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Pro RPG Audio: Alien World 2
Publisher: Plate Mail Games
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/04/2014 12:18:55
This alien world is teeming with wildlife, so I assume the PCs are out in a wilderness area of some sort. The strange animal noises convey a sense of alienness, and occasional musical tones make the whole thing seem a bit eerie. You could probably even use this for a warped terrestrial jungle of some kind.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pro RPG Audio: Alien World 2
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Pro RPG Audio: Alien World 3
Publisher: Plate Mail Games
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/04/2014 12:02:21
Haunting winds carry along the chirping of rather earth-like birds throughout the bulk of this track. Occasional "electric" swells and other tones add to the ambience. Although hampered slightly by the familiarity of the birdsongs, the track does a good job of evoking a mysterious alien setting.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pro RPG Audio: Alien World 3
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Rite Map Pack: Ocean Cave
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/04/2014 01:49:06
Whether you need an oceanside cave for a pirate hideout, a mysterious cult, a sahuagin beachhead, or some other purpose, this map pack can help you out—as long as you don't need an extensive cave complex directly connected to the cave. There's plenty of ocean here for your skiff to be beset by aquatic ghouls or some such while others fight on land. There are a fairly limited range of situations in which this pack would be useful, but when you need it, it will look great on the table.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rite Map Pack: Ocean Cave
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Deities and Demigods (3e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/04/2014 01:39:19
More so than the 1e Deities and Demigods or the 2e Legends and Lore, the 3e Deities and Demigods serves as a worldbuilding—or rather cosmos-building—resource for DMs. The first two chapters are broadly applicable to any D&D campaign, regardless of the setting or pantheon in use. Also unlike the 1e and 2e incarnations, the 3e Deities and Demigods includes substantial attention to the "D&D Pantheon," shared in part by the Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms settings. Even though the mechanics are specific to 3e, the first chapter is useful reading for any GM, any system.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Deities and Demigods (3e)
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DC ADVENTURES Heroes & Villains, Vol. I
Publisher: Green Ronin
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/04/2014 01:25:19
This is a great collection of DC characters statted out using the Mutants & Masterminds 3rd edition rules. More than just stats, each entry includes encyclopedic-style "biographical" information, with attention given to different people bearing the same name (like the three different Blue Beetles). Practically the only downside to this product is that it was somewhat out-of-date by the time it was published, and therefore it does not reflect the New 52 continuity.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DC ADVENTURES Heroes & Villains, Vol. I
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Cthulhu Rises! - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
Publisher: Ambient Environments
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/03/2014 18:11:27
Once in a while, every DM needs to depict a giant horrible monster rising out of the sea during a thunderstorm, right? Use this track to score those scenes. The product description tells you what you'll hear in the track; it all comes together into a wonderfully raucous package. The title suggests Cthulhu rising from the South Pacific, but the monster roaring in this track could just as easily be Godzilla, Leviathan, a kraken, an ancient aquatic dragon, or whatever else your GMing mind can cook up.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cthulhu Rises! - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
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Dungeon Crawling - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
Publisher: Ambient Environments
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/03/2014 17:06:17
Honestly, this track puts me more in mind of Call/Trail of Cthulhu investigators combing through a decrepit insane asylum, or Batman prowling the halls of Arkham, than of fantasy heroes in a dungeon. The entire track is suffused with a "crackle" that makes me think of a vinyl record spinning on an old gramophone. The track also features light instrumentation and mysterious sound effects that I can't quite place. Occasionally you'll hear water dripping, and a swell of sound, not quite a Doppler effect but it makes me think of a car or train swooshing by. I really think this track is more at home in modern horror than high fantasy. In the right situation, it could be very evocative.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawling - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
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Publisher Reply:
Good review. Gives me great insight as to what to do to correct some issues with the track. Thanks for commenting!
Cemetery At Night - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
Publisher: Ambient Environments
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/03/2014 16:47:27
This track evokes a cemetery atmosphere chiefly through the sounds of digging (by grave robbers? necromancers? mortuary staff?) and heavy breathing (by tired workers? recently-raised undead?). The bird cries sound more like daytime sounds (at least for the crows that love to roost in our sycamore tree)—not entirely consistent, to my ears, with the constant chirping of crickets. Hooting owls would have been better. But overall the track is quite effective. In fact, I had to pop in my earbuds to listen because my dog kept trying to answer the dogs he heard barking in the track. True story.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cemetery At Night - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
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Zombie Horde - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
Publisher: Ambient Environments
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/03/2014 16:38:07
Take a low drone resembling the sound of a door desperately in need of WD-40 being opened very, very slowly, add heavy, shuffling footfalls, and you've got the basics of this track. These monotonous noises are occasionally punctuated by groans, growls, and screams. Admittedly I'm not that interested in zombie stuff anyway, but this track does very little for me. I can see (well, hear) how it would work in the right setting, but I just don't like it very much (and I normally find Gil's soundscapes very enjoyable).

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Zombie Horde - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
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The Hidden - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
Publisher: Ambient Environments
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/03/2014 16:11:49
I don't quite know what's "hidden" in this track, unless it's the uncanny resemblance to the theme from "The Exorcist." But the track does a good job of evoking a sense of mystery, melancholy, and perhaps subdued menace. I could easily imagine using this in-game when the PCs are investigating any kind of "dungeon"—from the mines of Moria to a haunted mansion—where the emphasis is on exploring and a mounting sense of dread rather than combat.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Hidden - from the RPG & TableTop Audio Experts
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Pro RPG Audio: Elven Forest
Publisher: Plate Mail Games
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/03/2014 12:42:10
To break down the title, the sense of a forest is achieved in this track primarily by the sounds of chirping birds; some rustling of foliage would probably enhance the atmosphere. The sense of elvishness is achieved primarily by some ethereal music, sounding as if wind chimes could hold out their notes. The entire effect is very pleasing, although if you play the track too loud, the "wind chimes" may begin to sound shrill, so keep the volume low.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pro RPG Audio: Elven Forest
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Sacrificial Pool
Publisher: DramaScape
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/03/2014 12:33:52
Creative and well-conceived, this tile set gives you a printable map of an oceanside sacrificial pool embedded in a larger complex. In general, it makes a great scene for a big confrontation, and the introductory text even suggests a possible adventure hook. DramaScape provides square overlay, hex overlay, and no overlay maps for printing—which is great, but really should have been handled with PDF layers instead of three versions of each tile. You also get one large map for VTT use. The coloration of the scene brings coral to mind, which is good for a seaside facility like this, but the textures seem overdone and the edges between features would be more helpful if they were a bit more distinct. Even so, it's a unique and useful product. Do be sure that your printer has at least a full 8x10 printable area, however, or you'll lose some of each tile.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Sacrificial Pool
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Ekzis' Demonic Chessboard
Publisher: Lord Zsezse Works
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/03/2014 00:44:34
Rich artwork and a fun concept combine here to make an interesting backdrop for a set-piece battle. Files are provided for print-and-play on either US letter size or A4 paper, or for use in VTT software. Demonic powers or mad wizards using chessboards as traps or puzzles fit well into many fantasy role-playing settings, and this one looks so good that it motivates me to find a way to use it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ekzis' Demonic Chessboard
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Legends & Lore (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/03/2014 00:22:54
The AD&D 2e counterpart to the Deities & Demigods volumes in AD&D 1e and 3e, Legends & Lore adapts several real-world mythologies and one fantasy mythology (from Fitz Leiber's Nehwon novels) for use in AD&D 2e campaigns. Whereas the 1e Deities & Demigods is sometimes characterized as a "Monster Manual for gods," the 2e Legends & Lore emphasizes the relationships between gods and worshipers. I do question somewhat the actual utility of these volumes; most D&D campaigns in my experience use fantasy pantheons like those from Greyhawk or the Forgotten Realms or Krynn. The greater usefulness of Legends & Lore would seem to me to be in DMs reskinning various gods to create their own fantasy pantheons. The section on Arthurian mythology holds greater promise for direct or near-direct use in a campaign, but it's disappointing that the entire discussion never mentions Christianity directly; despite the importance of the Holy Grail, Legends & Lore doesn't bother to explain exactly what the grail was understood to be. I find this volume more enjoyable than practical.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Legends & Lore (2e)
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RAVENFELL: Items & Streets
Publisher: Fat Dragon Games
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/02/2014 23:27:27
The various pieces that make up this set range in modeling difficulty from easy (the elevated road segments) to fairly complex (the cart and the well). Precision is especially required for the bridge, but also for pieces that fit together like the cart and its removable hay load or the outhouse and its seat. If the instructions are followed skillfully, the results are quite attractive and can really enhance any medieval village type of RPG battlemap.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
RAVENFELL: Items & Streets
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