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Lost Spells of Canthar - 10 Necromancies
Publisher: Lost Spheres Publishing
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/28/2014 09:59:09
This is a neat selection of ten new spells from the School of Necromancy. The underlying story is of a lost ancient realn, Canthar, that was noted for the talents of its sorcerers... apparently in real life, this is a feature of the author's own campaign world, and it is a place where the brave and curious can discover new magicks. Now we too can share in them!

As befits necromantic spells, most of these are quite nasty. Some may even do harm to your alignment if you have aspirations to be good! Depending on the campaign, the GM may prefer to limit these - at least until a spellbook is found - to NPC necromancers.

One really nasty spell is Enfeeble - this reduces the target's strength and dexterity to such an extent that they can barely carry anything or even move, and requires significant healing magic to restore their abilities. Some of the spells enable the caster to either take over the body of an undead creature or to utilise its senses; while others create fear effects in their targets.

After reading this, you'll likely conclude that necromancers aren't very nice people... but you will also realise how potent they can be. A nice collection for your ever-growing spellbook.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Lost Spells of Canthar - 10 Necromancies
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Modern Ruins 4
Publisher: DramaScape
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/28/2014 08:55:55
If poking around long-ruined urban buildings is part of your story, this mapset provides a derelict city block to root around in. Don't be fooled by the quite complex-looking ruin on the front cover, the actual building is quite simple.

A nice point is that the roof has fallen in, so you have a clear view of the internal layout, as well as some stairways leading down into cellars or other depths below. There's also what appears to be a lift shaft and stairs that once led upwards.

The roads around show evidence of long-term neglect, overgrown and cracked.

A somewhat strange suggestion involving subterranean ants is provided as an adventure seed; but an investigation of a long-ago incident or some post-apocalyptic scavenging seems a more likely use for this map.

As always, there's an A4 overview map and a series of maps with hex, square and no grids for miniatures use. There's also a huge JPEG image for those who have access to professional print facilities or who use a virtual table top for their gaming.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Modern Ruins 4
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Poprock - AoV Solo (M&M3e)
Publisher: Xion Studios
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/27/2014 12:25:02
Most people regard vengeance as a dish best tasted cold... not Poprock, born of an angry young girl burning to avenge her father's murder. Her main power is the ability to unleash the energy contained in items when she throws them - she carries a whole bunch of ballbearings for the purpose - backed up with an extreme talent at the martial art of capoiera. Her general athleticism also makes her good at parkour. Quite a heady mix for a budding super-powered character!

The backstory gives involvement with known supervillains, who helped her identify and harness her powers, but given other associates she could as easily be a superhero instead. As a teenager, she'd also fit well into any game involving young superpowered individuals.

This is a well-constructed character with plenty of potential however you decide to use her.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Poprock - AoV Solo (M&M3e)
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Libram of the First Language: Truename Magic Reborn
Publisher: Interjection Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/25/2014 07:06:12
In the beginning was the Word - and a truename studies that word, and all the others that came after, using the power inherent in such words to manipulate reality. Most outsiders think he's just another wizard, but he knows he's not: his power is derived in a completely different manner. A truenamer's source of power is his encyclopedic, or rather dictionarylike, knowledge of the First Language, also known as Truespeech, or so we are told here.

So what is this Truespeech? Basically it describes everything that is, was, and shall be - items and concepts alike. If you knew it all, you'd have complete control over, well, everything. It is impossible for any sentient mind to manage that, of course, but even limited knowledge confers great power. Philosophy aside, the game mechanics create a spell-like mode of operation, with the truenamer using 'recitations' to cause desired effects by articulating the change he wants to take place.

As the truenamer rises in level, he understands more and more and has access to a wider range of recitations, and the ability to cause more complex effects. To increase the range of effects, there's a sort of meta-recitation called inflexion - it's all in the way you say it, as well as what you say... however the universe itself is more resistant to some things than others, so some of these variants are harder to cause.

As well as the core character class, several archetypes are given: the orator, the truescribe and the verminspeaker. These explore different aspects of truespeech, and introduce greater variety as to what you can do with it. Feats that enhance your use of truespeech and (of course) a whole bunch of recitations themselves are also provided. Finally, there are some prestige classes for those that progress that far.

It's a whole new area of study, opening up new horizons, and yet working mechanically within established patterns so it is not so hard or unbalancing to introduce it into your game. A nice concept to add to the wealth of magical theory.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Libram of the First Language: Truename Magic Reborn
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The Genius Guide to More Barbarian Talents
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/24/2014 10:30:53
Piling option upon option, this work provides a whole host of 'talents' for barbarian characters. These talents are swapped in for the standard barbarian class features, on a one-for-one basis, with some being better suited for reserving until the barbarian gets up a few levels.

The introduction explains that they come in different categories: edges, talents, advanced talents and grand talents.

Then we move on to a closer look. Edges are fundamental to the barbarian's worldview and can be almost spiritual in nature. Talents are a bit more practical, and often reflect a closeness to nature or the innate talent for combat that most barbarians seem to have. Greater talents (presumably the same as 'advanced' ones, which seem to have disappeared by now!) and grand talents kick in at higher levels, but serve the same purpose as regular talents. In all cases, whenever the barbarian would qualify for a new class feature, he can take one of these instead. There are also some rage powers for those barbarians wishing to capitalise on that feature of their class.

While the main listings come under what category of ability they are, there's a very useful section which groups them all by theme: battle expertise (offensive or defensive), combat manoeuvres, craft and cunning, durability and resistance, mounts and animal companions, movement, perception, primitive and primal, rage and intimidation, shapeshifting, and spells and mysticism. This makes it easy to look for an appropriate one suited to your needs when working out your build path.

The various options are interesting and give plenty of scope for you to tailor a barbarian character to precisely what you want. If you enjoy optimising and configuring unique characters and play a barbarian, this is well worth a look.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Genius Guide to More Barbarian Talents
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[PFRPG] Player's Options: The Ayutthayan Monk
Publisher: 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/23/2014 11:19:16
At first glance you might think, so what? This is just a re-write of the standard fantasy monk. Perhaps it is, but where it scores is that the entire underlying philosophy and history of the Ayutthayan monks is wound through the game mechanics rather than being bolted on as an afterthought to explain what that monk is doing in your fantasy campaign world where there might not really be any of the sort of traditions that underpin a classic oriental unarmed fighting style. (I remember way back in the 1980s playing a D&D Monk as a Chinese person perpetually confused with the standard 'cod-European' fantasy world in which he found himself...)

Here the opening text paints the scene of a single adventurer who retired to a life of contemplation, but was pestered by visitors... some of whom stuck around to become his first disciples, and who - being themselves proponents of different fighting styles - created what became several different strands of the same core martial philosophy. These strands are reflected in the options available as class features as the monk rises in level - the ones you choose chart your progress in your preferred style. Some are acquired by means of mystical tattoos, a beautiful and traditional touch.

The combat styles are based on Thai martial arts and are described well, enabling each monk to develop a coherent - and potentially devastating - combat style. There is also a selection of feats and an array of new weapons appropriate for ayutthayan monks, a new tactical manoeuvre called a Bone Break and a sample character to let you try out this class or just give you some ideas to get you going.

If you want to play a monk, this is a good way to go because of the coherent background philosophy that underpins the mechanics of the styles available. Pick it up, mix it in to your campaign world's history and you do not need to explain how you came to be.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
[PFRPG] Player's Options: The Ayutthayan Monk
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One Knight Games, Vol 1, Issue 3
Publisher: Avalon Game Company
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/22/2014 12:24:57
A neat idea, and one that will have you on the edge of your seats for an evening: a game of racing motorcycles. Rules and character generation are simple by design, as you ought to be able to get this game up, running and completed within a single session with minimal preparation - indeed, it can almost be played without a referee (if the players don't squabble too much!).

The aim is that every player will be one of the racers, but there are other people around so those who want to take this concept and make more of it might take on such roles as support staff, race officials and so on. Played as written, however, there are a series of programmed events that will happen at certain points during the proceedings which make it a whole lot more exciting that just motorbikes racing around a track (and that can be exciting enough...).

The action takes place in two parts. There is a race, in which one player-character WILL be killed. That may sound tough, but it's at the heart of the adventure as a whole, because the second part involves another race several years later when the dead racer's child has grown up and comes to participate in their first race (played, of course, by the player of the dead cyclist).

Specific rules associated with bike racing are included, but the main rules are in a separate document: the core One Knight ruleset (it's included with your download) which is consistent across all One Knight Games.

This is a nice way to fill out a single gaming session, but future One Knight Games based on the cycle racing theme are planned, so even if using this model of gaming you will have the option of returning to the track. There is also the potential to take it all a bit further. The game is cyberpunk in style so if you are playing anything of that genre, cycle racing at the Cylon track might be a popular spectator sport and you could use this ruleset to moderate races. If characters in your 'main' game want to get involved in racing, well, you might choose to use the plotline as well, and either adapting your regular ruleset or using this one for specific race-related matters as you see fit.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
One Knight Games, Vol 1, Issue 3
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Enhanced Racial Guide: Bhriota
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/22/2014 09:53:14
Deeply embedded in the lore of the Shadows over Vathak setting, the bhriota are beastial and savage hominids, most of whom are irredeemably evil... not promising stock at all. They are tribal, with shamans who lead them in worship of the Old Ones and most view weakness of any kind as shameful. Those few who show any shreds of compassion generally find it politic to leave their tribal homes and seek their fortune elsewhere... becoming the small number of bhriota adventurers.

Full rules mechanical details are given for those who wish to play a bhriota. Large (often over 7' tall), with bonuses to strength and constitution and to Intimidate - due to their racial reputation - they present an interesting alternative to a pure barbarian character, and one which is embedded into the Shadows of Vathak setting. Those who do seek the adventuring lifestyle can follow most careers, often flavouring the chosen class with aspects of their tribal background - for example bhriota bards generally drum and recount tales from bhriota dark oral history. Many racial traits are available, mirroring different aspects of tribal custom and nature.

Next comes a collection of racial archetypes. The insane assailant is a barbarian archetype, whilst the savage huntsman is a ranger one. An esoteric binder is a strange summoner archetype and there is a witch doctor one based on the witch.... one with a penchant for pain and suffering. Other racial feats and campaign racial traits follow.

Bhriota also practise rune magic, and this is explained in detail. There are eight known rules than can be mastered, and although their effects are magical, runic lore may be studied by any class of character. Once a rune is mastered, a process that involves study and often a quest, it may be inscribed on an object permanently or 'improvised' on the fly to access the inherent powers associated with it. As well as the runes themselves, there are several associated feats.

Next comes a prestige class, the bhriota shaman, who employs curses, shamanistic dances, and herbal medicine and remedies to accomplish his ends. Their method of cursing is interesting. To gain the effect of a bestow curse spell, the shaman enacts a ritual naming the target and drives a nail into a special 'curse board' - and unlike the spell, this can target anyone known to the shaman who is on the same plane of existance... never mind having to touch them! Some other shamanistic powers are accessed by dancing, thus making it a quite unusual and spectacular class.

Bhriota equipment, weapons and magic items follow, and then there is a discussion of known tribes and their identifying characteristics... and their own specific tribal traits which may be taken by members of that tribe alone.

If you are using the Shadows of Vathak setting, this is a well-integrated race that will enhance your game. If you do not, but would like a savage and strange race to populate some dark corner of your world, this is a well-considered one that could prove an interesting challenge.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Enhanced Racial Guide: Bhriota
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Sathar Destroyer Technical Manual
Publisher: Frontier Explorer
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/21/2014 08:15:12
Whilst designed for use with the Star Frontiers RPG originally published by TSR, the Sathar Destroyer would make an excellent alien vessel whatever ruleset you are using.

The first part describes the general style of the vessel, which is built by and for a race called the Sathar. If you need to know who they are, consult Frontier Explorer Magazine #6, which is available for free download here, although if you use this as a derelict alien ship to be explored, it is not so important to know about its original owners. The whole appearance is 'alien' and hints are given as to how to convey this to the party. The whole layout, too, reflects an alien philosophy and approach to life rather neatly.

This section is followed by an overall plan and detailed deck plans for each level. These are reference plans for referee use, there are also full plans - at a size suitable for miniatures or counters if you use them - provided as part of the download. Here, though, there are descriptions and notes on what is to be found where.

There's a short section on ancillary vessels - work pods, shuttles - and robots that are carried (which may or may not be present if a derelict destroyer is to be discovered; and then comes a section on shipboard life - assuming that the Sathar are there to enjoy it. A couple of pictures show you want they look like.

Overall, this is an interesting ship with a genuinely alien feel to it. Particular features are the low ceilings (1.5m), rounded corners on everything, the use of 'pool beds' for sleeping, relaxation and acceleration couches, and the fact that you cannot reach all parts of the ship - being a caste-based society, they see no need for interaction over and above basic communications between different areas. A spot of proofreading would have helped, but you can generally work out what was intended.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Sathar Destroyer Technical Manual
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Supplement 16: Adventure Seeds
Publisher: Mongoose
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/20/2014 12:52:05
This is something that any Traveller referee needs to keep handy. Not only is it a practical way to get out of trouble if the party decides to go somewhere unanticipated leaving you without anything prepared that's suitable for wherever they went, it can also help spark ideas when you are planning adventures in the normal manner.

It is divided into three sections: Patrons, Plots and Rendez-vous. The first two are pretty obvious, the third is a collection of locations to use with your patrons and plots (or indeed in anything else you have planned).

The Patrons section begins with a swift overview of what you need to have in hand for a good adventure - boiled down to the '4 Ps' of Plots, People, Places and Props. It gives good advice about how to make your NPCs come to life for the party, how to make them into individual people rather than clone Barkeep #7 or Gangster #17. Then there's a wonderful collection of '36 Dramatic Situations' which you may choose or roll 2d6 on a table for... any could provide the meat for at least a single adventure if not a whole campaign. Each one states what is needed - people, other plot devices, etc. - and gives an example in a couple of sentences. Then there's advice on mixing different situations together to create something even more exciting than one on its own, and then how to cope when the party doesn't do what you'd intended them to do... a frequent occurance, at least in my games.

Oh, and then we get on to the actual Patrons! Each one is presented in the standard format with a notes as to requirements in terms of the skills and equipment that the party will need, the actual task - as both player and referee information, so it's clear even if you are in a hurry what you actually tell the party - and a selection of twists and outcomes you can either roll a d6 on or pick the one that takes your fancy. Even a quick glance shows that the various situations are very inventive and will feel like well-thought-out adventures from the player side of the table.

And there's more: a collection of 'situations' where events overtake the party and they'll have to deal with them before getting on with whatever adventure they're engaged in, 'elaborations' where there's a whole bunch of detailed material that will make their lives interesting (and occasionally even profitable as well), and 'starport chatter' - a collection of news items and rumours that can fly around any starport, it's up to you if they are meaningful or just background colour. Finally, there is a selection of 'world seeds' which are little nuggets of information you can throw in to make a particular planet sound that little bit more interesting.

Next up, Plots. This contains even more classic patron encounters, all interesting and repleate with potential. There are also some 'introductions' which are designed to bring something - that may feature in an upcoming adventure - to the party's attention, such as a brawl breaking out in the starport concourse between two groups or factions at least one of which they will be getting involved with in the future. A neat idea. Advertisements, red herrings (things which sound profitable but probably are not), a selection of personal ads and 'gimmicks' - strange and sometimes useful items they may see or someone might attempt to sell to them. A collection of Library Data rounds off this section.

And so we come to the Rendez-vous section. This is a vast collection of locations in which you can set part of the action, or use in any other way that seems appropriate. Beginning with a note on adapting these locations - basically all designed for standard 'human' space - to alien settings, it launches into listings categorised by type: accommodation, restaurants and bars, entertainment, emergency services, sites of interest, shops, education, services and the nooks and crannies of starports themselves. For each location, there's a name, a description and notes on associated costs, NPCs likely to be there and suggestions for things that might happen there over and above whatever reason has brought the party there in the first place. Oh, and one location - Flashing Blades in the entertainment section - is derived from a place I invented in the course of an adventure I wrote for BITS many, many years ago. Good to see that it is still going strong!

However inventive you might be, you will still find ideas that can improve your game. Definitely one to add to the collection.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Supplement 16: Adventure Seeds
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Heroes of the Siwathi Desert
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/19/2014 13:03:14
Fancy visiting (or coming from) a nice warm desert region?

Here you will find a whole bunch of things to aid you in creating a truly fantastical desert setting within your campaign world - much is transferrable to any campaign world, even if you don't want to use Porphyra. There are notes about using the material in the Porphyra campaign setting which enhance it further.

First up are new player-character races suitable for the desert environment. The anpur - upright bipedal furry creatures, gnolls (OK, not new but not normally found as PCs) and zendiqi, who are desert-adapted aboriginal humans. Then there are the elemental kin, seriously different and quite unusual.

Next is an overview of the Siwathi Desert itself - history, government, settlements... and a nice map. Most settlements are fairly small, the largest (the Tent-City of the Grand Wazir) being some 4,000 souls. Each has some flavour text, a stat block and quite a lot of detail to help you bring it to life.

This is followed by a selection of archetypes, class features and prestige classes that are appropriate to denizens of the desert. One interesting prestige class is the Five Spirits Master who basically is a guru of mystical martial arts based around the elements and passed on by the genies to a favoured few. There are new feats and spells too, and some sample characters.

Useful to anyone venturing out into the desert is some new equipment, other things are ones you will only find there (like a clockwork chess player). Those who are familiar with the Dune series of novels will recognise the wind trap and the zilzala (a 'thumper' like those used for calling worms on Arakis). There are also some magical items which could make an interesting addition to a treasure hoard, even one far away from the desert. This section ends with comprehensive price lists for just about everything required for the well-equipped desert explorer.

Finally, the rules - and even a game board - for a popular desert game, Arbakampsi. It is a gambling, territorial game of two sides. Put simply, each player states a number before rolling a die, and the number of tokens he may place depends on both the stated number and the die roll. The tokens are placed according to strict rules, and the objective is to cover more squares with your tokens than your opponent can. One of those games it takes minutes to learn and a lifetime to master. Whilst it's explained how to actually play it, an abstraction for those who don't want to play it out might have been helpful.

If you like deserts in general, or want to incorporate the Siwathi Desert, this is rather good.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Heroes of the Siwathi Desert
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Player's Secrets of Tuarhievel (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/18/2014 11:35:03
Fancy governing an elven realm? If playing in the Birthright setting, you get the chance with Tuarhievel. The situation, of course, is not straightforward. Currently, there's a human - yes, HUMAN - regent acting on behalf of the yet-unborn heir to the throne. If she has to flee, you may end up running the place, or as an elf noble you might be an advisor or be in charge of one of the provences. Of course, if you want to play a more regular game, Tuarhievel becomes a very interesting place to visit with some intense intrigue going on at the highest level, all of course with an elven twist.

The overview is penned in character by Savane, the Prince's Consort and mother of the unborn heir. She is understandably well clued up about the political situation and explains it well. And a muddled story it is, with the Prince missing in defence of the realm - he's gone to negotiate a peace-treaty with a Gorgon - having asked Savane to rule until his return or the child's coming of age; and many elves quite unhappy about a human acting as regent. Added to this, the seat of power, the Thorn Throne, is an intelligent artefact with a habit of making it very clear whom it deems worthy to sit there!

The history and geography of the realm is detailed, along with the various provinces, flora and fauna and so on. Elven politics and culture are also covered, as well as religion, the military and art and entertainment - a matter of great importance to the elven mind.

Several notable NPCs are described along with their stat blocks, and then there are notes on the holdings that accrue to whoever is the regent. There's a selection of rumours, which could easily be expanded to campaigns never mind adventures, and finally some suggestions as to what strategies might be employed by Birthright players in partiticular in furtherance of the good of the realm.

There are a few maps, although the one of the full realm appears to be missing half while the plan of the area where the Thorn Throne is gets duplicated. Other than that, it's a fascinating realm and could easily prove a good site for a long-running elven intrigue game in its own right.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Player's Secrets of Tuarhievel (2e)
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NPC Strategy Cards
Publisher: Rising Phoenix Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/18/2014 08:37:06
A simple, neat and elegant GM's tool... labelled for Pathfinder but useful whatever game system you are playing.

In the heat of battle, it is easy enough even as a player to lose track of your character's considered goals and the best path to achieve them: even harder as a GM with a whole mob of NPCs to handle as well as the overall moderation of the game! It also helps you give NPCs some individuality: this one is cautious, this one is rash especially if he's had a few drinks, this one fights dirty whilst that one is clinically efficient until someone insults his Momma...

A brief key and a sample card is provided, then there are several blanks. Being a PDF, you can print out as many as you need. They are not set up to enable typing in, you are expected to print and scribble - but if you use Adobe Acrobat, go into the Comment|Annotations menu and pick Text Comment. If doing this, remember to save a blank copy so that you can reuse the cards again and again first.

The card covers a range of things: to start with the NPC's name (Fred, Spear Carrier #2 or whatever), a reference for his full stat block (scenario notes, a bestiary...), and the vital ones, his AC and hit points. His role - why he's wherever he is - and morale too.

Then there are a variety of situations with space for you to jot down what he will do in those circumstances. It starts off with Ease, or what he does when not under any kind of threat. Then Alert, what he does when he thinks something's up. Then there are spaces to record his likely actions in Melee and Ranged combat, and the final slot is Blood - what he's going to do when it's all going wrong for him and he's dropping below half his hit points.

It's a really neat idea. Of course, you can come up with other things you might want to have. What does he do if intimidated? What are his 'triggers' for flying into a rage? Can he be bribed and if so, what does it take? I guess that's what the back of the card is for!

And best of all, they're free :)

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
NPC Strategy Cards
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Parsantium: City at the Crossroads
Publisher: Ondine Publishing
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/17/2014 12:28:59
City adventures are always a delight, and here is a brand-new city setting replete with opportunity... a group that gets really embedded into the life of Parsantium could see out their entire adventuring careers without leaving the city limits. Whether it is home, or a place a bunch of country boys and girls arrive at in search of adventure, there is ample opportunity to be found here. Should you be in any doubt, plot hooks are liberally strewn over every chapter bar the first (which is designed to be player-friendly, a good introduction to the city for new arrivals or would-be players of residents.

The idea of a 'city at the crossroads' merely enhances the potential. Think of Istanbul/Constantinople in the real world: different cultures mixing, trading routes crossing and so on. Whether you want to pursue profit, diplomacy or intrigue, there's plenty to do here... and a huge map to help you get it all into context (provided as both a double spread in the PDF and as a whopping JPEG image). The city is located on the border between two continents and no less than five major trade routes meet here. Parsantium itself is build on both continents, which are joined by massive stone bridges, and there are plenty of docks for those who prefer to travel by water, with two oceans and the lands beyond to beckon them away.

More detailed information follows thick and fast. History, Races, and Character Backgrounds - all you need to prepare a character who will fit in and thrive here. Most of the backgrounds, set up so as to allow for suitable traits if it's Pathfinder that you are playing, rely on the character having grown up in or around Parsantium. You may or may not choose to run your campaign this way, as the characters will know more about the city than their players, which can get a bit awkward. Generally, I find it more fun to play new arrivals, thus player and character can both enjoy exploring their new home. Neatly, although the city itself is laid out in glorious detail, the world beyond is painted quite vaguely, thus making it a trivial matter to fit Parasntium into an existing campaign world - or indeed to detail it later once the party shows some signs of wishing to venture outwith the city walls.

Chapter 2: Life in the City explores every angle of what it is like to live, work and play in Parsantium. Government and politics - even if you are not so much a fan of intrigue, the city is home to a massive bureaucracy with which characters will have to interact frequently... and intrigue can be so much fun, whether characters are mixing with the movers and shakers of the city, or just get hired to perform mysterious tasks the significance of which only appear in hindsight! A list of crimes and punishments are included - a mix of appaling barbarity and lenience, depending on what you did. Best not to get caught! A section on Culture and Customs includes all-important information on local cuisine - think Eastern Meditteranean with lots of fish, curries and spice added in - as the locals are united in a love of good food. Clothing, festivals, entertainments - even if not adventuring, there is plenty to keep you busy here!

Now you know the city, Chapter 3: Running a Campaign is jam-packed with ideas to help you organise an enjoyable campaign set in and around Parsantium. Themes can range from intrigue or gang warfare to gladiators or charioteers, delving into the past or trying to effect religious changes... not to mention trading, opening a tavern, joining a guild or working for the government or military. Mixing more than one is often better as it allows for a mix of adventures to suit all tastes. There's a wonderful section on 'the Living City' - how to interweave random and non-plot-related events and the things that pertain to ongoing adventures into a mix that gives the city a life of its own independent of the characters. Many of the events, depending on how the party reacts to them, have the potential to spring into the ongoing plot regardless.

Chapter 4 presents a detailed Gazetteer, and needs to be read in conjunction with the map. Notable locations in each Ward of the city are described, along with hidden places and some of the most important ones outside but near to the city limits. There's also a Hidden Quarter, the underbelly of the city, mostly literally underground. This is followed by Chapter 5: Organisations which introduces the most powerful groups - and naturally, plenty of plot ideas involving them.

The final chapter deals with Religion, providing details of the vast array of deities worshipped in Parsantium. Many are drawn from the surrounding area and the two continents beyond: if your campaign world is already established you may wish to swap in your own faiths to replace these. Or it may be that the ones given here are the names by which your existing deities are known within the city.

Overall, it's a magnificent city and I think I want to visit... see you there!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Parsantium: City at the Crossroads
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Quick Decks 6: Frontier Starports
Publisher: DSL Ironworks
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/17/2014 10:29:15
If you are looking for a 'plan for a starport' you are in the wrong place: but if you are looking for the components to map out bits of a starport when who's where becomes important, here you will find the tools that you need.

I generally think of starports a bit like airports, places to pass through or hang about waiting for departure (or when meeting someone). So you need lots of space, facilities for dropping people or good off or picking them up, and there's likely to be security, retail outlets, food and drink and facilities appropriate to whatever immigration and customs controls there might be wherever your starport is located. Then there's the underside, the working side. This includes the facilities to support the folk who work there - who need offices, stores, break rooms, comfort facilites and somewhere to eat. There is also the services required by those who use the starport as part of their work, from people who crew spaceships to those who supply and repair them. Workshops, storage and so on.

So, what do you get here? There's a lot of rather bland floor and wall tiles you can use to make whatever space you need. There are some quite good seating areas for the places people have to wait in. There's a nice security barrier for ground vehicle traffic in and out of the starport area. There are offices, staircases, even more waiting areas, tables, kitches, rest rooms, bars, smart entrances and rather more mundane ones... the sort of sleeping facilities suitable for transients, even a shower block, workshops, medical centre, corridors... and a few examples where all of these have been put together to provide sample locations.

There is an Introduction that gives a few hints and tips, mostly to help with printing; and a contents list which helps you make out what each sheet is supposed to be (not all are that obvious just looking at the plans). There is also a comprehensive legend (map key) to explain all the symbols used. The 'Layers' facility can be accessed to customise the plans somewhat, quite neatly.

Overall, this is a useful toolkit - but you will need to work out the overall plan for yourself, and decide which bits you need to have in more detail. This will no doubt be determined by what you intend to take place there - a party just passing through may need no more than a brief verbal description, but if the characters get into a brawl, you will find this very useful indeed!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Quick Decks 6: Frontier Starports
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