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D&D General What is your favorite D&D material/products from a small publisher?

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Hello! Because I've gotten bored of the canon thread, I wanted to make something a little more positive!

One of my favorite things is seeing all of the entirely new material being made for TTRPGs today, especially material made by very small publishers. Now, I really like all the products made by WotC, Paizo, and Kobold Press as much as the next person. But it is also great to see material made by a much smaller company, sometimes only an individual, that seems entirely made as a labor of love.

So I wanted to ask; what is your favorite material made by a small publisher, regardless of edition (and even system neutral) for fantasy TTRPGs?

I'll start with this example; Hot Springs Island by Swordfish Islands!

It's a system-neutral hexcrawl detailing an island and all of its locations and denizens. I could go deeper, but this map speaks for itself!

1627064620922.png


Because it is system-neutral, the monsters and encounters are not given stats, but most of them can be found in your game's Monster Manual. There is also no level recommendation, so you can try and tailor the game to whatever you prefer.

1627064702824.png


I really like how this lineart reminds me of the old-school gaming style, but also has been made to look modern. And tables! I love tables!

So there's my recommendation, what's yours?

Note: Please refrain from promoting your own material. There are other places to do that, and I want the focus here to be to promote others material you like, not your own.
 

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Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
My favorite overall has been Campaign Guide: Zakhara - Adventures in the Land of Fate, for two reasons.

One, it updates my favorite D&D world of all time, Al-Qadim, to 5e and directly addresses most of the problematic aspects of the original material, and

Two, I am the one who wrote and developed it.

Aside from that, I love the Primeval Thule Campaign Setting from Sasquatch, the 5e Talislanta: the Savage Land, and Green Ronin's The Lost Citadel.
 

By virtue of the fact that I've been running a campaign set there for 15 years and in another campaign for almost as long, I'd have to say Monte Cook's Ptolus. I knew, when it was announced, that it might be the last setting book I'd ever need, as it scratched pretty much all of my itches.

Your mileage may vary, but Renaissance era civilization (including better-than-D&D-standard technology) falling back toward a dark age, a fleshed out and complicated faux medieval Catholic church, a reason for all the D&Disms, campaign material for everything from street-level gang war to tackling the secrets of the cosmos (you could seriously use 3E's Hordes of the Abyss as a supplement for Ptolus), Game of Thrones-level politics and more all work great for me. It's also got the benefit of having been Monte's own setting for multiple campaigns, so it has a much more lived in feel than many settings, which seem to mostly be designed to flesh out an outline, rather than having NPCs that are there because they showed up in a game one time and ended up taking on a life of their own. Now, when I have player characters show up in the Delvers Guild Library and Maproom, it's full of NPCs who are interesting in a way that feels like it evolved in play, because they almost certainly have.

Other contenders: Green Ronin's systemless Pirate's Guide to Freeport and Goodman Games' Dungeon Alphabet and Monster Alphabet have also gotten long use at my tables and are as worth as much to me, or more, than anything WotC has put out.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Does Adventure in Middle-Earth counts?
Or things D&D adjacent? If yes:

  • Beyond the Wall and Other Adventures, from Flatland games
  • Veins of the Earth (sadly mostly made for Lamentation of the Flame Princess...) and Deep Carbon Observatory are really fun if you like grunge-y D&D stuff.
 

I think its ill-form to plug my own stuff here :p But I do love Veins of the Earth tremendously, and its been very impactful on my own project creations. I also love the Midgard Campaign Setting, especially how its so supported. Darkplane (which isn't really able to be gotten easily these days) is a great psychic thriller early 20th century Fantasy world I also adore, and I quite like A Deadman's Guide to Dragongrin by Absolute Tabletop, which I think is the BEST dark fantasy setting for 5th Edition released so far.

A Deadman's Guide to Dragongrin
 




Dire Bare

Legend
Hello! Because I've gotten bored of the canon thread, I wanted to make something a little more positive!

One of my favorite things is seeing all of the entirely new material being made for TTRPGs today, especially material made by very small publishers. Now, I really like all the products made by WotC, Paizo, and Kobold Press as much as the next person. But it is also great to see material made by a much smaller company, sometimes only an individual, that seems entirely made as a labor of love.

So I wanted to ask; what is your favorite material made by a small publisher, regardless of edition (and even system neutral) for fantasy TTRPGs?

I'll start with this example; Hot Springs Island by Swordfish Islands!

It's a system-neutral hexcrawl detailing an island and all of its locations and denizens. I could go deeper, but this map speaks for itself!

View attachment 141073

Because it is system-neutral, the monsters and encounters are not given stats, but most of them can be found in your game's Monster Manual. There is also no level recommendation, so you can try and tailor the game to whatever you prefer.

View attachment 141074

I really like how this lineart reminds me of the old-school gaming style, but also has been made to look modern. And tables! I love tables!

So there's my recommendation, what's yours?

Note: Please refrain from promoting your own material. There are other places to do that, and I want the focus here to be to promote others material you like, not your own.
Excellent thread, and excellent recommendation!
 


TheSword

Legend
I’ll second Odyssey of the Dragonlords. It’s probably the best quality 3pp product I’ve seen. A pleasure to read and to DM. You’ll have to ask @GuyBoy how it is to be a player in it. It feels original and I’m looking forward to some high level play.

Adventures in Middle Earth was also a lot of fun. This time I was one of the players and @GuyBoy was the DM. The best low magic campaign I’ve played in.
 

AdmundfortGeographer

Getting lost in fantasy maps
Bruce Heard’s Calidar. Bruce was the main TSR person running the Known World/Mystara line and the author of the Princess Arc stories in Dragon Magazine, his Calidar setting channels those vibes.
 

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed

DammitVictor

Druid of the Invisible Hand
For Pathfinder 1e: Rogue Genius Games Genius Guides to the Talented (class) are... well, genius. Dreamscarred Press' Ultimate Psionics, Path of War, and Path of War Expanded. Purple Duck's Prestige Archetypes series. I'd kick myself in the face if I didn't mention Tipsy Tabby's Overhauling Multiclassing.

In the OSR, there are a lot of little companies publishing new classes, one for a dollar, for Labyrinth Lord or Swords & Wizardry and effectively any other BX clone you want to use them with. I don't really want to single any of them out, so much as suggest that they're a great way to push a homebrew campaign or setting in specific directions.
 
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pogre

Legend
I recently received Oath of the Frozen King an adventure kit from Absolute Tabletop games. The adventure is solid, but what I really like about it is the format. Instead of presuming much about the PCs' path, it provides the Dungeon Master with adventure elements that they can plug and play as they see fit. Oath starts with the premise you are going to start with a published module not to run it as is, but will steal locations, villains, and NPCs. It is a pretty clever design idea.
 


GuyBoy

Adventurer
I’ll second Odyssey of the Dragonlords. It’s probably the best quality 3pp product I’ve seen. A pleasure to read and to DM. You’ll have to ask @GuyBoy how it is to be a player in it. It feels original and I’m looking forward to some high level play.

Adventures in Middle Earth was also a lot of fun. This time I was one of the players and @GuyBoy was the DM. The best low magic campaign I’ve played in.
Thanks for the vote of confidence about the AiME game. I loved it too.
In terms of Odyssey; I’m buzzing for it a a campaign. Deeply engaging, with an immersive world to get involved in and a re-emerging Evil raising its head. Really looking forward to playing again next weekend.
I also second the recommendation for Way of the Wicked. Thoroughly enjoyed the campaign, and the morality journey of my character (Ilsabet) who, in the end, could not match the evil of the others, reminiscent of Elric being told by Stormbringer, “I was a thousand times more evil than you.”
 

King Babar

God Learner
I've never played in a AiME game but I have the pdfs and they're an absolute pleasure to read. The authors do a fantastic job of capturing the feeling of Middle-Earth while expanding it out in ways that don't feel out of place.

I can only say good things about Mike Shea's work. Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master has great advice.

I've had nothing but good experiences with The Arcane Library's adventures. They're super easy to read and run.
 
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