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1 on 1 Adventures #6.66: The Pleasure Prison
by JK R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/02/2015 06:21:34
This is clearly meant to be a comedy, but basically it just ends up being plain silly. The encounters themselves are competently enough done, if not over-burdened with logic and supplied with very basic maps, but the overall tone of the thing is off-putting and not half as funny as it thinks it is. On the bright side, it's not as rude/puerile as the title implies, either.

To be fair, I can't honestly recall how, or indeed why, I got hold of this (I seem to have had it on my hard drive for a few years... was it given away at a discount with something else?). Although it's quite a long adventure, it is not, to my mind, worth the price tag.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
1 on 1 Adventures #6.66: The Pleasure Prison
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World of Nevermore (True20)
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/17/2015 18:18:50
Although World of Nevermore has a brilliant and crazy aesthetic which appeals to me pretty much on every level, it doesn't nail down certain aspects of how the setting should be used and so falls (perhaps barely) short of a perfect score.

So let's talk about adventures in dreams. This is a theme in fantasy (and horror) literature for many years, and there've been many RPGs that have attempted it. The core problem is of course that waking up back in a world that hasn't been affected by the dream is unsatisfying: why attempt to overcome obstacles that are simply imaginary? H.P. Lovecraft gave his Dreamlands physical reality; Adamant Entertainment had a Dreamwalker game in the d20 era which tried a similar approach. Shattered Dreams, a badly organized 1990s game had the brilliant idea that monsters from the dream world were invading people's bodies via their dreams and a failure in the dream world meant the player characters would have to face essentially demon possession scenarios in the real world - where they had no dream-altering abilities. (Someday I want to see a dream-adventure scenario where the real-world impact of a success is "you work out some emotional or intellectual problem or anxiety that's been hammering at you in the real world"!)

It's that issue that Nevermore doesn't hit square on the head. When, if things get too rough, a significant portion of the inhabitants can simply opt out of the world every eight hours, it becomes difficult to create actual conflict with consequences. The game seems to recognize this, emphasizing that GMs should make events in Nevermore prefigure or subtly affect things in the "real" game world if the whole game's not going to be set there. However, the brief mention of it doesn't give examples, methods, or principles to make this happen - and that's frankly the most important question that I have when picking up a dream walking supplement. What about this is real?

There are even some indications in World of Nevermore that this question was not too well thought out. It is suggested (for example) that characters should retain their levels gained while in Nevermore once they wake up, typically adept levels. This could result in people in your core game world going to sleep as level 3 folks and waking up as level 18 folks one in-character day later - since time in the "real" world (whatever it is) doesn't pass as it does in Nevermore.

The simple way to handle this is to say "Nevermore's the game world. You can't opt out. It behaves in dreamlike ways but for various reasons none of you will be 'waking up'". Certain character types are like this (such as those born in Nevermore or the fey who are its original natives), a GM can simply require that all characters be one of these types.

The most important changes to the True20 system are a boosted Conviction system which allows dreamlike discontinuities to aid the characters, and an Aspect system which gives boosts to characters based on dreamlike aspects that they take on in various situations - I dream I'm a dragonlike figure, so I take on dragonlike abilities. These seem to be well-founded and since everyone in the game world has them, the balance of them seems well thought out.

The majority of the book is taken up with the campaign world description. It involves many realms, each of which has its own personality, and typical dream-effects that can be found in its borders. Probably the best part is the list of potential adventure hooks for each area. Although I'm experienced in turning area descriptions into actionable adventures, it's great to see how the tone and atmosphere of each area is intended to mesh with the typical True20 action-adventure feel. I wish every location supplement was as straightforward with what its intentions are.

Finally, a sample adventure is at the end. Again, a welcome addition to the supplement, showing me how it's supposed to be done (including what typical badguys in Nevermore get up to.)

I do think that Nevermore has a lot going for it, and it's quite ambitious; not just another game with Oz in it, thereby guaranteeing a high score from JDCorley on the Internet. However, there are certain holes in what it tries to accomplish that keep it from getting my highest marks. While the 8-hour cycle of Nevermore is terrific for keeping things changing, dreamlike and mysterious, it requires some really diligent timekeeping on the part of the GM and players, much more rigorous than in your typical True20 game, and there aren't any tools to help us do that. As mentioned above, the way to tie Nevermore to something real and worth doing is not clear.

Nevertheless the work is imaginative and thrilling, I want to adventure here and the game gives me great tools with which to do that. The abilities of player characters and NPCs alike are vivid and compelling. Expeditious Retreat hardly ever misses the mark and it doesn't here. I highly recommend World of Nevermore as an addition to your dream-fantasy library! (You do have one, right?)

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
World of Nevermore (True20)
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A Magical Medieval Society: City Guide
by Sylvia R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/30/2014 08:49:40
This is an EXCELLENT resource for games set in the medieval times. It has been well researched and is packed full of information about how a medieval city operated - but with a difference. The difference is that is details the adjustments that the GM needs to make ti the factual framework so that magic and adventurers can fit into the city. NOTHING had been missed. There is even a section on generating cities! A first rate product!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Magical Medieval Society: City Guide
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Classified - Operation Rogue Lion
by Barbara J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/06/2014 21:17:02
"Operation Rogue Lion" is a meaty adventure very much in the style of Victory Games' published modules for the original James Bond RPG. The NPCs and exotic locales are well written and presented. The adventure's plot is laid out nicely, with notes on what the characters could or should learn at each stop along the way, but allows for plenty of room to modify or adapt elements to suit a particular group or campaign.

I don't have the Classified RPG rulebook, but I had no difficulty running the adventure with the original Victory Games rule set; and although "Operation Rogue Lion" is designed to serve as an introduction to the game system for those who haven't played it before (and it's set in modern times), it was very easy for me to adapt it to an ongoing campaign set in the 1980s.

I rate this module very highly, and I hope more Classified RPG modules will be forthcoming. I will certainly buy them!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Classified - Operation Rogue Lion
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Party of One: Leda
by Adrien W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/25/2014 14:43:28
I really enjoyed playing this gamebook and agree with a previous reviewer that you'll be paying a low price for a top-quality , well-written adventure book that gradually introduces you to the character of Leda , lets you vicariously know her friends , her family and her life as an apprentice wizard (on a sidenote I think it could be a source of inspiration for players looking to portray apprentices or th apprentice/master wizard relationship since it details day to day activities, and more adventurous events alike with sympathy and depth of writing) as you play along and make decisions that really feel like you're playing a D&D game (small but meaningful number of dicerolls to make outside of combat, some opportunities for learning spells and using skills the way you would around the table top although I wish there had been a couple more).

Leda's relationship with her familiar and how it's portrayed is also worth mentioning since it often seems neglected in novels or modules with mages This gamebook will probably appeal most to readers that enjoy following their characters through heroic and everyday acts alike , from exploring ruins and caves to preparing for a party and meeting for lunch at the tavern.

I really felt that the writing was evocative and in my view you could tell that the writers took pains to make Leda a believable and fleshed-out female character , with some scenes showcasing aspects that aren't often seen in a D&D session but should (family reunions , social relationships with the character's family , how fashion choices might affect the character's standing with others etc) . There were several typos and the occasional odd wording or choice of words but altogether this didn't detract from my enjoyment of the game at all when you consider all the work and depth that went into making the gamebook.

Where the book really shines I think is in describing the psychology of the characters and the web of relationships they have , making them memorable and easily portable into your own games as NPCs (Leda's master and her family especially but also the people she encounters for whom stats are provided) . I hope we'll see a sequel , the sooner the better and compliments to the authors.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Party of One: Leda
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Advanced Adventures #14: The Verdant Vault of Malakum
by Richard K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/19/2014 19:23:04
The PCs are sent on a task to map a tomb and recover a spell book. The party will have to travel for about a day to reach the tomb. There is a well thought out wandering monster list for the jungle, but not the tomb. Also, there is no rumor table. The text is not blocked or highlighted to show parts that are read to players. The map is a half page (long-wise) and there is not 1 single B/W art image to be found or pre-generated characters for that matter. It just lacks too many elements to be seriously considered.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Advanced Adventures #14: The Verdant Vault of Malakum
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Advanced Adventures #9: The Lost Pyramid of Imhoptep
by Richard K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/19/2014 19:20:46
The pyramid is upside down? The text is DM unfriendly (no blocking/highlighting of text to be read to players). There is no B/W art at all to speak of, no pre-generated characters, no wandering monster list, and no rumor table. Its just missing too many elements that should be staple to all adventures in this day and age. I'm really disappointed in this purchase. This adventure needs a complete makeover. Its only because I'm I nice guy and I like Egyptian-themed modules that I don't give this 1 star.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Advanced Adventures #9: The Lost Pyramid of Imhoptep
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Advanced Adventures #8: The Seven Shrines of Nav'k-Qar
by Richard K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/19/2014 19:16:15
ok this module's plot is your simple kill and treasure hunt - a plot which would not interest my group at all. It has a rumor table and wandering monster chart. No pre-generated characters or DM friendly text (blocked/highlighted of information that is read to players). The dungeon is 2 levels, each B/W map is about a half-page. There is almost no artwork within the text - and the ones that are there are uninspiring. I would give this 3 stars, but it gets an extra star for the magical shrines which are rather cool.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Advanced Adventures #8: The Seven Shrines of Nav'k-Qar
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Advanced Adventures #13: White Dragon Run
by Richard K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/18/2014 23:26:20
White Dragon Run is a good module, but will need some prep before using it. It is a ready-made "fleshed out" village, complete with an Inn (and other businesses), rumor table, and wandering monster tables. However, the outdoor wandering monster table is missing a table for the Mountains of Xur, and many of the results on the Skaths table will result in a party wipe until the PCs reach at least 3rd level. 2nd level characters should be discouraged from adventuring at night or in the Skaths until they are higher level. It has quite a few interesting NPCs for the party to interact with. It also contains 2 small mini-adventures, a forgotten outpost inhabited by brigands, and the Gray Temple, which has a variety of undead, giant rats, and hobgoblins etc. The module has nice B/W art. Each map is about a half-page, so DM's will need to enlarge them to a full page before handing to players. Also, this series continues the nasty habit of not blocking/highlighting text to be read to players, which I think makes it inaccessible to new DMs. But overall, I really like this module. The experienced DM that has tired of running new groups through B1 and B2, will find this fresh adventure appealing.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Advanced Adventures #13: White Dragon Run
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Advanced Adventures #7: The Sarcophagus Legion
by Richard K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/18/2014 21:46:04
A little too violent for my taste. But if you have the stomach for it, the first half of the adventure is pretty good. But then there is a betrayal and after re-reading that section several times, I fail to see why the party would adventure to a temple rather than go after the sultan. The new scorpion monsters are pretty good. I would prefer that the text is blocked/highlighted to isolate what is read to the players. Will need alot of work from the DM to sort out the plot mid-way through and bring the adventure to a conclusion.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Advanced Adventures #7: The Sarcophagus Legion
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1 on 1 Adventures #3: The Forbidden Hills
by alx n. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/18/2013 07:40:07
(Mild spoilers ahead)

Used this adventure for a one-on-one session with a friend of mine. I used the OpenQuest system to run it though, not the D&D rules. It was easily adaptable, as the NPCs present within the quest are sort of standard to Fantasy settings.

Although normal as regards its structure (go explore area and help your tribe), I thought the adventure itself was quite good at giving me a strong base on which to build a better quest. For instance, instead of having the PC deal with a band of 10 infighting male Gnolls, I had the player face a band of 10 infighting humans, which included 2 mothers and their babies. That immediately made some of the beats in the adventure trickier to handle. It is indeed easier to kill warriors without giving it a second thought, than come up with ways to handle crying babies and their feisty, protective mothers.
I also prefer my settings to be low magic worlds. D&D is not low magic. Still, thanks to the adventure's relative looseness, I had no trouble making it fit my taste.

The adventure contains some discrepancies. So keep an eye out for them. For instance, one part of the underground temple has an opening that lets daylight come through. That opening, quite large, is mentioned only once, when the PC enters the room where it's found. Never once is it suggested that the PC could use it as a way to gain access the temple, which makes little sense: indeed, if the opening is large enough to light a huge hall, it's large enough to let an adult-size human through.

Overall though, I found the Forbidden Hills to be quite good at helping me set up a simple play session relatively quickly, with enough time left for me to make it fit my interests and style of play.

Recommended.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
1 on 1 Adventures #3: The Forbidden Hills
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The ZZZ Quick Guide to North America
by Benjamin M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/21/2013 18:05:35
This is a nice source book for the Sorcery and Super Science Game. It has a Lettered and numbered Map on the outer cover as the back page, which is also the front cover as well. inside it is sectioned to areas by geography. It then has some details about the groups that are in these numbers, that are on the map.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The ZZZ Quick Guide to North America
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A Magical Society: Guide to Mapping
by Matthew M. T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/31/2013 16:50:46
This is a good-sized PDF document offered free of charge. To begin, I am not a good mapmaker and the ones I have made are obvious even to me that they are too fanciful as to verge on the bizarre. All too often I want to make an unlikely city-state on the "Island in the Stream" that Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers sang about. Or the dwaven-crafted volcano that magically spews forth water instead of lava to encircle a city a la Constantinople complete with Byzantine sea-gates. Even children with an outstanding imagination would be hard-pressed to accept my world! This handy product takes the guesswork out of mapmaking and gives you down-to-earth principles that can be readily applied by any fantasist. Also, in black & white, you aren't going to need a color printer or require a color printer because of odd shading. One caveat, it does have some darkness to it that will require a fair amount of black printer ink. Helpful, useful, easy and ready to use, this takes the cake. It's also provided free of charge, so it's a true bonus like no other. I don't regularly hand out "Five Stars"/"Exceeds Expectations", but this deserves it hands down. Highly recommended; highest marks.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Magical Society: Guide to Mapping
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A Magical Medieval Society: City Guide
by Matthew M. T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/31/2013 16:07:26
This is a good-sized PDF document offered free of charge, and usefully in black&white for easy printing. To begin, sometimes I have difficulty conjuring enough pertinent ideas of what a civilized area (i. e., city) should be like. Sure there are places like temples, inns, taverns, shops, and perhaps governmental keeps and guards at the gates, but surely there's more. That's were this handy document steps in to spur my creativity for adventures and stories. I must honestly admit that I haven't read this document in total, but what I have read has been more than useful. Given that it's provided free of charge, it is a super bonus. I would only rarely rate something with "Five Stars"/"Exceeds Expectations", but this definitely deserves it. Recommended; high marks.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Magical Medieval Society: City Guide
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Pozas Prime: Dungeon Delve
by Thomas C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/31/2013 12:22:10
Fantastic art. Dead Goblin games is glad to have included this in our latest module, "The Slaver Caves of Dorden". Well done..this is an awesome illustration!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Pozas Prime: Dungeon Delve
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