5/15/2015

Frugal GM Review: Goldmarsh Village from Lupus Rex Games

Frugal GM Review: Goldmarsh Village from Lupus Rex Games
I chose this week's review item in a bit of a circuitous fashion after doing some link-hopping on DriveThruRPG. Somehow I had gotten to Lupus Rex Games and noticed that they had a rather abysmal 1 star rating.

Being all-too-familiar with the fact that so few people actually rate products on DriveThruRPG, must lest leave a review, I went ahead and looked into this. Yep, only one review total and the purchaser didn't like the product. While I get the reviewer's point, to be fair the publisher did provide (in my opinion) an ample preview so a purchaser should have known what they were getting. Of course the preview settings could have been changed after that review.

It occurred to me that right off the bat Lupus Rex Games could have easily made a few tweaks to make that one product much better.....but since that isn't what I purchased for review I'll stick a pin in that comment for now.

I picked up Goldmarsh Village because....hey, who couldn't use another village in their game world? It was on sale for $2 and seemed appropriately small at 12 pages & under 1 MB. If I came across a HUGE download for a simple village I'd actually have some concerns...

The first thing I noticed, which was evident in the preview, was that this PDF is full color. While I like full color, that does not extend to the page backgrounds. Aside from the crude one-page map, there wasn't any good reason this needed to be in color as it'd be a waste of toner printing all this out. If you want a color cover, fine, but please put in a black & white title page.

Since this isn't something I'd print out I went ahead and checked out the PDF options. No security, which is good, but largely only because if you wanted any bookmarks or cross-links you'll have to put them in yourself. The strength of this product is the various connections between the villagers and some of of the interesting bits of backgrounds. It would have been great if you could easily toggle between them with some cross-links.

While I did like the connections between the villagers I found some of the writing/content to be a bit sloppy. The map looks like graphic elements have been "borrowed" from other sources and there isn't enough in the descriptions to accurately place the village. I could piece together that there are hills to the North, followed by the marsh (when heading South) and then the village a mile further South. There is a mention of a creek, but where is it? I'm not expecting an atlas, but a quick map inset would have cleared a lot up quickly.

I won't delve much further into the writing style, but here's the briefest of excerpts, "Ivy married the man of her dreams at a young age (15). He ended up not being the man of her dreams, unless you count nightmares." Now I could be way off-base about this aspect as I'm not exactly a wordsmith myself.

Frugal GM 2 Star Review: Goldmarsh Village from Lupus Rex Games
I really did like the little bits of knowledge the players might be able to glean from the assorted villagers, and the adventure ideas tied to the location. I think with a little work this particular product could be a bit more useful to GMs. Changing the format for printing and for the general PDF would be a good start. As-is I might borrow it for ideas, but I'd probably just end up making my own village from the ground-up and import the NPCs. I'm not sure Goldmarsh Village is worth the $2 sale price, but YMMV. There is potential here though, so I wouldn't necessarily write-off Lupus Rex Games.