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The Forest of Gornate
by Kurt [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/29/2024 17:41:00

So, I’ve played D&D for over 44 years (as of writing – 1980 if you must know), from the Basic “Blue Box” through AD&D, 2e, 3e/3.5 and I can vouch that this a REALLY good product to use with OSR, OSE or just good ol’ Basic D&D. There are NUMEROUS, unique encounters to keep your party busy for a good, long time. I really had fun reading this. The graphics REALLY harken back to the early days of D&D. They are basic but COMPETENT. I saw the hand drawn (but WELL draw) maps and sort of thought “Ugh!’ at first sight. But, they’re very functional. Like so much of first generation D&D products, there’s a lot of short hand. There’s just enough for teenagers running hack-and-slash to feast on, but SO much more potential onto which to add. Think of an old Bugs Bunny cartoon that works on two levels – one for kids and another for adults. At first glance, the art looked a bit like stock art, but, as I read along, I saw that it fit in well to the story! And, the sketch of Villa Lucretia Vinalli needs to be called out as perfection! I think EVERY module that I’ve ever read suffered from the artist being given a basic description, making a perfectly acceptable piece, but it just didn’t fit the actual description or the action in some manner. The Villa adheres right to the map, and helps put in in perspective! Well done! OK, now, the for the ding. If you’re old enough, you’ll remember bands like the Scorpions – native German speakers who sang in English. GREAT songs, but sometimes the lyrics had an awkward phrase or word. Well, this is like this – you’ll notice some little quirks, like calling a “hot spring” a “thermal.” If this irks you, you’ve been warned, by I urge you to persevere – it’s not too bad, especially in relation to the value of what you get. And, honestly, the author’s English is, at least as functional my French ever was (I minored in it), and infinitely better than any Hungarian I might know – how about yours..? All in all – or should I go Cromwellian and say “Warts and all?” – this product is WELL worth acquiring!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Forest of Gornate
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The Well of Frogs
by Ryan [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/24/2024 09:59:20

This is a very evocative and fun adventure. It is self contained and can be set in pretty much any city big enough to have a sewer. There are also many hooks for you to build on, if you wish, e.g., one of the random NPCs become a sort of foil for our party. It's not over-written and it's not underwritten. Our group spent 5 sessions on it and there were still some unexplored areas. Worth every penny!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Well of Frogs
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The Well of Frogs
by Bill [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/14/2023 17:54:18

This is a top-tier module that would work as well as a location in a wider campaign as a one-or-two-session oneshot with minimal prep (which is how I ran it). It always does a bit extra to render a vivid picture of the setting, like how all of the city random encounters include descriptions that tie them into the established factions instead of just being stat blocks, but everything is kept succinct and easy to use at the table.

The undercity dungeon is a sort of abstract side-view that seems geared toward theater of the mind play (again, how I ran it), but the map helpfully notes room dimensions so anyone inclined to draw up a grid for encounters can do so.

The best thing I can say about it is that, a week after we finished The Well of Frogs, my players told me they wished it lasted longer. The people demand more Cassidum!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Castle Xyntillan
by Cris A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/10/2023 00:48:32

A wonderful mega dungeon with all sorts of creepy, weird, and exciting surprises to uncover!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castle Xyntillan
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The Lost Valley of Kishar
by D. M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/16/2022 11:53:58

Great module with high usability and many sessions' worth of interesting content. Maps are some of the best that EMDT has published, clean and easy to use for VTT, especially the great map of the whole valley. Easily plugged into about any campaign with minimal adaptation needed.

My players' party got quite banged up by the encounters within (lost 3 to tyrannosaurs; lasting injuries from goatmen cliff ambush and statue guardians; and their strongest member field-tested the helm of alignment changing and consequently left the party to seek redemption for his past wickedness), and kept missing out on the big loot hauls due to poor choices (like casting a fireball right over the tyrannosaurus egg), but despite that, the engaging locale kept them coming back for more.

Strong recommend, 5/5.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Lost Valley of Kishar
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Creator Reply:
Thank you indeed! I will convey this to the author ASAP.
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Helvéczia: Picaresque RPG
by Adam M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/11/2022 03:48:00

Another incredible entry by EMDT and to my knowledge, their most comprehensive. This system provides a streamlined method for procedures that depart from the rigid structure of the wargame-inspired early old-school style, instead suggesting that play should be explored more as a conversation with dice, with as much or as little bean-counting as the table (or perhaps the wine glass) desires. This manifests as a highly adaptable game that progresses with all the excitement and style of the literature it derives from, seeing player characters rise and fall, twisting with the whims of fate and their own cleverness. Having read this book front-to-back I feel somewhat familiar with the concept of the picaresque, the procedures and the episodic passage of time the game emulates, but I feel that this system could be played in any manner the gamemaster chooses if they wish to splice some old-school record keeping back in, for example. I would definitely recommend this system to anyone who has an interest in the pike-and-shot era, central European mythology and aesthetic and roleplaying games with a focus on exciting adventure over crunching the numbers.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Helvéczia: Picaresque RPG
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The Nocturnal Table
by Adam M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/11/2022 03:21:22

I enjoyed this booklet and have used it extensively with another EMDT adventure, City of Vultures. The layout of information is easy to read and it is clear that this resource was developed through the author's own game sessions and not just cobbled together without extensive testing at the table. Some content within might not be to everyone's taste, as The Nocturnal Table paints a debauched city filled with trouble-makers and urban decay. Overall I feel that this booklet is capable of sustaining an enjoyable session and perhaps even a campaign as there is no shortage of reusability within it's pages, I recommend that anyone should familiarize themselves with the contents within, if for no other reason than "perusing ideas" for one's own game!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Nocturnal Table
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Baklin, Jewel of the Seas
by Bob V. G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/10/2022 04:57:38

For the last few days, I have soloed my way through Baklin : Jewel of the Seas (72 pages available at DriveThruRPG). This fantasy adventure is designed for Old School Revival Games. I used Castles & Crusades as the RPG system (192 pages). I used the FlexTale Solo Adventuring Toolkit as the solo engine (612 pages, same place). I then rolled up six characters which included Tarsla the dimension wizard, a water wizard, and an illusionist.

The characters had just entered the town of Baklin when they were approached by a guy in expensive clothes and wearing the latest fashion trend (feathers). He asked them a riddle, and when they got the answer right, they were escorted to Princess Arkella. She had a quest for them. She wanted them to spy on Sir Riobel. She suspects him of foul play. So, the characters decided to follow him around town for the day. He did notice them, and he and his group captured them and then drugged them. When they woke up, they were in a dungeon cell. On the other side of the metal bars, they could see their equipment, a sleeping guard, and a key. Tarsla teleported over to the key and they were all freed from the cell in just a few seconds. They did kill the guard. To escape the “dungeon”, they had to explore four more rooms and kill an assassin. Next, they ran into the watchmen. They showed the watchmen the ribbons with the Royal Seal (these came from the Princess. She knew that they would need them).

During the evening of the second day they broke into Riobel’s place looking for evidence. In his bedroom they found chains and manacles. Downstairs they discovered Riobel performing a play for the people that work for him. His acting skills are embarrassing and a chambermaid snickered. He then rushed into the audience, grabbed her, took her up to the stage, and hung here up by her ankles. The characters, sensing that the show was over, ran upstairs and hid. They came down later, killed the two guards, dumped them down a well, and rescued Tina the chambermaid.

They took her to the Princess the next day and the two had a long private chat. After that, the Princess told the characters to kill Sir Riobel and make it look like an accident. They told her, “no”. She looked pissed, so they quickly exited her palace. On the way out of town they discovered that they were wanted for treason. Well, time to move on the next town. Give this a try! There are 39 buildings to explore and 101 rooms down in the “dungeon”.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Baklin, Jewel of the Seas
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The Nocturnal Table
by Jordan R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/22/2022 13:44:08

A wonderful tool for generating grimy urban encounters. Gabor provides a lot of plot hooks, NPC dressing, and ideas in this zine. Gabor's conspiracy appendix provides a handy mechanic for combining multiple hooks into an adventure. I've used it many times, with varying levels of success (I usually roll up three conspiracies and pick my favourite). Appropriate for any urban fantasy setting, although you won't find much in the way of happy or high fantasy encounters.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Nocturnal Table
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The Nocturnal Table
by Rich H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/23/2021 21:43:01
Intro

The Nocturnal Table is a 60 page pdf/56 page print supplement for city adventures by Gabor Lux aka Melan, with art by Peter Mullen, Denis McCarthy, Stefan Poag, Matthew Ray, and Gabor Lux, rounded out with some public domain pieces. The text has a Middle Eastern/Mediterranean/North African flavor to it, but could easily be reskinned for other settings. It particularly strikes me as something that could be used for a game in a locale like Sanctuary from Thieves' World, Stygia from Conan, Lankhmar from Fafrhd and the Gray Mouser, or Dorne from A Song of Ice and Fire.

The text consists of the following sections:

  • City Encounter System - 2 pages that detail at a high level the encounter system with 5 different tables, broken down by type (citizens, travelers or special), level (green-high) and type (average or elite) and part of the city the encounter takes place in (hightown, bazaar, port, thieves' quarter). There is also an optional encounter purpose table.
  • Bazaar of the Bizarre - 2 page 4 column d100 table for generating merchants and what they're selling.
  • What's in Their Pocket - 1 page with 2 tables: one for generating cash wealth by class and the other for random flavor items.
  • The Nocturnal Table - The meat of this supplement, consisting of 33 pages that detail 300 specific, flavorful encounters, most of them featuring additional random rolls for generating specifics of the encounter. About half the encounters have stats and loot for the particular people/monsters/creatures encountered, otherwise that information is provided in Appendix A. All encounters include names, most of them with a Middle Eastern/Mediterranean/North African flavor.
  • Local Colour - 3 page d100 table featuring 1-2 sentences detailing evocative situations or descriptions that can be used to enhance the sense of place.
  • Storehouses of Sin - 2 page 2 column d100 table describing goods that might be found in a storehouse in the city.
  • The Meeting Will Take Place… - 3 page 3 column d100 table for generating a location with where it's in relation to with circumstances.

There are also 2 appendices:

  • Appendix A: Common NPC Types - 3 pages detailing common NPC types found in the city, with gear and stats.
  • Appendix B: The Conspiracy - 2 pages that detail a very interesting and useful way to tie multiple encounters together into something more cohesive that can be used as the basis for one or more scenarios. It's a system for using a connection network diagram, populating each node with a specific encounter, then figuring out how they're related and what they mean in the big picture. Several sample connection networks are provided. More could easily be generated with a tool like diagrams.net.
Pros
  • Nearly all the tables and the results they generate are extremely flavorful and do a great job of establishing the feel of a dangerous and decadent city after nightfall.
  • 90%+ of the encounters described in the main Nocturnal Table section are winners and would make a great and entertaining addition to any OSR game session.
  • Appendix B: The Conspiracy is something that I've never seen in any other random table product and I love it, my favorite part of this supplement. The provided example does a great job of demonstrating how to use the concept. I immediately generated several of my own. The utility of this approach is extremely high.
Cons
  • Occasional minor typos or grammatical errors.
  • Encounter 393 is between 375 and 376 instead of between 392 and 394.
Conclusion

The Nocturnal Table is an incredibly useful, evocative, flavorful supplement that fires the imagination and inspires a flow of ideas for use in your OSR game. The entire time I was reading through it, I kept having cool ideas to use in my game. Any time I find a supplement that makes the wheels turn in my brain and inspires cool ideas that beget further cool ideas, I know I've found something rare and wonderful. I can't recommend this product to OSR DMs enough.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Helvéczia: Picaresque RPG
by Thiago S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/23/2021 06:52:07

I was pleasantly surprise when I got this book.

The layout and art makes it look like a novel from the time (17th century Europe). I was Impressed that all are of public domain art, very well done.

The writing is made in a way that resembles the language of the time as well, but without being cumbersome, the author's domain of the english language is unparalled, impressive that it is not his first language.

The rules are very clear, direct to the point and a very well thought and streamlined version of the D20 system (with A LOT of OSR sensibilities).

The Peoples, religion, classes, spells and customs in the book was all made in a very flavourful, funny and respectful way, at least in my random dude's internet view of things.

I don't know S### about Switzerland's history, but after reading this, I want to.

And this book is well worth just for the DM's part alone. I'm using some of the new (at least new for me) rules in my other OSR games. Very good stuff indeed. Highly recommended.

As a side note, the PDFs are not hyperlinked. not a big deal for me, but worth noting. (We NEED a hyperlinked version Xyntillan, though!!!! Please Gabor, pleeeeaaaase!)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Helvéczia: Picaresque RPG
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Echoes From Fomalhaut #08: Welcome to Castle Sullogh
by Devin D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/09/2021 19:47:57

The OSR zine you need. Like pokemanns, you gotta get them all!

Can't wait to torture my players with Sullogh as their "reward" for serving the King! :)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Echoes From Fomalhaut #08: Welcome to Castle Sullogh
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Castle Xyntillan
by Robert A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/23/2021 06:22:34

The formatting and writing are both top-notch. As other reviewers have noted, the formatting maximizes ease of use at-the-table. Room descriptions are concisely written with bolded and bulleted text. The rooms are interesting and interactive. The castle's layout is well-designed. I also love the virtual tabletop acommodations provided with the PDF dungeon.

Two things I missed are a high-level overview of "what's going on" for the referee (like a backstory of the castle) and more description of what the NPCs want & think of one another. The foreward basically says that "there is no backstory," and the description of the NPCs generally includes only what they are currently doing, not their goals or plans.

So overall I would say this is a very good funhouse megadungeon, with an emphasis on the "funhouse." It makes little sense, and really isn't meant to. This might be fine for some players (including you). For myself, it got old after a while because it amounted to little more than "open the next door to see what other wacky/zany/deadly thing awaits you there!" There was little to "figure out" or "discover" due to the lack of depth provided in the text, unless the referee is willing to put in a lot of work to make sense of the non-sense.

If that sort of funhouse-style play appeals to you, or you just want an example of how adventures should be formatted, then I highly recommend this adventure.

I wrote a longer review here, if you are interested!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Castle Xyntillan
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Castle Xyntillan
by Malcolm M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/11/2021 06:12:25

A very good example of an old-school style "haunted house of traps and terrors" type of adventure. There's a lot of content here, and the writing is consistently interesting (and sometimes slyly funny). The setting is memorable -- it's not just a generic backdrop for the action.

One thing that Gamemasters hoping to drop Castle Xyntillian into their campaign worlds as a "starter dungeon" for levels 1 through 6 may need to know is that the default cultural setting for Castle Xyntillian has a "medieval-fantasy France" feel to it, as opposed to the typical "vaguely medieval-British" feel of many classic fantasy adventures.

The place names and character names, as printed, all have a French flavor to them. These can be changed, of course, if a GM decides she needs something different, but potential buyers should be aware of the adventure's default context.

Recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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In the Shadow of the City-God
by A customer [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/11/2020 04:13:30

Spoiler light read through review, more may be added after play.

Interesting mix of intrigue and dungeon crawling in a distinctive city. The unique features of the city and plots in motion are concisely described. Probably best described as a framework, as the referee will need to do a little work for this adventure to achieve its undoubted potential. Some extra supporting material (which might not get used) would be welcome, for example details of: (i) how the abduction of the wife took place, and any clues investigation might yield; (ii) an encounter with an information broker; (iii) the waking of a certain figure, and the devastation that follows.

An observation and a suggestion: (i) the two riddles in the Hall of Madness, area 8, are very close to ones posed in the Hobbit; (ii) plenty of playtesters have been credited, but it would he helpful to have details of what happened (possibly in an appendix).

The ruins of a Roman noble villa and surrounds, now inhabited by cavemen raiders, are described in a bonus adventure at the end, The Valley of the Skull. Some evocative descriptions in this one.

In the hands of a skilled referee, this could be a memorable adventure. Recommended.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
In the Shadow of the City-God
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Creator Reply:
Thank you very much for your detailed appraisal! Your remarks and criticism are much appreciated, and I will also forward them to the author.
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