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Does AEG War Suck or ...

JoeGKushner

Registered User
While looking over AEG's War, I have to think that it's a pretty basic book that in my mind, falls to the wayside when compared to RM's Castles & Ruins, the AD&D 2nd ed. Castle Guide, the 2nd Ed. DMG (for prices/details), and a few other books in terms of details. There seem to be a lot of general ideas thrown out of how the GM should question war and everything around it using the basic writer's tools (what is it, 5 Ws or something) but very rarely are solid answers provided.

Even with game material, it seems weak. The prestige classes are poorly named. Footman... uh, this is a small demi-human. Why does it have the word man in it? Why does it use the name of a common soldier? Wandering Squire. Sure, the character hasn't joined a knighthood, but are all fighters now squires? There are other examples of poor naming, like brute and epic athlete, but I don't want to do a break down. I'm not saying the classes themselves are bad, just some of the names.

In terms of spells and magic items, did any of them really jump out and say, "Use me in a siege warfare situation?" Nope. No giant golems, no magical siege engines, no mass teleportation spells.

I guess to me, the book is merely just a very basic introduction to War.

Hell, when you don't even have a military ranking system for army and navy, what good is the book? How about a bibliography?

Worse still, in my opinion, about 80% of the art is crap. This really pisses me off because AEG can, and has, done better than this. The Rogukan books are very professional in print and layout while this seems like something I could've done. Not bad for a schmuck with InDesign and some experience, but not from the same house that Rogukan and it's supplements came out of.

Well, let's here everyone tell me how wrong (or hell, surprise me and say, no, you're right) I am.
 

Lady Dragon

Villager
I've noticed the same thing all of AEG's "One word title" products have been average at best in content and poor in professional quality.They have Large print and sub-standard art.I get the feeling that these book are not play-tested and thrown together maybe I'm wrong but thats the impression I get.

On the other hand The Rokugan book is as Great content and quality-wise as anything WoTC puts out.In fact I Believe it is the only Full-color Hardcover not put out by WoTC. And the Interior artwork is fantastic again the best I've seen thats non WoTC.

Its like there is two companys within one.
 

Psion

Villager
My reviews of War and Monster should be out tomorrow.

As far as AEG's one word title books go, I like Undead and Monster.

War, I am afraid, will be another 3. I wouldn't sy it sucks -- there is some usable stuff in there. The prestige classes and exposition are actually pretty good. But it seems like it needed to be pulled together better, and it needs more implementation of concepts set forth in the exposition.
 

trancejeremy

Villager
Well, I've only read through it at my local game store, but from what I saw I would agree.

I also agree about the quality of the one word title sourcebooks from them. They seem to use cheap paper, too.

It's almost like a budget or no frills line.

There's some good stuff in them, but it's sort of a grab bag (since they seem to have several different authors).
 

Psion

Villager
REVIEW IS UP

NEWS FLASH!

My reviews of AEG's War and Monster are up on the ENWorld d20 reviews page.
 
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I don't think WAR sucks at all. It was a fun read with useful info. The PrCs were really cool (footman and gutter fighter notwithstanding, at least name-wise). I thought the art was fine, inside and out. The mass battle rules are incomprehensible, I'll admit, and seem more like an afterthought than a real attempt to include "battlesystem" rules.

All the AEG "one word" sourcebooks suffer from atrocious editing. They have more typos than you can shake a stick at, though this is slowly improving (their mini-modules suffer the same). None of their sourcebooks are "must haves" yet I have found each of them to have enough useful information to make a purchase worthwhile. I own Dungeons, Evil and War. I found Dungeons to be the least useful of these. I almost bought Undead, but I don't want to encourage my co-DM to throw more undead at me when I play, LOL. He's used every type of undead in the MM except the Allip and Nightshades... I dislike dragons as a general rule of thumb (I prefer behirs for some odd reason), so have no interest in buying their Dragons book, even if it written by Gary Gygax...

Monsters has not been released in my area yet, nor has Gods. I will give these (and any future) AEG sourcebooks a fair shot at my gaming dollar. I don't think AEG is doing a bad job and releasing substandard products as some of you seem to think. I do think they could do better, but I think each new release is proving that they are, in fact, improving. War is their best sourcebook yet, IMO. YMMV.

I do think all this AEG bashing I have been seeing lately on the boards is both unfair and unfounded. I see a lot worse d20 material coming out all the time and not receiving this level of scrutiny and/or criticism.
 

enrious

Registered User
I looked through Evil, and while it some interesting points or two, I just can't see myself buying it.

I haven't seen Dungeons or Monsters, but I picked up Undead to help me with some ideas for a Undead slaying Paladin I'm running.

I'm using some of the feats and a special ability (in lieu of the Paladin's mount), so I can say that Undead has been useful to me.
 

JoeGKushner

Registered User
Too strong language

I apologize for using the word suck. It implies a great level of poor writing and other bad things that War isn't.

Part of the problem is my long term reading experience in role playing games. After I've read several books on castles, war, sieges, and other things relating to a subject and you see that subject given only the broadest strokes, I was very disappointed.

Does this make War a bad book? NO. If you are a new player or GM with little knowledge of war or role playing in general, the questions it raises will make you think. Would I recommend War to anyone whose played in more than ten sessions and seen Braveheart, LoTR and other fantasy movies? Nope.

My apologies for my gut reaction to War as it's not a terrible book and my initial criticism make it seem so.

My points still stand though.

Generic/Misleading Prestige Class Names.
No ranking of officers
No prices for military action/life
No incorporation of seafare/science fiction/non-fantasy war
 

JoeGKushner

Registered User
Kaptain_Kantrip said:
I do think all this AEG bashing I have been seeing lately on the boards is both unfair and unfounded. I see a lot worse d20 material coming out all the time and not receiving this level of scrutiny and/or criticism. [/B]
Sorry to cut you're quote short, but since I started this thread, I just wanted to state that I started it because I know AEG can do better via Rogukan. It's like they know that the Rogukan fans aren't going to put up with a substandard product and work extra hard and create a great product and then they take their one word titled books and go, "Ah well, it's a d20 product. We'll work on it more next time." And products getting better? War is brand new. It's not necessarily getting better..
 

Greatwyrm

Been here a while...
I really have to agree with JoeGKushner. Overall, the Rokugan titles have been truly exceptional. The one-worders, while I have enjoyed them, don't even look like they are made by the same company. I like them (especially Undead), but they are definitely not what these folks are capable of.
 

Crothian

Villager
I'm a big fan of AEG's stuff. I've liked what they have done long before the whole d20 craze. I have all their single word titles (except Monsters) and I get a lot of use out of them. They have great ideas. But the quality of their Rokungen stuff is clearly better. Now that someone mentions it, it does seem like two companies. I doubt I'll ever play or run a Rukungen game becasue the rest of the group isn't that thrilled about it, but I buy these books becuase they are top in terms of quality.
 
I didn't even realize AEG made the Rokugan books, LOL. You're right, they clearly put much more effort into those and 7th Sea than their other d20 stuff. They do look like they are made by two different companies!
 
Re: Too strong language

JoeGKushner said:

Generic/Misleading Prestige Class Names.
No ranking of officers
No prices for military action/life
No incorporation of seafare/science fiction/non-fantasy war
I agree with you that these should have been covered (in lieu of those terrible mass battle rules, perhaps, so as not to screw the page count up).

Mike Mearls said in another thread that he called it "Footman" as a joke, because gnomes and halflings would be underfoot, or something like that. Nobody got the rather obscure joke, and the PrC (and the entire WAR book) does tend to suffer a bit as a result of everyone thinking it's just bad writing to name the PrC the "Footman" when it clearly isn't what 99.9% of people think of as a medieval "footman." I do think Mearls did a good job on most of the PrCs in War, such as the Rake and Mercenary Captain. Those kick ass!
 

TBoarder

Villager
Not what I need in a War book

What frustrates me the most about War is that it's obvious the writers of the various parts of the book never taked to each other. Why the h*** would a book have entire section on integrating magic, dragons, giants, and other D&D material only to completely ignore it in the mass combat system!?!? Anybody can come up with a usable ad hoc system for armies of normal ECL 0 armies with no magic. What we needed was rules for how to deal with the above circumastances, not a few paragraphs saying that we have to take them into consideration (Duh, we knew that). For that, I can't help but feel it was a waste of money, no matter how good the feats and prestige classes were. I bought the book for war rules, not for feats and prestige classes.
 
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