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Adventure Framework 50: Night at the Green Goblin
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/10/2018 04:40:09

Superior example of an evening at an inn with multiple plot strands in play. PCs are embroiled in some automatically; others need to be sought out; the remainder depend on which NPCs they encounter. There are random tables for: (i) rumours (including links to Battle for Rivertop, It Came from the Sewers, and Caverns of Melusiah); (ii) tavern events; (iii) special actions in any tavern brawl; (iv) what happens to drunk PCs. There are sufficient interesting contacts for multiple visits.

Highly recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure Framework 50: Night at the Green Goblin
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Adventure Framework 25: Revelry in Northgate
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/06/2018 04:47:22

Simple quest to track down an errant drinker in a busy city before he does an "Oliver Reed". Would benefit from a timeline (with locations) for Lord Hargraves; in a fun scenario, the despotic overlord and forced meeting with his Inquisition, the Anointed, is a jarring note. (See "The Lost Lush" for a better integration of this idea into a political situation.)

Four stars for the innovative plot and hilarious mishaps that Lord Hargraves may suffer.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure Framework 25: Revelry in Northgate
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Adventure Framework 34: Carnifexum
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/12/2018 03:24:07

A chance to play Maximus as the Games come to an oppressive city: there is a gladiatorial tournament, chariot races and fights against exotic beasts. The first is well described; some extra details of notorious charioteers, possible patrons, and one or two special monsters would be welcome. Of the hooks, a contest for an inheritance where a PC needs to outperform their relatives is the most compelling. A table of random street encounters helps to convey the atmosphere of the city. At my signal, unleash hell! Recommended.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure Framework 34: Carnifexum
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Mass Battle Toolkit
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/02/2018 02:36:29

Toolkit for running large-scale battles. Can be run as: (i) a series of PC actions; (ii) simple large unit combats; (iii) a mixture of both. Builds on similar ideas used in the same author's (very good) Battle for Rivertop; there is plenty of variety in how the action may unfold. A strength is that you can pick and choose which parts to use whilst maintaining the coherence of the whole. I advise running a few trials to calibrate a sensible number of opponents for the PCs in the Party Spotlight phases.

Recommended.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mass Battle Toolkit
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Adventure Framework 26: Cloudcrag
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/13/2018 08:26:52

An infiltrate and investigate mission, with stealth needed as there is an army of foes. A good scenario for assassins.

Some well crafted encounters. Recommended.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure Framework 26: Cloudcrag
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Adventure Framework 13: Gift of the Silent God
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/06/2018 05:04:41

SPOILERS follow.

The classic tale of cultists duping people to go on an expedition, and then attempting to sacrifice them instead. In this case the party are dealing with the aftermath. Stylishly carried off, with enough clues for the PCs to work out what is going on. The referee will need to develop some of the details of relatives in town, but that is entirely reasonable for something that describes itself as a framework.

Recommended.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure Framework 13: Gift of the Silent God
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5e Hardmode
by Steven W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/24/2018 12:14:50

For $2.00 and 13 pages, this pamphlet gives you exactly what it says, a variety of rules to make your D&D 5E game a bit harder in the long term without greatly changing play balance within an individual combat enounter, as well as one or two ways to make the game harder within that individual encounter.

For example, removing a number of spells such as Teleport, or Gate, or even Create Food and Water will change the game at the strategic level, but not the tactical level.

However, ruling that healing someone at zero hit points requires several minutes - even if using magical healing - can greatly alter what goes on within a tactical combat, since the need to keep PCs above the zero hit point threshold becomes vastly more important.

Even if you don't want to "hard mode" your game, the new rules for escaping combats via chases and the permanent injuries and set backs table are both interesting enough to justify picking this up.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
5e Hardmode
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Creator Reply:
Thanks Steven, appreciate you taking the time to provide this review.
Midlands Low Magic Sandbox Setting
by Todd A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/30/2018 13:48:04

I love this product. Even if you're not playing Low Fantasy Gaming, this product is worth the money for the ideas and setting that you can implement in other fantasy RPGs. The adventure frameworks are fantastic!

As for the quality of the product itself, it's great, though I do personally wish they had kept the old-school black and white art feel for the cover, but it's all over the inside of the book. Top notch production!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Midlands Low Magic Sandbox Setting
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Adventure Framework 24: Battle For Rivertop
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/28/2018 03:30:48

Beastmen and allies attack a fortified human settlement. Enough detail for the referee: (i) a clear map describing geographical features; (ii) sketches of the leaders on both sides; (iii) a battle plan for the beastmen; (iv) notes for resolving the conflict as it becomes a general melee, focussing on PC encounters; (v) a twist at the end as a third group attacks both sides. Easy to customise. Recommended.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure Framework 24: Battle For Rivertop
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Midlands Low Magic Sandbox Setting
by Kane D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/02/2018 14:52:33

Hands down, this has been one of the most enjoyable and helpful settings I've ever come across. I love the open nature of the world and that it was purposely designed to get the imagination going and allow me to develop and flush out the world I wanted. I also enjoyed the ease it can be converted to other systems including my homebrew system which is now a mash-up of LFG, Castle Falkenstein and my own tinkering. That in and of itself is impressive. I can't wait to run through all the Adventure Frameworks and explore the world with my friends. I hope they come out with another compilation of Adventure Frameworks soon.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Midlands Low Magic Sandbox Setting
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Midlands Low Magic Sandbox Setting
by Olivier S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/07/2018 15:05:34

"Midlands (low magic sandbox setting)" is a 365 pages long setting book by Stephen Grodzicki. This medieval universe can be used either with the ruleset freely available on his website, or customized to any other one.

Around wide Lake Argos, five human cultures can be found : Midlanders, Varnori (Northerners), Karoks (decadent humans enslaving the last dwarves for mining), barbarian Thuels and Nydissians (northernmost remnant of a once-conquering empire). This setting can be described roughly as half-way between Tolkien and sword-&-sorcery : magic is rare and corrupting, several gods are worshipped but do not intervene, there are some daunting monsters, nearly no humanoids except humans and cannibalistic Skorns (kind of halvorcs). A few cities (all described in details !) dot the landscape but the rest are expanses of wild nature, from icy mountains to verdant jungles. So, this book holds within its pages a complete universe, that the Gamemaster (or rotating Gamemasters) can easily make his own, thanks to descriptive chapters (cities, cultures...) and plenty of random tables (including one for tavern brawls !). Three new professions are added : artificers (who yield black powder !), monks (specialists of unarmed combat) and rangers (master hunters) as well as new monsters.

The black-and-white art is beautiful, and maps are magnificient. And this was the first third of the book.... for the rest is dedicated to fifty adventures taking place in all of the different environments of the Midlands. All adventures are a few pages long (longer than, say, most Savage Worlds "Savage Tales") and are not only dungeon-crawls.

This book is everything that MERP should have been : an entire "ready-to-use" universe for at least one year of free adventuring wherever the players want to. In conclusion, "Midlands" (for 10 $ !) is definitely a must for any GM fond of Medieval fantasy.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Midlands Low Magic Sandbox Setting
by David B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/14/2018 11:28:25

First off, please forgive any errors I may make because this is my first review of any product but I must say, Midlands and LFG in general has made quite an impression on me since I've encountered it. There is a reason that I don't do reviews and that is because I find it somewhat disingenuous to do a review only by reading but not actually using a product. As of now I have used the Midlands supplement in varying capacity 3 different times and there is a vast amount of it still that is left untouched. In all three times Midlands has come through for me. This supplement at 364 pages is enormous and with the amount of useable material within, the price of $10 and now $7.50 is more than an extermely fair price point.

**Overview**: This is a brief section that describes the Midlands, as this is a setting book, in terms that frame what the setting emphasizes and what is unique about it. Although the Midlands is placed in a medieval fantasy setting, the various regions within run the gamut of ancient empire complete with gladitorial arenas to budding renaissance technology especially in terms of the Artificer class. It is assumed that the world is a grim and gritty place where fierce danger exists in large swathes of wilderness as well as hidden perils in civilization. The most unique aspect, I find, is that the gods are silent. They don't grant spells or healing which is the realm of actual magic users which is a potentially disasterous choice that requires some caution. Details on this is established in the Low Fantasy Gaming ruleset which is free but it is assumed that Midlands is being used with this system. Mechanics aside, however, this work can be used just about anywhere. The next part, **Sandbox Traits** talks about exactly what this book is setup to be and that is a sandbox. The world is described in generalized terms and is as "open world" as it comes for TRPGs. It lays out exactly what is meant by the term "Sandbox" and how that is applied. It's rare to find any work out there where the descriptive "fluff" elements within are just as valuable to run a game as the crunchy mechanical aspects but here it's true. It is explicitly stated that the tools here provide encounters, events, adventure hooks and even mini-adventures that can be used at a moment's notice to run a great session and from my own experiences, it does precicely that. The next sections detail the Midlands in terms of history and culture, even providing a lexicon that seems like it would add a great feel to immerse the group in these lands of adventure. This part I admit I don't use much, as my campaign takes place in the old TSR Birthright setting before this supplement was released. Each race (and by race it is assumed human in a human-centric setting) has a page or two devoted to it and even has name tables for them. This I find extremely valuable both for players indecisive on names as well as creating NPCs on the fly. Name tables are always welcome! Laws and punishments as well as the names for currency add just that much more flavor to a game and is within here too. All of the gods are described along with their follower's beliefs and details are here as even though they are silent, belief exists. The section on magic discusses just how Dark and Dangerous it can be with tables and details on how it can cause various levels of disaster for an LFG game. An added bonus is how there are alternate spell names, something that you just don't see often enough in games but just as everything else in the book, is permeated with setting flavor that is easily useable. Finally, all of the main cities and geographical areas are here and well detailed. Even if you don't use the setting as intended, the descriptions could be ported to any unknown place your PCs traverse. The **Player Options** and **Bestiary** sections describes things that are more focused on LFG in general. In this part there are three new classes; Artificer, Ranger and Monk, but more importantly there are now gear packs and bonds for characters. These are a nice touch as instead of having to deal with the tedium of shopping, you can now just pick your gear and are ready to go, a lot like the starting equipment options for 5th edition only simpler. The bonds seem very Midlands specific but just like other things in this book can be used anywhere. This is a far more interesting option for starting characters rather than "You meet up in a tavern..." The bestiary adds some more interesting foes for your game too such as the Hammersnail which one could certainly see as a flailsnail. I personally see myself using the Anointed guys as enemy mooks for my now mid-level party. The luck score by Hit Dice table is good to see in there for creating your own monsters and will be of use to me as well since I create and import new creatures all the time. **GM Tools** is a very useable section that has initiative variants and guidelines, NPC generator complete with personailty and speech quirks and and Outpost generator. All randomized and ready to go. This initiative thing is nice but I personally don't need it but where this section really shines is the NPC stuff. You can make just about anything. Just last night my players rode to a monastery in the middle of nowhere and they wanted to speak to the abbott. I did not have an abbott. Midlands did. The part for making outpost is complete with rulers, available services and adventures hooks making it have near infinite use. I haven't has the pleasure of using this part yet, but I can see myself doing so in games to come. There are also random encounter tables by region within but a lot of these are entries re-used from the LFG setting book. That brings me to my only real yet minor qualm with this resource. The random wilderness tables and Dark and Dangerous Magic table are recylced and I would like to have seen some more new stuff there. The new classes are also ones that were released free some time ago. Some other new classes would have been welcome. I'm not too concerned about this; the supplement has masses of useable information that dwarfs this observation. Things such as level-variable general stats for NPCs of every class and possible special abilities is a new and excellent thing for DMs on the fly. I can't even go into the many, many tables that have information on everything from rolling up taverns, streets and rumors to examples of meals served within. It's staggering. If I detailed them all I'd be here all day. **Adventure Frameworks** is the part that I personally got the most use out of. The players in my group needed to have something going on during the winter while they were holed up in the city. I looked for a mini-adventure there there was not only one but EIGHT I had to choose from. They were roped into chasing down a local man at the behest of his wife in a somewhat comic-relief event. It made for a great situation that even has some repercussions in the future for the party. In last weeks game, my players completely skipped out on a mini adventure I set on their path and instead forged on an overland trip to their ultimate destination. What was I to do rather than just fast forwarding it? They were jumped in an assassination attempt well detailed in Midlands. Once again, Midlands pulled through and there is still so much more able to be used. My conclusion here is that whether you use the Midlands setting, OSR or 5E, get this book if you get anything. It's worth it and more. If I didn't already have a campaign, I'd place it in Midlands. As a DM, you will not be sorry. There is something for everyone.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Midlands Low Magic Sandbox Setting
by James S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/03/2017 15:02:42

(This review originally appeared on the blog Halfling's Luck)

I've spoken before of Low Fantasy Gaming and its fantastic blend of OSR simplicity and 5th Edtiion mechanics. Seriously. It's good. If you don't have it, grab it. Well, +Steve Grod (aka Stephen Grodzicki) is at it again with Midlands Low Magic Sandbox Setting. It is currently available as a PDF for $10 on DriveThru and RPGNow. That's usually my breaking point for a digital product, but Steve was kind enough to provide me with a review copy before I even knew it had been released. Even at the price point, I feel like MLMS is practically a steal.

It's a massive product, clocking in at 365 pages and is billed as "a low magic, low prep, customisable sandbox in a 'points of light' medieval fantasy realm" and that's exactly what it is. The region, known as the Midlands, is described in several broad locations. The vast majority of this is wilderness and it is described in the text and repeated in the details of the flora and fauna to be very dangerous. The few settlements are given brief descriptions, a few key locations, along with backgrounds and stat lines for a few major NPCs. In everything, the Midlands are described in terms of adventure hooks. This is a setting that begs to be used. It's not a static painting meant to be looked upon or held some kind of sacred "canon." The player characters will change the world simply by their actions, and that's clearly by design. I feel this is key to campaign setting books, and its nice to see an author who is willing to pass on their creation onto gamers and give them the freedom to run wild without any kind of implication of what is "allowed."

Given that Low Fantasy Gaming has no clerics or divine magic, it was a pleasant surprise to find a fully detailed pantheon tied to the Midlands. I found this refreshing and a true insight by the author that humanity's belief in the divine in the real world is not defined by witnessing miracles at the hands of Clerics or Paladins, but is part of their natural desire to explain why things happen in the universe - to explain the unexplainable. These religions, even without spell-slinging Clerics, still impact culture and society wherever they are found. This kind of real-world mentality really strength to LFG's "low fantasy" element. It gives the setting a real grounding.

Magic is also given a low fantasy treatment. Even more so than the LFG core book, MLMS is a book that hammers home the fact magic is something man was not meant to know. It is dangerous, uncontrollable, and will inevitably lead practitioners to ruin. Magic items are rare to the point that no such thing as a Sword+1 in MLMS - each magic item is unique and was created for a purpose and was likely the product of an long lost era spoken of only in myth and legend. Magic and magic items in MLMS are, well, magical -- as they should be.

While MLMS could easily be seen as system neutral in terms of using the setting, it does have a few goods specific to Low Fantasy Gaming. Three new classes are introduced: Artificer, Monk, and Ranger. The Ranger is the stand-out here, feeling most tied to the material found within this book and they have a true rugged wilderness tracker vibe to them. They feel... dangerous. The Monk is serviceable without being too Wuxia in its stylings, but I admit I'm not generally a huge fan of the class in general so I might be giving this incarnation the short shrift. The Artificer is a cool concept, but feels unevenly written. Some of its abilities are thematic and cool, like the use of black powder weapons and alchemical solutions, while others feel a bit silly like chaintooth weapons (i.e. chainsaw additions). Still, you could pick and choose these individual abilities and it would be easy enough to disallow that which isn't appropriate to a given campaign.

Where the player options really shine are in the Gear Packs and Party Bonds sections. Gear Packs are class-based packages of predetermined equipment for starting characters. Choose a melee weapon, a ranged weapon, a set of armor, and a gear pack and you're off to the races. Party Bonds establish how the party knew each other before a campaign began, and both quick and surprisingly thematic to the material found in MLMS.

There's a short bestiary chapter which is primarily composed of monsters tied to the specifics of the Midlands setting. They're few enough in number to feel unique, but not so many as to feel as though the setting is populated only by these specific monsters. There is also a small section on designing your own monster. Useful stuff for the GM, but nothing unexpected when it comes to supplements like this.

The GM Tools chapter includes variant initiative methods, a really fun random NPC generator and a magnificent series of random encounter tables that really highlights elements of the setting established in previous chapters of the book. I was pleasantly surprised that "random encounter" did not mean "combat encounter" in these charts, as there is no implication of required violence, nor is there any attempt to "balance" these encounters to the level of the player characters. The rest of the chapter is filled with more random charts including tavern generator, name generator, city street name generator, even bar menu generator - but the real shining random table in this chapter is the Regional Event generator. The Regional Event generator details an event that happens every few months or after a year or so that impacts the setting as a whole. Things the PCs are necessarily involved in, but will likely impact their lives: The death of a king, the rise of a supposed prophet, things like that. It gives the Midlands a real living, breathing quality - something that remains present through the entire supplement.

With all this content, we still haven't got to the meat of MLMS: Adventure Frameworks. This chapter includes 50 adventure frameworks , which aren't as thin as random encounters but are designed to be as easy to implement and provide an evening's worth of adventure with absolutely minimal prep. For GMs with no prep time or when your players head off in an unexpected direction, they're an absolute god sent. Each adventure framework is tied to a location type (city, swamp, forest, etc), and provides several hooks and rumors to draw the PCs in. From there, the framework provides a series of linked encounters that will easily cover a full night of adventure. And there's 50 of them. That's enough to run multiple campaigns without ever running the same framework twice. Each framework runs five or more pages and includes around a dozen encounters. Many have matching keyed mapped for those encounters. Given that much of the inspiration for LFG is in the episodic pulps of early sword and sorcery fiction, this fits style of the game quite well and feels like a natural way to run it. Adventure Frameworks cover about 200 pages of this book.

Finally, MLMS's final pages include an index for easy reference of the material contained therein. This useful, but often overlooked touch is always nice.

I'd also be remiss if I didn't discuss the art. MLMS is filled with black and white line art and extensive maps of several locations. Grodzicki makes use of several pieces of stock art by many different artists, but it never feels disparate. This book is packed with visual appeals and there's rarely a page in the entire thing that's absent of art. The maps are both easy to use and visually appealing, which is an important balance, and vary between traditional top-down view and isometric.

Midlands Low Magic Sandbox Setting is a worthy successor to Low Fantasy Gaming. Its over 350 pages of content provide enough material for years of game play, using LFG or any other OSR game out there and for those who are using with LFG the new classes are a nice touch. While I was given a copy by Steve for review and I have trouble with a $10 price point for most PDFs, had I bought this with my own cash, I certainly would have felt like I got a deal. The most ringing praise I can provide is that Midlands Low Magic Sandbox Setting makes me want to run an LFG game physically, at a table, with my local players. Few products do that these days, and so far the LFG product line is batting a thousand.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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