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d30 DM Companion
by Richard L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/17/2017 11:51:12

After purchasing the D30 Sandbox Companion and falling in love with it, using it constantly, I decided to try some of New Big Dragon's other products. I picked up the D30 DM Companion along with the Creature Compendium and Basic Psionics Handbook.

While I'm finding the Sandbox book a lot more useful for me personally, that is in no way diminishing the value of the D30 DM Companion. Some of the tables weren't as useful for me personally because I have other books or tables I prefer(I use Central Casting's Dungeon book to build most of my dungeons, for instance), but for those that do not have another method they prefer, the dungeon construction rules seem pretty solid for creating old-school dungeons. I'm not sure why the Dungeon Features tables weren't put after the Mapping Key and Worksheet, instead of having Character Generation in between them, but that's okay.

Speaking of which, it wasn't long ago that I was asking some of my players if they had a resource of premade characters that could be used quickly. While this Character Generation system isn't very deep, it does give some basic random information such as a balanced spread of Ability Scores, race, class, motivation, weapon(s), armor, and a few other items(quill and ink, parchment, holy water, etc). You still need to decide their level and determine all that goes with that, but again this does give you a framework of a character that you can fill out in play, if you need to toss a new character into a game without preparation.

The various dungeon tables such as Embellishments, Debris, Molds Slimes and Mushrooms, etc are fun. I've used similar tables from the 1st edition DMG for random effects, but these tables are more extensive and offer more options - after all, the DMG didn't have multiple Mushroom tables, did it? Note that these come with an effect table, in case your adventurers feel like randomly eating some lichen.

The trap generator is great, and I have to say that from a slight position of disappointment - that disappointment being that I had personally created trap tables based on all the basic kinds of traps and variations I could find("basic" meaning not an extensive deathtrap) and I was quite happy with it. Now, it seems, my own tables are obsolete and I'll be using these. The magical traps were also great.

On the same page as magical traps is a poison generation system. This is fine for people who don't use the "Poison Types" as given in AD&D and need to randomly generate a poison and effect. I like the table, but not sure at the moment if I prefer to use that or the poison types. The table is still great and I can see how it would be extremely useful for those that want to generate such details at random.

Monster encounters is where it gets serious. There are random monster encounters, which include 270 monsters from various editions(some of which have their name changed, such as the Hobghoul, which I was delighted to see as it was always a favorite monster of mine). I'm not sure how the "monster levels" work, which range from 1-9, and of which my 6-7th level PCs could take out the monsters in the 9th level list - or at least many of them. However, I still look forward to trying the tables out and seeing what happens, and - this is the best part of all - ALL 270 MONSTERS ARE GIVEN CAPSULIZED ENTRIES! That means this D30 DM Companion is worth the price JUST FOR A QUICK REFERENCE OF 270 OF THE MOST COMMON MONSTERS IN EVERY EDITION! More complex monsters will still probably require you to crack open your monster book, but most of them have pretty much everything you need, at a glance, on one line!

Finally, we come to the Quick Treasure Horde Generation. It appears as if it would replicate the 1e treasure tables, as well as BECMI tables, pretty accurately and much more quickly. However, as a 2e player, I may have to modify these, since they differ from the 1e tables. Still, as useful as these quick d30 tables look, it would be fairly easy, and VERY worthwhile, to convert them over.

The gem and jewelry tables are useful, though I'm not sure why the jewelry is limited to elvish and dwarvish. I had already been randomly rolling gems using a list of gems and precious stones, but it wasn't a proper "table." I hate when a game says "you find a 10 gp gem." I'd rather say "You find a 1/8" emerald." That being the case, the gem table here will be my go-to from now on. (I will adjust it for my own money system, and also by size descriptions, however.) The random weapon, armor, and protective item tables, including descriptions and magical effects, also looks like a lot of fun, though I do have my own weapon, armor, and ring description tables I created that I still prefer, though I will no doubt incorporate some of the D30 tables into mine. (Also of note - my own weapon, armor and ring tables reference a couple of tables in the D30 Sandbox Companion!)

There are a number of more item generation tables, but two I wish to comment on: First is the potions table. I'd only recently begun to go into better detail about potion appearances with smell, taste, consistency, etc. I was doing so from a table I found online. And while the online table is more extensive, having up to 100 colors, the truth is I don't need 100 colors. Having the tables I need on one page is much more helpful for me, so this will be my go-to from now on. It even includes what kind of container the potions are in, something else I had only just begun to incorporate, and this table is better than the one I was using. Oh, there are also random potion effects, if you want to roll one quickly instead of using the DMG tables.

The second - and last - table I wanted to comment on was the random miscellanious magic items. I love items like this. It's why I use the Book of Marvelous Magic so often. I love quirky, offbeat, comical, or clever items. The deathstone amulet could product a whole subplot in the campaign by itself, the lock knocker is one of those useful but funny items I love so much, the mightbringer items are the kinds of things a powerful warrior would go on epic quests to collect, creating its own campaign. I'm not sure what this company has about "emerald stinkbugs" either, since it is both an item in this game, and a monster in the Creature Compendium!

All in all, this book is fantastic. In fact, as I go back through it for the review, I am realizing it is even more useful than I thought on the first two times through. Honestly, if you only use 25% of the tables in this book, you will get your money's worth for the download.

I would go so far as to say every DM should have at least this one and the d30 Sandbox Companion.

I will review the other three books I mentioned at the beginning soon - but all I will say is, I can't WAIT for future New Big Dragon products. If future products are of the quality these four books are, I will be a fan for life.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
d30 DM Companion
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Petty Gods: Revised & Expanded Edition
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/26/2017 13:06:31

Huge, crowd sourced compendium. It's great. So much art, so much creativity.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Petty Gods: Revised & Expanded Edition
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d30 DM Companion
by Christopher H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/07/2017 21:32:42

So many great tables for your toolkit. Helps get me out of my head where i may accidentally repeat things.

Not anymore. i love this. i had to buy a d30 and I'm so glad i did.

Even has a one page dungeon template, too.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
d30 DM Companion
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CC1 Creature Compendium
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/07/2016 17:06:13

Seriously, I can’t say enough good things about this book. Without a doubt this is the best pub I have picked up here on DriveThruRPG. This manual is professional-looking, absolutely functional, and nails the old school flavor. I am running Keep on the Borderlands, and I am stocking the hills and caves with the critters in CC1. PC’s beware!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CC1 Creature Compendium
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CC1 Creature Compendium
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/29/2016 08:49:57

This is a very good product and I definitely feel I got more than my money's worth. It's well laid out with an easy to read font with quality drawings, and as a bonus it includes stats for 0e,1e and BX variations. It has drawings for nearly all of the monsters (so far only found 1 missing), which helps a great deal when quickly scanning all the unfamiliar creatures and you are looking for just the right one.

I do wish publishers would include an index based on HD or challenge rating or similar to help the poor DM quickly find an appropriate monster, but hunting through the book is fun and really not a chore.

As a point of interest, I came back to pay for this because I thought maybe I had "paid what I want" of $0 to preview it first, but found I had bought it and decided to review it instead. Now I want a print copy.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thanks for the review. For those interested in print copies, they're available from Lulu.com: http://www.lulu.com/us/en/shop/product-22133783.html
Petty Gods: Revised & Expanded Edition
by William L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/02/2016 21:13:42

This book was an excellent resource for my campaign. I even re-directed much of it to fit the tone of this great book.

The layout is excellent and the price of FREE makes it an incredible bargain.

This is an excellent read even if you don't use it directly. I translated it to 5E — which isn't hard.

I heartily recommend this book.

-bl



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Petty Gods: Revised & Expanded Edition
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Petty Gods: Revised & Expanded Edition
by Neil P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/01/2016 22:14:39

Actuall old school is not my thing to play, but I still enjoy a good read. And this is one. Full of imagination, thrills, and a few good laughs as well (gives ol' Disney a what for). I don't expect much for free, but this is the quality of a major for sale product. The production is darn good as well. If you are running an old school game get this fer sure!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Petty Gods: Revised & Expanded Edition
by Bob P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/09/2016 19:38:31

This is AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I would have happily paid $30-40 for this free product. I have been waiting for this for YEARS!! and it was worth the wait!!!!!!!!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Petty Gods: Revised & Expanded Edition
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/22/2016 14:04:41

Incredibly comprehensive. It has more petty gods thanyouwill everuse. A must have!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Petty Gods: Revised & Expanded Edition
by Torsten O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/21/2016 19:20:34

This has everything I had been hoping to add to the game I'm running. Gorguos art and layouts. The writing has been consistantly clever and evocative. I'm a fan.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Petty Gods: Revised & Expanded Edition
by patrick m. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/03/2016 20:57:11

A fun way to look at some interesting lesser gods. With the AD&D feel it filled with me with nistoligia



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
PA1 Vault of the Faceless Giants
by T. L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/06/2016 11:02:49

PA1 Vault of the Faceless Giants review

Billed as an old school adventure module from New Big Dragon, by Richard J. LeBlanc, Jr.

First off, I love the old school modules and by 'old school' I mean early 1980s TSR modules. Vault of the Faceless Giants does a good job of looking old school. The two-colunm layout, the boxed text, stat blocks, maps, etc; reading the module really made me feel like I was reading an early 80s TSR production. It is black & white throughout, with the exception of the monochrome colour cover. I found the artwork, though not abundant, to be pleasing. It accents and breaks up the text nicely. In my opinion, the production quality is very professional.

A few disclaimers: I read the PDF version, I got the PDF when it was offered for free recently on DriveThruRPG and I have not played the module.

Vault of the Faceless Giants is labelled as PA1, the first part of the PA-series. This series is meant to highlight (and make use of) Old School Adventures™ Accessory PX1: Basic Psionics Handbook, also from New Big Dragon. It is necessary to have the Psionics Handbook to get the most out of the module (especially if you want to run it out-of-the-box). Otherwise a bit of extra work is require by the DM, but I don't consider the Psionics Handbook essential. Another thing to note is that any Psionic characters in the party might dominate play, or at least grab more of the spotlight.

Also, as the first module in the PA series, it is an introductory adventure meant for level 1 characters. With a little work by the DM it could be used for higher levels. As well, it appears to be the only module currently available in the series. Modules PA2 and PA3 are mentioned in the text, but they do not appear to be available anywere. I assume they are future releases (this being written in January of 2016). It doesn't matter much, because Vault of the Faceless Giants can easily be run as a stand-alone adventure (although see mini-dungeon, below).

Back on the topic of potential work for the DM, and things that may prevent out-of-the-box play: the setting of the module is very strongly south/southeast-asian. This includes heavy use of mysticism from those cultures (e.g. chakras, meditation, etc.) If this does not fit into your personal setting, you might have some work to do. For example, I don't think this would run well in northern Middle-Earth or a Viking setting. It also makes use of planar cosmology, which may cause trouble in someone's personal world. Nothing here is something that a good DM could not work around, but just to note that is a potential for extra work to make it fit your own campaign.

Finally (yes, finally!), what is the Vault of the Faceless Giants? It is a dungeon crawl, through what I consider a medium-sized dungeon (~50 rooms). I guess it would take a session or two to complete, but thay would all depend on how you play. The dungeon is meant to be realistic, in the sense that it is not a funhouse dungeon. Although effort has been made to include lots of unique and interesting rooms & encounters, it might seem like players are fighing slight variations on the same enemies over-and-over. This is a typical limitation of realism/naturalism, not the Vault itself. (Note: I like funhouse dungeons).

The module is actually a 'two-in-one', because in addition to the main dungeon there is also a mini-dungeon. The mini-dungeon is meant to act as a transition to the next adventure in the series (PA2). Since PA2 is currently not available, this may make the extra mini-dungeon a little less useful. In any case, I am sure a good DM could make some use of of it.

Finaly, a set of pre-generated characters and a bestiary of new monsters is included at the back. Always a welcome sight.

Overall, I found it an enjoyable read (I can only assume it would be more enjoyable to play). I will definitely be looking out for the next releases in the series, and other similar New Dragon old school products as well.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
PA1 Vault of the Faceless Giants
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PA1 Vault of the Faceless Giants
by Lora A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/21/2015 07:27:33

This was a great adventure to run, but the lack of a wandering monster table for the dungeon itself left it feeling kind of empty. (That's why I gave it 4 stars instead of 5. I would have done 4.5 if it was possible.) I ran it without the psionic element because I didn't have the supplement, but doing so took nothing away from the adventure. The battle at the bell went too easily, largely because of a lucky die-roll on the thief's first shot, but I still would have beefed it up a bit (and I will when I run it again!)

As a first-level adventure it was wonderful not to have to deal with the typical "fight the goblins/rescue the unicorn" simplistic plots that many beginning modules feel like. In fact, there's a lot of material for development for later adventures. It left my players wondering, "Was this the only temple?". "Are there other planar rifts that need closing?", "Will that thing be coming back for us?"

Overall, a great adventure. I am glad to add it to my library!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
PX1 Basic Psionics Handbook
by Rachael S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/11/2015 12:41:47

I really enjoyed reading this book. I like the Chakra system. To use this with 1st edition games would be very easy. I plan to use the wild talent portion of this rules system for the old system. I do like the character classes as listed for rare monk/mystic type NPCs. I don't see having a PC with that kind of skills. The only change I plan on making for my 1st ed is to use the 1st ed rules for att/def modes and psionic strength points and this wild talent system for what Chakra you have access to and what abilities you get.

The list of powers/abilities is quite well thought out and tied quite nicely to each Chakra. The only suggestion I would make is to have a few crossover devotions as there is more than one way to get to the same effect.

I also like to couple of rules;

1) Psionic are twice as strong as Magic.

2) Psionic defenses will all ties

EX: use of magic telepathy by spell or device can be stoped by psionic telepathy of half level. Spell like ESP level 2 can be blocked by psionic level 1 telepathy or even mindblank defense.

All in all I highly recommend this for any DM who has psionics in his/her campaign.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
PX1 Basic Psionics Handbook
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PX2 Extra: Planar Primer
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/06/2015 09:37:30

Have you ever wanted to take your basic or OD&D parties onto the planes but in the AD&D 1st edition Dungeon Master's Guide only the 'high level' parties got to play there? Need to throw your PC's into the deep end of the multi verse? Well wonder no more because New Big Dragon Games Unlimited Old School Adventures™ has a brand new pdf with everything to jump start your PC's into the deep dimensional morass that is the multiverse. The Planar Primer is seven pages of stripped down easy access nastiness waiting for your PC's to stumble into the astral and beyond. So Richard LeBlanc Jr has stripped everything down to a usable format for Labyrinth Lord or B/X and made it an easy access for DM who don't have the time to deal with the issues of conversion, reference, and all of the little details that make planar and dimensional travel a headache everything here is boiled down into an easy to use format. Basically this is planar travel without tears and its pretty nifty. The break down is easy to understand and there are some old favorites for magic items even. The planar travel isn't the nightmare its been in the past and the author explains everything out like stereo instructions step by step from set up to plug & play making this a very easy to understand book on the planes. There's a bit of everything laid out in easy understand and plain English. Its pretty much all there for the DM to pick, choose, and use as they see fit. Everything is laid bare in this book from the basics of plane physics and its effects on magic, to thumbnail sketches of the planes themselves, a quick overview of magick on the planes, a smattering of magic items and diagrams outlining the planes, the ways magic effects them and your PC. The nice thing about this book is the fact that there's no real emphasis on how to use this pdf, you could easily tack this onto a Mutant Future session as easily as a regular game of B/X Dungeons and Dragons or mix it up. The fact that its free makes this an even more enticing little gaming morsel. There is a ton that can be done with this little pdf, such as grafting onto other campaigns and getting much expanded other dimensional multiverse. The nice thing is the simplicity and functionality of the piece, it makes adventure crafting quite nice in a simple way when a DM doesn't have to reach for the Manual of The Planes. For a short seven pages of old school retroclone fun, this is a damn little useful book. Four out of five, I kinda wish there might have been a bit more of this book but it is free! Eric Fabiaschi Swords and Stitchery blog Want to know more & see this as well as other old school systems supported? Subscribe to Sword & Stitchery http://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
PX2 Extra: Planar Primer
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