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Dolmenwood Referee's Map
by Jorge J. V [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/10/2018 13:30:55

A very evocative map, easy to read, so it's useful on the table.



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Dolmenwood Referee's Map
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Wormskin Issue 4
by K H A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/09/2018 14:19:28

This issue gives a lot for the money. The keystone is the lower levels of the Abby of St Clewd, but there is another major adventure location given with a dangerous persona in the Atacorn's retreat. Two tables deal with the fickleness of fairymagic (what causes that fairy treasure or magic item you just found to slip through your hands) and a more detailed random standing stone table. All of this fleshes out Dolmenwood well, or may be easily adapted to your own campaign.



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Wormskin Issue 4
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Wormskin Issue 3
by K H A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/09/2018 14:14:55

Dolmenwood is an unique setting with a wierd fairy tale vibe. This issue of Wormskin delves into more hex descriptions which are brief but useful. Also detailed is the witch ring and its purpose. A bit of history is provided as well as the languages used for the setting (an important detail in older versions of the great game). The highlight is the service level of the most notable "dungeon" in Dolmenwood: the Abby of St Clewd. There are several interesting things going on and the adventures might first visit with no intention going deeper. The GM could introduce the dungeon with a low level quest (most likely find a missing person). The adventurers could complete that quest and think they know enough, or they could get hints of something more.



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Wormskin Issue 3
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Wormskin Issue 2
by K H A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/09/2018 14:05:54

Another wonderful issue of the zine dedicated to Dolmenwood. This issue fleshes out the SW area of the domain and its bizarre society of human and goatmen. Much of the info could be ported to any setting even without the larger context of Dolmenwood. There are also two tables easily stolen for general use in any game: one on tavern fare and another on psychedlic compounds.



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Wormskin Issue 2
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Dolmenwood Referee's Map
by K H A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/09/2018 14:02:02

A beautiful, welldone map. Print this out and mark it up. The color is pleasing to the eye, the names are evocative, and the details helpful.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dolmenwood Referee's Map
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Wormskin Issue 1
by K H A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/09/2018 13:59:33

The inaguaral issue of the zine that explores Dolmenwood does not disappoint. It also has helpful items to add to any game that uses old school rules. The fungus tables can be used in any game whatsoever with minimal tweeking. The map is beautiful and intriguing. You get two classes (race as class): the moss dwarf, which is sort of a fungal halfling, and the Grimalkin, a pusss-in-boots type class.



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Wormskin Issue 1
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Welcome to Dolmenwood
by K H A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/09/2018 13:55:12

This is a useful setting introduction for your players. It is not a PHB; it is a snippet of info to help players new to the setting to get a feel for it.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Welcome to Dolmenwood
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B/X Essentials: Core Rules
by Colin G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/09/2018 06:10:03

I love original B/X, but essentials takes Moldvay Dungeons and Dragons to another level. Clean, clear and concise       layout make it a pleasure to use. The pdf is bookmarked and i love to view it as a double page spread on a 10" tablet, a joy to behold. I buy everything that Gavin produces.



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B/X Essentials: Core Rules
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B/X Essentials: Core Rules
by Reese L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/08/2018 07:49:40

I've purhased all of the Essentials line and very much look forward to future expansions, both from Necrotic Gnome and the community.

Gavin has done a fantastic job of merging the content of Moldvay Basic and Cook Expert, eliminating discrepancies between the two, and clarifying some of the things that might have been a little tricky for newcomers to understand.

I love the digest-sized booklets, and by splitting the content as he has, it has the advantages of letting a DM to control what info he gives his players and allowing other modular rulebooks to be substituted in.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
B/X Essentials Premium Print Bundle [BUNDLE]
by Carl S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/08/2018 02:38:22

I first started playing RPG's with the classic Basic & Expert D&D boxed sets. As an OSR gammer I have previously used Labyrinth Lord for my game group. I had heard good things about B/X Essentials so decided to give it a try. The books arrived soon after placing my order and I have to say i'm very impressed. The POD quality of the books is very good. You can also tell from the layout and content of each of these books that they are labours of love. I would highly recommend.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
B/X Essentials Premium Print Bundle [BUNDLE]
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B/X Essentials: Monsters
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/26/2018 04:19:22

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the B/X-Essentials-series clocks in at 44 pages of content if you take away cover, editorial, TOC, etc. My review is based on the premium print edition of the supplement, which I received for the purpose of a fair and unbiased review. The pdf is laid out in 6’’ by 9’’ (A5), just fyi.

In case you were not aware: The standard version is perfect bound. The premium edition has crisper text and colors and is staple bound.

Anyways, but I digress: So, in case you were new to the series, this series reproduces the much beloved Basic/Expert rules from back in the day and present them to a modern audience, remaining as faithful as possible, but also polishing them: Since the 80s, a lot has happened, after all, and thus, we do expect crisper presentation – and usability.

So far, the B/X-Essentials series has succeeded at this task with panache and grace, but what about the monsters? Well, the book represents a vast improvement ion pretty much every way imaginable. The most obvious change, and one that really helps running the critters, is that the original wall of text has been replaced with a bullet point style of presentation.

Below a bandit, you can, for example, read:

Trickery: Use disguise or trickery to surprise victims. Leader: May have a leader of 2nd level or higher (any human class).

This style of presentation makes running the statblocks easier. Similarly, the mechanics are highlighted with the help of soothing and unobtrusive green highlight boxes. The Layout is, in short, precise and enhances the book, presents b/x rules in a modern way.

More importantly, and that is something that many a game should take a close look at, all information is provided. All of it. There are no “see page X” references, and you won’t have to skip pages and look for information xyz. The pdf does provide guidance for Xp values of NPCs as well, and defines “persons” properly, listing all monsters that can be affected by these. Important, since the system has no type-differentiation. Non-humans all get infravision, the older (and imho more sensible) grandfather of darkvision. A huge boon, at least if you’re an old-school veteran, would be that high-level saves have been extrapolated for you. Some potent monsters save as fighters of levels greater than 14. No problem? Well, that’s where B/X caps. So no, you won’t have to do the calculations yourself anymore.

The statblock format is explained in detail, and there is one thing here I really enjoy, even though a purist may frown upon it: The monsters get THAC0s. (To hit AC 0, for the young ‘uns – in B/X, the lower the AC, the better) – while technically, this represents a deviation from B/X presentation standards, it literally makes running the game much, much easier. And there is no downside whatsoever. So yeah, huge kudos!

But perhaps all of that doesn’t interest you as much? Perhaps you want to know about the monsters? Well, first of all, various humans are covered as well herein; I should also mention that the book sports a surprising amount of original, high quality b/w-artwork. But why is this relevant for you and your game, why is it potentially relevant from a game design perspective, even if you’re not playing B/X? Well, because the system’s monsters have changed over the years – and not always for the better. Regarding design paradigms, for example, I love that a basilisk’s reflection s explicitly harmless to all but the basilisk, allowing you to fight it by looking in a mirror. (And yes, this has rules repercussions.)

As an aside: In German, when you’re wheezing from exertion and/or are almost dead/kocked out, we tend to say “Der pfeift aus dem letzten Loch.” (The idiom’s literal translation would be something like “This guy’s wheezing from the final hole.”) – and in B/X, that phenomenon can be observed with dragons. Their breath weapon’s damage output is directly based on their current Hit Points! Oh, and know how today, dragon turtles are smaller and weaker than most dragons? Not so here. The dragon turtle is a 30 HD killer, with a whopping 135 Hit Points – which makes its breath weapon the single most damaging and deadly thing in the whole book! The book contains stats for no less than 5 giant fish…and know what golems are included? Nope, not clay, stone or iron. Amber, bone, bronze and wood! Did not expect that, right?

Did you know that the lycanthropy section includes devil swine, corpulent humanoids with a taste for human flesh that also can charm targets? And that years before the Hannibal-movie hit the screens…What about the arachnid rhagodessa, which has suckers on its legs? Or 3 feet long carnivorous flies? Frost salamanders are included, as are thouls. What are thouls? They kinda look like hobgoblins, but have trollish regeneration and paralytic claws. Oh, and yes, beyond dinosaurs, displacer beasts can also be found within – just look at “warp best.” (I think the original “displacer beast” name is closed IP by now.) So yeah, from a creature choice point of view, this is actually much more interesting than you’d expect a “first bestiary” for a system to be – they tend to be boring as heck. This also extends to the details and certain design paradigms that we don’t see too often nowadays.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no serious glitches on either a formal or rules-language level. Layout is amazing, crisp and clear and adheres to a two-column b/w-standard with the green statblock background serving as a pleasant to look at means to lighten up the text. The use of formatting and bullet points also helps render this a great and easy to use supplement. The copious amounts of high-.quality, cool b/w-artworks make this an aesthetically-pleasing book. The premium print copy is definitely the way to go if you plan on using the game. I can’t comment on the pdf, since I don’t have it – I prefer print anyways.

Gavin Norman’s B/X Essentials-series is genius in its simple and clear presentation. When you compare this, back to back with the original sources, you won’t be able to deny the vast improvement. All of the minor deviations from the goal of utmost fidelity to the source-material serve the purpose of enhancing the game and making the GM/referee’s job easier, and frankly, I can’t conceive of even an arch-conservative grognard not acknowledging, grumbling, under their breath, how much better this is.

There is literally nothing I do not enjoy about how this is presented – oh, and it also serves as a stark reminder that OSR rules and a focus on narrative aspects and crisp rules have to contradict each other. If anything, this serves as an excellent example that showcases how precise and crisp, particularly comparatively rules-lite games, should be. Did I mention that the plain-text version is actually FREE?

Endzeitgeist out.



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B/X Essentials: Monsters
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B/X Essentials: Adventures and Treasures
by Jon S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/19/2018 13:33:40

This is the fifth and final book in the B/X essentials set of classic d&d rewrites by Gavin Norman and what a gem it is! As with the rest of the series, the layout is designed to be clear and consise, a retelling of the original B/X rules in a vastly superior order, one that puts all the DM needs in the right places and wherever possible, across double page spreads of linked material. This last book covers all the practical adventuring rules for the DM to build wilderless, city, town and dungeon. As in previous books, excellent artwork enhances the reading experience without overwhelming the piece. I can't give it more than five stars, but I would if I could.



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B/X Essentials: Adventures and Treasures
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B/X Essentials: Monsters
by Troy H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/02/2018 16:25:25

This is book, like all the B/X essentials, is very well done! The format, fonts, art ... everything come together to make a very useable product. I suppose some might complain that you don't get an illustration for every creature (more like 1 in 8), but that doesn't bother me at all. In fact, I prefer the almost minimalistic presentation. Really great. Everything I wanted it to be. Oh, and the organization makes sense. Giant Bat is under Bat, not "G," for instance.



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B/X Essentials: Monsters
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B/X Essentials: Monsters
by Jon S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/02/2018 11:25:18

This is book four, of five, in Gavin Norman's B/X Essentials series and it marks something of a milestone in that (although the Adventures and Treasures is yet to come) one could easily use the system to play games without resorting to any other B/X book or clone. Of course, that's been sort if true for any of these books so far, it's a modular and inter compatible system afterall. But now, things are really falling into place.

This book is a sort of compact Monster Manual for all B/X games. Gavin has re invented the humble Stat box so that almost everything you need is right there, in each and every monster entry: number appearing, treasure types in underworld, wilderness and lair. THAC0 is part of the Stat block also. The whole book is very well illustrated, which breaks up the text skillfully and the front cover is a wonder to behold!

The pdf is ridiculously cheap and I can almost guarantee that you'll also want to buy a physical copy when that becomes available in a little while.

Once again, Gavin has made excellent use of collaberators in the community, especially those in the B/X Essentials g+ community ongoogle plus.

I cannot recommend this book, and the entire series, enough. Go on, buy it. Your're worth it!



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
B/X Essentials: Core Rules
by Graham L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/09/2018 19:06:01

I have a soft spot for old-school D&D books. I’ve got a sprawling collection of Basic, 1E, 4E, and now 5E books as well as Labyrinth Lord, OSRIC, Basic Fantasy RPG, Sword & Sorcery, and more.

Every time I discover a new clone, or a new spin on a classic RPG I try to find print copies on eBay or Print-on-Demand on DriveThruRPG. I’m constantly amazed at the level of effort people put into recreating OGL versions of these games from decades ago. Some of them are — if you set aside nostalgia for the originals — better than the originals.

After spending some time reading the B/X books I can honestly say these are among them. The materials are organized better than the originals, and very much more readable and usable. The layout is professional, and the art is quite good. The pages are largely black and white (like the original books) with tasteful use of color highlights to make the tables more readable.

I love collecting high-grade original D&D books, but I can see using these at the table as much, or maybe even more often than, the books they were inspired by.

(These books are a smaller digest format than most classic D&D books. Still, the type is large enough to read and the smaller size makes them really convenient. The price — even for the higher quality print-on-demand — is affordable. You won’t regret grabbing the whole set.)



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