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The Starship From Hell
by Michael I. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/07/2022 00:55:31

It's nothing special but it's adequate for defining a starship that needs help, and what or whom may be on it (excluding monsters...)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Starship From Hell
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ViewScream: Distance
by Aaron S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/16/2022 23:52:26

ViewScream: Distance rounds out the ViewScream collection nicely. The two main reasons to buy it are (1) it updates other scenarios to be suitable for playgroups of 4 (rather than 3 or 5, as these scenarios originally served), and (2) it offers multiple scenarios that take the story off of a derelict spaceship and instead offer a completely different flavor of individuals working together remotely. I suppose there's also reason #3, my main reason: ViewScream is fun and it's cool to have as large a library of scenario options as possible so you can pull the one off your shelf that strikes your fancy right now.

I've played one game from this particular expansion pack, A Maculate Conception (4 player here rather than the 5 player option in the base game). I hope to soon try some of the more offbeat scenarios to see how ViewScream plays in less of a pure horror setting.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ViewScream: Distance
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Creator Reply:
Thank you so much for your reviews of ViewScream 2E and its sourcebooks. Truly appreciated! I would love to hear about how you liked the "offbeat scenarios" -- feedback would be most welcome.
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ViewScream 2020
by Aaron S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/16/2022 23:50:06

ViewScream: 2020 is a great way to round out your ViewScream scenario collection with more differentiated options that push the premise in slightly new directions. If you've played a couple of the base game scenarios but want more variety on your horror in space, ViewScream: 2020 offers some additional premises that alter the feel just enough to keep things fresh. I've played two games from this particular expansion pack:

  • Damage Tolerance
  • Dunwich Hauler

Both were a good time; our playgroup for "Damage Tolerance" especially dug in and made things fun.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ViewScream 2020
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ViewScream, 2nd Edition
by Aaron S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/16/2022 23:48:57

ViewScream is awesome and a godsend when the pandemic forced us all to move to virtual roleplaying. It's the first pure LARP I've ever played, but the conceit of all behaving as characters interacting via video monitors from a distance makes it an easy on-ramp, not too intimidating and not too extreme. If you've played rules light RPGs, you can handle ViewScream. The game is easy to learn, easy to explain, and provides a good 75-90 minutes of fun when executed well. I've played three games from this base pack:

  • Black Widow, Brown Recluse
  • Ligature Marks
  • Saint Bartholomew

They all provided varying degrees of fun, though "Black Widow, Brown Recluse" was especially memorable. My advice:

  • This game (at least this base game) works best as a straight horror game. If that's not your cup of tea, or you like your horror slapstick, it probably isn't the best fit.
  • Play with people who are either good improvisers, or willing to put in 10-15 minutes of prep. The game works best when players inhabit their characters and hit the ground running with some concrete character concepts and ideas.
  • Dark or altered lighting is a huge boost for suspension of disbelief.
  • The games do have similar elements, so don't play, say, two games in a weekend. It works much better if you limit yourself to one game per month.

ViewScream packs an awesome punch into a short play session. Do yourself a favor and give it a try!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ViewScream, 2nd Edition
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Metallic Tome
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/04/2020 11:59:01

"Pollution chokes our seas, nuclear war has destroyed our cities, and worst of all, guitars are illegal. Surveillance satellites monitor our every move. Conformity is the law! There is only one thing that can save us: METAL."

Last call in Connecticut is 2:00 A.M. right now its around one or so give or take five minutes. Tonight its me sitting with my back to a very empty bar with DM Steve & me speakng about Rafeal Chandler's Metallic Tome.

'The Metallic Tome' is done in the same style as 'the Demonic Tome'. The heavy metal Apocalpyse has happened or is happening. The Earth's internet is down & the world is ripe for the taking! This is every heavy metal or death metal album cover ever done brought to life. The book follows the standard OSR PC status of character types. But the difference here is the fact of how this book plays the elements out. Sure this is Gonzo heavy & death metal campaign & system book but there's far more here going on then simply meets the eye. 'The Metallic Tome' is a whole cloth campaign setting unto itself & its not necessarily a 'modern' setting per say. The reason why I say that is because as an OSR setting it can easily be translated over into a pre or post apocalpyse heavy metal setting where magic is returning hard core. The forces of Heaven & Hell are waging a war for the soul of the world this is the implied setting of the Demonic Tome.

I go into far greater detail about 'Demonic Tome' here. The implication is a modern or alternative Eighties heavy metal world sliding into the frying pan of the lake of fire back lit with a heavy metal sound track. But seriously this isn't the only use of either the 'the Demonic Tome' or 'The Metallic Tome'.

'The Metallic Tome' has some serious implications for Dungeons & Dragons with its PC's heavy metal options & implications. Try & imagine your standard Greyhawk campaign setting characters being sucked straight into this heavy metal Earth.

Greyhawk's factors for being interested in this metal Earth is the 'cosmic balance'. The party of adventurers have their work cut out for them. There's a ton of infernal monsters that are going to have interest in the party as 'fresh meat' on the block from Greyhawk. With 'The Metallic Tome' I started to heavily think about the movie Heavy Metal.

With 'The Metallic Tome' the Earth might be ripe for interstellar affairs with the arrival of the metal apocalpyse. Believe it or not this is a perfect set up for a White Star: Galaxy Edition campaign which makes an excellent compliment for 'The Metallic Tome'

Why? Well because the rocker class is included in the 'galaxy edition' so there's the heroic in for the PC's to help counter Chandler created darkness of 'The Metallic Tome'. The campaign would be one part 'Star Wars' three parts Greyhawk, & the rest someplace West of Iron Maiden's 'Somewhere in Time''s album.

This is the campaign world that I'm planning on refining, designing, & taking out with Venger Satanis's Cha'alt especially Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise. The heavy metal trappings of 'The Metallic Tome' hit hard core withe rebellious nature of some of the factions of Cha'alt who need their teeth kicked in.

This brings up the fact. Is 'The Metallic Tome' worth the price of admission?! In a word yes! There's plenty of death metal weirdness & OSR doom that this book brings to the table. I've got a playable copy for the table top bring printed as we speak folks.

Eric Fabiaschi Swords & Stitchery blog Want more OSR Content? Please Subscribe To https://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Metallic Tome
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Demonic Tome
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/15/2020 21:52:48

"The world's last line of defense is a group of ultra-violent cannibals wielding unholy magic. They needed a hero, but instead they got you." Demonic Tome is available now! This OSR sourcebook (previously released as Dread: The First Book of Pandemonium in 2002) features magic, demons, setting information, and enchanted shotguns."

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Two days ago with zero fanfare & absolutely no announcement that crazy metal headed bastard of the OSR Rafael Chandler released 'The Demonic Tome' onto an unsuspecting OSR as a pay what you want title. "Dread: The First Book of Pandemonium in 2002, and later re-released as Pandemonio. This book contains previously published material." I've been waiting for this title going all of the way back to December of 2013 or so! Two days ago I look on my friend's wall & no gout of hellfire or spewed slime but 'The Demonic Tome was on Drivethrurpg! How do you describe this one hundred & thirty two page OSR supplement/modernish campaign setting!? Well try & imagine the Bible's Book of Revelation combined with White Wolf's Hunter The Reckoning but with an OSR death metal paint job this is 'The Demonic Tome'! The setting is the world of 'now' but through the lens of 'Chandler vision'. There's firearms of course in 'The Demonic Tome' because there has to be! The PC's are gonna need all of the help they can get. Rafael Chandler ⛧ (@gorehound@dice.camp) - dice.camp

Don't let that smile fool you!

Each of the old D&D character classes are now almost modern arch type PC classes & they are balls to the hunters of the demons & demonic! The clerics & wizards have some of the most twisted spells to hit pages of a supplement! Both cleric & wizard's spell levels hit nine & they are nasty,brutish, & very violent! Here's a clerical spell as an example; "Perdition Duration: 1 round per caster level Range: Self/5' When this spell is cast, the Disciple's hand is transformed into a monstrous claw, and she can vomit up a huge quantity of black bile. If the Cleric hits with the claw, she inflicts 1d3 damage, plus 1 per caster level, and if she has been injured, she recovers that same number of hit points (up to her maximum). If the Cleric instead chooses to vomit on her prey, the monster must save vs. Spell or take 1d3 damage, plus 1 per caster level (and again, the Cleric may recover that many hit points, if she's been injured)."

This is just the sort of demonic modernish brutal weirdness I'm talking about! With dungeon master's section events start to make sense with species of demons & their ilk showing their true colours! Take for example the 'defiler' species; "Defilers A Defiler demon will possess its victim (known to Disciples as a skell) and force that person to commit evil acts. When tracking a Defiler, the Cabal doesn't always know who the skell is. Often, all they know is that something weird is going on. To exorcise a demon from the body of a skell, a Cleric must perform a Rite (described in the Cleric spells section). The demon can also be injured (and killed) once the skell is dead."

If this sorta stuff seems vaguely familiar that's because many of the themes of 'The Demonic Tome' are echoed in 'The Teratic Tome'! In point of fact 'The Demonic Tome' might be considered the demonic minion book while both Lusus Naturae & 'The Teratic Tome' are the upper tier & boss books respectively torn from the Books of Pandemonium! The Books of Pandemonium serve as the bridge adventure element to this damned corner of the Chandlerverse. Even the situation in LoFP's 'No Salvation For Witches' could lead to the modern world of destruction portrayed in 'The Demonic Tome'.

If there is a theme to the Chandlerverse then it exemplifies itself in the Narcosa setting that weaves & bobs its way through the 'higher then a kite drug plane.' There are hints here & there in the Demonic Tome that Narcosa is there sitting & waiting its turn!

With all of the recent Lamentations of the Flame Princess controversy its nice to see Mr.Chandler coming back into the OSR fold with his recent Metallic Tome kickstarter. And because of the infernal nature of the elements of 'The Demonic Tome'. These two universe settings might not only be connected but different aspects of the same campaign setting.

But is ' The Demonic Tome' any good?! Well the demons are original, nasty, & are part of a twisted S.O.B's OSR campaign. The demons themselves are far from the standard Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual first edition demons or are they?! While the 'Demonic Tome' demons are absolutely nasty, twisted, dangerous because these demons are laid out in an OSR fashion the Vrock & its ilk would feel right at home next to a Qavaad's machinations or feeding on the remains of issoac's victims! 1e

And this is part of the strength of the OSR based products. Being able to adapt & overcome many campaign difficulties while mixing & matching what the dungeon master needs or wants for his or her campaign. As a pay what you want title I think that 'The Demonic Tome' is well worth your time & money. As a part of the expanding Chandlerverse?! 'The Demonic Tome' is invaluable for an addition to the DM's tool box! I should know I just got my print copy today from my local printer! Eric Fabiaschi Swords & Stitchery blog Want more original content? Subscribe to http://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Demonic Tome
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Creator Reply:
Thanks very much for the review! Glad you dug it!
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ViewScream, 2nd Edition
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/13/2019 06:14:29

An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, and now for something COMPLETELY different!

So, the first thing you’ll notice when opening this, is that it’s not just one file – it’s a ton of them! And there’s a reason for that! ViewScream is basically a rules-lite science fiction-horror game that fills a unique niche. This is a horror game, and as such, it features dark themes and is probably not for kids; while one could nominally call it a story game, there is a competitive edge and you CAN die, even if you don’t want to, so it’s not exactly what you’d consider that to be. Live action RPG probably describes it best. While the main rules-pdf clocks in at 56 pages, (1 front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page Playtester credits, 1 page ToC, 3 pages blank, leaving us with 49 pages, laid out for booklet-size), but fret not – it really walks you through everything, and you can explain the rules in under 5 minutes sans hassle. As an aside – there is a 24-page (22.5 pages of content) printer-friendly version of the booklet sans art etc. as well!

Know how groups sometimes can’t meet due to living in different places, being snowed in, etc.? Well nowadays, we have the almighty internet, and this game makes use of it. Specifically, google hangouts.

You see, ViewScream makes use of the communication software we employ to simulate a unique experience. The game is intended for 4 players, but there also are scenarios for 3 or 5 players. In ViewScream, you assume the role of starship crew members in a horrible situation of some sort…or a collective of hackers, or a similar scenario of folks that are not sharing the same space, but that are capable of connecting over long distance. The PCs never physically meet in a game – whether due to quantum anomalies, tentacle horrors from beyond or other reasons. Scrying and long-range communication could also work in e.g. a fantasy context as a reskin. One of the players take the role of Bridge – this would be the GM of sorts, though there is a crucial difference. Bridge can die. In fact, a crucial component of the tension of this game is that it is deadly. A PC with die. But who? Well, that depends on the scenario and the players!

ViewScream is, this, probably best described as a kind of live action RPG, and the game assumes a session to take about 60 to 90 minutes, which makes it surprisingly effective as a fill-in game, when real life got in the way. As an aside – the general horror vibe also can actually make flawed connections kind of conductive to tension, if you’re lucky, so that was an interesting observation. Character is NOT broken in ViewScream – out of character stuff is relegated to the chat window.

At the start of the game, all players mute their microphones, and Bridge reads the distress signal. This is a brief message on bridge’s character sheet, which provides context for the scenario that is played. During play, each character has two emergencies to deal with: Perhaps the character has been infected by a xenomorph, been exposed to radiation, or the like – and here’s the thing: You can’t solve them yourself. You NEED the other players. You have Solutions noted on your sheet – these denote how you solve the emergencies – but how you get other players to enact these solutions – well, that’s another thing. Here’s the thing – there are only so many Solutions, and in the end, a player may end up with unresolved Emergencies…which generally is something you want to avoid. This is further complicated by not all Solutions being actually viable!

Some Solutions are marked as “success”, while others are marked as “failures” – you are aware of whether your solutions work, but the other players aren’t! You can, thus, offer useless solutions. This adds a real sense of tension and bluffing to the game, it adds intrigue and risky gambits. If you end the game with an unresolved emergency, your character dies.

The Bridge has the responsibility to both roleplay Bridge, and to loop players into conversation “Engineering, do you copy?” – this allows the game to retain order and not devolve into competitive shouting. The Bridge also has general structuring guidelines and pace the game – basically what you’d expect there.

Each character sheet sports a description, the location you’re in, aforementioned Emergencies and Solutions…and a further complication, namely a Dark Secret. This is something you need to hide, but which WILL come out. Knowledge of the inevitability of it coming out (at the latest, in the end) also adds a stressor to the proceedings. To take an example for a Description from the game’s manual:

“> You're out of pills, and you're very nervous

Burned-out and paranoid surgical attendant Trapped in the Morgue Cryo treats you like a child, but you still crave respect You fought in the war with Bridge, but Bridge has changed since then“

This establishes a current state, personality, location, and relationships with other players – here, Cryo and Bridge.

Beyond all of that, this is a game, and during play, you may realize that some friends, foes, family, etc. survived whatever bad thing has befallen the place…and you’ll need to find out what happened…and you’ll have suspicions, which act as subplots. Refusing or accepting aid, requesting and denying it – there is a minimalistic, yet extremely efficient tension generated by this surprisingly simple set-up.

And that’s the core – beyond that, the pdf does mention how to handle technobabble, what may trigger confessions of dark secrets, and how ending, last words, etc. work. Advice for delivery, anecdotes and how to handle dialogue are provided – and looking directly at the camera and similar pieces of advice really walk you through the basics. Most roleplayers probably won’t even have to read a single page herein, but it won’t hurt either and improve the game, particularly regarding the helpful notes on social etiquette etc.

The game does not just consist of the rules-pdf, though – the game comes with a metric ton of different overlays that range from the expected science-fiction themes to even some fantasy-themed overlays. Oh, and the read-me pdf explains on how to use them. The game also comes with a list of 15 scenarios, all of which present the baseline, number of players and their roles.

Want an example? Well, here’s the distress signal of one of my favorites:

BILLIONS OF SCARS (4 PLAYERS: Bridge, Engineering, Helm, Sensors) "Hailing on all frequencies. This is the crew of the Red Ghast. After exploring the surface, we discovered that the planet had once been the home of an advanced civilization. Their records indicate that they destroyed their bodies and uploaded their minds -- billions of them -- into a 4-EXA drive containing some kind of virtual reality construct. Without meaning to, we released them, and... It appears that while in that state, they went completely insane. They’re like ghosts... God, they’re digital ghosts, just hate-filled consciousness without a body... They’ve managed to take over most of the ship’s functions, and have butchered the crew. A few of us remain, and we’re being hunted. Please send help at once, but make no attempt to connect with our systems, or else they might take control of your vessel."

Each of the 15 scenarios comes with its own folder: One pdf within these contains reference advice and a kind of cheat-sheet. That sheet actually suffices to play, just fyi. Beyond that, we get the different sheets for the respective roles the players take on, with bridge getting individualized advice on ending the game, on the fate of Bridge, etc.

And no, I am not going to explain them all one by one – I’d be spoiling them, and that’d help no one. Since they come as individual pdfs, it’s easy and painless to share them over google hangouts, btw.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no hiccups. Interior artwork of the booklet is b/w and neat, and layout adheres to a no-frills one-column or two-column b/w-standard, depending on the version of the booklet. The overlays provided range from rather cool and stylish to…okay. The booklets come fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Rafael Chandler’s ViewScream is a great change of pace for fast and tense roleplaying experiences. The scenarios are intriguing and unique, and I genuinely would love to see even more sample scenarios; there are some serious gems within. More than that, it’s a great example of how few rules you actually need, namely next to none, if the respective storytelling set-up is simply smart enough. This won’t replace anyone’s favorite game, sure – but it does make for a great tool to have. Oh, and it’s PWYW right now! I purchased this back in the day for $12.00, and it’s totally worth that price. For PWYW? Heck yeah – check this out right now – you have nothing to lose! 5 stars +seal of approval, easily given!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ViewScream, 2nd Edition
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Creator Reply:
This is a very thorough review, and I truly appreciate your time. And thanks for the kind words about my game! Whenever anyone asks what it's like, I just forward this to them, as it does a better job of explaining the concept than I ever could. Best, Rafael
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Teratic Tome
by Ryan D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/18/2018 09:07:13

This book has a niche, and it fills its niche okay. It is all about mutant monsters and demons who gorey than your average game. If you are not into that niche, do not get this book, as it does little to satisfy any other want. The formatting and art are in an older style which is not to my liking. The stats blocks are sometimes hard to read because they go across multie pages.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Teratic Tome
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Lusus Naturae
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/02/2018 04:25:21

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive bestiary clocks in at 136 pages,1 page logos, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of backer-thank you,1 page ToC, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 128 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review was requested by one of my patreons, to be undertaken at my leisure.

Or, well, wait…you see, if you get the electronic version, you also get a landscape version of this book, you know, with two pages per screen, handy for reading on devices. Front and back cover (which form one massive and gloriously gory artwork) are their own pdf…and we get something amazing: A version that is JUST TEXT…and one version that is just all the artwork! Basically, this bestiary offers the most massive monster-artwork hand-out collection I have ever seen. That is super-impressive and mega-handy to have – this is how it’s done!

Anyways, I do have the limited hardcover print version, which is, regarding the quality of the binding, thick paper used, etc. on par with Lamentation of the Flame Princess’ standards. Yep. This is a gorgeous book, and if you can get your hands on a print copy, I’d suggest going for it…and then get the pdf: the sheer amount of electronic features makes getting the pdf really worthwhile.

On a formal level, this book is laid out for a 6’’ by 9’’ standard (A5), and layout is sparse and functional, but not frilly or the like. The OSR rules-system employed by this massive book would be Lamentations of the Flame Princess (LotFP). The full-color artworks within adhere to a uniform standard, as Gennifer Bone has drawn them all – and she obviously knows how to draw nightmare fuel.

Which brings me to a very important caveat:

This does not belong in the hands of sensitive persons.

If you have a trigger, this book will feature it.

The book is a really, really HARD R rating.

More so than even the Teratic Tome, Rafael Chandler’s previous monster book.

Similarly, if you have an issue with gore, horror, full-frontal, drawn nudity and gruesome, gruesome things, then move on, there’s nothing here for you. If you just want a bit of darkness in your fantasy and think that vampires, anything from the Cthulhu mythos and the like still are genuinely frightening and transgressive, then this book will probably disturb and/or disgust you. Another litmus test would be that, if you often think that there ought to be more censorship to spare your sensibilities, then this will probably offend the living hell out of you.

This is a book of all-caps MONSTERS, as the introductory text makes clear. It’s also the most METAL bestiary I have ever read. To quote the introduction: “…The truth, then: monsters love us. They love humans. They need us. They acknowledge the debt, in the same way that some people kneel beside an animal they have killed while hunting, and murmur words of gratitude; or clasp their hands over a holiday meal and express their thanks to some deity before cutting the meat from the bone and crushing it between their teeth, washing the warm bolus down with wines and gravies….It is not enough to end a life; for the end of life signals the end of pain…”

Okay, if that is too theoretical, think of the following: Picture those extreme metal bands: You know, the gore of Death Metal, the cosmic Nihilism and raw hate of Black Metal, the darkened Sword & Sorcery weirdness of acts like Bal-Sagoth. Picture their album covers. Picture the lyrics, the artworks, and then think what would happen if someone wrote a book that made these nightmare-scapes and their denizens reality for the gaming world, that embraced true, gruesome madness. That is Lusus Naturae.

Perhaps you’re not into metal and have no idea what I’m talking about. Let me ask you, are you into horror? Dark fantasy? Okay, after this book, pretty much any bestiary in those genres, with a scant few exceptions, will feel like bland and predictable weak-sauce boredom par excellence. This book is horrific and gory, and some concepts made me cringe, and I’ a really hardened dude when it comes to horror etc..

Now, in my review of the Teratic Tome bestiary, I mentioned that the book was best when it made its creatures unique, when they had basically an adventure-outline already ingrained in their design, by virtue of their modus operandi, by the strange and potent powers they exhibit, by their background. Lusus Naturae, while not exclusively, embraces this design philosophy. If you’re looking for critters to fill in your random encounter table, then this will have not much for you.

If you’re looking for a book where almost every monster can carry its own module, and in some instances, whole campaigns, well, then you’ve come to the right place. From a mechanically perspective, there are a couple of unique things to comment on: Every single creature herein has AT LEAST one mechanically unique ability, and contrary to many OSR books that use “rulings, not rules” as a means to justify sloppy design, the rules are PRECISE. To the point where many monster-designers should take a careful look. They are also innovative. Following the maxim noted before, many monsters herein do have the ability to offer boons or permanently scar/change the PCs and their psyche. Similarly, many of the monsters come with omens of sorts that evoke a tighter horror-atmosphere in a few words than many modules manage to invoke over 30+ pages. To give you an example from the entry of the hellish Adversary: “…During the days before its summoning, a predatory animal (such as a wolf or tiger) will give birth to a human baby, which will then devour its mother…” – and yes, there is more, including a note for the stats of this animal-spawn.

Beyond this, striking the killing blow on many of these horrid monstrosities can actually have amazing, or rather disturbing…or both, consequences. Take this one: “The character's body becomes completely hollow; beneath the skin, there is a single organ, which can be rigid or flexible, as the character wishes. Food is no longer needed. Flotation is possible if the character is filled with the right kind of gas. Speaking of which, gases and toxins no longer hurt the character.

Each time the character's skin is pierced by a blade or sharp implement, there is a 1 in 6 chance that the character will deflate and be incapacitated for one round (at which point the body will adjust and re-inflation will occur).”

What I’m trying to say here, is that I have rarely read a monster book that had me glued to its pages to this extent. Rafael Chandler managed to marry his expertise as a novelist with game design, without falling into the trap of the “frustrated novelist”-trope – this is inspired, but it is inspired in both prose and rules.

There are stats for both Cain and Lilith within this book, both coming with full-frontal nudity pictures, and their actually rather nice and cute, but alas, parasite –ridden son is also featured. And yes, these parasites could cause an undead-child apocalypse. Oh, and the cute moth-like thing is bound to become something horrible.

There is a nigh-undefeatable gelatinous hyperspace cube (!!!), and there are monsters to end civilizations, like the aptly-named Sunset, which comes with notes on how to use it as a living, vertical dungeon (!!!). (As an aside, if you’re good with rules, you can use Pelgrane Press’ 13th Age-supplement “Eyes of the Stone-Thief” as a good baseline for further ideas…)

There is a parasitic psionic emerald that grows through living tissue, painfully, while growing in size – the horrible idea of emerald farms certainly comes to mind, though this is dangerous…matured emeralds exhibit dangerous psionic powers. There is a super villain who just wants to return to Central City, fed up with this messed up, backwater world. There are two beings transformed into strange orb-creatures. There are horrid amalgamations of flesh and metal, fusions of clone and original, indistinct from another and bent on rewriting the tenets of faith.

There is a creature herein that will magically ask magic-users/casters for permission to inverse the universe – you know, make blank spaces solid and solid matter blank spaces. It will do so nicely. It may even kill folks that talked to the magic-user with mouths (EW!) for their transgression and regurgitate them in front of the most honorable wielder of eldritch powers. There are sentient robots that change gravity and build new metal monsters, and these should make me mention another thing that sets this book apart.

Know how the Mythos has become kind of stale? Tame, in a way? Well, this book provides a whole collection of entwined stories that form more than one mini-mythos complex, which, while far from lovecraftiana, exhibit a potency of concepts and disturbing concepts that are in equal parts refreshing and appalling. And I mean the latter as a complement. Now, there is basically an elder one-level of monster, the Malison, and it is tied to a variety of other monsters: You see, this thing manifests, and it’s a local apocalypse. No hyperbole. It also enjoys taking a whole settlement and making it into a collective, disturbing and unique monster. One of the creatures thus created was Bruchsal: “Once, Bruchsal was a quiet village in Germany. Its inhabitants were rounded up by the Malison and stripped of their skin; it was sewn together in the shape of a rough tent. Unfortunately, the people of Bruchsal were still very much alive and conscious, their minds trapped within their skins by the Malison’s sorcery (this was by design).” That’s just an excerpt.

Or, what about the beautiful, gigantic Mandala-thing that is called Phthisic, which manifests near settlements, causes plague, and has metal fly upwards, forming a levitating staircase to it, complete with sword-snowflakes and maws of shovel-teeth it uses to attack? What about the gorgeous slug that uses wide-spread destruction to cast a massive, reality-changing spell? Killing it will shift poles to equator and vice versa…and you thought you’d be done with it…

There are three kinda-immortal black metal serial killer sisters; there is an insane sorceress bound in a darkened gauntlet, creator of strange monsters that consist of fingers, noses, etc. And there would be Void’s Memory. A natural force of sorts, this fellow is the personification of the memory of extinct things. His full name is The Void's Memory of a Cold and Hateful Smile Elicited by the Shrill Screams of Children Who Were Startled by the Rumble of a Thousand World-Long Feathers Upon the Alabaster Wings of God. If you’re a metal-head, that made you smile. His soul-edge like blade is btw. the Hymn To Forgotten Mothers Who Buried Stillborn Children in Shallow Graves Beneath Rotting Sycamores. Casting a spell on the fellow anagrams it and throws it back on the caster! And yes, the book has a MASSIVE selection of anagram’d spell-names noted. This guy requires referee-mojo, but oh boy. He also is the master of a variety of monsters conjured forth from his memory, and they are no less inspired.

The mighty Narcosan princess, a fungoid, extremely powerful and nice being, alas, does not help our reality: In a quarter-mile around her, nasty things start happening. One of the things from the table of such occurrences made me smile: “Vast runes of power light up the sky, and are visible for hundreds of miles. Naturally, they spell out the names of the player characters.”

Grievance, driven insane by voices in her head, has created an array of mighty guardian creatures and seeks to end them to erase all traces of her existence. And then there would be Ideologue and the associated myth. This creature is basically a sentient universe in humanoid form. The attacks of this being can scar those fighting it forever, and the beings conjured forth, are amazing: They are called forth from the monochrome land of Chiaroscuro, and represent, symbolically, absolute black/white thinking in one twisted way or another. Their artworks make them amazing album-cover artworks or surreal nightmares. To quote from the Blossom of Wounds’s description: “The Blossom seems to be a winged monster, tall as a man, devouring a torn carcass – which is also the monster’s own mangled body. Strange symbols glow between its horns. As its ragged wings flap, dark liquid seeps into a toothed flower of gray meat.”

As noted, some monsters lead themselves to carrying an adventure. These mini-myths that have so tantalizingly been woven throughout the book can carry whole campaigns. How good are they? They actually made me bemoan that I couldn’t use them all at once. They’re that damn good. As an aside: In the electronic versions, these are internally hyperlinked: One click and you’re at the right creature. Kudos!

But don’t get me wrong – there are creatures without internal connections that are just as disturbing. There would be, for example, the harvest blight: From a seed, a tower-sized monster springs, and it has a sense of twisted humor. “Those who are planted headfirst in the soil by the Blight are able to survive by absorbing nourishment from the soil. Their mouths packed with dirt, their hands bound with thick ivy (or simply lopped off), these poor souls are jammed into holes four feet deep.

The Blight packs dirt around them, waters them, and watches proudly as shoots of thin flesh grow from their bare souls. Naturally, the pruning fork is used to trim these bits of skin and cartilage.” This monster has managed what no other has achieved in ages – I had a nightmare about it. What more can one ask of a book of horror monsters?

Well, what about a monster-generator, a random disease generator and a 100-entry “found in the monster’s lair”-table?

Now, I should also note, if that has not been made ample clear by the quotes I used: this is an INTELLIGENT book. Its monsters are frightening not because “throw shock-value at PCs”, book because they touch upon taboos, on intellectual and emotional anxieties, because they are alien and weird in the best sense of the word. Amoral and malignant. And absolutely glorious.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch on both the rules-language, and the formal level. Layout adheres to a two-column no-frills b/w-standard and is nice, if unspectacular compared to the full-color artworks, of which we get one for each and every monster within. The electronic version offers peak-level convenience, with the text-only and art-only versions as well as the regular and landscape versions –super-impressive. The hardcover is in no way less impressive – a beautiful book that deserves its place of honor on my shelf.

Lusus Naturae is a masterpiece, a milestone. A book that may sour you on many vanilla monster manuals out there, a book that will forevermore represent a benchmark of horror-designs of the most twisted kind.

If you play LotFP, then get this – it is, in design-aesthetics and imaginative potential as close to an official bestiary as we’re likely to get in the foreseeable future.

If you play DCC and want some really horrific and weird stuff, get this.

If you play another OSR system and want some nightmare-inducing, creative creatures, get this.

If you play another game, this is still worth the asking price ten times over for the concepts and artworks. More monsters herein warrant conversion than in any other bestiary I have ever read.

If you even remotely like horror and dark fantasy and if you can stand the gruesome, hard R details, then get this – if your sensibilities fall, even remotely, somewhere on the darker end of the RPG-spectrum, if you’re ready to be both inspired and scared by monsters once more…then get this ASAP.

This book is a truly inspired, glorious tome, and receives 5 stars + my seal of approval. If I had known about it back when it was released, it’d have won a spot on my Ton Ten list. This is one of the most efficient, best horror-monster-manuals I have ever read. For horror-games, this gets my EZG Essentials tag. And yes, I am so going to use a metric ton of these monsters to spice up the plethora of horror modules I play.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Lusus Naturae
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ViewScream, 1st Edition
by Tomer G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/17/2018 18:08:15

Had a great time playing this game. I love the concept of online-specific role playing games and LARPs, and really like what this has done in that arena. The mechanics are almost non-existing, but there are story hooks and threads and some very minimal goals for the player characters, and the fascilitator. The fascilitator themself gets to play a character and have goals, even though that's slightly different from the rest, and helps both keep things moving along, and lets them participate in character. It's a very well thought out game, and I highly recommend it.

Here's my writeup playing it online with The Gauntlet: http://www.supernovembergames.com/tomes-of-tomes/2018/6/17/viewscream-black-widow-brown-recluse



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ViewScream, 1st Edition
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Night of the Slashers
by Justin I. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/19/2017 17:02:28

This (and some dice) are all you need for all sorts of one-shot slasher adventures. What's not to love? The art is great, the text is tight, and the concept is great.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Night of the Slashers
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The Starship From Hell
by Se t. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/16/2017 13:07:58

Gearing up for Starfinder? This is a great utility for it! A very complete and open-licensed starship builder, with lots of variety. Really really useful.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Starship From Hell
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Bad Myrmidon
by CD F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/07/2017 15:05:38

Here is an excerpt from the module.

"Amacles wants to save his wife, but he also emulates his idol, Achilles: avoiding death at all costs, doing whatever must be done in order to remain alive. He has no use for honor, glory, or righteousness, preferring instead to turn on any ally in the blink of an eye, or to abandon those he loves if it means avoiding risk."

This gives a good flavor of how it uses myth but is not enslaved to it. This is no C.S. Lewis or Tolkien type fantasy, this has more of a George R. R. Martin or Lamentations of the Flame Princess.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Bad Myrmidon
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Narcosa
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/14/2017 04:31:23

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive book clocks in at 108 pages, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of ToC, 1 page weird glyphs, leaving us with 104 pages of content. The full-color cover artwork is included as a jpg and the scale-less map is also included thus. I own the softcover print version of this book, which sports the map as a back cover, just fyi. I will base my review mostly on the print version. While there is also a hardcover version, I do not own it.

This review was sponsored by one of my generous patreons, to be undertaken at my leisure.

"Someone has read Carcosa!" Ouch, ouch, ouch...hey, I promised I'll use that quote! Anyways, this book is an obvious and in a not really subtle way, a homage to aforementioned classic book, but it could be also called a community labor of love or a collective riff and expansion. The premise of this book was to have a lot of different authors pool their creative impulses.

The basic thesis of Narcosa can be summed up as "DUUUDE...You know what would be totally radical? You know, if that...that weird Carcosa-place...you know...had...you know...a total drug-theme!" "What, you mean...like...more...than lotus and stuff?" "DUUUDE, yeah, man! With totally weird stuff...hand me that acid..."

...

Yeah, so, where was I? Much like Carcosa, Narcosa uses mature themes - while horror is more subdued in favor of weirdness, this still is a book for mature audiences, as it features themes of sex (here and there) and drugs (everywhere). If you can't handle that or have a past with substance abuse, then I'd suggest getting another book.

Okay, obligatory disclaimer out of the way, the structure is completely different - being basically a patchwork collective of loosely thematically linked options. Let me state this very clearly: Narcosa has no pretensions of being a cohesive or coherent campaign setting, though one can ostensibly try to run it as such; instead, this book very much embraces the OSR spirit of hacking and tweaking material, of scavenging ideas and runs completely with it. This is NOT a campaign setting, not even in the very top-down, cursory manner that hexcrawls like Carcosa etc. present their information - instead, this can be considered to be an array of very roughly related articles, a massive scavenging ground.

These should not dissuade you from checking out this book, though -for the entries are often examples of the rampant ID running delightfully wild. We begin with a chapter on Locales and cities - and here, we learn about Somaglean, a subterranean crystalline enclave where luminous ichors is mined from a forgotten god; and Rafael Chandler's Mecha-Zel (If you own the Teratic Tome, you'll be familiar with allusions to it) is also mentioned alongside the secret cities, like that one hidden within a song, which may only be accessed while in a state that allows you to perceive the sounds of it as physicality...or so it may seem to some. From the goblin market (classic) to Hashishastan, there are quite a bunch of evocative places to visit here, though they remain, unfortunately, brief sketches.

From there, we move on to factions and entities, with the blind beggars peddling powder that separates body and soul, allowing the soul to commit burglaries. The children of temperance fight a losing battle in the weird lands of Narcosa and esoteric orders devoted to ecstatic pleasures deserve special mention, for they make use of the potent pleasure-plagues in one of my favorite entries in the book. Sobering filtration paraistes can also be found here...and obviously, there are quite a few substances and items.

Which brings me to the main downside of this book: It is not even close to consistent in the rules it employs, when it does provide rules material. From LotFP-y-stuff to material based on Mutants & Mazes-rules to a 5e background and the like, the book is inconsistent in the rules it uses and the quality thereof - while some entries provide definitely remarkable precision, much like some aspects of the prose, this consistency is not maintained throughout. This also makes consistent use of the material more problematic than it should be, which is a pity, for the items, hazards and things range from the surreal to the wicked - beyond magical drugs (less than I honestly hoped to see in the book...), we are introduced to nasty catheter vine-bulbs to strange wasps, magical ritual knives and the like. The wild mish-mash of systems and conventions employed make it impossible for me to comment on the proper formatting the material should have, so be aware of that. A favorite of mine herein would btw. be an intelligent, addictive tree that is jealous and forces its addict-cultists to mutilate them ever further, until no sense is left and they die - an apt visual metaphor for addiction that gets two thumbs up from me.

The above should not mean, btw., that the rules generally are not precise - there are quite a few of the respective pieces of crunch that do provide very relevant and well-crafted options...but at the same time, the system-ambiguity and lack of a unifying base-line do drag this down a bit.

Beyond these, we also receive random encounter, grouped by environment - which are per se cool, but the encounters themselves have no headers and as such spontaneous and more informed use is slightly harder than it should be - all in all, an odd decision to have the author's name act as a kind of header for each of them, when in previous chapters, we had the description here as well. This inconsistency can nowhere seen as clearly as in the monster chapter, where different notation conventions clash and some of the critters sport fluff-only entries. That being said, from shroombies to in particular the saccadic solipsism that spawns creatures from words are cool. I also enjoyed the balls to the wall weirdness that symbiotic pleasure slimes are: Kinda benevolent things that promise orgiastic pleasure and power, but which also are really creepy...and all-caps ALIEN.

Particularly among the character classes and options, the discrepancy between author capabilities, styles and systems becomes very apparent, but you can see that for yourself.

OSR and map-icon Dyson logos btw. presents us with one of the definite highlights of the book, the fully-mapped adventure "The Molds and Slimes of Vilnid", which, while lacking key-less versions of the maps, imho justifies downloading this book on its own - it is a creative, fun module with ageless children, fungal ogres and various weird slime pits that reward experimentation.

The pdf then concludes with a smattering of random tables and a drug-themed, irreverent twist of the classic Carcosa poem, Ryan Northcott's "The King in Mellow".

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are a weak spot of the book: Neither formally, nor on a rules-language level is there any sort of unified voice - the voices of the authors range from glorious, intelligent and inspiring to that was a dud of an entry, riddled with glitches." Layout is glorious - the book has colored-indicators for the chapters, sports evocative, psychedelic artworks and some stock pieces. The pdf-version is fully bookmarked. I also have the softcover version of the book, and it is well worth getting for the price-point, provided you enjoy a scavenging-type of book. The pdf is coverless and sports the cover and map as .pngs, while the print version has the map on the back cover - unfortunately with a jarring bar-code in one corner.

A ton of people wrote this: Aaron Gordon, Alex Schroeder, Anders Nordberg, Andrew Shields, Ara Kooser, Barry Blat, Benjamin Baugh, Bennet Akkerman, Blue Tyson, Brett Slocum, Casey Garske, Cédric Plante, Christopher Mennell, Christopher Paul, Christopher Weeks, Clint Krause, David Black, David Brawley, Dyson Logos, Ed Hackett, Edward Lockhart, Eric Duncan, Erik Jensen, Gary Bowerbank, Gavin Norman, Gennifer Bone, Greg Gorgonmilk, Harald Wagener, James Young, Jarrod Shaw, Jason Vines, Jez Gordon, Joey Lindsey, John Carrm, John Wilson, Justin S. Davis, Kreg Mosier, M. Nicksic, Massimiliano Caracristi, Michael Lee, Mike F., Noah Stevens, Olav Nygård, Oli Palmer, Pearce Shea, Rafael Chandler, Reece Carter, Richard Grenville, Roger Giner-Sorolla, Ryan Northcott, Terje Nordin, Thom Hall, Tim Shorts, Tim Snider, Trey Causey, Victor Garrison,Wayne Rossi, Wayne Snyder, Wil McKinnee, Zack Wolf.

I wish I could say that all of these folks did an amazing job, but the matter of fact remains that most of them did provide something fun and interesting within these pages. Don't get me wrong - I am not complaining because I don't like this book; quite the contrary! I love what it does and what it stands for, but I honestly wished it had a clearer creative vision, some sort of rules-development to make it unified in some way. As written, this is fully of amazing, transcendent ideas...but also contains some bad trips, if you will. It does not come together as a setting either, but as a scavenging ground, it is a great way to add some serious weirdness to your game. I'd be significantly less lenient regarding this book, were it not for the fact that it is FREE.

As a FREE offering, this most certainly should be considered to be an inspired little array of options, worthy of at least checking out. Now, personally, I am not sure if I would have bought the softcover, had it not been provided for me. I am, after all, a stickler for rules and consistency. If you're looking for those, you may be better off elsewhere...or at least should have some serious knowledge of what you're doing. At the same time, this book is the collective ID of a ton of amazing, creative people running wild, with several "stars" of the OSR contributing - for these entries alone, this is definitely worth checking out. If this was a commercial book, I'd probably consider it a mixed bag, but as a FREE offering, it definitely should provide some form of joy for you and yours. My final verdict will hence round up from my final verdict of 3.5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Narcosa
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Narcosa
by Amber B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/22/2017 07:14:40

What a blast! Some extraordinarily interesting, creative, sly ideas in here. Definitely getting your money's worth with this! Only wish I got it sooner..



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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