GM Archive

  • The Expanded Shaman marks the second book in Open Designs’ New Paths series. Anyone paying attention is well aware of how well received the first installment (The Spell Less Ranger) was, and what type of pressure that places upon this book right off the bat. Question here then is, did Marc Radle have another bullet in the chamber? So let us take a look. Weighing in at 16 pages, with 10 pages of new material, 2 sheets for tracking wild shape and a spirit guide, cover, OGL, credit and ad (which would not fully load in my version of this PDF). Artwork is handled by the talented Rick Hershey, as those familiar with his style can easily recognize from the […]

    Open Design’s New Paths 2: Expanded Shaman

    The Expanded Shaman marks the second book in Open Designs’ New Paths series. Anyone paying attention is well aware of how well received the first installment (The Spell Less Ranger) was, and what type of pressure that places upon this book right off the bat. Question here then is, did Marc Radle have another bullet in the chamber? So let us take a look. Weighing in at 16 pages, with 10 pages of new material, 2 sheets for tracking wild shape and a spirit guide, cover, OGL, credit and ad (which would not fully load in my version of this PDF). Artwork is handled by the talented Rick Hershey, as those familiar with his style can easily recognize from the […]

    Continue Reading...

  • So, into my greedy little hands came a copy of the newest addition to the #30 series from Rite publishing, #30 Variant Dragons….let’s just get something out of the way right up front, I love Dragons…period. I have loved them since childhood, and can accredit them as one of the themes that drew me to roleplaying, so there was no small amount of happiness on my part when I saw this PDF. Now, that we have that out of the way, and we all realize the pressure this innocent PDF is under to impress me and not destroy my faith in a certain breed of reptilian awesomeness…let us see what’s going on with the latest #30 offering shall we? Weighing […]

    Rite Publishing’s #30 Variant Dragons

    So, into my greedy little hands came a copy of the newest addition to the #30 series from Rite publishing, #30 Variant Dragons….let’s just get something out of the way right up front, I love Dragons…period. I have loved them since childhood, and can accredit them as one of the themes that drew me to roleplaying, so there was no small amount of happiness on my part when I saw this PDF. Now, that we have that out of the way, and we all realize the pressure this innocent PDF is under to impress me and not destroy my faith in a certain breed of reptilian awesomeness…let us see what’s going on with the latest #30 offering shall we? Weighing […]

    Continue Reading...

  • The latest Infamous Adversaries line addition is by far the best so far, and quite frankly, is going to be hard to top. This is one seriously creepy, nightmare inspiring NPC to unleash upon a play group. Ischadra, Grandmother of Assassins is a soulbound corpse doll….yeah, let that sink in….a doll, that kills. Now, we’re not talking Hollywood cheeze here, no freaking Chucky dolls, oh no, this little lady was crafted from the skin of corpses, she was built to house the soul of killer resurrected for the purpose of trapping her within this construct….shame for the clerics who performed the ritual that she was better than they were. I’ve been patiently waiting (OK, almost patiently) for this book since […]

    Infamous Adversaries, Ischadra Grandmother of Assassins

    The latest Infamous Adversaries line addition is by far the best so far, and quite frankly, is going to be hard to top. This is one seriously creepy, nightmare inspiring NPC to unleash upon a play group. Ischadra, Grandmother of Assassins is a soulbound corpse doll….yeah, let that sink in….a doll, that kills. Now, we’re not talking Hollywood cheeze here, no freaking Chucky dolls, oh no, this little lady was crafted from the skin of corpses, she was built to house the soul of killer resurrected for the purpose of trapping her within this construct….shame for the clerics who performed the ritual that she was better than they were. I’ve been patiently waiting (OK, almost patiently) for this book since […]

    Continue Reading...

  • With a weight of 15 pages (cover and OGL eating two of those) this PDF starts us out with an absolutely gorgeous cover piece of art from Lin Bo. The iconography of this cover piece definitely convey the sense of ancient secrets of power. Internally, the artwork is B&W, with pieces ranging from good to OK. This PDF continues a new look from the SGG camp for layout, going with a full page cover and dual column with embedded artwork formatting approach. Editing and spelling both appeared to be excellent, nothing really jumped out and caught my attention. Building an entirely new game mechanic, and form of magic, from three spells essentially would be daunting to say the least. It’s […]

    SGG Power Word Spells, Lore of the First Language

    With a weight of 15 pages (cover and OGL eating two of those) this PDF starts us out with an absolutely gorgeous cover piece of art from Lin Bo. The iconography of this cover piece definitely convey the sense of ancient secrets of power. Internally, the artwork is B&W, with pieces ranging from good to OK. This PDF continues a new look from the SGG camp for layout, going with a full page cover and dual column with embedded artwork formatting approach. Editing and spelling both appeared to be excellent, nothing really jumped out and caught my attention. Building an entirely new game mechanic, and form of magic, from three spells essentially would be daunting to say the least. It’s […]

    Continue Reading...

  • Weighing in at 52 pages, the latest oriental themed book from Rite publishing brings us an extremely detailed look into the Samurai, and all that it means to incorporate them as a class into your campaign world, both as a GM and as a player. Of those 52 pages 8 are eaten by the usual suspects (cover, OGL, ads and and appendix (for unfamiliar terms ), leaving us with 44 pages to cover the new material. Formatting follows the dual column approach, with embedded full color artwork throughout the book, and more than a few rather large pieces of said artwork. Each page is treated with a bamboo style framework, further invoking the feel of an old world fantasy oriental […]

    Rite Publishing Way of the Samurai

    Weighing in at 52 pages, the latest oriental themed book from Rite publishing brings us an extremely detailed look into the Samurai, and all that it means to incorporate them as a class into your campaign world, both as a GM and as a player. Of those 52 pages 8 are eaten by the usual suspects (cover, OGL, ads and and appendix (for unfamiliar terms ), leaving us with 44 pages to cover the new material. Formatting follows the dual column approach, with embedded full color artwork throughout the book, and more than a few rather large pieces of said artwork. Each page is treated with a bamboo style framework, further invoking the feel of an old world fantasy oriental […]

    Continue Reading...

  • The first thing one can not escape when scanning through the 488 pages of Goodman Games Dungeon Crawl Classic (DCC) Core Rule Book is the art. It’s everywhere, and I do mean, everywhere. The TOC is laid out inside art panels held up by characters, credits, play tester thank yous, designer notes, all tucked into the artwork, that is…for lack of better explanation, straight out of the 70’s. Seriously, this IS your daddy’s artwork folks lol. The art instantly took me back to my childhood and the style of RPG games that were on the shelves at my local game-store when I first got into role playing as a hobby. Is it cheezy art? Oh yeah, but in all the […]

    Goodman Games Delivers With Dungeon Crawl Classic

    The first thing one can not escape when scanning through the 488 pages of Goodman Games Dungeon Crawl Classic (DCC) Core Rule Book is the art. It’s everywhere, and I do mean, everywhere. The TOC is laid out inside art panels held up by characters, credits, play tester thank yous, designer notes, all tucked into the artwork, that is…for lack of better explanation, straight out of the 70’s. Seriously, this IS your daddy’s artwork folks lol. The art instantly took me back to my childhood and the style of RPG games that were on the shelves at my local game-store when I first got into role playing as a hobby. Is it cheezy art? Oh yeah, but in all the […]

    Continue Reading...

  • Weighing in at 15 pages (Front cover -1 page, credit/PID – 1 page, 2 pages of tracking sheets, OGL) we’ve got roughly 10 pages of new material here to work with. A spell-less Ranger….this class has long been plagued by the fact that whereas any class tossing spells about is kinda cool in its own right, the iconic characters who inspired this particular class were men existing by their own skill, and their ability to utilize the lands around them to some amazing feats. I’ve seen a few attempts to go spell-less with a ranger in the past, and it has always come out looking very much like a pigeon-holed fighter….so let us take a look and see if Mr. […]

    Open Design’s New Path – The Expanded Spell-less Ranger

    Weighing in at 15 pages (Front cover -1 page, credit/PID – 1 page, 2 pages of tracking sheets, OGL) we’ve got roughly 10 pages of new material here to work with. A spell-less Ranger….this class has long been plagued by the fact that whereas any class tossing spells about is kinda cool in its own right, the iconic characters who inspired this particular class were men existing by their own skill, and their ability to utilize the lands around them to some amazing feats. I’ve seen a few attempts to go spell-less with a ranger in the past, and it has always come out looking very much like a pigeon-holed fighter….so let us take a look and see if Mr. […]

    Continue Reading...

  • With con season fast upon us, one of our licensors and I were discussing the games they plan to run at Gencon this year, and I realized that I had forgotten (or blocked from my memory) the great secrets of Gencon gaming. Convention gaming is its own special creature, and none more special than Gencon. Usually people run roleplaying games at conventions for one of the following reasons: 1. To show off their mad GMing skillz; 2. To evangelize a game that they really like; 3. To promote a game with which they are involved; 4. To get into the con for free; 5. To have fun; or 6. They don’t know any better. Running a game at a con […]

    GMing the Con (not Conning the GM)

    With con season fast upon us, one of our licensors and I were discussing the games they plan to run at Gencon this year, and I realized that I had forgotten (or blocked from my memory) the great secrets of Gencon gaming. Convention gaming is its own special creature, and none more special than Gencon. Usually people run roleplaying games at conventions for one of the following reasons: 1. To show off their mad GMing skillz; 2. To evangelize a game that they really like; 3. To promote a game with which they are involved; 4. To get into the con for free; 5. To have fun; or 6. They don’t know any better. Running a game at a con […]

    Continue Reading...

  • Weighing in at 52 pages, with 6 pages going to the basics (cover/OGL/etc.), 1 page going to a fully linked TOC, which I love to see, as sometimes I don’t want to waste my screen space with the bookmarks (which this PDF is fully stacked on as well by the way) dashboard open. One nice touch added throughout the PDF is a link BACK to the TOC, so that if you are using it in-place of the bookmarks, you actually can navigate via this method. So, counting with me? We’re down to 45 pages currently, from there we have 15 pages of maps…yes, 15. Two of those are the same full ship, dissected by levels (with a style that reminded […]

    Grave Undertakings: The Ship of Fools

    Weighing in at 52 pages, with 6 pages going to the basics (cover/OGL/etc.), 1 page going to a fully linked TOC, which I love to see, as sometimes I don’t want to waste my screen space with the bookmarks (which this PDF is fully stacked on as well by the way) dashboard open. One nice touch added throughout the PDF is a link BACK to the TOC, so that if you are using it in-place of the bookmarks, you actually can navigate via this method. So, counting with me? We’re down to 45 pages currently, from there we have 15 pages of maps…yes, 15. Two of those are the same full ship, dissected by levels (with a style that reminded […]

    Continue Reading...

  • I am assuming you are a fellow gamer, the concept of basing a desire to recreate our fantasies is why we’re all here. Whether it was a character from a favorite novel as a child, that one movie, with those two guys (you know the one), or a show you ran home from school everyday to not miss a minute of. My point is, when you ask a roleplayer for their source of inspiration, you’re going to hear about favorite characters and ideals from throughout the entire genre of fantasy, sci-fi, noir, even westerns if you ask the right folks, we all grew up pretending to be someone, and luckily, most of us never outgrew that. The problem comes in […]

    Genuis Guide to Multiclass Feats is a “MUST HAVE”

    I am assuming you are a fellow gamer, the concept of basing a desire to recreate our fantasies is why we’re all here. Whether it was a character from a favorite novel as a child, that one movie, with those two guys (you know the one), or a show you ran home from school everyday to not miss a minute of. My point is, when you ask a roleplayer for their source of inspiration, you’re going to hear about favorite characters and ideals from throughout the entire genre of fantasy, sci-fi, noir, even westerns if you ask the right folks, we all grew up pretending to be someone, and luckily, most of us never outgrew that. The problem comes in […]

    Continue Reading...