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Prison of the Hated Pretender
by Jordan R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/14/2022 17:10:53

I ran this as the first adventure site for a new 5e campaign I'm running. I'm trying to move a few steps from the current 5e zeitgeist to a more classical style of play with things like 1) resource tracking, and 2) no darkvision. Hated Pretender was the perfect scenario to introduce "old-school" concepts to my players.

It was 180 degrees from what they are used to. No Investigation or Perception rolls. No set-pieces or balanced encounters. They puzzled out the dungeon with experimentation and their wits. I nerfed the phantasms pretty significantly but they still ran away screaming and elected to try exploring again at night.

They managed to trigger both traps in the lower level, resulting in a PC going unconscious. I know in true classical play she would be dead but still, I think the party learned an important lesson.

Overall, hated Pretender has been one of my favorite scenarios I've run in my brief 3-year DM career. It threw the players for a loop but they adjusted quickly. It is also very evocative and can be used to drop hints about the wider world and really create a sense of mystery for the players. 5/5 would run again and again.

I also ran Winter's Daughter around the same time for another group and the effect was similar - they learned a few principles of classic-style play, adjusted quickly and had a blast. I know Winter's Daughter is highly praised for that aspect and I think Hated Pretender is its equal. I prefer the aesthetic of Hated Pretender.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Prison of the Hated Pretender
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The Ultraviolet Grasslands - Free Introduction
by John R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/16/2021 11:38:00

Like Rush and Blue Oyster Cult and wish that someone made a prog-rock RPG? This is the game for you. It reminds me of Ralph Bakshi's Wizards run through a few rounds of Deadlands. Very rules lite, more just about being in the world than about solving any grand quests. A fun game with gorgeous illustrations (which aren't the point of games, but do make them more fun to play). I liked it so much that I picked up the full rule book.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Ultraviolet Grasslands - Free Introduction
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What Ho, Frog Demons
by Joel M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/10/2021 11:19:47

Love this book so much. Everything from the art to the writing is just so much fun to look over. Have run a few of the missions provided but was mostly used to tie my campaign together with the world map and used alongside the other Ursine Dunes books. Would reccomend to anyone interested in something off beat, gonzo and with a fantastic Eastern Eruopean flavour that really seperates this fantasy setting from anything generic.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
What Ho, Frog Demons
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Strange Stars
by James S. I. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/18/2021 10:01:39

It is a a pretty good setting. Hard Transhumanist Space Opera with a Barbarella or Star Crash vibe. There is no FTL other than Hyperspace Gates (which I love). There are no gaming rules so you can adapt it to any setting. I own the OSR and Fate versions. I would love to see a version for D&D 5e. That would be awesome.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Strange Stars
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Prison of the Hated Pretender
by Kenneth C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/21/2021 09:22:21

Love this module. One of the better "teaching module" for old style play - small, and has lessons for players & referees alike

https://wanderingwombat.home.blog/2021/07/21/prison-of-the-hated-pretender/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Prison of the Hated Pretender
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Prison of the Hated Pretender
by Christopher W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/03/2021 20:23:18

This is a great little adventure. In addition to this, it is a great introductory adventure both for new players and new GMs. I really wish there were more of this kind of thing with solid GM advice for running old school games. I have been running games in a variety of sytems for a year now, and the broad strokes of the guidance are things with which I'm already familiar. Even so, Gus L's advice improved my understanding of a few nuances. I would love to see similar adventures introducing important ideas behind other elements of play, such as hex crawls, developing a home base, or a setting. Presenting the guidance as sidebars to aid in running the specific adventure provides a more immediate feedback loop compared to reading a variety of essays published in blog posts and trying to apply that to unrelated adventures which may or may not be designed in a way to support the advice. I love this. Great job!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fever-Dreaming Marlinko
by Rowan W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/16/2020 16:04:42

Best weird fantasy module I've seen. Not for kids.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fever-Dreaming Marlinko
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Strange Stars
by Gus L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/10/2020 11:26:40

Causey is one of the best stylists to come out of the mid-aughts blog scene, though he seems underappricated for his considerable contributions, and Strange Stars is full of style. Like most of Causey's works (Weird Adventures comes to mind) this is a setting, sadly systemless, that takes an underutilized fictional genre, here dayglo post-human pop space opera, and offers a unique appraoch to it. The art and layout are top notch and polished, while the content is wonderful background and inspiration for any space opera game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Strange Stars
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Prison of the Hated Pretender
by W. B. M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/30/2020 20:58:44

Hydra Co-op raises another head! 'Prison of the Hated Pretender' is a small and complex adventure location which is now mated with new supplimental material, commentary, additional art, 5e conversion stats, and a couple useful versions of updated maps.

What you are getting here is a well-made and well-reguarded "intro" or "teaching" adventure from the 2010's D&D revival blog scene, converted and expanded into a 20 page 'zine suppliment that wants to help you run and play fun games set in a wierd, sad and dangerous place. It is worth your consideration and your bucks.

You can read a review of the origional here: https://tenfootpole.org/ironspike/?p=1254



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Prison of the Hated Pretender
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Prison of the Hated Pretender
by Ava I. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/30/2020 11:59:09

This adventure has been a classic intro adventure in the online RPG sphere for years, and for good reason. The adventure itself is well-structured, imaginative, and gets right to the point, and now comes packaged with oodles of Gus' inimitable wisdom. Definitely check it out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Prison of the Hated Pretender
by A customer [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/27/2020 15:33:34

A solid introductory adventure for the OSR/retro RPG style of play, usable for DMs of all skill level. Highly recommended!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Lorn Song of the Bachelor
by Gus L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/27/2020 07:40:42

I ran Lorn Song of the Bachelor a while ago and it's a wonderful adventure. A living regional sandbox, A mythic journey into the psyche of a demigod, a mystery and a jungle adventure that manages to avoid the typical supported by art and writing that work well together and offer up the sense of an actual place. Simple to run, evocative, well paced and a foray into the unusual both grounded and coherent.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Lorn Song of the Bachelor
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The Ultraviolet Grasslands - Free Introduction
by Fox C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/03/2020 16:06:26

There is good reason UVG has won awards. The book just oozes style that is hard to find in the 3rd party RPG market. Get the full copy!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Ultraviolet Grasslands - Free Introduction
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The Dungeon Dozen
by George M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/21/2020 18:45:20

It's very OSR in a gonzo sort of way, but the ideas and inspiration flow fast and strong. Highly reccomended for most any underground fantasy venue- it will keep your players on their toes.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Dungeon Dozen
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Azurth Adventures Digest Issue 1
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/02/2019 09:36:48

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The first (and so far, alas, only) installment of this ‘zine depicting the lands of Azurth, a hilarious take on fantasy as seen through the lens of old-time Loony Toons/Tex Avery clocks in at 36 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page of SRD, 3 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 30 pages, laid out in 6’’ by 9’’ (A5), so let’s take a look!

We begin this ‘zine with an introduction by the commodore Cogburn Steamalong, a navy captain who also happens to be a steam construct, and who proceeds to present comments on the material provided within. This character is also fully statted with a proper statblock; that being said, the HDs are missing from the write-up, and the Perception values are incorrect. This, unfortunately, is bound to be symptomatic for the remainder of the ‘zine.

But I’m getting ahead of myself: The pdf begins play with 4 different islands, the Motley Isles, and the brief gazetteer is actually really nice and playful, and the whole section is supplemented by a new creature, the dread Frogacuda! This statblock is mechanically the best thing in the ‘zine – it’s a solid write-up and gets all the math right. It also fits in well with a region that has a settlement governed essentially by ritualistically consulting a magic eightball. In these instances, the supplement feels very much like someone had made a Monkey Island/D&D-crossover. A fluff-only pirate generator is also included – 24 names, 24 occupations, 12 notable traits and 12 trinkets act as a solid little supplement. A pirate captain generator with 12 names, 12 ship-names, 12 instances of stuff the captain is known for and 12 pieces of exotic beauty makes for the second generator.

The pdf also includes notes on the homelands of frogfolk (here called “frox”), the chain of fools (An archipelago where you don’t want to tread), a massive mechanical fish. Weird indigenous bird-people “amazons” (well, kind of…) in service to a male priest caste may be found, and the pdf contains 10 smaller entries as well – it should be noted that both Motley Isles and the Candy Isle, which acts as a module of sorts, come with nice full-color artworks. There are no keyless, player-friendly versions included.

The following discussion of the Candy Isle does contain a few minor SPOILERS. Potential players may want to jump ahead to the conclusion.

… .. .

All right, only GMs around? So, the Confection Perfection is basically a divine pastry, and it acts as a linchpin for the angle to explore the location – the Candy Isle! This region, including all of its inhabitants, is made of sweets. The indigenous gummy people (shown on the cover) are an interesting angle, and we do get top-down AND side-view map versions of their temple – once more without a player-friendly version. The mini-module does not have read-aloud text, but does note random encounters. The general presentation is nice, though the set-up would have benefited from a bit more space. And yes, they do want to sacrifice the PCs on their chocolate-y altar. /SPOILERS

That being said, the module also exemplifies well a misconception that is common for designers coming from old-school games to 5e, namely that an abbreviated statblock suffices. They do not, and I don’t get why this booklet doesn’t provide properly presented and laid out crunch when it has proven that it well can. To give you an example, you can read the following: “Melee brittle candy spear (+3, 1d6+1/1d8+1 piercing), Ranged (+3 1d6+1); S +1, D +0, C +1, I -1, W +0, Ch -1;“ You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to notice that the ability scores are missing, and that statblock formatting is not even close to acceptable. There also are errors in these shortened statblocks, and this puzzling inconsistence annoyingly also applies to two sample NPCs, who also get the formatting of features wrong – when the very same booklet offers two instances where they’re correct. I don’t get it. At all. And yes, these NPCs also have more relevant errors in their stats.

Conclusion: Editing is very good on a formal level; on a rules-language level, there are a lot of glitches herein – much more than in Mortzengersturm. Formatting, as noted, often needlessly diverges from established 5e-standards. Layout adheres to a nice two-column standard that is mostly b/w, but uses full-color for boxes, maps, etc. – this is a surprisingly nice-looking book, courtesy of Jeff Call’s neat artwork. The cartography by Jeff Call and Jason Sholtis is also nice and full-color, though the lack of player-friendly versions is a bummer. I do not own the print version, so I can’t comment on it. The pdf lacks any type of bookmark, making navigation an unnecessary hassle.

Trey Causey can do better. This digest, alas, while amazing and funny regarding its ideas and creativity, is mired with an unfortunate amount of errors in the rules, non-standard rules-syntax and things that Mortzengersturm did better. I want to like Azurth as a setting, and I genuinely do and want to see more, but this digest, alas, remains a flawed supplement. Add to that the lack of bookmarks, and we have a bit of an issue on our hands. And I really wish this wasn’t the case.

The supplement perfectly shows that it can get 5e right, only to then shrug and fiddle those inconsistent half statblocks together, to botch math etc. Much like the candy theme, this started with a smile, and then proceeded to develop into a moderate tummy-ache for me. That being said, this is still an inexpensive supplement with great ideas – I just wished their implementation had been better. My final verdict, alas, can’t exceed 3 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Azurth Adventures Digest Issue 1
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