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One Foot in the Grave
Publisher: Creepy Doll Studios
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/21/2013 08:08:10
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=40291.

One Foot in the Grave is a comedy horror RPG by Creepy Doll Studios and it is far from decaying or even dying, even when the PCs are “guests” at an Assisted Living Facility or (ALF). That’s right, you didn’t misread it; you play an elderly person who is trapped in an ALF that has just been infested with zombies thanks to a sick and often caught sleeping employee who had a fight with a hobo on his way into work. The characters must kill all of the zombies, or find the security guard who has the pass key to escape the ALF. The only problem is that he is convinced that everyone in the building is a zombie. Grab some, okay a lot, of d6s and let the fun begin.

Talk about 52 pages of fun! Creepy Doll Studios has managed to create a very legitimate, and really fun beer and pretzels type game. I’ve played and reviewed plenty of gimmick games, some work really well but the vast majority fall flat on their faces and end up being a huge waste of time. One Foot in the Grave is easy to learn and quick to play. Because it is a location based game, the Event Coordinator (EC) doesn’t have to come up with endless maps or even building plans; the building plans might be helpful, but with very little prep time this game can be fun and started quickly.

The cover of this book is great – the subdued zombie, green splattered with black sets the mood. Throw in a zombie, some well thought out text and you have a simple yet highly effective game book cover. Throw in the Creepy Doll Studios Logo in the top right corner and the entire package comes in at just right. The layout is fairly standard and most of the interior art is black and white silhouettes. Creepy Doll Studios isn’t a big publisher, however I feel like they know their limits and produced a clean looking book that still tells the story they want to tell. They stayed within their means and in this case less was more, and more importantly, more felt right.

[Read more at Roleplayers Chronicle]

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
One Foot in the Grave
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Adventure Quarterly #4 (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/30/2013 09:11:11
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=38979.

Adventure Quarterly continues to feed hungry gamers with regular installments of modular pre-made adventures or adventure situations that will please almost any gamer. The fourth issue of AQ maintains the high standard that the other three issues have established, maintains, but does not supersede. This product is 85 pages of usefulness, especially if you are the type of GM who loves to have a few pre-made adventures in your hip pocket in case your players do what they always do, which is go where they shouldn’t and never meet the people you want them to meet or go the places you have lovingly spent the better part of two weeks mapping out. This issue contains three adventures, one including Ratfolk, another that creates clones of the party’s player characters and a ghost story. Followed by these adventures is one of Creighton Broadhurst’s Dungeon Dressing series where he gives us 100 entries dressing up and having to do with doors. The final product in this installment is a wide-open sandbox description of an anywhere setting called the Dam War.

I normally start with the physical aspects of Rite Publishing’s products and I can’t see where this product should be any different. The cover art looks horrible digitally. Because of the colors used, the Ratfolk depicted on it is like a brown blob. I had to look really hard to determine that it was actually a Ratfolk. I think this is just another case of stock art gone bad, but that seems to be par for the course for Rite Publishing. Other graphics did much better on the interior of the book and while they were not top notch, the maps were useable for the GM. I would have loved to have seen a map that was player friendly. Rite Publishing has included them in the past and there is no reason they shouldn’t do it in the future. The layout and the page borders are almost a foregone conclusion for Rite Publishing; they have figured out what Rite Publishing looks like and have stuck to it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure Quarterly #4 (PFRPG)
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101 Variant Monsters (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/16/2013 08:15:54
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=38519.

One of the latest installment of the 101 series from Rite Publishing is an odd combination of elation and disappointment. Elation because who doesn’t love 101 variations on monsters. Disappointment because technically there are 101 variant monsters, however, wisely using economy of effort Rite Publishing has re-used several of the variant abilities these monsters have (several time throughout the book) making the 101 number seem like much less.

Rite Publishing has proven over and over again that they know what they are doing, they have their layouts down pat, generally make good art decisions and their content can stand up to just about any other game company out there. This book takes what I call a small entry approach to these variant monsters. Imagine the typical entry you would find in a bestiary or monster manual; then cut those typical entries down by half or even a quarter. There is quite a bit of information that can be omitted because these are not new creatures, just variations on existing creatures. These creature entries do not include the normal or base creature’s statistics, so this book must be used in conjunction with the regular Bestiaries. I am a much bigger fan of products like this when they can stand alone, but the addition of stat blocks would have greatly increased the length and cost of this product. A spread sheet at the end might have answered the mail without adding too many pages.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
101 Variant Monsters (PFRPG)
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Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Ur-Shogga, the All-Consuming Thought (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/08/2013 08:25:13
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=36604.

If Ur-Shogga decided to make me it’s victim, it would go away hungry. Matt Banach and Justin Sluder have tackled a difficult creature in this installment of Faces of the Tarnished Souk, by adding an Intellect Devourer to the ever eclectic and ever increasing cast of characters that wander the twisted way of the Tarnished Souk.

OVERALL

These guys really put their substantial brain power into Ur-Shogga, the All-Consuming Thought. Not only is it longer than most of the products from The Faces of the Tarnished Souk line, but it is a holistic product that does an amazing job of covering a very difficult monster; a monster that can inhabit the bodies of its victims and control multiple bodies in a collective process.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 9 out of 10
I’m not sure if this was a chicken and egg situation. I’m not sure if the art motivated the character or if the character was already developed before Rite Publishing was able to acquire the rights to the art. The cover art by Mark Hyser is really well done, however it reflects a generic intellect devourer, not Ur -Shogga, the All-Consuming Thought. Ur -Shogga, the All-Consuming Thought has gimped legs due to being dumped into acid, the rear legs on the creature depicted on the cover of this product seem just fine. Rite Publishing is so close to pulling 10s on every category. Some might say that I’m being petty dinging them for this but they have set the bar high and their content is on par with much bigger gaming companies out there.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
Ur -Shogga, the All-Consuming Thought shows that not only does Rite Publishing understand actual mechanics, they understand the spirit of the mechanics as well. Here is what I mean: when you have a creature like Ur -Shogga, the All-Consuming Thought who can consume and assimilate most other creatures, mechanically this can cause problems, really big problems. This product addresses some of the mechanical nightmares this situation can cause by giving you the stats for the creatures Ur -Shogga, the All-Consuming has already consumed.

Value Add: 10 out of 10
11 different stat blocks. Not two or one but 11 different stat blocks as well as new templates and Ur -Shogga, the All-Consuming at three different challenge ratings. That is value, enough said.

Overall: 10 out of 10
The art is good, but would it kill you guys to use more original art? I want to see Ur -Shogga, the All-Consuming Thought’s gimp acid scarred legs, it would take it from just another intellect devourer to something much more sinister. I’m not sure if the cover picture inspired the character or if it is the other way around. I know I shouldn’t get consumed with this point, but the more I thought about it the more I felt it needed to be discussed.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Ur-Shogga, the All-Consuming Thought  (PFRPG)
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Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Vhulgus Sangrevorro, the Endless Dandy (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/01/2013 14:09:57
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=36610.

A dandy who is more than they seem… nothing new, a dandy who is not what they seem who makes clothes that feel the maker’s blood hunger if blood is spilled on them or while wearing them, now that is dandy. But Vhulgus Sangrevorro is more than just a blood drinking haberdasher, he is a well traveled prankster who remains ready for anything and will do everything in his power to avoid combat.

OVERALL

This product is Rite on target. The folks over at Rite Publishing have listened to the people and have honed their latest products from the Tales of the Tarnished Souk into very sharp and deadly products that won’t kill a GM to use. Some of the aspects of Vhulgus Sangrevorro, the Endless Dandy are predictable, but of most of the information about this blood sucking trickster is fresh, not scabbed over.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
Rite Publishing has tweaked their format just enough to put them on par with the bigger companies that can afford to throw money at a project until it is tops. These guys have done it by listening to their customers and working smartly. The format is standard and will not surprise anyone familiar with RPGS. The cover art by Nicholas Cloister, while not originally created for this character, fits well. Not perfect, but really well. The interior is minimal, but in good taste. Rather than pushing a bad angle, the folks over at Rite Publishing have finally chosen to minimize what I have long considered their weakest area: artwork. It isn’t that they always choose bad art work, it is more that some of their choices of stock art are disjointed from the rest of the product. Well done Rite Publishing, you are proof that a willingness to listen to your customers can take you a long way.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
This is another aspect of Rite Publishing’s products that are becoming a given. I will say that because their concept for this character and his special abilities are so unorthodox, they had to create several very specific magic items. I applaud their willingness to do this rather than trying to trash the rules just to suit their needs for a single product.

Value Add: 10 out of 10
With a few name changes, several of the magic items and the bloodthirsty raiment spell is really devious and I can see it being used my many a clever GM in many, many settings. If you use the picture of Vhulgus Sangrevorro, the Endless Dandy on the cover of this product, then sans an extra planar setting or a high magic setting he might stick out much more than you normal monstrous humanoid.

Overall: 10 out of 10
This is a great example of what gaming companies can do with creative, open minded staff. Rite Publishing is using their resources in what I believe to be the best way possible. The concept behind Vhulgus Sangrevorro, the Endless Dandy is really innovative and while I’m not a fan of the eternal template, it is used really well in this case. Vhulgus Sangrevorro, the Endless Dandy is bloody brilliant!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Vhulgus Sangrevorro, the Endless Dandy  (PFRPG)
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Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Zara, the Girl Who Died Dreaming (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/24/2013 08:03:08
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=36602.

Undead powerful children are creepy; they always have been and always will be. So it figures that the Tarnished Souk would have their own version. The good news (as long as you are not a monster) is that Zara is there for payback; so If you are in the scare business, beware.

OVERALL

Did I mention creepy, yea I did; Zara, the Girl Who Died Dreaming follows the creepy little vampire trope really well. What I enjoyed was her need to punish creatures who normally punish other creatures. At a CR 22 Zara the Girl Who Died Dreaming gives GMs a really heavy hitter to throw at PCs. Add in a cuddly, not so caring bear and things get interesting!

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
Rite has the format for The Faces of the Tarnished Souk books down. The inclusion of advice on how to use Zara, the Girl Who Died Dreaming is upfront, concise and useful. Placing Zara’s character sheet upfront with the descriptions of her abilities listed, is a format that most Pathfinder players recognize and is a no brainer, but still very important. What made this product a 10 was the art. The cover art of Zara holding Mr. Bear with her dead (OK undead) stripper eyes just finished off the effect. The art feels cohesive rather than a disjointed mix of stock art and original art. Rite Publishing has always done a good job of using the same pictures for templates or feats throughout their products. I guess all of this art just formed the perfect storm, because this one looks good. I think they should revisit some of the old stock art they used to brand templates in the past and update them with art like this.

Mechanics: 9 out of 10
Rite Publishing knows how to make outrageous concepts work and keep them within the Rules As Written. However, the inclusion of the + 5 weapons wielded here made this product more mechanically difficult. I have mentioned the huge amount of special abilities many of the characters from The Faces of the Tarnished Souk have, and those alone are difficult enough to manage, especially if you have multiple bad guys. Thankfully these books have really good write ups on those abilities; the weapons ability write ups are there and there are plenty of them. Most of the weapon abilities included are common abilities, but the combination of all of them and ensuring that each of them comes into play adds a big burden to the GM especially in the heat of combat.

Value Add: 9 out of 10
The concept is great and a “teddy bear” toting undead girl with an agenda is challenging no matter where you place here, there are some good template write ups and Mr. bear makes me look at imps in a whole new light. Because the Tarnished Souk is such a unique place, using Zara the Girl Who Died Dreaming could take quite a bit of tweaking. The concept is solid enough but the details, well the imp is in the details.

Overall: 9 out of 10
This book is a positive step in the Rite direction. There are not many changes in the art, but things are really looking good. The +5 weapons should be avoided but all of the pluses made sense; there were just a lot of them. This is almost a 2 for 1 product as you get stats for Zara the Girl Who Died Dreaming and Mr. Bear. I like the idea that Zara the Girl Who Died Dreaming has a tie in to one of the other Faces of the Tarnished Souk, and I can’t wait to see how that plays out. Zara is not the girl of my dreams, but she is a nightmare to my worst dreams.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Zara, the Girl Who Died Dreaming  (PFRPG)
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The Sunken Pyramid
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/18/2013 08:21:36
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=36631.

This review is in regards to the full version, as received through a preview.

Locals and ship’s crews alike report signs of increased sahuagin activity in the waters around the Sunken Pyramid. Is the recent rash of disappearances and abductions, which have plagued the area, connected in any way? Can these abductions be stopped before even more people are taken? Can those already abducted be found and rescued? And what of the strange and often conflicting rumors which whisper of something far more terrible lurking far beneath the Sunken Pyramid?

Reviewers Note: I have done my best to keep spoilers down to a minimum. But if you plan on playing this adventure, please do not read this review to prevent the terrible curse known as “meta-gaming”.

OVERALL

I have always been a huge fan of Raging Swan Press. This publication is no exception! Although I have a few minor complaints, this is definitely a great buy for those who are looking for a light way to get into life on the high seas, without getting into a heavier campaign like Razor Coast, or Skulls and Shackles.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 9 out of 10
Presentation of Layout: The presentation of the adventure is definitely of high quality! Layout is nice and clean and everything is readable. But I am still not a big fan of Raging Swan doing everything in black and white. Especially since this is designed to be what they call a “mini-campaign”, which means you are going to be spending a lot of time looking at this art and layout. There’s nothing that really catches your eye out of the gate. This is not to knock the adventure, but players like all the extra swirls of color and style used.

Ease of Mobility: The file is easy to navigate and read through. 1st Generation Kindle Fire users may have a little trouble downloading due to it not being able to direct download. But 2nd Generations should be fine. Apple products should not have a major problem as they are good with bigger files. The bookmarks are nice, and great if you plan on running it through your computer.

Maps: I love Raging Swan’s maps. I hate them in black and white. It makes the map so dull and boring in comparison. These are good maps, but there is nothing wrong with doing at least your maps in art in color. Other than that, the maps are simple and easy to use, and they are still very detailed for black and white, and are versatile to be used in any campaign as well as the mini-campaign provided.

Storyline: 10 out of 10
Plot Development and Pacing of Story: The adventure is very straight-forward, with a twist. So the thing I like about this publication is that there are plenty of options to allow you and your players to either run linear from cover to cover, or you freeform and only jump to the parts you wish to utilize. It’s a nice change of pace, but at the same time, it’s not the size of a full Adventure Path which allows GMs the option to drop in items as needed. Also because it is a mini-campaign, the pace in which you wish to take it is totally up to you and your group. There is plenty here for it to be a nice long 2-year campaign, or if you are waiting for the release of another adventure path to come out, you can get things done easily in 3-6 months. (Your actual time invested may vary)

Desire to Play: 10 out of 10
NPC Interactions: There is not as much NPC interactions written into the story line, which allows for a GM who may want to add those in as desired. The ones that are available are very well fleshed and thought out, which I like. There are also pre-generated characters, which can easily become NPCs in certain sections of the adventure.

Encounters and Rewards: There are a good number of new items and encounters that definitely make any work worthwhile. One of the things I have always loved about Raging Swan and their adventures is that there is an appendix talking about additional rules that are in Pathfinder, but are broken down further to allow additional clarification on situations. You see this a lot in their Dungeon Dressings and other supplemental material, but in this publication they made an additional appendix for rules concerning many issues that you will see in the adventure. (Spoiler: Primarily Water, Vehicle and Underwater rules.)

Overall: 10 out of 10
For Players: Players are in for a treat over the high seas! There is definitely enough action and activities to make the adventure something you are sure to remember!

For GMs: If you have been looking for a way into water adventures, that may not be on the same epic level as Razor Coast or Skulls and Shackles, fear not! This is the choice for you! It leaves tons of options to grow as you see fit and at the same time allows you to expand into something more awesome.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Sunken Pyramid
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Heroes of the Jade Oath (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/20/2013 20:54:40
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=35342.

Are you considering an Eastern Campaign? Well Heroes of the Jade Oath, is a supplement that allows players to expand on Eastern-style Pathfinder options already provided through products like Jade Regent, and Ultimate Combat.

OVERALL

Heroes of the Jade Oath, is a different look into the lifestyles of the Eastern lands. It is a nice change of pace from a lot of the current themes going on in the RPG community. It’s a good buy for those who are looking for something new to add to their Eastern Campaigns.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 9 out of 10
Publication Layout: The layout of this adventure is clean and colorful. There is very little space wasted and the artwork is definitely of the best quality. This product is definitely built for print, and it shows!

Ease of Mobility: What kills me about this product, is that it is 80MB in size. Paizo’s core book PDF’s are not even this size. As a result, it makes transferring and reading this on a mobile device a total lag. Going forward I would like to see publishers consider a “Mobile friendly” PDF along with the high resolution. I see quite a lot of publishers do this, so it is hard for me to believe that it’s not possible.

Also, because there is so much in this book, it would have been nice to have a chapter by chapter downloadable content as well. It would have been helpful for those who like to reference certain sections when they are in game, or to allow the GM the opportunity to reference the item.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
Mechanically, the product is fairly sound. I don’t see anything that makes me go: “Whoa buddy” on the imbalance table. But there are some nice new additions that do compliment the rules already in place for Pathfinder. So I have no major complaints.

Value Add: 10 out of 10
I spoke earlier about there being quite a lot of quality value in this expansion, and there is. They expanded on a lot of the mythos that is the Eastern culture and lifestyle. When this is tied into the other products, like Kaidan, The Way of the Samurai, and even other products like Jade Regent, they can all be interwoven, and that’s not an easy thing to do. Products that allow versatility between homebrews and published adventures is a quite hard, and so I tip my hat to the team in that respect.

Overall: 10 out of 10
Overall, this product is quite well done! It has compatibility with other products, as well as stand alone as a great supplement product. Although I personally do not have any plans on running an eastern based campaign any time soon, it’s good to know that there are amazing products that keep the games alive, and provide new options to gamers no matter what their needs are.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Heroes of the Jade Oath (PFRPG)
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Type A Far Trader "Easy Money"
Publisher: Scrying Eye Games
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/16/2013 19:35:50
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=35263.

Your characters have checked out of the SciFi Bar, eaten at the SciFi Diner, and blown up the Reactor. It’s time to leave, and what better way than in the Type A Far Trader ? This is a well-depicted battlemat of a small two-level spaceship. Those familiar with the Traveller RPG will feel right at home, but this works well for any space-related gaming venue. The outside of the hull is included as well, perfect for scrabbling over the surface in zero-G or blasting away in the spaceport before struggling into the ship!

OVERALL

The Type A Far Trader is an excellent battlemat, allowing the players to indulge in mayhem on the inside or outside of a sci-fi spaceship. It is complete with an upper upper deck, lower deck, air raft bay, and top outer surface of the ship.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
Scrying Eye Games has done an excellent job of sizing the map segments across multiple pages. My suggestion for the best final result is to cut the white edges off after printing without scaling, since the original scale is set to one square equals five feet. Laminate the pieces, then use glossy tape on the butted edges so that, once assembled, nothing shifts or stains when players get excited and scatter snacks in their haste to sweep the decks with plasma weapons.

Visual Appeal: 10 out of 10
This map depicts an excellent environment for a high-quality sci-fi experience. There is a visually-appealing main cargo bay, with two levels of corridors, crew compartments, equipment storage areas, and nice tactical features. It also has a clean sci-fi look, just the sort of thing for a nice blaster pistol duel or neural net hacking job. The various levels can be used for game play whether the characters are with or without gravity or atmosphere.

Desire to Use: 9 out of 10
I’m more of a high fantasy player, but the next time I use a spaceship this battlemat will come into play! The Type A Far Trader “HIMS Easy Money” is the perfect place for aerospace intrigue and heroics, should you have even the slightest interest in the sci-fi genre, so grab your plasma rifle and blast away or just hurl a nice antimatter grenade across the cargo bay and seal your suit before the atmosphere blows!

Overall: 10 out of 10
The Type A Far Trader is an excellent addition to your sci-fi environments and a quality piece from Scrying Eye Games. This battlemat provides an excellent site for an encounter, or an appealing means of interplanetary propulsion for the characters or their foes.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Type A Far Trader "Easy Money"
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Haiku of Horror: Autumn Moon Bath House
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/06/2013 14:30:03
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=35034.

Welcome, weary traveler, to our humble Bath House. You will find that we will do everything in our power to help you wash away the wariness from your long pilgrimage. Yes we provide many services here, but if you choose to stay the night I recommend you stay in your sleeping area… Oh no, we have not had any major problems, but your safety is important to us. There will be no problems, I assure you, please come in!

OVERALL

Rite Publishing has taken its oriental setting to a much higher level of quality than most other, much larger game production companies out there. Most people would be offended to see that this 61 page product only has 9 pages of content, and as many pages of maps and map segments, but I can assure you none of it is wasted space.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 9 out of 10
Kaidan is a haunted land, and the cover of all of the products looks like it is right out of any Japanese horror movie. If you know anything about some of the horror mythos in the orient, you know how creepy and disturbing they can be. The transparent black background sets off the already creepy penciled art. Add some white lettering with red borders and there is no doubt about what this supplement is about. The interior layout is great; nothing innovative or special, just solid layout that makes this a very useable product. The bamboo borders on the pages is appropriate for the setting and adds to its overall feel. The use of traditional Japanese prints is handled well and is a great contrast to some of the black and white art that makes this feel like a horror filled setting. There was a small disconnect in one of the creature descriptions dealing with hair color. A minor problem, but after you read this particular creatures description you will see why it is mention worthy. There are some good high quality maps in this book and the addition of printable map sections that allow the use of miniatures is sheer genius. Sure those map sections take up quite a few pages, but to have that in your GM kit is huge!

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
Autumn Moon Bath House is one of those supplements that isn’t mechanic heavy. It isn’t to say that there are not mechanics, just not too many of them. The creature/creatures are interesting and one has an interesting attack mode. Pathfinder encourages the use of miniatures and the included map sections help the GM run the game correctly if they include minis in their games.

Value Add: 10 out of 10
The adventure in Autumn Moon Bath House has an intriguing plot that could be dropped into almost any setting with very few problems. One additional factor that really adds value to this product is the kind of min culture lesson that you get. Michael K. Tumery takes the time to introduce the reader to the proper Japanese names of some items and explains their uses. The maps have a dual purpose, first they make the adventure come alive for you if you choose to use minis, but this bath house could be a bath house in any oriental adventure. The other purpose is that with enough supplements like this one, with the maps it has, you could quickly produce a high quality village with mapped out buildings, to scale.

Overall: 10 out of 10
There is so much Rite, I mean right, I mean, well you get the idea. There are a lot of great things about this product: the art is good, the layout is great and the maps are well done and usable. The resolution to this haunted Bath House is interesting and just challenging enough to keep players engaged.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Haiku of Horror: Autumn Moon Bath House
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Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Khufusiris, the Crooked Sleuth of Unfathered Sin (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/29/2013 20:43:18
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=34283.

Buddy is only part of the word, and Khufusiris the Crooked Sleuth of Unfathered Sin knows how to complete the rest of that statement. Actually, if there was ever an NPC designed to better screw their allies over, I’ve never seen them!

OVERALL

Even when the folks at Rite Publishing go for some really obvious troupes, they still make their NPCs feel fresh. Who hasn’t seen the scruffy criosphink who comes off as really loveable and seems almost cuddly, who turns out to be a raging a-hole who screws his buddies over at the worst possible moment?

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
Even though the art in this supplement doesn’t take any risks or blaze any new paths, it works and it works well. Rite Publishing stuck with the art style from other supplements to depict some of the templates. While not all of that art was groundbreaking, it re-enforced those templates the second time I saw them. Layout in this supplement is standard for Rite publishing as well as the supplements for the Faces of the Tarnished Souk series. I do think Khufusiris, the Crooked Sleuth of Unfathered Sin could have looked a bit more friendly and approachable but his depiction wasn’t enough to deduct points for.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
I rarely have any complaints about Rite Publishing’s ability to produce top-notch products that are mechanically sound. The addition of several templates will cause a GM to have to do some homework to run this NPC correctly, but that is to be expected with products that cover higher-level creatures. Rite Publishing isn’t afraid to get complicated, and they do a great job when they do it.

Value Add: 8 out of 10
The main reason that Khufusiris, the Crooked Sleuth of Unfathered Sin got dinged is because, lets face it, in most settings other than the Tarnished Souk, a criosphink just wandering around, even in the largest hives of scum and villainy, sticks out. Even when he is described as friendly and affable, he is still a criosphink! If disguised as something else he becomes more useful, but part of the appeal is that he is a criosphink.

Overall: 9 out of 10
I have never ever seen a creature who was so specked for betrayal, and I love it. I do feel that if played as written, Khufusiris, the Crooked Sleuth of Unfathered Sin and his true colors will show way too soon. Any characters that have spent time in the Tarnished Souk and survived should very easily see through his guise as a loyal friend. Smart players know not to trust anything in the Souk and they know that nothing, and I mean nothing, is as it appears. Khufusiris is best used as a long time ally so that if the players let their guard down, the betrayal will hurt that much more. When you feel that knife twisting in your back, you, as a GM, will know where it came from.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Khufusiris, the Crooked Sleuth of Unfathered Sin (PFRPG)
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Village Backdrop: Bossin
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/22/2013 15:30:01
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=34429.

Nestled in a deep dell behind the cliffs guarding the Lonely Coast, Bossin is a troubled village. The rich bounty of the nearby mines and the excellent farmland should provide the villagers with a comfortable life, even though the lower part of the village periodically floods, but instead the populace now labor under the tyranny of Jacca Lander and his hired thugs. Extortion, disappearances and “accidents” are a daily feature of life in Bossin and the villagers are desperate for salvation, but they dare not speak of their woes for fear of ending up in the Pit.

OVERALL

Bossin is a village that can easily be dropped into any campaign, anywhere, which is something that I love the most about Raging Swan Press Products. Although I still wish this product was in color, this is where sometimes, colored pencils are your friend.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
The layout is done in the traditional style of Raging Swan Press which is minimalist black and white. While it doesn’t take away from the quality of the publication, I WISHED they would do something in color. Again, they are passing the savings to their customers by not doing color, but it would be nice to see some color! The bookmarks are done in a clean style, and the transfer to mobile devices is made awesome by the company’s policy to give you both the high resolution and low resolution for whatever your needs are.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
Mechanically it is sound, I don’t find many issues with Raging Swan Press goodies, and this is no exception.

Value Add: 9 out of 10
While this is an amazing supplement, I still hate that it’s not in color! When you do cities, locations, and other things, art becomes incredibly important in making the world that much more realistic. But as is, I am still content. What I wouldn’t give to see some color though.

Overall: 10 out of 10
Overall, this product is a sound product. It’s light, affordable, and quite really nice. Bossin, can fit into any campaign, adventure or small skirmish and it gives the players and the GM, the maneuverability to play with the city as much as they like.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Bossin
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Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Balduros Thundrsen, the Roaring Hammer (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/15/2013 15:38:07
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=34250.

He’s just a good ole’ boy never meaning much harm… A Dwarf Bard, this is the Souk, you shouldn’t be surprised, a Dwarf Bard that parties hard and drinks too much; no surprises there. His mood swings range from jubilant to destructive and he does it all with aplomb.

OVERALL

While not many think Dwarf Bard, it has been done before and it will be done again. Where the folks at Rite Publishing did this take right was making him a singer and a dancer – sure he is a drum beater, but I’m glad he wasn’t a one trick pony.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 9 out of 10
No surprises when it comes to this supplement’s layout, print quality or formatting. The Faces of the Tarnished Souk supplements are a very established brand, and while some would ding Rite Publishing for not changing things up, I commend them. They are a small company who knows how to stretch their dollar and still put out a high quality product. I enjoyed the cover art, it let me know who Balduros Thundrsen is with one look. In past reviews I have asked Rite Publishing for additional pictures of the character the supplement is covering and they did, well they did or they used the picture of another similar looking Dwarf, but I think they went the extra mile and included a picture of Balduros Thundrsen wielding a hammer. The rest of the stock art didn’t feel cohesive, but it is stock art.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
Balduros Thundrsen is no push over, but he felt like he would not be difficult to run as an NPC. Even at level 16 with very minor preparation, a GM could improve any game with the inclusion of Balduros Thundrsen.

Value Add: 10 out of 10
Bards tend to be a polarizing class; people love them or they hate them. If run properly, Balduros Thundrsen could be that NPC that might bring a few players to the bard side. Outside of the Souk he would be a powerful warlord, who happens to have musical talent, but in the Souk he is just right.

Overall: 10 out of 10
Even with some of the typical elements that are included in the Balduros Thundrsen, the Roaring Hammer he is still a really well executed and realized NPC. His templates are not too complicated and his backstory is interesting. Some of his motivations and reasons for his actions are diminished when he is out of the Souk, but lets face it, artsy folks tend to be eccentric so some of his normal behaviors in the Souk wouldn’t be too far off in other settings. As an NPC, Balduros Thundrsen brings the noise!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Balduros Thundrsen, the Roaring Hammer  (PFRPG)
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Dreams of Steam 2: The Foul Strumpet
Publisher: Scrying Eye Games
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/11/2013 14:39:10
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=33922.

The Foul Strumpet is a well-depicted battlemap of a steampunk airship. A gas bag suspends the upper and lower decks of a hanging ship, with large props that drive the entire thing forward with a suitable trail of fumes. This battlemat is a perfect example of how helium is better than hydrogen, because the gas bag is obviously not a hot air balloon. It would not do to be under the bag if the contents could explode from one tiny spark, so the vote goes to helium – or some suitably inert fantasy equivalent!

OVERALL

The Foul Strumpet is an excellent battlemat, allowing the players to indulge in mayhem on several levels of a steampunk airship. It is complete with an upper gas bag, surface deck, and lower deck.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
Scrying Eye Games has done an excellent job of sizing the battlemap segments across multiple pages. My suggestion for the best final result is to cut the white edges off after printing without scaling, since the original scale is set to one square equals five feet. Laminate the pieces, then use glossy tape on the butted edges so that, once assembled, nothing shifts or stains when players get excited and scatter snacks in their haste to sweep the decks with projectile weapons.

Visual Appeal: 10 out of 10
This map has perfectly captured the qualities of the steampunk experience. Steam, smoke, cannons, and all sorts of nice tactical features are presented with great quality. It also has a stylish Victorian look, just the sort of thing for a nice parasol or cutlass. The various levels can be used for game play whether the characters are in, on, or under the depicted surfaces.

Desire to Use: 9 out of 10
I’m more of a high fantasy player, but the next time I use an airship I’m using this battlemap! The Foul Strumpet is the perfect place for aeronautical derring-do and hijinks, should you have a fancy for the steampunk genre. What you get is a complete airship experience, so grab your aether pistol and blast away or just drop a nice crate of impact bombs on the helpless fools below!

Overall: 10 out of 10
The Foul Strumpet is an excellent addition to your steampunk environments and a quality piece from Scrying Eye Games. The Foul Strumpet provides the Game Master with an excellent site for an encounter or a tasteful means of long-distance propulsion for the characters and their foes.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dreams of Steam 2: The Foul Strumpet
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Fantastic Maps - Trader's Warf
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/04/2013 21:06:18
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=33921.

Trader’s Wharf is perfect for a fantasy encounter by the sea or the river. The depicted terrain includes a small merchant ship docked on the shore next to a nice little warehouse, with quality terrain features for fantasy encounters. This battlemap is perfect for some serious medieval mayhem!

OVERALL

This is a beautiful battlemap. The art is excellent and the terrain allows the characters or their antagonists to approach the dock from land or sea with equal facility. What players get, once the sheets are assembled, is an artistic depiction of a medieval or renaissance private dock with suitable surroundings.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
Jonathan Roberts has done an excellent job with this publication, which includes a square-grid depiction in full color as well as one in printer-friendly greyscale. The panels are sized such that they can be printed on both letter or A4 paper. Owners of this product should print this at actual size, with no scaling. There are complete instructions, and the panels are set with an overlap for precise positioning and taping. The white edges can be entirely removed and the pieces will combine seamlessly. One excellent way to make this last is to get adhesive lamination sheets from an office supply store and cover the sections, cutting the plastic to fit. Alternately, a print shop can easily laminate the sections. Either way, once assembled and taped together using the slight overlap provided, nothing shifts or stains when players get excited and spill their beverages during a hasty boarding action or while attempting to pillage the warehouse.

Visual Appeal: 9 out of 10
If you’ve been spoiled by multiple-layer PDF renditions, be aware that this is a single-layer file, so what you see is what you get. In my opinion, this map is perfect. The debris and stacked items inside the warehouse are well-depicted, as is the dock and surrounding terrain. The color selections are beautiful, and they give this battlemat a realistic appearance. The ship at the dock is well-rendered. If you’ve seen the Princess Bride movie, this ship is very close to the size and shape of the ship operated by Vizzini the Sicilian villain, roughly 60 feet from bow to stern, and is fully detailed in another product: Fantastic Maps – Merchantman. If you want internal details of the lower decks or would like to float off in the ship after leaving the dock, pick up that product as well.

Desire to Use: 10 out of 10
As a high fantasy genre gamer, I’m using this! I’ve already laminated my set and will be enjoying it at the next gaming convention. This battlemap perfectly depicts a shoreline haven for characters or their foes. Whether the characters are armed with swords, crossbows, or magic wands, this is an excellent product for the ragged edge between the land and sea!

Overall: 10 out of 10
Trader’s Wharf is a high-quality addition to your fantasy environments and another fine product from Rite Publishing. Trader’s Wharf allows the Game Master to establish a rich tactical shoreline situation that is visually appealing.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fantastic Maps - Trader's Warf
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