EZG reviews The Sinister Secrets of Silvermote

Hej everybody,

after all this slumming in the mean streets, I figured it would be time for one deadly dungeon-crawl for a change and TPK Games is happy to oblige:

The Sinister Secrets of Silvermote

This adventure is 67 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving a whopping 64 pages of content! Not bad at all, so let's check out the dread laboratory of Temerlyth, the Undying!

This being an adventure review, the following contains SPOILERS, thus I encourage potential players to skip ahead to the conclusion.

Let's get ready for some horror-show indeed, for after an encounter with some ogres and drow in the wilderness,  even the entrance of the dungeon is not entirely simple, necessitating the solving of a riddle, which is always nice, at least for me - riddles are often painfully underrepresented in modules and are a welcome diversion from regular crawling. And what a crawl this is!

Let me preface this, by saying this crawl is HARD. Frog God Games hard, with the potential for a clever DM to make it even more challenging and I love this design philosophy. My players tend to waltz through many modules and this provides a challenge indeed. Another thing this module gets, is a sense of antiquity - Temerlyth's ancient elven architecture is mixed with goblin borrows, offering a nice mishmash of elven splendor, goblinoid decay and a mad scientist's lab. Which brings me to lichdom: Once in the day, a lich was the ultimate undead corruption: A being who sought to extend his existence at all costs - in contrast to vampires and other undead, they cannot be brought into life by accident and their willingness to sacrifice  their mortality makes them even more alien and despicable than other undead: Where we can feel pity for shadows, ghosts and wights, project fantasies and Eros on the vampire, these undead still have some relatable characteristic and be it flimsy as the hunger for life. Liches sacrifice willingly the warmth of the touch of a loved one, their sense of smell and taste and any craving but the search for ultimate power behind, making them despicable to even vampires. The ultimate darkness, the utter corruption that perpetuates this decision is something that has, at least in my opinion, often been forgotten in recent publications. Not so here.

Temerlyth's dungeon is the mirror of a disjointed, relentless and obsessive mind with a twisted sense of humor and devious traps that clearly show the amoral stance the lich takes towards mortal life: Several of his traps are actually designed to infect interlopers with lycanthropy, which will promptly be triggered by his moonlight-producing chandeliers and sow confusion and infighting in invading parties. If an approaching party manages to infiltrate the complex at all, that is. The sentinel, a wood giant skeletal champion ranger and the puzzles make already for neat glimpses of the horrors to come. The crawl itself removes mostly about finding 4 crystalline keys to lower mooncrystal bridges via pedestals to a central platform and raise Temerlyth's crowning achievement and work-in-progress, but more on that later.

The elven lich's servants and allies not only include zombie lords, constructs and ghouls (among which is a potentially recruitable ghoulish cleric, who might at least make for an interesting temporal ally), but also a variety of were-bat slaves who consider him some kind of benevolent over-seer. While I have no problems with his rather cool golems, like the bomb-throwing Aclhemy golem, I do think that the equipment of the were-bats is terrible. Perhaps this is intended to reflect Temerlyth's underlying hatred for them, but they and their dire bat allies will be squashed by your PCs. On the other hand, the zombie lord has a terribly over-powered weapon you should be aware of: A magical shovel that can bury the living with a successful attack )grappling and pinning them with +25 CMB and summon the undead. The PCs should not be able to use this item, the potential for abuse is HUGE.
If you've read Temerlyth's Infamous Adversary-pdf (which you should - his background story is explained there), you also know about his now undead family, who also serves as his minions and might go for a rather creepy holo-deck style encounter. I also particularly enjoyed the gallery of rare and very strange were-creatures and his vault, in which he bound souls of lycanthropes to now terribly cursed armors and weapons. His laboratory also bears mentioning: It's one of the locations where Temerlyth could make his final stand and his phylactery, for once, is actually CLEVERLY hidden, as befitting of a foe of Temerlyth's intellect. So, what's in it for the PCs, should they succeed? Well, it's here that the scenario is truly interesting: We get a significant slew of Temerlyth's library as items - complete with names, contained information, (very specific) skill-bonuses gained when consulting them etc. - a total of 23 grimoires are included and what can I say: I love them! I love it when publications go above and beyond and its flavorful tidbits like this that stand out and make for a much more memorable payoff than finding 100 GP worth in books.

And then, there's Temerlyth#s artifact: The Moonfire Soulstone. Once activated, it shoots searching rays of lycanthrope-searing light and continues to do so until charged. Killed targets are soultrapped and once the device is fully charged, it emits  a devastating explosion of energy at close range and purges lycanthropy from a huge radius, using the trapped souls as fuel. Pure genius! This is a tactical weapon of mass destruction and will be the reason why my players have to defeat Temerlyth: Just imagine an army of lycanthropes, poised to crush any resistance and then, the PCs hear about this benevolent sage who fights the threat - only to realize fast that salvation from the were-beast onslaught might come at the cost of their moral integrity or even their souls. Or provide for a heroic last stand where the PCs thwart a lycanthropic invasion at the cost of their immortal souls. Barring that, an activation of the weapon makes for a thrilling final confrontation with Temerlyth that surpasses even the lich's stand-alone lethality.
The pdf also contains a reference sheet for the dungeon's general properties, a page on how to read the grimoire-sections, extensive information on how to scale every encounter from CR 8 to 12, a fully hyperlinked spellbook of Temerlyth and a one-page, full color map of the complex.

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to TPK Games b/w 2-column standard and the b/w-artworks are nice, although I have seen them in other sources before. The pdf comes with extensive bookmarks and, as has become the tradition with TPK Games, hyperlinks to the SRD for quick reference of any rules you might have forgotten. However, in contrast to other releases by TPK Games, some of the statblocks have not been as extensively hyperlinked as others. While each includes at least some hyperlinks, the coverage is not as universal as with their other releases. When reviewing the Tomb of Caragthax the Reaver, I complained about it being too short - the same cannot be said of Temerlyth's laboratory - we get a concisely-written dungeon full of sadistic traps, deadly lycanthropes and hungry undead. One thing you should be aware of, though, is that while all stats necessary to run this scenario are included, I do urge you to buy Temerlyth the Undying as well in order to fully understand the primary antagonist's motivations and character.
Some of the enemies herein are weaker than you would expect for their CR due to poor equipment, but the amount of treasure and the deadly challenges herein mean that your PCs won't be disappointed on the loot-side. They'll also be hard-pressed to triumph against the rather deadly challenges offered by this dungeon. While I love the library with its detailed list of tomes herein, I also consider the item gravemaker terribly over-powered. The map, while beautiful is rather cluttered and I would have LOVED a player-friendly version sans secret doors/keys/traps to cut apart and show to my players, as I hate drawing dungeon maps. In the end, the venture to Silvermote can be considered a diamond in the rough - there are minor smudges like aforementioned item and inconsistencies and essentially, you should add $1.99 for the Temerlyth-pdf to the price, but the dungeon still makes for an iconic, disturbing, deadly crawl that offers quite a bit of content for you. Weighing all the pros and cons, I still very much enjoyed the pdf and can easily change e.g. gravemaker to work only for his specific owner, thus my final verdict will be a good 4 Rudii and a hearty recommendation, especially if you're intrigued by the artifact/last stand idea I mentioned earlier.

As always, thank you for reading my ramblings,

Endzeitgeist out.


EZG reviews Streets of Zobeck

Hej everybody,

I'm back for another city and a pdf I should have reviewed a long time ago - without further ado, here are the mean

This urban noir adventure anthology set in the by now legendary clockwork city of Zobeck is 94 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page advertisement, 1 blank page and 1 page back cover, leaving 88 pages of content, so let's follow Ben McFarland's advice and get gritty and grimy!

The pdf kicks off with so-called faces of Zobeck, i.e. characters and creatures that dwell at the dark and dirty underbelly of the city, from grimy urban fey to drug-addicted mages, enigmatic individuals that can make corpses disappear, goblin assassins and alchemist who dilute their potions - all the Npcs featured in this chapter come with their own background, goals and secrets and all are somewhat influenced by the harsh dog-eat-dog- realities of life in the grime - if you want an example from literature, think Thieves World.

Of course, we not only get new NPCs, but also new places and it is here that the anthology starts to truly rock hard - each of the locations is iconic and comes with its own, highly detailed map. The Black Lotus, an opium den led by the enigmatic, kabuki-style painted man who offers any magical favors you require would be only one example. Of course, we also visit the black market in the eponymous cartways of Zobeck. Once we're done shopping with illicit goods, we show up at the neutral ground of the city's underworld, the botanical rooftop garden of Hommal for a nice tea (or other substance) we'll visit the old Stross bathhouse/massage parlor, before we, refreshed, but somewhat disturbed by the glimpse of a shadowfey in the pool, go to the silken scabbard to relax with the prostitutes there. It is also here, where we find Tyron, king of fixers, the best of a kind of rogues (new archetype + new roguish talent) who can get/repair just about anything - for the right price/favor!

Before we jump head-first into all the adventures awaiting us, let's check out the traces of Zobeck at the end of the book: 8 new feats center on urban (and non-lethal - yes!) problem-solving and 16 regional traits to create e.g. characters who are sons of butchers or gang members. We also get 4 excellent new spells (including a amoral atonement), 3 stellar new mundane items (e.g. special paint only visible via a certain lens), a new weapon quality (disarming) and 6 new magic items, including a black book of confessionals, a bag of traps and a cloak that makes people forget they even saw/met you. Excellent tools for those on the problematic side of the law.

That being said, we'll dive into Ben McFarland's contribution to the adventures with "Everyone Lies" (House M.D. anyone?). From here on, the SPOILERS reign. potential players might want to jump to the conclusion.

Still here? All righty! Everyone lies is a take on the quintessential femme fatale story - a thief has botched a job and wants the PCs to find his lady and warn her. Unfortunately, that's not all - said thief has acquired a black book of confessions of a noble and now the secret police also tries to press-gang the PCs into getting it back for them. Said thief's guild happens to be the dread cloven nine and this guild also wants the book. The PCs will have to embark on a investigation that is hindered by all factions, several brawls and finally meet to girl and keep her safe - unfortunately, she doesn't have to book with her. The PCs have to plan a heist to get to the book and  manipulate the power-structures of the city's underbowels to get out of the crossfire - possibly even with the help of the notorious drakhul! An excellent and quintessentially noir adventure.

The second adventure, "Rust" by the master of creepiness Richard Pett has two disreputable merchants contact the PCs - Mister Corpulent and Mister Doldrum, both more than meets the eye, want to hire the PCs to put an end to the hauntings of the "night-things" and claim a treasure of one butcher-lord/minor industrialist that has been disposed by his workers. Unfortunately, the greedy slaughterman does not rest easy and neither his new body, nor his automatons and newfound gargoyle-artist allies want the twisted merchants or the PCs to succeed, resulting in first a disturbing sandbox investigation and then a showdown in an animated, possessed slaughterhouse. Backstabbing clients included... Stellar. Richard pett at his finest - grimy, iconic, disturbing - Mnar, indeed!

Of course, no noir anthology would be complete without a heist, and Christina Stiles provides one in "The Fish and the Rose" - the PCs are supposed to steal a magical picture and  hand it over to a shadowy employer. Of course, only a most lethal entrance to the cartways, guarded by a local legend of a brawler leads to the vault and said vault is guarded as well. However, the planning of the heist/possibilities for the PCs to find these means of entrance feel a bit shoehorned - more versatility/ options for the Pcs to plan the heist as well as a more lethal vault for a more Mission Impossible-feeling would have been nice. A good adventure, but not on par with the first two.

Next on the line would be "The First Lab" by Mike Franke, which opens a rather dark chapter in the history of Zobeck: Kovacs, one of the masterminds (if not THE mastermind) behind the clockwork knights seems to have experimented with soul removal, infernal creatures etc. and some of his prestigious creations might be still out there. Worse, someone has stolen a diary leading to his lab and there still are...things...inside. The PCs are hired to reclaim the diary and keep their mouths shut. In order to make up the advantage of thieves, the PCs will have to sell some of their dreams to the dragged woman. Once the deal's been made, they'll be at Kovac's lab and will have to deal with the infernal clockwork abominations and clochworker assassins. Their primary antagonist hiding behind the lab's defenses - an insane clockworker cleric hell-bent on utter eradication of his own kind.

Matthew Stinson's "Rebuilding a good man" is a completely different kind of scenario -  Heet Nul, philanthropist, sponsor of orphanages and downright awesome guy is dying of old age and his heir is a greedy, evil s-o-b. Fortunately, a devil is currently trying to extort the painted man, who doesn't take lightly to any such attempts, leaking precious information to Heet's friend - the devil's lackeys are stealing a clockworker body and it's up to the PCs to steal it back from them. Of course, that's only the beginning - they need a specialist to transfer Heet's soul from his failing form to his new body. Unfortunately the only guy available is in the Silent Scabbard, drunk and uncooperative. Even worse, the parts are not enough and potions, a heart etc. is still missing - tailed by the devil and Heet's heir, the PCs are on a run through the night to scrounge everything together and save at least one good man in this cesspool of corruption. Even better, each and everything they do has to be weighed between doing the prudent thing and the faster thing - Heet's clock is ticking... By far my favorite of the scenarios in this anthology!

Mike Franke's "Ripper"is a story that has the PCs press-ganged into a murder-investigation against a serial-killer after they fail to stop a lynching. The investigation is intriguing, but there is one thing I really didn't like about it: It's yet another "possessed-dagger"-story. All right, I can name "Fury in Freeport" and "Hour of the Knife" from the top of my head and could probably find more examples that have done this schtick. Not impressed, in spite of the cool imagery involved.

The final adventure, Christina Stiles' "Flesh Fails" is more interesting - a love-triangle between two archmages and a master alchemist has ended rather unpleasantly with an engineered death and now the PCs stumble into the machinations of one truly powerful antagonist and his diabolical schemes. In order to find the truth, the PCs will have to do some research in an exclusive BDSM-club devoted to Marena and finally stop one of the most powerful arcanists in all of Zobeck! I really liked this adventure, not only for the mature depiction of BDSM not only being for the evil guys, but also because the adventure has potential galore to be expanded - the masterplan of the villain lends itself to further expansion and all in all, I would have loved for the adventure to be a full-blown mega-adventure instead of a part of an anthology, but oh well.


Editing and formatting are good, though not as good as I've come to expect from Open Design-projects, there are a lot of bold/non-bold inconsistencies in e.g. the feats. Layout is STUNNING, though - 2-column standard and the artworks by Glen Zimmerman, distinct, creepy, grimy and dirty is simply AWESOME and something that truly helps the feeling of this noir-anthology. The pdf comes fully bookmarked. Streets of Zobeck is a stellar anthology of locations, characters and adventures that center on the grimy parts of the city - in fact, the overall details of the setting converge into a sense of detail that makes the city as much a character as the people who inhabit it. While I'm not too excited about the traits and feats, the magical items and especially the characters and locations are simply stellar and should be considered the new benchmark for urban characters/locations. Add to that a selection of mature, grimy adventures from the seedy underbelly that mostly feel distinct and completely different from your usual fare and you get another excellent anthology from Open Design. My final verdict, due to the one adventure that falls flat and the editing and formatting glitches, will be 4.5 Rudii.

Of course, there's also the web-enhancement

Alleys of Zobeck

This web-enhancement for Streets of Zobeck is 17 pages long, 1 page front cover/editorial, 1/2 a page SRD, leaving 15 1/2 pages of content to add to the adventure anthology, so what exactly do we get?

First of all, we get a  great way to introduce the PCs to Zobeck's corrupt side - coming to the city on board of a boat, Jaroslav Strauz, a corrupt city official who tries to have the PCs set up for alleged smuggling/similar crimes - even better, the set-up makes for a great introduction of the PCs to one of the adventures.

We get an alternate form of lust-domain for Marena and additional encounters for the respective adventures: The Fish and the Rose gets an added encounter with two barghests. The First Lab is expanded by full rules for the creation and modification of clockwork modifications and "Ripper" gets a new template.

Then, there are new characters (all with their original artworks!): We get Goldscale, a kobold paladin, a crazy gutter prophet and a river captain who struck a deal with the unseelie.

Players get even more tools with 5 new feats and 7 new traits as well as grafts - additional dirty fighting feats and rules for grafting clockwork hands etc. on your body. Even cooler, we get 4 new magic items (like a deceptive scarf) and a new incantation to steal memories. The true winners here, though, are the alchemical smoke bombs and the clockwork caltrops.

The pdf goes on to provide us 50 common items on a list and 50 valuable items - neat!

Seeing how important locations are in Streets of Zobeck, the addition of two fully mapped locations is great - the rampant roach and Ulmar's rare book shop. Even better, several scenario ideas are provided not only for these new locations, but also for ones from Streets of Zobeck. The final cool NPC introduced is the loyal kobold, Blackeye, proprietor of Blackeye's carriage.


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to the 2-column standard and the artwork sets a new standard for any web-enhancement out there - all original and of the highest quality - very impressive. The pdf has no bookmarks, my only and very minor gripe. The bits and pieces contained herein add even more value to the anthology and the new characters/introduction encounters are top-notch. Seeing I have nothing to complain and that the quality is as stellar as possible for the low price, I'll settle for a final verdict of 5 Rudii - if you own Streets of Zobeck, you need this.

All right, that's it for now, see you soon and as always, thank you for reading my ramblings,

Endzeitgeist out.


Fire as She Bears: Design Challenges #1

Hey all!

This is just a little noodle on some of the design challenges in finishing up Fire as She Bears. As some of you may know, FaSB is an in-the-works extension of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game rules aimed at bringing the thrill of Age of Sail ship-to-ship combat to the gaming table -- without anyone ever winding up bored.

The worst things about ship combat (airship, sailing ship, what have you) in TRPGs crawl up from under the table, mid play, and punch players in the boredom sacks. Who wants to sit around watching one player at the table captain a ship, round after round, inching it toward an opponent across the battle mat? BORING.

Good ship-to-ship rules need to empower every player to make important, encounter affecting decisions every round. Good rules need to offer options and choices, not leave some players twiddling their thumbs while others engage in a tactical board game. The same thing seems to plague sci/fi settings and hacker rules -- but that's another discussion.

To beat this problem, one of FaSB's tools is an abstraction for ship movement and ship related actions, blended with initiatives in standard Pathfinder combat rounds. The ship is moving, crew are active, cannons fire, sails burn, grapeshot takes off legs -- all at the very same time the PCs carry out initiative order combat.

Here's the design challenge that's been bugging me: develop an easy to use, swift to apply heuristic for GMs to leaven ship movement and shipped based responses (PC decides to help put out sail fires, PC decides to man cannon to the improvement of accuracy and rate of fire, PC decides to lose legs to grapeshot while exhorting crew to prepare to repel boarders) into the initiative round.

The core of the solution I'm currently noodling starts by assigning an moment of ship movement to every initiative in the initiative order, up to the limit of ship movement. If the ship has a movement of 6 (different scale for ships, as you can imagine) and there are 6 combatants in an initiative order, then ship moves 6 times.  That just leaves developing a simple procedure for a GM to follow when there are more or less instances of ship movement than initiative order combatants.

The trick is to neither overly-complicate nor overly slow setting up an encounter, placing initiative markers, etc.

I think I've got it figured, but I'd love to hear other peoples noodles.


Lou's Review #1: Kobold Quarterly #20

Hey all! I've owed this blog a review for a long time now and -- excuses about the never-ending busy, busy aside -- the latest issue of Kobold Quarterly just dragged me to the table, kicking and wailing. Well maybe not wailing, but definitely kicking my heels up for joy. I've said it before, here it is again: Dragon and Dungeon Magazine are not dead, they're just renamed Kobold Quarterly.

Thank you Wolfgang -- and all your little Kobold's too.

And there isn't a better reason to come to the keyboard then to trash...er...review the work of a fellow designer and Werecabbage. KQ #20 not only features the stunning artwork of my friend Rich Clark on the cover, it showcases the Elven Archer core class, designed by John Ling.

Now John and I have a long history of disagreeing about design on most everything. Our bitter dispute about magical toilets or the lack thereof deeply influenced our collaborative contributions to 0onegames Great City Campaign Setting.

I pause here to reflect: what does it say about me as a designer that I could have a dispute both bitter and deeply influential -- about magical toilets? *sigh* Sometimes I wonder...

Full disclosure: John and I have frequently collaborated. The man is a mechanics mavin. Rone Barton of the Ennie winning Atomic Array podcast dubbed him the "Ling 9000" for just that reason, and I've relied on him to ground my more gonzo design notions in solid mechanics time and again. All that said, we do indeed frequently disagree, and I LOVE rubbing his nose in his errors.

So, here we go. Here are John's errors with the Elven Archer

[[          ]]

That blank space contained all the places where I disagree with or dislike Ling's archer.

*sigh* Yeah. It's blank.

It burns me to say it, but Ling's "The Elven Archer" rocks! Not since Lenard Lakofka's little article "Missile Fire and the Archer subclass" from his Leomund's Tiny Hut column in Dragon #45 (dating myself!) have I found myself so enamored of a designer's take on archery. After reading this, I'm just itching to pull back the gut and let fly the shaft.

Here are some highlights:
  • A little gem of a section on adapting the class away from Elves and even away from archery! I'm so gonna steal this from him.
  • The careful introduction of sneak attack like damage
  • The power to grant divine enchantment to arrows
  • A dollop of ranger and a sprinkling of rogue to create the ultimate silent forest archer
Then I noticed in a little aside at the end of the article that John and his group have been playtesting and refining this class for three years. Can you say dedication anyone?

It's a great class, and I'm looking forward to running one. Then KQ takes things a step forward by adding an article on magical arrows of the Arbonesse, tying the class into their campaign setting without locking it in there -- deftly done and a great article to boot.

If I have one beef with KQ it's lies with their recently introduced book review column. Most of the reviews are great. Thorough. Informative. They really help me decide if I want to spend my money and time on a book. I particularly enjoyed Ben McFarland's review as well as his cozy reviewing style. Other reviews? Not so much. I'd like to see a bump in quality there. But I'm nitpicking. Really nitpicking.

Let me close by singing KQ praises again: check out KQ #19. They introduced a class there that I absolutely adore -- the White Necromancer. A necromancer who only uses his powers for good. I'd like love to combine that class with a Super Genius Investigator birthing something out of a medieval John Carey novel or a magical Name of the Rose.

I suggest you pick up a subscription to KQ if you haven't already. You really won't regret it. Oh, and KQ doesn't pay me to say that, but if you want to suggest it to Wolfgang? I won't disabuse you. ;)

Game on! 


EZG reviews The Island of Life

Hej everybody,

today I'm taking a short break from fantasy-rpg civilization and bring to you my review of a very particular wilderness:

Intrepid Expeditions - The Island of Life

This pdf is 51 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving 47 pages of content.

So what exactly do we get here? We are introduced to the fabled island of Kawa'lea. On the mundane side, we start our exploration of the island with a discussion of the climate and the peculiarities of the monsoon weather there. The interesting component about Kawa'lea, though, is the non-mundane aspect of the island - due to the abundance of life-energy on the island, death is far from final on Kawa'lea - if you die, you make a will-save depending on your level. If you succeed, you are reincarnated and get mutations that might be benevolent or unpleasant. There are 3 basic categories of mutations, ranging from hump backs to backwards bent knees. You might even get tentacles, reflective spells etc. Polymorph also tends to result in mutations on Kawa'lea.

That's not all, though: The very vegetation on the island of life is infused with magic and life and might reproduce a wide variety of magical effects. The waters of the island offer enough adventuring as well - underwater politics, a graveyard of ships wasted upon the dread reefs surrounding the island. There is a secret war being waged beneath the waves - the sea serpent wizard, the self-styled serpent king has problems with revolutionaries and the magical pearls make for powerful incentives to join either side.

The plains of Kawa'lea contain the only true speck of civilization left - after a settlement of people mysteriously disappeared and left their home Roanoke-style:  Pennar, a wizard is studying the strange effects of the island and has a (very unreliable) teleportation circle. The herd of horses, unicorns and pegasi as well as awakened horses make for another rather interesting faction on the island.

The Western Forest of the Island has more in store for you - a village of awakened animals where rabbits live in harmony with carnivores. Hidden in this forest, we also find Nathrigaeus, the immortal tree that guards the orchard of enlightenment and seeks to expand his influence via his dryad slaves. The primitive gorilla-like humanoid uktans make for another potential threat in this part of the island. In the eastern forest, which is more swampy, the PCs can find an abandoned temple, which alongside the Uktan-base contains the puzzle-pieces for one of the island's greatest mysteries. Oh, there also are demons here, mysterious standing stones....and the fountain of youth.

Finally, mount Kawa'lea features deadly foes, even more iconic locations and potentially even the secret behind the island's mysterious properties, which I'll exclude from this review.

A unique island like Kawa'lea also spawns unique critters - from arcanum birds with magical plumes to mutated island behemoths, deadly fish, crab jellies etc., the critters uniformly come with unique signature abilities. Have I mentioned Forgebelly Fishes and Megastirges?  

The product also comes with a 15-page player's guide, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving 11 pages of content. The player's guide comes  with a wide array of rumors to lead the PCs there. There's also the Devotee of the Sacred Isle-10-lvl PrC that comes with d10, 4+Int skills per level, full BAB and medium fort-saves. The PrC focuses on rejuvenations, special mutations like gaze attacks etc. and, of course, the power to transcend death even easier.

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to the 2-column standard and artwork is stock, which, while not great, makes for the only gripe I have with this pdf. Both the regular guide and the player's guide come with printer-friendly b/w-versions and  are bookmarked.  The island is iconic in mechanics, ideas and content, there is a lot of content for the moderate asking price and in the end, just have to applaud the creative guys over at Necromancers of the Northwest. The exploration is by far the best pdf they released since Advanced Arcana. Fluff, writing, crunch - everything is stellar. my only gripe is that I would have enjoyed stats for the NPCs, but i guess that's ok - we already get more than 60 pages of content. Seeing that I don't have any true gripes apart from minor nitpicks, my final verdict will be a hearty recommendation alongside 5 stars and the Endzeitgeist seal of approval.

I hope you enjoy this detour, next time I'll be back in civilization - a seedy type of civilization! See you then and as always - thanks for reading my ramblings!

Endzeitgeist out.


EZG reviews Mor Aldenn and some hags

Hej everybody,

I've been to the great city for quite a while and I felt like a temporary change of turfs - thus, I went to the frontier and a city no less magical, yet completely different from metropolitan, Moloch The Great City:
Headless Hydra Games have recently published their own setting, centered on magic, with a rather interesting old world ambiance and magic that still feels magical in its rural and fey style. I present to you the

Mor Aldenn Campaign Setting

This pdf is 167 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving a whopping 164 pages of content for the setting, so let's check out HHG's City of Mages!

As has been the tradition with Mor Aldenn books, this one also includes a short story that is supposed to draw us into the city's flair - in contrast to all 3 of the player's guide, though, Jason Kimble's 12-page short story Demon Dreams actually paints an understandable, logic and exciting city rife with adventure, social structures and most of all, doesn't fall into the "Alert the Mages"-scheme, but rather provides valid reasons why the mages don't immediately act and why one of the most powerful figures of the city remains behind the scenes. Clever and a nice read.

After that, we get a guide to the city, including a b/w-2-page map, information on the archmages and governing bodies, guilds, religions (including some sample religious tales) and, most of all: The 3 laws of magic that serve as the judicial foundation of how Wizardry is practiced in Mor Aldenn. Local holidays, festivals, organizations etc are covered as well and after reading this mere paragraph, the city makes more sense to me than after the lecture of the whole player's guide. More importantly, the grand logic bugs have been wiped and while I'd love to see a more detailed section on festivals, laws etc., the amount of information provided is enough to create plenty of adventures. Any awkward wordings that have plagued the predecessor have completely vanished and been replaced with text that is fluent to read and is actually enjoyable. The section can be considered a success.

After this very fluffy introduction to the city of mages, we are introduced to crunch galore in the player's options. The first new bit of crunch would be the Spellwarden, a 20-level base-class alternative for the Magus focused on defense, especially against magic users. This class was somewhat of a surprise for me, as I sincerely didn't think it would work. Surprisingly, though, it does: The class gets d8, 2+ Int skills per level, 3/4 BAB,  good fort and will-saves, profiency with light weapons and armor and martial weapons, Int-based spellcasting like a wizard and an arcane pool that can be used to apply defensive qualities to armor and shield as well as defensive bonuses. He gets medium armor proficiency relatively fast and can cast with shields. Quite cool, he also can use his arcane pool to grant defensive auras when casting spells, the effect of the aura depending on the school of the spell cast, effectively adding another usage to prepared spells that would otherwise be useless in combat. They also are rather adept at counterspelling and get spell progression of up to 6th level. His arcana selection is limited, though, as is his spell-list and he gets 4 additional arcanas. I really like the class, as it makes for a great "anti-magic-cop"-character/SWAT-team-like style. Think about Spellwardens attacking a cabal of wizards conducting a ritual with the PCs...or the PCs trying to pull one of while beset by them. Two thumbs up for this one!

This section also contains 3 new races - the Centaur, the Gaiant and the Sprite. I have already commented on the hgaiant and centaur in their respective original products (Player's Guide & Gaiants Discovered), so just to quickly sum it up: Centaurs - I prefer SGG's Lapith-race, as they can turn bipedal and thus explore normal dungeons etc without the mount/large creature problems of the centaur. Gaiants: I like the race per se, their fluff and idea, but some parts of them are overpowered: There is a racial trait that gives them a natural attack (with reach, they are large!) that does 1d12 damage. Go forth and weep, ye monks! This section was a wasted chance to repair/improve some balance-concerns. The Sprite is an interesting race:  They get +2Dex and Cha, -2 Str, an additional form of movement, low-light vision, a bonus feat, +2 to a kill selected from a limited list, a daily reroll and...well. They are tiny. PFRPG's first tiny PC-race. There are also new feats (29 to be precise) that support the sprites, centaurs and the ley-lines. Ley lines? Yep, these feats grant supernatural abilities and work better on ley lines and not at all in anti-magic fields, but more on ley-lines later.

Next up are 4 archetypes: An arcane paladin, a hunter of magical creatures (ranger, including a new combat style) and 2 new rogue archetypes, the Prestidigator who can use his talents at range (think a better arcane trickster of the 3.0 days of yore) and the street magician who gets minor magic access. Then there is also a new wizardry subdomain for the cleric and we get new spells as well - the spells mostly centered on nature and the land, fitting with the fey/old world theme. It should be noted that some of the spells are reprints from e.g. the Gaiant-book etc. Finally on the new-rules side, we get the Aldennic Spellshield 5-level PrC. Where the Spellwarden is the magic anti-mage specialist, the Spellshield is his mundane equivalent: Gaining full BAB, d10, medium fort and will saves and 6+Int skills per level, they get minor spell resistance and several tricks for using dirty fighting to neutralize arcane threats. Nice PrC and one of the examples where a PrC is truly prestigious and justified - nice!

This concludes the player chapter and we'll now go into detail - the third chapter details specific sites of the City of Mages: The chapter contains information on the wizard's towers and the fallen tower (the latter complete with a detailed map and read-aloud text), the tower of all-magic (the center of the mage's administration, also with a map) and include some fully stated NPCs and hooks galore. The setion also contains detailed information on inns and taverns, including maps for the Wizard's Staff and Ugly Harpy. We also get 16 shops with read-aloud texts, including a place to care for animals and an arena to battle strange creatures. The section also includes a map of the dungeon of barrowdelve, the citiy's necropolis that contains benign ancestral spirits as well as recently a disturbing influx of undead that roam the street at night. The mechanics of ancestral spirits make them essentially benign haunts - neat idea! The final location that comes with a onepage map is teh house of blades, a kind of fighter's guild. (And if you want more, I'd recommend Soldragonn Academy...)

Chapter 4 details one of the truly unique aspects of Mor Aldenn, the ley lines - set on a nexus of several of them, the chapter includes rules to tap into their respective powers, a map of Mor Aldenn with the known ley lines drawn into it. We also get write-ups for teh respective ley lines including lore-sections to detail the strange aspects of the overabundance of magic and several other bits and pieces of knowledge on them. The lines also come with DCs to know/recognize them and generally, the section makes creating more  rather easy. The chapter also includes places of power, another cool staple of fantasy literature that is rather underused and contain fey circles, monolithic mounds and stone-circles as well as specific information for e.g. the Nexus of Mor Aldenn. I did VERY much enjoy this section in particular, due to it being unique and helping set the city of mages apart from other fantasy settings.

Now, what is adventure without foes? Mor Aldenn, the city of mages definitely has enough of them and chapter 5. Unique villainous foes like the Demon of the Fallen Tower, a unique demon (CR 18, btw.) with rather deadly powers that is confined to the fallen tower that once housed the city's summoners, seething and seeking to escape. The giants of the grand Ossindrilon also get their fully stated king and the skin-less, flayed-looking harpies of the Spindlewood flow get an erinyes-queen. And then, there are two more major foes - Taraathalorm Wyrmmother: A green dragon ghost that still stalks the woods, lusting for revenge. And then, there is the final primary antagonist of the city, the dreaded mistress of covens, the Night Hag - she is a CR 18 witch 14 and sheis quite an iconic, almost Baba Yaga-like figure. Have i mentioned the malign, intelligent cauldron?

After these movers and shakers, we get a brief timeline of Mor Aldenn' history and then new monsters. That is, they might be new for you. They include the Marsh Dragon, the Bog Giant, the Gold Cap, the Hag Spider, the Leyspinner, the Mahr, the Mirejack, Mythravens, Portunes, Spell Pikes and Veraxar. It should be noted that all of these creatures are included in the Mor Aldenn Creature Compendium (for detailed information, check out my review of it) and that the Spell Pike got a new piece of artwork - nice.

In chapter 8, we are introduced to the lands surrounding the city, including stats for the clockwork-possessed Miller, Moon Folly (I'd recommend checking out the pdf, though!), Ossindrilon and the Spindleflow as well as some pieces of information on hazards and a  random encounter table.

The last chapter is devoted to an introductory adventure called Ringside seats. This contains SPOILERS, so potential players might wish to jump to the conclusion.

...Still here? SPOILERS ahead.

All right! The PCs are contacted by Arvin Pheltapor, owner of Pheltapor's Phantabularium, the place where due to a loop-hole in the law, people may bet on (non-lethal) bouts against strange creatures. If the PCs have only knocked out his escaped wild animals, they will have a thankful customer at their hands who wants them to escort his latest acquisition home. On their way to get the goods, the PCs are beset by Lizardfolk and finally receive the boars - boars? Well... the particularly ugly, scaled boars are in fact three imps in disguise and thus  can manage to easily escape from their confinement. One leads the PCs on a merry chase, one confronts them in the Phantabulrium and the final wants to be taken as a familiar once his brothers have been vanquished. (Though until Improved Familiar is taken, the creature is more than unreliable=. I did enjoy this rather light-hearted introduction to the City of Mages and while the scenario per se is nothing to gasp in astonishment at, I do have read far, far worse scenarios, especially at the back of a campaign setting book. The pdf concludes with an NPC-name appendix that would be even more useful, would it include the page numbers where the information on the NPCs can be found - after all, many of them are scattered throughout the book.


Editing and formatting are actually top-notch - I did notice less than 5 glitches on over 160 pages - neat! In contrast to some of the other offerings of Headless Hydra Games, I noticed only one page that contains some rather awkward wordings, making this a very good read and pleasantly surprising me with the quality of the rather concise writing. The pdf comes with quite extensive bookmarks that make navigation of the pdf very easy. The pdf is slightly bigger than 100 mbs, at this length, with the wide variety of high-res maps and fully bookmarked, this is ok. Layout adheres to the 2-column b/w- standard and the b/w-artworks rock. I already commented on the quality of writing and the new crunch is mostly nice. While I'm still not sold on centaurs and a certain racial trait of the Gaiant, I do absolutely love the fluff of the city. The city of mages  makes sense and is a concisely-presented magocracy that makes for a neat little setting and contains some rather interesting characters, hooks galore and dreadful villains. I particularly enjoyed the "anti-mage"-classes like the magus-variant and the PrC.

Since I already commented on the high quality artworks and neat maps, I'll move on to some bits that didn't quite strike my fancy as much: If you already own all the other Mor Aldenn-pdfs like e.g. Moon's Folly and the Player's Guide, you'll find some of the information/content repeated. This holds especially true for the monster-section. I would have loved to see new critters there or alternatively get all the monsters from the compendium reprinted, not just a selection. I also would have loved some sample statblocks for Spellwarden-guardsmen and similar characters that utilize the unique crunch of the city - as written, you'll have to build the statblocks for e.g. watchmen yourself. On the other hand, the campaign setting is actually cheap for the amount of content provided and the quality you'll encounter in these pages.

While personally, I think some of the options to be on the upper scale of power, generally these glitches are by far outweighed by the cool ideas and content and the rather distinguished, unique fluff of the setting. The Ley lines especially offer potential galore. I am really hard-pressed to judge how to rate this particular pdf - On the one hand, I absolutely loved a lot of the content and Mor Aldenn actually came to a logical life in my mind - this by one who abhorred the player's guide and thought that it made no sense, by the way! On the other hand, there are some crunchy bits that are unbalanced, some wordings that could be slightly more precise and there is some reprinted material. Due to these minor issues, I can't bring myself to rating this campaign setting the full 5 Rudii, but I'll settle gladly for a final verdict of 4.5 Rudii. Your mileage may vary whether you'd round up or down. Due to the low price of only 10 bucks, though, and due to liking the fairy-tale like, truly magical atmosphere, villains with unique abilities etc.pp. of the setting, I'd suggest rounding up. Just please be aware of the rough edges I mentioned in this review.

Need some additional Hags for the covens of the dread Night Hag?

Super Genius Games have just what you've been looking for with

Mythic Menagerie: Covens of Chaos

This installment of the Mythic Menagerie-series is 23 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page foreword, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving 20 pages for new hags to add to covens and conjure up the darkest powers, so how do they hold up?

The pdf begins with a short discussion on coven magic, arguably one of the defining characteristics of hags before delving into the latest addition to the roster of evil crones, the disgusting Bangungot (CR 6): Terribly obese, these grotesque creatures have lost their teeth and can vomit up the bones of the poor unfortunates they have consumed to obey their every whim as undead servitors or support them, when their spear-like nails don't do the job alone. Very cool!

The fanged Gwrachod (CR 13), with flesh like teak and disgusting tusks come with their own poison, a horrible, bleeding bite and are attuned to the elements of their lands. The may enchant bodyparts of the fallen to create truly disgusting magic items.

The Hu'Pochtli (CR 9) are jungle witches inspired by Aztec-style cultures and make for fearsome combatants - not only due to their rage-inducing auras and the ability to turn snakes into spears (and back again!), but also because they heal every time they cause injury. Her Serpent Spear (Sp)-ability is not in italics, though.

The most powerful of the Witches herein is the Kalaratri (CR 15), a large, 4-armed witch inspired by Indian mythology, which is mechanics-wise the most interesting creature in the book: Using her Skirt of severed humanoid arms (!!!), these harbingers of apocalypse, consummate foes of outsiders and schemers can cast via the skulls of her three first victims by having her skirt of arms configure the skulls. This, of course, leaves her hands free...all 4 of them. Fearsome, deadly, iconic - what's not to love?

The Night Filcher (CR 6) is less powerful, but disturbing nonetheless: Consummate kidnappers, their very touch causes a searing pain and their gaze can send you into spastic seizures. To add insult to injury, when not rescued fast enough from their clutches, you'll probably have to face the blades and spells of your erstwhile comrades - the filcher can change people into their slaves. Slaves that do everything to keep their new mommy happy...

The Rokurokubi (CR 7) is a special, rather eastern witch that shares some similarities with Hebi-no-onnas, namely that her arms end in snake-heads. She does not stop there, but adds disguises, illusions and snake legs and a disturbing head to the portfolio. Nevertheless, I felt a bit like "been there, done that" here.

The CR 7 Truie is something completely different: Boar-headed, violent and eternally hungry, these gluttonous creatures make for  powerful enforcers and serve as a nice variation from the cliché of the scheming hags by putting some raw, brute strength in the mix. Neat!

The final new hag we get is the CR 3Whaitiri - bowed women constantly weeping blood, in whose distended bellies the remains of their former victims can be seen. Have I mentioned their magical guffaw? Creepy imagery, well-presented and cool to spring upon low-level PCs. Two thumbs up!

Hags are known for creating disturbing items and thus, we get a neat little array of deadly tools utilized by the covens of chaos:

Ever wanted to use large mosquitoes as darts to drain foes of blood and subsequently heal yourself? Use nets of hag's hair? Put death-bearing skulls on poles, Egil Skallagrímr-style? Use severed human ears to  survey conversations? Do you love these items as much as I do?

The 7 new feats centering on hags and coven magic are ok, but pale in comparison to the AWESOMENESS of the magic items, while the 4 new spells (including a rain of leeches!) capture the grimy, dread flair of hags perfectly again.


Editing and formatting, while not perfect, are very good and offer apart from very minor glitches no major reasons for concern. Layout adheres to the 2-column, full-color standard and the b/w-artworks are neat. The pdf comes with bookmarks, which is always nice to have. I generally liked the witches, ähem hags, herein - With the exception of the lame snake-hag, they all bring some interesting aspect that hasn't been done to death to the table. The new items rock and ooze style and while I'm not into the new feats, I figure the "every book needs feats, whether it makes sense or not"-disease has not yet abated. The new spells are cute, although I would have preferred some coven-exclusive rituals for the poor hags...perhaps in a future installment? *winkwink, nudgenudge* Seeing that I have only minor gripes and that the amount of content that rocks surpasses any suboptimal aspects, I'll settle for a final verdict of 4 Rudii - a good installment of the series that could have been the best.

All right, that's it for now from me, as always, thank you for reading my ramblings,

Endzeitgeist out.


EZG reviews the Sundered Legion & The Rabbit Hole

Hej everybody,

with Lou's new Fire as She Bears-project with Rite Publishing and the KUG approaching, the new year has kicked off with some rather splendid news. I have returned from a long overdue vacation (Venice is full of inspirations!) and in order to concentrate on the upcoming cool products, I think I'll have to finally get my act together and review the final installment of 0onegames' excellent Road to Revolution-Arc.

Thus, without further ado, here is

The Sundered Legion

The finale of the Road to revolution Campaign Arc is 51 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page blank inside of the front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisements, 1 page back cover, leaving 43 pages of content, so let's check out this final installment of the Road to Revolution!

This being the finale of the campaign arc, the review contains MASSIVE SPOILERS FOR THE WHOLE ARC. If you're a player and even remotely intrigued by the setting JUMP TO THE CONCLUSION NOW.

Still here?

All right!

After having changed (or kept) the leadership of the Great City, the mysterious force behind the recent upheavals is making himself known - with all forces occupied, busy or dead, the approaching army of General Krakon is ready to take the city and start a new era - unless the PCs intervene. Prompted by a group of retired generals, they are sent off on a chase after a general's missing daughter that has been captured by the humanoid Blood Fang mercenaries of Krakon to keep his opposition quiet. It turns out that said group has holed up in a tavern while the city is under martial law - the PCs will have a hard time carving through the elite mercenaries and then, via the tunnels below the tavern, find said abducted warrior-maiden (who has gone through a horrible ordeal indeed) and finally expose a weakness in one of the city gates' mechanisms: Via this intended weakness, they can keep the gates down and the army out long enough to thwart Krakon's coup d'état.

This is not where the adventure ends, though, and thankfully so: The trial of a century is at hand and while no direct evidence links Krakon with the insurrection (That makes him the first TRULY smart über-villain I've seen in any AP) , he can be touched via his subordinates thanks to military law. If the PCs have played their cards right throughout the adventure arc, they can call up a lot of testimonies (provided they thwart the assassination of the judge!) and make the prosecution challenge the general. If your PCs did worse, they might even be on the receiving end of the trial! In the end, after a lot of social interaction, smart maneuvering and good roleplaying, they should have Krakon and his lackey Abberbaugh cornered - until they demand a trial by combat. In the arena of the Circus Maximus, they'll potentially have the final benefits of the allies they gathered and the final confrontation is going to be epic indeed, not least due to the most dread of creatures being released to support the PC's foes by their allies. Once the two revolutionaries have bitten the dust, the Road to Revolution will be at its end and a new era for the Great City will begin - potentially with the PCs among the movers and shakers, be it for a new elite or an old one, for a new god or for the old ones.

Unfortunately, it's this final fight that is too easy - with only two NPCs (and some complications, granted), none of which is a primary spellcaster and some monsters, at least my players mopped the floor with the villains. While this may be intended, I'd add some additional opposition were I to run the adventure again.

Editing and formatting are good - while no typo impeded my ability to run the adventure, I did notice several minor typos - not enough to downgrade the adventure, but enough to make it noticeable. Layout adheres to a 2-column b/w-standard and the b/w-artworks rock. The cartography, as befitting of 0onegames, is stellar. The pdf comes with broadside and similar handouts to give to your players, which is always nice. The pdf also features extensive bookmarks.

The Sundered Legion has perhaps the hardest legacy ever to live up to - it is supposed to be the conclusion to my personal benchmark of good urban adventures. I expected the adventure to fail my expectations after "Puncture the Blackened Vein" and "The Usurpers" and it did - albeit in a more marginal way than I expected. At the finale of RtR 5, we are left with a Great City on the verge of a new era and "The Sundered Legion" somewhat fails to convey this sense of dread urgency and the first quest feels like a (very good) filler to provide the proverbial nail in the coffin for the political scheming going on. The trial herein, along its conclusion, however, will provide ample fun for PCs who went through the campaign arc. On the downside, though, the final confrontation is too easy for high-level PCs, at least it was for mine - I doubled the HP of the villains and they still walked over them. (Though I tend to double ALL Boss-HP to avoid short boss fights...) While finally whacking the conspirators SHOULD provide satisfaction for the PCs, I'm not sure whether this relatively easy battle was intended or not. It should also be noted that this adventure practically HAS to be played as a sequel to one or more of the RtR-adventures (though not necessarily the whole arc) - as a stand-alone adventure, it loses almost all of its epic, neat appeal. Thus, I'll settle for 2 final verdicts - one for people following at least a part of the RtR-series and one for people who look for a stand-alone. The latter should pass this adventure - it loses its unique flair and suffers from the detraction of the meta-plot - for you, this is a 3-Rudii file. For people following the RtR-campaign arc, though, this is a satisfying 4.5 Rudii-conclusion to the arc, which, while being the weakest of the adventures, still serves a fitting climax for the arc that cements the RtR's excellent status as a series of stellar urban adventures. For the purpose of this platform; I'll round down.

Are you looking for something completely different? Something dark? A session of dread? A High-level threat?

Why not check out Rite Publishing's

5 Room Dungeon - The Rabbit Hole

This pdf is 29 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 2 pages of advertisements, leaving 24 pages of content, so let's check out this adventure!

This being an adventure review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.

Still here? All right! This 5-room dungeon transcends the format of the premise by several factors but let me elaborate: This adventure is set in the Coliseum Morpheuon and it rocks for it - why? Because there is a place that surpasses even the Coliseum in weirdness and potential: The Rabbit Hole. Being on the realm of dreams, otherwordly beings and dread presences, aberrations and stranger things still dream as well, combining their alien minds with the sub-conscious dribble and madness seeping through the realm of dreams. In this place, people discard their dreams, throw them there to wither away - after all, dreams can destroy one as easily as a lack of them, especially on the plane of dreams!

More intriguing, once, a sorceror discarded a dream there - a dream of madness that might have destroyed said man - who happens to be the Khan of Nightmares. Born out of his betrayal of his pit-fiend ally, the sinkhole remains a dangerous demi-planar cesspit of death and now Tarrec, a peddler of dreams, hires the PCs to brave the rabbit hole. The peddler wants the PCs to go to a tavern called "The Face" where the PCs have to put a mirror on a tentacled wall horizontal (e.g. by gravity-change), put liquid on it and enter the rabbit hole. The tavern is presented with enough information to make for a disturbing introduction to the adventure and I hope to see it expanded some time in the future (Jonathan Roberts - looking for a challenge?). Jonathan Roberts is a good cue - the stellar cartographer provides a stunning full-color map of the 5 stations (I refuse to call them rooms) of this adventure. Another awesome feature of this adventure is that PCs may actually dream-burn like hell, dream-burning and morphic subjective gravity are enhanced and here, anyone may use dream-creation. I LOVE these innovations, as the expand upon the stellar mechanics of dreamburning and make the possibilities available to the PCs wider.

The adventure per se hasn't even started and it starts with a bang - the PCs fall through the floor - falling is not enough of a threat, though - The Kulkale , a CR 19 Tough Gargantuan Chaos Beastling Apocalypse Swarm is not to be trifles with and makes for a truly deadly, disturbing foe. Of course, no allusion to Alice in Wonderland would be complete without a tea-party. This one includes shard-laden crumpets and acidic tea - worst of all, the PCs should play along. Have I mentioned that the hatter here is an insane sadist whom the PCs have to appease to avoid the fate of the other tea-party guests? The third section is a moebius-loop-like labyrinth including a pack lycanthrope-nessian hellhound adamantine-clad creatures with 15 class levels. Ouch! After that, a Eldritch Shoggoth serves as the final combat encounter before the conclusion, which depends not only on the DM and his version of the coliseum, but has potential galore to be used in even more ways than provided.


Editing and Formatting of V.2.0 are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to the beautiful 2-column full-color standard used in Coliseum Morpheuon and the pdf features a nice mix of classic Alice-illustrations and CM-artwork. The full-color map by Jonathan Roberts is awesome and the pdf comes with bookmarks. This is an awesome adventure that redefines 5-room dungeons. The expanded dream-rules are great. The locations, each of them, oozes style and symbolism. The Alice-allusions are dark, creepy and sufficiently distinct from e.g. Crystal Frazier's stellar "The Harrowing" or the classic Dungeonland. I have but one problem with this adventure: It is only 5 rooms long. I would have loved a full-blown cthulhoid, nightmarish, high-level Alice-scenario - preferably around 128 to 200 pages. This distinct longing for more, the captivating pull the adventure exerted over me while reading it, the imagery - this 5-room dungeon belongs to the coolest little scenarios I've read in quite a while and thus deserves my highest verdict - 5 Rudii and the Endzeitgeist seal of approval - Ben McFarland, Clinton Boomer and Matt Banach have created a stellar scenario with trademark complex statblocks that alone are probably worth the asking-price. Check it out!

All right, next time I'll have some setting book for you, though I haven't decided which! See you at the FaSB-project and a late happy new year to all of you!

As always, thank you for reading my ramblings,

Endzeitgeist out.