An Endzeitgeist.com review
This book full of Eventures (non-combat-centric little scenarios) clocks in at 42 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page SRD, 1 page isometric overland map of the Gloamhold-region of the Duchies of Ashlar, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, leaving us with 36 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
This review was moved up in my reviewing queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patreon supporters.
Okay, so the first thing you need to know, is that this is NOT a compilation of the Eventures-series so far; instead, this is a series of micro-eventures, 2 pages each; essentially, the book provides a series of roleplaying-heavy interactions, you know, the kind where you just add in players and have a go. The book also has the benefit of a page spread containing all information for an eventure; this means you can just flip open the book, pretty much spontaneously, and have something ready to go.
As for the contextualization, the city of Languard serves as a backdrop, as featured in the City Backdrop-installment and the Languard Locations-series. The city map is provided alongside some basics, but it should be noted that all individual eventures can fit seamlessly into your fantasy metropoles, particularly if these tend to gravitate to the grittier/more realistic side of things.
Okay, that out of the way, what’s the structure provided here? Let’s take a “A Day out at the High Market” as an example: We are introduced to notable folk and other individuals (flavor only, with 5e-default statblock reference included; for PFRPG and PF2, these don’t provide statblocks; in the OSR-version, we have no references to “rogues”, but do mention “thief” instead; for purists, it should be noted that the supplement favors “wizard” over “magic-user”.); the section comes with a brief d20-table for stall-generation, 6 notable things to sell, 6 complications, and 6 whispers and rumors. The eventure also provides some advice for integrating the eventure into a campaign and running it. The book includes two such market-based eventures, and one that focuses on dining at a rather fancy establishment (on a sailing ship, with delicious menu noted), 3 different taverns/bars to drink the days/nights away…and more.
The book manages to present selling loot at a bitter social climber’s establishment, or shopping at essentially an adventurer’s shop, an experience worth talking about, and provides more: Visiting the Dreaming Spire (think academy/research hub), talking to the notorious family who ships adventurers to the mega-dungeon of Gloamhold, and visits to 4 radically distinct types of religious buildings are included as well.
Now, as for the systems this is available for: The book, as a whole, is pretty much ALMOST system neutral: Prices are adjusted accordingly, and the general lore section on Languard features some basic DCs, and there is one instance where the respective system’s Perception check is required, but that’s pretty much it. So yeah, if you are in this for stats, crunch and rules-relevant material, this will come up wanting; the focus here is on roleplaying and providing a somewhat volatile set-up. As a consequence, the eventures herein work best for low levels, as higher level discrepancies in power through spells and magic items cannot be accounted for. Similarly, this does mean that the material herein is not exactly 100% go-play; most GMs should have an idea at least regarding the NPCs the party might interact with.
Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to Raging Swan press’ two-column b/w-standard, and the b/w artworks and cartography provided for the city are nice; the individual establishments and places features herein do not come with maps. The pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for screen-use, and one for being printed—kudos! The pdfs come fully bookmarked for your convenience.
Creighton Broadhurst, with additional design by Steve Hood and Amber Underwood, delivers a genuinely fun and handy book of social encounters/scenarios focusing on those scenes that are usually less glamorous than e.g. dungeon-exploration, but that do add a significant degree of plausibility and a sense of being alive to a setting.
I very much enjoy this supplement in all of its iterations, and would be celebrating it even more, were it not for two very minor complaints: It would have been awesome to get maps (and player/VTT-friendly versions) of the respective places, and it would have been nice to have the respective parts include more rules: You know, unique blessings to be gained in the temples, a statblock here and there…things that contextualize the content in the respective system.
This is me complaining at a high level, though. My final verdict will be 4.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo...if you can tolerate the almost system neutral approach. If that rubs you the wrong way, then this’ll be significantly less captivating.