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Odysseys & Overlords Game Master's Guide $4.25
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Odysseys & Overlords Game Master\'s Guide
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Odysseys & Overlords Game Master's Guide
Publisher: Aegis Studios
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/18/2019 13:36:58

PDF. 63 pages, color cover, b&w interior.

This book covers a bit of material not found in the Player's guide.

Again we get some great Dean Spenser cover art and again we get the same overview of the campaign world.

We get into a section on various encounter areas, including my favorite, Urban Encounters. Tips on dealing with players, hopeless characters, and weapon and armor restrictions.

There is also a good section on XP advancement and narrative advancement, which has come to be called "milestone" advancement in D&D 4 and 5. It provides some nice balance. I am using both types in different games and it has the effect of taking the focus away from combat and more onto role-playing for Narrative/Milestone advancement.

Magical research into new spells and new magic items are also discussed.

There is a monster section following the discussion on dungeons and wilderness exploring. The problem I have with the monsters here is that you are directed to use Basic Fantasy there are not any new monsters. Nearly all, save for two, can be found in what I would call the "common canon" of the OSR. There was a real chance here to set this book apart from others with some new and unique monsters, or at least some rare ones. It is too bad this chance was not taken.

Magic items follow next. A good variety here, but again I would have liked something unique to this world to stand out.

We end with the Kingdoms. Ah! now here is the new and unique material I was hoping for. There is a good amount here to work with without being overly detailed. The descriptions are good, but a map, even a rough one, would have been great. Tip: Can't afford a good cartographer? Scribble one out and call it "an adventures map found in a dragon horde".

Interestingly enough, there are maps in the books from Dyson Logos, but that causes an awkward mix of the OGL and Creative Commons Licences that I have been told to avoid doing. Hope this works for them!

I think there is something here to the world put forth, I just would have liked to have seen more of it. There is a lot of potential with this line and would like to see more.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thanks so much for the thoughtful and in-depth review! There will be a known world map coming soon, probably as a standalone download. We expect to have a greatly expanded monster book by year's end, but the focus in this volume was to present familiar creatures in the context of the setting, hence the lore re-writes and expansions in the included creature entries. Thanks -Travis
Odysseys & Overlords Game Master's Guide
Publisher: Aegis Studios
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/28/2019 09:36:58

This opens with exactly the same overview of the background and current state of the setting as is to be found in the Player's Guide, along with the note that it designed to be used with The Basic Fantasy Role-playing Game ruleset, but that any OSR rules will do. There's also mention that this is for the Game Master and that although they will need to consult the Player's Guide occasionally, this will be their main reference.

The first topic to be explored is encounters, divided up into dungeon, wilderness and urban ones. The use of random tables is encouraged, which will of course be different depending on which environment you are in... indeed, you may well find it useful to construct several for different places in each environment type, as well as according to party level, time of day (at least, when outside) and the like. There are plenty here to be going on with, complete with explanations of what each list entry signifies. From this, we move on to how to create a group of NPCs, including adventuring parties, brigands/bandits, pirates and all manner of undesirables as well as groups of merchants, nobles and pilgrims. Some might be friendly, but that's rather brushed aside as "making things too easy for the players"! This includes allocation of magic items and using non-humans.

Next comes a section entitled Dealing with Players. This begins with how to deal with players who don't like the statistics they've rolled for their character then moves on to the acquisition of spells including how clerics may be limited according to the deity they revere and how magic-users gain their spells. Also touched upon is what happens if a character uses armour or weapons that are 'prohibited' for them. There's a fair bit of discussion of advancement and how to deal with character death as well. We then move on to magical research with plenty on creating new spells or magic items as well as enchanting weapons.

This is followed by advice on how to create adventures, beginning with that classic, the dungeon adventure. The first thing to decide is why they party wants to go into a dungeon in the first place. (I remember asking that the very first game of D&D I played... the rest of the party had no real answer for me - might have helped if they'd read this!) Once you've decided why they are going there, decide where 'there' is, decide what monsters to use and draw a map. Then 'stock' the dungeon - assigning contents (including monsters) to each room, not forgetting puzzles and traps as well as monsters to kill and treasures to loot. Some sample traps are provided. Wilderness adventures then get a similar treatment, with an area map rather than a detailed floor plan, and this leads neatly into strongholds, as those might be found in the wilderness. This discussion includes building costs (maybe your party wants to construct a base) and a note that a stronghold might have a dungeon underneath it, as well as a few notes on laying siege to the place. In some ways it's all very basic and obvious, but if you are new to GMing could prove invaluable.

Next up, Monsters. There are notes on how they are described, and then a selection of them (including plenty of dragons!) ready for you to use. Some are sentient, like gnomes or giants, others are of animal intelligence or lower, like the gelatinous cube. Of course some, like ghosts, are undead, and lycanthropy is also covered.

Monsters dealt with, the discussion moves on Treasure. Plenty of charts to help you determine what there is to loot... and a section on using magic items once you have laid hands on them. Lists of magic armour, magic weapons, potions, scrolls, rings and other items follow, covering what they do and what benefits (or otherwise, if they are cursed) they confer.

Finally, there are thumbnail sketches of various kingdoms and other lands within the setting. I'm crying out for a map here... although this book is well-illustrated I like a map to get oriented! The descriptions are good, though, bringing each polity into vivid life.

This work provides a wealth of basic material to set you off on a path to running effective adventures. Whilst much work remains to be done, the scaffolding is here to aid you in developing places and adventures to happen in them. Have fun!

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thank you SO MUCH!!
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