Sunday, December 31, 2017

Wtihin the Dungeon's Top 25 RPG Products: RPG Revew List

Welcome to Within the Dungeon's Top 25 RPG Product Review List! Needless to say, but this a is completely subjective list of RPG products I've reviewed over the last 2-3 years. Note: Each title is linked to a review, which will direct you to a review of that product on this blog, EN World, or Stuffer Shack (location is noted in the parentheses). There are no affiliate links in this post, but the review you're directed to, will have affiliate links.

I've consulted with my crack team of profession RPG judges (consisting of me, myself and I), to come up with this final list. Some Ranks were easy, some less so. Since a majority of products I review are created by indie publishers, it stands a good chance you've never heard of a good number of the titles on this list. Especially so, if you're aren't a regular reader (greetings! random people...) of this blog.

To answer a question I might be asked: Yes-dear random publisher of indie games, since products I review for Knights of the Dinner Table aren't published on this blog until year after the review has published with KoDT, you are likely SOL at the moment. Worry not, there is always next year... Maybe. ;)




1)      Lamentations of the Flame Princess (RPG)
Company: LotFP (publisher site); RPG Review (on this blog)
2)      Baker Street (RPG)
Company: Fearlight Games (publisher site); RPG Review (on this blog)
3)      Cults of Chaos (GM Toolkit)
Company: DOM Publishing (publisher site); RPG Review (on this blog)
4)      Synthicide (RPG)
Company: WillPower Games (product site); RPG Review (on EN World)
5)      Sertorius (RPG)
Company: Bedrock Games (publisher site); RPG Review (on EN World)
6)      Savage Rifts (Setting)
Company: Evil Beagle Games (publisher site); RPG Review (on EN World)
7)      The Indie Hack (RPG)
Company: Scablands Press (publisher site); RPG Review (on EN World)
8)      DayTrippers (RPG/Toolkit)
Company: As If Productions (publisher site); RPG Review (on EN World)
9)      Sins of the Father (RPG)
Company: Third Eye Games (publisher site); RPG Review (on EN World)
10)   Pirates & Dragons (RPG)
Company: Clockwork and Chivalry (publisher site); RPG Review (on this blog)
11)   Deadly Trappings (Trap Toolkit)
Company: Kenzer & Company (publisher site); RPG Review (on Stuffer Shack)
12)   Murders & Acquisitions (RPG)
Company: NerdBurger Games (publisher site); RPG Review (on EN World)
13)   The DIG (RPG)
Company: Shoreless Skies Publishing (publisher site); RPG Review (on EN World)
14)   Ninja Crusade 2nd Edition (RPG)
Company: Third Eye Games (publisher site); RPG Review (on EN World)
15)   Dead Reign (RPG)
Company: Palladium Books (publisher site); RPG Review (on this blog)
16)   Breachworld (RPG)
Company: Jason Richards Publishing (publisher site); RPG Review (on this blog)
17)   DarkFast Dungeon (Print & Play RPG)
Company: Okum Art Games (publisher site); RPG Review (on this blog)
18)   Alpha Blue (RPG/Toolkit)
Company: Kort’thalis Publishing (publisher site); RPG Review (on Stuffer Shack)
19)   Luchador (RPG)
Company: Spartacus Publishing (publisher site); RPG Review (on this blog)
20)   Pathways (3PP Pathfinder E-Zine)
Company: Rite Publishing (publisher site); RPG Review (on this blog)
21)   Swords Edge (RPG)
Company: Swords Edge Publishing (publisher site); RPG Review (on EN World)
22)   Labyrinth Lord (RPG)
Company: Goblinoid Games (publisher site); RPG Review (on this blog)
23)   Tropes Zombie Edition (RPG)
Company: Small Niche Games (publisher Facebook site); RPG Review (on this blog)
24)   Feed (RPG)
Company: Whistlepunk Games: no link ; RPG Review (on this blog)
25)   Werewolf the Forsaken 2nd Edition (RPG)
Company: Onyx Path Publishing (publisher site); RPG Review (on this blog)

Agree/disagree with my list? Any product over-rated or underrated? Among this list, what is your favorite product? See you all next year!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Map! Fief Bend: Making a Thing!

I'm not sure I'll finish it before the year is out, but Map! Fief Bend, is well underway. So far... So decent? I've certainly made some improvements vs. my previous methods. More and more I find the devil(s) in the details. For the record, all of my Map! products are created with pixel based software (MS Paint to be exact). Unfortunately -this, in turn with my methods, has increased the time it takes to make them. And as the saying goes... Time is fleeting! Between RPG Reviews, gaming, and real life; I'm lucky if I can spare more than a few times a week.

The question has often been asked: Why do I create with such archaic software...? Well...

The answer is pretty simple. I enjoy it. The second answer is that what I create is authentic. No software based effects to skippy-da-do-dah the result. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Also, I'm pretty sure I was a monk in my previous life (nobody you'd know). And, oh look! That's about exactly what I look like, posture and all... Crouched over my computer screen. Working in pixels, let me count the ways...    

Let's get to the screen shots:

Terrain Base
When finished, the terrain base above will use four-ish colors of green, four-ish colors of brown. I say four-ish because I love to make last minute changes. I'm thinkin' of a church and small cemetery will go somewhere in the middle of that big grassy knoll. The biggest problem I'm having is how to show character in the grass and deciding how I want the crop fields to look. What I do like and I think is an improvement has been the choice to use more neutral tones with the colors.    

Trees & Shrubs Shadow

I did a couple of things different for the trees this time. I've never included shrubs before and overall I think these are ok... And I included shadows within the tree itself. This gives the greenery a little pop.
Houses Shadow
I really like these buildings and homesteads. I saw this style somewhere... I want to say on Reddit, but instead of copying and taking a screenshot for reference, I made written notes as to what was done and then adjusted (my style) accordingly. The planking on the wood is a pretty cool detail, no straight or even lines gives it a more natural feel.

Working so far...
Not the final result, but it's a decent start. The grass details will go a long way to making this a bit more organic... Also I'm seeing a couple of shrubs that I need to place, maybe some cords of wood, chimneys on the main buildings (smoke?). I'm also thinking of adding some color highlights and I need to decide where to place a water well and a whole host of stuff.

I'm open to ideas! If you have suggestions leave them in the comments. What can I do better here? Also, please stop by (banner below) and check out my other Map! products, which are Pay What You Want on drivethrurpg and rpgnow (OBS). Download it for free, if guilt overcomes you... No worries, I accept tips! The banner below is to, but if you prefer, that link is here

Disclosure: The banners below include affiliate links. I receive a token % if you purchase something on the landing page. Thank you for your support.  

Link to DriveThruRPG

Friday, December 22, 2017

Pathways by Rite Publishing: RPG Totally Biased Review

"Pathways #69"
We’re taking a brief look at Pathways, a Pay What You Want E-Zine available at Paizo Publishing, as well as at & (One Book Shelf), and published by Rite Publishing (site). Issues are in portable document format (PDF), while a few are available in print as well. Pathways, specializes in Pathfinder content, but features system neutral articles, advertisements, game industry related interviews and RPG product reviews. 

Disclosure: Product images on this page include affiliate links. I receive a token % if you purchase something on the landing page. Thank you for your support.  

Before I start, I must disclose that I’ve authored the occasional article in Pathways. I also plan to contribute more. What can say? Similar to how and why, I began writing articles and eventually an RPG review column with Knights of the Dinner Table (KoDT); the reason why I contribute and support Pathways is very similar.
In my opinion Pathways, is an awesome gaming publication. If you’re playing Pathfinder this one is hard not to love. I’m not an authority on third party publishing (3PP), but Rite Publishing has digitized nearly seventy issues, 2011 to current (knock on wood), and that’s fifty+ issues more than most 3PP E-Zines last. Rite Publishing does this with support through Patreon. (which, you can check out, here)

Pathways, is produced monthly and each issue caters to a theme. Page count per issue varies, but most are around 40 to 50 pages. Within, are usually two or three RPG articles you can use at your table, and as mentioned, these are either catered to Pathfinder or are system neutral.
My favorite regularly featured column is the "Creature Template" articles for Pathfinder. I’ve gotten a lot of ideas from these simple templates, and many (though admittedly, I tweaked them substantially and used them for D&D Basic) have already found my table. The Creature Template provides a modified skin, which is suitable for Non-player character or monster roles. The GM tacks a concept onto a character or creature, and is ready to go. The Creature Template itself usually adds a few tweaks to a standard character type, monster or typical NPC archetype. The true value of this column is beyond the +1s or +2s, by directly engaging the Game Master (GM) and providing a means to make what usually is a typical encounter, interesting.

Most issues include an article or two from RPG veteran Creighton Broadhurst of Raging Swan Press.  I’m constantly impressed by the sheer usefulness of these articles. Mr. Broadhurst certainly has a knack for random tables, though that is not the only variety of article her writes. (Also, on Patreon, here) I’m randomly listing a handful of my “Broadhurst favorites” and the issues these articles are in.

·         Issue #28: Thornhill at a Glance!

·         Issue #10: Sneak Thieves

·         Issue #9: Mad Hermit

·         Issue #2: The Riderless Horse  

Each PDF features full color treatment of unique art, with the bulk of the text in standard double column format. The Table of Contents isn’t hyperlinked, but since no issue is longer than 64 pages, it isn’t too much to sort through.  
To conclude, I’m not exactly unbiased here. I debated a bit about writing a totally biased review because of it, but in the end I hope you’ll check out an issue. I won’t argue that a product which is essentially free is certainly worth it, because that’s pretty obvious, but I will say it’s certainly worth your time.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Pathways #71 Half Breeds

Pathways #71
Rite Publishing released Pathways #71 Half Breeds, the 1st of December. Somehow, I missed it. This issue, I contributed a short side-trek type encounter piece, that should supply a unique investigative type encounter and is specifically written for GMs with a tight prep schedule in mind...

Remember Pathways is a monthly, Pay What You Want E-Zine by Rite Publishing. Purchasing an issue. or two, or ten, costs as much as you think an issue is worth... Or in other words, an amount which you are willing to part with...

Disclosure: Product images on this page and the banner below may include affiliate links. I receive a token % if you purchase something on the landing page. Thank you for your support. 

If you're so inclined and especially if you're running Pathfinder, you might consider joining up with the Patreon, here. For a link to this specific issue click here, or on the product image, stage right.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Review Burp: KoDT, EN World & General Updates

This Review Burp is awesome. Knights of the Dinner Table (KoDT) turns #250. Congrats to Jolly Blackburn and the Kenzer & Company team. And a special thanks to Barbra Blackburn who puts up with me and wrangles my submissions for Indy Game Scene, Deadly Trappings and All Things Magic. It's truly is a privilege to write and submit content for KoDT. Here's to 250 more issues!

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. I receive a token % if you purchase something on the landing page. Thank you for your support.

KoDT #250!
Wild Skies
This month with KoDT I reviewed Wild Skies: Europa Tempest. This RPG is a diesel punk mash of World War II with anthropomorphic characters. Wild Skies had me thinking back a long time ago to with my beginning delves into this hobby with Palladium Book's TMNT RPG.

Last month for EN World I published reviews of DayTrippers RPG and Finders Keepers. DayTrippers is unique. Player characters will be playing multiverse hopping adventurers... A lot RPGs might use the catch phrase "only limited by your imagination," but few actually deliver on it, the way this RPG does. The review on EN World is here.

Finders Keepers
Finders Keepers is a big plot point D&D 5E adventure for 20th Level characters, written by Janek Sielicki and published with the Dungeon Masters Guild. I gave this product a mixed review, but I think the core story of the adventure is probably worth a purchase (needless to say but especially if you're running D&D 5E). The review on EN World is here.

DayTrippers RPG
General Updates: RPG Reviews with Stuffer Shack has officially come to a close. My thanks to Chris Stevens for publishing what did. I have a couple of reviews pending, which should be showing up (I presume) next year. If you're an RPG/Games blogger and interested in expanding your audience, Chris has started the RPG Spotlight Network. I've joined in the hopes of expanding my audience a bit and I've already gotten a number of clicks. As a blogger I'm always open to getting the word out and I'll take any help I can get in that regard. Though I know this RPG industry related blog is essentially, niche or niche... By all means share away! I appreciate all the traffic I can get... Yes, even you Russian meta-crawler thing a ma-jigs...

Thanks for the :::traffic:::

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Purple Duck Games: Submissions Open

Purple Duck Games
Submissions are open over at Purple Duck Games... Here's a quick list of the type of content they are interested in:
* Pathfinder savvy content writers interesting in writing for their Lands of Porphrya Campaign

* Adventures/support for Dungeon Crawl Classics

* Adventures/Support for Mutant Crawl Classics

* Adventures/Support for 4Saken RPG

* Blog posts, which support any of the above RPGs...

The link to their submissions page is here, but let's just
Submission Page
Rate of Pay for RPG writing starts at 1 cent/word. As mentioned (#5) above relevant blog posts pay a flat rate of $10. Purple Duck Games commissions art for their RPG projects & for stock. On the above mentioned links is an email you can query. Best of luck!

Submissions Open is a freelancer's resource for the RPG Industry. If you're a publisher or game creator (or know of such a company) and interested in promoting a need for freelance writers or artists, drop me a line and I'll post your company data here on this blog or just leave a comment. If you're a writer/artist looking for gigs, click here for the complete list.

Friday, December 8, 2017

One Book Shelf: New Security Settings What say you?

I tried to get on my account over at One Book Shelf (OBS) this evening, and instead I get offered a precursor for security settings...
I'm pretty certain I know what's best in regards to my own personal computer settings... But, much to my dismay OBS doesn't think so... Can someone tell me what this is really about?

This is what I get:

Here's the thing OBS. The security settings on my computer are what I choose to use for all sites across the entire internet. Not only would it be a bad idea for me to adjust my settings, I'm not the only person who uses this computer. Yes I know, these days single computers have accounts and their own settings for those accounts (for my family members) but I don't do it that way... Don't want to do it that way... Don't think it would even be a good idea to do it that way... It's difficult for me to fathom the day that a seller site gets to tell me the settings I need to use their site... Hey wait? Like I'm the customer... And the reviews I write, more often than not, drive sales to the site. Needless to say... I'm not happy with this development.

To the right of this first image (on the full page) is this... Can someone in the community confirm that the above is how cookies work..? And whether this will enhance security? Security for who? This makes no sense to me, but I know very little about it.

AND BTW if I click on that Continue button it leads me back to the original page... Since when do cookies prevent private information...? I though cookies enabled the sharing of private information, such as my physical location and such... This screams utter BS to me, but someone in the community is welcome to correct me (and I hope they will) if I'm wrong... Help!?

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Help Stacy Kick Cancers Butt On DriveThruRPG

I love it when a plan comes together: As I mentioned, I put my affiliate & product sales from the month of November towards Stacy's cancer fight and rounded it up to the nearest $10. The grand total was $20. Honestly, the ability to raise some funds was looking pretty dire, but once the black Friday sales at One Book Shelf hit I got a nice (micro) boost. My usual affiliate sales numbers are under $10 per month. If you purchased anything through my links from here and over at EN World; Thank you. Also, a couple folks did in fact purchase some of my Map! products... Awesome and thank you.

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. I receive a token % if you purchase something on the landing page. Thank you for your support.

Stacy's Cancer Fight Fund over on Fundly is here if you wish to donate.

I'm a total sucker for anything RPG so I went with the DriveThru charity bundle. I'm not much of a salesman, but Over $300 worth of PDFs for 20 bucks! As an RPG reviewer that was an easy choice. Just in case my reviewer slush pile ever gets a bit light, I've got some extra titles...

There a lot of ways to show Stacy your support and it's not just about the money. Don't get me wrong -money is nice, but if your anything like me, I've got plenty of money gone to gifts for family and friends during the silly season... (money can be tight this time of year) Even just stopping over at her Fundly and/or leaving a comment or her Facebook page (here), or a comment in the discussion panel of the bundle is a nice way to show support. Take a moment to like & share links and who knows. Every little bit helps. Okay, stand back while I get off my soap box.

Best Wishes for Stacy and her family-

Friday, December 1, 2017

Dark Albion Cults of Chaos: RPG Review

Cults of Chaos
Welcome to a brief review of the Dark Albion "Cults of Chaos" PDF. Unlike most products I review, "Cults of Chaos" is a system neutral Game Master’s toolkit. This product is a companion module for Dark Albion  a campaign setting, which is serviceable as a standalone product for just about any fantasy setting. The Dark Albion campaign setting is also authored by RPG Pundit & Dominique Crouzet. You can pick your poison be it the The Cults of Chaos PDF or purchase a black & white dead tree version. Both can be purchased at and"Cults of Chaos" was provided free of cost for the purpose of this review.

Disclosure: This review includes affiliate links. I receive a token % if you purchase something on the landing page. Thank you for your support.

In truth, the main reason I’m reviewing "Cults of Chaos," as this column usually focuses on complete game systems and/or settings, is two fold. One, to find out if the product is as advertised. Or, functional with most systems assuming the framework of a fantasy setting; the ladder of which, is actually an assumption based on authorship. And I might add, this is totally a selfish reason because the game I'm running is D&D Basic. And two, I've been wanting to review products outside the scope of what I usually review!

In my mind, the most important thing relevant in a product like this is if its form follows function. This is especially prudent for this reviewer, since I have not read Dark Albion. I can think of a couple of supplements which have made such a promise and utterly failed to deliver… Ultimately no longer on my shelf but… Ah, I digress…

At its core, "Cults of Chaos" provides richly detailed framework for creating and applying a variety of cult types or organizations, as an antagonist plot piece to your campaign. The purpose of which, you will use this very supplement to determine. I would say, just about any type of cult you could imagine, but actually this supplement has it covered well beyond what most, or at least those (including myself) not educated in cult history, would think to imagine. It’s a flexible product. There are plenty of Easter Eggs (I’m not sure what else to call them) which reference the Dark Albion itself, but these are rarely a distraction. The bulk of this product is system neutral, or if not, totally explained in reference within this module. That said, what will be most likely is that if this product appeals, you’ll likely go out and buy Dark Albion, which after reading "Cults of Chao"s is any good author’s intent. This is a product that not only shows me how to use it, but does it well enough that I needn’t look elsewhere for the details that come with creating an antagonist cult and unleashing it upon my hapless victi-I mean players. Needless to say, I’m impressed.

The most serviceable sections include a Cult Generation System from which in utilizing a series of tables you can create your antagonist cult from scratch or use dice to determine its scope and the Running Chaos Cult Adventures section. Both sections are very good reference material to help you hit the ground running. The detail involved with the Cult Generation System allows the GM to custom fit to just about any fantasy system. OSR friendly-yes, but actually, with a few easy tweaks I would argue ANY fantasy system. "Cults of Chaos" provides the GM many useful tips in running an inquisitor style campaign and then closes the deal with the Running Chaos Cult Adventures section, which provides even better advice on running investigative style adventures.

(Note: This RPG review is property of Kenzer and Company and republished here with permission.)

As you can easily guess and especially based on the infomercial style of approval this is a product I thoroughly enjoyed. I sought very hard to find something about it I didn’t like, but not for lack of trying, I failed...

I would recommend it for mature reading and viewership based on the detail of the content in relation to the subject matter, and based upon the graphic nature of a good deal of the public domain art. Still that is not to say it’s not maturely written or presented and as a product it doesn’t aim for the cheap seats. Each illustration is relevant to the content and is well placed. If you think about it-it would be exceedingly impossible to write such a module and not cover the bare bones in relation to the practices and behaviors, many of which are well documented throughout human history and what many of the more infamous cults are best known for. In fact I might point out in relation, that there are a lot worse elements which could have been more explicitly detailed and weren’t.

To bring it to a close, "Cults of Chaos" delivers a richly detailed framework for running an inquisitor style campaign leaving few stones unturned. The format is cleanly executed and writing is concise. As a product it’s not only a Game Master’s toolkit, but probably the best system neutral plot-kit device I’ve read. I’d give Cults of Chaos eleven and a half Aleister Crowley’s out of ten, but then again I don’t do ratings and such evil must be stopped! Hopefully, my players will be up for the task.

Edit: Since this review published with KoDT I've had the opportunity to use this product. I usually knew what I wanted to do, but I found the chapter: Running Chaos Cult Adventures & the inquisitor style adventure section, very helpful. I'd be remiss not to mention it.