Endzeitgeist Reviews Raging Swan Resources

Hey everybody, this time I'm going to take a look at 3 sourcebooks by Raging Swan Press, namely their village supplement and 2 files of their TRIBES-line.


The pdf for the rural village Swallowfeld consists of 37 pages: 1 page front cover, 1 blank page on the inside of the cover, 3 pages credits, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover.

The formatting is concise, the editing top-notch (I didn't find a single mistake/typo) and the pdf is printer-friendly. The artwork is b/w and very nice to look at and serves to underline the old-school & old-world-feel of the supplement.

Following in line with the mood of the remote and ancient-feeling area of The Lonely Coast, Swallowfeld describes the little village in excruciating and atmospheric detail.

The pdf can be split in two major parts:
The first one consisting of 12 pages, including a b/w map that thankfully lacks annoying letters.
The village also contains evocative details like local diet, a paragraph on social order and law, passing seasons, festivals and traditions (quite cool and reminiscent of old pagan customs) and a table of local events to kick off sessions and moods. Be warned, though. The mood may get grim and is mature, but I personally like it that way.

The second major part of the adventure consists of 12 pages of NPC-stats as well as descriptions of the characters. Every one of them comes with his/her own picture, quality b/w artwork. Best of all, each entry has a paragraph on mannerisms, distinguishing features and hooks that makes it easy for the DM to make this place come to life.

After that, the pdf concludes with a 3 page player's guide to Swallowfeld, including 1 page of player's map.

While this pdf is high quality, is very detailed and evokes the awesome old-world-atmosphere we already had in The Lonely Coast, the prose somewhere falls short of the high standards set by other pdfs of Raging Swan. It's still top-notch, just not as awesome. I'd give 4.5 Rudii.

However, Raging Swan Press gives you more bang for buck:
As either free previews or supplements for the product, you can download 3 free web-enhancements on the homepage:
- One containing collated statblocks for the NPCs
- One containing the player's guide so you can mail it to your players/print it separately for them.
- One containing all of the artworks of the NPCs to show of to your players, with blank space for notes.
That is superb service and eases the workload for any DM trying to run the village or use it as an entry-point.
For this service, I'd upgrade the rating to 4.5 Rudii, but not quite 5.

Bleached Skull Gnolls

This pdf is 23 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page blank inside of front cover, 3 pages of editorial/table of contents, 2 pages of chapter headers and 1 page back cover.

That leaves us with 15 pages of content on the dread tribe of Bleached Skull Gnolls.

The pdf starts off with 2 pages on the general behavior of the tribe, including ecology & society, lairs, customs, combat & tactics as well as a side box on lore about the tribe, including DC. The prose keeps the very high standard of Raging Swan Publishing and does not disappoint the least. Once you start reading, you immediately know that you’re not in for your run-of-the-mill-Gnoll-tribe.

This first impression is cemented further by one page containing 6 feats the tribe uses for their distinctive combat style. They are cool, atmospheric and not over-powered. Nice!

After that, we get something that is all too often sorely neglected: 6 new (grab a chair, boys and girls!) ADEPT spells with an accompanying spell-list for Bleached Skull Shamans. Yeah, Adept-spells. You know, for the NPC-class. I couldn’t believe it first, but yeah, they are adept spells. Not as strong as regular spells, but cool and almost dripping with flavor. That was a page well spent.

On the next page, we get three new magic items, all located at the shamanistic bottom-tier of magic items and each with its own illustration. We get a potentially vampiric bone knife, skulls that double as freaky alarms and a rod to curse foes.
This concludes the first chapter and we move on to stat-blocks/encounters.
At the beginning of the chapter, we get 2 pages with 4 sample encounter parties as well as a huge side-box detailing all potential circumstantial modifiers for fighting in the woodland habitat of the tribe.

After that, the stat-blocks of the tribe are listed: We get one page with 4 melee-warrior types, 1 page with 2 shamans with their respective familiars and 1 page with two ranged fighters and two stat-blocks for non-combatants. All the pages include, as a nice bonus, information the garbs the respective tribe members wear.
Then, the map features a typical encampment of the tribe with a little b/w-map. (1 page)

As if that was not enough, we get a new monster created by the horrific rites of the tribe as well as its minions, lore-section, artwork and the like. While this particular beast is nothing I’d write home about, it fits the specific fluff of the tribe perfectly and thus works awesome as a nasty surprise in an encounter.
The pdf closes with a page devoted to explaining how to read the stat-blocks to novice DMs.

The b/w-art of the file is beautiful, the editing and formatting are top-notch. The writing is concise and while there might be a bit more fluff among the stat-blocks for my taste, I still enjoy the writing.

I was very skeptical about this one – I simply am not the biggest Gnoll-lover out there and a supplement like this could have easily degenerated into a messy pile of soulless stats. The contrary is the case, though: While the Bleached Skull Gnolls remain easy to implement in any given setting, they still are unique enough to stand out – and as far as I’ve understood it, that’s what this line is all about. I’ve thought long and hard and while I wouldn’t call it genius, this file is so rounded, so well-crafted, that it will get 5 Rudii from me. From a guy who’s not that into Gnolls. If you think about it, go check it out – it’s got a damn good bag-for-buck-ratio.

Hobgoblins of the Mailed Fist

The second installment of Raging Swan‘s TRIBES-series of supplements is 23 pages long. This includes 1 page front cover, 1 page back cover, 1 blank page on the inside of the front cover, 2 pages editorial and general overview, 1 page ToC with a feat-list, statblocks organized by CR, Magic items by cost and new spells by level as well as half a page SRD. That leaves 17.5 pages of gaming material, so let’s jump in.

The pdf kicks off with a page explaining how to read the statblocks and then, after a chapter-header page, kicks off with 5 pages of a gazetteer-like treatment of the tribe: Being mercenaries that are sometimes even employed by humans to harass and kill other humanoids, the Hobgoblins are an interesting bunch that even rides giant bats into battle. Names, appearances, nomenclature, views of religion and magic as well as a very cool sidebar on the organization of warband of the tribe, in the nomenclature of the mailed fist, a battle.

The Hobgoblins of the Mailed Fist get 7 new feats to use in battle, all of which fit their theme.

The 3 new spells create variations of trenches, which are quite frankly, gold for PCs who are fighting last stands or against all odds and which make nasty surprises for PCs. I really love them.

The 3 new magic items are nice and feature beautiful artwork as well as several different Lore-sections.


After that, we’ll get to the chapter statblocks, Allies & Encounters: The chapter kicks off with two pages of fluff introduction as well as 4 suggested encounters as well as 9 sample personalities to breathe life into the company. After that, we get 6 pages of statblocks for the Hobgoblins, ranging from the humble CR4 soldiers to the CR11 war-leader. We get 4 statblocks for soldiers (2 melee, 2 ranged), 3 Black Wing Riders (2 warriors, 1 sorceror) and 5 specialists (War Chanter, Battle Cleric, Mailed Fist [Cleric/Fighter], War leader, Beast Master) as well as tactics typically employed described in sidebars. We also get a page of fluff description for the carnivorous bat-mounts and two statblocks for them as well as a minor modification for plate-wearing black wings.

The pdf closes with half a page of advice to design more members of the tribe.

Formatting and editing are, once again, top-notch. I didn’t find any glitches or typos. Layout is concise and printer-friendly and writing, once again, is extremely concise and information is densely packed. 

The old-school b/w-artwork is beautiful, as is usually the case with Raging Swan products.



When buying this pdf, I thought: “Oohoo, another Hobgoblin-warband write-up. Haven’t seen that in a while…*yawn*.”  I was wrong. While not reinventing the wheel, the Mailed Fist has enough unique and exciting ideas to make them stand out – from their focus on killing other humanoids and their battle-feats and trench-spells (AWESOME idea!) to their giant bats, they are a worthy addition to the gritty canon of The Lonely Coast and continues Raging Swan’s streak of excellent products. Although I would have loved to see some more unique magic items, this one criticism does not warrant a downgrade of the final verdict: 5 Rudii. Well done, Raging Swan - especially for this low price point.

All right, that's it for now from me, as always, thank you for reading my ramblings. Next time I'll either have a new "Start a Campaign for Free"-post or a Spes Magna Spree.

Endzeitgeist out.


Sunken Empires by Open Design

This product is 82 pages long. It starts with a cover, credits, and ToC. (2 pages) Next it gets into a forward by David “Zeb” Cook about the creation of the Aboleth. (2 pages)

Chapter 1 – Lost Cities of Myths and Legends. (8 pages)
It talks about varies lost cities from real life and stories about them. It gives some details on Atlantis, Lemuria, and Mu. As well as talking about the fantasy lost city of Ankeshell, including a map and brief history of the city.

Chapter 2 – Pelagic Characters (15 pages)
This section talks about races and classes for a campaign set for exploring underwater. It includes a new race Maerean(half merman). Changes to core classes for a campaign focused on this. Including 45 new feats,
New Domains
Sea Monster

New Sorcerer Bloodlines

New Wizard Schools

Chapter 3 – Aquatic Equipment and Lost Technology (12 pages)
It starts with Aquatic items 11 new weapons, 8 new armors, 25 new equipment items. Next it moves onto lost Technology 8 new weapons, 3 new armor, 5 new equipment items.

Chapter 4 – Spells and Magic Items (17 pages)
This section has 37 new spells and 42 new magic items and 6 new magic item properties.

Spells by Class
Bard – 7
Cleric – 7
Druid – 15
Sorc/Wiz – 37

Chapter 5 – Sunken Environment (6 pages)
This section is all about how to run campaigns that explore underwater. It has encounter tables, hazards, and advice on how to run campaigns.

Chapter 6 – Creatures of the Deep (17 pages)
This section has 16 new monsters including 3 new familiars, 10 variations of existing monsters, and a ecology of the Aboleth.

It closes with a OGL, 1 page ad, and back cover. (3 pages)

Closing Thoughts. This is very well written the art ranges from good to very good. The layout is nice and it is a pretty book. There is far to much to get into a lot of detail on most of the stuff. The equipment was for the most part good, interesting and fit. Same with the magic items and spells. The history and information about the three real life mythic lost cities while interesting could have easily been left out.

My only real critic is I thought chapter 5 was way to short. What is there is good but a little sparse. I think they could have easily doubled the page count to help GM's out with more information and advice. So while it was a very good book and if you are interested in running a campaign or even a few adventures under the water then it is a good pickup for the price. But it was a little light on GM help to run such a campaign so I am giving it a 4 star review. Good but with a dozen more pages could have been fantastic.


Endzeitgeist's Start a Campaign for Free Update

Hey everybody,

just to give you a quick update: Rite Publishing has made one of its excellent race-books for the Questhaven setting available for free! The Wyrd of Questhaven can now be found for free on drivethru-Rpg. So, if you've not yet taken a look at the RPGaggression exclusive discount Steve got you fine folks, you can check out the quality of the series now for free.

If you like what you're reading there,  please consider joining either the Questhaven patronage project or the Japanese-inspired horror setting Kaidan Rite Publishing is trying to start right now.

Another little update: Spes Magna's "worst" file, Gazae et Monstri is now also available for free and you might get some nice ideas out of that one.

That's it for now, 

Endzeitgeist out.

Advanced Options: Oracle's Curses by Super Genius Games

This product is 6 pages long. It starts with a cover and intro. (1 pages)

Next it jumps into the new curses. (3 pages)
Addict – addicted to something not good for you.
Ailing – always sick, pretty bad one but you gain more bonus spells to offset it.
Amputee – missing a hand, a few bonus spells
Convulsions – have convulsions anytime you roll a 1. I would have liked a a mechanic added for a chance per hour or something for social situations as well when not rolling dice.
Drunkard – Your a drunk.
Frail – suffer negative effects if reduced to less than half hp or take ability dmg. Gain 1 skill per level and a new class skill 3 times over the course of the class.
Insomniac – have trouble sleeping and often fatigued, but is less likely to suffer from fatigue and exhaustion from other sources as they are use to living this way. Again I would have liked to have seen a DC check for a typical night with broad locations. Such as urban, woods, etc.
Misshappen – have a twisted body, penalty to CMD checks, gain bonus to intimidate and later gain ability to demoralize foes.
Peaceful Soul – you dislike violence penalty on attack rolls and no AoO's but gain AC and concentration bonuses.
Provocative – You are pretty and invoke lust in others, others gain a bonus to use non lethal dmg on you. You may use a bonus to diplomacy rolls but if you do and fail it backfires.
Squeamish – If you cause dmg to others you become sickened, but you get bonuses on healing others.
Star-Crossed – Anytime you roll a 11 on a D20 it counts as if it was a 1. Gain bonus spells.
Unbelievable – No one ever believes you, suffer penalty on social rolls, but gain bonus to sense motive.

Next is new feats that deal with oracle curses. (1 page)
Accursed – Gain bonus to resist other curses.
Second Curse – gain a second curse both the good and bad.
Suspend Curse – by giving up spell slots can temporally suppress the curse.
Variable Curse – Select 5 random curses roll once every day for which curse you have. On a 6 your get two. Because you are so cursed all of your spell effects are cast as if you was one level higher.

It also have a section on how to use the curses for other things. It finishes with a OGL.

Closing Thoughts. I love the idea of the new curses. For the most part I like the curses in this book. There was a couple I felt needed a bit more, to really make them shine. The feats I mostly felt where a little weak, I just have trouble seeing most players wanting more than one curse or random ones even with the gains. Suspend and Accursed being the exceptions. The art is all of the cover girl what there is of it. I don't have a problem with the art but some people might. It is very much cheese cake art, which I personally don't have a problem with but I know some people do. Unless SGG did it on purpose in a tongue and... cheek... manner. So my rating is a 4 star, good product but I felt with just a bit more effort it could have been even better.


Endzeitgeist reviews the Raging Swan adventures

Hi everybody! After my little Rite Publishing reviewing spree, I'm going to take a look at a fine, small press next, namely Raging Swan Press, Creighton Broadhurst's little company. You might remember that I've recommended their free minisetting as a frame for "Start a Campaign for Free" (more coming, btw.!)  and I've thought for quite some time that I should post about the two excellent adventures they've published so far.

That being said, being adventure reviews, the following pages contain some spoilers - If you plan to participate in the adventures, please be warned: You might ruin your experience in one of the most awesome 1st-level adventures I've read for PFRPG.

That being said, let's dive into the first adventure, Retribution

Retribution is a 71 pg pdf, 1 front cover, 1 blank page (inside the front cover), 3 pages credits, half a page OGL, 1page ads and 1 page back cover.

Retribution is extensively bookmarked for ease of reference;  all the statblocks also have flavor-text describing the monsters/enemies as well as summaries of the obtainable treasure at the end of each part, making the adventure very easy and comfortable on the DM.

The adventure starts off with the obligatory 3 pages of introduction, synopsis of the adventure, background and a map of the Lonely Coast, the region in which Retribution is set.

Part I: Sanctuary (8 pages) – Retribution starts off with a journey through a snow/sleet storm towards the Priory of Cymer that perfectly captures a foreboding, gritty and harsh atmosphere of the adventure and sets the mood for the rest: The tone is one of an old, uncaring world that is not too far from the past of our own in terms of the dangers of traveling. The 2 encounters on the road are very good examples for the fact that environment, circumstances and the like may make for very interesting encounters, even on first level. There are also some hooks suggested to start the adventure, one of which assumes that some of the PCs are sick and go to Cymer to get healed. That's an unconventional hook that actually worked very well for my group and further set the gritty mood– Excellent idea.  The wilderness-journey part of the adventure ends when the PCs arrive at the Priory of Cymer.

Part II: Signs (31 pages) - The next part of Retribution is a roleplaying-heavy/investigation-section, something I'd love to see more often, especially due to the fact that the atmosphere is constantly building up. From the beginning and the introduction of the NPCs, the first thing that springs to mind as an analogue to the atmosphere is Name of the Rose. The atmosphere is simply superb and one of the most dreaded role-playing encounters, the dinner with several NPCs, has been presented in a way that makes the conversations flow naturally and with ease as several sentences and talks are presented for the DM. Furthermore, the text is interspersed with troubleshooting advice, columns on the reaction of NPCs to some of the ominous happenings in the next couple of days and ends in an exciting series of encounters that serves to further underline the established gritty and ominous atmosphere. The climax sees the PCs undertake a kind of skill-challenge and roleplay their way past a potentially dangerous being.

When first reading the whole of part 2, I thought: Hell yeah! That's how a role-playing adventure should be.

Part III: Darkness (12 pages) – The final part of Retribution is a descent into darkness, both physically into a dungeon and symbolic, into the tarnished soul of the primary antagonist: It includes a chasm and a tidal surge, mirroring the emotions of the antagonist in the obstacles and enemies the PCs will have to face until they reach a furious showdown and triumph in battle, slaying the villain. No, wait. They can actually talk sense into the villain in the final confrontation, save his soul and solve the encounter by role-playing instead of roll-playing! In my humble opinion, a showdown of a diplomatic skill-challenge, a heated discussion can evoke even more suspense than a frenetic battle (Plus, the PCs had enough of that already!). Thus ends the adventure section of Retribution with all the NPC-destinies results of the PCs blunders or victories.

We also get a 5 pages appendix on the Priory of Cymer in excruciating detail, going so far to even provide a short list of the books in the library.

 The second appendix is 8 pages long and focuses on the folk of Cymer, presented in the detailed manner we've come to expect of Raging Swan Press: That means they all have their own b/w character portrait, own distinct mannerisms and distinguishing features that help the DM to make them memorable. Each of them comes with an additional hook to draw the PCs into the adventure, centered on the NPC, making the adventure easier to individualize to your PCs.  

 The pdf closes with appendix 3 and new rule items (4 pages), to be precise the half-goblin race, a new magic item (the Blessed Aspergillum, which has its own picture and even a whole print-out page in the look-see art web-enhancement) and information about the 2 default gods used in the adventure as well as a sect.

As always with Raging Swan products, you can download several free web-enhancements on their homepage:

-          - One contains 4 pregen-characters

-          - One has the collated statblocks:  The pages are organized by creature/faction type, 9 pages long

-          - Advice on scaling the adventure:  1 page

-          - Look-see art has all the art from the adventure, easy to print out and show to your players: 14 pages

-          - The last enhancement, Nemesis, has 4 statblocks to make the villain level with the players and reuse him for future adventures.(lvl 3, 7, 12, 18)

-          -The whole, free Lonely Coast pdf can be considered a huge additional web-enhancement for Retribution.


The quality of the editing is top-notch, I didn't find any typos or glitches. The adventure has wilderness, investigation and dungeon, action and role-playing, does not shoehorn or railroad the player's actions (as far as that is possible in a non-sandbox-module), is extremely easy on the DM and features the evocative, very atmospheric fluff I loved in the free supplement The Lonely Coast. Due to the multilayered characters (that actually deserve the moniker and go beyond being one-dimensional encounters/foils for the PCs), the attention to detail and the symbolism of the adventure, Retribution not only manages to slowly build up tension, but continuously ups the ante on the mysterious happenings and locations until the finale. The diplomatic skill-challenges that encourage the use of more than one skill in role-playing as well as the fact that the adventure dares to not solely rely on “Kill-it-with-fire”-tactics is another major Plus.

I've only got two minor complaints:

First is that there is no player-friendly map of the dungeon. I like to cut up printed maps and present them to players while they are exploring. My second gripe is something more severe, though: The maps of this adventure feature my arch-nemesis, the bane of my existence: Letters on maps. I hate them with a passion. I realize they are necessary for the DM-maps. But why do they have to be in player's maps? So they can see all significant locations and walk from A to B to C? So they can be reminded that this is a game with hotspots and get ripped from the awesome mood of the adventure? I just don't get why maps bare of letters and numbers to hand out to your players are so rare. Usually, that alone would suffice for me to deduct one Rudi. 

However: With the web-enhancements, top-quality prose and plot, the free Lonely Coast file as an additional supplement and the subtle, yet intricate symbolism, I am almost forced to acknowledge one fact:

Retribution ranks among the best first level adventures I've ever read. It's not over the top, it's personal. And it's better off for it. Check it out. It's vastly superior to almost any first level adventure I've read for PFRPG.

Road of the Dead

The pdf is 51 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 blank page on the inside of the front cover, 2 pages credits, 1 page table of contents, 1 page OGL, 1 page back cover and an accompanying blank page on the inside of the back cover. That leaves 43 pages of gaming content.

The pdf kicks off with 2 pages of explanation of how to read the stat-blocks to help novice DMs and 2 pages introducing The Lonely Coast, Raging Swan's free minisetting, which, if you haven't already in spite of my persistent nagging, you should check out.

For ease of reference, we get both a player-friendly map (1 page) of the area and a table including how long travels to specific locations take with different base speeds. An awesome idea that helps run the area and, if you're like me, will surely appreciate. I hate calculating distances and overland traveling times. Thanks for not making me do it in this adventure.

In stark contrast to the multitude of different genres we had blended together in Retribution, Road of the Dead is a straight dungeon crawl spanning 18 pages. “Straightforward” might, however, not be the correct moniker for the dungeon the PCs are about to explore. Many of the encounters can be solved via more than one way, depending on the skills of the PCs. Only one kind of character won't have too much to do:  If you happen to have a social skill monkey/ diplomatic character, you won't have too much for this character to do.

“So”, you're asking, “Endzeitgeist, what makes this adventure special or stand out? What about its atmosphere?” All right, I'm going into major spoilers there, so potential players, please skip to the next paragraph.  The basic idea is somewhat reminiscent of Aztec/Maya myths of a physical road to the underworld, adapted to a fantasy setting. 3rd level and PCs treading the road to the underworld? Yep, however, the dungeon is only modeled after the real road (or what the architects deemed the road to look like) and thus works.

Mechanically, the dungeon is interesting due to several factors that can be ultimately be summed up in one word: Clever. Almost every encounter features interesting environmental factors influencing the combat and rewards PCs for fighting clever and makes good use of these factors. In stark contrast to almost all “Pick-up-and-play”-modules I've read so far, this makes for complex and challenging encounters. And no, the DM is not forced to skip through the rules all the time to look them up: They are all summed up in the respective encounter and feature even tables summing up the modifications of e.g. fighting in the water. The finale is lethal and PCs should have learned to fight intelligently at this point.

With regards to the atmosphere, I'm kind of torn. On the one hand, the adventure  can work awesome and build significant tension, if pulled off right by an experienced DM. On the other hand, most of the potential tension comes from stuff like a bone portcullis, red water and the like, i.e. the “bones-are-spooky”-approach. While I personally like and can pull off romps like that, I can see the atmosphere becoming cheesy.  In e.g. direct comparison to Retribution, there is no psychological component or particular involvement on the player's part. Granted, that's not necessary for a dungeon crawl, but it would have been the icing on the cake.


The adventure closes with two optional encounters each taking up a page, one as a complication/sequel/follow-up to the final battle (at least for sadistic DMs like me) and the second one a fairly straight follow-up encounter/interlude.

After that, we get the first appendix, new stuff (4 pages): 3 new demons (all CR 3, nothing to really write home about), 1 new disease, 2 new magic items and a new exotic double-weapon.

One of the best parts of the adventure, though, is the second appendix (10 pages), which contains player's handouts. Several key locations have their very own artwork you can show your players along a part of the map for strategic position and in case they don't get the layout of an area from your description. That's right. Player friendly maps you don't have to cut from your DM-map AND artworks. And yes, no secret compartments on the player maps. Very, very nice. This should be standard in the industry. The 2 new magic items also get their own pictures in this section, so you can easily hand them and their stats over to the players. 

The third appendix contains 6 pre-generated PCs. (7 pages)

General features:

The editing and formatting is top-notch, the artwork is b/w and, while not absolutely gorgeous, beautiful in its own way. Due to the many artworks in player handouts and their quality, I'd say you get a lot of good art for your money. The writing helps you evoke suspense and the complex encounters can easily be run without having any other book at hand or skipping through the module.


This is a hard one for me. If you'd ask me, which module was superior, I'd immediately, without thinking, reply: Retribution!  And then go on to rant why it's so great. However, Road of the Dead does not try to be a sequel and it mostly succeeds at what it does. It's an atmospheric, cool dungeon crawl with an iconic location, clever encounters and intelligently designed environmental hazards. Has it succeeded at its premise, i.e. being a “Pick up & play”-module, with minimum preparation time? Actually yes, it did. I DMed the adventure and only read it an hour before running it and it worked, despite all the environmental factors. For DMs with limited time on their hands, this is a real boon and testament to clever organization and formatting . 

However, being the nit-picker that I am, I also have some criticism: Road of the Dead lacks the spark of genius I so enjoyed in Retribution. Even if you don't take into account the genre of the adventure (straight crawl vs. wilderness/mystery/crawl), I felt like something was missing and, after careful consideration, managed to pin it down: Social interaction. The most suspenseful encounters in Retribution included talking to enemies and overcoming them via skill-challenges/role-playing and the like. In the case of Road of the Dead, your PCs won't have an encounter like that. I don't know whether my group is an aberration, but our diplomat (i.e. social monkey) didn't have too much to do in this adventure and one or two encounters like that would have deepened the immersion of the players. I realize that this criticism may be a bit unfair, as this is supposed to be a traditional crawl. Keep in mind that this is criticism on the highest level.

My final verdict is 4.5 Rudii. If you're looking for a nice, crunchy crawl that is easy to run, add half a star. If you are one of those guys who want their PCs to talk and negotiate with just about everything, subtract half a star. If you're busy and in need of a good module to pick up and play, be sure to pick Road of the Dead up – the artwork as well as the DM-friendliness is worth your money.

All right, that's it for now, fellows! Next time, I'm going to take a look at the Village-supplement by Raging Swan and the 2 supplements of their Tribes-line.

As always, thank you for reading my ramblings,

Endzeitgeist out.


The Skull Crackers

The Skull Crackers by 0Onegames

This product is 43 pages long. It starts with a cover, blank page, credits and ToC. (4 pages)

Next it moves into a adventure summery and overview. This is the first part of a six part adventure series that takes place in the Great City campaign setting, also by 0Onegames. The adventure is for 1st level characters and should take characters to 3rd level by the end. The over view of the adventure is a murder investigation, but there is a underlining greater story arc going on that involves the rest of the adventures in the series. (2 pages)

Chapter 1 – The Body (2 ½ pages)
This involves finding the body and getting involved in the investigation. It is not all social, but I won't spoil while.

Chapter 2 – Grang's Crematorium and Casket Shop (6 pages)
After the first part most of the rest of the adventure can be done in any order depending on the PC's actions. It is a very sand box style investigation. So this may not be their second encounter. This is about the PC's wanting to see the body to examine it.

Chapter 3 – You're in the Army Now (3 ½ pages)
This section is if the PC's talk to the military(the dead was a soldier) about their findings or the city watch. There is a follow up encounter afterward's as well.

Chapter 4 – Asking Around Town (2 ½ pages)
This is if the PC's ask around town about the goings on they have uncovered up to this point. Mostly a social encounter section.

Chapter 5 – The Sewers (5 pages)
This is where the investigation has pointed to a local gang and where they confront the gang about it. It involves having a mini dungeon crawl to learn vital information.

Chapter 6 – Residential Ward (2 pages)
Part of this section can happen at any time and part of it only after some of the previous parts have happened. The final set encounter will lead the investigation to the next part.

Chapter 7 – Smugglers Tunnels (4 ½ pages)
This part is another favor the PC's are asked to do for the information they need for the investigation. This is a mini dungeon crawl.

Chapter 8 – I Smell a Rat (4 pages)
This is the section where the PC's finally track down the killer and solve the case. I won't get into details even vague ones as it would ruin the mystery.

Appendix – New Creatures (2 pages)
1 new monster a cerebral bat. Full stat blocks and history for the new monster.

It closes with 1 page handout, OGL, 2 pages of ads and back cover. (5 pages)

Closing thoughts. I liked the adventure but then I like urban and mystery adventures. The artwork is good black and white line art. It has a nice mix of social encounters and combat ones. It is also a nice intro adventure for the Great City campaign setting as it introduces you to several area's around the city. For the most part the hooks to follow the investigation from section to section are good, certainly good enough with at most minor tweaks the DM can make sure they players are able to follow it. The only real weak spot in the adventure I saw was the first plot hook to get involved. It is a decent one and I think most PC's would bite, but I don't think all would with out a little nudging from the DM.

Other than that one little negative I think it is a well done urban mystery adventure. I am going to give this one a 4.5 star rating. It was very good but not great. Well worth picking up if you like urban or mystery adventures.


New and Exciting #13: Iron GM Hits Neoncon

Well an awful lot of new and exciting has slammed around behind the scenes. As you've no doubt noticed Dark Mistress and Endzeitgeist joined RPGAggression as staff reviewers. With the three of us reviewing the new and noteworthy, we aim to keep you all fairly up to date on the state of RPGs. I plan to shift my area of review focus mostly (but not entirely) to non-d20 based systems to further broaden the covered spectrum.

New and noteworthy on my plate include work on two new Pathfinder projects. One is a monster book. The other is an adventure. Both are noteworthy in ways *shakes fist* my NDAs prevent me from discussing. *cue boos and hisses* Finally, the possibility of another Call of Cthulu scenario with Super Genius Games has arisen. It'll be a while as everyone at SGG and yours truly are swamped with other projects, but we're talking - and planning and scheming and slowly spreading our cult until the day comes and Ia! Ia!

So much uncertainty in my RPG future, but here is something absolutely set in stone: I'll be joining Iron GM on the road and hitting Las Vegas for Neoncon Nov. 4th - 7th! For those of you unfamiliar, Iron GM is the national tournament that turns adventure-making into competitive sport. The Iron GM host reveals three secret ingredients and based on them, GMs fight to give players the game of a lifetime. Every time someone
6rolls a natural 20, the whole table shouts Bonzai! and the Iron GM team anoints the holy one with necklaces of dice. Other hilarious shenanigans ensue.

I've been involved with this event for years, and it's serious fun. So serious in fact that it's gone national and Neoncon will send the winner, all expenses paid, to Gen Con Indy 2011 to compete for the title. And Iron GM is giving out thousands of dollars in prizes. For real. Thousands of dollars in prizes - a chunk of it showered on players just for playing - and a free trip to Gencon for playing 3.5 OGL and being the hottest GM in town.

And one added little bonus: since I'm the new host of this shebang, come to Neoncon and you'll see what I look like in person in that awesome, completely orange tuxedo - only bald. Hope to see you there playing and judging or GM'ing and competing. We'll have a blast!


Dark Mistress Speaks: The Eamonvale Incursion by Frog God Games

This product is 224 pages long. It starts with a cover, credits and ToC. (3 pages)

Next is a Intro which gives a over view of the region and the adventure, ending with a full page map of the region. (6 pages)

Chapter 1 – Broadwater (48 pages)
Basically a city guide to the city of Broadwater. There is over 40 locations several of them very interesting and could be easily adapted to any city. Or the city could just be used in any setting if the DM needed a city.

Chapter 2 – Broadwater Mystery Elements (30 pages)
There is several pages of rumors, social encounters, and combat encounters. All told there is more than 30 encounters many of them possibly leading to chases in varies locations.

Chapter 3 – The Slave Warrens of Underbluff (12 pages)
A more mini dungeon crawl.

Chapter 4 – The Eamonvale Trade Road (4 pages)
A overview of locations alone the trade road.

Chapter 5 – Trade Road Mystery Elements ( 8 pages)
Rumors PC's can hear on the trade road and several encounters of varies types.

Chapter 6 – A Brigand's Swamp Kingdom (19 pages)
Another mini dungeon, though with a possible twist.

Chapter 7 – Fagan's Hollow (10 pages)
Map, locations and information about the town.

Chapter 8 – Fagan's Hollow Mystery Elements (9 pages)
Rumors PC's can hear in the town and many encounters of varies types.

Chapter 9 – The Elven Forest Nation (19 pages)
Overview of the elven nation, the forest and several encounters.

Chapter 10 – The Battle for Broadwater (5 pages)
Final encounter of the adventure.

Appendix 1 – NPCs (34 pages)
Stat blocks for all the major NPC's and monsters in the adventure. Broken up by area for better ease of quickly finding their stat blocks. There is also a very nice 1 page of tables for creating random caravans.

Appendix 2 – Magic Items and Spells (2 pages)
6 new magic items and 3 new spells.

Appendix 3 – New Creatures and Templates (10 pages)
Several new monsters and creature templates.

Appendix 4 – Optional Chase Resolution Mechanics (5 pages)
new rules for resolving chases. Including some random tables for obstacles. I am unsure how well it works as I have not play tested it, but I am looking forward to trying it out. This was one of the few errors I found a error. On the common movements rates and encumbrance table, at the medium row every thing has shifted to the left one column. It is still easy to read once you notice it. But still a error.

It closes with a OGL and back cover.

Closing Thoughts. I liked this adventure it is very similar in style to The Grey Citadel. A lot of social and skill based interaction, part dungeon crawl and part investigation. It is hard to say much about the adventure since part of it is a mystery the players in theory should try and figure out whats going on. I will say if you liked the first one you will like this one just as much. The artwork is good.

This is very much a sand box style adventure. The PC's can pretty much go anywhere and do anything they want in what ever order. The only set thing is the final encounter. Even then the PC's could still go explore the area's they skipped if they do the final encounter first. I loved the adventure but the price is a little high 35 dollars for the print and PDF or just 23 for the PDF only, not counting shipping. While worth the price I just can't give it a 5 star with the price. So I am giving it a solid 4 star.