Hey everybody, happy new year! I hope you had a great time and look forward to 2011!
I know I'm late, but to make up for it, I'll review some Evocative City Sites. Without further ado: Let's go!
This pdf is 27 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages advertisements, 1 page SRD, leaving 22 pages of content.
The pdf starts with 1 page containing the whole map of Voell's Graden and then dives into the in-character introduction to Voell's Garden, interspread with 5 detailed maps of the respective parts of Voell's Graden. The chapter also details secrests, a table for strange flora, notes on how to use the garden as a maze and secrets for the characters and garden. We also get a new poison and 5 adventure hooks. This passage is 8 pages long.
The next chapter details 6 pages of statblocks of the inhabitants, once again at the top-level of complexity, one of which is a potentially legendary and extremely cool and disturbing...thing that clocks in at a whopping CR 24.
The pdf closes with 7 pages of reprints of the maps as well as 7 separate maps of the garden in A4 format for Europeans like yours truly.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any mistakes/glitches.
I don't know why, but sometimes, if presented right, plants can creep the hell out of me, and I consider myself to be quite a jaded guy. Voell's Garden features some of the most enticing writing I've read in an rpg-book, especially in such a small one and really had me on the edge of my seat. For fans of the series it also features a slight nod towards Bedlam Asylum.
The statblocks rock, as almost always in the ECS-series and the final critter presented is cool as hell. However, as much as I want to, I can't bring myself to rate this 5 Rudii. This is due to two facts: The file does not have the usual blown-up versions for use with miniatures the other ECS-files always featured and, once again, the bane of my existence is back - the maps feature letters and a legend, detracting for me from the player's suspension of disbelief and preventing me from printing it out for my players. I don't get why the combined map e.g. has to feature the letters. That being said, the writing somewhat made up for this and my final verdict will be 4 Rudii - if you don't mind letters in your maps or need the miniature-friendly huge maps, add a Rudii.
This pdf is 41 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 2 pages advertisement. That leaves 37 pages of content.
The makeup of the clock tower containing separate, beautiful maps for each of the 4 floors takes up 7 pages and starts with a nice in-character introduction that runs, intermixed with some mechanics, throughout the whole chapter, making this a very enjoyable read, especially if you're into the central topic of this installment of ECS: Time and a clock tower moving backwards through it.
There are also several cool ideas to set the mood of the clock tower, including tables for random time events in RP and in combat. The description also includes a whopping 5 boxes of secrets and 6 adventure hooks.
We also get 3 new NPCs, a new magic item as well as a new kind of monster. (5 pages) While the statblocks are complex, they are not as extremely complex as some others from the ECS series - the characters are still extremely cool and I liked them all.
The pdf closes with 26 pages of blown-up maps for use with miniatures. It should be noted, that map keys, the bane of my existence as a DM, have mercifully been both left out and are not necessary due to the high quality and nice drawings of the maps.
The pdf also comes with 4 files à 6 pages containing the maps in scale for miniatures in A4 format for Europeans like yours truly.
I'm a sucker for time travel, time paradox, chronomancy etc. - problem is, most publication, be them novels, games or movies are doing it wrong, big time. This one does it Rite. (Hitting myself for the bad pun right now...Ouch!) Both the fluff and the crunch are cool, the maps are up to RiP's high quality standards and editing and formating are quite good - the only glitch I noticed was that in the bookmarks you can see question marks instead of hyphens. I also liked the NPCs, albeit I would have loved to see something more complex done with the final one. So, what's my final verdict? For the very low price, you get an excellent installment of the series. Personally, the chronomancy-aspect weighs up with my minor points of criticism, resulting in a five Rudii file. If you're not that into time travel and its concepts, detract half a Rudi.
Next time, I'm going to take a look at some stuff by Open Design and Zombie Sky Press, see you then! (And yes, still writing two monstrously large reviews...)
As always, thank you for reading my ramblings,