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Veins of the Earth
by Carter C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/15/2017 01:57:03

It's hard to talk about this book without descending (no pun intended) into hyperbole. This is the best RPG book I have ever read, hands down, and I've read a lot. This book is so dense and richly layered that it's hard to consume any one part of the book. You have to take it in in peices and then go back and look at the bits you already read with fresh eyes.

About half the book is a monster manual, but it's nothing like what you get from a popular magic-user that lives on the edge of the ocean. Each monster is a just that, a monster: a horrific, terrifying, and unique abberation. There are no large crocodiles. There are crocodiles that have a symbiotic relationship with an intelligent fungi that uses them as an emissary between civilizations. There are no golems. There is a creature that is patchwork of stone and clay who has been wandering the veins, replacing bits and pieces of themselves, for millenia, with a random table that gives you descriptions like the Nightmare Lord of the ancient Demi-Kaz, the City on the border of Dawn, who survived the Great Flood and learned her art from the gods, and now quests for her heart, lost in a box on a sunken ship in the pits of the deepest ocean so she can destroy it and die. After reading this, you'll never want to say "and you see an owlbear" again.

After that is a section on the cultures of the veins. Again, these are reskinned human cultures. These are completely alien people with alien thoughts. Each one is singular and unique. They will be a challenge to roleplay, but done well, could be amazing.

After that is sections on how to build the veins and run encounters in them. The sections on how to run food and light are well-written, and they strike a delicate balance between handwaving away an important aspect and turning your players into accountants at spreadsheets. The section on how to generate the veins though is absolute gold. It's incredibly easy to do, and it gives you caves like nothing I've seen in an rpg. These are realistic caves. These aren't a leisurely jaunt through 10 by 10 halls that lead to big rooms perfect for manuvering around animated skeletons. These are small, cramped places in the dark, where you can get lost and die without ever seeing an enemy. One description goes like this:

"They can expect to be enfolded by stone on all sides and must go in darkness or push a light ahead of them. Often the only way to get through is by deliberately relaxing the muscles so that the volume of the body becomes more liquid and pliable. If the user becomes afraid, they may tense up and become trapped."

If you are taking your players below ground, you need Veins of the Earth.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Veins of the Earth
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Death Frost Doom
by Joe R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/13/2017 14:15:54

This adcenture fucking rules!! Your players need to be smart or else...



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Death Frost Doom
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Veins of the Earth
by Ivan T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/01/2017 09:11:11

This is top notch stuff. It offers a take on the underdark that is more original and thought-provoking than any similar supplement. It also contains new seemingly-very-useful rules systems for encumbrance, starvation, lighting, and climbing. DISCLAIMER: I have not yet used it in actual play.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Veins of the Earth
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Broodmother SkyFortress
by Yami B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/30/2017 12:47:04

It lives up to the Hype. Broodmother Skyfortress describes itself as an adventure that surpasses all others, a module about a flying fortress of giants who rampage around, wrecking stuff, and only a plucky group of players can go and stop them. And that's exactly what you get.

All the Giants are unique and have interesting designs and personalities, the Dungeon is fun and dynamic, and their are numerous ways to fit the Skyfortress into any campaign, whether it be Science Fantasy or High Fantasy.

And finally, it's all immaculately stylish and incredibly well made. Jeff Rienks should be applauded for setting out to do what he did, and then doing it with as much skill as presented here. And unlike a lot of LoFTP stuff, it's not horribly disturbing.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Broodmother SkyFortress
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Blood in the Chocolate
by Yami B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/30/2017 12:41:49

Blood in the Chocolate is a very, you get what you pay for sort of affair. It's described as a violent, psycho-sexual romp through a magical chocolate factory inhabited by tiny, monstrous men and a psychopathic career woman. It's well written, quite creative, gruesome, gory, and quite spectacular in its skin-crawling horror. Which is exactly why I don't like it.

Now don't get me wrong, I like horror in my games. But Blood in the Chocolate is skin-crawling. For me, the fear of mutation, of degeneration and my own body crumbling around me but leaving me trapped inside is enough to make me want to run for the exit. And that's not a good headspace to be in when running a game.

So if you don't mind things getting a little screwed up, Blood in the Chocolate is great. It's well-made, well-designed, and springs from a place of legitimate love. I bought it, and was not disappointed. I just don't think I could ever run this. So go ahead and buy this if you have a strong stomach.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Blood in the Chocolate
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Veins of the Earth
by Oliver B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/15/2017 13:48:25

This book is rad as hell.

Some content is a little too silly for my campaign, but might not be for yours.

It can all be tweaked anyway.

And the art is fantastic.

A++ would buy again.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Veins of the Earth
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No Salvation for Witches
by Scott P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/10/2017 22:09:29

Outstanding writing. Very creative adventure design. The module does a great job of capturing both an overall period and a fully-realized setting. The content is disturbing, as advertised, but not gratuitously so. More in service of the story and the alien nature of the adversaries. This adventure could be difficult to drop into an existing campaign as-is, given the two potential world-altering consequences. But the author leaves this largely in the hands of the DM, meaning both are reversible and scaleable, as needed. Recommended for those whose players can stomach the nasty bits.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
No Salvation for Witches
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Veins of the Earth
by Matt M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/27/2017 04:47:51

Veins of the Earth puts all other "underdark" themed sourcebooks to shame.

I would recommend this book to anyone considering a game in a subterranean realm. Veins of the Earth provides the tools and inspiration to make such a place as alien and scary as it really should be, and to test your players and their characters with challenges they might not have considered before.

It's clear that the author either has experience in real-world caving, or else has done a great deal of research into caving. I've done it myself and the writing in this book quickly dredged up my experiences with uncanny precision. Letterboxes, sumps, crawlways, chimneys, flowstone... the absolute darkness. It's all here.

The crowning glories of Veins of the Earth are the Rapture; the cave generation and mapping system; light, lamps, and "lumes"; and the expanded climbing and exploration mechanics. I also really enjoyed the entry on the dErO. These alone are worth the price of admission.

If I were to offer any constructive criticism (I have a physical copy too - which is of astounding quality), I'd suggest settlements and quests. There is some information on a few cultures in the Veins, but information on living spaces is almost non-existent. I wouldn't expect a detailed account of an unlikely underground metropolis, but some guidelines on where the PCs can expect to buy food, light, equipment, hirelings, etc. (without being enslaved or otherwise betrayed) would be extremely valuable. The Veins are also presented as an extremely dangerous and uncomfortable place to venture. It is clearly the GM's function to come up with quests and macguffins for the PCs to look for underground, but a few suggestions would have been very welcome. I'm pretty sure my players would just say "nope" after a few days in the Veins unless there was something extremely important or valuable keeping them down there.

In conclusion, this is an excellent supplement and successfully captures the foreboding darkness and alien architecture of a massive underground space. GMs should buy it and read it, at least for the four topics I mentioned above. Your caves will never be the same again.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Veins of the Earth
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Death Frost Doom
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/11/2017 11:09:37

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This module clocks in at 66 pages (obviously!), 1 page front cover, 1 page logo, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page dead sign, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 60 pages, so let's take a look!

This review was sponsored by one of my generous patreons, who supplied the means to acquire this book for a review at my leisure. My review is mostly based on the hardcover-version of the module, though I have also consulted the pdf and checked its functionality. The review is based on the fourth printing of the module, annotated and expanded by Zak S..

First things first: This is a very dark module. If you can't handle dark fantasy or really grim prospects, then this may not be for you. It is not a module I'd play with kids. (As if that needed to be said- the book's called "Death Frost Doom", for crying out loud...) There are two more things you should be aware of before we go into SPOILER-territory.

One, this module will probably create a significant array of fallout in your game and steer the plot well beyond the confines of its pages. PCs can spend a whole campaign dealing with the fallout...if they survive. This is deadly.

Two, if you're a metalhead who enjoys the darker aspects of metal, then this module has its own soundtrack! I am not kidding. E.g. upon entering one of the rooms, the module tells you to put on Samael's "Baphomet's Throne." Now, this is not gimmicky, mind you - you won't find the like for every room...but personally, I enjoyed it. This, coincidentally, also serves as a Litmus test of sorts: The aesthetics of this module are very much indebted to black metal; the cold, screeching type. It's basic premise could be summed up as: "What if an evil organization was actually effective and, aesthetics-wise, really, really EVIL and misanthropic and spiteful?"

That's ultimately what the PCs will be up against. There is a reason "YOU ARE DOOMED" is written in big, fat letters on the back cover. The dungeon herein is a true hell-hole. PCs will quite probably die horribly unless they are really up to their A-game. This one is for the pros. Not for the "Advanced" gamer. Pros. Hardcore RPG enthusiasts looking for a brutal challenge.

Okay, so this is as far as I can conceivably go without diving into SPOILERS. If you're a player, then may the gods have mercy on your PC. From here on out, only referees should read on!

...

..

.

All right, only referees around? Great!

There is a frost-covered mountain, and at its top, there is a cabin and a mausoleum. Death awaits. Even as the PCs approach the foreboding top, things may get nasty: Straying off the path can be a bad idea in these rugged climates...and as the PCs make their way to the top of the mountain, they encounter the axe-wielding hermit Ezekiel "Zeke" Duncaster - a truly eccentric and creepy fellow. The attention to detail here and throughout the book is btw. massive: Multiple options for using Zeke are provided for the referee. We get a table to determine his whereabouts and beyond brief stats, the referee gets guidance on likely venues of conversation. Zeke tells the PCs to go home, trying to restrain them via non-lethal means...but PCs being PCs, the chance is high that they'll kill him or lie to him - after all, there are so many graves up there and Zeke spends all his days carving the names of the dead...so many.

At this point, some sensible groups may decide to go straight back where they came from. These groups, in my experience, are few and far in between. I mean, how bad could it be?

...

Worse. As the PCs approach the foreboding peak, they will realize that speak with dead is a bad, bad idea...possession is possible. Sleep offers only unreliable solace. The old hanging tree, while rooted, is possessed of a horrid, impotent malevolence. The frozen body of a mountain-climber can be found, his equipment being potentially crucial... Even the well is cursed...oh, and there is the cabin. The cabin that hides the entrance to the dungeon...and the place where the PCs can get a very good idea of HOW FRICKIN unhallowed this ground is. Crossing threshold? Notes for GM. Pretty much every object in the cabin has interaction notes for the GM. It is here that the book "That Which Was Given" can be found - and it contains the names of the fallen, oh so many...and notes on the true extent of the influence of the evil organization responsible for this vile fleck of frozen hell, the dreaded Duvan'Ku.

How evil are the Duvan'Ku? In the trophies of the cabin, the eyes of glass are actually souls in frozen time, left there to forever writhe in maddening torment. And it becomes worse in the dungeon under the cabin. Here, we get walls (depicted in hand-out style one-page artworks - much like many places herein!) of screaming faces...and then there is the grand, malevolent scheme: Upon entering the chapel of the complex, 12 skulls of ice, hanging from the ceiling, will slowly, inexorably, fall and shatter, counting down in intervals of 10 before the big, campaign-changing event takes place.

You see, the complex is lavishly detailed (playing different tunes on an organ can have dire consequences for players who think they are clever: Music pieces can provide significant edges when found, but pretty much all chimes and sound-sequences you can find in the module (even that of the cookoo-clock) have been covered...and meta-jokes (because we know players will try...) also have effects. Hint: Playing "In a Gadda da Vida" makes for a pretty...ehem...memorable result. Speaking of memorable: This also holds true for the plethora of deadly traps and cursed items - though it should be noted that the "dickish insta-kill"-quota is pretty low - if PCs are finished off, it generally is the result of doing something less than wise.

But let's get back to the aforementioned cataclysmic event - in order to enter the deepest recesses of the dungeon, the PCs will have to bypass (or kill) the sacred parasite, a combination of undifferentiated ectoplasm, unholy ice and liquid time as well as an unfortunate, whose fate at the hands of the Duvan'Ku was even worse than that of their plentiful other victims. (And yes, reading up on that in the cult's books can make you stark, raving mad...) - slaying this unfortunate THING exposes the pit - and in the original version, this is where things got a bit haphazard and deadly, envisioning, among the choices, the parasite as part of the nose mucus of an impossibly large giant, who'd awake upon intrusion - and waking this titan would instantly kill everyone. The revised option offers more suggestions here, but going down is still a bad idea...particularly considering that the death of the parasite's death will cause the souls suspended in it to break free, animating the dead...for the dungeon, ultimately, is a mass-grave, horrid testament to the Duvan'KU's vile deeds - and thousands (literally!) of undead will spew forth.

And then there would be the matter at hand that is the aforementioned sanctum beyond the parasite, where disturbingly rendered greater repugnances roam - the erstwhile leaders of the Duvan'Ku, vile and horrid undead monstrosities that provide a deadly array of potential bosses, which partially should be considered to be puzzle combats: Limited omniscience, a foe that demands an oath each round (and not keeping them sends you straight to hell...) and an inquisitor, whose questions can cause damage to those replying - these horrid beings make for twisted and disturbing foes - and ultimately, the mighty Praetor-Pontifex awaits to lead his legions into battle once more. Hint: No, chances are that your PCs will not stand a chance against the tide of the living dead and this powerful undead...so yes, they may have to strike a devil's bargain...or flee in horror.

On particular aspect of the module is btw. interesting: It makes great use of the blending of in- and out-game behavior: If PCs and players read aloud certain chants and promises, they will be in for a rude awakening. It should also be noted that the hand-out maps that the PCs can find actually have been reproduced here. the attention to detail goes so far as to provide a massive 100-entry-table of effects for a magical drug...and, enjoyably, the book ends with a nice little retrospective, including artworks and cover artworks of previous iterations.

Conclusions:

Editing and formatting are very good - apart from some minor typo-level glitches, I encountered no problems. Layout adheres to a nice and elegant 2-column b/w-standard and, like most OSR-books, the file is intended for 6'' by 9'' books. The artworks and cartography in b/w by Jez Gordon are really neat - while no player-maps have been provided, that's because they can't really find them, apart from the handout, which ticks off that box as far as I'm concerned. The cover art by Yannick Bouchard perfectly encapsulates the flair of the module.

James Edward Raggi IV's "Death Frost Doom", with the options and additions by Zak Sabbath, makes for a rather amazing module. If you like dark fantasy and really challenging, brutal dungeons, then this will be a revelation for you. The amount of details, GM-guidance and the glorious tone of the adventure render it a true joy to run. This is a very deadly campaign-changer of a module, yes, but it is also one that drives home how dangerous and yes, nightmarish the job of being an adventurer can be. The bosses herein are glorious and so are several pieces of dressing, traps, etc. - in short, this is one impressive beast of an adventure.

It should be noted that, when playing e.g. Paizo- or WotC-material, you ever felt like "This is too dark", then this may not be for you. Similarly, if you can't take a character dying, this will not be for you. This is steeped in the aesthetics of Scandinavian, cold and misanthropic black metal and the sheer existence of the Duvan'Ku will make your campaign feel darker than it once was. But then again, light shines brightest when contrasted with pure, pitch-black darkness, right?

In the end, I absolutely adored this module. I understand what some people dislike about it, but personally, I consider it a dark fantasy milestone. My final verdict is 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Death Frost Doom
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Vaginas are Magic!
by Barry O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/18/2017 05:58:28

The best RPG book with Vagina in the title that I've ever seen.

The new spell system includes example spells and mishap tables. It is simple yet powerful. Kind of like a vagina.

Open this up today, you're sure to find pleasure within its purple walls.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vaginas are Magic!
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Vaginas are Magic!
by Jeffrey W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/14/2017 19:39:11

Yes, yes they are. Good quality pdf. Want the hard copy now as well.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vaginas are Magic!
by Justin I. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/05/2017 19:37:55

Once again, James Raggi has blown me away with his Free RPG Day offering. The book is a 48 or so page hardcover that's in a delightful purple. Like all LotFP releases the book is in a digest size and does a great job of making the most of all space. All inside covers are full. The front inside covers present new weird magic rules. They are presented for magic-users only (which I've read might be because the next version of LotFP might not include the cleric as a basic class). Whether the next edition does or not have clerics, the magic rules presented still make arcane magic a reality warping and dangerous force. The spell's power is determined by the caster and have potentially dangerous consequences if miscast. The Author's Notes discuss the LotFP approach to Free RPG Day (which is the best hands down btw). After the author's note we're given a three page Magic Primer that further expounds on weird magic and what magic should be. While it isn't long, it's a wonderful treatise on the arcane. It also discusses that while these spells can only be cast by women (in this definition those that can have children), the core rules contain magic research rules which could make versions of these spells access able to other casters.

Then we get into the meat of the book: 20 weird spells. These spells are brutal, which makes sense because they're all named after metal tracks. Each spell is also accompanied by a beautiful/disturbing/funny full page illustration. One of the things that really draws me to these spells is the story behind them. These bits of exposition give the spells some sort of logic (whether they're true in your game or not). My favourites are probably Mistress of the Bleeding Sorrow, Transylvanian Hunger, (and because I'm pretty messed up) Goat Perversion. Please note that the spells in this book can, will, and should affect your game. That's the point of magic. It warps reality. Because magic, that's why.

The book also contains a list of people (like me) that helped crowdfund it and the back inside cover is a list of metal tracks that would make good spells.

A final note about the book, I love the cover and the model, Riina Himanen. There are a few pictures of her in the book and it's cool to see some fantasy modeling.

If you haven't downloaded Vaginas are Magic! do it asap. You won't regret it (unless you're easily offended or squeamish).



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vaginas are Magic!
by Corran C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/05/2017 00:45:44

Vaginas are Magic has metal themes and some of the spells play on historical references, such as Gilles de Rais, It's f'ing awesome. On a serious note, it continues the fine idea that spells should be interesting, rather than deal x damage and for that reason alone, I would happily recommend this addition to Lotfp.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vornheim: The Complete City Kit
by CD F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/02/2017 07:06:40

Artfully put together and expansive in outlook rather than exhaustive in content. It encourages the DM to make new encounters in a city. I found it inspiring.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vornheim: The Complete City Kit
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Broodmother SkyFortress
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/26/2017 13:04:12

This is a big adventure with giants in a floating castle. There are many options for reskinning the adventure for different genres. The NPCs have good personalities, and there are many ways to use the product.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Broodmother SkyFortress
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