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Octopods
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by ROBERT D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/13/2019 02:30:48

This work is a very interesting take on a totally new playable race. It's balanced and flavorful. Even if you don't allow the race as written at your table, there's plenty of great ideas in Lensch's design that you can mine for your own options.

5/5, well worth every penny!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Octopods
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Creator Reply:
Thanks Robert! Mine away!
Goblin Stock Art
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by ROBERT D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/27/2019 14:24:36

This is great stuff! Just what I need for a project I have in the works. Look for these in an OSR-feel adventure soon from R P Davis! =)

https://www.dmsguild.com/browse.php?author=R%20P%20Davis



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Goblin Stock Art
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Adventure: The Dreaded Tunnels of Ruxabar
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by robert d. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/17/2019 03:38:44
Edited to Add:

The writing team behind this adventure has released an update that addresses many of my reservations about it. It still has layout issues which detract from readability, which means I can't quite give it a full 5 stars (next time, guys, make sure your text flows nicely and just, well, LOOKS nice before you fill the page with art).

Original Review

There’s a lot to like in this adventure. It’s your bog-standard "out and down" dungeon crawl, which some folks might yawn over, but there's a really cool premise I found quite interesting, and there's plenty in the adventure to keep your players on their toes. It manages to cover two of the pillars of play very well. Slayers will have plenty to kill. Explorers will find plenty of areas in which to poke and prod. Roleplayers won't find as much joy, but that's the nature of an out-and-down dungeon crawl, so I can't fault the writing team for that.

The dungeon itself is as dangerous as many I've seen. It's not as lethal as Tomb of Horrors, but Tomb of Horrors isn't really a good dungeon. There are too many ways to just die in ToH, with player choices and character competency having no meaning. The Dreaded Tunnels, like all good dungeons, is accommodating of player agency. If a PC dies in The Dreaded Tunnels, it's their own damn fault. There are plenty of ways for PCs to get dead in this adventure, but they're all due to choices players make (and die rolls, of course). I stand firmly behind that. 

There are new and interesting monsters, plenty of loot, new and unique magic, and compelling NPCs.

Much of the art appears to be custom-sourced, and it's executed to a very high standard. 

The map is an excellent, high-resolution PNG that can easily be slotted into your favorite VTT. The adventure also comes with a custom token pack for your VTT game, which is a pleasant surprise.

The layout is fairly well-executed. The text is laid out in a serif font, which I prefer, and I found it clear and easy to read. There are some problems with the fully-justified layout, like last lines of paragraphs spread across the entire line. These are pretty damning errors for a product which credits a graphic designer and layout artist, and could use a fix in an update.

The text is where my trouble with this adventure begins. For all the pretty, for all the maps and tokens, for all the ingenuity of the premise, it's just...well, there's no easy way to put this, so I'm just going to say it: It's just poorly written.

There are grammatical errors, there's shotgun punctuation, there's apparently random capitalization. Those are objective fact. There's way too much flavor text, which I admit is entirely subjective.

That's one thing. I can get beyond that to a certain extent, especially if the premise of the work is good, like it is here. But the writing in this adventure is so bad it gets in the way. It especially gets in the way of easily DMing the adventure.

5e mechanical text looks a certain way. Take a poison needle trap, for instance. Here's the Tier 1 example from my favorite online SRD:

A poisoned needle is hidden within a treasure chest's lock. Opening the chest without the proper key causes the needle to spring out, delivering a dose of poison. 

When the trap is triggered, the needle extends 3 inches straight out from the lock. A creature within range takes 1 piercing damage and 11 (2d10) poison damage, and must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 hour. 

A successful DC 20 Intelligence (Investigation) check allows a character to deduce the trap's presence from alterations made to the lock to accommodate the needle. A successful DC 15 Dexterity check using thieves' tools disarms the trap, removing the needle from the lock. Unsuccessfully attempting to pick the lock triggers the trap.

Here's how the writers of The Dreaded Tunnels did it:

The chest is trapped with a poisoned needle, requiring a DC 14 Investigation check for the players to spot it. Once identified, DC 14 Sleight of hand check to disarm. If unsuccessful, when opened, the target takes 1d4 poison damage. The lock requires a DC 12 thieves tools check to unlock, or DC 15 Strength to break it with a crowbar or similar tool.

It's like the writers never really took on board how 5e mechanical text is supposed to flow. It's like they've never designed a 5e adventure. Hell, it's like they've never read a 5e adventure, because mechanical description is uniform throughout Wizards publications, including AL adventures.

The DCs are wrong for Tier 2 characters, which is the stated design tier. It doesn't take too strict an eye to notice these checks are too easy for Tier 1 characters. Some of the checks are wrong. All of the skill checks in this example either fail to list the relevant ability or, if it includes the ability, fails to tell you what to do with the ability. In other words, the text includes none of the adjudicating shorthand official Wizards 5e (and quality 3rd-party) adventure material has made you come to expect. 

This is not an isolated incident. This is the standard throughout the adventure.

Elsewhere, there are mechanical things mixed in with the flavor text, like this:

If you decide to go on your left, you notice that the room is filled with nothing else than an unbearable stench that makes your insides turn. Make a constitution saving throw (DC 12) against puking. At the end of the room you finally notice what generates this horrendous smell.

This is supposed to be a room description. Reciting a player choice which should have been established before beginning to read, then giving the room description, then calling for a saving throw (formatted incorrectly), then removing player agency by assuming the PCs went further into the room, in the process contradicting the first bit of room description, is just...wow.

Again, this is not an isolated incident.

SUMMARY

Practically speaking, if you're an experienced 5e DM, you're going to need to really dig in to the 2 out of 5 text to ensure you know precisely what the designers are trying to achieve. Spending the time to do that will likely mean that running this adventure will take more time to prep than simply designing your own adventure (and needing to spend any time at all to prep a canned adventure other than read it once or twice means 1 out of 5 convenience) . But if you're prepared to do that, you'll get a cracking 5 out of 5 concept. Additionally, if you play online with a VTT, you get a lot of 5 out of 5 assets

I can't in good conscience give more than 3 out of 5 stars for this adventure. Submitted to a thorough editing and a top-down rewrite can bring it to 4 or 5. If that happens, I'll revise this review or add a comment to it.

You can find a clean copy of this review on my blog at www.r-p-davis.com



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure: The Dreaded Tunnels of Ruxabar
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Creator Reply:
Hey robert! thanks for your feedback! I just wanted to let you know that we have updated the title and we fixed plenty of the problems you mentioned. If you would like to check the revision and edit the review accordingly we would appreciate it! Thanks in advance :)
Adaptable NPCs
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by robert d. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/28/2018 13:08:35

If you're a DM, you need to have this in your bag of tricks. Not only are the NPCs solidly presented mechanically, they're presented with ideas on how to use them in your ongoing campaign. The mini-dungeons at the end even give you instantly-usable scenarios. So when your table throws you a curveball, you can still present them with a fully-realized encounter or series of encounters which will be satisfying.

In addition, the presentation of this book is phenomenally good. It's just PRETTY. The design team did an outstanding job! As a Guild creator, this book sets a standard to which I strive with my work (and fail to reach, it pains me to admit).

This book is well worth the money. 10/10!

R P Davis



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adaptable NPCs
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Creator Reply:
Thank you R.P. Davis! Your high praise of Adaptable NPCs means so much!
The Mad Mage of Xen'drik
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by robert d. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/09/2018 12:56:26

As one of the playtesters for this adventure location, I can attest that it's a TON of fun to play through!

Scooter is my bestest pal, so don't hurt him, k?



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Mad Mage of Xen'drik
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The Lady of Trollskull Priory
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by robert d. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/11/2018 06:43:54

Both the format of this adventure and the story itself are clever and exciting! My own players are going to love it. The modular nature of the encounters/episodes makes it easy to drop them into another story arc.

Well done, Travis!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Lady of Trollskull Priory
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Creator Reply:
Thanks very much for your kind words! Glad you enjoyed it!
Cover template - Light Brown Leather (portrait image) - RPG Stock Art
Publisher: Dean Spencer Art
by robert d. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/04/2018 09:41:24

This is an excellent product which will immediately improve the professional look of your Guild and DTRPG products. If you've been uploading stuff from Homebrewery with no cover, take the time to add this to your product and reap the rewards!

For an example, here's one of mine done with this very template: https://www.dmsguild.com/product/250064/Guriuss-Guide-to-Stormreach

Well done, Dean!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cover template - Light Brown Leather (portrait image) - RPG Stock Art
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25 Magic Items
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by robert d. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/07/2018 14:27:35

There are, alas, many people who cannot seem to wrap their heads around the vast gulf of difference between how magic items work in 5e compared to previous editions. There are also a lot of people who toss around the term "balanced" without showing any apparent evidence they'd understand the concept of game balance if it painted itself purple, wore a pink tutu, and danced on a grand piano accompanied by the ghost of Liberace playing the song, "Let Me Tell You How Balance Works."

This product is a collection of very thoughtfully-considered magic items. Yes, the mechanics sometimes deviate from the standard presentation of magic items (such as it is). Rather than use that as a reason to discard it, however, I encourage you to give it a go. Download it. It's free, after all; it's not as though you have anything to lose. Then read it, and consider the magic items therein carefully, and in the context in which they're designed.

I think you'll find it's a pretty darn fine collection indeed.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
25 Magic Items
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Creator Reply:
Thanks a lot! This made my day!
A Small Problem
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by robert d. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/01/2018 08:23:56

If you're in need of a quick one-shot or side quest for your campaign, look no further. Chock full of kobold-y goodness -- like traps and trash and slime -- this will keep you and your players entertained.

Plus it has great art and it is very professionally presented. What's not to love?

5/5, Highly Recommended!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Small Problem
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Creator Reply:
Thank you SO MUCH for your kind words! Glad you enjoyed it!
Let Sleeping Guards Lie
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by robert d. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/07/2018 07:26:07

This is a STONKING product which will come in very handy for both those DMs with sandboxes and those with players who could use a bit of a shake-up. 10/10, get it now.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Let Sleeping Guards Lie
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We'll Sleep Here Tonight: Places to Rest a Weary Head
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by robert d. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/24/2018 21:13:41

DMs, pay attention: This is a very handy thing to have in your bag of holding. Get it. Now.

People think travel is boring. It's no surprise, considering how many DMs just hand-wave travel and camping. The only thing to break the monotony is random encounters, right?

Wrong.

Use this product to add spice to what might otherwise be boring travel. Make the locations memorable. Hell, if you're running an out-and-down adventure, have them wander through the same place on their way back to town. (Remember the stone trolls in The Lord of the Rings? How those were Bilbo's trolls? Same thing, bub. If it worked for Prof. Tolkien, it'll work at your table!)

Worth every penny. And you should spend much more than that on this piece of work, you cheapskate.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
We'll Sleep Here Tonight: Places to Rest a Weary Head
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Dungeon Room Descriptions (PDF/XLSX)
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by robert d. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/02/2018 05:45:35

This is the kind of thing I like - a creator's resource which does precisely what it says on the tin.

If you create dungeons, just get this. It's the kind of thing that can get you out of a jam in a hurry. Many have been the times I've been populating a dungeon and got stuck on evocative description. I wish I'd had this at the time.

Even if you don't use exactly what the tables throw at you, it's often enough to kick your creative muscles into working again.

It could be laid out a bit more attractively, but I don't really care about that. This is a tool. I don't care if a hammer is pretty; it needs to drive nails.

5/5, HIGHLY recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Room Descriptions (PDF/XLSX)
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Creator Reply:
Thanks for taking the time to let everyone know what you think and am glad that you like the tool I created :) Sounds like I created just what I was trying to and that it is as usable for others as I've found it to be for myself.
Hey, Mister. Can You Help Me?
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by robert d. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/31/2017 19:00:09

This is a great thing to keep in your DM's tool kit. You never know when you're going to need it, and it's handy enough you'll keep coming back to it. Buy it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hey, Mister. Can You Help Me?
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Terror in Krezk
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by robert d. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/22/2017 18:38:17

For those who enjoy Barovia, this is an excellent adventure. Legge hits all the right notes of strange and frightening, and throws a great twist or two into the mix. It's a great side quest for Curse of Strahd, as well as a nice one-shot to keep in your bag of holding should you need one.

Highly recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Terror in Krezk
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Creator Reply:
Robert, Thank you SO MUCH for the amazing review! I'm glad you enjoyed Terror in Krezk and hope your players will as well! Thanks, Travis
Oddities & Odysseys: The Night Fiend of Ravenloft
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by robert d. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/12/2017 11:15:38

I ran this a few days ago, and my players loved it! It's worth every penny.

The author thoughtfully provides a pretty PDF as well as a PDF that won't empty your printer. And the special extra sound file is an outstanding extra layer to the adventure. I use sound files and music in every session, so having that resource was really, really cool.

If you want a short adventure to keep up your sleeve, or a diverting short adventure as part of Curse of Strahd (or any other Ravenloft campaign), get this one. You'll kick yourself if you don't.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Oddities & Odysseys: The Night Fiend of Ravenloft
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