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Other comments left for this publisher:
War Profiteers
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/01/2010 18:47:25
This is an informal adventure. If you're looking for fancy art or polished layout, look elsewhere. However, there's also a lot of things this adventure does right that more "professional" adventures miss the boat on.

War Profiteers is a simple adventure for Fourth Edition Dungeons and Dragons. In it, the characters become involved with a group of arms dealers who need a war to become or stay hot in order for their work to remain profitable. The war heats up and then the characters decide to take action. That's it.

What sets this adventure apart is the high degree of customization, and specific advice for customization, that it presents. For example, there are two different ways "in" to the adventure, one in which the characters are approached by arms dealers who want their goods protected, and one in which the characters discover a massive cache of magical arms and armor, and must find a customer to buy them. Additionally, once the war has become hot, or heated up, the adventure carefully notes that the characters' actions may be extremely different depending on their alignment and what the players are interested in. They may end up trying to stop the war they helped create, or they may want to take over one of the factions and set themselves up as rulers. Both of these are presented - albeit briefly - as options.

A few encounter set pieces are also laid out. The cool thing about these encounters is that you get a mini-map of approximately where the forces will be, and a description of their objectives (and when they'll stop pursuing them), but it isn't tied to any particular level, so DMs can use the excellent encounter generator tools from the base game in order to populate the encounters with the appropriate level of enemies.

The final area that War Profiteers addresses that many other adventures miss is that it puts the adventure in context, urging different approaches for a one-night or convention scenario and for an episode in an ongoing campaign. An adventure that serves the real-world needs of the players, who would have thought?

It uses bookmarks, though it's probably not strictly necessary for an adventure of this length. There's also a link to the publisher's homepage in the PDF, always welcome.

This isn't the greatest adventure on the site. It's very much a sketch of an adventure meant to be fleshed out for the needs of independent groups. But because, especially for the low price, it gives attention where all adventures should give attention, I'm giving it a high score.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
War Profiteers
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks for taking the time to review this adventure in detail. You got way past the 'first glance' and into the core specifics of the writer's (Kyle Nyce) objectives. You recognized the flexibility and the organization of the material.
Ghostriders; Recon Platoon 3.5 Promo
by Jim C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/08/2010 02:55:24
An odd decision to offer a download here in Open Office format, since it would have taken seconds to make a PDF. The character names are hard to overlook and generally I'm left with little idea of the sort of D&D setting that could support something so odd as a Recon Platoon - no sense of what it means to be the son of a general or a 13th-level platoon leader with significant clerical powers (except that it appears at this level ogres and trolls are his greatest concerns, and his position leaves time to run a farm).

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Ghostriders; Recon Platoon 3.5 Promo
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks for the review, Jim. I switched the preview to a PDF. I guess that's the last time I will upload at 5:00AM, LOL! In our world setting, Hanan Pacha, the military is pivotal to protection of the populace. Veteran soldiers are free to adventure when not engaged in warfare for their respective armies, like reservists do nowadays. I even wrote the NPCs up as fighters instead of warriors, making them easier to use as pre-rolled characters. High level PCs can use followers, DMs can use these troops as encounters in either friendly or hostile territory. It's easy to change alignments from good to neutral or evil. The full publication has the fighter/ranger/cleric character, plus a ranger-bard, an 8th level cleric, an 8th level wizard and the rest are fighters with heroic stats. So, what you get in the newly issued PDF is 12 pre-rolled characters for $2.99.
Beyond the Black Door
by Katherine B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/03/2010 07:37:20
Beyond the Black Door is not designed as a fully scripted adventure--something I and my players prefer. Instead it is more of a setting and series of possible encounters along with definite goals needed to achieve to survive. This lets the GM and the players determine the course of the adventure--also makes it easier to work it into other adventures if you don't wish to use all of the series (which I highly recommend, by the way). I recommend it--especially if you have players that like to make their own paths and not be forced down yours.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Beyond the Black Door
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks for the great review, Katherine! You are one of our most loyal customers. I appreciate the fact that you use all of our adventures in the games that you run. As usual, you understand the concept behind this type of publication.
Beyond the Black Door
by Peter J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/27/2009 15:03:01
Horrid. The writing is very subpar, there is almost no direction to the adventure, and although the adventure claims the PCs know what they must do, there's never any mention of what they actually must do. It reads like notes taken midway through another DM's campaign. Without privileged information it's impossible to know what to do and when.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
"Beyond the Black Door" is designed to fit in with the other modules of the series from Hanan Pacha. It is not written to 'lead the PCs around by the nose'. There is a basic, storyline, vivid descriptions of encounters (in order), descriptions and maps of the town and areas they are in, with two different ways to get of the Plane of Acheron. The PCs are gated in by a gate trap, which is located in two other adventures (you are told that). Acheron is not much of a vacation destination. The PCs are given opportunities to find locals to help them leave. THAT is the point: figure out how to get out of a deadly plane filled with undead, demons and other dangerous monsters! We also furnished stats for both 3.5 and 4th edition, so you can use either system. It is generic enough to drop into any dungeon that a DM is using. It's a DOOR that has something deadly on the other side. A DM can easily use it for just that, making it 'stand alone' as well! I can't respect a short review that has no constructive critique. Besides that, you paid $2.99, for crying out loud. LOL
Notice: this adventure has since been revised. "Beyond the Black Door" is designed to fit in with the other modules of the series from Hanan Pacha. It's a DOOR that has something deadly on the other side. A DM can easily use it for just that, making it 'stand alone' as well! It is not written to 'lead the PCs around by the nose'. There is a basic storyline, vivid descriptions of encounters (in order), descriptions and maps of the town and areas they are in, with two different ways to get of the Plane of Acheron (or Plutus as it is known now). The PCs are captured by a gate trap, which is located in two other adventures. Acheron is not much of a vacation destination. The DM can use the encounters with locals to find out how to leave. The following information is furnished in the text: The PCs need to find and acquire a 'gate key' that allows them to get past the Big Bad at the end of the adventure figure out how to get out of a deadly plane filled with undead, demons and other dangerous monsters! The secondary goal is to locate and acquire an artifact called 'The Pearl of Power'. We also furnished stats that give you an idea of the monster's abilities. They are generic enough for the DM to adjust to the game system they are using.
3.5 NPCs & Monsters II
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/27/2009 18:44:31
I was so hoping that the 3.5 monsters 1 was a fluke; A quickly rushed product sent to the market before anyone had signed off on it, a risky decisions that did not pay off, a product that was already paid for and was too expensive to recreate.

However, it appears that the horrific layout, poor creature design and deficiency of artwork for each creature are signatures of this series as 3.5 NPCs & Monsters II recreates the same problems and adds new ones.

Someone must have neglected to tell the folks over at Black Death Publishing that there was not much added expense for producing extra pages of product for a PDF. Attempting to save a buck is the only reason for the cramped and squished layout in Monsters II . The 8 page product (6 pages are actual product) should be at least 22 pages. Each of the 11 monster entries are crammed into two or three paragraphs, compressed into the old 3.5 format. It is a great format for adventures, but a poor way to display creatures to a dungeon master that must quickly identify and read them. This is by far the worst layout I have seen in any product. I am pretty sure that a well trained monkey with a crayon and a beginner’s manual to Adobe Pagemaker 7.0 could do a better job.

As for the lack of art for their creatures, there is no reason for that type of negligence. Half of the creatures have some sort of artwork. Of those, the style of the art is very inconsistent and feels rushed and unedited. Black and White pencil drawings are thrown into the same lot with digital painted art.

It is a sad presentation for material that is not too bad. Reading through each entry in Monsters II, they seem like a lot of fun. Most are different takes on creatures you have seen elswhere such as undead medium goblins and a more dangerous form of zombie.

For the Dungeon Master
If you are looking for a couple of undead and twisted creatures, try the Nightwalker and the Varghul. They are two of the only creatures in the book that felt original. That is not to say that other parts of the product did not feel original, but they are based on creatures that have floated around the fantasy realm for decades.

The Iron Word
I have read some impressive adventures from Black Death Publishing, some of them suffering from layout issues as well. However, 3.5 NPCs & Monsters II feels like a kindergarteners foray into Indesign compared to the layout mistakes in their previous books. It is both difficult to read and difficult to use simultaneously. Outside of the couple of decent monsters in the book, many feel as if they were used elsewhere (and in some cases were) and changed for the sake of padding the book.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
3.5 NPCs & Monsters II
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Publisher Reply:
Hi Nate, I much appreciate the constructive comments in this review. You raised some very good points that caused me to immediately look at the product with 'fresh eyes'. They are useful for upgrading (which I have already done) the product to meet higher expectations (for a $2.00 supplement). I also appreciate the positive comments on our publications in general. I do need to explain some things though: 1) I myself do all of the writing, editing and layout using Open Office 2.4, including the conversion to PDF format. I am in the process of learning this as I go along. I do not have, nor can afford, expensive software that would allow for much better layouts. Our best layouts were for two early works that Joe Calkins did for me. Joe is a true professional in artistry and design. 2) You may have been adding humor to your analysis with some of your comments. However, I believe they were beneath the standards of staff reviewers. The wise cracks were offensive to me and the result has been sales that were going very well completely stopped. I hope that is just temporary. 3) I provided full previews, people saw them and were buying the products. The supplements cost only $2.00 - $2.25. It seems as if you expect the low cost product to be as good as the usual $12 - $30 supplements. My niche in the market is producing useful works for those who want to spend $7.00 and under. Not everyone can afford to download 20 - 50 pages then print all of that out, adding more expense by using printer cartridges. 4) My Iron Bottom line is that they cost $2, they are easy to download and inexpensive to print and each one allows for cut and paste copying. Until I learn to do layouts well, your expectations on non-essentials like having a WoTC appearance are way too high! To end on a good note, I do appreciate constructive comments like Peter did for the first supplement. I bear no ill will toward you in any way.
3.5 NPCs & Monsters
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/26/2009 10:25:52
A good monster or NPC book can really whet one's appetite for adventure, gaming, and tabletop battle. There's something quite surreal about the excitement one can feel when reading a cleverly crafter monster description, or delving into the background of a cunning and crafty NPC. As such, when it comes to monster or NPC books, I always hope to find some tantalizing new ideas, monsters or NPC concepts that can spark my imagination and really get my gaming juices flowing. 3.5 NPCs and Monsters is a short 13 page pdf from Black Death Publishing, that features a large number of monsters and NPCs from the demi-plane of Hanan Pachal, the land of their campaign setting. Eagerly anticipating some good monster and NPC fodder for the imagination from this product, I was unfortunately somewhat disappointed by this offering.

The product comes with both a full colour screen copy of the pdf, as well as an easier to print black and white copy. The pdf sports a small but neat cover, and some of the interior art is fairly pleasing as well. To be honest, though, the organisation of the product lost me after the second page, despite some of the other appealing aspect of the pdf presentation such as the art. Monsters and NPCs appear to be thrown together into pdf with no rhyme or reason, with no explanation as to what these stat blocks, monsters and NPCs are or how they fit into Black Death Publishing's game world.

On top of that, the use of the OGL and the general OGL mechanics are just wrong and poor, and the product includes references to old 3e material (DR 15/+1, for example), and even uses material that's not OGL in the product. I'm not even sure the correct OGL licence was used - Section 15, for example, is completely missing. At times the mechanics were so strange I wasn't even sure which system this product was really for (using the old T or Thief abbreviation for a Rogue), and there are a lot of things in there not contained within the OGL SRD without any descriptions either. While I've generally been pleased by Black Death Publishing's adventures and other products, this product could use a lot of work to bring it up to standard.

I have to admit that I found it really hard to extract good ideas and concepts from the pdf given the lacklustre organisation, but to be fair the product isn't a complete loss. The product comes with a whole plethora of stat blocks of NPCs, creatures and monsters, and while most of the will require mechanical fixes, it shouldn't take long to do just that. The sheer quantity of material means there is always something useful inside its pages. Stat blocks include, for example, armies of orcs, orc shamans, ogre mages, various barbarian, lycanthropes, vampires, succubi and even a gold dragon. In almost all cases the monsters are described by there stat blocks only (or text taken straight from the OGL SRD), but here and there are some useful bits of information on the creatures, motivations and tactics. One of the few really useful bits of the product is the horriad, a new monster that's the offspring of the union of two demons. In general, if you want to sift through pages of information for good bits, then you'll find something interesting, but skin deep this product is fairly disappointing.

I think this product fall shorts in several areas, but at the same time contains at least a handful of useful parts and features that you can use. I have to admit that apart from the horriad, I wasn't particularly inspired by any imaginative material, mainly because most of the material was largely stat blocks. And, given the amount of errors in those, it would almost be worth creating your own rather than using these. Organisation is poor - in the current pdf market you can surely structure material with additional descriptive text, motivation text or just campaign setting fluff, rather than just crowding stat blocks into a pdf and using the pdf ad blurb to give some hints as to what's going on in the product. I'm sorry to say that I'm disappointed - it has good art, the horriad is interesting, and some useful stat blocks, but for the most part a lot more effort could've gone into the product to make it more presentable and useful.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
3.5 NPCs & Monsters
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Publisher Reply:
Thank you for the very constructive critique of our first effort at providing a supplement. We have already uploaded a new version that uses your critique to 'iron out' the rough spots. Each of the NPCs after the orc section now have an explanation and brief history to assist the purchaser. We think that the price ($2.25) is hard to beat especially with the useful information now provided. We did use the online Hypertext 3.5 SRD stats as the basis all of the creatures listed. The supplement is organized in this way: The Spire of the Raven God, The Lair of the Demon Princess, Into the Gates of Hell and The Dead of Winter. I will look at some of the other supplements for better ideas as far as organization.
Heroic Cleric Power Pack
by Stuart P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/09/2009 06:48:49
A useful concept for a game supplement, but the powers provided show either a lack of system knowledge or extensive house rules that are not included in the product. Examples of this include:

* The use of a 'Support' keyword in many powers without explaining what it does.
* Treating the example builds in the PHB (Devoted Cleric or Battle Cleric) as explicit subsets of the class equivalent to other classes' subsets (Ranger fighting style, wizard implement mastery, warlock pact) and giving powers bonuses based on these builds.
* Including improvements to 1st-level Encounter and Daily powers at paragon and epic tier - useless as the powers will be traded out for higher level powers.
* Including attack powers that perform utility power functions (such as healing allies with no other effects).

Some of the ideas and powers within are usable with work, but at the moment it feels like a first draft. With further work, or explanation of these house rules, this could be a good product.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Heroic Cleric Power Pack
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Publisher Reply:
Hi Stuart, Thank you for the review and constructive comments that will help us improve our next 'Power Pack'. The 'Heroic Cleric' is an upgrade and does seek to go beyond the original. I will get with Kyle and make sure the future Power Packs contain the house rules. We may even come out with another release of the same product, including your suggestions in our writing.
We have just upgraded the file with some of the Stuart's suggested changes! Thanks again for the review and if you are not on the site e-mail just let us know. We will send you a coupon for the new version.
The Labyrinth of the Lost
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/02/2009 08:44:45
Opening with atmospheric 'ancient texts' that warn of the dangers of the Black Door and the labyrinth to which it is the entrance, the Introduction then explains how the three preceeding adventures - The Lair of the Demon Princess, Into the Gates of Hell and The Dead of Winter - have each taken the characters perilously close to an entrance into the Labyrinth. If you have not yet visited any of these places one could be used as a jumping-off point, but there are other entrances... perhaps even in places other than the world of Hanan Pacha if it is not a part of your campaign setting. Or clues may lead your characters back to a dungeon they thought they'd already cleaned out! Some notes on the underlying political situation - who is already seeking the Black Gate and who is helping or hindering them - follow, replete with a whole bunch of different plot hooks you could use to send your party in the right direction.

Chapter 1: Arrival at Knight's Keep suits the more intentional entries into the adventure - depending on the hook you use, some unfortunates may stumble in rather than enter with the intention of sorting matters out! In it, the characters meet with some of the 'good' magnates of the area and discover the nature of the threat which they are in a position to do something about by helping to discover what an evil wizard is planning.

Chapter 2: The Plains of Meggido describes the journey from the Keep if you have chosen to introduce the adventure that way, or can be the beginning for characters who come on the adventure more by chance when travelling. There are a few optional, non-plot-related encounters to keep travelling parties 'entertained' - each being well described with sufficient detail to make them easy to run at a point of your choosing. There are also copious notes on how to bring characters in to the adventure depending on their previous interactions within this campaign setting, indicating where in the plotline they should begin their participation in this scenario.

Chapter 3: The Warrior's Rest Inn describes a wonderfully-detailed establishment and its surroundings. Those who have been following the adventure from the start will have been directed to come here, while others might come across it and get involved. The innkeeper doubles as an agent for the forces of good, and may ask for the assistance of any likely strangers even if they have not come with a letter of introduction! There's a lot going on here and plenty of opportunity for people to get involved.

Next, Chapter 4: Bluebeard's Dungeon begins the real action, at least if dungeon-delving suits you. And a cracking delve it is, with traps a-plenty and some fascinating beings to meet, and many to fight. Thought as well as a strong sword-arm and a good batch of spells will be required to survive... let alone solve the mystery and close the Gate which should not have been opened!

An appendix gives details of monsters in the adventure.

Overall, the actual dungeon adventure itself is exciting and challenging while the surroundings come alive as much more than mere backdrop to the dungeon. The key task can be accomplished but it's hard enough that the characters will feel real satisfaction if they succeed!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Labyrinth of the Lost
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The Labyrinth of the Lost
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/29/2008 07:43:14
Opening with atmospheric 'ancient texts' that warn of the dangers of the Black Door and the labyrinth to which it is the entrance, the Introduction then explains how the three preceeding adventures - The Lair of the Demon Princess, Into the Gates of Hell and The Dead of Winter - have each taken the characters perilously close to an entrance into the Labyrinth. If you have not yet visited any of these places one could be used as a jumping-off point, but there are other entrances... perhaps even in places other than the world of Hanan Pacha if it is not a part of your campaign setting. Or clues may lead your characters back to a dungeon they thought they'd already cleaned out! Some notes on the underlying political situation - who is already seeking the Black Gate and who is helping or hindering them - follow, replete with a whole bunch of different plot hooks you could use to send your party in the right direction.

Chapter 1: Arrival at Knight's Keep suits the more intentional entries into the adventure - depending on the hook you use, some unfortunates may stumble in rather than enter with the intention of sorting matters out! In it, the characters meet with some of the 'good' magnates of the area and discover the nature of the threat which they are in a position to do something about by helping to discover what an evil wizard is planning.

Chapter 2: The Plains of Meggido describes the journey from the Keep if you have chosen to introduce the adventure that way, or can be the beginning for characters who come on the adventure more by chance when travelling. There are a few optional, non-plot-related encounters to keep travelling parties 'entertained' - each being well described with sufficient detail to make them easy to run at a point of your choosing. There are also copious notes on how to bring characters in to the adventure depending on their previous interactions within this campaign setting, indicating where in the plotline they should begin their participation in this scenario.

Chapter 3: The Warrior's Rest Inn describes a wonderfully-detailed establishment and its surroundings. Those who have been following the adventure from the start will have been directed to come here, while others might come across it and get involved. The innkeeper doubles as an agent for the forces of good, and may ask for the assistance of any likely strangers even if they have not come with a letter of introduction! There's a lot going on here and plenty of opportunity for people to get involved.

Next, Chapter 4: Bluebeard's Dungeon begins the real action, at least if dungeon-delving suits you. And a cracking delve it is, with traps a-plenty and some fascinating beings to meet, and many to fight. Thought as well as a strong sword-arm and a good batch of spells will be required to survive... let alone solve the mystery and close the Gate which should not have been opened!

An appendix gives details of monsters in the adventure.

Overall, the actual dungeon adventure itself is exciting and challenging while the surroundings come alive as much more than mere backdrop to the dungeon. The key task can be accomplished but it's hard enough that the characters will feel real satisfaction if they succeed!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Labyrinth of the Lost
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The Dead of Winter (at Bearhamer Hall)
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/09/2008 11:26:13
Often, adventures by independent companies fall into two categories. Dreadfully boring romps that feel like it was written a few decades ago or wildly imaginative pieces that are quite imaginable but too over the top to run with an average group.

To much surprise, the Dead of Winter at Bearhammer Hall by Blackdeath Publishing falls into the narrow chasm between two and into the pit of traditional fantasy with strong bursts of creativity.

On the surface the adventure is one we have heard before. People are missing and the culprit is slowly revealed through a fast paced dungeoncrawl. And despite a twist here and there, the story does not divert too much from what you would expect. But like a sheep in wolf’s clothing, Dead of Winter’s talented writers craft such a good tale with their strong descriptions and tight editing that a group may have found lost children, sheep, doctors, merchants and warthogs in their past adventures and still would feel the all the exciting mystery and suspense of every NPC and encounter in the adventure.

The writers also do a good job of placing DM tools and not getting wrapped up in their own story. There are explanations of the encounters, monster statics in early 3.5 format (my favorite format and the one most easily transferred into other sources) and extra encounters that can be thrown anywhere in the story.

Dead of Winter is strikingly well produced. There are plenty of distinctly designed maps and artwork that capture of the feel of the land. Unfortunately there are no navigation tools, though the adventure is only a mere 29 pages, there are 5 parts to it. The world is also a bit tricky, taking place on another plane, though again this is easily adjusted.

For the Dungeon Master
The writers speak Dungeon Master English throughout the book as opposed to over the top Hemmingway type descriptions some books have. This made the adventure a more natural fit to the party. Often times a player can hear module a mile away because of language not normally heard at a game table.

The Iron Word
The Dead of Winter is a good side-trek adventure with an overt horror tone to it. The writers capture the feel of the region with crisp descriptions that create a suspenseful mood. The adventure does end on a bit of a cliffhanger, which makes me excited to read the next chapter.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Dead of Winter (at Bearhamer Hall)
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks so much for taking the time to review this adventure in great detail. We now have the completed additions to this adventure available: Wokrah's Dungeon details the lair where the villian hides and The Labyrinth of the Lost, which ties in several of our adventures with a dangerous quest...
The Dead of Winter (at Bearhamer Hall)
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/24/2008 08:29:54
An RPG Resource Review:

A simple task surely - a party of friends on a late-autumn hunting expedition have failed to return from the mountains: can the characters find them? But rather nicely, instead of using this to start the adventure, it opens with the party travelling through a wintry landscape (presumably about their own business) and coming across a small settlement, home to the missing hunters, where their friends and relatives request help.

The DM's notes make it plain what has really happened to the hunting party, but those in the settlement have no idea what dangers lurk in the mountains save goblins, wild animals and severe winter weather. The characters will have to travel around, braving weather and creatures alike, to find out what has taken place. Undead abound, so be sure there is a good cleric in the party to deal with them. Other denizens of the mountains prove more helpful, provided the characters deal with them fairly. The 'clue-chain' is a bit linear but holds up well, and there are some interesting encounters along the way. However, although there is a suitably climactic battle at the end, things are not really resolved - apart from mention of another adventure yet to come.

Overall, quite a good winter adventure, making good use of the environment as well as more conventional monsters to provide opposition. It has a vaguely South American feel, as if it were taking place in a fantastical version of the Andes, and a few interesting new monsters. A thorough read-through of the whole adventure is essential before running it, as things are sometimes a bit jumbled.

(Actually deserves three and a half stars, but the system doesn't work that way!)

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
Thank you for the review, Megan. I just wanted to confirm that this is indeed the first of a two part adventure.
Spire Of The Raven God
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/13/2008 04:53:19
An RPG Resource Review:

The work opens with a description of the unusual setting of Hanan Pacha. It's worth considering using it, rather than just slotting the adventure into your own campaign world, because it is so strange - take the characters out of their usual environment and watch their wonder. However, although it is an intriguing place to visit, it is not completely necessary to the adventure if you prefer not to use it.

Next, there's the outline of the adventure itself. The survivors of a ruined settlement and the local druid enlist the characters' help to evict a bunch of demons from a hollow spire which they have taken over. The backstory gives a clear explanation of how they got there, which helps set the scene for the DM, and gives rise to plenty of intrigue which will be going on even as the characters seek to complete their mission.

NPCs and encounters along the way to accomplish the mission are well-detailed, with all that you need to role-play people and events effectively. There's always a air of 'this is going on anyway, just you have arrived on the scene' that makes for a good feel of an alternate reality in which your characters - and everyone else - really lives, rather than things placed there just for the adventure. Yet they all fit in with what's going on as well.

The mission itself is well-constructed with some travel, negotiation, plenty of combat, nightmares and even some extra dimensions to explore... and that's all before the climax of the actual assault on the spire where the demons have taken up residence! This is no jaunt either, but several challenging levels with plenty of opposition, a fitting climax to an excellent, if combat-heavy, adventure.

Overall, this is a well-presented, challenging and exciting adventure which should suit an organised and competent party of adventurers.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Spire Of The Raven God
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Into the Gates of Hell
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/13/2008 04:49:49
An RPG Resource Review:

After my comments on the original version of this adventure, which could be summed up as "Nice dungeon but no reason to go there," author Rex Baker revised and re-released it.

The introduction has been rewritten, and it now becomes apparent that there is a pressing need to go and visit - a wizard has discovered the existance of a sealed-up area within a larger dungeon which contains eight gates or portals which have the potential to link to three of the Nine Hells... and it appears possible that at least some of the gates are open - devils have been seen in the area, and there is a known unstable rift in another part of the dungeon which opens to the Shadow Plane. So the characters are tasked with finding out exactly what is going on.

The dungeon itself, which was an exciting and challenging dungeon crawl through a fine array of twisting passages with an array of monsters and traps to contend with, has not changed. It is described clearly and should prove interesting to run or play in; and it is recommended for a strong party of combat enthusiasts (with both spell and sword) with good clerical support. The revised introduction now gives it some purpose and rounds it out to a complete adventure.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Into the Gates of Hell
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Lair of the Demon Princess
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/19/2008 08:25:38
An RPG Resource Review:

This adventure begins with an introduction to the default setting, the campaign world of Hanan Pacha. It's a strange place, a flat-topped conical island hovering above an ocean. Sufficient background is given to enable you to run the adventure here, and it fits so well that even if you have an established campaign world of your own it is recommended that you consider some form of magical transportation to deposit the characters here to make the most of the unusual environ for the course of the adventure, sending them back to their own world afterwards. Some ideas are given for ways in which your characters can find themselves in Hanan Pacha all of a sudden... oh, and when they get they are trapped and need to find a 'spell key' to make their way back home!

Fortunately, although trapped the characters are met by a wizard who gives them a bit of orientation, and offers them a reward if they'll find out who is stirring up trouble, and a further one if they are able to deal with the trouble-makers. Like any good epic, the characters must first make a journey through dangerous places before they are in a position to undertake their tasks - the dangers being both adverse terrain and weather, and hostile inhabitants. Yet while for plot reasons they are there to pose the characters a challenge, each has its own reasons for being there and for attacking - good alternate reality stuff! Moreover, although a journey must be made, there are several alternate routes to choose from, each with its own dangers and challenges. The trip is really part of the adventure, not just a case of 'we need to get there to begin the adventure.'

Eventually, we hope, the characters reach what passes for civilisation, and should be able to pick up some more information about Hanan Pacha and what is going on at the moment. But the travelling is not yet over - there is a voyage at sea with its own dangers to complete, not to mention the minor point that the city which is the characters' destination happens to be under siege. More information, and yet further travel, this time through a jungle replete with appropriate dangers to face. Eventually they should come to their ultimate destination, the Lair itself... and then of course have a dungeon complex to explore. A good classic dungeon crawl with some excellent traps in it, no less!

I was told that the person doing the layout dropped out midway through the project, and while it shows in the resulting product it is still very useable if a bit scruffy in places. The plotline is coherent and clear, with plenty going on and opportunities to explore and talk as well as a good amount of meaningful combat - it's not just a case of having monsters to fight because most players want a fight: each group is there for a reason and successful combat will gain you more than just a heap of corpses, it advances the adventure. Overall, it is an adventure in the classic mode, with travelling through dangerous enviroments to the culmination of the dungeon and combat with the instigator of the trouble in the lands... with the twist of the unusual setting as an added bonus.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Lair of the Demon Princess
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Welcome to My Nightmare
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/17/2008 06:51:29
An RPG Resource Review:

The concept behind this short adventure is that it begins with a chance halt in a tiny hamlet for a glass or two of ale... in other words, it is a self-contained event to liven up a journey from one place to another. It's always good to toss a few such into your campaign: however epic the cause your characters are pursuing through your plotline, reminding them that others have completely different problems to contend with is a good means of maintaining the feel of the 'alternate reality' that they inhabit.

The problem facing the inhabitants of the tiny hamlet is that there appears to be something nasty in their graveyard. They sent some militiamen, but they didn't come back. Perhaps this well-armed party of adventurers could help? Assuming they do, there is both a night and a day version of what transpires when they go to investigate. The encounter notes come complete with evocative descriptions and detailed information on the combat tactics that the opposition will use, and clear maps showing both the lay of the land and the way in which the opposition will form up - even a DM who is new to running a battle should find it straightforward with the level of information at his fingertips.

The entire thing should take less than a couple of hours to run, so will not interfere with the main course of your campaign. It is perhaps a little thin to use as a one-off evening's game although a group merely seeking a fight would be satisfied. It is intended for characters of levels 8-12, but by varying the number of opponents it could be scaled to suit other parties - but a cleric and/or paladin are well-nigh essential. A neat piece to keep to hand for that occasion when you feel that a journey's getting dull and you don't just want to say that two days later the party reaches its destination!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Welcome to My Nightmare
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