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    Barrowmaze Complete $35.00
    Average Rating:4.6 / 5
    Ratings Reviews Total
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    Barrowmaze Complete
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    Barrowmaze Complete
    Publisher: Greg Gillespie
    by Todd M. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 02/01/2021 13:58:18

    This is really good. Its not perfect, but its well worth your time and money if you want to play an OSR style exploration game. There is tons of content here you can chop it up or use it as a complete campaign. The art is good, the content is fun. There is enough detail here to run things out the box but not so much you can't jam on it in game. No long winded exposition or history of the 9 realms here, you will be up to your neck in skeletons right away. Lots of tables and charts and solid advice for reusability. I bought a ton of RPG modules over the years and 90% do not get the use that this one had gotten and I have only scratched the surface on it.

    Super example of the genre.

    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    Barrowmaze Complete
    Publisher: Greg Gillespie
    by Chris N. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 08/25/2020 15:18:04

    Perahaps the best Mega Dungeon on the market. One large flat layer. Well though out. Easy to dive in. The room descriptions are brief but not repetitive. I recommend for anyone looking to do a serious megadungeon.

    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Barrowmaze Complete
    Publisher: Greg Gillespie
    by Benjamin W. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 08/02/2020 20:35:34

    Pretty decent megadungeon but the cons outweigh the pros for me. The biggest gripes I have are: -Having a megadungeon almost entirely populated with undead removes a lot of morale checks from the game which is one of my favorite parts of old school gaming. Enemies who are always hostile and fight to the death are fun from time to time, but a megadungeon full of them? Less fun. -The cost is ridiculous! Sure there's some good art, but for a medium sized book this is WAAAAYYY overpriced, especially compared to similar products. -The author for some reason refuses to figure out how to get previews of his books on drivethru because... reasons? -Finally, from reading the author's responses to criticism, complaints, or really anything that doesn't paint his work as genius, I REALLY regret having given him any of my money and I certainly won't in the future. It seems he is the sort of "artist" who thinks if you have any issue with his work then you simply don't get it. The words pompous and smug ring in my head everytime i see his responses or interviews. One of my pet peeves in creators, especially in smaller scenes. Your mileage may vary.

    --EDIT: Please see his response to my review as evidence. Rather sad. Score updated from 2 to 1 stars for extreme pettiness of creator.

    [1 of 5 Stars!]
    Creator Reply:
    Everyone is welcome to an opinion. You’re right, you don’t get it lol
    Barrowmaze Complete
    Publisher: Greg Gillespie
    by Go B. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 04/13/2020 22:59:07

    The content of the Barrowmaze Complete is solid. Good writing, dense background, many good ideas that drive forward a plot. Lots of choice and very little railroading. I really like it.

    In other words: no real issues with content. If you are buying the PDF of this then you are fine. Read no further.

    But if you are like me, and want things on paper and on a shelf, to browse, and sit, and flick through, this is another matter.

    This is a costly book to pruchase. One can see why. A lot of work went into writing, design, graphic layout, artwork. This is a beautiful book. Which is why it is an extra great pity that production is so relatively poor. My book came with an improper binding. I have taught myself to bind books, so I think I know what went wrong. The glue was sloppy and the binding was not allowed to sit and cure for long. As it dried up, it contracted and pulled the binding askew.

    No problem: I wrote DTRPG, and a replacement was sent -- no fuss. Absolutely perfect customer service. I love shopping with DTRPG.

    But now, as I am waiting for the replacement to come, the other copy sits on my shelf. And over the last three weeks, the paper has begun to take moisture from the air. The paper is of a very thin quality, probably 60g, and it has begun to bend and wave. A book like this, especially at a price like this, should be printed on proper paper. The replacement has not yet arrived, but I have no doubt that the same will happen to it.

    I do not have a particualrly moist home. I have a DysonAir that tracks humidity, and I see it always fluctuates around 30-40% and never goes above that. A book - any book - should be able to handle that.

    Yet, my copy of Barrowmaze Complete now looks as if I spilled a glass of water onto it. I have put it in a press to see what will happen, but for something that costs $110, this should really not be necessary.

    Whoever produces these books, printing them on demand, they need to be paid properly, and, in turn, they need to use proper materials and take the time necesaary to produce a product that can last and wont bend and skew.

    My 1979 AD&D books still look fantastic after four decades. Barrowmaze Complete emulates their design. It should also emulate their production quality.

    [3 of 5 Stars!]
    Creator Reply:
    I’m not TSR and have never made a claim to be so. Compare apples to apples, and oranges to oranges.
    Barrowmaze Complete
    Publisher: Greg Gillespie
    by Giles R. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 11/30/2019 12:38:52

    This is a good dungeon. The starter settlements are detailed with interesting characters. The surrounding area is lightly detailed but evocative, enough to spark further developments from the GM.

    The initial barrows, some of which contain entrances to Barrowmaze itself, are excellent. A wide variety of mini dungeons for the players to dip their toes into.

    The main Barrowmaze dungeon is good but not great. There are some interesting encounters, however the vast majority are undead which will immediately attack the players. It lacks a little variety. When I run this as part of my dungeon crawl campaign I'll push some of the encounters to make them interlinked and add some oddness and non combat solutions. I think the Lusus Naturae bestiary would be a good starting point for ideas here. I'd also add more elements where distant bits of the dungeon interact to reveal background and for puzzles.

    There are factions in Barrowmaze but they don't come through strongly in the dungeon itself. You'd have to put some effort into making these really visible to the players.

    Megadungeons I'd buy ahead of this are: Caverns of Thracia, Rappan Athuk, Temple of Elemental Evil, and the Dark Tower.

    TL;DR A good dungeon that'd take a bit of work to make it sing.

    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    Barrowmaze Complete
    Publisher: Greg Gillespie
    by Kevin G. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 03/12/2019 23:01:45

    Was forced to purchase this (and another of the creator's works) from a non-university source for a university course taught by the creator. It is full of the same mistakes that he criticises his students for making. Students were made to write reviews of his own dungeons and provide proof of purchase in order to submit assignments for university credit. I wish I could get my money back for both this and Forbidden Caverns.

    [1 of 5 Stars!]
    Creator Reply:
    So the content has no redeemable value whatsoever? Ok lol
    Barrowmaze Complete
    Publisher: Greg Gillespie
    by Grahame H. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 11/29/2018 05:37:26

    A solid, classic exploratory style 'almost' mega-dungeon. The strong point of this module is the central undead theme, though some people might like a more varied environment to explore through. This module will certainly appeal to players who like undead though and is jammed pack with all sorts nasties from beyond the grave, both new and familiar.

    This is a big dungeon and will certainly provide hours and hours of play. As a module of this size you'd expect some gems for encounters and interesting locations. This doesn't disappoint in this area, there are certainly some great encounters and locations in this dungeon.

    The only faults with it for me is the way information is presented, it does not always follow the most logical sequence so might be a little inconvenient at times to scan during play. Most of the entries however are short and succinct, so this won't be too much of a problem. As an overall product, you can't go wrong with this. The author obviously put a lot of effort and love into it and it is jammed pack with great, old school art. It might not take you to the imaginative or evocative heights of Operation Unfathomable or Maze of the Blue Medusa, but if you love classic old school, exploratory style dungeon crawls this will hit your buttons. A solid choice for any fan of OSR games.

    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    Barrowmaze Complete
    Publisher: Greg Gillespie
    by Kenneth S. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 02/12/2018 01:19:37

    If you like traps, tricks, and hordes of undead, then you'll enjoy this adventure. It differs from some of the standard dungeons in that it's basically horizontal. There are dozens of small barrow mounds scattered around a larger dungeon complex. There is a brief backstory and a generic, yet fairly useful setting provided that can be easily dropped into most campaigns. There are also some helpful hints on dungeon exploration (bring a sledgehammer) and alternate rules for things like turning undead in this necromantically charged environment. A variety of new monsters and magic items add flavor to the adventure and serve to keep even veteran players on their toes. The author also makes it a "living dungeon" by adding rules for re-stocking and including assorted rival adventuring parties.

    In terms of the adventure itself, it is generally a sandbox where parties can go where they choose. But there are potential larger goals and more dangerous foes if they delve into the Barrowmaze proper. While it suggests that beginning characters could play and gain levels while going back and forth from the dungeons, I'd suggest at least 3rd-4th level characters to start. There are lots of traps and lots of monsters. And the special undead turning rules can quickly render clerics, especially low level ones, pretty impotent. On the positive side, there is lots of treasure to be had, perhaps too much in fact. Smaller parties might level up fairly quickly if treasure is counted for experience by your DM.

    With respect to extras, the book is full of great old school style pictures, reminiscent of those in Tomb of Horrors. And many are gathered in a single section at the back. Stats are provided for most monsters right in the book, along with those for key NPCs. There are even a few new deities presented that could be easily slotted into most campaigns. The random dungeon dressing, pit content, and other tables at the back will also be of use far beyond this adventure for most DMs. In short, this is a hack and slash extravaganza, with some opportunities for problem solving thrown in. It is technically for Labyrinth Lord, but can be played with 1st/2nd edition AD&D or any of the standard OSR games. And for what you get and how much time it would take to play the whole thing, it's worth the price of the hardcover, let alone the pdfs. Certainly more creative and interesting that the stuff a certain West coast game company churns out these days.

    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Barrowmaze Complete
    Publisher: Greg Gillespie
    by Daren C. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 01/02/2017 17:57:50

    I wrote this up on my blog so I thought I'd share it here:

    DOOM IN THE DARK Careful exploration, sudden traps, overwhelming foes, a ready shovel and sledgehammer. Torchbearers running screaming into the darkness. It's the Barrowmaze. This dungeon has helped facilitate a classic "Old School" style of campaign unlike any other I've run. It is perfect for short episodic sessions online using a traditional D&D ruleset. Using the magic of Roll20 and Google Hangouts my friends and I are nine sessions or so into a nicely emerging campaign.

    I mostly run Type V D&D because that's the game people know; it's the new and shiny, but I've been reading ORS gaming blogs for years, wondering if that sort of mythical "old school" dirtbag style of play would really work for me. It requires a different set of assumptions than a more heroic high magic style game.

    A few months back I picked up the 261page megadungeon Barrowmaze Complete via the Kickstarter for the forthcoming sequel. I'd been thinking about it for years and the magic of Kickstarter hype got me to pull the trigger. That and the epic cartoon trailer.

    Barrowmaze makes a great set up for this style game, it's a complete campaign setting: Starting in a dirty little village on the edge of a backwater duchy, the dungeon delvers wake at dawn to make their way to Barrow Moore, where ancient barrow mounds hide entrances to a sprawling maze beneath. The goal is to get in and out with a bit of treasure, get back to town and spend it on carousing!

    EPISODIC One of the really nice design decisions of the Barrowmaze is that it is a single level, with multiple points of entry. The bane of big dungeons is that the whole thing can get bogged down when the characters are trapped in the dungeon, unable to recover and unable to vary the play over multiple sessions. The way Barrowmaze works out is that the players discover more entrances the further East they go, deeper into the surface map. Some entrances are discovered from the surface. Others have been discovered as an escape from below. On the whole, it makes for a nice session, into the dungeon, back out, makes some carousing roles, count up XP. There is a bit of a story to the Barrowmaze, but its secondary to the players' story. That said, this dungeon can be defeated, and it would be pretty satisfying to do so!

    A PROCEDURAL GAME Wandering monster rolls are crucial to this dungeon. Loud noise triggers rolls. And it creates a time pressure. Should they break down that wall or move on? Should they search through all the burial nooks? Wandering monsters can add up quick as well, and players have fled from an encounter with Sapphire Skeletons or Coffer Corpses ("They just won't die!"). This is a dungeon that is enhanced by keeping track of time, torches, and rations.

    EVERYTHING IN IT'S RIGHT PLACE The book is pretty self-contained. Most of the monsters featured have descriptions and stats (for Labyrinth Lord which works fine for my rules) in the back of the book, as do magic items and key spells. Tables for treasures, dungeon dressing, rival tomb robbers, and re-stocking are included as well. Best of all, there is a large section of handout art to show players for particular rooms and encounters. I've always really like these sort of additions. Of course, the art is really good.

    HOT STYLE The writing and art direction are really great. The visual theme on a whole makes me think of a cartoon version of death metal album. The writing is brief, useful and friendly. There's a bunch of sidebars telling stories of the author's games, which is amusing and serves to highlight the intended play style. The illustrations are all black and white, heavily inked drawings. It's mostly very useable, with illustrations of the things you want to be able to show players.

    EXCEPT A FEW THINGS... Overall, this is a book I was able to sit down and run multiple games with hardly any preparation, so the book is obviously organized well enough, but I have a couple of quibbles. There's a few funny decisions on organization. The special rules for things like barrow exploration and runic tablets are sort of buried in the book, just before the Barrow Mounds section. It makes sense to read, but in play I wish is was collated in an appendix in the back. The other quibble is with the dungeon entrances, or rather the exits. The Barrow Mounds section clearly states where each stair down appears in the maze, but sometimes I have players discover an entrance from below, and the map has no indication of what mound # it goes up to. So, the DM makes some notes.

    The maps are simple and mostly clear. I did run into a moment last session where the group unexpectedly made it to room 100, which which nicely spans the gutter of the book. In the moment it was hard to figure that one out! The map is a huge sprawling affair that spans six pages, but in the book it is divided into slightly themed sections, with limited travel from one to another. The result of this is that each section could be taken out and used as it's own small dungeon complex in your own campaign world. It also means you can wrap your head around a particular constellation of foes if you know where your players are heading next session.

    THE PLAYS THE THING There's been some criticism about the price of this product. It is overpriced, and indeed that held me back for a long time despite really liking what I saw in terms of style and design. Through play I've found that I've used this book more than many rpg products I've bought, so I consider it well worth it in the end. Any rpg book is worth it if you actually play it a lot! I've been continually stoked on playing in this dungeon and hope to keep it up for awhile yet!

    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Barrowmaze Complete
    Publisher: Greg Gillespie
    by Greg W. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 05/26/2015 21:50:38

    Introduction [This review is spoiler-free, as regards story, monsters, and NPCs. However, a few villages will be generically described, and the number of dungeon locations will be given.]

    I ordered Barrowmaze Complete on 5/16/2015 and received it via USPS ten days later. The binding is of the highest quality, apparently the same binding that existed for the Kickstarter copies. Some images of the product are at the following links (or just search for “Barrowmaze Complete” on Google images):

    http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=69622 http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=58367&start=30#p1588647

    The above images match my product exactly.

    Gazetteer The Gazetteer for the surrounding towns and settlements, new to this ‘Complete’ product, is excellent. The geography includes 3 settlements, 3 rivers, 3 forests, a very large swamp, and a mountain range, all indicated via text description and hex map. The three settlements are Bogtown (village), Ironguard Motte (town plus castle), and Helix (village). The first two are detailed in a page or two each, whereas Helix is very detailed - at least eight pages of text description - and includes a village map with numbered locations. This is important, because Helix will be the PCs main base camp as they travel to and from the Barrowmaze. About forty NPCs are described across these three settlements (with handy pictures for fifteen of them, and stats for 22 of them), and the map for Helix details about sixteen places to visit. Nine deities are described, and interesting interrelations between them and their followers are included (basically, old gods vs. new gods). Many NPCs are members of different religious, mercantile, or political organizations or factions (some legit, some shady), which sets up the potential for quite a bit of intrigue and player intervention, if they’re looking for it. (There’s no ‘story’ per se, just real-life connections that can be discovered and exploited by resourceful players. There is a backstory for the Barrowmaze, of course; its history is neatly laid out in about five paragraphs.)

    The Megadungeon As for the dungeon itself, there are about 70 barrow mounds to visit just below the surface of the swampy Barrowmoor (all located on a single hex map, but each one individually described, many with multiple rooms and corresponding mini-maps). But this is just the introduction, as there are a further 375 locations in the much deeper Barrowmaze itself, which are also described and keyed to a lavish map that spans six pages. (BTW, purchasing the pdf product gets you the entire book, plus black-and-white and blue-and-white maps of the Barrowmaze in separate, one-page files.)

    After the megadungeon proper there are descriptions of new magic items, spells, and monsters, six pregenerated characters for player use, seven fully-statted adventurer parties the PCs might encounter, a blank character sheet, an illustration book with 36 illustrations (each referenced in the text of the megadungeon itself), about seven random tables, and an excellent random crypt generator (in the spirit of the multi-step dungeon generator in the AD&D DMG, but contextualized for the Barrowmaze environment). There are adventure hooks, a random rumor table, four new treasure types (death masks, funerary figures, scarabs, canopic jars), and nine factions described (along with their interrelations, should the PCs want to take sides).

    Art and Layout Artwork is abundant and well-placed, picturing dozens of evocative scenes and situations. Fourteen artists are at work here. There are multiple, gorgeous full-page pieces, half-page pieces, quarter-page pieces, and smaller square pieces, all scattered throughout the volume. The new monsters are individually statted, described, and illustrated in their own section. The layout includes fixed headings appropriate for the ‘section’ of the dungeon you are in, so that you can quickly flip through the book and know what section you’re in based on the heading at the top of the page. Adding this was a nice touch. The amount of text devoted to each dungeon location hits the sweet spot that avoids two extremes: ‘so detailed that my players will get bored while I review it all’ and ‘so sparse that I wonder why I bought this product.’ In every location description, both the name of the location and any monsters there are in bold, so that they jump out at you from the page. Any monsters have their stats given in just a line or two (OSR style), so that you don’t have to pull out any monster manuals if you don’t want to.

    Concluding Thoughts This is a multi-year campaign in a book. It is an obvious labor of love. The production values are through the roof: binding, layout, descriptions, art, full-color cover. Even the ink is dark, genuinely black rather than faded, so that the text crisply stands out and the artwork pops, yet there is no bleedthrough to the other side of the page, because the paper is high quality. Yes, there are a few typos, particularly in the Gazetteer section. But if this product doesn’t deserve five stars - easily deserve it! - then no product deserves it. I also own the Dwimmermount hardback (Kickstarter supporter) and Castle of the Mad Archmage, and Barrowmaze Complete compares quite favorably to these: more detail than Castle, not as unwieldy as Dwimmermount. (Don’t get me wrong: these other two products deserve five stars as well.) I plan on running this in Swords & Wizardry, though it is statted for Labyrinth Lord.

    What follows is a full table of contents for Barrowmaze Complete, for those who only have Barrowmaze I and II. I have blanked out descriptions that could be construed as real spoilers. Greg Gillespie worked hard on this; no need to spoil it in a review:

    Credits and Acknowledgements.................2 Preface..................................3 Table of Contents...........................3 Introduction...............................4 Gazetteer................................6 Religion, Faith, and The Gods.................8 Towns and Settlements.....................10 Bogtown...............................10 Ironguard Motte .........................11 Helix.................................12 Personalities of Helix......................16 The Campaign Begins.....................20 Adventure Hooks.........................20 Barrowmaze Random Rumor Table.............20 Running Barrowmaze........................21 Barrowmaze New Treasure Types.............24 Barrowmaze Factions......................26 Barrowmaze: Endgame....................27 The Barrow Mounds........................28 The Barrow Mounds Hex Map...............29 Area One: ..........61 Area Two: .................81 Area Three: .............94 Area Four: ........100 Area Five: .............103 Area Six: ................112 Area Seven: . . .124 Area Eight: ...............139 Area Nine: ....153 Area Ten: .........157 ........................166 ....................167 _____........................168 New Magic Items.........................169 New Spells.............................174 New Monsters...........................177 Pregenerated Characters....................202 Rival Adventuring Parties....................204 Barrowmaze Character Sheet.................209 Barrowmaze Illustration Book.................211 Maps..................................234 Random Tables...........................240 Table 1: Barrowmoor Random Encounters.......240 Table 2: Brazen Strumpet Random Patron Generator........................241 Table 3: Dungeon Dressing.................242 Table 4: Pit Contents.....................243 Table 5: Graffiti.........................243 Table 6: Runic Tablet Result.................243 Table 7: Dungeon Restock..................243 Table 8: Sarcophagus Contents..............244 Barrow Mound Random Crypt Generator.........245 Open Game Content.......................253

    Further differences between earlier incarnations of Barrowmaze (I and II) and Barrowmaze Complete are listed at the Indiegogo site for this project:


    Just scroll down to ‘New Material’ to see the list.

    Yes, it’s expensive. I don’t know what to say about that. Junk is usually cheap, but good things often cost more. I could only afford this product because I was the proofreader for Richard LeBlanc’s Creature Compendium, and part of the cash he paid me went toward paying for this. And this is now one of the highest quality products I own. But paying for this should be easy if you’re smart. Just get five players to pony up $10 each for years of gaming. Cover the remaining $25 yourself and you’ve got yourself a deal.

    [5 of 5 Stars!]
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