Review: Scrying Eye Games – The Ravenlands Castle and Village


Product Name: Castle and Village (Bundle 1)
Publisher: Scrying Eye Games
Author: Rick Ricci
System: Any 1″ x 1″
Setting: The Ravenlands
Series:
Theme: Fantasy, Historical
Type: Battlemaps
Link: http://www.scryingeye.com/

The Ravenlands features a fantasy (or historical) village and its surrounding area. The battlemaps are beautifully rendered in 3D with realistic textures and plenty of little additions here and there that bring the landscape to life. The PDFs are presented in an easy-to-print format and avoid becoming too busy. Each PDF contains an overview of the individual battlemap along with some of the battlemaps including a second version of some of the pages containing overlays adding additional detail.

The Ravenlands Castle and Village is a bundled product but each battlemap section will be reviewed separately.

Product Name: Map of Ravenlands 1: The Castle Raven

OVERALL

The first map for Ravenlands is The Castle Raven. The castle is partially in ruins with what appears to be solid surrounding walls. The wall textures are well-done and the foliage textures are phenomenal. There are a handful of wooden buildings and the wood texture is very detailed. I like the addition of the animals, flowers, and especially the large trees. The shading is good for giving a 3D perspective of a 2D design. There are wonderful looking overlays for depicting collapsed sections of the perimeter walls.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 6 out of 10
While the visual quality is phenomenal, there are a couple changes that the battlemap could benefit from. The first is the overview map. It shows an overview picture, but doesn’t divide the map up noting which sections are found on which page. Another change that the battlemap could benefit from is an index noting what structures are what to further understand their use. Besides those two items, the quality is superb and the PDF layout is simple to follow going left-to-right and top-to-bottom when looking at the overview map.

Visual Appeal: 10 out of 10
The visual appeal of the battlemap is rendered in the highest quality. The textures are crisp and clear and the various objects and structures are easy to see.

Desire to Use: 10 out of 10
As a ruined, decrepit, or simply old castle, Castle Raven is a top choice. The battlemap is well-scaled and I can see a variety of uses from Fantasy and Historical to a Dark or Horror setting.

Overall: 9 out of 10
I found Castle Raven could be a great battlemap to use, for those looking for a smaller castle and nothing of grand stature. There are definitely loads of opportunities here and players can be happy their battlemaps are so wonderfully rendered.

Product Name: Map of Ravenlands 2: Battleground of Old

OVERALL

The Battleground of Old battlemap follows the river (from Castle Raven) through a section of the area outside the castle which is apparently a location of an old battle. There are lots of details like cobwebs and lots of shrubs. While this particular map lies within the Ravenlands setting and is a part of the map set, it can easily be used outside this setting and can be used for virtually any genre or sub-genre.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 8 out of 10
While Battleground of Old could benefit from the same changes as Castle Raven, the need for an index is not necessary. Battleground of Old also follows the same publication quality as Castle Raven but adds a great level of detail with the overlays in the form of headstones and what appears to be land battle scars.

Visual Appeal: 10 out of 10
While the landscape textures are superb and the overlays are a fantastic addition, the river is filled with details. This river is a key part of this landscape and, though it may be hard to see, contains all sorts of wildlife including fish, frogs, and an animal skeleton.

Desire to Use: 10 out of 10
Battleground of Old has a wide number of potential uses and could be a great addition to any setting, even those outside of The Ravenlands.

Overall: 9 out of 10
I definitely recommend using Battleground of Old, not only within the Ravenlands setting but outside of it as well. The quality is great and its potential is grand. It could be used as a starting encampment for any adventure or the site of an epic battle.

Product Name: Map of Ravenlands 5: Sacred Grounds

OVERALL

Sacred Grounds features the remaining portions of Castle Raven along with what appears to be a temple, 1-bedroom cottage, and a pair of regular cottages. The overlays give the interior of the temple and the 1-bedroom cottage. There is a great looking path between the structures along with what looks like a dead forest in the corner (or part of a forest with dead trees)

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 6 out of 10
Sacred Grounds could benefit from the same changes noted in Castle Raven along with additional overlays for the two standard cottages. While it’s great to have the cottages, I would like to see their interiors. Other than that the quality is superb and uses the same great textures found throughout the setting.

Visual Appeal: 10 out of 10
As before, the visual appeal is very high with detailed textures and beautifully rendered dead trees and a small room off the main temple containing some fantastic details for a work room or what could be used as a spellcasters study.

Desire to Use: 9 out of 10
One small ding to the use of this battlemap is the extension of the castle. While it allows the castle to be bigger, it limits the uses of Sacred Grounds outside of Ravenlands. However, I still find the temple to be a great possibility and the castle sections can simply be cut-out of the printed version.

Overall: 8 out of 10
This is a great battlemap for using as a worship ground including or even its use as a meeting hall or some other purpose. The religious icons are few and thus makes the battlemap’s potential greater.

Product Name: Map of Ravenlands 6: Town of Raventon

OVERALL

Town of Raventon is a great battlemap but is centered on an open-market rather than just living areas of the town. The buildings are well-done and the market stands are great. I love the amount of details, not only from the overlays but with the standard map as well. The overlays add even more details including a group of horses in a fenced area. The entrance for the castle is found here along the path, but can easily be used for any number of things.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 5 out of 10
As noted before with Castle Raven, Town of Raventon could benefit from the same changes. However, the need for an index identifying the different market stands and buildings is more necessary here as their purpose may not always be clear simply by looking at the details and the overlays. However, this does allow the GM to define what the stands are. The rest of the product exhibits the same publication quality found throughout the bundle.

Visual Appeal: 10 out of 10
The visual appeal for Town of Raventon is phenomenal. The stands look good but the detail pieces of the stands truly make it stand out. The overlays only make it better.

Desire to Use: 10 out of 10
As an open-market, this battlemap is a great one to use. As a piece for any village, it’s even better. This is a great look at a medieval-styled village and where the people gather.

Overall: 8 out of 10
Definitely a high recommendation for Town of Raventon. Once you get past identifying the different market stands, its use for role-playing within a village is vast especially if the players want to visualize their investigations by understanding who it is exactly that they’re speaking to.

Product Name: Hexeiden Keep: The Outer Gates

OVERALL

The Outer Gates could be considered as a bonus to the Ravenlands battlemaps in this bundle, although it’s part of the keep for Ravenlands. The walls of the keep look great and the landscape is filled with a rocky facade. This keep could definitely help to protect your village.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 6 out of 10
While it could use the page numbering on the overview, the index isn’t necessary. However, I have a hard time distinguishing between the different elevation levels and wonder how a soldier would get to the top of the wall. It looks great but could use more details.

Visual Appeal: 8 out of 10
The keep walls look great and the rocky walls are good, but the grass could use more details and the rocks could be tamed down a bit. The visual appeal is still very high and The Outer Gates look great.

Desire to Use: 8 out of 10
While this may be a key part of the Ravenlands setting, its use outside of this setting may be limited. I like the keep walls but this battlemap should be coupled with other pieces of the keep along with an overview of how everything connects. While its still a great addition to Ravenlands, its physical location within the setting is a bit fuzzy.

Overall: 7 out of 10
The Outer Gate is a great part of a keep nestled into the cliffs or a rocky landscape. The keep could make an interesting addition to any medieval village or castle and I really like the dead trees. These trees look fantastic and appear as though they’ve been burnt, adding to the quality if the battlemap and its visual appeal on the tabletop.

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