Game: Temples and Shrines Floorplans
Review Dated: 22nd, August 2002
Reviewer’s Rating: 9/10 [ Something special ]
Total Score: 10
Average Score: 5.00
Temples and Shrines is an electronic product but it’s not a PDF download. These floorplans are packaged as a carefully grouped html frameset. This means its easy to print out the exact floorplan you want but really hard to print them all out in one go. Over all, the advantages in the html format really do out-weigh any disadvantages and a more detailed discussion of this can be found in this review of Inn and Tavern floorplans.
Unlike the Inn and Tavern product though this offering from Darkfuries contains more than just floorplans. Where there are temples and shrines then there are deities and priests too and this holds true for this product also. There are not just a couple of deities either; there are 30 of them. These 30 deities aren’t token gestures; each one has a full colour icon, ethos, associated animal, associated colours and even a role in scheme of things. Priests for each deity nearly have as much detail; they’re given preferred armour and preferred weapons as well as descriptions of their robes and head rainments. I had no prior knowledge of the word “rainment” although the meaning in was clear in the context. Dictionary.com suggests “raiment” as a word for clothing or garments. If it’s a typo, I don’t care, typos are common enough; I just happened to notice this one in a round about way. I hadn’t even finished quickly running down everything attached to the deities in the download! There are even small paragraphs on what these deities’ temples are like and what their priests generally get up to as well.
There’s more in the way of thumbnail galleries in this product too. The download actually provides more than such the two categories of shrines and temples. There are shrines, temples, chapels and three different churches. This means there are six different gallery pages and it is easier to quickly find the floor plan you’re after.
Even more improvements come in the way of the page of text that comes with each floorplan set. These pages open up in a new window and this leaves the main frame of the core product free to display the floor plan. I’ll admit, the extra window opening up does feel a little disconcerting but the benefit it brings is worth the it. This extra text contains a quick summary of the locations in the floorplan; what walls are built from (wood, stone, etc) whether doors are kept locked or not by default and even notes on which god the altar in the temple is consecrated too.
Another improvement between Inn and Tavern floorplans and Shrines and Temples is that Darkfuries have successfully recognised and exploited the fact that temples tend to come in a wider range of shapes than the all too often rectangular inn. The floorplans for the religious buildings are presented in square grids but the buildings themselves don’t fill them to the edges. Some of the temples and churches even have angled rooms, triangular in shape rather than square.
Despite some of the strange angles of the buildings I think a square grid is a better choice than a hex one. The download is designed so that the floorplans can be used with as many RPGs as possible and most of them use square patterns because it’s easier to work out speed and movement rates even though a hex design would technically be more accurate.
Shrines tend only to have one level – the ground level. Most of the chapels only have one level but a few have two levels and one has three. Temples have a wider range of sizes and boast anywhere between a humble single story building and one with four floors. Churches are the biggest of the lot and although they’d not beat temples in their floor count they do tend to be more architecturally impressive and boast a larger floor area. This shouldn’t come as a surprise but it’s nice to see it actually being adhered to. Each of the shrines, chapels, temples and churches are dedicated to one of the given gods. The spread of alignments is fairly good too; it’s not the case that all the biggest buildings are for evil or deities and the humble shrines for the good deities, nor is it the other way around.
I really think the floorplans from Darkfuries are well worth it. They don’t cost much, currently only $5 from RPGNow and that’s peanuts. Why are they worth it? You’ll use them again and again. Since they’re electronic and easy to print out you can even scribble on them or place them dangerously among the coffee mugs and precariously balanced cans of cola. What’s the point in having floorplans that you dare not risk bringing out and using? With electronically based floorplans you don’t have a problem and with the quality of this product you’re not sacrificing anything either.