The Rudis Review: Spirit Worlds of Zombie Sky Press

Book(s): Incantations from the Other Side and Rituals from the Other Side
Length/Type: 40 pages/PDF
System: 3.5 / PFRPG / 4e
Author(s): Scott Gable, Uri Kurlianchik and Clinton Boomer
Publisher: Zombie Sky Press
Licensor/Endorser: n/a

(5 0f 5 rudii)

Zombie Sky Press. I love that name. It makes me think of Vanilla Sky, Open Sky, Pie in the Sky – and a Zombie dirigible. Not a dirigible manned by Nazi zombies, mind you. Or any other kind. But a big, blue open sky suddenly dominated by a giant dirigible that is a massive, bloated zombie - moaning, dribbling blood and coming for you. Unexpected, outre, fascinating and powerful.

Which is about how I’d describe Zombie Sky Press’ debut “Spirit Magic” products, Incantations from the Other Side and Rituals from the Other Side. Incantations is for 3.5 and Pathfinder RPG, and Rituals is for 4th Edition. Take that edition wars.

In these books (this book?), authors Scott Gable, Uri Kurlianchik and Clinton Boomer have delivered three instantiations of a unique new magic subsystem. All three are grounded in the real world magico-religious explication of a “spirit world” that is adjacent but separate from ours. This is a foundational concept that permeates many pre and non-christian religions (not to mention the works of Carlos Castaneda), and the writing team has clearly done its homework.

Harkening back to 1st editions brave riff’ing off of real world mythology and religion, they’ve executed a brilliant transcription of Hatian Voodoo, pre-christian Slavic and Russian folk religion, and something literary that looks to me like The Golden Dawn meets H.P. Lovecraft.

The books put into the hands of GMs and players a magic subsystem for contacting, negotiating with, and or coercing spirits – regardless of whether the spirit world of your choice takes a Voodoo, Slavic or Golden Dawn flavor. Uniquely, they’ve written these three instantiations of Spirit World magic - not just for two editions - but for use in any PFRPG or 4e flavor: modern, 1930s, Age of Sail, Hyperborean, classic swords and horses high fantasy, you name it.

This is great stuff. Meaty and earthy. Coached by the authors to keep the inner workings of the spirit world a mystery, Incantations and Rituals helps GMs make magic scary and awe-inspiring again. Remember those days of wondering just what the heck the magic-user at the table will pull out of the hat? Well, welcome them back, even if you are - especially if you are - the magic-user. Not to mention, I’ve always found there’s nothing quite like a rich connection to a real-world system of magic and its can’t-help-but-be-gripping imagery to bring game magic alive.

At $9.95 for a lovingly illustrated, 40 page PDF this is a must have addition for any GM who wants to riff off the historical, give magic a unique unusual flavor, or even use the three instantiations of Spirit World spells as a template for developing one's own Spirit World magic.

The only downsides? I want more, and I want print.

NEXT UP: The Rudis Review: Kobold Quarterly #13 (Sex and Romance, Gunpowder Class for Pathfinder, Lovecraftian Gods, Ecology of the Shoggoth, Flying Gnomish Contraptions and more).


skeetyrbug said...

So, Lou, you decide if you can make it out to this coast for Paizocon yet?

Lou said...

No can do. :(

2 month old in the house means I
get Gencon, but that's all she wrote.

Don't know if Shirak is driving up or not.

Change your plans and decide to hit Gencon?