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20 Things #12: Slavers' Compound (System Neutral Edition)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/23/2017 06:01:43

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Raging Swan Press' system-neutral #20-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

All right, much like in the installment on creepy graveyards, we begin with minor events to spice up the game - a total of 8 such entries are provided and range from guttural laughter of bored (and drunk) guards to horribly disgusting smell leading to the slave pens...

Next up, in the tradition of the series, we get some fluff-only entries of slaves with a pronounced personality: These folks include a wizened sage, an mad guy who thinks he is the emperor of the world or a heavily-tattooed, blind seeress - white a few folks here that can use the PC's help...and who may well prove to become rewarding assets! Of course, a righteous, yet completely bloodthirsty and savage slave may be a potent ally...but can he be allowed to roam free? Can he be redeemed? Pretty cool!

Of course, there also are beings on the other side of the equation - and thus, 10 sample slavers with a personality would be next: From the clichéd, disgusting and thoroughly vile to the guilt-ridden man faced with an impossible choice, these guys are surprisingly nuanced: We have different justifications (or lack thereof) showcased here in a surprisingly versatile selection. Big kudos!

Next up would 20 entries of dungeon dressing tailor-suited for the compounds of slavers: These include, but are not limited to, whips and torture devices, bloody handprints on the wall, complex tally systems, various brands or treasures hidden from view - once again, an evocative and well-written page.

Finally, we'll take a look at what one can loot from the bodies of slavers: From crude and coiled rope used as a makeshift whip to meager coins, bone dice and other, grisly items associated with the trade, we end this pdf with a potentially inspiring and intriguing table here.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Additionally, the pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for the printer and one for screen-use - kudos for going the extra mile there!

Creighton Broadhurst knows his craft - it's simple as that. The chief of Raging Swan Press is a master of concise writing and manages to evoke a surprising sense of diversity and fun in his brief elaborations; the entries herein all have been lavishly hand-crafted to add dimension and hooks to a given environment. They also fit the theme perfectly and manage to achieve a sense of cohesion. In short: This is a great, fun dressing-pdf, well worth 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
20 Things #12: Slavers' Compound (System Neutral Edition)
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20 Things #11: Dark Caverns (System Neutral Edition)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/22/2017 12:02:50

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Raging Swan Press' system-neutral #20-series clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let's take a look!

All right, we begin this pdf with 10 different types of atypical caverns - these include massive stalactites generating the sound of rain atop pools, cracks from which unwholesome odors rise or rubble-covered collapses for an overall very evocative start, but there is more: A total of 10 uncommon encounters can be found as well: With e.g. the daemon Blight's Kiss, whose lair contains a thinning of the veil to the Abyss, where rotting souls spew forth in a vile, brown sludge...and the PCs may notice a purple worm ambushing them with a DC 25...wait a second! Yep, there are some remnants here, as this table represents the fluff-only version of the phenomenal encounters from Raging Swan Press' by now classic "Caves & Caverns"-supplement - which is btw. one of the best books the company released, even considering the impressive quality of RSP's canon! Still, avoidable glitch there.

Next up would be a collection of 10 legendary caves, which include Saldonator, the wandering cave, the legendary Deephold of the ylanic puzzle stone - and yes, these are truly inspiring and easily my favorite part of this pdf. A couple of the entries actually inspired me to use them ASAP! 12 natural hazards/terrain features, from crumbling escarpments to thick mud, can also be found within this pdf, providing several considerations to ponder regarding the precise make-up of your caves.

The 20 Pieces of Cavern Dressing & 10 notable cavern features table has been taken from "GM's Miscellany: 20 Things Volume I" and reproduced here - but is has also been stripped of the rules-relevant material in the original version, which means that those of you who want it system-neutral, get just that! The 20 Things to find in a purple worm's stomach table has similarly been reproduced here and stripped of errant crunch - kudos, in particular regarding the partial rewrites shown here!

The final page provides once again completely new content - 20 things to find in a subterranean river makes for a cool little table: From very low ceilings to precariously-balanced stepping stones and mineral-based discolorations, we get a rather cool collection of entries here.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Additionally, the pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for the printer and one for screen-use - kudos for going the extra mile there!

Creighton Broadhurst, David Posener and Alex Riggs know how to write great dressing, that's for sure. That being said, whether and how much of the material herein you'll consider useful is ultimately dependent on whether you already have the phenomenal "Caves & Caverns" and the similarly great "GM's Miscellany: 20 Things Volume I" - if you do own these two already, you'll have some duplicated content. Which would be less irksome, if all aspects had been purged of rules. While MOST have been properly converted, I nonetheless found the DC-reference in the encounters a bit annoying. In the end, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars - round up if you want system-neutral or don't have aforementioned books, round down otherwise. My official verdict will round up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
20 Things #11: Dark Caverns (System Neutral Edition)
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Dwellers Amid Bones Collector's Edition
by Electro Z. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/22/2017 06:59:37

Great side adventure or quest.

Nice one nighter to throw at the players. Give them some more experience, or perhaps as I did, add a few items of interest to bring them along to the next quest. All you need is there. I especially liked the detailed rules about fighting in water. The over burdened Cleric in the party didn't like it so much :).



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dwellers Amid Bones Collector's Edition
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20 Things #10: Creepy Graveyard (System Neutral Edition)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/17/2017 05:21:55

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Raging Swan Press' system-neutral #20-series clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look!

We begin this supplement with an emphasis of the "creepy" aspect promised in the title - namely, we receive a total of 8 different, system-neutral haunts - consider these to be slightly supernatural window-dressing. When e.g. the holy symbol on a local woman's grave splits right in the middle and worms pour forth, you know that you've found an intriguing place...and her crisis of faith prior to death...perhaps there is more to it. Et voilà - instant hook, as it should be!

The pdf continues with 10 different mourners that have distinct personalities: From a mischievous, orphaned boy to angry half-orcs, whose undirected anger towards a disease may easily spill over to those that interrupt has mourning to a half-elf maiden who had to watch her human mother perish to the ravages of time, these NPCs indeed feel evocative, interesting and unique.

The table of 10 things to find in an open grave from "GM's Miscellany: 20 Things Volume I" has been reproduced here as well, as has the table of 20 things to see in a graveyard, so you may experience some slight overlap. On the plus-side, both tables are pretty well-crafted. We do also get a total of 20 gravestone inscriptions and 20 rumors: These include, among other things, the strange occurrence of every night seeing a new gravestone split clean in half; there is a noble building, with undue haste, an opulent mausoleum...but why? And where did that unmarked mass-grave recently unearthed by a localized tremor come from? If you need to add a feeling of the weird, 4 strange sensations can add a personal touch here - from the feeling of being watched to a notion of vertigo...

10 atmospheric, strange sounds, from treebark clacking together to scraps of a conversation, can add further atmosphere to the proceedings. And finally, there would be no less than 20 uncommon mausoleums for your perusal: These can include ostensible ghosts (illusions that have become unreliable), mausoleums erected for pets or ones that glimmer in the moonlight...due to a sufficient amount of ectoplasmic slime seeping forth from it! Yeah, I'm just as sure as you are that nothing strange is bound to happen there...

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Additionally, the pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for the printer and one for screen-use - kudos for going the extra mile there! It should be noted that a nice b/W-artwork of a mausoleum takes up one of the pages of content.

Creighton Broadhurst, Jacob W. Michaels, Alex Riggs and David N. Ross deliver an atmospheric, diverse and fun dressing file here: If you need some material to make your dilapidated, eerie graveyard stand out more, then look no further! This is an inexpensive, fun little dressing booklet and well-worth getting. I would have loved to see a general consideration section here (Oddly shaped gravestones? Repercussions of different burial traditions?) but that's just me nitpicking - this is well worth 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
20 Things #10: Creepy Graveyard (System Neutral Edition)
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20 Things #9: Bustling Marketplace (System Neutral Edition)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/16/2017 05:45:25

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Raging Swan Press' system-neutral #20-series clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Okay, we begin with something I really appreciate - namely a contextualization, location-wise, of a marketplace - there is a reason for them being at one point or another, after all, and the pdf starts by providing 5 different suggestions - from dock and bridge to churches and ruins and the underground. While it may sound obvious, such a context adds quite a bit of depth to the proceedings, so big kudos there! It's also interesting to see how the explicit consideration here can already spark some ideas.

Next up would be 10 merchants with a personality - as befitting of the system-neutral line, we don't get statblocks or the like and instead focus on the respective merchants' personalities: From extremely vain and self-conscious haberdashers to alchemists skeptical of magic-over-dependence, these are actually winners with intriguing and memorable personalities.

Need some hooks? This pdf has got you covered: 20 deals too good to be true are just that: Too good to be true! From angry wizards looking for spell books to items acting as a beacon to the friends, galleons with press-ganged slaves - there is a catch in these and the respective issues are intriguing and diverse, ranging from the mundane to the magical.

We move on to 20 interesting stalls - and they truly deserve the "interesting" moniker - when, for example, a fat dwarf with a melted sugar and apple juices-dripping beard is carrying a ton of rotten caramel apples, when elven kids sell beaded talismans or when tall, impossibly gaunt humans sell "fresh" "animal organs", a prospective GM has his work cut out. Once again, we oscillate between the wondrous and mundane, between the potentially dark and whimsical. Big kudos!

If all of that does not yet suffice to kick the group into adventuring mode, it's quite possible that 20 rumors will do just that: Some of them pertain where to find rumor-mongers, while others speak about pickpockets, comment on certain people being charlatans, etc....or where to get magical tattoos from a savant halfling of the art. The direct follow-up would be yet another 20-entry-strong list of things you can see while exploring such a market-place: From bards hawking wares to wealthy women strolling past with their retinue, there are quite a few intriguing events - basically, you can just spring these upon your players and watch them interpret things...chances are, you'll have a hook on your hands!

We end this pdf with more notes to bear in mind when making a marketplace that feels alive - and a list of 20 general types of goods (with ample subtypes!) of things that may be for sale...and 10 brief characteristics for respective stalls to flesh them out on the fly.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Additionally, the pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for the printer and one for screen-use - kudos for going the extra mile there!

Creighton Broadhurst, Jeff Gomez and Alex Riggs deliver a humble, amazing pdf here: The hooks are well-crafted and flavorful, the respective NPCs evocative and the additional considerations go one step beyond, making this pdf a truly inspired little piece of dressing, guaranteed to enrich any game. 5 stars + seal of approval for this very impressive and well-made supplement.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
20 Things #9: Bustling Marketplace (System Neutral Edition)
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Subterranean Enclave: Flenheim
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/02/2017 03:19:52

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Raging Swan Press seriously underrated Subterranean Enclaves-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 6 pages of content, depicting this subterranean settlement, so what do we get here?

Well, in short, a nightmare for most. Flenheim is the home of derro, to be more precise, a tradition of derro fleshcrafters and as such, also the center of a growing slave market: The Collector's Lodge and Shadow Market beckon with their wares - the former with captives, the latter with exotic goods. The lore that knowledgeable PCs can rely upon is certainly helpful, but does not exactly create any notion of an enjoyable stay...and there is a reason for this.

Law and order, for example, are "maintained" by a Byzanthine schedule that alternates between able-bodied derro - who are not known for their sanity in the first place. The central authority of the settlement, an ancient derro, is basically impotent when compared to the factions that truly hold sway here...and here, things get dark...and wise PCs better listen to the 6 whispers and rumors to avoid being caught in the struggles of this settlement.

You see, beyond the worship of The Pure Form, a cult that is just as vile as the official religion here (worship of the tortured form, as opposed to the divinity creating it), there is more unrest fermenting within this flayed-looking enclave. (Yep, the derro take pride in applying slick substances to houses to make them look bloody....)

You see, from an abandoned dwarven fortress which may have a new master to a paladin looking for a captured lady, there is quite a bit going on behind the scenes, most notably a continuing vie for power between the "Improvers", the fleshcrafting guild of the derro magicians, and the Flenning academy that provides the name to the settlement.

"What's flenning?", you ask? Well, it's the "art" of generating melodies from the tortured screams of the derro's victims to create symphonies of macabre horror. It's basically more hardcore than black metal and the most vile and dissonant musical tradition you can imagine. (As an aside: Bands like Xasthur and other black metal bands that follow the "moans from beyond"-aesthetic may make for rather evocative background tracks when visiting Flenheim...just sayin'...) This tradition is ever-present within Flenheim - for the academy's network of brass and iron tubes reach even the remotest of locales herein, allowing master flenser Herath Syngler to affect derro throughout the settlement with his dread performances...an angle savvy PCs potentially can use...or suffer horribly from, depending on the needs of the GM...

As always, we get proper settlement stats, a magic marketplace, local nomenclature and appearance as well as 6 sample events to kick adventuring into a higher gear. The pdf also provides a sample statblock for the rotating derro guard at CR 3.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no hiccups. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes in two iterations, one of which is optimized for screen use and one that's refined for being printed out. The pdf has fitting b/w-artworks and the cartography of the enclave is done in excellent b/w by the esteemed Maciej Zagorski. I am pretty positive that backers of Raging Swan Press' patreon can get a high-res version of the settlement.

Brian Wiborg Mønster's Flenheim is nightmare fuel in the best of ways - a village of thoroughly vile and evil beings, indebted to a Silent Hill Otherworld-like/Hellraiser-esque aesthetic, which manages to create a horrific atmosphere without diving into territories that are too explicit: While horrific to look upon, the dark themes here never reach the level where they should cause problems at the gaming table. It also basically has a reason for an atmospheric, yet disturbing soundtrack built right into its very design - when handled properly by the GM, this can actually provide a big, big plus in atmosphere that's justified by the unique properties of the enclave. (Better yet, if the PCs can manage to gain control, the results can be HILARIOUS.) In short: This is a fantastic settlement with a ton of adventuring potential. Easily worth the more than fair asking price and a final verdict of 5 stars plus seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Subterranean Enclave: Flenheim
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Village Backdrop: Bleakflat
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/15/2017 06:08:33

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!

Bleakflat! What a name. I have rarely read a village with a name that evoked desolation quite to the extent as this does, so from a nomenclature angle, we're off to a good start. From barren soil rises a rocky bluff far from any dungeons, ley lines, trade routes, or, yes, reasons to traverse the desolate waste. And the leitmotif carries over to the local populace, who, with relatively listless gait, slurp watery mutton soups in silence. Bereft of special talents, armed forces or the like, one cannot help but wonder how the local population manages to fend off the wolves and giant bats that seem to have no compunctions about attacking travelers. Well, the reason is as easily evident as the expert roleplayer may have guessed: The warm and welcoming mayor is actually a vampire who tends to "his" humans as a benevolent farmer would...but relations tend to become strained when his elitist dhampir daughter (ironically, more despicable than her full-blown undead father...) and her treatment of the humans are concerned...and when he has undead guests, they don't always behave.

The settlement does feature a proper settlement statblock and comes with a nice little marketplace section as well as the classic notes for villager appearances, dresses and nomenclature. As always, we receive 6 whispers and rumors that help keep the PCs on their toes/drive along proceedings and village lore. Cartography is provided by the expert skills of Maciej Zagorski. Notable locations include various families and their interaction with their semi-kinda-benevolent vampire overlord, the blood baths...oh, and the bleakwood, where the vampires sometimes hunt for the thrill and sport of the chase. Yeah. They're vampires. What did you expect? Sparkling? Anyways, the pdf sports some seriously nice b/w-artworks of the dilapidated hovels and is supported by no less than 6 sample events to kick adventuring into high gear if the PCs start to idle. The pdf remarks "Aldrich hopes this is just a phase." This sentence, usually connotated with parents talking about their goth/punk/whatever kids perfectly exemplifies the mindset of the master of this place and really made me smile. Oh, and obviously, horses are not used for riding round here - they are food for the roaming giant bats...

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' Bleakflat is interesting in that its theme of decrepitude is supplemented by a leitmotif of conflict between generations and a bit of social commentary, if you're inclined to read that into the supplement: The population needs their master to survive, but at the same time is slowly destroyed by him. Sounds pretty much like dominant employers in remote communities everywhere to me. Anyways, the settlement is nice, has some thematically consistent angles and can go in several ways, depending on the morality of the PCs and how the GM elects to depict the situation - from full-blown horror to shades of grey "lesser of evils"-gameplay, there is a lot of potential here. Now granted, I would have loved some unique mechanics for the blood baths...but hey, can't have everything, I guess. As a whole, this is a nice, fun village and well worth a final verdict of 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Bleakflat
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Village Backdrop: Bleakflat System Neutral Edition
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/15/2017 06:07:21

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!

Bleakflat! What a name. I have rarely read a village with a name that evoked desolation quite to the extent as this does, so from a nomenclature angle, we're off to a good start. From barren soil rises a rocky bluff far from any dungeons, ley lines, trade routes, or, yes, reasons to traverse the desolate waste. And the leitmotif carries over to the local populace, who, with relatively listless gait, slurp watery mutton soups in silence.

Bereft of special talents, armed forces or the like, one cannot help but wonder how the local population manages to fend off the wolves and giant bats that seem to have no compunctions about attacking travelers. Well, the reason is as easily evident as the expert roleplayer may have guessed: The warm and welcoming mayor is actually a vampire who tends to "his" humans as a benevolent farmer would...but relations tend to become strained when his elitist dhampir daughter (ironically, more despicable than her full-blown undead father...) and her treatment of the humans are concerned...and when he has undead guests, they don't always behave.

The settlement does feature notes pertaining to the demographics and comes with a nice little selection of classic notes for villager appearances, dresses and nomenclature. As always, we receive 6 whispers and rumors that help keep the PCs on their toes/drive along proceedings and village lore. Cartography is provided by the expert skills of Maciej Zagorski. Notable locations include various families and their interaction with their semi-kinda-benevolent vampire overlord, the blood baths...oh, and the bleakwood, where the vampires sometimes hunt for the thrill and sport of the chase.

Yeah. They're vampires. What did you expect? Sparkling? Anyways, the pdf sports some seriously nice b/w-artworks of the dilapidated hovels and is supported by no less than 6 sample events to kick adventuring into high gear if the PCs start to idle. There is even a bit of humor here: One notable NPC was granted paladin powers. The pdf remarks "Aldrich hopes this is just a phase." This sentence, usually connotated with parents talking about their goth/punk/whatever kids perfectly exemplifies the mindset of the master of this place and really made me smile. Oh, and obviously, horses are not used for riding round here - they are food for the roaming giant bats...

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' Bleakflat is interesting in that its theme of decrepitude is supplemented by a leitmotif of conflict between generations and a bit of social commentary, if you're inclined to read that into the supplement: The population needs their master to survive, but at the same time is slowly destroyed by him. Sounds pretty much like dominant employers in remote communities everywhere to me. Anyways, the settlement is nice, has some thematically consistent angles and can go in several ways, depending on the morality of the PCs and how the GM elects to depict the situation - from full-blown horror to shades of grey "lesser of evils"-gameplay, there is a lot of potential here. The system neutral pdf loses exactly nothing in comparison to the PFRPG-iteration, which is a big plus as far as I'm concerned. As a whole, this is a nice, fun village and well worth a final verdict of 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Bleakflat System Neutral Edition
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Village Backdrop: Bleakflat (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/15/2017 06:05:00

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!

Bleakflat! What a name. I have rarely read a village with a name that evoked desolation quite to the extent as this does, so from a nomenclature angle, we're off to a good start. From barren soil rises a rocky bluff far from any dungeons, ley lines, trade routes, or, yes, reasons to traverse the desolate waste. And the leitmotif carries over to the local populace, who, with relatively listless gait, slurp watery mutton soups in silence. Bereft of special talents, armed forces or the like, one cannot help but wonder how the local population manages to fend off the wolves and giant bats that seem to have no compunctions about attacking travelers. Well, the reason is as easily evident as the expert roleplayer may have guessed: The warm and welcoming mayor is actually a vampire who tends to "his" humans as a benevolent farmer would...but relations tend to become strained when his elitist dhampir daughter (ironically, more despicable than her full-blown undead father...) and her treatment of the humans are concerned...and when he has undead guests, they don't always behave.

The settlement does feature information about the settlement demographics, but does not come with a unique 5e-marketplace or something like that. It does feature the classic notes for villager appearances, dresses and nomenclature. As always, we receive 6 whispers and rumors that help keep the PCs on their toes/drive along proceedings and village lore. Cartography is provided by the expert skills of Maciej Zagorski.

The notable locations include various families and their interaction with their semi-kinda-benevolent vampire overlord, the blood baths...oh, and the bleakwood, where the vampires sometimes hunt for the thrill and sport of the chase. Yeah. They're vampires. What did you expect? Sparkling? Anyways, the pdf sports some seriously nice b/w-artworks of the dilapidated hovels and is supported by no less than 6 sample events to kick adventuring into high gear if the PCs start to idle.

The pdf remarks "Aldrich hopes this is just a phase." This sentence, usually connotated with parents talking about their goth/punk/whatever kids perfectly exemplifies the mindset of the master of this place and really made me smile. Oh, and obviously, horses are not used for riding round here - they are food for the roaming giant bats...

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' Bleakflat is interesting in that its theme of decrepitude is supplemented by a leitmotif of conflict between generations and a bit of social commentary, if you're inclined to read that into the supplement: The population needs their master to survive, but at the same time is slowly destroyed by him. Sounds pretty much like dominant employers in remote communities everywhere to me. Anyways, the settlement is nice, has some thematically consistent angles and can go in several ways, depending on the morality of the PCs and how the GM elects to depict the situation - from full-blown horror to shades of grey "lesser of evils"-gameplay, there is a lot of potential here. Now granted, I would have loved some unique mechanics for the blood baths or some variant regional effects for the vicinity of the vampire lair here...but hey, can't have everything, I guess. As a whole, this is a nice, fun village that does not lose much in translation and thus, is well worth a final verdict of 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Bleakflat (5e)
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Gloamhold Campaign Guide
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/06/2017 04:27:25

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This campaign guide clocks in at 60 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 52 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This review was moved up in my review-queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patreons.

So, this would be a new regional sourcebook by Raging Swan Press, but of a different kind than what you've seen before in the Lonely Coast. Beyond the obvious scope that is evident from the page-count, the focus is different - you see, Gloamhold is very much a mega-dungeon sourcebook, but it is not one that, in presentation, would be akin to how one usually encounters these. This is not a depiction of a room-by-room dungeon; it is a sourcebook depicting the mega-dungeon in its entirety, a kind of gazetteer, if you will.

A mega-dungeon does not exist in a vacuum; in the case of Gloamhold, it is firmly situated in the duchy of Ashlar, which is represented in a lavishly-illustrated isometric map that is downright gorgeous to behold, and it does actually supplement a more regular map. Duchy of Ashlar? Sounds familiar? There is a reason for that. Raging Swan Press fans and veterans with realize that Dunstone, Ashford, Wellswood, Hard Bay, Greystone and Thornhill, for example, can be found in this region - this, you actually are rewarded for keeping true to Raging Swan Press' offerings, which is a big, big plus! And no, if you do not have these supplements, you won't lose out.

You see, the pdf does feature a significant assortment of information on the duchy - from trade and industry to the respective regions, its ancient history and notable locations and NPCs. These NPCs contain brief notes on the suggested classes they may have, providing a general idea of their power-level without compromising the system neutral nature. The regional information also features an assortment of 12 rumours.

In this section, beyond contextualizing the villages, we also receive a significant assortment of adventure sites beyond the complex of Gloamhold. It is here, we learn about the cavern of the forbidden dreams, where unspeakable rites are performed; the shunned valley of the adventure's fame beckons as a great starting point. Close to Coldwater, the sunken stair beckons and the shadowed keep, also known as Valentin's Folly, indeed does offer for yet another easy synergy you can employ to start running the material. Have I mentioned the forlorn dwarven hold of Vorngyth or the fact that the core races come with notes on their representations as well as sample male and female names and similarly, the classic classes and their roles within Ashlar are similarly included. Finally, the section also sports an assortment of 6 different deities commonly worshiped overtly and covertly.

Okay, so beyond the amazing and interesting region, what are the design-paradigms of the pdf that set it apart? Well, if you're a veteran of Raging Swan Press, the following will not surprise you - this is, in aesthetics, very much an old-school book. This does mean that the tone is down-to-earth; that not every room has to have a perfectly balanced encounter. Show, don't tell, resource management, having players map and using brains instead of just rolling the bones - the pdf's design aesthetics make use of the best the old school has to offer. Similarly, magic items are not lying around on every corner. At the same time, the book is very much a champion of fairness - a vastly underestimated component that more than one old-school offering forgets. Hard and difficult modules are great; unfair modules are not. beyond that, it should come as no surprise that this is extremely detailed, but not to the point where it gets lost in minutiae.

As for the complex, we have wandering monsters; we have strong leitmotifs and the classic descent-motive: The deeper you go, the higher the risks, but also the greater the rewards will inevitably be. There will be sub-levels, multiple connections between the levels and all should make sense - though realism should similarly not be over-exerted. If you need a tone, think about the non-over-the-top aspects of Greyhawk - gritty, down to earth adventuring. There are dark fantasy/horror elements, but they are not the central leitmotifs. Another important aspect would pertain a relevant and discoverable backstory and the way in which it's presented - there is no exposition-dump and instead, we get the infinitely harder indirect storytelling which works via details, via context.

So that's what you can expect regarding the theme. And yes, these aspects are actually explained in detail to the respective GM. The pdf goes further than most dungeons in how it is presented to the reader; we have an established theme for the dungeon and it is designed as an internally consistent location that is designed to be able to carry a full campaign. The pdf does mention how to run the campaign for both experienced and new players and what to expect of a sandbox style gameplay. The book also provides a series of considerations/hooks to prompt the PCs to go down into Gloamhold; similarly, motivations for going into the complex are included alongside a significant and wide array of reasons to adventure, including hidden motivations.

The complex itself is detailed in a rather impressive manner, including temperature in both °C and °F (THANK YOU), water temperature, ceiling heights etc. This presents a baisc level of detail to fall back on - but the pdf goes one step further and introduces quite a bunch of tricks to generate the illusion of detail. Better yet, we also get unique 2d20 tables for minor events to generate an organic feeling, with a table of the same size providing a dressing table. Now this is a campaign guide - and NOT, let me emphasize that, a fully depicted room-by-room mega-dungeon (though that should have been obvious from the get-go).

What this instead represents is a toolkit, which sports, beyond the copious material mentioned before, 20 sample room and corridor descriptions, 3 detailed adventuring bands (fluff only, obviously) and a whole generator for making wandering monsters actually make sense: This would present agendas for wandering monsters, making a distinction between explorers, organized denizens and scavengers, etc. - as a whole, the presentation of these sections can be considered to be an amazing boon for GMs, not only those that intend to use Gloamhold.

Now, I've been postponing for quite a while talking about the details of the complex of Gloamhold - and that is due to multiple reasons: For one, the complex is VAST. I mean it. Atop a mountain lies the tower colloquially known as the shard, and below it, no less than 5 levels of Rivengate lie next to both the shard's cellars and the splintered stair. Below even that, one can find the twisted warrens, the murkwater, the three sisters and the twilight city - and an amazing side-view map that screams "make me a PoD-poster-map" can be found - gorgeous and impressive . And I haven't even yet mentioned the Pens or the aptly-named breathless narrows.

Hard Bay as a base receives its basic coverage, enough to yield sufficient detail, but not enough to make the detailed pdf redundant; Similarly, Greystone is included in just such a way.

The respective environments of the dungeon then proceed to receive gazetteer-like sections that include notes on lore as well as whispers and rumors. From the dilapidated ruins of the ghost tower, we move into the depths of the erstwhile defenses of the twilight city, the Rivengate - mystery to most, where grand stone landings, cracked with age once saw the steady stream of slaves and loot shuffle hopelessly past the flagstones. Here, twisted pillars adorned with intricate and disturbing designs can be found among the aptly named "Echoes"; here, the slave pens can be found and sinkwebs hunt - semi-sentient strands of animated spidersilk, death comes silently in these places.

Below even these haunted halls, there lie the foam-flecked waters of the murkwater, whose remorseless tides are responsible for many a wet grave for those daring to navigate its depth; it is here that half-sunken wrecks beckon with promises of loot and doom and it is here that the fane of bones may be found...and beyond this place, the three sisters, stone locks that regulate the flow of water to the realms beyond, have seen few surface-dwellers pass their gates voluntarily...

Within the labyrinthine depths of the twisted warrens, Codath's Mine lies waiting, while black pits and the sepulchre of the afflicted one lurk within; the strange tribes that inhabit these tunnels, though, are not kind o those that brave these twisting tunnels. Worse yet and probably close to the apex of deadliness, the aptly-named breathless narrows are mostly flooded and only the unlucky and brave (or foolish) dare tread; the glimmering grotto (of despair) bespeak of the horrid fate of those that fell here...and within the murky waters, albino eels are ever hungry for new meat...

The fallen twilight city, now home to the degenerate troglodytes, hosts a lot of majestic ziggurats and bespeaks of ancient cultures once lost, allowing for a lethal environment with its very own politics, one that breathes the spirit of Clark Ashton Smith or R.E. Howard, with the whispering fane concealing the daemonic maw, a magical and strange sinkhole of unknown depths that may conceal even worse... and beyond the Screaming gate, the Ebon Road and the underworld beckon, presenting a subterranean frontier that can yield untold adventures beyond the regions covered herein.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant hiccups. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' two-column b/w-standard and the pdf sports a LOT of amazing, gorgeous b/w-artworks and the cartography, with side-views and gorgeous overview maps, is phenomenal and up to the highest quality standards. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience with nested bookmarks galore. Additionally, the pdf comes in two versions, with one optimized for the printer and one for screen-use. Kudos!

Creighton Broadhurst is a true master of concise writing: The sheer attention to detail and evocative concepts evoked within these pages is amazing. Via a scant few words, he manages to conjure up the weight of aeons, the gravity of history grinding down the accomplishments of bygone eras. If anything, this, to me, feels like the design-incarnation of the old Ozymandias-sonnet. The sense of an ancient world waiting to be explored, of untold stories long gone, the sense of antiquity that is so incredibly hard to convey - Creighton nails it absolutely perfectly. Gloamhold is a ruin; it is a place where the world has moved on; it is not a deserted remnant, though. Instead, this book provides a toolkit to make the overall complex your own; it establishes the tone and themes of the complex perfectly and provides a wide array of diverging challenges you can start pondering, as the complex and its depths beckons.

This does FEEL like an old-school dungeon in the best of ways, exemplifying the virtues of old-school, while not shying away from the advancements made within the gaming-world. In short: This is an amazing sourcebook for the complex; it has me rather stoked to explore the premises and the Ashlar's wilderness and promises to be an excellent representation of what a mega-dungeon could and should deliver. I should also mention that this is a great read. I am not kidding when I'm saying that I actually had fun reading this book, and when you're reading as much RPG-material as I do, that's not an occurrence you'll feel daily anymore. In short: This is amazing. Support it. Get it. I can't wait for more Gloamhold. 5 stars + seal of approval. If you've been looking for that traditional, old-school, Greyhawk-ish style (not Castle Greyhawk - the setting!), then this will have you smile from ear to ear.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gloamhold Campaign Guide
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Village Backdrop: Lanthorn (SNE)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/23/2017 05:16:06

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!

Lanthorn is a peculiar settlement - named for the magical lanterns set atop its gates, the perpetually-shrouded village is situated under a massive overhang in Kuldor Pass, where winters are long and cruel and summers but brief. Heavily defended and fortified, the settlement controls traffic through the pass and represents a gateway to the untamed wilderness beyond. Governed by a conclave of powerful wizards with an economy fueled by adventurers and fortune-seekers commissioning magic items, the village also is home to a thoroughly atypical tribe of matriarchal goblins the Flaming Skull tribe, who also act as the village's miners, digging strange and potent metals from the earth for their eldritch masters. These goblins have also found a pool of bubbling, highly volatile liquid deep within the mines, which helps against the ever-present threat of trolls...which seem to be drawn to the mines in an inexplicable compulsion.

Indeed, the theme of a city under siege and goblin propensity towards lighting foes ablaze both are represented well in the depiction of the unique settlement, making it feel very much unique - and yes, the alliance between the grand conclave of sublime artificers and the flaming skull has resulted in almost all shops being owned by goblins...so while healing services can be found, they often boil down to experimental surgery and cauterization and food...well. Let's just say that it's available. Half-orcs seem to also be viable business owners here, lending a martial and somewhat rough-and-tumble edge to the settlement, while at the same emphasizing arcane sophistication in a weird, yet compelling blending of themes. It should come as no surprise that goblins are pretty keen on making lots of wands of fireball in a place where some families actually have a troll-baiting and - burning history.

From a rules-relevant perspective, we get the proper pieces of information regarding the settlement's demographics and the classic market-place section is similarly included and properly modified to represent the classic gaming systems. Kudos for not simply cutting that one - the custom result really is appropriate for the settlement!! On a slight nitpick, most OSR-systems I know call the arcane caster class magic-user, not wizard, but that ultimately is just a cosmetic complaint. Prices of food and accommodation can be found for the respective establishments and, as always, 6 whispers and rumours have been included as red herrings/adventure seeds to further develop or ignore. The pdf also includes the classic sections of lore that PCs may be familiar with and a total of 6 events that the GM can use to further kickstart adventuring, should the PCs dawdle. As a minor complaint, the second entry reads "As #2, but this merchant caravan..." - that should be "As #1...".

Life in Lanthorn is surprisingly ordered and peaceful and nomenclature is provided in the settlement's demographics-section, though no general dressing habits and the like are included this time around. On the criticism side, the pdf does offer some truly tantalizing concepts: You see, the magical lanterns of the place are rumored to be sentient and seem to exhibit fiery, destructive capabilities and this being the system-neutral version, I can't well complain about a lack of stats for them. Similarly, I won't complain on the slightly opaque explosive oil stats that does "double fire damage" contained herein, at least not in this version. On the plus-side, the village does offer something amazing: Beyond the well-done standard map, we also get a lavishly-illustrated side-view-version of the village in b/w - big kudos for this very evocative piece.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches beyond aforementioned minor hiccup in the event table. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map by Maciej Zagorski, 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.

Creighton Broadhurst's Lanthorn is one absolutely AMAZING settlement. I adore this place. The explanation of the atypical nature of the Flameskulls and the old-school-marketplace-section are certainly appreciated. The place's visual representation is glorious and the threat of trolls serious enough to warrant magical laser-lanterns. (At least that's how I picture them.) In short - this pdf has it all - Lanthorn is a fantastic village and, for me as a person, one of the coolest in the whole product line. In the system-neutral version, I can't really complain about a lack of precise stats for some of the unique features sported by the village. Thus, I consider the system-neutral version, for its intents and demographics, to be the best of the 3 versions - and worthy of 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Lanthorn (SNE)
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Village Backdrop: Lanthorn (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/23/2017 05:14:17

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!

Lanthorn is a peculiar settlement - named for the magical lanterns set atop its gates, the perpetually-shrouded village is situated under a massive overhang in Kuldor Pass, where winters are long and cruel and summers but brief. Heavily defended and fortified, the settlement controls traffic through the pass and represents a gateway to the untamed wilderness beyond. Governed by a conclave of powerful wizards with an economy fueled by adventurers and fortune-seekers commissioning magic items, the village also is home to a thoroughly atypical tribe of matriarchal goblins the Flaming Skull tribe, who also act as the village's miners, digging strange and potent metals from the earth for their eldritch masters. These goblins have also found a pool of bubbling, highly volatile liquid deep within the mines, which helps against the ever-present threat of trolls...which seem to be drawn to the mines in an inexplicable compulsion.

Indeed, the theme of a city under siege and goblin propensity towards lighting foes ablaze both are represented well in the depiction of the unique settlement, making it feel very much unique - and yes, the alliance between the grand conclave of sublime artificers and the flaming skull has resulted in almost all shops being owned by goblins...so while healing services can be found, they often boil down to experimental surgery and cauterization and food...well. Let's just say that it's available. Half-orcs seem to also be viable business owners here, lending a martial and somewhat rough-and-tumble edge to the settlement, while at the same emphasizing arcane sophistication in a weird, yet compelling blending of themes. It should come as no surprise that goblins are pretty keen on making lots of wands of fireball in a place where some families actually have a troll-baiting and - burning history.

From a rules-relevant perspective, we get the proper pieces of information regarding the settlement's demographics and the classic market-place section is similarly included and properly modified to represent 5e's stance on magic items. Kudos for not simply cutting that one - the custom result really is appropriate for the settlement!! Prices of food and accommodation can be found for the respective establishments and, as always, 6 whispers and rumours have been included as red herrings/adventure seeds to further develop or ignore. The pdf also includes the classic sections of lore that PCs may be familiar with and a total of 6 events that the GM can use to further kickstart adventuring, should the PCs dawdle. As a minor complaint, the second entry reads "As #2, but this merchant caravan..." - that should be "As #1...".

Life in Lanthorn is surprisingly ordered and peaceful and nomenclature is provided in the settlement's demographics-section, though no general dressing habits and the like are included this time around. On the criticism side, the pdf does offer some truly tantalizing concepts: You see, the magical lanterns of the place are rumored to be sentient and seem to exhibit fiery, destructive capabilities - that we don't get siege weapon/magic device stats for them is somewhat a lost chance. Similarly, aforementioned volatile troll-exploding liquid would have deserved proper alchemical stats as far as I'm concerned. The marketplace just notes double fire damage...double of what? On the plus-side, the village does offer something amazing: Beyond the well-done standard map, we also get a lavishly-illustrated side-view-version of the village in b/w - big kudos for this very evocative piece.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches beyond aforementioned minor hiccup in the event table. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map by Maciej Zagorski, 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.

Creighton Broadhurst's Lanthorn is one absolutely AMAZING settlement. I adore this place. The explanation of the atypical nature of the Flameskulls and the 5e-marketplace-section are certainly appreciated. The place's visual representation is glorious and the threat of trolls serious enough to warrant magical laser-lanterns. (At least that's how I picture them.) In short - this pdf has it all - Lanthorn is a fantastic village and, for me as a person, one of the coolest in the whole product line. At the same time, I was slightly disappointed by the lack of mechanical stats for the eponymous lanterns and the killer-troll-burn liquid, which are obvious key components of the village. Sure, a GM could handwave those...but having precise stats for them would have been the icing on the cake, at least for me. Hence, the 5e-version is equal to the PFRPG-version in what it offers and lacks and misses my seal of approval by a small margin, making the pdf clock in at 5 stars. Good step up for the 5e-village backdrops!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Lanthorn (5e)
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Village Backdrop: Lanthorn
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/23/2017 05:10:40

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!

Lanthorn is a peculiar settlement - named for the magical lanterns set atop its gates, the perpetually-shrouded village is situated under a massive overhang in Kuldor Pass, where winters are long and cruel and summers but brief. Heavily defended and fortified, the settlement controls traffic through the pass and represents a gateway to the untamed wilderness beyond. Governed by a conclave of powerful wizards with an economy fueled by adventurers and fortune-seekers commissioning magic items, the village also is home to a thoroughly atypical tribe of matriarchal goblins the Flaming Skull tribe, who also act as the village's miners, digging strange and potent metals from the earth for their eldritch masters. These goblins have also found a pool of bubbling, highly volatile liquid deep within the mines, which helps against the ever-present threat of trolls...which seem to be drawn to the mines in an inexplicable compulsion.

Indeed, the theme of a city under siege and goblin propensity towards lighting foes ablaze both are represented well in the depiction of the unique settlement, making it feel very much unique - and yes, the alliance between the grand conclave of sublime artificers and the flaming skull has resulted in almost all shops being owned by goblins...so while healing services can be found, they often boil down to experimental surgery and cauterization and food...well. Let's just say that it's available. Half-orcs seem to also be viable business owners here, lending a martial and somewhat rough-and-tumble edge to the settlement, while at the same emphasizing arcane sophistication in a weird, yet compelling blending of themes. It should come as no surprise that goblins are pretty keen on making lots of wands of fireball in a place where some families actually have a troll-baiting and - burning history.

From a rules-relevant perspective, we get the proper pieces of information regarding the settlement's stats and the classic market-place section is similarly included. The settlement's stats make use of the under siege property, which has been included for your convenience. Prices of food and accommodation can be found for the respective establishments and, as always 6 whispers and rumours have been included as red herrings/adventure seeds. The pdf also includes the classic sections of lore that PCs may be familiar with and a total of 6 events that the GM can use to further kickstart adventuring, should the PCs dawdle. As a minor complaint, the second entry reads "As #2, but this merchant caravan..." - that should be "As #1...".

Life in Lanthorn is surprisingly ordered and peaceful and nomenclature is provided in the settlement statblock, though no general dressing habits and the like are included this time around. On the criticism side, the pdf does offer some truly tantalizing concepts: You see, the magical lanterns of the place are rumored to be sentient and seem to exhibit fiery, destructive capabilities - that we don't get siege weapon/magic device stats for them is somewhat a lost chance. Similarly, aforementioned volatile troll-exploding liquid would have deserved proper alchemical stats as far as I'm concerned: The marketplace just notes double fire damage...double of what? On the plus-side, the village does offer something amazing: Beyond the well-done standard map, we also get a lavishly-illustrated side-view-version of the village in b/w - big kudos for this very evocative piece.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches beyond aforementioned minor hiccup in the event table. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map by Maciej Zagorski, 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.

Creighton Broadhurst's Lanthorn is one absolutely AMAZING settlement. I adore this place. The explanation of the atypical nature of the Flameskulls makes the tribe work even in the context of PFRPG's re-envisioned and modified goblins. The place's visual representation is glorious and the threat of trolls serious enough to warrant magical laser-lanterns. (At least that's how I picture them.) In short - this pdf has it all - Lanthorn is a fantastic village and, for me as a person, one of the coolest in the whole product line. At the same time, I was slightly disappointed by the lack of mechanical stats for the eponymous lanterns and the killer-troll-burn liquid, which are obvious key components of the village. Sure, a GM could handwave those...but having precise stats for them would have been the icing on the cake, at least for me. Hence, the Pathfinder-version misses my seal of approval by a small margin, making the pdf clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Lanthorn
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Treasures & Trinkets: Gemstones & Art Objects (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/20/2017 05:28:31

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Treasures & Trinkets-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page editorial/ToC, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Now treasure is not and should not be equal to other treasure. From strange pictures to sculptures and elaborate tobacco pouches, there are a lot of objects to which value can be ascribed. As such, the pdf goes a different route than one would expect - the first 3 tables, each of which is 20 entries strong and lists sample pieces of art, from black pottery vases to wall mirrors and rugs of white gorilla fur. These cover a lot of ground, but unlike many dressing files, they actually are governed by general price - 25 gp, 250 gp and 750 gp values each have their own table and the pdf actually lists Intelligence-check based DCs to properly determine the gp values of the objects, with the DCs scaling. The art objects worth 2500 gp and 7500 gp also get their own tables, each of which are btw. 10 entries strong.

Really cool - there is a mini-table of value modifiers - 4 different results on that table can yield worse or better prices for the objects, allowing you to get even more out of the material herein. So, the art aspect works pretty well - then what about those gemstones?

Well, first, we receive a small glossary of up to 4 different gem types - from translucent to opaque, the respective categories are clearly defined. We begin with two d12-entry-strong tables of the least valuable stones, gaining a d10-table for those worth 100 gp, a d6 table for gems worth 500 gp, a d8-table for gems worth 1000 gp and finally, a 4-entry-strong table of gems worth 5K gp...though that table is erroneously headed by a d6 instead of a d4 in a minor hiccup. And before you ask - yep, we do receive Intelligence DCs to evaluate these as well. The different qualities of gemstone allow for an even more detailed modification of base prices via a d10-table, once again getting more mileage out of every single entry.

The pdf does go on step beyond all of these, though: On the last pages, reputedly magical effects of gemstones that may or may not be true can be found and add a nice sense of magic and cohesion to the subject matter. Additionally, there is a final table that consists of two parts, both of which are 12 entries long: The first lets you determine a special property for the gemstone, while the second presents a complication and/or opportunity: From significant sizes to strange cuts and mystical glowing, the special appearances are nice - and from trapped adventurers to fakes or acting as keys, the latter similarly are interesting.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant hiccups. Layout adheres to RagingS wan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standards with nice b/w-artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and in two versions - one optimized for screen-use and one that has been optimized for the printer- kudos!

Richard Green's Treasures & Trinkets - installment regarding art and gems is an inspired little dressing file: With a bit of crunch, solid modifiers and well-crafted, diverse tables, the pdf is ready to use in any 5e-game and features enough system-relevant bits to make use as comfortable as possible. The entries include the mundane and fantastic and the modifiers allow you to really squeeze dry this pdf. In short: This is very much worth the low and fair asking price and should be considered to be a great little addition to a GM's arsenal. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Treasures & Trinkets: Gemstones & Art Objects (5e)
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Treasures & Trinkets: Gemstones & Art Objects (SNE)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/20/2017 05:26:31

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Treasures & Trinkets-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page editorial/ToC, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Now treasure is not and should not be equal to other treasure. From strange pictures to sculptures and elaborate tobacco pouches, there are a lot of objects to which value can be ascribed. As such, the pdf goes a different route than one would expect - the first 3 tables, each of which is 20 entries strong and lists sample pieces of art, from black pottery vases to wall mirrors and rugs of white gorilla fur. These cover a lot of ground, but unlike many dressing files, they actually are governed by general price - 25 gp, 250 gp and 750 gp values each have their own table. The art objects worth 2500 gp and 7500 gp also get their own tables, each of which are btw. 10 entries strong.

Really cool - there is a mini-table of value modifiers - 4 different results on that table can yield worse or better prices for the objects, allowing you to get even more out of the material herein. So, the art aspect works pretty well - then what about those gemstones?

Well, first, we receive a small glossary of up to 4 different gem types - from translucent to opaque, the respective categories are clearly defined. We begin with two d12-entry-strong tables of the least valuable stones, gaining a d10-table for those worth 100 gp, a d6 table for gems worth 500 gp, a d8-table for gems worth 1000 gp and finally, a 4-entry-strong table of gems worth 5K gp...though that table is erroneously headed by a d6 instead of a d4 in a minor hiccup. The different qualities of gemstone allow for an even more detailed modification of base prices via a d10-table, once again getting more mileage out of every single entry.

The pdf does go on step beyond all of these, though: On the last pages, reputedly magical effects of gemstones that may or may not be true can be found and add a nice sense of magic and cohesion to the subject matter. Additionally, there is a final table that consists of two parts, both of which are 12 entries long: The first lets you determine a special property for the gemstone, while the second presents a complication and/or opportunity: From significant sizes to strange cuts and mystical glowing, the special appearances are nice - and from trapped adventurers to fakes or acting as keys, the latter similarly are interesting.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant hiccups. Layout adheres to RagingS wan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standards with nice b/w-artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and in two versions - one optimized for screen-use and one that has been optimized for the printer- kudos!

Richard Green's Treasures & Trinkets - installment regarding art and gems is an inspired little dressing file - that holds true in the system-neutral version as well. This is basically identical to the 5e-version, with only the evaluating DCs to determine the prices purged. This is not bad, mind you - the resulting pdf still provides a ton of mileage, but I couldn't help but wonder is some sort of additional option for the system-neutral version wouldn't have been prudent here. If you're playing both 5e and OSR material, you may thus want to go for the 5e-version; if, however, you absolutely loathe system-relevant material...well, then this one if the file to go for. For me, this iteration has a tiny bit less to offer, which is why it will "only" receive a final verdict of 5 stars - this pdf still very much represents a fantastic offering for the price-point, though.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Treasures & Trinkets: Gemstones & Art Objects (SNE)
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