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Veins of the Earth
by Oliver B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/15/2017 13:48:25

This book is rad as hell.

Some content is a little too silly for my campaign, but might not be for yours.

It can all be tweaked anyway.

And the art is fantastic.

A++ would buy again.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Veins of the Earth
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No Salvation for Witches
by Scott P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/10/2017 22:09:29

Outstanding writing. Very creative adventure design. The module does a great job of capturing both an overall period and a fully-realized setting. The content is disturbing, as advertised, but not gratuitously so. More in service of the story and the alien nature of the adversaries. This adventure could be difficult to drop into an existing campaign as-is, given the two potential world-altering consequences. But the author leaves this largely in the hands of the DM, meaning both are reversible and scaleable, as needed. Recommended for those whose players can stomach the nasty bits.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Veins of the Earth
by Matt M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/27/2017 04:47:51

Veins of the Earth puts all other "underdark" themed sourcebooks to shame.

I would recommend this book to anyone considering a game in a subterranean realm. Veins of the Earth provides the tools and inspiration to make such a place as alien and scary as it really should be, and to test your players and their characters with challenges they might not have considered before.

It's clear that the author either has experience in real-world caving, or else has done a great deal of research into caving. I've done it myself and the writing in this book quickly dredged up my experiences with uncanny precision. Letterboxes, sumps, crawlways, chimneys, flowstone... the absolute darkness. It's all here.

The crowning glories of Veins of the Earth are the Rapture; the cave generation and mapping system; light, lamps, and "lumes"; and the expanded climbing and exploration mechanics. I also really enjoyed the entry on the dErO. These alone are worth the price of admission.

If I were to offer any constructive criticism (I have a physical copy too - which is of astounding quality), I'd suggest settlements and quests. There is some information on a few cultures in the Veins, but information on living spaces is almost non-existent. I wouldn't expect a detailed account of an unlikely underground metropolis, but some guidelines on where the PCs can expect to buy food, light, equipment, hirelings, etc. (without being enslaved or otherwise betrayed) would be extremely valuable. The Veins are also presented as an extremely dangerous and uncomfortable place to venture. It is clearly the GM's function to come up with quests and macguffins for the PCs to look for underground, but a few suggestions would have been very welcome. I'm pretty sure my players would just say "nope" after a few days in the Veins unless there was something extremely important or valuable keeping them down there.

In conclusion, this is an excellent supplement and successfully captures the foreboding darkness and alien architecture of a massive underground space. GMs should buy it and read it, at least for the four topics I mentioned above. Your caves will never be the same again.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Death Frost Doom
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/11/2017 11:09:37

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This module clocks in at 66 pages (obviously!), 1 page front cover, 1 page logo, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page dead sign, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 60 pages, so let's take a look!

This review was sponsored by one of my generous patreons, who supplied the means to acquire this book for a review at my leisure. My review is mostly based on the hardcover-version of the module, though I have also consulted the pdf and checked its functionality. The review is based on the fourth printing of the module, annotated and expanded by Zak S..

First things first: This is a very dark module. If you can't handle dark fantasy or really grim prospects, then this may not be for you. It is not a module I'd play with kids. (As if that needed to be said- the book's called "Death Frost Doom", for crying out loud...) There are two more things you should be aware of before we go into SPOILER-territory.

One, this module will probably create a significant array of fallout in your game and steer the plot well beyond the confines of its pages. PCs can spend a whole campaign dealing with the fallout...if they survive. This is deadly.

Two, if you're a metalhead who enjoys the darker aspects of metal, then this module has its own soundtrack! I am not kidding. E.g. upon entering one of the rooms, the module tells you to put on Samael's "Baphomet's Throne." Now, this is not gimmicky, mind you - you won't find the like for every room...but personally, I enjoyed it. This, coincidentally, also serves as a Litmus test of sorts: The aesthetics of this module are very much indebted to black metal; the cold, screeching type. It's basic premise could be summed up as: "What if an evil organization was actually effective and, aesthetics-wise, really, really EVIL and misanthropic and spiteful?"

That's ultimately what the PCs will be up against. There is a reason "YOU ARE DOOMED" is written in big, fat letters on the back cover. The dungeon herein is a true hell-hole. PCs will quite probably die horribly unless they are really up to their A-game. This one is for the pros. Not for the "Advanced" gamer. Pros. Hardcore RPG enthusiasts looking for a brutal challenge.

Okay, so this is as far as I can conceivably go without diving into SPOILERS. If you're a player, then may the gods have mercy on your PC. From here on out, only referees should read on!

...

..

.

All right, only referees around? Great!

There is a frost-covered mountain, and at its top, there is a cabin and a mausoleum. Death awaits. Even as the PCs approach the foreboding top, things may get nasty: Straying off the path can be a bad idea in these rugged climates...and as the PCs make their way to the top of the mountain, they encounter the axe-wielding hermit Ezekiel "Zeke" Duncaster - a truly eccentric and creepy fellow. The attention to detail here and throughout the book is btw. massive: Multiple options for using Zeke are provided for the referee. We get a table to determine his whereabouts and beyond brief stats, the referee gets guidance on likely venues of conversation. Zeke tells the PCs to go home, trying to restrain them via non-lethal means...but PCs being PCs, the chance is high that they'll kill him or lie to him - after all, there are so many graves up there and Zeke spends all his days carving the names of the dead...so many.

At this point, some sensible groups may decide to go straight back where they came from. These groups, in my experience, are few and far in between. I mean, how bad could it be?

...

Worse. As the PCs approach the foreboding peak, they will realize that speak with dead is a bad, bad idea...possession is possible. Sleep offers only unreliable solace. The old hanging tree, while rooted, is possessed of a horrid, impotent malevolence. The frozen body of a mountain-climber can be found, his equipment being potentially crucial... Even the well is cursed...oh, and there is the cabin. The cabin that hides the entrance to the dungeon...and the place where the PCs can get a very good idea of HOW FRICKIN unhallowed this ground is. Crossing threshold? Notes for GM. Pretty much every object in the cabin has interaction notes for the GM. It is here that the book "That Which Was Given" can be found - and it contains the names of the fallen, oh so many...and notes on the true extent of the influence of the evil organization responsible for this vile fleck of frozen hell, the dreaded Duvan'Ku.

How evil are the Duvan'Ku? In the trophies of the cabin, the eyes of glass are actually souls in frozen time, left there to forever writhe in maddening torment. And it becomes worse in the dungeon under the cabin. Here, we get walls (depicted in hand-out style one-page artworks - much like many places herein!) of screaming faces...and then there is the grand, malevolent scheme: Upon entering the chapel of the complex, 12 skulls of ice, hanging from the ceiling, will slowly, inexorably, fall and shatter, counting down in intervals of 10 before the big, campaign-changing event takes place.

You see, the complex is lavishly detailed (playing different tunes on an organ can have dire consequences for players who think they are clever: Music pieces can provide significant edges when found, but pretty much all chimes and sound-sequences you can find in the module (even that of the cookoo-clock) have been covered...and meta-jokes (because we know players will try...) also have effects. Hint: Playing "In a Gadda da Vida" makes for a pretty...ehem...memorable result. Speaking of memorable: This also holds true for the plethora of deadly traps and cursed items - though it should be noted that the "dickish insta-kill"-quota is pretty low - if PCs are finished off, it generally is the result of doing something less than wise.

But let's get back to the aforementioned cataclysmic event - in order to enter the deepest recesses of the dungeon, the PCs will have to bypass (or kill) the sacred parasite, a combination of undifferentiated ectoplasm, unholy ice and liquid time as well as an unfortunate, whose fate at the hands of the Duvan'Ku was even worse than that of their plentiful other victims. (And yes, reading up on that in the cult's books can make you stark, raving mad...) - slaying this unfortunate THING exposes the pit - and in the original version, this is where things got a bit haphazard and deadly, envisioning, among the choices, the parasite as part of the nose mucus of an impossibly large giant, who'd awake upon intrusion - and waking this titan would instantly kill everyone. The revised option offers more suggestions here, but going down is still a bad idea...particularly considering that the death of the parasite's death will cause the souls suspended in it to break free, animating the dead...for the dungeon, ultimately, is a mass-grave, horrid testament to the Duvan'KU's vile deeds - and thousands (literally!) of undead will spew forth.

And then there would be the matter at hand that is the aforementioned sanctum beyond the parasite, where disturbingly rendered greater repugnances roam - the erstwhile leaders of the Duvan'Ku, vile and horrid undead monstrosities that provide a deadly array of potential bosses, which partially should be considered to be puzzle combats: Limited omniscience, a foe that demands an oath each round (and not keeping them sends you straight to hell...) and an inquisitor, whose questions can cause damage to those replying - these horrid beings make for twisted and disturbing foes - and ultimately, the mighty Praetor-Pontifex awaits to lead his legions into battle once more. Hint: No, chances are that your PCs will not stand a chance against the tide of the living dead and this powerful undead...so yes, they may have to strike a devil's bargain...or flee in horror.

On particular aspect of the module is btw. interesting: It makes great use of the blending of in- and out-game behavior: If PCs and players read aloud certain chants and promises, they will be in for a rude awakening. It should also be noted that the hand-out maps that the PCs can find actually have been reproduced here. the attention to detail goes so far as to provide a massive 100-entry-table of effects for a magical drug...and, enjoyably, the book ends with a nice little retrospective, including artworks and cover artworks of previous iterations.

Conclusions:

Editing and formatting are very good - apart from some minor typo-level glitches, I encountered no problems. Layout adheres to a nice and elegant 2-column b/w-standard and, like most OSR-books, the file is intended for 6'' by 9'' books. The artworks and cartography in b/w by Jez Gordon are really neat - while no player-maps have been provided, that's because they can't really find them, apart from the handout, which ticks off that box as far as I'm concerned. The cover art by Yannick Bouchard perfectly encapsulates the flair of the module.

James Edward Raggi IV's "Death Frost Doom", with the options and additions by Zak Sabbath, makes for a rather amazing module. If you like dark fantasy and really challenging, brutal dungeons, then this will be a revelation for you. The amount of details, GM-guidance and the glorious tone of the adventure render it a true joy to run. This is a very deadly campaign-changer of a module, yes, but it is also one that drives home how dangerous and yes, nightmarish the job of being an adventurer can be. The bosses herein are glorious and so are several pieces of dressing, traps, etc. - in short, this is one impressive beast of an adventure.

It should be noted that, when playing e.g. Paizo- or WotC-material, you ever felt like "This is too dark", then this may not be for you. Similarly, if you can't take a character dying, this will not be for you. This is steeped in the aesthetics of Scandinavian, cold and misanthropic black metal and the sheer existence of the Duvan'Ku will make your campaign feel darker than it once was. But then again, light shines brightest when contrasted with pure, pitch-black darkness, right?

In the end, I absolutely adored this module. I understand what some people dislike about it, but personally, I consider it a dark fantasy milestone. My final verdict is 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Vaginas are Magic!
by Barry O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/18/2017 05:58:28

The best RPG book with Vagina in the title that I've ever seen.

The new spell system includes example spells and mishap tables. It is simple yet powerful. Kind of like a vagina.

Open this up today, you're sure to find pleasure within its purple walls.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vaginas are Magic!
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Vaginas are Magic!
by Jeffrey W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/14/2017 19:39:11

Yes, yes they are. Good quality pdf. Want the hard copy now as well.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Vaginas are Magic!
by Justin I. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/05/2017 19:37:55

Once again, James Raggi has blown me away with his Free RPG Day offering. The book is a 48 or so page hardcover that's in a delightful purple. Like all LotFP releases the book is in a digest size and does a great job of making the most of all space. All inside covers are full. The front inside covers present new weird magic rules. They are presented for magic-users only (which I've read might be because the next version of LotFP might not include the cleric as a basic class). Whether the next edition does or not have clerics, the magic rules presented still make arcane magic a reality warping and dangerous force. The spell's power is determined by the caster and have potentially dangerous consequences if miscast. The Author's Notes discuss the LotFP approach to Free RPG Day (which is the best hands down btw). After the author's note we're given a three page Magic Primer that further expounds on weird magic and what magic should be. While it isn't long, it's a wonderful treatise on the arcane. It also discusses that while these spells can only be cast by women (in this definition those that can have children), the core rules contain magic research rules which could make versions of these spells access able to other casters.

Then we get into the meat of the book: 20 weird spells. These spells are brutal, which makes sense because they're all named after metal tracks. Each spell is also accompanied by a beautiful/disturbing/funny full page illustration. One of the things that really draws me to these spells is the story behind them. These bits of exposition give the spells some sort of logic (whether they're true in your game or not). My favourites are probably Mistress of the Bleeding Sorrow, Transylvanian Hunger, (and because I'm pretty messed up) Goat Perversion. Please note that the spells in this book can, will, and should affect your game. That's the point of magic. It warps reality. Because magic, that's why.

The book also contains a list of people (like me) that helped crowdfund it and the back inside cover is a list of metal tracks that would make good spells.

A final note about the book, I love the cover and the model, Riina Himanen. There are a few pictures of her in the book and it's cool to see some fantasy modeling.

If you haven't downloaded Vaginas are Magic! do it asap. You won't regret it (unless you're easily offended or squeamish).



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Vaginas are Magic!
by Corran C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/05/2017 00:45:44

Vaginas are Magic has metal themes and some of the spells play on historical references, such as Gilles de Rais, It's f'ing awesome. On a serious note, it continues the fine idea that spells should be interesting, rather than deal x damage and for that reason alone, I would happily recommend this addition to Lotfp.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Vornheim: The Complete City Kit
by CD F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/02/2017 07:06:40

Artfully put together and expansive in outlook rather than exhaustive in content. It encourages the DM to make new encounters in a city. I found it inspiring.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vornheim: The Complete City Kit
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Broodmother SkyFortress
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/26/2017 13:04:12

This is a big adventure with giants in a floating castle. There are many options for reskinning the adventure for different genres. The NPCs have good personalities, and there are many ways to use the product.



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Broodmother SkyFortress
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Carcosa
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/09/2017 17:41:22

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive campaign setting/hexcrawl clocks in at 283 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 2 pages of ToC, 4 pages of index (VERY USEFUL!), leaving us with 274 pages of content, so let's take a look!

It should be noted that the inside of the covers, respectively, contain gorgeous full-color hex-maps - inside the front cover, we get an overview, while inside the back cover, we gain an in-depth hex-crawl of one such hex, highlighting the sheer VASTNESS of Carcosa. As you can surmise, I actually own the hardcover, namely the second printing, which was provided by a generous patreon for the purposes of reviewing it at my convenience. I subsequently based my review mainly on the print edition, though it should be noted that maps etc. are all included in the pdf-version. The print-version's pages btw. have a very nice greenish-yellow, unhealthy-looking tint that is not consistent throughout the book; some sections are almost grey, some are greenish, some a bit more yellowish...this book looks almost alive, and in a twisted, twisted way. (And no, to my knowledge, there is no system behind these colors, at least none I could make out.) It should be noted that the pages are formatted for the A5 (6'' by 9'')-size of paper, so, if your eyesight's good enough, you can squeeze up to 4 pages on a regular sheet when printing this, but honestly, I'd suggest getting print here.

All right, so what is this book? Well, if you're not as well-versed in the OSR-scene, this book can conceivably be called one of the most influential books in that area, a book that imho defined how many of the different weird settings out there have been designed. For one, it is an incredibly hackable book - while there are rules herein, they are very rules-lite. As in: S&W, LL or LotFP look complex and detailed in comparison. These rules generally tie in with the setting and supplement it in several ways, but can, for the most part, be exchanged, tweaked or ignored - it is a vast plus of this book that pretty much nothing herein really requires that you use it with the rules presented within; adapting this to an OSR-setting, 5e or PFRPG just requires a bit of statting and that's it - the draw here lies within the idea, at least for me.

But let me start the review-proper the same way the book does:

Along the shore the cloud waves break,

The twin suns sink behind the lake,

The shadows lengthen

In Carcosa.

Strange is the night where black stars rise,

And strange moons circle through the skies,

But stranger still is

Lost Carcosa.

Songs that the Hyades shall sing,

Where flap the tatters of the King,

Must die unheard in

Dim Carcosa.

Song of my soul, my voice is dead,

Die thou, unsung, as tears unshed

Shall dry and die in

Lost Carcosa.

-Robert W. Chambers

If you can read these lines sans a shudder, sans them gnawing into your brain, then kudos - to me, these lines are very much like a song that encapsulates the themes herein. That being said, the tone evoked here is grim; and while Carcosa is intended for mature audiences, it is actually not necessarily as dark as you'd imagine.

Let me elaborate: Carcosa is a world, where no elves or other Tolkienesque critters exist - instead, there are different races of men, with varying skin-colors that range from obsidian-black to translucent and also encompass the colors yale, ulfire and dolm -and yes, these are somewhat explained...and our inability to properly conceive them just adds a perfect piece of flavor to the proceedings.

Rules-wise, Carcosa assumes AC 12 as basis and an ascending AC and calls, at various times, for the random determination of dice to roll: Basically you roll a d20 and the higher you roll, the higher the dice you'll use - minimum d4, maximum d12. This procedure is used for combat as well, and, surprisingly, for hit points: You roll hit dice number of dice each combat anew: So one combat, you may be really tough...and during another...not so much. When hit dice are depleted, they are taken by the referee, which simulates, to a degree, wounding. It should come as no surprise to the adept number-cruncher that this system generates rather swingy performances; while this may fit to the opium/fever-dream-style haze that makes up so much of this setting's flair, it proved, at least for me and my group, not rewarding and was pretty much the first rules-component to get kicked out.

Carcosa, at least as written, knows three alignments - Lawful, Neutral and Chaotic, and they don't say anything about ethics: Lawful characters are generally opposed to the Great Old Ones, Chaotic characters generally serve them. That's it. Simple. Speaking of simple: Carcosa knows a staggering 2 classes: Fighter and sorceror. And no, sorcerors don't get to fling spells - instead, sorcerors can find rituals to enslave, banish, torment or otherwise interact with the Great Old Ones...and yes, conjure them. Basically, they have their very own ritual engine, but more on that later. Each ritual, just fyi, carries a risk of unnatural aging...with the exception of banishment rituals.

If you have very high mental attributes, you also have a small percentile chance of having access to psionics - there are 8 such powers and a d4 determines each day how many he has available. Psionics may be used 1/day, plus an additional time per day at every odd level, capping at 5 daily uses at 9th level. Rules-lite fans may applaud the lack of range for mindblasts and similar options, but personally, I prefer the crisp clarity of LotFP, S&W, LL, etc. - in short: The powers are not very well codified from a rules-analysis perspective. If you have access to another psionics sourcebook, I'd suggest using that instead, as what is here can be considered to be an afterthought.

Thankfully, this is the point where the rather subpar components of the rules-section end, for we receive precise effects various lotus-types...and space alien technology.

It is here that I feel I should talk about what Carcosa is: Do you know this mythic age of snake-men and weird skies that Sword & Sorcery novels like to allude to? Where everything was at once alien and advanced, yet almost stone-age primeval? That, to a degree, is Carcosa. The Great Old Ones roam the world, Shub-Niggurath's endless spawns inhabit the vast fields of Carcosa and entities are broken to the will of mortals, heeding their destructive call...if they do not break the mortals first. Carcosa is also a land where basically a science-fiction space alien civilization once crashed, with relics of strange devices, crashed ships, remnants of their tech, all littering the fields. This is, to a degree, a science-fantasy setting.

At the same time, Carcosa is a land of grotesque protoplasmic colossi, of dinosaurs and savage things, of civilizations with wildly diverging developments, held together by mastery or lack thereof of the mighty Great Old Ones; the technology of the mysterious Great Race representing another aspect of tech, namely the cthulhoid one, where technology is hazardous, extremely mighty and not made for humans. with flavorful artifacts like the spatial transference void, living monoliths and fecund protoplasmic pits begging to b inserted into any game, regardless of rules employed. So that would be the first aspect I'd very much consider a must-scavenge component.

The second would be the aforementioned sorcerous rituals - a total of 32 pages is devoted to these, all denoting their function in a handy formatting decision. Called The Lurker Amidst the Obsidian Ruins? You may need to torment the entity with "The Oozing Column" to get it to do your bidding! Here's the thing: Many of these rituals require rare and evocative components, some are tied to specific locales and...non-banishing rituals require often absolutely atrocious deeds. Control over these entities requires absolutely horrendously vile acts that should make such decisions very much a difficult endeavor, the obvious dangers of failure none withstanding. This may also be one of the reasons this is denoted as adult content...but if you do look for a concise collection of vile rituals for bad guys to use in your game, look no further than here - the chapter is twisted gold, gleaming in an unhealthy yale!

The next 36 pages of content are devoted to a massive bestiary of entities - from protoplamsic oozes to the Great Old Ones, we get stats for all of them...at least the basics. You know, Hit Dice, AC, No appearing and alignment as well as move rate. Psionics are noted, where applicable and the brief respective texts note special abilities and the like. Amazing: Great Old Ones that can be conjured, tormented, banished, controlled etc. also note their respective associated rituals, which makes this section, layout-wise, surprisingly user-friendly. Big kudos there! While the classics of the Mythos are included, I personally enjoyed the new ones featured herein more intriguing - the Shambler of the Endless Night or the Putrescent Stench, for example.

Now, I did mention that this was, beyond a campaign-kit, basically a colossal hex-crawl, right? 120 pages, to be more precise. Let that sink in. Even if I wanted to provide a highlight-reel here, I'd frankly not be capable of properly depicting the vast amount of adventures to be had in this massive section; these pages literally provide enough potential gaming material for YEARS. Even if your players will never set foot on Carcosa, this section once again proves to be a thoroughly compelling, amazing collection of the strange and wondrous. 20 sample spawn of Shub-Niggurath, a primer on humanity in Carcosa and random encounter tables complement this section before we arrive at a massive Spawn of Shub-Niggurath-generator...and, similarly scavenge-worthy would be the impressive space alien tech generator, the robot generator...and have I mentioned that the book actually codifies the different sorcerous rituals by use in its own appendix?

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch and really impressive, particularly for a book of this size. Layout adheres, as mentioned before, to a greenish/yellowish sickly page-color and a 1-column standard, with really evocative and copious original b/w-artworks by Rich Longmore. If that sort of thing annoys you, let it be known that bare breasts, human sacrifice and the like can be found among the artworks - never in a gratuitous manner, but yeah - this is a book for adults. The cartography by Robert Altbauer in full-color is amazing and the purple tone chosen for the ground further enhances the sense of weirdness. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, with detailed, nested bookmarks. The hardcover print-version is obviously made to last and with its sickly green cover, fits the theme rather well.

So, have you figured it out? Carcosa is a radical departure from fantasy dipping toes into " a bit" of mythos; it's also a radical departure from anything even resembling Tolkienesque fantasy and oh boy, is it better off for it! Carcosa reads, even nowadays, like an inspiring breath of dolm air, as Geoffrey McKinney weaves a yarn like a near-death fever-dream, like an opium-haze; horrific and enticing, suffused with a primal beauty, but also a land of savage horror, where colossal power may be gained by those willing to commit atrocities...at least until they are devoured. Carcosa is majestic in its imaginative vision and in the sheer detail it offers - it should come as no surprise from the above that I was horribly unimpressed by the rules-aspect of this book and frankly wished it had simply used one of the big OSR-rules-sets.

But then again, that is not how I'll ever use this book. Yes, I'll run Carcosa as a setting sooner or later, but for now, all of its ideas have this uncanny tendency to worm their way into my games, regardless of system employed. The rituals, described in horrid detail, the entities, the artifacts, the locations that are sure to invade PC-dreams of even those not on this planet...there are very few books that have ever managed to influence me...and other creative folks, to this extent.

I am late to the party, I know. But I've written this review mainly to showcase not the flaws of this book, but to highlight its indisputable value, regardless of system or even genre used. Heck, you can have a great change of pace while running a Traveller-game by having the PCs crash there! And yes, you'll see "Someone has obviously read Carcosa" in quite a few reviews to come - this book's influence transcends system-boundaries and, to an extent, genres. Heck, it spawns adventures left and right! Kort'thalis Publishing's "The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence", for example, just BEGS to be inserted into Carcosa...or act as a gateway to this wretched, wondrous place. Carcosa exists n a weird flux between fantasy, science-fiction, space-opera, horror and sword and sorcery and manages to sit there, upon this metaphorical Lake Hali of systems, confidently, proud, majestic...and utterly, utterly weird.

In short: This is a piece of gaming material that should imho be part of the collection of any self-respecting GM that can handle the mature themes, which may be dark, yes - but to me, the setting never felt that way. Instead, my prevalent feeling was one of wild-eyed wonder...and there are not that many books that can claim having accomplished this. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval, unsurprisingly...with one caveat. If you're looking for hard rules, if you're not looking for something to hack apart and make your own, then this may not be as useful for you; in such a case, detract a star. Everyone else should, at the very least, check out the pdf of this ulfire gem of a tome.

Endzeitgeist out.



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Veins of the Earth
by Bradley N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/08/2017 21:46:29

Everything Patrick makes is amazing. He's a wordy bastard who is needlessly obtuse with some descriptions or ideas but he's also endlessly imaginative and qutie clever in his handling of the mechanics of caving and underground exploration.

Get this, get Deep carbon observatory, get maze of the blue medusa. Get it all.



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Green Devil Face #5
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/07/2017 05:49:53

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The fifth installment of Green Devil Face clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, leaving us with 12 pages of content, so let's take a look! It should be noted that the layout of this pdf makes it possible to fit up to 4 pages on a sheet of paper, being generally intended for an A5/ 6'' by 9''-standard.

We begin this pdf with "A Rather Unfair Trap" -a pool of water with a submerged cage containing a ruby. Touching the ruby switches places, potentially drowning the victim. Such a victim then slowly dissolves and the liquid changes the brain into a new ruby.

Next up are two d30-tables - one for effects of a natural 20 and one for effects of a natural 1. Some do feel a bit weird to me: Like the option for your allies to gain all your XP in that session - how is that in any way, shape or form related to fumbles? How does one 1 prevent the whole party from taking offensive actions? These, in short, are simply not good and feel random at best.

The next article depicts a new character advancement technique: 1d6 hit points, +1 attack bonus, +2 AC, 15 in all saves. Press attack nets +1 attack bonus -4 AC, while defensive attacks invert those modifications. On a level-up, you roll d10s twice. A player can alternatively roll one d12 - 11 and 12 net a total of 4 different bonus effects. These can, thus, generate ridiculously high defensive AC options for fighters who emphasize offense, a lack of new spell slots for casters, etc. - as a whole, I do not consider this method rewarding as presented. 8 tables are provided, in case you're interested in the system.

Next up would be an alternate XP-progression: You roll 1d6 after an adventure and add/detract modifiers: If the roll exceeds the current level, the character gains a level. Being reduced to 0 hp, being a sole survivor and the like are positive modifiers, while a lack of PC deaths actually detracts 1 from the tally. lack of gained treasure and not having to roll a saving throw also are detrimental factors, with the latter basically actively penalizing smart players. Not a fan.

The next article is "What's up with that Cult?" - a generator of various small tables to generate the basics for a cult. The generator isn't bad, but painfully generic. One can do better with e.g. Raging Swan Press' offerings or by hand-crafting one. Thankfully, the second generator for being stranded on a shore fares a bit better - while also generic, the respective entries come with more detail and features encounters, events, weather, messages in bottles, strangenesses and the like - I actually really liked this one.

12 different entries that explain the Loch Ness monster provide some nice ideas - giant zombie leech, for example. Just sayin' And yep, this one is nice.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious hiccups. layout adheres to a 1-column or 2-column standard, depending on the article, is b/w and pretty printer-friendly. The pdf lacks artworks and bookmarks, but at this price-point, that's okay.

James Edward Raggi IV is a talented author and designer, but this one feels like the (bad) B-sides collection of his rules-design scrapbook: The alternate progression-mechanics and crit/fumble systems are just bad ideas that remove any cohesion from the game. I can't see any value in them, apart from "It's random and deadly, yo - and that's totally OSR, right?" My own reply there would be "No", but I bet someone out there will like this. Personally, I loathe how arbitrary they dish out benefits and penalties - they are great ways to simulate playing with a really sucky GM who tells you "You can't act, dude - your wizard buddy rolled a 1!" So yeah, these components are pretty much the epitome of unfun for me. The wreckage generator, trap and Loch Ness table help remedying the file at least a bit, but, as a whole, this is the one Green Devil Face I'd strongly suggest skipping. Even at the low price-point, I don't consider this worth getting. My final verdict will clock in at 2 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Green Devil Face #5
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Green Devil Face #4
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/06/2017 05:29:43

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The fourth installment of LotFP's Green Devil face e-zine clocks in at a massive 73 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 3 pages of SRD, leaving us with 68 (!!!) pages of content. It should be noted that the pdf adheres to roughly an A5-layout (6'' by 9''), which means you can fit about 4 pages on a given sheet of paper when printing this, provided your eyes are good enough.

We begin with a brief class, the Knight of Science (as featured in No Dignity in Death/The People of Pembrooktonshire), who gains d8 HD (d10 in advanced edition games). They are immune to charm, sleep, hold or cold spells (hold or cold? Or do you choose one of that list?) and immune to all fear effects. They can hit creatures only vulnerable to magic (no problem) and those only vulnerable to special materials (which CAN be a problem). They gain a minimum of 6 hit points per level and only gain XP from slaying foes and burning their equipment. Knights are treated as Fighters, but at 5th level, the squire becomes a proper knight and gains a squire or 4 levels lower, as well as a cleric of at least level 5 (though never higher than the knight) and 10 0-level men-at-arms. The knight's abilities hinge on unwavering belief and thus, he loses his abilities if he ever changes his mind on ANYTHING - unless their previous opinion was founded on a lie. This makes them basically the ultimate hard-headed a-hole order. The equipment of the entourage is btw. included in the write-up.

James Edward Raggi IV's second article herein would be "The Tower" - which takes the quest of the classic fairy tale suitor for a princess, including besting guardians and finding her in the tower and puts a delightfully twisted LotFP-twist to the subject matter - nasty traps...and a rather unexpected inversion, that is. It should be noted that a detailed "Here's how it can work"-explanation makes this rather easy t run. No map is included, but the sidetrek doesn't necessarily need one. The next article by his pen introduces us to variants of animate dead for higher levels, an old-school attack-all-in-range spell, aptly named army of one, a spell to disguise as good beings, one to animate toys as killers, spewing forth noxious gas, blood oaths - there is quite an array of different options here! Have I mentioned the spell-stealing options and the mass-impregnating level 9 storm of fertility? Ouch. Now that we have taken a look at the dread magics of the loathsome Duvan'Ku cabal, we move on to their magic items, which include bags that hold spirits, cursed cornucopia-baskets, the Book of Faust, maddening grimoires, undead-enhancing caskets, the horrid dead signs, elixirs of fleeting love, undead pacifying flutes, cannibalism-inducing rings and worse.

A random inn generator, which includes names, visitors, staff and all, with special details given to the folks, is up next before we get a variant of the rod of wonder, the wand of the weird - which includes fingers turning to gold, growing third eyes or hostile hair...rather cool one.

A mini-adventure/dungeon with 19 rooms is up next, the House of Snails (map provided, hand-drawn) - cultists, baby snails and a big snail made of mother-of-pearl can be found here...made me remember a lesser known Conan-comic. Solid. After this one, the next such mini-adventure would be the Frog Cult - 27 sketched rooms (mapped once again), with a couple of named adversaries etc. and fights versus e.g. giant dung beetles.

The first article not penned by the master of LotFP would be the Room of Four Pits, an easy-to-insert encounter that features a classic riddle, potentially bringing the PCs in conflict with some rather nasty creatures. James Brian Murphy takes us to "The Sneaky Book Room" for another easily inserted encounter-room, where a mutating book beckons...

Zak Sabbath's up next, first with "The Child" - and it poses an uncommon conundrum: The PCs happen upon a child. It is honest, polite and innocent...and if the child dies, it'll turn into a horrid monstrosity...but if the PCs take care of the child for a long time, they'll be rewarded. "The chamber and the box" contains basically a tutorial mode for new players, while keeping the veterans busy as well - per se a nice idea.

R. Lawrence Blake's "The Tomb to die for/in" is a highly lethal 10-room mini-dungeon and by far my favorite so far herein: Halls of randomly biting faces, armor golems and a really nasty skeleton (20 HD fireball) make for a chellenging meat-grinder of a dungeon. Jonathan Becker introduces us to the culinary (and slightly disturbing) wonders of shrieker stew next, while his pool of testing encounter will reward only the brave...and penalize the greedy...What about a dog that speaks the common tongue and is actually rather helpful!

James Edward Raggi IV picks up the pen once more with a massive and helpful random treasure generator as well as a brief, one-page spell-point theory for use with old-school games. Solid, but not mind-boggling.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no formal hiccups, though rules-language isn't always as crisp as I've come to expect from LotFP. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard and the pdf has no artworks. The cartography ranges from solid to hand-drawn to pixelated and pretty rudimentary. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Kudos there!

James Edward Raggi IV, Zak Sabbath, R. Lawrence Blake, James Brian Murphy, Ramsey Dow and Jonathan Becker provide an excellent bang-for-buck-ratio here - the magazine is pretty inexpensive and considering that, the amount of material herein is impressive indeed. Surprisingly, I ended up enjoying the options provided by the less notorious/famous designers more in this one. Still, having e.g. the dead sign codified is cool and the encounters often do interesting things...though a couple are pretty standard. My favorite herein was definitely "The Tomb to Die For/In", but, as a whole, this offers some serious scavenging potential. In short: This is a good offering, though one that, to me, doesn't quite reach the level of awesomeness, Hence. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Green Devil Face #4
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Veins of the Earth
by Max V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/24/2017 19:49:23

This book is excellent. It is designed to be hacked into any game. The monsters are interesting and usable. I love the art style. This is the Underdark supplement I never knew that I wanted and so much more.

I am using it with Macchiato Monsters instead of LotFP and having a lot of fun watching my PC's slowly dwindle their food and light supplies.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Veins of the Earth
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