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Monster Focus: Skeletons
Publisher: Minotaur Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/13/2013 14:41:24
Six pages with cover and OGL. Presents some material for customizing skeletons and those that deal with these low level monsters. New uses for Knowledge (Religion), new feats, alchemical items and spells. New magical items, new monsters and some adventure ideas.
Crammed into just half-a-dozen pages, pretty good really.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Monster Focus: Skeletons
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The Nemesis Bestiary Volume One
Publisher: Skortched Urf' Studios
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/13/2013 14:32:30
An interesting concept. 20 monsters complete with stat-blocks, art and description of their special abilities. There is almost no "fluff", just "crunch" to this book. The idea is you create the background yourself.
A lot of the monsters have origins that can be explained (undead, abberation) others just beg for their story to be told (whore eater and God Sperm for example).

Each monster was created in response to a piece of art. So somethings form can flow from function (Arm Stealer) or something else entirely.

If you want a book of ready use monsters, sans backgrounds, then this is a good choice.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Nemesis Bestiary Volume One
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Skull Throne
Publisher: DramaScape
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/13/2013 14:02:27
Wow. You get a lot more here than I expected.
You get a hi-res view of the room from above.
A flash file to se the room in 3d (really nice)
And a PDF to print out and put together.

If you have an evil necromancer, vampire or demon in your game that needs a throne room then this is a great choice.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Skull Throne
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Mazes & Perils RPG
Publisher: WG Productions
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/13/2013 12:24:55
NOTE: This is an updated review.

A while back I wrote a review for Mazes & Perils, a 2012 Holmes-Basic Retro-clone from Vincent Florio.

http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/2012/09/review-mazes-peri-
ls-2012.html

The 3rd printing/edition is now out (or rather it has been out for a bit) and I promised then I would re-review it.

This new version is cleaned up considerably and it does look like it has been rewritten. It is still free and the idea here (I think) is to provide a means to play "D&D Basic" or provide a common ruleset to allow people to create Basic-era compatible works. As a goal, that is a pretty solid one really. At 61 pages it is also really tight and it is also free.

I do want to address some of the issues that plagued the previous editions, but only as a means to talk about the improvements on this edition.
Like I said, the text has largely been rewritten. It now reads less like someone with a copy of Holmes Basic on their lap, but instead someone that played Holmes Basic for years and scribbled what they could from memory. The game now goes to 12th level, which is a good place to go to be honest. Yes, it is only 3 more levels than the previous version, but those are three levels that really make a difference in terms of end game play. Have a look of Adventurer Conquer King to see the same logic at work.

There are only the four basic classes (Cleric, Fighting Man, Magic-User, Thief) and the four basic races (Human, Elf, Dwarf Halfling).

I want to restate the things I did like about the previous versions. Obviously the name of the game is a nod to John Eric Holmes' book "The Maze of Peril" and I can respect that. If you are going to do a Holmes' homage or pastiche then that is a perfect name really. Clearly the author has done his research.

Others have complained about the art. I rather like it to be honest. The cover is very cool and the interior is no worse than what you would have seen in Holmes. In fact I was under the impression that the art was exactly what the author wanted. "Good" or "Bad" is subjective. To me it is perfect for this book.

What does this book do? OR What is it good for?
Well if you do want a simple game to give you the feel of D&D Basic, then it works well.
If you want an EASY book to create your own "Basic Era" products then it is also a good choice.
If you want a game with lots of options, then maybe Basic Fantasy, Labyrinth Lord, ACKS or even D&D Basic/Expert will work better.

This newer version is cleaned up and is certainly an improvement over the previous versions.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mazes & Perils RPG
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Tacky, Tawdry and Tasteless: the Reality Show RPG
Publisher: Spectrum Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/06/2013 15:25:18
A great game that comes in at just under 10 pages. Spectrum Games has made a name for themselves in Genre Emulation. Since Reality TV is often criticized as not needing any writers, the game brilliantly is equally as brief. Foregoing the typical "this is an RPG" section, the game gets right into the various types of reality TV shows are discussed. Once your group decides what sort of game they are going to do (or maybe your Director has decided for you) and then you go!
You then need to make your character. You figure out your name and stereotype then roll your stats. Figure out your positive and negative qualities and you are good to go! Like other Spectrum Games these qualities are not listed; instead you decide what they need to be. Typically these are needed to point out some character flaw your character has.
For rules, the only checks are ability checks (roll under, apply qualities as needed) and dramatic checks.
You also get "Edit Tokens" which work a lot like Drama Points. Tokens are awarded for good roleplaying and Sticking to Genre. You can also spend your tokens to change what is going on; such a "Oh No You Dit'unt!" and "I Ain't Goin' Nowhere!".
The basic structure of a game is also laid out, including Commercial Breaks. These can affect the Shows "Popularity" this can affect the amount of Edit Tokens the players can get.

The game is fast and is great for a like minded group. Given the nature of reality TV you could have enough material here for several "episodes" of material.

Personally I'd like to try it out sometime with people bringing in characters from any game and do a reality "TV Show" where all these characters have to live together in a house in between their normal adventures.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tacky, Tawdry and Tasteless: the Reality Show RPG
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Stock Art: Air Scarf
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/02/2013 13:46:01
Purple Duck always has the best stock art. Usually all I have to do is search RPGNow or DriveThru and they have the very thing I need.

Great art, easy to understand license.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stock Art: Air Scarf
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Tactical Art 001
Publisher: Dakkar Unlimited
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/02/2013 13:40:06
I love paper minis. I can print out as many as I need and if my kids want they can smash them when they have defeated them.
I also need more modern minis. So Dakkar has me covered on both grounds.

If you are at all familiar with Dakkar's work then you know what to expect here. Agents, aliens, gynoids, sexy civilians, sexier villains and so on.
All in all 92 cut our and fold minis. You can print them how you like for a variety of scales; though there is another product that has the same images scaled perfectly for 25mm. These are really designed for larger minis.

Great art. I even thought a few of them might work great in a couple of modern/sci-fi games I have.

The only thing that would make it perfect would be to combine Tactical Paper 001 and Tactical Art 001 into one product.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tactical Art 001
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Cerberus Stock Art: Zero One Three
Publisher: Cerberus Illustration
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/02/2013 13:20:37
20 high-quality, high-res images (about $1 an image). Great a variety of projects, heavy on the on the fantasy (though I'd love to find use for the 3rd Reich cyber-zombie).

Images look like paintings and not overtly like computer images. I like that.

There are a couple demons I have a use for already, so that made it worth it to me. The rest is icing on the cake.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cerberus Stock Art: Zero One Three
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks for the review Timothy! Joe J. Calkins www.cerberusart.com
Swords and Wizardry Monstrosities
Publisher: Frog God Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/21/2013 07:23:45
Swords and Wizardry Monstrosities is a new monster book. New in that is newly published, but some of the monsters we have before either in the SRD or other books. That though does not detract from it's value as this is a 560+ page book since in addition to that there are some new monsters. The cover is very evocative of the old-school (pre 1980) covers. I love this cover.
There is much in common between this book and The Tome of Horrors. Each monster is given a page of stats, description and a plot hook. While ToH used some recycled art, this all seems to be new art. Even Orcus (which we now have 3 listings for) is new. Actually the art is pretty darn good and I don't mind the occasional repeat of a monster to see some new art.
Honestly there is so much great stuff in this book that even with the occasional repeat monster this is still a top notch collection. If you play S&W then this is a great monster book to have. I am even going as far as to say it is a must have for any serious S&W GM.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Swords and Wizardry Monstrosities
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Swords and Wizardry MCMLXXV Introductory Module
Publisher: Frog God Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/21/2013 06:27:20
At just under 24 pages (minus cover and ogl) this is designed to be something akin to Keep on the Borderlands for S&W, only not as big. The adventure is small, but in old school terms it is good sized really. There is less in terms of pages of descriptions than modern day modules. It leaves far more to the imagination of the players and GM. If there was a Frog God Games S&W box set then this would be included.
Great little adventure that really helps set the tone of the S&W game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Swords and Wizardry MCMLXXV Introductory Module
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Swords and Wizardry Complete Rulebook
Publisher: Frog God Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/20/2013 16:38:23
A while a back I posted that I was giving some products another chance. One of those products was Swords & Wizardry.

I picked up the Frog God "Complete Rulebook" and spent a lot of time with it. I think my biggest issue with S&W is that was sold to me as "0 Edition" or "OD&D" and it isn't. I played OD&D and S&W is nothing like it. Well, not "nothing" but it's made some serious changes. Those changes I think kept me from enjoying the game for what it is. So after staying away from the game for a number of months I came back and looked at in a different light. I dropped the idea that is an OD&D clone but instead a Retro Clone stripped down to it's most basic form. Now that is game I can get behind. If you ever played any version of D&D or any clone you can play this. S&W is really the basic essence of what D&D is. The most basic stuff you need to play. In this new light I saw the changes for what they were, really nice and intuitive changes.
The classics are really basic, but they work. In this Frog God edition you have a more classes, Assassins, Paladins, Rangers, Druids and Monks join Thieves, Clerics, Magic-Users and Fighters. Races are Human, Elves, Half-elves, Halflings and Dwarves. So again all easily recognizable.
There are a set of good multi-classing rules (which is always nice in an OSR game).
Spells go up to 9 for Magic-Users, 7 for most others.
There are plenty of monsters, tons really. The monster blocks are simple like everything else.

Really S&W does take a lot of what made OD&D/Dasic D&D so fun, the advances in AD&D and the features that made 3.x so popular. Yes. It has Ascending AC (which is still the best, sorry old school guys) and I like single saving throw bonus.
This Frog God version shares a lot of the art that appeared in The Tome of Horrors Complete and the layout. This is not a big deal as far as I am concerned.

At a 134 pages it is a complete game. You don't really need anything else here, though you can use it with nearly other OSR product or any of the scores of products created for S&W.

I am glad I gave this another chance.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Swords and Wizardry Complete Rulebook
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Lineage Draconis
Publisher: Little Red Goblin Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/07/2013 13:36:17
This 28 page (27 + cover) pdf features 6 dragon crossbreads including the oft stated Orange and Yellow Dragons. But you also get the Blade, Steel, Rust and Gray Dragons. These dragons are pretty interesting and for the game I have coming up I need a lot of interesting dragons. The book also includes the Dragon Blooded "class" though it is also sort of a race. They are humanoid dragons. Plenty of things you can do with this class as well as alternate versions depending one where the blood came from.
In a neat little feature you also get the art from the book in a seperate file. So now you can show your players exactly what a Yellow Dragon looks like.
All in all a fun book. I only wish it had some more.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Lineage Draconis
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Midgard Bestiary for Pathfinder RPG
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/07/2013 13:24:03
We always need more monsters. Over a 100 new monsters for Pathfinder. Lots of really interesting ones too. I loved the Shadow Fae, Ice Maiden and Red Hag and have hooks already for all of them. The new dragon types are also very interesting and I can't wait to use a Mithril Dragon or Baby Yaga's Horsemen. In fact there are two completely separate campaigns I want to use this book in, a Dragon based one and a Witch-centric one. Both need unique monsters that the players have never seen before, and there are a number of monsters here that are perfect for one or the other or both!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Midgard Bestiary for Pathfinder RPG
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Midgard: Player's Guide to the Dragon Empire
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/07/2013 12:14:43
I own a few of the Midgard products, but this one really called to me. This Dragon Empire is very similar to the one I was crafting for my own game world, so this saves me some heavy lifting.
The 30 pages of this book is jam-packed. What did I like in this?
Well I love the castes. Dragons seem very arrogant and a caste system makes sense. I liked how the castes were set up as well. Lots of great role-playing potential in these. We get a bunch of new Traits and Feats.
Classes get a bit of an update as to be expected. There is a Cavalier archetype, the Order of the Firedrake (which is a PERFECT with my world's own White Drakes). The Druids have the Elemental Exarch. Fighters get Edjet Warriors, and the Magus has the Dragon Magus. We get a couple new monks, Monk of the Fiery Fist and Monk of the Wind Palm. There is also the Mystery of the Void, Greyscale and Void Elemeentalist for the Oracle, Rouge and Elementalists respectively. There is also the Dragon Emir prestige class which I am sure my son would love. The book end with new spells, exotic goods and magic items, including magic the magic carpet. Cool stuff. I am going to have to look for more books in this series.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Midgard: Player's Guide to the Dragon Empire
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Archetypes of the Jade Oath (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/07/2013 11:47:51
I got this product for the new witch hexes but the rest of it is great as well. There is a cool Eastern Flavor to this and I want to see if there is more in this series. While I have a lot of cultures on my game world the one thing that has been getting the short end of my attentions are Dragonfolk/Dragonborn. This book, while not explicitly designed for that, is perfect for my needs (and the cover kinda helps with that).
So what do we get? 20 pages (with cover, credits page, OGL statement and 2 pages of "Ads"). While there is an Eastern "flavor" to this, it is presented mostly context free.
The Barbarian is based on totem animals, which is a really awesome variant. I normally don't play barbarians, but I would try one of these. The Cavaliers are the Order of the Ancestors and Order of the Creed. Monks, a natural fit, are presented as Kensai (one of my favorite classes back in the day). Imagine the typical unarmed monk, now armed. And finally, the Witch, with a bunch of new and exciting hexes based on Elemental magics or Dragon magic (see it is a perfect fit!!). In fact these are some of the best Dragon Witches I have ever seen. So this is worth the price of the book alone to me.
We also get plenty of new feats. This was a nice surprise and I am very happy with this.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Archetypes of the Jade Oath (PFRPG)
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