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Tunnels & Trolls 7th Edition
Publisher: Fiery Dragon
by Jeno S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/20/2008 07:35:37

Whether you are a veteran RPG gamer or a novice gamer, this Tunnels & Trolls compilation is a must. Tunnels & Trolls is one of the very first RPGs ever and once the number one rival of Dungeons & Dragons. The compilation does not include of course the game’s 1975 edition but even if you are tired of fantasy RPGs I recommend it because this is a way to meet and pay tribute to one of the major earliest titles in the history of RPGs, which also revolutionized in the field of gaming with its 1976 solo adventure Buffalo Castle (included in this compilation of files). Apart from the historical value, Tunnels & Trolls is very concise, packing a small book with the essential and even the inessential to run a campaign in the Trollworld (no map though). Numerous races available, many weapons and several strange character classes (e.g. Paragons, Leaders).

On the minus side, Tunnels & Trolls seems to have lost the originality it enjoyed in its infancy. One can currently choose out of many fantasy games and Tunnels & Trolls comes across as rather ordinary: a magical world of dwarves, elves, trolls, dragons, goblinoids, undead, gnomes, of heroes wielding medieval weapons and wearing medieval armor etc. However, nowadays, Tunnels & Trolls with its comparatively simple rule system and language serves as an excellent and addictive introductory role-playing game. All in all, a highly recommended compilation of files.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tunnels & Trolls 7th Edition
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Scent of the Beast
Publisher: Morrigan Press
by Jeno S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/14/2007 15:00:15

Scent of the Beast is designed in a surprisingly complicated way for an introductory adventure. It can be divided in 2 parts: the first part takes on the form of a series of encounters, as the PCs and the crew of the land barge Arda travel from Cymril to the town of Tordan. This part involves four encounters, two of which can be considered interludes. In the second part, which deals with the main mission, to find a traitor in Tordan and stop the illegal weapons trade with the Beastmen, resides the gist of Scent of the Beast. The latter part involves a few investigations and two battles and yet Scent of the Beast, as a whole, is a rather complicated book.

This is explained by the fact that the scenario swarms with NPCs (many merchants, Molith s bandits, Beastmen, the patrons of the tavern in Kiran etc.) and that the author crams it with details, minute descriptions rarely encountered in introductory adventures. Moreover, 25 pages are devoted to the encounters, 4 pages to the rudimentary rules of Talislanta and 15 pages to Tordan. Like Sarista, Scent of the Beast could be described as a sourcemodule rather than as an adventure. I think its best section is not the adventure itself, whose plot doesnt strike me, but the one in which Tordan (an uncommon city built on a mesa!) is detailed quarter by quarter. I would not recommend Scent of the Beast to a novice GameMaster, as it calls for some experience and imagination to run it properly. After all, if the GM uses all encounters, then it could be regarded as a mini-campaign.

I grade Scent of the Beast as a whole with 4 stars and the adventure itself with 3 stars.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Scent of the Beast
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Archaen Codex
Publisher: Morrigan Press
by Jeno S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/23/2007 00:00:00

The Archean Codex, a tome of advanced magic and lore, enables the reader to delve into Talislanta s magic past. The Codex provides, among others, information on powerful forgotten spells, legendary wizards, magic artifacts, magic skills and fields, lost books of wizardry, lists of extradimensional entities that can be summoned. It also includes a historical overview of the Forgotten Age, the Talislantan golden period of magic during which time the Archaens triumphed, and other historical knowledge, so that it may help the gamemaster enrich his campaign with references to the past, add a historical flavour to it.

The Archaen Codex turns out to be a comprehensive and diverse encyclopedia of magic that can be used in combination with the recently published Codex Magicus. However, at times I found myself questioning its utility. The spells & artifacts listed and described may be powerful but are so rare, unknown and hard to find that they require hazardous research in unheard-of ancient places. Whether the Archaen Codex will come handy and applicable depends on the gamemaster s judgment and decisions. In any case, he should use it wisely and in moderation, without abusing the lore, given its arcane nature. <br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Archaen Codex
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Dark Realms: Nebula Adventures #1
Publisher: Guild of Blades
by Jeno S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/25/2007 00:00:00

In Nebula Adventures #1 the mission is to rescue a daughter of a family who was on a liner that found an ancient battleship, lost in a nebula for 2,000 years. The adventure, which takes place in the nebula, on landing bays, swarmed with lost ships, is suitable for novice players and rich in encounters, battles. It combines sci-fi with fantasy, horror, elements of Earth s past: characters face among others vampires, mummies, dinosaurs, goblins, defy death in ships of unheard-of shape.

The layout of the ebook is strange in a strange way. Of the 45 pages, about 30 are in fact lists with brief descriptions of creatures, ships and objects. Pages 2-7 and 10-20 for instance represent this odd layout. Moreover, the ebook doesnt contain maps, it includes rather unnecessary images of jewels and dice, but no map of the landing bay or the interior of the ships! On p. 22 we read <<See the map for this bay in the map section>> but there is no map section?Was it lost in the nebula? I hope the sequel Nebula Adventures #2 is better designed, more coherent. <br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: Ebook with a lot of images, adventure rich in action, encounters.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: No maps. The actions of the PCs are restricted to exploring ships, defeating enemies and looting. The landing bay gives the impression of a deadly entertainment park, in which the PCs wander here and there.

<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Realms: Nebula Adventures #1
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DSR1 Slave Tribes (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Jeno S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/22/2007 00:00:00

Dark Sun is one of my favourite campaign settings, blessed with characteristics that distinguished it from the other settings, and it still stands out. This accessory focuses on an aspect that differentiates Dark Sun: slavery. Although slavery exists in many campaign settings, Athas is a cruel world in which this notion plays a central role for its economic and social dynamics. Members of any race, thri-kreen, dwarves, and any stratum, rich, poor, templars, have seen themselves as victims or perpetrators of slavery. The first part of the accessory examines slavery in the Athasian society, its origin, practice etc., the second one focuses on several slave tribes (groups of ex-slaves), while the last one reveals life in these tribes and provides information for creating our own tribes.

This accessory is by no means essential, but is well-written, has the form of a chronicle, like the Wanderer journal of the boxed set, with frequent first-person narration (Bill Slavicsek speaks as the chronicler Daled, a dwarf and ex-slave), elegant language, offering an enjoyable read and helping the DM to add a special flavour to his campaign. <br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DSR1 Slave Tribes (2e)
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Dark Realms RPG 5 Book Bundle
Publisher: Guild of Blades
by Jeno S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/21/2006 00:00:00

Dark Realms is a d12 role-playing system in which the outcomes of all actions, be they actions of combat or magic or of any other nature, are resolved on a single table, called the results table. The bundle of this system is a very good purchase given the price and of course the 5 ebooks it contains. Despite Dark Realms being a generic system, its core book provides rules only for fantasy gaming and so is designed for fantasy campaigns. Add to this oddness the queer fact that, to my knowledge, Barony of Chaos excepted, all the other supplements are sci-fi! Their titles speak for themselves: Space Pirates, Technology, Space Knights, Nebula Adventures (not included in the bundle). The first three (especially Space Pirates) make up for the lack of sci-fi section in the core book, but where is the manual for gaming in the modern world? If the core book is truly one of a generic system, then it comes across as defective to those who have bought only this book.

If you are tired of games involving complicated rules like Rolemaster and seek a much simpler system, Dark Realms RPG was made for you. The simplicity of its rules turns out to be the system s major asset, because the fantasy section, despite exhibiting a couple of special aspects, isnt innovative, but the sci-fi setting will reward those who want to indulge in something more or less different.
<br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: A nice simple system of rules. Original enough sci-fi setting involving unique character races, the Christian God and intergalactic (sic) wars! <br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Ordinary fantasy creatures (gnomes, giants etc.). Ebooks without chapters, bookmarks, description of a fantasy land but with some confusing parts.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Realms RPG 5 Book Bundle
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Alien Compendium: Creatures of the Verge
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Jeno S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/11/2006 00:00:00

Star*Drive s compendium detailing creatures of many kinds, humanoid (fraals), aquatic (deepfallens), bird-like (teradors), feline (sandgrothas), insect-like (gevlins), amorphous (ammonites), tentacled (calliopes), species of indefinite classification (corstars), microorganisms (black fever), rocklike (brimstones) etc. It isn t exactly a monstrous tome but a biological compendium on the fauna of worlds in the Verge. Therefore most species described in the compendium cannot be characterized as evil, like many creatures in fantasy worlds, but are natural hunters.

<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: A rich enough and detailed array of diverse lifeforms, some reminiscent of Earth s fauna, others totally alien. The astronomical and ecological data provided on the various worlds and the species. An alien compendium that takes a somewhat scientific approach.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Some illustrations have been badly scanned are dark; as a result it is rather difficult to make out some creatures, e.g. the Centurion. Numerous parts of the file are not searchable. All lifeforms, regardless of intelligence, ought to appear in more than one star system, in order to offer more possibilities to the GM in his campaign. <br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br><BR>[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]<BR>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Alien Compendium: Creatures of the Verge
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From the Ashes (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Jeno S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/01/2006 00:00:00

The essential boxed set for Greyhawk 2nd Edition, a gem of the Dungeons&Dragons history. It provides a lot of historical, geographical, racial, religious information covering Flanaess as well as the expanded lands around the Free City of Greyhawk in depth. The reader will also find useful adventure hooks, several mini-adventures and of course colour maps. From the Ashes is a must for all those who collect D&D material or who cherish quality traditional worlds of epic fantasy.

<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: It offers a very detailed and quality description of some lands of the Greyhawk world. The six mini-adventures and the card sheets are a nice addition.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: From the Ashes focuses just on Flanaess, the eastern part of the continent Oerik. It does not deal with Oerik or any other continent in its entirety. Moreover, I would have wanted it to contain bigger city maps and of course a greater number of them. When it comes to the quality of this .pdf file, it is unquestionable that a better fate has befallen the .pdf files of other 2nd Edition boxed sets, such as those of Forgotten Realms, Dark Sun. From the Ashes file is thoroughly searchable however and in integrity it gets 5 stars as it includes everything, the 2 booklets, the cardsheets, maps etc.

<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br><BR>[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]<BR>



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
From the Ashes (2e)
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