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Dark Sun Boxed Set (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Teos A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/06/2014 13:51:42
The original Dark Sun boxed set is more than a fantastic purchase for collectors. It is one of the best boxed sets ever written, with a fantastic blend of rules, story, setting, maps, art, and introductory adventure. The whole does a fantastic job of immersing the reader, whether player or DM, in this very original setting.

The setting material is especially useful, even for fans who own the more recent 4th Edition Campaign Guide. The organization of the material on the terrain, for example, really brings the desert to life. Many secrets abound within the pages, exciting the DM with ideas for campaigns. The city-states are portrayed in their original vision, before any additional material had been provided and before the release of the Prism Pentad novels. Ideas such as the character tree still have value today, regardless of the edition you use to run Dark Sun.

This product includes the introductory adventure as both a file with are for players and the adventure for DMs, the setting book, the rule book, the cover art 'poster', the map of Tyr, the black-and-white hex world map suitable for adding notes, the color map of the world, and the short story. The art is particularly useful, allowing DMs to digitally copy the art and print it out for use in games. Excellent purchase!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Sun Boxed Set (2e)
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Taking the Narrative by the Tail: GM Intrusions & Special Effects
Publisher: Monte Cook Games
by Teos A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/29/2014 23:42:55
At the price, it is hard to go wrong with this purchase. The document consists of a cover, five pages of content, and a final page with advertisements. The five pages cover the concept of Intrusions, providing additional explanation (beyond the core book) for their purpose and use.

Roughly two pages provide example intrusions of various kinds in bullet format. These are great for idea generation, though for my particular needs I would have liked a focus on typical scenes in a game and why and how to apply some example intrusions.

The document provides some additional example Minor and Major Effects, which I really liked. These are directly helpful in many common GMing situations.

Overall, I find this useful due to the many ideas presented, likely to be useful to nearly any GM. The how-to information is sound, but could have been better at bolstering the concept (especially for a DM not yet comfortable with using Intrusions) and strengthening a GM's methodology for applying Intrusions.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Taking the Narrative by the Tail: GM Intrusions & Special Effects
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Eclipse Phase: Continuity
Publisher: Posthuman Studios LLC
by Teos A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/23/2014 17:29:15
I first played Continuity at Gen Con as a scheduled convention game run by a volunteer game. It was easily the highlight of that year's Gen Con. I've since then also run the adventure. As with so many of the Posthuman adventures, this delivers a really cool sci-fi premise. We start with the PCs being restored from backup... but what happened? Why is the space station/ship in such bad shape? It gets really spine-tingling and Aliens-like as PCs search for clues... and then they find out where their previous versions went. Spoiler... the previous versions are coming back, and they are changed! The material is really good, while being simple. There is just the right amount for GMs to just run-as-is, but the material is so cool that the GM will want to build upon it and add cool touches to what takes place. Players get to make really cool decisions and can handle the threat in different ways. The adventure can be challenging - one run ended in a TPK, but it was an awesomely fun TPK and everyone wanted to play more Eclipse Phase after it. I highly recommend this scenario as an introduction for new GMs and players, for running at conventions, and as a 'backstory' or flashback for a campaign. Like the excellent "Ego Hunter", the sci-fi concepts are super-fun and made tangible for both players and GM.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eclipse Phase: Continuity
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A Night in Seyvoth Manor (DnD 4E)
Publisher: Darklight Interactive
by Teos A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/22/2013 03:01:26
Note: I have not run this adventure. My review is based on reading through the content.

This is an exceptional adventure for what it is: a Fourthcore and classic tournament styled adventure provided by a third-party publisher (and for free!). This style of adventure places an emphasis on attempting to complete an adventure where traps, puzzles, and random elements can create failure. Fans of that genre should be pleased. In addition, the adventure has so many interesting bits that even those who do not care for the exact style should be able to mine its contents for cool ideas to use in their own style of adventures.

The writing and production quality are both superior to those typically found in third-party products. While we can pick nits, overall it is clear that effort and skill have been applied here to create a great experience for the DM reading through the content and for the players that will experience the adventure. Writing is strong, formatting is clean and legible, monsters and traps are well constructed and fun, etc. A really neat aspect is how the author places Trivia sidebars sharing how real-world history and games have influenced the writing of the adventure. It shows how the author cares for the DM and for gaming history.

There are some fun, if gamist, concepts for various encounters. For example, a deck is used during a maze to determine progress. Random treasure cards are used. Rumor cards are provided and have a label as to how reliable the information might be. The location of some adventure components can vary with play. These aspects resemble old RPGA tournament adventures. Similarly, there are cases where the adventure can feel a bit thin. For example, an NPC where there could be interesting interaction, but the adventure really focuses on a particular item being provided. It makes the NPC into a puzzle rather than a social interaction. There is a reason for it, but it fits a particular play style and could probably please more audiences. That said, it isn't a big deal and a DM can change this very easily.

I'll leave lethality and game play to another reviewer. A quick perusal shows some tough monsters - some seem overly challenging for an adventure that must be completed in 4 hours. However, it will take actual play to confirm this. And, because scoring is the drive, it may not be a bad thing if players can't easily complete the adventure.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Night in Seyvoth Manor (DnD 4E)
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Bag Full of Guns: This Is My Rifle
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Teos A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/04/2007 11:33:03
The first Bag Full of Guns supplement, it does focus on rifles, but also includes a shotgun and grenade launcher. The weapon quality Modular is introduced, and reflects how many of the weapons can switch between upgrades (each switch is a separate stat line for the weapon - a very cool idea!). The upgrade "Airburst System" is introduced for grenades, as well as the ammo type, providing a more lethal alternative for those wanting to use grenade launchers more often.

Brief descriptions are provided for each weapon, adding more color and history to the weapon choices.

Overall, the weapons are well designed and will be of good use for players looking for assault rifle/shotgun/grenade options, as well as for GMs that want to introduce a few new toys.

The content is not completely indispensable, but at the price it is an excellent buy.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bag Full of Guns: This Is My Rifle
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Bag Full of Guns: Red Heat
Publisher: Crafty Games
by Teos A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/04/2007 11:25:12
This Bag Full of Guns supplement contains a wider variety of weapon types, including pistols/revolver, SMG, rifles, and a ballistic knife. In addition, the Soviet flavor adds some regional utility for certain missions, NPCs, and PCs.

The new "Submersible" quality is introduced, and several of the weapons are designed for special applications (many are silenced).

For the price, this is an excellent purchase for someone who wants to introduce Soviet weaponry or is looking for special application weapons or for a player that is looking to flesh out a Soviet or Eastern European character. For anyone else it is still a very good purchase.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Bag Full of Guns: Red Heat
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