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Combat Advantage #1: Power Knowledge
by David D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/09/2013 04:28:11
Does ONE feat need his own 500 kb PDF ? That's just ridiculous.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Combat Advantage #1: Power Knowledge
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Battlemaps: The Key of the Fey
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/13/2012 11:52:21
I bought this product solely for the battlemaps; I know nothing about the “Key of the Fey” adventure. It’s hard to argue with 21 miniatures-scale battlemaps for a dollar. These maps depict various indoor and outdoor locations, most of which are generic fantasy-type settings. A few of the maps would probably make better sense if I knew the storyline. My favorite maps are the two campsite maps (one daytime, one nighttime). These maps were created by Todd Crapper using Dundjinni, so they feel a little bit more “generic” than maps drawn by individuals; they lack the signature style of, say, a Jason Engle (WotC Dungeon Tiles), Jonathan Roberts (Fantastic Maps for Rite Publishing), or Ed Bourelle (SkeletonKey Games). But then again, you’re only paying a dollar for 21 maps. My only real complaint is that Emerald Press didn’t bother to tile the maps for users; you have to do that yourself. It’s not a difficult job if you’re using Adobe Reader, but it’s still something customers expect from products like this one.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Battlemaps: The Key of the Fey
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Break & Enter Book I: Stealth Encounters
by NB N. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/18/2011 20:13:08
For those rogues and thieves in the party, Break & Enter: Book 1 presents some options for finally showcasing your stealth. No longer do you have to just sneak by a guard or hide in a box while waiting for that patrol to pass. You can just kill the guy and get on with the adventure.

The premise of this supplement is to add a new mechanic called Stealth Encounters to your D&D 4E game. The gist is that characters who remain hidden (a new condition defined in the book) can attack and kill an unaware opponent (also defined in the book) with relative easy. The HP of unaware opponents is disturbingly low, but represents a well placed attack on a completely unsuspecting foe. It also seems incredibly fun and rewarding when it works. I’m not sure how it will play out when it doesn’t.

The book gives you all the rules you need to understand, create, and run Stealth Encounters. I won’t go into detail on all the mechanics here as that would spoil the book. Needless to say, groups may find themselves sneaking around alarms, hazards, guards, and traps to reach a destination and if that doesn’t work, quickly eliminating the threat. The only drawback I can see right now is that the guardian NPCs you face also have reduced HP even when they realize you are sneaking up on them. I don’t quite understand why that is the case other than it does reduce the combat time if you do fail those stealth rolls. Who doesn’t every once in a while?

The book provides a number of examples of alarms, guardians, traps, etc. and also a handy and relatively painless conversion chart so you can roll up any threat you want out of the hundreds of dangers available in the D&D Compendium. I like this premise and hope to implement it in my campaign as the sneakier people tend to have a hard time using the stealth rules to really shine. This should add some balance, but could also become very unbalanced if all combat is soon resolved in two or three rounds. We’ll see how it goes. As with most things, moderation and proper implementation will likely be the key.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Break & Enter Book I: Stealth Encounters
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Battlemaps: Nevermore Manor
by Keith (. T. A. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/16/2011 13:27:24
This is a nice map for your fantasy campaign to use as the home of a well-to-do wizard on the outskirts of town. The manor house has three levels complete with libraries, wizardly laboratories, and secret chambers. It's missing some detail that would be in an actual manor but that's easy to overlook since this is, after all, fantasy.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Battlemaps: Nevermore Manor
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Battlemaps: Nevermore Manor
by Billiam B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/11/2011 17:39:56
For a moment I thought this might be a setting fantasy role-playing, but the presence of a piano reminds us that this is suitable for gothic horror (... quoth the Raven?).
This is a fine showcase example of the Dunjinni Map editor, but for those not wishing to purchase the editor, or those in a rush, it's a bumper bargain battlemat. :)

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Battlemaps: Nevermore Manor
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/04/2011 13:47:43
Nevermore Manor is the battlemap designed with Emerald Press' EONS adventure The Endless Vault. It's a great looking battlemap with plenty of detail and options, and the overall design is quite good. However, it is not packaged with The Endless Vault adventure and requires a separate purchase to be made.

The overall design of the house is good including the small amount concerning the yard. Each room's use is given in full detail within the adventure, but it shouldn't be too difficult to create those details when used for other purposes. It is a fairly simple manor setup and even includes its nasty little secret in the basement. There are definitely many possibilities for use outside of The Endless Vault adventure. With the overview page being sectioned and the detailed pages including those section references, the PDF is quite easy to navigate.

This is a good battlemap and a great enhancement to The Endless Vault adventure. It would be better to package it with the adventure along with selling it as a stand-alone, but that's a fairly minor detail. It does have many great uses and could make a great scene for a horror adventure, not just fantasy.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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EONS #1: The Endless Vault
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/31/2011 22:32:06
The Endless Vault is a flexible location-based adventure for Dungeons & Dragons. It is published as a multi-layer PDF and contains stats that can be used for characters of 6th, 11th, or 16th Level. All you have to do is click the desired stat-level and the PDF automatically updates. Also, it is not your standard questing adventure as the PCs take on the roles of mercenaries instead of adventurers.

The first module of the EONS series of adventures, The Endless Vault is designed to be played in a single gaming session and can be placed within an existing campaign, run as a one-shot, or even used for conventions. The module contains a great amount of gaming fun without bogging down the GM with required preparation. And it should be noted that Emerald Press does a fantastic job at creating PDF-based products utilizing a landscape format for easy on-screen reading and a layout that makes it easy to use.

Not only is The Endless Vault a well-done adventure module, but this new EONS series of modules from Emerald Press are a great value. With a low price and loads of prep-work already taken care of, they make a great module for any GM to drop within their ongoing campaign or use as a way to step out of the current campaign and run a one-shot scenario. The module is designed for the purpose of being used as a PDF with a very PC-friendly layout and a clean presentation. The storyline is interesting and the rewards are worth it!

The Endless Vault is a very well-written adventure for Dungeons & Dragons and brings in new ideas for how a group could role-play. The idea of working as mercenaries is different than the typical adventurers quest and is meant to keep the players thinking about methods other than bursting in with weapons ready. The high-quality of the PDF along with its designed flexibility is a great motivational tool to convince GMs to bring this module to the table. It’s easy to read, easy to follow and is filled with plenty of gaming potential. And the rewards… your players will not be let down.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
EONS #1: The Endless Vault
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Combat Advantage #18
by Jim C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/14/2010 22:26:34
Worth the recent struggle to download, with some impressive class variants (still needing a small amount of clean-up for a few powers) and short adventures.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Combat Advantage #18
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Risen (EPIC Edition)
by Michael E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/26/2009 06:23:05
RISEN (The Guide to Resurrected Characters) is a Player-Character supplement detailing seven new Paragon Paths usable with any D&D 4e Campaign Setting. The Paragon Paths in the supplement come complete with Path Features and Powers conforming to the standard set in Official WotC D&D products. In addition, each Path is given 5 to 12 new Paragon Feats based upon their Resurrected identities. There are also 4 new magic items that are used to exemplify the “relics” that might be attributed to a Resurrected Character as his legend grows.

The seven Paragon Paths detailed in this e-book are based upon the simple criteria that the Character died, and then the circumstances of how the Character died. The Author does provide rules that would allow a Heroic Tier adventurer to begin showing attributes of their eventual RISEN Paragon Path, which could provide some very good role-playing elements as strange signs began to manifest.

Please Check out More of this review at http://www.neuroglyphgames.com/?p=721

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Risen (EPIC Edition)
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Combat Advantage #6: Reputation Feats
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/18/2009 08:07:51
Starting with the sidebar, the author explores the different roles that feats play in Dungeons & Dragons 4e as compared to 3e. They are now far less important as far as customising and defining a character is concerned, but there is still a place for them as rewards characters can earn for their actions during a campaign, hence the 'Reputation Feats' herein presented.

Naturally, as in real life, your reputation can be good or bad, or a bit of both. But as characters rise in levels, especially in 4e where they start out as heroes never mind develop into them, their exploits will become a matter of public comment, not to mention bardic song, rumour or an entry in the town guards' "Most Wanted" list.

Here, they are divided into 3 types, being minor, major and significant. All serve to enhance role-playing, as the sort of benefits you'll incur include favourable reactions from those who have heard about your exploits (provided, of course, that they approve of them!). Minor feats are DM freebies, and reflect the character's growing renown, generally giving no more than a +2 bonus to appropriate social encounters.

Major feats, unlike the minor ones, can be selected by the character when a new feat slot becomes available, provided that he has a suitable act in his past to which the feat can refer. The benefits and disadvantages are specifically linked to that part of his history - a character with a reputation for slaying a dragon may be lionised in the tavern, but the next dragon he meets is likely to take a less favourable view of the matter! Significant reputation feats mark a truly defining moment in the character's life, again needing to be chosen when the character has advanced enough to take another feat, but conferring a marked advantage as well.

A list of example reputation feats follows. Many relate to combat exploits, but I quite like the minor reputation 'Favourite Guest' which is earned for undertaking some mission on behalf of an innkeeper, and allows you to stay for free at his establishment thereafter!

This is a neat and simple idea to codify a character's past in game terms, and may well suggest further ideas for role-playing over and above the advantages and disadvantages suggested.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Combat Advantage #6: Reputation Feats
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Combat Options: Improvised Weapons
by Randy O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/23/2009 13:51:14
FUn product to expand on combat rules for barroom brawls.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Combat Options: Improvised Weapons
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Combat Advantage: Volume One
by Christopher H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/24/2009 18:38:40
THE GOOD: Combat Advantage 1–7 show strong signs of creative thinking. In the end, whether you like a particular entry or not, whether you incorporate an idea into your own campaign or not, you have to give Emerald Press points for innovation.

THE BAD: Some of the Combat Advantage rules subsystems require extra bookkeeping from players and/or DMs. If you value the benefits enough, then the benefits balance out the overhead. But if not, then the subsystem becomes a burden and you won't want to use it. All too often, the specific rules presented either don't work at all (Danger Snap, for example, should have been an immediate interrupt, not an immediate reaction), offer too little benefit, or make no storyline sense (a bonus to an Athletics check thanks to a bedtime story, for example).

THE UGLY: Like so many PDF products from small presses, Combat Advantage suffers from a disproportionately high number of typographical and grammatical errors, as well as errors in game mechanics (see Danger Snap again: PCs never slide themselves, they shift).

THE VERDICT: Combat Advantage presents interesting rules variants and campaign resources--some of which I might consider using, but most of which I wouldn't incorporate into my campaign. Poor writing and editing mar a product that otherwise I would regard more highly. I offer more details on the Icosahedrophilia blog (http://d20.heardworld.com/?p=448).

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Combat Advantage: Volume One
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Combat Advantage #5: Paragon Talents
by Christopher H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/24/2009 17:37:41
I like the basic idea presented in this product. Allowing PCs to choose skill-based talents in lieu of class-based utility powers makes great sense, and adds depth to the game. Thus, I really wanted to like this product, but the sloppy editing--both in terms of English mechanics and game mechanics--turned me off rather strongly. The very first talent presented, Danger Snap, doesn't even work properly as written: 4e characters *slide* others, not themselves (the power should have read "*shift* 5 squares"), and in any event the power is written as an immediate *reaction*, meaning you have to process the results of the attack *before* the shift can happen, making the shift meaningless (the power should have been an immediate *interrupt*). Insightful Bluff is either useless, since many Bluff checks will be made outside of combat rounds, or ridiculously overpowered (+2 for twelve seconds of conversation!?). Death Recall is really vague: what are "specifics"? If "specifics" means CSI-type stuff ("This guy was killed with a blunt trauma to the head, probably by a spiked weapon, sometime within the last 24 hours"), I would give out that kind of information with an appropriate skill check without requiring this talent, making the talent redundant. Vivid Tales is just silly; why on earth should recalling a childhood bedtime story allow your PC to jump, climb, balance, or swim better? Ditto for Hidden Nature: why should being in a wilderness environment give you a better Religion check to remember something about the planes, for example? And I haven't even mentioned the errors in English grammar, usage, and mechanics. Again, I like the *idea* of talents as presented here, and some of the specific talents, but overall the problems make me glad I didn't pay anything for this product.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Combat Advantage #5: Paragon Talents
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Dark Classes: Assassin
by Jamie P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/23/2009 12:52:06
I wanted desperately to love this product...I really did. I loved Green Ronin's Master Class Assassin for 3.5 and I was waiting for someone to do the assassin for 4th edition properly...alas, this one is a near miss.

Don't get me wrong there is some good stuff here, especially early on. The class structure itself is pretty solid (martial striker, hit points, healing surges, skills build options all are well done). But as soon as you get into powers the wheels begin coming off...

The power problems are varied.
1) Don't use the name of a class feature (Prime Shot) as the name of a power, that's just poor design.
2) Some truly unimaginative power names: Move to Kill, Gut, Disguise? Sometimes brevity is a strength in this case it's not.
3) A duplicated at-will. We get 2 copies of Painful Blow instead of whatever the fourth at-will should have been. This is one the FIRST page of powers and you didn't see this? Come on Emerald Press!
4) The "Gut" ability deals 1d6 ongoing BLEEDING. This should be ongoing damage and for sake of accounting should be a fixed number. The extra roll isn't worth it, just make it a fixed ongoing 3 damage and call it a day. "Bleeding" does not seem to be defined as a key term as seems to be used erroneously in place of damage. This "bleeding" term leads to more trouble as we'll see shortly.

Next we come to paragon paths: Poisoneer (no, not Poisoner), Suicide Striker, and Hood.
All are fairly good but the Poisoneer has a curious 16th level feature... "Poison Mastery" which says you can force the target to re-roll a saving throw once per day and use the lower of the rolls. That's it, end of text. The effect the target is saving from does not have to be generated by the poisoneer nor does it have to be a save resulting from something with the poison keyword. A good ability but what it has to do with Poison Mastery is beyond me.

Next are a handfull of feats (remember I promised we'd have bleeding issues? well, here they are). The Gaping Wound feat says you can now affect elementals and constructs with the 'bleeding' effect. This seems to be one of those 3.5 throwbacks we see every now and then. Elementals and constructs have no particular resistance to ongoing damage so why not call ongoing bleeding "ongoing damage" as it should be and stop gimping the assassin and confusing players.

We wrap up with some pretty nice unique assassin weapons and that's the end. I did not want to be harsh and I was not in a bad mood when I wrote this. I just believe that we've gotten far enough along in the design of 4the edition products in general and class design specifically to not have to do the amount of work it will take most people to make this product truly useful. At a lower price, I'd give this product 3 stars as it may be worth the work to salvage the framework but as is I can't really recommend it.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Classes: Assassin
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Publisher Reply:
I just took a look at our product and can't believe we missed the double at-will powers. It will be fixed and a fresh download will be made available ASAP. My extreme apologies for this error.
Combat Advantage: Volume One
by Ira M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/19/2009 20:40:41
I like this and the designer comments help me see where you're coming from on the abilities, which helps me understand them better. But does a free product really need to be watermarked?

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Combat Advantage: Volume One
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Publisher Reply:
Good point. The watermark has been removed.
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