Friday, January 25, 2013

D&D PDF reveiws

For these D&D PDFs I will review the content as it is with the intended version in mind. I'll also look at these in terms what you can get out of this for any other version of D&D. Finally I'll look PDF conversion itself.

Deities & Demigods (1e)
Deities & Demigods was the first Hardcover D&D book I ever purchased. So it is fitting then it is the first of the re-release (1/22/2013) of the D&D PDFs that I have purchased.

First of this is book is an update on the old OD&D Gods, Demigods and Heroes. Presented here are the gods (greater and lesser), demigods and heroes of 15 pantheons. Included are: American Indian Mythos, Arthurian Heroes, Babylonian Mythos, Celtic Mythos, Central American Mythos, Chinese Mythos, Egyptian Mythos, Finnish Mythos, Greek Mythos, Indian Mythos, Japanese Mythos, Nehwon Mythos, Nonhumans' Deities, Norse Mythos, and Sumerian Mythos.

There is plenty of information for build your world myths and the multivesre around your world. This also features the first update to known planes that appeared in the Player's Handbook.

The layout is somewhat like a Monster Manual, which is unfortunate. I can say that back in 82-83 that is exactly how we used it.

The art is now classic in my mind, with some of the biggest names in D&D/TSR at the time.

If you are playing newer editions then all the gods you know about had their start here in this book. All the other deities books are sequels to this one.

The PDF is clean and easy to read. There has been some post-scan cleanup on it so the pages appear very white and not scanned in white.

I feel as good about my purchase today as I did 30 years ago.

D&D Basic Set Rulebook (Basic)

If you are like me then this is it.  THIS is what D&D was.  Sure I had read a friends Holmes/Blue-book Basic set and I knew of AD&D through the Monster Manual.  But this is the D&D book that started it all for me. This is the one that set fire to my imagination.

This is a complete set of rules.  Character creation through to 3rd level. Monsters, treasures, dungeons.  Everything that ever was or will be D&D had it's start right here (more or less).  Honestly this book is not worth 5 stars here.  It is worth 6 out of 5.

I almost would say that if I could only play one version of D&D ever, then this might be the one.  It lacks the complexity of AD&D or 3e, but anymore I see this as a feature.

64 pages plus cover.  Marbleized dice and crayon not included.

D&D RPG Starter Set "Quickstart" (4e)

Everything you need to start playing D&D 4e except for people, dice and some monsters.

You have heard a lot about this game to be sure, but the proof is always in the playing.  At the incredibly low price of Nothing you can see how the most current version of D&D (as of this writing) plays.

H1 Keep on the Shadowfell & Quick-Start Rules (4e)
The first module of the great Orcus/Raven Queen campaign for 4e.  The module itself tries to harken back to another Keep; The Keep on the Borderlands, but the feel here is very, very different.  There is a lot more going on and it can feel very combat heavy and even a touch predictable.  But that is fine for a 1st adventure.  Everyone is still too busy figuring out moves and markingins and surges to worry whether or not rumor X or rumor Y turns out to be true.
The big feature of this module though is also the quick start play rules.  There is lot here that can help the new 4e player and DM.  So it you are at all curious about 4e then give this one a look.

Adventurer's Vault (4e)
Tons and tons of magic items for your 4e games.  Broken up basically the same way they always have been.  Armors, Weapons, Swords, Potions, Wands, Rods, Staves, and Miscellaneous. At 250+ pages with multiple items per page this is a packed book and there is something here for everyone.

Looking at this with an eye towards other editions, you could convert these to 3e without much difficulty.  Other editions have more or less the same items (or similar ones) in edition specific books (The Book of Marvelous Magic comes to mind).  But still a good selection for the money and a must have for the serious 4e player.

The art is top notch and the PDF is straight from the digital source file.

Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil (3e)

The 3rd edition update to the classic Gygax intro adventure.

Return to the The Temple of Elemental Evil has a new generation of characters returning to the Village of Hommlet (where time seems to have stood still) to investigate the new uprising of evil.
Designed obviously to appear to adults who were kids when the original T1 and ToEE came out, it looses none of it's appeal.

Regardless what version of the game you play, if you ever played the original ToEE then pick this up.
If you have never played or run the original, but are a fan of the 3rd game, then certainly pick this up.

This is one of those adventures that should be republished for every edition of D&D.  Great to start with and run some 1st level characters through but dangerous enough to merit coming back to at a later time.

Besides who doesn't want to go up against ultimate evil, stare in into it's ugly face and say "come get some!"

This PDF is in great shape.


Anonymous said...

No Cthulhu or Melnibone in the gods book, no dice. To be expected, however. :(

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Yeah, they can't really sell that one anymore.