Greg Marks Archive

  • GM’s Miscellany: Village Backdrops IV The fourth installment of the amazing Village Backdrop-series clocks in at 92 pages, 1 page front cover, 3 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC (including statblocks by CR), 2 pages of author bios (wish all books included that – author name recognition is important!), 1 page advice on reading statblocks for novice GMs, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with a total of 81 pages of content, so let’s take a look!   This book contains the villages of Cahill Abbey, Feigrvidr, Feyhall, Greystone, Macrimei, Ossoka Draconsha, Revenge, Shroudhaven, Silver Bluff, Tigley, Umelas, Vaagwol and Y’taris. These villages all have in common that I have actually reviewed the respective […]

    GM’s Miscellany: Village Backdrops IV

    GM’s Miscellany: Village Backdrops IV The fourth installment of the amazing Village Backdrop-series clocks in at 92 pages, 1 page front cover, 3 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC (including statblocks by CR), 2 pages of author bios (wish all books included that – author name recognition is important!), 1 page advice on reading statblocks for novice GMs, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with a total of 81 pages of content, so let’s take a look!   This book contains the villages of Cahill Abbey, Feigrvidr, Feyhall, Greystone, Macrimei, Ossoka Draconsha, Revenge, Shroudhaven, Silver Bluff, Tigley, Umelas, Vaagwol and Y’taris. These villages all have in common that I have actually reviewed the respective […]

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  • Campaign Backdrop: Marshes and Swamps This installation of the helpful environmental toolkit-compilations by Raging Swan Press clocks in at 87 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisements, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page stat blocks by CR, 2 pages of author bios, 1 page of advice for reading statblocks for novice GMs, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 76 pages of raw content, so let’s take a look!   Taking a cue from Raging Swan Press’ other, no less intriguing compilation books, this one features a table of all statblocks used herein by CR (spanning the range from CR 1/4 to 10) with accompanying page numbers and, as a nice service to […]

    Campaign Backdrop: Marshes and Swamps

    Campaign Backdrop: Marshes and Swamps This installation of the helpful environmental toolkit-compilations by Raging Swan Press clocks in at 87 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisements, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page stat blocks by CR, 2 pages of author bios, 1 page of advice for reading statblocks for novice GMs, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 76 pages of raw content, so let’s take a look!   Taking a cue from Raging Swan Press’ other, no less intriguing compilation books, this one features a table of all statblocks used herein by CR (spanning the range from CR 1/4 to 10) with accompanying page numbers and, as a nice service to […]

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  • Tome of Beasts (5e) This gargantuan tome of monsters clocks in at a massive 433 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 2 pages of editorial/thanks, 2 pages of ToC, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, leaving us with a mind-boggling 424 pages of content, so let’s take a look!   This review is based on the second version of the book and was moved up in my review queue at the request of numerous readers.   Well, wait…before we do, please bear with me as I embark on a little tangent. As I’m typing this, D&D 5e is a relatively young system, a phenomenon I like to call “B1BS” – Bland 1st Bestiary Syndrome. […]

    Tome of Beasts (5e)

    Tome of Beasts (5e) This gargantuan tome of monsters clocks in at a massive 433 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 2 pages of editorial/thanks, 2 pages of ToC, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, leaving us with a mind-boggling 424 pages of content, so let’s take a look!   This review is based on the second version of the book and was moved up in my review queue at the request of numerous readers.   Well, wait…before we do, please bear with me as I embark on a little tangent. As I’m typing this, D&D 5e is a relatively young system, a phenomenon I like to call “B1BS” – Bland 1st Bestiary Syndrome. […]

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  • Cat and Mouse (5e) The 5e-conversion of the introductory module to the evocative Southlands setting in Midgard clocks in at 26 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 21 pages of content, so let’s take a look!   This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion. … .. . All right, still here? Per-Bastet is the glittering crown-jewel of the nation of Nuria-Natal; it is also one of the most evocative, awesome cities I have read within the last couple of years. Through its heart, there runs the eternal River of Sand, guarded by jealous elemental creatures, churning tons […]

    Cat and Mouse (5e)

    Cat and Mouse (5e) The 5e-conversion of the introductory module to the evocative Southlands setting in Midgard clocks in at 26 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 21 pages of content, so let’s take a look!   This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion. … .. . All right, still here? Per-Bastet is the glittering crown-jewel of the nation of Nuria-Natal; it is also one of the most evocative, awesome cities I have read within the last couple of years. Through its heart, there runs the eternal River of Sand, guarded by jealous elemental creatures, churning tons […]

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  • Village Backdrop: Feyhall This installment of RSP’s Village Backdrop-series is 11 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look at the settlement   Close to the village of Vaagwol, we get something completely different – Feyhall is pretty literally, the halls of fey, long abandoned – in a kind of refugee camp below the surface, Feyhall is little more than a bandit camp driven by desperation, lorded over by dread bandit lord Stig. Parasitic and dangerous (danger value +43 !!!), the camp does suffer – for the small complex is haunted by the Hunger, a […]

    Village Backdrop: Feyhall

    Village Backdrop: Feyhall This installment of RSP’s Village Backdrop-series is 11 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look at the settlement   Close to the village of Vaagwol, we get something completely different – Feyhall is pretty literally, the halls of fey, long abandoned – in a kind of refugee camp below the surface, Feyhall is little more than a bandit camp driven by desperation, lorded over by dread bandit lord Stig. Parasitic and dangerous (danger value +43 !!!), the camp does suffer – for the small complex is haunted by the Hunger, a […]

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  • Village Backdrop: Vaagwol This installment of RSP’s Village Backdrop-series is 10 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look at the settlement   Vaagwol is neither a black metal, nor a pagan metal band, though the name could grace such a formation. Nestled at the marshy edge of the Twyll river delta, dreary, solid walls rise amid ever present fog and a danger modifier of +20 does not bode well. Indeed, were one to visit this dreary place, with quarters separated from one another by even more walls, one can see a much larger settlement that […]

    Village Backdrop: Vaagwol

    Village Backdrop: Vaagwol This installment of RSP’s Village Backdrop-series is 10 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look at the settlement   Vaagwol is neither a black metal, nor a pagan metal band, though the name could grace such a formation. Nestled at the marshy edge of the Twyll river delta, dreary, solid walls rise amid ever present fog and a danger modifier of +20 does not bode well. Indeed, were one to visit this dreary place, with quarters separated from one another by even more walls, one can see a much larger settlement that […]

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  • GM’s Miscellany: Village Backdrops II This compilation of Raging Swan Press’ critically acclaimed Village Backdrops-series clocks in at 95 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial,1 page ToC, 1 page advice on how to read statblocks for novice DMs, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 87 pages of content, so let’s take a look!   We begin this supplement with an acknowledgment I wished more pdfs sported – author bios. I mean, come on, these are the people who make the supplements we love and generating some name recognition is definitely something I consider a positive thing. Beyond that, a handy table lists statblocks by CR, village and page, complete with […]

    GM’s Miscellany: Village Backdrops II

    GM’s Miscellany: Village Backdrops II This compilation of Raging Swan Press’ critically acclaimed Village Backdrops-series clocks in at 95 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial,1 page ToC, 1 page advice on how to read statblocks for novice DMs, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 87 pages of content, so let’s take a look!   We begin this supplement with an acknowledgment I wished more pdfs sported – author bios. I mean, come on, these are the people who make the supplements we love and generating some name recognition is definitely something I consider a positive thing. Beyond that, a handy table lists statblocks by CR, village and page, complete with […]

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  • GM’s Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing This massive tome clocks in at 399 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of ToC, 3 pages of short author bios (which should be included in any roleplaying game supplement – seriously, help the talented folk that craft these books get all the recognition they can!), 1 page advice on how to read statblocks, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with no less than 388 (!!!) pages of content, making this one of the longest books I’ve ever reviewed, so let’s take a look, shall we?   When I reviewed “Shadowed Keep of the Borderlands” and similar adventures by Raging Swan Press (if you haven’t checked […]

    GM’s Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing

    GM’s Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing This massive tome clocks in at 399 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of ToC, 3 pages of short author bios (which should be included in any roleplaying game supplement – seriously, help the talented folk that craft these books get all the recognition they can!), 1 page advice on how to read statblocks, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with no less than 388 (!!!) pages of content, making this one of the longest books I’ve ever reviewed, so let’s take a look, shall we?   When I reviewed “Shadowed Keep of the Borderlands” and similar adventures by Raging Swan Press (if you haven’t checked […]

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  • Village Backdrop: Refuge This Village Backdrop clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!   All right, by now you know that Village Backdrops come with full settlement statblocks, do you? Well, now you do. 😉 The village also features information on the village’s economy, customs, nomenclature etc. and provides information on movers and shakers. Beyond that, short tables of rumors and events to enliven the place work as neat additions for the DM to develop into adventures.   Okay, let’s get something out of the way – this village is a pirate’s haven on […]

    Village Backdrop: Refuge

    Village Backdrop: Refuge This Village Backdrop clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!   All right, by now you know that Village Backdrops come with full settlement statblocks, do you? Well, now you do. 😉 The village also features information on the village’s economy, customs, nomenclature etc. and provides information on movers and shakers. Beyond that, short tables of rumors and events to enliven the place work as neat additions for the DM to develop into adventures.   Okay, let’s get something out of the way – this village is a pirate’s haven on […]

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  • Dungeon Dressing: Dungeon Entrances This Dungeon Dressing-installment clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving 6 pages of content, so let’s take a look!   What’s the first thing a noob-group trying their hands at Rappan Athuk will tell you? Yep. “We’ve been TPK’d by the entrance.” The first page makes one thing clear, if you haven’t been aware of it before (or by that anecdote) – a dungeon’s entrance goes a long way making a dungeon memorable. For the truly time-starved DM, 16 ready-made entrances are provided in the first table, several of which sport interaction opportunities for skill-checks, including DCs and all […]

    Dungeon Dressing: Dungeon Entrances

    Dungeon Dressing: Dungeon Entrances This Dungeon Dressing-installment clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving 6 pages of content, so let’s take a look!   What’s the first thing a noob-group trying their hands at Rappan Athuk will tell you? Yep. “We’ve been TPK’d by the entrance.” The first page makes one thing clear, if you haven’t been aware of it before (or by that anecdote) – a dungeon’s entrance goes a long way making a dungeon memorable. For the truly time-starved DM, 16 ready-made entrances are provided in the first table, several of which sport interaction opportunities for skill-checks, including DCs and all […]

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  • Village Backdrops: Hulw’Ma This installment of RSP’s Village Backdrop-series is 10 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look at the settlement Greg Marks has crafted here, shall we?   Hulw’Ma translates roughly to “Sweet Water” in the local tongue and as you may glean by this, the village is actually build around an oasis! Great to see Raging Swan’s Village Backdrops broaden their horizon thus! As has become the tradition with the series, we get a fully detailed marketplace, village statblock, lore-DCs, a short paragraph on how the villagers look as well as 6 rumors. […]

    Village Backdrops: Hulw’Ma

    Village Backdrops: Hulw’Ma This installment of RSP’s Village Backdrop-series is 10 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look at the settlement Greg Marks has crafted here, shall we?   Hulw’Ma translates roughly to “Sweet Water” in the local tongue and as you may glean by this, the village is actually build around an oasis! Great to see Raging Swan’s Village Backdrops broaden their horizon thus! As has become the tradition with the series, we get a fully detailed marketplace, village statblock, lore-DCs, a short paragraph on how the villagers look as well as 6 rumors. […]

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  • GM’s Miscellany: Village Backdrops This compilation of Rgaing Swan Press’ critically-acclaimed and well-received Village Backdrop-series is a massive 101 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page author-bios (read those, fellow gamers – if only so you remember who wrote your favorite supplements), 1 page ToC, 1 page advice for novice DMs on how to read statblocks, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 91 pages of content – so let’s get this on, shall we?   Well, first of all, we kick off this massive compilation with a list of all the statblocks in this book and the respective villages in which the beings reside – thus […]

    GM’s Miscellany: Village Backdrops

    GM’s Miscellany: Village Backdrops This compilation of Rgaing Swan Press’ critically-acclaimed and well-received Village Backdrop-series is a massive 101 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page author-bios (read those, fellow gamers – if only so you remember who wrote your favorite supplements), 1 page ToC, 1 page advice for novice DMs on how to read statblocks, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 91 pages of content – so let’s get this on, shall we?   Well, first of all, we kick off this massive compilation with a list of all the statblocks in this book and the respective villages in which the beings reside – thus […]

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  • Dungeon Dressing: Gates & Portals This installment of Raging Swan Press‘ Dungeon Dressing-series is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC/foreword, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?   This is a first in some ways for the Dungeon Dressing-series – Gates & Portals are all about magical means of transportation in/egress and as such a more magical component – so can the format work as well as for its mundane counterparts? Well, first of all, these things are EXPENSIVE, as the first page shows and need some consideration – what are portal keys, if […]

    Dungeon Dressing: Gates & Portals

    Dungeon Dressing: Gates & Portals This installment of Raging Swan Press‘ Dungeon Dressing-series is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC/foreword, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?   This is a first in some ways for the Dungeon Dressing-series – Gates & Portals are all about magical means of transportation in/egress and as such a more magical component – so can the format work as well as for its mundane counterparts? Well, first of all, these things are EXPENSIVE, as the first page shows and need some consideration – what are portal keys, if […]

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  • Village Backdrops: Hard Bay The latest installment in Raging Swan Press‘ superb selection of villages is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC/foreword,1 page advice on reading statblocks for novice DMs, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?   Hard Bay once was a pirate nest – with its sheltered harbor and plentiful fishing grounds, it has all the markings of a village destined for greater things. Since three noble families have been instated here alongside a productive metalworks, the town is affluent, though not overtly so and the Blufonts, Moisans and Gerous have their […]

    Village Backdrops: Hard Bay

    Village Backdrops: Hard Bay The latest installment in Raging Swan Press‘ superb selection of villages is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC/foreword,1 page advice on reading statblocks for novice DMs, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?   Hard Bay once was a pirate nest – with its sheltered harbor and plentiful fishing grounds, it has all the markings of a village destined for greater things. Since three noble families have been instated here alongside a productive metalworks, the town is affluent, though not overtly so and the Blufonts, Moisans and Gerous have their […]

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  • Wilderness Dressing: Travellers This pdf is 14 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 2 pages editorial, 1 page ToC/foreword, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?   Since full statblocks would blow the page-count out of all proportions (and most likely wouldn’t be required), this pdf opts for fluff-only tables that mention the respective classes and levels of the people encountered, but not more – to get right out of the way what kind of information you get. The first table deals with peddlers, merchants and traders and covers  25 entries over  2 pages, wherein we find the whole gamut,. mostly focused on […]

    Wilderness Dressing: Travellers

    Wilderness Dressing: Travellers This pdf is 14 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 2 pages editorial, 1 page ToC/foreword, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?   Since full statblocks would blow the page-count out of all proportions (and most likely wouldn’t be required), this pdf opts for fluff-only tables that mention the respective classes and levels of the people encountered, but not more – to get right out of the way what kind of information you get. The first table deals with peddlers, merchants and traders and covers  25 entries over  2 pages, wherein we find the whole gamut,. mostly focused on […]

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  • Dungeon Dressing: Thrones This installment of the Dungeon Dressing-series is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages editorial, 1 page ToC/foreword,1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let us take a look, shall we? Kicking off in the fine tradition of the Dungeon Dressing-series, we first get a page of rules-relevant information for the DM – whether thrones provide cover, that they grant high ground and construction materials/hp/hardness. Rather cool – there is a way to make spring-loaded thrones to get up faster. Superb for a paranoid rulers, though I would have loved to see information how such a mechanism would influence crafting DC/price. After that, we’re off to […]

    Dungeon Dressing: Thrones

    Dungeon Dressing: Thrones This installment of the Dungeon Dressing-series is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages editorial, 1 page ToC/foreword,1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let us take a look, shall we? Kicking off in the fine tradition of the Dungeon Dressing-series, we first get a page of rules-relevant information for the DM – whether thrones provide cover, that they grant high ground and construction materials/hp/hardness. Rather cool – there is a way to make spring-loaded thrones to get up faster. Superb for a paranoid rulers, though I would have loved to see information how such a mechanism would influence crafting DC/price. After that, we’re off to […]

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