Monday, January 8, 2018

Review of "Shadizar - City of Wcikedness"

This four piece boxed set from Mongoose details a lot of information on a little explored area of Conan's world - The City of Shadizar - also known as "The City of Wickedness".  This set is meant for the GM's eyes only!

Coming in four pieces - Book I - "Games Master Guide", Book II - "Secrets of the Streets", Book III - "Dark Dens of Iniquity", and a large fold out map.

Book I - The largest of the three, in its 86 pages are four major sections. 1 - "Into the City", 2 - "Districts of Depravity", 3 - "The Nature of the Beast", and 4 - "Venturing Abroad".  There are also pages for the Credits, an Introduction, and the usual OGL.

In Section One, "Into the City", a very large group of crafts and professions (no less than 108 different), then my personal favorite section of this booklet, comes nine different tables of sample NPC's your characters could meet in this city.  This is a very well fleshed out section that details some of the flavor. 

In Section Two, "Districts of Depravity", we look at the geography of Shadizar and the many districts within.  From the City Gates to areas near the city, this section is chock full of good info for GM"s.

In Section Three is a very well thought out part about Game Mastering Shadizar, its natures and campaigns, its conflicts, plots, religions, and deals.

In Section Four, is a very small set of adventures in and near the city.  Laws and crimes, Political intrigues, Dark Mysteries, and some sample starting scenarios and adventures.

Book II - Secrets of the Streets" is a smaller, 32 page booklet about potential foes, secrets to discover, a small bestiary, and a nice NPC prestige class ("The Professional"), and one new race ("Kezankian Hillman").

Book III - "Dark Dens of Iniquity" is a 32 page booklet of mostly small adventures using Shadizar as a location.  "Dark Dens of Debauchery in Shadizar", "A Tavern of Merchants", "The Noblewoman's Estate", "Into the Tunnels", "The Guild Hall", "The Temple of Bel", "The Inn of the Three Crowns", and two major NPC's.

In my upcoming "Primeval Thule" campaign, I can't think of another product that has set the bar higher for the largest and almost certainly, most evil, city in my world.  If you are a GM and would love a evil city for your players to visit, live in, and perhaps even rule, this is it.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Demonology 404

"The Deluxe Guide to Fiend Summoning and Faustian Bargains" is probably one of the only books I would not want certain people to buy.

Within its 180 pages live a lexicon of 72 Devils, Daemons, and Demons - from page 49 to page 177, chock full of the very thing that Anti-D&D people talk about.  It gives =game= directions for summoning, binding, and dispelling creatures of evil intent.  Even the front cover, which depicts an upside down pentagram, is kind of disquieting.  This book is not one that I would recommend giving to anyone who might just be a little off kilter.  Supposedly, it has rituals for summoning these 72 creatures, the necessary components of the ritual, and even a sigil in the background of each monster's summoning sign. 

If there =ever= was a book that I hope the Christian Community does =not= see, it's this one.  By "Necromancers of the Northwest", it would make a great resource for Necromancers and other evil mages.  There's only a scant 29 pages of info on summoning the fiends in this volume, as well as bargaining with them, dispelling them, and the types of payment(s) they accept.

I can only recommend this book to gamers who are =very= mature, and take a good look at it to see if they want this type of detail on what amounts to NPC's in your game.  Although I own a copy, I cannot see myself ever wanting to use this in any campaign.  Remember - you have been warned!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Review of "Jade Magi"

Jade Magi, a 72 page module for the D20 system (and thus D&D 3.5) is a "Dungeon" crawl through the sewers for fourth to sixth level characters.  Normally, I generally do not buy modules.  I enjoy making up my own world more.  But this offering from Monkey God Enterprises allowed me a quick way to introduce an oriental themed area into my world.

I suspect any character with sinus problems will never want to go on this adventure, because the sewers under the town are still in use.  (Everybody say: "EEeeeeeewwwww!")  In it, the party members will find the town has recently had a minor earthquake.  The quake caused a long hidden magical pool under the city to crack open.  The properties of the pool's water were allowed to enter the sewers.  This caused many of the normal sewer inhabitants to mutate and become Dire Animals and Monsterous Vermin.  Can the party help defend the city from the attacking creatures, go into the sewers and roust out remaining monsters, and seal the pool before it can cause any more mutations?

There are full page black and white maps of the town and the main sewers, and two half page maps that detail major encounters while exploring.  There a couple of "mandatory" encounters that set the stages for adventures, and details of both the city and the sewer encounters. 

There is an amazing amount of material crammed into the 72 pages available.  Three in town adventures, and three sewer encounters.  I feel like Monkey Gad has delivered a quality product for a reasonable price for any GM to begin to present an oriental themed area of their world.  Recommended.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Inner Sea Races expanded?

Paizo has hit another home run with the this add-on book for Pathfinder.  I did not buy Inner Sea Races as quickly as I normally buy Hardcover Pathfinder books because I believed that it would just cover a lot of the races on their world of Golarion.  But, I got an extended look at it in my local BAM, and decided to get it.  I was not disappointed!  This book takes the races we already know and love (heck, such as Humans, for instance) and breaks them down much further.  Humans can be created in 12 different types based on the tribe that they are from!  There are many other examples.  Including the now expanded Humans, this book covers 37 races rather thoroughly, and also has a few other smaller entries.  I particularly like the Catfolk - because I have a regular player that would make one up as soon as I told them Catfolk were acceptable.  In fact, this book pleased me so well that I went out and got the 'companion' volume - "Inner Sea Gods". A good GM, of course, should take a look at the races that are presented and make sure that they would "fit" into their campaign.  This book has my recommendation for any GM using Pathfinder.