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Midlands Low Magic Sandbox Setting
Publisher: Low Fantasy Gaming
by David B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/14/2018 11:28:25

First off, please forgive any errors I may make because this is my first review of any product but I must say, Midlands and LFG in general has made quite an impression on me since I've encountered it. There is a reason that I don't do reviews and that is because I find it somewhat disingenuous to do a review only by reading but not actually using a product. As of now I have used the Midlands supplement in varying capacity 3 different times and there is a vast amount of it still that is left untouched. In all three times Midlands has come through for me. This supplement at 364 pages is enormous and with the amount of useable material within, the price of $10 and now $7.50 is more than an extermely fair price point.

**Overview**: This is a brief section that describes the Midlands, as this is a setting book, in terms that frame what the setting emphasizes and what is unique about it. Although the Midlands is placed in a medieval fantasy setting, the various regions within run the gamut of ancient empire complete with gladitorial arenas to budding renaissance technology especially in terms of the Artificer class. It is assumed that the world is a grim and gritty place where fierce danger exists in large swathes of wilderness as well as hidden perils in civilization. The most unique aspect, I find, is that the gods are silent. They don't grant spells or healing which is the realm of actual magic users which is a potentially disasterous choice that requires some caution. Details on this is established in the Low Fantasy Gaming ruleset which is free but it is assumed that Midlands is being used with this system. Mechanics aside, however, this work can be used just about anywhere. The next part, **Sandbox Traits** talks about exactly what this book is setup to be and that is a sandbox. The world is described in generalized terms and is as "open world" as it comes for TRPGs. It lays out exactly what is meant by the term "Sandbox" and how that is applied. It's rare to find any work out there where the descriptive "fluff" elements within are just as valuable to run a game as the crunchy mechanical aspects but here it's true. It is explicitly stated that the tools here provide encounters, events, adventure hooks and even mini-adventures that can be used at a moment's notice to run a great session and from my own experiences, it does precicely that. The next sections detail the Midlands in terms of history and culture, even providing a lexicon that seems like it would add a great feel to immerse the group in these lands of adventure. This part I admit I don't use much, as my campaign takes place in the old TSR Birthright setting before this supplement was released. Each race (and by race it is assumed human in a human-centric setting) has a page or two devoted to it and even has name tables for them. This I find extremely valuable both for players indecisive on names as well as creating NPCs on the fly. Name tables are always welcome! Laws and punishments as well as the names for currency add just that much more flavor to a game and is within here too. All of the gods are described along with their follower's beliefs and details are here as even though they are silent, belief exists. The section on magic discusses just how Dark and Dangerous it can be with tables and details on how it can cause various levels of disaster for an LFG game. An added bonus is how there are alternate spell names, something that you just don't see often enough in games but just as everything else in the book, is permeated with setting flavor that is easily useable. Finally, all of the main cities and geographical areas are here and well detailed. Even if you don't use the setting as intended, the descriptions could be ported to any unknown place your PCs traverse. The **Player Options** and **Bestiary** sections describes things that are more focused on LFG in general. In this part there are three new classes; Artificer, Ranger and Monk, but more importantly there are now gear packs and bonds for characters. These are a nice touch as instead of having to deal with the tedium of shopping, you can now just pick your gear and are ready to go, a lot like the starting equipment options for 5th edition only simpler. The bonds seem very Midlands specific but just like other things in this book can be used anywhere. This is a far more interesting option for starting characters rather than "You meet up in a tavern..." The bestiary adds some more interesting foes for your game too such as the Hammersnail which one could certainly see as a flailsnail. I personally see myself using the Anointed guys as enemy mooks for my now mid-level party. The luck score by Hit Dice table is good to see in there for creating your own monsters and will be of use to me as well since I create and import new creatures all the time. **GM Tools** is a very useable section that has initiative variants and guidelines, NPC generator complete with personailty and speech quirks and and Outpost generator. All randomized and ready to go. This initiative thing is nice but I personally don't need it but where this section really shines is the NPC stuff. You can make just about anything. Just last night my players rode to a monastery in the middle of nowhere and they wanted to speak to the abbott. I did not have an abbott. Midlands did. The part for making outpost is complete with rulers, available services and adventures hooks making it have near infinite use. I haven't has the pleasure of using this part yet, but I can see myself doing so in games to come. There are also random encounter tables by region within but a lot of these are entries re-used from the LFG setting book. That brings me to my only real yet minor qualm with this resource. The random wilderness tables and Dark and Dangerous Magic table are recylced and I would like to have seen some more new stuff there. The new classes are also ones that were released free some time ago. Some other new classes would have been welcome. I'm not too concerned about this; the supplement has masses of useable information that dwarfs this observation. Things such as level-variable general stats for NPCs of every class and possible special abilities is a new and excellent thing for DMs on the fly. I can't even go into the many, many tables that have information on everything from rolling up taverns, streets and rumors to examples of meals served within. It's staggering. If I detailed them all I'd be here all day. **Adventure Frameworks** is the part that I personally got the most use out of. The players in my group needed to have something going on during the winter while they were holed up in the city. I looked for a mini-adventure there there was not only one but EIGHT I had to choose from. They were roped into chasing down a local man at the behest of his wife in a somewhat comic-relief event. It made for a great situation that even has some repercussions in the future for the party. In last weeks game, my players completely skipped out on a mini adventure I set on their path and instead forged on an overland trip to their ultimate destination. What was I to do rather than just fast forwarding it? They were jumped in an assassination attempt well detailed in Midlands. Once again, Midlands pulled through and there is still so much more able to be used. My conclusion here is that whether you use the Midlands setting, OSR or 5E, get this book if you get anything. It's worth it and more. If I didn't already have a campaign, I'd place it in Midlands. As a DM, you will not be sorry. There is something for everyone.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Midlands Low Magic Sandbox Setting
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Nights of the Crusades
Publisher: Aetheric Dreams
by David B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/12/2012 07:49:27

This game seems like a lot of fun and even if you never use the game as shown, there are a lot of interesting concepts (particularly how negotiations are handled) that would be interesting to import into other game systems and settings. The most surprising thing is that this game is free! I'd expect to at least spend 10$ for a pdf of Nights of the Crusades. You really cant go wrong downloading this game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Nights of the Crusades
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