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0one's Black & White: Mad Scientist's Lab
by Jeffrey J. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/03/2010 15:37:47

Øone games is one of the companies that have really taken to the PDF technology, and give you something that actually has functionality that would be impossible or next to impossible in a print product. This product uses PDF layers to let you choose square, hex, or no grid, as well as whether or not to print things like room numbers and furniture. You can even turn off the wall fill to save ink.


The Mad Scientist's Laboratory is set up to be printed at battlemap scale. It shows a large two-story house, the ground floor seemingly normal while the upper storey is given over to the sort of experiments that involve grave robbery, lots of late-night stitching, and an electrical storm. Furniture includes chemical vats, a steel table (with strapped-in monster) and even a room full of coffins.


For more reviews visit drnuncheon's gameblog at http://drnuncheon-
games.blogspot.com



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
0one's Black & White: Mad Scientist's Lab
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0one's Blueprints: The Abbey
by Mark S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/15/2010 21:29:33

This is definitly a five star product. The price to gaming value ratio is almost unbelievably high, even when compared to 0one's other excellent products in the Blueprints line.


What you get is six maps depicting the (ground floor only) interiors of six large abbey buildings. In addition, you get another 8.5 x 11 map that shows the whole abbey grounds. There are no wasted maps, such as depictions of natural cave squiggles or dungeons. That makes The Abbey a larger product than the other files in the Blueprints line, but at the same price.


Liked: For less than two bucks you get either the basis for a campaign (based in an isolated abbey that might be run by paladins, martial artists or the traditional medieval monks) or one excellent adventure location with lots of room for monsters to hide and horrible evil to lurk. Plenty of room, in other words, to kill stuff and hunt for treasure. You don't have to use the maps as a set. You could use each map as a distinct building....six distinct buildings. Not bad. Not bad at all!


Disliked: It seems logical...and even obvious...that the exterior views of the buildings should have been individual maps as well, allowing gamers to tape together an exterior map of the entire abbey on the same scale as the interior maps. Why this was not included is a mystery, since the maps are already there...just in 1/6 the size they ought to be. Perhaps a photocopier might blow them up to the correct scale...? This too-obvious feature should have been included. What was it going to cost? Pixels?


Even with this quibble I have no qualms in rating The Abbey at five stars. The Abbey gives me more than one night's worth of high-quality gaming, and a fine foundation for my own campaign ideas. 0one comes through again, reinforcing their position as the kings of pdf game value. You will not regret buying this product.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
0one's Blueprints: The Abbey
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Dungeon of Terror #2: Assassins' Brotherhood
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/15/2010 10:21:30

This is part of the Dungeon of Terror, a massive underground complex from the mapping genius that is 0one Games. If you plan on using all of it, pick up their Dungeon of Terror Virtual Boxed Set, but this, like most of the sections, will work as stand-alone dungeons or as part of a complex of your own devising.


In the Dungeon of Terror, this section runs down the north-west - a complete map is provided so that you can see where it goes. It consists of some 25 rooms, and has a backstory to go with it, although you do need to populate it with monsters/NPCs and decide on room descriptions. The Dungeon was originally a dwarf mine which subsequently fell into the hands of an insane mage, who took up residence there. For a long time, nobody who visited emerged again, and there were many tales about the evil things the mage was doing... until he vanished. Some say an assassin finally got him, others that he's become a lich and is still around. Be that as it may, others have now taken over various parts of the complex, and the portion dealt with here was claimed by a brotherhood of assassins, led by an evil fellow who claims to be the reincarnation of the assassin who killed the mad mage. Or of course, if you prefer you can substitute your own backstory and inhabitants.


Whatever, whoever, you put in there, it is a well-provided lair for some group - maybe even your player-characters will take it over for a base once they have cleaned it out! The entrace is defended with a portcullis, but there are plenty of facilities for those who are allowed in, including a banqueting chamber, a shrine, bedrooms, a kitchen and plenty of storage - even a nice latrine with seat, washbasin and a curtain to let you have some privacy! One section, called the Chamber of the Test, is rather inconveniently placed between the sleeping quarters and the banqueting hall, so you need to remember how to navigate it when you want your dinner. The resident assassins being a nasty bunch, there's also a gaol and a large torture chamber - but from the looks of it, most of the more unpleasant equipment is portable if you'd rather use it for something else.


And that of course is possible due to the mastery of PDF technology we've become accustomed to from 0one Games. Using switches on the main plan, you can choose whither to have a hex grid or a square one (or none at all), if you want furniture or doors or a solid black fill to walls and the like. You can also use the plan to select which tile to print or to look at, empowering quite a lot of versatility as you decide just what you want to lay out in front of your players.


A useful item for your collection, a lair to invade - or perhaps to escape from, if characters are unlucky enough to get captured by the assassins - can always come in handy! And as ever, just looking at it spawns ideas...



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon of Terror #2: Assassins' Brotherhood
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Dungeon of Terror #1: Orcs' Nest
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/07/2010 12:48:27

Launching the Dungeon of Terror series, this product consists of some 35 'dungeon tile' sheets (suitable for use with miniatures, or just to show your players what they have got themselves into)... and this is just the north-east corner of the dungeon complex! You can either buy it piece by piece as the need takes you, or go for the massive Dungeon of Terror Virtual Boxed Set if you decide you want to explore the whole thing.


It starts off, though, with some background notes which you can use, if you like, to set the scene for the entire dungeon. It seems the place was originally the habitat of a single lunatic - but extemely powerful - mage, who may be dead or still somewhere around (possibly in the form of a lich). Anyway, the place has fallen into some disrepair and quite a few other folk have moved in, including a tribe of orcs who live in the part featured here. Or of course, if you just need an underground dwelling for a group of sentient humanoids, you can write your own story as to the history and current occupancy of the place.


Whoever you decide to put there, it is quite a nice complex for an organisation to use as its base. There is a large temple/assembly hall, covering some 9 tiles on its own, as well as a library, kitchen, bedrooms, storage areas and beast kennels (the orcs apparently keep dire wolves, but you can substitute other animals - or use the area as a prison - if preferred).


Of course, being 0one Games, technical presentation is of a high standard, with crisp black maps in vector format (hence they enlarge or reduce without distortion), and the ability to 'rule the dungeon' - a set of options that allow you to choose if you want to display features like text, a hex or square grid, doors and furniture, or even if you'd prefer grey to black fill, or none at all. You can only set it from the master overview map, but as you can click on any tile from there - even print individual tiles without going to them - you can quite easily switch settings as you print to get the desired effects.


A suite of rooms off the temple provides private quarters for the leader of your group, while the far side of the temple leads off to a 4-bed chamber, possibly acolytes' quarters or space for the leaders' servants, beyond which is that useful facility, a well. The temple itself is equipped with a statue of the deity worshipped, a couple of piles of skulls and a few torches. It is approached through a hall of pillars from the one passage leading in to the complex. If you have the full set, this passage leads to the Mad Mage's chambers in the central area of the dungeon, but in this single product, it's just a passage leading off, so you can have it leading to the outside if you prefer.


There is a whole sub-complex devoted to animal care, with a chamber for the beast-master, food storage areas and several cages for the animals themselves. Another part of the complex houses an audience chamber, council chamber and treasure store. There's a second well, too, so nobody should get thirsty here; and there is also a kitchen with ample storage including a wine cellar - indeed the only bodily needs not catered for is a distinct lack of a rest room or washing facilities. Orcs may not bathe, but if you have more civilised occupants they may prefer to be able to keep themselves clean! A nice touch is that even in rooms that might become repitious, such as a whole row of bedrooms, each one is individual both in shape and in the contents (should you use them).


Overall, it is a neat and compact set of living quarters for any organised band - even adventurers might care to consider it as a home (once they've cleaned out whoever was there before them!). It is versatile enough that it can be used stand-alone, or as part of a larger dungeon, as suits your plotline.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon of Terror #1: Orcs' Nest
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0one's Blueprints: The Ruined Town, Temple, Farms and Dungeon
by Mark S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/03/2010 16:33:13

I consider The Ruined Town, Temple, Farms and Dungeon to be an unusually good value, even compared to other 0one products. For two bucks you get four encounters....temple, two farms and a Stonehenge-like holy site not mentioned in the title or depicted in the online sample. Good maps of cathedrals are hard to come by. This one is very good. I can see the megalithiic site coming in very handy in any campaign. Who doesn't need a ruined farmhouse from time to time? It is hard to praise these Blueprint products too highly, given their cost/adventure ratio. Buy this one. You will like it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
0one's Blueprints: The Ruined Town, Temple, Farms and Dungeon
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Drow City: Virtual Boxed Set©
by Mark S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/03/2010 16:21:52

Drow City is worth your gaming dollars. You get the essentials for an underworld encounter, or the base for an entire campaign.


A good map of the drow city of Erelhei-Cinlu was one component missing from Gary Gygax's famous module, D3 Vault of the Drow. The city was arguably the most interesting part of the vault, but the module itself was more focused on tournament play and a goal-oriented journey to the Fane of Lolth. Also missing were essential maps of drow estates and other areas of real interest in the vault.


Now you have an inexpensive and flexible tool for building your own drow city. Even if you don't use the entire city setting, the virtual boxed set gives you cool pieces to add on to your existing campaign. Each of the pdf files in the set can stand on its own as an adventuring area.


$13.99 is high for an 0one product...unless you add up the total value of the files in the bundle. Then you will see that the product makes sense and the initial outlay will be more than repaid in gaming value.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Drow City: Virtual Boxed Set©
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0one's Blueprints: Caverns of Chaos
by Mark S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/03/2010 16:12:28

You're getting exactly what you see here. Caverns of Chaos is a very fun tribute to the classic D&D module. You get large scale section maps that can be pieced together to form a single map. Or, you can work from a smaller overview map.


Two bucks is what it costs you to be able to plunk down this classic dungeon crawl tonight. Sprinkle with monsters and you've got a game. Caverns of Chaos is another example of what gamers love about 0one games.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
0one's Blueprints: Caverns of Chaos
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0one's Blueprints: Dragon Ship
by Mark S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/26/2010 16:20:46

Liked:
Another good product from 0one Games...the most useful products in the e-book RPG market. The Dragon Ship is a fine product...even if the context was not gaming, but a report or school project on viking vessels. Gamers get great products for cheap prices from 0one. Plunk this PDF down whenever you need a vessel from the Dark Ages. A rating of four stars reflects the value of this product for a GM.


Did Not Like:
Two flaws keep me from giving this product five stars. First, there is no grid for standard game mapping. That means that details like ribs and planks are fully visible, but not the grid that makes gaming on this map possible. Printed to fit on an 8.5x11" page, this ship is not scaled for either tabletop miniatures or dungeon grid-style use. My other concern is that the "Rule the Dungeon" feature on this product falls short. I cannot remove the details like ship ribs, planks, shields on the side, oars and other small details. Ships of this type did not always use oars and the shields were only for display in port. These are cool details, but they get in the way of actual game play. I am looking forward to an enhanced version of this PDF which will be fully controlable.


The guys at 0one are doing a great job overall. Please update this file and give us more ships!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
0one's Blueprints: Dragon Ship
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Dark Ladies: Villainesses in RPGs
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/19/2010 20:23:18

A collection of femme fatales to sick on your players. From the subtle to the savage this are not your typical "Bad Guys". From myth, legend and folklore and sometimes even history.
These 17 are not your typical "monsters" but fully developed NPCs.
My only issues are with some of the choices for feats or skills, but that is what you get sometimes. If you need a good NPC and what something different, then this is a good choice.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Ladies: Villainesses in RPGs
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Heavenring Village: Lord's Manor
by Joe K. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/17/2010 14:51:09

The Lord's Manor has a lot going for it. In this 33 page PDF, in black and white, it details out a manor. These things are oftne hard to map on your own and yet are a big part of many settings, especially when dealing with that time period. I remember running some Ares Magica wishing I had a regular sized map of a manor like this for miniature use.


The only thing I don't like that the artist does here, as many artist for these scale maps do, is the silly size of beds and chairs. Each bed taking up two squares making the beds fit for ogres, trolls and giants! I know that it looks better with the miniatures but the artists need to remember that each square is a five foot square and that when looked at outside of the miniatures, it looks silly. This might just be because miniatures range from 28mm to 32mm or larger and they are worried what the miniature would look like when 'laying' down.


That's a minor grip though and it's more than made up for with the utility that the file has. First off, it includes bookmarks. Several maps products don't tend to use them to the fullest but we have them here. Next up, it has layers. These layers allow the user a solid deal of customization and can allow the user to showcase manors that are similar but not exactly the same or to hide things form the players. This is solid utility of existing technology that everyone doing maps needs to consider.


Lastly, it's not ink intensive. By making it so that its not ink intensive, this gives a solid indication that it is meant for use and indeed, can be used. Some tiles are so heavy on black and color backgrounds that to print them is to risk the wrath of the ink gods and their expensive replacements save for those using ye old laser printers.


The Lord's Manor does include some background and some advertisements for other 0one Games product, but the gaming advice is fairly general and can be easily incorporated into the game or ignored.


If you're looking for ye old five foot square for ye old miniatures, the Lord's Manor is another solid entry into the line by 0one Games.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Heavenring Village: Lord's Manor
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Venture© - Paper Models and Miniatures
by Joe K. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/16/2010 09:13:02

Venture Paper Models and Miniatures is a sixteen page PDF. Of that sixteen pages, the first page is taken up by the cover, the second page by a summary of the product, thirteen pages of product, and a page advertising the Venture game itself.


The miniatures include: 1 fighter, 1 wizard, 1 barbarian, 1 thief , 14 kobolds, 14 Orcs, 14 Skeletons, 14 Zombie, 14 Ogre, 1 Evil Mage, 1 Death Knight, 1 Chaos Fighter. Some of the figures of one are named on the sheets. For example, the Red Sonja homage, female barbarian, is Storm. This probably has something to do with the actual game itself as others are merely named 'Evil Mage'


The illustrations are soild but are only one sided. The reverse side if a blank shilhoutte of the back of the character. Tabs are designed so that the user can make the figures stand up straight, with the bottom flaring our with a stone apperance, or in a 'triangle' fashion with the bottom folded inward.


The main benefit to a RPG player of these figures is that it's easy to quickly print out multiple sheets. With some companies, the picutres are individual files and you have to make your own template prior to printing or use something found online. Here, if you want to print a page of 14 orcs, bam, you're done. The downside is that there is no variety in the poses. In addition, the ogres are not sized correctly for 3.5 or 4e. Instead there are slightly taller monsters but no wider.


In terms of models, included are the following: The paper models include doors open, doors closed, shrine, tables, bookshelves, tombs and chests. These all require assembly after printing. Fortunately assembly is fairly easy and does not require a great deal of manual dexterity and more importantly, illustrations are included for each product.


These figures would be good for quickly building armies or to throw some 3-D doors on the map table, and have a sharp look to them, but the lack of variety in the poses is a downside.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Venture© - Paper Models and Miniatures
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Venture© - The Travelmate Edition
by DIMITRIOS K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/07/2010 06:36:25

VENTURE is a visually beautiful game. It has a beautiful gamemaster screen and great art on the cards. The rules are clear and easy to learn.


It's the typical dungeon crawling fantasy boardgame, but with a fresh look. The heroes work together to complete the objectives of the quest. The most monsters have 1 hit point, which is very good to me, because it speeds up the game. I really don't like the boardgames, with many hit points monsters. The battles then are too slow. But this is not happening in this game. The dice help in this, because I don't have to make maths. The system uses 6 sided dice with symbols on them, so I just hace to see if the successes are enough to hit the monster.


Every round the characters can make some actions. I 've really liked the Stop and Reorganize action. It happens, when there are no monsters on the board and so the heroes can make together all the actions of the game. This action speeds up the game. Another good action is the Rest or Resurrect action. The heros delete all the wounds, when they find a shrine. In this way the heroes cannot die, unless they 've found the Boss monster in the end of the scenario.


There are 10 scenarios in the game and many others in the official site of Venture. In most of them there is only battle. I'd like to see more clever quests, with riddles, clever traps or curses and some story in them.


What I'd like to see is more different kinds of monsters. Also I want more event cards, with real events, like help the prisoner or meet a ghost that gives the heroes a small quest, and not only battle events.


I like this game very much and I want to see it published in a physical box along with all its expansions.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Venture© - The Travelmate Edition
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0one's Blueprints: The Great City, Lairs
by Mark S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/03/2010 16:26:15

Great City Lairs stands out because it is an unusually high value. The 0one Blueprints are all give you lots of gaming for little cash, but the Great City Lairs file is larger than your average blueprint. Unlike other 0one Blueprint files...which are usually about eight pages long, this file is a hefty 37 page product.


The maps are keyed to the Great City setting, but there is no reason you cannot use them anywhere...particularly when the Rule the Dungeon feature allows you to remove the text from the maps.


I am very happy with my purchase, and you will find that you cannot go wrong at this price. If you are a fan at all of the 0one Blueprints line, this product is completely worth your time at a cost/value ratio that is unmatched. I recommend it without reservation.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
0one's Blueprints: The Great City, Lairs
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Heavenring Village: The Smith
by Erathoniel W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/29/2010 11:27:11

This is awesome. It's a black and white map, but it's got a lot of stuff.


The map itself is good, but it also has a special feature in the PDF that allows you to change grids, filled in wall handling, and more on the fly.


That said, I do have a couple gripes:


No digital export: even though it's built all modular, I can't use it in a digital campaign without a special program to convert print output to images.


Mixed styles: It feels like they did one of my least favorite digital art things- mixing brushes (I'm gonna assume they're using Illustrator, just a hunch) within one environment, without a good reason. They could have used a more pleasing brush on some of the objects.


Granted, it's good quality, and it's pretty nice. I'd get it again.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Heavenring Village: The Smith
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Heavenring Village: Virtual Boxed Set©
by seth D. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/22/2010 15:24:44

This product is great for someone who needs a quick village layout. The positives are that you have a quick ready to use village, and even gives you some space to spread what you have out and add on with your own map sections. The only negative I have with these maps are that the walls are a little chunky, and could save more ink by being thinner.


Over all this is another great addition to every gm's map portfolio, and will certainly get some use from me.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Heavenring Village: Virtual Boxed Set©
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