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Neoclassical Geek Revival Art Free Edition
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/15/2017 06:10:32

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This roleplaying game clocks in at 112 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of ToC/editorial, 2 pages blank, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 106 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, what is this? In short, we have an OSR-rule-set here, one that, however, deviates so strongly from the roots of the game-chassis that it basically becomes its own beast. As such, we begin with asserting the global rules: The book denotes some of the rules with a “B” – these would be basic rules; for more complexity, there also are “F”-rules, with “F” standing for “Fiddly” – self-explanatory so far.

Interesting: The pdf does note basic rules for rolling dice: All modifiers need to be mentioned in no more than 2 statements before the roll – total modifier or total roll. If a modifier is forgotten, it does not apply. Coked dice and those outside of the dice-rolling area get rerolled. Positive or negative rerolls (à la advantage/disadvantage) get rolled at once, with the highest/lowest result, respectively, being used. Repeating/Exploding dice means that, when the die shows the maximum value, you roll again and add the result together.

Here, things become VERY interesting: The total modifier of a d20 (or any dX-roll) cannot do more than double the roll of the die. E.g. a d6 +3 that comes up as a 2 would result in 2 + 2 =4. The Dice-notation ?d8 refers to the required maximum roll to escape a given predicament/succeed – In this case, an 8 would be required to avoid/escape the hazard. Dice-steps refer to this sequence: d2 –> d4 ->d6 ->d8 -> d10 ->d12 -> nada -> nada -> nada ->d20. (If you’re using weird dice from e.g. DCC, you can modify this sequence accordingly.) However, please note that this stops working with the concept of inverted dice. Basically, the total of the original die and the inverted die result in 16. A d12 inverts to a d4, a d10 inverts to a d6 – you get the idea. D20s invert to 0.

“Cumulative” refers to a value increasing in a manner that reflects adding the integers of the previous number. Doubling refers to the interval being doubled – fro simplicity’s sake, the system assumes 64 doubling to 125 – unless you’re like me and my group, this solution will probably be more elegant for you as well – kudos! If a PC attempts to perform an action and the player doesn’t know the rule for it, he must select another course…or look up the rule. Doing so, however, yields a -1 awesomeness penalty for the player; GMs needing to look up rules grant all players +1 to awesomeness. More on that later. If these rules seem complex, rest assured that a nice cheat-sheet page of die steps, cumulative charts etc. are included – put them on the inside of your screen and there we go!

Next up would be character creation – the section btw. also contains a really nice, aesthetically-pleasing character-sheet. The character generation follows a principle dubbed “Schrödinger’s Character” -the PC will select a name, species, gender and distribution of attributes. During the first session, skills, traits and starting inventory will be developed. NGR provides 80 attribute points, which are to be distributed among 7 attributes. Alternatively, rolling 3d6 and adding 10 free points to distribute is suggested. Attributes may not be below 1 or above 20. The summary of their effects fits comfortably on half a page.

Strength determines the maximum damage limit, encumbrance and starting inventory. The modifier is used for melee bonus damage and the die is used for Stun Damage attacks. Agility’s modifier is used as a bonus to combat modifier and the die is used for initiative. Health is used for healing, maximum poison and disease limit. Perception’s modifier is used for bonus damage for missile attacks and the Stealth modifier. The die is used to accrue suspicion in stealth conflicts. Intelligence determines starting skill points. The modifier is used for the bonus to occult and reduces XP-costs. The die is used for social influence in social conflicts and may be used as an optional initiative die. Charisma determines you maximum Infamy limit; the modifier nets you a bonus to presence and the die is used for Luck points regained with a party. Will, finally, determines the maximum Stress/Influence limit. The bonus is used for faith and the die is used for mana per level for some wizards.

Attribute modifiers range from -3 (1) to +3 (20) and the corresponding die ranges from d4 to d12. Supernatural attributes have a score of 30, a modifier of +7 and a die of d20.

Okay, next up would be races. Here would btw. be a good place to note that, for a book of crunch, this is a surprisingly fun read. To quote the entry on mankind as a race: “If you are reading this and expecting great insight into the biology of mankind, please stop reading until you can find an appropriate safety helmet to wear.“ It may rub some folks the wrong way – personally, I had surprisingly much fun with these interjections. Now, in an interesting change, the respective entries actually focus on interesting peculiarities: Dwarves have problems in bright light, but can see farther than humans – oh, and they are immortal…provided they stay out of the sun’s reach – sunlight calcifies them slowly over the course of a human lifespan. Interesting! Elves can’t stomach meat very well and have a bloodline, which grants them an innate spell that ignores the difficulty. They gain an additional health die of mana in their mana pool. The wee folk have a size modifier of ½, while the brutish wodewose (half-ogres, half-giants, etc.) need raw meat and is immune to some sicknesses and natural hazards, but traveling in civilization is very hazardous for them. They have a size-modifier of 2.

Okay, this would be where Schrödinger’s character comes into play: Players can select a number of skill points equal to their Intelligence scores, an inventory of item with dots equal to their Strength score, 2 traits, 2 or more relationships, a major and minor morality and 3 pie pieces for class.

Speaking of which: NGR assigns three pie pieces per character (2 if you start with level 0). 10th level provides another pie piece. Each class increases one of the five modifiers: Warriors improve Combat, modified by Agility. Wizards improve Occult, modified by Intelligence. Rogues improve Stealth, modified by Perception. Bards improve Presence, modified by Charisma and Priests improve Faith, modified by Will. 0 pieces of pie are equivalent to a +1/3 modifier per level and 0 powers. 1 piece nets +2/3 per level and one power; 2 pieces provide +1 per level and 3 powers; 3 pieces yield +1 per level and milestone and all 6 powers. 4 pieces retain these benefits and add the locked power – more on that later. There is one more option: You can put a pie in “fool” – this grants no powers, increases no stat and has no special item roll at the end of a session. However, each piece of pie spent on the fool increases the luck die and luck bonus of the character.

So, each of the classes presented comes with 6 different powers, a locked power and personal items – for achieving important tasks, each class can gain a special, signature item benefit at the end of a quest/task/session. The fool is a special case: Beyond the aforementioned benefit, he gains a +1 bonus to awesomeness at the end of every night – why is that relevant? Well, the luck die determines your luck points per level – these are pretty important, for they keep you from suffering serious damage – they basically are the hit points of the character!

Now, there are a couple of traits provided to provide guidance, though the system does encourage making new traits: Being a barbarian e.g. lets you reroll Health checks and Health die rolls, but forces you to reroll Charisma-checks and Charisma die and take the worse result.

Skills fall in 3 categories: Languages, Knowledge and Weapon: There is no common tongue (thankfully!), so languages will be important. Knowledge provides a +2 knowledge bonus on related attribute checks or +1 to a lone attribute die. Weapons where you have no skill gain the unsuitable tag. Characters gain a new skill for each season spent training full time – at the end, they make an Intelligence check, gaining the skill on a success. Less time equals a higher difficulty. Nice: Upon establishing a party, you determine a group relationship – family, protector, employed – all have individual benefits. Similarly, 6 starting packages of pre-defined item-kits are provided – simple, convenient and easy to grasp.

Character morality is important: Major terms of morality provide the leitmotif and primary concern; the minor concern of the character is the priority of self-interest versus the good of the community. Finally, you choose a lucky number between 1 and 20. When it comes up on your roll, something cool’s supposed to happen.

Spellcasting works via mana and piety, respectively – they fuel the spells/miracles/etc. Fate points are basically rerolls and you gain more by being risky and stylish.

Let’s recap: We have 7 attributes, 5 modifiers, luck points and 1 fate point – at this point, you can basically start playing!

Okay, so, regarding global adventuring rules: 20s are critical successes, 1s are critical failures. A character that is CALM can take 10 with any roll. If a roll seems unlikely to suffice, a character may choose to become ON EDGE and instead roll 3d6. A character who is CALM or ON EDGE can become RECKLESS, you can roll 1d20. Here’s the thing: Once you go from CALM to ON EDGE or RECKLESS, you can’t go back for the remainder of the adventure! I really like this rule! When a character spends luck points, he becomes ON EDGE; a character spending fate points becomes RECKLESS.

On easy attribute check is DC 15, the standard man vs. nature check is 20. Saving throws are interesting: The d20 rolled correlates to the milestone achievements of the character – and here’s the thing: The more creative and cool your description is, the less damage you’ll take on a failure or success! NICE!

So, here’s the thing: NGR knows more than damage – it has one “damage”-value per attribute! Damage, Stun, Suspicion, Stress, Influence, Disease, Poison – these values all accrue against an attribute and cause penalties, effects and come with different removals etc. – really cool! This makes relevant debuffs and hazards feel very organic and easy to grasp: From Intoxicants to Fear and Infamy, Mutations or the Unknown, we also get concisely-defined uncommon hazard types. Here’s the thing: As anyone who has played e.g. Shadowrun can attest, such accruing penalties can result in a death spiral – hence, luck points may be spent on a 1:1 basis to negate the various types of detrimental points you can accumulate. Healing is based mostly on rest and conditions – and luck, just fyi, regains at 1 point per day. On the flipside, character partying hard may regain more luck points! Misers regain less luck for being stingy. Mana regeneration depends on the environment you’re in – orderly cities and structure seems to be anathema to mana regeneration – interesting choice there!

Now, we already mentioned creature size modifiers: Basically, you multiply damage by the size modifier: 4 becomes 12 with a x3 size modifier, for example – so yes, the big dragon will squash you. Similarly, the modifier applies to opposed Strength checks; for Agility, things are reversed – a size modifier of x2 would halve the Agility-result, for example.

NGR knows three types of conflict: Covert actions, arguments and combats. They have rounds. Each round, a character gains two actions. Initiative is governed by the Agility or Intelligence Die, with d6s as tie breakers. Note that initiative based on Intelligence does not make the character count as defending him/herself, requiring an action as a balancing strategy here. Skill bonuses may be applied, but only when all actions taken that round pertain to the skill in question. If no one chooses to go first, the character with the LOWEST initiative goes first – however, any being with a higher initiative can interrupt the character! The highest initiative interruption is resolved first, then the second highest…Really cool system!! This system also ties in with weapon reach. Aggressive rolls are compared with defensive rolls (not the biggest fan of such swingy systems), but in a nice change of pace, characters focusing on defense can roll again with a do-over – this means that offense is not necessarily better than defense. Some tricky maneuvers require multiple successes. All the tricky maneuvers you’ve come to expect from modern games – you can pull them off in an easy to grasp manner. Simple, right?

Covert action and social combat follow a similar stratagem and can be considered well-made. Morale, vehicles, quick and dirty mass combat rules, simple rules for incorporeal beings, trampling, trials, exorcisms, swaying the mob. Heck, if you’re like me and love the Thief games (the old ones…), you’ll like the 0 – 10 scaling between light and darkness. Now, I already mentioned that items are codified in “dots” – basically, they are abstracted by size and cumbersomeness – Large items have e.g. 4 dots, Reinforced plate 8 – you get the idea. Easy and simple to track. No complaints. Containers, with quick search times, different item materials…really cool.

Armor provides a base armor modifier, which penalize Agility and ½ of it applies to defense rolls. However, armor provides damage reduction – per damage dice incurred! If you take 3d4 damage and wear a DR 2 armor, you reduce the total damage rolled by 6 – cool idea for a finer-grained take on damage! Armors are further defined by tags. Helms, in a callback to the days of yore, help decrease the likelihood of being critically hit. Weapons follow a similar presentation – dots for weight, tags – and once again, the presentation is clear and well done.

Okay, do you want a strategically engaging combat beyond the aforementioned options? Something where charges, throwing opponents etc. matters? Well, that’s where the combat trick section comes in – they can be taught, have difficulties, effects and limitations – and succeed where A LOT systems fail: They make playing melee characters engaging and fun – you won’t be just standing around, saying “I attack (with most efficient combo of feats/features/etc.” every round. I adore this system to bits. Cool: There are preset trick selections and you can find a handy table to choose them on the fly.

Now, magic works as follows: The caster announces casting the spell, selects a spell power and pays any costs required, then casts the spell as a conflict action. Power level increases also increase difficulty, cost and scope of the spell in question. Occult is added to the roll. For each point by which he failed, the wizard must pay an additional point. Magic has a cost – you suffer 1 point of stress per point of cost. Components matter, because they can decrease difficulty and or offsetting costs. The counterspelling rules make use of the unique initiative system presented and similarly make sense. Dispelling is similarly easy and does NOT require a spell – though it is unreliable and has a stress point cost. Spells are simple and follow, in presentation, a system that is pretty close to how combat tricks work – now, we begin with a massive selection of spells that also act as a template to convert spells from a vast variety of resources; then, the book provides a sampling of spells converted from other sources.

Miracles work differently: The resource employed, piety, is directly related to the behavior of the character. Starting characters have 20 piety. Following the doctrine of the divine patron, spreading the faith, etc. all can earn piety points. These come, just fyi, in a similarly concise and detailed array, featuring tongues, summon wind, making a golem – the result of the piety mechanic being directly tied to the behavior of the character is amazing: Miracles actually feel different from spells!

The system, as hinted at before, knows two types of randomizer dice: Fate points represent minor tweaks – rerolls. Destiny points are tied to the character’s destiny and are more potent – and rare. At the end of a round, one player is voted MVP – most valuable player – this player’s character gains +5 to the awesomeness roll. At the end of the session, the player rolls a d20 – if the player manages to roll below the awesomeness collected, he regains a fate point, subtracts the die roll from the awesomeness result and rolls again – 20s are always fate points. On a failure, the awesomeness-rolling is concluded. Awesomeness is reduced back to 0, regardless of fate gained – you track it anew each session.

NGR uses a 10-level (plus optional level 0) character progression and level 1, 5 and 10 sport milestones that need to be completed to gain the level. XP values for wilderness survival, for finding strange places, defeating minions, etc. – all provided. Slaying proper monsters can yield massive luck, fate and even destiny. XP-values for solved riddles, treasures, etc. – all provided. The final section of the book deals with strategies to end a campaign in style.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I did not notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to a crisp and clean two-column standard with printer-friendly, white backgrounds. The pdf does have a few color-highlights. Artwork is thematically-fitting b/w-public domain art – so yeah, there is actually art in the book, and I’d rather have good public domain art than bad stock art. I can’t comment on the physical version of the book, but I’d suggest getting it. Why? The pdf, in a puzzling and annoying choice, lacks any bookmarks. Subtract 1 star for that massive comfort detriment for the electronic version.

Zzarchov Kowolski’s NGR was a surprise for me. I expected yet another retro-clone with some nice houserules and was surprised in a positive manner: For one, the author’s sarcasm is something that made me chuckle more than once – this may be a massive RULES-book that focuses on crunch, but I had more fun reading it than in almost all other supplements.

Moreover, and let me reiterate that: This is NOT just any OSR-system. NGR deviates strongly from the classic chassis and is better off for it. Why? Because the system is surprisingly easy to grasp and surprisingly fun. We have martials that have tactical choices available and thus no big issue regarding caster/martial disparity. The different accruing damage types may sound complex, but they really aren’t and lead themselves really, really well to gritty gameplay. Conversion into NGR is surprisingly simple and the system covers pretty much everything from pestilence to mass combat.

Let me talk about combat for a second: The initiative interruptions are brilliant; so are the social/covert ops tricks, as they make such scenarios exciting. You won’t just be “hitting it with your axe” and the system manages to retain quick gameplay while providing a depth of options. In short: This retains the virtues of old-school gaming combat while also presenting choice, player agenda – fun. The de-facto class-less, free combination pie-system is cool and I love the inclusion of fate/destiny points, how luck points work – in short, I loved reading this. Even if taken just for scavenging purposes, this is well worth checking out.

Here’s the thing, though: NGR plays really, really well. Playing it feels like OSR gameplay, but at the same time is fresh, evolved and engaging. It’s a bit like experiencing old-school gaming for the first time once more, just with, you know, the progress in game design aesthetics being taken into account. NGR plays actually better than it reads. And it is a very engaging reading experience. If you’re looking for variant rules or an old-school setting that is radically different from Labyrinth Lord, Swords & Wizardry or LotFP, then please, check this out. It manages to feel fresh, its presentation is didactically concise and easy to grasp and the mechanics marry simplicity with choice – what’s not to like? Well, the missing bookmarks in the electronic version suck. For that version, consider this a 4 star verdict. For print, make that 5. And I really loved how different, yet familiar this system is – hence, this gains my seal of approval as well.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Neoclassical Geek Revival Art Free Edition
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The Gem Prison of Zardax
by David R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/01/2017 05:06:17

The adventure does what it says on the tin: the Gem Prison is a place to escape once you're in it, providing a break from more traditional dungeons. If that's what you're after, this is worth your time.

On first reading I quite liked it; having now run it, and while I still recommend it, I see a weakness I didn't at first.

The thing is quite clearly a puzzle dungeon, and just about any group will start writing down the room glyphs and trying to decode them. So far, so good, though it won't actually get them out of the dungeon.

But the fact that it's obviously a puzzle dungeon brings me to my biggest gripe. There's a puzzle in room 10 that, as written, isn't actually solvable. It was once, but was broken by previous adventurers. Which at the table is a giant waste. It's a timewaster and red herring in an adventure that's already encouraging the players to slow down, write down glyphs and solve puzzles. It adds nothing to the game except penalizing the players for playing along and trying to grapple with the dungeon. Nor is it even obvious how the puzzle was supposed to be solved before it was broken, which would have made the whole thing immediately salvageable at the table.

So that's one strike against it. I don't hold the single exit against it, given it's explicitly a prison, but consider warning your players in character that it is a prison before they go in rather than springing it on them. There are a couple of ways past that single exit and its guards, which I appreciate. There's also a notable treasure in there, that my players missed entirely in choosing not to fight a powerful foe, another grace note I appreciate.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Gem Prison of Zardax
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The Temple of Lies
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/12/2016 17:11:52

Nice clean scenario that should fit into just about any campaign. Great use of space. Price point cant be beat. Kowolski continues to impress.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Temple of Lies
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Under the Waterless Sea
by Thomas W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/01/2016 12:18:43

Have you ever wished you could play D&D in an underwater tropical paradise? Of course you haven't. But now thanks to the unlikely-named Zzarchov Kowolski you can!

The setting is a pacific-inspired archipelago that is in the end-game of a run in with a rival underwater nation - the Deep Ones. There's quite a bit of innovative flavour here, some it coming from names of real pacific island nation equipment and monstrous races from mythology (wikipedia is your friend). There's some scope for political and economic adventures above water if that’s your party's thing. The real 'meat' however is underwater. Kowolski has come up with a novel way to enable an underwater adventure without the messy mechanics of actually dealing with the water: to anyone entering the sea through a small and shrinking portal on the surface the sea water simply appears to have been replaced by air (a wizard did it). This means the party can easily interact with any underwater denizens. The body of the adventure is driven through 3 interesting encounter tables (interesting both mechanically and from a content point of view), and a 6 map dungeon - there is also a nice diagrammatic illustration of the deeps and the shore inside the back cover. The module is rounded out by 7 pages of new spells and magic items, and a table of long-term consequences based on the "score" of the human and Deep One sides, a score that is affected by what the party encounters and how they act (or not).

The module contains stats for Kowolski's self-admittedly byzantine OSR-inspired system "Neoclassical Geek Revival (NGR)", and basic OSR compatible stats - very basic, e.g. "3rd level Lawful Evil cleric with 15 Wisdom" - so you will have to hack this into shape a little for your table, but that's the Old School Revival spirit, right?

All in all this is interesting, well made and value for money with a good amount of sandbox and possibly replay value. Try it as a change to your usual settings; as they say: "a change is as good as a holiday".

(Caveats: a got a PDF copy free from a mini competition the author ran on Google+. I was not asked to write a review. I have not played this, only read it.)



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Under the Waterless Sea
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Neoclassical Geek Revival Character Sheet
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/17/2016 12:40:10

It's a pretty good character sheet. I like the art. It could use more ribbon, though.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Neoclassical Geek Revival Character Sheet
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The Trail of Stone and Sorrow
by Ahimsa K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/17/2016 13:19:40

I've run this twice in the last month, and both times it made for an engaging couple hours. It's an adventure with no fighting and not even really a mystery, at least not in the gathering clues sense, and yet it's highly engaging and strangely challenging. Definitely a nice curveball to mix into your campaign.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Trail of Stone and Sorrow
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The Price of Evil
by Stefan B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/19/2016 16:45:54

I'm a big, big fan of haunted houses, I admit, so this tickled my fancy immediately. It turned out to be totally worth the two mochachinos I had to give up to buy it, too - the mechanics for the generation of haunted houses are incredibly useful, even to GMs who don't intend to run the adventure as written. Need an old mansion (or two or three) for any reason? This has you covered, complete with creepy hauntings tied to the specifics of each room. If I have a complaint, it's that the sprits themselves are more archetypes than individuals, which somewhat undermines the personal nature of the horror involved and requires the GM to flesh out their stories to really get the most out of this. Still, anyone and everyone running a horror game should buy this product.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Price of Evil
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The Gem Prison of Zardax
by Bevan A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/08/2016 16:24:25

I purchased The Gem Prison of Zardax from a recommendation on an excellent puzzle dungeon, and it is billed as such: 'Puzzle adventure'. Overall the premise is interesting, but the puzzle aspect is a bit of a non event. There is but a single way out of the dungeon, and although some of the encounters are interesting, many are lacklustre. Scrap princess has some excellent art (if you are inclined towards that style), and in particular I really liked the mother in room 19- awesome. Only a few of the ideas resonated with me, and nothing significant here to mine for my own game. There are runes in each room that give clues as to the contents of each room, which is cool, but since there are no clues about how to use them or what each stands for, by the time the party has explored most of the rooms will be when they figure out what different aspects stand for, so they are a bit of a non-event. Format and content otherwise all good- 48 pages, great cover art (uncredited?). Overall Firmly average. This is a linear adventure hidden behind some randomness- Zzarchov Kowolski has a good reputation for interesting adventures, but not executed particularly well here. If you are looking for a different example of a puzzle dungeon with some chops, try Ex Libris in Dungeon#29. If you are looking for a non sequential linear extra dimensional trap for your PCs, Gem Prison of Zardax is definitely worth a look, just not suited to my purposes.



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[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Gem Prison of Zardax
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A Thousand Dead Babies
by Pa T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/08/2015 13:04:09

This is an introductory adventure for both Neoclassical Geek Revival and OSR retroclones. Everything in this adventure is dual-statted for both games.

I cannot comment on the NGR part of the book, but the OSR stats have a minimalistic elegance to them that actually makes this easy to run with pretty much any game. One of the enemy stats is listed simply as “3 hit dice, AC as leather, Attack as weapon, gore for 1d6.” While that may cause a beginning DM to feel confused and need to flip through books, those two lines give enough information that anyone who has memorized the basics of their game instantly fills in the blanks. It even works with non-D&D based games simply because of how stripped down the stats are.

The basic setting for A Thousand Dead Babies is an Earth-like town that recently converted to Christianity and the surrounding woods and fields. Lately, the town's priest has become scared of demon worshipers and witchcraft in the surrounding areas, and hires adventurers to investigate/eradicate.

There are a few different factions at work in the adventure. The townsfolk (mostly) follow the Holy Church, and want to see the old paganism driven from the land, a select few still follow the old pagan ways and want to see the new faith driven from the town, and there are evil demon worshipers who just want to watch the world burn. Depending on who lives, dies, or is skipped, it all spells out a different ending for the town. I like the sandbox-y nature of the adventure.

There is a small, totally optional, dungeon to explore as well. It is a mere six rooms, but contains interesting traps and dangers that change the outcome of the town and lands around it. There is one magic item that has almost no mechanical use, but will really affect the flavor of the adventure, and any to come after it. It would easily fit into a Lamentations of the Flame Princess module.

Zzarchov Kowolski adds in quite a bit of humor, and knows how to use tropes to his advantage. There are god-fearing townsfolk who want to drive all the other religions out and burn witches at the stake. You've got nature loving pagans who just want to protect their groves in the woods. There is a satanic cult that dances naked, sacrifices babies, with a stoic black knight and black goat presiding over it all. There is a threat of an inquisition incoming, and both the town and priest are rotten enough to be worried about it. There are a lot of cool things here, barely detailed, and just begging you to take them off in your own directions.

The art and layout for this book is gorgeous. Jez Gordon does the maps and a few interior illustrations, but even the page headers and the back cover's image imprinted as a watermark on the pages gives this an incredible sense of style. The stock art cover is the only color piece. While I normally do not really care much for stock art, it really fits the adventure in this case.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
A Thousand Dead Babies
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The Gnomes of Levnec
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/25/2015 00:13:38

If your looking for an adventure with gnomes, high weirdness, a great sense of humor, and plenty of room for customization. I went to the author to secure a review copy of this adventure but found myself laughing out loud several times while reading it. The Gnomes of Levnec might just be for your party of warriors, wizards, and adventurers. I went to Zzarchov Kowolski with one thing on my mind, gnomes. This adventure incorporates gnomes but not in the traditional sense but in the weird humor of old school gaming. The Gnomes of Levnec is one part outdoor adventure, two part dungeon crawl, and a whole little mini sand box of gaming adventuring with a twisted humor slant to it. I don't mean that this is a jokey unplayable adventure, rather its a twisted romp with a wry and twistedly strange sense of humor about itself. Levnec is actually a very interesting little setting, with the slightly familiar and the oddly twisted existing side by side. Your adventurers are thrust right into the deep end of the adventure. And the adventure is well worth the money, this adventure would make an excellent and more then slightly twisted adventure to run with OD&D, Swords & Wizardry, or Lamentations of The Flame Princess. In point of fact I love to run this adventure as a low level introduction to the world of Lamentations of the Flame Princess. In only sixteen pages the author establishes the setting, adds in a number of interesting NPC's within the adventure locations, adds a real plot with some minor hooks for adventure continuation, and ties it together with a witty yet interesting device or two. There are some nifty random tables in this adventure that add to weirdness factor of piece without taking your PC's out of what's going on. This adventure knocks the traditional out door adventure on its ass and does it with style. A style that has a unique view point on gnomes, spells, magick, and a ton of weirdness at its heart. And uses these elements with a sense of the morbid and strange. But it does it in a completely awesome way. Repeatedly! If your expecting hack and slash dungeon crawl fest, this adventure isn't for you. If you want an adventure with plenty of DYI old school OD&D adventure with plenty of Twin Peaks style high weirdness this might be the adventure for you. This adventure has some nice maps, great diagrams, and I love, love, the art in the adventure piece because it suits the adventure rather nicely and set's the tone for this darkly whimsical adventure. The Gnomes of Levnec provides the DM with a handful of locations in the village, and there's plenty of room to add more in except for the gnomes are waiting to screw with adventurers. And yet they're still more going on then is hinted in the general outlay of this adventure. In fact the plot will have your adventurers crawling around the woods in no time flat and getting lost. In fact their's a rather nifty random table for that. The adventure is going to take PC's into the woods, twist their perceptions around, and then leave them feeling more then slightly disturbed. This is a perfect adventure for a short set campaign adventure that can be dropped right into the background of an existing campaign and yet leave the PC's feeling rather particular about the gnomes that are featured. Which in my book is a good thing. Five out of five because this adventure ticks so many boxes. Dark and more then slightly twisted, great maps, easy set up, deployment ,and a great weekend adventure to keep the PC's weirded out and more then slightly disturbed. This adventure is a five out of five in my book. A very well done and tight adventure. Eric F Swords and Stitchery blog



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Gnomes of Levnec
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