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Weird Adventures $10.00
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Weird Adventures
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Weird Adventures
Publisher: Hydra Cooperative
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/29/2017 10:39:51

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive sourcebook clocks in at 165 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page ToC, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 161 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So, what is this? Well, picture a setting, the Strange New World, that puts fantasy tropes in an era reminiscent of the interim between the two World Wars, as seen through the lens of the classic pulp magazines of old. The history of the world is thus somewhat akin to what you'd expect, though it should be noted than nice, poster-style artworks provide cliff-notes versions of what once was. It should be noted, though, that the focus of this book lies exclusively on the New World - which sees enough problems of its own with drought, etc., spiraling the country towards a great depression. The pdf provides notes on days and months, holidays, etc.

Race-wise, the Ancients brought the Black Folk to the new world before the arrival of the Ealderish, the Europe-stand-in, if you'd like. Natives and Yianese also make for obvious substitutions and feature twists that set them slightly apart from real world equivalents. A similar approach is taken for religion - old-time religions would be those based on variations of the montheistic writings; Oecumenical hierarchate practices religion more stringently and adds saints and the like for a ore Catholicism-like version. Beyond that, eikones exist - i.e. personifications of concepts and yes, pagan gods do exist. It is interesting to observe that this book does talk about the ramifications of the possibility of journeys to hell and heaven, respectively!

Magic follows roughly two different paths: thaumaturgy, which denotes basically the scientific/academic form of magic, while mysticism is more intuitive - somewhat akin to the divide between prepared and spontaneous casters, though rules-wise, there is no difference here apart from the extensively elaborated upon different social ramifications. The continent, just fyi, is fully mapped in color and from here, we embark on the gazetteer-section of the book, which provides an interesting look at the nations, sometimes with a wink and a smile: The US-equivalent would be the "United Territories of Freedonia", for example, while Zingaro, the great Meso-American stand-in, mentions e.g. Sainted Mother Death and the like - we have magically icy winds in the north and little bits and pieces with crunch as well as plot-seeds galore. Have I mentioned the settlement Cuijatepec, where interred bodies mummify and walk the land (complete with a b/w-picture of a badass mummy mariachi gunslinger), deadly jungles, 10 sample ways to die in the deep - this chapter provides a nice "big picture"-view of the Americas in this setting.

From the big picture, we move inwards towards a tad bit more details, with the chapter "On the Weird Road" (nice Kerouac-nod there!), a chapter which goes into the details of the Union, including its currency (with fitting nicknames), explanations of the government and interesting twists - when e.g. monster-hunting paladins of great families inherit their father's swords to their offspring. Arkham, including a famous asylum, can be found...and then there is the City, whose hegemony extends beyond the holdings of the Five Baronies - the City is vast and its constituents include an alien city with an unstable topography that may or may not exist at any given time, the gambling paradise (or hell) of Faro City, a New Orleans equivalent...and the smaragdine mountains...have I mentioned the rules for magical bootleg alcohol, a dwarven city, an infernal mafia or the dustlands, haunted by wrathful elementals? The monster-haunted Grand Cany...eh, Chasm, rushes for the Black Gold and the center of the entertainment industry, Heliotrope, home of the legendary gunslinger hero Big Jim Trane, who is sometimes riding a giant prehistoric cat. Occult feminism, cigarette-"ads" for djinn cigarettes - it is nice touches like this that manage to lend a sense of authenticity to the proceedings.

From this, we move on to the City proper, which, as mentioned before, is roughly separated into 5 baronies. It should be noted that the map here is functional, but pretty barebones, with the exception of the fully depicted Empire Island, which contains the Central park equivalent as well as TON of highly detailed locales and hooks: From the slums of Hardluck to the financial district, we run a wide array of themes and tropes, supplemented by random encounters (fluff-only). Inevitables haunt those that would resist the taxation or wish harm on the Municipal Building (fitting!), while being an exterminator in such a setting, obvious, is a rather dangerous profession. Also cool: Little Carcosa. Just figured I'd mention that one. ;) Grimalkin village, ziggurats topped with Tesla coils, loan sharks and the race of barrow men ( CON and CHA +1, +2 to saves vs. poison, disease and contagion, can horrify targets with a variant of fascinate, penalizing saves), ghoulish undertown...have I mentioned the Lady of Amaranth Park, the airship dock contained in Grand Terminus, Dwergentown or the mysterious Mr. Nick Scratch? Or the degenerate, human-slaughtering eikomne? The charities that lord over the circus district?

Here, you can find phantom automats, meet gentlemen mentalists, realize that vampires are pretty much very dangerous addicts, go to "Sal's Paradise, Jump!", listen to magical jazz...and have I mentioned the area that now is straight out of The Magical Monarch of Mu (guess what that one is the analogue of...) or the theft of an elephantine colossus by notorious lich Hieronymus Gaunt?

The pdf also provides a variety of different monsters: These come with both ascending and descending AC-values, HD, number encountered and a general idea of movement rates ("fast flyer", for example), allowing for relatively easy integration into a given specific rules-set. These include black blizzards, undead, illithid-like brain-invaders, crabmen, hitfiends (hilarious!), gatormen, living ghost-towns, hill-billy giants, living totems, lounge lizards, murder ballads that conceal themselves in songs, pink elephants (!!!), the Reds (agents of the underground civilization!)...and much more.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are excellent, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a two-column b/w-standard and the pdf has color maps that are decent and an amazing full-color artwork on the inside of the front cover. The interior-artwork is original and b/w and really nice. It should be noted that "advertisements" in the style of the 20s and 30s are littered throughout the book, adding a sense of authenticity to the file. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks. I can't comment on the physical versions, since I only own the pdf-version.

Trey Causey's Weird Adventures did not have an easy standing with me. You see, I love the pulp genre and I love the fantasy genre. Thing is, I don't think they mix well. At all. Similarly, I have read so many allotopias and near-earth settings, they tend to end up boring my socks off. In short: This is one book I would have never bought or read, were it not for my reviewer status.

Guess what? I'm honestly glad I did read this! You see, this pdf actually manages to properly blend the fantastic and the pulp genre without getting bogged down in Tolkienesque tropes. It draws from a vast wealth of knowledge and obviously careful research and its ideas go beyond winking "add fantasy" variants of real world phenomena, creating a world that is at the same time radically different and thoroughly grounded in our cultures....while changing them rather drastically. In short, this actually manages the nigh-impossible task of blending the two genres with panache aplomb. Now personally, I do not necessarily love this - but I am absolutely impressed by the depth of imagination and by the obvious love that went into this book. This is obviously a labor of passion and it shows on pretty much every page. It is very rules-lite, which makes conversion to pretty much any system really easy as well - and what more can you ask for? My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars. If the ideas even remotely sound like they could interest you, check this out!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Weird Adventures
Publisher: Hydra Cooperative
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/30/2016 15:43:58

This is seriously one of my all-time favorite settings. Sure, there are a few big-name games with settings I enjoy, but Weird Adventures literally had me running for a notebook to scribble ideas in every page or two. I cannot WAIT to read more about this setting!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Weird Adventures
Publisher: Hydra Cooperative
by Jim G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/30/2016 10:00:23

This setting guide is a real gem and can be used with any edition and nearly any rules-set you prefer. The writing is crisp, clean and provides loads of inspiration for delving more deeply into The City and its surrounding environs. This is a setting full of pulpish-mystery, noirish-intrigue, and all manner of under-handed shennanigens and nefarious schemes playing out in the background, making it a smorgasboard of adventuring opportunities and perils to confront. Quite a few of the entries invite further exploration or a closer examination by player characters; this is a setting meant to be played-in. But more than that, it is fun.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Weird Adventures
Publisher: Hydra Cooperative
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/12/2012 13:54:35

Weird adventures is, in my mind, a mix of things that usually do not work with me. Pulp era heroics with Fantasy adventure and a sorta-semi-Earth like world. Usually this is enough to turn me off of a game. But here it seems to work well. Very well.

So WA is a Pulp era game. Though not really OUR pulp era, but one on a world very similar to our own. Not WoD similar-but-darker or even D&D world like but not alike. This is our world with some odd distortions. Sorta like the world of a pulp era comic. We know that the creators of D&D and FRPGs were heavily influenced by the pulps. What if that influence was more heavily felt than say the fantasy ones or the the Tolkien ones. We might end up with some similar to Weird Adventures.

Now this book is designed as a fantasy campaign world. So it is not by itself a playable game, you need other rules in order to play it. The book is written as system neutral, but obviously the prime influence here is older D&D. Both Ascending and Descending ACs are given in the handful of monsters.

What I like about the book is that these different elements mix and merge so well. Fantasy Adventure and Pulp Adventure seem to be two sides of the same coin. I love the layout and look of this book too. They made to remind the reader of a pulp era magazine and it works well.

The art is fantastic really. The piece with the adventurers in a tomb with a beholder is fantastic. The monsters were all great. I loved the Hill-billy Giant.

There are somethings though I didn't care for. While I can see why they did it, I don't like some near-Earths. This is not a deal breaker. I like it for example in most Supers games. I think I would have rather have used it with a real earth. While it is designed for any game, I would have liked some more crunch. At the very least give me some rules for guns.

I think it would a solid addition to any older D&D or the clones, and even a solid addition to any Pulp Era game.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Weird Adventures
Publisher: Hydra Cooperative
by Tim S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/04/2012 21:41:25

...blues man scribing the perfect murder ballad in the jaundice hue of a street light. I want to be a smuggler running bootleg alchemicals in a forest infested with shotgun wielding ogres and they are the least of my worries. I want to be a photographer who captured a picture of oil para-elementals tearing apart a rigging crew and is now running from big oil. Rumor is they hired a hit fiend to get to me before the pictures could be released. I want to be a scholar who's discovered the gargoyles have collect treasures through every history and store them in a sacred mountain. I want to play Weird Adventures in black and white, wear a hat and pretend I smoke.

Weird Adventures is a world setting that takes very interesting twists on our real world. Set in a world where weird is not weird, but the normal. Where Ripley's Believe It or Not mixes with Film Noir and pulp magazines. It's a world where you need to big...huge or no one will notice you. It's a place for big adventures and big ideas.

Trey has developed a world of some depth. If you have every read his blog, From the Sorcerer'sSkull you know most of his posts are dedicated to the City and the surrounding world. Nothing is out of bounds. You can run this setting with pretty much any elements you can come up with. The City is a playground to be explored and the wonders enjoyed.

I bought both the PDF and hardcover (actually two of them). The books are gorgeous. The artwork really enhances the content and you can tell they had a lot of fun. Trey set up the book for easy reference, but I guarantee the first time you pick it up you'll read it cover to cover because it is a great read. Then Trey added some great touches by adding mock advertisements.

I think Weird Adventures hits all the right notes. If I did a rating system I would give it a 5 out of 5. But I think the true test of a good gaming book is after you read it you want to play it. And I want to play in The City. I want to be...



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Weird Adventures
Publisher: Hydra Cooperative
by michael G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/25/2012 12:53:11

This system neutral supplement is pure magic. it takes a look at the Americas, especially North America through a fantasy lens. the time period the book is mainly concerned with is something roughly analogous to the 1930's, although the game uses a different dating convention. Fantasy North America or Septentrion as it is called here is a land of danger and adventure, with hillbilly giants, dust bowl zombies, infernal gangsters, goblin hobos and much much more. The book provides a wealth of detail on both the northern and southern continents of the new world, with a particular focus on the Union, a nation which is similar, but hardly identical to the US. The star of the book, though is Empire City. Located in the north east of the union the City (as it is most often referred to in the text) and situated over primeval ruins and subterranean complexes left behind by the ancients, is a richly detailed setting all in and of itself worthy of several years worth of gaming. anyway, I'm not big on published setting, but I'd run this one in a heartbeat. Buy it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Weird Adventures
Publisher: Hydra Cooperative
by Alexander O. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/28/2011 06:08:09

Weird Adventures is a sourcebook for a game setting that is a mixture of traditional fantasy elements and a mad infusion of weird pulp fiction (mostly) set in a strangely familiar nation and city.

The sheer density of setting texture and detail alone makes this sourcebook a must-buy, but it's tied together by a weird conglomeration of almost-recognizable elements taken from history, period culture, myth, movies, fiction, comics, and pulp novel arcana that works as a setting. There is some lacuna left for the tastes of the DM -- but those spaces are easily filled by nabbing from both traditional fantasy and 1920s Americana.

It is a bit light on the game mechanics for a sourcebook, but the new monsters have stats that can be extrapolated to any D&D ruleset, and the DM is open to establishing how prevalent and powerful guns and transport might be in his/her campaign. I do recommend allowing yourself to be inspired by both magic and mad science in answering these questions, as the setting seems to excel at keeping players and GMs on their mental toes in anticipating secrets and twists to the adventure hooks. I'd love to give examples, but to do justice I'd have to give an entire entry away!

The art truly evokes both the feeling of the source material and the conceit of being a travel guide of sorts into this strange realm, and -- while I only have the PDF version -- I think that the printed copy will make a handsome, conversation-starting addition to any gaming collection.

Just make sure your friends don't borrow it without you knowing!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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