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Darkisle Stock Art #2: Tree-Cloaked Mysteries
Publisher: DRAKAT Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/25/2013 07:26:58
Grabbed this one on a whim. It was only 75 cents and had 5 hi-res images.

The images are photos that have been pixilated to appear like paintings. Great for some background shot or even a visual aid in any sort of game.
They are royalty free, so that is also a bonus.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Darkisle Stock Art #2: Tree-Cloaked Mysteries
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Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil (3e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/25/2013 06:58:26
The 3rd edition update to the classic Gygax intro adventure.

Return to the The Temple of Elemental Evil has a new generation of characters returning to the Village of Hommlet (where time seems to have stood still) to investigate the new uprising of evil.
Designed obviously to appear to adults who were kids when the original T1 and ToEE came out, it looses none of it's appeal.

Regardless what version of the game you play, if you ever played the original ToEE then pick this up.
If you have never played or run the original, but are a fan of the 3rd game, then certainly pick this up.

This is one of those adventures that should be republished for every edition of D&D. Great to start with and run some 1st level characters through but dangerous enough to merit coming back to at a later time.

Besides who doesn't want to go up against ultimate evil, stare in into it's ugly face and say "come get some!"

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil (3e)
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Basic Turn Tracker
Publisher: Lee's Lists
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/25/2013 06:42:42
Clever little device with icons for keeping track of your Basic Era turns.
If you are an old pro at B/X D&D you might not need it, but if you are new or haven't played this version of D&D in a while then it is a great tool.

Plus it has a nice Old-School vibe about it. Back in 81 all the coolest stuff was DIY and this captures that feeling nicely.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Basic Turn Tracker
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H1 Keep on the Shadowfell & Quick-Start Rules (4e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/22/2013 14:47:32
The first module of the great Orcus/Raven Queen campaign for 4e. The module itself tries to harken back to another Keep; The Keep on the Borderlands, but the feel here is very, very different. There is a lot more going on and it can feel very combat heavy and even a touch predictable. But that is fine for a 1st adventure. Everyone is still too busy figuring out moves and markingins and surges to worry whether or not rumor X or rumor Y turns out to be true.
The big feature of this module though is also the quick start play rules. There is lot here that can help the new 4e player and DM. So it you are at all curious about 4e then give this one a look.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
H1 Keep on the Shadowfell & Quick-Start Rules (4e)
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D&D Basic Set Rulebook (B/X ed.) (Basic)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/22/2013 14:35:14
If you are like me then this is it. THIS is what D&D was. Sure I had read a friends Holmes/Blue-book Basic set and I knew of AD&D through the Monster Manual. But this is the D&D book that started it all for me. This is the one that set fire to my imagination.

This is a complete set of rules. Character creation through to 3rd level. Monsters, treasures, dungeons. Everything that ever was or will be D&D had it's start right here (more or less). Honestly this book is not worth 5 stars here. It is worth 6 out of 5.

I almost would say that if I could only play one version of D&D ever, then this might be the one. It lacks the complexity of AD&D or 3e, but anymore I see this as a feature.

64 pages plus cover. Marbleized dice and crayon not included.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
D&D Basic Set Rulebook (B/X ed.) (Basic)
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D&D RPG Starter Set "Quickstart" (4e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/22/2013 14:28:03
Everything you need to start playing D&D 4e except for people, dice and some monsters.

You have heard a lot about this game to be sure, but the proof is always in the playing. At the incredibly low price of Nothing you can see how the most current version of D&D (as of this writing) plays.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
D&D RPG Starter Set "Quickstart" (4e)
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Adventurer's Vault (4e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/22/2013 13:34:37
Tons and tons of magic items for your 4e games. Broken up basically the same way they always have been. Armors, Weapons, Swords, Potions, Wands, Rods, Staves, and Miscellaneous. At 250+ pages with multiple items per page this is a packed book and there is something here for everyone.

Looking at this with an eye towards other editions, you could convert these to 3e without much difficulty. Other editions have more or less the same items (or similar ones) in edition specific books (The Book of Marvelous Magic comes to mind). But still a good selection for the money and a must have for the serious 4e player.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adventurer's Vault (4e)
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Deities & Demigods (1e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/22/2013 13:14:45
Deities & Demigods was the first Hardcover D&D book I ever purchased. So it is fitting then it is the first of the re-release (1/22/2013) of the D&D PDFs that I have purchased. For these D&D PDFs I will review the content as it is with the intended version in mind. I'll also look at these in terms what you can get out of this for any other version of D&D. Finally I'll look PDF conversion itself.

First of this is book is an update on the old OD&D Gods, Demigods and Heroes. Presented here are the gods (greater and lesser), demigods and heroes of 15 pantheons. Included are: American Indian Mythos, Arthurian Heroes, Babylonian Mythos, Celtic Mythos, Central American Mythos, Chinese Mythos, Egyptian Mythos, Finnish Mythos, Greek Mythos, Indian Mythos, Japanese Mythos, Nehwon Mythos, Nonhumans' Deities, Norse Mythos, and Sumerian Mythos.

There is plenty of information for build your world myths and the multivesre around your world. This also features the first update to known planes that appeared in the Player's Handbook.

The layout is somewhat like a Monster Manual, which is unfortunate. I can say that back in 82-83 that is exactly how we used it.

The art is now classic in my mind, with some of the biggest names in D&D/TSR at the time.

If you are playing newer editions then all the gods you know about had their start here in this book. All the other deities books are sequels to this one.

The PDF is clean and easy to read. There has been some post-scan cleanup on it so the pages appear very white and not scanned in white.

I feel as good about my purchase today as I did 30 years ago.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deities & Demigods (1e)
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D20 Decade: The 1980s
Publisher: Skortched Urf' Studios
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/18/2013 11:43:45
It is difficult not to compare this to Damnation Decade or Solid! in terms of capturing the feel of a decade.
For starters this is for the d20 Modern RPG, which I am not even sure is still being supported by anyone. That all being said, there is a lot of great stuff in this book. There are some pages spent on modifying the d20M skills, in particular how Computers worked then. That and the new Perform (Break Dance) and Perform (Free Style Rap). No Perform (Gymkata!) though. Of particular use to any 80s-based game is the list of common items we take for granted today that just wasn't there then. Easy stuff like Smartphones, but other not so obvious things like Caller ID. Sure there were cellphones, but they were huge and the batter life was only a couple hours. Chapter 1 covers the 80s. At 20% of the book content is really worth the price of the book. It is a great overview of 80s tech, culture and pop psychology. Its not a history book, but it shouldn't be either. Even at 30+ pages somethings are going to be missing; but this is the 80s writ large, not Master's Thesis.
Chapter 2 covers the "Imaginary 80s", an 80s that never was. Among the new races there is also a list of other games you can look into to help you out. With the OGL they could have simply included what they wanted from many of those games, but I thought it was kind of neat to include them. Speaking of the new races, they are really new. Some are twists on familiar concepts, but others are new and all fit the 80s to a tee. My favorite might be the Arcadians (Video game fey) or the Spetsnazski, the Russian Super Soldiers. Cause the only thing more fun than Nazi Weird Science is Russian Weird Science. The Crow Folk and High Solstice Sidhe could work just as well in a Pathfinder game. There are also about 16 new occupations for your 80s character. There are also, surprisingly, 144 new feats! Going past those for a bit there are also 5 new Advanced classes. If you were wondering when the Miami Vice influences would appear then take heart with the Blue Equalizer, which let you play any sort of 80s "Super Cop". Perfect foil for the Drug Lord Advanced Class. These are followed by a few new spells.
The last part, Confetti, has a few bits for the GM for adding 80s flavor to their game. These are also useful for any 80s game.
There is fairly good list of resources both non-fiction and fiction, and a good list of movies, TV shows and graphic novels.
Final the OGL where everything is released as Open Gaming Content. Very nice.
Ok, so this is a really cool idea and a lot of work went into these 164 pages.
Otherverse Games did a great job with this, but I am not without some quibbles.

I am not going to mention anything missing from the 80s. Trying to squeeze an entire decade into a game book is hard and something is going to get left out. If it's not there and you remember it add it on your own. Though missing *something* about a Valley Girl seems a bit like a huge omission to me.
The art is all over the place. Most is fair, but none of it is great.
The layout has a number of issues. The background on the pages is not great. In most cases it is only just there, in others the "page number block" obscures some text. It's the 80s, where are the pastels?
I have mixed feelings about even mentioning it since I have seen newer products of theirs and they look great. This one is an early effort.

Going back to my totally unfair comparison to Damnation Decade, I think it would be interesting to see this updated to something like True 20 (which is at the time of this writing just as dead as d20 Modern) with better layout.

Despite all that I can't help but really like this product. At 6 bucks it is a great buy.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
D20 Decade: The 1980s
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101 Lesser Demons to Summon
Publisher: The Amazing List of Things
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/17/2013 06:48:55
For a buck you get a list of 100 demons. There is a name and description. Culled from a variety of sources such as the Lesser Key of Solomon, the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum and others.
Also tables for various demon aspects and motivations. The information here can be found elsewhere, but for a buck you are getting it all in one place and formatted. Can be used with any game that has demons. There are no stats and nothing in the way of measure the power of one demon to the next, but that is not what they are advertising here.
Great if you need new, random demons.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
101 Lesser Demons to Summon
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101 Greater Demons to Summon
Publisher: The Amazing List of Things
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/17/2013 06:48:38
For a buck you get a list of 100 demons. There is a name and description. Culled from a variety of sources such as the Lesser Key of Solomon, the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum and others.
Also tables for various demon aspects and motivations. The information here can be found elsewhere, but for a buck you are getting it all in one place and formatted. Can be used with any game that has demons. There are no stats and nothing in the way of measure the power of one demon to the next, but that is not what they are advertising here.
Great if you need new, random demons.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
101 Greater Demons to Summon
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Smith and Scholar
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/15/2013 11:37:39
This book is only a buck and it is very simple. But don't let "Simple" translate into "not worth it". This book is filled with ideas for all the Basic/LL core classes. They are billed as professions, but if you are familiar with the old 2nd Ed "Kits" then these are very similar.
There are 6 per class and all provide some background, history and some mechanical bonus for the character. There is no balance issue from what I can see if everyone in the game opts for one or if there is some sort of DM-enforced obligation attached. For example the Exorcist Cleric should be obligated to investigate any claim of possession he/she hears. The other Professions can work the same way.

These are set out as flavor, but I think in the right hands these can really brighten up what would be an ordinary game into something very interesting.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Smith and Scholar
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Publisher Reply:
Thank you for your kind review, Mr. Brannan.
Bounty Hunter
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/15/2013 11:11:46
In many ways the Bounty Hunter (class) is a better class for "Basic" Era Games than the Assassin is. The Assassin has a history in the "Advanced" Era and it has it's place, but a game aimed at simpler rules might not be it. That is why the Bounty Hunter (this book) is a good choice for Labyrinth Lord or any other Basic-era compatible game.

Like all the books from Barrel Rider Games this book presents a class, reasons why it can be used, and the associated skills and tables. The Bounty Hunter (class) then is part thief, part assassin and part tracker/ranger. Honestly it might well be the best of all the BRG classes.

Also, though, like the other classes, this one is missing some key information. Namely this book is missing the saving throw tables and to hit tables for the Bounty Hunter. I would suggest using the thief tables in both cases.

Other than that, this is a solid class.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Bounty Hunter
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks as for your always even-handed review, Mr. Brannan. Your insights have been used to improve this product!
Fehr's Ethnology: Dragonblood [PFRPG]
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/11/2013 11:52:33
My son loves Dragonborn. He plays Skyrim because there is a "dragonborn" in that. He wanted to get all the Doctor Who episodes on DVD that feature the Draconians, and in every game we play that is the character race he wants.
Well...not every game has them. Good thing for him is that Purple Duck is here to help.

This one is pretty good really. Nice art, clear easy to read text and 7 pages of content (1 full page art, 1.5 of OGL and ads for 10 total pages). Simple race rules with not a lot of fluff, but a lot of crunch. There are some alternate racial characteristics and some feats. There are class suggestions and suggestions on play. For 10 pages it is really packed full. My son has been using this in our 3.x game now for a bit and we like it the most out of the many free options we have also found. At $1.25 it is an absolute steal.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fehr's Ethnology: Dragonblood [PFRPG]
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D6 Core Set [BUNDLE]
Publisher: West End Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/08/2013 16:38:50
Same low price as the individual books, but all together.
Honestly They should be selling these, there is still a great game here in D6.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
D6 Core Set [BUNDLE]
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