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Creeping Cold 5E Version
by Frank M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/15/2019 10:17:20

Had the pleasure to playtest this adventure while it was in development and thoroughly enjoyed it. Played with a group of 3 1st-level PCs and we were able to successfully complete it in one sitting. Glad to see that it's out and available.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creeping Cold 5E Version
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Undying Orbs Omnibus
by Piotr N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/05/2019 11:57:51

[Version with useful links can be found on my rpg review blog]

Temple Crawl

Did somebody say "Old School RPG"? (I know I did)

This supplement from Silver Bulette's Ian McGarthy presents a collected Undying Orbs campaign. This time there is no confusion, no 5E Fantasy logos. This collection of adventures is meant for Swords and Wizardry Complete rules from Frog God Games' Matt Finch - the man almost single-handedly responsible for the OSR (I really should review Swords & Wizardry).

Another page, another resource

This wonderful campaign is unabashedly old-school in the best ways possible. To begin with we are getting an overview the city of Redstone, its districts and important locations - including the previously reviewed Silvery Moon Tavern, as well as groups of interest. These are followed by a timeline that presents the events unfolding as the adventurers progress through the campaign. Although the main events are presented as happening in a linear fashion the order in which players decide to go through the adventures is entirely up to them - completing a selected orb retrieving quest progresses the timeline by another chapter.

Depending on the location/environment and time of day different random encounters may occur and that is where the next section comes in. Not all of them involve combat and those that do are contained on several pages of illustrated creatures with stats and short descriptions ready to read out loud as the encounter begins. This is followed by 10 unique encounters that, again, are not all combat based.

Stone Temple Pilots

After a short introduction of the quest ("Go fetch the MacGuffin and there may be more work thereafter") the players will embark on a dungeon/temple crawl. They will not be alone as there are other groups hired t perform the same task. As far as the adventure is concerned there is an evocative keyed map and descriptions of rooms, again with text ready to read in grey boxes. Inclusion of creatures' stats in the text is a great quality-of-life feature - you will still need the Core Rulebook for Swords & Wizardry to reference spells but if you know the rules already that saves you flipping the bestiaries.

As with the outside encounters, not all of them are combat. There is a good mixture here of fights, exploration, puzzles and traps. My favourite is a room with subversion that looks like combat but is actually a trick, where upon entering the adventurers see two skeletons raising swords as if to strike - it turns out they are just puppet skeletons on a string connected to the door, but the players will probably assume that these are undead.

Gotta catch 'em all

After completing the first mission the timeline progresses, the story opens up and the players can choose which one of the quests ("Fetch the following MacGuffins") to take in which order. The three following temples/adventures each contain keyed maps, lists of varies encounters (combat, puzzles, traps) and stats for - in many cases illustrated - enemies. After collecting (or loosing to the other parties) all the Pokeballs... erm... orbs, there is one more place to be visited with the fifth temple - a pocket dimension Plane of the Orbs. Here is the final challenge that the adventurers will have to face, and should they fail it will have terrible consequences upon the world. No spoilers but the campaign makes you rethink certain type of monster as being, well... a terrible monster and not a romantic conflicted anti-hero.

What follows are appendices with NPCs, new creatures, magic items, player handouts and the Orbs themselves.

Get to da shoppa!

Yes, the campaign is really good. It has the old school RPG vibe and clearly was written with S&W style of play in mind and not hastily converted to OSR type game. There is a lot for the players to do in here: fights, traps, puzzles and social interactions (mostly with either their employers and competitors but still). It gives the DM handouts, appendices, lists, stats within text, grey boxes with almost ready to read introductions to the encounters.

I loved it. It is challenging, occasionally funny and weird, and always engaging. If you are running S&W or any type of old timey D&D OSR retro-clone type of game you should definitely get it. Silver Bulette delivers a very solid product for just a few of the Yoosan dollars.

4.5 Orbs out of 5, would temple crawl again.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Undying Orbs Omnibus
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The Silvery Moon Tavern
by Piotr N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/06/2018 01:33:31

[Version with useful links can be found on my rpg review blog]

So... You meet in a tavern...

This supplement from Silver Bulette gives the DM a fully fleshed out tavern, easy to insert in any fantasy city but also a part of their Undying Orbs Omnibus campaign (review soon-ish to follow). The basic idea is to have a sort of headquarters, a place where the party will be coming back on a regular basis to replenish the resources and rest between the adventures.

What's in the box?!

The many sections of the Silvery Moon Tavern supplement give an overview of the history of the tavern hinting at some events in the outside world. There is a dozen of tavern employees described, with portraits and plot hooks involving them either by referring to their personal lives or by tying them to some events in the area.

There are five adventuring parties frequenting the place - from very low level to a serious threat - that can be utilised as a friendly competition or straight up enemies. A random table to create Adventuring Party Name is also included.

This is followed by a list of commoners and their professions, something that helps fleshing out the tavern and its surroundings.

Foods and spirits section describes exactly that but it also gives and idea of what kind of foods can the patrons afford depending on their wealth, what is considered regular and what an exotic delicacy, which may come up in play as the head chef's plot hooks involve him being ambitious and... culinarily adventurous.

The section on entertainment lists types of performers an games suitable for the pseudo-medieval feel of the supplement and generally the early editions of the game including the retro-clones.

Accommodations range from the equivalent of dormitories in the the cheapest backpackers in Edinburgh (you know, the ones where you lie on the bunk-bed grasping all your belongings just in case, but you cannot fall asleep because the guy on the other side of the room is loudly snorting some dirty white powder, and the Swedish couple below you is humping and making the bed move rhythmically), to the lush private apartment.

Appendixes! Appendices? Appendices

  • Appendix A lists two pages of medieval professions that you may want to use but have no idea what they used to do. Here there are for your inspiration.
  • Appendix B lists exotic foods and probably gives more insight into the region than you might think. On one hand gorgon or unicorn seem obvious on that list, but then there's corn, black tea and coffee. It made me think of how different the area is if these are considered exotic.
  • Appendix C is what tiggers like best - wine list with prices. If you are a wine drinker you will see some familiar varieties.
  • Appendix D contains magic items and they are glorious! You will not find magic weapons or armour, but items that are tavern oriented and absolutely brilliant in their purpose. I could use the Duplication Oven or Cork of Freshness in my life. The supplements ends with a top-down drawing of the tavern.

Thumbs up

Very useful supplement for running a fleshed out tavern, not just a table in the middle of nowhere that's only purpose is to seat the party and "the mysterious stranger/quest-giver".

The choice of having most NPCs named in a Roman fashion with Latin-sounding names seems odd at first but you get used to it.

The concept of using 3D dungeon tiles for the plan of the tavern is certainly unique and interesting, and could probably be adapted by other creators.

Nitpicks

My only real problem with the supplement is the text layout. It is very dense and could use wider spacing between the lines. And the formatting of the plot hooks is a bit unclear - proper bullette points (see what I did there?) would be helpful and appreciated.

But does it 5E?

Please, don't get persuaded or dissuaded by the "5th Edition Fantasy" sign on the front page unless your setting is something akin to Encounter Roleplay Will Jones' Penumbra. The Silvery Moon Tavern has Swords & Wizardry / Lamentations of the Flame Princess / OSR feel through and through. While reading I caught myself thinking, multiple times, "That is too low level / mundane for 5E and I specifically remember 5E mentioned on the cover." It is much more Game of Thrones, or Conan than Avengers (and I firmly believe that 5E works best when treated as heroic / super-heroic.

4 casks of dwarven ale out of 5



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Silvery Moon Tavern
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Eden's Lament
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/11/2018 16:40:25

A fun adventure with a great premise. Not long and could be played in an afternoon. The document suffers from some minor layout issues. (TIP: Don't use Drop shadows in printwork.) Overall though fun. Pay a buck or more and have a good time.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Eden's Lament
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The Silvery Moon Tavern
by Josh B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/19/2018 07:56:15

This books goes into great detail about a tavern, The Silvery Moon, including the history of the tavern, the surrounding area (though you can easily place the tavern in your world), the staff, customers/patrons, food/drink, entertainment, accommodations and magic items.

The Staff There are twelve staff members described in this book and a portrait for each one. Each one has a small flavor text, description, personality traits and plot hooks. They each have at least two plot hooks, if not more. The plot hooks involve things such as things happening in the surrounding areas, the NPC's past, an NPC wanting to get something from another NPC and other situations. The information for each staff member is short but it's all you need to grow them into NPCs your players will love or love to hate. My personal favorite is Adriana Chastane. Though, I tend to play with kids so her situation might be a little too mature for them.

Customers & Patrons In this book there are two types of customers/patrons: Adventuring Party and Commoner. There are a total of five different Adventuring Parties with a total of twenty-three adventurers that are named and include a brief description. Included is a table to create a random Adventuring Party Name. There are a total of forty-eight commoners that are named and include their profession, if any.

Food & Drink There is a lot of information that details all the different kinds of food and drinks that are and can be served in The Silvery Moon Tavern. There is a huge list of different types of food and drinks and also there is a 1d6 roll rule that can be used to determine if the requested item is available. This is determined by the rarity of the item. The more rare/exotic the item the lease likely it will be available. Honestly, there is enough information on the alcoholic drinks that a GM could create a small drink menu that they could handout to their players.

Entertainment There is information on nine different entertainers that could be found in The Silvery Moon Tavern. And there is information on five different games that are played in the tavern. Also, there is a dedicated room in the tavern for the games (the gambling area).

Accommodations There are four different types of rooms in the tavern. The prices are not listed for them, though, the suggested price range are from a few coppers to one-hundred gold or more.

Magic Items There is information on twelve different types of mundane magical items. For example, a knife that seasons the food as it is being cut. These are very cool items that are so basic but yet very creative.

Lastly, I want to mention that throughout this book there are text blocks, "Writer's Notes," that give suggestions, advice and tips on how to use everything in this book. A lot of it is for new GMs who are wanting to get into gaming. This book and your rule system of choosing is a great start for any new GM. There is plenty of information in this book for a GM to create their own sandbox style game from using the plot hooks and information on the surrounding area. Just take this tavern and create a small village/town around it or even just place it at a crossroads and let your players interact with the NPCs and they will quickly decide what adventures they would like to go on!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Silvery Moon Tavern
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