Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Tales from the Game Tavern [Review]


Look at the beautiful orange and black cover.  The adventurers out with there jack-o-lantern candy containers.   A Halloween zine.  Two of my favorite things.  +Grand DM is the curator of The Game Tavern zine.

This review is based on the print version.  Tales from the Game Tavern is 28 pages, which is a bit meatier than the typical 24 pages.  The beautiful orange, cardstock wrap around cover.  There is a mix of artwork, some by the Grand GM himself and public domain images.  And the last two pages are dedicated to the OGL.  Now let's dive into the issue.

The introduction is one of my favorite parts of a zine.  A little glimpse of into the mind behind the zine.  This one is no different.  Grand GM professes his love for everything fall and Halloween and my favorite stat is he runs I6:Ravenloft and that Strahd record is 9-1.

There are seven articles within and the first on is titled Flesh Golem Redux.  An interesting take on flesh golems using the Gothic influence of Frankenstein.   A trio of female flesh golems, or the Monster's harem.  At the end of the article are a handful of helpful GM tips.

Haunted Armor is the next article, four pieces of armor that do more than protect.  I like the way this one is formatted.  A paragraph of flavor text, the appearance of the item and its enchantments.  The second paragraph is how to use it in game.  I like this feature.  Plus, the items are interesting and playable.  I am one of those GMs who likes to have magic items have drawbacks, these quartet fit that bill nicely. 

Tavern Ghost, a quick 1d4 table of, what else, Tavern Ghosts!  Add a little flavor into your tavern.  There are plenty of tavern name generators, tavern weird food or weird drink tables, but this is the first one for ghosts. 

Grody the Ghoul is a low level adventure.  This one is accompanied by a fantastic looking map.  Also a clever use of the map are two random tables Worm Chow and Gnarly Finds.  They do not disappoint.  I like the adventure, a straight forward affair that can be completed in a night.  What I like about it though is I can see it as part of the local folklore of a small village.  At the end of Grody the Ghoul is a nice hex map and suggestions on how to expand the adventure.   I like these GM tips and suggestions at the end of each article. 

Alien Abduction is a series of random tables to produce a horror abduction of the Halloween kind.  These table I see more useful in modern settings, but an interesting interaction between the four table can create crazy outcomes.

Now this one is my favorite article of the issue, Malignant Scourge.  It deals with disease, an underused thing in gaming I think.  And zombies!  I like the ideas and how it plays out I plan to steal it for my own game.  The spread of the Malignant Scourge is deadly and fun and add a few social elements and half-truths and it turns this article up to an 11. 

To finish out the issue is recipe for Game Tavern Goulash.  Taste is you dare. 

+Grand DM has put out a fantastic Halloween themed zine.  It is a lot of fun and there is a lot of good gamable stuff in the pages.  You can buy a print copy from his blog, Ultanya.  It is $5 US, $6 Canada and $8 for the world.  And after you order your copy go check out his incredible gaming room.  It's fricking beautiful.  If you want a PDF copy, it's available at RPGNow for $2.99.