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Secret Societies: Los Vagos (Book 5)
Publisher: John Wick Presents
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/12/2017 08:59:09

Consider poor Castille. It's being invaded, things are falling apart. Who champions the people? You know, the ordinary ones who just want to live in peace, make a living, raise their families and so on. The ones who suffer in war and get no rewards from the winning or losing of any battles, but are left with homes and livelihoods destroyed, family and friends killed or injured or scattered to the four winds. And then there's the Inquisition, seeking out heresy wherever they think it might be, on the flimsiest of evidence, or none at all.

El Vago does, that's who. A masked and caped swashbuckler who's recruited a small band of like-minded folk who are called Los Vagos, the Vagabonds. Here's the low down on them, with plenty of information for you to incorporate them into your game. Perhaps your party wants to help them. Or, if they are in the service of Montaigne - or the Inquisitors - they want to capture El Vago and put a stop to this. It may be background, or central to your story. However you want to use it, here is what you need to know.

Chapter 1: La Historia talks about when El Vago arose and how Los Vagos came to be formed, against the background of all the dreadful things going on in Castille and the lack of protection provided by state and church for its citizens. The old King Sandoval had died, his heir Prince Javier seemed to be making a fair fist of ruling but then... he vanished. His 13-year-old brother, another Sandoval, found himself king and he is struggling to get out from under the thumb of the church. No wonder a protector is needed - and here we find out who it is, and how things developed from a single rather oddly-dressed fellow on a horse to an entire clandestine organisation. It is a new group, less than a decade old, and very informal. Still, there are notes on how it is organised and how to become a member, as well as what they do, who they are and how they are supported. The chapter ends with some sample groups and safehouses available to them.

Next, Chapter 2: El Héroe presents many important characters, members of Los Vagos and a few new villains as well. Then Chapter 3: Dramatizar provides game mechanics for becoming a member of Los Vagos and various new skills to pick up including yet another fighting style and even advanced riding skills. There are also new backgrounds and rules for important things like jumping from rooftop to rooftop. Apparently El Vago and his followers enjoy parkour!

Finally, Chapter 4: El Juego contains information on playing a member of Los Vagos and why you might want to do so and the effect it will have on the rest of the party. There's also material for the GM, with even more background and some wonderful ideas about how to run campaigns involving or even centred around Los Vagos. For those seeking the heart of swashbuckling epic adventure, this is a good route to go! Perhaps the party will engage in a classic guerrilla campaign, or act as spies. Or maybe there is only one party member who belongs to Los Vagos, but his exploits will inevitably affect the rest of the group. There are background notes on the NPCs introduced earlier, and a sample Los Vagos campaign if you want a hand to get started.

If you picked up 7th Sea because you wanted to swash your buckle, this gives you ample opportunity not only to do so but feel virtuous about it as well.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Secret Societies: Los Vagos (Book 5)
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0one's Black & White: Tumbledown Manor
Publisher: 0one Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/11/2017 13:06:08

Something quite unspeakable was going on here... this product provides detailed floorplans and room descriptions for an abandoned and decidedly spooky manor house all ready for intrepid adventurers to poke around in. All you need to do is decide where to put it in your campaign world, provide any backstory you want to include, work out if there's anyone or anything still there (alive or undead as you please) and round up a party to investigate...

The manor is a rambling building with a few outbuildings and extensive cellars. It once had more than one floor but the upper level has collapsed (either through decay or perhaps there was a fire, you decide). The state of the cellars has not been improved by an underground stream that now runs through them... but it has opened up further underground areas to explore.

The state of the place is made clear both through the brief descriptions and the debris depicted on the floorplans (that is, if you use the Rule the Dungeon facility to have the 'furniture' displayed when you print them out). From even a cursory examination, it appears former inhabitants used the manor for dark rituals... and perhaps some perversion as well, one chamber appears to be set up for orgies and worse. There's some loot to be found, and curious characters may want to try and figure out what precisely was going on here. Others may want to destroy even the traces that remain. That will depend on the party and whatever plot you provide them with.

Overall, this remarkably detailed set of plans are almost an adventure even before you add a bit of plot and backstory, and maybe a monster or two. If you want a full adventure, get the Terror of Tumbledown Game Pack instead, which contains this floorplan and a complete adventure built around it. If you have an appropriate adventure in mind, get this and have a blast!



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
0one's Black & White: Tumbledown Manor
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Secret Societies: Die Kreuzritter (Book 3)
Publisher: John Wick Presents
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/10/2017 08:28:16

The Kreuzritter serve the Vaticine Church, swearing a fourfold oath of loyalty, charity, secrecy and faith. Yet delve a little deeper and you'll find there is more to them than staunch defenders of the faith (or religious thugs, depending on your point of view). There are reasons for why they are as they are, and they have their own agenda... based on a single question: why did the First Prophet condemn sorcery?

Chapter 1: Loyalty tells of their origins, their aims and objectives, their organisational structure and more. It begins with public knowledge, the information any Théan might know about the Kreuzritter or Black Knights. They started off as a bunch of healers set up in the Crescent Empire city of Zafara by a crusader and his wife, later expanding to include some peacekeepers to police the town and gaining recognition from the Hierophant as the Knights of the Cross (Die Kreuzritter) and being granted their distinctive badge of a black cross. They waxed rich and that, of course, attracted envy and hostility and eventually a successful attempt to bring them down amid accusations of heresy - so far, very much like the real-world tale of the Knights Templar. But we then move on to the secret history, with a firm warning that this should only be read by GMs and those playing a member of the Black Crosses. Basically, they were not wiped out as everyone thought, with connivance by the then Hierophant (yes, the one who had excommunicated them), and have continued for some 200-odd years after their supposed downfall. Various mysteries are revealed here which explain both how and why they became a secret society that stands firm in the shadows, defending the church, the faith and all mankind. We also read about the current way they are organised and how they recruit and train new members, and there's extensive discussion of their philosophy and beliefs (excellent resource for role-playing for the more reflective player!).

Then Chapter 2: Charity contains biographical notes on many members of the order - and some of their enemies - who will prove useful NPCs as the party interacts with the order. This is followed by Chapter 3: Secrecy, which has all the apposite 'rules stuff': a new Swordsman school suited to assassins, the special and unique sorceries the Black Crosses use (sparingly of course, as they hold sorcery to be evil!), various advantages of membership, and some extremely useful gadgets that members may borrow when undertaking a mission. This chapter ends with some rules for tracking, something Black Cross knights are extremely good at.

Finally, Chapter 4: Faith has sections for players and for GMs aimed at empowering effective use of the Black Knights in your game. It starts by discussing whether or not the Black Knights are evil. There are plenty of ideas about how to stay true to Kreuzritter ideals even when you are the only one in a party and may not, of course, even let on what you are. The GM section includes the dark secrets of all the NPCs introduced in Chapter 2, along with their stat blocks. There are also assorted secrets that you may or may not choose to reveal as the campaign proceeds, complete with ideas of how to use them in your game. There are also notes on running a campaign that focusses on the order, rather than having it as an adversary or just having a single member of the party belong to it.

This is an intriguing one. Starting out, as noted, as a pastiche of the history of the Knights Templar, it suddenly takes a sharp turn and builts a complete backstory and rationale that fits the setting of 7th Sea admirably well. A true secret society that most will never know anything about, you may question the book's use unless you have a player clamouring to join or want to run adventures involving them... give it a try and you could be in for some epic games!



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Secret Societies: Die Kreuzritter (Book 3)
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Secret Societies: Rilasciare (Book 2)
Publisher: John Wick Presents
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/09/2017 09:08:08

The Introduction speaks of the Rilasciare, a secret society that is quite contradictory. Viewed by many as dangerous anarchists, opponents of law and order, they see themselves as a bastion for truth and fairness, stamping out wrong-doing and corruption wherever it raises its head. Enlightened ones speaking out against outdated ideas, or a bunch of hoodlums who trample tradition underfoot with nothing to replace it? You decide...

Chapter 1: The Midnight Crusade looks at the history and organisation of the Rilasciare. It's an apt title, the Rilasciare often work at night or at least within the shadows, convinced of their own correctness they do not trouble to persuade others or even justify their actions. Although the first section is headed The Public Face, the Rilasciare don't really have one. Most regard them as a loose almost disconnected group of criminals, thinkers and reformers (the term used being based on the speaker's opinion of them!) and do not see the underlying organisation and coordination. Their aims and methods are rooted in their history, which by and large is known only to the membership. It all began with some Old Empire senators who turned to the dark arts in their quest to get rid of the current Imperator (and along the way founded the sorcerous bloodlines that spread throughout Théah) - and three senate pages who overheard them making pacts with dark powers and decided that enough was enough. Despite learning their own dark arts of poisons and assassination, they weren't getting very far... until one of them overheard the First Prophet preaching on the streets of Numa and connived to get him martyred, reasoning that such a fate would elevate a mere street preacher and his ideas (which which she agreed) to levels that mere preaching on street corners would never attain.

History rolled on and the Rilasciare with it (their name meaning 'troublemaker' in Old Théan being quite apt). Some members debated philosophy, others sought out sorcerers and brought them to account... or at least, sent them summarily to meet their makers. As the sorcerers they fought against were nobles, they often found common cause with those opposing misrule and oppression. When they wiped out some Eisen sorcerers with the help of a rival noble that didn't carry a sorcerous bloodline, they found that he was an even worse ruler than those they'd aided him to replace, and their thinking began to change: perhaps sorcery wasn't the only evil in the world. Perhaps the real enemy was those in power, however they had obtained it. The advent of the Third Prophet confirmed them in this opinion, and those who had embraced the Vaticine Church began to fall away, becoming free-thinkers. Over time, more and more turned to ideas and debate, still secret as many of the ideas might be deemed trasonous by the powers-that-be, and the violence seemed to become a thing of the past... but it did not go away entirely.

Their basic beliefs can be stated simply. Nobody should be in want. Sorcery is evil. Power corrupts, so the trappings of power must be destroyed. They seek to achieve their ends through freedom of thought, enlightened thinking - but they have not abandoned violence as a tool to accomplish their goals. They believe that all people are created equal, and nobles are not better than anybody else. There's a look at the structure of the organisation and how they work to achieve their ends in the present day. They even run schools - even if it doesn't say Rilasciare over the door! Others pull Robin Hood acts, stealing to redistribute amongst the poor, or commit acts of violence. Others remain committed to the original goal of ridding the world of sorcery. We also learn of recruitment methods and protocols. Whilst those few outsiders who know about them regard them as violent out-of-control thugs, they actually detest mindless violence - theirs is focussed with surgical precision, used only when absolutely necessary. Or so they believe.

The chapter finishes with a listing of locations and resources. Next comes Chapter 2: Hero which introduces some of the leading members of the Rilasciare. This is followed by Chapter 3: Drama, which is full of additional rules and other new material. These include a new, and rather informal, Swordsman school, rules for joining the Rilasciere and creating your own group or cell and even rules for using explosives. And, should you be interested in such things, a certain Eisen style of sorcery the Rilasciare thought they wiped out. Did the bloodline survive? Dare you play one and have the entire Rilasciare on your tail?

Finally, Chapter 4: Freemen contains a wealth of material mainly aimed at the GM (although there is a Player section as well) designed to help you bring the Rilasciare to life in your game. The GM gets the lowdown on the NPCs presented in Chapter 2, secrets and stat blocks galore, as well as advice on running a 'bomb-throwing' campaign... not to mention what to do with just one or two Freethinkers within a more conventional party. There are other ideas as well to get your creative juices going, as well as more detailed adventure hooks and the description of a prison based in a mine and no doubt very handy should some Rilasciare prank go horribly wrong...

The Rilasciare grew on me as I read this book. On the face of it they seem somewhat like a bunch of terrorists, and indeed they could be played that way if you are looking for a persistent enemy for more law-abiding heroes (an option that rather surprisingly is not considered). If your players have an anarchic streak, however, at least one might be open to recruitment or you may opt for a Rilasciare-based campaign. There's more to them than meets the eye!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Secret Societies: Rilasciare (Book 2)
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0one's Black & White: Mad Scientist's Lab
Publisher: 0one Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/08/2017 10:32:24

If you have ever wanted to send the party to explore the classic 'mad scientist' laboratory, well here is one all ready for you. Outwardly it looks like a normal house but inside... the downstairs is pretty normal too but the upstairs has been gutted and filled with all manner of strange and quite creepy stuff. This is a very versatile establishment, it could be a necromancer's laboratory but it could equally serve if you are playing Call of Cthulhu as the workplace of a cultist even more insane than most, or fit in to just about any genre or ruleset if mad science is the order of the day.

Standing in its own grounds with a couple of outbuildings, one being a stables and the other containing a cart and a stack of coffins, the house has a grand entrance with semi-circular steps leading up to a foyer flanked by a small 'guardroom' which contains a bed and a closet/store room. The foyer opens out into a huge living/dining area that boasts a pipe organ (excellent for some creepy music...) and a grand staircase leading upstairs. A big kitchen, well-stocked larder, a room for servants that sleeps five, and the master bedroom with ensuite bathroom also occupy the ground floor. There is also a library stuffed with medical and other texts, that serves as the scientist's study. Finally, the first of the strange contraptions, a lift that is used to take coffins upstairs, is also there, although it can only be accessed from outside, not through the house.

Upstairs, imagination has gone wild in true Hammer House of Horror style. Two vast and mysterious machines, a dissection room, alchemist's paraphenalia, body storage (in large glass tubes filled with unknown liquids), shelves filled with jars containing body parts... and the focal point, a large table that can be raised up to the roof (which opens) upon which unspeakable experiments of the Frankenstein nature are performed. You will be able to go to town describing all this to your players, with a floorplan to back it all up!

As usual, the 'Rule the Dungeon' feature gives you some customisation tools - grid (hex, square or none), presence or absence of furniture and doors and so on. It's a nice detailed and quite imaginative scene. If your taste leads to the macabre, this is worthy of attention - it would be easy to build an entire adventure in which the exploration of this space is the climax.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
0one's Black & White: Mad Scientist's Lab
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Heavenring Village: The Jail
Publisher: 0one Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/07/2017 10:19:46

For a small village, Heavenring boasts a remarkably substantial gaol, with five cells fitted out to accommodate a total of eleven convicts. The building also houses space for a tribunal to sit and a residence for the chief law enforcement officer, who for Heavenring is the county sheriff, a dwarf called Mardags.

Built in an L shape, Mardags' residence consists of two rooms: a living area with basic cooking facilities (an open fire with a cauldron), a dining table and some more comfortable seating and a large bedroom which incorporates an en-suite bathroom (far better facilites, as one would imagine, than the convicts receive!).

The space allocated for trials has a couple of rows of seats for spectators, tables for prosecuting and defending lawyers and for a clerk, and an imposing chair for the presiding judge. It does not appear that trial by jury is practised here. A caged-off corner leads back to the gaol wing, presumably the accused stands there during the hearing.

There are a couple of offices, probably for law enforcement officers' use, and a room for the turnkeys with a couple of beds. Then on to the cell block proper. Here a row of spartan cells have a barred door to a corridor on one side and a barred opening out onto a yard ominously labelled 'Hard Labour Area'. What convicts are required to do is unclear, probably breaking rocks into smaller rocks or similar mindless and exhausting tasks. The convicts' sanitary needs are met by a row of latrine huts and some 'washing pools' - no indoor bathrooms for them!

As usual 0one Games display considerable technical mastery of PDF functions, using layers to allow you to pick the grid you want (square, hex or none), and whether you want furniture or doors to appear. As you can print tiles separately, you can change the settings for each one - so if you do not want your prisoners to have even basic comforts, you can remove what little furniture there is in the cells! Do not turn the doors off for the cell block, though...

Knowing the average adventurer's attitude towards the law, you might have need of a town gaol, so this is a useful set of tiles to have tucked away, whether or not you are using Heavenring Village as a whole. After all you can put it anywhere, as needed.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Heavenring Village: The Jail
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Heavenring Village: Emporium
Publisher: 0one Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/06/2017 10:51:59

Whatever their players may feel about it in real life, adventurers always seem to enjoy going shopping! Heavenring seems to boast what is almost a mini-market with plenty of produce and household goods on sale, and the storekeeper's house is also included in this tile-set. If you are using Heavenring 'as is' the storekeeper is a halfling by the name of Vimbas, who is rumoured to be a wizard on the side.

The shop itself consists of two rooms, one being used for sales and one for storage. The sales area has a vast display of everything from fruit and vegetables to frying pans, basic tools, clothing and even teddy bears, the store is full of barrels, cart wheels and cupboards. Anyone setting up house or looking for basic supplies ought to be able to find what they are after here.

The house is also quite substantial. It has a large porch for those warm summer evenings, a living area and kitchen, two bedrooms each with their own facilities and an office for the storekeeper to do his bookkeeping (or study spells if the rumours are to be believed). One bedroom is a double, clearly the master bedroom, and the other a single - probably for the storekeeper's child.

The usual features of the 0one Games 'Rule the Dungeon' are present, letting you customise the plans to some extent - changing the grid (square, hex or none), displaying furniture and doors and the like. Everything is clearly drawn, although you can waste too much time trying to identify items in the shop (remind yourself it isn't supposed to be an exact representation). It's a nice addition to the collection, but the real use of plans at this scale is to have a fight and who fights at the market? So, perhaps of limited use...



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Heavenring Village: Emporium
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Heavenring Village: The Smith
Publisher: 0one Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/05/2017 10:28:27

A smith is a welcome addition to any settlement, and judging from the wares on display, this smith is also an asset to the adventuring community. There are two buildings in this product: the smithy itself and a separate small residence for the smith (unlike most of the village he doesn't have his living quarters in his place of business). In Heavenring Village the smith is a half-orc by the name of Ruck, who apparently has bad manners that mask a helpful and honest nature... but of course you can use this forge anywhere, with a smith of your choosing.

The forge building has three rooms: the forge itself, a storage area and a shop where visitors can browse an array of armour and weapons laid out on a long bench. The storage area is also spacious and contains assorted raw materials. The forge itself looks well-equipped with a big furnace, two anvils and racks of tools.

The smith's residence is quite substantial too, with an open porch with a table and chairs for sitting out, perhaps on a warm evening after the day's work is done. Inside, there is a big sitting/dining room, a kitchen, a master bedroom with a double bed (the presence of a vanity suggests that the smith has a partner... or, of course, is a lady) and a second bedroom with three beds for children or guests. Each bedroom has an ensuite bathroom. Of course, this makes for a nice home for anyone, not necessarily the smith!

0one Games display their customary mastery of PDF technology using layers to allow some measure of control over what you see - square grid, hex grid or no grid at all, or the presence/absence of furniture and doors, or even how heavy a 'fill' there is on the walls. A usful addition to your floorplan collection although... who wants to start a brawl in a forge? The smith might get annoyed and he has loads of stuff with which to spoil your whole day!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Heavenring Village: The Smith
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Heavenring Village: Lord's Manor
Publisher: 0one Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/04/2017 08:50:49

Whether your party has business with the lord of the manor or perhaps one of them has aspirations to become a lord of the manor, this quite substantial residence may come in handy. In Heavenring, if you are using the entire village, the current lord is indeed a retired adventurer. His house is well-defended (and not just by his old suits of armour standing around!) yet open and welcoming to visitors.

The entrance is imposing, with a driveway through wooded parkland ending in a semi-circular flight of steps up to the front door. Two statues of armoured figures flank the doorway, and there is a guardpost to either side with arrow slits providing opportunity to fire at unwanted visitors. Inside, there's a hallway to either side and straight ahead the entrance to the main hall.

The manor is centred around a large hall that is described as combining dining room and parlour. There are a couple of conversation groups around a pair of fireplaces, a large round table, an organ at one side and a massive formal dining table at the end of the hall. This stands on a small dais and is flanked by the aforementioned suits of armour. Another table nearby with some stools around it appears to serve as the lord's office.

Opening off the main hall, there's a large kitchen on one side with a storeroom off it, and the lord's private quarters - a spacious bedroom and private bath - on the other side. It would appear that the lord has a wife, as there are TWO bathtubs and matching washbasins... and two privies! Guest provision is far less impressive, although there are several bunk rooms (labelled as barracks or servants' quarters) there are only two further privies tucked away in side rooms at the rear of the building. Each has a washbasin, but no more tubs.

As usual, 0one Games demonstrate their technical mastery of PDFs with their 'Rule the Dungeon' button that uses layers to enable you to have a choice of grid (square, hex or none) and whether or not you wish to see furniture, doors, and so on. If the need arises you can print individual areas, or the whole thing, of course changing the settings as you please each time.

If you ever have need of a single-floor manor house, this is a well-presented and solid option.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Heavenring Village: Lord's Manor
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Heavenring Village: Cemetery
Publisher: 0one Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/03/2017 12:34:55

Hopefully you won't have much need for this pleasant graveyard set in a garden. I'd hate to think of undead trampling around... this set of tiles provides details of three crypts and a grave with a statue on it, as well as the cemetery office and mortuary, and the guardian's residence. If you are using Heavenring Village, this is the only proper cemetary for miles around, so people bring their dead here.

The 'office block' contains a spacious office and a small mortuary where bodies awaiting burial may be stored. There's also a larger storage area for coffins and other materials, and a single chamber for the caretaker, which looks quite cosy... at least the neighbours tend to be quiet!

The graveyard itself is laid out neatly, with tombs in neat rows and plenty of space for more. The crypts seem quite substantial, as are the gates to the cemetery, which is walled. All in all, a nice place to lay your dearly departed to rest.

The usual technical effects are available including choice of grid (square, hex or none) and whether or not you want furniture (this empties the crypts of their tombs as well as removing the tombs from the graveyard...), but if you need a cemetery, well this is a nice one. I did run an adventure a couple of years ago that started with the party being invited to a funeral and receiving a bequest, so it is not always the loss of a party member that can bring your game here.



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
Heavenring Village: Cemetery
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Heavenring Village: Temple and School
Publisher: 0one Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/02/2017 07:58:13

Lucky Heavenring Village (or wherever you choose to site this), they have a temple with resident priest who teaches school for the local youngsters as well. This mapset comprises two buildings: the actual temple and a combined priest's house and school. Both come with excellent detail that make it easy to find uses for them in your game.

The temple is a large airy building with plenty of space for worshippers in a conventional layout with rows of seats facing a raised altar area. Mostly circular, this is stated to be a dome with an overhead skylight to illuminate the worship area. There's a small vestry for the priest, whilst to one side in the worship area there is an organ and on the other side some shrines. The deity is left unspecified, so you can pick one from your campaign world who appreciates this style of worship.

The other building is nearly as large, with the biggest room given over to a conventionally-laid out classroom with rows of desks facing the teacher's table which is on a semi-circular dais. There is an entryway/waiting room and a bedroom for a servant or assistant as well in the school part of the building which is separate from the priest's quarters in the rest of it. The premises also boast a fenced garden which the pupils can use during recess.

The priest's residence looks comfortable, wrapped around the schoolhouse with several doors to the exterior. It consists of a foyer, library, shrine, dining room, bedroom and bathroom (complete with tub and water closet). The dining room boasts a conversation group round the fireplace and a desk as well as the dining table... but where the poor priest prepares and cooks his food is anyone's guess, there are no kitchen facilities!

The usual technical wizardry displayed by 0one Games makes the PDF easy to use and somewhat customisable - you can choose a square grid, hex grid or no grid at all, and display furniature and doors or not as you please - making this a useful addition to your collection if you need a place of worship or a schoolhouse.



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Heavenring Village: Temple and School
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Heavenring Village: Town Hall
Publisher: 0one Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/01/2017 10:22:37

The Mayor (spelled 'major' throughout, a rare spelling mistake) of Heavenring village is a dwarf by the name of Musdus Marub and with typical dwarven efficiency the Town Hall includes his house. Should he be voted out, it's not clear if he'll pass his residence on to the new Mayor or not (there could even be an adventure in that...), it may be the offical residence rather than Musdus's own home. The front part of the building contains the official chambers, chiefly a large hall surrounded by offices, and the Mayor's house occupies the rear. The tile-set also includes the village well which stands in front of the Town Hall.

The main hall is a large room with a dais facing the door, on which there is a long table with chairs behind it facing out into the room. The rest of the hall is filled with rows of chairs facing the dais, with a carpeted aisle down the middle. It will make an excellent setting for anything from the bestowal of public rewards to a trial... both possible events in your campaign. There is also a flight of steps leading up to the entrance, making it quite an imposing place for a village! For times of trouble, there are two small guardposts, one to each side of the steps. Each has space for the guard to live as well as look out for trouble.

As well as the main hall there is a meeting room with a large round table, an office for the Mayor (with a door through to his residence), and a couple of rooms for records and archives. All of these chambers have direct access to the outside, you do not need to tramp through the main hall to reach them although they do also open into it.

The Mayor's residence is nicely-appointed with a foyer, dining room, bedroom, bathroom (complete with tub!), kitchen and another room that's designated as for a servant, but could of course be used for the Mayor's children should he have any.

As to be expected, 0one Games display their usual mastery of PDF technology, making it very easy to use and even customise to some extent (choice of hex, square or no grid, and whether or not you want furniture and doors to show). Whether you are using Heavenring Village as a whole or just need a Town Hall (or indeed a guild hall, it could work as that too), this is a nice set of floorplans.



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Heavenring Village: Town Hall
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Heavenring Village: Black Gryphon Inn
Publisher: 0one Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/31/2016 12:30:21

Given the natural affinity of adventuring parties for inns (and the tendency for brawls to break out necessitating a change of hostelry!), you can never have too many inn floorplans in your collection. This one is a straightforward village inn, designed as part of the Heavenring Village set), with ample stabling and several nice rooms for those who wish to stay the night as well as a large common room/bar, kitchens and even indoor toilets! Accommodation ranges from multiple occupancy, with stragicially-placed cupboards to give a modicum of privacy, to a spacious suite with its own bathroom. The owner's apartment also features. Detail is excellent, down to an array of bottles on the backbar and a keyboard instrument for budding bards in the corner of the bar which also boasts tables set up for dining and gambling.

The usual technological abilities of 0one Games shine through with their 'Rule the Dungeon' system that allows you to decide precisely what is printed on your floortiles - choice of hex grid, square grid or none at all, presence/absence of doors and furniture and so on.

In a nice design feature, all the residential rooms open to the outside - those in a hurry or wishing to avoid attention do not need to resort to climbing out of windows if they do not care to go through the common room. Indeed it looks a pleasant place to stay... and menu suggestions include giant black potatoes stuffed with cheese and onions, slices of salmon grilled with spices, and the renowned Heavenring caviar with toasted bread and fresh butter. The caviar is harvested from local salmon caught in the river that surrounds the village. Sounds like a nice place for a pub lunch!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Heavenring Village: Black Gryphon Inn
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Bandits of Calhaven
Publisher: Gorgon Breath Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/28/2016 12:27:47

The book opens with some Setting Assumptions which paint broad brushstrokes of background - a mediaeval/fantasy world in which a great empire has declined and fallen leaving a 'Dark Age' behind, with warring races destroying a lengthy time of peace and prosperity. Set against this backdrop, the adventure is designed as a possible campaign-starter, taking a party from 1st to 3rd level, or something that can be woven into your own plots or used stand-alone if preferred. The Adventure Background follows. Taking place in the settlement of Blackhorse, close to the city of Calhaven which has fallen to bandits, it involves a search for the innkeeper's son who has vanished.

The first part of the adventure introduces Blackhorse, before the action moves to Calhaven and the discovery that bandits are the least of the city's woes. Whilst the structure of the adventure is sound, you'll have to do quite a bit of work to flesh it all out - for a start, maps of Blackhorse, Calhaven and the surrounding area would come in useful; and it is not clear how a beginning character is to find enough to do to be third level by the end... perhaps using Blackhorse as a base for running a few other adventures before the party even goes to Calhaven (or at least, before they start hunting for the missing boy) might give them the necessary experience to deal with the Big Bad Guy at the climax of the adventure.

There are quite a few illustrations and a single floorplan - the Imperial Centre, which houses more than one wonder. Monster and NPC stat blocks and information is all at the end, along with random encounter tables for various stages of the adventure. The text, however, makes it plain who is where and what they are doing when the party encounters them and, of course, how they'll respond to the party's likely actions.

Overall, it's a promising start from a new publisher, and has considerable potential for futher development. It just feels a little more like an adventure outline than a full-blown adventure, fine if you enjoy adding flesh to the bones either before you run the game or on the fly... but the bones are sound, which make for a good beginning.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Bandits of Calhaven
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks for the review! We really appreciate the feedback. One point we'll respond to is XP. If you're running Bandits of Calhaven with 5th edition D&D, the adventure has enough XP to reach 3rd level as written. The party hits 2nd level at 300 XP and 3rd at 900 XP, which is only a handful of combat encounters. You'll definitely want additional quests if using another system, but 5e shouldn't give you much trouble on that front. (And even then, one of the playtest groups managed to complete the adventure at Level 2, so...)
Whispers of the Dark Daeva (5th Edition)
Publisher: Ondine Publishing
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/27/2016 09:21:59

This adventure is set in an amazing city called Parsantium. Although there's sufficient material within its pages for you to run it, for best effect go and grab a copy of Parsantium: City at the Crossroads - if you like intricate cities you won't regret it.

The first section, Running the Adventure, explains the background to the adventure which involves an ancient evil reaching forth once more and provides a brief introduction to Parsantium and an adventure summary. There's a detailed run-down of the ancient evil in question, and some hooks to help get the party involved in the adventure. There's a major festival soon, and quite understandibly folks would like it to be free of ancient evils.

Then the adventure proper begins, for once not in a tavern... it just leads to one later on. Not straightaway, however, the action begins with someone running amok on the docks. As events unfold, the party discovers that this is but the latest incident in a series of bewildering brawls that have involved people not normally known for being violent. Neatly, if the party isn't moved to investigate on its own, they'll be asked to find out what is going on and put a stop to it. Along the way there's an exciting and cinematic chase across a floating village and plenty of interesting people to talk to before they get to that tavern, and there are also opportunities for research as well as for action.

The tavern itself is well-described and there's a neat way in which some characters might pick up on there being something wrong even before they start delving below through the tavern cellar to the terrors that lurk in the sewars beneath. Never mind any ancient evils, the smells and sights of the sewars are bad enough - enjoy the atmospheric descriptions as the party explores...

The finale is suitably climactic, and there are notes to help you deal with the party's success or failure as appropriate. Overall it makes a stirring adventure which gives the party a chance to make a name for themselves at least in this corner of town. It's full of neat tricks to build up atmosphere and add to the realism of the town as well as to provide a suitably creepy feel that grows along with the body count!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Whispers of the Dark Daeva (5th Edition)
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