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!]