Product Review – Kill Or Be Killed! #1

Okay, I’m back. I was away for a while, because I honestly didn’t feel like updating. But, I had the inspiration to make a post… then, on my lunch break, I lurked the Paizo forums, and found something that was too interesting to ignore: A post from Neuroglyph, about a new product line: Kill Or Be Killed.

Boasting “boss encounters” for Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, I decided I’d check it out, if the price was right. Two dollars? TWO DOLLARS??? Two dollars for what could possibly be an encounter for my players, no, for what could be MONTHS of campaign arcs, ending in a memorable showdown?!?! Congratulations, Neuroglyph, this product marks my first PDF purchase from Paizo Publishing.

So, here’s the rundown: Written by Michael Evans for Neuroglyph Games, Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, 16 pages, PDF format, available from Paizo Publishing and RPGNow. I know some people don’t like buying PDF files. Hell, I’m not fond of it myself. But Paizo, at the very least, lets you download them to your hard drive and look at them freely- it just places a fingerprint bearing your name and email address, along with the date you purchased it stamped on it, at the top and bottom of each page. No, it does not obstruct the text or graphics at any point. I can’t speak for RPGNow, having never used their service before. But hey, either way, I didn’t buy this to pirate it, I bought it to use it.

So, how is it? For two dollars, it’s pretty damn good. This first issue details a mutated Earth Elemental named Kor-oggo-rok, a spore-encrusted, demon-tainted monstrosity. The text grants  some insight as to how you’d throw him at the characters, and it even gives a detailed map of the battle ground, complete with hazards the characters will face there.

I can’t comment on how Kor-oggo-rok works in a fight, as I’ve had no chance to play test him, but I can comment on what he’s meant to emulate: He feels an awful lot like a “raid boss” from World of Warcraft. How so? He has specific attack patterns, divided into “phases” (including one where he hides underground and summons trash mobs to harass the heroes), he has “taunts” he uses when he activates his powers, and should you manage to kill the beast, he literally has  “rare drop” items.

Yes, here called “Relics,” they’re designed to be stronger than normal magical items of their level, and are, in at least in this case, pieces of the monster’s body. The three items provided are actually fairly interesting, and worthwhile treasures for the trouble of fighting this horror.

As for how I feel about this? It’s not a bad idea, come to think of it. Some people do play this edition for its more “console RPG” feel, and a product that takes advantage of this demographic, and the ability of the game to emulate it, certainly cannot be called a bad thing either. Indeed, it’s rather welcome, as most “boss monsters” provided by Wizards so far are in the Epic tier. I like having a memorable “boss” in the Paragon tier, for once.

The PDF is even nice enough to provide “chits” for Kor and his flunkies, which you can cut out and put on the map. Not a feature I need, as I have a decent collection of miniatures, but it’s a very nice gesture on Neuroglyph’s part.

I hope that Neuroglyph has more Kill Or Be Killed issues planned, because this was a strong first outing. I can recommend this for most Dungeon Masters, especially at the price. Personally, I am looking forward to inflicting Kor-oggo-rok on my players. Eliciting shrieks of horror from them is one of my joys as a DM, after all…

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One Response to “Product Review – Kill Or Be Killed! #1”

  1. Neuroglyph Says:

    I’m really glad you liked KOBK #1, and thank you very much for a great review! You’re absolutely spot on with your comment about the “raid boss” feel of the KOBK Encounter. I really wanted to merge the best parts of D&D 4e with the thrill of a tough boss fight from a console game. D&D 4E lends itself beautifully to this sort of play, and I think it just makes for a really fun encounter! And as for future release – that’s a big Yes! There are already about half a dozen more “boss” concepts in the works, and they will be designed for all levels of play, so that even Heroic Tier Characters can have their moment of glory in a “Kill or Be Killed” Encounter.

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