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Rich Diver

jwood314's page

Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber. 121 posts. 6 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist.



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Death unto all who enter

*****

I tried not include any real spoilers in the review.

I will get the stats out of the way, what you will find:

51 stats blocks for creatures and NPCs. You will need the Pathfinder Bestiary and Bestiary II to run the module. You will not need the Tome of Horrors to run the module. I believe that if the critter came from the Tome, it was added into the module.

I found 4 spelling/editing errors and what looks to be a repeat, not sure which statement in room M129 B is correct at the end of the paragraph.

I found an error in room D2K, the Chaos Beast is listed as Bestiary, it is Bestiary II.

A new monster race - also in the Tome of Horrors - if you don't own the Tome, you are wrong. Ok, so I am a little biased. It is a great resource for any GM or player.

1 Main Monastery, which is 92 x 58 squares, or 460 ft x 290 ft or 140.2M x 88.4M
221 Areas in the main monastery - some of these rooms are empty, but some have multiple sub areas in a room.
2 Towers - these are more detailed in general than the monastery.
Tower K - 10 areas
Tower S - 9 areas
2 Dungeons - these are written at the same detail level as the main monastery.
Dungeon 1 - 2 levels and 46 areas
Dungeon 2 - 26 areas

General Impressions:

WOW, you are either going to die, be disfigured and die, grow grey hair, go deaf/blind then die, get teleported somewhere and then die, or fall down a whole, instantly age 50 years and then die. Did I mention that you might die? This is an above average difficulty dungeon crawl, ok, really above average. The designers make no bones about the fact that it is a dungeon crawl in the grandest of the 1e and I love it. Of my group of players, I think 1 will love it, 1 will like it and the other won't care for it too much. Your mileage will vary.

I really enjoyed reading through the module. Mark and Scott have done an excellent job of building tension and helping the GM re-create that tension throughout your exploration of the Monastery. The entire time I was reading the module I felt like saying Red Rum, and looking for Jack Nicholson.

There are a wide variety of encounter types, one room you might run into 5 orcs who are gambling and the next room run into a Marilith who would like nothing more than to destroy your party. Hopefully, your players are cautious and know when to advance to the rear. There is no shame in running in here, but a great many of the monsters, will run you down and kill you if you can, so be extra careful where you stick your nose.

With great risk, and there is a lot of it, comes great reward. There is not a lot of gold scattered throughout, but there are a decent amount of magical weapons, many up to +3 and some beyond. A lot of these magic items have really cool twists on them, and will help me think up new ways to torture, err entertain my players. I don't want to give any details away, I don't like spoilers.

I also really enjoyed how some of the rooms worked, the first person through, permanent 1d6 hit points added to their total, the next person, not so lucky. So if your players don't like randomness, and there is some inherent in here, then they may not like this place.

There are many great and memorable encounters and NPCs. The great monk that is not so great, the room that tells you to floss, and all I have to say is canned troll.

There is a large amount of back story, but it is not so specific that it can't be plopped down in anyone's campaign. I am currently running a Kingmaker campaign, and plan on inserting the Black Monastery at the conclusion of the Varnhold Vanishing. Some of the names will need to be changed to allow for tighter integration into my current campaign, but not difficult at all to do. This would happen in any current campaign. My only reservation is that it might kill all of my PCs, which would kind of put an end to their adventuring and building their kingdom.

There have been comments on the maps. The main monastery map is tough to read, and it would be nice to possibly get in on a 2 page spread. There are a ton of rooms packed into a single 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. It does get the job done though, I just don't know how else to make it better. The print product will hopefully rectify the dense map, since it will be a large fold out type, would be nice though to get that as a PDF.

There are two towers in the monastery which are greatly detailed in comparison to the main area. The detail is warranted, since the towers are homes to some important NPCs. Much more back story and fluff for the rooms in the tower.

Overall I greatly enjoyed my read through the module, and I am very excited about unleashing my players on the place. Will saves are critical though, and for those with low will saves, you should stay away, or get a better cloak.

The Black Monastery has earned its 5 star rating, it is an outstanding module with a great 1e feel to it. Now only if I can get the writers to sign my copy that is coming in the mail!

Oh, one last thing. I want to thank Frog God for their excellent customer service. I ordered the wrong version. I don't know how to read a button on a web page, and they worked with me to get the correct version to download from their server! Thanks for the great support.

Cheers,
James


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Wow, Great First Effort

*****

As pre-painted minis go, I am very impressed. I have been painting and collecting minis for 24 years, and these by far are some of the best pre-painted minis I have seen to date. I have painted much better myself, BUT, that takes many hours per mini, and quite frankly, I don't think I will be painting any minis for a long time.

I will probably add a wash to some of these to pull out details.

The paint job on all 4 are excellent, details are crisp, color selection excellent, the plastic seems well chosen for strength and flexibility.

I don't understand why people are going nuts on the costs of these. At 3$ a mini, these are an absolute steal. The time it would take me to paint at this level would cost tremendously more. I can spend more time preparing adventures and dreaming now than slapping paint on minis. These seem to strike a great balance between cost and presentation. Many of the DDM minis I don't like cause, they look horrible. I want to prime coat them and start over on the paint job, these, look fantastic.

I was very worried when I placed the pre-order for these and for the case shipping, hopefully in a few weeks. These minis though have far exceeded my expectations. The only issue now is that the bar is set so high for Monsters and Heroes.

I agree with Buglyman on some of the finer nits. The eyes could use some work, I will correct that myself. Inking and dry-brushing will add and pull out more detail. I don't like the blobs, but, it probably drives down costs on manufacturing, so another good trade off, cheaper here, more colors elsewhere.

As a first effort, this is outstanding, but wow, have you raised my expectations!

4.5 Stars, and I will round up.


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Well worth your time and money

*****

Another excellent addition to the 101 spells series. The spells add great flavor to what is available to low level spell casters, and increases the opportunities in game. My group has had a blast adding these into our campaign. Not every spell is perfect, and some are either a little over or under powered for the level, although a spells power can be hard to discern without more play testing. I whole heartedly suggest that you pick this up and see how it can expand you game. All 10 were excellent, well put together, and very creative. I hope Rite thinks about making a limited edition hard cover with all 10 of these releases, with their fixes, available. I for one would pick that up, especially if I could get some signatures on it!


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Pure Awesomeness

*****

Another great product from a 3rd party publisher. I am absolutely stunned by the awesomeness that is the first installment of the Slumbering Tsar. I read the module front to back and was amazed at how well the camp was brought to life. The detail of the denizens was outstanding. The background on the hows and whys people are motivated and how they would interact with the party was pure genius. I went and got the complete subscription from Frog God and look forward to receiving a signed hard copy of it. The writing and back ground is top notch. It is very easy to review such great work and suggest that others par take in the greatness. Reading the second module as I type this, well not at the same time.


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Really Enjoyed

*****

I won't rehash the mechanics of the product, but will add my two cents. I have been out of RPGing for decades, and started back up about 6 months ago. I would never have started if it were not for the fact that there is 1 other war gamer on Guam. I did find many RPGers, and am playing in a great campaign now. One of these players showed me Pathfinder and I went to the Paizo website. I had never really heard of 3rd party publishers before perusing the Paizo store and seeing the great number of publishers putting out material. The idea of another 101 spells sounded very cool to me and I bought the product.

I highly recommend this product. I don’t have the 30 years of continuous gaming experience, but the spells and expansion to any game was excellent. So good in fact, that I have purchased the other 7 spell expansions that are available. I am currently working on the GM to allow all of these great spells into our current campaign as well as other Rite Publishing products.

So weigh my opinion appropriately, I don’t know if anything in here will break a game, but the product is excellent, the presentation is excellent and well worth the money. Everything I have purchased from Rite Publishing has been above board.

I am amazed at the quality of product that 3rd party publishers are putting out. My wallet isn’t though.


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