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#30 Cursed Treasures (PFRPG) $3.99
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#30 Cursed Treasures (PFRPG)
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#30 Cursed Treasures (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/02/2012 03:08:35
This pdf is 23 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 1 page advertisement, leaving us 19 pages of content, so let's check this out!

This installment of the 30-series presents us with new cursed items, but you will have gleaned so much from the title - after some paragraphs of fluff we're introduced to the presentation of the respective treasures, which include information on price, DCs for figuring general things out, a price, a physical description, extensive histories for the items, a trigger that will, well, trigger the curse and also a section on a suggested removal.

And oh boy, do we get a selection of interesting items! Since these items are cursed (and yet somewhat useful), the following review contains SPOILERS. Potential players may wish to jump to the conclusion.

Still here? All right! Let's take the tragic tale of Bertram Zane's flask: In a twist of the classic Jeckyll/Hyde-trope, the alchemist was press-ganged by a thieves guild via kidnapping his fiancée into working for them, only to have him hastily gulp down an experimental mutagen, killing the thieves - but also the love of his life, ending his transformation in a tragic, yet poetically beautiful twist that saw the lovers plunge to death together. Now, the spirit of his perished love may be the only way to put an end to the curse still lingering on the flask...

Other cursed treasures include coins put on the eyes to condemn the dead to an eternity in Charon's realm, a crown of an elven king that committed genocide against animals to defeat druids and lumberjacks and a twisted set of earrings that tries to drown the possessor: Spawned from a low-born wench's love for her lord, the story they tell is grisly and twisted: In order to marry into nobility and claim her love, the star-crossed maid chose to drown all her competitors in a pond and, when her murderous actions became known, drowned herself as well. In order to lift that particular curse, the families of the lowborn maid and the lord have to be joined in marriage - against the grudge and the rigid class-system still in place. Or, if you're more into less morally ambiguous stories, what about a bowl crafted from the top skull of a saint by dread vampires, still locked away, including its desecrating effects...

Or take Iztali, the nightmare diamond that punishes its wearer for violent actions - in their dreams, essentially forcing them to become pacifists. The curse can only be broken by actually brokering peace between powerful factions. This item is gold in high-intrigue settings and may actually be used by the PCs to force stubborn people to refrain from violence - with all they shades of grey that entails. Or take a gem that forces its bearer to help those around them and perform one action of mercy, one of compassion and one of love to get rid of the sapphire.

There is also the comb of a beautiful exotic maiden, betrayed by her lover, which now imparts an inability to handle rejection. What about the tragic tale of a free-willed flesh golem, who got lynched for his compassion and now his platinum rose may bring salvation - if a maid spends a night with his remains. There is also a gem that changes you slowly into a new kind of aberrant creature, a so-called Vynnder creature, which comes with an additional template and a lore-section as well.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting...well, I come out and say it: Is not up to the standard set by Rite Publishing. There are quite a lot of editing glitches herein as well as a couple of minor formatting glitches. While they do not impede usability per se, they do manage to detract from the excellent prose and oftentimes tragic background stories expertly crafted by author John Bennett. Layout adheres to RiP's 2-column full-color standard, artworks are stock and the pdf comes with full bookmarks.

I was really looking forward to this installment of the #30-series and is delivers - John Bennett has not only created great cursed treasures, but ones that may spawn an adventure of their own - each one of them. Where the 101-cursed item book featured more generic curses, these are all steeped in very detailed mythologies and background stories that are evocative, exciting and smart while still being easy to integrate into your campaign. And this is also why I hate being a reviewer this time around: Personally, I love the content. I consider it evocative, interesting and is uses some established cultural tropes, but always adds an interesting and exciting twist to customs and items, creating a panoply of near-familiarity that nevertheless remains foreign enough to evoke the sense of wonder crucial for fantasy to work. However, I can't with any good conscience give this pdf the full 5 stars. In fact, were it not for the excellent writing, I'd rate this probably at about 3 stars due to the glitches - a verdict the pdf simply does not deserve. Thus, my final verdict, with a heavy heart, will be 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
#30 Cursed Treasures (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Joshua G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/13/2012 02:18:33
#30 Cursed Treasures, the latest in the #30 series from Rite weighs in at 23 pages, with 19 of those being the pages containing new game material. Written by John Bennett and featuring more of the amazing artwork Steven Russell has a knack for finding (this time out treating us to pieces from Arthur Rackham), this installment to the series continues the dual column format, with the occasional embedded piece of artwork, as well as the classic Rite publishing page frame.

Cursed Items are always an interesting thing to incorporate into a game setting, as the idea of adding true curses, those powerful afflictions that defy magical means to rid oneself of, well...something has to bring a chuckle to a GM from time to time...and nothing seems to work quite like watching a playgroup scramble to rid themselves of a cursed item that just won't go away...

Each item is given a price (as per its material value and its collectable value), a physical description, a detailed explanation of the trigger that sets off the curse, what the effects of said curse are, the history of the item (great for mining for immense amounts of story ideas, adventure hooks, side quests...and of course the terms for removal of the curse upon the bearer.

As there are thirty of these items, I am going to limit myself to a few choice items, beginning with Rexzor the Red's Dragon Tapestry. Rexzor was your atypical Red, big, nasty, greedy and on a shortlist for hero's to try and kill. And when his day finally came, from his scales a tapestry was made by one of the victors of Raxzor's final battle. So, we've got a back-story, we've got a cool item, I mean a tapestry made of woven dragonscale?? That's pretty cool...so what's the curse right? Simple, fire. The minute a new owner hangs this unique wall art within his home, the clock is ticking for the place to burn to the ground. A fairly specific method for removal of the curse guarantees this item becoming an adventure for a playgroup if they end up with it, as there is only one way to be rid of the tapestry...and the minute you touch it you want to take it home and hang it up...lol.

Glutton's Gold sent me to Google to verify a word, and its meaning (lol), and before anyone out there not knowing this word, or its meaning, I beg of you to learn it before contacting Steven to yell at him, lol. Now, that out of the way, what we have here is a hoard of shiny gold coins just waiting to be found...only problem is they leave anyone who possesses any of them with an appetite for actual gold, strong enough that they will suffer if they do not eat enough, daily. The Burnt Crown of the Wood Elf King is one of the most bizarre items as far as its history goes that I think I have ever come across. The crown of the elven king Eltee'ae, the crown holds within it his extreme hatred of all animals...yeah, you read that right, an elven king...hatred of all animals. The hatred sprang from his being taken aback by human druids using animals to attack his kingdom...so, an elven king sees animals of his forest being used as weapons against him and his, and blames the weapon, not the people steering them? Sorry, this one doesn't work for me. Copper Pennies of Apathion is the classic ancient people sold their souls to Charon, and used these coins to denote other souls they were sending in their place type of thing...hence the whole placing a coin on each eye of the dead.

Cube of Zaz is an interesting concept for an item, as the ramifications of introducing one to a divine caster who relies upon prayer in your campaign could be long standing. The cube “replaces” the character's God/patron...whomever it is that grants them spells for their prayers. The cube does not provide as many spells, nor any domain spells or abilities...but unless the character can find a way around the cube to contact their deity they would have no reason not to believe they had simply upset their God and that was the reasoning behind the lesser granted perks for prayers.

OK, so final thoughts here...there are some pretty cool items presented here, far more cool items than not. The format of how they are presented is extremely cool as well, giving a piece of history to each as well as the methods of removal being far more than “cast this spell” standard fare. However, the PDF is riddled with small editing issues, mainly in grammar. Nothing to the point that you can't understand what you are reading, but certainly enough that you notice it. Cursed items are a great way to add some serious levels of danger to your game, but only if you as a GM are willing to put in the effort to make them cool. There are several here that could become part of some great memories for your players, and for that I am going to give this PDF a 4 star rating.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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