(REPOSTED from Kithmaker's review on www.MORTALITY.net)
Ambient Inc. offers up this zany supplement that any role-playing gamer with a sense of humor will enjoy. This 52-page booklet (in .PDF format) is completely FREE, and it's well worth the cost!
Portable Hole Full of Beer (PHFoB) takes shots at many aspects of gaming that players and GMs everywhere have joked about for years, and puts them into actual d20 compatible rules and stats. The writers don't expect you to really use them in a game (they say such things on nearly every page), but they do offer suggestions on making the stuff useable if you're bent on including it.
PHFoB starts out with 18 new feats, including such can't-live-withouts as 'Anatomically Over-Endowed,' 'Big-Ass Weapon Proficiency' and 'Eat Anything' (which happens to be a prerequisite for 'Belch' and 'Extreme Flatulence'). These all have complete listings of Prerequisites, Benefits, and Normal, just like in a 'serious' d20 supplement.
Next comes a reproduction of the original story of 'Eric and the Gazebo,' and even features the d20 stats for the Gazebo, so you can use it in your own game! Moving on, we find the Prestige Class section: home of such mind-boggling characters as the Beat Poet, The Bowler, Field Chef, and the Jester (who has spells in schools of humor rather than domains), among others. Nine prestige classes in all. For those who like to rate themselves (and/or others), there is the Ultimate Gamer Purity Test. A full 500 questions long, this one covers everything from dice habits to 'the dirty deed' and gives you a ranking from 'Level Zero' to 'Gary Gygax' (who else?).
The fun doesn't stop there, not by a long shot. Yee Mighty Sporting Goodes Shop features all sorts of great equipment, with appropriate d20 stats: baseball bats, bowling rocks (for The Bowler), bar darts, and hockey sticks to name a few 'weapons.' Armor is here too, from those sports that use such protection: football pads, hockey pads, and of course, the protective cup. You can find culinary equipment here, too -- for your Field Chef, or anyone who digs this sort of thing. Did you ever think you'd see game stats for a Meat Tenderizer or a Skillet?
There's an adventure module here, 'Return to the Orc and the Pastry' -- a tribute to Monte Cook. This had me nearly rolling on the floor, in tears. Here's a taste (pun intended) of what faces your group: 'Someone searching for an alternate method of crossing the Dalsin [river] can make a spot check. On a 13 or greater, they see an old rowboat run ashore 15 feet north of them. A result of 18 or better on the check has the character also notice the fine stone bridge that the locals use to cross the river nearly 50 feet beyond the boat.' There is a map that accompanies the adventure, but I don?t want to spoil too much for you. I will say that there is not only a Ten-by-Ten room in this adventure, but also a Twenty-by-Twenty room. Be prepared.
My favorite part is the Template section. Soon you might start seeing 12 Year Old Gamer Girl creatures, Mommy creatures, Munchkin creatures, and my absolute favorite: Dead creatures. The 'Dead' template can be added to any living creature; here are only some of the adjustments: hit point total reduced to (and will remain at) ?10 hp; speed reduced to 0; may be used by other creatures as an exotic bludgeoning weapon...
The last few sections cover alchemy/herbalism (wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more), magical items, and a few new creatures. Overall, this is a wonderfully amusing product, and you can't beat the price. And if you liked PHFoB, you'll love the Kids Coloring Book 'o' d20 Critters (appearing at GenCon), but you'll have to wait until April 1, 2003 for Son of a Portable Hole. Let's tell Ambient we'll pay to have it sooner!
(4.5 out of 5 stars)