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Gamma World (1e)
by kevin c. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/04/2020 10:15:31

I bought the Multi Pack with the POD. Arrived fast and a great job on the printing.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gamma World (1e)
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The Burning Plague (3.5)
by Michael M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/03/2020 17:00:33

I love this adventure, but I would recommend against running it out of the box. This is an adventure that benefits from some prep time; it's very much a blank slate, and any of the aspects (the kobolds, the plague, Jakk, the town itself) could benefit from some beefing up. But it's a great 12-page, 99-cent starting point to build a good adventure, and the villains (kobolds/Jakk) could easily be spun into a bigger campaign. I wrote more about running this in 5e on my blog, but overall - it's a good buy.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Burning Plague (3.5)
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DMGR3 Arms and Equipment Guide (2e)
by stuart k. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/03/2020 15:02:52

Please restore the previous version of arms and equipment 2e. The text was bolder, sharper and easier to read. On the current updated version the text is very light and much blurrier and harder to read than the previous version. Everything is lighter including the illustrations and its an inferior product to the previous version.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
DMGR3 Arms and Equipment Guide (2e)
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DDEX1-01 Defiance in Phlan (5e)
by Riley H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/02/2020 21:00:11

The bite-sized quests are perfect for new players who are learning the game! DMing them was super simple and they were easy to modify to how I wanted them to play-out, as well as being versatile for differing amounts of players. Would recommend and will definitely play again!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DDEX1-01 Defiance in Phlan (5e)
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B7 Rahasia (Basic)
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/02/2020 15:36:28

Originally posted here: http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2020/06/review-b7-rahasia-becmi-special.html

"You soon are lead to an elven maid, whose veiled grace and beauty outshines all others present as the sun outshines the stars-she is Rahasia. "Will you aid me?" she asks."

B7 Rahasia is an adventure for the BECMI version of the Basic rules. Since module B5 the Basic modules all featured the new BECMI trade dress, but B7 Rahasia is an older adventure with some solid history in the D&D game. But I am getting to the middle of the story.

Back in 1979 Tracy and Laura Hickman wanted to play AD&D but needed money to be able to buy the Dungeon Master's Guide. So like so many after them they wrote an adventure to sell so the could afford to pick up the DMG. That adventure was Rahasia.

Later the Hickmans would go to work for TSR and here they would give us what is arguably one of the greatest adventures of all time, Ravenloft, but before that, they republished Rahasia in 1983 under the RPGA banner. In fact, RPGA 1 Rahasia and it's sequel RPGA 2 Black Opal Eye were the first two RPGA adventures for the new BECMI Basic game.

Rahasia is for levels 1-2 and then Black Opal Eye for levels 2-3.

These currently go for a lot of money on eBay now. RPGA2 Black Opal Eye is available on DriveThruRPG, but the RPGA1 version of Rahasia is not.

Rahasia would get a third printing again in 1984 as the new adventure module B7 Rahasia. This new version was a combination of the two earlier editions.

For this review, I am considering the PDF from DriveThruRPG and my original print copy from 1984.

Module B7 Rahasia Tracy and Laura Hickman. 32 Pages, color cover, black & white interior. Cover art by Jeff Easley. Interior art by Jeff Easley and Tim Truman Maps by Diesel & D.C. Sutherland Ill

This adventure is a primary example of what has been called "the Hickman Revolution" and while it was independent of the design of the BECMI rules, it does dovetail into the rules and feel rather well. The Hickman Revolution can best be explained with the original requirements the Hickmans set for themselves in their adventures.

A player objective more worthwhile than simply pillaging and killing. An intriguing story that is intricately woven into the play itself. Dungeons with some sort of architectural sense. An attainable and honorable end within one or two sessions playing time.

Another very strong point is an NPC/Antagonist that is more than just a mindless monster. This can be seen in Dragonlance and can be seen in its ultimate form in Count Strahd from Ravenloft.

These all exist in one form or another in this adventure. We have an evil cleric known as the Rahib, but is he really our "Big Bad" of this tale? No. But again I jump ahead.

The plot begins as a simple one. The characters agree to help an elven maid named Rahasia defeat a great evil that has come to her lands. This evil, the Rahib, has captured two elf maidens (Sylva and Merisa), Rahasia's father, and her fiancee. So the characters have to rescue the Prince this time! He has also taken control over a group of elven cleric/monks (essentially) known as the Siswa.

This is an important bit, so I am going to interrupt myself here. The Siswa are all mind-controlled, normally these are the elves that guard the temple, so they really should not be killed. In the Hickman Revolution simply killing things is never the way to go. This is true here. The characters need to find ways to incapacitate the Siswa, but not kill them.

Defeating the Rahib is fine, and getting to him is the first half of the adventure. The second half is discovering the REAL Big Bads. You might have seen them on the cover.

Part 2, or the part that was covered in Black Opal Eye, deals with the real villains of this piece. Here we learn that the Rahib had made a deal with the spirits of three dead witches, Karelena, Solorena, and Trilena. These witches have now taken over the bodies of the elf maids and want to get Rahasia for Trilena. They can accomplish this with the Black Opal Eye. When all three witches are freed they are much more powerful, so getting them before they can get Rahasia is the goal. Failing that any female character with a Charisma of 15 or higher is the target.

There are some traps, some false leads and some clues in the form of wine bottles. But all in all a very effective adventure with some nice twists. More importantly, it also gives us three (well four I guess) memorable NPCs. While the Rahib can be defeated, and ultimately forgotten about, the witches, Karelena, Solorena, and Trilena, are far more interesting and really should come back again in a future adventure.

There are maps, pre-rolled characters to use, and of course an elven princess who will be in your debt.

The adventure also features something that the "new" BECMI modules all would feature, new monsters.
Here we get the haunt, the water weird (an AD&D import), and the bone golem who will not see an AD&D rendition until Ravenloft.

Ravenloft Connections

I have often stated that I feel that Barovia, the lands of the mists featured in the Ravenloft adventure and line, came from the B/X & BECMI world of Mystara. Here is another connection. First, the idea of body-snatching undead witches is a strong horror trope. I am sure there are dozens of horror movies made before 1979 that feature this. I am sure I have seen at least a dozen or more of these myself.

Plus like Ravenloft, Rahasia was written by the Hickmans. Even in the 5e era the Curse of Strahd adventure for 5e lists Rahasia as an influence. Plus there are some other solid connections. Like finding the same wines in Rahasia's Wizard tower and in Ravenloft.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
B7 Rahasia (Basic)
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RPGA2: Black Opal Eye (Basic)
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/02/2020 15:36:20

Originally posted here: http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2020/06/review-b7-rahasia-becmi-special.html

Back in 1979 Tracy and Laura Hickman wanted to play AD&D but needed money to be able to buy the Dungeon Master's Guide. So like so many after them they wrote an adventure to sell so the could afford to pick up the DMG. That adventure was Rahasia.

Later the Hickmans would go to work for TSR and here they would give us what is arguably one of the greatest adventures of all time, Ravenloft, but before that, they republished Rahasia in 1983 under the RPGA banner. In fact, RPGA 1 Rahasia and it's sequel RPGA 2 Black Opal Eye were the first two RPGA adventures for the new BECMI Basic game.

Rahasia is for levels 1-2 and then Black Opal Eye for levels 2-3.

These currently go for a lot of money on eBay now. RPGA2 Black Opal Eye is available on DriveThruRPG, but the RPGA1 version of Rahasia is not.

Rahasia would get a third printing again in 1984 as the new adventure module B7 Rahasia. This new version was a combination of the two earlier editions.

Black Opal eye is available for purchase now for th first time since the early 80s. And you don't have to be an RPGA member to do it.

This adventue deals with the real villains of this piece. Here we learn that the Rahib (from Rahasia) had made a deal with the spirits of three dead witches, Karelena, Solorena, and Trilena. These witches have now taken over the bodies of the elf maids and want to get Rahasia for Trilena. They can accomplish this with the Black Opal Eye. When all three witches are freed they are much more powerful, so getting them before they can get Rahasia is the goal. Failing that any female character with a Charisma of 15 or higher is the target.

There are some traps, some false leads and some clues in the form of wine bottles. But all in all a very effective adventure with some nice twists. More importantly, it also gives us three (well four I guess) memorable NPCs. While the Rahib can be defeated, and ultimately forgotten about, the witches, Karelena, Solorena, and Trilena, are far more interesting and really should come back again in a future adventure.

There are maps, pre-rolled characters to use, and of course an elven princess who will be in your debt.

The adventure also features something that the "new" BECMI modules all would feature, new monsters.
Here we get the haunt, the water weird (an AD&D import), and the bone golem who will not see an AD&D rendition until Ravenloft.

Great adventure that can be run in an afternoon.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
RPGA2: Black Opal Eye (Basic)
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Dragon #420 (4e)
by David O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/02/2020 06:28:52

Scan looks good. Some good info about the Feywild and Feydark here.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dragon #420 (4e)
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G1-3 Against the Giants (1e)
by Aaron S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/01/2020 13:52:44

This print is blurry. One of the pages even has a stain on it which wasn't bothered to fixed before print. How people could be giving this POD 5 stars is beyond me. I should have read the discussions before purchase.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
G1-3 Against the Giants (1e)
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D&D Basic Set - DM's Rulebook (BECMI ed.) (Basic)
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/01/2020 12:25:27

Originally posted here: http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2020/06/becmi-basic-set-review.html

How does one go about reviewing a game I know so well but in a book I know very little about? More to the point how does one review a classic? Well as my oldest son says, "with determination."

The third set of books to be released as the "Basic set" was the Mentzer "Red Box" Basic that would become the "B" of the BECMI line. So many copies of this set have sold that it has become synonymous with "the Basic Set" and "the red Box" in D&D circles. The set itself contained two books, a Player's Book (to be read first) and a Dungeon Master's Book (to be read by the DM).

Already we have a departure from the previous Holmes (1977) and Moldvay (1981) Basic sets. While those older sets had one book for rules (48 and 64 pages respectively) and an included adventure (B1 and B2 respectively) this set only has the two books. This is not the issue it might seem at first since this set features a rather infamous solo adventure and a programmed adventure that can be used with a DM.

The box set also came with dice, a crayon for coloring in the numbers, and some information about the RPGA.

The Dungeon Master's book is 48 pages, color art cover, black & white interior art. This book follows the Player's book in terms of layout and scope.

The title page here is largely the same as the Player's Book, but it is a chance for us to reflect on how this game is really the direct descendent of the Original D&D game. Though there is a reminder that Players are not to read this book! Only DMs!

We get right into the roles of a DM here, after covering some brief introductory materials and some common terms and abbreviations. Looking over these were are still in a time that Pre-Dates THAC0 as a term.

There are checklists of things to do pre-game and during the game and during combat. It's a nice clear and spelled out version of the same material seen in the previous Moldvay Basic set. In fact, there is a lot of material here that looks and reads the same. This is natural since both sets are drawing from the same sources. It is a bit like reading something you are already very familiar with, but it is still somewhat different and new. Like trying to read Danish after learning German. Or maybe more accurately, reading American Spanish after learning European Spanish.

There is a built-in adventure for new DMs that serves the same purpose as the Solo one in the player's book. It is fine, but I think back to my time in running the Keep on the Borderlands and hoe much I learned from that.

The procedures and rules section is all laid out alphabetically. So "Elves" come before "Mapping" and "Time". Again, I am reminded of the layout seen in 4e and it is obvious that the designers of 4e were fans of this edition.

The next big section is on Monsters. This section reads very much like the same section in Molvay Basic, some even down to the exact same words. I don't find this a problem though. Some people went from Holmes Basic (77) to Cook/Marsh Expert (81) and some people will come from those earlier Basics to this. There needs to be a continuity of rules. Minus some organization and some clearer directions these are supposed to be the same games. Yes there are some differences. I find them to be minor at worst.

Back to Monsters, the section seems to have all the Usual Suspects, give or take a couple. I did notice that there is much less art here. I would have loved to have seen more versions of these classic monsters. An Elmore drawn Thoul? Yeah, that would have been great! Also, this has the only piece of recycled art I have found. The dragon breath diagram looks the same here as in Moldvay. That's actually pretty cool. All new art? TSR was putting their best on this. I'll talk more about the art in a bit.

Treasure follows and it is every 1st level character's dreams come true. Swords to hit those pesky magic monsters! Gold! Platinum! Potions of Healing!! 2-7 hp was all you needed back then to get back into the game.

A nice bit about creating and stocking dungeons with monsters and treasures. More direction than we got in Holmes or Moldvay to be sure.

We end with some tables for random monsters, saving throws, and a combined index!

Art The art in both books is fantastic. Larry Elmore, Jim Holloway, and Jeff Easley at the very top of their game. They defined how millions view Dungeons & Dragons. Yes, yes I am a fan of the older stylings of Bill Willingham, Erol Otis, and Jeff Dee, but this was at a new level. The art was consistent throughout and all of it wonderful. Sadly it is also a little sparse compared to Moldvay, but I guess there are more pages to fill here.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
D&D Basic Set - DM's Rulebook (BECMI ed.) (Basic)
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D&D Basic Set - Player's Manual (BECMI ed.) (Basic)
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/01/2020 12:25:20

Originally posted here: http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2020/06/becmi-basic-set-review.html

How does one go about reviewing a game I know so well but in a book I know very little about? More to the point how does one review a classic? Well as my oldest son says, "with determination."

The third set of books to be released as the "Basic set" was the Mentzer "Red Box" Basic that would become the "B" of the BECMI line. So many copies of this set have sold that it has become synonymous with "the Basic Set" and "the red Box" in D&D circles. The set itself contained two books, a Player's Book (to be read first) and a Dungeon Master's Book (to be read by the DM).

Already we have a departure from the previous Holmes (1977) and Moldvay (1981) Basic sets. While those older sets had one book for rules (48 and 64 pages respectively) and an included adventure (B1 and B2 respectively) this set only has the two books. This is not the issue it might seem at first since this set features a rather infamous solo adventure and a programmed adventure that can be used with a DM.

The box set also came with dice, a crayon for coloring in the numbers, and some information about the RPGA.

The Player's Book is 64 pages, color art cover, black & white interior art.

This is the familiar D&D game. The title page tells us that this is Dungeons & Dragons created by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. The editor, though many will say the actual architect of the BECMI line, is Frank Mentzer. He is so tied to this edition that it is also called the Mentzer Basic book.

While Holmes did a good job of organizing the Original D&D game into something that could be used as and introduction to the game (or too AD&D maybe), it was the Moldvay edition that really tried to make an introductory game to new players. The Mentzer set takes this to the next level by giving us a true introduction to the game.

The target audience is 10-12-year-olds but it takes care not to talk down to the audience, there even seems to be a choice in language to try and educate as much as possible too. TSR expected their target audience to be young, educated, and (for better or worse) male. But I will touch on that later.

Up first you are taken on one of the most infamous solo adventures ever. You are playing a fighter and you have to investigate a dungeon. You meet a cleric named Aleena, and a goblin and an evil wizard named Bargel. The rest is a tale told in many taverns across the known world. While I have a number of issues with the solo adventure, and I'll discuss those elsewhere, it is an effective tool for grabbing people and getting them into the game. The adventure explains aspects of your character and makes them salient in the situation. In the education biz we call this "situational learning" and it is an effective tool.

After the adventure, we get to the part where your character is explained to you. What the ability scores mean, what the saving throws are for, how to hit with weapons. It is the "what is Roleplaying" section of every other RPG book writ large.

There is another Solo adventure, with some nods to the two M series for solo dungeons.

So now that the player knows the basics of play the various character classes are introduced. Here we have the Cleric, Fighters, Magic-User, and Thieves for humans and Dwarves, Elves, and Halflings. The text is very, very explanatory. Great for a brand new player but feels wordy to me now. Granted, these were not written for someone with 40 years of experience. Heck, no one had even a quarter of that yet when this was written so my point of view is out of sync with the design goals of this game.

Looking over the classes I notice a few things. The class descriptions are very self-contained. Everything you need to know about playing a Cleric for example is right there. Including the Saving Throw tables WITH the class. A vast improvement over the constant flipping through pages we had to do with AD&D at the same time. Also, I noticed how weak the thief was then. No comparison to the Rogues of later editions.

The design elements of the self-contained class pages is something we will see again in D&D 4e and 5e. It is very effective and if you are like me and like to print out your PDFs then it also gives you flexibility in organizing your version of Basic.

There is a solid emphasis throughout the book on how playing together, and working together, as a group is the best experience. There also seems a little extra emphasis on how the Players are not the Characters. It feels wonderfully 80s when the was the moral panic that kids would start to act out like their characters and meet the fate of poor Black Leaf and Marci. Today people online refer to their characters in first person and laud their achievements as their very own. What a difference some time makes.

We get to alignment with a strong prohibition against playing Chaotic or Evil characters. Retainers and other topics. There is even a solid Glossary (I mean really who does this anymore? I miss them!) to help in supporting my point of view of D&D as a learning tool. There is even a small section on using minis, character sheets, and other aids. There is even a nod to AD&D to remind players that this game, D&D, is not AD&D.

All the basics are covered. No pun intended. Ok. Maybe a little one. Everything the player needs to get started. They now just need a DM. Thankfully the next book covers all that.

Art The art in both books is fantastic. Larry Elmore, Jim Holloway, and Jeff Easley at the very top of their game. They defined how millions view Dungeons & Dragons. Yes, yes I am a fan of the older stylings of Bill Willingham, Erol Otis, and Jeff Dee, but this was at a new level. The art was consistent throughout and all of it wonderful. Sadly it is also a little sparse compared to Moldvay, but I guess there are more pages to fill here.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
D&D Basic Set - Player's Manual (BECMI ed.) (Basic)
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B1 In Search of the Unknown (Basic)
by Aaron S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/31/2020 08:33:29

Very nice for this aadventure to be available at a less-than-ridiculous price. BUT the scan and print quality are horrendous. I bought a printed copy because it is usually more pleasant to read. Unfortunately, the poor quality makes this strenuous to be .



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
B1 In Search of the Unknown (Basic)
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DDEX1-01 Defiance in Phlan (5e)
by Nicolas V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/30/2020 13:51:30

Good introductory adventure. Too bad some maps are not included (e.g. an inn, the barn)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DDEX1-01 Defiance in Phlan (5e)
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I6 Ravenloft (1e)
by Mark L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/29/2020 17:23:43

The printed book took 1 week to be delivered and it did not disappoint. The maps toward the center page are slight obscured but all in all a great reprint for a great price! As for the module a current DM will have to either run this adventure at 1E (AD&D) stats or modify the stats to current DND rules, but most DM's love doing things like this. This module is for medium to advanced DM levels of experience... play Phandelver and simpler modules first before tackling this one, you and your players will enjoy it even more. The rating is a 9 or 10 out of 10!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
I6 Ravenloft (1e)
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Adventure with Muk (5e)
by Jean-Michel A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/29/2020 06:03:36

My son (8 years old) really like the activities in this book. It's really fun for him to discover the world of D&D this way. I'm also looking forward to play the RPG at the end (a simplified version of D&D5) later on with some of his friends, but I was disappointed to find out they were only a (fun) setting and scenario hooks; and not a full scenario for kids. Anyway, that's a minor complain, I'm sure I will be able to improvise something nice based on those seeds.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure with Muk (5e)
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RM4 House of Strahd (2e)
by Zachary B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/28/2020 16:44:13

Reviewing the PoD copy I received. This one is one of the better PoD copies I've gotten from DTRPG, as the text is almost perfect. I really, REALLY wish that we could somehow get professional-level copies of the maps that came in these old modules and box sets, but I understand the limitations. The poster map is at the back of the book, spread across 4 pages, and it's of course not ideal but in this instance, it's there and it looks decent. The module itself fantastic, and it gives you a lot of options for making Strahd your own and giving you options for how he engages with your players. This module's status as a legendary adventure is well-deserved.

Hard to not suggest this for anyone looking to run a Ravenloft/horror campaign. The print quality is higher than most of the PoD copies I've ordered; the module is, despite a few "on-rails" segments, a lot of fun to run and to play. As a nice bonus, the module features the original stats from the module, plus newer "boosted" stats for higher-level/larger parties. I would also suggest this module over the original Ravenloft, unless you just want that one for nostalgia. This is definitely the superior iteration.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
RM4 House of Strahd (2e)
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