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Ultimate Toolbox
 
$29.95 $22.46
Average Rating:4.0 / 5
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Ultimate Toolbox
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Ultimate Toolbox
Publisher: Alderac Entertainment Group
by Jon H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/11/2014 21:09:38
The ultimate Toolbox is the best thing since Swiss cheese! No DM should be without it regardless of what game you are playing. i found the extensive tables helpful in my games.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Toolbox
Publisher: Alderac Entertainment Group
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/06/2010 13:07:03
I missed out on the days of First Edition, but from what I’ve heard from friends who were gaming back then, one of the lovable quirks of the old Dungeon Master’s Guide was its collection of tables for various things. With just a few random rolls, you could determine who you met in town, what treasure was in a monster’s hoard, and so many other things. Nowadays, with concerns of balance and world-design, there’s far less emphasis placed on such randomness, and those quirky old tables are gone.

Luckily, AEG’s Ultimate Toolbox is there to bring them back again.

Now, to be clear, I never read the original Toolbox, so I can’t speak to how this is more expanded than the original. Hence, I’m reviewing this book on its own merits. And what merits they are. Four hundred pages long, with the front and back covers in a separate file, Ultimate Toolbox is big. The book is divided into seven chapters – character, world, civilization, maritime, dungeon, magic, plot – with an appendix. Each chapter then contains a number of tables that are thematically related to the chapter in question; the appendix contains miscellanious

Each table in the book contains twenty items; plenty of times, the subject matter would go on for far more than twenty entries, which resulted in them simply breaking the table and continuing on with the subject in another table. For example, Table 1-4: Character Backgrounds/Concepts 1 lists twenty possible character backgrounds, barely scratching the list of possibilities, and so continues to list them in Table 1-5: Character Backgrounds/Concepts 2.

The book is illustrated sparsely, with comparatively few grayscale images popping up every so often. However, each page has a fairly elaborate border, with chains hanging off of the tops of the pages, and an alternating bottom border with either a hooded figure or a pile of skulls. Obviously, this book isn’t printer-friendly, though I presume that there’s a print version of this book already for sale.

The one technical aspect of the book that I do find fault with, however, is the lack of bookmarks in the PDF. I’m of the opinion that all PDFs should utilize bookmarks, and that’s more true for this book than most. The sheer volume of tables here would make bookmarks, even to various sub-sections of chapters, extremely useful.

It should be said, also, that there’s more to this book than just tables. Various sidebars pop up every so often to discuss some finer point to various subjects. Even more helpful though are the “how to use this chapter” sections found at the end of each chapter. These provide a helpful example, usually more than one, to illustrate how you’d use combinations of these tables to chart things like communities, the history of a magic item, or a PC background, for instance. It’s a very helpful inclusion that puts a practical spin on the book’s contents.

Ultimate Toolbox may appear to just be a collection of random tables at first glance, but there’s far more to it than that. Arranged in a logical sequence, the tables cover a huge expanse of material, and have helpful examples for how to string them together to create interesting results for your campaign. The next time you need inspiration, or just want to randomly determine something that you hadn’t thought of, reach into your Ultimate Toolbox.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Toolbox
Publisher: Alderac Entertainment Group
by Ward M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/16/2010 21:20:51
"Utlimate Toolbox" published by AEG, 400 pgs. black & white. PDF format

This product consists of random lists divided into seven chapters (plus one appendix.) Each chapter covers a different aspect of campaign design. (See the free sample for a table of contents)

The good:

1) Some of the tables are quite inventive and helpful: twenty ways to describe a room other than saying "it's empty"; twenty ways to introduce the PC's that don't involve meeting a tavern; and a blank chart called 'twenty good uses for a gnome' are my favorites.

2) a relative lack of spelling errors, which is something unusual in the PDF's I have bought lately.

3) The PDF is twenty USD cheaper than the dead tree version.

The bad:

1) Each page of the PDF has a background stationery pattern, which will kill you if you try to print this book out yourself.

2) For some unexplained reason, the "How to use this chapter" page is at the end of each chapter. (It would make more sense to me if this were at the beginning of the chapter.)

The Ugly:

The PDF is four hundred pages long and has no hyperlinks. Even if it just allowed jumps from chapter to chapter, it would be better than nothing at all. Throw me a bone here!

Overall impression:

I bought this book because everyone kept telling me the sun rose and set around it. If you suffer from brain cramp or writer's block, this book is sure to jar something loose. This book isn't the center of the universe, as some people insist, but it is a very interesting book with good ideas.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Toolbox
Publisher: Alderac Entertainment Group
by Francisco M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/06/2009 03:35:45
I had some interest in this product since I saw a couple of good reviews at UncleBear (http://unclebear.com/?p=3773) and RPG.net (http://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/14/14296.phtml). And being a fan of random charts and seeds for ideas, I decided to buy it.

Discarded the physical edition for having too little space for books right now, and thinking it would be more useful to have all that information in electronic format, easy to search and to reach, I bought it here, in RPGNow.

All in all, I have exactly what I was told I would find in this product. But it's pretty surprising that for 20 euros, the price of a normal book out there in RL, the only "plus" is the capability of using the search engine that every PDF reader has. No markers, no hyperlinked text, no adaptated version for reading it on a computer screen... No using all the possibilities an electronic format has. In my opinion, now that I have paid for it, 20 euros is pretty high when you have plenty of other products of random charts out there for less than 5 €.

So please, AEG and every other RPG publisher: if you are going to sell PDF version of your products, please use all the advantages the electronic format offers. Selling the PDF you sent to the printer's should be a lot more cheaper than this.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
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