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The Golden Banner (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/28/2012 06:58:02

This adventure is 23 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisements and 1 page SRD, leaving 19 pages of content, so let's check out this latest adventure by Sneak Attack press!

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

The Golden banner is an urban investigation adventure set in a rather generic city and is thus easy to insert into a given campaign: The basic storyline is that once upon a time, a relic, the Golden Banner, was key in defending against a humanoid invasion. The banner was the key symbol for the 3 dominant religions involved in repulsing the invasion and was subsequently lost. The faiths were a good sun-goddess, a neutral god of war and a rather lawful evil entity called the Tyrant. A new age has begun and the banner was lost for quite some time, the Tyrants has been mostly eliminated from official history. However, his faithful haven't forgotten and thus, bad omens accompany the resurfaced banner. Now in the hand of a rich philanthrope, he plans to bequeath the artifact to one of the two beliefs that lay claim to it, while the Tyrant's followers want the banner and are willing to go to almost any lengths to realize their "rightful" claim to the relic.

Anticipating trouble, the rich man hires the PCs to uncover any conspiracies and defend the banner from any who would steal it. The problem is: The banquet is scheduled for the evening and time's ticking. The list of retainers, priests and high-society people is long and the PCs might have to split to get their legwork done in time. Each of the character write-ups is located in one of three districts and tracking the time it takes to go from a) to b) as well as waiting for receptions will be essential and necessitate smart planning. Add to that a strike-force of Tyrant-worshippers and the PCs have a lot to uncover: From hallucinogenic mushrooms in the pheasant (the cook is being blackmailed), noble-born tyrant-sympathizers and the wall of silence around the involvement of the Tyrant in the banner's history (and thus the identity of the assailants) make for a lot off juicy bits of information to uncover, which may actually lead the PCs to the hidden temple of the tyrant, which along-side the dinner itself, might constitute the climax of this investigation.

My only gripe with the adventure is the wimpy nature of the antagonists, who can't hold a torch to lvl 6-7 PCs and the fact that the named NPC-foes are mechanically rather on the boring side.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are ok, I noticed for example the amount of levels missing from some statblocks and other minor punctuation glitches. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly 2-column b/w-standard, the artwork is stock and the maps provided for all combat encounters are not pretty, but do their job. The pdf comes without bookmarks, but features two handouts -neat. The investigation per se is open-ended, PCs have multiple ways and degrees of success and the story per se and its presentation is concise and well-written. In fact, this adventure is a very good example of how I tend to run my less complicated investigations and features ideas galore and some intriguing detective work without slacking the pace and action-aspects too much. If the glitches were not there, I'd gladly go full out on this cheap, well-written little adventure. Seeing, though, how crunch-wise the enemies are rather bland and taking into account the lack of bookmarks, I'll settle for a final verdict of 4 stars instead. With a hearty recommendation to all of you out there: Add some cooler villains and you have a neat go-play investigation for a very low price.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Golden Banner (PFRPG)
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Beacon in the Dark (4e)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/08/2012 11:25:54

This is a neat short adventure for a mid- to high-level party (11-13). It is well presented, with good atmospheric illustrations and clear layout, putting everything just where you want it when you settle down to DM.

The plot is quite straightforward: in attempting to regain territory in the Underdark, the civic leaders of the dwarven city of Karn Ungil have determined that it will be necessary to capture a certain fortress, one in which many magic wards lie dormant but which can be activated to their advantage. They'd appreciate it if the party would provide an escort to the spellcasters trained for and tasked with the activation process.

Naturally, nothing is as simple as it seems when you interview for the job!

It is playable as a one-shot, or may feature at an appropriate point in an ongoing campaign. There are plenty of suggestions for expansion or continuation, and - particularly if this is a one-off - one or more of your players can be given the roles of the specialists that everyone else has been hired to escort.

Each combat encounter is laid out clearly complete with map and full details of the opposition including likely tactics as well as their stats and capabilities. The whole thing is atmospheric and nicely-constructed, at no point do you feel that a particular creature is where it is merely to provide a fight, a pleasing air of realism pervades. Whilst the main focus, as you'd expect with an escort job with a warlike air, is combat there is still scope for role-playing interactions along the way.

Enjoy this combat-heavy claustrophobic venture trough the Underdark, with sufficient twists to keep the most alert character on his toes!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Beacon in the Dark (4e)
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Beacon in the Dark (4e)
by Dennis S. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/29/2012 13:50:03

Beacon in the Dark is a short D&D 4th Edition adventure module designed for characters levels 11 through 13. It can be tied into an existing adventure, or ran as a one-shot. The players are tasked with escorting a group of spellcasters (who are written as full-fledged companion type NPCs) into the underground to kick out some Drow, essentially. It has serviceable artwork and layout, and at only 21 pages and three encounters, it can be read and included in a game fairly quickly. The companion NPCs are a good variety of characters who offer a decent bit of roleplay fodder, each with different motivations and secrets. Without going into spoilers territory: the first battle seems likely to be over quickly depending on the size of the group, and the skill challenge in the middle is handled in a fairly clever fashion. The final battle will likely stretch PCs to the very limits, as it requires them to pursue a non-standard objective will fighting through waves of enemies. Overall for the price it's hard to go wrong if you want a quick Drow beat-em-up to drop into your campaign.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Good Little Children Never Grow Up (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/23/2012 06:18:46

This short little horror-adventure is 25 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC (also featuring 3 little maps), 1 page SRD, leaving 21 pages of content, so let's check this out.

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

Still here?

All right! "Good little Children never grow up" begins like many horror-adventures on a dark and stormy night, with the PCs fighting wolves. What is not necessarily normal is the fact that the PCs will have visions and, via one hook or another to an abandoned orphanage, most likely to save the sons of a local farmer who went there to meet the new neighbors who moved into the old orphanage. Unbeknownst to the new residents, the orphanage is a place of terror - once run by the deeply traumatized Granny DeMay, she "delivered" children from ever losing their innocence and thus "protecting" them from the rigors, hardships and traumas of adult life in a twisted take on the trope of lost innocence. One of the girls, once she figured out what Granny exactly does, sacrificed herself to be buried alive by the other children with Granny and at least keep her fellow orphans alive. She and Granny haunt the house to this day. Possessed by Granny, the new lady of the house killed her husband and now the ghost of Granny once again wants to keep children from growing up. Enter the PCs.

Good horror-adventures are hard to do and on 21 pages, this offering does not have that much space to develop. But oh how it's done. 8 pages, containing a total of 45 handouts support the DM to bring to life the horror of the situation: One of the PCs is chosen by the child and has corresponding visions, one player will be tormented by visions and possession attempt by Granny, one will receive visions from an intelligent weapon (provided the PCs find and use it) etc. Combine that with Granny's creepy insinuations, her very own song she tends to hum when killing children and the ability to enslave children and set them upon the PCs and we have not only an adventure that rewards non-lethal combat solutions, but also provides an atmosphere of iconic dread not often seen in adventures. The pdf includes a new template, the Granny-possessed creature.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are good, although I didn't like some blank spaces on the handout-pages. Layout adheres to the classic b/w-2-column-standard and the b/w-artwork is stock and fitting. The pdf has no bookmarks, which is a minor downer. Content-wise, this adventure is top-notch and delivers a supremely creepy atmosphere for a very low price. Author Matthew J. Hanson delivers a disturbing yarn that is a sheer pleasure to run and the 8 pages of handouts rock. However, not all is fine. I would have loved to get a player-friendly map without numbers to hand out to my players. Also, it is noticeable that this adventure once was created for 4th edition: While most sections have been professionally converted, a dragonborn (instead of half-orc) slipped past the editors. Worse, the decision on whether the villain of the piece is put to final rest depends on being destroyed via "radiant" damage, necessitating a DM to devise another way to determine success or failure in the final encounter. Usually, I'd mark the adventure down to 3 or even 2.5 stars for this rather significant glitch, but the writing is simply too good - this yarn of gothic horror would score the full 5 stars sans the glitches. With them, I'll grit my teeth and scale down to 4 stars with a definite recommendation for any fans of creepy scenarios.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Good Little Children Never Grow Up (PFRPG)
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Creator Reply:
Thank you for the review! I just wanted to let you know that through the miracle of .pdfs we have fixed the "dragonborn" and "radiant damage" issues. Though we do our best to catch our own errors, sometimes a few slip through. We are always happy to hear about them at info@sneakattackpress.com. -Matthew J. Hanson - Sneak Attack Press
Advanced Encounters: Terrain Toolbox (4e)
by NB N. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/07/2012 21:31:10

The gist of this supplement for D&D 4E has some nice features for designing new terrain features for your campaign. Sure, the standard core books have guidelines, but there are some handy charts here to scale damage without having to think about it, etc. It leads you through some choices to determine if the terrain is activated, moves, changes, morphs, etc. and then offers suggestions on how you might implement these features. Of course, you could just take the easy way out an use one of the pregenerated examples (of which there are 20 pages worth, even organized by type in an index).

It's a nice supplement for using some cool terrain in your games, which always makes things a bit more interesting.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Advanced Encounters: Terrain Toolbox (4e)
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Blessed by Poison (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/14/2012 09:43:25

This pdf is 15 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving 11 pages for this short adventure, so let's check it out!

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

Still here?

All right. Blessed by Poison is a rather straight-forward adventure - Kurk Davrip, famous Goblin Hunter has vanished and it's up to the PCs to find him. Once they have found an abandoned goblin camp-site, they'll encounter two kinds of deadly spiders. a mini-map is provided for this and all other combat encounters. Via a skill-challenge (nice to see skills get some use) the PCs can track the trail to a cavern and goblins preparing an ambush. Once the green pests have been conquered, the PCs will have to explore the cavern, fight a special spider that has created zombies and finally meet Kurk. Or rather what has become of him. The hunter is now host to a terrible swarm of nightmare spiders - a weapon that lets him combat the goblins, but at the expense of his humanity. The final battle rocks and has the option of PCs using social skills to make Kurk shed the spiders (which is rather unhealthy for him as they erupt from his body...) and only fight them - should they fail with their smooth-talking, they'll have to contend with both Kurk and the swarm. The adventure closes with the new template for hosts of nightmare spiders.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice too many glitches. Layout adheres to an easy-to-read two-column b/w-standard. The adventure has no bookmarks and no artworks. The maps are ok and the fact that we get multiple maps for each encounter. The adventure is straight-forward and simple and the foes feature neat modifications that make them feel not like some critters straight from the bestiary and the final confrontation offers a chance for redemption. On the other hand, the adventure does not feature a unique or legendary storyline, just a straightforward, neat, short adventure. In the end, my final verdict will take the low price and the nature of the adventure into account and clock in at 3 stars - slightly above average, neat little scenario.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Blessed by Poison (PFRPG)
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Things That Go Boom (4e)
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/13/2012 22:10:13

This fun little encounter adds a “bang” to a band of goblins. It’s a straightforward smash-and-grab, but with enough creative use of terrain to make it stand out. Aside from a couple of embarrassing typos (like “Forth Edition”), it has decent, though not stellar, production values. It’s intriguing enough to make me want to check out Sneak Attack Press’s book on terrain, which is a pretty good sign of a worthwhile product. And it’s free!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Things That Go Boom (4e)
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Good Little Children Never Grow Up (PFRPG)
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/26/2011 09:56:03

If you want to achieve an eerie feeling in players, have children involved. There is something creepy about dead children that not too many other types of scare tactics can achieve. Some of the scariest movies of all time involve children terrorizing the adults in their life. Good Little Children Never Grow Up succeeds at providing a spooky Pathfinder adventure by taking advantage of the dead children premise.

Good Little Children, by Sneak Attack Press, is a 25 page mini-adventure with enough substance to take a party well into the night. There are no more than 3 encounters, but a good dungeon master can milk the role playing out of this adventure for an entire evening.

More than just a simple haunted house story, Good Little Children manages to rise above other adventures that fail to creep out players by separating the party mentally. Using a neat little handout system, players will perceive various portions of the house differently. It is much easier to take down a party when they are not on the same page.

For the Dungeon Master The adventure follows a simple track, but has very colorful characters that can produce some strong role playing moments. This adventure can easily be wrapped around a Halloween game night one shot or inserted into a campaign.

The Iron Word Forget Halloween candy, this nugget is a perfect little morsel for a Halloween Role Playing Game session. The simple nature is great for a group that does not meet regularly or for a DM who wants to have a minor diversion from their normal campaign.  



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Good Little Children Never Grow Up (PFRPG)
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Good Little Children Never Grow Up (4e)
by Dirk B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/15/2011 03:59:03

This adventure provides you with a very creepy scenario. Okay, essentially it's just a haunted house, but the encounters are very well designed and enforce the feeling. My players became really invested in the story and actually cared for the children.

The provided hook for the adventure is nothing to write home about and the first encounter outside of the house has no bearing on the development whatsoever. Due to this it's easy to place the material in another context, e.g. in a city in your campaign.

The spooky atmosphere is enforced by assigning each player character some kind of role. The player receives hand-outs according to his character's role, so the players don't share the same information.

The monsters are variations of the standard ones in the official Monster Manuals. Thus, we are given the full write-ups for the critters but can't use the online Compendium or Monster Builder to further process the data.

So we have well-designed encounters, a creepy atmosphere, a plethora of well-written hand-outs and lots of spooky special effects (so to say) in a haunted house. Good Little Children Never Grow Up is a sure winner!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Good Little Children Never Grow Up (4e)
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Good Little Children Never Grow Up (4e)
by Benjamin B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/29/2011 21:44:16

Fun adventure and well worth the few bucks to buy it, probably worth at least double the price. The player handouts really kept things interesting, made suspense for the players and helped tell a compelling story. I was able to really get every body doing more roleplaying as opposed to roll-playing, which is cool. My crew are normally pretty hack and slash, but they had fun with the non-combat portion of this adventure. Plus, I had a lot of fun DMing it.

My only critique was that the last battle was fairly unbalanced. The final boss did not pose much of a challenge for my party and I had to fudge her into not being destroyed the first time she was dropped to zero HP. Still, my players and I had a great time. Excellent adventure!!!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Blessed by Poison (4e)
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/30/2010 11:52:08

While the adventure may be short and the storyline is brief, there is a definite flow to the content with options for future adventures or even a launching point for a campaign. Blessed by Poison could most likely be played within a single gaming session and could make a great adventure to drop into an existing campaign, used as a launching point for a future campaign, or run at conventions.

The layout is very smooth and the illustrations are fairly good. Each section is properly identified and a background and synopsis are included to give the GM more ideas, options, and a better feel for the adventure. However, I find the maps could be improved upon to keep with the overall quality of the rest of the content.

The storyline is fairly developed, has a purpose, and flows relatively smoothly throughout. However, there isn’t a large amount of narrative, which the storyline could benefit from, especially during the encounters and leading up to the beginning of the journey. The purpose of the storyline could also benefit from being expanded upon through more background, in-game effects, or possibly an “aftermath” narration. But there is still a fair amount of content that the GM could easily expand upon.

Location-based adventures often offer more playability than what is simply published in the adventure module. This adds to the value of the content not only as an adventure but also as source material. Because Blessed by Poison has a developed storyline, maps of the location, and particular adversaries presented throughout, the playability value is higher and could potentially hold a decent amount of interest from the players.

As a short adventure module for a single gaming session, Blessed by Poison could be a nice change from the standard or used to continue an existing campaign. The material is flexible in nature allowing the GM to make minor changes here and there with a storyline that allows a multitude of settings. The content could easily be expanded upon creating a series of adventures or a new campaign. It’s a good, solid adventure module, but could benefit from an expanded storyline and more narration.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Blessed by Poison (4e)
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Good Little Children Never Grow Up (4e)
by Tracy M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/09/2010 10:46:52

Very good, very creepy adventure. Lots of detail background detail and well put together encounters.

Since there are no details for the nearby town, you have to flesh it out on your own, but that can work to your advantage, making this an adventure that fits almost anywhere.

My players loved the player hand outs and how that whole thing worked. I found them to be a bit of a pain in the neck, to keep them all together and organized, but they were totally worth it in the end.

I definitely recommend this. You'll have to add a few things to fully flesh it out as a stand alone (nearby town, more detail on some possible loot, etc...) but the inherent creepiness makes it more than worth the price.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Good Little Children Never Grow Up (4e)
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The Golden Banner (4e)
by Jim C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/30/2010 01:42:25

Interesting setup with more political undercurrents than I often see in 4e. Statistics seem well-crafted at first glance. Editing is a bit rough in places.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Golden Banner (4e)
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Blessed by Poison (4e)
by Jim C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/08/2010 03:31:14

For a simple introductory adventure, it shows some nicely thought out encounter design and the author knows when to go all out with the creep factor. Looks good for the future.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Blessed by Poison (4e)
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Blessed by Poison (4e)
by Jammet F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/10/2010 15:12:10

Very good short adventure. The story is quite creative, the encounters are well described, with tactical maps easy to convert with ground tiles or an erasable battlemat, and there's two well thought skill challenges that have a real impact on the adventure. I ran it two times with different groups, and both were a little frightened by this strange spider story ! Maybe more precise descriptions of the monsters would have been an interesting addition, but for the price it earns easily five stars still.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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