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Whispers of Persephone (Black Cover)
by John B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/21/2020 19:19:47

TL/DR: Possibly the most creative, interesting, and absolutely TERRIFYING book ever written for D&D about Necromancers.

SUMMARY: So unassuming with its plain black cover. Persephone is the Greek goddess of things that grow in the earth, so the title doesn't immediately scream "evil." But do not let that fool you. Evil is contained in these pages. Pure, quintessential evil. This book is not for the kiddos, folks. If you doubt me, take a look at the other cover version of this with the spine and flesh... ok saw that? Yeah. That's pretty much what you can expect from this book.

Contained within this 145+ page sourcebook is a plethora of content, all of it somehow related to the dark art of Necromancy... the magic of death. The book starts off by introducing one of the most terrifying villains I've ever read about in a D&D sourcebook... THE Necromancer. I'm not talking about A necromancer. I'm talking about a specific, ultra-high-powered Necromancer who leads the Stygian Necromancers sect and is the baddest of the badest of the bad. This villain is so nasty, so powerful, and so despicable, if you build a campaign around this guy and his legions of minions, you will undoubtedly have an EPIC final battle at the end if your heroes make it far enough to confront this bad boy head on. And he has 13 Accolytes that are all extremely powerful necromancers in their own right, with their own scores of minions to aid them as well. Each of these amazing, evil opponents are lovingly crafted with absolutely disturbing full page or more back-stories, and most of them have custom abilities, magic items, and quirks to make them all unique and entertaining. Thinking about running an evil campaign? The author was thoughtful enough to provide printable player-ready character sheets for each of these Acolytes at the back of the book in case you want to run some kind of campaign of darkness (probably one involving back-stabbing and politics, vying for THE Necromancer's adoration).

But wait, that's not all! There's pages of new necromantic rituals, spells, feats, magic items, crafting recipes, monsters, and more! There's even an interesting back-story told via the "quotes" after each entry where various characters from the book have made comments of each of the book's entries. And in the back there's a handful of epic "heroes" that have fought and maybe fell to the evils of this coven of death worshippers. There's tons of ideas in all of this for plot hooks galore! If you can't find something to use in this book in your own campaigns, as a DM, then you just aren't trying hard enough.

PROS

  • Fourteen unique, memorable, and dispicable villains to destroy your players' characters with.
  • A whole new "faction" to add to your campaign setting, Stygian Necromancers.
  • Stygian Necromancy - a whole new arcane tradition for the necromancer specialist caster.
  • 5 Stygian Necromantic Feats you can use to make your necromancers the most vile and hated in all the multiverse.
  • 28 detailed Necromantic rituals and spells that will completely creep you out and your entire gaming table.
  • 10 new necromantic alchemical recipies and substances that can be used to amp up your dark dealers of death.
  • 11 enchantment recipies and/or magical artifacts to equip necromancers and their minions with.
  • 2 new extremely disturbing creatures that can be minions of the necromancer as well as means to alter existing undead to better serve their lords of death, and scare the heck out of your players with.
  • The stories of former heroes that were unfortunate enough to encounter the Stygian Necromancers....
  • 16 full color, outright disturbing thematic artworks, most of them full page works, from Christian Martinez.
  • An interesting "meta plot" story that you discover from reading the back stories of the characters and all the little quotes from each of the book's entries.
  • It has an ending, the nightmares may eventually subside... :)

CONS

  • Maybe a few of the entries could have been trimmed a bit with a little bit terser writing, but that's just a style thing and the amount of material is very sufficient for the asking price.
  • I wasn't sure exactly how much all of the materials for each of the recipies should cost or how much all of them take to perform. Most of them are spelled out, just a few things I noticed.
  • More of a greedy whine, than a con, but I wish there was about twice as much of Christian's amazing artwork in this. Maybe a few more portraits of the Acolytes.
  • I mean, like, if you really, actually use all of this stuff in an actual campaign, you're game is DARK, like, very, very DARK, man. :)

FINAL VERDICT This is a must-buy for anyone planning to run a necromancer with a DM silly enough to let you use (even some of) this stuff in their game. But like, prepare to go to a very dark place you might not make it back from...

As for its intended use, I think mostly this is a DM-friendly supplement that contains a whole wealth of material useful for some completely scary as heck antagonists to pit your players against. There's definitely a wealth of story hook ideas in here as well as the crunch to back it all up with. If you want to run a decidedly DARK themed fantasy game, you need this book. Even if you aren't playing 5e, you could convert most of this to any fantasy system. The ideas themselves are unique and have great flavor; this isn't just a "common necromancer ideas converted to 5e" book. The author clearly has his own take on the theme, and one that is very compelling. RECOMMENDED!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Whispers of Persephone (Black Cover)
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Sinopa Omnibus, Volume Two
by John B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/20/2020 21:42:22

TL/DR: A nice sized sourcebook of interesting villains and potential allies that can be worked into nearly any campaign of 5e, complete with amazing artwork.

Fair Warning: I am an avid fan of this author and have backed many of his Kickstarter campaigns as well as his Patreon page. So I do see a lot of his work as it evolves from ideas to finished product. I was not paid for this review nor was I solicited to write it. I do tend to review all of the Sinopa products, but do not receive any compensation for it (not even free PDFs because I usually already backed the KS :P). My opinions are what I consider to be fair and unbiased based on reading and playing through the content, and I also happen to back and read tons of content from other third party 5e creators, so I consider that when scoring any content here.

PRODUCT SUMMARY This is 50+ pages of densly packed content for the fifth edition of the most popular RPG in the world. This is essentially a "Legends" book with some extremely high-level deity-like beings that you could use in your game in a way other than directly opposing your party (unless you're going for a TPK or they are Epic Level or something). There are a few actual "monster" type characters that you can use for direct encounters, but most of the characters in this collection of fantasy short stories would be best used as an NPC that sets the party to some task or possibly acts as an ally to them. There's also some really interesting characters here, but the best part for me indeed was the writing of the stories. Each NPC has several pages of a story that go along with them, and without fail all of these well-written stories are unique and interesting. Additionally, the artwork is great.

PROS

  • Really amazing art, if you look at some of the posters available from Sinopa you get an idea of the kind of artwork. Each one is a full page, full color piece, one is a two-page spread of the faerie queen.
  • Example: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/284161/Titania-Queen-of-Faerie-and-Arcadia-12-x-18-inch-poster?manufacturers_id=11254
  • Patreon subscribers are lucky enough to see this art every month, and depending on your level you can get a post-card version of it mailed to you, also!
  • Each art piece has a story behind it, and a well written, very intersting story that has lots of potential to be expanded into a great encounter in your own game world. None of the NPC's rely heavily on the author's own campaign setting or anything specific, they can be dropped in nearly any typical mid to high fantasy setting most 5e DM's are running.
  • Stats are provided for the major NPCs and for some of the magical items that could be found.
  • Each of the stories has "hooks" ideas to get the content for that section involved with your party.

CONS

  • None, this is a great deal at 50+ pages of stories and 5e crunch for this price.

I can heartily recommend everyone who DM's for 5th edition check this out. If nothing else it can inspire you to make some memorable encounters. And even players might find the stories fun to read also and there's a few ideas that could work in as companions, patrons, or allies.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Sinopa Omnibus, Volume Two
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Sinopa Omnibus, Volume One
by John B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/20/2020 19:36:18

TL/DR: A very nice sourcebook of interesting encounters that can be worked into nearly any campaign of 5e, with some really stellar artwork showcasing the diverse selection of memorable NPCs.

Fair Warning: I am an avid fan of this author and have backed many of his Kickstarter campaigns as well as his Patreon page. So I do see a lot of his work as it evolves from ideas to finished product. I was not paid for this review nor was I solicited to write it. I do tend to review all of the Sinopa products, but do not receive any compensation for it (not even free PDFs because I usually already backed the KS :P). My opinions are what I consider to be fair and unbiased based on reading and playing through the content, and I also happen to back and read tons of content from other third party 5e creators, so I consider that when scoring any content here.

Summary - This is 50+ pages of densly packed content for the fifth edition of the most popular RPG in the world. I would say most of the "encounter" levels ares for mid to upper level parties. But you could still tone down a bit of it if you want to try and use it on a low end party, and some of it is aimed at low level parties and some of it could be non-hostile encounters suitable for any level. There isn't really an overarching theme to this, it just has really cool NPCs, really cool art, some interesting magic items, and most of all, some really great short-form stories that provide background for each of the "encounters" that could be done with this material. I would say this is mostly an anthology of interesting, well written fantasy short stories that feature great artwork and also have 5e stats added so that you can put ideas from the stories onto your gaming table.

PROS:

  • Really amazing art, if you look at some of the posters available from Sinopa you get an idea of the kind of artwork. Each one is a full page, full color piece.
  • Example: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/284169/Ol-Jack-12-x-18-inch-poster?manufacturers_id=11254
  • Patreon subscribers are lucky enough to see this art every month, and depending on your level you can get a post-card version of it mailed to you, also!
  • Each art piece has a story behind it, and a well written, very intersting story that has lots of potential to be expanded into a great encounter in your own game world. None of the NPC's rely heavily on the author's own campaign setting or anything specific, they can be dropped in nearly any typical mid to high fantasy setting most 5e DM's are running.
  • Stats are provided for the major NPCs and for some of the magical items that could be found.
  • Each of the stories has "hooks" ideas to get the content for that section involved with your party.

CONS: None. This is pay-what-you-want 50+ pages of amazing 5e content and fantasy stories. Only a crazy person would see something wrong with that! :)

I can heartily recommend everyone who DM's for 5th edition check this out. If nothing else it can inspire you to make some memorable encounters. And even players might find the stories fun to read also and there's a few ideas that could work in as companions or home-base NPCs.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Sinopa Omnibus, Volume One
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Tarot Adventures, Book Two: Comet over Echo Rock
by John B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/04/2018 12:36:32

TL/DR: A great follow up adventure for a new series that offers a lot of help for novice DM's to 5e, featuring a setting-agnostic "home base", great artwork, compelling NPC characters, and plenty of room for the DM to expand during or afterward.

Young Pieron, Lord of Glenfallow, requests your party's aid (again if you played Draw of Glenfallow) in securing a nearby silver mine. Help him, and your band of adventurers could wind up with lands, titles, and even rights to some of the silver mine's profits!

PROS:

  • Well defined and interesting NPC characters that can provide quests and assistance.
  • Small, detailed micro-setting that can easily nestle into a wilderness region of most D&D style fantasy settings.
  • Well balanced encounters with good advice for a novice DM on how to run them or tweak them to fit different adventure groups.
  • Fantastic artwork that really draws you into the adventure and evokes just the right mood.
  • Very well done cartography that can be used on VTT or printed out if need be for tabletop use.
  • Plenty of opportunities in the story for a DM to expand if desired.
  • Part two of a series of adventures that can be interlinked for a larger campaign.
  • Example pregenerated party to use if needed for your players or possibly you could use them as a "rival" group seeking the same goals...

CONS:

Not really much I can say that is negative other than, I wish it were longer (it's not too short, but I just really liked it and wish to see more!), and I would also like to see more variety in the monsters, perhaps some rarely used ones or even new unique ones would have been great. This is more of a "wish list" than a "con" against what the adventure actually did. This is an extremely well written adventure booklet and I could find little to complain about. Very eager to see the rest of this series, now!

Final: Recommended for those wishing to continue the Tarot Adventures series that started with Draw of Glenfallow, or if you desire an example of a low level adventure with a good "base of operations" setting with NPCs and a nice mix of overland and "dungeon" encounters.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tarot Adventures, Book Two: Comet over Echo Rock
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Creator Reply:
Thank you John! I am really grateful that you enjoy the adventure. The art team did a great job and I'll pass this on to them soonest. W.S. "Sam" Quinton
Tarot Adventures, Book Two: Comet over Echo Rock
by Bill S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/25/2018 17:38:43

In particular, I appreciated the notations of some small, but important to the color, things such as, "She doesn’t trade in magical items as she knows she doesn’t know enough about magic to do so." when describing an NPC named Faye. There are other such comments throughout the adventure, and I thought those were indicative of someone who thought through what they were writing. I also found it easy to scale this to meet my specific needs. I would definitely buy another adventure from Mr. Quinton. Your mileage may vary, but well done, Sir! Well done!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thank you Bill! I hope that your adventures in Glenfallow are exciting and memorable! I am currently developing book three, and I hope you'll check it out when it comes to KickStarter (as that is how I fund the art for the books) and enjoy the campaign with others who are taking on the Tarot Adventures! W.S. Quinton Sinopa Publishing LLC
Tarot Adventures, Book One: The Draw of Glenfallow
by John B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/22/2018 17:06:39

TL/DR: A very well done, setting-agnostic very new-DM-friendly campaign starter adventure with some great artwork, compelling NPC characters, and plenty of room for the DM to expand during or afterward.

A young mild-mannered commoner meets with a fortune teller and learns he is to become the new lord of a long lost Glenfallow Keep. He hires the adventurers to help him reclaim his birthright and rid the old fortress of the foul monsters within. Help him, and when young Pieron eventually becomes the Lord of Glenfallow, he will share with your party his good fortune.

PROS:

  • Colorful NPC characters that have their own goals and motivations potentially at-odds with the party’s.
  • Small, detailed micro-setting that can easily nestle into a wilderness region of most D&D style fantasy settings.
  • Well balanced and designed encounters with plenty of advice for new DMs on running them.
  • Really nice artwork that evokes a unique flavor and mood to the adventure.
  • Plenty of nice maps.
  • Several places in the story for a DM to expand if desired.
  • Part one of a series of adventures that can be interlinked for a larger campaign.

CONS:

  • A bit too linear and possible to derail without the DM intervening with deus ex machina for key NPC characters.
  • Could have used a few more example side-quests for a new DM to understand how those can work into a larger plot.
  • More “hex-crawl” random or fixed encounters would have given it a bit more OSR flavor that I’m a fan of, but this is a very minor “problem” and one easily fixed by a more experienced DM, if desired.

Final: Recommended for 5e DM’s looking for a good way to kick off a campaign.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tarot Adventures, Book One: The Draw of Glenfallow
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Creator Reply:
Thank you for the Pros and Cons style review. I appreciate it because it points areas where I can improve on future books. I hope you and your friends have a terrific time playing through. W.S. Quinton Author Founder/Executive Officer Sinopa Publishing LLC
Tale of the Wizard's Eye
by John B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/07/2017 15:41:55

This review is primarily for the print version of this product which I received as part of the Kickstarter from the summer of 2017. I did get the PDF also but to be honest I haven't actually looked at that yet, assuming that it is the same as the print except for possibly minor fixes possibly depending on when you are reading this. This was the author's first Kickstarter and presumably first published RPG product, but I'm not absolutely certain about that. However, do not be discouraged, seasoned 5e dungeon master! This product is EXACTLY what you need to fill in between levels 6 up to 9 (iffy, more on that later) for your campaign.

PLAYERS STOP READING THIS NOW, THE REST IS SPOILERY. I assume if you keep reading, you play to DM this.

PROS:

  • Locally very specific setting information and interesting world details and NPCs, yet unspecific enough to fit into ANY mid-to-high fantasy setting. For example, when there is a shrine to an evil god, you fill in which one.
  • Important speaking NPCs have "sample dialogue" to give you a feel for how they talk, so you can breath life into them, without feeling like a "wall of text" monologue.
  • Most of the creatures and characters in the game have a history and motivations that make sense, and since you know their motivations, even if the "as expected" plot derails, you can "predict" how they would react to the changing conditions.
  • While there is a basic plot, the players can go about it in lots of different ways, so it does not railroad them down a central linear story, its more like branching story lines that can come together for a similar final scene.
  • The non-linear, almost "sandbox" story lends itself well for this to be expanded by the DM by adding more encounters, especially around the ruins of the drowned town.
  • The nature of the "monsters" to be encountered lends themselves well to adding depth and expanding the PC's interactions with them. There are various factions of creatures at conflict with each other. A smart group of players can use that to their advantage, and a prepared DM should encourage and expand as needed to support that effort.
  • Solid unique artwork evocative of a flavor that feels a bit like the old D&D or fantasy cartoons (Western ones).
  • Vampires vs. Werewolves. NUFF SAID!

CONS:

  • I feel like if you're going to allow for a party of 6th to 9th level characters, you should have some scaling options on how to scale up encounters. Some advice is actually given for this, actually, but I feel like swapping out some of the encounters with beefier critters could have been better for the upper end of the range. YMMV. This may be cause of concern from a new DM. If your party is level 6 or 7 you can run this without modification.
  • While I do appreciate the monster statistics blocked right there in the page they are encountered, rather than having to flip to an appendix in the back, the downside to this is that it feels like "duplicate" pages at some point. But since I feel that you get a decent length adventure from this regardless of page count, that isn't enough to take off "stars" from my rating.
  • I wish all the cartography was all color, with more details, but it's not that big of a deal. The main map is and that's the important thing.

This is your basic "treasure hunt" quest expanded out with some interesting creatures that are at odds with each other (and probably the PC's) and in some ways competing for similar goals. The author does a great job of making NPC characters feel unique and interesting. This includes intelligent "monster" characters. One core aspect of the adventure is that a bunch of vampires are at war with a bunch of werewolves. There is this other little role playing game series called World of Darkness which has among other things Vampires and Werewolves that mostly don't like each other. Introducing elements of WoD into this adventure would work very well and could be advisable especially if you're planning to run this as a mini-campaign instead of a one-or-two-night single adventure. The end of the adventure happens in a flooded village or small city that got flooded when a river came out of its bed and ended up splitting, sending some of the river permanently through the town and the main path of the river still where it had been before. There are no real details given for the town, except for a wizard's tower where the main "treasure" of this adventure rests. However, this means that there's a whole town of ruins that the DM could create if they wish to expand the module. Not only that, but there's room for expansion with the giants in the "shallows" section and of course adding more details, rooms, and vampires in their lair, or detailing a lair for the werewolves or other woodland lair encounters.

So in a nutshell what I really liked best about this adventure is that 1. if you want a quick level 6 or 7 adventure that can be completed in an evening, you can use this as such. 2. If you like the map and the characters, you can easily expand this single adventure into a little "mini-campaign" that could take the characters from level 5 or 6 to level 9. There are places that a level 5 party will get party wiped unless you put something in there to warn them or help level them a bit. You could just downgrade some of the encounters a bit or play them un-optimally, but it is also pretty open as far as how things are layed out so you could just add a few more lower level encounters as needed to get them up to 6th.

Enjoy, and most of all, have fun!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tale of the Wizard's Eye
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Creator Reply:
John, Thank you for you review. I for one, am very grateful for the pros and cons in this review. The cons tell me areas I can look to improve in future books, and the pros give me a good feel for what people liked in the book itself. For those of your reading this, yes I did also thank John on the KickStarter page. I wanted to post this here for everyone considering buying this book or others I release. I do genuinely want people to enjoy the books I produce. I'm glad I've done that with Tale of the Wizard's Eye, and I hope to continue with my coming projects. I invite all of you who have experienced this adventure to add your own review as well. Thanks again John for providing this review. I look forward to your opinion of future releases. W.S. Quinton Author Founder, Sinopa Publishing LLC Frankfort Kentucky
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