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Macchiato Monsters
by Michael I. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/05/2022 14:02:46

While I like the idea of the resource die, using it for literally everything seems exhausting and requires nearly as much tracking as the old fashioned rules. Mind you, the push your luck piece looks fun and the tables are perfect for improvising a one-shot but this is definitely not going to be my go to rules light fantasy rpg



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Macchiato Monsters
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Hamsterish Hoard of Hexes
by Aaron S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/10/2021 21:06:58

So fun. So much color. Really one of the best spell books I've seen , and I have ~10.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hamsterish Hoard of Hexes
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Wonder & Wickedness
by Aaron S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/17/2021 12:14:28

This is an 84 page Softcover

Having read a great many glowing reviews of this creative, Non-vancian spell system had me very excited. $20 is more than I typically spend on a soft cover RPG supplement, so I put it on a wishlist for a long time. One night, working some overtime hours, I figured I earned it.

To be entirely fair will require me to judge content separately from bang for bucks.

Content is super. The ideas are neat . The translation of old standard D&D spells into vague & mutated versions of themselves makes them feel entirely fresh and new . The art perfectly suits the feel of the text. Five stars for content.

The value, sadly, is another story. The pages are more along the lines of a paperback size than a digest. There are merely 84 pages. The layout is very easy to peruse, but consequently the font is large enough that you get even less content than you might expect. No stars for value.

This review is meant in no way to deter buyers, rather to be clear what you are buying, as I was a bit surprised and disappointed by how little volume there was.

I'd still probably give at least 3 stars , but I can't get the website to let me change # of stars.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Wonder & Wickedness
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Creator Reply:
Hi, I'm sorry we let you down. If you provide us your email and receipt we'd be happy to send you a voucher for a copy of Marvels & Malisons, which expands on Wonder & Wickedness.
Lumberlands - Wampus Country Travel Guide I
by Conlon S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/01/2021 02:56:41

i love everythibg about this product from the unique NPCs to the fascinating take on sasquatch, to dedication to the theme of the setting. everything feels like it belongs here and i didnt realize how much i wanted that until i read the guide to the lumberlands. amazing job



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Lumberlands - Wampus Country Travel Guide I
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The Future We Saw
by Tore N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/12/2021 15:47:24

A grim vision of the near future, building on what is already here. The player characters are operatives, not unlike traditional cyberpunk, but there is much focus on the grind of such a life. It is well-written and quite believable.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Future We Saw
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Hamsterish Hoard of Hexes
by Donnie H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/28/2021 22:22:28

I thought this was adorable and very flavorful, currently using it for my classless b/x game!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hamsterish Hoard of Hexes
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Genial Jack - issue I
by Edward T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/08/2021 06:55:59

A truly original campaign setting. I can't wait too use for my group. A entire campaign can be run without ever stepping on dry ground. Everyone should read this for inspiration.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Genial Jack - issue I
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Kefitzah Haderech - Incunabulum of the Uncanny Gates and Portals
by Christopher M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/19/2020 16:59:12

Super fun to read! Next time you are running an improv game and hopping dimensions, crack this baby open.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Kefitzah Haderech - Incunabulum of the Uncanny Gates and Portals
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Macchiato Monsters
by Greyson Y. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/26/2020 09:43:37

I only recently got into the OSR scene, and this has easily become my favorite system (next to Mörk Borg, which I like for different reasons). It's flexible, classless, and rules-light; it takes the best from Whitehack; it takes the best from The Black Hack; and it feels kind of like an OSR version of Everywhen. It's flexible enough that it could be easily hacked into many genres (like The Black Hack has). The only thing I want to see is more. I'm so glad I looked past the kind-of-silly name (because I love coffee anyway) and checked this out because it has exceeded my expectations.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Macchiato Monsters
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Macchiato Monsters
by Christopher G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/11/2020 12:38:48

A very interesting and rules light DnD system. It makes heavy use of tracking things through resource dice, which have a chance to drop down by a size each time they are rolled.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Into the Odd
by Ian S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/07/2020 13:27:53

Into the Odd is great, really user-friendly and great for new players. Only knocked off one star as Electric Bastionland is out now, and is even better!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Into the Odd
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Kefitzah Haderech - Incunabulum of the Uncanny Gates and Portals
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/18/2020 08:15:16

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This booklet clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page thank you note, leaving us with 30 pages of content, laid out in 6’’ by 9’’ (A5) – and yes, the pdf does not have the front and back cover as part of the pdf itself. I also own the PoD softcover, which is a stapled booklet. My review is based on both versions.

While this book is designated as OSR, it is actually almost system neutral – apart from singular references to SAVE or the sparse damage value here and there, the book is not limited to such games in its utility.

So, the pdf begins by explaining the Hebrew expression of “contracting the path/shortening the way” – which is a perfect way to think of portals and gates. The supplement then begins to talk about portals and gates in a game context: As a plot device, as a shortcut, and about their significance regarding connections – this might be me talking in a post-COVID-19-world, but after playing Death Stranding, I have actually a greater appreciation of using and not using portals as far as their significance.

The supplement then proceeds to talk about types of portals – one-way portals, coupled ones, hubs and portal nexus set-ups, and, of course, relays and portal groups. Particularly portal relays are criminally underrated as far as I’m concerned, so thinking in a methodic manner about the subject matter? Seriously helpful.

Beyond that, we take remote perception, as well as awareness of the portal and its accessibility into account. In short: We begin with a serious of considerations that helps the Gm think of the content herein in a structured manner.

The book then brings us to the portal itself and provides a d20 generator with three columns, which lets you determine portal frame, opening and extras – to give you an example, I got a frame of living flesh, with the opening consisting of psychedelic colors and which emits an alkali odor. Cool!

Portal keys are up next – they can be physical objects, non-physical concepts, or simply esoteric names – and once more, we get a d20-based generator with 4 relevant columns: I got an “Exegetic shibboleth of the unearthly peregrination.” Come on, that is cooler than just some portal key, right?

Of course, the construction of portals also requires some consideration, and the supplement suggest 5K gold and a week of work – this is what I’d suggest for OSR-games; for others, I’d adjust the price accordingly – unless you want some serious portal hopping. The section provides a d10 table of considerations pertaining to construction: Perhaps portals can only be erected on ley lines, or the mystic toponyms must be carved into the portal…but unfortunately, they also must be palindromes (have fun making your PCs deal with this…)…and what about the implication of requiring the bones of twins, shuffled and then separated? shudder Really neat ideas!

However, the main meat of the booklet is devoted to the massive PORTATRON, a gigantic portal openings generator. This generator consists of a d10-table “The Portal looks like…”, and 1d6 “…and you will find it” – Here, I got “A well or pit in the ground, which when opened is filled with mist, which will be found in a shrine, with an altar located in front of it. The next table has a promising header: “And do you remember when I told you it was safe? I lied because…” – this table has 17 entries, and is rolled on a d30; I got entry 6, which is: “IT BURRRNS!!! Take 3d6 fire damage, SAVE for half damage. Maybe due to lasers: PEW PEW PEW! Or RADIOACTIVITY!!!” There is a fun and often irreverent tone in some entries, but never to the extent where I found it intrusive. As you can see, while the book does have notes like “save” or “Save or die”, it is for the most part system neutral – the damage values and negative consequences for some portals lend themselves to old-school playing, but also represent one of my gripes: I don’t think that using a portal (unless it’s sabotaged/the PCs have botched something should be lethal; save or die is warranted when the players screwed up. So yeah, not a big fan of this aspect.

Next, we have a d12 table of “the Key is…” – most of these have 6 to 8 subentries, which then might have more subsections. In my sample run, I got “An action, which must be carried out in front of the portal”;subentry + sub-section: the password must be sung.” The key in my test-run was related to ( a d4-table)…nothing specific. After that, we get a 10-entry d20-table to determine why the key’s special. Here, I got that the key can open d6-in-6 portals, but always one-way and towards the same destination.

And then, we have the largest table herein – a massive d666 table. The tongue-in-cheek “you end up in R’lyeh”-entry can be found, but is certainly not representative: The PCs might end up in a fortress of petrified soldiers, actually a child’s toy, or in a jungle in a huge impact crater, where a osmium-iridium meteorite is constantly seeping oozes. My test-run delivered the following entry: “ The study of the great sorceress Edonoplechtus VI; 1-in-6 she’s here researching some crossbreed monsters; else she just left all her pets here. Now yo have a good excuse to unleash the lobstegasuaruses, crocodingoes, ducksharks and roosturgeons you found in that monster manual.” I loved this one. It made me stat up a lobstegasaurus. This table, btw.? Its entries are massive – 12 pages of destinations!

The final pages of the supplement are essentially a portal-relevant appendix N, with each entry properly explained and contextualized, from Ultima Underworld II to Planescape, Portal, Dr. Who, Stargate, etc.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting re very good ona formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to a one-column b/w-standard with minimum frills, and the supplement features tastefully-chosen public domain art. The pdf annoyingly has no bookmarks, which makes using it a colossal pain – I’d recommend print over pdf here…also because this is a book that you can use time and again.

Paolo Greco’s portal booklet is one of these nifty GM-evergreens that you can use time and again. The book starts off with some handy considerations when it comes to thinking about portals, and then provides this ginormous, quick to use and incredibly diverse generator. If I have any valid complaints against this, then that’d be that I’d have loved to see it subscribe to a proper system for adequate pricing of portal construction, or to go full-blown system neutral. That, and the few save or sucks, which are simply not that helpful in a book about random portal generation.

That being said, the playful tone that never became obtrusive, the sheer imagination here, and the fact that this covers a topic only scarcely touched in such detail certainly makes this one of the handy booklets I’ve been using time and again. For the pdf version and its diminished utility, you might want to subtract a star, but my gripes notwithstanding, I’d be a colossal hypocrite if I rated this anything but 5 stars + seal of approval – I’m using this too often, and have too much fun doing so, to rate this any other way. If you want to make your portals more diverse, esoteric and strange, look no further.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Kefitzah Haderech - Incunabulum of the Uncanny Gates and Portals
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Marvels & Malisons
by Edward R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/06/2020 18:03:12

Along with "Wonder and Wickedness" these two titles have replaced the magic system for my low-magic campaign. I just really dig the weird nature of magic as presented here. Simple and elegant.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Marvels & Malisons
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Wonder & Wickedness
by Edward R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/01/2020 20:23:28

This is one of the coolest magic supliments I've ever purchased, along with Marvels and Malisons. I switched out my entire magic system and replaced it with these two books. I know, that sounds a little crazy, but there's a vibe to this little book of magic that really resinates with me. It gives magic a weird, palpable feeling. That said, I run a low-magic campaign and this one works great.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wonder & Wickedness
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Marvels & Malisons
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/27/2020 04:07:40

An Endzeitgeist.com review of the revised edition

Huh, that went fast! Turns out that the publisher had an updated and improved version, and that this version hadn’t been uploaded properly to OBS! So yeah, this is the review of the revised edition, which clocks in at 56 pages, 1 page foreword/ToC, 1 page introduction, 1 page colophon, leaving us with 53 pages of content, laid out in 6’’ by 9’’ (A5); the front cover is included as a jpg, in case you were wondering.

That’s a lot of additional pages, for the booklet now comes with a LOT of original b/w-artwork

In this review, I assume familiarity with Wonder & Wickedness, and will not explain the whole system once more. I strongly suggest reading my review of Wonder & Wickedness before continuing. Why? Well, while I criticize sub-systems on their own merits and in a global context of their systems, it makes less sense to criticize an expansion for a sub-system for duplicating flaws of the base system. I rate expansions within the frame of the system in which they operate.

For Wonder & Wickedness-derived books like this, that means that will not complain about ranges and areas of effect being opaque and not clearly defined.

Okay, that out of the way, let us take a look at the new proposed variant rules/modifications for Wonder & Wickedness. The first being spontaneous sorcery, which posits that a sorcerer has 1 mana per level, optionally with Wisdom or Charisma modifier added to that pool. Mana recovers every day – which could be a bit clearer: At one time during the day, or after a rest? This may sound like nitpicking, but the results are very different in implications. This opacity has not been cleared up in the revised edition. Mana-based spellcasting lets the sorcerer cast a spell by using one mana and one round of casting. Yes, that’s full round here. Personally, I’m somewhat partial to increment-casting, so an alternate rule in that regard would have been cool. Spells requiring a sigil still take a turn. Sigils are still considered to be permanent, but each sorcerer may only have one sigil per spell.

Which brings me to sigils and magic item creation, for the book posits formulae for costs by day, or depending on the enchanter’s stats, as well as ingredients. These suggestions are per se pretty sound, and fit with the general tone Wonder & Wickedness goes for.

The book also presents rules for empowering items, which require the expenditure of a mana point or memorized spell to power. The book also posits the optional rule to allow non-sorcerers to choose one specialty and learn a single spell from it, but casting the spell for them requires an Intelligence roll – obviously, a roll-under is intended here, but spelling that out or getting some alternatives would have been nice.

There is one rule I absolutely adore herein, where the utility is obviously grand for pretty much any implementation of Wodner & Wickedness: Instead of getting directly a spell catastrophe upon overcastting, the book suggests two saving throws: The first lest you cast the spell, with you otherwise suffering your maleficence, the second to avoid a spell catastrophe, or, if playing sans them, to avoid collapsing senseless for 1d6 turns. I LOVE this rule. It’s elegant, keeps magic volatile, but decreases the frequency of the powerful catastrophes without rendering them obsolete. Huge kudos for this one! The book then proceeds to present comprehensive spell-lists, including the specialties from Wonder & Wickedness, and then presents 6 different starting packages per specialty.

What can I say, you can see some of the finest minds of the OSR-scene at work here. As a diabolist, you can start with a disguise-as-acceptable-cleric-type kit, or you could have a black goat that whispers during new moon. Or you could have a plague doctor mask vs. miasma. If you’re an elementalist, you could start off with a functional dowsing rod – or you could have 3 puppies “perfect to please curmudgeon chthonic spirits or at least placate their crotchetiness.” Here, we can see the editing by Fiona Maeve Geist at work – the book has been significantly improved in that department. Psychomancy specialists could start off with Dreamy Blue, a vision-granting cheese (probably from Stilton), or what about spiritualists with a bottle of spirits. You know, spirits. XD What’s in the bottle? Spirits.opens it Ahhhh!!! The spirits are btw. drunken. Obviously. 6 such starter packages are provided for each specialty, including the 5 new ones. A nice touch here: Each of these lists is accompanied by a nice b/w-artwork on one page, and occupies a whole page – 6 starter packages are provided per specialty, and 6 slots are left empty for the GM to fill in. This is a decision I very much welcome in the revised edition, for one must be truly creatively drained if these entries don’t spark some sort of writing impulse. Kudos!

The first of these new specialties would be Apotropaism, which is the grand defensive option: Amulet of the Open Hand lets you give an amulet to a target, who then gets a retroactive bonus to the first failed save vs. magic made. Deliver from Malison lets you break curses via questing/story-means; Heka-Mirror lets you revert maleficences and spells upon the caster, though two facing each other can have catastrophic consequences. With two seal spells allowing for the creation of barriers or entrapment of targets – and there is a Scapegoat spell that does exactly what you’d think it does. That’s not all, but it should be enough to give you an idea of why I consider this specialty to be a resounding success.

The second specialty is more conventional: Arachnomorphism is, unsurprisingly, about spider-themed tricks, which include charming spiders, assuming an Arachnid Aspect, summoning swarms and webs, or getting Venomous Fangs. This specialty is a bit boring, with two winners elevating it: Silky Spinnerets net you essentially Spiderman’s web-flinging/swinging, and Tarantella is the most pun-tastic spell I’ve seen in a why. “The caster dances frantically as though affected by the venom of the Tarantella spider.” XD As noted before, the improved editing of the revised edition really helps make the supplement more captivating.

Physiurgy is the healing specialty, and it’s interesting in several ways: In a level-less spellcasting system, differentiating between spells is hard, and many of the spells of this specialty provide different amounts of healing. Cure, for example, nets you 1d6 + 1 hits per level. Okay, level of caster, or of recipient? I assume the former, but I’m not sure. Cure also cures a diseases, provided the caster succeeds a Save or Healing check. Salvific Apport nets you balsamic, white goo that heals 3d6 hits if spread on wounds, or that can be swallowed to cure a poison. Last Oath provides AoE-healing in a short radius, but makes the caster take temporary damage for each ally affected. There even is a “return the dead to life”-spell with Death Unto Life, which is balanced by requiring two saves: Failing the first nets you 1d6 days of coma; failing the second makes you unable to cast spells for a week. Failing both kills you. Those returned are also bedridden at first, so no in-combat spamming. I like this specialty from a design-perspective – it manages to attain a surprising diversity of options with its simple chassis; differentiating meaningfully a whole slew of healing spells that have the same hierarchical place is not as easy as it sounds!

However, the best, or at least some of the best, come last here: The penultimate specialty would be Cunning Craft, which is inspired by Scottish/Celtic folklore, with Blackstaff weapons, shelters hidden in Bramble Burrows, the Seven Steeped Stones as a means to heal, make magic sling stones, or an extra save versus curses or diseases. I love the latter, but it’s a ritual that takes time, and the healing function, for example, it much worse than the tricks Physiurgy has; this could sue a power-upgrade. Since the author commented on this spell in particular: Yes, I do see the extended flexibility this one offers, and that it is sigil-based; that being said, one of its flexible uses requires a whole day of cooking, and the regular one also requires cooking in abundant milk, something that can be pretty hard to come by. I do still maintain that a slight increase in healing power here would have been salient.

I really liked the idea of the Tune of Yondkind, which detects presences and their origins, but not necessarily positions. Using a severed head of a slain target as a kind of alarm/sentry is nice, and with classics like Geas, Witchmarks securing thresholds and the like, the specialty oozes a cool, folksy old-world magic vibe.

Finally, there would be… Rope Tricks! These allow you to create a Tangle that hampers spellcasting, makes charging impossible, etc., or use Shuffle the Mortal Coil to make ropes behave as constricting serpents. If you’re lucky (5% chance), you may even get a deadly rope that requires a save or die! The spell can also be used to turn serpents into ropes, which can result in permanently-spliced-together abominations. Using a rope as a hand via Rope is Always Handy s also neat, but particularly cool would be the Cat’s Cradle tricks: These require complicated figure work from the caster and thus take time. However, once you have created the Opening form (of which there are 4), you can use the spell to change into various effects, which include opening nearby doors, setting nearby things on fire, causing low-level foes to flee, or making rope animals to ride. I love this.

With baited breath I saw the length of the revised edition, and I hoped fervently– but alas, much to my chagrin, the revised edition unfortunately also does not offer spell catastrophe write-ups for the new specialties. So yeah, if you’re like me and loved Wonder & Wickedness’ volatile shenanigans-inducing spell catastrophes, particularly in conjunction with the variant rule herein, then you’ll have to make those yourself. Which isn’t as simple as it seems at first. SO yeah, that’s the one big strike that remains in the revised edition.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting of the revised edition have improved vastly – on a formal level, this is much more refined. Layout adheres to the same no-frills, but elegant one-column b/w-standard used for Wonder & Wickedness, and the improvements made for e.g. the starter kits help render this a table-useful booklet. If you’re into unique artwork, then there’s great news – none other than Evelyn M. lent her talents to the revised edition, and it is positively decadent regarding the amount of new artworks with their neat, dream-like style. Furthermore, much to my joy, the revised edition actually has bookmarks, making navigation much smoother!

Paolo Greco has a tendency to make unique books that feel special in some way, and the additional content by Lloyd Neill, Luka Rejec and Eric Nieudan fits pretty seamlessly into the book. The revised edition gets rid of all the big formal hiccups – with bookmarks, better editing, etc., it genuinely becomes a supplement I’ll gladly recommend. I genuinely love a LOT about this book, and its rules-lite design is NOT simple.

I consider most specialties herein to be more inspiring than many from Wonder & Wickedness, and I adore their unique takes on magic. While I would have appreciated at least some fuzzy range and Area of Effect guidelines, Wonder & Wickedness lacked those, so not complaining about them here. Beyond a few instances where the rules-language could be a bit clearer, there is but a single complaint I have left as a reviewer against the revised edition: Where are the spell catastrophes? I know, I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but I genuinely liked them…

Anyhow, that absence notwithstanding, Marvels & Malisons, to me personally, is actually superior to its predecessor, at least in this revised edition. As such, my final verdict for the revised edition will increase to 4.5 stars, rounded up. It should be noted that the new specialties, except one, are all seal of approval material and as a whole more novel than Wonder & Wickedness’ options, but that the spell catastrophe-lack cancelled the seal of approval this would have otherwise received.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Marvels & Malisons
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