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GM's Miscellany: Wilderness Dressing (System Neutral Edition)
by Lorenzo C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/11/2021 05:53:13

After considering a number of books on world building I have recently purchased the following volumes from Raging Swan Press:

  • Urban Dressing Vol I
  • Urban Dressing Vol II
  • Dungeon Dressing
  • Wilderness Dressing
  • The Thingonomicon

For each of the above I purchased both the PDF and the softcover versions. Quality and breadth of content is top notch. No excuses now not to provide more context in my fantasy world. Even just one or two dressing/events for every locale/NPC will dramatically increase players’ involvement and it will contribute to generating a more credible setting. I also find the content great to use as a starting point upon which you can develop more or less elaborate plots/hooks. PDFs are provided in two formats. One for normal visualisation on electronic devices, one optimised for print. They come with a handy and precise table of content. The printed volumes are solid and very high standard. Especially for the price. I have used many systems in the last 30 years. I now use official WOTC books for monsters, objects and rules, whereas Raging Swan products can cover every other aspect of the world building process. I will definitely keep an eye out for further books from this great publisher. Well done!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
GM's Miscellany: Wilderness Dressing (System Neutral Edition)
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Creator Reply:
Thank you, Lorenzo for the purchase and reviews. I much appreciate both and I'm delighted you've got so much great use out of our books.
GM's Miscellany: Urban Dressing II (System Neutral Edition)
by Lorenzo C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/11/2021 05:52:56

After considering a number of books on world building I have recently purchased the following volumes from Raging Swan Press:

  • Urban Dressing Vol I
  • Urban Dressing Vol II
  • Dungeon Dressing
  • Wilderness Dressing
  • The Thingonomicon

For each of the above I purchased both the PDF and the softcover versions. Quality and breadth of content is top notch. No excuses now not to provide more context in my fantasy world. Even just one or two dressing/events for every locale/NPC will dramatically increase players’ involvement and it will contribute to generating a more credible setting. I also find the content great to use as a starting point upon which you can develop more or less elaborate plots/hooks. PDFs are provided in two formats. One for normal visualisation on electronic devices, one optimised for print. They come with a handy and precise table of content. The printed volumes are solid and very high standard. Especially for the price. I have used many systems in the last 30 years. I now use official WOTC books for monsters, objects and rules, whereas Raging Swan products can cover every other aspect of the world building process. I will definitely keep an eye out for further books from this great publisher. Well done!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
GM's Miscellany: Urban Dressing II (System Neutral Edition)
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Creator Reply:
Thank you, Lorenzo for the purchase and reviews. I much appreciate both and I'm delighted you've got so much great use out of our books.
GM's Miscellany: Urban Dressing (System Neutral Edition)
by Lorenzo C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/11/2021 05:52:39

After considering a number of books on world building I have recently purchased the following volumes from Raging Swan Press:

  • Urban Dressing Vol I
  • Urban Dressing Vol II
  • Dungeon Dressing
  • Wilderness Dressing
  • The Thingonomicon

For each of the above I purchased both the PDF and the softcover versions. Quality and breadth of content is top notch. No excuses now not to provide more context in my fantasy world. Even just one or two dressing/events for every locale/NPC will dramatically increase players’ involvement and it will contribute to generating a more credible setting. I also find the content great to use as a starting point upon which you can develop more or less elaborate plots/hooks. PDFs are provided in two formats. One for normal visualisation on electronic devices, one optimised for print. They come with a handy and precise table of content. The printed volumes are solid and very high standard. Especially for the price. I have used many systems in the last 30 years. I now use official WOTC books for monsters, objects and rules, whereas Raging Swan products can cover every other aspect of the world building process. I will definitely keep an eye out for further books from this great publisher. Well done!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
GM's Miscellany: Urban Dressing (System Neutral Edition)
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Creator Reply:
Thank you, Lorenzo for the purchase and reviews. I much appreciate both and I'm delighted you've got so much great use out of our books.
GM's Miscellany: The Thingonomicon (System Neutral)
by Lorenzo C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/11/2021 05:52:17

After considering a number of books on world building I have recently purchased the following volumes from Raging Swan Press:

  • Urban Dressing Vol I
  • Urban Dressing Vol II
  • Dungeon Dressing
  • Wilderness Dressing
  • The Thingonomicon

For each of the above I purchased both the PDF and the softcover versions. Quality and breadth of content is top notch. No excuses now not to provide more context in my fantasy world. Even just one or two dressing/events for every locale/NPC will dramatically increase players’ involvement and it will contribute to generating a more credible setting. I also find the content great to use as a starting point upon which you can develop more or less elaborate plots/hooks. PDFs are provided in two formats. One for normal visualisation on electronic devices, one optimised for print. They come with a handy and precise table of content. The printed volumes are solid and very high standard. Especially for the price. I have used many systems in the last 30 years. I now use official WOTC books for monsters, objects and rules, whereas Raging Swan products can cover every other aspect of the world building process. I will definitely keep an eye out for further books from this great publisher. Well done!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
GM's Miscellany: The Thingonomicon (System Neutral)
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Creator Reply:
Thank you, Lorenzo for the purchase and reviews. I much appreciate both and I'm delighted you've got so much great use out of our books.
GM's Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing (System Neutral Edition)
by Lorenzo C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/11/2021 05:51:50

After considering a number of books on world building I have recently purchased the following volumes from Raging Swan Press:

  • Urban Dressing Vol I
  • Urban Dressing Vol II
  • Dungeon Dressing
  • Wilderness Dressing
  • The Thingonomicon

For each of the above I purchased both the PDF and the softcover versions. Quality and breadth of content is top notch. No excuses now not to provide more context in my fantasy world. Even just one or two dressing/events for every locale/NPC will dramatically increase players’ involvement and it will contribute to generating a more credible setting. I also find the content great to use as a starting point upon which you can develop more or less elaborate plots/hooks. PDFs are provided in two formats. One for normal visualisation on electronic devices, one optimised for print. They come with a handy and precise table of content. The printed volumes are solid and very high standard. Especially for the price. I have used many systems in the last 30 years. I now use official WOTC books for monsters, objects and rules, whereas Raging Swan products can cover every other aspect of the world building process. I will definitely keep an eye out for further books from this great publisher. Well done!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
GM's Miscellany: Dungeon Dressing (System Neutral Edition)
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Creator Reply:
Thank you, Lorenzo for the purchase and reviews. I much appreciate both and I'm delighted you've got so much great use out of our books.
Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands (5e)
by Barry M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/07/2021 10:26:15

Up front I have to say that I have not yet run this, but I had to come & give a review just based on the design & layout. The way that the various pieces all interconnect, the suggested hooks into the adventure from every location in the town, the way the rumors are designed to lead in further the story are all so well thought out that it seems amazing to me that this isn't the standard in how cities & adventures are designed for TTRPGs.

Then, the actual dungeon bit. There's a key with a brief outline telling you what is in each room right at the begining so I have an overview of the whole place in one location easily available for reference. Under each room clear descriptions, with various options well deliniated and highlighted so I don't have to dig through a wall of text to figure out what is going on.

Click the 'full preview' above and you will get a better idea of just how well done this is than any review I could write will give you.

I am honestly blown away by this with the only downside being that it makes the design & layout of everything else I own look worse by comparison.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands (5e)
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Creator Reply:
Wow. Thank you. You made my morning.
Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands (5e)
by Kevin D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/02/2021 11:11:21

This adventure is one of the best possible ways to start your campaign. Contains a city that’s not too small, not too big, and full of intrigue; a keep that begs exploration and has secrets on every level; and tons of adventure hooks that can be meshed in with nearly anything a GM can think of. Highest recommendation – get this adventure and have it handy at all times.

In depth: https://busywyvern.com/2021/05/01/review-shadowed-keep-on-the-borderlands-5e/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thank you for this review, Kevin. I'm delighted your enjoyed the adventure so much. I hope it gives you many more happy gaming memories.
GM's Miscellany: Wilderness Dressing (System Neutral Edition)
by Cristian M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/01/2021 04:22:50

I've gotten this in a bundle with Urban Dressing 1 and 2 as well with Dungeon Dressing not expecting much to be honest, I wanted to create a solo Campaign for myself. My experience with the random tables so far, was somewhat random, and incosistent. Yet these are so organized and go a bit further than the others I did get. A good example from this book will be "Campsite minor events" and "Campsite features" which so easily can be made into plot hooks, or even just to add a little more scenery for me. Amazing trough and trough. If you are looking for random tables for locations and events, this is the book for you, I would even recommend getting the whole bundle. It is worth the price.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
GM's Miscellany: Wilderness Dressing (System Neutral Edition)
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Creator Reply:
Thank you for the review, Cristian--I'm delighted with exceeded your expectations. I hope books give you many happy hours of gaming!
Village Backdrop: White Moon Cove
by Jason H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/21/2021 13:48:48

The pleasant sheltered village known as White Moon Cove is a nice small village, ideal as a stop over for adventurers on their way elsewhere. I recently paired it with The Fane of the Undying Sleeper, though it is intended as a good start point for The Sunken Pyramid, and I feel the thematic connections between the three will work together well. About the only real complaint I have with the product is that 3 of the four rumors provided are direct links to TSP, and the fourth isn't tagged as a true-false - Easily remedied by a GM, but something I'm used to seeing in Raging Swan products. Another possible rumor, related to the lighthouse, as well as a mysterious wizard, aren't even mentioned on the rumors table, though both would be prime candidates for it. Minor quibbles, of course.

As I mentioned, I used the Fane adventure as a hook for my players, as a recently discovered thing that drew them from a large town to the south of White Moon. I also expanded the area with some sheep herds that were being menaced by some flying beasties (which turned out to be a mated pair of griffons).

An excellent product from Raging Swan, that was just about perfect for what I needed, and it allowed me to plant seeds for possible future events (the afore mentioned Sunken Pyramid for one), which is all one can hope for from a small little slot in village like this.

5 stars, heartily recommend!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Village Backdrop: White Moon Cove
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Sailing Aboard the Widow
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/23/2021 06:24:03

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This eventure clocks in at 15 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 9 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

My reviews of the eventure-series were requested by my patreon supporters.

Eventures, in case you’re new to the series, are rules-lite mini-adventures that focus on roleplaying and not on combat and similar components. The pdf does list a dressing-file from the #20-series you can use as a supplemental file to this eventure, and the module is roughly contextualized as part of the duchy of Ashlar region, that integrating the eventure in another setting is a no-effort job. The module is imho best suited for characters level 1 – 4, though it can be made to work at higher levels, provided the GM is willing to invest a bit of time.

The pdf provides pretty detailed information about the crew and NPC passengers (6 NPCs in total, with information on background, personality, secrets and read-aloud text for them); said NPCs do list race, alignment and classes/class-combination, but do not come with stats.

Speaking of read-aloud text: The keyed locations on the eponymous Widow do come with read-aloud text. Supplemental to the NPC and location set-up, we have 6 whispers and rumors as well as 6 minor events; these minor events, in an interesting twist, come in a sequential offering, so if you roll them a second time, the event actually diverges in how it is realized. These dynamic events are rather helpful. This is clever and interesting and maintains some replay value for the GM. I like it. The module itself takes place in the form of a sequence of events interacting with locations and NPCs and remains relatively free-form due to that fact. So, in spite of a relatively linear progression of event-based triggers, the adventure never structurally degrades into a railroad. This is very much player-driven.

Keyed locations? Yep, the Widow comes with a proper b/w map of its 3 decks; while the map has no size noted, it does sport a grid, which makes running it under the customary 5 ft. x 5 ft. assumptions rather easy. Much to my chagrin, no version of the maps without their labels is included.

Now, the eventure is all about a journey by boat, yes, but there is a significant difference between this module and comparable travel sidetreks, in that it is a mystery module; one could even claim that it’s a horror module, and one that has a sufficiently-subdued fantastic angle as to make it viable for low magic settings like e.g. LotFP-ish takes on our world, or for games like Call of Cthulhu. The module retains a pretty well-wrought free-form angle for its understated, and yet efficient horror/mystery angle: Slowly but steadily, a genuine sense of wrongness is established, and the presentation of clues and web of secrets laced throughout the module does a great job executing the theme.

And yes, I know that this is VAGUE. But I really do not want to SPOIL this one. Anyways, another important thing to note would be the system-integration: Raging Swan Press publishes their content for 4 systems as per the writing of this review, and that sometimes hurts the execution for a given system. At least for the PFRPG-version of this eventure, I am happy to report that this is NOT the case here. While I would have liked to see a sidebar dealing with auras and troubleshooting “detective-magic”, the module actually does a better job pulling off a mystery than many comparable modules I’ve seen.

And this cannot be understated: It is amazing to see a module for the system that does not devolve into a big monster jumping out and being bashed to smithereens. The fact that this eventure managed to stick to its themes of subtle, yet ever-increasing wrongness and unease? I love it for that.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column b/w-standard, and the module comes with neat b/w-cartography. I just wished we got player-friendly maps as well. The pdf comes in two iterations, one for screen-use, and one optimized for the printer. The pdf is fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks.

Bart Wynants delivered a truly pleasant surprise for me here; this little eventure knocks at least 90% of so-called horror-adventures for any iteration of PFRPG or D&D straight out of the water by realizing a crucial fact: You can jam as many bones, liters of blood and guts on something as you like, it won’t become more creepy, just more gross/grotesque (and that can work; most of the times, it doesn’t), and as soon as you can put a pointy stick in it, it’ll eventually be killed by the party.

Instead, this focuses on atmosphere. On providing a framework of something that feels wrong, on that growing, slow-burn sense of unease, and damn, does it do that well. This is not the “creepy monster jumps at you” school of mystery/horror; it is the more poignant, harder-to-pull-off style. And the module pulls it off. In literary allusions: This is more akin to James, Machen or Aickman than to Stephen King or Clive Barker.

Now, usually, I’d penalize the module for the lack of player-friendly maps…but it genuinely doesn’t deserve it. This is a great change of tone and pace, particularly for a game like PFRPG. I adore this, and considering the limited page-count and budget it had to pull off its excellence? Impressive indeed. 5 stars + seal of approval. Highly recommended if you want a change of pace from modules that can be solved by murder-hoboing everything.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Sailing Aboard the Widow
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Sailing Aboard the Widow (P2)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/23/2021 06:09:02

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This eventure clocks in at 15 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 9 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

My reviews of the eventure-series were requested by my patreon supporters.

Eventures, in case you’re new to the series, are rules-lite mini-adventures that focus on roleplaying and not on combat and similar components. The pdf does list a dressing-file from the #20-series you can use as a supplemental file to this eventure, and the module is roughly contextualized as part of the duchy of Ashlar region, that integrating the eventure in another setting is a no-effort job. The module is imho best suited for characters level 1 – 4, though it can be made to work at higher levels, provided the GM is willing to invest a bit of time.

The pdf provides pretty detailed information about the crew and NPC passengers (6 NPCs in total, with information on background, personality, secrets and read-aloud text for them); said NPCs do list race, alignment and classes/class-combination, but do not come with stats. Particularly for PF2, referencing the default roster or giving some brief adventure-relevant abbreviated stats might have been prudent.

Speaking of read-aloud text: The keyed locations on the eponymous Widow do come with read-aloud text. Supplemental to the NPC and location set-up, we have 6 whispers and rumors as well as 6 minor events; these minor events, in an interesting twist, come in a sequential offering, so if you roll them a second time, the event actually diverges in how it is realized. These dynamic events are rather helpful. This is clever and interesting and maintains some replay value for the GM. I like it. The module itself takes place in the form of a sequence of events interacting with locations and NPCs and remains relatively free-form due to that fact. So, in spite of a relatively linear progression of event-based triggers, the adventure never structurally degrades into a railroad. This is very much player-driven.

Keyed locations? Yep, the Widow comes with a proper b/w map of its 3 decks; while the map has no size noted, it does sport a grid, which makes running it under the customary 5 ft. x 5 ft. assumptions rather easy. Much to my chagrin, no version of the maps without their labels is included.

Now, the eventure is all about a journey by boat, yes, but there is a significant difference between this module and comparable travel sidetreks, in that it is a mystery module; one could even claim that it’s a horror module, and one that has a sufficiently-subdued fantastic angle as to make it viable for low magic settings like e.g. LotFP-ish takes on our world, or for games like Call of Cthulhu. The module retains a pretty well-wrought free-form angle for its understated, and yet efficient horror/mystery angle: Slowly but steadily, a genuine sense of wrongness is established, and the presentation of clues and web of secrets laced throughout the module does a great job executing the theme.

And yes, I know that this is VAGUE. But I really do not want to SPOIL this one. Anyways, another important thing to note would be the system-integration: Raging Swan Press publishes their content for 4 systems as per the writing of this review, and that sometimes hurts the execution for a given system. The PF2-version does have me more torn than the other versions; while it manages to properly contextualize e.g. locked chests and the like, the module doesn’t offer the degrees of success/failure benefits associated with PF2, and I couldn’t help but notice that this version is slightly less beefy when it comes to crunchy bits than the version for the first edition of PFRPG. I would have liked to see a sidebar dealing with auras and troubleshooting “detective-magic.” More so, I do think that PF2’s systems lead themselves actually to representing the concept of the module VERY well AND explain how its mystery works, but the module doesn’t make full use of the system’s potential.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column b/w-standard, and the module comes with neat b/w-cartography. I just wished we got player-friendly maps as well. The pdf comes in two iterations, one for screen-use, and one optimized for the printer. The pdf is fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks.

Bart Wynants delivered a truly pleasant surprise for me here; this little eventure knocks at least 90% of so-called horror-adventures for any iteration of PFRPG or D&D straight out of the water by realizing a crucial fact: You can jam as many bones, liters of blood and guts on something as you like, it won’t become more creepy, just more gross/grotesque (and that can work; most of the times, it doesn’t), and as soon as you can put a pointy stick in it, it’ll eventually be killed by the party.

Instead, this focuses on atmosphere. On providing a framework of something that feels wrong, on that growing, slow-burn sense of unease, and damn, does it do that well. This is not the “creepy monster jumps at you” school of mystery/horror; it is the more poignant, harder-to-pull-off style. And the module pulls it off. In literary allusions: This is more akin to James, Machen or Aickman than to Stephen King or Clive Barker.

PF2 is a system designed to allow the GM and designer to tell amazing stories, and, somewhat to my chagrin, authors and game designers right now seem to still not be as confident in leaning into the system’s strengths as they should be. When I look at PF2 and this module, I see a match made in heaven, but the execution provided is functional, yes, but also a shot short of what this could have been: Going just by the system and its possibilities, this should have been the best of the 4 versions. It’s not. It’s still a very good, atmospheric sidetrek, a well-executed adventure, but it falls slightly short of the excellence it could have attained. Hence, my final verdict will be 4.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Sailing Aboard the Widow (P2)
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Sailing Aboard the Widow (OSR)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/23/2021 06:04:56

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This eventure clocks in at 15 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 9 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

My reviews of the eventure-series were requested by my patreon supporters.

Eventures, in case you’re new to the series, are rules-lite mini-adventures that focus on roleplaying and not on combat and similar components. The pdf does list a dressing-file from the #20-series you can use as a supplemental file to this eventure, and the module is roughly contextualized as part of the duchy of Ashlar region, that integrating the eventure in another setting is a no-effort job. The module is imho best suited for characters level 1 – 4, though it can be made to work at higher levels, provided the GM is willing to invest a bit of time.

The pdf provides pretty detailed information about the crew and NPC passengers (6 NPCs in total, with information on background, personality, secrets and read-aloud text for them); said NPCs do list race, alignment and classes/class-combination, but do not come with stats. The OSR-version tends to use proper old-school class references like “thief”, but for the purists, it should be noted that the supplement does use “wizard” instead of “magc-user”; not a bad thing, mind you, but some of my readers want to know that.

Speaking of read-aloud text: The keyed locations on the eponymous Widow do come with read-aloud text. Supplemental to the NPC and location set-up, we have 6 whispers and rumors as well as 6 minor events; these minor events, in an interesting twist, come in a sequential offering, so if you roll them a second time, the event actually diverges in how it is realized. These dynamic events are rather helpful. This is clever and interesting and maintains some replay value for the GM. I like it. The module itself takes place in the form of a sequence of events interacting with locations and NPCs and remains relatively free-form due to that fact. So, in spite of a relatively linear progression of event-based triggers, the adventure never structurally degrades into a railroad. This is very much player-driven.

Keyed locations? Yep, the Widow comes with a proper b/w map of its 3 decks; while the map has no size noted, it does sport a grid, which makes running it under the customary 5 ft. x 5 ft. assumptions rather easy. Much to my chagrin, no version of the maps without their labels is included.

Now, the eventure is all about a journey by boat, yes, but there is a significant difference between this module and comparable travel sidetreks, in that it is a mystery module; one could even claim that it’s a horror module, and one that has a sufficiently-subdued fantastic angle as to make it viable for low magic settings like e.g. LotFP-ish takes on our world, or for games like Call of Cthulhu. The module retains a pretty well-wrought free-form angle for its understated, and yet efficient horror/mystery angle: Slowly but steadily, a genuine sense of wrongness is established, and the presentation of clues and web of secrets laced throughout the module does a great job executing the theme.

And yes, I know that this is VAGUE. But I really do not want to SPOIL this one. Anyways, another important thing to note would be the system-integration: Raging Swan Press publishes their content for 4 systems as per the writing of this review, and that sometimes hurts the execution for a given system. The OSR-version was probably the easiest to pull off of the 4; in contrast to the other systems, we have less of an issue with “detective magic” here, and the supplement tends to use roll under mechanics where required.

Philosophy-wise, we tend to award roleplaying instead of checks, which fits with system-aesthetics.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column b/w-standard, and the module comes with neat b/w-cartography. I just wished we got player-friendly maps as well. The pdf comes in two iterations, one for screen-use, and one optimized for the printer. The pdf is fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks.

Bart Wynants delivered a truly pleasant surprise for me here; this little eventure knocks at least 90% of so-called horror-adventures for any iteration of PFRPG or D&D straight out of the water by realizing a crucial fact: You can jam as many bones, liters of blood and guts on something as you like, it won’t become more creepy, just more gross/grotesque (and that can work; most of the times, it doesn’t), and as soon as you can put a pointy stick in it, it’ll eventually be killed by the party.

Instead, this focuses on atmosphere. On providing a framework of something that feels wrong, on that growing, slow-burn sense of unease, and damn, does it do that well. This is not the “creepy monster jumps at you” school of mystery/horror; it is the more poignant, harder-to-pull-off style. And the module pulls it off. In literary allusions: This is more akin to James, Machen or Aickman than to Stephen King or Clive Barker.

Now, usually, I’d penalize the module for the lack of player-friendly maps…but it genuinely doesn’t deserve it. For OSR-games, this module might seem a little bit less novel, as more modules system-immanently focus on trying experimental things. Now, personally, I prefer it when an OSR-supplement commits to an actual rules-set. Why? Because the power-levels of, say, B/X (or OSE), LotFP and, say AD&D 2e (For Gold & Glory) diverge rather significantly, and having a concrete system with concrete mechanics helps me to contextualize a game in the rules-set I end up using, but this is a general note and will not influence my final verdict. I maintain that this retains an excellent bang-for-buck ratio, which makes up for the lack of player-friendly maps, and as such, this deserves a final verdict of 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Sailing Aboard the Widow (OSR)
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Sailing Aboard the Widow (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/23/2021 06:03:33

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This eventure clocks in at 15 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 9 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

My reviews of the eventure-series were requested by my patreon supporters.

Eventures, in case you’re new to the series, are rules-lite mini-adventures that focus on roleplaying and not on combat and similar components. The pdf does list a dressing-file from the #20-series you can use as a supplemental file to this eventure, and the module is roughly contextualized as part of the duchy of Ashlar region, that integrating the eventure in another setting is a no-effort job. The module is imho best suited for characters level 1 – 4, though it can be made to work at higher levels, provided the GM is willing to invest a bit of time.

The pdf provides pretty detailed information about the crew and NPC passengers (6 NPCs in total, with information on background, personality, secrets and read-aloud text for them); said NPCs do list references to 5e’s default NPC-roster, which means you have full mechanics arrays to reference if required.

Speaking of read-aloud text: The keyed locations on the eponymous Widow do come with read-aloud text. Supplemental to the NPC and location set-up, we have 6 whispers and rumors as well as 6 minor events; these minor events, in an interesting twist, come in a sequential offering, so if you roll them a second time, the event actually diverges in how it is realized. These dynamic events are rather helpful. This is clever and interesting and maintains some replay value for the GM. I like it. The module itself takes place in the form of a sequence of events interacting with locations and NPCs and remains relatively free-form due to that fact. So, in spite of a relatively linear progression of event-based triggers, the adventure never structurally degrades into a railroad. This is very much player-driven.

Keyed locations? Yep, the Widow comes with a proper b/w map of its 3 decks; while the map has no size noted, it does sport a grid, which makes running it under the customary 5 ft. x 5 ft. assumptions rather easy. Much to my chagrin, no version of the maps without their labels is included.

Now, the eventure is all about a journey by boat, yes, but there is a significant difference between this module and comparable travel sidetreks, in that it is a mystery module; one could even claim that it’s a horror module, and one that has a sufficiently-subdued fantastic angle as to make it viable for low magic settings like e.g. LotFP-ish takes on our world, or for games like Call of Cthulhu. The module retains a pretty well-wrought free-form angle for its understated, and yet efficient horror/mystery angle: Slowly but steadily, a genuine sense of wrongness is established, and the presentation of clues and web of secrets laced throughout the module does a great job executing the theme.

And yes, I know that this is VAGUE. But I really do not want to SPOIL this one. Anyways, another important thing to note would be the system-integration: Raging Swan Press publishes their content for 4 systems as per the writing of this review, and that sometimes hurts the execution for a given system. At least for the 5e-version of this eventure, I am happy to report that this is NOT the case here. While I would have liked to see a sidebar dealing with auras and troubleshooting “detective-magic”, the module actually does a better job pulling off a mystery than many comparable modules I’ve seen, and its 5e-conversion is not simply “skin deep”; it actually uses proper phrasing and checks.

And this cannot be understated: It is amazing to see a module for the system that does not devolve into a big monster jumping out and being bashed to smithereens. The fact that this eventure managed to stick to its themes of subtle, yet ever-increasing wrongness and unease? I love it for that.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column b/w-standard, and the module comes with neat b/w-cartography. I just wished we got player-friendly maps as well. The pdf comes in two iterations, one for screen-use, and one optimized for the printer. The pdf is fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks.

Bart Wynants delivered a truly pleasant surprise for me here; this little eventure knocks at least 90% of so-called horror-adventures for any iteration of PFRPG or D&D straight out of the water by realizing a crucial fact: You can jam as many bones, liters of blood and guts on something as you like, it won’t become more creepy, just more gross/grotesque (and that can work; most of the times, it doesn’t), and as soon as you can put a pointy stick in it, it’ll eventually be killed by the party.

Instead, this focuses on atmosphere. On providing a framework of something that feels wrong, on that growing, slow-burn sense of unease, and damn, does it do that well. This is not the “creepy monster jumps at you” school of mystery/horror; it is the more poignant, harder-to-pull-off style. And the module pulls it off. In literary allusions: This is more akin to James, Machen or Aickman than to Stephen King or Clive Barker.

Now, usually, I’d penalize the module for the lack of player-friendly maps…but it genuinely doesn’t deserve it. This is a great change of tone and pace, particularly for a game like 5e. I adore this, and considering the limited page-count and budget it had to pull off its excellence? Impressive indeed. 5 stars + seal of approval. Highly recommended if you want a change of pace from modules that can be solved by murder-hoboing everything.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Sailing Aboard the Widow (5e)
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Raisa’s Auction Most Wondrous (P2)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/18/2021 07:28:20

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Eventure clocks in at 15 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page ToC/editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 10 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

And no, that was no typo; an eventure is essentially an adventure-like set-piece that does not focus on combat, and instead emphasizes actual roleplaying. This one is intended for low to mid-level characters, with lower levels imho working a bit better.

Okay, so, this one deals with something you almost ever see in RPGs, and when one does, it’s usually executed badly: The auction. At this point, I’ve encountered that set-up less than 5 times in my reviewing career, and most of the time, these auctions only served as a cutscene-heavy backdrop without much actual player-choice involved. So, how does this supplement handle things?

Well, for one, there is great news right off the bat: The book actually comes with a fully player-friendly, detailed b/w map, and we’re speaking 4 floors + cellar. AWESOME. If you’re like me a great fan of the city of Languard and its associated Languard Locations-series, you’ll be happy to hear that Raisa’s is indeed situated in that city, though, for everyone else, it should be noted that it’s a 0-effort-required job to plug the auction house into pretty much any other fantasy city. Additionally, the pdf does suggest some handy dressing files from the #20-Things-series that you can employ to further enhance the experience, if you need some additional dressing. Indeed, one advantage this one certain has over previous installments in the series would be the utility of the art-assets: We, for example, get a massive 1-page artwork of the eponymous Raisa, and the pdf actually does come with a one-page handout-flyer. AWESOME. This is how art budget should be used; so the players actually get to see it. Big kudos!

The supplement begins with a brief run-down of the notable NPCs working at Raisa’s—fluff only, as usual for Raging Swan Press. It’d have been nice to see this reference the default NPC-roster of PF2. 3 hooks and 12 whispers and rumors are provided as means to lead into the eventure, and as usual for Raging Swan Press supplements, we also get this nifty list of minor events (12 rather detailed ones this time, taking up ½ of a page) that help an environment feel alive. Now, as a minor complaint, the whispers and rumors section doesn’t account for critical successes and failures, but know what’s a plus? Pricing. The PF2-conversion actually does correctly calculate things like silvered weapons and accounts for the proper pricing structures, even in story-centric curios.

Now, design-wise, an auction represents an interesting conundrum: If you do plot out the auction in detail, you are essentially teeter-tottering around the risk of it devolving into a railroad, an extended cutscene, where the GM has to depict multiple NPCs, the party interacts with that, and everything becomes confusing or bereft of player agenda. This pdf does things in a smarter and more playable manner that sacrifices being something you can spontaneously pull off in favor of the auction actually mattering, an excellent decision as far as I’m concerned.

Beyond the aforementioned set-up regarding hooks, events, etc., the supplement handles its auction by giving the GM fluff-centric brief notes on NPCs (3 of which get a slightly more detailed take, including a paragraph of read-aloud text), and then presenting 8 curios that may or may not have actual rules-use…these can be items for the auction, sure. But the main star? That would be the 5 lots included. These are specific treasures, including a read-aloud description. They have main powers (usually core/standard magic items) and additional powers that can be useful/elaborated upon, if desired.

The section “Provenance” provides a story-context for the item, and with reserve price and notes on bidding and further development, the lots do a surprisingly good job at contextualizing items that would usually be considered to be less than interesting. How good a job? Well, there is the Ever-True Blade (in a formatting glitch, the “ever” isn’t properly set in italics), which is actually just a +1 weapon with a light effect; and yet, its story context and brief notes did make me actually interesting in an item that couldn’t be duller on a mechanics level if it tried. But the nice thing here is: The pdf seems to be cognizant of the limited direct allure of the items for some GMs and provides design notes for the items, providing some guidance for the GM, for example when it comes to Agananxer’s Wondrous Rod. Will I make the items more unique? You bet I will! Am I going to change the set-up/context? No need.

This is a clever way of handling an auction; sure, it requires a bit more GM mojo and prep-work than the previous eventures, but it certainly has its priorities straight and execution down. So, all great? I’d really have enjoyed getting some unique items for PF2; considering how PF2 magic items don’t take up too much space, it’d have been nice to see a few new ones for the young system.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. I noticed no serious glitches apart from very minor things like the aforementioned instance of italics partially missing. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ two-column b/w-standard, and the artworks deserve special applause: I am a big fan of properly used art-budgets, and getting two handouts and a player-friendly, amazing b/w-map in such a small pdf? That’s fantastic indeed! The pdf comes fully bookmarked, and in two iterations – one intended for screen-use, and one intended for people like yours truly, who prefer to print out their pdfs.

Creighton Broadhurst’s take on roleplaying-centric auctions is precise, executed in a clever manner that prioritizes the right things, and as a whole, represents a supplement I really, really like. I don’t love it unanimously, but I do think it’s superior to the PF1 and system neutral version, primarily because the system is young, the execution solid, and there is simply less to demand from the pdf in this iteration. That being said, actually gamifying some parts of the bidding by referencing NPC statblocks and/or relevant values would have been appreciated. As such, my final verdict will round up from 4.5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Raisa’s Auction Most Wondrous (P2)
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Raisa’s Auction Most Wondrous (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/18/2021 07:27:31

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Eventure clocks in at 15 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page ToC/editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 10 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

And no, that was no typo; an eventure is essentially an adventure-like set-piece that does not focus on combat, and instead emphasizes actual roleplaying. This one is intended for low to mid-level characters, with lower levels imho working a bit better.

Okay, so, this one deals with something you almost ever see in RPGs, and when one does, it’s usually executed badly: The auction. At this point, I’ve encountered that set-up less than 5 times in my reviewing career, and most of the time, these auctions only served as a cutscene-heavy backdrop without much actual player-choice involved. So, how does this supplement handle things?

Well, for one, there is great news right off the bat: The book actually comes with a fully player-friendly, detailed b/w map, and we’re speaking 4 floors + cellar. AWESOME. If you’re like me a great fan of the city of Languard and its associated Languard Locations-series, you’ll be happy to hear that Raisa’s is indeed situated in that city, though, for everyone else, it should be noted that it’s a 0-effort-required job to plug the auction house into pretty much any other fantasy city. Additionally, the pdf does suggest some handy dressing files from the #20-Things-series that you can employ to further enhance the experience, if you need some additional dressing. Indeed, one advantage this one certain has over previous installments in the series would be the utility of the art-assets: We, for example, get a massive 1-page artwork of the eponymous Raisa, and the pdf actually does come with a one-page handout-flyer. AWESOME. This is how art budget should be used; so the players actually get to see it. Big kudos!

The supplement begins with a brief run-down of the notable NPCs working at Raisa’s—fluff only, as usual for Raging Swan Press; and as usual for the 5e-versions, we do get references to the standard NPCs, for all but one of the NPCs. This automatically renders running the auction easier. Why? Because you can have those Deception vs. Insight rolls, that Intimidation roll versus a NPC-bidder to step down. This makes gamifying the auction easier in the 5e-version than in all other iterations. (The one NPC sans reference statblock would have warranted values, though…) 3 hooks and 12 whispers and rumors are provided as means to lead into the eventure, and as usual for Raging Swan Press supplements, we also get this nifty list of minor events (12 rather detailed ones this time, taking up ½ of a page) that help an environment feel alive.

Now, design-wise, an auction represents an interesting conundrum: If you do plot out the auction in detail, you are essentially teeter-tottering around the risk of it devolving into a railroad, an extended cutscene, where the GM has to depict multiple NPCs, the party interacts with that, and everything becomes confusing or bereft of player agenda. This pdf does things in a smarter and more playable manner that sacrifices being something you can spontaneously pull off in favor of the auction actually mattering, an excellent decision as far as I’m concerned.

Beyond the aforementioned set-up regarding hooks, events, etc., the supplement handles its auction by giving the GM fluff-centric brief notes on NPCs (3 of which get a slightly more detailed take, including a paragraph of read-aloud text), and then presenting 8 curios that may or may not have actual rules-use…these can be items for the auction, sure. But the main star? That would be the 5 lots included. These are specific treasures, including a read-aloud description. They have main powers (usually core/standard magic items) and additional powers that can be useful/elaborated upon, if desired.

The section “Provenance” provides a story-context for the item, and with reserve price and notes on bidding and further development, the lots do a surprisingly good job at contextualizing items that would usually be considered to be less than interesting. How good a job? Well, there is the Ever-True Blade (in a formatting glitch, the “ever” isn’t properly set in italics), which is actually just a +1 weapon with a light effect; and yet, its story context and brief notes did make me actually interesting in an item that couldn’t be duller on a mechanics level if it tried. But the nice thing here is: The pdf seems to be cognizant of the limited direct allure of the items for some GMs and provides design notes for the items, providing some guidance for the GM, for example when it comes to Agananxer’s Wondrous Rod. Will I make the items more unique? You bet I will! Am I going to change the set-up/context? No need.

This is a clever way of handling an auction; sure, it requires a bit more GM mojo and prep-work than the previous eventures, but it certainly has its priorities straight and execution down. The prices of the items have been adjusted accordingly, and actually tends to gravitate to the lower end.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. I noticed no serious glitches apart from very minor things like the aforementioned instance of italics partially missing. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ two-column b/w-standard, and the artworks deserve special applause: I am a big fan of properly used art-budgets, and getting two handouts and a player-friendly, amazing b/w-map in such a small pdf? That’s fantastic indeed! The pdf comes fully bookmarked, and in two iterations – one intended for screen-use, and one intended for people like yours truly, who prefer to print out their pdfs.

Creighton Broadhurst’s take on roleplaying-centric auctions is precise, executed in a clever manner that prioritizes the right things, and as a whole, represents a supplement I really, really like. And in the 5e-version? That enhanced playability aspect, more or less coincidentally granted by the referenced default statblocks? It adds tremendously to the experience of running this fellow. And one NPC where one has to (perhaps) improvise a skill/ability score value? Not enough to penalize this supplement. In direct comparison, this is the strongest iteration, and gets 5 stars + seal of approval. Certainly, a pdf worth the low asking price.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Raisa’s Auction Most Wondrous (5e)
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