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The King's Ransom: Complete
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/24/2006 00:00:00

The Kings' Ransom: Complete is a 74 page pdf product from a relatively new publishing company, Cerberus Games. This is one of their first offerings to the pdf market, and is the complete King's Ransom product. The product contains thousands of magic item concepts, ideas, and mechanical sketches aimed at being usable within any gaming system. Cerberus Games' other products include these items released according to item type, essentially splitting the complete product into several smaller products for those only interested in a specific item type.

The product comes as a single pdf file complete with a brief table of contents. There are no bookmarks in the product. The product makes extensive use of art from a variety of different sources, most of it very good and fitting to the different item types presented in the product. Writing and editing is good as well, and for a first product Cerberus Games have created a solid presentation and layout design.

Given that the product details magical items for largely fantasy campaigns and games, there has to be some underlying system of mechanics that allows one to evaluate the functionality of each item. Cerberus Games have aimed this product to be suitable to all game systems, and as such have provided a generic mechanical description summary that will allow readers to asses the mechanical function of an item. The conversion to a specific game system, such as d20, is then left to the particular user. In essence, therefore, this product provides limited description of mechanics, but hundreds of useful ideas of magical items.

The items are grouped into a number of different types - armor, melee weapon, missile weapons, ammunition, rings, temporary items, miscellaneous items and equipment, and wands and staves. Each section contains scores of items covering a large number of interesting and sometimes intriguing ideas. Having read through the product, and taking the example of the d20 system, a lot of the items convert quite easily into the system, many perhaps as minor artifact and most certainly as custom items.

Having said that, while the conversion in places should be easy enough, given the extensive range of magical items in d20, for example, there's very little here that can be classified as 'new', and a lot of items just simply don't convert well. Pricing these items, as in the d20 system, would also be a headache for most users. The conversion issues are to be expected, although I'd have hoped to see more items that don't just convert to standard items (or mimic spell effects) or items with combined abilities in another system. Essentially, new item properties or abilities would've made this pdf much more useful.

Overall, though, this is a solid product with some useful material. There are some interesting ideas, although given the fact that this product requires lots of work on the DMs part to convert magical items, some will not find it to their liking. Given the hundreds of items presented, you're bound to find something of use, but in most cases some sifting will be required to remove the more 'standard' items from the more 'unique' that are not already covered by your chosen game system.<br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: This product offers a good variety of different items and some new ideas in a generic system. The product's suitability to lots of different systems is in a way both a blessing and a curse, depending on the system you're using. Some unique and interesting items within the huge offering provided. Solid presentation.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: This product requires what can be time-consuming work on the part of the DM, although in some systems it's expected to be easier than others. These items may not all convert that easily to the game system of choice, but the majority should do so for most systems. I'd have appreciated seeing more 'unique' items, in the sense that many of these are based on known concepts.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The King's Ransom: Complete
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Creator Reply:
Thanks for the review. Regarding the unique items issue, I hope that most readers will find that while many items have effects that aren't new, like fear, healing, and bonuses to skills, I tried to put spins on the effects and give the items flavor in order to help the referee build the campaign. I see what you're saying, though. Unique is always better, and I'll take it to heart for the future.
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