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Metablades Expanded Edition
Publisher: Genjitsu Gaming
by Alan K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/13/2005 00:00:00

A fun book with a lot of options for a popular fantasy gaming archetype that sort of got "left" behind in the 3.5 upgrade. With this book, there is not just a handful of ways to make a fighter mage, but a plethora.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: <br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: I am not a big fan of OA-style fighting styles, and some of those are a bit on the potent side. On the other hand, some of the prestige classes come of a bit weak.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Metablades Expanded Edition
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Book of Fiends
Publisher: Green Ronin
by Alan K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/13/2005 00:00:00

The classic sourcebook on Demons and Devils, with an all new section on Daemons, creatures with plots revolving around sin (specifically the seven deadly sins). This last aspect makes them all the more convenient to write plots around or give PCs personal involvement. New material has also been added to the other sections, and two new core classes, the thaumaturge and unholy warrior, are included.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: Legions of Hell is an old standby section, and Hordes of Gehenna is a new favorite.

I especially appreciate that Green Ronin took the time to apply errata to the electronic version (in this case, psionics has been updated to the 3.5/XPH version; the hardcover was originally written to the old psionics handbook where it was used.)<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Armies of the Abyss still is not my favorite section. To much of the material is hentai-inspired or otherwise gross or silly in an attempt to be edgy by including references to sex, and continue this trend with new creatures added in this version. (Living demon semen? Nothankyou sir, not in my game...)<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Fiends
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The Second World Sourcebook
Publisher: Second World Simulations
by Alan K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/09/2005 00:00:00

One of the most intriguing settings and toolkits out there, curiously ahead of its time.

Second World sourcebook presents a parallel earth as a fantasy world, but is also flexible enough to use your favorite fantasy game world as a destination for modern characters. Being able to use Earth and plug in fantasy ideas is a very convenient setup.

The way that the warden powers shapes the world can be used to plug in a variety of different setting locales; I use Nyambe, Freeport, and Legends of the Samurai. It's also my world of choice when running published modules. <br><br><b>LIKED</b>: The in-depth discussion of converting between d20 modern and D&D. The idea of warden powers The pact system (Marilith forensic surgeons and summoned bio weapons... how cool is that?)

<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Some of the setting elements could use fleshed out a bit more. If there were room...<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Second World Sourcebook
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Complete Guide to Fey
Publisher: Goodman Games
by Alan K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/09/2005 00:00:00

A hidden treasure. It's almost a "fey building toolkit". Can recreate the fey in the core book or make your own. Definitely consider this if you have a campaign featuring fey or even on with fey as PCs.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: I like toolkit products, I like fey... what else is there to say?<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Complete Guide to Fey
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Legends of the Samurai Hardcover
Publisher: RPG Objects
by Alan K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/09/2005 00:00:00

A fine resource for gaming in medieval Japan or a fantasy version thereof. Classes are well done, closely based on fact and legend behind the classes. Very playable in different types of games in the setting.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: Well researched, well balanced.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Samurai should segue into Ronin class better. Could perhaps use a little more setting material.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legends of the Samurai Hardcover
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The Dread Codex
Publisher: Adamant Entertainment
by Alan K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2005 00:00:00

A nice little collection of undead creatures and other undead related crunch, updated (theoretically) to 3.5 rules.

Some of these creatures you will recognize if you have many other d20 references, but some were new to me. There are a lot of neat little purpose built and interesting undead creatures in here, such as flying skulls with a hatred for magic items or a prestige class to allow ghouls to become ghasts.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: Some of the art is awesome. I especially dig the cinder ghoul.

There are "in your campaign" sections that provides some ideas for using the creatures. Some of the advice is pretty apparent (like observing that some treasure is from dead adventurers), but some of it is well considered and should spark some ideas for using these creatures in your game.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: The layout is not the best, especially for an Adamant product. Creature descriptions start in the middle of a column. The placement of art could have served both to deal with the column arrangement issues and to have presented the art better.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Dread Codex
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Hot Pursuit: The Definitive D20 Guide to Chases
Publisher: Adamant Entertainment
by Alan K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/25/2005 00:00:00

A very nice treatment of chases in D20, with some inheritance from Spycraft and Grim Tales. Basically, it comes to grips with the fact that the d20 combat system isn't a chase system and gives you a chase system with different assumptions and resolution mechanisms.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: Nicely written, well considered, easy to use.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Red ink on every page made me worry how much ink is getting used when printing it out.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hot Pursuit: The Definitive D20 Guide to Chases
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Hot Pursuit: ON FOOT
Publisher: Adamant Entertainment
by Alan K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/25/2005 00:00:00

Nice adjunct to the Hot Pursuit rules, shored up with some great examples.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: Introduces possibilities and handling for a comman action-movie type conflict in the game.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: I really think the subject of spellcasting and the effects of existing feats need more consideration.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Hot Pursuit: ON FOOT
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The Dungeon Under the Mountain, Level 1
Publisher: 0one Games
by Alan K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/25/2005 00:00:00

Ah, man. Some old school nostalgia here. If you ever ran/enjoyed the old 2e Ruins of Undermountain, the look (and the title) should be familiar.

If you are familiar with some of 0one's other map products, you should be familiar with the "control" feature that allows you to hide or display different features. The older product like dungeon rooms let you add and remove traps, chests, doors, etc. The map scale here is different, and it allows you to turn of the highlighting of colored and numbered rooms, as well as traps, teleports, and numbers, and a ink-conserving option for print-outs. Lets you print the maps, run them from your laptop, and prepare player versions of the maps as well.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: Flexibility, nostalgia.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Dungeon Under the Mountain, Level 1
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The Dungeon Under the Mountain, Level 2
Publisher: 0one Games
by Alan K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/25/2005 00:00:00

Pretty much the same deal here as volume 1.

If you are familiar with some of 0one's other map products, you should be familiar with the "control" feature that allows you to hide or display different features. The older product like dungeon rooms let you add and remove traps, chests, doors, etc. The map scale here is different, and it allows you to turn of the highlighting of colored and numbered rooms, as well as traps, teleports, and numbers, and a ink-conserving option for print-outs. Lets you print the maps, run them from your laptop, and prepare player versions of the maps as well.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Dungeon Under the Mountain, Level 2
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Advanced Bestiary (d20 3.5)
Publisher: Green Ronin
by Alan K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/25/2005 00:00:00

If you like templates, this is one of the two books you should have in your collection. As Book of Templates has yet to be updated to 3.5, you might bookmark that one and get this one first.

The book has an interesting and inspired selection of templates. Some are more complicated to apply than others, but the book has a system fore-warning you. One template allows you to mix and match creature. The selection of "dread" undead templates provides you with template versions of non-templated creatures, and surprise versions of templates the players have learned to underestimate. Then the book has some great takes on a variety of concepts -- dream creatures, making a creature into a swarm of smaller creatures, the four horsemen of the apocolypse.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Advanced Bestiary (d20 3.5)
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Bow & Blade: A Guidebook to Wood Elves
Publisher: Green Ronin
by Alan K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/25/2005 00:00:00

I hear complaints about all the elf books out there...

And to be honest, I am not seeing too many. I figure people forgot that this is not second edition anymore.

Well, at any rate, I opened this book expecting something more typical of elf supporting material and was presently surprised. Yeah, there is some of the typical stuff you might expect for elves, like elfy prestige classes (one of them being the soul archer -- very cool) and spells (canopy walk should make fans of Lodoss War all happy inside), magic items and feats.

The twist of the book is the elemental elves... five new elven subraces. Yeah, I know, you are tired of FR elven subraces. But these subraces make magic of elves seem authentic. These races are LA 3 and gives elves the abilities they are legendary for. Tie this up with the material on a new elven deity, it's a great package, with both good ideas and good mechanical support.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bow & Blade: A Guidebook to Wood Elves
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Fantasy Player's Companion: Fantastic Stunts
Publisher: Ronin Arts
by Alan K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/25/2005 00:00:00

These stunts are based on the action point rules in the Unearthed Arcana book; if you were looking for an electronic version of those, these are they.

The stunts are basically additional options that you can use with action points.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: Makes for a great action point handout to print out and pass around the table for player use (except for the following...)<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: I wish they had repeated the text about metamagic feats from UA. <br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Fantasy Player's Companion: Fantastic Stunts
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Advanced Player's Manual (d20 3.5)
Publisher: Green Ronin
by Alan K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/25/2005 00:00:00

Provides a bevy of new character options for the game, including a luck statistic, new core character classes, a race customization system, more detailed treatment of skills, and a variety of new feats and spells.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: The Eldritch Weaver makes for a great variant spellcasting class with some spell like abilities; does a much better take on the "Warlock" concept without kicking the existing spell system to the curb.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Skip repeats his quirky mass combat system from "Cry Havoc" here. Why a mass combat book is in a "Player's" manual is one head scratcher, but more importantly, it's just not a great system. Very table-reliant and it has some odd rules for unit sizes.

I am generally not a fan of new core classes but I was particularly not jazzed to see a MORE combat oriented cleric variant.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Advanced Player's Manual (d20 3.5)
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Six Living Planar Gates
Publisher: Ronin Arts
by Alan K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/25/2005 00:00:00

An imaginative selection of gates/portals for use in your planar game. Just using one of two of these should empasize to your players they aren't in Kansas anymore.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: One of the entries is a bit TOO bizarre for my taste, and if you read into it just a little it seems tack to boot.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
Six Living Planar Gates
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Publisher Reply:
I'm not quite sure what you mean by "tack" but I'm fairly certain I know which entry you're talking about. It wasn't until after publication that someone suggested to me that the Princess as a gate was a little . . . suggestive. I never even considered it as I was writing, instead thinking fairy tale strange when the idea came to me.
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