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Legend of the Five Rings 4th Edition
by Erathoniel W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/08/2010 22:18:27
I have only one gripe with this: It's so long.

However, once you get past that, Legend of the Five Rings is worth the read. Basically a mix of cultural analysis and game, the nice thing about Legend of the Five Rings is that you can play it in any style: politics and fighting are available, so if you want a game of social intrigue, or wanton bloodshed, you can run it.

The rules are unique and interesting, and I must say that it avoids most of my gripes with the majority of systems out there. There are no huge modifiers leading to foregone conclusions, and you don't wind up throwing hundreds of dice.

The setting has loads and loads of content to go with it, almost all of the 400 pages are crammed with information, making it one of the best books around.

The art and typesetting is perfect. I really cannot find a complaint. Legend of the Five Rings has exciting, gripping typesetting and art that make it an easy read because you feel engaged and immersed.

Granted, at $36, it's an investment, but you really do get what you pay for, and since it has the content of many lesser systems, Legend of the Five Rings is a one-stop-shop for any feudal Asian setting.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Five Rings 4th Edition
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Legend of the Five Rings 4th Edition
by Shotgun G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/07/2010 18:46:16
Having discovered L5R through the CCG, I was immediately hooked on the whole history of Rokugan. For 15 years, AEG have been adding to this amazing story of a land torn by warring Clans, threats from the Shadowlands and more recently pestilence and disease.

3rd edition to me was very clunky, with a lot of things that made it slow and labourious. 4th edition is has been redesigned, almost from the ground up. Changes to combat, the Clan schools and tweaks here and there; have made the whole system smoother.

Whether your new to L5R or a player of the older versions, this edition should appeal. From the rich artwork to the streamlined character creations, the book is very well presented and full to the brim with information.

At 405 pages, it is a hefty read. But it is also an easy read, with each section broken into smaller Books. The Book of Air details the history of Rokugan, the culture that makes up society; as well as sections on all of the Clans. The Book of Earth is the general mechanics of the game; while The Book of Fire is the Character Creation. Book of Water has all the information on Advanced Mechanics, with the Book of Void covering all the GM aspects of the game.

Overall a great update on the system, with some tweaks that make the whole thing a lot sharper to play; both as a player and GM. If you like Japanese History or just enjoy an RPG with an oriental flavour; then Legend of the Five Rings is perfect for this.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Toolbox
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/06/2010 13:07:03
I missed out on the days of First Edition, but from what I’ve heard from friends who were gaming back then, one of the lovable quirks of the old Dungeon Master’s Guide was its collection of tables for various things. With just a few random rolls, you could determine who you met in town, what treasure was in a monster’s hoard, and so many other things. Nowadays, with concerns of balance and world-design, there’s far less emphasis placed on such randomness, and those quirky old tables are gone.

Luckily, AEG’s Ultimate Toolbox is there to bring them back again.

Now, to be clear, I never read the original Toolbox, so I can’t speak to how this is more expanded than the original. Hence, I’m reviewing this book on its own merits. And what merits they are. Four hundred pages long, with the front and back covers in a separate file, Ultimate Toolbox is big. The book is divided into seven chapters – character, world, civilization, maritime, dungeon, magic, plot – with an appendix. Each chapter then contains a number of tables that are thematically related to the chapter in question; the appendix contains miscellanious

Each table in the book contains twenty items; plenty of times, the subject matter would go on for far more than twenty entries, which resulted in them simply breaking the table and continuing on with the subject in another table. For example, Table 1-4: Character Backgrounds/Concepts 1 lists twenty possible character backgrounds, barely scratching the list of possibilities, and so continues to list them in Table 1-5: Character Backgrounds/Concepts 2.

The book is illustrated sparsely, with comparatively few grayscale images popping up every so often. However, each page has a fairly elaborate border, with chains hanging off of the tops of the pages, and an alternating bottom border with either a hooded figure or a pile of skulls. Obviously, this book isn’t printer-friendly, though I presume that there’s a print version of this book already for sale.

The one technical aspect of the book that I do find fault with, however, is the lack of bookmarks in the PDF. I’m of the opinion that all PDFs should utilize bookmarks, and that’s more true for this book than most. The sheer volume of tables here would make bookmarks, even to various sub-sections of chapters, extremely useful.

It should be said, also, that there’s more to this book than just tables. Various sidebars pop up every so often to discuss some finer point to various subjects. Even more helpful though are the “how to use this chapter” sections found at the end of each chapter. These provide a helpful example, usually more than one, to illustrate how you’d use combinations of these tables to chart things like communities, the history of a magic item, or a PC background, for instance. It’s a very helpful inclusion that puts a practical spin on the book’s contents.

Ultimate Toolbox may appear to just be a collection of random tables at first glance, but there’s far more to it than that. Arranged in a logical sequence, the tables cover a huge expanse of material, and have helpful examples for how to string them together to create interesting results for your campaign. The next time you need inspiration, or just want to randomly determine something that you hadn’t thought of, reach into your Ultimate Toolbox.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Toolbox
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Vendel & Vesten
by Christian S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/02/2010 12:07:24
an interesting background book about the merchent princes and guildmasters. TEchnical Quality: top

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vendel & Vesten
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Los Vagos
by Christian S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/02/2010 12:05:20
a great book about one of the most noble secret society of 7th Sea.
technical Quality: Top
content: top

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Los Vagos
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Magic
by Rob C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/04/2010 21:55:53
Make sure to pay attention to the fact that this is a 'scanned' book. The OCR that created the hidden text (that makes the PDF document searchable) underlying the image is fairly good but not perfect. Plus, the document is 65MB in size. This was a lesson to me to pay attention to the fine print in the product description.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Magic
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Ultimate Toolbox
by Ward M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/16/2010 21:20:51
"Utlimate Toolbox" published by AEG, 400 pgs. black & white. PDF format

This product consists of random lists divided into seven chapters (plus one appendix.) Each chapter covers a different aspect of campaign design. (See the free sample for a table of contents)

The good:

1) Some of the tables are quite inventive and helpful: twenty ways to describe a room other than saying "it's empty"; twenty ways to introduce the PC's that don't involve meeting a tavern; and a blank chart called 'twenty good uses for a gnome' are my favorites.

2) a relative lack of spelling errors, which is something unusual in the PDF's I have bought lately.

3) The PDF is twenty USD cheaper than the dead tree version.

The bad:

1) Each page of the PDF has a background stationery pattern, which will kill you if you try to print this book out yourself.

2) For some unexplained reason, the "How to use this chapter" page is at the end of each chapter. (It would make more sense to me if this were at the beginning of the chapter.)

The Ugly:

The PDF is four hundred pages long and has no hyperlinks. Even if it just allowed jumps from chapter to chapter, it would be better than nothing at all. Throw me a bone here!

Overall impression:

I bought this book because everyone kept telling me the sun rose and set around it. If you suffer from brain cramp or writer's block, this book is sure to jar something loose. This book isn't the center of the universe, as some people insist, but it is a very interesting book with good ideas.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Toolbox
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Toolbox
by Bruce W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/30/2009 20:39:40
I was very disappointed in this pdf. It is very hard/impossible to select text, which was the reason I purchased it. I love the product, but the pdf version is awful.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Toolbox
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The Hidden Emperor
by Ward M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/29/2009 21:27:12
"The Hidden Emperor" Alderac Entertainment Group ($9.99 USD)

98 page pdf black-and-white with color cover. This is the last of the dual-statted d20/L5R products.

Overview: This product covers the time period from the coronation of Toturi I until the Battle of Oblivion's Gate in Rokugan. The book is broken into six chapters, each of which focuses on a different part of the period. Each chapter contains new ancestor feats, prestiege classes/paths, and adventure hooks.

Covers a very important period in the history of Rokugan, which is about 30 years before the end of the timeline in the Rokugan campaign setting book.

Likes: 1) Includes more history and details about what was going on behind the scenes in Rokugan during this turbulent period of history.

2) New feats and prestiege classes are always a good thing.

Dislikes:

1) The book is dual-statted for both d20 and L5R. You are supposed to be able to tell the difference between the two because the L5R stuff is in blue ink. Unfortunately, the book was scanned in black-and-white. The dark blue ink comes out looking exactly the same color as the rest of the text.

2) There are no bookmarks in the PDF.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Hidden Emperor
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Ultimate Toolbox
by Francisco M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/06/2009 03:35:45
I had some interest in this product since I saw a couple of good reviews at UncleBear (http://unclebear.com/?p=3773) and RPG.net (http://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/14/14296.phtml). And being a fan of random charts and seeds for ideas, I decided to buy it.

Discarded the physical edition for having too little space for books right now, and thinking it would be more useful to have all that information in electronic format, easy to search and to reach, I bought it here, in RPGNow.

All in all, I have exactly what I was told I would find in this product. But it's pretty surprising that for 20 euros, the price of a normal book out there in RL, the only "plus" is the capability of using the search engine that every PDF reader has. No markers, no hyperlinked text, no adaptated version for reading it on a computer screen... No using all the possibilities an electronic format has. In my opinion, now that I have paid for it, 20 euros is pretty high when you have plenty of other products of random charts out there for less than 5 €.

So please, AEG and every other RPG publisher: if you are going to sell PDF version of your products, please use all the advantages the electronic format offers. Selling the PDF you sent to the printer's should be a lot more cheaper than this.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Toolbox
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Swashbuckling Adventures
by William M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/31/2009 12:28:22
its a great mix of magic and muskets. Its very similar to what I was going to work on myself. Great campaign world. Its awesome.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Swashbuckling Adventures
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7th Sea: Players' Guide
by Kenneth S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/16/2009 10:14:34
I downloaded this book for use in an online game. Excellent resource and I am quite happy with the purchase.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
7th Sea: Players' Guide
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Mightier Than the Sword
by Ricardo M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/13/2009 07:54:58
I was unhable to download. Just recieve an error message "PREAUTHORIZATION FAILED - Address verified. Zip verified. CVV and Expiration verified. ".

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Mightier Than the Sword
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Masters of War: The L5R Companion
by Nathan R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/06/2009 11:48:58
If you are looking for very detailed information on the Crab, Lion and Unicorn Clans especially as it relates to how they wage war then this book is for you. Well written with plenty of new material and the scan is good. However, you will need access to Emerald Empire to get the full use of the book and a few other books as Alderac did not reprint anything in this book that was in other books, even books that are no longer in print.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Masters of War: The L5R Companion
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Ships and Sea Battles
by Roman P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/25/2009 08:05:11
I bought this book because we play a Midnight Archipelago campaign. The book was very helpful with our naval needs and helped in all our questions.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ships and Sea Battles
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