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The Rad-Hack
by XERXES L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/26/2020 07:00:47

The best hack of The Black Hack ever created. O melhor hack do The Black Hack já criado.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Rad-Hack
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It Tolls for Thee
by Ian S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/07/2020 13:35:11

Is it a dungeon, or is it a big monster? Or is it a Church? Why does it have a harpoon for an arm? Is the Soul Bell a Dark Souls reference? It's packed full of the usual Skullfungus imagination and grindhouse styling. It's a dollar. Why wouldn't you buy it?



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
It Tolls for Thee
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Spores of the Sad Shroom
by Ian S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/07/2020 13:29:17

I drank some mushroom tea once. I saw lots of the colours that are on the cover. And my face melted. I've always wanted to replicate this experience without taking stimulants. Now I can do that any time I play this METAL game. Skullfungus, you rock!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Spores of the Sad Shroom
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The Mutants of Ixx
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/20/2020 08:42:38

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pamphlet roleplaying game is essentially a hack of Chris MCDowall’s popular underground game “Into the Odd.“ Pamphlet RPG? Well, yeah. The game is essentially 4 pages – one 2-page pdf for players, and one for the GM. If you print them, you can fold them alongside two dotted lines into a pamphlet like the ones you’d get in theater, etc. Much to my pleasant surprise, the game comes in two iterations – one for the A4 paper-size convention, and one for the US letter-size. Kudos for going the extra mile there.

One third of a page is the same for both the player booklet and the GM booklet: These contain the artworks that you can see on the cover – essentially, that’s the equipment list, and small indicators note the damage die of a given weapon – these range from d6 to d10, just fyi. Weapons that deal d10 damage require two hands to wield, and small items come in bundles of 5.

Character creation is simple – roll 3d6 four times, and you may swap two rolls. Strength (STR) denotes fighting, fortitude, etc.; Dexterity (DEX) is used for sneaking, athletics, etc., and Willpower (WIL) is your persuasion, shooting, tech understanding, etc. The fourth roll denotes the slugs – that’s the term used for ammo and currency.

After this, you roll a d6 for Hit Protection (HP); once this is depleted, you can suffer critical damage – 6 entries are provided for that, and you essentially can lose parts or be knocked out. If HP reaches 0, damage is applied to Strength, and once you take Strength damage, you make a Strength save to avoid critical damage.

Attacks and saves are handled the same way – you roll a d20 under the related ability score; 1 is always a success, 20 is always a failure; if you have advantage, you roll an additional die and choose the better result; the inverse holds true for disadvantage.

If it’s unclear who acts first, the player must make a Dexterity save to act before the enemy. On the player’s turn, they can move and perform one action. How far? Alas, not stated. Nor is initiative clearly explained – I’d suggest using the Death is the New Pink standard there.

A character dies at 0 Strength; at Dexterity or Willpower the character is paralyzed or catatonic, respectively.

But back to character creation: You then roll a random mutation and choose a specialty, and pick one weapon and 2 items. To randomly select a mutation, you roll a d6 twice: The first die indicates whether you check the combat mutation, utility mutation or mental mutation table. Each of these subtables comes with 6 mutations. Combat mutations include firebreath, acid spit, crushing pincers, etc.; utility mutations feature camouflage, web-spinners, regeneration, etc., and mental mutations feature mind control, inducing horrible visions, etc. These don’t feature range, but do come with a general duration formula – 10 minutes per experience level. When you use a mutation, you roll a d4; on a 1-2, you decrease the die size of the mutation by one; if the mutation already has a d4 for its die, it is spent for the day. Elegant.

What are specialties? Well, these are essentially the class-features/feats/Special abilities of the game. If you’re an assassin, you bypass HP and deal d12s damage versus helpless or unaware targets. Melee or ranged specialists are included, as well as being lucky (1 reroll per session). There is one that lets you always act first (what if multiple beings have this?), and there is one that nets a loyal pet.

The game features 4 fleshed out level titles for experience levels, and progression is based on finished adventures. In order to level up, you have to rest in a safe place. You gain 1d6 HP and roll a d20 for each ability score – if you roll higher than your ability score, it increases by 1, to a maximum of 20, and you get to choose either a new mutation, or a new specialty.

Now, regarding items: Basic items cost 1-5 slugs; weapons cost their damage die (I assume, maximum number) in slugs, and armor costs 10/25/60 slugs; armor acts as DR, with a maximum of 3, obviously. You can carry up to Strength items, weapons and armor; anything beyond is unsafe, but that aspect is not elaborated upon.

These are the pieces of information presented on both pamphlets; on the player pamphlet, we also have 2/3rds of a page devoted to essentially a character sheet, where you put HP in the drawn heart, armor in the drawn armor, melee weapon damage in the nail-studded club, ranged weapon damage in the drawn gun – the sheet is self-explanatory, and smooth – I like it. Chow, water and ammo also have their icons to track them.

Oh, and this humble pamphlet gets something right that many full-blown games botch: 1/3rd of one of each pamphlet’s pages is devoted to a nice, hand-drawn b/w-hex-map of the jungles of Ixx – and guess what? The version in the player-pamphlet has no annoying numbers and is player-friendly. Nice.

The GM’s pamphlet explains 7 interesting locales briefly – from the adventurer’s home (Scrapwheel Village) to the glowing maw, swamp rig, etc. – I liked these brief touches, and travel + random encounter tables for travel is included, as well as 6 entries of one-sentence adventure inspirations. Speaking of adventure: 1/3rd of the GM’s pamphlet is devoted to a sample adventure, the lair of the clonelings: This little dungeon is pretty nice, considering the very limited room it has, and we get a solid b/w-map here as well – oh, and guess what? It manages to be non-linear! A minor niggle: The dungeon references a WIS save, when that should reference WIL instead. Yes, I am nitpicking.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout is subservient to the requirements of the pamphlet formula, and the aesthetics deserve special mention – from the char sheet part to the maps and items, the b/w-drawings are nice and capture the vibe this goes for. The pamphlets have no bookmarks, but since they’re literally two pages each, that would have been patently absurd anyways.

I got Karl Stjernberg’s “Mutants of Ixx” on a whim, and promptly forgot about it. I shouldn’t have. This is a great example of efficient gaming minimalism in practice, and does a lot of things right. In fact, more than right. There are precious few concessions made to the minimalist presentation, and while a GM obviously will have to expand this when running it, there will only be the range and movement issue to truly contend with; both of these could have been easily clarified without breaking the formula or taking up too much space. So no, this is certainly not perfect.

HOWEVER, and some people will be surprised by this: I prefer this tiny booklet over DIY RPG Productions “Death is the New Pink (DitNP).” Not only in themes, which are subjective, but in character progression engine! Where DitNP uses essentially arcana substitutes, this little booklet presents a robust engine for both mutations AND class features that is easy to expand, and rewarding to use, taking a step away from the item-defined component. I genuinely think that this booklet has a better designed basic framework, and one that is very simple to build on. I love this from a design perspective – it’s incredibly elegant.

Now, it is not as streamlined, or expansive as DitNP, obviously – this is me comparing a 2-page booklet with a game that almost sports 100 pages. This pamphlet game is fiercely DIY in its aesthetics, and it’s not as precise as DitNP; I do have to account for that in my verdict. But I still seriously prefer it for what it achieves in its ultra-essentialist frame. As such, this is one of the few instances, where this gets 4 stars, but also my seal of approval. If you’re looking for a rules-lite post-apocalyptic game that can theoretically entertain you for years, for 2 frickin’ bucks, then get this.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Mutants of Ixx
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It Tolls for Thee
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/10/2020 07:16:17

An Endzeitgeist.com review

Okay, so this is a One-Page-Dungeon, but it’s one page that is more of a poster,. With a super-dense array of 4 columns of text, including two artworks and the map of the dungeon.

This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.

… .. .

The adventure is designed for low-level groups (4-5 characters recommended), and ACs are given in an ascending manner, with HD and damage dealt noted. Obviously, this has no read-aloud text. The dungeon sports 11 keyed locations, and 6 random encounters for the vicinity of the locale. The module also features 6 pieces of information that the PCs may unearth when doing their research, and a kind of array of 6 random encounters are presented for tracking down the moving dungeon.

Okay, so during the chaos wars, high priest Lamak the Devout bound his soul to a temple’s bell, animating the church as essentially a grotesque, medieval church-mech; the mighty force for Law was destroyed, and sank into the swamp…but the soul bell remained intact, slowly corrupted and tainted by the souls of the dead of the bog – and now, the walking church, its bell tolling, waltzes the landscape, with eel bats, a deadly harpoon arm and undead in its wake. The church is far beyond the abilities of the adventurers to actually stop, and woe betide those trying, for while it is slow, it is deadly – in spite of its penalties to attacking smaller targets.

The inside of this strange place (you’ll probably enter via the stone tongue, while the church spews leech-riddled water at you…) contains darkened items, and the adventurers will have to deal with tainted, dark items, can find potent potions (okay, these can also explode your limbs, no save (Not a fan…), but hey…+2 Strength? Might be worth it…) and there is a weapon that may be found by smart PCs, and it’s particularly effective versus the boss.

Who btw. deserves the name – the boss can command harpoon attacks of the church through the window. Once the corrupted priest has been vanquished, the church might collapse…or, you know, if you’re going that way, you might rule that the PCs get a chance to use this devastating thing… Yes, it has full stats. Yes, you need siege weapons to hurt it.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting re very good. Layout adheres to a super.dense 4-column standard, and the hand-drawn b/w-artworks are neat. This has no bookmarks, and needs none. The pdf comes with an archive that contains PLAYER-FRIENDLY MAPS! HECK YEAH! Oh, and jpegs of the monsters and the dungeon itself! Awesome!

Karl Stjernberg’s “It Tolls For Thee” is a fantastic little example of a one-page-dungeon done right; it is terse and yet inspiring, it is limited in scope, so it doesn’t bite off more than it can chew. It has a lot of cool ramifications and is simply great fun to run. The supplemental maps elevate this one step beyond, making it a prime example of a great old-school module. I am NOT a fan of the one instance of random death, and this is a deadly module, so experienced players are recommended…but then again, if you randomly imbibe stuff you find in a tainted dungeon, you deserve the chance for a no-save-die. So yeah, all in all, a fantastic way to spend…a grand total of one buck. Seriously, for that price, this is a steal. You’ll get a fun, amazing session out of this. 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
It Tolls for Thee
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The Mutants of Ixx
by Stéphane W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/17/2019 16:59:44

En 4 pages (2 pour le MJ et 2 pour le joueur) on a:

Un système complet; un mini bac à sable avec une carte hexagonale et même un mini "donjon".

De quoi jouer de nombreuses heures, avec un jeu qui tient dans la poche au sens littéral.

Le tout avec une mise en page et des ilustrations très réussies!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Mutants of Ixx
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The Mutants of Ixx
by John D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/27/2019 11:33:21

This art-punk RPG harkens back to mini-comics and zines of the 90s – small and dense and DIY to the core. The entire game, which features a player’s guide and game master’s guide, fits on two sheets of paper, marked to fold into three-panel brochures. I can’t help but think this is a piss-take on bloated multi-volume games. If D&D 5e is Emerson, Lake and Palmer, then Mutants of Ixx is Stiff Little Fingers.

See the rest of my review here.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Mutants of Ixx
by Wayne R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/13/2019 13:56:00

This game is a bloody gem!

Honestly I can see people getting so much play time out of this very tight ruleset/setting. It's laid out very cleanly and the rules (based on Into The Odd) are concise and to the point! Did I mention the art is very cool?!

The only reason it doesn't have 5 stars is that I think some of the repeated info in the GM pamphlet should have been replaced by a list of kick-ass Relics for players to discover!

Either way, if you don't spend 2 bucks on this, then may the Glowing Maw swallow you whole!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
It Tolls for Thee
by Karim G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/25/2019 09:29:24

This adventure was perfect for running as a one shot for my Meetup group, I used it with Vieja Escuela (a minimalist OSR-ish D&D system) to experiment with.

I was already a fan of Karl's work in the Rad-Hack (soon to review after completing my mini campaign with it) so this one made no exception, it's packed with flavor and fun in one single page and is practically prep-free which is what I needed for this last minute event.

I'm not very experienced as a GM so this was easy to run, I'd recommend it to an aspiring GM in your group to break the ice and experienced ones can just plug it anywhere in their campaign.

Next time, I'll definitely use DCC RPG instead to get the most of the weirdness and gonzo this adventure holds.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
It Tolls for Thee
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OSR Character Sheet
by Eric B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/12/2018 21:57:32

Fun, functional, and free! This does the job as a character sheet, but what makes it worth downloading vs. other free character sheets is the nice introduction to Stjernberg art. You can almost hear the slime and blood and guts squirting and dripping. For more mayhem, check out Stjernberg's Spores of the Sad Shroom.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
OSR Character Sheet
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Spores of the Sad Shroom
by Eric B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/20/2018 20:32:39

This was a lot of fun! Very theme coherent - blubbering sad fungi everywhere. Talking shrooms. Light-heartedly weird tone. Weird effects, mutations that can happen to characters who ingest shrooms. Treasure is often more interesting and twisted than a pile of coins- "Is this a 'potion of flying' or 'dying'? The label is hard to make out..." "Pickled, Evil Remains", "cracked wine glass which fills with sweet wine if repaired"

Guy Fullerton, who created deservedly well-reputed OSR-type adventure Many Gates of the Gann, and pretty much wrote the book on good design (or rather the chaotic henchmen blog posts) provided feedback (along with several other bloggers and other people) to Karl Stjernberg in making this.

The format is generally clear and the writing is brief but evocative. The OSR-friendly, easily-converted nature of the stats were no trouble, easy for someone with a 1e/S&W/Labyrinth Lord outlook to understand.

Minor quibbles: I wanted some of the monster stats closer to where the monsters are encountered in the text of the adventure, or at least referred to with (stats on page whatever). I was also disappointed not to find undead axolotl stats. I wish the "Black River" and "Where Does the River Go?" sections had not been left for GMs to flesh out like Keep on the Borderlands' "Clearing this tunnel out could lead all the way to Cave of the Unknown, which should be stocked..."

The art is great, and contributes greatly to the fun tone. You can almost smell the funk and feel the wet squish of the shrooms and hear the schlorp of the schleim! The adventure is formatting a very print-ready layout. I usually don't care about printing pdfs but this one I will. On paper, on your bookshelf, it'll look like a zine or underground comix thing.

I also like Karl Stjernberg's character sheet design, which is available for free download as a separate product. It provides a sort of preview of the style of art in Spores of the Sad Shroom.

Very much looking forward what oozes out of Stjernberg's brain and pen next!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Spores of the Sad Shroom
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The Rad-Hack
by Chris D. D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/08/2018 21:03:34

Everything just works. The art is mad. It's a cracking read to boot. Get it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Rad-Hack
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The Rad-Hack
by Gábor C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/23/2017 05:05:29

So you watched A Boy and His Dog, Stalker, all of Mad Max, and some other movies like these, then played some Borderlands, Stalker, and Fallout, and so on, and now want the same in your tabletop gaming? Right now? Without having to read and memorize hundreds of pages? Look no further!

The Rad-Hack is a superb little game for all your post-apocalyptic roleplaying needs. Minimalist, versatile ruleset. Simple and great mechanics that you can learn and teach your players in about an hour. And lots of freedom for the GM. (Well, the latter can be a bit surprising to those coming from slightly more complex systems, but you'll likely get the feel of it, and will love it. I did.)

The crazy art is excellent. Not realistic at all, but it is inspiring, and sets the mood.

PS: Yes, if you ask me, it's totally worth its price, even if it's a bit higher than the other Hacks.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Rad-Hack
by Charles V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/17/2017 12:31:12

This is my favorite Black Hack hack. It just oozes character, and mutagenic glowing fluids. Seriously, the illustrations in this book are fantastic and really make it seem real, or at least, really fun!

The four classes have different ways of generating their stats, which seems very apt. Robots are a point-buy system, humans roll 4d6 and drop lowest, mutants really roll the dice - 1d20 per stat, reroll 1s and 20s. And then psychics get 4d6 drop lowest for mental attributes and 2d6+2 for physical stats. Each class has different added-on powers - humans have Professions where they can get advantages on relevant rolls, mutants have their mutations, robots have modules, psychics get their psionics. So there's random tables and 20 results for each class, which is great. Lets players rapidly differentiate themselves from other PCs with the same class, as a Profession: Driver is going to have some different starting gear and desires than a Farmer.

Then rules for guns, radiation, drugs, figuring out high-tech, and vehicles getting wrecked - an Out of the Action table for vehicles. There's a 2-page wastelands bestiary, 7 sample vehicles (and stats for the trailer part of a semi-trailer) and high-tech gear. A hex map and a beautiful non-hex map end the PDF and make me want to grab this, a bunch of random tables, and run some irradiated PCs through a vibrant, insane apocalyptic wasteland.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
OSR Character Sheet
by Wind L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/19/2017 10:10:40

Great character sheet--clean and simple and all the way metal! Plus, nice visuals that can be useful for newer players. This is going to be my go-to for sure.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
OSR Character Sheet
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