Pegasus Digital
Browse Categories
to €











Back
pixel_trans.gif
Other comments left by this customer:
You must be logged in to rate this
pixel_trans.gif
Gamma World Game Rules (4e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/14/2024 13:40:38

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2024/05/retrospective-tsrs-gamma-world.html

There are currently seven editions of Gamma World, all following the same general theme: It is the 25th Century, and the Earth has been nearly destroyed by some global cataclysm. The nature of this cataclysm and the amount of humanity that survived changes from edition to edition.

All editions of Gamma World are credited to James M. Ward and Gary Jaquet. It was based on Ward's earlier sci-fi game, Metamorphosis Alpha. MA would give us Gamma World and the AD&D adventure Expedition to the Barrier Peaks.

The remnants of humanity and other beings now struggle to survive in a harsh and mutated world filled with bizarre creatures, dangerous mutants, and remnants of advanced technology.

Like Dungeons & Dragons, players take on the roles of adventurers exploring this radioactive wasteland. They can choose from various mutant characters with unique abilities, ranging from humanoid animals and plant people to cyborgs and psychic mutants.

Characters adventure in abandoned, destroyed cities, looking for the remains of civilization or something to survive in the wasteland.

In many, many ways, Gamma World IS Dungeons & Dragons. There is no magic, but there are high-tech, weird radiation and psychic powers. Making Gamma World into a D&D world is not a stretch. The 1st and 2nd edition rules are similar enough to Basic-era and AD&D 1st editions to make translations easy. In fact, the 1st edition of the AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide has conversion guidelines. Gamma World 4th edition is also very close to AD&D 2nd edition to make translations there east too. Dragon Magazine #183 has a conversion guideline for Gamma Word 4th edition and AD&D 2nd edition.

Gamma World 4th Edition

This edition of the game brought it back to its roots, so to speak. It is very compatible with the then-current AD&D 2nd Edition. There are some very interesting design choices here too including a good skill system and a very d20 like combat resolution system with "Ascending" armor classes. In some ways you could adapt this to AD&D for a near AD&D 2.5 edition that shows a good transition between AD&D 2nd ed and what will become D&D 3rd edition, but that is 8 years and a different company in the future.

Interestingly, this edition was also playtested over the GEnie BBS service way back before the internet became ubiquitous.

The art in this edition features some of the best art from the "Four Horsemen of TSR," Jeff Easley, Clyde Caldwell, Larry Elmore, and Keith Parkinson.

Sadly, this was to be the last version of Gamma World to be produced by TSR. They announced they were going to switch gears and do a new version of Metamorphosis Alpha for their new Amazing Engine game line.

Which one should you get?

All things being equal, I would go for the 4th edition rules myself. The 1st and 2nd have a great nostalgia factor for me, and while I have the 1st Edition, I likely go with the 2nd.

The 1st, 3rd, and 4th edition rules are all available as Print on Demand versions now. So that is also in their favor. I understand the 4th edition rules are very clean and a good print. I can vouch for the 1st edition rules myself. The 3rd has some issues, but I am also not a fan of the action table, so I am giving it a pass.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gamma World Game Rules (4e)
Click to show product description

Add to Pegasus Digital Order

pixel_trans.gif
Gamma World (3rd Edition)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/14/2024 13:40:26

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2024/05/retrospective-tsrs-gamma-world.html

There are currently seven editions of Gamma World, all following the same general theme: It is the 25th Century, and the Earth has been nearly destroyed by some global cataclysm. The nature of this cataclysm and the amount of humanity that survived changes from edition to edition.

All editions of Gamma World are credited to James M. Ward and Gary Jaquet. It was based on Ward's earlier sci-fi game, Metamorphosis Alpha. MA would give us Gamma World and the AD&D adventure Expedition to the Barrier Peaks.

The remnants of humanity and other beings now struggle to survive in a harsh and mutated world filled with bizarre creatures, dangerous mutants, and remnants of advanced technology.

Like Dungeons & Dragons, players take on the roles of adventurers exploring this radioactive wasteland. They can choose from various mutant characters with unique abilities, ranging from humanoid animals and plant people to cyborgs and psychic mutants.

Characters adventure in abandoned, destroyed cities, looking for the remains of civilization or something to survive in the wasteland.

In many, many ways, Gamma World IS Dungeons & Dragons. There is no magic, but there are high-tech, weird radiation and psychic powers. Making Gamma World into a D&D world is not a stretch. The 1st and 2nd edition rules are similar enough to Basic-era and AD&D 1st editions to make translations easy. In fact, the 1st edition of the AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide has conversion guidelines. Gamma World 4th edition is also very close to AD&D 2nd edition to make translations there east too. Dragon Magazine #183 has a conversion guideline for Gamma Word 4th edition and AD&D 2nd edition.

Gamma World 3rd Edition

This version of Gamma World also expands on the earlier editions. Notable setting changes include doubling the number of humans that died in the apocalypse and the rules have changed. While characters are still generated the same way and all the stat blocks look similar there is an addition of an "Action Table" for rolling outcomes. The feel is similar to what we see in 1st Edition Chill from Pacesetter and TSR's own Marvel Super Heroes RPG's FASERIP system. The system requires only a d6 and a d10. There are notes on how to use to generate other types of dice rolls.

Unlike GW1 and GW2, this version was not as out of the box compatible with D&D to the same degree the others were. Characters, as did the monsters, still looked very similar, but the system was different enough to increase the incompatibility.

The idea here was to streamline the game and make the action faster. Sadly, several errors in the game made this difficult. It did feature one of the first meta-plot arcs for Gamma World, but sadly was not finished in print.

Which one should you get?

All things being equal, I would go for the 4th edition rules myself. The 1st and 2nd have a great nostalgia factor for me, and while I have the 1st Edition, I likely go with the 2nd.

The 1st, 3rd, and 4th edition rules are all available as Print on Demand versions now. So that is also in their favor. I understand the 4th edition rules are very clean and a good print. I can vouch for the 1st edition rules myself. The 3rd has some issues, but I am also not a fan of the action table, so I am giving it a pass.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Gamma World (3rd Edition)
Click to show product description

Add to Pegasus Digital Order

pixel_trans.gif
Gamma World 2e
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/14/2024 13:40:05

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2024/05/retrospective-tsrs-gamma-world.html

There are currently seven editions of Gamma World, all following the same general theme: It is the 25th Century, and the Earth has been nearly destroyed by some global cataclysm. The nature of this cataclysm and the amount of humanity that survived changes from edition to edition.

All editions of Gamma World are credited to James M. Ward and Gary Jaquet. It was based on Ward's earlier sci-fi game, Metamorphosis Alpha. MA would give us Gamma World and the AD&D adventure Expedition to the Barrier Peaks.

The remnants of humanity and other beings now struggle to survive in a harsh and mutated world filled with bizarre creatures, dangerous mutants, and remnants of advanced technology.

Like Dungeons & Dragons, players take on the roles of adventurers exploring this radioactive wasteland. They can choose from various mutant characters with unique abilities, ranging from humanoid animals and plant people to cyborgs and psychic mutants.

Characters adventure in abandoned, destroyed cities, looking for the remains of civilization or something to survive in the wasteland.

In many, many ways, Gamma World IS Dungeons & Dragons. There is no magic, but there are high-tech, weird radiation and psychic powers. Making Gamma World into a D&D world is not a stretch. The 1st and 2nd edition rules are similar enough to Basic-era and AD&D 1st editions to make translations easy. In fact, the 1st edition of the AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide has conversion guidelines. Gamma World 4th edition is also very close to AD&D 2nd edition to make translations there east too. Dragon Magazine #183 has a conversion guideline for Gamma Word 4th edition and AD&D 2nd edition.

Gamma World 2nd Edition

This was one of the more popular versions of the game, coming out at the height of classic D&D's popularity. While I mentioned it is compatible with AD&D 1st edition, it has more in common with the Red Box D&D Basic that came out around the same time. It even came with the same sort of dice as the Basic sets. Considering that GW1 most closely resembles the Moldvay Basic set, this is not a surprise.

Gamma World 2nd edition is compatible with GW 1st edition, and is generally the same rules expanded and cleared up. Even the adventures and products for this game kept the same numbering codes from 1st edition.

This edition is expanded over GW1 and includes an introductory adventure. There are few more "monsters" in this one as well, but I'd need to set them side by side to figure out which ones are new.

Which one should you get?

All things being equal, I would go for the 4th edition rules myself. The 1st and 2nd have a great nostalgia factor for me, and while I have the 1st Edition, I likely go with the 2nd.

The 1st, 3rd, and 4th edition rules are all available as Print on Demand versions now. So that is also in their favor. I understand the 4th edition rules are very clean and a good print. I can vouch for the 1st edition rules myself. The 3rd has some issues, but I am also not a fan of the action table, so I am giving it a pass.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gamma World 2e
Click to show product description

Add to Pegasus Digital Order

pixel_trans.gif
Engine: The AGE Roleplaying Game Magazine #1
Publisher: Green Ronin Publishing
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/09/2024 15:59:33

I love fanzines, magazines, and any serialized content I can get for the games I love. So as soon as I saw "Engine: The AGE Roleplaying Game Magazine #1" was out, I grabbed it right away! I love the AGE system and wish I did more with it. This inaugural issue features content from Joseph Carriker, Stephen Michael DiPesa, Steve Kenson, Jon Leitheusser, Ian Lemke, and Malcolm Sheppard—a who's who of AGE development. And at $6 for 34 pages it is also not a bad deal. Looking forward to see a lot more of these!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Engine: The AGE Roleplaying Game Magazine #1
Click to show product description

Add to Pegasus Digital Order

pixel_trans.gif
Moving Maze of the Mad Master
Publisher: Dark Wizard Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/13/2024 15:00:50

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2024/03/review-return-to-world-of-maximum-mayhem.html

You all know I am a fan of Mark Taormino's Maximum Mayhem adventures from Dark Wizard Games. I have been getting his latest adventures in both the 1st Ed and 5th Ed versions, one for me and one for my kids. I have also mentioned that while they are designed overtly for "First Edition Rules" or what I call "The Advanced Era" the adventures top off at the 14th level, making them compatible "in spirit" with my beloved B/X rules. Thankfully with the way he writes and produces these just about any "old-school" rules system is going to work.

Maximum Mayhem Dungeons #6: Moving Maze of the Mad Master

by Alan Chamberlain, 40 pages. For levels 6-10. Art by Jacob Blackmon, Alan Chamberlain, Ed Lacabanne, Mark Lyons, Brian McCranie, and Phil Stone.

This one is by Alan Chamberlain, who was also on The Dread Swamp of the Banshee and Vault of the Dwarven King. So the feel is right. In fact, until Mark kickstarted his Maximum Mayhem #8: Funhouse Dungeon of the Puppet Jester, THIS was the funhouse dungeon.

The premise is simple but very effective. A bunch of metal monsters are attacking small towns and villages, and the PCs decide to help. What we get is an honest-to-Gary, Mad Scientist building all sorts of clockwork and autonomous horrors. To get to him, you need to get through his maze of deadly traps and clockwork terrors.

If the other adventure is a meat grinder, then this one is a food processor. It's brutal, but of course, the fun is just as great.

You could get this one for the circular maze map and all the stats of the clockwork creatures alone (6) for a total of 11 new monsters.

It's insane, really.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Moving Maze of the Mad Master
Click to show product description

Add to Pegasus Digital Order

pixel_trans.gif
Dread Swamp of the Banshee
Publisher: Dark Wizard Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/13/2024 15:00:13

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2024/03/review-return-to-world-of-maximum-mayhem.html

You all know I am a fan of Mark Taormino's Maximum Mayhem adventures from Dark Wizard Games. I have been getting his latest adventures in both the 1st Ed and 5th Ed versions, one for me and one for my kids. I have also mentioned that while they are designed overtly for "First Edition Rules" or what I call "The Advanced Era" the adventures top off at the 14th level, making them compatible "in spirit" with my beloved B/X rules. Thankfully with the way he writes and produces these just about any "old-school" rules system is going to work.

Maximum Mayhem Dungeons #7: Dread Swamp of the Banshee

by Mark Taormino and Alan Chamberlain, 48 pages. For levels 4-8. Art by Jacob Blackmon, Brian Brinlee, Ed Lacabanne, Mark Lyons, Brian McCranie, Matthew Ray, and Phil Stone.

A noblewoman has returned to her family estate and finds it has been taken over by a swamp. Worse, there is an evil banshee stalking the lands. But what is the noblewoman hiding?

This adventure is for characters of 4th to 8th level. But I will say this. 4th and 5th level characters are going to die. This is not a meat-grinder like Hanging Coffins, but it is deadly. There is a mystery here too so, so it is not all fireballs and swordplay. But there is a lot of that too.

Like the adventures of old, there are also new monsters here. Mark always adds a little something like that. I also get the vibe that Mark and Alan were reading a lot of B3 Palace of the Silver Princess. Not for the plot but just the feeling. It works here to be honest.

In the series, I would run this one after Vault of the Dwarven King and have the characters between the 5th and 8th levels. Not that Vault is easier, just not as deadly as this one.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dread Swamp of the Banshee
Click to show product description

Add to Pegasus Digital Order

pixel_trans.gif
Shadow of the Necromancer 5E
Publisher: Dark Wizard Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/13/2024 14:58:46

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2024/03/review-return-to-world-of-maximum-mayhem.html

You all know I am a fan of Mark Taormino's Maximum Mayhem adventures from Dark Wizard Games. I have been getting his latest adventures in both the 1st Ed and 5th Ed versions, one for me and one for my kids. I have also mentioned that while they are designed overtly for "First Edition Rules" or what I call "The Advanced Era" the adventures top off at the 14th level, making them compatible "in spirit" with my beloved B/X rules. Thankfully with the way he writes and produces these just about any "old-school" rules system is going to work.

Maximum Mayhem Dungeons Mini Adventure #1: Shadow of the Necromancer

by Mark Taormino, 16 pages. For levels 1-3. Art by Phred Rawles, Chet Minton, Adam Black, Brian Brinlee, Carlos Castilho, Bradley McDevitt, and Phred Rawles.

The first edition has "blue" maps, and the fifth edition has full-color maps.

This is a mini adventure, and the first one Mark has done. Much like his Vampire Queen adventure I have used a figure called "The Necromancer" in my own games. Get out of my head Mark!!

These are designed to be played in one or two sessions. We managed to get through it in three short sessions. It has a great "Hammer Horror" vibe to it, and honestly, I rather love it.

The adventure comes with a map, in beautiful old-school blue for the 1st ed version and full color for the 5th edition version. The module is 16 pages (one page for title and credits, one page for OGL , and one-page blank). The adventure is a simple "strange things are going on! The PCs must investigate!" situation. It turns into "stop the minion of the Necromancer from finishing his evil plans." It's tried and true, and it works fine here. As with many of the Darl Wizard/Maximum Mayhem Dungeons, the adventure is a deadly affair. Not as deadly as the Hanging Coffins of the Vampire Queen, but it is not a walk in the graveyard either. It is a fun romp and really captures the feel of old-school playing. Both versions are great, and I can keep the 1st-ed version for myself and give the 5th-ed version to my kids to run. Exactly what you want in an adventure. Despite the size and scope Mark gives this one the same love and attention he does to all his larger adventures.

The plot and organization of the first and fifth editions are the same. The Fifth edition version features color maps.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadow of the Necromancer 5E
Click to show product description

Add to Pegasus Digital Order

pixel_trans.gif
Shadow of the Necromancer 1E
Publisher: Dark Wizard Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/13/2024 14:58:36

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2024/03/review-return-to-world-of-maximum-mayhem.html

You all know I am a fan of Mark Taormino's Maximum Mayhem adventures from Dark Wizard Games. I have been getting his latest adventures in both the 1st Ed and 5th Ed versions, one for me and one for my kids. I have also mentioned that while they are designed overtly for "First Edition Rules" or what I call "The Advanced Era" the adventures top off at the 14th level, making them compatible "in spirit" with my beloved B/X rules. Thankfully with the way he writes and produces these just about any "old-school" rules system is going to work.

Maximum Mayhem Dungeons Mini Adventure #1: Shadow of the Necromancer

by Mark Taormino, 16 pages. For levels 1-3. Art by Phred Rawles, Chet Minton, Adam Black, Brian Brinlee, Carlos Castilho, Bradley McDevitt, and Phred Rawles.

The first edition has "blue" maps, and the fifth edition has full-color maps.

This is a mini adventure, and the first one Mark has done. Much like his Vampire Queen adventure I have used a figure called "The Necromancer" in my own games. Get out of my head Mark!!

These are designed to be played in one or two sessions. We managed to get through it in three short sessions. It has a great "Hammer Horror" vibe to it, and honestly, I rather love it.

The adventure comes with a map, in beautiful old-school blue for the 1st ed version and full color for the 5th edition version. The module is 16 pages (one page for title and credits, one page for OGL , and one-page blank). The adventure is a simple "strange things are going on! The PCs must investigate!" situation. It turns into "stop the minion of the Necromancer from finishing his evil plans." It's tried and true, and it works fine here. As with many of the Darl Wizard/Maximum Mayhem Dungeons, the adventure is a deadly affair. Not as deadly as the Hanging Coffins of the Vampire Queen, but it is not a walk in the graveyard either. It is a fun romp and really captures the feel of old-school playing. Both versions are great, and I can keep the 1st-ed version for myself and give the 5th-ed version to my kids to run. Exactly what you want in an adventure. Despite the size and scope Mark gives this one the same love and attention he does to all his larger adventures.

The plot and organization of the first and fifth editions are the same. The Fifth edition version features color maps.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadow of the Necromancer 1E
Click to show product description

Add to Pegasus Digital Order

pixel_trans.gif
Village on the Borderlands 5E
Publisher: Dark Wizard Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/13/2024 14:57:54

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2024/03/review-return-to-world-of-maximum-mayhem.html

You all know I am a fan of Mark Taormino's Maximum Mayhem adventures from Dark Wizard Games. I have been getting his latest adventures in both the 1st Ed and 5th Ed versions, one for me and one for my kids. I have also mentioned that while they are designed overtly for "First Edition Rules" or what I call "The Advanced Era" the adventures top off at the 14th level, making them compatible "in spirit" with my beloved B/X rules. Thankfully with the way he writes and produces these just about any "old-school" rules system is going to work.

Maximum Mayhem Dungeons #0: Village on the Borderlands

by Mark Taormino, 64 pages. For levels 1-3. Art by Justin Davis, Jacob Blackmon, Carlos Castilho, Daniel Commerci, Jeff Dee, Felipe Faria, Mark Lyons, William McAusland, Brian McCranie, Matt Morrow and JE Shields. (How's that for a who's-who among OSR artists?)

The first edition has "blue" maps, and the fifth edition has full-color maps.

A lot of us freely mixed Basic D&D and Advanced D&D back in the early 80s. It was not uncommon then to find groups that had gone through B2 Keep on the Borderlands and T1 The Village of Hommlet. Mark knows this, and this adventure is a nod and homage to that experience. This is also Mark's biggest adventure to date.

While this could have come off as pastiche or, even worse, a bunch of hamfisted clichés, instead it is a nod and even an homage to not just how much fun those old adventures were, but also to the experiences we all had. Don't get me wrong, there is a great a adventure here; but if you were playing the Keep or the Village or Giants series back in the early 1980s then this will hit differently.

The is best described as "what if the Village of Hommlet was set outside the Cave of Chaos and not the Keep?" You have a local village in need of help. There are roving bands of ogres and weird fungi and skeletons. Whats a local farmer to do? Easy, call upon some brave, and expendable, adventurers for help.

There are some hooks for the adventure but for me they are unneeded. THOUGH I will add that the whole Valley of the Moon was a great hook for me. Not just because the name is similar enough to where my characters Maryah and Asabalom were from, but it is nothing if not a nod to one of my earliest crushes, Moon Unit Zappa.

We have all sorts of classic monsters, rumor tables, nods to (in)famous NPCs, tarot readings, standing stones, name puns, an inn to meet in, places to buy equipment and weapons.

The Inn of the Whistling Pig is wonderfully detailed and loaded with all sorts of characters. In fact, while reading, I half expected to see stand-ins for Duchess and Candella.

I said, "Caves of Chaos," but there are only a few caves where a lot of the "out of town" action takes place, and that is plenty. The Hill Giant cave is the first. There is also the Forest of Fallen Oaks, the Ruins of Sternholm Keep, and the Caverns of the Wicked Peaks.

A great non-linear adventure where the party can start at the Inn and head out in any direction to find adventure. They can come back, heal up, spend their loot and go back out, OR keep going. That last one is not advisable as everything here has a good reason to see the PCs dead.

There are hooks here to other Maximum Mayhem adventures, too.

The plot and organization of the first and fifth editions are the same. The Fifth edition version features color maps.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village on the Borderlands 5E
Click to show product description

Add to Pegasus Digital Order

pixel_trans.gif
Village on the Borderlands 1E
Publisher: Dark Wizard Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/13/2024 14:57:41

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2024/03/review-return-to-world-of-maximum-mayhem.html

You all know I am a fan of Mark Taormino's Maximum Mayhem adventures from Dark Wizard Games. I have been getting his latest adventures in both the 1st Ed and 5th Ed versions, one for me and one for my kids. I have also mentioned that while they are designed overtly for "First Edition Rules" or what I call "The Advanced Era" the adventures top off at the 14th level, making them compatible "in spirit" with my beloved B/X rules. Thankfully with the way he writes and produces these just about any "old-school" rules system is going to work.

Maximum Mayhem Dungeons #0: Village on the Borderlands

by Mark Taormino, 64 pages. For levels 1-3. Art by Justin Davis, Jacob Blackmon, Carlos Castilho, Daniel Commerci, Jeff Dee, Felipe Faria, Mark Lyons, William McAusland, Brian McCranie, Matt Morrow and JE Shields. (How's that for a who's-who among OSR artists?)

The first edition has "blue" maps, and the fifth edition has full-color maps.

A lot of us freely mixed Basic D&D and Advanced D&D back in the early 80s. It was not uncommon then to find groups that had gone through B2 Keep on the Borderlands and T1 The Village of Hommlet. Mark knows this, and this adventure is a nod and homage to that experience. This is also Mark's biggest adventure to date.

While this could have come off as pastiche or, even worse, a bunch of hamfisted clichés, instead it is a nod and even an homage to not just how much fun those old adventures were, but also to the experiences we all had. Don't get me wrong, there is a great a adventure here; but if you were playing the Keep or the Village or Giants series back in the early 1980s then this will hit differently.

The is best described as "what if the Village of Hommlet was set outside the Cave of Chaos and not the Keep?" You have a local village in need of help. There are roving bands of ogres and weird fungi and skeletons. Whats a local farmer to do? Easy, call upon some brave, and expendable, adventurers for help.

There are some hooks for the adventure but for me they are unneeded. THOUGH I will add that the whole Valley of the Moon was a great hook for me. Not just because the name is similar enough to where my characters Maryah and Asabalom were from, but it is nothing if not a nod to one of my earliest crushes, Moon Unit Zappa.

We have all sorts of classic monsters, rumor tables, nods to (in)famous NPCs, tarot readings, standing stones, name puns, an inn to meet in, places to buy equipment and weapons.

The Inn of the Whistling Pig is wonderfully detailed and loaded with all sorts of characters. In fact, while reading, I half expected to see stand-ins for Duchess and Candella.

I said, "Caves of Chaos," but there are only a few caves where a lot of the "out of town" action takes place, and that is plenty. The Hill Giant cave is the first. There is also the Forest of Fallen Oaks, the Ruins of Sternholm Keep, and the Caverns of the Wicked Peaks.

A great non-linear adventure where the party can start at the Inn and head out in any direction to find adventure. They can come back, heal up, spend their loot and go back out, OR keep going. That last one is not advisable as everything here has a good reason to see the PCs dead.

There are hooks here to other Maximum Mayhem adventures, too.

The plot and organization of the first and fifth editions are the same. The Fifth edition version features color maps.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village on the Borderlands 1E
Click to show product description

Add to Pegasus Digital Order

pixel_trans.gif
FR8 Cities of Mystery (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/07/2024 14:48:59

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2024/03/reviews-cities-of-forgotten-realms.html

FR8 Cities of Mystery

by Jean Rabe. Art Larry Elmore (cover), Dennis Kauth (buildings), Christopher T. Miller (interior art). Editing Kim Mohan. Product Manager Bruce Heard.

  1. Boxed Set and PDF. 64 page book, 2 large 25mm compatible maps, 4 6-page card stock buildings.

This is a fascinating product, and there is a lot going on here. I am reviewing my boxed set for this. There is a PDF and a softcover Print on Demand from DriveThruRPG as well.

What do I love about it? Well, for starters, that Larry Elmore cover is one of my favorite covers of all time. Really. I love how if looks and while the old adage is true, this cover made want to buy this product. When my old DM and I talked about our "Urban Survival Guide," this was the cover we thought about.

Also it came out in the liminal time between 1st Ed and 2nd Ed with a note on the cover that is was compatible with both. That is not entirely true. It is broad enough to be compatible with ANY fantasy RPG that has a city. There are almost no game stats here save for the adventures at the end.

In truth this product should have been called "City System" since that is what it is. This not about Waterdeep except in the most broad of terms.

The first part is a 64-page book that covers all sorts of details on building your city. This includes details like where it is (and how that changes the city), how big is it, taxes, defences, the government. Everything that was laid out for you in the Waterdeep and the North and City System sets are now up to you to figure out.

There is also a section how make Characters work in a city based adventure. Honestly that would have been the gold right there.

The rules are put to use in Sauter, City by the Sea, and there are five mini-adventures to help the DM and Players along. Honestly I want to run the Maltese Roc based on the name alone.

If that were all then yes, this would be a fine product. Not great, but added to the Waterdeep and the North and City System books it would make a great trilogy of playing in the city (sounds like a Stevie Wonder album). But that is not all there is.

There are two large double-sided maps for 25mm scale minis and four packages of 6-page cardstock building to build.

This is from 1989. D&D would not get this mini-focused for another 11 years. And it all still works with any edition you care to play with it. I read that this was going to be the first of some similar products to expand the cities even further. But honestly I am not surprised that there were not more. This looks like an expensive thing to make.

For the PDFs you would need to print out the maps and buildings to build them. I would glue them to some cardstock or print them on cardstock if your printer can do that. The advantage of the PDF and this system? As long as you can print, you can have as many of these buildings as you need.

Looking at All Three City Sets

FR1 Waterdeep and the North, City System, and FR8 Cities of Mystery are all great for that late 80s feel of the Forgotten Realms AD&D.

While each product is good individually and does what it sets out to do, one of the others points out its minimal shortcomings. Combined, they work fantastically together. So well, it makes me wonder whether I even need to leave the city!

Regardless of what city in the Realms becomes my home base (I am still partial to Baldur's Gate, but Waterdeep might win me over) I have the tools and the means to expand on it all.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
FR8 Cities of Mystery (2e)
Click to show product description

Add to Pegasus Digital Order

pixel_trans.gif
City System (1e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/07/2024 14:48:54

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2024/03/reviews-cities-of-forgotten-realms.html

City System by Ed Greenwood and Jeff Grubb, Editing: Karen Boomgarden, Typography: Betty Elmore, Cover Art: Larry Elmore, Keylining: Stephanie Tabat, Cartography: Dennis Kauth and Frey Graphics.

  1. PDF and Print on Demand. Full color covers and maps.

Again this one takes a lot of work from a lot of people. This book follows quickly on the heels of FR1 Waterdeep and the North. It was a boxed set, but for this review I am considering my PDF and Print on Demand versions from DriveThruRPG.

There is some repeated information in this set from the Waterdeep set. For example the entire legal code on Page 7 of this product is the same to the one in FR1 Waterdeep and the North starting on page 18. I am not 100% sure if I mind this though. I mean in truth back in 1988 this might have bothered me, but now? Well, I have the PDFs I could print them out and put them into a big binder called "Waterdeep" and organize how I see fit. I might do that in fact.

This book is more like a tourist directory to Waterdeep. The laws are discussed, the buildings are numbered and given a name. The BIG attraction to this set are the maps (which are printed here and given as a separate ZIP file.) Well, the Larry Elmore cover is striking as all hell to be honest.

If you like random tables then this is your book. Lots of tables on encounters, goods, items gained from pick-pocketing, and more.

Ignoring the use of this as an independent product it makes for a great addition to FR1 Waterdeep and the North. The two together would be a perfect product really. Looking ahead to my other Forgotten Realms books I see I don't actually have a giant map of Waterdeep. Should I rectify this? The maps in this product are gorgeous, and it would be worth my time, effort, and money to get them combined and professionally printed. Or burn through my printer ink to do it on my own and mount them to some cardboard with Scotch tape. Depends on how much I end up playing here. If I don't, it certainly will not be for lack of options!

Looking at All Three City Sets

FR1 Waterdeep and the North, City System, and FR8 Cities of Mystery are all great for that late 80s feel of the Forgotten Realms AD&D.

While each product is good individually and does what it sets out to do, one of the others points out its minimal shortcomings. Combined, they work fantastically together. So well, it makes me wonder whether I even need to leave the city!

Regardless of what city in the Realms becomes my home base (I am still partial to Baldur's Gate, but Waterdeep might win me over) I have the tools and the means to expand on it all.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
City System (1e)
Click to show product description

Add to Pegasus Digital Order

pixel_trans.gif
FR1 Waterdeep and the North (1e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/07/2024 14:48:49

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2024/03/reviews-cities-of-forgotten-realms.html

FR1 Waterdeep and the North Design and Development: Ed Greenwood, Product Coordination: Jeff Grubb, Editing: Karen S. Martin, Cover Art: Keith Parkinson, Interior Art: Chris Miller. Maps: Frey Graphics and David Sutherland, Heraldic Escutcheons: David E. Martin, Typography: Kim Janke, Keylining: Stephanie Tabat.

  1. PDF, Full-color covers, and maps. 78 pages.

I am basing this review on the PDF from DriveThruRPG only. If I can find a good copy (game store auction tomorrow night!) then I will grab it. And this is one where the boxed set would be nice to have.

This is the first proper Forgotten Realm reference, with the Moonshaes the second.

You might have noticed that I listed everyone involved with this product above. The Realms, in this iteration, has become a joint effort. Yes, Ed Greenwood is the father to this brain child of the Realms. He has suitably impressed me here and in the pages of Dragon Magazine. Ed's position here is solid and secure. But if "it takes a village," it takes much more for a city like Waterdeep. Even I know about Waterdeep, I still call myself a novice here.

This book introduces us to Waterdeep, the "City of Splendors", and the surrounding countryside of "The North."

It is a good introduction really, starting with Chapter 1: An Introduction to the North. The surrounding lands are detailed. While I knew of some of these, this put them into better relationship with each other. For me? I like having a map open to see where I am while reading. There are no maps of this area in this product. Not a huge deal, really, since they are with the Forgotten Realms boxed set. But a small one might have been nice, at least of the area in question. Thankfully there are also plenty of good maps for this area online.

Chapter 2: An Introduction to the City of Waterdeep, takes us to the City of Splendors. We get some history, some names of important people, and (most importantly to me right now) the city's legal code.

Chapter 3: The City Wards divides the city up into various wards. As a Chicagoan, this makes a lot of sense, and I am sure to anyone that has ever lived in a good-sized city, it will as well. I will point that while this is all about Waterdeep there is an assumption here that you can use this information to also build your own cities. Each ward has a name (Castle Ward, Sea Ward...) and various locales are mentioned. Some are just a name and what they are ("The Blue Jack," Tavern) so it leaves a lot of room to expand on what you can do with own Waterdeep. There are over 280 named locations, not counting the sewers, here. There is a lot of life here and almost none of it is detailed. YES, I mean this as a GOOD thing. I don't want the names and detailed back stories of every magistrate down to beggar orphan here. I want room to discover and grow. Give me enough and then back off.

Chapter 4: Life in the City. (Yes...Despite listening to the Crow Soundtrack, this is the song going through my head as I type this. Any resemblance between my Sinéad and Kate St John of Dream Academy is purely coincidental, I am sure.) Everything that makes a city work. Religion, money, goods and services. This is the life blood of any city and Waterdeep is livelier than most. There are notes about spending the winter in Waterdeep as well. The Forgotten Realms always says the quiet part out loud, and this is a world full of adventurers. To paraphrase the old saying, "All roads lead to Waterdeep." And while you are there, behave yourself. There is even a section on the going out at night, manners and dress. Now I want all my characters to go out an buy some nice part clothes for an after-hours party.

Chapter 5: The Guild and Factions of the City covers exactly that. Ever since Fritz Leiber (and of course WAY before) and Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, FRPG Cities have had thousands of thieves' guilds, merchant's guilds, secret guilds, and, in a Forgotten Realms trademark, Adventuring Guilds. The guilds of Waterdeep are listed in three columns and then detailed in the next 7-8 pages. Again, there is the tacit notion here that you can lift these and use them in your own Forgotten Realms city. This becomes more implicit in future products.

Chapter 6: Noble Families of Waterdeep gives us some names and crests, the most "Greyhawk" like chapter so far.

Chapter 7: Selected Non-Player Characters of Waterdeep covers some notable NPCs in greater detail. It would not be a Forgotten Realms product without some notable NPCs.

Next are adventure hook chapters.

Chapter 8: Beginning a Campaign in Waterdeep covers exactly that. And there are some great ideas here too for such a short chapter. Though to be honest if you get to this chapter and don't already have ideas then this one won't help you.

Chapter 9: Adventures in Waterdeep is the one chapter I wanted to read the most. Chapters 1-7 are great and full of ideas, but I want to discover this city as an adventurer, not as a scholar. Back when I lived in Southern Illinois, right before I moved to Chicago, I had a map of the city on my wall. I would go over that map for hours on end just fascinated by it. When I moved to the near West Side (just a notch north of Little Italy and west of the Loop) I was surprised for how little that prepared me for all of it. The City is a living place. Chicago is. New York is. And so should Waterdeep.

There are seven "mini" adventures here. I ended up using none of them!

After this (what would have been the inside covers), there are maps of the major wards and a large piecemeal map of the city for the next 10 pages. Yes, I could print them out, but I am holding out for now.

This is not the final nor most authoritative word on Waterdeep by any stretch. It is a start though and a good one.

Looking at All Three City Sets

FR1 Waterdeep and the North, City System, and FR8 Cities of Mystery are all great for that late 80s feel of the Forgotten Realms AD&D.

While each product is good individually and does what it sets out to do, one of the others points out its minimal shortcomings. Combined, they work fantastically together. So well, it makes me wonder whether I even need to leave the city!

Regardless of what city in the Realms becomes my home base (I am still partial to Baldur's Gate, but Waterdeep might win me over) I have the tools and the means to expand on it all.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
FR1 Waterdeep and the North (1e)
Click to show product description

Add to Pegasus Digital Order

pixel_trans.gif
Starscrapers
Publisher: Gothic Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/06/2024 12:35:31

It is becoming obvious that Gothic Games plagurizes a lot of other peoples' work. Case in point this product is a copy of Voidspanners by Luigi Castellani.

I can't recomend any of these products. In fact I urge people to not purchase anything from this person/company.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Starscrapers
Click to show product description

Add to Pegasus Digital Order

pixel_trans.gif
Demons & Dragons
Publisher: Gothic Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/06/2024 08:35:39

One of the great things about the Open Gaming and Creative Commons Licenses is that you can use content created by others to add too, enhance, or remix with material you have created. So one doesn't need to create something like say an orc from scratch. It is a vital part of the publishing community and everyone in it has agreed to play fair.

This product does not do that.

While I will not make guesses about the author's intentions, the results are pretty clear. This product is nothing more than the free Basic Fantasy 4th Edition with some replaced art and a new (lesser) cover.

Basic Fantasy was a gift to the publishing and gaming world when it was released nearly 20 years ago and has been the go to rules for people wanting to play "Basic Era" games. The author and publisher have provided PDFs for free and Print copies since it was released. This product, Demons & Dragons, takes all that hard work and dedication and charges $20 for it.

See a comparison of the two Tables of Contents here.

Do not buy this product.

If you want the actual contents of this book AND the original art intact please go to the Basic Fantasy website or get a copy here at DriveThruRPG.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Demons & Dragons
Click to show product description

Add to Pegasus Digital Order

pixel_trans.gif
Displaying 1 to 15 (of 1384 reviews) Result Pages:  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 ...  [Next >>] 
pixel_trans.gif
pixel_trans.gif Back pixel_trans.gif
0 items
Powered by OneBookShelf