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The One Ring - Laughter of Dragons

13 December 2018 - 8:05am
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
Rating: 5
If you are after six interlinked adventures set in the Lonely Mountain area which concern the Dwarves of Erebor and the Men of Dale, this is the book you want (you might alsp want the *Erebor* supplement, but it isn't necessary). The adventures can stand alone or you may prefer to make them a plot arc within your campaign, starting in the year 2956. With Smaug dead, there's a new air of hope in the region and this doesn't suit Sauron one little bit, especially with that meddling wizard Gandalf interfering... so he has hatched another plot. These adventures are all about thwarting various aspects of his latest scheme.

We learn of some of the key players behind these schemes and a bit more about the overarching plot... but if you want to run the adventures as stand alone ones, that's perfectly possible too. The party may never see the full picture, but they'll certainly have an influence on affairs nevertheless. There are suggestions of how to weave the adventures into your campaign, particularly if you intend to run all of them... and then we're off!

It all begins with The Silver Needle, where the party gets a chance to thwart some bandits who want to steal a wondrous artefact that's in Dale. But what are those orcs up to? Investigation proves it's a bit more than a simple heist... but it all begins with a traffic accident that throws chance travellers together as they wait for the obstruction to be cleared. Various individuals are introduced to give colour to the scene, and there are suggested topics for conversation that make the scene come to life, and may provide useful information as well. In due course, the party can attempt to seek out a bandit leader called Longo who has been plaguing the area, if they don't decide to do so themselves, someone will ask or even hire them to do so. A journey over inhospitable ground and even a swamp ensues... and so does a good scrap, during which they'll find out who Longo actually is. Back in Dale, things are coming to a head as his heist is concluded successfully and it's up to the party to do something about it!

Next comes Of Hammer and Anvils, where Bain himself needs a hand. It all begins in Dale and indeed most of the action is there although it eventually leads to Erebor. Poor Balin is attacked and the party gets the chance to save him. It appears that there's a concerted effort on his life, because he is attacked again, successfully. There's a conspiracy in progress, and the party can investigate... but every decision has consequences.

In Dungeons Deep throws the party into a potential quarrel between Erebor and Dale. It's all down to some long-lost treasure that's come to light, but it all begins with a missing scholar, who the party are asked to find. This adventure is a good one for making contacts with significant individuals, but there is plenty of combat as well, never fear, even though the final resolution takes place in a formal council meeting in which the party will be expected to participate. Then, in Sleeping Dragons Lie, the party ends up dealing with one that most definitely isn't asleep, but is annoyed and about to wreak destruction on Erebor. The party is commissioned to slay him before he can cause much trouble, however they have rivals in their quest... and there's other odd stuff going on as well. Watch out for the moving stones! There's an excellent climatic battle scene to round this adventure off.

Next, Dark Waters sees the party in Lake-town preparing to enjoy the festival of Dragontide. But the sculptor of a statue of Bard that is to be unveiled has gone missing, and his apprentice asks the party for their help in locating him. There's a lot of investigation, as one might imagine, but the party will findthemselves fighting for their lives as well. Layers upon layers mean that several people will have to answer for their actions - if they survive long enough.

Finally matters come to a head in Shadows in the North. Balin is warning of trouble, but is himself under the influence of malign forces. Danger is everywhere and the party needs to prioritise their response. By the end many personalities (who the party will have met if they played all the adventures) will have revealed their true colours and, hopefully, be brought to an accounting. The hand behind all the plots is revealed and the party has a chance to put paid to the entire plot. This is quite an edge-of-the-seat adventure, everyhting piling up at once and needing to be dealt with.

This is an excellent plot arc, exciting and meaningful and would make a good centre to a campaign, or a fascinating thread running through a campaign, as you see fit. Save the world from Sauron. Again.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Gostor: Nymph (5e)

26 November 2018 - 12:33pm
Publisher: First Ones Entertainment
Rating: 4
Gostor - Nymphs: Minor Goddesses, a new race for D and D 5E, by Jean-Philipe ‘JP’ Chapleau provides exactly what it promises, the race of nymphs, nature spirits or the most minor of goddess, inspired by Greek Mythology in a playable form.

A short background of the place of nymphs is followed by the types of nymphs. A few paragraphs on using nymphs and four paragraph length adventure seeds

Nymphs, as presented here, have three playable subtypes: underworld, forest and waterway, while wild nymph and hags are noted for story reasons, and sky nymphs appear as monsters. They seem balanced though all, naturally, have some magical abilities.They are supported by two backgrounds, whose features need clearer definition of how they should be used, and one new feat, which really seems more aimed at NPC nymphs as it makes the character an ally of hags.

Two new "monsters" round out the product, sky nymphs (which oddly, cannot fly) and wild nymphs, both which have a very minimal descriptions outside their statblocks.

While this product achieves its aims, there is so much more it could have done. It only allows for female nymphs, for example, while males would have another name there is no reason for nature spirits to be confined to one sex. Some tables for suggested characteristics to go with the backgrounds and a magic item or two would have really solidified the usefulness of this product. As it is, it seems of more use to a DM than players, but even then it would have been nice to have had more support material.

3.5 rounded up to 4.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/
Categories: Game Theory & Design

AOE and Range Templates

25 November 2018 - 7:49pm
Publisher: Patrick Mitchell Johnston
Rating: 4
A nice-looking set of effect templates for tabletop RPGs. The templates print up nicely and are colorful, and a few paper size options are available. My only gripe is that some of the templates, like the 30' radius and 60' cone, are only available to print in the wide sized file, when both could have fit onto pages in the letter sized file. Overall a very good product for the price.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

5e Spell Scroll Cards

25 November 2018 - 11:26am
Publisher: Patrick Mitchell Johnston
Rating: 4
A solid set of spell scroll cards for D and D 5e with no frills and several printing options. They print up clear and easy to read. Each card is presented on a separate page, allowing you to print only the ones you need (using the multiple page feature on your printer). General rules for scrolls are presented on one side of each card, with the rules for the spell on the other. Overall a very solid and useful product.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

5e Magical Item Cards

25 November 2018 - 7:09am
Publisher: Patrick Mitchell Johnston
Rating: 4
A solid set of magic item cards for D and D 5e with no frills and several printing options. They print up clear and easy to read. Each card is presented on a separate page, allowing you to print only the ones you need (use the multiple page feature on your printer). Overall a very solid and useful product.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Large Monster Block Card Form

25 November 2018 - 6:54am
Publisher: Patrick Mitchell Johnston
Rating: 4
A solid set of monster cards for D and D 5e with no frills and several printing options. They print up clear and easy to read. Each card is presented on a separate page, allowing you to print only the ones you need. Overall a very solid and useful product.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Small Monster Block Cards

25 November 2018 - 6:50am
Publisher: Patrick Mitchell Johnston
Rating: 4
A solid set of monster cards for D and D 5e with no frills and several printing options. They print up clear and easy to read. Each card is presented on a separate page, allowing you to print only the ones you need. Overall a very solid and useful product.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

20 Things #31: Blue Dragon's Lair (System Neutral Edition)

20 November 2018 - 2:17am
Publisher: Raging Swan Press
Rating: 5
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the #20 Things-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!


On the first page, we get 8 names for male and female blue dragons, as well as a table of 12 blue dragon lair features – from fine shifting sands covering deep drift to rippled dunes blocking passage, the entries here present some rather cool details that can add genuine depth to the exploration: Sinkholes, veritable scorpion swarms and yes, even a pool that is fed by underground springs make for plausible and cool features to add to the lairs of the masters of deserts.


Beyond these features, which can have a more pronounced impact on lair exploration, we also get 12 entries of dressing that are more cosmetic: Vanquished gnoll raiders, mangled shields that tell, by their presence of the failures of those that came before, faded words pronouncing doom – if you need to add a bit of character to a complex, there you go. Speaking of which: There also is a table that lets you cosmetically customize your dragons: Vivid scars of malformed scales, horns missing their top, wings pierced by holes and curved fangs – these tell the tales of previous altercations and could well result in monikers for the respective draconic foe.


A further 8-entry table on the next page expands on that, providing suggestions for what the dragon may be doing: You could witness a dragon rolling on its back, scratching an itch, finishing a snack of camel plus rider, or, if you’re lucky, it may be out there, hunting…for now. A table of 12 entries may be found on the same page, providing a plethora of sights and sounds that may be encountered. The least perceptive PC may be stricken by a kind of paranoia, and the floor may be crossed by cracks, from which steam emerges. Thunderous roars echo, and the heavy stench of ozone seems to emanate from the floor.


Of course, you do brave a dragon’s lair due to their fabled treasures, right? Well, no less than 20 different trinkets and 8 additional worn trinkets may be found, including ourouboros-like rings, a silk rope interwoven with silver as a kind of necklace – great means of showing, not telling, how vain dragons can be. Oh, and smart PCs may well find a map to Gloamhold here – nice little easter-egg/cross-reference there.


The final page, then, would be devoted to hoard dressing – from the splintered remains of whole wagons to ornately-carved statues of half-nude warriors buried half in sand to packages filled with sawdust containing chandeliers, this section provides quite a lot of evocative entries.


Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to an elegant, minimalist 2-column b/w-standard, and the pdf sports a couple of really nice b/w-artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, and the pdf comes in two different versions, one of which is optimized for screen-use, and one is optimized for printing it out.


Creighton Broadhurst’s dressing for blue dragon lairs is a great little file: The entries do feel like they have a strong blue dragon theme going and don’t fall into the trap of being generic dragon dressing. The lair features in particular made me smile more than once, and as a whole, this supplement provides a great, well-written array of entries that can enhance the experience here. A minor complaint could be fielded in that the electricity/lightning-angle of blue dragons could have featured a bit more prominently. Lightning bolts can create glass (look that up if you haven’t seen the like!), so that could have also featured and added some surreal, majestic shapes and forms…but that may be me. As a whole, this is certainly worth the low asking price. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Rogue's Run

6 November 2018 - 2:16am
Publisher: Gamer Printshop
Rating: 3
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This module, billed as an extended one-shot (or two-shot) clocks in at 70 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page blank, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 65 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 patreons.


All righty, first things first: If you’re looking for a one-shot for 7th level, this module can easily be condensed to be a smaller module, should you choose to do that; it’s also important to note that about ½ the page-count of this pdf deals with supplemental material. This may sound like much, but in this case, it generally should e considered to be a plus, as it does offer depth if you choose to dive a bit deeper – at least in theory.


The module does sport well-written read-aloud text for your convenience.


All righty, this being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. I will denote the end of the SPOILER-section further below, as the supplement does contain a ton of supplemental materials we should discuss. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.



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All right, only GMs around? Great! The pdf assumes that the PCs are trader-smugglers/for hire with their own Medium starship (the Jack of Diamonds, as an example for the like, should your PCs have none, is provided with full plans and pictures!), and the basic premise is a pretty simple one: The PCs are to pick up goods and deliver them from frosty Niflheim, a mining planet to Port Carthage, which is a rather notorious pirate haven – somewhat akin to Freeport in space, if you will.


We thus join the PCs as they can explode the icy outpost Hvergelmir (including a fully-mapped inn/tavern, player-friendly, I might add!), and as a plus, their contact gets stats. These are incorrect in a variety of ways, but thankfully, they probably won’t impact the game and should be considered to be optional.


Anyhow, the issue of the smuggling is as follows: Hostilities between the MegaCorps and Port Carthage’s pirates have recently escalated, and a corporate navy has basically created a huge dimensional lock-like effect to prevent Drift access as part of the blockade of Port Carthage. Thus, it’s up to the PCs to engage in some old-school, pre-Drift smuggling via the old smuggler’s route, the eponymous Rogue’s Run. Exiting Drift near the begin of the notorious route will have an Adam 12 sector-police patrol (fully mapped and statted) on the PC’s trail. Two statblocks for the police are provided, and the good news is that they are more precise than those provided in the appendices (more on that later); they do have a couple of glitches and lack plusses for skills, and equipment/damage values for melee attacks. In fact, they don’t seem to have melee weapons. Oddly, all seem to have awards for heroism as per the morale line. They seem to have been built with PC-rules, but regardless of whether you look at them with PC-rules or NPC-rules, there are serious glitches here. If correct statblocks matter for you, then this will have you grit your teeth. (As written, they, as level 6 and 8, can be mowed down by PCs without much hassle.) No values are provided to bribe/fool the police.


Now, the first part of the route would be the Hellgate – passing it will take a tool – 1 Hit Point…and on a failed Fort-save after the journey, that loss will be permanent! OUCH! Pretty epic, though: exiting the portal of pulsing flames will have the PCs immediately facing a minefield and a centurion class mine laying vessel – passing the field may rock the vessel, but soon thereafter, the PCs can witness the sight of the Sisters – twin black holes…and, to make matters worse, the minefield#s rocky ride has caused a crate to burst open – and now a crazed assembly ooze is on the loose in the ventilation system! Corralling it into a trap can make for one cool mini-game – and yes, ventilation system maps for the ship are provided! The PCs will also be seen by a star-eater nymph, a ginormous thing that may take the ship for a morsel. It may be dissuaded with some pain, though.


Easily my favorite encounter of the whole module would pertain the Sisters. Their Event horizons spin in opposite clockwise direction – and they can, when timed properly, act as basically a horrid super-catapult. Personally, I made timing this a proper mini-game where the PCs could show their knowledge, and then handed out the cool diagram for passing them as a reward-handout of sorts. I think that this encounter could have used a bit more mechanical meat on its bones. Arriving near Port Carthage, the PCs are contacted by the Cyberian, obviously a pirate vessel, which requests their aid triangulating an out-of-phase corp ship that may be responsible for the Drift-blockade.


Arrival at port carthage will show that the PCs have not been the only ones dealing with crazed oozes, and indeed, the PCs will get a chance to impress the Baroness of Port Carthage in a final conflict with a more…massive ooze, potentially starting a promising career as smugglers/space pirates!


END OF SPOILERS


The first of the aforementioned appendix-sections details the Kronusverse, the implied setting that was introduced in “Dead in Space” – I welcomed the brief introduction provided within, since I don’t yet own that massive book. The ideas presented are pretty interesting: Earth, turns out, is actually a sentient plant, who proceeded to receive an ultimatum from the being now dubbed Kronus, who pronounced a 1-decade countdown: After that, it would destroy any remnants of mankind left on it. Thankfully, humanity had already taken to the stars. After that, the underclass)es) sought freedom from the reign of the MegaCorps and ventured forth into what is now known Colonial Space, to differentiate it from Corporate Space. (Odd here: The first sentence of this section is printed twice.) Beyond even the frontier of Colonial Space lies the stretch, as of now the true frontier of humanity exploring space.


The second appendix gives us a summary o Port carthage (bonus points if you quote Cicero), a station salvaging vessel built into the shell of an asteroid, the slowly turned into basically a planetoid-sized station with the help of assembly oozes. Led by Admiral Baroness Ching Shi as a constitutional monarchy, where your profession and standing determines the amount of votes you get. A kind of pirate constitutional monarchy, if you will. Pretty cool: We not only get more detailed descriptions, we also get a fully mapped version of Port Carthage, with a separate pdf for full one-page-sized maps as well. Indeed, as always with Gamer Printshop, the map-support is extraordinary: The pdf comes with no less than 6 (!!) bonus pdfs containing read-to-print maps. Only one of them, the Outpost Hvergelmir, does have somewhat jarring labels on it – the other ones all could be printed and used as hand-out-style maps, if you want. For me, that is a huge plus.


The pdf does come with 5 pregens, though it should be noted that the formatting of this pregen presentation is very busy and cluttered – it makes more sense to take a sheet and fill them in. Plusses are missing before skills, attributes lack modifiers in brackets, and so on. Spells are not formatted correctly, etc. Personally, these made me twitch and I’ll pretend that they’re not here. Yeah, sorry, but the formatting’s that messy.

Unfortunately, this extends to the next appendix, at least to a degree – here major NPCs (Including a really nice 1-page artwork of Baroness Ching Shi) are provided with full stats. Or rather, half stats. The good new first, the stats are easier to read than those of the pregens – they are not as cluttered and messy. Good news: They generally seem to adhere, for the most part, to the monster/NPC-creation guidelines presented in the Alien Archive, at least when it comes to the basics. Alas, e.g. mastered skills and good skills do not check out for the CRs, offensive/defensive/other abilities are not correctly assigned, there are not enough Languages noted, attack bonuses don’t check out, there is no gear noted and the attack values note BABs that are not correct for the CR-values. Not even remotely. A level 19 envoy notes +23 for melee, +29 for ranged attacks. The Envoy class graft requires the expert base array, and this one clearly states +31 for the high, +29 for the low atk value. No damage or weaponry is given, so you basically look at something like that: “Melee +23”. That’s the entirety. Perception also is nonstandard throughout. There are only 3 of these statblocks, but try as I might, I can only describe them with one word: WRONG.


Thankfully, the author seems to have taken a much closer look regarding the details when it comes to the new ship bays like the assembly ooze reprogramming bay, the asteroid processor, etc., as well as landing claws, an ooze system one-use enhancement – these are genuinely cool and interesting and some armor augmentations from the Starships, Stations and Salvage Guide are reprinted here as well. Alas, the table does lack bay, PCU and BP-costs for ship mines. The entry’s there, just not the proper values – but then, this may be intentional, as their cost is based on capital tracking weaponry and a flexible means of calculating cost. Still, having the full information here would have been nice.


The pdf also includes a section of personal equipment and these tend to be interesting – there, for example, would be a heavy multi tool spanner, which is a cool visual indeed. However, skill-references don’t capitalize them properly, and it does deviate from standards in a couple of ways: For one, the table does not note bulk, requiring the reference of the text. Secondly, add-ons are a lower level than the weapon, which is odd. I am pretty sure that the base damage should be “B”, not “A”, as there is an acid-add-on…which does “B” damage. *sigh* These add-ons are a cool idea, allowing for flexibility. Alas, they don’t state how the critical effects are supposed to interact. I’m pretty sure the item’s melee should not have “explode” as a critical effect. This one really hurt me, as I really like the idea, but the implementation is pretty rough. Not unusable, but it does require some serious fixing by the GM to work in a precise manner.


The two vessels, the CCN Dido and the Geode Survey Rig 23 (with images from the outside for both and full maps for the Geode Survey Rig 23) are tighter, thankfully. (We don’t get tier-ratings for either, though. Five further ships are provided, and we get two more full-page pictures of them, which is rather neat.


The next appendix presents the space pirate base class, who gets 6 Hit Points, 6 + Constitution modifier Stamina per level, 6 + Intelligence modifier skills per level, Charisma as key ability modifier and proficiency in light armor, basic and advanced melee weapons, small arms, long arms and grenades, ¾ BAB-progression and good Reflex and Will-saves. (As an aside: In the table, the “Will” word at the column’s header seems to have drifted to the class abilities.) The class adds a class skill every level (!!), and every other level, you get +1 to that skill. Okay…shouldn’t that, I don’t know, be a free rank or something like that? The ability also contradicts itself, suddenly stating that, at 13th level, you get a second class skill, when RAW, at this point, you’d have already received +12 class skills! The class also receives a unique weapon, which uses the highest attribute modifier (!!) to atk and which receives a fusion equal to the class level and may be used in conjunction with trick attacks at 9th level. Guess who RAW does not receive trick attacks? Bingo. The space pirate. The class comes with an array of talents, tricks of all trades, which basically poach from other classes in some cases. Rules-language and formatting is inconsistent. This class does not operate properly RAW and would have been better off as an archetype. The section also includes a theme, which, at 12th level, lets you take a gear boost, envoy improvisation, mechanic trick or operatives edge. Wait. The latter is a fixed ability. Should that be exploit?? It should also specify that prerequisites other than those contingent on class abilities should still be met.


The bestiary chapter is more interesting – here, we get an vessel-sized assembly ooze (including starship assembly/disassembly-rules), which is pretty neat. If you’re very particular about monsters adhering strictly to the values proposed in the Alien Archive, you may be irked to see that the creatures herein do deviate from the standard values. However, on the plus side, formatting here, while not perfect, is MUCH better than the mess we witnessed for the NPCs and pregens, and from control cube oozes to crazed ones, we get some interesting fellows here.


Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are okay on a formal level. When it comes to rules-integrity and consistency, I unfortunately can’t claim the same. There is no nice way to say this, so here goes: There is not a single correct statblock herein; some have glitches so blatant you can see them at a single, cursory glance. The rules-integrity of non-statblock related components is also quite compromised in a couple of cases. If you’re picky about correct rules, then consider yourself to be warned. Layout adheres to a crisp and neat 2-column full-color standard and the artworks range from really nice to a bit goofy. The big formal plus, as far as I’m concerned, would be the cartography: If something even tangentially shows up, you’ll have full-color maps. Ships get depictions that show them from the outside, and maps for each floor; even tangentially relevant settlements get detailed full-color maps…it’s really impressive, and the maps come as pdfs as well and are player-friendly. That is a HUGE plus as far as I’m concerned, and depending on your priorities, may be enough to warrant checking out this module. The pdf also comes with extensive bookmarks that render navigation comfortable.


Michael Tumey’s “Rogue’s Run” is a module that has me torn: The angle of engaging in an old-school pre-Drift smuggling run is really cool, and the complications are interesting, to say the least. It is by design a linear experience, yes, but it is a linear experience that knows how to make the encounters feel exciting: From the first step on Rogue’s Run to the end, I was reminded of an episode of Firefly or Cowboy Bebop, and I mean that as a huge compliment. The encounters, even in the instances where they are mechanically not too exciting, do *feel* exciting – the ideas presented here are fun and evocative and the module can be a really exciting experience. The writing side of things is pretty darn cool, and if I were to rate this only on the merits of its ideas and vistas, it’d get a definite recommendation.


If, on the other hand, I’d solely rate this on the merits of its design-components, I’d have to tell you to steer clear. The rules-issues are pronounced and require serious GM-work to fix the statblocks. The crunch of the supplemental material, from the broken class to the half-way done NPC-statblocks, is, alas, a mess. It’s a mess that you thankfully (for the most part) don’t need to run the module. Still, were this a crunch-book and not a module, It’d, at the very best, would get a 2-star rating. This was in desperate need of a critical eye of a system-savvy editor.


So, how the heck should I rate this? I’ve mulled over the final verdict longer than for a pretty significant of modules I’ve covered. If you don’t mind the editing and formatting glitches, and if the cartography is something that’s important to you, then you may well check this out! It has its merits! On the other hand, if you want go-play and incorrect rules-language irks you, then you may want to give this a pass. Since almost half the page-count of the module is devoted to appendices of dubious rules-integrity, I’ve considered rating this to account for this component, but on the other hand, the massive amount of maps does offset this, value-wise, even if you ignore the majority of this part of the pdf. Hence, I chose to rate this primarily with a focus on its integrity as a module.


I can see folks really getting into the flavor and cool environments – I can see this working as a good module; similarly, I can see folks utterly loathing this for its flaws. I mulled it over time and again, and ultimately, my official final verdict will be 2.5 stars, rounded up – without the cool maps, it’d have been 2.5, rounded down, but they and the per se neat environments do have the potential to really enhance the experience for some folks. If rules-integrity is important to you, then consider this to be 2 stars instead.

Endzeitgeist out.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

5E Halloween Mini-Dungeon: The Horror of Ochre Grove

1 November 2018 - 5:15am
Publisher: AAW Games
Rating: 4
An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, the first thing you’ll notice upon opening this mini-dungeon would be that it’s twice the usual size – that means we get 4 pages of content instead of the usual 2 pages. Mini-dungeons are super-condensed scenarios that deliver a small adventure. As such, I am not going to expect epic storylines or the like here – I’m rating these according to the virtues they display within the confined space available.


The second thing you’ll notice would be the evolution regarding layout: The pdf is laid out in the same way as the massive Mini-Dungeon Tome: Color-coded for swift reference. Statblocks are not included, and instead, the module links towards the respective SRD-page with hyperlinks. This particular mini-dungeon has no read-aloud text, but it does offer a nice, full-color map as well as a piece of quality artwork. Somewhat puzzling to me would be that there, as per the writing of this review, is no high-res jpg.-map included for VTT-play. In this particular case, that is not as big an issue as it would be for most mini-dungeons, though. The module is intended for 3 – 4 PCs of levels 6 – 8.


This review was requested to be moved up in my reviewing queue by one of my patreons.


As always, this is an adventure-review, and as such, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may want to skip ahead to the conclusion.



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All right, only GMs around? Great! Ochre Grove is a small village, with the Rusty Mist Distillery, owned by the Cornelius family, being its main source of income. This changed somewhat when Hammond Gresham founded his own distillery and began cutting into Victor Cornelius profit margins – and as such, Cornelius presented forgeries, attempting to evict Hammond. Revealed as forgeries, the claims were dismissed – and Hammond still disappeared soon thereafter. In the absence of an heir, Victor Cornelius evicted Margaret, the mistress and sister of Hammond’s late wife from the property in retribution for her accusations of foul play.


Unfortunately for all involved, Margaret is a sorceress (oni statblocks are used) who proceeded to bide her time, finally managing to summon both an incubus (nice touch for 5e re enemy choice!) as well as the spirit of her erstwhile lover. She plans to have Hammond’s spirit take care of Victor and his son, while she kidnaps the Cornelius daughters to sacrifice them and invoke a curse upon the land.


It is into this tangled web of deceit and vengeance that the PCs stumble – and while the village may seem quaint, this quickly ends when the grain dust in the Cornelius distillery’s bins explodes! The PCs and villagers hurry to the site, but the only bridge crossing the stream has taken serious damage and has been destroyed, with only the framework offering for a rickety means of crossing the stream.


After managing to cross the stream, the PCs will witness a dark rider with a kid towed up, Victor Cornelius in hot pursuit. From the burning distillery, though, there is a sound – and guess what, the module actually features a small, branching plotline here: It has consequences if the PCs immediately pursue the riders, and same goes for checking out the voice at the burning distillery. Victor’s wife Amelia is currently bleeding out, claiming that stick figures (animated scarecrows that use the stats of animated armors) have abducted her girls…and if the PCs visit the site later, they will only find a corpse and a trail. If the PCs instead follow the riders, they’ll arrive when a desperate Victor, half smashed below his horse, is forced to watch the wraith that once was Hammond, who has strung up his son. Without intervention, the wraith will first kill Victor’s son and then Victor. If the PCs split up, they will have a tough time dealing with both threats. (In an ironic twist, this is where Hammond’s bones lie – Victor indeed did kill his competitor…)


Ultimately, the paths converge once more, and the PCs will have a final fight against Margaret and her servants in the dilapidated former Hammond homestead. Once more, time is of the essence here, at least f the PCs want to save the Cornelius daughters…


Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to clear and nice two-column full-color standard, and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none. Cartography and artwork are in full color and rather nice.


Justin Andrew Mason provides a nice, brief sidetrek here – the instance of a branching path is a pretty sweet inclusion for such a small module, and while the revenge-yarn featured herein isn’t exactly groundbreaking, it doesn’t have to be. The 5e-version, to me, actually works a bit better than the PF 1 version; if you have the luxury of choice, then this is the slightly superior version. As a whole, this is a fun sidetrek and thus should be considered to be worthy of a final verdict of 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

PF Halloween Mini-Dungeon: The Horror of Ochre Grove

1 November 2018 - 5:13am
Publisher: AAW Games
Rating: 4
An Endzeitgeist.com review

All right, the first thing you’ll notice upon opening this mini-dungeon would be that it’s twice the usual size – that means we get 4 pages of content instead of the usual 2 pages. Mini-dungeons are super-condensed scenarios that deliver a small adventure. As such, I am not going to expect epic storylines or the like here – I’m rating these according to the virtues they display within the confined space available.


The second thing you’ll notice would be the evolution regarding layout: The pdf is laid out in the same way as the massive Mini-Dungeon Tome: Color-coded for swift reference. Statblocks are not included, and instead, the module links towards the respective SRD-page with hyperlinks. This particular mini-dungeon has no read-aloud text, but it does offer a nice, full-color map as well as a piece of quality artwork. Somewhat puzzling to me would be that there, as per the writing of this review, is no high-res jpg.-map included for VTT-play. In this particular case, that is not as big an issue as it would be for most mini-dungeons, though. The module is intended for 3 – 4 PCs of levels 6 – 8.


This review was requested to be moved up in my reviewing queue by one of my patreons.


As always, this is an adventure-review, and as such, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players may want to skip ahead to the conclusion.



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All right, only GMs around? Great! Ochre Grove is a small village, with the Rusty Mist Distillery, owned by the Cornelius family, being its main source of income. This changed somewhat when Hammond Gresham founded his own distillery and began cutting into Victor Cornelius profit margins – and as such, Cornelius presented forgeries, attempting to evict Hammond. Revealed as forgeries, the claims were dismissed – and Hammond still disappeared soon thereafter. In the absence of an heir, Victor Cornelius evicted Margaret, the mistress and sister of Hammond’s late wife from the property in retribution for her accusations of foul play.


Unfortunately for all involved, Margaret is a sorceress (no links for this lady) who proceeded to bide her time, finally managing to summon both an errinyes (nice touch – female retribution association) as well as the spirit of her erstwhile lover. She plans to have Hammond’s spirit take care of Victor and his son, while she kidnaps the Cornelius daughters to sacrifice them and invoke a curse upon the land.


It is into this tangled web of deceit and vengeance that the PCs stumble – and while the village may seem quaint, this quickly ends when the grain dust in the Cornelius distillery’s bins explodes! The PCs and villagers hurry to the site, but the only bridge crossing the stream has taken serious damage and has been destroyed, with only the framework offering for a rickety means of crossing the stream.


After managing to cross the stream, the PCs will witness a dark rider with a kid towed up, Victor Cornelius in hot pursuit. From the burning distillery, though, there is a sound – and guess what, the module actually features a small, branching plotline here: It has consequences if the PCs immediately pursue the riders, and same goes for checking out the voice at the burning distillery. Victor’s wife Amelia is currently bleeding out, claiming that stick figures (animated scarecrows) have abducted her girls…and if the PCs visit the site later, they will only find a corpse and a trail. If the PCs instead follow the riders, they’ll arrive when a desperate Victor, half smashed below his horse, is forced to watch the wraith that once was Hammond, who has strung up his son. Without intervention, the wraith will first kill Victor’s son and then Victor. If the PCs split up, they will have a tough time dealing with both threats. (In an ironic twist, this is where Hammond’s bones lie – Victor indeed did kill his competitor…)


Ultimately, the paths converge once more, and the PCs will have a final fight against Margaret and her servants in the dilapidated former Hammond homestead. Once more, time is of the essence here, at least f the PCs want to save the Cornelius daughters…


Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to clear and nice two-column full-color standard, and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none. Cartography and artwork are in full color and rather nice.


Justin Andrew Mason provides a nice, brief sidetrek here – the instance of a branching path is a pretty sweet inclusion for such a small module, and while the revenge-yarn featured herein isn’t exactly groundbreaking, it doesn’t have to be. As a whole, this is a fun sidetrek and thus should be considered to be worthy of a final verdict of 4 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

5E: Nightmares on Parade

29 October 2018 - 11:45am
Publisher: Playground Adventures
Rating: 5
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This module clocks in at 35 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 30 pages of content, so let's take a look!


This review was moved up in my review-queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patreons....ah, who am I kidding? After the absolutely superb Pixies on Parade, I would have covered this as fast as possible even without that.


Speaking of which - I strongly suggest playing Pixies on Parade before this one. While it can stand alone easily, I do believe that it has an added sense of gravitas when played as a kind of sequel - the pdf makes use of the concept of imagination magic and the inclusion of the dream-like logics should make pretty clear that yes, this will have an excellent reason for championing a thus more mutable reality. With the dream realm overlaps featured within, we get really nice global rules that set adventuring in the realm of dreams apart from mundane adventures – the mutable nature allows for unique tactical decisions, hijacking of specific dreams and the like. It is a truly distinct playing experience that thankfully has been translated in a tight and concise manner to 5e.


Now, this is obviously a conversion of the original module released for PFRPG; usually, that would have me worried…particularly considering how good the original was. In case you missed it: “Nightmares on Parade” made the #1 spot of my Top Ten the year it was released. Translating that level of excellence is an extremely tough task. So, can the 5e-version hold up to the PFRPG version’s excellence?


...and this is as far as I can go without SPOILING anything. Potential players SHOULD jump to the conclusion. This also includes some SPOILERS for the prequel, “Pixies on Parade”, so please don't read on if you want to play them. They're worth it.

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In “Pixies on Parade”, the PCs have managed to save Edwin from the clutches and malign influence exerted over him by the Nightmare King. He may not be escaping anytime soon...but he does not sit idly by, instead using his considerable power to draw the picturesque village of Glavost right into his nightmare realm! Uniquely empowered by their experiences in “Pixies on Parade”, the PCs thus receive the ability to manipulate reality - wishing for a unicorn, for example, may actually manifest one - though the created dreams generated do not feature the abilities of the things they're modeled after, instead employing the lesser dream statblock included within. Indeed, the somewhat parasitic/dependant nature of these dreams allows people tied to them to shape them.


Anyways, the module begins with an ominous darkening sky, a quake and mists drawing in - if your PCs have gone through the gauntlet of Ravenloft at one point, that alone will make them paranoid as all hell. Aforementioned dreams seek out the PCs and bond with them. As the PCs walk outside, they will notice Belle Leaflower walking the streets, unable to communicate or, well, perceive anybody - creative problem solution is the name of the game, as her anxieties manifest themselves and thus influence the next encounter, namely saving the ancient Elas Leaflower, who is obsessively trying to read as many books as possible at once, fearing that he is running out of time - and if the long beard and constantly multiplying books (which do not take kindly to intruders!) are any indicator, he'd be right. The PCs will have to contend with falling bookshelves, book swarms and find a way to convince Elas that his quest his futile, his books, as they are wont to be in dreams, but gibberish.


This would be a kind of leitmotif to be found here - the Nightmare King has provided some delightfully twisted (and goofy) nightmares for the folks of Glavost: Dwarven chef Rus Ulden is hunted by jello-oozing killer cupcakes. And yes, you can actually eat these...which makes for a cool prop when fighting them...just as a note... Each fellow saved and encounter passed provided an inspiration as a reward – a reward the PCs will really need, but more on that later.


Beyond these detailed encounters, however, there are also more simple, optional ones provided for your convenience: The more invested the PCs are in Glavost, the better. The fight for the minds and imagination of Glavost takes the PCs, ultimately, to the major's house, where a semi-solid sheathe of darkness covers everything and Edwin needs to be saved from what seems to be the nightmare king...though it is, in fact, "only" the most powerful dream plaguing Glavost. Having defeated this threat, the PCs now will have the proper power of a town's imagination backing them up, namely in the ability to duplicate mirage arcane as an innate spell-like ability...except that, here in the realm of dreams, these illusions are real. Kind of. They don’t cause damage per se to most beings…but they fully affect lesser dreams! This is super important for the adventure.


But the Nightmare King is not just going to throw in the towel because he's been foiled here - instead, he figures he might as well go big or go home...and sends a frickin' army in the direction of the PCs. And this is where the plot thickens and parents and adults alike should take a good, long look: The kids of Glavost, while considered to be "heroes", were basically treated with condescension by the adults; as kids all across the globe are wont to be; one crucial and important lesson anyone can draw from this book and project to the real world is that kids deserve respect.


In real life, kids may not create phantom armies...but that doesn't mean that they can't save the lives of others, that they may not be the triumphant factor in the battle for the hearts and minds of the adults around them. Just something to figure - kids are not property, they are people we accompany for some time along the way, that we try to help prosper and hopefully leave the world a better place for...but I digress.


The PCs have saved the adults and so, they may shore up the defenses and use their imagination to save the town with offenses and defenses created. There may a saboteur in their midst - the teenage night hag Isabeth, who proceeds to trap the PCs and request them doing horrible, annoying chores - but they will have to do them, if they are to escape...and there's a way to befriend Isabeth in the process, which may well be used as a means to teach kids how to deal with folks (like elder siblings…) in puberty...but that just as an aside.


The module continues to "teach", if you will, life lessons while being played - there is a detention scenario next, where the PCs are targeted by suggestions and the gremlins running the show try to get them to acknowledge that they should not be brave etc. - the idea here is simple, yet brilliant: It is mathematically unlikely that all PCs fail the save (though such a scenario is accounted for as well), and thus, the PCs will have the chance to rebuttal the theses thrown at them, with grudging acknowledgement from the gremlins....but, of course, the more PCs fail, the more will they be forced to reply as per the wishes of the "teacher". This is something that the current generations definitely should take to heart: My experience with the younger kids is that, more often than not, they are taught to cave to peer pressure, to maintain a "pleasant" environment with their comrades, even if goes against their beliefs and convictions - when I compare my cousin's school experience to mine, for example, we have been horribly rowdies and rebels who stood up for what we believed in, whereas my cousins tend to just assume the path of least resistance, modifying their convictions due to fear of being ostracized. I think that kids should be taught, as soon as possible, that their convictions have value and that the majority is not always right. This encounter does just that, without jamming its message down one's throat. It's also creative regarding how the rules are presented for 5e, so yeah - amazing!


Next up would be yet another interesting one - a satyr skald offers the PCs a fair deal: He was tasked to delay them, but finds this strategy distasteful and thus offers to fill the PCs in one the background story of the Nightmare King, which is provided in lavish detail - it is here that the old truism of knowledge equaling power may be taught...and the respectful demeanor and no-strings, straightforward and respectful attitude of the satyr progresses the thematic sequence of being show proper respect for one's achievements. The sequence here is important: This “lesson” comes right after the one that teaches to not cave to peer pressure and authority. It emphasizes that knowledge deserves respect, and that accumulating knowledge can make resistance to the opinion of the majority valid, justified.


Once the PCs have heard the story (or left of their own free will), it will be time for the army of Glavost's dreams to duke it out with the servants of the Nightmare King! Here, things become once again amazing, as, while the module recommends a descriptive and flavor-centric take on the battle of the armies, groups that enjoy rules-intense scenarios can employ the easy and quick to implement mass combat rules provided here! Yup, statblocks for the armies are provided. I intentionally did not write "kids will use descriptive, adults the rules", mind you - I certainly know enough young ones that are REALLY into the nit and grit of rules! The amazing thing here is that the PCs may use their imagination to greatly influence the way the battle works: Mass imagination magic, flexible benefits - if properly employed, this is frickin' amazing indeed! For 5e, it also offers something I enjoy: For the fellows that prefer the rules lite side of things, the descriptive option works; for those that enjoy the tactical side more, it’s here as well – basically, an everyone wins scenario.


Returning to the theme of respect - as the nightmare armies crumble, Behast, the Nightmare King waltzes to the PCs and actually offers an imagination duel; a scenario wherein he creates obstacles with his power for the PCs to overcome...an usually a respectful way of solving conflict sans violence amidst otherwise immortal beings.

Having even the BBEG actually treat the PCs with respect is a truly amazing progression of the themes employed in this book.

Speaking of amazing: The PC's actions throughout the module have direct consequences here - Behast may not enter the fray directly, but his champion has several abilities, each of which is tied to one specific type of action the PCs may have done...the better they treated their fellows, the more they helped them, the bigger are their chances against Behast's champion! Know, how in those cool 80s/90s kid's movies at one point, the kids would combine their powers, reap the benefits of the good deeds they have sown previously? It may be a bit cheesy, but it always put a good kind of shiver down my spine.


Oh, and don't tell anyone, since the PCs have to find out the hard way...but don't worry about player frustration in this book - a sidebar's got you covered, and the book provides guidance time and again.


Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good - with the exception of a very minor aesthetic hiccup at one point, the book is pretty flawless. Layout adheres to a beautiful two-column full-color standard with a turquoise background. This may not make it too printer-friendly, but I'd suggest getting this in print anyway. The artwork adheres to Jacob Blackmon's comic-like style and is nice and internally consistent. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Apart from a darker map of Glavost, the pdf lacks precise maps, but considering the morphic theme and mutable nature of the surroundings in every encounter, it does not need them; I was a bit skeptical regarding this component, but actual playtest did affirm that the module works smoothly.


Stephen Rowe has been a kind of anomaly among RPG-designers in that he's equally at home in the writing of crunch and fluff. Additionally, his modules so far have not failed to impress me, with both Pixies on Parade or Directive Infinity X being examples of excellence.


Nightmares on Parade is a whole different level, and it is to my utmost pleasure that I can state that this holds true for 5e as well.

Let me elaborate a bit: Playground Adventures generally provides modules that can help educate kids, teach concepts and knowledge in a manner that is not obtrusive, in a manner that is fun.

Pixies on Parade was a pretty much perfect homage to 80s' kid's movies - you know, when we still treated kids as proper beings, not as second-class citizens to be sheltered to the point of generating narcissists, to the point where they're not ready facing a reality that does not cuddle them all the way.

Pixies was brilliant in that it provided a scenario that dipped into creepy themes, but at the same time maintained a child-friendly levity in theme and execution. Oh, and in the hands of an even remotely capable GM, you could run it as a balls-to-the-wall horror/dark fantasy module.

Think of a certain Goblin King's labyrinth, think of the last member of an equine, horned species and you'll see what I mean: Watching these movies as a child delighted me; watching them as an adult provided a wholly different context for both. Pixies did that and did it perfectly. Age-wise, all but the most sensitive of kids should be good with it and I ran it for a then-4-year-old sans issues. The target demographic, though, should be about ages 6+, for really, really sensitive kids probably 8+. It always depends on the kid in question.


"Nightmares on Parade" is the successor in that theme in more ways than one, maintaining the leitmotifs...but also presenting a dimension that far exceeds what regular modules offer, what you can witness in any of its predecessors.

What do I mean by this? I have to wax poetically a bit here: The German concept of "Bildung" denotes the collective process of education and personality-formation, including a development of one's own personal ideology, convictions, etc. - the very word generates an association with building one's self as an eternal process, of describing the totality of construction work of your own personality and accumulated knowledge in all fields of life. There is exactly one other module, Richard Develyn's brilliant "Seven Sinful Tales", which has ever made me employ this word in the context of adventures you can run.

You see, the structure of this adventure teaches not by stating precise information in a traditional sense; it goes beyond that. By virtue of its meticulously-structured encounters and their diverse themes, it imparts genuine wisdom upon the players, life lessons if you will. The module shows, rather than tells, what happens if you let fears (like not having enough time) define you; what happens if you're consumed by work (with a kid-friendly, literal analogue); to stand up for your convictions and what's right in the face of authorities and peer-pressure...and to never underestimate the power of imagination that so many adults have lost. (Though roleplayers tend to be safer there...)


There is not a single encounter in this module that does not provide, in unobtrusive subtext, a truly valuable, morally and ethically valuable lesson. And this does not only extend to kids: Parents running this module for their kids should carefully read this module and analyze it, for the aforementioned leitmotif of respecting your child, the importance of that aspect for the development of adults and the way in which this module treats kids can, in my most deeply-held convictions, potentially improve the horizon of parents alike. The theme of respect that ultimately is awarded to the PCs and their players by the BBEG culminates in a glorious experience that may well, in some cases, end night troubles...after all, the nightmare king has conceded defeat. But that as just an aside.


Beyond these psychologically relevant aspects and the wonderful, respectful way this book treats its audience, regardless of age, one should not be remiss to emphasize the downright amazing use of imagination magic throughout the book and the fact that, beyond the glorious lessons imparted herein, it ALSO is a truly amazing module. Whether or not you go mass combat, whether or not you play this as horror (Concerned parents, rest assured that this module, as written, is as wholesome as it gets...but any only semi-decent GM can make this very dark very easily and basically transform it on the fly into a horror-module just by adding non-kid-friendly dressing!) for adults, as a kid-friendly adventure as written, as emphasizing the crunchy aspects or de-emphasizing them via Imagination Magic, you retain maximum flexibility in how you actually run the module. I've run this twice and both times in radically different manners - and in both cases, the structure held up: The kid-friendly run worked as amazing as expected, replacing Pixies as their favorite module. The experience of running this as an adult module with my own trademark tweaks went over just as well.


Ultimately, "Nightmares of Parade" may be a glorious module on its own...but its value lies beyond that. It is a module that not only dares to teach in a didactically unobtrusive manner, it is one that teaches in a tailor-made, carefully and in truly intelligent way, to leave particularly kids and parents as better persons for having played it.

If you think I'm overanalyzing this, btw., then I'd point you straight towards the fact that this obviously is intended to achieve said stated goal; each and every facet of the module is devoted towards cultivating a respectful and benevolent development, a component of "Bildung" not only between the players, but also in their interaction with others and amongst themselves. It teaches spine and courage in the face of adversity and the value of behaving in an upstanding, honorable manner while still being kids. In short: Nightmares on Parade is a masterpiece not only on a formal level, but also is one of the scant few modules that dares to try to leave its audience better off for having played it; it is one of the very few incarnations of our favorite medium that tries to do more than entertain, without losing sight of entertainment being the primary purpose.

Stephen Rowe has surpassed himself with this module and catapulted himself into a level of adventure-writing excellence that is rarefied indeed, that is a very small class of its own.


With all my heart, I encourage you to get Pixies and this, the sequel. We need authors that dare to do more than just entertain (though it certainly does excel here as well!); it is my firm conviction that roleplaying games already are a great way of helping people, regardless of age, connect, develop and improve in numerous aspects of life. This, however, takes everything one step further - it can actually be seen as a module that could be canon as something that truly benefits everyone involved, that helps form personalities and strengthen positive character traits. This is Bildung given the form of an exceedingly fun and modular adventure. This humble masterpiece is worth 5 stars + seal of approval and the 5e-version loses, thankfully, nothing of the splendor of the original, making this on par with my #1 of my Top Ten of 2016!

If you share my firm belief that roleplaying games can make us all better people...then take a look. This module, frankly, is art in the most unpretentious manner you can define it; it leaves you better for having witnessed it.

Endzeitgeist out.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Judge Dredd and The Worlds of 2000 AD Quickstart

8 October 2018 - 7:23am
Publisher: EN Publishing
Rating: 5
This manages to explain an awful lot in just a handful of sentences - even if your exposure to Judge Dredd is minimal you should be able to pick up on the general gist of the setting, as well as understand the rules you'll need to play - or GM - the adventure presented here. As expected, the rules here are a cut-down version of the final rules, but as I haven't seen those yet I cannot say how the play experience differs from the full ruleset. However it does state that special ablities called Exploits are not used here, although a few sample ones are given if you want to give them a go. It appears that to accomplish something you'll need to roll a handful of d6s, the number based on your skill and the relevant attribute. Combat is much the same, and is explained clearly.

Four pre-generated characters are provided, all Street Judges. A note explains that the core rulebook provides for playing civilians and perps as well as Judges, should you harbour such ambitions. The adventure is written so as to be played with any of these options, although if you are using the pre-gens you will have to default to the Judge option. Basically, a Judge was killed recently in the Empire State Building and the adventure deals with the aftermath: as Judges the aim is, of course, to bring justice to the perps responsible. The adventure is well constructed and exciting, although it will run best if you are thoroughly familiar with it before play starts.

The floorplans are a bit cramped. Apart from one or two principal NPCs, all the 'foe' stats are at the end rather than where they are ecountered in the module - it might have been worth adding some bookmarks to make them easier to find in the heat of the moment.

Overall, though, this gives a good impression of a game that has captured the spirit and flavour of Judge Dredd; and which should prove enjoyable to play. If a Quickstart leaves you looking forward to seeing the full game, it has done its job... and this one has!
Categories: Game Theory & Design

DARK PLACES and DEMOGORGONS - The Ghost Hunter's Handbook - and use w/other OSR games

2 October 2018 - 4:19am
Publisher: Bloat Games
Rating: 5
Nothing beats a good ghost story and the early 80s was full of them. From the old school hauntings of 1981's Ghost Story to 1982's Poltergeist to the old guard in House of the Long Shadows (1983) and even to 1984's Ghostbusters. And this is now where near all. If you loved ghost stories it was a great time.

Thankfully Bloat Games hears you and has what you need.

DARK PLACES and DEMOGORGONS - The Ghost Hunter's Handbook is 60 pages (digest sized) with color covers and black and white interior. It has the same feel as the other books in this series. The art is good and I recognize a lot of the names inside.

With this book, like the others, we start out with new classes.
The Clairvoyant can see things the others can't (we have a couple "I see dead people" classes already, but this is a good one).
The Parapsychologist is great, but I think it is stretching what it means for a "Kid" class like the core book is filled with. Though, I guess reading the starting equipment this is also the class that best fit me in High School! Yes, I did write a program to emulate a PKE meter on my TRS-80 Color Computer.
The Mystical Ghost Hunter covers your basic exorcists/cleanser type.
But the class I was happiest to see was the Nullifier! This is the guy who walks in the room and all paranormal activity stops. The class might have limited growth, save that they are the ones that will survive any magical attack, but I like them all the same. In college one of my "hippie" friends claimed I was a "Null" because his Ouija board never worked when I was around!

Pages 14-24 cover different kinds of ghosts, spectres, and haunts and their reasons for haunting. This is one of the parts that make this book "and use w/other OSR games". You can drop these spookies into any OSR game (some will require tweaks) and you are good to go. They can all be run as-is really; especially if you are playing Swords and Wizardry. In fact, there is a lot here in the DP and D that the S and W game master can use.

A few pages on what you can find on The Other Side! (uh...Thanks! but I didn't get you anything. OH! THAT Other Side.)

There are a couple pages on equipment including Ghost Hunter kits to fit your price range.
Next, we have some new ghost-related magic items.
A couple pages of minor and major spells.

And what book on ghosts would be complete without a haunted house? Well, this one taped into that 80s feeling well and gives us a haunted asylum! It's like you guys read my Christmas lists or something!

Information of the J'town Paranormal Society (which feels like it is somewhere between Supernatural's "Ghost Chasers" and Doctor Who's LINDA).

We end with a great, but incomplete, list books, movies, and television shows.

Author Josh Palmer did a hell of a job here and this is a worthy addition to the DP and D line. The book is worth every penny. In truth at just $5 and 60 pages you are getting a hell of a deal.

Print on demand is coming soon.

It's Halloween. Get out there and bust some ghosts!
Categories: Game Theory & Design

The Great Big Random d100 Table of Interesting NPC's (5e)

28 September 2018 - 11:07pm
Publisher: Aurican's Lair
Rating: 5
Aurican's Lair's "The Great Big Random d100 Table of Interesting NPC's (5e)" isn't exactly random, and can be used for more than D and D. The free supplement is a table of 100 NPCs. Each NPC has the expected description and stats, but also a relevant *plot hook* and carried equipment, as well as a link to a picture of the NPC. (I haven't checked if all the pictures work.) Entries were made by individual redditors. Most of the NPCs are better in villages and urban environments, rather than as adventurers on the road.
Categories: Game Theory & Design