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Southlands Campaign Setting
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Carl C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/04/2018 16:22:50

Southlands is massive. It's "face" is made out of two well-known tropes, both in a unique "Midgard" version - Arabian Nights and Pharaonic Egypt. These are the places an explorer from the north are likely to encounter first, and they are reasonably familiar to most gamers - except that these takes are special, not just the standard rehashed. Further south are even more exotic places, likely less well known to most gamers - jungle and desert lands. Each country is detailed as a homeland, there are rules for Traits and sometimes whole races typical to the origin. The feel of these places is more sword-and-sorcery than medieval romance. Few places are good or bad, it is very much a patchwork of greys.

On one hand, this is the GM's secret world book detailing new and exotic places. On the other hand, it is the player's handbook for a new continent, with loads and loads of new character opportunities. And perhaps this is the problem with the book; it doesn't quite know who it is for.

This review is based on the PDF from the kickstarter; I've not seen the physical book yer, but it looks like it will be gorgeous. Layout is open with the right amount of space, art is gorgeous, and the maps look wonderful. It feels like the PDF format doesn't quite do them justice.

Edit: I now have the physical book and... the PDF was actually more impressive. In the PDF I can zoom in on the art and maps to see detail that gets lost in the print version. Still, the print book is gorgeous, and a good piece to casually put on your table to impress guests with - even non-gamer friends.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Southlands Campaign Setting
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Mini-Dungeon #058: The Palace of Ahmad Sahir
Publisher: AAW Games
by Carl C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/04/2018 16:16:27

This scenario is a series of interconnected fights. There is a plot, but it doesn't really come into action. There are no motivations given and no basis for interactions other than fighting.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon #058: The Palace of Ahmad Sahir
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Mini-Dungeon Tome (Pathfinder RPG)
Publisher: AAW Games
by Carl C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/04/2018 16:11:52

A useful product, which is very much as presented in the advert. You get what is shown, and you get a lot of it.

There are many, many adventures each sutiable for 1-3 hours of play depending on how your group plays adventures; my group might take 4+hours with some of these. The illustrations are good and well selected stock art. The maps are custom-made for each scenario and range from ok to inspired, all are in color and suitable for use as tabletop maps, even if some might need minor edits to hide secret doors, traps and such. From merely browsing the book, I find the adventures to be straightforward, there is only so much that can be done in this format. Do some minor research, go to a location, confront the problem there. Combat is a good option in some cases, but others require a more subtle approach. The are not all literal dungeons, but they are location-based; there is an environment to explore and the stgory develops as you go from location to location. This limits the complexities of the plot, but it is an old and proven adventure format that works. All adventures have a short background and an interesting antagonist, and this is the core of a scenario to me.

There are hints in the text of some of the scenarios that they are intended to be mini-series, but if so I could not find this explicitely listed. I would have enjoyed that.

All stat blocks are in a large appendix, and abbreviated by using symbols instead of the names of various statistics, such as ability scores and skills. While this saves a lot of space, I find it makes the stat blocks a bit harder to read. Perhaps this will become easier over time, and it allowed more content to be crammed into the book.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Dungeon Tome (Pathfinder RPG)
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Lords of Gossamer & Shadow (Diceless) Kickstarter preview
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Carl C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/02/2018 15:40:10

As an introduction to Lords of Gossamer & Shadow, this is good - and you can't beat the price. Gossamer & Shadow is a development of Amber Diceless Role-Playing, that I personally am not fond of. But if you like diceless, and a system that encourages competition between the players, this is definitely worth checking out. It showcases the most important aspects of the game, without giving away all the detail you might be paying for when you get the full version.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Lords of Gossamer & Shadow (Diceless) Kickstarter preview
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Heroic Maps - Storeys: Scrivener Street
Publisher: Heroic Maps
by Carl C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/22/2017 12:59:52

Absolutely lovely, a street I'd like to live on - except for those crazy adventurers that will come thru now that its mapped!

I buy maps to display on an flatscreen TV on the tabletop that we use for a playing surface. Not sure how that is relevant really - but I have never printed any of the Heroic Maps mapsets I bought. I am rating them as I see them on the screen.

That said, this, like all other Heroic Maps set I have, is amazing. I have to say that this one is even better than usual - the 2 story idea is very immersive for rogue or vigilante action. Beyond this, the maps are also works of art - the buildings feel lived in, with practical solutions, overhangs, chimneys, toilets... I have an interest in old houses in real life, and I must say these give a very genuine feel.

I ordinarily rate Heroic Maps 5/5 becasue of the quality of the art. If I could, I would rathe this 6/5, as I feel this exceeds even the highs standards of other Heroic Maps products.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Heroic Maps - Storeys: Scrivener Street
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Adventure Quarterly #7 (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Carl C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/05/2017 03:26:55

Adventure Quarterly seeks to be the spiritual successor to Dungeon Magazine, a very tall order. It took Dungeon many, many years to become what it was in the best days with Paizo. But AQ delivers surprisingly well. The adventures are fun and varied, with opportunities for both exploration, interaction, and combat. NPCs have motivations beyont their immediate goals, a key when the GM role-plays them. The custom-made illustrations are adequate and clear, useful as handouts and descriptions. Actually, the artwork is so good that the magazine could increase the page count simply by giving it more space - it feels a little cramped sometimes. The maps go from useful to inspired. For someone like me who uses a flatscreen TV as a play surface, maps like these that are more than just the walls are a godsend. Overall, I cannot recommend AQ enough, and would like to see its circulation spread so that it can become more than just quarterly and generally have more resources to play around with.

/Carl Cramér



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure Quarterly #7 (PFRPG)
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Heroic Maps - Giant Maps: Hinaga Monastery
Publisher: Heroic Maps
by Carl C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/07/2017 06:14:58

This is a small eastern monastery in a blooming cherry forest. The detail and use of color is amazing. I increased the contrast alittle to use this as a battlemap, which lessens the effect as a work of art. Yes, this is a work of art. You can hang this on your wall, then take the frame down and game on it. Love it!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Heroic Maps - Giant Maps: Hinaga Monastery
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Heroic Maps - Encounters: Coastal Locations
Publisher: Heroic Maps
by Carl C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/07/2017 06:12:41

These smaller maps are less useful to me - I prefer the larger encoutner maps. I still rate this 5/5, as the quality is amazing and the previews shows exactly what you get - if you like the previews, you will love the final result.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Heroic Maps - Encounters: Coastal Locations
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Heroic Maps - Encounters: Winter Forest Altar
Publisher: Heroic Maps
by Carl C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/07/2017 06:11:00

A small map with an outdoors altar in winter. Intended for use with other parts of the same series, but works well alone too. Heroic Map's maps are works of art, this is no exception, but they are also very playable.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Heroic Maps - Encounters: Winter Forest Altar
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Heroic Maps - Thricewatch Lake
Publisher: Heroic Maps
by Carl C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/07/2017 06:09:02

Lovely mood and detail - it really feels cold. I run these on a flatscreen TV on my tabletop, which loses out on a lot fo the resoultion, but it still looks amazing even so. The previews give a good impression of what it really looks like - it will look as good on your tabletop. Highly recommended!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Heroic Maps - Thricewatch Lake
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Heroic Maps - Storeys: The Mage's Tower
Publisher: Heroic Maps
by Carl C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/07/2017 06:06:45

Clear, chrisp, and still with a lot of mood. This also comes with a small exterior illustration, I appreciate this greatly for my players' benenefit.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Heroic Maps - Storeys: The Mage's Tower
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Heroic Maps - Giant Maps: Fort Ravenswall
Publisher: Heroic Maps
by Carl C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/06/2017 14:17:47

This obvious fan project is not one of my favorites from Heroic Maps. I am not likely to every use a fort by an ice wall in my games. I still unashamedly give it five stars; the mood, the level of detail, the consistency with the chosen theme, all these things mark Heroic Maps as a notch about abything else i have seen. And their work gets better and better over time.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Heroic Maps - Giant Maps: Fort Ravenswall
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Trapsmith (Pathfinder RPG)
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Carl C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/20/2016 14:29:03

This is an excellent book - on a rather narrow subject. If you are looking for a book of traps, this is a very good book. Several different sets of traps with different authors and slightly different moods. Even a cute little scenario featuring everyone's favorite draconic humanoids.

What rates this bookless than top grade is that I had hoped for more behind-the-scenes materials on traps, how they are made, from an in-game perspective. It does feature notes for how the GM can incorporate traps into the gam. Overall it is a very GM-focused book.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Trapsmith (Pathfinder RPG)
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Cat & Mouse for Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Carl C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/18/2016 14:37:46

A very cute and encouraging introductory adventure, from which many further plots can be spawned. A good introduction to the Southlands setting, but not rooted there; it can work in most oriental cities with a spread of races. Beautifully illustrated and mapped.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cat & Mouse for Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
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Eleven Arabian Nights
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Carl C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/18/2016 12:16:41

THe book begins with shorter scenarios, plots that can be inserted into acampaign at any point. This is about half of them. The second half is longer stories, that are likely to take more than one session to play. The themes are a mix of arabian nights and pulp; there are the obligatory pulpy dungeons but also fairy tales with djinns. Overall I liked the book. It is a mix of high and low, humor and gritty dungeon-delving. Every eader is sure to like some of the stories, but most are also likely to dislike others.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Eleven Arabian Nights
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