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After Clean-Up, A Near Perfect Little PDF


Classic Encounters Revisited: The Inn is the freshman release from K-Squared Games, so I thought it would be appropriate for my first review. The product contains four files in total - three maps and the pdf of the book itself. The book weighs in at 81.3 MB, a significant decrease from its original 145.5, something my GoodReader PDF app noticeably appreciates. It is still lacking a printer-friendly version, but that is not as large a deal to me as to some others (I very rarely print materials other than character sheets).

The maps are a nice touch. Fairly generic, appearing to have been put together in one of the numerous virtual tabletops now around, they serve their purpose well, though I wish they'd have been done just a little smaller or split apart so I could print them at full scale on 8.5 x 11 paper (the smallest of the maps, which only covers the cellar, is 10x13). In my experience, printing across multiple full sheets doesn't always line up well (though that may be a printer issue).

The PDF itself totals out at 30 pages, including two pages for covers, three pages for the maps (unsure why, since the maps are included as separate .jpgs, and the file is already quite large), one page for the OGL, plus the interior cover and table of contents, leaving 22 pages of content. It is bookmarked fairly extensively for a small PDF, which I like, especially the separate bookmarks for each sidebar. It is laid out in a standard two column format, with a plain white background, though the sidebars are pieces of parchment. This makes it very easy to read, even without my glasses (I sometimes have issues with even the mildest background colors, as I start to blur the colors together without my glasses, even though I am nearsighted).

The Barking Pumpkin, as the inn is called, is an interesting place, with NPCs just detailed enough to be good characters for any campaign. However, enough details are left inexplicit for them to be dropped into just about any campaign world (who doesn't have at least one town where an inn run by a smuggler and his wife of similarly questionable morals would fit right in). The descriptions of the various parts of the inn are quite flavorful, with explanations on the how and why from the innkeeper's perspective.

As the product description implies, the running an inn portion of the book is a bare bones approach. It is merely designed for a quick and easy method of allowing your PCs to earn a little something from an establishment they decide to own. If you are looking for an extensive breakdown of maintenance, restocking, and staff fees (and I have played in campaigns where that may have been relevant), this is not what you are looking for. If you want a simple way of handling things that gives the PCs some influence on thier establishment while allowing them to adventure, this should work very nicely.

The games and gambling section is probably my favorite part of the book. While it contains one of only two duplication errors I found (a disclaimer sidebar regarding gambling and its real life risks that was also on the Introduction page), I have a feeling this one was intentional. This chapter presents a number of historical dice and card games to be played within an inn, including explanations as to how they are played. There is also a sidebar for how to resolve these games with skill checks, along with an additional sidebar regarding cheating. All said, a fun and informative little chapter (and the inclusion of Hare in the Hutch - medieval Beer Pong - highly amused me).

The NPCs chapter isn't bad, but it didn't floor me either. The stat blocks are clean and appear to be accurate, though I still have not done the math for the skills. A somewhat interesting group, this LE family is self-serving, and though certainly not outright cruel, they are not the type to care they're breaking a few laws.

There are also stat blocks for numerous minor NPCs that I honestly found more useful. Quick stat blocks for the town drunkard or a barmaid always have the potential to be more than a little handy.

The plot hooks chapter is nicely separated by the DC to hear the rumors associated, making it easy for a GM to let the players roll a check and immediately find the results. Nothing has a level attachment, allowing a GM to use any plot hooks without feeling the need to hide the good ones because the party level isn't high enough. It does contain the only typo I found after the file was cleaned up.

The final appendix conists of a bunch of tables for randomly generating an inn name. Nothing we haven't seen before, but nothing done wrong either.

Overall, K-Squared has put together a neat little book for their first outing. I think every campaign world has a place for the Barking Pumpkin. All complaints I had were fixed within 12 hours after my initial review and sending the list of typos to the publisher, so I certainly cannot fault anyone on their response. With the fixes, I can happily give this product 5 stars. While it may only rate 9.5/10, it is a fine first outing for a fledgling publisher, and I hope to see such quality continued in further K-Squared products.