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The Manual of Mutants & Monsters: Infected Zombie
Publisher: Misfit Studios
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/13/2013 10:08:57
If you like superhero games but have a hankering for some zombie action (or wondered how a superhero would deal with a zombie horde) this is worth a look.

Starting off with a couple of rules additions that are used later, the product then dives straight in to outlining what they mean by 'infected zombie' - it is, of course, the classic movie zombie that is out for your brains having been reanimated after death through the actions of some infective agent, supernatural cause or disaster. The mechanics are presented as a template which you can apply to whoever you decide has falled victim to whatever is making zombies in the first place. There's also an alternative template - the 'lasher zombie' - which has the remarkably disgusting habit of lashing out at opponents with its own intestines, attempting to entangle them.

Examples of both kinds of zombie are provided with full stat blocks, as well as notes on the infectious nature of zombies. Don't let them bite!

Finally, if you are in search of how to use zombies in your game, three adventure ideas are presented. You'll have to flesh them out, but two are suitable for a single adventure or a whole campaign (especially if the threat is not dealt with promptly in the initial adventure), the third is a campaign idea in its own right.

Braaiinnns! All I want is brains!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Manual of Mutants & Monsters: Infected Zombie
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The Fallen Tavern
Publisher: Assassin Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/13/2013 06:09:23
Rather a neat and at times claustrophobic adventure that takes some of the common tropes of fantasy adventuring and twists them into something new. How many times have you started a game with a bunch of well-armed strangers meeting one another in an alehouse and setting off to risk life and limb together with scant reason for doing so? This adventure starts with a bunch of well-armed strangers meeting in an alehouse but turns everything on its head to meld them into a real party with reasons for sticking together... and as such makes an idea campaign-starter as well as an interesting adventure in its own right.

The inn in which the adventure starts is well-detailed with a fair few interesting locals for the characters to interact with, and it is a prime opportunity to mix in rumours and seeds of any adventures that you have planned for later on in your campaign. Much of the suggested interaction is designed to facilitate character introductions - someone who asks loads of questions about their pasts and the like - which also fits with the campaign starter model.

And then events take an unusual turn... the inn subsides in a massive landslip that leaves the characters trapped underground, apparently the only survivors, and have to find their way out through many dangers to the surface again. The actual collapse could be better described (just imagine an earthquake strong enough to do structural damage), although the 'characters waking up afterwards' is nicely done. A good dungeon crawl ensues.

Everything is well-described and there is a clear map for the DM. Even better, there's a page-full of suggestions for further adventures based on what the party find in the depths as well as a selection of wandering monsters to complement the ones situated permanently in the various subterranean chambers they explore. There are also a collection of traps and some quite unusual treasures that you may distribute as you see fit. For the botanically-inclined, there is a section of 'random flora' that you can place as appropriate - some of them are quite interesting - and there is also a write up of a minor deity.... and the full stat blocks for everyone/thing that will be encountered.

As a starting adventure, this one has it all. Recommended.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Fallen Tavern
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Urban Dressing: Sages
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/12/2013 09:51:40
Sometimes the party will come into town in search of information, sometimes there are questions to be answered... and one often-neglected resource is the sage. Too often characters wander aimlessly around whilst their players make 'Gather Information' checks and just assume that the information they seek will pop out at them. Now let their inquiries lead them to the source of some quality information: a sage with appropriate knowledge.

The first table has suggestions for suitable housing/offices for local sages, with separate sections for the exterior appearance - to use as the party arrives - and the interior, for once they get inside. This is all flavour, window-dressing, but it all helps make your sages sound like they are a integral part of the community rather than something you've just thought up when the party suggested visiting a sage.

The next table is quite interesting - rumours that the party might pick up about the sage as they roam the town seeking information or perhaps looking for where the local sage lives. Many of these suggest possible side-adventures to embroil them in...

The final table is one of hooks, complications and opportunities - all further grist to your adventure-devising mill - and there's a subtable to see if the sage is busy, out or has time to consult with the party.

But there's more, a collection of fully-developed sample NPC sages all ready for you to use.

Overall, a treat is here, a way to make information gathering an integral part of the game rather than a few die rolls followed by an info-dump from behind the GM's screen.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Urban Dressing: Sages
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks very much for the review, Megan! I much appreciate it.
Oracles of Porphyra [PFRPG]
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/11/2013 10:24:56
This work contains a neat collection of oracular items relating to Purple Duck Games's setting of Porphyra - but even if you are not basing your game there you will find material of interest and use to any Oracle's player (or indeed their GM..).

First up is an archetype, the Deadmagic Oracle. These have their origins in areas of the land where there is little or no natural magic; indeed where magic - arcane or divine - fails to work, even magic items won't operate there. They function by twisting the lack of magic to draw upon their own innate abilities to mimic the spells and powers that other oracles display... and whilst it's open to their players to explain to the GM how they can create whatever effect they please, it may not always work even if it does at all. Only Revelations of the Exceptional Ability work for them, so pick your Mystery with care!

Next there's a goodly collection of new oracle Mysteries to browse through. Whilst these are related to the deities of Porphyra, it is reasonably straightforward to retool them to work with your pantheon of choice. The Apocalypse mystery sounds quite fun, complete with fire and brimstone, or you might prefer the Sigil mystery, which delves into this strange habit of writing things down... Then there are location-based mysteries, perhaps you like deserts and would like to be an Oracle of the Shifting Sands or one of the Wasteland.

Finally, there's a complete sample Oracle character in full detail, stat block and all. He's taken the mystery of the Apocalypse and is described thus: Ragged and gaunt, yet with a fervor in his cloudy eyes, the man approaching stabs a finger at a book he carries, claiming “The End is Near!” He could make a fun encounter, if nothing else.

It's nice to see an attempt to embed a class into the setting in which you are playing, but as mentioned earlier, most of the material here is almost as useful even if you don't use Porphyra.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Oracles of Porphyra [PFRPG]
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Monster Slayers: The Heroes of Hesiod
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/09/2013 10:57:23
A simple introduction to role-playing suitable for little children - but equally capable of captivating the young at heart irrespective of age - this product reduces everything to the very simple yet retains the essential charm of role-playing: you as character, and something going on around you to which you can respond.

The concept is simple, the 'graduation exercise' from a village's basic combat training class that all youngsters are required to take. Cut-down rules contain the basics of rolling dice to hit and to damage monsters, and blows dealing points of damage subtracted from a monster's (or character's) total. Instead of initiative, monsters and then characters take turns to act (just moving around the table to determine order as far as characters are concerned). The action takes place on a simple board, showing starting locations of the monsters. Counters are provided for characters and monsters, and each has simple basic stats laid out.

And the sketch of the young red dragon is just sweet!

Although it looks as if it were thrown together quickly, it is deceptive in its simplicity. If you want to introduce youngsters (or anyone else for that matter) to role-playing without getting bogged down in a full-blown ruleset, this could serve as a good starting point... and it comes at the right price!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monster Slayers: The Heroes of Hesiod
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Battlemap : Stilt Houses
Publisher: Christian Hollnbuchner
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/09/2013 10:36:36
It's a charming setting and looks a lot warmer than the UK in December... perhaps that's because such stilt houses are popular in the far east.

The scene is simple, a cluster of houses linked by walkways in a shallow lake ('cos big waterlilies like the ones to be seen only grow in shallow water), with a few trees along the shoreline.

The cover illustration shows the location more clearly than the actual battlemap, which is of course in the standard top-down view so all you see is the house roof rather than the more interesting bits underneath (open-sided airy rooms and of course the stilts).

It could certain prove an interesting and unusual setting: perhaps a rebel force has holed up here, or some drug runners... or it may be a pleasant vacation spot for the party!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Battlemap : Stilt Houses
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Pixel Dungeon: Holiday Horrors
Publisher: Octopus Apocalypse
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/08/2013 11:09:58
If you are planning some seasonal mayhem on your tabletop, these might be appropriate miniatures to use.

In a distinctive slightly blocky style (OK, pixellated!) you have the choice of arctic goblin warrior and mage (a 'cryomancer' no less) who come standing or mounted and look a little bit like Smurfs, a frost wolf (who can come with saddle or barding or just in his fur, and serves as a mount for the arctic goblins), a dire penguin, a gingerbread golem, a snow golem (think animated snowman) and a gorgeous giant snowflake snow elemental.

The instructions supplied are clear and easy to follow. You do need to provide some bases (Octopus Apocalypse sell these separately).

The real gem is the way you set up what sheets of miniatures you want to print. Sheer mastery of PDF technology (I'm still trying to figure it out!) lets you pick not only which miniatures you want but also their arrangement on the sheet.

So a festive brawl or just some nice paper miniatures to decorate your desk, these will do quite nicely!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Pixel Dungeon: Holiday Horrors
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FP3 - Cabal of Sukits
Publisher: Adventures in Filbar
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/07/2013 11:27:31
An interesting opening... loads of adventures start in inns, this one starts with the characters heading towards one they've just been told about after having spent several nights sleeping in the open! Thoughts of warm food, good ale and a comfortable bed spur them on... but will they get to sleep easy tonight?

For people have been disappearing from the area, and the party is asked to find out what has happened to them.

Well-supported with maps, illustrations and copious details about the folk the characters will meet, this short adventure is a good 'side trek' when the party is actually on its way to somewhere else, or could be used to establish themselves as useful people to know in a new area that they have just moved in to.

Nicely presented with a logical plotline and straightforward resoultion, this could fill an evening's play well.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
FP3 - Cabal of Sukits
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Advanced Races 6: Kobolds (Pathfinder RPG)
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/06/2013 15:05:41
What do you think when someone says 'Kobold'? Do you reach automatically for your sword? This book may not change your mind, but it will give you greater insight into what those scaly little fellows are all about.

Or even inspire you to play one, if your GM permits...

Or if you ARE a GM, it should help you bring them to life, for at least as long as it takes the party to get their slaying faces on.

Kobolds are portrayed as desperate survivors, ones who cannot even rely on those who hatched out of the same clutch of eggs, never mind the same species. This has bred into them innate cunning and wariness. Here you can read all about the life of a kobold from its hatching to old age (if it lives that long), their religious beliefs, and their place in Midgard (if you use that setting).

There's a section on kobolds as player-characters, which includes a very complex kobold name-generating table (well, roll percentage dice four times). For kobolds not only have given names they also have descriptive nicknames or sobriquets that they acquire based on appearance or behaviour. Interestingly, they do not seem to go in for family names. Perhaps it is just that they do not have much sense of family! In game mechanical terms, the sobriquet can suggest a trait; and there's a list of kobold-specific traits associated with some of the more common sobriquets as well as other more general racial traits that may be used if preferred.

Next comes an extensive list of kobold feats. Some are restricted to kobolds, but others are open to anyone who meets the prerequisites... although actually learning them could prove interesting if you need to find a kobold teacher! Several are based on kobold talents at fighting dirty and apparently the little beasts are good at using their claws to climb. Several kobold archetypes are provided including an archanomechanist and a clockwork alchemist - smart kobolds can come up with some really interesting ideas, it seems. But there are several combat-oriented archetypes as well, possibly fitting the common perception of the small, ferocious, cowardly creature many adventurers hold.

New spells, kobold equipment and a fascinating discourse about the traps that they manufacture follow; and finally there are some magic items.

All in all, a fascinating glimpse at the secret life of the kobold. Your first thought may still be to clobber one as soon as you see it, but you'll know a bit more about them after reading this!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Advanced Races 6: Kobolds (Pathfinder RPG)
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SteamCraft - Wake the Dead Part 1
Publisher: Perilous Journeys Publishing
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/06/2013 15:05:41
In fine steampunk/pulp style, this adventure sweeps the party into the seedy underbelly of New Arcadia as they investigate strange disappearances...

It's all very atmospheric, and to enhance this there are plenty of handy notes for novice GMs to help them create the right atmosphere and keep the game moving along. Several key NPCs are introduced, with not only pen portraits (and, for that matter, illustrations) but notes on how to make best use of them.

The start of the adventure sees the party hired by the New Arcadia Constabulary to investigate the disappearances. Assuming they take the job on (there's no real alternative given, and if you have characters that are unlikely to work for officialdom, you will have to invent your own hook), they are led to a back alley in a shady part of town and the game is afoot. It does rather have the air of a Sherlockian investigation, albeit one which draws in the fantasy and steampunk elements of this particular ruleset.

Each scene is well laid out, with sections presenting the scene ('Full Steam Ahead') then elaborating on it based on likely character actions ('This Just In'), along with 'Behind the Curtain' (notes on what's really going on), 'Spanners in the Works' (various hazards that can be thrown in to impede the party) and 'Further Exploration' which suggests ways in which the scene can be expanded. It's a neat and clear presentation, making it easy to follow even in the heat of play.

The adventure is mostly investigation and interaction, and while there's always scope for violence the one necessary fight comes at the end... and that's quite spectacular and cinematic. The adventure closes neatly, but there is at least some possibility for a follow up, and of course the party is now known to the Constabulary as (we hope) reliable investigators worthy of further hiring...

A nice introduction to this ruleset, and with good GM support, including simple clear floorplans of significant locations. Worth a try...

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
SteamCraft - Wake the Dead Part 1
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Skull Cove
Publisher: DramaScape
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/06/2013 15:05:41
Treading, for them, new ground DramaScape's latest offering launches a new line of well-developed locations aimed at the Savage Worlds ruleset. This one is a generic pirate island, set sometime in the Age of Sail (1400-1830) on Earth, and is not only a beautiful map but has details of inhabitants and even ideas for adventure. Of course, if you want to add a fantasy twist, you can amend the locals' details to accommodate whatever races and professions are available in your world. And should you prefer a different ruleset, just replace the Savage Worlds stat blocks with ones appropriate for your chosen game mechanics.

There are several illustrations including some of the NPCs as well as general views of the island. There's a nice 'parchment' effect sketch map to use as a handout (although on mine the OBS watermark is a bit obtrusive!). Notes are provided for the main locations as well, so whether your party wants to go to church, get supplies, have a drink or even call in at a brothel they can be accommodated. A rather surprising location is an Administration Building complete with court and cells... not many pirates will be too keen about that!

A range of adventure ideas are provided including getting the characters to the island as well as plenty for them to do whilst there.

There is a 360-degree panoramic look as the island, the sort of view you'd get as you sail into the cove, as well as a single page overview map and the same over 12 full-colour sheets for when you need the detail.

All-in-all, if you like pirate games this is worth getting.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Skull Cove
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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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