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Hexplorer: Digital Hex Map Tiles
by 8X10 R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/12/2021 12:08:55

Amazing product, i love the art, I cant wait to see more like these.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hexplorer: Digital Hex Map Tiles
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Hexplorer Settlements: Core Set
by 8X10 R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/10/2021 23:39:28

I’m a bit disappointed with this pack as the images do not match the art style of the rest of the packs by this artist. It would only be expected that the art style would be consistant. I only noticed this after purchasing them all in one go. Sadly, this will be a pack I wont be using.

However, if you like 2mtt, this fits the style.

As a consumer, it was my fault for not looking at each image style prior to purchase. My assumption was made after looking at 3 that had the same art style.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Hexplorer Settlements: Core Set
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Creator Reply:
Hey 8X10R, Thank you so much for your purchase and for your thoughtful review. I will update the Settlements text to better explain the different between this art style here vs our other Hexplorer sets. Thanks again. ~Shane
Spectacular Settings #2: King Crab Brewhouse
by Andrew H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/27/2021 22:25:12

The location of the title is a crumbled, weatherworn island castle that has been turned into a brewhouse and tavern. As it falls far enough offshore to escape the King’s justice, the King Crab is a haven for sailors, smugglers, adventurers, pirates, and other sundry ne’er-do-wells. The thing that immediately jumps out is the beautiful map, a calling card of all Headless Hydra releases.

King Crab’s owner, Cuthbeart ‘Cutter’ MacAimish, the bald figure of the fantasic cover, is no mere brewer; he’s also a self-taught potion-maker who sells his concoctions to the tavern’s patrons. He’s an interesting individual. It would have been easy to simply make him a salty seadog or a seedy character, but instead MacAimish is a learned individual and a serial entrepreneur for whom the brewhouse represents just the latest in a string of ventures. He has the making of great recurring character due to his varied contacts. Half a dozen of MacAimish’s potions and brews are described here, including Tonic of the Oarsmen (basically an adrenal rush, used to help oarsmen push past their limits of endurance) to Grog of the Merfolk (enabling imbiders to breathe underwater and comprehend Aquan). Every concoction comes with an illustration.

Additional utility comes in the form of ten tavern encounters, ranging from a captain who has lost his ship to mutiny and promises a treasure map to anyone willing to help take it back to a desperate skipper who pleads for assistance as his anchored ship has been taken over by zombies.

There’s little doubt King Crab Brewery will see plenty of use, especially but not exclusively in sea-going campaigns, as a place where characters can seek adventure, schedule meets with shady individuals, sell or buy illicit goods, seek respite from the law, or find captains who can offer passage with no questions asked.

The only real complaint is that there’s a blank half page (an eighth of the total space devoted to text in this pdf) that could have been put to great use adding additional encounters or more detail on those already exist, some sample patrons, or some mystery related to the island (rumors of buried treasure or dungeons under the tavern, a hostile undead that wanders the shore bemoaning its inability to return to the sea and takes out its anger on sailors, and sonon) - something to add additional value and help bring the location further to life.

As it is, the product is good. I certainly recommend it, especially for gamemasters running a seafaring campaign. But like a slightly watered-down beer, it leaves you bemoaning the lack of stronger flavour.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Spectacular Settings #2: King Crab Brewhouse
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Sandbox Adventures #2: The Last Stand Tavern
by Andrew H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/13/2021 18:34:04

If you’re looking for a roadside inn to plug into your game, look no further than the aptly named Last Stand Tavern, the second release in Headless Hydra Press’ Sandbox Adventures Line.

The Last Stand Tavern was built 200 years ago on the foundations of an ancient ruin famous for being the site of a heroic stand against an overwhelming enemy (a fantasy Alamo, essentially). Broken remains of the curtain wall where the defenders fought and died still stand, surrounding the inn. Right of the bat, author Shane Collins has painted the picture of roadside inn infinitely more interesting than most of its kind in fantasy roleplaying games.

The tavern’s history isn’t just for background colour, though. Instead, it forms the basis for a brief sidetrek that occurs when the basement wall collapses (the result of an earthquake or masonry giving way due to age), revealing an ancient crypt beyond. PCs are tapped to investigate and come into conflict with a new monster known as a Frozen Phantom, the undead and thoroughly corrupted remains of an ice mage from ages past. This scene adds value and depth to the pdf.

The bulk of the product’s contents, naturally, focuses on detailing the tavern and its employees. There’s a lot of great detail here. Menu and room rates are written up as if on parchment paper signage, which can be printed and hand-out to players. We get d10 things that can happen to liven up an evening of booze-soaked revelry, ranging from a shady merchant trying to sell a scroll at a bargain-basement price to (literally) bumping into a disguised fugitive. And, best of all, four NPCS - owner, bartender, cook, and stableboy - are fleshed-out. Each has a detailed (and interesting) background, a secret to be revealed, and listing of possessions.

Production values are extremely high. The cover is haunting and evocative, and interior art is well done. The high resolution battlemaps (day, night, winter, and collapsed basement) are full colour and beautifully rendered, and we also get an equally attractive hexplorer map of the region that places the tavern in its context, along a road in a frontier region.

The only quibble, and it's a minor one based soleyly on semantics, comes as a result of it label as a sandbox adventure. Given how brief the basement crypt is, that's a bit of a misnomer. As I said, a minor quibble.

The Last Stand Tavern has a lot going for it, not the least of which is a cast of colorful characters. Its depth ensures you’ll want to make it more than just a place to pass through in your campaign, but a recurring character in its own right.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Sandbox Adventures #2: The Last Stand Tavern
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Sandbox Adventures #3: Hunted on the Snow Barrens
by A customer [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/04/2021 21:33:15

Hunted on the Snow Barrens is a 12-page, 5E module for 5th level characters written by Shane Collins for Headless Hydra Press’ Sandbox Adventures line.

A remote village in the desolate north has been plagued by animal attacks, driven to madness by an ancient god that lies dormant – but stirring - beneath the ice. The PCs are asked to put an end to the ruthless assault, inadvertently placing themselves into the middle of a personal animus between a paranoid, schizophrenic druid (who happens to be trying to revive the ancient god, Zovlidar) and a village headman with secrets of her own.

While the core of the adventure will ultimately take place within an ice cavern complex, Hunted on the Snow Barrens is far from a simple straight forward cave-delve, nor is it a linear in design. The first portion sees the party travel through the wilderness (brought to life with a fantastic, full colour hexplotation map) made dangerous by raging beasts and the ever-present threat of blizzards. Excellent blizzard progress mechanics make winter storms a genuine threat, rather than a mere nuisance. Glimpses of monsters through the driving snow, menacing footprints and fresh kills, and bone-jarring cold that’s as much a predatory as any Arctic wolf – if run aptly, the journey comes across as grim and deadly.

The ice cave, where the balance of the adventure takes place, is a well-designed eight room complex with an engaging mix of terrain challenges combats. It’s thoughtful and has excellent internal consistency. The climax of the adventure brings the simmering hatred between the druid and the village headman to boil, opening up the opportunity for interesting roleplaying as the PCs are forced to make a difficult choice that may test their morals.

In addition to the five pages of actual adventure, Hunted on the Snow Barrens includes two new magic items (frost fang and cloak of eternal summer); the northern owl bear, a new monster that blends owl bear with polar bear (and which will likely splatter the white snow with PCs’ blood if their not cautious); and stats for all monsters found within the adventure, so there’s no need to flip through other books.

Production values are top-notch. Its beautifully illustrated, layout is professional and user-friendly, and maps - including three high resolution battlemaps of the ice cavern (day, night, labeled) – are stunning.

Hunted on the Snow Barrens hits all the beats of a great D&D dungeon crawl —a fight atop a rickety rope bridge spanning a steam-filled crevasse, pulling a magic blade from the ice, a chanting ritual to a fell deity – but also has an interest in characterization and atmosphere that separates it from the pack. It’s obvious Shane Collins was having terrific fun with Arctic genre staples.

Easy to plug into any northern campaign, Hunted on the Snow Barrens is as refreshing as a flicker of warmth in a cold, cold world.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Sandbox Adventures #3: Hunted on the Snow Barrens
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