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Towers Two
by Andres S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/03/2018 15:49:46

Maybe the most fun, gross and bizarre Loftp adventure. Not only text as the ilustrations as well.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Towers Two
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Going Through Forbidden Otherworlds
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/22/2018 11:55:36

Going Through Forbidden Otherworlds, or GTFO (cute huh) is again a case of me getting something that is exactly what I need. While I am not going to play it as-is, there is a tweak mentioned in the book itself that works perfectly for me. In fact, a lot of this book works perfectly for me and my next set of adventures. I can't believe I am saying this, but I will turn up the gore factor in this Lamentations product for my needs.

Not a real fan of the art inside but I see why it works for this.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Going Through Forbidden Otherworlds
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Going Through Forbidden Otherworlds
by Raymond W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/17/2018 15:09:32

I have to admit that I'm a little disappointed. I'm a big fan of some of Zzarchov's other works, especially One-Thousand Dead Babies and The Gnomes of Levnec. This one has a good premise and some solid ideas, but it leaves a lot on the table. I was definitely irritated by the fact that it suggests you roll up any demons on the Lamentations table for the Summon spell, or the Random Esoteric Creature Generator. The adventure would have greatly benefited if the author had pre-generated a few of these on your behalf, allowing you to roll or choose which one, or go to the forementioned tables as a fallback. It just smacks of laziness.

There were some nice hooks, but the adventure doesn't talk much about what else you can do with the adventure location other than closing it. I can imagine that it could be a great place for PC mages to perform experiments, or to create their own transportation nexus. It can also be a great hook for future adventures (e.g. demon invasion).

Also, there isn't much to do for role-playing or any kind of faction play. The few encounters that aren't innately combative are pretty straightforward.

Finally, considering the location, I think there could be a bit more creepy atmospherics. The sole survivor, with flies embedded in his face, is probably the best step in that direction.

On the plus side, as I mentioned, the premise and the hooks are quite good. I really like the nastiness that happens when characters fall asleep in hell.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Weird New World
by Peter W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/17/2018 09:53:46

I ran the magician's cave section and it was joyful and puzzling. i wanna run the rest of this book, it's been the upper frozen part of my campaign world for years. raggi writing's dope and concise

downsides? the huge map at the end doesnt look easy to use, there's not a clear key I could find on one or two readthroughs, definitely not easy to print not that I've tried



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Weird New World
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World of the Lost
by Ivan S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/18/2018 06:38:09

I foudn this product tremendously hard to read, and grappled with it through to the end.

It has rules and tables aplenty, but to be honest it just never "got" me whilst making the slog through the book. The bestiary at the end is cool, I guess, but it fundamentally feels like it owers a fair bit to Carcosa, in a bad way, and it's weak in comparison to the other amazing LotFP books which do so much better.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
World of the Lost
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The Monolith from beyond Space and Time
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/10/2018 04:41:45

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This adventure clocks in at 52 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover,2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of back-list, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 43 pages of content, laid out for 6’’ by 9’’.

My review is primarily based on the print softcover version I received from one of my patreons, who requested a review of it at my convenience. I have also consulted the pdf-version to ascertain electronic features etc.

That being said, I would have reviewed this module either way. Why? Because it is one of the worst-reviewed Lamentations of the Flame Princess books, one that I only got for completion’s sake. I had the pdf-version for a while before this was requested by my patreons and only then started reading it. Now, usually, I steer clear of other reviews in order to avoid coloring my point of view. Here, I never expected to write a review when I got the book, and as such, was very cognizant of the backlash this generated.

Now, I am not saying that most reviews get it wrong – while there are some negative ratings and reviews that stem from being offended by a horror product, there are more eloquent ones out there that frankly made this sound like an unmitigated mess. To make that abundantly clear: I do not share this point of view, but I think I know where these notions come from. Hence, I will try to explain why this book did elicit these responses.

Let’s begin with a clarification of terminology; I promise to be brief: This is a lovecraftian adventure. The “n” here is important – this does NOT deal with Lovecraftiana or the Cthulhu mythos in the traditional sense. In fact, nowadays, we can make a claim that the mythos has actually ceased to have any notion of being “lovecraftian.” In stark contrast to most depictions of the Cthulhu mythos in media, the term “lovecraftian” usually denotes a sense of cosmic nihilism and futility oozing into our world; a sense of cosmic insignificance and unknowable forces. The sheer amount of material collected on Cthulhu et al. undermines this notion rather vividly and once the brave PCs/investigators have fired tank shells at ole’ Shubby, any sense of dread beyond that which a sword-wielding murder-hobo might feel in front of a dragon, has been thoroughly lost. In short: The mythos has been codified and elaborated upon to the point where, paradoxically, while obviously a crucial part of Lovecraftiana, it is no longer lovecraftian in the strictest sense of the word. Similarly, it does not attempt to depict the lovecraftian as seen through the lens of psychology, but more as the unfiltered, played glimpse at a harsh, Lacanian real.

The second unfair claim I have seen voiced against this module, is that it has “unfair” components. I’d frankly beg to differ. Yes, this is a very difficult module, but it is NOT difficult because of badly designed save-or-die mechanics. It does not just randomly punish PCs – all they experience is ultimately their own doing.

It is difficult because it actually works as a module for ANY levels. In fact, it may work better from mid- to high-level characters. How does it achieve that? Well, more than ANY OSR-module (and most RPG-modules, regardless of system), success in it is utterly and thoroughly contingent on PLAYER-skill. NO matter how optimized your character is, no matter how OP your items are, this module can and will destroy you if you are not up to your A-game. If you and your group usually just want to murder-hobo through a dungeon, then this will ANNIHILATE you. It should be noted that players with copious horror-gaming experience will be MUCH more likely to succeed here. This requires very methodical and smart PLAYERS.

There is no pattern on a global scale to the monolith’s effects – and there’s a reason for that – it is not sentient, and there is no global, guiding intelligence. It just IS. It is indifferent and weird. While the phenomena can be analyzed and exploited/bested, they cannot be made sense of. They cannot be explained away. This is actually very deliberate and smart here – because, y’ know, when does the horror-movie start to suck? When does the book start to fall apart? Bingo, when the authors explain too much and provide human motivations to beings/things that are more akin to forces of nature, inscrutable and unknowable. You can’t reason with the weather, but you can witness the tempest blaring or a tsunami, and you can observe patterns in these individual manifestations of it. There is serious fun in that, in finding the tricks for survival.

Even in this context, this remains a horror-module. Bad things will happen to PCs and a palpable doom hangs over everything. There is no true victory, but also no true defeat here. This is a difference in mentality that anyone with horror-experience, from CoC, to GUMSHOE or Ravenloft, will be familiar with – the fun in these horrific things is to roll with the curveballs they represent, not to complain about them.

It is actually pretty likely that the PCs will survive, but it is also very likely that the module will have serious repercussions that can change the course of whole campaigns.

The module is not only demanding on the players, though: This is a lovecraftian adventure and as such, it can include some seriously mind-bending components that require that a referee is capable of conveying somewhat mind-bending dissolutions of space and time in eloquent speech. It is my firm belief that quite a few folks who experienced this as less than fulfilling did so because the referee did not manage to convey the concepts, because the group did not approach this with the required, deliberate care. Granted, one weakness here is that the module does have a bit of James Edward Raggi IV’s sarcasm shining through, when one description comments “Good luck describing that to your players!” – that can feel like an insult to a referee who already did struggle with understanding the notion in question. It may be another reason why some considered this to be problematic. (In the Spoiler-section, I quote the passage in question, so you can see for yourself why this indeed requires some serious referee-mojo…but it’s definitely not impossible!)

To cut a long ramble short: If you like horror-gaming (and I’m not talking about some dark fantasy, slightly gritty hack and slash, but about HORROR; if your players are veterans and like challenges; if your group loves having their brains challenged; if you are an experienced referee, capable of conveying complex concepts in vivid descriptions, then this may well be a true masterpiece for you.

As an aside: This adventure can also double as a great scavenging toolbox – the encounters and weird effects basically demand being used, and a great degree of variance allows for a rather high replay value.

Now, to go into more details, I need to venture into SPOILER-territory. Folks who wish to actually play this module should jump ahead to the conclusion.

..

.

Somewhere in the world, a wooden valley has appeared. Mist-shrouded and uncivilized, in its midst, there is a strange monolith, a weird thing somewhere between rock and rotted flesh. It is into this valley that the PCs set foot. This, alone, may well be enough to doom them. No, I am not kidding you. You see, the distance to the monolith can be feet, yards, hundreds of yards, miles…or astronomical units. You roll once for dice-size/number, and one for the unit of measurement. You can, theoretically, end up with 1000 astronomical units of distance. See, that’s why I mentioned that smart and methodical PLAYERS are required – distance is recalculated every time the valley is entered. Failing to grasp the spatial distortion can essentially strand the PCs in a nigh-infinite valley. There is another complication that is utterly glorious: The monolith effects. Beyond the distance, there are 10 complex, global effects, one of which kicks in whenever the PCs enter the valley.

These include the “Doom of Hierarchy” – all members of the party roll a d20, rerolling ties. Everyone must obey the letter (if not the spirit) of an order issues by a member of the party with a higher roll. Slowed lifeforms. Oh, and if you really think your Referee-mojo is top-notch, try for “Light defeats Distance.” To give you a quote: “This condition prevents characters from traveling across space during the day, no matter how far they travel. Whatever destination the player characters have in mind, when they travel, they will appear to cross distances (and intervening terrain), but they will never get any closer to their destination and in fact will have not moved at all. They have effectively been walking in place the entire time. Thrown or discarded objects (or spells!) will be observed as traveling to their destination, but will never arrive. If something is tossed (or shot) from one person to another, the one throwing/shooting will perceive the object as reaching its target, while the character on the receiving end will perceive the object as having been wildly misdirected. The object will not be found again. Items can be physically passed from person to person normally.[…]”

Told you that this one would be a challenge, right? Can you see how some groups will be utterly flabbergasted and frustrated by this? I can. I can, however, also see how incredibly AMAZING this effect can be in the hands of a capable referee! Can you see the PLAYERS figure that one out and how to get past its effects? Oh yes. The mutation effect sports btw. no less than 20 different entries in a subtable. Impossible weather, distorted time flow…and what if the monolith makes things the PCs and players wish for come true? These effects alone had me grin my most malicious of GM-grins – and indeed, they are relevant beyond the confines of the rules-system for which they were written.

This emphasis on PLAYER-skill over PC-skill btw. continues throughout the whole module. There are exactly two possible encounters en route to the monolith that are more classic: The first is an encounter with a nudist colony of pacifists, supernaturally ageless and fertile, the colony subsisting on its own children. Yes, this is disturbing. Yes, that would be the shock-value encounter to piss off folks. It didn’t do much for me, but neither was I offended. The second deals with basically a mutated, ginormous angler-fish monstrosity, which would be a perfect place to note that Aeron Alfrey’s illustrations throughout the module are PHENOMENAL. Weird, disturbing, glorious art. Love them.

Anyways, the more interesting encounter would be the contribution by none other than Kenneth Hite, who wrote “The Owl’s Service.” The PCs happen upon strange statues ringing a clearing, a corpse, which may have a possession that is starkly like one held by the PCs – and in the aftermath, the PCs may well find their SPELLSLOTS infested by owls after disturbing dreams. The infestation may well spread…and the head of that corpse was bashed in…perhaps to let out the owls? There is no explanation here; no easy remedy. Just a plainly weird and encroaching doom that any campaign can handle as befitting of its own paradigms and dynamics. It could be just a curse to remove, but it similarly could be a world-threatening magical disease that spreads from caster to caster…

Arriving at the monolith has its own hazards and, indeed, represents another potential fallout during/after the adventure – seeing the monolith has the PCs invaded by microscopic invaders, whose civilizations in them rise and fall, becoming even more hyper-advanced. Unfortunately, this also hijacks the PCs when they are asleep, making them invincible killing machines with a pretty extensive kill-boundary. Once more, this is provided as a problem that can have dire consequences for the PCs, but when handled properly, it can make for a truly horrific revelation at the table…and solving the problem can be amazing. Unlike the owls-issue, closing the monolith can deal with this one, rendering them dormant…but yeah. I can see how these invaders can really irk folks only used to “I’m good, therefore I kill evil stuff.”

The monolith also has a guardian, who is a rather dangerous entity…and once more, represents something the PCs can’t bash apart. See a theme there? As noted above, this is not a module you can rollplay to win.

The inside of the monolith continues this almost psychedelic nightmare – there is only the way in which the character is facing. Closing eyes also ends the way, entrapping the character, unable to move until the eyes are once more opened to The Way. The tunnel is always in front of the character, a single line. Distance does not truly exist, and an example of how this works is given – within the monolith, the PCs have basically already reached the treasure-chamber…if the players understand how to get to it! The monolith allows access to other worlds and times, contains strange healing pods – and attempts to find the “control room” or the like will actually have the PCs within the brain of the respective PC who voiced that wish. And yes, destroying stuff there may not be wise. Weaponry-wise, the PCs can find a slime/ooze-drinking worm-symbiote…and the head of Carter Holmes. This is actually the main “treasure” of the adventure, and it is twisted. The man is a thoroughly vile magic-user. Pardon. Was. He’s just a head now. Literally confined to this place for all eternity. He wants to die. And tells the PCs about the kewl loot they can get – they just need to eat his brain. Yes. The disembodied head offers for his brain to be eaten.

If your players think that eating the brain of a thoroughly wicked magic-user in a weird dimension-warping monolith is a good idea, then they totally deserve what they get – for better and worse, for Carter’s brain can convey 6 unique spells, all of which are comparably very potent; similarly, PCs may gain agelessness (at a potentially dire cost…), faster reflexes or the option to move between the lines…but he was a loathsome, despicable psycho. As such, the PCs may also have their minds tainted by his horrible insights, which double as serious insanities. It’s all about the luck here – and if they complain, you seriously just have to point out that they ATE A BRAIN to get power.

How can the monolith be banished? How can the PCs win in this nightmare? You can hold the door shut. From the inside. For an eternity. Yes, there is no easy solution. There is no cop out.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are topnotch on a formal and rules-language level. I noticed no serious hiccups. Layout adheres to a 2-column b/w-standard and the artworks, as mentioned above, are b/w and Gigeresque in their amazing weirdness. The softcover has the letters on the spine and is solid. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and s layered, so if you want to save ink/toner, you can turn off background etc. – huge kudos there! The module sports no cartography, but needs none.

Now, I have only touched on some highlights featured herein – James Edward Raggi IV’s module actually contains more than I mentioned. I also tried to remain as opaque as possible, mainly because the emphasis on player-skill/encountering the horror as the central tenet and focus of the adventure.

If you’re looking for an easy-to-run, low-impact, generic hex-crawl with a bit of weirdness and tentacles, then look elsewhere. This is not what you’re looking for.

Similarly, if you’re relatively new to GMing, or if your players have no experience with horror-gaming, with problems that can’t be solved by rolling high enough, then you may want to ease them into horror-gaming with other modules.

If, however, you’re an experienced referee and if your players are experienced and smart as well, if they enjoy weirdness and strange problems that can’t be solved by waving a metal stick at them, then this is a psychedelic masterpiece of a nightmarescape. A good litmus-test may be whether you and yours enjoy purist-Cthulhu-modules: Do you like the weirdness, the fact that only your wits stand between you and death/gibbering insanity? Can you live with strange and dire effects? Do you like roleplaying the solving of complex and bafflingly weird phenomena that highlight the uncaring and hostile nature of the cosmos? Then, oh boy, will you love this one!

To make that abundantly clear – I am not trying to disparage other reviewers and folks who did not like this; I can see this crash and burn horribly for newbies, for folks that need a focused leitmotif/mystery to solve, for groups that have only ever played fantasy, etc.. Unlike Death Frost Doom, for example, this is not even dark fantasy. This is cosmic horror, pure and simple. Its premises are different, its focus is different and its challenges are different – there is no overwhelming force, no super-strong foe, no easy solution – just the uncaring, insentient, almost divine obelisk.

So yeah, many, though not all, points of criticism voiced against this module can be considered to be valid to a degree.

At the same time, I’d argue that these bemoaned points are actually features, not bugs. They are very deliberate design-decisions rooted in an aesthetic that differs radically from traditional D&D-esque adventure-design. They are not made to screw over PCs, but to present truly horrifying challenges to the players. How you navigate and solve them is another thing, but to me, this module is more successful in its attempted and clearly-stated design-goals than 90% of CoC-modules I’ve read. Considering the very clear mission statement, I cannot help but think of this as a resounding success. I am probably going to get some blowback for this, but personally, I prefer this over pretty much all of the early LotFP-modules.

Why? Because it dares to be radically, defiantly DIFFERENT. Because it, in spite of being downright brutal, this adventure is actually inspiring. As an aside: Most of the global effects and challenges herein translate rather well to more complex systems or more rules-lite systems, courtesy of their focus on player-capabilities over those of PCs.

This adventure is weird. It is challenging. And I am 100% positive that no player that went through it will ever forget it. It absolutely DEMANDS a truly experienced referee and similarly skilled players, but it delivers for them, in spades.

My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval. If you’re a fan of horror-adventures and feel like the above has resounded like something you’d enjoy, then consider this to be a must-own purchase, regardless of system you’re playing in.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Monolith from beyond Space and Time
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The Magnificent Joop van Ooms
by Patrick M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/31/2018 05:58:42

wonderful! And very beautiful! Lots of useful material packed in a few pages. It's a shame I can't get a hard copy.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Magnificent Joop van Ooms
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Frostbitten & Mutilated
by Daniel E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/18/2018 18:12:46

An awesome collection of ideas! Unlearn what you have learned and start running an interesting game. This book along with Vornheim: The complete city kit is a great place to begin the journey away from WOTC cookie cutter adventures for children, and run a next level game!!

Go head and buy this. No Ragrets, not even a single letter

"No more WOTC fluff, by yourself some heady stuff"

Thanks for Vornheim part 2 Zak waiting for 3!! And we need a world map!! -Silver0wl



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Frostbitten & Mutilated
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Frostbitten & Mutilated
by Grant E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/18/2018 00:16:47

The Wonderful and Brutal work of Frostbitten and Mutilated achieves the goals it sets before itself, I believe. While I'm not a mind-reader, the artist clearly states intents on how to use the book.

They then present terrifying and beautiful things. Cold things, secret things, hard things, and new things... all before the backdrop of the Devoured Land.

The images in the book provoke you to action. This is an exercise in overtones with brilliant use of a subject.

As striking as the words and images are, it doesn't mean much of anything if you don't use the book. I used the book.

What I found was a carefully laid out set of tools that could be accessed and introduced during a session. I took the liberty of converting from LotFP to my chosen system (I do this all the time) and my players LOVED the feeling they had exploring this strange new world of warrior women and danger.

My flowery language and high praise might come off as too much, so let's paraphrase:

This work is metal af. \m/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Frostbitten & Mutilated
by Ron R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/14/2018 19:37:12

You should get this if your fantasy game features snow, ice, tribes, witches, animals, giants, the wilderness or if you like lovely scratchy artwork. Although it's for Lamentations of the Flame Princess/OSR systems, that just means the mechanics are nice and simple and easy to port over to other editions of the world's greatest fantasy game. This is a must-have for any GM that keeps a Viking helmet stashed away somewhere.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Veins of the Earth
by Rachel B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/24/2018 07:49:28

Fuck. Yeah.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Veins of the Earth
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The Magnificent Joop van Ooms
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/21/2018 04:25:16

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at 19 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page back cover; additionally, the absolutely GORGEOUS artwork on front- and back-cover has been reproduced in total as a final page, so you can marvel at this Jason Rainville’s masterpiece in full. This leaves us with 15 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review was requested by one of my patreons.

We begin this supplement with a recap of Dutch history and their current place in the world, leading up to the assumed starting date of the supplement, namely 1615 AD, with currently a truce with Spain and a few overseas settlements existing. Tactics and warfare are mentioned, and by the status of morals back then, the Dutch were rather progressive and permissive, as is the wont with centers of culture and progress. This mentality obvious centers on Amsterdam, and thus, we get some dressing and supplemental material focusing on the city: We get, for example, 50 diverse and interesting hooks for adventures/encounter set-ups/rumors for the wharves as well as brief rules for the flourishing black market and selling/procuring objects – you roll 2d6 and add Charisma modifier.

In case you haven’t noticed by now – no, this is not an adventure module, in spite of the logo on the cover. Instead, this is basically an extended NPC-portrait of the eponymous Joop van Ooms. How would you describe this fellow? Well, stat-wise, he is pretty boring, a level 6 magic-user. He is a polymath, inventor, architect, and he actually was also a superb athlete, but has been reduced to simple physical mediocrity by a war-wound sustained in the war against the Spanish. Joop is basically a Super-Da Vinci; he is FAR beyond anyone in his time period regarding intellectual capacities and morals. He openly maintains that Protestants and Catholics should not quarrel, that Jews should have full rights, that Muslims are no different from Christians, that e.g. Africans, natives of India etc. should be masters of their own realms…and he actually has been caught in homosexual activity as well.

Now, usually one of these would suffice to see him potentially eliminated, but the affected personality of the eccentric artist as well as his genius do provide some leeway, and his massive financial power also means he can support charitable causes. And yes, he has both Int and Cha 18. He’ll need it, after all, he has gained his own beliefs in a way that resounded profusely with me: He has gazed beyond the void, literally, realizing the utter meaninglessness and futility of all human existence, which consequently made him realize the error of the quarrelsome dividing lines drawn by his fellow men. Instead of the by now cliché descent into madness, Joop has experienced this as somewhat liberating and thus seeks to spread his progressive ideas, born out of a cheerful nihilism. This mentality echoed very much with mine and made the character, in spite of his arrogance, rather sympathetic to me. Indeed, you know…one could actually call Joop a really good guy from our perspective.

Joop also has a faithful right-hand man, namely the former slave Gilles de Rais, freed by Ooms and saved from certain death, this powerful and impeccably dressed man is just as impressive in his own way. Of course, such colorful individuals will need a personal secretary – this would be the effeminate Henry VIII (real name Geert Bogaers), who is also often the butt of Ooms’ jokes. And yes, Joop will NOT meet anyone who has not gone through Henry. Even the Prince of Orange once had to apologize to Henry to meet Ooms. They seem bound to self-destruct. The pdf also contains a fully mapped, 7-floor studio of Joop – though, annoyingly, we can’t turn off the letters on the maps; no player-friendly maps are provided.

Now, it should be noted that there is a leitmotif to the magic inherent in Joop’s art: The number 8 is tied to malign purposes and strange effects: For example, enemies that force him to work for them, may well have a room that kills you on the 888th night you sleep there; becoming ill after the 8th meal partaken in a room; animating every 8th statue when no one is watching…you get the idea. In a cool easter-egg, the layered pdf has an 8-layer, allowing you to eliminate the 8th and every multiple of 8 entry from the tables, to make the pdf Joop-safe. Cool! The respective effects are intriguing and pretty damn cool. The same goes for his dramatizations, for Joop’s plays can yield some interesting effects, particularly for humans. Demi-humans will have no fun with Joop’s plays, for his human-centric stance makes these plays dangerous for them…but can also fortify others against e.g. The King in Yellow’s influence, render temporarily immune against sexually-transmitted diseases…and as a humanist, his plays also may render all cleric scrolls blank, all ammunition useless, etc. – yes, PCs may become VERY annoyed by this man. Another problem of his strange plays: If not executed perfectly, they can have…unpleasant consequences.

As a student of Da Vinci, Joop has created a super-deadly Golden Gun - 1d100 damage. Ouch. Every shot destroys 1d100% of the gun’s value…but why care? You’ve got a 1d100 damage gun! RAW, it is NOT destroyed when its value falls to 0 sp in a weird lapse of rules-integrity. In a cliché, he also has a submarine in his basement, a helicopter on his roof. Both are not exactly 100% reliable, but yeah. The rules here are also weird: A maneuver of the helicopter, for example, is based on 2d6 + randomly chosen Strength, Constitution or Charisma (How? Why? I don’t get it… the pdf attempts to rationalize it, but doesn’t do a good or plausible job there.) modifier.

Portraits Joop paints make what’s on them turn real – as seen on the cover, where he smudges the face of a patron. Frescoes have another effect: He has managed to trap living beings inside them: Animals, and yes, even kids – Joop is not a nice man. With his vision, he does plan on trying to paint Jesus in a church…and the consequence may well be interesting. His poetry can timeshift beings forward or backwards in time. Statues he crafts have a hollow – upon the living subject's death, a piece of them may be inserted, allowing Joop to question the targets.

The pdf also comes with a variety of adventure hooks: On August the 8th, for example, Joop dies – his prophecy comes true and a rain of meteors destroys Earth within a week. Prevent this…but how? His submarine can make PCs explore the depth; influential merchants and creatures may attempt to get rid of him…and what if someone can get his hands on an early stage play? Joop can provide a huge amount of potential angles.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting on a formal level are excellent. On a rules-level, we get no spellbook for Joop and a few instances where his magic arts could be tighter in the rules language they employ. Layout adheres to a 2-column b/w-standard and interior artwork is nice and in b/w. The pdf comes with full, nested bookmarks for your convenience. The layer-based easter egg of the pdf is really neat, but I wished we got a proper player-friendly map of Joop’s studio. Cartography is b/w. I cannot comment on the print version and its merits or lack thereof, since I do not own it.

James Edward Raggi IV’s Joop van Ooms is a cool character that is balancing on the razor’s edge between visionary and villain. His modern sensibilities and per se noble intentions will resound with a contemporary audience, but on the other hand, his capricious hedonism and at this unreasonable lack of responsibility can easily cast him as a most devious and grating adversary. Joop is, in a way, a Gary Stu artist – he is literally legendary in pretty much every art he attempts and as such, can almost feel like the worst kind of GM-PC if not handled with care. As both an ally/patron and as an adversary, Joop can be abused very badly and needs to be handled with care.

It should also be noted that Joop does not make for an easily integrated character. He is very much tied to his time and age, and his behavior would not be considered scandalous in most settings; it only really works in contrast to a medieval/ darker early modern setting, preferably one based on our world. Joop works because he is a gigantic anachronism that goes beyond Jules Vernes; I could e.g. picture him as a regular Castle Falkenstein character if you strip away the imminent doom for the world that his very existence engenders. He also basically requires players that are truly enmeshed in historical accuracy of the time to work properly as shocking; otherwise, our contemporary mindsets will invariably make him look like a beacon of light in a darker age. That being said, his golden gun and functional Da Vinci vehicles feel oddly gonzo for LotFP’s earth-based supplements. More important for me, though, would be that the rules for the magic art are not nearly as tight as usual for LotFP-supplements. One thing I tend to love about Raggi’s offerings is the fact that the complex concepts they touch upon also are represented in a crisp and concise manner, and in comparison, this supplement is simply less precise.

I am, as a whole, also not a fan of concentrating all the cool ideas for magic art on one character: Having a full-length sourcebook with different characters and magic arts, with the arts themselves expanded, would be an amazing book; by focusing all on one character, both Gm and Players will have a hard-time of not feeling sidelined by Joop’s near godlike powers. Is this a good supplement? Well, it kinda is…and at the same time, it’s not. This is a very specific supplement, for a very specific target demographic. It is hard to use properly and the multi-faceted and complex character of Joop is basically a superhero (or villain) in a world where characters die like flies after botching a save versus poison. There is a lot to love here, but also a lot to hate…and honestly, the small inconsistencies make me fall closer to the latter end of the spectrum; as a person, I consider Joop to be a bit too all-powerful if played to the capabilities that his stats demand. And yes, I love his ideology of a positive, cheerful and somewhat decadent nihilism, but that should not influence the review. As a reviewer, I can see his appeal, yes, but it is more specialized and limited than the material herein really warrants and requires. Hence, my final verdict will be 3.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Magnificent Joop van Ooms
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Vornheim: The Complete City Kit
by Bryan B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/26/2018 17:08:39

Vornheim: The Complete City Kit is, without a doubt, one of the most useful RPG books I've ever come across. If you plac to run adventures in cities--or allow your players to have their characters run rampant in cities--you owe it to yourself to purchase this book. While it has a fair amount of information on the eponymous city, if you don't plan to run in your version of Vornheim, many of the snippets of information are great for inspiration and kicking off ideas for your own cities. The rules for urban crawls and randomly generating neighborhoods and houses are wonderful. The charts and tables--including ones you are intended to print out and roll directly on--are extremely useful. I really can't say enough about how great this book is, and the PDF is worth every bit of the price.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vornheim: The Complete City Kit
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A Single, Small Cut
by Justin I. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/26/2018 15:14:26

A Single, Small Cut is an extended encounter for Lamentations of the Flame Princess written by one of my favorite adventure writers, Michael Curtis.

The encounter centers around the Order of Kites. They are a religious order of heathen slayers made up of desperate men. They fight fire with fire and confiscate tools of deviltry and paganism to slay their foes. One such tool was the Red Bell which could summon a creature dubbed the Corrector of Sins.The bell was buried with the leader of the order that used it.

At the beginning of the adventure, an enterprising wizard heard the legend of the bell, gathered ruffians, and decided to pay the Order a visit. After killing the parishioners and order, he's decided to claim the tool as his own,

This is when the party arrives. They are met by one of the bandits in disguise (who is being supported by crossbowmen in the rafters). After a social encounter (that can turn violent) the villains and pc's are confronted by the Corrector.

I want to take a second to talk about the Collector of Souls. That's him on the cover. The beast is formed from the dead bodies found with 50 feet of it. It's a shambling abomination of mangled flesh and internal organs. The description includes mention of "flailing tendrils of human intestines terminating in snapping sphincters." If you were wandering where the LotFP weirdness came in, that's it.

The party seeks out the church, encounters the rogues, encounter the Corrector, seize and learn how to use the bell (?).

Like most LotFP adventures, the adventure is nominally set on Earth. However, change the references of Satanic to diabolic and you're good. For example if I were to set this in Faerun, I think the order would be fanatics of Helm. If I put it on Oerth, they would definitely be a faction related to Pholtus.

This is a great encounter and definitely worth the two dollar price tag.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Single, Small Cut
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Tales of the Scarecrow
by Justin I. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/26/2018 15:13:30

Tales of the Scarecrow is a mini adventure/site for your Lamentations of the Flame Princess or other OSR games. If you think  you'll ever play it, stop reading now.

Written by James Raggi, Tales of the Scarecrow clocks in at 10 pages (including front cover, table of contents, and the back cover).

The set-up is simple. The party will wonder through a cornfield, investigate a farm house, and then find themselves trapped. Beneath the cornfield is a eldritch grabboid-esque horror. Unfortunately the water and corn the players have access to will kill them, so the scenario becomes a test of creativity and survival.

This scenario has a lot going for it. The writing is fantastic and the premise is interesting. There are three really cool items. The first is a sword that can be a bane or boon. The second is a Book of Vile Darkness-esque blasphemous spellbook. Finally, there's the Tales of the Scarecrow, which is a storybook found on a desk. This is one of my favourite parts because it's the players chance to flex their weird and creative muscles. Players get to come up with the story of the scarecrow. Whoever creates the most interesting and/or dangerous gets an XP bonus and  the scarecrow gets imbued with that power.

While it's short, this is one of my favourite LofFP releases because it really lets the player's creative energies flow. Also, the adventure has one of my favourite pieces of Flame Princess artwork. If you don't want to play in LotFP's early modern era setting, this can be placed in any setting really.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tales of the Scarecrow
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