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100 Alien Flea Market Goods
by John C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/25/2010 17:05:13

Dreadfully poor value for money, even at the price.

I expected a fairly thin piece of work (at the price, naturally it would be), but I expected at least some meat on the bones for the 100 items - a one sentence description, perhaps a few broken down categories. This really is just a list of 100 vague descriptions of items - such as "Antiques/Collectables" - and for a busy GM trying to run a game, that's absolutely no help at all.

For something purporting to be an Alien Flea Market, there's nothing in it which feels alien.

I just feel cheated - out of a trivial amount of money, granted, but even for free I'd feel somewhat taken aback that someone thought this worth sharing.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
100 Alien Flea Market Goods
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Fantasy Hero Classes: The Wrestler
by Dustin W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/03/2010 23:49:17

Overall, this PC class for the d20 Fantasy system really isn't all that bad--a little basic, perhaps, but at least I can see where author David Woodrum was going. To summarize, the Wrestler is a stronger, more durable, more specialized version of the default OGL Monk with a Class Initiative Bonus at every odd level after 1st (and at 20th level), a Bonus Feat at every even level, and proficiency with only simple melee weapons and light armor. However, I think this class would have been more useful if Woodrum had gone into detail and listed which feats were available to the Wrestler as Bonus Feats as well as introduce fitting original Bonus Feats for him/her. Off the top of my head, Submission Master, Death From Above/Aerial Assault, Cheap Shot, Hard Knocks, and Shake It Off all seem like plausible candidates. Secondly, how about Signature Move and Finisher as class features to make the class look less generic? Also, the Unarmed Damage for large wrestlers seems a wee bit overpowered in comparison to medium and small wrestlers, especially considering how much stronger large-sized PCs are in comparison. I also would have liked to see a moves list and a Maneuver Performance System similar to the fighting system presented in Wizards of the Coast's own Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine Swords.

All in all, Fantasy Hero Classes: The Wrestler isn't a bad PDF at all, although the PC class it features could have been fleshed out more.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Fantasy Hero Classes: The Wrestler
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TFG Stupid Fantasy Laws Bundle 1 [BUNDLE]
by R J C S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/06/2010 20:55:53

I have to say that, at the price they were offered for (because of a GM Day special, the bundle cost only $4.25, instead of the regular $6.20 price tag), these small references are a decent source of ideas for plot twists meant to get unsuspecting characters into serious trouble.

The material itself is interesting, despite the numerous errors (spelling, grammar, irritating expressions like “quite certainly perhaps”…), and the “Probable Cause” sections are actually quite useful. Our little group likes to get into discussions about the plausibility of some of the events thrown into a game, and we like such details. A line or two after each law to indicate whether it is actually on the books of some poor misguided town or county would have been even nicer.

The presentation, on the other hand, would have to go up a notch or two to qualify as poor. The cover looks like a bad attempts at recreating a psychedelic poster from the 70’s, while inside, there is no format to make the text pleasant to peruse. Just check out what you want, and get back to something more interesting.

By Vol. 7, the cover has evolved into something a tad more attractive, even though it does look like something from the earliest days of RPG’s; by Vol. 8, it actually looks more professional, and some decent attempt is made to give the text itself a more appealing format, something which is eventually managed in Vol. 9, which even includes a few stock images. (Unfortunately, neither of these two last volumes are included in the bundle, an odd oversight at the very least.) But all in all, this is a visually unappealing product line.

We have simply decided we will strip the texts out of the various pdf files, combine them into a single document, and give the results a more appropriate presentation. Should take us all of an hour, at the most, time we would have liked to see the author himself invest.

All in all, a decent buy, considering the sale prise, but not an incredible one.

What we liked:

Contents: Imaginative and useful. Inclusion of a Probable Cause section a very nice detail.

What we disliked:

Presentation: Absolutely amateurish. Writing: The author's taking a few minutes after writing to polish some sections or even to check the spelling and punctuation would have been nice.

Overall value: Worth the on-sale price, at most. Definitely not worth the full price.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
TFG Stupid Fantasy Laws Bundle 1 [BUNDLE]
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100 Crate And Barrel Contents
by crayon t. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/06/2010 20:08:33

Simple quick reference to add flavour to your game.

GOOD: Cheap, simple. Easy to use.

BAD: I bought this on special. I don't think it is worth $1. Not because of the quality but because it is a simple list. If there was a brief description of the barrel contents that could be read to the players, this product would be a bargain.

OVERALL: I would recommend the product. Even though I would have liked more detail, at $1 it is not over pricey.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
100 Crate And Barrel Contents
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City Guide: Coffer of Coins
by Aaron A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/20/2009 14:00:01

Coffer of Coins reminds me of the excellent Citybook series put out years ago by Buffalo Games. It details 13 shops that would credibly populate a district of jewelers, lapidaries and metalworkers in a large city with sufficient notes on merchandise and employees to run the place, and adventure plot hooks if the players get more deeply involved. I find this format useful since it’s a manageable slice of information to help avoid making an urban shopping excursion feel generic, yet has enough information that if anything clicks for the players you can instantly add dimension to the encounter for that first game session giving the DM time between sessions to flesh things out even more fully once the players are interested.

The aspect I especially like may not be everyone’s cuppa, but the majority of shops not only have unique items and services not described in the player’s handbook (or not fully fleshed out), but this product usually offers rules not just for creating those items but a means of integrating them into the character’s repertoire. As a minor case in point, the Player’s Handbook gives pricing for silvered weapons, but if a player wanted to make one themselves there are no specific rules for that. In this product visitors of the Smithing Guild can take classes in it, which includes painting, gilding and leafing (none of which are mentioned in the official guides). It’s not an overwhelming dissertation on silvering, but it suddenly becomes an element of the campaign more or less at the players’ discretion if it clicks for them when visiting the shop.

I have mixed feelings about the presentation. I give major kudos for the inclusion of an index, so I’m willing to overlook the funky chapter heading fonts and text box borders that sometimes look like they were printed off a dot-matrix printer from the early eighties, or the occasional border or drop-shadow that crowds or overlaps text. I also have a personal dislike of ‘flavor text’, so I was briefly put-off by the fact that the first 3 ½ pages are nothing but flavor text. To me those are niggling concerns when the overall product is legible, relatively error-free, and chock-a-block full of ideas I can (and WANT) to introduce to my campaign. Buffalo Games’ Citybooks cost a lot more than this product (and those were ten and twenty years ago!), so in my books this is a bargain at $6.95, but on sale it’s an absolute steal!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
City Guide: Coffer of Coins
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Interesting Interactions: Zombies
by Will W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/01/2009 14:38:11

This is not an earth shattering product, it will not change your life or the way you game. It is however just a touch over a buck and has some very amusing ways to add some spice to a potentially very tired and played out monster.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Interesting Interactions: Zombies
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100 Temperate Forest Plants
by Steffen S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/01/2009 11:16:10

Liked: the modest price disliked: the unhelpfullness of the final product

Explanation:

A rough description of what the plants look like, or perhaps just the most common use for it, would have been nice. Then I might actually have been able to use more than 1:5 of the names on this list. As it is, I doubt it shall prove any real help at all.

But my main complaint is that most of the plants are native only to North America. If your campaign is taking place in a strict fantasy realm, and you and your players are all american, that shouldn't matter, perhaps it'll even be an advantage, since you might then might all know what bergamot is, without having to look it up first. That may be.

For europeans such as myself, that means this list isn't much good, though.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
100 Temperate Forest Plants
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Trollops Of Destiny
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/18/2009 11:00:20

This supplement is for any fantasy RPG. In 9 pages, it details 7 female NPCs. It goes into their histories, motivations, and gives a few adventure hooks for each, as well as romantic and/or sexual encounters that might be had with each of them. Since it is not RPG-specific, there are no statistics provided, though there are excellent guidelines for how the GM should assign statistics in the needed system.

Don't let the cover fool you, not all of these women are either wanton or wicked. Some are quite nice. Others are just a bit forceful in getting what they want. One is truly deranged, and another is flat evil.

What all of these women are lacking, however, is some kind of drive or desire that would make them real characters. When reading through the descriptions, I was struck with a simple idea: "So what?" Take the kindly beggar woman. Her description is interesting: she is quite charismatic and attractive, and able to use those skills to obtain money. She shares the money she obtains with other beggars at least in part because this keeps them around so that her flirtatious panhandling doesn't devolve into an assault. Well and good. But I am not sure what this adds to my story. Does she have a sinister admirer who is going to take decisive action which the heroic PCs must stop? Does she have a dream of living above her station that she intends to achieve by trickery and seduction? When I come to the end of her description, I don't really know what force she introduces into my story. She's interesting but not really worth spending time on without some drive.

In general, this is a problem for most of the women. Some don't have any adventure hooks at all, and of the adventure hooks presented, most have to do with something happening to the woman rather than the woman taking action of her own volition. It would be hard for me to concoct a true "destiny" for them without any idea of where they're trying to go, for good or ill.

Still, for nine pages, the price is right, and the guidelines on coming up with statistics for the system I want to use are very detailed and effective.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Trollops Of Destiny
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Pandora Initiative
by Jim C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/01/2009 08:36:01

Not a great deal to this, but it's an interesting idea for an early incident in a conspiracy or thriller campaign and does the job with good technical accuracy. Some detailed NPCs might be handy to have on their own. I think I'd want to change the name of Dr. Samantha Cartier.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Pandora Initiative
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Clothing Bits: Cloth and Dyes
by JK R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/27/2009 09:52:48

This is another of those books for players and GMs that like a lot of detail in their campaign worlds, focussing on a little thought about aspect of such worlds: cloth and dyes.

The items in the book are divided into three categories. First are exotic cloths, which have no rules benefit attached to them, but which serve to add flavour to the setting. All of these make perfect sense as something that could exist in any D&D world, and are portrayed in a suitably generic way, making them easy to import. A table summarising the costs of these cloths would have been helpful, but the information is there in the text for most (if not all) of them.

Secondly are magical cloths, which can be used to create clothing that grants the wearer some sort of bonus. Mostly these are protective bonuses, and generally quite low level at that, but that makes sense, and at least there is nothing overpowered. There is a table of prices in this section, along with the usual construction stats for magic items. An oddity though, is Spark Cloth, which has by far the longest description of any item in the book, including a whole page of introductory story. Well, OK, although I could have done without the story… but why is this is the only item in the book to have no stats? What, exactly, in rules terms, does it do? This seems a surprising omission, especially given the prominence this particular cloth is given.

Finally come the dyes; alchemical preparations that, in addition to imparting colour to a cloth also grant some sort of magical bonus. Like the magical cloths, most of these seem perfectly plausible for a standard D&D setting (though I’m unconvinced by the nymph blood dye), and they are well described and not over-powered. Again, there is a table summarising the prices.

All in all a good product for what it sets out to do, at a reasonable price. A few minor omissions prevent me giving it a 5/5, but it’s a good, solid entry in this niche corner of the market.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Clothing Bits: Cloth and Dyes
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Clothing Bits: Footwear
by JK R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/26/2009 11:28:31

This is, as the title suggests, a booklet describing different kinds of footwear for use in a fantasy setting. It divides them into four categories, in order of increasing rarity.

First are items of “mundane” footwear. This is a surprisingly broad list of different items from varying human and non-human cultures, all of which are well described. Next come “special” items, which are those used for a specialist purpose (such as snow-shoes), and most of which provide some sort of circumstance bonus for particular tasks. On the whole, these seem quite sensible, and, again, there’s a good range.

Third are the magic items. Most of these are perfectly reasonable, not overpowered, and associated, logically enough, with movement in some way or another. The Moccasins of Berserking seem rather strange, though. If you were going to make an item to make the wearer berserk, why choose his footwear (rather than, say, an amulet or weapon)? Are they especially uncomfortable or something? It’s not ridiculous, but it does seem fairly random.

Finally, there are the “unique” items. These are, perhaps surprisingly, not magical, but items with a distinctive appearance and some sort of special historical significance.

The main question you are left with, however, is what the purpose of the booklet was intended to be. The magic items are self-explanatory, and worth a 3/5 on their own, but the rest of it? The suggestion that this might be a guide for PCs who like shopping doesn’t make sense, since none of the non-magical items have a price listed. Which seems especially odd for the “special” items, most of which grant some sort of bonus that an adventurer might just want to take advantage of.

The purpose of the “unique” items is less clear still. One might suppose that they are supposed to be treasure, intended to be exchanged for cash when the adventurers return home. But, again, without any hint of their monetary value, that makes no sense. And it is not as if they do anything, other than look pretty.

In terms of physical quality, the booklet uses a lot of colour and shading on every page, making printing a bit of a pain – although at least it isn’t too long. On the plus side, the photographs of footwear are good, and the proof-reading is to a high standard, which is all too rare in booklets of this price range.

Buy this for the magic items, which are properly statted up. But not for the rest of it, unless you don’t mind creating your own price list to go with it. Overall, this feels as if it is half-finished.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Clothing Bits: Footwear
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Death: Guardian at the Gate
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/24/2009 22:41:37

A very early d20 product, it shows to some degree, as several of the features presented in this product have balance issues. However, the great strength of the product is its detailed examination of a goddess, her place in a a pantheon, and a religion based around death. Death cults have many forms in fantasy settings as well as in the real world, and to have one detailed so thoroughly is a great help to a campaign designer. In addition, the organization is very effective, presenting the character of the goddess first - thereby personalizing and making the rest of the book that much more interesting. It's definitely worth a look, especially if you are considering making a death god or goddess for a pantheon of your own devising. This can take a lot of work off your shoulders.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Death: Guardian at the Gate
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Dweomercraft: Enchanters
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/24/2009 22:34:13

This book gives a look into a school of magic from many different points of view. The standard character races, religions and gods, and other schools of magic all have their say and even differentiates between wizard and sorcerer approaches to enchantment. This gives a very thorough background for a player or GM wanting to add more detail to the practice of magic in their campaign world.

It would be especially helpful for games with arcane practicioners at the center, including the various "magical college" and "magical explorers" campaigns that have been published by many companies.

The list of spells is evocative and seems well-balanced for the most part. It certainly is detailed enough and if you're an obsessive spellbook-filler like myself you'll want to concoct quests to obtain many of these spells right away.

The file is in good shape but doesn't use any special PDF features. It's a steal for the price.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dweomercraft: Enchanters
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In the Saddle: Horses and other Mounts
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/24/2009 22:29:44

One of the first "horseback" supplements to come out during the d20 boom, this supplement remains a solid outing. Combining it with other supplements that perhaps came out later - mass combat, exploration, chase scenes - makes it even stronger. The rules are relatively simple but cover most of the horse-related stuff that fantasy folk have to deal with.

The additional material covering non-horse mounts is a welcome addition. Battle hares ahoy! Everyone loves a good battle hare.

Ever since the advent of wilderness adventures, mounts have been an important but often overlooked part of the game. One area that might have been interesting to explore in future editions is "what to do with them when we get to the dungeon", and other game-related logistical questions that can sometimes bog down the action.

The file is well-optimized but doesn't have any special PDF features. It is well worth the price.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
In the Saddle: Horses and other Mounts
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City Guide: Darkside
by Jim C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/28/2009 22:12:55

A useful-looking collection of diverse, sometimes surprising locales and inhabitants of the poorer parts of a city, including shops, taverns, alleys and various other common encounters, with passable art. Unfortunately doesn't seem to include the New NPC Classes mentioned in the Alleyways section.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
City Guide: Darkside
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