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Players are in for a treat over the high seas!

*****

The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=36631.

Locals and ship’s crews alike report signs of increased sahuagin activity in the waters around the Sunken Pyramid. Is the recent rash of disappearances and abductions, which have plagued the area, connected in any way? Can these abductions be stopped before even more people are taken? Can those already abducted be found and rescued? And what of the strange and often conflicting rumors which whisper of something far more terrible lurking far beneath the Sunken Pyramid?

Reviewers Note: I have done my best to keep spoilers down to a minimum. But if you plan on playing this adventure, please do not read this review to prevent the terrible curse known as “meta-gaming”.

OVERALL

I have always been a huge fan of Raging Swan Press. This publication is no exception! Although I have a few minor complaints, this is definitely a great buy for those who are looking for a light way to get into life on the high seas, without getting into a heavier campaign like Razor Coast, or Skulls and Shackles.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 9 out of 10
Presentation of Layout: The presentation of the adventure is definitely of high quality! Layout is nice and clean and everything is readable. But I am still not a big fan of Raging Swan doing everything in black and white. Especially since this is designed to be what they call a “mini-campaign”, which means you are going to be spending a lot of time looking at this art and layout. There’s nothing that really catches your eye out of the gate. This is not to knock the adventure, but players like all the extra swirls of color and style used.

Ease of Mobility: The file is easy to navigate and read through. 1st Generation Kindle Fire users may have a little trouble downloading due to it not being able to direct download. But 2nd Generations should be fine. Apple products should not have a major problem as they are good with bigger files. The bookmarks are nice, and great if you plan on running it through your computer.

Maps: I love Raging Swan’s maps. I hate them in black and white. It makes the map so dull and boring in comparison. These are good maps, but there is nothing wrong with doing at least your maps in art in color. Other than that, the maps are simple and easy to use, and they are still very detailed for black and white, and are versatile to be used in any campaign as well as the mini-campaign provided.

Storyline: 10 out of 10
Plot Development and Pacing of Story: The adventure is very straight-forward, with a twist. So the thing I like about this publication is that there are plenty of options to allow you and your players to either run linear from cover to cover, or you freeform and only jump to the parts you wish to utilize. It’s a nice change of pace, but at the same time, it’s not the size of a full Adventure Path which allows GMs the option to drop in items as needed. Also because it is a mini-campaign, the pace in which you wish to take it is totally up to you and your group. There is plenty here for it to be a nice long 2-year campaign, or if you are waiting for the release of another adventure path to come out, you can get things done easily in 3-6 months. (Your actual time invested may vary)

Desire to Play: 10 out of 10
NPC Interactions: There is not as much NPC interactions written into the story line, which allows for a GM who may want to add those in as desired. The ones that are available are very well fleshed and thought out, which I like. There are also pre-generated characters, which can easily become NPCs in certain sections of the adventure.

Encounters and Rewards: There are a good number of new items and encounters that definitely make any work worthwhile. One of the things I have always loved about Raging Swan and their adventures is that there is an appendix talking about additional rules that are in Pathfinder, but are broken down further to allow additional clarification on situations. You see this a lot in their Dungeon Dressings and other supplemental material, but in this publication they made an additional appendix for rules concerning many issues that you will see in the adventure. (Spoiler: Primarily Water, Vehicle and Underwater rules.)

Overall: 10 out of 10
For Players: Players are in for a treat over the high seas! There is definitely enough action and activities to make the adventure something you are sure to remember!

For GMs: If you have been looking for a way into water adventures, that may not be on the same epic level as Razor Coast or Skulls and Shackles, fear not! This is the choice for you! It leaves tons of options to grow as you see fit and at the same time allows you to expand into something more awesome.


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Make your Pits Interesting

*****

The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=32532.

Looking for a new way of dealing with pits? Or even make the pits worse by adding additional items? This is the product for you! This is straight forward, no fuss, supplement that will make pits even more deadly and fun to have in your adventures!

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
Presentation of Layout: As always, it is done in the traditional Raging Press Style of minimalist black and white. Which if fine and acceptable especially for supplements. The layout of information is rather easy to read and done in the traditional style.

Ease of Mobility: The nice thing about Raging Swan Press, is that they have dual formats for those who wish to print, and carry mobile. It’s nice and keeps the files light and readable.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
Mechanically it’s sound, and I learned a few new things about Pits that I can use on my players in my personal campaigns. But I wouldn’t pass this on to a few others because then I know for a fact, I would get hit and die with one of these pits. Which is a good thing in the supplement’s case.

Value Add: 10 out of 10
If you are looking for something that adds flavor to the infamously boring pit, is definitely something you should purchase. With a two dollar price tag, it’s hard to not buy it.

Overall: 10 out of 10
If you are looking for something to expand your pits for your trap-filled lair, this is one of the supplements for you. The price is right, you learn new things about pits that you didn’t know before. It’s awesome and you want to take advantage of the low price.


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A No Stress, No Mess Adventure

*****

The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=32079.

Catastrophe strikes the frontier village of Swallowfeld! With a grinding groan, the town’s mill slews into the Kilian River and breaks through the ceiling of an ancient subterranean dungeon. This accident frees a long-imprisoned evil to prey upon the shocked townsfolk. When several Swallowfeld residents—some innocent and some not so innocent—are spirited away into the rapidly flooding dungeon, it falls to a brave group of heroes to venture underground and rescue the missing before dark, rising waters seal their fate.

Reviewers Note: I have done my best to keep spoilers down to a minimum. But if you plan on playing this adventure, please do not read this review to prevent the terrible curse known as “meta-gaming”.

OVERALL

This is a no-stress, no mess adventure that you can drop in and out of your campaign/game night with little to no prep as needed. It is indeed a very fun adventure worth it’s weight in gold (in and out of game!)

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 9 out of 10
Presentation of Layout: The layout of the adventure is done in the traditional Raging Swan Press style of minimalist black and white. While it’s not a bad thing, it kind of irritates me. When you look at an adventure, you want there to be some color, you want there to be some life and energy in the adventure that makes a GM want to run and a player want to play. With the format, the way it is, it’s kinda… Unexciting… But it doesn’t take away from the adventure in the same respect as well. It’s just something to note for those who are used to full color adventures.

Ease of Mobility: The file is light and easy to manage from mobile to print. The plus side of minimalist formats is that they are ink friendly.

Maps: The maps are simple and light. Easy to draw for those who hate drawing maps, but if you wanted to blow them up and print them out, that can also be arranged quite easily.

Storyline: 9 out of 10
Plot Development: The plot of the story is pretty linear–Bad stuff happens to a mine, and the party needs to go down and not only save the innocent people who are still trapped down there, but in the same respect they need to destroy whatever is down there causing bad things in the mine. Although the plot is pretty linear, it’s still a great adventure! Ron Lundeen is one of my favorite adventure writers in Pathfinder Organized Society Play.

Pacing of Story: The pacing of the story is rather quick and rightfully so due to the nature of the adventure. It always has this sense of urgency, but it does leave a GM time to add in roleplay before and/or after the adventure as needed. If you want to expand from there, you also have that option.

Desire to Play: 9 out of 10
NPC Interactions: The NPC interactions are a little flat, but there is room for a GM to expand upon them and make them memorable. If you have charismatic characters, I would recommend fleshing them out a bit, as they can be quite fun!

Encounters and Rewards: The encounters are appropriate to the level, and leave a good amount of a challenge for those who are combat oriented. The XP is fine, and the treasure is a little lacking. GMs can make up for that by dropping their own special items.

Overall: 9 out of 10
For Players: Dark Waters Rising is a great adventure for players who like crawling through dungeons and discovering the many secrets this city and area have to offer! The possibilities are endless and you will have no problem going where and doing whatever you want.

For GMs: If you are having a campaign dry spell, or looking for a new location, Dark Waters Rising definitely helps with that! You can run it standalone and have a good time, or you can add it into a campaign or even expand from this one adventure alone!


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Plenty of Pirate Goodness

*****

The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=30660.

Villainous Pirates presents, in 50 pages, Pirates of Note and nine Pirates of Renown ready for the time-crunched GM to quickly and easily insert into almost any campaign. Each pirate benefits from an extensive write-up including notes on their background, personality, mannerisms and distinguishing marks as well as a fully detailed stat block. Pirates of Renown also come with plot hooks making it easy to insert them into almost any campaign. It’s currently available for sale for $5.99 on DriveThruRPG or Paizo.com

OVERALL

Pirates are a very serious business for those who play Pathfinder. Villainous Pirates expands on the life of pirates and helps those who may need a little nudging in building pirates to remember! There are a few formatting kinks, and I would have loved the product in color, but it is not the end of the world, nor should it keep you from purchasing the item.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 8 out of 10
Presentation of Layout: It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a Raging Swan Press publication, but once again I was not disappointed. The layout is clean and simple. It is in black and white as per the format, but it’s not an epic deal breaker. I like the original looks of the pirates, they leave you to fill in the color thanks to the black and white format.

Formatting annoyance: I hate it when digital publishers who have enough material to give characters proper spacing, do not do so. Now granted, for printed works, space is precious. But for digital works since there is no page limits or printing restrictions it gives publishers the ability to give space wherever needed. The pirates are stacked on top of one another which makes the stat blocks not quite look right. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s a ding for a GM who is trying not to go from one page to another.

Ease of Mobility: The bookmarks irritate me a bit cause they take forever to navigate. But other than that the file is smooth and doesn’t take forever to load, which is totally nice.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
The product is quite mechanically sound. The stat blocks can be a little confusing, but again that’s due to the formatting issues that are above. Take your time when incorporating them into your campaign so you make sure to get it all right!

Value Add: 10 out of 10
There are quite a lot of pirate-related supplemental material going on in Pathfinder right now. It’s kind of that “flavor” of the RPG Season, as I’ve seen quite a lot of publishers big and small go and do a pirates add-on, but this is definitely worth the money invested! Give it a shot!

Overall: 9 out of 10
There are quite a lot of pirate fun goodies being written for the Pathfinder system as the result of Skulls and Shackles and a lot of pirate goodies in Pathfinder most recently, and this piece is no exception to the rule! This is definitely a product that will continue to help GMs for years to come!


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Bring your Statue to Life

*****

Dungeon Dressing: Statues, is a product that specializes in an under-utilized object in dungeons: the statue. Something that most players walk right by, this small product helps bring a statue to life. Now whether you want it to really come to life or not is up to you!

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
Presentation of Layout: Raging Swan has a very minimalist format in their publications. If you purchase items from them, you should know that they don’t have heavy art or colorful layouts. But although they go small on the layout and art, they make up for it with the extensive amounts of information within the product. I personally, would love to see a little more color in their productions, but it’s not something that ruins the product. Information-wise, there is quite a lot of original and new information provided and done in a very efficient and clean way.

Ease of Mobility: The file is quite small and easy to transfer. It’s great to also see bookmarks that are done properly on an item as well. As a result of this minimalist approach, it’s easy to navigate through and is light enough to move around from mobile method to mobile method.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
One of the things that this product does well, is that it explains to the reader, the rules that are already in place concerning statues in Pathfinder’s rules mechanics. They also expand upon these rules and remind you of other things you can do with statues. Along with that, they come up with some new fun traps that can bring statues to life.

Value Add: 10 out of 10
I do wish there was a little more art but I understand the way Raging Swan Press works. Their art is more in the information they provide. This is a great addition to a GM’s toolbox, especially if they are looking for something to add a little spice to the dungeon.

Overall: 10 out of 10
Personally, being a card carrying member of Pathfinder Society Organized Play, I would love to see things like this in our actual adventures. To have statues that turn into traps, or even real constructs in a dangerous way is stuff that only 3rd party adventures can supply. This is something I look forward to utilizing in my future adventures both at the table and in my own campaign writings. Raging Swan Press once again shows us why less, many times, means more.


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