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Shards of the Heart
 
$14.50 $10.15
Average Rating:4.3 / 5
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Shards of the Heart
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Shards of the Heart
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Jenette D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/23/2009 09:01:07
A wonderfully well put together product that gives some great examples of how to make an npc (or pc) more then a block of stats and base motivation/goal.

Although geared towards fantasy gaming, with a little work the chars can be "overhauled" to have their personalities/plot hooks fit with any modern/ futuristic campaign.

Of particular like was how several of the npc's were described with gender neutral plot hooks/preferences, allowing those playing chars with same sex leanings, (like myself and my girlfriend,) to have a variety of potential companions to run into without any additional work on the gm.

The pics for each npc was well done in B&W, although full body portraits would have been better then the torso/head & shoulders treatment some of them recieved. (If they had full color full body portraits of each npc I'd easily have paid $5-$8 more)

Over all the book had a nice "pick up and use" feel to it, and the short story added a nice bit of extra material to get the mind flowing with concepts.

Hopefully we'll see another of these types of books modern day/sci fi themed.

Quality of writing: Very satisfied

Quality of art work: Satisfied

Over all value for $: Satisfied ($7-$9 feels more reasonable for amount of content)

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shards of the Heart
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Chris G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/28/2007 06:34:06
Shards of the Heart

Coming up with NPCs is one of the least fun aspects of d20. And as the levels get higher the complexity of the characters increases. Each additional level adds more feats, skill points, and choices. When one adds to that the personality and background of the NPC it can really take a bit of time to to create them. That is where Shards of the Heart comes in. It is a collection of NPCs already defined and stated out.

Shards of the Heart is a new PDF by Tabletop Adventures. These guys seem determined to make the job of a DM easier. Their few products deal with time saving descriptions of places so the DM can spend time creating other things. This list book of NPCs is ninety three pages long, and the layout and art are both pretty good. The PDF has book marks but it would have been helpful if they also included classes and levels in the book marks. As they have it they just have the characters names. In addition to the PDF collection of all the stats and the backgrounds of the character one also gets actually character sheets of the NPCs that are ready to be printed it. This also makes the product ideal if one has the need for regenerated characters for a one shot adventure like most conventions have.

Shards of the Heart is a collection of about two dozen different NPCs. Each NPCs of course has a name and the class and levels. But they also have example narratives for introducing the character. These narratives are highly descriptive capturing both the look and personality of the character. Then the text gives a written description and full personality of the character. Lastly the character is given his/her motivation, background, and a few plot hooks. All of this is before one gets to the actually stats of the character. Each character has about two pages of this material and another page of just the stats. There is a large variety of characters but not ever possibility is presented. For instance there are no barbarian or dwarf characters. But there are plenty of human and half elves and bards and NPC classes. These characters are very good for role playing and are not created to be the most powerful at their levels. Some of the class combinations are not the best in terms of power but offer great and interesting characters. There are no characters with prestige classes. The levels of the characters vary quite a bit. There is a first level commoner and the highest level one is a ninth level sorcerer cleric.

Overall I am pleased with the characters in the book. They are designed more to help out with the fully fleshed out NPCs then the minor guards and servants the players will run into. The adventure hooks make them easy to use and give the DM plenty of great ideas to draw upon.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shards of the Heart
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Amy V. V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/13/2006 00:00:00
I used the twins characters from here, as the basis for my 1 on 1 Valentine's session for my hubby. They were fun NPCs to play. Others (romantic interest or not) could easily be added in later.


LIKED: The varied characters!

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shards of the Heart
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Jerry F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/09/2006 00:00:00
An excellent product. I buy everything this company produces. Most pdfs are plagued by marginal writing, non-existent editing, and boring, unusable content. This product is readable, interesting and USABLE!

This product is a great example of this company's consistent work. The characters and flavor prose are great. Some of them I use as incidental NPCs, other are fully integrated into the plot.

It's nice to see characters with real motivations and feelings from a commercial product.

I highly advise any fantasy storyteller to purchase one of these products. I promise you will be back for the others...especially if you buy a lot of pdfs.


LIKED: Professionally made product - readable and useable.

DISLIKED: I want MORE products from you folks!

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shards of the Heart
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/07/2006 00:00:00
Shards of the Heart: A Bit of Character is a collection of characters for D&D role-playing encounters. The book opens with a piece about the purpose of the product which is to provide DM with ready-made characters with depth (background, goals) for the DM to add to their game. These characters are designed to be able to be played for long term interaction in a campaign, to be ?real people? with their own paths. They are also designed to be able to enter into lasting relationships with PCs, including romantic ones (thus the ?Shards of the Heart?).

Twenty-three characters are included, thirteen females and ten males, as well as a war horse and a wolf. Most of the characters are lower levels, 2nd - 5th, (the highest is 11th level) but must are given three stat blocks at various levels. To give each character the ability to make a strong impression, each has an illustration, a narrative piece to frame the character and one or more quotes to give good hooks for roleplaying the character. A page or more of background and personality, make each of the presented a fully realized one. While to make each of the characters presented easier to integrate into an ongoing game, each has a set of small scenarios and plot-hooks to draw player character in with. Each character is given a two-page character sheet (in a separate file from the main product) for easy game reference.

All of the characters are human, elven or half-elven (a large proportion are half-elves in fact), it would have been nice to see at least one or two of the less pretty races represented. Surely even a dwarf or a halfling deserves a chance at romance?

If a DM is interesting in setting up some more complex roleplaying situations in their campaign, this can be a useful reference, especially if building relationship with between characters (not necessarily romantic one) is something that interests the playgroup.


LIKED: Interesting and detailed characters.

DISLIKED: Would have liked to have seen a slightly wider range of races represented.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shards of the Heart
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Robin C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/07/2005 00:00:00
This is a great collection of interesting NPCs, most with a romantic bent to them.
All the characters have B&W artwork to show your players, so they'll know who they're talking to.

The ebook's description is accurate that the NPCs don't depend on stats to be interesting. Altering them by several levels in either direction is easy, because their personalities is what makes them stand out - not their stats or their equipment. I find that most characters are well written in thier backgrounds, and sometimes in their motivations.
Still, on a few I feel their motivations could have been better fleshed out. Instead of telling me that Jean-Claude will flirt shamelessly with female adventurers at every oppurtunity, tell me WHY he's doing that, WHAT he hopes to gain from it, and WHERE he eventually wants to go in life. Any DM can create a hottie stablehand who's a flirt and give him a name, but since I'm paying for premade *detailed* NPCs I'd like to know MORE about why he's acting like that. When I have to answer such basic questions as character motivation and goals, I also have to ask myself why I am paying cash for this product.
Another downside is that the book's very poorly organized -- the NPC's are only listed by name, so if a DM is looking for a half-elf or a druid NPC to add to the game quickly, they'll have to waste time flipping through 93 pages or trying to remember their name. With a bit of forethought the "bookmarks" could have been better arranged to include the characters alignment, race and class instead of just their name - now THAT would have been a real timesaver!

While I am rating the book "acceptable", overall I don't feel this book was worth the money I paid, and I got it on sale. To be a good value for the money, the product would need to either lower the everyday price or add more detail about character motivations and goals.


LIKED: The NPCs come with premade character sheets in seperate pdfs for easy printing - that's a helpful timesaver for a rushed DM who has other things to do besides copy stats.


DISLIKED: THE FILLER!!!!! :GRRRRRR:
There's nothing noted in the ebook description that indicates that almost 20 pages of the 93 page book is taken up by someone's "short story". And I don't mean a "detailed character history", I mean a story - painfully described in space wasting detail are a few points that could have been summed up in a paragraph of character background, leaving more room for useful relevant content. Ugh. And it's right in the middle of the book too. What an annoyance.
I was very annoyed and dissappointed by the inclusion of the "story". I feel the space it wasted would have been better used to add more NPC characters, or to better detail the motivations and goals of the NPCs already in the book.
This would have been rated a 4 without the needless, unwanted 'story' filler.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Disappointed


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
While we cannot please every customer all the time, we can do something about organization. As of 12-10-05, a revised version of this product is available which includes bookmarks by race/gender and class/level, as well as name. Anyone who purchased this product is eligible to receive a free update to the revised version. The fiction piece at the end of the book is an example of developing a romantic relationship between a player character and an NPC. The author graciously included detailed write-ups for the main characters in the story, to allow other game masters to use the characters in their games. Since this is an e-book, this additional material was exactly that ? an addition, and did not replace any other material that might have been included.
Shards of the Heart
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Nathan C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/20/2005 00:00:00
A buck an NPC. You can't beat that. THis product is under prices for the adventure threads it has already started in my campaign and can start in yours.

LIKED: Great organization and detail again... kudos.

DISLIKED: I wish the toc was built so i knew the class and race of the npc. I could care less about there name.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shards of the Heart
Publisher: Tabletop Adventures, LLC
by Gregory B S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/25/2005 00:00:00
Thanks to the authors. This helped me a lot when I needed a quick and interesting NPC love interest. There are plenty for both genders to enjoy. the NPCs are very plug-and-play. All are illustrated in b/w.

The PCs are standard d20 but with some work could be used in any system because they are more about interaction and less about combat. I think that this would be a good book to add to your "Blue Rose, Romantic Fantasy RPG" resources.

DISLIKED: The art has some weak spots and some write-ups are a bit shorter than I would have liked.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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