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GM's Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing
by Anders B. K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/01/2015 04:22:39

I wholeheartedly recommend this to GMs of ANY fantasy RPG! It is an excellent general-use GMs toolbox, both for preparing homebrew adventures, and for adding content to published adventures. It is also VERY useful while playing AT the table, where I use it a lot. To me it reminds me of the 1e AD&D DMG (all the charts at the back of the book), but Raging Swan Press' Dungeon Dressing book is just (to me) MUCH more directly useful, and it VERY well organized. Besides LOTS of random tables containing A LOT of solid and imaginative content, there is also a lot of very useful CRUNCH information in this book.
For ANY Pathfinder GM I really would consider this a mandatory GM's ressource. It is so good, that I personally consider it the number 1 "DMG" for Pathfinder! (I almost wish that Paizo got to publish it as an "Gamemastery Guide 2", so that more people would get it!)


TLDR: Get it if you are a Pathfinder/D&D/any fantasy RPG GM! You won't regret it, I am sure!!


PS: I can also REALLY recommend that you look at the Wilderness Dressing book and Scions of Evil (superb NPC collection), also from Raging Swan Press.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
GM's Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing
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Town Backdrop: Wolfsbane Hollow
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/30/2015 03:36:16

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of Raging Swan Press' glorious Town Backdrop-series clocks in at 29 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page author bios (including a handy list of stats by CR), 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 22 pages of content, so let's take a look!


We begin this book not with the town, like you'd expect - instead, we are introduced to a gazetteer of the surrounding region of Wolfbane Hollow: Fro Ashenblade Forest to the Dankwood, this pdf provides an interesting example from the get-go -namely that you can write multiple, inspiring short descriptions of forests and, with the wonders of properly chosen nomenclature, evoke a sense of wonder from the get-go, one btw. supplemented further by the nice b/w-map included for the region. And yes, one of my favorite villages in this series' smaller brethren-series, the iconic locale of Hjalward, can be found in the vicinity, allowing for a nice sense of narrative cohesion, if so desired. And yes, I'd really like to see the Greatshadow Gorge, where the Orlo-gutang flows... So yes, much like the Lonely Coast back in the day, this brief gazetteer made me immediately long for more.


The town of Wolfsbane Hollow is not a nice place - a danger-rating of 15, the cursed condition - even a cursory glance at the provided statblock immediately makes sure that yes, there is sufficient material for adventurers to cover. And indeed, the town lore provided does mention, beyond the proximity of the hordelands, the dread Redclaw Reaper, a werewolf serial killer, whose shadow still casts a pall on the town. At the convenience of GMs, not only are notable locations depicted, but a concise list by category also immediately provides just what you require.


Beyond the information of magic items for sale in the marketplace, we also learn about local fashion, native ethnicity and nomenclature. The town, with its neat b/w-cartography, can also be relatively easily incorporated into your game, with plentiful advice on customization being provided.


A fluff-only GM-cheat-sheet that lists all movers and shakers of the town on one handy page further eases the use of Wolfsbane's Hollow. Following the tradition of this series, we also enjoy a rather pronounced array of 50 whispers and rumors - but whether the rumor that the sun-goddess has cursed the town for burning the Redclaw Reaper...and her cathedral to the ground...I will not tell.


The life of the town is governed by the river, but beyond this information, local color galore renders immersion into the streets of this town easy - with sample festivals mentioned and information on law enforcement, Raging Swan Press's trademark attention to detail makes the town come to life - and beyond the general pieces of information provided, a full table of 50 events and things provide further detail, further hooks - you can, literally, just queue these and look where things are going. If your players are in any way like mine, they will take an interest and there we go -adventure!


Now, I have forgotten to mention yet another massive table provided herein - no less than 50 sights and sounds complement your descriptions of the life in the town, allowing you to paint with a variety of colors on the canvas of emotions - unlike many thematically-fixed locales that have a distinct, easily identifiable leitmotif and thus become predictable to the discerning gamer, the diversity here provides an intriguing array of moods. From the horrific to the beautiful, there is a nice amount of oscillation going on, with the subtle effect of rendering this town a surprisingly vivid experience to play in.


And yes, if you're afraid that there is not enough divergence from a pseudo-medieval background, well then looking at the geographic situation and the hints of the empire of Arvollis here, still alive in some linguistic relics, and you'll still get a sense of otherness, of exploration: The erstwhile conquerors are still here, after all - and the secret, true history behind the failed inquisitions and the wars against the indigenous werewolves that once haunted these lands makes for a smart read, but not one I'll repeat in this review.


Beyond these, brief write-ups on the somewhat elemental-themed 5 locally-worshipped deities are provided before we dive into the meat of the town, into the detailed description of the points of interest. From the one-handed, depressed netter who may have an insight into the truth of the town's shadowy underbelly to taverns with noted prices for accommodations and rooms, there is a lot to see. Why not, for example, visit the Foxhound and see the Red Reaper's blackened skull mounted over the wooden hearth and convince yourselves that all is fine? With agents of the hordelands (ones you would NOT expect) in town and a shadowy guild stalking the streets, Wolfsbane Hollow is definitely in need of adventurers. And yes, in case the name was not ample clue - here there be werewolves.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf sports numerous thematically-fitting b/w-artworks. Cartography is nice as well and the town does come in two versions - one optimized for screen-use and one optimized for your printer. Kudos for this. Oh, and yes, they are extensively bookmarked.


Robert Brookes knows how to write a town that feels unique, that feels alive - and he succeeds in this town to an extent I would not have expected. Indeed, the rather obvious name did not elicit too much excitement from yours truly, but the sheer amount of adventuring potential within this town is rather impressive indeed - whether by internal or external threats, by conspiracy or blatant conflict - there is a lot to be found and done and taking an interest in the people comes with its rewards. Wolfsbane Hollow is very much a wolf-in-sheep's-clothing in that regard - it looks harmless, but is not a place for the faint of heart. Add to that Julian Neale's touches in statblocks et. al and we have a town that indeed can be considered a more than worthwhile buy. I, for one, look very much forward to sending my PCs to Wolfsbane Hollow - and then lean back and wait what happens, what strikes their fancy. Few settlements manage this depth without succumbing to the issue of going for the one big threat, the one prevalent leitmotif - this does achieve just that. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Town Backdrop: Wolfsbane Hollow
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Alternate Dungeons: Abandoned Temple
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/08/2015 02:21:57

An Endzeitgeist.com review


The latest installment of RSP's Alternate Dungeons-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page advertisement, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?


So what is this series? In case you haven't read my reviews of the previous installments of this series, the basic idea is a simple one: Always adventuring below the surface becomes boring. Instead, this series is devoted to providing essentially dungeon templates, for, as we all know, changing one component of an environment can have significant repercussions for different aspects of gaming - under open skies, you e.g. have no ceiling to limit flying or drop things on your players - no rocks fall, none die.


Hence, the genius of this series lies in short and concise modifications, pieces of fluff and crunch, we get an array of options custom made to help the dungeons feel more than just like a different change of coat. This time around, our section on defining the dungeon in question obviously centers around existing effects and the placement of shrines, taking the presence of hidden symbols, symbolism, potential advantages for flying adversaries and yes, even the improved acoustics many such places have by design in mechanically-relevant terms into account. Beyond the danger of damaging magical symbols, a concise list of suggestions regarding the loot to be found herein can also be considered a nice way of further increasing the immersion and making the dungeon feel more distinct.


Of course, there are more things to ponder and the pdf guides the GM through the process - from the function that led to the creation of the complex in question (and/or its fall!) to a concise table of potential dressings to add to your abandoned temple, the pdf provides some rather nice suggestions.


Surprisingly, my least favorite component of the series, the by design often a bit conservative monster-suggestions this time around managed to evoke a solid diversity and so did the suggested sample traps. Where the pdf goes beyond its previous brethren would be with the inclusion of two haunts with a rather evocative imagery - hanged priests and an idol to an insect demon provide two rather nasty surprises for PCs. Kudos!


The final pages is devoted to adventure hooks and while all share in common that they may not win the prize for being utterly ingenious, they do manage to evoke a sense of threat, with a particularly vile cult devoted to silence sporting a downright grisly imagery I considered rather fitting - Golarion's Mute God, anyone?


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's two-column b/w standard, is printer-friendly and sports evocative, awesome artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and in two versions, one optimized for the printer and one optimized for screen-use.


It's not easy taking following up on anything Alexander Augunas made - unless, it seems, you are Mike Welham, who has been a no less prolific and frequent candidate and winner on my top ten lists. Mike's talent does clearly show in this installment of the series as well - and while I personally do not consider the concept of an abandoned temple to be as compelling as some of the previous installments, that ultimately is a matter of taste, not objective quality.


Ultimately, Mike Welham delivers a great supplement full of intriguing details that should help render dungeons in any temple-context less predictable and more concise - a great, inexpensive supplement and well worth a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Alternate Dungeons: Abandoned Temple
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Retribution Collector's Edition
by Paul Q. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/19/2015 16:36:31

Summary:
This is a great and detailed adventure! Even the slightest details are included and the thoroughness makes this a guaranteed fun, challenging, and interesting adventure for your players. It is well worth the price delivering an unique plot and pace.


Opening thoughts:
I have been a longtime fan of Raging Swan’s work as a GM. They publish a number of helpful resources that have shaped and spurred my creativity as I work up my campaign, encounters, etc. With that said, I should also acknowledge that I have never used one of their modules preferring to create my own scenarios. I am an experienced GM of over 30 years and generally prefer to do things myself.


Full disclosure: Because I am a fan of their resources, I am a Patron for them on Patreon.com. Also, I did receive a free PDF version of Retribution: Collector’s Edition to provide my review of the material. I will try to be as unbiased as I can in my review, but it is fair to you to let you know that up front.


Review:
If you are a fan of the Old School Gaming mindset being commingled with the advanced and stable mechanics of the Pathfinder ruleset, you will be very pleased with Retribution. Raging Swan is really dialed into the balance of the Three Pillars of Adventure: Combat, Social Interaction, and Exploration. To avoid spoilers I am going to focus on what I think makes this a superior product without going into specifics about the adventure.


One of the things that stands out is the deliberate structure that shapes the module. You get 61 pages of direct content relevant to the adventure and a few additional pages on how to read a stat block, table of contents, etc. It is very clear and readable and appropriately titled and sectioned. That may not sound too exciting, but it really helps you follow things as you read it. There is both an Adventure Background and Adventure Synopsis and both go a long way toward getting you excited to read more. There are notes on how to leverage this module in your campaign, including some alternatives to help make it fit and the good news is you could drop Retribution into any fantasy campaign.


You get a starting location for your PCs which, while maybe not Village of Hommlet detailed, gives you plenty to run NPC interactions and where PCs can stock up. The detail seems appropriate as the PCs should leave the village in Act 1. Almost immediately into the adventure we get an encounter that is connected to the main plot without being initially obvious, so your players will be engaged from the very start. The author helpfully includes (with every encounter) how to scale the encounter to make things appropriately challenging. Encounters have interesting and detailed treasures to claim, clear stat blocks, and even Designer’s Notes to help the GM understand any nuances specific to the encounter. An immediate sense of urgency is created with the weather becoming a major player throughout the adventure.


Once the PCs make the Priory (the main site of the adventure) some excellent NPC interaction and fact-finding begins. Everything is clearly detailed including a helpful Timeline of Events and even possible explanations from the villain in the story should the PCs inadvertently catch him in the act too early. I was truly impressed by that, never having seen it before in other modules. The NPCs are very detailed, including some of their personality traits and secret motivations, making the middle section a very fun and interesting part to play while not swinging swords. When the main plot kicks into action, though, the sense of urgency returns and there are plenty of opportunities to swing swords.


Another positive surprise included by the designer is a Troubleshooting section in the final act of the adventure offering options to the TPK if things go a little sideways. The events that lead to the action, the change in setting, and the encounters themselves all appeal to the thinking players as well as the dice-rollers. This is a very well-rounded adventure that I can see appealing to all sorts of players.


Final Thoughts:
This is a great module and worth picking up. What I think I liked most about it was how well it overcomes not being “your module.” It’s sometimes a challenge to understand what the designer was thinking and to remember all the relevant parts and I think the structure of the adventure really helps with that. I’m actually beginning a new campaign and made the decision to drop what I was planning to use Retribution. I will definitely be buying more of Raging Swan’s modules. I hope this (lengthy, my apologies for those inclined to TL:DR) review was helpful and you have as much fun with Retribution as I will.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Retribution Collector's Edition
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Caves & Caverns
by Pierre H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/19/2015 12:55:44

I am going to cover very briefly layout and editing. Generally unless otherwise stated this is going to be a copy and paste job for all my reviews as its always an outstanding 5 stars. Information is well laid out and easy to access. I find that I don’t have to flip from this page to that too often as information is always at your finger tips for encounters or NPC / environment information. Stat blocks are clean and easy to read. This is an important feature for me and having such superb editing is a massive boon!


Caves and Caverns is one of those titles I purchased in PDF first and loved so much I had to have a Hardcopy to faun over and really cherish. It has added depth and scope to many of my favourite adversaries and villains in the campaign I am running in the underworld (under dark, ebon realm what ever you wish to call it). Deep below the lands of man are the dark caves and caverns. Ancient dungeons and demon realms. The lands of the Drow and Duergar. In particular I have used the Duergar and Drow variants (Drow; Scout, Slaver, Warrior, Captain, Noble Wizard, Cleric etc) to confront my dwarven PC’s in the campaign I am running. In particular I’m using in conjunction with GM Miscellany Dungeon Dressing and Scions of Evil.


But the book contains so much more content. The straight to hand descriptors for features that you will find in a cave are great. Their is a long list of encounters again well written and easy to use and to hand.


This book has some fantastic self contained encounters which offer the background of the encounter, how to increase or decrease the challenge depending on your party. Everything is on 1 or 2 pages and so no flipping to and from other books. You can print, read, make a few notes and a rich encounter is ready to go in about 15 minutes! I kid you not.


Delve deep, delve dark and feel confident as an under dark GM with this supplement at your disposal.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Caves & Caverns
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All That Glimmers
by Pierre H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/19/2015 12:53:37

I am going to cover very briefly layout and editing. Generally unless otherwise stated this is going to be a copy and paste job for all my reviews as its always an outstanding 5 stars. Information is well laid out and easy to access. I find that I don’t have to flip from this page to that too often as information is always at your finger tips for encounters or NPC / environment information. Stat blocks are clean and easy to read. This is an important feature for me and having such superb editing is a massive boon!


All that glimmers offers the mechanisms and tables in order to create customized treasures with tables for adding some really nice additional back ground information. For example I recently created a Spellbook treasure for the wizard in my party to find after a rather nasty encounter with a necromancers flesh golem. Here it is:


S P E L L BO O K L E V E L 7


Orc Skin, faded, The inside back cover has a small plate that reads “This book made from the enemy of Grodge the Mighty, unstoppable warrior, inescapable tracker and master taxidermist.” Blood stained and tattered pages which feel oily to the touch. Treant sap and orc bile ink.


Value: 2,000 gp


1st—alarm, protection from evil, grease, obscuring mist, charm
person, sleep, magic missile, colour spray, disguise self, silent
image, ray of enfeeblement, expeditious retreat, reduce
person


2nd—acid arrow, fog cloud, summon monster II, touch of idiocy,
shatter, invisibility, mirror image, ghoul touch, make whole,
rope trick


3rd—dispel magic, nondetection, sleet storm, stinking cloud,
suggestion, tiny hut, ray of exhaustion, slow


4th—dimensional anchor, black tentacles, confusion, enervation


What I really loved was that I could pick straight from a few tables the descriptors for a spellbook that meant I wasn’t just dishing out another dry recipe of spells that my wizard felt he had picked out of a notebook on the floor. The background, inks, paper and cover of the spell book where all derived from All that Glimmers.


All that Glimmers also contains ready made treasure hordes and many pages of bespoke magic items including some old favourites given a really fresh breathe of life whilst remaining traditional.


I highly recommend this book and give it top marks!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
All That Glimmers
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Scions of Evil
by Pierre H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/19/2015 12:32:03

I am going to cover very briefly layout and editing. Generally unless otherwise stated this is going to be a copy and paste job for all my reviews as its always an outstanding 5 stars. Information is well laid out and easy to access. I find that I don’t have to flip from this page to that too often as information is always at your finger tips for encounters or NPC / environment information. Stat blocks are clean and easy to read. This is an important feature for me and having such superb editing is a massive boon!


The nasty bastards. We love playing them and love throwing them in front of our players, but writing their stats can be tedious. I have used this book and with some minor customization used the evil guys in adventures and campaigns with minimum effort. This leaves me more time to focus on my story arcs and what the bad guys are going to do. Each bad guy has a background including sometimes retinues and plot hooks.


Players fear now, Raging Swan’s Scions of Evil come for you!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Scions of Evil
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Urban Dressing: Trade Town
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/18/2015 02:37:49

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of what I'd tentatively call the "new" Urban Dressing-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look!


The trade town is a trope that is used due to the vast potential inherent in the set-up - the merging of cultures and tropes that is the by-product of such a place ultimately provides a vast panorama of different options for GMs to explore. While unique, the result thus could be inspired, but also lose a distinct identity. With barrels that house hundreds of rats, non-voluntary offering boxes of temples, baying donkeys and town criers and street urchins, over all, we have a significant array of different sights and sounds in the 100-entry strong table.


The second table, with 50 entries, provides 50 businesses, from washer's guilds to preservative specialists and disease control, the businesses thankfully go quite a bit above and beyond what one would expect from the default of such towns, providing excellent fluff from slave blocks to traffic guides. The third table also provide 50 entries covering different folks that run the whole gamut of different alignments and professions -from good half-orcs to everyday evil and selfish persons to more pure or villainous characters.


Finally, this pdf also sports an array of hooks and complications - more of them than in the previous installment, with no less than 20 entries providing ample material for GMs to kick off modules, encounters and story-quests - why is the manically-laughing man throwing gold coins into a crowd of people? Is he mad or just emulating Egill Skallagrímsson? All up for you to decide! And yes, I urge anyone to read this classic!


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' 2-column b/w-standard and the artwork is thematically fitting b/w-stock. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and in two versions - one optimized for the printer and one optimized for screen-use.


Josh Vogt's reinvented Urban Dressing-series has become more or less a guarantee for exceedingly high-quality fluff, an inspiring array of options and ultimately, a fun series of supplements. Even in a pdf that suffers from a source-material with a hard-to-grasp identity, he captures the essentials and delivers a concise amount of dressing in the pages of this pdf - and yes, this IS a fun, versatile installment that achieves just that - well worth 5 stars + seal of approval!


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Urban Dressing: Trade Town
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Urban Dressing: Elven Town
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/03/2015 08:39:53

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of what I'd tentatively call the "new" Urban Dressing-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look!


So this time around, our trip through diverse towns brings us into a town of elves - where the sights and sounds, of which no less than 100 are provided - from mist that stubbornly refuses to yield to the encroaching rays of the sun to out-of-place snowless lakes to newborns ritualistically drinking the sap of trees, this provides an aptly mystical glance at the insides of elven culture.


A total of 50 different businesses, from animal-shelter-style menageries to courier-services that utilize the branches above for fast travel through the forests and crystalline wind-chimes, all provide a distinct and somewhat unearthly flair. Of course, these places would, on their own, remain pretty opaque - hence, we get a massive array of no less than 50 entries detailing short fluff-only entries of sample inhabitants, which, while in focus obviously elven, also sport a diverse array of characters not belonging to this ethnicity -from obviously xenophobic "newborns" to halflings with a nasty temper, the array of characters covers quite a broad spectrum from benevolent to malicious - have I mentioned the incognito vampire?


In case all of these entries do not spark your interest right from the bat, you can still count on the final table covering 12 hooks and complications, with elven funerals and warriors providing quite a bit of nice hooks to draw this in.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' 2-column b/w-standard and the artwork is thematically fitting b/w-stock. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and in two versions - one optimized for the printer and one optimized for screen-use.


Josh Vogt's Urban Dressing on elves could have been pretty much bland, but thankfully, that is not the case - much like the installment on dwarven towns, this provides inspired fluff galore to make your elven towns, no matter the precise look and feel for them you prefer in your games. This installment of Urban Dressing once again is a wonderful installment and well worth a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Urban Dressing: Elven Town
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Village Map: Marsh Village
by Jeremy Z. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/28/2015 06:11:01

This is nicely hand drawn, but the detail is even greater than the others from Raging Swan I own. Rather than the roofs being basically just an X, most the buildings have shingled roofs. The walk around town is made up of boards, the houses have doors and chimneys. Mr. Fayan is clearly the best of their cartographers.


Has both a hi=res jpg and tiff, but lacks a tagged version...



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Map: Marsh Village
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Village Map: Coastal Village
by Jeremy Z. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/28/2015 06:02:57

Now this is a good village map, both jpg and tiff at high resolution. As long as you are aware it's just a map and nothing else, it's very nice.


OTOH, there's no "tagged" version with numbers, but I'm used to that by now...



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Village Map: Coastal Village
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Town Map: Walled Town
by Jeremy Z. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/24/2015 04:09:42

I've bought a number of maps from Raging Swan. This is the first I've been disappointed with.


Firstly, it's not hand drawn, it's clearly computer generated. Maybe it was hand drawn with a computer program? But it's not the nice pencil drawings like their other maps. It's also a bit pixellated, I guess because the resolution is relatively low (1275 x 825) and it only comes as a jpg. Previous maps I've bought from them had a tiff version of 1800-2000 or so pixels.


Secondly, while the tagged version is indeed actually tagged with numbers (unlike some maps I've bought from them), it also has a giant "Wolfsbane Hollow" on the map, making it impossible to use for a town that isn't also named that. It's pretty easy to add numbers to a map, but it's hard to remove a giant name.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Town Map: Walled Town
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Publisher Reply:
I\'m sorry this map didn\'t work out for you, Jeremy. I\'d be happy to offer you a refund or another map in exchange for this map. You can contact me at gatekeeper [at] raging swan [dot] com. Thanks very much for your previous support!
Subterranean Enclave: Dilath's Hold
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/23/2015 03:13:51

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of Raging Swan Press' Subterranean Enclave-series clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!


As mentioned before, you can essentially consider this a pdf that depicts a settlement of the storied underdark, wherein the less than pleasant races roam. In this case, most people who come to the place do not want to be here. Why? Well, founded by an exiled drow noble, Dilath's Hold is not a nice place - it is a slave hub. That being said, the danger rate of 10 the village's statblock provides should net you a good idea that this is NOT a place to take shelter in. The marketplace's offerings do mirror the theme of the locale and, as always, we not only receive a beautiful pencil-drawn cartography, but also DCs of the village's lore and short notes on the nomenclature of the dominant cultures in the enclave, here that being drow and duergar.


It should be noted, though, that this is NOT simply a slaver's village with a hack filing off of the serial numbers - from houses of gigantic snail shells to labyrinths of caverns and webs, this place breathes the wonder that should, nay, must suffuse subterranean settlements. Have I mentioned the nasty druid (fully statted!) with an unhealthy obsession of experimentation with fungi etc.? Finally, as always, some rumors which may or may not be true and sample events add a certain amount of local color to the place.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to raging Swan Press' two-column b/w--standard, with superb cartography in b/w. As always, you can download player-friendly high-res maps via Raging Swan Press' patreon. The pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for screen-use and one optimized for the printer, with both being fully bookmarked.


Brian Wiborg Mønster's subterranean enclave could have very well been bland - when I read the premise of this one, I was less than excited about it - how many times have I seen the like? Well, I'm happy to report that, while I'm not 100% blown away by the concept, it is in the small details and power-dealings, in the unique sense of wonder conveyed, that this settlement manages to surpass what otherwise would have been a common premise and become something unique and worthwhile. Capturing the wonder of the underdark exceedingly well, the pdf does this component rather well. Then again, as a slaver's town, particularly as one so unique, I was missing the added spice - the unique drug used to ensure slave-compliance, the secret uprising in the making - some additional material would have definitely helped here. Now I am aware I am complaining at a very high level here, but still. In the end, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Subterranean Enclave: Dilath's Hold
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Retribution Collector's Edition
by Benjamin N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/22/2015 15:17:24

Having played through this adventure, I can say I enjoyed it thoroughly. I like how Raging Swan Press products are laid out and organized, with relevant information all co-located. Flipping back and forth is minimized, which saves a lot of time and preserves the flow of the unfolding events.


The encounters are meaningful and, most importantly, the story just makes sense. There is never the sense that it is a hackfest.


Every named NPC's backstory and personality is thoughtfully fleshed out, detailed and believable. As I conversed with and got to know everyone in the priory; they became alive and made me care. Well, some of them anyway. Granted, a good GM can extemporize but this module makes it easy for a even a beginner to bring the roleplaying to life.


And, in the end, the final confrontation made for intense session and the denouement brought it all to a satisfying conclusion.


Since then, we've started playing the other modules established in the free Lonely Coast setting and are having a lot of fun developing it and making it our own, but those are stories for another time (and review).



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Retribution Collector's Edition
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GM's Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing
by Ismael A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/20/2015 22:38:34

For full disclosure, I did receive a digital copy of this product, though I am contemplating buying a print copy, as it is quite good.


Now, I have already reviewed the "GM's Miscellany: Wilderness Dressing" product, and was quite impressed with that. I am equally impressed with this product, given that it is up to the same standards. I have not been able to pour through it, but I have the same glaring eye that most role players have towards grammar, and have yet to find an error. Moreover, this resource is packed to the gills with various resources that not only spruce up a dungeon, but keep players on their toes.


There are obvious dungeon staples such as trapped doors and diabolical devices that threaten to harm players. Of there there are plenty of top notch traps made to harry your players. But of further intrigue are the various tables to add devilish details to any dungeon. These details, or the dressing, beg the players, and perhaps even the game master to ask more questions. Why did someone leave macabre objects at the entrance to the dungeon? What does the dungeon's name mean?


These are all excellent hooks that may convince the players that there is added depth to the dungeon's purpose, and with some luck and a few percentile rolls, that will be true! I not only read through the book, but I was able to employ it in my current game, and it worked wonders! It really does do wonders for describing something more elaborate than a 20x20 ft stone room with no features, and in no time at all.


If I had one complaint about the book, it being a compilation and all, is that it did not somehow include a section on rooms. Granted, there were plenty of things that comprised rooms, ranging from floors, ceilings, altars, doors, archways, ceilings, captives, etc... but nothing to address a room unto itself. I understand that the point of the book is to add to a room through its component pieces. On the other hand, I would rather like a few tables for simple rooms that are themselves noteworthy not because of their walls or ceilings, but something that comprises the room itself. As an example, a room made of ice that refuses to melt, and so on. If Raging Swan were to do such a supplement, I think that I would be first in line for its purchase, especially given the quality of the product at hand.


Outside of the actual dressing, there are a number of impressive and useful tables and rules that do wonders for planning and running dungeons. Pre-generated treasure hoards are a life saver, and while such a thing is common on the internet, it is nice to have them included in this product. The riddles were amusing, and though I have yet to use any, I am eager to do so.


I also was very fond of the dungeon design section. Much of it was simply sound advice, though not as useful perhaps for veteran game masters. Despite that, I think all of the information on dungeon design and ecology were things that needed to be said, and not everyone is privy to the idea that a dungeon that makes sense is typically better than one that does not.


In closing, I was especially pleased by "GM's Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing". I heartily endorse it, and my only complaint is that I want more of it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
GM's Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing
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