11/29/2015

Frugal GM Review: Common Places #13 from The Forge Studios

Frugal GM Review: Common Places #13 from The Forge Studios
When I go looking for something to review I'm not always certain what draws me to a particular item. Sometimes it is the idea, sometimes I just want to see how somebody else does something, and sometimes I just "get a feeling".

I've been a bit of a fan of The Forge Studios stuff for a while, even if I haven't really used any of it yet. I liked the idea behind the "Common Places" series and wanted to check one out, but I think I settled on Common Places #13 because I've seen this building before.

The whole idea behind this series is just a small booklet of maps of a specific place that can be used as a one-shot for a GM. Common Places #13 gives the GM the "Library of Lost Leafs", which can be dropped just about in any city, but I'll get back to that.

The download is a 16 page PDF that comes in at almost 16 MB. That is pretty hefty size for only 16 pages and something tells me it could have been optimized a bit better. The cover is in color while the rest of the A4 sized pages are black & white. If I had to guess I'd say the whole PDF was rendered in color......just those colors were black & white. The PDF is secured so you can't tinker with it, but that isn't too terrible of an issue. I will say the pages print up nicely.

Although you can easily set the Library of Lost Leafs in any locale, three pages have been devoted to providing a small town. The first city page shows a smaller city map with room for notes, the second a full page map of the city and the third is another full page map of the city with an inset showing where the library is.  This felt like one page too many to me. I realize getting the page count to 16 makes it easy for booklet printing, but I'd have preferred some different content. The map with an inset wasn't needed, for two reasons. The 1st is as a GM I'd rather put the Library where I want anyway. The 2nd is that the shape of the building where the Library is allegedly located doesn't match the shape of the Library.....might as well just place it anywhere....

There are two pages showing the same graphic from the cover, one with notes and another with a larger picture of the building. Again, this seemed like an extra page because if the GM wanted to show the players a picture of the building he'd want to show the entire building, not just the part shown on the cover....and he could just show the players the cover then.

The rest of the pages are maps of the building and I don't want to post any spoilers. I did note though that there was some inconsistency when it came to marking out the grids and among the maps there is a "ground floor" and a "1st floor" instead of a "ground floor" and a "2nd floor".

Frugal GM 4 Star Review: Common Places #13 from The Forge Studios
Even though there were some minor issues with this product I do like it quite a bit. As a GM I could easily see using Common Places #13 not only as a whole, but in parts. I could grab the city map to use by itself, and the basement of the building map could easily be used apart from the the building itself.

Personally I hate trying to draw decent city maps so for me this download was worth the price for that one page, but as usual YMMV. I think I'd take a close look at the rest of the series when I needed to drop something into my game.