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City Slums
Publisher: DramaScape
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/21/2013 14:58:58
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=33606.

City Slums accurately captures the hopeless wreckage of a decayed urban blight. The combination of rubble and terrain features at various altitudes gives the players a rich environment for frenzied combat tactics, whether it’s up close or blasting away with assault rifles. This battlemap is perfect for contemporary scenarios, superhero escapades, or for apocalyptic doom in the husk of a shattered city. What players get, once the sheets are assembled, is a rich area of blighted urban street that includes several floors of surrounding buildings and metallic bridges above the rest from which to engage in spirited sniper fire or high-level martial arts mayhem.

OVERALL

City Slums is an excellent urban map, allowing the players to have a complete modern city combat experience. It assembles into an inner city block, with a rich range of terrain features. There are buildings that surround the edge of the map, along with several narrow buildings in the middle that are connected by metallic walkways on the top levels.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
DramaScape has done an excellent job of sizing the battlemap segments across multiple pages, including a square-grid, hex-grid, and gridless version. There are complete instructions, along with a panoramic view that allows the reader to pan around from a viewpoint in the middle of the block to see what the map looks like from the perspective of a character. Owners of this product can choose where to cut the white edges off so that they can assemble the pieces in a way that allows them to combine seamlessly. My suggestion for the best final result is to laminate the pieces once this decision is made, then use non-permanent double-sided tape on the white edges so that everything holds together nicely. Alternately, all the edges can be cut off and the map sections can be laminated and butted together directly with glossy tape. Either way, once assembled, nothing shifts or stains when players get excited and spill their beverages in their haste to tear up the streets with rapid-fire weaponry

Visual Appeal: 9 out of 10
This map has perfectly captured the hopeless sense of dust and shattered bricks. The coloration is grey and ominous, with toxic waste drums, overburdened dumpsters, scattered traffic cones, and a variety of well-crafted terrain features. The different levels are slightly offset visually, so it’s easy to tell the relative altitude of the various roofs and walkways. It also has a fantastic weathered look, showing that the environment has seen many years of gradual decay. There are so many places to hide on this map that the characters and their adversaries will have a hard time keeping track of opposing forces.

Desire to Use: 9 out of 10
I’m personally more of the high fantasy genre gamer, but the next time I run an urban blight game this will be a centerpiece! City Slums is the perfect place for a major misunderstanding involving gangs, drug production facilities, villainous headquarters, zombie hordes, or the fight for food after civilization coughs out its final breath. Whether the characters are armed with assault rifles, crossbows, or flamethrowers, this is an excellent product for the final epic battle!

Overall: 9 out of 10
City Slums is an excellent addition to your modern or apocalyptic environments and another quality piece from DramaScape. By focusing on an open central area surrounded by high walls and walkways, City Slums allows the Game Master to establish a rich tactical urban conflict where the winner can’t easily be predicted, but creativity will definitely be rewarded.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
City Slums
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The Reactor
Publisher: DramaScape
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/07/2013 21:05:48
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=32955.

The Reactor is where the trouble is brewing. Millions might die. After the characters have been to the SciFi Bar, or spent some time in the SciFi Diner, this is where they will save the world, or at least the starship. It could be the future, the present, or the past, because this battlemap can handle any genre where serious chemistry or nuclear energy production is underway.

OVERALL

The Reactor is a well-rendered specialized area, invoking scenes where the heroes battle terrorists, aliens, or are tasked with preventing serious hardware malfunctions. This battlemap renders two levels of a reactor environment with enough flexibility to support a wide variety of options, allowing the players to have a complicated tactical encounter. There is one entrance and, by definition, only one escape. This is the place where the heroes will win or die, and their actions will determine the fate of many.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
DramaScape has done an excellent job of sizing the battlemap segments across multiple pages. This product includes square-grid, hex-grid, and gridless renditions of two reactor levels. The imagery is rendered with great quality. Owners of this product can choose which white edges to cut off so that they can assemble the reactor levels seamlessly. If you want this to last for years, I suggest that you laminate the pieces and use double-sided tape on the white edges so that nothing shifts or stains when players get excited and spill their beverages in their haste to blast aliens before they can blow up the reactor. Another option is to cut off all the white edges and just tape the laminated pieces together directly with glossy tape.

Visual Appeal: 9 out of 10
This map is an excellent rendition of a high-tech energy or chemical production environment. There are walkways, tubes, valves, control panels, and all sorts of features to indulge a variety of tactical challenges. The two levels are similar, but the top and bottom of the ladders for access between the levels are visually well-rendered.

Desire to Use: 8 out of 10
As I’ve mentioned, this is a very specialized environment but perfect for one specific kind of encounter. It could be used in Cold War scenarios, contemporary high-technology situations, or in science fiction confrontations. Fantasy characters would probably blow themselves up in fairly short order in this environment, but that doesn’t mean that it couldn’t be used as a mystery in such a genre. The Reactor is equally effective for tense combat situations or technical challenges where the characters must solve complex issues to avoid massive destruction.

Overall: 9 out of 10
The Reactor is an excellent addition to your science fiction, espionage, or contemporary action environments, and a quality product from DramaScape. This battlemat is perfect for a final confrontation with enemies or the raw forces of technology. The Reactor allows the Game Master to provide an epic focused situation where the options are limited only by the imagination of the players.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Reactor
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Dungeon Dressing: Pits
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/04/2013 20:33:19
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=32532.

Looking for a new way of dealing with pits? Or even make the pits worse by adding additional items? This is the product for you! This is straight forward, no fuss, supplement that will make pits even more deadly and fun to have in your adventures!

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
Presentation of Layout: As always, it is done in the traditional Raging Press Style of minimalist black and white. Which if fine and acceptable especially for supplements. The layout of information is rather easy to read and done in the traditional style.

Ease of Mobility: The nice thing about Raging Swan Press, is that they have dual formats for those who wish to print, and carry mobile. It’s nice and keeps the files light and readable.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
Mechanically it’s sound, and I learned a few new things about Pits that I can use on my players in my personal campaigns. But I wouldn’t pass this on to a few others because then I know for a fact, I would get hit and die with one of these pits. Which is a good thing in the supplement’s case.

Value Add: 10 out of 10
If you are looking for something that adds flavor to the infamously boring pit, is definitely something you should purchase. With a two dollar price tag, it’s hard to not buy it.

Overall: 10 out of 10
If you are looking for something to expand your pits for your trap-filled lair, this is one of the supplements for you. The price is right, you learn new things about pits that you didn’t know before. It’s awesome and you want to take advantage of the low price.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Dressing: Pits
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SciFi Diner
Publisher: DramaScape
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/28/2013 21:06:55
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=32452.

Some things don’t change, even in the sci-fi worlds. Before your characters hit the bars, or afterwards, they just might need to grab some basic food. This is where SciFi Diner comes in! There’s nothing too fancy about this place, but there are seven seats at the bar, twelve booths, and something warm in the nutrient tanks. Entry is through an airlock door, so the diner could be set in the mean streets of the starport, the halls of a starship, radioactive ruins, or within the vacuum of space outside. The choice is yours!

OVERALL

SciFi Diner is an excellent map, allowing the players to have a fulfilling sci-fi diner experience. An interesting combination of high-tech and seedy street feel makes this the perfect place for that nice hot bowl of ramen (or unidentifiable soup) for a possibly edible meal.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
Personally, I’m suspicious of high ratings, but I can’t find anything wrong with this battlemat! It is beautifully rendered. DramaScape has, as usual, done an excellent job of sizing the segments across multiple pages. The pieces go together seamlessly. This product includes square-grid, hex-grid, and gridless version of the diner, complete with kitchen, storage area, bar, main corridor with booths, and an optional add-on bathroom.

Visual Appeal: 10 out of 10
This map has captured the grungy feeling of a greasy-spoon diner blended with the high-tech props that might be expected at a starport. The coloration is an urban grey cast, with a lot of thought put into the placement of the features. The booths have a nice solid wall separating them, which is a nice touch when the plasma weapons come out and people need a place to dive for cover. As a bonus, the PDF has an amazing 360° dynamic panoramic view on page 6 that lets you rotate an image of the diner in Adobe Acrobat Reader for a full view from the perspective of someone standing near the bar.

Desire to Use: 10 out of 10
I’m going to combine this with DramaScape’s excellent SciFi Bars when I run my next science fiction game. SciFi Diner is a perfect place for whispered conspiracy in the booths, or a frenzied firefight down the main corridor. This product comes with great instructions. If you want this to last forever, I suggest that you decide which white edges to keep so that the pieces can be held together, laminate the pieces, then use non-permanent double-sided tape on the white edges so that everything is properly held together. Alternately, you can cut off all the edges and just butt the laminated pieces together using transparent tape so that nothing shifts or stains when enthusiastic players jostle the table during the blaster battle.

Overall: 10 out of 10
SciFi Diner is a fine addition to your science fiction gaming, and another quality piece from DramaScape. The design and rendering of this diner is excellent, and you’ll have fun using it for your futuristic adventures.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
SciFi Diner
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The Secrets of Adventuring (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/28/2013 20:47:32
The following pre-release review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=30768.

The Secrets of Adventuring offers a host of new insights and options for your characters to make your Pathfinder Roleplaying Game feel new again! The sourcebook brings you new tools to help you create the type of character you want to play without breaking the game.

OVERALL

Now for this review, I am breaking formatting protocol intentionally. (To the inevitable serious displeasure of my Editor)

But! I do this because, this sourcebook may or may not be published when this review debuts. Currently, this product is being pre-ordered in a bundle setup via Cubicle 7 Entertainment (at the Paizo Webstore) which means for one price you get both the PDF and printed copy. The copy I received is only the PDF copy, so I did not get the opportunity to review the printed copy. I state this, to let my readers know that I am reviewing simply on the content and the digital format and that the printed item may vary, but probably not by much.

Also, this review will be incredibly long, so before you dig in, I wanted to give a short version of my review for those who are still on the fence about buying this product or not. That being said, here we go!

Overall, I think this book has wonderful things to add to the Pathfinder RPG System. But those of us who are used to the traditional formatting of RPG books, may have a little trouble navigating it, which could frustrate some. Also, the price of the book for the content that you receive may make you wonder what you paid for, but don’t be deterred (please note that prices of printed books from Cubicle 7 Entertainment are set by Cubicle 7 Entertainment and not the publishing studio). If you are looking for material to add to your classes and campaigns in 2013, this is definitely a product to consider investing in if you like what you read in my review below.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 8 out of 10
Presentation of Layout: The layout is clean and simple. Someone has been reading my reviews, and the bookmarks are spot on! Which makes navigating this rather big book a lot easier! The entire format is done in black and white which will be nice if you plan on printing it out. The artwork, while nice, is rather huge and sometimes takes whole pages and adds to the page count. But it’s done with the mission that it separates sections and chapters, which I can also appreciate.

Ease of Mobility: The downside to this product is that digitally it’s HUGE! So transferring and navigating through mobile means is incredibly cumbersome. Now granted, this digital product is formatted for print, so I won’t hold it against them too hard, but it would be nice to have a formal version and a mobile-light version for those who buy the bundle pack. Another thing I should mention, that if you are a Paizo diehard, and are used to seeing your books in an organized format such as classes/archtypes, feats, traits, spells, etc, this book doesn’t quite have that format. They are all lumped together with the main class, which makes navigating through for one specific item a little harder. With the bookmarks in their proper place this time, it significantly makes this a lot easier.

Mechanics: 8 out of 10
My big thing about this product is that it is being advertised as something that “Enhances the game, without breaking the game.” But frankly, after looking at all the feats, mechanics, spells and archetypes, this product is built to break the game. A plain cleric or gunslinger from Paizo’s designs in comparison to the options provided here are seriously different and in some cases ruin the mechanics of the RPG. Now this isn’t a bad thing, but it’s something to consider if you plan on mixing the options between a Paizo core class and these core classes. Overall it’s not a terrible product, but it’s hard to make the two of them sync.

Value Add: 9 out of 10
Now this subject takes a little bit of a hit. So this product is currently at press time valued at $34.99 and being sold as a Print/PDF bundle. But $35 bucks is a little bit of a high price for a product that is mostly a compilation of a lot of works they have already published. Perhaps if there were pregens or other options that were added on to give a little more new OOMPH! to the product, I could see the price tag being that high. Granted, you have printing costs, but I’m still seeing a price gap. (Again, the pricing is set by Cubicle 7 Entertainment and not Rite Publishing.)

Now if you have some extra cash to spare and you are a fan of Rite Publishing and their class options, then this is something you should consider getting. It’s not a terrible product, and if you haven’t already committed to some other big 3rd party buy-in (Yes, I’m looking at you Pathfinder Online Kickstarter Supporters..) then this is something to take a look at.

Overall: 8 out of 10
Overall, this isn’t a bad product, it’s a good product. But this isn’t a cheap product, so make sure that when you get ready to purchase this product, you have the cash to drop. If not, I would recommend waiting until the PDF-only option becomes available.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Secrets of Adventuring (PFRPG)
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Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Dread Captain Miraxa, Queen Corsair of the Slumbering Sea (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/27/2013 08:06:36
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=32275.

Faces of the Tarnished Souk meets Pirates of the Caribbean in the best possible way. Dread Captain Miraxa would add all sorts of swashbuckling goodness to any seafaring campaign. On dry land, while still effective, she isn’t nearly as cool. Miraxa is a bit of a departure from the normal fare for the folks over at Rite Publishing, in this case the risk paid off.

OVERALL

It wasn’t just the fact that Captain Miraxa was a pirate that made this product stand out from the usual stable of characters that comprise the Faces of the Tarnished Souk, the amount of ancillary information included in this supplement made me want to take to the seas with much quickness. The information about Miraxa’s ship was great and there is some really good source material here.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 9 out of 10
Not much new to say, Rite has the brand established for the Faces of the Tarnished Souk series and between the borders of the pages, the clear typeface and even the cover art, anyone looking for the products know what to look for. The cover art was good, not great but good and I knew I was looking at Miraxa right away. The stock art in this supplement was hit and miss as it normally is. Fortunately there is pirate stock art out there; however most of it is not geared towards fantasy settings. While historically accurate in the real world, most of the art felt wrong for this setting. Some of the art would be great for a game like 7 seas, but not here.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
Because the folks at Rite Publishing went a little out of their comfort zone with this product, you would think there would be growing pains, but there were not. The rules for the use of Horrifically Overpowered feats need to be read several times to really make sense; in fact I found it best to read them out loud to myself to ensure I got them right. Even with the personal need to re-read those rules several times, in the end they make sense and what do you expect from a feat that is horrifically overpowered. Rite Publishing took the time to give good solid explanations for the magic items and weapons that are included in Dread Captain Miraxa, and these weapons and items feel much more alive because of it.

Value Add: 10 out of 10
I actually believe this product has as much, if not more, use in other settings than it does in the Tarnished Souk. I understand there is a sea and interesting things happen there, but where this product would really shine is a purely nautical campaign. The good captain fits quite well in this setting, but boy imagine having to deal with her on the Sea of Fallen Stars!

Overall: 10 out of 10
The inclusion of information about Captain Miraxa’s boat combined with interesting weapons and magic items would have made this product good enough. Captain Miraxa is unusual (even for the Souk) and her cold blooded (pun intended) approach to her business makes hers a ship I would not want to pass in the night. This is a great product and even if you are running a game that has nothing to do with the Tarnished Souk or the Coliseum. Buy this product it will not leave you lost at sea.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Dread Captain Miraxa, Queen Corsair of the Slumbering Sea (PFRPG)
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Dark Waters Rising
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/25/2013 14:09:53
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=32079.

Catastrophe strikes the frontier village of Swallowfeld! With a grinding groan, the town’s mill slews into the Kilian River and breaks through the ceiling of an ancient subterranean dungeon. This accident frees a long-imprisoned evil to prey upon the shocked townsfolk. When several Swallowfeld residents—some innocent and some not so innocent—are spirited away into the rapidly flooding dungeon, it falls to a brave group of heroes to venture underground and rescue the missing before dark, rising waters seal their fate.

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

This is a no-stress, no mess adventure that you can drop in and out of your campaign/game night with little to no prep as needed. It is indeed a very fun adventure worth it’s weight in gold (in and out of game!)

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 9 out of 10
Presentation of Layout: The layout of the adventure is done in the traditional Raging Swan Press style of minimalist black and white. While it’s not a bad thing, it kind of irritates me. When you look at an adventure, you want there to be some color, you want there to be some life and energy in the adventure that makes a GM want to run and a player want to play. With the format, the way it is, it’s kinda… Unexciting… But it doesn’t take away from the adventure in the same respect as well. It’s just something to note for those who are used to full color adventures.

Ease of Mobility: The file is light and easy to manage from mobile to print. The plus side of minimalist formats is that they are ink friendly.

Maps: The maps are simple and light. Easy to draw for those who hate drawing maps, but if you wanted to blow them up and print them out, that can also be arranged quite easily.

Storyline: 9 out of 10
Plot Development: The plot of the story is pretty linear–Bad stuff happens to a mine, and the party needs to go down and not only save the innocent people who are still trapped down there, but in the same respect they need to destroy whatever is down there causing bad things in the mine. Although the plot is pretty linear, it’s still a great adventure! Ron Lundeen is one of my favorite adventure writers in Pathfinder Organized Society Play.

Pacing of Story: The pacing of the story is rather quick and rightfully so due to the nature of the adventure. It always has this sense of urgency, but it does leave a GM time to add in roleplay before and/or after the adventure as needed. If you want to expand from there, you also have that option.

Desire to Play: 9 out of 10
NPC Interactions: The NPC interactions are a little flat, but there is room for a GM to expand upon them and make them memorable. If you have charismatic characters, I would recommend fleshing them out a bit, as they can be quite fun!

Encounters and Rewards: The encounters are appropriate to the level, and leave a good amount of a challenge for those who are combat oriented. The XP is fine, and the treasure is a little lacking. GMs can make up for that by dropping their own special items.

Overall: 9 out of 10
For Players: Dark Waters Rising is a great adventure for players who like crawling through dungeons and discovering the many secrets this city and area have to offer! The possibilities are endless and you will have no problem going where and doing whatever you want.

For GMs: If you are having a campaign dry spell, or looking for a new location, Dark Waters Rising definitely helps with that! You can run it standalone and have a good time, or you can add it into a campaign or even expand from this one adventure alone!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Waters Rising
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SciFi Bars
Publisher: DramaScape
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/22/2013 08:23:19
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=32451.

Grab your blaster, plasma sword, and deflection harness! It’s time to hit the cantina or, better yet, that nice place at the other end of town where they serve Xentaxian Ale! SciFi Bars is an excellent battlemap for those nights on the town at the local starport. You can easily use this battlemap for classic sci-fi adventures, or for mystery scenarios where the characters encounter futuristic landscapes. The main focus of this battlemap is the high-tech entertainment environment, combined with features that support all sorts of tactical options. What players get is a set of two 48 x 30 inch full-color floor plans of futuristic bars.

OVERALL

SciFi Bars is an excellent map, allowing the players to have a complete sci-fi bar experience in two completely different classes of establishment. It is complete, even down to the toilets and toxic waste drums! I’ll definitely be using this in my next sci-fi run.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
DramaScape has done an excellent job of sizing the battlemap segments across multiple pages. This product includes a square-grid, hex-grid, and gridless version of each location. The pieces go together seamlessly. If you want to have this battlemat last forever, I suggest that you decide which white edges to keep so that the pieces can be held together properly, laminate the pieces, then use non-permanent double-sided tape on the white edges so that, once assembled at the table, everything is properly placed. Alternately, you can cut off all the white edges and just butt the pieces together using transparent tape so that nothing shifts or stains when players knock their drinks over in their haste to blast away at the bad guys.

Visual Appeal: 10 out of 10
This map has perfectly captured the grungy feeling of a lower-class starport cantina for the first location as well as the clean, high-tech feel of a classy establishment for the second location. The coloration is vibrant, with a variety of well-crafted terrain features.

Desire to Use: 10 out of 10
I’m using this in my next science fiction game! SciFi Bars is the perfect place for a some high-tech hijinks. I’ve already laminated and assembled the nastier cantina, and will soon have the classy circular bar ready for adventure as well.

Overall: 10 out of 10
SciFi Bars is an excellent addition to your science fiction gaming and another quality piece from DramaScape. The designs of both establishments are excellent, and the creators have a perfect grasp of how to put together an excellent product for futuristic adventures.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
SciFi Bars
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Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Jubal D'tirn, The Fool's Champion (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/18/2013 20:42:40
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=32274.

He’s just a good ole’ boy trying to gain glory. When he isn’t fighting gladiatorial battles in the Coliseum, he passes his time in a tent made of animal hides plying his trade as a taxidermist. His unintended slight of the Kahn has led to his possession of a cursed weapon. What’s not to like about this guy?

OVERALL

Yet another solid product for Rite Publishing’s Faces of the Tarnished Souk. With Jubal D’tirn, I felt like he was a little closer to a normal person than many of the other faces in the Tarnished Souk (if such a thing is possible). I see a guy who isn’t bad at fighting, but made a simple mistake that could cost him his life. It’s funny, but we all know someone similar to Jubal: a person who isn’t completely out of the game, but if one little thing had happened differently they might be on top of the world.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 7 out of 10
I’m going to ding Rite Publishing on this one, because at this stage of the game there is no reason they should have editing problems. I know no one is perfect, but if I can catch some editing mistakes, then someone else in the food chain should have done the same thing. The cover art for this book is great and because of the small amount of actual pictures, I wasn’t as turned off by Rite Publishing’s use of the reverse white and black or what I call the photo negative quality in the pictures. I am still not a fan of Rite’s extensive use of stock art, but by presenting it in this manor they gave a few pictures a second lease on life. The graphics for the Enraged Giant Hellhound were actually saved by the reversal of white and black.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
I often complain or at least mention how complex some of the NPCs from the Tarnished Souk are. With this product, I tried to put that aside and look at Jubil as a plot device and what he could do for me as a GM. When I shifted my previously narrow view, what I was able to see was a versatile and modular NPC that, for some reason, seemed even more real than some of the other faces from the Souk. There is quite a bit of good advice on how to integrate Jubal into your game and ways to use his powers. I would have loved to have even more information on good ideas for making Jubal come to life, but in no way did I feel like I was left hanging.

Value Add: 9 out of 10
Souk tested, player approved. Because of the folksy vibe I got from Jubal, he really could be used as an interesting NPC, especially at his lower levels. His story is compelling and with minor tweaks I could see Jubal as the taxidermist in a town or even a decent sized village. Some of the magic items introduced in this supplement are really interesting and would add some real excitement to most games.

Overall: 9 out of 10
Editing problems aside, Jubal D’tirn, The Fool’s Champion is one of those NPCs you kind of love to hate. I actually don’t think he would be a bad guy to hang out with. I would rather not be on the receiving end of his sword, even if it is cursed. I could see Jubal being the kind of recurring character that would produce tons of plot hooks and dynamic interactions. This supplement is worth the money don’t be a fool, be a champion and learn more about Jubal D’tirn.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Jubal D'tirn, The Fool's Champion (PFRPG)
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API Worldwide: South America
Publisher: Third Eye Games
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/15/2013 20:48:10
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=32063.

Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. is set within the United States in the core rulebook. Third Eye Games expands the game’s options and territories by presenting these API WorldWide sourcebooks. South America does what the title says, presents new options for those wishing to take their game to South America. However, instead of just presenting you with a new location, South America introduces new species and conflicts that further expand the Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. canon. This method of releasing products does two things: Expands the setting of API and introduces uniqueness throughout the world whereas one location doesn’t simply feel like another in terms of how the history of the area, from an API perspective, unfolded.

OVERALL

I really like the API WorldWide sourcebooks, and truly appreciate their uniqueness regarding the overall Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. canon. One thing prevalent throughout is how the fluff and mechanics are flavored to match the setting, in this case South America and the Amazon. If you want to extend your games into South America, this is the best way to do it.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 8 out of 10
API WorldWide: South America is a good looking book. It is not without editing errors and possible tweaks to illustration sizing, but overall it is a high-quality publication with excellent artwork and a clean layout and format. It follows the standards previously presented in API books and executes that standard appropriately.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
The mechanics of API WorldWide: South America is where this book truly shines. Not just because they give you new options, but because they take the fluff content and translate them well into in-game mechanics, again all flavored to match the setting. It’s always nice to have new options, but it feels much more cohesive to have those new options completely match the flavor of the setting from which they originate.

Value Add: 9 out of 10
API WorldWide: South America does a fantastic job of extending the game’s setting into South America. This presents a lot more fluff and conflict opportunities. Even without using the new in-game mechanics, much of the source content can be incorporated into games within other continents should the organizations within South America decide to branch out to other areas. It truly is an all-encompassing book.

Overall: 9 out of 10
API WorldWide: South America is a definite value-add to Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. If only for the extension of the game’s canon, you can further flesh out your own campaigns by introducing new elements coming from South America. Otherwise, you can take your came to a completely different location and place the PCs within the heart of the Amazon, for whatever reason. Sourcebooks like this really grow the overall options of the game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
API Worldwide: South America
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Oriental Interiors
Publisher: DramaScape
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/14/2013 21:15:14
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=32046.

Oriental Interiors is a beautiful battlemap that accurately captures the feel of iconic oriental adventuring environments. There are nine locations, with each one representing a classic spot where intrigue and martial arts are equally likely to occur.

OVERALL

Oriental Interiors allows the players to have an excellent oriental role-playing experience, whether set in a contemporary or fantasy environment. The maps include two small homes, a moneylender/money exchanger, a street side food stand, two shops side by side (one selling books and portraits, with meals and drinks on the other side), three shops side by side with a warehouse behind them for storing stock (futons, containers, and fruits), a dojo, an exclusive soba diner, an upstairs area with styling similar to the soba diner, and a mill with a waterwheel and a creek. Each map is presented with Hex, Square and No-overlay versions; you will need to check which pages these are to save printing unwanted pages.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
DramaScape has released a perfect set of locations for enjoying the feel of oriental adventures. The square-grid, hex-grid, and gridless versions of each location are extremely well represented. In addition to a full set of overhead maps, there are a series of profile images that allow players to see what the room might look like when entered. I am deeply impressed by the quality of this product.

Visual Appeal: 10 out of 10
This map constitutes a set of perfectly rendered locations. The coloration is vibrant, with thin black lines for the square and hex grid that allow perfect positioning without detracting from the visual experience. Each location has a variety of well-crafted features that lend authenticity to the setting.

Desire to Use: 9 out of 10
To be honest, I rarely run oriental-based adventures, but this set of maps has changed my stance! Oriental Interiors is the perfect place for major misunderstandings involving shady organized crime syndicates, ninjas, high-flying martial arts escapades, or a harmonious tea ceremony interrupted by Things From Beyond. What you get is a full set of oriental locations that are ready for adventure!

Overall: 10 out of 10
Oriental Interiors is an excellent addition to your fantasy or pulp environments and another quality piece from DramaScape. By providing a wide assortment of locations perfectly keyed to the oriental feel, Oriental Interiors allows the Game Master to run the full oriental adventure experience with a full set of tactical options, whether the characters are having a nice meal with allies or tearing up the rice mill while battling the local crime lord.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Oriental Interiors
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Journeys to the West (Pathfinder RPG)
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/12/2013 20:39:56
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=31014.

From the best of the best in the industry, comes an eight-island, five-adventure anthology of exploration and swashbuckling encounters with the unknown. Journeys to the West expands the Midgard Campaign Setting across the sea, where new wonders and dangers lurk.

OVERALL

Journeys To The West, was a Kickstarter project that Kobold Quarterly usually hosts twice a year to allow fans to determine what they should work on. Boy did those who supported this project get their money’s worth! Journeys to The West, is something that all publishers, writers and designers of RPGs should read. But if you are just a general gamer, this is the product for you as well. If you are not a proud owner already, get a copy, it awaits you!

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
Presentation of Layout: The layout is clean, simple and gorgeous! They layout items in the same fashion as Paizo Publishing when it comes to locations, archetypes, items, etc. It makes navigating rather simple.

Ease of Mobility: The bookmarks are off a bit, but not by much, add to the fact that it is done in a style in which players can easily reference a section, compensates for that. Transferring to mobile is nice and light, without losing the quality of the file. But this is a product that needs to be printed, and sat on a gaming table!

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
Mechanically, it is a fairly sound product. After reading Dragons of the Empire the traits in this one, kind of aren’t as WOW as that supplement book, but it’s not a deal breaker.

Desire to Play: 10 out of 10
This product, is one of those turning point supplements for the Midgard Series. It not only expands the world to another place, but it allows for many more new adventures to come! What I love about this supplement, is that it creates new opportunities through the adventures to allow players the opportunity to expand the game to all these new locations!

Overall: 10 out of 10
It’s a great product and for those of you who kickstarted it to make it a reality, thank you. This is a product that Pathfinder fans will love forever.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Journeys to the West (Pathfinder RPG)
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Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Smiles-Under-the-Bed (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/11/2013 23:08:22
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=31579.

Now they’ve done it! Rite Publishing has statted out the Cheshire Cat. Well not exactly the Cheshire Cat that you would expect interacting with Johnny Depp, gracing a classic Disney movie, or even in the twisted pages of Mr. Carroll’s novel. I mean at no time were the versions of the Cheshire Cat that Hollywood and literature have given us described as a mangy grey feline that is always hacking and mewling, appearing old and sick. Yes That famous Cheshire Cat and Smiles-Under-the-Bed are both unhinged, but Smiles-Under-the-Bed crushes dreams and ushers in nightmares of the highest order!

OVERALL

Minus the gimmicky (completely Cheshire Cat) magic item, this was a concise, well done product. Smiles-Under-the-Bed is a bit limited in use outside of the Souk, but still makes for a nasty NPC that will make you feel like you’ve stepped on a cold hairball with bare feet in the middle of the night.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 9 out of 10
This series is well branded and established and Rite Publishing is smart to stick with that formula. My gripe as usual is their use of stock art when there are thousands of artists out there looking for publishing credits. The cover looks original, but I feel like the cover art for Smiles-Under-the-Bed could have broken the traditional cover format and showed her in either form or transitioning between the two. The rest of the book minus the stock art is top notch and has progressed in quality well beyond the size and budget that Rite Publishing has.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
Still complex and deadly; anything with a CR 19 is going to be hard to run. Smiles-Under-the-Bed is much more manageable at her lowest level but the addition of several templates can fade into the background and be overlooked in the heat of battle if a GM is not careful.

Value Add: 8 out of 10
Because Smiles-Under-the-Bed is so dream focused, her use outside of the Souk is more limited than some other Faces that Rite Publishing has produced. Smiles-Under-the-Bed has a reclusive nature that, if not played properly, could cause her to become a “break only in case of high level encounter” kind of NPC. To be honest I don’t think I would like to deal with Smiles-Under-the-Bed in any situation.

Overall: 9 out of 10
It is good to see the Cheshire Cat statted out and made into an Emo, Grunge, highly deadly, nightmare of a creature. If they hadn’t made a new magic item that creates a floating smile, I don’t think I would have rated this higher. I understand the homage, but it came off a little cheesy. Smiles-Under-the-Bed is the last thing you want to run into in a dark alley in the realm of dreams!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Smiles-Under-the-Bed (PFRPG)
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Wagons Roll
Publisher: DramaScape
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/07/2013 20:32:35
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=31790.

Wagons Roll is a more of a set of accessories than a battlemap, though there are pages with sections that form long streets or trail segments for encounters. There are also a number of wagons, horses, cattle, and various objects that might be encountered on the road. The first two images show what all of the terrain pieces look like together at a smaller scale, followed by the individual pages set at a 1″ equal to 5′ scale. The smaller pieces can be placed on other battlemaps or on the road sections to simulate a variety of situations. What players get, once the sheets are cut out or assembled, is a set of road sections with ample items to cover any sorts of road encounters in either urban or rural environments.

OVERALL

Wagons Roll is an excellent production, allowing the players to have complete road encounters. An wide and interesting variety of items is provided, including horses, cattle, upended wagons, wheels lying on the road, log sections, boulders, and both rural and urban streets upon which to place them. This battlemap can save a lot of time and replace hand-drawn items on other battlemaps with high-quality images that give an excellent tactical feel to overland encounters.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 8 out of 10
DramaScape has done an excellent job of sizing the battlemap segments to fit diverse items. It also includes a square-grid and hex-grid version for each image. I’m very picky on sizing of images for battlemaps, and I noticed that the horses were a bit large for the declared 1″ equals 5′ scale, but that’s just me. I went to the trouble of measuring the largest Clydesdale to see how they fit, assuming large draft horses. The largest horses on Earth are just over nine feet in length from nose to tail, while the scale of these makes them 12 to 13 feet in length. So, these are heroic-scale horses. On the bright side, there’s plenty of room on each to conduct a good fencing match! Other than this minor quibble, everything works out very well.

Visual Appeal: 10 out of 10
This map has captured the essence of what sorts of things players expect to see on an overland road encounter, both on urban streets and out in the rural trails. Both the road sections and the objects to be placed on them are extremely well crafted. My own players will soon be facing some of these items in the next convention game, so it’s money well-spent.

Desire to Use: 9 out of 10
I’ll be using this in my next convention run, since I happen to have heroic-scale horses in my game world! Wagons Roll is an excellent product for misunderstandings on the road, or even for pleasant encounters. The construction is such that desired sections can be easily cut out, which is exactly what I’ll be doing shortly. What you get for your money is a full road or trail experience for your fantasy role-playing encounters.

Overall: 9 out of 10
Wagons Roll is an excellent addition to your fantasy or pulp environments and another quality piece from DramaScape. By focusing on visually appealing accessories, Wagons Roll allows the Game Master to the players with high overland adventure with excellent visual quality.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wagons Roll
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Ancient Temple Interior
Publisher: DramaScape
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/31/2013 20:38:02
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=31789.

Ancient Temple Interior is a dark, dismal battlemap that accurately captures the feel of an ancient holy place. The visual appeal is a matter of textures and a combination of rubble and areas that appear to be actively maintained. This means that you can easily use this battlemap for classic fantasy delves, or for more modern scenarios involving pulp-action characters compelled to discover ancient treasures. The main focus of this battlemap is the ominous environment, combined with features that support many tactical options in a conflict. What players get, once the sheets are assembled, is a 20″ by 48″ main temple, with a secret 7″ x 8″ ritual chamber and treasure area that can be placed against any wall and accessed by a secret door.

OVERALL

Ancient Temple Interior is an excellent map, allowing the players to have the full delving experience. It is complete as a temple, though support areas like kitchens and barracks are not included. There is a raised dais with four sets of steps coming up from each direction, a main hall with pillars, and plenty of room down the length for some spirited archery encounters involving dodging and diving behind obstructions.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 9 out of 10
DramaScape has done an excellent job of sizing the battlemap segments across multiple pages. It also includes a square-grid, hex-grid, gridless, and Virtual Tabletop version. I was initially concerned that the overall coloration was too dark but when actually printed, the faint yellow lines of the squares or hexes are easily visible and do not in any way detract from the dark and ancient feel of the environment. Owners of this product can choose where to cut the white edges off so that they can assemble the pieces in a way that allows them to combine seamlessly. My suggestion for the best final result is to laminate the pieces once this decision is made, then use non-permanent double-sided tape on the white edges so that, once assembled, nothing shifts or stains when players get excited and spill their beverages their haste to battle the evil cultists.

Visual Appeal: 10 out of 10
This map has perfectly captured the eerie feeling that should accompany a nice delve into the unknown. The coloration is dark and subtle with torches, broken statues, mystical symbols, and a variety of well-crafted terrain features. It also has a fantastic ancient look, showing that the environment has seen many centuries of holy or unholy ritual.

Desire to Use: 10 out of 10
I’m using this in my next convention run! Ancient Temple Interior is the perfect place for a major misunderstanding involving the minions of the deities. The size is perfect for one of the standard rectangular tables used in most gaming areas, and the construction is such that the temple can be gradually revealed rather than being assembled all at once for smaller play areas. What you get is a full temple experience whether it is in the age of swords and spells, or pistols and dynamite!

Overall: 10 out of 10
Ancient Temple Interior is an excellent addition to your fantasy or pulp environments and another quality piece from DramaScape. By focusing on the main temple chamber rather than mundane support areas, Ancient Temple Interior allows the Game Master to focus the attention of the characters on high adventure and tactical conflict.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ancient Temple Interior
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