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Letters from the Dark Vol. V: Hell to Pay
by Alexander [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/17/2024 18:02:19

I finally received my physical copy today. You outdid yourself. I absolutely love that you’re making content for GM’s to run for their players, and because of that, I’ve bought all of your books. Keep up the good work!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Letters from the Dark Vol. V: Hell to Pay
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Creator Reply:
Thank you so much! This one took more work than usual, so I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it. I’d love to hear what you think of the other books.
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Letters from the Dark Vol. IV: Borderlands
by Sarah B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/02/2024 19:50:13

I was planning on running a Keep on the Borderlands inspired campaign in Shadowdark when I came across this product. Picked it up and absolutely loved it. Helped me fill in the gaps I had in my worldbuilding/prep. Excellent commentary on a borderlands type setting to help set the stage. Very well organized and written in a beautifully brief approach that I love. Makes it a quick read and easy to use at the table. Will be picking up the other volumes simply because i love the writing style and design so much, even if the themes don't appeal to me as much. Great work!!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Letters from the Dark Vol. IV: Borderlands
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Letters from the Dark Vol. IV: Borderlands
by Jakob [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/24/2024 15:31:41

My favorite Shadowdark supplement. The keep rules especially are very gameable and find a nice middle-ground between traditional slow-paced keep-building domain management of something like AD&D 1e and a more fast-paced modern game where players won't want to wait for 2-3 years of game time to have a finished stronghold. The mechanic of the keep populating 1 person per day per 1 point of CHA score is a great rule to determine how a stronghold becomes populated over time, which is a question that is often left to referee fiat in other RPGs involving strongholds/domain play.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Letters from the Dark Vol. IV: Borderlands
by ben [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/15/2024 16:51:11

Ran Darlan Keep as an intro to Shadowdark for my players, also an intro for me as a DM (i've done like 3 DnD 5e sessions prior.) We had a great time, cleared the keep with some lucky rolls against the boss and I'm looking forward to them building up the keep as a base. Module was very DM friendly. I'll definitely be buying the other "letters".



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Letters from the Dark Vol. II: Slayer's Moon
by AARON [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/12/2024 23:02:15

This issue is chock full of stuff that I am interested in using in my own games. The quality of issue 2 is leaps and bounds ahead its predecessor.

The hexcrawl included has plenty of locations for inspiration, and has the feel of the hexcrawls found in the Cursed Scrolls. The central conflict of the region ties into everywhere else, and on its own is quite compelling. The hexcrawl has a built in prophecy/fortune reading to determine details of the castle. While I already have several systems for similar purposes, this one is simple and tied straight to the adventure. I cannot wait for my players to head to Lugos Valley and experience what it has in store!

The Slayer class is exactly what I want out of a Shadowdark class. Players aren't given lots of abilities or powers that make other classes feel obsolete. Instead Slayers gain bonuses based on the creature types they have studied about and hunt. Stuff like resistance to fire from studying Demons and Devils, or Advantage to hide from or deceive creature larger than horses from studying Giants. Every Slayer can easily feel different as they choose or roll different prey, and they don't step on the toes of other the other classes in the Core.

Very impressed with the quality that Chris has brought to the table this time! Feels like the Cursed Scroll content I have been itching for!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Letters from the Dark Vol. II: Slayer's Moon
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Letters from the Dark Vol. I: Out of Time
by Troy [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/20/2024 02:16:16

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy for review.

LETTERS FROM THE DARK VOL. I: OUT OF TIME is a zine of 44 pages that includes a new spellcasting class, the Evoker, a 5th level adventure and some new monsters.

Overall: Great art throughout. The layout is easy to read and will make it easy to reference during play.

Evoker Class

I really like the Blood Burn ability. It provides a way for the Evoker to regain a lost spell at a critical time for the cost of HP. Having the damage as d4 per tier also scales nicely with the d6 HP/level the evoker gains. I also like the way spellcasting is done between learning a new evoker spell alternating with gaining an innate spell. Innate spells are a pretty unique ability that at first seems overpowering, that is until you see the restrictions. Overall I think this new class is very well done and I feel it provides something unique from those provided in the core book and doesn't take anything away from those classes.

Evoker Spells:

Bind - Tier 2 - Similar to Web, but causes damage for each failed escape attempt - I think this is a bit too powerful by being able to cause death just trying to escape. I'd probably change it to cause a cumulative -1 to the STR check to further escape attempts as the binds tighten each time they're tested.

Brand - Tier 2 - Mark an enemy and give them damage as long as you maintain focus.

Essence Storm - Tier 5 - Surround a foe in a magical storm and do damage to them(and possibly destroy) and those nearby.

Force Dart - Tier 1 - Similar to Magic Missile, but more damage and no advantage to cast.

Overwhelm - Tier 4 - Cause enemies to take damage and flee from you as your power emanates from you.

Penetrating Beam - Tier 3 - Similar to Lightning Bolt. Shoot a beam of energy in a line. It's energy so creatures that are immune to electricity(3 in core book) wouldn't be immune to this spell.

Repulse - Tier 1 - If you're surrounded, use this to damage and push away.

Spell Burst - Tier 3 - Similar to fireball, but not as much damage.

Ebonpeak Isle adventure

The adventure starts out with a history of how Ebonpeak Academy ends up in the Temporal Plane and what happened to the inhabitants. There's no hooks for the PCs, only that they teleport there, and if the academy is so secretive as described and the only thing on the Ebonpeak Isle, you'll have to come up with why the PCs would want to go there or how they arrived there. There is a malfunctioning teleportation circle on the isle, so this would make a good side adventure for when the PCs use teleport and because of the Temporal Plane disruption, it goes off course. There's a brief description and overview of the places on the isle and random encounter charts for each area along with a background. There's also a faction listing, which is nice to have. The maps are clean and well labeled and each room has a quick description useful to providing initial info to players with further details as needed. Even though it's pointed out that one of the maps for a bell tower is not pictured, I think it should have been included because, as we all know, adventures, as written, rarely survive interaction with the PCs. Bell tower maps are probably easy to locate searching the web or just creating you own if necessary with the many tools available these days. There's the potential for about 5000gp worth of treasure, plus about 4-5 other magic items.

New Monsters

There's 9 new monsters included plus 1 main NPC. Each of the monsters have some unique abilities and seem like they'll provide a good bit of challenge, some potentially even death. The spotlight has to go to the Hedrones though. I mean, they're brass, flying d20s with lasers after all.

Notes for a couple of the abilities

Golem, Amber - The flashback ability is pretty cool, but requires a bit of extra effort for the DM to keep track of the golem's state from round to round.

Krixi Pigfoggle(excellent name, btw) - When I first read the Paradox Spell ability, I thought that the clone would have "10 HP and all spells within near", which didn't make much sense. When I reread, I understood what was intended. It might be better worded as "Summon, within near, a clone…"

Clockwork Soldier - There's an asterisk on the number of attacks and the movement, but no reference to what that means, until you read the Wind-Down ability and then figure it out.

Yithian - Mind Transfer - If the target and Yithian swap minds, does the target take control of the Yithians body? Does their mind swap back if the Yithian's body is dropped to zero HP? Would the Yithian lose focus if the target they swap into took damage causing a distraction or would it only be based on their original body? Would there be a way for other PCs to know that this swap occurred? When the Yithian gains their body and memories, would there now be a Yithian (N)PC in the party, kind of like a doppelganger?

I guess all of these questions a GM could just determine on their own, but I'm curious what the intent from the author was.

Memory wipe lists "DISADV on one skill that normally has ADV". There are no skills in Shadowdark, so I think maybe this was supposed to be "checks"?

Final Thoughts: I think this zine provides a good variety of content for Shadowdark. There's a class for players and the adventure and monsters for the GM. The adventure is easily placed in any fantasy setting given that it takes place on the Temporal Plane. There's a good mix of exploration, discovery and potential combat. There's even some nice "time paradox" type things that I think will be pretty fun for players. Overall I think this is an adventure that could be completed in a 3-4 hour session or could extend easily into a couple sessions. The monsters are easily useful in other adventures and fit the theme of the adventure well. I think this is definitely a solid 4 star zine for Shadowdark.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Letters from the Dark Vol. I: Out of Time
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