Jacob W. Michaels Archive

  • Campaign Backdrop: Forests & Woodlands This massive book clocks in at 109 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 102 pages of 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 14) with accompanying page numbers and, as a nice service to the talented authors involved, we get a page of author bios, which is great to see.   But what is this? Well, the short answer, as already hinted at, is […]

    Campaign Backdrop: Forests & Woodlands

    Campaign Backdrop: Forests & Woodlands This massive book clocks in at 109 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 102 pages of 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 14) with accompanying page numbers and, as a nice service to the talented authors involved, we get a page of author bios, which is great to see.   But what is this? Well, the short answer, as already hinted at, is […]

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  • Wayfinder #15 This magazine from fans, for fans, clocks in at 84 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 2 pages of SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 78 pages of content, so let’s take a look!   Well, first, before we do…let me ask you why you’re still reading this instead of downloading this right now. The Wayfinder magazine is FREE, costs absolutely ZILCH and contains evocative, unique material. Even if you don’t play Pathfinder, the excellent artwork tends to make the magazine a great download to just print out and use the art as handouts. So yes, I do believe that you should download all of them right now.   That being said, while I […]

    Wayfinder #15

    Wayfinder #15 This magazine from fans, for fans, clocks in at 84 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 2 pages of SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 78 pages of content, so let’s take a look!   Well, first, before we do…let me ask you why you’re still reading this instead of downloading this right now. The Wayfinder magazine is FREE, costs absolutely ZILCH and contains evocative, unique material. Even if you don’t play Pathfinder, the excellent artwork tends to make the magazine a great download to just print out and use the art as handouts. So yes, I do believe that you should download all of them right now.   That being said, while I […]

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  • Deadly Gardens Player Companion: Verids This pdf clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1/2 a page SRD, leaving us with 7.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!   Verids are, as you may have surmised, a new plat-race intended for use as PCs – originally of extraterrestrial origin, they have several unique spins on the established tropes: Beyond looking a bit like plant-like versions of grey men, they seem to have a grudging respect for dwarves (!!!) for their mining prowess, but consider other races to be deviations from the natural order. While personally, I like this spin on the tropes and a GM could rationalize it by them having a somewhat odd or skewed […]

    Deadly Gardens Player Companion: Verids

    Deadly Gardens Player Companion: Verids This pdf clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1/2 a page SRD, leaving us with 7.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!   Verids are, as you may have surmised, a new plat-race intended for use as PCs – originally of extraterrestrial origin, they have several unique spins on the established tropes: Beyond looking a bit like plant-like versions of grey men, they seem to have a grudging respect for dwarves (!!!) for their mining prowess, but consider other races to be deviations from the natural order. While personally, I like this spin on the tropes and a GM could rationalize it by them having a somewhat odd or skewed […]

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  • Into the Breach: The Magus 2nd Wave This installment of the Into the Breach-series clocks in at 29 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC,1 page SRD, leaving us with 24 pages of content, so let’s take a look!   This review was moved forward in my reviewing queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patreons.   It’s been quite a ride since Flying Pincushion Games, then still partnered with D20pfsrd.com Publishing, released their second book (and the first one I reviewed), namely the first Into the Breach: Magus. Well…let’s just say that it didn’t do so well. That being said, the crew has learned quite a […]

    Into the Breach: The Magus 2nd Wave

    Into the Breach: The Magus 2nd Wave This installment of the Into the Breach-series clocks in at 29 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC,1 page SRD, leaving us with 24 pages of content, so let’s take a look!   This review was moved forward in my reviewing queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patreons.   It’s been quite a ride since Flying Pincushion Games, then still partnered with D20pfsrd.com Publishing, released their second book (and the first one I reviewed), namely the first Into the Breach: Magus. Well…let’s just say that it didn’t do so well. That being said, the crew has learned quite a […]

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  • Village Backdrops: Cahill Abbey 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   The eponymous abbey of this village may have been long-since abandoned, but the village that sprung up to support it sure as heck still exists and it sports a lavishly rendered map that depicts a sleepy, nice little place…though one that sports something that does not feel idyllic at all: The numerous tents you can see on the map are there for a reason: You see, the village sports a significant array […]

    Village Backdrops: Cahill Abbey

    Village Backdrops: Cahill Abbey 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   The eponymous abbey of this village may have been long-since abandoned, but the village that sprung up to support it sure as heck still exists and it sports a lavishly rendered map that depicts a sleepy, nice little place…though one that sports something that does not feel idyllic at all: The numerous tents you can see on the map are there for a reason: You see, the village sports a significant array […]

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  • Spooky Gardens: Deadly Gardens Autumn Special The first extra-length special of the Deadly Gardens-series clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, ~1/2 a page editorial/SRD, leaving us with 11.5 pages of content, so what do we get?   Well, after a brief introduction, the first piece of crunch we get is the spirit cudgel, a +2 gloom bough heartwood club that protects the wearer as protection from evil when an incorporeal undead comes within 60 ft. Okay, I guess.   More interesting would be the first creature, the delightfully twisted CR 5 brain pumpkin – basically, these thinking plants have dangerous tendrils and a gaze that can enthrall those subject to it, who thereafter get close to the […]

    Spooky Gardens: Deadly Gardens Autumn Special

    Spooky Gardens: Deadly Gardens Autumn Special The first extra-length special of the Deadly Gardens-series clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, ~1/2 a page editorial/SRD, leaving us with 11.5 pages of content, so what do we get?   Well, after a brief introduction, the first piece of crunch we get is the spirit cudgel, a +2 gloom bough heartwood club that protects the wearer as protection from evil when an incorporeal undead comes within 60 ft. Okay, I guess.   More interesting would be the first creature, the delightfully twisted CR 5 brain pumpkin – basically, these thinking plants have dangerous tendrils and a gaze that can enthrall those subject to it, who thereafter get close to the […]

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  • Village Backdrop: Denhearth 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   Situated high atop the mountains on an isolated plateau, Denhearth has suffered long from the vile predations of the powerful red dragon nick-named Cinderblaze – until the vile creature was slain by the benevolent gold dragon Galiantana – under her auspices, the village prospered and even saw the creation of a fabled academy, established to guide those that have the sorceror’s gifts towards a wholesome and controlled application of their draconic gifts.   […]

    Village Backdrop: Denhearth

    Village Backdrop: Denhearth 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   Situated high atop the mountains on an isolated plateau, Denhearth has suffered long from the vile predations of the powerful red dragon nick-named Cinderblaze – until the vile creature was slain by the benevolent gold dragon Galiantana – under her auspices, the village prospered and even saw the creation of a fabled academy, established to guide those that have the sorceror’s gifts towards a wholesome and controlled application of their draconic gifts.   […]

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  • GM’s Miscellany: Village Backdrops III This installment of Raging Swan Press’ groundbreaking, critically acclaimed GM’s Miscellany-series clocks in at 101 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of ToC (including statblocks by CR-table), 1 page author-bios (which, frankly, more books should feature!), 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with a massive 93 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?   This review was moved up on my review-queue as a prioritized review at the behest of my patreons.   If you don’t know at this point what the Village Backdrops-series is, let me enlighten you: Village backdrops are small pdfs, each detailing a fully mapped village (in this […]

    GM’s Miscellany: Village Backdrops III

    GM’s Miscellany: Village Backdrops III This installment of Raging Swan Press’ groundbreaking, critically acclaimed GM’s Miscellany-series clocks in at 101 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of ToC (including statblocks by CR-table), 1 page author-bios (which, frankly, more books should feature!), 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with a massive 93 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?   This review was moved up on my review-queue as a prioritized review at the behest of my patreons.   If you don’t know at this point what the Village Backdrops-series is, let me enlighten you: Village backdrops are small pdfs, each detailing a fully mapped village (in this […]

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  • Into the Breach: The Inquisitor This installment of Flying Pincushion Games’ class-centric “Into the Breach”-series clocks in at 29 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 25 pages of crunch, so let’s take a look!   This book was moved up in my review-queue as a prioritized review at the behest of my patreons.   As always, we begin the book with a selection of archetypes, the first of which would be the Circuit Judge, a mounted inquisitor that exchanges the domain for the full mount progression at first level. 3rd level nest the mounted tactician ability, which nets the mount the teamwork feats […]

    Into the Breach: The Inquisitor

    Into the Breach: The Inquisitor This installment of Flying Pincushion Games’ class-centric “Into the Breach”-series clocks in at 29 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 25 pages of crunch, so let’s take a look!   This book was moved up in my review-queue as a prioritized review at the behest of my patreons.   As always, we begin the book with a selection of archetypes, the first of which would be the Circuit Judge, a mounted inquisitor that exchanges the domain for the full mount progression at first level. 3rd level nest the mounted tactician ability, which nets the mount the teamwork feats […]

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  • Village Backdrop: Hopespyre 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   At this point you probably know this already -after all, Raging Swan Press’ Village Backdrop series is pretty much one of the longest-running ones currently available from any 3pp – the basic premise is that you get one sample village – with full settlement statblock, map, etc. However, what made the series the success it is, would be essentially the level of detail the series brings to the table – we get information […]

    Village Backdrop: Hopespyre

    Village Backdrop: Hopespyre 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   At this point you probably know this already -after all, Raging Swan Press’ Village Backdrop series is pretty much one of the longest-running ones currently available from any 3pp – the basic premise is that you get one sample village – with full settlement statblock, map, etc. However, what made the series the success it is, would be essentially the level of detail the series brings to the table – we get information […]

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  • Obsidian Apocalypse Player’s Guide This supplement clocks in at 24 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, 2 pages char-sheets, 1 page monster-mini-sheets, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 18 pages of content, so let’s take a look!   So, what do we have here? A collection of the racial traits of the Obsidian Apocalypse races, with reprints of the racial traits? No, this supplement is all about new content supplementing the unique races of the obsidian apocalypse campaign toolbox. We begin, without any introduction or the like, with Zebadiah’s progeny, the celestial-blooded Exalted – interestingly, this content, though, is not presented in a cut and dry manner, instead providing nice pieces of introductory prose for each of the […]

    Obsidian Apocalypse Player’s Guide

    Obsidian Apocalypse Player’s Guide This supplement clocks in at 24 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, 2 pages char-sheets, 1 page monster-mini-sheets, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 18 pages of content, so let’s take a look!   So, what do we have here? A collection of the racial traits of the Obsidian Apocalypse races, with reprints of the racial traits? No, this supplement is all about new content supplementing the unique races of the obsidian apocalypse campaign toolbox. We begin, without any introduction or the like, with Zebadiah’s progeny, the celestial-blooded Exalted – interestingly, this content, though, is not presented in a cut and dry manner, instead providing nice pieces of introductory prose for each of the […]

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  • Gibbous Moon Collector’s Edition The collector’s edition of Gibbous Moon clocks in at37 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 2 pages editorial/intro, 1 page ToC, 1 page foreword/author bios, 1 page of advice for using the adventure, 1 page advice for reading statblocks for novice DMs, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 27 pages of content, so let’s take a look!   After a page providing an introduction, we receive a new and rather well-drawn one-page illustration and then dive into what sets this edition apart from its previous iteration: Barlow. What is Barlow, you ask? Well, essentially, the module has been expanded to provide a full-blown village backdrop for your convenience – no longer is […]

    Gibbous Moon Collector’s Edition

    Gibbous Moon Collector’s Edition The collector’s edition of Gibbous Moon clocks in at37 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 2 pages editorial/intro, 1 page ToC, 1 page foreword/author bios, 1 page of advice for using the adventure, 1 page advice for reading statblocks for novice DMs, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 27 pages of content, so let’s take a look!   After a page providing an introduction, we receive a new and rather well-drawn one-page illustration and then dive into what sets this edition apart from its previous iteration: Barlow. What is Barlow, you ask? Well, essentially, the module has been expanded to provide a full-blown village backdrop for your convenience – no longer is […]

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  • Village Backdrop: Aubade 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   Like all village backdrop-files, the village of Aubade features a significant amount of local color- from rumors to market place info to a settlement statblock and even information on general villager looks and sample names, the aptly-depicted village provides the level of detail we’ve come to expect from this series.   So, Aubade is a prime example of what happens, when a catastrophe triumphs over sound reasoning – when a particularly nasty disease […]

    Village Backdrop: Aubade

    Village Backdrop: Aubade 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   Like all village backdrop-files, the village of Aubade features a significant amount of local color- from rumors to market place info to a settlement statblock and even information on general villager looks and sample names, the aptly-depicted village provides the level of detail we’ve come to expect from this series.   So, Aubade is a prime example of what happens, when a catastrophe triumphs over sound reasoning – when a particularly nasty disease […]

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  • From the Forge: 13 Evil Spells This little pdf clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial,1 page SRD, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?   So, what is this? The Freelance Forge can be considered a kind of think tank of game designers and this pdf constitutes one of their efforts. After a short, fluffy introduction, we dive right into the spells – so what do they do?   Well, first of all, they sport an iconic imagery – take the first spell, Blood Shackles, which causes not only damage to the target, but also binds it, with ½ your CL as an enhancement bonus to CMB/CMD […]

    From the Forge: 13 Evil Spells

    From the Forge: 13 Evil Spells This little pdf clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial,1 page SRD, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?   So, what is this? The Freelance Forge can be considered a kind of think tank of game designers and this pdf constitutes one of their efforts. After a short, fluffy introduction, we dive right into the spells – so what do they do?   Well, first of all, they sport an iconic imagery – take the first spell, Blood Shackles, which causes not only damage to the target, but also binds it, with ½ your CL as an enhancement bonus to CMB/CMD […]

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  • GM’s Miscellany: Random Wilderness Encounters This massive compilation clocks in at no less than 141 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page of advertisement, 1 page editorial,1 page ToC, 1 page advice on how to read statblocks, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with no less than 134 (!!!!) pages of content, so let’s take a look!   Now, first of all, I have to commend the fact that this massive compilation actually sports short author bios for all contributing authors – generating awareness and reputations for authors is pretty important in my book. Beyond the ToC listing ELs and XP-values, we receive a massive 3-page table of statblocks by CR, which range from none (for e.g. […]

    GM’s Miscellany: Random Wilderness Encounters

    GM’s Miscellany: Random Wilderness Encounters This massive compilation clocks in at no less than 141 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page of advertisement, 1 page editorial,1 page ToC, 1 page advice on how to read statblocks, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with no less than 134 (!!!!) pages of content, so let’s take a look!   Now, first of all, I have to commend the fact that this massive compilation actually sports short author bios for all contributing authors – generating awareness and reputations for authors is pretty important in my book. Beyond the ToC listing ELs and XP-values, we receive a massive 3-page table of statblocks by CR, which range from none (for e.g. […]

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  • Random Encounters: Wilderness II This pdf clocks in at 23 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC (with statblocks by CR), 1 page author bios (nice!), 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 16 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?   Now this is a collection of encounters that resulted from Raging Swan Press’ open call for freelancers by various authors and come with +/- 1 EL scaling information. The encounters herein can easily be plugged into a given campaign, so from here on SPOILERS will show up. If you’re a player, please jump to the conclusion.   The first encounter fits perfectly into the desolation […]

    Random Encounters: Wilderness II

    Random Encounters: Wilderness II This pdf clocks in at 23 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC (with statblocks by CR), 1 page author bios (nice!), 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 16 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?   Now this is a collection of encounters that resulted from Raging Swan Press’ open call for freelancers by various authors and come with +/- 1 EL scaling information. The encounters herein can easily be plugged into a given campaign, so from here on SPOILERS will show up. If you’re a player, please jump to the conclusion.   The first encounter fits perfectly into the desolation […]

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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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  • Into the Breach: The Witch This installment of Flying Pincushion’s “Into the Breach”-series clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 27 pages of content, so let’s take a look!   The first archetype herein would be the Bailiwick Hermit. These guys and gals select a favored terrain and increase their spell potency while in said terrain (gaining more at higher levels), while decreasing the potency when in other types of terrain. Generally, a cool class feature that has the obvious exploit for terrain-focused campaigns (like e.g. underdark/dungeon crawls) somewhat mitigated by the necessity to make concentration-checks when in any type of […]

    Into the Breach: The Witch

    Into the Breach: The Witch This installment of Flying Pincushion’s “Into the Breach”-series clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 27 pages of content, so let’s take a look!   The first archetype herein would be the Bailiwick Hermit. These guys and gals select a favored terrain and increase their spell potency while in said terrain (gaining more at higher levels), while decreasing the potency when in other types of terrain. Generally, a cool class feature that has the obvious exploit for terrain-focused campaigns (like e.g. underdark/dungeon crawls) somewhat mitigated by the necessity to make concentration-checks when in any type of […]

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  • Pathmaster: Ironwall Gap Must Hold! Full disclosure: I was one of the judges of the contest that determined which pitches were chosen for the Pathmaster contest. I did not receive any compensation and thus do not consider my verdict compromised. The very presence of these modules means that I like the premise of all Pathmaster-modules, but can their execution stand up?     This module is 40 pages long, 1 page front cover, 3 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 33 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?   This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.   All right, […]

    Pathmaster: Ironwall Gap Must Hold

    Pathmaster: Ironwall Gap Must Hold! Full disclosure: I was one of the judges of the contest that determined which pitches were chosen for the Pathmaster contest. I did not receive any compensation and thus do not consider my verdict compromised. The very presence of these modules means that I like the premise of all Pathmaster-modules, but can their execution stand up?     This module is 40 pages long, 1 page front cover, 3 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 33 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?   This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.   All right, […]

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