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Barrowmaze I
Publisher: OSR Publishing
by Tim S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/16/2012 21:35:47

Buy it. I'm starting off with buy it because it is a great adventure. I am not one for mega dungeons, but as I read through Barrowmaze I was thinking how could I introduce this into my campaigns with both my veteran group and newbie group. It is a solid dungeon crawl that goes on for days. I love the backstory and it kicked started a few ideas of my own. Greg points out in the overview map their is a section for the GM to develop and man did I have a lot of ideas what to do with it once I was done reading.

The artwork is all done by guys that have become the forefront of OSR art. The art really enhances the feel of the adventure and to me captures the spirit of adventures I want to go through.

Layout for this is easy to read. Which is very important considering its scope. But everything is easy to find and Greg makes it easy for the GM to navigate the maze.

I plan on running it in my own game. That's about the biggest endorsement I can give. Do yourself a favor and go get a copy. Oh, and don't forget your 10' pole.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Barrowmaze I
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Weird Adventures
Publisher: Hydra Cooperative
by Tim S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/04/2012 21:41:25

...blues man scribing the perfect murder ballad in the jaundice hue of a street light. I want to be a smuggler running bootleg alchemicals in a forest infested with shotgun wielding ogres and they are the least of my worries. I want to be a photographer who captured a picture of oil para-elementals tearing apart a rigging crew and is now running from big oil. Rumor is they hired a hit fiend to get to me before the pictures could be released. I want to be a scholar who's discovered the gargoyles have collect treasures through every history and store them in a sacred mountain. I want to play Weird Adventures in black and white, wear a hat and pretend I smoke.

Weird Adventures is a world setting that takes very interesting twists on our real world. Set in a world where weird is not weird, but the normal. Where Ripley's Believe It or Not mixes with Film Noir and pulp magazines. It's a world where you need to big...huge or no one will notice you. It's a place for big adventures and big ideas.

Trey has developed a world of some depth. If you have every read his blog, From the Sorcerer'sSkull you know most of his posts are dedicated to the City and the surrounding world. Nothing is out of bounds. You can run this setting with pretty much any elements you can come up with. The City is a playground to be explored and the wonders enjoyed.

I bought both the PDF and hardcover (actually two of them). The books are gorgeous. The artwork really enhances the content and you can tell they had a lot of fun. Trey set up the book for easy reference, but I guarantee the first time you pick it up you'll read it cover to cover because it is a great read. Then Trey added some great touches by adding mock advertisements.

I think Weird Adventures hits all the right notes. If I did a rating system I would give it a 5 out of 5. But I think the true test of a good gaming book is after you read it you want to play it. And I want to play in The City. I want to be...



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Weird Adventures
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Tavern Tables
Publisher: Chaotic Shiny Productions
by Tim S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/06/2010 07:02:32

I found this fun little product free on RPGNow. If you get a chance it is well worth a look no matter what genre you're playing. Tavern Tables has a series of random tables to help a GM pull together a tavern in a few rolls. The first two tables (d100) are to name the tavern. The first table is the adjective and the second is the noun. An example I rolled was "The Mournful Stableboy". Sounds like a Monty Python skit. A simple mechanism that can create 1000s of names.

The next series of nine tables (these are all d6) are for tavern features, such as the quality, cleanliness and size of the place. The next three check prices, the variety of food and the quality of the food and drink. And the last three tables determine how crowded it is, how loud it is and if all those favorite dark corners that adventurers love to hog are taken or even if there are any. So let's continue on with the Mournful Stableboy. It's a fair quality tavern, that is sparkling clean, but a little cramped. The prices are cheap, but the owner has connections and can get almost any kind of drink or food all of which tastes 'interesting'. Unfortunately the Mournful Stableboy is empty most of the time and because very few people patronize the tavern it is always very quiet. And one dark corner is occupied by the sleeping bouncer. I made up the bouncer bit.

The next series of 15 tables (all d6 again) will help a GM describe a notable patron. I won't go through all the tables to make an example, but these tables could help a GM create any NPC they need to whip up details on the spot. I'll call our patron Gunther. Gunther is heavily cloaked with wild red hair and eyes of a mad mage, no pupil or iris, all of it covered in dark gray. His startling appearance is countered by his cheerful mood. He will not say what he does for a living, but he always seems to be carrying a book that he never lets out of his sight (if he sees at all). He entertains the others by doing card tricks, but never gets involved with gambling. Gunther was created by using half the tables available. I've added my own extra details, but the tables lend themselves to allow the GM to create something fresh with little nudges from the tables.

Next tables are when a good old donnybrook breaks out. There are 9 d6 tables. The first three decide how many opponents there are, what actions they take and what skill they are fighting at. Then the other six tables determine how much trouble you are in. Let's say Gunther gets into a brawl at the Mournful Stableboy (which will be difficult since no one goes there, but let's pretend they have stripping dryad night and its packed). The brawl starts with four people whacking one another and Gunther, despite his weird freaky eyes is sweeping the floor with his opponent. But his consequence is he must leave town now because he killed the man he fought. Now we know why the stableboy is mournful, it lost its one faithful customer.

The final page is a few examples of patrons that were rolled up. This is where I would have preferred to see a random drink and food tables. I think that would have completed the product.

My recommendation is get Tavern Tables. It's a great little supplement. Oh, and did I mention it's free. Hannah "Swordgleam" Lipsky of Chaotic Shiny Productions did a great job. Give their webpage a look and download Tavern Tables.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tavern Tables
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Od&dities 13
Publisher: OD&DITIES
by Boris t. B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/05/2010 17:35:39

A few notes on the magazine itself. Issue 13 comes in at 24 pages. The art is from one of my favorite sources The Forge Studios. The art is minimal, but meshed in well with the text. The layout is simple and clean. Easy to read without any clutter. And since there are no big black spaces it is printer friendly.

Okay, now let's get to the articles. And I have to say the name of the first article is really what got me interested in seeing what was in there pages. Building the Keep on the Borderlands is an advice article on how a GM can handle players building a stronghold, what obstacles they might run into and should run into. There is a lot of solid advice here that can help build a storyline/plotline around the building of that fortress, tower, keep, or castle. This is a no crunch zone. You'll find no stats here just advice to consider. I liked it and will be placing it in my GM notes for later use.

The next article is a follow up to the first, Designing the Keep on the Borderlands. An interesting read, but I didn't feel it was as strong as the initial article. There were some interesting thoughts I would have liked to see more details developed. Again, no crunch here. This is another advice article to assist a GM who has players wishing to build their own dream home.

Touch of Class: The Illusionist. This is a rehashing of the illusionist class for Labyrinth Lord. I have to start off with my own bias is I've always found illusionist boring. With that said this article didn't change my view on them. I think if you write an article about a class the reader should come away thinking, wow this is cool I want to play this. It is however a great template for an OD&D campaign for those who enjoy the class more than I do.

Man's Best Friend is probably my favorite piece in the magazine and one I will definitely be scarfing for my GM Notebook. Lots of good crunch on different types of dogs, training times and costs and by the gods there is a good equipment list so you can pimp out your dog. I think dogs get overlooked a lot in campaigns when I think they would be utilized much more. If a party has a couple of war/guard dogs with them as the travel through the wilderness no one needs to stand guard those little pups a detectors of damn near anything. This article is worth the price of admission alone. Surviving the DM's Wrath: Party Formation I thought was the weakest entry. Basic advice that anyone who has been playing for more than a couple of month would know already. It discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the classes and which classes are better for small party. Everything in the article is on the mark, but it's just been said many times before. I guess I would have liked to have seen a different approach to the article. Such as example parties that are missing a class and what monsters or situations they would be weak against.

And the next article is for all you magic item junkies out there, Magical Miscellany: The Rings of Altar Perraine. There is a short backstory in the beginning about Altar which was good, but I would have liked to have read about how he got the rings or made them included. There are three rings and all of them have interesting effects. They are no simple ring of this or that they are rings that do stuff. I won't go into detail you'll have to buy the magazine to find out what they do, but I like them.

And the final entry is Mr. B's Last Word. A bit of a rant about how it sucks to be 1st level. Again I was hoping for something a little different. I was hoping for a fire rising rant against the Xvart or Xorn or any monsters that begin with X. But in the end it tried to make me feel special and I don't like that. I don't want to be special I just want my pizza delivered on time and my pops cold. I think this could be a fun article in the future as long as it stays away from being didactic.

Finally estimation is it had highs and lows for me, but over all I thought Issue 13 of OD&Dities was excellent. The stuff I mentioned that wasn't for me you might find rocks your world. For the price tag of two dollars I think it's a no brainer. Zombies will buy it. Go to RPGNow and get a copy.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Od&dities 13
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Gamers Helping Haiti $20 Donation with Coupon
Publisher: Roll20
by Boris t. B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/20/2010 19:51:38

This is a no brainer. Great cause. Great value. There are products of every genre. I look forward to checking out some of lesser known items on the list.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gamers Helping Haiti $20 Donation with Coupon
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