Evocative City Sites (PFRPG) Print/PDF Bundle

3.00/5 (based on 2 ratings)

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Why settle for the same old taverns, bars, and town? Add some character to your city and make it Evocative!

This bundle of nine extraordinary places is sure to bring the adventure into the streets and alleyways with style. Sites include the Bedlam Asylum, Clockwork Tower, the Intimate Shape Brothel, Kavit M. Tor’s Emporium of Collectible Curiosities, Lorn's Entrepot (an abandoned warehouse), the Next Inn, the Rogue's Gallery Tavern, Voell's Garden, plus a seen funerary vault! Each one comes packed with material, offering multiple maps— several fully detailed complex NPCs with statblocks drawing on multiple Open Gaming Content sources, story seeds and character secrets.

Learn what hides within the Voell Garden, or unravel the chronomantic mystery of the Clockwork Tower. Face the madness within the Bedlam Asylum or discover the hidden contraband of Lorn’s Entrepot. Spend some ill-gotten gains in the Intimate Shape Brothel or browse the wide selection of wares at Kavit M. Tor’s Emporium. Rest and recuperate at the Next Inn, or seek out villains in the Rogues’ Gallery Tavern. Whatever you choose to do, make it Evocative!

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3.00/5 (based on 2 ratings)

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Could be much better, but .....

2/5

Overall not a very well put together book. Some good ideas buried in there, but the layout of the book makes it somewhat annoying to look for such.

Namely, my main problem with the book is the first person story introduction to each site that takes up valuable page space that could be better used for actual descriptions of the maps provided. And the maps themselves are somewhat lacking in and of themselves as well.

Most of the sites were not of much interest to me, but the clockwork tower was really interesting and pretty much the only one that was descriptive enough to get a clear picture of the site. The only other site i liked was Kavit M Tor's Emporium, which had enough good ideas to warrant spending time to flesh it out more, and unlike others i have noticed, i had no liking or disliking of the pun used in the title of the store. I think it was subtle enough to be acceptable.

Some of the other sites have some small parts here and there that are worth plucking out and using for other sites, but overall they were either not descriptive enough or just plain uninteresting.


Evocative City Sites, a Review

4/5

FACTS

This is 88-pages-long book containing 9 places to visit, 32 statblocks (a little more, if one were to count familiars) of NPCs and monsters living there, unique related magic items and feats, simple plot hooks, quite lengthy story-like accounts by nameless narrator, floor plans with obligatory grid and several tables for random effects.
Credits go to Rob Manning, Richard Biggs Jr, T. H. Gulliver, Miranda N. Russel, Jonathan McAnulty, Steven D. Russell, Mark Gedak, Shane O'Conner and Benjamin Bruck.

My bias: I needed a few good NPCs and weird places quickly to fill empty spaces in somewhat derailed campaign. The formula of the book fit it perfectly - bare data, skimpy outline and complete write-ups of colorful antagonists.

Overall score is 4/5, with a few brilliant ideas and a few problems to balance it out.
Game Masters are advised to exercise caution when dealing with creatures of Challenge Rating 12 or more, as most of them are prone to vagaries of chance and circumstance (or, to put it simply: their CR may not be properly reflecting their level of ability).

Warning! Spoilers below this line!

IMPRESSIONS

NPCs. Aside from a few problematic CRs, they are extremely portable and each one of them comes with a great background. They are far from being generic, and most of them pack a mean secret.

The particular highlights include Chaotic Evil civil and relatively safe to interact with antagonists. Sadly, to many designers CE alignment is tantamount to Jack the Ripper, while these guys (and gals) make for very good dicourse partners. The awards for most amiable personality go to elder fiend with aspiration to godhood and poisoner-bartender-artist of Rogue's Gallery.

The downsides include Mother Sharlene Murrel and Brother Broomore. While both likable and both with dark secrets, they fall to common disease known as "concept over crunch". In short, in the world where high magic rules supreme, and guys with detect evil can spot you from 60 feet, you do not dare to rise over 5th level without something to hide your nasty side in a civilized environment. And if you do, you make damn sure that random party of adventurers will not spoil your day.
Sadly, these NPCs are fine, very fine even, but they just don't fit in vanilla D20.

Introductions and maps. Their role is to provide is with a glimpse of location concept and layout. They are not sufficient to fully flesh the place, but they are great for building gossips or (for PDF versions) printing handouts for combat maps. I wasn't particularly impressed with lack of descriptions, yet the maps are usable. The introductions are a mixed case of good story and mood-killing problems. You don't get any explanations there - and with secrets being few and vague, you are to make up your own explanations as to, for example, how the enormous mimic is so cooperative or why chronological paradox hasn't attracted vultures, pardon, enterprising wizards to examine it.

Magic items, feats and miscellaneous items. For the most part ingenious (or decent), however recommended for GM use only. For example, implications of delayed super poisons would be severe in any game. Suffice to say it that nasty things can happens to PCs, and GMs should tread lightly here - the game is supposed to allow players to be heroes, and if the heroes are all too easy to kill, the main paradigm of the game breaks.

Random tables. In some places short narrative and bland maps are enhanced by random tables. Used properly this aid can provide for more interesting game. Of particular note is "Strange Flora", a nifty way to intimidate your players.

PLACES

Bedlam Asylum: great ideas marred by maps, heavy handed handling of secrets and susceptibility to divination spells and administrative action. 2/5 if used for d20, probably 4/5 if imported into low-magic system. There is also an NPC with abilty to increase save of a DC by 7 twice per day.

Burial Vaults of House Blackwood: disjointed. It's hard to get a grip on concept without reading it thorougly. At least one statblock is very controversial (underequipped fighters don't get to use high CR, much less full CR), and another one, a paladin, is completely out of place. However, there is also a great antagonist presented there, good enough to warrant 3/5 despite several weird errors in descriptions (where do these shadow demons are supposed to come from?).

Clockwork Tower: I'm biased against time-based magic in d20. It's all too easy to produce paradoxes or provide someone with ultimate weapon. Having said this, this location is likely to provide for entertaining exploration of its mysteries, as long as a GM is willing to add to rather skimpy content. Solid 4/5.

Intimate Shape Festhall: Beautiful concept with several critical items missing. The underlying themes, suffrage, equality and sex, sold the idea immediately to me. I would love to give it full 5/5 if some mysteries were revealed. The mimic thing especially. As it is, 4.5/5 seems appropriate.

Kavit M Tor's Emporium of Collectible Curiosities: Bad pun does not make for good first impression. Reputation and respectability are easy to lose, and finally, detect magic, identify and so on are at disposal of high level adventurers. Unless greedy merchants knows how to avoid detect thoughts, can bluff his way out of high sense motive checks, he is unlikely to stay in business. Nice items, though. 3.5/5.

Lorn's Entrepot (Abandoned Warehouse): chaotic in composition, with nice statblocks. Needs quite a lot of development to turn this game of lowly thugs into something more than a ruin with strong antagonist. 3/5.

The Next Inn: The only location cosisting of introduction and maps. Very short and mysterious, could have been made into the only 'good' location. Not enough to justify more than 3.5.

The Rogue's Gallery Tavern: The gem. It's something most of GMs is going to be able to use. Great NPCs are not the only strong points - the poisons, my <deity>, the poisons, and drinks, lovely, dangerous and providing wonderful alternative to overused geas spells. 5/5. Oh, and second highest CR creature in the book.

Voell's Garden: The other gem. It's not just any horror, it's lovecraftian horror. With highest CR and nasty surprise, the CR is entirely justified as long as the PCs are surprised. It's also going to be a TPK unless the players are very careful. The NPCs are nothing special, well, aside from certain unscrupulous entrepreneur, but the secret and the nastiness of the secret is something every GM is going to love. And the shadow grass side-effect is just an icing on the cake. 5/5.

CONCLUSIONS

Were I to use simply a page count, the overall rating would be a little below 4/5, but with three locations just begging to be used, I feel that 4/5 (or a little more) is justified.
Heartily recommended, as even the weaker parts contain usable bits.



Thank you liz

Dark Archive

Thats cool, lot of maps.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook Subscriber

How many pages did this end up being?


90 pages with credits and OGL


Pardon my asking a foolish question, but: so this is a print product and not a PDF?

Contributor

Eric Hinkle wrote:
Pardon my asking a foolish question, but: so this is a print product and not a PDF?

This is indeed a print product.

Sovereign Court

Quote:


Evocative City Sites (PFRPG)
Cubicle 7 Entertainment

This is showing up as a cubicle 7 product not a rite publishing product? Typo or am I finally getting a SLA Industries / Pathfinder cross over product :)

Hmm or cubicle 7 helped with getting it to print?

Contributor

Robert Hawkshaw wrote:
Quote:


Evocative City Sites (PFRPG)
Cubicle 7 Entertainment

This is showing up as a cubicle 7 product not a rite publishing product? Typo or am I finally getting a SLA Industries / Pathfinder cross over product :)

Hmm or cubicle 7 helped with getting it to print?

Cubicle 7 does the printing for Rite Publishing. I'll get this cross-pollinated over the Rite Publishing area of the store as well. :)


@Robert Hawkshaw

Cubicle Seven is Rite Publishing print distribution partner.

Thanks Liz for clearing it all up for everyone.


In stock Yeah! ( I saw this in my local FLGS today)

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

Store Blog! Whoo!


Yep I am always blessed when the purple golem notices me.

I am hard at work on making this a pdf/print bundle with the printable map packs, as the maps are what make this product great.


Rite Publishing wrote:

Yep I am always blessed when the purple golem notices me.

I am hard at work on making this a pdf/print bundle with the printable map packs, as the maps are what make this product great.

That's great news. My gamers can get some great use out of the print copy, while I keep the PDF on my iPad! Been doing that with 4Winds products for months now.

For anyone that really digs in on the quality stuff Rite makes, like this... I really have to recommend joining Rite's Patronage Project, Questhaven. I did about a month ago and I love the brainstorming I see, along with being able to make suggestions.

Grand Lodge

Rite Publishing wrote:
I am hard at work on making this a pdf/print bundle with the printable map packs, as the maps are what make this product great.

So does this product include the PDF like your website print/PDF bundle?

If yes, will it use the paizo download or do we have to register the purchase with you?
If no, will the print/PDF bundle(s) be added to pazio store in the future?


Quijenoth wrote:
Rite Publishing wrote:
I am hard at work on making this a pdf/print bundle with the printable map packs, as the maps are what make this product great.
Quote:
So does this product include the PDF like your website print/PDF bundle?

Not yet, I am working to make this possible.

Quote:
If yes, will it use the paizo download or do we have to register the purchase with you?

It will be a Paizo download, but is also available with any proof of purchase as Cubicle Seven (and by proxy so is Rite publishing) part of the Bits and Mortars program


Print PDF Bundle!

Thanks Liz


Any idea when you guys are going to get in more? been wanting to buy this for a week or two now, but it says it's on backorder still :s Hoping to get it for an upcoming Kingmaker campaign I'm running, seems like it'll come in handy in book 2 when the PCs are creating their city and dealing with related events, hehe


I've got mine (print) yesterday. Just skimmed the content but I can already tell the following:
- the locations are unique, each and every one of them is actually an adventure site (or at least an adventure waiting to happen),
- in addition to sites, you get a large helping of NPCs, some of them developed almost as well as those included in Faces... series, while the others are ready to fill shoes of minions.

In short, the book contains sites, significant (named) NPCs and minion NPCs.

5 stars for the bundle.

Regards,
Ruemere

PS. Caveat: this is all based on cursory reading and does not constitute a full review.


ruemere wrote:

I've got mine (print) yesterday. Just skimmed the content but I can already tell the following:

- the locations are unique, each and every one of them is actually an adventure site (or at least an adventure waiting to happen),
- in addition to sites, you get a large helping of NPCs, some of them developed almost as well as those included in Faces... series, while the others are ready to fill shoes of minions.

In short, the book contains sites, significant (named) NPCs and minion NPCs.

5 stars for the bundle.

Regards,
Ruemere

PS. Caveat: this is all based on cursory reading and does not constitute a full review.

Any chance of getting a review?


At least one of those locations was a very useful tool, I don't see why the rest shouldn't also be useful. Plus it looks like a pretty good deal. What's the final page count on that monster, Steve?


Reviewed. Recommending it as 4/5 product.

Regards,
Ruemere

PS. 88 pages.


Thanks Ruemere

Yes the final page count was 88.


You're welcome. Waiting for your next anthology.

Regards,
Ruemere


Thanks for the review ruemere! :D

Mother Sharlene Murrell will gladly take on anyone trying to investigate her or her asylum. Look deep into her eyes, she is very persuasive. She has ways of making those high up in the courts or the captain of the guard believe she is a harmless citizen and it is those nasty adventurers who are truly responsible for any sort of unrest in the city.


An interesting approach. I assume though, that any inquest before representative of law is going to feature at least detect magic... high magic setting, at least in my opinion, means that most folk are acutely aware that there are ways to mess up their minds, and as such, are going to use base detection spells on standard basis.

That's why most villains in my games tend to use skills and/or modify memory.

Regards,
Ruemere


You may have her...She is a silver-tongued devil nonetheless... ;)


But wait, ruemere

Spoiler:

What if the players decide to go down the path of a court inquisition...with all her appointments and allies in the system, she could find out the day of the trial. She could also find out about the poor magician that will be performing the detect this n that spells. Using her wiles and charms, she could Bluff or Intimidate that person into saying she was clean. If it comes down to another person speaking out in court, she could explain it away as a glamer to keep up her appearance. She could also have the judge ensorcelled to immediately find in her favor.


Christa Foster

Thanks for taking the time to write a review of the product; Sorry it was not to your tastes, if you would like to talk to me about a refund please shoot me an email steve at ritepublishing dot com

Thank you

Steve Russell
Rite Publishing

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