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The Book of Many Things
by Christen S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/17/2018 16:48:17

I wasn't really sure what to expect when I got this. Previous work had led me to expect tight thematic packages that were very well developed and focused. Looking at the solicitaiton this was clearly kind of something more like a cornucopia or shotgun blast of random fun pieces. Usually such products are fields of debris with a few quality bits to really lock on to. The wall of content I got after the download was nearly intimidating, but I quickly realized that each piece was gathered into nice consumable sections and it is rapidly become one of my favorite things to browse. And it keeps getting updated through the course of the year! This collection simply floored me on release and then continued to get more and more valuable. The sheer tidal wave of content is amazing. Piles of interesting racial options, a dozen new classes. Dollar for dollar you can't find a value in mechanical crunch that touches this product. Here are a few favorites:

  • Accelerist - One of the coolest speedster-themed classes I have ever seen for Pathfinder. It has great mechanics that are robust without being bogged down in complexity and covers the concept 4 ways in its base design before you even get to the archetypes.
  • Battle Augur - I loved Blue Magic in the Final Fantasy series and this is another battle/monster mimic class that really delivers on presentation of that theme. Presented in a concise manner that covers a large variety of abilities it is hard to believe how much it packs into 3 pages of text.
  • Darkseeker - Divine servants of Shadow that combine magic with stealth and sneak-attacks to round out any campaign where the power of the Shadow Plane is felt.
  • Dalits - Playable otyugh-kin. drops mic
  • Mushroom Leshys - Leshys are one of the most adorable monsters in the game and I have a soft spot for another playable option for unique family-friendly game experiences.
  • Archetypes for old standbys like Fighter to the newest Shifter in the Pathfinder core are sure to open up options you never thought you'd see.

180 pages of delicious crunch makes this a steal at the price.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Book of Many Things
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Interludes: A Brief Expedition to Bluffside for C&C
by Brian S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/07/2013 12:35:43

“Interludes: Brief Expeditions to Bluffside” is a module (do they still use that term anymore?) for use with the Castles and Crusades RPG. For second level characters, the module is more of a launching pad for The Bluffside Campaign Setting. It sells for a meager $5.00 and has a print option. Taking place in a small town outside of Bluffside called Kirkwood, Interludes serves as a Sandbox setting giving the Castle Keeper just enough to work with if they are not prepared with a plot line. Content wise, this module shines in the npc descriptions, giving you many different story lines that the Castle Keeper can run with. I also liked the idea of the prisoner pits. Presentation is a mixed bag here. Coming from a fine arts background I believe presentation is half the piece. The cover does nothing to make me want to even look in the pdf which is a shame since there was a lot of useful stuff in it. The interior art was sparse but decent and illustrated what was actually in the book, instead of being included because it might have looked cool. The new monster in the back was not illustrated which was a bummer. The type layout was clear and very readable. Also a plus in presentation are character handouts of letters and correspondents. Personally I believe that I will most certainly use many of the npc’s in the book if nothing else.
One thing that had me stumped was the new character class in the back. In my opinion it made me think that the person who wrote it up didn’t have a clear idea of the classes in the main rule book. The Sisters of Mercy should in my opinion, be a cleric denomination but certainly not it’s own class. In the end the class left me confused, thinking that it was put there as filler. In the end, I feel that it’s not a bad deal at Five Dollars. I do not think I would get the print version, but as a pdf it does great.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Interludes: A Brief Expedition to Bluffside for C&C
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Interludes: A Brief Expedition to Bluffside for C&C
by Michael B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/23/2013 20:54:53

For those who are not familiar, Bluffside is a mini setting originally designed and written for OGL D20 systems. Here is the marketing blurb from 2002:

"Civilization is still picking up the pieces from an asteroid strike hundreds of thousand of years ago. The epicenter? Bluffside. Only 200 years after being rediscovered, Bluffside is a boom town boasting the most precious metal in the known world adamantine. From the ancient ruins, to the vast Undercity, to the floating port of Sordadon, Bluffside: City on the Edge is a city that promises to become the home port for thousands of adventures."

Sounds pretty cool right? I'd certainly want to have an adventure or two there. And in the Castles & Crusades ruleset? Even moreso! Ok, so let's see if this adventure lives up to the promise of both Bluffside the setting and C&C the game.

The adventure starts you off in the small woodland village of Kirkwood. This village lies south of the city of Bluffside along the Coldwind road. This road is long and dangerous as the woods are crawling with nasties such as, Orcs Rakers (the Bluffside version of Goblins) and Rippers (the trained wolves they ride on). Unfortunately, the background on the Rakers and Rippers are not present. The module refers us to the setting book for Bluffside, which, to my knowledge has not yet been converted to C&C. Were you to own the D20 version, you'd probably be just fine. Regardless, it's a quibble because how different can Goblins and their wolves be from traditional fantasy versions?

So, you arrive at the Hamlet and in traditional D&D fashion, a kidnapping is brought to your attention. Investigation and Roleplay opportunities abound in this portion of the module. You're tasked with identifying, locating and apprehending the villains and unlocking the mystery of why it happened in the first place. There is a nice plot twist and several points of resolution that reward smart play, rather than a purely hack-n-slash approach. Although hack-n-slash is still viable. I really appreciate this in an adventure. You can push forward by the point of your sword but outcomes will be messier, as they should be. I like adventures with this kind of sensibility.

It wraps up nicely with a multilayered conclusion, a solid final battle and a story that wants to pull you forward, into Bluffside proper. I say Bluffside proper because despite what one might think from the title, the adventure is only loosely taking place in Bluffside. It's kind of on the outskirts of Bluffside as I understand it. More specifically, the wilds surrounding the city of Bluffside.

The downside of this, obviously, is that by playing the adventure, you still don't get a strong idea of what the Bluffside setting is all about. The upside though, is that it makes the adventure very portable. You could easily implant it in most any traditional D&D or fantasy setting. It would serve as a good bridge from your existing fantasy setting into the Bluffside setting.

The PDF is 42 pages long, including the usual OGL proclamations. It also includes 7 indexes covering things from NPCs (there are many!), new enemies, spells, player handouts, local poison and even a class. The story is well put together and the adventure provides ample background information for groups of players who like to talk to everyone in town. It also provides lots of rumors and something they call "hooks" for pretty much every NPC. I would describe them more as motivations though, than hooks. Perhaps one could use those motivations to create what is more traditionally thought of as hooks, those being bits of story that grab the players and require some action on their part to resolve. These hooks are really more to help you roleplay the NPCs. So, despite the odd application of the term, they are VERY helpful in running the adventure and getting a feel for the place and its inhabitants.

The artwork is somewhat sparse however there is a nice traditional piece showing a male warrior and female fighter/magic-user of some sort. The maps are probably the weakest part of the adventure. They are very rudimentary and blocky. The regional map is better but the others feel like they're out of an 8 bit video game, rather than a fantasy literary adventure. It's a quibble but it's worth noting for those who really enjoy cartography.

My main gripes with the adventure are mostly all along the same lines. There are lots of references to things that it is assumed the player knows about the setting, in particular about the monster ecology and stats. But most of that information is not present. There are actually very few stats for encounters. There is generally a small paragraph about tactics and one can find stats for important NPCs and enemies in the appendix, but you're given very little information on what the unnamed enemies can do mechanically. To be fair, if you are willing to pull straight from C&C monster books, you'll be just fine. But plan to do that when you run this one. In particular, there was one area: BASEMENT 9: GUARD POST. The description reads "The goblins in this room are playing at cards and aren’t paying much attention to you." But it never mentions how many goblins there are, if they are armed or what. Perhaps the author assumes you'll sneak by? Anyway, there are a few oddities like this throughout. Nothing earth shattering, but it could use a little polish.

Over all, I think it's a simple and solid entry level adventure. It's not breaking new ground for the genre but few low level adventures do. I think a group with new players or a new DM would be well served by running this adventure. It's the perfect level of complexity (low) for a group that is still sorting out a ruleset, in this case, Castles & Crusades. If you've got years of experience under your belt and C&C is old hat to you, this adventure might not scratch the itch, but if you're looking for a reason to take a group into Bluffside, this would start such a campaign nicely. For $5 at RPGNow, it's hard not to recommend it for such gamers.

If you are interested in Bluffside, I'd also bring your attention to Bluffside: Right Under Our Noses, another Bluffside related adventure for Castles & Crusades, currently free on RPGNow. Between to the two of them, you'd surely have what you need to get a Bluffside campaign started off right.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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