|30 Evocative Vehicles brings us another installment in the #30 series from Rite publishing. Liz Smith is at the reins this time around, and has presented us with an interesting collection of vehicular oddities. Each presented with a Statblock to handle the game mechanics side of things, along with a brief history and explanation of the vehicle's abilities. Formatting and editing stand up to the standard set by Rite publishing, with Steven doing his typical excellent job in that regard. Layout adheres to the dual column approach, with embedded B&W artwork from that treasure chest of classic artwork Mr. Russell has a knack for plumbing. Bookmarks are present, but unfortunately are handled with an alphabetical subsection (B-C, D, E, F-H....) instead of linking to the actual items. Not a huge problem, but a slight disappointment.
Being that we are looking at thirty items, and to detail them all for you would negate the entire reason to purchase said product, I am going to instead touch on a few that caught my eye. The Dancing Phoenix would be the first up, an aasimar wizard's ship, built to catch the planar winds this vessel was designed to travel the various planes in search of fellow aasimar. Something about the idea of sailing the planar seas always appeals. Dreamstead shows an obvious nod to a certain classic movie from yesteryear. A four-poster bed that will animate to gain the capacity to walk and fly with the manipulation of carving upon a bedpost. Not the most original of ideas true, but the way it is presented here did get a smile out of me.
The Infinity Thief introduces us to a ship upon which no-one can die, no matter what. Regardless of damage you stabilize right before the point of death. Now that sounds all well and good until you realize that nowhere in there did I say no damage, or no pain...this is more a curse than a benefit folks, and makes for one seriously demented crew to unleash upon a campaign world sailing the seas in their twisted curse of a vessel. And, in case you're wondering, yes, the minute you leave the vessel you regain mortality. Kekette brings me around again to an homage piece, this one being a bright yellow colored submersible...I think we'll just leave this one alone at that.
Pelte strikes me as one of the oddest, and yet cool vehicle ideas in this collection. A copper sphere large enough for 1-2 (depending upon size) the basic idea here is you catch a ride inside a gelatinous cube, using a system of rods you can extend from the sphere out past the cube's mass that extrude the scent of food to steer the creature where you want it to go. Now, idea wise, interesting. As presented however, serious issues. First off, I'm thinking if you have to open anything on this sphere to extend these rods, you're allowing the cube in, as it is a semisolid, and will ooze through openings. Second, how does one stop? How do you get out of the cube's mass once in it? Intriguing idea and all, and one I could see making for an odd encounter with an NPC for a dungeon crawl, but there are a few details I would have liked to have seen covered in its entry.
All in all, this is exactly what it states, a collection of vehicles of various ideas. Some of these vehicles are of the common enough type that they will feel instantly familiar, carriages, ships, etc. Others are a little more odd, like the steam driven medusa head warmachine (simply a walking style machine with built in siege weapons, not equipped with a gaze attack). The author approached the source material with a great deal of humor, and admittedly there are several points I feel that detracts from the over all product. Not just in the nature of how the vehicles are designed so much, or even what the vehicles are, but in reading through their descriptions and histories. An alchemical mechanical dragon comes to mind, as its history suggests that it was last known to be in the possession of a love sick wyvern who is still trying to get it to speak and return its affection.
All in all, if your either OK with the humor, or can look past it, the vehicles here range from flat out weird and niche to interesting and usable. This one fell towards the middle for me, not really wowing me enough, but at the same time not failing to deliver on what the title suggests either. In the end I am settling on a rating of 3 stars.
[3 of 5 Stars!]