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Vacant Ritual Assembly #2 $2.00
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Vacant Ritual Assembly #2
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Vacant Ritual Assembly #2
Publisher: Red Moon Medicine Show
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/19/2018 08:34:19

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second installment of the Vacant Ritual Assembly ’zine clocks in at 24 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages editorial/introduction/suggested reading/listening/watching, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 19 pages of content, laid out in 6’’ by 9’’ (A5), so let’s take a look!

As before, the rules assumed here regarding OSR-system employed would be LotFP. As such, it is intended for mature audiences and has a weird/dark fantasy vibe. The pdf sports vulgarity, if you mind the like.

The pdf’s proper content begins with a d66 table of names, with male, female and family-name column provided, and family names focusing on a somewhat English/French-style: Chamberlain and d’Aguillon, for example. This is followed by a nice, painless page that depicts the different, classic zodiac signs, assigning a +1 ability score bonus and suggesting personality traits for the signs. Solid, if not exactly mind-blowing so far.

This changes immediately on the next pages: On a two-page spread, we get a top-tier, gorgeous isometric b/w-map of the forlorn fishing village Dretcher’s Bay. Seriously, I was utterly flabbergasted to see a map of this quality in a humble fanzine, and the map is annotated in a player-friendly, key-less style, thus not breaking immersion. Led by three crabber captains (who come with mugshots on the lower border of the page), the place is pretty miserable, but ties seamlessly into the next article, on carcinology, where the naturalist living in Dretcher’s Bay shares his observations on the local bell crabs and highlights the costly sea coat. And yes, aforementioned Bell Crabs get monster stats. Oh, and there is the issue of the nephropids, lobster-like humanoids that live on a nearby island, making for a further complication for the region. Scratchy pencil-artworks add an illusion of looking into a notebook, and the read-aloud text for these crunchy bits adds to this conceit. Heck, we even get a size comparison.

The next double-page spread deals with the secrets of Acray, ruins nearby, swallowed by the sea. The article mentions briefly e.g. the presence of a dolphin sorceress (alas, sans stats) and loot to be found under the sea, as well as Bell Crab icons noting where these dangerous beings can be found. This is a nice addition to Dretcher’s Bay, though here, we only get a keyed version – no player-friendly version is included, which is a bit of a pity, for the top-down map is pretty nice.

After this, we have a guest article by none other than Anxious P, known for creative and unique artworks in various OSR-supplements. Here, we learn about oarsmen and the strange fares they may demand – from years to fingernails and vitality, this section makes paying the price…interesting. This one also comes with a d66-table of various woes the oarsman may confess to. Another winner!

After this, we take a look at brief sidetrek module inspired by a LotFP-artwork, intended for low level characters: Long ago, a Cyclops roamed the world, doomed to roam the world for the sin of treason. The titular eye has very potent effects and comes with full stats as a magic item. The Cyclops, doomed, died one day, and when an insane backwater guy found the tomb with its cyclopean motifs, he managed to create a misguided pseudo-religion of sorts around it. The hillbilly-ish man has since spawned a clan (called “Behelden” – and yes, the author knows this is no word!) of devoted beings. Wandering monsters and a solid map accompany this mini-adventure, and we get stats. While a player-friendly, key-less version of the map would have been nice, I consider this to be a solid sidetrek.

The ‘zine concludes with an interview with Greg Gorgonmilk.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. The b/w layout deserves special mentioning, as does the artwork and cartography – this ‘zine is absolutely GORGEOUS and aesthetically-pleasing. The cartography of Dretcher’s Bay alone makes the low $2.00 asking price of the otherwise pretty brief ‘zine totally worthwhile. The maps are really cool, but I wished they were layered or came with player-friendly versions. Unfortunately, the pdf has no bookmarks, which constitutes a comfort-detriment.

Clint Krause and Anxious P provide a surprisingly inspired installment: Anxious P’s article is great and the connected articles on Dretcher’s Bay are amazing, generating a cool, compelling atmosphere. The crunch-density increased in comparison to #1, and all without compromising the atmosphere. The adventure side-trek is slightly less amazing, but considering the extremely low price, this is absolutely worth getting if you enjoy the slightly odd. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vacant Ritual Assembly #2
Publisher: Red Moon Medicine Show
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/07/2015 22:25:48

Vacant Ritual Assembly is an OSR (primarily Lamentations of the Flame Princess) focused ‘zine published by Red Moon Medicine Show. They are done in B&W and provide a mixture of house rules, inspiration, adventures, maps and interviews.

Issue 2 starts with n introduction, table of contents, recommendations for inspirational reading/ viewing/ listening. The resources begin with a table of names, then a simple astrology table for characters. Then we arrive at Dretcher’s Bay, where monster crabs are hunted among underwater ruins and strange creatures prowl, an excellent place for adventure and treachery (with two maps). An article on the Oarsmen and their unique ability to travel along with a random table of woes that drive them on follows. A short adventure, With Thine Eye Beheld, introduces a crazed cyclops-worshiping family cult, appropriately disturbing. Lastly, an interview with Greg Gorgonmilk about his Dolmenwood project wraps up this issue.

Another useful collection of bits and bobs with Dretcher’s Bay useful for either a quick adventure locale or as part of an extended campaign.

All of the issues of VRA have interesting and inspirational material, while light on rules they provide a wide range of old school wackiness and adventure which should be usable in any game (though requiring a bit more work to adapt to something like Pathfinder).

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vacant Ritual Assembly #2
Publisher: Red Moon Medicine Show
by Sophia B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/16/2015 13:07:11
http://dieheart.net/vra-zine-two/

Vacant Ritual Assembly is a fairly new OSR fanzine by Red Moon Medicine Show. Aesthetically, it takes inspiration from Lamentations of the Flame Princess (LotFP), so it tends towards the weird/gothic/horror tone. The first issue was a pleasant surprise for me as it was choke-full with interesting material.

When I read that issue, I felt the need to put on some Metal sounds. Somehow that fits, you can’t skim through a zine like this listening to radio tracks. It is full of strange stuff which makes it a great read for me.

There are some utility items like the tables. I especially like the birth sign random generator. Every sign gives a stat bonus and has some suggested personality traits. Therefore, it’s a neat way to flesh out a character.

Dretcher’s Bay is a top-notch broad-strokes setting/adventure kit. It’s a fishing village which is governed by three entities called “the Captains”. One of them is a mancrow! There are a new giant lobster-like species called Nephroids, archaic diving suits and a dolphin sorceress (in The Secrets of Acray).

The Oarsmen teleport you anywhere for a price. The article by guest author Anxious P is well-written and the idea of the Oarsmen is a nice one for sure. They are a bit creepy but can be used by the GM if he wants to help to get the party anywhere else (like teleportation).

The adventure With Thine Eye Beheld is a short dungeon crawl with a cyclops theme and with a little twist. The author describes it as: “The Hills Have Eyes + the Westboro Baptists + a cyclops cargo cult + a cool magic gem”.

Last, you have the interview about Dolmenwood.

The Dolmenwood project is comprised of several books that describe an out-of-the-way tract of wilderness where pagan and prehuman powers lurk. Look’n’Feel

It’s 22 pages of material + cover. The artwork is pretty cool. While not everything is on a professional level (it’s a zine I don’t expect that) it nevertheless is very flavorful. I just love the village illustration and the drawings of the Nephroids. The cover also conveys the tone of the zine very well. Layout, typography and maps are nicely done, good production value. Unlike other fanzines, VRA doesn’t use a cardstock cover which makes it feel a bit flimsy. I don’t think it’s an issue, especially for the considerably low price of 4 bucks worldwide, but it had to be said.

TL;DR

Like issue #1 I appreciate this zine for its weird and interesting shit. I’m not sure if I ever use anything of it, but I had much fun reading it. Especially Dretcher’s Bay, “the Captains” and Nephroids are great. Additionally, much of the content is very useful, especially if you like the surreal vibe of LotfP. Definitely worth a look!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vacant Ritual Assembly #2
Publisher: Red Moon Medicine Show
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/30/2015 00:54:23

Where do I begin with this second issue of this great fanzine for the Lamentations of The Flame Princess Rpg system. Issue #2 has possibly enough material to qualify as a mini Lamentations campaign into itself. The second issue has some very strong article that fit right into the backdrop and setting for Lamentations. As a fanzine this Vacant Rituals is sort of like finding that really weird zine in the back of a comic shop, your not sure what the hell it is but you know its got to be something really cool and completely off the wall. But its also high quality and usable off the wall material for Lamentations. Issue #2 comes on strong with some very nice optional rules, a collection of adventures, some weird Lobstermen, and lots semi aquatic goings on. Artwork from Ryan Sheffield, Abigail Larson, Anxious P, Sean Poppe, and Xolis. d66 Name Table: This is the kind of table that your going to want to use to name your characters in style. Sort of the Robert E Howard baby name chart for Lamentations adventurers. Birthsigns: A d12 zodiac table to add in the PC creation process that has a definitive Hammer horror feel with add ons for your PC's. Dretcher's Bay: Imagine if your characters are caught between the claws of three lobstermen sea captains and the power and adventure opportunities. Carcinology: Anachronistic diving suits, weird cults, more lobstermen, and giant crab gods. There's lots of potential in this adventure situation. The Secrets of Acray: Strange ruins, underwater adventure opportunity, and all of it on one page. Oarsmen & Their Woes: Guest article by Anxious P! which includes some Moorcockian plane jumping opportunities but with much more LoFP slant on this group of sorts who travel the dimensions but there is a high price for their plane hoping favors and services. With Thine Eye Beheld: A cyclops cult and the weird Lovecraftian cult of inbred weirdos who worship these strange and weird beings. Interview with Greg Gorgonmilk: Greg talks Dolmenwood, Drunes, weed, and writing. Greg Gorgon Milk goes into his latest about Dolmenwood and its environs, weed, more weed and writing.

So for a second issue this fanzine presents a complete and compact Lamentations jump off point for a complete mini campaign. This issue has style and quite a solid bit of substance. The material is well written, surreal, and utterly useful. I can honestly say that this issue would make a really weird and highly entertaining campaign. I've enjoyed the run of this magazine so far and the quality of the writing and systems that are behind this one are completely useful and utterly insane in a good solid OSR vibe. Can I see myself using this material? Yes and is it worth the price of the download? In a word I've got to admit that I can say,a solid five out of five stars. Perfect material to run a Lamentations game. Grab a copy of this magazine, some friends, and get right to playing today.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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