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The Hobgoblin Bride
by Kate J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/11/2019 00:33:40

I can't wait to play this adventure. I love the logic puzzle aspect of getting the variously sized woman free. The changing conditions depending on player's approach are well described and the NPCs have such agency and personality!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Hobgoblin Bride
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Fantasy Stock Art: Dungeon Scenes
by Itai A. R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/03/2019 08:49:43

You know those classic choose-your-adventure books? It's great for those. Really made me think of those old Steve Jackson books. I love those books.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fantasy Stock Art: Dungeon Scenes
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Dragons Stock Art Volume 1
by Itai A. R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/03/2019 08:45:53

Includes 6 image files, two in color, and two more that have smaller images so they're actually 3 images each, for about 9 black and white images and 2 color images. The style is very distinct and put me in the mind of psychedelic rock album covers, or trippy animated movies from the 80's. Definitely not your usual fare.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Dragons Stock Art Volume 1
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Temple of the Harpies
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/18/2019 13:41:28

PDF. 14 pages, color cover, b&w interior, two maps

This adventure is a pretty straightforward affair that can be run in a long afternoon. Designed for four to six characters of 2nd to 3rd level, the character must retrieve a missing child, defeat harpies, kobolds, and an ancient curse and not awaken an army of undead. Suitable for any OSR game or really any d20 based fantasy game with tweaks. This one also includes some new monsters, which I always like.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Temple of the Harpies
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Creator Reply:
Thanks so much for the review! Glad to hear you've enjoyed Temple of the Harpies!
Odysseys & Overlords Player's Guide
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/18/2019 13:40:28

PDF. 56 pages, color cover, b&w interior.

The Player's guide has what you should expect a Player's Guide to have. Here you get a bit of background on the campaign world of the O&O game. It's fine, as far as these things go, but I have no emotional investment in it. It does help situate some of the game-design choices and that is nice. Still, I see a campaign guide or gazetteer sometime in the future. Since this is a Basic-era OSR game based on Basic Fantasy races and classes are separate. With this, we get some new races, called genus in this book (a more apt name really). We get Abyss-kissed, which are like other games' Tieflings though more in-line with this game's mythos. Spellscorched, which cover the same niche as elves only here children of the gods. Wild folk, humanoids with animal traits and blood. And garden variety humans. No elves, dwarves or halflings here and that is great by me! (Note: they also do not appear in the Monsters section of the Game Master's book)

Classes include the favorites of Clerics, Fighters, Magic-users and Thieves and also adds another take on the Bard class. Might need to give that one a try sometime. Bards do not have spells but do have songs they can learn for different in-game effects.

Additionally, there is a section on equipment. I'll be honest, I don't pay much attention to equipment lists anymore. I have so many games with so much equipment that if I need to find something I am sure I have it OR I can just make it up on the spot.

Spells follow next. Spells for both clerics and magic-users only go to 6th level. Personally, I still like my magic-users to have more spellcasting power than clerics and would have liked to see magic-user spells go to at least 7th level. All the expected suspects are here.

We get some adventuring rules and finally some combat rules.

The layout and art is really good and has a solid old-school feel. The book just looks nice and fills you with all sorts of old-school nostalgia. I do wish the book though offered some more new unique classes to go along with the new unique races. A little more on the world background as it applies to the characters would also have been nice.

There is a character sheet at the end of the book. You can also get the character sheet for free.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Odysseys & Overlords Player's Guide
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Odysseys & Overlords Game Master's Guide
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/18/2019 13:36:58

PDF. 63 pages, color cover, b&w interior.

This book covers a bit of material not found in the Player's guide.

Again we get some great Dean Spenser cover art and again we get the same overview of the campaign world.

We get into a section on various encounter areas, including my favorite, Urban Encounters. Tips on dealing with players, hopeless characters, and weapon and armor restrictions.

There is also a good section on XP advancement and narrative advancement, which has come to be called "milestone" advancement in D&D 4 and 5. It provides some nice balance. I am using both types in different games and it has the effect of taking the focus away from combat and more onto role-playing for Narrative/Milestone advancement.

Magical research into new spells and new magic items are also discussed.

There is a monster section following the discussion on dungeons and wilderness exploring. The problem I have with the monsters here is that you are directed to use Basic Fantasy there are not any new monsters. Nearly all, save for two, can be found in what I would call the "common canon" of the OSR. There was a real chance here to set this book apart from others with some new and unique monsters, or at least some rare ones. It is too bad this chance was not taken.

Magic items follow next. A good variety here, but again I would have liked something unique to this world to stand out.

We end with the Kingdoms. Ah! now here is the new and unique material I was hoping for. There is a good amount here to work with without being overly detailed. The descriptions are good, but a map, even a rough one, would have been great. Tip: Can't afford a good cartographer? Scribble one out and call it "an adventures map found in a dragon horde".

Interestingly enough, there are maps in the books from Dyson Logos, but that causes an awkward mix of the OGL and Creative Commons Licences that I have been told to avoid doing. Hope this works for them!

I think there is something here to the world put forth, I just would have liked to have seen more of it. There is a lot of potential with this line and would like to see more.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Odysseys & Overlords Game Master's Guide
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Creator Reply:
Thanks so much for the thoughtful and in-depth review! There will be a known world map coming soon, probably as a standalone download. We expect to have a greatly expanded monster book by year's end, but the focus in this volume was to present familiar creatures in the context of the setting, hence the lore re-writes and expansions in the included creature entries. Thanks -Travis
Shrine of the Wolf Maidens
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/17/2019 09:07:29

After the standard account of the state of the setting (chiefly for those new to Odysseys and Overlords) we get the background to the adventure: a merchant called Madeina Ilrekar hired an adventurer, a fellow called Jorasco Vinn, to go into the Untamed Gauntlet to prospect for precious metals. Apparently he didn't do very well, when he returned he spoke of an ancient shrine, the name of which is lost to antiquity. Now Madeina's daughter has vanished, and she thinks that Vinn has kidnapped her with an eye to reviving the practice of human sacrifice at the shrine he discovered!

This is where the party comes in. Perhaps they have heard about the daughter's disappearance, or maybe Madeina hires them to go in search of her... she is, it transpires, of marriageable age, and Madeina has a few potential suitors in mind. There's an optional opening encounter with Madeina, or you can start the adventure with the party already travelling through the Untamed Gauntlet. One encounter is provided for the journey, you may wish to add others of your own devising.

The main part of the adventure is the exploration of the shrine. This starts with a puzzle to unravel to get in which is very well presented. You get the puzzle itself (and its solution - not all GMs are puzzle fanatics, after all!) and suggestions about how to use die rolls to help the party crack the code and gain admission, if they don't figure it out on their own. The few rooms are described clearly, along with contents and inhabitants, and the party ought to find out what happened to the daughter. Every possible outcome is covered, depending on what they decide to do about the situation.

Overall, it's a neat little adventure. Can the party save the daughter? Only you and your group can tell!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shrine of the Wolf Maidens
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Wyvernseeker Rock
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/10/2019 08:58:27

This jumps straight in with the party travelling through the Untamed Gauntlet on other business, when the stream they are following abruptly ends in a cliff with a waterfall. It's too steep and slippery to climb up, the obvious route up is through an opening beside the waterfall.

There's a top-down view, a plan of the pathway through the cliff, and descriptions of the five chambers therein. To enter, the party needs to solve a puzzle: instructions for the die rolls required to solve it are given, but there's no actual puzzle given. Personally I prefer to let the party at the puzzle, and suggest die rolls if they get nowhere with it. Once they get in, there's a long spiral staircase going up (and down, but that's another story) which will let them get to the top of the cliff, provided they get past the monsters and other hazards.

Once they reach the top, they've actually come out at the top of a rocky peak even higher than the cliff. Here there's a cunning device that you can use to provide a hook into further adventures, a vision that gives them some inkling as to what is in store...

This is a rather thin 'something to happen along the way' which rather leaves you wondering why. Quite nice if you struggle to find ways to make wilderness travel interesting apart from reaching for the wandering monsters table. It could possibly be strung out into a complete session (2-3 hours) but that would be a bit of a struggle.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Wyvernseeker Rock
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The Idol of Bala
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/06/2019 08:28:51

This 'dungeon crawl' for 2nd-3rd level characters opens with the standard overview of the setting, useful for those who don't have any other Odysseys and Overlords material - it works with any OSR ruleset, but best with The Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game. We then get on to the background for this adventure, being a discussion of how people turned to worship other deities when the local mob decided all-out war between themselves was a good idea. One such was called Bala, who was mildly popular with creative folk for a few years before falling out of favour again. However centuries later a rumour arose that Bala's followers had discovered the secret of eternal life, only by then nobody could remember where any temples to Bala were. The hunt was on...

... and this adventure begins with the discovery in the Untamed Gauntlet of a tablet whose inscription, according to a priest called Dendefsha (who worships another deity), contains directions to one hidden deep in the Gauntlet. He wastes no time in hiring a party of adventurers to go and take a look. Of course, other interested parties are also looking for the temple. Who'll find it first?

The adventure proper begins with the party standing on the doorstep of the temple. Actually finding it is an adventure you'll have to provide or, if wilderness adventures aren't your thing, just give the party sufficient background and start the game here. The first trick is figuring out how to get in, and it doesn't get much better thereafter: there are tricks and puzzles galore as you explore onwards. As well as rivals for the idol, which is said to be carved with Bala's secrets, there are some creatures to contend with as well.

Although small - there are only three main chambers - the temple is well-described. Details of all the traps or effects are explained clearly, with notes on relevant mechanics, saves to make, and so on, and all monsters come with a stat block to enable you to run them effectively. Player and GM versions of the map are included. The conclusion assumes that the party is successful, but does give the possibility of future allies and enemies that can be woven into further adventures.

This is a classic 'delve' adventure, with monsters to kill and loot to acquire... being short and sweet it could be a good filler or one-off adventure, or even an introduction to OSR play. It's nicely-done, however, and there are concepts here worthy of expansion should it suit your campaign to do so.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Idol of Bala
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Odysseys & Overlords Character Record Sheet
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/05/2019 13:39:51

The unsung hero of game resources, a character sheet can help you organise the details of your character in - with a good one - a way that facilitates your navigation around the game mechanics of the system you are using. If you're lucky it looks good at the same time... and if you are really fortunate there's a form-fillable PDF version as well (a godsend for me as I cannot write longhand due to a stroke, but still touchtype!)

So, in this free download you get 3 versions: the full one, a printer friendly one and, yes, a form-fillable one. The layout is standard on all three. The basics at the top: name, genus, class, gender, etc. and a space for player name. Then three columns: stats, saving throws, and a combat column with armour class and hit points at the top with space for you to list your weapons and important stuff like how much damage they do below. The most important numbers are written in large boxes, makes them hard to miss however excited you are. Then there is space at the bottom for spells and abilities, items carried, cash and languages spoken.

That's it. Sweet and simple (a bit like Odysseys and Overlords itself). But there's more. The 'full' version boasts a coloured border and game logo, but also has extra pages with an overview of the setting, brief notes on the character classes and genera available, and a plain version of the character sheet if you don't want to print the coloured one. Interestingly, the form-fillable version uses the plain character sheet to facilitate ease of printing. It's simply a nicely put together package to make playing straightforward.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Odysseys & Overlords Character Record Sheet
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From the Mouth of Babes
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/04/2019 08:31:51

There's the standard thumbnail background of the Odysseys and Overlords setting and notes about suitable rules (handy if you've just picked this up without reading anything else in this game line), then we're off with the background to the adventure itself. It seems a bunch of goblins has been hanging out on the edge of an area of wilderness hoping to pick off adventurers going there to explore (or even better, coming back with their loot!) but a leadership dispute led to the loss of a magic dagger... which fell into their watersource, with dire results.

The party first find out about all this when they, like any adventurers worthy of the name, head into the wilderness - or snap up one of the plot hooks provided - and are accosted by a couple of hungry, grubby goblin youngsters who ask for help. This encounter should prove entertaining. Provision is made for it taking place either in the day or during the night, and there's plenty of detail to help you role-play it to the hilt.

Hopefully, with an optional encounter on the way, the party with the youngsters guiding them should arrive at the goblin lair. It's even smellier than the words 'goblin lair' suggest, for reasons that should become apparent as the delve into its depths proceeds. Everything is laid out clearly, with ample description, stat blocks/hit point check boxes for all encounters and other game mechanical information as necessary.

As with the young goblins in the opening encounter, it pays to try talking with at least some of the inhabitants of the lair, for if the party does so, they will be able to piece together what has been going on, as well as undertake the expected exploration, killing and looting. Whatever the party decides to do about the goblins, there are other monsters to slay and loot to be had.

Everything is left quite open ended. The party might help the goblins and continue exploring the wilderness, or they might - especially if you used one of the plot hooks provided - want to go back to town. There are suggestions for some further adventures and a welcome selection of 'story-based' XP awards that you can make based on the party's actions. There are a couple of new items and a new monster, and maps for both players and the GM.

Whilst OSR in essence, this has a welcome range of options for interaction and role-play, and is well-resourced to enable you to cope with just about anything your players might decide to do.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
From the Mouth of Babes
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Thank you SO MUCH!!
Spire of the Kobolds
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/03/2019 08:18:48

This adventure for 1st-2nd level characters opens with the standard overview of the history of the land (in case you've picked up the adventure without looking at any other Odysseys and Overlords material) and then gives a brief note about the background to the adventure. It's designed to toss the party straight into the action when they are in some wild country called the Untamed Gauntlet.

Interestingly, the party has not been sent to the Spire, a known but mysterious landmark in the Untamed Gauntlet - the intention is that they are going elsewhere when they notice activity there and presumably decide to investigate. In case they don't, there's a kobold hunting party wandering around that might decide to have a go at them. From there it's into the Spire proper and a room-to-room description follows.

Two maps are provided, one for the GM and one for the players. They are nice and clear, but the only difference between them appears to be the room numbers (which the players don't get). The room descriptions are good, providing details of what's there along with stat blocks for who/whatever is in there - complete with checkboxes to mark off their hit points as they die, a neat addition - and relevant mechanics for any traps.

There's enough going on in this small space, with several of the kobolds potentially willing to interact rather than just fight to the death (although they mostly will, if not running away, should the party not be inclined to conversation. Overall, it's a nice introductory adventure that brings out the essence of the 'OSR' style of play.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Spire of the Kobolds
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Odysseys & Overlords Game Master's Guide
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/28/2019 09:36:58

This opens with exactly the same overview of the background and current state of the setting as is to be found in the Player's Guide, along with the note that it designed to be used with The Basic Fantasy Role-playing Game ruleset, but that any OSR rules will do. There's also mention that this is for the Game Master and that although they will need to consult the Player's Guide occasionally, this will be their main reference.

The first topic to be explored is encounters, divided up into dungeon, wilderness and urban ones. The use of random tables is encouraged, which will of course be different depending on which environment you are in... indeed, you may well find it useful to construct several for different places in each environment type, as well as according to party level, time of day (at least, when outside) and the like. There are plenty here to be going on with, complete with explanations of what each list entry signifies. From this, we move on to how to create a group of NPCs, including adventuring parties, brigands/bandits, pirates and all manner of undesirables as well as groups of merchants, nobles and pilgrims. Some might be friendly, but that's rather brushed aside as "making things too easy for the players"! This includes allocation of magic items and using non-humans.

Next comes a section entitled Dealing with Players. This begins with how to deal with players who don't like the statistics they've rolled for their character then moves on to the acquisition of spells including how clerics may be limited according to the deity they revere and how magic-users gain their spells. Also touched upon is what happens if a character uses armour or weapons that are 'prohibited' for them. There's a fair bit of discussion of advancement and how to deal with character death as well. We then move on to magical research with plenty on creating new spells or magic items as well as enchanting weapons.

This is followed by advice on how to create adventures, beginning with that classic, the dungeon adventure. The first thing to decide is why they party wants to go into a dungeon in the first place. (I remember asking that the very first game of D&D I played... the rest of the party had no real answer for me - might have helped if they'd read this!) Once you've decided why they are going there, decide where 'there' is, decide what monsters to use and draw a map. Then 'stock' the dungeon - assigning contents (including monsters) to each room, not forgetting puzzles and traps as well as monsters to kill and treasures to loot. Some sample traps are provided. Wilderness adventures then get a similar treatment, with an area map rather than a detailed floor plan, and this leads neatly into strongholds, as those might be found in the wilderness. This discussion includes building costs (maybe your party wants to construct a base) and a note that a stronghold might have a dungeon underneath it, as well as a few notes on laying siege to the place. In some ways it's all very basic and obvious, but if you are new to GMing could prove invaluable.

Next up, Monsters. There are notes on how they are described, and then a selection of them (including plenty of dragons!) ready for you to use. Some are sentient, like gnomes or giants, others are of animal intelligence or lower, like the gelatinous cube. Of course some, like ghosts, are undead, and lycanthropy is also covered.

Monsters dealt with, the discussion moves on Treasure. Plenty of charts to help you determine what there is to loot... and a section on using magic items once you have laid hands on them. Lists of magic armour, magic weapons, potions, scrolls, rings and other items follow, covering what they do and what benefits (or otherwise, if they are cursed) they confer.

Finally, there are thumbnail sketches of various kingdoms and other lands within the setting. I'm crying out for a map here... although this book is well-illustrated I like a map to get oriented! The descriptions are good, though, bringing each polity into vivid life.

This work provides a wealth of basic material to set you off on a path to running effective adventures. Whilst much work remains to be done, the scaffolding is here to aid you in developing places and adventures to happen in them. Have fun!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Odysseys & Overlords Game Master's Guide
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Thank you SO MUCH!!
Odysseys & Overlords Player's Guide
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/20/2019 10:21:23

The book opens with a broad sweep of the history of the land. A long time - a thousand years or more - ago, the gods lived in peace and prosperity amongst mortals, with magic and learning flowing freely and animals also living in peace. Unfortunately that didn't last, due rather predictably to the gods squabbling and spoiling it all for everyone. When the brawling stopped, most of the gods were either dead or had departed, leaving mortals to fend for themselves. A few hung around hoping to be worshipped but in the main mortals relied on military might to decide matters of rulership and even righteousness. The land is now fragmented, with islands of civilisation separated by wild lands where bandits and monsters hold sway. People rely on Adventuring Companies (guess who?) to bridge these gaps and protect those who would travel. There are also plenty of ruins filled with relics of happier times to loot. What more could one want for an adventure setting?

A character, that's what, so the next part of the book explains how to go about making one. It's recommended that you use The Basic Fantasy Role-playing Game ruleset, which is available as a free download, written with 'old style rules' play in mind, and also suitable for introducing younger players to role-playing. The instructions for rolling up a character are beautifully clear. To start with, get a piece of paper and a pencil. Roll 4d6 dropping the lowest die and adding the rest up to generate your ability scores. Next you choose a genus and class, making sure you meet any prerequisites for them in terms of ability scores. Of course, there is a bit more detail than that, but not much, and everything is made clear, although you do need to read through the final steps of character creation before you find out what a 'genus' is let alone what you can choose!

The genus (pl. genera) is the equivalent of race in most games. These ones draw on the history outlined earlier, and are groups who took different paths during the squabble of the gods but all are based on normal mortals, except Wildfolk who are descendants of mating between humans and animals, which was considered normal in ancient times. They are Abyss-Kissed, Human, Spellscorched and Wildfolk.

Next, the classes: Bard, Cleric, Fighter, Magic-User and Thief. In general, once chosen you have to stick to your class, only Spellscorched are permitted to be combination classed, and then only Fighter/Magic-User or Magic-User/Thief are allowed. Genus also affects class choices, some genera are limited in the choices they can make. Money and equipment lists round out this section, so by now the character is just about fully equipped and ready to go...

... unless, of course, they wish to wield magic. There's a comprehensive section for both Clerics and Magic-Users, with spell lists for both and a massive alphabetical list of spells with full details of how that spell is cast and what happens when it is. Both game mechanical and flavour aspects are handled clearly.

This magic section consumes much of the rest of the book, but there's space to explain what dungeon and wilderness adventuring is all about; along with a section on hirelings and services, as well as that all-important matter of combat. This section explains how combat is conducted, what your character can do, and includes things like turning undead as well as actual brawling. And that's it. Short and sweet, and notable for the clarity of explanation. Off you go and enjoy adventuring!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Odysseys & Overlords Player's Guide
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Creator Reply:
Thank you so much for this excellent, thorough review!
Odysseys & Overlords Free Preview
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/17/2019 08:39:11

Opening with an account of a golden past, when people lived in harmony with their gods, all was peaceful, a time of learning and of plenty, we then hear how it all went wrong predictably enough by the gods starting to squabble amongst themselves and wrecking it all for everybody else. Mortal lands lie divided, with brave adventurers (guess who?) guiding people between them and dealing with monsters, exploring ruins to find relics of the lost golden age over a thousand years in the past.

Next, there's an overview of character creation. Notes explain that Odysseys and Overlords is designed to be used with the Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game, but any 'old school rules' will do: it's aimed at those who like that style of play... just about everything you need is here, though. Every character has a genus (equivalent to race) and a class, the one chosen to demonstrate how classes are presented is that of the Bard. It's all pretty familiar if you have played a bard in any class/level fantasy game - bards can fight a bit but their primary skills are in performance (often music, but poets, storytellers and the like can also be played), and through their performance thay can generate spells. There are various charts showing how a bard character gains levels and develops as they gaim experience.

Though short - two whole pages of an eight-page PDF are devoted to the Open Game Licence - this gives quite a good overview of the game/setting as a whole, and should let you decide if you want to investigate further. The little bit of world history provided is evocative and sets the scene well for the sort of game envisaged, encapsulating a world that sounds like it will be fun to adventure in. The notes also suggest that it ought to be easy to introduce younger children to this game, always a good thing. Take a look, and if you like the sound, jump right on in!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Odysseys & Overlords Free Preview
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Creator Reply:
Thank you SO MUCH for your kind review!
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