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4th Edition Players Handbook
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by John W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/28/2008 10:32:59
The newest edition of Dungeons & Dragons is a step backward... A brilliant, long awaited, refreshing step backward.

I'm another of those guys who's played D&D since before much of the current gaming community was born. From the tan boxed set to the red rulebook to Advanced, 2nd, 3rd, 3.5... I was right on board while the entire gaming bandwagon took the games more and more seriously, layering detail on detail toward the goal of building a comprehensive fantasy simulator - far more complete and balanced. And yet... lacking.

I realized about two years ago that I was still playing D&D not because I liked it but because it was a habit I'd gotten stuck in more than 20 years prior. Truth is, my friend and I would generally go get a couple beers before game time and we found ourselves, more and more, prefering to stay and continue drinking and shooting some pool rather than go sit around a D&D table. The game just wasn't particularly fun anymore.

Then this. A new edition. *yawn* Another reason for WotC to rake us across the coals, offering all the same books again for a new edition. At least, that's what I expected. Still, a faithful D&D player for whatever reason, I picked up the new edition on the release date and immediately started reading it cover to cover in hopes this was the answer I was searching for to spark my interest in the game again.

It was.

The god-awful, outdated magic system was finally torched. Finally Wizards had a reason to live after expending their "spell slots" (ala Monte Cook). WotC showed a mental agility beyond what I considered them capable of - they ACTUALLY had the courage to take a step back, reevaluate the direction of their gaming franchise, and create an edition that brings back the adventure gaming we all fell in love with in the first place.

I'll wrap this up and say, from my perspective, this is a refreshing edition and exactly what the game needed. Let the indies create "fantasy simulations". D&D should be an adventure game you can play with the family... And now it is - again.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
4th Edition Players Handbook
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Combat Stats-D12 Core Rules
Publisher: Cobra Games
by John W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/27/2008 18:02:29
Solid system for being free, but I have my concerns about charging a franchising fee for a new, unproven system... Still, I'm sure a lot of gamers simply looking for new and interesting systems to play will be thankful that a seemingly solid system is offered at no cost.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Combat Stats-D12 Core Rules
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Cerberus Royalty Free Clip Art Pack
Publisher: Cerberus Illustration
by John W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/01/2008 10:11:12
Many of these images will be very useful. I generally prefer stock art sets with much more focused genres, media, and image quality, but the volume of art available here means that just about anyone can probably find 20+ images from this collection to use in your projects. For the price, I'd say the number of useful images for a "traditional fantasy" publisher makes this a pretty good, but not great, collection.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cerberus Royalty Free Clip Art Pack
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Random Fantasy Adventure Generator
Publisher: Adamant Entertainment
by John W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/01/2007 10:57:22
Solid idea, fairly simplistic approach. Ideally, I would have preferred something a little less generic with some additional options for adding flair and interest to one's results, but this is a solid offering and exactly the kind of product that gets the imagination going.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Random Fantasy Adventure Generator
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Toolbox
Publisher: Alderac Entertainment Group
by John W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/27/2007 00:00:00
Toolbox is the kind of book that truly creative Game Masters have been waiting years for. Gets straight to the meat and lets you use its content in YOUR way in order to augment your game, not control it... Great resource for breaking out of ruts and getting past the "curse of the blank page". Also good for publishers as a raw resource of ideas and inspiration.


LIKED: Straight to the meat, and lots of it. Helps me run the game MY way rather than simply adding to the plethora of same-same content already out there from publishers such as the long-since-lost-their-inspiration WotC.

DISLIKED: Encounter charts use up a great deal of the book and are mostly useless since they're not broken down by CR... Just presented in a very flat format by terrain. Also, the product is devoid of hardly any descriptive text for chart results... Not asking for a ton, but a short blurb on each chart result and ideas of how to integrate into an existing game would have been a bonus. (In the product's defense, a lot of the results are mostly self explanatory.)

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Toolbox
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Art by Shinkei - Fantasy Pack 1
Publisher: UKG Publishing
by John W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/06/2007 00:00:00
Good quality art. Exactly what it claims to be. See below for more detail.


LIKED: Solid stock art collection. The art is very high quality.

DISLIKED: Though I knew what I was getting into when I purchased the product, it would be nice if the artist weren't so stuck on mostly naked fantasy-bimbos. The sporadic appearance of such art is fine, but they're so pervasive in this art collection it gets a little old. (Did not subtract stars from rating since this was already evident, by viewing the demo, before I ever purchased the product.)

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Art by Shinkei - Fantasy Pack 1
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Cerberus Stock Art Collection: Dragons & Serpents Vol. 1
Publisher: Cerberus Illustration
by John W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/06/2007 00:00:00
Very much like their other sets. I like the art a great deal, though it will be difficult to use as interior art. In fairness, based on the purchase of their previous products, I already knew that.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cerberus Stock Art Collection: Dragons & Serpents Vol. 1
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Image Portfolio 1.24 Mixed Genre
Publisher: LPJ Design
by John W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/06/2007 00:00:00
Very good collection of art at a great price. The problems I had were all pre-purchase (as you'll read before), and everything turned out fine in the end.


LIKED: Great art as usual and far cheaper than contracting art.

DISLIKED: There's no demo and no real description of the pictures inside, not even a count of how many pictures you get in the set... So for a fantasy publisher like me, with a product name as indistinct as "cross-genre", it was a leap of faith to buy the product. [Did not take a star away because I did end up liking the product quite a bit.]

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Image Portfolio 1.24 Mixed Genre
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ePublishing 101 (#15) - Marketing
Publisher: Adamant Entertainment
by John W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/23/2007 00:00:00
A lot of common sense and a few tips and tricks that could save me money down the line. A decent product, but probably overpriced for its overall usefulness.


LIKED: Presents some wisdom gained from market experience that I hadn't realized beforehand.

DISLIKED: Not a lot of practical examples. Mostly nebulous suggestions that I'll need to figure out on my own how to implement.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
ePublishing 101 (#15) - Marketing
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Sovereign Stone 3.5 Core Rule Book
Publisher: White Silver Publishing
by John W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/19/2007 00:00:00
I purchased this product based on the input of a friend who plays in my regular (major d20 FRPG) campaign. We've been looking for an alternate magic system and a setting with a little more "old world" flavor and he felt this setting was exactly what I was wanting.

He was partly right.


LIKED: 1. The new magic system is definitely interesting and unique.

2. There's a great deal of setting in a relatively small page count, when you figure there's also a lot of game rules in this book also.

DISLIKED: 1. Editing glitches galore. At some points, the rules are difficult to decipher because of typos and clumsy language.

2. Just from reading the magic system, I have big concerns about game balance and whether this new rules set really went through the playtesting I would have hoped.

3. Not nearly enough art and "style" for this price range, especially considering the names on the cover. The monsters aren't illustrated hardly at all. Neither is most of the equipment. I really would have expected a much prettier product.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Disappointed


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Sovereign Stone 3.5 Core Rule Book
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Ape 9 : Dice!
Publisher: V Shane
by John W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/12/2007 00:00:00
Exactly what it claims to be. What more can one ask for?


LIKED: States clearly what you'll receive in the product with no delusions of a more universally usable product. If you need images of dice, usually for incorporation into other images (such as shown in the product description), this is your ONE source to get high quality results unless you can make them yourself or pay far more to contract the image(s).

DISLIKED: There theoretically could have been more, but with the ability to change colors and apply effects, this is really a nitpick.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ape 9 : Dice!
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RPGNow 5k Front Page Impressions
Publisher: OneBookShelf, Inc.
by John W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/07/2007 00:00:00
Reasonably effective marketing tool. Generated few sales and only about 1 in 40 click-through, but probably worth the money just to get our name out there.

Wanted to update this just to say that the product did end up paying for its self after about a week (over $10 in net profits with Sales Source being "FrontPage")... With 14 days left to go in the ad rotation. Will definitely purchase again.



QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Satisfied

[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
RPGNow 5k Front Page Impressions
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StockArt Covers: Metal Bound Book I
Publisher: UKG Publishing
by John W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/30/2007 00:00:00
I bought this product at the same time as most of this publisher's other "cover" products. While the other volumes were of varying usefulness, this one gets my "really cool" stamp. I'll be finding a way to use these covers.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
StockArt 
Covers: Metal Bound Book I
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StockArt Covers: Leather Bound Book V
Publisher: UKG Publishing
by John W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/30/2007 00:00:00
I bought this product as part of a bundle. While the other volumes were of varying usefulness, this one gets my "really cool" stamp. I'll be finding a way to use these covers.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
StockArt Covers: Leather Bound Book V
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StockArt Covers: Leather Bound Book IV
Publisher: UKG Publishing
by John W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/30/2007 00:00:00
I bought this product as part of a bundle. This series starts to get really good with Volume IV and greater. I can use these covers, at the very least, for insiration and will probably end up using them "as is" for a series or two down the road.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
StockArt Covers: Leather Bound Book IV
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