A Review of the Role Playing Game Supplement The Genius Guide to Loot 4 Less Vol. 3: Hot Rods

The Genius Guide to Loot 4 Less Vol. 3: Hot Rods by Owen K.C. Stevens is a role playing game supplement published by Rogue Genius Games (originally as Super Genius Games) for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. As such, it is covered by the Open Game License and some parts are considered to be Open Game Content as a result. This is one in a series of supplements introducing permanent magic items under 2,500 gp value, in this case rods.

The PDF is available from RPGNow for $3.99 but was purchased at the reduced price of $0.20 as part of a special bundle. Two thirds of a page are the front cover and one page is the Open Game License and Credits.

The Genius Guide to Loot 4 Less Vol. 3: Hot RodsThe supplement gives an overview of what the series is intended to accomplish, which is to give lower level characters a chance to build wealth with permanent magic items, make treasure and equipment from foes more interesting and diverse at low levels and give mid-level spellcasters more items to create. A more detailed overview is given in the first in the series, The Genius Guide to Loot 4 Less Vol. 1: Armor and Weapons.

It then discusses the rod, a fairly unusual class of magic item. The series also has sidebars explaining how the prices of the items was determined, the Core Rulebook not having the most detailed rules; in this supplement it is perhaps in a bit more detail.

Next are the rods themselves, of which there are nine in total. These have a variety of uses – there is even a Swiss Army Knife Rod of Many Uses – quite a few of which are pretty much utility items, such as the Rod of Smashing Doors and the Grapnel Rod.

The Genius Guide to Loot 4 Less Vol. 3: Hot Rods in Review

The PDF lacks bookmarks and, despite its brevity, these would have been appreciated. With no table of contents either, navigation is quite poor.

The text maintains Super Genius Games’ old, three column landscape format. The landscape format was intended to be easier to read on large tablets, but this is less true on small ones, and the format is not the best for printing. Only one real error was noted – the title for Rod of Smashing Doors says “Smasing”. There are a number of colour illustrations, all colour and all done for specific rods described. Presentation is okay.

In terms of numbers of items described, this is one of the poorer supplements in the series; even though the descriptions for the rods are longer than those for the rings, for example, the supplement is substantially shorter. There are a lot less rods than have been seen for items in other supplements and the rods also are, well, rather boring. There aren’t really any truly interesting rods described; they pretty much all do fairly bland tasks. Perhaps the rods are original in design, but they don’t sparkle. It’s hard to see a player getting enthused over their character finding a rod that makes them heavier.

This PDF may have some new concepts, but they aren’t that inspiring and the value for money is poorer than other supplements in this series. The Genius Guide to Loot 4 Less Vol. 3: Hot Rods does have some utility – pretty much literally, as that what the items are – although perhaps not at full price, and it can be found by clicking here.


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