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Star Dogs - Referee's Handbook
by Charles V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/24/2020 09:36:52

This is an amazing and flavorful resource for running space opera games. You can create aliens species, nebula, planets, outposts / spacestations, and interesting NPCs. I've only started to use this to run a campaign, but my players are having a great time with this. I've used it to create a not-hard scifi setting, an outpost of slums and fancy high-rises, on a planet covered in toxic gas and acid pools, and crystal-horned crocodile-looking things that, when domesticated, are used as mounts. The PCs need to kidnap a muscician whose consciousness is stored inside his robot 'butler', but the NPC generator has given me someone else to try to foil their plans.

The tables are great, and the ART is FANTASTIC! Crescent-moon-headed aliens with energy two-handed swords??? YES. Crescent-moon-headed mecha? YES. There's not a ton of art within but what there is has been a great inspiration to make fantastical science fiction content.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Star Dogs - Referee's Handbook
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Star Dogs - Referee's Handbook
by Jason C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/22/2020 14:07:09

This is effectively a system neutral book with 56 pages of random charts, tables and generators. Highly recommended to anyone running a soft sci fi game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pollute the Elfen Memory Water
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/19/2020 11:47:44

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This module clocks in at 19 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page ToC, leaving us with 17 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Okay, so, this does not subscribe to a single OSR-system per se; instead, when ability scores are required for an NPC, the pdf suggests just rolling 1d6 – 3d6 to spontaneously determine ability scores for saves. HD of monsters are randomized: d4HD@d6, for example, means that the creature rolls a d4. Then you take that result times the die indicated after the “@” to determine HP. Each HD = +1 to attack/hit. The pdf assumes ascending AC. “Testing “ e.g. “WIS” is not explained, but it is evident that rolling under the ability score is the way to go. No default movement rate or morale is given. In short: This assumes ability score-based saves akin to 5e, as well as ascending AC, and a direct 1:1-correlation between number of HD and to hit values.

Once you’ve understood that, conversion to most customary OSR-games should be simple. The pdf bolds rules-relevant components, which makes parsing the module rather simple. Two hand-drawn artworks of specific individuals are provided. Each NPC/monster has a motivation noted (NICE!) under “Wants:” Unfortunately, AoE-attacks, such as a cloud of sleeping dust, has no range/area noted.

The module comes with a hand-drawn, colored map that uses color to differentiate between e.g. closed and open doors, and we get them all on one page, as well as in larger versions for the respective levels. The maps are functional, but nokey-less version is provided, and the maps sport no grid, which can make getting a grasp on the dimensions of the compound a bit tougher than necessary.

The respective levels actually have entries for individual doors – you roll e.g. a d4 and get a brief description – awesome! Not so awesome – some doors are trapped without a means to discern that beforehand...which is usually one of my pet-peeves. That being said, for the genre, this kinda makes sense. Presentation of individual rooms is handled via bullet points, with underlined segments providing the details at one glance. Random encounters are provided

Beyond the module, the pdf also includes a fully mapped suburb of Infinigrad (same complaints regarding the map); what is Infinigrad? I’m glad you asked! Picture a ginormous planar metropolis, an infinite sprawl, less Sigil or City of 7 Seraphs, and more of a Bas-Lag-like moloch of a city. The genre here is definitely fantasy-punk, and I mean that in the best of ways. Indeed, if you enjoy the weird and the notion of a planar metropolis, Infinigrad is a great recommendation – I’ve been using the material the author provides to expand e.g. the City of 7 Seraphs and make it more grimy/gritty and strange. How cool is Infinigrad? Let me give you two examples of stores you can find on Leoptera Shores:

“Vac Maz, Oily stone golem, offering the hire of a semi reliable flying device he stole from his ex master.”

“Cecckz, creamy white beetle man preacher, clicks and clacks and causes congregation to sway in ecstatic stupor”

Come on, that’s awesome! There are more ideas in these brief descriptions than in many comparable chapters of other supplements!

Genre-wise, this is a low-level module of a genre we almost never get to see – it’s essentially a Shadowrun/infiltration in a fantastic context. The PCs are assumed to be Guild Dogs (In my City of 7 Seraphs version, guilds serve the parities, just as an aside), i.e. semi-legal troubleshooters.

And this is as far as I can go without diving into SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.

… .. .

All right, only referees around? Great! So, the PCs are hired by Ovos Pool on behalf of a wealthy merchant names Equis Jud, with Ovo being an eyman. What’s an eyman? Picture a humanoid whose head is a ginormous eye, with an amulet of lips hanging from his neck, doing the talking. Ovos wants the PCs to infiltrate the compound of the elfs and taint their memory water.

Wait, what? Oh, yeah, should have mentioned that: Elfs here? They are brainchest elfs! Blank-faced and bare-chested, with rippling, brain-like timorous growths on the chest. They live forever, but forget everything every 100 years or so to maintain their sanity – memory water is used to “reset” them and produce memory spheres to prevent the loss of the accumulated knowledge. This process btw. involves weird worms that are fed with meat…these are not nice elfs…

The compound of the elves is organic, almost like a biotech greenhouse, with strange plants, moths and their weird tech; fumes can intoxicate nonelfs, and the strange creatures do not take kindly to the presence of non-elfs in their compound. The 3-storey-tall building comes with a note on patrols and a TON of things to interact with and screw up – the compound rewards casing the joint, but it also is obviously assuming that the PCs, at one point, will have to escape. The main adversary and commander of the facility is super-deadly, and attempting to murder-hobo through this module is not something I’d recommend.

To give you an example of a room:

  1. Moss carpet room. Stone pipes snake from east wall to west wall. D6 Nightmare Moths lurk on ceiling.

• Stone pipes curve up in the center of the room and are crested by a round, grated misting device. Green mist puffs from the device. • All non elfs must test CON when entering green mist or fall asleep for d6 hours (at which point ceiling dwelling Nightmare Moths will feast their prone bodies). • Pale roots dangle from ceiling. • Stairs down.

This is all information you need to know; it provides weird stuff to interact with, danger, and a unique atmosphere.

Conclusion: Editing is good for an indie-offering; I noticed a few typo-level glitches, but nothing that impeded my ability to run this. Layout adheres to a one-column no-frills b/w-standard, with some nice hand-drawn drawings and public domain artwork used. The cartography is full-color, but lacks scale and player-friendly versions. EDIT: The pdf now comes fully bookmarked! Yeah!

I should not be half as excited about Michael Raston’s Guild Dogs adventure as I actually am. The complaints about the lack of player-friendly maps alone would usually suffice to sour me somewhat on it.

But I absolutely ADORE this module. The eymen, the weird elfs, the strange compound with its even stranger plant/fauna-tech-things, the strange plants – this module elicits something I rarely encounter, a jamais-vu. It is exciting, fun, and oozes creativity. Its focus on a Shadowrun/Cyberpunk-ish action-infiltration is amazing. I want MORE of this. I want so much more of Infinigrad, and I’d pay serious bucks for a full book or campaign of this quality and imaginative wealth. I genuinely love this!

Now, I can’t bestow my highest accolades on this module, courtesy of the few formal shortcomings, but guess what? This is PWYW to boot! That makes this easily one of the most unique, awesome little PWYW-scenarios you’re bound to find out there. Seriously, get this, leave a tip. The author frickin’ deserves it for the amazing material and vistas here. My final verdict, considering that this gem is offered for PWYW, will hence be 4.5 stars, and this gets my seal of approval. Can we PLEASE have more? Pretty please?

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pollute the Elfen Memory Water
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The Blasphemous Roster - Guilds of Infinigrad and their Machinations
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/19/2020 11:45:10

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive toolkit clocks in at 73 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 69 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, first of all, this is a toolkit I didn’t realize I wanted. I love me some weird planar metropolis; whether it’s Sigil, the City of 7 Seraphs or some other place; I love Bas-Lag, and I enjoy the outré weirdness of, let’s say, the assumed settings of Troika. Infinigrad, in a way, is a ginormous such metropolis, one sprawling on a planar scale, and it just makes sense in such a context to have the city controlled by a plethora of guilds both strange and wondrous. (As an aside, in my interpretation of the City of 7 Seraphs, I have made the guilds essentially subcontractors of the parities.) Infinigrad’s assumption is that the PCs serve the guilds as Guild Dogs, a kind of fantasypunk shadow/edgerunners, and in the so far only module in the setting, the PWYW “Pollute the Elfen Memory Water” this cool concept is executed exceedingly well. It should be noted that this book can be used as an infusion of nonstandard fantasy aspects in your regular fantasy game – you don’t have to embrace the entirety of Infinigrad’s assumptions to use this.

So, first thing you need to know: This is peak indie roleplaying game design in many ways; the book straddles the realm of art, courtesy of the expert use of public domain images and sentences that look like they have been cut out and put inside; in many ways, this reminded me of my first use of Burroughs’ cutup technique with Naked Lunch, just…well, coherent. The entire book feels like a massive collage. This might strike you as pretentious at first glance, but once you realize that the functionality of the book is never compromised by the aesthetics, that feeling will go away. This is very much a book intended to be used. It is a tool.

Now, if you’re familiar with the PWYW “The Transient Bazaar”, you can picture, to a degree, what you’ll get herein – a ridiculously mighty generator, where page upon page of tables to determine the components of the guilds in detail – from modus operandi to realms of expertise.

The SCALE is what sets this apart. You get 10 pages of expertise and forename tables, and guild examples are provided as well. Like the Transient Bazaar, this supplement also makes use of the cool visual generator idea, where essentially collages of public domain images, codified in grids, allow you to get instant inspiration. This way, you determine guild member looks, how the base of operation looks, and combine it further – these instances once more cover a wide array of pages.

The book also presents a massive job generator that covers, once more, page upon page of targets. “Haunt a target or replace it with a ghostly copy” – now that is an interesting task for the PCs! “Cause target to grow to enormous size”? Heck yeah, why not! We also have desirable actions covered, job locations, and dangers at site – and the combination is genuinely better than what I’d be able to convey with this review. This also extends to the rewards. Beyond that, a room layout generator is included alongside a brief dressing table.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are top-notch; I noticed no serious hiccups. Layout is ART – 2-column collages with public domain art in the back, blended and combined in an effective manner that serves to enhance the overall, unique feeling of this toolkit. I printed it out, and I strongly suggest you do that as well (though it’ll be BRUTAL on your ink/toner) – or get the print copy. I don’t yet own the print copy, but I will get it. EDIT: The pdf now comes fully bookmarked, so getting pdf-only? Now a valid strategy! :D This is meant to be USED, and as such, I really suggest getting a physical iteration. It just makes the process swifter.

Michael Raston’s blasphemous roster is frickin’ amazing. It has all the hallmarks of artpunky indie RPGs, with its aesthetics, its genuinely novel ideas and sheer density of cool notions. And at the same time, it maintains its serious focus on functionality. This is a capital letters TOOL, and yet, it feels unlike e.g. all of New Big Dragon Games Unlimited’s excellent D30-toolkits. Why? Because it is genuinely FUN to use. This book is at once a thoroughly USEFUL book, and at the same time, a genuinely FUN book to flip open and use, time and again.

In short: This is one impressive beast of a book. If you have at least a small place in your heart for the vast fantasy metropolis, for the punk aesthetic, for the indie production that has an art-budget of exactly zero, you’ll absolutely adore this book. I genuinely consider this to be one of the highlights I’ve come across in the last couple of months. The generator not only delivers factions and quests, it does so in a manner that genuinely makes me, more often than not, contemplate how I’ll execute them – because I want to. If you’re tired of standard quests and factions, this’ll be a breath of fresh air. Heck, even if you don’t consistently use this, adding one or two guilds from this book to your regular fantasy setting’s city or region will make it feel fresher, stranger. Need a weirdo neighborhood? Use this.

The lack of bookmarks costs this a star for the pdf version, but in print? Full-blown masterpiece. 5 stars +seal of approval, and though this was released in 2018, I only now got around to reviewing this; hence, this gets a nomination as a candidate for my Top Ten of 2019. We need more Infinigrad.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Blasphemous Roster - Guilds of Infinigrad and their Machinations
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The Angel's Burial Ground - A Suburb of Infinigrad
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/12/2020 05:18:08

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at 31 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page ToC, leaving us with 29 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, first of all – this is an Infinigrad supplement, i.e. one with planar fantasypunk aesthetics; that being said, the place makes perfect sense in the context of e.g. subterranean environments of the weirder kind, or less traditional fantasy settings. The supplement does not subscribe to a specific OSR-rules system per se, instead electing to follow a general point. As in other Infinigrad supplements, HD are randomized, and each HD is supposed to be the equivalent of +1 to hit. When attribute checks are relevant, the supplement champions just rolling 3d6 to quickly determine attributes. The baseline HD of NPCs is d4HD@d6, so 1-4 HD, with each HD = d6. AC is ascending. NPCs tend to note special abilities as well as desires they might have. Navigation-wise, the pdf is internally hyperlinked. EDIT: The pdf now has bookmarks! A map of the suburb is provided, though it does not have a scale – it’s more about giving you an idea of where things are in relation to each other. That being said, the scratchy, hand-drawn style of the map did have some appeal to me. The map is featured twice – once with the landmarks on the opposite page, once with the keyed buildings hyperlinked on the opposite page.

I really like how buildings are presented: We get a read-aloud paragraph, and then a bullet point list that makes sense in sequence: First the obvious/lower storey content, then the less overt information. NPCs and faction-names are bolded for easy referencing, making the parsing of information simple. If you are one of the people who are particular about wanting your descriptions terse and evocative, this delivers. Unlike many comparable supplements, the book, in spite of this terseness, manages to retain a genuine sense of wonder and atmosphere. This is easily one of the most pronounced strengths here. It should be noted that this place can be easily grafted onto e.g. a planar metropolis like Sigil or the City of 7 Seraphs, or it could be used as a stand-alone environment.

The book comes with a custom random encounter table, a custom reaction table, and a 20-entry rumor table. We also get 20 male and female sample names.

Okay, that out of the way, this environment is best experienced without prior knowledge, so consider this to be a SPOILER-warning for players. If you’re not a GM, please skip ahead to the conclusion.

… .. .

All right, so, this suburb is essentially a sprawling, former sanatorium, sprawling alongside a mountain range, with its whispering winds bringing messages, ostensibly directly from the gods. The place is choked with winged statues, but these indeed are the calcified remains of angels, their bodies conserved in perfect forms with the help of occult rituals. As a consequence, making angel statues can be deemed a subversive act/crime, and the suburb’s guards, the protectors of the wind, certainly won’t take kindly to that. Angels in this place are bereft of the connection to the divine, described as having annoyingly good looks and beatific sneers. There are also mutant angel factions – the first of these would be the savage storm angels, who seek to clear the suburb, and the other one would be the halfhere angels, who know the secret of turning corpses of angels to stone. There also are two fully realized angel gangs here – one being the disaffected angel youth led by a mysterious entity, the other being a mute, masked group – which ties in with the second leitmotif of the suburb.

The splendor of the angels and beauty of the place is sharply contrasted with the “scaled men”, humanoids devolved and turned lizard-like by an infectious curse that can and will potentially affect those they assault – including angels, who obviously consider it to a be a horrid tainting of their forms. An enormous dome of wrought iron cages a black, scum-coated lake, trapping the scaled ones – at least that’s how it looks like. On the stairs of silk, infested, beaked men held by chains beseech the visitors.

We can find workshops for plant-based augmentations, workshops of healing (and damaging) crystals, black marble towers containing banks (fancy a heist?), storm angel smiths crafting experimental weaponry, and more – each place herein is interesting in some way, and indeed, basically begs you to use it. I can’t picture any group of adventurers, any GM, confronting this place without being inspired in some way.

If that’s not the case, the book does come with a quest-hook generator – roll for a verb, an objective, and a reward – and go from there. A table of 8 complications may also be found, and we get a pretty huge dressing table for angels – you roll d6 to determine which of the 6 tables you’ll use, then a d10 – yep, 60 frickin’ entries. Green hair, with flowers budding. Red wings, blood dripping from them. Hairless and with an elongated pate and pink halo. These are genuinely diverse.

If you’re such a sucky map-drawer as I am, you’ll love the building interior map page, which makes you roll d8 and d12 – you can roll dice to create the layout as you go, or print a couple of copies of this page, and then cut them out and combine them. Or you can use it just as intended. There also is an interior dressing generator – 4 columns, 12 entries each. Finally, if you want to spontaneously determine how NPCs relate to each other, there’s a table for that: D12 for an adjective, d12 for the relation.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting is very good on a formal and rules-language level, particularly for such an indie offering. Layout adheres to a one-column b/w-standard, with public-domain based artwork on borders. This was subtle, but I liked it – the different styles of architecture used for borders manage to underline in a subtle manner the atmosphere of this place. EDIT: The pdf now has bookmarks! :D

Michael Raston’s expedition to this suburb of Infinigrad is inspiring in all the right ways. The atmosphere evoked is genuinely unique and managed to elicit a sense of jamais-vu I get to see rather rarely these days. It’s not artsy, mind you; you can take and run it as such, but this is most assuredly a game-focused book that wants to be used. It’s not navelgazing, nor is it pretentious in the slightest. As a whole, this managed to make me feel like I just stumbled into a weird crossing between Planescape or the City of 7 Seraphs, and a pre-cataclysmic Dark Souls or Demon Souls, like a version of Latria’s towers prior to falling. A sense of danger is ever present, and the contrasting of harsh leitmotifs is pulled off in an excellent manner. And this pdf is ridiculously inexpensive. 2 bucks. Seriously? Totally worth at least (!!) thrice as much! Considering the excellent bang for buck ratio, this does get 5 stars + seal of approval. If you enjoy unconventional fantasy environments, get this!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Angel's Burial Ground - A Suburb of Infinigrad
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The Blasphemous Roster - Guilds of Infinigrad and their Machinations
by William H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/17/2019 15:26:52

I have gotten tons of use out of the location generators in this; populated whole city neighbourhoods; a great idea-sparker when you need to create districts, or whole towns on the fly - would recommend heartily!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Blasphemous Roster - Guilds of Infinigrad and their Machinations
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Star Dogs - Player's Handbook
by Jason C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/06/2019 13:03:59

I received a free copy of this product to review. Although this is the Player’s Handbook it does include everything you need to play the game. The system reminds me more of The Black Hack than say B/X. It is a roll under attribute system and has classes and levels. One fairly unique aspect is that the die size you use to roll against your attribute or skill is dependent on how hard the test is. Easier tests use smaller die sizes. This is very simple and effective and I love it. The book begins with the core rules, thank you for that as too many hide them, and goes on to include sections on character creation which includes skills, leveling up, weapons and armor, equipment, cybernetic augmentation (this section includes some great random tables), driving and piloting, npcs, and a glossary. The setting is fairly generic with the option for a “space monk” class with special powers although most characters will not qualify if you roll randomly. There are a couple things that aren’t readily apparent on first read, such as the fact you get a skill point at first level, but if you think about them for a minute it all falls into place pretty quickly. There is a Referee’s Handbook that will follow but until that time if you go to the writer’s blog he, at the time of this review, has random generators for technology, sci fi NPCs, planets, alien species, outposts/space stations, missions, and dangerous sectors. That blog is https://lizardmandiaries.blogspot.com The art is fine, no worse than many of the games in this price range and I quite like the cover. There are contributions from four named artists in addition to public domain art. I had the opportunity to play in a session of the game and everything went smoothly. This isn’t designed to simulate “hard” science fiction and it plays quickly with the rules getting out of the way during the game. All in all this 25 page RPG is well worth the asking price and I am looking forward to the upcoming Referee’s Handbook.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Star Dogs - Player's Handbook
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The Transient Bazaar
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/29/2019 05:14:21

An Endzeitgeist.com review

Okay, so this pdf clocks in at 21 pages, 1 page front cover, leaving us with 20 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Okay, so what is this? It is, in essence, a bazaar-generator, and a pretty potent one. While nominally designed for the setting of Infinigrad (which I REALLY want as a hardcover!), the bazaar is particularly suited for cities such as Planescape’s Sigil, China Miéville’s Bas-Lag, Lost Spheres Publishing’s “City of 7 Seraphs” or similar high fantasy/weird metropolises with a serious weird vibe. It also works well for the strange subterranean races, just fyi.

In Infinigrad, the bazaar grows against the outer walls of the Bone Fortress, fueling the appetites of the Guild Dogs – the parlance for adventurers in service to Infinigrad’s mighty guilds.

The generator is easy and painless to use – first, you roll a d6 to determine the amount of things that are currently in season in the market, and then roll on a d20 table this often. The d20 entries are pretty awesome: “Changeling chemicals, dream dusts and rare reagents”, for example. (As an aside: in Infinigrad, “dust” is slang for drugs.); you could also happen upon elemental slaves and tamed manifestations,, tinctures of the Mossen craft, outlawed military accoutrements or fleshcrafted living transport.

For each thing in season, you roll 1d4 to determine the number of stalls that you can find, and record the number for each type of goods. And then, one of the coolest things herein starts – there are 16 pages of artworks of sorts – public domain images of various stalls, tents, etc. These are overlayed with a grid of 6 by 8; you roll a d6 and a d8, and check the respective page: There are 6 pages of stalls, 6 pages of sellers, and 4 pages of “aspects” – the latter can be combined with stalls and sellers to generate a sort of odd conglomerate. You could get ornate gazebos with lurid banners and purple-skinned hunchback vendors, for example.

For the vendors, a d10 table of mercantile raison d’êtres, 12 sales techniques and 16 entries on how you can purchase the goods are provided, the latter including demands for quests, sacrifices, etc. as well as the usual demands.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to a two-column b/w-.standard for the text, and the massive visual generators provided are pretty awesome indeed. A more printer-friendly version has been provided for your convenience, but both versions do not feature bookmarks, which is a bit of an annoying comfort detriment.

The idea of Michael Raston’s visual bazaar-generator, supplemented by impressive, but oh-so-scarce prose, is a great one. I love the idea, and it really helps to keep the game flowing; once you’ve understood how it operates, you can quickly and painlessly generate all manner of odd stalls and things. If anything, the one thing I do not like about this supplement, is the fact that it’s so short – the tables for good, merchants, etc. could have been longer for my tastes. That being said, this is available for PWYW, and frankly, it’s a steal and a handy supplement to have. If you’re looking for a useful generator for strange markets, look no further – 5 stars!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Transient Bazaar
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The Level 1 Creature Generator
by HD A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/19/2019 19:10:11

This tiny little pdf would be a bargain at twice the price. The monster generation is simple. Roll on the Basic Shape table, the Form table, and the Special Ability table. That's it!

These elements combine to create a weird variation on a familiar creature. Basic Shape describes the creature's overall body type, like "man," "octopus" or "elephant." Form changes the substance of the creature, like gold-plated skin or a gaseous body. These entries along with the special abilities are cool and very specific. Because the basic shapes are all things we already know, you won't get a bizarre monstrosity. It will be a variation and twist on something you already know.

Being made of simple building blocks means this booklet is easy to mess with or add to as you like. You can pick entries if you want. Need a strange mutant fish? Just roll on the other two tables and there you go. Maybe you want a monster that charms its victims, but y'don't know what it should look like? Where it sacrifices depth and complexity, it makes up for it with lightning speed and ease of use.

How many rolls? Exactly three. Would I use this in the middle of a session? I'd use this baby in the middle of a sentence. Variety and reusability? Both middling. I can envision myself adding new entries in the future to replace abilities or forms I've rolled more than once. There are theoretically 64,000 combinations but you don't actually want to run 40 different monsters with the same special ability, do you?

originally posted at terriblesorcery.blogspot.ca



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Level 1 Creature Generator
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The Towers of the Weretoads
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/15/2019 14:10:10

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This mini-adventure clocks in at 6 pages, with one page devoted to the front cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Okay, so are you familiar with One-Page-Dungeons? You know, where the map features also all the information on locales? This dungeon is depicted in that type of format – one page per level of the dungeon, which features basement, ground floor and tower/treetop-levels. Nice: The supplement uses red and black text and arrows to denote what’s what – when printing this, going color is a prudent way, as red notes rules-relevant aspects, saves, traps, etc. – all in all, this color-coding makes running the dungeon pretty smooth. The maps are hand-drawn and lack a grid – and there is no player-friendly version of them either, alas. Formatting, alas, does not print magic item-references in italics, which, particularly considering how busy the map looks, would have further enhanced direct usability.

The final page depicts two new creatures, including a neat b/w-artwork – both list movement with a 120’ standard, alignment (one axis), HD and AC – the latter both in ascending and descending manner. The pdf differentiates between saving throw types, and lists skills and things like abilities to climb or hide with a “x-in-6” formula. The critters do list morale values and suggested XPs. As for difficulty-levels, I’d consider this to be appropriate for 4-6 characters of levels 1 – 3, depending on the skill-level of your players. I strongly suggest that the party should have a thief on board, as well as some folks that are good at slaughtering things; other than that, no class is truly required to play this.

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

… .. .

All right, only referees around? Great! So, there’s not much in the way of unnecessary backgroundstory – there’s a swampy ruin of three towers, with three trees, somewhere in the swamp. Go explore it! Weretoads are basically degenerate, wart-covered and exceedingly disgusting lycanthropes that the PCs won’t want to become – and this is good, for there are plenty of chances for them to contract the curse/disease while exploring this delightfully icky little dungeon. The change is btw. triggered by dusk tide, so clever PCs can get an angle – while in human form, weretoads are expert climbers; in toad form, they are even better and have a 4-in6 chance of hiding, so an assault during the day may actually be feasible. The second creature presented herein would be so-called bear toads, approximately of the size of a large dog. These toads have a pretty nasty jump attack as well as the ability to emit a debuffing croak.

The dungeon per se is surprisingly clever and open/free-form – there isn’t much in the way of a linear progression, with the three-level layout providing a good reason to switch places. A downside of the module would be that it doesn’t define how high a story is. This can make tracking transition from on level to another a bit more strenuous than intended. That being said, the dungeon otherwise offers some nice treasure, several rather detailed components are included. Additionally, some random chances to raise alarms can add further dynamics to the mini-adventure. Finally, and I very much enjoyed that, the lowest level is actually completely flooded – as a nitpick: It’s “hoard”, not “horde.”

Conclusion: Editing is generally very good on a formal and rules-language level. On a formatting level, the module could have implemented a couple of conventions more. Layout adheres to a two-column standard for the bestiary, one-column for the introduction text, and, well, all over the map for the main meat of the module. The cartography in b/w is solid, but lacks a scale and notes for level-transitioning. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length. The artwork provided for the weretoad is b/w and neat.

Michael Raston’s mini-module is a fun adventure I very much enjoyed; it has a delightfully icky theme, and the flooded level is a nice touch. The icky weretoads are cool adversaries, and as a whole, you can do a lot worse than this; particularly considering that this is available for PWYW! As such, my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars – if you are looking for an easy to prep, quick swamp-module, check this out!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Towers of the Weretoads
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The Level 1 Creature Generator
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/18/2019 03:45:35

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

We begin with instructions, which are simple enough – you see, each of the tables here contains a matrix of 4 columns and 10 rows – these generally span 2 pages per table. You roll a d4 to determine the column, a d10 to determine the row. Simple, nice. With the entries differing in density and complexity, the respective font-size varies from what looks like regular sized 10 or 11pt (not good at differentiating those) to pretty large letters, so if you’ve got issues with your eyes, this still renders the pdf pretty usable.

Nice: In spite of not per se subscribing to a particular old-school rules-system, the pdf does take its time to properly explain its terminology – that means a couple of things: “Being” refers to an entity with a modicum of intelligence (so not oozes and the like); several entries make use of ability score checks, which are suggested to be resolved with a roll-under mechanic; in absence of the like, quickly rolling 3d6 to determine a value or fixing one is suggested. Alternatively, saves vs. death, breath, etc. are mentioned as a different means to resolve abilities.

Shapes are deemed to warrant a HD-rating, and bonuses stack; basic shape determines modes of movement; birds can fly, spiders climb – you get the idea. Distance references are handled via two abstract approximations – “Close” refers to 0 – 5 feet, “Nearby” to 5 – 60 feet. Several entries reference “roll with advantage/disadvantage”, so if you’re one of the hardcore grognards or Lamentations of the Flame Princess purists that dislike this rule, that’s something to bear in mind, as the modification to chances of critical success and failures mathematically is a bit more complex to replicate – an alternative would have been nice. AC is assumed to have a base AC of 11, and is presented in an ascending AC convention.

In case you were wondering – you can get a regular creature in 4 or 6 throws of the dice: The first table determines the basic shape, which can range from man to frog etc. – this entry determines AC, HD and damage dice caused by the attacks. Poison is noted here as well, and worm-monsters at half health split in two; butterfly monsters can cause AoE damage with poisondust (no save/text RAW – ouch!).

Table number two determines the form, which may be almost impossibly flat, incredibly cute, surrounded by a windstorm, have free-floating body components, etc. – there are some serious gems here, and quite a few of these shapes may have additional rules effects. Carapaces grant more AC, hypnotic eyes, being a thing of Hellraiser-ish pain etc. – a nice selection here.

Beyond these, the third, and arguably optional table, contains abilities – singing targets to sleep, exhaling a noxious cloud of poison gar, absorbing nearby gold, generate biological trap mechanisms – some pretty evocative ones here!

As an aside, if you don’t want to roll the dice, the tables are big enough to act as die-drop charts, if you choose to employ them as such.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to a two-column b/w-standard, with a b/w-image of some ruins acting as a border, over which the tables are situated. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length – indeed, I’d recommend just printing the 6 pages of tables, laying them on the table and throw the dice on them. Monster generation done in seconds.

Michael Raston’s level 1 critter generator was a pleasant surprise – which not as potent as some other monster-generator engines out there, it is ridiculously comfortable to use and fast. If you’re time-starved as a referee/GM, you will love how smoothly and quickly you can make unique critters here; and as an aside, the results are very likely more sensible than the ones in e.g. “Isle of the Unknown” – there is more correlation between shape and function here, and while the respective entries are brief, they still manage to retain a surprising sense of cohesion.

The pdf does have a few weak points - not explicitly subscribing to a particular old-school system would be one of them. In an ideal world, there’d be an iteration for B/X, one OSRIC, one for LotFP, etc. – adapting the content herein truly to your game in question may require a bit of thinking first. (Do that when first reading the generator – the beauty of OSR-games is that they’re so rules-lite and simple that, after contemplating that, you won’t have to do so again.) Still, that is the one aspect of this super-nifty little tool that I consider to be less than ideal. Did I mention that this pdf costs a grand total of a single buck? Heck, you can purchase next to nothing for that nowadays, and this pdf is certainly worth leaving this symbolic obolus. It’s not perfect, but it’s a fine little tool to have. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Level 1 Creature Generator
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The Blasphemous Roster - Guilds of Infinigrad and their Machinations
by Joshua B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/09/2018 22:37:03

This is an excellent, weird resource for generating cults, orders, monasteries, etc. that are deeply strange and uncanny, perfect for fantasy games. As written, the (minimal) setting provides Shadowrun style missions in an endless fantastic city, dense and layered and dripping with mystery and forgotten secrets, but it's easy to use either the organizations or the quest generators by themselves. It also has possibly the best use of public domain art I've ever seen.

It does require some adjudication on the DM's part; adding flavor and interpreting the results might take a little effort. Part of the flavor generated is from a series of strange images with a grid layered over them, giving you a section of a picture to improvise further details from, but honestly the entire thing works without this if you don't like it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Blasphemous Roster - Guilds of Infinigrad and their Machinations
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The Level 1 Creature Generator
by Chris H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/06/2018 23:15:16

easy to use creator, will se myself using this quite often, nice work!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Level 1 Creature Generator
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The Level 1 Creature Generator
by Brett R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/06/2018 22:57:16

A nice little tool for quickly making up some new monsters, very handy



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Transient Bazaar
by Christopher H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/19/2016 05:56:32

love this! definitely worth a look, recommend picking this one up.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Transient Bazaar
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