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Men & Monsters of Ethiopia: An RPG Sourcebook for 5th Edition
by matt D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/09/2016 05:20:54

This book adds about 23 new NPCs and Monsters. It has some pretty good new mechanics for a couple of the monsters, and the selection is certainly different from the series of monsters that we've all come to expect. Some of my favorite points: The villager is a great improvement on a commoner, using a fairly simple but inovative mechanic to make villagers feel useful to the PCs, and giving DMs a bit more to work with when using the simplist of NPCs the system has to offer. The dragon they add has some interesting flavor. I would have liked to see a side-bar for the dragon that explains the additional effects of spells like stoneshape or move earth, but very fact that there's a reason for that is why these dragons are cool and unique. (I don't want to spoil the feature). They've added a simple block for giving dragons spells. I really like this, but for me, they haven't gone far enough. One of the first times I DM's resulted in the PC's sneaking up on a sleeping dragon and nearly killing it in it's sleep, I vowed never to run an dumb or easy dragon again, and every dragon knows the alarm spell in my worlds. Back to the review, a good addition in this book: Dragons spellcaster rules.
For the bad, I think the CR on a comple of creatures isn't quite correct. Also, the very first monster in the list has in my opinion, a poorly designed and explained attack. It allows multiple saving throws to completely avoid damage, and the damage isn't that significant compared to other attacks by a similar CR monster. The explaination of the effect is not effeciently worded and somewhat confusing. This had me worried that this would be a trend through the whole book. I can happily say that it is not, and they just have one badly written monster at the top of the list. Everything after that point is pretty solid.


So in conclusion, I'd say this is a fairly solid addition to the standard monster manual, particularly if you are planning to run a low level game in an outdoor world with african-like terrain.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Men & Monsters of Ethiopia: An RPG Sourcebook for 5th Edition
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Men & Monsters of Ethiopia: An RPG Sourcebook for 5th Edition
by Wayne W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/27/2016 16:49:59

Men & Monsters of Ethiopia: An RPG Sourcebook for 5th Edition


by Michael O. Varhola


Men and monsters of Ethiopia is a somewhat different sourcebook for a system like 5th D&D. This book gets players and GMs out of the western Europe setting that most players are used to and takes them to a more desert and dry environment that most Players are not familiar with, and to very good effect.


The book is just full of new monsters and NPCs for this new setting. The NPCs are very well done and are my favorite part of the book A competent GM should be able to come up with many types of encounters with these NPCs and should have a large range of reactions ranging from information gathering, to dire combat.


The monsters range from the mildly irritating, to extremely deadly. The ARWEAN DRAGON was my favorite of the bunch, and I am really looking forward to putting this Dragon in my game.


The monsters listings have a detailed description. I think lots of plot seeds are in these descriptions and the start of many adventures are in here.


The book over all is well laid out and easily printed on my Black and white lazer printer. The color pages looked ok in grey scale. The line are is quite nice and prints out well. The color pages on my rather cheap ink jet printer look good and are easy to read for the most part.


If I have a complaint about the book, I would have liked to have seen a bit more background on a fantasy setting for Ethiopia, perhaps a small part of the Kos World that Skirmisher books also publishes. A fe more photos of what Ethiopia looks like would have been helpful to describe what the various terrain looks like


Also, the one page on Religion is a bit terse and could have used some extra information.


These are minor nit pics and the books is worth the price.


Ill be looking forward to more such location books from Mr Varhola, so use those frequent miles , Bub, and get cracking….



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Men & Monsters of Ethiopia: An RPG Sourcebook for 5th Edition
by Andrew S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/25/2016 17:46:30

I was pretty excited for this concept and I was hoping this was going to have more original material that I could work into a campaign. There isn't much in the way of unique rules, monsters, equipment or mythology. Most it it was pretty vague and more an interpretation of existing material with some Ethiopian flavor. Its not bad on the whole, but for the price I was disappointed.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Kos City (Swords of Kos Fantasy Campaign Setting)
by Billy W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/15/2016 20:51:02

The first thing you think about when you think of the Mediterranean are sun, beautiful ocean views, and historical cities all around. Beautiful vistas, stunning landscapes, all sounds lovely. Too bad things aren't that simple. Welcome to the world of Kos. An alternate history of our world is one of my personal favorite ways to play. This one has it all, a rich history to play with in the form of a cataclysm that brought magic into the world with a devastating volcanic eruption to make Krakatoa look like a firecracker. Well fleshed out NPC's for your characters to interact with, like Jadzia the apothecary, and Phaeton of Rhodes, a skilled artisan and the proprietor of the Golden Age of Warfare, one of the best weapons and armor shops in the region. To put it plainly, the SoK campaign setting is amazing in its depth and breadth. I can go on and on about the setting and the people, but I feel it's time to get into the specifics on the books involved.


Kos City; this is the first book that I read from the minds of Skirmisher Games and it is amazing. This is a fully fleshed out city in every respect. The maps are adjustable to your games so that if you dont like the placement you can change them. The NPC's in the book have good grounding. The flavors and motivations of the characters, and I call them characters on purpose, are varied and many. You can use them to your hearts content. This setting can be dropped into any existing game world and can be the beginning or the end of any adventure.


We could tell by the depth and bredth of the materials provided that this campaign setting is a labor of love from the fellows at Skirmisher and it does shine through. All in all, the PlayersGuidePodcast recomends these books for any GM or ST that is looking to have some fun in the sun. Just watch out for manticores


Fangbjorn, PlayersGuidePodcast



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Kos City (Swords of Kos Fantasy Campaign Setting)
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100 Oddities for a Creepy Old House
by Billy W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/15/2016 20:44:59

Skirmisher has quickly become a favorite of the PlayersGuidePodcast crew and 100 Oddities for a Creepy Old House is a stirling example of why. We are planning a full review of the Oddities books on our website but the shortened version is thus. Using these books (this one formost among them) we have generated both interesting well discribed settings for both horror and fantasy games, as well as several compelling adventure seeds and story hooks. If you are looking for a neat way to get your players to investigate something in particular or you want to give your players a diversion from the main story arc of your sessions and have a fun one off game these books have everything you need to get the ball rolling.


All in all these are great suppliments for any genera of gaming and most assuradly something that every Story Teller and GM should have in their collection. Bravo Skirmisher for another great title!


Fangbjorn from PlayersGuidePodcast



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
100 Oddities for a Creepy Old House
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100 Oddities for a Wizard's Tower
by Billy W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/15/2016 20:37:35

At first glance the Oddities books seem like a fun little one off but not that much more. I however am here to tell you that they are hands down one of the most interesting ways to create story hooks and adventure seeds that I could have ever hoped for. We are going to do a full on review of the three books that we have recieved thus far in the coming days on our website but if you are a listener of the PGP you will know that we have done story generation on the show using these books.


I feel as though I should mention that we were given review copies of these books but even had I purchased them myself I would still be happy to report on their awesomeness. Wizards Tower makes it not only easy to populate the bastion of a mage or warlock but it actually makes it fun. Check this out if you want to make memorable and varied magical fortresses for the various spell slingers in your world.


Fangbjorn from the PlayersGuidePodcast



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
100 Oddities for a Wizard's Tower
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Men & Monsters of Ethiopia: An RPG Sourcebook for 5th Edition
by Jeremy E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/14/2016 11:08:47

Looks like I am the lone dissenter here in being disappointed by this product. For the price and after reading the other reviews I was left wishing there was more. There was a cursory discussion about religion (three paragraphs). The first 12 pages of NPCs are mostly bland and don't add much flavor that a typical DM couldn't or wouldn't add: "Villagers will have good knowledge of who or what might be found in our right around their communities, will have some sense for any hazards or threats bordering them.." The stat blocks are almost all the same. A few pages of common monsters : "Crocodiles can be found in lakes and rivers throughout Ethiopia and will never pass up the opportunity for an easy meal." The strength of the product is in the new monsters presented-with a majority of the page count going to them-though padding it with using a whole page for a 1/4 CR "deer" is too much. If the product was under $5 or expanded on the entries that could have added flavor (without requiring more research) I would have rated it higher.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Men & Monsters of Ethiopia: An RPG Sourcebook for 5th Edition
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Men & Monsters of Ethiopia: An RPG Sourcebook for 5th Edition
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/09/2016 00:24:54

So I'm actually really curious about this book from Skirmisher Publishing, Men & Monsters of Ethiopia is a fifth edition source book. Ethiopia is a damn complicated place in mythology & history; the fact that there is a fifth edition source book is pretty damn good in my opinion. This book covers a mythic and mythological version of this Christian nation state's peoples, monsters, and background legends which as existed for a very long time indeed.
This is a fifty three page book partially inspired by Michael J. Varhola trip to Ethiopia and his experiences there getting real world inspirational material for this book. My own experiences with this incredibly rich and vibrant land come from two foreign exchange students from this land way back in '88. But my gaming experiences go back much further. But back to Men & Monsters of Ethiopia, this book has everything you need to flesh out a fifth edition campaign.
Anyone who reads this blog knows that I embrace adult themes and controversial subjects and for the better part of history dating back to 316 AD the country has been Christian. So the subject of religion was handled with kid gloves in this book; "From the 4th century onwards, of course, Ethiopia has been a strongly Christian nation, and beginning in the Middle Ages the country had a significant Islamic presence, both factors that prevail to this day. This is something many DMs might not wish to reflect in their own campaign settings, however, and, in any event, might not fit well in a typical polytheistic milieu. It might therefore be simpler to draw on the pagan religious traditions of the country, which included worship of the Classical deities of the ancient Mediterranean (e.g., one early king of the region refers in a proclamation of victories over his enemies to assistance from “my august god Ares” and to making sacrifices to Zeus and Poseidon).
Game masters can easily use the saints and concepts to which many churches in Ethiopia are dedicated as an indicator of which Greek gods might be worshiped in any particular area or temple. St. George, for example, is the patron saint of Ethiopia and could easily be replaced by the demigod Bellerophon, who has many analogous characteristics and is presented similarly in artworks."


Game masters can easily use the saints and concepts to which many churches in Ethiopia are dedicated as an indicator of which Greek gods might be worshiped in any particular area or temple. St. George, for example, is the patron saint of Ethiopia and could easily be replaced by the demigod Bellerophon, who has many analogous characteristics and is presented similarly in artworks."
Fine I'm willing to forgive this bit of oversight but it does serve a duel knife in some respects on the one hand this is a book about a mythical version Ethiopia and it serves as a source book for that in spades but it makes the rich history into a pseudo or alternative mythological version of history. This is fine because it allows the the DM to take full advantage of this mythology to create their own version for campaign work. But something about it bothers me; the work doesn't take advantage of the rich historical and mythological tapestry of the Ethiopian kingdoms and peoples or does it? As well shall see this is not as easy to point out as it first seems.
We get a huge sectional overview of the usual fifth edition classes adapted into the lens of these complex lands and mostly this is for NPC development. Here's the sort of frame work that we're speaking of here;"Bandits might be encountered individually, in small roving bands that prey on travelers, or as irregular military forces under the command of local warlords that subsist by raiding or extorting
tribute from villages and other vulnerable sites. Bandits that operate on the Red Sea, and to a lesser extent on inland lakes and rivers, are more commonly known as pirates. Low-level characters of this sort conform in all respects to the statistics for the Bandit in the official 5th Edition monster guide and leaders to the Bandit Captain entry in the same resource. There is a 5% chance that all the brigands in a small band, or only the leaders in a large one, will be cannibals that are just as interested in eating victims as they are in robbing
them." Suddenly those bandits become a bit more then simple quick encounters for a basic fifth edition encounter. The artwork in this section is black and white, it does a solid job of conveying the setting but a bit more richness in detail in some of the pieces might have added a bit more flavor to it. The text does a great job of taking you into the setting. There's a certain something missing in this section when it comes to the black and white line work. The next section goes into animals and its really here that the book shines a bit more. We get guidelines on how animals are viewed and a few hints as to even that there might be prehistoric survivors within the setting. We dive right into adapting existing monsters from fifth edition into an Ethiopian campaign. This section is rich in some detail and local color consider for a moment this little blurb on lycanthropes; "Were-creatures of various sorts can be found throughout an Ethiopian campaign setting, notably Werehyenas and, to a lesser extent, Wereboars. There are also rumors of Werelions but whether they actually exist or not is open to debate. All such creatures, in any event, conform to the general characteristics of Lycanthropes as described in the 5th Edition rules. In a land rife with holy men, rich in silver, and frequented by adventurers, however, Lycanthropes tend to get kept in check and only rarely become a significant problem." Generally this is a really well thought out section on adapting and modifying existing animals and monsters into a specific Ethiopian setting. Its well done and not too badly generic. It conveys the right amount of color and push for the book. The next section is really the meat of the book; here we get into mythological Ethiopian monsters and there are some powerhouses in here. The Boharia is a medium level threat that has a few surprises up its sleeve including the ability to flick poisonous blood at their victims and they're a wolf like species. A very nasty detail of these bastards is the fact that they use pack tactics on their targets and taken together can mean that PC's could be in real trouble.
Caracals are mid-sized wild cats which can prove to be a surprise for a PC or two not expecting a bobcat like animal capable of doing a bit of damage. They prove to be interesting and unexpected find in this book.
There's a lot more going within Men and Monsters of Eithiopia then I was expecting; " There are 17 new monsters with 29 stat blocks for them. There’s 20 pre-existing monsters that have been adapted for the setting. There’s 11 types of NPC, with 5 new stat blocks for them" mostly everything has been drawn from legends and mythology are within this section. Now earlier in this review I mentioned history and here's where the book really begins to draw on mythology and we get a real overview of two earlier edition Monster Manual favorites the Catoblepas finally get's its due as a force to be reckoned with. These monsters are drawn straight down from mythology of Ethiopia and will shake PC's up even with their mere appearance not to mention the toxic horror that is their calling card. These things eat toxic substances and poisons even invading camps to consume this horrid delicacy. Catoblepones are not aggressive but are irritable,
and will lash out with their sharp tusks against anyone who comes within reach of them. The swamps and mucklands of Ethiopia are their home and adventurers best give these areas a wide birth.
Then we get the Cetus and this island sized monster is nothing to mess with. The hero Perseus and Andromeda are tied in with this powerhouse. We get the Debbi with his aura of fear and then its straight on to the Arwean Dragons whom are all descended from a despotic draconic ruler of Ethiopia; these things are rare and very dangerous. They should be used with caution on the DM's part. These are the big guns of a campaign and are miniature versions of the dragons of Dark Sun. Dragon kings of old capable of ruling kingdoms which is their birth right. These monsters are entire campaign starters themselves and could be used as the basis for a vile villain of incredible depth. A very nasty piece of work indeed that can really cause all kinds of harm to a party over time. We then get into a legendary race of men known as the Gibetas who are a mysterious and ancient race of people that may have originated in Egypt. Underground dwellers, master combat engineers, mystics, & experts at mathematics, architecture, cryptography, and construction and are believed to have built many subterranean fortresses, temples, and other structures throughout Ethiopia, especially in its northern regions.
Cave halflings are on the menu as well here and we get a nice entry on these weird and mysterious peoples. There is quite a bit to work with here for extending a campaign venue. There's a sense in these entries of the depth of research that the authors really put into this book. The monsters in this section are centralized to the setting of fantasy Ethiopia and there's a nice well rounded sense of atmosphere with this book. Now knowing Skirmisher Publishing as I do this is only the first in a line of Ethiopian themed fifth edition books in this line. I can see this being a setting that they're be exploring more of. So is this a good book for a fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons campaign? Hmm its going to be a very interesting question and the answer is two fold, if the dungeon master is interested in an African themed campaign in the wind swept regions of Ethpopia then yes this is the book for you. If this is a book that you're looking for as a casual monster book to add more men and monsters to your campaign possibly not. This book doesn't seem to be for the casual DM. There's volumes of material here with room for lots of expansion into full blown campaign material here. I'm going to give this a four out of five because some sections of this book seem a bit weaker then others. The unevenness of this material means that a DM is going to have to do a bit more research on their own to get the most out of it. All in all I think that it is work a look and there's more then enough meat on the bones to flesh out a campaign or two with this book.


Eric Fabiaschi

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Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Men & Monsters of Ethiopia: An RPG Sourcebook for 5th Edition
by Clint S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/06/2016 06:04:21

I like this book! The subject matter is off the beaten path of Fantasy Medieval Europe, such that you do not see it otherwise represented, which is great. but there is also some throwbacks to fairly iconic creatures from past editions of D&D - the Leucrotta and Catoblepas, for instance! The statblocks are laid out in familair format and the writing is very good! I also like the manipualted imaes,w hch give a more fanciful feel than simple photos! And the line art is very evocative of teh maerial! Well Done all around!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Swords of Kos: Necropolis
by Richard P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/31/2016 08:28:46

Love the art, love the subject matter. Greek mythology has always fascinated me and Michael writes with such authority and detail I almost forgot I was reading a work of fiction. The locations involved are so accurately described, it would be easy for any GM to recreate the setting for their own adventures. Great stuff!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Swords of Kos: Necropolis
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Nuisances: Director's Cut
by Richard P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/31/2016 08:24:05

Too busy laughing to write a sensible review, buy it you won't be disappointed!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Nuisances: Director's Cut
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Cards & Quests: An Innovative Fantasy Role-Playing Game
by Richard P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/31/2016 08:19:04

Love this product, love the cover art too. I love this concept, I really like the changing 'battlefield' mechanic - highest card and lowest card wins is fun but what to play when second highest wins... lots of fun bluffing.


I thought the rules were relatively straightforward but after reading other reviews suggest checking out the Cards and Quests YouTube videos to anyone who wants to see how the game is played. "D-Inifinit plays Cards and Quests" is a whole adventure and very funny it is too.


I also have the Cards and Quests Bestiary and recommend you get that too.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cards & Quests: An Innovative Fantasy Role-Playing Game
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Cards & Quests Bestiary 1: Monsters of Kos
by Richard P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/31/2016 07:47:13

Delighted with this product. I have the Cards and Quests rules, which I heartily recommend you check out too.


You can never really have enough monsters in your bestiality and this book does a great job of providing you with new and classic encounters of all power levels. I like the chart at the beginning, in particular, which gives you a feel for the challenge rating as is prevalent in other RPGs such as D&D. With Skirmisher you are always guaranteed a quality product at a reasonable price and this is no exception. I can easily see myself using these monsters in other games even when I am not playing Cards and Quests. Excellent purchase, well done all involved.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cards & Quests Bestiary 1: Monsters of Kos
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Cards & Quests: An Innovative Fantasy Role-Playing Game
by Andrew B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/19/2016 19:18:29

Game looks good, but is there character sheets? There was suppose to be some I guess but I can not find them in the book.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cards & Quests: An Innovative Fantasy Role-Playing Game
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Publisher Reply:
Hi Andrew! The character sheets can be downloaded here: http://www.foxandoxcreations.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/CQ_CharacterSheetsLQ.zip We hope you enjoy your game!
100 Oddities for a Wizard's Tower
by Tom H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/06/2016 21:36:38

Another win by the lads at Skirmisher. This is the second "100 Oddities" supplement I have had the pleasure of looking through. I loved their "100 Oddities for a Graveyard" entry and the Wizard's Tower is no less detailed and useful for GMs. With this book you don't just get the 100 entries for strange things and situations the players may stumble on. You also get additional d20 and d12 tables to help you build the structure, flavour and feel of the Tower. This could be used to help create a careful, pre-planned adventure or used on the fly as a type of "tower randomizer".


The entries on all of the tables included in this book are colourful and have enough detail for plenty of adventure hooks or just cool random bits that can add to any scenario. Some entries are darkly humorous, others frightening and some just plain weird or disturbing. Perfect!


Check all of these GMing gems by Skirmisher out, they are well worth it and very reasonably priced.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
100 Oddities for a Wizard's Tower
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