This magazine is 30+ pages of pure, useable content. After a humble introduction from editor Peter C. Spahn, they waste no time before launching into the meat of the product.
We begin with Symac the Subverter, which not only offers up half-a-dozen or so new spells and a new magic item, but also sparks an interest in the evil magic Symac and could easily lead a creative DM/GM into using this article as a springboard to an excellent villian for their own old school campaign.
Next we get a trio of original monsters. Titled "Dirty Secrets of the Mage's Guild," author Tom King presents a what-if scenario in addition to his original creations. Again, advenutre ideas abound in this article.
The Sunland Society presents a collection of halfling NPCs that, while designed for use with the Chronicles of Amherth setting, can be used in almost any old school fantasy setting with little to no modification. The great thing about these NPCs (other than that they're halflings) is the fact that while they are generally heroic in nature, they're presented as three dimensional character with depth and flaw.
Next we get a single-page article by Christopher Koscluk that offers five new magical items. These are quick, cleanly written and original. They are nice twists on some classic tropes. I'm especially fond of the x-foot pole.
Now we get to my favorite article in BtL: Animal Retainers. Editor Peter C. Spahn wrote this article, and he did a fantasic job. He offers up a simple system to add some real meat to animal companions. With his matieral dogs and other animal companions go from becoming "four-legged meat shields" to NPCs of real importance and influence. And while the animal retainers do give their masters some extra advantages, it's not enough to unbalance a party.
A well character sheet is presented on pages 19-20 that would feel like filler to pad the magazine, but the layout and art design of the sheet are so well done that you can't help but want to use this sheet. It's probably the best sheet I've seen for Labyrinth Lord yet.
You want to talk about creative? Well, Neko-ku U's "Better than Starving" article presents options for what a character strapped for food can do if they're reduced to eating the (partially) edible gear they own. This single page article could add real grit to an old school game.
Dyson Logos's short adventure "Screams from Jedder's Hole" is a traditionally styled dungeon crawl with some twists. The real strength of the module, to this reader, was his section on getting the players involved and the background of the module. This didn't feel like some dungeon plopped down - it had history and a sesne of existing outside the events of the player characters. Great for a night of gaming if you're a procrastinating DM like me.
Finally we have the beginnings of a two-part review of the free one-sheet module "The Burial Mound of Esur the Red." The adventure was wrirten by Dyson Logos, and the review is by Peter C. Spahn. The adventure is free to download (links in the review). This felt less like a review and more like a DM/GM retelling his experiences while running without addressing the strengths or weaknesses of the source material. Being that Burial Mound of Esur the Red is also free, I felt like a review was unnecessary. As a free product, it's not like other GM/DMs are going to lose anything if they download it and don't particularly enjoy it.
BTL closes with submission guidelines and some advertisements for various old-school gaming publishers.
Over all, I absolutely loved BtL and hope they continue. The magazine is wall to wall usable content. The art is black and while and fairly minimal, but as a reader I like that. It leaves more room for content. This is a magazine that really needs to get legs. I'm looking very, very forward to the future of Brave the Labyrinth.
[5 of 5 Stars!]