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Kingmaker
Publisher: Ludibrium Games
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/30/2022 05:35:41

Innovative escort scenario with a variety of possible outcomes and ways play might unfold. There is a mystery to solve, and plenty of opportunities for superior play. A number of tactics are described for the opposition forces tracking the PCs' group. Not suitable for a novice referee: there is a large cast of NPCs, and several attacks to plan.

A welcome change from the usual sort of low level scenario. This was fun in play. Highly recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Kingmaker
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The Beast of the Black Tor – A Dragon Warriors Solo Adventure
Publisher: Red Ruin Publishing
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/29/2022 04:41:14

Solo adventure for an inexperienced character. An investigation phase followed by a decision on how best to defend the village of Brengate from the Beast. Fairly short, but with a variety of possible paths and endings. Intelligent play gets rewarded. Well (self-)illustrated.

A couple of possible structural improvements: (I) You might evacuate some villagers before the events of entry 49, which now need modification; (II) After evacuating the vulnerable, it makes sense to prepare those left fighting for battle.

A simple fix: End entry 10 with: Otherwise go to 23 to organise the fighters, or return to 110. Entry 110, amend third paragraph. ... Elder Wystan (turn to 72 if you have ticked the second box and want to tell him your plan),...

A more complicated rewriting (possibly with a codeword for the events of 49) could allow more combinations of actions.

Minor corrections: Entry 10 "Some of the women can fight". End entry 12 ... Brengate, turn to 17. Entry 33, second mini paragraph, clarification. ... to a minimum of 1 remaining.

Two wins and a losing retreat in play. Recommended.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Beast of the Black Tor – A Dragon Warriors Solo Adventure
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Scourge of the Shadows – A Dragon Warriors Solo Adventure
Publisher: Red Ruin Publishing
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/17/2022 06:09:34

Sandbox solo adventure in a region where the balance between good and evil forces can be tipped by PC actions. Very accurately constructed: all the links, codewords, and sequences given certain consitions (such as previous events) seem to work. A welcome feature is freedom of action as well as freedom of movement: you can support either side, and/or undertake minor quests as you see fit. It is important to map as items found in one location may unlock opportunities in others. Generally dynamic, with enough information readily available to keep play moving. Should provide multiple enjoyable plays.

There are a few mini dungeons to explore, and perhaps one of these could have more interesting structure (e.g. secret doors, use of depth/height). A minor error: no box to tick in entry 179 (although there is a box in the Tick List).

A strong product, worthy of study by aspiring writers of programmed solos wishing to avoid a railroad.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Scourge of the Shadows – A Dragon Warriors Solo Adventure
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Creator Reply:
Thanks for your kind words and thanks for the entry 179 spot. We'll sort that when we do an update.
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WGS1 Five Shall Be One (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/17/2022 07:38:37

Quest for legendary lost Barbarian blades, which the PCs get to wield. Some similarities to X4 Master of the Desert Nomads, as there are a number of exciting set pieces, culminating in the infiltration of an orc city (which is the best part). Somewhat linear, but worth the journey.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
WGS1 Five Shall Be One (2e)
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Bedlam
Publisher: Tavernmaster Games
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/17/2022 06:24:51

Enjoyable solo rescue (or assassination) mission in an asylum. Supports multiple plays, as exploration can uncover useful items/safer routes; there are a number of possible endings. Well illustrated.

A couple of possible corrections/improvements: entry 28, exit to 68, not 168; entry 212, it makes more sense for success to allow you an attempt to open the door (at entry 36).

Highly recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bedlam
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Desolation of the God-King – A Dragon Warriors Solo Adventure
Publisher: Red Ruin Publishing
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/19/2022 13:13:50

Classical Egyptian flavoured solo adventure, with the usual tropes: a riddle-asking sphinx, a trap-filled pyramid to navigate, hieroglyphics, mummy-like creatures to battle. General structure is linear with branches and loops; there is no need to visit every location, but some items are essential, others very useful, whilst other areas offer only woe. A number of tricky and exciting combats to fight, but some can be avoided; lots of material to play through; some replay value as there are alternative routes between fixed points/through obstacles, although the lack of a second (possibly lesser) winning ending does limit this. One nice touch is that descriptions are given from a medieval European point of view, but the reader knows better and will identify, for example, a camel or a sphinx.

Accurately written. Clear readable type. Adaptable to other systems (with a little work). Plays well with different characters types/professions, although they must be able combatants. Difficult enough that you are likely to fail in an initial play, but not so tough as to become frustrating.

One suggested improvement: in entry 24, as the character is beside a lake, delete references to empty waterskins.

In three playthroughs the Necrochor seemed to be the toughest (unavoidable) opponent. Success with wizards and assassins.

Highly recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Desolation of the God-King – A Dragon Warriors Solo Adventure
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Icon of Death – A Dragon Warriors Solo Adventure
Publisher: Red Ruin Publishing
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/13/2022 07:23:43

Fine attempt at a different sort of solo adventure: murder mystery. Whilst there are multiple routes to the final confrontation, inevitably replay value is limited by knowing the identity of the culprit. (There is still interest in seeking an optimal strategy.) However NPCs are well sketched, clues and red herrings are skilfully laid out, and there is opportunity for logical deducation (e.g. who has an alibi) and elimination of suspects. Little combat until the deadly (extended) finale; could be a relatively quick play (given its length). Accurately and well written; there is a growing air of menace as disappearances start and then bodies turn up.

Few errors: "doughty" not "doubty" in first sentence of entry 51; "committed" not "comitted", second paragraph p.49.

Recommended.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Icon of Death – A Dragon Warriors Solo Adventure
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Plague of the Undead – a Dragon Warriors Solo Adventure
Publisher: Red Ruin Publishing
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/06/2022 14:07:32

Familiar themes, competently covered. The investigation section is fun, and there are some exciting combats. Whilst some scenes must happen, there are multiple routes between them, giving replay value. Accurately written: in the version I downloaded, only one error found in three plays. (The second option in 60 should read turn to 56, not 171; this may have been corrected in updates.) If I had any criticism, it would be that the mystery and culprits are a little too obvious.

Recommended.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Plague of the Undead – a Dragon Warriors Solo Adventure
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Creator Reply:
Thanks for the feedback which is greatly appreciated. There will be a revised version coming out very soon which will fix that error that you highlighted. Look out for Paul's next gamebook which has the alliterative title of "Scourge of the Shadows" -- coming soon.
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Rangers of Shadow Deep: Dungeons Dark
Publisher: Joseph A. McCullough
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/16/2022 06:44:00

Rangers of Shadow Deep (RoSD) tries its hand at solo dungeoneering. This genre has been attempted in other products, ranging from programmed adventures (sometimes with reveal as you explore maps), to random generation systems; the RoSD approach is a hybrid of the two (skewed to the former). The scenario goal is to traverse levels and find the exit rather than looting, as part of an ongoing rescue mission behind enemy lines.

Levels seem to increase in difficulty as you descend. On the first three levels there are no rooms you must enter aside from the (unknown) one with an elevator; there is an interesting tension between visiting rooms and possibly gaining useful information and items, but having monsters to battle and suffering extra event cards; you might guess the exit room is located some distance from the entry room. Plenty of exciting touch and go combats; in corridors, the party may be pressed on multiple fronts. Good variety in the types of room: as well as foes to overcome there are objects with which one can interact (for weal or woe), testing of non-combat skills, and the occasional physical obstacle. Several interesting revelations, some cryptic.

In a first play the heroes found a helpful map locating the armoury and exit room on level one; they proceeded without much difficulty. Spectacular success on the "Shadow Magic" level: the Minister of the Deep, 2 Masters and 9 Acolytes defeated (along with a shadow knight), and a plethora of magic items and treasure gained. Tougher times on the lowest level, with Humpbacks proving to be formidable foes; one companion lost and a few narrow escapes; two allies gained and enlisted. A second group (taking different paths and visiting some new rooms) generally had a trickier time; plenty of work for archers when securing corridors. Two companions fell, and a ranger was almost lost to a spectral horseman, but the heroes managed to escape Dungeons Dark.

Possible improvements: (i) 2nd level, p. 28, event Red Three, suggest adding "If no heroes are in a corridor, treat this as no event" as per Red Four; (ii) Dungeon level 4 map, p. 34, Spawn Point 4 is not labelled (but referred to in the Event Table). Suggest adding extra doors to rooms X and Y to increase choice of paths (and replayability).

Highly recommended (and I look forward to Tenebrous Citadel).



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rangers of Shadow Deep: Dungeons Dark
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The Headless Horseman
Publisher: Mount Parnassus Games
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/02/2021 06:58:15

Variant on the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The forest encounters are innovative. The aftermath is satisfyingly open-ended.

Possible improvement: provide maps, especially of the forest and locations where the party might investigate (and make deductions).

Should be a fun adventure. Recommended.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Headless Horseman
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Star of Alladore: The Official Rangers of Shadow Deep Fanzine
Publisher: Joseph A. McCullough
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/30/2021 11:32:30

A collection of (not directly connected) missions, mostly for beginning and less powerful rangers. A welcome opportunity for other authors. The emphasis is on missions that can be repeated, and make sense whatever the current state of the war. Some spoilers in the following reviews of individual adventures.

Treason in Tallis

A mission defending the palace in the capital against a disloyal noble. An intriguing switch to fighting the enemy within. Ripe for prequel expansion. I added:Lady Anne's Ball (with the board set up a ballroom with adjoining gambling tables) to gain gossip about potential traitors and their plans; Raid on the Townhouse, a burglary of Baron Audric's residence in the capital, to find clues to where, when and how the attack will take place. Information picked up in the social encounters give bonuses for the raid; success in the burglary triggers the Treason in Tallis scenario as the climax of the mission.

In play, the loyalists won twice, managing to save some innocents from the fires, and defeating the Baron after a tough struggle.

To Help the Sick

A variant on Blood Moon, with Shadow Deep agents to unmask and information to gain from a contact. Excellent use of foreboding as undead forces increase at the edge of the board, waiting for "all is revealed" to attack. The heroes gather clues to trigger the event, also determining who are the healers, who are the imposters. An innovative event deck with some cards replaced, others discarded. Play one was touch and go at the point when zombies attacked, but a fire wizard turned the tide and the rangers and retinue achieved near total success. The second group also tottered when the undead storm was unleashed, but managed to triumph with the loss of one companion.

Possible improvement: no experience point listing for defeating wolves or agents of shadow deep.

The Baleful Tower

Fast moving and fun mission for one highly experienced ranger. In the first scenario, the "healing pool" adds extra options. I like the mechanic of double cards after one run through of the event deck to encourage the ranger to enter the tower. There is flexibility in the second scenario, as you can decide whether or not to risk battle (for a fine reward) with a fearsome monster. In play I added one companion, mainly to pick up clues, etc. Outstanding success in the first play through, albeit with some unlucky rolls by the Chimera in the climatic encounter; the Dark Light Axe (Mandalorian anyone?) was claimed. A weaker ranger was overwhelmed by a horde of skeletal knights adjacent to the tower in a second play.

Possible improvements: scenario one, the example layout has a missing clue marker (near the centre); scenario two, strange event deck cards, the red queen is missing for no obvious reason.

From the Shadows

Some optional rules for using stealth presented, then a simple but challenging scenario to save villagers from a gnoll force. In a first play, a strong martial group ambushed the gnolls, then won by force of arms (and spells). The party lost a companion; they were fortunate the gnoll reinforcements did not arrive quickly, the heroes can end up facing a sizable force. In the second play, the ranger and retinue concentrated on quiet rescues and fighting retreats. Resolved quickly, one companion detected, surrounded and slain, five villagers rescued.

The Evacuation

Party escorting villagers being moved to safer locales. The protection of carts on the trail seems the more challenging scenario, as there are some potentially nasty ambushes; opponents when guarding the camp are less numerous, although the ranger and retinue may have been weakened. Excellent replay value: any two plays are likely to trigger different encounters (although the chances of fighting a troll seem very slim). Already tried and tested, as an earlier version has been freely available for some time.

Group one fared badly on the long road as they tried to fight a rearguard against gnolls as the carts moved to safety, only for the latter to suffer an assault by zombies. A depleted force managed to defend the campsite. A second group was menaced by zombies, then gnolls, and a zombie attack from further up the road. They were more successful in fighting one set of enemies at a time, and took no losses, but arrived late at camp. Night attacks were repulsed with relative ease.

Possible improvement: add a 50% chance of "you have a bad feeling about this" to the spooked horses entries, to give a greater variety of opponents at the campsite in replays.

Overall Impression

A fine collection of repeatable adventures, filling a gap in the material published thus far: you can develop a new ranger and followers without replaying corebook scenarios.

Regarding pricing, the pdf and physical copy combination offers best value.

Highly recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Star of Alladore: The Official Rangers of Shadow Deep Fanzine
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Meryon Woods – a Dragon Warriors Solo Adventure
Publisher: Red Ruin Publishing
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/10/2021 08:53:53

Minor spoilers follow.

Solo adventure, traversing a forest to deliver an important message: a classic Dragon Warriors theme. Quick to resolve, but replay value as there are alternate routes to reach the abbey. Generally forgiving until the climactic combat.

Possible improvements: (i) entry 40 refers to your trapped leg, but the PC may have avoided/escaped from the wolf trap; (ii) some entries tend to overlong.

Well illustrated. Big clear print. Captures the Faerie Forest atmosphere. Could be adapted to other systems. Recommended.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Meryon Woods – a Dragon Warriors Solo Adventure
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Green Water, Crimson Stag – a Dragon Warriors Solo Adventure
Publisher: Red Ruin Publishing
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/07/2021 08:28:49

Mild spoilers follow.

Solo adventure exploring a classic Dragon Warriors theme. One main path, but some interesting detours that could give an advantage, if you are prepared to take a risk. Ample opportunities to gain clues regarding the nature of the evil. Well balanced between exploration, combat and problem solving; locations can be revisited, and sometimes it is wise to do so.

Possible improvements: (i) entry 80, cross the river, 49 seems a better link than 95 (which loops back to 80); (ii) double use of keyword Elm (see 37 and 52), choose a different codeword for 52 (unless this was a design choice). Otherwise links seem accurate; highlighting these and other key information is a good feature. Could be modified to other systems with a little work.

Fun adventure. Recommended.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Green Water, Crimson Stag – a Dragon Warriors Solo Adventure
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Village of the Damned – a Dragon Warriors Solo Adventure
Publisher: Red Ruin Publishing
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/25/2021 05:48:44

Mild spoilers follow.

Solo quest to lift a curse on a village. Replay value as there are multiple routes to success, some easier than others. Some "puzzle book" elements: secret instructions, with one complete message very difficult to find in a single play; a pair of linear simultaneous algebraic equations to solve. A number of rousing combats.

Appropriate content and themes for a Dragon Warriors adventure, although conversion to other systems would not be too hard. Links seem accurate. Possible improvements: (i) Make the beggar encounter easier to find; (ii) A mystic or sorceror with appropriate knowledge could be given a chance to find "the ritual solution" despite not having all the clues.

Recommended.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Village of the Damned – a Dragon Warriors Solo Adventure
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Beginners Bundle for T&T
Publisher: Flying Buffalo
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/19/2021 12:01:52

Review of Journey to Buffalo Island. (Mild spoilers.)

Classic escape the island scenario. Makes the most of its small number of paragraphs: a number of variations possible, definite replay value. A choice of possible escape routes; some exploration is required to gather items needed to use them. Sometimes tongue in cheek; enjoyable. Links work. Recommended.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Beginners Bundle for T&T
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