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Lightspeed: Alien Contact
by Yilbber V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/05/2011 22:47:23
Totally useless for Fuzion, And stats are incompatible with Fuzion material.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Lightspeed: Alien Contact
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Art of Michael Wolmarans, Nightmares and Dreamscapes
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/05/2011 07:01:22
Originally Published at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2011/08/05/the-night-gallery-volum-
e-i-issue-i/


Object d’art number two: Art of Michael Wolmarans, Nightmares and Dreamscapes. At a hefty $9.99 you’d expect this collections to have at least four black and white pictures. But no, instead you only get 10 full page, full color illustrations as well as the same pictures again, but shrunken down and in b&w. There’s a nice selection of fantasy/horror going on here. There’s the bloody-mouthed woman from the cover, a hellish landscape, odd skeletal remains, even the Bride of Frankenstein dressed in her 50’s housewife best holding a fresh-baked apple pie. My favorite is a somewhat original take on what I assume is Baba Yaga.

While some of the art is a bit too wacom-tablety for my taste (wide, soft lines that don’t look like anything other than a computer made it) each piece is good in it’s own right. Not just nice to look at, but seeming to convey a story, or a part thereof, all by itself. Good art is inspirational , and you could easily work these into your campaign, or even use them to create a new scene you hadn’t thought of before.

So is it worth ten bucks? I’d have to say that’s up to you. It’s a bit much for my taste, but you could certainly spend your money in worse ways.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Art of Michael Wolmarans, Nightmares and Dreamscapes
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Markets and Merchandise
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/29/2011 11:58:17
Originally published at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2011/07/29/tabletop-review-markets-
-and-merchandise/

Markets and Merchandise is a fairly straightforward book; stuff what for to buy in your imaginary friends games (Pathfinder, 4e, and d6 compatible versions are available), where for to buy such trinkets and why for how you has the moneys of what they is. Honestly, the overall idea is one I tend to skip past. First off, my group gets picky (read: bitchy) about their loot, so I let them pick it themselves. More importantly, I like my D&D a bit more down and dirty dungeon crawly, so stopping to talk about the illustrations on each side of the local kingdom’s coinage and the finer points of their anti-shaving technology never really crossed my mind. Nevertheless, I thought it would be worth a look to see if there were any ideas or times that I could add to my current campaign.

At around sixty pages of text, Markets and Merchandise is a slim yet comprehensive volume and is surprisingly well written with quite a lot of thought put into it. It seems (to my admittedly amateur eyes) that the writers did some actual research into the history of coinage. Or maybe they skimmed a Wikipedia article. (Or maybe they just made it all up and I’m too lazy to do my own research to check). However it was done, the final product reads quite professionally, without going overboard into a Ben Stein drone on the formal history of economics from the Paleozoic to Medieval Agrarian. The book is sparsely illustrated, with a decent layout, but chapters aren’t given their own page and start wherever the last chapter happens to end. This gets on my nerves a bit, but isn’t a deal-breaker.

The book is divided into three chapters: Currency & Wealth, Places to Buy Things, and an Item Listing. There’s also an appendix of Treasure Parcels, but it’s only two pages of some examples and is hardly worth mentioning. The first chapter has some good ideas for fleshing out your world through the use of currency. What they use, why they use it, how it looks, and just about everything else in between. As I’ve said, while it’s not my cup of tea, the potential here is unique and inviting. I found myself actually enjoying reading about the history of coins and how different societies would influence the style of currency.

The chapter on Places to Buy Things is a bit self explanatory, but again, I found lots of ideas I’d never even considered, like purchasing items from nomadic traders or military camps. They flesh out these markets with details on the setting, attitudes, and even bargaining rates. I found myself once again astonished at how they could take this flyover country and turn it into something not only worth reading, but worth incorporating into your game.

The final chapter, Item Listing, is almost beyond complete. Animals, crops, vehicles, coffee, scented bath oil, food, clothes, alcohol, breakfast options, entertainment, midwives, pesticide, land, and probably a few other things I’ve forgotten, are all detailed and priced. They even have a few “futuristic” weapons; though I’m not certain I agree with their assessment that a crossbow is part of the mace group of weapons, nor that a handgun is a spear or an energy blaster is a heavy blade. All of this can be forgiven, however, by the inclusion of elephants, as well as elephant armor and weapons. Any book that contains a “trunk sword” is automatically getting a bump up in my estimation.

But here’s where we come to the interesting and possibly controversial part. Slaves are included in the Item Listing chapter (and sporadically throughout the book), but are spoken of as just another commodity. In fact, in the main article on slaves, it dispassionately explains various uses for slaves, their rights, and describes different markets where they can be purchased. You could read just about any entry on slaves in this book, substitute “oxen” or “chairs” and have a coherent sentence. It just strikes me as odd that such a potentially touchy subject be treated in such a blasé fashion.

It seems as though someone at Avalon Games anticipated this, though, because right in the middle of an introductory paragraph are two sentences decrying slavery as “[a] horrific practice [that] robs people of their dignity and their self-respect.” Its odd placement and surprisingly harsh nature (given the detached style of the rest of the narrative) makes it feel like a last minute editorial decision. As if someone suddenly went, “Wait! What if some people may get upset about including slaves in our book of merchandise? We should point out slavery is bad. Done? Good, now write this down, ‘Females are more valuable than males because they can serve as breeding stock to produce baby slaves.’” (Actual book quote inside my blatantly made-up hypothetical quote) Oddly, there was no information for baby slaves.

All that aside, Markets and Merchandise excels at what it sets out to do; enrich your game with monetary particulars. If you’re looking to flesh out your ideas for your realm with realistic economic details, or describe the character’s mercantile encounters more vividly, or if you just want your character to charge into combat on the back of a painted war elephant, mowing down your enemies with its mighty trunk sword, then this is the book for you.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Markets and Merchandise
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Markets and Merchandise, OpenD6 Version
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/29/2011 11:58:13
Originally published at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2011/07/29/tabletop-review-markets-
-and-merchandise/

Markets and Merchandise is a fairly straightforward book; stuff what for to buy in your imaginary friends games (Pathfinder, 4e, and d6 compatible versions are available), where for to buy such trinkets and why for how you has the moneys of what they is. Honestly, the overall idea is one I tend to skip past. First off, my group gets picky (read: bitchy) about their loot, so I let them pick it themselves. More importantly, I like my D&D a bit more down and dirty dungeon crawly, so stopping to talk about the illustrations on each side of the local kingdom’s coinage and the finer points of their anti-shaving technology never really crossed my mind. Nevertheless, I thought it would be worth a look to see if there were any ideas or times that I could add to my current campaign.

At around sixty pages of text, Markets and Merchandise is a slim yet comprehensive volume and is surprisingly well written with quite a lot of thought put into it. It seems (to my admittedly amateur eyes) that the writers did some actual research into the history of coinage. Or maybe they skimmed a Wikipedia article. (Or maybe they just made it all up and I’m too lazy to do my own research to check). However it was done, the final product reads quite professionally, without going overboard into a Ben Stein drone on the formal history of economics from the Paleozoic to Medieval Agrarian. The book is sparsely illustrated, with a decent layout, but chapters aren’t given their own page and start wherever the last chapter happens to end. This gets on my nerves a bit, but isn’t a deal-breaker.

The book is divided into three chapters: Currency & Wealth, Places to Buy Things, and an Item Listing. There’s also an appendix of Treasure Parcels, but it’s only two pages of some examples and is hardly worth mentioning. The first chapter has some good ideas for fleshing out your world through the use of currency. What they use, why they use it, how it looks, and just about everything else in between. As I’ve said, while it’s not my cup of tea, the potential here is unique and inviting. I found myself actually enjoying reading about the history of coins and how different societies would influence the style of currency.

The chapter on Places to Buy Things is a bit self explanatory, but again, I found lots of ideas I’d never even considered, like purchasing items from nomadic traders or military camps. They flesh out these markets with details on the setting, attitudes, and even bargaining rates. I found myself once again astonished at how they could take this flyover country and turn it into something not only worth reading, but worth incorporating into your game.

The final chapter, Item Listing, is almost beyond complete. Animals, crops, vehicles, coffee, scented bath oil, food, clothes, alcohol, breakfast options, entertainment, midwives, pesticide, land, and probably a few other things I’ve forgotten, are all detailed and priced. They even have a few “futuristic” weapons; though I’m not certain I agree with their assessment that a crossbow is part of the mace group of weapons, nor that a handgun is a spear or an energy blaster is a heavy blade. All of this can be forgiven, however, by the inclusion of elephants, as well as elephant armor and weapons. Any book that contains a “trunk sword” is automatically getting a bump up in my estimation.

But here’s where we come to the interesting and possibly controversial part. Slaves are included in the Item Listing chapter (and sporadically throughout the book), but are spoken of as just another commodity. In fact, in the main article on slaves, it dispassionately explains various uses for slaves, their rights, and describes different markets where they can be purchased. You could read just about any entry on slaves in this book, substitute “oxen” or “chairs” and have a coherent sentence. It just strikes me as odd that such a potentially touchy subject be treated in such a blasé fashion.

It seems as though someone at Avalon Games anticipated this, though, because right in the middle of an introductory paragraph are two sentences decrying slavery as “[a] horrific practice [that] robs people of their dignity and their self-respect.” Its odd placement and surprisingly harsh nature (given the detached style of the rest of the narrative) makes it feel like a last minute editorial decision. As if someone suddenly went, “Wait! What if some people may get upset about including slaves in our book of merchandise? We should point out slavery is bad. Done? Good, now write this down, ‘Females are more valuable than males because they can serve as breeding stock to produce baby slaves.’” (Actual book quote inside my blatantly made-up hypothetical quote) Oddly, there was no information for baby slaves.

All that aside, Markets and Merchandise excels at what it sets out to do; enrich your game with monetary particulars. If you’re looking to flesh out your ideas for your realm with realistic economic details, or describe the character’s mercantile encounters more vividly, or if you just want your character to charge into combat on the back of a painted war elephant, mowing down your enemies with its mighty trunk sword, then this is the book for you.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Markets and Merchandise, OpenD6 Version
Click to show product description

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Markets and Merchandise, Pathfinder Version
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/29/2011 11:56:40
Originally published at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2011/07/29/tabletop-review-markets-
-and-merchandise/


Markets and Merchandise is a fairly straightforward book; stuff what for to buy in your imaginary friends games (Pathfinder, 4e, and d6 compatible versions are available), where for to buy such trinkets and why for how you has the moneys of what they is. Honestly, the overall idea is one I tend to skip past. First off, my group gets picky (read: bitchy) about their loot, so I let them pick it themselves. More importantly, I like my D&D a bit more down and dirty dungeon crawly, so stopping to talk about the illustrations on each side of the local kingdom’s coinage and the finer points of their anti-shaving technology never really crossed my mind. Nevertheless, I thought it would be worth a look to see if there were any ideas or times that I could add to my current campaign.

At around sixty pages of text, Markets and Merchandise is a slim yet comprehensive volume and is surprisingly well written with quite a lot of thought put into it. It seems (to my admittedly amateur eyes) that the writers did some actual research into the history of coinage. Or maybe they skimmed a Wikipedia article. (Or maybe they just made it all up and I’m too lazy to do my own research to check). However it was done, the final product reads quite professionally, without going overboard into a Ben Stein drone on the formal history of economics from the Paleozoic to Medieval Agrarian. The book is sparsely illustrated, with a decent layout, but chapters aren’t given their own page and start wherever the last chapter happens to end. This gets on my nerves a bit, but isn’t a deal-breaker.

The book is divided into three chapters: Currency & Wealth, Places to Buy Things, and an Item Listing. There’s also an appendix of Treasure Parcels, but it’s only two pages of some examples and is hardly worth mentioning. The first chapter has some good ideas for fleshing out your world through the use of currency. What they use, why they use it, how it looks, and just about everything else in between. As I’ve said, while it’s not my cup of tea, the potential here is unique and inviting. I found myself actually enjoying reading about the history of coins and how different societies would influence the style of currency.

The chapter on Places to Buy Things is a bit self explanatory, but again, I found lots of ideas I’d never even considered, like purchasing items from nomadic traders or military camps. They flesh out these markets with details on the setting, attitudes, and even bargaining rates. I found myself once again astonished at how they could take this flyover country and turn it into something not only worth reading, but worth incorporating into your game.

The final chapter, Item Listing, is almost beyond complete. Animals, crops, vehicles, coffee, scented bath oil, food, clothes, alcohol, breakfast options, entertainment, midwives, pesticide, land, and probably a few other things I’ve forgotten, are all detailed and priced. They even have a few “futuristic” weapons; though I’m not certain I agree with their assessment that a crossbow is part of the mace group of weapons, nor that a handgun is a spear or an energy blaster is a heavy blade. All of this can be forgiven, however, by the inclusion of elephants, as well as elephant armor and weapons. Any book that contains a “trunk sword” is automatically getting a bump up in my estimation.

But here’s where we come to the interesting and possibly controversial part. Slaves are included in the Item Listing chapter (and sporadically throughout the book), but are spoken of as just another commodity. In fact, in the main article on slaves, it dispassionately explains various uses for slaves, their rights, and describes different markets where they can be purchased. You could read just about any entry on slaves in this book, substitute “oxen” or “chairs” and have a coherent sentence. It just strikes me as odd that such a potentially touchy subject be treated in such a blasé fashion.

It seems as though someone at Avalon Games anticipated this, though, because right in the middle of an introductory paragraph are two sentences decrying slavery as “[a] horrific practice [that] robs people of their dignity and their self-respect.” Its odd placement and surprisingly harsh nature (given the detached style of the rest of the narrative) makes it feel like a last minute editorial decision. As if someone suddenly went, “Wait! What if some people may get upset about including slaves in our book of merchandise? We should point out slavery is bad. Done? Good, now write this down, ‘Females are more valuable than males because they can serve as breeding stock to produce baby slaves.’” (Actual book quote inside my blatantly made-up hypothetical quote) Oddly, there was no information for baby slaves.

All that aside, Markets and Merchandise excels at what it sets out to do; enrich your game with monetary particulars. If you’re looking to flesh out your ideas for your realm with realistic economic details, or describe the character’s mercantile encounters more vividly, or if you just want your character to charge into combat on the back of a painted war elephant, mowing down your enemies with its mighty trunk sword, then this is the book for you.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Markets and Merchandise, Pathfinder Version
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Altered Earth Preview
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/27/2011 14:41:36
Jam-packed into some mere 28 pages are an overview of the setting, several sample characters, an adventures AND some ancillary material: plenty and enough to decide if this is a game that would appeal to you and your players.

First comes the setting information. After talking a bit about science-fiction adventures in the far future, things calm down a bit and it turns out that this is a post-apocalyptic Earth setting some unspecified time in the future. Civilisation has been destroyed in a series of wars, so well destroyed that nobody really remembers what it used to be like. Out of the chaos there arose powerful warlords who over the course of time have established fortified city-states that stand proud over the desolation and wilderness. Against this backdrop, all manner of adventures may be had.

The cities are teeming masses of humanity, crowded into too little space, piled layer upon layer, the higher up you live, the better-off you are. Governance is sparse, law and order just about non-existant. The rich hire security, the rest survive as best they can. Even in those rare places that hold elections, little concern is paid to the well-being of the population, whilst the majority of places are under the sway of a dictatorship of some kind. Real power lies in two places: the corps and the warlords. Neither care about ordinary people.

So, given this premise, 5 pre-generated characters and an adventure for them to play are provided for those who are intrigued enough to want to try this out. Glancing over the character sheets, it's clear how core D&D 4e has been bent, folded, mangled, spindled and macerated to suit. You'll still need the corebooks to make the most of it, or certainly once you branch off to concocting your own materials or characters for this setting, but there's a whole range of new stuff - from chain-swords (shades of Rifts here!) to appropriate powers and skills - that remain true to the underlying system yet give it a distinctive spin.

The adventure comes next. Set in the urban jungle of the lower levels of one of these vast cities, the characters are asked to find a missing girl, whose adventure sampling the darker side of life has gone sadly awry. Encounters aplenty await, as they make their way through situations that are described evocatively, words bringing them to life in the mind's eye. Chases, brawls, negotiations, opportunity to try out role-playing, skills and that chain-sword as you explore this alternate reality and stamp your mark upon it.

Then comes the additional material. Some concept art, mostly warriors and gangers, people you'd not care to meet in a dark alley but probably will if you play the adventure. And more background material, this in the tangible form of how money is handled in this game, and some of the things you can buy with it. Want a protein bar, or space in a 'coffin hotel' to spend the night?

As an appetiser, this gives a fair bit to get your teeth into (although I wouldn't recommend the protein bar, to be honest!), certainly enough to try the game out and consider whether or not it will suit your group and meet your gaming needs. And it's free, a good start. More than that, though, it does give a good flavour, a good feel, for what is in store.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Altered Earth Preview
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Once Upon a Time, Pathfinder Version
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/24/2011 21:58:24
Once Upon the Time is inspirational with some useful ideas, unfortunately it is hampered by a poor conversion to the Pathfinder rule set. I hope that a second edition with a cleaned up and improved set of rules for Pathfinder will be released soon.

Once Upon A Time: A Guide to Fairy Tales for Pathfinder is a 46-page PDF (36 pages if you remove the cover, OGL and ads) written by David Caffee and published by Avalon Games.

The layout is most standard, double column (interspaced with single column) and easy to read, unfortunately it lacks both a table of contents and index though it is still short enough that things should be easy enough to find. The interior art is black and white and suited to the product’s theme.

This is a book about bringing elements of fairy tales into gaming, this version providing rules to be used with the Pathfinder system. It begins with an introduction to fairy tales (not originally for children alone) and then moves into the structure of the tales and how to apply that to a game structure.

A random table of fifty fairy tail plots seeds and twenty random encounters provide inspiration for adventures. Four useful characters -evil witch, good witch, seducer, strong person- are statted out but not very well with several omissions and errors (the good witch is statted as a cleric but is listed as a sorcerer for example).

Next there are new skills -detective work, puzzles and riddles, and rhyming- which to fit the Pathfinder paradigm really should have been folding into existing skills, the later two would have been excellent additions to Perform for example. There are four new feats, which are nicely thematic for fairy tail games but would be more of a challenge for other settings.

Six advance/prestige classes follow (it mixes and matches those terms) which while brilliant thematically -fair maiden, gallant hero- are just the same version from the OGL version of this product. The character skills have not even been converted to the Pathfinder versions. These classes need to be completely rewritten and available to take as base classes to achieve what they need to achieve for the implied setting.

The monsters are fun and interesting, including a big bad wolf and a wicked trader (ala rumplestiltskin), but poorly converted to Pathfinder.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThruRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Once Upon a Time, Pathfinder Version
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GROMM: Fantasy Skirmish, Basic Edition
by matt c. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/21/2011 19:52:48
An outstanding variation of the vanilla fantasy worlds we now find ourselves surrounded by. GROMM's mechanics are to the point and flawless in their operation. This is truly a gem of a free ruleset, and will only get better with time.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
GROMM: Fantasy Skirmish, Basic Edition
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Mystic Adventures
by james w. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/19/2011 19:38:15
My ten year old daughter and I enjoy this very much. One of our favorite games is Return of the Heroes. When we want a break from that or your typical dungeon crawler Mystic Adventurers and expansions fit the bill. Production quality and art is not the greatest but the game play is good and I usually pimp out my pnp games anyway. I rate it a 4 out of 5.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mystic Adventures
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Action Hero, D6 Version
by Sean M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/11/2011 06:06:13
Poor conversion of OGL d20 material to OpenD6, using levels and base attack bonuses in a system where they don't exist.

It has some templates, and NPCs, but shoddy overall.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Action Hero, D6 Version
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Dark Dungeon 2, Mini-Game #20, Lair of the Spider Cult
by Ricardo N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/02/2011 13:16:31
This adventure for Dark Dungeon includes three additional adventurers, two spells, five dungeon tiles and five new enemies. It is a good addition to the game as the adventure plays very differently from the Goblins Lair (the one that comes with Dark Dungeon.) While that was structured as a dungeon delve, this one has more of a story going, and plays as a mix of "choose your adventure" and tactical, grid-based combat.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Dungeon 2, Mini-Game #20, Lair of the Spider Cult
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Game Geek Issues #18
by John M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/02/2011 12:46:13
If you play games from Avalon (shame on you if you don't, by the way) this is a magazine you should download every time they come out with a new issue. I used to pay (and still would) for the issues and thought it was still a great bargain. I use it mostly for the BattleAxe stuff. The stories are also wonderful. Many of the game specific stuff can be modified for other games as well. Every gamer should be reading this!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Game Geek Issues #18
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Lightspeed
by Curt M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/01/2011 23:03:43
The five stars is for the setting: a deliberate derivative of Wars and Trek with some classic '80s anime tropes thrown in.

I much prefer the instant fuzion system to the full version presented here, but it isn't so crunchy that it's unplayable. I'm looking forward to the open D6 version of Lightspeed.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Lightspeed
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Fantasy House, Free Version
by Arkham D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/30/2011 23:47:37
Very Nice! Used to do a LOT of paper modelling, back before the wonder of inkjet printers and I just used a pencil and some posterboard. I'm very pleased to see the quality of Avalon's models. Look forward to taking a look at more of them...

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Fantasy House, Free Version
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Armored Assault, Mini-Game #6
by Shawn K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/28/2011 20:22:11
I cannot recommend this supplement.
The rules invite you to design your own vehicles but there is no guidance on how to assign the number of hits to each section. Also the "cost" of each provided vehicle is very low and there is no explanation as to how that value was arrived at.
The rules include only five predesigned armored vehicle data sheets. It is impossible to determine how the final "cost" of each vehicle was arrived at as the component weapons and systems are each valued as more than the vehicle total.
The rules do add a few new battle suit weapons and systems so that was nice but not worth the cost just for that.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Armored Assault, Mini-Game #6
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