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Village Backdrop: Bleakflat
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/15/2017 06:08:33

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!

Bleakflat! What a name. I have rarely read a village with a name that evoked desolation quite to the extent as this does, so from a nomenclature angle, we're off to a good start. From barren soil rises a rocky bluff far from any dungeons, ley lines, trade routes, or, yes, reasons to traverse the desolate waste. And the leitmotif carries over to the local populace, who, with relatively listless gait, slurp watery mutton soups in silence. Bereft of special talents, armed forces or the like, one cannot help but wonder how the local population manages to fend off the wolves and giant bats that seem to have no compunctions about attacking travelers. Well, the reason is as easily evident as the expert roleplayer may have guessed: The warm and welcoming mayor is actually a vampire who tends to "his" humans as a benevolent farmer would...but relations tend to become strained when his elitist dhampir daughter (ironically, more despicable than her full-blown undead father...) and her treatment of the humans are concerned...and when he has undead guests, they don't always behave.

The settlement does feature a proper settlement statblock and comes with a nice little marketplace section as well as the classic notes for villager appearances, dresses and nomenclature. As always, we receive 6 whispers and rumors that help keep the PCs on their toes/drive along proceedings and village lore. Cartography is provided by the expert skills of Maciej Zagorski. Notable locations include various families and their interaction with their semi-kinda-benevolent vampire overlord, the blood baths...oh, and the bleakwood, where the vampires sometimes hunt for the thrill and sport of the chase. Yeah. They're vampires. What did you expect? Sparkling? Anyways, the pdf sports some seriously nice b/w-artworks of the dilapidated hovels and is supported by no less than 6 sample events to kick adventuring into high gear if the PCs start to idle. The pdf remarks "Aldrich hopes this is just a phase." This sentence, usually connotated with parents talking about their goth/punk/whatever kids perfectly exemplifies the mindset of the master of this place and really made me smile. Oh, and obviously, horses are not used for riding round here - they are food for the roaming giant bats...

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' Bleakflat is interesting in that its theme of decrepitude is supplemented by a leitmotif of conflict between generations and a bit of social commentary, if you're inclined to read that into the supplement: The population needs their master to survive, but at the same time is slowly destroyed by him. Sounds pretty much like dominant employers in remote communities everywhere to me. Anyways, the settlement is nice, has some thematically consistent angles and can go in several ways, depending on the morality of the PCs and how the GM elects to depict the situation - from full-blown horror to shades of grey "lesser of evils"-gameplay, there is a lot of potential here. Now granted, I would have loved some unique mechanics for the blood baths...but hey, can't have everything, I guess. As a whole, this is a nice, fun village and well worth a final verdict of 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Bleakflat
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Village Backdrop: Bleakflat System Neutral Edition
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/15/2017 06:07:21

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!

Bleakflat! What a name. I have rarely read a village with a name that evoked desolation quite to the extent as this does, so from a nomenclature angle, we're off to a good start. From barren soil rises a rocky bluff far from any dungeons, ley lines, trade routes, or, yes, reasons to traverse the desolate waste. And the leitmotif carries over to the local populace, who, with relatively listless gait, slurp watery mutton soups in silence.

Bereft of special talents, armed forces or the like, one cannot help but wonder how the local population manages to fend off the wolves and giant bats that seem to have no compunctions about attacking travelers. Well, the reason is as easily evident as the expert roleplayer may have guessed: The warm and welcoming mayor is actually a vampire who tends to "his" humans as a benevolent farmer would...but relations tend to become strained when his elitist dhampir daughter (ironically, more despicable than her full-blown undead father...) and her treatment of the humans are concerned...and when he has undead guests, they don't always behave.

The settlement does feature notes pertaining to the demographics and comes with a nice little selection of classic notes for villager appearances, dresses and nomenclature. As always, we receive 6 whispers and rumors that help keep the PCs on their toes/drive along proceedings and village lore. Cartography is provided by the expert skills of Maciej Zagorski. Notable locations include various families and their interaction with their semi-kinda-benevolent vampire overlord, the blood baths...oh, and the bleakwood, where the vampires sometimes hunt for the thrill and sport of the chase.

Yeah. They're vampires. What did you expect? Sparkling? Anyways, the pdf sports some seriously nice b/w-artworks of the dilapidated hovels and is supported by no less than 6 sample events to kick adventuring into high gear if the PCs start to idle. There is even a bit of humor here: One notable NPC was granted paladin powers. The pdf remarks "Aldrich hopes this is just a phase." This sentence, usually connotated with parents talking about their goth/punk/whatever kids perfectly exemplifies the mindset of the master of this place and really made me smile. Oh, and obviously, horses are not used for riding round here - they are food for the roaming giant bats...

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' Bleakflat is interesting in that its theme of decrepitude is supplemented by a leitmotif of conflict between generations and a bit of social commentary, if you're inclined to read that into the supplement: The population needs their master to survive, but at the same time is slowly destroyed by him. Sounds pretty much like dominant employers in remote communities everywhere to me. Anyways, the settlement is nice, has some thematically consistent angles and can go in several ways, depending on the morality of the PCs and how the GM elects to depict the situation - from full-blown horror to shades of grey "lesser of evils"-gameplay, there is a lot of potential here. The system neutral pdf loses exactly nothing in comparison to the PFRPG-iteration, which is a big plus as far as I'm concerned. As a whole, this is a nice, fun village and well worth a final verdict of 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Bleakflat System Neutral Edition
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Village Backdrop: Bleakflat (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/15/2017 06:05:00

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!

Bleakflat! What a name. I have rarely read a village with a name that evoked desolation quite to the extent as this does, so from a nomenclature angle, we're off to a good start. From barren soil rises a rocky bluff far from any dungeons, ley lines, trade routes, or, yes, reasons to traverse the desolate waste. And the leitmotif carries over to the local populace, who, with relatively listless gait, slurp watery mutton soups in silence. Bereft of special talents, armed forces or the like, one cannot help but wonder how the local population manages to fend off the wolves and giant bats that seem to have no compunctions about attacking travelers. Well, the reason is as easily evident as the expert roleplayer may have guessed: The warm and welcoming mayor is actually a vampire who tends to "his" humans as a benevolent farmer would...but relations tend to become strained when his elitist dhampir daughter (ironically, more despicable than her full-blown undead father...) and her treatment of the humans are concerned...and when he has undead guests, they don't always behave.

The settlement does feature information about the settlement demographics, but does not come with a unique 5e-marketplace or something like that. It does feature the classic notes for villager appearances, dresses and nomenclature. As always, we receive 6 whispers and rumors that help keep the PCs on their toes/drive along proceedings and village lore. Cartography is provided by the expert skills of Maciej Zagorski.

The notable locations include various families and their interaction with their semi-kinda-benevolent vampire overlord, the blood baths...oh, and the bleakwood, where the vampires sometimes hunt for the thrill and sport of the chase. Yeah. They're vampires. What did you expect? Sparkling? Anyways, the pdf sports some seriously nice b/w-artworks of the dilapidated hovels and is supported by no less than 6 sample events to kick adventuring into high gear if the PCs start to idle.

The pdf remarks "Aldrich hopes this is just a phase." This sentence, usually connotated with parents talking about their goth/punk/whatever kids perfectly exemplifies the mindset of the master of this place and really made me smile. Oh, and obviously, horses are not used for riding round here - they are food for the roaming giant bats...

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' Bleakflat is interesting in that its theme of decrepitude is supplemented by a leitmotif of conflict between generations and a bit of social commentary, if you're inclined to read that into the supplement: The population needs their master to survive, but at the same time is slowly destroyed by him. Sounds pretty much like dominant employers in remote communities everywhere to me. Anyways, the settlement is nice, has some thematically consistent angles and can go in several ways, depending on the morality of the PCs and how the GM elects to depict the situation - from full-blown horror to shades of grey "lesser of evils"-gameplay, there is a lot of potential here. Now granted, I would have loved some unique mechanics for the blood baths or some variant regional effects for the vicinity of the vampire lair here...but hey, can't have everything, I guess. As a whole, this is a nice, fun village that does not lose much in translation and thus, is well worth a final verdict of 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Bleakflat (5e)
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Gloamhold Campaign Guide
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/06/2017 04:27:25

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This campaign guide clocks in at 60 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 52 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This review was moved up in my review-queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patreons.

So, this would be a new regional sourcebook by Raging Swan Press, but of a different kind than what you've seen before in the Lonely Coast. Beyond the obvious scope that is evident from the page-count, the focus is different - you see, Gloamhold is very much a mega-dungeon sourcebook, but it is not one that, in presentation, would be akin to how one usually encounters these. This is not a depiction of a room-by-room dungeon; it is a sourcebook depicting the mega-dungeon in its entirety, a kind of gazetteer, if you will.

A mega-dungeon does not exist in a vacuum; in the case of Gloamhold, it is firmly situated in the duchy of Ashlar, which is represented in a lavishly-illustrated isometric map that is downright gorgeous to behold, and it does actually supplement a more regular map. Duchy of Ashlar? Sounds familiar? There is a reason for that. Raging Swan Press fans and veterans with realize that Dunstone, Ashford, Wellswood, Hard Bay, Greystone and Thornhill, for example, can be found in this region - this, you actually are rewarded for keeping true to Raging Swan Press' offerings, which is a big, big plus! And no, if you do not have these supplements, you won't lose out.

You see, the pdf does feature a significant assortment of information on the duchy - from trade and industry to the respective regions, its ancient history and notable locations and NPCs. These NPCs contain brief notes on the suggested classes they may have, providing a general idea of their power-level without compromising the system neutral nature. The regional information also features an assortment of 12 rumours.

In this section, beyond contextualizing the villages, we also receive a significant assortment of adventure sites beyond the complex of Gloamhold. It is here, we learn about the cavern of the forbidden dreams, where unspeakable rites are performed; the shunned valley of the adventure's fame beckons as a great starting point. Close to Coldwater, the sunken stair beckons and the shadowed keep, also known as Valentin's Folly, indeed does offer for yet another easy synergy you can employ to start running the material. Have I mentioned the forlorn dwarven hold of Vorngyth or the fact that the core races come with notes on their representations as well as sample male and female names and similarly, the classic classes and their roles within Ashlar are similarly included. Finally, the section also sports an assortment of 6 different deities commonly worshiped overtly and covertly.

Okay, so beyond the amazing and interesting region, what are the design-paradigms of the pdf that set it apart? Well, if you're a veteran of Raging Swan Press, the following will not surprise you - this is, in aesthetics, very much an old-school book. This does mean that the tone is down-to-earth; that not every room has to have a perfectly balanced encounter. Show, don't tell, resource management, having players map and using brains instead of just rolling the bones - the pdf's design aesthetics make use of the best the old school has to offer. Similarly, magic items are not lying around on every corner. At the same time, the book is very much a champion of fairness - a vastly underestimated component that more than one old-school offering forgets. Hard and difficult modules are great; unfair modules are not. beyond that, it should come as no surprise that this is extremely detailed, but not to the point where it gets lost in minutiae.

As for the complex, we have wandering monsters; we have strong leitmotifs and the classic descent-motive: The deeper you go, the higher the risks, but also the greater the rewards will inevitably be. There will be sub-levels, multiple connections between the levels and all should make sense - though realism should similarly not be over-exerted. If you need a tone, think about the non-over-the-top aspects of Greyhawk - gritty, down to earth adventuring. There are dark fantasy/horror elements, but they are not the central leitmotifs. Another important aspect would pertain a relevant and discoverable backstory and the way in which it's presented - there is no exposition-dump and instead, we get the infinitely harder indirect storytelling which works via details, via context.

So that's what you can expect regarding the theme. And yes, these aspects are actually explained in detail to the respective GM. The pdf goes further than most dungeons in how it is presented to the reader; we have an established theme for the dungeon and it is designed as an internally consistent location that is designed to be able to carry a full campaign. The pdf does mention how to run the campaign for both experienced and new players and what to expect of a sandbox style gameplay. The book also provides a series of considerations/hooks to prompt the PCs to go down into Gloamhold; similarly, motivations for going into the complex are included alongside a significant and wide array of reasons to adventure, including hidden motivations.

The complex itself is detailed in a rather impressive manner, including temperature in both °C and °F (THANK YOU), water temperature, ceiling heights etc. This presents a baisc level of detail to fall back on - but the pdf goes one step further and introduces quite a bunch of tricks to generate the illusion of detail. Better yet, we also get unique 2d20 tables for minor events to generate an organic feeling, with a table of the same size providing a dressing table. Now this is a campaign guide - and NOT, let me emphasize that, a fully depicted room-by-room mega-dungeon (though that should have been obvious from the get-go).

What this instead represents is a toolkit, which sports, beyond the copious material mentioned before, 20 sample room and corridor descriptions, 3 detailed adventuring bands (fluff only, obviously) and a whole generator for making wandering monsters actually make sense: This would present agendas for wandering monsters, making a distinction between explorers, organized denizens and scavengers, etc. - as a whole, the presentation of these sections can be considered to be an amazing boon for GMs, not only those that intend to use Gloamhold.

Now, I've been postponing for quite a while talking about the details of the complex of Gloamhold - and that is due to multiple reasons: For one, the complex is VAST. I mean it. Atop a mountain lies the tower colloquially known as the shard, and below it, no less than 5 levels of Rivengate lie next to both the shard's cellars and the splintered stair. Below even that, one can find the twisted warrens, the murkwater, the three sisters and the twilight city - and an amazing side-view map that screams "make me a PoD-poster-map" can be found - gorgeous and impressive . And I haven't even yet mentioned the Pens or the aptly-named breathless narrows.

Hard Bay as a base receives its basic coverage, enough to yield sufficient detail, but not enough to make the detailed pdf redundant; Similarly, Greystone is included in just such a way.

The respective environments of the dungeon then proceed to receive gazetteer-like sections that include notes on lore as well as whispers and rumors. From the dilapidated ruins of the ghost tower, we move into the depths of the erstwhile defenses of the twilight city, the Rivengate - mystery to most, where grand stone landings, cracked with age once saw the steady stream of slaves and loot shuffle hopelessly past the flagstones. Here, twisted pillars adorned with intricate and disturbing designs can be found among the aptly named "Echoes"; here, the slave pens can be found and sinkwebs hunt - semi-sentient strands of animated spidersilk, death comes silently in these places.

Below even these haunted halls, there lie the foam-flecked waters of the murkwater, whose remorseless tides are responsible for many a wet grave for those daring to navigate its depth; it is here that half-sunken wrecks beckon with promises of loot and doom and it is here that the fane of bones may be found...and beyond this place, the three sisters, stone locks that regulate the flow of water to the realms beyond, have seen few surface-dwellers pass their gates voluntarily...

Within the labyrinthine depths of the twisted warrens, Codath's Mine lies waiting, while black pits and the sepulchre of the afflicted one lurk within; the strange tribes that inhabit these tunnels, though, are not kind o those that brave these twisting tunnels. Worse yet and probably close to the apex of deadliness, the aptly-named breathless narrows are mostly flooded and only the unlucky and brave (or foolish) dare tread; the glimmering grotto (of despair) bespeak of the horrid fate of those that fell here...and within the murky waters, albino eels are ever hungry for new meat...

The fallen twilight city, now home to the degenerate troglodytes, hosts a lot of majestic ziggurats and bespeaks of ancient cultures once lost, allowing for a lethal environment with its very own politics, one that breathes the spirit of Clark Ashton Smith or R.E. Howard, with the whispering fane concealing the daemonic maw, a magical and strange sinkhole of unknown depths that may conceal even worse... and beyond the Screaming gate, the Ebon Road and the underworld beckon, presenting a subterranean frontier that can yield untold adventures beyond the regions covered herein.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant hiccups. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press' two-column b/w-standard and the pdf sports a LOT of amazing, gorgeous b/w-artworks and the cartography, with side-views and gorgeous overview maps, is phenomenal and up to the highest quality standards. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience with nested bookmarks galore. Additionally, the pdf comes in two versions, with one optimized for the printer and one for screen-use. Kudos!

Creighton Broadhurst is a true master of concise writing: The sheer attention to detail and evocative concepts evoked within these pages is amazing. Via a scant few words, he manages to conjure up the weight of aeons, the gravity of history grinding down the accomplishments of bygone eras. If anything, this, to me, feels like the design-incarnation of the old Ozymandias-sonnet. The sense of an ancient world waiting to be explored, of untold stories long gone, the sense of antiquity that is so incredibly hard to convey - Creighton nails it absolutely perfectly. Gloamhold is a ruin; it is a place where the world has moved on; it is not a deserted remnant, though. Instead, this book provides a toolkit to make the overall complex your own; it establishes the tone and themes of the complex perfectly and provides a wide array of diverging challenges you can start pondering, as the complex and its depths beckons.

This does FEEL like an old-school dungeon in the best of ways, exemplifying the virtues of old-school, while not shying away from the advancements made within the gaming-world. In short: This is an amazing sourcebook for the complex; it has me rather stoked to explore the premises and the Ashlar's wilderness and promises to be an excellent representation of what a mega-dungeon could and should deliver. I should also mention that this is a great read. I am not kidding when I'm saying that I actually had fun reading this book, and when you're reading as much RPG-material as I do, that's not an occurrence you'll feel daily anymore. In short: This is amazing. Support it. Get it. I can't wait for more Gloamhold. 5 stars + seal of approval. If you've been looking for that traditional, old-school, Greyhawk-ish style (not Castle Greyhawk - the setting!), then this will have you smile from ear to ear.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gloamhold Campaign Guide
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Village Backdrop: Lanthorn (SNE)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/23/2017 05:16:06

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!

Lanthorn is a peculiar settlement - named for the magical lanterns set atop its gates, the perpetually-shrouded village is situated under a massive overhang in Kuldor Pass, where winters are long and cruel and summers but brief. Heavily defended and fortified, the settlement controls traffic through the pass and represents a gateway to the untamed wilderness beyond. Governed by a conclave of powerful wizards with an economy fueled by adventurers and fortune-seekers commissioning magic items, the village also is home to a thoroughly atypical tribe of matriarchal goblins the Flaming Skull tribe, who also act as the village's miners, digging strange and potent metals from the earth for their eldritch masters. These goblins have also found a pool of bubbling, highly volatile liquid deep within the mines, which helps against the ever-present threat of trolls...which seem to be drawn to the mines in an inexplicable compulsion.

Indeed, the theme of a city under siege and goblin propensity towards lighting foes ablaze both are represented well in the depiction of the unique settlement, making it feel very much unique - and yes, the alliance between the grand conclave of sublime artificers and the flaming skull has resulted in almost all shops being owned by goblins...so while healing services can be found, they often boil down to experimental surgery and cauterization and food...well. Let's just say that it's available. Half-orcs seem to also be viable business owners here, lending a martial and somewhat rough-and-tumble edge to the settlement, while at the same emphasizing arcane sophistication in a weird, yet compelling blending of themes. It should come as no surprise that goblins are pretty keen on making lots of wands of fireball in a place where some families actually have a troll-baiting and - burning history.

From a rules-relevant perspective, we get the proper pieces of information regarding the settlement's demographics and the classic market-place section is similarly included and properly modified to represent the classic gaming systems. Kudos for not simply cutting that one - the custom result really is appropriate for the settlement!! On a slight nitpick, most OSR-systems I know call the arcane caster class magic-user, not wizard, but that ultimately is just a cosmetic complaint. Prices of food and accommodation can be found for the respective establishments and, as always, 6 whispers and rumours have been included as red herrings/adventure seeds to further develop or ignore. The pdf also includes the classic sections of lore that PCs may be familiar with and a total of 6 events that the GM can use to further kickstart adventuring, should the PCs dawdle. As a minor complaint, the second entry reads "As #2, but this merchant caravan..." - that should be "As #1...".

Life in Lanthorn is surprisingly ordered and peaceful and nomenclature is provided in the settlement's demographics-section, though no general dressing habits and the like are included this time around. On the criticism side, the pdf does offer some truly tantalizing concepts: You see, the magical lanterns of the place are rumored to be sentient and seem to exhibit fiery, destructive capabilities and this being the system-neutral version, I can't well complain about a lack of stats for them. Similarly, I won't complain on the slightly opaque explosive oil stats that does "double fire damage" contained herein, at least not in this version. On the plus-side, the village does offer something amazing: Beyond the well-done standard map, we also get a lavishly-illustrated side-view-version of the village in b/w - big kudos for this very evocative piece.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches beyond aforementioned minor hiccup in the event table. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map by Maciej Zagorski, 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.

Creighton Broadhurst's Lanthorn is one absolutely AMAZING settlement. I adore this place. The explanation of the atypical nature of the Flameskulls and the old-school-marketplace-section are certainly appreciated. The place's visual representation is glorious and the threat of trolls serious enough to warrant magical laser-lanterns. (At least that's how I picture them.) In short - this pdf has it all - Lanthorn is a fantastic village and, for me as a person, one of the coolest in the whole product line. In the system-neutral version, I can't really complain about a lack of precise stats for some of the unique features sported by the village. Thus, I consider the system-neutral version, for its intents and demographics, to be the best of the 3 versions - and worthy of 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Lanthorn (SNE)
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Village Backdrop: Lanthorn (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/23/2017 05:14:17

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!

Lanthorn is a peculiar settlement - named for the magical lanterns set atop its gates, the perpetually-shrouded village is situated under a massive overhang in Kuldor Pass, where winters are long and cruel and summers but brief. Heavily defended and fortified, the settlement controls traffic through the pass and represents a gateway to the untamed wilderness beyond. Governed by a conclave of powerful wizards with an economy fueled by adventurers and fortune-seekers commissioning magic items, the village also is home to a thoroughly atypical tribe of matriarchal goblins the Flaming Skull tribe, who also act as the village's miners, digging strange and potent metals from the earth for their eldritch masters. These goblins have also found a pool of bubbling, highly volatile liquid deep within the mines, which helps against the ever-present threat of trolls...which seem to be drawn to the mines in an inexplicable compulsion.

Indeed, the theme of a city under siege and goblin propensity towards lighting foes ablaze both are represented well in the depiction of the unique settlement, making it feel very much unique - and yes, the alliance between the grand conclave of sublime artificers and the flaming skull has resulted in almost all shops being owned by goblins...so while healing services can be found, they often boil down to experimental surgery and cauterization and food...well. Let's just say that it's available. Half-orcs seem to also be viable business owners here, lending a martial and somewhat rough-and-tumble edge to the settlement, while at the same emphasizing arcane sophistication in a weird, yet compelling blending of themes. It should come as no surprise that goblins are pretty keen on making lots of wands of fireball in a place where some families actually have a troll-baiting and - burning history.

From a rules-relevant perspective, we get the proper pieces of information regarding the settlement's demographics and the classic market-place section is similarly included and properly modified to represent 5e's stance on magic items. Kudos for not simply cutting that one - the custom result really is appropriate for the settlement!! Prices of food and accommodation can be found for the respective establishments and, as always, 6 whispers and rumours have been included as red herrings/adventure seeds to further develop or ignore. The pdf also includes the classic sections of lore that PCs may be familiar with and a total of 6 events that the GM can use to further kickstart adventuring, should the PCs dawdle. As a minor complaint, the second entry reads "As #2, but this merchant caravan..." - that should be "As #1...".

Life in Lanthorn is surprisingly ordered and peaceful and nomenclature is provided in the settlement's demographics-section, though no general dressing habits and the like are included this time around. On the criticism side, the pdf does offer some truly tantalizing concepts: You see, the magical lanterns of the place are rumored to be sentient and seem to exhibit fiery, destructive capabilities - that we don't get siege weapon/magic device stats for them is somewhat a lost chance. Similarly, aforementioned volatile troll-exploding liquid would have deserved proper alchemical stats as far as I'm concerned. The marketplace just notes double fire damage...double of what? On the plus-side, the village does offer something amazing: Beyond the well-done standard map, we also get a lavishly-illustrated side-view-version of the village in b/w - big kudos for this very evocative piece.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches beyond aforementioned minor hiccup in the event table. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map by Maciej Zagorski, 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.

Creighton Broadhurst's Lanthorn is one absolutely AMAZING settlement. I adore this place. The explanation of the atypical nature of the Flameskulls and the 5e-marketplace-section are certainly appreciated. The place's visual representation is glorious and the threat of trolls serious enough to warrant magical laser-lanterns. (At least that's how I picture them.) In short - this pdf has it all - Lanthorn is a fantastic village and, for me as a person, one of the coolest in the whole product line. At the same time, I was slightly disappointed by the lack of mechanical stats for the eponymous lanterns and the killer-troll-burn liquid, which are obvious key components of the village. Sure, a GM could handwave those...but having precise stats for them would have been the icing on the cake, at least for me. Hence, the 5e-version is equal to the PFRPG-version in what it offers and lacks and misses my seal of approval by a small margin, making the pdf clock in at 5 stars. Good step up for the 5e-village backdrops!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Lanthorn (5e)
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Village Backdrop: Lanthorn
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/23/2017 05:10:40

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!

Lanthorn is a peculiar settlement - named for the magical lanterns set atop its gates, the perpetually-shrouded village is situated under a massive overhang in Kuldor Pass, where winters are long and cruel and summers but brief. Heavily defended and fortified, the settlement controls traffic through the pass and represents a gateway to the untamed wilderness beyond. Governed by a conclave of powerful wizards with an economy fueled by adventurers and fortune-seekers commissioning magic items, the village also is home to a thoroughly atypical tribe of matriarchal goblins the Flaming Skull tribe, who also act as the village's miners, digging strange and potent metals from the earth for their eldritch masters. These goblins have also found a pool of bubbling, highly volatile liquid deep within the mines, which helps against the ever-present threat of trolls...which seem to be drawn to the mines in an inexplicable compulsion.

Indeed, the theme of a city under siege and goblin propensity towards lighting foes ablaze both are represented well in the depiction of the unique settlement, making it feel very much unique - and yes, the alliance between the grand conclave of sublime artificers and the flaming skull has resulted in almost all shops being owned by goblins...so while healing services can be found, they often boil down to experimental surgery and cauterization and food...well. Let's just say that it's available. Half-orcs seem to also be viable business owners here, lending a martial and somewhat rough-and-tumble edge to the settlement, while at the same emphasizing arcane sophistication in a weird, yet compelling blending of themes. It should come as no surprise that goblins are pretty keen on making lots of wands of fireball in a place where some families actually have a troll-baiting and - burning history.

From a rules-relevant perspective, we get the proper pieces of information regarding the settlement's stats and the classic market-place section is similarly included. The settlement's stats make use of the under siege property, which has been included for your convenience. Prices of food and accommodation can be found for the respective establishments and, as always 6 whispers and rumours have been included as red herrings/adventure seeds. The pdf also includes the classic sections of lore that PCs may be familiar with and a total of 6 events that the GM can use to further kickstart adventuring, should the PCs dawdle. As a minor complaint, the second entry reads "As #2, but this merchant caravan..." - that should be "As #1...".

Life in Lanthorn is surprisingly ordered and peaceful and nomenclature is provided in the settlement statblock, though no general dressing habits and the like are included this time around. On the criticism side, the pdf does offer some truly tantalizing concepts: You see, the magical lanterns of the place are rumored to be sentient and seem to exhibit fiery, destructive capabilities - that we don't get siege weapon/magic device stats for them is somewhat a lost chance. Similarly, aforementioned volatile troll-exploding liquid would have deserved proper alchemical stats as far as I'm concerned: The marketplace just notes double fire damage...double of what? On the plus-side, the village does offer something amazing: Beyond the well-done standard map, we also get a lavishly-illustrated side-view-version of the village in b/w - big kudos for this very evocative piece.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches beyond aforementioned minor hiccup in the event table. Layout adheres to RSP's smooth, printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes with full bookmarks as well as a gorgeous map by Maciej Zagorski, 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.

Creighton Broadhurst's Lanthorn is one absolutely AMAZING settlement. I adore this place. The explanation of the atypical nature of the Flameskulls makes the tribe work even in the context of PFRPG's re-envisioned and modified goblins. The place's visual representation is glorious and the threat of trolls serious enough to warrant magical laser-lanterns. (At least that's how I picture them.) In short - this pdf has it all - Lanthorn is a fantastic village and, for me as a person, one of the coolest in the whole product line. At the same time, I was slightly disappointed by the lack of mechanical stats for the eponymous lanterns and the killer-troll-burn liquid, which are obvious key components of the village. Sure, a GM could handwave those...but having precise stats for them would have been the icing on the cake, at least for me. Hence, the Pathfinder-version misses my seal of approval by a small margin, making the pdf clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Lanthorn
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Treasures & Trinkets: Gemstones & Art Objects (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/20/2017 05:28:31

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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

Now treasure is not and should not be equal to other treasure. From strange pictures to sculptures and elaborate tobacco pouches, there are a lot of objects to which value can be ascribed. As such, the pdf goes a different route than one would expect - the first 3 tables, each of which is 20 entries strong and lists sample pieces of art, from black pottery vases to wall mirrors and rugs of white gorilla fur. These cover a lot of ground, but unlike many dressing files, they actually are governed by general price - 25 gp, 250 gp and 750 gp values each have their own table and the pdf actually lists Intelligence-check based DCs to properly determine the gp values of the objects, with the DCs scaling. The art objects worth 2500 gp and 7500 gp also get their own tables, each of which are btw. 10 entries strong.

Really cool - there is a mini-table of value modifiers - 4 different results on that table can yield worse or better prices for the objects, allowing you to get even more out of the material herein. So, the art aspect works pretty well - then what about those gemstones?

Well, first, we receive a small glossary of up to 4 different gem types - from translucent to opaque, the respective categories are clearly defined. We begin with two d12-entry-strong tables of the least valuable stones, gaining a d10-table for those worth 100 gp, a d6 table for gems worth 500 gp, a d8-table for gems worth 1000 gp and finally, a 4-entry-strong table of gems worth 5K gp...though that table is erroneously headed by a d6 instead of a d4 in a minor hiccup. And before you ask - yep, we do receive Intelligence DCs to evaluate these as well. The different qualities of gemstone allow for an even more detailed modification of base prices via a d10-table, once again getting more mileage out of every single entry.

The pdf does go on step beyond all of these, though: On the last pages, reputedly magical effects of gemstones that may or may not be true can be found and add a nice sense of magic and cohesion to the subject matter. Additionally, there is a final table that consists of two parts, both of which are 12 entries long: The first lets you determine a special property for the gemstone, while the second presents a complication and/or opportunity: From significant sizes to strange cuts and mystical glowing, the special appearances are nice - and from trapped adventurers to fakes or acting as keys, the latter similarly are interesting.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant hiccups. Layout adheres to RagingS wan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standards with nice b/w-artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and in two versions - one optimized for screen-use and one that has been optimized for the printer- kudos!

Richard Green's Treasures & Trinkets - installment regarding art and gems is an inspired little dressing file: With a bit of crunch, solid modifiers and well-crafted, diverse tables, the pdf is ready to use in any 5e-game and features enough system-relevant bits to make use as comfortable as possible. The entries include the mundane and fantastic and the modifiers allow you to really squeeze dry this pdf. In short: This is very much worth the low and fair asking price and should be considered to be a great little addition to a GM's arsenal. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Treasures & Trinkets: Gemstones & Art Objects (5e)
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Treasures & Trinkets: Gemstones & Art Objects (SNE)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/20/2017 05:26:31

An Endzeitgeist.com review

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

Now treasure is not and should not be equal to other treasure. From strange pictures to sculptures and elaborate tobacco pouches, there are a lot of objects to which value can be ascribed. As such, the pdf goes a different route than one would expect - the first 3 tables, each of which is 20 entries strong and lists sample pieces of art, from black pottery vases to wall mirrors and rugs of white gorilla fur. These cover a lot of ground, but unlike many dressing files, they actually are governed by general price - 25 gp, 250 gp and 750 gp values each have their own table. The art objects worth 2500 gp and 7500 gp also get their own tables, each of which are btw. 10 entries strong.

Really cool - there is a mini-table of value modifiers - 4 different results on that table can yield worse or better prices for the objects, allowing you to get even more out of the material herein. So, the art aspect works pretty well - then what about those gemstones?

Well, first, we receive a small glossary of up to 4 different gem types - from translucent to opaque, the respective categories are clearly defined. We begin with two d12-entry-strong tables of the least valuable stones, gaining a d10-table for those worth 100 gp, a d6 table for gems worth 500 gp, a d8-table for gems worth 1000 gp and finally, a 4-entry-strong table of gems worth 5K gp...though that table is erroneously headed by a d6 instead of a d4 in a minor hiccup. The different qualities of gemstone allow for an even more detailed modification of base prices via a d10-table, once again getting more mileage out of every single entry.

The pdf does go on step beyond all of these, though: On the last pages, reputedly magical effects of gemstones that may or may not be true can be found and add a nice sense of magic and cohesion to the subject matter. Additionally, there is a final table that consists of two parts, both of which are 12 entries long: The first lets you determine a special property for the gemstone, while the second presents a complication and/or opportunity: From significant sizes to strange cuts and mystical glowing, the special appearances are nice - and from trapped adventurers to fakes or acting as keys, the latter similarly are interesting.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant hiccups. Layout adheres to RagingS wan Press' elegant two-column b/w-standards with nice b/w-artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and in two versions - one optimized for screen-use and one that has been optimized for the printer- kudos!

Richard Green's Treasures & Trinkets - installment regarding art and gems is an inspired little dressing file - that holds true in the system-neutral version as well. This is basically identical to the 5e-version, with only the evaluating DCs to determine the prices purged. This is not bad, mind you - the resulting pdf still provides a ton of mileage, but I couldn't help but wonder is some sort of additional option for the system-neutral version wouldn't have been prudent here. If you're playing both 5e and OSR material, you may thus want to go for the 5e-version; if, however, you absolutely loathe system-relevant material...well, then this one if the file to go for. For me, this iteration has a tiny bit less to offer, which is why it will "only" receive a final verdict of 5 stars - this pdf still very much represents a fantastic offering for the price-point, though.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Treasures & Trinkets: Gemstones & Art Objects (SNE)
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Dragon and the Thief
by Shyloh W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/17/2017 11:43:07

Used this in our game last night to introduce a new NPC character that will be joining the party for a bit. While playing, everyone shared backstories and what they were planning on doing next and had the opportunity to "interview" the character in a very casual setting. The players loved the "game within the game" and it was quick to learn and quick to play. We did require everyone putting in an ante (1gp) into the hoard to make it a little more valuable if you happen to roll 12 early on. Sure your group will enjoy!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dragon and the Thief
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Village Backdrop: Black Wyvern (SNE)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/17/2017 04:50:08

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!

So, Black Wyvern would be the final village in the vicinity of the town backdrop Deksport, situated on the relatively lawless Picaroon Peninsula. And guess what? It was founded by a pirate captain and named after his ship. Did not see that one coming, right? Sarcasm aside, the village actually does have a somewhat unique angle: The base premise of the village would be evil colonialist pirates displacing similarly evil local goblinoids and orcs...but it turns out that the pirates inherited more than they could chew: An ancient moon oak, gnarled, withered and used to execute countless folk, has gained sentience and now looms over this place an arboreal overlord that controls access to the woods...and to an extent, the population here.

The settlement comes fully equipped with notes on its characteristics and the PFRPG version's marketplace section has been replaced with an artwork of a tree sporting hanged men - appropriate. Nomenclature is similarly covered, though, oddly, mannerisms and dressing habits are nowhere to be found. On the plus-side, we receive village lore, the usual 6 whispers and rumors for hooks and red herrings as well as more precise details on the local population and sites of interest within the beautifully mapped village.

An extra section on local industry and law and order (or their relative lack of) complement the pdf alongside 6 sample events you can use to jumpstart proceedings if the PCs are idling. That being said, the final page is a one-page illustration of the dread tree...a great b/w-artwork, for sure...but while I can't complain about a lack of stats in a system-neutral pdf, I still wished the space had been used to highlight the proceedings further with more dressing. You know, the full blown "Evil plant overlord angle. Mind-clouding sap in the local brew; the flung corpses that spit forth thorny seeds, shamble around and collapse to spread the seeds of the horrid plant-thing. Some creepy cult iconography or a table of strange utterings à la "Death to you, life for your seed."

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.

Richard Green's Black Wyvern has a more unique angle than his last pirate-y settlement, so that's a definite plus. On the downside, this village is very straightforward in how it'll work in play and doesn't fully capitalize on the straightforward angle. If you depict a threat this explicit in its focus, why not make it shine and go all out? The pdf certainly has the space to further elaborate on the creature and its unwilling subordinates in question and certainly could have used the added room. As a whole, this feels like one of the weaker installments in the series and is slightly briefer as well, which is why my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars. However, since this is the system neutral version, I at least wasn't missing a proper unique adversary statblock, which is why I'll round up for this one.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Black Wyvern (SNE)
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Village Backdrop: Black Wyvern (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/17/2017 04:48:13

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!

So, Black Wyvern would be the final village in the vicinity of the town backdrop Deksport, situated on the relatively lawless Picaroon Peninsula. And guess what? It was founded by a pirate captain and named after his ship. Did not see that one coming, right? Sarcasm aside, the village actually does have a somewhat unique angle: The base premise of the village would be evil colonialist pirates displacing similarly evil local goblinoids and orcs...but it turns out that the pirates inherited more than they could chew: An ancient moon oak, gnarled, withered and used to execute countless folk, has gained sentience and now looms over this place an arboreal overlord that controls access to the woods...and to an extent, the population here.

The settlement comes fully equipped notes on its characteristics, but once again does not get a unique 5e-marketplace section, which is a bit of a missed chance. Nomenclature is similarly covered, though, oddly, mannerisms and dressing habits are nowhere to be found. On the plus-side, we receive village lore, the usual 6 whispers and rumors for hooks and red herrings as well as more precise details on the local population and sites of interest within the beautifully mapped village.

An extra section on local industry and law and order (or their relative lack of) complement the pdf alongside 6 sample events you can use to jumpstart proceedings if the PCs are idling. That being said, the final page is a one-page illustration of the dread tree...a great b/w-artwork, for sure...but personally, I would have loved the space to instead be used to provide actual unique stats for the evil treant-monstrosity lording over the place - just making it an NE treant feels...I don't know...kinda lame?

Particularly considering the importance of this BBEG for the dynamics of the town, some crunch would have been warranted here. Come on: An animate hangman's tree? Where are the animated carcasses? The flung corpses that spit forth thorny seeds? The body-snatcher plant-invasion angle? Where is the creepy cult iconography? The table of strange utterings à la "Death to you, life for your seed", where is the Wickerman Summer Isle-style angle? The pdf also has an issue in that it has a character in the village sport a plan, where smearing paste on the treant's roots can temporarily negate some of its abilities...which implies that the treant isn't mobile. If that were the case, just lob fire at it and be done with it. At least, in 5e (as opposed to PFRPG), plants can actually be poisoned, so that's one logic bug less for the GM to deal with.

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.

Richard Green's Black Wyvern has a more unique angle than his last pirate-y settlement, so that's a definite plus. On the downside, this village is very straightforward in how it'll work in play and doesn't fully capitalize on the straightforward angle. If you depict a threat this narrow in focus and in how it'll be used, why not make it shine and go all out? Slapping an evil alignment on a critter does not make for a compelling adversary on its own as far as I'm concerned and the pdf certainly has the space to further elaborate on the creature in question. As a whole, this feels like one of the weaker installments in the series and is slightly briefer as well. It falls short of what it easily could have been and its linear angle does provide some rough edges for the GM to navigate. Hence, I cannot go higher than 3 stars for this one.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Black Wyvern (5e)
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Village Backdrop: Black Wyvern
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/17/2017 04:46:06

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!

So, Black Wyvern would be the final village in the vicinity of the town backdrop Deksport, situated on the relatively lawless Picaroon Peninsula. And guess what? It was founded by a pirate captain and named after his ship. Did not see that one coming, right? Sarcasm aside, the village actually does have a somewhat unique angle: The base premise of the village would be evil colonialist pirates displacing similarly evil local goblinoids and orcs...but it turns out that the pirates inherited more than they could chew: An ancient moon oak, gnarled, withered and used to execute countless folk, has gained sentience and now looms over this place an arboreal overlord that controls access to the woods...and to an extent, the population here.

The settlement comes fully equipped with proper settlement statblock characteristics as well as a marketplace section of items to pursue. Nomenclature is similarly covered, though, oddly, mannerisms and dressing habits are nowhere to be found. On the plus-side, we receive village lore, the usual 6 whispers and rumors for hooks and red herrings as well as more precise details on the local population and sites of interest within the beautifully mapped village.

An extra section on local industry and law and order (or their relative lack of) complement the pdf alongside 6 sample events you can use to jumpstart proceedings if the PCs are idling. That being said, the final page is a one-page illustration of the dread tree...a great b/w-artwork, for sure...but personally, I would have loved the space to instead be used to provide actual unique stats for the evil treant-monstrosity lording over the place - just making it an NE treant feels...I don't know...kinda lame?

Particularly considering the importance of this BBEG for the dynamics of the town, some crunch would have been warranted here. Come on: An animate hangman's tree? Where are the animated carcasses? The flung corpses that spit forth thorny seeds? The body-snatcher plant-invasion angle? Where is the creepy cult iconography? The table of strange utterings à la "Death to you, life for your seed", where is the Wickerman Summer Isle-style angle? There is another issue: One inhabitant has access to a paste, which, when smeared on the treant's roots, can take away its abilities to animate trees. Okay, why don't we get stats for that? Also, it is called a "poison" here - and guess what: Plants in PFRPG are RAW immune to poison. Worse, this implies the tree can't move, which breaks completely the whole angle - just lob fire at it and be done with it.

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.

Richard Green's Black Wyvern has a more unique angle than his last pirate-y settlement, so that's a definite plus. On the downside, this village is very straightforward in how it'll work in play and doesn't fully capitalize on the straightforward angle. If you depict a threat this explicit in how it'll be used, why not make it shine and go all out? Slapping an evil alignment on a critter does not make for a compelling adversary on its own as far as I'm concerned and the pdf certainly has the space to further elaborate on the creature in question. As a whole, this feels like one of the weaker installments in the series and is slightly briefer as well. It lacks the stats for the unique gizmo for resolving the settlement's storyline and its implications contradict rules. In short: In a series this beloved, that has so many amazing installments, it falls flat for me and is utterly uncharacteristic for the author.

My final verdict can't go higher than 2.5 stars for this one...and I'm only rounding up because the angle, in spite of the logic issues, is too cool to deserve a 2-star-slap.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Black Wyvern
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Village Backdrop: Kingsfell
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/14/2017 07:53:25

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!

Kingsfell can be found in a strategically important area upstream from vast saltmarshes, acting as a base and gateways for the brave souls that venture into the harrowing territory under the stern and benevolent auspice of paladin Mira Lankinen. Situated atop a location of a massacre in ages long past, the dead do not rest easily here, as their pain and hatred is slowly seeping into the populace...how long can the righteous rule of the paladin withstand this seeping corruption? The first thing you'll notice would be that the village, this time around does come once again with proper PFRPG settlement statblock rules, which is a big plus as far as I'm concerned. Similarly, the site comes with a nice settlement quality (historic site) and a proper, full-blown market place section of objects to purchase.

Lavishly illustrated and mapped by cartography champion Tommi Salamma, the village and its population receive full coverage regarding the diverse dressing habits, local nomenclature and features the by now expected array of 6 whispers and rumors to jumpstart adventuring and/or provide red herrings, if required. Beyond no less than 2 taverns (which feature prices etc.!), the appeal of this relatively safe haven lies within the hidden history of the ominously named village, with the heavily armored statues colloquially known kingstones (which come with a great b/w-artwork!) and the four brothers, burial mounds, combined with the cursory notes on nearby places, all providing ample options for adventure. Add to that the subtle threat implied by the metaplot and the 4 sample events and we have a great borderland-style village/place to kick off a new campaign...or pass through.

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.

Creighton Broadhurst's Kingsfell is a great village. While its prose is slightly less awe-inspiring than his excursion to Greystone, if you take personal taste out of the equation, this remains the better roleplaying game supplement: The ruins and mounds allow for ample story hooks; an opaque threat is clearly defined, yet provides a clear leitmotif. The cartography is excellent and the formal criteria of the installment are precise and to the point. While, as a person, I prefer the horror/dark fantasy tone of Greystone, as a reviewer, I can see this having simply more universal appeal...and the craftsmanship of the formal aspects is better. In short, this has nothing I could complain about and represents a great little village with adventuring potential galore. 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Kingsfell
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Village Backdrop: Kingsfell (SNE)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/14/2017 07:52:17

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!

Kingsfell can be found in a strategically important area upstream from vast saltmarshes, acting as a base and gateways for the brave souls that venture into the harrowing territory under the stern and benevolent auspice of paladin Mira Lankinen. Situated atop a location of a massacre in ages long past, the dead do not rest easily here, as their pain and hatred is slowly seeping into the populace...how long can the righteous rule of the paladin withstand this seeping corruption?

The system neutral version of this file replaces the market place section with a solid artwork of a b/w-shield and the settlements rules-relevant sections have been extracted.

Lavishly illustrated and mapped by cartography champion Tommi Salamma, the village and its population receive full coverage regarding the diverse dressing habits, local nomenclature and features the by now expected array of 6 whispers and rumors to jumpstart adventuring and/or provide red herrings, if required. Beyond no less than 2 taverns (which feature prices etc.!), the appeal of this relatively safe haven lies within the hidden history of the ominously named village, with the heavily armored statues colloquially known kingstones (which come with a great b/w-artwork!) and the four brothers, burial mounds as well as cursory notes on nearby places providing ample options for adventure.

Add to that the subtle threat implied by the metaplot and the 4 sample events and we have a great borderland-style village/place to kick off a new campaign...or pass through.

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.

Creighton Broadhurst's Kingsfell is a great village. While its prose is slightly less awe-inspiring than his excursion to Greystone, if you take personal taste out of the equation, this remains the better roleplaying game supplement: The ruins and mounds allow for ample story hooks; an opaque threat is clearly defined, yet provides a clear leitmotif. The cartography is excellent and the formal criteria of the installment are precise and to the point. While, as a person, I prefer the horror/dark fantasy tone of Greystone, as a reviewer, I can see this having simply more universal appeal...and the craftsmanship of the formal aspects is better. While this lacks the rules-relevant aspects of the PFRPG-version, it does not lose any significant information or dressing components, and as such, I am comfortable in rating this just as highly - 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: Kingsfell (SNE)
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