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Supplemental Empires
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Ben R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/22/2020 03:45:15

This is worth exactly what you pay for it. It's poorly laid out, with a very bare-bones look. Information seems culled from wikis, as there are numerous errors - at least as far as being up to date with fifth edition lore is concerned. The Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide has less information about each nation, but it's information is correct so if you see a contradiction between the two, go with SCAG. Another great source of information are the novels of Erin M. Evans: Ashes of the Tyrant and The Devil You Know. It's unfortunate the author of this work seems to have utilized sources summarizing Evans rather than getting details from her themselves, as the novels are very difficult to find these days due to short print runs, and are very long reads as well, so an accurate and detailed summary would be very helpful to anyone running a campaign in the Tymanther or Unther area. There's enough here to provide some inspiration for a DM who doesn't have any sourcebooks handy and can't access the very-flawed Forgotten Realms wiki, but as a good updating of the lore on these empires to a Post-Sundering world it's a shallow and oft-incorrect work. Good thing it's free!



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Supplemental Empires
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Amarune's Almanac: Swamps of the Realms
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Ben R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/15/2020 22:55:31

I am currently running the Mere of Dead Men section in Hoard of the Dragon Queen, and I was looking for material to flesh out the experience for my players. Not so much encounters as good fluff: how the place felt, looked, smelled, what the environment was like, things I could use to make the experience more in-depth and evocative.

I'd been aware of the Amarune's Almanac series on the Dungeon Masters' Guild for some time, and thought this might be a good opportunity to try a volume. I knew of the character from the novels of Ed Greewood and was aware of his involvement in the series, which to me spoke promisingly to its quality.

I was immensely glad to find I did not regret the purchase in the slightest. The work is of very fine quality, attractively laid out and professional in appearance. Reading it I was immediately struck by how happy and calm I felt reading material that felt so true to the Realms, marking the product as clearly head and shoulders above much DMs Guild content.

The player options are certainly interesting, although I may never use them or the new spells (although never say never!). What really interested me was the lore on each wetland region, which is written in the form of short stories starring Amarune and her lover Arclath. These were delightful, a great mix of informative and evocative. Entertaining in their own right but also very inspiring as to the flavour of each place and what kind of stories belong there. A huge plus for me was the section on flora, elaborating on what unique species can be found in each area and what they can be used for. This was exactly the kind of content I'd been wanting! The assortment of new monsters was an added bonus!

All in all, I'm very happy to have made the purchase, and I'm now looking forward to getting other entries in the series.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Amarune's Almanac: Swamps of the Realms
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Ghost of the Mere
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Ben R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/13/2020 17:47:05

A well written add-on for Tyranny of Dragons, finally delivering on a showdown with the Black Death of the Mere of Dead Men! Even just having the map and description of the dragons' lair and their tactics was a big help, but the added adventure involving the lich is a fun time. A great find!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ghost of the Mere
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Heroic Maps - Trial of the Maze
Publisher: Heroic Maps
by Ben R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/25/2020 23:37:15

Map artwork is great! It was exactly what I needed when I needed it. However, a legend would be helpful - it's clear that many areas need to be accessed by secret doors or similar methods, but where are they? Obviously the VTT version is unmarked, but even the PDF has nothing to help out the DM.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Heroic Maps - Trial of the Maze
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Updated Demon Lords: Lolth, the Demon Queen of Spiders
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Ben R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/21/2020 02:56:10

A fantastic product offering a great write-up on the infamous demon queen, with Lair Actions, Legendary Actions, new demons, a legendary weapon and of course the Spider Queen herself in all her glory at a CR that makes sense. Anyone disappointed that Lolth's stats were left out of OotA or MToF should be buying this. Highly, highly recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Updated Demon Lords: Lolth, the Demon Queen of Spiders
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Feldor's Guide to Elturgard - a region gazetteer
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Ben R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/30/2020 03:53:21

A heads up that this is a great product only if you don't already own the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. If you own that, or the fourth edition Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide, then this is going to be a pretty redundant purchase, as it mostly paraphrases that information, in about the same amount of depth, with a little bit of original content - particularly about Triel, as the author has already written a full length guide to that village.

If this guide went more in-depth about Elturgard than the available sourcebooks and really fleshed out the region, that would be different. As it is, the price is right for what you're getting here, and it's certainly worth it if you're running a campaign that's traveling through this area and don't have any of the sourcebooks. No shade on the product, really, just a heads' up to potential buyers that they aren't getting much extra if they already have the sourcebooks.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Feldor's Guide to Elturgard - a region gazetteer
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Hoard of the Dragon Queen Maps: Episode 2 Raider's Camp
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Ben R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/27/2020 00:25:51

I bought this in anticipation of using them as guidelines to draw on my grid for Episode 2 of my HotDQ campaign, like I did for the Episode 1 maps.

Then COVID happened and all my games moved online and I had to learn Roll20 REAL quick, and these maps became an immediate lifesaver. So so thankful!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hoard of the Dragon Queen Maps: Episode 2 Raider's Camp
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Hoard of the Dragon Queen Maps: Episode 1 Greenest in Flames
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Ben R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/12/2020 15:04:50

Very helpful for running the first episode of HotDQ. I found it useful for visualizing the spaces and most of all it saved me prep time before the session because I didn't have to build the maps myself. Very thankful for the existence of the D&D community that enables us to help each other like this!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Hoard of the Dragon Queen Maps: Episode 1 Greenest in Flames
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Creator Reply:
Glad you liked it! And hope your campaign is going awesomely :)
Frozen Castle - Expanding Tyranny of Dragons
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Ben R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/04/2020 14:08:54

A fantastic add-on to Tyranny of Dragons, that frankly should have been included in the recent omnibus reprint of the campaign! If you've read Hoard of the Dragon Queen and ever got confused about the way it promises more about giants and Skyreach Castle in Rise of Tiamat -- well, this is where that stuff went. A great way to bridge the gap between the two or add a new side-quest, fits right into the existing material. My only caveat would be that I wish there was slightly more instruction on how best to integrate it into the printed material, but there's enough that any bright DM should be able to figure it out.

(Note: This expansion assumes that Skyreach Castle ended up crashed in the Miklos Glacier in the Spine of the World, as detailed at the end of HotDQ - if Blagothus took it there without crashing it you'll need to revise the adventure to take that into account, and if the PCs managed to just get it and keep it then this adventure is superfluous)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Frozen Castle - Expanding Tyranny of Dragons
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MZC1 The Maztica Campaign Guide
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Ben R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/16/2019 01:40:12

The Maztica Campaign Guide does a wonderful job in both giving a solid grounding in the lore of the setting for those unfamiliar with the AD&D 2E version as well as updating the setting for D&D 5E. This was particularly important to me because of the huge changes implied for Maztica due to first the Spellplague in 4E and then the Second Sundering in 5E. I used the guide to create a surrounding setting for running The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan from Tales from the Yawning Portal in a 5E Forgotten Realms game.

I did, however, occasionally find the pages hard to read - the thin serif font on a white page with a piece of (lovely) monochrome background art looked nice, but hurt my eyes to look at (particularly on a screen) after a time. I did print a few pages for quick reference at my table and they looked better - but the font could still have benefitted from being a bit thicker. A lay-out scheme more akin to the WotC house style would probably have worked better.

The Maztican character races, classes, spells, items and other options were well handled and appreciated, as were the (few) new monster statblocks and the sample adventure at the end. Some of the subraces were a bit underwhelming compared to their 2E counterparts, but this is a minor complaint. The map at the end of the book is the one big low point for me - it's very blurry, low resolution, done in the 3E style - I suspect it's reused from somewhere. I've seen better custom maps of 5E Maztica (and indeed, used one), and it would've done the authors well to commission such a map.

If there was one thing really missing from the guide that I would have very much appreciated, it would be a random encounter table, something keyed to the unique Maztican setting, using both MM monsters and monsters from TWC.

However, all of that is irrelevant when you consider the depth and breadth of this updated version of Maztica and that the book is FREE. So who am I to criticize anything, really?



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
MZC1 The Maztica Campaign Guide
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Creator Reply:
This is a remarkably fair and poignant bit of criticism and praise for TWC1. Likely, had I purchased this product myself today, I would have said many of the same things. I created this guide in the early days of DMsGuild and to be honest, I really had no experience in putting together any type of gaming product. It was simply a labor of love that I wanted to share with others who might have felt some serious nostalgia for the setting (ergo the price). Since then, I have worked on over a dozen new products, hopefully improving with each new one (including a guide for an Anchorome Campaign to the north of Maztica). I am embroiled in the Anchorome setting at the moment but your review has inspired me to revisit and hopefully “perfect” this guide. There are other, game oriented portions I’m thinking of changing as well. For example, I believe the jaguar and eagle knight are far more suited to be paladin archetypes than ranger. Also, I had written up the tabaxi as a race long before they appeared in an official source which makes them obsolete. I appreciate you’re wel thought out review and I do hope to getting to revisiting this product, my first and therefore favorite, at some point in the future. If you have other thoughts please feel free to email me on my gmail account at seethe75 or drop them in the comments here. I’ll listen to all criticisms.
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