fine if acknowledged as such. Way of bringing new campaign settings, takes on old stuff, adventures onto a market. Not sure about paying for it, but most retroclones offer their core rules for free. Fun.
– DCC and Loftp use an old framework to make something different from what there was before. Fun.
-Cynical huckster that takes someone’s body of work and passes it off as his own without acknowleging the contributions and indeed, shitting on the very body of work that produced those ideas while making it appear as though he made it up himself and did all the research. Pundit essentially copied/pallette swapped an entire section of a game without nary a hint of acknowledgement(it was only after the question was asked that he admitted the similarities). Not Fun. See?
Instead of cherry-picking i’ll just present the priest skills that i have marked specifically as being similar. I am not claiming similarity for anything i have not specifically marked. If anyone wants to see the rest, go right ahead and ask. I don’t need to lie or make up wild accusations like Pundit. Notice also that he already lied about having read Empire of the Petal Throne a long time ago and he cannot remember it clearly. First it was, based off the same source material, now its, based off the mechanics but so what? Way to shift those goal posts there champ.
Don’t take my word for it. Check it yourself. Make up your own mind. (i didnt even have to change the order the fucking things came in).
Priest skills(EoPT, page 20)
-Know two modern languages : a list of available languages was given in Sec . 420. A
knowledge of Tsolyani is assumed, unless the player is starting in some other country.
-Know two ancient languages : these, too, were listed in Sec . 420. These languages are
very important for the reading of scrolls, books, maps, etc
-Production of light : this spell produces a soft radiance with a radius of 3 inches [N .B .one inch = 10 feet in the Underworld].
-Detect evil/good : this warns the user of hostile alignments inherent in objects, adjoining
rooms, etc. It does not work when used upon persons or creatures, and it does not indicate the exact type of danger. It lasts two turns, and it is usable only once a day.
-Cure light wounds : this restores 1-6 points of lost hit dice points to any being . A 6-sided
die is rolled to determine the number of points restored to the character. It is usable only once a day.
-ESP : the user can detect the thoughts of living beings (though not undead or soulless
automatons, etc.) in adjoining rooms . It operates up to a distance of 2 inches (20
feet), lasts two turns, and can be used three times a day .
Telepathy: this makes it possible for a character to commune telepathically with another character, and for that character to reply, though no other can hear this conversation . It works over a distance of 24 inches, lasts one turn, and can be used three times a day .
-Protection from evil/good : this creates a one inch circle of protection around the user .
It cannot be penetrated by undead ; it adds + 1 to all saving throws, and it takes away -2 points from the damage dice done by an attacker . It lasts three turns and can be used once a day.
-Cure serious wounds : this spell restores 2 6- sided dice of lost hit points . It can be
used only once a day.
-Control person : 1-6 persons (including intelligent nonhumans, but not animals,
Underworld creatures, automatons, etc .) can be brought under the user’s control for 3 turns. A saving throw against spells is permitted (see below) . There is no possibilityof this spell operating against a person of greater than seventh level . It can be used only once a day, and it has a maximum range of fifty feet .
-Remove curse : this spell takes away curses from objects, changes the alignment of
swords and other magical weapons, restores magically changed beings and objects to their proper forms, and returns beings driven mad by magic or by certain Underworld creatures to sanity . Usable upon one person or object only, and only once a day.
Priest Skills(arrows of indra p. 37).
-LANGUAGES: Each time this skill is taken, the Priest gains a new language other than Prakrit (the common language of Jagat) or Sanskrit (the Holy language). Sample
languages include the various barbarian languages (such as the language of the golden lands), the Bhil language, the musical language of the Gandharvas, the Yaksha
language, the demonic language of the Asuras, the Naga tongue etc. This skill can be taken up to & times. [To be honest, this one is kind of forgivable and you are free to disregard it].
-THE ARCANA OF LIGHT: A ten minute ritual, it will make the Priest’s body shine with a Holy light that illuminates everything for 30 feet around him. This light lasts for 2 hours or until the Priest wills it to extinguish. The ritual can be performed once per day. This skill can be taken only once.
-THE ARCANA OF KARMA VISION: This twenty minute ritual will give the Priest a true vision, to sense whether those he sees are of Holy, Unholy, or neutral alignment.
It will also inform him if any objects in his line of sight are Holy or Unholy. It lasts for 20 minutes. This ritual can be performed once per day. The second time this arcana is taken, the power of the arcana increases so that the Priest can sense the presence of Holy or Unholy beings or objects within 60 feet even if they are hidden from sight. This skill can be taken twice.
-THE ARCANA OF HEALING: This ritual, which takes 10 minutes to perform, allows the Priest to heal 1d6+1 hit points of damage on one person he touches; including himself. It can be used once per day. This skill can be taken up to three times, each subsequent time granting an additional use per day.
-THE ARCANA OF THE OPENED MIND: This ritual, which takes 20 minutes to perform, allows the Priest to sense the thoughts of all the beings within 20 feet of his person.
He can sense the most pressing thoughts of anyone in this range, and their general intentions toward the Priest; in the case of animals he can sense their basic instincts. He cannot detect the thoughts of any creature who does not have a consciousness as such, such as animated statues; nor can he sense the thoughts of the living dead. This magic lasts for 20 minutes. This ritual can be used once per day. This skill can be taken up to three times, each additional time it is taken it allows the ritual to be cast once more per day.
-THE ARCANA OF THE VOICE IN THE SILENCE: This ritual, which takes 30 minutes to perform, allows the Priest to speak a message of pure thought with another individual he must name. The chosen individual will be able to hear the Priest’s words in his mind; and if he is of Holy or Unholy alignment will be able to send a response. Neither the Priest nor the person he is contacting need to actually talk for the communication to take place. The
communication can be sent to anyone up to 18 miles away, if the individual selected is further away than that, the ritual fails. The conversation can last up to 10 minutes. This skill can be taken up to three times, each additional time allows the ritual to be performed once
more per day.
-THE ARCANA OF THE AURA OF HOLINESS: This ritual, which takes 10 minutes to perform, grants the Priest a Holy aura around his person. The living dead, ghosts, and
some minor demonic creatures will not be able to come within ‘$ feet of his person. Additionally, any other being of Unholy alignment will suffer a – 2 penalty to hit him
in combat. Also, the Priest gains a +’ to all saving throws for the duration of the effect. The magic lasts for 30 minutes. This skill can only be taken once. Note: Raskshasa
and other Unholy Priests who gain this skill will emanate an aura of Unholiness, which has the exact same effect except that beings of Holy alignment (rather than Unholy alignment) will suffer the – 2 penalty to hit him.
-THE GREATER ARCANA OF HEALING: This ritual, which takes 20 minutes to perform, allows the Priest to heal 2d6+2 hit points of damage on one person he touches; including
himself. It can be used only once per day; but this skill can be taken twice granting an additional use per day.
-THE ARCANA OF DOMINION: This ritual, which takes 10 minutes to perform, grants the Priest incredible power of influence over others. For 30 minutes after he
performs the ritual, everyone who is in his immediate presence (within 50 feet), and is of 7th level or less must make a saving throw vs. magic to resist being so enchanted by the Priest’s spiritual power that they will want to obey his commands. This power does not
affect animals, non-living animated objects, or the living dead. The Priest cannot order them to do any harm to themselves (though he can order them to surrender themselves or otherwise cease aggression or resistance), nor can he order them to perform any act that would be Unholy (unless the Priest performing the arcana is a Rakshasa or other kind of Unholy Priest). Anyone under the Priest’s enchantment will return to their normal senses
if they leave his presence, or after the magic’s duration comes to an end. The ritual can be performed only once per day. This skill can only be taken once
-THE ARCANA OF PURIFICATION: This ritual takes one hour to perform. It will liberate a person or object of any magical curse that has not been placed upon them by a God or greater Asura; removing the negative effects of such curses. It will remove the Unholy quality of an object, and will make individuals of Unholy alignment Neutral, or of Neutral alignment Holy. It will restore anyone who has been magically transformed into another
shape back to their original form. It will cure anyone who has been driven mad of their insanity. This ritual can only be performed once a day, and will work on only one person or object each time it is performed. This skill can only be taken once.
Zak S. and RPGPundit, a comparison of the D&D 5th Edition consultants, or “John Tarnowski must feel lower than a legless flea’s taint”
Signature product: Vornheim, the Complete City Kit is written, illustrated & graphic designed by Zak S. and won a technology award because the organization bestowing the award I guess wanted the PR pop that comes from giving a tech award to a paper book written by a porno guy. It’s acclaimed by many in the OSR as the greatest thing since medium belt pouches, derided by others as silly, indulgent, littered with pointless tables, and ludicrously unusable. Everyone agrees that Mandy looks gross on the cover.
Arrows of Indra is D&D with a coat of Bollywood face paint slapped on. It has sold almost dozens of copies and I can’t find a single review outside of the one written by RPGPundit himself, who awards his work a rating of 9 out of 10 — presumably he blames the one point deduction on shitty art, or fucked up layout, or something else he was not responsible for. If you would like an Anglicized version of India written by an American Mexican living in Bolivia (Uruguay?), this one’s for you. John is super stoked to mention there’s a tranny (sp? Is it “trannie?”) on the cover, which is fine and all but why didn’t he celebrate the tranny on the cover when his supposed shitting on of the LGBT community was an issue? It’s like those guys who are all suddenly, “I have lots of black friends,” when it’s pointed out they always hire the goof-off white kid instead of the qualified black kid.
Typical supporter response to admitted retarded claims that either one of these dudes shit on the LGBT community, or hate gays, or whatever that shit was cause I couldn’t really figure it out: [paraphrased] “Zak. S. is not a homophobe. To assert anything contrary is ridiculous and itself driven by a hate agenda. He ministers, tenderly and angel-like, to his disabled, immigrant, genderqueer, alternative girlfriend Mandy. Can he sometimes be abrasive? Maybe, but only to dummies, Republicans, and other people we don’t like. But his saintly demeanor and creative genius (Vornheim!) rank him atop humanity, to say nothing of the OSR, which without him would be bereft of meaning, value, and hope.”
[paraphrased] “I’m not a fan of RPGPundit and in fact I think he’s bad for the OSR, and gaming as a whole. I cannot defend any of his actions. I have boycotted all his products on principle, but they basically look terrible and derivative, so I never would have purchased them anyway. Obviously his creepo politics are offensive, no wonder he had to flee the US to embed himself in a primitive culture. I wonder if it wasn’t an actual sex crime or maybe just one against nature itself that caused him to hastily depart America, but that’s just me wondering — as yet, I have no proof (email me if you know something). And also I just get this vibe that he smells. But anyway, despite all evidence of a disgusting moral character and acknowledging the probability that I’m sure in the next couple days the truth will come out and we’ll find out he drives by gay clubs and throws hot dogs out his window and cackles at the m2f genderstrobes lined up at the door, as far as I know, to date, to my knowledge only I cannot speak for anyone else, I don’t THINK I have ever seen him do more than just be insulting and dismissive in sort of a general way to the LGBT community, and maybe not even that but I can’t be sure. I’m certain I’ll have to retract this provisional note of reluctant support, probably within days or only hours when the full truth of his infamy is revealed, but I would feel weird defending Zak and NOT defending RPGPundit and Zak has sort of implied I need to defend both, so… there it is. RPGPundit is disgusting and should be shunned on principle, just probably not for the reason everyone is doing it right now…”
What James Edward Raggi IV thinks: James published Vornheim, pleaded with Zak for the Alice in Wonderland vs. Dracula thing, and pops a tiny boner w/ watery dribble of pre-cum at the thought of publishing anything else Zak related. He can celebrate Death Frost Plagiarism all he wants, Vornheim literally built his company and the new Zak thing will revive it after numerous Kickstarter stumbles and creative misfires (Death Love Doom, Fuck for Satan, Joop van Ooms, Broodmother Vaporware, etc.)
RPGPundit approached James hat-in-hand, asking if his eminence would be so gracious as to consider publishing his long-in-the-works supplement Dark Albion, a project that seemingly would fit gorgeously into the post-Renaissance LotFP default setting. James was shocked at first, then turned his head slightly and laughed deeply but quietly into his hand — he made an extreme effort to ensure RPGPundit would notice this laughter, but more importantly notice the theatrical effort to obscure the laughter, as is done when someone wants to enjoy a good laugh at someone’s expense without alerting them to the ridicule and thereby spoil opportunities for future derision.
Attitude toward ISIS: Zak S. has made no public pronouncements, but we may guess he does not support ISIS and is generally pro-America, although not in favor of a militaristic foreign policy and the aggressive oligarchy in whose interests it is deployed.
John Tarnowski has made no public pronouncements, but based on his overall character, it is not unreasonable to suppose he despises America and supports the terrorists and may even now be thinking ugly thoughts about Abraham Lincoln, baseball, and apple pie. But there is absolutely no hard evidence of this, that is certain.
Apart from Wizards of the Coast, collaborates with: Zak S. is partnered with acclaimed author China Mieville on a forthcoming project, went to the wedding of one of the guys from Marilyn Manson, and hangs out with actresses you will recognize from such films as Ass Eaters Unanimous 19, My Hot Wife is Fucking Blackzilla! 7, and Facefucking Inc. 8.
RPGPundit follows James Desborough on G+.
So who comes out ahead?!?!? Haha, trick question — they both fucking suck assholes!
I’ll just put this here, and then we can discuss it like nice gentlemen:
[Edit: Kent asked me to remove the direct link, apparently it broke his shit or something. Go through his website to listen to his beautiful message of love, respect, and tolerance, assuming you arrive on one of those rare occasions when his website’s actually up…]
I’m gonna be honest right up front: I’m a Venger Satanis fan. The Nickelodeon slime video [I think he removed it???], the cornball publishing empire, the whackadoodle soapbox shit… I mean, pretty much whatever tickles your funnybone, you can find a reason to unleash a Nelson-ian “HAHA!” in his direction, and evergreen niggas like that are hard to find these days. He don’t give a fuck, he’s fearless, he’s stupid, and that’s absolutely awesome.
But here’s some shit — Did you know he’s like the Supreme Tentacle of the Church of Cthulhu or something? And there’s a dissident movement agitating for his removal? Or there was and he persevered? I can’t read past a couple paragraphs to figure it out.
I can’t even figure out what order to put those links in, because at the bottom of each article there’s like three more articles about Venger and him shittin’ up the Church of Gozer the Gozerian or whatever the fuck they’re talking about. I had NO*FUCKING*IDEA shit was this intense around a MacGuffin from some dimestore rags published a century ago. I can comprehend Bronies and /Slash/ fiction and Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and shit, but I literally cannot fathom dudes getting their panties twisted over who’s the most I’thaqua motherfucker on tha block.
His rabbit hole is deep, I mean inverse Olympus Mons at the bottom of the Challenger Deep deep, this shit only scratches the surface. Anything you find, post it. I unapologetically (sp?) am rooting for this fucking retard, if he has a donate button or some shit on his blog and you got some disposable income, fucking do it…
[Edit: Shit, forgot the book reviews.]
Hi there, fellow OSR. Well, we’ve had a craaaaazy last couple of weeks. Let’s skip right to the point. Close to half a dozen, or maybe even a thousand or more, OSR bloggers have had to step forward to defend one of our own, Zak Smabbath, from disgusting, hurtful, filthy, and totally untrue charges that he is a HOMOSEXUAL and even a TRANSHOMO, which I don’t even know what is??? Check out some heroes ready to put this queer fuss to rest:
I hereby add myself to the chorus of voices that can state, definitively, Zak S is not homogay or a transtesticle, or any of that nonsense. Do you hear that, Internet Haters? Zak would NEVER put his penis into a manbutt. NEVER! And cut it off to pretend he’s a girl or something? NO. FUCKING. WAY. He has a girlfriend, DUUUUUUUUUH!!! Herp-di-derp much, Haters?
Zak, please add this as a link in your next post that lists all your defenders against charges you are gendergross. RPGPundit, you can add me too — no one else has come to your defense yet, which must make you feel kinda lonely compared to Zak, but HERE I AM TO SAY RPGPUNDIT DOES NOT GAY!!!
I also challenge the Internet Haters: if you can find, anywhere, a picture of Zak S or RPGPundit doing gay, post a link in my comments section. I bet there won’t be any links posted. [Please don’t post faked-out links to stuff where it’s not Zak S or RPGPundit doing a gayness but you say it is, that would not be in the spirit of manners.] I’m confident that this can become the ultimate resource to prove that Zak S is not protohomo and RPGPundit is not transtardic.
Now can we put this homosexual nonsense behind us and get back to PLAYING DUNGEONS & DRAGONS GAMES??!!
Amazon got a little sloppy with fulfillment and I mistakenly received my D&D Starter Set nearly two weeks early. I was so excited I tore the box open with my teeth! Let me tell you, I was more than a little shocked at what I found inside…
I didn’t even make it past the dedication:
This game is dedicated to Hitler, who taught me so much about fighting for what you believe is right. R.I.P. U A reeel nigguh :: #finalsolution #YOLO #GODHATESFAGS :: Sincerely — Mike Mearls
I want to go on record here and say that that’s super not-chill with me. This is NOT how we grow the hobby and introduce a new generation of gamers to role playing. I call on Hasbro, Inc. to announce they do not agree with Mr. Mearls’ feelings and what they are going to do to ensure that Hitler is not a part of D&D in an official capacity. Maybe Elminster could do a PSA about tolerance and inclusion on the Dorkland! podcast, that might be a good place to start.
Please repost/link this review so we can get Hasbro’s attention and let them know we demand justice!!!
Gail Gygax has been a busy beaver, rest assured your tens of thousands of dollars in unaccounted for donations are most likely in good hands. What’s the takeaway from her last appearance six months ago before the Lake Geneva city council? Not that for all that money, all that’s bought is the design. Not that Gail has taken literal inspiration from Mario Bros. in banging bricks from Gary’s casket to make it rain coins into her pockets. We learn: Gail has chosen an artist to render beloved Gary as a monument that will stand proudly for ages. No run of the mill artist, this man has experience in the monument industry — he is Gerald Sawyer, the Michelangelo-esque talent behind the Fonzie statue in Milwaukee… wait, WTF?!?
TIL there’s a Fonzie statue in Milwaukee. This is what the Fonzie statue in Milwaukee looks like, presumably seeing this moistened Gail’s panties sufficient for her to exclaim, “Call off the search, boys… I’ve found our artist!”
What a gorgeous likeness! Here’s more of Jerry’s work, I think you’ll agree his level of artistic skill feels comfortably at home in a movement that has produced Greg Bell, Steph Poag and Lady Wrinklequim, among others.