5E The Jilted Quill - DMs Guild Reviews - Updated on Mondays
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  1. #1
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    The Jilted Quill - DMs Guild Reviews - Updated on Mondays

    The Jilted Quill
    Dungeon Masters Guild Reviews

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    By Malkinban the Torn (DM Howard)


    The study is littered with papers, tomes, chapbooks, and maps of every description with thin paths that wind through the organized chaos being the only safe way to navigate throughout the room. All of the walkways appear to end at a small desk, or what could be a desk, underneath a broad window that spilled brilliant light across its surface. A man sits perched in a large, overstuffed chair with spectacles that he is constantly pushed back onto the bridge of his nose. He doesn't seem to notice you for quite some time, but suddenly he looks straight up at you as if he knew you were there the entire time. "Ah, you're here," the scholarly man says, in a voice that seems unaccustomed to speaking loudly, "I have just the book for you over here. . .or was it over there?" He rummages about his study, muttering about different places he thought he left your book, oftentimes answering himself like he was having his own private conversation. You sigh inwardly as the sun starts its slow descent through the window, glinting off the brightly polished silver of a pin in the shape of a harp.




    Next Reviews: February 4, 2019
    Rules & Clarifications


    I have decided to create this thread where I will be reviewing Dungeon Master's Guild content that is brought to my attention by their creators. This thread will be updated every Monday no later than 10 PM CST. I will feature up to five reviews per week, and will review products in the order that they are received according to the e-mail time stamp.

    Spoiler:
    The content that I review must have the following attributes:

    1. The content must already be published on http://www.dmsguild.com/
    2. I must be provided a copy to review through http://www.dmsguild.com/ by way of my e-mail address, howardjekings at hotmail dot com. Please PM me as well as things can get lost in my junk folder.
    3. I would also request that anyone who has one of their products reviewed here place the following standardized text (suggested by Giant2005, aka Gerard Shore) to help drive traffic to these reviews. A win-win for everyone involved.
      1. For those looking to add the same banner to the listings of their products, just edit the page and go to the "Product Page Text" section. From there, click the HTML button and paste the following code at the beginning of the text in the windows that pops up:


        <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><br /></strong></p>
        <h2 style="text-align: center;"><strong>Featured product of the <a href="http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?483356-The-Jilted-Quill-DMs-Guild-Reviews-Updated-on-Mondays">Jilted Quill</a> - a fair Dungeon Master's Guild review subsection of <a href="http://www.enworld.org/">ENWorld</a>, with new reviews coming weekly.</strong></h2>
        <p></p>
        <p></p>

    I will provide a concise and unbiased review of the content provided based on the following categories:
    • Quality - Presentation and readability of the product. (Possible Points: 20/20)*
    • Utility - How easy the product can be used for other settings or mined for ideas. (Possible Points: 10/10)
    • Innovation - How original is the content? (Possible Points: 10/10)
    • Price - The overall value to price ratio according to me. (Possible Points: 10/10)


    These categories will contribute to an overall score from 1 to 5 stars. Additionally, each product will get a general overview before I launch into each category along with a closing statement and conclusion. Each review will be posted here as well as on its respective product page on http://www.dmsguild.com/ with a link back to this thread (and vice versa).

    *Any product that I can successfully read through without getting a headache and/or wishing a mindlflayer would suck out my delicious brains automatically gets 10 points in this category. You will KNOW if you don't get the automatic 10 points.

    If you have any questions feel free to PM or e-mail me with "The Jilted Quill" in the subject line.

    Bravesteel (Last Updated 1/23/2019)
    Last edited by DM Howard; Wednesday, 23rd January, 2019 at 10:54 PM.

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    Doh! I just saw this after posting a request for an adventure review. Thanks for doing this, Bravesteel. I just sent you a complimentary copy of my adventure to review.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yarik View Post
    Doh! I just saw this after posting a request for an adventure review. Thanks for doing this, Bravesteel. I just sent you a complimentary copy of my adventure to review.
    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to review it, Yarik!

    As an aside: I am now booked for the first week with five, what appear to be, awesome products for everyone to check out. Stay tuned to this thread for the update on Monday, April 18th!

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    The Jilted Quill - Week One Reviews



    The Jilted Quill
    Week One Reviews

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    Golemancy
    From Gerard Shore
    Price: $2.00


    Golemancy is a short, but entertaining supplement that focuses on, you guessed it, Golems including how they are made, controlled, along with different feats and spells pertaining to Golemancy. The most interesting piece of content is the addition of two new Archetypes: Scool of Golemancy (Arcane) and Elite Controller (Martial) which can really turn up the dial of your character if you want more golem(y?) goodness.

    Quality - Presentation and readability of the product. (Possible Points: 18/20)
    Utility - How easy the product can be used for other settings or mined for ideas. (Possible Points: 8/10)
    Innovation - How original is the content? (Possible Points: 8/10)
    Price - The overall value to price ratio according to me. (Possible Points: 10/10)

    Golemancy was the first product that I reviewed for The Jilted Quill and I was very impressed by the production quality of the PDF itself. I was able to read the content without any problems, but there are a few pages where the background gets in the way of the actual text (Pages 11 and 12). I will most certainly be offering the options puts forth in Golemancy to my players as it brings a lot of flavor to an under served spell category. My only wish was that Gerard had gone a few steps farther and offered a few more options such as a divine archetype, think God-fueled golem or a golem driven by the natural will of a forest. Golemancy creates some new options that we haven't yet seen in 5th Edition, and hasn't been covered to a great extant in earlier editions of D&D, but it doesn't go far enough to be considered completely original in my book. The supplement is available for $2.00 via the DMs Guild, which at 20 cents per page of content is a great deal for the options put forth.

    Total QUIP Score: 44/50 - Buy this supplement!




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    Vampires
    From Gerard Shore
    Price: $2.00


    Vampires is a creepy supplement that takes a look at the blood-sucking denizens of the night that we all know DON'T sparkle. Gerard Shore shows us exactly how varied Vampires can be, including races brought into 5E in a new way, powers based on the age of your vampire, four powerful vampire lineages, and the Vampiric class: Strigoi.

    Quality - Presentation and readability of the product. (Possible Points: 18/20)
    Utility - How easy the product can be used for other settings or mined for ideas. (Possible Points: 10/10)
    Innovation - How original is the content? (Possible Points: 4/10)
    Price - The overall value to price ratio according to me. (Possible Points: 10/10)

    Gerard Shore continue to impress me with the production quality of the PDFs he puts releases. I was able to read the content without any problems, but there are a few pages where the background gets in the way of the actual text (Pages 11 and 13) just like in Golemancy. I am not too sure about the balance of many of the power options put forth in this supplement. One could argue that if the DM truly enforces vampiric weaknesses, just like they should enforce spell components for spell casters, that characters who use these options shouldn't run the world (too quickly). Woe betide the DM that wants a decades spanning campaign, so prepare for your vampiric characters to bring on the pain as they buy new abilities the older they get with Shore's Powers of the Ancients system. All that being said, I am not the best person to be the final arbiter of supreme balance, so take all that with a grain of (garlic) salt. Vampires revitalizes Vampires for those who just have to suck blood in their D&D games, and the Strigoi class along with the Power of the Ancients system provides some nice crunch for the mechanically inclined. The supplement is available for $2.00 via the DMs Guild, coming in at around 13 cents per page of content which is an even better deal than Golemancy.

    Total QUIP Score: 42/50 - Buy this supplement (along with some garlic bread)!




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    5E Old School & Oriental Adventures

    From SRS
    Price: N/A


    5e Old School and Oriental Adventures is a massive 191 page supplement put out by SRS. The title pretty much covers the basics and it would take almost as many pages as the actual book to cover what's inside. Essentially the book tries to bring some of the mechanical essence from past editions of the game, especially 1st Edition, and spruce them up for use with 5E. Be warned, the exact carbon copy tables of past editions are not here, so move along! The other part of this product covers Oriental Adventures where SRS resurects some sub-races and classes to add some *karate sound* and bushido to your games of D&D.

    Quality - Presentation and readability of the product. (Possible Points: 12/20)
    Utility - How easy the product can be used for other settings or mined for ideas. (Possible Points: 10/10)
    Innovation - How original is the content? (Possible Points: 5/10)
    Price - The overall value to price ratio according to me. (Possible Points: 10/10)

    SRS does a great job at bringing a lot of Old School concepts and Oriental shenanigans into 5th Edition. The presentation of the book is black and white, evoking the feel of past editions. The design choice didn't make me want to stab myself in the eyes and/or throw my iPad on the floor in disgust, but it was a little boring to read with the content sea of text only occasionally broken up by islands of black and white art work. The book doesn't take a huge amount of leaps and bounds in terms of innovative content and design, but for those who like the modern take of D&D yet long for some nostalgic changes than this book is for you! The tome is Pay-What-You-Want, so I have no arguments with the price, as you can choose what the value is to you. I would suggest at least $5.00 as SRS has gone to a lot of trouble to bring all these options and tables to the masses that crave some old school play.

    Total QUIP Score: 37/50 - A solid product. For the Old School in body (or mind)!




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    The Mottled Donkey
    From Jon Willem van den Brink
    Price: N/A


    A man's donkey is taken. . . I don't think you understand what I just said! SOMEBODY STOLE A MAN'S ASS! Who does that?! I ask you?!!! Well, you can find out why this donkey is stolen, better yet you get to get down and dirty in Baldur's Gate to do it. Play a card game, or not. Punch a bar wench! Or not. . . The fun doesn't stop in this little adventure from Jon Willem van den Brink.

    Quality - Presentation and readability of the product. (Possible Points: 16/20)
    Utility - How easy the product can be used for other settings or mined for ideas. (Possible Points: 10/10)
    Innovation - How original is the content? (Possible Points: 6/10)
    Price - The overall value to price ratio according to me. (Possible Points: 10/10)

    Jon Willem van den Brink did a great job with this adventure. The presentation gets to the point and doesn't spare too much of the reader's time getting down to business. The maps are well made and are provided in a separate document for ease of use in digital play. My only significant gripe was the lack of character portraits, as even a few help me as a DM get into the roles I will have to play when the adventure ensues. You can pay what you want for this title as well and I believe the author deserves more than the average $0.83, at the time of writing this review, for this little gem. I'd trade him my ass for it.

    Total QUIP Score: 42/50 - A great jaunt through an urban setting. No donkey left behind!




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    Hand of the Wychlaran
    From Dave Zajac
    Price: $2.99


    Hand of Wychlaran was a joy to read, as Dave Zajac's presentation of the adventure as well as the design and layout has led me to point to this product for would-be designers and writers on how it should be done. Just like Jon Willem van den Brink's adventure, Dave wastes little of my time getting me into the meat of the adventure while also providing me with high quality maps, info boxes and art to accompany me on my journey of the mind.

    Quality - Presentation and readability of the product. (Possible Points: 20/20)
    Utility - How easy the product can be used for other settings or mined for ideas. (Possible Points: 10/10)
    Innovation - How original is the content? (Possible Points: 10/10)
    Price - The overall value to price ratio according to me. (Possible Points: 10/10)

    Dave Zajac hit the ball out of the park with this adventure. The maps and files he provides makes it easy for a digital DM to make this adventure work very easily for his group, and it also makes it easy to print these off for a home game too! I couldn't think of a single slightly negative thing to say about this product, and $2.99 is a very fair price for this gem!

    Total QUIP Score: 50/50 - Buy it. Right now. No, really, stop reading this and add it to your cart.




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    Balance Disturbed (BDC-1)
    From Dan Harlan
    Price: $1.00


    Balance Disturbed is the start of an epic adventure coming to us from Dan Harlan. I enjoyed reading this adventure as it really encapsulates the essence of the DMs Guild to me, where everyone can share their content and bring their stories to life for others to enjoy.

    Quality - Presentation and readability of the product. (Possible Points: 14/20)
    Utility - How easy the product can be used for other settings or mined for ideas. (Possible Points: 7/10)
    Innovation - How original is the content? (Possible Points: 4/10)
    Price - The overall value to price ratio according to me. (Possible Points: 10/10)

    Balance Disturbed is the exciting beginning to a what I am sure will be an epic campaign arc. Dan sweeps you along without too much in the way of pleasantries, but the adventure is solid and makes for an easy pick-up. The PDF suffers from some editing where text boxes are split on two different pages and the legal terms start immediately after the end of the actual content. Nothing super major, but the adventure could use a little beautifying, but I am also a little bit of a graphics snob since I work in marketing in my day job! (Don't hurt me Dan!) All that being said, the adventure is easily portable to a different campaign world and for the price of just $1.00 you can have a great adventure with the potential for more epic stories connected to it. I can dig that!

    Total QUIP Score: 35/50 - Solid adventure with the potential for more. No imagination in your brain? Buy your imagination from Dan, he's got you covered.




    I have really enjoyed reviewing all of these products and I thank the authors for giving me the opportunity. Unfortunately, due to real life circumstances which pertain to buying a house, I will have to put The Jilted Quill on hiatus for an indefinite period of time. I would love to hear any feedback, especially from the authors, as to what I could do to improve my reviews or whether or not I should go into more detail. I tried to be relatively general to engender in the reader a desire to grace these fine authors with their patronage.
    Last edited by DM Howard; Tuesday, 22nd January, 2019 at 11:37 PM.

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    Thanks for the kind words! Your review of Golemancy was particularly useful to me, as for some reason I hadn't even considered a Divine Domain but already have ideas stirring in my mind for one.

    Still, as much as I appreciate your efforts, this relatively new subsection of these forums seems to have far too little traffic for your efforts to be warranted. I'm not suggesting that your efforts are too futile to be worth continuing, what I am suggesting is that we try to get this thread a little more exposure than it currently gets.

    With that in mind, I am editing the listings for my two reviewed products, in order to have them begin with a link to this thread and I think you should enforce the same on all of your reviewed products (make it a requirement of having a product reviewed). That way you can advertise for their product while they advertise for your reviews and it should increase the exposure of both.

    Something standardized would work best. I am currently using: "Featured product of the Jilted Quill - a fair Dungeon Master's Guild review subsection of ENWorld, with new reviews coming weekly." with both Jilted Quill and EnWorld both being hyperlinks to their respective pages. If you would prefer it to be worded differently, or there to be some different message completely, then you should let me know as I think standardized is best.

    For those looking to add the same banner to the listings of their products, just edit the page and go to the "Product Page Text" section. From there, click the HTML button and paste the following code at the beginning of the text in the windows that pops up:

    <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><br /></strong></p>
    <h2 style="text-align: center;"><strong>Featured product of the <a href="http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?483356-The-Jilted-Quill-DMs-Guild-Reviews-Updated-on-Mondays">Jilted Quill</a> - a fair Dungeon Master's Guild review subsection of <a href="http://www.enworld.org/">ENWorld</a>, with new reviews coming weekly.</strong></h2>
    <p></p>
    <p></p>

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    I stopped by to thank Bravesteel for his glowing review of Hand of the Wychlaran. Thank you, Bravesteel!

    After reading Giant's post, I've edited the product page for Hand of the Wychlaran to include the text and hyperlinks suggested, and I agree that moving this thread to an area with higher visibility would be a good thing!
    XP TarionzCousin, DM Howard gave XP for this post

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    Thank you Bravesteel. I truly appreciate you taking the time to review my adventure (Balance Disturbed). I like the format of the review and find it informative and helpful. I'll work on beautifying my next module I would suggest reducing the size of the cover image art though, it makes for a very long thread.

    Giant, thanks for the html. I've added it to my product page as well, only removing the part about weekly updates since Bravesteel said he may not be able to do that at the moment.

    Best to all, and look forward to more reviews in the future.

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    Thanks for doing this Bravesteel!

    Did you know that you can become a OneBookShelf affiliate and make money with your reviews? It's only Pizza money but it's enough to buy a few PDFs. You just need to ask them to activate your affiliate status and put your affiliate id in the URLs.

    May I suggest making a different thread each week instead of always using the same one? With the comments, finding the latest reviews is quickly going to become very painful.

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    Thanks for the review, appreciate your time to look over it!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Giant2005 View Post
    Thanks for the kind words! Your review of Golemancy was particularly useful to me, as for some reason I hadn't even considered a Divine Domain but already have ideas stirring in my mind for one.

    Still, as much as I appreciate your efforts, this relatively new subsection of these forums seems to have far too little traffic for your efforts to be warranted. I'm not suggesting that your efforts are too futile to be worth continuing, what I am suggesting is that we try to get this thread a little more exposure than it currently gets.

    With that in mind, I am editing the listings for my two reviewed products, in order to have them begin with a link to this thread and I think you should enforce the same on all of your reviewed products (make it a requirement of having a product reviewed). That way you can advertise for their product while they advertise for your reviews and it should increase the exposure of both.

    Something standardized would work best. I am currently using: "Featured product of the Jilted Quill - a fair Dungeon Master's Guild review subsection of ENWorld, with new reviews coming weekly." with both Jilted Quill and EnWorld both being hyperlinks to their respective pages. If you would prefer it to be worded differently, or there to be some different message completely, then you should let me know as I think standardized is best.

    For those looking to add the same banner to the listings of their products, just edit the page and go to the "Product Page Text" section. From there, click the HTML button and paste the following code at the beginning of the text in the windows that pops up:

    <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><br /></strong></p>
    <h2 style="text-align: center;"><strong>Featured product of the <a href="http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?483356-The-Jilted-Quill-DMs-Guild-Reviews-Updated-on-Mondays">Jilted Quill</a> - a fair Dungeon Master's Guild review subsection of <a href="http://www.enworld.org/">ENWorld</a>, with new reviews coming weekly.</strong></h2>
    <p></p>
    <p></p>
    I am glad that you enjoyed my review, sometimes it takes someone else looking at your work for another "aha!" moment to strike.

    I think you are right about the exposure thing, and thank you for the bit of work with the text and hyperlinks. I am not looking to make any money off of this really but if it helps me buy a few PDFs here and there that would be neat. I will be checking out the affiliate program that Gnarl45 mentioned.

    I hope to get this weekly review back up and running on May 9th. I need some time get moving done and there will be a lot of upheaval with little time between now and then.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yarik View Post
    I stopped by to thank Bravesteel for his glowing review of Hand of the Wychlaran. Thank you, Bravesteel!

    After reading Giant's post, I've edited the product page for Hand of the Wychlaran to include the text and hyperlinks suggested, and I agree that moving this thread to an area with higher visibility would be a good thing!
    It was a pleasure, Yarik!


    Quote Originally Posted by Gnarl45 View Post
    Thanks for doing this Bravesteel!

    Did you know that you can become a OneBookShelf affiliate and make money with your reviews? It's only Pizza money but it's enough to buy a few PDFs. You just need to ask them to activate your affiliate status and put your affiliate id in the URLs.

    May I suggest making a different thread each week instead of always using the same one? With the comments, finding the latest reviews is quickly going to become very painful.
    I had heard of the affiliate program before, but your post jogged my memory on it. I will be looking into it once I am sure I can keep this going on a weekly basis. It shouldn't be too hard, but starting this and an impending move made for bad timing!

    I think what I will do is have this be the "master thread" with links to each post of weekly reviews.

    Quote Originally Posted by LordEntrails View Post
    Thank you Bravesteel. I truly appreciate you taking the time to review my adventure (Balance Disturbed). I like the format of the review and find it informative and helpful. I'll work on beautifying my next module I would suggest reducing the size of the cover image art though, it makes for a very long thread.

    Giant, thanks for the html. I've added it to my product page as well, only removing the part about weekly updates since Bravesteel said he may not be able to do that at the moment.

    Best to all, and look forward to more reviews in the future.
    I'm glad you liked the format. I agonized of it a little bit as I didn't want to make it too in depth, but I didn't want to simply gloss over everything and write down a score. I think this kind of middle of the road format where I write about what jumps out at me in each product and then give a score along with my reasons keeps the review entertaining, but informative as well. I will be reducing the size of the cover image art in the future, as I too noticed it was a little much.

    Quote Originally Posted by GreyLord View Post
    Thanks for the review, appreciate your time to look over it!
    I appreciate YOUR hard work GreyLord!

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