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GM's Maps #42: Shopping Arcade
by Thomas B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/22/2018 22:05:45

It's a good map, I'm not a big fan of the multi floor shops since they're difficult to map into roll20 but they're usable in this case.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
GM's Maps #42: Shopping Arcade
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GM's Maps #25: Modern Police Station
by Thomas B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/22/2018 22:03:33

Good solid layout, I have 2 issues with the map though which will require a little rework when I use it in roll20. One issue is I don't really understand the flow of the secure vestibule, seems like a hallway is missing. The other issue is the 10m long shooting range, I plan on swapping the backup generator in the basement with the shooting range/armoury in the basement and using the entire civilian wing of the building as a 20m shooting range, although my players will likely never see it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
GM's Maps #25: Modern Police Station
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GM's Maps #15:Apartment Building or Condominium
by Thomas B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/22/2018 21:59:33

Interesting layout for the building and would like more colour, but at the price you pay you can't complain. The one major complaint I have is the apartments are 2 levels making it difficult to port them over to roll20 or even to normal table top. In other Gethsemane maps multi floor rooms makes sense but here it just seems to complicate it.

Overall though the apartments I have issues with are placed in a way that switching them to two tiny apartments is easy and works well for some settings.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
GM's Maps #15:Apartment Building or Condominium
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GM's Maps #30: Haunted House Halloween Special
by Karen R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/23/2018 04:53:51

You get what you pay for. $2 is pretty cheap and so is the product. An absolute bare bones map, not exciting at all and honestly I draw better maps in the map builder I have. Save your money for sure.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
GM's Maps #30: Haunted House Halloween Special
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Pandora's Wake
by Stephen Y. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/09/2016 16:41:01

After buying Spelldancer (2010) today, I thought I'd buy Pandora's Wake (2015). As you can see, Pandora's Wake was made last year. The scan quality is good. Out of 196 pages, 195 are the content. Art: seems good, with some fairly good CGI.

Apart from the odd typo, the PDF appears the same as Spelldancer in every way: Character creation, etc.

You WILL need pages 31-32 (Equipment) from Spelldancer, as there isn't one in Pandora's Wake that I could see, apart from weapons & armour. That's why I've given it 3/5. It would have had 4/5 quite easily, but no equipment? What happens if your character wants to climb away from some approaching other-verse monsters? Where will they carry there ammo, grenades, food, water, etc. Twilight (GDW, 1984), was the first RPG I played that really emphasised equipment, although when I played D&D back in the late 70's onwards, they had their lists as well. Equipment can not only help your character, but others in the group or other survivors you might meet.

Most of the equipment from the Spelldancer list can be used: grappling hook, rope, pouches, backpacks, canteens (bottles in Spelldancer), and other items from the list.

The other-verse monsters are quite good.

There are 10 melee weapon skills, and 12 projectile weapon skills. So, in Melee skills, if you have skill in Bladed, but not Hatcheting, and you loose your blade and can only find an axe, there could be problems for the character. Pandora's Wake is quite good, and could be better with maybe the odd tweak here and their (equipment, skills perhaps). Combat skills could be handgun, Rifle (SMGs, Riflles, Shotguns), Heavy Weapons, Melee, Unarmed. I've done this to my system to simplify/generalise the skills.

So players could keep the Melee & Projectile skills, or maybe house rule them. The other skills in the other sections seem good. Like Spelldancer, Pandora's Wake has no index or character sheet (so far); but, it's still good at the sale price, and worth trying. Give it a look.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Pandora's Wake
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Spelldancer; Revised
by Stephen Y. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/09/2016 13:05:10

Scan quality: very good. 172 Pages, 170 are the content. Like my own system, and quite a few other RPGs I've played over the past 30+ years, Spelldancer is a percentage system (which gives a wide range in skill talent, etc). Prime attributes: Strength, Size, Agility, Perception, Luck, Willpower.

Spelldancer has some interesting species, quite a number of anthropomorphic types (Aardvark, feline, canine, boar/hog, rat, horse, goat, lizard).

The Corporeal Spirits heading lists various types (Elf, Dwarf, Dryad, etc; but the one that caught my eye was the 'Boogie Man' (Goblin Zombie) - that made me giggle. The spirit takes over the Goblin husk. Worth reading that one (p119).

Humans: 8 phenotypes present on Elizium.

There is 2 pages of equipment with the weight of each item, but no cost? Am I missing something? Currency: each kingdom/area of Elizium has it's own brass/copper, silver, gold coinage. In some parts, it's illegal to own coins from another part of Elizium.

Also covers various diseases and illnesses. Curses are also included. Artwork: from various artists. Some very nice, others, OK.

After creating your character; you need to go to p155 to see how much money your character gets. There's also a list of recent events on Elizium.

You get a full, interesting RPG for less than £5 (you can't fault that). In comparison to Spelldancer; I purchased a well known RPG system last year (more than twice the cost of Spelldancer), that was a 'bare frame, with little covering, tiny bestiary', and nowhere near as 'full and detailed'.

The only 'niggles' I have are: No character sheet (but that has been nicely sorted out by Gethsemane), and the afore mentioned prices. Also, no index (a tiny niggle). After reading Spelldancer; I'm very temped with Pandora's Wake. Spelldancer verdict: It's on sale, an interesting read, it's worth getting.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Spelldancer; Revised
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Creator Reply:
Thank you for your balanced review Stephen. In retrospect an index would have been a good idea. I\'ll try and get one added. The average cost of weapons and amour is included but you are right we missed out the cost of things like clothing, climbing gear and so on. I tend to let starting PCs have what they like in that regard (within reason) and once play begins prices vary form place to place. That said, I agree that it might be useful for us to have added n average price range in the rules. (One appears for some items in the \"Born in Flames: Part 1\" adventure, but it is not exhaustive). I shall get to it and release a free PDF with average prices for those items when time allows. Thanks again.
Esoteric Skull
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/13/2012 13:47:00

This moody and atmospheric piece of art would make an excellent addition to any horror-based product or handout. The quality of the image is excellent and would reproduce well.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Esoteric Skull
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City Book 1: Vor-Laran
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/04/2012 19:57:56

Vor-Laran is an interesting city, systemless and open to be adapted for any fantasy world, it does have its own character. If you have need for a city, or ideas for a city, this inexpensive product is a good resource.

Vor-Laran is an 18-page PDF systemless city resource for any fantasy RPG written by Bryan F Irving and published by Gethsemane Games.

After the introduction page Vor-Laran has a standard two column layout and is clearly readable. There is a full color map of the town at the beginning with a single piece of black and white art. There are a couple of typos in the book but nothing major.

Vor-Laran begins with a short introduction to the original setting used for the city and what some of the terminology used in the description means in that context (along with telling you to change what you need if that suits your campaign better).

It is a major city on the southern edge of a great empire, wealthy through trade and ancient status. Twenty-seven points of interest, including palace, markets, theater and college, in the city. Many of the locations come with an associated NPC. Additional information on the sewer and water system is provided (both of which are subjects that are often overlooked).

Six adventure ideas, each at least two paragraphs long, conclude the product.

It is an interesting setting, the empire is portrayed as fairly modern and progressive -at least in comparison to what proceeded it- while still having its dark sides and problems. But it can easily serve as a basis or inspiration for a city (or cities) in a campaign.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
City Book 1: Vor-Laran
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Horseman
by Keith (. T. A. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/05/2011 07:13:55

This is a nice piece of stock art for your collection. The horseman wears muted shades of green and purple, carries a wooden staff or walking stick, and is a little over-accessorized in the jewelry department. Although the pose is a little odd, this would make a good character or creature portrait for your fantasy, mutant, or scifi game.

Some recommended changes include reworking the hands/wrists/forearms and removing some of the jewelry.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Horseman
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Horseman
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/18/2011 23:39:11

This is a single piece of color art (in .jpeg and .tiff file formats) of a single humanoid horseman figure. The detail work is good, and the color palette is muted but sensible. While I'm not sure of the general usefulness of this piece of art, it is a well done piece. For a single piece of art, it might be slightly over-priced at $3.25, but that is more because of it's fairly specific usability. This art can add value to a project, and is definitely a piece of art that I would use if I had need of a horseman for a project.

I will keep an eye out for further pieces of art from this artist and publisher, however.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Disease
by Sadik K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/15/2011 08:02:45

For a free product this is rather good, actually I'll go a bit further and say very good.

The 8 pages are bursting with horrible illnesses from the deadly to the inconvenient and it suggests quite a lot of research went into putting it together. More than one might expect for a free product. Then again I noticed the reference to the fact that the product is actually taken form the horror RPG “Haunts and Horrors” which I have yet to acquire (I'm told by those that have that H+H shows a lot of research went into it, so that probably explains this products depth, given it's short page count).

One or two typos have snuck in under the radar (I think – English is not my first language), but I don't find that a big problem.

Although it could be used with just about any game, some legwork will be needed by the GM to make it fit anything other than the Gethsemane Games Engine used in their RPGs. However, if you do play other GG games this is a good little addition. Personally I'll be using it in my “Spelldancer” sagas to good effect. Although Spelldancer has it's own disease section, and the rules governing disease, treatment and recovery (or failure to recover!) are the same, the actual diseases don't double up with the ones in the Spelldancer rules with one exception (Gangrene, although it is given a different name in the Spelldancer rules).

The product lacks much art, but for a free product that isn't much of a surprise – besides I print most my PDFs out and with ink costs here being so steep (oil is cheaper by volume) this is a good thing for me.

If you want to add the element of illness to your games, I recommend this product at least as a starting point.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Disease
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Games of Chance
by Sadik K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/15/2011 07:47:08

To my mind Games of Chance is not one of the better products by GG, but then again it is free and it isn't all that bad either.

The product includes 3 games of chance, such as one might play in a tavern or gambling den. It includes a description of the games as well as how to use them in the Spelldancer RPG. Although the product mentions they can be converted to other RPGs, I think they are better situated within the Elizim setting, as each one tells you a little something about the culture that devised the game.

Whilst they are well thought out, I can't help thinking that for many RPGs, these “Games within games” are a little more time consuming and complex than is strictly necessary , but then I guess it depends upon your group and what they like.

Personally I would have liked to see them as an appendix to a larger product, perhaps in the Spelldancer RPG itself or in one of the promised Gazateers? Or even just on the GG website with some of the other free Spelldancer material that appears there.

With just 3 gambling games in the product I think there are other products on RPGnow that may be of more use to anyone wanting to fit some games of chance into their none GG games, but as a window into the Elizim background I find this quite interesting.

I'm quite torn as I sort of like it, and it is free, but can't see myself using it much and certainly not for games other than Spelldancer.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Games of Chance
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Secret of Serpent Tor
by Sadik K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/15/2011 07:32:40

Secret of serpent tor is a dungeon based adventure for the Fantasy RPG “Spelldancer” by Gethsemane Games, but it could easily be converted to any % based RPG almost “On the fly”.

The adventure is based around a long forgotten cult of demon snake-people accidentally unleashed when the abandoned and ruined fort-shrine built to lock them away is plundered for stone by the local farmers.

There are two obvious hooks to bring players into the adventure – the first is the gold state that has been discovered – previously hidden (for reasons that are made clear in the GM background) under a layer of plaster – greed being a traditional RPG hook for most parties. The second relates to the farm hands who have vanished inside the caves. Intended to be set in the Empire, the motivation to help fellow imperial citizens is a strong one if the players are also playing imperial citizens – the mind set of the Empire being that they look after their own.

Regardless of how you get the PCs into the caves under serpent Tor they are in for a challenge. As is often the case with GG modules, part of the challenge comes from the environment itself, although this is less the case than with say “Sulphur pits", where the very air is toxic in places.

There are plenty of opportunities for characters to test their skills, just getting into the Tor complex itself resulted, when we played, in a complex game of cat and mouse with the patrolling Serpent-folk. Spelldancer combat being what it is (exciting and dangerous) “Getting the drop” on the enemy is hugely advantageous and as the PCs and the serpent-man patrol tried to sneak up and ambush one another it lead for a very tense and memorable opening sequence to the play session.

Once inside the caverns the tension was maintained as the serpent folk were now on their home ground and the PCs got the feeling of being stalked by a terrible foe. Don't get me wrong, this is an adventure that is not as sophisticated as “Trouble at the Troubadours rest” but as a dungeon adventure it is tonnes of fun!

Plenty of scope for expansion as well, with a “bottomless pit” that could easily lead to another level if you wished to add one, and a hook that could easily lead to many more adventures and problems long after the Serpent-men are a distant bad memory.

This leads me on to the next point and another recurring theme in GG modules – a reward that is a double edged sword. Whilst the golden statue that once sealed the cult in their subterranean prison is worth a nobles ransom, actually capitalising on it can lead to all sorts of problems. The weight alone makes it hard to move and it's value will attract every ner-do-well in the region. Set during the plains war when banditry is at it's height on the Imperial border region this is a very real problem. As the end notes point out as well, actually getting the statues value in cash will be a virtual impossibility and problems with the imperial authorities are also a real risk. When we played the adventure the party melted the damaged statue down into ingots in order to make it easier to dispose of. With all mineral rites belonging to the emperor, a party with a wagon full of unstamped gold ingots drew Imperial interest that resulted in a lot of explaining from the party and an entire sub plot sprang up around it.

Ideally the PCs should be of moderate skill level and experience, although as often happens with Spelldancer clever and thoughtful preparation can win the day. A modicum of sense and knowing when discretion is the better part of valour helps as well.

My one criticism, and it is a fairly smallone, is that compared to "Trouble at..." this is a far less sophisticated module it itself (although the aftermath can lead t all sorts of more complex fun). As a dungeon crawl though, it is nice!

All told a very fun dungeon crawl with far reaching consequences that can effect your PCs for quite some time to come. This isn't a “Fire and forget” adventure if yo use a party of characters you wish to use again.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Secret of Serpent Tor
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Secret of Serpent Tor
by Tia M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/23/2011 12:49:55

Secret of Serpent Tor is another Demon hunting dungeon crawl from Gethsemane Games for their “Spelldancer” adventure, but again, you could convert it to any percentile based system with not much effort.  The dungeon isn’t huge, but it is big enough.  Getting into it isn’t that easy as the snake dudes are watching for intruders approaching.

The party could very easily end this adventure incredibly rich, as the gold statue that is one of the main “hooks” for the adventure (the other being rescuing fellow imperial citizens that have been taken by the snake demons) is worth a fortune!  At first i had my doubts about the wisdom of such a massively valuable treasure, then I read the troubleshooting and “expanding the adventure” notes and realised just how easy it is to make the statue more of a curse than a blessing.  It isn’t the first Spelldancer adventure where taking something valuable can get you into all sorts of trouble down the line (remember the horse in “Trouble at the troubadours rest?) and just holding onto the statue or managing to sell it could become the centre of quite a long and very fun campaign.  Also, at least the demons in this one aren't as gross as Sulphur pits.  Snakies are quite cute, the demon maggots of Sulphur pits were ikky!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Sulphur pits of Nathezda
by Tia M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/23/2011 12:34:28

Sulphur pits of Nathazda is an adventure for the Spelldancer RPG but could be easily modified to work with any percentile based system.  This is not one for inexperienced characters, but with the Spelldancer system you can create experience characters right from the start.  The adventure includes  some sample characters you could either use as NPCs or PCs.

Like other Gethsemane Games adventures part of the dangers the party will face are from the environment itself not just from the creatures within.  In this case the creatures are demons and ewwww, some of them are gross!  Demon maggots anyone? The adventure also answers the question of what happened to one of the missing Demon Lords of the Malmori, and in our game we actually found ourselves making an alliance with it to defeat the demon we had come to kill!  As usual there are some interesting ideas for expanding the adventure.

At first glance it looks like a fairly short dungeon crawl, and it is ( about 2 nights play perhaps?) but then in Spelldancer you don’t want to be in a dungeon too long as a few good hits will put you in a bad way, and believe me, in this adventure characters are going to get hit sooner or later!

I loved the feel of this adventure and it was just long enough for us, any longer and we wouldn’t have been able to complete it without coming out, healing up and then going back in.  your players should be prepared for the very real possibility of having a character or two killed in this adventure, especially in the final showdown.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Sulphur pits of Nathezda
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