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Forged in Magic - Arcanis RPG
Publisher: Paradigm Concepts, Inc.
by David B. S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/01/2012 20:31:27
Forged in Magic is a much-anticipated addition to one of my favorite rpg games- Arcanis. You see, in the world of Arcanis, magic items are rare, unique creations. There are no "magic shops", where one can waltz in and sift through bargain bins and barrels of +whatever items. And this is a good thing.

The main reason that the world doesn't have a glut of magic items is that they are notoriously difficult to create and- the best part, in my opinion- the power of a magic item increases with the ability of the wielder! How cool is that? And it's all because of runes. Runes are the secret to making magic items of all types.

Following is a description of the various types of runes and their effects, based upon the item they are ibued in and again the wielder's ability.

Next the pdf give some nice examples of empowered magic items; including wands, weapons and miscellaneous trinkets and gear items. For the majority of the items (50+), no lore is given, but with the descriptive names of the items, a GM should have no trouble coming up with a suitable history.

Lastly, notable potions and alchemical items are described. Nothing exceptional got my attention, but this is probably because I was still drooling over the previous sections.

Overall a great product. Forged in Magic provides much-needed inspiration for a "Chronicler" to add some magical pizazz to his or her campaign. Sprincled with a minimum of artwork, this black and white pdf is nicely indexed, bookmarked and linked throughout. Very nice! This is how a pdf should be done!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Forged in Magic - Arcanis RPG
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NeoExodus: A House Divided Campaign Setting (PFRPG)
Publisher: LPJ Design
by David B. S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/15/2012 01:13:23
First of all, I must say that, while reading through the first 24 pages of this product, I am impressed by the obvious amount of effort that went into deveoping the campaign. I have heard comparisons of NE to Rifts, but I must say that instead, I am reminded of the rebellious, no-holds barred feeling that I got when I was first exposed to the Talislanta rpg, ages ago. These guys have obviously jumped in with both feet!

NE is a rich setting, that attempts to meld many different rpg elements together, in one bowl. With the first 25 pages devoted to history and background, the stage is set for the reader's journey into the NE realm. It is a bit much to digest in one sitting, and personally, I never really utilize campaign history, but- the NE history explains the reasons that the world is the way it is- and that's important!

Next, the various nations are detailed. Plenty of info is give about the various cities, personalities and dangers of each region. I especially can appreciate the Character Options, Environmental Dangers and Plot Hooks that are given for the GM to use. There is alot of neat stuff to chew on and digest here, folks!

Chapter 3 provides a multitude of races to use in the campaign. From hive-minded rat-men, to regenerating plant-men, there's some new twists put on races who seem somewhat familiar- but not. One thing to note (I am sure I am dating myself here)- not every race has the same number or type of abilities. It appears to me that the races have abilities that make sense, from a campaign point-of-view; abilities and nuances aren't held in check just to make each race "balanced". This is something that I think, recent rpg's seem to get hung up on. (Say no to level adjustment!) The P'Tan are my favorite!

And I must say that the folks at LPD added a nice contingency that allows them to introduce as many new races as they want- and have it make sense! (No gnomes allowed!)

Included next is a too-quick summary of the gods of NE and their respective domains. I wanted even more detail about each god and even artwork showing the gods, or even their icons. But perhaps that will be in another supplement. And any GM worth his or her salt can easily fill in any blanks here. Other highlights include 6 presitge classes that are well-suited to the campaign.

A chapter of Feats that are flavorful, but not surprising. I think we have pretty much seen everything that can be done with feats. Mechanically they are redundant, its the feat fluff that makes them seem different.

Next, we are introduced to some inspired new spells, weapons and other equipment, including Tomes- a nice role playing mechanic that gives players something else to look foreward to, besides offensive items.

Wrapping up, a nice selection of creatures is provided to terrorize players. There are some nice new surprises included, along with twists to somewhat familiar enemies.

As far as "readability" this product stands head and shoulders above other LPD products I have read: The layout is logical, the artwork is wonderful, expressive and imagative, and the pdf is stuffed full of useful info. A big improvement has been made from previous books, and I am grateful for that (i.e. no unreadable fonts).

And, Mr. Porter, JR- if you are reading this review, please consider adding one more page to your future campaign products and add an index! The Table of Contents is nothing to sneeze at, but c'mon! With a product that's as ambitious and as detailed as this one, an index would be great.

Overall an inspired product that I would recommend as a new campaign or (as I plan to do) an add-on to an existing campaign. The rpg community needs fresh ideas and concepts, which push the bounds of the "norm". And this pdf does just that. A solid effort.


Note- As a reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThru RPG, I received this product for reviewing purposes from the publisher.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
NeoExodus: A House Divided Campaign Setting (PFRPG)
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Toys for the Sandbox 02: Fairy Glade
Publisher: Occult Moon
by David B. S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/13/2012 15:27:37
I think Occult Moon's "Toys for the Sandbox" series is a good idea. At .99, this 4- page pdf (which includes the cover) provides a nice, system-neutral, scenario to drop into an ongoing campaign. Plot hooks are provided for an aspiring GM to develop as he or she sees fit. Main NPCs are also given some personality and fleshed out somewhat, although not with any stats.

As a GM with a bit of experience, I could see myself using this as a mini-encounter distraction for players. The format provided can also provide inspiration for a GM to develop their own encounters. Worth every 99 penny!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Toys for the Sandbox 02: Fairy Glade
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Headless Hydra Clip Art 13
Publisher: Headless Hydra Games
by David B. S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/11/2012 14:17:37
Yet another great piece from HH Games. This single pencil and ink? greyscale image is crisp and has just the right amount of personality to either be used as an inn, guildhall, or perhaps the manor of some wealthy merchant. Too bad we don't get a color piece as well. Nicely done!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Headless Hydra Clip Art 13
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Cities Of Calvanna- PDF- PRE-ORDER-4e
Publisher: Calvanna Games
by David B. S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/05/2012 17:15:04
Cities of Calvanna is a great addition to any campaign- 4th Ed. D&D, or otherwise. The pre-order pdf gives a number of examples of typical shops that would be found in a fantasy city. The detailed, gridded, color maps are easy to read and (once the full, printable version is released) could be printed out for use with table top miniatures or in an online campaign.

Lists are also provided, detailing the stock items each shop will typically have for sale, along with pricing and even the lock and break DCs for chests and such!

This pre-release details 13 different shops, including a Leather shop, Brewer, Fletcher, and Animal Tender, among others. Calvanna games claims the full release will detail fleshed-out taverns, guildhouses, a palace, citadels, towers, and more. And, my favorite: lots of lists!

I am looking foreward to the full release, just to see what Calvanna games does with the more "odd" shops and abodes that can be found in a large city!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cities Of Calvanna- PDF- PRE-ORDER-4e
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The Hideout (OGL 3.5 Adventure ePub)
Publisher: White Haired Man
by David B. S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/03/2012 12:44:40
This product is part of the Kith'takharos Setting, which is detailed at the White Haired Man home page. First and foremost, I find it interesting that the only format available for download is an ebook. Now, this poses no problem for me, because I have Adobe's Digital Editions software on my pc and laptop, but it may be an issue for others.

The Hideout is an OGL/3.5 encounter that can be dropped in almost any fantasy game setting. All that is needed is a place for the ruins of a river bridge, upon which the encounter takes place. With the background info provided this encounter can be expanded upon to flesh out a grander adventure; or it may be used for a (very quick) one-session playthrough. I also see no reason why this may not be used in any other fantasy-based campaign- perhaps as an encounter in a hex-crawl.

Included in the ebook are descriptions of the encounter antagonists and a few color maps of the bridge ruins.

A solid encounter, that can't be beat for the price, but one that definetly will need some fleshing out by the GM to provide a full session of play.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Hideout (OGL 3.5 Adventure ePub)
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Publisher Reply:
The product description does not mention that this product is available in formats other than ePub, so I can see why you might think this is the case. Thank you for pointing this out. The Hideout product is also combined with two other Simple Scenarios and available as a bundle for both OGL and Savage Worlds rules, in PDF or Fantasy Grounds II format. I have now added this information to the product page for the ePub.
Isle of the Unknown
Publisher: Lamentations of the Flame Princess
by David B. S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/02/2012 23:17:36
Simply put, Isle of the Unknown offers a wealth of ideas suitable to drop into any fantasy campaign. The isle can be used as such, but creative GMs can also use this resource to pepper their existing world with various encounters, rumors, and adventure location incentives.

The isle is divided and numbered by hex, with various encounter descriptions described with just enough detail. The creatures have a non-typical twist to them, giving the isle as a whole, a weird-fantasy vibe- not too dark and not too whimsical.

A very pleseant product overall. I highly recommend it.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Isle of the Unknown
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Clockwork and Chivalry 2nd Edition Core Rulebook
Publisher: Cakebread & Walton
by David B. S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/21/2011 14:17:34
Another great addition to the RuneQuest line of d100 products. Clockwork & Chivalry 2e presents a Renaissance- based campaign that combines blackpowder weaponry, alchemy and even witchcraft.

Even if you don't plan on using the fully fleshed-out Clockwork campaign, the other bits in this pdf should fit well as additions in many other fantasy-based settings. Alchemy is given more of a Renaissance- based twist, making it different from other Alchemy mechanics in other games. And as for Witchcraft, any new spell additions to the RuneQuest family is a welcome addition! But make no mistake, witchcraft uses a mechanic of its own to distinguish it from other magic types.

Lastly, a bestiary is included that introduces creatures, both mundane and magical; along with 2 advetures and a selection of pre-made characters to round out a very good product.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Clockwork and Chivalry 2nd Edition Core Rulebook
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Fantastic Maps: City Gates
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by David B. S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/21/2011 00:42:23
Yet another great product from Jonathan Roberts! The map sections are clear and easy to understand. Both a color and greyscale map are included. The colors and map detail conveys a frigid environment, which I imagine would be perfect for a party defending a keep against an onslaught of Frost Giants; or perhaps the party exploring a dwarven keep that has been taken over by goblins and winter wargs!

My only continued gripe is the inability to turn the map grids off. As a MapTools GM, I can appreciate "pre-gridded" maps, but there is nothing like appreciating a beautifuly drawn map without grids. I guess it's an art "thing" of mine.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Fantastic Maps: City Gates
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Publisher Reply:
I want to thank David B. Semmes for his review, I would like to point out there is a map with no grids in the zip file. Steve Russell Rite Publishing
Thanks for the review! I'd also like to add to Steve's comment. The pack contains a map with no grid, and the included maptool file uses that map with no grid. I totally agree that inside a virtual tabletop, you don't need a grid over the artwork cluttering up the map. Also, this way you can set the scale of the grid yourself if you'd prefer this to be a Frost giant fortification, or a land of icy pygmies! Jon Roberts
Legend
Publisher: Mongoose
by David B. S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/01/2011 19:59:12
The next evolutionary step in Mongoose Publishing's Runequest RPG- now called Legend. It doesn't appear that much overall has changed. Its 100% compatible with all the previous RuneQuest II books, including Elric of Melnibone, Deus Vult and Wraith Recon. So if you have invested in earlier products, you can still use them!

Legend has a more "generic" fantasy feeling than the Glorantha campaing setting, allowing GM's to more easily plug in their own campaigns- whether they be "homebrew" or versions of other games on the market. But Glorantha is supported.

The mechanics look as though they are primarily the same as MRQ2, having been tweaked and cleaned up. Cultural Backgrounds and Professions are still there. And unfortunately, some of the art from the previous core rulebook is there- but not enough to annoy or disappoint. A major change is the inclusion of only 3 forms of magic: Common, Divine and Sorcery. This may put off some older fans of MRQ, but new players will not miss a thing. The magic system is fun to play!

And best of all, the entirety of text in the Legend core book has been designated as Open Content! A definite no-brainer purchase in my opinion. Enjoy!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Legend
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NMPSA PH001 Aelfie of Glen Coe
Publisher: Nevermet Press
by David B. S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/02/2011 12:39:06
A fun piece, with rich, deep colors. Great for a clockworks or victorian-flavored setting.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
NMPSA PH001 Aelfie of Glen Coe
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Fantastic Maps: The Watchfire Keep
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by David B. S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/02/2011 12:02:01
Yet another fantastic map from Rite Publishing! One of my major gripes about battle maps is that many are presented with a grid-only option. This product can be used with or without a grid- perfect for online play as well!

The art style is detailed, with varied terrain types, giving both players and Gms a lot to get excited about.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Fantastic Maps: The Watchfire Keep
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Clipart Critters 197 - Demonic Pact
Publisher: Postmortem Studios
by David B. S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/02/2011 11:58:06
A very interesting piece, usable in both gaming situations and in an rpg product. One can only imagine what the poor man is being pressured to sign- or what he has already signed! Another great art product from Postmortem.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Clipart Critters 197 - Demonic Pact
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Map of Berem Town
Publisher: 1191 AD Publishing
by David B. S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/20/2011 07:32:43
This 1-page PDF from 1191 AD is an attractive color interpretation of the town of Berem. Included are some basic facts, detailing both the inhabitants and the locations of note in the town. By manipulating the layers in the PDF, location descriptions may be hidden, although I saw no way to hide the location number markers.

WHat attracted me most to this product was the non-typical perspective or viewpoint that the town is presented in, along with the architectural style of the buildings. The town just looks very appealing to the eye, and that's a good thing!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Map of Berem Town
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Pangenre RPG Modern Firearm Cards
Publisher: Pangenre, LLC
by David B. S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/30/2011 21:18:48
This is a great idea! I am used to various fantasy-themed equipment and spell cards, but its about time a publisher did it for modern gaming! I am sure fans of Pangenre would also like to see other cards, such as modern armor and modern melee weapons as well (And don't forget about future items too!).

The cards are easy to interpret and read and the art is in black and white, but clear and attractive. All the info a player or GM needs is there!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Pangenre RPG Modern Firearm Cards
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Publisher Reply:
Thank you for taking the time to give our product a look-in. This was very much an experiment, and it has been fairly well received as an add-on for our RPG System. We have created a version using all of the non-crew-served Open Game Content firearm weapons that is available separately (alas, not a freebie, but it's just a buck). When we release the next major Pangenre RPG System iteration, we will also create cards for melee weapons, and perhaps other objects as well.
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