RPGNow.com
Close
New Account
 
  
 
 
You will lose your chance to get the free product of the week.
One-click unsubscribe later if you don't enjoy the newsletter.
Close
Log In
 
 Forgot password?
 

     or     Log In with your Facebook Account
Browse









Back
Bits of Darkness: Dungeons II
 
$9.25 $6.94
Average Rating:5.0 / 5
Ratings Reviews Total
1 5
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
Bits of Darkness: Dungeons II
Click to view
Bits of Darkness: Dungeons II
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/22/2006 00:00:00
Bits of Darkness: Dungeons II is a 83 page pdf product and one of several products in Tabletop Adventures' Harried Gamemaster line. This product follows on from and complements Bits of Darkness: Dungeons by providing a whole host of new descriptions for quick insertion into any game. The Harried Gamemaster line aims to provide GMs with tools that are easy-to-use and allow the GM to minimize preparation time by providing flavorful descriptions and encounters with ambience.

Bits of Darkness II comes with both a screen and print version, the latter being a rtf file that allows quick and easy cutting and pasting. Artwork is good and liberally (probably close to one per page) spread across the pages of the pdf, enhancing every room description with some very good visual art. Gillian Pierce provides a nice cover, largely the same as what's used in all the products in the Bits of Darkness series. Interior art by Jesus and Carmona is impressive in places. Editing is very good and the layout makes everything easy to use. A full set of bookmarks is included, as well as a complete table of contents, and a extremely useful index for finding pieces of description to suit a particular theme or topic. Presentation-wise a very good pdf.

Like other products in the 'Bits of' series, Bits of Darkness: Dungeons II is about descriptions that provide an easy way of adding flavor and theme to a particular encounter or just general area that a party are moving through. Dungeons II focuses on dungeons - underground constructed chambers and locations. The product presents a number of different types of descriptions, namely, bits, shards, bricks and splinters of the senses. The latter two are new to Bits of Darkness: Dungeons II. Bricks are rooms, encounters or traps that can be dropped into any dungeon in a premeditated manner, while Splinters are one-line descriptions that can add something of the senses (sights, sounds and smell) to an existing description. Bits and shards are descriptions of differing lengths, the latter more specific than the former.

Bricks are different in that they are more like single room encounters that come complete with d20 statistics for creatures or treasures contained. While some bricks are merely room kits without any mention of encounters, others are specifically encounters and traps for a designated challenge rating. The bits, as is usual for these products, are presented in card format as well so that they can be selected randomly. Splinters are also meant to be used in this way, and a table is provided to randomly roll and select a given splinter to add to a description.

The pdf starts with an introduction to the Harried Gamemaster line and the nature of the different pieces of description included in the pdf. It then dives into the bricks of the pdf, starting with several room kits. These kits include such areas as chapel of sacrifice, arena, kitchen guard barracks and my personal favourites, Schrodinger's room (complete with a disclaimer that 'No cats were harmed in the making of this product') and the Energy Gateway. The latter two are more 'puzzle' orientated chambers, and I'd love to see Tabletop Adventures do a series that included descriptions and solutions to various dungeon or cavern puzzles. Descriptions are wonderfully visual and inspiring, and give a real feel for what it would be like to stand in a given location.

The seventeen room kit bricks are followed up by 13 encounter and trap dungeon bricks. There are very descriptive but traditional dungeon encounters complete with traps, monsters and treasure for your d20 fantasy game. They're organised in order of highest to lowest challenge rating, starting at 17 and dropping down to 1, although the majority are in the higher CR range above 5 or 6, with only 1 (a neat encounter with drugged kobolds) that has a CR below 5. Examples include a volcanic workshop, a plant colony, scrag cave, haunted cells and a ingenious mirror trap that's bound to catch most players by surprise (although for a CR 8 trap, the initial Will save DC is very difficult to pass). A good selection of encounters and traps (although the CR selection is not the best), with excellent flavor and utility, and encounters with a lot of thought and creativity.

The bits are presented next, and 36 of these are numbered and included for easy use when a piece of description is needed. Again these contain wonderful flavor and descriptive elements, and also come in card format to be printed out and randomly selected. These aren't organised along any particular theme, but the index at the end is extremely useful if you want to actively select a bit. Active selection, however, is more suited to the 48 shards of this pdf, each presented with an appropriate title. The shards are organised into doors, stairs, dead ends, sources of water and rooms and provide DMs with a neat selection of different descriptive bits, some very evocative and alive.

The last sections of the pdf present the splinters of the senses. These are one-line description by Martin Ralya that can be used to add something of sight, sound or smell to a particular encounter or area. There are 99 of these, tabulated for randomly rolling, and provided a useful toolkit for the busy DM. Including these splinters, there are more than 200 descriptions, a fantastic trove of delightful words of descriptive power.


LIKED: The pdf is extremely useful and filled with descriptive flavor. Challenging and interesting encounters are presented in the bricks, while the bits, shards and splinters provide tantalizing words the increase the ambience of an encounter or location. An extremely useful pdf, for both the busy and not-so-busy GM. Good art throughout the pdf.

DISLIKED: The spread of challenge ratings for the encounters and traps is not the best.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bits of Darkness: Dungeons II
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/16/2006 00:00:00
Bits of the Dungeon II is, by far, the best product produced by Tablesmith so far.

Bits of the Dungeon II is a sequel to Bits of the Dungeon I. Both are products that provided unique room descriptions that can easily be placed into your game. With the first one, they brought us Bits, which are quick one paragraph descriptions and Shards, more elaborate detailed rooms. I thought that it could not get any better. Boy was I wrong.

With the invention of Bricks, Bits of the Dungeon II has become one of the most useful products for any Dungeon Master, Whether you are hurried or a preplanner. I put it right up there with my Dungeon Masters Guide and Players Handbook.

Solely For the Dungeon Master:

With basic Shards and Bits, you had a great description that added wonderful atmospheres to the dungeon. With the addition of Bricks, you get a more expansive part of the dungeon that includes encounter ideas. These comprehensive descriptions are usually a page or two, and include fun settings such as underground layers and jail chambers. Nearly two dozen bricks include the colorful NPCs, descriptive rooms and interesting encounters. You can insert these bricks into any current or future dungeon for your campaign in a matter of seconds. The writing is top notch and surpasses all of the previous Bits. With some of the earlier products, I felt some of the descriptions began to either run together or look similar. With every Bit, Shard and Brick, nothing seemed familiar.

This product is a deal for the price, considering most "adventure starters" with a quarter of the information cost 10 bucks alone. You'll be giddy as you read through the 83 pages and wonder how you will fit this all in.

The Iron Word

Bits of the Dungeon II is a great for the Dungeon Master whom wants to immerse his players into his game world. Even if you are as talented as the Iron DM, Bits of the Dungeon II?s incredible writing and remarkable editing will give you delightful descriptions that your players will awed by.



LIKED: Never have a vanilla room again. Every description is a role playing moment waiting to happen.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bits of Darkness: Dungeons II
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Chris G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/10/2006 00:00:00
Bits of Darkness Dungeons 2

Descriptions can be an important part of the gaming experience. Sometimes it can be difficult to fully describe a room especially if the DM has not prepared for doing so. Preparation can take a bit of time and effort and not everyone has the writing skills to make it good. That is where this series of PDFs comes in. It has the descriptions already written for the DM to use. Some are long and others are short so the DM can fit what he has need for with the right passage from one of the books.

Bits of Darkness: Dungeons 2 is a follow up in a series of books all about the descriptions. These books seem to want to be used for games like D&D and are a bit more fantasy oriented. Unlike other ones in the series though this one does have some d20 encounters in the mix so it is not as easy to use with other non d20 games. The book is eighty three pages long and filled with writing and some ways to bring it all together though there could be more of that The book is well book marked and has a good lay out.

The book consists of four basic type of descriptions two of them are new to the series in this book. The usual ones are the Shards and the Bits. These are descriptions of rooms, doors, dead ends, and other places. Shards tend to be a bit longer then the bits and cover descriptions of more type of things.

One of the new description types is the brick. This is a more complicated description in that it is not all revealed at the same time. So, it covers a larger room or area and as the players explores it they discover new and interesting descriptions. It is a very good example on how to bring these descriptions together and make something more from it.

Splinters are the other new bit of description in the book. A Splinter is a brief sentence that is connected to one of the senses. It is just a little bit of extra detail that can really enhance an encounter or cause the players to pause and take head of something. All in all this is as strong a product as the others in the series oi have seen and really can offer aid to a DM that needs help in this area.

My one complaint is just something that I would like to eventually see from the company. The descriptions are great and offer good detail but there is always a problem with DMs reading from a box text that makes it different and not flow well. Tabletop Adventures offers some great new ways to use the box text and I would like to eventually see them off some good advice on how a DM can use that and not be so apparent that they are reading from a prepared text. It is a challenging endeavor to do, but I think it is one of the few places they can have these products grow.


QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bits of Darkness: Dungeons II
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Andrew B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/14/2006 00:00:00
This PDF is the follow-up to Bits of Darkness: Dungeons. Like the other books in this series, Dungeons II offers a collection of descriptions that a GM can insert into his or her campaign to build suspense, enhance atmosphere, and otherwise improve the feel of the game. As the name implies, this product focuses on dungeons and other subterranean environments.

The book divides its descriptions into a number of different categories, each with a clever title that alludes to the description?s size and its role in the building and running of adventures. These categories include Shards, Bits, Bricks, and Splinters. Each of these elements is designed to be useful in different ways. Splinters and Bits are short descriptions (one sentence each in the case of the former) that can be used on-the-fly to spice things up. Shards are longer descriptions, and are meant to be picked during the planning process before the adventure. Bricks are like Shards, but are designed to serve as major locations and features within the dungeon.

One of the main strengths of this book is the quality of the descriptions. Not only is the writing good, but the ideas are clever and often inspirational. Reading them, I?m left wanting more. I think the average D&D group would take these random descriptions as important clues. A clever DM could get a lot of mileage out of even the shortest Bit, turning something that is truly random into a major dungeon feature or adventure hook. With a little less prep time, the various short descriptions could be dropped in to enhance the mood and keep the players on their toes.

New to Dungeons II are Bricks, which are essentially mini toolkits to help you design typical dungeon rooms and features. A few examples include an armory, a guard post, and a mostly tongue-in-cheek version of Schrodinger?s room (a physics paradox with which you may or may not be familiar). These rooms are mostly mechanics free, instead giving you a description and a listing of appropriate features. The idea is that a skilled DM could use the Bricks to build a fairly detailed section of a dungeon. Some of the Bricks contain encounters, while others are meant to be used as traps. The mechanics are sound here, and the traps and encounters are interesting. The only drawback is that the Bricks are meant to represent typical dungeon rooms, meaning that a DM looking for something very different or innovative probably won?t find it here. They work well for what they are intended, though, so I?ll just note that a little more variety would have nice alongside the typical rooms.

Dungeons II places more emphasis on things that are helpful during the planning phase of an adventure, as opposed to things like Bits that are meant to be dropped in during the course of play. I think this change in focus from earlier products is a good design decision. While I think that adding the occasional random Bit or Shard into my narrative would improve my D&D sessions, Dungeons II is probably best used as a source of ideas for building interesting dungeon features and encounters. Think of it as an inspirational toolkit that can also be used on-the-fly from time to time.


LIKED: Tabletop Adventures has a very cool series of products here. They fill a unique niche in d20 gaming, they are very well written, and they really go above and beyond their intended purpose. Any DM that runs the occasional dungeon-crawl should have this PDF in his or her library.

DISLIKED: Reading through this book, I?m reminded of a problem with roleplaying games in general. Boxed flavor text doesn?t seem to work very well in actual play. Even the most attentive player seems to gloss over a bit while the DM is describing the environment. This isn?t a fault of this product, or course, but it does raise the fear that some of this rich description may be lost on the typical d20 group. I?m especially leery of particularly wordy passages. There were a few Brick descriptions that lost me as a reader, and I can?t imagine using them verbatim at the gaming table.

Fortunately, these are the exception; I think that the majority of the flavor text here is brief, descriptive, and easy to use as-is.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bits of Darkness: Dungeons II
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Jeff H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/06/2006 00:00:00
The first Bits of Darkness: Dungeon was very very good. This installment is far better. Excellent Job!

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Displaying 1 to 5 (of 5 reviews) Result Pages:  1 
Back
You must be logged in to rate this
0 items
 Gift Certificates
Powered by DrivethruRPG