Back in September, I wrote a review of Adventure Games Publishing's Monsters & Treasure of the Wilderlands I, giving it a perfect score of 5 out of 5 polearms. Well, the indefatigable James Mishler has been hard at work, expanding the product by adding eleven new monsters (27 as opposed to 16), artwork by Peter Bradley (including a full-color cover), and more information on how to integrate these creatures into the Wilderlands of High Adventure campaign setting. The PDF version of the expanded product sells for $8.00, twice the cost of the original version, presumably because of the cost of art and cartography. A print version will retail for $10.95 and should be available soon.
The new monsters are as good as those in the original release and it's nice to see illustrations of these beasties, even if Bradley's art isn't quite my cup of tea. If you didn't pick up a copy of the original release, I have no hesitation about recommending the expanded version, as it's well worth the price. Mishler's products are extremely good at providing a lot of useful flavor in addition to game mechanics. That is, there's no "fluff" here. Instead, what you get are nice little details that in themselves suggest adventures or that make an encounter more memorable. There's no gilding the lily here, just good old-fashioned creativity in the service of great gaming. And Mishler's magical treasures continue to be some of the best written in many a moon. They're weird and mysterious and, best of all, dangerous. They're perfect for swords-and-sorcery style games and I absolutely adore them.
This expanded version is another milestone along Adventure Games Publishing's journey to restore the Wilderlands to its former glory as one of the pre-eminent settings of fantasy gaming. Between the little touches in the monster and treasure descriptions and the maps that provide a wider context to it all, you can see just how much Mishler loves adding gameable details to this setting. That love is infectious and, while I still worry that AGP's Wilderlands offerings could result in too much detail, we're clearly not at that point just yet. Instead, we have another excellent bit of work that testifies to the lasting power of Judges Guild's products and ideas.