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Swords and Wizardry Monstrosities
Publisher: Frog God Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/21/2013 07:23:45
Swords and Wizardry Monstrosities is a new monster book. New in that is newly published, but some of the monsters we have before either in the SRD or other books. That though does not detract from it's value as this is a 560+ page book since in addition to that there are some new monsters. The cover is very evocative of the old-school (pre 1980) covers. I love this cover.
There is much in common between this book and The Tome of Horrors. Each monster is given a page of stats, description and a plot hook. While ToH used some recycled art, this all seems to be new art. Even Orcus (which we now have 3 listings for) is new. Actually the art is pretty darn good and I don't mind the occasional repeat of a monster to see some new art.
Honestly there is so much great stuff in this book that even with the occasional repeat monster this is still a top notch collection. If you play S&W then this is a great monster book to have. I am even going as far as to say it is a must have for any serious S&W GM.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Swords and Wizardry Monstrosities
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Swords and Wizardry MCMLXXV Introductory Module
Publisher: Frog God Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/21/2013 06:27:20
At just under 24 pages (minus cover and ogl) this is designed to be something akin to Keep on the Borderlands for S&W, only not as big. The adventure is small, but in old school terms it is good sized really. There is less in terms of pages of descriptions than modern day modules. It leaves far more to the imagination of the players and GM. If there was a Frog God Games S&W box set then this would be included.
Great little adventure that really helps set the tone of the S&W game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Swords and Wizardry MCMLXXV Introductory Module
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Swords and Wizardry Complete Rulebook
Publisher: Frog God Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/20/2013 16:38:23
A while a back I posted that I was giving some products another chance. One of those products was Swords & Wizardry.

I picked up the Frog God "Complete Rulebook" and spent a lot of time with it. I think my biggest issue with S&W is that was sold to me as "0 Edition" or "OD&D" and it isn't. I played OD&D and S&W is nothing like it. Well, not "nothing" but it's made some serious changes. Those changes I think kept me from enjoying the game for what it is. So after staying away from the game for a number of months I came back and looked at in a different light. I dropped the idea that is an OD&D clone but instead a Retro Clone stripped down to it's most basic form. Now that is game I can get behind. If you ever played any version of D&D or any clone you can play this. S&W is really the basic essence of what D&D is. The most basic stuff you need to play. In this new light I saw the changes for what they were, really nice and intuitive changes.
The classics are really basic, but they work. In this Frog God edition you have a more classes, Assassins, Paladins, Rangers, Druids and Monks join Thieves, Clerics, Magic-Users and Fighters. Races are Human, Elves, Half-elves, Halflings and Dwarves. So again all easily recognizable.
There are a set of good multi-classing rules (which is always nice in an OSR game).
Spells go up to 9 for Magic-Users, 7 for most others.
There are plenty of monsters, tons really. The monster blocks are simple like everything else.

Really S&W does take a lot of what made OD&D/Dasic D&D so fun, the advances in AD&D and the features that made 3.x so popular. Yes. It has Ascending AC (which is still the best, sorry old school guys) and I like single saving throw bonus.
This Frog God version shares a lot of the art that appeared in The Tome of Horrors Complete and the layout. This is not a big deal as far as I am concerned.

At a 134 pages it is a complete game. You don't really need anything else here, though you can use it with nearly other OSR product or any of the scores of products created for S&W.

I am glad I gave this another chance.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Swords and Wizardry Complete Rulebook
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Lineage Draconis
Publisher: Little Red Goblin Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/07/2013 13:36:17
This 28 page (27 + cover) pdf features 6 dragon crossbreads including the oft stated Orange and Yellow Dragons. But you also get the Blade, Steel, Rust and Gray Dragons. These dragons are pretty interesting and for the game I have coming up I need a lot of interesting dragons. The book also includes the Dragon Blooded "class" though it is also sort of a race. They are humanoid dragons. Plenty of things you can do with this class as well as alternate versions depending one where the blood came from.
In a neat little feature you also get the art from the book in a seperate file. So now you can show your players exactly what a Yellow Dragon looks like.
All in all a fun book. I only wish it had some more.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Lineage Draconis
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Midgard Bestiary for Pathfinder RPG
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/07/2013 13:24:03
We always need more monsters. Over a 100 new monsters for Pathfinder. Lots of really interesting ones too. I loved the Shadow Fae, Ice Maiden and Red Hag and have hooks already for all of them. The new dragon types are also very interesting and I can't wait to use a Mithril Dragon or Baby Yaga's Horsemen. In fact there are two completely separate campaigns I want to use this book in, a Dragon based one and a Witch-centric one. Both need unique monsters that the players have never seen before, and there are a number of monsters here that are perfect for one or the other or both!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Midgard Bestiary for Pathfinder RPG
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Midgard: Player's Guide to the Dragon Empire
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/07/2013 12:14:43
I own a few of the Midgard products, but this one really called to me. This Dragon Empire is very similar to the one I was crafting for my own game world, so this saves me some heavy lifting.
The 30 pages of this book is jam-packed. What did I like in this?
Well I love the castes. Dragons seem very arrogant and a caste system makes sense. I liked how the castes were set up as well. Lots of great role-playing potential in these. We get a bunch of new Traits and Feats.
Classes get a bit of an update as to be expected. There is a Cavalier archetype, the Order of the Firedrake (which is a PERFECT with my world's own White Drakes). The Druids have the Elemental Exarch. Fighters get Edjet Warriors, and the Magus has the Dragon Magus. We get a couple new monks, Monk of the Fiery Fist and Monk of the Wind Palm. There is also the Mystery of the Void, Greyscale and Void Elemeentalist for the Oracle, Rouge and Elementalists respectively. There is also the Dragon Emir prestige class which I am sure my son would love. The book end with new spells, exotic goods and magic items, including magic the magic carpet. Cool stuff. I am going to have to look for more books in this series.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Midgard: Player's Guide to the Dragon Empire
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Archetypes of the Jade Oath (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/07/2013 11:47:51
I got this product for the new witch hexes but the rest of it is great as well. There is a cool Eastern Flavor to this and I want to see if there is more in this series. While I have a lot of cultures on my game world the one thing that has been getting the short end of my attentions are Dragonfolk/Dragonborn. This book, while not explicitly designed for that, is perfect for my needs (and the cover kinda helps with that).
So what do we get? 20 pages (with cover, credits page, OGL statement and 2 pages of "Ads"). While there is an Eastern "flavor" to this, it is presented mostly context free.
The Barbarian is based on totem animals, which is a really awesome variant. I normally don't play barbarians, but I would try one of these. The Cavaliers are the Order of the Ancestors and Order of the Creed. Monks, a natural fit, are presented as Kensai (one of my favorite classes back in the day). Imagine the typical unarmed monk, now armed. And finally, the Witch, with a bunch of new and exciting hexes based on Elemental magics or Dragon magic (see it is a perfect fit!!). In fact these are some of the best Dragon Witches I have ever seen. So this is worth the price of the book alone to me.
We also get plenty of new feats. This was a nice surprise and I am very happy with this.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Archetypes of the Jade Oath (PFRPG)
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Fantastic Maps - Iconic Island
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/07/2013 11:37:22
I am gearing up for the BIG finale of my years long 3e game. The final battle where the forces of good battle the forces of evil happens on an Iceland-like island in my world. I could have drawn anything, I could have even taken an older module and altered the island in Photoshop. With this product I didn't have too. It even looks almost EXACTLY like what I wanted. The ZIP file contains maps of the island. Non-marked, marked and hexed variants. Plus a BW version. There is no text or fluff to go with this, which is great, I have my own. This is my new Dragon Isle! I would love to see more products like this one.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fantastic Maps - Iconic Island
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The Modern Spellcaster Basic Class
Publisher: Skortched Urf' Studios
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/07/2013 11:18:37
This book is for the d20 Modern Game, Pathfinder and a few other d20 based games. It presents a generic form of a spellcaster that isn't a wizard, cleric, witch or druid. In a sense it is a throwback to the older "Magic User" class. The basic premise here is to provide full powered (up to spell level 9) spellcasters from D&D like games to your Modern Games. I am not sure how this works out in play, but the concept on it's own is interesting enough. There are new feats and a fun "arcane death" table. Frankly I would like to see that expanded into an "Arcane CSI" to be used in any modern game with magical elements.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Modern Spellcaster Basic Class
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Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea
Publisher: North Wind Adventures
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/05/2013 15:28:30
There is just something about a big red box for games.
I have not been able to get Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea in it's big red box form, but I do have it on PDF, and let me say it is really nice.
So what do you get with this? Well there is a 256 page player's book, 240 page Referee's book, a map of Hyperborea and pdfs of the Box Covers. So all in all about 500 pages worth of old school playing goodness.

Now there is a lot here that is old hat for the experienced role-player and some that is similar to many of the OSR games. That all being said it does also make it a great intro game for anyone and there is a still so much here for the old-timers that I don't feel a page is wasted.

The Players Book focuses on making characters, magic and combat. So ability scores are covered, alignment and classes. Most of this is the same as say D&D or S&W, but there are enough little changes to make it worth your notice.
for starters the races of Hyperborea are all human-centric. So we have Amazons, Kelts, Kimmerian, Vikings and Hyperboreans among others. All what I call the "Conan" races.
Let's move to the classes. There are the four basic classes, the Fighter, Magician, Cleric and Thief. But each also has 4 to 6 subclasses. Fighter has the Barbarian, Berserker, Cataphract, Paladin, Ranger and Warlock. The Magician has Illusionist, Necromancer, Pyromancer and Witch. The Cleric has the Druid, Monk, Priest, and Shaman. Finally the Thief has the Assassin, Bard, Legerdemainist and Scout.
Each subclass is very much like it's parent classes with some changes. The classes look pretty well balanced. I liked the bard as a single class option (nice to have and not something that we had in 1979). I would love to try out the Necromancer, Witch and Warlock and I know my son would love to try the Pyromancer.
Each class has a "Fighting Ability" and a "Magic Ability" which relates to attacks. So yes, even magicians can get a little better in combat as they go up in level. It's a great little shorthand and works great. So a 4th level Fighter has a fighting ability of 4. A 4th level magician still only has a fighting ability of 1 and a cleric 3 and thief 3. Sub classes can and do vary.

AC is descending (like old school games), BUT with the Fighting Ability stat it could be converted to an ascending AC easy. There are background skills and weapon skills.

The next 90 or so pages deals with magic and all the spells. The max spell level is 6. Not a bad number really and that is still plenty of spells.

The last 60 pages of the Player's book deals with combat in all it's forms. So combat, mass combat, saves and conditions. A great collection really of some of the "Best of" ideas I have seen in many games, but it all works really nice here.

The Referee's Manual is next.
It is nearly as big (240 pages vs 256).
The first half is fully devoted to monsters. The format is most similar to Basic or Labyrinth Lord, and it is full of the usual suspects with some notable exceptions. For starters this book includes the Demons (but not the devils). It does NOT include any dragons. But to make up for it there are many of the "Lovecraft" races such as the Great Race, Elder Things and fish men. Great inclusion.

The next 50 or so pages covers treasure. Among the magic items are things like Radium Pistols and other sc-fi artifacts. Very pulpy.

Finally we end with the Hyperborea Gazetteer. A great bit that I can easily drop into my game. The lands are a pastiche of Howard, Vance, Lovecraft and Smith. If these names mean anything to you then you know, or have an idea, of what you are going to get here.

All together this is a package of such great ideas I can't wait to use it somewhere.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea
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Your drawings for you book : GHOUL
Publisher: Old School Dungeons
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/04/2013 06:18:57
The next round of Old School Dungeons "Your drawing for you book" are out.
The publisher took my earlier review to heart and is now providing a large PNG file as the download.

This one in particular is a ghoul, color and line-art in the same image file.
The file looks like the cover, only transparent. Two images of the monster and the title/logo taking the up 1/5 or 1/6.
The image size is 3779x4590.

The license is simple: use it, credit the artist.

NOTE: The price to this has been reduced to a more reasonable one. At just under 4 bucks this would be a perfect choice for someone's project.

I give credit to the artist/publisher for listening to suggestions and making changes.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Your drawings for you book : GHOUL
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Your drawings for you book : THE PRIESTESS
Publisher: Old School Dungeons
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/27/2013 16:14:32
I never feel 100% comfortable reviewing art. I know what I like and I know what I like to use, but that is n't always right for someone else.

So I seek out things I either really like or can use. The Old School Dungeons series is described as "Your drawings for you (sic) book". So I grabbed this one.

First things first, the art is very good. You get a full color version and a line art version. In this case I am more inclined to the line art version.

But there are some issues.
First there is the file. It is a PDF file. Not actually a publication mode format really. A zip file of PSD or TIFF would have been much better. Even JPG is preferable to PDF.
Secondly the license, while attempting to be open, doesn't really explain how it can or can't be used. There is too much room here for misinterpretations for my taste.

Lastly there is the price.
While I never doubt that art is worth a premium price the $34 price tag for one image in a format that is difficult to use is really just too much. In truth I would have only paid about 1/10th of that ($3.50) and maybe more if the file formats had more utility.

So yes. The art is good. But the file format, unclear license and price are not.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Your drawings for you book : THE PRIESTESS
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Publisher Reply:
I want to post them in PNG, but there is no such function.
Teratic Tome
Publisher: Neoplastic Press
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/20/2013 17:05:12
The Teratic Tome is an "old school" monster book for OSRIC or any old School "Advanced" version of the game.
What do you get? Well a lot. Let's start with some of the things that others have not all mentioned first. This book is 100% OGC. So if you want to use one of these horrors in one of your products go right ahead. Just abide by the OGL. There are a lot of reasons why you might want to use these monsters too. They are some of the most original horrors I have seen outside of indie horror games.

The layout and feel is evocative of those "monster manuals" of old. It does quite a nice job of it too. The art though is much better than what you would have seen circa 1980. The art varies in style, but all of it is quite good. Now is a good time to point out that the art and the monsters they depict are not for the faint of heart. There is a lot of "body horror" here. The grotesque mixed with the commonplace or even the erotic. The feeling is more Clive Barker than H.P. Lovecraft and I think that was a great direction to go.

Truthfully I would have picked this up for the demons and dragons alone, but there are 120 pages worth monsters here. Even the halflings are evil little buggers in this tome.

If you like horror and new creatures, and your players can handle it, then this is a great monster book.
If you like horror and monster books in general, then this is great to have as well.

Plus who can argue with a $6.66 price tag?

Who should not get this? I don't know really. I mean I am not going to use any of these creatures in my games with my kids. So that does lessen the utility for me, but I can still use some ideas. And that is just as good.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Teratic Tome
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Nobility and Eros: The Noble Succubus
Publisher: Skortched Urf' Studios
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/19/2013 09:53:58
Love is a disease.

At least that is how the succubi might feel if you use this supplement in your OGL games. The Noble Succubus (not 100% sold on that name, but it does work and I can't come up with anything better) is a succubus that has become infected. She is no longer a demon, but a creature with a soul that feels. In a sense a "good" (if chaotic) succubus. The role-playing options here abound.
There is plenty of background information that can be used and plenty of hooks into various game worlds including modern, sci-fi and the standard fantasy.
The real meat though is in the crunch on what the differences between the Noble and Demonic Succubi and how to use Noble Succubi as characters.

Myself I would make them much rarer, and still have it be a process that maybe one in 100 Billion succubi could go through. I also think it would be interesting to have a Noble Succubus and for whatever reason choose to remain evil. That would be an adversary worth having.

11 pages with cover and OGL page (13 total). At 2 bucks that's a good deal.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Nobility and Eros: The Noble Succubus
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101 Names of the Devil
Publisher: Lee's Lists
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/19/2013 09:40:47
You could spend a hour or two doing internet searches for names of the devil, or pay a buck to get this.
For a dollar it's not a bad deal. One page with 101 names. No references, but all CC licensed.
Suitable for any game that has demons, devils or one that just needs an name with evil connotations.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
101 Names of the Devil
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