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The Dungeon Master's Handbook II
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2016 17:31:18

The largest book downloaded from the DM's Guild so far. Lots of lists of monsters and encounters, most of which I have no need for. Sadly that accounts for about 40 some pages. There are about 30 pages of monster stats with minimal descriptions and no art. If you are running Curse of Strahd I see that there is some use in this.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Dungeon Master's Handbook II
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Archetypes for D&D
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2016 17:25:16

ive new archetypes including a witch (sorcerer) and the witch hunter (any). The witch gets some new spells (from other classes) and four new powers. If I were to use this with other witch classes I might call it a Witch-kin or a Witch-blooded.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Archetypes for D&D
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3 Archetypes #04 - Druid
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2016 17:21:20

What is says on the tin. Three new Druid circles including a Circle of Witchcraft. Interesting ideas, but not entirely sure it works for me. The Circle of Rebirth and Circle of Seasons are more interesting and come a little closer to what is expected from a druid.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
3 Archetypes #04 - Druid
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Druid Circle - Circle of the Eremite
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2016 17:17:39

Potion brewing druids. Comes with printer friendly and screen versions. This class has a Hedge Wtich feel about it to be honest. A bunch of new potions are listed at the end.

Not a bad idea, but feels a little off to me somehow. I have not put my finger on it to be honest.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Druid Circle - Circle of the Eremite
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Pacts & Patrons (and eldritch invocations!), new class options for the warlock
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2016 17:13:42

Two new pacts and five new patrons for warlocks. The art and layout is nice. The Aegis Pact is similar to Pact of the Blade. The Pact of Concoctions makes the warlock into a brewer of potions. The patrons are for me the more interesting part of the book. These include The Archmage, The Ascendent (almost a god), Fate, Mother Nature and the Phoenix. Each comes with some flaws and an expanded spell list. The last couple of pages are devoted to new invocations.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Pacts & Patrons (and eldritch invocations!), new class options for the warlock
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New Warlock Invocations
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2016 17:05:48

Four pages of new Warlock invocations and two pages of a new Fighter archtype, the Hexblade. The Hexblade obviously gets some ability from the Pact of the Blade Warlock, but some martial ability as well. The artist is not listed, but I found his work here: http://rodimus25.deviantart.com/art/Fantasy-Warlock-
-174156589



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
New Warlock Invocations
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Glamour Mage Class
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2016 17:00:10

This one is nice since it comes in both screen and print ready versions. While not exactly a witch, it covers a lot of the same ground. Spellcasting is like a warlocks and a emphasis is given on glamour and flashy spells. There is actually quite an interesting and unique class here and one I'd like to try playing. Maybe an NPC would work well.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Glamour Mage Class
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Spells of the Unapproachable East
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2016 16:54:26

This collects various spells that have appeared in some Forgotten Realms books in previous editions focusing on the lands of Thay, Aglarond, Rashemen, Thesk and the Great Dale. If these names do not mean anything to you, don't worry, I only am vaguely aware of them myself. The point here is that there are a lot of "new" spells for you. The spells comprise the last 8 pages. Some are familiar enough to me just because I have been playing for 36+ years, but some are new to me. Twelve pages for a buck (or less) is not a bad deal really.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Spells of the Unapproachable East
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The Shaman - A New Take
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2016 16:48:59

This class has spellcasting foci, like a fetish or idol, which gives it a nice feel. Wisdom is the spellcasting ability. This class also has some spirit based powers that are interesting. The relationship here is similar to the cleric and druid is similar to the Sorcerer-Wizard-Warlock one. I think I would have liked to have seen this class use something more like the Warlock style spellcasting to be honest, but what is here works fine. IT's a good class, but I am left want more.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Shaman - A New Take
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Witch Class
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2016 16:37:43

This witch is more like a warlock, but that is what it is advertised as. These witches appear to be manipulators of Fate. These witches also use Wisdom as their spell casting ability. Instead of pacts or traditions this witch has "Heritages"; the Traditionalist, the Blighted, and the Clarivoyant. Each one gives the witch some different sorts of powers. Ends with a spell list.
At six pages it seems a bit thin, but does exactly what it said it was going to do.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Witch Class
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Witch Class (5e)
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2016 16:31:10

I rather like this one. The layout is really nice, very professional. The witches here as presented as natural spell-casters; learning through natural ability and experiences. Wisdom is the spellcasting ability for this witch and are natural Ritual Spellcasters. This witch also has a number of witch traditions; fey, hedge and shadow. All provide the witch with background and provide some powers. This witch also can assume animal shape and has a spirit kin; something like a spirit animal. There is a list of spells, but no real new ones.

There are a lot of great ideas in this one to be honest.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Witch Class (5e)
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Witch Class, D&D 5e (inspired by Dragon #114 witch)
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2016 16:22:04

I love the art for this one, but the background image makes it harder to read and difficult to print. He starts with a bit of history of the witch in D&D, but I am not sure if the author knows how far back this class actually goes. That's fine the focus here is on the Dragon #114 witch.

This witch uses both Intelligence and Charisma for spellcasting and is a divine spellcaster. There is a distinction between White and Black magic witches. I like the "A Blessing and a Curse" idea here. It's a nice touch. The witches also get a lot of powers in addition to their spells. Some, like the candle magic powers, really do invoke the memories of the old Dragon Magazine witch. There are even 5 new spells. I had hoped that since this was inspired by the Dragon witch that there would be High Secret Order spells too, but the author did not include those.
There are some good ideas here.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Witch Class, D&D 5e (inspired by Dragon #114 witch)
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The Thaumaturge
Publisher: DYS Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/21/2016 08:16:14

I am a sucker for new classes, especially magic-using classes. So I was very pleased to hear that Matthew Skail was releasing a new class designed to replace the magic-user in OSR games.
The Thaumaturge is a 20-level spell casting class in 10 pages for any OSR-like game.


The main feature of the titular class is their non-Vancian spell casting system. Now I will admit that I am a fan of Vancian magic. It is part and parcel of playing D&D in my mind. That being said I have experimented with a number of non-Vancian and spell-point enabled systems over the years. But I keep coming back to Vancian magic. The Thaumatuge is a well thought out class though and the system has merit. There is a bit of 3.0 in this class' DNA, namely extensive use of the ability modifiers, but not so much as to drive away die hard Grognards.


The class is well written and could easily be dropped into any OSR game. In fact I think such things should be encouraged; different lands should have different types of magics.


The main feature of this class though is not just the spell-point system, but rather a system that gives the magic-user the means to do some dice-rolling just like the melee types. Having seen this more in 4th and 5th edition for arcane types, this is not something to be underestimated. People love to roll the dice to see if they hit or, in this case, a spell's success. There is even something in this that I normally call a "repeated casting modifier" (called Overcasting here). The idea of the "Mastered Spell" is also a nice one. Again, nothing we all have not seen elsewhere, but still nice to have in one place.


Since this is designed to replace the standard Magic-User it still uses Intelligence as the primary ability. I think though a strong case could be made to replace that with Charisma and make it a unique class. They can use the same spells as the Magic-user does, much like how the magic-user and elf can in Basic, or the Wizard and Sorcerer in 3rd edition.


There are also a couple of new spells and some new magic items. All for less money than a 20oz bottle of soda and a bag of chips.


There are some formatting issues with the document. Page numbers would also be nice and I'd put in a manual page break over Optional Rules.


Thoughts on Expansion
While reading this I could not help but think that is actually two classes. First, there is the stated design goal, an augmentation of the magic-user class. But there is also a completely new class here as well. We can call them the Thaumaturgic Wizard and the Thaumaturge respectively. Now on paper there is no real difference here, but the concept opens up new possibilities.
The Thaumaturgic Wizard implies there can be Thaumaturgic Clerics, Thaumaturgic Illusionists or even a Thaumaturgic Witch.

The Thaumaturge, however, is a different sort of caster. To go with the dictionary definition of Thaumaturgy you would almost need to add a little bit of clerical power to them without necissarily invoking some diety. Or at least a couple of the cleric's spells. Again, I'd base his spellcasting ability on Charisma at this point and make him something like a counterpoint to the witch.


This class as written would also gain some benefit from some of the ritual casting as presented in Dark Albion: Cults of Chaos. If you use spell points then places of power is a nice logical extension.


I have to say there is a lot of ideas here, certainly more than it's page count suggests.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Thaumaturge
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Dark Albion: Cults of Chaos
Publisher: DOM Publishing
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/19/2016 15:13:34

The newest supplement for Dark Albion is now out, Dark Albion: Cults of Chaos. With a name like that how can I possibly say no?


A bit of history, I worked with author Dominique Crouzet quite a bit back in the late 90s and early 2000s. I know what sort of thing he likes (or at least liked) in this area, so I know I was going to be pre-disposed to like this. Kasimir Urbanski is also the author and his contributions were going to be a bit more of a mystery. But I liked Dark Albion so my expectations were pretty good. Like Dark Albion, this book can be played with any flavor of D&D you like. It is simple enough and light enough on the "crunch" it can actually be played with just about any RPG really. While reading I Was thinking about it in terms of Pendragon, Cthulhu Britanica and other games.


Dark Albion: Cults of Chaos is the cults and cult-like groups book for the Dark Albion campaign setting/rules. The book itself is 92 pages (94 with covers). This includes 2 pages of character sheets, a cult sheet and the ogl. Minus title page and various bits we are looking at 80+ pages of solid content.
The art is all black and white and is a mix of newer art and woodcut designs. I am rather fond of the woodcuts myself, I love seeing these in books. I recognize a number of pieces as belonging to Dominique; so he is one of the artists as well as one of the authors.
The first part of the book deals with the cults. In particular their size, composition, what social class they come from (very important really) and of course their motivations and where their secret lair might be. Life of the cultist within the cult is also detailed to a degree. Enough anyway to get you thinking more about them. In particular what they do in the cult, why they might have joined and possible mutations. That one needs some more explaining.
Some cults are so exposed to the forces of Chaos that their cultist can begin to mutate. A great idea that I am glad to see here. Dom and I did something similar for Warlocks back in my 3.0 edition of my Witch book. So immediately I grabbed on that as something to use. The idea though has a lot of traction. There are similar ideas in Lamentations of the Flame Princess and I believe Dungeon Crawl Classics.
The next section covers running advnetures involving these cults. Obviously these cults are not menat to be a one-time adversary. They are meant to be reoccuring antagonists and potentially even the "Big Bads" of your game. This includes a number of NPCs, mostly normal level humans, that are involved in the their cults. Don't assume though that "0 Level" = powerless. Nobility wield a lot of power regardless of level, a noble in a cult can be very bad for a party of adventurers.
I might as well acknowledge the inclusion of the "Frog Cults". I still think "Frogland" is kind of dumb to be honest, but I don't mind these cults at all. In fact wasn't "Temple of the Frog" the first real adventure played in D&D and certainly one of the first ever published. The "Keepers of the Frogs" from Blackmoor could certainly fit as a DA cult.


Packed amongst all of this information are also tables of rumors and other information PCs can learn. I thought of this as the "Scooby Doo" section of the book; the PCs split up and search for clues.


We next get some sample cults and some examples of some cults in various dungeon settings. These are split up into low, medium and high level.


The appendicies are very interesting and include a section on Elves in Albion. This section reminded me a bit of a similar direction given in Castles & Crusades Codex Celtarum. Indeed, one could use both books together to get a large, more detailed picture of the elves/fae/sidhe. DA tends to be low-fantasty compared to the C&S High(er) Fantasy. Still in niether case are these "D&D Elves", they still have more incommon with the likes Obereon, Titania and Puck than Tanis or Legolas.


The next appendix details a score cults of various types. All ready to drop in your game. The last appendix details sorcerery and chaos and the strange things that can happen when they mix.
We end with a cult creation sheet and a character sheet. The character sheet should be offered for free download, I think people would like it.


All in all a fun book. There is nothing here we have not seen before in one form or another, but to have it all one place with this particular presentation is great. I am reminded a bit of the old Witches and Pagans book from White Wolf that covered similar territory. I even pulled out my Mage: The Sorcerers Crusade to see if this would work well enough with it. It would take some work, but it could be done.


What strikes me most is how easiy it is to integrate this into any game you like. The crunch that exsists is easily converted. Since a lot of the die rolling deals with tables and their results, conversion is a simple process.


I mentioned in the past that Dark Albion is particularily friendly to Jeff Talanian's Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. Using a page from DA:CoC one could easily add DA style elves (and of course their cults) into the world of AS&SH. AS&SH style witches and warlocks seem particularily suited for the the chaos magic of DA.


In the end I thought this was a fun purchase. Glad to have it and glad to mine some ideas from it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Albion: Cults of Chaos
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Crimson Dragon Slayer 1.11
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/18/2016 15:02:54

A while back I reviewed the Crimson Dragon Slayer game. I had some nitpicks with it but overall I liked it. This new Crimson Dragon Slayer, version 1.11, is a little different. IT is free, and if you bought the old one you can also get a combine version for the price of a click.


This "new" game streamlines CDS into a game that can be setup, taught and play begins in one hour.Not a small feat really. The new game distils everything that made the first CDS different and makes it work. The die system revolves around a d6 set of rolls, sometime 1d6, 2d6 or 3d6 (or even a 4d6) depending on the difficulty or even the new 0d6.


Everything is stipped down. Three basic races (human, elf, dwarf) and four classes (warrior, cleric, wizard, thief). Everything from combat to leveling up is designed to be simple. I see the same design philosophy here that I see in other stream-lined games. There is enough here to really attach some very interesting ideas to not counting the built in campaign view. There is even a simple 3-page adventure to get your characters from level 1 to level 2.


There is still some work that needs to be done before this is a full product but so far there is a lot of promise here. I am very interested in seeing where this goes and what sort of options are available for higher levels. Right now the game is very fast and open and has a lot of potential.


For the right crowd of gamers this would make for a great afternoon diversion and for others it would become their game of choice. For the price you really can't beat it.


I think there are somethings here (and the promise of others) that I could steal for my own OSR games.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Crimson Dragon Slayer 1.11
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