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Xanathar's Lost Notes to Everything Else
by Alex C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/11/2017 09:37:20

Clench up, I'm going to hit every individual sublass here, so mobile users might get cut off.

TLDR: A very good supplement with creative and interesting subclasses that fill requested niches or forge ahead into unique and intersting ideas. Some sections have minor gripes that, based on prior Adept releases, I trust the creators to take another look at for a future update.

Courageous Heart: A bit of an odd concept, but I like seeing Barbarian approaches that turn the generic “angry warrior” on its ear. Mostly, the scaling benefits to attack rolls with improvised weapons and unarmed strikes helps this path fill in a ‘general brawler’ archetype that the Barbarian could use. Red Reaver: An interesting tracker-focused path. The devourer feature at 3rd level is damn strong for players looking for a damage-oriented (rather than ‘tanking’) barbarian, but has enough drawbacks to not be overpowered. In fact, there’s a lot of cost-effectiveness choices in this class at higher levels regarding hit dice. As a note, the sanguine clarity feature could use clarification on whether the hit dice expended are in addition to the ones spent to enter devouring rage, or if they’re part of the initial cost. I’m assuming the former, but the question will arise at the table.

Sacred Kin: Spellcasting barbarian, here we go! This is a good approach—sorcerer spells, limited to divination or conjuration, with Constitution as a spellcasting ability. It’s extremely unique and tailored to maintain a balanced path with a very consistent theme. If there’s a drawback to this path, it’s that there are a buttload of things packed in here—limited casting, ancestral origins, modified rage, a few metamagic options. I’d almost suggest dropping a few of the ribbons or features that try to ride the fence between melee attacking and ragey-spellcasting. A good archetype, but definitely for confident and experienced players.

College of Discord: Very fun and thematic. Smashing instruments, reappearing with a blast, gaining advantage by succeeding on saving throws. If there’s a criticism here, it’s that battaglia probably needs to have a higher ‘cost’ for how powerful it is—a repositioning tool with a chance to knock enemies prone. Perhaps an initial expenditure of a bardic inspiration?

College of Keys: This college might falter in campaigns without opportunities to interact with traps, locks, warding spells, etc on a consistent basis. When they do, though, this class is absolutely going to shine. This is the dream class of players who want to run a burglar-bard and who aren’t interesting in just being a ‘party face’ character.

College of Mourning: I’ve done two death/dying bards myself and I get a kick out of seeing the myriad ways this topic can be tweaked for different bard approaches. This one has a bit of a necromancy approach, but with a kind of ‘Day of the Dead’ carnival feel.

Entropy Domain: A slightly anti-dying domain that mostly focuses on disrupting spellcasting. Some really kickass CD features to mess with casters are the best features of the class.

Survival: Rather than being tracking-flavored, this is more about a determination to survive oncoming death. Makes sense, as this was part of another Adept product for Tomb of Annihilation. A decent domain with a strong once-per-day capstone. Circle of Seasons: I really like this druid subclass, which expends wild shape uses for its own interesting choice of mechanics. The ‘child of change’ feature needs clarification on whether you can choose to place your shroud of seasons in a ten foot area OR still on a single creature, or if you can move the area on your turn. As the current language reads, it permanently changes to an area-of-effect that can’t be moved.

Circle of the Spiritlords: An interesting mask druid option that grows in power over time. It’s a good concept that gives a lot of cantrip access, but it might feel a bit weak compared to other circles until later levels, where it picks up much more power.

Fighter Dragoon: Interesting to see a mounted-focused fighter, given the hubbub around the first iteration of the idea that made it to Xanathar’s. Like the Cavalier, this class does a good job of providing interesting features that aren’t reliant on being mounted, but gives additional useful features when a player happens to be on a mount as well. It has a few combat tricks that don’t rely on a superiority die. The final capstone is unusual for a fighter class, but certainly useful if the group doesn’t have a ranger or a magical means of improving their travel.

Runeguard: This fighter was hyped on-stream, and it’s pretty damn nifty. It suffers a tiny bit from ‘cool name syndrome,’ where you’ll have to learn the fantasy-ish names for the runes and augmentations as you go. Overall, the class is incredibly flavorful and is going to offer huge variability in style from one player to the next. There’s a lot to dig down into here and you could play the class multiple times with different approaches. Like the barbarian/sorcerer mashup, a class for confident players (and DMs).

Way of Atonement: Definitely a strange one. Based on the description, you're always down some hit points when you use the class features, even after resting. It also semi-penalizes you for having permanent magic items. It's not a bad class and has some real strengths, but I think it needs another pass to make it feel rewarding for sustained play.

Way of Empathy: A really interesting class where you're constantly taking damage to heal or protect other creatures, but regain extra hit points while resting to help make up for it. It's definitely an alternative approach to healing/protecting.

Oath of Predation: Woah, don't poop on my Knights of Takhisis. Anyway...Kind of an odd oath. Definitely domineering/evil, a mix of trickster-ish and dominating. Not bad at all, but doesn't shine thematically the way many of the other class options do. Pre-adjustments, the level 20 feature has a bit too much power stacked onto it.

Oath of Providence: Woo, it's DAMN STRONG. All about changing luck for yourself, allies, or enemies. Nothing in particular is too strong, but the 20th level feature might (over the course of an adventuring day) be the strongest 20th level paladin feature there is.

Burghal Explorer: An interesting urban fighter option for ranger. Getting its grazing strike option with every single attack is what really gives the class its power.

Wasteland Wanderer: Some really interesting stuff here surrounding how you interact with initiative, suprise, hidden enemies, noticing threats. A really cool ranger option for making sure you aren't caught unawares by an enemy or trap--or reacting effectively even if your group is.

Divine Herald Rogue: A nice spellcasting rogue that isn't an arcane trickster. A semi-smitey rogue with a dabbling of cleric features. Neat.

Fey Magic Sorcerer: Lets a sorcerer swap out for druid spells as they progress, which opens up a lot of play options. The other features allow for some tricky damage-swapping or teleporting features.

Chaos Patron: A kooky class where your features all have benefits and drawbacks. The ideas are all really cool, but I could see the randomness throwing a real wrench in party or player plans. People looking at the class should know what they're getting into.

The Noble Genie: Super-strange but not in a bad way. Your little genie sidekick can go find spell knowledge for you, which opens up a lot of options in combat--if they come back in a timely manner.

Beguiler Wizard: A wizard who gets kinda-roguey features, including a not-quite-sneak-attack. Pretty neat, difficult to compare to PhB schools.

Mage Hunter: From another Adept supplement. A good subclass. Think of a bladesinger, but with aggressive features rather than defensive. Reconstruction: An interesting approach to a healing-oriented wizard. Turning single-target Evocation spells into healing spells is a creative way to approach this.

The rest of it: It's pretty good, yo. But you were really looking at this for the class options. The rest of the stuff in here is just gravy.

Overall, the classes are creative and interesting. Nothing feels like a reskinned XYZ class from an existing WOTC product, though a couple of them are "what if X class had Y-style features," which is something Wizards themselves have been doing lately.

It's pretty damn cool product, kids.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Xanathar's Lost Notes to Everything Else
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Hey, Mister. Can You Help Me?
by Justin R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/11/2017 08:41:54

This is a great set of side quests to add in to a main adventure. Or use it to lead your party to a main adventure. Basically written and easy (which is perfect for lower levels) that allows the DM to create content around it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hey, Mister. Can You Help Me?
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D&D Adventurers League Player's Pack
by CD F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/11/2017 06:11:41

The catalogue is really good and easy to use. I am still exploring it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
D&D Adventurers League Player's Pack
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Xanathar's Lost Notes to Everything Else
by Christopher B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/10/2017 20:45:12

I am extremely impressed with the quality of this supplement and very pleased with my purchase. It is a great value for its price and the tremendous amount of effort that went into the product shows in the end result. The authors are experienced with writing D&D content, and many have written AL supplments or done work for respected third-party publishers, like Kobold Press.

The original art is beautiful and the art borrowed from WOTC's books is used to good effect. The layout is excellent and the text is very easy to read. The idea of a daring young sage stealing Xanathar's lost writings and leaving her own margin notes in his "borrowed" tomes is a clever device and the additional commentary from Xanathar himself is quite witty. Most importantly, there is a lot of substance in this 87-page work, and it is generally well-written and edited. The PC and DM options are great additions to the game, the new monsters are very flavorful, the new magic items are fun, and the original Chult-based mini-adventure is fun and really well-done. Overall, the supplemental equals the quality of a product WOTC would put out directly, although there is still some editing that needs to be done to get the product into its final form.

The 25 new subclasses are generally thematically interesting and well-executed. A handful of the subclasses may need substantive revision as they undergo further playtesting, though they are still very interesting ideas. Also, there are a few places where the editors missed some clunky passages--e.g. page 12, Bard College of Keys has some clipped sentences and grammar mistakes. There are also a few places in the DM section and the adventure that have minor typos. That said, with the good track-record of the Guild Adept authors, I know any needed revisions will get done correctly and in a timely manner.

In short, buy a copy of Xanathar's Lost Notes to Everything! As I previously posted in a comment, even if you already have $20 budgeted for something else, skip lunch, the movie, t-shirt, or whatever else you were intending to purchase so you can pick up this supplement instead.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Xanathar's Lost Notes to Everything Else
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Classic Modules Today: B3 Palace of the Silver Princess 5e
by Sh S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/10/2017 18:49:30

There are some really glaring flaws with this conversion. For reference, I purchased both this and the Palace of the Silver Princess module off of DM's Guild. (This conversion guide also notes that you can purchase the original module on DM's Guild).

First off, there are large chunks of content that are duplicated within the document. Pages 4-6 and 7-8 have nearly the indentical content (there is some extra loot mentioned in pages 4-6 that isn't on page 7-8). Now, maybe it's to give two different ways to view the content (one is more condensed than the other) and that would be fine if there weren't so much missing that is in the original module. You could remove pages 7-8 and you would lose nothing from what is provided in this conversion.

For instance, in the very first room of the dungeon, there is a red light that has a save vs. spell if you step into it and if you fail, you take 1d6 damage. My expectation is that the 5e conversion would change this to a con save or dex save (or heck, even a wisdom save if the original save was vs spells) and you take 1d6 "type of damage" damage. There is a section of 6 types of traps but none of them address the trap that is found in literally the first room.

There are also page numbers next to the trap list of where you find them, except they don't match up. The poison needle trap has a reference of page 14, but it's on page 12.

The monster conversions are also off. There's a conversion to use a black bear in place of a cave bear, but there's no cave bear mentioned in the original module. It has a conversion for an enchanted great cat, but there are none in the module. There are zombies listed on the wandering monster table, but no conversions mentioned in the conversion list (not even to use zombies for zombies like it does for skeletons). In many ways, I'm more confused by the conversion than I think I would be just taking the original module and starting from scratch.

I gave it two stars because if you do get this, it does give some stat blocks for some of the NPCs, an updated loot list, and some updated rules on some, but not all, of the traps. However, you're still going to need to do a lot of legwork yourself to get this module to work in 5e as there is a lot missing here.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Classic Modules Today: B3 Palace of the Silver Princess 5e
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Xanathar's Lost Notes to Everything Else
by Dan G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/10/2017 18:15:58

This won't be a long review, and I haven't gone through every subclass with a fine tooth comb, but all in all I absolutely love this supplement and highly recommend you buy it. I think it is a perfect example of how the Guild Adept's program can bring some great people together, and act as a quality stamp of approval.

Especially when it comes to player supplements like races or classes, I am often leery of third party products. There are some I know and respect, like Kobold Press, etc. I have also learned that many who have worked on this supplement produce excellent work. Many adventures, encounters, and magic items from these folks have seen use in my games.

I think that right now this book will be one of the few available to my players freely to try. The subclasses are many and varies, and fill some niches that no WoTC product has yet touched. The half-caster Barbarian path to me has some great mechanical innovations that are interesting. The DM section is stocked full of interesting add on modules, and the adventure included is icing on the cake. This is certainly one of the best peoducts out out on DMsGuild to date. Highly recommend it!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Xanathar's Lost Notes to Everything Else
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Xanathar's Lost Notes to Everything Else
by Richard R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/10/2017 16:52:59

I really like it! It adds Character Options that were missing from Xanthar's Guide, that allow me, as a Game Master, to update and run prior edition settings myself, and add fun and easy to run options to any scratch built home-grown campaign. It also should be noted that a huge amount of the options and things presented in XLNtEE, have been thoroughly vetted in both playtest in live run games, and in other DMs guild products and formats, so it's all amazingly good!

The PDF itself is also amazingly well put together, in an eye-pleasing format as good as any printed WOtC product, and using fonts that don't give me eye-strain. The artwork found in the PDF is stunning, and the writing quality is top-notch.

Overall, It is my humble opinion that Xanthar's Lost Notes to Everything Else is a welcome addition to any D&D digital library.

((Hey guys, when are you going to add a POD option? ))



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thanks, Richard. Thanks for the awesome review. I'm really happy that you like what we've put together! The PDF only went up yesterday but yes, we are certainly looking into a POD option and are planning to get on it soon!
The Secrets of Skyhorn Lighthouse
by Jessee E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/10/2017 10:23:06

I got to playtest this adventure. It was super fun! I'm going to run it for my own group soon!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Secrets of Skyhorn Lighthouse
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CCC-SALT-01-02 Moor Trouble
by Matthew P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/10/2017 08:32:34

This was run recently by me for two local groups.

Again this scenario was well formatted and spellchecked by the content creators . Kudos to them.

A direct follow up to SALT 1-1, the party finds themselves in an abandoned town in Thar surrounded by bodies of a previos expedition and some of the orcs who had slain them.

The Half -ORC Co leader of SALT (You can look it up if you want to know what it means) now requires the party to travel to the Tomb of Khered and open it . Oh and find his fellow co leader a missing Cleric of Ilmater.

The party has also had some bad dreams.

I must admit, the opening .scenes of SALT 1-2 felt very disjointed. THe party is either recruited in Phlan and arrives here, or is already here. The trek to some large boulders is foreshadowed by a group or single dream of... large boulders perhaps.

This sorta foreshadowing is normally the domain of tv shows who are worried the audience wont be able to put 1 and 1 together but here it just feels jarring. After setting off the party encounter a.. boulder field where there party can essentially go through or around. Both lead to combat encounters of sorts.

The randomness in this scenario comes from an option 1 or two. THere is either a fight with some spiders or a non combat encounter of sorts with a swarm of spiders. Thats it for the random. It was good whilst it lasted! :)

All of this however leads to the discovery that the missing Co-owner Sorrim is trapped in a spider cocoon. Hes still alive , but exhausted and needs some help.. sortoff (he actually seems like he just wants to head back to the town by himself... likely at least to me to mean death in THar :) )

He tells the pcs however how to get to the Tomb.

This leads to the second encounter and probably the hardest combat in this scenario. The fight outside the tomb entrance with an Eye of Grumush and allies. Depending on the level makeup this encounter can go slow or very fast I found. I had one each way. Also without the earlier combat encounter this is where the party is going to have to get its exp if its going to so you may want to make it tougher.

Finally the battle is over and the party use the key they were provided and entire a single tomb room which is a dead end with a coffin inside.

I did have a laugh that the magic item a mace was resting on the coffin lid. One of the players blurted out ' A Vampire at this Tier? '. SALT turns up with some guards and a conclusion of sorts is had with the parties next job to press further on int othe tomb in SALT 1-3, which is easily my favorite of the scenarios and goes back hardcore to the randomness of SALT 1-1.

SALT 1-2, is a short 2 hours scenario. However like the middle part of some movies it just feels flat like all the good stuff was in the front or back of the product which is a shame. THe party is always going to find Sorrim and the dream was uneeded.

Id recommend this one only if you want to run them all, otherwise it can be avoided.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
CCC-SALT-01-02 Moor Trouble
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CCC-SALT-01-01 Rumors of Riches
by Matthew P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/10/2017 08:13:47

I often have a few issues where Im trying to schedule monthly games for AL at stores. I try to schedule something new and also a decent spread between Tiers.

With CCCs the issue is that there are soo many Tier 5-10's but few Tier 1-4's which is a shame so when we get a new series released for the lower level it is a great thing.

The first thing I should point out is that this scenario was obviously spellchecked and the grammar was good. Because of the reputation that AL scenarios have developed in this area, it is one of the first things I notice now when Im reading a scenario. A Sad truth but sadly also a self inflicted injury.

Onward with SALT1-1.

This adventure is a whole lot of Random. Thats not saying the plot itself is random.. although it is a little confusing and perhaps SALT itself is a little too tongue in cheek. It is random in that there are many mini encounters that when strung together will make most runnings of SALT 1-1 different to the one run before. THis is a good thing in my view because it means there is replayability baked in.

The Plot of this scenario is fairly straightforward. A Half Orc recruits the adventurers to travel to a ruined settlement in Thar which exists in an area between two warring tribal /orciish factions. Being 3 key encounters we have

1) Before the caravan is met 2) After the caravan is met 3) At the town in question (not so random)

I gave the Half Orc a little more life than he had on the page . I did like the fact that this expedition was it for him. He had leveraged all he had left and I had the feeling had it not gone well, the party might of had to fight a loan shark repo team at some point.

THe party eventually arrives at the settlement and combat vs Orcs and an Ogre starts. This battle was the most 'normal' of the scenario and I found the others more memorable. Its also the start point for SALT 1-2. SALT 1-1 is next to SALT 1-3 probably the most random of the trilogy. I think SALT 1-3 is the best (it seems like in a lot of the CCC trilogies that the end scenario is the best one) followed by this one with the middle one while good not as great.

All in all I thoroughly recommend this scenario and applaud the content creators for creating more Tier 1-4 goodness



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
CCC-SALT-01-01 Rumors of Riches
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CCC-BMG-17 ELM 1-2 The Lost Sanctum
by Matthew P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/10/2017 07:53:34

I ran this recently as part of my scenario scheduling.

There are some key differences between this scenario and it's predecessor particuarly in regards to how encounters are run. More on that further in.

ELM 1-1 set a good scene and story with the Moander cult on the move perhaps and the grain of the town of Elmwood being infected. Part 1 had the party investigate the grain issue, traveling into the elven forest and then meeting up with a sage (a call out to Curse of the Azure Bonds).

ELM1-2, sees the party return to Elmwood quickly (or not as the case may be) and then be asked to go into the forest again to find a Arcane location where a mage had his sanctum.

THe party is given the location of sorts and then needs to travel through the forest to find this location.

Now one thing the previous scenario got very right was to make sure the creatures/monsters used were thematically appropriate to the scenario. We had a Shambling Mound, Vine Blights /variants, and Corpse FLower/Ropers as well as some other stuff.

This scenario decides to almost completely move away from that and have the party encounter the forces of a Necromancer Mage Lord who has an interest in the Sanctum and Netherese ruins. While in and of itself, this felt a bit like the start of a plot for a sequel series to the current one, the use of Zombies/Arcane casters and mercenaries feels a bit jarring. I fully expect the Forest now to offer up perhaps a Demonic encounter (considering how much is made that the demonic madness still exists). I expected perhaps more Plant based threats, considering the forces of Moander are very active.

Im not opposed per se to the variety in threat, but I think there could of been better monsters on offer.

As this point I should address the key figure in this scenario. Grypht the Saurial Ice Mage/Wizard who is also a Saurial. I love this. Curse of the Azure Bonds after Pool of Radiance was my first real experience with both AD&D and FR. This race , Lizardman like could not speak but instead released different smells to converse with others. Very awesome, but I must admit I did wonder how one could become a Mage if you couidnt speak the Arcane tongue.

After finally finding the Sanctum the party is exposed to a Combat Arena situation of sorts and then a pretty interesting Row /Column puzzle which at least in my game worked well. I didnt have to give too many hints :) . This was great and I love a good puzzle.

Sadly though, in the conclusion we have an issue with VIMM, who is a Very Intelligent Magic Mouth Spell which looks like a Hologram of a Lady. I had no issue with this. Grypht is gone and he wants something to .. look after his home base.

However normally at this point of the adventure, players can become restless. Its been some time since the game began and many people arnt as ... concentrating as much as they might be. VIMM provides some exposition and then that is it. Again with some rejigging I think the Sage from the first part could of had a different fate and this could of been him giving the party the information. Perhaps his soul had become trapped to the sanctum. I liked VIMM, I just felt that she/it was a little wasted here. Great Concept though.

THe party gets some information on Moanders intentions and then its back to Elmwood for Part 3. Part 3 is honestly the best part of the Series with again a return to thematically appropriate monsters, some interesting combat and skill encounters and a good resolvement to this series.

Now my final issue is with the way encounters are written within this scenario. We have an initial Mage/Zombie encounter, and a further Mage/Beholder zombie encounter/ The final encounter is within the combat arena setup and is well detailed. My issue is not with that encounter.

In this scenario , the Monster involed in the first two encounters for average /unchanged difficulty are not directly specified. That is those used to OGRE ZOMBIE behing in Bold or MAGE being in bold wont see that. Instead we get maps which show the location of where the average level monsters appear and what they are. Some of these maps are massive, and many dms will simply not have a battlemat big enough so changes will likely be made. THe appropriate box for tiering IS there and is definetly usuable but even with the 'refer to map' text to see where the monsters are for the average fight, they should be clearly written in bold into the encounter text.

I marked this as 2 Stars because of the issue with the encounter text and the monsters that didnt quite feel like they fit. In fact beyond the fact the adventure was set in the Forest where the last one was, this felt like it could of been placed in almost any other trilogy it felt that tangental to the main story.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
CCC-BMG-17 ELM 1-2 The Lost Sanctum
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CCC-BMG-16 ELM 1-1 The Sage of Cormanthor
by Matthew P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/10/2017 07:24:17

I ran this a few weeks ago as part of my scheduling.

Firstly on the whole I didnt notice many spelling issues or the like compared to some DDAL stuff. Good work here.

The theme setup in this story is great and what makes it even better is that there is an Appendix on Elmwood itself down to alignment status and key people. Thats just above and beyond.

The monsters used are thematically appropriate. The Corpse Flowers encounter though is an ... issue. On average strength there are a LOT of monsters on the board at one time. A lot . It can make combat rounds... difficult. Be prepared for this.

Good use of call outs to Curse of the Azure Bonds. The NPC Sage is certainly one :), but sadly his time is short and I think he could of easily been a good npc to carry through the series.

All in all a good start to a story with the 2nd scenario perhaps a little weaker than the first with the last scenario being the best of the series.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
CCC-BMG-16 ELM 1-1 The Sage of Cormanthor
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Xanathar's Lost Notes to Everything Else
by Matthew P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/10/2017 03:19:02

This is essentially a reprint of my post in discussions. Ive read a bit more since then but do not have much to add at the moment.

To be honest the price point 26 dollars Australia put me back a little. I got over it but Im not sure many of my fellows would

Few things I noted:

The Entropy Domain. I think this Domain suffers a bit because of a lack of spells to justify the concept of the Domain. If there were more spells that fell into this area, it might be good. As it is many of the powers dont seem that connected. Sanctity of Body to me reads like the domain ability that would come with the Death domain.

Now if it was keyed more torwards dispelling and got bonuses vs Arcane users then maybe.

(The more I read this class the more the intention was that it was strong vs Wizards and Sorcs but for some reason it didnt go 'all the way' in that direction)

Survival Domain: Reads VERY combat heavy. the spells however reflect more a survival outside of civilisation angle. I think its more a War subdomain for the more Brutish nonhuman gods. So it seems like its trying to do two different things.

College of Mourning (Bard) reads really interesting. A group of Bards dedicated to easing the journey for Im guessing those left behind from Death to Life. I think they are a very good NPC class as I see them playing at Funerals and such.

However what the hell is up with the Dirge of the Pallbearer level 6 ability of animating the dead? Its like giving Priests of Kelemvor Animate Dead. It does NOT fit the class and almost immediatly I want to look away. To me the Mourning Bard I think might get some abilities akin to turn undead or a way to get back to the cycle of life and death.. not undead.

Circle of Seasons (Druid) : Perfect chance to making a season specific Druid. Ie Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring. Give each type a varied group of related powers. Perhaps key them to an element and perhaps make the druid weaker somehow in a specific season/ vs a specific element. Its a bit too bland to have them represent all of the seasons.

(Also there are some spelling/grammar areas here and I think words are missing)

Circle of the Spiritlord (Druid) Seems very interesting, but to me seems to lose a little bit as it falls back on the Earth/Fire/Water/Wind. We get Light and 'Shadow' (Why not Dark ? ).

I think it might of been better to go with Light/Shadow/Dark. Have 3 types which means by level 10 , the Spiritlord will have mastered all 3 types.

Way of Atonement (Monk) Seems to be a form of Battlemaster for Monks. It reads okay.. although scaling the +1 to +2 and so on dosnt really fit with 5e. I do like their Ki use 'Divine Smite' type ability although It dosnt to me fit with them being described as 'Peaceful'. Ill have to see this one in action I think to make a full judgment.

Saved the best subclass for Last

Way of Empathy:

I love this take on the monk and I could SO see it working for Monks of Ilmater. THe ability to effectively lay on hands to heal others, get more hps back in rests.

Empathetic Bond reminds me of a spell, but I cant quite put my name on it. Taking half damage for someone else is nice. Again its an ability I need to see in action before I fully make up my mind, but THIS monk seems far more peaceful than the Monk of Atonement.

Ive only had a quick skim through so far so if I can get the review to work, Ill put them in there as well

I may change the rating down the road but there are some definite issues with some of the subclasses . Each class has a 'introduction' ie.. what X is supposed to be .. but these are not reflected in the mechanics of a fair few of these classes. Some of them have a Pathfinder feel to them, I don't doubt there are authors here working on both Pathfinder and 5e products but I think some of the Pathfinder seems to be bleeding into these Subclasses.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Xanathar's Lost Notes to Everything Else
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Xanathar's Lost Notes to Everything Else
by Fiona E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/10/2017 02:57:28

TL;DR: This is one of the strongest offerings in all of Fifth Edition D&D and you should check it out! I trust the authors to fix the issues I have with this release, so even though it has problems, don't let that stop you- they WILL get fixed. Sooner or later.

  • Subclasses: Loved 9, Liked 10, 6 Need Work, 0 or 1 classes that should just be scrapped, depending on how I feel about Way of Atonement at any given minute.
  • Backgrounds: Loved them! All of these are common enough backstories for characters, so it's great to have them detailed out like this.
  • Feyblood Race: Needs work. Needs lots of work. The concept is there, the execution is terrible.
  • Optional Rules: I have no strong feelings one way or the other about these. Except the stabbing-reality critfails. Those are great.
  • Adventure: Loved it! Set in Port Nyanzaru, so having access to Tomb of Annihilation is almost a must, but the Death Curse is optional. Sets the PCs against the Xanathar's minions.
  • Monsters: Loved them! Urban dryads can add a lot of flavor to your larger towns, and the Gen can add a lot of flavor to any campaign that use genies.
  • Art: Liked it! A lot of it's recycled but the original stuff is almost as good.
  • Price: Worth it.

Detailed review below! I'll review all of the subclasses first since that's what most players and DMs are here for, and other stuff afterwards.

SUBCLASSES

PATH OF THE COURAGEOUS HEART: LIKED IT. If you enjoy protagonists who simply can't stand by when there's injustice, fly into a rage, and realize only afterwards they've shifted the region's politics by braining the Duke with a table leg, this is the class for you. Most all of the features play into the flavor of the good-hearted hero who stumbles into victory as much as they earn it through sheer determination. It is a bit unfortunate that the 6th level feature gives you benefits that only apply to unarmed and improvised combat, since the flavor of the class overall doesn't suggest unarmed combat as the core- perhaps an additional ribbon ability at that level would be nice.

PATH OF THE RED REAVER: LIKED IT. This class starts with a simple premise- a warrior who seeks combat because it is the only way they know how to find any meaning in life. That sort of character is easy to find in many fictions, so it's easy to see why they'd make it into a Barbarian. The additional flavor and mechanics rely on blood and the barbarian's addiction to spilling it, which gives it an overall strong flavor/mechanics cohesion. The features tend to the strong side from the get-go- Sanguine Scent, while largely a roleplaying feature, is still a strong one, and I suspect the class would be better served by merging it with the 6th level feature "Blood Hound." Sanguine Clarity lets you increase the critical threat range of your attacks by up to 3, which might make some DMs feel uncomfortable with it since Barbarians get Reckless Attack.

PATH OF THE SACRED KIN: NEEDS WORK. Many barbarians revere their ancestors, but not all barbarians can claim descent from a dragon. This class is a martial third-caster, styled after Eldritch Knight and Arcane Trickster, but its source of spells is the Sorcerer. This class is strong- TOO strong, in fact, because it always seems to gain one or two more benefits than necessary at any given level. Some of these are just plain buffs over similar features in other classes, taking that feature, and then adding "...and also it does THIS COOL THING" when the Barbarian should absolutely not be getting both of those at the same level. With some trimming, I'd give this one a gold star.

COLLEGE OF DISCORD: LOVED IT. If you've ever wanted to smash your lute over an orc's head or shank them with a flute, this is the college for you. This is a style of bard I can absolutely see spreading like wildfire throughout the community. Battaglia feature- an area "save or fall prone"- is a little too powerful as is, but this can easily be tweaked. Pandemonium is an extremely powerful ability- simultaneous haste and slow in an area around you- that attempts to balance itself by making you a sitting duck during the performance. Since it's not a spell, don't let your players talk you into letting them maintain concentration with their War Caster feat!

COLLEGE OF KEYS: NEEDS WORK. It's a classic joke that when the bard fails to pick a lock, they attempt to seduce it instead. This class can literally do that. While that image is glorious, the overall list of features is a little too specific and not applicable to every situation. I guess you could say they're KEYED to their job? Beyond just being a little too specific, the 10th and 14th level features are a jumbled mess of missing words and incoherent descriptors, but I assume the features would be cool if they functioned as intended.

COLLEGE OF MOURNING: LOVED IT. This is a bard whose performances are made to memorialize the deceased. This is a nice, simple class that looks like it fits right next to canon ones. My only gripe is the 6th level feature being ripped straight from the necromancer, but as this is a necromancy bard, that's understandable.

ENTROPY DOMAIN: NEEDS WORK. An antimagic domain whose clerics worship black holes- I mean, "spheres of annihilation." I'm not sure how this translates into advantage on death saving throws- at that point you're negating entropy. The list of domain spells is, frankly, ill-fitting, and I'd consider tossing out many of them due to a complete lack of entropy involved, or even negative entropy. If anti-entropy is the intent of the class, the flavor should say that instead.

SURVIVAL DOMAIN: LIKED IT. A domain for people who stubbornly refuse to die. You'd expect more ranger-style flavor here than there is, considering it's a domain for use by tribal races like lizardfolk. I also expected to see a Relentless Endurance-style feature. What you do get is area healing, area grant-advantage, and single-turn immunity to all damage, which aren't bad! Just not what you'd expect.

CIRCLE OF SEASONS: LOVED IT. Less colorful than their name might imply, these druids focus on the one thing that is always inevitable- Entropy. I mean, change. The flavor and mechanics here merge extremely well. They can spend their wild-shape to fuel a feature called a Shroud of Seasons, which puts a powerful debuff (or buff) on the target, which grows more powerful as you level up. My MAJOR gripe with this is that, as currently written, you lose the ability to place the Shroud over a single target at 10th level, and instead place it over an area that no longer moves with its victims.

CIRCLE OF THE SPIRITLORDS: NEEDS WORK. Despite the fancy name, this is perhaps one of the simplest classes any spellcaster has had to use. It starts out very slow, and quickly builds up in power until 14th level, at which point they are an engine of destruction that ignores resistance and immunity to 6 different damage types and knows 12 more cantrips than any other druid. I'd much prefer more roleplaying flavor in a class called "Spiritlord" to being so dramatically overcharged.

DRAGOON: NEEDS WORK. I can tell that whoever wrote this class is passionate about it. They are passionate to a fault. Please, cut down on all of the unnecessary flavor text, because I don't like wasting time figuring out where the history lesson ends and the class feature begins. Beyond just gripes that over 20% of the class is unnecessary flavor text (I counted, and didn't count Necessary Flavor Text that every class has), the class itself is an alternate to the Cavalier presented in Xanathar's, modeled after the historical dragoons. Its 3rd level features are all extremely powerful- and, in the case of Elevated Control, perhaps too broadly worded. After all, advantage on all Persuasion checks against any creature with "the capacity to be used as a mount" is dangerous wording. Its 7th level feature, Line Breaker, is perhaps an even better version of the Cavalier's 15th level feature, Ferocious Charger, and I'm not sure any of the features beyond third are placed at the level they should be. My largest gripe is that it adheres too strictly to the historical concept of a dragoon, when there is a large breadth of fantasy dragoons that could be used for inspiration- especially since you can use your bonus action to fire a loaded one-handed ranged weapon, a clear reference to pistols, which most campaigns don't have. I agree with the design philosophy that led to the Cavalier and Samurai in Xanathar's in the first place- use the fiction to enhance the reality.

RUNEGUARD: LIKED IT. This is a unique class that takes aspects from rune magic previously shown in Storm King's Thunder and applies it to a Fighter. It functions a bit like Eldritch Invocations, except each is usable only once per short rest. Two suggestions/complaints: 1) Stein-Hagr can't give you advantage on death saving throws, you lost concentration on it when your HP hit 0. 2) A personal gripe: Stacking the burns from Ild-Sokn can lead to an absolutely ridiculous amount of damage if you combine it with spells like Bestow Curse to prevent the enemy from putting them out. I'm not sure if that was the intent of the ability.

WAY OF ATONEMENT: NEEDS WORK. This is perhaps a textbook case of what sort of class not to allow a Munchkin to get their hands on. This class gains an extremely powerful smite-style feature (2d8 per Atonement Die spent, you can use half your level per smite up to your total number of levels), in exchange for taking 1d8 damage for every die you spent on smites during your adventuring day during your rests- when you choose to atone, of course. Having a resource system separate from the concept of short or long rests, which damages you when you refill it, is quirky and costs your healer a spell slot at best, and can severely decrease the monk's fighting potential for days at a time at worst. It also magically bonds to a club (any club), and gains a variable +1 to +4 to all attack rolls, damage rolls, and saving throws made while the club is equipped. This stacks with the club's innate bonuses. Perhaps at odds with the class itself and all other monk classes, the 17th level feature is a skillmonkey feature, allowing you to "smite" your ability checks and saving throws. I'm almost tempted to give this one a "Scrap" rating instead, the only one this book would earn. I don't know what this was based on, but it was clearly based on something and went too far in the name of perfection. Dial it down, make it fit, and we'll see where it goes.

WAY OF EMPATHY: LIKED IT. This class damages themselves on purpose too, but unlike the Atonement monk, they actively spend their hit points in order to heal and protect other characters nearby. Think of it as the Warding Bond spell expanded to cover an entire class. It's a great way to play a more pacifistic monk character.

OATH OF PREDATION: LOVED IT. This class screams "Use me as an archvillain for your campaign!" Based on the Illrigger Paladin of D&D's past, the Oath of Predation has the Paladin become the head of their own cult of personality. Or a Thieves' Guild. Or both! This class adds a lot of sneak flavor and uses for your otherworldy charisma that combine to make you a formidable ally to the Trickery Domain, the School of the Beguiler (also in this book), and Rogues in general.

OATH OF PROVIDENCE: LIKED IT. At first glance, this seems like a class similar to the Courageous Heart- someone who fights against evil, no matter the odds. The Oath, however, makes the Paladin accept that some things can't change- but the things that do change are the will of the gods, and you are their instrument. All of its spells and features are centered around luck and destiny, making it a Divination specialist on par with the Divination Wizard, Wild Magic Sorcerer, or a Halfling with the Lucky feat. The 20th feature is extremely powerful, and might be best trimmed down a bit- starting with the "recharges all other features besides this one when it ends" bit, which no other Paladin gets.

BURGHAL EXPLORER: LOVED IT. Other than the name (really? You couldn't go with Urban Explorer?), it's a solid class with unique concepts that take advantage of its theming and flavor. It can cast find familiar too, so your Batman Ranger can have their own Robin. Of note, the text accidentally calls it the "Ruin Dweller," which I think is a reference to the next class.

WASTELAND WANDERER: LOVED IT. This class is designed around the concept of being the party's Mom-friend, and that's okay. After all, someone has to make sure the food isn't poisoned, spot the bad guys in the bushes, check for all the traps before they allow you into the room, kiss your booboos to make them better, and shoot someone in the face for daring to hurt you. On a side-note, don't let your players take this class in addition to the Observant feat. You will regret it.

DIVINE HERALD: LOVED IT. This class hits the sweet-spot of flavor, mechanics, and ease of use that make good classes into great classes. This Rogue is a third-caster like the Arcane Trickster, except it takes from the Cleric spelllist. All of the flavor and combat features add to the class exponentially and I can imagine having so much fun playing as one. My only gripe is that your choice of spell-schools aren't limited like other third-casters, but that's an easy fix.

FEY MAGIC BLOODLINE: LIKED IT. This class fills a sorely-needed hole in Sorcerers and gives them access to druid spells as they advance. Oddly, that and the Sylvan are the only features they get at 1st level, but access to healing and other unique druid spells is potent enough that I'll forgive this, especially since the higher level features are very potent.

CHAOS PATRON: LIKED IT. There are no words for the sheer level of chaos this patron adds to a game, except, perhaps, "Use At Your Own Risk." They don't use a d100 table like the Wild Magic Sorcerer does- instead, they have several d6 tables, one for each of their class features (except 14th). The 1st level feature can put a damper on your whole adventuring day with a bad roll, especially if you rely on ranged spells. That said, the type of person who would willingly use this Patron is the type of person who is either willing to take on these risks or is a horrible compulsive gambler.

NOBLE GENIE PATRON: LOVED IT. While I've never played an Al'Qadim setting, I know enough of the lore to recognize a Sha'ir when I see one. I suspect, however, that getting the ability to cast literally any spell (almost like a wish- oh, I get it!) was not part of the original class. I'd nerf this by making you spend a Warlock spell slot to cast the spell gained in this way, because as is, you can take one level in this class and then just combine it with any other spellcaster for access to every 9th level spell and below. The 6th level feature needs clarification, because I don't know how to expend my Gen Die, which gets smaller as you level up (this makes sense, I swear). The 10th level feature is Boring But Practical, and the 14th level feature turns you INTO A GENIE. INFINITE COSMIC POWER.... ittybittylivingspace. For 1 minute, anyways.

SCHOOL OF THE BEGUILER: LIKED IT. This is a Wizard that is meant to be 1/3rd Rogue. So, an Inverse Arcane Trickster. It looks like loads of fun, and might be a good model for other class-hybrid wizards in the future!

SCHOOL OF THE MAGE HUNTER: LOVED IT. This Wizard takes the model of Bladesinging and inverts it to give other creatures trouble against you. Think of a Hexblade Warlock designed to fight mages and planar entities and you have a good start. Absolutely a good class to pit your PCs against if the party's Beguiler has been causing too much mischief.

SCHOOL OF RECONSTRUCTION: LIKED IT. This wizard is an alternate Evocation wizard who can heal instead of gaining bonuses to damage. They get Sculpt Spells at 10th level instead of 2nd to make up for it, which lets them heal allies they choose to save. That's really all there is to it.

BACKGROUNDS: LOVED IT. Each of the backgrounds is thought out to the same level of detail as the ones in the Player's Handbook, and are great for common backstories for players and NPCs alike. I'd change the Dead's feature, however, as it currently relies on Downtime- a feature many campaigns fail to take advantage of.

FEYBLOOD RACE: NEEDS LOTS OF WORK. Implied to be Half-Fey, making them closer to Aasimar than Tieflings. Racial statistics are a mess and need complete revision before I'd even think about using them. They gain advantage against being charmed from two features. They gain the Dryad's Fey Charm ability, but since it was directly copied and pasted without regards to context, this gives the Feyblood the ability to charm every humanoid and beast that gets within 30 ft. of them. for an infinite duration with no action required, an infinite amount of times. Also, getting spells at 3rd and 6th level just seems weird compared to the precedent set by every other race Wizards has put out.

OPTIONAL RULES: LIKED IT. There's not much to say here. If you're the type to use these optional rules, they're a decent resource. They aren't particularly inspiring or masterful on their own. I do enjoy the crit-fail table results that have you "missing" so hard that you stab reality. I'm not sure what the Corruption Levels are used for or even what they mean, so I'm ignoring them for now until they are either removed entirely or expanded upon.

MAGICAL ITEMS: LOVED IT. These items are all very creative. I might label some of the uncommon ones as common, however.

ADVENTURE: LOVED IT. A mini-campaign that takes PCs from level 1 to 3 in Port Nyanzaru. It does not necessarily connect to Tomb of Annihilation, but it takes place in Chult all the same- instead, the players are pitted against the Xanathar's minions. This adventure is, for the large part, the same quality you would normally expect out of Wizards of the Coast, and makes great use of existing NPCs, varied statblocks, and interesting encounters and mechanics to liven things up at every turn. There are some errors, however, such as describing a pair of sailors as playing cards one paragraph and then as being asleep the next. ....so it's the same quality you would normally expect out of Wizards of the Coast.

MONSTERS: LOVED IT. Urban dryads can add a lot of flavor to an urban campaign, especially if your party has an urban druid or an urban ranger (such as the Burghal Explorer published in this book). Gen are not limited solely to being a warlock's familiar, and can add a lot of flavor to any campaign that makes use of genies and elementals in general. I have minor concerns over the spells the Gen can cast once they actually become your familiar, but they're not as strong as the spells you yourself should be casting at that point.

....urban, urban, urban, urban....

ART: LIKED IT. A lot of the art is recycled from Wizards of the Coast books, but that's okay since they're generally used to great effect. The art that is new to the book only stands out a little in comparison, so it's pretty high quality. The Xanathar's asides are pretty good too.

PRICE: WORTH IT. This book is every bit as quality as a Wizards of the Coast book... that hasn't quite finished the revision process. It's a little pricey for the amount of content you get compared to other digital D&D books, but dang is it good content, and hey, I'm glad to support fellow Dungeon Masters.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Complete Adventures of M.T. Black Vol. I
by Daniel r. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/09/2017 18:46:23

So far only played Little Shrine of Horrors with my group. Heavy puzzle and trap oriented adventure. I think 3 small encounters that all but one can be skipped. Make sure your players are in to this sort of thing. Think Tomb of horrors - Light.

I loved the setup and the story and fun characters. There is a really nice plot-twist that you can spin in several different ways. Adventure can easily be shoehorned in with little tweaks in to your campaign. I simply hooked them with that the relic they are looking for was owned by the Shrines creator. At the end they found his deed.

My PC group had a lot of fun.

So to the bad.

There is one puzzle that is not so good, the god room. First the images on the player handout and the key does not match. Was confusing. The once they figured out the mechanics of the puzzle they could not solve it. They had to dice roll so many times in order to get the information they needed. That was tedious and not inventive (60 dice rolls that you need to get above 15 if you want to clear the board, and on a not so common skill). Actually replacing this room with an empty corridor would be an improvement and something I would recommend (or put in your own puzzle). Good place to add an encounter instead if you feel you want to mix it up a bit. The puzzle in it self is not critical for the storyline or the mecanics.

There are also parts of the place where in order to proceed the players HAVE to succeed in dice-rolls, there is no real thinking involved. They know they need to throw dice and the only way to get past it is to succeed in checks. For example in the bone tunnel. No creative thinking. Just throw dice until you are past it. If your party has a bad dice run it ends up just being tedious. The best puzzles are when you get to think about a solution, and figuring out is enough. Adding skill checks to it just makes it boring. If you want skill checks, do something that you could use a couple of different skill-checks. Like you need to jump over this chasm or disarm this trap.

If you want to teach your players to look for traps and question everything this is the perfect adventure. I also advice you think hard on how you want to do trap detection before you start. If each player is going to detect for traps for every single tile then this is going to take a long while. Be generous with the trap detection, there will be enough of them, so they will fail at some point.

That said. Great adventure. We had a good laugh and I recommend it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Complete Adventures of M.T. Black Vol. I
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