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Stock Portraits: Female Half-Elf
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/28/2012 03:15:04
A perfect image for portraying either elven or half-elven. Clean lines and good imagery, exactly what one wants from their stock art.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stock Portraits: Female Half-Elf
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Stock Art: Michilaft - Tree Man
Publisher: Cloister Publications
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/28/2012 03:13:10
If this image is any hint at what Nicholas Cloister has intended for the future of stock art I recommend clicking on the follow button, now. This image goes so far past what one expects to get for the meager price of $2 that it's flat out astounding. Several resolution variations, a pdf walk-through of the artist's process of painting this image...just flat out amazing.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stock Art: Michilaft - Tree Man
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So What's The Zombie Like, Anyway?
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/28/2012 03:02:33
If you are not aware of the “So Whats The...Like Anyway?” series then to put it bluntly, you are working to hard as a GM. Seeking to aid in combating the all to common habit of overworked Gms everywhere of glazing over details this series offers up easy to use random charts filled with nuggets of awesomeness, all centered on one theme per collection. This time out, we're looking at zombies. Yeah, zombies...those shuffling ever hungry reminders that you never really liked your neighbors anyway, lol.

Greg Marks gives us not only three highly detailed and varied D100 lists to flesh out the zombie hordes of our nightmares, but a few templates to slap on the random flesh-eater as well, with such treats as frozen, screaming, legless...or...wait for it....pet zombie. Yeah, a template for turning Fido into a zombie...because come on, you know you want a freaking poodle zombie in the middle of a night of flesh eating mayhem just to screw with your Pcs...OK, maybe that's just me...but now you do.

Best part of these lists that Marks has put together, personally, is not that we have a list of potential visual descriptions...I mean that's really cool and all. Because let's face it here, not every zombie looks the same, nor originally died the same way. No, the best list of the three is the “What are they still carrying?” list. Think about it folks, every zombie used to be someone...and not every zombie crawled its way out of a grave all laid out proper. No, some of them entered the world of undeath with a lot less preparation, making for not only a widely different baseline of looks and races, but an eclectic collection of goodies walking around with them. Jewelry, items in pockets, clothing, things of that nature. Granted, your average zombie won't be carrying around a guitar looking to play a gig, but what if that bard never got a chance to get it unsheathed from the harness he had it strapped into across his back before he fell to a pack of zombies? And, let's assume he found himself animated then as a zombie himself, you think his tiny brain even knows there's a guitar on his back? 100 various things of this nature that would really flesh out the idea that a shuffling horde of these things would be equipped with a lot of interesting items.

Now, fifteen pages total (with about half of that going to covers, intro, OGL and the Raging Swan checklist) is just big enough in my opinion to require bookmarks and such. Luckily Creighton agrees, as this book comes fully bookmarked, as well as having the Table of Contents linked as well. Editing and format live up to the usual high standards I have come to expect from this company, with a dual column approach to the layout.

Now, before I give an opinion on a rating, there is one final thing I feel must be mentioned here...something that just might be in and of itself the main reason to purchase this PDF. Tucked into the template options, of which there are six by the way, is a treat that literally made me chuckle evilly. A new swarm, the Zombie Limb Swarm. Now, seriously, that's just freaking evil as crap, and so damn cool it had me looking through my bits box to see if I had enough various limbs to craft a miniature for this...I mean come on, a swarm of heads, legs, arms and hands all clawing and biting...ohhhh the sweet sweet evil behind this idea alone...excellent!

So...a final rating of a well deserved 5 stars, and more than well worth the price of admission folks!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
So What's The Zombie Like, Anyway?
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So What's The Riddle Like, Anyway?
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/26/2012 07:19:01
One of the classic concepts of traditional gaming that has held on throughout all variations and generations, editions and systems is the idea of the riddle. Those time forgotten words carved into the sides of a monolithic statue that hint at times gone by and how to safely travel through the catacombs...those timeless creatures to whim a group of PCs are but gnats amusing themselves by giving a group a chance to survive with a battle of wit and tongue. Oft times the idea of a riddle can very quickly bring about those memorable moments in a gaming groups collection of tales.

However, as any unprepared GM is aware, those can also translate into moments that mean nothing...Ive been at a table where a riddle was presented to the playgroup that was obviously written hastily, and with very little thought put into it. The GM had us roll, and on a successful check we “solved” the riddle and moved on...wait, wha? That's not that special moment we all are looking for at the game table...and that is exactly what this book hopes to help with.

Liz Smith has presented us here with a collection of smartly written riddles, of varying degrees of challenge for a GM to present to their players. The PDF starts us off with a brief explanation of what exactly constitutes a riddle, as one can hardly present riddles if operating without a full understanding of what they are. The nice thing here is on top of giving us the different forms of riddle with examples, the breakdown of seeing the different styles compared like this helps in realizing why some riddles will work in one form, but not in another. Thereby helping to place your riddles better throughout your games. From there we go to a pretty straight forward example of how to structure and write a good riddle, which I think anyone could benefit from.

Now, getting to the actual riddles, there are four pages of them. I would love to tell you these are all original...but I recognize a few of these. And honestly, that's OK. There's nothing really wrong with that, as the ones I recognized brought a smile to my face and a warm memory from books loved over a lifetime. I imagine most of you out there will recognize a few as well, and hopefully they inspire you as well.

All in all this product does indeed succeed at providing exactly what it claims it will, a ready to use list of riddles. It also manages to go beyond that with a handy breakdown of the various styles of riddles, and a walk through to aid one in designing their own riddles. Finding that the book left me with several ideas for placing a riddle or two in upcoming adventures, I am going to have to give this a solid 5 star rating, and mark it as well worth the price of admission! Well done!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
So What's The Riddle  Like, Anyway?
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Fantasy Stock Art: Female Human
Publisher: Sade
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/12/2012 04:03:04
A very good, simple illustration. Which, in the end, was what I loved about it. Sometimes an illustration is better the less complicated it is done. My only complaint is that the sample for the thumbnail was the piece I was hoping to use, but that particular coloration was has a transparency that allows the background to show through the figure, and the only colored option without the background has a far darker color scheme.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Fantasy Stock Art: Female Human
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Stock Art: Lightning Lizard
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/09/2012 01:59:46
This being the first piece of stock art I have purchased from this artist, I have to say Dizon's work is very impressive. As good as the Behir looked here in sample, it really comes into its own when you can see it at full size...and the grey scale image is a far superior to the colored in my opinion. An excellent image for this creature overall...now if only we could talk Michael into drawing a companion piece, perhaps unfolded to show the behir's size better? What? A guy can hope...

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stock Art: Lightning Lizard
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#30 Cursed Treasures (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/13/2012 02:18:33
#30 Cursed Treasures, the latest in the #30 series from Rite weighs in at 23 pages, with 19 of those being the pages containing new game material. Written by John Bennett and featuring more of the amazing artwork Steven Russell has a knack for finding (this time out treating us to pieces from Arthur Rackham), this installment to the series continues the dual column format, with the occasional embedded piece of artwork, as well as the classic Rite publishing page frame.

Cursed Items are always an interesting thing to incorporate into a game setting, as the idea of adding true curses, those powerful afflictions that defy magical means to rid oneself of, well...something has to bring a chuckle to a GM from time to time...and nothing seems to work quite like watching a playgroup scramble to rid themselves of a cursed item that just won't go away...

Each item is given a price (as per its material value and its collectable value), a physical description, a detailed explanation of the trigger that sets off the curse, what the effects of said curse are, the history of the item (great for mining for immense amounts of story ideas, adventure hooks, side quests...and of course the terms for removal of the curse upon the bearer.

As there are thirty of these items, I am going to limit myself to a few choice items, beginning with Rexzor the Red's Dragon Tapestry. Rexzor was your atypical Red, big, nasty, greedy and on a shortlist for hero's to try and kill. And when his day finally came, from his scales a tapestry was made by one of the victors of Raxzor's final battle. So, we've got a back-story, we've got a cool item, I mean a tapestry made of woven dragonscale?? That's pretty cool...so what's the curse right? Simple, fire. The minute a new owner hangs this unique wall art within his home, the clock is ticking for the place to burn to the ground. A fairly specific method for removal of the curse guarantees this item becoming an adventure for a playgroup if they end up with it, as there is only one way to be rid of the tapestry...and the minute you touch it you want to take it home and hang it up...lol.

Glutton's Gold sent me to Google to verify a word, and its meaning (lol), and before anyone out there not knowing this word, or its meaning, I beg of you to learn it before contacting Steven to yell at him, lol. Now, that out of the way, what we have here is a hoard of shiny gold coins just waiting to be found...only problem is they leave anyone who possesses any of them with an appetite for actual gold, strong enough that they will suffer if they do not eat enough, daily. The Burnt Crown of the Wood Elf King is one of the most bizarre items as far as its history goes that I think I have ever come across. The crown of the elven king Eltee'ae, the crown holds within it his extreme hatred of all animals...yeah, you read that right, an elven king...hatred of all animals. The hatred sprang from his being taken aback by human druids using animals to attack his kingdom...so, an elven king sees animals of his forest being used as weapons against him and his, and blames the weapon, not the people steering them? Sorry, this one doesn't work for me. Copper Pennies of Apathion is the classic ancient people sold their souls to Charon, and used these coins to denote other souls they were sending in their place type of thing...hence the whole placing a coin on each eye of the dead.

Cube of Zaz is an interesting concept for an item, as the ramifications of introducing one to a divine caster who relies upon prayer in your campaign could be long standing. The cube “replaces” the character's God/patron...whomever it is that grants them spells for their prayers. The cube does not provide as many spells, nor any domain spells or abilities...but unless the character can find a way around the cube to contact their deity they would have no reason not to believe they had simply upset their God and that was the reasoning behind the lesser granted perks for prayers.

OK, so final thoughts here...there are some pretty cool items presented here, far more cool items than not. The format of how they are presented is extremely cool as well, giving a piece of history to each as well as the methods of removal being far more than “cast this spell” standard fare. However, the PDF is riddled with small editing issues, mainly in grammar. Nothing to the point that you can't understand what you are reading, but certainly enough that you notice it. Cursed items are a great way to add some serious levels of danger to your game, but only if you as a GM are willing to put in the effort to make them cool. There are several here that could become part of some great memories for your players, and for that I am going to give this PDF a 4 star rating.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
#30 Cursed Treasures (PFRPG)
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Monsters of Sin 6: Sloth (Pathfinder RPG)
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/12/2012 13:06:10
The sixth installment in the Monsters of Sin series tackles Sloth. Weighing in at 10 pages, with 4 pages going to the covers, the OGL and the credit/TOC. No bookmarks, nor is the Table of Contents linked, which I'll admit bummed me a little. The cover art, as has been the standard for this series, is excellent, with interior art giving us two great pieces, one that left me at the “meh” stage, and one particular piece that really needed some color, as it looks hilariously like something else entirely (don't worry, all will be explained). Following in the standard dual column approach, I saw nothing jarring in the sense of grammatical errors.

Opening with a run down of the author's thoughts on the particular sin of sloth, the template offering this time out is for the Slothful Creature. I think I can honestly state that this template, more than any other presented in this series, is a punishment more than anything, lol. Nothing but negatives and detriment, there are no redeeming qualities in this template to make it a desirable thing...which makes it perfect as a template for this sin. I mean seriously, Sloth...there shouldn't be bonuses to a slothful creature. Well done, and well handled!

First up, we have the Flab Giant, an addition to the Giant sub-species, they are a relatively short member of the species, with their larger size translating into girth rather than height. Grossly enlarged abdomens supported on short muscled legs clothed only in the most minimal of clothing, these giants use their dangerously heavy bodies as weapons, crushing their opponents to death before eating them. An excellent monster to represent sloth as a sin.

The Scrap Drake is not only a lesser dragon in that it is a drake, it's a lesser drake. This thing is so apathetic towards life in general it prefers to push along on its stomach like a snake rather than stand up on its two legs. The perfect deterrent for an area one needs guarded, as the creature is very unlikely to actually leave the area, ever. The coolest thing about this lazy lizard is their answer to having no supernatural breath weapon. The scrap drake keeps a mouthful of debris (wood, stone, metal) ready to spit out as an improvised breath weapon. Rather unique, and kind of a cool thought that the creature would have developed this technique of attack/defense. All in all I like these guys, they have the right feel of slothfulness while maintaining a coolness about them.

OK, so two down, both of them being the artwork I thought was really good. This takes us to the Slow Storm. Now, simply looking at the artwork for this I thought to myself I am not going to like this creature. This creature is, quite simply, a bizarre looking thing. A quill-ed ball of organics at the center if a centralized storm throwing off static lightning...with eyeballs and a mouth...yup, goofy looking. But, it has a seriously cool ability that makes it seriously deadly. This thing absorbs the moisture from the joints of living creatures, causing a DEX drain, simulating the effect of aging on the living basically. Now, as cool as that is, here's where we run into problems...the presentation of this ability creates some serious confusion...as the way it is listed on the Special Attack line of the statblock it might be a special ability, or a breath weapon...but in the Special Abilities section there is no mention of it being a breath weapon...Now the breath weapon and the Arthritic Pain special ability do show the same DEX drain amount, and are both a Fort save ability, but where as the breath weapon has a limited usage, this is not mentioned within the special ability write up...and if this ability is in fact not the breath weapon, then we are left with no defining target concept for the ability, is it area? Single target? I am inclined to believe the ability is in fact intended to be the breath weapon, I just wish the wording within the description would have clarified that.

Which brings us to Embodiment. Illustrated and described as a mass of flesh, this B&W drawing far more resembles a large pile of excrement, with people sitting around it. Yes, once you read the entry you realize what you are looking at, but the initial thought upon getting to this page is a far different one than after reading the opening line. Hence my earlier observation that perhaps once, a small amount of color might have been warranted internally. So, the embodiment...a CR17 blob o' flab, with no discernible features...the ultimate in letting other do kinda critter. Has an insane leadership score that it utilizes to get others to handle its needs,defend it, or handle matters elsewhere. Ironically the creature typically chooses its agents from the least slothly of its followers, to try and guarantee that they will actually succeed in their task (this was fluff gold, loved it). Those who get to close to the embodiment and fail a Will save will find themselves chilling with the big squishy flesh mound. In return for serving its needs, the embodiment of sloth provides benefits equal to a ring of sustenance to its fellow mellows. All around, one seriously cool take on an embodiment for this sin, and an impressive design.

As always with this series, we close with some tidbits of Midgard, acting as not only extras for those utilizing Midgard as a setting, but as teasers for those who are not, enticing them to explore these lands, and the people we are being given an insight into. An expertly crafted closer to these books, the Midgard section has become one of my favorite parts of this series.

So, final thoughts. I liked this PDF, a great deal. The creatures were cool, the template made sense, the embodiment was awesome...but I keep coming back to the slow storm...and the breath weapon/special ability. The fact that the special ability has a name makes me think it is not intended to be the breath weapon, but they have the same DEX drain and are both a Fort save ability. I can't help but think this could have been worded much clearer to avoid any sense of confusion in this regard. In the end the only thing preventing me from giving this the 5 star rating it deserves is this issue, well, that and the no bookmarks (sorry, I like bookmarks). I'm going with a 4.5, rounded down to a 4. I would be happy to raise this rating if the wording of this becomes clarified...or if for that matter someone can help me see what I am obviously missing in case I am simply having a dense moment (it happens, I'm human, I'll admit it). Still well worth it folks, and this is an excellent addition to this series.

-edit.
PDF has been updated to clarify the Slow Storm's special attacks as being two separate things, and not one as it previously appeared. As this was my only problem with this PDF, I am happy to raise my rating to the 5 star from 4.5 that it deserved in the first place.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monsters of Sin 6: Sloth (Pathfinder RPG)
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#1 With a Bullet Point: 7 War Master Feats
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/12/2012 04:04:35
7 War Master Feats continues the summer of Bullets with another addition to the series. This time around Owen took aim at the War Master or, for those campaigns not allowing this SGG class, classes receiving bonus combat/teamwork feats as class features, or barring those two options characters that have the Leadership feat. So, now that we've covered that pretty much anyone can benefit from these feats designed for the War Master, lol, lets take a look.

Advance in Ranks lets you direct additional 5 ft. movements amongst adjacent allies. Formation Fighting lets you designate groups as formations, and thereby grant them all the benefits of an aid another. Mixed Order lets allies within range treat their weapons as if they shared specific features with a weapon you are wielding. Overwatch gives you the potential to essentially block AoOs against your allies by warning them. Set to Receive lets you direct allies such that they can deal braced weapon damage during the first attack of opportunity.

Tactical Commands[b] gives you multiple options when commanding your allies upon the field of battle, opening possibilities to them that they would otherwise not have available. [b]War Signals allows you to utilize feats and class features using time honored means of communication upon a battlefield that allow one to stay in contact with troops who may be able to hear them, but not see them, or vice versa.

Collected, whether these feats could be used by more than a War Master or not, that's where they belong, on a battlefield, in the hands of a character designed to be using them. Does that make them bad? No, it makes them specific. All in all nothing here truly jumps out as being anything more than utilitarian in design, but as I have stressed many times before, until utilitarian bones are laid, many things we take for granted as should be there are not actually there within a game's design. So, useful? Yes. Exciting? Not so much. I'm settling on a three star for this one, as it is good design in that the mechanics work, and everything here is useful, it just didn't grab me is all.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
#1 With a Bullet Point: 7 War Master Feats
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Frost Giant Pirates of the Icy Heart
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/12/2012 03:41:02
Frost Giant Pirates of the Icy Heart details what I can only explain as one of the most unique pirate vessels I have ever come across. Part of the Tribes series, this pdf takes on the crew of the Icy Heart, a freaking glacier used by a crew of frost giants and a dragon (and her brood) as a pirate vessel. Yes, I said glacier...pirate vessel...yep...pretty freaking epic, no? Trust me, the artwork depicting this is pretty cool. Weighing in with 24 pages (6 lost to covers, checklist, OGL, intro and such), this pdf is fully bookmarked with a linked TOC...which always makes me happy.

The crew of this lovely little party killer (did I mention you should only unleash this on a high level play group lol?) consist of Flashfreeze, a white dragon, and her brood of four. Flashfreeze's “pet”Lozondur, half dragon remorhaz...uh huh...quit your drooling, and yes, stat wise, he really is that insanely cool...could you imagine the miniature? Because I can, and really really want one...isn't Christmas coming Creighton? Lol

So, back to the crew, momentary Lozondur distraction there...Jarl Icehammer, an antipaladin with a disposition that not even a villain could love captains the frost giant crew, and rules them through fear, pure and simple. He has his goals and plans, the dragon has her's, heck even the dragon's brood have their's...so how do they all cooperate on this vessel long enough to be a threat in the first place? Simple, the woman who brought them all together, Lady Antonia Krath. A spoiled aristocrat who was married off by her parents into a life she didn't want, Antonia sought a method of insuring the wealth of her new husband that he might be able to afford her tastes in life...the rest as they say is history.

A vessel of legend, this is not the type of thing you drop in unannounced and expect a playgroup to be able to handle in a one off session. Not only has the crew been well designed with the thought of them being a challenge to any group, but the very vessel itself presents environmental challenges to overcome so that one may even attempt to challenge the crew in the first place. Easily the perfect thing to build towards in a nautical campaign, letting word spread from coastal town to coastal town, letting the legend grow in the wake of destruction left by this vessel. Making your players understand the danger of finding themselves caught within the path of the Icy Heart long before they ever lay eyes upon it.

I love source material of this nature, I really do. Whether you take it as a whole, dropping it into a campaign world as it is, or mine it for pieces, there is a lot here to work with. Fully developed NPCs with motivations, personalities and a legitimate reason to be there. My only complaint in regards to this pdf is that we get no internal maps of the Icy Heart, which I think is a real shame, as it is not laid out entirely as a traditional ship by the descriptive text.

Final thoughts, a few minor grammatical mishaps, but nothing major. A great design for a truly memorable pirate crew (love the idea that the giants have taken to dressing as they think pirates dress), and probably one of the most unique vessels I've encountered in awhile. But, a lack of visuals of the ships interior, or maps to use since it is treated as terrain does bring down my rating...so I am settling with a 4 star rating for this module

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Frost Giant Pirates of the Icy Heart
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Dungeon Dressing: Altars
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/12/2012 02:46:35
Dungeon Dressing: Altars weighs in at 13 pages, with roughly half of those pages being taken up with covers, TOC, OGL credits and intro. Fully bookmarked (always a plus), the TOC is even linked (which is a double plus!). Follows the standard dual column approach to format, with no horrible editing mishaps jumping out and making themselves known that I saw.

OK, so the Dressing series...each installment tackles one particular thing, and strives to give us enough material to make that thing easier to make better within our games. This time out it is the altar, that center point for sacrifices, evil bad guy lairs, final show down battles...you know, the altar!!! OK, so maybe there can be good ones also, lol. This pdf is filled with lists and options covering everything from construction material to interesting features, making sure that with just a few quick decisions from a handful of lists you can design a unique altar on the fly.

So, after consulting the charts, and rolling my dice I have my altar....

The altar is 6 ft. high; ceremonial steps behind it enable the priest to carry out services. The steps are narrow and steep; a landing at the top provides a modicum of comfort for the officiating priest. A small gong stands atop the altar; it is tarnished and battered. An unholy symbol is inscribed into its center. Of its hammer, there is no sign.

So, not to shabby for a whopping 2 dice rolls, no? But it needs something...something...oh yeah, a trap. Well, luckily the very next chapter deals with altar traps...From crushing ceilings to spell traps, to skulls with eyebeam attacks, this chapter has got you covered with making sure your altar isn't just sitting there waiting to be abused by them do-gooder types.

As I have stated many times before, if you are designing without Creighton in your corner, and his series of insanely valuable time saving pdfs...well you must have more time than any GM I have ever met, period. Another excellent addition to the collection, the only thing I can even think to say in negative here is that I would have loved to have seen a few fully designed example altars, but that's just me being picky. An easy 5 star rating, and well worth the price of admission folks.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Dressing: Altars
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So What's The Tavern Like, Anyway?
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/12/2012 02:18:16
So What is the Tavern Like Anyway.....honestly, if you are not familiar with this series yet, and you are a GM I have this feeling you fall into one of three categories...that GM who glazes over everything whilst his players walk through a land of vanilla drabness, the frantic nervous wreck of a GM who just spent the last six days detailing every possible thing in a community, praying her play-group will actually interact with something, anything to make it worth it. Or, the control freak, the person who literally is above the rest of us, who has designed their world down to the count and color of pebbles on their beaches...I tend to think a great deal of GM's fall somewhere in between the first and second, and that is why this series is so awesome and a must have. Every installment in this series tackles another topic/theme. This time out, it happens to be the classic tavern, as so many adventurers do spend a great deal of time in them, but short of returning to the same tavern, in the same town over and over....how many times have you heard yourself give the same boring description of a tavern to your players? Want to change that with a method that will require about a minute of your life, if that?

Let us take for example, The Abandoned Dragon. With a bad reputation for pickpockets, and a huge painting on the wall of the current landlord battling a dragon single-handed (This never happened – the landlord has always worked in pubs but dreams of adventure), this alehouse's specialty is fish cooked in ale with mashed swede and potato. A young lad with a shaved head and multiple piercings leans against the wall behind the bar. Answering to Wennig, he is the alehouse's excellent cook, fish and seafood being his specialty. Grodor, a short bearded bartender pours beers agonizingly slow behind the bar, much to the frustration of his thirsty customers.

So, that took longer to type then it did to put together...minute and a half...grand total. Starting to get the idea why the books of this series are so valuable? Mass charts, organized by the old school random dice roll, some by the d20, others by percentile...or simply waggle your finger, close your eyes and stab. Point is, it makes designing on the fly so much easier.

You've got lists for names of taverns, example customers, staff, menu items, drinks, events, interesting features and features...folks, if you can't design a tavern to full realization from this book in just a few short dice rolls that will thrill your players...you need to check their pulses, there might be something wrong...just saying.

Now...lots of lists with a lot of hidden gems, hooks to let you build off of, a child seeking a father who has been missing for over a day, a disguised ruler amongst his subjects, thieves starting a brawl to cover a theft...and many more easy to use hooks to engage your players...but then we get to an interesting section of this collection, and things take a turn, toward immersion. I love the idea of a product that gives me something I can use to further immerse my players in the world I am describing, so a selection of lyrics for bards to be singing in the taverns the players will be finding themselves within is nothing but pure win in my book!

Ending with a section detailing popular barroom games, with mechanics to let your players engage in them, everything from dice games to drinking games, jousting with brooms to that time honored classic, arm wrestling. An excellent way to end this collection of features to enhance the classic tavern beyond the typical glazed over boring descriptions it has suffered through for far to long.

Raging Swan continues to impress me with their releases, an easy 5 stars and well worth the price of admission.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
So What's The Tavern  Like, Anyway?
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The conjurer and the Earth Elemental
Publisher: Kimagu
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/11/2012 14:52:40
Decent enough artwork, but very misleading in how it is presented, as it would lead you to believe you are getting four total images, when in all reality what you are getting is two images, since the summoner and elemental share the same page. Would have been far better to have them on separate images as I don't need the summoner, or at least have them separated by at least enough space one could easily create a selection box around the elemental to isolate him.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The conjurer and the Earth Elemental
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#1 With a Bullet Point: 5 Silver Weapon Magic Properties
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/11/2012 07:15:00
OK, I'm going to ahead and state it...I know why the thumbnail covers for the Bullet Points now seem to have two covers, but it really sucks when the art for the preview on the site is awesome looking, and then that piece is not included in the actual PDF you get.

Now, back to business...This particular Bullet Point is 4 pages, with some very nice art pieces from Toby and Tamas...and of course there is that gorgeous Redpeggy cover that looked so great on the website...ok ok I'll stop harping about it, lol...maybe. Formatting follows the standard three column approach with embedded artwork, and deals with magic properties for silver weaponry. So, let us take a look and see what we see.

Argentum turns your weapon into the ultimate disease divining rod, letting the bearer of the weapon detect and suspend disease within his targets. All around an interesting idea, but I am left wondering why the ability to cast ice storm matters in the creation of this weapon...perhaps this is a copy/paste relic from the next offering, Frostscale. With a minor editing mishap of its own within the grammatical structuring, this weapon property puts some serious firepower at your disposal, in the form of ice that is. Mirrored is an excellent magical property for anyone facing gaze attack creatures, as it allows you to negate their gaze attacks by turning the attack back upon them.

Scrying weapons aid those fighting their way through illusions, and Shapebinding weapons not only help when dealing with trans-mutational magics, but have the added benefit of being able to lock shape-changers to one form for a time. As an added bonus Owen tossed in the Bane magic weapon quality for the alchemical silver weapons. There really isn't enough written up to tell you much more without giving it all away, so you'll have to read this one yourself. I can say that this entry gives us the largest amount of editing mistake, as an entire line is missing the spaces between words.

So, 6 for the price of 5, with more SpaG issues than I am used to seeing out of the SGG camp...now, there weren't that many, but we're only talking two pages of material here...from the guys who set the bar of excellence in the first place. So yeah, it matters. On the upside, Everything here is cool...yes, I was brief in discussing a few of them, but what can you say when Owen has already detailed the material in the synopsis for the product, lol. Settling on a 4.5 for a product that should have been a 5 due to the editing issues solely, and yes, I am rounding down.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
#1 With a Bullet Point: 5 Silver Weapon Magic Properties
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#1 With a Bullet Point: 7 Shield Spell Feats
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/11/2012 06:43:03
7 Shield Spell Feats takes the standard Bullet Point format of 3 column landscape orientation and adds what I can only describe as really sub-par artwork. I know I know, art is just icing in a product like this, but I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't state my opinion, now would I?

OK, by now I think everyone alive knows what the Bullet Points are, but just in case...a quick and easy handful of material designed around one central theme, contained in the barest amount of page count possible. Got it? OK, let's move on...

This time out we are treated to a collection of feats intended to enhance the classic [i[shield[/i] spell. Covering Shield starts us off, giving us a feat that allows you to extend the benefit of the shield spell to an adjacent comrade. OK, kind of boring, but practical...and the practical stuff is at the end of the day the bones upon which the entire system is built, lol.

Elemental Shield allows you to attune your shield vs. a specific elemental attack, giving your elemental resistance a boost. Force Shielding is easily the first true feat to shine for me, as it turns this defensive spell into something far more offensive. Allowing for the casting of this spell upon a physical shield, it transfers the normal AC bonus into a force effect instead...which can then be utilized in touch attacks...yeah...let it sink in.

Reactive Shield lets you use this spell to affect your CMD as well, Shield Spell Bash allows you to use the field of force that is manifested by the spell to perform shield bash attacks, which could present some interesting group tactics on a battlefield to say the least. Shield Properties allows you to trade a percentage of the AC bonus of the spell for magical shield properties to enhance the shield. Tower Shield Spell lets you gain a higher AC bonus by stretching your shield to the sizes of a tower shield at the cost of a negative to attack. The spell may be weightless, but the sheer size of this thing leaves it in the way for attacks to some degree. As an added benefit, you gain a degree of coverage thanks to the sheer amount of space this thing will take up.

Tallying it all up, where-as there were a few that didn't ring any bells for me, everything here is useful, and makes sense. I saw nothing wasted in the designs, nor any “bad” feats here. I did stumble across a few grammatical missteps, but not enough to create confusion or misunderstanding. In the end I am going with a solid 4 star rating for this Bullet Point.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
#1 With a Bullet Point: 7 Shield Spell Feats
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