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NeoExodus: A House Divided Campaign Setting (PFRPG)
Publisher: LPJ Design
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/01/2012 12:45:38
LPJDesign does not do anything by the books. When they set out to design a campaign world it is always something you have never seen before. Do not be mistaken, it is always fantasy. But the take is some mad man’s vision of fantasy. Whether it be a planet that has evolved in eternal darkness or a world where its adventurers take the skies, LPJDesign take the ideas of fantasy and turns them on top of their head. In NeoExodus: A House Divided Campaign Setting, the publishing house takes us back to one of their earlier settings, this time was a hundred more pages of detail and expansive new purpose.

NeoExodus started a few years ago as a 3.5 campaign setting, but did not have the detailed needed to sustain it for a long running campaign. In this revised Pathfinder edition, we finally get the detail needed to sustain the campaign for years to come.

With a detailed and richer history to begin the 190 page PDF, Neoexodus starts off on a great foot. The writing is immersive and draws you into the myths of the world. Neoexodus is a world that was once dominated by a vicious assortment of beings called the First Ones. They eventually disappeared from the world, but their reappearances sparks this new age of heroes. In the mean time, a volatile assortment of countries set the background for the politics of the world.

Among the many changes to the world is an introduction to a fantasy plane where magic is as common as a sneeze. Nine races set the tone for the world. There are plant people, magical golems, talking rats, tentacle monsters, felines and 4 other races that stretches your beliefs on what fantasy really means. These races interact like the lands claiming to be king in Game of Thrones. The writing on the politics of this world is very good and allows a DM to pick where he wants to begin a campaign. A mystery or political campaign is actually really viable in this world.

Equally as well written are the assortment of new feats, classes and spells, all of them centered around a world where magic is powerful, so the more uncommon the magic, the better results of catching your opponent off guard.

For the Player
LPJDesign does balance well. They hire very competent mechanical engineers to insure that you can take any of the material of their campaigns and use it in a normal campaign and it works just as find, so long as you can explain why you’re playing master splinter in Golorian you won’t have any problems transferring any of this information into your normal game world. IF you have this option, sneak in the Barbarian archetype: Fist of the Dragon. It’s an amazing version of the barbarian that gets its powers from one of the various dragons you choose.

For the Dungeon Master
The First Ones are some of the best written villains if you like dark fantasy. They are very dark, and border on that line between suitable and decrepit. I used them in my following campaign even after I finished my first NeoExodus campaign.

The Iron Word
This is a campaign setting for a group of players that just want a different type of fantasy. Neoexodus features strong elements of high-end magic and psionics and a touch of steampunk. This feels like what aliens play when they play Dungeons and Dragons.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
NeoExodus: A House Divided Campaign Setting (PFRPG)
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Battlemap - Crystal Cave
Publisher: Lord Zsezse Works
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/01/2012 12:11:53
Decades ago graph paper and imagination were all you needed to get a game together. But as technology got better and immersion moved to the forefront of tabletop RPGs, battlemaps have become a near necessity at a good DM’s table. With cheap projectors and color printers, there’s no reason Dungeon Masters should be rolling out archaic graphic paper. Especially when Lord Zsezse Works is cranking out phenomenally colorful and detailed masterpieces for your PCs to battle in.

The level of detail and cartography in every map puts your players in the world. Their battlemaps are realistic, using rich and multilayered colors in every square. Also, Within every product, the designers go the extra mile of including several versions of the map. They have an online version, perfect for online games or projection based battlemaps, and a version that’s a little more print friendly. Both of these maps are provided with grid and without grids.

Battlemap: Crystal Cave is my favorite dungeon produced by the artists. It is one of the few maps that has depth, in that their are layers on top of layer. I expect cave maps to be fairly boring and mundane, but not here. There is so many rich features (chains attached to layers of the cave, snakes wrapping around the various caverns) that DMs can become inspired for new encounters just by thinking of the possibilities of each area. The great thing about this one is, that is also comes in isometric format. This comes out fairly amazing on a projector or computer screen.

For the Dungeon Master
II ran this map last month, purposely creating a spot in the adventure just so I can use it. My players couldn't even believe that I added this as an add-on to the adventure. The various layers of the adventure provided them a vast array of decisions they could use to explore the cavern.

The Iron Word
Battlemap: Crystal Cave is fantastical. It is a cave that can only exist in a magical world and perfect for the final dungeon of a magical adversary of the PCs.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Battlemap - Crystal Cave
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Battlemap - Pirate & Ghost Ship
Publisher: Lord Zsezse Works
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/01/2012 12:02:19
Decades ago graph paper and imagination were all you needed to get a game together. But as technology got better and immersion moved to the forefront of tabletop RPGs, battlemaps have become a near necessity at a good DM’s table. With cheap projectors and color printers, there’s no reason Dungeon Masters should be rolling out archaic graphic paper. Especially when Lord Zsezse Works is cranking out phenomenally colorful and detailed masterpieces for your PCs to battle in.

The level of detail and cartography in every map puts your players in the world. Their battlemaps are realistic, using rich and multilayered colors in every square. Also, Within every product, the designers go the extra mile of including several versions of the map. They have an online version, perfect for online games or projection based battlemaps, and a version that’s a little more print friendly. Both of these maps are provided with grid and without grids.
Battlemap: Pirate & Ghost Ship is a double dose of mapping fun. It includes two versions of a debilitated, one of a ghost ship and one of a pirate ship. Each ship is made up of 3 decks, each deck well detailed from the cannons to the beds. The dreary conditions on both maps push an atmosphere of despair perfect for a sea campaign. IN addition to the two different maps, they also include the maps with and without water.

For the Dungeon Master
I use these maps for sea adventures. Multiple decks are a great touch and just are not found in a lot of ship maps for some reason. The level of detail goes a long way into allowing you to create realistic boarding encounters.

The Iron Word
Battlemap: Pirate & Ghost Ship is a large scale series of ship battlemaps perfect for sea combat. With the ability to print, project or beam it to your players laptops or tablets, there is no reason to not have Lord Zsezse Works artwork in on your hard drive and ready to go for the right occasion.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Battlemap - Pirate & Ghost Ship
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Way of the Wicked Book One: Knot of Thorns
Publisher: Fire Mountain Games
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/01/2012 11:30:04
The hardest games to run are those involving evil characters. The idea of controlling players who, by design are out of control, is a difficult one. It’s why Fire Mountain gets the golden grapefruit award for not just making an evil adventure but designing an evil campaign that is both easy to DM and fun for the players. Way of the Wicked is a campaign by the new publisher that will take players on a 1 to 20 journey through the twisted plot to aid a dark god.

The first adventure, Knot of Thorns, sets the grand station with a simple premise, the PCs must break out of a fortified and heavily guarded prison where they are outmanned and unarmed. Despite such a basic plot, the writers do a creative job of establishing a series of detailed obstacles and providing the PCs the opportunity to escape the prison in a number of ways. Once they escape, the grander plot unfolds which includes a very fun puzzle filled dungeon, the instigation of a war and the uniting of a group of evil entities. Overall, Knot of Thorns shines at bringing a variety of game play options throughout the adventure.

The adventure is impressively laid out and divided into acts that make it easy to explain and follow.
The 100 page PDF is also packed with information for running an evil campaign and building characters in an evil campaign. This information is worth the purchase alone for DMs who hope to run an evil campaign one day or simply have a player who always makes someone just a tad bit leaning toward the bad guy.

For the Dungeon Master
Running a successful evil adventure or campaign takes a lot of work. Knot of Thorns not only does 90% of this work for you, it teaches you how to do the other 10%.

For the Player
If your Dungeon Master is nice enough to let you run an evil campaign for any reason, picking up this book and following the tips to making an evil character will gratify his decision.

The Iron Word
Way of the Wicked: Knot of Thorns succeeds at designing a truly innovative beginning to an evil campaign. It lays out exactly what evil is and provides material and help to insure that your campaign doesn’t derail into serial killer anarchy.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Way of the Wicked Book One: Knot of Thorns
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The Secrets of the Oracle (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/29/2012 10:02:12
The Secrets of the Oracle is one of my favorite oracle books. Instead of a few curses, they provide new curses, feats, mysteries and archetypes that leap over other 3rd party supplements in terms of innovation for the Oracle. The Rot mystery is my favorite. A flavorful undead take on the class that gives the Shaman feeling I was hoping to get elsewhere. There is also an archetype that allows a player to indulge in hallucination drugs and receive medicinal benefits.

Iron Uses: If you play an oracle or know anyone who is about to play an oracle, this is a the supplement you want to pick through before making your decision.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Secrets of the Oracle (PFRPG)
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The Tribute
Publisher: Stormlord Publishing
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/29/2012 09:50:04
The Tribute, by Timeless Adventures, tries for something fairly innovative by combining two adventures in one. Players have a hard choice to make early in the adventure, that sends them down one of two directions. Because both choices have harsh consequences, players will be frustrated, but appreciate the effects of their actions. The 40-Page adventure includes colorful, well-designed maps and useful handouts throughout.

Iron Uses: This is a diversion type adventure. One of those adventures where the PCs stumble into a plot and have very little time to save the day. The Pacing feels urgent, but allows for a good deal of roleplaying. Dungeon Masters will enjoy some of the creative traps and tactical encounters.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Tribute
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Debatable Actions (PFRPG)
Publisher: LPJ Design
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/29/2012 09:40:36
Debateable Actions changes very little from its 3.5 counterpart, but it did not need to. If you are looking for courtroom drama in your Dungeons and Dragons, this is a fun mini-game to build a campaign around. This game works like combat maneuvers, except for social interactions between two parties. The biggest downfall in the system is the sheer magnitude of it, which can be daunting. Future versions could use a cheat sheet.

Iron Uses: This is a great supplement for any DM to have in their back pocket. Instead of "breaking out" being the only solution for PCs who get arrested, you can make this a regular part of a game. The game also includes a quicker social interaction game that functions similar to 4th edition skill challenges.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Debatable Actions (PFRPG)
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Shadows over Vathak
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/29/2012 09:31:37
Iron Nugget

Shadows over Vathak is a goth campaign for the Pathfinder system that interjects horror elements into a fairly Eastern European world.

Vathak is a starting point, but could have gone a great deal further, especially if Lovecraft's name is in the description. The story writes out the common races, instead providing a variety of human races who survived. Because when unhead horrors take over the world, I expect the humans to be the ones who survive. I expected a few more classic takes on Lovecraft mixed with D&D.

Iron Uses: Dungeon Masters looking for Cthulhu horrors and flavor for a campaign could pick a few things from this book, maybe even eject this as a country in a campaign. Players hoping to find a different take on a darker human take on races will be in luck as well.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadows over Vathak
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101 Pirates and Privateer Traits (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/29/2012 09:14:13
Iron Nugget

101 Pirates and Privateer Traits provides over 100 creative traits for rogues, pirates and swashbuckling type characters. Even if your campaign is landlocked, the writers do an excellent job of making a good many of the traits accessible whether you are on a boat. The 18 pages compacts a decent amount of fluff with mechanics for each entry.

Iron Uses: Great for Players and Dungeon Masters looking to spice up their rogues or add some chaotic flavor to their character. it goes without saying that this is a must have if you are running a sea campaign.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
101 Pirates and Privateer Traits (PFRPG)
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The Secrets of Tactical Archetypes II (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/29/2012 08:59:36
Dungeons and Dragons is a cooperative game. At least that is how it was initially designed. Mutations to the base game over 40 years has spawned a few players who believe the game should be competitive. They believe the DM and the other players are obstacles on their road to victory. Keep those players away from the Secrets of Tactical Archetypes II, a great series of archetypes for players who want to institute a teamwork feel into their PC.

The first Tactical Archetypes was pretty good, Obviously good enough for Rite Publishing to spawn a bigger sequel. Archetypes II delivers an even stronger product. Whereas the first book used many non corebook classes, Archetypes II is more grounded with corebook classes. In 28 pages, there 13 archetypes to replace special abilities in other classes. These special abilities usually provide a bonus for working with other players. Though some call for teamwork feats, many do not, which is a plus considering teamwork feats require other party members to have them, an inconvenience for a party where players still want some individuality in their character.

This is Rite Publishing. The writing is short and crip. The Layout looks nice and is easy to read.
For the Player

Savage Tactician feels like Conan the Barbarian. It allows barbarians to use Charisma based abilities to grant their team mates rage powers.

For the Dungeon Master
The Elementalurgist is a divergent take on Druids, focusing on a power of nature that few associate with nature, despite it being a vital part of mother Gaea. It makes for a great pissed off Druid to run a storyline off.

The Iron Word
If you are a player or a Dungeon Master who loves cohesion and synergy between clerics, and don’t want to play a piccolo, The Secrets of Tactical Archetypes II is a great answer.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Secrets of Tactical Archetypes II (PFRPG)
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ZEITGEIST #3: Digging for Lies (Pathfinder RPG)
Publisher: EN Publishing
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/29/2012 08:08:41
Whereas their last installment was a methodological paced mystery that climaxed in a confined location, EN Publishing’s Digging For Lies, the third installment of the Zeitgeist campaign, is a dynamic difference in both scope and action.

The Zeitgeist Campaign continues to be an engaging read with every release. This is the largest adventure ever, some 90+ pages. The color choices, formatting and layout work are top notch. Whether you are reading 4th edition or Pathfinder, the mechanics are sharp and witty. The Pathfinder edition is especially impressive, as the mechanics never feel like a bastard version of something else but an organic set of rules.

Lies shoots a party across the landscape of the Zeitgeist continent of Risur, exploring secret archeological sites, brings them before a fey titan, bargaining for the fate of the world, then lulls their fears in their fears by placing them in a familiar place, only to place it under an intense siege. The mystery element of Zeitgeist is still there, as the players figure out whether they are pawns or players in a massive conspiracy.

For the Dungeon Master
Lies also includes a great set of Ship to Ship combat rule that are useful inside or outside of the game. DMs will also never feel lost in these adventures.

The Iron Word
Zeitgeist #3 Digging for Lies is another remarkable adventure. Once the adventure hits Act 2, it feels like a nonstop climax that does not let go until the very end.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ZEITGEIST #3: Digging for Lies (Pathfinder RPG)
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ZEITGEIST #3: Digging for Lies (4E)
Publisher: EN Publishing
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/29/2012 08:07:58
Whereas their last installment was a methodological paced mystery that climaxed in a confined location, EN Publishing’s Digging For Lies, the third installment of the Zeitgeist campaign, is a dynamic difference in both scope and action.

The Zeitgeist Campaign continues to be an engaging read with every release. This is the largest adventure ever, some 90+ pages. The color choices, formatting and layout work are top notch. Whether you are reading 4th edition or Pathfinder, the mechanics are sharp and witty. The Pathfinder edition is especially impressive, as the mechanics never feel like a bastard version of something else but an organic set of rules.

Lies shoots a party across the landscape of the Zeitgeist continent of Risur, exploring secret archeological sites, brings them before a fey titan, bargaining for the fate of the world, then lulls their fears in their fears by placing them in a familiar place, only to place it under an intense siege. The mystery element of Zeitgeist is still there, as the players figure out whether they are pawns or players in a massive conspiracy.

For the Dungeon Master
Lies also includes a great set of Ship to Ship combat rule that are useful inside or outside of the game. DMs will also never feel lost in these adventures.

The Iron Word
Zeitgeist #3 Digging for Lies is another remarkable adventure. Once the adventure hits Act 2, it feels like a nonstop climax that does not let go until the very end.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ZEITGEIST #3: Digging for Lies (4E)
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Critical Hit and Fumble Cards (10 card Pack)
Publisher: Geek Corps Productions
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/01/2012 09:04:10
I normally do not write reviews for preview products, especially when there are hundreds if thousands of versions of the subject matter scattered throughout the internet. However, I really like where Geek Corps Production is headed with their Critical Hits and Fumble Cards.
The critical/fumble chart has been done before. Go to any forum on any given day and you’ll find one. Last year, a couple years ago, Paizo produced two of these products. I used the Paizo versions in my last campaign, but the design made them cumbersome, too vague or useless.

Geek Crops does not just reinvent the world, they make a square roll. Instead of a simple chart or a line of text for each action, they added several more descriptive items to each card. They also included visual identifiers to make their cards more interesting. The description is great for keeping the immersion of your game. Underneath are the mechanical effects for each card, which does a solid job of summarizing damage dealt, the overall effect and any conditions now implemented on the player. In these samples, effects aren’t duplicated, which really produces a wild feeling of not knowing what will happen.

For the Dungeon Master
The design is what makes this product exciting to use. The cards are easy to use and add to the description of the game.

The Iron Word
The creativity of the cards breathes life into the critical and fumble charts floating around and makes this product worth paying for when it comes out. I would advise any dungeon master of any system to put this high on your watch list.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Critical Hit and Fumble Cards (10 card Pack)
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The Genius Guide to the Armiger
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/01/2012 08:38:53
Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games have had a negative effect as far as expectations from tabletop games. It is great that their popularity has driven more people to find tabletop RPGs, but when trying to explain roles, conversations sometimes end in, how do I tank or why is there more to healing that standing back and casting heals or, hey why is this creature attacking me and not the guy in the heavy armor yelling at him.

The Genius Guide to the Armiger presents a class that Is a great hybrid between the two style, introducing a “tank” class that fits into tabletop confirms. The class modifies a traditional fighter class with lower BAB and better saves and gives a bunch of options that aid in protecting others. I was very glad that the designers did not add a “taunt” or “agro” ability, instead allowing the high AC Armiger to share his AC bonus with comrades and shield him and them from AOE effects.

For the Player
If you want to be a great teammate on the battlefield, this class will give you the chance to be beneficial to all party members. I suggest going a medium armor route so that speed does not become an issue when trying to protect swifter party members.

For the Dungeon Master
Watch out for players who use this class and attempt to produce too high an AC. Also, the Armiger has an ability that some believe to be a bit broken, in that it can half any reflex save and in some cases, make them only a quarter as potent as they are suppose to be.

The Iron Word
The Genius Guide to the Armiger gives players a different kind of fighter, more adapt at protecting party members than dealing damage. It is as close as I hope D&D ever comes to an actual tank class.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Genius Guide to the Armiger
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The Endless Winter (D&D 4e)
Publisher: Darklight Interactive
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/01/2012 07:51:07
Third Party Vendor’s takes on 4th edition adventures continues to outdo the corporate counter parts. Endless Winter is another strong showing, delivering a title that is far from frigid in the creative department.

Endless Winter establishes itself by beginning with a highly creative skill challenge and slowly ramps up the action dial as the adventure proceeds. An unnatural cold has taken over the land and the party must investigate the source and find the militia men who went to investigate.

Throughout the 43 pages, the writers have one of the most balanced efforts I have seen in 4th edition adventure of producing role playing opportunities, skill challenges and combat. Fans of thinking tactical encounters will be impressed with several sets of creatures that have the option of not being battled.

The layout of Winter is clean, crisp and highlights the well lined artwork. Most combats have an urgent sense of tactical design and require a bit of thinking and preplanning. This is easily an adventure that an unprepared party can TPK.

For the Dungeon Master
The writers utilize the environment very well. Thick mounds of snow, ice and wind conditions will all hamper your party in creative ways.

The Iron Word
Endless Winter is a fine adventure, really showing off what an adventure can do without tossing out enemy after enemy.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Endless Winter (D&D 4e)
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