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Barrowmaze Complete
by Chris N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/25/2020 15:18:04

Perahaps the best Mega Dungeon on the market. One large flat layer. Well though out. Easy to dive in. The room descriptions are brief but not repetitive. I recommend for anyone looking to do a serious megadungeon.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Barrowmaze Complete
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Barrowmaze Complete
by Benjamin W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/02/2020 20:35:34

Pretty decent megadungeon but the cons outweigh the pros for me. The biggest gripes I have are: -Having a megadungeon almost entirely populated with undead removes a lot of morale checks from the game which is one of my favorite parts of old school gaming. Enemies who are always hostile and fight to the death are fun from time to time, but a megadungeon full of them? Less fun. -The cost is ridiculous! Sure there's some good art, but for a medium sized book this is WAAAAYYY overpriced, especially compared to similar products. -The author for some reason refuses to figure out how to get previews of his books on drivethru because... reasons? -Finally, from reading the author's responses to criticism, complaints, or really anything that doesn't paint his work as genius, I REALLY regret having given him any of my money and I certainly won't in the future. It seems he is the sort of "artist" who thinks if you have any issue with his work then you simply don't get it. The words pompous and smug ring in my head everytime i see his responses or interviews. One of my pet peeves in creators, especially in smaller scenes. Your mileage may vary.

--EDIT: Please see his response to my review as evidence. Rather sad. Score updated from 2 to 1 stars for extreme pettiness of creator.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Everyone is welcome to an opinion. You’re right, you don’t get it lol
The Forbidden Caverns of Archaia
by Eric W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/23/2020 09:30:16

This is a great OSR product. top notch writing and art. a great buy for your money



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Forbidden Caverns of Archaia
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Barrowmaze Complete
by Go B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/13/2020 22:59:07

The content of the Barrowmaze Complete is solid. Good writing, dense background, many good ideas that drive forward a plot. Lots of choice and very little railroading. I really like it.

In other words: no real issues with content. If you are buying the PDF of this then you are fine. Read no further.

But if you are like me, and want things on paper and on a shelf, to browse, and sit, and flick through, this is another matter.

This is a costly book to pruchase. One can see why. A lot of work went into writing, design, graphic layout, artwork. This is a beautiful book. Which is why it is an extra great pity that production is so relatively poor. My book came with an improper binding. I have taught myself to bind books, so I think I know what went wrong. The glue was sloppy and the binding was not allowed to sit and cure for long. As it dried up, it contracted and pulled the binding askew.

No problem: I wrote DTRPG, and a replacement was sent -- no fuss. Absolutely perfect customer service. I love shopping with DTRPG.

But now, as I am waiting for the replacement to come, the other copy sits on my shelf. And over the last three weeks, the paper has begun to take moisture from the air. The paper is of a very thin quality, probably 60g, and it has begun to bend and wave. A book like this, especially at a price like this, should be printed on proper paper. The replacement has not yet arrived, but I have no doubt that the same will happen to it.

I do not have a particualrly moist home. I have a DysonAir that tracks humidity, and I see it always fluctuates around 30-40% and never goes above that. A book - any book - should be able to handle that.

Yet, my copy of Barrowmaze Complete now looks as if I spilled a glass of water onto it. I have put it in a press to see what will happen, but for something that costs $110, this should really not be necessary.

Whoever produces these books, printing them on demand, they need to be paid properly, and, in turn, they need to use proper materials and take the time necesaary to produce a product that can last and wont bend and skew.

My 1979 AD&D books still look fantastic after four decades. Barrowmaze Complete emulates their design. It should also emulate their production quality.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Barrowmaze Complete
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Creator Reply:
I’m not TSR and have never made a claim to be so. Compare apples to apples, and oranges to oranges.
Barrowmaze Complete
by Giles R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/30/2019 12:38:52

This is a good dungeon. The starter settlements are detailed with interesting characters. The surrounding area is lightly detailed but evocative, enough to spark further developments from the GM.

The initial barrows, some of which contain entrances to Barrowmaze itself, are excellent. A wide variety of mini dungeons for the players to dip their toes into.

The main Barrowmaze dungeon is good but not great. There are some interesting encounters, however the vast majority are undead which will immediately attack the players. It lacks a little variety. When I run this as part of my dungeon crawl campaign I'll push some of the encounters to make them interlinked and add some oddness and non combat solutions. I think the Lusus Naturae bestiary would be a good starting point for ideas here. I'd also add more elements where distant bits of the dungeon interact to reveal background and for puzzles.

There are factions in Barrowmaze but they don't come through strongly in the dungeon itself. You'd have to put some effort into making these really visible to the players.

Megadungeons I'd buy ahead of this are: Caverns of Thracia, Rappan Athuk, Temple of Elemental Evil, and the Dark Tower.

TL;DR A good dungeon that'd take a bit of work to make it sing.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
HighFell: The Drifting Dungeon
by Kenneth S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/03/2019 20:00:28

If you like old school dungeon crawls, this is worth checking out. It is quite similar in tone and style to Gillespie's other efforts, meaning you get a ton of content, lots of maps (not always easy to follow/connect), lots of cool old school images, new monsters, assorted factions albeit not always well fleshed out, plenty of treasure (including gem sizes & quality), and a fair amount of typos. As others have noted, there are numerous references to the author's other modules, including directives to find monster stats there. A trifle annoying, but since I own those and have every intention of buying any future products he produces, it doesn't bother me much. It's true that the "ground setting" of the adventure isn't terribly well developed. But to me, that's not a problem since I'm dropping it into my home campaign setting anyhow. In fact, the drifting aspect is great because you can put it anywhere you want. It also makes this megadungeon a bit more modular than the others in terms of being able to easily come and go at your whim. You can just say "the damn dungeon moved" and come back to it later. You could also easily extract the wizard towers and dungeons on their own if you wanted a shorter experience. Another thing I love about this adventure are all the crazy book titles and random tables for generating your own in such settings. I've already made use of these in one of my own adventures. So while the setting depth and backstory might not be a developed as those of Barrowmaze or Archaia, the adventure makes up for it in broader flexibility and utility. Worth the price for the amount of usage you can get out it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
HighFell: The Drifting Dungeon
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HighFell: The Drifting Dungeon
by Michael P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/11/2019 08:06:52

An excellent dungeon adventure module wiith charming NPCs and setup. The factions seem to make sense and have useful interactions that can be exploted by the party. Encounters and riddles are also creative and in my opinion not too unfair.

It has a very detailed description of the floating part, I just wished that the on the ground bit would be a bit more fleshed out. Whlie it has interesting locations and proposed strategies to make it up to Highfell, most of these details (and the hex map) are up to the DM to fill out. Another small thing is the organisation where above and below ground dungeons are split into separate chapters, even if they are connected and logically the party would go directly from one to another (I haven't checked the PDF, some smart hyperlinking would solve that probably too). Small bit of complaint is also the number of "empty room" in some of the maps, which on one hand can be filled in on the fly with "kitchen","store room", etc. but it would have been nice to have a word or two describing them.

And last but not least a quite a few shoutouts to other products of the author and cross referencing tables in them. Most DMs probably just ignore the results and reroll, but it does take extra space with not much benefit.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
HighFell: The Drifting Dungeon
by TIM D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/18/2019 13:06:30

I've run two sessions of Highfell since getting my backer PDF last week. My players are loving it. I was able to jump right in after giving the adventure background and gazeteer a quick scan through. The adventure challenges players from the start. I find the wizard towers to be an interesting sandbox for players to explore.

The only thing keeping me from giving it 5 stars is the requirement to have BARROWMAZE/FCOA if you want to use some of the monsters referenced in the adventure. Not a deal-breaker, but it would be nice to have in-line creature stats for those monsters.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Barrowmaze Complete 5e
by Stephen A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/24/2019 02:17:41

Just fantastic. I was introduce to Greg's work as a PC in his The Forbidden Caverns of Archaia campaign run by a seasoned old-school DM at a local game store in Houston, Texas. After a single four-hour session (which ended with half the party dying,) I was hooked. I've since enjoyed the thrill of high-stakes D&D and wanting to DM something similar to it myself (without spoiling Archaia for me as a PC,) I was recommended this product: Barrowmaze.

I've run several sessions (one reaching over 7 hours long) and the players love plundering mounds, trying to survive in the trap-ridden Barrowmaze while making it back to the village of Helix with lore to share with the local Wizard, and exploring the larger region which is rich with gameplay opportunities. PCs can easily spend all the time they want exploring the region with interesting sites and events, without ever touching (what I think is the real meat of the game) the Barrowmaze.

I'm very impressed with the large amount of content presented in ~250 pages and love how Barrowmaze facilitates player-choice with an open-world environment. PCs do not feel railroaded or uninterested in a forced plotline, because they choose what they want to engage with and uncover both the story/history of the region - and - make up their own story as they go.

10/10 for content. 7/10 for hardcover book quality (I understand the publisher is separate from the Author) 5/5 Stars :)

Thank you!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Barrowmaze Complete 5e
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Barrowmaze Complete
by Kevin G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/12/2019 23:01:45

Was forced to purchase this (and another of the creator's works) from a non-university source for a university course taught by the creator. It is full of the same mistakes that he criticises his students for making. Students were made to write reviews of his own dungeons and provide proof of purchase in order to submit assignments for university credit. I wish I could get my money back for both this and Forbidden Caverns.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Barrowmaze Complete
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Creator Reply:
So the content has no redeemable value whatsoever? Ok lol
The Forbidden Caverns of Archaia 5E
by Dave P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/09/2019 12:52:08

I'm going to begin by echoing Raj B. here: I'm roughly 70 pages into this 300+-page PDF and I'm so sick of the phrase "see Barrowmaze Complete" that I could scream. Even an entry in the back that says something like "Funeral Pyre Zombies -- see Barrowskin Complete or reskin Fire Snake from MMp265" would be an improvement. This was sold as a standalone product, not as a Barrowmaze supplement.

The maps are great, there are some good ideas (if not as fleshed out as I'd like), the writing is mostly clear. I'd like to see this designed better for use at the table-- inline stat blocks would be handy to avoid flipping back and forth and back and forth. Also, there's a tendency to give information a little late. Room 42 of one area says "A detachment of [enemies] normally guard this chamber (85%). If not, they may be training in #27-28." Think that might be worth mentioning a little earlier, say in #27 or #28? Me too.

If you're planning to buy one Greg Gillespie megadungeon, don't get this one. Buy Barrowmaze instead. It's not perfect, but it's good, much better than this.

If the publisher were to go through and make the other monster stats available as a free PDF or something, I'd probably rate this as 4 stars. As it is, I'll steal a few ideas/mechanics from this but I have no desire to run it for my players. When I'm paying $30ish for an adventure module, I expect that I'm paying for someone else to have done most of the work for me. That wasn't the case here.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Forbidden Caverns of Archaia 5E
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Barrowmaze Complete 5e
by Michael F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/20/2019 02:58:41

After hearing about this product on one of my podcast feeds, and watching a video review on youtube, I was excited to buy this product as I was in the market for a new 'megadungeon' to spring on my players. We were playing 5th edition and this product seemed like it would fit the bill. I'm writing a review of my impression of the product, as currently there don't seem to be any unbiased reviews. At the time of this writing, there is one glowing 5 star, and one sharply negative 1 star, which would seem to be confusing to other potential purchasers in my opinion.

My review specifically of the 5e conversion of the product, and not the original Labyrinth Lord version.

The Good- The content is very good, and sticks closely to the overall theme and story. The encounters are creative, the traps are devilish, and I'm sure the experience for my players will be memorable. In addition to the megadungeon, it includes new spells, magic items, monsters, gods, rival adventurers, a small town with NPCs for the heroes to use as a home base, and some info on the surrounding area- a TON of meat here. There is lots of artwork, including a set of illustrations to show the players, like in the old classic modules like Tomb of Horrors. The OSR influence is huge, in design and intent of the product, and I personally think its great. Well, the women at my table will be less than thrilled with the inclusion of a brothel in the starting town, but I'm not sure if I can knock off a full star for that. C'mon! There is even a random generator for creating additional barrows to explore! Overall for the content- 5 stars.

The Bad- Simply put the 5e conversion is not that great. In some areas its fine, but in other areas, its clearly lacking. The 'conversion' hews very closely to the old school style of play, so many of the 'errors' in conversion (maybe error is too harsh, design decisions instead?) are simply hold overs from the older style of play. But this could cause major problems for DMs expecting something closer to the current ruleset/philosophy of 5e. There are conversion issues in nearly all aspects of the book, and a potential DM needs to be aware to proceed with caution! It might work fine at your table as is, or you may need to do some adjusting, I just want to you be aware of the issues.

Here are a few examples so you know what I mean:

Numerous 'instant death' effects, ranging from no-save bottomless pits, save-or-die poison effects on monsters and most traps. 'Save of Suck' mechanics are not really prevalent part of the current system.

Most modifiers affecting play through new spells, specific encounters, or setting are giving in a +/-number format, no use of the advantage/disadvantage mechanic

No mention of which classes can use the new spells. Wizard? Cleric? What about Bards? No idea. Some are found in spellbooks, but others are found on scrolls so...a clear oversight on this one.

Pregenerated characters don't have starting occupations, and so don't have all the skills they'd normally have. Speaking of- they include a wizard, 2 clerics, 2 fighters, and a paladin. Maybe someone would want to play a Rogue in a trapfilled dungeon?

There are random treasure tables that refer to Labyrith Lord core rule charts. Oops.

The new gods don't specify what cleric domains are used.

The spells could have used some more editing and testing. Some are weak, some are unneccessary duplicates of existing spells, some are waaay overpowered. (a 2nd level no-save AOE incapacitation effect? No thanks! Not for MY players!)

There is way way way too much gold and magic treasure for a typical 5e adventure, including some very powerful items guarded by very weak monsters.

Monsters that are just... versions of an existing monster Why not use the existing one? (I'm looking at you "massive" scorpion, "brown" pudding, and giant vulture)

Overall, I'm not surprised by some of these issues, they seem to be more based on sticking with the LL version of the adventure (hmm this monster had a +3 greatsword, so I guess in this version the same monster will have a +3 greatsword too!) But you have to be careful with this type of conversion, as the editions don't exactly match up with how things play, if you know what I mean. But I was disappointed to find so many issues that I'll need to consider, but on the whole not unfixable - 3 stars

The Ugly- Its a $35 .pdf. Thats a steep price for an electronic product, and I'm sure that has people nervous about buying. But small print publishers have to get paid too! So... ??? stars

Overall, I'd give this product 4 stars, while there are issues with the conversion there is just so much good stuff here I think my players will have fun exploring the Barrowmaze, even if I have to change some of the spells and pull back on the loot. Hope the review helps, and GAME ON!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Barrowmaze Complete 5e
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The Forbidden Caverns of Archaia 5E
by Raj B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/30/2018 09:21:04

Overall this product should appeal to fans of OSR megadungeons. Forbidden Caves of Archaia is pretty well known in OSR circles, so its only natural that it was eventually converted to 5E. I saw this campaign on Kickstarter and immediately backed it. Seemed like a no-brainer.

Now for the problem that led to knocking the rating down from 4 or 5 stars to 3 stars. The monster stat blocks are very, VERY incomplete. Dozens of unique monsters have no stats at all and the DM is just instructed to "see Barrowmaze Complete". In effect, you're required to purchase an additional $35 PDF just to properly use the one you just purchased.

A DM can of course substitute any monster that they wish, but they are still given no help in the form of a CR rating or any other info. Just a name like "Juju zombie" or "Gemstone golem". Not very useful. The added prep time from poring over every chapter and plugging in your own monsters is both time consuming and drains the product of the unique flavor that you paid for in the first place. The stats obviously exist somewhere and this was almost certainly a cost cutting measure designed to keep the book's page count down and affordablility up. That's fine. But here are some possible solutions.

-Provide a "Recommended Monster Replacement" table. Just list the unique Barrowmaze monsters and the author's recommendations for OGL or MM monsters replacements. This would require at most 2 additional pages -Provide the missing stat blocks as a free PDF here on DTRPG. It could be completely free or free just to verified purchasers of the full book. Kickstarter backer like myself would be out of luck in the later case, but it would make new purchases of the Forbidden Caves of Archaia worthwhile.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Forbidden Caverns of Archaia 5E
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Barrowmaze Complete
by Grahame H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/29/2018 05:37:26

A solid, classic exploratory style 'almost' mega-dungeon. The strong point of this module is the central undead theme, though some people might like a more varied environment to explore through. This module will certainly appeal to players who like undead though and is jammed pack with all sorts nasties from beyond the grave, both new and familiar.

This is a big dungeon and will certainly provide hours and hours of play. As a module of this size you'd expect some gems for encounters and interesting locations. This doesn't disappoint in this area, there are certainly some great encounters and locations in this dungeon.

The only faults with it for me is the way information is presented, it does not always follow the most logical sequence so might be a little inconvenient at times to scan during play. Most of the entries however are short and succinct, so this won't be too much of a problem. As an overall product, you can't go wrong with this. The author obviously put a lot of effort and love into it and it is jammed pack with great, old school art. It might not take you to the imaginative or evocative heights of Operation Unfathomable or Maze of the Blue Medusa, but if you love classic old school, exploratory style dungeon crawls this will hit your buttons. A solid choice for any fan of OSR games.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Barrowmaze Complete
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Barrowmaze Complete 5e
by Christopher B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/02/2018 18:15:41

BarrowMaze offers a massive amount of clever and creative content that will keep a gaming group engaged for years. The guide is comprehensive and offers a lot of detailed guidance while still giving the GM the room to adapt and change as necessary without getting bogged down in details. Not only can the book as written be played and replayed (because of the changing nature of the dungeon using the random encounter tables) over a long time for a very extended campaign, but parts of it can easily be dropped into your own existing campaign or used as a foundation to build your own unique megadungeon. It also does not need to be played straight through, while there is a very interesting backstory and campaign arc with various competing factions that can be followed to the final encounter, players can raid various parts of the dungeon in-between other adventures. This is an excellent product! And, while it may be a bit more expensive of a game supplement, it is worth the money for the amount of content and replayable activity it offers. Finally, I would like to address one comment from another reviewer who gave this campaign a ridiculously low rating because of the minor omission of a random dungeon restocking table--you can use your own random table, you can use the other random restocking tables, and the actual missing table (all 5 lines of it) is as follows:

For every room the players visit roll on this table: Restock (1d6) 1 - Monster 2 - Monster & Treasure 3 to 6 - Empty (1in6 chance of hidden treasure)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Barrowmaze Complete 5e
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