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Fudge On The Fly
by Tim L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/05/2012 10:41:23
Previously only available to members of the Yahoo Communities Fudgemembers. This is an excellent "create-your-character-as-you-go" design using the Fudge system. You will need to know how the Fudge levels (Terrible to Superb) and action resolution work to use this.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fudge On The Fly
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Toys for the Sandbox 40: The King's Gate
by Tim L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/05/2012 10:34:11
Like: Concise and descriptive enough to be useful
Dislike: All-italic font hard to read, even when printed out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Toys for the Sandbox 40: The King's Gate
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Apoc Toys: Issue 04 - The Poison Jungle
by Charles S. I. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/03/2012 14:44:50
The third line of generic adventures packs by Occult Moon. As you would expect from the title this line is set after a nonspecific cataclysm has destroyed the world as we know it. The world and the humans that that populate it are quite different than what came before.

The PDF is well laid out and generously bookmarked for easy navigation. The art work, by Ashe Rhyder is suitably suggestive of the world as described by Quinn Conklin and Gary Montgomery.

There are six scenarios presented in the Possibilities section. Each presents a possible adventure for a party and provides a basic description of the events and then presents three possible plot twists to complicate things.
The People section details four NPCs that are in some way included in either the description or twists of the scenarios described above. They are described in detail and given a bit or history. Stats and abilities are described generically so they can be translated in any system that the GM wishes to use.

The imagery that is described is evocative and harrowing and puts you right into this nightmare world of the day after tomorrow. An excellent resource for any Post Apocalyptic game!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Apoc Toys: Issue 04 - The Poison Jungle
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Apoc Toys: Issue 02 - The Slave Wagon
by Shannon L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/27/2012 15:00:02
The good: I enjoyed the content of the package. The package lays out several NPCs and several interesting plot hooks. I really enjoyed a strong female villain who is intelligent and ruthless.

The bad: The font and the layout really detract from the overall product. The font mimics handwriting, which goes along with the post-apoc feel of the product, but, it makes the product look sloppy and deters a quick skim. Also, I found the layout and organization to be lacking. For example, when twists are listed, it took me a second to realize that not all of the twists were linear, but, instead, different options to choose from. Also, needs a second set of eyes to edit it for typos.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Apoc Toys: Issue 02 - The Slave Wagon
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Toys for the Sandbox 33: Smoke Horse Roundup
by Jonathan J. R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/24/2012 20:16:25
Nicely laid out. This has interesting ideas and nice sketches to boot. I can see this being useful for DMs to use or to have as inspiration. I was slightly confused by the multiple files, which appear to be the same content but in different forms.

The map was less than enthusiastic. I stared at it for awhile and still have difficulty figuring out what it is supposed to depict. Mountains maybe? Anyway, the map details are not important. The general outline is there and players can create their own version of the map easily enough.

The rest of the visuals and all of the writing are spot on. Give this a try.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Toys for the Sandbox 33: Smoke Horse Roundup
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OSS: The Forgotten Outpost
by Michael G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/24/2012 07:32:42
Review originally published at: www.whitehairedman.com/review-the-forgotten-outpost


This is my second review of an Occult Moon product. A few months ago, I reviewed The Library of Ethos, a system neutral locale from the Toys for the Sandbox line. Unlike The Library of Ethos, The Forgotten Outpost is not system neutral, but utilizes game mechanics that should be compatible with most Old School rules. Priced at a reasonable $1.99, the adventure is designed for characters of levels 3-5.

The Forgotten Outpost reminds me of the adventures I played during my RPG infancy in the early 1980's. I immediately recalled the first dungeon entered by my first character, the Fighter Torgar, and how he was incapacitated by Troglodyte stench. Like my first dungeon, The Forgotten Outpost resides in the wilderness near a small town. If you've been around as long as I have, you've probably played scores of variations on this scenario. There's a reason for this: some plots, when done well, tap into a fundamental aspect of why we play these games and don't get old. Every adventure need not break new ground; sometimes I'm looking for a solid example of the type of adventure that brought me into the hobby over thirty years ago.

The Forgotten Outpost embraces the Old School mindset with a simple situation. A local adventurer has gone missing while exploring ruins infested by kobolds and gnolls. His wife enlists the characters to rescue him. Some good hooks are provided to jump-start the adventure, but an Old School GM can surely devise a few more if these don't fit the characters.

The adventure contains classic opportunities for stealth and straight-ahead fighting as the characters penetrate the monster's defenses. They have a real chance to rescue the lost adventurer. The GM could easily make the rescue more interesting by having the gnolls use him to barter for their lives.

However, the rescue is just a prelude to discovering why the place is called The Forgotten Outpost. This occurs after the characters dismantle barricades erected by the kobolds and gnolls and venture into a deeper level filled with undead, magic, and other strange creatures. The change of pace elevates the adventure and makes it more memorable. The deeper rooms were apparently built to imprison a great evil.

I like how the shift from kobolds and gnolls to undead may surprise the characters and hint at a further mystery that will be difficult to resist. I would enjoy the The Forgotten Outpost as a player or GM. The adventure is simple, to the point, and, if necessary, playable without extensive preparation. Matt Jackson's maps also have an excellent hand-drawn feel.

However, there are areas where the adventure could be improved. First, it is never explained why the outpost was originally built, and we gain no insight into the reason for the prison. Even one or two paragraphs of information could provide additional ways to tie the adventure into a campaign.

Second, although usable, the writing is weak and does not serve the adventure well. The words fail to evoke the atmosphere of the outpost. The few examples of flavor text really have no emotional impact. Some room descriptions were confusing or unclear. This is my most serious criticism of The Forgotten Outpost.

Finally, the graphic design could be improved in two areas. Because the PDf contains no page numbers, I sometimes lost track of page order as I read a printed version of the adventure. The maps also have no scale. I suppose a GM could devise a scale, but in an adventure of this sort distances are important and should be indicated on the maps.

Pros: Good price, pure old school, easy to use, nice hand-drawn maps.
Cons: Lack of outpost history, weak writing holds back the adventure, PDf needs page numbers, maps have no scale.
Verdict: 3 out of 5.

Dave Przybyla

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
OSS: The Forgotten Outpost
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Captain's Logs from the Sandbox 03: The Mining Colony on Elkos IV
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/20/2012 06:12:30
Originally published at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/06/20/tabletop-review-captain-
s-logs-from-the-sandbox-003-the-mining-colony-at-elkos-iv/r />
The Mining Colony at Elkos IV is #3 in the “Captain’s Logs” series for Occult Moon Games. Unlike the fantasy-based series that started off the Toys for the Sandbox, this series seems to be open to multiple authors and artists, which is pretty cool. The art is nice, very much like classic RPG books, with some computer rendered pieces.


Overview

This booklet comes with a map that covers part of the surface of a planet called Elkos IV. There are a few areas of note, presumably ripe for a little investigation. The main one is the abandoned mining installation, left over from when there was promise of some valuable substance under the frozen surface. There is also an abandoned city, a purported region where the lost ships might be, and a few others.

There is a brief planet profile of Elkos IV, and then a few tables for space and planetary hazards. Of course, there is the essential part of the Sandbox modules, the plot twists, and then a few profiles of major NPCs. The planet is described as being nearly inhospitable to life (a “complete snowball”), yet one of the plot twists involves there being a race of chipmunks of all things. This is a little silly to me, because as a GM how am I going to explain how they live or what they eat when there is virtually no other life on the planet? These kind of inconsistencies are a continual source of weakness in the continuity of these modules. The setting is put forward, and then ideally the plot twists make sense inside the setting. If you’re going to put forward an inhospitable planet, you better help me explain to myself and the players why there is any life there.

What Do I Think?

This module seems a bit more focused, a bit more coherent and, at the same time, a bit more open than the module before this one. It feels more like the sandbox is being defined, but the goal of the sandbox is pushed less. That is, the whole “lost ships” mission is put forward, but that in itself is an open-ended goal. Would ships be there? Maybe, it’s up to the GM and the players. Meanwhile, there’s all this other stuff to engage the players if you want. In my opinion, one of the better modules from the Sandbox series. GMs be warned, it’s still a skeleton of an adventure so be prepared to either make up or write up a lot of the details. Also, the chipmunks.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Captain's Logs from the Sandbox 03: The Mining Colony on Elkos IV
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Toys for the Sandbox 21: Great Bridge
by Jim W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/14/2012 21:17:20
As a mainly improvisational GM, Toys for the Sandbox is right up my alley. Normally I buy adventures to cannibalize bits and plotlines for my game, but I didn't need to cannibalize Great Bridge since it comes in bite-sized chunks already. Even though they're designed to work together, each element can stand on its own in other adventures.

Great Bridge is a small town built on an ancient bridge high in the mountains. It's a crossroads of trade, packed full of rival merchant houses, political maneuverings, shady deals, rumors of treasure, and the frozen dead. In 10 short pages, you get a town map, a brief town overview and history, four major NPCs with potential plotlines for your PCs to trip across, six plot hooks, seven one-line rumors, and seven one-line encounter ideas.

For me, the plot hooks turn those ten pages into pure gold. Each hook runs about a half a page, containing a setup and three ways to twist the plot as it unfolds. In some cases you can use all three twists, but some twists are mutually exclusive. This gives me the flexibility to change the adventure as it goes along. It's very liberating to have something "canned" that will keep up with my players.

Great Bridge contains no game stats, so you can use it in any high fantasy game system and scale it to fit your needs. There's a delicate balance between a skeletal outline of an idea and an adventure bloated with detail, and Great Bridge nails that balance for me. It's a treasure trove of game ideas that I can mine to spice up a game, or use together as designed. Either way, the great ideas and easy-to-digest format make it a win.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Toys for the Sandbox 21: Great Bridge
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Captain's Logs from the Sandbox 02: The Broken Omnicrys
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/11/2012 08:40:05
Originally Posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/06/11/tabletop-review-captain-
s-logs-from-the-sandbox-report-002-the-broken-omnicrys/

The Broken Omnicrys is #2 in a new series from Occult Moon games, publishers of the Toys for the Sandbox series. In this new tack, they are addressing the sci-fi genre.

Overview


The format has not really changed from the Toys for the Sandbox booklets, with the first few pages containing some general information about the location and situation, a page of plots and twists, NPCs, and some items. The NPCs are given some general stat guidelines and descriptions of their history and current habits. There are three items in the back, and they have some stats and descriptions as well. There are two small tables to roll on to determine space hazards and planetary hazards. There are some nice illustrations, one of a ship and one of the solar system, as well as the cover illustration which is by Ashe Rhyder and Matt Jackson (did they both draw it or what?).

This booklet concerns a stolen artifact of power called an “Omnicrys”, which is some sort of crystal that holds psychic and spiritual energies from the “Forerunners” (an ancient people that was apparently highly advanced). There are several worlds detailed with facts about their atmosphere, gravity, inhabitants, etc. wherein I suppose the adventure is to take place. The thief (a.k.a. “The Mad Templar”) of the crystal also stole someone’s ship, and he is eager to get it back at whatever cost. The impression is of a high-level mission that involves some important and powerful organizations on both sides of the law.

What Do I Think?


The Occult Moon offerings continue to be steady, but remain rather amateur in quality. It is good that they have a defined format that works for them, that helps their publications have some consistency, but the writing and overall conception remains the weak point, and the question I keep having is: who is their audience? I also find myself asking why they don’t just produce fully-written modules at this point, since they basically give a skeleton of an adventure, but also include a pre-determined plot (the Omnicrys). What is the point of having tools for a sandbox if the sandbox comes defined with the tools? I’m guessing that I’m not the target audience for this product; I am probably asking too many questions.

There are a few typos, a fair amount of spelling errors, and (this is almost purely based on my opinion of how a module should be written) too much exaggeration of plot points. For instance, the thief is described thusly: “armed with the Omnicrys, he may be almost unstoppable”. It’s probably just me, but I want to rail against every adventure being this epic struggle to overcome something “almost unstoppable,” which I feel is the structure of a lot of adventures, especially classic ones. Basically, you start small, and then ramp up to the Big Bad. Yawn. I’m not saying that is what this module is, I’m just saying that by setting the stage in the way that it is it’s primed for that kind of story.

Of course, the Sandbox series is open to taking it anywhere you want to go, you can expand or contract the module any way you like. For some people, they may read through The Broken Omnicrys and be inspired. As for me, I think the $1.99 price tag is a bit heavy for this item, it would be a much more comfortable buy for me in the $0.99 range. Even then, I would like to see some more flexibility in this supposed sandbox-land. Why not just expand on the plot twists instead of giving a main plot in the setting information, and let the GM and players decide where to go and what to do? Sounds much more sandbox-y in my opinion.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Captain's Logs from the Sandbox 02: The Broken Omnicrys
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Toys for the Sandbox 23: Pirate Island
by David B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/08/2012 19:32:13
While I have only picked up a couple of issues of Toys for the Sandbox, I have always been pleased by the quality of the content. This newest issue entitled “The Pirate Island” is a larger 10 pages and introduces a new setting for DMs to play with. You’ll be shocked to know that the new setting is a pirate island, and this island has lots going on, and you can do all sorts of things with it. Want to have a pirate war? How about a struggle for control of the island? Want to work for the forces of law and try to take down the pirates? Or maybe you want to bust a captured pirate captain out of jail so he can again take command of his ship? It's all here...

So what do you get in 10 pages?
1 island setting, complete with historical background & description of the island itself
6 plots with 3 twists each
4 fully fleshed out NPCs
3 new magic items
1 rumor chart
1 random encounters chart
1 full page, full color island map

Well worth the price!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Toys for the Sandbox 23: Pirate Island
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Captain's Logs from the Sandbox 01: The Relief Mission
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/23/2012 11:16:43
Herein inspiration for a science-fiction GM: if too busy to write something, or in need of a 'side-trip' to amuse the characters, or even something from which much more may result, take a look.

The premise is simple. Disasters still happen, and someone has to bring help, even in the vastness of space. That's you. Load up with medical supplies and head on out...

You get a sketch map of the disaster area, brief notes on the situation and the wider scene (several condending pocket empires, but general enough to be twisted to fit what's going on in your universe), details of the planetary system in question, a few hazards to sling around... and then the really good bits. Several 'complications' with various outcomes you can mix and match with the characters' actions to make a challenging adventure. To round it off, broad outlines of some of the characters you might meet.

Simple in concept, and even in execution - but spawns ideas a-plenty. Now, where can I find a starship-full of unsuspecting characters?

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Captain's Logs from the Sandbox 01: The Relief Mission
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Toys for the Sandbox 17: High Keep
by Mark S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/17/2012 22:45:41
I bought High Keep as a test for the line. I wanted to know if it is worth my cash to purchase the entire line. An elven keep would make the best test of the imagination and quality because it is hard to screw up a tower.

I would say that the jury has returned a mixed result.

Good: This is a collection of excellent ideas. You are paying 99 cents for a great list of story ideas, rumors and the like. If you need ideas for your campaign, this is a good place to pick up story hooks for a buck. For the price, you could do worse than look here for your next plot twist.

Bad: This is not a map. There is no map. You will not find a map in this product even though it says it has a map in the product description. What you get is a small and crude picture of a tree with tiny buildings drawn on the branches. It is most definitely not a map. No map here. There isn't a map. A map is not to be found here. The product description is thin and no preview is provided for a very good reason: Because there is...no...map. Got it?

Overall, I rate this product at three stars because the price is fair. Yes, good ideas. Just don't purchase this product looking for a....(wait for it)...map.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Toys for the Sandbox 17: High Keep
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Toys for the Sandbox 19: The Abandoned Mine
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/15/2012 21:27:03
(originally posted at tenkarstavern.com)

I'm simply amazed that The Abandoned Mine is the 19th release in the Toys For the Sandbox release. There's a few reasons for that amazement. Let me count the ways:

I'm amazed that the series has hit 19 issues, as I've missed the last few between The Grumpy Dwarf riffing on D&D 5e and my own preparations for my recently kicked off ACKS campaign.

I'm also amazed that Quinn Conklin can keep on coming up with new and interesting locations and events, let alone 6 hooks or possibilities and 3 twists for each one. That's one hell of a lot of creative juice. Do each of the 18 combinations work for me? No, but each release has had several possible combinations that got my mind going in many different directions on how to flesh them out. This issue is no exception.

I'm also amazed that we've now reached the point where it's 10 pages of brain storming goodness. The first release was a mere 4 pages.

The backstory of the Abandoned Mine is excellent, as is the main hook. Uncovering an ancient evil and the various possible effects set up most of the hooks. In theory, you could even use more than one hook to set this up and really reinforce the backstory that is given.

I already know where this is being placed in my sandbox. I'll be changing the type of valuable being mined to fit my setting, but that is mere window dressing. There is a lot of "meat and potatoes" to be found in The Abandoned Mine, and I think I can squeeze at least two uses other than the main one. I really love the options available.

NPCs are nicely detailed, even more so than usual, as the extra page count allows for the extra detail. A Rumor Table and an Encounter Table round out the current release. Wait, I forgot the section on items. Nice. Cursed. Different.

All is not prefect. I like the map, and as it is a mine map, it is shown vertically, which is a nice change. Regretfully, due to the needs to fit the map properly on the page (I'm guessing but I'm pretty sure none the less), the map is 90 degrees off kilter. I can't turn my monitor 90 degrees, so I'll need to print this one out. I was probably going to do so when using this in game anyway ;)

Also, the price has increased to $1.99. It's still an excellent value for the investment and the extra page length is definitely put to good use.

Did I mention it comes in both print friendly and regular version in the same package? Course not! I forgot since it's new. Oh, and very handy.

Yes, I really do like this series.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Toys for the Sandbox 19: The Abandoned Mine
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OSS: The Forgotten Outpost
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/06/2012 20:58:01
The Forgotten Outpost is a 16 page adventure from the fine folks at Occult Moon. If you don't know who they are, they are the ones that bring us a weekly dose of Toys For the Sandbox.

This is, to the best of my knowledge, their first full length adventure, as the Toys For the Sandbox series is more encounters, locations and / or plot hooks.

So, how did they do with The Forgotten Outpost? Pretty damn well.

First off is the maps from Matt Jackson. If you don't follow Matt's blog, you really should, as he is a master of the hand drawn maps. These maps are no exception. They are, as always, a work of art.

Next, the adventure itself. As Occult Moon is known to do, they give you multiple plot hooks so you can fit the adventure to your party's needs. It this case, your party should be around levels 3 to 5 (Toys For the Sandbox are level-less).

Oh, and a list of rumors. Can't forget that.

Parts that are to be read to the party are in italics. This doesn't happen all to often, so expect to be putting what the party sees into your own words, which to my mind is usually better than reading from a script anyway.

The outpost, while not huge, should supply your party with a full session (if not a bit more) of game play. The ending has the potential to be a bit open ended, so if you have a sandbox you want to place this in, it should fit fine.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
OSS: The Forgotten Outpost
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Toys for the Sandbox 11: The Astral Star
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/01/2012 19:43:28
(originally published at tenkarstavern.com)

The Astral Star is the 11th installment in the Toys For the Sandbox series of... not quite adventures, but more like stories hooks and adventure seeds. I believe as I write this, Occult Moon is up to 13 in the series, plus a free "Issue Zero" and a bonus that those that grabbed the freebie in the first 24 hours were eligible to receive. Yep, its a pretty lively series.

The Astral Star takes the series to new heights and new dimensions. This is one that would benefit if you could place some rumors and seeds a few sessions (or longer) in advance, as it would really make for a larger impact on the PCs if it could be successfully pulled off.

The hooks (and twists) are really, really good this time around. With a little work, some could be used to decent effect as seeds to encounters or adventures of your own design. That is the one shame of this series. Six hooks, each with 3 twists gives you 18 possible ways to get your party involved. Since you will only use one, you have 17 that laying there, wishing they were used. I'm already thinking of ways to use a handful of the ones I won't be using in different set ups.

The Astral Star deals with the Astral Plane (not a big surprise there), but I don't want to spoil the major twist here. I really do like it. It's very innovative and can certainly lead to a whole chain of events for your party, either immediately or in the party's future.

Best of the lot so far IMHO. I've liked them all, loved a bunch, but The Astral Star beats them all.

Oh, and I label this "Generic OSR", as it is most certainly drawn from and OSR mindset and gaming history even if there are no stats includ

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Toys for the Sandbox 11: The Astral Star
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