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Curious Items: Masks
by JK R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/21/2014 04:20:46
A 31 page book (excluding cover, credits, and license), this describes a range of masks, from the mundane to the magical. The artwork is basic, but the book is well written, and includes a great variety of items. It begins with a list of twelve types of standard mask, which serve as a starting point for the later discussions, as well as an expansion to a typical equipment list.

After that, there are seven alchemical or mechanical masks, most of which duplicate more advanced technology (gas masks, diving masks, etc.) These are relatively cheap, and could well be useful, if your campaign allows such things - they could alternatively be replaced by something that uses simple magic to achieve its effects. Finally, there are sixteen magical items based on the mask theme, ranging from CLs of 3rd to 10th. With many of these, the fact that the item happens to be a mask is just a cool effect (albeit one that lets you the face slot for things you normally wouldn't), but others are directly linked to disguise, altered personae and the like.

The book rounds out with a description of a mask shop and its owner, which is well written, but fairly standard as shopping locations go.

All in all, I liked this book; it's an original idea for something a bit different, and easy to place in any campaign world. Some might prefer higher production values, but I can see this being useful enough that I'll give it 4.5/5.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Curious Items: Masks
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Graph Paper Pack: Hex Grid
by Robert S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/26/2012 19:04:02
the hexes look ... awful. You can see every pixel and with coloured background they look even worse. Cannot recommend this product at all.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Graph Paper Pack: Hex Grid
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Publisher Reply:
Thank you for telling us about this problem. Please download the updated hex paper; we have changed the graphics compression to make it higher resolution. This should solve the pixilation problem with the hexes.
Two Bit Tables: Portals of Every Shape and Size
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/12/2012 18:09:49
If you need to generate a quick description of a magic portal and you're running low on imagination (or you find yourself returning to the same tropes repeatedly), drop four bits (not two; two bits is 25¢) on this handy set of tables. A few quick die rolls will give you a nice description that you can use as-is or tweak to suit your taste.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Two Bit Tables: Portals of Every Shape and Size
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Two Bit Tables: Feasts for All Occasions - More Courses
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/17/2012 09:27:24
Sort of a "random food table" for feasts in your RPG campaign. There's no real in-game function here, just a series of tables of food types to add descriptive color to an in-game event. I'm not sure how useful this would be for most roleplayers, but there are bound to be a few GMs out there who would get a little bit of use out of this, and the price is certainly reasonable enough. WARNING: Reading this product may make you hungry.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Two Bit Tables: Feasts for All Occasions - More Courses
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The Sages Must be Crazy: Let Them Eat Cake
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/31/2011 09:57:58
Adventurers live in a very harsh, tense world. They regularly face monsters and evil-doers in mortal combat, often while on a quest to save their town, country, or even world. Given that, one would expect them to take at least some time to kick back and relax, perhaps even have a little fun. Unfortunately, there’s little in the game rules that are helpful in that regard, and so most players are left on their own to figure out how their PCs would blow off stress. But thanks to Healing Fireball, adding a lighter touch to your game is a piece of cake! How, you ask? With their light-hearted book The Sages Must Be Crazy: Let Them Eat Cake.

Let Them Eat Cake is a brief sourcebook for 3.5 gaming, and comes with two PDF files. The first is the main product, with the second being a printer-friendly version thereof (you could call that the icing on the cake). The printer-friendly version is printer-friendly largely because it removed the background coloring that the main file has, but it still kept the interior images. This isn’t really that bad, since these are small black-and-white pictures (along with the occasional sidebar graphic), but seems slightly unnecessary. Still, it’s unlikely to tax your printer too much. On the plus side, both files have bookmarks, which is always a plus.

Presented by the humorless sage Ebenzer Killjoy, this book is presented as a treatise warning against pranksters who would use delicious foodstuffs as a way of pranking a community with low-class magic. In that regard, the book is divided into three parts.

The first introduces a handful of new spells. All very low-level, these have things such as making a pie exceptionally sour, changing the flavor of an object, or deadening someone’s taste buds. There’s nothing here that’ll make you a combat expert, certainly, but I liked that these offered something new – when’s the last time you saw a spell that cursed someone with being unable to enjoy the flavor of food?

The second section introduces new cakes and pies that are made alchemically. Though the name of the book deals with cake, there are also pies and rolls of bread to be found here. From icing that has a purgative agent mixed into it to bread that explodes when you cut it to pie that makes it impossible to speak for a few minutes after you’ve eaten it, there’s a lot of creative prank ideas here. Perhaps best of all is the sidebar covering how to use a thrown pie as a weapon.

The final section is cakes that are actually created as magic items. From dough that magically expands beyond its normal confines to lead pound cake (it weighs ten pounds!), these are wacky foods as only spellcasters could create. My personal favorite was the cake that explodes, when cut, into a burst of confetti and balloons (with a sidebar on variant “flavors”).

Ultimately, Let Them Eat Cake is a product that isn’t for all occasions, but shines when you really need it. If you want a trickster character that is out to cause mischief and fun-tinged mayhem, this is an excellent arsenal of magic to arm him with. With this book, you can add a lighter side to your character, letting them have their cake and eat it too.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Sages Must be Crazy: Let Them Eat Cake
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A Year of Celebrations: January
by JK R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/30/2011 05:50:30
This booklet is the first of a series, each covering possible celebrations and other atmospheric information to cover one month of the year. It is ten pages long (not counting the cover and contents page) and comes in both a colour and a printer-friendly B&W version. The colour version includes interior artwork, consisting of public domain images of early Victorian life.

Most fantasy worlds, in my experience, do not use the Gregorian calendar, or even a close variant of it, which means that the product will probably require some adaptation to use in such a game. That's unavoidable, of course, given the profusion of possible calendars out there, and its easy to transplant the celebrations provided to wherever they would fit in your own calendar.

This booklet provides four celebrations, based around the concepts of the dead of winter, and of the New Year. (The latter, of course, may also vary in fantasy worlds - many real world cultures consider the year to start at the beginning of spring, and this is also a popular choice in the published fantasy settings I've looked at). Each includes details of the celebration itself, generic notes on its history, and advice on how they might apply to characters working as entertainers.

The celebrations are fairly generic, and easily adaptable to any game world that actually has a winter season. They seem to assume a fairly low level of ambient magic, but that's probably not a bad default. There's also a one page summary of the month, and although not really providing anything you couldn't find on Wikipedia, it makes sense to include this to set the scene.

The booklet rounds out with some general advice on how to incorporate festivals into your games, which one hopes will not be repeated too much in the later supplements.

All in all, if you want to add a few celebrations to your game to enhance the atmosphere or to serve as plot hooks for your PCs, this is a pretty handy source of ideas, and not bad for $1.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
A Year of Celebrations: January
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Just Add Dice: Random Cave Designer
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/30/2010 13:05:04
Bottom Line: Does it do what it says (give tables that generate interesting natural-not-dungeon caves?) Yes. Was it worth $5? It was to me.

The rest are just nits for the prehistoric purist such as myself.

As most of these products do, there is a subtle D&D bias that assumes these are going to be placed in a bog-standard 'Elf/Dwarf/Hobbit' fantasy world. Doesn’t detract from the product *much* but it shows its head when "Strange/Rare" results are generated, instead of supplying a table it just says "go look in your D&D books!". I'm paraphrasing. Sigh.

Very good spelling and grammar. Always a surprise in these products.

The tables will not produce a map. Sizes are given as Small, Medium, Large and Huge. It don’t consider this a fatal flaw, but some will and it does seem like it would have been pretty easy to add one page to fix this. Small = 10’x10’, Large = 20’x20’, etc.

My biggest gripe is that the maps appear to be able to appear in ANY terrain. The terrain where the cave is found is never addressed at all. Even Judges Guild back in its Caves & Caverns book did that.

So for example, a Limestone cave could appear anywhere and a “Marl” can has the same chance of appearing as a “Variolite” cave. A Basalt cave (volcanic) could appear deep in the heart of a jungle.

I don’t know geography well enough to know if this is true or not. I was hoping that this type of research was part of what I’m paying for.

Metal/Gem deposits are very good and well thought out. No mention of the quantity or location however.

I appreciated the brief but complete descriptions. Enough to use in play but not so much it looked like a wiki entry was copy-and-pasted.

Cave smells is very cool.

Seems like it would be more convenient to have Cave Entrances in the front of the book. No big deal.

I’m a little disappointed that the Cave Entrances have so much man-made technology in them. For prehistoric role-playing I’ll have to make my own table to get rid of those entries. No big deal.

Hallway and Room features are very nice, though the tables seem to generate a LOT of ‘dead end’ Hallways.

Overall, I nicely done supplement, well priced for what it is and complete enough so that no two caves will ever be exactly the same.

That’s what I was looking for and that’s what I got.

Thanks! I’m definitely going to TableSmith this for my OG games!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Just Add Dice: Random Cave Designer
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Two Bit Tables: Dark, Evil and Macabre Items
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/16/2009 12:55:03
The concept is simple, a series of tables to roll on; each containing a fine assortment of horrific items to scatter around the room or complex or lair that you are designing. Even when you have a clear image in your mind as to what you want, imagination can sometimes run a bit thin... and as an added bonus, something you roll up may spawn an additional idea to weave into your plotline or even send it off in a new direction.

The tables range from one of human body parts to an array of jars (including contents), animals, weapons and even one of 'Disturbing Art' and another titled 'Gory and Disturbing'... not things I want in my living room, but then I'm not a necromancer!

The one that really takes my fancy, though, is # 9 on the Undead table: Ghost cat (ignores you). Why? I ask myself. What's the story behind the ghost of a cat that doesn't want to rub up against legs.... before you know it a story starts to develop, it might be a sub-plot or it might be the key to the whole adventure!

Nicely done, and useful... what more could you ask?

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Two Bit Tables: Dark, Evil and Macabre Items
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Curious Items: Child's Play
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/05/2009 16:12:32
There are a lot of little things that seem to fall through the cracks in the average campaign world, and holidays are one of those. Maybe a few GMs are heavily invested in the verisimilitude of their campaign world enough to introduce days when everyone takes off of work and celebrates or goes to pray, but for the most part holidays are one of those things that seem to get quietly ignored. With Curious Items: Child’s Play, Healing Fireball aims to introduce the arguably most famous of all holidays, Christmas, into your game world.

To be clear, the book takes a very low-key approach to doing this. Claus, the main character of the holiday, isn’t a demigod flying around the world on a magic sleigh, but rather is a kindly shop proprietor in town, and every year he hands out presents to good little girls and boys. Is there something more to him? Maybe, but the book leaves that in your hands. Instead, the main thrust of this PDF is what toys are given out on this festive day.

The book is divided into four sections. The first covers simple toys, the second covers more complex toys (involving mechanical or alchemical parts), and the third covers toys that are magic items. Each toy is given a brief description, its use is detailed, and a few mechanics such as its weight, cost (and magic item details, if it has them) are covered. In the case of the normal and alchemical toys, sidebars dot the book detailing how these can be used by enterprising characters for more than just entertainment. After all, a pair of mercury shoes (that is, roller skates) can be very helpful for a quick adventurer, and things such as Balance check DCs and more are provided. This product is one that makes sure to showcase how the new items are useful for window dressing or adventuring, as you prefer. The last section, covering both Claus himself and his magical bag, are relatively brief. Claus is given full stats, as is his bag, and a sidebar covers his winter solstice holiday tradition, with more details being up to GMs as they see fit.

From a technical standpoint, the book is a relatively simple product, free of bells and whistles. Most of the illustrations here are small black and white pictures of various toys, with the occasional exception. There are no page borders or any major pictures that’d make printing this book difficult. Unfortunately, there are no bookmarks either, which is something of a disappointment; every PDF should have those.

There were a few extras I would have liked to have seen here. What are the Craft DCs for making any of these items? In some cases I can backtrack what they are from the existing rules, but it would have been nice to have had those right here. Such complaints are minor, however, particularly in the face of how many sidebars they introduced covering what other uses are possible for these items. I’d have given this product four-and-a-half stars if I could have. If you want to put a little holiday cheer into your campaign, and your PCs don’t mind putting some old toys to new uses, try injecting a little Child’s Play.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Curious Items: Child's Play
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Publisher Reply:
Thank you very much for your review. I'm glad you enjoyed the book and I really appreciate your feedback. We've uploaded an updated version of the book. Craft DCs were originally overlooked due to time constraints, so we've included them in the update. We've also added bookmarks. Thanks again for your review, Chris Baldi Healing Fireball Publications
Just Add Dice: 50 Modern Ship Cargos
by JD S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/11/2008 17:49:13
Not back. A buck's worth, for certain. Not back. A buck's worth, for certain. Not back. A buck's worth, for certain. (Have to have 50 characters)

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Just Add Dice: 50 Modern Ship Cargos
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Two Bit Tables: Mundane Forest Animal Encounters
by Christopher H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/15/2008 02:05:49
Sometimes, when I'm planning out my D&D adventures, I forget the little things--you know, squirrels, chipmunks, mockingbirds, lizards, and such. I bought this product as a way to "tickle my memory" and to help me make my forest treks seem a little more real. The first edition of this product was perhaps just a little weak on detail, but the recent update has made this more robust. I still don't think it's as good as some of the others in the line, but for 50¢ it does a great job of helping to add verisimilitude to my settings. Please be aware that this product focuses on temperate forests, so don't be disappointed when it doesn't help you populate your jungle or tropical rain forest (hint to HFP: mundane animal lists for these environs would make great additional products, and 50¢ per biome is a bargain). Again, I wouldn't rank this one at the top of the TBT line, but I'm glad this product is in my library and I'm very impressed with HFP's aggressive updating of the line.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Two Bit Tables: Mundane Forest Animal Encounters
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Two Bit Tables: Ship Names for the Whole Fleet
by Christopher H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/15/2008 01:57:12
Sometime after I posted my initial review of this product, HFP updated the product with half a dozen--I kid you not--additional tables, well more than doubling the utility of this collection. The added tables are two-column ship name generators, that is, you roll once on the "descriptor" column and once on the "name" column to get a random ship name. The six new tables offer colorful (e.g., the "Scarlet Sails"; 400 combinations), possessive (e.g., "Emily's Revenge"; 400 combinations), whimsical (100 combinations), militaristic (100 combinations), angry (100 combinations), and "miscellaneous" (100 combinations). They've also appended additional lists of common ship prefixes--I won't use these much in my fantasy games, but they're very useful for modern-era games. The original product was already a good buy for 50¢, and the additions really do add that much more value to the product.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Two Bit Tables: Ship Names for the Whole Fleet
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Two Bit Tables: Trees for All Your Needs
by Christopher H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/15/2008 01:47:44
Since the time when my initial review was posted, Healing Fireball has updated product to include a two-column table for generating the names of fantasy trees, plus a table of pregenerated fantasy tree names and descriptions, and an extra table for vines. The content in all of these tables is good, but the responsiveness of HFP to customer feedback is AMAZING.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Two Bit Tables: Trees for All Your Needs
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Two Bit Tables: Ship Names for the Whole Fleet
by Christopher H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/10/2008 02:15:45
I've recently started a maritime D&D campaign, so I bought this set of Two Bit Tables for the purpose of--yeah, you guessed it--coming up with ship names without having to think too hard. I have to confess I'm a little disappointed in this installment in the series, though. In the "Historic Battle Name Generator," TBT gives us tables that combine different elements to randomly produce a vast array of names and phrases. The "Ship Names" product, though, seems to take the easy way out by just giving lists of 50 pirate ship names, 50 merchant ship names, and 50 military ship names. I also felt that some of the names seemed rather uninspired; I mean, five of the pirate ship names are "Death's [Noun]" (and why are two of the apostrophes "straight" while three are "curly"?), three are "Neptune's [Noun]," and there area whole bunch of pairs in the pattern "[Adjective-1] [Noun-1]," "[Adjective-1] [Noun-2]." The other tables show similar patterns. This may seem a petty complaint, but in reality, this kind of repetition makes the tables only half (or less) as useful as they could be, since once my PCs are attacked by pirates aboard the "Devil's Kiss," you can bet that they're not going to run into pirates aboard the "Devil's Revenge." Oh, and somebody please tell the author of this product that it's a "dreadnought," not a "dreadnot." Overall, I'd have to rate these tables as slightly below average for this series.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Two Bit Tables: Ship Names for the Whole Fleet
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Two Bit Tables: Trees for All Your Needs
by Christopher H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/10/2008 02:05:12
Normally, all I want for my 50¢ from a Two Bit Tables product is a bit of flavor to spice up my "read-aloud text," so to speak. This product certainly delivers that, with separate tables for 100 temperate-climate trees, 20 tropical trees, 20 fruit trees, 20 evergreen trees, and 20 broadleaf trees. There is also a very brief discussion of how to mix trees in a semi-realistic forest, and while that's helpful, I would have gladly traded a few of the temperate trees for a bit more of that discussion. I suppose that when I purchased this product, I was expecting some fantasy trees in the mix, in addition to real-world trees, but I'm pleased with the product as it stands and will use it more than enough to justify my purchase price.

One question, though: why, exactly, is this product line called "Two Bit Tables"? If this is a reference to digital data, why does the illustration have two 1s, instead of a 1 and a 0? If this a reference to the price, then it's too low by half, since the product costs four bits, not two. Ah, the mysteries of life.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Two Bit Tables: Trees for All Your Needs
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