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Post Apocalyptic Town: Scrapper's Bridge
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/25/2013 08:10:17

This handy resource presents a 'village' community who, in post-apocalyptic times, have settled down to make the most of what they can scavenge, creating a life for themselves amid the ashes of whatever catastrophe wrecked the 'old world' they used to live in.

Some things - like scrap metal - they have in abundance, as the settlement is built on the ruins of an industrial area. Food, however, is hard to come by, and hunting is using up precious gasoline! Their competent mechanics and tinkerers are glad to trade with passers-by, services or scrap for food and anything else they have to offer. They have limited power from some rather battered solar panels, and are experimenting with a more effective power plant.

Rather 'Mad Max' in flavour, this will be a useful settlement for your characters to visit as they explore your post-apocalyptic landscape - or they may even settle in here, perhaps (knowing your average player-character) trading their skills as defenders or explorers for a place to live.

Everything is concisely but well-detailed, there's a lot for you to draw on as you make Scrapper's Bridge an integral part of your alternate reality.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Post Apocalyptic Town: Scrapper's Bridge
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Common Criminals: Series 1
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/18/2013 00:01:28

This is the first installment in a series of modern NPCs in the criminal world. It's not based on any particular system, though there are some numerical ratings to help you express them in the system of your choice.

There are six of them: a prostitute, a drug user, a drug dealer, a courier, a drug lieutenant, and a counterfeiting fixer. Each of them has about a page of description. A few sentences on their background, their personality, and most importantly the style of their crimes.

It's an interesting product for many reasons. Let me break it down. Crime is a great element of RPGs - the transgression of social mores for money is essentially the oldest RPG story there is. NPC criminals, especially small time criminals, are always needed to feed the creation of these sorts of networks.

A product like this one is a really solid introductory starting point. This isn't needed if you're already extremely experienced in putting together criminal organizations, plots or characters. But if you're just getting started and need the basics, these are really solid, detailed characters. The stereotype of a particular criminal (truck stop prostitute, erratic drug user) can be daunting to move past. This product gives you a good framework for that.

Buy this if you're working on some modern criminal stuff in your game and you need to learn - or get a refresher on - the basics.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Common Criminals: Series 1
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Hamlet On A Page 07: Murderhole
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/12/2013 02:45:29

Another in this series of wonderful little settlements all ready to pop into your campaign world, Murderhole has an interesting history that's loose enough to enable you to put it somewhere suitable in whatever setting you are using yet fascinating enough that it will begin to come alive...

It started out like many such a settlement, growing prosperous in a good location with natural resources and a ready trade route. Only squabbling petty lordlings left it unguarded, and as they failed in their duty of care less salubrious folk moved in, and after a series of raids a bunch of bandits have actually based themselves there.

Perhaps your players will oust the bandits. Or join them. Or replace them. Or assume the responsibilty that previous rulers abandoned. Who knows? The adventures are up to you, but here is presented a suitable location in which they can take place.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hamlet On A Page 07: Murderhole
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100 Modern Happenings On A City Street
by Darryl J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/10/2013 13:02:37

This is a decent list of 100 random things that could be happening on a city street corner. As the header of the page says, this works in cyberpunk, urban modern, or any modern-ish city setting.

The list provides a nice starting event for an evening's adventure, some interesting background events, or possibly a hook for a side quest.

Every entry is a quick one or two sentence description of what's going on. And since it's merely a description, there no game system, so this works for everyone.

For only $1 this is a good purchase to add some descriptions to background activities.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
100 Modern Happenings On A City Street
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Hamlet On A Page 04: Merchant Crossing
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/07/2013 04:39:35

A world-builder's delight, yet another excellent settlement summed up in a single page and ready to be dropped in to your campaign world at a suitable location just in time for the characters to happen by.

This one describes a principally agrarian community, marked by a very strong work ethic. Nearly every resident not only farms the land but also does at least one other thing - practise a craft or offer a service of some kind. Hence the village is a prosperous one... which naturally makes it a target for bandits and other folk who would prefer to take rather than work for gain. Their relative prosperity also makes it a popular stop for travelling merchants.

There are interesting undercurrents that take this out of a banal hamlet to a 'real' place. The locals, whilst industrious, are rubbish at defending themselves. This is demonstrated by a note that they used to have a water mill but it was destroyed in a bandit raid... moreover, they have never got around to building a new one. Every time the topic comes up, it grinds to a halt in dispute over whether they ought to build a mill or a guard tower first! Town politics at it's worst... but it's remarks like that which make the whole place come to life.

Worth tucking away until the need arises.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hamlet On A Page 04: Merchant Crossing
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100 Names For Alien Characters and Their Meanings, Set 1
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/07/2013 03:00:02

It can be quite difficult to come up with a really 'alien' name - you want it to be different from anything found in the real world, yet it helps if it can be pronounced (and spelled!) by us Earthlings!

Here is an interesting attempt to provide a list of names complete with 'meanings' that you can use for alien NPCs (or characters, of course) when the need arises. In some ways it's good - the names sound plausible and it is easy to figure out how to say them. The 'meanings' fall down a bit, not that they are implausible meanings for names but that similar meanings are given to quite diverse names. You can account for this by saying (as may well be the case) that these are 'generic' alien names and do not come from the same alien race, hence no common linguistic roots... but it does rather jar to those of us who are interested in language and translation.

Good enough for the quick NPC who probably will only appear once, you might prefer something a bit more thought out for naming your whole alien race or even for a regularly-featured NPC or PC.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
100 Names For Alien Characters and Their Meanings, Set 1
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Hamlet On A Page: Anvil Hollow
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/06/2013 03:28:25

This is a particularly nice addition to Fishwife Games's series of 'instant settlements' which a GM can drop in to a suitable place on his campaign world when he needs a small township but has no time to prepare one of his own. Reading through the brief overview provided, it demonstrates a good understanding of the geographical and resource-based influences that are behind the location of any settlement.

Each settlement needs some kind of reason for why people have chosen to live there. In this case, it's mineral resources and the village has grown up around a profitable mine. Being in a forested area, local resouces include wood and game, and they keep sheep (hence some trade in wool) but other items have to be imported from elsewhere. These imports include some luxury goods as the miners are quite wealthy: the relative prosperity of the settlement means that it can support quite a few tradesmen and other businesses.

This is the kind of thinking that drives good world design, that makes the alternate reality of a campaign world come to life in the minds of those who play their games there. Perhaps a character comes from here, and craved more excitement than carving ore out of the earth so went adventuring. A remote prosperous township can be a target for bandits, so the whole party may be called upon to assist with defending it (although apparently they have quite a good militia of their own). The party may just be passing through... or you may have your own ideas about how to incorporate it into your adventures. Whatever, it's a 'real' sounding place that will be an asset to your world.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hamlet On A Page: Anvil Hollow
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Hamlet On A Page: Millburg
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/03/2013 11:28:11

This is just plain useful...

It is likely that the more civilised parts of your campaign world is dotted with insignificant (except to the people that live in them) settlements that, unless you are really obsessive about world creation and have a lot of free time, you have done little more than note their presence, if that.

And then of course those pesky characters ride in and want to look around. Frantic scrabble to come up with something that does not sound banal or hackneyed... so having a few pre-made village notes like this to hand means that you can give instant personality to a settlement, make it unlike any other. And if you are crafty in how you keep your notes, the players will never realise that this particular hamlet could be anywhere in the world until its location was fixed this minute!

Fitting into a single page, there is a clear plan and sufficient descriptive text to make the place sound real, for the time that they are passing through. That's all you need, but having it right there is quite a boon.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Hamlet On A Page: Millburg
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100 High Fantasy Treasures Worth 100 Gold Coins Each
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/02/2013 13:00:43

When creating treasure hoards, or even the contents of someone's bedroom chest, for your characters to loot it can be quite hard work to come up with something interesting. Stacks of coins and the odd gem may satisfy their desire for wealth, but it's not exciting and carries little story potential.

This product should get you going on both points. Interesting stuff, things of reasonably high intrisic value, but also with some air of significance or a story to tell. Roll your percentage dice or read down the list and pick appropriate items for the place where you intend to put them... or use it to spark your own ideas.

Then think of the story potenial. Take item # 29 (she says, rolling her bones). "Very rare brewer's book with 400 recipes for beers, ales, mead, and cider." Now, in one of my games there's a recurring NPC who is a former bandit, now reformed through the good offices of the characters and working as a brewer, a trade at which he shows a surprising talent. If I put this in the next hoard the characters find, they'll have a reason to go visit Sinon to give it to him. The journey - several days across the territory - could prove more adventurous than expected, or they may find something going on when they get there... moreover, it's added a little more realism into the game.

And I still have 99 more items to find a good use for... a neat little supplement to have to hand when laying my plots.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
100 High Fantasy Treasures Worth 100 Gold Coins Each
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Fantasy Playset: Sea Dog Cave
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/31/2013 02:38:57

Pirates are popular, right? And pirates need somewhere to live when not terrorising the high seas...

This neat generic resource provides a home for your pirates on a tropical island in a quite extensive cave system. Whether your characters are hot on their trail and wish to attack them, or are looking for a base themselves, there are plenty of details here to support their activities - all you need to do is find a suitable location in your campaign world and add the mechanics appropriate for your chosen game system.

You get a full-page map, quite colourful and clear, with a further couple of pages giving detailed descriptions of what is to be found in each location. It's well-appointed and organised with most of the needs of around a dozen inhabitants catered for - quite literally, the kitchen and mess hall area is nicely detailed, while although these pirates seem a grubby lot with no bathroom facilities they do at least have chamber pots in their sleeping quarters. Perhaps they wash in the sea and attend to other needs in the surrounding bushes?

Just who the current residents are, how they attracted the attention of your characters and the loot available are left up to you, otherwise this is a well-resourced location to slot in wherever your plotline requires pirates with a shore base.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fantasy Playset: Sea Dog Cave
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Instant Teams For That Violent Dystopian Age Pro-Sports League
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/14/2013 02:39:50

The premise is simple. Somewhere in the background of a near-future/SF game, you want to have a sporting league going on. Then the characters start getting interested, and you need to come up with team names...

The inspiration is something like the NFL (major American Football league, if you didn't happen to know, and the pattern for American Football teams wherever they are). Teams have a two-part name consisting of the city where they are based and something a little more descriptive. I support the Crewe Railroaders, for example. So here we have one table of descriptors - which are universally violent, Invaders or Wreckers for example - and another which is US cities. If your setting is other than the United States, you will have to substitute other location names from your own setting.

Then there's a neat feature, another table to roll on to select each team's colours. This will be useful for descriptive purposes, either of the game itself caught on a screen somewhere or perhaps there are hordes of fans wearing their team's colours. This could be important: characters might encounter hostility if they have the wrong colour scarf!

In a CyberSpace game I had a Rollerball league (remember the movie?) going on in the background, something like this would have been ideal for making the teams sound realistic. For that matter, you may even want to make it more central to your campaign: maybe one or more of the characters plays in the league, or used to do so... the characters may even be the core of a team, beloved by their fans and hated by those of the other teams. Plenty of scope, ideas spawning... and all from one page!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Instant Teams For That Violent Dystopian Age Pro-Sports League
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Publisher Reply:
Megan, Thank you for the extensive review, your comments were exactly in the nature of my goal with this simple one page product! The NFL, along with the NHL, were indeed the basic inspirations for this product. Another inspiration was Roller Derby, which tends to incorporate more aggressive team names such as the ones that I presented in this list. I was considering making the list of cities more international but ultimately decided to stick with U.S. cities instead. However, if there is enough interest in this product, I may create an International variant and/or a Europe version (I myself was thinking that a European equivalent would be rather neat). In addition to the above, I've also toyed around with a simple generator to make team member names. (Oh, and a definite nod of homage to Rollerball, btw. ;) )
Galaxy Forgotten [Space Theme Music]
by Uriah O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/31/2012 13:56:43

This music does a great jo setting a mood for a space campaign



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Galaxy Forgotten [Space Theme Music]
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Journey Down Carnival Street [Horror/Modern Crime/Police Theme Music]
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/01/2012 20:16:10

The first two minimalist minutes of this track didn’t bring a carnival (of either the county fair or Rio de Janeiro variety) to my mind. Instead, I pictured a tense scene with PCs trying to defuse a ticking time bomb. Later, the combination of what sounds like banjo- or guitar-picking in an almost bluegrass style with heavy doses of electronic “whining” gives the piece a kind of multiple personality disorder. Maybe composer Dave Woodrum meant for the “whines” to sound like trumpets, but they don’t; if they did, and if the banjos were louder, the piece might successfully evoke a bayou parade. If that’s what Woodrum wanted to achieve, the plan didn’t quite survive contact with his orchestration software. Better instrumentation, or better output results, would improve the track significantly.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Journey Down Carnival Street [Horror/Modern Crime/Police Theme Music]
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Sonic Stock: Raining (Royalty Free Music)
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/01/2012 20:06:16

This track kicks off very nicely with solid percussion and ethereal instrumentals, but soon slides into some tinny synth that sounds like it’s maybe supposed to be flute or clarinet, but it’s a little hard on the ears. This alternation continues throughout the piece, combining some great background music with some that’s just a little too piercing. The results, then, are quite mixed. (Also, filling the album field in the ID3 tags with “No alubm - Royalty Free Music,” complete with the misspelling of “album,” inconsistent capitalization, and missing hyphen between “royalty” and “free” annoys those of us who are fastidious about organizing our music libraries.) By the way, I wouldn’t have thought of rain at all if not for the title of the piece. I would have associated this piece with an investigative scene where the PCs aren’t necessarily in immediatedanger, but they could be if they make the wrong turn. I presume that the rather high price tag derives from the perpetual royalty-free license.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Sonic Stock: Raining (Royalty Free Music)
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Sonic Stock: Foxy (Royalty Free Music)
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/01/2012 19:16:36

In almost every way, “Foxy” is one of Dave Woodrum’s best musical offerings to date (September 1, 2012). The composition, orchestration (heavy on strings, winds, and indistinct vocals), and (digital) performance combine very nicely here to evoke a sense of mystery and danger—perhaps not immediate danger, but it’s lurking out there somewhere. This track loops fairly well; if you’re into your game, you won’t even notice. Fishwife would have done better to put “Sonic Stock” in the album field of the ID3 tags rather than the (currently overloaded) title field, but other than that, there’s pretty much no negative to this piece except for the rather high price. I presume the $5 pricetag reflects the perpetual royalty-free license that accrues when you buy the track, since the track isn’t especially lengthy.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Sonic Stock: Foxy (Royalty Free Music)
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