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Insta-NPCs #1: Motivation, Attitude, and Appearance
Insta-NPCs #1: Motivation, Attitude, and Appearance
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Bits of the Boulevard
 
$7.75
Average Rating:4.3 / 5
Ratings Reviews Total
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Bits of the Boulevard
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Bits of the Boulevard
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Kevin M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/30/2009 13:07:39
If you haven’t experienced the benefits of this series yet, Tabletop Adventures continues to produce some of the most amazing and useful supplements if you’re a GM short on time and creativity (and who isn’t?). If you’re not familiar with this series, their “Harried Game Master” products are designed so that you can “buy today and play tonight.”

And their tag line really meets and in many instances, far exceeds expectations. The detailed encounters are vivid and evocative; they really do create the illusion of a living, breathing city. A nice side effect with a great majority of the encounters is the element of mystery and curiosity that is induced in the players. As an example, here is one such description:

“On the other side of the street from you walks a young woman who catches your attention for some reason…she is carrying a bottle in front of her carefully, as if frightened to spill even a drop…the young woman stops at a door and knocks hesitantly …an angry man who looks a lot like her, only older, stares at her with loathing…head bowed, she follows him into the building.”

There’s more to the description, so if you want to read it in full you’ll have to purchase the pdf, but the point is using descriptions such as these, it’s easy to create adventure hooks and seeds which can become further developed. An Index is also provided, so if an encounter is needed to fit a particular situation, you can easily find one amongst the many listed quickly and easily.

To sum up, this series is nothing short of amazing. My one and only complaint is the included stats are for D20 system, which I do not use. I would have preferred more generic stats, but this is a very minor gripe as they are infrequent, easily converted with minor effort, and in no way diminishes the usefulness and flexibility of this product. It is easily inserted into any fantasy system you are playing in.

The same can be said regarding the other supplements in this series, as I’ve also purchased Caverns, Dungeons I & II, and the Mother of all Treasure Tables. The latter is completely devoid of game stats, but presents an amazing amount of texture and detail to treasure. It’s obvious that the folks at TA have put a lot of effort into their products; very well done and definitely worth the purchase price

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bits of the Boulevard
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Scott B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/07/2009 14:54:11
EXCELLENT! Well done! Great job! I wet my pants I was so happy!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bits of the Boulevard
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Scott B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/07/2009 14:53:53
EXCELLENT! Well done! Great job! I wet my pants I was so happy!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bits of the Boulevard
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Sam d. S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/06/2009 12:19:48
I thoroughly enjoyed this product. It's well-written without being overly florid, useful, varied and detailed. It's not flawless: cover art is a bit ropey, but more importantly could do with a more detailed contents page - having printed it, I've found I've had to write my own for quick reference - or even a more clearly sub-categorised index. Nevertheless, a useful addition to a GM's arsenal.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Bits of the Boulevard
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by JD S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/03/2008 12:33:59
This product consists of 65 pages; the cover is truly ghastly amateur art that Judges’ Guild would have considered unworthy, but that’s a moot point in a pdf. Four pages are spent with the usual bumpf, and then there are 100 ‘Bits of the Boulevard’ each a visual image of a street scene written in a rather florid style; if I used this product, I would have to paraphrase the description, as it does not flow naturally. Then you get 80 ‘shards of the street’, which are scenes tied to specific areas of the city. Then are 22 ‘Walls and Gates’, which have to do with observations made in those areas. The writing is not bad, but rather far too florid, the sort of over-emphasized melodrama one associates with high school students. Five pages of very basic and simplistic discussion on why cities exist, followed by an index, and then the first hundred descriptions repeated a second time in an ‘index card’ format.

This product might be useful to a beginning GM with limited or no experience, or a GM wanting to add color to a one-off or a short campaign without any appreciable setting, but otherwise it is of limited appeal, and very over-priced.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Bits of the Boulevard
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by James J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/21/2006 00:00:00
this defiently helps a GM runnign city adventures. The themes and detail presented within this book are fabulous.



QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bits of the Boulevard
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by James G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/21/2006 00:00:00
You want this. I have been holding out on the "bits of..." series, but I am glad I gave into curiosity. I have not yet read my bits o' darkness bundle.
Every single one of these (!) has potential to deliver plot hooks or to be easily woven into adventure seeds in their own right. If (as I suspect) the Bits of Darkness is equally up to spec, you could probably randomly determine one of these and a couple of those and weave a rich unique adventure out of the lot. I rate this well worth the money.


LIKED: It delivered what it promised.

DISLIKED: Nothing, it contained what it promised.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bits of the Boulevard
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Robin C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/28/2005 00:00:00
My players often stop in small towns and villages, and I have several ebooks on small town that players can "drop into". Most of these aren't very detailed though, and that's where BITS comes in.
With almost no prep time, a DM can use "Bits" to transform a lifeless listing of businesses and buildings into a living, breating city vibrant and alive with detail.
IMO it's a great way to make most any city more "alive".
Very good ebook, well worth the money.


LIKED: The ease of use, with no prep time required

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bits of the Boulevard
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by wade g. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/27/2005 00:00:00
This is a fantastic product for GM's and players. Where the typical city-book provides a body, this material provides a heart and soul. Reading a few of the excellent descriptives quickly stimulates the imagination and encourages roleplaying.


LIKED: Excellent, varied descriptions of a living, breathing city populated by vibrant characters.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bits of the Boulevard
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Chris G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/26/2005 00:00:00
Bits of the Boulevard is a new book by Tabletop Adventures. They have put out a few good books that are aimed to help the DM with providing descriptions and other ideas for the game that the DM does not have to spend time designing himself. The sixty five page PDF is written by a lot of people. This is one of those products that a lot of people helped out on and looking at their names many of them seem to be related in some way. It is nice to see a project that brings families together. The book marks could be a little better done more like the index. The index is very well done and makes finding the different pieces of information easy. The layout is good with a few pictures but they did do a nice job of the note card section. The last sixteen pages have the descriptions from the early parts of the book on note card sized sections of the page. This makes it easy to print, cut out, and organize them for the DM.

Bits of the Boulevard is a unique product. It is like a few of Tabletop Adventures other books but I have not seen anything else in role playing like them. The book consists of descriptions for a city and inside a city. The imagery is very good and it really is something I can see many people getting good use out of. There are two types of items here: Bits and Shards. The Bits are usually a bit smaller and there are a hundred of them. So, to give an example I?ll pull out the under used d100 and come up with number eighty nine:

?Flocks of doves and pigeons roost in chaotic nests in rain gutters, squawking incessantly. The cloth awnings covering most doorways are white with old bird droppings. Bits of long-forgotten bread crunch underfoot, thrown by visitors
similar to the ones you see today who come here to feed the tame street birds. Unlike most wild birds, these avians don't flitter away as you approach; instead they boldly approach you for treats.?

That is the type of description the book has to offer. They paint a nice picture with a good eye for detail. The Shards cover a little more area. Like there are some that are for street filled with leather workers or smiths on it. There are eighty Shards like that in the book and each is a little more in depth then the bits for instance one called Business Rained Out.:

?Rain falls continuously, having a negative affect on business. People throw cloaks over their heads to dash down the street if they must go out. They come in from the street dripping, leaving muddy footprints and spreading water all about. The awnings and tents of wandering merchants deflect most of the rain, but there are steady drips inside their improvised shops nevertheless. They cover their merchandise and hunker down to wait out the storm. The air becomes increasingly damp as the rain continues, so that if things aren?t wet from the rain, they are soggy from the humidity. The smells also intensify: wet horses, wet dogs, wet hair, wet wool. ?

They really do a nice job with capturing a scene and providing vivid detail. There are twenty three additional Shards that describe the gates and walls of a city. These are easy to use and should enhance any trip into a city making it come alive with detail.

The book also has some great uses for building a city. It does not offer stating out the city but for giving the city a reason to exist. The section is not as in depth and does not cover other city building books like the rules in Advanced Players Guide by Sword and Sorcery does. But the section provides some good ideas on information like laws and organizations in a city.

Bits of the Boulevard is a rare product that needs very little DM prep time. The descriptions are easy to scan for the one that a DM needs and the details they provide should enhance any game. This is a very good product and it is close to being a must have for anyone who runs city based games like in Freeport or Bluffside.




QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bits of the Boulevard
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Nathan R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/10/2005 00:00:00
Great way to add some "flavor" to city encounters, I just randomly flip to a page and as the PCs wander down the street I will just add the text. So for those who have trouble coming up with "sights, smells, and sounds" of the city this is good. If your PCs are more interested in "just getting there" then this may not be your product.

LIKED: Great Index, some fun ideas.

DISLIKED: The "cards" section, the idea is to be able to print them out and use them as a way to "randomize" events. Perhaps a "random" encounter table would have been more useful.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Bits of the Boulevard
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Nathan C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/20/2005 00:00:00
This product is amazing as the others. Just from this product and its eventful and descriptive text, I was able to spawn an NPC and inspire some role playing as my pcs. There is a description where a kid steals a coin and the pcs see it. My pcs saw it and decided to catch the kid, but the guards whom he stole from caught him and the pcs covered for him. One even took him on as his apprenctice spawning more storylines.

It's always good writing when it inspires more writing.

LIKED: Descriptive, useful and I can cut and paste these. THank you.

DISLIKED: Nothing

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bits of the Boulevard
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Jeremy S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/18/2005 00:00:00
This reminds me of the charts in the 1st Edition AD&D City System boxed set. The difference is that each "option" is fleshed out just a little more, so as to make it more useful and aid the GM in coming up with something that fits the setting better (often with small details that are easy to overlook).

If used in a group where the GM tends to only bring up what is important, though, the PCs will have a lot of "red herrings". :)

LIKED: As advertised, it is great for giving the game some quick facts that have logic to them.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Bits of the Boulevard
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Chris H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/06/2005 00:00:00
This a nice resource for DMs who want quick descriptions of city sights, sounds, and mundane events. It's by no means a "must-have," but can be quite useful. It's all about verisimilitude; even if you don't use the descriptions verbatim, they will remind you of the sorts of things that ought to be going on daily in a fantasy city.

LIKED: Nicely organized imagination sparks. The "index card" formatting of the "bits" at the end of the document is a nice bonus.

DISLIKED: The price may be a bit high for the value. Also, the interior artwork is not great, and much if not all of it is stock art from ClipArt.com.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
We are pleased to have original interior artwork by the Carmona Brothers and by Cris Griffin. We also thought it was a bonus to find pieces of artwork available to illustrate descriptions such as towers and chains protecting a city's harbor, which otherwise would have gone unpictured.
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