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Publisher's Choice - Basic Racial Portraits (Fantasy Males)
by Matthew B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/26/2016 16:51:09

I used 3 of 5 of these in my first commercial adventure and they fit PERFECTLY. The other two will appear in adventure #2!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher's Choice - Basic Racial Portraits (Fantasy Males)
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Publisher's Choice - Fantasy Cast & Crew: Male Dwarves
by Matthew B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/26/2016 16:50:14

Exceptional near photo-real illustrations of three dwarves. ALL 3 are excellent!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher's Choice - Fantasy Cast & Crew: Male Dwarves
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Publisher's Choice - Fantasy Design ( Interior Backgrounds #2)
by Matthew B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/26/2016 16:49:23

As a pro designer with 24+ years of pro experience, these backgrounds? You canNOT do any better. trust me, buddy..



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher's Choice - Fantasy Design ( Interior Backgrounds #2)
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Publisher's Choice - Classic Adventure Covers (Multi-Colored Modules)
by Matthew B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/26/2016 16:48:29

Awesome assortment of “old school” module covers. Great for private use and a good, solid basis for your own commercial uses!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher's Choice - Classic Adventure Covers (Multi-Colored Modules)
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Standard Stock Art: Issue 8 - Assorted Items, Vol. 1
by Matthew B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/26/2016 16:47:13

Imaginitive collection of rare and odd items! Very cool. Idea-inspiring!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Standard Stock Art: Issue 8 - Assorted Items, Vol. 1
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Standard Stock Art: Goblin Mega-Pack
by Matthew B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/26/2016 16:46:20

This pack is SUPER HUMAN! You could not get a better art pack anywwhere!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Standard Stock Art: Goblin Mega-Pack
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Publisher's Choice - Basic Creature Figures (Humanoid Rats)
by Matthew B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/26/2016 16:45:36

Ideal three-pack to/for a future adventure I am creating.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher's Choice - Basic Creature Figures (Humanoid Rats)
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Fat Goblin Travel Guide to Epiphany's Wayside Inn
by Matthew B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/26/2016 16:44:54

Excellent insight on how to completely create (and use, play with) a Tavern adventure!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fat Goblin Travel Guide to Epiphany's Wayside Inn
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Publisher's Choice - 15 Hammers, Axes, Maces
by Matthew B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/26/2016 16:43:58

An exceptional collection of quality art to “fill” the pages of your adventures! great value!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher's Choice - 15 Hammers, Axes, Maces
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Publisher's Choice - Basic Fantasy Classes (Barbarian)
by Matthew B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/26/2016 16:43:03

This character was Perfect for one of my NPC gladiators!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher's Choice - Basic Fantasy Classes (Barbarian)
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Call to Arms: The Magic Satchel
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/25/2016 02:45:39

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of the Call to Arms-series clocks in at 16 pages, 1 page front cover/editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 14 pages of content, so what do we get?


Well, first of all, we begin, as always, with a bit of flavor-text and the history of the "bigger on the inside" idea that has accompanied mankind from Santa Claus to Doctor Who - and it shows awareness of a possible reason for the initial introduction of the classic bag of holding into the context of the games we know and love.


I feel obliged to go on a little digression: As you may have noticed, I can be a bit of a stickler for encumbrance, carrying capacity etc. - it just helps my immersion in a given game and I am very much what you'd call a simulationalist GM. I want to know where the weapons etc. are. The problem here, is, alas, that tracking a ton of items can become tedious and time-consuming...but ignoring packing, carrying capacity etc. them altogether (like many a game I witnessed do) rubs me the wrong way. Similarly, I have spent literally whole sessions of players just buying equipment for a massive wilderness trek, haggling with the merchants and the like - and I enjoy sessions like that...most of the time. Sometimes, I just wished the system had a means for characters to be "crazy prepared" and just draw an item from the pack...within reason. Unfortunately, most of the time, takes on the crazy-prepared mechanic simply don't work as smooth as they should. This pdf approaches this conundrum by introducing the practical pack mechanic.


The mechanic itself is dead simple: There is a chance a character has stored an item away in the practical pack, assuming the item is under a set weight and cost. Determining whether the item is stored inside is handled via an associated skill-check (or Int/Wis, if you have no ranks in the associated skill) - characters with ranks in Climb are more likely to have packed tools for climbing, for example. Now thankfully, the pdf does not leave you alone to associate skills with items: A massive table does that work for you and should you desire to extend the mechanic from the mundane and masterwork items to e.g. weapons and armor, you'll find some guidance herein as well.


Such practical packs are usually containers of some sort - and from the bandolier to saddlebags, a lot of different sample containers (including volume information) allow for more precise takes on what can potentially fit in such a container - an no, as written, specific keys to locks could not be duplicated, though lockpicks could - which is nice in my book. How does filling the pack work? Well, you determine a value and go shopping. When you draw an item ex nihilo from the pack, the item's price is detracted from the value used in shopping - unlike quite a few "crazy prepared"-takes, no chance of suddenly drawing forth odd items when finding treasure. No single object in the pack can weigh more than 1/4 of the weight of the pack and total weight cannot exceed the weight of the pack, so cheating encumbrance via these can't be done efficiently either.


How to draw items from it? Well, the skill-check is a simple DC 10 + cost in gold of the world. Less than 10 Copper means DC 10, silver is rounded up to 1 gp. Common items reduce the DC by 5; uncommon items increase base DC to 15, rare ones to DC 20. You also reduce the base DC for each factor of 10 the item is less than the value of the bag. As an example: A 40 gp alchemist's kit would be DC 50, but if the practical pack has been filled with 400 gp or more, you'd calculate 40 gp/400 gp, arriving at a DC of 14. If the value of the pack were 4K gp, you'd instead arrive at a DC of 11 - 10 base, +1 for a value exceeding 1 sp. If this sounds complicated to you at first - it really isn't; in fact, in practice, it can be done fluidly on the fly. If you botch the skill by 5 or less, a GM may allow you to draw forth a substitute, adding in degrees of success/failure - a design-notion I really enjoy!


If you require multiple items of a type and wouldn't usually carry multiples, the pdf has you covered as well, providing concise rules for that as well. Some items, like flint, a non-combat knife and similar tools are codified as always available and rechecking for similar items is also possible.


Very important: If you're one of the GMs or players who hates minutiae like this - the pdf does offer a simplified version of this system as well. They are based on bag quality (4 steps) and fit comfortable on half a page, covering all bases. Now this is accounting for table variance!


Okay, so this is where things get even more interesting: Rather than rehashing the ole' bag of holding rules, the pdf continues to develop the aforementioned rules and applies them to magic bags: There are, for example, mercane bags: You drop items in for the mercane to sell, but may, yourself, request magic items from the mercane by putting your hand inside...and yes, this easy reselling of loot is thankfully balanced via market value modifications. Two particularly nasty cursed satchels are provided as well - the bag of devouring that tries to eat you and your items...and there is a bag into which you can throw items...only to get worthless junk back.


Really fun: The evil, demonic and intelligent chomper, a devouring bag that not only is malevolent, you can swing it at foes to bite them. Cool visuals! The helpful steward of the bag is intelligent as well and could be visualized as a bag of holding with an integrated butler that lists all objects inside. The mythic bag of needful things takes a bow before one of Mr. King's better books and can generate objects. Finally, the artifact of this installment of Call to Arms would be the doorknocker to a private sanctum - basically a doorknocker you can affix to any door, open it, and enter your very own private demiplane...which can btw. be altered, in case you were wondering.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no grievous glitches. Layout adheres to Fat Goblin Games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports nice artworks in full color by Rick Hershey. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Lucus Palosaari's magic satchels...are BRILLIANT. I'm not even going to try to slowly lead into this. Magic Satchels as envisioned here are exactly what I always wanted - this book pretty much looks and feels almost like it was written for me. This streamlines the extensive shopping trips and planning required in simulationalist gameplay without sacrificing the need for planning in advance; this provides almost the ease of GM-handwaving encumbrance and actually creates suspense: The cheers when players draw forth the third stake they needed on a hard skill-check...is glorious and adds actually a fun, novel component to the gameplay...and all without falling into the innumerable pits and traps this type of design sports: From weight to scarcity to even a simpler system, this book covers ALL basics in its deceptively few pages.


The page-count may not sound impressive...but if you're like me, you'll celebrate this system for its grace and elegance, for its innovation and seamless integration in gameplay as well as for speeding up the game sans losing the threat and excitement of e.g. prolonged wilderness trips. Oh, and the simple alternate system is great for less detail-oriented games, providing supreme support for different table types.


This is a truly brilliant little pdf that will feature in each and every one of my campaigns from now on. I adore this book. Its final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval and it receives EZG Essential status: If you love your details, but want an truly elegant way of speeding things up sans breaking your game, get this!


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Call to Arms: The Magic Satchel
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Standard Stock Art: Issue 4 - 20th Century
by Alain V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/15/2016 20:39:31

What this stock package lacks is a decent preview of the arts inside. I thought they would be acceptable enough to illustrate some modern arcana material I was working on, but all arts feel like high contrast paste-ups in black and white. One of the arts that made me feel bad about buying the pack features three priests practicing magic. One of them has a right hand in his left arm. They're not bad, just highly specific and may not be a good fit for many projects within those guidelines. For the quantity of arts available, it worths the price.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Standard Stock Art: Issue 4 - 20th Century
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Call to Arms: Bracers of Armor
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/15/2016 06:22:27

An ENdzeitgeist.com review


This installment of the Call to Arms-series clocks in at 15 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 3/4 page blank, leaving us with 12 1/4 pages of content, so let's take a look!


We begin this smaller installment of the Call to Arms-series with a brief summary of bracers versus vambraces in the context of both reality and the game system, including a brief history of bracers in game. The pdf then goes on to provide a new mundane item, the archery bracers, which make sense from a simulationalist position - seeing how the bowstring may hit the unprotected string, lack of bracers can be translated to a penalty to subsequent attack. This btw. also makes for a nice balance-tweak regarding the power of ranged bow characters. The second item would be armored vambraces, which defines them and acknowledges that they're already part of most armor.


As far as magical bracers are considered, the bracers come in steps from +1 to +8, allowing for significant protection, while also sporting concise rules to prevent abuse via low-cost additions. While I get the intention of why the bonus scales to +8, at the same point, I do believe the usual +5 cap for the pure bonus, with exceeding power requiring the addition of special qualities, should apply to the bracers to retain system-consistency, in spite of the restricted list of special qualities. On the other hand, I get the intent of scaling up to +8...it's a difficult decision there, one that ultimately boils down to personal taste and design-aesthetics - whether you value system-consistency or balanced defense options for agile characters more. EDIT: Since one of my readers commented on this, let me apologize for not being clearer here: Yes, I am aware that the default rules sport exactly the bonuses from +1 to +8 and that this is basically a reprint. I consider this component one of the slightly more awkward choices of the base system. My intention here was to highlight this inconsistency of the rules, but not bash this book for it, which is why I wrote that this ultimately boils down to personal taste and design aesthetics - both of which do mean that they do not factor into the final verdict. Thanks to Sayt for pointing out that this needed some further elaboration!


The pdf hereafter goes on to present 15 specific magic bracers of armor, though most of these come in a variety of different power - between +1 and +8 equivalent. There are bracers with visible force-fields that help intimidation...and then, the bracers become more interesting: Bracers of the Deep Sea help against Deep Sea pressure in addition to their magic protection, while chainmail bracers duplicate...well, the effects of chainmail. There are a couple of these type of bracers herein. Comfortable bracers add endure elements and demi-gauntlets work in conjunction with gloves and there also is a samurai-themed variety of the bracers of the armored knight.


Wrist-slot bracers scale up to +5 and are more interesting, providing DR versus ranged attacks as well as providing a swift action 1/day true strike. Another vambrace allows for the 1/round reduction of off-hand penalties and there also is one that upgrades the protection judgment as well as two linked pairs of vambraces that allows for the transfer of damage from one pair to the other, at the expense of temporarily decreasing bonuses. There is also a pair of vambraces that 1/day allows the wearer to deflect missiles. Two nasty cursed bracers can also be found herein and "The Shield and The Sword" are eternally quibbling bracers, sporting an inverted defending benefit, while the sword's ego thirsts for attacks, for retribution, tied to the armor-bonus conversion. Intriguing!


The pdf also provides two mythic bracers, the first of which are paired and allow for short-range teleportation, which thereafter sends the wearer back to his or her square. The second pair increases armor bonus by tier for the expenditure of mythic power and you may extend this bonus to other creatures as a standard action instead of as the item's usual swift action activation. The pdf concludes with a powerful defensive artifact.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Fat Goblin Games' nice two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports nice full color artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Lucus Palosaari's bracers are a briefer CtA-installment and they manage to begin with interesting ideas, the optional rules for archer-bracers, e.g., making for a cool rules-addition for low fantasy. That being said...and as much as I'm loathe to say it...this installment, is comparatively uninspired. Sure, the bracers duplicating different armors make sense...and yes, I like the fluff-change of bracers - but when compared to e.g. the fireworks book, the options provided herein simply...aren't as evocative, as unique. In fact, the magic armor-bracers may have great fluff, but rules-wise, they are not that intriguing. Now granted, this is an inexpensive book compared to the last huge CtA-installments...but ultimately, it also feels like it doesn't reach even half as far. In the intelligent item, one can see a bit of the playful precision with which he usually puts out those unique concepts and stitches holes in the rules...but apart from them, this pdf felt like a solid one...but one, which, in direct comparison to e.g. the firework book, fell flat of its own premise.


Particularly in such a short book, armor-duplicates could have used unique additional benefits each; reskins could have used modification and diverging rules. This is not a bad pdf, far from it...but it falls short of the usual brilliance the series has continued to build on. You won't be disappointed by this book, but neither will you be blown away - hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for a solid, if not perfect installment of the series. If you're new to Call to Arms, I'd rather recommend the book on fireworks or torches and flames (or the glorious one on ropes!) to properly depict what the series can offer.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Call to Arms: Bracers of Armor
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Madame Mombi's Forbidden Tomes
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/14/2016 22:25:26

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product for the purpose of writing this review.


Also, I love me some creepy books. Seriously - I've got a huge soft spot for anything even vaguely Lovecraftian, and I've even thrown the occasional grimoire into my campaigns somewhere. This is an 8-page product, with six pages of content, a cover, and as always, the OGL. Inside are ten spellbooks (most useful for prepared arcane casters, obviously), each with a different selection of spells. They range from the cheap and simple (The Baseborn Baron) to the genuinely powerful (The Hypostatical Golden Fragments), and most of the books in question have preparation rituals that give some interesting bonuses. They also have physical descriptions for flavor, as well as brief histories that can be used to properly integrate them into the setting.


Note that most of the books are dangerous, and can cause sanity loss among characters - they're best used with those mechanics in play, and their examination periods mean characters will need to spend time studying their blasphemous contents in order to make use of them. All in all, I like it - these are easy enough to drop into any campaign setting, and they're just creepy enough to serve as plot hooks for your next adventure. I saw no meaningful errors and everything looks to be in order, so full marks overall.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Madame Mombi's Forbidden Tomes
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Fat Goblin Travel Guide To Hell
by James E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/14/2016 22:15:36

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product for the purpose of writing this review.


The Traveler’s Guide to Hell is a setting book for the Vathak campaign setting (a world produced by Fat Goblin Games). It can be adapted for use in other settings, but was not specifically made for them. However, many character options ARE system-neutral, and the rest can be adapted with minimal trouble - and let's face it, anyone using this book in the first place probably isn't going to be bothered by that sort of thing. XD


Now, this is a 58-page product, most of which is content. After a brief explanation of how this product integrates with the Shadows Over Vathak campaign, we get started with some prose, then an in-depth explanation of how this particular version of Hell fits into its local cosmology. In this case, Hell is not a separate plane, but is literally a place in the core of the planet, a sort of mini-planet in its own right. Details on reaching it are also provided, as well as a description of its geography, and the regions (not layers) of Hell.


The realms of this Hell are Cocior (Treachery), Belecor (Avarice), Koridai (Hubris), Gibrar (Gluttony), Ahjra (Violence), Neir (Despair), and Dis (Apostasy). Each has at least half a page (one column) of description, and this section is followed by the various features of Hell. So you've got your oceans of blood, devil-making Flesh Pits, and giant floating eyeballs that keep an eye on things. Creepy, and good plot material - I'm already coming up with ways of using these in games.


Next up is the hierarchy of Hell, including its rulers (Ashmedai, the lord, and his six Archdukes, all of whom get at least a full page of description) and major figures. Hell is noted as having a great many Knights of Hell, which are functionally demigod-level entities. Three Knights - Amon the Wrathful, Neberius the False, and Berith the Transmuter - are introduced in the book, and are suggested as candidates for a campaign's final battle.


Now, all of this is useful for GMs, but of minimal impact on players unless they're in a VERY Hell-centric game. The next chapter opens up player options a bit by providing the Tools of Hell. This includes materials like Black Iron (makes things denser, so bludgeoning weapons act a size larger, armor is better, etc.), several unique magic items (three relatively low-priced ones, and two very high-level ones, including a 24th CL shield), feats (cool runic scars, devilish familiars, etc.), and quite a few pages of Hellish spells. This is a pretty good way of adding some real flavor to a campaign, whether it's letting Wizards find some of these awful rituals, NPCs using them, or whatever would work for your setting. These are mostly system-neutral, too, so they can be used by pretty much anyone.


The fourth chapter of the book covers the Classes of Hell - although that's a bit of a misnomer. It's really more of a singular class (a prestige class, the Blood Knight), as well as ten archetypes and a Sorcerer bloodline. There are some interesting things here - for example, the Armiger is a Summoner that replaces their Eidolon with a powerful buff-granting banner (later several banners). That's probably the biggest change in the lot, although all of the options (from the Magus' Fiendlash, a Whip/Hellfire-using character, to the Tongue of Sin, an evil bard) are relatively interesting overall. There's a lot of flavor here, and I always enjoy seeing that in Archetypes.


The Blood Knight is a 10-level Prestige Class, requiring BAB +5, Power Attack, Toughness, Diehard or Ferocity, and 1st level Divine Spells. They gain +7 levels of spell progression, and have full BAB and Fortitude, and partial Reflex and Will. Its main class feature is Blood Strike, which costs HP per-attack but adds damage and Strength bonuses. Blood Knights eventually gain fast healing whenever they're below half health (although not enough to offset how much they might spend), as well as bonus health overall. This is a very risky class, and best used by people who know exactly what they're doing. XD


Overall, I like this product. The fluff is only applicable to some campaign worlds - namely those taking place in the Vathak Campaign Setting - but truthfully, most of the book consists of options that can be used in any game world. It's worth taking a look at if you're running an evil campaign, or want to create some memorably unique NPCs for your players to fight against. PCs will definitely want to get GM permission before asking to draw from this.


Layout is the standard two-column format for all but the prose, and the work has a number of full-color artworks in it. There's some minor nudity here (the art's mostly in a sort of classic Renaissance style - nothing grossly offensive, but nothing I'd give to a kid, either, and actually of much higher quality than I expected to see). This book isn't for everyone, but if your group is going to have a lot of dealings with Hell, it's worth looking through.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fat Goblin Travel Guide To Hell
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