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Simply Thieves
by Malc W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/19/2014 14:50:26
I found this a really useful supplement for my campaign world. Loads of inspirational advice and ideas

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Simply Thieves
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Simply Prestige: Volume I
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/12/2012 22:24:55
Grabbed this while looking for some new and interesting Prestige Classes. While the classes are not bad at all, they didn't interest me all that that much. I will say though that if you are into thief-like prestige classes then this is a good choice. You get 8 new prestige classes and a handful of feats.
There is an OGL declaration in back, but the copyright information doesn't really mesh with it. I know that these sort of things should not affect my opinion, but they do.
For under 4 bucks though it is not a bad little book.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Simply Prestige: Volume I
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Simply Thieves
by Forrest A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/09/2011 23:05:52
It's been some time now since I've been "wowed" by an RPG supplement. I've been gaming since the late '70s, so I've had plenty of opportunity. Simply Thieves is simply amazing. Now I'm an old school gamer experimenting with a class-less, XP-less system that uses Labyrinth Lord as a skeleton, so adapting this supplement to my upcoming campaign will take a little technical work on my part. But so far as content is concerned, Simply Thieves is stellar. The sections on Adventuring Thieves, Equipment, Magic, and Monsters are particularly well-done. There's a sinister ouvre to the spells and creatures herein that can heighten atmospheric tension (and player's hypertension if they aren't very careful). Since I run darker campaigns (think LOTFP "mood"), this merges well with my needs. Another thing that really sticks out is the sheer diversity of thief "types" that the book highlights, from Catburglars to Dagger Masters to Contortionist. The different subclasses (I'll call them this because I don't frankly know what a prestige class is - excuse me for being behind the times) highlight the fact that one thief is not built the same as another. In fact, I could see an entire party of "thieves" made up of the different types outlined here. Such a party would still be composed of wildly different character skills that would complement each other and serve well in adventuring, especially in the kind of adventuring outlined throughout the book.

All-in-all, I think the last time I was this impressed with a supplement was . . . let's see . . . Lost Cavern's of Tsojcanth, maybe? Arduin Grimoire, perhaps? It's been a long time.

I hope that Mad Scotsman does a spellbook and/or a creature compendium at some point in the not-too-distant future. My players would love the spellbook and hate the creature compendium. So here's to hoping . . . in the meantime, beware the Shadeslime and the Clockwork Lich!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Simply Thieves
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Simply Classes: The Foodamancer
by Dustin W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/03/2010 23:18:48
This probably isn't the most descriptive review I could write for this product, but in a nutshell, the PC core class introduced here is actually a pretty inventive and deceptively useful one, despite seeming like a glorified "gag" class on the surface. However, even though the Foodamancer works well on its own merits in any given d20 Fantasy/Pathfinder campaign, the class works best when supplemented with the spells from the "Let Them Eat Cake," "Have Some Pie," and "Spells of Inebriation" supplements from Healing Fireball's "The Sages Must Be Crazy" series. All in all, then, I quite liked this PDF.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Simply Classes: The Foodamancer
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Simply Classes: The Foodamancer
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/10/2009 21:22:23
It always brings a smile to my face whenever I see the all-too-rare RPG supplement dedicated to food, cooking, or similar themes. It’s not that such products often have a whimsical focus that’s too often lacking in the number-heavy books that seem to permeate the market these days, but rather is because RPG books about food lend themselves very well to jokes. As such, you can expect this review to be peppered with food jokes throughout. What can I say? I’m a rather seedy kind of guy.

The Simply Classes: The Foodamancer is exactly what it sounds like, a new class that can be summed up as a spellcasting chef. It’s published by Mad Scotsman Games under the OGL, which seems rather odd since I didn’t see a copy of the OGL itself in the book, nor a clear description of Open Game Content and Product Identity, which all OGL works must have.

But enough with the technical details, lets get right to the meat of the book. The Foodamancer opens with some flavor text describing such a character in-game, before moving on to the usual round of text you’d find when introducing a new base class (e.g. describing a foodamancer’s alignment, religion, etc.). I liked the description of foodamancers as being a sort of “domestic adventurer,” as they mostly adventure so as to find ways to improve their culinary capabilities; that said, the obvious reason for adventuring – to kill and cook exotic monsters – was surprisingly overlooked here.

Mechanically, the Foodamancer is somewhere between being a bard and a wizard in how it presents itself. The class has arcane spellcasting ability up to 9th-level spells, prepared beforehand, but has a number of class abilities, the majority of which are tied to ranks in Profession (cook). Initially, I thought the class was somewhat overpowered, as it has a d6 Hit Die and gives one more spell slot at each level than the wizard does, but upon noticing the spell list I backed away from that opinion. The foodamancer’s spells (the list takes up takes up the last five pages; or one-third of the book) are comparatively limited, and quite often have a spell being one level higher than it would be for a wizard (e.g. fireball is a fourth-level spell).

What really makes this book, though, are the nuggets of flavor text sprinkled throughout the crunch. For example, almost all of the weapons for the foodamancer’s weapon proficiencies are described as kitchen utensils, with a parenthetical note to treat it as a kind of weapon. For example, they’re proficient with meat cleavers (treat as hand axe). This is repeated for the spell names, such as with oatmeal skin (treat as barkskin, except the armor is oatmeal instead of wood). It’s these little morsels that really make this product work.

That said, the book was fairly spartan in a few other regards. Despite its brevity, there were no bookmarks to speak of. Similarly, the only illustrations here are the cupcake design on the cover, and a single pencil drawing of a woman in a dress (maybe it’s supposed to be an apron?) in the interior. Finally, it would have helped somewhat to have had perhaps an example NPC to help flesh the class out, and I personally consider it mandatory that when introducing a new base class you should have information on its epic progression.

Overall though, this was a book that was more sweet than sour. I quite enjoyed the tone and style of the writing, and the class seemed mechanically solid. I do think that there was more that could have been done, both in terms of exposition, and from a technical standpoint, but what’s already here stands well on its own. The foodamancer is a somewhat lighthearted class, but if you’re okay with that in your game, this will make a great dish in the banquet that is your campaign.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Simply Free
by Tom B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/28/2008 09:24:24
Pretty substantial for a free product. Gives a good idea of what the company is about. There is a lot of crunch in here that can add nice flavor to a game. Layout is pretty blah and most of the art is just filler that really doesn't do anything for the product overall. Still, worth downloading for the Spellcutter class alone.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Simply Free
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Simply Creatures
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/22/2007 09:36:40
Simply Creatures is a 64 page d20 pdf presenting a number of new and bizarre races and monsters from the far reaches of the world. This compilation of creatures is a stand-alone product from Mad Scottsman Games, and is fully compatible with the revised d20 core rules. The creatures and races are suitable to any fantasy d20 campaign setting.

The product comes as a single pdf file. Layout and presentation are done in a single column, with a good selection of artwork thrown in for each of the races and monsters presented in the book. Not every monster has its own unique artwork, although for the most part something fitting has been added to the pdf to enhance the verbal description. The product lacks bookmarks, but contains a thorough table on contents. Writing and editing are good, with some vivid narrative pieces thrown in between various parts of the pdf, although the mechanical editing has missed quite a number of mistakes in the stat blocks of the creatures presented in the product. Overall, it's a decent looking product, though by no means great, and the presentation could probably have used a little more polish to bring it into line with the leading products produced for the d20 market.

Simply Creatures starts with a brief overview of the product before jumping into the two sections of the pdf - races and monsters. The themes, as it were, are races from the edge of the world, and monsters of legend and waste. These are the creatures found in the unexplored territories and in the dark corners of every game world, though naturally that does not have to be the case when throwing these creatures at a party of unsuspecting adventurers.

The pdf presents seven new races for use in your d20 game, in a mixed combination of level adjustments. Some of the races feel like they should probably have been written up as monsters instead as pure races without a stat block and just racial characteristics, but perhaps that is a matter of personal preference. The races include the gresh (half desert giants), the huarti (spawn of the breeding between serpent-creatures and humans), komainu orc (monk-like and philosophical orcs), the nhar (a lizardfolk-like race from the desert), the surion (half-elf, half-dragon), the veral (humanoid plants), and finally half-veral (half of the former).

The races show some unique characteristics and the write-ups are detailed enough to get a good idea as to the nature of the race. I couldn't help shake the feeling that while these were mechanically different and here of there had some unique characteristics, they were just similar creatures in disguise. The surion, for example, could just as well have been created using the core rules and the half-dragon template, while the nhar and the komainu are just different flavors of lizardfolk and orc. They're more subraces, than races, in some respects, although each has its defining and more unique characteristics.

The monster section presents 12 new monsters ranging from CR 1/2 to a whopping CR 27 for the celestial dragon. Several monsters have numerous incarnations, so that expands the number of monsters a little bit. Much like one or two of the races should probably be written up as monsters, so to some of these monsters should've been written with templates, rather than creating half a dozen monsters of similar kind but only slightly different characteristics. The monsters presented in this product include the celestial dragon, the insect-like xix, the gearhead and tree goblins, the humanoid-like doll golems, the desert giant, and the dust lich. As mentioned earlier, the editors missed quite a few mechanical errors, including a number of instances where the creature type should probably have been different. Goblin-like creatures should probably have had the humanoid type rather than the monstrous humanoids time, for example.

The monsters themselves are fairly decent, and in some places unique, but in general they were mostly not particularly spectacular. The desert giant is just another giant-type, the tree goblin is just another goblin type, and the celestial dragon just another dragon largely similar to other creatures of its kind. The khatarin (humanoids with animal heads) would probably have been better suited to a template, and again it's not a particularly novel idea. There are some interesting creatures here, like the xix and the dust lich, but for the most part these monsters are again just different flavored incarnations of similar creatures. I liked the write-ups and they gave sufficient information to use the creatures, so if you would like a different flavor to a creature, this product has some new variants to take a look at.

Overall this is a decent product. It presents a lot of new races and monsters, that, while not all unique in some kind of way, at least add a refreshing new take on a similar concept or creature. There are still a slew of mechanical errors, with some rather odd type designations in the mix, but for the most part this product holds its own as a monster book. The artwork is numerous, though not often entirely relevant, and the layout could've used a little more polish. Simply Creatures does offer some good utility, though, and even with its few defects, can provide good entertainment when challenging your adventures with these monsters and races.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Simply Creatures
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Simply Prestige: Volume I
by Christian S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/15/2007 19:26:46
I'm pretty skeptical of pdf collections of prestige classes. They're generally lacking in flavor and -- let's face it don't we all have enough prestige classes by now? But I downloaded this for free during the Thanksgiving giveaway period and I'm very happy that I did. Some really good ideas that could be great options in a wide range of games. I'm definitely going to check out other Mad Scotsman products.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Simply Prestige: Volume I
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Simply Creatures
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/27/2007 00:00:00
Simply Creatures is a d20 monster book from Mad Scotsman Games. The PDF file is one and a half megabytes in size, and is sixty pages long, including a page for the cover, one for the credits/legal, one for the introduction, and two for the OGL. There is no table of contents, nor bookmarks.

There is not much art to be found here. The cover displayed on the product page is actually not used in the product itself. Further, while many creatures have artwork depicting them (which is important in a monster book), at least half or more do not. Moreover, what black and white art that is used is very small, being notably tiny in resolution. There are no page borders either. Altogether, this makes the product very printer-friendly, but not very artful to look at.

The book opens with new PC races. Each of the seven new races listed here is given PHB-style treatment, talking about their alignment, relations, religion, etc. before giving their racial stats. Most of these new races have no level adjustment, though a few do. Interestingly, we actually have a few Large-size races without a level adjustment given. Unfortunately, the classic oversight of new races is made here, as while the entries do mention things like height, weight, and age in passing, the book has no tables for these new races regarding such information (the latter of which, age, can be important).

The second part of the book gives new monsters. Strictly speaking, there are thirteen such monsters here, but several (such as the khatarin or the xix) have different sub-listings which gives them multiple entries. Creatures range from the awesome celestial dragon (a CR 27 non-true dragon) to the lowly jerth (a CR 1 animal). While many of these are innovative in design, there a number of flaws in almost all of them. I only found one entry (the dust lich) that didn't seem to have a problem regarding the number of feats, hit points, AC listing, or something else. While few of these were very significant, these are things the editor should have caught and corrected. As it is, there's enough here that an edited re-release would be a very helpful thing for this book.

At the end of the day, this is a good book with some innovative ideas, but the execution needs a bit more polish. From the lack of quality artwork, to the lack of tables for the new races (and tables for the CR listings and creature Types for the monsters), to the errors in the monster stat blocks, Simply Creatures is itself a bit too simple.



LIKED: The new races and monsters were quite cool, and the writing throughout the book kept to a high standard.

DISLIKED: While it was written well, minor errors and omissions dogged this product. The new races need height/weight/age tables. The new monsters need to be indexed by CR and Type, as well as needing another run through editing. There needs to be a table of contents and/or bookmarks, and better art for a lot more of the creatures.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Simply Creatures
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Publisher Reply:
With Simply Creatures, we really plunged headfirst into the product's creation and missed a lot along the way. We have taken your advice and with the addition of much-needed tables, a heavy dose of editing, and some better artwork, we are starting to get the hang of gaming publication. Thanks for the great suggestions and insight, as it has helped our production immensely!
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