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Through Dungeons Deeper: A Survival Guide For Dungeoneers As Written By A Survivor
by James S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/24/2017 06:57:29

An OSR Gem Though Dungeons Deeper: A Survival Guide for Dungeoneers As Written By A Survivor, henceforth known in this review as TDD is something truly unexpected and unique. Written as an "in-universe" survival guide by an experienced adventurer, it mixes both applicable wisdom and quick wits to create a truly engaging read that both educates and entertains. While it implicitly billed as an OSR product, it is system agnostic and applicable to any classic fantasy RPG.

While certainly written with tongue firmly in cheek, there is genuinely good advice in TDD that is seemlessly woven into the text by the author. This book is just plain fun to read. Along the way, the guidance provided by the roguish halfling narrator and survivor Maximillian Sparfoot is genuinely useful - and not just for new players. As someone who's been playing fantasy RPGs for thirty years, I was surprised at how much of this book had me saying "Yeah, that's solid advice!"

Along the way, almost every single page is packed with black and white line art, maps, and in-setting notes written by Sparfoot. This keeps the tone of the book light and the pace brisk. The visual appeal of TDD is so much so, that I truly think it will shine as a physical product and can't wait for the physical release.

The singular word to describe TDD is "fun." This is a fantastic love letter to fantasy gaming, its tropes, and the shared experiences of players. It never bogs down in detail and reminds the reader just how thrilling (and dangerous) dungeoneering is - both as a gamer and as a player. It made me smile, chuckle, nod in agreement, and most of all it made me want to roll up a character and play.

It clocks in at 150 pages, and while I was initially reluctant to plunk down more than $10 for a PDF (because I'm cheap like that), after reading TDD, I think it's well worth the price and will most definitely be grabbing the physical product when it's released. One of the tiny joys I look forward to is handing TDD to one of my players and saying "You find an old, tattered leatherbound book..." or having some shifty merchant sell the book to them. The book is so well written it can easily serve as a physical prop at the table.

In the end, RPGs require a rulebook. TDD is not a rulebook, but it is most definitely, how you play the game -- and more importantly it reminds us why we play the game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Through Dungeons Deeper: A Survival Guide For Dungeoneers As Written By A Survivor
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Polyhedral Dungeon
by sean m. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/19/2017 03:55:39

Love the clean layout of these rules,just beautiful. Looking forward to more stuff from this system soon. Would really like a monster manual.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Polyhedral Dungeon
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Polyhedral Dungeon
by Joshua W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/05/2016 18:54:09

This system was deceptive the first time I read through it. I thought the system wasalmost too simple to tweek and have fun with. However after a complete read through the system grew on me and I saw the potential. It has since become my bew orefered system to teach people with and i am looking forward to more Polyhedral products with great anticipation.

TELL YOUR FRIENDS!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Polyhedral Dungeon
by John G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/19/2016 13:42:57

I think that I'm in love! If you are looking for something that hearkens back to the old days of D&D, but with a new twist, then you should check out Polyhedral Dungeon! It combines a simple core mechanic with a fast and easy system to great effect! Each attribute (and there are only four) is tied to a certain type of die (d4, d6, etc.). To make a check, simply roll the die associated with your attribute and compare it to the roll made by another player (or the Judge). High roll wins! I like the idea of using Advantage (similar to D&D 5e); roll 2 dice of the same type and take the higher roll. I positively LOVE the Uses mechanic, which applies a die type to consumables, such as torches. Each time you use the object, roll two dice of the die type indicated. If both die show the same number, then that consumable is used up. No more having to track ammo or torches! This is fantasy made simple! The system is easy enough for a ten-year old to learn, but robust enough to please the most jaded player.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Polyhedral Dungeon
by Damien L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/02/2016 09:37:10

This review consists of the following parts – feel free to skip to the part that you feel interests you the most as I do tend to ramble: Part 1 – Ramble On Part 2 – PDs Social (What it looks like) Part 3 – PDs Mind (The rules) Part 4 – PDs Body (How it plays – 1 playtest under my belt) Part 5 – PDs Soul (Conclusion) Part 1 – “Gonna ramble on, sing my song. Gotta keep-a-searchin' for my baby...” I picked up Polyhedral Dungeon (PD) at RPGNow purely by chance. As it happens I visit the site once a day to see what’s new in the world of RPGs and pick up the odd game if its premise takes my fancy. Alas these days that often means it has to be cheap (not always but I do have strict instructions from she who must be obeyed to reign in my spending habits). I’m an old school gamer (been playing since 1980) who grew up with Basic (Blue Box) followed closely by AD&D (Looking back not bad for an Australia – maybe not such a backwater place now but it sure felt like it then). But I digress (as usual). So I am naturally attracted to games that state or imply they have that old school feel. So I saw PD and thought to myself nice premise, great cover, um …. Nah – I have bought a few (OK all) lately that won’t see the table I hold back on this one. But then my regular (and only) gaming group (all 3 of us; me and 2 “not my” brothers) had one guy going to the states for 3 weeks so the other brother asked if I wanted to try one of the many new rule sets (a running joke now how many games I buy). Initially I offered him 5E (our current system) with Dungeon Delves “No Laughing Matter” (I had heard good things) or maybe a new one I had my eye on. Surprisingly (to me) he choose the new one so I bought PD and I’m so glad I did. I have physical copies of Dungeon World, 13th Age, Torchbearer (3 copies) and many, many pdf’s of various osr clones but none have given me that “OK I’ll do it” like PD did (DW came close). You see, one brother is happy to try any system but doesn’t see the point of trying new systems. History: our group played together many years ago but reformed (albeit in a smaller capacity) a few years ago. We started with what was familiar (3.5), tried 4E (my fault), tried DCC (me again – good but too random), S&W (one brothers favourite and fine by me) but 5E gave everyone a bit of what they wanted. It certainly does a great job of recreating those AD&D days for me with new and improved features but I constantly find myself forgetting rules, and knowing they are in there somewhere I go looking for them. Then along came PD … it won’t replace 5E for our group (alas) but for me it’s the bees knees – I love it! Part 2 – Social = d10 If you gonna sucker me into a game you gotta have great artwork and PDs cover nails it for me. Its clean and simple, has a dragon sleeping on a pile of loot, immediately starts my imagination running, and having read and played the game captures th feel of PD perfectly. Man, even the font used to write “Dungeon” is crazy good. But what’s inside? In 50 pages, there are 15 (16 as one is repeated) pieces of artwork including the cover. Of those I adore 3 of them (4 as one is repeated) and most of the rest are fine. To me the ratio of art to pages is just right. Each is perfectly placed, cover – draws you in, part of 4 at character creation, party of 3 at a dungeon’s entrance, a battle field at the combat section, a pickie of each class and race, a treasure chest and coins (I’ll let you guess), and a skeleton warrior to start the monster section. All pieces are black and white. This is small press after all but the author has chosen wisely. Being pickie, the class/race illustrations are the weakest but are very old school and some I like, it’s just the Halfling that seems out of place being a different style (but that’s just me). Otherwise, organisation is top notch, rules as written just flow (despite character “creation” being after the main rules). There’s no index, but being 42 pages of actual rules you don’t need one (even with my aged memory cells). There are a lot of tables and even they appeal. So much so I adopted a similar appearance for an Operators Manual I’m currently writing at work. I reckon the boss is going to say “What the” (tempted as I was I didn’t use the font nor red) but honestly the tables shine which is good as there are 68 (my count) of them – which includes the stats for the Giant Badger on page 4 (nice touch). The one page character sheet has everything. Clear, concise, nice font choice, and the same standard three colours used throughout the rules, red, black and grey. I have just realised have to ask the author why the attribute d4 is coloured grey … When you buy the pdf you get a choice of black (& grey) and white, or the colour (adds red option). It won’t be taxing on the printer either way but I plan on buying a softcopy (or two) when they are released. We’re up to version 1.3 of the rules but the author is finalising that as I write. Because of the early release and having an active Google+ community it’s been a community effort to ensure the rules are error free. Not that there were many to begin with but the approach I think has ensured we get a quality product. Part 3 – PD Mind = d10 Rules, are they old school? No, but they definitely capture the feel of old school. There are 4 attributes (I hope you guessed Body, Mind, Soul, and Social) that cover all the bases but it’s not 3d6 (or even 2d6) a “polyhedral” represents the attribute (aka Savage Worlds or Cortex). Not only that, in the Basic Rules (what I’m reviewing) you don’t even choose what attribute gets what. Nope, choose your race/class (Cleric, Dwarf, Elf, Fighter, Halfling, Magic User, Rogue – that’s old school) and that determines your attributes (initially ranging from a d4 to a d8, and can be improved with experience make that brownie points). What you do get to choose is you starting 3 Talents and 200 coins to buy equipment (but even equipment selection is semi-predefined if you choose). Talents? They’re like edges, feats, or spells. Spells? Yes, no half you basic rulebook taken up with spell lists here. A Magic User for example can choose from detect magic, familiar, invisibility, light sprite (light) lightning bolt, magic armour, sleep, speed, and summon monster. What? That’s it? Yep. But, each Talent can be improved with experience brownie points which breaking right down means it gets better. In the advanced rules there will be more Talents (and spells) but honestly you can simply make you own. This is again where despite being modern, PD Basic is very old school – if you want something, just make it. So long as you have some familiarity with tabletops RPGs, you could come up with any Talent (spell/power) and it will be fine. You want break a thing trust me. You may tweak it but it won’t be broken. This is one of the part of the magic of PD, don’t like it? Change it. Want more? Add it. You’re encouraged to do so. It’s part of its design and it’s designed well. The other races/classes have their own Talents//Powers, and some can choose from other races/classes, so it’s not just magic, everyone one gets their selection of “things”. This simple/fast character creation system makes it perfect for one shots. The rules are truly so simple that so long as the one person running the show has a good grasp on them, no else needs to know diddly squat. At the very lowest level, choose a race/class and 3 Talents (non-human races get 1 or 2 predefined choices), here’s you equipment and we’re off (in 15 minutes). But how do I play? Simple, choose an attribute that is appropriate to what you are trying to achieve (e.g. Physical combat = Body, Detect someone sneaking = Mind, Convince the bouncer to let you into the club = Social) and roll that die vs your opponents die or a difficulty assigned by the DM/GM (e.g. Easy d4, Nearly Impossible = d12) and highest roll wins. If its combat, roll you damage die (based on weapon used) vs. armour die (based on armour worn) and a positive is the number of wounds a character takes. Unlike D&D HP system, PD has wound and strain. I won’t go into the details but each wound and strain means a -1 to your roll. This means as soon as you are wounded or strained (stress, fatigue, etc.) you can’t do things as easily as you once could. It has a spiral effect, so a key to survival is avoid or remove wounds ASAP. The four stats even without further explanation would cover most bases, but the author has included rules that cover actions, movement, encumbrance, advantage, communication, help from others, multiple cations, sneaking, opening doors, searching, falling, damaged items, poisons, paralysis, elemental damage, disease, followers, and alignment in 5 pages! And it makes sense! What about long term campaigns? Well PCs get those experience brownie points which can be used to save their skin (re-roll, add one to a roll, negate a wound, etc.) or can be saved to improve an attribute, an existing talent, or learn a new talent. The advanced rules will give more options but it seems easy enough to come up with your own and or steal ideas from other games.
There are 7 pages that cover Gear and Loot which includes magic items (17 of to get you started) and 6 pages covers monsters. Two of these pages summarise 40 monsters in a table (one row) per monster which are all familiar to any old school player. Then there’s a short table that presents monster Talents. In these few pages you can easy make any equivalent monster from any old school module. Not only that, there is good advice on Boss monsters meaning even veterans of the game will never know what to expect. You an even give them brownie points (recall – re-roll, negate wounds, etc.) something normal monsters can’t do. Part 4 – Body = d10 I took a pdf copy of B2 Keep on the Borderlands (RPGNow purchase), converted it to PD, and ran it with one player maintaining 4 characters. I could have done the conversion as I ran it – honest. Look up monster in table – done! OK, being familiar with poisons/acid/paralysis stuff would help but really it’s so easy just to jump in and do it. I did actually do some prep, and of that the most useful was a GM screen, homemade, cut and pasted from the pdf, but I looked at it maybe once? In 2 to 3 hours we introduced the characters, the campaign, mingled at the keep, and made a foray into the Caves of Chaos that finished with 5 physical and one social (leave or we’ll kill you) encounters. The rules are so simple (yet cover everything) you don’t even notice they exist. It’s a game that encourages you not to look it up, but make it up, and does it so well. I’m in a pit how do I get out? With rope roll body vs d4, without its body vs d10 (10 second decision). The kobold is behind cover what’s the rule? There is one but given I allow you to hit when you roll equal to your opponent, because he has cover you will now miss (Not in the rules as written, but worked, and took what? 10 seconds). What’s the range of lightning bolt? I dunno, but given you can see him that’s fine be me (5 seconds). Part 5 – Soul – d10 (edging a d12) Overall I give PD a d10 out of a possible d12 (d20 reserved for monsters after all). Depending on your need, once the Judges Guide with examples is out, not to mention the advanced rules and the extra options to be found therein, I can see this easily being a d12. It absolutely smashes one of the design goals of being one shot suitable whilst providing all the old school troupe. On top of that it can easy succeed as continuing campaign suitable in its current (Basic) form with characters able to improve attributes and talents, and learn new talents. This can only be enhanced with the author’s future plans involving advanced rules, different settings (e.g. modern) that will be designed to be interchangeable. Is it perfect? No, but its close. My playing group for example is not going to replace 5E with PD. But I will introduce it to them whenever I can and that’s the beauty – after x months they can’t recall the rules. After 10 minutes, it will be what rules? In fact my pan to introduce my son to RPGs with S&W or AGE has now been compromised. PD is my game of choice. I should point out that despite my praises, I think initially it might hard for a RPG noob to pick up PD and run with it. After I bought it I read it, then read it, then went o Google+ and asked the author a few questions, then read it again, asked more questions, more reading, and more questions. Then during the play test my friend asked questions I hadn’t thought of! It’s not that the rules as written are bad. They explain everything just the way they are written. In my case I just had to do away with preconceived ideas and what I was used to before I got it. Your mileage on that will vary. What does help is the fact it’s a 50 page rule book (including character sheet, cover, and some blank pages for house rules and campaign notes). If you are not sure read it again, but once you have it you won’t forget. The biggest assistance to the refactoring of my preconceived ideas was discovering PDs Google+ community. The author to date has answered all my questions on a daily basis. He is a one man show, with a day job, yet still finds the time to answer my questions which if I simply read what was written I needn’t have asked in the first place. Hats off to (Roy) actually James but I have a Led Zeppelin theme going here. Once the Judges Guide is out which will contain among other things examples of play, I/we should be able to leave James alone to get on and produce more. Given what I/we have in PD, that’s what I want (Please Sir, may I have some more?) Do I need to add a disclosure at this point? I don’t know the author from a bar of soap (he’s answered every of mine on question on Google+ though) and I never got a free copy for this review. I do however intend to buy all future PD publications. PD Basic has wet my whistle and I hunger for more. "Leaves are falling all around, it's time I was on my way. Thanks to you, I'm much obliged for such a pleasant stay. But now it's time for me to go.” PS – If you like this review I’m happy to ditch my day job and write more, I just need to feed the family is all, so …



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Polyhedral Dungeon
by Thomas L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/19/2016 07:34:45

Picked this up on a whim when looking for a system that was crunchier than Dungeon World & Simple D6, but fluffier than Pathfinder and D&D.

A quick rundown of some points about the system

  • Really great mechanics; roll attribute dice + modifiers against a GM roll (d4 for easy, d6 for normal, d8 for difficult, etc).
  • Characters have talents that cover everything from skills to spells. Using talents causes strain (fatigue) on characters.
  • Combat causes wounds to each of the four attributes, adding negative modifiers to rolls until healed/rested.
  • Monster stats are one liners, and fairly easy to make up new ones on the fly as needed.

Overall its a great system if you want to get that old school feeling! The corebook is short at ~50 pages, but covers all the important points. Your players would pick up everything they need to understand in about 10 minutes, so perfect for oneshots or convention games. The one thing Id like to see is maybe a short example of combat, though really its undeeded! Plenty of room to drop in your favorite mechanics from other games if you need (And even includes a blank page for houserules)

Cant wait to see more from the developers in the future!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Polyhedral Dungeon
by umberto p. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/18/2016 08:55:09

Really nice game! It only needs some examples or play (task resolution and combat).



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Graveyard at Lus
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/18/2016 00:39:53

This is a very useful product for virtually any science-fiction game, though since it was designed in particular for the White Star RPG those who use different systems may have to do some conversion work on their own.

Most of the product is a series of tables for generating starship "graveyards," (i.e., the debris left over from starship battles). This immediately provides an interesting campaign idea for a game where the PCs are salvagers, and campaigns utilizing other themes can also benefit greatly from this material--a wrecked fleet of starships provides the perfect "dungeon in space," and gamemasters will receive a wealth of information regarding the creatures and hazards contained within such an environment.

As such, I consider it an excellent supplement. It is full of ideas and material than an enterprising game master can make use of, and as an added bonus contains new starships, starship modifications and alien species. It is, by far, the best supplement for the White Star RPG that I have seen, and with a little work it will work well with other systems, too.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Graveyard at Lus
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Double Feature Charity Module: Erik Jensen's Bonespur Glacier and Jason Paul McCartan's The Tomb of Bashyr PWYW
by Sophia B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/21/2015 15:05:59
http://dieheart.net/double-feature

A while ago Erik Jensen asked for reviews and I foolheartedly promised one. So today let’s talk about the module with the long name Double Feature Charity Module: Erik Jensen’s Bonespur Glacier and Jason Paul McCartan’s The Tomb of Bashyr. I’m no old school Grognard (what’s the female version anyway?) so I’m looking at this from the perspective of someone who has come to the OSR in the 2010’s. Thus, I can’t compare the product with original (1st edition) D&D adventures as I’ve never played them.

This post will contain spoilers! I haven’t played the modules, these are my impressions from reading.

The modules are written for OSRIC but can of course be used with other old-school D&D games.

Erik Jensen’s Bonespur Glacier

This one is all about a Nordic vibe with polar bears, a crystal dragon, and a lost princess who is frozen in ice. It’s presented matter-of-factly. There are points of interests, factions and things to do, but there is no overarching theme. Thus, it feels a bit disjointed to me. Also, the factions are all isolated and there is no conflict between them, so there isn’t the immediate benefit of trying to play them against each other or finding allies against other factions. However, there are many interesting ideas here. Outside of the glacier you can find the camp of the Val-Kar (polar bears FTW!). Inside you will find the criminal Rime-Singers which are led by a female werefox. She seeks an ancient magic device. The next point of interest is the lost princess, now a ghost that haunts the caverns. She was locked away and guarded, it is unknown why. The players can also encounter Gallia, a crystal dragon who has dug her lair into one part of the glacier. I like how the author doesn’t automatically assume that she has to be a foe and players can barter with her.

There are also some funny bits. I like that one random encounter can be a white pudding which masquerades as snow or that there may be ice-pirates.

All in all, a lot of intriguing ideas, a nice map by MonkeyBloodDesign and great illustrations by Kairul Hisham to convey the icy motif but it could be a bit more coherent. But perhaps this kind of presentation is typical for 1e?

Jason Paul McCartan’s The Tomb of Bashyr

This is more of a classic/standard dungeon crawl, complete with Goblins. The map is very linear. The tomb is only detailed in the first level. If your players descend to the 2nd floor the Game Master will need to come up with her own design or find another module to add. The nice thing about this is that this is easy to plug into an ongoing fantasy world/campaign as it’s so full of typical tropes. Generally, this is a deadly crawl with lots of traps and secret doors. I like that the author included some puzzles into the dungeon.

Altogether, I found the theme a bit bland as it’s so standard (a tomb, Goblins, traps) and the maps are too linear to be inspiring, but the deadliness of the traps and the puzzles can sure be fun (at least for the Game Master).

Again, wonderful illustrations, this time by Jason Sholtis.

Look and Feel

A very professional product with great illustrations and a nice cover image. The cartography by Glynn Seal looks very sweet. The layout is clear and makes good use of boxed text, headers, font style and is set off with red as contrast. This is very well done.

Verdict

You can’t beat the price for free (with a tip jar) and furthermore the project was done for a good cause. I can’t say if the adventures meet the criterion of “first edition feel” lacking experience in this regard but they certainly feel old-school to me. Both modules are written in a clear-cut style. I didn’t feel like crucial information was hidden away. The first one feels a bit more unique to me. The second one is very deadly. Please give the product a try and maybe donate some money.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Double Feature Charity Module: Erik Jensen's Bonespur Glacier and Jason Paul McCartan's The Tomb of Bashyr PWYW
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The Graveyard at Lus
by Steven W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/06/2015 18:00:29

OK so, RPGNOW ate my review...

In summary, good product, new spaceship gear and new alien races, good random system to randomly generate a space graveyard

For me, I would have liked to see a few random tables or suggestions on why the PCs are hexcrawling (looking for fuel? following a distress call?), random treasure, random "what's in this spacesuit corpses pockets"



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Graveyard at Lus
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Creator Reply:
Steven, Thank you so much for the review. The stuff that you mentioned liking to see was consider for inclusion in the core book, but it was felt that the reasons for players being on the crawl should be left up to the Referee, and any particular explorations that occur while on other starships or found treasure should also be left up to the Referee, as there\'s a lot of variance in how people run campaigns. The purpose of the book was to be highly focused and do a very specific thing. However, in the free upcoming Expansions for TGAL, there is additional optional content being provided which may include elements along those lines as it bolts on lots of optional content for the White Star RPG as well as TGAL.
VS1 - The Caves of Ortok - Swords & Wizardry Edition
by matthew j. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/06/2014 19:10:30

Great little introductory adventure. This one is stated for S&W and included a fool page if pregens and two new monsters to torture players with. The adventure covers a variety of monsters to defeat and a couple of puzzles to overcome. Overall, a nice set up for the adventure and a well done adventure.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
VS1 - The Caves of Ortok - Swords & Wizardry Edition
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