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Worldbuilder's Notebook - Print-It-Yourself
by Dylan C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/10/2021 13:01:03

Both the physical notebook and the printer friendly files are fantastic. I've used mainly these printer verions (as I don't want to "ruin" the notebook on doodles!), and they're easy to print, high quality, and wonderful to use.

The resources are exceptionally handy. Highly recommend this product.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Worldbuilder's Notebook - Print-It-Yourself
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The Tomb of Black Sand
by Cosmo C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/27/2020 18:06:56

Depending on what you're looking for in an adventure module this could easily range from 5 stars to 3 stars. Let's break it down:

The Good
  • Incredibly interesting setting
  • Great backstory
  • Gorgeous presentation, art, maps, etc
  • Easily a piece that could be "plugged in" to another campaign or setting
The Bad
  • Very difficult to figure out how to run this as a module
  • Not much clear direction for what the players should do or how they should interact with the world
  • If running the suggested play "all the characters start out stuck in the dungeon" there really aren't very good clues for them to figure out what's going on or how to deal with it. In other words there is a ton of backstory but virtually no clear idea for how to get that backstory to the players.
Overall

Overall this is very well-created, exceptionally crafted, quality work. If you want something that works as a good and interesting setting and not a stand-alone adventure module this is great. If you're looking for clever ideas, interetsing new monsters, or just an interesting read then definitely pick this up. If you're looking for a stand-alone adventure module to run the players through be prepared for a lot of work. I for one am very glad I picked this up.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Tomb of Black Sand
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A Field Guide to Hot Springs Island
by Scott G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/15/2020 18:00:44

This, along with "The Dark..." deserves all the high praise it gets. So many RPG books waste >50% of space on stats. No self-respecting GM should ever need or want stats in their source books (IMNSHO).

Here we have the who, the what, the why. The story! And yet it is a sandbox (or powder keg, take you pick).

Plenty of unusual creatures, plants, animals, items. All with particular quirks, things that make them weird, interesting, surprising, dangerous. This is how source book were meant to be written.

One critique: many bookmarks are broken in the pdf file such as the last 3rd of plants and last 3rd of beasts. Please fix!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Field Guide to Hot Springs Island
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The Dark of Hot Springs Island
by Joonas L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/26/2019 05:37:14

I don't really use premade adventures anymore in my games, but HSI is an exception. It is the best sandbox game on the market, all original tasting fantasy, easily slottable into whatever fantasy world you're running.

Your players won't be able to tell exactly what they're facing. Many of the encounters seem like something you already know, but if you take your time to understand what's going on, you'll learn you were wrong, and the real deal is much more nuanced.

The magic items alone are worth the asking price. None of them are what you'd expect, and they weave a fascinating story about the island's history and culture, when uncovered.

Simply exploring the island, hex by hex (with each hex having three layers of secrets to uncover!), is all the gaming plan you'll need for the next year or two. Our office game has been on the island for all of 2019 (ten sessions or more), and they've barely scratched the surface.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Dark of Hot Springs Island
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The Dark of Hot Springs Island
by Fredrik S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/05/2019 20:42:22

This book is fantastic, it's not for everyone, but it's genuinely amazing.

There isn't a single NPC that isn't in some way connected to another NPC and I shudder to imagine what would happen if you killed one of them. When you start a fresh campaign on the Hot Springs Island, everything is in a perfect status quo. The moment you apply your players, everything will begin to topple. Helping a faction can well enough lead to the extinction of another faction and you might think that "other modules have that too" but I can assure you that Hot Springs Island is very unique in its spiderweb of politics. All factions and important NPC's have a "Want" and "Do not want" list, which makes it easier for you as a GM to keep track of NPC reactions to player actions, it makes the NPC's very fleshed out.

Watch as your players quickly realize that their actions have consequences, observe as their smiles contort into awe as the Island itself reacts to which faction they are helping. Will they ally with one of the factions or will they work independently? Will they usurp the people in charge and become kings and queens on a paradise island? Will they fight heroically against terrifying monsters and trade their various bodyparts for services and goods? Or will they die overdosing on some strange plants while discussing the "nature of honor and sacrifice" with a lava hydra?

Your players can do this and it will make sense in context.

The book art is consistent, immersive and amazing. The book layout is phenomenal and with hyperlinks, it's very easy to navigate. The rest of the industry should take notes. Although, I would recommend against giving the players the Field Hand Guide, as I prefer to have my players explore the things in real-time. (I'll keep the Field Guide to myself, to read when I need inspiration).

The entire book is filled with tables and dungeon maps that together make for a very replayable module, I wholeheartedly believe that you could play the same dungeon 5 times in a row and it wouldn't be the same. The creatures in this book aren't statted, which means that they aren't tied to any levels, abilities or numbers. This offers a great opportunity for you as a GM to take any monster on the island and make it a monster for your players to fight whenever you want. If you want a giant worm-monster to be a fifth level encounter, you can do that and no one would be the wiser. This also means that the book is compatible with any system, but it's also compatible with any other setting since it's a self-contained island. Do you want a Planescape campaign? You can start from the Hot Springs Island. You're out of ideas for your Mystara campaign? Turns out the Hot Springs Island was always on the map all along! Are your players done with the Hot Springs Island? Pretend that the island was always in Eberron and have them continue their adventure somewhere else. If you don't need the Hot Springs Island anymore, the tables are sure to come in handy in other aspects of your GM'ing.

The Hot Springs Island is very much worth the price, very well done Swordfish Islands!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Dark of Hot Springs Island
by James F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/22/2018 00:16:53

This setting/module is amazing! The group that I DM for (5e D&D) just finished this product after about 3-4 months and we loved every minute of it. As a DM it offered me excellent motivations for every major and minor player on the island, and since it is system neutral I was able to tweak most of the encounters and puzzles to be level appropriate. Had I been running another system I would have found the setting very easy to shift in difficulty and tone.

If you run a fantasy game do yourself a favor and pick up this and the Field Guide, there are lots of resources to help you run it and it is an absolute blast both for GameMasters and Players.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Dark of Hot Springs Island
by Ben R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/04/2017 19:44:48

The layout of this book is just fantastic. I love the way the descriptions for rooms/areas are written, it makes it very easy to ad-lib descriptions without having to slog through a boring description paragraph to feel like you've adequately described a location. There's just SO MUCH DETAIL in every little bit of this, and it does a great job at feeling like a living, breathing world, no matter where the players go.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Field Guide to Hot Springs Island
by Ben R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/04/2017 19:43:12

Written as an in-universe book, this is just filled with amazing content. I couldn't stop reading once I got ahold of it. The physical book works as an amazing prop, as well. Top notch quality all around.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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The Dark of Hot Springs Island
by Chad S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/14/2017 09:31:42

I'll be honest, I'm not really good at writing reviews, but I had to say something about this one. I got this as part of a charity bundle and knew nothing about it. I was blown away at how much is packed in here and how well it's done. It's listed as system neutral / OSR, but I can't see any reason I couldn't run it with any of my go-to game systems.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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The Dark of Hot Springs Island
by sean m. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/30/2017 07:41:36

Recommend.Must buy if like OSR or HEXcrawls.Fabulous.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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