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Magic Item Cards Template
Publisher: Fortiter Games
by Jay G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/29/2020 18:58:32

UPDATE! Fantastic! When I wrote my original 4-star review I thought this was an extremely functional product that was slightly visually flat. After an update the cards look amazing, a nice visual upgrade that leaves the same amount of usable space while creating more visual appeal.

ORIGINAL REVIEW I found these templates to be really useful for creating cards for unique magic items my players find during our sessions. It really speeds things up to simply be able to hand a player a description for any new non-standard item rather than having to read and re-read an item description while a player tries to transcribe the details mid-scene.

One of the templates strengths was that it is simply laid out and easy to use. The flip side of that, and perhaps the opportunity for improvement is that the cards themselves are graphically very simple and not overly visually stimulating. The header box is nice with a slight artistic flourish but punching up the border a bit as well would have made a great tool perfect.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Magic Item Cards Template
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Creator Reply:
Thank you very much for your review Jay, it is greatly appreciated. Thanks also for your constructive comments. I will look into what i can do with the border and may add another version to this product with an artistic border. Thanks again.
Thanks for the review - and the feedback that prompted this version. I'm just sorry it took so long to get around to it for you.
Harper's Tale: A Forest Adventure Path for 5e
Publisher: Saturday Morning Scenarios
by Jay G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/16/2020 19:47:21

Harper's Tale is named for lead developer Matt Corley's daughter (and co-lead developer) Harper. The adventures mix the inspiration and youthful-fun outlook of a child with the sensibilities of an experienced game author to contribute something truly new and unique to the current RPG scene.

The creative team behind Harper's Tale reads like an all-star team of freelance writers and artists currently working in the RPG industry, and it's not just a list of names on the credits page of a book, the quality and experience this team brings really shines through. Harper's Tale is gorgeously illustrated throughout but I want to call special attention to the fantastic character illustrations by Gwendy Bee, these illustrations are bright and appealing while still conveying a sense of mystery and the fantastic. In addition to the amazing art I found all of the cartography to be easy to read and use and clearly laid out where I needed it.

The ten adventures themselves are all written by separate writers or writing teams and one of their nicest features is they are structured so that in addition to making up one ten adventure long campaign they are also all framed so they can be run as individual one-shots. The central story mixes investigation and adventure as the characters start off by investigating a mysterious illness and follow various leads and clues looking for both the source and a cure. The adventure path is set in the wilderness but uses many different settings for individual adventures (forests, small villages, dungeons, multi-room buildings) to give the ten adventures a great deal of variety.

In addition to a number of different settings the adventure path is full to the brim with interesting NPCs that not only work well within the narrative but could also be used to seed other adventures, for my part I GUARANTEE my players will meet Professor Piewright at some point prior to actually playing Harper's Tale.

And I couldn't resist the urge to convert and paint my own Sir Cheddar!

Overall I highly recommend Harper's Tale. There is an absolutely amazing amount of the highest quality content here and the mix of art and writing style really evokes the sense of fantastic mystery, fun, and discovery that I think the best fantasy RPG adventures are capable of.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Harper's Tale: A Forest Adventure Path for 5e
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Whispers in the Dark: Quickstart Rules for 5e
Publisher: Saturday Morning Scenarios
by Jay G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/26/2020 23:17:01

Whispers In The Dark is a tremendous set of rules for investigative horror using D&D 5e as it's basic game engine.

For anyone looking for a way to game mystery/horror in a late 19th century setting Whispers really shows off the versatility of the D&D rules. Skills, Feats, and Backgrounds are the focus of character creation and the tools that drive players' ability to navigate through their adventures without swords and spells.

In addition to being its own complete game to explore supernatural and the mythos I feel this would also be a great a toolkit for adding options to other 5e based horror game settings like Ravenloft.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Whispers in the Dark: Quickstart Rules for 5e
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The Legend of Mr Boneapart
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Jay G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/26/2020 23:02:18

To be honest with The Legend Of Mister Bonepart I got something slightly different than I was expecting, but it was a ton of undead-Benny-Hill style fun.

The adventure is a (theoretically) straight forward job to help a widow investigate who's been messing about with her husband's mausoleum. It's nominally set in Barovia with some faintly depressive Ravenloft horror trappings to tie it to the setting, but the personailty of the widow (and her cat) push it to the campier side of horror.

When I say it was different than what I was expecting what I mean is that there is nothing about this Ravenloft adventure that would keep me from running it for my 13 year old.

Overall I think this is a well written fun encounter for first level characters that does a great job of mixing humour into a horror setting.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Legend of Mr Boneapart
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Dragonlance Classics Volume I (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Jay G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/12/2020 10:59:51

To be fair I bought this more out of a sense of nostalgia than any real intention of using it, as a book for reading it's okay but the scan quality is not the crispest which makes the art (one of DragonLance's best features) underwhelming.

As adventures DragonLance fans may really enjoy these but compared to most D&D adventures of their era these adventures feel completely on rails.

If you want a walking tour of the DragonLance novels with some statiscal accompanyment you'll probably enjoy this but otherwise it's probably a pass.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Dragonlance Classics Volume I (2e)
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When Black Roses Bloom (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Jay G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/12/2020 10:20:59

Lord Soth is an iconic character in two competely separate D&D campaign settings and any adventure featuring him as the protagonist is going to have high expectations. When Black Roses Bloom easily delivered on my (an experienced Ravenloft DM) and my players' (huge DragonLance fans) expectations.

The basic setup for this module is that the land of Sithicus is coming apart at the seams as as Soth who has for years been tormented by inaccurate retellings of his own story is now living through inaccurate dream visions of his own life. The players take on a series of short missions which effectively take them on adventuring tour of Soth's life.

In my opinion Lisa Smedman was one of the most underrated writters of this era in TSR adventures. When Black Roses Bloom is a perfect combination of interesting and challenging gameplay tied to an amazing compelling story. Playing through this adventure for my group also undid one of my personal frustrations about Lord Soth, he's always felt like the Boba Fett of the DragonLance story in that he's been 'iconic' without his backstory necessarily feeling relevant. After playing through When Black Roses Bloom my players felt far more connection between Soth's story and failings and who he actually is as a character.

When Black Roses Bloom is one of my favourite Ravenloft modules and I think is a definite must-have for any DragonLance fan. I'd also like to add that I got my copy fairly recently and it might be a newer scan but I did not have any of the issues with my POD copy that were mentioned in the posts dated 2018 in the discussion section.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
When Black Roses Bloom (2e)
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Psionic Items
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Jay G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/12/2020 10:04:53

One of the players in my current game opted for a Mystic so I found this short supplement while researching magic items for that character.

I really appreciated having a selection of ready made items that worked with psionic characters and found most of the items were balanced and logical and worked well within my game. I think for anyone looking to introduce psionics into their game this supplement is a worthy addition to the existing magic items from the DMG.

My one minor (and it is minor) criticism of Psionic Items is that many of the entries lack flavour. As these items are all completely new it would have been nice to include an extra line or two for each entry about the items' origins or lore.

Overall though I think the supplement is great and should make players or psionic characters feel more involved in their adventuring party's treasure hauls.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Psionic Items
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N4 Treasure Hunt (1e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Jay G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/10/2020 20:04:05

Treasure Hunt is an interesting bit of history. I believe it's the first time someone can up with a treatment for Players (rather than NPCs) as 0 level characters. As such I think this book is actually worth evaluating as two separate and distinct pieces.

The first section is the rules for playing as 0 level characters and working your way up to and defining your role as a 1st level adventurers. This was really innovative at the time and reading it now feels very much like it was the inspiration for the 'Character Funnel' idea from Goodman Games. Personally I think these rules hold up really well and even today feel like a really good way to introduce new players and non-gamers to D&D.

The rest of the book is given over to encounters and short adventures tailored to 0 level characters. These encounters are decent and have a simple yet satisfying narrative thread, getting off the island, to link them together.

I do however have 2 relatively minor criticisms of Treasure Hunt:

  1. The book is light on art work and has a fairly flat visual presentation. It's just unfortunate that a book that was so objectively well written and innovative doesn't pack more of a visual punch.
  2. On a very similar note the character tracking forms and pre-generated characters look like they were produced on a typewritter. Given how new and yet simple the character rules are it's a bit of a let down that they didn't come up with a unique new character sheet with more visual appeal.

Overall Treasure Hunt is both a great piece of gaming history as well as a gaming experience that holds up and plays well to this day.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
N4 Treasure Hunt (1e)
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XL1 Quest for the Heartstone (Expert)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Jay G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/10/2020 10:01:35

In my opinion Quest For The Heartstone gets a bad rap. Because it was a transparent marketting tie-in for the D&D toy line that shoe-horned in all the monsters that were part of the line without really having any kind of coherent theme.

Having said that I think Heartstone has a lot going for. The use and quality of art in the book is great. I've always liked when art is included in modules not only for the DMs enjoyment but to be presented to the players. Outside of the much loved and respected S series of modules Heartstone makes the best use of art as player props and presentation. One of the other (in my opinion) frequently misplaced criticims is that the adventure is 'formulaic' of 'boiler-plate', sometimes standard tropes exist because they work and are popular. The adventure is a basic wilderness exploration followed by a dungeon crawl searching for a macguffin (the titular Heartstone).

The flipside is that to be fair the story and encounters are uninspired. For the most part the adventure reads and plays like a series of unlinked random encounters with an almost non-existant narrative. My other issue is that if you assume the pre-generated characters are being used in spite of the encounters having absolute mountains of treasure most of the magic items aren't any better than what the players are already carrying.

I think the real value in Quest For The Heartstone is using the maps and art as the framework for a better adventure. If it was stocked with monsters that were themeatically linked and treasure that felt more rewarding for the PC levels I think the bones of the adventure make a great starting point.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
XL1 Quest for the Heartstone (Expert)
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Back To The Sea
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Jay G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/05/2020 15:26:57

Back To The Sea is a one-shot adventure for 3rd-4th level adventurers with a very atmospheric horror theme so in a lot of ways it falls right into my wheelhouse. In many ways the quickest summary I can probably give of the adventure is that it is probably the exact adventure a group that is playing Sinister Secret Of Saltmarsh for the first time thinks they're actually playing. The group is hired to investigate an area just off the coast that superstitious locals believe to be haunted. Once the group 'arrives' at the main encounter location they find themselves investigating and plagued by supernatural occurrences.

Back To The Sea is an extremely short adventure that most groups will probably be able to complete in a single session of play. Although the adventure itself is short I have to say that the author did not compromise on full rich descriptions of encounters, NPC actions, and descriptions of key features. I found the adventure to feel extremely thematic and immersive. In addition to how well written the adventure is it comes with 3 amazing looking maps as separate files that can be used as DMs reference but can also be blown up into encounter maps to be used for tabletop gaming. Even after running the adventure these maps will be super useful for dropping in as a small house or cottage in other games and settings.

This is the kind of adventure that is difficult to describe in real detail without ruining the surprises inside but if you and your group want an incredibly well written ghost story with terrific cartography I highly recommend Back To The Sea.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Back To The Sea
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Step Right Up
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Jay G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/05/2020 11:12:05

It's difficult for me to articulate just how good this adventure is.

Step Right Up steers clear of overused horror tropes and without spoiling anything manages to give the players and their characters an experience that is legitimately unsettling and creepy without resorting to jump-scares or graphic depictions of upsetting content. The best way I can think to put it is that the author has done an amazing job of delivering something that feels sinister. In addition the formatting of the potential encounters means that the adventure as written has a ton of replayability and even if you don't intend to re-run it in it's entirety you can probably lift some elements you don't use in your initial play through and drop them into other games.

I can't recommend this adventure highly enough. Objectively fresh and good horror content is hard to find in gaming and Step Right Up is the gold standard.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Step Right Up
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Creator Reply:
Thank you Jay! I'm so glad you enjoyed the adventure. You have no idea how much your kind words mean to me.
RA2 Ship of Horror (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Jay G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/05/2020 11:01:31

I recently (re) purchased Ship Of Horror and somehow it was both better and worse than I remember it originally being.

The setting was unique, and placing a Ravenloft game on a ship at sea really amped up the feeling of isolation, while also making the campaign world feel slightly more conventionally connected than some of the islands of terror and closed borders concepts found in other places in the setting.

For some reason, and it seems unfair that I can't really put my finger on why, I just found the main villain personally uninteresting.

If I circle back to using Ship Of Horror in a 5e game I'm more likely to cherry-pick it and use it as a bridge between other adventures than run it as written.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
RA2 Ship of Horror (2e)
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To Hell and Back Again
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Jay G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/17/2020 07:01:31

To Hell & Back Again is both a fun satisfying solo adventure as well as being a tremendous introduction to the Descent Into Avernus campaign.

The adventure is split into three distinct acts each with its own flavour that none-the-less tie together to form a coherent story. My personal favourite was the second act wherein the player gets to interact with an Infernal Warmachine and go on a journey with Lulu the Holyphant. The adventure also takes the character through three levels and will give them some additional perks/flaws/quirks that will continue to have an impact on them after the fact if they are continuing their adventures in Avernus.

Overall I found the adventure to be very narratively complete while also having enough dpeth mechanically to still feel like a legitimate 'gaming' experience.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
To Hell and Back Again
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Creator Reply:
Thank you, Jay! I'm glad you had fun with both the story and the mechanics. We definitely put a lot of heart into getting the balance right, and it means a lot to hear you say that we managed to do just that. :)
RR2 Book of Crypts (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Jay G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/12/2020 18:57:08

Book Of Crypts was essentially one of the old 'lairs' series of books from the TSR days. For all intents and purposes these were the predecessor to writting collections of encounters rather than full length adventure modules.

This book has great layout, writting, and art so right off the hop it's just a great book to own for fantasy-horror genre fans.

I always found (and continue to find) these short one-shots to be perfect to either drop into an existing game or to run as stand-alones when a regular game falls through.

As much as I enjoyed all the content in this book, for the price if all I'd gotten was the adventure featuring Baron Lyron Evensong it still would have been worth it. That adventure is basically an escape room packaged as a D&D adventure, and it makes the horror terrible whole avoiding any campy or cartoony elements.

In my opinion EVERY Ravenloft fan should get this book.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
RR2 Book of Crypts (2e)
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Companionable Darkness
Publisher: Rising Phoenix Games
by Jay G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/12/2020 18:39:21

I've now played through all 3 of the Scarthey solo adventures for 5e and can comfortable say that Companionable Darkness was both my personal favourite and probably objectively the best entry in the series.

Companionable Darkness has the most fully realised story in the series as well as a number of NPCs for the PC to interact with. The story itself was engaging and started off a little grey before moving into more traditional black-and-white good-vs-evil territory. I also really enjoyed the more detailed entries and the fact that it felt like this time out the backstory of the adventure was more than tangentially linked to the University Of The Arcane.

I enjoyed Companionable Darkness and would definitely recommend it but there were 2 minor issues that I felt should have been caught in the editing or proof-reading stages:

  1. Entry 53 is formatted incorrectly. It starts off mid-sentence and then at the end of the text block you find the missing text from the beginning of the dialogue.
  2. Entry 38 tells you to make a DC 13 Wisdom save then offers you two choices neither of which are affected by the outcome of the save.


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Companionable Darkness
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Creator Reply:
Thank you for the feedback and we're glad you enjoyed it. We'll do what we can to fix those errors. Thanks again!
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