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WatchGuard Solo - Kodiak (M&M 3e)
Publisher: Xion Studios
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/12/2013 16:42:45
I am associated with Adventureaweek.com, were I operate as the main PDF monkey. My reviews are written with a desire to remain unbiased as many of the designers, writers, artists and publishers are considered friends to me. Having said that I am first and foremost a reviewer, and in respect to these people and their product I intend to evaluate this product honestly and fairly.

WatchGuard Sourcebook Kodiak, Les Superieurs presents a single character for the Mutants and Masterminds 3rd RPG. Weighs in with 7 pages, but only 2 of those actually offer any game material. 1 cover, 1 OGL and 3 pages of ads cover the other 5 pages. Am aware that pdf pages are cheap and all, but that really feels like a lot of ads to product ratio. The artwork, whose artist I could not find a reference within the product, sorry, was fairly good. Layout is extremely impressive, the graphics and the formatting of the game mechanics flow well presenting a very polished product. Except for one thing. One thing that has always bothered me, justification odd spacing. As a layout designer I know how annoying justified text can be to get it ti flow around pictures without stretching words and letters, but without taking the extra step to fix these oddities the entire product suffers, lessening the overall effect.

Now, we've discussed the art, the layout, the formatting, etc...but what about the actual character presented here, is it any good? Kodiak is your classic take advantage of situations when they are presented kind of guy. His luck changes when he finds himself in possession of a bearskin that allows him to transform into a hybrid anthro-form, giving my enhanced senses, strength and the perks of being a hulking humanoid bear. The idea behind the character is well enough, and I could easily see him filling the role of a B lister in any campaign. My problem with the character is more with the writing itself. The back story is there, and conveys the important details, but lacks the finesse one would expect to support the layout and visual feel of the product.

All in all this is a decent product, but the bulk of ads, the spacing formatting along with the lackluster writing I am settling on a solid 3 star rating. A fun character, just not entirely living up to its potential.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
WatchGuard Solo - Kodiak (M&M 3e)
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Gingerbread Kaiju
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/10/2013 17:18:07
I am associated with Adventureaweek.com, were I operate as the main PDF monkey. My reviews are written with a desire to remain unbiased as many of the designers, writers, artists and publishers are considered friends to me. Having said that I am first and foremost a reviewer, and in respect to these people and their product I intend to evaluate this product honestly and fairly.

Every now and then a product comes along that is utterly so hilarious that one can not help but instantly find themselves drawn in. Gingerbread Kaiju from Rogue Genius Games is one such product. Billed as an edible board game (yes, you just read that) this self contained game requires the usage of a deck of standard playing cards, some markers (preferably with candies), and of course the cookies themselves. But we’ll get to those devour-able game pieces in a few minutes, let’s talk about the game play itself first, shall we?

Kaiju craze has come into its own, with a love for the genre generating a resurgence in the classic giant creature destruction tale. With video games and big budget movies jumping on board to fuel our love of some major monster devastation, not to mention the already impressive body of classic kaiju film material in existence, it was only a matter of time before the genre was taken to a new level, as only the Geniuses could. Laying out a “board” representing the wards, or neighborhoods, of Tokyo with 20 of the cards from a standard deck into a simple 4x5 grid the players prepare to lay waste to this famous of so many kaiju battles throughout history. Populated with both real world areas as well as fictional locations, the cards represent the areas the kaiju will travel through and interact with as they both battle with each other and destroy the locations around them. The remaining cards make up the resource deck, usable by the players with various different effects depending upon the cards drawn. Everything from getting a bonus to damage from using a battleship to strike a foe to a nuke attack. The game stays tongue in cheek and light hearted with a easy set of rules presented here with two lists for the different card decks and their effects, as well as a list of abilities for the kaiju, their special attacks, and a player’s actions available each turn. The game is easy enough that within a matter of 30 minutes to an hour you could fully understand and be playing.

So, there is the basics right? So let’s get to why this is so much more than just a cool and easy game. The kaiju are FREAKING COOKIES!!!! 8 kaiju are presented here in this guide, with templates for each to be used to make your own cookie cutters (kids, find an adult, then tech them to play also). The kaiju all invoke the art of Stan! But that should be to assume, as he illustrated and gave this game its look (which is awesome by the way). The game blatantly states the longest part of setting up for this game is the baking, heck the PDF even gives up 3 ½ pages to the baking between the templates and the recipe. Personally, I would have it no other way. The game is perfect for playing with your friends and taking the steps to design the individual kaiju, planning an afternoon with your kids to bake a batch or two of monsters to let them loose on some cookie carnage. Seriously, a game that is completely tied around the concept of allowing so much interaction and playability from the idea of putting out a plate of cookies…how can you not want this in your world? Adding a bag of Skittles or M&Ms to represent people, and perhaps some wafer cookies to be used as buildings and boom, your in the game folks. Now, before anyone screams about all the sugar, these are suggestions, you can easily use celery for the buildings, perhaps raisins for people, or grapes or equipment and such…the point is, the markers can be anything. The game mechanics are solid enough to be a real game, the fact that it is represented along with the idea of using cookies is just a cool bonus…a very cool bonus, lol.

Now, being as how this is a review, let’s make sure we have covered everything. All art here is from the hand of Stan!, the PDF is laid out in a dual column format, the editing is top notch, and the recipe appears to be solid. I have already made plans to get together with my partner in crime when it comes to baking to make up some batches of Kaiju for friends for the holidays, as this game strikes me as one that would make a great way to get friends and family to slow down and have fun, across the generational gaps of age. I can easily see this being the type of product that sees the Geniuses adding a Kaiju to the game or two in expansion products, if not even going so far as talking Stan! into designing a full deck of cards to make available through either the POD options over at RPGNow or just by PDF.

An excellent enjoyable game, and one I can see bringing many hours to a gametable. More than happy to recommend this game for a full 5 stars, and well worth the price of admission folks! Very well done Geniuses, very well done indeed.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gingerbread Kaiju
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Wilderness Dressing: Swamps
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/17/2013 00:08:04
I am associated with Adventureaweek.com, were I operate as the main PDF monkey. My reviews are written with a desire to remain unbiased as many of the designers, writers, artists and publishers are considered friends to me. Having said that I am first and foremost a reviewer, and in respect to these people and their product I intend to evaluate this product honestly and fairly.

Wilderness Dressing: Swamps from Raging Swan Press weighs in at 13 pages, with a total of 6 pages of charts and material outside of forwards, TOC, checklist of products available and etc. Fully bookmarked, as well as the TOC linked (always makes me smile) with the typical sparse artwork within the books of this series. For those not aware, the Dressing: series is hands down one of the most useful pdf series I have ever had the pleasure of coming across. Each entire in the series covers one theme, and presents it with a couple of random d100 tables offering fast and easy descriptive tidbits for fleshing out a GMs locations. Take for instance the following taken from this product:

Minor Events D% - 5 The party comes across a wild pig stuck in a patch of quicksand. The pig is partially submerged and exhausted from its struggles.

Minor Events D% - 79 The distant boom of thunder rolls over the party, but the sky does not look stormy.

Or, moving on to the second list of options, also a D100 list:

Swamp Dressing D% - 17 The bleached, mouldering bones of some long dead animal lie partially buried in the mire.

Swamp Dressing D% - 41 A skull decorated with bird feathers hangs from a tree branch. A DC 15 knowledge (local) check reveals this to be a Deep Mire tribal marker.

Fairly basic, right? Yes, you could do this yourself, not doubt….but wouldn’t you prefer to spend your time gaming? That’s where these products excel, giving you the tools easily to use tools like this either for planning or gaming on the fly, all with the intent to bring to the table a better feel for description and immersion in your game.

And for an extra perk, how about a full page of random encounters, arranged on a D12 table just waiting for you to roll the fate of your players. Add to that a sheet detailing the effects of several common marsh features (quicksand, bogs, undergrowth etc.) putting at your fingertips the specifics for the game mechanics for these features. You know, continuing to make this product a solid useful addition to you toolbox.

So, following a dual column approach, editing solid (which is the typical from Raging Swan) and yet another book filled with solid useful material, I am stamping this one with a 5 stars and declaring it worth worth the cost of admission.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wilderness Dressing: Swamps
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100% Crunch: Orogs
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/16/2013 23:35:05
I am associated with Adventureaweek.com, were I operate as the main PDF monkey. My reviews are written with a desire to remain unbiased as many of the designers, writers, artists and publishers are considered friends to me. Having said that I am first and foremost a reviewer, and in respect to these people and their product I intend to evaluate this product honestly and fairly.

100% Crunch: Orogs from Raging Swan continues this well done series with another collection of stat-blocks ready to go for the GM to make populating their toolbox a faster process. 27 stat-blocks are here presented all for the hybrid orgre-orcs known as Orogs. Formatting follows the standard format of a dual column approach for standard text, and the Pathfinder standard for the stat-blocks themselves. Editing appears to be good and solid. My actual complaint falls in with the layout decisions for the flow of the stat-block entries one into each other, or rather for the odd spacing from time to time between stat-blocks.

The CRs are collected together within the PDF to make them easier to view when scanning the book, as well as them being alphabetized in each CR section. Now, anyone who is familiar with these titles in this series should by this point fully aware of what these books are, but for those unaware, let’s cover the concept here, shall we? Julian Neale essentially creates for these collections a stack of NPCs all based on one race, with a grab bag of classes/templates/archetypes. Some of the books in this series have done very well in regards to the cool builds (like the ones for skeletons, liches or zombies…he really explored the idea of various racial options with those builds), but here I am seeing an extreme limitation in that without fluff, and the orog offering itself as a race to a strict concept for expectations..

The collection here succeeds in providing a solid collection of orogs, I just felt like I wanted to see more than so many fighter builds (including the cavaliers I count 9 that are fighters in one form or another, or 27). Now that is not to say that there is variety here, as there is the Dire Wereboar Ranger, Rogue, Bard, Monks (hungry ghost, qinggong), Wizards, Advanced and Cleric builds…..ah, perhaps I have seen far too many classes at this point, I find myself wanting to see them all used. But to see a Gunslinger, or Samurai, perhaps an Alchemist or two (ponder as orog alchemist for a minute, lol). No, again, what is here works, but it leaves the entirety of the collection not feeling as inspiring as some of the other entries to this series.

In the end I am going to have to go with a 3.5 star (rounded to a 4 for the purposes of this rating system), as what is here is mechanically sound and good, but I was left feeling that there was a great deal of room left unexplored here.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
100% Crunch: Orogs
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Convergent Paths: Fey Archetypes (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/16/2013 20:21:34
I am associated with Adventureaweek.com, were I operate as the main PDF monkey. My reviews are written with a desire to remain unbiased as many of the designers, writers, artists and publishers are considered friends to me. Having said that I am first and foremost a reviewer, and in respect to these people and their product I intend to evaluate this product honestly and fairly.
Originally posted to http://thoughtswithbrokendice.tumblr.com/

Convergent Paths Fey Archetypes weighs in at 16 pages (2 ads, the OGL, cover and credits) with 11 presenting us with new material. Three new archetypes connected to the fey, along with a new monster and a handful of feats are introduced here. Format follows the standard dual column layout, with several pieces of artwork interspersed throughout the book, with several of them being very good pieces.

Opening this with the Faerie Knight (Cavalier), a knight in allegiance and loyalty to a fey or full court of fey. The write up for this archetype made for a great read, as it is presented in the form of a conversation between a knight named Tristan, his mount Meliodas and the writer of this journal, the interaction between the knight an his mount are hilarious. So, what makes this cavalier worth playing right? Well, to be honest, the mount. The mount adds the template for a few creature, with a series of progressive abilities, that make this far more than just a simple means of getting around. When connected the rider and mount can cast a small list of spells (dancing lights, faerie fire, etc.), with the mount being the anchor for the caster numbers and such, along with any concentration checks required, freeing the knight to keep their attention on other things. The mount also gains the ability to be sent into the realm of faerie seeking aid for its rider, bringing the aid as in a successful summon nature’s ally V. Not to mention that being a loyal subject to the faerie the knight works for offers them a level of respect when dealing with fey, as much as one can hope for those chaotic interactions to go well, lol.

Second to the party here would be the Laughing Man (Monk). This archetype presents the first editing hiccups, but they are simply text line justifications (those weird spacing blanks that happen in a justified column of text). There are only a few of them, and they truly don’t affect the product enough to be more than a minor distraction, in other words, I am mentioning them more so that when you read through this book for yourself you don’t find them and wonder what the heck, lol. So, moving on…the Laughing Man offers up an interesting archetype that has taken the concept of words hurt to a whole new level. Short story breaks down to this monk can weaponize his words through a combination of skills and abilities, choosing to do damage as per sonic attacks with their spoken words. I can see a lot of potential here for a very cool character or two, but would require a player willing to make the character worth it in combat. Well worth the effort I believe though.

It takes us to the Masquerade Reveler (Barbarian). One of the most alien thing on dealing with the fey and faerie in general are that our perceptions as humanity, or the mortal world, are constantly shifted and skewed due to their nature. They have the capacity as fey to alter their looks and hide behind various masks and forms, leaving us wondering who and what it is we are dealing with. This archetype seeks to perhaps bridge that, in the form of one who has been touched by the realm of faerie and came back not entirely whole, but far from broken either. The easiest way to shorten this is to say that the Reveler operates at their own eidolon. A rather specific eidolon, but none the less. Using this ability they gain the ability to mask themselves much as the fey can, fueling this ability with the standard rage of a barbarian…yeah, let that stew for a minute. A very cool concept of what one can do with a barbarian outside of the typical “Thunk! Kill!”.

Seven new feats are presented, with perks for the mentioned archetypes, with two feats for the Faerie Knight and the Masquerade Reveler, and three for the Laughing Man. The Gancanagh closes us out this time, as a new fey monster. Appearing as an extremely attractive individual, with all the charm required to seduce anyone who catches this fey’s attention, it tends to keep the deck stacked in its favor with an excretion from its skin that is addictive (known as Gancanagh’s Kiss presented after the monster entry). Add to this its Mindbender and Sweet Nothings ability this fey will keep a mortal entranced for hours conversing for its entertainment. Not exactly a malicious creature by intention, but the extremely different skew the fey place on the mortal world makes any interaction with a creature with the ability to force anything to entertain it for fun runs the risk of ending bad. Supplied with hooks and a sidebar detailing some of the real world mythology for this fey.

So, checking over the score sheet here, the one thing that stood out was only truly the justified lines, which I am not going to hold against this product. The archetypes all bring to the table their own flavor, with suitable dressings of that taste of fey influenced to them. Looking for some fey affected archetypes this product does a very good job, and would be a worthy purchase at five stars.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Convergent Paths: Fey Archetypes (PFRPG)
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20 Variant Foes: Red Dragons (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/16/2013 03:42:55
I am associated with Adventureaweek.com, were I operate as the main PDF monkey. My reviews are written with a desire to remain unbiased as many of the designers, writers, artists and publishers are considered friends to me. Having said that I am first and foremost a reviewer, and in respect to these people and their product I intend to evaluate this product honestly and fairly.

Starting with the incredible cover piece from Henry Toogood 20 Variant Foes: Red Dragons demands to paid attention to. Far to often a list of this type ends up a simple rehash of boring numbers, with not truly enough to make the collection worth the effort. Elaine Betts and Justin P. Sluder present here 20 NPCs in the form of Red Dragons that are far more than just the standard big egotistical lizard. They seek to give you characters for your campaigns that will live in the memories of your players for years, earning the right to become reoccurring villains, possibly even allies if presented properly.

Format is presented in the well known dual column approach, with artwork interspersed throughout the book, varying from truly WOW worthy to decent, with only one piece kind of feeling out of place. Now, there are several pieces in an index at the end of the book dealing with templates that include examples of the templates that are not draconic in nature, so they come off as slightly jarring at first due to the entirety of the remainder of the book being all draconic goodness, but the art pieces here all make sense, and are logical and good pieces. When it comes to the specifics of the statblocks, anyone who knows me and my style of reviewing should by now know that I tend to forgive the occasional slip in statblocks, as any GM worth their salt should be able to adjust the occasional errors. That being said, occasional is the important word in their. The very first dragon presented in this book, a very cool build and character concept, is Seer Hekkush, the Undying Oracle of Ash CR 30. He is an (ready for this?) accelerated bipedal dread mummy undead lord very young red dragon diviner 11/loremaster 10. Get all that? In case you are scratching your nogging right now wondering what half of those templates are, have no fear, as they are all covered in an index at the end of the book (included with several other templates as well), Why am I showing off this mouthful of words making up this character’s list of awesomeness? Because of the fact he is listed as a very young, when the character is presented as extremely old, has a freaking CR 30 and is a freaking mummy…he uses his sarcophagus as armor, there is nothing about the write up or abilities of this dragon that feels like a very young dragon. Having said all of that, I have no doubt that someone could run the numbers fairly quickly and deduce the proper age for this beast, but for the purposes of this review, I am not feeling like doing such at this time, What I will say is that the character is not tarnished by this oddity in the aging, the concept for the character made me want to include him as that venerable beast so past the point of what a playgroup could ever take on with ease. Those beasts that almost instantly force your players to respect them as the forces of nature that dragons are, as opposed to yet another disposable piles of XP and GP.. Now, here was a character that was designed to make you think, both as the GM running it as well as the player navigating interaction with a character living on this level of power.

No, I am not going to go through more than a handful of these dragons, nor am I planning to simply run through them presented in order in the book, but the very second I came to stopped me instantly. The Foul Doctor Feulzik CR 28, mythic rune-carved savant great wyrm red dragon. Reading over his “bio” intro there was the feel of a bit of the benefactor in this, living amongst a peoples while looking over them, caring for their illnesses and poor. Of course, that is until someone goes missing to be used for whatever experiment the good doctor is currently up to. It stands to be brought up at this point that there are two specific “voices” to each entry for the individual dragons, the first of the dragon itself, as well as that of the chronicler compiling this tome to be dispersed amongst the lands to better share the tales of these mighty creatures. So, you receive the “selling” pitch from the dragon as to who they are, and the comments and observations from the writer of this journal. It is from him we learn that the good doctor is dabbling in Fleshgrafting. Experimenting on those he has taken to perfect methods before adding the Troll’s Gland fleshgraft to himself. Yes, it is one of many things in a long list of things (he is a dragon after all), but the idea of seeing fleshgrafting brought to usage brought a smile to my face.

The Lord of Fangs CR 24, a freaking ninja….yeah, you read that, lol. Arkaz and Zakra, The Twins CR21…a two headed old red, with a very distinct set of two personalities in those heads of hers. Qux-Nurgesh, Man-Eater, the pygmy….lol…oh man, a pygmy dragon….love it!!!!! However, this dragon handed me the first true area of poor editing, a typo and duplication of a word. Not the worst mistake I have ever seen, but it is there. Tindertwig, a wyrmling rogue, taught by her father to function as a rogue amongst the human world she will have to deal with as well as simply being a dragon. Fell in love with her instantly, as will be introducing her into my campaign world very shortly.

Juerix the Lame CR10 just might be one of the oddest dragon concepts I have ever come across, and mainly for the sheer uniqueness of his circumstances. His egg was broken before he should have hatched, and was felt in the cold away from the warmth needed for the development of a young dragon. When discovered by his mother she intended to eat him as a loss for being flawed and lame but he bite her nose on his way to the maw sending him to his death. A mother’s love after all, and she allowed him to live within her lair, much as a mother with a child who will never fully mentally develop might never leave her home. Yeah, getting this now? He’s not the brightest crayon in the box, along with being physically diminished and wingless, but there is still a great deal of cool personality that makes him excellent for encounters. Am very impressed with the delicateness of handling the idea of a dragon birth with birth defects, this could have been a train wreck offending people easily, but came off instead as a character you can’t help but like, instantly. Well done, well done indeed.

Sparky the Chaos-Touched, and insane dragon….how can you not want to roleplay this???? I mean, seriously????? An INSANE DRAGON!!!!! I think I shall simply allow him to speak for himself, and I quote

"Fire so pretty. Sparky like fire. Sparky like pretty things. Pretty things burn. Then Sparky sad. Sparky hatch in fire. Pretty, pretty fire. Fire burn everything up, but not Sparky. Sparky swallow up the fire. Now it burns in Sparky’s head. Oh it burns! It burns, burns, burns…”

Like I said, how can you not want to unleash this on a playgroup when they need a night of being reminded that sometimes you are supposed to be having fun, lol.

The indexes bring us 7 templates (used throughout the book in the statblocks) as well as 11 feats (with one dealing with fleshgrafting that first appeared in the book #30 Fleshgrafts included here for the sake of those without the book). The spell Flesh Culture also appears here, previously from the #30 Fleshgrafts pdf as well. A simple and dirty breakdown for the rules for Domain Channeling from The Secrets of Divine Channeling/The Secrets of Adventuring are presented here closing out this pdf. Other of course for a few pages of ads and the OGL.

So, what have we got here, a couple of small hiccups in the editing, my personal opinion about the age of a dragon (which, to be true I could be wrong, it happens) and the rest pretty much all being win and confetti rainbows my friends. Yes, this collection will seriously increase your draconic population for your setting without requiring you to write up another handful of “Generic Dragon X” pages. As I stated at the beginning of this review, collections like this can easily end up a list of numbers and boring as watching water dry. Luckily, this is so far from that that this book ends up as one I highly recommend to any dragon loving fan of the mighty reptilian rulers of the food chain.

A well deserved 5 star rating, and well worth the cost of admission!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
20 Variant Foes: Red Dragons (PFRPG)
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Fat Goblin Travel Guide To Horrible Horrors & Macabre Monsters
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/15/2013 05:59:14
I am associated with Adventureaweek.com, were I operate as the main PDF monkey. My reviews are written with a desire to remain unbiased as many of the designers, writers, artists and publishers are considered friends to me. Having said that I am first and foremost a reviewer, and in respect to these people and their product I intend to evaluate this product honestly and fairly.

Fat Goblin Travel Guide to Horrible Horrors & Macabre Monsters.....wow that is a serious mouthful of a title. 52 pages, in full bleeding color populated with 47 entries from the minds of Jason Stoffa and Rick Hersey, all crafted to life with the art stylings of Mr. Hershey. Format follows the standard format for creature statblocks from Pathfinder, with the creatures kept to a single page per creature. Personally, I love the idea of single page creature entries, as if I want to print out a few critters for a session they tend to look far more cleaner when they are not sharing half of a page with something else.

The range of creatures here are quite varied, with some things in this collection that will easily make a playgroup work for their lives, with others leaving them scratching their heads wondering if perhaps you have lost your mind, lol....but we'll get to those soon enough. The majority of what you will see here is new art in this collection, with a few pieces that have appeared in other products Rick was involved in one way or another. There are a few pieces here from the Creaturedaily collection, and I am thrilled to see them come to light for all of those who might have missed these creatures the first time through. There are a few editing hiccups, the Table of Contents lists 48 creatures when there are in fact 47 (Stonework Guardian was separated into two words and listed on two different lines), and the bookmarks could possibly use a polishing (spacing, capitalizing and several two word names split into separate bookmarks). So, all of that out of the way, shall we take a look at some of these critters? It is the reason we are here, right?

The Artican will start us off, a variant giant with some seriously unique abilities that allow it to transform into a living snowstorm. How freaking cool is that. Their skins are branded with rune shaped coverings that give them not only great resistance to heat, but leave them conducting cold as well. Am loving this giant variant, a great design paired with an awesome piece of art that I can guarantee will be finding themselves at my table to menace my players. The Blighted Creature is a great template for giving a GM an instant variation to what their group might be used to facing. Created by exposure to those spaces we all know not to dwell for long, the blighted creature comes with a d10 random table for quick and easy creation of the new version of the base creature, with an art piece that is freaking great, although shows the creature with an apparent breath weapon, or perhaps ate really strong chili for lunch, lol...either way, a great and easy to apply template.

Clockwork Children, all that needs to be said here. Creepy, very very creepy. Druboar answer that question for us, If human stock gave us the minotaur, what would orc stock give us? Not going to lie, I'm digging it. Offering essentially another creature to take the place of the standard minotaur in an encounter that will present you with something perhaps your players haven't already fought a thousand times before, not to mention that its new tactics and ecology give more options for how to utilize it in the encounter. Oh, and for the record, Rick? Get to work on getting miniatures freaking licensed, seriously, this thing needs to be available as a miniature.

HagWasp Swarm just might be my favorite addition to the creatures presented here. A swarm of lethal wasps that can bring the pain with their Nightmare Fever poison, these freaking winged killers bring something far more dangerous to the game, Hag Servant. Able to be used as a familiar by a coven of hags, this freaking swarm takes on an entirely new level of dangerous, very quickly. Didn't I mention that these are on my top list? There is just so much win here for an evil GM to devastate for fun....ah, the screams and lamentations....sweet music to the ears......ah, sorry, didn't realize you are still here...ahem..so, moving on...

The Imperial Cannon reminds me a lot of the canon golem, albeit far more refined to its shape, and purpose. A very cool idea, both in design and visual presentation (OK, seriously, will someone out there with some sculpting skill (or knows someone working with one of these smaller mini companies) get a hold of Rick and do some talking about licensing some of these into minis, please!!). Mousling, remember I mentioned a few that might leave people scratching their heads. So, an anthropomorphic mouse, standing at around 4 to 4 1/2 feet in height, with the ability to take advantage of their capacity to share space with others of their race. OK, at face value it would be real easy to look over these creatures, but when you slow down and look at them, and what you can go with them, suddenly they are not so cute and funny looking, they take on an entirely different light and threat.

Going to end this with the Wing Worm. A tiny flying critter that tend to travel in groups of 100-1000, and eat anything in their path. Their bite comes along with an acid that plays havoc on the best defenses, along with a bore and infest ability. A tiny cloud of fyying worms with the capacity to devastate an entire community if not dealt with properly. Just another reminder to your players that they are not the end all be all, and there are still things in the universe waiting to eat them lol.

So, one page for an ad for another line carried by Fat Goblin Games and the OGL and we're out of pages. So, wrapping it up.....the minor issues with the editing are all fixable, which is always a good thing. The creatures lend themselves to feeling like things a GM will want to use, and the design is solid to support the concepts. The art is visually inspiring or making one want to use the creatures. Yeah, am having a real hard time coming up with anything to really complain or whine about here, lol....perhaps the fact that I want a miniature or two made? The fact here is that this is exactly what you want to see in a bestiary, and am impressed with what the Fat Goblin Games guys have produced, this is an excellent collection of creatures. A solid 5 star rating, and well worth the price of admission folks. And guys, get this into print, I want it on my shelf.

edit- all corrections required to handle the TOC and the bookmarks wre handled within minutes of the Fat Goblin crew having it brought to their attention. This is the mark of people who care, and are willing to fix things. Thanks Rick!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fat Goblin Travel Guide To Horrible Horrors & Macabre Monsters
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CE 4 - The Seven Deadly Skills of Sir Amoral the Misbegotten
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/15/2013 05:45:31
I am associated with Adventureaweek.com, were I operate as the main PDF monkey. My reviews are written with a desire to remain unbiased as many of the designers, writers, artists and publishers are considered friends to me. Having said that I am first and foremost a reviewer, and in respect to these people and their product I intend to evaluate this product honestly and fairly.

The Seven Deadly Skills of Sir Amoral the Misbegotten written by Daniel J. Bishop is published by Purple Duck Games for the DCC RPG game system. 13 pages, with two pages taking care of the cover and OGL, leaving us with 11 pages of material. Presented in a dual column format, with nothing jumping out and screaming any editing issues, which is always a good thing. Artwork is handled by Gary Dupois and Michael Scotta, with the majority of the pieces being available from Purple Duck Games as stock art pieces. Being a fan of the art style of both of these artists, I was pleased to find their work included in this adventure, and am willing to bet that the art will meet with most people's approval as well.

Cartography is presented with a very old school feel, but I would expect nothing less from a product designed for the DCC RPG. Anything other would feel odd, lol.

The meat and bones here, as this is an adventure review after all, is that a keep lost to history houses the ghost of its previos occupant, one Sir Amoral. Finding himself haunting his former keep, and willing to pass on the collection of knowledge he feels has been wasted by not finding those worthy in life to share with while he could, he now tests those he feels might be worthy of his boon. This of course is where the problem comes in, as his tests are not the easiest of things. 7 skills await those characters that can survive and succeed at each of their trials, proving to the ghost that they are worthy of each of these skills.

Given that there are only seven challenges, and each one of them being addressed directly to one of the seven skills of Sir Amoral I'm going to avoid discussing the specifics, other than to say there with be one and one combat with a handful of creatures. One of the nice things about an encounter location like this, the ruined keep, is that this can easily be incorporated for usage that far exceeds the purposes of this adventure. And yes, the author agrees, going so far as to recommend several methods of using the material in other ways and concepts.

A well designed addition to a GM here, with a handful of interesting creatures and an inspiring location. For the group running DCC RPG this makes for an excellent addition to the game collection. A well deserved 5 star rating, with a lot of re-use ability.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CE 4 - The Seven Deadly Skills of Sir Amoral the Misbegotten
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The Demolished Ones (Fate)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/25/2013 21:58:27
I was supplied with a reviewer's copy of this material, and I work with the publisher Adventureaweek.com. I have no professional attachment to Brian Engard, Steve Russell or Rite Publishing. I strive to keep my reviews unbiased, and presented from the voice of a fellow gamer.

The Demolished Ones, by Brian Engard, from Rite Publishing. The book weighs in at 94 pages, with an incredible cover from Hugo Solis. Interior art goes again to Mr. Solis's talented skills, gracing the feel of the art throughout this book. Following a dual column approach, with editing and formatting being of high caliber as come to be expected from Rite Publishing. Fully bookmarked (though not linked on the TOC page, although the TOC page is more intended for a printed concept than the bookmarks), with nested bookmarks throughout. So, that really covers the basics, doesn't it? The stuff that lets you what to expect in regards to the framework....so lets get to the fun stuff, shall we?

First off, and it has to be stated, right up front, I have never played a single game of Fate, ever. Before this book I had never even looked at the system. So how could my opinion of this product be worth anything right? Simple, the book taught me how to play. Yep, by the time I was done reading the intro to the storyline and drooling like a fanboy I was scouring through the pages teaching me in an extremely easy method to learn the basics of the system. Now, seriously, I learned a full system in a matter of a chapter within this book, OK, granted, there are always more things to learn about any system, but there is ENOUGH here to be able to play this storyline. And that is what matters. Turn sequence, character creation, character actions, and turn resolutions....all there. No, I am not going to get into how to play the system here in this review, that is not the intention of this review. Just well enough to say, this product handles, with ease, making sure than anyone could jump on board and enjoy this product.

And what exactly are we looking at here? What is the storyline the players are in store for? We can do this one of two ways, I can walk you through the story and ruins it for those sneaky players who troll for reviews. Or I can tell you what they can learn for themselves, without ruining the interwoven layered story. I'm going for option 2, trust me, it is worth to not give away anything to those looking to play this one.

The players awaken in a room, with no clue who they are, who the other people in the room with them are, and why there is a dead body. They have no memories of how they got there, if they are connected to each other, if they might be the responsible party for the body, or victims themselves. A phone call bringing a warning that the authorities are on the way puts everything into movement, and from there on the story is driven by the actions of the players as they piece together their fractured memories and lives. All is not as might appear for the players, as there are forces moving behind the scenes pulling strings to manipulate their lives and actions.

Hearkening to the feel and spirit of the distinct inspiration of the movie The Dark City this storyline brings forth the excellence of the neo-gothic feel of this movie. Working better described as a Victoriana Era piece perhaps, but feeling to my personal taste as very gothic. As well as the feel of the world being more below the surface than what can be “seen”. Whereas the game has an elite group of “adversaries” (known as The Masters) for the players character's to deal with within the setting for the storyline, the more direct Mr. Tock is everything you could ever hope for with a villain, and then some. Bringing to the table a bit of the classic concept of manipulating the world around him treating those involved at pieces on a chess board as he moves his “pawns” throughout the story, all the while attempting to better his own status amongst his peers.

Supported with a handful of excellent player handouts, from fliers with notes scrawled on them to torn articles from the local newspaper. I love the addition of these handouts, and really help to make sure that immersion into tho storyline is better for your players. And yes, it includes its own 1 page character sheet to make easier for players to manage their characters.

The world created here within this setting, within the city “under the dome” (spoilers, lol) does an excellent job of bringing to life several various locations throughout the city for the players to explore as they work their way through this storyline. And to that, it should be pointed out, that the storyline does a very good job of staying out of its own way, in that it is sandbox enough to allow for enough free roaming, while leading more then enough direct for purpose.

So, wrapping this up, using a scale of 1-5, with a 5 being the highest rating I can apply to this, I have no option but to give it a 6, flat out. I loved this product. There is so much Win here that it sold me, entirely. Not only does this product do an excellent job of teaching me a new game (handled with ease without making me feel like a noob), but delivering with a killer of a mystery for a twisted storyline. I can easily see this being used not just for a tabletop session with friends, but with the most minimal of effort to turn this into a live action evening with friends who have never roleplayed before, introducing this story much like a Murder Mystery Party night, over even a convention event.

This is an excellent storyline, and yes, I have gone out of the way to avoid referring to it as an adventure, as this feels more to me as a storyline. Shortly after reading through my review copy I jumped on the chance to get a print copy, adding to this to my shelf of personal favorites. And will more than likely be adding to this to my Top 10 list for the year of 2013 at the end of the year.

Well done Mr. Engard, well done indeed!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Demolished Ones (Fate)
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The Demolished Ones (Fate) Free Preview
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/10/2013 02:46:50
I was supplied with a reviewer's copy of this material, and I work with the publisher Adventureaweek.com I have no professional attachment to Brian Engard, Steve Russell or Rite Publishing. I strive to keep my reviews unbiased, and presented from the voice of a fellow gamer.

The Demolished Ones, by Brian Engard, from Rite Publishing. The book weighs in at 94 pages, with an incredible cover from Hugo Solis. Interior art goes again to Mr. Solis's talented skills, gracing the feel of the art throughout this book. Following a dual column approach, with editing and formatting being of high caliber as come to be expected from Rite Publishing. Fully bookmarked (though not linked on the TOC page, although the TOC page is more intended for a printed concept than the bookmarks), with nested bookmarks throughout. So, that really covers the basics, doesn't it? The stuff that lets you what to expect in regards to the framework....so lets get to the fun stuff, shall we?

First off, and it has to be stated, right up front, I have never played a single game of Fate, ever. Before this book I had never even looked at the system. So how could my opinion of this product be worth anything right? Simple, the book taught me how to play. Yep, by the time I was done reading the intro to the storyline and drooling like a fanboy I was scouring through the pages teaching me in an extremely easy method to learn the basics of the system. Now, seriously, I learned a full system in a matter of a chapter within this book, OK, granted, there are always more things to learn about any system, but there is ENOUGH here to be able to play this storyline. And that is what matters. Turn sequence, character creation, character actions, and turn resolutions....all there. No, I am not going to get into how to play the system here in this review, that is not the intention of this review. Just well enough to say, this product handles, with ease, making sure than anyone could jump on board and enjoy this product.

And what exactly are we looking at here? What is the storyline the players are in store for? We can do this one of two ways, I can walk you through the story and ruins it for those sneaky players who troll for reviews. Or I can tell you what they can learn for themselves, without ruining the interwoven layered story. I'm going for option 2, trust me, it is worth to not give away anything to those looking to play this one.

The players awaken in a room, with no clue who they are, who the other people in the room with them are, and why there is a dead body. They have no memories of how they got there, if they are connected to each other, if they might be the responsible party for the body, or victims themselves. A phone call bringing a warning that the authorities are on the way puts everything into movement, and from there on the story is driven by the actions of the players as they piece together their fractured memories and lives. All is not as might appear for the players, as there are forces moving behind the scenes pulling strings to manipulate their lives and actions.

Hearkening to the feel and spirit of the distinct inspiration of the movie The Dark City this storyline brings forth the excellence of the neo-gothic feel of this movie. Working better described as a Victoriana Era piece perhaps, but feeling to my personal taste as very gothic. As well as the feel of the world being more below the surface than what can be “seen”. Whereas the game has an elite group of “adversaries” (known as The Masters) for the players character's to deal with within the setting for the storyline, the more direct Mr. Tock is everything you could ever hope for with a villain, and then some. Bringing to the table a bit of the classic concept of manipulating the world around him treating those involved at pieces on a chess board as he moves his “pawns” throughout the story, all the while attempting to better his own status amongst his peers.

Supported with a handful of excellent player handouts, from fliers with notes scrawled on them to torn articles from the local newspaper. I love the addition of these handouts, and really help to make sure that immersion into tho storyline is better for your players. And yes, it includes its own 1 page character sheet to make easier for players to manage their characters.

The world created here within this setting, within the city “under the dome” (spoilers, lol) does an excellent job of bringing to life several various locations throughout the city for the players to explore as they work their way through this storyline. And to that, it should be pointed out, that the storyline does a very good job of staying out of its own way, in that it is sandbox enough to allow for enough free roaming, while leading more then enough direct for purpose.

So, wrapping this up, using a scale of 1-5, with a 5 being the highest rating I can apply to this, I have no option but to give it a 6, flat out. I loved this product. There is so much Win here that it sold me, entirely. Not only does this product do an excellent job of teaching me a new game (handled with ease without making me feel like a noob), but delivering with a killer of a mystery for a twisted storyline. I can easily see this being used not just for a tabletop session with friends, but with the most minimal of effort to turn this into a live action evening with friends who have never roleplayed before, introducing this story much like a Murder Mystery Party night, over even a convention event.

This is an excellent storyline, and yes, I have gone out of the way to avoid referring to it as an adventure, as this feels more to me as a storyline. Shortly after reading through my review copy I jumped on the chance to get a print copy, adding to this to my shelf of personal favorites. And will more than likely be adding to this to my Top 10 list for the year of 2013 at the end of the year.

Well done Mr. Engard, well done indeed!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Demolished Ones (Fate) Free Preview
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Charity Product: The Merciful Cousins Cavalier Order
Publisher: Super Genius Games
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/28/2013 20:20:44
Gee Mr. KTFish, do you really gotta review a CHARITY book? Yes, for a matter of fact, I do. I could tell you how cool this is what is being done by the names behind this book. I could tell you about the time dedicated to making this product a reality, the really cool art that led to this starting and what brought us to me holding a copy in my virtual hands. But that is not why we are here right now.

It would be very easy to say that for the price and the good will of others this product is well worth the price, all of which are good points, if not for one very important thing. That would be this, at the end of the day this is a gaming product, with some expectations put upon it. We expect our dollars to go to something we will use. Something new cool to make our games bring a new tool in the GM's arsenal, or perhaps that new feat we had never thought of, a spell of nature we find our selves creating an entire character around it, because the design is so cool. So, let us take a look shall we, a peek under the cover and see what the Crunch Master has share for us?

The Merciful Cousins struck me instantly as one of the most logical Orders I've come across within a fantasy setting, and found myself scratching the chin for them now not having been done before. I spent years being one of those GMs, that guy who can tell you the name of the kid who sweeps the floor at the local bakery in any town within his setting. Yeah, that guy, lol. We all know those GMs who go deep into their settings to go for immersion. So, when I say they were a local and well welcome addition, I say that not lightly. The Merciful Cousins Cavalier Order are the fantasy answer to the Red Cross. They exist to be there when they are needed, when the world goes off skew and people are left picking up the pieces, in come the Merciful Cousins.

Carrying an edict of being there to rebuild and help, to heal and mend the Order operates as a Lawful or Good operation (yes, those are two separate thing). Like any good write up for a cavalier order we are given the specifics of perks from being a member, all of which tying to defending, helping, helping and rebuilding. Along with the Order's perks comes some new Settlement Qualities. Yeah, how often do you see a product offer these types of rules to add to the toolbox, right? There is a reason I call Owen the Crunch Master my friends.

I could go into specifics, but not this time. This time you are going to have to pick up the product and trust that the product is worth it.
I know that is not the usually format for a review from me, but again, this time, I feel the product is solid and the reason behind it deserves to speak for itself. I will tell you this much my fellow GMs, the new settlement rules will be showing up in my next product, an the Order has already been added to my game setting, permanently. One of the easiest 5 star ratings I have ever given, well worth the price of admission, and my sincerest heartfelt Thanks to the men who made this product a reality.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Charity Product: The Merciful Cousins Cavalier Order
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#30 Portable Rooms (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/02/2013 12:35:28
I was a fan of Leomund. I think a great deal of folks were. As well as several of the other fictional spell designing, item crafting powerhouses who's names graced so many items throughout an era of gaming. And yes, a great of those echoes of times gone by are still there, albeit under other names, but the connection to an individual is gone, and than somehow lessens the finished results. What an I yammering about? Something very cool...that's what.

Liz Smith takes on 30 Portable Rooms in this latest offering of the #30 series, but does it with more than just a collection of stats for some items. She gives us a name. Wyrist Spellweaver. A piece of fiction, sure, but aren't they all? The sheer fact that the PDF opens with a small piece of correspondence mentioning that the following is a collection of notes pertaining to one Wyrist Spellweaver, and his items of creation, and the reasoning behind why he created them in the first place took this PDF to a completely different level for me. Instantly I was far more interested in what these pages were going to contain, and how the mythos of this new NPC would evolve. See, that was, in the end, what we lost with the named spells, the mythos of those characters laid bare through their works. So, without even making it past the first paragraph I found myself impressed Liz, well done.

But, what of the rooms? What offerings are we presented with? Well, the Black Arrow is a classic example of the portable room done right, a stable complete with unseen servants and enchanted to allow speech with animals with the room, all presented as an old Horseshoe turned into a boot scrapper when deactivated. Or perhaps the Book of Books, a library, hidden with a book. Yeah, I know, so freaking obvious it astounds that this wasn't already done, but design of this nature is some of the best design out there, as it relies on its own simplicity.

We have a pair of boots that leave a fishing pond in their steps, a mug with a trapdoor to a hidden wine cellar, a thieves dart that spun just right will open a trapdoor to a training gym...in short, there are some seriously interesting takes on how one defines the idea of a portable room.

The best part here has to be the benefits of the rooms themselves. Each room gives a reason why one would want to get into it, be it a bonus against a roll or check, rest, food, etc. But not one of these benefits outweigh the value of the item to a game. By this I mean simply that any of these items could be introduced without doing enough unbalancing to do any true damage to a game, which is ideal of course.

Editing and format wise I caught nothing in regards to errors or bad layout, rather quite the opposite, this overall look and feel of this PDF is rather well put together. Design wise I am very impressed with Liz Smith's take on the portable room concept, and and can't help but recommend this PDF to anyone and everyone who missed out Leomund as much as I. A solid 5 star rating, and well worth the price of admission.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
#30 Portable Rooms (PFRPG)
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Book of Beasts: War on Yuletide (PFRPG)
Publisher: Jon Brazer Enterprises
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/24/2012 01:54:08
OK...let's begin with the statement that I am not a fan of humor in my game material. I know, I know, how very grinch like of me, but there it is. That being said, a product that is in fact a humorous product is not quite the same, now is it? I knew the second I saw the cover that what I had in my hands was a tongue in cheek collection of creatures...something for those looking to inject some holiday humor into their gametop...what I was not expecting was the solid design behind the creatures.

Yeah, I said it, solidly designed critters. Now, granted, their are a few here that will probably only ever exist in a game meant for laughs, such as the Gingerbread Golem, Eggnog Pudding, or even the Aberrant Fruitcake...but their designs are still logical and solid enough to field them, with effectiveness. That spoke through, loud and clear.

Taking a step towards the undead side of things I have got to say the Dirge Caroler is hands down my favorite creature in this collection, and oddly invokes some nostalgia for classic Doctor Who in me...not sure if it was just the feel of the creature or if there was something similar in an episode, regardless they are a cool concept. Leading a "caroling choir" of well dressed zombies, the dirge carolers enchant and devour to their heart's content within communities, adding a serious level of creepy to those annoying folks wandering around singing.

And the Dreidel Swarm, now that is an interesting concept, and a well executed one at that. That is easily something I can see getting some mileage at a gametable, showing up perhaps in the lair of a demented toy-maker....hmmm, excuse me, need to make a few notes....

Point being, if you are looking for a cool little collection of holiday inspired creatures, you've found them, period. There's something in here for any play style, and then some.

Now, did I have issues with a few things? Yeah...the art is all over the place, some pieces being extremely cartoony, perhaps even childish...but for what this collection is, that oddly added to the charm of the product. Which brings me to my only true complaint in regards to design, and that is the Clockwork Nutcracker having no form of bite attack. It seems an almost given that there would be some special linked with that gaping maw of his.

All in all though, as I stated, the creatures here are a good collection of holiday inspired weirdness, ready to bring a few smiles to the table as you roll some dice with friends under the tree.

A 5 star rating for a rather unique collection of oddities.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Beasts: War on Yuletide (PFRPG)
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#30 Alchemical Gadgets (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/11/2012 04:07:56
#30 Alchemical Gadgets, yet another addition to the #30 series from Rite publishing offers up an alternative to equipping a playgroup with a plethora of magical items that are typically costly, and usually limited in the scope of who can or can not use them. The alternative is to look to alchemy. Granted there are a few items here that are blatant re-skins, and perhaps a little to “modern” for some tastes when it comes to a fantasy setting (I'm looking at you Alchemical Fire Projector...yes, it's a flame thrower)...but there are some really good pieces in here. The Arcane Atomizer allows for the detection on magical auras by spraying a mist of fluid into the air which reacts via color change to present magical energies. The Firefly Box brings rave strobe lights to fantasy gaming...I kid you not, lol...a good solid explanation for how and why, but at the end of the day, it is what it is, lol. Ah well, I guess even medieval kids need to get their funk on occasionally.

The Forensic Lens gives us game mechanics for the classic multi-tree of lenses that Hollywood has done such a good job of portraying throughout most of my life as those glasses that all “sciency types” wear...you know the type I am referring to, the main lens with a plethora of flip up and fold down additional lenses...well, this would be a monogoggle variety of said eye-wear. Mainly designed for aiding in tracking and investigation alas, so its intended purpose is far more limited I think then these could have been.

Frog Gloves grant webbing to aid in swim checks and speed, and the Grounder Spike operates as a limited form of electrical protection. The Hopelight Globe (while reminding me of a glo-stick) is a fairly cool little device, and one I could easily see making available to my PCs. A globe filled with a charged liquid that is tossed to a point, whereupon the necessary chemical reactions take place within it causing the attached lenses to focus and emit a pale green light. Cool thing there is the light is more than just a means of being able to see, as it makes etheral creatures visible, and damages undead and aberations.

The Omnicaulker is yet another example of an alchemical item skirting the concepts of re-skinning modern ideas, without even trying to hide the fact. It's a caulk gun, pure and simple. You load it with different alchemical substances stored in cartridges that you can then squeeze out in a thin line for a variety of effects depending upon which substance you load....of the worst when it comes to following along with the idea of re-skinned modern items has got to be Superstick...yes, it's super-glue.

OK...Spell Poppers are indeed something we all know, and I imagine most of us have fond memories of playing with them as kids, and yet they are not a modern item, for they have been around for quite sometime. They are the little paper wrapped poppers that you throw at surfaces to get them to explode, totally harmless, but a great way to distract a spell chucker trying to cast, and something so simple in its usage here that it is sheer brilliance.

14 pages total, with 10 of those being the new alchemical items, the PDF is presented in the standard dual column format with embedded artwork. Following the classic Rite publishing usage of classic art this PDF does not disappoint, as there are some truly exceptional pieces of art included. Editing wise I did find a few stray mishaps, the occasional odd wording or dropped letter.

Whereas there are several items within this collection that to me felt like a blatant re-skin of modern tech, in the end that is what the alchemy line is, whether I like it or not. Personally, I am not a fan of the idea, but it is a rather large portion of what alchemy is, the precursor to science and tech. So, having cleared that up, that I am judging this purely on its design merits, and not personal opinions towards alchemy in general, I am going with a 4 star rating. There are a lot of well designed items here that would help any playgroup drastically, at a far easier rate of availability than magical means supply.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
#30 Alchemical Gadgets (PFRPG)
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Midgard Adventures: To the Edge of the World
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/10/2012 04:47:09
We've all been there, those little squishy tasty scooby snacks known as low level characters...just waiting to be fed to a group of rats, or maybe if you're really lucky a pack of goblins....Woopee!! Yeah, not so much, right? Low level notoriously blows, because so little is written for it with the idea that the group can handle a real challenge, let alone is worthy of a story that goes beyond the most absolute basic concepts...after all, the good stuff is reserved for those characters that can do something with it. Well, Wolfgang says NO MORE!!

To the Edge of the World by Wolfgang Baur is (like every book in the Midgard series) a visual treat to look at. To say that Marc Radle was a good choice for graphic design for the Kobolds has got to be one of the biggest understatements one could imagine. Everything Radle touches ends up with a higher degree of professionalism and just all around sexiness. Sexiness? Yeah, I went there. I can not stress enough how much I have fallen in love with the look of the Midgard series of books, and am thrilled to see that the look is going to carry into the adventures as well as the sourcebooks, as this truly ties them all together as a cohesive set.

Now, I know, I know...you didn't come here to listen to me go on and on about how pretty it is, you want to know about the meat of it all, The adventure itself. And how in the world any adventure written for a beginning playgroup could possibly incorporate a cover that freaking cool, right? Well, let me break it to you buttercup....Oh, wait, almost forgot...PLAYERS BEGONE (wiggles the fingers, tosses the dust) ...Alright, almost forgot to cast that handy little incantation SPOILER ALERT...lol. Now, where were we?? Ah yes, the cover, and just what the heck is going on in this adventure....read on my friends, read on.

The PCs are going to find themselves hired to travel to meet with an undead queen, there to do the diplomacy dance and ingratiate themselves through gifts and flattery to try and gain access to a tomb with the intentions of retrieving an item for their employer. Following me so far? Cool. Because what you have here is essentially the hook to get your PCs moving. The man of means hiring them is going to hook them up with some handy dandy toys to help, things well beyond their means as PCs, but in the end they are acting as emissaries for their employer, which is a great way to put means within the grasp of a group without breaking the mechanics of what they themselves could afford to have access to.

Offered the usage of a ship with an experienced captain (a dragonkin by the name of Gullnipper, who has an excellent piece of art on a sidenote), the PCs should have no problems in reaching the island of Karn'lothra. To keep the journey interesting several side encounters are presented to be used or not, as the GM chooses. Upon arrival to the island (which is described with absolutely cool little features - the corpse of a titan washed up on the beach, a ring of large sculpted heads surrounding the islands coastline, the immense amount of tombs forming a veritable wall of mazeworks.) the PCs will have to jump through the diplomatic hoops and deal with the Bloodless Queen (lich-queen) in attempting to get permission to search for a specific tomb, and then enter said tomb to retrieve an item for their employer.

It should be noted that at this point, yes, the PCs are dealing with things that could easily kill them all, without trying. And that's exactly the point. A group that remembers their place in the larger scale of things, and talks instead of unsheathing their weapons stands a much better chance of getting through several areas of this adventure alive. Assuming they get to the tomb, and survive its defenses, they will find themselves in possession of both that which they came for, and an unexpected treat that should amuse any GM out there...an intelligent, talking spellbook. Yeah, a built in NPC who may or may not co-operate at its own discretion, without being so intrusive that it gets in the way of the storyline.

The book, in the attempt to facilitate escape from the Queen's minions, summons a Leviathan Island for the PCs to "board" and "set sail" on. The leviathan island is freaking huge people, and the map showing it off is a piece of artwork on its own, an actual island of stone and vegetative growth, complete with a group of mongrelmen who worship the freaking thing.

So, pretty cool so far, no? I mean, let's face it, that's some pretty epic stuff for a low level group to experience...but we're so not done yet. The Midgard setting presents us with a flat world, and this leviathan is intending to leave, and get back to the celestial sea by sailing to the edge and making the leap...and yes, the PCs are going along for the ride unless they choose to bail, with no ship or hope of survival. Amongst the stars the leviathan heads towards the Citadel of a Million Stars, wherein the PCs will find themselves embroiled within the court politics of the celestials in residence, with no real allies to rely upon.

A fantastically envisioned adventure that allows for the reality that it is OK for a low level group of PCs to encounter things beyond their combat scope, to be put into danger that will require them to do more than hack and slash to survive, and truly pushes the envelope of what a low level adventure is.

Presented in a dual column format with embedded artwork from Mark Bulahao and Marc Radle, cartography from Todd Gamble, Alyssa Faden and Peter Bradley, and of course that insanely cool cover piece from Pat Loboyko. Editing is top notch, with nothing really jumping out and grabbing me.

Whereas the adventure could be ported to another setting, the true weight of the design and the subtle beauty really shines through when it is left right where it was designed to be played, within the Midgard setting. Several references are made throughout the PDF to other Kobold Press publications, ranging from other Midgard titles to KQ issues, all of which one should have within their library (lol), or can be referenced from the D20PFSRD easily enough.

Wolfgang reminds us all why he's a force to be reckoned with in the industry with this adventure, and easily earned a 6 star rating from me, rounded down to a 5 for the purposes of this forum. A true treat, and well worth the price of admission folks!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Midgard Adventures: To the Edge of the World
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