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Barrowmaze Complete
Publisher: Greg Gillespie
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!]
Barrowmaze Complete
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Caverns of Thracia (1979)
Publisher: Judges Guild
by Giles R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/29/2019 01:27:56

This adventure oozes brilliance.

It's a dungeon site suitable for a small campaign. It has a back story that bleeds through into the design of the dungeon in subtle and not so subtle ways. The room design is superb. It manages to be succinct and detailed at the same time. But then there are some rooms that take up reams of text, crammed with playable detail.

There are multiple routes through the dungeon, the different levels inventively interconnected. There are so many secrets in the dungeon, both in terms of areas and things to discover in rooms. There's a couple of rooms that expand out into sub levels. There are factions within the dungeon that could be utilised by canny players.

The only criticism I'd level at the adventure is some of the later encounters are simply "more" encounters, large groups of the same type of monster. I'd mix stuff up to give more tactical meat if the encounter rolled into a fight.

To some up, I'm absolutely itching to play this.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Caverns of Thracia (1979)
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The Shadowed Keep (PDF)
Publisher: Usherwood Publishing
by Giles R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/29/2019 00:57:43

A good adventure. Well organised for running at the table. The first encounter area, the abandoned village is superb. The remaing 3 encounter areas, graveyard, dragon's lair and fortress, don't have quite the same quality but are still good. It's part 3 of the Bone Hilt Sword campaign but could easily be run as a stand alone by giving players a different motive to raid the fortress.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Shadowed Keep (PDF)
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Seven Worlds Setting Guide
Publisher: Intellistories
by Giles R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/22/2018 08:21:59

A very good setting book for the Savage Worlds RPG. It's a science fiction game that really focuses on the science in building the campaign world while using the quick to play Savage Worlds system to keep the play moving quickly. Unless you're a complete space nut you will learn about space reading this book. I've been wanting to GM a science fiction game for a while, throwing real science at my players in terms of creating situations and problem solving, and this book is the perfect excuse.

The setting is 200 years in the future, covering mankind's first forays into other solar systems. All the players will be human with technology a bit beyond what we have now. There are limited jump points in each solar system for interstellar travel. Only one enigmatic alien race has been discovered so far.

Going to buy the campaign book next.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Seven Worlds Setting Guide
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King Arthur Pendragon: Edition 5.2
Publisher: Chaosium
by Giles R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/13/2018 01:26:43

This is not a modern RPG with an empasis on getting players into the game quickly and assisting with story development. It's set in dark ages England of King Arthur. Players will have to read at least one chapter of the rulebook to get an understanding of fuedal society and their place within that society. Character generation can be complex but premade characters are available. This game requires commitment on the part of your players to play the role of a medieval knight. If you can find the right group, you will have a campaign that's set apart from every other RPG you've played. Greg Staffoard is a genius among RPG designers.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
King Arthur Pendragon: Edition 5.2
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Veins of the Earth
Publisher: Lamentations of the Flame Princess
by Giles R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/17/2017 02:56:08

This is one of those books. I'd rate it alongside other great RPG books like the Guide to Glorantha and the Temple of Elemental Evil. It makes you itch to start playing a game.

Well written and full of superb ideas that you can use in any underground campaign. There's a good dose of revulsion and body horror.

It includes useful mechanics for climbing that feel like the person who wrote the rules has climbed up a rock face. Then distilled that knowledge down into a quick flavourful sub system.

The verticality and variety of the map generation system will keep you and your players well entertained. Some of the locations are truly strange.

The monsters are similarly varied and some of them will leave your players thinking "What was that?"

If you're thinking of running an underground campaign, buy this book.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Veins of the Earth
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Hillfolk
Publisher: Pelgrane Press
by Giles R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/18/2017 02:37:48

Hillfolk uses an innovative ruleset to place social interactions between characters at the heart of the game. It's aim is to make an RPG play more like one of the blockbuster TV series we get these days.

The story will be largely player led, with the GM almost on an equal footing as the players in terms of input.

The rules for physical confrontations are quite light, good if you want to focus on the drama played out by the characters. If not you could easly replace them with your favourite rule system for more crunch. I kept thinking this would be a perfect system for a Runequest campaign where all the players were members of the same tribe.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hillfolk
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Gloranthan Classics Volume I - Pavis & Big Rubble
Publisher: Chaosium
by Giles R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/03/2017 23:58:33

This book will keep you going for months. It contains detailed notes on the city of Pavis. The characharacters presented are interesting. The big rubble is a giant playground for adventures. The puzzle canal adventure is very good.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gloranthan Classics Volume I - Pavis & Big Rubble
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Book of Challenges: Dungeon Rooms, Puzzles, and Traps (3e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Giles R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/03/2017 23:27:30

This book is superb. It's filled with brilliant comat encounters, traps and puzzles. It will give you inspiration for many more.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Challenges: Dungeon Rooms, Puzzles, and Traps (3e)
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RuneQuest 2nd Edition (1980)
Publisher: Chaosium
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/25/2016 12:51:01

Absolute old school brilliance. Good system set in one of the richest and most interesting fantasy worlds ever created. The combat feels real without being too rules heavy. Outstanding treatment of magic and gods. Buy this and the Guide to Glorantha, The Cult Compendium, and numerous other titles published over the years and you'll never look back.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
RuneQuest 2nd Edition (1980)
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Aurora's Whole Realms Catalogue (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/01/2015 13:13:53

Brilliant book. Whether you want to offer some unusual items to sell to your players in a large city, or looking at spicing up a treasure horde with interesting knick knacks, this is the book for you. The descriptions are well written with a bit of flavour and will give your players ideas for inventive play.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Aurora's Whole Realms Catalogue (2e)
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Masks of Nyarlathotep
Publisher: Chaosium
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/01/2015 02:41:57

Just brilliant. I don't play Call of Cthulhu but I'm certainly going to be heavily adapting this for my Dungeon World game. It's that good. I was inspired to read this by Justin Alexander's discussion of the 3 clue rule. Recommended reading if you want a good example of how to run a mystery game no matter what rule system you run. B



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Masks of Nyarlathotep
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The Perilous Wilds
Publisher: Lampblack & Brimstone
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/01/2015 02:26:44

I was a bit underwhelmed by this after all the other good reviews. There are some good bits in this book and the art is excellent. I'm most disappointed about the additional moves, particularly the hireling, movement rules and weather rules. They seem to add more complexity to the game without adding additional fun. A few of the moves seem to be text book examples how you shouldn't design moves, according to the Dungeon World rule book. For example giving players options to do nothing. The compendium classes lack the zing and weirdness of the ones provided alongside the original rules. The random dungeon creation is good and the descriptive text is well written. I think the problem for the authors is that Dungeon World is so subtly well designed that the most likely result of adding more to it is that you end up with something that isn't quite as good. I got the same feeling reading this book as looking at a Lotus Elise that's been fitted with aftermarket 'improvements'. There is good stuff here but I'll be using it sparingly in my own games.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Perilous Wilds
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Dungeon World
Publisher: Sage Kobold Productions
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/01/2015 01:47:03

This is such a good book. I learned a lot about dming from this. The partial successes and interesting failures really add to a game. The section on fronts completely changed the way I run campaigns / adventures. I've recommended the front section to many people off the back of "My campaign isn't working how I expected it to." conversations. I'm running a lot classic D&D adventures using Dungeon World and I no longer have so much of an issue waiting until my players are a specific level before throwing stuff at them. First level characters are more powerful than 1st level D&D characters, there isn't such a gap between levels, and the way monsters are designed means the game runs in a narrower power band than D&D. There are bits about this game that are obviously good and there are bits about this game that are subtly good.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon World
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Castle Gargantua
Publisher: Kabuki Kaiser
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/01/2015 01:17:14

If I could've given this book 3.5 stars, I would've. I was intrigued by the idea of a large dungeon generated by tables. In real life I didn't enjoy it so much. It turns out that the things I enjoy most about traditional mega dungeons are the connectedness between encounters, integrated traps, and factions within the dungeon. Which you can't really get with a random dungeon. There are certainly some good ideas in here. I liked the idea that the players were essentially on a giant snakes and ladders board. I didn't like the pink zones (lust) as I have a young player in my group and would have to heavily adapt / put another theme in there to run this. Generally the encounters weren't quite as interesting as I'd hoped.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Castle Gargantua
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