Game: Synergy Artifacts
Publisher: The Le Games
Review Dated: 12th, April 2004
Reviewer’s Rating: 7/10 [ Good ]
Total Score: 7
Average Score: 7.00
By The Le Games
Cost: $5.00 USD
Available at www.rpgnow.com
Synergy Artifacts is a collection of unique magical devices for d20 fantasy characters. The basic idea is that these devices are designed for lower level characters, and grow in power with them. In addition, these items are all part of sets; that is, possessing more than one item in the set grants additional abilities beyond that of the items themselves.
This is the second review a product by The Le Games. There is a notable improvement over previous products. First of all, there is more artwork. There aren’t many obvious formatting errors or inconsistancies. Overall, it is a pleasant read. The sections on location and destruction aren’t included in this work, but one imagines anyway that location is going to be “where the DM puts it” and destruction is going to be “after pried from the cold dead hands of the pc’s.”
Some things are the same. There is another good cover by Adam Briggs. The download still includes a landscape view for ease of reading, a portrait view for printing, an RTF to cut and paste, and a preview of an upcoming product. The items are still listed with a history and a common name, which is a nice touch and a good thing to still include. The creativity hasn’t declined from the previous work (Personal Artifacts), which is a very good sign of things to come. The power level hasn’t declined either. While these items may not be nearly on the same level as the various body parts of Vecna, they are still substantially more powerful than a +1 shortsword. In general, the power level isn’t going to be as potentially game-breaking as a Staff of Power or a Deck of Many Things (a.k.a. the Deck of Many Campaign Ends).
There is an interesting variety in the sets. These can anything from the two-piece sword & scabbard of the Enchanter’s Artifacts, to the 16 separate Baubles of Ancient Power (plus the 15 BoAP found in Personal Artifacts). The latter is one of my favourites in this collection. Each may be added to an item to grant additional mystic power, such as the Bauble of Moving which grants an additional 10 feet of movement speed (+20 feet total if 13th level or higher) if added to any footwear. Restrictions are that only one can be applied, and no artifact items are eligible.
Potential concerns for a DM are the power levels involved, but again these are not the same game-destroying levels of artifact power. The simple facts that these items are unique, and one must complete the set for full power, keep the potential damage to a minimum, as does the power-levels of many of the items growing with the character’s. Additional potential concerns are the diminishing of class features, such as the Bauble of Turning that grants the ability to turn undead as a palladin when implanted in armour or a shield.
There were a few smiles during my read, such as the Clerics Trinkets (“that’s cute, they look like cheap jewelry”) and the Cats Amulets (horrid visions of cat-girls prancing about in a D&D game were immediately shot down by the reference to the items’ creator: the cat-god “Me’ow”).
Lest anyone think “oh no, not another collection of goodies for the power-mad combative,” these items are created with history, personality, and utility outside of combat. Of course, there are those items that are designed to harm (the Magic Missile Artifacts come to mind), but there are others with more practicality. For example, the Barbarians Artifact: Helmet (a.k.a. Gyrak’s Comprehension) grants literacy in specific languages as one advances in level. Rather than imagine the destructive power of a character with these various artifacts, I usually found myself imagining the campaign that one would find and use these items. And that’s what such supplements are really about: stirring the imagination for better gameplay. Some of these potential campaigns were practically writing themselves as I read them–just add npc’s, monsters, and salt to taste.
Synergy Artifacts is $5.00 well spent on a gaming supplement.