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Dungeon Dressing: Double Doors
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/11/2013 13:41:09
Dungeon Dressing - Double Doors is a Pathfinder RPG supplement that provides the GM with numerous flavoursome descriptive details of a quintessential dungeon feature - the double door. The product is the 12th product in Raging Swan Press' Dungeon Dressing line of products, and comes as a neatly presented print and screen pdf product.

Dungeon Dressing - Double Doors is the kind of product I like, and the reason is quite simple - one person's imagination is quite different from another's. See, I could come up with a bucket-load of features and descriptions for double doors, but I bet there are a larger number in this product that I wouldn't have thought of. And that makes this fun to read and fun to use - things that you wouldn't necessarily have thought of are now available for easy reference in a bunch of tables in this product. Nifty, one could say!

With that in mind I really enjoyed reading these descriptions with relish. Not all of them would blow your mind, but by extension they can't - they needs to cover the basics as well as the unusual. There's a good mix of both types here - particularly if you include the single door features that have also been reprinted in this product. It's a really thorough product with attention to detail, describing physical characteristics of doors, but also some of the necessary game statistics one would need. And, as an added bonus, the product includes an useful number of new traps that one can use in conjunction with your doors.

This product is one for both the GM who quickly needs to describe something, and the GM who likes to meticulously plan each dungeon/castle feature. There's a lot of flavour in all of the descriptions, and I'm sure this is a product one can get good mileage out of. It covers door features, appearance, materials, etc. and in good detail on all fronts. Maybe it would've been worth focusing a little more on some other sensory details such as smell, lighting, sounds, etc. although many of these are covered in individual double door descriptions. Overall, an imaginative product worth looking at.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Dressing: Double Doors
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks very much for the review and the suggestions, Peter. I much appreciate both.
Swamp Dwellers Set
Publisher: Arion Games
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/04/2013 15:55:49
I haven’t reviewed one of Arion Games’ products for quite some time (well, any product, really, for that matter), but I was quite surprised to see that their product code was already standing at ARG151 – more than 150 products! Arion games have been busy! And I’m pleased to say that the quality and to a certain extent more importantly, their diversity has not diminished. This set, Swamp Dwellers Set, is testament to the diversity and talent of the Arion Games team, and is another good quality offering from a top notch miniatures publisher.

Swamp Dwellers Set contains 14 paper miniature figures straight from the deep reaches of the swamps. The product comes as both pdf and PowerPoint (*.ppt) files, the latter allowing for customization of the set of miniatures you want to print. There are some familiar creatures in this set such as the catoblepas (incorrectly named a bugbear in one of the figures), but also some new creatures such as the series of swamp hoppers and the turtlemen. The latter, I unfortunately have to say, are my least favourite of the set, but their bloated quality is made up for by the great swamp thing. The quality and level of detail of the set is high, and the printed product looks refined and realistic. You can’t go wrong as well with both A-frame and triangular figures.

This set is overall good. If you’re looking for something unique in the swamps or just some old favourites like the giant toad, then this set is good value. The swamp hoppers and the crocodilians will make nice additions to any swamp, though personally I would give the turtlemen a miss. There’s something about them that just doesn’t scream ‘dangerous swamp dweller’, but rather ‘odd-looking critter’. Still, the mix and diversity of favourites with a dash of new make this a rewarding product to take a look at. After some many product, Arion Games keep going strong! Good product.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Swamp Dwellers Set
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GT3 Into the FarDeep
Publisher: Knightvision Games
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/30/2011 07:25:34
Into the FarDeep is the third adventure is the Gate series of adventures from Knightvision games. This is a Labyrinth Lord compatible adventure for 1st or 2nd level characters, and sees the culmination of the party's search for a famous explorer now presumed lost deep within the bowels of a dwarven mine. This adventure is best played as part of the trilogy (along with Path of the Delver and Come Hell or High Water), although with a little modification can be used as a stand-alone adventure due to the sandbox nature of parts of this adventure.

Presentation is neatly done, with good editing and writing, and overall the product has a very old school feel and look to it, which is appropriate. Maps are decent, though not spectacular, and a larger map of the FarDeep would've been nicer than the small one provided. Artwork is good, with several fitting images complementing the written text. Organisation of the adventure is good, with no strict path to follow, leaving the adventure journey as much up to the players and the LL. The product includes several new monsters and treasures, all which fit the theme of the adventure neatly. A good presentation overall in the style of old school gaming.

The adventure sees the party delve deeper into the abandoned dwarven mine to a strange world called the FarDeep. Here they will encounters wonders never seen before and face dangers untold. The adventure pits the characters against the last remnants of a cult, the power of an ancient comet fallen within the FarDeep, native tribes around the region and scores of pirates that patrol the inner sea of the FarDeep. In encountering all these sinister and friendly elements, the party will need all their skills to navigate the challenges facing them, including the harsh terrain. There is a good mix of combat and roleplaying, plenty of mystery and puzzles, and a lot going on. On top of that, the LL can have a field day sculpting the surrounding area of the FarDeep as much as they like, to create even more wonder or conflict. Here and there a few more background details wouldn't go amiss, particularly relating to the denizens of the FarDeep and how they got there, but for the most part background is more than enough.

The adventure has a little bit of everything in it, and certainly no two scenarios or encounters are anywhere near alike. The largely non-linear nature of the adventure means characters have the freedom to tackle problems and issues in their own way, though with the limited resources of lower level parties. Having said that, the dangerous terrain and encounter area are often more the domain of higher level parties, so in that sense it can really stretch a lower level party to be creative and innovative. I enjoyed this adventure quite a bit - it's mysterious, has a good balance, and is fun and interesting, but at the same time lacks a little background information and detail to make it truly magical. A solid adventure from Knightvision Games.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
GT3 Into the FarDeep
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The Forlorn Temple of Umbras
Publisher: Zodiac Gods Publishing
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/23/2011 06:45:24
The Forlorn Temple of Umbras is the first adventure in the Warlords of Lungusia series. This adventure is suitable for Pathfinder RPG characters of levels 2 to 4, and is a site based adventure crawl that takes place in a mysterious and remote temple to a long forgotten deity. The characters spend their time delving through the dark chambers of the temple, uncovering foul evil and hidden dangers, both living and dead, and indeed the manifestation of something far more sinister and evil. The Forgotten Temple of Umbras is a short adventure that should take no more than a couple of sessions to play.

Presentation-wise the product is good, with some decent writing, editing and layout and a useful map. The stock art is very well chosen and some of the depictions are quite vivid and enhance the atmosphere of the temple and its environs. It would've been useful if the map had a proper legend, and also if some more background details had been included in the product. As is, the adventure summary is fairly vague with no repercussions or lasting consequences - it would've been good to have more details on the Shadow Pantheon, the lizardfolk and their involvement, and something more concrete that would tie this adventure to a larger whole, and make the adventure actually matter and have consequences.

The adventure takes places entirely within the remote temple to a long lost god. A couple of useful plot hooks are provided to get the characters engaged, but with not much effort put into making the adventure of consequence, it effectively becomes a one-off dungeon crawl. The encounters themselves are fairly challenging, though nothing outrageous, and are lacking a certain dynamism and use of terrain to make them more exciting. That cannot be said for the final encounters which are both challenging and entertaining and bound to engage players. Some opportunity for roleplaying is available but not much, and certainly not enough to have an effect on the outcome of the adventure or affect future adventures.

Overall, this is a fairly standard dungeon crawl, with a decent location and interesting background. I believe that more could've been done to flesh out parts of the background, and make the location, its current inhabitants and ancient inhabitants more relevant and put them on firmer footing. Good encounters and a little opportunity for roleplaying. A decent ending to the adventure that should give characters a run for their money. The Forlorn Temple of Umbras has good potential, but would likely need work to reach it from what's written. Still, overall, a decent romp and dungeon crawl with something for everyone.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Forlorn Temple of Umbras
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Old School Fantasy #8: Light & Dark (Fantasy Craft Edition)
Publisher: Reality Blurs
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/17/2011 06:25:50
Old School Fantasy #8 - Light and Dark is a 60 page pdf adventure for the Fantasy Craft RPG system. This is the eight instalment in Reality Blurs' line of old school fantasy adventures, and sees the heroes battle against the horrors of a deadly plague and deep-seated corruption and power in the walled city of Hopewell. While this product has some ties with Old School Fantasy #7, it can be played as a stand-alone product should the GM choose to do so. The product has a Menace of III (Challenging) to IV (Dangerous) using sliding DCs to adjust encounters to fit the GM's party and adjust the Threat level.

Layout and design of the product are fairly simple, but the product makes up for it with some excellent organisation and encounter layout. Each encounter and scenario are clearly deconstructed to make running easier, and adventure summaries are well-written to give a clear and concise overview of the adventure right from the start. Large parts of the adventure are deconstructed to give an overview of important persons, locations, and each of the key scenarios of the adventure. Writing and editing are good, and overall the product had a very good presentation level. The product could've done with some maps to round out the presentation, as there are none, but the generic nature and structure of the adventure mean that this isn't an inhibition.

Light and Dark takes place almost entirely within the city of Hopewell, barring some initial encounters that should entice the characters to travel to the city. While not much in the way of maps or information is given on the city itself, the general encounter layout and background information gives you enough to go on to construct a city of the brink of destruction, plagued by a nasty disease that's threatening to wipe out the entire city. The plague is not the only threat that the characters will have to deal with, as there are deeper evils in the city, and few allies to help them as they try and save a city in desperate need. The adventure is divided into nine individual scenes, each that progress the adventure to its next stage, ultimately driving towards the culmination of the action and the discovery of the larger threat to the city. This format means that the timing of each scene can be customised, allowing creative GMs to use the chaos of the city to create further atmosphere or further larger campaign goals or plots.

I was quite pleased with this adventure. While the concept of a plague ridden city isn't new, the adventure provides exciting action within this framework so that the characters are never far from the action, and there are plenty of things to keep them busy. The chaos of the city and the nature of the adventure provide plenty of opportunity for roleplaying, although with the sketchy details on the city, this could be challenging if the PCs venture off the beaten track. Encounters are well-scoped and challenging, and will provide enough drama and conflict to make them exciting not only for the combat value but also their location within a plague-filled city of innocents. Light and Dark is a thoroughly enjoyable adventure, well worth looking at and with plenty of scope for expanding and incorporating other ideas. The city of Hopewell could easily be used as a sandbox-type city, and the adventure is fairly easy to customise if needed. Grand adventure, lots of action, good roleplaying, but missing some maps and a few details here and there. Good product and recommended.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Old School Fantasy #8: Light & Dark (Fantasy Craft Edition)
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[PFRPG] Tome of Monsters
Publisher: 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/29/2011 06:58:01
Tome of Monsters is a new Pathfinder RPG book from 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming full of new (and old) monsters. The product is a 118 page pdf document, containing more than 120 monsters and monster variants to terrorise and surprise players with. The presentation of the product is very good, and very well organised. I was pleased with the tables provided to make monster selection easier (by CR or type, for example) and the general layout and monster format, particularly the references to the real worlds origins of the monsters. The artwork ranges from brilliant to rather mediocre, but at least every monster has a picture to enhance the written description. Writing and editing are good, and some of the monster descriptions really come to life when reading them.

My first impressions of the product were very favorable. The first monsters were very unique, contained excellent write-ups and background details, and the artwork was catching. I particularly like the details on the origins of the monster concepts as it related to the real world, which at times made for fascinating reading. As I progressed through the product I couldn't help shaking the feeling that this product was in places scraping the bottom of the barrel. Many monster books had been released previously for the OGL and I'll be the first to admit that coming up with new monsters concepts is hard, so while the product has many fascinating monsters it also has a lot of filler monsters that aren't particularly unique and only subtly different from existing monsters. Animals such as rabbits, squirrels and robins spring to mind, but also water cats, more troll or drake variants and the variety of winged and flying animals. A winged template could cover half a dozen monsters easily in this product, and while it's nice to have more animal familiars like squirrels or peacocks, I'd rather see more interesting monsters that can challenge the characters. With this is mind, quite a proportion of the product isn't particularly useful.

Having said all that, the product does contain plenty of the good stuff with some rather excellent selections. It would be remiss to ignore the creative talents of the product's many authors in creating some nice creatures supported by good artwork. The collection of fey is particularly good, and also some of the obscure real world creations that I'm fairly sure are seeing the light for the first time in a monster book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading many of the write-ups which contain plenty of detail and background. In places plot hooks would literally jump out of the page while reading a monster description. Challenge ratings range from 1/8 to 18, providing a wide range of challenges, and indeed all the various creature types are covered in roughly equal measure is well.

Tome of Monsters is a good monster book, though perhaps the selection of creatures that made the cut could've been improved to include more unique and interesting creatures while leaving out the more mundane or subtle variant monsters which are really just minor reskins of existing monsters. That said, it's a book for both GMs and players, as both will find plenty of inspiration and utility from its pages. Good product, some fantastic art, dozens of creative monsters and good imaginative writing.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
[PFRPG] Tome of Monsters
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Publisher Reply:
Thank you for the review!
Minotaurs of the Black Hills
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/24/2011 08:41:54
Minotaurs of the Black Hills is a Pathfinder RPG pdf supplement that details a new tribe of deadly and savage minotaurs and their evil overlords, the sorcerous yith. This product forms one of several products in Raging Swan Press' Tribes series, each detailing another deadly and dangerous monstrous tribe. Minotaurs of the Black Hills is a sister supplement to Centaurs of the Bleak Moor, though the latter is not required to use this product. Threats in this product range from CR 5 up to CR 13. Presentation and layout is very good, with some good art and neat, though not spectacular, maps. Writing and editing are good, presenting clear descriptions of all aspects of the minotaurs and the environment, society and culture they live in.

This is another enjoyable read in the Tribes series. The minotaurs are a savage and bloodthirsty tribe that are skilled at hunting and killing. They serve the enigmatic and sorcerous yith, a race of alien bat-like creatures of great power, though now a civilisation in decline. The background material is well written and presented, offering good information on all aspects of the area and the tribe that lives there. Stat blocks include general minotaurs, as well as the more powerful leaders. The latter are detailed with motivations and other background material, fleshing them out in interesting ways. The product doesn't only provide details on the tribe, but also provides new magical items, feats, spells and class features. These add nicely to the existing material, expanding it to create a comprehensive overview of these minotaurs and their masters.

Minotaurs of the Black Hills is a good product. It's detailed and interesting, providing useful material and an interesting location with novel features and terrain. While the tribe of minotaurs themselves is perhaps not that interesting on its own, their relationship with the yith makes it much more interesting and the two races form a powerful combination. The product would've been more useful with some detailed plot hooks or campaign arcs, particularly some that perhaps tied in with the sister product on the centaurs. Overall, an useful product with lots of potential both in location and the yith/minotaur relationship and interaction.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Minotaurs of the Black Hills
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Lexicon Of Dungeons
Publisher: Ennead Games
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/15/2011 07:18:48
Lexicon of Dungeons is a 60 page pdf presenting detailed guidelines on building and constructing your own dungeon or underground fortress. The product is written from the perspective of a prospective dungeon builder (i.e. GM, although the content is equally player-centric), and provides all the monetary and asset-based tools required to construct that perfect dungeon. The product is written to be generic and systemless, and, as such, is suitable for any roleplaying game.

The product comes as a single pdf file. Background layout is decent, although there is an awful amount of empty space in the product. Writing and editing ranged from good to poor, and there are plenty of unnecessary typos, spelling errors and other mistakes in the product. I think the presentation could be greatly improved, both by improving editing and layout, but also perhaps by adding additional art to the product. For a 60 page pdf, one would normally expect to see a little more, though obviously not a requirement.

Lexicon of Dungeons provides everything and more information than is required to put together a dungeon. It covers all aspects of construction, from lighting in the dungeon, to hazards, to room sizes and corridor layouts, to defences, and decorations, locks and doors. It's quite a comprehensive guide to dungeon building and actually contains quite a lot of useful information that one would not normally consider. I think any GM that wants to use a dungeon as a backdrop for an adventure will be well served looking at some of the suggestions (mostly obvious but also mostly not considered, such as latrines) in this product. There's lots of useful advice on dealing with intruders, what not to do and what to do and consider, and what features and aspects can typically be found in the dungeon. It's quite detailed, though again the editing makes the organisation look a little hap hazardous and sometimes it feels like a section of the product just tails off without quite finishing.

Having read this product, I wasn't initially sure what to make of it. While there are plenty of guides and products that offer advice on building fortresses and/or dungeons, I've never come across one that actually costs this out, particularly for GM use. I guess if you're playing a party that builds fortresses and one player fancies a dungeon, this side of the product could be useful. Or, on the other hand, perhaps as GM you want to make sure that your rulers don't break the laws of economy. Either way, it was a rather unusual aspect of the product, though not detrimental. Aside from that, I think this product has some really useful content, even though it's presented in a rather unusual and sometimes humorous and flippant style.

As a guide to dungeon building I think this product is very useful, but as a personal preference I wish it hadn't been written as it was. As a more 'serious' product (not to say that it's entirely facetious) and with better organisation and editing this product could easily sit in any GMs library as something that provides tips and information on dungeon building. It's extremely useful in adding realistic touches to your dungeon and making the dungeon 'make sense'. Unfortunately, it's let down by some of the aspects I've already mentioned. Lexicon of dungeons is a decent product with lots of potential.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Lexicon Of Dungeons
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The Sinking: Tunnels of Despair
Publisher: 0one Games
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/11/2011 08:40:31
The Sinking - Tunnels of Despair is a short Pathfinder RPG serial adventure set in 0One Roleplaying Games' Great City campaign setting. This is a stand-alone adventure that forms part of a series of adventures that are entwined with a devastating event happening in the Great City. This particular adventure sees the player characters become involved in the underground slave activities of a dangerous crime organisation, where they come head-to-head with these criminals in a struggle that affects the lives of many in the Great City. This adventure is suitable for 1st level characters. As with all of 0One Roleplaying Games' products, the presentation and format of the product is immaculate and very professional. The artwork is fabulous, the maps are detailed and clear, and the writing is vivid and rich.

Following the devastation brought to the Great City through recent events, this adventure takes the characters on a rescue mission as a barmaid is captured by some thugs raiding the cellars of a local tavern. From there they delve into the tunnels beneath the gladiatorial arena, to become embroidered in the conflict between the highly dangerous Crimson Medusa and some refugee slaves set free by the recent cataclysmic events in the city. The characters must face various threats in the tunnels as they dance with the Crimson Medusa and the captors of the barmaid. Eventually things come to a head, and they must decide how to tackle the Crimson Medusa and how to deal with the slaves.

The adventure is energetic with lots of action, lots of hidden subterfuge and threats, and fast-paced. It balances roleplaying and combat nicely and offers enough material to allow the player characters to know that they are in charge of their own fate. The combat can be quite tough for 1st level characters, particularly the final stages of the adventure, but that's fair as the PCs aim to end the adventure threat with a bang. Here and there I wish the adventure had offered a little more detail and direction, particularly in the tunnels as the characters chase after the kidnappers. One minute they're chasing after the kidnappers and the next they're bumping into Crimson Medusa on the same path. The kidnappers have apparently managed to evade them but it's not clear how.

The adventure leaves a few strands of interest and plot development dangling, leaving you wondering exactly how things are going to pan out, and for that reason I'm looking forward to seeing how the remainder of the series is structured. I'm quite a fan of this format of adventures as it allows GMs to pick and choose adventures to their liking and string together those adventures that suit their needs and tastes. The Great City is a very accessible adventure campaign and this format goes a long way to making it even more so. Tunnels of Despair is a good addition to adventures in the Great City, and players and DMs alike will enjoy the nature and action of this adventure.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Sinking: Tunnels of Despair
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Atarin's Delve
Publisher: Small Niche Games
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/08/2011 07:07:40
Atarin's Delve is a short Labyrinth Lord adventure for 1st to 3rd level characters. In the adventure the characters are summoned to assist an archaeologist from excavating some caves, and assess the threat, if any, that the excavations might pose to the archaeological team. The adventure is a location-based dungeon crawl, although the ramification of the characters' actions have wider consequences as they get involved in the events of the adventure. Presentation of the product is fair, with some decent maps and artwork, and overall reminiscent in style of typical old-school adventures. Writing, editing and layout are all good, blending together to make a well-presented product.

Atarin's Delve is a short adventure straight out of the pages of Doctor Who. The characters are summoned to investigate some caves ripe for archaeological exploration, but naturally by the time they arrive things have taken a turn for the worse, and the PCs are thrown into the fray of strange events and dark cults right from the start. The monsters that form the core of the threat are fantastic and creepy, and creative LLs will have a lovely time scaring the living daylights out of the players. The whole atmosphere created in the adventure is very good, with the monsters neither here, nor there, but seemingly everywhere. The scenario offers plenty of opportunity for roleplaying with the various factions involved in the excavations, all the while trying to ascertain the nature of the threat and deal with a sinister foe with abilities far beyond the norm. I really liked the blend of roleplaying and combat in this adventure, and in particular the wonderful use of a location and the new monsters presented in the product. This is the kind of adventure that can be a real blast, and really haunt the PCs as they struggle to cope with things happening around them.

I was particularly pleased as well by how much the adventure has going for it in terms of continuation. By this I mean that there are plenty of wider consequences for the PCs actions in this adventure, and they may inadvertently start themselves off on a path to danger they may not be aware of at the time. The adventure is well constructed, with clever and detailed NPCs with opposing motivations that could lead to interesting conflict. Overall, an adventure that should be great fun to run for both players and LLs. Another good product from Small Niche Games. Taking adventure writing to another level.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Atarin's Delve
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The Goblins Stir: A Torn World Adventure
Publisher: Torn World
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/31/2011 13:24:37
The Goblins Stir is the first adventure in the Shattered Blade saga set in the Torn World campaign setting. This is an introductory adventure for 1st level characters for the Pathfinder RPG, and takes place in the Shadow Vale region of the campaign setting. Here the PCs come together during uneasy peace talks between the various races of the Shadow Vale, and are thrust on a mission of vital importance as the goblins start making inroads into territory they have not been in for hundreds of years. This adventure can be played as part of the larger campaign setting or as a stand-alone adventure.

The adventure is a 56 page pdf product. Production quality is very high, in particular some of the stunning artwork and the various maps. The product does an excellent job of providing everything a DM needs for the adventure, including more maps and artwork representations than are strictly required. I was impressed by this kind of quality in the first product from a new publisher, and I'm excited to see what future products are going to be like. Writing and editing is good - the author also has additional comments strewn across the adventure which makes for interesting takes on the designer's mind. The chapter format and overall layout is excellent, with encounters neatly presented with clear and concise rules and instructions for running them smoothly. Professional presentation and high quality.

I enjoyed this adventure. It's logical and follows a well-defined path without being rail-roading. There's plenty of good combat to be had where tactics and thinking are required, as well as ample scope for fun roleplaying in a tense situation. Characters of all sorts will find this an enjoyable and challenging adventure. Here and there the adventure could've used a little more direction, particularly in the final parts where the adventure can be quite dangerous and it doesn't appear within the scope of the original adventure mission as given to the characters at the start. That said, it still makes for a fun part of the adventure, and will challenge the players and the DM to make a dynamic final part to the adventure. Wilderness travel and dungeon exploring can both be found - it fact, I'm willing to say that this adventure almost has a little bit of everything in it, and in that sense is very balanced.

Overall, I think this is a good and balanced adventure - well constructed, good attention to detail, and something for everyone. It's not the most amazing plot in the world, although it's perhaps a little early to tell, and I wish this adventure had alluded a bit more to things in the future, particularly on the history and background of the Shattered Blade. Barring a few minor niggles, a good, fun romp that most GMs can play easily. I'm looking forward to the sequels to this adventure and other stuff to come from Torn World. Good adventure.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Goblins Stir: A Torn World Adventure
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101 Alternate Racial Traits (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/27/2011 06:49:54
One of the many things that new campaign settings often modify or change are the races of the campaign world. I suspect that this is because many people have got used to the stereotypical elves and dwarves of most fantasy settings and are looking for something different and refreshing, or perhaps they've never really liked these representations at all. I also suspect that this is why many players are drawn to playing monster races - most of the time its fun doing something more interesting or different for a change. After a while of playing with standard races, one's race often tends to blend into the background and become just another statistic rather than something unique and interesting. To remedy that, Rite Publishing have published 101 Alternate Racial Traits for the Pathfinder RPG, a product that presents scores of new racial features to replace or alter existing features, and in some way sculpt a new race that is different from the old flavor and breaks the stereotypical mold in surprising and often innovative ways.

101 Alternate Racial Traits is a professionally presented 17 page pdf product, which contains 12 pages of high quality content. The artwork, layout, editing and writing are all very good, and I was particularly struck how well each racial trait had been written with very clear and concise mechanical rules detail. The product covers most of the major races of the Pathfinder RPG - dwarves, elves, drow, gnomes, half-elves, half-orcs, humans and halflings - and provides more than a dozen new racial traits and features for each in roughly equal measure. These racial features replace existing racial traits as per the core rules, and allow one to sculpt something a little different, thereby creating something unique, and allowing more creative background writing and character creation. The various racial traits lend them well to creating novel and interesting characters and by virtue of having one of these traits, the character is different and there should be some reason why.

The traits in the product are varied and offer good scope for building interesting characters. A large number of the traits are similar to existing core traits with a subtly different flavor, whereas many others build on slightly different bloodlines or ancestry, thereby providing a different racial flavor. Others still are different views on the races and provide something new to a particular race. I think there is something in here for everyone, although the majority of product is all mechanical rules and very little flavor is provided to indicate how to make the best of the material. Some of the racial traits are quite clever, and I particularly liked those associated with the gnomes, halfling and half-orcs which have lots of roleplaying potential. Overall, a very solid product with tons of useful material for everyone interested in playing a character slightly different to the norm. Good, high quality, product.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
101 Alternate Racial Traits (PFRPG)
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Publisher Reply:
I wanted to thank peter for taking the time to do a review of our product. Steve Russell Rite Publishing
CC1 Curse of Crosskey
Publisher: Knightvision Games
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/17/2011 11:42:36
CC1 - Curse of Crosskey is a short scenario/adventure for the Labyrinth Lord old-school game system. The adventure takes place on an island, after the characters are marooned there by a freak storm, and the PCs are able to investigate the bizarre nature of their shipwreck and other unsavory happenings on the small island. The product is presented neatly and professionally, with some good art and good additional material such as new monsters and magical items. Maps and other drawings are clear and neatly done, providing clarity on the surroundings and the locations the player characters find themselves in.

One of the things I enjoy most about adventures is the adventure summary. Here you get all the information you need to hook the LL into playing the game, and indeed presenting it to the players. As such, I find that to be an important part of the adventure. Curse of Crosskey has such a good adventure summary - the plot is interesting, has lots of hooks and opportunities going for it, and there are lots of avenues available to explore within the plot scope provided. Having said that, the good summary doesn't feed through very well to the players and indeed throughout the adventure. The exposition is weak in places, the direction doesn't always clearly clarify the options - essentially most of the direction, motivation and objectives of the adventure are largely left to the LL. This in itself is fine, but one would expect the adventure to provide a little more detail and direction than is currently there.

Having said all that, the play options and exploration options while stranded on an island are numerous, and the adventure provides good encounters, roleplaying opportunities with the other survivors and areas to explore in an attempt to get off the island again. The encounters shouldn't be too challenging for the 3rd and 4th level PCs that are specified, but they're variable in the nature of the monsters and the locations. I think this is a good romp of an adventure, but DMs must be prepared to mould a lot of the background story to fit something a little more streamlined. As is, the scenario is really not an adventure, just a side-trek that can be used while the PCs are on their way elsewhere. Overall, though, a fair standard adventure with good backstory, but largely a side-trek where direction before and after the adventure (and even during in places) are largely left to the DM.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
CC1 Curse of Crosskey
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The Genius Guide to 110 Spell Variants
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/15/2011 06:18:30
The Genius Guide to 110 Spell Variants is a clever little product that takes existing spells from the main Pathfinder RPG products and reskins them in new ways to create similar but often very different spell effects. The concept of changing a spell in small ways is not new, but this product, I think, takes everything a step further and really does a neat job of showing the potential of the idea of changing existing spells. Inside this 10 page product are a 110 new spell variants, some very simple but others quite ingenious. The product is excellently presented, with top quality layout, art, writing and indeed design of the mechanical material.

I have to admit that when I saw this product I wasn't sure that the concept would work that well. Changing a fireball into an iceball just simply changes the damage type and there's nothing terribly clever about that. However, I'll eat my hat on this one and say that they've pulled off a rather nice product that doesn't just make simple changes but rather clever and unexpected ones. Some examples include Baleful Shield, which effectively attempts to prevent other characters from healing a wounded character (an anti-shield if you like), and Scry Trap which functions like the Alarm spell but with a Scry component added. This combination of spells to create new and novel effects is scattered liberally throughout the product, providing lots of good ideas and useful spells.

This is a surprising little product in many ways and thoroughly enjoyable to read through. While many spells are as I suspected they would be, plenty more take you off in unexpected and novel directions. Some really handy additions to any spellcaster's arsenal, and any class will find a number of useful spells in this product. Overall, very pleasantly surprised by this product, and well worth a look at for the spells, or simply to see how the variants are created so that you can apply the same techniques and principles to other spells. Good product.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Genius Guide to 110 Spell Variants
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#1 With a Bullet Point: 10 Monster Feats
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/11/2011 12:05:37
#1 With a Bullet - 10 Monster Feats is a short pdf product that presents a number of new monster feats to expand or enhance the existing abilities of monsters. This product is the 4th in the #1 With a Bullet series, in which each product is aimed at providing new and fresh ideas or related options and game mechanics. While the concept of monster feats is not new, it's rare to see a product even bothering to detail more than a couple, so it's pleasing to see nearly a dozen in a single, good value product. Hopefully, at some point in the future, monster feats will get better treatment from a publisher much like player character feats do. Presentation and quality is top notch, and I was very pleased with the high standard of the pdf.

The monster feats in this product are a combination of standard fare and some unique and useful additions. Feats like Special Attack and Improved Toughness simply extend the abilities of creatures or provide addition hit points to the creature, and are simple extensions of existing ideas. Other feats are visually quite stunning and introduce new ideas, such as Shockwave and Simulcast, the latter which allows creatures with multiple appendages to take additional actions. It's debatable whether feats like Simulcast and Cyclone of Claws, which allow creatures additional actions, are overpowered in the form of feats, and DMs should probably consider some of these feats carefully from that point of view. Overall, a very useful collection of monster feats, not the most unique in the world, but ones that can easily find place at any gaming table. Good product.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
#1 With a Bullet Point: 10 Monster Feats
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