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Low-Res Artbook: Missing the Point

1/5

I have several issues with it above and beyond the pixelization / low-resolution images that other reviewers have covered:

1. The overuse of white space. As has been mentioned, none of the pictures have commentary or anything of those lines. So if you only have one picture on the page, there's no need for it to be shrunk down to only taking up about a quarter of the page. Yet this book consistently does just this...not just with the sketches, but with the fully finished pieces as well. This probably links back to the resolution problem, as the smaller they print the images on the page, the less likely that people are to notice the pixelization / blurring.

2. That Paizo may not have been able to get full-resolution images for some of the works he did for other companies (notably WotC) is understandable, if disappointing. But some of the problem images are for his work on Paizo products. How is it that, for example, the core rulebook cover printed full size on the Core Rulebook looks so much better than it does printed at a much smaller size in this artbook?

3. All in all, I would consider these to be minor issues if this was an RPG book. For example, the 3.5 Campaign Setting book has some pixelization on the cover, and that never really bothered me. But this is an art book. The point is the art. If you can't do the art justice in an art book, then there's no point to it.


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Low-Res Artbook: Cash-Grab Edition

1/5

I have several issues with it above and beyond the pixelization / low-resolution images that other reviewers have covered:

1. The overuse of white space. As has been mentioned, none of the pictures have commentary or anything of those lines. So if you only have one picture on the page, there's no need for it to be shrunk down to only taking up about a quarter of the page. Yet this book consistently does just this...not just with the sketches, but with the fully finished pieces as well. This probably links back to the resolution problem, as the smaller they print the images on the page, the less likely that people are to notice the pixelization / blurring.

2. That Paizo may not have been able to get full-resolution images for some of the works he did for other companies (notably WotC) is understandable, if disappointing. But some of the problem images are for his work on Paizo products. How is it that, for example, the core rulebook cover printed full size on the Core Rulebook looks so much better than it does printed at a much smaller size in this artbook?

3. All in all, I would consider these to be minor issues if this was an RPG book. For example, the 3.5 Campaign Setting book has some pixelization on the cover, and that never really bothered me. But this is an art book. The point is the art. If you can't do the art justice in an art book, then there's no point to it.

4. And we come to the biggest issue: From some of the comments on the product discussion forum by (IIRC) Erik Mona, Paizo was aware of the fact that the low-resolution images existed. Yet they still published a cash-grab / limited edition of the artbook, and charged people an additional $20. That is, in my opinion, unconscionable. It's pretty much the thing that made me lose faith in Paizo as a company.


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Perhaps the greatest collection of monsters ever assembled for a d20 game...

5/5

Please note: This review is a direct copy of my review for the limited edition version of the product.

First up...this tome is MASSIVE...818 pages in the PDF. The table of contents alone takes up six pages, with three columns per page.

In this post I give an exhaustive listing of the contents of the book.

CRs range from CR 1/8 all the way up to CR 39...there's something here for anyone. Sorry Bestiary 2...you've just been replaced as the second-most important monster book available for the Pathfinder RPG.

The format is the same one monster / page format that Paizo uses. Some of the more involved monsters take up 2-3 pages. They do also occasionally try to save a bit of space by having putting another monsters onto the same page as the last of one of those more involved monsters. And there are several sections where they put 2 or more monsters on a page. But overall, the vast majority is 1 monster / page.

The art is black and white, but almost all of it is very good.

This gets my highest possible recommendation. Frog God Games hits another one out of the park!


More Original Edition monsters than you can shake a stick at...or even a sword!

5/5

There's been a lot of buzz on this website over the Pathfinder version of this book...and I gave it a review as well. But let's also take a look at the Swords & Wizardry version. Not quite as massive as it's brother, it still weighs in at a mammoth 688 pages for the PDF. The table of contents alone takes up five pages, with three columns per page. So let's take a brief look at what you'll be getting:

712 Monsters
52 Animals
N’Gathau "template"
...and more!

Now, due to the difference in systems, this omits a decent amount of the things in the Pathfinder version. But it also has a few extras:

Lairs: Each monster gets a description of a typical lair for the monster. Very cool stuff. This is going to eventually be available as a PDF-only supplement for the Pathfinder version.

The monster stats include the N’Gathau Twelve / Quorum Stats. In the Pathfinder version, only one of the leaders of the N’Gathau gets a full stat block. In this version, all thirteen of them get full stat blocks.

CLs (Challenge Levels) range from CL A up to CL 40.

The format is mostly the one or two monsters / page format. The art is black and white, but almost all of it is very good.

This gets my highest possible recommendation. Frog God Games hits another one out of the park!


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Perhaps the greatest collection of monsters ever assembled for a d20 game...

5/5

First up...this tome is MASSIVE...818 pages in the PDF. The table of contents alone takes up six pages, with three columns per page.

In this post I give an exhaustive listing of the contents of the book.

CRs range from CR 1/8 all the way up to CR 39...there's something here for anyone. Sorry Bestiary 2...you've just been replaced as the second-most important monster book available for the Pathfinder RPG.

The format is the same one monster / page format that Paizo uses. Some of the more involved monsters take up 2-3 pages. They do also occasionally try to save a bit of space by having putting another monsters onto the same page as the last of one of those more involved monsters. And there are several sections where they put 2 or more monsters on a page. But overall, the vast majority is 1 monster / page.

The art is black and white, but almost all of it is very good.

This gets my highest possible recommendation. Frog God Games hits another one out of the park!


Old-School Brilliance

5/5

First off, I must admit, I never played the Original edition of the game. I started out with the Red Box, then used the Rules Cyclopedia, then 2E, 3.0, 3.5, and now Pathfinder. So I have very little experience with the official versions of 0E and 1E.

That said, I've become huge fans of those editions over the past year or so with recent retro-clones. OSRIC for 1E. And previously, S&W Core Rules or White Box for 0E. But with the release of Sword & Wizardry: Complete Rulebook, my 0E itch has been fully scratched.

Now, as I said before, I've never actually PLAYED the official 0E game, but I have looked through the rulebooks. And thank the gods, S&W:CR is far FAR better organized. Let's take a look inside:

Introduction: The inevitable section where the authors thank all their influences, explain a bit about why they decided to make this game, and a very brief overview of some of the terminology used in the game. 1 page.

Creating a Character: Shows you how to fill in a character sheet, and gives a brief overview of what ability scores affect what. Explains the character classes, multi-classing and dual-classing, the races, the alignments (Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic), equipment, Armor Class, and Weight & Movement. For those who are interested, the available classes are: Assassin, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Magic-User, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, and Thief. 27 pages.

How to Play: A quick review of non-combat mechanics. Gaining XP, Time, and Saving Throws are covered. 2 pages.

Combat: Here we cover initiative and the order of battle, the attack roll and attack tables, some specific situations, turning the undead, death and damage, healing, morale, alternate ascending AC rules, and a gameplay example. It's worth noting that there are quite a few options given for initiative and the order of battle, as the original game was rather unclear about this aspect of the game. 10.5 pages.

High-Level Adventuring: Stronghold building and hiring followers. 2.5 pages.

Magic: Magic-Users can cast up to 9th level spells. Clerics and Druids can cast up to 7th level spells. They do a good job of retaining all the classic spells that are must-haves. This ends the player's section. 25 pages.

For the Referee: Advice on designing an adventure, dungeon adventures, and wilderness adventures. Lots of examples and good advice. 12 pages.

Special Combat Rules: This section covers mass combat, seige combat, aerial combat, and ship combat. 6 pages.

Monsters: A few brief notes on reading the monster descriptions, pages and pages of monsters, a list of the monsters organized by challenge level, and some words of advice on creating your own monsters. Like the spells, this section manages to squeeze the very best OGL monsters into a small amount of space. 27 pages.

Treasure: Generating a random treasure horde, magical items, and cursed items. 12 pages.

Also included is a blank character sheet.

If you're looked at any of Frog God Games' previous releases (or those of Necromancer Games, which spawned it) you kind of know what to expect in the way of layout and art. Very, very good for both. Interior art is B&W.

Nitpick #1: I wish they'd thrown just a bit about the Good vs Evil alignment axis in there. In it's absence, I dislike the implication that Chaos = Evil. Sword & Wizardry: Core Rules threw in a short paragraph on the subject, so I dunno why they neglected to bring that bit over to this new edition. But, that's rather easily house-ruled.

Nitpick #2: They use the 1 round = 1 minute rule. While I realize this is true to the original game, it makes things seem slow. A highly trained fighter only gets to attack one enemy every 60 seconds? Bleh. Still, like I said, tiny nitpick, and easily house-ruled away.

Thanks to all the guys at Mythmere Games and Frog God Games for bringing those of us itching for a shot of old-school gaming this brilliant new/old game.

Final Rating: Five Elder Signs out of five.


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PFRPG finally gets TEMPLATES !!!

5/5

One thing that the Pathfinder Bestiary was a bit light on was templates. Sure, you can use the templates from the 3.5 SRD, Green Ronin's Advanced Bestiary, or Silverthorne Games' Book of Templates: Deluxe Edition 3.5. But, until now (at least to my knowledge), there hasn't been a comparable book that's focused on the Pathfinder RPG system to deliver lots of great templates.

And then Rite Publishing noticed this absence of substantial templates, and decided to "rite" this wrong.

All of the templates in this book are great. As a huge Lovecraft/Mythos/Mind Flayer fan, the Eldritch Spawn template stands out as my favorite, but there's something for everyone here. Incredibly varied templates. I can't recommend this product strongly enough.


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