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DarkLore Campaign Primer
by Curt M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/20/2007 20:16:02

If you wanna see what 4th edition is gonna look like, don't buy the preview books, buy this! Conan meets Midnight.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
DarkLore Campaign Primer
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Creator Reply:
Whist respectful of the poster's opinions, now that 4th edition is out I think it will be clear to those who have read 4th edition and DarkLore that, whilst there are similarities, DarkLore is not actually that close to 4th edition. However, if you want to see a fantasy D20 system game inspired, mechanically, by D20 Modern, or just fancy something a little more conservatively pitched in terms of what players can achieve, DarkLore wil be right up your street.
Academy Handbook: St. John's College of Abjuration
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/31/2007 16:01:23

An RPG Resource Review:

Presented in the guise of the College handbook given to new students, this book is well-presented with a simple yet effective 'leather look' cover and internal pages that will not overstress your printer (being black and white) but are clear and neatly laid out.

The underlying concept is that 'somewhere' there exists a large university of magic - the Academy of Wizardry - in which this is one of the constituent colleges - there being several, each one devoted to a separate school of magic. Students take classes mainly in their chosen school, although they may take a course in a different school if they so wish. Naturally, further books in this line will describe the other schools...

The first section consists of an in character 'welcome' from the Dean of the College. Interspersed with this, there are sidebar suggestions as to how to use the material in your campaign. This is both a good and a bad thing: good in that the ideas are intriguing and set you thinking, bad in that it makes it difficult to use the book as an in character handout, as you might end up giving a bit too much away!

While you might think that most adventuring wizards have already completed their studies, apart from daily spell learning and the acquisition (often by finding spellbooks on adventures) of new spells, there are plenty of reasons why the College, or the whole Academy of Wizardry as the various books are published, might feature in your campaign. Perhaps the wizards studied here in their youth, and have maintained links with the place. Maybe they return for graduate study, or to give a guest lecture. Or maybe in a radical departure from a conventional game, the characters are students and the whole campaign is based in and around the College...

The next section describes the two 'Houses' that make up the College. Each student is allocated to one of these on arrival, and will live and study mainly within it during his stay. There is a brief history of the Academy and of the two houses, Pendeghast and Hardacre. These houses also allow for greater specialisation, to the level of different sub-classes (chosen just as you would any other core character class) that display different aspects of abjuration. Pendeghast mages are disciplined, almost religious in their fervour; while Hardacre ones practise a more muscular style of magic. This is reflected in the 2 sub-classes available. Particularly of use to those running campaigns set in the Academy, there are full details of the competitions between the two houses, and between the different colleges that make up the Academy, so these can be administered as flavour for or even as the basis of the game.

A Pendeghast student can become a 'Devout Abjurer' and is required to choose a deity (one who includes the Protection domain in his clerical spell list) to worship. Their powers are based on the study of a combination of divine and abjuration arcane magics, which they perceive as interwoven. They gain the ability to turn undead as they progress and may use spells from the divine Protection domain along with their regular arcane spells, but are limited to simple weapons, the chosen weapon of their deity and no armour or shield. They are required to follow the tenets of their chosen faith in the same manner as a cleric, but only risk the divine Protection spells and the ability to turn undead if they lapse from their faith.

Hardacre students, on the other hand, are expected to perfect both body and mind: this is a good house for the more athlectic potential wizard. It's not all hard work, it is a friendly place and comradeship and conviviality are encouraged. Some students combine their magic with martial prowess, while others focus more on sports or pure physical ability, honing their agility and endurance. The house subclass is the Fortomancer, a tough fellow who specialises in battlefield magic. However, there is an even more combat-based subclass, the Guild Scholar. These are students sponsored in their studies by mercenary guilds, who are normally expected to return to their sponsoring guild and provide magical support to the mercenaries in the field. They are able to use all martial weapons, but their spellcasting powers are less - time spent on the training field inevitably erodes the amount of time available for study!

The next chapter, entitled 'A Cosmopolitan College,' shows how different races can be integrated into this setting. It's explained in character by saying that the Academy's been human-only for a long time but now accepts people from other races... but recently racial tensions have arisen that need to be addressed. As an 'Equal Opportunities' document, it's sadly lacking: a sentence that reads "Elves... have a fine attunement with magic above that of our own." sould be thrown out on the grounds of promoting a 'them and us' attitude! Not to mention that the section of elves continues by stating that they do not have the discipline to become successful Abjurers, and that there's only one elf student on the roll at the moment. Dwarfs, on the other hand, are apparently quite good - in as far as they are good at any kind of spellcasting! - at abjuration. Halflings have never attempted to study abjuration, and the College knows of only one half-orc who has done so with any success.

This leads to a fascinating concept, that of a 'Life Path' class, being a special class that a character can take a level in at turning points in their life. It's designed to highlight racial differences, the deeper more philosophical ones rather than the obvious physical and mental characteristics that are dealt with by game mechanics in the shape of bonuses and penalties. These are provided for elves, dwarfs, gnomes and half-orcs; and are specific to members of the stated race who are abjurers.

The next chapter is called "St Johns' Alumni" and in best quality yearbook fashion details some famous and successful former students... who will make excellent NPCs, of course. They are also used as exemplars of a several prestige classes, the Arcane Shieldman, the Monk of St John, the Paragon and the Antithaumaturgist.

Next, we hear about the courses at the College. This is quite detailed, and would really come into its own if you decide to run a game about the life and times of Academy students. Even if you don't, it would provide a very good, deep background, method for determining the starting spells of a wizard character who trained at the College before entering the campaign. Several new spells and feats are presented here, there's a fair bit of interesting material.

No College would be complete without its Library, and St John's is no exception. Former students are permitted to study here, so this at least is likely to be of use even if the College itself does not feature large in your campaign. This section also contains a discussion of Ritual Magic, powerful spells cast by a combined group of wizards using a set and formal ritual to create the desired effect. The 'College Handbook' proper ends with notes on the faculty, minimal details, but sufficient for chance encounters. If your campaign will spend much time on the campus, you will probably want to develop them further.

Finally, there's a section full of adventure ideas. They are intriguing and open-ended, and allow for characters who are studying at the College or just visiting.

As appendices, there are lists of all the new spells and feats presented for quick reference, and a character sheet tailored for an Abjurer - which has an innovative layout whereby skills are listed under the appropriate controlling ability rather than in one long list.

While this book is extremely specialist in nature - only really of use if you want to run an Academy-based campaign, have the characters visit the College or want some deep background for an abjurer character - it makes for a fascinating read. One or two spelling mistakes... but here I have to come clean, I like the College concept at least in part because I teach in one (not, however, of Abjuration! I teach computing!).



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Academy Handbook: St. John's College of Abjuration
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DarkLore Campaign Primer
by Chris G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/22/2007 00:00:00

Darklore is a land where the gods warred. The land has been altered, become a harsh environment. It is a time where many of the older civilizations of been destroyed and replaced by tyrants ruling petty city states. The world is still recovering even though it is over 500 years after the event of the god?s war. The land is filled with paranoia as people do not know how the war ended or what is happening around them. Darklore Campaign Primer is a new campaign setting by Malladin?s Gate Press. It is a dark world filled with mystery, adventure, and conflict.

The Darklore Campaign Primer is a pdf of eighty three pages in length. It is filled with the lands, the races, the history, and the classes of this world. It offers many new rules to fit the way the game is run to the feel of the setting. The pdf cost five dollars and is received in a zip file of almost 9 megs.

One of the first things I look at with pdfs are the bookmarks. They are an index that one clicks on a subject and the pdf goes right to that page. They make it easy to use if one needs to find something fast like when using pdfs at the gaming table. The Darklore Campaign Primer has an excellent set of bookmarks.

The art in the book is rather sparse and of average quality. There is a map of the described region done by Clayton Bunce. The map is clear and easy to use. It is a full page in size making the details easy to see. The layout of the book is well done in the standard two column format. The book is done in black and white and prints well.

The setting is fantasy based but has more in common with d20 modern. Classes are presented in this book and are written up like d20 modern classes. They are ten levels long, have a defense armor class bonus, and talent trees. Characters are able to multi class without restriction. There are also carrier classes that serve as short prestige or advanced classes. They are all three levels long and easy to get into. They serve to offer some good focus of a character concept though.

The book starts with a good, through overview of the world. It explains some things of the history and what the campaign world is like. It sets atmosphere a little with discussions on how bad things are for many of the peoples. It covers a little bit of history but stresses that many things are just not known.

The first chapter goes into the history, well known history, of the world. It goes over some major events and covers quite a bit. It does a good job of further setting up the atmosphere with its tone and descriptions.

The second chapter goes into detail on the different regions. It talks about the geography of the lands, the politics of the people, organizations that have power and influence there, and the languages the people communicate with. Each region has a close up map of it, though no more detail is given. There is a lot of depth to this section. The setting comes together here and the present is presented in a way to spark ideas and campaigns. There are many things hinted at that I hope to see expanded upon in future books. The ideas are solid and easy to use in this setting or to be used to influence ones own game setting.

The third chapter goes into the races. Each race for the Players? Handbook is redefined to reflect the influences and history of the world. Each race gets a bonus feat at first level as well as bonus skill points. There are no favored classes since everyone is allowed to multi class freely. Most races for a series of sub races that further define the character. Each race has some sort of attribute modification. Some of these are odd numbers which is seen as a problem by some gamers. Odd attribute modifiers can be used to gain a bonus and hide a penalty. Each race is also given a class skill, and if their class already has it they gain a +1 competence bonus very much like in d20 Modern. There is also a availability of each race presented as common, uncommon, or rare. To pick a race of uncommon or rare availability the character has to sacrifice one or two or their advantages. Advantages are a new game mechanic that is explained later in the book.

The fourth chapter goes into the basic classes. Like d20 Modern each is associated with a single attribute. The classes the books has are the Warrior (Strength), Thief (Dexterity), Outlander (Constitution), Scholar (Intelligence), Devout (Wisdom), and Destined (Charisma). Each class is ten levels in length and have many talent trees as options to them. The classes are very flexible and can be used to create a wide assortment of different concepts. With the free multi classing the flexibility is increased dramatically.

The fifth chapter deals with skills, feats, and equipment. There are a few new or redefined skills. The most important is the new fighting styles. Some of them have feat requirements but as one gains ranks in them they get certain bonuses when fighting. While the mechanical part is well done, I am more impressed with the descriptions and the feel the fighting styles have. They can add reinforce the tone of the setting and the particular groups that use them. The campaign world also has gun powder. Guns have two new mechanics with them. The first is penetration and it allows the weapon to ignore X points of armor or natural armor bonus to armor class. The second is misfire chance. If the character rolls bad enough he has a chance to inflict damage upon himself.

The sixth chapter has the carrier classes in them. These work like the advance classes of d20 modern except they are only three levels in length and very easy to get into. There are a dozen carrier classes presented here. Many are simple specializations like Archer or Scout. They offer unique abilities ands serve a great way to help define characters.

Overall this is a world filled with danger and intrigue. The setting is darker then most standard fantasy games, but the tone is well defined. I found myself getting some great ideas while reading this book. As a campaign primer it does a good job of covering all the bases and given plenty of information about the world. It would be easy to start a campaign with just this. But as I read I found myself wanting more detail as there are a few things that are hinted at and mysteries that are presented. The descriptions are well done and serve the setting well. The new rules I think will do a great job of showing the players how the game feels. I really like the classes as they are presented. This is the way to do fantasy in the model of d20 Modern. The carrier classes are a nice addition, simple to qualify for, and will enhance the characters greatly. The races are interesting and are not the cookie color variety that is seen in so many settings. The races are familiar enough to be used with comfort, but different enough to really stand out in someone?s mind. Too many times I see new races used, when the current ones can be altered a little to fill the same role. Darklore does a great job in showing how that can easily be done. <br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
DarkLore Campaign Primer
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Forgotten Heroes: Sorcerer
by Timothy B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/30/2005 00:00:00

An interesting look at the Sorcerer class. I used some of the ideas in this book to create a custom Dwarven Sorcerer (cause I just can't take them out of the PHB, not for a Dwarf). <br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
Forgotten Heroes: Sorcerer
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Modern Heroes: Martial Avengers
by Peter M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/04/2005 00:00:00

For those of you unaware of them, Malladin's Gate Press has a similar repuation to the one Privateer Press used to have. That is, they make incredibly cool stuff, and realease it approximately once in a Blue Moon. (They are a small company with lives outside of game writing, so it's understandable, it's just maddening) This make s Malladin's Gate product something special on more than one level, and this release is no different. As the title states, this product emphasizes the Strong and Fast hero types from d20 modern, and manages to cover a number of bases surprisingly well. The release is chock full of material, not just for single-classed strong and/or fast heroes, but for any possible multiclass of them too, usually with an advanced class or two to go with it. They also introduce a cool concept called "prestige talent trees" which the characer needs to have multiclassed to gain access to. The material in here is, for the most part, excellent, and what isn't excellent is still very good. I just wish Malladin's Gate would release the other two parts of the series, already. <br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Modern Heroes: Martial Avengers
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UniversalFX
by Peter M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/13/2005 00:00:00

An excellent free product, useful enough to sell at a low price. If you're looking to custom-build your FX system for d20 modern-based roleplaying, this should be your first stop. Thoughtfully designed.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: It's FREE! <br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
UniversalFX
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UniversalFX
by Dominique C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/19/2005 00:00:00

This is a toolkit for people who want to design their own d20 Modern (or d20 Past , or D20 Future) magic system. (Maybe it could also be used with D&D 3.5 or other d20 systems.) I indeed created mine. Then, some of the material presented here was useful to me to create some character classes. The next system I will create, I will again peruse that document for ideas to borrow.

For people who don't want to create their own magic system by themselves, there is very little use with this PDF. <br><br><b>LIKED</b>: Mainly that it is FREE!<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Well, art is poor, but as it is a FREE product, I have nothing wrong to say about it.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
DarkLore Campaign Primer
by Arthur R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/07/2004 00:00:00

I purchased this to support ENworld

I've been briefly going over this product. My comment is a snap judgement only.

This setting has an old-school feel to it, partially imparted to the reader by the heavily shaded black and white illustrations, font, and format.

There are also devils. Devils is old-school to me, ala Greyhawk and the Great Horned Society. I like devils.

Darklore makes a modest conversion of D&D character classes to d20 modern classes, giving players the flexibility to tweak core classes or interpret tweener classes for themselves. In a sense, you get the flexibility of d20 Modern basic classes, but you keep the archetypical d20/D&D class feel. Thieves are Fast Heroes.

The Fighting technique system is interesting. In a nutshell, there are skills representing various styles of fighting. Your rank in that skill gives you one or more virtual feats when wielding weapons specific to that style. Each technique also allows maneuvers that you can perform.

For example, with the Bassal fighting style, I make a Fighting Style check DC 40, after I critical with my polearm, to pierce my enemy's vitals and cause a terrible wound. This is a very intriguing idea.

Darklore also introduces an interesting mechanic to allow Players to share some of the workload in creating entertaining games, through the use of Advantages. Advantages represent the most important story elements to a character, and players may spend their character's advantage points to kink the game their way, by initiating/introducing such elements as NPCs, events, or contact with secret societies. If you prefer more traditional gamemaster/player relationship, this can be removed without undermining the rest of the world design.

All in all, its very good.



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
DarkLore Campaign Primer
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Modern Heroes: Martial Avengers
by Charles B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/29/2004 00:00:00

This is a fun product with a lot of solid ideas to build on to your Strong and Fast heroes. I'd be interested in seeing more products in this line, emphasizing the other base classes.



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
Modern Heroes: Martial Avengers
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DarkLore Campaign Primer
by Dominique C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/28/2004 00:00:00

This product comes in two parts:

1) The campaign setting: not bad, but I have seen better. However, if you search for something traditional with a grim twist, simple and cheap, it could be fine. Art however, is rather average, not very inspiring.

2) The rules introduce a mixing of d20 modern and D&D. That is: six basic classes looking much like the six d20 modern classes, but with a whole new range of talents closely derived from D&D classes' abilities. I am dubious about the result. I either prefer true D&D classes, or the treatment d20 modern classes have got in Grim Tales (but it's not the same price). I would say this is finally mediocre.



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[3 of 5 Stars!]
DarkLore Campaign Primer
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Forgotten Heroes: Sorcerer
by ERIC W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/03/2004 00:00:00

Outstanding! Allows an amazing range of flexibility in the sorceror without making it into a lesser power. It has seen and will continue to see use in my games.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Forgotten Heroes: Sorcerer
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Modern Heroes: Martial Avengers
by Robert O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/11/2004 00:00:00

Some good stuff, some useless/crappy stuff. Worth the money overall.



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
Modern Heroes: Martial Avengers
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Forgotten Heroes: Sorcerer
by Eric P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/25/2004 00:00:00

Forgotten Heroes: Sorcerer doesn't add a lot of really good gaming material. Much of it is a reprint of material from Monte Cooks Edritch Magic, with other ideas borrowed from better products. Pass on it.



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[2 of 5 Stars!]
Forgotten Heroes: Sorcerer
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Creator Reply:
Much as I value your opinion on the quality of the material within the book, I feel there are a couple of inaccuracies in your statments with regard to reprinted/borrowed ideas. Firstly, all we copied from Eldritch Might 2 was the Sorcerer class, and that was only so that we could use it as one example of a tweaked sorcerer class using our class rebuiling system. Also, I would like to know from whom you believe we have borrowed our ideas. As far as I was aware the vast majority of ideas in this book came straight from my head (or Nigel's). If there is something you think we have copied I would be grateful to you for pointing it out to me. Thanks for your comments, Ben Redmond, Malladin's Gate Press
Modern Heroes: Martial Avengers
by Anthony L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/21/2004 00:00:00

An ok book with some good information. The combat section really wasn't that insteresting as it was a lot about opposing dice rolls to do some pretty complex things.



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[3 of 5 Stars!]
Modern Heroes: Martial Avengers
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Creator Reply:
Hi Anthony, I'm sorry you didn't like the combat section. The 'opposed dice roll' mechanics used in the Wrestling and Binding systems were designed with the existing Grapple rules in mind. As the wrestle section is merely adding to the existing grapple rules it was a natural decision to stick with the opposed dice rolls system. Likewise the Bind system became almost a miniature grappling system and so the opposed dice roll mechanic was a natural way to handle it. I'm sorry you didn't like these systems, hopefully this will help you understand why we took this approach. Thanks for the comments, Ben Redmond, Mallain's Gate Press
Forgotten Heroes: Paladin
by Christopher C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/10/2004 00:00:00

Not a bad product for spicing up the paladin class...nothing really vital or spectacular, but lots of options and flavor.



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[3 of 5 Stars!]
Forgotten Heroes: Paladin
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