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EPOCH: Silent Night
Publisher: Imaginary Empire
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/06/2013 15:05:41
And you thought that the worst part of the annual Christmas trip was putting up with the in-laws during the festive season... be glad that your trip does not take you through Patterson Falls, a small town with a dark and cold secret.

The action in this chilly claustrophobic adventure begins with the characters travelling through nigh-blizzard conditions, and for some reason (several suggestions are given) ending up on a small commuter flight to Patterson Falls. Here they take refuge in a warm concourse from a raging blizzard whilst their plane is refuelled... but strange figures half-glimpsed through the swirling snow are only the beginning of the horror to engulf them.

From then on in, strange event upon strange event challenge the characters' mental and physical resilience. If they can figure it all out, there is a massive moral dilemma to face... those who survive will not forget this night for years to come. There's loads of evocative detail: locals, the airport and township, the events which transpire... much that will make the whole scene spring into vivid reality in your players' minds. There is a wealth of ideas to aid you in facilitating this, showing you how to use the resources provided to best effect.

Even if you do not play Epoch, the outline of this adventure could be adapted to whatever contemporary horror ruleset you prefer, inserting any necessary game mechanics for yourself.

It's a long, cold silent night just waiting for some hapless characters...

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
EPOCH: Silent Night
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The Esoterrorists 2nd Edition
Publisher: Pelgrane Press
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/06/2013 15:05:41
The original Esoterrorists game was born out of a desire to have an investigative role-playing game in which success did not depend on getting lucky with die rolls, but on inginuity in asking the right questions in the right places, leaving the random die rolling bit to resolve things like combat and other areas where failure doesn't derail the entire plot - no more flunking one roll and missing a crucial clue!

That came out in 2007, and was well received. Now, in 2013, here is the Second Edition. Honed by over five years of enthusiastic playing and with new developments like an improved initiative system, and coupled by a lot more background detail to empower the GM to make excellent and consistent adventures within the Esoterrorist setting, this work has great promise indeed. Of especial note is the setting 'Station Duty' that is included in this work, a sandbox in which GM and characters can operate.

Characters are elite investigators dedicated to combatting the Esoterrorists, a deranged and dangerous group who seek personal power by evoking malign paranormal phenomena. Oh, and they have day jobs as well. The whole thing is kept under wraps and most people haven't a clue as to what is going on. Yet by creating mass hysteria with staged fake supernatural events, the Esoterrorists create the conditions for real supernatural events to occur... and, if not nipped in the bud, eventually the Creatures of Unremitting Horror will turn up - and you don't want them to become a regular part of this world, that's for sure!

Character generation is based on deciding on your investigative and general abilities, and then adding in the necessary game mechanics. There are certain guidelines to follow for those intending to play Station Duty, but otherwise you can be pretty much whatever you want to be. If you know GUMSHOE (the core mechanic) already, it's all quite familiar; if you are new to it everything is explained clearly. Take time to study it, it is a refreshing approach to character generation that places your concept of what a character is like and how he operates at the core of the mechanics, never mind your role-playing.

Next, the GUMSHOE system itself is explained. The basic premise is that the game is not about finding clues, it's about interpreting the clues that are found... so finding stuff out is designed to be the easy part. There's as much discussion of the underlying philosophy of the system as there is of mechanics: intentional as you need to understand the way in which its all supposed to work at least as much as you need to know which dice to roll when. This is a game that benefits from everyone around the table understanding the rules, yet they are straightforward enough that they are easy to grasp. Despite the emphasis on investigation, all the usual stuff about combat, other task resolution, wounds, healing, chases and the like are here with the necessary game mechanics laid out with enough detail and explanation to enable you to use them with confidence. Just take the time to read it!

Then the Ordo Veritas is introduced. This is the loose umbrella organisation within which the characters operate. It's well-funded and provides the characters with leads, resources and a network of contacts. It also lays out how they should conduct themselves and enforces the desired result: that the general populace should never find out what is going on. This chapter is littered with ideas that spawn adventures and even whole campaigns as you read through it: potential GMs should take notes! If you are not itching to start running (or at least playing) the game by the time you have finished the chapter, either go back and read it again or, sadly, this isn't the game for you. But if the concept and mechanics appeal, you will be wanting to rush out and round up some players... hang on and finish the book first, there are more gems to come. Although not stated, it is likely that this and following chapters are best left for the GM's eyes only. Even if you are good at separating in character and out of character information, why spoil the fun of finding things out during play?

The next chapter is The Enemy, in which the Esoterrorists themselves are presented. There's a wealth of detail about their underlying philosophy and goals, their organisation, what Ordo Veritas knows about them and more... oh, and a whole bunch more of scenario seed ideas scattered around. Sample Esoterrorist cells, notes on making up your own and a whole troop of monsters are to be found here as well. Each one comes with hints as to how to use them in your campaign and notes on which character skills will be most useful in detecting, comprehending and defeating them.

This is followed by a chapter called Scenarios, jam-packed with advice and ideas on creating the adventures that will make up your campaign. There's an interesting discussion on what makes the Esoterrorists different from other games with a similar theme: this one has a narrow focus with a single - albeit wide-ranging and diverse - adversary. That said, it is not hard to retool the system to run with a range of adversaries or to concentrate on a different one. However, the things that set the Esoterrorists out are detailed here so that you can highlight them to aid in making the game distinctive and unique.

Next up is Running Scenarios, again full of useful hints and tips on running the game effectively. This is not a game to pick up and run, prior preparation and planning is essential in order to be able to present the characters with all the information that they will need to solve each case.

The rest of the book (nearly half!) is taken up with the Station Duty setting. The concept here is that instead of the characters being sent on missions all over the place to deal with weird events, the weird events are concentrated on the township in which they are based. It's basically the 'small town horror' trope, in which you can either invent a town or use a real one, perhaps even the one you and your players live in, as the setting for the campaign. One advantage is that it gives the characters some emotional ties to the places and people affected by supernatural events - they live there and the people are family and friends. By getting to know the place, it can become more real within the shared alternate reality of the game, rather than being yet another place that the party sweeps into, deals with a problem and leaves, scarcely having time to get to know the counter clerk in the local diner let alone building any meaningful relationship with the people and surroundings.

The whole process of setting up your township is explored in detail - and it's as much fun as playing there will be! There are loads of ideas here, much which you'll find of benefit whenever inventing townships for games never mind for this one. The Station itself - a base for the characters under the auspices of Ordo Veritas - also needs to be devised, and there are hints aplenty as to how to do this as well. The discussion then moves on to how to create adventures in your township, and deal with the specific issues that using a single location for a whole bunch of horror will cause.

To get you started, there's the outline of an adventure - Breach Zero - to kickstart the campaign. This is followed by a vast array of 'Persons of Interest' - a host of NPCs you can throw in as and when you need them. With this campaign style, you want to have them around all the time, even when they are not involved in the adventure in progress. Don't just bring them in when they are due to be affected by something, the impact is all the stronger when something bad happens to someone the characters have been interacting with for months. There's also a section on key locations, which can be mapped on to important landmarks in your own township. A handy concept is a selection of thumbnail sketches of various locations - each comes in two sorts, one neutral and one for when you need to create a sinister atmosphere. There are several scenario outlines, not as detailed as Breach Zero but enough to get you started, and a section of Local News to throw in as appropriate. The emphasis is Small Town America, but if you want to set your campaign elsewhere it ought not to be too hard to reskin it to work.

And there's more: another developed adventure called Operation Prophet Bunco. This could be played out in your Station Duty setting, but it would work just as well if you have chosen the 'sent to investigate incidents all over the place' model for your campaign. Of course, you might decide to combine the two, sometimes the adventure comes to the characters and sometimes they have to go to it, a model that I'm considering at the moment. It's a cracking adventure and well worth running however you want to use it.

Finally there are character sheets and other worksheets to keep everything in order: scenario outline tools, party sklls summary, NPC note sheets, Esoterrorist cell logs and more.

Overall, this is a real gem of a system and setting. If you like investigating and battling supernatural horrors in the contemporary world with a game system designed to facilitate it, this is the book you need. Thoroughly recommended.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Esoterrorists 2nd Edition
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Highway to Hell 2: Return to Flora
Publisher: Aegis Studios
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/06/2013 15:05:41
Bizarre happenings in the rural township of Flora in Northern Illinois attract the party, for whom such events are a beacon marking a Hellgate... this introductory adventure for Contagion 2e should get your players swept up into this alternate present in which portals to other dimensions pop up all over the place and it's up to brave folk like, well, them to deal with them.

The organisation is excellent, with an initial premise and loads of information on people, places and events to empower the game master to build his own story around them, interacting with the characters who can act as free agents exploring and investigating rather than being constrained by a linear plot line.

On the other hand, this isn't something you can pick up and play. You will need to decide what attracts the characters' attention in the first place, what is causing all these wierd events and how the matter can be dealt with... however, just reading through spawns a wealth of possibilities.

Character sheets for main NPCs are provided, but if you like the sound of this adventure but play a different ruleset that handles supernatural occurances, conversion ought not to be too hard.

There are no maps provided... but there IS a Flora, Il and the other places mentioned are there, even if the geography doesn't match the text precisely, so if you do like map-based adventures just hunt up some appropriate ones of the real places to use.

It's an elegant jumping-off point for some adventures that should prove entertaining.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Highway to Hell 2: Return to Flora
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Publisher Reply:
Megan, Another well thought out and expressive review! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts on Highway to Hell 2: Return to Flora! Thank you, Travis Legge Aegis Studios
Dungeon Dressing: Wells
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/06/2013 15:05:41
I don't know about you, but I like dungeons that actually work... I mean, those which can sustain their population independently of the time they are 'on-screen' whilst the party is visiting. So if it houses living creatures, they have certain needs to be met and facilities that they require: sources of food and drink, perhaps a kitchen/food prep area (unless they eat everything raw) and, um, rest rooms. So you can imagine my delight at a book about wells... that's one facility to cross off the list: a fresh water supply.

The work is, as usual, made up of several tables each addessing a different aspect of wells. The first is about characteristics and appearance, but before you actually get to the table there are notes about well construction, getting the water out and - vital for inquisitive adventurers - climbing out yourself should you fall in. The table itself gives some good and atmospheric descriptions that you can use when the party first comes across a well.

Next is a table of dressing and features, all the little things you notice when you take a closer look. Many could, if you choose, lead to further adventure. "The sounds of sobbing emanate from the well" perhaps, or even "At the bottom of this shallow ten foot well a donkey is trapped. It is covered in mud and is cold and shivering." Or perhaps strangeness is more to your taste, try "Though empty and dry, the well hole is filled with bobbing and blinking tiny points of light."

Finally there are some traps and tricks to spring on the party should they decide to investigate a well further. Remember that these are only appropriate if the well is not depended upon by dungeon residents for their drinking water! The Well of Maddening Visions holds some promise, but if that does not appeal one filled with methane or the 'Gravity Well' may prove entertaining.

And you thought a well was just a hole out of which you got water!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Dressing: Wells
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The Bleeding Hollow Deluxe Adventure
Publisher: Total Party Kill Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/24/2013 11:16:24
This is a cinematic, epic adventure, chasing the party across a wide and scary landscape as they struggle to survive with body and mind intact let alone rescue anyone else - they scarcely have time to draw breath long enough to remember why they came to Westden, a once sleepy rural town.

Harking back to many tropes of 'old school' gaming this is quite a sandbox of an adventure, the character may go where they like, when they like and it doesn't matter... they will probably get attacked anyway! Whilst aimed at a 5th-level party, there is a refreshing approach in that some encounters will be overwhelming and there are times when the best tactic is to take to your heels and run until you feel your chest is bursting. Characters who survive will be seriously considering a nice quiet life in trade or craft, their players will remember and reminisce until they are too old to lift a d20 let alone roll it.

The adventure is outlined for the GM at the beginning, but most of the meat of what is going on is to be found in the events and locations throughout the book - this is one for which study beforehand is recommended, indeed vital, if the adventure is to be enjoyed to its full. An interesting and recurring theme is the constant moral dilemmas with which the characters will be faced. There are no easy answers, and every choice has its consequences.

Like the best of sandboxes, this adventure is filled with 'quests' which the characters may take on or ignore as they choose. (And yes, these choices have consequences!) To begin with, there are a clutch of quests aimed at different character classes or interests just to get them to Westden in the first place, which if carefully set up could have different members of the group trying to achieve different ends at the same time. Even if they have come for other reasons, however, they will soon be asked to help rid the township from a band of harpies who have been making quite a nuisance of themselves in the area.

The settlement of Westden has been set out in great detail, giving it an air of reality. Everywhere the party turns there are people to talk to, things to look at, things to find out. Each inhabitant is described in detail, down to his answers to likely questions, along with appearance, attitude.. even hobbies and interests. The place should really come to life as the characters visit. Indeed there are notes should you wish to use this settlement outside of this particular adventure, it is certainly well-designed enough to be worthy of consideration as a permanent location in your campaign world.

A note suggests that players keep track of what their characters eat and drink. As the adventure escalates it might become important - do you stop to forage, or do you tighten your belt and keep running? As a 'reward' for troubling to keep notes, a good meal can grant minor bonuses or buffs so eat well when you can!

And all this is just Chapter 1! It is followed by Chapter 2: Hunters and their Prey, which begins to touch on the wider picture: there is a lot more going on in the area than a bunch of pesky harpies! Travelling around to deal with this, the party will have to contend with adverse weather - 'inclement weather' seems to be about as good as it gets, sounds a bit like Cheshire UK in winter! - and wandering monsters as well as those going about their nefarious business. Given the bad weather, most of them are hungry and probably grumpy.

Chapter 3 takes the characters to a small hamlet called Bertram's End, home to a failed mining enterprise and quite a few ruined buildings. Naturally, all is not quite what it seems... but again everything and everyone here is presented in loving living detail, all ready to spring into life within your shared alternate reality. Chapter 4 leads the action on into the mine itself... if you dare plumb its depths!

Finally, Chapter 5 takes the party to the Bleeding Hollow. Here is to be found the centre, the nodal point, of all the troubles besetting this area. The backstory here presents a sad and haunting tale, study it and weave it into your presentation of what the players encounter here: the adventure will be all the more potent and poignant for it.

This is an adventure that should linger on in the memories of all those who participate in it, cinematic in scale, dramatic in scope, granting a freedom of action within a structured story in elegant style. Now to round up some players...

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Bleeding Hollow Deluxe Adventure
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Noir
Publisher: Of Diced Up Men
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/23/2013 11:45:49
If you enjoy 'film noir' or hard-boiled 1930s detective stories or Damon Runyon tales this simple and elegant - yet powerful - game may be right up your street.

Character generation is simple. Roll 2d6+3 to get a number of points which you can assign to core traits covering brawling, gunplay, fast talk, finding things, figuring stuff out and following people - each of these can range from 1 (hopeless) to 6 (acknowledge master of the art). A couple of advanced traits (used to influence game mechanics) and a few foibles for your character and you're just about done.

Now comes the clever bit. The game mechanics are based on the game of craps... popular as a gambling game at the time, and evocative of the period. It is explained clearly for those of you who don't play craps, along with the probabilities for those not mathematical enough to work them out. Roll a 7 or an 11 on two d6s, and you have succeeded at what you are trying to do. Roll 2, 3 or 12 and you have failed... anything else is a partial success or 'point.'

If you get a 'point' roll again - the aim is to get the same number as you did in the first roll before you roll a 7 (in which case you fail). You can use an appropriate trait value to add or subtract from the roll to get the result you want. The rest is up to player and GM to determine or describe. There are some clear examples to show you how this works - and a few ideas for the GM (called a Narrator) to use when characters fail - called 'crapping out' of course.

Characters can get hurt but they are almost immortal, no worrying about trivial details like how many hit points you have. This game is all about the story not the details and should be played as such. All the suggestions made in the Narrator's Bag of Tricks section are designed to enhance this, placing the characters and their story square in the centre of proceedings.

There is also a section on Building Stories which gives an impressive selection of characteristic film noir tropes that you can build into your story. There's also some suggestions for films to watch for inspiration and a substantial list of period slang. Me, I'm reaching for Damon Runyon stories and of course the Philip Marlowe stories of Raymond Chandler. My players watch films but rarely read books!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Noir
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B17: Death & Taxes
Publisher: AAW Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/22/2013 11:31:48
They say that only two things are certain in life: death and taxes. In this intriguing city-based adventure, the party are hired on as tax collectors in a township that is even more than most unwilling to pay their dues. There is a coherent backstory explaining what's been going on before they arrive and causing the three challenges they have to face: open revolt, taxpayers paying with counterfeit coin and town guardsmen turning up dead...

Various hooks are supplied to get things rolling... for hiring on as tax collectors is not the first thing most parties want to do. Still, a fat purse for the job may seal the deal even if the concept of civic responsibility is a bit foreign to them. Oh, a nice shiny badge of office (with certain interesting properties...) and free accommodation go along with the job as well.

Once settled in, amidst the usual inter-department rivalry with the town's Sheriff, events soon pile on thick and fast. There's plenty for the party to investigate and resolve, as well as the odd fight to be had. The backstory weaves through all events giving a coherent and exciting story of civic corruption and double-dealing as well as external plots to contend with. The action will take them all over town and even down into the sewers - even there, not all the rats have four legs!

And should they prove successful they will find themselves in a unique position: tax collectors who are popular with those from whom they collect tax!

Everything is laid out clearly, with details to hand just when you need them, and both Pathfinder RPG and Dungeons & Dragons 3e statblocks for everyone and thing the characters will meet and may have to fight. Oh, and there's an otyugh. Any adventure with an otyugh in it is fun!

So if you want an adventure that's a little bit different, try this one for size.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
B17: Death & Taxes
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The Jester Dragon's Random Tavern Generator
Publisher: Skirmisher Publishing
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/22/2013 10:53:43
A handy set of random tables that you can use whenever the party gets a thirst on, to enhance your alternate reality by giving them a proper drinking experience rather than a bland "You get some ales" and move on.

The first table is a combined one: roll percentage dice twice to determine a convincing name for a tavern whenever the party declares that they are looking for one. Some combinations will work better than others, but even if you are good at coming up with names on the fly this can be helpful especially if your characters are getting suspicious about finding a Sword and Board and The Broad Face (two tavern names I use quite often) in every settlement they visit!

Next is a table to determine the primary clientele, and this is followed by one with the intriguing title of 'Tavern is fresh out of...' You may prefer just to select whatever it is your adventurers (particularly the grumpy ones) like to order, else get your bones out and roll. The results offered are quite broad, so you may wish to use this table with caution - inns that are regularly out of essentials like ale do not keep their customers for long.

And so it goes on with further tables for Barkeep's Attitude, The Mysterious Person Drinking Alone in a Corner, The Facilities are a... (very useful for those who like an air of realism, if not a miasma in the privy - this has a subtable to determine how clean the rest facilities are), and for those who want more entertainment there are tables for games played in the establishment and that evening's live entertainment.

There's even a table for likely consequences for those who have a bit too much to drink; whilst you can also find out the name of the house drink, the atmosphere of the place, what accommodations are available and even which section of the community is not welcome at the tavern.

Overall very handy, generating enough for you to create a realistic establishment literally as the characters ride into town declaring that they need a drink!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Jester Dragon's Random Tavern Generator
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Urban Dressing: Thieves
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/21/2013 09:23:31
Adventurers wandering around urban settings need to keep a hand on the belt pouch... for in towns, many of the 'monsters' walk on two legs, and an ever-present threat is the lightfingered. Even a party's own rogue is not exempt from their attentions, and he'd better be cautious about plying his trade as the locals might take exception!

First up is a table-full of pick-pockets and confidence tricksters, all poised to relieve the party of all that heavy loot that's encumbering them after their latest adventures. There's around 50 of them, each with a name and a quick pen-portrait to bring them out of a few die rolls behind your screen and into full-blown inhabitants of your alternate reality. Alas, they are not all as nice as Hassar Junth (N female human adept 1/expert 1), who "loves the idea of thievery, but suffers from a terrible malady - a conscience. Short and stocky, she’s developed some talent; but even when she is successful, she often feels so guilty about the theft, she anonymously returns the stolen items." That's just one, there are loads more to bedevil the party with.

Next is a collection of thugs and bashers. Ideal for those parties whose idea of a spot of relaxation is a tavern brawl or alley punch-up. Even these bruisers are given names and personalities, no matter that all they want to do is attack and steal.

This is followed by a collection of skilled thieves. Many of these use levels of skill and cunning that would no doubt earn them plenty if used honestly, yet they prefer a life of crime. Each has a distinctive style - and could prove amusing if you fancied a fantasy police procedural game!

The last table is one of specialists. Most are 7th level or above, folk who have honed nefarious skills to a high level, and most are available for hire should you need such skills, when they are not plying them on their own behalf. Again, well-developed personalities ready to come to life in your alternate reality.

Finally, there's a clutch of fairly generic stat blocks for use when you are in a hurry for some kind of rogue.

Altogether, a useful collection to keep the party on its toes in town!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Urban Dressing: Thieves
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Encounters for Wandering Adventurers (Fantasy Dungeons)
Publisher: DiscerningDM
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/17/2013 11:56:52
Sometimes you need an encounter in a hurry. Sometimes you are sitting looking at an empty dungeon map and wondering just what to put in it... whatever your needs, if you run fantasy dungeon-based adventures this book is here to help.

The neat thing is, it is more than a wandering monster/encounter table; although you can use it as one if you wish. It starts off with one, you can roll a d20 and/or select a suitable adversary from the list. The next few pages, although labelled 'Table of Contents,' are a bit more than that. Under each adversary from the list are two or three options, described in a single sentence. If you are in a rush, and confident in the mechanics of your chosen ruleset, you could run off of these: "A group of hobgoblin trainees are sparring in this area of the dungeon, overseen by a one-eyed commander with battered mail and a wicked glaive" is just one entry under Hobgoblin, yet sets the entire scene for an encounter.

But there's more! Next comes the list again, with those single-sentence scene-setters.. and a whole lot more to expand on the situation, provide possible twists and more. All you need to do is slot in the appropriate stat blocks and other game mechanics for your chosen ruleset, decide when and where the encounter will take place and slot it in.

Let's go back to the hobgoblin example quoted earlier. This expands on the entry by explaining that whilst the trainees are engrossed in their drill, their commander is a bit more alert and will spot the approach of even stealthy parties. Then come the twists. Perhaps the trainees are conscripts and not particularly interested in fighting. Or the commander will trade battle stories with the party rather than brawl with them, or he might offer to fight a duel with a party member rather than risk such untrained recruits in combat.

And there is, of course, a whole lot more, the better part of an hundred different options when you stir all of this up together. Plenty to keep your adventurers busy and their players entertained - and all presented in a clear manner that is easy to use either mid-dungeon or when you are planning the next game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Encounters for Wandering Adventurers (Fantasy Dungeons)
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FO6 - Conquest of Ironrod Tower
Publisher: Adventures in Filbar
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/16/2013 12:08:57
This is a nicely-presented low level adventure that could be dropped in anywhere suitable in your own campaign world. Basically, the overlords of the area have gone to the bad, raising taxes and offering little but abuse and bad treatment in return. Other senior individuals have decided that enough is enough, and hire the party to depose them.

The adventure itself takes the form of an exploration of the overlords' tower castle. The current occupants, a pair of brothers who are former adventurers themselves, is well-described with plenty of those little details that make a location come to life (although with the occasionally jarring spelling mistake - 'ore' for 'orc' on a few occasions, for example). This is supported by a basic hand-drawn sketch plan.

The expectation seems to be that combat is the only form of negotiation... perhaps that is all the Ironrod brothers now understand. Although the backstory is quite detailed and explains why the brothers are how they are, there is little suggestion as to how they'd respond if the party tries to discuss matters with them. Maybe things have gone too far for that.

A couple of nice touches are a photo of a suitable tower and one of the uniform tabard worn by tower guards (although the design doesn't mesh with the text's description of their coat of arms).

This should make for a merry evening's adventure, a side-trek perhaps, or possibly leading to more.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
FO6 - Conquest of Ironrod Tower
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Publisher Reply:
Hi Megan thanks for checking it out! Nice spotting on the typos those have been corrected as has the crest snafu!
Exotic Encounters: Froghemoths
Publisher: Necromancers of the Northwest
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/16/2013 11:37:23
Herein are presented three variant froghemoths. Now, you may find the original Pathfinder Bestiary froghemoth a bit bizarre, both in appearance and behaviour, but if you find them of interest these variations fit in rather nicely, being just as weird in their own ways.

First up is the arctic froghemoth, with chilly breath and barbed harpoons on the end of its tentacles. They are ambush predators and although they seem well-adapted to their frozen environment still never seem completely at ease there.

Then we have the volcanic froghemoth, which makes its home anyplace warm: its name stems from its high body heat and ability to spit flame - although from the sound of it they would probably enjoy an active volcano. As most adventurers steer clear of such places, you may choose to put them elsewhere. This is facilitated by the fact that they are not ambush predators but much more active in search of their prey.

Finally comes the deep froghemoth. This gargantuan creature dwells underground and is covered in a thick acidic slime. It also has a symbiotic relationship with a rather nasty fungus (which apparently does not mind acidic slime!), and spreads its unpleasant spores around with gay abandon.

Ever since froghemoths were first recorded, there has been speculation about their origins. These variations suggest that an extra-planetary or extra-planar origin may indeed be likely, and that their grumpy nature stems from being trapped somewhere, to them, unpleasantly alien! Whether they have descended and diversified from a single group transported to your campaign world, or are unlucky enough to pop through from someplace else on a regular basis is up to you, as is their point of origin and any possibility for adventurers to make the reverse trip!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Exotic Encounters: Froghemoths
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Fat Goblin Travel Guide To Horrible Horrors & Macabre Monsters
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/15/2013 07:22:55
Complete with a beautiful fat goblin in hiking gear on the cover, this book contains nearly fifty of the most horrible and depraved monsters you've ever wished not to meet when out for a stroll.

Each monster comes with full-colour illustration, complete stat block and comprehensive notes to aid you in situating it appropriately and running it in combat... most are not the sort to consider a chat over a drink with passing adventurers. Even the sentient ones tend to the ferocious and hostile and as for the rest - well, the Bone Gorger is just after your bones, for example, and is none too particular whether you are alive or not when it gets to eat them.

There are some innovative constructs here, too, like Clockwork Children and the Arc Hound. There's a sad tale behind Clockwork Children. They were created originally to ease the grief of those who lost children to accident or disease - but some abandoned them once they had come to terms with their loss.

Clockwork Dead, on the other hand, are an horrific combination of corpse and construct, moving jerkily around and created by the collaboration of necromancers and artificers to serve various ends, none of them particularly pleasant.

Many of the monsters herein are well suited to 'jump-shock' horror, surprising unwary travellers and proving themselves to be just as unpleasant as they look at first glance. Yet watch out for that nice young lady in the tavern - she might be a Masked Ghoul, poised to resume her normal form and feast upon you rather than with you.

Conveniently, most are contained on a single page, so you can print out just the monsters you need.

An excellent collection, and you can never have too many monsters, after all!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fat Goblin Travel Guide To Horrible Horrors & Macabre Monsters
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WatchGuard Solo - Hyperion (M&M 3e)
Publisher: Xion Studios
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/14/2013 07:28:15
If you want a fascinating and cosmic backstory to a character, Hyperion's is the one you are looking for!

Starting as a WW2 US Marine, exposure to something nasty Hitler's scientists were cooking up transformed him into the solar-powered Captain Victory, arguably the very first 'meta' to impact on public consciousness. Sticking firmly to his ideas of public service, he avoided political machinations and seemed to meet his death seeking to protect innocent bystanders from an overload of his powers that was heading for a gigantic explosion.

But that was not the end of him. Catapulted through a wormhole to the Andromeda galaxy, he was picked up by the United Celestial Constabulary, and helped this multi-world organisation create a military arm in which he served with distinction taking on a new outfit and the name Hyperion.

It's an interesting character, but one wholly-absorbed by his activities in the Andromeda galaxy, chiefly skirmishes with Regent and his cohorts. If that's your area of interest, fine: but if your campaign is purely earth-based you may have little use for him!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
WatchGuard Solo - Hyperion (M&M 3e)
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Tribes Most Foul: Ogres
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/14/2013 06:54:03
Diving straight into the first of three tribes of ogres presented, this work offers up these long-maligned creatures as fully developed individuals in their own right, rather than mere sword-fodder to be cut down by any passing adventurers... making them considerably more interesting, even if you only want to use them as sword-fodder!

The first group is the Masters of the Cauldron, rather than a whole tribe in the conventional sense this is a trio of ogres who are genuine masters of the culinary arts, along with their entourage of kitchen helpers. They earn their considerable living as travelling chefs visiting the high and mighty to cater for important occasions. However delicious they may be, it is wisest not to ask too many questions about their recipes or ingredients... A run-down of the whole brigade and ideas for incorporating them into your adventures are included.

The next bunch goes by the name of the Cauterised Host. These are a gang of genuine mercenaries, available to hire to any with the coin to pay... and not above a spot of banditry when not engaged on the battlefield. Alas, the banditry is one of their more acceptible vices, drug use and physical abuse rank high amongst their leisure interests. Again, plenty of detail is supplied to help them come to life in your campaign.

The final tribe is the Mottled Lurkers. These are forest-dwellers, skilled at using their native enviroment to their advantage. They have an unusual political system, deciding everything by means of formal wrestling bouts held at ogre-moots.There's loads of detail here too, and they'd make an interesting addition to your campaign world.

It's refreshing to see such detail breathing life into your world's ogres without making them any nicer! They are still nastry and brutal... just more three-dimensional and rounded characters!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tribes Most Foul: Ogres
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