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CC1 Creature Compendium
Publisher: New Big Dragon Games Unlimited
by Dominique C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/02/2015 10:28:59
Excellent product, I love it! Except for the relatively mediocre cover, it's like the old Fiend Folio done right! That is, a Fiend Folio with more interesting monsters. The layout is top notch, and the art reminds of old school monster books. Excellent, I love it. It's one of the very few OSR books that I later intend to buy in printed form (POD). If only it could be released in hardcover (I only saw it in softcover at Lulu), that would be great...

I only have a minor bad point with this book: It is dual-stated, but for games that are very similar (i.e. 1e/Osric and basic/Labyrinth-Lord). Personally I could use a monster book that has 1e/Osric stat-blocks with both games; for me the basic/LL stat-block are useless.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CC1 Creature Compendium
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Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary
Publisher: BRW Games
by Dominique C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/28/2014 02:23:21
This is truly the best OSR monster book I got so far. Everything is in there, and there is an old-school-style black and white illustration for most of the monsters. Overall it looks great, and I prefer it to the original monster books it emulates. Someday I will probably get it in print too.

I am the publisher of Fantastic Heroes & Witchery. I would recommend this monster book to those who use my game and want to know which monsters to use. They would fit very well. I intend to later publish a monster book of my own, but this one will still nicely complete what I intend to do.

There is one thing I don't like though: you need Acrobat Reader 10 to read it. With version 9 and below it simply doesn't open at all. My opinion is that a PDF file bought on RPGnow should be readable with most older versions of Acrobat Reader. I don't see why you should have the latest technology to read files. There should be no obligation to upgrade your computers (I can read it on my PC, but I cannot have Acrobat Reader 10 on my old macintosh) to be able to read the file purchased here.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary
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Scarlet Heroes Art Pack
Publisher: Sine Nomine Publishing
by Dominique C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/22/2014 09:13:39
Incredible! So much excellent black and white line art for... free! There are many illustrations from several excellent artists in there. Artists who often sell their art 4 or more dollars apiece, and here are several of each artist for free. Thanks a lot for giving it for free!

If you wanted to know: this is fantasy art portraying heroes and monsters with an Asian feel.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Scarlet Heroes Art Pack
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Golden Age Artpack
Publisher: Thistle Games
by Dominique C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/03/2014 08:38:48
The stock-art in this document is simply stunning. It was done in early 20th century, but remains totally appropriate and excellent (i.e. high artistic quality) for use in an old-school RPG product. And there is a lot of material there! So an excellent purchase, with good scanning, well cleaned up, etc. Frankly this merits 5 stars. And all of this at a cheap price (well, I paid it 5$).

However, I may have a problem here. How do I know that the art displayed belongs to the public domain? (I mean: apart from the fact that the publisher claims copyrights for cleaned-up scans, that I don't deny.) In the US this is supposedly 70 years after an artist's death for his work going into the public domain, unless I am mistaken. So I got a look:

As of 2014:
John Austen = 66 years since death; Walter Enright = death date apparently unknown; Elizabeth Shippen Green = 60 years since death; Garth Jones = 59 years since death. (All other are okay, dead for more than 70 years.)

I need to know, better to avoid potential someone suing me for using stuff that were copyrighted to them.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Golden Age Artpack
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Publisher Reply:
Hi, apologies for leaving you in confusion over some of the images. I usually scan from battered copies of old books I collect whenever I see them for pennies. However, I also double check images against online libraries. Those you mention appear in titles where the author was working as an artist for a publisher and the particular title as a whole is indicated as out of copyright. I base this on having seen the images in use in a reputable online library where the copyright appears OK. Clearly, I consider that quite safe, but I wouldn\'t want to leave any doubt or concern - especially when different countries have their own fine print. I have pulled the pack and will update the download with extra images as replacements tomorrow. That should result in an update email to you and continued download of the full pack - even though the pack isn\'t available for any new purchaser. Any problem with getting those - nedjer@gmail.com and I can send by email. HTH.
NUELOW Stock Art Collection #4: Scenes From Yesterday's Future
Publisher: NUELOW Games
by Dominique C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/03/2014 07:49:56
Some of the art may be usable in my RPG products, although the quality of scanning and such, is often sub-par (but I can improve it fortunately). Yet, at a 2$ cost, there was no need to hesitate and regret.

However, my problem with this compilation of last century art, lies elsewhere. In looking at them, I realized these illustrations were most probably drawn between 1950 and 1960. And this brings me to an important concern: how do I know that these images are in the public domain?! (Nothing tells me that "Nuelow" is the rightful owner of the copyrights.) Since 1950, there has not been yet 70 years passed; and furthermore, the artists could well have died much later, so their art is probably still their copyrighted (or their families). Now, if I decide to use some of it in a book for sale, how do I know that I won't get sued by the rightful owners of these images? I need answers to this, and other customers too!!

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
NUELOW Stock Art Collection #4: Scenes From Yesterday's Future
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Publisher Reply:
The illustrations in all of our packs were derived from works (work-for-hire projects) published prior to 1963 that did not have their copyrights renewed in \'78 or a later date; I do a records search as part of the process of preparing these, and the sources from which these illos were derived are firmly in the public domain, according to U.S. law. (And there is no need to worry about GATT exceptions, as the publishers were all U.S.-based companies, and we draw from the U.S. editions.) NUELOW Games is the rightful owner of the versions presented in these packs and I can\'t see any issue arising from anyone using them for their own purposes, under the terms put forth in the packs. If you have additional questions, feel free to contact me, and I will happily try to point you toward answers. --Steve Miller
Crypts and Things
Publisher: D101 Games
by Dominique C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/19/2012 04:18:03
I bought this game out of curiosity. Basically, Crypt & Things is a variant of Swords & Wizardry that aims at running adventures in grim and gritty sword and sorcery settings. In fact, it provides such a setting, but I personally find it a little simplistic and bare-bone.

The main differences of rules C&T provides compared to S&W, is to get rid of clerics, and replace the usual generic magic-user by a mage that must either opt for White, Black, or Gray magic. The hindrance for playing a Gray mage seems ludicrous (it costs 2 hit-points per spell level to cast a spell, where White mages cast without hp cost), but it can be easily discarded. Same remark for black mages. C&T also provide a thief and a barbarian class, and the fighter can be customized.

Apart from this, I also appreciate the magical items that have some dark and detrimental aspects. The art and layout on the over hand, are often mediocre (though there is a couple of nice illustrations).

Overall this is a decent game. I give it three stars, as I find it neither bad nor great.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Crypts and Things
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Adventurer Conqueror King System
Publisher: Autarch
by Dominique C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/19/2012 04:05:04
I bought AKCS mostly out of curiosity. It's before all an "OSR" game (i.e. old school renaissance rpg), a simulacrum of the basic/classic older D&D rpg. Where Labyrinth Lord is a "clone" intent on reproducing basic old D&D faithfully, AKCS is a simulacrum, meaning it's that old game but with more modern, streamlined game mechanics, and differences.

The main difference is that AKCS uses the same mechanic as saving throws for combat and skill checks (and others things). I must say it works very well, and is a welcome simplification. That is, for each class level there is a target number that a character must equal or exceed with a d20 roll (to which he adds his bonuses and the target's ascending AC) to hit his opponent. I like this very much.

There is 12 classes, including of course the core Fighter, Thief, Mage and Cleric. Elves and dwarves get two classes each. Well, I am a little dubious about the dwarf classes, that provide even less abilities than they did in the original D&D, and are thus very much alike a Fighter and Cleric. There is also 4 variant classes derived from the core: Assassin, Bard, Bladedancer and Explorer. Here also, these classes are rather bland. Bladedancer for example is very much a cleric with little difference. Explorer replaces the Halfling class from BD&D. However, the good point is that classes can be customized with adding proficiencies, that are derived from 2e NWP and 3e Feats.

Then, unlike all the clones and simulacrums I have read before, AKCS provide extensive rules for castle and dominion management, ritual magic, and much more. All these pages are really a good addition that will be useful to players and GMs IMO. I won't detail them here, since I only flipped through these pages so far, but I am glad to see them included.

Lastly about art: it must be noted that AKCS is lavishly illustrated, which enliven the whole work and makes it pleasant to read.

If I were to run or play in a Classic-Basic D&D game, AKCS is the iteration I would want to use without a doubt.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adventurer Conqueror King System
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Realms of Crawling Chaos (Labyrinth Lord)
Publisher: Goblinoid Games
by Dominique C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/17/2011 13:56:05
Excellent supplement for Labyrinth Lord.

The most interesting part of this supplement are the spells, the monsters, and the artifacts and magic items (including the cursed books like Necronomicon and others). They are a must for any game that would be run in a Lovecraft-inspired setting, but also for many grim, sword & sorcery campaign worlds.

Now, I only give it a 4 stars because layout is mediocre (and I don't like the choice of fonts, art is average, etc.). Then, the new PC races, despite being appropriate, don't provide much originality. I mean, I don't really need this book if it was but for the races and classes (i.e. races as classes); I could easily improvise them myself. However, it's but a small part of the book. Spells, monsters and items are what is really important, and there is plenty of them.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Realms of Crawling Chaos (Labyrinth Lord)
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Ronin: Oriental Adventures - JAPAN EARTHQUAKE RELIEF EDITION
Publisher: Highmoon Games
by Dominique C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/17/2011 13:45:02
I bought it because of the Tsunami's tragedy, as money will be sent to help the victims. I don't play Pathfinder nor 3.5e anymore, having gone back to the roots of D&D.

In fact I am not over-impressed by the gaming rules (mostly class additions), because of their treatment of the Samurai (a social class, but can be of almost any class), and inclusion of all regular PF classes into a Japanese setting. The few prestige classes are okay, but I much prefer the rules found in "Legends of the Samurai" (an excellent 3.5e supllement).

However, game mechanics are less than a third of this book. The really strong point of this book is the description of Japan during the edo era, for use as a campaign setting. In this regard they have done an outstanding job! It's really complete and well detailed.

Conclusion: if you want to run a 3.5e Japanese campaign, buy this for the setting, and buy "Legends of the Samurai" for the game mechanics (as the latter is rather poor on the campaign word itself, though it has a nice map). For old-school players, continue to use Oriental Adventures (1e) for the rules, but use this most excellent supplement for your setting. This should be a winner.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ronin: Oriental Adventures - JAPAN EARTHQUAKE RELIEF EDITION
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Old School Magic
Publisher: Vigilance Press
by Dominique C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/01/2010 11:30:57
Old School Magic comes at 29 pages, and is about new classes, new spells, and options / suggestions for the GM to determine how magic works in a campaign.

-- MAGIC OPTIONS: The first part discusses low, medium and high magic settings, and provides magical systems (namely: incantations, mana, and star magic). Note that these magic systems are not necessarily exclusive of each others, and could probably be combined in some way. For example, a GM might houserule that in his campaign humans could only cast incantations, while elves and gnomes being fey-related use the mana option. There is one thing I found strange, wondering if it is a typo, but in any case being easy to change/houserule: about spells that become incantations, the text states: "Replace the normal casting time with one week per spell level". Personally, I would rather go with one turn per spell level, which is long enough IMO.

-- NEW CLASSES: The second part is about new character classes. I admit that I am a sucker for new character classes. This book includes the Alchemist, Artificer, Conjurer, Elementalist, Hermit, Holy Man, Naturalist, Sage, and Seer. All of these classes fit perfectly along 1e classes in terms of game mechanics and design: they are clear and simple, with the kind of abilities you could expect from 1e rules. Overall, I am not sure however, I would like to play one of these classes instead of a regular mage, illusionist, cleric or druid (where I would be ready to play an old-school psionicist by the same author). Yet, the GM could allow these classes to races that normally don't have spellcasters, such as allowing dwarves alchemists and artificers, as well as halflings holy-men and naturalists. This would make things better, especially if level cap is above 10th level. The author doesn't say much on this subject (apart that dwarves can be elementalists up to the 5th level), so it's easy to implement at leisure by the individual GM. Other than that, I am dubious about some classes' names: Naturalist as a replacement of druid in a low magic setting? I rather see this class as a Woodsman or Wilderness Hunter, not a religious type. Then, if you use Holy Man in a setting featuring all regular classes, a change of name might be necessary (such as Zealot, or what not), as a "holy" person who doesn't cast spells seems a little strange. As for Conjurer, I regret that their Summoning spells' duration is not extended.

-- SPELLS: The third part describes 31 new spells. Most of them seem balanced and usable, but I have some doubts about: Iron Warrior (seems overpowered in summoning an iron golem for 1 turn pr level).

-- THINGS THAT ARE LACKING: 1) There is no table of contents at the beginning of the book, and it wouldn't hurt to add one. 2) Ley lines: the author mentions the use of ley-lines a couple of times, but there is no rules about them in this book (apart an extremely vague suggestion); maybe he wrote something about this into another supplement, but this is neither indicated.

-- LAYOUT AND ART:: as much as I like the book's content, the art and layout is rather bland and uninspiring. If, someday, the author was to compile all of his old school (1e) contributions into a single book (I can dream after all), I wish he would come with something far better in this regard.

-- CONCLUSION: Old School Magic is a good product for Osric / 1e, and I recommend it.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Old School Magic
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First Edition Skills
Publisher: Zodiac Gods Publishing
by Dominique C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/01/2010 10:54:42
Well done work with a nice layout and decent art. This skill system however is nothing original: it is but the 2e non-weapon proficiency system written anew for osric and with a few tweaks and twists.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
First Edition Skills
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OSRIC Book of Assassins
Publisher: World Gorean Society
by Dominique C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/01/2010 10:51:23
Very poor layout (no art, no columns, text written in big to increase the number pages), and as for content, it looks like it is heavily inspired from the AD&D 2e softcover supplement "Complete Thief Hadbook". Including that the five subclasses are no sub-classes at all but merely 2e kits. It's fairly usable with Osric, but I am disappointed by this product. Same comment by the way for the two other supplements of same line by this author.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
OSRIC Book of Assassins
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OSRIC Book of Paladins
Publisher: World Gorean Society
by Dominique C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/01/2010 10:49:25
Very poor layout (no art, no columns, text written in big to increase the number pages), and as for content, it looks like it is heavily inspired from the AD&D 2e softcover supplement "Complete Paladin Hadbook". It's fairly usable with Osric, but I am disappointed by this product. Same comment by the way for the two other supplements of same line by this author.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
OSRIC Book of Paladins
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OSRIC Book of Clerics
Publisher: World Gorean Society
by Dominique C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/01/2010 10:47:10
Very poor layout (no art, no columns, text written in big to increase the number pages), and as for content, it looks like it is drawn (or at least heavily inspired) from the AD&D 2e softcover supplement "Complete Priest Hadbook". It's fairly usable with Osric, but I am disappointed by this product. Same comment by the way for the two other supplement of same line by this author.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
OSRIC Book of Clerics
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Old-School Psionics
Publisher: Vigilance Press
by Dominique C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/21/2010 10:15:06
Overall, I think it is a good product. The Mentalist is an easy-to-use psionicist class that looks more like a magic-users (but with its own flavor) than any of the complicated psionic systems that were created for AD&D 1e and 2e back in the days. It looks more like a 3e psion, but simpler and thus easier to use. Myself, I would be willing to play a Mentalist in a OSRIC (AD&D 1e) game, which says a lot about it. I really think this class is a great addition to OSRIC, maybe even greater than OSRIC Unearthed (also by Vigilance) as far as the willingness to play one of its class is considered.

On the bad side (so it only gets 4 stars rather than 5), I think that the graphic layout could have been better, at least it should have been identical to that of OSRIC Unearthed for those who want to print and bind together. (It would even greater if all those products had the exact same format and graphic layout as the OSRIC core rulebook, but anyway.) Also, some of the psychic powers seemed of little interest for a Mentalist player (especially those who transfer the mentalist's own hit points, or help him in melee combat, since the class is the same as a magic-user when it comes to combat). I have seen a typo about calling a power a spell somewhere.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Old-School Psionics
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