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Hidden Treasures of Davokar
Publisher: Free League Publishing
by Rich H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/23/2018 16:58:03

Hidden Treasures of Davokar is a short, but incredibly useful and evocative supplement for Symbaroum. It's 2 pages, with the first page a map of Ambria and Davokar containing 20 new locations, and the second being a listing of those new locations with several rumors related to each one. The rumors are very evocative of the setting and immediately give me lots of ideas for how to incorporate them into my game, which to me is the hallmark of a good supplement. I really like that HToD adds several new locations, while still leaving plenty of open area in Davokar for you to fill in. The only downside is that there are a few typos, but they don't impair readability. Overall I'd highly recommend Hidden Treasures of Davokar to anyone running Symbaroum.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hidden Treasures of Davokar
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Quick Dungeons 1: The Hidden Tomb
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Rich H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/24/2018 21:36:50

Quick Dungeons #1 - The Hidden Tomb

Overview

The Hidden Tomb is the first entry in Patrick E. Pullen's Quick Dungeons series on the DM's Guild. As of this writing, there are 5 products in Patrick's Quick Dungeons series, and they all cost $1. Each has a Fantasy Grounds conversion product available as well.

It contains a complete dungeon for 4-6 PCs of 1st or 2nd level. Quick dungeons are intended to be run as low prep one-shots or as side quests inserted into an ongoing campaign. The Hidden Tomb includes a simple background and potential hook that you can use to get your group to the dungeon, but for the most part, concentrates solely on the dungeon and the encounters therein.

The Hidden Tomb is 10 pages long, with 1 and a half pages devoted to the cover and an introduction to the Quick Dungeons series, leaving 8 and a half pages for the actual dungeon. It has 2 really nice maps: one with keys for the DM and another for the players. There is no art and the layout is simple and utilitarian.

Pros

I always appreciate when a dungeon product includes both maps for the players and DM. It makes my life a lot easier as a DM since I can just throw the player map out on the table and use some pieces of paper or notecards to cover unexplored areas.

I like that the adventure emphasizes the tight quarters of the tomb and mentions that the PCs can make use of bottlenecks to their advantage. That's the sort of tip that the DM can share with the players if combat starts going against them, which is particularly useful since this is a low-level dungeon.

I liked the inclusion of something other than undead in the tomb. They had a solid reason to be in the tomb as well, instead of just being thrown in for a change of pace.

The final boss fight has some nice story elements that give it a very satisfying feel. It will be tough for most groups, but highly rewarding.

Cons

There are a few places where the wording is a bit awkward. There are a few grammatic errors, though nothing major.

Conclusion

The Hidden Tomb is an excellent dungeon for a low-level party. It should be extremely easy to drop into an ongoing campaign and will provide your PCs with a good challenge and some nice rewards. It's well-written, with really nice, useful maps. At just $1, it's a great value. I'd highly recommend it to any DM short on time who needs a quick dungeon to run.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Quick Dungeons 1: The Hidden Tomb
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Cult of The Glutton
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Rich H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/24/2018 21:36:23

Cult of the Glutton is an adventure for a party of characters level 5-10. It is written by JVC Parry and sold on the DMs Guild. It is 14 pages long, featuring a cover page with a short pitch, table of contents page, a full page map, 6 pages of room descriptions, and 3 separate indices over 5 pages. There is front cover with full-color art and several smaller interior art pieces that do a great job of conveying the theme of the adventure.

Pros

This adventure has a nice background, with good use of lore and some less common enemies. The setup is very interesting and Parry provides three different, equally viable hooks to get your party involved in the adventure. He also gives you ways to tie the adventure into Out of the Abyss, which is nice if you happen to be running that.

The descriptive boxed text is very atmospheric and does an excellent job of conveying the desired tone of the adventure. It's rare that I want to use flavor text as written, but I could see myself doing that here.

There is a nice mix of challenges, with excellent use of environmental elements that you rarely see in adventures. The various disease and madness effects are a nice change of pace. The physical enemies provide a good variety as well.

Cons

The map quality is not so great. It's perfectly functional and usable, but it's a graph paper scan and you can see eraser marks. It could have used a retrace.

There are a few grammatical errors (feels instead of fills, etc) and typos, though nothing too distracting.

It's interesting how some of the treasure is concealed, but Getting it might be difficult, requiring intuitive leaps that I'm not sure would occur to all groups. Be prepared to offer alternatives or make modifications.

My biggest problem with Cult of the Glutton, and the main reason I'm giving this a 4/5, is the final encounter. If presented without modification, it could be lethal, or at the least very unenjoyable for your party. The module gives the possibility of something of a deus ex machina type intervention if the final encounter goes too far south. The implication seems to be that your party should do as much as they can in the final encounter, then retreat. I know for me as a player and as a DM, this sort of situation leaves a bad taste in my mouth. When I run this, I will alter this encounter and provide at least one, if not more, alternatives to the final encounter.

Conclusion

Cult of the Glutton is a good adventure that, with a little tweaking and alteration on the part of the DM, could be a great adventure. It will provide your party with some interesting challenges and a very atmospheric, well-presented theme and tone. At $2.95, it's a good value for DMs who don't mind putting a little effort into an adventure to get the best from it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cult of The Glutton
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100 Ways to Introduce a New Character
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Rich H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/24/2018 21:36:01

100 Ways To Introduce A New Character is a product written by JVC Parry and sold on the DMs Guild. The purpose of this product is to help DMs and players who are struggling to come up with a good reason for a new PC to join an existing group or bring a new group together.

It is 18 pages long, with full cover art, as well as interior art and a nice parchment background and stylized footer. There is a table of contents page, with a short introduction, then 16 pages containing the meat of the product. It uses the standard two column layout, with 4 sections: one for introduction ideas based on class, one for ideas based on background, unusual ways to physically introduce a new character, and more traditional ways to handle physical introductions. The 2 introduction idea sections are broken down by class and background, with 6 different options for each. The physical introduction sections contain 100 options each.

Pros

I thought the section of introduction ideas based on the PC's background was very good. It had lots of usable ideas and good inspiration. The options for Folk Hero and Sage were particular favorites.

The Wacky Ways In section had some really awesome, usable options. I got a chuckle out of several of them, while also wishing I'd thought of that in past games.

The art was very nice and appropriately chosen. Several of the interior illustrations worked quite well to highlight the ideas presented nearby. The way the information is presented in terms of usable layout and structure is excellent.

Cons

There were some instances of wrong word use (which instead of with, to instead of so, etc), though no other grammatical errors.

Some of the class based introduction ideas were rather uninspired, but there was always at least one interesting option among the 6.

Conclusion

This product definitely seems oriented more toward newer DMs and players, and will likely prove very useful to them. For more experienced people, it offers a bit less utility, though one can definitely draw inspiration from it still. At just 95 cents, it's hard to beat the value, regardless of your experience level. I'd recommend it to anyone who has struggled with introducing a new PC to an existing group or getting a group of diverse PCs together.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
100 Ways to Introduce a New Character
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Creator Reply:
Thanks so much for your detailed review! Means a lot to us creators to see such a thing!
I Want To Try! Tips on becoming a better player
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Rich H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/24/2018 21:35:31

Overview

I Want To Try! Tips on becoming a better player is a product written by RP Davis that is geared towards providing guidance for D&D players about different strategies they can follow and approaches they can take to improve both their gaming experience and that of their group. It is 15 pages long, with a cover page featuring a photo background, and a credits page at the end, leaving 13 pages for content.

The tips are presented in a bulleted format where the main points Davis is trying to make are bolded. For instance "Be mindful" is a point that is made multiple times. There are 1-7 paragraphs per bullet. There is no interior art, but there is a nice background with an attractive border design.

Pros

When I first opened this, I skimmed through to see how it was organized and was somewhat aggravated that there were no sections or similar organization. After reading it, I'm actually quite pleased with the way it was presented. The tips can stand on their own, but the way Davis wrote them they flow nicely from one tip to the next, with many of the tips building off the ones that preceded them.

I liked the tip of the hat to the people that inspired this work in the foreword. We stand on the shoulders of giants and it's important to remember that.

I liked the use of movies, TV shows and books to provide examples of the sorts of situations a player might encounter. There were some sports metaphors as well that helped enhance the point being made.

The product was written in a very casual, conversational style that suited the material well. The use of formatting such as bold, italics, etc was very effective. There were a few funny footnotes, as well as a couple of text boxes.

Overall, the advice was very solid and informative and useful. Since I've been playing RPGs for 35+ years, a lot of it was ground I've already trod, but it was good to see it compiled in one place and presented well. I have a couple of newer players in my gaming group that I think will get a lot out of this.

Cons

There were some assumptions that all groups will or should do certain things, like have a Session Zero or establish table etiquette or play on a set schedule. Not all groups do these things. Yeah, it's nice if they do, and can certainly help a lot in many situations, but I know from experience and observation that many groups don't. Since those assumptions underpinned a few of the points, it made them less broadly applicable.

Conclusion

This is a very solid product, well-written and presented, that makes a lot of excellent points that players of all experience levels can take to heart to improve the D&D experience. Every point won't be relevant for all players and groups, but the great majority of them will. For just 95 cents, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
I Want To Try! Tips on becoming a better player
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Creator Reply:
Thanks for the review, Rich! I really appreciate it. I hope your newer players get at least something from it, and send them my regards! Cheers, Bob
Village Shops
Publisher: Limitless Adventures
by Conrad H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/24/2018 21:35:02

Overview: Village Shops is a supplement put out by Limitless Adventures and sold via their webshop and DriveThruRPG. It covers 6 shop locations that PCs might find in a standard fantasy village. It is 8 pages long, with a cover page, overview page, and an OGL page. 4 of the 5 shops are on one page, with the general sundries store covering two. There is cover art, but no interior art. Each shop entry includes a fully statted out shopkeep and begins with a short paragraph of flavor text.

Pros: One of my favorite things in this, and in other Limitless Adventures products, is the inclusion of the Further Adventure™ section for each shop. This is three short adventure hooks relevant to the shop or shopkeep that could be used to involve the PCs. They range from the simple, like fetching a rare herb for the herbalist's shop, to the more involved, like hunting down the long lost love of Old Maggy, who runs the general sundries store.

Another thing I really liked was the inclusion of what Limitless Adventures calls Novelties, which in this product were 3 new alchemical items available from the herbalist shop. These were minor items, but very useful in the right context, and nice to see.

I got a chuckle out of the mule named Grimlock. Someone's a Transformers fan...

I thought the section on Maggy's Sundries was particularly well done. As soon as I read that one, I could imagine dropping it into my game and the sorts of things I'd do with it.

Cons: The descriptions are somewhat inconsistent from shop to shop. Old Maggy gets a few sentences of description, Brother Forge gets none, and the others are in between. I'd prefer a little more in the way of description and roleplaying notes.

There are a few minor editing issues and grammatical errors, though nothing major.

Conclusion: In my opinion, this is a solid product that offers good value for its price. As I read each shop, I could envision multiple ways to include them in my own game and to use them to drive enjoyable stories.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Village Shops
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So, a Cleric and a Vampire Walk into a Tavern
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Rich H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/24/2018 21:34:28

So, a Cleric and a Vampire walk into a tavern... is an encounter anthology where each encounter setup is based on a person or persons you meet in a tavern. The encounters range from the titular cleric and vampire, to a girallon to one of the PCs, and lots of other interesting characters.

There are 12 separate encounters contained within this product. There is art on the cover, some internal art, a relatively plain, but functional layout, a table of contents page with short author intros and a list of sample tavern names on the last page. It comes in 2 versions: print and interactive. The interactive version has working links for the various authors and the print version is formatted for printing.

Pros

I really liked the Cleric & Vampire, Dwarf & Elf, Werewolf & Prey and Victorious Adventurers encounters. Those really stood out for me as fun encounters that I'd like to incorporate into my games.

I really liked the idea of a themed setup product. This one really embraced one of the oldest and most cherished cliches in D&D, and worked very well as a result.

A number of the encounters gave suggestions for how DMs could incorporate the encounter into their game and use them as springboards for other plotlines and story seeds. I really like practical DM advice like that in a product.

Though I called out a few of my favorite encounters, I honestly liked all of them and could see myself using them in my own game. Some would require more work than others, but the relatively self-contained nature of the product theme goes a long way towards making the encounters drop-in ready.

Cons

The product really could have used some more proofreading and editing. There were several misspellings, misused punctuation, and grammatical issues. Nothing truly egregious, but it definitely could have used some more eyes on it.

Conclusion

I really like the concept and execution of this product. I can't think of anything more D&D to me than getting into some kind of encounter in a tavern. I really hope to see more themed encounter products like this in the future. I'd have happily paid money for this, but it's free. Download it now! You won't be disappointed.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
So, a Cleric and a Vampire Walk into a Tavern
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Loot The Room: 100 New Trinkets
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Rich H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/24/2018 21:34:09

100 New Trinkets is a product available on the DMs Guild, written by Chris Bissette of Loot the Room fame. It is 11 pages long, with a cover page featuring full-color art, a table of contents page, an introduction page, one interior page of full-color art, and 7 pages of content. There is a chart of 100 different trinkets that PCs can find as loot or otherwise acquire, another listing of 20 more trinkets and 3 pages of adventure hooks featuring a random sampling of the trinkets from the 2 charts. The product has a very nice, functional, easy-to-read layout and attractive background art.

Pros

As I was reading through the list of trinkets, I didn't come across a single one that I wouldn't use. I can't tell you how rare that is for me and a product with lists of random items. Normally I'd discount somewhere between 50-75% of the available options, but not here. The more obvious pop culture references are the only ones I might hesitate to use, and even then I still think I'd use them with the right group.

Many of the trinkets gave me ideas for how I'd use them in my games to drive the plot or introduce new side plots. That to me is the hallmark of a good RPG product--the number of ideas it inspires.

The adventure hooks section was wonderful, with many great ideas. Even better was its utility in showing DMs, particularly newer ones, how to use a random list of items like this to enhance their game. Dear Diary and The Dreamer both stood out to me as particularly excellent. I'd love to see an entire adventure written around either of those.

Cons

There are 2 very minor grammatical errors.

Conclusion

I am very glad I picked up this product. I will definitely be making use of these trinkets and adventure hooks in my game going forward. I love products along these lines that do something different with the standard treasure items your PCs usually encounter. At just 99 cents, this product is a steal. I highly recommend buying it, reading it and using it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Loot The Room: 100 New Trinkets
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Creator Reply:
Thanks Rich! I'm really glad you enjoyed it, and that you took the time to write such an in-depth review!
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