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OBE: Races of the Shroud for D&D 4E: The Apelord
by Dennis P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/27/2013 06:26:59
As a fan of Planet of the Apes, Gorilla Grodd, and Grommam, I've always like ape-men. The Apelord by One Bad Egg intrigued me as soon as I saw it on drivethrurpg. Since I'm currently running 4E and not playing, I put off purchasing it for a long time. One Bad Egg no longer exists but it's products are still available from Highmoon Games.

Races of the Shroud: Apelord describes a new race for players. It includes several new feats to enhance the Apelord. Additionally it provides some Apelord monsters for the DM to throw at players. Finally it closes with several adventure ideas to use the race.

The apelord race seems fairly balanced to me. It does have a climb movement that might give some DMs pause. The product was released early in the life of 4E. Due to this it follows the early standard for races. The race has two bonus stats, Strength and Dexterity, unlike the one stat bonus with a choice of between two others as is the current approach. If you wanted to update them, I'd probably allow Constitution or Dexterity as a bonus stat.

An unusual ability of the apelord is Arms Like Clubs. An unarmed apelord uses the statistics of a club for their unarmed attacks. This includes both the damage and the proficiency bonus. While useful, most PCs would probably not rely of that too much since you can't get magic bonuses and a melee combatant probably wants something better. One possible solution for players wanting to make use of this is to allow them to use Ki Focus implements like Monks. There is a feat to increase the damage die size by one which could make it attractive enough for a class with only simple weapons.

The racial power relies on the Arms Like Clubs feature. As a standard action the apelord can make two attacks provided he is bare-handed. This makes it problematic to make use of the power as most characters will be holding something in their hands. Like most weapon powers, it doesn't increase the to-hit bonus. Unless your DM allows you to gain a magical enhancement it will become less effective over time.

Most of the feats enhance a feature of the race like Tall-Tree Tumbler which allows fall damage by 20 feet instead of 10 feet. The paragon tier feat is a power swap feat which have fallen out of favor in feat design. Using the power requires the character to be above the opponent. If a character can consistently use the power the 2[W] plus 3d10 bonus damage may make it a little unbalanced.

While the race can be easily used in other campaigns, the history for the race is based on the Shroud. What is the Shroud? One Bad Egg has prepared a pdf to provide a short explanation. In the frozen north, a huge chasm opens. From it's depths comes a warm mist that melts the ice. Everything is shrouded by the mist and fog. The sudden climate change wreaks the ecosystem. The strange mist alters some animals like the savage apes into the apelords. Concealed an undead force steps out of the chasm. The setting sounds very intriguing to me but it was designed as a seed for your games. One Bad Egg never intended to full fleshed out the setting.

Given the age of the product the monsters are the most problematic pieces to use of the supplement. They conform to the original monster creation rules. While they seem interesting and well done, you will probably want to adjust their damage. All the monsters are heroic tier and apelords (or at least were apelords). The early description of the apelords way of life and their conflict with necromancers gives plenty of hints about how to use the monsters. Many of the adventure ideas include moral dilemmas instead of simple good versus evil.

Overall I enjoyed the product and I'm tempted to collect the other Shroud material to build a more complete image of the setting.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
OBE: Races of the Shroud for D&D 4E: The Apelord
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Domains of Adventure: The Museum of Infamous Heroism
by JK R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/27/2013 07:53:31
This 7-page booklet (plus cover and licence) is fair value for the $1 price tag. It describes a museum that could be located in any fantasy city, with the main focus being on the stories behind some of its exhibits. These are frequently generic, although those in the "local exhibits" section may need tweaking if the campaign setting differs from that assumed here. The floor-plan at the end is simply but nicely done, apart from the lack of furniture and windows, although, to be fair, it doesn't add much to the product, either.

The booklet is essentially a springing-off point to provide some ideas. Some specific plot hooks are suggested on the final page, although one could come up with more from the exhibits themselves. If what you're looking for is some ideas to incorporate into an urban setting, and maybe spark some vignettes, this isn't a bad place to look.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Domains of Adventure: The Museum of Infamous Heroism
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rpgKids (v1.5)
by John C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/18/2012 18:00:56
We've tried several RPG's for kids, but so far, my children have liked rpgKids the best. Some reasons why they responded well to it:

First, the entire ruleset comprises 4 pages, with one page of optional rules. The rest of the PDF gives advice on running games with kids, a full-length adventure, character sheets, colorful tokens and maps, etc. So, the simplicity of the game is probably one of the strengths to which my kids responded. Combat consists of a simple opposed roll. The game employs classes that are abstracted into three categories: melee, ranged and magic. The classes themselves are also rather abstract (Healers, Sword Fighters, etc.) with minimal characteristics to differentiate them. There are no attributes (i.e., no STR, DEX, etc.) to track. There are no hit points or weapon damage points, because every attack (melee, ranged or magical) does the same damage: Once a PC or monster is hit once, he is considered "Hurt," and if hit twice, he’s "Knocked Out." There's a simple healing mechanic to allow PC's to get back into the fight.

The simplicity might make the game sound dull, but I found that it allows the GM (presumably an adult) to shape and adapt character concepts and actual gameplay for dramatic effect, a mechanic which the game encourages. As simple as the game is, it wasn't always a cakewalk for the PC's to accomplish their goals, so having the freedom as a GM to do a bit of modification (and even hand-waving on occasion) to maintain drama and keep the story moving is a strength, I think.

One last thing which differentiates rpgKids from other kid games is the quality of its adventures (there's an Adventure Pack, in addition to the full adventure included in the game). Mind you, we're still talking about adventures written for 4-7 year olds, so have realistic expectations. However, unlike the insipid nature of the adventures in some other kids rpg's, these have depth, both in terms of gameplay and story. No insipid rat hunts in cellars!

My kids thoroughly enjoyed rpgKids. They were able to quickly grasp the nature of the character classes and adapt them to suit their needs (e.g., a Sword Fighter is easily shaped to be a mace-wielding dwarf, a Healer can be a robe-wearing priest, and a Wizard can be Gandalf or some necromancer). They were also able to quickly get into the action -- not bogged down by rules, they let their little imaginations fly. As GM, you just roll with their moves, and fun is had by all.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
rpgKids (v1.5)
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rpgKids Game Bundle [BUNDLE]
by Eric M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/28/2012 07:21:05
This is a great product for introducing the younger generation to gaming. Its rules are extremely simple--all PCs and NPCs boil down to four basic archetypes with just one mechanic to remember. The hand-drawn crayon maps and character tokens are a great element because the artwork resonates with the drawing ability of the target audience (though my 6-year-old prefers to play using the adults' miniatures). Encounter designs are simple enough to play without much thought, but allow tactical options to be discussed as the kids mature.

The best part, as with any entry level game, is that the kids will have fun. The bonus is that along with the creative play they will develop basic math skills, problem solving, and teamwork.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
rpgKids Game Bundle [BUNDLE]
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rpgKids (v1.5)
by Shawn C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/15/2012 22:09:47
This is a very nice, easy way to introduce your young geeklings into the world of RPGs. My family is enjoying the first adventure and cannot wait to get into more.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
rpgKids (v1.5)
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Bardic Lore: Ogham
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/06/2012 12:43:48
This is a well researched guide on Ogham, the written language of stones often seen near ancient Celtic settlements. This product blends historical findings with mythology to give us something very cool indeed. New ideas for Druids and Bards using Ogham are included along with a new feats, skill uses and revised spell lists. What is nice is the chart of the Ogham characters with sounds, English letter equivalents, and tree names. A lot of research went into all of this and the quality shows. Don't take it as a historical treatise on Ogham, but it is a great tool for a game. Nominally d20/3.5 but really the most of it can be used in any game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bardic Lore: Ogham
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Bardic Lore: The Fachan
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/06/2012 10:47:03
Celtic myth and lore is full of strange creatures. Some that don't quite have an analogue anywhere else. The Fachan is one such creature. Their might be similar creatures in other myths (I bet the Japanese or the myths of India have something like this) but none I can recall off the top of my head. This book gives us the background on the Fachan, 3.x style monster stats and some ideas to use it in your games. There is also a Fachan NPC and some notes on using the beastie as a character race. All in all not bad, and then when you consider the price then it is great.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Bardic Lore: The Fachan
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rpgKids Adventure Pack I
by david f. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/30/2012 02:25:13
The adventure here follow a similar style as in the core book. Work well a part from the fact that my 5 year old made sure the wizard was dead in the core adventure and I had to do some fancy foot work to allow him to be alive again (it would have been nice to have known that in the core adventure). Excellent, can we have more ... please ... (grin)

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
rpgKids Adventure Pack I
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rpgKids (v1.5)
by david f. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/30/2012 02:20:39
I played this with our 5 year old over the weekend. He looked after 4 characters and I did the GMing. We both had a brilliant time and he did not want to stop playing it. The rpg rules themselves need some work to make them clearer to read as to be realistic you will have to scan them very quickly as you are controlling several kids. Larger bullet points of just the important stuff would have helped. You could nt just give this to kids as there are a ot of assumptions which only a adult rpg player would know what to do with. The adventures themselves are cool but it did take me a while to realize the the first part of the adventure you are meant to role play with your child. Over all excellent fun and I liked the pre done floor plans a lot.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
rpgKids (v1.5)
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OBE: Poisoncraft for D&D 4E: The Codex Venenorum
by Joseph R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/18/2012 03:50:33
Every once in awhile you run across an item that you can't help but think should be part of the regular WOC D&D canon. This is such a book.

The use of rituals as a model for how to deal with poisons in 4e is simply brilliant. the number and variation of poisons available is excellent, and the fact that there is a way to create new poisons makes the book even better.

If you have a rogue or assassin at your table that wants to have poisons, this book provides a way to do it. I recommend it without reservation.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
OBE: Poisoncraft for D&D 4E: The Codex Venenorum
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OBE: Poisoncraft for D&D 4E: The Codex Venenorum
by Jonathan N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/03/2012 01:12:29
This is, no doubt, a niche product. But it's the best of its niche, far and away. When I need a cool poison for putting in an NPC(or hero!)'s food, blowing in their face, or coating on a dart bound for their neck, this is the one stop shop, no exceptions. It gives the poisons flavorful background, ingredients, methods of use, and more. A must-have for any assassin or rogue player wanting more back-alley skullduggery or a DM wanting the same in 4th edition. It has fair system-neutral value as well, but the real treat was the included sortable excel index of all the poisons by each of their different properties and stats provided for nice easy use for 4th edition. Production quality is amazing; if you're looking for poisons in your non-4e game, give it a thought, and if you're looking for poisons in your 4e game then this is 100% your stop.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
OBE: Hard Boiled Armies for D&D 4E
by Jonathan N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/03/2012 01:07:12
This product is, at its price, pretty much indispensible for anyone who wants to run a paragon tier campaign the way D&D was always meant to be (with followers and holdings, of course, the traditional name level activity!), or a heroic tier campaign that finds itself wandering into "war, war never changes" territory early on. It can even be appropriate for the grand finale of your epic tier campaign. With the crunch on 4th edition with the announcement of Next, of course, the price is a double bonus - you don't have to invest a lot to get the quick fix you need.

The concept is one we've probably all thought about before: one mini or token now represents a lot of guys instead of just the one. But what this supplement offers is more than just "play Warhammer or pretend your miniatures are each 100 orcs", it gives thoughtful options for different tones (heroes fighting dozens all on their own, minion style, or having to give their own armies a general-style attachment boost) and even the way to structure fantasy campaign season to provide realistic backdrops for all sorts of roleplaying opportunities. I wish it gave just a little bit more, but squeezing blood from a rock like "1 guy = 100 guys!" is hard, and One Bad Egg has done admirably on that front already.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
OBE: Hard Boiled Armies for D&D 4E
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rpgKids (v1.5)
by Aadel B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/03/2012 11:33:54
I have very little experience with Rpg's and I was able to understand this game enough to run a campaign with my kids + their cousins and some adults in the mix!

Very fun, very simple. Great for kids and their parents. My girls keep wanting to know when we are going play again!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
rpgKids (v1.5)
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rpgKids Game Bundle [BUNDLE]
by Matthew W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/30/2011 20:27:44
We bought the bundle and I couldn't have asked for a better experience! My kids have been through 3 of the 5 adventures and keep asking about "what's next."

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
rpgKids Game Bundle [BUNDLE]
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rpgKids Adventure Pack I
by Matthew W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/30/2011 20:26:11
Some great expansion adventures for the original game - we have run my kids through 2 of the 4 adventures so far and they are begging for more!... and these kids love video games, so I think that says a lot that they beg to sit around the table with their parents rolling dice. :-)

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
rpgKids Adventure Pack I
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