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Places of Power: Fort Vigil
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/26/2018 08:14:01

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Places of Power-series clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Fort vigil, situated in a forest, would be an unremarkable fortification, manned by a skeletal crew. It is mainly known for being under the command of the veteran knight Sir Arnhelm Langeson. The fort, as a whole, is picturesque, and not a bad place to visit – it adds much sought-after security to the surrounding lands, and seems to be a safe haven. However, locals will tell that the fort is steeped in history, having seen diverse masters, and unbeknown to most, at night, silver shades roam the castle, spirits and echoes of things long gone…but it’s not really ghosts or the just echoes.

You see, Fort Vigil is situated next to the Wealdmere, a lake that serves as a transition point between the material and spirit world, particularly regarding the realms of dream. As such, the presentation actually takes this unique aspect into account in the formal structure: Beyond the by now classic whispers and rumors and the notes on nomenclature employed and dressing habits, we have a split between the daily life and the dreaming in the dressing table, a choice that nets 10 evocative dressing entries per table.

This is relevant, particularly since the pdf actually provides a small selection of concise notes and rules to remember the uncommonly-vivid dreams experienced here. Kudos for this unobtrusive inclusion of rules. As before, we do get flavorful read-aloud sentences that describe the keyed locations here, and one place in particular comes with its extra, custom dressing table to account for the haunting you can encounter here.

Now, dreams, beyond those that the PCs may experience, are personal and often archetypical, as we all know; this focus is mirrored in the presentation of the NPCs: We get an uncommon amount of different NPCs – 5, to be precise. These come as fluff-only entries that are surprisingly detailed regarding mannerism, background and distinguishing features, even for Raging Swan Press’ supplements, making them feel rather well-rounded.

These, btw., not only include the aging knight, who wishes to help the shades and phantoms move on, but also the Medium – a ghost, warden, caretaker and guardian of this sacred locale, a ghost who may be noble, but the unending task has started to take its toll on the otherwise noble soul, adding a sense of melancholia and gravitas, of duty and sacrifice to the supplement, a sense of a bookend that is cleverly contrasted via e.g. Signy, a character hoping to become a hero. The book thus feels like an encompassing scope of the condition of adventuring – the reminiscence and longing, the wide-eyed hopefulness, adding a second level to the duality inherent in the supplement, increasing the appeal and viability of the book in the most crucial of ways: In the themes, in the way it’s structured and the stories you can tell with it.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant hiccups. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes with nice b/w-artworks. The cartography, as always, is really nice, and the pdf comes in two iterations – one intended for screen-use and one made for the printer. This deserves as much applause as the full bookmarks presented, which render navigation comfortable and easy.

Amber Underwood’s “Fort Vigil” is a culmination of an author truly coming to terms with writing top-tier, evocative supplements. Fort Vigil is not a one-note place -. It feels tangible and real, courtesy of aesthetics that can be bent towards full-blown high fantasy if you want…or, if you prefer a more low-key approach, if you want to touch upon the human element, upon aging, mortality, different perspectives, the negotiation of dreams and reality – well, then this can deliver just as well. This is one of the most versatile and evocative installments in the whole series, standing shoulder to shoulder with greats like John Bennett and Mike Welham in delivering a place that puts GM-agenda and uses first, without compromising the integrity of a vision that is intelligent and compassionate.

Adding a bit of crunch for the PFRPG-version just adds the cherry of GM-comfort on top. This is an amazing place that will be used in a huge amount of different ways – they all, however, have one thing in common: They work and make this a phenomenal addition to a GM’s toolkit. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval. Highly recommended!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Places of Power: Fort Vigil
Click to show product description

Add to Flames Rising PDF Store Order

Creator Reply:
Thank you for the review, End. I'm delighted you enjoyed Fort Vigil as I think Amber did a cracking job!
Places of Power: Fort Vigil (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/26/2018 08:12:58

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Places of Power-series clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Fort vigil, situated in a forest, would be an unremarkable fortification, manned by a skeletal crew. It is mainly known for being under the command of the veteran knight Sir Arnhelm Langeson. The fort, as a whole, is picturesque, and not a bad place to visit – it adds much sought-after security to the surrounding lands, and seems to be a safe haven. However, locals will tell that the fort is steeped in history, having seen diverse masters, and unbeknown to most, at night, silver shades roam the castle, spirits and echoes of things long gone…but it’s not really ghosts or the just echoes.

You see, Fort Vigil is situated next to the Wealdmere, a lake that serves as a transition point between the material and spirit world, particularly regarding the realms of dream. As such, the presentation actually takes this unique aspect into account in the formal structure: Beyond the by now classic whispers and rumors and the notes on nomenclature employed and dressing habits, we have a split between the daily life and the dreaming in the dressing table, a choice that nets 10 evocative dressing entries per table.

This is relevant, particularly since the pdf actually provides a small selection of concise notes and rules to remember the uncommonly-vivid dreams experienced here. Kudos for this unobtrusive inclusion of rules, particularly since they have been properly associated with 5e-rules and feasible DCs. As before, we do get flavorful read-aloud sentences that describe the keyed locations here, and one place in particular comes with its extra, custom dressing table to account for the haunting you can encounter here.

Now, dreams, beyond those that the PCs may experience, are personal and often archetypical, as we all know; this focus is mirrored in the presentation of the NPCs: We get an uncommon amount of different NPCs – 5, to be precise. These come as fluff-only entries that are surprisingly detailed regarding mannerism, background and distinguishing features, even for Raging Swan Press’ supplements, making them feel rather well-rounded. The 5e version makes good use of the default stats where even remotely feasible.

These NPCs, btw., not only include the aging knight, who wishes to help the shades and phantoms move on, but also the Medium – a ghost, warden, caretaker and guardian of this sacred locale, a ghost who may be noble, but the unending task has started to take its toll on the otherwise noble soul, adding a sense of melancholia and gravitas, of duty and sacrifice to the supplement, a sense of a bookend that is cleverly contrasted via e.g. Signy, a character hoping to become a hero. The book thus feels like an encompassing scope of the condition of adventuring – the reminiscence and longing, the wide-eyed hopefulness, adding a second level to the duality inherent in the supplement, increasing the appeal and viability of the book in the most crucial of ways: In the themes, in the way it’s structured and the stories you can tell with it.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant hiccups. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes with nice b/w-artworks. The cartography, as always, is really nice, and the pdf comes in two iterations – one intended for screen-use and one made for the printer. This deserves as much applause as the full bookmarks presented, which render navigation comfortable and easy.

Amber Underwood’s “Fort Vigil” is a culmination of an author truly coming to terms with writing top-tier, evocative supplements. Fort Vigil is not a one-note place -. It feels tangible and real, courtesy of aesthetics that can be bent towards full-blown high fantasy if you want…or, if you prefer a more low-key approach, if you want to touch upon the human element, upon aging, mortality, different perspectives, the negotiation of dreams and reality – well, then this can deliver just as well. This is one of the most versatile and evocative installments in the whole series, standing shoulder to shoulder with greats like John Bennett and Mike Welham in delivering a place that puts GM-agenda and uses first, without compromising the integrity of a vision that is intelligent and compassionate.

Adding a bit of crunch for the 5e-version just adds the cherry of GM-comfort on top and makes this iteration on par with the fantastic PFRPG-iteration. This is an amazing place that will be used in a huge amount of different ways – they all, however, have one thing in common: They work and make this a phenomenal addition to a GM’s toolkit. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval. Highly recommended!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Places of Power: Fort Vigil (5e)
Click to show product description

Add to Flames Rising PDF Store Order

Creator Reply:
Thank you for the review, End. I'm delighted you enjoyed Fort Vigil as I think Amber did a cracking job!
Places of Power: Fort Vigil (SNE)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/26/2018 08:10:26

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Places of Power-series clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Fort vigil, situated in a forest, would be an unremarkable fortification, manned by a skeletal crew. It is mainly known for being under the command of the veteran knight Sir Arnhelm Langeson. The fort, as a whole, is picturesque, and not a bad place to visit – it adds much sought-after security to the surrounding lands, and seems to be a safe haven. However, locals will tell that the fort is steeped in history, having seen diverse masters, and unbeknown to most, at night, silver shades roam the castle, spirits and echoes of things long gone…but it’s not really ghosts or the just echoes.

You see, Fort Vigil is situated next to the Wealdmere, a lake that serves as a transition point between the material and spirit world, particularly regarding the realms of dream. As such, the presentation actually takes this unique aspect into account in the formal structure: Beyond the by now classic whispers and rumors and the notes on nomenclature employed and dressing habits, we have a split between the daily life and the dreaming in the dressing table, a choice that nets 10 evocative dressing entries per table.

This is relevant, particularly since the pdf actually provides a small selection of concise notes and rules to remember the uncommonly-vivid dreams experienced here. As a plus, these rules had their DCs modified to reflect the different realities of old-school gaming. You will have already noticed the potential issue here: Remembering dreams is handled via a check that employs ability score modifiers as something to be added to the check, when many OSR systems instead opt for a roll-under mechanic instead. Getting a variant here, with penalties to the check, would have taken a grand total of one sentence and added to the immediate usefulness of the supplement for many games. Granted, this does not put the referee at much of a disadvantage, as conversion of the system ought to be super-simple, but as a reviewer, it’s a potentially rough patch I felt obliged to note. As before, we do get flavorful read-aloud sentences that describe the keyed locations here, and one place in particular comes with its extra, custom dressing table to account for the haunting you can encounter here.

Now, dreams, beyond those that the PCs may experience, are personal and often archetypical, as we all know; this focus is mirrored in the presentation of the NPCs: We get an uncommon amount of different NPCs – 5, to be precise. These come as fluff-only entries that are surprisingly detailed regarding mannerism, background and distinguishing features, even for Raging Swan Press’ supplements, making them feel rather well-rounded.

These, btw., not only include the aging knight, who wishes to help the shades and phantoms move on, but also the Medium – a ghost, warden, caretaker and guardian of this sacred locale, a ghost who may be noble, but the unending task has started to take its toll on the otherwise noble soul, adding a sense of melancholia and gravitas, of duty and sacrifice to the supplement, a sense of a bookend that is cleverly contrasted via e.g. Signy, a character hoping to become a hero. The book thus feels like an encompassing scope of the condition of adventuring – the reminiscence and longing, the wide-eyed hopefulness, adding a second level to the duality inherent in the supplement, increasing the appeal and viability of the book in the most crucial of ways: In the themes, in the way it’s structured and the stories you can tell with it.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant hiccups, though on a rules-language component, the solution to the dream-recalling component could have been slightly more encompassing in the approach taken. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes with nice b/w-artworks. The cartography, as always, is really nice, and the pdf comes in two iterations – one intended for screen-use and one made for the printer. This deserves as much applause as the full bookmarks presented, which render navigation comfortable and easy.

Amber Underwood’s “Fort Vigil” is a culmination of an author truly coming to terms with writing top-tier, evocative supplements. Fort Vigil is not a one-note place -. It feels tangible and real, courtesy of aesthetics that can be bent towards full-blown high fantasy if you want…or, if you prefer a more low-key approach, if you want to touch upon the human element, upon aging, mortality, different perspectives, the negotiation of dreams and reality – well, then this can deliver just as well. This is one of the most versatile and evocative installments in the whole series, standing shoulder to shoulder with greats like John Bennett and Mike Welham in delivering a place that puts referee-agenda and uses first, without compromising the integrity of a vision that is intelligent and compassionate.

This is an amazing place that will be used in a huge amount of different ways – they all, however, have one thing in common: They work and make this a phenomenal addition to a referee’s toolkit. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars. While the system neutral version still retains a truly evocative piece of writing, the needless limitation of the crunchy bits make this slightly weaker than the other iterations of the file.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Places of Power: Fort Vigil (SNE)
Click to show product description

Add to Flames Rising PDF Store Order

Creator Reply:
Thank you for the review, End. I'm delighted you enjoyed Fort Vigil as I think Amber did a cracking job!
Places of Power: The Last Resort
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/25/2018 05:38:59

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Places of Power-series clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

What is “Last Resort”? Well, picture a clutter of inns, held together by walls – in the middle of nowhere, it represents a collections of truly eclectic inns, a place that is in-between, in a way. Haven represents “ a little slice of haven”, with soothing music; the preserve, managed by Fenric Vogelsong (Vogel =bird, in German, fyi) sports an impossibly large interior, characterized by flora and fauna present, while the Diablo Inn offers all vices you could ask for. The ostensibly cursed (but hey, FREE!) Bleak House (nice nod to Dickens…), the chaotic Wherehouse that is rumored to allow for the finding of lost items…at a cost….you’ve probably guessed it by now.

In a way, the Last Resort represents a last resort for the desperate, sure, but it also is a purgatory of sorts, a neutral ground where the cosmic ideologies fight for the souls of stragglers, all under the auspice of an exceedingly potent, genderless wizard, Harlan Arbiton XVII – which reminded me of the foundation trilogy, obviously. Anyways the locale does contain Perdition’s Rift, a fissure in the planar fabric that has potent creatures emerge from it (great way to introduce odd beings!) – and 6 sample events are associated with this rift.

The 12 keyed locales all get brief lines of flavor text associated with them, and, as always, PCs that do their legwork can unearth rumors and lore pertaining the place. Notes on the surrounding area and the eclectic habits of the even more eclectic customers complement the write-up, and 6 whispers and rumors are provided. I was particularly smitten with the massive selection of 20 dressing entries for events regarding the place, which, thanks to the planar nature of the locale, are very diverse.

Speaking of diverse: This pdf follows the expanded formula of the newer Raging Swan Press offerings, meaning that we get tailor-made adventure-hooks for a wide variety of the different locations. What about a quest to get a lily straight from the abyss or a murder investigation, which certainly should be interesting in this place? With the chiefs of the inns being high-level beings, magic is pretty dominant, and the place actually does represent that in a few details, which can offer tangible benefits. Kudos for making this, also mechanically, a place of power!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no issues on a formal or rules-language level. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf sports really nice b/w-artworks and cartography. The pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for the printer and one optimized for screen-use. Kudos! Both pdfs are fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Mike Welham’s Last Resort is a pdf that, once I had realized what it was, made me groan a bit. The “microcosm of macrocosm” regarding alignment trope has been done before, and in a way, this collection of inns did feel a bit like Planescape-lite to me, at least in its theme. That being said, the actual execution of the trope is handled once more with the panache, subtle allusions and captivating prose that Mr. Welham always brings to the table. Moreover, the eye towards immediate usefulness at the table does make the Last Resort stand out – unlike similar solutions, it does not require a change of scenery, a big meta-setting or the like. This place could easily and seamlessly be slotted into just about any setting and environment, with the rift as an obvious way for the GM to eliminate it once more as soon as it has served its task. The captivating prose, eclectic and eccentric characters and the focus on making this as simple to use as possible, are what sets this apart. The fact that it also is slightly meatier than the often purely fluff-centric Places of Power adds to the appeal of this supplement.

So yeah, all in all, I heartily recommend this if you need an unobtrusive minor planar hub/means to get the PCs somewhere/way of introducing strange critters. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Places of Power: The Last Resort
Click to show product description

Add to Flames Rising PDF Store Order

Creator Reply:
Hooray! Thanks very much for the review, End. Glad you liked the Last Resort!
Hooray! Thanks very much for the review, End. Glad you liked the Last Resort!
Places of Power: The Last Resort (SNE)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/25/2018 05:37:18

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Places of Power-series clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

What is “Last Resort”? Well, picture a clutter of inns, held together by walls – in the middle of nowhere, it represents a collections of truly eclectic inns, a place that is in-between, in a way. Haven represents “ a little slice of haven”, with soothing music; the preserve, managed by Fenric Vogelsong (Vogel =bird, in German, fyi) sports an impossibly large interior, characterized by flora and fauna present, while the Diablo Inn offers all vices you could ask for. The ostensibly cursed (but hey, FREE!) Bleak House (nice nod to Dickens…), the chaotic Wherehouse that is rumored to allow for the finding of lost items…at a cost….you’ve probably guessed it by now.

In a way, the Last Resort represents a last resort for the desperate, sure, but it also is a purgatory of sorts, a neutral ground where the cosmic ideologies fight for the souls of stragglers, all under the auspice of an exceedingly potent, genderless wizard, Harlan Arbiton XVII – which reminded me of the foundation trilogy, obviously. Anyways the locale does contain Perdition’s Rift, a fissure in the planar fabric that has potent creatures emerge from it (great way to introduce odd beings!) – and 6 sample events are associated with this rift.

The 12 keyed locales all get brief lines of flavor text associated with them, and, as always, PCs that do their legwork can unearth rumors and lore pertaining the place. Notes on the surrounding area and the eclectic habits of the even more eclectic customers complement the write-up, and 6 whispers and rumors are provided. I was particularly smitten with the massive selection of 20 dressing entries for events regarding the place, which, thanks to the planar nature of the locale, are very diverse.

Speaking of diverse: This pdf follows the expanded formula of the newer Raging Swan Press offerings, meaning that we get tailor-made adventure-hooks for a wide variety of the different locations. What about a quest to get a lily straight from the abyss or a murder investigation, which certainly should be interesting in this place? With the chiefs of the inns being high-level beings, magic is pretty dominant, and the place actually does represent that in a few details, which can offer tangible benefits. In the system neutral version, it is obvious that these, much like everything else, is left closer to the preferences of the GM. Still, I couldn’t help but feel that this renders the pdf slightly less meaty.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no issues on a formal or rules-language level. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf sports really nice b/w-artworks and cartography. The pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for the printer and one optimized for screen-use. Kudos! Both pdfs are fully bookmarked for your convenience. References have been properly adjusted to reflect old-school terminology, i.e. “magic-user” instead of wizard, etc.

Mike Welham’s Last Resort is a pdf that, once I had realized what it was, made me groan a bit. The “microcosm of macrocosm” regarding alignment trope has been done before, and in a way, this collection of inns did feel a bit like Planescape-lite to me, at least in its theme. That being said, the actual execution of the trope is handled once more with the panache, subtle allusions and captivating prose that Mr. Welham always brings to the table. Moreover, the eye towards immediate usefulness at the table does make the Last Resort stand out – unlike similar solutions, it does not require a change of scenery, a big meta-setting or the like. This place could easily and seamlessly be slotted into just about any setting and environment, with the rift as an obvious way for the GM to eliminate it once more as soon as it has served its task. The captivating prose, eclectic and eccentric characters and the focus on making this as simple to use as possible, are what sets this apart. The fact that it also is slightly meatier than the often purely fluff-centric Places of Power adds to the appeal of this supplement.

So yeah, all in all, I heartily recommend this if you need an unobtrusive minor planar hub/means to get the PCs somewhere/way of introducing strange critters. Now, relevant for old-school groups that play a bit closer to the gritty edge of the spectrum, would be the note that this is very much high fantasy, if the summary did not drive that home. That’s not a bad thing in itself, and personally, I do enjoy this – but if your gaming world is rather low-key, then you should be cognizant of this very much being planar in power-level and scope implied for the respective innkeepers. All in all, I do consider this to be a very good system neutral version, one that only leaves me with cosmetic complaints in direct comparison to the other versions, which is why my review will clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Places of Power: The Last Resort (SNE)
Click to show product description

Add to Flames Rising PDF Store Order

Creator Reply:
Hooray! Thanks very much for the review, End. Glad you liked the Last Resort!
Places of Power: The Last Resort (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/25/2018 05:35:43

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Places of Power-series clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

What is “Last Resort”? Well, picture a clutter of inns, held together by walls – in the middle of nowhere, it represents a collections of truly eclectic inns, a place that is in-between, in a way. Haven represents “ a little slice of haven”, with soothing music; the preserve, managed by Fenric Vogelsong (Vogel =bird, in German, fyi) sports an impossibly large interior, characterized by flora and fauna present, while the Diablo Inn offers all vices you could ask for. The ostensibly cursed (but hey, FREE!) Bleak House (nice nod to Dickens…), the chaotic Wherehouse that is rumored to allow for the finding of lost items…at a cost….you’ve probably guessed it by now.

In a way, the Last Resort represents a last resort for the desperate, sure, but it also is a purgatory of sorts, a neutral ground where the cosmic ideologies fight for the souls of stragglers, all under the auspice of an exceedingly potent, genderless wizard, Harlan Arbiton XVII – which reminded me of the foundation trilogy, obviously. Anyways the locale does contain Perdition’s Rift, a fissure in the planar fabric that has potent creatures emerge from it (great way to introduce odd beings!) – and 6 sample events are associated with this rift.

The 12 keyed locales all get brief lines of flavor text associated with them, and, as always, PCs that do their legwork can unearth rumors and lore pertaining the place. Notes on the surrounding area and the eclectic habits of the even more eclectic customers complement the write-up, and 6 whispers and rumors are provided. I was particularly smitten with the massive selection of 20 dressing entries for events regarding the place, which, thanks to the planar nature of the locale, are very diverse.

Speaking of diverse: This pdf follows the expanded formula of the newer Raging Swan Press offerings, meaning that we get tailor-made adventure-hooks for a wide variety of the different locations. What about a quest to get a lily straight from the abyss or a murder investigation, which certainly should be interesting in this place? With the chiefs of the inns being high-level beings, magic is pretty dominant, and the place actually does represent that in a few details, which can offer tangible benefits. In a minor complaint, I did notice one reference to a skill check that should be Insight only codified as Wisdom, so that aspect could be slightly tighter, though, as a whole, rules language has been properly converted.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious issues on a formal or rules-language level. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf sports really nice b/w-artworks and cartography. The pdf comes in two versions, one optimized for the printer and one optimized for screen-use. Kudos! Both pdfs are fully bookmarked for your convenience. NPCs noted refer to the proper default statblocks in a couple of cases; a few others require you to do the statting, though.

Mike Welham’s Last Resort is a pdf that, once I had realized what it was, made me groan a bit. The “microcosm of macrocosm” regarding alignment trope has been done before, and in a way, this collection of inns did feel a bit like Planescape-lite to me, at least in its theme. That being said, the actual execution of the trope is handled once more with the panache, subtle allusions and captivating prose that Mr. Welham always brings to the table. Moreover, the eye towards immediate usefulness at the table does make the Last Resort stand out – unlike similar solutions, it does not require a change of scenery, a big meta-setting or the like. This place could easily and seamlessly be slotted into just about any setting and environment, with the rift as an obvious way for the Gm to eliminate it once more as soon as it has served its task. The captivating prose, eclectic and eccentric characters and the focus on making this as simple to use as possible, are what sets this apart. The fact that it also is slightly meatier than the often purely fluff-centric Places of Power adds to the appeal of this supplement, even though, more so than the PFRPG-version, it somewhat suffers from 5e simply not having as big a cadre of sample statblocks to refer to. In an ideal world, this would come with its own NPC-codex, but this is a system-immanent issue and not the fault of the pdf.

So yeah, all in all, I heartily recommend this if you need an unobtrusive minor planar hub/means to get the PCs somewhere/way of introducing strange critters. The 5e-version is a solid take on the concept, with my final verdict clocking in at 4.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Places of Power: The Last Resort (5e)
Click to show product description

Add to Flames Rising PDF Store Order

Places of Power: Khla'Akear
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/19/2018 08:32:47

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Places of Power-series clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, what’s this Khla’Akear? Well, nowadays, this holy stupa is also known as the monastery of the Yellow Dawn; as the pdf specifies in the page depicting the vicinity (including a glorious, original b/w-artwork of the place), it is situated on a bend in a long, tranquil river that traverses its path through a fertile valley. Small settlements dot the surrounding area, and it is said that the region is home to numerous lesser known deities and spirits of the land, lending the place a somewhat quasi-asian theme. To the east, a hostile jungle looms, while the west is guarded by a massive mountain range…but all of that is just tangential to the rather interesting concept of this locale.

As always in the series, we get a brief summary in the beginning, including a selection of 6 whispers and rumors and notes on local dressing habits. The pdf also rewards PCs that do their legwork, providing some lore on the location for those players that value knowing what the PCs get into. On the GM’s side of things, we receive a bit of advice on how to incorporate the location in your game.

Now, if the mere mentioning of “Yellow” ´generated Hastur-associations for you, you’d be thankfully wrong this time around, for the concept of this place is more interesting: You see, this monastery was once the palace of a clan of dread rakshasa, who have been subsequently vanquished and imprisoned in the stupa, removed from the cycle of reincarnation. More importantly, the thus imprisoned evil entities have since been forced to lend their powers to the monks, with the Yellow Dawn adherents healing the damage the horrible beings wrought.

If you’re like me, you’ll notice immediately the interesting moral potential here: Is it okay to basically torment an evil soul in order to do good? If these souls have been removed from the circle of reincarnation, is such an imprisonment in accordance with the will of the gods? If so, where do you draw the line. This supplement, in short, poses an intriguing moral conundrum.

Now, this is part of Raging Swan Press’ evolved formula regarding presentation: This means that we get a whole, massive table of 20 entries of dressing and events to enhance the game and kick things up a notch; this renders the place much more alive than it otherwise would be, particularly since the supplement also explains local customs and laws. Each of the 6 different, keyed locations come with a brief sentence of read-aloud text, and there are “What’s going on?”-entries for the majority of these. Here, we find realized adventure hooks for the GM to employ, and to add further use, two of these locations also receive their own event tables, both of which are 6 entries strong.

In the tradition of Raging Swan Press, we also get write-ups for a variety of NPCs, but said write-ups do not feature stats, instead noting distinguishing features, mannerisms, etc. This time around, we get no less than 6 interesting persons. Cool: Some actually have mechanical repercussions!! The PFRPG-version does come with a nice marketplace section, but alas, lacks any rules for the tapping into souls practiced here.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no serious hiccups on a formal or rules-language level. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ two-column b/w-standard and the pdf sports both really nice b/w-artwork and a high-quality map by Maciej Zagorski. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and in two versions – one optimized for screen-use and one optimized for the printer.

John Bennett is one of the authors out there who should get a lot more opportunities to write: His prose is inspiring, and he knows how to create a flavorful atmosphere in a concise manner. This place is no different, sporting a truly intriguing and smart premise that every Gm worth their salt can develop into a truly remarkable place to visit. On the fluff-side, this is amazing.

However, at the same time, I couldn’t help but feel like Raging Swan Press’ general low-crunch aesthetics hurt this place. I mean, come on, tapping into rakshasa-souls? That’s awesome, and it should have proper mechanical representations. Special casting tricks, a unique fighting style – this type of thing begs for mechanical realization, something the pdf does not provide. The series has a really high level, and, let me make that abundantly clear, what’s here is great. However, the pdf still left me with a feeling of unrealized potential, at least for the PFRPG-version. My final verdict will hence clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Places of Power: Khla'Akear
Click to show product description

Add to Flames Rising PDF Store Order

Creator Reply:
Thanks very much, Thilo for your thoughts. I much appreciate the review!
Places of Power: Khla'Akear (SNE)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/19/2018 08:30:33

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Places of Power-series clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, what’s this Khla’Akear? Well, nowadays, this holy stupa is also known as the monastery of the Yellow Dawn; as the pdf specifies in the page depicting the vicinity (including a glorious, original b/w-artwork of the place), it is situated on a bend in a long, tranquil river that traverses its path through a fertile valley. Small settlements dot the surrounding area, and it is said that the region is home to numerous lesser known deities and spirits of the land, lending the place a somewhat quasi-asian theme. To the east, a hostile jungle looms, while the west is guarded by a massive mountain range…but all of that is just tangential to the rather interesting concept of this locale.

As always in the series, we get a brief summary in the beginning, including a selection of 6 whispers and rumors and notes on local dressing habits. The pdf also rewards PCs that do their legwork, providing some lore on the location for those players that value knowing what the PCs get into. On the referee’s side of things, we receive a bit of advice on how to incorporate the location in your game.

Now, if the mere mentioning of “Yellow” ´generated Hastur-associations for you, you’d be thankfully wrong this time around, for the concept of this place is more interesting: You see, this monastery was once the palace of a clan of dread rakshasa, who have been subsequently vanquished and imprisoned in the stupa, removed from the cycle of reincarnation. More importantly, the thus imprisoned evil entities have since been forced to lend their powers to the monks, with the Yellow Dawn adherents healing the damage the horrible beings wrought.

If you’re like me, you’ll notice immediately the interesting moral potential here: Is it okay to basically torment an evil soul in order to do good? If these souls have been removed from the circle of reincarnation, is such an imprisonment in accordance with the will of the gods? If so, where do you draw the line. This supplement, in short, poses an intriguing moral conundrum.

Now, this is part of Raging Swan Press’ evolved formula regarding presentation: This means that we get a whole, massive table of 20 entries of dressing and events to enhance the game and kick things up a notch; this renders the place much more alive than it otherwise would be, particularly since the supplement also explains local customs and laws. Each of the 6 different, keyed locations come with a brief sentence of read-aloud text, and there are “What’s going on?”-entries for the majority of these. Here, we find realized adventure hooks for the referee to employ, and to add further use, two of these locations also receive their own event tables, both of which are 6 entries strong.

In the tradition of Raging Swan Press, we also get write-ups for a variety of NPCs, with class-references adjusted to old-school classes, but said write-ups do not feature stats, instead noting distinguishing features, mannerisms, etc. This time around, we get no less than 6 interesting persons. Cool: Some actually have mechanical repercussions!! The system neutral-version does come with a nice marketplace section that has been adjusted to account for the different realities of old-school gaming, but alas, lacks any rules for the tapping into souls practiced here. This being the system neutral version, I won’t hold that against the pdf.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no serious hiccups on a formal or rules-language level. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ two-column b/w-standard and the pdf sports both really nice b/w-artwork and a high-quality map by Maciej Zagorski. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and in two versions – one optimized for screen-use and one optimized for the printer.

John Bennett is one of the authors out there who should get a lot more opportunities to write: His prose is inspiring, and he knows how to create a flavorful atmosphere in a concise manner. This place is no different, sporting a truly intriguing and smart premise that every referee worth their salt can develop into a truly remarkable place to visit. On the fluff-side, this is amazing.

In contrast to the PFRPG and 5e-versions, it would not be fair to complain about a lack of rules for the tapping into the souls of the fiends within, and neither would it be fair to hold the lack of unique martial tricks against this. As such, I am left with a supplement that is frankly inspired and nothing to complain about – hence, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Places of Power: Khla'Akear (SNE)
Click to show product description

Add to Flames Rising PDF Store Order

Creator Reply:
Thanks very much, Thilo for your thoughts. I much appreciate the review! Glad you enjoyed the System Neutral Edition version!
Places of Power: Khla'Akear (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/19/2018 08:29:46

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Places of Power-series clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, what’s this Khla’Akear? Well, nowadays, this holy stupa is also known as the monastery of the Yellow Dawn; as the pdf specifies in the page depicting the vicinity (including a glorious, original b/w-artwork of the place), it is situated on a bend in a long, tranquil river that traverses its path through a fertile valley. Small settlements dot the surrounding area, and it is said that the region is home to numerous lesser known deities and spirits of the land, lending the place a somewhat quasi-asian theme. To the east, a hostile jungle looms, while the west is guarded by a massive mountain range…but all of that is just tangential to the rather interesting concept of this locale.

As always in the series, we get a brief summary in the beginning, including a selection of 6 whispers and rumors and notes on local dressing habits. The pdf also rewards PCs that do their legwork, providing some lore on the location for those players that value knowing what the PCs get into. On the GM’s side of things, we receive a bit of advice on how to incorporate the location in your game.

Now, if the mere mentioning of “Yellow” ´generated Hastur-associations for you, you’d be thankfully wrong this time around, for the concept of this place is more interesting: You see, this monastery was once the palace of a clan of dread rakshasa, who have been subsequently vanquished and imprisoned in the stupa, removed from the cycle of reincarnation. More importantly, the thus imprisoned evil entities have since been forced to lend their powers to the monks, with the Yellow Dawn adherents healing the damage the horrible beings wrought.

If you’re like me, you’ll notice immediately the interesting moral potential here: Is it okay to basically torment an evil soul in order to do good? If these souls have been removed from the circle of reincarnation, is such an imprisonment in accordance with the will of the gods? If so, where do you draw the line. This supplement, in short, poses an intriguing moral conundrum.

Now, this is part of Raging Swan Press’ evolved formula regarding presentation: This means that we get a whole, massive table of 20 entries of dressing and events to enhance the game and kick things up a notch; this renders the place much more alive than it otherwise would be, particularly since the supplement also explains local customs and laws. Each of the 6 different, keyed locations come with a brief sentence of read-aloud text, and there are “What’s going on?”-entries for the majority of these. Here, we find realized adventure hooks for the GM to employ, and to add further use, two of these locations also receive their own event tables, both of which are 6 entries strong.

In the tradition of Raging Swan Press, we also get write-ups for a variety of NPCs, but said write-ups do not feature stats, instead noting distinguishing features, mannerisms, etc. This time around, we get no less than 6 interesting persons. Cool: Some actually have mechanical repercussions that have been properly adjusted to account for 5e’s mechanics!! The 5e-version does come with a nice, modified marketplace section, but alas, lacks any rules for the tapping into souls practiced here.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no serious hiccups on a formal or rules-language level. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ two-column b/w-standard and the pdf sports both really nice b/w-artwork and a high-quality map by Maciej Zagorski. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and in two versions – one optimized for screen-use and one optimized for the printer.

John Bennett is one of the authors out there who should get a lot more opportunities to write: His prose is inspiring, and he knows how to create a flavorful atmosphere in a concise manner. This place is no different, sporting a truly intriguing and smart premise that every Gm worth their salt can develop into a truly remarkable place to visit. On the fluff-side, this is amazing.

However, at the same time, I couldn’t help but feel like Raging Swan Press’ general low-crunch aesthetics hurt this place. I mean, come on, tapping into rakshasa-souls? That’s awesome, and it should have proper mechanical representations. Special casting tricks, a unique fighting style – this type of thing begs for mechanical realization, something the pdf does not provide. The series has a really high level, and, let me make that abundantly clear, what’s here is great. However, the pdf still left me with a feeling of unrealized potential, at least for the 5e-version. My final verdict will hence clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Places of Power: Khla'Akear (5e)
Click to show product description

Add to Flames Rising PDF Store Order

Creator Reply:
Thanks very much, Thilo for your thoughts. I much appreciate the review!
Places of Power: Tibol-Korrin
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/31/2018 11:07:20

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Raging Swan Press‘ classic Places of Power-series clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Now, the name “Tibol-Korrin” did evoke an expectation of elven settlements for me, perhaps due to being close to the Tiri Kitor of Red Hand of Doom in the melody of the word; however, Tibol-Korrin is something else. It’s something genius that I haven’t seen done in any comparable supplement. This place is a strait, important for seafaring merchants, as it is one of the few ways to access the landlocked baronies of Tibol and Korrin in a relatively safe manner. As is the wont with channels and straits like this, there is a lot of gold to be hand, and as such, it should come as no surprise that, sooner rather than later, violence erupted. Indeed, as the PCs visit this place, relationships between the baronies are stressed, to say the least. Officially, the baronies are in a state of war after disputes over tariffs…but, unlike what we’d expect, the strait is actually open! Yeah, I know, right? We all kinda expected that to be the task of the PCs here, but it’s not!

You see, a combination of economic necessity (wars are expensive) and burgeoning romance between two commanders has managed to put the place into what amounts to a fragile equilibrium that may well pave the round to peace…or escalate once more. On the Tibol side, the strait only sports a single permanent structure, Fort Teggin, whereas on the Korrin side, Korrin bastion looms, with both sporting towers with spyglasses and fire pits, mirroring ancient lighthouses. As an aside: I really like that these are firepit-based. It adds a gritty, grimier, medieval/antique feel to the place.

Now, as always, there are quite a few crunchy bits spliced into the description of this place. We get a brief section on local lore for PCs that do their legwork, notes on local dressing habits and nomenclature, as well as 6 different whispers and rumors for the PCs to unearth. The PFRPG-version sports a sensible marketplace of goods to purchase. The pdf also provides some suggestions on how to best use this.

Now, if the big picture situation on its own were not interesting enough, the pdf also provides detailed fluff-only write-ups for the romantically-involved commanders that have bridged the gap between baronies, of sorts at least. There is more to note here. A mad hermit has his own cove here, and while indeed insane, he once was an extremely potent spellcaster, driven mad by apocalyptic visions. Nowadays, the hermit (who also gets a detailed write-up) considers himself to be the guardian, someone to stem the tide of darkness to come. Indeed, a subtle chthonic leitmotif can be found here and there in the supplement. The keyed locations sport read-aloud text and adventure hooks, both of which are utterly inspired. For example, a local diver is paranoid about a discovery he made. Beneath the waves, there are two jade fortresses, mirroring those atop the sheer cliffs…but what’s their significance? That is excellence, right there.

The pdf does more. It describes the vicinity of the strait in detail, and comes with a massive 20-entry global hook-list of dressings and events to bring the place to life. A rare fruit is watching hereabouts, nourishing and conveniently spiny, making for nice improvised weapons. A catapult remains peacebound for now…and amid gorgeous coves, the place where lovers jumped into the waves, ostensibly becoming merfolk, remains – legend, superstition, or dire foreshadowing? Beyond the global dressing/events table, we also get two localized event tables, both 6 entries strong, for two of the keyed locations.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to an elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf sports gorgeous b/w-artwork I haven’t seen before. The b/w-cartography by Maciej Zagorski is great and the pdf comes in two different versions, one optimized for screen-use and one made for the printer. The pdfs come fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Mike Welham’s name on a roleplaying supplement is a pretty good indicator that you’ll receive something that is AT LEAST good, quite probably excellent. Tibol-Korrin belongs firmly in the latter category. Beyond the already intriguing basic set-up, the book goes one step beyond, time and again. We have a personal level; we have the potential for horror, for tragedy, for war, for peace. This supplement manages to marry a sort of melancholia inherent in the geography and situation, with an after-war world-weariness that is sharply contrasted with the presence of clear peace-indicators and the joys of burgeoning love. We add a sprinkle of sword & sorcery, a dash of what may be a fairy tale or a gothic tale of woe and tragedy, and have a location that manages to serve a vast variety of functions in your game. It should be seen as testament to his talent that the author managed to construct this place in a way that makes it possible to employ all these disparate elements at once and even brew them into a concise whole, all without making the place feel disjointed or artificial.

In short, this is an absolutely inspiring, glorious supplement that oozes flavor from each word, an exercise in super storytelling. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Places of Power: Tibol-Korrin
Click to show product description

Add to Flames Rising PDF Store Order

Creator Reply:
I'm delighted you enjoyed this book so much, Thilo. Thank you for the review!
Places of Power: Tibol-Korrin (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/31/2018 11:05:38

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Raging Swan Press‘ classic Places of Power-series clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Now, the name “Tibol-Korrin” did evoke an expectation of elven settlements for me, perhaps due to being close to the Tiri Kitor of Red Hand of Doom in the melody of the word; however, Tibol-Korrin is something else. It’s something genius that I haven’t seen done in any comparable supplement. This place is a strait, important for seafaring merchants, as it is one of the few ways to access the landlocked baronies of Tibol and Korrin in a relatively safe manner. As is the wont with channels and straits like this, there is a lot of gold to be hand, and as such, it should come as no surprise that, sooner rather than later, violence erupted. Indeed, as the PCs visit this place, relationships between the baronies are stressed, to say the least. Officially, the baronies are in a state of war after disputes over tariffs…but, unlike what we’d expect, the strait is actually open! Yeah, I know, right? We all kinda expected that to be the task of the PCs here, but it’s not!

You see, a combination of economic necessity (wars are expensive) and burgeoning romance between two commanders has managed to put the place into what amounts to a fragile equilibrium that may well pave the round to peace…or escalate once more. On the Tibol side, the strait only sports a single permanent structure, Fort Teggin, whereas on the Korrin side, Korrin bastion looms, with both sporting towers with spyglasses and fire pits, mirroring ancient lighthouses. As an aside: I really like that these are firepit-based. It adds a gritty, grimier, medieval/antique feel to the place.

Now, as always, there are quite a few crunchy bits spliced into the description of this place. We get a brief section on local lore for PCs that do their legwork, notes on local dressing habits and nomenclature, as well as 6 different whispers and rumors for the PCs to unearth. The 5e-version sports a sensible marketplace of goods to purchase, properly adjusted for 5e’s realities. The pdf also provides some suggestions on how to best use this.

Now, if the big picture situation on its own were not interesting enough, the pdf also provides detailed fluff-only write-ups for the romantically-involved commanders that have bridged the gap between baronies, of sorts at least. There is more to note here. A mad hermit has his own cove here, and while indeed insane, he once was an extremely potent spellcaster, driven mad by apocalyptic visions. Nowadays, the hermit (who also gets a detailed write-up; at this point, it should be noted that 5e-references to default stats have been implemented in a concise manner) considers himself to be the guardian, someone to stem the tide of darkness to come. Indeed, a subtle chthonic leitmotif can be found here and there in the supplement. The keyed locations sport read-aloud text and adventure hooks, both of which are utterly inspired. For example, a local diver is paranoid about a discovery he made. Beneath the waves, there are two jade fortresses, mirroring those atop the sheer cliffs…but what’s their significance? That is excellence, right there.

The pdf does more. It describes the vicinity of the strait in detail, and comes with a massive 20-entry global hook-list of dressings and events to bring the place to life. A rare fruit is watching hereabouts, nourishing and conveniently spiny, making for nice improvised weapons. A catapult remains peacebound for now…and amid gorgeous coves, the place where lovers jumped into the waves, ostensibly becoming merfolk, remains – legend, superstition, or dire foreshadowing? Beyond the global dressing/events table, we also get two localized event tables, both 6 entries strong, for two of the keyed locations.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to an elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf sports gorgeous b/w-artwork I haven’t seen before. The b/w-cartography by Maciej Zagorski is great and the pdf comes in two different versions, one optimized for screen-use and one made for the printer. The pdfs come fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Mike Welham’s name on a roleplaying supplement is a pretty good indicator that you’ll receive something that is AT LEAST good, quite probably excellent. Tibol-Korrin belongs firmly in the latter category. Beyond the already intriguing basic set-up, the book goes one step beyond, time and again. We have a personal level; we have the potential for horror, for tragedy, for war, for peace. This supplement manages to marry a sort of melancholia inherent in the geography and situation, with an after-war world-weariness that is sharply contrasted with the presence of clear peace-indicators and the joys of burgeoning love. We add a sprinkle of sword & sorcery, a dash of what may be a fairy tale or a gothic tale of woe and tragedy, and have a location that manages to serve a vast variety of functions in your game. It should be seen as testament to his talent that the author managed to construct this place in a way that makes it possible to employ all these disparate elements at once and even brew them into a concise whole, all without making the place feel disjointed or artificial. The 5e-version does not lose any of the small tidbits of crunch interspersed throughout the PFRPG-version, making it a detailed and worthwhile conversion.

In short, this is an absolutely inspiring, glorious supplement that oozes flavor from each word, an exercise in super storytelling. The conversion to 5e has been handled with care and attention to detail. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Places of Power: Tibol-Korrin (5e)
Click to show product description

Add to Flames Rising PDF Store Order

Creator Reply:
I'm delighted you enjoyed this book so much, Thilo. Thank you for the review!
Places of Power: Tibol-Korrin (SNE)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/31/2018 11:05:05

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Raging Swan Press‘ classic Places of Power-series clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Now, the name “Tibol-Korrin” did evoke an expectation of elven settlements for me, perhaps due to being close to the Tiri Kitor of Red Hand of Doom in the melody of the word; however, Tibol-Korrin is something else. It’s something genius that I haven’t seen done in any comparable supplement. This place is a strait, important for seafaring merchants, as it is one of the few ways to access the landlocked baronies of Tibol and Korrin in a relatively safe manner. As is the wont with channels and straits like this, there is a lot of gold to be hand, and as such, it should come as no surprise that, sooner rather than later, violence erupted. Indeed, as the PCs visit this place, relationships between the baronies are stressed, to say the least. Officially, the baronies are in a state of war after disputes over tariffs…but, unlike what we’d expect, the strait is actually open! Yeah, I know, right? We all kinda expected that to be the task of the PCs here, but it’s not!

You see, a combination of economic necessity (wars are expensive) and burgeoning romance between two commanders has managed to put the place into what amounts to a fragile equilibrium that may well pave the round to peace…or escalate once more. On the Tibol side, the strait only sports a single permanent structure, Fort Teggin, whereas on the Korrin side, Korrin bastion looms, with both sporting towers with spyglasses and fire pits, mirroring ancient lighthouses. As an aside: I really like that these are firepit-based. It adds a gritty, grimier, medieval/antique feel to the place.

Now, as always, there are quite a few crunchy bits spliced into the description of this place. We get a brief section on local lore for PCs that do their legwork, notes on local dressing habits and nomenclature, as well as 6 different whispers and rumors for the PCs to unearth. The system neutral version sports a sensible marketplace of goods to purchase, adjusted to the realities of old-school gaming. The pdf also provides some suggestions on how to best use this.

Now, if the big picture situation on its own were not interesting enough, the pdf also provides detailed fluff-only write-ups for the romantically-involved commanders that have bridged the gap between baronies, of sorts at least. There is more to note here. A mad hermit has his own cove here, and while indeed insane, he once was an extremely potent spellcaster, driven mad by apocalyptic visions. Nowadays, the hermit (who also gets a detailed write-up; class references have been adjusted to reference old-school classes) considers himself to be the guardian, someone to stem the tide of darkness to come. Indeed, a subtle chthonic leitmotif can be found here and there in the supplement. The keyed locations sport read-aloud text and adventure hooks, both of which are utterly inspired. For example, a local diver is paranoid about a discovery he made. Beneath the waves, there are two jade fortresses, mirroring those atop the sheer cliffs…but what’s their significance? That is excellence, right there.

The pdf does more. It describes the vicinity of the strait in detail, and comes with a massive 20-entry global hook-list of dressings and events to bring the place to life. A rare fruit is watching hereabouts, nourishing and conveniently spiny, making for nice improvised weapons. A catapult remains peacebound for now…and amid gorgeous coves, the place where lovers jumped into the waves, ostensibly becoming merfolk, remains – legend, superstition, or dire foreshadowing? Beyond the global dressing/events table, we also get two localized event tables, both 6 entries strong, for two of the keyed locations.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to an elegant two-column b/w-standard and the pdf sports gorgeous b/w-artwork I haven’t seen before. The b/w-cartography by Maciej Zagorski is great and the pdf comes in two different versions, one optimized for screen-use and one made for the printer. The pdfs come fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Mike Welham’s name on a roleplaying supplement is a pretty good indicator that you’ll receive something that is AT LEAST good, quite probably excellent. Tibol-Korrin belongs firmly in the latter category. Beyond the already intriguing basic set-up, the book goes one step beyond, time and again. We have a personal level; we have the potential for horror, for tragedy, for war, for peace. This supplement manages to marry a sort of melancholia inherent in the geography and situation, with an after-war world-weariness that is sharply contrasted with the presence of clear peace-indicators and the joys of burgeoning love. We add a sprinkle of sword & sorcery, a dash of what may be a fairy tale or a gothic tale of woe and tragedy, and have a location that manages to serve a vast variety of functions in your game. It should be seen as testament to his talent that the author managed to construct this place in a way that makes it possible to employ all these disparate elements at once and even brew them into a concise whole, all without making the place feel disjointed or artificial.

In short, this is an absolutely inspiring, glorious supplement that oozes flavor from each word, an exercise in super storytelling. The system neutral version, surprisingly, does not lose any of the small, compelling details and minor injections of rules material that made the other two versions work so well. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Places of Power: Tibol-Korrin (SNE)
Click to show product description

Add to Flames Rising PDF Store Order

Creator Reply:
I'm delighted you enjoyed this book so much, Thilo. Thank you for the review!
Places of Power: Forgotten Athenaeum (SNE)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/01/2018 12:36:47

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Places of Power-series clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, what is the forgotten athenaeum? It is a lost place of research, of knowledge – when the peaceful kingdom of Tirinos was besieged by the Venovian empire, this massive library was secluded in the astral plane to hide it from the fanatic assailants, who seemed to be following the old adage of every few centuries requiring the burning of Alexandria’s library. (Metaphorically speaking – the supplement does not presume a pseudo-historical background.)

An interesting facet of this exile is obvious to anyone who starts to think about it: The place makes for a great place to store heretical texts, forbidden and obscure knowledge and the like – whatever the powers-that-be want purged from records, Erasmus the bibliognost may intervene to procure and conserve the knowledge. This, obviously, means that this place makes for an excellent destination for PCs, are we all know how likely it is that they will need notes on unintentionally unleashed doomsday devices, magical diseases, planar configurations, etc.

As such, the knowledge pertaining the place is relatively obscure, something that should be borne in mind by referees, and the librarians that maintain the place are a relatively eclectic lot, unified by dressing habits and appearances, in spite of their diverse worlds and planes of origin. This is as well a place as any to note that the classes referenced have been properly adjusted to reflect the preferred designations of old-school gamers: Magis-users, thieves, etc. can be found in these classes referenced. The supplement details the daily proceedings in the athenaeum, painting a concise picture of daily life and circumstances, as well as on how to get PCs actually to it, how these beings are introduced to the place, etc.

As always with Raging Swan Press’ supplements, the pdf does contain 6 whispers and rumors and 6 sample events to kick off adventuring, though it should be noted that, in this instance, they are applied globally to the athenaeum, not to the individual keyed locations, of which there are 12, many of which provide their own angles as well, though they are not explicitly noted as hooks. The respective keyed locales do not have read-aloud text provided for them. The place btw. also includes a rather impressive, eternal garden…which is a fragile treasure, since the plane’s timelessness does prevent regrowth of new plants, fruits, flowers, etc. As an aside, this, to me, makes the garden utterly creepy.

The astute reader will notice a few peculiarities here: One, the existence of the two cultures is thankfully, courtesy of the planar angle, not required to use this pdf. This is SMART, since jamming two cultures into the lore of a given campaign setting, just so the background checks out, is something I hate. The astute reader will also have noticed that the Astral Plane chosen as the location is timeless – and indeed, the pdf actually integrates this component into lore and structure of the place of power, which is a pretty big plus – so far, so nice!

Now, this being the system neutral version, I obviously have nothing regarding research-mechanics to complain about. The pdf is also careful to make sure that references to spells have been properly adjusted to refer to the respective, classic monikers, so yeah – well done.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious hiccups. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard and the pdf sports a few neat b/w-artworks. The cartography by Dyson Logos is nice and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. It also comes in 2 versions, with one optimized for screen-use and one optimized for the printing process. Kudos!

Richard Green makes clever use of the planar properties of the astral plane for this refuge of uncomfortable truths and heresies. The place is clever, easy to integrate into a given campaign, and while I slightly bemoan how much text is spent on its genesis, I can see the necessity. This place, in short, is a really cool sidetrek/goal-destination that can make PCs enter an otherwise unrelated dungeon: There’s an entry there, go! Easy angle to implement. So yeah, this aspect is rather cool. The system neutral version of this place, to me, is the best one – both PFRPG and 5e-versions, to one degree or another, offer only a very simplistic benefit for consulting the library, which may feel anticlimactic. Since this version eschews mechanics for the like, it is also, ultimately, the version against which I can field no viable gripes. The conversion is solid and thorough, and thus, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars for this iteration.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Places of Power: Forgotten Athenaeum (SNE)
Click to show product description

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Creator Reply:
Epic! Thank you very much for your review, Endzeitgeist! I much appreciate the time and effort. Glad you enjoyed Forgotten Athenaeum!
Places of Power: Forgotten Athenaeum (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/01/2018 12:34:46

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Places of Power-series clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, what is the forgotten athenaeum? It is a lost place of research, of knowledge – when the peaceful kingdom of Tirinos was besieged by the Venovian empire, this massive library was secluded in the astral plane to hide it from the fanatic assailants, who seemed to be following the old adage of every few centuries requiring the burning of Alexandria’s library. (Metaphorically speaking – the supplement does not presume a pseudo-historical background.)

An interesting facet of this exile is obvious to anyone who starts to think about it: The place makes for a great place to store heretical texts, forbidden and obscure knowledge and the like – whatever the powers-that-be want purged from records, Erasmus the bibliognost may intervene to procure and conserve the knowledge. This, obviously, means that this place makes for an excellent destination for PCs, are we all know how likely it is that they will need notes on unintentionally unleashed doomsday devices, magical diseases, planar configurations, etc.

As such, the knowledge pertaining the place is relatively obscure, particularly in 5e – the lore-DCs are pretty damn high, which, in this case, is a good thing as far as I’m concerned. The librarians that maintain the place are a relatively eclectic lot, unified by dressing habits and appearances, in spite of their diverse worlds and planes of origin. The supplement details the daily proceedings in the athenaeum, painting a concise picture of daily life and circumstances, as well as on how to get PCs actually to it, how these beings are introduced to the place, etc.

As always with Raging Swan Press’ supplements, the pdf does contain 6 whispers and rumors and 6 sample events to kick off adventuring, though it should be noted that, in this instance, they are applied globally to the athenaeum, not to the individual keyed locations, of which there are 12, many of which provide their own angles as well, though they are not explicitly noted as hooks. The respective keyed locales do not have read-aloud text provided for them. The place btw. also includes a rather impressive, eternal garden…which is a fragile treasure, since the plane’s timelessness does prevent regrowth of new plants, fruits, flowers, etc. As an aside, this, to me, makes the garden utterly creepy.

The astute reader will notice a few peculiarities here: One, the existence of the two cultures is thankfully, courtesy of the planar angle, not required to use this pdf. This is SMART, since jamming two cultures into the lore of a given campaign setting, just so the background checks out, is something I hate. The astute reader will also have noticed that the Astral Plane chosen as the location is timeless – and indeed, the pdf actually integrates this component into lore and structure of the place of power, which is a pretty big plus – so far, so nice!

In the 5e-version, the research bonuses conveyed by the library are translated into Intelligence checks made at advantage, with +2 to the check if the knowledge sought is banned/heretical. I’m good with that, though I wished that the rules specified how this interacts with features that already net a character advantage on such a check. References to NPCs have been redesigned properly to point towards the respective default NPC-stats 5e employs.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious hiccups. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard and the pdf sports a few neat b/w-artworks. The cartography by Dyson Logos is nice and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. It also comes in 2 versions, with one optimized for screen-use and one optimized for the printing process. Kudos!

Richard Green makes clever use of the planar properties of the astral plane for this refuge of uncomfortable truths and heresies. The place is clever, easy to integrate into a given campaign, and while I slightly bemoan how much text is spent on its genesis, I can see the necessity. This place, in short, is a really cool sidetrek/goal-destination that can make PCs enter an otherwise unrelated dungeon: There’s an entry there, go! Easy angle to implement. So yeah, this aspect is rather cool. The 5e version of this supplement works smoother than the PFRPG-iteration, courtesy of the lack of a unified research rules-array in 5e. That being said, if you’re REALLY stingy about 5e’s peculiarities, you may object to a druid having an owl animal companion, for example – this is only mentioned in the flavor text, but yeah. Some of you may object to that. All in all, I consider the 5e-version to be slightly stronger than the PFRPG version, which is why my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Places of Power: Forgotten Athenaeum (5e)
Click to show product description

Add to Flames Rising PDF Store Order

Creator Reply:
Epic! Thank you very much for your review, Endzeitgeist! I much appreciate the time and effort. Glad you enjoyed Forgotten Athenaeum!
Places of Power: Forgotten Athenaeum
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/01/2018 12:32:47

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Places of Power-series clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, what is the forgotten athenaeum? It is a lost place of research, of knowledge – when the peaceful kingdom of Tirinos was besieged by the Venovian empire, this massive library was secluded in the astral plane to hide it from the fanatic assailants, who seemed to be following the old adage of every few centuries requiring the burning of Alexandria’s library. (Metaphorically speaking – the supplement does not presume a pseudo-historical background.)

An interesting facet of this exile is obvious to anyone who starts to think about it: The place makes for a great place to store heretical texts, forbidden and obscure knowledge and the like – whatever the powers-that-be want purged from records, Erasmus the bibliognost may intervene to procure and conserve the knowledge. This, obviously, means that this place makes for an excellent destination for PCs, are we all know how likely it is that they will need notes on unintentionally unleashed doomsday devices, magical diseases, planar configurations, etc.

As such, the knowledge pertaining the place is relatively obscure and the librarians that maintain the place are a relatively eclectic lot, unified by dressing habits and appearances, in spite of their diverse worlds and planes of origin. The supplement details the daily proceedings in the athenaeum, painting a concise picture of daily life and circumstances, as well as on how to get PCs actually to it, how these beings are introduced to the place, etc.

As always with Raging Swan Press’ supplements, the pdf does contain 6 whispers and rumors and 6 sample events to kick off adventuring, though it should be noted that, in this instance, they are applied globally to the athenaeum, not to the individual keyed locations, of which there are 12, many of which provide their own angles as well, though they are not explicitly noted as hooks. The respective keyed locales do not have read-aloud text provided for them. The place btw. also includes a rather impressive, eternal garden…which is a fragile treasure, since the plane’s timelessness does prevent regrowth of new plants, fruits, flowers, etc. As an aside, this, to me, makes the garden utterly creepy.

The astute reader will notice a few peculiarities here: One, the existence of the two cultures is thankfully, courtesy of the planar angle, not required to use this pdf. This is SMART, since jamming two cultures into the lore of a given campaign setting, just so the background checks out, is something I hate. The astute reader will also have noticed that the Astral Plane chosen as the location is timeless – and indeed, the pdf actually integrates this component into lore and structure of the place of power, which is a pretty big plus – so far, so nice!

Now, there is one thing that I particularly bemoaned regarding the locale as presented: RAW, it yields a bonus to Knowledge checks (+4/+6, respectively) to research materials. Which is all fine and dandy, however, Ultimate Intrigue did introduce rather nice and compelling rules for research, and it would have been really nice to see those implemented, at least in a sidebar or the like.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious hiccups. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard and the pdf sports a few neat b/w-artworks. The cartography by Dyson Logos is nice and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. It also comes in 2 versions, with one optimized for screen-use and one optimized for the printing process. Kudos!

Richard Green makes clever use of the planar properties of the astral plane for this refuge of uncomfortable truths and heresies. The place is clever, easy to integrate into a given campaign, and while I slightly bemoan how much text is spent on its genesis, I can see the necessity. This place, in short, is a really cool sidetrek/goal-destination that can make PCs enter an otherwise unrelated dungeon: There’s an entry there, go! Easy angle to implement. So yeah, this aspect is rather cool. That being said, I do not object to the relatively rules-lite way in which the benefits of the library are presented, but implementing research rules/library stats would have added to the immediate functionality of this pdf for its PFRPG version. As such, while I really enjoy the location, I am slightly less smitten by the execution for this system. My final verdict can thus not exceed 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Places of Power: Forgotten Athenaeum
Click to show product description

Add to Flames Rising PDF Store Order

Creator Reply:
Epic! Thank you very much for your review, Endzeitgeist! I much appreciate the time and effort.
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