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Mordenkainen’s Fiendish Folio, Volume 1: Monsters Malevolent and Benign
by Christopher C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/13/2019 16:35:18

I love this! So much fun revisiting all these old friends from the 1980s. Particularly enjoyed seeing the new artistic interpretations of these monsters. Plus, it's for charity, which makes it even better. :)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mordenkainen’s Fiendish Folio, Volume 1: Monsters Malevolent and Benign
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PC1 Creature Crucible: Tall Tales of the Wee Folk (Basic)
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/03/2019 12:21:16

The PC Creature Crucible series came at the end of the Gazeteer line for Basic D&D. AD&D 2nd ed was my game of choice then, but reviewing this now I think I missed out on something fun. The author of this book, John Nephew, who would later go on to found Atlas Games. While reading this I was looking for any clues to what would be Ars Magica, but I think I was just projecting.

The book is 96 pages with color covers and black, white and green interior colors. The PDF is 102 pages (for maps and covers). It is divided into a 64-page DM's section and a 32-page Adventures section. This book is something I would have loved back then, and really enjoy now.

The book covers playing several woodlands or faerie races. The new race-classes you can play are Brownie, Centaur, Dryad, Faun, Hsiao, Leprechaun, Pixie, Pooka, Sidhe, Sprite, Treant, Wood Imp, and Woodrake. One of the features of Basic-era D&D is Race-as-Class, so a Sprite and Halfling can feel like different things with similar levels of progression.

As per Basic D&D each creature gets it's own advancement table and ability minimums and maximums. All, save the Sidhe, have level limits. All of these creatures have a 0 level and in some cases, negative levels, they need to meet the XP requirements for. It all works rather well for Basic D&D really. We know it can work since we used to do the same thing in Holmes D&D, only not with this much guidance. It would not be difficult with these guidlines to adapt this to any other version of D&D in fact. You can look to the 4th Edition Player's Option: Heroes of the Feywild as an example. Like PC1 Creature Crucible, you can play a dryad, satyr, or pixie. They even have a similar spell-casting class (more on that later).

The book has a solid Lands of Faerie or even a Feywild feel to it. A nice green character sheet (which is cool and all, but prints and copies poorly) only adds to that feeling. The conceit of the book is to present the information as if given to us from the mouths of four different woodland folk of renown; Olyrrhoe, a centaur prophetess (years before a centaur would teach divination at Hogwarts) tells us about centaurs, wood imps, , Lotis, the dryad, speaks for dryads and hamadryads as well as fauns, hsiao, and treants, Robin Goodfellow (yes, THAT Robin) for pixies, sprites and others, and finally Oberon (also THAT Oberon) for Pooka, Sidhe and wood drakes.

This book also deals with three different kinds of spell casters. Shamans (like druids or clerics, but no turn undead ability), wicca (which you know has my attention! magic-users) and fairy spell casters. There are some new spells here that very much feel like woodland/wicca/witchy/druid spells.

We get some new equipment, some woodland realms, some organizations and of course our NPCs and a few more besides. Though no Titania, which is odd given the obvious (and necessary) borrowing from Mid-Summer's Night Dream.

That gives us the first 64 pages.

The adventure book makes up the next 32 pages. We also get an AD&D 2nd Edition conversion guide. Using these guidelines would help in converting to other versions of D&D, in particular, 5e.

The adventures are short and all share a woodland theme. They can all be run in a few sessions, usually one per session.

There is also a fun woodlands/faerie themed character sheet.

This is one of those products that I never gave enough attention too back when it came out, but I really wish I had.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
PC1 Creature Crucible: Tall Tales of the Wee Folk (Basic)
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S1 Tomb of Horrors (1e)
by James H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/02/2019 14:20:02

One of the most painstaking yet rewarding dungeons of all time. chalked full of traps. some of the nastiest tricks of any dungeons i've ran. Final room is the ultimate betrayal, all of that treasure in front of you and you just NEED to take it all. Big mistake. long live second edition!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
S1 Tomb of Horrors (1e)
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DDAL05-01 Treasure of the Broken Hoard (5e)
by Daniel L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/01/2019 16:42:39

This is a set of five 1-2 hour adventures tied together with a list of treasure locations. I have run pieces of this adventure twice, and both were a lot of fun. I ran caches 1 and 5, the first one was great and the fifth one was good. These are great introductory adventures, you can start everybody on the road, and there is the opportunity for everybody to introduce themselves by explaining why they were lucky, or skilled, or notorious enough to have the treasure-hunter include them on this quest. Easy, effective, natural-ish way for the characters to start off with a little role-play. I had one overlapping player the second time I used the module, so just had a big X scrawled on the description of the first location.

The timing on this is sort of similar to Harried in Hillsfar, but this is a less messy set of adventures, I felt like Harried sort of overpromised some comeuppance to the Red Guard Plume guys which doesn't ever happen, this one is less ambitious, but still teases the giants. I have got to improve my pacing because both of them took my groups 2.5 hours to run, but everybody had fun.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL05-01 Treasure of the Broken Hoard (5e)
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Elemental Evil Player’s Companion (5e)
by Katie T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/30/2019 12:44:16

Have come back again and again to this for reference. It is a fantastic resource. The name for me is a bit misleading; this is definitely more of an elemental race/class/spell resource than evil. If you don't have the expansions containing the genasi, aarakocra, goliath, and deep gnome info and traits, all of that is including here along with more specifically elemental routes for development. I cannot praise this highly enough in terms of content.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Elemental Evil Player’s Companion (5e)
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DDAL05-01 Treasure of the Broken Hoard (5e)
by David C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/29/2019 20:44:40

Used this as my kids and nephews (early teens) first intro to D&D 5e. They absolutely loved it. Nice basic adventure with good structure. A great mix of situations that call for negotiation, investigation, and a bit of hack and slash as well. Also my daughter dubbed mini-me "Milkdrinker".



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL05-01 Treasure of the Broken Hoard (5e)
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D&D Expert Set Rulebook (B/X ed.) (Basic)
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/25/2019 23:03:48

Updated review posted here, with pictures. http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2019/11/review-d-expert-set.html

December of 1979 was the time I was first introduced to Dungeon & Dragons via the Holmes Basic edition and the AD&D Monster Manual. It was 1980 though that I got my hands on the Moldvay Basic Set and my love affair with B/X D&D. But that is only the first half of the story. The second half, the X of B/X, was the Cook/Marsh Expert Set.

D&D Expert Set

I am not exactly sure when I got the D&D Expert set. I do know it was sometime after I had the Basic Set. I know this because I have very distinct memories of going through the Expert book and just marveling at everything inside. Just everything from the classes to all the new monsters. The Moldvay Basic Set was the high mark for me at the time for what an RPG should be. The Expert set lived up to that set and then blew me away. That is getting ahead of my narrative.

For this review, I am going to look at the original boxed set, the mini boxed set from Twenty First Century Games S.r.i., and the newer PDF from DriveThruRPG.

On the heels of the Basic Set edited by Tom Moldvay, we have the first Expert Set edited by David "Zeb" Cook with Steve Marsh. So we often call this the Cook/Marsh Expert set to distinguish it from the Frank Mentzer Expert Set. This Moldvay/Cook/Marsh set of rules is often called B/X to separate it from the Mentzer BECMI versions.

The Expert Set came in a boxed set featuring cover art by Erol Otus. The art includes the art from the Basic Set; a wizard scries the female wizard and male warrior fighting the dragon. It remains one of my favorite pieces of gaming art ever. In fact, it is the current background for my phone. Included in the boxed set was one of the greatest sandbox adventures ever, X1 Ilse of Dread and a set of 6 polyhedral dice; d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, d20 and a crayon. Note the PDF does not include dice (obviously).

The Expert book features the same cover art on a predominantly blue cover. The book is 64 pages of black & white art. The cover is full cover and the interior covers are blue ink and feature the table of contents (front) and index (back). The art features some of the Big Names of 1980s D&D art. Jeff Dee, Wade Hampton, David S. LaForce, Erol Otus, James Roslof, and Bill Willingham. Some so iconic that they STILL define certain elements of the game for me. Jeff Dee's halflings, David LaForce's giants, and Bill Willingham's vampire are to this very day the first thing I think of when any of these creatures are mentioned.

While we were promised "new classes" both in the Holmes Basic book and later by Gygax himself in the pages of Dragon magazine, we stick with same seven classes; four human (Cleric, Fighter, Magic-user, Thief) and three demi-human (Dwarf, Elf, Halfling). While I had not really thought about the new classes when I got my Expert set, I was a little disappointed that halflings and dwarves didn't get more than they did. BUT if that was the case I soon got over it since there was SO much more for the Cleric and Magic-users.

Part 1: Introduction. This book begins with some tables from the Basic game. Also we get some guidelines on how this book should be used and what to do if you have an earlier (Holmes edition) of D&D Basic. Here we also note that the page numbers are X# compared to the B# number. The idea here was for you to be able to cut up your Basic and Expert books and put them together in a three-ring binder. Eventually, I did do this, but not with my actual books, but rather with the printouts from the DriveThru PDFs.

Part 2: Player Character Information. This deals with all the classes. I thought, at the time, that the organization of this section was a vast improvement over the same section in the Basic Book. Where Basic D&D went from 1st to 3rd level, this book continues on to 14th level for human classes and various levels for the demi-human classes. Additionally, thief abilities extend to 14th level as does Clerical turning Undead and new, more powerful spells; 5th level for clerics and 6th level for Magic-users. That was unheard of levels of magic for me.

Part 3: Spells. This section got about 90% of my attention back then. New detail is given on Reversed spells for both Clerical and Magic-user/Elf spells. Eight pages of new spells including the amazing Disintegrate spell, which was one of the spells outlawed in many of my local game groups back then.

Part 4: The Adventure. Not only does this section open up the world of adventuring to the entire wilderness and beyond the dungeon, it gives us some of my favorite Erol Otus art ever. The Alchemist on page X21 defined what an alchemist needed to look like for me.

Part 5: The Encounter covers combat and includes morale, saving throws, and variable weapon damage. This also has all the necessary combat tables.

Part 6: Monsters. Ah. Now here are the pages of my memories! I have mentioned before how much I love the Monster Manual for AD&D and how it was my monster tome for my time playing Holmes Basic. But this. This one was part of my new favorite rules and that made all the difference to me. The mundane rubbed elbows (or knees, or whatever) with the magical and the malevolent. To this day there are still monsters here that I have not seen the likes of elsewhere. Well yes, I have, but you have to dig for some of them. But let's be honest, when was the last time you pulled a Devil Swine out on your players? Some versions of monsters here I still prefer over their AD&D Monster Manual counterparts. Giants and Vampires as I have mentioned.

Part 7: Treasure follows. While D&D lacked the infamous vorpal sword (for now), it made up for it by having better rules in my mind for Intelligent swords.

Part 8: Dungeon Master Information, is what it says on the tin. We get rules for making ability "saving throws" and spell magic item creation rules. What I had the most fun with were the castle and stronghold cost rules. This chapter is chock full of goodness. Handling players, NPCs, even the first bit of what was known as the "Known World" which later became Mystara. To this day seeing the "haunted keep" fills me with ideas.

Part 9: Special Adventures this section covers waterborne adventures.

This book is so full of great stuff and even though we were promised a "Companion" edition that would go to 36th level (unheard of!) there were still plenty of adventures to be had.

Let's be honest, 14 levels is a lot of levels even by today's standards.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
D&D Expert Set Rulebook (B/X ed.) (Basic)
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Monster Manual II (1e)
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/24/2019 21:23:20

Continuing my review of the monster books of my youth with what can be called the most polished of all the AD&D/D&D monster books, the AD&D Monster Manual II.

This was the first book to feature the new "orange spine" and Jeff Easley cover art. It is also one of the larger AD&D first ed books at 160 pages. Sometimes I wonder what an old-school cover would have looked like, something drawn by Tramp maybe. That all aside, the cover of this book is great, but it doesn't quite grab you the same way that the MM1 or the FF did. But inside is more than makes up for this "perceived" slight.

For this review, I am as usual considering the original hardcover and the newer PDF from DriveThruRPG. There is no Print on Demand option yet for this title, but as a special feature, I'll also have a look at the miniature book from Twenty First Century Games S.r.i.

The book(s) and the PDF have full-color covers featuring art from Jeff Easley. Inside is all black and white art from Jim Holloway, Harry Quinn, Dave Sutherland, and Larry Elmore. No slight to the previous book's artists, but the style and quality here is more consistent. Some might see this as an improvement (I do) but others will point to this as a sign of the change from the Golden Age of TSR to the Silver Age. Of course, it features the byline of Gary Gygax, though we now know that some of them were created by Frank Mentzer and Jeff Grubb. In some ways, you can see this change in tone and feel that is happening at TSR in this book.

The Monster Manual II was the first hardcover after a year hiatus. The book is better organized and layout than most of the AD&D hardcover books. I have to admit I always credited this to TSR finally moving over to computer layout, but I have nothing to support this claim save for how the book looks.

There is a lot to this book too. OVer 250 monsters there are a ton more demons, devils, and more from the outer planes, like the daemons, demodands, modrons, and even good-aligned creatures like the devas and solars. We get a few more dragons and some giants. We get a lot of monsters that feel inspired by the first Monster Manual. There are also many from previous adventure modules. This book also gave us the Tarrasque, the Catlord, the Swanmay, the Wolfwere. and more.

This book also has nearly 30 pages of encounter tables at the end that covers all three books, very useful to have really and a selling point for the PDF. Get the PDF and print out the tables.

The Monster Manual II is still by all rights a classic. While I don't get the same thrill from it as I do the Monster Manual or the Fiend Folio, but the monsters individually are great.

It remains to this day a lot of fun and a book I still get great enjoyment from.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monster Manual II (1e)
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AC1 The Shady Dragon Inn (Basic)
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/20/2019 22:44:31

Review, complete with pictures of the Print on Demand product, also appears here: http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2019/11/review-ac1-shady-dragon-inn.html

Going through some of my favorite Basic-era books and games and I should really spend some time with another favorite, but one that became a later favorite.

AC1 The Shady Dragon Inn was one of the first accessories for the BECMI flavor of the D&D game.

This book also has the distinction of being one of the first Print on Demand books that Wizards of the Coast would release for the old TSR catalog.

The book also has special interest to me since it features the stats for one of my favorite characters Skylla.

I will be reviewing both the PDF and the Print on Demand versions.

The book is 32 pages with color covers and black & white interiors. The print version is perfect bound; so no staples. The scan is sharp and clean and PoD version is easy to read.

The book features the titular inn, but really the main feature of this book is the collection of NPCs. Designed to be a bit like the original AD&D Rogues Gallery. This product though is a little more robust. The Shady Dragon Inn write-ups include some background on who these characters are, more than just a collection of stats. Maybe indicative of shift between the AD&D and D&D lines.

The characters are split by class. In each case, we get a dozen or so individual characters of Fighters, Thieves, Clerics, Magic-users, Dwarves, Elves and Halflings. with art by Jim Holloway and Larry Day. While the art helps, each write-up includes a brief description. This all covers roughly two-dozen pages.

There is another section of "Special" characters. These are the ones with TM next to their names. Such notables as Strongheart, Warduke, Kelek and of course Skylla.

There is a bit at the end about the Shady Dragon Inn itself along with some pre-gen adventuring parties based on level. A great aid for DMs that need some NPCs. The Print on Demand version includes the maps to the Inn as part of the print. The main PDF does not have them, but they can be downloaded as a separate file. There are PDFs and image files to print out to use with minis. So with some minor tweaks, you can use this with any version of D&D you like. The characters inside can be converted to 5e easily enough.

Ignore the saving throws, and recalculate the base to hit as 20 - THAC0. I find that 22 or 23 -THAC0 actually works out a little bit better for 5e.

The maps are set to 1" = 5', so D&D 3, 4 & 5 standard. The Print on Demand versions do not come out to 1" exactly, but when you buy the pdf you get the maps as files to print on your own.

While this book lacks the numbers of NPCs the Rogues Gallery does, it is superior in every other aspect. Starting in an Inn might be a D&D cliché, but a product like this makes you want to embrace the cliché anyway.

The Print on Demand version is fantastic really.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
AC1 The Shady Dragon Inn (Basic)
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Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron (5e)
by Damian F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/20/2019 12:01:56

Let's be real here; this product was a scam. We were tricked into paying for playtest content, and barely even got what we were promised with it.

It took until the release of a separate Eberron product for this book to include the Artificer class we were promised, and when it finally arrived, it was just copy-pasted from said other book without any care.

What do I mean by that?

Well, the first clue is the fact that the Artificer class has just been slapped into "Appendix D" of the book, after the visual handouts, and it is an appendix which at the time of said update wasn't even bookmarked in the PDF.

The second clue is in the "Replicable Items" tables for the Artificer's "Replicate Magic Item" infusion. It lists several unusual magic items you can replicate not found in the DMG: Armblades, Prosthetic Limbs, Wand Sheaths, Ventilating Lungs, and Arcane Propulsion Arms. Each of these items say in parenthesis, "detailed in chapter 5". Chapter 5 is the chapter for magical items in this book. Now, true, you CAN find details of the Armblades and Wand Sheathes in here. But curiously, there is no other mention of "Ventilating Lungs" or "Arcane Propulsion Arms" in this document - and the only other time "Prosthetic Limbs" are mentioned is in a brief section about beginning an adventure in a tavern.

In short, not only did we not get the full Artificer class, but we got it shoddily copied in after it was released elsewhere.

This product is not worth your money. If you bought it like me, I feel sorry for us all. For anyone else, buy the new Eberron book instead "Rising from the Last War", which is virtually everything in this book and more.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron (5e)
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Fiend Folio (1e)
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/16/2019 18:00:04

I look at the second-ever produced AD&D monster book, and maybe one of the most loved OR most hated books, depending on who you ask; I mean of course 1981's Fiend Folio.

I will admit upfront, I enjoyed the hell out of this book. There was something so different, so strange and so British about it. I loved listening to Pink Floyd, The Who, The Beatles, and Led Zeppelin while watching Monte Python, the Young Ones, Doctor Who and more I was a died in the wool Anglophile. In the 80s if it was British it was good was my thinking. The Fiend Folio was all that to me.

Yes. I am 100% in the "I Loved It!" camp.

Now, that doesn't mean I was immune to the problems it had. But I'll get into that in detail in a bit.

Fiend Folio Tome

First available as a hardcover in 1981. Available as PDF ($9.99) and PoD ($11.99 or $13.99 combined) via DriveThruRPG. 128 pages, color covers, black & white interior art.

The Fiend Folio is something of the lost forgotten middle child of AD&D. Don Turnbull, then editor of White Dwarf magazine had been collecting monsters for his magazine since 1976. In 1979 He wanted to publish a book of these monsters through Games Workshop as a new monster tome companion to the then released Monster Manual. Through various legal wranglings which included TSR wanting to buy GW and then starting TSR UK, the book came to be published by TSR in 1981.

The hardcover was the fifth hardcover overall, the second "in a series of AD&D roleplaying aids", the last to use the classic cover art style and dress, and the only AD&D hardcover never updated to a new Jeff Easley cover. To cement the perception that this book was the "middle child" every book after it had the new Jeff Easley covers and about as many were published before it as after it.

When released the book caused a bit of a stir. In Dragon Magazine #55 we had no less of a personage than Ed Greenwood blasting the book with his Flat Taste Didn't Go Away. Ouch. That is a bit harsh Ed and the article doesn't get much lighter. I am sure there were plenty of old-school AD&D fans who were at the time saying "Who the hell is this Ed Greenwood guy and why do I care about his opinion?" Sy though, Ed is no fan of this book and calls many of the monsters incomplete, inadequate and many are redundant. AND to be 100% fair he is making some very good points here. The editing is all over the place, many of the monsters are useless or way overpowered in some respects.

Alan Zumwalt follows this with Observations of a Semi-Satisfied Customer. An endorsement, but not the ringing endorsement one might want.

Not to be forgotten Don Turnbull, Managing Director of TSR UK, Ltd. and Editor of the FIEND FOLIO Tome ends with his Apologies - and Arguments; his defense of the Fiend Folio.

All three articles make good points and overreach in others. In the end, I still love the Fiend Folio, not despite its weirdness, but because of it. I have decided though that when I run a pure Forgotten Realms game that I will not include any of the monsters that Ed found objectionable. I was going to say not include any from this book, but that includes Drow and we know that isn't going to happen!

There are some "translation" errors here too. In particular when the monster was written for OD&D and then later updated to AD&D. Others the art didn't seem to fit the description. I still find it hard to see how the T-Rex looking Babbler is supposed to be a mutation of the Lizard Man.

That is all great and a wonderful bit of historical context, but none of that had any effect on the way I played and how I used the book.

Everyone will talk about how that is the book that gave us the Adherer, the Flumph, Flail Snail, Lava Children, and my least favorite, the CIFAL. But it is also the book that gave us the Death Knight, Skeleton Warriors, Revenant, the Slaadi, Son of Kyuss and more.

The D&D cartoon featured the Shadow Demon and Hooked Horrors. The D&D toy line used the Bullywugs. And creatures like the Aarakocra, Kenku, Githyanki and Githzerai would go on to greater fame and use in future editions of D&D. Some even first appeared in other D&D modules that got their first-ever hardcover representations here; like the Daemons, Kuo-Toa, and the Drow.

Many monsters came from the pages of White Dwarf's Fiend Factory. Even these monsters were a mixed bag, but there were so many. So many in fact that there could have been a Fiend Folio II.

Flipping through this book I am struck with one thing. For a tome called the "Fiend Folio" there are not really a lot of fiends in it. Lolth, the Styx Devil, Mezzodaemon, Nycadaemon and maybe the Guardian Daemon.

While this book does not fill me with the deep nostalgia of the discover of D&D like the Monster Manual does, it fills me with another type of nostalgia. The nostalgia of long night playing and coming up with new and exciting adventures and using monsters that my players have never seen before.

For the record, here are some of my favorites: Apparition, Berbalang, Booka, Coffer Corpse, Crypt Thing, Dark Creeper, Dark Stalker (Labyrinth anyone?), Death Dog, Death Knight, Lolth, the new Dragons, the Elemental Princes of Evil, Drow, Errercap, Eye of Fear and Flame, Firedrake, Forlarren, Githyanki, Githzerai, Gorilla Bear (yes! I loved these guys), Grell, Grimlocks, Guardian Familiar, Hellcat, Hook Horrors (though I felt I had to use them), Hounds of Ill Omen, Huecuva, Kelpie, Kuo-toa, Lamia Noble, Lizard King (Jim Morrison jokes for D&D at last!), Meazel, Mephit, Mezzodaemon, Necrophidius, Neeleman (well...I didn't like the monster, I liked the SNL skit he reminded me of), Nilbogs (ok, no I didn't like these guys unless I was running the adventure), Norker, Nycadaemon, Ogrillon, Penanggalan (yes! loved these, but they should have been closer to the vampire as described in the MM), Poltergiest, Revenant, Scarecrow, Shadow Demon, Skeleton Warrior, Slaad, Son of Kyuss, Sussurus, Svirfneblin, the new trolls, Yellow Musk Creeper and Yellow Mush Zombie (Clark Ashton Smith for the win!).

The remainder of the book is given over to expanded tables.

The Future of the Folio

When I have talked about the Fiend Folio in the past most of the time I get a lot of positive remarks, so maybe the ages have been kind to the odd little middle child of D&D.

Since it's publication the Fiend Folio has seen a little more love.

The 14th (!) Monstrous Compendium Appendix for AD&D 2nd Edition was based on the Fiend Folio, though it would be almost 10 years after the hardcover version. MC14 Monstrous Compendium Fiend Folio Appendix is available in PDF.

The 3rd Edition years gave us TWO different versions of the Fiend Folio. The 3e Fiend Folio from WotC features many of the original Fiend Folio monsters, but also a lot more fiends; so living up to it's name a bit more. Not to be outdone, Necromancer Games gave us the first of the Tome of Horrors books which feature many more of the original Fiend Folio monsters for OGL/d20.

Back in Print

So imagine my delight when I saw that the Fiend Folio on DriveThruRPG was now offering a Print on Demand option. So, of course, I had to get it. It was soft cover only, but I thought it would work nicely next to my Games Workshop printing softcover Monster Manual.

I was not wrong.

Other than one is a hardcover and the other is a softcover it is very difficult to tell the two prints apart. Even the interiors compare well.

So maybe time has been kinder to the Fiend Folio. I still enjoy using it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fiend Folio (1e)
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Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron (5e)
by Orla n. D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/14/2019 05:50:11

A really great introduction to Eberron that gives you all you need to get started while also making excited to find more.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron (5e)
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DDAL04-13 The Horseman (5e)
by Arnaud v. d. G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/13/2019 14:54:59

The following writing is done by one of my players. SPOILERS AHEAD . . . . . First of all, I would like to tell that this review comes from the view of a player from Adventurers League, not from the view of a Dungeon Master, so this review is more about the gaming experience then about the details of the adventure itself. This 4th season of Adventurers league has been tons of fun up till now, especially with the wacky monsters from liar’s night 2019. However, this last adventure has been a lot less fun, that is why I write this. This is not meant as an outlet of frustration, but as my perspective of the overall adventure that might be improved.

The start of the ‘HORSEMEN’ was great. The pandemonium in the town gave everyone a reason to care for the town, and to track the thing that caused such misery. The tracking and battle in the forest were nothing special. Big monsters dealing damage. The group either racing through their sheets, being heroic or absolutely stupid (I was the latter). But then the reason for this review came.

We were a party of six, consisting out of two fighters, a paladin, a cleric, a sorcerer, and a ranger, entered a cave from which a dim light shone. Inside the cave, a lone monster was playing a flute, surrounded by the statue of a woman and over 15 paintings showing the same woman. As soon as we entered the cave, he stopped playing, gave his monologue, and so started the boss fight. Before any of us could make an action, we had to make a saving throw. One of the fighters failed, and went down stunned. After this, we had two other saving throws, where nearly everyone failed at least one of them. The monster had three legendary actions every turn, as well as a lair action, almost each being an ability to temporary incapacitate someone. Within a few minutes, almost everyone was either stunned, frightened or charmed. Especially being charmed by the Hypnotic Pattern was horrible, because someone else had to spend their turn to snap someone out, and due to the other effects, we could hardly reach one another. The monster could also simply jump from one opponent to another without attacks of opportunity. What also became a big problem was the fact that our cleric and sorcerer could not help us, due to the paintings countering nearly every spell, making the sorcerer as good as useless.

This fight took over two hours, and it was simply us getting slowly grinded down to 0 hit points, while eventually trying to escape. This was quite frustrating as it sometimes took a couple of turns to actually regain the ability to play the game, while you lost it the next turn because either A) failed a save, B) needed your turn to heal yourself from damage or C) needed to help someone else who went down. It was disheartening to just sit there, and wait until the boss was done with you.

In the end only half of our group (the sorcerer, the fighter, and the ranger) survived because they were stuck in the entrance of the cave due to the barrage of saving throws, and gave up. The paladin died after trying to destroy the altar (without any effect), the cleric who could hardly use his magic and got beaten by the boss, and the second fighter, who got charmed, without anyone near him to get him out. The characters in the back of the cave could not as much as enter the cave, and our characters got wailed upon by the boss without really knowing how to beat it. The DM gave a tip that the fighter was doing something right, after shredding a painting near the entrance, but due to the number of art pieces, and the damage and effects, we were unable to even reach the other end of the cave to actually destroying them. After the adventure ended (it was near midnight on a Tuesday), the DM revealed that there were only 2 paintings (guardian portraits) that caused the effects, and that without all the disabling effects it would have been easier. But these were 2 paintings out of at least a dozen art pieces, and we had to spend time to find the right ones, time we barely had.

The greatest problem with this encounter was that it was not fun. You just throwed save after save, and if you failed one, you were practically incapacitated for a turn or two, in which the boss could just take you down by 30 points. Many of us had characters with which we played for months, and these were just wiped off the board without much of a chance. The feeling that there was no chance to beat the boss is what I find so disheartening about this encounter, and I hope that the makers of this ‘Adventurers League’ adventure change it for the better, because it’s a great adventure, except for the last encounter.

I hope that you find this review insightful and that I have not been too nit-picky. If you have played ‘THE HORSEMAN’ yourself, I would really like to know what your thoughts are about the encounter, and if you know any improvements (I personally think that fewer paintings would really help). Thanks for reading.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
DDAL04-13 The Horseman (5e)
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Players Handbook (1e)
by Mauro L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/11/2019 19:14:11

Absolutly stunning premium print. Realy I love it. Now I want monster manual in POD!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Players Handbook (1e)
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Infernal Font
by Jarrod T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/10/2019 22:48:17

A very fun font. I look forward to seeing what (hopeful) language might be next!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Infernal Font
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