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0one's Black & White: Medusa Hideout
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/03/2009 13:55:01
Continuing 0one's development of quality play-aids, in this product they supply a DM map of a location, nine customisable tiles depicting that location suitable for miniatures use... and suggestions as to what might be going on in that location. The location is an underground lair used by a medusa located near a city. In the notes, you'll find out about the medusa and how she operates, sufficient background to enable you to put together suitable rumours and other hooks to get the characters involved.

The map and associated tiles detail the medusa's entire lair, while the notes give a brief description of each room and what might be happening there. As usual with an 0one product, you can exert quite a lot of control over the maps; turning the grid on or off, choosing whether or not it is furnished and so on. As the series name suggests, the maps are black & white line art, all neatly done.

For a quick adventure, you'll only need to check the monster and NPC stats, add some treasure and you are ready for the characters to arrive. A proofread by an English speaker would improve the notes, otherwise there is nothing to fault!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
0one's Black & White: Medusa Hideout
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Dungeon Tile Designer
by Josh B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/03/2009 01:07:56
Maybe if you could move the templates in areas that would make it more useful but I can not think of any good reason to buy.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Tile Designer
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Battlemaps: Slave Ship
by Daryl P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/02/2009 19:15:31
Great artwork and great cartography. The ship itself is good -- and it doesn't have cannons, making it work for a fantasy game. HOWEVER (and this is a big however), like many of this company's other products, they don't leave any margins on the pages. When you print it, you will be missing some of the images and not have a very good final, assembled product. You could print with a reduced zoom (like at 95%), but then you lose the 1" grid standard. This is a serious flaw that the company really needs to work out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Battlemaps: Slave Ship
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0one's Black & White: Medusa Hideout
by jason p. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/29/2009 14:36:38
very artistic maps, I like the old style blueprints

I do not always have time to draw out the encounter areas when I run a game and this company gives me premade maps that are easy to read and easy to modify if I want to

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
0one's Black & White: Medusa Hideout
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Dark Ladies: Villainesses in RPGs
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/06/2009 08:59:23
A book on villains of the female persuasion might seem a rather strange subset at a first glance, but the introduction takes care of that by outlining how being female can put several whole new spins on just being a villain. The shock value of discovering that the mighty fighter that put half the party on the floor is actually a woman, the unique perspective that being matriarch of a noble line or a whole tribe might bring, or perhaps the use of physical appearance from seductive beauty to outrageously ugly hag may be of significance.

We're then plunged straight into a fantastic collection of villainesses, both historical and fictional. Each is given a detailed write-up, both in terms of D20 stats and in terms of what she's like, what her motivations are, how she approaches a fight and several possible plot hooks in which you can use her in your game. Several pages, including atmospheric drawings, are devoted to each one.

While the motivations and plot hooks for the historical characters are firmly based in reality, it is easy to imagine how you could change names and places to fit into your own campaign... and see how long it takes your players to spot Catherine di Medici or Mata Hari - if they catch the references at all! Likewise, although the fictional characters have their own backgrounds, these too can be adapted to suit your purposes.

On the other hand, you may just use these as inspiration when creating your own unique and deadly ladies to stand in opposition to your players... or even in alliance, or as patrons. New weapons and spells are scattered throughout, and these too may be worthy of consideration for your campaign.

Rather strangely, after some seventeen of these ladies, there comes an appendix on magical beast hide armour. Fascinating stuff, all about how it is made and what benefits it gives you... but while it's fascinating to know what rust monster armour might look like, or how to cure the hide of a displacer beast; I'm not quite sure what relevance it has to a discourse on villainesses. It's a useful addition to knowledge about equipment and armour, and could make for some interesting items to be found - or, especially if you use the rules for trapping, tanning and crafting these armours - a source of income for the characters.

Overall, it is a beautifully-presented work, with a delicate bluish theme in fitting with the feminine aspects of its content, yet understated enough not to interfere with the actual text. Fruitful ideas... memorable villainesses... while you'll need to do some work to fit them into your campaign the rewards are likely to be worth the effort.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Ladies: Villainesses in RPGs
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SKIRMISH TILES, fiendish grounds
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/05/2009 09:16:49
Short of ideas for nasty places for your players to end up? Fancy a fight in a lava pool or around a pillar of skulls? Here is a fine array of 'skirmish tiles' to build a series of interesting (in the Chinese sense) places that can serve as the setting for many an adventure.

In this PDF, there are a full 30 'tiles' that can be put together to create whatever setting your fiendish imagination can devise. While presented in the familiar lush style that marks all 0one Games product, these tiles lack the three-dimension effect used in their battlemaps, allowing them to be mixed and matched as you please.

Each tile is presented in both full colour and greyscale and, like any PDF, you can print as many copies as you'd like of any individual tile. The collection includes an iron gate, wall and towers, a pond of blood, the ribcage of some long-departed creature, bogs, lava pits, hallways lined with fire and even the aura of a fire dragon.

Coupled with other tiles you can create just about anything, and if you are short of ideas several sample layouts are provided. So if you need to have a hallway that spits lightning or a river of blood, look no further.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
SKIRMISH TILES, fiendish grounds
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SKIRMISH TILES, Castle System: upper level
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/05/2009 09:06:33
This is a simple, elegant and very powerful system for castle design. When you open the PDF (you'll need Acrobat Reader v.6 for this), the first thing you'll see is an explanation of how the system works and an overview of all the tiles in this set. The next page is the 'Control Sheet,' a grid with all the tiles laid out in a rather conventional 'square keep' layout, which is where you pick the tiles you want to use - in that layout or anything else you please. The next page is a blank grid, which is where you create your design, by clicking on the grid square you want to use, then going to the Control Grid and clicking on the tile you want to appear in that location. Once selected you can rotate the tile, or get rid of it if you change your mind. When you have finished, there's an even neater trick - the file will automatically print out just the tiles you need to create your design on the tabletop. You can also print out the design page to use as a convential map or just to remind you what the castle ought to look like when you come to lay it out before your players.

This collection represents the top level of a castle, basically the rooftops. So here's to some epic swordfights across the tiles...!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
SKIRMISH TILES, Castle System: upper level
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SKIRMISH TILES, Castle System: second level
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/05/2009 09:05:23
Following on from Skirmish Tiles: Castle System Upper Level, this file enables you to create the 'top floor' of your castle. It works exactly the same way, with a system that lets you select and arrange the tiles you want on a master map and then print out just the tiles you need from the collection of full-size tiles ready for your game.

It's an excellent use of the current heights of PDF technology, and should inspire those who have been hoping for some above-ground maps from 0one (OK, we do have an Inn...) to start designing adventures to make the most of the castle(s) they can create with the Castle System.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
SKIRMISH TILES, Castle System: second level
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0one's Black & White: Bandits' Trail
by max l. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/03/2009 15:13:08
If it doesn't bother you that the tiles are black & white ( it shouldn't they look great!) this is a cheap but very effective way to get tiles of high quality!

I'm very satisfied!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
0one's Black & White: Bandits' Trail
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The Road to Revolution: Puncture the Blackened Vein
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/30/2009 12:50:30
Making an exciting political adventure requires a writer who can carefully weave layers of plot while not neglecting the combat and challenges a PC expects. These layers of plot must be sparse enough so never to railroad the PCs and just dense enough to insure that a proper direction is always visible. The Road to Revolution: Puncture the Blackened Vein, is a text-book example of maintaining an exciting adventure sandwiched with delicious layers of intrigue and mystery. Though it sometimes exceeds its ceiling of plot digestion, Blackened Vein always maintains a solid structure to engage the players.

Road to Revolution is a six-part urban adventure series based on the Great City, the home campaign world of t 0Ones Publishing Company. Puncture of the Blackened Vein is the fourth installment and revolves around a grand plot by a secretly wicked church to convert the Temple Ward of the city to their deity. To do so, they plan a devastating catastrophe topped off by a miraculous event to catapult their church into limelight. While they manipulate another deity’s followers they themselves are being manipulated as well by an even darker god. The players are injected into the thick of this plot after being sent to find an accountant. The adventure takes them to the streets of the Great City, to a grand parade and into the underground sewers as they pursue this lead.

This adventure felt the least campaign specific of the series, making it far easier to take out of the Great City and into your home campaign. The constant DM sidebars prove to be quite helpful in facilitating the adventure and remembering the various factions and how they play a part in the adventure. Blackened Vein weighs in at 70 pages and is written for a balanced party of 8th to 10th level. Most of this is the adventure with the last dozen pages dedicated to explaining the gods of the Great City.

For the Dungeon Master
This is a well plotted adventure. Often times, mystery and political intrigue can come at a party like a hammer to a nail with little finesse. Blackened Vein starts off small and gradually ups the ante of the adventure, never loosing the players.

The Iron Word
Road to Revolution: Puncture of the Blackened Vein has a fairly complicated plot and is not for PCs who lack the concentration of paying attention to plot threads. That is not to say that players can get lost, but there is the chance of players missing a small clue here and there. The adventure runs very easily and the writers have loaded some very simple boxes to keep the DM on point. This is one of those adventures that the PCs will feel like they truly accomplished something when it is completed.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Road to Revolution: Puncture the Blackened Vein
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0one's Blueprints: Vampire Castle
by Mads H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/07/2009 15:28:52
A sprawling an imaginative dungeon. Well worth the money.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
0one's Blueprints: Vampire Castle
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0one's Blueprints: Dragon's Foot
by JD S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/28/2009 13:02:43
You cannot go wrong with Oones.

Note that for best effect, you need the compainion product, which is also excellent.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
0one's Blueprints: Dragon's Foot
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The Great City Campaign Setting
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/27/2009 15:14:41
City campaigns seem to be in vogue lately. The idea of a single location that serves as not only a source of many adventures (if not an entire campaign), but also the place where the PCs hang their hats is intriguing. After all, this gives the GM a lot of material to work with in terms of helping immerse the players in the setting. The merchant whom they buy their first weapons from at 1st level is likely still going to be there when they’ve become high-level heroes, and by then will hopefully have become a well-known NPC that the players interact with. That’s the sort of thing that good GMs go to town with, and it’s that sort of premise that The Great City, from 0one Games, proffers .

Weighing in at over one hundred fifty pages, The Great City is a fairly large PDF. Luckily, the entire thing is bookmarked for easy navigation (though I found myself wishing that the bookmarks were nested). There’s a dark gray border on opposite sides of each page, and as we’re taken through the city in various chapters, a nicely detailed map of the local area is presented, usually with keyed locations. The amount of artwork here isn’t prohibitive to printing the book out, but you may want to think twice about doing so, given the book’s length and use of maps and illustrations (though the latter are somewhat rare).

As a setting book, The Great City opens by talking about the basic layout and structure of the city, noting things like its population breakdown, politics, etc. before moving on to the history of the City (making me realize that the place really is called, in game, “The Great City”) and how it came to be where it is today. Following this are the six wards which the City is divided into; each ward has a chapter, noting things like the special interests that reside there, notable NPCs and groups, a map of various specific locations, etc. It deserves some notation that through all of these chapters, game statistics are kept to a minimum; while it can’t be helped to do things like note a character’s alignment, these are relatively rare. The majority of the book is almost totally flavor text.

It’s only when we get to the last portions of The Great City that it becomes markedly 3.5 in nature. An introductory adventure is given, along with several new monsters, and a number of stat blocks for specific individuals from the various wards. A few new bits of crunch (such as feats, magic items, etc.) are also scattered throughout this last section.

The Great City is ultimately a very well fleshed-out setting, with a large array of people and places who are all detailed to a very useful degree. However, I was less impressed than I otherwise would have been because to me it really felt like a setting, rather than a living, vibrant city. Most of the NPCs felt isolated from each other – as though they’d been written in a vacuum, or to conform to various archetypes – and the city wards felt too isolated from each other in terms of what was happening in one not really affecting another. This is sort of the point of a ward, to be fair, but it all gave me the feeling that The Great City was a static place that would revolve around the PCs just a little too much, instead of them working their way into a teeming, living city. Of course, if that’s the worst I can say about this as a setting, you should know that it’s still quite good. The material and writing is of a very high quality, and there’s enough of it here to last you for quite a long time. If you’re looking for a multifaceted fantasy city for your PCs to call home, The Great City is a solid choice.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Great City Campaign Setting
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0one's Black & White: Medusa Hideout
by Marc G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/10/2009 10:50:07
Nice product!
Being a hex-preferring gamer, it's nice to see a product that let's you switch between hexes and squares, even if they are 5 ft squares vs. 1m hexes (I'd like 5 ft hexes as well) .
I know most people probably have the latest Acrobat reader, but it might be nice to put the minimum version required for the layering.
Also, I think making the grids around 50% gray, as opposed to black will keep them visible, but make them stick out less.
Mind you, these are only minor quibbles (suggestions, really, as this is a new line), and I believe that all map products should adopt such a fine detailed customization approach (i.e., turning on and off such parts as grids, doors, furniture.
The one page systemless room descriptions are nice to be able to jump right in if need be, but you can ignore them as well and not feel you've spent half your money on a part you'll never use.
All in all, a great concept, and for me at least, a little tweaking would make it stellar!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
0one's Black & White: Medusa Hideout
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The Road to Revolution: The Skullcrackers
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/08/2009 07:28:13
This is the first in a six-part campaign arc set in The Great City, already painstakingly mapped and described by 0one Games, and is written for beginning characters. Although it's never stated, the impression is that they are not native to the city, but may have been there for a while - long enough, at least, to be able to find their way around.

The adventure is set amidst a background of seething unrest and incipient rebellion. While such political upheaval is being formented by others of greater import than a bunch of low-level characters, their actions in this (and following episodes) are likely to prove pivotal.

Events begin with a murder investigation, into the death by violence of a junior army officer. Several ideas for getting the characters embroiled in the action are supplied, or the nature of your players may suggest others of your own. The investigation takes the characters through the underbelly of the city, and culminates in a clandestine fight club, where the action in the ring gets masked by an all-out brawl amongst the spectators!

Investigative adventures, by their very nature, tend to the linear as the characters unravel a clue chain to lead them to the truth. To avoid it appearing too linear from a player perspective, once the first part - the discovery of a suspicious corpse - is over and the characters have got (by whatever means you choose) involved, the next three parts of the investigation can be run in any order as the characters visit the right places and talk to the right people; they'll end up at the final part of the plot anyway! The DM is thus encouraged to be thoroughly familiar with what is going on in all locations, as well as to have a good working knowledge of the Great City, so that he can present matters seamlessly whatever path the characters choose to follow.

However, do not fear that this adventure is too cerebral for the majority of players, combat can occur around any corner... and will be necessary for the characters to complete their investigations. There's a good balance between having to talk to people and having to fight them, with a fair few 'monsterous' foes thrown in for good measure... and some sneaking around for the more stealthy and devious characters to enjoy.

The main phases of the investigation are well-written. Everyone featured has their own life to lead, building up an impressive alternate reality which will be of use after the adventure is over - should they survive, they'll still be there doing their own thing. Another nice touch are the Broadsides. A local entrepreneur has taken to printing news-posters and distributing them around town. Several examples are provided, and it's an idea you can utilise to insert your own plot hooks as well.

Overall, this is an excellent adventure in which a lot is going on, giving the characters a chance to become deeply embedded in the life of the city.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Road to Revolution: The Skullcrackers
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