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Post Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 9:08 am 
 

FormCritic wrote:
Yes.  It is.


Thanks for the recommendation.  Despite the controversy it is an interesting book, glad I picked one up!


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Post Posted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 9:50 am 
 

FormCritic wrote:

I advise lurking Dreadmire for a while on Ebay.  I paid a lot less than that for my copy.





Here it is:




** expired eBay auction **


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Post Posted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 2:53 am 
 

So, I'm holding The Slayer's Guide to Dragons.  

Mongoose Publishing put out an extensive line of the Slayer's Guides from 2001 to 2004 (at least that is the range of the copies in my collection) with reprints and alternative covers and a few monsters you probably never thought about slaying...such as Rules Lawyers.

This one is special because the author is Gary Gygax.

"What thoughts lie behind the molten eyes of a red dragon?" (p.8 )

Most of the Slayers Guides are saddle stitched.  They range around 32 pages.  

The standard format is an introduction to the critting to be...um...slain, followed by example of different morphs of those creatures using the 3rd Edition's flexible monster advancement rules.  So, for instance, you'll get monsters with character class levels and other variants on the beastie found in the Monster Manual.

(Sometimes there are small errors in the Mongoose monster descriptions.  For instance, in The Slayer's Guide to Duergar, these evil dwarves are listed as "small" instead of "medium."  In the 3.5 version of D&D this makes a difference because small creatures do less damage but are harder to hit.  The Mongoose Publishing writer seems unaware of the mistake because he does not give his duergar the +1 bonus to AC enjoyed by small creatures.)

Most of the Slayer's series end with a a short adventure using creatures and features from the guide.

The Slayer's Guide to Dragons is 128 pages and includes a longer adventure called, "The Revenge of Ghorkai."  Because of its greater bulk, The Slayer's Guide to Dragons is perfect bound and usually sells for more than its companions in the series.  My copy dates from 2002.

Gygax begins with sort of an author's preface in which he discusses how he originally came up with the five chromatic and five metallic dragon types.  Part of his motivation for coming up with different races of dragons was to keep his players guess.

Gygax also tells how he created, "what was probably the first dragon used on the table top," by cutting and modifying a plastic stegosaurus.

"What creature has more magnificence, more savage ferocity and more sheer power than the dragon ?" (p.4)

Of course, the answer in AD&D was, "A lot of creatures."  The legendary dragons of...um...legend did not appear in the game until 2nd Edition, where the direful wyrums got really direful.  (And, apparently in Basic D&D they were also pretty tough.)  But I digress...

Gygax has a chapter where he introduces more than a half dozen new/old types of dragons.  I say "new/old" because Gygax is merely giving his own take on dragons types that have appeared elsewhere.  Gygax also adds a 13th age category onto the 12 common to the 3rd Edition Monster Manual.  It is the Draco Invictus....a dragon lord that has been sleeping, growing and genrally getting more pissed off as it ages past ancient.

A number of critics of the 3rd Edition game like to joke about all the "half" character races available.  These hybrids start with the half dragon and can range down to pretty much half of anything.  The half dragon is available in the Monster Manual as a template.  It is not really a character race in the vast majority of games.  Also, the jokesters tend to forget the fact that it was Gygax himself who introduced half dragons ("draconians") in the Dragonlance module series.

There are half dragons in The Slayer's Guide to Dragons.  "The Revenge of Ghorkai" features a half dragon/half lizardman 6th level fighter.  It also features lizardman NPC's with character levels.  At the center of the adventure is Ghorkai himself, an adult indigo dragon.

SPOILER ALERT!

There is a dragon at the end of this module and this is a slayer's guide.  Hope I didn't spoil the ending for you!  8)

END SPOILER ALERT

One of the best things about the Slayer's Guides is that every book has advanced monster stats worked out and ready for a DM to use.  The Slayer's Guide to Dragons has a lot of them, including full stats for Ghorkai.  These are invaluable to 3rd Edition DM's, who may save a lot of time by picking up the improved stats from the book...even allowing for a few errors creeping into the text.

One of the most annoying things about the Slayer's Guides is the insipid piece of art that is used as the left and right hand borders of each page.  This picture of weapons hanging on a stone wall is jarring to the eye and totally pointless.  

That said, the quality of art in these books is above average with much of it looking distinctly First Edition.  There is also a lot of it, with a map or picture on pretty much every page.

Books like The Slayer's Guide to Dragons are what people will be seeking to collect in the future as things actually written by Gygax fade off the market.  I paid only a few bucks for my copy.  In a short time it could be a $20+ item.


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Post Posted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 10:41 am 
 

FormCritic wrote:Books like The Slayer's Guide to Dragons are what people will be seeking to collect in the future as things actually written by Gygax fade off the market.  I paid only a few bucks for my copy.  In a short time it could be a $20+ item.


I think it has future potential as well.  Gygax also did the Slayer's Guide to Undead.

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Post Posted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 3:33 pm 
 

Mars wrote:
I think it has future potential as well.  Gygax also did the Slayer's Guide to Undead.


I guess that The Slayer's Guide to the Undead was one of the early D20 items.

I don't own a copy.

The Slayer's Guide line will be collectible for sure.  The Gygax publications will be the hard-to-get books in that line.


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Post Posted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 4:58 pm 
 

Another nice trio of D20 books from my shelf:



The Drow War series from Mongoose Publishing.



Hardback books in the series include:



The Drow War Book One, The Gathering Storm
The Drow War Book Two, The Dying of the Light
The Drow War Book Three, The Darkest Hour




Each book is 256 pages long with 10 episodic adventures...a total of 30 adventures.



I was going to write a review of the series for this strand, but while I was double-checking current prices I landed on this excellent review by game blogger Mark Rabuck:



http://rabuck.blogspot.com/2009/05/revi ... storm.html



Rabuck's review says pretty much what I was going to say, and it dates from May 2009, so I figured, "Why double the effort?"



A couple of things I would add to Rabuck's review are:



1)  These books do not share the vice of a lot of Mongoose hardbacks. Specifically, they do not provide very scant adventure floating about in large type on a large page.  The information in these books is very densely packed in small type to fit it all in.



2)  The Drow War books share one vice with other Mongoose products.  There is a needlessly busy graphic repeated all around the borders of all three books.  This is a typical Mongoose-ism.  The Conan RPG books make it wose by including a couple of naked ladies on each page, often in color and nipples on display.  In the old days you would have had to hide the books from your mom.



3)  One cool game addition to The Drow War books is a system for having player characters participate in a battle without bogging down in having to run a huge encounter with massed units.  This is a new approach.  It is not like the classic Swords and Spells book, in which battles are conducted with unit counters or miniatures using percentages distilled from the basic d20 math of D&D.  Instead, battles are pictured more like those in fantasy movies, where thousands of soldiers conduct a massive kung-fu movie battle of one-on-one duels.  (Ever seen Spartacus, for instance?)  This isn't as annoying as it sounds.  The system allows for massed battles in which the player characters may actually take roles and influence events...without the need for a sand table.



4)  The Drow War series is not easily integrated into just any game world.  It really does demand immersion into the author's campaign world.  This is a massive campaign that takes player characters from 1st to 30th level and requires many movie-like moments where the PC's fight to gain or destroy whatever gubbins/object will solve the current problem.  (Like Emperor Palpatine, the drow just can't resist leaving a small, un-shielded ventilation shaft open on each Death Star.)  Moving the war would be like moving a game version of Operation Overlord out of Normandy...more complicated, actually.  Given the quality of the game world presented, the immersion into it might not be so bad.



5)  Even with #4 above, the thundering tide of creative power, good ideas, excellent art and the mastery of the 3.5 Edition rules makes these books worthwhile to active players, even if they never run the full campaign arc.  The situations, NPC's and advanced beasties in The Drow War series could easily be cannibalized



My personal favorite scene to steal would be in Book Three.  It involves a massive, hideous flesh golem named, "Bridge."  Great idea!



What makes these books interesting from a D20 collector's point of view is that they are a) cool and b) likely to be highly collectible in the future.



The second and third books in the trilogy are still available for cheap in new condition on Ebay and I advise snapping them up.



Mongoose no longer supports their old D20 line and these books are not available from their website...which used to have downloads supporting the books with additional maps.



Like the third Rappan Athuk module, The Drow War Book One The Gathering Storm has already become uncommon and is rapidly rising in price.



For instance, check out this Amazon link:



http://www.amazon.com/Drow-Trilogy-Book ... 1904854397



Book One is a lot less common on Ebay than Two and Three and it always sells for a lot more.  When the supply of Two and Three dwindles they are likely to soar in price as well.



The Amazon listing above has a "like new" used Book One starting at $34.80 and I would suggest that this will be remembered as a bargain price in a relatively short time.  Even the pdf of this book is $25.



I would like to hear from a DM who has had the guts and consistent players to run all 30 episodes of The Drow War.  



In the meantime, D20 collectors ought to be looking for these books.  Who else here has them?


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Post Posted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 5:58 pm 
 

While I have a lot of 3.x books, I don't consider myself a collector of them as a whole.  Now when it comes to certain companies though I seem to pick up most/if not all of their offerings.

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Post Posted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 8:39 pm 
 

FormCritic wrote:Like the third Rappan Athuk module, The Drow War Book One The Gathering Storm has already become uncommon and is rapidly rising in price.

Frell.  I just left one or two of those on a HPB shelf in Indiana.

  

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Post Posted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 8:41 pm 
 

JohnGaunt wrote:Frell.  I just left one or two of those on a HPB shelf in Indiana.


Dude...drive back there!  8O


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Post Posted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 8:59 pm 
 

FormCritic wrote:Dude...drive back there!  8O

Hell, no!  :)

Amazon prices are inflated, and Amazon takes a huge cut of the selling price.  Even if I bought the books at half-price or less, making a significant profit is a difficult.

Gas and time would make it a huge loss.  Someone local could give it a try.

The again, I do have an unused 50% discount coupon . . . and I might be able to make it back in one day . . .

  

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Post Posted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 11:02 pm 
 

Mark, I've enjoyed reading your reviews, thanks!

  

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Post Posted: Sun Jul 19, 2009 1:18 pm 
 

mandalaymoon wrote:Mark, I've enjoyed reading your reviews, thanks!


Ditto. :)  

While this may get me in big trouble, maybe we need a section just for reviews.  Reviews for products in other threads have generally been received favorably.  It could include reviews of web-sites, sellers, buyers, or some of these, as well as reviews of products. :?


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Post Posted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 9:59 pm 
 

[quote="FormCritic"]

In the meantime, D20 collectors ought to be looking for these books.  Who else here has them?[/quote]

I've got the trilogy but have yet to more than flip through them.  The first book was rather difficult to find at a reasonable price and I already had the other two, so I waited until I could start at the beginning.

From what I've seen so far and what others have said, I would like to give this series a run...as soon as I get Ptolus and Red Hand of Doom over with.

  


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Post Posted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 9:35 am 
 

FormCritic wrote:Another nice trio of D20 books from my shelf:

The Drow War series from Mongoose Publishing.


For instance, check out this Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Drow-Trilogy-Book ... 1904854397

Book One is a lot less common on Ebay than Two and Three and it always sells for a lot more.  When the supply of Two and Three dwindles they are likely to soar in price as well.

The Amazon listing above has a "like new" used Book One starting at $34.80 and I would suggest that this will be remembered as a bargain price in a relatively short time.  Even the pdf of this book is $25.

I would like to hear from a DM who has had the guts and consistent players to run all 30 episodes of The Drow War.  

In the meantime, D20 collectors ought to be looking for these books.  Who else here has them?




Thanks for the recommendation.  Just bought all three off of Amazon (I think I nabbed the Book 1 you noted above.)  Now just trying to attract some 3.5ers in the local area to play this, Ptolus, Castle Whiterock, Accordlands, Rappan Athuk and the countless other 3.5 campaign sups in my massive pile 8O


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Post Posted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 3:54 am 
 

So, I couldn't help myself....

At $14.98 I had to snag a copy of The Tome of Horrors, by Necromancer Games, off the shelf today at Half Price Books.  

Now I have two copies...but it just had to be done.  No way I could let that get by me.

Necromancer Games is one of the five companies that successfully surfed the D20 phenomenon (Necromancer, Goodman, Paizo, Green Ronin and Troll Lord), and is possibly the coolest of the quintet.  Necromancer did not immediately make the leap to 4.0, but they have a strong enough following that they will probably do well when they begin to publish again, either in 4.0 or in Paizo's Pathfinder D20 clone system.

The Tome of Horrors was a natural choice for a company that advertises "Third Edition Rules, First Edition Feel."  It is a collection of monsters that did not make it across the Monster Manual void between 1st and 2nd Edition AD&D and D&D 3.0.  The forgotten beasties of the Monster Manual II and the Fiend Folio ride again in The Tome of Horrors.

The Tome of Horrors is a big book:  325 pages including the index and the obligatory OGL legal notices.  I would describe the hardback binding as "middling quality."  The book doesn't explode in your face, but it isn't the tightly stitched binding of the core 3.0 rulebooks.  Like all other books from Necromancer Games I've ever seen, it was printed with the help of White Wolf's Sword and Sorcery Studios.

There are 400 monsters in the book, including 300 from various 1st Edition books.  The other 100 are from Necromancer's own publications.   Wizards of the Coast gave Necromancer the go-ahead on these monsters with the basic agreement that most of them would not appear in future WOTC publications.

Each monster stat block from the old days has a note at the end, telling where it originally appeared in print.  Author Scott Greene credits the original authors wherever they are known.  Some of the citations are inaccurate, since an old-school DM knows that the monster in question (for instance) was listed in the Monster Manual II, but that it really first appeared in a specific module.

The Tome of Horrors is a fun read for anyone who misses the basic humor and "gotcha" creativity of the old school monsters.  So, anyone who misses the adherer (looks like a mummy but is actually an aberration covered with glue that makes your weapon stick to it) can find that goofball creature here.  In 3.0, this thing uses its glue to jack up the grapple rules on anyone it hits.

The star monsters of the Fiend Folio (all four or five of them - thank God for Charles Stross and whoever created the fog giant) have all been picked up and used again in 3.0, leaving the silly and bizarre creatures of that publication to go into this tome. So, we have the devil dog and the lava children chasing about the pages with the coffer corpse, the clubnek (sp), ogrillon, iron cobra and the gambado.  There are frost men in the book (squirting cones of ice out of their eyes, apparently in consternation  at having been resurrected again in print) as well as the blindheim and the gloomwing.  And who doesn't miss the crabman?  (They want our women!)  Also, the dark stalker and dark creeper are...um...creeping about this book.

Strangely, the enveloper, the Pilsbury Doughboy monster of the Fiend Folio didn't make it in.....?  Ah well.  :D

The Tome of Horrors isn't just the old Fiend Folio re-printed.  There are monsters like the korred, the quickling, the drakes (fire and frost) and the orog.  Our janitorial friend the drelb (the "haunting custodian") is lurking here, but there is no mention of this creature's original link to Lolth.

Amongst the old-school goodness there are some monsters I've actually been missing (OK - I did miss the blindheim).  For instance, say hello to my old friend, the giant two-headed troll!  You can't have enough of those in a campaign.  

The skeleton warrior is here!  Remember the boney undead dude with the ring that lets his master control him?  (For some reason, the skeleton warrior is always depicted with the ring on its own head...which cannot actually happen since, "If a skeleton warrior ever gains control of the circlet that contains its soul the skeleton warrior places the circlet on its head and dies, vanishing in a flash of light.")  In The Tome of Horrors, the skeleton warrior is a template that can be jammed onto any character, but stats are given for a 12th-level fighter version.  Yum!

The Tome of Horrors has some charming examples of the kind of toss-out lines found in so many gaming books.  For instance, we are told that the skeleton warrior is, "dressed in the same type of armor and clothes worn during life."  Um...isn't that what we all wear all the time?  :shaking2:

"Hey man, nice medusa!"  Oh no, this isn't just a nice medusa, this is a greater medusa.  She shares part of her page with the king of non-sequiturs; the giant marmoset.  (Work with that one for a minute  :scratch: )

Hello Mr. Flind!  Still whacking people with those nunchuks?  

"Bah!  I spit on your nunchuks, humahn!  This be flindbar!"

Um, even the new book says, "They are otherwise identical to nunchaku."

"Raaah!  Let bonking begiiiiiiiiin!"

(By the way, "It is unknown if flinds are a subspecies of the gnoll or a genetic anomaly produced among large gnoll packs."  Contemplate that as you hack them apart.)

Ah!  Here's the necrophidius!..looks like a snake skeleton with an evil human skull for a head.  It's one of the creepier-looking monsters ever published.  "On the first round of combat, a necrophidius attempts to entrance its opponents by swaying back and forth."  Yup.  Same ol' necrophidius.  The necrophidius has two hit dice...so on the second round of combat it flies apart under repeated blows and scatters itself artistically around the nearby stonework.  Nice dance, dude!

The monstrous crab notation makes me laugh...not because monstrous crabs are funny but because I once had one of these creatures chasing a party of adventurers in one of my games, but the characters never actually noticed the huge crab scuttling after them.

Ah!  Here's the nereid, escaped from The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan.  "Their natural beauty lures men to their doom."  One wonders why these chaotic neutral lovelies don't always leave their shawls hidden under the water nearby...probably because if they didn't have their shawls we might have to leave out their pictures entirely.  Nereids used to summon water wierds to do their bidding, now they just get to, "form a volume of water into the shape of an arm that ends in a clenched fist."

Hello Mr. Nilbog!  I see that you're still indistinguishable from a goblin.  According to the text, "The nilbog favors ambushes, dirty tricks and overwhelming odds to a fair fight."  Sounds like he has what it takes to be a player character.  :x

The artwork in The Tome of Horrors is above average to excellent and there is a lot of it.  My personal favorite is the stench kow, which  looks like a comical buffalo who smells his own gas.  Most of the  monsters have pictures to support them.  The obsidian minotuar is one of the weakest, while the half-ogre is probably the best.  The half-ogre and the demonic knight apparently do their shopping together.  They both bought their armor at Games Workshop.

For anyone who misses the old stock of demons and devils, there are one hell of a lot of them here.  These dudes are duded up with more hit dice than a pack-o-mastodons and 3.0 powers to make you wish you'd never dared the wrath of Heck.  Unlike the 1st Edition demon lords and major devils, these guys could stand a few rounds against characters with weapon specialization.

When I ran a recent game in the infernal realms with my 3.5 gaming group I substituted the stats for a few of these guys and tossed them into the mix.  High level 3rd Edition characters can still chop them up, but not as easily as the 105 hit points of old-school Asmodeus.

If you're a demon and devils kind of guy, they've got most of your old friends with new stats here in The Tome of Horrors.

Yes, some of this was pretty silly stuff, even back in the day.  But, if you are one of those who still remember those days, there are also some ghosts here to haunt your current game.

But I digress.....  :wink:

If you're a gamer, there's enough in The Tome of Horrors to get you through some nasty encounters and memory-lane strolls.  In addition to the hardcopy version of the book you ought to go to RPGNow and get the pdf version that has been updated to 3.5.  The electronic files are easily accessible to the DM and you won't wreck your book.  You can also cut and paste so the giant marmoset won't intrude on the same page with the greater medusa.

If you're a collector, you need to think about grabbing The Tome of Horrors while you can.  This book combines the old-school monsters with Necromancer's excellence and it is likely to get real scarce in the near future.  Any gamer who actually used the hardcopy likely destroyed his own tome in the process.  That makes the high quality copies out there even more valuable.  

Copies of The Tome of Horrors are starting to appear on Ebay in the $30 to $50 range and the price is likely go up.  

Anyone who has a Half Price Books nearby ought to think about looking to see if there is a copy on the shelf.  Half Price Books tends to get gaming books sent to individual stores from what is obviously a central source.  (Remember all the Midnight campaign booklets recently on their shelves all across the country?)  Chances are good that your local store recently got at least one copy of The Tome of Horrors.

One final note in a very long post:  There were other books in this series, but I have never seen a hardcopy for sale.  It is possible that they only existed as pdf files.  Does anyone here know?

Mark


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Post Posted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 7:42 am 
 

There is 3 Tome of Horrors books, all made it into print.  Only the revised 3.5 version of the 1st one was only PDF.
And it is because of the Tome of Horrors that Paizo has been able to use some of the classic monsters in their products.  Necromancer Games and Troll Lords are companies that make some of the great items out their for 3.x while keeping the cost down on said products.

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Post Posted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:20 am 
 

FormCritic wrote:Necromancer Games is one of the five companies that successfully surfed the D20 phenomenon (Necromancer, Goodman, Paizo, Green Ronin and Troll Lord), and is possibly the coolest of the quintet.


I'd say that there are (at least) 6 that successfully surfed the d20 phenomenon, with Mongoose Publishing being the one you left out.

Though that wouldn't change your assessment of who's the coolest of them, given Mongoose's seeming penchant for publishing whatever they have at hand and quality be damned. :)


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Post Posted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 11:55 am 
 

FormCritic wrote:The Conan RPG books make it wose by including a couple of naked ladies on each page, often in color and nipples on display.

I so don't see a problem here. Boobies are awesome.

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Post Posted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 12:03 pm 
 

You don't think that the Swords and Sorcery d20 line was successful (or at least successful early on...) ?

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Post Posted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 12:54 pm 
 

Invincible Overlord wrote:You don't think that the Swords and Sorcery d20 line was successful (or at least successful early on...) ?


I like several of the S&S books.
Relics and Rituals (For one).


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