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I Loot the Minion's Body
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/20/2017 03:46:09

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the "I loot the..."-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page ToC/editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so what do we get?

Well, the first dressing table herein contains keepsakes and sports no less than 100 of them: From small stones taken from invaded and destroyed castles to pointed fangs that ostensibly may have once belonged to a vampire to stuffed kid's bears and miniature urns...or betrothal tokens, there is a tint of sentimentality and storytelling potential inherent in these, making them fitting and, as a whole, a well-crafted table that can tell little stories and provide hooks to further develop.

Table number two features 100 entries as well. Minions have a hard lot in life and they often live where they work (commuting to evil mastermind's base of operations tends to be a deadly endeavor with all those hydras, undead and traps...) and thus, their backpacks or chests contain a diverse collection of miscellanea to bring some sort of relaxation to their lives...or hint at ambitions beyond their employ. From engraved pewter tankards to ship's logs, romance novels, bones sufficient to complete a human skeleton (why?), badly forged writs of safe passage, collections of mismatched forks - from the surreal to the mundane, from the eccentric to the desperate, these are interesting, in that they may actually make the PCs look for a particular minion - if the minion wishes to escape, for example, that may be an angle they can work!

Table number 3 deals with the contents of pouches minions may be carrying around - once again, the total selection is 100 entries strong and allows for some nice characterizations: A poppet with pins stuck inside; vials of squid ink; charms said to enhance fertility, stolen city watch insignia... the table continues the tradition of the previous two ones in that it manages to add depth to the faceless minions, in that it may make them stand out and receive some sketches of a personality. What more could I ask from this?

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are excellent, I noticed no hiccups. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes with nice b/w-artworks. The pdf is fully bookmarked for your convenience and in two versions: One optimized for the printer and one for screen-use. Kudos for that!!

Kat Evans delivers big time in this cool, evocative supplement - which is difficult: After all, minions are pretty much defined by being the faceless legions. Any pdf managing to add depth to them with the roll of but a single die deserves applause in my book. Now there is something I wish the pdf did differently - and that would pertain its system....or lack thereof. You see, beyond impotent, wrongly-brewed poisons...there is no real rules-material here, when the insertion of one or two poisons or similar items would have made it stand out more. As written, this is very much the same pdf as its system-neutral brother, with only the covers being different.

Still, this should be seen as me complaining at a VERY high level - the tables are excellent and fun and this very much deserves a final verdict of 5 stars. Bringing some identity to minions is hard, considering the diverse nature of the job-description, but this succeeds. My heartfelt recommendation for pretty much any GM!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
I Loot the Minion's Body
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I Loot the Minion's Body System Neutral Edition
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/20/2017 03:44:35

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the "I loot the..."-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page ToC/editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so what do we get?

Well, the first dressing table herein contains keepsakes and sports no less than 100 of them: From small stones taken from invaded and destroyed castles to pointed fangs that ostensibly may have once belonged to a vampire to stuffed kid's bears and miniature urns...or betrothal tokens, there is a tint of sentimentality and storytelling potential inherent in these, making them fitting and, as a whole, a well-crafted table that can tell little stories and provide hooks to further develop.

Table number two features 100 entries as well. Minions have a hard lot in life and they often live where they work (commuting to evil mastermind's base of operations tends to be a deadly endeavor with all those hydras, undead and traps...) and thus, their backpacks or chests contain a diverse collection of miscellanea to bring some sort of relaxation to their lives...or hint at ambitions beyond their employ. From engraved pewter tankards to ship's logs, romance novels, bones sufficient to complete a human skeleton (why?), badly forged writs of safe passage, collections of mismatched forks - from the surreal to the mundane, from the eccentric to the desperate, these are interesting, in that they may actually make the PCs look for a particular minion - if the minion wishes to escape, for example, that may be an angle they can work!

Table number 3 deals with the contents of pouches minions may be carrying around - once again, the total selection is 100 entries strong and allows for some nice characterizations: A poppet with pins stuck inside; vials of squid ink; charms said to enhance fertility, stolen city watch insignia... the table continues the tradition of the previous two ones in that it manages to add depth to the faceless minions, in that it may make them stand out and receive some sketches of a personality. What more could I ask from this?

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are excellent, I noticed no hiccups. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes with nice b/w-artworks. The pdf is fully bookmarked for your convenience and in two versions: One optimized for the printer and one for screen-use. Kudos for that!!

Kat Evans delivers big time in this cool, evocative supplement - which is difficult: After all, minions are pretty much defined by being the faceless legions. Any pdf managing to add depth to them with the roll of but a single die deserves applause in my book. Now, this is very much identical to the "PFRPG"-version in that it does not contain crunch or system-specific items, but unlike in my review of said version, I can't well complain about that here, right?

Well, yeah...but, as it turns out, the series has reached a very high level of quality at this point...and compared to some other installments, this feels like one tiny step below the apex...so I'll settle for 5 stars for this one as well, just short of my seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
I Loot the Minion's Body System Neutral Edition
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I Loot the Warrior's Body
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/17/2017 04:18:24

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the "I loot the..."-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page ToC/editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so what do we get?

Well, we begin with a massive table of 100 entries that covers armor and outfits that add an AMAZING depth of detail to the respective entries: From bulky bronze armor weighing a whopping 150 pounds to holy symbols emblazoned on the respective armor to seashells added, from armor fashioned to look like hezrous, the diversity or theme is here, but it is supplemented by entries that take the whole table one step beyond, from "cool" to excellence: There actually are quite a few entries here that are mechanically-relevant! Gliding cloaks? Check. Armor that has tubes that can be filled with liquid ice, cooling the wearer in absurdly-hot environments, even with proper bonus types? Check! Leather that exudes a sticky slime when submerged in water at least once per day, giving the wearer an edge when trying to escape from grapples? Check. Clothing more akin to an insect chrysalis, armor made from basically a chain? Oh yes, beyond the thematic diversity and impressive breadth, this table has it all.

This extends to the second 100-entry-strong table, which features scabbards in need of repair (with DCs), gel staunching bleeding wounds, helms that have a mouthpiece as a free action that lets them spout alchemical fire, bandoliers with only a few daggers remaining, helms that can "bite", tripwires, boots that grant minor electricity resistance....oh yes. This is me smiling from ear to ear right now! From gas-masks to nets and bolts that are too large for standard crossbows, the table delivers big time.

The third table would deal with pouch contents: Twigs used for lottery (one short than the others), debt ledgers, wanted posters showing the PC's mug, sheets of paper making fun of wizards...or what about the book that reads "instant fortress"...and is a pop-up book? I totally laughed out loud here! This wonderfully dry sense of humor suffuses some of the entries...and there are incredibly spicy peppers to be found among letters, wigs and entries like "This orange good is repellent to insects as well as traveling companions." That's one sentence that exemplifies perfectly what I mean with humor and excellent writing.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are excellent, I noticed no hiccups. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes with nice b/w-artworks. The pdf is fully bookmarked for your convenience and in two versions: One optimized for the printer and one for screen-use. Kudos for that!!

I can count the number of pdfs that I did not consider excellent penned by Mike Welham on one hand. His prose is excellent, his imagination amazing. Boy, oh boy, this pdf pretty much shows how I came to hold him in such high regards: Not content with simply providing a diverse array of options full of flavor and different tones, he goes one step beyond, providing a ton of minor rules-operations within the little space available...operations which frankly made me crave a book of mundane/alchemical item tweaks. It's that good. The dressing is glorious, but adding these tidbits to it ultimately makes this stand-out further and marks it as excellence and my favorite installment in the series so far. 5 stars + seal of approval, given without the slightest hesitation.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
I Loot the Warrior's Body
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I Loot the Warrior's Body System Neutral Edition
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/17/2017 04:17:30

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the "I loot the..."-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page ToC/editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so what do we get?

Well, we begin with a massive table of 100 entries that covers armor and outfits that add an AMAZING depth of detail to the respective entries: From bulky bronze armor weighing a whopping 150 pounds to holy symbols emblazoned on the respective armor to seashells added, from armor fashioned to look like hezrous, the diversity or theme is here. The amazing mechanical options some of these entries had in the PFRPG-version have been eliminated here without compromising the vision of the respective entries: There still is resilient glass armor, an armor with tubes that can be filled with a cooling agent to allow for operation in hot climates, etc. - just sans all the pathfinderisms. Chainmail that pinches, gliding capes, armor made from a tar-like substance - there is some serious imagination at work here.

This extends to the second 100-entry-strong table, which features scabbards in need of repair, gel staunching bleeding wounds, helms that have a mouthpiece as a free action that lets them spout and ignite oil, badger pelts bundled with rat pelts (an easter egg), helms that can "bite", tripwires, boots that provide a bit of protection versus electricity...oh yes. This is me smiling from ear to ear right now! Have I mentioned the hilt that generates a new weapon each day, which then proceeds to vanish again? That's basically a minor magic item in one entry. Have I mentioned the buoyant shield? Yeah, this table is great.

The third table would deal with pouch contents: Twigs used for lottery (one short than the others), debt ledgers, wanted posters showing the PC's mug, sheets of paper making fun of wizards...or what about the book that reads "instant fortress"...and is a pop-up book? I totally laughed out loud here! Insect repelling pipes, stick-human-figures made of chicken bones...This wonderfully dry sense of humor suffuses some of the entries...and there are incredibly spicy peppers to be found among letters, wigs and entries like "This orange good is repellent to insects as well as traveling companions." That's one sentence that exemplifies perfectly what I mean with humor and excellent writing. What about the platinum coin that accurately answers a yes/no-question to then vanish?

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are excellent, I noticed no hiccups. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes with nice b/w-artworks. The pdf is fully bookmarked for your convenience and in two versions: One optimized for the printer and one for screen-use. Kudos for that!!

I can count the number of pdfs that I did not consider excellent penned by Mike Welham on one hand. His prose is excellent, his imagination amazing. Boy, oh boy, this pdf pretty much shows how I came to hold him in such high regards: Not content with simply providing a diverse array of options full of flavor and different tones, he goes one step beyond. While this version of the pdf obviously is system-neutral, it manages to still retain the glorious panache of the PFRPG-iteration: The items do not lose their magic, their diversity and the quality of the prose is not diminished in any way. In short: Even in the system-neutral version, this loses nothing of its splendor. 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
I Loot the Warrior's Body System Neutral Edition
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Whispers & Rumours: Borderland Town System Neutral Edition
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/15/2017 08:00:45

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Once upon a time, rumor tables were a common thing you expected to find in a given module - while nowadays, they are, at best, rare occurrences. The pdf thus begins with a brief "how to"-list for GMs on how to employ these rumors with maximum efficiency - they can, if handled well, provide depth, make the world feel alive and steer the plot - or provide red herrings and local interests unrelated to the module. As such, the introductory page dealing with these and how to find them can be considered particularly helpful for GMs who missed the golden age of sandboxing, if you will.

After this, we begin with the first table, which spans no less than 3 full pages, delivering 100 local events that not only provide local color, they actually can double as adventure hooks: I mean, have you seen the town's beauty wearing the red ribbon on her throat that means she's spoken for? But who could the suitor be? And have you noticed those strange toadstools cropping up around the place? You know that they bespeak fey activity, right? More mundane rumors like local burglaries, domestic disputes or a recent call from the militia can be found, neck to neck, with the arrivals of tinkers in town. These would be the general, local color-type of rumors.

The second table herein, in contrast to that, does feature significantly more detailed hooks - basically adventure-igniting, very detailed set-ups: The table covers 20 entries and spans 2 pages: From gold being discovered and the springing up of shanty towns and such gold rush scenarios to human bodies being found in poacher's pits (pits where animal carcasses are thrown) or talks of new ways to pubish criminals - these events are very much evocative and versatile.

The third table, once again spanning no less than 20 entries, allows for easy combinations with the former - here, local legends are depicted: From scarecrows animating to the Fall of Tears, ostensibly a gateway to the realm of fey on holy nights to a stream that ostensibly is capable of removing the weight of the years when drunk from near its source, these legends add the mythological dimension and the supernatural to the proceedings - which means you have pretty much everything you need to craft/improvise a module here.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Artwork is fitting b/w and the pdf comes in two versions - one optimized for the printer and one for screen-use.

Neal Litherland's collection of rumors, legends and events is amazing - the combination of local color, legends and events can result in truly inspiring environments or adventures. The respective entries are detailed and run the gamut from mundane to magical with panache aplomb.

The system-neutral version is 100% identical (apart from the cover) with the just as system-neutral black-covered version - but in this iteration I can't well complain about an absence of mechanics now, can I? As a system-neutral dressing file, this very much excels and deserves a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Whispers & Rumours: Borderland Town System Neutral Edition
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Whispers & Rumours: Borderland Town
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/15/2017 07:58:08

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Once upon a time, rumor tables were a common thing you expected to find in a given module - while nowadays, they are, at best, rare occurrences. The pdf thus begins with a brief "how to"-list for GMs on how to employ these rumors with maximum efficiency - they can, if handled well, provide depth, make the world feel alive and steer the plot - or provide red herrings and local interests unrelated to the module. As such, the introductory page dealing with these and how to find them can be considered particularly helpful for GMs who missed the golden age of sandboxing, if you will.

After this, we begin with the first table, which spans no less than 3 full pages, delivering 100 local events that not only provide local color, they actually can double as adventure hooks: I mean, have you seen the town's beauty wearing the red ribbon on her throat that means she's spoken for? But who could the suitor be? And have you noticed those strange toadstools cropping up around the place? You know that they bespeak fey activity, right? More mundane rumors like local burglaries, domestic disputes or a recent call from the militia can be found, neck to neck, with the arrivals of tinkers in town. These would be the general, local color-type of rumors.

The second table herein, in contrast to that, does feature significantly more detailed hooks - basically adventure-igniting, very detailed set-ups: The table covers 20 entries and spans 2 pages: From gold being discovered and the springing up of shanty towns and such gold rush scenarios to human bodies being found in poacher's pits (pits where animal carcasses are thrown) or talks of new ways to pubish criminals - these events are very much evocative and versatile.

The third table, once again spanning no less than 20 entries, allows for easy combinations with the former - here, local legends are depicted: From scarecrows animating to the Fall of Tears, ostensibly a gateway to the realm of fey on holy nights to a stream that ostensibly is capable of removing the weight of the years when drunk from near its source, these legends add the mythological dimension and the supernatural to the proceedings - which means you have pretty much everything you need to craft/improvise a module here.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Artwork is fitting b/w and the pdf comes in two versions - one optimized for the printer and one for screen-use.

Neal Litherland's collection of rumors, legends and events is amazing - the combination of local color, legends and events can result in truly inspiring environments or adventures. The respective entries are detailed and run the gamut from mundane to magical with panache aplomb.

Now there's one thing, though: If you expect any PFRPG-rules herein, be it DCs, skill-references or the like...well, you won't find them in the pdf. This is basically system-neutral. That is not necessarily a bad thing, mind you -personally, I don't mind. But it means that this is pretty much identical with the system-neutral iteration, with only the cover making the difference. Considering that this is supposed to be the PFRPG-version, I would have appreciated a bit of minor crunch here and there, perhaps at least in the how to-section. Note, however, that this is me stretching to complain about something - this is a nice, inexpensive and flavorful dressing-pdf, well worth a final verdict of 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Whispers & Rumours: Borderland Town
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Village Backdrop: Suurin (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/26/2017 09:48:27

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 11 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!

The village of Suurin was once supposed to be an utopian experiment, a place of freedom and peace. Now, the halfling village sports a cadre of hobgoblin enforcers and pretty much everyone suffers from tell-tale black veins (as always, nomenclature and local appearances and dressing habits are covered)...for the little village has been transformed by Devia Brookshire into the Skez capital of the realm, definitely earning the soul-crushing disadvantage that the settlement stats feature. It should be noted that this one does have a market place entry, in spite of this being the 5e-version - you can actually purchase the drug Skez openly in its various iterations. Now there is one thing to note: In all iterations of the village, it seems to be geared primarily towards lower level gameplay - considering that, the DCs for village lore (10, 15 and 20) may be a bit high, but I'm still good with it.

If you'd look at the blue daffodil fields or at the map itself, you'd see nice halfling burrows that seem to come straight from LotR's movies; an idyllic place...however,, as rumors and events (6 of each are featured) make sure pretty quickly, this place is anything but that: Few are the people still resisting the drug and while the local inn still offers food (prices included), the village is firmly in the grip of Devia and her enforcers, with only a few stalwart folks, the bereaved and elderly, putting up token resistance.

Of course, the big unknown here is Skez and, much to my pleasant surprise, no less than three types of the powerful drug have been provided...and yes, even though this is the 5e-version, the drugs come with proper formatting and delightfully crunchy bits. They make use of 5e's neat exhaustion-mechanics. While personally, I would have worked with disadvantage versus illusions instead of a -4 penalty in the case of the final drug, that's a matter of aesthetics.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice any relevant glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map, of which you can, as always, download high-res jpegs if you join RSP's patreon. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.

Jeff Gomez takes us on a trip to an utopia broken by greed, to a pastoral idyll firmly in the grip of the horror of industrialized drug production. The stark contrast between the "good old days" and the tainted reality is intriguing and the fact that even enforcers and the mastermind can be considered to be victims adds another layer of complexity to it. The inclusion of proper rules-representations of the drugs is just a nice icing on the cake. The village itself may have primarily one note, but it is a strong and clear one. I was pretty positively surprised by this one, particularly the fact that the drug-conversion shows more care than what one typically expect, making this pretty firmly entrenched in the system. My final verdict for the 5e-version will hence also clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Suurin (5e)
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Village Backdrop: Suurin System Neutral Edition
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/26/2017 09:47:05

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 11 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!

The village of Suurin was once supposed to be an utopian experiment, a place of freedom and peace. Now, the halfling village sports a cadre of hobgoblin enforcers and pretty much everyone suffers from tell-tale black veins (as always, nomenclature and local appearances and dressing habits are covered)...for the little village has been transformed by Devia Brookshire into the Skez capital of the realm, definitely earning the soul-crushing disadvantage that the settlement stats feature. It should be noted that this one does have a market place entry, in spite of being system-neutral - you can actually purchase the drug Skez openly in its various iterations.

If you'd look at the blue daffodil fields or at the map itself, you'd see nice halfling burrows that seem to come straight from LotR's movies; an idyllic place...however,, as rumors and events (6 of each are featured) make sure pretty quickly, this place is anything but that: Few are the people still resisting the drug and while the local inn still offers food (prices included), the village is firmly in the grip of Devia and her enforcers, with only a few stalwart folks, the bereaved and elderly, putting up token resistance.

Of course, the big unknown here is Skez and, much to my pleasant surprise, no less than three types of the powerful drug have been provided...and yes, even though this would be the system-neutral version, the rules-language employed for them should retain compatibility with OSR-games and pretty much every game that knows fatigue damage, saves, etc. - so yeah, OSR and similar systems are perfectly fine. It's really nice to see the rules-language employed here being properly modified. Kudos for going the extra mile here!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice any relevant glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map, of which you can, as always, download high-res jpegs if you join RSP's patreon. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.

Jeff Gomez takes us on a trip to an utopia broken by greed, to a pastoral idyll firmly in the grip of the horror of industrialized drug production. The stark contrast between the "good old days" and the tainted reality is intriguing and the fact that even enforcers and the mastermind can be considered to be victims adds another layer of complexity to it. The inclusion of proper rules-representations of the drugs is just a nice icing on the cake. The village itself may have primarily one note, but it is a strong and clear one. I was pretty positively surprised by this one, with the generally applicable, yet precise drug-rules making sense and representing a nice extra oomph here. For this reason, the system-neutral version will clock in at a final verdict of 5 stars as well.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Suurin System Neutral Edition
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Village Backdrop: Suurin
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/26/2017 09:43:13

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 11 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!

The village of Suurin was once supposed to be an utopian experiment, a place of freedom and peace. Now, the halfling village sports a cadre of hobgoblin enforcers and pretty much everyone suffers from tell-tale black veins (as always, nomenclature and local appearances and dressing habits are covered)...for the little village has been transformed by Devia Brookshire into the Skez capital of the realm, definitely earning the soul-crushing disadvantage that the settlement stats feature. It should be noted that presentation sequence has been slightly altered in comparison to older installments of the series, though the PFRPG-version, as always does feature not only the settlement statblock, but also a proper market place section.

If you'd look at the blue daffodil fields or at the map itself, you'd see nice halfling burrows that seem to come straight from LotR's movies; an idyllic place...however,, as rumors and events (6 of each are featured) make sure pretty quickly, this place is anything but that: Few are the people still resisting the drug and while the local inn still offers food (prices included), the village is firmly in the grip of Devia and her enforcers, with only a few stalwart folks, the bereaved and elderly, putting up token resistance.

Of course, the big unknown here is Skez and, much to my pleasant surprise, no less than three types of the powerful drug have been provided, including stats and proper mechanical representations for them - and all 3 are potent enough in their benefits to actually be enticing to the PCs....which can generate a story of its own... In a minor (and rare) formatting inconsistency of a purely cosmetic nature, the damage on failed saves reads, for example, "1d4 Cha damage, 1d4 Wis damage, 1d4 Constitution damage." It's a minor inconsistency, but yeah.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice any relevant glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map, of which you can, as always, download high-res jpegs if you join RSP's patreon. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.

Jeff Gomez takes us on a trip to an utopia broken by greed, to a pastoral idyll firmly in the grip of the horror of industrialized drug production. The stark contrast between the "good old days" and the tainted reality is intriguing and the fact that even enforcers and the mastermind can be considered to be victims adds another layer of complexity to it. The inclusion of proper rules-representations of the drugs is just a nice icing on the cake. The village itself may have primarily one note, but it is a strong and clear one. My final verdict will be 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Suurin
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Village Backdrop: Y'taris (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/24/2017 11:45:05

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 10 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!

Y'taris is a village born of convenience: In the bleak and desolate harshness of the Broken mountains, there is a stone circle crafted as a silent witness to the confluence of ley lines here; a nexus of power that brings pilgrims galore to these desolate shores. Here, angles have fought, fey have roamed, apocalyptic cults have tried to enact their genocidal fantasies...and right now, another type of ill has befallen the place, namely that of being basically the fantasy-equivalent of a cut-throat tourist trap.

One Ayred Guilespire is in charge of nearly all stalls in the Grey Market, a boil-covered disgusting gnome runs the taverns and a dwarven lady coordinates the pickpockets. That would be the rulers here. Yeah, this is not a nice place. While the settlement is, quality-wise, magically attuned, the marketplace section this time around is pretty standard considering the highly magical flavor of the place.

I mentioned that this was not a nice place, right? well, there's a lich nearby. Who supposedly gets a stream of fresh corpses from the village. Yeah...Anyways, the village does come with the by now traditional nomenclature entries, notes on local dressing habits and appearances and, as always, 6 rumors and 6 events are neat and the latter even sport a unique little hazard. It should also be noted that the place's taverns etc. come with notes on costs of drinks - and one, interestingly, even has a brawling fine. A missed chance: If you go to the wrong place, you may end up with a room with secret doors and staff stealing belongings...but no DCs to notice or general capabilities for the staff are provided.

Being a remote place, it is magic that makes the village work - once again providing a nice angle to develop as a GM. Oh, and much like real life tourist traps, there is an arcane system of fines in place, guaranteed to infuriate the PCs.

Beyond the obvious power of the confluence, there is also an even more powerful, less known place of dark might here and they say that you can even purchase corpses and similar necromancy supplies here...if you know where to look.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map, of which you can, as always, download high-res jpegs if you join RSP's patreon. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.

Jeff Gomez' Y'taris is an amazing idea -I really like the magical tourism angle and the execution per se is nice. However, at the same time, it fell short for me. There is ample adventuring potential, but if the place is such a powerful destination, why does no one clean it up? Where are the remnants of ages long past, the unique local effects? We have ample of ways to represent cool magical locales in PFRPG and this one...boils down to a VERY lame CL-bonus and a tiny chance of not using a spell slot while casting inside the circle. That's really, really lame and the effect of the "hidden", lesser-known power-nexus is also...kinda bland. Considering the vast potential and flavor of this place, I can't really see anyone traveling here for the meager benefits the sights provide. 5e's engine would have been perfect for some cool tweaks here...but alas, nope. Let me make that clear - this does have its benefits; it's not a bad installment by any means...but it feels, to me, like it falls short of what it could have easily been. I can't rate this higher than 3.5 stars - it doesn't deserve being slapped down to 3, though, which is why I'll round up.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Y'taris (5e)
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Village Backdrop: Y'taris System Neutral Edition
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/24/2017 11:41:15

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 11 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!

Y'taris is a village born of convenience: In the bleak and desolate harshness of the Broken mountains, there is a stone circle crafted as a silent witness to the confluence of ley lines here; a nexus of power that brings pilgrims galore to these desolate shores. Here, angles have fought, fey have roamed, apocalyptic cults have tried to enact their genocidal fantasies...and right now, another type of ill has befallen the place, namely that of being basically the fantasy-equivalent of a cut-throat tourist trap.

One Ayred Guilespire is in charge of nearly all stalls in the Grey Market, a boil-covered disgusting gnome runs the taverns and a dwarven lady coordinates the pickpockets. That would be the rulers here. Yeah, this is not a nice place.

I mentioned that this was not a nice place, right? well, there's a lich nearby. Who supposedly gets a stream of fresh corpses from the village. Yeah...Anyways, the village does come with the by now traditional nomenclature entries, notes on local dressing habits and appearances and, as always, 6 rumors and 6 events are neat and the latter even sport a unique little hazard - in the system-neutral version, the fire damage here does not allow for a save, mind you. It should also be noted that the place's taverns etc. come with notes on costs of drinks - and one, interestingly, even has a brawling fine. No complaints here about a lack of thieving stats in a less reputable inn this time around - this is the system-neutral version, after all.

Being a remote place, it is magic that makes the village work - once again providing a nice angle to develop as a GM. Oh, and much like real life tourist traps, there is an arcane system of fines in place, guaranteed to infuriate the PCs.

Beyond the obvious power of the confluence, there is also an even more powerful, less known place of dark might here and they say that you can even purchase corpses and similar necromancy supplies here...if you know where to look.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map, of which you can, as always, download high-res jpegs if you join RSP's patreon. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.

Jeff Gomez' Y'taris is an amazing idea -I really like the magical tourism angle and the execution per se is nice. However, at the same time, it fell short for me. There is ample adventuring potential, but if the place is such a powerful destination, why does no one clean it up? Where are the remnants of ages long past, the unique local effects? In a system-neutral version, sky's pretty much the limit and you can just hint at something and then have the GM look for the fitting effect, but this one, like its PFRPG-version...boils down to a VERY lame CL-bonus and a tiny chance of not using a spell slot while casting inside the circle. That's really, really lame and the effect of the "hidden", lesser-known power-nexus is also not too interesting. Less mechanics, more imagination would have been appropriate for the system-neutral version in particular.

Considering the vast potential and flavor of this place, I can't really see anyone traveling here for the meager benefits the sights provide. Let me make that clear - this does have its benefits; it's not a bad installment by any means...but it feels, to me, like it falls short of what it could have easily been. In this iteration, rules are less important, which is why it receives 4 stars - it's good, but not excellent.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Y'taris System Neutral Edition
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Village Backdrop: Y'taris
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/24/2017 11:39:40

An Endzeitgeist.com review

his installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 10 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!

Y'taris is a village born of convenience: In the bleak and desolate harshness of the Broken mountains, there is a stone circle crafted as a silent witness to the confluence of ley lines here; a nexus of power that brings pilgrims galore to these desolate shores. Here, angles have fought, fey have roamed, apocalyptic cults have tried to enact their genocidal fantasies...and right now, another type of ill has befallen the place, namely that of being basically the fantasy-equivalent of a cut-throat tourist trap.

One Ayred Guilespire is in charge of nearly all stalls in the Grey Market, a boil-covered disgusting gnome runs the taverns and a dwarven lady coordinates the pickpockets. That would be the rulers here. Yeah, this is not a nice place. While the settlement is, quality-wise, magically attuned, the marketplace section this time around is pretty standard considering the highly magical flavor of the place.

I mentioned that this was not a nice place, right? well, there's a lich nearby. Who supposedly gets a stream of fresh corpses from the village. Yeah...Anyways, the village does come with the by now traditional nomenclature entries, notes on local dressing habits and appearances and, as always, 6 rumors and 6 events are neat and the latter even sport a unique little hazard. It should also be noted that the place's taverns etc. come with notes on costs of drinks - and one, interestingly, even has a brawling fine. A missed chance: If you go to the wrong place, you may end up with a room with secret doors and staff stealing belongings...but no DCs to notice or general capabilities for the staff are provided.

Being a remote place, it is magic that makes the village work - once again providing a nice angle to develop as a GM. Oh, and much like real life tourist traps, there is an arcane system of fines in place, guaranteed to infuriate the PCs.

Beyond the obvious power of the confluence, there is also an even more powerful, less known place of dark might here and they say that you can even purchase corpses and similar necromancy supplies here...if you know where to look.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map, of which you can, as always, download high-res jpegs if you join RSP's patreon. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.

Jeff Gomez' Y'taris is an amazing idea -I really like the magical tourism angle and the execution per se is nice. However, at the same time, it fell short for me. There is ample adventuring potential, but if the place is such a powerful destination, why does no one clean it up? Where are the remnants of ages long past, the unique local effects? We have ample of ways to represent cool magical locales in PFRPG and this one...boils down to a VERY lame CL-bonus and a tiny chance of not using a spell slot while casting inside the circle. That's really, really lame and the effect of the "hidden", lesser-known power-nexus is also...kinda bland. Considering the vast potential and flavor of this place, I can't really see anyone traveling here for the meager benefits the sights provide. Let me make that clear - this does have its benefits; it's not a bad installment by any means...but it feels, to me, like it falls short of what it could have easily been. I can't rate this higher than 3.5 stars - it doesn't deserve being slapped down to 3, though, which is why I'll round up.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Y'taris
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Be Awesome At Village Design
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/21/2017 12:54:23

This is a solid guide that provided advice on how to construct villages effectively. It is roughly divided between general advice and sets of tables to help you define aspects of the town. I would have appreciated some explict guidance on fitting a village into the events of a campaign but there is plenty here to get started with.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Be Awesome At Village Design
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Village Backdrop: Shroudhaven (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/19/2017 04:47:15

An Endzeitgeist.com review

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 11 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!

Shroudhaven is a foreboding place - nestled within a valley that is defined by not having seen proper sunlight due to the eponymous shroud above the village, the place greets travelers with signs proclaiming that law-breakers will be eaten and that necromancers are forbidden around here. Yeah, you probably can see where that goes, right? Indeed, beyond mannerisms and exquisite artisanship that could hearken to the genesis of the place, with the famed theater mellavious, the place seems affluent and culturally more than relevant - and it does feature a ghast population. And vampires. Yeah, this place can be dangerous...though the undead do try to put visitors at ease and ultimately convince them of their civilized nature. The shorthands of the notable NPCs have been replaced with appropriate NPCs drawn from 5e's array, and we obviously don't get a settlement statblock.

Depending on the type of game you're running, you may also want to know that the place does not sport a market place of magic goods like in the PFRPG-iteration.

The local undead do hunt for "feral undead" beyond the village's confines, though, as some research can unearth, we find out that locals have a hard time leaving the place...they are subject to a wasting disease until they return. As always, we do receive notes on appearance and dressing style, though this time around, we do not receive sample names. However, 6 rumors and events provide further adventuring potential, in case an eccentric vampire wizard seeking to synthesize artificial blood, a ghast-run manor-house-come-in. And yes, there are farms, courtesy of restricted daylight spells, a cathedral and the relative affluence of the place is evident in architecture and occupations.

Speaking of farms, ghasts and vampires...know how the undead here require sustenance? Well, there is another type of farm. Yes, it includes the nightmarish combination of words "chemically" and "lobotomized." And yeah, any semblance of civility and culture here is skin-thick at best; sure, you don't eat intelligent people...but let's not talk about people made deliberately non-intelligent. Urgh. Similarly, the curse of the place has special conditions - ones that allow for semi-regular (once a decade) explorations beyond the confines of the place. After all, the place may have sucky weather - but there are so many distinguished people here! Have I mentioned that they sell magic mushrooms here?

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map, of which you can, as always, download high-res jpegs if you join RSP's patreon. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.

Mike Welham's Shroudhaven reminded me of the classic horror-movie/satire "Society", as seen through a feudal/pseudo-Victorian filter of decadence and manners. The write-ups of the NPCs themselves paint a sympathetic and even kind picture...and honestly, the horrific aspect here lies in the fact that shroudhaven may well be the kindest possible solution for the undead persons; so can you really blame them? Don't they have a right to exist? Beyond the veneer of polite society, beyond the horror that you can or cannot emphasize, shroudhaven is an uncommon village that generates questions and responses - whether it's finding shelter, a solution...or involves copious amounts of kindling and pitchforks.

This is an engaging village and an exercise in concise writing -while I have seen the angle been done before, I have never seen it done in this concise and unique a way, with a focus on the leitmotif of consumption - cultural and literal. The 5e-iteration is solid and closer to the system-neutral one than to the PFRPG-version, which is a bit of a pity: The curse of shroudhaven and 5e's exhaustion mechanics look like a match made in heaven to me and tying them together in a mechanically-relevant manner would have been the icing on the cake. My final verdict will hence clock in at 5 stars, just short of my seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Shroudhaven (5e)
Click to show product description

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Village Backdrop: Shroudhaven System Neutral Edition
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/19/2017 04:45:59

An Endzeitgeist.com review

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 11 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!

Shroudhaven is a foreboding place - nestled within a valley that is defined by not having seen proper sunlight due to the eponymous shroud above the village, the place greets travelers with signs proclaiming that law-breakers will be eaten and that necromancers are forbidden around here. Yeah, you probably can see where that goes, right? Indeed, beyond mannerisms and exquisite artisanship that could hearken to the genesis of the place, with the famed theater mellavious, the place seems affluent and culturally more than relevant - and it does feature a ghast population. And vampires. Yeah, this place can be dangerous...though the undead do try to put visitors at ease and ultimately convince them of their civilized nature.

The local undead do hunt for "feral undead" beyond the village's confines, though, as some research can unearth, we find out that locals have a hard time leaving the place...they are subject to a wasting disease until they return. As always, we do receive notes on appearance and dressing style, though this time around, we do not receive sample names. However, 6 rumors and events provide further adventuring potential, in case an eccentric vampire wizard seeking to synthesize artificial blood, a ghast-run manor-house-come-in. And yes, there are farms, courtesy of restricted daylight spells, a cathedral and the relative affluence is pretty much evident. It should be noted that the system-neutral version of this village replaces the settlement statblock and the magic item marketplace-section with a piece of artwork.

Speaking of farms, ghasts and vampires...know how the undead here require sustenance? Well, there is another type of farm. Yes, it includes the nightmarish combination of words "chemically" and "lobotomized." And yeah, any semblance of civility and culture here is skin-thick at best; sure, you don't eat intelligent people...but let's not talk about people made deliberately non-intelligent. Urgh. Similarly, the curse of the place has special conditions - ones that allow for semi-regular (once a decade) explorations beyond the confines of the place. After all, the place may have sucky weather - but there are so many distinguished people here! Have I mentioned that they sell magic mushrooms here?

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map, of which you can, as always, download high-res jpegs if you join RSP's patreon. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.

Mike Welham's Shroudhaven reminded me of the classic horror-movie/satire "Society", as seen through a feudal/pseudo-Victorian filter of decadence and manners. The write-ups of the NPCs themselves paint a sympathetic and even kind picture...and honestly, the horrific aspect here lies in the fact that shroudhaven may well be the kindest possible solution for the undead persons; so can you really blame them? Don't they have a right to exist? Beyond the veneer of polite society, beyond the horror that you can or cannot emphasize, shroudhaven is an uncommon village that generates questions and responses - whether it's finding shelter, a solution...or involves copious amounts of kindling and pitchforks.

This is an engaging village and an exercise in concise writing -while I have seen the angle been done before, I have never seen it done in this concise and unique a way, with a focus on the leitmotif of consumption - cultural and literal. The system-neutral version purges the respective references in a concise manner, though it should be noted that owning one iteration very much suffices: GMs that already have the PFRPG-version don't miss out on anything here. In the system-neutral version, I can't complain about wanting a mechanically-relevant curse, which is why my final verdict for the system-neutral version will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Shroudhaven System Neutral Edition
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