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Castles & Crusades A3: Wicked Cauldron
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/06/2016 08:00:43

I am reviewing the print and pdf versions.

The premise is a fairly simple one. There is a ruined ziggurat in the Barren Woods that is the home to many foul things. It also has a long and evil history and currently is home to one of the fabled Witch Queens. The PCs must investigate and stop her.

The adventure itself is particularly original, but that doesn't make it less fun. There is a good balance of overland and dungeon exploring, plenty of new monsters to fight, a threat of an ancient evil. Given that this module is coded "A3" should give you an indication it is part of a larger series, and it is. It can be played as part of Troll Lords "A" series that began with "Assault on Blacktooth Ridge" and "Slag Heap" and continues in other Airhde products and adventures. But it can also be played as a stand-alone adventure. The adventure is very reminiscent of the old Basic adventures of the early 80s, especially B2 and B4. In fact, it is almost a perfect mix of these two classic adventures. So in the nostalgia department, it gets a perfect score from me.

My biggest issue with the PDFs and the Print versions are the maps are fairly small. I can redo them on my own and larger, but having something I can print out or read easier would be nice.

All in all a really fun adventure and the start of something really fun for the players.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades A3: Wicked Cauldron
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Villains of the Undercity
Publisher: Maximum Mayhem Dungeons
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/01/2016 12:31:38

Mark Taormino is like some sort of mad genius. I love his Maximum Mayhem Dungeons and each one "delivers the goods" in terms of hitting that nostalgia feel. What if the Keep on the Borderlands was destroyed and then humans came in and built a new keep on top of the ruins. Let's also say the caves of Chaos have been cleared, but not all the monsters were killed. Where did they go? What did they do? Now invite the Slave Lords from the A series over. You would get Villains of the Undercity! This adventure is an ode and homage to the great dungeon crawls of the day. While this adventure fits the gonzo style of the other Maximum Mayhem Dungeons this one can also be played straight. Well...sorta. There is a crazy Halfling Illusionist Assassin, but that is for the players to figure out. With this one anyone that has ever been inside a classic dungeon will find something to love. There are lots of deadly traps, monsters and puzzles to figure out. Of course plenty of treasure too. This adventure is also the one that I can see fitting into a larger campaign, even with adventures from other publishers. I was mentally placing it in Greyhawk or even Dolmvay. Just really a lot of fun.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Villains of the Undercity
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The Secret Machines of the Star Spawn
Publisher: Maximum Mayhem Dungeons
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/01/2016 12:30:35

Mark Taormino is like some sort of mad genius. I love his Maximum Mayhem Dungeons and each one "delivers the goods" in terms of hitting that nostalgia feel. Let's play a game of what if. What if the Expedition to the Barrier Peaks had been written in the 80s instead of the 70s? What if there were influences of Star Wars, Buck Rogers, 50s sci-fi movies and just a little dash of 70s Blaxplotation? You might get something like The Secret Machines of the Star Spawn, but it would not be as good as the module Mark Taormino wrote. The module follows a similar flow of the other Maximum Mayhem Dungeons; something weird is happening, there are rumors, a long history of strangeness and a thin excuse to go adventuring. What they PCs will uncover is...well I don't want to spoil it. It's no shock that this adventure will feature a downed starship and some lasers. But it doesn't end there. In truth there is a lot to really, really like about this adventure. In a different setting the monsters would be scary ass deadly and really, really awesome. Also there is so many references to pop culture, espeically sci-fi and 80s pop culture, that it would be pointless to address them all. The rock band KILL was one of my favorites. Designed for OSRIC, I played bits and pieces of this using D&D5. Though it would work just as well with AD&D1, Castles & Crusades or any other OGL based clone game. The one issue I have with it (and very minor) is that players that didn't grow up in the 70s and 80s would not get all the jokes. I ran Hanging Coffins for my kids and they loved it, but some of the jokes fell flat on them here. No surprise they have no context for them. I thought they were hilarious to be honest. Loved the Pinball Wizard! If I were to run this again I would either merge it with a little bit of Expedition to the Barrier Peaks and run a huge Star Spawn mega-adventure. Or I'd run it as is with some disposable characters and guys the grew up in the 80s too.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Secret Machines of the Star Spawn
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Wizard Tradition: The Witch
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/27/2016 07:13:05

This presents three witchcraft Wizard traditions: White, Black, and Gray and two Patron: the Fiend and the Earth Mother. This one is more in-line with other TSR/WotC versions of the Witch, esp the 2nd and 4th editions where the witch was akin to the Wizard. The author even states that the 2nd ed Witch kit was one of his favorites and I can see that here. The Patrons and the traditions offer mostly role-playing favor to the witch, but that is fine. The witch gains ritual casting abilities and boons. The odd thing about this one are the minimum ability scores required. I don't recall any D&D class having minimum ability scores required in 5e. There are some good ideas and certainly a witch I would like to try playing.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Wizard Tradition: The Witch
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The Dungeon Master's Handbook II
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2016 17:31:18

The largest book downloaded from the DM's Guild so far. Lots of lists of monsters and encounters, most of which I have no need for. Sadly that accounts for about 40 some pages. There are about 30 pages of monster stats with minimal descriptions and no art. If you are running Curse of Strahd I see that there is some use in this.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Dungeon Master's Handbook II
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Archetypes for D&D
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2016 17:25:16

ive new archetypes including a witch (sorcerer) and the witch hunter (any). The witch gets some new spells (from other classes) and four new powers. If I were to use this with other witch classes I might call it a Witch-kin or a Witch-blooded.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Archetypes for D&D
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3 Archetypes #04 - Druid
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2016 17:21:20

What is says on the tin. Three new Druid circles including a Circle of Witchcraft. Interesting ideas, but not entirely sure it works for me. The Circle of Rebirth and Circle of Seasons are more interesting and come a little closer to what is expected from a druid.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
3 Archetypes #04 - Druid
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Druid Circle - Circle of the Eremite
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2016 17:17:39

Potion brewing druids. Comes with printer friendly and screen versions. This class has a Hedge Wtich feel about it to be honest. A bunch of new potions are listed at the end.
Not a bad idea, but feels a little off to me somehow. I have not put my finger on it to be honest.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Druid Circle - Circle of the Eremite
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Pacts & Patrons (and eldritch invocations!), new class options for the warlock
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2016 17:13:42

Two new pacts and five new patrons for warlocks. The art and layout is nice. The Aegis Pact is similar to Pact of the Blade. The Pact of Concoctions makes the warlock into a brewer of potions. The patrons are for me the more interesting part of the book. These include The Archmage, The Ascendent (almost a god), Fate, Mother Nature and the Phoenix. Each comes with some flaws and an expanded spell list. The last couple of pages are devoted to new invocations.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Pacts & Patrons (and eldritch invocations!), new class options for the warlock
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New Warlock Invocations
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2016 17:05:48

Four pages of new Warlock invocations and two pages of a new Fighter archtype, the Hexblade. The Hexblade obviously gets some ability from the Pact of the Blade Warlock, but some martial ability as well. The artist is not listed, but I found his work here: http://rodimus25.deviantart.com/art/Fantasy-Warlock-174156589



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
New Warlock Invocations
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Glamour Mage Class
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2016 17:00:10

This one is nice since it comes in both screen and print ready versions. While not exactly a witch, it covers a lot of the same ground. Spellcasting is like a warlocks and a emphasis is given on glamour and flashy spells. There is actually quite an interesting and unique class here and one I'd like to try playing. Maybe an NPC would work well.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Glamour Mage Class
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Spells of the Unapproachable East
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2016 16:54:26

This collects various spells that have appeared in some Forgotten Realms books in previous editions focusing on the lands of Thay, Aglarond, Rashemen, Thesk and the Great Dale. If these names do not mean anything to you, don't worry, I only am vaguely aware of them myself. The point here is that there are a lot of "new" spells for you. The spells comprise the last 8 pages. Some are familiar enough to me just because I have been playing for 36+ years, but some are new to me. Twelve pages for a buck (or less) is not a bad deal really.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Spells of the Unapproachable East
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The Shaman - A New Take
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2016 16:48:59

This class has spellcasting foci, like a fetish or idol, which gives it a nice feel. Wisdom is the spellcasting ability. This class also has some spirit based powers that are interesting. The relationship here is similar to the cleric and druid is similar to the Sorcerer-Wizard-Warlock one. I think I would have liked to have seen this class use something more like the Warlock style spellcasting to be honest, but what is here works fine. IT's a good class, but I am left want more.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Shaman - A New Take
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Witch Class
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2016 16:37:43

This witch is more like a warlock, but that is what it is advertised as. These witches appear to be manipulators of Fate. These witches also use Wisdom as their spell casting ability. Instead of pacts or traditions this witch has "Heritages"; the Traditionalist, the Blighted, and the Clarivoyant. Each one gives the witch some different sorts of powers. Ends with a spell list. At six pages it seems a bit thin, but does exactly what it said it was going to do.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Witch Class
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Witch Class (5e)
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2016 16:31:10

I rather like this one. The layout is really nice, very professional. The witches here as presented as natural spell-casters; learning through natural ability and experiences. Wisdom is the spellcasting ability for this witch and are natural Ritual Spellcasters. This witch also has a number of witch traditions; fey, hedge and shadow. All provide the witch with background and provide some powers. This witch also can assume animal shape and has a spirit kin; something like a spirit animal. There is a list of spells, but no real new ones.
There are a lot of great ideas in this one to be honest.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Witch Class (5e)
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