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Encounters ~ Plots ~ Places $12.00 $3.99
Average Rating:4.8 / 5
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Encounters ~ Plots ~ Places
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Encounters ~ Plots ~ Places
Publisher: Troll in the Corner
by Daniel S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/07/2012 11:35:10

Encounters ~ Plots ~ Places is the kind of fast toolkit you can actually use when you're short on inspiration and time, or when your players take a turn you didn't expect and you suddenly have to come up with a new NPC or encounter. Unlike products of this kind that sometimes feature hundreds of generic and barely-useful "seeds" or encounters, Encounters ~ Plots ~ Places actually has some thought and craft behind the material, and it shows.

The first thing I noticed about this product was the quality. There are three versions of the file: normal, print-friendly, and tablet-optimized. There's also a tidy and organized PDF index / table of contents. I can't tell you how much I wish more indie developers would pay attention to these details. A good index makes all the difference.

Since Encounters ~ Plots ~ Places is system-neutral, each entry is focused on the story details, not on statistics. Each NPC, for example, has the following attributes: name, motivation, strength, weakness, and a relative "power rating" for incorporating the material into your own game world. So be advised that if you're going to drop this stuff in, you're going to have to come up with your own game stats.

Each entry is concise and easily digestible. Each of the NPCs, places, and items come with at least one or two "plot hooks" for incorporating them into your game. Personally, I love that there were multiple hooks for each -- I love having a choice. The NPCs and encounters range from the rather typical to the truly bizarre.

The interior artwork by Hisham is also great -- none of it looks like stock art or random illustrations that bear no resemblance to what's on the page.

Finally, the book has a sentient sword called ULTRAMIND. You heard me.

Although I received a free copy in return for a review, I would gladly have shelled out the six bucks for this product.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Encounters ~ Plots ~ Places
Publisher: Troll in the Corner
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/07/2012 11:21:29

Encounters ~ Plots ~ Places focuses on the quality of the material as opposed to quantity. That said this product is still filled with dozens of interesting NPCs, curious creatures, intriguing items and plot-worthy locales. Game masters will find no lack of inspiration in this product and will get a lot of mileage out of it no matter what game system they are using. The material in this book is written independent of game system which means it can be used with any fantasy roleplaying game with very little work.

Not only is each entry well written Benjamin Gerber took the time to develop adventure hooks for each as well. Then on top of that he included a section at the back of the book with additional adventure hooks to add even more tools to a game master's toolbox.

For the most part the layout of the book and the art were superb although there are some questionable art choices. Visually the book is not as cohesive as I would have liked it to be which disappointed me because the written portions of the book are top notch. The book also have some problems with editing and/or formatting; there were a lot of broken paragraphs, missing periods and things like that.

Full Disclosure: I received a free PDF copy of this product for review purposes. Regardless I would happily pay $6 for this book. I believe it is worth every penny and I think you will too.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Hi Michael, I thought I had stomped out all of those formatting bugs! The broken paragraphs/missing periods and whatnot should all be addressed in a maintenance release coming out later today. Thanks for the review!
Encounters ~ Plots ~ Places
Publisher: Troll in the Corner
by Brent N. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/06/2012 18:06:36

(Full disclosure: I was provided with an advance copy of this book for copyediting purposes. I was not involved creatively.)

Encounters ~ Plots ~ Places serves one function: providing a GM with evocative characters, locations, items, and story hooks.

The key word is "evocative." There are plenty of books that offer dry lists of characters and items, almost as though they were computer-generated. Ben Gerber describes each character, location, or item in enough detail to pique the reader's interest and clearly explain its uses. While the book is system-neutral, each element includes a standard block of basic stats: size, motivation, strengths, weaknesses, and a "power level" ranking from 1 to 10.

Better, each character, location, and item includes a set of adventure hooks, so they're easy to work into an ongoing campaign.

This is not a huge list of characters; EPP has "only" a few dozen NPCs, encounters, items, and places total. This is about quality over quantity. That is exactly its strength: each element is vivid and charged with potential for conflict.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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