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Broken Earth Player's Guide (Savage Worlds)
by Doug P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/15/2013 12:22:41

Definitely be using this to augment our Savage Fallout game. Like some of the concepts.

cons: not crazy about the PDF . would have like to know upfront that is was layered and that I had to fit it to page to get page numbers and not have the last line of text chopped off.

looking forward to more of same.. post apoc is a local favorite.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Broken Earth Player's Guide (Savage Worlds)
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Abstract Dungeon (beta test)
by Eddie G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/12/2013 12:14:24

Abstract dungeon is a very fast and light system, that is tilted towards a story based system. The book is flavored towards a Fantasy game system with the first 17 pages covering the basic dice mechanics. The system is easily modifiable for other genre's without having to change or modify the rules much if at all. I have played this using the system as is for cyberpunk, including the random character creation system and even used the some times wacky character trait's without having to make any modifications.

When I say fast I mean we finished and ended an adventure that included 4 social conflicts, 3 physical conflicts and a ton of narrative in less than 2 hours, which included character generation.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Abstract Dungeon (beta test)
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Abstract Dungeon (beta test)
by John M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/02/2013 18:04:23

Want to run a system that lacks everything that creates power-gaming and the “arms war” mentality of gamers? Then Abstract Dungeon is just the ticket. Want to be able to game for a few hours and not end the night still in the middle of the first encounter? Then Abstract Dungeon is for you.

The system is simplistic, but don't confuse this with simple. The mechanic creates a need for strategy and player cooperation. All the players' abilities are represented by dice. These dice create the die pool (resources) that a character draws from during the game. The really interesting aspect off the game is that players roll all of their dice before the adventure begins, allocating them as they go along to overcome monsters and obstacles. Simple right? Not so fast. The real joy of this system is the fact that as players spend dice, they must describe their actions. This alone makes Abstract Dungeon great. No longer are players' actions simply die rolls with results. “I rolled a 35 and did 12 points of damage” is replaced by: “I grit my teeth and rush into the combat sweeping one goblin off its feet and then sinking my battleaxe into the one behind it.”

There is no need for extensive lists of spells, skills, feats, inventories, or armories. Players can do whatever they want, as long as they narrate their actions. They can draw from all of their fantasy experiences—gaming, movies, novels, etc—in order to accomplish this. While this may sound a little to liberal and free, my players created character concepts, and their actions fell nicely into what that character should reasonably do. For example, my fighter player refused to cast any spells.

Adventure writing is easy and free-flowing as well. The GM is aware of the players' resources (amount of dice) and sets the encounters to deplete said resources. If my players have 60 total dice, then I know that the challenges should be around that same number. The encounters last no more than three to four rounds, so more time in the adventure writing was dedicated to story/plot. Helping to create a rich setting and story arc with which players could interact.

This system harkens back to the early days of RPGs where rules were light, creativity was at a premium, and roleplaying was the goal...not an afterthought.

Play Abstract Dungeon. You will not be disappointed.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hunting Deathcloud (PFRPG)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/13/2013 08:03:26

This is a stand-alone adventure, which can be dropped with ease into a suitable location on your campaign world. As such, the background is comprehensive yet flexible, and includes several possible ways in which to get your characters involved. There are a few grammatical errors that a good proof-read should have caught, but little that actually makes it difficult to understand - they just make the teacher in me reach for a red pen!

Once begun, the action is swift and dramatic, with the dragon Deathcloud attacking the elf city the characters are (for whatever reason) visiting. Their aid is soon enlisted to deal with the matter and this involves an exploration of a mostly uninhabited forest. There are plenty of interesting folk to interact with during the course of investigations and enough red herrings to keep characters busy, yet the real trail is not too hard to follow without you having to make it too obvious - neat!

And of course, there is the climactic final encounter with Deathcloud herself. The setting itself is innovative and challenging and it is recommended that you make a 3D model to make this clear to your players... it can get a bit complex for those who like battlemaps for major fights, but it should suit my somewhat looser style of running combat well. It has great potential for a cinematic battle against a memorable foe.

Overall, a nicely-concocted mid/high level adventure - the dragon is CR13, and the adventure as a whole is aimed at 10th-11th level characters - with plenty to do and a real feel of being the heroes!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Hunting Deathcloud (PFRPG)
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Abstract Dungeon (beta test)
by DIMITRIOS K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/14/2013 04:58:15

Abstract Dungeon has an innovative system. The players make all the dice rolls at the start of the game and when they must overcome an obstacle or fight monsters, they must allocate the dice in a way to pass the tests.

Every treasure or ability gives you more dice, so I see here a "small dice-building" system, because you try to collect more dice. There are enough tactical decisions to be made: what dice to use and what to keep for later use. The character creation is very fast and there is an option for a random character creation using random tables. Also there is an interesting adventure at the end of the book. There is a treasure generator and a bestiary. What I'd like to see is: spells, races and classes.

Yes, it is a system I'd like to use for a long campaign, easy for new and veteran gamers and as we read on the cover: it is a fast and easy RPG.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Abstract Dungeon (beta test)
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Advanced Encounters: Alternate Objectives (4e)
by Mark B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/26/2013 12:11:49

As a 4E DM, I am always looking for ways to make the most out of each combat encounter. I found this read a good inspiration for adding that extra "oomph" into the combats by thinking about the characters motivations. There are some good examples too.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Advanced Encounters: Alternate Objectives (4e)
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Good Little Children Never Grow Up (4e)
by Glenn T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/27/2013 16:11:41

A great mod! My players did not expect this at all considering some of the other canned adventures we had been playing. Some were actually freaked out.

I loved it!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Good Little Children Never Grow Up (4e)
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Meltdown and the AlphEx Corporation (M&M)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/13/2012 11:30:32

There's a lot packed into the pages of this work. Not an adventure, not a setting, but in a way a bit of both. Let me explain...

We read of the AlphEx Corporation, from its origins as a coal-mining company to its present sprawling diversification, and the reasoning of its CEO, what he wants to achieve. We read of a superpowered individual - is he hero or villain? - whose powers derive from an industrial accident whilst in AlphEx's employ... and how the corporation has both supported him and exploited him. This brings an interesting angle of realism into the standard superpowered story, because the sort of things AlphEx Corp wishes to achieve are the same as any real-world company might aspire to... just they don't have superpowers to draw on.

[Ouch! Just had an idea for something else superpowered.. must finish review first... but if when reading things, my own ideas spawn, that's to the original product's credit.]

There are several ideas, at the 'adventure seed' level, which could be developed as a way of involving AlphEx Corporation and Meltdown himself into your campaign. There is even - nice touch - suggestions for a campaign arc to use them as a recurring theme. Full statists for Meltdown, the CEO and AlphEx security are also provided.

Overall, this is something much more useful than 'just' a supervillain or organisation to throw into your game, and well worth a look.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Meltdown and the AlphEx Corporation (M&M)
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The Golden Banner (PFRPG)
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/11/2012 09:47:24

Sneak Attack Press’s Golden Banner is a rare mystery adventure for 6th to 7th level characters. Golden Banner has a methodical, slow pace that a role playing party will thrive on.
The adventure revolves around an old relic recently recovered and now vied over by 2 factions. The mystery revolves around a mysterious faction. Unlike a lot of products, a good deal of time is actually spent on the mystery. There are spies and secrets to be uncovered.

Succeeds The length of pages dedicated to the mystery portion is pretty meaty and gave my party some fun role playing moments. We loved that there was only 2 real combats in the game. A third, near optional combat feels thrown in towards the end to add some meat to the adventure, but if the adventure ended at the banquet I doubt any group would have a problem with it.

Fails The layout is a bit wonky. With mystery adventures, it is best to layout all the clues and revelations ahead of time for the DM. Too often adventures are written as if the DM wants to solve the mystery along with the player, and this should never be the case. Also, there are a bit too many remnants from the 4th edition version of the PDF.

The Iron Word The Golden Banner has just enough of a twinge in its design to make it feel more different than your standard short adventure. DMs will want to really embellish on the role playing parts and go with the party. Though there are only 2 actual combats, my PCs managed to bring out a couple more over the course of the adventure.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Golden Banner (PFRPG)
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Advanced Encounters: Alternate Objectives (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/03/2012 04:18:54

This pdf is 40 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD and 2 pages advertisement, leaving us with 34 pages of content, so let's check this out!

This pdf seeks to provide us with aims in encounters that go beyond destroying enemy resistance and after a short introduction to the subject matter at hand, we delve right into general categories that help you design objectives like the ones featured in this book yourself. For example, achieve encounters are based on skill checks and things PCs want to do, potentially interlaced with multiple steps to final success. Escape is also covered and rather interesting: Some sample skill-DCs being included alongside different scenario suggestions and a variant of making a breach. Holding areas (for example for a ritual or a similar ticking clock scenario) against an unending horde of foes are just as much covered as obtaining objects as an encounter's primary goal. Getting the balance of hard, but not too hard to get objects and even protect/prevent scenarios right, how much time to assign to tasks and advice on combining these alternate objectives are covered as well.

A DM has to think a bit more when designing encounters that go beyond "Smash XYZ" and thus we also get a comprehensive, easy-to-grasp step-by-step guide to help you create advanced objectives. Is failure at such an encounter fatal or just important? Are the expectations for what the PCs are supposed to achieve clear? Do you want to integrate content from the stellar Terrain Toolbox (you should!) and what about skill DCs? Non-combatants? Fans of Zombie Sky Press' stellar, awesome incantations should also note that they are also mentioned and discussed, including advice on dark priests failing at rituals when they shouldn't etc. - nice synergy between 3pps here!

Now that we're well-armed with a plethora of pieces of information to design our very own alternate encounters, we also get some ready-made sample encounters: The first being the task to steal a necklace from a noble lady incognito, while evading capture from her guards. The NPCs are fully statted and alternate hooks/motivations for the PCs are also provided. The tavern is fully mapped (as, indeed all sample encounters) in a player-friendly b/w-map and complications like town guards etc. are also mentioned. The second sample encounter has the PCs escape from a collapsing cavern of ice while being beseiged by ice elementals and there is also a different scenario on the other elemental side of the scales, there also is a burning warehouse-encounter included, of course with rules for spreading the fire and extinguishing flames. Protecting a prince from a cadre of elite assassins is also one of the more challenging sample encounters and if you're playing the classic boxed set by Necromancer Games or the Legacy of Fire AP, you'll also have an escape scenario fleeing from the city of brass provided herein. The final encounter works best when the PCs have met a once pure individual, in the sample that being a planetar: The aim is to convince the fallen angel to seek redemption for his past transgressions and help the PCs against the small infernal host he now leads. This encounter feels slightly odd in that, while it provides a bunch of statblocks, it fails to provide complications, account for PC strategies etc. and essentially boils down to a series of bland skill-checks that remain mostly un-developed and for the DM to judge by fiat. Per se not too bad, but when contrasted to the first encounter e.g. accounting for distracting performances, barfights etc., this encounter fell a bit flat for me. Conclusion: Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any significant glitches or ones that would have impeded my enjoyment of the pdf. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly b/w-2-column standard and the pdf features nice b/w-interior artwork to go along with the cover. The pdf is also extensively bookmarked with nested bookmarks.

As you already might know from my review of the Terrain Toolbox, I supported the kickstarter that gave birth to both books, but was otherwise not involved in the creation of the content. The Terrain Toolbox was ennie-nominated for a reason, being one of the finest pieces of DM-help and crunchy goodness to enhance your game I've read in a while. Alternate Objectives is another fine installment in the same tradition, though, at least in my opinion, slightly less polished, but let me elaborate: The strength of the Terrain Toolbox was the sheer imaginative potential of general guidelines and vast variety of terrain hazards that DMs could utilize and make their own. It is a well-spring of awesome ideas. Alternate Objective starts off generally the same way, but e.g. lacks a table of sample skill-DCs, a table of mechanical severities and damages to inflict etc.. The content of the alternate objectives presented is awesome and their writing concise, but there is no bare bones basic guideline as in the toolbox. Furthermore, the complications and considerations could have used some more space to shine - perhaps at the expense of the sample encounters, which end up taking up half the space in the book. Being level-specific due to statblocks, they can be used on the fly, but remain only useful for a limited range of play as provided. I really think this particular pdf would have vastly benefited from something I'm usually an enemy of: Statblock-omission. Seriously, the statblocks clog up so much page-count it's not funny - page-count that could easily have been used for more encounters, complications, scenarios, DM-advice etc. - i.e. content that would have truly enriched the offerings of this otherwise neat pdf instead of stats that actually limit the usefulness of the sample encounters.

Alternate Objectives, as presented, is still a very good offering that should come as an eye-opener for novice-DMs and serve as an inspiration for veterans, who can surely get a trick or two out of the pages of this rather cheap pdf. My problem is, though, that it could have been easily as good as the stellar toolbox and perhaps even surpass it. It doesn't and remains "only" a good book that falls slightly short of its own vast potential, something I hope will be realized in a sequel. nudge-nudge For this, though, my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Advanced Encounters: Alternate Objectives (PFRPG)
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Advanced Encounters: Alternate Objectives (PFRPG)
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/12/2012 08:55:44

Iron Nugget

Succeeds Advanced Encounters: Alternative Objectives, by Sneak Attack Press, is a meaty 40-page help guide to designing a true multilayer encounter. Any DM can throw some monsters in a cave and call it an encounter. Too often this is the default for DMs. If you ever want to achieve Iron DM status, you will want to hardily study Alternative Objectives.

Objectives begins with some great theorycraft- explaining to the reader 6 kinds of encounters that exceed the basic goals of kill everything encounters. Chapter 2 feels like a slight extension of Chapter 1, explaining how to deal with obstacles like skill challenges, non-fighting NPCs and difficulty. After all the theory is out of the way, examples are presented. The examples are well designed mini-adventures.

Fail The examples could have been more generic.

Iron Word Strong Buy - Advanced Encounters: Alternative Objectives is a great resource for the novice Dungeon Master who wants to up his game. The design information and examples will go along way in producing memorable encounters that are not just about hacking and slashing.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Advanced Encounters: Terrain Toolbox (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/25/2012 07:09:59

This pdf is 32 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page advertisement and 1 page SRD, leaving 27 pages of content, so let's check this out!

First, you'll have to indulge in a little bit of vanity on my part - I joined the kickstarter for alternate objectives and the rapier-wielding guy on the walkway across lava in the first piece of b/w-artwork? Well, that's me. Great rendition and rather close to the original, if I may say so. That piece of idle ego of yours truly out of the way, let's see whether this toolkit lives up to my steep expectations. So what exactly does this provide?

This pdf is essentially a DM's toolkit to making the terrain count in your encounters and thus starts with a discussion of different effects of terrain - from obstructions, to movement-altering properties, damaging, healing and even boon-granting terrain-types are mentioned. Next, options to change the terrain are covered - from activating terrain to one that can be destroyed and triggered ad then even moving terrain is covered - as is portable and spreading terrain. Special mention deserves the massive table on terrain damage by level and DCs, making the rafting of your very own damaging terrain easy indeed and just a matter of taking a single glance.

These basic concepts and discussions out of the way, we take a look at different terrain special abilities and oh boy, the list is neat: From Acid Rain to an Arcane Ballista, we're in for fun: Placing and using the respective terrain pieces is easy and we're in for a neat design decision: The terrains use their own atk-bonus in order to enable the maximum number of PCs to use them, but also provides guidelines to enable you as a DM to use the PC's capabilities when utilizing terrain. But hat's not all - the Blood Mage's Circle lets PCs sacrifice HP for empowered magic, while chaos motes can deals random energy damage and spirit circles can make incorporeal spirits corporeal. Add conveyor belts, crumbling walls and dimensional rifts that teleport people entering them, add exploding kegs, swamps erupting in flames, jump-pad like stones that let you temporarily fly, floating stones, floors sans friction, giant cogs to make clocktower battle-scenes, grasping zombie claws from the floor, divine blood, variations of holy light/gloom, flammable oil, and lifting pillars (including a special maneuver to have foes attack the pillar, potentially collapsing it) up to mine cart rides, deadly mushrooms and even shattering glass, we are in for a wild ride.

Have I mentioned sleep poppies and the river of dreams and the ability to proverbially draw the weapon of kings, Excalibur-style, from the stone? What about more standard spiked floors, tugging rugs from under the feet of opponents, weak floors, trick staircases and even the option to treat walls and ceiling as ground, making battles 3-dimensional -awesome!

The pdf concludes with a list of terrains by location.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to a 2-column b/w-standard with some neat pieces of b/w-artworks. The pdf has no bookmarks, which is a bummer, as it impedes the otherwise stellar usability of the pdf. That being said, you should print out this pdf anyways - this toolbox of awesome terrain features is a GODSEND to DMs.

To all DMs of 3.5 and Pathfinder, to everyone sick and tired of boring encounters, to every DM out there that seeks to add spice to his encounters, to any group out there: If you're tired of encounters being just about the same types of terrain, about the same weather and combat options, this is the end to your woes. Humble to the extreme, the Terrain Toolbox is simply one of the best and most useful DM-tools released so far for PFRPG and BELONGS into any DM's arsenal. The guidelines towards the creation of your own terrain complement the stellar examples of cool options to spice up your encounters and the fun truly begins once you start to combine the features - flight stones, thought floors and perhaps a chaos mote or two and we're in for an otherwise unremarkable encounter turned into a mind-boggling experience guaranteed to have your players talking about the battle for years to come.

A dungeon created with this book will be almost guaranteed to be vastly superior to one created sans this pdf. Add to that the low price and we have a pdf that you definitely have no reason whatsoever not to purchase. In fact, I'd urge Paizo, if/when they ever create a second GM-guide to create a chapter devoted to such terrain features. Yes. It's that good. I rarely encounter a pdf I can so universally recommend to just about all GMs out there and remain only with two complaints - first, the lack of bookmarks SUCKS. Especially for such a useful product that will see a lot of use. Secondly, I so would have wanted this pdf to be triple the length - we need sequels. Seeing how one complaint isn't enough to rate this down, I'll remain with a final verdict of 5 stars, but withhold my seal of approval until bookmarks have been added. That being said: Get this. Seriously. You won't regret it.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Advanced Encounters: Terrain Toolbox (PFRPG)
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Good Little Children Never Grow Up (4e)
by Eric M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/11/2012 14:24:32

I used this adventure to introduce a complete RPG newbie to the game (along with 4 veterans who'd never played this module before). It was an absolute blast - the handouts really allow everyone to get immersed in the story. My players split up and wandered the house alone based on the different handouts each one was given!

This adventure is definitely worth the money and is probably in my top 3 adventures for atmosphere, player involvement, and fun. I recommend putting some creepy ambient music on in the background while you're playing it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Good Little Children Never Grow Up (4e)
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Advanced Encounters: Terrain Toolbox (PFRPG)
by Nenad R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/10/2012 00:44:50

I have never really used terrain in my RPGs, except purely as scenery. For those of you wanting terrain to play a bigger part in your encounters, Terrain Toolbox, from Sneak Attack Press, gives a lot of options.

Terrain Toolbox is a 32 page PDF, with the first part taken up with an introduction, and an overview of how to use terrain in encounters, and a specific set of rules. Each terrain is considered a level, which measures the effect of it. There are some mathematical oddities in the rules , for example, a terrain can do low, medium or high damage, but a terrain with low damage at level 1 does 1d8 2, while a terrain with high damage does only 1d6. At higher levels the damage numbers start becoming what you would expect.

The bulk of the book is taken with terrain examples. They are extensive, and useful to almost any game, with plenty of variety, and suggestions on how they could make an encounter more interesting. The emphasis is firmly on their use in a combat encounter, and a discussion of other ways to use terrain would have been very interesting... Perhaps in a future supplement?

The layout of the book is very good, and it is easy to find the relevant terrain. It does not use any PDF features, but with its short length it does not really need any.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Advanced Encounters: Terrain Toolbox (PFRPG)
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Beacon in the Dark (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/20/2012 10:11:43

This adventure is 22 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page advertisement, leaving 17 pages of content, so let's check this out!

This being an adventure review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players might wish to jump to the conclusion.

Still here? All right! The PCs are hired by dwarves who have recently lost a stronghold to the drow to reclaim it or, to be more precise, escort a cleric, a wizard and a druid to the stronghold to perform a ritual to reactivate the magical defenses and drive the dark elves away. Problem is: The dwarves suspect a mole and indeed, one of the casters is being blackmailed by the viscous dark elves. Indeed, the trek goes anything but smooth and after a rather deadly ambush by the drow, the PCs and their 3 allies can reevaluate their strategies - whether they stick to their original route or take an alternate one, their trek through the underdark will prove to be rather challenging. Once the PCs have reached the fortress of Ballo Dar, they will have to defend the spellcasters while they perform their rituals against wave upon wave of deadly drow and the pests - depending on whether they've routed up the traitor, the finale will be more difficult and in fact result in a rather hard war of attrition on the PCs and their resources. The pdf includes a new incantation, a DM cheat-sheet and full stats of all enemies and the NPC allies in the module.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are okay, but not stellar - one instance still calls this a 4th edition adventure and there are some minor glitches throughout the text. Layout adheres to a 2-column standard and all battles have their own b/w-maps. The artworks are b/w and the pdf comes without any bookmarks, which is a bummer. This adventure is a straight-forward sidetrek and I enjoyed the new incantation as well as the "Hold your ground"-finale, but overall the module falls somewhat flat of e.g. the coolness of "Good little Children never grow up" or "The Golden Banner" and can be rather considered a run-of-the-mill scenario. While there is nothing wrong with the module per se, neither did I consider the module to be stellar. The alternate route the PCs can take is nice, but I would have enjoyed a more pronounced splitting of the paths and more consequences for the route-splitting/ferreting out the traitor. Thus, while not a bad module by any means, neither did this one wow me and combined with the glitches, I'll settle for a final verdict of 2.5 stars, rounded down to 2 stars in spite of the low price.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Beacon in the Dark (PFRPG)
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