inkwell and feather pen

July 2017 Reviews

In case you missed some of our products the first go around, or you’ve been sitting on the fence about them, we’ll compile the monthly reviews of our products into one blog post each month.

The full reviews can be found with the products (linked to in the product name), and in some cases, on the reviewer’s own blog (linked to the reviewers name).

Continue reading July 2017 Reviews

letters from the flaming crab logo

Gnomes vs. Gremlins

Earlier this year J from Flaming Crab Games contacted us and asked us if one or both of us wanted to be a part of an upcoming Letter From the Flaming Crab.

gremlin gnome coverThe company describes them as “a monthly series of Pathfinder-compatible supplements. Each Letter focuses on exploring a different topic to give gamemasters and players new, exciting options that can be dropped into any campaign.”   

If you haven’t checked out this line of products, they are quirky and a lot of fun. Kelly has had the pleasure of working on several of them in the past (including Dinosaur Companions), and Ken had fun being a part of the team for World Tree.  Which meant the answer was an easy yes.

 

So What’s it About?

The product features two different races – gnomes and gremlins.

The easiest way to break down the writing was by race.  The gremlins (or Mogwai) were written by Margherita Tramontano, who has fifteen different credits to her name with an assortment of publishers, and the gnomes (or gyrenomes) were written by the team here at Dire Rugrat Publishing.

We are quite proud of our little gyrenomes, and while we won’t be giving away any big details (you’ll have to learn about these guys in the Letter!), they are a whole new take on gnomes.  Delighting in the thrill of creating technology, an area most of their fellow, more typical gnomes would dare not touch, these underground dwelling inventors would love to be left to their own devices and underground warren, but Margherita’s troublesome mogwai are proving to be a bit of a nuisance for these guys and gals!

We worked together on the malfunctions chart, which adds a whole bunch of fun when your players try to use a device that has been tampered with, or just wasn’t made quite right.  These two feuding races are fun in their own right, but by combining the two of them into one PDF, Flaming Crab Games has handed GMs the perfect setting, along with several notable NPCs from each community, to insert into their own campaign, or just use for a one off session.

In short (and we’re a bit biased here), J Gray has lead a capable team in creating a pretty fun little PDF….

And it’s available on DriveThruRPG!

inkwell and feather pen

June 2017 Reviews

In case you missed some of our products the first go around, or you’ve been sitting on the fence about them, we’ll compile the monthly reviews of our products into one blog post each month.

The full reviews can be found with the products (linked to in the product name), and in some cases, on the reviewer’s own blog (linked to the reviewers name).

You can find previous review round ups here.

Continue reading June 2017 Reviews

inkwell and feather pen

May 2017 Reviews

In case you missed some of our products the first go around, or you’ve been sitting on the fence about them, we’ll compile the monthly reviews of our products into one blog post each month.

The full reviews can be found with the products (linked to in the product name), and in some cases, on the reviewer’s own blog (linked to the reviewers name).

Continue reading May 2017 Reviews

inkwell and feather pen

April 2017 Reviews

In case you missed some of our products the first go around, or you’ve been sitting on the fence about them, we’ll compile the monthly reviews of our products into one blog post each month.

The full reviews can be found with the products (linked to in the product name), and in some cases, on the reviewer’s own blog (linked to the reviewers name).

Continue reading April 2017 Reviews

For the Hive Image

For the Hive – a Review

For the Hive is an adventure for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, published by Playground Adventures for their “Fun & Facts” educational adventure line.

In this module, for four 2nd to 3rd level characters, the sprite Bzzercup approaches the PCs to help her liberate a fairy bee hive from Chuft, a pugwampi gremlin, and along the way, they learn a few things about real-world bees. By default, the adventure takes place in Playground Adventures’ village of Glavost, which has been showcased in several of their other adventures, though the village doesn’t play a prominent roll and the adventure could be transplanted to any other village or town with no fuss.

Details for Potential GMs Only

The adventure begins with a visit to the library where the adventurers meet up with apprentice wizard Owen who introduces them to the aforementioned Bzzercup. Once she has described her dilemma, the PCs need to solve the first problem: making themselves small enough to fit in a beehive. To accomplish this, there is a puzzle to solve which will net them a potion that allows them to “be the bug.” The puzzle comes with two levels of difficulty, which is nice for GMs with younger or less patient players.

When the young adventurers solve the puzzle and shrink themselves down (and get sprayed with bee pheromones), they must deal with the next challenge: crossing the yard to the hive. The yard is represented with a gorgeous full colour map (with a player friendly version at the back of the book), and allows the players to determine their route to the hive, with the chance for action during the journey, depending on the route chosen. Travel across the yard is well portrayed, with challenges appropriate to the PCs’ state. From an encounter with a now giant-seeming mantis, to escaping the “river” created by  a watering can, to evading a hazardous field of flying dandelion fluff, there are plenty of iconic Honey, I Shrunk the Kids moments.

Once the yard has been crossed, it’s time to get into the hive, but first the PCs must contend with Chuft’s minions, which take the form of origami paper wasps. The wasps are neat foes, and allow the players to unleash the full weight of their characters’ combat abilities without worrying about hurting anything. Defeating these foes lets the PCs enter the hive which is a linear five room dungeon, with a small challenge to overcome when transitioning from area to area. My comment about the linearity of the hive shouldn’t be taken as a complaint. This adventure is for children as young as four; the focused nature of the dungeon is appreciated.

At the end of the dungeon, the PCs meet face to face with Chuft and two or three paper wasps. I personally have a few reservations about pugwampis… I ran Legacy of Fire Part 1: Howl of the Carrion King for my regular group and the pugwampis bad luck aura caused men in their thirties to have tantrums… this adventure is for kids… fortunately, in play, the one pugwampi didn’t cause any emotional outbursts. Once Chuft is defeated, the adventure is over – save a bit of wrap-up.

Summary

For the Hive is a well written adventure that isn’t too taxing of a read and, as written, doesn’t look too taxing to run. The read-aloud text is copious and the challenges are varied; both do a good job of making the players feel like their characters have shrunk down to the size of insects. The combats tend to be against insects or constructs (that look like insects), so there isn’t too much worry on my part about the level of violence in the adventure.

Formally, the module is gorgeous, with thematically appropriate graphic design, beautiful maps, and nice artwork, all in full colour, though a printer friendly version would be nice for those that print their pdfs out.

There is an instance of layout weirdness regarding the puzzle mentioned above: the simpler version of the puzzle isn’t located where the text indicates it is, but rather three paragraphs later, which is confusing. I think it would make sense to box the puzzle text, which would dispel the confusion.

The adventure is stuffed with tidbits about bees, so teaching opportunities abound. If you are a parent looking for a nice adventure for your young kids, you would do well to pick this one up. Five Stars for For The Hive!

 

inkwell and feather pen

March 2017 Reviews

In case you missed some of our products the first go around, or you’ve been sitting on the fence about them, we’ll compile the monthly reviews of our products into one blog post each month.

The full reviews can be found with the products (linked to in the product name), and in some cases, on the reviewer’s own blog (linked to the reviewers name).

Continue reading March 2017 Reviews

April Fool’s Fun

Some time last year I was browsing through stock art on DriveThruRPG when I found the Invisible Stalker.  What does a picture of an Invisible Stalker look like? I was expecting faint outlines, or a ghost like appearance, or…. well what I found was this. It is an invisible stalker.

And with that I discovered the joy and humour of April 1st product releases. There are a fair few out there, and some of them might even deserve a semi-legitimate spot at the gaming table (10 foot poles can be super useful).

I knew I wanted Dire Rugrat Publishing to be a part of the fun, and so we started coming up with ideas. Not just a gag, I wanted the release to be an entertaining read, and something GMs could use.

not so advantageous abilities coverWe’re big on role-playing here.  For us, it’s not just how the dice land, it’s not just defeating capable BBEGs, it’s about the flaws and decisions that create a memorable story: the plotting seductress who looses her cool and watches her carefully laid plans unravel because someone calls her boring; the bar owner who gets burned by an adventuring party and inadvertently becomes one of their greatest nemeses; the terrifying arbiter of justice who just can’t seem to save against those mind-affecting spells.

If you like building your 5e NPCs yourself, you might have checked out our Advantageous Abilities line of products.

This line provides Game Masters a toolkit with which they can easily add feature abilities to monsters and NPCs, giving their NPCs an advantageous edge (or just a little role-playing fun).

Each product in this line has more than 15 themed feature abilities, and instructions that allow GMs to easily customize existing creatures or create all new foes.

Currently there are three Advantageous Abilities: Humanoid Special Abilities, Charismatic Abilities and Savage Abilities.

Our upcoming April Fool’s release, (Not So) Advantageous Abilities, features twenty abilities for GMs to give their NPCs a custom Achilles’ heel.  Making the most of this weakness can add flavour and humour to a campaign, creating a memorable nemesis and a little role-playing fun. 

With a table indicating the challenge rating adjustments, this little product allows you to take a powerful, capable NPC and give them an exploitable flaw, making someone way out of your PCs league a much better fit.

Keep your eye out this weekend, and get ready to amuse your players!

inkwell and feather pen

February 2017 Reviews

In case you missed some of our products the first go around, or you’ve been sitting on the fence about them, we’ll compile the monthly reviews of our products into one blog post each month.

The full reviews can be found with the products (linked to in the product name), and in some cases, on the reviewer’s own blog (linked to the reviewers name).

Continue reading February 2017 Reviews

5 PFRPG Adventures Ripe For A Tangible Tavern

If you aren’t familiar with our Tangible Taverns line, this series of PDFs is dedicated to bringing life back to the local watering hole while making the GM’s job a little easier.

We help you bring the tavern to life with:

  • Detailed descriptions
  • Rumour and event tables
  • Tavern maps
  • Colourful and unique NPCs
  • Complete stat blocks (for Pathfinder and 5e compatible versions)

All of our taverns are designed to be slotted into just about any adventure, but this week we bring you a few specific Pathfinder RPG adventures that can easily host a Tangible Tavern or two.

Way of the Wicked Book Three: Tears of the Blessed 

tears of the blessed coverThis adventure, the third module of the Way of the Wicked adventure path by Fire Mountain Games, spends most of its page detailing the Vale of Valtaerna, but it begins travelling to the city of Ghastenhall. Some details are given about this city, the first one of a decent size the PCs have encountered since their escape from prison, but many are glossed over with the assumption being that the PCs get cracking on the Vale.   The city of Ghastenhall, which has a plethora of culture, is bound to be full of taverns, and just about any Tangible Tavern could be found in and around the city, but for us, it will always be home to The Bull & The Bear.  Yes, Tears of the Blessed was the beginning of our Tangible Taverns line.  During this long standing campaign the PCs set up shop in Ghastenhall and ended up purchasing a local tavern, which they used as their homebase, an excellent source of income, and a foothold to make inroads to eventual rulership.  Whether your PCs take it that far or not is up to them, but this tavern can easily be inserted in this adventure. In addition, with its obsession with the arts, Ghastenhall is the perfect location for a dinner theatre like Simon’s.  Give the PCs a break from their sinister plots with the antics of the colourful faces at this playhouse.

Pick up Tangible Taverns: The Bull & The Bear and Tangible Taverns: Simon’s Dinner Theatre today.

 


Kingmaker Book One: Stolen Land

king maker stolen land coverThe Kingmaker adventure path has PCs traipsing across vast swaths of untracked wilderness as they seek to build both their fortune and a kingdom. Stolen Land, the first book of the campaign, provides the PCs with a good home base in Oleg’s Trading Post, from which they can hexplore the virgin wilderness. But what happens if they don’t want to travel dozens of miles back to the Post after a run of bad luck? What happens if they get into a spot of trouble and just need a little R&R time to recover? Enter The Hidden Oak! This tavern, located in the bole of a massive tree in the heart of whatever forest you want to place it in, will give the PCs plenty of opportunity to unwind while interacting with the misfit forest denizens it houses, and gives them the chance to build relationships with powerful allies such as the tavern’s proprietor Beatrice, or with the mysterious sage Crescenzo. Plus, PCs can get a leg up on their next foray into the wood by eating some of the magically delicious food provided at the tavern!

Pick up Tangible Taverns: The Hidden Oak today.

 


Rise of the Runelords Book Two: The Skinsaw Murders

rise of the runelords coverThe PCs must make their way from the small town of Sandpoint to the coastal metropolis of Magnimar.  The route is doted with taverns and inns in such a manner that travellers can easily reach the next establishment after 8 hours of travel where they can rest up for the night and continue on the next morning.  Blackberry Bill’s is a small stone tavern that can easily be placed just about anywhere, but with his rugged nature and aptitude with a weapon, it stands to reason Bill, a former adventurer, can easily take care of any troubles that come his way, and make a few coins off his jam while doing it.  PCs are bound to enjoy the blackberry treats they can find in this eclectic tavern before continuing on with their travels.

Blackberry Bill’s is one of three taverns found in Tangible Taverns: Trio of Taverns.

 


Hell’s Rebels Book One: In Hell’s Bright Shadow

in hell's bright shadow coverHell’s Rebels is probably my favourite of Paizo’s recent adventure paths. In it, a group of PCs gets to build up the Resistance in the Chelish city of Kintargo, and possibly free it from the infernal clutches of the thrice damned House of Thrune! Who doesn’t dig poking their fingers into the eye of Golarion’s least lovable purveyors of devil worship? If you’re looking for a location to foment dissent against the system, look no further than The Delectable Dragonfly. This ladies (well, self identifying as female) only teahouse is a fantastic location to build an army, pick up and leave coded messages, or just get a nice cup of tea and finger sandwiches. The revolution starts today!

Pick up Tangible Taverns: The Delectable Dragonfly today.

 


Skull and Shackles Adventure Path

Skull_&_Shackles_logoWhen a big part of the premise of the adventure is for the PCs to explore the seas and ports of The Shackles, many taverns, inns, brothels, and other establishments are bound to be introduced.  Sometimes its easy to throw out a name and a brief description, but when the PCs will be sticking around a little longer, it’s a great time to drop in a Tangible Tavern.  If you are looking for a shifty tavern down near the docks, look no further than Tuffy’s Good Time Palace.  Worn out, tough, and laden down with a supply of pickled food and cheap beer, Tuffy makes the perfect host for fresh-of-the-boat pirates who haven’t seen the shore in days.  For those pirates who fancy themselves a cut-above-the-rest, let them head inland a bit and pay a visit to the Angelic Imp.  Well decorated and in demand with the well-to-do, this little tavern is the perfect place to drop a lot of coin on a good meal, and maybe conduct a discrete business deal.

A free sample version of The Angelic Imp is available, but for all the NPCs and a couple of stat blocks, look for Tangible Taverns: Trio of Taverns.  You can find Tangible Taverns: Tuffy’s Good Time Palace here.


If you like the idea of using Tangible Taverns, you can collect them all in the Tangible Taverns Bundle.

Dire Rugrat Publishing PFRPG bundle

Have you used a Tangible Tavern in one of your adventures? Share your story below!