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GM's Miscellany: Village Backdrops I (SNE)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/23/2017 04:09:05

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This compilation of Raging Swan Press' critically-acclaimed and well-received Village Backdrop-series is a massive 89 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 2 pages of editorial/foreword, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 81 pages of content - so let's get this on, shall we?

Okay, first things first: This is NOT the same book as Village Backdrops I for Pathfinder! Instead, we have a different compilation on our hands. This is evident pretty much from the get-go, with a different page-count – but also with a slightly different organization and villages featured. The book, for example, begins with a brief chapter that should provide a helpful guide for GMs and prospective designers alike to make compelling villages, going through the process step by step, often with random tables to roll for sample names, general events to flesh out, etc. More importantly, the book notes important aspects from industry to history to contemplate and can help a GM keep his/her focus while designing. From basics like conflicts, flavor etc. to tables to determine government, alignment, prominent features, industry, population, notable buildings, conflicts and secrets, to 100 sample village names, 20 generic events and even 20 traditions, we essentially get all the tools to create iconic villages on the fly. This section really helps cutting down preparation/design-time, so kudos!

Now, there are some old acquaintances from the PFRPG book in this one: Plague-riddled Ashford, for example – ravaged by the bubonic plague, it is not a nice place to visit and its depiction is nice…and in the system-neutral iteration, I can’t well complain about a lack of bubonic plague stats, now, can I? However, there is another aspect worth mentioning for OSR-purists: The respective fluff-only NPC-write-ups, designed to give you a general inkling of the power-level of the respective beings, do use e.g. “wizard” or “rogue” as the classes referenced – while most GMs/referees won’t mind, some may be annoyed by not using “magic-user” and “thief”, respectively. This may be cosmetic, but it is an instant where the pdf is inconsistent with itself – some entries do use “thief” instead, though “magic-user” is nowhere to be found herein.

Thornhill, White Moon Cove and Longbridge make for other villages that are shared by the 5e and PFRPG-iteration. Beyond these, however, other villages that have since been released for 5e have been included, like the really atmospheric Wellswood, with its easy access to the lightless realms…

From there, we move on to Black Wyvern (which is easily the most boring of Raging Swan’s pirate-centric villages, alas) and then to the aptly-named, amazing Bleakflat. Coldwater, with its weird, deformed populace and evocative Kingsfell. Lanthorn, with its eponymous magical lights can also be found – and would be as well a place as any to note that, while it does sport a market place section, not all villages have one. Similarly, the magical lanterns that lend this place its unique flair could have used some mechanics or at least guidelines, as far as I’m concerned – the conversion of the crunchier bits falls by the wayside here and there…though e.g. the magical drugs in Suurin are properly covered and get some neat OSR-rules. Extra-kudos there!

Even then, the pdf has some real gems to offer – like Mike Welham’s rather amazing village of kinda friendly undead…oh, yeah, there’s this nasty curse-thingy going on…never mind that, all right? ;) Kidding aside, oddly, this one doesn’t get a marketplace section either. If you require a more in-depth break-down of the villages in question, please consult my individual reviews for their installments.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good – I noticed no undue accumulation of hiccups. Layout adheres to a neat two-column b/w-standard that is easy on the eyes and printer-friendly. The pdf sports an impressive array of great b/w-artwork and the cartography provided for the respective villages is amazing. As a pdf, the book comes in two versions, with one being particularly printer-friendly and one optimized for screen-use. The pdfs come fully bookmarked for your convenience. I cannot comment on the print version, since I do not own it.

Creighton Broadhurst, Richard Green, Marc Radle, Jeff Gomez and Mike Welham are all talented writers – that much is evident at first glance when reading the intriguing villages collected in this compilation. The villages, in short, adhere to Raging Swan Press’s high quality standards and all have several unique angles to use in the game. The system neutral version has the advantage of me not being able to criticize inconsistencies among marketplace sections and lack of crunchy bits, sure – but the minor nomenclature inconsistencies, already present in the constituent files, could easily have been purged or at least unified.

Don’t get me wrong – this is a great collection of evocative villages, but at the same time, it feels like it could have used a final, unifying pass t make sure that the minor hiccups have all been purged. This does not make this compilation anything less than inspiring, sure, but it remains a nagging hiccup that irks me more than it probably should. If you liked what I had to say about the respective, formidable villages, but haven’t gotten them yet, then consider this to be a must-own book. If you have them already and hoped for a final improvement for the print-compilation, though – well, then you may end up disappointed at a very high level. My final verdict will hence clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
GM's Miscellany: Village Backdrops I (SNE)
Click to show product description

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Publisher Reply:
Thanks for the review, old chum. I'm glad you liked the compilation, but sad we didn't knock it out of the park this time. Thanks again!
GM's Miscellany: Village Backdrops I (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/23/2017 04:06:38

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This compilation of Raging Swan Press' critically-acclaimed and well-received Village Backdrop-series is a massive 89 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 2 pages of editorial/foreword, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 81 pages of content - so let's get this on, shall we?

Okay, first things first: This is NOT the same book as Village Backdrops I for Pathfinder! Instead, we have a different compilation on our hands. This is evident pretty much from the get-go, with a different page-count – but also with a slightly different organization and villages featured. The book, for example, begins with a brief chapter that should provide a helpful guide for GMs and prospective designers alike to make compelling villages, going through the process step by step, often with random tables to roll for sample names, general events to flesh out, etc. More importantly, the book notes important aspects from industry to history to contemplate and can help a GM keep his/her focus while designing. From basics like conflicts, flavor etc. to tables to determine government, alignment, prominent features, industry, population, notable buildings, conflicts and secrets, to 100 sample village names, 20 generic events and even 20 traditions, we essentially get all the tools to create iconic villages on the fly. This section really helps cutting down preparation/design-time, so kudos!

Now, there are some old acquaintances from the PFRPG book in this one: Plague-riddled Ashford, for example – ravaged by the bubonic plague, it is not a nice place to visit and its depiction is nice…though I do wish the pdf had included 5e-stats for the bubonic plague that’s ravaging the place. Thornhill, White Moon Cove and Longbridge make for other villages that are shared by the 5e and PFRPG-iteration. Beyond these, however, other villages that have since been released for 5e have been included, like the really atmospheric Wellswood, with its easy access to the lightless realms…

From there, we move on to Black Wyvern (which is easily the most boring of Raging Swan’s pirate-centric villages, alas) and then to the aptly-named, amazing Bleakflat. Coldwater, with its weird, deformed populace and evocative Kingsfell. Lanthorn, with its eponymous magical lights can also be found – and would be as well a place as any to note that, while it does sport a market place section, not all villages have one. Similarly, the magical lanterns that lend this place its unique flair could have used some mechanics, as far as I’m concerned – the conversion of the crunchier bits falls by the wayside here and there…though e.g. the magical drugs in Suurin are properly covered.

Even then, the pdf has some real gems to offer – like Mike Welham’s rather amazing village of kinda friendly undead…oh, yeah, there’s this nasty curse-thingy going on…never mind that, all right? ;) Kidding aside, oddly, this one doesn’t get a marketplace section either. If you require a more in-depth break-down of the villages in question, please consult my individual reviews for their installments.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good – I noticed no undue accumulation of hiccups. Layout adheres to a neat two-column B/w-standard that is easy on the eyes and printer-friendly. The pdf sports an impressive array of great b/w-artwork and the cartography provided for the respective villages is amazing. As a pdf, the book comes in two versions, with one being particularly printer-friendly and one optimized for screen-use. The pdfs come fully bookmarked for your convenience. I cannot comment on the print version, since I do not own it.

Creighton Broadhurst, Richard Green, Marc Radle, Jeff Gomez and Mike Welham are all talented writers – that much is evident at first glance when reading the intriguing villages collected in this compilation. The villages, in short, adhere to Raging Swan Press’s high quality standards and all have several unique angles to use in the game. That being said, I am not 100% satisfied with the 5e-conversions in all of them – the missing plague, for example, and the inconsistent supplemental material provided can make for valid reasons to complain against this compilation – basically, the weaker aspects of the original files have not been overhauled for this. That being said, this is still a more than worthy offering; there is a lot of amazing gaming material herein. My final verdict will hence clock in at 4.5 stars, though I feel I have to round down for this one.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
GM's Miscellany: Village Backdrops I (5e)
Click to show product description

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Publisher Reply:
Thanks for the review, old chum. I'm glad you liked the compilation, but sad we didn't knock it out of the park this time. Thanks again!
Places of Power: Raveneye Sanatorium
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/17/2017 04:05:44

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Places of Power-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So, we all have presumably played an adventure in a Sanatorium, right? At least those of us who enjoy dark fantasy and roleplaying games will know the tropes at this point. There's a reason for that, and it is mainly due to reality and how we see sanatoriums and the treatment methods employed there - while, from our modern perspective, e.g. lobotomies may look barbaric, not so long ago, they were considered to be a fantastic, extremely humane form of treatment. The advances in medicine have colored our view of these facilities and that bleeds, of course, into the games we play.

This modern notion of medicine has influenced and shaped the respective representations of sanatoriums in the fantasy games we play - which btw. is closer to a Early Modern period in mindset and technology than the Medieval Age, but that as an aside. Sanatoriums are a pretty recent innovation, as far as our species is concerned, so we do have, by definition, a sort of anachronism here. At the same time, however, it is surprising that the original spirit of sanatoriums has not really been represented in gaming -the idea of healing the body and mind in an environment conductive for such treatments is something I have only very rarely seen in gaming -perchance due to the prevalence of divine magic. Now, if one takes into account, however, the different afflictions that beings can have in a fantastic context, the institution suddenly makes sense once more - from curses to possessions and worse, there are plenty of afflictions that aren't easily healed by means of magic. This is where this sanatorium comes in.

The institution is headed by a rather brilliant scholar, with further staff being a doctor prone to quick diagnosis, a none-too-nice chief of staff...and the fortified grounds include a garden and some fluffy write-ups for patients - from beings halfway transformed to a skum, kept here to prevent the poor being from going to the ocean, to the possessed, with malignant spirits seeking freedom, the patients here are dangerous...and include benevolent werewolves. Still, with the marketplace section of neat items to purchase and 6 sample rumors (some being nasty and playing to the bad reputation of sanatoriums) as well as 6 events, we have an overall great locale...and if you do want to use this in a more traditional manner, you're covered - one NPC can be used as a malignant infiltrator and BBEG, if you wish to use the place in a more traditional manner...or if you want to have this place of healing transform...or come under threat.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The b/w-artwork of the sanitarium is an amazing pieces. The pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for screen-use and one optimized to be printed out. The cartography by Maciej Zagorski is well-made and in b/w. Supporters of Raging Swan Press' patreon can get access to a player-friendly, key-less version of the map, at least to my knowledge.

David N. Ross' sanatorium is a great place - it inverts the traditional expectations of such locales in roleplaying games, while still allowing for the use in a traditional context. the characters presented, from the staff to the patients, are similarly colorful, with most being capable of carrying at least a session or sidequest, making this a rewarding place to include in your game. In short, the pdf is great and rewarding for the low and very fair price point. The optional trope inversion adds a nice level to this pdf as well - nothing to complain regarding this gem. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Places of Power: Raveneye Sanatorium
Click to show product description

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Publisher Reply:
Fantastic! Thank you for the review. I'm delighted you enjoyed Raveneye so much!
Places of Power: Raveneye Sanatorium (SNE)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/17/2017 04:04:01

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Places of Power-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So, we all have presumably played an adventure in a Sanatorium, right? At least those of us who enjoy dark fantasy and roleplaying games will know the tropes at this point. There's a reason for that, and it is mainly due to reality and how we see sanatoriums and the treatment methods employed there - while, from our modern perspective, e.g. lobotomies may look barbaric, not so long ago, they were considered to be a fantastic, extremely humane form of treatment. The advances in medicine have colored our view of these facilities and that bleeds, of course, into the games we play.

This modern notion of medicine has influenced and shaped the respective representations of sanatoriums in the fantasy games we play - which btw. is closer to a Early Modern period in mindset and technology than the Medieval Age, but that as an aside. Sanatoriums are a pretty recent innovation, as far as our species is concerned, so we do have, by definition, a sort of anachronism here. At the same time, however, it is surprising that the original spirit of sanatoriums has not really been represented in gaming -the idea of healing the body and mind in an environment conductive for such treatments is something I have only very rarely seen in gaming -perchance due to the prevalence of divine magic. Now, if one takes into account, however, the different afflictions that beings can have in a fantastic context, the institution suddenly makes sense once more - from curses to possessions and worse, there are plenty of afflictions that aren't easily healed by means of magic. This is where this sanatorium comes in.

The institution is headed by a rather brilliant scholar, with further staff being a doctor prone to quick diagnosis, a none-too-nice chief of staff...and the fortified grounds include a garden and some fluffy write-ups for patients - from beings halfway transformed to a skum, kept here to prevent the poor being from going to the ocean, to the possessed, with malignant spirits seeking freedom, the patients here are dangerous...and include benevolent werewolves. Still, with 6 sample rumors (some being nasty and playing to the bad reputation of sanatoriums) as well as 6 events, we have an overall great locale...and if you do want to use this in a more traditional manner, you're covered - one NPC can be used as a malignant infiltrator and BBEG, if you wish to use the place in a more traditional manner...or if you want to have this place of healing transform...or come under threat. Really nice, btw.: The system neutral version, big plus, actually does come with a marketplace section of goods and services to acquire, which is really nice to see. As a VERY minor nitpick, some NPCs are called "wizards", not "magic-users."

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious glitches. Layout adheres to raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The b/w-artwork of the sanitarium is an amazing pieces. The pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for screen-use and one optimized to be printed out. The cartography by Maciej Zagorski is well-made and in b/w. Supporters of Raging Swan Press' patreon can get access to a player-friendly, key-less version of the map, at least to my knowledge.

David N. Ross' sanatorium is a great place - it inverts the traditional expectations of such locales in roleplaying games, while still allowing for the use in a traditional context. the characters presented, from the staff to the patients, are similarly colorful, with most being capable of carrying at least a session or sidequest, making this a rewarding place to include in your game. In short, the pdf is great and rewarding for the low and very fair price point. The optional trope inversion adds a nice level to this pdf as well - nothing to complain regarding this gem. This pdf doesn't lose anything in the system neutral iteration, with only aforementioned, very minor terminology hiccup. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Places of Power: Raveneye Sanatorium (SNE)
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Publisher Reply:
Fantastic! Thank you for the review. I'm delighted you enjoyed Raveneye so much!
Places of Power: Raveneye Sanatorium (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/17/2017 04:02:14

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Places of Power-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So, we all have presumably played an adventure in a Sanatorium, right? At least those of us who enjoy dark fantasy and roleplaying games will know the tropes at this point. There's a reason for that, and it is mainly due to reality and how we see sanatoriums and the treatment methods employed there - while, from our modern perspective, e.g. lobotomies may look barbaric, not so long ago, they were considered to be a fantastic, extremely humane form of treatment. The advances in medicine have colored our view of these facilities and that bleeds, of course, into the games we play.

This modern notion of medicine has influenced and shaped the respective representations of sanatoriums in the fantasy games we play - which btw. is closer to a Early Modern period in mindset and technology than the Medieval Age, but that as an aside. Sanatoriums are a pretty recent innovation, as far as our species is concerned, so we do have, by definition, a sort of anachronism here. At the same time, however, it is surprising that the original spirit of sanatoriums has not really been represented in gaming -the idea of healing the body and mind in an environment conductive for such treatments is something I have only very rarely seen in gaming -perchance due to the prevalence of divine magic. Now, if one takes into account, however, the different afflictions that beings can have in a fantastic context, the institution suddenly makes sense once more - from curses to possessions and worse, there are plenty of afflictions that aren't easily healed by means of magic. This is where this sanatorium comes in.

The institution is headed by a rather brilliant scholar, with further staff being a doctor prone to quick diagnosis, a none-too-nice chief of staff...and the fortified grounds include a garden and some fluffy write-ups for patients - from beings halfway transformed to a skum, kept here to prevent the poor being from going to the ocean, to the possessed, with malignant spirits seeking freedom, the patients here are dangerous...and include benevolent werewolves. Still, with 6 sample rumors (some being nasty and playing to the bad reputation of sanatoriums) as well as 6 events, we have an overall great locale...and if you do want to use this in a more traditional manner, you're covered - one NPC can be used as a malignant infiltrator and BBEG, if you wish to use the place in a more traditional manner...or if you want to have this place of healing transform...or come under threat. The NPC stats have been properly correlated to the default NPC-cadre and the pdf does contains a properly modified marketplace section for 5e - big plus and kudos for going the extra mile here!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious glitches. Layout adheres to raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The b/w-artwork of the sanitarium is an amazing pieces. The pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for screen-use and one optimized to be printed out. The cartography by Maciej Zagorski is well-made and in b/w. Supporters of Raging Swan Press' patreon can get access to a player-friendly, key-less version of the map, at least to my knowledge.

David N. Ross' sanatorium is a great place - it inverts the traditional expectations of such locales in roleplaying games, while still allowing for the use in a traditional context. the characters presented, from the staff to the patients, are similarly colorful, with most being capable of carrying at least a session or sidequest, making this a rewarding place to include in your game. In short, the pdf is great and rewarding for the low and very fair price point. The optional trope inversion adds a nice level to this pdf as well - nothing to complain regarding this gem. The 5e-version of the fie is just as cool as the other iterations, making this a compelling and cool supplement, worthy of 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Places of Power: Raveneye Sanatorium (5e)
Click to show product description

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Publisher Reply:
Fantastic! Thank you for the review. I'm delighted you enjoyed Raveneye so much!
I Loot the Body
by Aaleeshaan C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/12/2017 14:02:08

Thought it would include more complete tables similar to "Things to loot from a kobold's body" or "Things to loot from a wizard's body." Had I known it only had three tables(as extensive as they are) I wouldn't have purchased it.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
I Loot the Body
Click to show product description

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Publisher Reply:
I'm sorry this book didn't work for you. I'll re-jig the item description to make the contents clearer. If you's like, I'd happily send you another PDF of the same value as a replacement. You can contact me via Raging Swan Press's webpage. Just let me know your OBS registered email address and the PDF you'd like in exchange.
Village Backdrop: Needlebriar (5e)
by Antony M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/12/2017 08:00:12

Halflings eh? Slightly boring country folk with rosey cheeks, a tune on their lips and an apple in their hand. Well, not the ones that live in Needlebriar! If you've been looking for an out of the ordinary encounter using a Halfling village, this is the place.

The backstory is engaging, and easily workable into your homebrew or mainstream campaign setting. The gameplay in Needlebriar will probably depend on why the PCs are there in the first place, but as usual Raging Swan have included a handful of perfectly feasable adventure hooks to get them in place. Although I haven't used the setting yet, it looks very likely that a good mixture of roleplaying and action will ensue, all with a slight (or greater) air of sinister gothic undertones!

So few pages but with so much content and potential. Typical for a Raging Swan product like this.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Needlebriar (5e)
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Publisher Reply:
Thank you, Antony! I'm delighted you enjoyed Needlebriar so much! I hope your players enjoy it as much...if they survive...
Old-School Village Maps I
by Antony M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/12/2017 07:32:55

This is a set of very useful old-style village maps. The maps are very clear and will be very easy to use quickly whenever your adventurers happen to wander through a random village on their way somewhere. Or you could use them as templates for major encounters and flesh them out fully. An excellent resource.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Old-School Village Maps I
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Publisher Reply:
Epic! Thank you, Antony. I'm glad you found these maps jolly useful.
Village Backdrop: Skaalhaft
by Elizabeth R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/21/2017 18:55:11

Certainly well worth the money. Skaalhaft is playable and reasonably original, with lots of detail. Needs a better map, perhaps at a larger scale, but this will make a nice headquarters for a party exploring a suitable area.

If they can stand the smell.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Skaalhaft
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks of the review, Elizabeth! I'm glad you liked Skaalhaft and I hope your players enjoying exploring its smelly streets!
Alternate Dungeons: Abandoned Temple
by Richard H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/19/2017 21:18:14

I found this product to be a nice source of ideas for building up a temple encounter. The product provides examples for furnishings, encounters, traps, and treasures. i was able to quickly incorporate ideas into an existing encounter area to make the temple feel like more than just "another room".



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Alternate Dungeons: Abandoned Temple
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks very much for the review, Richard! I'm glad you found the product useful!
Places of Power: Fraywrack
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/13/2017 06:31:08

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Places of Power-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

On a lonesome shore of rocky headland, known as the Harpy's Head, there lies the wrecked ruin of an erstwhile powerful ship - and it conceals an alliance most peculiar: You see, a flight of harpies has lured the vessel ashore - but the wreck contains no signs of slaughter, but rather an impromptu war-camp, for the harpies thus forcefully recruited the crew of survivors as soldiers in their desperate fight against Dagon and his strange, deformed minions that rise from the depth in a truly unique coalition.

Following the tradition of the series, we do get notes on Lore and the appearance of local folk, as well as the nomenclature employed. The 6 events and rumors further enhance this unique constellation of characters - from harpies not being too keen to be forced to play with their food to drunken sailors, there is an intrinsic tension that suffuses the set-up that, by means of its very definition, is upset by the arrival of PCs.

It is btw. nice to see that the pdf does come with a nice marketplace section for consumables, magic, etc. The location sports also a ramshackle settlement, as you can imagine - and honestly, I could elaborate on how the individual locations are cool and evocative, but frankly, that would be redundant as far as I'm concerned - the set-up at the grand scale is creative and full of potential, something that is continued seamlessly to the individual locales, generating a truly amazing location. Still, I did hope we'd get some crunchy bits, a statblock or the like.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious glitches. Layout adheres to raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The b/w-artworks are amazing pieces. The pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for screen-use and one optimized to be printed out. The cartography by Maciej Zagorski is well-made and in b/w. Supporters of Raging Swan Press' patreon can get access to a player-friendly, key-less version of the map, at least to my knowledge.

Jacob W. Michaels' Fraywrack s creative, cool and unique - the idea is simple, but the execution is frankly inspired and chock-full with roleplaying potential. In short: This is an amazing offering and a great example for the cool things you can do with the Places of Power-formula. My final verdict for this little gem will be 5 stars, just short of my seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Places of Power: Fraywrack
Click to show product description

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Publisher Reply:
Curses! Missed out on the seal of approval! ;-) In any event, glad you liked this instalment. Thank you for the review!
Places of Power: Fraywrack (SNE)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/13/2017 06:30:12

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Places of Power-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

On a lonesome shore of rocky headland, known as the Harpy's Head, there lies the wrecked ruin of an erstwhile powerful ship - and it conceals an alliance most peculiar: You see, a flight of harpies has lured the vessel ashore - but the wreck contains no signs of slaughter, but rather an impromptu war-camp, for the harpies thus forcefully recruited the crew of survivors as soldiers in their desperate fight against Dagon and his strange, deformed minions that rise from the depth in a truly unique coalition.

Following the tradition of the series, we do get notes on Lore and the appearance of local folk, as well as the nomenclature employed. The 6 events and rumors further enhance this unique constellation of characters - from harpies not being too keen to be forced to play with their food to drunken sailors, there is an intrinsic tension that suffuses the set-up that, by means of its very definition, is upset by the arrival of PCs.

The system-neutral version has been properly converted, using the correct old-school classes in the brief, fluffy descriptions of named NPCs and the pdf even sports a small marketplace section for generic, minor magic items (healing potions) and consumables to be purchased. Kudos there! The lore-section, just fyi, has similarly been given over to the GM to do as s/he pleases, as befitting of old-school gameplay. Minor complaint: The text at one point mentions a couple of specific magic items to be found - some flavorful descriptions would have been nice here; it's not hard to find and covert them, but yeah.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious glitches apart from the aforementioned oversights. Layout adheres to raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The b/w-artworks are amazing pieces. The pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for screen-use and one optimized to be printed out. The cartography by Maciej Zagorski is well-made and in b/w. Supporters of Raging Swan Press' patreon can get access to a player-friendly, key-less version of the map, at least to my knowledge.

Jacob W. Michaels' Fraywrack s creative, cool and unique - the idea is simple, but the execution is frankly inspired and chock-full with roleplaying potential. In short: This is an amazing offering and a great example for the cool things you can do with the Places of Power-formula. My only complaints here are nitpicks - hence, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Places of Power: Fraywrack (SNE)
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Thanks very much for this review, End. I'm glad you liked Fraywrack!
Places of Power: Fraywrack (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/13/2017 06:25:58

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Places of Power-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

On a lonesome shore of rocky headland, known as the Harpy's Head, there lies the wrecked ruin of an erstwhile powerful ship - and it conceals an alliance most peculiar: You see, a flight of harpies has lured the vessel ashore - but the wreck contains no signs of slaughter, but rather an impromptu war-camp, for the harpies thus forcefully recruited the crew of survivors as soldiers in their desperate fight against Dagon and his strange, deformed minions that rise from the depth in a truly unique coalition.

Following the tradition of the series, we do get notes on Lore and the appearance of local folk, as well as the nomenclature employed. The 6 events and rumors further enhance this unique constellation of characters - from harpies not being too keen to be forced to play with their food to drunken sailors, there is an intrinsic tension that suffuses the set-up that, by means of its very definition, is upset by the arrival of PCs.

On the formal end of the spectrum, we have two entries among the NPCs that clearly are remnants from the system-neutral edition, mentioning the thief and magic-user classes instead of a 5e-NPC/monster-statblock. Big plus: We do actually get a properly converted Marketplace-section for the 5e-version, so big kudos there!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious glitches apart from the aforementioned oversights. Layout adheres to raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The b/w-artworks are amazing pieces. The pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for screen-use and one optimized to be printed out. The cartography by Maciej Zagorski is well-made and in b/w. Supporters of Raging Swan Press' patreon can get access to a player-friendly, key-less version of the map, at least to my knowledge.

Jacob W. Michaels' Fraywrack s creative, cool and unique - the idea is simple, but the execution is frankly inspired and chock-full with roleplaying potential. In short: This is an amazing offering and a great example for the cool things you can do with the Places of Power-formula. The minor hiccups do hurt this, but only in the formal criteria - hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Places of Power: Fraywrack (5e)
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Publisher Reply:
Thank you for this review. And thank you for spotting those typos. I'll be uploading a corrected version of the book shortly!
Village Backdrop: Skaalhaft (SNE)
by Frits K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/11/2017 06:42:14

This is why I joined Raging Swan's patreon. A simple idea : take a fishing village, but instead of hunting whales they hunt mythical and magical beasts. The trick is getting the idea. Take a fishing village, mix in some magic with the standard vagaries of fishing and we end up with a characterful description of a hard working village with some additional shenanigans going on. The pdf (1 page intro+TOC, 7 pages of content) contains plenty of locations, NPC descriptions and event tables to occupy your player characters for several days or weeks of game time depending on how far you stretch the plot hooks. And should your players manage not to burn down the whole village then the place is 'normal' enough to function as a base for some R&R between adventures.

There are also versions with Pathfinder and 5E statblocks but others have more experience to judge these.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Skaalhaft (SNE)
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Publisher Reply:
Thank you very much for this review. I'm delighted you enjoyed it so much! (And thank you for being part of our Patreon!)
GM's Miscellany: Places of Power
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/03/2017 07:48:16

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Raging Swan Press' handy compilation tomes clocks in at 87 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page ToC (also listing the statblocks by CR and page - nice!), 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, 1 page how-to-use, 1 page author bios (big kudos for their inclusion) leaving us with 79 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So, in case you're not yet familiar with the series - Places of Power represent fully mapped adventuring locales - bases, edifices, environments - from haunted valleys to strange towers, to subterranean black markets dangling atop a cliff, acting as a literal bridge between surface world and underworld, the series features a lot of unique and evocative places for adventurers to visit.

These places, in general, tend to offer intriguing NPCs and adventuring potential galore and rank as some of my favorite drop-in locations, with each featuring really nice b/w-artworks and flavor galore. Whispers, rumours and events help the GM make each of them unique and, as a whole, I thoroughly enjoy the series. Faithful followers of my reviewing will also notice that I have basically covered the whole series (or am in the process of doing so).

Indeed, this compilation includes Dragonmarch keep, godswatch, the monastery of the marble palm, penitent's rest, the fragrant tower, the amazing M-triptych consisting of the midnight market, the mistfall refuge and the mudded manse (all of which are genius), the prismatic tower, tumblestone inn, the valley of the rocks and visionary's perch. Now, since I have already covered all of these locations in detail, I will just point you towards my reviews of them. (On my homepage, you can just click the "Places of Power"-tag attached to this review and you'll have a list of all reviews of the series...)

Now while I have called out three in particular, the valley of rocks, prismatic & fragrant tower also deserve being called out as excellent examples of their craft. From a formal point of view, the compilation is a bit tower-heavy: 5 of the locations are towers. That is just aesthetic, though - what's NOT aesthetic would be e.g. the monastery's BROKEN monk archetype that has a variety of glaring issues in the rues-language: The fact that it has not been fixed for the compilation is a big detriment as far as I'm concerned.

From the PFRPG system-specific side of things, the book also shows a shift in focus that the line has underwent - since the inception of the 5e and system-neutral versions of the series, statblocks have become scarce in the respective iterations, regardless of system. Personally, that is something I somewhat bemoan, for the crunchy materials in early PoP-installments rank among the coolest aspects of the series. I very much would have enjoyed a bonus statblock or two here, but that is once again me nitpicking at a compilation that features some of the best locations you can find.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level, though not as tight as usual for Raging Swan Press - typos from the individual pdfs and rules-language issues haven't been fixed, which represents a bit of a blemish regarding this compilation. Layout adheres to a 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf features nice b/w-artworks and amazing b/w-cartography. The pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for the printer and one optimized for screen-use. The pdfs come fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Creighton Broadhurst, Jeff Gomez, Eric Hindley, Anthony Jennings, Jacob W. Michaels, Jacob Trier, Amber Underwood and Mike Welham have created a compilation here, which sports a significant selection of rather impressive places to visit and adventure in - the majority of the places is excellent and the overall quality of the prose is impressive. This is very much worth getting...however, if you already own the constituent pdfs and don't absolutely need this in print, then there's frankly less reason to get this. If you don't already own most of the pdfs, though, then this is one amazing and flavorful selection of places to visit.

The lack of improvement of the admittedly few, more problematic aspects does drag this down a bit, though, which is why my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
GM's Miscellany: Places of Power
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks very much for the review, End. It's much appreciated as always!
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