Acquisitions, Inc.: First Impressions
Page 1 of 12 1234567891011 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 113
  1. #1
    Member
    Waghalter (Lvl 7)



    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
    1

    Acquisitions, Inc.: First Impressions

    Acquisitions Inc. has earned a special, beloved place in the actual play segment of the game industry. In 2009, long before Critical Role, Sirens of the Realms, or Dice, Camera, Action, Penny Arcade debuted D&D games presented as podcasts. They later transitioned to video and live-play in front of an audience at conventions, and have even had a comic book. Crowds for those live events have grown to larger and larger venues.

    Name:  DnD_AcqInc_Cover.jpg
Views: 27406
Size:  1.33 MB

    Over time, the DM became Chris Perkins, senior producer of Dungeons & Dragons for Wizards of the Coast., and more recently, Jeremy E. Crawford, senor game designer for Dungeons & Dragons. Along the way, Acquisitions Inc. spawned B and C teams showcasing other player groups, some of whom involved WotC staff members.

    So perhaps the only surprise is that it's taken this long for Penny Arcade and Wizards of the Coast to team up and produce an Acquisitions Inc. book, though its 10 anniversary makes it perfect timing. Could anything else be such a no-brainer for content?

    For those unfamiliar with Acquisitions Inc, the adventures meld classic D&D fantasy with dark office comedy. New players are often “interns,” and AI chapters are “franchises,” complete with promises that another franchise won't invade your territory. It opens with a note from “the leader,” AI founder, Omin Dran. Interspersed through the text are additional notes by well-known AI characters Omin, Jim Darkmagic, etc.

    The book's layout is logical – Acquisitions Inc.'s history, in and out of game, custom character classes to fit into its corporate structure, variants from the traditional classes, new races, spells and factions, followed by an adventure. Players are warned not to read past page 78.

    This is just the first impressions article. A deeper examination will follow once I have more time with the book. Until then, I'm quite pleased with the results even though I've only occasionally watched AI games (too much to do running D&D campaigns, creating my own RPG and life in general rather than lack of interest). The comedy/business approach to fantasy adventuring isn't new (Who else read Nodwick comics?), but it seems nicely put together here, with a rather fun internal logic.

    The first thing that caught my attention, though, was the Deep Crow entry in the Table of Contents. Being a lover of the entire Corvus family, I flipped straight to the monster section of a book for the first time in my life. The entry did not disappoint. While technically labeled a form of avian insect, they look like a very large, monstrous version of crows. With a 9 challenge rating, they'll be capable adversaries for your players. The Ancient Deep Crow is even more dangerous, with a challenge rating of 12 and lair actions.

    I was initially excited by the monster entry for the Clockwork Dragon, too, but that waned as I read the listing. I love, love, love the idea of a clockwork dragon (only slightly less than that of a crow that gets a legendary action). The description talks about how clockwork dragons are a “formidable guardian and defender.” You can then, perhaps, imagine my surprise when I see that its challenge rating is only a 1. Yes, it gets a rechargable breath weapon but really? A CR 1? I expected better (and will be tweaking it for my own campaigns).

    After that, the next thing I noticed was the artwork. Part of it is, logically and obviously, in the same style as that of their animated openings, comic book, etc. Others, like the art of “Happy Franchise Staff” on page 12 has a style I'd call “Acquisitions Inc. adjacent.” It fits the flavor of the animated art while being its own style with more depth, more subtly, and more, well, “realistic” seems a poor choice for the situation, but it is. While all of the artwork is good, I like the AI-adjacent style artwork a lot.

    The section, Playing with Class, could fit nicely with the character class options presented in Xanathar's Guide to Everything. Like that book, it contains random tables for each class that you can use as is or to make your options for topics like signature items for a barbarian or Terrible Secrets for a paladin.

    Some are clearly humorous, like the monk stance “Incontinent Elder – standing straight, knees together (excellent for surviving those long queues)” or Legendary Catchphrases like “'Surrender' is my middle name but it was a family thing and I never use it.” Others are geared specifically for Acquisitions Inc. adventures, like Barbarian Style such as “a fur-lined, double-breasted suit with a corporate logo on the pocket” or Cool Mottos for a warlock like “I'm the prophet of profit and I've got a prediction for success.” Others would fit in perfectly in any type of campaign, like a fighter's signature equipment that is “a bow carved with images of the phases of the moon” or a druid's Creatures to Care For that includes “a colony of bees whose hive once hung from a tree in your homeland.”

    Similarly, the character quotes scattered through the book range from the accurate (“What a customer wants is not always what a customer needs... or gets.”) to the line between funny and disturbing (“Hirelings are kindling in the fire of opportunity.”).

    The book also guides you through creating your own Acquisitions Inc. franchise for your players, complete with random tables for when you might have to do it quickly. Probably the part that might interest AI watchers the most is the NPC section that stats out well-known characters like Omin Dran, Jim Darkmagic, Rosie Beestinger and Brahma Lutier. I'm a bit surprised that they cap out at fifth level but the included adventure is for levels 1-5 so there is an internal logic to it.

    Overall, I think AI fans will be happy with the Acquisitions Inc. book. I can't wait to dive deeper into it for my follow-up review.

    This article was contributed by Beth Rimmels (brimmels) as part of EN World's Columnist (ENWC) program. If you enjoy the daily news and articles from EN World, please consider contributing to our Patreon!
    XP Satyrn, Parmandur, doctorbadwolf, ZenBear, darjr gave XP for this post

  2. #2
    Member
    The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)



    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    5,253
    Quote Originally Posted by brimmels View Post
    Acquisitions Inc. has earned a special, beloved place in the actual play segment of the game industry. In 2009, long before Critical Role, Sirens of the Realms, or Dice, Camera, Action, Penny Arcade debuted D&D games presented as podcasts. They later transitioned to video and live-play in front of an audience at conventions, and have even had a comic book. Crowds for those live events have grown to larger and larger venues.[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]


    Over time, the DM became Chris Perkins, senior producer of Dungeons & Dragons for Wizards of the Coast., and more recently, Jeremy E. Crawford, senor game designer for Dungeons & Dragons. Along the way, Acquisitions Inc. spawned B and C teams showcasing other player groups, some of whom involved WotC staff members.

    So perhaps the only surprise is that it's taken this long for Penny Arcade and Wizards of the Coast to team up and produce an Acquisitions Inc. book, though its 10 anniversary makes it perfect timing. Could anything else be such a no-brainer for content?

    For those unfamiliar with Acquisitions Inc, the adventures meld classic D&D fantasy with dark office comedy. New players are often “interns,” and AI chapters are “franchises,” complete with promises that another franchise won't invade your territory. It opens with a note from “the leader,” AI founder, Omin Dran. Interspersed through the text are additional notes by well-known AI characters Omin, Jim Darkmagic, etc.

    The book's layout is logical – Acquisitions Inc.'s history, in and out of game, custom character classes to fit into its corporate structure, variants from the traditional classes, new races, spells and factions, followed by an adventure. Players are warned not to read past page 78.

    This is just the first impressions article. A deeper examination will follow once I have more time with the book. Until then, I'm quite pleased with the results even though I've only occasionally watched AI games (too much to do running D&D campaigns, creating my own RPG and life in general rather than lack of interest). The comedy/business approach to fantasy adventuring isn't new (Who else read Nodwick comics?), but it seems nicely put together here, with a rather fun internal logic.

    The first thing that caught my attention, though, was the Deep Crow entry in the Table of Contents. Being a lover of the entire Corvus family, I flipped straight to the monster section of a book for the first time in my life. The entry did not disappoint. While technically labeled a form of avian insect, they look like a very large, monstrous version of crows. With a 9 challenge rating, they'll be capable adversaries for your players. The Ancient Deep Crow is even more dangerous, with a challenge rating of 12 and lair actions.

    I was initially excited by the monster entry for the Clockwork Dragon, too, but that waned as I read the listing. I love, love, love the idea of a clockwork dragon (only slightly less than that of a crow that gets a legendary action). The description talks about how clockwork dragons are a “formidable guardian and defender.” You can then, perhaps, imagine my surprise when I see that its challenge rating is only a 1. Yes, it gets a rechargable breath weapon but really? A CR 1? I expected better (and will be tweaking it for my own campaigns).

    After that, the next thing I noticed was the artwork. Part of it is, logically and obviously, in the same style as that of their animated openings, comic book, etc. Others, like the art of “Happy Franchise Staff” on page 12 has a style I'd call “Acquisitions Inc. adjacent.” It fits the flavor of the animated art while being its own style with more depth, more subtly, and more, well, “realistic” seems a poor choice for the situation, but it is. While all of the artwork is good, I like the AI-adjacent style artwork a lot.

    The section, Playing with Class, could fit nicely with the character class options presented in Xanathar's Guide to Everything. Like that book, it contains random tables for each class that you can use as is or to make your options for topics like signature items for a barbarian or Terrible Secrets for a paladin.

    Some are clearly humorous, like the monk stance “Incontinent Elder – standing straight, knees together (excellent for surviving those long queues)” or Legendary Catchphrases like “'Surrender' is my middle name but it was a family thing and I never use it.” Others are geared specifically for Acquisitions Inc. adventures, like Barbarian Style such as “a fur-lined, double-breasted suit with a corporate logo on the pocket” or Cool Mottos for a warlock like “I'm the prophet of profit and I've got a prediction for success.” Others would fit in perfectly in any type of campaign, like a fighter's signature equipment that is “a bow carved with images of the phases of the moon” or a druid's Creatures to Care For that includes “a colony of bees whose hive once hung from a tree in your homeland.”

    Similarly, the character quotes scattered through the book range from the accurate (“What a customer wants is not always what a customer needs... or gets.”) to the line between funny and disturbing (“Hirelings are kindling in the fire of opportunity.”).

    The book also guides you through creating your own Acquisitions Inc. franchise for your players, complete with random tables for when you might have to do it quickly. Probably the part that might interest AI watchers the most is the NPC section that stats out well-known characters like Omin Dran, Jim Darkmagic, Rosie Beestinger and Brahma Lutier. I'm a bit surprised that they cap out at fifth level but the included adventure is for levels 1-5 so there is an internal logic to it.

    Overall, I think AI fans will be happy with the Acquisitions Inc. book. I can't wait to dive deeper into it for my follow-up review.

    This article was contributed by Beth Rimmels (brimmels) as part of EN World's Columnist (ENWC) program. If you enjoy the daily news and articles from EN World, please consider contributing to our Patreon!
    I can't believe they made this glorified gag gift FR canon.

  3. #3
    Member
    Grandfather of Assassins (Lvl 19)

    Azzy's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    St.Aug, FL
    Posts
    1,722
    Quote Originally Posted by gyor View Post
    I can't believe they made this glorified gag gift FR canon.
    Well, the Forgotten Realms is pretty much a gag itself.
    XP rczarnec, R Cautela gave XP for this post
    Laugh Satyrn, Cette, Nadan, Caliburn101 laughed with this post

  4. #4
    Honest question: as someone who never watched AI and knows nothing about it, does this book has the potential to have a good entertainment value to me?

  5. #5
    Member
    The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)



    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    5,253
    Quote Originally Posted by Azzy View Post
    Well, the Forgotten Realms is pretty much a gag itself.
    Booooo. The Forgotten Realms is the high water mark for D&D.
    Laugh doctorbadwolf, Gradine laughed with this post

  6. #6
    Member
    The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)



    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    5,253
    Quote Originally Posted by volanin View Post
    Honest question: as someone who never watched AI and knows nothing about it, does this book has the potential to have a good entertainment value to me?
    It's really only for AI fans and those who want to see the realms burn.
    Laugh Parmandur laughed with this post

  7. #7
    Member
    Enchanter (Lvl 12)



    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    1,453
    Quote Originally Posted by gyor View Post
    I can't believe they made this glorified gag gift FR canon.
    Their shows cultivated a large following for the D&D brand during the 4e years before live play podcasts and streaming really started to take off, including a lot of people that previously never had any experience with tabletop RPGs. Their tone might not align with your tastes, but they're certainly not a detriment or disrespectful to the 'Realms or the D&D brand as a whole.

    Have you read any of Salvatore's novels? Plenty of wacky stuff in many of those books. And some incredibly goofy character names.
    XP Azzy, Parmandur, SkidAce, oknazevad, doctorbadwolf and 1 others gave XP for this post

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by volanin View Post
    Honest question: as someone who never watched AI and knows nothing about it, does this book has the potential to have a good entertainment value to me?
    Don't have a review copy, but judging from reviews so far, if your campaign has a lot of downtime to spare, and your players are interested in settling down in one place and making a base of operations and a business out of their adventuring, this book will help with that. You're gonna need a lot of hirelings.

  9. #9
    Member
    Grandfather of Assassins (Lvl 19)

    Azzy's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    St.Aug, FL
    Posts
    1,722
    Quote Originally Posted by gyor View Post
    Booooo. The Forgotten Realms is the high water mark for D&D.
    I point you at the Wizards Three artocle and laugh in your direction.
    Laugh Parmandur laughed with this post

  10. #10
    Member
    The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)



    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Ohio, USA
    Posts
    4,050
    Quote Originally Posted by gyor View Post
    It's really only for AI fans and those who want to see the realms burn.
    That is not true. I have never seen AI or read any of its products before and I don't want to see FR burn. However, I am interested in this book. The idea of franchises fascinates me (and I always love more monsters and NPCs). If it wasn't for the art style I would probably pick it up.
    XP Parmandur, Stacie GmrGrl, chrisshorb gave XP for this post

Similar Threads

  1. New Acquisitions Inc. Art
    By Morrus in forum *Dungeons & Dragons
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: Thursday, 11th April, 2019, 11:03 PM
  2. Acquisitions Inc. the Series!
    By Tiles in forum *Dungeons & Dragons
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: Saturday, 30th April, 2016, 06:53 AM
  3. Acquisitions, Inc. Returns
    By Morrus in forum *Dungeons & Dragons
    Replies: 36
    Last Post: Saturday, 22nd August, 2015, 10:17 AM
  4. New Acquisitions Inc. Podcast on the way
    By Phaezen in forum *General Roleplaying Games Discussion
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: Monday, 29th June, 2009, 08:27 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •