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Vexing Sands
by Alastair M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/30/2014 08:15:33
Earlier reviewers here have ably sketched-out the general content and style of this package, combining a still-rare outdoors excursion for Inked Adventures' characteristic artwork, with some brief scenario notes and object descriptions by Escape Velocity Gaming, the latter especially helpful for times when inspiration fails. The grid-work has been cunningly handled. On the watchtower/fort, bold grid squares are formed from the edges of stones in the wall and the roof's flat planking; on the desert background, a beautifully subtle grid is present, made up of bits of stone, bone, the occasional plant and one small scorpion, so you see it, but it's not forceful. Even where a ruled grid is present (which includes one version of the desert background sheet), it's been applied with a light touch, so the artwork is never diminished.

Of course, it's easy to think of other things the package might have included, such as variant background sheets, a crescent sand dune or two, or a lower level for the fort, perhaps with a gateway. However, what is here can be adapted readily too. That dried-up oasis from the Bonus Sheet could be used as a small, sandy hill instead, while multiple copies of the watchtower could be cut-up and placed to make a larger castle, or a wall stretching out across the terrain.

The sole downside to the set is the desert background sheet has been provided only as a remarkably low-quality scan, unpleasantly pixellated no matter how it's printed. Initially unable to contact the publishers, artist Bill Babble very kindly sent me a copy of his original electronic artwork, so I can enjoy the Vexing Sands without the vexatious pixels. In a paid-for product though, Escape Velocity really need to get this problem resolved. It's a serious disservice to the artwork right now, and I've marked the pack down accordingly.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Vexing Sands
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Tentacled Terrors
by Mark B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/26/2013 12:21:02
Add some aquatic creatures to your campaign. Nothing groundbreaking here but, hey, there are some good ideas that you can apply to your game. Directed at DMs for sure.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Tentacled Terrors
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Vexing Sands
by JERRY M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/21/2012 08:53:10
For the price, I thought this was a nice value.

Now, I am a propo whore, and I love extra floorplans, so I am a bit biased. And I also like Billiam Babble's artwork and floorplans with Inked Adventures, so bear in mind that this style fits my own preferences.

That being said, the maps are nice. Simple, but nice. and the additional props are interesting too, between the ponds, the fish, and the fort, there are things that would fit in to other floorplan sets as well. A lot of this would work well for non-desert adventures as well.

(Even the sands would make nice beaches for a Pirates adventure or the scrubland for a steppe/wasteland encounter.)

And of course, the artwork blends well with not only Inked Adventures products, but all of the old GW Dungeon Floorplans/ Caverns/ Dungeons/ Halls of Horror/ Caverns of the Dead/ Nightmare at Blackmarsh/ Tragedy of McDeath/ etc. sets, so there is a lot of reuse there as well with some old school stuff.

Lastly, the floorplans are worth the $1.99 alone. The addition of scenario ideas and variant floorplans make this a decent value with a lot of reuse and some creative suggestions.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vexing Sands
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City Slices I: Marketplace Fun
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/02/2012 07:48:09
City Slices is a collection of interesting characters, events, and encounters that the DM can use to help add color and life to fantasy cities.

The encounters and events draw the characters in to the environment around them - stopping a runaway cart, helping a child find his parents, getting hired to do some shopping for the Emperor, etc. - and some of them can even lead to other encounters in the book, or to future adventure seeds (one of the rewards for the shopping trip, for example, is an invitation to the next royal ball).

The second section of the book is a list of unique and unusual booths and shops in the marketplace, to give a bit of variety to an otherwise ordinary bazaar.

City Slices is a great sourcebook for bringing life to city-based RPG sessions - while the label says 4e, this material can be easily used with any RPG with very little to no conversion. I'm looking forward to seeing other offerings in this series.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
City Slices I: Marketplace Fun
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Baba Yaga: Queen of the Wicked Fens
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/26/2012 16:58:06
Good little Baba Yaga workup for any level/tier of play.
Lots of attention to the myths of Baba Yaga were paid attention to, but their could have been more.
The art is only ok, and I would have liked to have seen more of the magic items and stories surrounding her.

This plus a quick web search though will produce a lot of any game.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Baba Yaga: Queen of the Wicked Fens
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WCP's Monstrous Garage
by Billiam B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/13/2011 08:29:09
A really nice strip-down and boost-up kit for a selection of monsters. Ideal for 4e DMs who find themselves tailoring and scaling their encounters. WCP's system is fast to use and well-illustrated.

Billiam B.
http://bit.ly/rpgblog

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
WCP's Monstrous Garage
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Incredible Insects Vol.1
by Peter P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/26/2011 10:28:56
A must have product! My full review is published here:

http://canadianrpgguy.blogspot.com/2011/08/review-incred-
ible-insects-volume-1.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Incredible Insects Vol.1
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City Slices I: Marketplace Fun
by Billiam B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/10/2011 12:14:50
City Slices Marketplace Fun is marvellously rich tome with well thought out encounters and situations which at first glance to PCs would appear mundane, but after the briefest chat with any innocuous NPC the players will soon realise that there’s many layers to these onions, with mini-games, adventure leads and skill challenges.
This is a very accessible document. Most of the pages are self-contained encounters, allowing the DM to print off single pages to put amongst their own notes -without raising too much suspicion that this would be any more than a normal trip into town for the PCs.

It’s tailored for 4E gaming but I’m guessing that it could be adapted to be used as part of a Pathfinder campaign, different editions of D&D, and most fantasy games, perhaps with some skills tweaking. The traders mentioned don’t have stats, but have enough background for a DM to elaborate on the basics if needs be.

Not wishing to reveal too much about the product, there’s some very refreshing takes on familiar locations and activities. One game “Frog n Flies” involves physically throwing the dice around in some sort of surreal boules game. On the very next page is a superb sub-quest /encounter in which the players are sent to purchase exclusive items from a list for an emperor, which is also a great way to get the players familiar with the layout of a new city.

From rats on sticks snacks to poison in bottles, from the interesting to the practical (practical to dungeoneering warriors, that is) there really is something for any campaign or urban adventure, with many opportunities for role-playing and non-combat skills checks.

In my opinion this product may also be of some use in historical settings or even more contemporary, exotic settings – a Cairo bazaar perhaps (providing you alter references to elves and dwarves, and mammoth furs… of course).

I’m looking forward to more from this series. Ace.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
City Slices I: Marketplace Fun
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Vexing Sands
by Billiam B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/09/2011 10:20:00
I was the artist on this product, so my bias will be clear *grin* but I strongly believe we need to average out the rating on this product, because for starters, it's superb value for money.

I believe people forget that when they look at 16 pages of print and illustration, that it somehow it's just that. Excellent adventures hooks text aside, this set is tailored so that that tile sets are repeatable. The background desert can be printed at infinite number of times to cover a whole floor or gaming table. Many of the individual cut-out pieces can be used in a selection of settings: Indy Jones style pulp fantasy or Call of Cthullu, Star Trek away - forts and deserts, oases, obelisks. Historical warfare would also not be out of place (we're selling this at the Wargaming Vault I hope as well ;) )

For an example of large layout I recommend that the anybody interested in buying takes a little browse of these photos on flickr:
http://bit.ly/vex_photos
(copy and paste into your address bar)

I leapt at the chance to work with the talented writers of EVG who are fond of my old-school style illustration. I am more proud of this piece than I am of some of my own publications at Inked Adventures (which is saying something!).

May your players survive or perish, but at least in the process enjoy the scenery. :)

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vexing Sands
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City Slices I: Marketplace Fun
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/07/2011 18:18:56
The game elements described in "City Slices I" offer a good bit of fun, and most should be fairly easy to use in "plug and play" fashion in a typical D&D 4e setting. The five "interesting encounters" are indeed interesting, with a lot of good story potential. The skill challenges aren't quite as impressive, but they're good and useful. The twelve unusual market stalls are probably my favorite part of the product; they introduce interesting NPCs and do a lot of work for the DM. The author provides further adventure hooks for these, as well as for the seven food vendors. I could easily imagine myself using material from this product. I just with the production values (layout, grammar, and such) were as high as the obvious level of creativity that went into the product.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
City Slices I: Marketplace Fun
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Vexing Sands
by Michael H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/04/2010 13:52:13
Vexing Sands is a 16-page pdf that provides printable tiles with a desert theme. Note, however, that there are really only three independent pages of tiles: the rest is cover/credits/table of contents/ads (5 pages), an alternate set of tiles without grid lines (3 pages), suggestions on how to use the tiles (3 pages), and seven scenario suggestions using them (2 pages). The actual tiles include one page of mostly blank desert terrain (with some subtle features suggesting sand and a few scattered small rocks), one page of “desert dressing” (such as a fort, a pool, silt, cacti, etc.), and one “bonus” page of slightly modified desert dressing (different color schemes and some different permutations). The art is decent but leans toward the cartoonish rather than realistic; fine by me but unlikely to be to everyone’s tastes. (I’m not sure it would fit the tone of a Dark Sun setting, for example.) . Three pages doesn’t sound like a lot, but keep in mind that you can print as many copies as you’d like, and combine the dressing with the blank desert grid for lots of different setups. For the price it seems like a reasonable deal, provided you have the facilities, inclination, and budget to print as much as you want (and probably mount on cardstock). The three pages of descriptions for the tiles aren’t really necessary and rarely rise above the obvious in suggesting uses for them. The one-paragraph scenario suggestions are more interesting; most are pretty standard fare, but it’s nice that they give lists of tiles to use for each encounter (even better would have been pre-constructed templates!). All in all, this is a decent product if you have the inclination to print and assemble your own tiles. The range of “desert dressing” is pretty good. I’d just look at the preview to ensure you like the tone of the art before purchasing.

Note: I received a free review copy (in pdf form) of this title through DriveThruRPG.com

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Vexing Sands
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Publisher Reply:
Michael, Thanks for taking the time to review our product. I, personally, am a HUGE fan of Billiam Babble's old-school, highly-detailed, but not photo-realistic style...it's the reason I chose to work with him. I think you're dead on...if you like the art and it fits your campaign style this pack is a good deal. :D Thanks again, William C. Pfaff President, Escape Velocity Gaming
Haunting Trio
by Billiam B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/17/2010 10:39:13
Yikes! :o
Edgar Allan Poe meets Cthulhu, Middle Earth and the modern supernatural.

These sinister manifestations come with stats, tactics and quotes and would are surprisling adaptable to any 4e campaign of any setting - especially the Dreamdweller Raven which has more than a few spooky tricks up at sleeve!

A must for sinister horror campaigns or anyone looking for a fresh encounter.

Professionally laid out to 4e standards - easy to follow. Black and white with illustrations.

And a bargain! (FREE at the time of writing this review).

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Haunting Trio
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102 (Fantasy) Tavern Names
by Erathoniel W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/15/2010 22:54:58
The problem with this product is that it's mediocre, and it's in a place where it's not really hard to compete. If you don't wanna make up your own names for something generic, you're probably not meant to be a GM. The names are fairly bland. That's the greatest flaw.

There's no Prancing Pony, there's just nothing that's really memorable. That's the flaw. There is a very binary checklist for evaluating this: Are the names engaging?

They aren't.

Sorry, but I just can't give this anything. There are tons of good online tools to come up with these names. Sure they may not create stunning results, but then you just push the button again. You can't push the button on this again. Writing for settings may have killed this, because I see a glimpse of potential, but it just can't get over the hurdle of mediocrity, and in a place where almost everyone tries, that's the only way to have any value.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
102 (Fantasy) Tavern Names
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102 Fantasy Tavern Names
by Erathoniel W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/15/2010 22:30:22
Exactly what it says on the tin.

It's okay, but it's unoriginal, and really, unless you need to mass-generate inns for some reason, just think up one, and save yourself the pocket change.

Really, what it lacks is that there are no original names. I'm not saying they're stolen, they're just so boring. Good if your adventurers want to just sit in a low-key tavern in a low-key town in a low-key kingdom, bad if you want an engaging story.

It feels like somebody just wanted to cash in on the quick e-book profit system.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
102 Fantasy Tavern Names
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Urban Adversaries
by William S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/21/2010 20:55:12
This is the kind of supplement that restores my faith in third party products. From top to bottom (technical aspects, writing, and art) this product is top shelf. The monsters are AS advertised - different enough to raise eyebrows but fitting for an urban environment. I loved the way the encounters were presented and I can honestly say out of the 24 monsters contained, 75% of these will find their way into my campaign. Everything is in black-and-white and a few of the illustrations do chew up some black ink, but this is a minor quibble.

I'm looking forward to more products from this publisher! An "A" effort and execution!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Urban Adversaries
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