RPGNow.com
Close
Close
Browse











Back
Other comments left for this publisher:
GM's Miscellany: Urban Dressing II (System Neutral Edition)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/24/2016 12:10:27

An Endzeitgeist.com review


The second GM's Miscellany-book containing Urban Dressings clocks in at a mighty 121 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with a massive 114 pages of content, so let's take a look!


But wait, before we do: Let's rewind the clock for a second, shall we? The ardent reader may have noticed that GM's Miscellany: Wilderness Dressing and Dungeon Dressing are on my EZG Essential list; the books also shared my number 1 best book spot in 2014...so if I consider these books so great, how come I never got as excited about the first GM's Miscellany: Urban Dressing book? There is a simple reason for that: The book tried to chop up an urban environment in its constituent elements; shops, traders, parks - you get the idea. The approach sounds valid in theory, but in practice, I found the results to be...well. Too generic, there's no sugar-coating it. The book works well, but considering the vast amount of dynamic elements present in a given urban environment, it also had components missing. Suffice to say, of all the dressing-series by Raging Swan Press, the one book that does not get used ALL THE TIME is the first Urban Dressing book. (I'm not kidding: GMs, get the Wilderness and Dungeon books NOW; there literally is no GM and campaign that will not be improved by them. Players - these are perfect present for your GM...and the books will improve your playing experience!)


So yeah, when I saw, of all the dressing books, that the Urban line was continued...I wasn't really excited. This changed. Fast. You see, taking a cue from the lavishly-detailed Raging Swan press-modules, the series stopped trying to chop up towns; instead, it began focusing on types of town. Table-wise, the individual installments would contain sights and sounds to witness: Equal parts local color, atmosphere building and adventure hook; then, businesses with fluff-only owners, similarly fluff-centric folks would provide the people you'd need when the PCs suddenly start looking for the local cobbler, the tax collector...you name it. GMs lacking the immediate inspiration to get the PCs hooked in a given adventuring context could resort to tables containing hooks and complications that provide for instant action and means of dragging PCs into the respective environment - actual ROLEplaying catalysts, if you will.


This change of structure and focus has served the series EXCEEDINGLY well and subsequently, the Urban Dressing-series has turned from a mixed bag on the positive side of things into a much-used commodity at my table. This compilation, then, would be what collects this improved part of the series and collects it in one handy tome. Now why should you care? Simple: It may sound odd, but while I love using the small pdfs at my table...the organization of the big books is simply glorious. There is some level of convenience inherent in just flipping open the book spontaneously and roll with it. It's an odd phenomenon, but one that not only my group has experienced.


Traditionally, the Dressing-series by Raging Swan Press have featured bonus content in compilations like this - and this time around, we get 2 pages that provide interesting considerations regarding the naming of thoroughfares in your game -I considered the article well-written and sensible, though some tables with sample names and the like, a quick generator, would certainly have been appreciated. Now content-wise, we cover a lot of ground: Borderland towns, bridge town, decadent towns (called "decedent" in the bookmarks in one of the rare Raging Swan Press typos), dwarven towns, elven towns, logging towns, marsh towns, mining towns, pirate towns, plague towns, port towns, slum towns, trade towns and war-torn towns all are covered. They do have in common that I have actually covered the respective pdfs in their individual reviews - so please just click on the Urban Dressing tag on my site and you should get a list of them. I don't like being too redundant, so let's just give you a general impression: The vast majority of them absolutely ROCK and even the less awesome installments are "only" very good. The second season, if you will, of Urban Dressing is extremely impressive.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press's 2-column b/w-standard and is pretty printer-friendly. The pdf sports a blending of glorious previously released b/w-artwork and new pieces. The pdf comes in two versions: One optimized for screen-use and one optimized for the printer. The pdf comes with excessive bookmarks to each table, making screen-navigation very easy. Unfortunately, I do not yet have the print copy, but it is very high priority to get; the wilderness dressing and dungeon dressing books, after all, are excessively used in my games and both leave nothing to be desired.


Josh Vogt singlehandedly revolutionized the series and managed to maintain a level of quality in his tables that is baffling: Each installment features this eclectic blending of the mundane and magical, the common and weird that makes the tables actually FUN to read. Not kidding you; I actually look forward to reading them. This whole book was crafted by master Vogt...and it can be considered to be a true achievement, there's no way around it. This humble, unpretentious book improves the game in much the same way as its Dressing-brethren did before for Wilderness and Dungeon environments.


So let me make the following abundantly clear - as a person, I consider this to be an absolutely superb resource. If I had to complain about one thing, then that would be that the book features basically no rules-relevant information - the NPCs have alignment and class information in brackets, but that's about it. You won't find any terrain hazards, settlement qualities or the like herein. The system-neutral version gets rid of these class information tidbits, making it truly neutral...but apart from mostly cosmetic distinctions, both versions are pretty close.


...


Yeah, that's about all of the negativity I can muster towards this glorious tome. Let me make abundantly clear how useful this book is in the most rewarding way, by simply writing my verdict. This book is a candidate for my Top Ten of 2016, gets 5 stars and seal of approval and it also receives the EZG Essential tag; I literally don't want to run a fantasy campaign without it anymore! So here's to hoping that we see more from master Vogt and Raging Swan Press - there are frankly few books that have so successfully improved my game...and I play in German and have to translate these on the fly. So yes, GMs, get this now, whether you're playing Pathfinder, 5e, 13th Age, OSR - no matter the fantasy campaign, your game will benefit from this book! I certainly know that this made me a better GM.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
GM's Miscellany: Urban Dressing II (System Neutral Edition)
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

GM's Miscellany: Urban Dressing II
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/24/2016 12:09:20

An Endzeitgeist.com review


The second GM's Miscellany-book containing Urban Dressings clocks in at a mighty 121 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with a massive 114 pages of content, so let's take a look!


But wait, before we do: Let's rewind the clock for a second, shall we? The ardent reader may have noticed that GM's Miscellany: Wilderness Dressing and Dungeon Dressing are on my EZG Essential list; the books also shared my number 1 best book spot in 2014...so if I consider these books so great, how come I never got as excited about the first GM's Miscellany: Urban Dressing book? There is a simple reason for that: The book tried to chop up an urban environment in its constituent elements; shops, traders, parks - you get the idea. The approach sounds valid in theory, but in practice, I found the results to be...well. Too generic, there's no sugar-coating it. The book works well, but considering the vast amount of dynamic elements present in a given urban environment, it also had components missing. Suffice to say, of all the dressing-series by Raging Swan Press, the one book that does not get used ALL THE TIME is the first Urban Dressing book. (I'm not kidding: GMs, get the Wilderness and Dungeon books NOW; there literally is no GM and campaign that will not be improved by them. Players - these are perfect present for your GM...and the books will improve your playing experience!)


So yeah, when I saw, of all the dressing books, that the Urban line was continued...I wasn't really excited. This changed. Fast. You see, taking a cue from the lavishly-detailed Raging Swan press-modules, the series stopped trying to chop up towns; instead, it began focusing on types of town. Table-wise, the individual installments would contain sights and sounds to witness: Equal parts local color, atmosphere building and adventure hook; then, businesses with fluff-only owners, similarly fluff-centric folks would provide the people you'd need when the PCs suddenly start looking for the local cobbler, the tax collector...you name it. GMs lacking the immediate inspiration to get the PCs hooked in a given adventuring context could resort to tables containing hooks and complications that provide for instant action and means of dragging PCs into the respective environment - actual ROLEplaying catalysts, if you will.


This change of structure and focus has served the series EXCEEDINGLY well and subsequently, the Urban Dressing-series has turned from a mixed bag on the positive side of things into a much-used commodity at my table. This compilation, then, would be what collects this improved part of the series and collects it in one handy tome. Now why should you care? Simple: It may sound odd, but while I love using the small pdfs at my table...the organization of the big books is simply glorious. There is some level of convenience inherent in just flipping open the book spontaneously and roll with it. It's an odd phenomenon, but one that not only my group has experienced.


Traditionally, the Dressing-series by Raging Swan Press have featured bonus content in compilations like this - and this time around, we get 2 pages that provide interesting considerations regarding the naming of thoroughfares in your game -I considered the article well-written and sensible, though some tables with sample names and the like, a quick generator, would certainly have been appreciated. Now content-wise, we cover a lot of ground: Borderland towns, bridge town, decadent towns (called "decedent" in the bookmarks in one of the rare Raging Swan Press typos), dwarven towns, elven towns, logging towns, marsh towns, mining towns, pirate towns, plague towns, port towns, slum towns, trade towns and war-torn towns all are covered. They do have in common that I have actually covered the respective pdfs in their individual reviews - so please just click on the Urban Dressing tag on my site and you should get a list of them. I don't like being too redundant, so let's just give you a general impression: The vast majority of them absolutely ROCK and even the less awesome installments are "only" very good. The second season, if you will, of Urban Dressing is extremely impressive.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press's 2-column b/w-standard and is pretty printer-friendly. The pdf sports a blending of glorious previously released b/w-artwork and new pieces. The pdf comes in two versions: One optimized for screen-use and one optimized for the printer. The pdf comes with excessive bookmarks to each table, making screen-navigation very easy. Unfortunately, I do not yet have the print copy, but it is very high priority to get; the wilderness dressing and dungeon dressing books, after all, are excessively used in my games and both leave nothing to be desired.


Josh Vogt singlehandedly revolutionized the series and managed to maintain a level of quality in his tables that is baffling: Each installment features this eclectic blending of the mundane and magical, the common and weird that makes the tables actually FUN to read. Not kidding you; I actually look forward to reading them. This whole book was crafted by master Vogt...and it can be considered to be a true achievement, there's no way around it. This humble, unpretentious book improves the game in much the same way as its Dressing-brethren did before for Wilderness and Dungeon environments.


So let me make the following abundantly clear - as a person, I consider this to be an absolutely superb resource. If I had to complain about one thing, then that would be that the book features basically no rules-relevant information - the NPCs have alignment and class information in brackets, but that's about it. You won't find any terrain hazards, settlement qualities or the like herein. The system-neutral version gets rid of these class information tidbits, making it truly neutral...but apart from mostly cosmetic distinctions, both versions are pretty close.


...


Yeah, that's about all of the negativity I can muster towards this glorious tome. Let me make abundantly clear how useful this book is in the most rewarding way, by simply writing my verdict. This book is a candidate for my Top Ten of 2016, gets 5 stars and seal of approval and it also receives the EZG Essential tag; I literally don't want to run a fantasy campaign without it anymore! So here's to hoping that we see more from master Vogt and Raging Swan Press - there are frankly few books that have so successfully improved my game...and I play in German and have to translate these on the fly. So yes, GMs, get this now, whether you're playing Pathfinder, 5e, 13th Age, OSR - no matter the fantasy campaign, your game will benefit from this book! I certainly know that this made me a better GM.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
GM's Miscellany: Urban Dressing II
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Urban Dressing: Marsh Town
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/22/2016 08:20:52

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of what I'd tentatively call the "new" Urban Dressing-series clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look!


We take a step on the soggy soil of a town in a ague-infested stretch of land -and as we do so, we look at a 100-entry strong table that tells us exactly what we can see and hear: From the dark, we may see red, bulbous eyes watching us, as frogs lend their cacophony to the dismal creaking evoked by the dilapidated state of the town. Boardwalks show signs of charring, speaking unheard tales of strange rites or punishments, as strands of thorny vines seem to move of their own accord just at the edge of one's vision.


Sagging willow trees filter the light of the sun falling through the curtain of branches, as enormous lizards lounge and bask atop piles of rotten wood and townsfolk, under their stern, unimpressed gaze, cultivate gardens of vibrantly colored mosses. Yes, we seem to have stumbled into one intriguing place! Thus, we take a closer look at what this town offers - and indeed, businesses do exist here -a table of 50 of them provides more than ample opportunity to flesh out the unique inhabitants of this place.


If you're looking to make it here, in this frontier, you may want to visit Pylough's deeds, where you can purchase untamed swampland to cultivate...or perhaps, you are looking for fishing supplies? If more adventurous pursuits are what your heart craves, both mercenaries and archaeologists seem to always be looking for your type...just make sure you don't end up in the local jail, aptly called "The Sinkhole." If you risk going there, better visit "Stick in the Mud" before you do - that would be the local legal expert. And if something ails you...well, there obviously is a leecher to be found here!


But, as the old saying goes, it is the people that make a town, and as such, a table with 50 entries provides ample folk to meet: On these drenched streets, you may meet dwarven explorers looking for fabled treasures, traumatized and volatile ex-military half-elves, wanna-be-witches, alchemists who have lost their hair due to some sort of mishap and if you take a while and sit down, that disfigured gent may tell you all about how exactly he has lost both nose and ear.


Now all of this will undoubtedly occupy you for quite a while, but in case you are looking for something more, a total of 20 events and complications can catapult you and your friends right into the actions: See those will-o'-wisps flickering in the distance? Have you heard about the trapper who isn't picky about the meat he sells? Heck, beyond these, the very construction of the town may provide an angle for you - after all, there is a real chance that buildings may start collapsing and sinking into the lightless depths where only the gods know what lurks. On a more lighthearted note: Have you heard the talk? The mud-run is almost upon the town and competing there would be pretty fun...right? At least if someone can take care of this plague of giant mosquitoes that suck people dry and then lay eggs in their corpses...


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' 2-column b/w-standard and the artwork is thematically fitting b/w. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and in two versions - one optimized for the printer and one optimized for screen-use.


Josh Vogt has taken the Urban Dressing series from being the one of the dressing-series I'd not consider perfect and expanded it far beyond its humble origins. Practically system-neutral, this exceedingly evocative dressing file is one inspiring array of options just waiting at your fingertips, sporting a great blend of the beautiful and horrendous, the mundane and the magical. I expected the whole theme to make this installment rather grim, though there is certainly beauty galore to be found in the marshes.


Well, turns out master Vogt seems to agree and does not fall into the classic issue regarding the trope of the marsh town: There are hints of the dark and horrific here, yes, but the pdf similarly provides enough material to make the places fleshed out not feel like hell-holes; instead, this provides a well-rounded, evocative trip through a marsh town, one that is guaranteed to enhance the game. And yes, basically everything I quoted was adapted directly from the tables herein. What more can you ask of a dressing file that such a broad scope of evocative prose? My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.


Endzeitgeist out-



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Urban Dressing: Marsh Town
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Village Backdrop: Thornhill System Neutral Edition
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/18/2016 04:16:32

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment in Raging Swan's Village backdrop-series is 11 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with a total of 5 pages of content for the village of Thornhill, so let's take a look!


The village of Thornhill is situated at the border of a vast marsh, to be more precise on an island encircled by deep, sluggish waters and surrounded by an ancient, yet formidable stockade of old timbers - the only access point to the village being one bridge. At least without access to boats!


We get 8 short entries of notable folks, describing the dramatis personae of the village before we're introduced to 10 notable locations in the village. It should be noted that a lizardfolk cleric living at a nearby island is considered to be a part of the village as well as a guardian of what the lizardfolk consider to be a holy site. A general note on features of the village, its worn wooden causeways and palisades can also be found in the book


To add further color to the dreary place, we also get a table of 6 rumors, a general primer on how the people look like (including nomenclature) and some pieces of local lore on the village before we are introduced to more detailed descriptions of the 10 notable locations of the village. A locally brewed paste that helps keep some of the less nice inhabitants of the swamp at bay has been included in the deal and information on the surrounding areas, like the red fern barrows, complement the pdf.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch and up to the almost flawless track-record RSP has set for itself. Layout adheres to the crisp b/w-2-column presentation we're by now accustomed to and the pdf comes with two versions - one for printing and one for screen-use. Both pdfs are fully bookmarked. Cartography, as always, is excellent and b/w.


All right, first of all, I feel obliged to note that this is a perfect example of concise writing - with just a couple of sentences, the village's descriptions manage to evoke a sense of backwardness, desolation, decrepitude and forlornness. Thornhill is a harsh place and one that may erode the minds of those unwilling or incapable of bearing the hard life there. The subtle winks and nods towards the ever-present threats of the nearby swamp, via lizardfolk etc., could be easily used by a halfway-decent GM to create a delightfully dreary, slightly xenophobic settlement.


One of the downsides of this particular village would be that the map has been featured in some other books, so if you've used it already...well. At the same time, the writing is excellent. So, is this worth the low asking price? Yes. Yes, it is. Thornhill remains an evocative, fun settlement in its system-neutral iteration and while it may not be the apex of the series, it is worth a final verdict of 5 stars - if you already have used the map in another context, detract a star.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Thornhill System Neutral Edition
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Village Backdrop: Feyhall
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/16/2016 08:08:31

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


Close to the village of Vaagwol, we get something completely different - Feyhall is pretty literally, the halls of fey, long abandoned - in a kind of refugee camp below the surface, Feyhall is little more than a bandit camp driven by desperation, lorded over by dread bandit lord Stig. Parasitic and dangerous (danger value +43 !!!), the camp does suffer - for the small complex is haunted by the Hunger, a flesh-eating zombie disease supplemented by a CR +1 template.


The pdf does feature 7 fluff-only notable NPCs and a total of 8 notable places within the abandoned halls of the sylvan court. The local populace does contain an infected person, a goblin who has infiltrated the place, the boss, a ranger trying to keep the dread Hunger at bay. Refugees can be found here as well and the Witchelyte, a CR 3 tiny undead, may well rise from the dead The pdf, as always, contains DCs for village lore as well as 6 whispers and rumors and 6 sample events. Oh, and there is this one locked down hallway that may prevent the aforementioned undead from entering the complex...the key is around Stig's throat...so yeah, the triggers for feyhall's downfall are basically already written into the very structure.


At the same point, one issue one can field against the pdf is that it does not have the same unique and distinct identity as some of the other villages in this series.


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.


Greg Marks' Feyhall is a welcome change of pace, a village that is more a dungeon camp organized by the right of the strong; it is also a place that is very much defined by the threats it faces and its status as a collection of outcasts and misfits. The settlement works best when used in conjunction with Vaagwol, obviously and can be considered to be the externalized, darker underbelly of the area.


Is Feyhall particularly novel or unique? Honestly...no. But it is a nice little settlement that features some fun dynamics for the GM to throw the PCs in. Drop them in and watch things unravel as they go. So yeah, this is not a bad installment, but it is also not a settlement I'd immediately consider a must buy. My final verdict will hence clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Feyhall
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Iconic Characters
by Jason C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/28/2016 17:04:46

Let's talk about pregenerated characters for D&D3 et seq. (You can't make me stop using "et seq"!! I'm a rebel!)


When D&D3 landed in 2000, it was at the tail end of a somewhat stumbling and haphazard assemblage of AD&D rules. One of its great strengths was to gather in all of the various mechanics into a single volume in a way that hadn't even been attempted in years. Still, making a character in D&D3 was the most arduous part of playing it, unless you were a cleric player in 2006 trying to pick out your spells for the day from a list of three or four thousand, a 15th level fighter trying to figure out why you exist, or any living being trying to grapple any other being.


What's interesting about D&D3 character creation is that it puts the tools of character creation almost entirely in the hands of players, but eschews the worldbuilding that would have to wait until the DM's Guide. In other words, characters are created by people who not only have no means of establishing the situation that their characters exist in, and are given the sole responsibility to launch them into an adventurous situation that not even the publishers of the game know very much about. Only the DM knows these things.


If we have the luxury of a leisurely conversation about what the game will be, then this isn't a serious concern. But if we're going to play in an organized play situation (in which published materials that may not even exist yet control the adventures we'll be on) or at a convention (where our time is limited), we often turn to pregenerated characters.


People will post their characters online for free. So what does purchasing pregenerated characters do? It gives us an opportunity to play not just someone else, but someone who we didn't even fully create. This can be a fun challenge even for experienced characters. Raging Swan Publishing brings something solid to the table with Iconic Characters. Sticking to the more central Pathfinder classes in order to make it easier for characters to be brought into various campaigns, the main advantage of Iconic Characters is that the characters all have strong reasons to go on adventures: to find a sibling, to escape evil spirits, to get revenge. Even the most simplistic motivations make dungeon crawling more exciting and psychologically real-feeling roleplay.


As always, you can count on Raging Swan Publishing to have simple, workable layouts and well-turned mechanics. The only area of improvement I can suggest is to make the layout less a typical character stat layout and more usable at the table. The attribute bonuses are connected to so many things all over the sheet, the most used thing on the sheet (current hit points) will be repeatedly erased and rewritten until it wears through the sheet faster, etc. Maybe it's unfair to hold Raging Swan to these standards when the whole rest of the D&D3-playing world makes the same mistakes, but, as I say, I'm a rebel!


All in all, the iconic characters bring simple, interesting motivations to fantasy action-adventure scenarios, which is something that elevates it above the simple assemblage of statistics, but doesn't overstep its boundaries. Another top quality, simple release from Raging Swan.


(An earlier version of this review was posted when I had a brain fart about the name of the publisher. I apologize for the error.)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Iconic Characters
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Village Backdrop: Umelas
by Tyler E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/16/2016 17:41:21

Haunting, horrifying, and darkly moving, Umelas might be one of my favorite village backdrops to set upon us in a long time. The small town of Umelas presents an amazing atmosphere of this town who's had it soul sanded away and wrapped in a porcelin veneer of smiles and prosperity. The whole write up is an interesting walkthrough of what happens to a town that trades away their morals for safety and prosperity to an entity that isn't just a fiend. And the ending! I'm sorry if this review sounds sparse but I'm trying to not say too much to avoid spoiling the ride. The ending alone is worth the price of admission.


So in short, if you like horror or dark tragedy check this out. The town of Umelas is a land begging to have heroes trounce through, and see the consequences for their deeds.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Umelas
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Publisher Reply:
Thanks very much, Tyler. I much appreciate the review and I\'m delighted you enjoyed Umelas so much!
I Loot the Bag of Holding SNE
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/15/2016 11:15:37

An Endzeitgeist.com review


The latest installment in Raging Swan Press' "I Loot the..."-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 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 a massive table of no less than 100 pieces of adventuring gear - and, in case you're wondering, they very much may be system-neutral and less crunchy that you could expect - but they are cool and diverse: A folding ladder, sticks that obscure the immediate area in purple smoke, camouflage nets for other biomes, differently colored sticks of chalk, dented breastplates - from the curious to the mundane, the table sports a solid diversity.


The second table herein sports 5o entries for artworks found in the bags of holding - and here, one can see the creativity of Mike Welham fully at work: A rendition of a treasure hoard that spits out one coin per day is, for example, just glorious: Think about it for a second - how does that influence local economy? Where do the coins come from, if they're not generated from scratch? Are they permanent or a type of fool's gold? A lot of potential here! What about bronze fish statuettes that swim in the water? Replica windmills that can be used to crush walnuts? This table is glorious.


The 3rd table herein, once again 50 entries long, features some rather unique books - whether it's "On the Safe Rearing of Basilisks", "Brain Surgery for Dragons" or "Planets in Alignment", a book pertaining to constellations that are soon about to come to pass, the pdf's books can be considered to be intriguing, fun and, more importantly, either elicit grins, provide hints or even adventure hooks.


Among the 50 esoteric objects in this pdf, one can find badger skeletons (including a scroll to reanimate the skeleton!), a ballista on wheels labeled "Cats only!", crystal ewers that can only be filled with rain water, doll heads missing eyes - this table similarly provides some evocative and foreboding visuals to enhance atmosphere in various ways.


The final table, once again 50 entries strong, provides odds and ends - blood-dripping over-sized meat-cleavers, coat racks holding jaunty clothes; noble outfits with "Disguises for heist" attached, scraps of letters pointing towards illicit love affairs, helmets improvised from steel buckets and delicate porcelain sets, to name a few, can be found in this table.


Conclusion:


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


Mike Welham has taken a rather hard task here - unlike as usual, there is precious few common ground to tread regarding the contents of bags of holding; there is no thematic red line to trod upon and thus, on a downside, the tables do feel a bit all over the place. That's also a strength of this pdf, though: With no significant restrictions imposed on creativity by themes, there are some truly delightfully creative hooks disguised as simple table entries here, with quite a few of them being simply inspiring.


As a whole, I felt that this was an inspired read, yes; but some of the items found herein do seem to me like they could have used some prices or at least minor magical rules/functions - at least for the PFRPG-version, which is btw. pretty identical to the system-neutral version. Granted, that's a staple for the series, but especially when considering items found in an iconic magic item, a bit of magic, a bit of treasure aspect, wouldn't have hurt this. Now, please bear in mind that I'm complaining at a VERY high level here - this is still an excellent buy and a great addition to the series. But from items found in a bag of holding, I would have expected a bit more meat. That whip fashioned from a squid's tentacle? Why not at least make it masterwork? Oh well, this still is, as mentioned, a great book, though one I prefer to see as a system-neutral book. As for my final verdict - the system-neutral version gets the full 5 stars + seal of approval. The PFRPG-version loses the seal due to the aforementioned complaints. In both iterations, this is a neat addition to the series, though.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
I Loot the Bag of Holding SNE
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

I Loot the Bag of Holding
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/15/2016 11:14:58

An Endzeitgeist.com review


The latest installment in Raging Swan Press' "I Loot the..."-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 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 a massive table of no less than 100 pieces of adventuring gear - and, in case you're wondering, they very much may be system-neutral and less crunchy that you could expect - but they are cool and diverse: A folding ladder, sticks that obscure the immediate area in purple smoke, camouflage nets for other biomes, differently colored sticks of chalk, dented breastplates - from the curious to the mundane, the table sports a solid diversity.


The second table herein sports 5o entries for artworks found in the bags of holding - and here, one can see the creativity of Mike Welham fully at work: A rendition of a treasure hoard that spits out one coin per day is, for example, just glorious: Think about it for a second - how does that influence local economy? Where do the coins come from, if they're not generated from scratch? Are they permanent or a type of fool's gold? A lot of potential here! What about bronze fish statuettes that swim in the water? Replica windmills that can be used to crush walnuts? This table is glorious.


The 3rd table herein, once again 50 entries long, features some rather unique books - whether it's "On the Safe Rearing of Basilisks", "Brain Surgery for Dragons" or "Planets in Alignment", a book pertaining to constellations that are soon about to come to pass, the pdf's books can be considered to be intriguing, fun and, more importantly, either elicit grins, provide hints or even adventure hooks.


Among the 50 esoteric objects in this pdf, one can find badger skeletons (including a scroll to reanimate the skeleton!), a ballista on wheels labeled "Cats only!", crystal ewers that can only be filled with rain water, doll heads missing eyes - this table similarly provides some evocative and foreboding visuals to enhance atmosphere in various ways.


The final table, once again 50 entries strong, provides odds and ends - blood-dripping over-sized meat-cleavers, coat racks holding jaunty clothes; noble outfits with "Disguises for heist" attached, scraps of letters pointing towards illicit love affairs, helmets improvised from steel buckets and delicate porcelain sets, to name a few, can be found in this table.


Conclusion:


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


Mike Welham has taken a rather hard task here - unlike as usual, there is precious few common ground to tread regarding the contents of bags of holding; there is no thematic red line to trod upon and thus, on a downside, the tables do feel a bit all over the place. That's also a strength of this pdf, though: With no significant restrictions imposed on creativity by themes, there are some truly delightfully creative hooks disguised as simple table entries here, with quite a few of them being simply inspiring.


As a whole, I felt that this was an inspired read, yes; but some of the items found herein do seem to me like they could have used some prices or at least minor magical rules/functions - at least for the PFRPG-version, which is btw. pretty identical to the system-neutral version. Granted, that's a staple for the series, but especially when considering items found in an iconic magic item, a bit of magic, a bit of treasure aspect, wouldn't have hurt this. Now, please bear in mind that I'm complaining at a VERY high level here - this is still an excellent buy and a great addition to the series. But from items found in a bag of holding, I would have expected a bit more meat. That whip fashioned from a squid's tentacle? Why not at least make it masterwork? Oh well, this still is, as mentioned, a great book, though one I prefer to see as a system-neutral book. As for my final verdict - the system-neutral version gets the full 5 stars + seal of approval. The PFRPG-version loses the seal due to the aforementioned complaints. In both iterations, this is a neat addition to the series, though.


Endzeitgeist out.



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

Add to RPGNow.com Order

GM's Miscellany: 20 Things Volume I
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/30/2016 08:29:09

An Endzeitgeist.com review


The first collection of the 20-things blogposts clocks in at 68 pages, 1 page front cover, 3 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page author bios/foreword, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 59 pages of content, so let's take a look!


So, before we start - you can get the content in this book on Raging Swan Press' blog - Creighton publishes new small tables in regular intervals there, so if money's tight, that may be an option. At the same time, though, you'd miss out on an extremely handy book. Let me reiterate: If you've been following my reviews for a while, it won't be a surprise to you that I consider Raging Swan Press' Dungeon and Wilderness Dressing books to be simply revolutionary. They are, frankly, the two books that have increased the quality of my games more so than any GM's guide, any other book. No matter the system you prefer, if you even remotely are into fantasy roleplaying, I guarantee that these two books will rank among your most often used books ever. There is a reason they made my number 1 Top Ten spots. I am literally a better GM with them, in spite of having to translate the entries on the fly to German. Yes, these books are that good. They will be used for decades to come.


This book, then, would be pretty much the little brother of these tomes, providing a vast array of smaller tables to use in your games that seamlessly interact with the dressings sported in the two legendary tomes. The book is organized by environment, with the first chapter depicting tables that help you flesh out dungeons: From effects affecting evil altars to pieces of cavern dressing and notable cavern features, the details are copious and abundant also sport cool effects that have an actual effect on gameplay: Unstable floor, with falls broken by ice-cold water, remnants of platinum ore in the walls...there are some pretty awesome things to discover. Strange things that can be found in abandoned mines, alchemist's laboratories, dusty crypts or the sanctums of dread necromancers - no matter the system you play, there is pure evocative gold to mine here. Tables of guardrooms, odd chests, unique triggers for secret doors - this book basically is the magnifying lens to add to the clarity already provided by the big books, the collection that sports the small details to the general renditions and particularly GMs weak on the improvisational side will adore this book for it.


What about a generator that can make up to 8000 pieces of graffiti to find on dungeon walls? But it's not just dungeons that get their due: Strange traditions you can encounter in towns and build upon, different kinds of noxious stench (associated, perhaps, with the objects you can find in slums?), creepy happenstances you can stumble upon in haunted houses - a lot can be found herein. And yes, there is a table of sights for the iconic seedy tavern as well.


Beyond the confines of civilization lurks the wilderness eternally, and from sea voyages and coastal caves to complications for journeys through swamps and marshes or forests to flotsam washed upon the shore, these tables in no way remain behind the superb quality of the rest of this book.


For newer fans of Raging Swan Press, you may have already thought that this leaves out the relative newcomer to the dressing-fold , but no - this book also expands the concept of the "I loot the body"-series and extends it - beyond a general table, one for rogues and wizards, we also get more unique ones: I particularly enjoyed the tables for things to be found in purple worm stomachs, in owlbear's lairs or within the very body of the gelatinous cube.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are, as I've come to expect from Raging Swan Press, top-notch. I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to RSP's elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Artwork is nice b/w and the pdf comes in two versions - one optimized for screen-use and one for the printer.


Creighton Broadhurst's collection of tables...is stunning. You know, I actually lurk regularly on his blog and read what he has to say. I honestly wouldn't need to buy this book...but, as with the big books, this is a false conclusion. Why? Because this book is a superb example for the importance of structure and organization: Much like its big brothers, this book excels by virtue of its absolutely superb organization.


You take the book, flip it open and booyah, awesome. It may just be me, but I frankly can't derive the same sense of satisfaction from searching for a particular page; when I'm playing and I spontaneously need such a dressing-table, I don't want to search - I want to flip open my book. This installment of the GM's Miscellany-series is frankly no less inspired than its big brethren: If the big dressing books are the macrocosm, this provides the microcosm. As such, it has less entries for the more niche components, but to make up for that, the entries themselves are longer and more detailed, which is just what the doctor ordered as far as I'm concerned.


In short: I consider having this as either pdf or print just as vast an improvement for the game as the big books, though, by virtue of its size, obviously on a smaller scale. This does nothing whatsoever to diminish the superb quality of this offering, though. Hence, this book receives a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval and is a candidate for my Top Ten of 2016. Get this great book!


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
GM's Miscellany: 20 Things Volume I
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

I Loot the Cleric's Body System Neutral Edition
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/09/2016 05:51:27

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of Raging Swan Press' "I Loot the Body"-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look!


This installment of the I loot the body-series begins with a 100-entry strong table of diverse outfits for clerics: From unusually large powdered wigs to strange brimmed hats, undershirts embroidered to look like ribs and bones (hey, I have one of those!) to thick cloaks of wool covered in angelic feathers and pauldrons denoting church hierarchy - there is an appropriately varied selection of unique vestments here.


The second table, also 100-entry-strong, covers religious objects - and these are just as varied: Clay prayer beads stained with blood, curved knives and jars of leeches, wooden hand drums with painted stars on them, carved knucklebones or fingernails torn from heretics and servants of other deities - no matter the clergy, there is something in here for your clerics.


Finally, as has become the tradition for ILB-files detailing spellcasters, we get a 100-entry-long table of pouch components - and here, the pdf becomes rather creative - scribbled warnings to not trust the owls, sketchbooks containing drawings of locals, leather stripes with defiled holy symbols, copper cases with wax impressions that are shaped like a key - in the tradition of the best of these dressing-files, the entries in this table can inspire further adventures...why did the cleric carry around 3 glass eyeballs?


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, as we've come to expect from Raging Swan Press. Layout adheres to the crisp and printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. It should also be noted that the pdf comes in two versions - one optimized for the printer and one optimized for screen-use - kudos for the extra-mile there!


Taylor Hubler's take on looting clerics is a fun, diverse little file, with a significant diversity of unique fun tables - and none of them becoming redundant or boring. While not yet on par with e.g. Mike Welham's brilliance, the pdf still can be considered an excellent entry in the series, which means I will arrive at a final verdict of 5 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
I Loot the Cleric's Body System Neutral Edition
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

I Loot the Cleric's Body
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/09/2016 05:50:37

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of Raging Swan Press' "I Loot the Body"-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look!


This installment of the I loot the body-series begins with a 100-entry strong table of diverse outfits for clerics: From unusually large powdered wigs to strange brimmed hats, undershirts embroidered to look like ribs and bones (hey, I have one of those!) to thick cloaks of wool covered in angelic feathers and pauldrons denoting church hierarchy - there is an appropriately varied selection of unique vestments here.


The second table, also 100-entry-strong, covers religious objects - and these are just as varied: Clay prayer beads stained with blood, curved knives and jars of leeches, wooden hand drums with painted stars on them, carved knucklebones or fingernails torn from heretics and servants of other deities - no matter the clergy, there is something in here for your clerics.


Finally, as has become the tradition for ILB-files detailing spellcasters, we get a 100-entry-long table of pouch components - and here, the pdf becomes rather creative - scribbled warnings to not trust the owls, sketchbooks containing drawings of locals, leather stripes with defiled holy symbols, copper cases with wax impressions that are shaped like a key - in the tradition of the best of these dressing-files, the entries in this table can inspire further adventures...why did the cleric carry around 3 glass eyeballs?


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, as we've come to expect from Raging Swan Press. Layout adheres to the crisp and printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. It should also be noted that the pdf comes in two versions - one optimized for the printer and one optimized for screen-use - kudos for the extra-mile there!


Taylor Hubler's take on looting clerics is a fun, diverse little file, with a significant diversity of unique fun tables - and none of them becoming redundant or boring. While not yet on par with e.g. Mike Welham's brilliance, the pdf still can be considered an excellent entry in the series, which means I will arrive at a final verdict of 5 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.



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

Add to RPGNow.com Order

GM's Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing (System Neutral Edition)
by Spencer C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/08/2016 23:39:02

I've had the PDF version of the version of this book for some time, but I found myself using it so often that I decided to buy the hardback. It is quite simply the most useful idea generator I have on my desk. If you're a DM I highly recommend you pickup a copy. If you make up a lot of dungeons it's a must. It will keep your ideas fresh and surprising for your players.


If you've got a game in 2 days and don't have anything generated simply read through some of the charts. It will seed you with a dozen stories in no time. I'm a busy guy with a full time job and children so this book has become as important as my DMG.


I highly recommend the hardback as well, it's got a quality binding and frankly the paper is a better quality that the current WotC books.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
GM's Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing (System Neutral Edition)
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

I Loot the Druid's Body System Neutral Edition
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/07/2016 03:35:48

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of Raging Swan Press' "I Loot the Body"-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look!


We begin this dressing-file once again with a massive 100-entry table of outfits for the deceased druids - from silken robes made from exotic purple moth-silk to leafy branches that are alive, nature itself provides, appropriately, a diverse array of cool entries. Beyond these, vinegar-like smelling rags, boy scout-style achievement studded robes, 101-Dalmation-robes or capes that buzz liek dragonfly wings - this table is not just good...it's superb and breathes more imagination than multiple tables combined.


The second 100-entry table covers natural accoutrements - spellcasting aids or symbols aligned with their domain over the natural world. And oh boy - from jade ourobos to classic sprigs of mistletoe, from staves bleeding sap to ear muffs of crow feathers - this is absolutely inspired! Interwoven strands of hair, willow fishing poles...awesome.


The third 100-entry-strong table covers the contents of a druid's pouch - from fluttering death's head moths to spoiled, rotten clumps of eggs, twitching frog-legs, skunk puppets, jars containing bull's testicles...absolutely glorious. Have I mentioned the small potted plant that turns to face you? Two packets of identical mushrooms, one of which labeled as "deadly poison", while the other is "delicious"? This table, like the first two, breathes pure imaginative excellence.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, as we've come to expect from Raging Swan Press. Layout adheres to the crisp and printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. It should also be noted that the pdf comes in two versions - one optimized for the printer and one optimized fro screen-use - kudos for the extra-mile there!


Well...basically, at this point, all you have to know is that Mike Welham wrote this. He consistently delivers some of the most awesome, inspiring, diverse dressing-files - from the mundane to the magical, from the classic to the weird, from the hilarious to the uncanny, Mike's dressing show a level of diversity that is basically unreached - and this is no different. Each and every table in this book is pure awesomeness and inspires even the most burnt-out GM. This is what these files should be like. Excellence. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
I Loot the Druid's Body System Neutral Edition
Click to show product description

Add to RPGNow.com Order

I Loot the Druid's Body
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/07/2016 03:35:13

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of Raging Swan Press' "I Loot the Body"-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look!


We begin this dressing-file once again with a massive 100-entry table of outfits for the deceased druids - from silken robes made from exotic purple moth-silk to leafy branches that are alive, nature itself provides, appropriately, a diverse array of cool entries. Beyond these, vinegar-like smelling rags, boy scout-style achievement studded robes, 101-Dalmation-robes or capes that buzz liek dragonfly wings - this table is not just good...it's superb and breathes more imagination than multiple tables combined.


The second 100-entry table covers natural accoutrements - spellcasting aids or symbols aligned with their domain over the natural world. And oh boy - from jade ourobos to classic sprigs of mistletoe, from staves bleeding sap to ear muffs of crow feathers - this is absolutely inspired! Interwoven strands of hair, willow fishing poles...awesome.


The third 100-entry-strong table covers the contents of a druid's pouch - from fluttering death's head moths to spoiled, rotten clumps of eggs, twitching frog-legs, skunk puppets, jars containing bull's testicles...absolutely glorious. Have I mentioned the small potted plant that turns to face you? Two packets of identical mushrooms, one of which labeled as "deadly poison", while the other is "delicious"? This table, like the first two, breathes pure imaginative excellence.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are top-notch, as we've come to expect from Raging Swan Press. Layout adheres to the crisp and printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. It should also be noted that the pdf comes in two versions - one optimized for the printer and one optimized fro screen-use - kudos for the extra-mile there!


Well...basically, at this point, all you have to know is that Mike Welham wrote this. He consistently delivers some of the most awesome, inspiring, diverse dressing-files - from the mundane to the magical, from the classic to the weird, from the hilarious to the uncanny, Mike's dressing show a level of diversity that is basically unreached - and this is no different. Each and every table in this book is pure awesomeness and inspires even the most burnt-out GM. This is what these files should be like. Excellence. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.


Endzeitgeist out.



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

Add to RPGNow.com Order

Displaying 1 to 15 (of 657 reviews) Result Pages:  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 ...  [Next >>] 
0 items
 Hottest Titles
 Gift Certificates
Powered by DrivethruRPG