Tournaments, Fairs, & Taverns
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    Tournaments, Fairs, & Taverns

    Tournaments, Fairs, & Taverns is a d20 PDF format sourcebook by Natural 20 Press. It ran me a whole 5 bucks for over 70 pages.

    First Impression: Before I start this review, I want to make it clear that I honestly did not intend on buying this product. I saw it hyped on EN WORLD for a while, but it just didn't seem like something that I would want, or could use with my campaign. However, for whatever reason, I decided to download it before I could talk myself out of it. Just glancing at it, it looks attractive. There aren't a lot of pictures, but lots of nifty tables and charts for many things.

    Format: With 70 pages of goodies, it's a lot to swallow. It's a bit sparse on the pictures, but that's okay for only 5 bucks. The only problem that I have is that it's not very printer friendly. The borders on every page make it difficult to print it out and NOT use a ton of ink. Plus, it wouldn't look at pretty in B&W. Feats and other optional rules are scatter about in the book similar to how Dragon Magazine prints its articles, or the sidebars in the Core Rules.

    Art: I can count the number of pictures on both of my hands, I think. The cover is gorgeous, and in full color. The rest of the images are B&W, and are of varying qualities. Fortunately, most of them actually have something to do with what's presented on the page. Don't buy this for the pretty pictures, however, or you'll be disappointed.

    Content: Now for the meat of it. There's so much in this book. Just... so... much... See below.

    CHAPTER ONE: It starts off with Degrees of Success (DS), which is a variant of DC. DS measure HOW WELL you perform an action, not whether you succeed or fail. It seems confusing at first, but the example provided makes it crystal clear. Once you understand how it works, move onto the rest of the book.

    Next they cover the rules for DRINKING! As soon as I saw this, I know MORE than one campaign where I would have loved to have simple rules like this. It includes effects for intoxication, and the varying levels of such with accompanying adjustments to stats. You can even cure a hangover! Also, a new feat is introduced, "Hard Drinking", which seems interesting, but I can't see many PC's taking it.

    Next up is gambling! Yet another thing I wish I had rules for prior to this! We have rules for how high the GP limit is based on the town's population, how to run your own gambling casino, and even using your Skills like Bluff and Gather Information to work the game. All that, and even how to CHEAT! (sort of). It finishes off with new feats, "Game Mastery" and "Game Grandmastery", which are more useful to an overall campaign than the drinking feat. This is followed by Tournaments, which explains the various types of tournaments, how to rank yourself in them.

    CHAPTER TWO: Classic games. Arm wrestling (even wizards using Bigby Hand spells!), Dice games, drinking, and races. All using the rules in the first chapter. Players with this supplement will never want to crawl the dungeon again! For the most part, this chapter is quick and to the point. Perfect.

    CHAPTER THREE: Martial tournaments. You actually use real combat rules in this chapter, rather than the rules in chapter one. I thought it was a bit awkward, but it made sense. Archery is a simple hit the bullseye game, and the "bear wrasslin'" is just plain comical. They even provide stats for the bears with names such as Sonny and Boozer. Many a DM will want to watch their PC's wrestle with the bears. Drinksmash is an orc drinking game. Rules are also included to Duel or Joust, as well. The Tree Game is almost like a Pinata with a bow & arrow.

    CHAPTER FOUR: Tavern games. Drunken daggers is just plain sadistic, getting people drunk and letting them throw daggers at each other for gold. We're also shown games that involve spewing alcohol through fire, a card game involving gin and rabbits (I haven't figured this one out completely yet), and even story performance games.

    CHAPTER FIVE: Magical competitions. Okay, this is truly unique and interesting. "Bahly" as its called, is almost like... Spellcaster Soccer. You try to protect your goal, and use spells to keep the other team from scoring. Sound easy? Yeah right! The only beef I have is that powerful spellcasters just wouldn't fit in unless they were restricted from using high level spells. But that's a minor issue. I want to have actual tournaments like this in my own campaign, and you could create an entire league if you wanted! There's also an example team with full stats. Conjuration combat reminds me of Pokemon. Summon things and watch them kill each other. When they "die", they return to where they came from. I love it! So simple. There's also a polymorph game, which is kind of amusing, and a new spell, Polymorph Aura, which functions similar to what Polymorph Self originally did, allows you to change several times.

    CHAPTER SIX: Festival games. A Dragon's Gold lets players go for pieces of a fake dragon's hoard, and hope they don't get "killed" by it. It takes into account Appraise checks and seems interesting in theory. The Board Tumbling Game sounds like one of those quarter games where you want to try to knock the quarters off of the edge... sorta. Squashgoblin is an interesting Dwarf game, where they roll giant boulders down shafts trying to hit the straw Goblins. The Elemental Ladder is just that, you've got to get up and down a ladder without succumbing to the command words.

    CHAPTER SEVEN: This chapter gives you the rules to create your own fair. How to get people hooked into it, and then goes on to give examples of using the rules in this book in the form of three different attractions.

    Overall: This is a book that, while not something that you'll be using for most of your campaign, is something you'll want to use in between adventures. I personally am always looking for other things for the PCs to do, and to my surprise, this book contains a lot of new goodies for the entire group to enjoy. So with that, I give it a 4/5 only because the material, while superb, just can't be used all the time. (except for the drinking and gambling!) I'd get over and download it ASAP.

    Chris Dickinson
    Last edited by Morrus; Monday, 1st September, 2008 at 07:51 PM.

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