Hammerdog Games: The Grande Temple of Jing 5e Preview and The World’s Greatest Screen Review

  • Play (Mechanics)
  • Presentation (Art/Quality)
  • Plan (Rules)

It’s time you turned the page and began your journey. Just remember, the labyrinth is endless, and fraught with peril.

Hammerdog GamesThe Grande Temple of Jing’s 5th Edition revamp Kickstarter campaign is in its final week. The original edition, compatible with the Pathfinder (first edition) system was 500 pages, jam-packed with adventures, lore, game master tools, tables, maps, stories, magic items, songs, creatures (with stat blocks), and so much more.

The concept of The Grande Temple of Jing is simple – it is “at once an intricately connected megadungeon with a consistent theme–and a mashup of diverse dungeon levels that are completely independent of each other.” Game masters and players could devote an entire campaign arc that takes places entirely within the dungeon. With approximately 65 themed dungeon levels, ranging from character level 1 to 20, there is something for every group and style of play. Some levels are heavy in combat and tactics, while some are filled with riddles, puzzles, or other challenges. Some levels are quick, others are huge sprawls that harken back to the dungeon days of old. Some levels are deadly serious, and some are almost frivolous. Best of all the levels are completely modular, meaning they can be torn apart and arranged any way you see fit. Plus, there are rules for adding your own content easily, and even for connecting the temple to your favorite 3rd party dungeons.

The goal of this Kickstarter is to update and reprint the Grande Temple of Jing to be compatible with 5th Edition. It will remain compatible with Pathfinder, and will work with Pathfinder 2.0 (to be released this year). Also, it will still be easy to modify for systems like 13th Age and all other versions of Dungeons & Dragons. Layout and design will be improved. Miniatures and electronic player-friendly maps will be produced to improve options for gameplay and immersion.

With six days to go, Hammerdog Games is closing in on its funding goal of $15k. If you are looking for a truly unique adventure book (tome?) for your 5e campaigns, check out this Kickstarter.

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Red Portrait version of The World’s Greatest Screen (shown atop 36″ x 36″ Grass gaming mat with 1″ grid by Deep-Cut Studio on the left and 36″ x 36″ Rural Plains gaming mat with 1″ grid by Inked Gaming on the right)

This week, I had the opportunity to begin a new 5e campaign. I am DMing, so I have to wait, again, to create my Druid PC. The party of five consists of a half-elf bard, loxodon paladin, aasimar rogue, wood elf ranger, and a hill dwarf cleric. I am running the game using the Farland campaign setting, a meticulously mapped and detailed campaign setting designed to be used with 5e. Its creators describe Farland as: “a world that has been conquered by evil. It has been sundered into seven kingdoms, each ruled by an evil lord who personifies one of the seven deadly sins. These beings, called the Seven Deadly Lords or the Lords of Sin, hold the land in a dark grasp. In the conquered kingdoms, the Lords of Sin enslaved the population and made their primary activity in life the glorification of the Dark God Vornoth. Farland is an evil place, but take heart, for not all is lost– light glimmers in the West. A rebellion has broken out, and several kingdoms have been freed, although they are teetering on the brink of collapse, and all out war with the dark powers is looming…” I am using the bulk of the Farland world as a foundation and homebrewing in the details. I love this setting because it is dark, dangerous, Tolkien-based, free to access online, there is a wealth of content that is updated every month, and the original world has been developed over almost 20 years of play-tested evolution.

As it progresses, I will be using this campaign to review various game components, since DMing is a clear opportunity to use and test these sorts of things. To kick it off, I DM’d the first session (the first official session of adventuring, we had a “session zero”) using Hammerdog’s World’s Greatest Screen. Specifically, I used the landscape oriented version. Hammerdog has this to say about the landscape version screen:

Landscape (Horizontal) – 11″ x 8.5″ Tall

  • 4 sturdy panels/8 pockets
  • Fits 8 1/2″ x 11″ or A4 paper printed in the landscape orientation.
  • Can stand tall, lay flat, or be folded into an easel.
  • Use it with your favorite game aids.
  • Write on it with wet erase markers.
  • Add your own inserts or print these ones.
  • Silver, Gold, Black, Red, Pink, Purple, Green, Blue, and Orange.

It worked out well. Because the screen has clear-view inserts on both sides, you can place up to eight custom inserts into the pockets. Four of these face your players, so I included a couple maps of starting areas (a regional map of Daven and a more generalized map of the Farland continent, both free from the Farland website) and two free-to-access images of some heroes battling spiders and goblins which seemed to fit the campaign and world setting. On the interior, facing myself, I placed some 5e quick reference sheets, which proved to be very helpful. To make things even easier, Hammerdog Games also offers a few downloadable inserts on its site. An aside, this page is also a great place to pick up a 1″ square grid .PDF for general use.

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Black Landscape version of The World’s Greatest Screen (shown atop 36″ x 36″ Grass gaming mat with 1″ grid by Deep-Cut Studio on the left and 36″ x 36″ Rural Plains gaming mat with 1″ grid by Inked Gaming on the right)

The World’s Greatest Screen was very convenient to use. Because it is four panels (a total of 44 inches across), as you can see in the photo above, it easily concealed my DM materials, while giving me plenty of space to plan, prep, stage miniatures, and generally run the game. The plastic material is thick, durable, and spill resistant, in case you have a water bottle or coffee (or beer or whiskey) nearby. These screens are great quality and versatile for use with any game system. Hammerdog Games even offers a mini version, six panels total measuring 4″ x 6″ each. This screen will serve me well during this campaign to come. I have very little negative criticism to offer. This screen is very basic and really is all that it purports to be. If you are looking to change up your current game master setup, or looking for a unique gift for the game master of your gaming group, give this screen a try.

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