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Trees of Fantasy
$2.99 $0.75
Publisher: Bards and Sages
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/25/2006 00:00:00

Trees of Fantasy is a 26 page pdf product. This product is a stand-alone pdf from Bards and Sages that features 23 fantasy trees, and in particular details the properties, descriptions and special qualities of the woods that derive from these fantasy trees. The pdf aims to provide a greater amount of detail to a fantasy campaign setting, both in providing types of trees, but also in the number of new magical and mundane items that can be derived from them.

Trees of Fantasy weighs in at 21 MB, largely due to the full color art contain in the product. The pdf contains no bookmarks, nor a printer friendly version, and in the latter case with the full color art, some of it taking up an entire page, it'll be costly on one's ink. There is a table of contents, although not quite detailed enough in, for example, listing the pages the individual trees appear on. A table providing a summary of all the trees and their pertinent use or special qualities would also have been useful. Artwork is generally good, although perhaps too 'real' and not enough 'fantasy'. Editing and writing is good as well, although the presentation isn't spectacular, as highlighted by the number of things that are missing from the pdf.

The product starts by providing a brief introduction to the pdf. This pdf is about trees, and in particular the wood that comes from them. The wood of different trees can be used for different purposes, be it crafting weapons, armor or more mundane yet interesting items. A full overview is given on the details one can expect in each entry, with a complete description of each entry and the meaning of the key elements of the entry. Wood from these trees can be used for a variety of purposes, and the pdf has a section entitled 'effects on the world' under each entry which details some of the considerations one needs to use when using the material. I found those very helpful as a form of 'designer note'.

There are 23 unique fantasy trees presented in this pdf. Examples of the trees include the Bone Spruce (for creating wooden skeletons that can be animated as undead), Balsa Liftwood (a floating wood that can easily lift things), Ironwood (resistant to fire and most weapon damage), red cypress (protection from fire), Silver Fir (weapons crafted from it affect creatures with DR silver), and Yellow Sugi (a wood with certain calming effects and good auras). Overall there were some good and interesting trees, with a suitable variety for use in most campaign settings. I particularly like the Bone Spruce, which can be used by necromancers to create wooden skeletons.

In places the mechanical explanation of a tree's properties is weak or incomplete, by for example, mention things like 'DR fire' rather than 'fire resistance'. More details could certainly have been included on crafting aspects of using these woods. For example, the red cypress is invulnerable to fire, but it's not mentioned in the entry what happens when armor is crafted from the wood, nor what crafting such armor would cost. The incompleteness of some of the entries makes using the material problematic in places without sufficient mechanical backing.

The latter part of the pdf covers a whole host of mundane and magical items. There were some interesting and useful items here, but again the mechanics was disappointing. The hearing aid, for example, a device crafted from the quivering aspen, grants the user a +2 bonus to listen check when worn in the ear. This, however, only costs 5 gp, which is too cheap for the function it provides. The variety of items, though, showcases the utility and benefits of the different trees, and most DMs and players will find some useful material in this pdf. A number of new traps based on these woods are also included, and welcome addition to the pdf since not many pdfs have details on traps.

Trees of Fantasy is a product that presents a variety of different trees and the properties of the wood that can be harvested from them. There are some interesting trees with useful functionality, although the lack of detail and the often weak mechanical execution hamper one's appreciation for the trees themselves. Nevertheless, with 23 trees and a lot of new magical and mundane items, this is a useful product that can find use in any campaign setting.<br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: The variety of trees and magical items increases the utility of the product, and there are some interesting ideas such as the bone spruce. The pdf covers a niche area that's worth exploring, and provides some good information to expand on your campaign world, and in particular the forests and trees of the world.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: The pdf requires a printer friendly version given the heavy use of full-color art. Weak mechanical implementation and lack of detail in places makes it unclear how one should make the most of the material included.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>

[3 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Peter, thank you for your review of the product. As some of our customers have pointed out (and what we know from our own experiences) all printers have an option to "print in B&W" or "print to grayscale." For those not wanting to print in color, this is a quick and easy solution. In fact, as a hint, most printers also offer a "draft" option that prints quicker and uses less ink, ideal for when you just want the text and aren't concerned about reproducing the art. I use this all the time for my own print outs.

I just wanted to point out that the Red Cypress does, in fact, mention what happens when you use it to craft armor. Masterwork items crafted of the material gain fire resistance of 20. We even included an example item (Red Cypress shield) to illustrate the point.
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