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Evocative City Sites: Clockwork Tower (PFRPG) PDF

****½ (based on 3 ratings)

Our Price: $2.99

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"I am an explorer, a man of action, and foiler of nefarious plots. Come read my book, Evocative City Sites, as I, Owain Northway, enter the spire of time, see the wonders and folly of those who dabble in chronomancy. Gather close, I will tell you of the Clockwork Tower."

Evocative City Sites is a Pathfinder Roleplaying Game–compatible supplement detailing small locations that you could find in any urban campaign setting. This site is detailed with its own cartography, a 1"=1 square scale map pack, and four unique NPCs, all presented in the unique, useful, and entertaining form of Owain Northway's first-person-point-of-view guidebook.

The Clockwork Tower appears and disappears as it moves through time. All who have escaped it speak of its vast strangeness, of leaving before they entered and encountering the strange clockworks within.

    This product includes:
  • Quickling Homunculus(CR 3)
  • Time Stalker (CR 7)
  • Clockwork Human Fighter 6, Duelist 6 (CR 13)
  • savant Human wizard 7, inspired maker 8 (CR 15)

Author: T. H. Gulliver (Tarren Dei)
Cartography: Richard Biggs Jr.
Pages: 10

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Product Reviews (3)

Average product rating:

****½ (based on 3 ratings)

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Evocative City Sites: Clockwork Tower

****( )

Evocative City Sites: Clockwork Tower
From Rite Publishing
Published 2010

Note: This was a review copy received, I did not have to purchase it.

Evocative City Sites: Clockwork Tower is the first product in this line I have seen. Weighing in at 16 megs downloaded, a total of 41 pages of which 11 are crunch and fluff, 24 pages are the printable maps, and the rest are credits and OGL notice. For a total of $2.99 there is a great amount of data there. If you consider the cost of a print document this size, which could easily be double or more the cost, it is worth the price. The content has decent value to it. There are nice production values, simple border enhancing the presentation without murdering your printer cartridge at the same time.

Now onto some details on the location detailed, The Clockwork Tower. When I was offered a free product to review I selected this one based solely on the title, Clockwork Tower. My fascination with this genre of gaming/fiction continues and I hoped this would be a very worthy addition.
It does not fall on its face, but it was not what I thought it might be. Part location description, part almost vignette adventure, it delivered on most of what I might have expected.

It opens with some flavor text, partly fiction partly descriptive, which leads immediately into game crunch text, without a pause. This was a touch jarring to me, accustomed to such elements being distinct and separate usually in a game support. In this case fiction leads into crunch, leads into description then back into fiction within the span of a few pages. Once past that, and more crunch in sidebars, all flowing together. At that point I wanted a little more organization and little more separation of the different parts. Interspersed are small maps of the Tower as well as the several encounters that are possible inside there.

Artwork is nice in the product, several pieces of clipart that work well, one illo did not completely match the encounter description which is a very minor quibble. Considering the state of the industry where products far outstrip the available artists, I still consider this a fine product from the visual support standpoint.

The main character in the tower uses a class I have not heard of before, Inspired Maker. Not having the source material means I cannot use or advance The Spinning Duchess any farther in that class. However there are enough notes and details in the character writeup to allow me to use the character without any issues. For a CR15 NPC, having a total of 37 hp and a AC of 16 makes for a squishy in the MMORPG perspective. With a construct bodyguard to run interference, still it would not be a fair fight at all. A 28 INT and extensive spell list will only go so far. The bodyguard coming in at 66 hp and AC 21 for CR 13 this creature will last a lot longer than it's creator will.

There is one new magic item, a pair of goggles that allows the wearer to find out if a course of action will lead to good, bad, or indifferent results 3 times a day. This is a goldmine for a GM to gently direct the PCs into courses of action that will advance the plot or storyline without being too overt or having them feel railroaded.

For me, I would not use it as is. Instead I would ignore one central premise and instead use the owner of the tower as a recurring NPC or a potential patron for player characters to interact with. That would mean ignoring the 6 plot hooks provided on page 7 of the book.

Last comments deal with the maps. They are divided up into quarters of each floor of the Clockwork Tower. This makes for easy in printing, I would have liked a small key to which page or section goes where. However the smaller versions of each map in the main text allowed me to piece them together, making this a nuisance at the worst.

In the final opinion, it is worth the price I would have paid for it. I like the product, and while I would not use it as recommended, it has some ideas I would not have come up with on my own, making it useful to me. I recommend purchasing Evocative City Sites: Clockwork Tower from Rite Publishing.

Note: This review differs slightly from the one on RPG DriveThru in an error in my review was pointed out to me. I did edit this review, I am unable to edit that review. With that said, I like this product and I will be getting more of their City Sites.


An excellent entry of the series

*****

This pdf is 41 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 2 pages advertisement. That leaves 37 pages of content.

The makeup of the clock tower containing separate, beautiful maps for each of the 4 floors takes up 7 pages and starts with a nice in-character introduction that runs, intermixed with some mechanics, throughout the whole chapter, making this a very enjoyable read, especially if you're into the central topic of this installment of ECS: Time and a clock tower moving backwards through it.

There are also several cool ideas to set the mood of the clock tower, including tables for random time events in RP and in combat. The description also includes a whopping 5 boxes of secrets and 6 adventure hooks.

We also get 3 new NPCs, a new magic item as well as a new kind of monster. (5 pages) While the statblocks are complex, they are not as extremely complex as some others from the ECS series - the characters are still extremely cool and I liked them all.

The pdf closes with 26 pages of blown-up maps for use with miniatures. It should be noted, that map keys, the bane of my existence as a DM, have mercifully been both left out and are not necessary due to the high quality and nice drawings of the maps.

The pdf also comes with 4 files à 6 pages containing the maps in scale for miniatures in A4 format for Europeans like yours truly.

Conclusion:

I'm a sucker for time travel, time paradox, chronomancy etc. - problem is, most publication, be them novels, games or movies are doing it wrong, big time. This one does it Rite. (Hitting myself for the bad pun right now...Ouch!) Both the fluff and the crunch are cool, the maps are up to RiP's high quality standards and editing and formating are quite good - the only glitch I noticed was that in the bookmarks you can see question marks instead of hyphens. I also liked the NPCs, albeit I would have loved to see something more complex done with the final one. So, what's my final verdict? For the very low price, you get an excellent installment of the series. Personally, the chronomancy-aspect weighs up with my minor points of criticism, resulting in a five star file. If you're not that into time travel and its concepts, detract half a star.


Another good edition to the series.

****( )

Evocative City Sites: Clockwork Tower by Rite Publishing.

This product is 41 pages long. It starts with a cover, and credits. (2 pages)

Introduction (7 pages)
This section like all of the Evocative City Sites is done from a IC point of view. Which I find nice and often interesting to read. This talks about the tower and those things inside the tower. There was also 4 maps that each take up half a page of the levels of the tower. 7 side bars about the effects of the tower, including 2 random charts which where very cool, the rest deal with varies secrets of the tower. Finally it has 6 plot hooks to get the PC's involved.

NPC's (5 pages)
Here is 4 fully stated out NPC/Monsters inside the tower. Each has full stat blocks.

Next is a OGL (1 page)

Followed by 24 pages of maps blown up to be printed and used as miniature maps. There is also a zip file that includes another set of such maps in I believe A4 format. (24 pages)

It ends with 2 pages of ads. (2 pages)

Closing thoughts. The layout and editing was well done. While a couple of the parts I found confusing to understand in the IC section. That is because the NPC is reading a letter he wrote to himself that he doesn't remember writing. Yeah confusing I know but also very cool with whats going on with the tower. The artwork is fair to good, a mix of new art and public domain art.

This is a very inventive location and idea. I actually really love the idea, but because of what it is, I find it hard to review. I don't want to spoil things, but by not spoiling them leaves me unable to talk about a lot of the book, beyond expressing opinions which I dislike doing. But with out having a choice, I can save I love this book. This is something I can see using and my players having a lot of fun exploring.

Now there is one critic I have with the product. There is something wrong with the clock tower mechanical devices that is causing it to not work right. In the book it talks about how the PC's can fix the devices and make it start working correctly. Which makes sense, unfortunately it doesn't give you any advice on how to help run things if your PC's do that. Because if they, it will have a pretty dramatic effect on things and the varies stories going on.

Now I am not asking for a in depth information but a nice blurb by the author saying. I can't cover every possible thing that might happen, but if I ran it then I think this would happen. Followed by a few suggestions. Maybe a half page of such would have really helped. So whats my rating? Well I really liked this product, but a GM honestly needs to do some work and decided what would happen if the PC's fix the device before hand, before they run it. Or it could leave the GM caught flat footed. So because I feel it does need some extra work to use this very good product I just can't give it the 5 star I want and have to settle with giving it a 4 star.



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