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Book of Lost Beasts
by Shawn L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/10/2022 13:41:57

I stumbled upon BRW games after finding the Greyhawk Grognard youtube series. I spent hours watching the videos and wanted to support the channel so I checked the drivethru and this was one book I needed. This book is great and I can't recommend it enough. I'm running a darker themed open world campaign for my players and found a bunch of great resources here for populating my dungeons and forests.

I'm absolutely going to be buying more from BRW and can't wait to check out other books.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Lost Beasts
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Adventures Dark and Deep Players Manual
by eric l. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/08/2021 17:38:41

Oh such a nice book, printing sharp pages nice heavy stock, Hard back is the way to go. The art inside takes you back to the days of AD@D well done 2 thumbs up..



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adventures Dark and Deep Players Manual
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Book of Lost Lore
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/17/2021 11:00:57

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2021/11/review-adventures-dark-deep-book-of.html

Today I want to review the companion book from the same Kickstarter, Book of Lost Lore. I went into this one less excited than I did with the Book of Lost Beasts, but not due to anything on the part of this book. I am always more enthusiastic about monster books. I just have to make sure that I am not making unfair comparisons. I will be making a lot of comparisons with this book and others, however.

Adventures Dark & Deep Book of Lost Lore

For this review, I am considering the Hardcover I received as a Kickstarter backer and the PDF from DriveThruRPG. BRW does their print fulfillment via DriveThru, so I conveniently have my PDFs where I expect them and I know what sort of product I am getting in terms of Print on Demand.

The book itself is 134 pages, full-color cover, and has black and white interior art. The layout and art are a tribute to the "2nd covers" of the AD&D 1st Edition line. So it looks nice with your original books and other OSR books designed the same way.

Like the Book of Lost Beasts, this book carries the Adventures Dark & Deep banner, but it is not made for that game. It is material from that game ported "Backwards" to the AD&D 1st Edition rules. So again like Book of Beasts, some of this material has been seen before, though not all in 1st Edition format/rules.

Much of the material does come from Bloch's "What If" game, Adventures Dark & Deep, and in particular, the Players Manual which itself was derived from BRW Games' very first product A Curious Volume of Forgotten Lore (now discontinued). This is all acknowledged in the Preface of the book. The selling point of this book is that it is all revised and edited for the "First Edition of the world's most popular RPG." Not to mention the layout now favors the 1st ed feel rather than the Adventures Dark & Deep feel.

Though as we move on you will see that the biggest comparison that needs to be made is this book to the AD&D Unearthed Arcana.

On to the book proper now.

This book is split between a Players' Section (close to 98 pages) and GMs' section (36 or so pages).

Players' Section

This section covers new races, classes, and spells among other topics that I will discuss.

Up first, the new races. Here we are given three "new" races for player characters. These are the Centaur, the Forrest Gnome, and the Half-Drow, of which we get Human-Drow and Elf-Drow. Those unfamiliar with AD&D 1st ed might be surprised to see level limits and ability limits for the races. Some are pretty obvious, centaurs tend to be stronger but can't climb walls as a thief. Others are culture-based, drow women can advance more in most classes than their male counterparts due to their matriarchal society, but not as much as wizards since that class is not valued. While back in the day we really ignored all these rules in AD&D (and they do not exist in 21st Century D&D) they are consistent with the rules and anyone who plays AD&D 1st ed exclusively will take to these easy.

The races seem balanced enough. The centaur is a nice addition and one that really could go into AD&D well enough. I personally have never had a desire to play one, but they do seem to work. The forest gnome is also a good choice and a good option for people more familiar with 21st century D&D gnomes. The coverage of the half-drow is very interesting and the stand-out of the three. Given some other things I have crossed my awareness this past week or so I am wanting to try out a half-drow now. I will need to come back to this one later on.

Classes are likely the top feature of this book. They are also the ones that we have seen before. There are Bards, Jesters, Skalds, Blackguards, Mystics, Savants, and Mountebanks. Let me repeat. While we have seen these before in other BRW products they are presented here as 1st Edition characters classes and as subclasses of existing 1st Ed classes. Except the Bard, the Bard is it's own class with the Jester and Skald as sub-classes of the Bard. The Blackguard (or Anti-Paladin) is a subclass of the Cavalier to give you an idea where this book would "fit" into the AD&D 1st Ed lineup.

It should be noted is a usable single Bard class. No more advancing as a thief, fighter, and then druid to get to the bard, this is a straight out bard class. The bard also has some nice powers too. The mystic class seems closer to the BECMI/RC version than it does to the monk. It was also the focus of one of my very first "Class Struggles" features. I am a little surprised we didn't see versions of BRW Games' Necromancer, Witch, or Demonolater classes. Likey to keep these with the Adventures Dark & Deep game.

From Classes, we move on to Secondary Skills. AD&D 1st Ed has never really been about skills outside of what your character class can do. While back then I saw this as a problem, I am less inclined to think so now. Still, a good selection of secondary skills are listed here and how they can be used.

The next 35 or so pages are dedicated to new spells. Mostly these support the new magic-using classes, though some spells are cross-listed for other classes.

The last part of the player's section is given over to combat and new weapons and armor. The arms and armor described here do show an appreciated level of research. One that would have made Gary and his 6 pages of pole-arms very happy.

Game Masters' Section

This section is not as large but still has gems; figurative and literal.

Up first are some guidelines for social encounters including reactions. There are some alternate treasure rules that uses the same Treasure Type classification but breaks it down into different categories. Both the original system and this system can be used interchangeably, even within the same game, with the Game Master deciding what works better at the time.

There are some new magic items, with updated tables to include them.

Finally some discussion on the game environment including ability checks.

Honestly, the only thing it is missing to be "Unearthed Arcana II" is an appendix on the gods of the Centaurs.

Some art has appeared before in other BRW books but all of it captures the Old-School gaming feel.

So. Who is this book for?

The obvious answer is for anyone that plays First Edition AD&D. It should work fine with OSRIC, since that cleaves so close to AD&D, but not sure if players of Advanced Labyrinth Lord or Old School Essentials Advanced will get the same benefits. For example, both of those other games have a Bard class that works about the same. That is not to say they would not get benefits from this book, it's just the base design principles are not 100% the same.

If you are a player of Adventures Dark & Deep then there is likely nothing new here for you. But if you have those books and still play Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first ed. then there is enough here for you even if you can convert easily between the two games.

If you play AD&D 1st ed then this is a great book and it will sit nicely on your shelf or on your table next to your other AD&D books.

One minor point, the book was not released under the OGL. Doesn't matter for play or use only if you wanted to reuse a class or spell elsewhere. Though given the use I have seen of the OGL over the last 20+ years this is also likely not an issue.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Lost Lore
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Book of Lost Beasts
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/08/2021 10:57:28

Orignally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2021/11/monstrous-monday-review-adventures-dark.html

Joseph Bloch at BRW games is really the model of how you should run a Kickstarter. When I look at a Kickstarter I want to know that the person running it has experience. The Kickstarter for Book of Lost Lore & Book of Lost Beasts was back in July. We were promised the books in March of 2022. I believe I got mine in late September or early October. Was there padding? Maybe, but I don't care. Getting books just a couple of months after pledging is still pretty good. Not to mention this has been true for the other five I have backed from Joseph/BRW. Plus I also like to see that the person running the knows what to expect. So I look to see how many they have backed. If it is a low number, or worse, zero, then I stay away. That is not the case with BRW Games.

That is all great and everything, but does the book hold up to all this excitement? Let's find out.

Adventures Dark & Deep Book of Lost Beasts

This is one of two books that were part of BRW's Summer 2021 Kickstarter and the one I was looking forward to the most. The reasons should be obvious to anyone who has read my reviews over the years; I love monster books and consider the 1st Edition Monster Manual to be one of the greatest RPG books ever written. Sure there are better-written ones, but few that have had the impact of this one.

For this review, I am considering the Hardcover I received as a Kickstarter backer and the PDF from DriveThruRPG. BRW does their print fulfillment via DriveThru, so I conveniently have my PDFs where I expect them and I know what sort of product I am getting in terms of Print on Demand.

The book itself is 132 page (about 128 of pure content), full-color cover and black and white interior art. The layout and art is a tribute to the "2nd covers" of the AD&D 1st Edition line. So it looks nice with your original books and other OSR books designed the same way.

Adventures Dark & Deep Book of Lost Beasts is a collection of 205 monsters for the AD&D 1st Edition RPG. The book feels familiar (in more than one way) and can easily be added to your AD&D game. The monsters are alphabetically listed. At the start of the book, there are some details about playing Monster spell casters (Witch-doctors or Shamans) as well as some other minor rule changes/alterations. These chiefly involve whether a monster has psionics or not, and how an undead creature is turned. Additionally, there is more detail on the monster's treasure. While a Treasure Type is given it is asl broken down between Treasure Value and Magical Treasure. Monsters all get a Morale bonus listed to indicate if they will flee combat.

In the Preface, Bloch gives us a bit of history on his Adventures Dark and Deep RPG. While this book carries that heading, it does not use the Adventures Dark and Deep RPG rules except as noted above. IT uses the tried and true AD&D 1st Ed system. Also it is noted that many of these monsters presented here already appeared in his Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary, which I reviewed here. The Bestiary is 450+ pages and has monsters from the SRD plus more in the Adventures Dark and Deep RPG format. So you could convert them back to AD&D 1st Ed if you wanted. But this current book, the Book of Lost Beasts, has the new monsters from the Bestiary plus a few more already converted.

The brings up a good question. Should I buy this book? I am going to say yes, but here are some caveats. If you have the Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary AND you are comfortable enough converting then maybe you don't need this. If you play AD&D and want more monsters then you should get this. If you don't have the Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary and like monsters then you should get this. If you are like me and just love monsters and already have the Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary then you should get this. I hope to make these points a little better below, but do keep in mind that some people have seen these monsters before.

That is just one of the ways this book feels familiar. The other way really lives up to its name of the Book of Lost Beasts. This book feels like Bloch took the Monster Manuals I and II (and to a lesser degree the Fiend Folio) and set out with the goal of "What monsters are missing?" and got to it. For example, the Quasi-Elementals are more filled out.

Another great example of providing us with "what was missing" AND giving us something new are the ranks of nobility of the Dao, Djinn, Effrti, Madrid, and Rakasha. While these creatures are found in the Monster Manuals and expanded on in the ADD Bestiary, they get a longer and more detailed treatment here.

After the 205 or so monsters there are appendices on Treasure Types and a random Creature for the Lower Planes generator. These were very popular in the pages of Dragon Magazine if you recall.

The PDF is currently $9.95 which is a good price for a PDF of a monster book, and $24.95 for the hardcover.

One minor point, the book was not released under the OGL. Doesn't matter for play or use only if you wanted to reuse a monster in an adventure. Though given the use I have seen of the OGL over the last 20+ years this is also likely not an issue.

If you are looking for a new monster book for use in your AD&D 1st Edition games then I can highly recommend this one. Plus it will look great sitting next to all your other AD&D 1st books.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Lost Beasts
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Random Terrain and Encounter Generator
by Karl L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/06/2021 01:48:51

This is a nice nostalgic sense of an expanded version of the original ADnD 1st edition Dungeon Master's Guide Appendix A that I authentically loved. Thank You.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Random Terrain and Encounter Generator
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Adventures Dark and Deep Game Masters Toolkit
by Michael P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/29/2020 21:35:52

I'll make this more short and sweet. Much of what I said about the Players Manual applies here. The name here is accurate and conveys what you're getting pretty well. This feels less like a separate rulebook for GMs and more a collection resources and tools to be used in running the game. Plenty of tables to generate things on the fly and guidelines on how things will interact mechanically. Guidelines on everything from how weather can impact adventurers to how to build your setting. Not to mention a very broad seleciton of magic items to hand out. All in all, a very solid book.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adventures Dark and Deep Game Masters Toolkit
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Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary
by Michael P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/27/2020 09:22:19

Again, much of what I wrote in my review of the Players Manual apples here. Especially in regards to this feeling like AD&D's greatest hits. I believe this has nearly every monster across the big books of baddies across 1e's line. There are a few not included as they're beyond the grace of the OGL, and considered part of D&D's brand identity. However extremely (almost shamelessly) comparable equivalents are included. (Though really, I think these highlight how silly and hard to enforce these restrictions are.) I'm very fortunate to have picked this up and be reviewing it after the release of a separate index, as that is indeed a blessing and highly recommended to grap. It's a freebie here on DTRPG that the author has graciously added. (It even points out the alternatives to missing monsters should you not notice them the first go around.) The book itself breaks out the monsters into very broad categories as to where you might find them or they originate. Which is great from a readability standpoint, but again. The index is a blessing. Seriously though, this is a ~450 page book of monsters. It's got plenty to last countless campaigns. If that isn't enough, the book is rounded out with advice on building and modifying existing monsters in the back. Perfect.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary
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Adventures Dark and Deep Players Manual
by Michael P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/27/2020 09:05:05

For some helpful context, I was an AD&D2e kid. That's where all the nostalgia is for me. This of course, isn't 2e. You've likely already read the deal. This is an attempt to imagine and construct what 2e might've been if Gygax himself did it. I think by and large this is a huge success, though all of my 1e knowledge comes after the fact. I've read some of the comments and interviews with the author and he really approached this the right way as far as I can tell.

Barring some minor complaints, I also think this is just an outstanding game. To be perfectly blunt I don't think we would've actually gotten this polished a layout from Gygax. The book is well structured, easy to follow, and generally presented great. It still has the feel of a 1e book. Some of the mechanical choices feel weird coming from even 2e on, but weird isn't bad. These all comes from either Unearthed Arcana or Dragon articles written by Gygax as well, so this was the direction he was leaning at the time. If anything I think the only judgement call I'm down on, and truth be told by a lot, is gendered differences in strength caps. That feels wildly unnecessary in a fantasy game. But it was there in 1e and I don't believe there was any sign that Gygax was interested in dropping it at the time. (Though my understanding is that Gygax never bothered with them in his home games and later expressed some regret in including them. He never included such caps in his later projects.) It's easy enough to ignore that without breaking anything however.

The character options here really shine. In some respects it feels like AD&D's greatest hits. Everyone's here, all the sub races you might think of are largely represented. Classes? So many classes. The bard presented here feels more like what we might think of as a bard today rather than the exceptionally odd many class change affair that was presented in 1e. But along them we see the Jester, Savant, Mystic, and so on. In fact spellcasting variety is quite substantial. I feel like there's something for everyone here.

This is already longer than I intended. Basically. If you're looking for a solid OSR game related to AD&D, this is definitely worth your time. The premise is neat and the results are exceptionally polished.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adventures Dark and Deep Players Manual
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Adventures Great and Glorious
by JOHN C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/07/2019 02:05:21

I will commend that the book is thorough and covers a broad range of topics that will significantly help take your game beyond dungeon dives, I just wish it was useful without spending the cost of this book multiple times.

This is a great reference for Adventures Dark and Deep. For other OSR systems it is only useful if you have or plan on buying other entries in the ADAD line. The concept of more rooted, less murder-hobo campaigns is great and the execution in this book is very solid, but it is advertised as being compatible with other osr games, which I believe is misleading, because this is not a stand alone product. There are 36 references to other books for information, making this book a supplement more than a stand-alone product. This kind of cross referencing is bad in any event even if I owned the whole line.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Adventures Great and Glorious
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Adventures Great and Glorious
by Justin S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/12/2019 15:44:29

Adventures Great and Glorious is an impressive volume of work. It is designed for use in a higher level campaign, with some mechanisms that transcent level. I see opportunities to use this resource for any campaign that involves settlement, governance, or estates. It is targeted at OSR games, but I would use large portions of it for my GURPS or Rolemaster campaigns.

I have never purchased anything by BRW games, but I like what I see. The tables are orderly, with effective and topical illustrations. The economics seem balanced, but I have not performed an in-depth analysis. All in all, based on this product, I would buy more of the author's work.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Bard
by pat e. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/13/2018 12:55:18

I love this implementation of the Bard class. I'm using it in my OSRIC campaign and it fits perfectly. The spells and abilities are well written and balanced. I also picked up the Jester (haven't used it yet) and am thinking about getting the Mountebank, Mystic, and Savant as well.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Bard
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Castle of the Mad Archmage (Pathfinder edition) [BUNDLE]
by Trace S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/10/2017 17:59:57

We picked this up to try out. I got both hard copies and PDFs. I didn't know what to expect. This isn't a module, this is far more than an adventure or two, this is an entire multi-campaign setting where you can pick and choose what you want to use and surprises await around every corner. It's even put together in such a way that your party could step away from the area for a bit, and come back again and again for all new exciting adventures without ever repeating anything. With RPGs it's the journey and not the destination that makes it worth while, and with Castle of the Mad Archmage as your main campaign or even asa suppliment, that journey is one hell of a ride.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castle of the Mad Archmage (Pathfinder edition) [BUNDLE]
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Castle of the Mad Archmage Adventure Book (Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Edition)
by Tracy S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/10/2017 17:53:10

We picked this up to try out. I got both hard copies and PDFs. I didn't know what to expect. This isn't a module, this is far more than an adventure or two, this is an entire multi-campaign setting where you can pick and choose what you want to use and surprises await around every corner. It's even put together in such a way that your party could step away from the area for a bit, and come back again and again for all new exciting adventures without ever repeating anything.

With RPGs it's the journey and not the destination that makes it worth while, and with Castle of the Mad Archmage as your main campaign or even asa suppliment, that journey is one hell of a ride.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castle of the Mad Archmage Adventure Book (Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Edition)
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Project Oasis
by James M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/19/2017 12:57:06

Project Oasis, written by Joseph Bloch (Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage) and self-published through BRW Games, is a 36-page PDF campaign supplement for Mutant Future and Apes Victorious, both being post-apocalypse (PA) games by Goblinoid Games.

Set 1000 years after the Devastation, it is a “kitchen-sink” style setting, containing all the themes and ideas from a wide spectrum of early PA literature, film, and television, focusing on the materials developed in the 1970s. Planet of the Apes, Ark II, Omega Man, Logan’s Run, Twilight Zone, Mad Max – it’s all here in a fantastic melting pot that gives you an entire continent of possible adventure.

The two-page introductory section explains the basics of the world and how it came to be; speaks of technology and geography; and gives some basic guidelines for the kinds of campaigns the setting is designed for (very different from many modern PA settings, due to the strong influence of the middle-era of the PA genre). Details are brief, but give a game master more than enough material to get started.

We then get to the meat of the booklet, the 22-page gazetteer. This covers every major power in the PA setting, a mix of stone-age savagery to high-tech insanity. Virtually every kind of PA trope is covered in this, with lots of opportunities for a game master to start a campaign in exactly the kind of setting he wants, then move the adventure on to other regions. There are ape realms, human-friendly, human-neutral, and human-enslaving; there are high-tech mutant realms hidden under wastelands, low-tech mutant wilds, human-mutant cooperatives, and mutant-power domains; there are hidden high-tech cities of wonder where the people are dedicated to recovering what was lost, high-tech cities of wonder where the people are kept in dystopian decadence, and there are low-tech kingdoms dedicated to keeping things exactly the way they never really were in chivalrous glory. And that’s just for starters!

I’m being a bit nebulous here, as I believe that it would give you, the reader, far greater joy to discover the world of Project Oasis on your own, rather than have me list off the regions chapter and verse.

Two things I will discuss are "Project Oasis" itself and the inclusion of adventure hooks with each region. First, Project Oasis is not simply the name of the book, it is also a major faction in the PA world. Project Oasis is a very high technology organization, operating from a secret base, that seeks to bring the world back from savagery (echoes of Ark II, Earth II, and Planet Earth); to this end, they send out teams of adventuring types to help uplift goodly domains and bring down or stall villainous ones. This provides an excellent hook on which the game master can hang her campaign, as it enables player characters to travel all over the continent (and beyond) with as much technological support as the game master wishes them to have at the time. Second, each of the region entries has three adventure hooks included, at least one of which deals with Project Oasis and how it, and its representatives, might interact with the peoples and powers of the region. So the book itself, as mentioned in the introduction, really gears play toward a Project Oasis-based campaign, though myriad other options are readily available.

The volume finishes with three short appendices, two dedicated to new monsters (one for Mutant Future, the other for Apes Victorious), and the other a listing of inspirational material. The new monster sections include everything mentioned in the work that was not otherwise found in Mutant Future and/or Apes Victorious, each section covering the same monsters. The list of inspirational material provides most of the books, films, and television shows you would need to read or watch to better understand the setting. Personally, if you have no experience with the middle-era PA genre, I’d watch Ark II, the Planet of the Apes movies and television series, and the Logan’s Run movie and television series; these give you a complete overview of the relevant material and, most especially, style of the genre.

Finally, there is the continental map. Created using Hexographer, it shows the relation between the new geography of the continent and all the various regions, including cities, major towns, ruins, and other notable locations. The only problem with it is that I have not been able to find a scale for the map anywhere on the map or in the book… I think it is 30 or 40 miles per hex?

The upshot of the review is that this is the best PA campaign setting on the market today, if you are into the middle-era PA genre. If you aren’t, well, get on the bandwagon! The PA middle-genre provides you with all the action, adventure, seriousness, and wild and wacky wahoo you could ever want out of a PA setting, and this book distills it all down for you. Project Oasis plus Mutant Future and Apes Victorious can provide literally years of PA adventures. With Project Oasis Joseph Bloch has presented the PA gamer community with a PA campaign “Greyhawk Gazetteer” upon which to build and develop their own campaigns.

Project Oasis is a book I wish that I had written. And really, I can’t give it better kudos than that.

Five out of Five Stars



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Adventures Dark and Deep Players Manual
by Neil P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/08/2016 18:09:29

I like this. While I don't play old school rules anymore (though I run old school campaigns) this was curious to me. It does what other OSR games do not: present something orginal instead of rewriting the same rules for the umpteenth time. Is it what Gygax would have done. Who knows, but probably not, though some seem like good guesses based on what he was writing otherwise. If you want to tun old school rules that have a different take, give it a try.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Adventures Dark and Deep Players Manual
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