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Treasure Chests
Publisher: The Forge Studios
by Fred D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/10/2006 00:00:00

This product was nicely illustrated, but I found the chests more than a little too outlandish for my tastes. The chests were certainly unique, and often objects of art in their own right, but not terribly practical or easy to fit into a setting.

Overall, the product was produced very well, but isn't very useful.<br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: The illustrations were excellent.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: The designs were extreme, and didn't really make a lot of sense.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Disappointed<br>



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Treasure Chests
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The Mountains of Lament
Publisher: The Forge Studios
by Fred D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/22/2005 00:00:00

This collection contains seven images, with an overview PDF and fairly high-resolution images in JPEG format. I'm not sure publishers would really want JPEGs, but I'm not a publisher, just a GM looking for cool illustrations I can use in my game sessions.

I've really liked these illustrations, and others I've seen in products from this publisher. The style is good and contains a lot of interesting detail. I'm certainly interested in getting more of what these folks produce!<br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: The quality of the illustrations is wonderful!<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: There are too few images.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Mountains of Lament
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Campaign Planner 2
Publisher: Ronin Arts
by Fred D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/13/2005 00:00:00

I picked this up looking for something to help me think about organization and avoid leaving out the various details when planning a campaign, more than for the specific forms. While the product is definately as described, I was disappointed with the sheer simplicity of the forms. There wasn't anything that made me think "Why didn't I think of that??" or "That's an especially good way to organize this."<br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: The forms were straightforward; they really were about the information being organized, not elaborate presentation designed to consume ink from the printer.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: There wasn't anything compelling of particularly interesting about the organization of the forms. Forms should generally make information more accessible, or at least help the form-filler ensure that all the relevant information has been considered.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Disappointed<br>



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Campaign Planner 2
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Fantasy Player's Companion: Contacts
Publisher: Ronin Arts
by Fred D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/30/2005 00:00:00

This PDF contains two sections: rules information and advice for the GM, and sample contacts. The first section is straightforward and not too long, and seems easy to work into a campaign with a reasonable amount of civilization (stationary or not). The rules themselves are to the point and make a lot of sense: they aren't simply new mechanics to remember, but follow the basic idea quite nicely.

The second section contains several example NPC contacts, nicely laid out with one page per NPC with spaces for writing down bits of information that NPC has. This makes it really easy to print them out, make notes, and add them to different sections of your campaign notes.

I don't know if I'll use this in my current campaign, but I'm seriously thinking about it! <br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: This contains enough information to work the ideas into a campaign, without feeling like it was too specific. The presentation of the example contacts was quite nice as well.

Of course, it would be even nicer if the contact pages were PDF forms that I could fill in before printing. I'm quite happy with them as they are, though.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: More information about how contacts are bound to areas and locations where there'd be some connection between a character and the contact would be nice. Contacts may have moved to areas where the PCs happen to wander, but PCs that travel far are less likely to have access to contacts, even via round-about family connections.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fantasy Player's Companion: Contacts
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Dice and Dramatics
Publisher: UKG Publishing
by Fred D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/08/2005 00:00:00

After coming back to fantasy RPGs after being away for 25 years(!), it was time to read up a bit on how to run a game. This was a good discussion that I wish I'd had when I ran my first game, so many years ago! This was a worthwhile read, and I think my game-mastering is definately better for having spent time thinking about the issues discussed in the PDF.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: Good discussion of how to achieve a more cinematic game in a d20 world.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Needed another round of proof-reading; there were too many minor typos toward the end of the document.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dice and Dramatics
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Arcane Freebie 2
Publisher: V Shane
by Fred D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/19/2005 00:00:00

I really was looking for more cool artwork to use in the game I run. Having a story is nice, but not really what I was looking for. The computer-generated (I think) images were not so thrilling, though the pen-and-ink drawings were nice.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: Not enough.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: I couldn't print this out using Acrobat Reader; I'd really rather read the fiction on a printed page. Using an image during a game would be nice too, but that requires printing if you don't want a computer at the game table.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Disappointing<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Disappointed<br>



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Arcane Freebie 2
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Creator Reply:
Sorry to hear your disappointment, the Arcane Monthly as it were was mostly dedicated to publishers who use Tiff files for printing, trying to combine publisher needs with player needs didn't work out so well. But it was only a $1.
A Dozen Wilderness Hazards
Publisher: Ronin Arts
by Fred D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/19/2005 00:00:00

This is a nice overview of the kinds of things one should watch for in the woods. Some things, like the "terror stones," are useful in more places than just the woods, which is nice.

There are several typos, and the description of Bark Grubs includes an unexplained reference to Rot Grubs; I'm presuming that's a copy-and-paste error. Otherwise, this is nicely written.

Some of the hazards are slimes and molds, which are reasonable as a type of hazard, but the level of danger associated with the examples here seems excessive. But maybe they just require a world in which such hazards are often severe to make sense.

As with some other recent "Dozen" PDFs, there is one page with a map tile on it. While the artwork is nice, this adds little value, especially for a game in which square tiles aren't used. (Does anyone remember hexes?) <br><br><b>LIKED</b>: Contains a good range of hazards.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Slimes and molds never feel like really rewarding hazards.

The inclusion of the tile seems useless, though the artwork is nice.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
A Dozen Wilderness Hazards
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Complete Fantasy Ruins Bundle #1
Publisher: Hart-Felt Productions
by Fred D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/19/2005 00:00:00

These maps are fairly crude digital drawings. I don't know if they were produced using one of the fantasy map applications or something else, but the quality of the drawings was disappointing.

It was not clear that any thought had gone into how these would look when printed (especially using a black and white printer). There were lots of jagged edges, and I used a high-quality laser printer. The colors came out a moderately uniform grey. Where fallen timbers and the like were shown, it was difficult to guess what was supposed to be an intact building feature and what was debris.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: I like maps. This product definately contained maps.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: The drawings were low quality and did not read well when printed in black and white.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Disappointing<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Disappointed<br>



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Complete Fantasy Ruins Bundle #1
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Creator Reply:
Thank you for your comments, Fred. When the ruins maps were designed, I have to admit black and white printing was not taken into consideration. We are working on correcting that, and developing greyscale versions of the maps in this and all our other bundles.
A Dozen Holy Books and Divine Tablets
Publisher: Ronin Arts
by Fred D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/20/2005 00:00:00

Interesting, but the books/tablets were way too high-powered for my campaign.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: The descriptions were as well written as any in the Dozen... series; quite nice! This is a good format.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: The items were mostly very high powered magical items; I wasn't even expecting magic so much as descriptions of topical books. The landscape formatting was also a surprise after several of the other Dozen... titles were in portrait format.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Disappointed<br>



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
A Dozen Holy Books and Divine Tablets
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A Dozen Disturbing Rumors
Publisher: Ronin Arts
by Fred D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/20/2005 00:00:00

Well written, this lived up to the expectations raised by the sampler. The production quality was good, without distractions from filler art. The introduction was to the point, and the OGL was printed in sufficiently small print that it wasn't annoying.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: The level of detail was good, allowing a game master to fill in as appropriate to make a particular rumor fit their world, while providing enough to actually help a strapped-for-time GM along.

It was really nice to see not only the success/fail options, but also some follow-up about what was really going on.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: It would be nice to have more rumors that easily led into adventures for really low-level players, but that always seems to be an issue.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Dozen Disturbing Rumors
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The Bookshelf Stuffer, Vol. 1
Publisher: Dark Quest Games
by Fred D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/20/2005 00:00:00

This product was everything it was promised to be, and not a word more. Not unreasonable for the "sale" price.

Though the description admits that one of the six pages is the cover, it doesn't mention that a second page is spent on the copyright and contact information (no, not yet another copy of the OGL). Once you ignore that the last page only contains about a third of a page of text (plus lots of white space and some unhelpful filler art), you really only get a little over 3 pages of content.

On the upside, its nice to have titles and subjects that aren't randomly generated gibberish. Yes, any GM can make these up, but that doesn't mean we have time to figure out what's on the shelf before an adventure. I expect this will be useful.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: Reasonable price for content that makes sense.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: The descriptions of the book contents was thin; good enough if your players don't ask many questions about the books, but if they take an interest in one, be prepared to create on the fly. (Don't forget to keep notes!)<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Bookshelf Stuffer, Vol. 1
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Add-A-Room I: The Alchemist's Workshop
Publisher: Creation's Edge Games
by Fred D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/12/2005 00:00:00

While the presentation was nice enough, the ideas behind the workshop were too simple; it doesn't make sense for an alchemist working in a room the size of a closet to have a good-sized hall with pools for storing a fairly small number of experiment results in elaborate pools. Without more context, this will be really hard to use at all.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: The idea of a small piece to fit into an adventure is nice, especially at a low price.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: This is almost too small a piece of a world to make an interesting story.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Disappointed<br>



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Add-A-Room I: The Alchemist's Workshop
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Bandit's End
Publisher: Khan's Press
by Fred D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/12/2005 00:00:00

The story behind the adventure is fairly simple and doesn't pretend to be particularly original. For my purpose (introducing young players to FRPGs) that borders on the desirable. Adjusting the story to fit into a world is easy.

The suggested treasures seem somewhat high; I've never expected the average kobold to have anything to speak of beyond a spear. The number of kobolds certainly justifies some treasure to low-level adventurers, though. The experience is what's most valuable to 1st-level characters. <br><br><b>LIKED</b>: This is a staightforward adventure suitable for young players with 1st-level characters (what I was looking for).<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: The artwork was not professional (but that's not a biggie for me, so long as the price is low).<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Bandit's End
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