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The Ruins of Old Soguer
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/05/2013 06:56:45
Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2013/02/05/tabletop-review-the-rui-
ns-of-old-soguer-4e/

The Ruins of Old Soguer (pronounced so’-qwair according to the adventure text) is an adventure for Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition for characters of levels 10-11. It is a location-based adventure that is part of a larger campaign called The Heir of Soguer, but can be a standalone adventure as well.

The story begins when the young heir to the defunct Kingdom of Soguer has conquered one of the counties of that kingdom. When he asked the local religious leader to coronate him as the next king so that he can reunite the kingdom, they refused. A vision had told the priests that he could not be king until his grandfather’s sword and crown were recovered. The adventure starts when a call goes out for heroes to recover the sword and crown from the ruins of the kingdom’s old capital city. The heroes (i.e. the PCs) must travel to the city and bring back the artifacts.

The premise is very simple and straightforward. Because of that, this adventure could be dropped into just about any campaign setting. All you need is an area with a kingdom that has fallen apart and needs to be reunited. With the level of this adventure set at 10-11, this adventure could be a capstone adventure for a heroic-tier campaign set around this ruined kingdom.

The adventure seems reasonably well written, but one thing that turned me off a little bit is the overall amateurish look of the adventure. The artwork is cartoony and the monster stat blocks do not follow the 4e monster stat block formatting. The stat blocks are all green without the organization by action type common in 4e.

Speaking of stat blocks, there are very few in this adventure, so anyone running it has to do some homework to have the stats for each creature on hand while running the adventure. I am sure the authors did not want to violate copyright law by writing down official 4e stats for these monsters, but they could have created their own tweaked versions of these monsters. This adventure would be much more useful if stat blocks for creatures were included.

Some of the monsters chosen are not good choices for a 10-11th level adventure. In one case, a group of 5th level monsters are used when level appropriate minions would have been better. In another spot, a level 22 standard monster was used as a solo creature. The authors could have created a 13th level solo version of this creature. In the former case, the 5th level monsters have defenses and attack bonuses too low to be of any threat to the PCs, and in the latter case, the 22nd level monster would have defenses and attack numbers too high for the encounter to be interesting. For example, a typical 10th level PC has an attack bonus around +15-16, and would need an 18 or 19 to hit this monster. Most 4e players do not like missing that much. One of the custom monsters in the adventure has a similar AC.

Now let’s look closer at the adventure itself. The adventure is broken down into three parts:

Part 1: The Journey to Soguer
Part 2: The Ruins of Old Soguer
Part 3: The Fall of Soguer

Part 1 has the PCs travel down a river and through a swamp to get to the ruined city. This is a short section with only a couple encounters. The first thing that stands out to me here is that there is only one way given to reach the city of Soguer. It seems that, if this city were the kingdom’s capital in the lifetime of the young heir’s grandfather, there should be some roads going there also. If I were going to run this adventure, I would expand on the area and provide alternate routes for the party to reach the city.

Part 2 is the heart of the adventure. It details the ruins of the old city and the dangerous monsters that have taken up residence since its fall. This is my favorite part of the adventure. This part could even be taken out and used for a generic ruined city in any campaign setting. This part takes up about half of the adventure text, and overall is very well done (except for the previously mention problems with the monster selections and stat blocks). There is sufficient detail for a sandbox exploring of the city without any mission for the PCs beyond treasure hunting.

Part 3 is the climax of the adventure, and has the PC travel to the land of the dead to retrieve the deceased king’s sword and crown. This is an interesting twist that should be very unexpected by the players involved in the adventure. The final confrontation with the king gives the PCs the option of a skill challenge to convince him to relinquish his sword and crown, or if that fails (or the PCs decide not to use that option), they can fight him (and his dragon).

At the end of the adventure there is a new magic item: The Flask of Renewal. This item gives you the option of drinking a small sip each day to act as a healing potion, or draining the entire thing for a huge healing boost once, but it ceases to function. I give them a thumbs up for this nice little item.

In summary, there is a lot to like in this adventure. Especially for someone like me that likes to take general story ideas and pieces of adventure and mash them together with pieces of other adventures. However, whether it is run like that or as intended, it will require some DM work to pull monster stats (which is not too hard to do if you have a DDi account) and redesign a few encounters to make them more level appropriate.

The price tag of $7.99 seems a little steep for this adventure, especially with the release of official 4e adventure PDFs through www.dndclassic.com for around the same price, and older edition adventures that could be converted for a lower price, but in the end I would recommend it since it is a decent adventure for under ten bucks

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Ruins of Old Soguer
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks so much for the thoughtful and thorough review. -Adam
Anointing the Seer - 4th Edition D&D adventure
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/18/2012 06:21:45
Billing itself as a 'dark fairy tale character-driven dungeon-crawl for characters of 13th level'... it then goes on to say that it's actually for 5th-level characters (?) and sets the scene of a popular temple being invaded mid-ceremony by an evil warlock pronouncing curses left, right and centre. Understandably, everyone fled (or tried to) and the cry has gone up for some brave souls to venture in to the now-dangerous temple to set matters to rights.

The adventure is set in the Soralic Lands, publisher Unicorn Rampant's own campaign world, but despite some detailed background ought not to be too difficult to transplant elsewhere if preferred. Whilst detailed, the background can be retooled, and as it sets the scene admirably, do make the effort if you are running this in your own campaign setting. It gives good reasons for everything that's taken place and is going to happen, and motivations to the main players... overall a beautiful piece of work.

Various suggestions are given as to how to get the characters involved in the action. Once they're hooked, their first task is to get in to the temple, rescue those trapped therein and restore order. The temple in question is located in a small village, minimally described although there's a list of inhabitants. Or at least, the ones who are still there - most of them were attending the ceremony and never returned, and now there is a great tangle of thorns preventing access to the temple! Once the characters have got inside, there's quite a mess to clear up as well as some intruders to defeat. This part of the adventure is combat-oriented in the main, but with some interesting features and good reason...

Once order has been restored, the characters will be able to find out what took place, and that their task is not yet done - there are kidnapped people and stolen items to recover, not to mention dealing with those behind the whole sorry affair. In true traditional fairy-tale style, this will involve a journey to several locations. A nice feature is that there are several incidental (or are they?) encounters and quests along the way, each clearly if briefly described.

The three primary locations are also detailed, and give the impression that they are there anyway, rather than just for the purposes of the adventure, with inhabitants going about their own affairs. This adds to the air of alternate reality, that this whole adventure is occurring in a real place, disrupting the lives of the locals just as much as it's providing an opportunity for adventure to the characters. There are opportunities for action other than combat, such as a chance to persuade one of the perpetrators to seek redemption, some of which are set up as formal encounters to aid in resolution.

The final climatic encounter is just that, and should prove fruitful inspiration for many a bard's tale to come. The good thing is that, again, it's not just a set piece brawl with the big bad guy... there's a complex to explore and all the other denizens, happy about their own business, to deal with before you get to him... and even then there are opportunities to do other than attack (although it will probably come to that in the end).

Overall, it's a well-presented adventure, which will let the characters feel that they have really accomplished something and done some good to a community that has the potential to come to life as a part of your shared alternate reality. Although you have all you need to play this out, including plenty of detail on characters, background and motivations, it is a little short on 'atmospheric' descriptions, so it will be up to you to make the setting come alive - but well worth the effort to make this well-construted and rounded adventure become memorable!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Anointing the Seer - 4th Edition D&D adventure
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Claw / Claw / Bite Issue 18
by Billiam B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/14/2011 06:41:34
A really nice mix of the old and new!
I especially enjoyed the article on the very practical DIY Dungeons: Terrain Tiles on the Cheap which included photographs to illustrate.
As a bit of an old-schooler and nostalgia reader it was really nice to see classic AD&D module Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth getting a mention with regard to adapting old modules for 3-4th editions (including some stats).
The layout is very easy on the eye and design to be read on the monitor (portrait) the text being a large enough size to read without zooming - well thought out. I'm guessing it also looks good on a tablet computer - relatively high contrast might mean it'd look just as good on a b/w e-reader. The articles are short enough for to dip in and out at leisure.
If you've been following the D&D side of the hobby for quite few years but like to play newer systems as well, Claw / Claw / Bite is definitely worth that spare $3.

Bb
http://bit.ly/rpgblog


(Free review copy)

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Claw / Claw / Bite Issue 18
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Claw / Claw / Bite Issue 18
by Robert O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/12/2011 11:41:43
Usually do not play d20, but I am always eager to get new NPC or item ideas. And for sure, You can find nice stuff in it. But what I lika most is new campaign setting.
At the first glance You think "world without sun and moon" - nothing new. But then, when You read setting from Erin, You become more and more surprised. In positive way.
Erin do not write about phisics. She focus on positive and negative aspects of the world and their influence on people. And PCs also. I love idea about fighting in night, cause it is more brutal. I love idea about... making love during the lunch :) And influence of aspects on Undead creatures in the world.
Setting description is short, but full of ideas. 100 % inspiring!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Tailslap issue 1
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/22/2010 19:12:02
Tailslap from Unicorn Rampant Publishing aims to join the growing ranks of third-party 4e magazines. Although issue 1 does show some promise, Unicorn Rampant will need to improve the quality significantly in order to gain and hold readers, especially if the price of an issue of Tailslap remains the same as an issue of the much more professional Level Up from Goodman Games.

Issue 1 of Tailslap features two encounter areas (one combat-oriented, one skill-oriented), some feats, some powers, a couple of paragon paths, several magic items, and a new race tied to the most substantial offering in the magazine, a region usable in pretty much any campaign set in the far north (or far south) of the campaign world.

The first encounter area—I won't say too much about it in case potential players read this review—is okay and evocative, but not great. The map is a rough sketch without a superimposed grid. Several new stat blocks are included. I found the other encounter area, the one oriented toward a skill challenge, more interesting.

The feats article essentially broached the subject of "multiracing," if you will. Your character might not be half-elven, but might still manifest an elven trait due to interbreeding farther back in the family tree. However, the execution was a little disappointing. I had a hard time imagining myself taking one of these feats instead of a normal feat. Also, the feats were written in a nonstandard format, and some didn't actually work as written. For example, one of the halfling feats is "Just a Little More - Daily, Free Action - Add +1 to one roll that you just failed." That +1 would be meaningless as a free action; it needs to be an immediate interrupt to make any difference. Almost all of the feats granted a power, but none of the powers were written up in power-type stat blocks.

That formatting decision held true for the article on wizard powers and paragon paths as well. Although the article presented several powers, and included the elements powers should have, the powers weren't laid out in the familiar stat block format. While the paragon paths presented had decent "fluff," the "crunch" blurred the lines between class roles somewhat more than I'd like to see. For example, the Thrall of Graz'zt 11th level feature is basically an arcane version of sneak attack with a 1d8 damage bonus, encroaching on the features of sorcerers and warlocks. (I also recommend that the author learn and respect the difference between a "tenant" and a "tenet.")

I liked the Naahaogo race okay, if you need goat-men instead of minotaurs in your campaign setting. Here again I would prefer to see stat blocks formatted in the customary way.

Overall, my reaction to Tailslap #1 was a shrug and a "Meh." It wasn't great; it wasn't awful. It's certainly not on the same level as Kobold Quarterly or Level Up, though it's priced the same as a PDF-only issue of Level Up (twice as much as a physical copy of Level Up). If the authors and editors will ratchet up the quality a few notches, Tailslap could mature into a good magazine. As it stands, it's just okay.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Tailslap issue 1
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Anointing the Seer - 4th Edition D&D adventure
by Rex B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/21/2010 13:34:07
Unicorn Rampant is one fairly new of the up and coming publishing companies. The publish a e-zine called, Claw, Claw Bite and have a variety of different products.

The author begins with this explanation of the events that have unfolded before the players arrive on the scene.

"A new priestess at a flourishing temple, renowned for it's high priest's abilities as an augury, and lays a curse on all there. A call goes out for some brave souls who must enter the now dangerous temple, discover the nature of the woe laid upon the priestess and set all to right. Before all is done, they will face a witch and her minions, a warlock in his aerie and a dragon in it's lair. This adventure is designed for 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons characters of 5th level."

Here is a partial synopsis of the adventure backdrop, which is necessary for a full understanding of the goals and plot line that the game master needs to know:

"Nearly forty years ago just outside the tiny village of Gomaton a priest of St Cuthbert, led by a vision from his god, established a temple. Built quickly (in a mere five years) the temple soon gained a reputation for the propheticness and accuracy of it's founder's visions.
For this reason the temple came to be known as The Seat of the Seer. During this time the growing clergy of the temple aggressively converted the townsfolk to the worship of St Cuthbert. This angered the local wise woman, a druid and witch who lived south of Gomaton and had been the hamlet's spiritual advisor. She came into conflict with the church and was demonized by them. Cast out of the community, and with bitterness in her heart she moved into the dark and quiet arm of the Verdant wood to the west."

They provide this brief history of how one of the primary NPCs came into being:

"At the same time a Green Dragon named Othokentvivex (Oath-kent-viv-ex) who lived deeper in the woods was awakening from a decades-long slumber during which he had sloughed off younger scales and grown to a mature adulthood. One of his new powers was the ability to take on the form of almost any creature. Curious to see his woods through eyes that would not cause those he met to flee in terror, he began taking the form of the races he met in the woods: the trolls, giants, fey, and finally the humans. Disguised as a human and calling himself Victor he met the wise woman from the village while she
wandered the woods. Othokentvivex found in her bitterness and anger a kindred spirit. She herself likewise became very interested in this wise and mysterious stranger she kept meeting in the woods. He found her by far the most interesting creature in the wood and meeting her again and again learned much about the humans nearby from her while nurturing her malice against them. They spent much of a spring and summer together, eventually becoming lovers. As autumn approached the Dragon, never having revealed his true nature, lost interest in this human woman and spent the next seasons in slumber, dreaming of gathering all the riches the humans had. The next spring, alone in her hut, she gave birth to a male child she named Anduix."

Here are the possible adventure hooks to get the characters involved in the story:

● One character was romantically interested in
or involved with the priestess and hears that
the temple has been attacked.
● The players have been asked by the church to
travel to Gomaston and save the cathedral.
● Erathis is angered at her temple being
violated and grants a vision to one of the
party members.
● The players may need some type of divination
and are sent to the Seat of the Seer only to
discover that the new Seer has been kidnaped.
● A bard's tale of the attack on the temple reaches the party.

The layout, art and cartography are all very good. You will have no problem following the adventure as your players explore and investigate the details, on their way to a conclusion. The adventure has an innovative plot that serves as a backdrop for the triggered events. Each section is well organized with the encounters and statistics needed for a game master to interact logically with the characters as they make their investigation. This investigation leads them to the final section and the conflict with the Big Bad. They may actually redeem the soul of an individual who has known only bitterness and evil. This is a most admirable goal for a group that seeks to defeat evil!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Anointing the Seer - 4th Edition D&D adventure
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Tales of Horror [BUNDLE]
by Rex B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/13/2009 05:39:21
All of the products in this bundle are of good quality, easy to use in gaming situations and have interesting stories behind them. Each product has a unique concept that sets it apart from the others. All of the authors, artists and editors have put a good effort into these publications.
If you and your players like horror stories and challenging situations with plot twists, you will enjoy this bundle of horrific adventures!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tales of Horror [BUNDLE]
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What's Mine's Yours
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/05/2009 04:39:36
What's Mine's Yours is a short 8 page introductory adventure for 1st level characters. This product utilises the 4e GSL gaming system, and sees the characters become involved in Guild activities in the Fort Wood area where they discover things far more sinister work than meet the eye. This adventure is also the first in a campaign/adventure path called Points of the Compass, though no material for this has been released as yet. New adventures are being planned for release over the next year or so that will guide the players through a campaign to challenge the gods.

This product comes as a single pdf file with a neat cover and overall a good presentation. Cover artwork is appealing, and presents a professional look to the product. The interior contains one piece of good artwork, and also contains several battlemap representations of each combat encounter, as well as an overland map of the area around Fort Wood. The latter has a fairly heavy grid in place, making it difficult to read the names on the map without squinting at the screen. Bordering in the product is fairly heavy, making printing a little ink intensive - a printer friendly version would've been welcome. Writing and editing is fair - in places the writing isn't too coherent and feels cumbersome. I think the product in general could've used better organisation, particularly if this is to be the start of a new campaign. Overall, a fair to good presentation if a little rough around the edges.

The adventure takes place in the town of Fort Wood, a town heavily influenced by the mining activities of the Guild. Here the PCs are approached to investigate a kobold occupation of an important mine, but soon find that things are not as they seem and the tables are turned on the PCs fairly quickly. The adventure material provides useful guidance in getting the party organised as well as leading the PCs through the various parts of the adventure. However, I think that the material is lacking in certain areas, particularly as the course of this adventure can be fairly open. A little more information on exactly what happens if the PC decide to take certain actions would've been useful. If felt like the entire section where the PCs return from the mine was rushed, and certain encounters could've use a little more exposition.

The adventure ending is also a little unsatisfying - a kind of 'too bad, you lose' scenario. While there is no way of knowing what's happening in the next adventures in this campaign, it would've been good to know, otherwise the ending is a little hollow. The adventure as much says that there's nothing the PCs can do about the ending, which doesn't make for heroic gaming or any sense of satisfaction. That said, I think the idea of the adventure has a lot of merit and I liked the concept behind this adventure. There's a lot to work with and it's not something you see in everyday adventures published making the concept fairly unique. It's the lacklustre execution that could've use a more polish to make this adventure stronger and place it on a firmer base within the scope of a campaign and as a starting adventure. I just can't see this adventure hooking players to continue with the campaign.

The adventure contains a good mix of roleplaying and combat encounters, and there is some good variety and creativity in setting up the encounters. Plenty of opportunity has been included for skill challenges, and the encounter and challenge variety is varied. Overall, the thing I liked most about the adventure was the concept, because it's something you can really get stuck into. At the same time, it wasn't the best execution, leaving a few gaps and holes in the adventure that are difficult to fill. Worth a look at if you're after something different, but at the same time it's almost best to wait and see where the next adventures lead. Fair product from Unicorn Rampant Publishing and Inverspace Press.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
What's Mine's Yours
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Claw / Claw / Bite Issue 6 - 2nd Printing
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/17/2009 08:29:58
This issue specialises somewhat in matters magical, with spells and items in profusion. But first, the usual assortment of characters, beginning with a rather fine orc swordsman who could prove a challenging foe or an unusual ally. The other three are mages (2 wizards and a diviner), complete with doctored photos which look vaguely familiar... Both mages are high-powered older wizards with a fine record of achievement in spell researcj and item design, the sort of people to whom you might take a thorny magical problem or even approach for some advanced training, if you could persuade them to teach you. Usful NPCs for any campaign that has an organised and academic approach to magic.

The location, Onuago, is drawn from the publisher's adventure Horror of the Old Ones, but there is plenty of detail - and action - here even if you do not have or do not want to use the adventure in full. In fact, there's two locations if your characters want to help one of the locals launch his boat... although they may regret it!

There's a brief mention of a new race, the Wyndm-folk, which doesn't really supply enough information to make them more than a rumour, then we move on to magic items. A nasty axe with a habit of chopping off limbs, a spike which enlarges in response to ambient magical activity, a purse that aids you in haggling and other items of greater or lesser usefulness are listed. There's a single spell, an unsuccessful attempt by an aging wizard to prolong his life, which has some interesting applications, and a creature/template - the begotten of the old ones - which features in the encounter notes presented earlier.

Overall, the expected collection of useful snippets to drop into your own games. The encounter lacked a map, but probably doesn't need one. Enjoy!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Claw / Claw / Bite Issue 6 - 2nd Printing
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Claw / Claw / Bite Issue 5 - 2nd Printing
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/15/2009 13:52:15
This issue contains a motley collection of useful material for anyone interested in Dungeons & Dragons 3e, and indeed is intended to gather the best spells, characters and other ideas gathered on the publisher's website and present it in a readily-useable form.

It starts off with a spell called Studied Divination. Now, divination can be a bit of a pain to the DM, but this particular spell has a lot of potential. To start with, it's not a flash-bang spell, the caster has to dedicate a lot of time and study, and then what he gets for his effort is no more than vague hints and portents. True role-players might want to put in the time, or it could be used by an NPC diviner who gives - or sells - the insights he's gained to the character. It won't give you the winning lottery numbers either, but might give warning of crop failures or dragon incursions in the future.

Next is a collection of flavour-full characters, the sort that would make genuinely annoying NPCs to have hanging around somewhere the character frequent. One sings and struts his stuff and basically is a kind of mediaeval Elvis... with pointy ears. If the DM has ever fancied himself as an Elvis impersonator he has his opportunity here. There's also a mad monk, a druid with a water-mad wolf familiar, a street urchin who peddles his own brand of religion, a bard who likes to perform in a chicken suit, and a half-orc who enjoys starting brawls!

A magic item for teachers and shopkeepers and anyone else plagued by those darn kids follows, the Paddle of Punishment. Those inclined to more extreme bedroom sports might also find this of use...

Most folk find extreme cold enough of a hardship, but this issue's monster - a 40-ft glacial frost worm - will put the seal on things, particularly if you hear it emit its trill... which freezes you to the spot while it ambles up to have a snack!

The issue concludes with a description of a woodland hamlet, complete with a short encounter to run when the characters visit. Religious corruption in the depths of the forest await the unwary...

Overall, it's a neat collection and most people will find something that they can use.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Claw / Claw / Bite Issue 5 - 2nd Printing
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Old Rock Tower - 4e Dungeons & Dragons Adventure
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/05/2009 09:07:16
Old Rock Tower is a 20 page 4e pdf adventure that takes the characters on an intriguing journey through an old wizard's tower. This adventure was originally released under the OGL, but has since been released under the new 4e GSL. Old Rock Tower is a location based dungeon crawl adventure, suitable for characters of 6th level. The aim of the adventure, and indeed all Unicorn Rampant's products is to provide tantalizing adventures and stories that are challenging, fun and easy to play.

Old Rock Tower comes as a single pdf file, and includes presentable front and back covers, complete bookmarks, and some fair art by Christopher Hay and Dan Smith. The adventure is written by Adam A. Thompson. As far as presentation goes, the adventure is well crafted and designed, with a decent layout and overall look. The writing and editing is good, although not all the descriptions are particularly vivid or leap out of the page. Nevertheless, some effort has gone into making this product look professional and presentable, and for that Unicorn Rampant Publishing are to be commended. A complete set of maps for all seven levels and the exterior of the tower is provided. This is probably my biggest gripe with the pdf - the maps are far too small and dark, making it really hard to discern details, encounter numbers and other features of the maps. In general the maps could've been a lot crisper but as they are, while still usable, they're fairly disappointing and unclear.

The adventure takes place in an old wizard's tower. Here the PCs are able to explore its many levels and uncover some of its magical secrets while dealing with the remnants of the wizard's legacy and some new occupants in various sections of the tower. The adventure provides a detailed background and a brief synopsis to assist the DM in running it, and provides a number of plausible plot hooks, in the form of a quest, to get the players to the old tower to start exploring it. The overall background story is fair, and the players should have an enjoyable romp through the tower, which provided both interesting special features and some challenging encounters. As they do, the adventure explores the tower's background well with the PCs, allowing them to learn the details and history of the structure and its previous occupants. This is something rarely done well in many published adventures, so I was pleased to see it here.

The tower itself consists of seven levels, each one largely built around a specific theme or a specific creature. The levels are accessible through a unusual staircase, which creates an interesting effect within the tower. Judging by the various levels in the adventure and the maps, the tower has a rather odd shape, and I wish they'd included a sideview map to indicate how the size of the different floors change as you go up the tower. Most of the creatures within the tower are standard from the core rules, but there are a few new creatures with stat blocks, including a rather unusual dire chicken! The encounters are generally well constructed, with interesting environs and challenges and a fair share of traps. For the most part though, the encounters are standard fare, although largely make sense within the confines of the adventure background and the logic of a fantastical world and wilderness.

In general this is likely to be an enjoyable adventure. I liked the concept behind the tower staircase, and the way in which the adventure led you through the tower's history and the wizard's legacy. Care has been taken to ensure the encounters in the tower make sense, which is good to see. The presentation is fair, although the maps are fairly weak and could've been clearer. I think more could've been done to spice up the backstory and some of the encounters in the tower to make it more dynamic rather than a fairly static, albeit interesting dungeon crawl. Overall, though, an enjoyable adventure.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Old Rock Tower - 4e Dungeons & Dragons Adventure
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Stealing Moments
by Doug S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/01/2008 13:20:26
I found this 24-page module to be packed with an impressive story elements. There's alot of readaloud boxes to keep the PC's engaged in the action. They also provide alot of nice maps, all made on this parchment paper, adding an authentic feel. There are lots of challnges - intricate traps, animals, elementals, and new new creatures, the begotten of the old ones and the stalling eye.

What I found most appealing about this adventure is the introduction of the Silver orb of teh Ages, a powerfull artifact that gets away from the PC's with the false party. This adventure feels very much like the first act of a larger adventure, which itself has three acts. I'm guessing the orb will show up in the next module, keeping the PC's guessing. Very nicely done! I can't wait see the next part of the trilogy!

The only downside is that the DM will probably want to make their own party of 10th level false heroes. The adventure stars a party of adventures that's alot like the PC's. This will take some work. But really, there's no reason why the false heroes need to be like the PC's, unless there's something impoertant later in the trilogy.

All in all, a great module! I'm gald it was recommended to me.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stealing Moments
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The Horror of the Old Ones
by Rex B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/29/2008 05:01:04
This product does indeed capture the theme of H.P. Lovecraft!
It'is well-thought out and well written. There are some horrible things going on here, both known and unknown to those who live and adventure in this region. The ultimate evil working behind the scenes is very much influencing the whole culture. It's like a cancer; a parasite that needs to be cauterized and eliminated, once and for all!
In the intro they say that your PCs can gain multiple levels while playing through this...Absolutely! There is a lot of gaming material here: a main storyline, side treks, with a detailed village, NPCs and history of the region.
The maps and art work are very good. You can tell that the staff at Unicorn Rampant has taken the time to put together a major effort and it's well worth the price tag. The Layout is appealing to the eye, easy to read and follow which is very important to a DM.
There is a lot of material to digest and those who run this need to know the background well, not just sections of the adventure for each week.
The only negative for me is probably a 'pet peeve' of my own. I don't like to use the future tense when describing events, i.e. "they will encounter so and so", I like to eliminate the 'wills' and such as it gets to the point more directly. I believe that this makes the text more compact and enhances the story!
If you like horror and grim situations for heroes to deal with and defeat, buy this and get ready for a ride that takes surprising twists and turns along the way!!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Horror of the Old Ones
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Claw / Claw / Bite ! Issue 10
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/31/2008 11:36:22
Claw/Claw/Bite! Issue 10 is the latest issue of this periodical from Unicorn Rampant Publishing. Each issue is produced on a monthly basis and consists of the collected d20 material posted to the clawclawbite.com website. The aim of the periodical is to provide storytellers and gamemasters with new material to enable them to create exiting and exhilarating adventures, characters and scenarios. The material contained within this product is suitable for any d20 fantasy campaign setting, and is compatible with the revised d20 core rules.

This short 20 page magazine comes as a single pdf file. Unicorn Rampant Publishing have done a fair job with the editing and layout of the product, converting the material from blog posts into the articles in this product. The general feel of the product though is one of haste, and not much care appears to have gone into the presentation of the material. There are a lot of errors in this product, both on the editing/layout fronts, but more substantially on the mechanics front.

Incorrect and incomplete mechanics abound, and some of the new mechanics is just clumsy. Sentences like 'this spell grants a 5 ft. reach bonus on all attacks' is just clumsy and confusing. Most of the stat blocks have substantial errors and many incomplete sections where, for example, the damage for an attack is missing. Consistency within the presented material is poor as well, with a variety of different stat blocks used without sticking to a consistent form. Overall, I was disappointed by the lack of care, although the few art pieces and background layout was fairly decent. Presentation and mechanical care could've been a lot better.

Despite the poor mechanical presentation, what this product does well is present a wide range of options to the reader - feats, spells, NPCs, races, locations, maps, new creatures, magical items, etc. There's something of everything in this product, even a short comic at the end, with an amusing nod to games like Angband and NetHack. The material variety succeeds at its stated intent of allowing you to expand your worlds and create something new from it. Some examples include the spell Animal Alarm, which allows you to use local animals to warn you of intruders, the deep sea gnome race, a bugbear villain and blackguard, a selection of 5th level PC stat blocks, new creatures such as the spider zombie and the neat wormhole, several new magical items like the cloak of daggers, and the walled town of Junction.

I liked most of the new material in this product. The wormhole creature was an interesting creature that can transport you to another plane if it engulfs you, I really liked the map of Junction that's provided with the product as it was realistic and well-created, and the Animal Alarm spell has some nice flavor. The remainder of the material was a bit of a mixed bag - some of it could've used a little more information, such as, for example, the classes of the members of the Council of Junction, or something on the personalities, motivations and quirks of the NPCs presented.

There's no doubt that a product like this has tremendous potential, although I felt it failed in a lot of key aspects that would make this so. A tidy up of the mechanics, a little more detail and extra information here and there, and this product would've been very good. As is, it's difficult to look past the numerous omissions. While the product says you can just use this material as is, it's not really the case. You'll need to do a lot of mechanical work, and even supply your own motivations and personalities for various NPCs.

Overall I enjoyed bits of this product, and found others disappointing. The potential for this product is very high, but the quality at present is not up to standard. There's no denying that the authors and creators of this material, and Unicorn Rampant Publishing, are a creative and dedicated company, as is evident from some of the unique and interesting material in this product. So what can one say about Issue 10 of this publication? It definitely needs more work and a tidy-up of the presentation and the mechanics, and a little bit of extra information. The uniqueness of some of the material strengthens the content overall, but I find myself hard pressed to think of a reason to use some of the other incomplete or poor mechanical material, although I liked a lot of the flavor in the product throughout, including magical items, spells, and the like. Poor execution, but good flavor, variety and elements of uniqueness.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Claw / Claw / Bite ! Issue 10
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