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CASTLE OLDSKULL - The Book of Dungeon Traps
by RN M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/24/2017 14:16:18

A categorical reference when building a dungeon for your players, full of good ideas for various levels of incapacitation all the way to murder.

In short, I liked it



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CASTLE OLDSKULL - The Book of Dungeon Traps
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CASTLE OLDSKULL - The Classic Dungeon Design Guide
by Sean M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/12/2017 00:56:22

This book brings every dungeon building technique together to show you how to make a mega dungeon down to room to room detail. You just have to get through all the random tables to get to the real techniques and theory of dungeon building.

I already had random room generators. I already knew how to create themes for my different dungeon zones. But this book showed me how to put it all together.

And it only costs a dollar!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CASTLE OLDSKULL - The Classic Dungeon Design Guide
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CASTLE OLDSKULL - The Oldskull Deck of Strangest Things
by Ijustwant T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/03/2017 19:34:58

The varying effects and challenges provided by the deck are pretty neat and honestly do make me want to throw it at my current group - although they are aware of the Deck of Many Things and might be too wary to actually draw anything, but hey, it's still worth a try.

That said, I am a little disappointed that inverted results are always negative, while upright results positive (or at least the best thing possible to get from the card). A real Tarot deck can divine good things even from inverted cards and bad from the upright one - the Devil being a good example of such.

Also, you should open up the Dragon Magazine issue 77, which features a Tarot Deck of Many Things. This deck pretty much defeats the #1 purpose of your supplement, on account of having also the Minor Arcana in it. At the moment I have to say that I still prefer this Deck, although if you do indeed make new supplements for Minor Arcana, I will buy those and might well come to change my mind once I have them all.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
CASTLE OLDSKULL - The Oldskull Deck of Strangest Things
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Creator Reply:
Hi there, thank you for the review. :) There's actually a metagame reason for why the inverted cards have negative effects universally ... in my campaign the players were blaming me whenever a negative card was drawn, and I got accused of poor shuffling, favoritism, etc. whenever another player drew good cards and someone got jealous. (Yes, players can get petty sometimes.) The fix in my campaign was to make it so that every card was good, and every card was bad, with the draw being performed by the player from a blind draw in a pouch. After the draw (with symmetrical card backs) they decided which way to position the card in a tray before it was flipped over. The inverted part came in because originally I was rolling (or a player was rolling) after the card was drawn to see if it was the good effect or the bad one, and then there was yelling again. Players didn't want me to punish them "arbitrarily" with a die roll after they drew a card. So I've made it be that the card drawing player draws a card and determines its position whenever possible, so that they only have themselves to blame, so to speak. I originally had a more Gygaxian version of the deck that was 50% good cards and 50% bad cards, but it always caused the arguments and the current design is a compromise, keeping in mind player reactions to what they regard as unfair or arbitrary treatment. That may seem a little convoluted but since this is a high stakes item, it has lots of built in restrictions and meta-effects based on what has caused trouble in the past. I do have a lot of notes on the Minor Arcana too but it will take some time to refine those into a clean format with additional play balancing. Enjoy! ~Kent
HAWK & MOOR - Book 2 - Deluxe Edition - The Dungeons Deep
by John K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/01/2017 09:09:00

I received the Kindle version (the Trilogy with the first 3 books combined) for my birthday and have read the first two volumes. I got the pdf versions here while they were on sale. This version (the PDF) is better in that it has the illustrations and footnotes at the bottom of each page. The Kindle version has footnotes at the back of all three books with no hyperlinks to/from the footnotes, which makes for difficult navigation. Both versions (Kindle and PDF) could benefit from an active table of contents and hyperlinks to/from footnotes. Overall the author shows excellent research into the history of D&D, with documented citations. There are a few typos throughout but not to the extent that it is unreadable. In fact, while very detailed, it reads quite fluidly. Also I found the author to be quite objective about the various people and events involved.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
HAWK & MOOR - Book 2 - Deluxe Edition - The Dungeons Deep
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HAWK & MOOR - Book 1 - Deluxe Edition - The Dragon Rises
by John K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/01/2017 09:08:06

I received the Kindle version (the Trilogy with the first 3 books combined) for my birthday and have read the first two volumes. I got the pdf versions here while they were on sale. This version (the PDF) is better in that it has the illustrations and footnotes at the bottom of each page. The Kindle version has footnotes at the back of all three books with no hyperlinks to/from the footnotes, which makes for difficult navigation. Both versions (Kindle and PDF) could benefit from an active table of contents and hyperlinks to/from footnotes. Overall the author shows excellent research into the history of D&D, with documented citations. There are a few typos throughout but not to the extent that it is unreadable. In fact, while very detailed, it reads quite fluidly. Also I found the author to be quite objective about the various people and events involved.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
HAWK & MOOR - Book 1 - Deluxe Edition - The Dragon Rises
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CASTLE OLDSKULL - The Classic Dungeon Design Guide
by Emily B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/21/2017 02:55:26

Dungeon design guides are fairly common, but most of them dwell on minutae already covered in Dungeon Master's Guides. This product is especially useful because it ignores most of that stuff in favor of things that haven't been adequately covered. It also presents some easy organization techniques to manage information overload and streamline the dungeon creation process. Some highlights of the product are:

-Advice on making semi-realistic caves, tombs, castles, and manor houses. "Semi-realistic" is explicitly stated as the goal here, as opposed to completely abstract or restrictively realistic designs.

-Random inspiration and idea tables that are both evocative and flexible. Most random tables don't work well for me because they either assume a very specific setting, contain a bunch of really bland concepts, or both. But this book has long tables with lots of genuinely creative ideas.

-A streamlined method for figuring out the dungeon's history and construction. I usually minimize or avoid this issue because most products make dungeon histories sound dreary and irrelevant, but this book's method is faster and more interesting and changed my mind on the subject.

-A streamlined sector-based method for laying out dungeon levels. The writer suggests going back and doing the typical intricate graph paper designs afterwards, and gives a little advice on that, but the book doesn't really dwell on that and works well for those of us who prefer simpler flowchart dungeons.

-Overall, almost everything in the book seems designed to make dungeon creation more efficient and less intimidating, rather than simply introducing more complications than I'd have if I did it by hand.

The art is mostly classic public domain stuff, but it looks pretty good in this context. The layout is decent enough and works especially well on a tablet, since it's single-column and uses a large font. The only downside is that the index is located 11 pages in and takes up several pages, and there's no bookmarks. Furthermore, as of this writing, the PDF is locked down so that new bookmarks can't be added, though that might be changed in a later version.

As an aside, this is an OSR product, but doesn't have two of the more infuriating traits that some OSR products import from the worst products of the old days.

One, it doesn't have a bunch of stupid puns and "hur hur this game is so silly isn't it" stuff a la Mystara or some Greyhawk products; it takes the subject matter reasonably seriously. If you're looking for a more serious OSR product, this is a great one.

Two, it doesn't have big issues with sexism or racism. There's only two problems that I found; one is that it mentions "African" under "primitive themes" on one table, and another is that it occasionally uses "gypsies" as a concept, though it's generally much better than most products on that subject. Fair warning there, but it's pretty solid and comfortable on the subject. It's overall better than the average TSR or Wizards of the Coast product when it comes to the subject.

In conclusion, I've found this product very inspiring and useful, so I'm giving it 5 out of 5.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CASTLE OLDSKULL - The Classic Dungeon Design Guide
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Creator Reply:
Hi there Emily, thank you for the kind review! I appreciate it. I'm hoping to work on this book again in the early summer with some more formatting and content improvements, so I will add your notes to my growing list :) ~Kent
HAWK & MOOR - Book 2 - Deluxe Edition - The Dungeons Deep
by Adam D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/28/2017 13:28:24

I love this series of books. I've read 1 & 2 and greatly enjoyed them. They cover the history of D&D from its beginnings, sharing stories that every gamer should enjoy: details of the early dungeon delves and characters who adventured under Castle Grayhawk and in Blackmoor.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
HAWK & MOOR - Book 2 - Deluxe Edition - The Dungeons Deep
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CASTLE OLDSKULL - Game World Generator
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/16/2017 17:02:10

I just took this for a spin, and I am glad that I purchased it. I've been kicking around ideas for a new campaign world for a few years now, based on a map of Eurore during the last glacial maximum. From a bunch of ideas splashing around my head, this product helped me to forge a coherent world map and detailed initial setting in less than a week. The tables and charts also helped me to avoid many of the pitfalls that have plagued my past homebrewed worlds, most of which felt shallow, like movie sets with nothing behind them. My newly-designed world already feels more real than any I've designed in the past, and I lay the credit squarely at the feet of this book.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CASTLE OLDSKULL - Game World Generator
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Creator Reply:
Hi there, thank you for the kind review! I appreciate it. I hope you're enjoying the campaign world design tools so far. ~Kent
CASTLE OLDSKULL - Game World Generator
by A. T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/30/2017 12:59:15

130-150 pages of actual of content. Please note that this review is from skimming the book. Take it with a grain of salt. Short: Some interesting tables and ideas. Descent top down creation for the physical world; however, the world generated feels like a foundation that needs to be built on. Art is terrible. Weird layout doubles if not tripples the page count. Worth about a dollar as is. You'll need other resources to build out your world's religion, politics, factions, magic, and history. Long:

  • So far I've only skimmed the book, but I can tell that this is someone's passion project. I think the author needs to take a step back and refocus his efforts into a streamlined version. The long and short of this book is that it is not 330 pages of content. Many of the pages will contain a line or two of text followed by 2-3 blank lines. Others will be full blocks of text. I'm not sure why the author is trying to make the book seem longer than it actually is. There is probably 130-150 actual pages worth of information.
  • The book goes into great detail about map creation and topics such as where to place cities in a logical manner. Lots of useful information about population size, political hierarchies, titles from various cultures.
  • The art is terrible; MS paint level. However, it gets the point across. Some pieces are confusing.
  • The author switches between hexes and squares part way into world creation. Which is really weird.
  • The book generates worlds from a top down perspective, but in the end many parts of world building are missing such as; religion, politics, factions, magic, history, etc... The book makes general suggestions about these things that one would hope would have whole chapters devoted to them in detail, but they don't.
  • Over all there are areas of the book that contain useful information, but in the end you'll be left with a fairly generic and in my opinion empty world. You'll have lots of locations, ideas about the local economy, the alignment for a country, the political hierarchy for a region, the regional climate, etc. However, in the end you'll need to expand out the details of areas yourself when it comes the gears of adventure.
  • I'd say Dungeon World is a better product for building a world for actual play, or the DMG from any addition, or the Gamemastery Guide from Paizo, but this makes a nice supplement at its price point.

With that said this book has a number of interesting tables and information in it that can make determining various factors of your world easier and for that I don't rate it a 1. If the author would condense his layout and add more chapters on the missing topics noted above I could easily see raising my rating. I would say its worth about a dollar as is.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
HAWK & MOOR - Book 2 - Deluxe Edition - The Dungeons Deep
by sean m. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/11/2017 05:52:18

Great book and series.Brings back fond memories of other similar history books of D&D that I have enjoyed.Please release other books in series in PDF format.PS all of your books look interesting.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
HAWK & MOOR - Book 2 - Deluxe Edition - The Dungeons Deep
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Creator Reply:
Hi there Sean, thanks much for the read and the review! I'm glad you're enjoying the series so far. I'm going to be creating deluxe versions of Books 3, 4, and 5 in PDF later this year. The formatting and images and such take a while, but I think the end results are worth it. I'm hoping to have Book 3 completed in the spring. :) Best, Kent
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