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Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay (PDF)
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/23/2014 22:07:56
WHAT WORKS: The bulk of the information is stat-free, so it is totally usable in just about any fantasy game, not just Labyrinth Lord, with virtually no problem. A great balance of detail and GM interpretation is presented as well. The fact that SNG not only allows, but encourages, other publishers to use the city is cool as well. And oh, dear God...I love random tables. Plus, it's Pay What You Want. Literally no reason not to check it out.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: I am a big fan of the slightly Ravenloft-ish gothic horror vibe to the Small Niche Games adventures, and that vibe is almost completely absent from the Guidebook, which is a little disappointing.

CONCLUSION: As my eyes drift back more and more towards D&D and D&Desque games, The Chronicles of Amherth and the surrounding adventures all look very appealing to me, and The City of Dolmvay would be a pretty great jumping off point for that, as I have no issue going low magic. The random tables are great, and the history has a lot of callbacks to the earlier adventures in the series. It's pretty much recommended for any GM who is running a retroclone or any fantasy RPG on the lower end of the magic/power spectrum, especially since you can set the price (and for those who don't get how that works, you can "buy" it for nothing, then rebuy it for what you think is a fair price). Another great outing from Small Niche Games.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2014/05/tommys-take-o-
n-guidebook-to-city-of.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay (PDF)
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Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay (PDF)
by Jim M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/15/2014 02:17:08
The nuts and bolts of the Guidebook have been adequately covered by other reviews so I'll just cover what I like and dislike and why you should get it.

The book itself is similar to other SNG products in that it sits in the middle ground between amateurishly produced content and the overly slick output of the big boys. It has a very personal feel yet also has good production and presentation. The final product is easy to read and use in any form.

Every section has something of interest whether you plan to use it whole as part of the Amherth setting, plan to drop it into another world or even just use some of the parts.

The guidebook is large and contains a ton of material. The sewers alone could occupy a party for years! One of the best aspect of the books is the sheer number of NPCs to be found in the city. There are dozens and dozens of them and If you need more quickly the NPC generator will come in handy. Sometimes it seems people forget that RPG is ROLE PLAYING game and one meets too many cardboard cutouts. Not so in Dolmvay. Another unique feature is The Church. In my world there are lots of religions most of which are pretty informal and usually don't bather each other. Dolmvay, on the other hand, has a dominant religion that is not very tolerant of other faiths. This makes for a definite feel that is a distinguishing feature of the city. Think Medieval Catholic Church.

My only complaint is that I would have liked more maps. O.K. I admit that I'm a map nut, but I would have liked to see a map of the immediate area around the city and maybe a regional map. Those may be coming in a future SNG product.

So why should you get it? Because it's a ridiculously good deal. Where else can you get a 200+ page sourcebook for pay what you want? Through a strange twist of events I have the PDF, Softcover and Hardcover and can recommend any of the three. Just pick your price point.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
Hi Jim! Yes, a regional map will be detailed in the upcoming Guidebook to the Duchy of Valnwall (which will also be funded through Kickstarter, hopefully!). I\'ll keep you posted. Thanks for taking the time to comment!
Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay (PDF)
by Shannon F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/19/2014 14:17:35
This supplement is fantastic. So much good information for DMs and Labyrinth Lords. A bargain.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
Thanks!
Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay (PDF)
by James S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/03/2014 19:06:55
Small Niche Games has really hit another one out of the park with Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay. Set in the SNG original world Chronicles of Amherth. But there are several things about this supplement that make it special.

First and foremost is the level of detail and love shown by the folks at SNG. This city is detailed enough to feel very real and very lived in. Rich would be the world I'd use. It feels rich. Yet, clear effort has been shown not to fill in all the corners - SNG leaves plenty of room for enterprising DMs to tailor the material to their own campaigns. The structure, government, geography, social classes, religious structure, are all given a beautiful description while leaving more than enough wiggle room for any old school gamer.

My favorite part of this book is Appendix II: The Adventurer's Guide. The framework here is perfect and facilitates introducing your players to any number of pre-made adventures they may be itching to run or draw them into the politics of the city if the local nobles or church turns to the guild for assistance. But the players don't get drawn in without reward and the perks for guild membership and paying your dues make it well worth it to join the guild.

To boot, SNG includes rules for starting characters at 0th level play that show a surprisingly level of depth. That was a real welcome surprise.

As detailed and wonderful as this book is, what makes it truly magnificent is the fact that while Dolmvay is defaulted to Amherth, it can easily be slotted into near any old school campaign. In addition to this, Peter C. Spahn has information in the back encouraging other OSR publishers to make use of the material presented within these pages as long as they acknowledge and respect the spirit of the material and those who wrote it.

As far as presentation, the book is your standard no frills, clean-reading SNG product with a great cover that evokes that old-school feel. The maps are magnificent and the black and white art is also evocative of classic image from the fantasy RPGs of the 1970s and 80s.

I will definitely be purchasing a copy of this book when it goes physical. My only regret regarding the Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay is the fact that I didn't throw a few bucks into the kickstarter because it's sure as heck worth it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
Thanks James! I\'m glad you liked it. I hope people get a lot of use out of it!
Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay (PDF)
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/03/2014 11:26:38
Wow.

I have been waiting for this book for a while and I have to say it was worth the wait.
Dolmvay is not only a highly detailed city complete with maps, npcs, new monsters and pretty much everything you need, it is also a shared city.

Let's talk about the product first. It's Pay What You Want, but it is certainly worth at least $19.95 or more (so pay at least 5 buck or more!). You get 223 pages worth of material. There are the maps I mentioned, but there is also a fairly detailed history. You could easily drop this into any game, and let's be honest, any system. If you are familiar with other products from SNG then takes place in the World of Amherth setting. But this book (and most of the Amherth books) are easily adapted to any setting.

There is a chapter on adventuring in the city. How the local churches react to magic and what can be expected of travelling adventurers.
Makes it perfect for a way point between adventures, but you would be missing all the fun.
The book also details an number houses, factions and NPCs and their own desires for the city. If you like games of political intrigue and courtly drama then this is a good place to start.

The bulk of the book details the layout of the city. In this respect it reads like a guide book. NPCs, hooks and other information is given. There is plenty here for new GM to use it as is and plenty more for an experienced GM to add their own information.
It strikes a nice balance between detail and flexibility. Among my favorite items are the random rumor table and the common greetings and gestures. Things like this give a setting life of it's own.

Common businesses are covered as well as a sampling of Taverns and Inns. City encounters and even some new monsters.
Venture into the sewers or the Island of Heroes.

There is a section on random NPC generation as well.

Dolmvay the concept is the idea that this is a shared City. If developers want to create their own encounters, adventures or anything else really and set it in Dolmvay then there is an easy to use and free license to do so.
It is such a great idea I am surprised that no one else has done it before.

This book is steal at any price.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
Thank you Timothy! I\'m glad you like the idea of a shared city. I still think a witch\'s coven would fit in nicely!
The Shrine of St. Aleena
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/02/2013 00:00:00
WHAT WORKS: Top notch writing again, with Small Niche once more providing an exciting adventure with a strong backstory for low level parties. It manages to be a Dungeon Crawl that kinda slaps the "murder hobo" mindset in the face.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: It's a little more "paint by numbers" than what you usually get from Small Niche, but that still means it's several steps ahead of a bog standard dungeon crawl.

CONCLUSION: There is one riddle in the adventure that is VERY D&D/Labyrinth Lord specific, which would make conversion to, say, Savage Worlds or DungeonWorld or something like that a bit more problematic. For my money, Inn of Lost Heroes is still the standard bearer for Small Niche adventures, but if you're in a dungeon crawl mood and you have a low level (heroic) party, The Shrine of St. Aleena will fit your needs nicely.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2013/11/tommys-take-o-
n-shrine-of-st-aleena.html

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Shrine of St. Aleena
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The Shrine of St. Aleena
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/29/2013 12:58:55
Originally posted here: http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/2013/10/review-shrine-of-st-a-
leena.html

Once upon a time there was a boy and a girl.

The boy was just getting started out in his new life as an "adventurer". He didn't know much, and the girl even asked him if knew about clerics at all. But theirs was not a story to fill long epics or sagas. Her story ended then when she was murdered.

The Shrine of St. Aleena is an adventure in the lands where that boy who never forgot that girl, would later become a man, settle down, raise some kids and erect a 20 ft tall statue in honor of the saint she became and the girl she was.

The adventure "The Shrine of St. Aleena" is another act of devotion. Maybe by a similar boy, now 30 years later a man. Sorry, I don't know Peter C. Spahn personally. The adventure is designed for beginning level characters, levels 1-3, around the the eponymous shrine. Just like the old days there is a dungeon crawl and the surrounding environs where monsters can be fought and sometimes even NPCs can be befriended.

The central plot is that the minions of "The Infamous One", the wizard that killed that poor girl, are attempting to defile this most holy of places. It is up to this generation of heroes to once again stop his plans.

This could have come off as a ham fist attempt at nostalgia, but there is an earnestness about it and honesty that instead it comes off as loving tribute. The art, descriptions and some situations all have thinly-veiled references to things going on in the 80s in gaming that if you are the right age then you will find them very amusing. But if not, no worries, they still work in the adventure.

The plot is thin at best, but it's still more plot than most of the old-school adventures from the time when the Saint herself was still alive. So really, that is feature not a bug.

There is a great table of rumors (d12 though not a d20), plenty of random wilderness encounters (yeah a d20 table!) and of course that awesome site of the 20 ft statue of the saint (see cover). In true old-school fashion there are a lot of save or die encounters here, so you are warned.

The objective is easily defined, but there is a lot here to keep the party busy. A dedicated party could complete in one (longish) session. Most parties though will take more.

The only thing I think missing in this is some information on what the shrine is like after the defeat of the Spawn. Personally I think drinking from the pool grants a Cure Light Wounds once in a character's life time or maybe even a Bless enchantment. Another random table! d6 for random benefit!

In the end I really enjoyed this and plan on inserting it into my regular game as a "Side trek". That's pretty serious for me. I was limiting all my adventures to modules made in the 80s only.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Shrine of St. Aleena
by Chad K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/17/2013 19:45:46
I thoroughly enjoyed this old school adventure. It will bring back some good memories for some gamers. The random encounters are fun. If the party is a bit too small, there are even a few friendly NPCs they can meet along the way. Lots of fun! I cant wait to run this one.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Brave the Labyrinth - Issue #1 (PDF)
by Jason H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/04/2013 11:51:43
I just got this issue and it's great. I will be using the Jedder module tonight in my ACKS game and much of the other stuff for a long time to come. Thanks for putting out a quality OSR zine Small Niche Games.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Brave the Labyrinth - Issue #1 (PDF)
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Brave the Labyrinth - Issue #1 (PDF)
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/26/2013 13:02:20
A very nice effort, easy to read and to use.
The magazine is something I think any Labyrinth Lord will find useful, and I look forward to future editions.
My favorite is the map, because they are always handy to have around.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Brave the Labyrinth - Issue #1 (PDF)
by Mark G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/20/2013 09:40:17
I'd recommend this useful magazine resource as a source of ideas for your campaign. In this inaugural issue I especially liked the adventure, The Screams from Jedder's Hole, the Labyrinth Lord character sheet and the review of The Burial Ground of Esur the Red. Thanks

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Brave the Labyrinth - Issue #1 (PRINT)
by James S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/03/2013 12:53:18
This magazine is 30+ pages of pure, useable content. After a humble introduction from editor Peter C. Spahn, they waste no time before launching into the meat of the product.


We begin with Symac the Subverter, which not only offers up half-a-dozen or so new spells and a new magic item, but also sparks an interest in the evil magic Symac and could easily lead a creative DM/GM into using this article as a springboard to an excellent villian for their own old school campaign.


Next we get a trio of original monsters. Titled "Dirty Secrets of the Mage's Guild," author Tom King presents a what-if scenario in addition to his original creations. Again, advenutre ideas abound in this article.


The Sunland Society presents a collection of halfling NPCs that, while designed for use with the Chronicles of Amherth setting, can be used in almost any old school fantasy setting with little to no modification. The great thing about these NPCs (other than that they're halflings) is the fact that while they are generally heroic in nature, they're presented as three dimensional character with depth and flaw.


Next we get a single-page article by Christopher Koscluk that offers five new magical items. These are quick, cleanly written and original. They are nice twists on some classic tropes. I'm especially fond of the x-foot pole.


Now we get to my favorite article in BtL: Animal Retainers. Editor Peter C. Spahn wrote this article, and he did a fantasic job. He offers up a simple system to add some real meat to animal companions. With his matieral dogs and other animal companions go from becoming "four-legged meat shields" to NPCs of real importance and influence. And while the animal retainers do give their masters some extra advantages, it's not enough to unbalance a party.


A well character sheet is presented on pages 19-20 that would feel like filler to pad the magazine, but the layout and art design of the sheet are so well done that you can't help but want to use this sheet. It's probably the best sheet I've seen for Labyrinth Lord yet.


You want to talk about creative? Well, Neko-ku U's "Better than Starving" article presents options for what a character strapped for food can do if they're reduced to eating the (partially) edible gear they own. This single page article could add real grit to an old school game.


Dyson Logos's short adventure "Screams from Jedder's Hole" is a traditionally styled dungeon crawl with some twists. The real strength of the module, to this reader, was his section on getting the players involved and the background of the module. This didn't feel like some dungeon plopped down - it had history and a sesne of existing outside the events of the player characters. Great for a night of gaming if you're a procrastinating DM like me.


Finally we have the beginnings of a two-part review of the free one-sheet module "The Burial Mound of Esur the Red." The adventure was wrirten by Dyson Logos, and the review is by Peter C. Spahn. The adventure is free to download (links in the review). This felt less like a review and more like a DM/GM retelling his experiences while running without addressing the strengths or weaknesses of the source material. Being that Burial Mound of Esur the Red is also free, I felt like a review was unnecessary. As a free product, it's not like other GM/DMs are going to lose anything if they download it and don't particularly enjoy it.


BTL closes with submission guidelines and some advertisements for various old-school gaming publishers.


Over all, I absolutely loved BtL and hope they continue. The magazine is wall to wall usable content. The art is black and while and fairly minimal, but as a reader I like that. It leaves more room for content. This is a magazine that really needs to get legs. I'm looking very, very forward to the future of Brave the Labyrinth.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Brave the Labyrinth - Issue #1 (PRINT)
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Publisher Reply:
Glad you liked it James and thanks a lot for taking the time to comment! You did miss mentioning Tim Hartin's excellent Catacombs map, but since you're writing reviews for free we'll forgive you. ;) We're now accepting submissions for Issue #2 so feel free to submit or promote us wherever you like. Thanks again!
Glad you liked it James and thanks a lot for taking the time to comment! You did miss mentioning Tim Hartin's excellent Catacombs map, but since you're writing reviews for free we'll forgive you. ;) We're now accepting submissions for Issue #2 so feel free to submit or promote us wherever you like. Thanks again!
The Stealer of Children
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/01/2013 21:08:39
WHAT WORKS: A nice change of pace for a level 1 adventure, with one of the coolest workarounds for a level 1 party having to deal with an enemy that’s immune to non-magical weapons. The encounters in the Tanglewood outside of town are cool and potentially awe-inspiring for a level 1 party.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK: Nothing that can’t be fixed with a conversion to Savage Worlds or the AGE system, something other than a D&D derivative (purely subjective, of course.) Oh, the color selection for the cover is just downright ugly. I would have picked something, anything, other than pink, I think. And maybe an art piece that fit the theme more closely (though the art is directly linked to the adventure).

CONCLUSION: Another great adventure with a unique adversary. If I were to nitpick anything about the SNG adventures, it would maybe be the production values, but remember that this is coming from a guy who’s looking at the material from outside the OSR fanbase. The art and layout perfectly matches the aesthetic they are aiming for. For the material itself, I have no real complaints, as the adventures have been unique and interesting, with conversion work being no real problem. Stealer of Children continues to fit that pattern, providing low-level fantasy adventure with a weird/horror twist.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2013/06/tommys-take-o-
n-stealer-of-children.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Stealer of Children
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The Stealer of Children
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/02/2013 13:43:07
The Stealer of Children is a Labyrinth Lord adventure for 1st level characters. The product is neatly presented, with good art and maps, and the writing is clear with excellent attention to detail. This adventure takes place in the small town of Leandras Row and its environs, a setting that can easily be placed in any area of a homebrew campaign setting. This is largely a freeform adventure, with characters making their own decisions, so may not be suitable for groups that need a lot of nudging to get them to head in the right direction.

In this adventure the players arrive in Leandras Row, where they are immediately confronted by a challenge that sets the scene for the remainder of the adventure. Something mysterious is afoot in the town, and it's up to the PCs to discover what's afoot. While investigating, they get to engage with numerous well-crafted and interesting NPCs and factions, and that is one of this adventure's strengths. The NPCs are detailed, the town is detailed, and there's lots of opportunity for good and interesting roleplaying. The characters will have to work to solve the mystery. Of course, while investigating matters take a turn for the worse as the Stealer of Children strikes again, and with missing kids on the menu, things start to get serious. The PCs need to delve into an ancient past to discover the truth of matters, and offer some chance of redemption for a family spurned. Then, they'll need to find a solution to finding the Stealer of Children and destroying a creature that mere 1st level mortals should not be able to harm.

I've always enjoyed Small Niche Games' adventures for Labyrinth Lord, and this one is no exception. It's a lovely and detailed freeform adventure, where the characters aren't forced to take certain paths on how to approach the mystery and the adventure. The story is interesting and has a good back-story, and it should be a good romp for the characters in solving it. This is very much a roleplaying heavy adventure - combat encounters are few and far between and even the fixed combat locations/dungeons don't offer much in terms of continuous challenge. LLs might want to use random encounters in the environs to challenge the PCs in this area a little further.

The adventure itself can actually be quite short, and without long combat encounters, the roleplaying can be handled fairly quickly. The PCs need to be proactive, though, otherwise the players might get bored if they're not getting much in the way of information and it can easily feel like you're not getting anywhere. Some encouragement might be needed here and there. I think the final solution to the adventure is quite clever, and I think the players will enjoy it once they've discovered the culprit and managed to find out how to deal with it. If this adventure is treated as a sandbox in some regards, these issues can easily be addressed, and creative LLs will make this and enjoyable adventure.

Overall, I think this is a good adventure. I love the detail behind the NPCs and the town, the premise is interesting, and the freeform nature of the adventure makes for an interesting change of pace from the linear style of many adventures. The combat is a bit lacking in several areas, but that can be addressed while investigating the town environs. Proactive characters will find there's plenty on offer here, and will enjoy piecing together the pieces of the puzzle, while LLs might need to encourage other groups to ask the right questions and investigate the right areas. A good introductory adventure for characters, particularly from a roleplaying point of view.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
Thanks for the kind words - as always. Glad you liked it! Pete Spahn Small Niche Games
Ghoul Keep and the Ghoul Lands
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/27/2012 16:53:57
WHAT WORKS: As is usual for Small Niche Games, they provide a lot of gameable material for a good price. Makaar Mor could easily be a Ravenloft Dark Lord, and I mean that as a compliment. This isn’t a straight forward “let’s go kill the bad guy” supplement, though you can certainly do just that. Raltus the Undying is just absolutely creepy. The lands are detailed enough to get you going while providing plenty of room for you to add your own twists.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK: As usual, my biggest complaint is that it isn’t written for a system I’m a bigger fan of, but a little conversion work later and that’s not an issue.

CONCLUSION: My favorite release yet from Small Niche Games. Making an undead kingdom gameable in more than just the “kill everything that moves” sense isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but they pulled that off here. Makaar Mor is an interesting villain who is operating from a position of power while having very noticeable vulnerabilities that prevent him from being unstoppable. You could easily get a full campaign out of this book, either using native-born PCs or travelers from outside The Ghoul Lands.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/10/tommys-take-o-
n-ghoul-keep-and-ghoul.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ghoul Keep and the Ghoul Lands
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