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GM's Miscellany: 20 Things Volume I System Neutral Edition
by Garth H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/29/2016 09:21:12

You just can't go wrong with Raging Swan's 20-Things series, and this collection is proof of that. Excellent organization throughout and a DM's treasure trove of inspiration. If you don't find exactly what you're looking for chances are very high that the suggestions that are here will spur you on to your own highly detailed tidbits that add that extra layer of verisimilitude that players crave during game play. Simple to use, exciting to read. This ought to set any DM's brain on fire with possibilities.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
GM's Miscellany: 20 Things Volume I System Neutral Edition
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Village Backdrop: Umelas
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/24/2016 10:19:31

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 11 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!

Umelas is an utopian experiment and an adventure in disguise -formerly rules by Hiswin Baeler, it is not an easy place to stay in: With a steep ravine and an ever-present saccharine stench suffusing the town, from its sweet wines and cloying scent of white oak, the place embodies perfectly the creepiness of the sweet, the association with decay painted over by a scent of sugar and spice.

Everyone is smiling. There is joy all around...but much like a trip to Disneyland for a cynic, it makes you wonder, makes you see the darkness beyond...and indeed, only a few years ago, Umelas was wrecked by depression. Where today, sickness is rare and everyone seems healthy, that was not always the case. There are some rumors that this prosperity is the working of a benevolent fey named "Smiling Bracken" - and it indeed is...but what is the price the village has paid for its seemingly timeless blessings?

Well, the fey, for one, is unique and fully statted and from strange nightmares to the harsh consequences of unraveling the village's secret, the place stands as a grim reminder for cutting corners, for short-cuts...one that may well leave PCs asking themselves, whether the place wasn't better off before...or not. There is some complex morality and philosophy to be found in this little supplement. Oh, and yes, the pdf obviously comes with the usual notes on nomenclature, events, etc.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map, of which you can, as always, download high-res jpegs if you join RSP's patreon. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.

Jeff Gomez' Umelas is one of the most amazing villages in the series, but, much like the sweet wine it produces, Umelas is not for the faint of heart: Decidedly dark, it is a supplement perfectly suited for gamers craving a bit of horror or dark fantasy, a richly-detailed and amazing little piece of concise writing, presented in lavish prose. In fact, this could be run as basically a pocket domain of Ravenloft, if you'd so choose. And I mean that as a compliment. The experience of adventuring in Umelas will, much like eating sickeningly sweet food, stay with your PCs and players after they're done - and I tried hard not to SPOIL anything here. This is a great adventure, just waiting to be fleshed out and any GM worth half his salt can throw the PCs in and improvise a full-blown module out of this gem. Suffice to say: Get this! My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Umelas
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Treasures & Trinkets: Treasure Hoards #4 (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/24/2016 10:18:11

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The fourth of the pdfs in this series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 2 pages of advertisements, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

What is this pdf all about? Well, in short, it provides 25 fully fleshed-out treasure hoards, ready to be dropped in your game, four of which feature no magic items. A handy d%-table lets you randomly determine which treasure hoard to use and the structure of the respective entries is nice: We first get coinage and then the respective entries, which range from jewels to potions and beyond, containing legendary items at these levels as well.

In many a case, an Intelligence DC 25 check can determine the value of the more obscure items, like platinum-plated scepters, though harder and lower DCs certainly can be found. Magic item-wise, you will find items here beyond the confines of scrolls and potions: Wells of many worlds, portable holes or universal solvents can provide some nice magical oomph to the beleaguered adventuring group. It should be mentioned that the respective 5e-items have been chosen rather well and that the treasure hoards do feature nice themes. Considering that this one covers hoards for challenge 17 - 20 we also find a few pieces of +3 items and high level potions and scrolls.

...but at the same time, the pdf has one big issue: It inherits my criticisms regarding its direct predecessors and does not mention for which levels the treasure hoards presented would be appropriate. The pdf mentions challenge 17 - 20 as a general guideline, but personally, I consider that to be a bit too broad of a span. Granted, at this level, the power is less of an issue than at lower levels, but still.

A total value is also not provided for the hoards, which means you have to read up the value of each of the entries, look up the magic items, total them with the coinage...you get the idea. Some precise values (perhaps with a plus and the magic item's scarcity, if any, added) would have made this significantly more useful, at least to me.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf has no artworks, but needs none at this length. It does sport bookmarks for your convenience, though, and also comes in two versions - one optimized for screen-use and one optimized for the printer.

Ronald Calbick and Ben Kent's fourth installment for the series is, item-choice-wise and flavor-wise diverse and well-made, with 5e's items being well-distributed. However, the lack of total values and aforementioned handling gripes do limit the usefulness of this pdf, at least for me. Challenge 17 to 20 is also a VERY wide span and while the selection of items is diverse, with fluff adding something to the magical items, this does exacerbate the issues of the previous parts. At the same time, at this level, magic item bloat is no issue. My final verdict will hence, once again, clock in at 3.5 pages, rounded up for the purpose of this platform. Still, it could be easier to use, at least in my book.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Treasures & Trinkets: Treasure Hoards #4 (5e)
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Treasures & Trinkets: Treasure Hoards #3 (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/24/2016 10:16:11

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The third of the pdfs in this series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 2 pages of advertisements, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

What is this pdf all about? Well, in short, it provides 25 fully fleshed-out treasure hoards, ready to be dropped in your game, four of which feature no magic items. A handy d%-table lets you randomly determine which treasure hoard to use and the structure of the respective entries is nice: We first get coinage and then the respective entries, which range from jewels to potions and beyond, containing at these levels very rare items as well.

In many a case, an Intelligence DC 20 check can determine the value of the more obscure items, like clockwork egg, though harder and lower DCs certainly can be found. Magic item-wise, you will find items here beyond the confines of scrolls and potions: Hammers of thunderbolts, scales of resistance (force) or manuals of quickness of action can provide some nice magical oomph to the beleaguered adventuring group. It should be mentioned that the respective 5e-items have been chosen rather well and that the treasure hoards do feature nice themes. Considering that this one covers hoards for challenge 11 - 16 we also find a few pieces of +3 ammunition, +2 items and higher level potions and scrolls.

...but at the same time, the pdf has one big issue: It inherits my criticisms regarding its direct predecessors and does not mention for which levels the treasure hoards presented would be appropriate. The pdf mentions challenge 11 - 16 as a general guideline, but personally, I consider that to be a bit too broad of a span. Considering 5e's relatively conservative power-level, a over-use of this pdf could, much like that of its direct predecessor, theoretically lead to some serious magic item overload.

A total value is also not provided for the hoards, which means you have to read up the value of each of the entries, look up the magic items, total them with the coinage...you get the idea. Some precise values (perhaps with a plus and the magic item's scarcity, if any, added) would have made this significantly more useful, at least to me.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf has no artworks, but needs none at this length. It does sport bookmarks for your convenience, though, and also comes in two versions - one optimized for screen-use and one optimized for the printer.

Ronald Calbick, Thomas King, Andrew J. Malkin, Chad Perrin and Liz Smith's third installment for the series is, item-choice-wise and flavor-wise diverse and well-made, with 5e's items being well-distributed. However, the lack of total values and aforementioned handling gripes do limit the usefulness of this pdf, at least for me. Challenge 11 to 16 is also a VERY wide span and while the selection of items is diverse, with fluff adding something to the magical items, this does exacerbate the issues of the previous parts. My final verdict will hence, once again, clock in at 3.5 pages, rounded down for the purpose of this platform since the ease of using is the main selling point of hoards like that, at least for me.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Treasures & Trinkets: Treasure Hoards #3 (5e)
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Village Backdrop: Silver Bluff
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/23/2016 04:57:56

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of RSP's Village Backdrop-series is 11 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look at the settlement!

Silver Bluff is a mining town with a twist - sprung up as little more than a better camp, it began in a promising manner...but then, the mine's silver started to run out. At danger +30, you pretty much immediately realize that the local population did not take kindly to these changes and the ramshackle ethnic composition alongside the lack of a governing body mean that this is very much a dangerous place to be.

The vast chasm that separates the camp from the mine is also one of the reasons why this village is haunted by howling windstorms, which also influence the dressing habits of the place. The pdf does feature notes on nomenclature, appearance of locals and 6 rumors for your convenience. The village also features notes on the local tavern, paranoid representatives ...this is not the nicest place to spend your time, though e.g. mountain climbing equipment and a local dwarven cleric can help adventurers here. The pdf also features no less than 6 sample events...and one glorious hazard, which would be the semi-sentient, disintegrated machine that slowly regains its sentience and becomes a lethal, unique hazard - stopping it will be hard...and I wished it and hazards like it had been more prevalent here.

In an example of less is more, the notes of what's hidden in the chasm feel a bit less intriguing and tied to the settlement - by emphasizing the wind theme instead, it would have become even more compelling...but that may just be me.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map, of which you can, as always, download high-res jpegs if you join RSP's patreon. The pdf comes in two versions, with one being optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.

Mike Welham's Silver Bluff is an evocative village with unique hazards and a nice theme. While it does not reach the apex of the series, the village still remains an excellent purchase and is well worth the low asking price. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Silver Bluff
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Treasures & Trinkets: Treasure Hoards #2 (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/23/2016 04:55:12

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second of the pdfs in this series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 2 pages of advertisements, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

What is this pdf all about? Well, in short, it provides 25 fully fleshed-out treasure hoards, ready to be dropped in your game, four of which feature no magic items. A handy d%-table lets you randomly determine which treasure hoard to use and the structure of the respective entries is nice: We first get coinage and then the respective entries, which range from jewels to potions and beyond, this time extending its reach to rare items as well.

In many a case, an Intelligence DC 15 check can determine the value of the more obscure items, like cherry wood jeweler's tools, though harder and lower DCs certainly can be found - odd: DC 5 is VERY low and looks a bit like a 1 was dropped there from a bronzewood tankard. Magic item-wise, you will find items here beyond the confines of scrolls and potions: Ropes of climbing, saddles of the cavalier or amulets of the planes can provide some nice magical oomph to the beleaguered adventuring group. It should be mentioned that the respective 5e-items have been chosen rather well and that the treasure hoards do feature nice themes. Considering that this one covers hoards for challenge 5 10 we also find a few +1 items and e.g. a broom of flying.

...but at the same time, the pdf has one big issue: It does not mention for which levels the treasure hoards presented would be appropriate. The pdf mentions challenge 5 - 10 as a general guideline, but personally, I consider that to be a bit too broad of a span. Considering 5e's relatively conservative power-level, a over-use of this pdf could, much like that of its direct predecessor, theoretically lead to some serious magic item overload for lower levels.

A total value is also not provided for the hoards, which means you have to read up the value of each of the entries, look up the magic items, total them with the coinage...you get the idea. Some precise values (perhaps with a plus and the magic item's scarcity, if any, added) would have made this significantly more useful, at least to me.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf has no artworks, but needs none at this length. It does sport bookmarks for your convenience, though, and also comes in two versions - one optimized for screen-use and one optimized for the printer.

Ronald Calbick, Andrew J. Malkin and Liz Smith's second installment for the series is, item-choice-wise and flavor-wise diverse and well-made, with 5e's items being well-distributed. However, the lack of total values and aforementioned handling gripes do limit the usefulness of this pdf, at least for me. Challenge 5 to 10 is also a VERY wide span and while I consider the selection of items better here than even in #1, this does exacerbate the issues of part #1. My final verdict will hence, once again, clock in at 3.5 pages, rounded down for the purpose of this platform since the ease of using is the main selling point of hoards like that, at least for me.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Treasures & Trinkets: Treasure Hoards #2 (5e)
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Treasures & Trinkets: Treasure Hoards #1 (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/23/2016 04:53:10

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The first of the pdfs in this series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 2 pages of advertisements, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look!

What is this pdf all about? Well, in short, it provides 25 fully fleshed-out treasure hoards, ready to be dropped in your game, two of which feature no magic items. A handy d%-table lets you randomly determine which treasure hoard to use and the structure of the respective entries is nice: We first get coinage and then the respective entries, which range from jewels to potions, with a few uncommon magic items thrown in for good measure.

In many a case, an Intelligence DC 10 check can determine the value of the more obscure items, like a rare, illustrated children's book, though harder DCs certainly can be found. Magic item-wise, you will find items here beyond the confines of scrolls and potions: Stones of good luck, eyes of the eagle or driftglobes can provide some nice magical oomph to the beleaguered adventuring group. It should be mentioned that the respective 5e-items have been chosen rather well and that the treasure hoards do feature nice themes...

...but at the same time, the pdf has one big issue: It does not mention for which levels the treasure hoards presented would be appropriate. The pdf mentions challenge 0 - 4 as a general guideline, but personally, I think that is a pretty generous estimate. Considering 5e's relatively conservative power-level, a over-use of this pdf could, theoretically lead to some serious magic item overload for lower levels. A total value is also not provided for the hoards, which means you have to read up the value of each of the entries, look up the magic items, total them with the coinage...you get the idea. Some precise values (perhaps with a plus and the magic item's scarcity, if any, added) would have made this significantly more useful, at least to me.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf has no artworks, but needs none at this length. It does sport bookmarks for your convenience, though, and also comes in two versions - one optimized for screen-use and one optimized for the printer.

Ronald Calbick, Thomas King and Chad Perrin deliver a nice array of generally evocative treasure hoards herein and in the categories of diversity and imagination, there is not much to complain about. However, the lack of total values and aforementioned handling gripes do limit the usefulness of this pdf, at least for me. By no means a bad book, this pdf does lose its stab at excellence thus. My final verdict will clock in at 3.5 pages, rounded down for the purpose of this platform since the ease of using is the main selling point of hoards like that, at least for me.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Treasures & Trinkets: Treasure Hoards #1 (5e)
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Campaign Events: Prison Break
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/20/2016 11:03:32

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Raging Swan press' Campaign events-series clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look!

We begin this installment with a massive table of 100 entries for general prison break dressing: Rust-corroded door-hinges, greasy fingertips on iron bars, barely perceivable cracks in the perimeter, grids on administrative desks with hundreds of numbers, emptied iron flasks, detailed codices with prison numbers, metal mouthorgans left on prisoner cots - the table generates some nice dressing, though I do have a bit of a complaint - some entries, to me, feel more like they are relevant for a prison break that has happened some time ago, whereas others feel more "fresh" -splitting the table may have been a prudent move here.

A table of 50 minor events to encounter during a prison break, on the other hand, feels firmly rooted in the present: Barking dogs, prisoners frenetically tapping on doors, corpses of inmates on carts, fire pits in common areas growing cold... the table feels properly focused. After a cool b/w artwork of a tree with hanged men dangling from it in b/w, a total of 50 prisoners would be next - these fellows are fluff-only, obviously, and come with alignment notes as well as brief notes on race, class and level - and they include gnolls, kobolds and the like, although a doppelgänger deserves special mention as an entity that can switch sides. From master forgers to counterfeiters or musical inmates, we get a lot in the less pleasant alignment spectrum, sure...but good folks can be found here as well.

Finally, no less than 20 complications and hooks can add some further dynamics to the proceedings - arrivals of new prisoners, discreetly distributed shivs, a subdual of a particularly cruel guard - there are quite a few intriguing angles to pursue here, even when they technically fit imho better in the range to lead up to a prison break.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' neat two-column b/w-standard and the pdf sports multiple artworks: While fans of Raging Swan press may know one from before, the others are original, evocative pieces. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and comes in two versions - one optimized for the printer and one for screen-use - kudos.

Christopher Wasko's dressing tables per se are pretty great - they manage to evoke a sense of desolation, of despair and the notes on prisoners helps make a prison come alive. Which brings me to the main weakness of this pdf - de facto, I don't think it'll help me particularly run a prison break. As a dressing-only file, it allows for excellent prison dressing, but neither for security measures, nor for encounters, skill challenges, etc. - a prison break is a dynamic affair and this enhances dynamics, yes...but it does not emphasize the dynamics of the prison break. We get to know things about prisoners, but not in the context of the prison break in process. Basically, my reasoning is that this is Campaign Events: Prison and not Campaign Events: Prison Break. Now I know, I should rate what's here and what's here is nice - but ultimately, I went into this expecting more, something different, and ended up being disappointed. If you're looking for a good prison dressing file, then this certainly delivers in spades; if you're looking for a prison BREAK dressing or gaming toolkit, then you'll be disappointed. For the former, I'd consider this to be a 4.5 stars-book, for the latter a 3-stars-offering. In the end, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo. Just please note that this is NOT a prison break themed file.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Campaign Events: Prison Break
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20 Things #8: Cultist's Lair (System Neutral Edition)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/16/2016 10:09:30

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Raging Swan Press' system-neutral #20-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look!

The 8th installment of the system-neutral dressing-series by Raging Swan press wastes no time and begins with 10 cultists with a personality - from affable halfling couples to scarred dagger-wielders performing "sacred" duties or sheltered wives finding "purpose" in a cult, the characters provided indeed have personality - they are, obviously, system-neutral and thus stat-free, but should be considered to be worthwhile, nice write-ups of persons and worthy angles to pursue/include in your game.

A table of 20 odds and ends to find in a cultist's lair adds some nice rolelaying/investigative potential: Why are there uniforms of the militia here? What's the story behind those feathered animal masks (the original "Wicker Man", anyone?), sealed scrolls with missives? There is a lot of nice material providing further angles here. A total of 4 unholy books, from the tome of sibilant terror to the libram of ineffable damnation complement the selection here.

The next table would be an old one - 20 Things to find on a cultist's altar would actually be, entry for entry, the reproduction of "20 Things to find on an Evil Altar" for GM's Miscellany: 20 Things Volume I - why the rename of the table? No idea, but it is something to be aware of when you use both books and wanted some different dressings here. Since "cult" implies secrecy more often than not, some emphasis on stealth/subtlety here as opposed to in-your-face evil altar would have been nice to see here. The 12 items to be found on the altar similarly overlap.

That being said, I have not seen the entries of things to loot from a dead cultist's body before, unless I am sorely mistaken: Beyond curved bronze knives, 3-pronged candlesticks and shattered mirror shardsSecret compartments in shirts, bloody rags, pierced nipples and vaguely humanoid-shaped fetishes add an appropriate sense of the creepy to the proceedings.

The next table, pertaining 20 effects affecting an (evil) altar, has also be slightly renamed, but otherwise is taken directly from the GM's Miscellany: 20 Things Volume I book, providing slightly more overlap here. Once again, more subtlety regarding the entries could have provided a more distinct angle, but that may just be me complaining at a high level.

The final page does end on a high note, though: 20 vile things to be found in a cultist's lair provide faint outlines of summoning circles, gold-encased demon skulls, pools filled with red liquid that emits a silver glow, statues sewn together from humanoid parts...grisly and cool. Additionally, the pdf suggests a 10-entry array of unpleasant things happening upon touching these vile objects, which range from horrific visions to becoming evil for 24 hours, speaking in ancient tongues or learning the true name of a powerful entity...who now obviously wants the PC dead, make for unique and cool twists.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Additionally, the pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for the printer and one for screen-use - kudos for going the extra mile there! The pdf sports some nice b/w-artworks.

John Bennett, Creighton Broadhurst and Mike Welham all are pretty much authors that guarantee to me that I'll at least kind of like a given book: They have in common that they are talented, creative and have a way with words that may even evoke unique concepts with a scant few pages; in short, their dressing-books are generally amazing. This is no different, to be frank - the new dressing providing within these pages is excellent and up to the highest level of quality. The 2 reprinted dressing pages similarly rank among the better ones are quality-wise, are nice...but I couldn't shake the feeling that they could have emphasized the "cult"-aspect more.

Due to their origin as dressing for a more generally applicable theme, namely evil religion, they feel a bit less subtle, a bit less rickety and "culty" than the other dressings. So yes, while the new material is enough to warrant the fair asking price for those of you who already have the big book, I couldn't help but find that emphasizing the oftentimes illegitimate nature of the cult more and/or modifying these tables would have elevated this dressing file further. By no means bad and still a worthwhile purchase, this is the reason I can't go higher than 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
20 Things #8: Cultist's Lair (System Neutral Edition)
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20 Things #7: Haunted House (System Neutral Edition)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/16/2016 10:07:24

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Raging Swan Press' system-neutral #20-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look!

We begin with two types of haunted houses and themes - one of the collections of dressing focus on 10 things you'd find in a burned-out house, and the second 10 things would pertain plague houses - both of these entries are very flavorful and complement the pdf very well: Soot-wrapped bones or bloody, cloth-sacked packages certainly put a chill on my spine.

Don't want to run with one of these general themes? You're in luck, for 40 entries (20 regular, 20 more entries), from oddly shaped black mold to rotten floorboards complement the pdf and 10 perils help the enterprising GM generate some nice obstacles/mechanically-relevant challenges...in spite of the system-neutral nature of this pdf. 10 nasty rumors about the house help provide a significant sense of foreboding doom. It should be noted, though, that some entries here may be familiar for veterans of Raging Swan Press supplements, namely those of us who are familiar with Alternate Dungeons: Haunted House's dressing table.

A sampling of 20 evocative treasures and 10 objects to be found within the confines of a rat's nest do provide a fine array of rewards...but none are easily gained: "20 Unfortunate Discoveries" do not have their name for nothing! Bloody scribblings that note "One of you has been taken.", an inability to remember the name of deities, bloodshot eyes watching from the cracks f the walls...these are amazing. Finally, 10 intriguing things to be found within spider's webs provide a nice finish for the so far best installment in the series.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Additionally, the pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for the printer and one for screen-use - kudos for going the extra mile there!

Alexander Augunas, Creighton Broadhurst and Cole Kronewitter's take on the 7th 20-things supplement contains significantly less retreading of previously published material; beyond that, the quality and redistribution of the material is awesome. There is a lot of evocative, thematically concise dressing to be found for the fair asking price. 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
20 Things #7: Haunted House (System Neutral Edition)
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20 Things #6: Ancient Necropolis (System Neutral Edition)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/03/2016 09:11:32

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Raging Swan Press' system-neutral #20-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This installment of the system-neutral iteration of small 20 Things-pdfs starts with a nice 10-entry strong little table of things you can loot from the body of a tomb raider who met his match within the confines of the necropolis. But how did the unfortunates perish? Well, perhaps they ran afoul of one of the 20 curses featured within the pdf - and these deserve special mention, for they, though system-neutral, work rather well and are tied to nice objects, many of which have a gold value. 8 strange effects that may or may not be tied to these are also cool and supplement this well.

Speaking of which - the 20 minor hauntings featured herein are amazing: Ghostly priests dragging screaming servants away, spectral people blinking in and out of existence...yep, this does sport some seriously cool visuals and 12 strange sounds help supplement a general, rising sense of creepy tension.

The table for the things to be found in a Dusty Crypt and in a Sarcophagus (including the lid-subtable) will be familiar to veterans of Raging Swan Press-supplements, both having previously featured in GM's Miscellany: 20 Things before.

The pdf does conclude with a really good array of dressing, though - 20 things to be found in an ancient necropolis are evocative indeed: Thousands of tiny spider zombies, odd runes promising death, inexplicable breezes...and 10 pieces of burial niche dressing complement the pdf rather well.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Additionally, the pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for the printer and one for screen-use - kudos for going the extra mile there!

John Bennett and Creighton Broadhurst know how to do creepy and decrepit VERY well - this dressing pdf is an inspired little companion and, in spite of the partial reprint of two pages, the remaining dressing options are inspired enough to make this pdf a rather fun read and appropriately creepy option for GMs looking for a cool file to add to their arsenal. While owners of the big book gain a bit less out of this installment, what remains is still worth the low asking price. My final verdict will hence clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
20 Things #6: Ancient Necropolis (System Neutral Edition)
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20 Things #5: Subterranean Mine (System Neutral Edition)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/03/2016 09:09:25

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Raging Swan Press' system-neutral #20-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Mining is dangerous - much more so in a fantasy world and thus, we begin this entry of the 20-things series with 12, cool perils to be encountered while exploring mines -from boarded up holes in the floor to sticky webbing, impregnable darkness and wide, underground streams, the pdf sports an intriguing array of nice potential set-pieces and challenges...or just dressing, depending on your generosity as the GM.

While 20 things to find in an abandoned mine have originally premiered in GM's Miscellany: 20 Things, the pdf does feature two tables that perfectly complement the array - 20 Hauntings and 20 Strange Discoveries: From skeletons with temperature drops to sounds of heavy footsteps to rat swarms that vanish, this pdf does feature several appropriately creepy happenings that combine well with 10 strange sounds. Now, as for the discoveries mentioned - these combine similarly well with the aforementioned, allowing for some nice storytelling: Thousands of rat skulls and aforementioned ghost swarm? Yep. Strange, deep sonic pulses or magnetic walls? This is the level of awesome I've come to expect from Raging Swan Press.

Now obviously, not all mines are abandoned and thus, non-abandoned mines come with their unique, less decrepit entries that also feature 12 things you can find on the bodies of miners....and finally, 20 things to be found within mining carts, hastily left behind, work for either type of mine.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Additionally, the pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for the printer and one for screen-use - kudos for going the extra mile there!

Creighton Broadhurst, Ron Calbick, Kalyna Conrad and Jeff Gomez finally deliver a 20 Things-entry I can get behind fully; in spite of one table being released before, the sheer level of coolness of the tables/dressing featured herein make this installment well worth the fair asking price - universally, whether you own the big book or not. The ties between some table-entries are the icing on the cake and can inspire the GM beyond the dressing-component. Love it. 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
20 Things #5: Subterranean Mine (System Neutral Edition)
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20 Things #4: Smuggler's Lair (System Neutral Edition)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/02/2016 12:05:33

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Raging Swan Press' system-neutral #20-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look!

All right, so we begin this installment of the 20-Things-series with things that can be found in a smuggler's storeroom - and they are sufficiently diverse: From quality brandy to scrolls of animate dead (may annoy purists who want total system neutrality) to barrels filled with sand and strange eggs, the good are pretty cool. However, there is something slightly inconsistent here: Some of the entries feature gold values, while others don't - which makes sense: The aforementioned eggs, for example, could be anything the GM desires. However, I am irked somewhat by some entries featuring a sample weight while others, though ostensibly "heavy" don't. I would have loved weights for all. Granted, that was an issue with the entry in its original iteration in the excellent GM's Miscellany: 20 Things, but that book was LONG; here, in such a small pdf, it stands out more.

The pdf does pretty much immediately remedy that by quoting one of the gems from aforementioned book next - 20 Things that can happen in a rowboat have been properly cleansed of PFRPG-relics and 12 things you can find in such a boat provide nice, complementary bits of information for the experience.

The third array of dressing, things that you can find on the beach, similarly was featured before in the 20-Things-compilation, though its now system-neutral iteration certainly has its raison d'être - no Pathfinder remnants to be found here and 10 pieces of flotsam and jetsam make certainly for intriguing finds while wandering the wind-tossed beaches of the fantasy world you're playing in though they, much like the 20 things to be found in a sea cave-entry, also have originally appeared in the compilation.

That does not mean there is no new content herein, mind you - the pdf does feature 20 things to find in a smuggler's lair, from discarded sacks of now rotten grain to barrels containing salt water and crabs for stew, piles of driftwood or strange acoustic flukes, the entries are nice and are supplemented via 12 portable goods - all of which have proper value and weight. Kudos!

Alas, all lives must end and smuggling is a dangerous profession and thus, on their bodies, erstwhile fine clothes, torn maps, thigh-high leather boots with concealed daggers and more can be found. Finally, 6 things to be found in a cargo hold are similarly neat.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Additionally, the pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for the printer and one for screen-use - kudos for going the extra mile there!

Creighton Broadhurst knows how to write great dressing and formally, apart from aforementioned weight inconsistency, the pdf does not leave much to be desired. In fact, if you do not already have the big dressing-book, this delivers a thematically concise and dense, fun selection. The system-neutral entries work well...but if you already have the big book, this only sports 2 new pages, which, if you already have the big book, makes it only desirable for completionists...or those that really want no remains of PFRPG on the pages. Personally, I would have preferred more new content...but that's just me as a long-time fan of Raging Swan Press. For those that already have the big book and don't mind a bit PFRPG here and there, this is an okay, if skippable release; for people who do not yet have said book, this becomes more compelling immediately. My final verdict will hence clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
20 Things #4: Smuggler's Lair (System Neutral Edition)
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20 Things #3: Wizard's Tower (System Neutral Edition)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/02/2016 12:04:16

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Raging Swan Press' system-neutral #20-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look!

We begin this pdf with 20 weird magical effects you can encounter in a wizard's tower - from beautifully-crafted illusions instead of tapestries to light-weighted objects starting to float, this selection is evocative and fun and, as supplemental material, sundials, impossible slender flagpoles and similar things are evocative, though system-neutrality purists may be annoyed by the reference to detect magic.

A total of 20 odd spell components and pouches are next - wool impregnated with dried wax, statuettes of bloodhounds, clay models of ziggurats and similar objects once again cover a nice array of themes, that are further emphasized by 20 odd objects to decorate a wizard's tower: Thick red curtains, battered suits of chainmail, soot-marred ceilings, pictures of "God-Thrones" and 8 odd sounds and a selection of 6 strange pickled and preserved things allow you to set up a nice level of creepy mood.

It should be noted, though, that aforementioned pickled things alongside the 20 entries for a Necromancer's Sanctum and the 20 notes on a wizard's laboratory can all be found in GM's Miscellany: 20 things Volume I.

There is more new content herein, though: The 20 entries that depict things you can find on a wizard's bookshelf (from cryptography to infernal genealogy) are amazing! Creative, diverse and inspiring and the 8 things you can find INSIDE these books add another level of coolness here. The final array of 20 things would be those that are found within a wizard's laboratory and the pdf sports some creative ideas here: A box with hundreds of little compartments that contain components, stone beakers or skull stands with lights flickering in the eyes - certainly an inspired array. 6 odd smells, some of which stick closer to the floor (and thus are noticed by halflings and gnomes) close the pdf on a high note.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Additionally, the pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for the printer and one for screen-use - kudos for going the extra mile there!

Creighton Broadhurst and Amber Underwood's dressing-file here is a neat installment; the new content provided is inspired in the best of senses - but at the same time, one third of the pdf can be familiar for gamers who already own the glorious GM's Miscellany: 20 Things Volume I book. If you do not already have this gem, this pdf is excellent and 5 star + seal-worthy. If you already have this book, though, you do lose a portion of the file, which downgrades this to a good offering. In the end, my final verdict will clock in between both, at 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
20 Things #3: Wizard's Tower (System Neutral Edition)
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20 Things #2: Looting the Body (System Neutral Edition)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/31/2016 10:44:04

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Raging Swan Press' system-neutral #20-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Looting the bodies of creatures is its own series in Raging Swan press' product roster, but this does not mean that we can't use more of these, right? Right! So, we begin with the remnants of 20 adventurers to loot, which sport healing potions, wooden scroll cases full of dungeon maps, trapmaker's kits - quite a few different entries that provide a sufficient diversity.

Beyond these, the pdf also sports an entry of 20 things you can find on the corpses of bards -as well as 8 outlandish costumes. Copies of The Tragedy of T'kar, weird, hexagonal gold coins, ornamental rapiers - the diversity and potential are right back to the level we have come to expect!

20 things found on dead clerics, 10 unholy symbols and 6 decisive unholy water flasks complement the page: Incense burners, secret compartments in symbols and jet black flasks with slightly mobile patches once again rock, though some of these entries will be familiar to Raging Swan Press veterans - in particularly those that own "I loot the Cleric's Body."

The rogue's respective loot-entries, with hidden-compartments in heels of boots, hollow-hilted daggers and pouches with secret items sown in, the items are cool - but, alas, the table is completely taken from the GM's Miscellany: 20 Things Volume I -book, so if you have this book already, this will only be a retread for you.

The next page contains 20 things to be found on the body of a warrior, containing notes that can be part of a crude treasure map, weird, cinnamon-smelling powder or dried meat. This table is great and, unless my memory deceives me, I am pretty positive that I have not seen these before.

The same cannot be said about the wizard-table that's next - it once again has been taken from the excellent GM's Miscellany: 20 Things Volume I compilation.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Additionally, the pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for the printer and one for screen-use - kudos for going the extra mile there!

Creighton Broadhurst, Ronald Calbick, Seamus Conneely, Taylor Hubler and Anthony Jennings deliver a nice installment of dressing here: I very much enjoyed pretty much all of the tables featured within...however, at the same time, I was slightly disappointed to notice the partial overlap with the big GM's Miscellany: 20 Things Volume I-book: The completionist will want this pdf still and if you don't need the big book, you're good - but in the end, I couldn't help but feel that all-new material would have been a better way to reward the customers. The new material definitely is nice, but in the end, I can't go higher than 4 stars on this one.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
20 Things #2: Looting the Body (System Neutral Edition)
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