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101 Bard Feats (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/24/2012 16:12:07
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=30011.

101 Bard Feats is 26 pages of new options so that the vision you have of your master of lore and song can easily be obtained and explored. It offers support to all of the class archetypes from the Animal Speaker to the Street Performer. It also offers the options of gaining some of these feats through the versatile performance class feature and making use of your rounds of bardic performance as an expendable resource, as well as expanding upon the role of bard beyond being an artisan, but embracing its role as a master of charm and lore. It is currently available for $5.99 at DriveThruRPG.

OVERALL:

For me, this is a great expansion of the bard class. If you are looking for more options for the bard class, this is definitely a great option to make available at a campaign table. Personally, I don’t play bards, but there are definitely a lot of people who do, so this is definitely something for those who play “resident bards” to expand their creativity and flexibility depending on the campaign.

RATINGS:

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10

Presentation of Layout: The presentation is very simple, clean and easy to read. Bookmarks are a little hit or miss, but not so bad that it makes navigating impossible, or will frustrate the person who is looking for something specific.

Ease of Mobility: The file is small and under 10MB. This makes it easy to navigate, and transfer back and forth from computer to mobile. It’s easily to scroll via tablet as well.

Mechanics: 9 out of 10
Mechanically, there are no serious rules issues. But if you plan on using feats from this add-on, be sure to double check that they don’t counteract with other rules in the Pathfinder RPG system. Some of the feats can actually work against a Bard’s build if not put in proper application. Also, as I say with all 3rd party material, make sure you show a copy to your GM before you implement it so the GM can give you approval.

Value Add: 10 out of 10
101 Bard Feats adds a lot more versatility to not only archetypes that are already in place in Pathfinder, but if you are building a custom bard, definitely adds flavor. The price is also right for the item and the information that you get for it.

Overall: 10 out of 10
Overall, the presentation is nice and simple, it’s got a good wealth of information and options for bards and GM’s who are looking to spruce up the bard NPC’s that a party may meet along the way.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
101 Bard Feats (PFRPG)
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Achtung! Cthulhu: Heroes of the Sea - Savage Worlds
Publisher: Modiphius
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/21/2012 17:48:44
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=30113.

Heroes of the Sea is the follow-on campaign module for Acthung! Cthulhu, Zero Point campaign. This particular version was written for Savage Worlds using Realms of Cthulhu from Reality Blurs. Acthung! Cthulhu is set within the midst of World War II taking the action in Europe and giving it a Cthulhu Mythos twist. Heroes of the Sea even incorporates the Dreamlands into the campaign.

OVERALL

Having previously read through the first campaign module using Call of Cthulhu, I find Acthung! Cthulhu lends itself much better to using Savage Worlds than Basic Roleplaying. As an action horror setting and not just an investigative horror setting, the pulp-like features of Savage Worlds help to enhance the action-like features of Acthung! Cthulhu without subjecting the characters to the restrictions of character strength like Basic Roleplaying (due to things like Bennies, Edges, and the ease of rolling over a TN of 4 with higher die types). Not that I don’t like the setting combined with Call of Cthulhu, I just like it a lot more when combined with Realms of Cthulhu and the Savage Worlds core system.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
Heroes of the Sea is a wonderful looking publication, albeit a bit slow at times when reading on a handheld device. The layout looks fantastic, the fonts are easy to read, and the general formatting is excellent. There is a lot of great artwork and maps.

Storyline: 8 out of 10
Heroes of the Sea has a good storyline that does an okay job of developing from beginning to end. A lot of additional storyline information could be added or at least additional elements of the surrounding activities could be added throughout the development of that storyline. At times I felt the storyline was progressing too quickly and would have liked too see additional Dreamlands information woven into the that developing storyline.

Desire to Play: 10 out of 10
The entire Acthung! Cthulhu campaign (so far) is an excellent action horror gaming experience. The PCs are thrown directly into the mix of World War II but from a very localized aspect instead of the war as a global feature. In other words, the war is going on all around the PCs, and they have to continue with their efforts without getting caught or killed. It’s a great collection of action with a layer of the Cthulhu Mythos over it. However, it should be noted that the Cthulhu Mythos is not the centerpiece of the series (at least so far), but rather an integral part of everything going on. Thus, the war is as much a part of the campaign as the mythos.

Overall: 9 out of 10
The Acthung! Cthulhu campaign is developing very well so far. The modules are nice and small (not page length, but in focus) considering the grand aspect of being surrounded by a war. In other words, you’re not trying to save the world or stop the war, you are simply a small group of special ops doing specific jobs behind enemy lines.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Achtung! Cthulhu: Heroes of the Sea - Savage Worlds
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Epoch
Publisher: Imaginary Empire
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/20/2012 20:17:50
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=30327.

EPOCH is epic! This is more than just a role-playing game, in that it is also a new kind of narrative tool with the power to improve your storytelling and role-playing in general. EPOCH is a cooperative game, meaning that the players and Game Master work together to weave a quality horror story. It is a contemporary horror game, but the elements of the game can easily be ported to other genres.

This review was delayed by a considerable margin, much to the chagrin of my Chief Editor, for a very selfish reason. Upon reading the book and assembling the cards, I gathered some players and began to play . . . and play . . . and play.

We played the Tension Phases, in which drama is built up and invoked. We played Challenge Rounds, in which some characters survived and those who ran out of the right sorts of cards perished in a particularly entertaining and horrific manner through total mental collapse, death, or something much worse. We cringed. We laughed. We voted for the most interesting character, who received a card back that had been played and therefore had a better chance of surviving the total game. These games went on. Addicted, we played more. So it went.

You’ll notice that certain keywords in this review are capitalized. These correspond to major categories of cards. This game is played with cards – lots of cards. There are no dice involved. Cards drive the narrative progression. Cards define your Relationships, be they Colleagues, Friends, Family, or Strangers. Cards are used to portray your Traits, Strengths, and Weaknesses – and you get to keep them secret until you use them in the game.

When you run out of certain cards, the opportunity to role-play a quality doom is upon you. Scream. Throw yourself on the floor and have a fit. Cower in a corner, whispering strange nonsense. Die poetically, or badly – it’s your choice. Think of any horror movie you’ve ever seen. EPOCH lets you enter such a story and play it to whatever extreme your creativity permits. As a horror game, it allows three possible Outcomes, using a tool known as the Horror Track: Defeat, Hollow Victory, or Total Victory. The more points the characters score as they work through the story, the better the outcome.

OVERALL

I have been enthralled by EPOCH. This is a totally new way to run a role-playing game and is extremely satisfying. EPOCH is also educational, and the mechanics force a cooperative structure and atmosphere that can enhance the play of other role-playing games as well. Get it.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 9 out of 10
This rating will improve to 10 out of 10 as soon as a professionally-rendered print-on-demand set of playing cards is available. As a PDF product, the graphics, type, and structure are excellent. Full sets of cards are well-rendered and everything you need to play is presented in an excellent fashion. The different types of content are visually separated, and the progression of information is well-formatted. I found that assembling my deck of cards took quite a while. It was well worth the work but, being a lazy sort dedicated to instant gratification, this took some effort. To our great fortune, Imaginary Empire is planning to release a print-on-demand EPOCH card deck in 2013, along with two sci-fi scenarios and an additional volume with optional rules, additional scenarios, and advice on constructing your own storylines.

Until then, here’s a helpful hint: print the PDF cards using “actual size” rather than “fit to printing area”. Use a good thick paper 30 – 50 lb stock. Cut the cards out carefully towards the inside edge of the thick black lines. The fronts and backs can then be slid into clear Ulta Pro 54 mm by 80 mm Board Game Sleeves. These can be found online in packs of 50. Get two packs.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
The mechanics are laid out systematically and the breakdown has been structured in a way that makes the system easy to grasp. There is a one-page overview sheet that shows the structure of the entire game, complete with page references for immediate review. EPOCH is a different type of game, so there is much to learn, and this has been structured in an excellent fashion.

Desire to Play: 9 out of 10
The only reason this isn’t a 10 rating is that EPOCH is very different from most games in this genre. There are some players who might rebel against the lack of dice in a purely card-driven system. There is very little room in EPOCH for the admittedly popular adversarial relationship between the Game Master (GM) and the players, so there may be certain players who might not be able to adapt to this extremely different narrative approach.

Overall: 9 out of 10
In conclusion, EPOCH has already improved the quality of my own role-playing and story-telling. I have complete confidence that it can do the same for you. Give it a try.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Epoch
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101 Featured Alternate Racial Traits (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/17/2012 20:29:15
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=29407.

101 Featured Alternate Racial Traits is small sourcebook that focuses on a small set of racial traits from Paizo’s Advanced Races Guide. It gives players more options to expand and customize a character’s racial traits which can thus expands a character’s uniqueness.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 8 out of 10
Presentation of Layout: What kills me about the presentation is that it could have been done so much better. The bookmarks in the PDF are rendered useless due to the fact there are two races per page. They had enough text and art to easily give each race a page without too much white space waste. Instead they slapped on the artwork at the top of the page and did a continuous flow of the text instead of taking the extra time to give each race a page of it’s own. To me this looks like either a deadline crunch or laziness. If you are going to charge $6, then take the extra time and do the layout right. However, at its sale price, you can overlook that. This layout makes looking for a specific race a little more cumbersome and defeats the purpose of having PDF bookmarks. The artwork is nice and not too heavy, I especially like the artwork that comes with the Undine race.

Ease of Mobility: The file is easy to view and transferring to mobile devices is easy and without major issues. The file is a nice small size, and with the simple layout presentation, zooming in an out is a breeze. There are bookmarks, but they are somewhat rendered useless due to how the layout of the information is done. Rite Publishing is good with making layouts that are easy to load and somewhat navigate, and if you needed to print any pages out, it wouldn’t burn too much ink. If you plan on printing this as a source guide, either as a player or as options being the GM, it will look pretty darn nice.

Mechanics: 8 out of 10
Mechanically, there are no major errors in 101 Featured Alternate Racial Traits. I dislike that it has alternative racial ability score options, but they aren’t overpowering. One of the things that also kills me about this product, is that they took only a few races from the Advanced Races Guide. I was expecting to see something for Orcs and Tengus and possibly even some of the more uncommon races. But they skip those two, and do away with all the uncommon races period. I feel like this is product is incomplete, because I was expecting all of them, but they were not there.

Value Add: 9 out of 10
Although I feel all of the races were not featured in this product, this is not to say the racial traits provided are not good and viable options. There are quite a lot of options available for all players and GMs for building memorable NPC’s. The product also takes advantage of skills that many races or classes may not carry and allows players to customize as necessary.

If you are going to highlight a chapter or a section of a Paizo product, especially one with notoriety such as Advanced Races Guide, then you should make sure you take a section and do all of them, not just pick and choose. Mechanically to me, this is not “Racial traits except Orcs and Tengus”, so to leave them out is a little bit of a minus point to me.

Overall: 8 out of 10
This isn’t a bad product, it is a very good product. But as a GM and a player, layout and presentation of information is everything. I have to be able to access what I need as simply as possible, in the most efficient format possible. Add to the fact that there are two major races missing from and it makes it hard for me to give it a higher score. I want to really love this product, but it really is the small things that keep me from loving it more. However, for the sale price, this is a product worth taking a look at and adding to your repertoire if it works for you. I would buy it, but make sure that my orc and tengu players know there is nothing here for them.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
101 Featured Alternate Racial Traits (PFRPG)
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The Observatory
Publisher: DramaScape
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/14/2012 15:03:43
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=30121.

The Observatory is a fantasy-styled observatory with a design that I think resembles Renaissance styling. The map consists of two floors plus a roof (The location of the telescope). Throughout the interior floors is a very decorative design on the floor with no shortage of inscribed runes. An armillary sphere serves as the centerpiece and a scattering of work desks can be found. Overall, the effect is one of arcane mysticism combined with the beauty of the room creating a masterpiece showcase for any fantasy scholar interested in searching the cosmos.

OVERALL

The Observatory is a simple yet intricate battlemap whereas you get a couple of large open spaces sparsely consumed with furniture and a highly-decorated floor with an incredible amount of detail. As with many other DramaScape products, it’s the details that make the big difference.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
The Observatory is a dodecagon-shaped building that cuts across nine pages for each floor. The edges get a little funky due to their relative size, but using the centerpiece armillary sphere as the center “tile” makes construction across those nine pages much simpler. Thus when you layout the entire battlemap, the highly decorative centerpiece is not cut across those pages. Additionally, the map comes in square, hex, and no grid.

Visual Appeal: 9 out of 10
The Observatory is a beautiful map with an exquisite amount of detail. The alignment of the wooden floor is not always perfect, but the textures are beautiful and very lifelike. The decoration of the first floor and all other little details throughout (such as the large number of runes) make the map very visually appealing when looked at as a whole.

Desire to Use: 9 out of 10
The Observatory is obviously a very niche battlemap. The very open floor plan may seem a bit too open for some, but others may opt to fill it with other goodies or use as a great place for an interesting encounter. A map such as this can easily be used as a source for plot ideas within an adventure or campaign given its uniqueness and a wonder of who’s observatory it is and what are they looking at? Maybe they’re attempting to call down horrific creatures from distant planets and are locating them through the use of the telescope!

Overall: 9 out of 10
The Observatory is a great and unique battlemap. Its use can easily spark a number of interesting plot hooks and possible storylines, although it may not fit within too many settings given its design. If you’re running a Renaissance themed fantasy adventure, this can easily be a showcase piece for your setting as its styling really fits that “look and feel.”

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Observatory
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10 Luckbringer Magic Items
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/10/2012 20:15:54
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=29493.

10 Luckbringer Magic Items showcases ten items that can be used for Rite Publishing’s original Luckbringer class. Each one of these items can also be used with non-Luckbringer classes. This is currently available for purchase at DriveThruRPG for the price of $.99 cents.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10

Presentation of Layout: 10 Luckbringer Magic Items is a great product with a nice layout and the information is well presented. It would look rather lovely printed out and is short, sweet and simple.

Ease of Mobility: It’s easy to load and simple to page through. There are no bookmarks due to the small size of this product. It transfers easily and causes no major hangups.

Mechanics: 9 out of 10
Mechanically, there are no major errors. But there are a few items in there that are quite overpowered and rather cheap to purchase. Now granted, most campaigns make it really hard to find magical items in their games because it is supposed to be a treat. But the items are built more specifically for the original class, which if you choose to play, would be rather helpful. Outside of the class, it’s okay.

Value Add: 7 out of 10
These are good quality items usable for a Luckbringer character. But outside of the class, it’s not something that could enhance game play, especially since there are so many other items in the Core Rulebook and Ultimate Equipment that can aid the Luckbringer class and are quite affordable on the in-game coin purse.

Overall: 9 out of 10
This is a great product; it’s nice and light. It’s great if you play in a campaign as a Luckbringer, but primarily for outside Pathfinder games it can get really overpowered rather quickly. So if you are the GM, use them as special items found after a special big battle as part of a treasure hoard! For .99 cents, it’s worth getting!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
10 Luckbringer Magic Items
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[PFRPG] Shadowglade: Game Master's Guide to Shadowglade
Publisher: Neo Productions Unlimited
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/06/2012 15:27:47
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=29637.

*SPOILER ALERT* If you are going to be a player in a Shadowglade game, do not, I repeat DO NOT read this review of the Game Masters guide: buy it and don’t touch it until after that game has ended, but buy it anyway!

Shadowglade: Game Master’s Guide picks up the intentional slack left from the Shadowglade: Player’s Guide. Yes Nate Peterson and crew actually lied to the players in the player’s guide and what players might think is the truth is very far from it, how cool is that? This Game Master’s Guide tells the real story of Shadowglade and how things really run, not what the Player’s Guide would lead the players to believe.

d-sworn enemies made as the surviving nations have begun to rediscover their roots. Out in the wilds and darkness, however, not all that lurks is friendly…or human…or even alive. The history of Shadowglade is one shrouded in mystery and uncertainty. The ruling nations and popular churches and inquisitive souls have documented what little history they could, however, in an attempt to ensure the ravages of time could not scour what little they knew ever again.

The Game Master’s Guide to Shadowglade is a supplemental setting for Pathfinder containing a human-centric world that focuses on below 10th level play. There are three core products that support this setting including the Player’s Guide, Game Master’s Guide and Basic Bestiary but several more are in the works or have already been released. The Shadowglade Game Master’s Guide has all of the tools a game master needs to take their players through a wild romp within the Shadowglade setting.

OVERALL

What this game lacks in dynamic cover art it more than makes up for by uncovering the authors brilliant deception during the course of the Player’s Guide. Yes Nate Peterson used common sense and decided to let the players believe one truth while the game master knows the real truth, well played sir, well played.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 8 out of 10
Nothing has changed between the Game Master’s Guide vs. the Player’s Guide. The cover art is still uninspiring, and the interior artwork still looks like it was lifted from a Dragons Lair type video game. The fonts and text are still crisp and this, like almost every other RPG book, uses the two-column format. The only real difference between this book and the Player’s Guide is that I think there is actually less art and because the content is so outstanding, it actually might be a slightly better product. I was disappointed that the Game Master’s Guide did not include a map.

Mechanics: 9 out of 10
The E10 setup for this game is really smart, it doth smell of D&D 4th edition, but I like the way Mr. Peterson and crew dealt with it. I am focusing on the E10 concept because it is really the major mechanical factor making this game standout. There are things like Supernatural Points as well as traits and defects, which are setting appropriate and a few of the old standbys. The E10 setup focuses on what I call the sweet spot in gaming, by level 10 you have some really cool powers but a combat turn doesn’t take 3 hours. There are rules to support game play after 10th level and they seem balanced and fair. The lack of most arcane spellcasting classes may turn many folks away from this setting, but sometimes it is good to be forced to change things up a bit. I like playing non-standard races and there really isn’t much room for those in this setting, again the change of pace should be welcomed not a deal breaker.

Value Add: 10 out of 10
This is how a Game Master’s Guide should be written. I love that the Player’s Guide is actually deceptive. This Game Master’s Guide is succinct and full of useful information, while still addressing rules support. While it contained more charts than the Player’s Guide, it didn’t feel like a simple collection of charts with a few pictures. Sometimes less is more and this is a svelte GM guide that does what it sets out to do.

Overall: 9 out of 10
Even with racial and class restrictions, Shadowglade is still a wonderful setting. The player’s and game master’s guides are wonderful examples of blending meta-game and in-game concepts. The fact that the players guide does not provide meta-game data is done really well. Most GM guides are full of charts and tell GMs how to run a game, this GMs guide actually gives the GM the truth about the world and presents a bird’s eye view of what is going on. There is more information that could have been included in this setting, but I know that will come out in more supplements. The sub 100 page GM guide is a great way to provide the necessary information without getting too deep. The differences between the truth in the Player’s Guide and the actual truth as revealed by the Game Master’s Guide alone make this a product to be reckoned with. This GM guide really reveals what is behind the shadows in the world of Shadowglade.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
[PFRPG] Shadowglade: Game Master's Guide to Shadowglade
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Dungeon Dressing: Statues
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/03/2012 14:55:54
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=29488.

Dungeon Dressing: Statues, is a product that specializes in an under-utilized object in dungeons: the statue. Something that most players walk right by, this small product helps bring a statue to life. Now whether you want it to really come to life or not is up to you!

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
Presentation of Layout: Raging Swan has a very minimalist format in their publications. If you purchase items from them, you should know that they don’t have heavy art or colorful layouts. But although they go small on the layout and art, they make up for it with the extensive amounts of information within the product. I personally, would love to see a little more color in their productions, but it’s not something that ruins the product. Information-wise, there is quite a lot of original and new information provided and done in a very efficient and clean way.

Ease of Mobility: The file is quite small and easy to transfer. It’s great to also see bookmarks that are done properly on an item as well. As a result of this minimalist approach, it’s easy to navigate through and is light enough to move around from mobile method to mobile method.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
One of the things that this product does well, is that it explains to the reader, the rules that are already in place concerning statues in Pathfinder’s rules mechanics. They also expand upon these rules and remind you of other things you can do with statues. Along with that, they come up with some new fun traps that can bring statues to life.

Value Add: 10 out of 10
I do wish there was a little more art but I understand the way Raging Swan Press works. Their art is more in the information they provide. This is a great addition to a GM’s toolbox, especially if they are looking for something to add a little spice to the dungeon.

Overall: 10 out of 10
Personally, being a card carrying member of Pathfinder Society Organized Play, I would love to see things like this in our actual adventures. To have statues that turn into traps, or even real constructs in a dangerous way is stuff that only 3rd party adventures can supply. This is something I look forward to utilizing in my future adventures both at the table and in my own campaign writings. Raging Swan Press once again shows us why less, many times, means more.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Dressing: Statues
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Sheriff's Office
Publisher: DramaScape
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/30/2012 20:31:48
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=29639.

Sheriff’s Office is a simple map depicting a simple building from an era where many buildings looked simple inside. If you want to match the western theme properly, then doing so requires lots of wood, open spaces, and simple decor. That’s what you get with the Sheriff’s Office map, a wonderful depiction of a western-themed sheriff’s office that really captures the look you would think of when picturing the interior of a western building.

Sheriff’s Office is a multi-part map set in that you get the battlemap, a Virtual Tabletop image-only, and a 360° flash file that gives you the ability to look at the interior from a 3-dimensional perspective. It truly is a complete package, even if you don’t need all of it.

OVERALL

Sheriff’s Office is a great western-themed battlemap with a good collection of holding cells, desks for the sheriffs, and a back room for whoever is spending the night. It has an excellent design in terms of the textures of the wood and is very convincing in terms of representing a western building.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
Sheriff’s Office is a fairly small map and is broken up appropriately across its pages. This set does include the VTT and 360° versions as well, giving you additional options besides just the battlemap. All in all, it matches the standards established by DramaScape on all previous maps.

Visual Appeal: 10 out of 10
This is really where the Sheriff’s Office map stands out. The wood textures are phenomenal and extremely varied across the whole piece. This gives the building a very natural look instead of using wood textures that look forced or are too cartoon-like. The map is also designed in that old western simplistic style whereas there isn’t a lot of furniture or clutter and everything is properly in its place and has a purpose.

Desire to Use: 10 out of 10
If you’re running a western game or one with a western theme, this is an excellent map to add. There’s an endless number of NPCs that can end up in those cells and this could become the main stomping grounds for the PCs if they are acting as the local lawmen. Either way, it makes a great location to add to your western town.

Overall: 10 out of 10
Sheriff’s Office is a map with a definite purpose, and does that purpose quite well. You could use it for other means, but the design wavers outside of being used as a sheriff’s office. Thus if you are running a western-themed game and need a sheriff’s office, this is a definite must-have. Even if you don’t need a sheriff’s office, you can use this map to stage some type of important encounter as the big villain sits idly within a holding cell.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Sheriff's Office
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[PFRPG] Shadowglade: Player's Guide to Shadowglade
Publisher: Neo Productions Unlimited
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/30/2012 08:30:19
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=29596.

Players Guide to Shadowglade introduces us to a world that ended 500 years ago and has been reborn with a distinct lack of arcane magic. Divine magic is still around, but magic is generally a rare thing to be feared. Society has been slowly rebuilding itself, but when there are people involved, conflict is sure to follow.

Players Guide to Shadowglade is a supplemental setting for Pathfinder detailing a human-centric world that focuses on below 10th level play (E10). There are three products supporting this setting including the Players Guide, The Game Masters Guide and a Basic Bestiary. Settings for Pathfinder are a dime a dozen, however the Shadowglade setting incorporates some interesting concepts that allow it to feel unique without complicating the game mechanics.

OVERALL

This is what a players guide to a setting should be. Many guides follow the lead and style of a D&D type players guide and while that works for some, this guide is written with the idea that the information contained within is really attainable for player characters. Shadowglade is a mysterious world and this is the type of player’s guide a player could keep with them at the table and reasonably reference during a game without breaking the game with meta-thoughts.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 8 out of 10
Player’s Guide to Shadowglade looks good, not great; the sparse art has that cell-shaded feel that many people are using these days. For me that style still looks like screen captures from the Dragons Lair video game, but some people are really into it. The cover art is done well, but not evocative. The picture of the Gunblade revolver felt forced and inaccurate. There are no revolvers in this world, so why picture them? The font used is good and easily readable; the textured blue faux leather pattern that forms the background of the front and back covers is smart and simple. The “world map” looks great; it is minimal but effective. There is plenty of “white space” for an enterprising GM to “color” in. This book uses the standard 2-column format that most gamers are familiar with. The page borders are interesting without being a distraction.

Mechanics: 9 out of 10
This setting doesn’t blaze a bunch of new or innovative game mechanics, but rather expresses its qualities in other subtler ways. The setting is designed on the tier 10 system. Put into simple terms, this means the primary focus of Shadowglade is to play below 10th level. There are suggestions and advice and simple, straight forward rules for running the game past 10th level, but the focus is 10th level and below. I enjoyed going into this setting knowing that it was designed as an E10 setting. I am not a fan of firearms in a fantasy setting, but their development makes sense based on the lack of arcane magic and the fact that the Pathfinder system has several firearms-based abilities and classes.

Desire to Play: 10 out of 10
Player’s Guide to Shadowglade is top notch when it comes to how it is written and information that is contained within. Shadowglade could be inserted on that mysterious continent that always seems to exist on any RPG world with almost no difficulty. Because of the restrictions on arcane magic, some class choices are limited, but rather than being a detractor I think this makes the system even more interesting. The rules in this setting make sense and with this guide most players can really make their characters come alive in an interesting way.

Overall: 9 out of 10
If you want to play an exotic race, Shadowglade is not the place to do it. If you want to reach 20th level, this is not the setting for you. If your entire gaming career is based on playing arcane casters, stay away. And yet I still give this product a solid, well deserved 9. This book seamlessly integrates game back-story with the realistic table-side implications of those rules. Player’s Guide to Shadowglade does a great job of changing its voice to reflect the world it is describing as well as what an everyday sword swinging adventurer knows. Stay tuned for my reviews of the other two core books from Shadowglade, but be warned, there will be spoilers involved with those reviews and I recommend you not read those reviews if you are going to be a player in a Shadowglade game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
[PFRPG] Shadowglade: Player's Guide to Shadowglade
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Classic Encounters Revisited: The Inn
Publisher: Wolf & Raven Games
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/26/2012 14:24:33
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=29390.

Classic Encounters Revisited: The Inn specializes on the one common place of all games, the local Inn and/or Tavern. Or both, depending on what kind of world you build! Every world has its watering holes; those places where everyone knows your name (or at least one of your names). These are the places where characters plot their rebellions, conquests and adventures. The inn/tavern is the ultimate location where all adventures come to begin or come to end. Although the title states “Inn” this is a sourcebook that can easily be utilized in a tavern or pub, depending on your needs as a world builder.

OVERALL

If you have difficulty in creating custom inn and tavern experiences, this will definitely help in getting out of the defaults of D&D and Pirates of the Caribbean style inns/taverns. This book helps GMs think outside the box and have loads of fun while doing so! If you have players who like to create taverns, it’s also for them to learn whether or not they have what it takes to run one of their own. For the first official publication of K² Games, this is a great first product launch. But it is not without a few minor glitches that I share in my review. These small glitches however, do not seriously affect the awesomeness of this product, and for the small price of $3.00 for the PDF, it’s worth the minor glitches. I am happy to say, that this is definitely a company and a product that is going in the right direction. I recommend this product to all and I would love to see this item as a printed product. I look forward to seeing what this company will produce in the near future.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 7 out of 10
I base my publication quality rating on two things: Ease of Portability and Layout Presentation of Information. The layout presentation is amazing, it’s all neatly and simply put together perfectly. It would have been nice if the section about creating the name of your tavern was up front. There are many players who pick the name before they even begin to develop the rest of the tavern, but that is a minor nitpick. The sourcebook keeps the art down to a minimum and there is very little white space being wasted. It is presented in a simple layout where GM’s can easily read it and if the GM needed to print pages out, they can do so in a way that does not burn excessive ink.

The reason this item is getting a low publication rating however is due to the ease of portability issues that it has. The file comes in at a whopping 81MB! Most apps on an E-reader or iPad are not even this size and I’ve seen other 3rd party publishers who have far more art and layout design, but still keep their file sizes down. This unfortunately means that downloading or transferring the file is not fast even on the fastest of download speeds. Moving from section to section in the PDF is even slower than molasses as a bigger result. The product is properly bookmarked does save time when moving from section to section, but only slightly.

When you are a GM, and you have to go from section to section when building an inn/tavern or on game day, it is an incredibly frustrating process. When I attempted to download this on my computer, it took quite a long time, and on my Kindle it was worse. I can understand a file of this size if you planned on printing this book or if this was a Core System Rulebook. But if you plan on purchasing this, and intend on using it regularly at your game table, go to your local printer and print it out. Otherwise expect a serious lag on your technology. (I personally call mine Ye Olde World Kinkos since they still have Fax machines and scanners.)

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
Mechanically, there are very few major errors. The adventure doesn’t get into the nitty-gritty of inn/tavern life, but if you are looking for a foundation in which you can create a custom ruleset based on whatever your players try to throw at you, this product does that. The stat blocks for the Innkeeper and his family are nice touches. Concerning the tables, they are incredibly nice, but you could do well without it if you have a GameMastery Guide or the brand new NPC Codex. But overall, the mechanics are sound for the system, and allow GMs to be as flexible as they need to be when in-game.

Value Add: 10 out of 10
One of the things I love about 3rd party publications is that they are able to do things that many major game systems cannot cover due to time or development restrictions. This is one of those products that fits the mold. Where you can take something that is already established in a system, and think a little more out of the box. The tables are a little more diverse than what you would see in the GameMastery Guide section of building taverns, but if you don’t have it, and don’t want to buy it, then spending three dollars to focus completely on inns/taverns is a worthy investment. You add the high resolution maps that come with the product and you definitely have a great return on your small investment.

Overall: 8 out of 10
Overall, this product is a great item for those who spend a lot of time building adventures around inns/taverns. The price is definitely affordable, and you get quite a lot for your money. What keeps this product from getting a higher score is the fact that it is rather huge and cumbersome to load and/or navigate through. In an arena where publishers are doing more on less, it is something that this new company will have to master, formatting wise, and figure out as they continue to publish more material.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Classic Encounters Revisited: The Inn
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Ruined Mill
Publisher: DramaScape
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/16/2012 15:07:38
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=29182.

Ruined Mill contains the remains of a mill with a detached house and warehouse. The ruins are kept somewhat generic so as to allow the GM to create the method of how they became ruined (such as time, weather, attack, etc). The centerpiece of the map is the mill powered by a handmade channel for the water. This is an interesting take on the watermill concept and can be translated into a number of curious uses (such as why was this channel created and where does it lead). However, oddly enough the actual mill building no longer has a mill in it, just the wheel that’s supposed to turn the mill. In addition, there is nothing coming from the waterwheel that would normally connect to the mill. This leads me to wonder how the waterwheel is staying attached.

Given the abandoned state of this mill and weathered look of the structures, any number of creatures or humanoids could be using it as a base camp, waypoint, or refuge. With the inclusion of the water, one could realistically live there, pending the water is fresh and potable. The remains of a camp appear in the ruins of the warehouse, leading you to believe that someone has stayed there rather recently.

OVERALL

Ruined Mill is yet another great map from DramaScape with many possible uses in an outdoor environment. Given the added details of the now-dormant camp and the possibility of using the house as shelter, any number of beings could call this place home permanently or temporarily.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 9 out of 10
Ruined Mill is a well-laid out battlemap. It is a fairly large battlemap depicting a very small scene and is thus cut across many locations of the overall scene. This can be a bit tricky to line-up when the between-page breaks fall on the trees or the rocks. All the other page breaks should be fairly simple to line-up as they fall on buildings and other obvious structures.

Visual Appeal: 7 out of 10
Ruined Mill is a good looking map with some cool environmental and weathered features. The grounds around the mill are a combination of extremely worn, almost dirt-like ground and some thin trees. The actual mill, however, does not look much like a mill. There is a waterwheel and a building, but I don’t see any doors, or remnants of, nor is there an actual mill in it. The mill also seems a bit on the small side. I also found a handful of occasions where the textures of the rocks do not align well, making a bit of an odd transition between the two (this is extremely minor though).

Desire to Use: 10 out of 10
Many fantasy adventures and campaigns find the PCs traveling across the land to reach their next major destination. To make that journey a little more interesting or to drop a clue as to what may be coming up, maps such as the Ruined Mill make excellent places for encounters or investigations. Looking it provokes many questions to determine why the mill is in the state it is and who may have stayed there recently.

Overall: 9 out of 10
Possibly the best value of the Ruined Mill map is its utility use. It’s so simple and random but evokes a sense of desperation or destruction if one should happen upon it. The purpose could be something as simple as famine meant the mill was abandoned or something more sinister such as the mill was set upon by vile creatures that tore the place apart, looking for food. This mood-provoking design, from such a simple map, can make it very usable in fantasy, or even historical, adventures and campaigns.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ruined Mill
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Cosmic Patrol: Into the Cosmos
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/15/2012 20:22:33
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=28558.

Into the Cosmos is essentially a companion book to the Cosmic Patrol core rulebook. I say this because it feels like a fluid extension to the core rulebook instead of a tacked on supplement. Not that this content should be in the core rulebook, because all you need to play is that core rulebook. However, you can definitely expand your play quickly and easily with Into the Cosmos.

Into the Cosmos is a collection of supplemental material that continues where the core rulebook left off in numerous places. It is not only a handy guide to the Cosmic Patrol setting, it is an excellent tool to be used time and again for further game-play or to throw something new and exciting at the players.

OVERALL

Into the Cosmos is definitely the ultimate companion to the Cosmic Patrol core rulebook. Gaming groups that enjoy this game will get a ton of use from this book in numerous ways. And while I hate to say it, Into the Cosmos is visually superior to the core rulebook in that it contains a lot of artwork depicting this pulp sci-fi RPG.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
Into the Cosmos looks fantastic! It follows the same layout and formatting as the core rulebook, but it has A LOT of added illustrations (one of my sore spots from the core rulebook). If you are have a hard time visualizing what makes Cosmic Patrol so unique and what pulp sci-fi looks like, this book can help to remedy that with lots of visual appeal.

Mechanics: 8 out of 10
Into the Cosmos does an excellent job of adding new rocketships and pregenerated characters to Cosmic Patrol. However, it doesn’t get into the mechanical aspects of any new race introduced here or those expanded upon here, forcing you to either go back to the core rulebook or to create your own mechanics. Although minor, it would be helpful to create flavored weapons and equipment unique to those races.

Value Add: 10 out of 10
Into the Cosmos is a huge value add to Cosmic Patrol. In fact, one of its most valuable qualities is that it feels like an extension of the core rulebook instead of simply being a supplement. There’s a lot of continuation from what you find in the core rulebook and lots of new opportunities for excellent game-play.

Overall: 9 out of 10
Into the Cosmos is an excellent add-on to Cosmic Patrol and anyone that enjoys the game is encouraged to add this to their library. Not only does it have a low price-point, but it has a lot of valuable content that is not only usable over and over again, it embraces that quick game-play style and the simpleness of the system itself. I definitely recommend Into the Cosmos for all Cosmic Patrol gaming groups.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cosmic Patrol: Into the Cosmos
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Pray for Dawn
Publisher: Arcanum Syndicate
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/08/2012 14:14:32
The following review was originally posted by Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=28396.

Pray for Dawn is a sandbox-styled adventure for Chaos 6010 A.D. placed within the city of Necropolis and containing a large list of locations and encounters. From there, they refer to the included bestiary list or perform the narrative as listed (which can easily be use as just a suggestion and not a definitive narrative). The adventure has a general overarching storyline, but is kept fairly generic so that the GM can interpret it as needed. This is in the form as narrative text and GM notes. This also allows the PCs to travel through the city as needed, such as if they need to quickly duck into a building to escape a mob of undead.

OVERALL

Pray for Dawn is an interesting sandbox adventure and amounts to a grind through the city with the seeming purpose of surviving to escape the city and the surrounding lands. The guide seems to cover a very wide range of character levels and can easily amount to many interesting game sessions, as long as your characters survive.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 4 out of 10
The publication quality of Pray for Dawn is very conflicting. There is some fantastic pieces of artwork placed in ideal locations while at the same time there is some decent artwork that could use better placement and sizing. The background of the publication is not only unfavorable for reading, but it looks sloppy as it clearly depicts a textured rectangle that doesn’t fit the page and was instead tiled to fit, although the tiles do not match on each side. The font of the text is a little difficult to read and the entire publication is filled with an excessive amount of white space. Each section is not properly identified but at least the location listings follow an order (which happens to be alphabetical). At the same time, there are some good looking maps and no shortage of interesting artwork (although placement in the creature section is often awkward). Additionally, the PDF lacks bookmarks, which in a sandbox adventure are a definite need.

Storyline: 9 out of 10
Pray for Dawn has a fairly standard sandbox-styled storyline, but is filled with suspenseful situations and the PCs would be wise to proceed with caution. The entire city reeks of horror and hopefully the PCs can survive to get elsewhere. Across the various locations, the storyline does an excellent job of building up to events/encounters within those locations.

Desire to Play: 9 out of 10
If you enjoy playing Chaos 6010 A.D. then there’s little reason why you wouldn’t enjoy a romp through Necropolis, unless you don’t make it out of course. This is a great sandbox location and there is no shortage of interesting buildings to visit with who-knows-what lying within. The encounters attempt to be somewhat unpredictable from one to another and could really keep the PCs on their guard at all times. There’s also a lot of variety from one location to another – not in terms of physical description but the narrative and the encounters.

Overall: 7 out of 10
If you can get past the layout and look of Pray for Dawn, you will find a well-written sandbox adventure with loads of opportunities for fun game sessions and a great representation of life in Chaos 6010 A.D. If you already play Chaos 6010 A.D., I suggest looking past the publication quality and make the best use of the content and maps.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Pray for Dawn
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Publisher Reply:
Thank you so much for your honest reviews Aaron, I always love reading them and you are always dead on with all of the reviews you give. Thank you much for your hard work and honesty. -Rogue
Modern Warehouse
Publisher: DramaScape
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/02/2012 14:53:16
The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=28602.

Modern Warehouse depicts a small warehouse within what appears to be an urban landscape (suggested by the lack of vegetation). The warehouse includes the building itself and the surrounding yard with no shortage of goods piled high on the shelves and various things in the yard. The depiction goes into further detail by including a loading and unloading dock with the warehouse being raised (depicted by the stairs leading to the doors). This is a great representation of a modern warehouse considering loading truck are always lower than the loading dock. This is not a large warehouse and would only support small trucks, but the generic design means you can easily store anything imaginable, luring the PCs within.

The warehouse is compact, great for an urban landscape. However, being inside warehouses and comparing this one isn’t exactly the same. Most warehouses are fairly packed inside using as much space as possible to rows of shelves or stacks of crates. Additionally, the office is much bigger than I would expect to see within a warehouse. While these are obviously details that can further enhance the warehouse, they are by no means show-stoppers to its use nor do they prevent you from creating memorable encounters.

OVERALL

Maps such as this are generally hard to come by. Not many publishers design modern maps and those that do seem to really capture the look and feel of what a modern encounter map would look like. It’s much different than fantasy maps as so many more details can exist due to modern technology and conveniences. The Modern Warehouse follows suit and definitely does not let down. The warehouse is full of goods and the yard has all the markings you would expect to see such as lanes for loading and unloading, areas marked off to be kept clear, and even a forklift ready to be operated. This would make a great place to house a weapons cache!

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 7 out of 10
Modern Warehouse is a well put-together battlemap. The warehouse looks great and its yard has no shortage of detail. The only issue I see is the amount of open space within the warehouse, which you would mostly likely not see in an actual warehouse. More shelves could be added and the office can definitely be made smaller. What’s there looks fantastic, but a few tweaks can be made to clean-up some of that open space. Additionally, I’m not sure where the employees would park as the warehouse’s yard doesn’t show any parking spaces.

Visual Appeal: 10 out of 10
Modern Warehouse is all about details. If you removed all the detail, you would have a boring empty shell. Instead, much attention has been paid to how the different aspects of the battlemap are depicted such as the groupings of boxes on the different shelves, the crates in the corner, the lines painted on the floor, the lanes painted in the yard, and a bunch more. This is one of those battlemaps where the shell does nothing without all those added details, creating an excellent looking map.

Desire to Use: 10 out of 10
One thing about this map that truly stands out is that it’s not empty. Some modern battlemaps you find depict the building, surrounding areas, and walls, but they neglect to fill that building with all the meaningful items you would find. In other words, you can print this map, slap it down on the table, and it’s ready for a firefight (or whatever you want to use it for). This warehouse can be virtually anything and could make a great scene in a modern action game pinning the characters against a heavily armed band of criminals.

Overall: 9 out of 10
Modern Warehouse is definitely a good map. It has little things that could be tweaked to make it more realistic according to what a real-life warehouse looks like, but otherwise it’s still completely usable as-is and offers a great modern building to add to your urban environment.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Modern Warehouse
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