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The Encyclopedia of Skill Lore
 
$0.99
Average Rating:4.0 / 5
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The Encyclopedia of Skill Lore
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The Encyclopedia of Skill Lore
Publisher: Bards and Sages
by Candice J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/15/2006 00:00:00

The Encyclopedia of Skill Lore turned out to be very useful, and was integrated easily into our campaign. It's given us all sorts of ideas for books ourselves... I highly recomend it.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Encyclopedia of Skill Lore
Publisher: Bards and Sages
by Jim C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/08/2005 00:00:00

Top marks for the concepts in this book. I particularly like the way that the books are organised by the foibles and intentions of their authors, more than by the game rules.

The game mechanics are not so good. In places they are confused, or perhaps just confusing, as when the text refers to fighters being unable to gain ranks in Open Lock. More broadly they are just too strong, especially for non-magical items costed in the hundreds of gold pieces. Some of these problems can be fixed by fairly obvious adjustments, others (such as the two books of monster lore) would need me to devise entirely new mechanics before I'd be prepared to use them in a game.

Just to be clear, I've rated on my enjoyment and inspiration from the work, which both are considerable (on flavour text, if you prefer). As a rules document I found it deeply flawed.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Encyclopedia of Skill Lore
Publisher: Bards and Sages
by I. P. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/05/2005 00:00:00

?The Encyclopedia of Skill Lore? is an interesting attempt to provide dungeon masters with descriptions of books that can be introduced into a campaign. The novelty to be found here, beyond the thought spent imagining what books might be included, is the weaving of game mechanics into the effect of these books on player characters. This is a very short product, but the product is presented well. The PDF is 14 pages long including the front cover, two pages of coupons, and the Open Gaming License text covers two pages.

Included are descriptions of the 23 volumes that make up the Encyclopedia of Skill Lore. The author has also included additional content that reaches far beyond those 23 volumes. First, there is a group of six additional books with a variety of impacts on the reader. Then the author describes six new items that all maintain the ?book? theme.

In addition, the author provides a background history for the books so that dungeon masters can incorporate the books into a campaign using elements of the provided history as plot hooks. The history is actually a short story concerning the first owner of the books and how they fared over time. Providing a history in short story format works very nicely as a source for potential plot hooks, and is an improvement over the simple lists of plot hooks that are sometimes provided in products such as this. If a dungeon master would prefer to incorporate their own elements into the history they can change the history as much or as little as they like.

Despite the relative shortness of this product, it delivers on its promise to provide the concept behind a quest that can be incorporated into any campaign. It also could simply be used to ?freshen up? the items available to a party and perhaps get the players thinking about additional elements of roleplay. If you want some prepared books to spark your imagination, this product has 29 books for your reading pleasure. You can then jump off from them to expand the literature available in your campaign to include as many different books as you desire.

To rousing gaming and ample rewards, I. Perez<br><br><b>LIKED</b>:

  1. Short story style description of the history so that dungeon masters can incorporate it immediately into a campaign.
  2. Interesting topics for the books and interesting effects on the reader. <br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>:
  3. This was such a good idea that it could easily have been expanded to either include more books or to provide some supplemental aids to a dungeon master looking to incorporate these products. Perhaps maps for one or two locations where one or two volumes might be found, or perhaps guidance to dungeon masters on adding additional volumes.
  4. Given the brevity of this product, it?s current price ($3) is slightly beyond a deal. <br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Encyclopedia of Skill Lore
Publisher: Bards and Sages
by Steven T. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/29/2005 00:00:00

One of the biggest changes to D&D in the 3.X editions of the game is he addition and codifying of skills. No longer is the game hindered with a complicated system of Weapon Proficiencies and Non-Weapon Proficiencies. Now we have a clear, simple, and most importantly usable system of skills. Making the most of these skills is a key part to ?tweaking? or ?min-maxing? any character. Any source that can improve these skills is a big help to a player. Bards and Sages have given the skill based character a real shot in the arm with their release of The Encyclopedia of Skill Lore. At its most basic, the Encyclopedia is a collection of books that can train characters studying them in a variety of skills. How wide a variety? How about this wide?

Animal Training and handling Appraisals Covert Activities Cultural Studies Craftworks: Artistic Expressions Craftworks: Fabrics Craftworks: gems and stones Craftworks: glass and pottery Craftworks: metals Craftworks: wooden Gymnastics Language Constructions and Speech Patterns Mechanical Devices Mental Acumen Nature Studies Occult Studies Performance: acting and speech Performance: Music and dance Planar Studies Professional Development Psychology Religious Studies Survival

After a suitable period of study, the reader of a volume receives a competence bonus on one or more skill checks. Of course, they one get this bonus if an Int check reveals that they have properly absorbed the material. There?s a well thought out, and easy to use system of study included here that could easily be used as an adjunct to the standard experience system if you wanted to add a level of complexity ie. Training times, etc.

In addition to the books in the Encyclopedia, there are a number of other books included that offer similar effects, as well as a collection of book-related items both magical and mundane. These items are one of the better portions of the PDF. In general they are items that would be of great use to wizards and other knowledge based adventurers. Things like the Portable Library Shelf and Pen of Scribing would be exactly the kind of treasure one might find in a wizard?s study. All the items in the book are well balanced, and fairly low powered. They would make good loot for beginning parties, and should remain useful throughout an adventuring career ? which is more than can be said for the average +1 weapon. <br><br><b>LIKED</b>: The book related items are a lot of fun. They would fit perfectly into any number of arcane libraries, wizard's towers, or necromancers workshops.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: The bonuses provided by the books all vary. There doesn't seem to be any pattern or balance to the books. this is offset by the proper item creation costs being adjusted accordingly, but I would have prefered a standard bonus package per book.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Encyclopedia of Skill Lore
Publisher: Bards and Sages
by Josh B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/28/2005 00:00:00

Tired of that smarmy mage next store flashing off his fancy attribute and skill boosting items, while you're stuck doing things the old fashioned way? Maybe you just can't get out to adventure as much as you'd like, and you're sick of the rogue down the lane showing off the latest trick she's learned. Bookworms everywhere can rest easy: The Encyclopedia of Skill Lore is just what you need.

The book features a simple, easy to read layout; highlighted by colorful, cartoon-like images.

The Encyclopedia itself is presented first. Made up of 23 non-magical volumes this makes the encyclopedia ideal for campaigns and settings with little to no magic, or simply handy to provide lower-level characters with a bit of a boost. Used properly, each volume provides one or more skills with a competence bonus ranging from +2 - +6.

Following the Encyclopedia, several other unique books are described. The volumes range from a tome discussing the craft of war and nature of valor, to a treatise on divine miracles. Each work provides its own set of bonuses; though in some cases certain conditions must be met for the reader to make full use of the information provided.

The final section of the book is given over to describing book and library related items. There is a mundane item in the form of false books. A mild spelling errors occurs in the description of these items; transforming false books from an overused clich? into a highly clannish clique. An alchemical compound for protecting the pages of books is described, along with three new wondrous items. The most interesting, amusing and perhaps unbalanced of these is a book whose purpose is to show you other's point of view; which has the nasty habit of causing potential alignment shifts from simply perusing it.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: A well put together book, its contents are an interesting change of pace from the average d20 sourcebook.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: The content is fairly narrowly focused, but if this sort of thing appeals to you, then there's really nothing here to dislike.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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