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The Demon Stones (Pathfinder)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/17/2020 09:50:08

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive module clocks in at 81 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/author’s notes on making this, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of notes, 3 pages of SRD, 1 page MonkeyBlood Design glyph, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 71 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Okay, first things first: This adventure is intended for 4 characters of 5th level, and it was the first big production of Glynn Seal, who handled everything but editing and cover illustration. The module was playtested, credits its playtesters, and it shows. In many ways, I consider this to be the first big production by the company…and oh boy does it do things right that many others get wrong: The two pages of counters to represent the monsters and adversaries? They’re nice enough. However, where I seriously started drooling, was with the cartography: Not only do we get a LOT of it, we get player-friendly versions of everything. Yes, this includes not only the dungeons, but also lavishly-depicted roadside encounters! Fully mapped! Player-friendly! Heck yeah! Now, the village featured herein is the one exception – its map is the only one that comes only with a keyed version, but considering the module’s plot, I can kinda live with it, even though I don’t get why the pdf-version, which is layered, fyi, doesn’t at least feature that – don’t get me wrong: Having a version sans key would have been better, but at least it doesn’t spoil anything.

Speaking of which: There are two types of player-friendly maps: The ones that do the minimum (remove numbers and the like), and the ones that go one step beyond. This book features the latter. What do I mean by this? Well, not only are secret door “S”s excised, there are proper walls here, so if you’re using VTTs, or if you’re like me and cut up maps and hand them out, then this is AWESOME. Serious kudos for getting that right! Another aspect this gets right: I own the perfect-bound softcover of the book, and it properly spells the module’s name on the spine. It may be a small thing, but it’s something I appreciate.

Now, regarding themes, this obviously deals with meteorites, but if you’re thinking automatically about Lovecraftiana or mythos creatures, let me assure you that the module is smarter than doing the obvious.

Regarding themes, the module is billed as “medieval”, and it certainly fits that bill regarding its aesthetics and theme: The module does feature magic, but said magic is not commonplace or something everybody knows about; furthermore, while using fantastic tropes, these are always grounded. If you need a comparison, my best direct references would be Greyhawk’s grittier side, or Raging Swan Press’ offerings. The latter is also a great reference, because, much like Raging Swan Press’ modules, this is not a brutal adventure regarding its difficulty; you can run this with groups that are not that into min-maxing their characters. This doesn’t mean it’s trivial, mind you – just that, depending on the power-level of your group, you should contemplate running this at an earlier level than the indicated 5th.

Regarding rules, the module tends to gravitate to the simpler side of things, with builds being relatively simple; on the plus-side, the rules are much better than what you’d expect from a first foray into the gaming system’s complexities, and the book certainly knows what it’s doing The adventure’s new monsters come with unique b/w-artworks, and the same holds true for the NPCs. Apart from important characters and the like, stats are placed throughout the module where they’re needed, which renders running this a pretty comfortable enterprise for the GM.

The depiction of aforementioned village deserves special mention: Not only do we get names and behavior patterns/oddities for the NPCs, we also get a few sentences for important information to paraphrase. The attention to detail here is far beyond the usual. The module comes with atmospheric read-aloud text. More importantly, it does something I didn’t know I wanted to see, but which I adored: In the dungeon, above the read-aloud text, we have values: The first value denoted how far below the surface the keyed locale is; then, we get values for width, length and height, and a few key notes for the construction, overall feeling, and immediate sensory inputs – so if you’re in the camp that prefers terse, bullet-pointed lists, this has you covered. Even if you like the read-aloud text, this lets you reference dimensions in one glance without consulting the map. It’s a great piece of convenience for the GM.

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

… .. .

All right, only GMs around? Great!

The PCs are contacted by a mysterious dwarf, who may seem kinda crazy – Rhuin Graystone babbles about “The Great Basalt One” sending him on a sacred quest to hand a holy symbol to the PCs, and task them to travel to the village of Gravencross, to guard the “stones that feel from the sky”; en route, the PCs will be attacked by strange wolves that seem to be suffering from a magical disease, and, well, as the PCs arrive, they’ll see a farmer burning crops, trying to stop the blight. Which obviously comes from the stones, right? Well, no. After the PCs have acclimated themselves to Gravencross and researched the details about the environment, the module goes into full sandbox mode and lets the characters explore the vicinity, with several biomes and random encounter tables presented. Arriving at the first stone will prompt visions for the holder of the divine symbol, and over the course of the module, the party will be able to piece together more and more.

This presentation of information is handled in a smart manner as well; everything happens pretty organically, and isn’t subject to requiring huge exposition dumps. Anyhow, beyond the dangerous wildlife and the mysterious wychblight, the PCs will see a strange, humanoid pteroglyph, and essentially do a wilderness investigation, as they try to find all three demon stones – these stones are not responsible for the magical blight; instead, they are part of the cure.

In a clever twist, the stones are a defensive meachnism of the god Basaltor, for the glittering geode, an important artifact of the deity, is in the process of being found/breached by a very nasty criminal, who dubs himself “The Underlord”; the bitter necromancer has a whole mercenary company under his sway, and the PCs will probably have crossed blades with them by now. The stones, in fact basalt elementals, are basically a safety precaution! The resting place of the geode? Right in the middle of the fallen stones! Atop a high ridge, the Wardcroft ruins hold the dungeon that contains the means to access the geode – thus, the final act is all about the PCs exploring this plausible dungeon, and trying to stop the dark necromancer…and the devil he has just summoned! This dungeon is well-executed, and sports diverse and fair challenges.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level, particularly for a first foray into PFRPG. Layout adheres to an elegant two-column b/w-standard, and the module sports A LOT of neat original b/w-artworks. The pdf version is layered, allowing you to customize it, and the module comes with a second, more printer-friendly iteration. The cartography is exemplary: Not only is there a lot of it, the player-friendly versions are super appreciated. There is but one formal issue the pdf version has: It lacks bookmarks. That’s an annoying comfort detriment, that’d usually cost the pdf version a star…but guess what? The pdf is PWYW! I am not even kidding!

Glynn Seal’s The Demon Stones” is a great adventure if you liked the gritty feel of old-school Greyhawk, if you gravitate more to the down-to-earth aesthetics of Raging Swan Press. While the module has high-fantasy-ish themes, it clothes them in a layer of plausibility, mystery and superstition that makes them feel appropriate for the overall atmosphere. The module achieves a high level of immersion throughout, with plenty of details and love evident. Now, I bought this module when its pdf was not yet PWYW, and I was thoroughly happy with it. If you’re just doing pdfs, I’d suggest something in the range of $5 – $6.99 for it; the book is certainly worth it. I’d strongly suggest getting the print version, though. My final verdict for this adventure will be 5 stars – with my seal of approval added for the fair gesture of making the module PWYW. This is 100% owning.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Demon Stones (Pathfinder)
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The Demon Stones (Swords & Wizardry)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/17/2020 09:47:59

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive module clocks in at 78 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/author’s notes on making this, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of notes, 1 page of SRD, 2 pages MonkeyBlood Design glyph, 1 page occupied by a tentacle skull, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 68 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Okay, first things first: This adventure is intended for 4 characters of 4th - 5th level, and it was the first big production of Glynn Seal’s MonkeyBlood Design, who handled everything but editing and cover illustration. The module was playtested, credits its playtesters, and it shows. In many ways, I consider this to be the first big production by the company…and oh boy does it do things right that many others get wrong: The two pages of counters to represent the monsters and adversaries? They’re nice enough. However, where I seriously started drooling, was with the cartography: Not only do we get a LOT of it, we get player-friendly versions of everything. Yes, this includes not only the dungeons, but also lavishly-depicted roadside encounters! Fully mapped! Player-friendly! Heck yeah! Now, the village featured herein is the one exception – its map is the only one that comes only with a keyed version, but considering the module’s plot, I can kinda live with it, even though I don’t get why the pdf-version, which is layered, fyi, doesn’t at least feature that – don’t get me wrong: Having a version sans key would have been better, but at least it doesn’t spoil anything.

Speaking of which: There are two types of player-friendly maps: The ones that do the minimum (remove numbers and the like), and the ones that go one step beyond. This book features the latter. What do I mean by this? Well, not only are secret door “S”s excised, there are proper walls here, so if you’re using VTTs, or if you’re like me and cut up maps and hand them out, then this is AWESOME. Serious kudos for getting that right! Another aspect this gets right: I own the perfect-bound softcover version of the Pathfinder version of the book, and it properly spells the module’s name on the spine. It may be a small thing, but it’s something I appreciate.

Now, regarding themes, this obviously deals with meteorites, but if you’re thinking automatically about Lovecraftiana or mythos creatures, let me assure you that the module is smarter than doing the obvious.

Regarding themes, the module is billed as “medieval”, and it certainly fits that bill regarding its aesthetics and theme: The module does feature magic, but said magic is not commonplace or something everybody knows about; furthermore, while using fantastic tropes, these are always grounded. If you need a comparison, my best direct references would be Greyhawk’s grittier side, or Raging Swan Press’ offerings.

Rules-wise, we have an adherence to S&W (Swords & Wizardry) here, with ascending and descending AC noted, single saves, etc. Special bilities are properly called out, and traps are codified properly as well. The adventure’s new monsters come with unique b/w-artworks, and the same holds true for the NPCs. Apart from important characters and the like, stats are placed throughout the module where they’re needed, which renders running this a pretty comfortable enterprise for the GM. In contrast to the PFRPG-version, we use the space that S&W’s compacter rules offer to present a whle page of stats for non-essential NPCS! Kudos for going the extra mile here. This is NOT one of those bad conversions we can see so often from 5e; this was done with obvious love for old-school aesthetics, and knowledge of the system. You won’t find references to skill check DCs or the like, and the adversaries have been properly adjusted. The module is harder in this iteration, due to PCs not being as strong, but that was to be expected.

The depiction of aforementioned village deserves special mention: Not only do we get names and behavior patterns/oddities for the NPCs, we also get a few sentences for important information to paraphrase. The attention to detail here is far beyond the usual. The module comes with atmospheric read-aloud text. More importantly, it does something I didn’t know I wanted to see, but which I adored: In the dungeon, above the read-aloud text, we have values: The first value denoted how far below the surface the keyed locale is; then, we get values for width, length and height, and a few key notes for the construction, overall feeling, and immediate sensory inputs – so if you’re in the camp that prefers terse, bullet-pointed lists, this has you covered. Even if you like the read-aloud text, this lets you reference dimensions in one glance without consulting the map. It’s a great piece of convenience for the GM.

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

… .. .

All right, only GMs around? Great!

The PCs are contacted by a mysterious dwarf, who may seem kinda crazy – Rhuin Graystone babbles about “The Great Basalt One” sending him on a sacred quest to hand a holy symbol to the PCs, and task them to travel to the village of Gravencross, to guard the “stones that feel from the sky”; en route, the PCs will be attacked by strange wolves that seem to be suffering from a magical disease, and, well, as the PCs arrive, they’ll see a farmer burning crops, trying to stop the blight. Which obviously comes from the stones, right? Well, no. After the PCs have acclimated themselves to Gravencross and researched the details about the environment, the module goes into full sandbox mode and lets the characters explore the vicinity, with several biomes and random encounter tables presented. Arriving at the first stone will prompt visions for the holder of the divine symbol, and over the course of the module, the party will be able to piece together more and more.

This presentation of information is handled in a smart manner as well; everything happens pretty organically, and isn’t subject to requiring huge exposition dumps. Anyhow, beyond the dangerous wildlife and the mysterious wychblight, the PCs will see a strange, humanoid pteroglyph, and essentially do a wilderness investigation, as they try to find all three demon stones – these stones are not responsible for the magical blight; instead, they are part of the cure.

In a clever twist, the stones are a defensive meachnism of the god Basaltor, for the glittering geode, an important artifact of the deity, is in the process of being found/breached by a very nasty criminal, who dubs himself “The Underlord”; the bitter necromancer has a whole mercenary company under his sway, and the PCs will probably have crossed blades with them by now. The stones, in fact basalt elementals, are basically a safety precaution! The resting place of the geode? Right in the middle of the fallen stones! Atop a high ridge, the Wardcroft ruins hold the dungeon that contains the means to access the geode – thus, the final act is all about the PCs exploring this plausible dungeon, and trying to stop the dark necromancer…and the devil he has just summoned! This dungeon is well-executed, and sports diverse and fair challenges.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level; if you don’t know any better, you won’t realize that this is a conversion. Layout adheres to an elegant two-column b/w-standard, and the module sports A LOT of neat original b/w-artworks. The pdf version is layered, allowing you to customize it, and the module comes with a second, more printer-friendly iteration. The cartography is exemplary: Not only is there a lot of it, the player-friendly versions are super appreciated. Unlike the PFRPG-iteration, the OSR-version does have its full complement of bookmarks! This version also has another bonus: An easy-read iteration of the pdf. Cool! The pdf is PWYW! I am not even kidding!

Glynn Seal’s The Demon Stones” is a great adventure if you liked the gritty feel of old-school Greyhawk, if you gravitate more to the down-to-earth aesthetics of Raging Swan Press. While the module has high-fantasy-ish themes, it clothes them in a layer of plausibility, mystery and superstition that makes them feel appropriate for the overall atmosphere. The module manages to pull off not feeling like a conversion, and as a whole, is a resounding success.

The module achieves a high level of immersion throughout, with plenty of details and love evident. Now, I bought this module when its pdf was not yet PWYW, and I was thoroughly happy with it. If you’re just doing pdfs, I’d suggest something in the range of $5 – $6.99 for it. My final verdict for this adventure will be 5 stars – with my seal of approval added for the fair gesture of making the module PWYW. This is 100% owning.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Demon Stones (Swords & Wizardry)
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Adventures in Great Lunden
by Gary D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/10/2020 19:01:37

Amazing content! Must have!! You want this book!!! Adventures & content in the Great City of Lunden.

(Would have purchased the hardback if available)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adventures in Great Lunden
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HandyMaps - Towns & Villages
by Stephen B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/26/2019 11:51:53

Beautiful little maps that I can toss out during gameprep and think about what buildings and characters live there. Finding it useful to anticipate questions from players.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
HandyMaps - Towns & Villages
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Havenland Fantasy Map Icon/Symbol Set/Pack
by Phil W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/28/2019 21:10:36

The included PNG symbols are very attractive and well done. There is a nice range of terrain features as well as a number of symbols for buildings and populated areas. This set includes 10 terrain textures plus 4 tiles for creating a hex grids. The farmland texture doesn't tile as nicely as it should producing odd patterns but it is usable as it is. The hex grid images when tiled produce a 130 pixel hex grid. Not sure why that size was chosen though it does make the point to point dimension close to 150 pixels.

The set is decently organized with folders for each symbol type (colour, white and outline) and includes PDF guides on using them in GIMP.

I have two issues with the set. The first is that the symbols overall are pretty small. A good number of them being less than 100 pixels wide. The other issue is that they are not in scale with each other. A single cottage symbol might be 130 pixels across and then a village symbol, with multiple cottages, is only 150 pixels. Would have been nice if they were as large as the symbols in their Myrklund set.

My first instinct was to go with a 3 star rating but they are so nice looking that I went with 4 stars.

2019-08-28 - Follow up. Picked up the excellent map creation program Wonderdraft and this symbol pack works quite well with it. The Havenland symbols are pretty much the right size for use with Wonderdraft which is a plus.

So my rating is now a solid 4 pushing towards a 5.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Havenland Fantasy Map Icon/Symbol Set/Pack
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Creator Reply:
Many thanks for taking the time to post a nice and constructive review, Phil. The Havenland set was the first set I created (back in early 2014), and I fully agree that the symbols would benefit from being larger. In hindsight, I would have made the symbols that way originally, but it's not something that is easily fixable at this stage. I did learn the lessons from that, and when creating the Narrasil and Myrklund sets, made them sufficiently large for most things. In terms of scale to each other, it's yet again, a fair point. I tend to create a symbol to suit a square box, and they vary in size within this. I use ArtRage 5 to draw maps using the symbols and its possible to scale them up or down a little to suit. As an example, the mountains could be at 100% but the trees at 50% say. It's definitely easier if you don't have to adjust scales on the fly though. Once again, many thanks for the feedback and 4 star review. Most kind of you. Take care, Glynn
Adventures in Great Lunden
by Matt S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/23/2019 08:38:38

It's better than you deserve, really.

It is, and you know it.

You know damn well that what is contained within the pages of this great work is far beyond anything you have the right to even look at.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adventures in Great Lunden
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The City of Great Lunden
by Matt S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/23/2019 08:15:34

Buy this!

Now!

No, really!

There's a deep, rich quality shining darkly in everything Glynn does, and this is no exception.

For fans of a certain kind of British humour, for fans of the OSR, and for fans of a grim world that can only come from the mind of someone who grew up on Charlie Says, Children of The Stones, and that creepy canal warning commercial, this is for you.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The City of Great Lunden
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Behind The Walls
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/22/2018 15:07:22

"The adventure takes place in the north of Havenland, near to the Scrottish borders by the Kelderwater lake (see Hex M09 of The Haven Isles map).

Ebeneezer Garbett, a local farmer from the mushroom-filled valley village of Otterdale, returned to the hamlet with tales of riches he had found. Now, no-one has seen him since, and he villagers are becoming ill with a strange fungal infection." Set within the Midderlands Behind The Wall by John Large is an adventure with Scrottish fungi weirdness happening around the party as they run into legacy of the ruins of an ancient Goman fortification recently. And this is a well put together but deadly adventure centered around the events of the farm stead of Ebeneezer Garbett & his ill dealings with the Mullach Dubh. This fungi is a mould that grows on the dead, absorbing their memories and re-animating their bodies into a terrible half-life. But this isn't a simple face down the zombie hordes adventure. Instead this is a thinking man's adventure where the player's PC's are going to be dealing with the slightly off kilter weirdness of the Goman empire of the Midderlands. And some of the horrors of the alien invasion like take over of the Mullach Dubh. The layout & artwork are top notch & the cartography is of course up to Monkey Blood Design standards. "This adventure is intended for low level play and can be scaled up or down accordingly. It should work best with 4× Level 1-4 player characters." Now according to the read through I had this is a fairly low level adventure but you should have four or more players with PC's from the Midderlands. The adventure Behind The Wall by John Large is very hex location based & has a solid quality about it. If you like the Midderlands then you're going to love Behind The Wall by John Large. It has that same White Dwarf magazine old school quality about it. The humor is right center point but this is still a take down aspect to it that will slaughter your PCs. This is a really flexible & customizable for your own old school or OSR games especially Swords & Wizardry.

Really comes down to the random tables & ideas scattered through out the product & it makes good use of them. Behind The Wall by John Large retains the charm & deadliness of the Midderlands line. Played wrong & Behind The Wall by John Large will slaughter PC's without remorse & not even give the party a second glance. This is a solidly done adventure that does what it sets out to do. The events in the villages of Behind The Wall will challenge & possibly kill a novice group of players. But will vex even the most jaded experienced gamers. Highly recommended. Five out of five fungi infections for the win!

Eric Fabiaschi Swords & Stitchery Blog Want more original OSR content? Subscribe To https://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Behind The Walls
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Behind The Walls
by Matt S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/19/2018 11:30:21

Another fabulous product from MonkeyBlood Design. The hits just keep coming!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Murder Knights of Corvendark
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/12/2018 11:33:06

"No one knows from where they came. All feathers and spite. Their vile beaks spit angry screeches, and beneath their wing beats, acrid miasmas swirl.

Within the subterranean caverns beneath Wychington — on the shores of Lake Grimwater — a small part of a region from long ago, or maybe a time yet to pass, has come into existence. Malign and abhorrent half-men, half-crows inhabit this harrowing place. Standing menacingly, clad in the darkest armour, or on their pitch-black wings protected by lighter, piecemeal leather armour, they murder men and feast on their flesh. Strangely resentful of their barely-feathered gods, they despise other living creatures for taking their breaths.

This is Corvendark, and under the sign of an inverted, five-skulled star, the Murder Knights dwell. Since the coming of this otherworldly realm, the Grimwater Lake region has been plagued by the atrocities of the ‘harpies’ — as they have been incorrectly named — regularly raiding the surface lands. None have been ravaged more so than Wychington, a small town on the northern lake edge at the mouth of the Lesselling River.

It is now that heroes are needed. Who will destroy this menace, or send them back whence they came?"

So begins The Murder Knights of Corvendark From MonkeyBlood Design

& the product is full of full on maps! This is an adventure location module. But when I received the email I grabbed my comp copy from Drivethrurpg I was astounded at the number of location based maps & yes this does bloody well plug into the Midderlands setting. But not necessarily for all your OSR campaign needs & I was pleasantly surprised by this. The Murder Knights of Corvendark From MonkeyBlood Design is designed for use with Swords & Wizardry but can easily be adapted for use with OD&D. There are a lot of traditional Dungeons & Dragons elements within this adventure & that's a good thing. The fact is that many of today's OSR designers & writers try to reinvent the adventure formula. The Murder Knights of Corvendark doesn't do that. Instead it presents the adventure elements in such a way as to give the players & the dungeon master some time get through the adventure in challenging & engaging way. This adventure can be played over six or so sessions in my opinion but if the players are stupid they're going to die in glorious & gory ways.

The cartography is excellent & the writing is up to Midderlands standards. For the most part everything in the The Murder Knights of Corvendark clicks all of the right buttons. For adapting it to other OSR & old school campaigns. The Murder Knights of Corvendark could with some work be placed within Mystara or perhaps the lands of Greyhawk. Blackmoor might be a bit of a stretch but it would work.
The Midderlands campaign setting is where The Murder Knights of Corvendark

is going to work best. The tone & setting details picks everything in this adventure up with gusto & runs with it. I can hardly see using The Murder Knights of Corvendark with Lamentations of the Flame Princess or another dark Europe OSR setting. This adventure would suit Dark Albion & other Europe based OSR games. The theme of the Old Warhammer / White Dwarf old school adventure weirdness is certainly here in MonkeyBlood Design's efforts in The Murder Knights of Corvendark. Because this is a fifty page adventure location based adventure there's lots to do & events happening within the adventure itself. Sure there is a spooky theme here but its not flat hitting you over the head with itself. There is an investigative & solid way of dealing with players in the module's method. The adventure location areas are well fleshed out but not overwhelmingly so like other OSR adventures. The full theme runs well though out the text here & the dungeon master can & will have to run with certain adventure hooks. Overall I really liked The Murder Knights of Corvendark . I hope to see more adventure location based modules from MonkeyBlood Design crew. I'd give this a five out of five because of the above the cut quality efforts from the rest of the OSR crew. Eric Fabiaschi Sword & Stitchery Blog Want more exclusive OSR content? Subscribe to https://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Murder Knights of Corvendark
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Midderzine Issue 1
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/15/2018 15:42:35

Glynn Seal of Monkey Blood design has been quietly building his Midderland setting empire with product across the board for old school & OSR games. The Midderlands setting is a dark fantasy England on acid filtered through the warped imagination of early White Dwarf magazine fans wrapped around a Swords & Wizardry rpg core rules set. This brings me to issue #1 of The Midderzine from Glynn Seal & the Monkey Blood crew. So what's in this issue & why is the Midderzine important to OSR fans?! Well here's what's in the zine; "an interview with Jim Magnusson, 'news' from The Haven Gazette, 3 Hex Locations, The Village of Stonecastle, The Eyeless Harrowers cult, two new NPCs, three new monsters, a new class - Crowmaster, two new spells, five new oddities, four new flora and fauna." Even if you haven't gotten the Midderlands setting or the Midderlands Expanded book this has some very interesting fiddly bits & pieces that can be applied to bring the Midderlands to your gaming world. For example 'news' from The Haven Gazette are adventure seeds & hooks to get the PC's involved with the locals of this region. But here the adventure hooks pull the PC's in for example the local leper knights have a new expansion; The Leper Knights of Saint Corrobin in Helm’s Ford "In Helm’s Ford last week, the growing group known as the Leper Knights ofSaint Corrobin were granted rights to erect a monastery on the outskirts of the‘Without’ part of town. Many of the townsfolk are unhappy about the close proximity to the disfigured andcontagious outcasts, but Lord Porc Turmeric has confirmed that they are part of a defensive strategy for the town and anyone who obstructs the rights afforded to them will be dealt with harshly." What happens when some of the locals hire the PC's to help clean out some 'undesirables' from the village?! This is only one of the many examples that are woven throughout the Midderzine. The big selling point of the Midderlands is the Gloomuim - A green magick glowing stone like substance that is in fact concentrated magical chaos that can mutate things, be used for magical items, to power spells, mutate animals & flora into monsters,etc. & it permeates every aspect of this dark fantasy England. The 11 adventure seeds & hooks all tie directly back into the settings & the locals making it very dangerous for PCs! Next we get three new hex locations & all that entail these seem like they came straight out of an early issue of White Dwarf but they have the unique Midderlands spin to them. That is to say they might be based on some possible real world historical location or other. But these locations always have that green laced weirdness factor that makes the Midderlands unique. We get the 'Plinth of Dullen Fields' with its own take on the possessed royals bit; 'It is said that a witch hexed the oldLord of Shroomsbury, and he became possessed by a devil. Staffleford had acted to prevent the malignancy from spreading. However, the Lord of Shroomsbury also believed the same about the Lord of Staffleford, and had acted in the same manner.' And there's some room here for the dungeon master to really go to town on what else its connected to in their own version of the Midderlands. 'The Ruins of The Cock &Pocket Inn' might be the enterance to a dungeon or underground green hued ruin or something far more sinister. Then there's 'Ratdog Tor' & its deep connection to the twisted monstrosities of the Midderlands. I don't want to go into too much detail here but you get the idea.

Then we get the village of Stonecastle," The village of Stonecastle is ruled over by the Fellchurch family, and the current ruler is Sir Uriah Fellchurch (see The Midderlands Expanded page 182). Sir Fellchurch treats the villagers well, and they respect him." And we get a whole village setting for the asking where adventurers might actually have a quiet time of it. Well, of course they won't be cause there's more brewing under the surface. Speaking of brewing we get a brand new cult of eyeless ale brewers known as 'The Eyeless Harrowers' whose ales grace the local taverns throughout the region. These incredibly evocative NPC's have some far more things happening under the tap then you might think & might also be NPC patrons rather then foes!? Two mid teir NPC's are next who come with their own adventure hooks build in;"Edmund Fester travels the Western Midderlands with his fellow adventurers; the human thief, Vex Vandel. Then there's this information broker whose not the usual sort; 'Corlin Lackcraw is in the discrete service of Sir Uriah Fellchurch. He dispatches Corlin around the lands to see what the crows are saying, and feedback any information that may be of use to Stonecastle.' We've got three new monsters from 'the Midderlands' including Gloomrats who are absolutely nasty bastards! 'Catviles are large cats devoid of fur, instead being covered allover with loose, dark, light absorbing skin. ', which I personally want a Catvile as a pet! This takes me into the demonic 'Devil Goat' & I've seen a couple of different versions of a monster called a 'Devil goat' but this is a disembodied demonic goat head with tentacles & a passion for evil! These things are really nasty & even seasoned adventurers are going to have problems! Then we are presented with a brand new class known as the Crowmaster! These are men & women who spend years out on the moors & forests listening to the language of Corvids! This folks know all of the gossip & spinets of rumors & information that these birds collect. They advance up in levels & have very tight relationships with these birds. Imagining royals having spy net works of crows, jays, etc. throughout their kingdoms! Well don't imagine it because that's the sort of weirdness of the Midderlands. We then get two new spells 'covered in shit' & 'bag of crap' which is both pretty great. The covered in shit spell is a second level spell & does exactly what it sounds like. The second spell allows a magic user, druid, or cleric to reach into a leather bag & pull out a useful item or maybe not. The random tables of the Midderlands expanded book has the dungeon master covered but I'd make my own. Its an amusing second level spell for the players. Finally we get bunch of new Midderlands oddities which are solid magic items strongly connected with the Midderlands setting itself. All in all we get a solid setting fanzine that has been set up by the Monkey Blood design crew & Glynn Seal to act as both fan support & as a solid way of continuing the expanding setting of the Midderlands. That being said I think that it could be be bought by an OSR gamer to really get a good foot hold into the Midderland's setting to really get a feel for it's green laiden weirdness! I'd actually say its a four out of five for its utility & usefulness as a game supplement even if you don't own a single Midderlands book!

Eric Fabiaschi Sword & Stitchery Blog Want more reviews & OSR content then subscribe to https://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Midderzine Issue 1
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The Midderlands - OSR Bestiary and Setting
by RedDice D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/14/2018 00:03:56

The Midderlands book is one of the finest OSR supplements that I have had the privilege of reading, it conjures up a world both familiar and yet fantastic. The book is crammed with so much "game juice" it seems almost inconceivable that a GM might not find something for their campaign inside.

For my full video review please look here:

https://youtu.be/EMzhMWEIYzY



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Midderlands - OSR Bestiary and Setting
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The Midderlands - OSR Bestiary and Setting
by Juan O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/13/2018 22:08:33

I don't game with OSR style rules anymore, but i found this book an amazing trove of ideas, a joy to read and wonderful to just look at (and I'm not just saying this because I drew a couple of pieces for it)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Midderlands - OSR Bestiary and Setting
by James S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/13/2018 22:04:01

Billed as a Bestiary and mini-campaign setting, The Midderlands is far more than it says on the tin. It is built around a small region of a twisted late medieval England that never was, appropriately called the Midderlands. Seal and Co. manage to be both concise and amazingly evocative with the prose of this tiny (but powerful) tome to create a setting that is truly unique, yet doesn't require the referee or players to learn a ton of backstory to enjoy the material as its presented.

The Midderlands is a truly strange place, but because its rooted in a well-researched and well-known period of real world history, its quite approachable. The authors manage to convey in just a few pages what exactly makes the Midderlands unique without going into an inappropriate level of detail so as to bog down or bore the reader. As previously mentioned, the Midderlands is firmly rooted in real world history -- but not specific events. Instead, it uses the feel and commonalities of a real historic place and era and then pours on a heaping helping of strange and twisted folk lore that is both familiar and entirely unique all at the same time.

The Midderlands is a strange and twisted place full of unexplained events, twisted monsters that feel rooted in folklore but have an almost Froudian twist to them. The people of the Midderlands are real people, not adventurers or heroes. They want to tend their crops, feed their families, and not be bothered by the terrible things that lurk just beyond the green gloomfog that lingers in a nearby bog. That being said, most average residents recognize that these monsters are quite real and there's almost a sense that they're nonplussed about the whole affair. 'Well, of course there's a bulging-eyed horde of slime dripping goblins who live in those woods. Any fool knows that."

The magic items are no less strange, each designed to have a tonality that strengthens the themes of the setting. A handful of spells do the same as well. Oh, speaking of magic -- magic is something not to be trifled with in the Midderlands. Because frogs fall from the sky, trees sometimes explode in a shower of green flame, and a dangerous beryl fog floats in from beneath the earth, the people of the Midderlands have a general stance of "Burn the witch, ask questions later" when it comes to magic and magic-users. Again, fitting with the historic context -- but also with it's own twist.

The feelings evoked by the material ooze across every page, but the minimalist word count leaves referees free to build and expand as they see fit to suit their campaign. It's billed as a mini-campaign setting, but to be honest I feel like there are years worth of adventures to be told in these pages.

The monsters are lavishly and beautifully illustrated in a perfect expression of appopriate strangeness. In addition to ecology and stat blocks, most monsters are provided with a full level-progression which both allows the referee to scale them to the power level of an individual party of PCS or, if they're feeling brave, allowing them as player characters. That was a real surprise, and a welcome one.

In short, Midderlands is probably my favorite OSR campaign setting currently on the market because it combines the familiar and the strange so perfectly. This allows the referee to create a fresh experience for players without going into territorty that feels different for the sake of being different. Ostensively written for Swords & Wizardry Complete, it can easily be adapted to many OSR games and B/X-based RPGs currently on the market. Personally, I think it would be an excellent fit for Lamentations of the Flame Princess, given that games strangeness -- plus, LotFP and Midderlands physical copies are of the absolute highest quality when it comes to production values and they're both A5 in dimension. I find they look very snazzy next to one another on a shelf.

Midderlands is absolutely 100% worth a purchase. Even if you don't play OSR games and lean towards more modern game systems, there is enough material here to be begged, borrowed, or stolen that its well worth the price of admission.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Midderlands - OSR Bestiary and Setting
by Greg B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/13/2018 21:26:07

The Midderlands is a folklore written by goblins, extensively detailed by their human thrall ["the Glynn" as in: "Make the Glynn taste it first, brother."] with maps, illustrations, a bestiary full of horrible pseudo-medieval freaks, and pertinent descriptions of all the required data necessary to run a campaign there. Situated in a Britain-That-Never-Was, in a region saturated by an eldritch Green quality. Here be notes of Lovecraftian power. Glynn's monster profiles resemble the evocative weirdos of Clark Ashton Smith and are worth the purchase of the book alone. This is an expanding setting with further resources already here at OBS or on the horizon. [5/5]

Buy It If: You like twisted fairy tale worlds like Dolmenwood, Yoon-Suin or anything by Kabuki Kaiser.

Don't Buy If: You don't like a little whimsy in your Weird or happen to be haunted by memories of goblin-perpetrated enthrallment.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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