Jonathan McAnulty Archive

  • U03: Death Comes to Stoneholme The third of the underworld-adventures set in the dwarven city of Stoneholme clocks in at 52 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 48 pages of content, so let’s take a look!   While it is not required to have played “Dark Days in Stoneholme” and “Murder in Stoneholme” to enjoy this module, I strongly suggest doing so, for this adds a) more player-investment and b) more gravitas to the module’s plot.   Since I played the module as Part III of this series of adventures, the following review will contain minor SPOILERS for the previous modules as well as, obviously, SPOILERS for this […]

    U03: Death Comes to Stoneholme

    U03: Death Comes to Stoneholme The third of the underworld-adventures set in the dwarven city of Stoneholme clocks in at 52 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 48 pages of content, so let’s take a look!   While it is not required to have played “Dark Days in Stoneholme” and “Murder in Stoneholme” to enjoy this module, I strongly suggest doing so, for this adds a) more player-investment and b) more gravitas to the module’s plot.   Since I played the module as Part III of this series of adventures, the following review will contain minor SPOILERS for the previous modules as well as, obviously, SPOILERS for this […]

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  • Aventyr Bestiary This massive bestiary clocks in at 148 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 143 pages of content, one of which is devoted to the cover artist Raven Mimura’s biography as well as the story behind the cover.   This book, just so you know it, is dedicated to Joshua Gullion, KTFish7, fellow reviewer, colleague and friend – he always did champion a bestiary for AAW Games’ Aventyr setting and I does warm my heart to see this dream realized. In particularly since Aventyr’s critters, from humble A03 onwards, have been a defining staple of the setting. The crab-like Kra’tah that haunted the Vikmordere […]

    Aventyr Bestiary

    Aventyr Bestiary This massive bestiary clocks in at 148 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 143 pages of content, one of which is devoted to the cover artist Raven Mimura’s biography as well as the story behind the cover.   This book, just so you know it, is dedicated to Joshua Gullion, KTFish7, fellow reviewer, colleague and friend – he always did champion a bestiary for AAW Games’ Aventyr setting and I does warm my heart to see this dream realized. In particularly since Aventyr’s critters, from humble A03 onwards, have been a defining staple of the setting. The crab-like Kra’tah that haunted the Vikmordere […]

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  • In the Company of Treants The latest installment of Rite Publishing’s massive “In the Company”-series for playable monster races clocks in at a massive 48 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 43 (!!!) pages of content, so let’s take a look!   This was moved up in my review-queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patreons.   Unlike most of these books, we do not begin with the in-character prose that guides us through the book itself – instead, we start with author Jonathan McAnulty noting taking us a long on a short trip through his mind and past, explaining why this book exists in […]

    In the Company of Treants

    In the Company of Treants The latest installment of Rite Publishing’s massive “In the Company”-series for playable monster races clocks in at a massive 48 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 43 (!!!) pages of content, so let’s take a look!   This was moved up in my review-queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patreons.   Unlike most of these books, we do not begin with the in-character prose that guides us through the book itself – instead, we start with author Jonathan McAnulty noting taking us a long on a short trip through his mind and past, explaining why this book exists in […]

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  • Pathways #53 The 53rd installment of Pathways, Rite Publishing’s free e-zine, clocks in at 53 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of ToC, 12 pages of advertisement, 1 page of SRD, leaving us with 37 pages of content, so let’s take a look!   Note: I usually don’t review free material any more, but was explicitly asked to take a look at the current Pathways-issues by one of my patreons.   As has become the tradition with Pathways, we begin with Dave Paul’s editorial before moving on to the template of this month. This time around, Steven D. Russell Provides basically a creature that is a living execution-machine – including lethal hangman’s noose! These constructs are nasty. Nice template! […]

    Pathways #53

    Pathways #53 The 53rd installment of Pathways, Rite Publishing’s free e-zine, clocks in at 53 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of ToC, 12 pages of advertisement, 1 page of SRD, leaving us with 37 pages of content, so let’s take a look!   Note: I usually don’t review free material any more, but was explicitly asked to take a look at the current Pathways-issues by one of my patreons.   As has become the tradition with Pathways, we begin with Dave Paul’s editorial before moving on to the template of this month. This time around, Steven D. Russell Provides basically a creature that is a living execution-machine – including lethal hangman’s noose! These constructs are nasty. Nice template! […]

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  • U02 – Murder in Stoneholme The second module set in the subterranean dwarven city of Stoneholme clocks in at 36 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 32 pages of content, so let’s take a look!   This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion. … .. . All right, only GMs left? Great! The waves of supernatural darkness sweeping the city’s streets have ebbed away (either as a background info or due to the PCs playing this module’s predecessor “Dark Days in Stoneholme), but the dwarven city gets no rest – 3 dwarves have been found […]

    U02 – Murder in Stoneholme

    U02 – Murder in Stoneholme The second module set in the subterranean dwarven city of Stoneholme clocks in at 36 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 32 pages of content, so let’s take a look!   This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion. … .. . All right, only GMs left? Great! The waves of supernatural darkness sweeping the city’s streets have ebbed away (either as a background info or due to the PCs playing this module’s predecessor “Dark Days in Stoneholme), but the dwarven city gets no rest – 3 dwarves have been found […]

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  • U01 – Dark Days in Stoneholme This underworld introductory adventure clocks in at 30 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 26 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? Great! So, we begin in the subterranean dwarven city of Stoneholme (which comes with a schematic map), generally a pretty hospitable place as far as the underworld is concerned, though here, as well, the forces of evil just wait for goodness to stumble: A sect of Dispater-worshipping devil-cultists has put into place a series of machinations […]

    U01 – Dark Days in Stoneholme

    U01 – Dark Days in Stoneholme This underworld introductory adventure clocks in at 30 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 26 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? Great! So, we begin in the subterranean dwarven city of Stoneholme (which comes with a schematic map), generally a pretty hospitable place as far as the underworld is concerned, though here, as well, the forces of evil just wait for goodness to stumble: A sect of Dispater-worshipping devil-cultists has put into place a series of machinations […]

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  • Pathways #52 The 52nd installment of Rite Publishing’s free monthly e-zine Pathways clocks in at 50 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page ToC, 12 pages of advertisement, 1 page of SRD, leaving us with 35 pages of content, so let’s take a look!     As per the tradition of Pathways, we begin with David Paul’s editorial and then, a new template crafted by Steven D. Russell and an accompanying sample creature. This time around, we get the walking wasteland CR+2 template, which renders creatures truly toxic/putrid – healing-impediment and spoiled foods and drinks, courtesy of these beast’s auras, accompany them like the noxious, poisonous clouds that never stray far from them – oh, and the very attacks of […]

    Pathways #52

    Pathways #52 The 52nd installment of Rite Publishing’s free monthly e-zine Pathways clocks in at 50 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page ToC, 12 pages of advertisement, 1 page of SRD, leaving us with 35 pages of content, so let’s take a look!     As per the tradition of Pathways, we begin with David Paul’s editorial and then, a new template crafted by Steven D. Russell and an accompanying sample creature. This time around, we get the walking wasteland CR+2 template, which renders creatures truly toxic/putrid – healing-impediment and spoiled foods and drinks, courtesy of these beast’s auras, accompany them like the noxious, poisonous clouds that never stray far from them – oh, and the very attacks of […]

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  • It’s compilation-review-time! This time, I’ll take a look at Rite Publishing’s massive collection   The Secrets of Adventuring This massive compilation is 226 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC,1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 219 pages of content, so let’s check this out, shall we? The very first component of this pdf would be Jonathan McAnulty’s Divine Channeler-class, an agent of the divine much more closely defined by the domains he chooses than a regular cleric or oracle would be – not only can they take some from the new meta-channeling feats, there also is an entry for each of the domains that specifies the way […]

    The Secrets of Adventuring

    It’s compilation-review-time! This time, I’ll take a look at Rite Publishing’s massive collection   The Secrets of Adventuring This massive compilation is 226 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC,1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 219 pages of content, so let’s check this out, shall we? The very first component of this pdf would be Jonathan McAnulty’s Divine Channeler-class, an agent of the divine much more closely defined by the domains he chooses than a regular cleric or oracle would be – not only can they take some from the new meta-channeling feats, there also is an entry for each of the domains that specifies the way […]

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  • In the Company of Monsters     This compilation of Rite Publishing’s playable monster races is 94 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages advertisement, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with a total of  87 pages of content, so what exactly do we get?   Well, first of all, I have reviewed ALL of the component pdfs of this compilation and thus won’t go into each and every detail of the respective races and instead focus on providing you a good overview of the respective entries.   The first race of the pdf would then be T. H. Gulliver’s Gargoyles or rather stonewardens. As they call themselves – […]

    In the Company of Monsters

    In the Company of Monsters     This compilation of Rite Publishing’s playable monster races is 94 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages advertisement, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with a total of  87 pages of content, so what exactly do we get?   Well, first of all, I have reviewed ALL of the component pdfs of this compilation and thus won’t go into each and every detail of the respective races and instead focus on providing you a good overview of the respective entries.   The first race of the pdf would then be T. H. Gulliver’s Gargoyles or rather stonewardens. As they call themselves – […]

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  • Hej everybody, today I’ll take a look at Rite Publishing’s latest offering from the Japanese-horror-themed setting Kaidan,     Up From Darkness This scenario is 36 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial,1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with a total of 31 pages of content -not bad for the low price point!   This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS and indeed, more so than usually, I’d urge any player to NOT READ AHEAD. Much of this module’s appeal is due to its mysteries and by reading on, you’ll deprive yourself of the basic tenets o the module.   Still here? LAST WARNING   Okay, “You awaken in pure Darkness.” […]

    Up From Darkness

    Hej everybody, today I’ll take a look at Rite Publishing’s latest offering from the Japanese-horror-themed setting Kaidan,     Up From Darkness This scenario is 36 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial,1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with a total of 31 pages of content -not bad for the low price point!   This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS and indeed, more so than usually, I’d urge any player to NOT READ AHEAD. Much of this module’s appeal is due to its mysteries and by reading on, you’ll deprive yourself of the basic tenets o the module.   Still here? LAST WARNING   Okay, “You awaken in pure Darkness.” […]

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  • Hej everybody, I’m going to take a look at the second issue of Rite Publishing’s quarterly magazine,   Adventure Quarterly #2   The second issue of Rite Publishing’s quarterly adventure-magazine is 90 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page blank inside the back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving 84 pages of content, so let’s check this out!   This being a review of an adventure-based magazine, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.   All right, still here? Excellent! The first module is a slight blast from the past for me – we get the complete first level of the Ruins Perilous by […]

    Adventure Quarterly #2

    Hej everybody, I’m going to take a look at the second issue of Rite Publishing’s quarterly magazine,   Adventure Quarterly #2   The second issue of Rite Publishing’s quarterly adventure-magazine is 90 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page blank inside the back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving 84 pages of content, so let’s check this out!   This being a review of an adventure-based magazine, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.   All right, still here? Excellent! The first module is a slight blast from the past for me – we get the complete first level of the Ruins Perilous by […]

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  • Tales of the Old Margreve   This adventure anthology/sourcebook is 113 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving 107 pages of content, so let’s take a look at it!   The anthology sets the mood immediately via a two-page short fable about fey and beer and offers thus a great lead-in to the gazetteer-section on the Margreve, the ancient forest of Midgard, where both the wonder, strangeness, creepiness and awe of the forest come back to live and intermingle with the cruel Germanic and Slavic folktales. Both attitudes of the folk, their old ways and rites and customs and the global powers of the forest are […]

    Tales of the Old Margreve + web-enhancement

    Tales of the Old Margreve   This adventure anthology/sourcebook is 113 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving 107 pages of content, so let’s take a look at it!   The anthology sets the mood immediately via a two-page short fable about fey and beer and offers thus a great lead-in to the gazetteer-section on the Margreve, the ancient forest of Midgard, where both the wonder, strangeness, creepiness and awe of the forest come back to live and intermingle with the cruel Germanic and Slavic folktales. Both attitudes of the folk, their old ways and rites and customs and the global powers of the forest are […]

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  • Hej everybody, today I’ll take a look at the final installment of the critically-acclaimed Kaidan-trilogy!   Kaidan III: Dark Path  The final part of the epic Japanese horror saga by Jonathan McAnulty and Micheal Tumey is 62 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages SRD, 3 pages of advertisement and 1 page back cover, leaving 53 pages of content for your perusal, so let’s check them out!   After the lurking estrangement and the despair-ridden darkness of the second installment, the PCs, cursed and on the run, finally have allies and will reap the seeds they have sown in the two predecessors on their way to the climax. And boy, the introduction already […]

    Kaidan: Dark Path (Part III)

    Hej everybody, today I’ll take a look at the final installment of the critically-acclaimed Kaidan-trilogy!   Kaidan III: Dark Path  The final part of the epic Japanese horror saga by Jonathan McAnulty and Micheal Tumey is 62 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages SRD, 3 pages of advertisement and 1 page back cover, leaving 53 pages of content for your perusal, so let’s check them out!   After the lurking estrangement and the despair-ridden darkness of the second installment, the PCs, cursed and on the run, finally have allies and will reap the seeds they have sown in the two predecessors on their way to the climax. And boy, the introduction already […]

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  • Hej everybody, with the Kaidan Campaign Setting kickstarter running, I figure I’d post the second review of the critically-acclaimed trilogy! Dim Spirit   The second part of the three-part Japanese horror saga set in Kaidan, “Dim Spirit” clocks in at a whopping 64 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page list of contributors, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page back cover, 6 pages of advertisement and 2 pages SRD, leaving 51 pages for the second part of the epic, so let’s check out whether it stands up to the excellent quality we had in the first part!   First of all you’ll notice the, once again, excellent quality of the layout: The Bamboo-lined pages and the artworks serve greatly […]

    Kaidan:Dim Spirit (Part II) and #30 Haunts for Kaidan

    Hej everybody, with the Kaidan Campaign Setting kickstarter running, I figure I’d post the second review of the critically-acclaimed trilogy! Dim Spirit   The second part of the three-part Japanese horror saga set in Kaidan, “Dim Spirit” clocks in at a whopping 64 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page list of contributors, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page back cover, 6 pages of advertisement and 2 pages SRD, leaving 51 pages for the second part of the epic, so let’s check out whether it stands up to the excellent quality we had in the first part!   First of all you’ll notice the, once again, excellent quality of the layout: The Bamboo-lined pages and the artworks serve greatly […]

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  • Hej everybody! You may perhaps not know this, but I’m a  sucker for horror-games. I really love them to death. Whether it’s CoC, ToC or any kind of gothic horror, I’m all in. Thus, it should come as no surprise that I backed a trilogy that depicted horror from a  source that is rather rarely seen in gaming: Very dark, Japanese horror in the style of the old stories, blended with a significant touch of Ravenloft. Jonathan McAnulty and Michael K. Tumey have created an adventure trilogy as an introduction to these dark lands. Now, with a kickstarter for the whole setting, I figured it would be prudent to introduce as many people as possible to these neat modules. Thus, […]

    Kaidan: The Gift (Part I) and a FREE module

    Hej everybody! You may perhaps not know this, but I’m a  sucker for horror-games. I really love them to death. Whether it’s CoC, ToC or any kind of gothic horror, I’m all in. Thus, it should come as no surprise that I backed a trilogy that depicted horror from a  source that is rather rarely seen in gaming: Very dark, Japanese horror in the style of the old stories, blended with a significant touch of Ravenloft. Jonathan McAnulty and Michael K. Tumey have created an adventure trilogy as an introduction to these dark lands. Now, with a kickstarter for the whole setting, I figured it would be prudent to introduce as many people as possible to these neat modules. Thus, […]

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  • Hej everybody here at NERD TREK! I figured for the second review here on the site, I’ll introduce those of you who don’t know about it to one of the sourcebooks/modules that defines for me what third party publishers are capable of and which, imho, is one of the best high-level modules for any iteration of d20-related systems, namely Rite Publishing’s    Coliseum Morpheuon The pdf is a whopping 127 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page back cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD. That leaves us with 123 pages. A quick glance at the cover and interior shows you that CM is a full-color book, and a beautiful one at that – both the full-color artworks and […]

    Coliseum Morpheuon

    Hej everybody here at NERD TREK! I figured for the second review here on the site, I’ll introduce those of you who don’t know about it to one of the sourcebooks/modules that defines for me what third party publishers are capable of and which, imho, is one of the best high-level modules for any iteration of d20-related systems, namely Rite Publishing’s    Coliseum Morpheuon The pdf is a whopping 127 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page back cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD. That leaves us with 123 pages. A quick glance at the cover and interior shows you that CM is a full-color book, and a beautiful one at that – both the full-color artworks and […]

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  • 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 […]

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