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A Vital Vintage
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Joseph C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/23/2020 12:31:31

This adventure is well written and very user friendly. It's a wonderful change of pace if you're used to hacky-slashy affairs, or it would fit right in with a group that loves to explore, roleplay, and enjoy the world around them.

The adventure features very few maps, so it lends itself to theater-of-the-mind style combat (there are a few combat scenes).

I ran this as a one-shot with a time limit of three hours, which was not enough. I imagine you could finish this in 4-5 hours with a focused group, but a group that's really enjoying the wine theme and the lovely characters in the town may want more time than that.

Be advised that this adventure makes a few choices that lean towards the cinematic, which may frustrate some players (for example, there's a scripted event that cuts a combat short and allows a foe to escape). This isn't a design flaw but it does inform the sort of parties that are best suited for the adventure.

All in all, well worth picking up, a steal at the current price, easy to incorporate into a campaign, and adds a great location to your map that players will likely wish to visit again.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
A Vital Vintage
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A Day with the Fey
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Joseph C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/06/2020 21:34:14

I ran this as a one shot for my Actual Play stream, and the party had a lot of fun with it. It's neatly divided into several scenes, each with colorful characters and interactive elements. They managed to go (almost) the entire way through without making a single attack roll. If your party is looking for something self-contained, entertaingly written, a far cry from the standard hack-and-slash-athon and full of fairy flavor, I'd definitely recommend it.

As the Dungeon Master, I feel it may be best for you to prime your characters a few ways for this game. The opening hook is somewhat "But thou must!" if handled poorly. It essentially saddles the party with a fey debt or accusation of murder and then threatens them with nasty fairy consequences if they don't jump through the adventure's hoops. Said hoops are FUN, but you will either need to do some pre-work to make sure they don't feel railroaded, or just come from behind the screen and ask them to just go along with it.

The characters and situations in the adventure are a lot of fun, but you'll need to ad-lib some bits if the party delves too deeply. Nothing out of the ordinary for an adventure, just expect that if your party asks things like "So, unicorn, where are you from? Why are you here? What do you do in your downtime?" you'll need to do the DM thing and wing it. Not all characters have names so keep some fey-appropriate names on hand (most of the important characters are named and full of delightful personality, so you should be mostly set).

The last encounter/challenge really relies on the players to come up with creative solutions and you to make those work and invent details. My party felt a bit lost here. Again, either prime your party for thinking outside the box and adding details to scenes in order to solve problems, or be prepared to prod them a bit in ways not specifically covered by the module to get them through it.

I'd say the adventure probably takes 3-4 hours to run. We tried to clear it in 3 and ended up rushing the last scene (and I fast-forwarded a bit through the first scene), so as a one shot give yourself a healthy amount of time. Overall, this is a lot of fun and I definitely recommend it for groups that enjoy cheerful, puzzle and roleplay focused excitement.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
A Day with the Fey
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Baldur's Gate Notice Boards | A Descent Into Avernus Supplement
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Joseph C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/06/2020 20:28:43

This is the perfect supplement for a campaign set in Baldur's Gate, whether you're running Descent Into Avernus or just want to expand the City of Blood to keep your characters busy. The sites and quests are the right feel for the city, but vague enough to be dropped wherever you need. The assets included make it easy to run on the virtual tabletop solution of your choice. The division into quests (some with their own maps, rather creative and easy-in-easy out), bounties (evocative villains with special abilities, backstories, and hefty prices on their heads), random encounters (including a much needed Sewer encounter table), and establishments are modular, easily incorporated, and just fleshed out enough to give you space to use them.

Definite buy for anyone running in Baldur's Gate, probably a buy for city campaigns in general.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Baldur's Gate Notice Boards | A Descent Into Avernus Supplement
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D&D Citizens: Extra NPCs
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Joseph C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/20/2020 10:44:18

Good product that I've deployed on several occasions. The Soldier is a great and badly needed middle ground between the default Guard and the much more powerful Veteran. Several other statblocks in this product fill similar roles, covering gaps in the challenge rating and versimilitude of the NPCs in the Monster Manual and other official supplements. I thik the ideal target price for this product is $2-$3



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
D&D Citizens: Extra NPCs
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Creature Codex for 5th Edition
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Joseph C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/19/2020 14:37:23

Essential for a DM whose players have seen it all or slain it all. Some of my favorite creatures:

  • New Dragons, including/especially the Light Dragon and the various drakes (Fey & Bathhouse drakes are awesome)
  • Lots of new golems, including the Altar Flame golem for temples, the Keg Golem for dwarves and other alcohol enthusiasts, and lesser golems for lower level characters (GREAT to have)
  • New fey, including archfey, which I feel is one of the biggest holes in the core Monster Manual
  • New Demon Lords and Archdevils that are evocative and interesting, regardless of your campaign setting
  • Angels, another area drastically unserved by the Monster Manual
  • Interesting statblocks for kobolds, derro and goblins

Like the Tome of Beasts, not every monster in this book will strike your fancy or fit well into your campaign--but I guarantee that many of them will, and your players will talk about them for years to come.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creature Codex for 5th Edition
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Tome of Beasts for 5th Edition
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Joseph C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/19/2020 14:09:21

Many of the monsters in this book may not fit your campaign setting--but some of them will. And those monsters will terrify and mystify your players. You will have fun running them, describing them. Tome of Beasts fills a lot of important gaps in the Monster Manual, with lots of interesting new dragons, fiends and fiendish lords, TONS of badly needed fey, interesting kobolds, a kingdom of ghouls, and a whole lot of weird stuff that will delight and inspire. The art is evocative and the monster design is inspired. Get this book.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tome of Beasts for 5th Edition
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Rune Puzzles
Publisher: drag-n-drop games
by Joseph C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/19/2020 14:03:24

I don't think I was expecting what I got with the Rune Puzzles. The fact that they are inherently tied into anagrams and a specific type of logic puzzle is somewhat unexpected, and you may need to do some work to justify this appearing in your game. That said, the puzzles are visually appealing, easy to use (once you justify them), and add a lot of flexibility. The assets are high quality and very useful. For DMs who aren't good at designing puzzles (like me), I'd encourage you to use this product.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Rune Puzzles
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Symbols to Represent the 8 Schools of Magic
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Joseph C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/19/2020 13:52:44

Very helpful to have in your back pocket. I've used this for a few cool handouts, some puzzles, and I anticipate reaping the benefits of having this in my library for years to come.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Symbols to Represent the 8 Schools of Magic
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Creator Reply:
I am glad my work was helpful in your campaign. Thanks for your kind review, Joseph.
Baldur's Gate: City Encounters
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Joseph C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/19/2020 13:27:04

These encounters do a fantastic job of bringing Baldur's Gate to life. Many of them can be resolved very quickly. They open new plot hooks, allow players to showcase their personality, and are easy to slot into any campaign in Baldur's Gate, whether you're running Descent into Avernus or not.

Thanks in part to this content, my players (currently running DiA) are happier running around Baldur's Gate solving problems and interacting with the city than pursuing the main plot.

The Martial Law -- Pandemonium meter, measuring how the party's actions influence the balance of power in the city, is a wonderful dynamic element that brings the city to life.

I highly recommend this for anyone running a campaign in Baldur's Gate!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Baldur's Gate: City Encounters
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Creator Reply:
Thank you Joseph! We're very glad to hear that this product has helped enliven the City of Blood for your table.
Kingdoms
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Joseph C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/06/2019 21:20:10

Direct conversion of the Pathfinder Ultimate Campaign rules, by some of the original authors. I was planning on converting this myself, and I am glad that I picked this up instead.

As with the original pathfinder rules, this works best if you fully and carefully run the player's kingdom, but abstract all NPC kingdoms. Handling multiple kingdom turns, calculating advisor modifiers and hexes and structures, etc, for NPC kingdoms, is untenable. I am building a database simply to track all the kingdoms in my game, and it's not a good use of my time (I do it anyone because it's a weird hobby that I enjoy, not because it's actually good for the game).

I expected to go into this and have the same bounded accuracy that one gets in 5e vs Pathfinder, but because Kingdom Checks are very much dependent on non-player modifiers (structures, events, etc etc), the system operates outside the standard 5e math. This makes it very complicated, but it still works (balance wise) because it's a self-contained, separate system.

This system is not in the spirit of 5e, with an emphasis on narrative and simplification, but I enjoy using it.

One thing that is missing in the warfare rules are the rules for conquering territory/taking hexes from other kingdoms. As a DM you will need to adjudicate this on your own.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Kingdoms
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Almost Heroic Presents: Skill Challenges
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Joseph C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/06/2019 21:07:54

While the concept of a skill challenge for 5e is available for free, Almost Heroic's variation has useful tips and guidelines for DMs just getting started with this mechanic. I used them to prepare and run my last game session, and the players loved it. The pace, sense of threat, and opportunity for player creativity made it memorable for all.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Almost Heroic Presents:  Skill Challenges
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Izzy's Guide to Fight and Flight
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Joseph C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/02/2018 16:29:26

The rules are easy to plug into an existing campaign. As stated in the thesis up front, the author has focused on making these fun and playable.

This is at the expense of crunchier aspects--I would love modular airship maps that have replacable weapon platforms, highlighted crew positions, etc etc. But, ultimately, Brightshield didn't set out to create Starship Command in 5E. The goal was to make airship exciting, narrative, and to give players options during airship combat.

I am running a campaign set in the branches of a giant world tree, with airships as a primary means of transportation, and I have made these rules central to the campaign. The players love it.

I caution the purchaser that some of the rules lend themselves to exceedingly large battlemats--if you go in for truly tactical airship combat, it would best be done online via a Roll20 type platform, on a very large battlemat, or with a bit of abstraction on your part.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Izzy's Guide to Fight and Flight
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Izzy's Slightly Used Airships
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Joseph C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/02/2018 16:26:18

The airships are extremely creative. Much like its companion, Izzy's Guide to Fight and Flight, this supplement does a good job of capturing the essence of D&D 5e: Enough rules to provide a framework, but focused on inspiring the imagination and giving player characters options. The zombie-pufferfish-ship was particularly excellent, my players are still talking about that one.

As a crunch fiend, I would love to see more "standard" airships and airship templates, additional weapons, some equipment or upgrade lists, etc etc, but that would lean a bit away from the heart of Izzy's Slightly Used Airships and more towards a 3.5 style tool. Overall, 5/5 recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Izzy's Slightly Used Airships
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