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Village Backdrop: Agravaine's Rest
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/04/2013 03:32:05
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This latest installment of the Village Backdrop-series is 10 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page advertisement, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



In the wilderness, nestled as the last stop before the mountain pass, lies Agravaine's rest in the mouth of the pass - an unlikely place: Both the holy (grave-)site of the death of fabled paladin Agravaine and the settlement his half-orc squire erected, the place is now run by the descendant of the squire (the half-orc fighter 9 Chagruk) and stands as a bastion of civilization before the wilderness and as a haven for half-breeds, whether they be of elven, orcish or ogre-descent.



5 events, 6 rumors, a village statblock, a market-place entry and a lore-section as well as a recount of Agravaine's life (and death by the machinations of his succubus nemesis) are provided in here as well - on a downside, one minor logic glitch is also in here - servants of the succubus are guarding the tomb without harassing pilgrims. The thing is, one would expect the respective pilgrims (some of which are bound to be casters/adventurers) to notice said guardians. An easily ignored issue, though.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to raging Swan Press' no-frills standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one for the printer. On RSP's homepage, you can download printer-friendly versions of the neat b/w-map.



Agravaine's Rest is a cool settlement - the holy site trope mixed with being an outpost in the darkness as well as the uncommon demographics of the town mean that a visit to the place should provide some nice options for adventuring, especially if the PCs want to claim the paladin's regalia. That being said, there could be a tad bit more crunch in here and overall, the village offers a bit less in the interactions of the notable personalities in here - a tad bit more potential for conflict/intrigue would have been neat here as would have a more logical explanation of the guardians. That being said, I'm nitpicking and author Colleen Simpson did deliver a cool village here, one well worth 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4, just short of the apex - congratulations for a great first entry for Raging Swan, may there be more to come!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Agravaine's Rest
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Dungeon Dressing: Simple Magic Traps
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/03/2013 04:11:04
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Dungeon Dressing-series is 12 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



So, this time around, we're in for an unusually crunchy supplement of the dungeon dressing-series, one that provides us with the hard stats of none-too-complex traps. Said traps are grouped by page in various categories: Alarm traps, Harming traps, Boon traps, Impeding traps, Protective traps and wounding traps each get one page of spotlight for various different representations of the respective concepts.



Now let's take a look at what we get here - if you require alarm-traps, from lights and ghost sounds up to shouts, blasphemies and even earthquakes, from harmless to deadly we get a nice overview of defensive options spanning the CRs 1 to 9.



Boon-traps, should you not be familiar with the term, are essentially anti-traps that provide benefits for select groups - the interesting component among the crunch herein would undoubtedly be the decision to include ways on how to configure these beneficial traps via detect-spells or e.g. locate creature, these traps span the CRs from 2 to 11 and should be considered rather cool - a simple, elegant idea with a lot of cool potential - kudos!



The 4 harming traps are all about inflicting detrimental conditions from curses to negative levels up to duplicating touch of slime or baleful polymorph and the 10 impeding traps, ranging from grease to mage's disjunction can also be used to devastating effect to further enhance your villain's hometurfs.



Finally, 10 protective traps with antilife shells, forcecages, spiked pit traps and reverse gravity-traps also offer chances for the PC's opposition to destroy these impudent adventurers - even if the DM had no chance to meticulously detail a complex's defenses, especially since the last pages provides a table of traps by CR that also provides information on the category of the respective trap.



Conclusion:



Editing and formatting are top-notch as I've come to expect from Raging Swan Press. Layout adheres to RSP's crisp 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes in two versions, with one optimized for the printer and one for screen-use. Both pdfs come extensively bookmarked.



Author Julian Neale delivers a pdf I honestly did not want to read - why? Because I'm definitely not the target demographic - stacked with trap-books and years upon years of DMing experience, I honestly don't need this book. Furthermore, I prefer complex traps over simple ones, especially traps with multiple rounds of effects that offer something for the whole group to do. These traps herein are not like that - they are there to provide an edge to encounters, to improve dungeons that are too easy, to improvise simple traps.

Hence, I was positively surprised that the rather underrepresented category of boon traps has been featured herein - neat. Now whether this pdf is for you depends mostly on whether you can improvise simple traps with concise rules on the fly and juggle DCs etc. in your head. If you can, then this pdf is essentially just an easy reference in case you're stumped. Where the pdf really shines, though, would be in the hands of novice DMs or those of you out there not that versed in spontaneous improvisation of crunch, who want essentially a guidebook of basic dungeon/structure/hide-out security to spontaneously add to their complexes and increase the challenge for the PCs on the fly - after all, sometimes the dice can make the PCs crush all opposition. For you, this pdf is a godsend and should be considered a must buy. So...how to rate this? It really depends - this is either a must-buy or a book of the "nice to have"-category, depending on the type of DM you are - hence my final verdict will clock in on a middle ground, at a more than respectable 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Dressing: Simple Magic Traps
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Be Awesome At Freelance Game Design
by Kyle W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/02/2013 00:00:00
Be Awesome At Freelance Game Design is written by Creighton Broadhurst at Raging Swan Press. It's an interesting look at the art of making content for games. However, one thing to note is that it touches most heavily on three independent aspects: freelancing, the games industry, and then writing. If you're thinking about writing your own stuff you're not really a freelancer, but it's also important to note that the guide is more for adventure, campaign, and setting writing than for actual game design, which, to be fair, is a topic which is colossal in scope.

As far as the freelancing advice goes, Creighton is right on the money. Be Awesome At Freelance Game Design touches on all the important points of the process, including the need for professionalism in marketing yourself and the fact that as a freelancer you're not the one calling the shots but you should still retain some independence in your work, or else you'll get slogged down doing things you're not good at and don't enjoy.

The games industry insight, I feel, is particularly one-sided. Most places tell you what they want to see; Catalyst's put out huge things about the making of acceptable art on their blog, for instance, and I feel that Broadhurst really falls short by assessing pretty much exclusively the Paizo/Wizards of the Coast market and not looking into depth at publishers who have an alternate way of doing things. That's not to say it's bad; most of what you're looking for is still applicable, but you won't see Shadowrun looking for an alternate setting any time soon. Of course, a fair deal of this is because that's still one of the places that is the most prominent in the games industry, but it's also something that overlooks a potential market.

Likewise, much of the writing is exclusively oriented toward the fantasy genre and conventions, feeling like something out of the golden age of Dungeons and Dragons. A lot of this is cross-applicable, but it's annoying to a certain degree to see stuff that could be very well generalized applied to a specific context and concept; the writing's advanced enough that anyone who reads it for its fullest effect will almost certainly be capable of applying general advice to specific cases,

On the other hand, the writing advice is very solid. It reminds me a lot of some of the writing textbooks that I've really loved, but with a more practical look at adventure writing and the process of creating believable and enjoyable environments. It's good advice even for people who aren't going to professionally write for games, but the parts of it feel rushed and crammed; like the goal was to get the writing done within a length limit instead of providing everything there is to know about best practices and going beyond the simple statement of facts into their application.

So, in short, Be Awesome At Freelance Game Design is far from horrible. It's also pretty basic. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of stuff in here that's really useful, but you really need to be the target audience-a traditional Swords and Sorcery adventure writer looking to write adventures, to get the full benefit out of it. Will it help you in other fields, for instance simply as a GM? Quite possibly, though the amount of information pertinent to any of the many hats it presumes the reader will wear is limited to a brief overview of a broader field.

To summarize my summary; good, but more useful for the target audience than for the general public.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Be Awesome At Freelance Game Design
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Be Awesome At Freelance Game Design
by Benjamin M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/30/2013 17:02:22
I found this book well thought out in how it was set up. The advice was both well thought up and broken into sections that made sense in terms of how they fit in groups. Not only did it suggest why you might want to be a freelance game designer, it suggested reasons that you might not want to be one as well. I loved the note that pointed out that you will get typos, and other errors, even while writing this review I had to correct at least half a dozen words, and I am sure that there may be other types of errors.

The only thing that I can quibble about is the high requirement of an online website/ blog, as there are a few day jobs that could be adversely affected by having such a website/blog. These are mostly related to the government or healthcare thanks to HIPPA. I don't think any one wants to risk losing a full time job just on the hope that they might get a gig as a freelancer for their hobby.

Overall I found it to be a very good book to buy, to read with the idea of thinking about doing some freelance writing myself.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Urban Dressing: Thieves
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/21/2013 09:23:31
Adventurers wandering around urban settings need to keep a hand on the belt pouch... for in towns, many of the 'monsters' walk on two legs, and an ever-present threat is the lightfingered. Even a party's own rogue is not exempt from their attentions, and he'd better be cautious about plying his trade as the locals might take exception!

First up is a table-full of pick-pockets and confidence tricksters, all poised to relieve the party of all that heavy loot that's encumbering them after their latest adventures. There's around 50 of them, each with a name and a quick pen-portrait to bring them out of a few die rolls behind your screen and into full-blown inhabitants of your alternate reality. Alas, they are not all as nice as Hassar Junth (N female human adept 1/expert 1), who "loves the idea of thievery, but suffers from a terrible malady - a conscience. Short and stocky, she’s developed some talent; but even when she is successful, she often feels so guilty about the theft, she anonymously returns the stolen items." That's just one, there are loads more to bedevil the party with.

Next is a collection of thugs and bashers. Ideal for those parties whose idea of a spot of relaxation is a tavern brawl or alley punch-up. Even these bruisers are given names and personalities, no matter that all they want to do is attack and steal.

This is followed by a collection of skilled thieves. Many of these use levels of skill and cunning that would no doubt earn them plenty if used honestly, yet they prefer a life of crime. Each has a distinctive style - and could prove amusing if you fancied a fantasy police procedural game!

The last table is one of specialists. Most are 7th level or above, folk who have honed nefarious skills to a high level, and most are available for hire should you need such skills, when they are not plying them on their own behalf. Again, well-developed personalities ready to come to life in your alternate reality.

Finally, there's a clutch of fairly generic stat blocks for use when you are in a hurry for some kind of rogue.

Altogether, a useful collection to keep the party on its toes in town!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Urban Dressing: Thieves
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Dungeon Dressing: Mundane Chest Contents
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/21/2013 04:37:45
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Dungeon Dressing-series is 11 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



Nothing makes player's eyes gleam like the promise of loot just out of their grasp and chests are predisposed for dumping the precious thingies inside that adventurers covet. The thing is - with mimics etc., there simply is a bit too much paranoia going on. After all, just about all chests are secured via traps - and a chest popping up equals loot, so the rogue pulls out his/her kit. We all know the routine. The thing is - routine gets boring. And people ought to use chests for things beyond magic loot, shouldn't they?



Enter this pdf, an excellent tool of desensitizing players and characters and adding more detail to rooms in the same stroke: Herein we find chest contents galore, with the first table offering 100 entries for clothes and possessions: Moth-eaten shirts, cult robes, lace gloves and dancing shoes alongside tools, remnants of chain-shirts, shirts with more than two arms and spiked collars and manacles - there is a fascinating diversity of contents here.



Now if you're looking for something more out of the ordinary, then wizard's chest contents, 46 entries to be precise - blank parchment, astronomy charts, severed bird claws, gravestone etchings, incense - all the nice things one would expect from the more esoterically inclined masters of the arcane.



Now clerics also tend to hoard interesting contents and hence, the third table offers 46 entries that could also be found in the care of other devout characters - wine-cups, herbs, ceremonial garbs, slaves and ointments, polished amber blocks and even a miniature altar within the chest await your PCs to discover them while they're snooping through the possessions of the clergy.



Of course, food and drink are also stored in chests like these and hence we get another table (with just as many entries) holding chilled meat pies, rotting mutton cheese, skinned hares and even valuable herbs (with a GP-value) to offer something for the health and sustenance of the PCs.



Finally, we get a table of 46 entries containing odds and ends - rusted keys (and locks), caltrops, an assortment of glass eyes (creepy!), mustache wax and boot polish or a lonely, cracked teacup tell their own little stories a DM can easily expand and use as a basis for further adventures/complications.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's 2-column b/w-standard and is exceedingly crisp. The pdf comes in two versions, with one optimized for screen-use and one for print-use. The pdfs comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Designer Josh Vogt has delivered a rather interesting, nice supplement full of intriguing, at times, funny, at times creepy and all out interesting mundane contents to make your chests more common and thus, the treasure chests ultimately more rewarding when they do pop up. There's not much to complain in this particular supplement - it is a thoroughly rewarding supplement that is bound to see quite some use at my table. If anything, I would have enjoyed one or two more far out contents herein, but that is no reason to rate this neat supplement down. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Dressing: Mundane Chest Contents
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So What's The Riddle Like, Anyway? III
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/19/2013 04:39:12
An Endzeitgeist.com review

The third in Raging Swan's mini-series of riddle-books is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD/how to use, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



The pdf kicks off with a rather cool selection that should be considered the prime example of usefulness of this pdf - one riddle per dragon-type. Yes, ladies and gentlemen - for metallic and chromatic dragons, one riddle each - awesome! "Tied to the gaming world" should be considered the mantra here: Glorious! And this theme is continued in the following pages - on the next one, we get elemental riddles for the basic elements and then for the para-elements (i.e. lightning, mud etc. for the non-Planescape-veterans).



Beyond that, we get riddles for each attribute score, for each alignment-component, for energy and weapon-damage types, 3 dealing with echo, 3 that have the implements of exorcism as their solution and yes, even riddles for the friggin' 4 horsemen! Oh, there also are heart-themed riddles, those that deal with instruments, love, mirror, moon, oak, shadow and time.



Oh, and finally, there are riddles that DMs of RotRL, Shattered Star or similarly-themed campaigns will enjoy: Seven Sin-themed riddles, ready to be inserted into a Thassilonian complex of your choice - coming with a complex riddle that encompasses all (and is rather easy) as well as slightly more challenging individual riddles. And yes, these SHOULD be used in complexes like the one in e.g. "Sins of the Saviors". Two thumbs up!



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting, as I've come to expect from raging Swan Press, are top-notch. I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's crisp 2-column standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and in two versions, with the second one being intended for the printer.



Liz Smith has written, no surprise

another joy for tired eyes.

Unfortunately some riddles do look beyond,

our shared fantasy world's illusion's bond

by referring to things metaphysical

crunch-terms that are just not mystical.

So what is then my final score?

Well reader, please don't be a bore

and indulge a little bit

this rather infantile wit

and please, read on and see

where I go with this bad poetry.

In case you haven't seen already

or your memory's not that steady

my judgment is bereft of, but rhymes with "strife"

but though it cuts me like a knife

I will refrain from giving my seal

yet still, this is an excellent deal.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
So What's The Riddle  Like, Anyway? III
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Dark Oak Collector's Edition
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/19/2013 04:34:16
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf is 45 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement 3 pages editorial (including SRD), 1 page ToC, 1 page foreword/table of encounters/CRs, 1 page advice on how to read statblocks for novice DMs, 1 page advice on how to use this module for novice DMs and 1 page back cover, leaving 35 pages of content.



This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.

Now if you're familiar with the original Dark oak-module, you'll immediately realize that this is no regular expansion/cut and paste-job; Much like Marc Radle's superb Sunken Pyramid, this module now ties in with a fully depicted village from the excellent Village Backdrop-series, namely Thornwood. This dreary, desolate village in the midst of a swamp makes for a great way to set tone and mood: From the decrepit town to the degenerate lizardfolk tribe of the Dark Oak, the step is not that long, a sense of degeneration and decay clinging tightly to all surroundings. Foreshadowing advice, excessive notes on how to get things going and especially the slightly rewritten background story do their best to properly fit both products together in a new organic whole.



The lavishly detailed Thornhill-settlement, rife with intrigue and sporting rumors, demographics, market-place settlement statblocks etc. is not only lavishly detailed, it also sets a superb tone and its great b/w-map should intrigue quite a few players while driving home the notion that this place is on the looming verge of disaster, not by virtue of a concrete doom, but rather as the result of a prevalent gloom that makes the very notion of this place seem like something that the swamp seeks to take down.



I did mention that this is not hack cut-copy-paste job and the subsequent exploration of the fully hex-mapped swamp with extensive notes on overland travel, random encounters, terrain effects on movement etc. makes for a superb connection between village and dungeon. Speaking of dungeon - unlike many a supplement out there, we get lore DCs for the respective adversaries. Speaking of adversaries - in order to even enter the complex, the PCs have to either destroy or negotiate with the degenerate treant guardian of the place - and yes, step-by-step negotiation information is provided - not just here, but also when dealing with mind-crush addicted (a new drug) lizardfolk. In teh combats the PCs face, they'll have to contend with an advanced crocodile and hopefully also manage the combats, which may easily spill into the water - in Raging Swan's tradition, DMs get all rules for said occurrences provided in one concise table, making running the otherwise potentially complex encounters rather easy.



If the PCs actually manage to defeat the lizardfolk's degenerate leaders and if they did not opt to kill the treant, the poor creature may by the way actually reward them. Among the bonus materials provided, we get a new deadly fungus, aforementioned drugs, two b/w-illustrated magic items, 6 pregens. You can also download the map of the dungeon with and without keys and grid in 4 versions on Ragingswan.com and you can also get a player-friendly version of Thornhill on RSP's homepage, but only on the entry for the separate Thornhill-file.



Conclusion:

Editing is top notch, I didn't notice any typos. Formatting also rocks and layout adheres to the clean, printer-friendly Raging Swan standard. As has become the tradition for Raging Swan Press' offerings, Dark Oak comes in two versions - one optimized for screen-use and one for print-use. Both come fully bookmarked for your convenience. The print-edition of this beauty in particular is awesome and elegant to hold in your hands - and seriously worth the fair asking price.

There are some very minor downsides to report, though: Not all artworks are stellar. On the other hand, the artwork for the treant just ROCKS and the superb cartography more than makes up for this minor gripe.

The adventure itself is straightforward but cool and features roleplaying encounters to solve problems without fighting. While I don't consider this adventure to be genius, I do consider it to be a supreme example of an adventure you can just pick up and play with your group without having to prepare it in advance and the expanded content indeed is well worth the fair asking price and means that this is by far the superior version - especially the short wilderness interlude greatly enhances the module.

EDIT: Check Raging Swan's hp for the web-enhancements/handouts etc.!



the original Dark Oak was good, the Collector's Edition is superb: Enticing, captivating, oozing flair and style, it breathes a sense of desolation only rarely seen in supplements, Creighton Broadhurst and Steve Hood have expanded a good module and turned it into a great one - a joy to read and a worthy upgrade of the original module and well worth 5 stars!



EDIT: Now that I don't have any gripes left: + seal of approval!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Oak Collector's Edition
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Wilderness Dressing: Swamps
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/17/2013 00:08:04
I am associated with Adventureaweek.com, were I operate as the main PDF monkey. My reviews are written with a desire to remain unbiased as many of the designers, writers, artists and publishers are considered friends to me. Having said that I am first and foremost a reviewer, and in respect to these people and their product I intend to evaluate this product honestly and fairly.

Wilderness Dressing: Swamps from Raging Swan Press weighs in at 13 pages, with a total of 6 pages of charts and material outside of forwards, TOC, checklist of products available and etc. Fully bookmarked, as well as the TOC linked (always makes me smile) with the typical sparse artwork within the books of this series. For those not aware, the Dressing: series is hands down one of the most useful pdf series I have ever had the pleasure of coming across. Each entire in the series covers one theme, and presents it with a couple of random d100 tables offering fast and easy descriptive tidbits for fleshing out a GMs locations. Take for instance the following taken from this product:

Minor Events D% - 5 The party comes across a wild pig stuck in a patch of quicksand. The pig is partially submerged and exhausted from its struggles.

Minor Events D% - 79 The distant boom of thunder rolls over the party, but the sky does not look stormy.

Or, moving on to the second list of options, also a D100 list:

Swamp Dressing D% - 17 The bleached, mouldering bones of some long dead animal lie partially buried in the mire.

Swamp Dressing D% - 41 A skull decorated with bird feathers hangs from a tree branch. A DC 15 knowledge (local) check reveals this to be a Deep Mire tribal marker.

Fairly basic, right? Yes, you could do this yourself, not doubt….but wouldn’t you prefer to spend your time gaming? That’s where these products excel, giving you the tools easily to use tools like this either for planning or gaming on the fly, all with the intent to bring to the table a better feel for description and immersion in your game.

And for an extra perk, how about a full page of random encounters, arranged on a D12 table just waiting for you to roll the fate of your players. Add to that a sheet detailing the effects of several common marsh features (quicksand, bogs, undergrowth etc.) putting at your fingertips the specifics for the game mechanics for these features. You know, continuing to make this product a solid useful addition to you toolbox.

So, following a dual column approach, editing solid (which is the typical from Raging Swan) and yet another book filled with solid useful material, I am stamping this one with a 5 stars and declaring it worth worth the cost of admission.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wilderness Dressing: Swamps
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100% Crunch: Orogs
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/16/2013 23:35:05
I am associated with Adventureaweek.com, were I operate as the main PDF monkey. My reviews are written with a desire to remain unbiased as many of the designers, writers, artists and publishers are considered friends to me. Having said that I am first and foremost a reviewer, and in respect to these people and their product I intend to evaluate this product honestly and fairly.

100% Crunch: Orogs from Raging Swan continues this well done series with another collection of stat-blocks ready to go for the GM to make populating their toolbox a faster process. 27 stat-blocks are here presented all for the hybrid orgre-orcs known as Orogs. Formatting follows the standard format of a dual column approach for standard text, and the Pathfinder standard for the stat-blocks themselves. Editing appears to be good and solid. My actual complaint falls in with the layout decisions for the flow of the stat-block entries one into each other, or rather for the odd spacing from time to time between stat-blocks.

The CRs are collected together within the PDF to make them easier to view when scanning the book, as well as them being alphabetized in each CR section. Now, anyone who is familiar with these titles in this series should by this point fully aware of what these books are, but for those unaware, let’s cover the concept here, shall we? Julian Neale essentially creates for these collections a stack of NPCs all based on one race, with a grab bag of classes/templates/archetypes. Some of the books in this series have done very well in regards to the cool builds (like the ones for skeletons, liches or zombies…he really explored the idea of various racial options with those builds), but here I am seeing an extreme limitation in that without fluff, and the orog offering itself as a race to a strict concept for expectations..

The collection here succeeds in providing a solid collection of orogs, I just felt like I wanted to see more than so many fighter builds (including the cavaliers I count 9 that are fighters in one form or another, or 27). Now that is not to say that there is variety here, as there is the Dire Wereboar Ranger, Rogue, Bard, Monks (hungry ghost, qinggong), Wizards, Advanced and Cleric builds…..ah, perhaps I have seen far too many classes at this point, I find myself wanting to see them all used. But to see a Gunslinger, or Samurai, perhaps an Alchemist or two (ponder as orog alchemist for a minute, lol). No, again, what is here works, but it leaves the entirety of the collection not feeling as inspiring as some of the other entries to this series.

In the end I am going to have to go with a 3.5 star (rounded to a 4 for the purposes of this rating system), as what is here is mechanically sound and good, but I was left feeling that there was a great deal of room left unexplored here.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
100% Crunch: Orogs
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Tribes Most Foul: Ogres
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/14/2013 06:54:03
Diving straight into the first of three tribes of ogres presented, this work offers up these long-maligned creatures as fully developed individuals in their own right, rather than mere sword-fodder to be cut down by any passing adventurers... making them considerably more interesting, even if you only want to use them as sword-fodder!

The first group is the Masters of the Cauldron, rather than a whole tribe in the conventional sense this is a trio of ogres who are genuine masters of the culinary arts, along with their entourage of kitchen helpers. They earn their considerable living as travelling chefs visiting the high and mighty to cater for important occasions. However delicious they may be, it is wisest not to ask too many questions about their recipes or ingredients... A run-down of the whole brigade and ideas for incorporating them into your adventures are included.

The next bunch goes by the name of the Cauterised Host. These are a gang of genuine mercenaries, available to hire to any with the coin to pay... and not above a spot of banditry when not engaged on the battlefield. Alas, the banditry is one of their more acceptible vices, drug use and physical abuse rank high amongst their leisure interests. Again, plenty of detail is supplied to help them come to life in your campaign.

The final tribe is the Mottled Lurkers. These are forest-dwellers, skilled at using their native enviroment to their advantage. They have an unusual political system, deciding everything by means of formal wrestling bouts held at ogre-moots.There's loads of detail here too, and they'd make an interesting addition to your campaign world.

It's refreshing to see such detail breathing life into your world's ogres without making them any nicer! They are still nastry and brutal... just more three-dimensional and rounded characters!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tribes Most Foul: Ogres
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Urban Dressing: Docks
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/12/2013 02:59:10
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Urban Dressing-series is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



We kick off this installment of Urban Dressing with a massive 100-entry-table of characteristics and appearances of docks - from gibbets with rotten remains to different offices and buildings, we get quite some variety here. Unfortunately, though, several of the entries in this table are generic to a fault - "A large dock dominated by imposing naval ships.", "This dock is a frenzied hive of activity." - while there are a bunch of cool entries here, it's extremely generic entries like the examples that slightly detract from this table's appeal.



After one b/w-page vista of a harbor, we get a table with 100 entries to generate randomly docked ships - and the ship's names are cool and varied and avoid the standard clichés of names - so two thumbs up here! The same can be said about the 20 hooks and complications provided - they universally make for interesting diversions/sidetreks a DM can develop and expand.



The best table of the book, though, would be the 50-entry-strong d%-table of sights and sounds to lend details to docks - with fresh lobster, performing bards and playing children, we get a massive, interesting table here that will provide ample opportunities for DMs to use. Finally, we get 10 fluff-only write-ups of NPCs to populate spontaneously your docks.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes with nice artwork and in two versions, one optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out. The pdfs come fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Brian Liberge delivers a good installment of the Urban Dressing here, with some neat, detailed tables. The first table is the only one of the tables in this product that falls a bit short of what I would have expected and honestly, I wished the NPCs had been cut in favor of another thing absent from the pdf - a dock-generator for the whole harbor: Essentially a table to roll the amount of places where large ships can anchor etc. - a meta-generator for the layout of the overall docks. That being said, the absence of that one does not hurt the pdf too much and hence I still feel comfortable of rating this pdf at a good 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Urban Dressing: Docks
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Wilderness Dressing: Extreme Weather
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/07/2013 06:57:56
It is said that the British are obsessed by weather. However, if you are out and about on foot or horseback (or, for that matter, riding something a bit more exotic) the weather takes on a whole new importance little dreamed of by those who generally travel by car...

Here we have three main tables with suggestions for rain, snow and wind. Each, as well as a whole list of different descriptions you can roll on or pick to detail what the weather is doing around the ears of the party, has a selection of events associated with the weather in question and various hooks and complications arising from the weather in question. Never mind wandering monsters, adventurers soon become quite miserable when wet, cold and windswept.

And then of course you can send the wandering monsters in!

To aid you in doing that, the final section gives a slew of ideas about incorporating the weather into a combat scene, and the general effects of whatever form of extreme weather you choose to throw at the party with all the necessary game mechanics to administer it.

All good fun, have the party checking the weather as much as they keep an eye out for bandits or wild animals and monsters...

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wilderness Dressing: Extreme Weather
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Dungeon Dressing: Gates & Portals
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/07/2013 05:31:38
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Raging Swan Press‘ Dungeon Dressing-series is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC/foreword, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?



This is a first in some ways for the Dungeon Dressing-series – Gates & Portals are all about magical means of transportation in/egress and as such a more magical component – so can the format work as well as for its mundane counterparts? Well, first of all, these things are EXPENSIVE, as the first page shows and need some consideration – what are portal keys, if any? Are there passphrases or traps? What about their destination? Are they one-way? Do they vary? Any Dm who had experiences with Sigil knows what to consider, but seeing Planescape becoming a distant entity and planar gaming not supported as much as I’d like, the advice is rather appropriate.



Hereafter, we start the pdf’s collection of tables with the appearances of the portals in question: 25 sample appearances are there for your perusal – from faux doors leading to portals to the dreaded invisible ones to miasmas of flame and smoke and faerie circle-like rings of toadstools, a significant and varied assortment awaits the opportunity to be dropped in your game.



Via an additional table, these portals can be modified further – whether by requiring a certain amount of force to pass through, malfunctioning, sporting the gruesome remains of a past user of the portal – a LOT of different dressings provide hints to the destination, danger levels or means of operation – without being restrictive and sporting a variety that is both commendable and proof of a vivid imagination – standard stargate-like portals would be too simple here.

25 entries make up the final table, which details locations – from quick escape routes to treasure vaults antimagic stonespheres as nasty cells etc. are possible destinations, as are gateways to bookstores led by bespectacled tieflings in what could be a planar marketplace, portals close to the site of battles, to graveyards in the middle of swamps…the possibilities are rather astounding and varied and should provide nice adventure-hooks.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes in two versions, with one optimized for the printer and one for screen-use. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Greg Marks delivers a more than solid offering – fluff-only, yes, but oh so glorious, with so many different, cool dressings at your disposal, adventure-sites will become much more varied – courtesy of different, iconic portals now awaiting you at a mere step through those flickering doors or mushroom circles. Imagery-wise varied, full of cool ideas, this is a killer installment of the series and well worth 5 stars plus seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Dressing: Gates & Portals
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GM's Miscellany: Village Backdrops
by Bruce G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/02/2013 15:45:46
"GM's Miscellany: Village Backdrops" by various authors, brought to you by Raging Swan Press, 101 Pages, Pathfinder compatible.

There are twelve villages that are given life in this booklet, as well as info on how to design your own. There's a great section about using these villages with Ultimate Campaign. Then, there's ten pages of village design info, including many good charts. Each village includes a couple notable locations.

The Villages:

01 - Apia includes a really strange NPC. There are six pages of info on Apia.

02 - Ashford has a great NPC and a curse to lift. There are five pages of info here.

03 - Bossin is a town looking for a saviour. There are five pages of info here, too.

04 - Denton's End is a village with an unusual background. There are five pages here, too.

05 - Golden Valley is a town on the verge of the end of its gold boom. Five more pages here.

06 - Hard Bay is a good village by the sea with a secret. Five more pages here.

07 - Hosford is the seventh village. Five more pages here.

08 - Longbridge, a hotbed of intrigue and worse between two lords. Five more pages here.

09 - Oakhurst, a village with unusual NPC's to add to your campaign. Five more pages here.

10 - Roake, another village with a secret. Five more pages here.

11 - Thornhill, a focus for adventurers delving deeper into the swamps. Five more pages here.

12 - White Moon Cove, the last of the villages, contains a link to the Sunken Pyramid, and five more pages.

Finally, there's the usual OGL.

Every village info block contains a map of the village, all include info at a glance, demographics, notable folk, notable locations, info on the village marketplace, village lore, and general info about the villagers. Each includes detailed info on Notable Locations.

Only one page of ads, and that for the link to "Sunken Pyramid", and the rest practically pure crunch. A great resource for GM's searching for a jumping off point or two, and a good look at a design system that will provide many more villages.

Folks, you need look no further for a starting village reference source. Considering the price, I think this should rank high on every GM's short list of things to buy.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
GM's Miscellany: Village Backdrops
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