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Into the Black: A Guide to Below
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/28/2019 09:34:28

It's called DUNGEONS and Dragons, yet how much thought do most of us put into what lies underground beyond traps to circumvent, monsters to kill and treasure to loot? What's going on down there when there are no adventurers poking around and generally making nuisances of themselves? Now is a chance to find out... with notes on the ecology of the subterranean world and the particular challenges that those creatures living there face, as well as more detailed information on several different types of underground space.

From there, we move on to four chapters which cover four distinct underground environments: caverns, catacombs, mines and sewers. For each there are notes on what makes that particular environment distinctive and detailed accounts of the plants and animals to be found there. There are sections on the rocks and minerals you can find there (of particular note in the mines chapter, but you never know what you might find elsewhere), the hazards to be faced and a collection of monsters.

Next comes a chapter of New Equipment. This includes useful items like flameless means of illumination (to avoid setting off explosive gases) and hip waders... and even a mask to guard against the horrible smells to be found in the likes of sewers. There are a few magic items that might come in handy as well, and a few new minerals and other materials are introduced. The final chapter is a collection of spells with an underground theme, provided for all magic-using classes. Most look pretty useful for quite mudane tasks such as detecting poisonous gases or potentially useful minerals or even shoring up a roof that looks as if it might come down. Or you may prefer to turn an enemy into a pillar of salt!

It's all written in a fairly academic style, but really empowers you to turn the 'dungeons' of your game into alternate realities in their own right rather than merely a backdrop to the party's killing and looting. Recommended if you like to make your campaign world as realistic as possible.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Into the Blue
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/27/2019 09:55:09

This book is designed to help you make the seas in your campaign world more than blue patches on the map that the party may occasionally travel across in a boat. Most adventurers, after all, are accustomed to breathing air and walking on land, and to do anything else (bar a bit of splashing around in the shallows) is going require magic or technology to accomplish. But what about those intelligent - perhaps even sentient - creatures that live there? Might you run adventures involving them? Or ever a campaign in which they, rather than the more conventional land-dwellers, are the party?

The first chapter, Ocean Life, looks at general aspects of life under the sea, starting with the sort of things that are familiar if you're a SCUBA-diver - depth, pressure, light levels, the chill of the depths, and just thinking in three dimensions in a way the land-based rarely do (except, perhaps, if you can fly). In general oceans are dark, cold, dangerous places and most residents therein are likely to want to eat you. Here we also learn about algal blooms and the problems they can pose, buoyancy - which controls how well you can hold your position at the depth you want to be at - currents, light level and even why it's not a good idea to drink seawater. There's a word about storms, and a note about looking after your spellbooks - regular land-dwellers' ones are likely to fall apart when submerged. Aquatic magic users make theirs out of coral and bone and similar more durable substances, but they tend to be large, cumbersome and heavy - especially if you try to take one onto dry land. Tides and tsunamis can alter the environment, and even fantasy worlds can suffer pollution!

There are some general notes on aquatic plants and animals, but these are covered more thoroughly in the next three chapters. These look at coastal waters, the open sea, and deep water. In each chapter there are notes on more than just plants and animals with hazards and a selection of monsters presented. The Open Sea chapter also talks about floating cities. The monsters are quite innovative and include undead as well as monstrous variants of actual sea creatures and some really strange things as well. Did you know that some seafarers claim that you shouldn't rescue anyone who falls overboard because the sea takes who it pleases. Only some people fall in by accident (or because someone shoved them in) when the sea didn't want them at all, but don't get rescued by superstitious sailors... and become the Unwanted, roaming the oceans seeking to kill the living and sink their ships. Suggestions for adventures or even whole campaigns are scattered throughout; and some of the monsters are sentient and there are notes on using them as NPCs or even player-characters.

Assuming that you'll mostly be dealing with land-dwellers exploring the ocean, Chapter 6: Equipment sets out to enable them to find the gear they'll need to survive, if not thrive, underwater. It also looks at what those who live underwater make and use for themselves, which may be of interest to enterprising explorers who realise that things made in an environment may well be best suited to that environment. There's a note that most underwater communities operate by barter rather than using money, so explorers need to come prepared to trade for what they need. There are some interesting ingredients for those who practise alchemy, including some particularly potent poisons.

Finally, Chapter 6: Spells attends to all your magical requirements. It's the main way in which surface dwellers survive underwater, or for that matter sea-dwellers survive on land. A range of spells for bards, clerics, druids, rangers, and wizards are provided, with spell lists and full details of each spell provided. There's even a spell to allow a bard to perform underwater! Appendices provide random encounter tables for all parts of the ocean.

A useful work if you think your adventures might be heading out to and particularly under the sea. Perhaps the next ocean voyage won't be plain sailing, with the characters having to survive in and under the open ocean until they are rescued or can make their way ashore. Ideas and concepts will work whatever ruleset you are using, even if you need to tweak the mechanics a bit!



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Into the Blue
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Into the Blue
by Guy D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/18/2016 23:04:29

This contains some good ideas and if you are looking to play some underwtaer adventures you'll need them. Its en environment you need to do some thinking and planning for. This is a good starting point.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Into the Green: A Guide for Forests, Jungles, Woods and Plains
by Matt L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/27/2015 14:22:41

Absolutely essential resource to have for wilderness adventures. Helped me craft a more "real"-feeling jungle environment for the party to explore. From temperature and humidity, to flora and fauna, to disease and falling trees, this resource is full of useful information.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Into the Green: A Guide for Forests, Jungles, Woods and Plains
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Arms & Armor v3.5
by Richard A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/04/2014 15:11:07

1st off let me state I own almost every Bastion press book ever printed so I am a huge fan but I need to share some frustrations. I also want to state, You SHOULD buy this book, but I am going to get into a deeper review of it for not just those that are die hard Fans like myself but those that read and write these things in the future.

I own the 3.0 as well as this 3.5 PDF (bought here or I couldn't review it) Although there is a Great addition to content its as the sacrifice of so much detail and information.

The Original was in Color and the artwork was fantastic and the equipment and art was leveraged to that. This new version is in B&W and some of the art work is just HORRIBLE now. Its a color pic that was meant to be Color and is now B&W and looks like crap. Sure this is probably due to 'File Size' of some other junk but in this day and age no one would blink at a 30MB PDF and the Original scanned was 50+ without Boarders and some trimming it would have been manageable. Because if you print this thing out and hold it side by side to the Original you almost want to throw it away.

The book itself has ballooned. From 96 pages to 176 pages. Much more content and much more WORK and detail for things added to the book. Good stuff and well worth this 10$ price. But The problem is some of this is just rehashed material Either from the SRD/DMG or from other Oathbound books. Now I understand why the material is there. For example they have added EPIC Weapons and Armor enchantments and let me say "THANK YOU" for doing that. Someone cares about the high level players.
But, To get to 'Acid warding'(Epic) they included Acid Resistance, Acid Resistance Improved, Acid Resistance Greater. To add one power. So that they can show you the 'progression'. But when you stack that up for multiple elements and other powers. Or just reprint things right out of the DMG like 'Vorpal' Because you need to show it for your version of 'Crushing' that is 'as Vorpal but for Bludgeoning' It gets hacky because there is so much of it.

I would have LOVED to have seen ALL of the Bastion Press stuff get reprinted in this but they didn't do that...they hand picked 1 or 2 from this book or that book. Some from Spells & Magic , Most from Poisoners Handbook and some from the Oathbound ones as well.

So its frustrating for Me to have 'wanted' an all in one resource for all my Bastion Press Content and not have gotten that instead I have more of SRD stuff that I didn't need and everyone int he game has memorized. I would say that a grant total of nearly 10 pages of this book was just copy pasted and reformatted from other books. Not all of them even Bastions.

Also now the power levels are Different. This power used to be +3 now its +4....or it was +4 in Faeries but now its +3 here in this print. I shouldn't have to get out a publication bibliography of all the Bastion press Time line to figure out which is the 'Right' 'New' Level it should me. Attention to detail is what people who love books love, keep that in mind everyone as you roll stuff out for the future.

So that is the Good and the Bad, Still very happy I bought it, wanted the updates and I buy every Bastion Press and Oathbound Book I can. That Opinion Certainly has not changed due to this book and if you dont have alllllll the other Bastion press books, or the 3.0 version this is going to be a Sterling Example of a fantastic book with tones of original content and other content you might also want to see.

4.0 Stars overall.



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
Arms & Armor v3.5
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Druids & Druidism
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/29/2011 15:55:21

I like druids and have enjoyed them as a class since the first days of 1st Ed. This book provides a number of interesting prestige classes, feats, and spells that are great for any druid class. There are also some good uses for skills for things the druids can make or use. There is a section on how to play a druid and how they can be used in your game. The book is 140+ pages, but the last half is a printer friendly version, so it is only about 70+ pages in truth.

Still a good book, but would have liked to have had a bit more to be honest.



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
Druids & Druidism
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Out for Blood
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/26/2011 23:10:30

If there was anything you ever wanted to know about vampires or those that hunt them then this is your book. In the 200+ pages there are 18 new prestige classes, new uses for skills, feats, and of course tons of vampires. There are a handful of new spells and campaign ideas for using or hunting vampires in your game. What I liked best about this book though was the Fist of Light Prestige Class. It was exactly what I was looking for in one of my games and I was happy to see someone else had done all the work for me. The layout is very clean and clear and easy enough to read onscreen. The art varies, but most it is rather good.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Spells & Magic v3.0
by Mike P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/24/2010 05:25:55

First off: d20 is not my gaming system of choice. I'm a Dragon Warriors man. Dragon Warriors is part rule-system, part campaign setting, the latter being a rich pseudo European medieval world called Legend. But I'm not reviewing Dragon Warriors.

Spells and Magic v3.0 is rich in that it provides 9 new magical rationales including a nice take on rune magic, which is what I was looking for in the first place. Not only are they easily compatible with the existing magic rules, they are beautifully explained and rationally thought out. Dragon magic depends on the size of the dragon's hoard (size DOES matter!). Mirror magic uses shiny surfaces as spell storage devices. Blood magic requires the caster to sacrifice some of his own red juice, etc. All of it fits perfectly into my medieval setting. I can't wait to unleash a soul gem on my unsuspecting players.

Add the new feats, spells and magic items and you've got enough to revolutionise, rationalise and romanticise the way your players look at magic. I'll definitely be looking out for more products from this publisher.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Torn Asunder: Critical Hits
by Mark A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/11/2009 19:47:48

If you are a fan of Dragons original "Critical Hits and Misses", then you'll love this. Excellent guidelines for called shots, and the biggest spectrum of Critical Hits charts I've ever seen. Ever needed an interesting result and description of a critical hit on a tentacles creature, this book has it. You name the type of creature, and there's a list for it. This book is mostly for DM's, although the called shots guidelines may be useful for players also. Excellent book.



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
Torn Asunder: Critical Hits
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Faeries
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/24/2009 10:38:52

They are often referenced, discussed, spoken about and eluded too, but it has been sometime in which fey have been given their justice. There are a few fey supplements around RPGNow, but none capture the wonder, history and magical mystery that is the fey better than Bastion Press’s Faeries.

Released years ago, it was updated by Dragonwing Games for PDF form early last year with little fanfare. Begin a fan of many a fey campaigns, it is one of the best supplements for DMs and players looking to add a fey realm or create an entire story based on the fey.

It begins with one of my favorite features of the book, the races section. There are seven distinct fey creatures of which to choose. They are impressively designed, capturing the mystical magics that the fey are famous for. Even more so, they are all playable races having size, and ECL adjustments that do not push them too far out of the range of a normal. The Faerie race has to be the most innovative, allowing you to build your own fey race by adding new body parts ala the PC Game Spore. If these races are not enough, the book provides detailed instructions on how to break apart a fey monster and turn it into a race that builds up through racial classes. Along with the races, the book gives suggestions on additions to classes to make them more fey. Though, oddly enough, it excludes the Fighter from its list of changes.

Faeries introduces new skills, feats and prestige classes to further develop the world. There is a strong slant toward Knowledge Skills in the fey world, with what you know being stronger than the sword you wield. Feats introduced revolve around the powerful unknown of the fey blood and the abilities it can grant a user. There is a prestige class for each class. As with most good prestiges they provide just enough flavor to make the class interesting but not enough. The middle portion of the book diverts the attention to the fey world. If you are a fan of fey culture and mythos, you will be happy to see that the book follows many of the traditional laws, making a blueprint for a world that feels comfortable and not like some rogue attempt to recreate the genre. Time flows in a non-sequential way, fey relationships are a bit deeper than mortals and traveling between lands is not as simple as point a to b to c.

The Magic of the fey creates that mystical feel that translates a list of spells into a story. The fey can make augmentations to spells to boost its potency. The final chapters of the book contains spells and magic items suited for a world that lives completely off of magic.

For the Player The faerie race is something I keep coming back to because it can work in normal campaigns as well. The other races are well designed as well, with flavor text that supports the abilities.

For the DM You will be more interested in the final two-thirds part of the book. The fey world is built as more of a template than set campaign world. This allows you to add or delete as much as you wish. There is emphasis placed on the doorways, the placed between the mortal and fey realms.

The Iron World This is by far the best supplement for those who want to create a fey based campaign world or one shot. The balanced races and open classes use allows it to be easily adapted to 3.5 or 3.5 related products such as Pathfinder.



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
Faeries
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Into the Green: A Guide for Forests, Jungles, Woods and Plains
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/18/2007 08:16:47

An RPG Resource Review:

Aimed primarily at DMs - although also useful to players whose characters are Rangers, Druids or otherwise interested in 'the great outdoors' - this book describes some of the environments in which wilderness adventures can take place.

Most of us, even city dwellers, have some idea of what a forest or a plain would be like back in the pseudo-mediaeval days of the usual fantasy setting. A bit wild, uncultivated, limited roads (read 'tracks'), few inhabitants and plenty of wild animals. This book sets out to explain what it's really like, wandering through this kind of environment perhaps for days or weeks on end. How will characters survive? What will they eat? What might they expect to encounter?

In these pages, you will find a dense mix of 'real world' and fantastical ecology. Each chapter begins with an overview of the environment in question, and then details several imaginary plants and animals that you might encounter there. Each is well-described, with information about their ecology, how you would be able to make use of them in a survival situation as well as what harm they might be trying to do you, and how they engage in combat. The climate is also covered, so you know what sort of weather conditions to expect.

The four environments considered are - as described in the sub-title - forests, jungles, woods and plains. The forest is the pristine virgin growth, a botanical climax of flourishing life in resource-rich, well watered ground. This is what you find covering temperate lands that have not yet been exploited by humans... or in the fantasy setting, humanoids. The jungle is the equivalent grown in tropical areas. Woods are interesting - they are at least semi-civilised, the interface between primordial forest and cultivated lands. They still pose dangers to the unwary and - by their nature and location - are more likely to be visited by virtually all adventurers at some point in their careers, unless they flatly refuse to leave the city walls! Plains are again lush and fertile, but serve as a transition between the abundance of forest or jungle and more arid parts of the world such as deserts.

The fifth chapter of the book covers 'wilderness equipment' - both that which it would be useful to take with you and that which can be created utilising the resources to be found there. This is particularly fascinating, because it could be used as a reason for visiting such areas - to collect or trade in useful items - or at least a profitable sideline if other concerns take you there. There are also some magical items relevant to wilderness situations, but the most useful parts are the 'new materials' selection - things you can acquire during your travels such as animal pelts and specialist woods - and an associated collection of 'new substances' that might be of interest to herbalists and alchemists - drugs, pigments, poisons and even glue and sunscreen! Many of the resources described are also of interest to spellcasters, as material components or for use in the creation of magical items.

Finally, there's a collection of spells, mostly aimed at control of or protection from natural dangers. There is even a spell to relieve allergic reactions and, for the more nasty-minded, one which causes anaphylactic shock in its target. You can create a magical storm cellar in which to take refuge, or use the ford spell to create an instantaneous bridge to get across a river.

There are several Appendices: naturally-occurring poisons, encounter charts for the various environments (including random plant-finding for use if the party botanist asks what he can see!), and a basic weather system. These are all useful for chance encounters and descriptions of what's going on around the party as they travel, although if weather, creatures or plants are actually important it's probably worth planning in a bit more detail before running the wilderness exploration.

Overall it's a very useful book, especially if you want to run wilderness exploration adventures. Even if the overland bit of your scenario is intended just as a journey from A to B, with the events in A and B being the important stuff, it's nice to have some tools to make the travelling time come alive. How often have a party of adventurers been told it's three days' travel to the wizard's tower or whatever, and barring a couple of fights with bandits or wandering monsters, just, well, got there? This book gives the DM some tools to add realism to their alternate reality... it's not just a string of encounters linked by your plot, but a living, breathing world in which the player characters exist and interact. Most of it you'll need to read through and plan ahead, but once you know what's where in your world, the 'bits in between' ought to come to life.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Into the Green: A Guide for Forests, Jungles, Woods and Plains
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Torn Asunder: Critical Hits
by John D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/17/2007 00:00:00

A very good treatment of a difficult topic. This changed our game a lot and I now have a lot of players who actually think about what they are doing rather then just running in and hacking away (amazing what having to deal with a missing limb does).<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
Torn Asunder: Critical Hits
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Oathbound: Domains of the Forge
by Joshua S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/08/2007 20:10:56

This book is a book with out a bit of grey, and by that I mean everything is either love or hate, and I do both. I'll start with the hate, just to get it out of the way.

The majority of the um. . .art work (for lack of a better term) is horrendous (or worse), it's litterally what ever they had lying around, much of it was done with colored pencils, and if the book axed 90% of the art work it would be a much better book. I would have been ashamed to have had my name on the majority of the art work, however, there are a few pieces that are well done.

However, that is the only bad thing I have to say about the book, the writing and content is top notch. The idea and setting, if not entirely unique, is uniquely accomplished and wonderfully done, I love the ability to pluck pcs out of campaigns and put them where I want them (and to mix different races / classes from various campaigns as well). I love the fact that this world has feel to it and isn't simply another grey hawk (or forgotten realms, or etc.)

What it comes down to is this: If you like a strong flavor to your campaign, and if you like pcs to be able to have any race and class that they desire, and if you don't mind running a high powered campaign (minimum suggested requirements are 7th level and 1.5x the normal magic items) AND you can deal with a book that has completely horrendous artwork, then I greatly recommend this book. I fully plan to get the second book.



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
Oathbound: Domains of the Forge
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Guildcraft
by Chris G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/30/2007 00:00:00

Guildcraft is a good addition offering a new option to all characters. The book is full color soft cover which is rare bread in the role playing game market. The book is ninety six pages long and at $24.95 is a little on the pricey side. The art in the book I did not find that exceptional. I do like that it is all color though, that adds a good amount to the book though. The table of contents is small, but effective. The layout and design is very good and it makes reading this book very easy.

This book is actually fairly simple to determine if someone will like it. The book is based on the rules mechanic of spending experience for different abilities. There are many people who do not like that type of mechanic. I, however, like this mechanic and that is why this is a favorable review.

Guildcraft has a series of guilds in it. There are guilds specific to classes, skills, and relationships. All the guilds are very well described. Each guild starts with a good description of the guild and nice overview. It then goes into the purpose of the guild and the membership details. Each guild has information on how to join them and what qualifications a person needs along with other criteria. The detail on the guilds is great and will be of much use even to people who do not choose to use the spend experience for abilities mechanic. Once a person is in the guild they can advance within the guild. Characters spend a few hundred to a few thousand experiences per guild grade. Each grade gives some small ability equal to a feat.

There are guilds suited for most of the classes and guilds that are suited more for non player characters. The guilds are obviously a DM oriented mechanic, and I think the spending of experience is something more suited to a group familiar with the system and looking to expand upon it. I really like the versatility this offers players and non player characters alike. So, overall this is a well handled book, with a good amount of new things that should be useful to most of the people out there.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
Guildcraft
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Alchemy & Herbalists v3.5
by Natalya F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/17/2007 00:00:00

A great tome regarding alchemy and herbalism. I was looking for something a little more geared towards herbal healing and the likes and didn't get it, but it's a good standalone source book.<br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: It's actually very thorough and well presented.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Despite it's great depth of material, I walked away unsatisfied; how can I use herbs to heal? What mixtures should I concoct to treat a poison?<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



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[3 of 5 Stars!]
Alchemy & Herbalists v3.5
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