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Pozas Art Pack: Fantasy vol. 10-Locales
by Tim G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/14/2012 03:28:09

The Pozas collections are rather variable, and this one is poor. Five pieces. If you want a "common room" set up in a cave with a surprisingly large fire, or very black steps down into a catacomb with skulls, you might get value from the price. The library with torch is really hard to make sense of - I think that's a chair but it could be a giant hand! The garden and modern flat-roofed compound buildings are undetailed and not very interesting, but could serve as small spot pics.


Expeditious Retreat ought to provide decent previews of these products so customers can see what they'll be getting. In this case I gambled and lost.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Pozas Art Pack: Fantasy vol. 10-Locales
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One Shot Core Rules
by Ricardo N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/20/2012 13:32:13

"One Shot" starts out as a generic RPG framework. What sets it apart is the fine tuning and GM advice for single-session games, especially the notion of being consistent just within the game session. This is very liberating because, as the author notes, a lot of effort in a typical RPG is put into creating a whole consistent game world that must support long campaign play. From that premise, the author presents a simple set of rules for character creation and conflict resolution.


The fact that characters may have distinct and arbitrary abilities makes me think that the system will work better with pre-generated characters. After all, freeform abilities mean the GM will have to discuss with each player to avoid inbalance and abuse, and such a lengthy process doesn't make sense for a one-shot game.


Conflict generation is a straightfoward d12 roll and there really is no need to get any more complicated as characters won't grow in power over a campaign etc. One thing I found missing is the use of Areas of Expertise. They seem to be descriptors that allow an automatic success for a character in certain circumstances but the text isn't really clear. In any case, the game will probably work just as well if they are not used.


All things considered, One Shot is an interesting read whether to use the proposed system or just the advice for one shots that may be applied to other games. As a game system, it is not for beginning GMs as there is a lot of planning and decisions to be made to flesh out an adventure.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
One Shot Core Rules
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Advanced Adventures #23: Down the Shadowvein
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/27/2012 20:48:45

Down the Shadowvein is the follow up to AA#1: The Podmaster of the Sinister Shroom, and can be used to follow that adventure or on it's own. All the GM needs to supply is an underground river they can canoe down and a map leading to treasure down river. Its for character levels 3 to 5.


I really wish I could find my copy of PotSS, but it's packed in a box somewhere in storage. Ah well, onward to Down the Shadowvein.


The GM's map (and the Player's map too) is a hex map, inducing the river and adventure locations and passages. It's weird but cool that the underground map is similar to an above ground map, even though the party is going to be thinking "dungeon".


If it reminds me of any classic adventure, it's D1-2, when the party travelled through the underdark. There is much of that feel here, as the random encounters the party may interact with include merchant trains. Merchant trains underground, ya gotta love it. :)


The main encounter areas are mapped out like dungeons, so your players (and you) will be in comfortable surroundings at times. In truth, this plays out (almost) like a sandbox campaign underground, as the players have choices in the directions they will take.


Still, it is not the usual sort of adventure, and it may be awkward for some GMs to run it. It is underground, and most travel will probably be via river, but there are also numerous passages for the party to stumble through.


Depending on how thoroughly the party explores their sandbox, this could take two to the 4 hour sessions to complete. There really is a lot to explore in the two dozen pages in this adventure.


You also get 2 new magic items and 4 new monsters.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Advanced Adventures #23: Down the Shadowvein
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Seeds Compilation: Post-Apocalyptic I-V
by Jeremy M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/17/2012 22:02:07

Good for it's price, but only some of the seeds are any good (and a few are repeated twice).



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Seeds Compilation: Post-Apocalyptic I-V
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Advanced Adventures #22: Stonepick Crossing
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/14/2012 13:50:50

(review originally posted at tenkarstavern.com)


Stonepick Crossing is Advanced Adventures Module #22 from Expeditious Retreat Press.  It's an OSRIC (AD&D) module for a full party of 1st to 3rd level characters.  It actually says for 6 to 8  characters, but if I went above 6 (maybe 7 on a really good day) I'd probably never DM again.  So, like I said, it's for a full party of adventurers.


The adventure takes place in the tharp of Stonepick.  It will start in the town proper, and then lead on other dungeon like areas.  Which all sounds like old hat, but there is more then one thing going on in the Tharp of Stonepick.  I count at least 2 main plots and some sub-plots going on, and PC can get involved in any or all.  Which means that the DM needs to keep an eye on who the party has met and some events that may be going on behind the scenes.  A railroad this is not.  The party has a lot of freedom as to what they are going to accomplish and in which order.


Heck, they even throw in a new monster.  Not a bad way to start off a campaign if you are willing to flesh the town out and the immediate surroundings, as the party has much to do right from the start.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Advanced Adventures #22: Stonepick Crossing
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A Magical Medieval Society: City Guide
by Will W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/10/2012 13:33:38

This series has been highly praised, not because it's the best it can be, but because it's the only one of its kind. For me, it seemed like a well-researched guide to a medieval city, with the word "magical" tacked on. There are craft guilds, thieve's guilds... and a wizard's guild. There are pubs, armorers...and alchemist's shops. Otherwise the society is unchanged.


This is fine for a class-based d20 game where wizardry is confined to a few character types. But what if you have a more open skills-based system? What's the effect of having lots of people knowing a little magic? Really thinking it through, how would magic change a society?


In all though a good introduction to the subject. Can't imagine why they aren't charging for it.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
A Magical Medieval Society: City Guide
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Party of One: Leda
by Chet C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/16/2012 15:19:46

Possibly the most fun - and one of the longest! - of solo adventures I've played. It also runs well as a one-on-one adventure with one GM and one player! The characters are well defined and one is actually given real choices that seem (but aren't) unlimited. We have hoped for a sequel for years, and maybe if sales pick up - a LOT - we'll finally see another "Party of One" adventure.


WAY underpriced at $6.00! This price should be at least $10, if not more.


*jeep! and God Bless!
--Grandpa Chet



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Party of One: Leda
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Seeds: Western II
by David E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/25/2011 15:49:07

Great little book. Helps me out when I'm stuck on getting a new plot idea when my minds gone blank.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Seeds: Western II
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There and Back Again: The Construction of Nostalgia in Advanced Adventures
by Jim C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/28/2011 04:29:45

Intriguing comparisons of visual theme and composition may be the most compelling reason to spend time with this project. Verbally, the author may have tried to address too broad a field, as he struggles at the same time either to treat each source with the depth it deserves or to cover all of the literature I might have expected to see. I wonder if he would have done better to choose a single interesting theoretical approach to 'nostalgia' and apply it with rigour.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
There and Back Again: The Construction of Nostalgia in Advanced Adventures
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Lands of Darkness #4: The Swamp of Timbermoor
by Michael B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/19/2011 15:06:15

My initial reaction was one of disappointment as I thought this would be more of an adventure but then I realized that misunderstanding was totally my own fault.


For what it is, this is a pretty good product. It's simply a collection of unrelated encounters that take place in a single geographical setting, in this case a swamp.


The encounters are simply but worth looking at. They provide a couple of very basic hooks to give you a reason to go in the swamp. One of them is that a local person hires the group to go retrieve a statue of a frog. Would have liked something a bit more original, but that's ok.


The one thing that is good AND bad about this product is that one of the 10 or so encounters that is included offers a quest that involves going to another encounter location and bringing something back so it's potentially more than just a combat encounter. I really like this idea of tying the encounters together with some roleplay interaction and some combat I don't need it to be one big adventure but smaller related bundles of encounters would have been fantastic. If they had done this for every encounter (or at least half of them so that each encounter was linked to another), I would gladly give this 4 stars. As it is, I kind of grudgingly give it 4 stars because even though they missed some opportunities, I think that pretty much any DM could grab one of these encounters and run it stock with zero prep and I appreciate that.


I also like that the encounters are scaled for you so you know what to place for each of the levels in the range. The maps were incredibly basic, in some cases, just a couple of lines on a grid. Had they unified the encounters a bit more, punched up the maps a bit and offered more than a cursory throw away hook, this could have gotten 5 stars.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Lands of Darkness #4: The Swamp of Timbermoor
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1 on 1 Adventures #11: Unbound Adventures
by Connor T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/23/2011 13:50:25

Thus far I've only played one GM-less adventure and it was a solo one. After rolling up the character and discovering what kind of settlement I was in and what kind of adventure I was getting my self into I set off into the trackless hills. Unfortunately my cleric's survival skills were lacking and after getting lost several times I made camp for the night only to have a goblin crush my skull. That may not seem like a grand adventure but I actually had a lot of fun. I'll definitely be trying this again next time though I hope to actually make it to the dungeon.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
1 on 1 Adventures #11: Unbound Adventures
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Malevolent & Benign (Pathfinder Edition)
by Chris F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/22/2011 17:09:28

Malevolent & Benign joins the Book of Unremitting Horror and the AD&D 2nd Edition Monstrous Manual as one of my favorite monster books. there's a huge selection of original beasts, many of whom have a few useful or positive traits for clever adventurers to exploit. the huge assortment of magical plants found inside means you'll never run out of adventure ideas for a fantasy forest or jungle.
An amazing and fun Pathfinder product.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Malevolent & Benign (Pathfinder Edition)
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Seeds: Pulp
by Rob H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/14/2011 01:21:19

Pretty good value; I'd buy from them again. There's a good mix of story ideas in here, although some of the names are goofy (even for a pulp series), so you'll be better off just thinking of them as jumping off points for your own characters. If they made a bundle with a whooole bunch of these 3-page dispatches, I'd buy it.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Seeds: Pulp
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Internet Arcana
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/15/2011 15:04:30

You can never have too many spells. Internet Arcana culled the best of the of OGC spells and put them one easy to use book. The format is for 3.0, but it would not take much at all to convert these to 3.5 or Pathfinder or even "downgrade" them to your favorite retro-clone. Not a "must have" but certainly a worthwhile purchase.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Internet Arcana
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Advanced Adventures #1: The Pod-Caverns of the Sinister Shroom
by James S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/02/2011 19:10:18

The first of the Advanced Adventures line, from Expeditious Retreat Press, RPGNOW tells me that The Pod-Caverns of the Sinister Shroom was first made available on their site in 2006. So, it's been around for quite some time and if you're into OSR stuff, you probably already have a copy. But, new people are finding our corner of the gaming universe, everyday and even if you've been around for the past several years, maybe you've neglected to check this out.


If so, Fie! Fie I say! You've been depriving yourself of quite a treat.


Pod-Caverns is a dungeon adventure, three-levels large. To give you an idea of the size, there are 52 keyed areas. The main monster in the dungeon is the Sinister Shroom, of course, and if you're not familiar with these fellows, you can download a free copy of the excellent Monsters of Myth and get the skinny on Shrooms and their freaky Pod-men servants. They're evil, genius, magic-using mushroom-men. Mwa-ha-ha!


Mr. Finch has designed the dungeon to easily facilitate either a surface, or underground approach to the area. The module can be introduced in a more typical fashion, with the adventurers heading underground to check out the nefarious goings on, or the site can easily be placed as an expansion to an already existing dungeon, serving as an alternate route to, and obstacle in the way of, the surface-world. An underground river runs through the levels and will readily serve as transportation to the area, or as a means of travelling deeper underground, if the party entered the area from above.


There's some awesome adventure to be had in these three levels, with plenty of interesting places to explore, a nice mix of cool monsters, nasty traps and well-placed terrain hazards. There're also incidents of wonderful high weirdness, secrets to be discovered, odd things to play with, opportunities to make some friends and a well placed mix of level appropriate magic-items. The Shroom makes for a very cool opponent and if he manages to escape the adventurers, he has all the makings of the kind of recurring villain a DM dreams of.


The design of the various challenges delighted my DM sensibilities and I think that the module would prove fun as all hell to run or play. Adept players will find the module challenging and have ample opportunity to display their skills. Neophytes might find themselves in a little over their heads, but still, I wouldn't hesitate to throw babes into these particular woods. They'll learn a few tricks and this is the kind of adventure that is just too good for the gamer soul to miss.


The maps are nicely done, in old school standard black & white and so detailed as to help in explicating the descriptive text for some of the more involved terrain features. There is no scale given, but I'm assuming the standard 1 square = 10', though I suspect the author left this a little nebulous on purpose.


The overall atmosphere of the dungeon is pleasantly eerie, with some welcome touches of horror and that aforementioned weirdness, which Mr. Finch does so well! It evoked the kind of mood that I associate with the creepier sort of fairy-tale.


The Pod-Caverns of the Sinister Shroom hits all the right notes and plays them sweetly, indeed. Buy it! Buy it Now! Then Run It and let us know how it went!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Advanced Adventures #1: The Pod-Caverns of the Sinister Shroom
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