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Monstrous Races
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Emily B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/12/2018 10:10:09

This is absolutely top-notch, five-star work. Some of the design decisions aren't my preferences, and I wish some of the more powerful monsters had additional rules for high-powered abilities. But the work is solid and the price is ridiculously low for something this thorough and well-developed.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Races
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CASTLE OLDSKULL - The Classic Dungeon Design Guide
Publisher: Kent David Kelly
by Emily B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/21/2017 02:55:26

Dungeon design guides are fairly common, but most of them dwell on minutae already covered in Dungeon Master's Guides. This product is especially useful because it ignores most of that stuff in favor of things that haven't been adequately covered. It also presents some easy organization techniques to manage information overload and streamline the dungeon creation process. Some highlights of the product are:

-Advice on making semi-realistic caves, tombs, castles, and manor houses. "Semi-realistic" is explicitly stated as the goal here, as opposed to completely abstract or restrictively realistic designs.

-Random inspiration and idea tables that are both evocative and flexible. Most random tables don't work well for me because they either assume a very specific setting, contain a bunch of really bland concepts, or both. But this book has long tables with lots of genuinely creative ideas.

-A streamlined method for figuring out the dungeon's history and construction. I usually minimize or avoid this issue because most products make dungeon histories sound dreary and irrelevant, but this book's method is faster and more interesting and changed my mind on the subject.

-A streamlined sector-based method for laying out dungeon levels. The writer suggests going back and doing the typical intricate graph paper designs afterwards, and gives a little advice on that, but the book doesn't really dwell on that and works well for those of us who prefer simpler flowchart dungeons.

-Overall, almost everything in the book seems designed to make dungeon creation more efficient and less intimidating, rather than simply introducing more complications than I'd have if I did it by hand.

The art is mostly classic public domain stuff, but it looks pretty good in this context. The layout is decent enough and works especially well on a tablet, since it's single-column and uses a large font. The only downside is that the index is located 11 pages in and takes up several pages, and there's no bookmarks. Furthermore, as of this writing, the PDF is locked down so that new bookmarks can't be added, though that might be changed in a later version.

As an aside, this is an OSR product, but doesn't have two of the more infuriating traits that some OSR products import from the worst products of the old days.

One, it doesn't have a bunch of stupid puns and "hur hur this game is so silly isn't it" stuff a la Mystara or some Greyhawk products; it takes the subject matter reasonably seriously. If you're looking for a more serious OSR product, this is a great one.

Two, it doesn't have big issues with sexism or racism. There's only two problems that I found; one is that it mentions "African" under "primitive themes" on one table, and another is that it occasionally uses "gypsies" as a concept, though it's generally much better than most products on that subject. Fair warning there, but it's pretty solid and comfortable on the subject. It's overall better than the average TSR or Wizards of the Coast product when it comes to the subject.

In conclusion, I've found this product very inspiring and useful, so I'm giving it 5 out of 5.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CASTLE OLDSKULL - The Classic Dungeon Design Guide
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Creator Reply:
Hi there Emily, thank you for the kind review! I appreciate it. I'm hoping to work on this book again in the early summer with some more formatting and content improvements, so I will add your notes to my growing list :) ~Kent
Hexed Places - The Gray Ribs
Publisher: PBE Games
by Emily B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/21/2014 17:27:45

Solid product that does exactly what it advertises. The writing is concise and organized, so this requires almost no prep time or rereading before use. It's a bit short, but uses the space more efficiently than most adventures and locations I've read, so it's rather worth the price.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Hexed Places - The Gray Ribs
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Due Vigilance- Kaiju Kultists
Publisher: Vigilance Press
by Emily B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/25/2014 11:03:27

A well-written, concise, mechanically balanced, and creative product with original monsters, a strong overview of kaiju genres, and a serious tone. It avoids the usual pitfalls of copying Godzilla or treating all kaiju as silly one-note disasters with visible zippers that I've seen in other sourcebooks on the subject, and it provides an array of intelligent and genuinely frightening villains.

It also addresses some of the mechanical issues of using especially huge creatures in M&M 3E, and provides two alternate solutions for people who dislike the normal Growth power rules, but doesn't invalidate any existing characters in the process. It also has extensive optional rules for destroying or protecting city blocks and other frequent targets of kaiju attacks. Finally, it provides balanced and easily-usable stat blocks for a number of complex kaiju villains, and does so without making them boring in combat or unusuably powerful.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Due Vigilance- Kaiju Kultists
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Never Unprepared: The Complete Game Master's Guide to Session Prep
Publisher: Engine Publishing
by Emily B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/05/2013 17:21:05

This is some of the best Gamemaster advice I've ever read, and I've been GMing for almost twenty years, on a daily basis in some cases. The book is very well-organized, enough that I was able to implement its suggestions in real time as I was reading through it. While most of these concepts are things I've subconsciously discovered throughout my time as a GM, they're also concepts I've never properly mentally organized. This book makes the process faster, helps me remember every step, and brings up some ideas I never consciously considered.

Overall, one of the best RPG supplements I've ever read.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Never Unprepared: The Complete Game Master's Guide to Session Prep
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$100 Gift Certificate/Account Deposit
Publisher: OneBookShelf, Inc.
by Emily B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/04/2013 13:48:06

I didn't purchase this for myself, obviously. And it's just a gift certificate, so I'm pretty sure it's just an amusing glitch that sent a review request for this. But overall, I'm quite satisfied with this "product" and hope to get more.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
$100 Gift Certificate/Account Deposit
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Come for the Reaping
Publisher: The Game Mechanics
by Caleb B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/09/2004 00:00:00

This is a very interesting adventure with a Resident Evil feel. There is a great deal of background information and attention to detail. This would be a great module to use as an introduction to D20 Modern.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Come for the Reaping
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22 Talent Trees
Publisher: Bloodstone Press
by Caleb B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/09/2004 00:00:00

It's pretty much what it claims to be: 22 talent trees. There's some creative content, and much of it is reasonably balanced. However, this book, much like the D20 Modern core rules, provides very little of interest for Tough Heroes.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
22 Talent Trees
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ePublisher Guide
Publisher: OneBookShelf, Inc.
by Caleb B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/09/2004 00:00:00

This is a well-written guide to ePublishing by people who know what they're talking about. The ePublisher Guide is detailed, but gets straight to the point.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ePublisher Guide
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