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Dungeon Backdrop: The Ruin of Bleak Hill (OSR)
by Andrea M. M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/26/2022 10:56:53

You get 15 pages full of ready to use material - except you need to translate it first when English is not your main language. What I love in "The Ruin of Bleak Hill", which is also to strong point in all the other products of Raging Swan, you can drop it without changes or with minor changes right in your campaign. When you use an electronic device as GM at your table then the contents with the jumplinks are really helpfuls as are the reading marks (they eat space on your screen though).

Yout get some background for the location, can spray some hooks with whispers & rumours, and find anything to even use the same location several times or plunder the unused rest for another location.

So, for all who don't have tons of time at their hand or struggle with interestening ways to present a location - go get it! Youu will not regret it.

On my honor as a Medici.

Stay tight, keep your wits and have always fun playing no matter if online or when you come together with your buddies.

Cheers and out Andrea



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Backdrop: The Ruin of Bleak Hill (OSR)
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Creator Reply:
Thank you, Andrea, for this review. I'm glad you found Bleak Hill so useful and enjoyable!
The Shambles by Day Mini-Eventure
by Seth S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/20/2022 20:59:02

Originally designed as a supplement for helping players explore Raging Swan’s city of Languard, this free supplement gives gamemasters a little extra help to add depth to a game session. The short product (eight pages from cover to cover) provides a variety of ways GMs can keep players on their toes. The Shambles by Day is described as a “mini-eventure”, and comes bundled with options for running campaigns using OSR, 5e, P1e, and P2e. That’s quite a lot for a single free supplement. Art and layout are very simple, putting an emphasis on text. However, the art that is present is quite good. Fans of minimal design will appreciate it. The product is not designed to be an adventure as much as it is for the sake of removing campaign prep. It even says so right in the text,

“Designed specifically for you, the busy GM, this supplement enables you to effortlessly bring your characters’ next urban adventure to life. This supplement is designed for use with City Backdrop: Languard, but can easily used with virtually any town or city.”

This is a tightly-conceived series of encounters players can experience.

An issue is that there’s no means for resolving what is listed in the tables. If these are encounters there should be DC checks present. For example, talking people out drunkenly fighting certainly requires social skills, and might be more than a PC can manage with good intentions alone. The absence of those DC checks makes it look like well-made charts to make an urban environment more interesting, rather than potential encounters to be completed. I say this because the definition of a mini-eventure says quite clearly,

A mini-eventure is akin to a normal encounter, but does not (normally) feature violence or physical challenges. Instead, a mini-eventure focuses on the use of social skills and role-play to resolve the challenges, or events, therein.

That implies a means for completingy an encounter, but as noted, nothing like this was present that I saw.

If you have ever seen Raging Swans’ products around DriveThru, but weren’t sure of what they were like, this is as good a place to start as any, if for no other reason than that the product is adapted for several different RPG systems. It’s small, it’s dense, and it is what it advertises itself to be. What’s more, the price is right. If you feel like you need to spice up your sessions, but the monsters aren’t getting the job done, this is a great alternative. It’s not an adventure in and of itself, but it will complement material that might need a little something extra.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Shambles by Day Mini-Eventure
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Languard Locations: Fishshambles (5e)
by Clint B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/14/2022 06:29:41

Excellent addition to your Languard campaign. Be sure to also pickup Fishshambles by Day, Fishshambles by Niht, A Trip Down Water Lane, and Drinking at the Druken Sailor to really add some extra layers to your parties time in the Fishshambles in Languard.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Languard Locations: Fishshambles (5e)
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Monstrous Lair #10: Mummy's Crypt
by Gregory S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/10/2022 13:03:51

Quickly add details to an existing mummified monster's lair. Of particular note in this lair were some of the features that seem likely to lead the party on to further adventures, or just a wild goose chase. I always love those and these were particularly good.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Lair #10: Mummy's Crypt
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Creator Reply:
Thank you, Gregory, for the review and the kind words. I much appreciate both.
GM's Miscellany: Mini-Eventures II (OSR)
by Gregory S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/10/2022 12:54:47

Overall, this is nice for assembling a quick urban outing in the city. While all 14 of the collected mini-eventures are set in the capital city of Languard, they would all work in pretty much any urban setting with minimal work. That said, there is a lot of setting information including POIs and NPCs that really help provide verisimilitude. This is a nice extension to the existing content on the Duchy of Ashlar such as the Languard Locations series or the longer eventured set in the area.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
GM's Miscellany: Mini-Eventures II (OSR)
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Creator Reply:
I am glad you enjoyed the mini-eventure collection, Gregory. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! (Also: kudos for using the word "verisimilitude" in your review!)
Dungeon Dressing: Wandering Monsters (OSR)
by Gregory S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/10/2022 11:53:43

Great for adding a little more flavor to the "wandering monsters' in your game. The first three tables give you a reason for their wanderings and there is a table to help foreshadow the 'random encounter'. I actually love these for even when there is no monster just to raise player tension.

There is also a table for 'less-dangerous' wanderers. I really like the concept, but this table felt a bit lack-luster compared to the rest.

As always, definately worth it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Dressing: Wandering Monsters (OSR)
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Creator Reply:
I am glad you found most of this book useful. I'm sorry the less dangerous wanderers section didn't work 100% for you. I'll put my thinking cap on and see if I can come up with something more flavoursome and useful next time. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts on our books. I much appreciate the time and effort.
Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands (5e)
by Mark B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/09/2022 21:58:50
This is a fantastic adventure; absolutely top notch. As a DM I need fast, evocative information that I can use to build a story and Shadowed Keep is PERFECTLY FORMATTED. Honesty, I wish every adventure were formatted like this one. The book includes, Lore (just enough, but not too much), loads of interesting NPCs (briefly described with only useful informaiton), rumors, several factions, DC 10, 15, and 20 information characters might know, town events, brief lists of notable locations and NPCs (and where they are normally found) so that you can rapidly look things up, very nice maps, notes on downtime activities, a full town, a full multi level dungeon. One of my favourite things is that there are story hooks everywhere. There are hooks for building characters with scenario relevant motivations, but also hooks with literally every location in town. Every single one. This thing has more hooks than a dwarven baitshop. The adventure is very sandbox friendly, with a great, well fleshed out town, and rich detailed dungeon to explore, as well as lots of pointers to other areas of interest. The thing that surprized me the most was how much fun it was to read as the DM. Sometimes it seems that 'official' adventures are written to be read like a story, often at the expense of organizing things in a functional way for the DM to run. Shadowed Keep, does not compromise at all on functional organization, but was actually MORE fun to read because there are so many story ideas, and it all just set my imagination wild. In summary, this is, hands down, the most functional, most rich, most enervating adventure I've ever bought. (I've since purchased many more Raging Swan products, and have been very, very happy with them all). Thanks for making great stuff!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands (5e)
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Creator Reply:
Thank you, Mark, for these tremendously kind words. I am (unsurprisingly) delighted you found Shadowed Keep so enjoyable. You made my morning! (Also, I've never been to a dwarven baitshop, but I will take your word for it!)
Thank you, Mark, for these tremendously kind words. I am (unsurprisingly) delighted you found Shadowed Keep so enjoyable. You made my morning! (Also, I've never been to a dwarven baitshop, but I will take your word for it!)
Be Awesome At Dungeon Design (Augmented Edition)
by Jim B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/09/2022 14:48:06

As other reviewers have noted, there's a lot of really solid advice on creating an engaging dungeon environment.

Chapter Five (The Dungeon's Ecology) offers a list of reasons to include some unoccupied rooms. I'll add one more: modularity. If you realize during play that you've overlooked something or that you really ought to add something (a crucial clue, a monster's lair, bathrooms for the denizens, etc.), you could easily repurpose a nearby unoccupied room. Several chapters could benefit from factoring in ways to make the dungeon modular and adaptable during play. Wandering monsters, for example. Use them to introduce crucial clues that the PCs have missed, or to give the PCs an easy, rewarding encounter if they're demoralized or a tough encounter if things have been too easy.

Precisely one chapter gives me heartburn: Chapter Nine, Creating the Illusion of Detail. You could just rename it "How to Waste Everyone's Time When You Haven't Prepared." In the first two sentences, it states a valid problem: when the PCs reach a part of the dungeon you haven't prepared. After that, the advice is problematic. The NPCs can deceive the PCs, but the GM should never deceive the players. Deliberately stalling them and wasting their time only because you haven't prepared is not the way I'd treat my players. Besides, the advice in Chapter Nine can easily backfire. If you put up extra encounters and barriers, you could make the PCs more interested in seeing what's beyond. If you give them an unbeatable monster, they might think you wouldn't do that to them, and then you have a TPK on your hands. How hard do you keep stalling them before they realize they've wasted their time? How much will they enjoy finding out that you gave them an unbeatable problem? You could kill the mood or erode trust. Chapter Nine isn't the illusion of detail. It's the deception that the PCs think they have a chance of going in a direction you don't want them to take.

There are two ways to keep the PCs out of areas you haven't prepared: Be straight with the players, or don't put temptation in their path.

Being straight with the players: "Let's take the action elsewhere. I'm not done with this part." Good players can accept that and move on. They'll appreciate that you didn't waste their time. Problem solved within seconds and you've reinforced trust. It's no worse than saying, "Let's break for pizza."

Refraining from temptation: Instead of putting up barriers and encounters that you hope will divert the PCs, put nothing there. Instead of a door they can't open protected by monsters they can't beat, make it a blank wall. Instead of a collapsed tunnel they might try to get through, there's no tunnel. They'll walk on by. Again, problem solved within seconds.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Be Awesome At Dungeon Design (Augmented Edition)
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Creator Reply:
Thank you, Jim, for taking the time to post your thoughts on Be Awesome. I am sorry chapter nine gave you heartburn! I can certainly see your point of view regards the illusion of detail. If/when I revise this book I will add in a section presenting your suggested solution to the problem of the characters eandering off in the "wrong" direction! Thanks again
20 Things #45: Vampire's Castle (System Neutral Edition)
by Eric B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/09/2022 10:33:02

The Vampire's Castle was a lot of fun to play. I loved the setting and characters. I also liked the simplicity of it. Very easy to introduce to just about anyone.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
20 Things #45: Vampire's Castle (System Neutral Edition)
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Creator Reply:
Thank you Eric. I hope your players enjoyed exploring a vampire's castle (and I hope the vampire enjoyed having them!)
Shunned Valley of the Three Tombs (5e)
by Eric B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/09/2022 10:27:10

I played a lot of D&D back in the 1970s, but hadn't played many RPGs since. I wanted to get back into it, but wasn't interrested in investing a lot of time building up a bunch of characters. I have been looking for simple first level character games. This one scratched that itch. I loved the setting, characters, and encounters. Everything was a lot of fun.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shunned Valley of the Three Tombs (5e)
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Creator Reply:
Thank you, Eric. I'm glad we helped you scratch your itch and get back into some simple gaming.I hope you get to game more in the future
The Shambles by Day Mini-Eventure
by Eric B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/09/2022 10:13:21

I didn't know what to expect from this mini-adventure, but it was a lot of fun. I loved the simplicity of it. It fits a number of groups. The exploration was fun and the characters were interesting. I like how it brings out the social aspect of RPG gaming.Nice filler game.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Shambles by Day Mini-Eventure
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Creator Reply:
Thank you for taking to the time to post your thoughts, Eric. I'm glad you and your players enjoyed this mini-eventure!
System Neutral Dressing Print Bundle [BUNDLE]
by Cristian M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/08/2022 16:30:52

After years of owning several books for multiple TTRPGs, this is turning to be my go to on a constant basis. These had the most value over buck overall from all TTRPG books I've ever bought. I would love to see more print editions bundles that are neutral :D



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
System Neutral Dressing Print Bundle  [BUNDLE]
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Creator Reply:
Thank you for the tremendously kind words, Cristian. I'm humbled that you've found the books so useful.
Monstrous Lair #45: Hydra's Den
by Badger B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/22/2021 03:10:34

This is a review for the book Monstrous Lair #45 Hydra’s Den. It's a 8 page book. Four pages are cover pages, patreon and so on. There is also the obligatory OGL that every supplement of this nature has to have.

The real meat of the document is to be found on the middle pages. It’s here you will find everything you need to create a truly unique lair each and every time you create one for your group. There are 7 tables in total! Each one takes you from outside the lair right up to and including the treasure in the lair.

I have included the author's reason for that table's inclusion and 1 example from each of the tables. That way you can see for yourself why I think these supplements will quickly become essential for you as the DM. Usually there is also a very nice line art drawing of the monster that the lair belongs to.

As with any tables you can just read the list and take the one you like the most or you can roll each table. As a tip when I use an entry, I make a notation for which party I used it with so I don’t use it again with them.

The Tables. The tables themselves provide you with a strong creative spark to add to your descriptions of each scene. There have been times where the table entry has provided me with the full narrative needed for that section of the lair.
You will quickly see from each example, the entries have been crafted by a gifted wordsmith, that or laboured over lovingly with dictionaries and a thesaurus. Either way you won’t find trite descriptions or generic throwaways here.

Table 1. Outside the Lair - Determine notable features outside the lair, using this list.

  1. Spiralling patterns of crushed bark show the hydra’s slithering passage through the trees.

Table 2. What's Going On? - Use this list, to determine what’s happening when the characters arrive.

  1. The monstrous hydra wallows in a small pond; its heads sway above the water’s surface like dancing serpents.

Table 3. Major Lair Features - Use this list, to determine the lair’s major feature(s).

  1. The hydra’s wild motion throws up clouds of choking dust from deep drifts scattered throughout its lair.

Table 4. Minor Lair Features - Use this list, to determine the lair's minor feature(s).

  1. A massive elk skeleton, complete with huge antlers, lies draped over a boulder.

Table 5. Hydra's Appearance - Use this list, to generate the monster’s appearance and other characteristics.

  1. The thick hide and scales of the hydra change colour like a chameleon as the beast moves around its lair.

Table 6. Treasure - Use these lists [tables 6 & 7], to add interesting incidental items to the lair’s hoard.

  1. This small gold ring depicting different coloured enamelled serpents twisting together provides its wearer with potent protection from venom.

Table 7. Trinkets & Trash -

  1. The lower half of a longspear’s shaft, decorated with carved serpents, has a crack down the centre.

    These are description that for me would take a lot of work because I don’t do this regularly enough. It’s going to take you several sessions / groups to fully plumb the depths of this resource and honestly, anything that allows me to prep less and enjoy more is a boon and that makes this [and many of the Raging Swan supplements] supplement a 'literal' gold mine.

At £0.62 [at time of writing] this is an absolute solid 5 stars from me.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Lair #45: Hydra's Den
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Monstrous Lair #46: Basilisk's Den
by Badger B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/22/2021 02:57:02

This is a review for the book Monstrous Lair #46: Basilisk’s Den. It's a 8 page book. Four pages are cover pages, patreon and so on. There is also the obligatory OGL that every supplement of this nature has to have.

The real meat of the document is to be found on the middle pages. It’s here you will find everything you need to create a truly unique lair each and every time you create one for your group. There are 7 tables in total! Each one takes you from outside the lair right up to and including the treasure in the lair.

I have included the author's reason for that table's inclusion and 1 example from each of the tables. That way you can see for yourself why I think these supplements will quickly become essential for you as the DM. Usually there is also a very nice line art drawing of the monster that the lair belongs to.

As with any tables you can just read the list and take the one you like the most or you can roll each table. As a tip when I use an entry, I make a notation for which party I used it with so I don’t use it again with them.

The Tables. The tables themselves provide you with a strong creative spark to add to your descriptions of each scene. There have been times where the table entry has provided me with the full narrative needed for that section of the lair.
You will quickly see from each example, the entries have been crafted by a gifted wordsmith, that or laboured over lovingly with dictionaries and a thesaurus. Either way you won’t find trite descriptions or generic throwaways here.

Table 1. Outside the Lair - Determine notable features outside the lair, using this list.

  1. Tall trees have wrapped themselves around a massive statue of a towering barbarian. The thick moss and vines growing over it cannot conceal the look of surprise and confusion on the man’s face

Table 2. What's Going On? - Use this list, to determine what’s happening when the characters arrive.

  1. With a rattle like a small landslide the basilisk defecates gravel-like faeces that stinks like rotten eggs.

Table 3. Major Lair Features - Use this list, to determine the lair’s major feature(s).

  1. A tangle of petrified people petrified while fleeing fills a narrow corridor, making progress difficult

Table 4. Minor Lair Features - Use this list, to determine the lair's minor feature(s).

  1. Petrified in front of a small statue of a halfling holding a mirror is a young basilisk caught by its own gaze

Table 5. Basilisk's Appearance - Use this list, to generate the monster’s appearance and other characteristics.

  1. Black and white stripes—like a tiger’s—cover this basilisk’s entire body. One of the creature’s eyes is blue while the other burns red.

Table 6. Treasure - Use these lists [tables 6 & 7], to add interesting incidental items to the lair’s hoard.

  1. These four arrows tipped with basilisk teeth encase their targets in stone for a short amount of time.

Table 7. Trinkets & Trash -

  1. A heavy stone shield, with its wielder’s arm still attached to the inside, lies against the wall.

    Great descriptions both detailed and rich. It’s going to take you a number of campaigns / one shots to fully plumb the depths of this resource. Honestly, anything that allows me to prep less and enjoy more is a boon and that makes this [and many of the Raging Swan supplements] supplement a 'literal' gold mine.

At £0.62 [at time of writing] this is an absolute solid 5 stars from me.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Lair #46: Basilisk's Den
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Monstrous Lair #5: Harpy's Nest
by Badger B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/22/2021 02:41:22
This is a review for the book Monstrous Lair #5: Harpy's Nest

It's a 8 page book. pages 1 - 2 and pages 7 - 8 are cover pages and so on. Page 6 is the obligatory OGL that every supplement of this nature has to have.

The real meat of the document is to be found on the middle pages. Its here you will find everything you need to create a truly unique lair each and everytime you create one for your group. There are 7 tables in total! Each one takes you from outside the lair right up to and including the treasure in the lair.

I have included the author's reason for that table's inclusion and 1 example from each of the tables. That way you can see for yourself why I think these supplements will quickly become essential for you as the DM. Usually there is also a very nice line art drawing of the monster that the lair belongs to.

As with any tables you can just read the list and take the one you like the most or you can roll each table. As a tip when I use an entry, I make a notation for which party I used it with so I dont use it again with them.

The tables. The tables themselves provide you with a strong creative spark to add to your descriptions of each scene. There have been times where the table entry has provided me with the full narrative needed for that section of the lair.
As you will quickly see from each example, the entries have been crafted by a gifted wordsmith, that or laboured over lovingly with dictionaries and a thesaurus. Either way you wont find trie descriptions or generic throwaways here.

Table 1. Outside the Lair - Determine notable features outside the lair, using this list.

  1. Stunted, broken bushes make going difficult.

Table 2. What's Going On? - Use this list, to determine what’s happening when the characters arrive.

  1. The Harpy is gnawing a partially decomposed leg when the PCs arrive. She uses it as a (missile) weapon at the earliest opportunity.

Table 3. Major Lair Features - Use this list, to determine the lair’s major feature(s).

  1. A thick layer of slime and congealed bodily fluids covers the floor. The smell is revolting.

Table 4. Minor Lair Features - Use this list, to determine the lair's minor feature(s).

  1. The heavy stench of death and decay hangs in the air.

Table 5. Harpy's Appearance - Use this list, to generate the monster’s appearance and other characteristics.

  1. Has beautiful red and blue plumage. She stands out from typical examples of its brethren.

Table 6. Treasure - Use these lists [tables 6 & 7], to add interesting incidental items to the lair’s hoard.

  1. Stained with soot and smeared on grim, this brass incense burner wobbles when stood upright

Table 7. Trinkets & Trash -

  1. This thick bundle of firewood tied together with several lengths of red twine. The wood is exceptionally dry and burns quickly.

    As you can see, the descriptions detailed and rich. Its going to take you a number of campaigns / one shots to fully plumb the depths of richness that this aid provides. Honestly, anything that allows me to prep less and enjoy more is a boon and that makes this [and many of the Raging Swan supplements] supplement a 'literal' gold mine.

    At £1.10 [at time of writing] this is an absolute solid 5 stars from me.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Lair #5: Harpy's Nest
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