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GameMastery Map Pack: Ancient Forest Print EditionPaizo Inc.
Add PDF $8.99
Print Edition Unavailable
A good set if you have an encounter in a "dead wood"...TwiceBorn —
I have all the map packs that have been released, and this is one of my favourites. I found that I could create a decent-sized, evocative encounter with these tiles. I managed to combine the briar patch with the blighted forest glen, winding pathways, and druid glade, and while some trails did not line up perfectly, they still looked good. I spend a lot of time trekking in the Canadian Rockies, and I'll tell you from experience, many game trails just "disappear" in the brush... so I wasn't too bothered by the few trails that didn't match up. The somber "dead wood" / autumn theme worked well for my purposes (if you're looking for an ancient forest with lush vegetation and huge redwoods, this set isn't for you). I'm not sure I'll ever give a map pack a 5-star rating, if only due to the flimsy single sided card stock... so this is as good as it gets in this line (I would have given 4.5 stars if I could have). Still good value for money.
My solution for minimizing the accidental displacement of cards is to put them on some of that rubberized kitchen drawer liner you can by in most department stores. You might also stick some thin magnets on the bottom of the cards, and then place them on a Dark Platypus magna map... they'll definitely stay in place if you go with the latter option, though prepping the cards will take a bit more effort.
High versatility - good value for money.TwiceBorn —
I own all the Paizo flip-mats, and this remains by far the one I use the most frequently. While others may be more visually stunning, this one is the most versatile. The stone-grey and sandy brown textures are ideal for emulating a wide array of environments. Concerned that the folds in the mat won't allow it to lay flat on the table? Problem easily solved... flatten the joints for a few minutes with some heavy RPG books (Pathfinder Core and Bestiary will do just fine). Good value for money.
I purchased this for $5 via Paizo's Black Friday sale. And for $5, it would be worth five starts. At $20, I'd say closer to 3.5 stars, but I'll round up to four.
Things I feel could have been better:
a) Victory conditions -- it would make more sense to me if victory was achieved when the loser had completely lost one column, rather than when they were no longer able to replenish their front and relief lines. The victory conditions feel a bit anti-climactic;
The game is fun, but can feel "the same" after a while, as the strategic options are quite limited--especially when bad luck rears its ugly head and you blow your own troops up (or your opponent sets off a chain reaction with unanticipated consequences that totally decimates your ranks).
Overall though, I recommend it. I really hope Titanic will release the sequel that had originally been planned -- I will definitely buy it, at full price.
Excellent product!TwiceBorn —
As shown by the product image, one side of this mat is a dragon's lair. The flip side is a more general underground locale. The pros: the shading of the map perfectly matches that of Flip-Mat Darklands, so one can use both products side by side to stage a larger underground scene or battle to great effect. The artwork on the dragon's lair side is highly evocative -- I especially like the stairs that lead across a chasm to the dragon's nesting place, and the various bones scattered about. The flip-mat has one small con: if you intend for this to be the lair of a gargantuan or colossal dragon, then it'll likely be a tad on the small side. On the other hand, DMs could easily use this as a substitute for other encounters (I can especially imagine some evil priest or wizard standing at some sacrificial altar on the far side of the chasm, hurling spells at PCs as they attempt to cross the chasm). Both sides of the mat have high potential for repeated use.
Very versatile and atmospheric - highly recommended!TwiceBorn —
I have most of Paizo's flip mats, and this is one of my favourites. Both sides of the mat are very atmospheric. Side 1 features an iconic narrow bridge over a yawning chasm, with raised ledges, a small pool, and branching tunnels. Don't want a bridge in your scene? Just black it out with a dry erase marker. The reverse side, which features natural walls and pillars, is very versatile. You can use it as is, or easily add in additional contours of your own, taking advantage of some pre-set features which reduce the DM's work load. The shades on both sides of the mat are great. Highly recommended!
Top quality art, somewhat limited application...TwiceBorn —
With the exception of the "Dungeon" flipmat that was released several years ago when the line was still owned by Steel Squire, I have (or soon will have) every flipmat that has been released thus far. Overall, "Desert" is quite possibly the most visually impressive flipmat Paizo has produced. The one side, with the sphinx, jackal-headed statues and oasis is beautiful and atmospheric, perfect if you have those elements in your desert adventure. So why only three stars? I think the map is somewhat limited in its utility. If you are hoping for a flipmat that primarily provides a generic "endless sand, dune and scrub" backdrop, then this mat doesn't deliver. Both sides of the map feature an oasis (and, of course, not all desert adventures will lead to a sphinx). I would have preferred something more generic (on which I could have drawn an oasis, if necessary). YMMV...
Another great effort!TwiceBorn —
Another great release from Dronolan's Tower! While I also have all of the Midnight Syndicate CDs and one by Nox Arcana, IMO, Dronolan's Tower remains the creme of the crop. That having been said, I do feel that "Those Who Dwell Beneath" is a step down from DT's first release. I normally enjoy dark, brooding music, and this disc certainly delivers that in spades. I felt, however, that some pieces sounded a little too much like one another, and that the percussions were at times overpowering, if not redundant and uninspired. The heaviness of the music could have been maintained at having to rely on booming tympanes or kettle drums. That's a relatively minor quibble -- this CD still provides a great deal of inspiration while I'm preparing an adventure, and a great deal of atmosphere at the table. My players enjoy hearing it in the background. It's a great soundtrack for a Midnight campaign, and for any other campaign that is dark and gritty. I really hope that DT will release more music in the future!
The best gaming soundtrack out there!TwiceBorn —
I was blown away by this CD and it made me wonder a) why I had never heard of this composer before, and b) how much did it cost him to produce this??? I use it to "get in the mood" when I'm writing scenarios, and as background music during sessions. My players felt the music really enhanced the mood at the table (if I had more time, I would sync particular passages with in-game scenes). There are epic pieces, quiet/romantic pieces, exotic pieces (that would be fitting themes when meeting characters of a race that is alien to the PCs for the first time), etc. I think the soundtrack is on par with the works of Shore, Horner, etc... but you needn't worry about your players humming along or goofing off to some well-known movie theme. High quality, and highly recommended!
Doesn't work for me either...TwiceBorn —
I have the same problem as the previous reviewer. I've read Paizo's advice where the Window's unzip utility is concerned... can anyone recommend another unzipping utility that might work?
The best WotC/TSR novel I've ever read?TwiceBorn —
I have to admit that I've usually been very disappointed by novels set in TSR/WotC campaign setting, including other Ravenloft novels. I was pleasantly surprised by "To Sleep with Evil" (Andria Cardarelle is the nom de plume for Andria Hayday, who once was one of the lead developers for TSR's fledgling Ravenloft product line). Cardarelle's descriptions are rich and atmospheric, and both the suspenseful progression of the novel and its ending were satisfying (a rare thing, IMO, when it comes to fantasy novels). The novel deals with mature themes in a mature way. Cardarelle's dialogue flows, and the novel's characters (incl. famous Ravenloft NPC Jacqueline Montarri) were well crafted. As a bonus for Ravenloft fans, the protagonist even comes across a copy of Van Richten's Guide to the Vistani in a way that fits in really well with the story. I also thoroughly enjoyed the low fantasy/low magic aspect of the story (again, a rarity in WotC/TSR novels) -- flashy/rampant magic would have killed it. If you're looking for an action packed novel, this one may not hold your interest. But if you're into dark, brooding and slightly depressing gothic fantasy with a psychological slant that slowly but steadily builds to its climax, then this one's for you...
"Lord of the Spiders" was a huge disappointment. First of all, the title of the novel is completely inappropriate. There is little logic or purpose behind Michael Kane's arrival in the land of the Lord of Spiders, and suffice it to say that it is inconsequential to the overall "plot" (what little there is of one) anyway. While I generally enjoyed reading this story more than I did the first in the trilogy (City of the Beast), perhaps because it reads a little less like a hack an' slash novel than the previous book in the series, the other reviewers are right. There are way too many threads left dangling by the end of the story. The characters remain as bland as they were in the first book, and the ending left me thinking "meh". Moorcock spent so much time developing random encounters throughout the novel that he had no time/space left to write a compelling climax and denouement. Oh well...
Masters of the Pit (aka Barbarians of Mars) (Trade Paperback)Paizo Inc.
Our Price: $12.99Add to Cart
I'll second B_Wiklund's review and rating. First of all, as with the second book in this trilogy, the title really has little to do with the main story. Secondly, while the novel does start out with an interesting concept and fantastically creepy atmosphere in the city of Cend-Amrid, this unfortunately goes to waste in favour of high action random encounter-like situations that do little to further the plot. Ideas that are full of potential (the Yaksha and the Sheev) remain undeveloped. The dialogue is wooden, and the characters have no depth. Worst of all, the ending is a total anti-climactic cop out. It's as if the author had an impending deadline and was about to exceed his word or page count, and instead of revising earlier elements of the story to make for a more compelling conclusion, he settled for a total dud of an ending. Moorcock has written some awesome stuff, but the Michael Kane/Mars trilogy is, in my opinion, some of his worst.
Accomplishes what it sets out to do...TwiceBorn —
I should preface this review by specifying that I did not read the Planet Stories edition of City of the Beast, but the one that appeared in the White Wolf omnibus edition titled "Kane of Old Mars." That having been said, I imagine that little (if anything) has changed between the editions. Also, I generally consider myself a fan of Michael Moorcock, and have read dozens of his books (and have dozens more that I have not yet read). Finally, I expected not to enjoy "City of the Beast" because... well, the premise of a sci-fi/fantasy story set on Mars just didn't excite me. Still, given that I'm reading the White Wolf omnibus volumes in order of publication, I thought I would give it a shot.