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JD1 Cess-Pit of the Bog-Mother
Publisher: UNIgames
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/25/2013 16:38:20
Fun little adventure for characters level 1-3 for your favorite Old-School game.
At just under 10 pages it is perfect for a quick afternoon game. It would work great while travelling to another adventure or in-between towns. The map is repeated in b&w (blue and white) and full color versions.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
JD1 Cess-Pit of the Bog-Mother
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Adventures in Oz: Fantasy Roleplaying Beyond the Yellow Brick Road
Publisher: F. Douglas Wall Publishing
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/24/2013 15:16:10
Ever since I was little, I mean really little, I have enjoyed "The Wizard of Oz". I can recall being about 4 or so and being frightened of the flying monkeys, the Winkies and of course the Wicked Witch. I also remember we had this old copy of the Wizard of Oz book in the house and I remembered how different it was than the movie.

Oz is a fascinating place really, and I was amazed the first time I learned how much of it was there beyond Dorothy and her friends. I learned about names like Mombi and Ozma. I will admit I have always wanted to put a "pumpkin head" in my games largely in part due to "Journey Back to Oz". In my WitchCraft games we also used to call witch hunters "Dorothies".

I think Oz is a bit under rated to be honest. It's not the drug referenced lands of Alice or even the purely fantasy of Peter Pan, it is, in a way, pragmatically American. But it is fertile land as well. It gave us "The Wiz" and "Tin Man" and of course, "Wicked".

So I was thrilled when I heard of F. Douglas Wall's Adventures in Oz RPG.
It is, like the literary Oz, a great game for the younger set. The rules are fast, simple to learn and you can be up and playing in no time at all. They game is also really, really fun. If you never play it, the book offers a good resource to using Oz in your own games.

The game is simple, fast and fun.

If you have kids and want to introduce them to the world of Role-playing then this is a great bet. Just like Oz you get a fantastic land that is kid friendly with characters we all know (or at least, mostly know) and like Oz there is a lot more to this game than seen at first glance.

This is also a great game for adults. I would recomend a game of Oz as a palette cleanser. There are no Tolkien dwarves or elves in this game, but plent of Muchkins, Winkies and Gilikins. There is magic, but it's not the same as all the other games you have played. Plus it is rules lite so Narators and players can get up to speed fast.

All in all this is a great game and worth picking up.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adventures in Oz: Fantasy Roleplaying Beyond the Yellow Brick Road
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Fate Worlds: Worlds on Fire
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/23/2013 14:31:29
I will be honest here. I bought this JUST for White Picket Witches and consider it money well spent.
To get all the other settings is icing.

WPW is a perfect setting and really shows off the sort of thing Fate can do well. If you enjoyed The Witches of Eastwick, the short lived Eastwick or even Charmed, the Craft, Beautiful Creatures and any other number of old families steeped in dark magic dramas then this is a perfect choice for you.

Basically you get six "mini" games, campaigns to use with Fate. White Picket Witches is only one of these. Of the others Tower of the Serpents and Wild Blue are great fantasy but Fight Fire really shows off something you can only do with Fate.

Honestly. If you like Fate then get this. You will be happy.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fate Worlds: Worlds on Fire
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Basic Arcana
Publisher: Tom Doolan
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/11/2013 14:25:46
Full test here: http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/2013/09/review-basic-arcana.h-
tml

The idea of Basic Arcana is simple. Create an "Unearthed Arcana" for the B/X rule system. Via the OGL and OSR this can be done for Basic Fantasy or Labyrinth Lord. The result of this idea from Tom Doolan is this book.

The style is very much in the feel of the old B/X books. The text and most of the art is by Doolan himself, so kudos in that regard.

We start off with some class variants. The obvious parallel here is when the UA expanded the classes demi-humans could take but it also fills a niche. Not all elves use magic, not all dwarves swing an axe. While we can see some of this in ACKs, this has a tighter feel with the B/X design. We get two new races, the Half-elf and the Half-orc and two new classes, the Barbarian and the Martialist.

There are some rule additions including various to hit bonuses, rules for Followers and the Mass Combat rules.

Mass Combat is interesting since it is a backwards evolution of what D&D took from Chainmail.

On the down side I did not see a declaration of open content. The OGL is there, but not the copyright for this book or how much open.

Also while the book feels packed it is only 17 pages total or about 14 pages of text. I am of two minds on this. First the book does feel packed, so a lot was crammed into these 14 pages of text. On the otherhand is $3 too much for 14 pages?

In the end I judged the price fair, but I would have liked to have seen some more. Some special spells for the Dwarf Priest and the Elf Sorcerer would have been nice.

Who should buy this?
If you are a big B/X fan (like me) then there is a lot of value here for your buck. If you play any of the "Basic Era" games then there are things you could use here.

UPDATED: So how is this for service? The document has been updated to include the proper OGL declarations AND a page of new spells!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Basic Arcana
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Knowledge Illuminates
Publisher: GM Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/09/2013 11:01:58
Knowledge Illuminates is a 28 page (24 pages + 1 cover, 1 toc and 2 end pages) adventure for Swords & Wizardry complete, though it could be used with any OSR game.

This adventure is designed to be the start of a campaign or the first S&W adventure.
There is quite a lot of information here in case the players want to go off exploring on their own. There is also a fairly detailed XP allocation chart in back, helpful for new GMs.

This adventure is also released under the Pay What You Want feature. So if you have some spare change and need a good starting S&W adventure then this might be exactly what you are looking for.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Knowledge Illuminates
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The Mini Manor: Faces Without Screams
Publisher: GM Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/09/2013 10:52:15
The Mini Manor is a free adventure made specially for Swords & Wizardry appreciation day. If you are familiar with the adventures found in the Manor zine.
The adventure is somewhat reminiscent of a horror movie setup but works well.

If you want a good free adventure then grab this.
If you want an idea on how the adventures in The Manor feel like, then grab this.

Note: this publication DOES include the OGL.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Mini Manor: Faces Without Screams
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The Manor, Issue #3
Publisher: GM Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/09/2013 10:46:37
The Manor #3 increases to 32 pages. Though it feels like there is more here than that.
The main article is the Mine of Rot and Disease, a great little old-school adventure. Stats are 1980s era D&D, but easily converted to anything.
The art is fair, but perfect really for the feel of this issue. The maps though are quite nice.

Another poetry slam. It is what makes The Manor unique and I hope it does not go away.

Pog Nog the Goblin is a great little NPC/resource and one I am going to use in my next adventure with my kids.

There are some, self-admitted, dumb jokes. Again, perfect for a zine.
Ending with a new god of Monster Hunting.

If you remember the zines of the 80s (and some of the best ones I remember from the late 80s even) then this a very nice stroll down familiar, yet new, territory. If you were not around then but enjoy oldschool games, then this is also a great find.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Manor, Issue #3
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The Manor, Issue #2
Publisher: GM Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/09/2013 10:36:09
The Manor #2 keeps right on going with another 24 pages of material. This one is setup to allow you to print it out and then fold it over and staple it for that "real zine feel", nice, but sometimes I prefer to read these things on my computer. (edited to add: There is a regular version as well!)

In this issue there is Hugo's House of Healing. An encounter/resource.
An inn which would be great to use anywhere and a random table of 20 things you find under the cot.

The inn and Hugo's house (that is Hugo on the cover) take up most of this issue.
One other minor quibble, and this is more me than the zine itself. There is no OGL license. Granted, it doesn't really NEED it (and I am not taking off for it's omission) but it would have made it play nicer with the likes of Basic Fantasy, OSRIC and Labyrinth Lord.

Still though. Top notch effort and results.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Manor, Issue #2
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The Manor, Issue #1
Publisher: GM Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/09/2013 10:25:04
The Manor #1 is the first of the quarterly (or so) issues of the fanzine from Tim Shorts of Gothridge Manor. The zine takes on the feel of old-school zines from the late 70s and early 80s. Though one could argue that the art and layout are better today. The inaugural issue has a quick dungeon, a random table of various items found in a Troglodyte dung heap, a modern day encounter location (with some monsters), forest enocounters and an NPC and his wares.

The Manor captures the feel and the spirit of the old school zine quite well. The only thing that is missing really are ads for local gaming groups!
If you enjoy old-school style new games or the original games they are based on.

All in all you get 24 pages of material. Not a bad deal really.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Manor, Issue  #1
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Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Annihilation Event Book (Essentials Edition)
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/09/2013 09:06:58
Fun product. Too bad it is gone now. I will admit I am not familiar with the comic-arc Marvel did here though so I can't judge it on that.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Annihilation Event Book (Essentials Edition)
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Dhampir
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/18/2013 06:17:17
The Dhampir is another Labyrinth Lord compatible class from Barrel Rider Games. For less than the cost of a 20oz Mt. Dew you can get a complete class.

LL (and Basic before it) had an interesting artifact of the the original D&D game in that races were also classes. So you could be a 3rd level Elf for example. This book takes advantage of that and gives us a race class that works rather well.
The Dhampir is the mortal offspring of a human (usually female) and male (usually male). So think Marvel's Blade of Rayne from the Bloofrayne video games. There are a number of features to this class that give a unique spot in the party. Combine this with a few of BRGs other classes and you could have a kick-ass party of undead hunting experts.
6 pages -1 for cover and 1 for the OGL it has everything you need.

A couple of minor quibbles though.
The HD for this guy are d6. Vampires and Dhampirs have always been portrayed as robust. Honestly a d8 would be better.
The text also says that the Dhampir is not bound for evil, but the powers it gets at 7th and 9th level pretty much mean it is destined for evil. I suppose you could argue that to stay good a Dhampir needs to stop advancing and retire and grow sugar beets or something; such is the tragedy of the character. Doing he was born to do turns him in to the thing he hates the most.

In any case this is a fun class.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dhampir
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Fairy
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/14/2013 12:24:55
Another fun class from Barrel Rider Games. The fairy is the counterpoint to the Lost Boy class.
It's a nice combination of thief, elf and magic-user.

Honestly this, plus Lost Boy, would make for a great introduction to LL/Basic for any young children.

$1.00, full class. Art + OGL statement. A steal really.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fairy
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Lost Boy
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/14/2013 12:13:23
What a really interesting concept.

You can play a "Lost Boy". The Peter Pan ones, not the Kiefer Sutherland ones.
The class is, like all of BRGs, classes, simple and easy to read and use.

My only gripe with this is a minor one. The Lost Boy can "Grow up" which is fine, but he gets to convert over to a new class. I say when a Lost Boy grows up he should retain some abilities from his past (but not all) but restart at 1st level.

Otherwise this is a fun class.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Lost Boy
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Shootist
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/02/2013 07:29:49
I am one of those guys that despite all real world logic I DON'T have guns in my FRPGS. That being said I do know there is a history (both in game and out of the game) to include them.

If you are playing a "Basic Era" game and want to include guns then this is the class for you. Like all BRG classes you get about 5-6 pages of a class (with cover and OGL) for a buck. Not a bad deal at all really. You also get expanded rules for firearms in this one.
The class itself is solid and has everything you need to play.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shootist
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Tanuki
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/02/2013 07:02:43
The Tanuki is new to me. I have heard of similar creatures from other myths, but this is the first time I have seen So credit to BRG for giving me something new.

I have been following Barrel Rider Games' books for a while now and they have all improved with over the course of their publication, this one being no exception.

Presented here is a class/race that is similar in many respects to the halfling; that is if halflings could shape shift into raccoon-dog like creatures. Everything you need to play is here, XP per level, to hits, saves, and special abilities. Drop this little guy into your games and watch the fun.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tanuki
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