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d30 Sandbox Companion
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/08/2014 06:53:35
An impressive collection of inventive ideas for random generation, presented with an old-school look and charm. Just flipping through the book filled me with ideas for my next campaign ("Cult generator? Hmmm, maybe I should add a cult for them to encounter..."). and the adventure generators are fantastic for impromptu games. The premise may seem gimmicky but the execution isn't, and the author's true passion for OSR gaming really shows. I don't often give five stars for a product, but this one has definitely earned them.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
d30 Sandbox Companion
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d30 DM Companion
by Stephen M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/02/2014 12:40:21
I found this book to be quite inspirational. Even if you do not own a d30, you can still use this. Reading through the tables can give you all sorts of ideas for your next game. Everything from dungeon features to NPC motivations to random items found in treasures are all here. I have looked through the tables on various descriptions and found wonderful things to use in just about any fantasy game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
d30 DM Companion
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AX2a Sandbox Resources: Hex Map Pack
by Jim M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/14/2014 23:59:23
A nice selection of tools for world creation and mapping as well as sandbox or hexcrawl use. The worksheets are particularly well laid out and blank hex sheets are always useful.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
AX2a Sandbox Resources: Hex Map Pack
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VA1 Valley of the Five Fires
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/07/2014 09:33:37
This is not an adventure - it's a whole setting, inspired by the historical Mongols and Cossacks, nomadic peoples of open grasslands. Within this setting, as a native or as a visitor, much adventure is to be found; but whilst there is a complete adventure and several other ideas here, the main part of the book talks of the peoples and places to be found here, their history and customs, and the lay of their lands.

There are five tribes (originally four but one divided) scattered across the grasslands, each with their own distinctive style although the nomadic nature of their lives imposes much commonality as well. They live in tents, and are circumscribed by many customs and rituals. There are only a couple of permanent settlements.

A new class, the Shaman, is presented: this has two sides, the Black Shaman and the White one. Black Shamans are warrior-priests who use martial prowess and discipline to combat evil (or their tribe's enemies), and serve as advisors to clan leadership. White Shamans are men of peace, working in harmony with nature and people. New spells and abilities are provided for Shamans as well.

There's also a section on typical armour and weapons of the steppes. These are the ones natives will be familiar with, and probably the only ones that outsiders can obtain whilst here.

Notable NPCs are listed, with copious background to facilitate playing them. There are pre-generated generic NPCs too, and a bestiary-full of the creatures of the steppes. This section rounds off with wandering monster tables.

Then we come to the actual adventure, The Quest for the Luuzhin Coins. These legendary coins have been lost for ages, and so the quest is suitable for both characters native to the steppes and visiting characters. If they need any encouragement, several hooks are provided to gain their interest in the quest. Of course, this does involve entering the Valley of the Five Fires, which is of course forbidden territory to both natives and outsiders! Once there, there is plenty to explore and do, and maybe those elusive coins to find.

If that's not enough, a wealth of additional adventures are provided mostly as outlines, seeds and places to visit, including caves and local religious structures called stupas to explore. One of each is detailed in full, as well as suggestions for other like adventures. A few tombs and lairs, and some general encounters end the adventure section (and the book).

Overall this is a very flavoursome and exciting place to visit, with a distinct feel of its own and plenty for the party to do. The whole air is very much 'sandbox' - there is no set path for the characters to follow, yet they will be challenged at every turn with interesting encounters and locations.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
VA1 Valley of the Five Fires
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TM1 The Ogress of Anubis
by Richard K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/19/2014 19:40:34
I was looking for an Egyptian-themed module that could be completed in one sitting, and this one fits the bill perfectly.

It contains nice b/w art, good looking maps, and new monsters (mummified animals).
The plot is good, but i decided not to mention any spoilers ;)
It has pre-generated characters - great for one off pick up games.
10 plots and additional extra maps to expand the adventure if your players demand a sequel or two!
Has detailed notes on how to make the stats compatible with various old school RPGs - mostly common sense stuff.

However, it lacks 2 important elements: a rumor table to roll on and boxed or highlighted text to read to the players. If these 2 items are addressed in an update, it would be 5 stars for sure.

Given the price, this is easily one of the best deals here.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
TM1 The Ogress of Anubis
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d30 Sandbox Companion
by Eric P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/25/2014 08:23:49
I was hesitant at first, thinking this was just another run of the mill gm aid, but the positive reviews convinced me to try it. Wow! Am I glad I did. It really hits the sweet spot for me as an world/adventure building aid without being too exhaustive or too brief. Not only are there all these tables to either pick from (or of course roll randomly), but you get some nice worksheets to build your world. The hex crawl work sheet and settlement work sheets are great to print out by the stack and get to really building your own world. I don't even own a d30! So if you don't have one, don't worry about it. It's inspiring to just read the lists and choose what you want to. Still, I now feel the need to buy me a d30! Excellent product that really feels old school, from the tables, the art, all the way to the choice of fonts. Highly recommended.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
d30 Sandbox Companion
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d30 Sandbox Companion
by Greg W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/22/2014 13:36:29
I wrote a lengthy review of this author's other set of tables, the d30 DM Companion, which is a product I also highly recommend. As for this product, the d30 Sandbox Companion, LeBlanc has continued to implement his high standards for OSR supplements. It's 40% longer than the previous Companion, thoroughly hyperlinked, with table of contents and index, and makes efficient use of single die rolls to select a broad range of specific features at once.

The focus of the d30 DM Companion was below ground:
- quick character generation
- dungeon features
- monsters
- treasure

The focus of the d30 Sandbox Companion is above ground:
- adventure generator
- wilderness locations and locales
- settlements
- NPCs

In each case there are multiple tables per section, with quick guides about which tables to use and when.

Together these two products are a solid package. Just a few rolls will get you seed thoughts that are sufficient for actual gameplay. In addition, you can quickly develop and solidify his suggestions via your imagination.

I look forward to the author's forthcoming d30 Creature Compendium.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
AX2a Sandbox Resources: Hex Map Pack
by Tim S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/19/2014 14:05:30
Richard supplements his fantastic product D30 Sandbox Companion, with this great addition. It is a collection of crisp, clean hex maps. You can draw a large map of your campaign world and then begin to break it down one hex at a time. For the single hex maps he provides a worksheet to put in key areas and monsters. At one glance a GM can know what's going on in that hex without reading through pages of notes. Someone who often runs games with minimal prep the Hex Map Pack is a fantastic help.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
AX2a Sandbox Resources: Hex Map Pack
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d30 Sandbox Companion
by Charles S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/07/2014 12:42:19
The Ready Ref Sheets for today, without all the bad formatting.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
d30 Sandbox Companion
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d30 Sandbox Companion
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/05/2014 20:55:01
The timing of the release of the D30 Sandbox Companion couldn't be better. The amount of inspiration squeezed into 50 some odd pages of charts and tables has left me in awe. I'm going to come right out and say that at $4.95, it is a steal.

It's made for you to print out the pages as they are needed, as some are laid out in standard portrait orientation and others are laid out in landscape.

Need hexes to map with? Got you covered?

Sample map icons? Yep

Hex Crawl Worksheet? It's there (and will be put to good use, shortly)

NPC record sheet? Aye

Tables for sandbox style location, inspiration, NPC details (and details and details), recruitment, sages, Taverns (need to add a Tenkar's Tavern to the table ;), shops, settlements, heraldry (worth 5 bucks on its own, weather, encounters, places cults and more and more and...

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
d30 Sandbox Companion
by Tim S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/04/2014 09:13:12
I'm a big fan of New Big Dragon products and this one is my favorite. I'm creating a campaign and the D30 Sandbox companion is now on top of a small pile of books I'm using to aid me in building a world. It's concise, so you won't get lost in hundreds of pages trying to find a chart you want to use. It's useful, there is something in here to develop various parts of your campaign. I highly recommend the D30 Sandbox Companion, especially if you are into building your own worlds.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
d30 Sandbox Companion
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/30/2013 11:16:21
Do you even have a D30? I know there is one somewhere in my dice bag... I can even remember where I bought it, not quite sure what I'd do with it!

Here is a collection of tables on which to give it a good workout. They are all aimed at helping the DM deal with all the vagaries of above-ground adventuring, and in particular to aid in the creation of wilderness maps for the party to wander across, not to mention the population of such maps with anything from scenic features to passing NPCs.

The really good thing is, that this product is not just tables. There is a wealth of information about how to use them to best advantage as well. Worksheets are provided to aid the world-building process, which can be a daunting task even if you are comfortable designing dungeons and their immediate environs. Indeed there are three of them, one for the general environment to enable a 'hex-crawl' exploration adventure, one for settlement development and one for NPCs. Used together, you will soon find the world taking shape, so that when the adventurers emerge from the dungeon there is something more than an inn to slake their thirst and somewhere to sell their loot and purchase supplies for the next trip!

In creating your world map, there are three levels of hexes: the 'atlas-level hex' that gives a broad overview, with each hex being 36 miles across and best used for countries or whole continents; the 'sub-level hex' that is around 6 miles across and good for wilderness explorations; and the 'detail-level hex' where a hex is but a mile across and you know exactly what is where. With systematic mapping, you can tell where anything is and shift focus in or out as needed to suit what is going on in your adventures. Each worksheet provides room for not only the map but your notes as well, anything from shopkeepers to wandering monsters and any other feature you want to record.

And then the tables. What do you want to create today? There are adventure generators, weather generators (those sheltered adventurers that have spent all their time on dungeon crawls will be surprised just how important weather becomes once you start an overland trek!), and even a nifty little section for determining how good their navigation is and how badly they have gone off course. Do not laugh, anyone who has seen my daughter getting lost will know how easy it can be! Characters out in the wilderness will need to eat and drink, and most will want to supplement whatever supplies they have with them with hunting and foraging - so there are tables for that as well.

If you are creating a map - whether in advance or on the fly - there are tables of natural features by terrain type, settlements and even a ruins generator to populate your map with. Temples, cults and magical places are not forgotten either, and it goes on: pilgrims, road encounters, castles and keeps, and even... a heraldry generator. Instant coats-of-arms at a few rolls of the dice. (The one thing it doesn't mention is the Rule of Tincture: do not place a metal on a metal or a colour on a colour - this just makes it easier to see what is on a shield, and so identify the owner, at a distance.)

As for settlements, there are plenty of tables to help there as well. Background, encounters, the composition of Watch or Town Guard patrols... and should said encounters go badly awry there's even a table of 'Methods of Torture and Execution" - don't think I want to go there! Moving on there are extensive tables for generating shops and taverns (even a tavern name generator and what entertainment or food you'll find there) and then a similarly-extensive set of tables for creating NPCs, including a separate section for sages...

Having looked this over, it looks virtually essential for anyone wanting to create a fantasy world (irrespective for the most part of rule system) who would like to take some of the donkey-work out of it. After all, you do not have to accept the results of any die rolls if something else would suit your intentions better, but as a starting point, a lot of the work can be done for you! Recommended.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
d30 Sandbox Companion
by Jeffrey K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/30/2013 02:40:57
Tables of infinite inspiration! Either handpick or randomize the results from these tables to run great sessions with zero preparation! Or use this as a writing aid to create complex, multidimensional adventures, and even use it to develop entire campaign settings! Supplied here is more than enough for DMs to pick from so you can emphasize the details important to you and your group.

I strongly suggest using this along with New Big Dragon's other accessory, the d30 DM Companion. This set is one of the best DM resources I have ever seen!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Dragon Horde Zine Issue #1
by james a. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/11/2013 19:25:32
This is a great new product with lots of useful stuff in it, its got that familiar old school look, is nicely laid out and from a very prolific publisher of things that are handy at the table

If you are looking for a few new monsters or items to jog the brain or a quick and easy premade adventure grab this. you want some easy fluff to flesh out a hex or need some random tavern goers get it

its short enough and printer friendly and evokes the nostalgia of those old zines that you wish your mom hadnt thrown away when you went off to university

this is the kind of thing i would love to have a subscription too arriving in the mailbox

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Dragon Horde Zine Issue #1
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LC1 Assault Against the Menace on the Mountain
by Gabor L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/06/2013 14:03:31
Assault Against the Menace on the Mountain is a scenario which promises much, but delivers very little. Billed as “a Roman-themed module based on the story The Very Old Folk by the master of pulp horror H.P. Lovecraft”, it sets the player characters against sinister and ancient hillsmen about to perform an evil ritual and destroy a Roman town in the Pyrenees. The characters may be wandering mercenaries, Roman citizens out to protect themselves, or members of the Roman-friendly Vascone tribe, and they are in for a storehouse of horrors as they join a doomed cohort which sets out to prevent a terrible calamity.

This is an excellent setup for an adventure, whether it is a wilderness expedition or a dungeon crawl. The product uses public domain art to excellent effect, and it is very professionally laid out in the popular “Moldvay/Cook rulebooks” style: in fact, the author and his editorial assistant have exercised obvious care in making sure the material is approachable, with death trackers and the flowchart for getting lost in the wilderness (which is, on the other hand, very abstract and doesn’t sound too exciting to play), and these devices being explained to the GM very meticulously.

Unfortunately, the adventure is also a major railroad in three acts, and it begins right with one of those basic offences you might think old school publications of all things would have sworn off for good. You do not very often see boxed text written by H. P. Lovecraft, but boxed set it is, and it is used like a blunt, half-page instrument the GM is supposed to read out to his players. Subsequent events add several smaller instances of the same to the module text. This is followed by descriptions of major NPCs and groups of the expedition ranging from lictors to slaves – this part is fine, but then we get to the action, where none of this really matters anymore.

And here lies the problem. This module is about a linear sequence of events, which the player characters experience, but can’t meaningfully interact with or influence. There are curious devices like a complex chart with percentages to figure out if certain NPCs are willing to interact with the PCs, and even another chart to figure what they have to say; rules for time and movement; a chart for getting lost if the PCs wander away from the group – but this does not matter at all, and nor do the “clues” which can be gathered along the way. Non-interactive encounter follows non-interactive encounter as the cohort enters the mountains, and members will start to lose their minds and die in great numbers. There is a table called NPC Deaths per Turn, which, indeed, determines how many NPCs will die by NPC category. Fortunately, none of these deaths affect the PCs, and it is advised that the GM should engage in some illusionism by rolling “false” saving throws to “heighten the sense of dread and anticipation”. Unfortunately, having personally experienced these efforts at “tension-building” in other adventures, I am completely sceptical about their usefulness in heightening the sense of dread and anticipation – especially since they are not tied to PC actions in any meaningful way.

Not that there is room for PC actions. The cohort marches on, and if the PCs don’t want to go along with them, they are threatened with death or (if they are mercenaries) by not being paid, a fate perhaps worse than death. Later, the company sees skulking forms in the woods. There is boxed text that informs the players that they detect a skulking form. The forms skulk, but players who investigate them will find nothing and have a 7 in 10 probability of becoming lost. Later on, the horses scream. This encounter is also described via boxed text, and as the module helpfully notes, “there really is not much the PCs can do at this point but press on.” Later, when all these people start to die in droves, we are informed that “if the PCs attempt to assist any of the prone members of the cohort, they will find them to be unequivocally dead.” Slightly later, more people die. Then everyone is attacked by a strange madness represented by a random roll, then there is some more dying. There is no dignified way out. “If the PCs were attempting to leave the mountain, the DM may choose to have them arrive at the peak regardless, and describe the occurrence as ‘a strange sort of magic that confused your attempted descent, and brought you to the mountain’s peak.’”

Finally, everyone who is left arrives at the mountaintop ritual, where “they will be presented with an ethical dilemma.” This dilemma amounts to deciding whether they are willing to let a bunch of ancient tribesmen enacting a blasphemous demon-summoning ritual ( “by engaging in unspeakable acts, mostly of the blasphemous sexual nature”) summon the demon and destroy everything, or “stopping the very old folk from engaging in those acts”. This is bound to be a hard and complex issue indeed, although, honestly, killing all them blasphemous sodomites sounds like a workable plan. It is also way less dangerous than removing the glyphs representing the demonic influence from the cultists and having to kill them afterwards when it turns out they are still fanatically loyal to the demon, which shows us that pacifism is for limp-wristed quiche-eaters. Unfortunately, “the dark man from the altar”, who was leading the ritual, has disappeared (the module states, elegantly wiping away all remaining traces of protaginism) and he will find another tribe to convert to demon worship. The End.

I would not recommend this module.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
LC1 Assault Against the Menace on the Mountain
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