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    Adventure Framework 34: Carnifexum
    Publisher: Pickpocket Press
    by A customer [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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    City of Illanter: Kellerin's Rumble
    Publisher: The Merciless Merchants
    by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 10/08/2018 12:08:30

    The basic premise is that the PCs inherit a warehouse, and gain an invitation to a notorious gambling event. While some of the party are playing games of chance, others may be attempting rescues, burglary, or gaining information. I would recommend using multiple hooks from the given list, and would definitely include the rescue of a nobleman's daughter as the PCs are given a vital sketch map. Success will be measured in monetary profit, not numbers of foes slain.

    Remarkable similarity to tackling a (Sean Connery/Roger Moore era) Bond villain: (i) you play him at games of chance; (ii) he has an exotic partner; (iii) owns a grand residence; (iv) his henchmen wear brightly coloured clothes; (v) one possible task is "rescue the girl"; (vi) crocodiles and big cats to avoid; (vii) opponents killed in horrific/unusual ways (acid bath).

    Strengths: (i) Plenty for the PCs to do, and ample motivation to do it. They need gambling funds, so will wish to fence paintings from the warehouse; exploring the sewers will pave the way for a stealthy entry into the mansion. (ii) Interesting distinctive magic items. (A hallmark of this author.) (iii) Many intriguing NPCs well described in just a few words; should be a roleplaying treat. (iv) Lots of potential follow up encounters. (v) Nice clear maps gathered at the end.

    Cautions/Weaknesses: (i) Referees will need to read the whole carefully and manage a divided party; it might benefit from a paragraph describing a likely chain of events. (ii) Does it really take one hour to play Shut the Box with nine players? A few minutes seems more reasonable. (iii) Kellerin should have extra cash in the games room, so that he can buy out gambling pledges. (iv) Some tables have very small print.

    This version appears identical to a free download from the author's website. Whatever happens, it should be exciting. In play, my group were big monetary winners; they rescued the nobleman's daughter, robbed some chests, but one character was slain by a surprise attacker. As a PWYW offering, happy to give this full marks. Highly recommended.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    City of Illanter: Kellerin's Rumble
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    Creator Reply:
    Thank you very much for your review and great feedback! Glad your group had fun! This adventure has very minor changes (misspellings, etc.) compared to the patreon version. Other upcoming patreon adventures being sold here, I hired an editor. Thanks again for your time!
    Mass Battle Toolkit
    Publisher: Pickpocket Press
    by A customer [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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    Forest of Secrets
    Publisher: Rising Phoenix Games
    by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 09/26/2018 07:51:50

    Solo adventure with a time constraint: the final encounter is harder if soldiers reach the end cave before the character. Lacks meaningful choices: the end reward is the same whether your character opts to be honourable or mercenary. Would be improved by the addition of codewords, for example HONOURABLE and MERCENARY, that may change according to character actions; some encounters should play differently according to which codeword, if any, is held. A potentially interesting encounter with a satyr may be missed. Otherwise variety in replays seems to depend on random encounters rolled. A good addition would be areas where profit is available at the expense of time.



    Rating:
    [2 of 5 Stars!]
    Forest of Secrets
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    Guests For Dinner
    Publisher: Random Table Games
    by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 09/16/2018 10:53:03

    Short adventure suitable for a regular company of low level adventurers, or a larger group of zero level types. Quick rules are included for the latter (funnel). Familiar themes of cannibal cultists and necromancy, but carried off with some style, supported by a nice clear map. Good clue to a pit trap. Variety in the encounters as some will start with dialogue; good use of horror. Could be clearer about who has keys to which door: who holds keys for the locked door to area 6?

    Recommended.



    Rating:
    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    Guests For Dinner
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    Thief of Kasar
    Publisher: Trollish Delver Games
    by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 09/16/2018 10:22:08

    Given its brevity, there are a surprising number of different possible approaches (and hence replay value) to this thieving mission (which becomes an assassination). Would be improved by a persuasion/talking option in the climactic encounter, given Pyra's motivation for the original theft.

    Recommended.



    Rating:
    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    Thief of Kasar
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    Adventure Framework 26: Cloudcrag
    Publisher: Pickpocket Press
    by A customer [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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    Statues
    Publisher: Coiled Sheets of Lead
    by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 08/02/2018 10:40:18

    A different from the norm, fun scenario. Essentially a treasure hunt the whole city is excited about, with clues to the ultimate location to be found on certain statues. Combats may happen, but they are not the focus. Creative thinking will be rewarded, and the PCs should select a strategy that best fits their abilities. They might pretend to be city maintenance officials, for example, in one case. The challenges are nicely varied. Groups should pick up as much gossip as possible. There is welcome continuity as rivals (possibly short term partners) can be met multiple times. Gaining the loot isn't the end: there are restless dead to be appeased, and prospective buyers to be found. For the latter, some choices will work much better than others. To feed some necessary information, I had a funeral procession pass by the PCs, with people in the crowd muttering "That is the third rival of X to have an accident in the last month. Bet no one trusts him twice", answered with "They don't get the chance".

    Highly recommended.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Statues
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    WGR6 The City of Skulls (2e)
    Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
    by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 08/02/2018 09:14:56

    Classic rescue the prisoner scenario. Strengths: (i) Organic mixture of combat, sneaking, trap avoidance and dealing/bargaining with NPC foes. (ii) There is more than one way to succeed, many more to fail. Action is far from linear. (iii) The notoriety system is an excellent game mechanic which rewards clever play and penalises sloppy play. (iv) Pregenerated characters are always welcome, for comparison if nothing else, but in this module players might not have characters with the right alignment or lack certain skills. A hand-picked mixture of regular PCs and pregens makes perfect sense in the context of the mission. (v) There is a political dimension to the mission, and it makes sense for the King not to risk his top advisors. (vi) Nice descriptions, evoking the atmosphere of a depraved nightmarish city of backstabbing and bullying. There is the mock courtroom of Judge Streichen and his black cap; the trophy room of the psychopath Mordlok; the noxious bodies in the sewers; the snivelling cowardice of a jail sub-commander Kerlenzen. (vii) Living dungeon: people do move in and out.

    Cautions/Weaknesses: (i) This is a challenging module, both for players and the referee. Players will need their best game, and referees will have to adjudicate unexpected strategies. There are some helpful examples from playtesting. (ii) Maps are spread out. (iii) Merouac, an illusionist, has been assigned non-allowable spells; the pregen Carlenna has been given magic items she can't fully use.

    Could be summarised as a "James Bond mission dungeon adventure": that captures the excitement level and required levels of derring do. Any party that succeeds will have a rousing tale to tell. Top notch, highly recommended.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    WGR6 The City of Skulls (2e)
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    Ebonclad - A Thieves' Guild Setting & Adventures
    Publisher: Dan Coleman Productions
    by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 06/26/2018 10:19:46

    Thieves seem to get the unglamorous roles in D&D games: scouts, lock pickers and trap detectors. Few scenarios seem to use their range of criminal skills. Some may remember the excellent Thieves' Guild materials by Kerry Lloyd and co-workers, which introduced modules suitable for Raffles style thefts, or carefully planned heists, Ebonclad follows in this tradition.

    This review will concentrate on material directly related to adventures. There are a number of helpful tables to generate items of wealth to be pickpocketted, and residential items of value for robberies. The list of urban chase complications should enliven any foot race. Chaper 5, comprising 58 pages, contains seven missions. These are delightfully varied: some investigations with a final combat; a burglary to find an item; manipulating events to discredit an invention, or prevent a marriage. The last group are particularly enjoyable, as the PCs get a chance to dream up schemes. Outright brutality may draw unwelcome attention from the Kintallan Guard. Charm and Illusion magic will be an asset. The missions are fairly short, with plenty of guidance. There are helpful sidebar summaries with bullet points; in contrast, the PCs' Ebonclad boss tends to drone on for several paragraphs.

    A solid collection of scenairos, with a couple very good. I would be interested in what the author could make of a longer, more involved adventure such as manipulating an election to high office, or a gang war. Recommended.



    Rating:
    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    Ebonclad - A Thieves' Guild Setting & Adventures
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    Ironwood Gorge
    Publisher: Ludibrium Games
    by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 06/26/2018 08:48:21

    A human outpost (the Bleak Tower) is under siege by the Split Tongue orc tribe. Can the PCs defeat the source of the trouble in the Ironwood Gorge?

    A familiar set up, but with some interesting twists and features: (i) Intrigue amongst the residents of Bleak Tower; (ii) Travel to the 2 level dungeon via the Ironwood should be a memorable and creepy experience. A new monster, the Ironwood Dryad, is a nice variant on a classic, suitable for a Mirkwood-like forest; (iii) Geographical features come into play in the gorge; (iv) There are allies to find; displaced and downtrodden goblins have useful information; a good variety of combat encounters, including some new monsters; (v) The Split Tongue orc tribe is well described, with tension between the Warlord and the Priest; (vi) There are bonus areas to discover, and multiple routes to find and exploit.

    My group needed three trips and an alliance with the dwarves to defeat the orcs. There are many "stop the humanoid raiders" adventures available, but this is a superior one. Highly recommended.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Ironwood Gorge
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    The Red Prophet Rises
    Publisher: The Merciless Merchants
    by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 06/26/2018 08:45:51

    A superior product, oozing flavour, some fantastic imagery. I am reminded of Thulsa Doom's caves in the 1982 Conan the Barbarian movie; I fancy there is a reference to that film when acolytes staring into a reflecting pool claim to see "uh...infinity". Stealthy raids whilst wearing disguises look to be the best bet, and there is plenty of opportunity for sneaking and bluffing before the inevitable clash of swords. There are some well-crafted, distinctive magic items; memorable foes; well described locations, for example a gladiatorial arena with a floor that absorbs blood; monsters which are variants on the classics; interesting allies to free and recruit. I would prefer all the maps to be gathered together (or on the inside covers).

    No difficulty in converting and running this in WFRP (2e): the Bull God can be an aspect of Khorne that permits spellcasting; bugbears and centaurs can become bestigor brutes and centigors; named distinctive magic items are an advantage in a low magic setting. "Conrad of Bavaria" led the attack (and claimed the horse).

    Highly recommended. This is the Swords and Sorcery module TSR never wrote.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    The Red Prophet Rises
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    TS2 - Doughty Princess
    Publisher: Adventures in Filbar
    by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 06/26/2018 08:34:49

    Serviceable solo adventure: a looting raid on a waterlogged ship. One or two more potential discoveries would spice things up: some sealed orders or a treasure map could lead to further adventures. Some suggested improvements: (i) A failed roll from 4f should lead to 10a with the snake having surprise; (ii) 11b is missing statistics for the Vine Blight; (iii) In 17d, the result of the die roll makes no difference, all roads lead to 13a. Possibly 11a should lead to a combat.



    Rating:
    [3 of 5 Stars!]
    TS2 - Doughty Princess
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    Adventure Framework 13: Gift of the Silent God
    Publisher: Pickpocket Press
    by A customer [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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    Adventure Framework 24: Battle For Rivertop
    Publisher: Pickpocket Press
    by A customer [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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