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Bits of the Wilderness: Into the Open
 
$9.25
Average Rating:4.6 / 5
Ratings Reviews Total
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Bits of the Wilderness: Into the Open
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Bits of the Wilderness: Into the Open
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Kevin P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/18/2008 15:48:20
When you need a quick fill-in when your players are tramping across country, this is your pigeon. The writing is very good, the descriptions are above average, and if you only usethe ideas presented, you'll get your money's worth.

The bits are very useful as "improv", the shards are great for inserting into your "grand plan" for an adventure or campaign.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Bits of the Wilderness: Into the Open
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Natalya F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/17/2007 00:00:00
Nice idea and useful to have around; provides lots of descriptive possibilities and while I wouldn't use it randomly, I find it great to get me out of my writers block when I need a little descriptive inspiration.


LIKED: Lots of material.

DISLIKED: Some of the material is not exactly up my street or usable, but then this is to be expected, right?

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Bits of the Wilderness: Into the Open
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Jerry F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/07/2006 00:00:00
Another home-run by my favorite pdf outfit. I use 100% of these books, which is why I will continue to buy them. Let me ask my fellow consumers: when you buy a book of 100 feats, monsters, whatever, how many of those 100 or 101 do you use? I love splat books, don't get me wrong, but these Bits and Shards thingies get ya a big bang for the buck.


LIKED: Professional quality editing. I'm a former newspaperman, so it means a lot to me.

DISLIKED: I need more!

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bits of the Wilderness: Into the Open
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/17/2006 00:00:00
Bits of the Wilderness: Into the Open is a 74 page pdf product that is aimed at providing busy and harried GMs with plentiful descriptions and ideas related to open grasslands, plains and the like. Into the Open forms part of Tabletop Adventures' 'Harried Game Master' line, each product in the line related to another terrain or theme. This particular product features 100 bits (descriptions that can be randomly selected to describe open terrain) and 84 shards (more lengthy descriptions that are meant to be selected rather than randomly picked) of very flavorful and well-written descriptions.

The cover art for the product is identical to that of other products in the Bits of the Wilderness line, providing a 'series' feel to the whole line. It's by no means spectacular, but it captures the theme. Interior art is good, including a number of photographs used in an article about the plains and open terrain. The layout and writing cannot be faulted in this product, with excellent descriptions all round and solid presentation. Note that this product is not system-specific, in other words it hasn't been designed for d20 or GURPS or any other system, but provides generic descriptions for any fantasy system and setting.

After providing a useful introduction to the product and guidelines for its use, the pdf jumps into the 100 bits of the wilderness. While each bit is described in the main body of the pdf, each bit is also provided in a handy card format at the end of the pdf, so that it can be printed and randomly selected from a pack of 'cards'. The cards themselves provide descriptions only, so should be no more difficult to print than any black and white text. This is a useful feature for those wanting to make full use of the product. I think one of the best things about this product is the index - a list with page references that makes it really easy to select a particular bit or shard from the product. Want something about a tent, select bit 28. Want something related to flash flooding, then perhaps shard 65 will do. An extremely useful addition to the pdf.

The bits themselves are great. Very descriptive, evocative, inspiring and full of ideas to use and expand upon. Some of them were perhaps a bit leading, in the sense that instead of offering a simple description, it's almost certain that the descriptions contain something the characters may want to take a look at. While nothing wrong with that, some GMs may not wish to waste time waiting for characters to examine things when the intent was merely to provide a flavorful description. The bits are divided into a number of different sections related to different topics - general, signs of inhabitants, animals, weather, waterways and miscellaneous sights. It's very pleasant to read through these refreshing descriptions.

The pdf next deals with shards, longer bits that require DM considered selection before use. These include the same topics as the bits, although several other categories have been included such as times and seasons, campsite and prairie fire. These, like the bits, are wonderfully detailed and well-written, and each shard is provided with its own title to make the shard more unique. Shards provide some nice ideas to work with and the descriptions are useful to mine for other ideas and thoughts.

Lastly the pdf provides a very useful article entitled 'The Many Faces of the Plains'. A color version of the article is included in the product in addition to the normal copy in the main pdf text. The article examines a variety of aspects of plains, detailing them and explaining them with the aim to help GMs create their own plains environments and write their own descriptions. Very useful, informative, detailed and with lots of advice to DMs on using the plains in campaigns and adventures. Truly a strong pdf with lovely descriptions and ideas.


LIKED: This is a very good pdf with evocative and inspirational descriptive bits and enjoyable shards that can be used in any campaign. It's a valuable resource to any GM looking to add a good description to a game or setting, and there's more than enough information in here to keep any DM going for a long time. It's thoroughly enjoyable to read, the index is a great addition, there's plenty of variety, the article on plains was very informative and the cards for the bits make this even more useful.

DISLIKED: Not much can be said on the negative side, except that perhaps a few of the bits were too leading instead of being purely descriptive and probably more suited as perhaps shards, and one or two may blend in with others in a similar vein.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bits of the Wilderness: Into the Open
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Derek H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/15/2006 00:00:00
As with Bits of the Swamp, this product not only has descriptions for encounters (mostly of the non-monsterous type), it also has essays on the various types of land dominated by grass.

I have found the series so far as useful not only for off the cuff descriptions, but also as hooks and seeds. I hope there are many more to come.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bits of the Wilderness: Into the Open
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Andrew B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/13/2006 00:00:00
In a nutshell, Into the Open is a book about adventuring through the plains. It doesn?t contain any game rules (and doesn?t seem to be written for any specific system at all). What it does contain are a lot of well-written terrain descriptions, encounter ideas, and tips for improving the realism of plains in your game setting.

The book starts off with short descriptions, which the author calls ?bits.? Each bit is fairly brief but full of flavor. The way they?re written, they could easily be rolled at random whenever the PCs wander in a direction that the gamemaster didn?t expect. There are enough out of the ordinary descriptions here that a random roll could easily turn an unexpected divergence from the main plot into a plot or subplot of its own. When I read through the various ?bits,? I was almost always left wanting to find out more. The book doesn?t tell you, of course, which leaves the GM creative freedom to continue in whatever direction works best for his campaign.

After the ?bits? come the ?shards? which, as the name implies, are larger and slightly more detailed descriptions. Shards tend to describe larger regions, and aren?t meant for random generation. Instead, each shard could be used as a building block for creating an adventure in or around a plains region. Like the bits, the descriptions in this section are also great inspiration.

Speaking of inspiration, I can?t tell you how many cool ideas sprang to mind just reading through the descriptions. What?s up with the green bees? Who or what killed all these humanoids and left them here to rot? I guarantee at least some of these descriptions will find their way into my D&D game as fleshed out plots. An ambitious GM could take this book and, with a nice sheet of hex-paper, easily create an interesting plains region ready for a campaign?s worth of encounters and adventures.

After the encounters (and there are close to 200 of them), the remainer of Into the Open is devoted to advice on the actually structure and ecology of plains and plains-like environments in the real world. This section doesn?t get too bogged down with scientific detail. It gives you just enough information on the what, why, and how of plains to give them an air of realism (and thus increase verisimilitude) in your games.

Into the Open concludes with a handy index and a section with the various encounters formatted so that they can be printed on cardstock for ease of use. The download includes a print-friendly version and a color version of the ecology section.

LIKED: I love this book. The descriptions are creative, yet generic enough to fit in nearly any fantasy campaign. Into the Open is good both as inspiration for the homebrewing gamemaster and as a source of clever random ideas for the group that takes an unexpected direction during a planned adventure.

DISLIKED: Negatives are hard to find. The cover art leaves something to be desired, and some of the interior art (what little there is) doesn?t inspire. There are some photographs in the ecology section, which lose quite a bit in black and white. There is a color version of this article included in the download, however, which makes up for things.


QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied

[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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