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20 Things #26: Townsfolk & Villagers (System Neutral Edition)
von Thilo G. [Häufiger Rezensent] Hinzugefügt am: 09/13/2018 04:44:17

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the #20 Things-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Okay, this one is slightly more straightforward than most installments of the series, focusing exclusively, as the title promises, on folks you can meet in smaller settlements – we get one page devoted to one type of person, which makes sense from an organization paradigm and makes sure you find what you’re looking for quickly and without much hassle. As always in this series, suggested alignments are noted in brackets alongside general age categories, races and classes, if any. The latter employ old-school nomenclature for classes, speaking of thieves and magic-users.

The first of these groups would be the destitute – beggars and vagabonds: Here, we can find the desperate, crippled former soldiers, servants of wealthy families out for revenge after having been thrown out and more. The motivations of these folk make sense and are sufficiently versatile. Oddly, the bookmark to the second cadre of folks does not jump to the correct page: Instead of arriving on the soldiers and guards page, we end up on the beggar/vagabond-page. The page of the guards and soldiers paints a diverse picture, including those that have fallen on hard times, a towering femal blacksmith-turned-fighter and even an incognito spy.

Among the merchants and tradespersons, we have dog-persons, a trader who wants to please folks and as a result, is easy to haggle down and a striking psychopath sans morals. A truly charitable, good person is also part of the roster here. 10 peasants and serfs include those that always find themselves in the midst of drama, old folks with a penchant for friendly rambling and a good-hearted lady that sometimes goes out to collect medicinal herbs – in spite of that not being exactly safe… This one also links to the previous page.

The second aspect of this pdf would be a general array of 20 encounter hooks that allows you to establish NPCs having bad days, being fascinated by the PCs, recovering from an injury, etc. – I really liked this section, though I did find myself wishing it was a bit longer.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to an elegant, minimalist 2-column b/w-standard, and the pdf sports a couple of really nice b/w-artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, though two bookmarks are not perfectly working, and the pdf comes in two different versions, one of which is optimized for screen-use, and one is optimized for printing it out.

Creighton Broadhurst’s NPC-dressing file provides some really neat window-dressing for the often overlooked NPCs that are populating our fantasy towns, and as such, this is a helpful, fun little pdf. At the same time, I couldn’t help but feel like e.g. a designated pdf just for traders, one just for serfs etc. would have added to the value here. We get a good jack-of-all-trades file with this pdf, but the dressing here could have gone a bit further into the depths. Compared to the excellence that this series has established, this one struck me as slightly less impressive, and as such, my final verdict will be 4.5 stars, rounded down – very much worth getting, but not as mind-blowing as his best dressing-files.

Endzeitgeist out.



Wertung:
[4 von 5 Sternen!]
20 Things #26: Townsfolk & Villagers (System Neutral Edition)
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Kommentar des Verlages:
Glad you liked this one, End, but sorry it didn't totally hit the spot for you this time! In any event, as always, thanks for taking the time to write the review.
20 Things #22: Ocean Voyage (System Neutral Edition)
von Thilo G. [Häufiger Rezensent] Hinzugefügt am: 09/11/2018 05:54:10

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the #20 Things-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

All righty, we begin this collection of dressing files with three pages that provide fluff-only write-ups for NPCs; these write-ups do mention alignments and classes, if any, and nomenclature adheres to old-school standards – thieves and magic-users instead of rogues and wizards. Old-school fans will certainly appreciate this. Now, the first page sports 6 different stowaways, which include a bored illusionist (who can make for a rather fun series of encounters…), a hero-worshiping stalker of the PCs – some truly creative angles here! The second page contains 10 sample passengers, which include a fighter suffering, ostensibly, for a crippled leg, when in truth, a curse is responsible – and he believes, he can outrun it. Suffice to say, any GM worth their salt can make this rock hard! What about an alcoholic thief who has just absconded with the heist of his life? Yeah, some cool angles here!

Now, where there are passengers, there obviously are sailors as well: An irreverent sailor who calls his mongrel dog “Dogon” may well provoke the wrath of the elder being…if he does not fall prey to the machinations of the cultist in disguise, that is! An elven explorer in love with sea and adventure may make for a cool cohort or low-level replacement character concept. Nice angles. The pdf also sports two pages that feature 20 entry tables: The first is devoted to ship dressing, and here, perceptive PCs may well find an odd map, hidden away – but to where and by whom? Did I mention the mascot parrot who has taken a liking to the taste of wine, often ending up hungover? Often neglected duties like removing barnacles can also make for cool happenstances. All in all, the dressing table is inspired. The final table, then, would be devoted to sights and sounds aboard: Loud thumps, speaking of a harmless collision, may put folks on edge. There are epic shanties to be sung, and vast, black shadows may be seen beneath the waves. The table is flavorful and diverse.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to an elegant, minimalist 2-column b/w-standard, and the pdf sports a couple of really nice b/w-artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, and the pdf comes in two different versions, one of which is optimized for screen-use, and one is optimized for printing it out.

Creighton Broadhurst’s take on oceanic voyages provides a significant amount of inspired dressing for the GM. Instead of skipping over the journey, this humble pdf can provide a vast amount of cool scenes and vignettes and add color to the proceedings, making the journey matter. An inspired little pdf, this is well worth 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Wertung:
[5 von 5 Sternen!]
20 Things #22: Ocean Voyage (System Neutral Edition)
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Kommentar des Verlages:
Thanks very much for this review, End. It's much appreciated and, of course, I'm delighted you enjoyed the book!
20 Things #23: Fallen Dwarven Hold (System Neutral Edition)
von Thilo G. [Häufiger Rezensent] Hinzugefügt am: 09/10/2018 05:26:32

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the #20 Things-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

In this installment, we take a look at dressing to flesh out a dwarven hold – and the “dwarven” is not just window dressing here: The first table features 10 workshop features that include anvils shaped like clenched fists, shelves cut into the living rock or intricate plans for a dwarven masterpiece, never realized. The plans may be works of art themselves, or they may well hold the potential for new weapons, all depending on what you’re looking for. Bars to seal the workshop may make it safe to rest – all in all, a cool table. The next page features dressing for 10 dwarven statues (like a realistic dragon with a crossbow bolt jutting from its eye), as well as a mini name-generator table to supplement it or the dungeon exploration/notes – 20 male, female and family names are provided.

From here, we move on to 10 dwarven temple features, with carvings depicting processions and the like – perhaps an exodus of sorts? The quest for the sun or depths? Dusty, orderly pews and ornate braziers, still lit with magical glow, constitute a fine collection of dressings. 10 minor dwarven treasures are also provided, including spice jars and perfumes, finger bands with inscriptions and iron knuckledusters can be found here, among other things. Now, while personally, I’d have enjoyed to see gp values here, I won’t penalize the pdf for omitting those, considering that this is system neutral.

Of course, the adventurers are bound to not be the only ones lured by the siren song of dwarven ruins – as such, we get two cool foreshadowing tools for the GM that can really help set up further encounters and complications: 10 signs of previous exploration, and 10 already triggered traps similarly are fun. A capable GM can thus warn the PCs about trap presence and present hints that help dealing with them – particularly if you’re like me and enjoy complex traps and prefer them to be resolved with roleplaying rather than rollplaying. Kudos!

The final page deals with dwarven hold dressing, featuring shattered remnants of once proud, stout doors, battle-prayers etched into the walls, rusty iron chains vanishing in the ceiling and clan sigils on the ceiling: These breathe a sense of antiquity and age I enjoyed, though not all of these have as strong a dwarven tie-in as I’d like to see. A ceiling obscured by dusty cobwebs, for example, would have been better placed in a more general dressing book, but that is me complaining at a very high level.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to an elegant, minimalist 2-column b/w-standard, and the pdf sports a couple of really nice b/w-artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, and the pdf comes in two different versions, one of which is optimized for screen-use, and one is optimized for printing it out.

Creighton Broadhurst knows how to write evocative, flavorful dressing. The master of Raging Swan Press once more delivers an inspiring pdf. Particularly the previous exploration/triggered traps angle is really amazing, and was something that I think could be developed further. At the same time, there are a few entries that could have been dwarfier, and the absence of any reference to dwarven brewing and the like was surprising to me. As a whole, this is a very good, inexpensive dressing file, though – hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Wertung:
[5 von 5 Sternen!]
20 Things #23: Fallen Dwarven Hold (System Neutral Edition)
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Kommentar des Verlages:
Epic! Thanks very much for the review, End. I much appreciate the time, as always!
20 Things #24: Sun-scorched Desert (System Neutral Edition)
von Thilo G. [Häufiger Rezensent] Hinzugefügt am: 08/31/2018 10:34:29

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the #20 Things-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

We begin this dressing-file with 6 sun-scorched landmarks, with deep chasms cut by fast-flowing rivers into the desert, mysterious carvings of unknown hands and the bleached bones of an ancient dragon, silent testament to the prowess of an ancient battle mage. These absolutely rock, include the mundane and magical, and they sport prose even more efficient than usual for the series. These entries are followed by 6 sample ruins to be found amidst the blistering sands, where carven stone steps vanish in hillsides and shifting sands reveal ceremonial corpse ways. Truly inspired and captivating, these two collections of dressing entries deserve applause and set a high standard on the very first page.

Now, almost every desert adventure will feature a sandstorm at one point, though the particulars are often hazy there. … Sorry, I’ll punch myself for that one later. Anyways, the second page of this pdf provides 10 sample events to happen during a sandstorm: Dunes collapsing in torrents of sand, fine sand concealing deep depressions, and more…mundane complications, from horrid howls to zero visibility, similarly are found here. Super handy to have – I could have used even more of these!

Now, every GM who has run a prolonged desert or arctic adventure will know that, in the long run, it can be rather tough to come up with new ways to describe the endless heat, right? Well, the pdf does contain a table of 20 desert dressing entries, which includes barren, lifeless sections, purple-fringed towers in the distance or the remains of animals and beings fallen prey to the harsh climate. Even cooler, the table specifically calls out good candidates for mirages! Kudos for going one step beyond here!

The next table adds on top of the GM-convenience, big time – the final table provides 20 entries for uneventful days of traveling. As we all know, few things are as painful for the GM to describe as bland days – after all, we have to convey that nothing happened without boring the players, preferably while also foreshadowing/further emphasizing the atmosphere! As such, this final table is a super-handy tool for the beleaguered GM. Now, I usually don’t comment on the like, but this pdf is slightly shorter than usual: The final page is devoted to a gorgeous 1-page b/w-artwork that oozes Sword & Sorcery flavor. Usually, I’m more of a content guy, but the inclusion of this one? Totally in favor of it!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to an elegant, minimalist 2-column b/w-standard, and the pdf sports a couple of really nice b/w-artworks; the big one-page artwork in particular really grabbed my attention. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, and the pdf comes in two different versions, one of which is optimized for screen-use, and one is optimized for printing it out.

So, I’m, and that is no secret, a HUGE Sword & Sorcery fan; I adore the genre and its aesthetics, and this pdf perfectly encapsulates the amazing atmosphere conveyed in the old Savage Sword of Conan comics, to give you an example. The harshness of the desert, the strangeness – it’s here, all without becoming high fantasy. The dressing within this book is inspired. Creighton Broadhurst has surpassed himself here. When I noticed the artwork taking up a whole page, I frankly planned on penalizing the pdf for this decision, but I can’t bring myself to do so. This collection of desert-dressing is simply too good, being one of the best in the whole series. And honestly, I’ll always take quality over quantity, and this delivers quality. Super handy for those desert-modules, this gets 5 stars + seal of approval. Highly recommended!!

Endzeitgeist out.



Wertung:
[5 von 5 Sternen!]
20 Things #24: Sun-scorched Desert (System Neutral Edition)
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Kommentar des Verlages:
Thank you for this awesome review, End! I'm delighted you enjoyed the Sun-scorched Desert that much!
20 Things #21: Wilderness Camping (System Neutral Edition)
von Thilo G. [Häufiger Rezensent] Hinzugefügt am: 08/24/2018 13:35:27

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the #20 Things-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

All right, we begin this dressing file with a page that depicts 8 sample travelers (9, actually – one entry features two characters) to share the campsite with; these travelers are depicted as fluff-only write-ups, noting suggested alignment, class and level, but nothing mechanical beyond this – this is, after all, a system neutral pdf. The class references do reference old school class descriptions: Thief and magic-user, for example, so if that kind of thing is important to you, you’ll enjoy this small touch. The write-ups include boisterous fellow adventurers that do have the means to back up the bluster, wounded and surly half-orcs, traveling tinkers, weirdly dressed gnomes experimenting with teleportation magic – quite a nice array here!

The second page contains two different 10-entry tables; the first one depicts notable campsite characteristics: Perhaps the campsite may be prone to flooding, or perhaps its straddles a game trail. A tree that is dead and may well topple when storm winds hit – some cool properties here! The second table on the page nets 10 different signs show that someone has camped here before: Moldy tarpaulins caught in roots, a stone-ringed fire pit, a particularly disgusting latrine – interesting array here, and this does include plenty of angles for the GM to elaborate upon and develop.

Of course, campsites may already be inhabited: There are 10 suggestions for such complications, which include wasps, owls, a nearby fox den…and mysteriously empty nests in the branches. A pool with a grumpy pike inside promises good fishing – some neat entries here. For more malign complications, 10 things lurking in the shadows should help with your designs: This table is particularly neat, ranging from a badger family to a shellshocked victim of a nearby threat to the slightly odd, with a shivering halfling ghost haunting the place. Nice diversity between the mundane and fantastic here.

There is more in the vein of complications to be found here: 20 Night-time campsite events include the mundane and ominous, like a big log burning through, creating cloud of sparks; clouds covering the moon, plunging the site in darkness, strange noises from afar, sudden rope snaps on the tent of the party – some nice tension-building here. The final table once more has 20 entries and provides things to find at an abandoned campsite: Food wrappers, fire pits surrounded with spattered blood – there are even more angles to create atmosphere here.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches apart from an erroneously capitalized “Perceptive”. Layout adheres to an elegant, minimalist 2-column b/w-standard, and the pdf sports a couple of really nice b/w-artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, and the pdf comes in two different versions, one of which is optimized for screen-use, and one is optimized for printing it out.

Creighton Broadhurst and Jeff Gomez have crafted a rather compelling dressing-file here: The entries are very much grounded in reality and gritty aesthetics, which I do enjoy. There is still some magic here, and the pdf, as a whole, feels like a well-rounded, fun offering. My final verdict will hence clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval. Great way to make campsites more compelling!

Endzeitgeist out.



Wertung:
[5 von 5 Sternen!]
20 Things #21: Wilderness Camping (System Neutral Edition)
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Kommentar des Verlages:
Hooray! Thanks very much for the review, Endzeitgeist. Glad you enjoyed the book! I shall raise a glass of bourbon to you tonight!
20 Things #20: Fort on the Borderlands (System Neutral Edition)
von Thilo G. [Häufiger Rezensent] Hinzugefügt am: 08/24/2018 13:33:49

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the #20 Things-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Now, borderland forts are usually bastions against the wilderness, savage humanoids and worse – as such, it should come as no surprise that we begin this supplement with 10 sample men-at-arm-write-ups. The write ups are, obviously, fluff-only, but they do note a suggested alignment, as well as the class and class levels intended for the respective soldier. Nomenclature-wise, the supplement adheres to old-school nomenclature, calling the “specialist” class thief, not rogue; analogue, the pdf references magic-users, making integration into OSR-games seamless – Grognards will certainly appreciate this! Nice, btw.: All of these NPCs have a kind of narrative angle to directly introduce them to the PCs and segue into adventures. For example, one of them mistakes one of the PCs for their contact, which may have all kinds of consequences. Or what about Frida, haunted by nightmares, who is experimenting with herbal remedies? Pretty cool list!

As a place of transition, the next page introduces us to 10 travelers with personality. A traveling bowyer/Fletcher in search of work, a disguised and rather effective serial killer, a celebrated singer of minor renown, besieged by admirers – once more we have an intriguing collection of NPCs here. If these character-specific angles don’t suffice to get your PCs into the fray, there are still 10 different, complex whispers of rumors on the next page – where we can btw. also find a GORGEOUS b/w-artwork of such a borderland fort. Really amazing piece! If you’re familiar with the GM Screen Inserts, you’ll notice some overlap here, though personally, I’d recommend this pdf over the screen-insert. The whispers include a stolen pig carcass, priests engaging in extramarital affairs…and some claim that the place is haunted, as corpses have gone missing from their grave…but is the necromancer, burned at the pyre, truly responsible? Neat angles here.

The final two pages of the pdf are devoted to a massive list of 20 entries each: The first of these pages introduces super-handy borderland fort dressing, focusing on the outside locales: One may hear the angry strikes of a blacksmith, see dilettantish graffiti and witness badly battered sparring dummies. Gallows and stocks also speak of the fact that there is law here, civilization…or at least, a semblance thereof. Complementing this further, the second such table provides 20 fort sights and sounds; Travelers staggering, exhausted, past the PCs in search of ale; a flag is torn from its tower, landing in a particularly large heap of horse manure; sudden, alarmed calls – a great little collection here.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to an elegant, minimalist 2-column b/w-standard, and the pdf sports a couple of really nice b/w-artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, and the pdf comes in two different versions, one of which is optimized for screen-use, and one is optimized for printing it out.

Creighton Broadhurst’s dressing for borderland forts is a great little file: The tables and NPCs noted herein help add color to the locale. The grimy, quasi-medieval/Greyhawk-y flavor I enjoy so much thoroughly suffuses this supplement. It’s diverse, fun and well-written. Not, personally, I would have liked to see one or two slightly weirder entries to complement and contrast against the down to earth tone, but that may just be me. This is very much worth getting. My final verdict will be 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Wertung:
[5 von 5 Sternen!]
20 Things #20: Fort on the Borderlands (System Neutral Edition)
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Kommentar des Verlages:
Hooray! Thanks very much for the review, Endzeitgeist. Glad you enjoyed the book!
GM's Miscellany: Village Backdrops V
von Thilo G. [Häufiger Rezensent] Hinzugefügt am: 08/16/2018 04:53:34

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The fifth compilation of Village Backdrops clocks in at 89 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page of SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 82 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This massive compilation includes the following villages: Black Wyvern, Bleakflat, Byrnfort, Dawnmarsh, Farrav’n, Lanthorn, Needlebriar, Quey’s Glade, Ronak, Skaalhaft, Suurin and Woodridge.

I have written reviews for all of these villages, discussing them in detail, so if you require detailed guidance regarding the individual villages, you may want to check out these reviews. Since I loathe repeating myself, and the actual use of a number of Village Backdrop-reviews stringed together would be of dubious use, I will leave it at that. Now, in direct comparison to the individual pdfs, we get quite a few neat new pieces of b/w-artworks, and that alone is a big plus.

Now, the villages, as a whole, are of the exceedingly high quality we expect to see from Raging Swan Press – no surprises there. However, it should be noted that this still is “just” a compilation – while this could have been used to fix the few more problematic components of some villages, the like has not happened. There is still mentioning of poisoning a plant creature, which RAW still doesn’t work in PFRPG. Similarly, the great magical lanterns of Lanthorn still remain opaque backdrops sans concrete rules. This is a compilation of files – nothing less, nothing more.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to a two-column b/w-standard, and the book features great b/w-artworks. The b/w-cartography by Tommi Salama and Maciej Zagorski is amazing. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and in two different versions – one optimized for screen use and one intended for printing out. I can’t comment on the print version, as I do not own it.

John Bennett, Creighton Broadhurst, Jeff Gomez, Richard Green, David N. Ross, Amber Underwood and Mike Welham are all top-tier authors, and it shows in these settlements. The villages within are evocative, fun and cool – and yet. In direct comparison, the compilation has missed the opportunity of refining the less amazing villages within, updating and improving them, which would not have been hard. This compilation could have been one of the strongest in the long and storied history of high-quality backdrops in the series, a jewel. The lack of further refinement, however, does hurt the compilation somewhat. Don’t get me wrong – this is still a great book of backdrops, but it could have been a great one. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Wertung:
[4 von 5 Sternen!]
GM's Miscellany: Village Backdrops V
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Against the Cult of the Bat God
von Timothy B. [Häufiger Rezensent] Hinzugefügt am: 08/09/2018 10:46:12

A while back my players ran into the Demon Bat-God Camazotz. He managed to get away with the what he thought was the heart of the Sun God (it was his liver). Since then my players have been itching for a rematch against him. This adventure might just be the thing.

While the creature here is listed as "Servant of the Bat God" a little tweaking and I could make this into a coastline being terrorized by the Bat God himself.
The characters have three days to complete their task, so it's a nice tight adventure, exactly what I want, and it weighs in at just under 60 pages.

In any case there is a lot of good stuff here to use.



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[5 von 5 Sternen!]
Against the Cult of the Bat God
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Kommentar des Verlages:
Thank you, Timothy! I much appreciate the review and the kind words!
GM's Screen #6: Borderland Keep
von Thilo G. [Häufiger Rezensent] Hinzugefügt am: 08/08/2018 05:42:47

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This GM-screen-insert clocks in at 6 pages, though only one page of these is actually content.

Now, it should be noted that this insert, structurally, sports dressing that you can spontaneously use, partially compiled from previous Raging Swan Press dressing books.

One column notes 10 entries for dressing, including sparring dummies and smoke rising from a chimney of the fort. Minor complaint here: Dressing outside and inside should probably be separate. The second 10 entries are devoted to sights and sounds, which does have a bit of an overlap with the previous table: A single boot jutting from the mud due to rain (table 1), compared to a raven squatting on the battlements (table 2) – I fail to see a distinct differentiation here. Making one table focus on inside, one on outside, would have probably been smarter. The final column features 10 whispers and rumors, telling us about the strange behavior of the priest, rumored bandit activity and the bedbug infestation of the tavern, these are okay, but nothing too exciting.

Finally, at the bottom of the page is a cool little list spanning the whole width of the insert: This would be “Words have Power”, and it provides neat, descriptive synonyms and miscellaneous information, providing some on the fly variety for your descriptions, with bolded words highlighted to differentiate the general concepts from the examples/synonyms. These include human female and male sample names, alternate names for battlements, castles and wilderness, as well as for soldiers. A few castle descriptors are also noted.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant typos. Layout adheres to a 3-column landscape b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked, in spite of its brevity. The insert also comes in two versions – one intended for screen use and one optimized to be printed out.

I wanted to like this GM-screen insert more than I did – Creighton Broadhurst usually does better and the information has more thematic overlap than the previous screen-inserts. My final verdict will clock in at 3 stars – easily the weakest of the first 6 screen-inserts.

Endzeitgeist out.



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[3 von 5 Sternen!]
GM's Screen #6: Borderland Keep
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GM's Screen #5: Noisome Sewer
von Thilo G. [Häufiger Rezensent] Hinzugefügt am: 08/08/2018 05:41:03

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This GM-screen-insert clocks in at 6 pages, though only one page of these is actually content.

Now, it should be noted that this insert, structurally, sports dressing that you can spontaneously use, partially compiled from previous Raging Swan Press dressing books.

One column notes 10 entries for dressing, which include bricks that have fallen to create a slippery surface, a roughly-hewn niche, and also evidence of something large slithering through the much…nice table. The second 10 entries for sample events, which include rumbling from above (yay for paranoia!), muted splashes of something heavy falling in, sudden wings driving the abominable stench home… The final column features 10 things to find in the sewers, including a small tree floating in the effluent, a silver necklace on one branch, ropes dangling from hammered in spikes dangling over a channel, a dagger tip wedged between rocks – some nice pieces of detail here.

Finally, at the bottom of the page is a cool little list spanning the whole width of the insert: This would be “Words have Power”, and it provides neat, descriptive synonyms and miscellaneous information, providing some on the fly variety for your descriptions, with bolded words highlighted to differentiate the general concepts from the examples/synonyms. This time around, we learn alternatives for “damp”, darkness, for decay, disgusting things, for excrement and similarly delightful concepts.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant typos. Layout adheres to a 3-column landscape b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked, in spite of its brevity. The insert also comes in two versions – one intended for screen use and one optimized to be printed out.

Creighton Broadhurst provides a nice GM screen insert here – it certainly is helpful for sewers and has been well-curated and chosen. My final verdict will be 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Wertung:
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GM's Screen #5: Noisome Sewer
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GM's Screen #4: Seedy Tavern
von Thilo G. [Häufiger Rezensent] Hinzugefügt am: 08/08/2018 05:39:25

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This GM-screen-insert clocks in at 6 pages, though only one page of these is actually content.

Now, it should be noted that this insert, structurally, sports dressing that you can spontaneously use.

One column notes 10 entries for events – like men sitting alone, yelling for more wine before being slapped by the serving wench. Dice-based gambling, Conan-like warriors entering to immediate quiet and the like are featured here. The second 10 and third column sport 10 entries each, and feature 10 atypical patrons or staff members, with alignment and race noted: Fat gnomes in finery, clearly out of place, halflings indulging in drugs to quell fears – some surprisingly descriptive and evocative entries here! And yes, these brief NPC-hooks do come with suitable names.

Finally, at the bottom of the page is a cool little list spanning the whole width of the insert: This would be “Words have Power”, and it provides neat, descriptive synonyms and miscellaneous information, providing some on the fly variety for your descriptions, with bolded words highlighted to differentiate the general concepts from the examples/synonyms. These include synonyms for “dim”, but e.g. “s mashed” is probably a typo. Alternate names for taverns, for being seeds, and sample food/drinks are noted.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed only one minor typo. Layout adheres to a 3-column landscape b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked, in spite of its brevity. The insert also comes in two versions – one intended for screen use and one optimized to be printed out.

Jeff Gomez and Creighton Broadhurst provide a helpful, nice screen-insert here. Well worth checking, my final verdict will be 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



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GM's Screen #4: Seedy Tavern
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GM's Screen #3: Goblin Caves
von Thilo G. [Häufiger Rezensent] Hinzugefügt am: 08/08/2018 05:36:57

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This GM-screen-insert clocks in at 6 pages, though only one page of these is actually content.

Now, it should be noted that this insert, structurally, sports dressing that you can spontaneously use, partially compiled from previous Raging Swan Press dressing books.

One column notes 10 entries for dressing – these includes blankets separarting an area to work as a toilet, junk and rubbish piled up and a murdered goblin; the second 10 entries for sample events sport a terrified goblin child hiding in a heap of sheets, arrows flying from the darkness and the sudden rise of goblin battle chants. The final column features 10 things to loot, which include a black furred scarlet cloak, a wolfskin hat and the like.

Finally, at the bottom of the page is a cool little list spanning the whole width of the insert: This would be “Words have Power”, and it provides neat, descriptive synonyms and miscellaneous information, providing some on the fly variety for your descriptions, with bolded words highlighted to differentiate the general concepts from the examples/synonyms. This time around, we get synonyms for dancing and singing as well as insulting or wounding targets. Male and female names, as well as last names complement this section.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant typos. Layout adheres to a 3-column landscape b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked, in spite of its brevity. The insert also comes in two versions – one intended for screen use and one optimized to be printed out.

Creighton Broadhurst’s inserts for goblin caves are solid and fun – if you need a page of handy screen-inserts, this is worth checking out for the low price. My final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



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GM's Screen #3: Goblin Caves
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GM's Screen #2: Borderland Forest
von Thilo G. [Häufiger Rezensent] Hinzugefügt am: 08/08/2018 05:35:30

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This GM-screen-insert clocks in at 6 pages, though only one page of these is actually content.

Now, it should be noted that this insert, structurally, sports dressing that you can spontaneously use, in the classic tradition of Raging Swan dressing files.

One column notes 10 entries for dressing, noting, for example, sodden floors that render boots muddy and wet, gnarled oak trees looming or small bones, tied together with thin cord – creepy!

The second 10 entries for sample events, with sounds of laughter followed by pain, darting foxes and the faint smell of smoke in the air. The final column features 10 entries that depict a read-aloud text for an uneventful days’ journey, allowing for excellent foreshadowing and mood creation. Kudos!

Finally, at the bottom of the page is a cool little list spanning the whole width of the insert: This would be “Words have Power”, and it provides neat, descriptive synonyms and miscellaneous information, providing some on the fly variety for your descriptions, with bolded words highlighted to differentiate the general concepts from the examples/synonyms. This time around, we get descritors for trees, some flowers and trees, descriptors for vegetation both dead and alive, and parts of plants. Nice one!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant typos. Layout adheres to a 3-column landscape b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked, in spite of its brevity. The insert also comes in two versions – one intended for screen use and one optimized to be printed out.

This screen insert proved to be more useful for me – the dressing is broader, has quite a bit new entries, and Mike Welham and Creighton Broadhurst are both very good at their craft. For a buck, I consider this worthy of 4.5 stars, though I feel I need to round down for this one.

Endzeitgeist out.



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GM's Screen #2: Borderland Forest
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GM's Screen #1: Kobold Warren
von Thilo G. [Häufiger Rezensent] Hinzugefügt am: 08/08/2018 05:31:23

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This GM-screen-insert clocks in at 6 pages, though only one page of these is actually content.

Now, it should be noted that this insert, structurally, sports dressing that you can spontaneously use, compiled from previous Raging Swan Press dressing books.

One column notes 10 entries for dressing – here, we can find mottled scales, crude dragon drawings or suitable graffiti; the second 10 entries for sample events: Clatter, rattling chains, taunting from an unseen kobold… and the final column features 10 things to loot, which include half-burned candles plus flint and steel, a ragged belt pouch holding an ornate dagger hilt, and the like.

Finally, at the bottom of the page is a cool little list spanning the whole width of the insert: This would be “Words have Power”, and it provides neat, descriptive synonyms and miscellaneous information, providing some on the fly variety for your descriptions, with bolded words highlighted to differentiate the general concepts from the examples/synonyms. This time around, kobold epithets are included alongside names for males and females, and some basic trap ideas complement this one.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant typos. Layout adheres to a 3-column landscape b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked, in spite of its brevity. The insert also comes in two versions – one intended for screen use and one optimized to be printed out.

Aaron Bailey, Creighton Broadhurst and Paul Quarles have made a humble screen-insert is solid and handy to have. While the screen insert probably won’t blow you away, it's handy and per se well-structured. My final verdict, considering the low price, will be 3.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



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GM's Screen #1: Kobold Warren
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Be Awesome At Dungeon Design (Augmented Edition)
von Thilo G. [Häufiger Rezensent] Hinzugefügt am: 07/30/2018 04:13:40

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive book clocks in at 216 pages, 1 page front cover, 6 pages dedications, editorial, etc., 5 pages of advertisement, 2 pages of author bio, and almost 40 pages blank – these are at the end of a chapter, or on the flip-side of maps. Maps? Yep There are 5 sample b/w-maps included herein. This leaves us with about 150 pages of content. Why am I rounding down? Because some pages at the end of a chapter are 2/3 empty. This does not matter, though. Why? Because we get versions without the blanks, for both printer- and screen-version. These, btw., still clock in at a 188 page total.

Anyways, this looks like much, but this book is laid out to work as a book – it also comes with a .mobi version in addition to the by now, standard print and screen-versions we expect from Raging Swan Press.

What is this, then? It is the single most comprehensive and helpful dungeon design guide I have ever read.

We begin with simple tips for beginners, contemplations regarding the name and the often overlooked (cough Prison of Meneptah /cough) purpose of a dungeon. From there, we move to the ecology, note dressing (You should definitely have Raging Swan Press’ GM’s Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing by now – it’s not only a Top ten-winner, it is, regardless of system, my most used game book to this day…)…and then things become interesting.

We start taking in the details: The importance of the dungeon entrance and its physicality, tricks to create the illusion of detail, contemplations regarding dungeon types and the surrounding wilderness, a “Don’t do this..:”-list…oh, and what about a list of things modern dungeons don’t have enough of anymore? This list is NOT a grognardian tirade against new school design – it’s a well-reasoned and concise series of observations.

Beyond all of these, we also talk about wandering monsters (yes, including a couple of motivations…) and it should be noted at this point that this book also contains quite a bunch of dressing tables to jumpstart your dungeon-design brainstorm and fill in spaces. Not as many as in RSP’s dressing books, obviously…but yeah. It’s still a TON and more than you’d ever otherwise find.

Oh. And there is a special series of considerations applied to mega-dungeon design, from unusual ways to get in/out to logic and particular considerations, with a few examples, we move on to a dungeon design case study and a two-page, concise manifest of sorts that lists the handy principles that underlie good dungeon design in the most concise way I have seen them ever spelled out in any supplement.

We also btw. discuss two awesome dungeons. Funnily enough, I really, REALLY hated both of them. Moathouse and Forge of Fury, fyi. I know. Sacrilege, right? ;)

Okay, I insulted the moathouse. I better grab my boots before the torch-wielding pitchfork-mob arrives, so let’s end this quickly, shall we?

The book is laid out in a 1-column b/w-standard with a few b/w-artworks here and there.

As a reviewer, I really hate the lack of bookmarks. But honestly, this once, I can live with it.

Why? Because you should have this in print.

You see, Creighton Broadhurst’s tome is basically the textbook for the course to make captivating dungeons. If I taught dungeon design in university (Hej, even scientists may dream, right?) instead of my usual subjects, this book would be at the top of the required-reading bibliography.

This book doesn’t waste your time with useless blathering, is remarkably bereft of annoying opinionated author-egos trying to jam down their ideology down your throat:

Instead, we get a no-frills guideline to improve your dungeon-design skills. This should be required reading for game-designers. Wait…do tons of dressing count as “frills”?

Either way, this represents one of the best design-guidelines I have ever read. Yes. That good. It doesn’t dive into system-specific nit and grit, sure, but as a universal manual? Phenomenal.

My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval. Oh, and this is a candidate for my Top Ten of 2017. If your dungeons tend to fall flat, this can help you make them legendary.

Endzeitgeist out.



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[5 von 5 Sternen!]
Be Awesome At Dungeon Design (Augmented Edition)
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Kommentar des Verlages:
Epic review. Thank you. I'm humbled.
Epic review. Thank you. I'm humbled.
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