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A Day Out at the Executions
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/26/2020 08:42:24

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second of Raging Swan Press‘ eventures 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!

So, what is an eventure? Well, know how much or modern gaming is about tactics and combat? Now, I LOVE that, I really do. I enjoy brutal combats that are essentially numbers-puzzles. HOWEVER, this has become a very dominant paradigm, to the point where many modules consist solely of such challenges. But roleplaying is more. If you recall some truly remarkable sessions and things your players talk about, there’s a good chance that some NPCs and interactions are remembered fondly because they were NOT combat.

This is what an “eventure” is – a module or mini-event-booklet focusing on roleplaying, and NOT on combat. Okay, so what does this one offer? Well, if you’re a bit familiar with how medieval societies handled executions, you’ll know that they tended to gather quite a crowd – in many ways, the punitive systems back in that day generated a kind of spectacle. (For more insight on how executions were handled in the 16th century and the realities of the hangman’s job back then, I recommend checking out the diary of Meister Franz Schmidt of Nuremberg and/or Joel F. Harrington’s “The Faithful Executioner”– there are solid English books on that topic, and if you’re fluent in German, I’d recommend checking out the scans of his diary!)

But I digress – if you need hooks for your players, a couple of them are provided, and then, the supplement features an overview of justice in the Duchy of Ashlar – the brutal punishments are described, and while not reveling in the realities, the descriptions are all about, well, executions. With classics like sawing and the breaking wheel included. The module is situated in the lavishly-detailed city of Languard, namely the low city, (see City Backdrops: Languard and the Languard Locations-series) and as such explains the history of the Traitor’s Gate, but the eventure remains pretty easy to adapt to other environments. The Last Chance tavern, with rules-less notes on NPCs and prices provided alongside two hooks certainly sees some serious business.

Since an execution is an event, a lot of people will show up – as such, the eventure provides the fluff-centric write-ups for such NPCs and groups them by category:  We get, for example, write-ups for 4 beggars, including cripples to a madwoman and a charlatan. Nice: One of these individuals also acts as a possible link to Shadowed Keep of the Borderlands. Street vendors and entertainers, as well as other townsfolk, are provided as well, and the section is supplemented by a list of 12 rumors – these do come with DCs etc. - nice.

This basic set-up out of the way, we come to the day itself – the eventure structures the monthly execution day by time of day, beginning from dawn, with the show starting at noon – the criminals to be executed are all depicted in the same flavor-centric manner as before (read: no stats). From hardened criminals to those claiming innocence, there is a nice breadth here, with the afternoon going through the sequence of the executions. If the executions and potential for adventuring there didn’t suffice, you can also make use of the further adventuring section – one criminal’s daughter will have been made an orphan, for example, and what about entrepreneurs for execution-related components seeking a little extra coin? In short: One has to be a very poor GM indeed to not get some serious mileage out of this day at the executions.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ elegant two-column b/w-standard, and the pdf sports nice b/w-artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, and in two versions – one optimized for the screen, and one for printing it.

Creighton Broadhurst’s day at the executions (additional design by Amber Underwood) is a cool eventure, but does have two minor weaknesses: For one, the lack of anything pertaining to DCs beyond the rumors and context, while probably intended, means that this is pretty much almost system neutral in all but name, when e.g. thieves etc. would have warranted some guidance; secondly, the execution’s scene per se has no map – just a small excerpt from Languard’s map, and that doesn’t show the details, like the place where things happen, stands, etc. – and since there’s a decent chance at one point that the characters try to save someone or prevent the like, this makes that component of the supplement slightly less useful than it could have been. As such, my final verdict will be 4.5 stars, rounded down: A good and flavorful offering, but one that requires a bit of GM-work.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
A Day Out at the Executions
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A Day Out at the Executions (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/26/2020 08:40:49

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second of Raging Swan Press‘ eventures 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!

So, what is an eventure? Well, know how much or modern gaming is about tactics and combat? Now, I LOVE that, I really do. I enjoy brutal combats that are essentially numbers-puzzles. HOWEVER, this has become a very dominant paradigm, to the point where many modules consist solely of such challenges. But roleplaying is more. If you recall some truly remarkable sessions and things your players talk about, there’s a good chance that some NPCs and interactions are remembered fondly because they were NOT combat.

This is what an “eventure” is – a module or mini-event-booklet focusing on roleplaying, and NOT on combat. Okay, so what does this one offer? Well, if you’re a bit familiar with how medieval societies handled executions, you’ll know that they tended to gather quite a crowd – in many ways, the punitive systems back in that day generated a kind of spectacle. (For more insight on how executions were handled in the 16th century and the realities of the hangman’s job back then, I recommend checking out the diary of Meister Franz Schmidt of Nuremberg and/or Joel F. Harrington’s “The Faithful Executioner”– there are solid English books on that topic, and if you’re fluent in German, I’d recommend checking out the scans of his diary!)

But I digress – if you need hooks for your players, a couple of them are provided, and then, the supplement features an overview of justice in the Duchy of Ashlar – the brutal punishments are described, and while not reveling in the realities, the descriptions are all about, well, executions. With classics like sawing and the breaking wheel included. The module is situated in the lavishly-detailed city of Languard, namely the low city, (see City Backdrops: Languard and the Languard Locations-series) and as such explains the history of the Traitor’s Gate, but the eventure remains pretty easy to adapt to other environments. The Last Chance tavern, with rules-less notes on NPCs and prices provided alongside two hooks certainly sees some serious business.

Since an execution is an event, a lot of people will show up – as such, the eventure provides the fluff-centric write-ups for such NPCs and groups them by category: We get, for example, write-ups for 4 beggars, including cripples to a madwoman and a charlatan. The NPcs herein reference the default 5e-statblocks. Nice: One of these individuals also acts as a possible link to Shadowed Keep of the Borderlands. Street vendors and entertainers, as well as other townsfolk, are provided as well, and the section is supplemented by a list of 12 rumors, with proper DCs provided..

This basic set-up out of the way, we come to the day itself – the eventure structures the monthly execution day by time of day, beginning from dawn, with the show starting at noon – the criminals to be executed are all depicted in the same flavor-centric manner as before (read: no stats). From hardened criminals to those claiming innocence, there is a nice breadth here, with the afternoon going through the sequence of the executions. If the executions and potential for adventuring there didn’t suffice, you can also make use of the further adventuring section – one criminal’s daughter will have been made an orphan, for example, and what about entrepreneurs for execution-related components seeking a little extra coin? In short: One has to be a very poor GM indeed to not get some serious mileage out of this day at the executions.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ elegant two-column b/w-standard, and the pdf sports nice b/w-artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, and in two versions – one optimized for the screen, and one for printing it.

Creighton Broadhurst’s day at the executions (additional design by Amber Underwood) is a cool eventure, but does have two minor weaknesses: For one, the lack of anything pertaining to DCs beyond the rumor-section and context, while probably intended, means that this is pretty system neutral in all but name; secondly, the execution’s scene per se has no map – just a small excerpt from Languard’s map, and that doesn’t show the details, like the place where things happen, stands, etc. – and since there’s a decent chance at one point that the characters try to save someone or prevent the like, this makes that component of the supplement slightly less useful than it could have been. As such, my final verdict will be 4.5 stars, rounded down: A good and flavorful offering, but one that requires a bit of GM-work.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
A Day Out at the Executions (5e)
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A Day Out at the Executions (System Neutral)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/26/2020 08:39:54

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second of Raging Swan Press‘ eventures 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!

So, what is an eventure? Well, know how much or modern gaming is about tactics and combat? Now, I LOVE that, I really do. I enjoy brutal combats that are essentially numbers-puzzles. HOWEVER, this has become a very dominant paradigm, to the point where many modules consist solely of such challenges. But roleplaying is more. If you recall some truly remarkable sessions and things your players talk about, there’s a good chance that some NPCs and interactions are remembered fondly because they were NOT combat.

This is what an “eventure” is – a module or mini-event-booklet focusing on roleplaying, and NOT on combat. Okay, so what does this one offer? Well, if you’re a bit familiar with how medieval societies handled executions, you’ll know that they tended to gather quite a crowd – in many ways, the punitive systems back in that day generated a kind of spectacle. (For more insight on how executions were handled in the 16th century and the realities of the hangman’s job back then, I recommend checking out the diary of Meister Franz Schmidt of Nuremberg and/or Joel F. Harrington’s “The Faithful Executioner”– there are solid English books on that topic, and if you’re fluent in German, I’d recommend checking out the scans of his diary!)

But I digress – if you need hooks for your players, a couple of them are provided, and then, the supplement features an overview of justice in the Duchy of Ashlar – the brutal punishments are described, and while not reveling in the realities, the descriptions are all about, well, executions. With classics like sawing and the breaking wheel included. The module is situated in the lavishly-detailed city of Languard, namely the low city, (see City Backdrops: Languard and the Languard Locations-series) and as such explains the history of the Traitor’s Gate, but the eventure remains pretty easy to adapt to other environments. The Last Chance tavern, with rules-less notes on NPCs and prices provided alongside two hooks certainly sees some serious business. The NPCs reference the proper old-school classes, just fyi.

Since an execution is an event, a lot of people will show up – as such, the eventure provides the fluff-centric write-ups for such NPCs and groups them by category:  We get, for example, write-ups for 4 beggars, including cripples to a madwoman and a charlatan. Nice: One of these individuals also acts as a possible link to Shadowed Keep of the Borderlands. Street vendors and entertainers, as well as other townsfolk, are provided as well, and the section is supplemented by a list of 12 rumors – handled appropriately sans rolling the dice here, with costs noted.

This basic set-up out of the way, we come to the day itself – the eventure structures the monthly execution day by time of day, beginning from dawn, with the show starting at noon – the criminals to be executed are all depicted in the same flavor-centric manner as before (read: no stats). From hardened criminals to those claiming innocence, there is a nice breadth here, with the afternoon going through the sequence of the executions. If the executions and potential for adventuring there didn’t suffice, you can also make use of the further adventuring section – one criminal’s daughter will have been made an orphan, for example, and what about entrepreneurs for execution-related components seeking a little extra coin? In short: One has to be a very poor GM indeed to not get some serious mileage out of this day at the executions.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ elegant two-column b/w-standard, and the pdf sports nice b/w-artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, and in two versions – one optimized for the screen, and one for printing it.

Creighton Broadhurst’s day at the executions (additional design by Amber Underwood) is a cool eventure, but does have a minor weakness: While I can’t well complain about being very lite on the rules for the system neutral version, the execution’s scene per se has no map – just a small excerpt from Languard’s map, and that doesn’t show the details, like the place where things happen, stands, etc. – and since there’s a decent chance at one point that the characters try to save someone or prevent the like, this makes that component of the supplement slightly less useful than it could have been. As such, my final verdict will be 4.5 stars, rounded up. A good and flavorful offering, but one that requires a bit of GM-work.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Day Out at the Executions (System Neutral)
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Village Backdrop: Fraywrack 2.0 (P2)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/26/2020 08:36:54

An Endzeitgeist.com review of the revised edition

This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 13 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 7 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!

…wait. Fraywrack, Fraywrack…that wasn’t nominally a Village Backdrop before, right? Indeed! Fraywrack was originally released in the Places of Power-series, but even in its original iteration actually was, well, a village. As such, having the expanded version adhere to the formula regarding presentation makes sense, particularly since the original already pretty much adhered to that standard.

Formally, the supplement has been expanded in the usual way for these second visits to locales: That means, we get more extensive information regarding the surrounding locality, and the very helpful notes for the GM on life in the settlement, local laws and customs and tradition all are here. The super helpful dressing/event table has been expanded from an original 6 entries to 20, making it much easier to portray the place as an alive and organic environment. Unlike most of the supplements in the series, this has not received read-aloud text for the keyed locales. The revised version also introduces a new keyed location, EDIT: The map-glitch has been taken care of.

 Fraywrack is rather captivating:

On a lonesome shore of rocky headland, known as the Harpy's Head, there lies the wrecked ruin of an erstwhile powerful ship - and it conceals an alliance most peculiar: You see, a flight of harpies has lured the vessel ashore - but the wreck contains no signs of slaughter, but rather an impromptu war-camp, for the harpies thus forcefully recruited the crew of survivors as soldiers in their desperate fight against Dagon and his strange, deformed minions that rise from the depth in a truly unique coalition.

The unique constellation of characters is a boon here as well: From harpies not being too keen to be forced to play with their food to drunken sailors, there is an intrinsic tension that suffuses the set-up that, by means of its very definition, is upset by the arrival of PCs.

It is btw. nice to see that the pdf does come with a nice marketplace section for consumables, magic, etc., featured among the keyed locales. The location sports also a ramshackle settlement, as you can imagine - and honestly, I could elaborate on how the individual locations are cool and evocative, but frankly, that would be redundant as far as I'm concerned - the set-up at the grand scale is creative and full of potential, something that is continued seamlessly to the individual locales, generating a truly amazing location. Much to my chagrin, the revised edition has not seen fit to include some modifications or stats for the 4 new NPCs featured, which are depicted in Raging Swan Press’ usual, fluff-only manner. Getting some unique attacks or abilities for them would have been neat.

Mechanically, the pdf per se handles adjustment to PF2 well, but, as often, tighter integration into the (critical) success/failure mechanics would have been nice for the checks.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious glitches on a formal level, though the map-glitch is pretty damn bad. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The b/w-artworks are amazing pieces. The pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for screen-use and one optimized to be printed out. The cartography by Maciej Zagorski is well-made and in b/w. Supporters of Raging Swan Press' patreon can get access to a player-friendly, key-less version of the map, at least to my knowledge.

Jacob W. Michaels' Fraywrack s creative, cool and unique - the idea is simple, but the execution is frankly inspired and chock-full with roleplaying potential. EDIT: The map-glitch has been fixed. This is the first version for PF2, and as such, does have a value for PF2-purists. The writing is top-tier, and with the map-issue fixed, I think I can award this 4.5 stars, rounded up.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Fraywrack 2.0 (P2)
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Village Backdrop: Fraywrack 2.0 (OSR)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/26/2020 08:33:06

An Endzeitgeist.com review of the revised edition

This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 13 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 7 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!

…wait. Fraywrack, Fraywrack…that wasn’t nominally a Village Backdrop before, right? Indeed! Fraywrack was originally released in the Places of Power-series, but even in its original iteration actually was, well, a village. As such, having the expanded version adhere to the formula regarding presentation makes sense, particularly since the original already pretty much adhered to that standard.

Formally, the supplement has been expanded in the usual way for these second visits to locales: That means, we get more extensive information regarding the surrounding locality, and the very helpful notes for the GM on life in the settlement, local laws and customs and tradition all are here. The super helpful dressing/event table has been expanded from an original 6 entries to 20, making it much easier to portray the place as an alive and organic environment. Unlike most of the supplements in the series, this has not received read-aloud text for the keyed locales. The revised version also introduces a new keyed location, EDIT: and a previous map-issue has been fixed.

Fraywrack is rather captivating:

On a lonesome shore of rocky headland, known as the Harpy's Head, there lies the wrecked ruin of an erstwhile powerful ship - and it conceals an alliance most peculiar: You see, a flight of harpies has lured the vessel ashore - but the wreck contains no signs of slaughter, but rather an impromptu war-camp, for the harpies thus forcefully recruited the crew of survivors as soldiers in their desperate fight against Dagon and his strange, deformed minions that rise from the depth in a truly unique coalition.

The unique constellation of characters is a boon here as well: From harpies not being too keen to be forced to play with their food to drunken sailors, there is an intrinsic tension that suffuses the set-up that, by means of its very definition, is upset by the arrival of PCs.

It is btw. nice to see that the pdf does come with a nice marketplace section for consumables, magic, etc., featured among the keyed locales – it has been properly adjusted for the realities of old-school gaming. The location sports also a ramshackle settlement, as you can imagine - and honestly, I could elaborate on how the individual locations are cool and evocative, but frankly, that would be redundant as far as I'm concerned - the set-up at the grand scale is creative and full of potential, something that is continued seamlessly to the individual locales, generating a truly amazing location. Much to my chagrin, the revised edition has not seen fit to include some modifications or stats for the 4 new NPCs featured, which are depicted in Raging Swan Press’ usual, fluff-only manner. Getting some unique attacks or abilities for them would have been neat.

Mechanically, the pdf is not necessarily OSR in that we’d get old-school stats for the NPCs (which’d have been easy enough to fit in), but rather an expansion of the system neutral version of the original pdf. So if you expected some juicy mechanics, you won’t find them.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious glitches on a formal level, though the map-glitch is pretty damn bad. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The b/w-artworks are amazing pieces. The pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for screen-use and one optimized to be printed out. The cartography by Maciej Zagorski is well-made and in b/w. Supporters of Raging Swan Press' patreon can get access to a player-friendly, key-less version of the map, at least to my knowledge.

Jacob W. Michaels' Fraywrack s creative, cool and unique - the idea is simple, but the execution is frankly inspired and chock-full with roleplaying potential. EDIT: The map glitch has been fixed. The writing is top-tier, but the decision to omit any old-school rules per se also is a missed chance; this is essentially based on the system neutral version of the original, and fails to add relevant mechanics. If you have the original iteration, I’d round down from my final verdict of 4.5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Fraywrack 2.0 (OSR)
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Village Backdrop: Fraywrack 2.0 (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/26/2020 08:29:22

An Endzeitgeist.com review of the revised edition

This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 13 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 7 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!

…wait. Fraywrack, Fraywrack…that wasn’t nominally a Village Backdrop before, right? Indeed! Fraywrack was originally released in the Places of Power-series, but even in its original iteration actually was, well, a village. As such, having the expanded version adhere to the formula regarding presentation makes sense, particularly since the original already pretty much adhered to that standard.

Formally, the supplement has been expanded in the usual way for these second visits to locales: That means, we get more extensive information regarding the surrounding locality, and the very helpful notes for the GM on life in the settlement, local laws and customs and tradition all are here. The super helpful dressing/event table has been expanded from an original 6 entries to 20, making it much easier to portray the place as an alive and organic environment. Unlike most of the supplements in the series, this has not received read-aloud text for the keyed locales. The revised version also introduces a new keyed location EDIT: The map-glitch has been fixed.

Fraywrack is rather captivating:

On a lonesome shore of rocky headland, known as the Harpy's Head, there lies the wrecked ruin of an erstwhile powerful ship - and it conceals an alliance most peculiar: You see, a flight of harpies has lured the vessel ashore - but the wreck contains no signs of slaughter, but rather an impromptu war-camp, for the harpies thus forcefully recruited the crew of survivors as soldiers in their desperate fight against Dagon and his strange, deformed minions that rise from the depth in a truly unique coalition.

The unique constellation of characters is a boon here as well: From harpies not being too keen to be forced to play with their food to drunken sailors, there is an intrinsic tension that suffuses the set-up that, by means of its very definition, is upset by the arrival of PCs.

It is btw. nice to see that the pdf does come with a nice marketplace section for consumables, magic, etc., featured among the keyed locales. The location sports also a ramshackle settlement, as you can imagine - and honestly, I could elaborate on how the individual locations are cool and evocative, but frankly, that would be redundant as far as I'm concerned - the set-up at the grand scale is creative and full of potential, something that is continued seamlessly to the individual locales, generating a truly amazing location. Much to my chagrin, the revised edition has not seen fit to include some modifications or stats for the 4 new NPCs featured, which are depicted in Raging Swan Press’ usual, fluff-only manner.

Mechanically, the pdf per se handles adjustment to 5e well on a basic level, with NPCs referencing default monsters/stats. Getting some unique attacks or abilities for them would have been neat – Fraywrack’s unconventional location begs for some cool lair actions.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious glitches on a formal level. EDIT: Map-glitch fixed. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The b/w-artworks are amazing pieces. The pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for screen-use and one optimized to be printed out. The cartography by Maciej Zagorski is well-made and in b/w. Supporters of Raging Swan Press' patreon can get access to a player-friendly, key-less version of the map, at least to my knowledge.

Jacob W. Michaels' Fraywrack s creative, cool and unique - the idea is simple, but the execution is frankly inspired and chock-full with roleplaying potential. EDIT: Map-glitch fixed. If you have the original, round down; otherwise, round up from my final verdict of 4.5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Fraywrack 2.0 (5e)
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Village Backdrop: Fraywrack 2.0 (P1)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/26/2020 08:25:16

An Endzeitgeist.com review of the revised edition

This expanded version of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 13 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 7 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!

…wait. Fraywrack, Fraywrack…that wasn’t nominally a Village Backdrop before, right? Indeed! Fraywrack was originally released in the Places of Power-series, but even in its original iteration actually was, well, a village. As such, having the expanded version adhere to the formula regarding presentation makes sense, particularly since the original already pretty much adhered to that standard.

Formally, the supplement has been expanded in the usual way for these second visits to locales: That means, we get more extensive information regarding the surrounding locality, and the very helpful notes for the GM on life in the settlement, local laws and customs and tradition all are here. The super helpful dressing/event table has been expanded from an original 6 entries to 20, making it much easier to portray the place as an alive and organic environment. Unlike most of the supplements in the series, this has not received read-aloud text for the keyed locales, and in the PF1-version, the settlement stats are missing. The revised version also introduces a new keyed location, which is per se nice.

EDIT: The map-issue has been corrected.

Which is a pity, because Fraywrack per se is rather captivating:

On a lonesome shore of rocky headland, known as the Harpy's Head, there lies the wrecked ruin of an erstwhile powerful ship - and it conceals an alliance most peculiar: You see, a flight of harpies has lured the vessel ashore - but the wreck contains no signs of slaughter, but rather an impromptu war-camp, for the harpies thus forcefully recruited the crew of survivors as soldiers in their desperate fight against Dagon and his strange, deformed minions that rise from the depth in a truly unique coalition.

The unique constellation of characters is a boon here as well: From harpies not being too keen to be forced to play with their food to drunken sailors, there is an intrinsic tension that suffuses the set-up that, by means of its very definition, is upset by the arrival of PCs.

It is btw. nice to see that the pdf does come with a nice marketplace section for consumables, magic, etc., featured among the keyed locales. The location sports also a ramshackle settlement, as you can imagine - and honestly, I could elaborate on how the individual locations are cool and evocative, but frankly, that would be redundant as far as I'm concerned - the set-up at the grand scale is creative and full of potential, something that is continued seamlessly to the individual locales, generating a truly amazing location. Much to my chagrin, the revised edition has not seen fit to include some modifications or stats for the 4 new NPCs featured, which are depicted in Raging Swan Press’ usual, fluff-only manner.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious glitches on a formal level. EDIT: Map-glitch fixed. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The b/w-artworks are amazing pieces. The pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for screen-use and one optimized to be printed out. The cartography by Maciej Zagorski is well-made and in b/w. Supporters of Raging Swan Press' patreon can get access to a player-friendly, key-less version of the map, at least to my knowledge.

Jacob W. Michaels' Fraywrack s creative, cool and unique - the idea is simple, but the execution is frankly inspired and chock-full with roleplaying potential. EDIT: map-glitch fixed. As such, my final verdict increases to 4.5 stars - round up if you don't have the original, down if you already have it.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Fraywrack 2.0 (P1)
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Four Nights at the Orc's Head (System Neutral)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/14/2020 07:36:55

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The first of Raging Swan Press‘ “Eventures“ (not a typo) clocks in at 15 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 9 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, what is an eventure? Well, know how much or modern gaming is about tactics and combat? Now, I LOVE that, I really do. I enjoy brutal combats that are essentially numbers-puzzles. HOWEVER, this has become a very dominant paradigm, to the point where many modules consist solely of such challenges. But roleplaying is more. If you recall some truly remarkable sessions and things your players talk about, there’s a good chance that some NPCs and interactions are remembered fondly because they were NOT combat.

This is what an “eventure” is – a module or mini-event-booklet focusing on roleplaying, and NOT on combat. Okay, so what does this one offer? Well, context-wise, this is somewhat akin to a scripted mini-sandbox, and features the boardgame/mini-game “The Dragon and the Thief” – if you’re new to this, I’ve covered it before. The supplement does cover the rules and provides a proper playing board. It’s a fun change of pace. Location-wise, the “Orc’s Head” tavern is an adventurer watering hole situated in the amazing city of Languard in the Duchy of Ashlar, and since this eventure features essentially 4 fleshed-out nights, it can easily be spliced into other modules for a change of pace. Adapting the eventure to another city or setting is btw super easy – as long as you can fit a tavern in your game, you’re good. As the eventure focuses not on combat or the like, it is useful for a relatively broad range of levels – it best works at low and mid levels, as high level gameplay and the relatively gritty aesthetic clash slightly.

All right, and this is pretty much as far as I can go without going into SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.

… .. .

All right, only GMs around? Great! A chunk of local limestone cut in the shape of the eponymous Orc’s Head clearly designates this place as the infamous tavern run by former adventurer Einar Salonen. Drink is cheap, music is loud, and people are partying. The common room is in the cellar (actually rather common around where I live) due to the original tavern burning down; guests lodge on the ground floor, Einar and staff on the upper floor. The supplement provides prices for food and drink and accommodations, and presents 5 nice hooks to get the characters to check out the place.

Which brings me to a HUGE plus: The tavern is fully mapped in a gorgeous, super-detailed manner – you can see the patterns on wood and tiles, individual crates, etc. The b/w map is STUNNING, and better yet, it’s a 100% player-friendly map!! The map is fantastic, and getting one sans labels etc., with grid and all? AMAZING. I mean, Raging Swan press usually has damn fine maps, but this one? Really nice.

But I digress: The book then proceeds to present customers via a d10 table supplemented by a whole paragraph of flavor contextualizing these individuals. There are no stats provided for them, but the classes referenced have been properly adjusted to old-school aesthetics. 5 members of staff are presented in a similar manner, and there is a pretty neat d20-generator that lets you determine mood, level of inebriation and activity of the individuals. A bit of a bummer: Raging Swan Press has this great Barroom Brawl supplement for PFRPG, and this version references it as the supplement to get to run such brawls. While said supplement is not exactly super-crunchy, its levels of intoxication would have been relatively easy to translate to old-school games – or some text-only guidance would have been nice. Bit of a bummer there.

So that’s the general set-up. From here, we move on to the four nights. These are presented in a nice manner: We get a list of 10 whispers and rumors, as well as 10 brief dynamic minor events to flesh out the proceedings – these sections apply globally. Beyond these, we get fixed events to make the night interesting. In night 1, we have, for example, a good teetotaler priest preach against the vices of gambling and drinking – which’ll potentially necessitate him being thrown out. We have a traumatized adventurer seeking to sell a mysterious dagger, and there’s a young girl, recently orphaned – she needs a roof over her head and food, and wants to stay off the streets, so finding a solution there (Einar will hire her) is the right thing to do.

Night 2 features three adventurers inviting the party to a game of The Dragon and the Thief, and otherwise is pretty quiet, which means that Einar has time for a conversation, if the PCs are so inclined. Night 3 is packed due to the performance of the troupe known as the Yellow Rose – fully depicted, and the 4 performances they put on actually all are adventurer-relevant and explained – kudos! A minor brawl may also break out. The fourth night features two adventuring parties, including one having their loot under the table. As before, these NPCs are explained and feature descriptive paragraphs, but no stats.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ elegant two-column b/w-standard, and the pdf sports nice b/w-artworks. The b/w-cartography of the Orc’s Head is phenomenal AND player-friendly – huge plus there! The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, and in two versions – one optimized for the screen, and one for printing it.

Creighton Broadhurst’s first eventure is a SUPER-useful supplement. Getting a compelling, interesting tavern, with several fleshed out nights for the GM? That’s awesome, and nigh universal in its applicability. I adore this supplement as a person. And, well, this is the system neutral version – I can’t well complain about a lack of crunch in it, now, can I? As such, I consider this version to be a resounding success – 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Four Nights at the Orc's Head (System Neutral)
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Four Nights at the Orc's Head (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/14/2020 07:35:18

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The first of Raging Swan Press‘ “Eventures“ (not a typo) clocks in at 15 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 9 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, what is an eventure? Well, know how much or modern gaming is about tactics and combat? Now, I LOVE that, I really do. I enjoy brutal combats that are essentially numbers-puzzles. HOWEVER, this has become a very dominant paradigm, to the point where many modules consist solely of such challenges. But roleplaying is more. If you recall some truly remarkable sessions and things your players talk about, there’s a good chance that some NPCs and interactions are remembered fondly because they were NOT combat.

This is what an “eventure” is – a module or mini-event-booklet focusing on roleplaying, and NOT on combat. Okay, so what does this one offer? Well, context-wise, this is somewhat akin to a scripted mini-sandbox, and features the boardgame/mini-game “The Dragon and the Thief” – if you’re new to this, I’ve covered it before. The supplement does cover the rules and provides a proper playing board. It’s a fun change of pace. Location-wise, the “Orc’s Head” tavern is an adventurer watering hole situated in the amazing city of Languard in the Duchy of Ashlar, and since this eventure features essentially 4 fleshed-out nights, it can easily be spliced into other modules for a change of pace. Adapting the eventure to another city or setting is btw super easy – as long as you can fit a tavern in your game, you’re good. As the eventure focuses not on combat or the like, it is useful for a relatively broad range of levels – it best works at low and mid levels, as high level gameplay and the relatively gritty aesthetic clash slightly.

All right, and this is pretty much as far as I can go without going into SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.

… .. .

All right, only GMs around? Great! A chunk of local limestone cut in the shape of the eponymous Orc’s Head clearly designates this place as the infamous tavern run by former adventurer Einar Salonen. Drink is cheap, music is loud, and people are partying. The common room is in the cellar (actually rather common around where I live) due to the original tavern burning down; guests lodge on the ground floor, Einar and staff on the upper floor. The supplement provides prices for food and drink and accommodations, and presents 5 nice hooks to get the characters to check out the place.

Which brings me to a HUGE plus: The tavern is fully mapped in a gorgeous, super-detailed manner – you can see the patterns on wood and tiles, individual crates, etc. The b/w map is STUNNING, and better yet, it’s a 100% player-friendly map!! The map is fantastic, and getting one sans labels etc., with grid and all? AMAZING. I mean, Raging Swan press usually has damn fine maps, but this one? Really nice.

But I digress: The book then proceeds to present customers via a d10 table supplemented by a whole paragraph of flavor contextualizing these individuals. There are no stats provided for them, instead referencing 5e’s default NPC statblocks. 5 members of staff are presented in a similar manner, and there is a pretty neat d20-generator that lets you determine mood, level of inebriation and activity of the individuals. A bit of a bummer: Raging Swan Press has this great Barroom Brawl supplement for PFRPG, and this version references it as the supplement to get to run such brawls. While said supplement is not exactly super-crunchy, its levels of intoxication don’t work that well for 5e. Bit of a bummer there.

So that’s the general set-up. From here, we move on to the four nights. These are presented in a nice manner: We get a list of 10 whispers and rumors, as well as 10 brief dynamic minor events to flesh out the proceedings – these sections apply globally. Beyond these, we get fixed events to make the night interesting. In night 1, we have, for example, a good teetotaler priest preach against the vices of gambling and drinking – which’ll potentially necessitate him being thrown out. We have a traumatized adventurer seeking to sell a mysterious dagger, and there’s a young girl, recently orphaned – she needs a roof over her head and food, and wants to stay off the streets, so finding a solution there (Einar will hire her) is the right thing to do.

Night 2 features three adventurers inviting the party to a game of The Dragon and the Thief, and otherwise is pretty quiet, which means that Einar has time for a conversation, if the PCs are so inclined. Night 3 is packed due to the performance of the troupe known as the Yellow Rose – fully depicted, and the 4 performances they put on actually all are adventurer-relevant and explained – kudos! A minor brawl may also break out. The fourth night features two adventuring parties, including one having their loot under the table. As before, these NPCs are explained and feature descriptive paragraphs, but no stats.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ elegant two-column b/w-standard, and the pdf sports nice b/w-artworks. The b/w-cartography of the Orc’s Head is phenomenal AND player-friendly – huge plus there! The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, and in two versions – one optimized for the screen, and one for printing it.

Creighton Broadhurst’s first eventure is a SUPER-useful supplement. Getting a compelling, interesting tavern, with several fleshed out nights for the GM? That’s awesome, and nigh universal in its applicability. I adore this supplement as a person. As a reviewer, there is but one real complaint I have: The supplement is essentially system neutral. There is not a single DC for social skills, hearing rumors or the like herein. The reference to a supplement for the wrong system also bothered me – a quick sidebar with rules for 5e wouldn’t have taken up much space. That being said, this is still an excellent, super-useful supplement, which is why my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, but rounded down for this iteration.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Four Nights at the Orc's Head (5e)
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Four Nights at the Orc's Head
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/14/2020 07:33:55

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The first of Raging Swan Press‘ “Eventures“ (not a typo) clocks in at 15 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 9 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, what is an eventure? Well, know how much or modern gaming is about tactics and combat? Now, I LOVE that, I really do. I enjoy brutal combats that are essentially numbers-puzzles. HOWEVER, this has become a very dominant paradigm, to the point where many modules consist solely of such challenges. But roleplaying is more. If you recall some truly remarkable sessions and things your players talk about, there’s a good chance that some NPCs and interactions are remembered fondly because they were NOT combat.

This is what an “eventure” is – a module or mini-event-booklet focusing on roleplaying, and NOT on combat. Okay, so what does this one offer? Well, context-wise, this is somewhat akin to a scripted mini-sandbox, and features the boardgame/mini-game “The Dragon and the Thief” – if you’re new to this, I’ve covered it before. The supplement does cover the rules and provides a proper playing board. It’s a fun change of pace. Location-wise, the “Orc’s Head” tavern is an adventurer watering hole situated in the amazing city of Languard in the Duchy of Ashlar, and since this eventure features essentially 4 fleshed-out nights, it can easily be spliced into other modules for a change of pace. Adapting the eventure to another city or setting is btw super easy – as long as you can fit a tavern in your game, you’re good. As the eventure focuses not on combat or the like, it is useful for a relatively broad range of levels – it best works at low and mid levels, as high level gameplay and the relatively gritty aesthetic clash slightly.

All right, and this is pretty much as far as I can go without going into SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.

… .. .

All right, only GMs around? Great! A chunk of local limestone cut in the shape of the eponymous Orc’s Head clearly designates this place as the infamous tavern run by former adventurer Einar Salonen. Drink is cheap, music is loud, and people are partying. The common room is in the cellar (actually rather common around where I live) due to the original tavern burning down; guests lodge on the ground floor, Einar and staff on the upper floor. The supplement provides prices for food and drink and accommodations, and presents 5 nice hooks to get the characters to check out the place.

Which brings me to a HUGE plus: The tavern is fully mapped in a gorgeous, super-detailed manner – you can see the patterns on wood and tiles, individual crates, etc. The b/w map is STUNNING, and better yet, it’s a 100% player-friendly map!! The map is fantastic, and getting one sans labels etc., with grid and all? AMAZING. I mean, Raging Swan press usually has damn fine maps, but this one? Really nice.

But I digress: The book then proceeds to present customers via a d10 table supplemented by a whole paragraph of flavor contextualizing these individuals. There are no stats provided for them. 5 members of staff are presented in a similar manner, and there is a pretty neat d20-generator that lets you determine mood, level of inebriation and activity of the individuals. If your PCs do look for a brawl, I’d recommend Raging Swan press’ amazing Barroom Brawl-supplement – and so does the pdf.

So that’s the general set-up. From here, we move on to the four nights. These are presented in a nice manner: We get a list of 10 whispers and rumors, as well as 10 brief dynamic minor events to flesh out the proceedings – these sections apply globally. Beyond these, we get fixed events to make the night interesting. In night 1, we have, for example, a good teetotaler priest preach against the vices of gambling and drinking – which’ll potentially necessitate him being thrown out. We have a traumatized adventurer seeking to sell a mysterious dagger, and there’s a young girl, recently orphaned – she needs a roof over her head and food, and wants to stay off the streets, so finding a solution there (Einar will hire her) is the right thing to do.

Night 2 features three adventurers inviting the party to a game of The Dragon and the Thief, and otherwise is pretty quiet, which means that Einar has time for a conversation, if the PCs are so inclined. Night 3 is packed due to the performance of the troupe known as the Yellow Rose – fully depicted, and the 4 performances they put on actually all are adventurer-relevant and explained – kudos! A minor brawl may also break out. The fourth night features two adventuring parties, including one having their loot under the table. As before, these NPCs are explained and feature descriptive paragraphs, but no stats.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ elegant two-column b/w-standard, and the pdf sports nice b/w-artworks. The b/w-cartography of the Orc’s Head is phenomenal AND player-friendly – huge plus there! The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, and in two versions – one optimized for the screen, and one for printing it.

Creighton Broadhurst’s first eventure is a SUPER-useful supplement. Getting a compelling, interesting tavern, with several fleshed out nights for the GM? That’s awesome, and nigh universal in its applicability. I adore this supplement as a person. As a reviewer, there is but one real complaint I have: The supplement is essentially system neutral. There is not a single DC for social skills, hearing rumors or the like herein. And for a supplement designated as the PFRPG-version? Somewhat disappointing.

That being said, this is still an excellent, super-useful supplement, which is why my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars, just short of my seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Four Nights at the Orc's Head
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Village Backdrop: Macrimei 2.0 (P2)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/04/2020 11:49:42

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 13 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 7 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!

Know then, young prince, that in the days of yore, when Atlantis had first sunken into the seas, there was a place called Macrimei, situated amid windswept hills in colder climes, where ruins howl of ages long past, its populace descendants of a once glorious culture, now reduced to a state that is but a shade of their former glory; a place where once towers of ivory pierced the sky, everything looks as though a certain Cimmerian's sandaled feet had cut a swath through the landscape. Into this desolation came the wizard Anazturex with his own private little army of henchmen, dubbed after the strange local deity "Soryan", his Sons of Soryan. It's been years under this small magocratic rule, and nowadays, everyone is barred from the red obelisk where Soryan's supposedly worshiped, as the wizard's tower watches over a village born in ruins.

It is rumored in town, that one day a strange silvery child appeared and subsequently vanished...and the wizard's tower has an odd tendency to disappear for weeks on end, only to suddenly reappear...but to what ends, no one knows. Oh, and in case you are not too keen on the reveal of the nature of the wizard, an alternative is provided as a designer's suggestion...kudos for going the extra-mile!

Now, the lore and flavor, the writing – is top tier. This being an expanded version of a shorter pdf originally released for PFRPG. It also provides new material in pretty compelling ways. To be more precise, we get the usual expansion pertaining the surrounding locality, the law of the land, customs, etc. Dressing in particular is remarkable: For example, the dressing/event table sports 20 entries…but the pdf goes beyond that, providing some smaller sub-dressing suggestions for visits to certain keyed locales. The pdf also features well-written fluff-only write-ups for NPCS, 5 to be more specific, but if you expected new attacks or abilities for some of the unique creatures herein, you won’t find that.

The PF2-iteration has been properly adjusted rules-wise regarding skills, etc., though using the (critical) success/failure paradigm of PF2 in e.g. the rumors would have been a nice touch.

The artifact, the Orb of Soryan is still here, but is a total mess in how it is presented in PF2: No Bulk, no proper Activate line, no proper traits. A total mess from a rules-formatting and -integrity perspective.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are formally good, but not impressive on a rules-level, with the artifact’s presentation in particular being a very weak outing. 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.

In case my ample allusions to the genre-classics were not ample clue: This village is a perfect bow before the tropes of Swords & Sorcery, a village dripping flavor and atmosphere out of every pore; just as useful in a post-apocalyptic scenario, Macrimei is a fantastic village that manages to evoke the primal sense of the ancient, of decay and ages long past with panache and prose so concise and dense, you feel like you could cut it. While it could just as well be tinted through the shades of high fantasy, unlike most sojourns of PFRPG into the genre, I'd strongly advise against that, for this village backdrop GETS what makes Sword & Sorcery so amazing - it's neither flowery prose, nor the themes...it's the room for growth, for question-marks, the precarious balance of blanks and filled-in information, the tone.

I seriously LOVE John Bennett’s Macrimei.

But this PF2-conversion feels phoned in.

I get that the multi-system realities of the series mean that its installments tend to gravitate to the rules-lite side of things, but the messed-up artifact is pretty bad. I do think that each installment would benefit from trying to be a bit less system agnostic to make the different iterations account more for the realities of their systems, so I do LIKE that we get a proper artifact here…or I would, if it had been properly realized. It could have been a cool selling point for PF2, but ends up being the opposite, emphasizing that this is a linear conversion that doesn’t use the new and exciting possibilities of PF2 to the degree it could. My final verdict can’t exceed 3 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Macrimei 2.0 (P2)
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Village Backdrop: Macrimei 2.0 (OSR)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/04/2020 11:48:21

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 13 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 7 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!

Know then, young prince, that in the days of yore, when Atlantis had first sunken into the seas, there was a place called Macrimei, situated amid windswept hills in colder climes, where ruins howl of ages long past, its populace descendants of a once glorious culture, now reduced to a state that is but a shade of their former glory; a place where once towers of ivory pierced the sky, everything looks as though a certain Cimmerian's sandaled feet had cut a swath through the landscape. Into this desolation came the wizard Anazturex with his own private little army of henchmen, dubbed after the strange local deity "Soryan", his Sons of Soryan. It's been years under this small magocratic rule, and nowadays, everyone is barred from the red obelisk where Soryan's supposedly worshiped, as the wizard's tower watches over a village born in ruins.

It is rumored in town, that one day a strange silvery child appeared and subsequently vanished...and the wizard's tower has an odd tendency to disappear for weeks on end, only to suddenly reappear...but to what ends, no one knows. Oh, and in case you are not too keen on the reveal of the nature of the wizard, an alternative is provided as a designer's suggestion...kudos for going the extra-mile!

Now, the lore and flavor, the writing – is top tier. This being an expanded version of a shorter pdf originally released for PFRPG. It also provides new material in pretty compelling ways. To be more precise, we get the usual expansion pertaining the surrounding locality, the law of the land, customs, etc. Dressing in particular is remarkable: For example, the dressing/event table sports 20 entries…but the pdf goes beyond that, providing some smaller sub-dressing suggestions for visits to certain keyed locales. We also get well-written fluff-only write-ups for NPCS, 5 to be more specific – these reference wizards instead of magic-users, so if that bothers you, consider yourself to be warned.

The artifact, the Orb of Soryan is still here, but unlike the botched 5e and PF2-versions, it actually works in a pretty smooth manner, getting old-school rules functionally right, and using a no-frills roll-under mechanic to activate. Nice! Minor nitpick: Destruction caveat would have been nice, but oh well. It also references caster level, which might upset some purists.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are formally good, and slightly weaker when it comes to rules. 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.

In case my ample allusions to the genre-classics were not ample clue: This village is a perfect bow before the tropes of Swords & Sorcery, a village dripping flavor and atmosphere out of every pore; just as useful in a post-apocalyptic scenario, Macrimei is a fantastic village that manages to evoke the primal sense of the ancient, of decay and ages long past with panache and prose so concise and dense, you feel like you could cut it. While it could just as well be tinted through the shades of high fantasy, unlike most sojourns of PFRPG into the genre, I'd strongly advise against that, for this village backdrop GETS what makes Sword & Sorcery so amazing - it's neither flowery prose, nor the themes...it's the room for growth, for question-marks, the precarious balance of blanks and filled-in information, the tone.

I seriously LOVE John Bennett’s Macrimei.

And I do enjoy this OSR-version, in spite of it being almost system neutral – it’s my firm conviction that this would have benefited from a few added OSR-stats here and there…they don’t take much time to make and don’t take up much space, so that would have rendered this pretty much a book you can simply pick up and play. That being said, this iteration does not share the issues of the 5e and PF2-version, and is the first iteration of Macrimei for old-school games…and frankly, considering that, I maintain that this is very much worth getting if you remotely enjoy sword & sorcery. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Macrimei 2.0 (OSR)
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Village Backdrop: Macrimei 2.0 (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/04/2020 11:46:49

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 13 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 7 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!

Know then, young prince, that in the days of yore, when Atlantis had first sunken into the seas, there was a place called Macrimei, situated amid windswept hills in colder climes, where ruins howl of ages long past, its populace descendants of a once glorious culture, now reduced to a state that is but a shade of their former glory; a place where once towers of ivory pierced the sky, everything looks as though a certain Cimmerian's sandaled feet had cut a swath through the landscape. Into this desolation came the wizard Anazturex with his own private little army of henchmen, dubbed after the strange local deity "Soryan", his Sons of Soryan. It's been years under this small magocratic rule, and nowadays, everyone is barred from the red obelisk where Soryan's supposedly worshiped, as the wizard's tower watches over a village born in ruins.

It is rumored in town, that one day a strange silvery child appeared and subsequently vanished...and the wizard's tower has an odd tendency to disappear for weeks on end, only to suddenly reappear...but to what ends, no one knows. Oh, and in case you are not too keen on the reveal of the nature of the wizard, an alternative is provided as a designer's suggestion...kudos for going the extra-mile!

Now, the lore and flavor, the writing – is top tier. This being an expanded version of a shorter pdf originally released for PFRPG, it also provides new material in pretty compelling ways. To be more precise, we get the usual expansion pertaining the surrounding locality, the law of the land, customs, etc. Dressing in particular is remarkable: For example, the dressing/event table sports 20 entries…but the pdf goes beyond that, providing some smaller sub-dressing suggestions for visits to certain keyed locales. We also get well-written fluff-only write-ups for NPCS, 5 to be more specific – these reference the proper default stats. Somewhat to my chagrin, the set-up SCREAMS lair actions or legendary actions to be added at least to one of the NPC’s statblocks – this was not done, missing a chance to make this more compelling in 5e.

The artifact, the Orb of Soryan is still here, but makes a pretty big mistake, in that the grand failure of proper activation, which is insanity, is not properly implemented regarding 5e’s perfectly fine madness rules. The artifact’s rules are also a total mess: Spellcasting granted not properly presented, and the feat it references? Does not exist in 5e. There is no “Alertness” feat – it’s called “Alert.” Its formatting is also really off regarding an artifact.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are formally good, but not impressive on a rules-level, with the artifact’s presentation in particular being a very weak outing. 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.

In case my ample allusions to the genre-classics were not ample clue: This village is a perfect bow before the tropes of Swords & Sorcery, a village dripping flavor and atmosphere out of every pore; just as useful in a post-apocalyptic scenario, Macrimei is a fantastic village that manages to evoke the primal sense of the ancient, of decay and ages long past with panache and prose so concise and dense, you feel like you could cut it. While it could just as well be tinted through the shades of high fantasy, unlike most sojourns into the genre, I'd strongly advise against that, for this village backdrop GETS what makes Sword & Sorcery so amazing - it's neither flowery prose, nor the themes...it's the room for growth, for question-marks, the precarious balance of blanks and filled-in information, the tone.

I seriously LOVE John Bennett’s Macrimei.

But this 5e-conversion feels phoned in.

I get that the multi-system realities of the series mean that its installments tend to gravitate to the rules-lite side of things, but from the snafu with madness to the messed-up artifact, this feels like a very low-effort 5e-take on the subject matter, where the material SCREAMS for at least a bit of love for unique abilities of the village’s overlord.

I do think that each installment of the series would benefit from trying to be a bit less system agnostic to make the different iterations account more for the realities of their systems, so I do LIKE the fact that we get a proper artifact here…or I would, if it had been properly realized. This could have made some really cool use of some of 5e’s features, and do so without much hassle. It didn’t, instead providing a mostly system-agnostic version that gets the few system-specifics wrong. The stellar concept and prose deserved better.

My final verdict can’t exceed 3 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Macrimei 2.0 (5e)
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Village Backdrop: Macrimei 2.0 (P1)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/04/2020 11:46:20

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This expanded version of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 13 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 7 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!

Know then, young prince, that in the days of yore, when Atlantis had first sunken into the seas, there was a place called Macrimei, situated amid windswept hills in colder climes, where ruins howl of ages long past, its populace descendants of a once glorious culture, now reduced to a state that is but a shade of their former glory; a place where once towers of ivory pierced the sky, everything looks as though a certain Cimmerian's sandaled feet had cut a swath through the landscape. Into this desolation came the wizard Anazturex with his own private little army of henchmen, dubbed after the strange local deity "Soryan", his Sons of Soryan. It's been years under this small magocratic rule, and nowadays, everyone is barred from the red obelisk where Soryan's supposedly worshiped, as the wizard's tower watches over a village born in ruins.

It is rumored in town, that one day a strange silvery child appeared and subsequently vanished...and the wizard's tower has an odd tendency to disappear for weeks on end, only to suddenly reappear...but to what ends, no one knows. Oh, and in case you are not too keen on the reveal of the nature of the wizard, an alternative is provided as a designer's suggestion...kudos for going the extra-mile!

Now, the lore and flavor, the writing – is top tier. The expanded version also provides new material in pretty compelling ways. To be more precise, we get the usual expansion pertaining the surrounding locality, the law of the land, customs, etc. Dressing in particular has been properly expanded: For example, the dressing/event table, which has been extended to 20 entries…but the pdf goes beyond that, providing some smaller sub-dressing suggestions for visits to certain keyed locales. The 2.0-version also features well-written fluff-only write-ups for NPCS, 5 to be more specific…but there are also less pleasant things to report: The original did sport a full settlement statblock, which was cut in a puzzling decision – and the same goes for the two perfectly serviceable statblocks featured in the original. The artifact, the Orb of Soryan is still here, but is now presented in plain text as opposed to in its own sidebar – which is just an aesthetic decision I wasn’t too keen on. Having its CL etc. on the next column, separated from the write up, also rather disappointed me.

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.

In case my ample allusions to the genre-classics were not ample clue: This village is a perfect bow before the tropes of Swords & Sorcery, a village dripping flavor and atmosphere out of every pore; just as useful in a post-apocalyptic scenario, Macrimei is a fantastic village that manages to evoke the primal sense of the ancient, of decay and ages long past with panache and prose so concise and dense, you feel like you could cut it. While it could just as well be tinted through the shades of high fantasy, unlike most sojourns of PFRPG into the genre, I'd strongly advise against that, for this village backdrop GETS what makes Sword & Sorcery so amazing - it's neither flowery prose, nor the themes...it's the room for growth, for question-marks, the precarious balance of blanks and filled-in information, the tone.

I seriously LOVE John Bennett’s Macrimei. But the 2.0-revision left me remarkably cold regarding its new material – it primarily provides some minor quality of life improvements, but cutting of perfectly fine material strikes me as strange. If you already have Macrimei’s original iteration, I’d strongly suggest skipping this one; in fact, depending on how you value stats vs. fluff, you might consider the original to be the better choice. Don’t get me wrong: The flavor is still fantastic, and I really liked the new fluff-stuff as well, but as a whole, I expected more from this. My final verdict can’t exceed 3.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo, and because I can’t bring myself to round down for it.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Macrimei 2.0 (P1)
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Christmas 5E Megabundle 2019 [BUNDLE]
by Edward R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/01/2020 20:05:04

Raging Swan consistently makes quality products. Rather than reviewing each item that comes in this pack, I'll just say that it's WELL worth the price. It's got a ton of great stuff! There's so much stuff, I'll never get through it all.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Christmas 5E Megabundle 2019 [BUNDLE]
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