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Throne of Night Book One: Dark Frontier
Publisher: Fire Mountain Games
by Luca L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/04/2013 09:22:15
The new AP from Fire Mountain Games is possibily even more ambitious than the first one, which (succesfully!) dealt with managing an evil campaign all the way up to the 20th level.
This time we are offered both an evil campaign (as wicked drow upstarts), and an heroic one (as brave and honor-bound dwarves), both of them integrated in a sandbox style tale of exploration, war and empire-building. In future installments there is hint of other thematic races to use, which is something I actually look forward to.

This first issue deals with a rather large but nonetheless limited area, with some excellent suggestion on how to deal with a campaign set underground right from the start (travelling, resource gathering, etc.), a number of very different places to explore, factions to fight or to ally with, tasks and quests, and a rather clear overall mission to tie everything together. It just works, and it almost constantly has you eagerly wondering what's next.
Being a sandbox campaign, be prepared to have the adventurers take every wrong turn in the map, waste time following red herrings they almost made up from thin air, step ahead of their abilities with the worst enemy available, and such problems. But it's also the best part of a sandbox campaign, so roll with it and have fun.
Unfortunately it seems that the product was originally written with the dwarven heroes in mind, and the drow faction developed later; thusly some pieces do not fit perfectly together for our dark-skinned subterranean elves - they must be retro-engineered by the GM after a careful and complete reading of the whole adventure.
Also, there are no custom tables for encounters in the sprawling tunnel complex that crisscrosses the area map.
The patron system in the appendix is a very nice atmsphere piece, which helps a lot creating a tight group. Moreover some of the ideas proposed for dwarves or drows are just genius, and ooze future epicness even at these low levels.

Art and layout: art by Michael Clarke is even better than what I've seen in WotW, and that was very good. Maps are great, portraits characterful, illustrations inspiring, and page layout on par with the best big-time publishers out there. Outstanding.

Writing and editing: Gary McBride is good at writing stuff, and it shows in the original NPCs, weird subterranean races and exotic places he describes. There are some really fresh ideas, and the GM will always have a rather clear idea of what to describe or use, even when the characters will take an unexpected turn (like they always do).
A few typos creep up here and there: none of them are an obstacle in reading or understanding the problem/location/NPC at hand, nor they are the usual it's/its, than/then or the dreaded rouge/rogue, but they are still there.

Overall: the adventure is very good, the campaign is promising, the concept is a bold move after WotW. I'm not really fond of gnomes, but Knivy Ivy may easily be the most interesting NPC I've seen in a while. The war between intelligent fungal gatherers and intelligent spider hunters - and the survival problems each faction is facing - is simply great.
Having to rework some elements for the drow campaign (eg. it's not really clear where in the map drow characters start, while it's really obvious where dwarven characters do), the missing encounter tables, and the necessary work a GM has to do with a sandbox campaign to customize it for his/hers group of players, detract a bit from the otherwise excellent and tight product.

A solid four stars, and looking forward for the new installments.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Throne of Night Book One: Dark Frontier
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Whiplash Trigger Set Four: Plains Nations
Publisher: Okumarts Games
by Luca L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/07/2012 12:38:22
An excellent set, very useful for a multitude of purposes anduses. The layered options are great, even though there's a minor glitch with some not properly appearing on one single figure.
The extras range from good (mounted warriors) to very good (teepes, full of options).

Recommended.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Whiplash Trigger Set Four: Plains Nations
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Way of the Wicked Book Two: Call Forth Darkness
Publisher: Fire Mountain Games
by Luca L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/24/2012 05:51:10
This new adventure has it all. Exploration, role-playing, plot twists, discovering ancient secrets, reverse-dungeoneering, resource managing, and battles. A rather hefty bunch of them, and each quite exciting, as they involve not your run-of-the-mill stat block creature, but very specific individuals.

The PCs will have to find, conquer (not an easy task), and hold a place as twisted and wicked as only the legends can be, complete a seemingly impossible ritual, face righteous retribution from brave heroes, and deal with some more subtle menaces. And obviously rally under their own banner the hordes of evil minions that are the staple of any bad guy - but this time they are the ones holding the leash!
Over the span of many months the characters have the opportunity of fitting their own dungeon to become a death trap that devours band after band of adventurers, and with a custom built subsystem manage minions to further bolster their forces and harass their enemies - and provide entertainment, prisoners, treasure, and the inevitable headache for their masters.
Will the PCs be cunning, greedy or too greedy? The pitfalls of an evil mastermind are innumerable, and a lot of them don't just come upon the blade of a do-gooder knight...

You or your player don't like the managing element of the adventure? Skip it with no hassle.
You want to fill in some pieces of your design (the place screms for haunts)? There're a good many places to do so.
You've been frustrated by unstoppable PCs mopping the floor with your carefully designed nemesis in a couple of rounds? Feed them their own medicine.

With yet another innovative plot, a bold take on the "hold the fortress" idea, and colourful heroes to slaughter, this installment of the Way of the Wicked was a blast to read, and being able to handle varied playing styles, will be a blast to play too.
Not to be discarded are the gazetteer and the extra player concepts presented, useful for fleshing out the environs and having some quite exotic ideas (goblins? we be goblins, you be food!) for the evil adventuring group.

Highly recommended.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Way of the Wicked Book Two: Call Forth Darkness
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Way of the Wicked Book One: Knot of Thorns
Publisher: Fire Mountain Games
by Luca L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/13/2012 12:20:37
A bold, well written, well thought and enticing adventure, written with the wicked perspective of an evil-aligned adventuring group, developing a saga of destruction and betrayal up to the highest levels - both of character's career and of evilness.
Can't wait for the next chapter.

Jaded DMs out there: you need this.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Way of the Wicked Book One: Knot of Thorns
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The Little Book of Dungeons: Geomorphs
Publisher: Crooked Staff Publishing
by Luca L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/13/2012 12:16:52
An excellent collection of geomorphs, with a good greyscale simple layout. This product features a really large selection of rooms, and a good variety of them, handily the best I've seen so far.
While most geomorphs tend to make the same dungeons over and over again - or at least to produce a very recognizable scheme in the overall map - these "room chunks" are so finely laid out that even in a small (or in a very large) combination, the resulting map will seem quite natural and not some simple drawing algorythm result.

Recommended.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Little Book of Dungeons: Geomorphs
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MonkeyGod Presents: From Stone to Steel
Publisher: Highmoon Games
by Luca L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/19/2005 00:00:00
A great (also in page count!) book on everything about warfare from primitive cultures to the first black powder weapons, including mythological and fantasy elements. It includes tactics for using a weapon instead of another, combat tips for tactical efficiency and historical infos on cultures that developed armors, weapons and tools of war.

This sourcebook will every fantasy campaign a significant boost in quality, providing a DM a boatload of data to customize cultures and enemies on a variety of different levels. Next time your players will meet an orc wargroup they will want to know if they're equipped with fur armor and an oxidian greataxe, instead of a bronze armored cloak and shield with a copper studded mace, or an iron charioteer armor and a two-handed sarissa.

A must have.

LIKED: Great structure, clarity, and illustrations. Useful tips on practical use of weapons, armors, tools, and materials and technologies needed to manufacture them.
Printer-friendly and ink saving layout is a plus.

DISLIKED: Sometimes confusing data and stats for d20 use, but nothing you can't sort out on your own comparing text with tables.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
MonkeyGod Presents: From Stone to Steel
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