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Adventure Havens: Tavern Tales $0.99
Average Rating:3.7 / 5
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Adventure Havens: Tavern Tales
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Adventure Havens: Tavern Tales
Publisher: Bards and Sages
by David P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2006 00:00:00
Adventure Havens: Tavern Tales does exactly what it promises to do. It gives DMs 12 ready-made, easy to use taverns already populated with cool NPCs and built in story hooks. I don?t think there?s a DM alive who hasn?t been stumped with trying to come up with a tavern on the fly when the players got to a town.

Each tavern has a stat block that covers everything from how many tables and chairs fit into the building to what?s on the menu to what kind of booze you can get. The patrons sections gives you information of important NPCs who frequent the establishment, complete with stats, and the general attitude of the typical patron. In fact, there are tons of ready made NPCs in this product, and there is even an index by CR so that you could use them on the fly if you needed quick antagonists. The majority of the NPCs are standard races, though there are a few notable exceptions (Feralas Nightsong the Drow, has somebody been playing too much WOW?). A couple of the generic NPCs (town guards, mercenaries, etc) are presented with multiple CR stats, but most only present one set of stats. Not a big deal, as since they for the most part use standard races and classes, they are easy to tweek up or down depending on the level of your party.

The mini-adventures included are a nice way to kill time between story arcs, or even if you are looking to run a one-shot game. And the multi-tavern quest that ends in a really cool boss fight involving?well?don?t wanna give it away, but it?s something the party won?t see coming.

The PDF also includes a handful of new items, most of which involve alchemy or cooking. OK, that sounds weird. But their cool items. And some of the quests even allow the party to learn how to make them.



LIKED: Tons of new NPCs and 12 original taverns that can fit just about anywhere.

DISLIKED: Would have liked the NPCs and adventures to have been scaled to different levels.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure Havens: Tavern Tales
Publisher: Bards and Sages
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/11/2006 00:00:00
Adventure Havens: Tavern Tales is a 44 page pdf product, and the first in Bards and Sages' new line of Adventure Havens supplements. The series aims to provide DMs with a number of useful game tools such as locations, NPCs and story hooks, so that the DM is never unprepared during gameplay when the players do something unexpected or different. The first in the series, Tavern Tales, provides a number of fantasy taverns for DMs to use, including complete descriptions, NPCs, layout, mini-quests and more.

The product comes as a single pdf file (a sizable 26 MB download) that contains a table of contents with handy hyperlinks to the tavern descriptions and details in the text (though not necessarily directly to the right location for the start of the tavern description on the page). There are no bookmarks. Presentation is not the best, looking quite amateurish in places, and the pdf could certainly have done with some improved presentation. The taverns, for example, have no headings to indicate where they start - one moment a mini-quest on a tavern ends, and the next the new tavern starts after a small amount of white space. Artwork is good and plentiful, mostly pencil sketches but also a small number of full-color pieces. Writing and editing is generally good and easy to read, although there are one or two minor errors. Stat blocks are plentiful given the large number of NPCs detailed, and almost all of them contain errors, which is disappointing to see.

Tavern Tales details twelve fantasy taverns. The pdf starts by providing a very lacklustre overview of how to use the product and what one can expect under each entry. Each entry contains details such as name of tavern, owner, layout, food and drink available, prices, number of prices, sleeping accommodations, history and background, patrons, ideas for integrating a tavern into your game, and mini-quests that can be found in each tavern. Each tavern is also accompanied by an insignia or sign associated with it.

The tavern descriptions themselves are interesting and useful, containing a wide variety of useful ideas and plot-hooks for quests and mini-quests themselves. They made for an enjoyable read with some interesting NPCs that should make for fun roleplaying encounters. Gertrude, for example, is a high level wizard who bakes cookies that are capable of healing people. Each tavern description is overflowing with detail, and DMs should be able to find more than they want under each description. The taverns are also suitable to a wide variety of locations, be it a town, village or even city, and the nature of the establishments is varied enough so that no two of the taverns are really alike (e.g. dock-tavern or gambling hall). The pdf succeeds well at creating unique taverns with their own characteristics to make them stand out.

Examples of the dozen taverns include are Crying Wolf, where revenge haunts the staff of the tavern, the Saty'rs Love where a disturbance from below and a strange collar lead to sinister secrets, and The Wailing Banshee where ghost stories are not always what they seem. The mini-quests are interesting and varied, and cater for a wide variety of different encounter levels. With this is mind, each tavern and its associated mini-quests cater for a certain party level, meaning that while the taverns can be used for any level party, the mini-quests can't. This limits the usability of the quests somewhat, unless DMs wish to modify the associated stat blocks and just use the ideas.

The pdf concludes by including hyperlinked lists of items (Gertrude's cookies and training collar, for example), lists of monsters and NPCs, and NPCs by CR. These are useful and allow DMs to cater a particularly mini-quest to a particular level of party. Overall, this pdf provides a DM with some useful tools that require little work to integrate into a campaign.


LIKED: Adventure Havens: Tavern Tales presents a dozen fully detailed taverns complete with history, NPCs and mini-quests. There is a good variety of interesting and useful material, and plenty of opportunity for roleplaying with NPCs that have a little more life than one would normally find in a tavern. Most DMs should find this easy to integrate into an existing campaign or story arc.

DISLIKED: Presentation was disappointing and certainly could've used more attention. Stat blocks were also full of errors. While the mini-quests are a good idea, the implementation means that if you wish to use a quest you're forced to use a tavern that is suitable to the party level, limiting the usefulness of the material. Perhaps scaled mini-quests would've been a better implementation.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure Havens: Tavern Tales
Publisher: Bards and Sages
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/24/2006 00:00:00
It may not have Norm, Sam, Woody and Diane, but Adventure Havens: Tavern Tales delivers you enough creative taverns with over two dozen quirky individuals to mold your own version of Cheers into your campaign world.

Tavern Tales is a neat little resource that provides a dozen taverns ready to be plopped into your fantasy campaign world. Each tavern has an exclusive back story, patrons and quests. Bearing in mind that similar products with only one or two places detailed cost the equivalent price to Adventure Havens, this product is a steal.

For the DM:
The backgrounds of the taverns average about a paragraph or two in description. This is a big change from the products that tend to detail every single room and its history. I found this feature positive. It delivers a good enough description of the overall building, and then focuses on what makes a good tavern a good tavern?It?s patrons. Let?s face it, Cheers was not the number one comedy on TV because of the well constructed stools. It was the people, and Tavern Tales realizes this. Each of its NPCs is provides a statblock and a unique description that ties it to the tavern. The quests merge everything together. The taverns become more than just a place to receive the quest. They become a part of the adventure. The mini adventures are skeleton enough for the DM to expand or condense however he or she chooses.

The Iron Word:
Adventure Havens: Tavern Taless gives DM?s the trifecta of hurried material for a campaign. At some point, every DM has had a point where they did not have a place, NPC or quest after their PCs deviated from the main adventure. The basic artwork in the book represents its skeletal approach. Each tavern is basic enough to be a nice diversion, and has the capability of being expanded to become a place where everyone knows the PCs name.



LIKED: They got it right about what makes a tavern a tavern by focusing on the patrons and quests. I also like how each Tavern has its own logo.

DISLIKED: There are no bookmarks, though the table of contents does link you to each Tavern. IF they were going to use this as the main mode of navigation, they should have had links back to the table of content for each tavern.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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