d20

Races of Stone

It might be surprising that I waited so long to acquire this book.  After all, I love dwarves.  As a race they exhibit tremendous heroism yet remain deeply flawed.  Back in the days of 1st edition it was clear that dwarves lived *ON* the mountains more than *IN* the mountains.  Their homes were close to the surface, and full of natural light.  Over succeeding revisions, dwarves have moved deeper and deeper underground and come to resemble their Duergar cousins more and more in behavior and outlook.  So I was reluctant to purchase this book – I was afraid I would get nothing but ‘

Brotherhood of Prophecy

In an effort to get more adventure reviews written for the D&D Archive, I bought a stack of adventures on eBay. This one was the first I picked up and read through, since it was short and had an interesting cover. According to the module, the adventure is suitable for 5-6 PCs of 1st-3rd level.

The adventure concept is little bit clichéd, though there’s a lot to be said for classic ideas. A city on the outskirts of civilization is about to come under attack by an army of goblins and orcs, and the nearby monastery has already fallen. The PCs are hired to investigate what happened to the monastery. As I said, there’s nothing wrong with a classic idea, but the timeline for this adventure is pretty confusing. The monastery fell six months ago and the scouts originally sent to find out what happened disappeared three months ago. The attackers want to take the city, but haven’t, despite the fact that it’s only a two or three day journey.

Egyptian Adventures: Hamunaptra

Anicent Lands of Mystery!

Towering pyramids rise from the sands, speaking of the glory of kings long gone. Three mighty pharaohs, kings and gods, rule over a land divided – over nations hovering on the brink of war. Priests of mighty deities guide the lives of peasants and nobles alike, as all struggle to make the most of the fertile lands lining the mighty river Yor. All around, the desert grows, encroaching nearer each day to the last remaining refuge of a once mighty civilization. Welcome to Egyptian Adventures: Hamunaptra

In August of 2008 I found myself at GENCON. It turned out to be a good time to make my first expedition. With the release of 4th edition I found exceedingly good bargains. Visiting the Green Ronin booth I picked up Egyptian Adventures: Hamunaptra for $5. After reading The Samarkand Solution and The Annubis Murders by Gary Gygax, I was thinking of possibly running something set in an Egyptian-themed setting. At that price, I figured I could afford to be disappointed.

Beyond Monks: The Art of the Fight

Review of "Beyond Monks: The Art of the Fight"

Martial Arts seem to be a tricky thing to really include in standard D&D. While the monks unarmed attacks and flurry of blows represent all the martial arts, with some tripping and grappling thrown in for good measure, it doesn’t really capture the ‘feel’ of a wuxia inspired movie. On the other hand, players may wish to play an unarmed warrior without all the ‘spiritual’ trappings of the monk. The standard rules don’t really allow for that. An ‘unarmed fighter’ even with all the unarmed feats, will never deal more than 1d4 base damage (and that includes Improved Natural Attack). Beyond Monks: The Art of the Fight, attempts to redress these issues with the core rules.

Beyond the Towers

After reading the first adventure in the Bleeding Edge series, Mansion of Shadows, I immediately picked up the second, titled Beyond the Towers. The title is a bit of a misnomer. There aren’t any towers involved; the title is in reference to the name of a mountain range featured in Mansion of Shadows.

The prime story of this adventure centers on a researcher that has invested significant resources toward uncovering information about a small culture called the Hetepkans that died out thousands of years ago. An academic rival of his has not only paid a reptilian bandit to steal his findings and destroy his base of operations, but also convinced his lab assistant to sabotage his efforts as well. Enter the PCs.

Mansion of Shadows

It’s been a long time since I wrote an adventure review. Well… to be fair, this is a re-write of a review. I read this adventure last year and wrote a review for it, but lost that when my hard drive died. I think that reading it through a second time before my final review was actually beneficial. So let’s get to it, then.

This is the first adventure in a short series of adventures published by Green Ronin Publishing under the title Bleeding Edge. These adventures are only loosely connected by the fact that they all take place in the campaign setting of Freeport. Mansion of Shadows did a fine job of pointing out that playing in the Freeport world is not required so long as some strides are made to keep the local geography roughly the game. Mansion of Shadows is suitable for four to six characters of 1st to 3rd level.

Macrocephaly

Macrocephaly [Psionic]

You have an abnormally large head.
Prerequisite: Int 13
Benefit: Your deformity results in a noticeably larger head. You take a -2 penalty to Charisma-based social checks, but gain an extra 4 power points.
Special: This feat may only be taken during character creation.

Shadow Vale Player’s Guide

This book was essentially dropped in my lap by one of the developers after he advertised it on our forums and it was suggested that he submit a copy to be read and reviewed by a member of the D&D Archive staff. I was pleased to be able to read a new d20 book that didn’t attach itself to any company or established campaign setting that I know about. It’s a little like starting a new fantasy novel series; it could be bad, sure, but it could be really, really good as well.

Shadow Vale Player’s Guide details a relatively small part of a setting that is largely ignored in the book. It is a place isolated from the surrounding world by harsh geography, a veritable microsetting in and of itself. It’s obvious to me that the author has spent a lot of time and effort in creating Shadow Vale and it shows through as a labor of love.

Jade and Steel – Roleplaying in Mythic China

The Emperor is dead, his realm split into three kingdoms. Warlords, bandits, and powerful families run amok. Only China’s proud heroes stand between the people and utter chaos.

Jade and Steel is a d20 system supplement providing for high adventure in these troubled times. Add six new Chinese classes to your d20 fun: the Alchemist, Dim Mak (Touch of Death) Practitioner, Diviner, Geometer, Iron Hand Disciple, Sword Saint. Nine new feats help create that wire-fu spirit.

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