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Ptolus: Monte Cook's City By The Spire (Ptolus Core)
by Christopher H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/25/2009 01:32:36
It's pretty much impossible to describe all the goodness of this product in a short review—or even a long one. I have never seen any campaign setting--much less one that's really just a single city--presented with such great care and thoroughness. If you're looking for a new setting for a 3.5e d20/OGL campaign, and you're interested in urban adventures, look no further. From the gazetteer to prestige classes to new spells and monsters, this product offers incredibly rich play experiences. Malhavoc also publishes several adventures for the setting, and SkeletonKey Games offers a poster map of the city (well, if you assemble it as such after printing) and miniatures-scale map tiles especially for Ptolus. I would still be running my Ptolus campaign if I hadn't upgraded to 4e (converting or recreating Ptolus in 4e stats was far too daunting a task)--and if I ever go back to 3.5e, I'll also go back to Ptolus.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ptolus: Monte Cook's City By The Spire (Ptolus Core)
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Ptolus: Monte Cook's City By The Spire (Ptolus Core)
by J A. F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/20/2009 11:00:10
Ptolus has completely reinvigorated my campaigns. There's so much material in this book, I don't think I'll ever fully exhaust it. It's become my favorite setting and I measure all other supplements to its high standards. Ptolus works well on its own or as a drop-in into your setting of choice. There are specific adventures included and backgrounds and history for a number of 1-20 campaigns.

I've been using the PDF version for almost 2 years now as it's almost impossible to find a hardcopy version. I highly recommend checking this product out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monte Cook's Arcana Evolved
by devin m. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/16/2009 11:42:08
I found the book great as both a player and game masters aid.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monte Cook's Arcana Evolved
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Beyond Countless Doorways
by SM F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/08/2009 12:16:38
I bought this for more information on the Tiefling, and though it didn't give me exactly what I was looking for, it did give me a ton of good information on them. Well worth the price!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Beyond Countless Doorways
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Dark Tidings
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/31/2009 20:22:49
It’s always nice when Monte comes back to deliver just one more Third Edition product. While he officially retired from making new game materials a while ago, every so often he releases another product or two as it suits him. One, or rather, two such project was The Book of Experimental Might (and its sequel) which introduced a number of variant rules and new materials for 3.5. Now, Monte has released an adventure, Dark Tidings, which puts those new materials into play.

To be clear up front, Dark Tidings not only makes use of new rules from both Books of Experimental Might, but is also set within Ptolus, Monte’s City by the Spire campaign setting. Ironically, despite the fact that this adventure is made for use with the BoXM, it’s the Ptolus material that really seems more noticeable. Beyond being set within Ptolus itself, and having a number of connections to various aspects of the book, it’s written in the same style as Ptolus, where there are margins on the side of each page filled with notes, and in many cases references to particular pages or sections of Ptolus.

The adventure itself is a fairly short dungeon crawl (though there’s plenty of backstory and exposition leading up to that, along with an inspired suggestion for getting the action started immediately), where the PCs are sent on a rescue mission after a group of adventurers that went missing a little while ago. The dungeon itself is brief – less than a dozen rooms – but in true Monte style, it’s not what you’d call straightforward. There are different factions of monsters fighting over the dungeon, as well as a magical effect that’s throwing a (story-based) monkey wrench into things, all as the PCs hunt for survivors and try to get out alive themselves.

So how exactly does this book use the BoXM rules? And is it usable if you just want to run it as a “straight” 3.5 adventure? In fact, there’s really one answer to both of these questions – specifically, that there are almost no (full) stat blocks to be found here. Most of the creatures have just very brief notes regarding things like their hit points, along with specific changes from the BoXM rules (which is mostly just giving them a few extra feats). Only three characters have their full stats presented here, and it’s here that the BoXM rules are used as defaults (such as having spells re-ordered over twenty spell levels). Given that, it’s really not that difficult to use this as a normal 3.5 adventure, were you so inclined; just ignore the rules changes for most encounters, and reverse-engineer the three characters with full stat blocks (which is mostly just eliminating a few feats and giving them normal spells prepared).

When all’s said and done, my honest impression of Dark Tidings was that it really seemed to showcase Ptolus more than it did the Book of Experimental Might. The city-campaign’s trappings were layered heavily throughout the adventure, to the point where they honestly seemed to overshadow the use of the new rules from the BoXM. This isn’t to say that said new rules aren’t put to good use here – it’s just easy to lose sight of that. The problem, I think, is that the BoXM is ultimately designed with players and their PCs in mind; as such, using NPCs to showcase it doesn’t work too well – the changes are too subtle to really be noticed by anyone other than the GM, particularly in a published adventure which is giving at least some deference to being compatible with the normal 3.5 rules. I really liked Dark Tidings – it’s a good adventure, and it deserves to have full marks – but it doesn’t seem like it’s showing off the Book of Experimental Might the way it’s supposed to.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Tidings
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Mindscapes: A Psion's Guide
by Dan B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/31/2008 12:21:02
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Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mindscapes: A Psion's Guide
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When the Sky Falls
by Brian C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/27/2008 13:02:11
I greatly enjoyed this book. It takes an unused topic (a meteor strike from outer space) and does some interesting and fun things with it.

The organization of the material in the book is well thought out. The discussion of the natural effects of a meteoric impact are kept separate from the magical effects. This allows DMs using the book to use only those parts that they want to. The game material in the book is only useful for a campaign which uses the premise the book is based upon, but that it understandable. Kierran Yanner (sp?) is a favorite of mine and I think his artwork fit the theme of the book well.

I was so happy with this book that I purchased the hardcopy after buying the PDF.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
When the Sky Falls
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The Temple of Mysteries: In Media Res
by Milton S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/17/2008 17:43:59
Just GM'ed this yesterday. A real blast for both the players and GM. If you are into something a little different...

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Temple of Mysteries: In Media Res
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Earthblood
by Louis P. J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/18/2008 05:30:24
Once again Monte Cook proves why he is one of the greatest names in OGL/D20 development and creation. Monte expands the games we play in ways most people don't think of and best of all this product is for free. That is a complete win-win for anyone who picks up this product.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Earthblood
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Transcendence: An Arcana Evolved Player's Companion
by Ward M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/08/2008 14:08:10
This book is full of options for character development. Strictly speaking, the book is not necessary to run an Arcana Evolved Campaign. However, if you are hunting around for some new and different character concepts, this book might be your cup of tea.

Includes one new base class not in the main rulebook.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Transcendence: An Arcana Evolved Player's Companion
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Spell Treasury
by Ward M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/08/2008 14:04:46
Over 500 new spells for Arcana Evolved, most of which are converted from the SRD into AE terms. It will save you a lot of work trying to translate the spells yourself, so it is worth the price to me.

As a bonus, it also includes three creatures not found in the main rulebook.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Spell Treasury
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Monte Cook's Arcana Evolved
by Ward M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/08/2008 02:15:55
I need to borrow a word from across the pond to describe my reaction to this book: 'Gobsmacked.'

Quite simply, Monte Cook has changed the d20 system in ways I didn't think were possible. This is an entirely new vision of what roleplaying is and what it could be.

Old familiar (and worn-out) ideas like alignment, race, and class are turned on their heads in this book. If you are looking for something other than the usual cookie-cutter d20 product, buy this book.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monte Cook's Arcana Evolved
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Ruins of Intrigue
by Ward M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/07/2008 22:10:52
This product iswell worth the price of admission!

A quote from the free preview of this product (p. 5):

"Using Ruins of Intrigue, you can create adventures much
faster than normal. With the framework of a focused setting
to work with, you already have the supporting cast, and perhaps
even the central villains and NPCs, that you need to
create a scenario. If you lack the time needed to produce a
campaign from scratch, Ruins of Intrigue can shoulder the
creative burden, help spark ideas, and make running a game
faster and easier than ever."

This product was never designed to be an adventure module. It is designed to provide a framework which will help GM's create adventures faster. It never claimed to be an exhaustive exploration of the ruins.

If you look at the product in light of the quote I have provided above, this product is well worth the price. The web enhancements at Malhavoc's website make it even more of a bargain.


Before you ask, I don't work for Malhavoc. I am just sick of 4e and looking for a new "home". I think this campaign might be it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ruins of Intrigue
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When the Sky Falls
by Kyrinn S E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/29/2008 18:54:29
WtSF is perhaps the single finest 3.5 supplement I have purchased.

As an event-book, it offers a great depth of content and breadth of view regarding the GM's chosen version of a celestial impact, while providing some truly innovative PrCs and circumstances to stymie the PCs.
This is no mere adventure, nor is it too specific to be included in an established setting, whether published or 'homebrewed'.

Layout, artwork, and sidebar information all stitch together for a very tight package.

Really, this product is wonderful, and deserves to be praised.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
When the Sky Falls
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Ptolus: Monte Cook's City By The Spire (Ptolus Core)
by Brett G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/24/2008 22:13:15
The world of fantasy gaming may never see another setting as lovingly and richly detailed as Ptolus. Designed as the test bed for D&D 3.0/3.5, Monte Cook's creation captures the high magic atmosphere marked by wonder and mystery. A mix of urban and dungeon settings, only the inveterate wilderness wandered will ever wish to leave. Whether you intend to run the campaign itself or use it as a model for another city, Ptolus makes for a living and breathing canvas of matchless detail and originality. Details abound and yet lack incongruity as each piece fits seamlessly. Laws, taxes, government, coinage, gods, and trends are outlined and the list keeps going. Other settings address these issues as well but never with the same attention and artfulness. Lavishly illustrated and mapped with a keen eye, Ptolus is a visual extravaganza. Although Ptolus is a creature of the 3.0/3.5 D&D edition, much of the setting may be easily converted to the recent 4E release albeit with some changes in atmosphere due to how arcane casters are treated now. Dungeons that are detailed in Ptolus will require some work but the overall city setting can be used with few real changes even though it is not consistent with the 4E Point of Light meta-setting. I cannot recommened this product highly enough to any players of the 3.0/3.5 editions of D&D but anyone who appreciates lofty production values and peerless imagination should also get this product. It is the Hope Diamond of settings!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ptolus: Monte Cook's City By The Spire (Ptolus Core)
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