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Dark Obelisk 2: The Mondarian Elective (Pathfinder)
by J H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/10/2021 21:37:15

Spoiler: I haven't run this adventure. I am running Barrowmaze, which I will review once finished, but thing about Greg Gillespie's dungeons is that often the random tables get heavy heavy use. And often the random tables both revel the plot, and are the most dangerous encounters. This is key OSR. Pathfinder has always taken a different view, that dungeons are prepopulated, every room is explained, and combat is likely to be 'fair'.

This book tries to use a method similar to Gillespies, and apply it to Pathfinder. Does it work? Sort of? But first some related comments:

Firstly I have the print on demand volume. It's big. Like biggest book on my shelf big. 837 thick pages. I'm legitimately worried the spine will not hold up to age or play. Honestly I think the book would have been better being in two volumes.

As with Dark Obelisk 1 the author has tried to colour code everything. But they've used some very solid hues of colour and instead of helping, there is just too much different coloured items it looks a mess. It's a great idea, but the colour scheme itself needs to be worked on.

The maps (in general) are excellent. There is a large overview map of each area, then smaller more detailed maps of each section. Some maps (such as page 249) don't have a grid when they should. Unlike the previous book there are not player facing maps, which is a huge shame, as printing out handouts from the book shows the secret doors. And running this dungeon I'd want to print out handouts of each section (ideally unnumbered) as there is enough detail there for players to really run with.

My next comment is that the random encounters are not actually in the book. They are in a separate pdf. As are the random treasures, and all the core random tables. Not cool. It doesn't even look as if there is an option to buy this 92 page pdf in print. So if you are a printophile (like I am) this puts you out of luck.

Now we come to the default check time for wandering monsters - 5 minutes. There is an encounter introduction table - but it only focuses on combat, the size of the map the monster(s) arrive from, and who is surprised during combat. At least use a reaction table like B/X where monsters could be helpful.

Also you need to use the print book and the side pdf to generate these encounters. You roll a % dice to see what type of encounter happens (or if it happens as there is often a 25% chance of no encounter) then a second % roll looking up what the monster is.

The monsters also seem to be chosen for their CR rating rather than their theme. They are a cornucopia, and the wandering monsters, mines, average, table we have Ankeg, Doppelganers, cocatrice, ettercap, hell hound, howler, Giant Mantis, Ogre, Rust Monster, Giant Scorpion, Shadow, Spriggan, Giant Wasp, Dire Wolf, Giant Stag Bettle, Fungal Crawler, Crab Swarm, Dark Stalker, Mimic, Minotaur, Giant Vulture, Dire Wolverine, and the four types of medium elementals. (and that is only 66% of the table!) This is a particular shame as the adventure talks about the taint of the titular Dark Obelisk. There was every chance to grab a Dark Obelisk template, do up 2 dozen or so tainted monsters, and build a really good solid theme (just like Barrowmaze does with undead).

I can see how this is meant to work. Large dungeon crawl. Players fighting their way in and out. Slowly uncovering what is happening. But it's too big. The book is too big. The monster range for combats is too big. The headers take up too much space when the maps communicate the area so much better. Barrowmaze can be flipped through during play, this cannot. I like the base idea here but the execution needs a lot more work.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Obelisk 2: The Mondarian Elective (Pathfinder)
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Creator Reply:
Hi J H! Thanks for your thoughtful review. A few clarifications: 1) "there are not player facing maps" There are, actually--over 200 of them, in fact. They physically could not fit in the printed book because OBS' printer limits hardcovers to 840 pages, which this book tops out at as you pointed out. You can download the entire half-gig map set, as well as the dedicated Atlas PDF, here: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/226450/Dark-Obelisk-2-The-Mondarian-Elective-Atlas-Unisystem Since you're a hardcopy fan (like I am!), the Atlas itself is also available as a separate hardcover volume. 2) "random encounters are not actually in the book" Yep, that's true; see above as to what can physically fit in the book. DO2 includes the FlexTale Encounter Generator PDF for FREE, which is typically priced at, or above, the price of the adventure itself. 2b) "It doesn't even look as if there is an option to buy this 92 page pdf in print" There absolutely is, actually: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/234601/FlexTale-Encounter-Generator-General-Purpose-v10-Pathfinder---5E---Unisystem 3) "There is an encounter introduction table - but it only focuses on combat, the size of the map the monster(s) arrive from, and who is surprised during combat. At least use a reaction table like B/X where monsters could be helpful." Well, first, I'll point out that the vast majority of published adventures I've ever seen across 30+ years don't even have this much information; typically it's just a table and that's it. DO2's approach is more informed than that, as you describe. In terms of a reaction table, I've very, very rarely seen anything like that in a published adventure, but good news: IGS also offers an industry-leading, massively-detailed, and highly innovative approach to combat and social encounters called FlexAI. FlexAI is a gold-bestselling toolset that can be applied to a wide range of rules systems, which supports every single one of the 1,660+ monsters published under the Pathfinder era. You can grab a free sample here: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/275572/FlexAI-Guidebook-Free-Sample ...or the full version here (which is also available as either a full-color hardcover, or softcover): https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/324651/FlexAI-Guidebook-unisystem-5E-Pathfinder-P2E Finally, as FlexAI consists of 860 tables, they're all available in Excel format for those wishing to macro up some at-the-table tools for themselves to help guide zero-prep, dynamic monster behavior across a wide range of combinations of reaction, context, and battlefield landscape: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/342294/FlexAI-Digital-Resource-Companion-unisystem-5E-Pathfinder-P2E-OSR 4) "The monsters also seem to be chosen for their CR rating rather than their theme" This is the comment I was actually most surprised by, since I specifically chose everything based on theme, and not by CR... since the entire IGS approach to monsters and indeed ALL adventure content is a Quadded Statblock approach which means it doesn't matter what the CR of a given monster is, you can use it against a wide range of PCs at ANY level. In fact, we've applied this approach to all of the 1,660+ monsters published during the Pathfinder era, resulting in the world's largest fantasy bestiary across six mammoth PDFs and hardcover volumes: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse.php?keywords=aquilae+bestiary+pathfinder 5) "the adventure talks about the taint of the titular Dark Obelisk" Well, the adventure does also include full quadded statblocks and artwork for several brand-new, custom monsters. I'll admit that if I had it to do over again, I'd probably add even more along these lines: rules for new monster templates and additional atmospheric effects... maybe fodder for a Collector's Edition in the future, but as I said, I literally couldn't fit anything else in the book unfortunately. At any rate, thanks again for your thoughts, and I'll certainly take your comments to heart as I continue to produce books. Onward!
The Ebon Cartographer (Lifetime Adventure Maps Subscription)
by Thizz M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/01/2021 11:11:24

This is insane. I already have most of the adventures this pulls from but still 1k maps for cheap is nuts. Some of them are maybe not easy to use without context but you can use any of them for anything you want adventure wise. Dope



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Ebon Cartographer (Lifetime Adventure Maps Subscription)
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Monsters of Aquilae (Pathfinder)
by Thizz M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/01/2021 11:10:22

Huge. All of igs stuff is huge and this is no different. Most of the critters are maybe too hard but then i just use them as their own encounter or scale them down a bit. Each one has something neat and the lore and hooks make it super fun to drop in. Amazing stuff as always



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monsters of Aquilae (Pathfinder)
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FlexAI Guidebook (unisystem/5E/Pathfinder/P2E)
by Mark S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/26/2021 14:13:09

Looks like a awesome book, but i never recieved the printed book I ordered.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
FlexAI Guidebook (unisystem/5E/Pathfinder/P2E)
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The Mystery of Brushgather Farm VTT Map Pack (Unisystem)
by Thizz M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/13/2021 15:48:49

Loved this adventure (see my reviews) but having separate files made it so much easier to run in roll20. Took about five min to set everything up and made life sooo much easier. IGS maps are some of the best and I really loved having player versions and GM versions separate, this is how adventure maps should be available to gms for sure and i dont know why more dont do this. genius and much appreciated!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Mystery of Brushgather Farm VTT Map Pack (Unisystem)
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The Mystery of Brushgather Farm (Pathfinder)
by Thizz M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/13/2021 15:47:20

Our group ran this for 5e but the comments are the same.

Loved it. Its definitely a one, maybe two shot adventure, wont take long to run. Some might be turned off by the lack of a hollywood ending wrap up but our group really liked the amibguity and i ended up using it to start something new and tie in to the setting ive made. Great stuff, very atmospheric, haunted farmhouse seems straightforward and it is until you get to the basements. Lots of secret rooms and great crawling. MORE PLEASE



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Mystery of Brushgather Farm (Pathfinder)
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The Mystery of Brushgather Farm (Pathfinder Second Edition / P2E)
by Thizz M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/13/2021 15:47:02

Our group ran this for 5e but the comments are the same.

Loved it. Its definitely a one, maybe two shot adventure, wont take long to run. Some might be turned off by the lack of a hollywood ending wrap up but our group really liked the amibguity and i ended up using it to start something new and tie in to the setting ive made. Great stuff, very atmospheric, haunted farmhouse seems straightforward and it is until you get to the basements. Lots of secret rooms and great crawling. MORE PLEASE



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Mystery of Brushgather Farm (Pathfinder Second Edition / P2E)
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The Mystery of Brushgather Farm (5E / Fifth Edition)
by Thizz M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/13/2021 15:46:28

Loved it. Its definitely a one, maybe two shot adventure, wont take long to run. Some might be turned off by the lack of a hollywood ending wrap up but our group really liked the amibguity and i ended up using it to start something new and tie in to the setting ive made. Great stuff, very atmospheric, haunted farmhouse seems straightforward and it is until you get to the basements. Lots of secret rooms and great crawling. MORE PLEASE



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Mystery of Brushgather Farm (5E / Fifth Edition)
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FlexAI Digital Resource Companion (unisystem/5E/Pathfinder/P2E/OSR)
by Thizz M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/12/2021 18:53:21

Cant believe this set of files has every single one of the hundreds of tables from teh book. Amazing. Im not that great with macros so havent done anything to automate but I can see this being a huge resource if you have excel skills. I love the book but having everything in excel makes it so easy to deal with at gametime.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
FlexAI Digital Resource Companion (unisystem/5E/Pathfinder/P2E/OSR)
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Aquilae: Bestiary of the Realm: Digital Resource Companion (Pathfinder)
by Thizz M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/12/2021 18:51:50

Big fan of the aquilae bestiary books. Having an excel version is amazing. You can filter on anything, sort, basically organize it however you want. Huge and great part of the bestiary and i already cant imagine running games without it



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Aquilae: Bestiary of the Realm: Digital Resource Companion (Pathfinder)
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Aquilae: Bestiary of the Realm: Digital Bookshelf (Dungeon Crawl Classics / DCC)
by Alan T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/03/2021 10:14:25

TL;DR: Great product with loads of helpful stat blocks, could use a few more editing passes.

The books offer a truly incredible number of stat blocks and the four levels for each monster make tweaking them on the fly much faster. The monsters are generic ones from popular RPG systems so if the judge wants more DCC style monsters they would need to use aid books (Monster Alphabet) to make them more unique. Each monster having four "levels" also means you can change an encounter or monster's difficulty on the fly or change published material’s level range.

My only complaint (and reason for four rather than five stars) is that some of the blocks lack information (save DC's) or reference incorrect ability scores/saves where the product has been copied over and converted from the versions for other systems.

From a price vs content standpoint though this can’t be beaten and well worth having on your shelf.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Aquilae: Bestiary of the Realm: Digital Bookshelf (Dungeon Crawl Classics / DCC)
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Dark Obelisk 1: Berinncorte: Collector's Edition (Pathfinder)
by Thizz M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/13/2020 20:55:53

I had the original and have enjoyed igs stuff right from the beginning... do1 is probably my fav of their stuff to date and the collectors edition doesnt disappoint. All the crazy detail is there but its so much easier to access and read and look up. Cannot wait for the print version, i have the original printing but it would be so awesome to have it all in one single book rather than the two doorstops i already have. Superb adventure and reading through it makes me want to run it again, first time took about 20 sessions and there was still so much we never even touched, theres gotta be like 40 or more sessions worth ofquests and characters in here if you wanted to completionist it!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dark Obelisk 1: Berinncorte: Collector's Edition (Pathfinder)
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Content Conversion Mapping Inventory (Pathfinder / 5E / P2E / OSR / DCC / d20 3.5)
by Thizz M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/05/2020 08:04:26

The conversion guide was awesome, this is super helpful and has all 4000 or whatever of the monster attacks and its insane. Super useful during sessions rather than trolling through the guide, which is well organized but excel is so much easier to filter on and whatnot



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Content Conversion Mapping Inventory (Pathfinder / 5E / P2E / OSR / DCC / d20 3.5)
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Content Conversion Guide (Pathfinder / 5E / P2E / OSR / DCC / d20 3.5)
by Thizz M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/05/2020 08:03:22

jeez this is useful. 430 pages for like 5 bux is crazy; its 100 p of raw sheer tables and rules and everything you need, and then another like 300 p of converted monsters for examples of how it worked. I aldy have the aqulae bestiary books but this is amazing and i can't wait to use it to take all my old pfrpg stuff and bring it up to 5e.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Content Conversion Guide (Pathfinder / 5E / P2E / OSR / DCC / d20 3.5)
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Aquilae: Bestiary of the Realm: Volume 1 (Dungeon Crawl Classics/DCC)
by Thizz M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/17/2020 08:27:10

i have the other systems of this bestiary and i gotta say the osr and dcc versions might be the best ones. one page per beast and its just so concise and laid out easy to read and the conversion to dcc was really awesome. Not completely insanely detailed like some dcc stuff is with like tables foreach poison so thats a bit different but it s 16,00 monsters so that would be really insane. if you want to run more monsters with dcc this is the starting point for sure. just amazing



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Aquilae: Bestiary of the Realm: Volume 1 (Dungeon Crawl Classics/DCC)
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