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Twilight Fables
Publisher: Izegrim Creations
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/26/2022 14:10:15

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/09/monstrous-mondays-twilight-fables-5e-osr.html

NOTE: This review covers both the 5e and OSR versions of this book. They are 99% the same content except where noted below.

There is a chill in the air here in Chicago. I have a flannel shirt on and my mood ever shifts more and more to Halloween. A Halloween bestiary would be nice and thankfully Izegrim Creations has just the thing I need.

Twilight Fables

I swear the Kickstarter for this had just ended and I got my DriveThruRPG notification that the hardcovers were available.

So for this I Monstrous Monday, I want to talk about both the 5e and OSR versions of this book, the Print on Demand and PDF versions, plus all the other material that makes up this line.

Overview

Both books are huge volumes at 336 pages (5e) and 326 pages (OSR) each. The covers are full color as is all the interior art. And the art is fantastic.
Both books have a solid 5e aesthetic to them; colorful art and backgrounds, text describing the creature and its place in the environment/land/myths, and followed by a stat block.

The 5e book features a standard-looking 5e stat block, the OSR one is largely a modified Basic-era stat block. It includes everything you would expect along with descending and ascending AC, an entry for THAC0, and XP. The art for both books is the same. There is a good reason for this, the OSR version was added on a little bit later in the Kickstarter. The 5e version, with art, was done before the kickstart began (minus some edits I am told) so adding on the OSR version was a matter of adding the new stat blocks. One nitpick there are listings for "DCs" in the OSR version for magic item creation (more on that later). I would have preferred something that felt a little more pre-2000.

Now in most situations, I would fear translation errors, but the author Roderic Waibel had already developed that very successful Chromatic Dungeons RPG (reviewed here) which is solid OSR. So I know he knows OSR. My only gripe is kinda wanted the OSR stat blocks to look as nice as the 5e ones! But that is only a gripe for people that own both.

Like many of Waibel's publications we get nice sidebar discussions from the intelligent and rather civilized Gnoll "Fleabag." It is a very nice touch (I have done something similar with my 'From the Journal of Larina Nix') and it gives these (and his other books) character.

Regardless of which one you get (get both!) you are in for a treat.

I grabbed both and will be using the OSR version in my Old-School Essentials game. My oldest grabbed the 5e version and is using it in his weekly 5e game. So far he says it is great and he loves all the different sorts of monsters it offers.

The Fables

The name of the book is Twilight Fables. So you can expect that these are monsters from various myths, legends, and tales. And you would be 100% correct. Waibel has done his reading and there are a lot of great creatures here. Even ones that might be familiar get new life and feel "new."

For example, I mentioned in the past one of my favorites, the Basajaun who appears in three different monster books. Each one is a little different and yet each one 'feels' right. Perfect for DMs that want a familiar, yet different creature.

The creatures largely come from the myths, legends, and folklore of Europe. This is also what is advertised and leads to the logical assumption of Twilight Fables of other lands for future volumes. One for Africa, one for Asia, one for the Americas, all are possible.

In addition to the monsters, there are various legendary NPCs like Baba Yaga, Beowulf, Cailleach Beira, Cú Chulainn, Guy of Warwick, King Arthur, Little Red Riding Hood, Merlin, Morgan Le Fay, Robin Hood, Scáthach, Queen Úna of Faerie, and Väinämöinen. So yeah. Lots.

There is a section on Mythological Treasures and Magic items. This includes some rules on how to make magic items as well. It is a very nice value add. You saw this sort of thing with the old Mayfair "Fantastic Treasures" and something you see Troll Lord Games do with their Monster and Treasure books.

Both books also have rules for new character species (wanna play a Pech? You can!) and for 5e there are class options such as Warlock patrons and cleric domains.

There is even a small adventure (20 pages) to introduce these new monsters.

The Monsters

All that is gravy. The real meat here are the monsters.

In both cases, the monsters take up full pages. This includes the background and descriptions, the stat blocks, and whatever else is involved with this particular creature such as "Lore & Rumors", any special treasures, habitat, behaviors, and more. In some cases, the material bleeds over to another entry, but not so much as to be an issue.

There are, by my count, nearly 220 monsters here ranging in HD from 1-1 to 30+ (OSR) and CR 1/8 to 30 (5e). So plenty of creatures to challenge any level of characters.

I have to say these are great books and well worth grabbing for your games, 5e or OSR, or both. There is a lot of material here and plenty to keep many groups engaged for some time.

Extras

When you get the digital copy from DriveThruRPG you also get a bunch of tokens that can be printed and used in f2f table games or digitally online. It is another value add this game offers. There is also an RTF version of the book, a printer-friendly/no background version, and maps for the included adventure.

If you love monsters like I do then this is a must-buy.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Twilight Fables
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Twilight Fables OSR Edition
Publisher: Izegrim Creations
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/26/2022 14:10:04

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/09/monstrous-mondays-twilight-fables-5e-osr.html

NOTE: This review covers both the 5e and OSR versions of this book. They are 99% the same content except where noted below.

There is a chill in the air here in Chicago. I have a flannel shirt on and my mood ever shifts more and more to Halloween. A Halloween bestiary would be nice and thankfully Izegrim Creations has just the thing I need.

Twilight Fables

I swear the Kickstarter for this had just ended and I got my DriveThruRPG notification that the hardcovers were available.

So for this I Monstrous Monday, I want to talk about both the 5e and OSR versions of this book, the Print on Demand and PDF versions, plus all the other material that makes up this line.

Overview

Both books are huge volumes at 336 pages (5e) and 326 pages (OSR) each. The covers are full color as is all the interior art. And the art is fantastic.
Both books have a solid 5e aesthetic to them; colorful art and backgrounds, text describing the creature and its place in the environment/land/myths, and followed by a stat block.

The 5e book features a standard-looking 5e stat block, the OSR one is largely a modified Basic-era stat block. It includes everything you would expect along with descending and ascending AC, an entry for THAC0, and XP. The art for both books is the same. There is a good reason for this, the OSR version was added on a little bit later in the Kickstarter. The 5e version, with art, was done before the kickstart began (minus some edits I am told) so adding on the OSR version was a matter of adding the new stat blocks. One nitpick there are listings for "DCs" in the OSR version for magic item creation (more on that later). I would have preferred something that felt a little more pre-2000.

Now in most situations, I would fear translation errors, but the author Roderic Waibel had already developed that very successful Chromatic Dungeons RPG (reviewed here) which is solid OSR. So I know he knows OSR. My only gripe is kinda wanted the OSR stat blocks to look as nice as the 5e ones! But that is only a gripe for people that own both.

Like many of Waibel's publications we get nice sidebar discussions from the intelligent and rather civilized Gnoll "Fleabag." It is a very nice touch (I have done something similar with my 'From the Journal of Larina Nix') and it gives these (and his other books) character.

Regardless of which one you get (get both!) you are in for a treat.

I grabbed both and will be using the OSR version in my Old-School Essentials game. My oldest grabbed the 5e version and is using it in his weekly 5e game. So far he says it is great and he loves all the different sorts of monsters it offers.

The Fables

The name of the book is Twilight Fables. So you can expect that these are monsters from various myths, legends, and tales. And you would be 100% correct. Waibel has done his reading and there are a lot of great creatures here. Even ones that might be familiar get new life and feel "new."

For example, I mentioned in the past one of my favorites, the Basajaun who appears in three different monster books. Each one is a little different and yet each one 'feels' right. Perfect for DMs that want a familiar, yet different creature.

The creatures largely come from the myths, legends, and folklore of Europe. This is also what is advertised and leads to the logical assumption of Twilight Fables of other lands for future volumes. One for Africa, one for Asia, one for the Americas, all are possible.

In addition to the monsters, there are various legendary NPCs like Baba Yaga, Beowulf, Cailleach Beira, Cú Chulainn, Guy of Warwick, King Arthur, Little Red Riding Hood, Merlin, Morgan Le Fay, Robin Hood, Scáthach, Queen Úna of Faerie, and Väinämöinen. So yeah. Lots.

There is a section on Mythological Treasures and Magic items. This includes some rules on how to make magic items as well. It is a very nice value add. You saw this sort of thing with the old Mayfair "Fantastic Treasures" and something you see Troll Lord Games do with their Monster and Treasure books.

Both books also have rules for new character species (wanna play a Pech? You can!) and for 5e there are class options such as Warlock patrons and cleric domains.

There is even a small adventure (20 pages) to introduce these new monsters.

The Monsters

All that is gravy. The real meat here are the monsters.

In both cases, the monsters take up full pages. This includes the background and descriptions, the stat blocks, and whatever else is involved with this particular creature such as "Lore & Rumors", any special treasures, habitat, behaviors, and more. In some cases, the material bleeds over to another entry, but not so much as to be an issue.

There are, by my count, nearly 220 monsters here ranging in HD from 1-1 to 30+ (OSR) and CR 1/8 to 30 (5e). So plenty of creatures to challenge any level of characters.

I have to say these are great books and well worth grabbing for your games, 5e or OSR, or both. There is a lot of material here and plenty to keep many groups engaged for some time.

Extras

When you get the digital copy from DriveThruRPG you also get a bunch of tokens that can be printed and used in f2f table games or digitally online. It is another value add this game offers. There is also an RTF version of the book, a printer-friendly/no background version, and maps for the included adventure.

If you love monsters like I do then this is a must-buy.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Twilight Fables OSR Edition
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Runewild Preview 1: Missus Switch, Swine Witch
Publisher: Sneak Attack Press
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/26/2022 08:52:26

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/09/100-days-of-halloween-runewild-preview.html

This preview for the Runewild Setting is worth the time to download.

Runewild Preview 1: Missus Switch, Swine Witch

PDF. 8 pages. Color cover and interior art. Price: Free.

This small 8-page book (1 cover, 1 ad, 1 page of OGL) introduces us to the Ruenwild setting I reviewed last year.

We are given a little bit of background on the Runewild (coming soon to Kickstarter!) and the witches of the Runewild.

We are also introduced to the titular Missus Switch, something known as a "Swine Hag" (yes there are stats) and a small background "Adventure," actually an adventure location. Runewild is a hex crawl-friendly setting for 5e.

For free we get a good introduction to the Runewild and Missus Switch.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Runewild Preview 1: Missus Switch, Swine Witch
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Wickerpunk
Publisher: Crow Land Publishing
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/25/2022 20:23:10

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/09/100-days-of-halloween-wickerpunk.html

Time to move to 5e for something a little more flavorful. One of my favorite themes is the struggle of paganism vs the rise of monotheism. The dark twisted child of this struggle is Folk Horror. This new book looks like covers a little bit of all the above.

Wickerpunk

PDF. 276 pages. Color cover. Black & White (as appropriate) interior art.

First things first. I love this name. I am kicking myself for not coming up with it first.

We get an introduction that, "Wickerpunk is where heroic fantasy and folk horror meet." Interesting premise.

Chapter 1: What is Wickerpunk

Here we learn how a "Wickerpunk" game differs from your normal heroic fantasy. It is not grim-dark, but it is dark. Nature is more dangerous, strange pagan gods still roam the land, and the locals still practice forgotten rites and ceremonies.

The author also lets us know that "wickerpunk" could be called "wyrdpunk" due to horror elements added to the game. This is not quite a gothic horror, but we can see that genre from here. The author is careful to let us know this is not horror and that horror-fiction and wickerpunk are cousins, not siblings. But kissing cousins to be sure.

Like my fascination with Pagans vs. Monotheists, this book covers the Wyld vs. Industry. The extension of this is Arcane vs. Divine magic. Where one is wrong and the other is a gift. My "old-faith vs. new-faith" is even covered later on.

There is a lot here, more than I will detail in this review, but suffice to say there is a lot of great ideas here on setting up your games.

Just under 25 pages I am now wanting to rip out the roots of my "War of the Witch Queens" campaign to add more of these ideas.

Chapter 2: Campaign Elements

This chapter details how a wickerpunk campaign affects your rules. up first is alignment. Law and Chaos are replaced by Industry and Wyld. Good and evil are replaced by Benevolence and Malice. Again...I want to use this instead of what I am using now.

Planes of existence have little use here since all that matters is the struggle of Industry and Wyld in the world of humans.

This chapter also covers various time periods from Stone Age to Victorian. And adventures from Mysteries, Treasure Seeking, and exploration among the eight presented.

There are some encounter tables which include types, places and motivations.

Chapter 3: Players and Characters

This chapter covers the 5e base classes and how they are altered in a wickerpunk game; both in terms of Wyld and Industry. These changes are not really mechanical, but rather thematic. They also include player hooks, example adventures, enemy hooks and NPC hooks. Throughout the book, inspirational reading or viewing is presented in a sidebar.

The same is done for the main PC species.

Chapter 4: Monsters

This chapter takes the types of monsters and discusses how they can be used in a wickerpunk game. There are more details on fey, fiends and undead as expected, but nearly every type of monster is considered. It is very flavorful. There is not much or anything in the way of "crunch" or game mechanics, but honestly, it is not needed here since the material is so good. It reminds me a bit of the old Ravenloft materials.

Chapter 5: Enemy Organisations

What is "The Wicker Man" without Lord Summerisle and his cult? Or "Children of the Corn" without the children? Not much really. This chapter covers the various organizations, or Cults and Cult Hunters. The PCs find themselves between the Wyld Cults (and Gods) and the Industry Inquisition.

Yes, this chapter also includes ideas for witches (even though 5e does not have a real witch class).

Chapter 6: Magic and Technology

The tools of the Wyld and Industry. There are some new ideas for magic items and spells, but only one spell is presented, "The Evil Eye."

Chapter 7: Sample Campaigns

There is a sample campaign here, the Island of Eye. Which looks a lot like England. Detailed here are what the humans and the older inhabitants of the land are doing. Plenty of locations and adventure hooks are detailed here. As well as plenty of interesting NPCs

Chapter 8: Appendix N

A nod to the famous Appendix N in the 1st Ed AD&D DMG. This covers various campaign periods. Each section includes movies, novels, television, comics, and video games. With commentary.

--

There is very, very little game-specific information here. If you are looking for mechanics or "crunch" then you are likely to be disappointed. But if you are looking for something more thematic or "fluff" then this is fantastic.

This is also this book's greatest unadvertised strength. It can be used with any version of D&D you like. While reading I kept thinking about how can I use this with say Old-School Essentials or even B/X D&D and the answer is "Easy." In fact one of the few actual bits of game material, the Evil Eye spell, is something I did years ago in my first witch book. But even then the conversion is super simple.

There are a lot of things I can use here for my War of the Witch Queens campaign, but I would also suspect that any D&D 5e DM could use these ideas for their Ravenloft or the Wild Beyond the Witchlight campaigns.

In any case, there is so much here to love.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wickerpunk
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Stranger Stuff: Teenage Witchcraft (TinyD6)
Publisher: Gallant Knight Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/23/2022 09:19:40

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/09/100-days-of-halloween-stranger-stuff.html

Stranger Stuff and Teenage Witchcraft (TinyD6)

Tonight's game uses the Tiny D6 game system and is a supplement for Fat Goblin Games' Stranger Stuff game. Stranger Stuff is described as "80's Inspired Adventure, Horror, and Science Fiction." I think it is pretty easy to tell where this inspiration is from and frankly, that is good enough for me.

I love how the book cover aims for an old-school writing journal look for the core RPG and a "Sweet Valley High" look to the Teenage Witchcraft book. Really nice.

Teenage Witchcraft

PDF. 44 pages. Full-color cover and black & white interior art with accents of red.

This book takes the basics of the Stranger Stuff game and adds in the ability to become a witch and cast spells. So if you are thinking the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina or The Craft, but in the 80s, then you have the right idea here.

Most of the rules involve the casting of spells, as appropriate, There is an example walk-through with two spells and many examples are given, but the fun, of course, is making your own spells. OR as in the case with The Craft or Charmed, finding the right mix of witches to work with.

The two combined look like a ton of fun and since the rules are easy, something you could pick up and do in an afternoon.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stranger Stuff: Teenage Witchcraft (TinyD6)
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Stranger Stuff (TinyD6)
Publisher: Gallant Knight Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/23/2022 09:19:36

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/09/100-days-of-halloween-stranger-stuff.html

Stranger Stuff and Teenage Witchcraft (TinyD6)

Tonight's game uses the Tiny D6 game system and is a supplement for Fat Goblin Games' Stranger Stuff game. Stranger Stuff is described as "80's Inspired Adventure, Horror, and Science Fiction." I think it is pretty easy to tell where this inspiration is from and frankly, that is good enough for me.

I love how the book cover aims for an old-school writing journal look for the core RPG and a "Sweet Valley High" look to the Teenage Witchcraft book. Really nice.

Stranger Stuff

PDF. 124 pages. Color covers and interior art; sort of. It is black & white with accents of red.

Both books use a similar notebook-style art as their background watermark. So these books look like they were written in a notebook.

Stranger Stuff is a Tiny D6 game, based on the Tiny D6 engine released by Gallantknight Games. IT is also based on Fat Goblin's own vs. Stranger Stuff game.

Essentially you are playing a kid in the 1980s in a small town where things are, well, strange. There is a list of movies to watch to get the proper feel for this time, but I honestly feel that most of my readers have seen them.

Character creation is simple. Come up with a concept, give them some traits, and disadvantages and you are set to go! There are only two stats, Toughness and Stress.

The system is based on the venerable D6 system, but stripped way down.

The book is rich in background and has plenty of details about playing in this odd world during the year 1984.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stranger Stuff (TinyD6)
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Witches & Spellcraft
Publisher: Margaret Krohn
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/22/2022 09:01:38

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/09/100-days-of-halloween-witches-spellcraft.html

Witches & Spellcraft

PDF. 15 Pages. PWYW. Full-color art.

Ok, to start off I have to say I really love the art in this. It is not a lot and it is mostly character art, but since characters are the focus of this game that is 100% fine with me. And the art is good. You can see the cover and those might be my least favorite, but I still like them a lot.

The game is designed for one Head Witch and four other witches, but that number is variable. You fill out your school sheet and witch sheet as a group. The Head Witch then helps guide the story along as a game master/GMPC.

Rolls are simple, largely a 2d8 plus or minus various modifiers. Rolls of 10 or greater are a success and you can get even better success with higher rolls. There are also failures.

The game covers spell creation and there are worksheets for your witch and school.

I think it is lacking a good example of play BUT I also see how such an example could also be limiting to new players. They might end up just following the example.

While you could use this game to say make your own school of witchcraft in the Scottish Highlands, it feels better suited to properties like Sabrina or the Magicians or even something like the mobile game Switchcraft or a new take on The Craft.

There is an actual play video. It is 4 hours long, but gives you some ideas how the game can be played.

If I were the developers here I would do this but break it up into chunks for new players to digest.

In any case, this is another fun game. I am so pleased I found it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Witches & Spellcraft
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Paragon Hags and Occult Covens
Publisher: Zenith Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/21/2022 00:38:30

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/09/100-days-of-halloween-paragon-hags-and.html

More hags and more Pathfinder tonight! Really getting in the mood for some witchy hijinks this Halloween! In Pathfinder (much like AD&D 2nd Ed) there is a deeper connection between hags and witches. I have looked at a few products here that explore that. This one looks promising as well.

Paragon Hags and Occult Covens

PDF. 28 pages. Color cover. Black & White interior art. 1 cover, table of contents, 1 OGL page, rest content.

We start off with some history and the in game assumption that all hags are the daughters of hags and mortal men. These offspring are known as changelings, and will eventually become hags once they reach 15 years of age.

We get a new race, Hag, for player characters, and a new class, the Paragon Hag.

Paragon Hags get a number of powers above and beyond that of just what the Hag race gets. Among these is the ability to cast Witch spells up to the 6th level.

Different Hag families are detailed. Many of these are familiar. They are the Annis, Blood, Bone, Green, Hearth, Moon, Night, Sea, Storm, and Winter.

We get new archetypes to go along with the new class. There is the Cauldron Hag, Coven Mother, Focused Hag, and Mother of Steel. So by choosing different archetypes and different hag families you can get a wide variety of hag types.

New races and new classes mean new feats, and we have them here. Pretty good mix really. Mostly "Coven" feats, which could be used by witches as well.

There are new Rituals and new Spells.

Finally, we get monster stats for the Bone Hag, Hearth Hag, and another take on the Moon Hag.

I have to admit I rather like it all and will add to my growing pile of Pathfinder material to use.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Paragon Hags and Occult Covens
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Elements of Magic - Mythic Earth
Publisher: EN Publishing
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/20/2022 13:20:55

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/09/100-days-of-halloween-elements-of-magic.html

Going back a bit when the D&D 3.5 edition of the game was all the rage and ENWorld began publishing material under the OGL and d20 STL. This one covers the mythic magic of our World.

Elements of Magic - Mythic Earth

PDF in a zip file. 58 pages. Front and back cover supplied as separate JPG files.

You can tell this is the early days of PDF publishing. The publisher provides a README file to explain how use the layers to make a print-friendly PDF. Vey nice I have to say. Very polite.

This book largely assumes that you will be using this in a modern d20 game where magic is real. There is an appendix in the back about using it with "Fantasy d20" coughD&D3.5cough.

Preface

A one-page overview of what this book is and how it is updated from it's predecessors (other Elements of Magic books).

Chapter One: Myths

This chapter is the foundation layer for playing a "mythic" game. This covers what sorts of myths you to use or create for your game. The default is a modern high fantasy. We get some very basic examples of how myths work in the world. Such as the abduction of Persephone causing the seasons to a basic overview of A Hero with a Thousand Faces monomyth.

Honestly, there could have been a lot more here.

Chapter Two: Spellcasting and Magical Traditions

This covers the spell-casting basics. This includes "regular" spell casting and ritual magic. Magic is largely a skill-based system. Because of this any class can cast spells but some are going to be better trained than others. There are new backgrounds, new skills, and of course lots of new feats. Feats are the primary vehicle to differentiate the various magical styles. It works much better than it would seem or even to anyone that is "feat exhausted."

In truth, the feat system is really rather perfect for this, or maybe, this book's conceptualization of these different mythic traditions is well suited for feats. In other games, these would be all different classes or sub-classes. Here it is entirely possible to build an arcane dabbler that knows a little runic magic, some voodoo. Your dabbler will never be an expert in anything due to the limited number of feats you can take, but that is also true in real life. They are also designed to provide some interesting playability if you do take more than one Tradition feat.

Examples of some magic items and a ritual spell are also given.

Chapter Three: The Magic of High Fantasy

This is our campaign world; magical modern Earth. They make a distinction between our Earth, "Terra" and the magical Earth, "Gaia." It is not a particularly new idea, but it is well executed here and that is the important part. Detailed within are various organizations that exist on Gaia that are related to magic. There is the governmental "Bureau" that act as the law enforcement in the magical world and "The Knights of the Round" that enforce the treaties with the Fey. There is room for many more.

We are also given The Mage, an Advanced Class for d20 Modern. This rounded off with some NPC Mages.

Chapter Four: Spells

Spells here are applications of magical skills. The ten skills are Attack, Charm, Create, Cure, Defend, Divine, Illusion, Move, Summon, Summon, and Transform. Each skill must be trained. So it is easy to see you can have generalists in all skills and experts in just a few. Each skill has a number of spells associated with it. You can design spells as needed with whatever enhancements seem to work the best. Each enhancement requires a skill rank. So four enhancements mean four additional skill ranks.

The system takes a little bit to learn but is easily adaptable and usable in play.

Appendix

This covers converting the Mage advanced class to a Base class for use in Fantasy d20 worlds.

It is obvious to me that this was someone's favorite campaign model for a while. There are a lot of really great ideas here and few I'd like to try out. Reading it now I am taken by how much of this could be ported over to True20 or even a modern OSR game.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Elements of Magic - Mythic Earth
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Blood and Broomsticks - Sorcerers & Witches (PFRPG)
Publisher: d20pfsrd Publishing
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/20/2022 13:17:19

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/09/100-days-of-halloween-blood-and.html

Getting back to some Pathfinder tonight. There is just so much great material for this game I feel I am barely scratching the surface. One thing is certain though. Morpheus is the witchiest of all the fonts.

Blood and Broomsticks - Sorcerers & Witches

PDF. 41 pages. Front and back covers. Credits (including art credits). Compatibility and References. Table of Contents. 1 ad. 2 pages of OGL. About 30 pages of content, minus various bits of art. Full-color covers and interior art.

This book gives us one sorcerer bloodline and two witch archetypes.

We open with a word about magic and spells and how Sorcerer magic differs from Witch magic. There is a bit on what are some of the best spells for both classes to take.

New Sorcerer Bloodline: The Altered. This is the offspring of a witch whose patron altered them in the womb. An interesting concept and one I have also played around with myself. These sorcerers get access to the Patron's spells as their own bonus spells. They also gain access to a handful of Hexes. Not as many as the witch of course, but enough to keep the class interesting.

New Witch Patrons: These are also related. The Blood Patron and the Family Patron are the direct extensions of the offspring of witches. Others include Greed, Kinetics, Metal, Pyre, and Sunlight.

New Witch Archetypes: The Ink witch is a tattoo witch and various powers linked to markings. The Pyre witch is all about fires and flames.

There are 14 new hexes (of all levels) and five new magic items.

There are also 13 new spells. All can be used by the witch, and most can be used by sorcerers.

I like how the book looks and the game material also looks pretty solid and fun. Certainly something I would use in my games.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Blood and Broomsticks - Sorcerers & Witches (PFRPG)
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Love Witch
Publisher: NUELOW Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/20/2022 13:14:58

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/09/100-days-of-halloween-love-witch.html

Something a little different tonight. NUELOW Games has given us a lot of off-beat supplements for d20; many using old comics that have fallen into the public domain. It is a good idea really, some of these older comics are actually good and some are kinda creepy and many lend themselves well to all sorts of games. That is what we have tonight. Though I will admit I am not 100% sure if the comic used IS public domain OR if it is one they licensed for this use. The copyright notice seems to indicate that Marv "Teen Titans" Wolfman still owns and it is used with his permission.

Love Witch

PDF. 56 pages. Color Cover. Black & White interior art.

Not to be confused with the similar-sounding movie out the same year.

This product is split into four major parts. Parts 1 to 3 are the comics about the "Love Witch" and Part 4 is the OGL d20 rules to use some of the magic.

Burnick is our titular Love Witch. The first comic introduces us to this beautiful but evil witch. The next two deal with her various battles, with the last one dealing with her battle with her arch enemies the Druids.

The Game related sections start on page 36 and deal with the fall of Atlantis and the migrations of the Atlanteans. The magic of Atlantis, at least in terms of the d20 rules are a bunch of different feats that can be taken to provide magical effects. Not a bad method and it certainly feels different.

In the modern eras, we get two groups that continue the Love Witches fight. The Daughters of Burnick continue in the steps of the Love Witch and the Watchers of the Stones who are the modern-day Druids.

It's fun and I could easily see a "Daughters of Burnick" coven that I could use with my own witch books or even better with the Hyperborea RPG.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Love Witch
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The Pantheon and Pagan Faiths
Publisher: Samurai Sheepdog
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/20/2022 13:13:48

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/09/100-days-of-halloween-pantheon-and.html

Tonight I am doing my third Samurai Sheepdog product, but this was not planned out that way. Also, this is another former Mystic Eye Games product that Samurai Sheepdog has brought back. It is also one of my favorite books from the early d20 days.

The Pantheon and Pagan Faiths

PDF. 208 pages. Color cover. Black & White interior art.

Released originally in 2003 by Mystic Eye Games this was part of their campaign "Hunt the Rise of Evil" for their World of Gothos world. I remember at the time thinking it was a touch cliché but still fun and it kept my attention. This was my favorite book in all their publications to that point.

Samurai Sheepdog is, as far as I can tell, the same people that made up Mystic Eye Games. So this is not a case of a new publisher buying the right to old stock, it is a new publisher re-organized from the remains of the old. Does this mean we could get more "Hunt the Rise of Evil" products? Maybe! But until then let's discuss this older product.

The obvious spiritual parent of this book is AD&D 2nd edition Faiths & Avatars book. Right up the art of the various priests, shamans, and witches of the various faiths in a lineup. I will not lie, it did appeal to me and help me know right away what this book was about.

While this book is overtly for the Hunt the Rise of Evil campaign and the World of Gothos I used it rather nicely with my D&D 3.x games where I feel added materials from a lot of different d20 publishers. It is "labeled" but also flexible.

This is also a good-sized book at 208 page and 10 Chapters.

Introduction

This covers what this book is and how to use it.

Chapter 1: Piety and Conversion

This covers the rules of dealing with the various gods and how they can grant favor. This is where we get to see our lineup of clerics. Additionally, there are rules for conversions. So if you are playing clerics in a d20/D&D 3.x game then this a great source of information.

Chapter 2: Core Divine Character Classes

Covers the expected classes like Clerics, Druids, Paladins, and Rangers. We also get Shamans and Witches/Warlocks. Both classes are well-detailed. These witches are, naturally, divine spellcasters not arcane. The witch can also choose to be a White Witch or a Black Witch which is also called a Warlock. Witches are even further divided into covens associated with a different god of faith. The covens are actually very interesting and kept me coming back to this book. They are also fairly tied to this world and these gods.

Chapter 3: Prestige Classes

I will not lie. I do like Prestige Classes. I like the idea of being able to further differentiate your character later inplay. I do wish that 5e had prestige classes not tied to their base classes so much.

These Prestige Classes are tied to this world but it looks a little easier to detangle them given the way Prestige Classes were most often constructed at the time. Here we have the Beast Friend, Covenant to the Hunt, Furies of Destruction, Hammers of Justice, Inquisitor of Justice, Ovate Bards (one of my favorites here), Slaughter Priest, Sorcerer Priest of Vlag, Strictor, and The Taken. I did not try many of these but I did try the Ovate Bard and thought it was really great.

Chapter 4: Feats

There are some interesting feats tied with faith, birth, and how people can approach the divine. It takes a game mechanic and weaves it back into the structure of the world. I rather like it to be honest. But, let's be honest, there are a lot of feats here. Maybe more than we really need.

Chapter 5: Spells in Gothos

Ok. You know I love my magic and this chapter does not disappoint. We get new cleric domains and new witch and shaman spells. Nearly 40 pages worth. There are new spells as expected for Bards, Clerics, Druids, Paladins, and Rangers. There are even some new one for Sorcerers/Wizards.

Chapter 6: Saints and Sainthood

Now, this is an interesting chapter. Back in my starting days of D&D Basic I played a Cleric. We decided that this cleric would later be a Saint of those who fight undead and demons in my AD&D world. (Interestingly enough that same said cleric is a Patron Saint in the Duchy of Valnwall now.) This chapter lists a numbers of saints and the benefit to having a patron saint. There are both good and evil ones here.

I think most gamers of a certain age will agree that the Patron Saint of Adventures is St. Aleena the Brave.

Chapter 7: The Pantheon

This covers the gods, the major clerics, and centers of worship or divine power in the world of Gothos. The gods are wonderfully detailed though like gods should they are tied to their world.

Chapter 8: Outscat Gods

Ah, now here is something not often covered in campaign books. (well. the Forgotten Realms does a good job here too). This covers all the gods that have fallen, been kicked out, or have left the main pantheons including our cover boy Chargrond. The gods here also get some special rituals. These gods are all evil.

Chapter 9: Outsider Gods

Like the outcasts, these gods are not part of the main pantheons. Unlike the outcast gods, they never were a part of it to begin with. Their alignments vary. Like the previous two chapters in addition to gods, we get major clerics/worshipers and some rituals.

Chapter 10: Pagan Gods

In modern parlance, these are the "Old Gods" to The Pantheon's "New Gods." These are the gods followed by Druids and Witches. Like the previous three chapters we gets gods, major worshipers including some specialty priests, and rituals.

We end with the OGL and a very nice index.

This book packs a lot into its 200+ pages and for less than the price of a Grande PSL you get a good value. The print option has long been OOP, but sometimes you can still find them on eBay or Noble Knight. I unloaded mine in my D&D 3.x purge. Well. At least I still have the PDF!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Pantheon and Pagan Faiths
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Tarot Magic
Publisher: Samurai Sheepdog
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/20/2022 13:10:18

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/09/100-days-of-halloween-tarot-magic.html

Digging deep tonight with one going all the way back to the d20 days. Everything about it just fills me with early 2000s nostalgia. Is it the lens flare on the logo? Is it the repeated use of the Morpheus font (which I STILL like)? I don't know. But whatever it is this one has been sitting on my hard drive for nearly 15 years or more (20 if you count the softcover I used to have) waiting for me to review it.

Tarot Magic

PDF. 90 pages, color cover, black & white interior art.

This book had been published originally back in 2002-2003 by Mystic Eye Games for the d20 OGL and STL. Yes we are going all the way back to the d20 System Trademark License here.

Now it has been updated in a 2016 re-upload by Samurai Sheepdog. I still have my original PDF on a backup drive so I can compare them. The cover is the same, but a bit brighter and the Samurai Sheepdog logo and website is there. Also, all mention of Mystic Eye Games is gone. The back cover is missing as well. But the PDF is also clearer to read and generally of better quality.

I will note that this book is filed under the D&D 3.5 category, but it is really D&D 3.0. I don't think it makes much practical difference to be honest.

The book is divided into five major sections.

Chapter 1: Tarot Reading in the Game

This cover the basics of card layout and meaning and how they can be used in a game situation. In most cases, the book advises the GM to control what the deck will be saying to fit the narrative/structure of the game. The most value here are the card meanings, though that information is also widely available elsewhere.

Chapter 2: Tarot Mage Class and Prestige Class

Now, this is fun. Presents the Tarot Mage class that can be used as a regular class or as a prestige class. Honestly, I like the option. I think it works well as a Prestige Class with someone starting as a wizard, sorcerer, witch, or even a thief with some arcane ability. Example NPCs of both a Tarot Mage and a Wizard/Tarot Mage are given.

Chapter 3: Tarot Mage Spells

This is a meaty chapter and kudos for coming up with all these spells. There are 38 pages worth of spells. Not a lot of art means a lot of text.

The spells are all "Arcane" so they are also listed by their school.

Chapter 4: Magic Items

These come in three major types; cards, materials to make cards, and items related to what are on the tarot cards.

Chapter 5: Foul Locales

Ok. This one is odd. Chapters 1 to 4 all proper headers with large fonts. This one starts at the bottom of a column when the magic items end. The only thing connecting it to the book is the fact that members of the family living in this locale are all Tarot Mages.

In any case it is an interesting book and one I tried many times to use back in the 3.x days. It is high on concept but the usability of the core class was limited compared to the Wizard/Sorcerer. The prestige class was much more useful.

Still it was rather fun.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tarot Magic
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Prowlers & Paragons Ultimate Edition
Publisher: Mobius Worlds Publishing
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/20/2022 13:06:29

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/09/review-prowlers-paragons-ultimate.html

This one has been sitting in my TBR pile for so long I actually feel kinda bad that I am just now getting to review it. But this is my unofficial superheroes month so but late than never I guess.

Prowlers & Paragons Ultimate Edition

I like supers games. While I might be suffering from a little bit of superhero burnout right now I still enjoy these games. While I have not found the Prefect-for-Me supers game, this one is very, very close.

For this review, I am considering the POD and PDF I got from DriveThruRPG via their 2019 Kickstarter. The book was ready rather quickly I am just really slow on my review.

PDF and Hardcover, 192 pages. Full-color covers and interior art.

This is a supers game so one of the first things I consider is the art. I know, that seems shallow of me, but comics are a visual medium. So are superhero movies and TV shows. The art of P&P is gorgeous. I read through it and wonder where is the comic that should be attached to this game? No comic. But the game still looks great.

Foreword and Introduction

The foreword from Sean Patrick Fannon talks about the game he wanted to create and then discovers that the original P&P from Leonard Pimentel did more or less everything he wanted. This new P&P updates the old with some new ideas from both Pimentel and Fannon.

The Introduction covers the game and various glossary terms to get you going.

Chapter 1: Basics

The game mechanic is very basic and very easy to use. Every trait, ability, power, or what have you has a score. Figure our what you want to do, find the right combination, add those numbers up, minus any negative modifiers, and then roll that number of d6s. "2s" and "4s" are one success, "6s" are two successes. Compare that to the Thresholds table and you will know by how much you succeed, or fail.

Some special d6s would be nice, but that could get cost prohibitive. Keep in mind Fannon's original supers game was called "Handfuls of Dice" so it's good you can use regular d6s here!

Actions, Combat, Resolve, and Adversity are all dealt with in more detail in chapters 3, 4, and 5. But it is great to have here to get an idea on how to create your characters.

Chapter 2: Characters

The heart and soul of any supers game are the super themselves. Here we cover how to create your characters which will include types and power levels. This is a point-buy system so you get so many points depending on your power level and then use those points to buy everything you need.

Abilities are your base abilities like what you can find in most games. Agility, Intellect, Might, Perception, Toughness, and Willpower. Similar to D&D and very similar to Unisystem. 1d (1d6) to 6d represents the human norm. Talents are like skills, but broader. We also have our huge list of Powers. Powers can have Pros and Cons. For example, Ironman and Green Lantern both need to have a power source for their powers. This would be a con. Characters can also have Perks (Wealth for Batman) and Flaws (Compulsion, also for Batman).

The powers seem pretty comprehensive. Very much similar to say Mutants & Masterminds or other supers games.

This is the largest chapter of the book as expected.

Chapter 3: Action

This is the shortest chapter since action rolls are pretty easy to figure out. Again you are rolling a bunch of d6s (determined by abilities, talents, powers, and other modifiers) and counting your successes ("2s" and "4s" are 1, "6s" are 2). Compare that number to the Thresholds chart. You can also embellish your actions.

Chapter 4: Combat

Combat is largely a specific type of action, but since fighting bad guys is so central to many supers games and the variety of ways to engage in combat, this one is a bit larger and on its own.

Chapter 5: Resolve and Adversity

It is not the powers that make heroes the heroes, but their ability to do what is right and fight on. This is Resolve. Resolve allows the heroes to push through the tough times, to help their allies, to be able to "do this all day." It is a bit like the Drama Point system in Unisystem (Buffy, Ghosts of Albion). You can save it for the right moment for the best heroic action. Adversity is what challenges them.

Chapter 6: Equipment

Utility belts, flight suits, fast cars, even swords, bats (baseball, not the flying kinds), and your base of operations are all covered here.

Chapter 7: Environment

Street-level supers might be limited to the mean streets, but a supers game can take you anywhere and the players need to know how to handle these situations.

Chapter 8: Friends and Foes

I always love these chapters in Supers games. We get a variety of heroes and villains to help populate our worlds. Often they are the authors' homages to the heroes and stories they love, but also to fill certain niches. This chapter starts out with the basics; animals, extras (NPCs), and then we move onto the main heroes. There are variations of some classics here; your speedster, your blaster, you martial arts expert, the super soldier, and so on. If you have read a comic...well...ever then you should know what to expect here. I can almost judge a game by how many of these heroes I'd like to use. So far this game is doing great since all of them seem interesting me. These are followed by the Foes. They are also very interesting. Sure in both cases (heroes and foes) are built on very, very familiar archetypes, but that is also why they work.

Chapter 9: Superhero Gaming

This last chapter covers running your Prowlers & Paragons games including creating villain and their motivations. Also creating scenes, stories, and series.

This is followed by a character sheet, a list of Kickstarter backers, and a good index.

Honestly, this is really a great supers game. It is a little less on the complexity scale than say Mutants & Masterminds, but more so than say Icons.

while the notion of rolling say 20+ d6s can be daunting for really powerful characters, the fact that you are just looking for success makes it go really fast. Plus dropping a handful of dice for an attack? Yeah, there is sublime satisfaction in that as well.

There is also a free Quickstart and free Character Sheets.

Character creation is pretty fast and very fun. I am going to have to come back to this game for some more!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Prowlers & Paragons Ultimate Edition
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SURVIVE THIS!! Vigilante City - Into The Sewers!
Publisher: Bloat Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/19/2022 08:30:17

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/09/review-vigilante-city-4-into-sewers.html

Vigilante City - Into The Sewers!

PDF and softcover book. 224 pages. Color cover, black & white interior art. For the purposes of this review, I am considering the PDF from DriveThruRPG and the soft-cover books I picked up from Bloat Games' own store.

Here we see Bloat Games' TMNT love on full display. And it works well here. I am sure other supers RPGs have tried this before, but I can't think of any that do this so explicitly.

If Book #2 gave us an overview of Victory City above ground then this book covers the sewers and underground. Sadly the sewers are full of radiation, mutants and eve worse dangers.

We go through the sections and neighborhoods of Victory City and discuss what is going on underneath. General features as well special ones such as Shayana's Bazaar. Great for all your underground (literal and figurative) needs.

It would not be a SURVIVE THIS!! game without plenty of random tables and this one does not disappoint. 100 things you can encounter in the sewers. There are plenty of new creatures too and they are detailed in this book. Yes. There are alligators and vampires in these sewers.

There are two new introductory adventures, "Into the Sewers, We Go!" and "We're In a Pickle Here" to get the PCs out of the relative comfort of the above world down to where the action is.

Given all of the new focus on mutants, there is also an updated Mutant Class with more abilities to replace or augment the one in the Core Book. Just reading through them I can't see any reason why you could not use both if you wanted. Different strains of mutants. Likewise, there is an updated Anthropomorph class.

We end with some new skill packages which include assassin and sewer rat. In this game, you can have a sewer rat skill pack applied to an actual sewer rat Anthropomorph.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
SURVIVE THIS!! Vigilante City - Into The Sewers!
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