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Priest's Spell Compendium Vol 3 (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Bruce L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/13/2020 11:20:41

I have not had time to go through it, entirely, but what I've seen/read thus far, is impressive! For players and DM's who use 2e Specialty Priests, with limited Sphere access, as well as unique Granted Powers, these three books are amazing! The spells for water, alone, are incredible. For sea priests, these new spells are awesome! I would higly recommend them, for expanding your game's horizons. I assume there are spells for fire and earth and air elements, as well.

While not all of the spells are balanced, as they may have been written by game enthusiasts who were published in Dragon Magazine, they are worth consideration. I would suggest each DM will need to carefully review, and perhaps modify, many of the new spells. They are laid out according to Spheres, which is a monumental task, by itself. I would further suggest that the listed Spheres may not be enough. There is one water spell, for example, listed in Protection, alone -- it is not listed in the Water sphere...

I printed all three of these volumes, single-sided, excluding the covers, on an HP color laser printer, using gray-scale printing (black toner only), at full quality (more toner), not the econo-mode (less toner, less quality). It used up one-half of the black toner cartridge, at a cost of $79 per full, standard capacity, toner cartridge.

That means that each volume in this 3-volume set, cost me around $40 to print, in toner alone (roughly 270 pages, per book). I printed all three volumes, with the first and second volumes emptying what was left in my almost-new black toner cartridge. After I replaced the toner, it emptied 50% of the new cartridge, printing the third, and final volume of the series of books. Your experiences may vary, but I wanted to give folks an idea of how much it will cost, to print a decent copy of this, at home, using a LaserJet printer.

To put this into perspective, I bid on OOP hard copies, on e-Bay: they consistently sold for $92 per volume! I was bidding $80 per volume, and I was outbid repeatedly. For me, a $40 copy, which I then 3-hole punched, and placed into D-ring binders, was worthwhile.

If Hasbro/WotC ever make POD copies available, I will jump on them! The D-ring binder versions will work, but they're clumsy. I did, however, color code them by printing on different colors of paper, for each volume. This will allow us to know which volume we are in, at a glance. I hope this is helpful to folks. Cheers!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Priest's Spell Compendium Vol 3 (2e)
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Priest's Spell Compendium Vol 2 (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Bruce L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/13/2020 11:20:05

I have not had time to go through it, entirely, but what I've seen/read thus far, is impressive! For players and DM's who use 2e Specialty Priests, with limited Sphere access, as well as unique Granted Powers, these three books are amazing! The spells for water, alone, are incredible. For sea priests, these new spells are awesome! I would higly recommend them, for expanding your game's horizons. I assume there are spells for fire and earth and air elements, as well.

While not all of the spells are balanced, as they may have been written by game enthusiasts who were published in Dragon Magazine, they are worth consideration. I would suggest each DM will need to carefully review, and perhaps modify, many of the new spells. They are laid out according to Spheres, which is a monumental task, by itself. I would further suggest that the listed Spheres may not be enough. There is one water spell, for example, listed in Protection, alone -- it is not listed in the Water sphere...

I printed all three of these volumes, single-sided, excluding the covers, on an HP color laser printer, using gray-scale printing (black toner only), at full quality (more toner), not the econo-mode (less toner, less quality). It used up one-half of the black toner cartridge, at a cost of $79 per full, standard capacity, toner cartridge.

That means that each volume in this 3-volume set, cost me around $40 to print, in toner alone (roughly 270 pages, per book). I printed all three volumes, with the first and second volumes emptying what was left in my almost-new black toner cartridge. After I replaced the toner, it emptied 50% of the new cartridge, printing the third, and final volume of the series of books. Your experiences may vary, but I wanted to give folks an idea of how much it will cost, to print a decent copy of this, at home, using a LaserJet printer.

To put this into perspective, I bid on OOP hard copies, on e-Bay: they consistently sold for $92 per volume! I was bidding $80 per volume, and I was outbid repeatedly. For me, a $40 copy, which I then 3-hole punched, and placed into D-ring binders, was worthwhile.

If Hasbro/WotC ever make POD copies available, I will jump on them! The D-ring binder versions will work, but they're clumsy. I did, however, color code them by printing on different colors of paper, for each volume. This will allow us to know which volume we are in, at a glance. I hope this is helpful to folks. Cheers!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Priest's Spell Compendium Vol 2 (2e)
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Priest's Spell Compendium Vol 1 (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Bruce L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/13/2020 11:17:56

I have not had time to go through it, entirely, but what I've seen/read thus far, is impressive! For players and DM's who use 2e Specialty Priests, with limited Sphere access, as well as unique Granted Powers, these three books are amazing! The spells for water, alone, are incredible. For sea priests, these new spells are awesome! I would higly recommend them, for expanding your game's horizons. I assume there are spells for fire and earth and air elements, as well.

While not all of the spells are balanced, as they may have been written by game enthusiasts who were published in Dragon Magazine, they are worth consideration. I would suggest each DM will need to carefully review, and perhaps modify, many of the new spells. They are laid out according to Spheres, which is a monumental task, by itself. I would further suggest that the listed Spheres may not be enough. There is one water spell, for example, listed in Protection, alone -- it is not listed in the Water sphere...

I printed all three of these volumes, single-sided, excluding the covers, on an HP color laser printer, using gray-scale printing (black toner only), at full quality (more toner), not the econo-mode (less toner, less quality). It used up one-half of the black toner cartridge, at a cost of $79 per full, standard capacity, toner cartridge.

That means that each volume in this 3-volume set, cost me around $40 to print, in toner alone (roughly 270 pages, per book). I printed all three volumes, with the first and second volumes emptying what was left in my almost-new black toner cartridge. After I replaced the toner, it emptied 50% of the new cartridge, printing the third, and final volume of the series of books. Your experiences may vary, but I wanted to give folks an idea of how much it will cost, to print a decent copy of this, at home, using a LaserJet printer.

To put this into perspective, I bid on OOP hard copies, on e-Bay: they consistently sold for $92 per volume! I was bidding $80 per volume, and I was outbid repeatedly. For me, a $40 copy, which I then 3-hole punched, and placed into D-ring binders, was worthwhile.

If Hasbro/WotC ever make POD copies available, I will jump on them! The D-ring binder versions will work, but they're clumsy. I did, however, color code them by printing on different colors of paper, for each volume. This will allow us to know which volume we are in, at a glance. I hope this is helpful to folks. Cheers!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Priest's Spell Compendium Vol 1 (2e)
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DMGR8: Sages & Specialists (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Bruce L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/19/2018 22:43:33

Bought the POD version: excellent print qualtiy, very close to the original, wihich is long OOP. As to the contents, it is typical of the period. It details various classes of NPC's. These classes of NPC characters detail them with levels, Experience Point requirements, as if someone might play them, but it would not be entertaining to do so. The NPC's do gain powers and skills as levels increase. It is not a bad product. If a DM wants to have a detailed method of gauging such NPC specialists for their campaigns, this will fit the bill. Cheers!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DMGR8: Sages & Specialists (2e)
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E-Z DUNGEONS: Borderland Keep
Publisher: Fat Dragon Games
by Bruce L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/19/2018 22:21:32

Fantastic paper model... However, I gave up on card stock models, beginning with this model. I buy 3mm-thick cardboard, from a framing shop, at Michael's. I print out the pieces of this castle, on full-sheet label paper, apply it to the cardboard, and cut it out to size. The 3mm-thick cardboard tends to bow, so I use Wood Glue, and I apply a balsa wood rectangular beam, from the craft store, to reinforce the long sections. It works, quite well, creating a durable 'paper' model, with strength, and heft. My cardstock models lasted about two games' worth; my 3mm-thick cardboard models have endured 3+ table games, with miniatures, without issue.

The Gatehouse comes in two versions: simple, and complex, with a working portcullis. I built the complex version. The wall sections have a 1.5-inch wide catwalk. The Towers are all square. The textures are superb, there is great looking shadows. Though the finished models are really nice looking -- with no painting required!

Furthermore, I am using the printouts from this set to cover round, oatmeal tubes, to create round Towers. This does require cutting and pasting, to match things up -- it requires some skill and technique, but most average adults can accomplish this without too much effort. I am applying the same techniques to rectangular oatmeal boxes, to make custom, though much larger, Gatehouse, for really large cities.

This set is worth every penny. Printing on full-sheet label paper, and applying to 3mm-thick cardboard, makes beautiful, durable models, which should last for years. As for appearances, they are very good. For mini's gamers, and role players who want to build a city wall, or a castle keep, this is the bomb! Cheers!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
E-Z DUNGEONS: Borderland Keep
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Player's Handbook, Revised (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Bruce L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/29/2018 08:50:47

I ordered the POD softcover book. My original, orange-colored hardback, is wearing a bit, after purchasing it back in 1989. My players mostly have the reprint version, so when referencing page numbers, we have issues as they are not the same between the original printing, and the reprint. This POD softcover solves that problem. The page numbers in this POD, are identical to the hardback versions printed in the mid-1990's -- I verified they were the same, to be sure.

POD: excellent quality, no complaints on format, binding, printing, etc. I would recommend you practice what you learned in grade school, in breaking in a new book: hold it on its spine; open 20-40 pages in the front, and press your hand against the pages, in the fold, to gently press them open, then repeat for the first 20-40 pages in the back; repeat with another 20-40 pages, front and back, until you reach the center of the book. This will help the binding, and the pages, open for you, without damage.

The POD version was a long time coming, but it is worth the price. The quality is excellent, and it is wonderful to have these books back in print! Cheers!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Player's Handbook, Revised (2e)
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Generic Adventure Magazine #1, May 2018
Publisher: PenguinComics.com
by Bruce L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/07/2018 12:18:01

The magazine is short, which is why I took off one pip in the rating. Aside from that, the article is spot on. It covers the topic of speed-writing an adventure quite well. I look forward to applying the techniques. It seems so easy, and obvious, once the author points it all out... "Why didn't I think of that?" To me, that is a sign of some genius work at hand. Looking forward to the next one. This is definitely worth the cost for the 'how to' article.

Some nice artwork, decent, artistic layout, well done, really. I suspect the author will continue to improve his offerings over time. I look forward to seeing more from him. Cheers!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Generic Adventure Magazine #1, May 2018
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Print & Paste Dungeon textures: Pillars
Publisher: Crooked Staff Publishing
by Bruce L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/22/2018 13:58:15

Simple, basic, can be used for multiple purposes. Work best if printed on full-sheet labels: print, cut to size, peel and stick! Couldn't be easier. This product is worthwhile, but I highly recommend the artist's videos which show additional, intereting ways to employ his products. Visit his YouTube channel for his videos. The link can be found on his homepage. Cheers!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Print & Paste Dungeon textures: Pillars
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Draconomicon: The Book of Dragons (3.5)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Bruce L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/05/2018 16:27:09

I play 2e AD&D, not 3.X, but after reading reviews of the different versions of this title, the 3.5e version sounded the best. I purchased the standard heavyweight POD version: superb print quality! This book is one inch thick! The quality is superb. For me, the POD is worth every penny -- much less than I could get a used copy for, on e-Bay, or Amazon. POD is fantastic quality, and the price is often much cheaper than a used copy, as discussed already.

Now for the contents... It covers the major D&D Dragons: both chromatic, and metallic. It gives examples of each Dragon type, in each of their growth, or maturity classes. It gives examples of a typical lair for each type, as well. There is great artwork for each type of Dragon, in each listing. There is a large amount of 3.Xe classes, feats, etc. None of that is of interest to me, since I play 2e, and none of this material is trasferable. They changed up the wing designs on several types of Dragons. There are glaring similiarities for some, with wings stretching to the tail, running nearly the entire length of the body. They tried to illustrate how these body-length wings would work, in flight. I give them props for trying.

They give CR ratings on each Dragon type, and age group. This is where it becomes like a video/PC game. A Hatchling, for example has 34 HP! The Hatchling is all of 2-feet tall! The Ancient Worm, or whatever they call the largest age/size group of Red Dragons, tend to have 500+ HP!... Even the deities, back in the DDG book, from 1e, did not have that many HP, typically. This seems ridiculous, to me. The CR rating for this monster, is 36, by the way. The highest CR is the ancient Gold Dragon: 37. To me, this really is over the top for size, HP, etc. Still, it is easy for the individual DM to massage the statistics to more acceptable levels.

One of the most interesting things I noticed, is that some Black Dragons can change their breath weapon from a narrow stream, into a a cone, one-half the normal length. Neat option, which makes great sense. They also name every example printed, so you get around five names for every true Dragon type, listed. They also cover lesser Dragons, but in much less detail (more than the Monster Manual, typically, but less than the space alloted to the true Dragons.

There is a section dealing with generating a Dragon's hoard of treasue, as well as other crunch on Dragons, their larirs, and minions who serve, or even worthip them.Just about every aspect of Dragons is covered.

They list magical items for use by Dragons, such as a magical mouthpiece, which increases their bite damage. They cover uses for Dragon body parts, making armor out of their hides, and such. As stated, there are a lot of pages in this book! It is packed with fun-to-read information on the most iconic monster in the game. This book is just fun to read, whether I use the material in my games, or not.

I would highly recommend this book to any DM. There is, however, a Pleyer's Section, as well, for would-be dragon slayers. I skipped that section. I feel my players need to research that on their own.

Anyway, I highly recommend this book, regardless of what rules set you play. It is a fun romp through all things Dragon. I feel it was worth the price of hard-copy admission. Cheers!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Draconomicon: The Book of Dragons (3.5)
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The Trolls of Mistwood
Publisher: Shinobi 27 Games
by Bruce L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/19/2018 15:46:39

This adventure is very well written: it consists of investigative work for the players, red herrings to mislead them, and multiple enemies to both deceive, and confuse them, at a most critical point in the adventure! There is a cast of numerous, interesting, and potentially misleading characters to encounter, and interact with. The plot is not overly complex, but the fact that they are facing two enemy factions, using them as a tool to defeat their opponents, makes for some interesting challenges for the players.

Without giving too much away, things are not what they seem. The players may imagine they have solved the numerous mysteries, but more likely, they have not. This is a story with depth, complexity, and challenges which are not particulary common. It involves far more than trute force, or horrendously powerful magic, to overcome the machinations of the powerful adversaries in this adventure.

If you are planning to run this adventure, a quick read-through will give you the whole, twisted, story. After that, strap yourself in for a wild ride, because you will not know how the players will choose to navigate this maze of decisions, until they voice their choices at the table... Then watch the chips fall as they may. It get a little crazy. Enjoy!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Trolls of Mistwood
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Creator Reply:
Thanks for the kind review, Bruce.
Infinite Dungeons: Core Set
Publisher: Paper Realms
by Bruce L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/02/2018 15:08:21

I purchased this set for use in a non-standard way... Bear this in mind as you read my review. I have added my version of how I will be employing this set, below a review of the standard, designed approach for this product. Now for the review of the product, as it is intended to be used:

This set has nice wall sections, with/without torches ensconced in the walls, doorways, and openings. The wall sections are designed to interlock with posts, at the corners. It comes with its own floor system, which is designed to be pasted to foamcore boards. As designed, the system will work quite well. However, there is an issue with square posts being required in each corner, for the wall sections to interlock with. This is a minor quibble, but one I thought worth mentioning. Tabs on the wall sections will interlock in a slot on the corner sections, hence the need for the square posts, to create room for the wall tabs to interlock with something in the corners -- cuts are made in the corners of the square posts to allow the tabs on the wall sections to slide into the posts, hooking the two pieces together. This approach could be adapted to allow the wall sections to be pasted to 2mm-thick cardboard, as discussed below, but it would also increae the construction time, and effort, dramatically. The finished product would be far stronger, and also much heavier. I will leave you to experiment with this approach, on your own.

The system, as designed, will allow you to stack layers/levels vertically. It is a decent system, as designed, and I would highly recommend it, as such. However, expect to produce many, many pieces, to make a truly versatile, and useful, dungeon setup. You will need to wash-rinse-repeat, numerous times, ad nauseum, really, to get a useful set. This is true with ANY dungeon model system, including 3D printing of any type. Even if you went with a 2D product, you will have to make typically 100+ pieces for your chosen set, in order to have enough to make a typical dungeon. Just a word to the wise.

Now for how I will be using this product:

I will be using full-sheet label paper to print these out. I will then cut, peel, and apply them to 2mm-thick cardboard from the local picture framing shop. I will then be inserting these double-sided, cardboard wall sections, into a slot cut into foam floor pads, such as are used on the floor, in front of a work bench in a garage. I cut 1/4"-deep (6-7 mm deep) grooves into the foam pad sections, forming a 1-inch grid pattern (done using a Table Saw with an 120-tooth blade, with a narrow kerf). This allows me to make completely modular dungeon layouts using these wall sections inserted into the slots in the foam, end-to-end, forming rooms, hallways, etc.

Before cutting the grid pattern into the foam floor mats, I paint them with various shades of gray, white, and even some yellow and brown colors of craft paint, using a natural sea sponge applicator, to achieve a mottled paint pattern (painting technique borrowed from DM Scotty's YouTube video series of crafting dungeon tiles). The foam floor mats are naturally gray in color, they have interlocking edges which allow them to be connected to one another, which allows me to make any configuration needed. The mottled paint patterns create a varied floor surface, broken up by the upright wall sections, and doorways.

It is a great deal of work to create the wall sections, but once completed, I will have a completely modular system, infinitely adaptable, and re-useable for my lifetime, and my childrens'! It will be 2.75D, easy to store, and easy to transport.

My intended use will be for both miniatures gaming of dungeon crawls (using 2e's BattleSystem Skirmish rules, published by TSR, formerly available here, for PDF download), and occasional use for RPG's. I am planning to run G3 Hall of the Fire Giant King (1e), as a convention game, using miniatures, and these dungeon pieces, mapping out the entire first level, and possibly the second dungeon level, as well. These dungeon pieces will make that possible, along with the foam floor mats. It will be faster to insert the wall sections, into the mats, than it would be to interlock the wall sections, and mount them into foamcore floors. Cheers!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Infinite Dungeons: Core Set
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City State of the Invincible Overlord, Color Map
Publisher: Bat in the Attic Games
by Bruce L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/21/2017 08:23:11

I have the original hardcopy of this product. Picked it up in the mid-80's, NOS. What a difference color makes!!! This map is gorgeous! I bought the printed poster copy. It is amazing. Looking forward to mounting it on some 3mm cardboard, and then mounting that to some 1/4" plywood.

The details on the maps are superb. It is clear, sharp, and amazing in color... Would love to see Judges Guild produce their other magnificent city maps in full color... I'd buy every one.

This poster map comes in pieces, which is fine. They come folded, not in a tube. You will get a smaller version, on a single page, which is nice. I am tempted to take my other maps into a shop with a large format photocopier, so I can get busy with colored pencils, as I seriously doubt JG will produce the other maps in full color (Tarantis... Hint! Hint!)

The color really brings this map alive. It was inspiring on the brown paper maps, but in color, it takes on new life. Amazing difference. Looking forward to more!... Would love to see the Castle Books, Villages Books, Island Books, and the Temples Book, all done up in color. A lot of work, but I bet they would sell plenty of copies! Cheers!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
City State of the Invincible Overlord, Color Map
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Siege Engines
Publisher: Fat Dragon Games
by Bruce L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/19/2016 10:05:49

I took this set to the next level: I mounted it to 2mm thick cardboard, for the tower and the battering ram, to make them durable. While this meant I had to alter the construction techniques slightly, it still came together quite well. I used some plastic MK base discs to create the wheels, but using the printed paper wheels, mounted to the same cardboard, would also work. I edged the thick cardboard with gray craft paint, and the finished model turned out incredibly durable, much heavier, and extremely strong for holding mini's, and resisting flexing, and damage, from handling. I am applying the same 2mm thick cardboard construction technique to the FD Castle set I purchased. My wall sections, gates, and towers, are quite sturdy, durable, and heavy, compared to 110# cardstock versions of the same constructs!

I print my pieces on regular, 20# paper, then I use a permanent glue stick to adhere them to the 2mm cardboard, burnishing them to ensure proper adherence to the cardboard. Once assembled, using White PVA Glue, they are quite strong, secure, and ready to put on the gaming table. I also mount the mobile pieces on textured bases, which helps finish their looks, as well as making them easier to pick up, and move on the tabletop, as needed. Perfect for fantasy, and medieval miniature gaming. Cheers!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Siege Engines
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D3 Vault of the Drow (1e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Bruce L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/11/2016 16:57:30

Classic module which truly explained, and demonstrated, the legendary Drow Elves. This module maps out a large Drow city, in the Underdark realm. It is classic, old-school, in every way. Much of the city is left blank, for description, to allow the DM to develop it as they see fit. Key encounter areas are detailed, of course. It is not a place for the blundering warrior to waltz through, smashing every evil creature he sees... That would be suicidal. It is quite daunting to look at the city map, and realize just how much of it is a blank canvas for the DM to paint in their vision of the city. While the DM could fill in all of the blank areas, it is also possible to just gloss over the blank areas of the city, and only play those areas detailed by Gygax.

With regards to quallity of the scan, it is quite readable. The maps are clear. It is fully complete. The price is a bargain compared to rare copies which occasionally appear on sites like e-Bay, Amazon, and other online vendors of OOP books, and gaming materials. If you want a copy, buy it now. There is no guarantee it will be around in the future. Cheers!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
D3 Vault of the Drow (1e)
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The Book of Encounters & Lairs
Publisher: Mongoose
by Bruce L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/11/2016 16:46:15

Wow!!! This book lists 46 separate encounters, two of each monster type, one, "On the road," so to speak, and the other of the monster type in their lair. Note that the two encounters may feature a different type of the same creature from the, "On the road, encounter." The monsters featured are varied: Aboleth, Behir, Bugbear, Derro, Black, and White Dragons, to name just a few!

The encounters are labelled for "Encounter Level" (EL) which helps the DM make a decision, at a glance, whether a selected encounter is of the correct level. There are also guidelines for scaling the encounters to a different EL. The encounters offer tactics, maps for each encounter area, with descriptions on how the monsters will approach the PC's. Each encounter consists of two, or more, pages of description. The second, Lair encounter, features the same family of monster, though not always the same monster in particular. For example the wilderness encounter, for the two Dragon entries, concerns a (named) Black Dragon, while the Dragon Lair encounter, concerns a mated pair of White Dragons. The lair encounters are given the same level of details regading the monsters habits, how they will react, etc. The White Dragons' lair, for example, features a frozen larder, complete with subtle clues as to what the PC's will encounter when they penetrate deeper into the Pair's lair!

At the end of the book, there are Encounter Charts: "These charts will provide a Games Master with all the information needed to determine just exactly what it is the party encounter, how many of them there are and scale it all according to the level of experience the group represents." Now this, is fantastically useful to the DM!

The final chapter, "Help for the Games Masters," is quite useful, It offers direct instructions for the DM. Here is a line which captures the sense of this final chapter, "The gaming gloves are off here; this is just you and me, talking about encounters and gaming from the perspective of how to run a better, more believable game." It consists of seven tips, with lengthy discussions, on how to improve your game -- both for you, and your players. Overall, this book is quite well done, in all aspects. I look forward to using it in my own games! Cheers!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Book of Encounters & Lairs
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