Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Review: The Stronghold, Issue No. 2
This review of The Stronghold, Issue No. 2 is based off the print copy. I got the +Boric Glanduum Special and have two print copies. One for each hand. This is the second issue of The Stronghold, a strong sophomore outing.
First off, The cover was done by Boric's daughter. Love that. Nice touch and it only proves how frugal Boric is, using staff already under his payroll. "Draw me a picture kid or you'll get no supper tonight." I like Boric's style.
The interesting thing about this issue is how personal and open Boric gets. This issue resonates some of what's been going on with Boric in real life. He's been able to translate it into some very gameable and fun material. His introduction allows you a peek into his process. I think introduction are often an overlooked part of a zine or any media. But I am an introduction junkie. I love reading about 'behind the scenes' perspective from an author I'm about to spend a few hours reading.
Into the zine we go.
Five magical musical items. Each has a concise, but in-depth back story. While the back story is secondary to magical item, Boric writes up some very interesting folks I would definitely translate into statted NPCs for my game. Some of the items you would think of as musical items, such as a horseshoe. But you find out its a brass tube shaped as a horseshoe and once blown into the wielder can create some spectacular effect.
Gholls! New monster! These are wicked cool. Ghoul and trolls combines. A little paralyze. A little regan. BAM! You got yourself a wicked opponent to throw against the party. If you really want to screw with the party throw a Ring of Fire Resistance on the sucker. +Jim Magnusson contributed the art for this piece and it is lovely. Four armed, brain eating, blobular, spit covered beauty.
Ohh, Missives from the Hold....oh the controversy. For those of us who indulge in puerile humor at the gaming table, this article is for you. Boric brings to the front that has always been kept behind us. What happens to the party when they explore the exotic foods and what it might do their tum tums and how it comes out their bum bums. Two tables of absolute gas humor. And the stats to make it gamable! I am still can't help but laugh when I read "Total Trouser Betrayal".
Treasure tables. These are a series of mundane items that can be found as treasure. I like these tables. I use these tables. In fact I used them a couple of nights ago. Sometimes I get stuck with what items are found in an adventure and I like to pepper the loot with a few cool mundane pieces.
The last section is made up of several sections, but the star is Theral "Papa" Quimby, proprietor of Papa Quimby's Pet Emporium. And there is a fantastic map included on the inside the back cover. When I was reading about Quimby it felt like I was reading a very good short story. These last sections can be picked up as a whole and placed nicely into any campaign. I could see it in a western, sci-fi, even post apocalyptic setting. It reminds me a little of the old Flying Buffalo Citybooks from years back. And that is a very good thing.
There's my review of The Stronghold. I make no apologizes that I've been an on-line friend with Boric for a few years and hope his zine succeeds. I'm also credits with proofreading, but Boric sends some of the cleanest manuscripts I've had the pleasure or reading. So mainly I just get to read it before you all do and I'll make a couple of suggestions, but mainly with layout.
You can buy The Stronghold, Issue No. 2 for $5 US, $5.50 Canada and $6 for the rest of you folks. The Stronghold is a strong entry into the OSR zine community. Which continues to grow. I hope you all take a look at Boric's cool zine and grab a copy or do what I did, ask for the Boric Special and get two!