Cliché Catalogue (NGR)
This supplement clocks in at 24 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, leaving us with 22 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
This review was moved up in my reviewing queue because I like really Neoclassical Geek Revival as a system that plays differently from the D&D-adjacent systems.
Now, Neoclassical Geek Revival (NGR) uses the notion of Schrödinger’s character as a means for both in medias res exposition and to speed up character creation, which extends, should you choose as such, also to equipment. While this has its uses, it does somewhat rub me the wrong way, which is why the equipment packs, and for NPCs, quickly assigning skill packs is the way to go.
The book also presents a randomized alternate method to choose a starting skill pack. The first component of this book is a massive array of skill packs by region – “The King’s Realm” depicts the standard medieval environment, and is a massive table of 20 rows and 6 columns. Fool #3 would, for example, take the pilgrim pack. Beyond this, we have smaller tables (6 rows, 6 columns) for the wild frontier, the far off decadent shores, and the halls under the mountain. Interesting here. An interesting layout decision is to e.g. make the packs from “far off decadent shores” use a somewhat pseudo-Arabian font, while making the font used for the “wild frontier” look more rugged.
Each pack consists of Stuff (usually a relevant item, such as rope for an acrobat, art supplies for an artist, etc.), as well as 4 different skills. Beyond these 3 to 5 exits are provided per package. In a way, these skill packages act as a kind of NPC-Codex generator, but unlike in more complex systems like PFRPG, they represent jobs or culture – six sample cultural skill packs are included as well. And yes, you can engage with all of those materials without the pdf, but the convenience presented is significant.
But perhaps you don’t just want skill packs? Well, the second part of the pdf presented sample stats – 30, to be precise. We get bodyguards, captains, scholars, knights, mad doctors, etc. – all wth suggested careers and stats properly presented.
The final page is devoted to a handy table that presents a means to determine random combat tricks: 8 entries are provided for archer, brawler, barbarian, cavalier, edgelord (LOL!!), hoplite, fencer and monk.
Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to a no-frills two-column b/w-standard that makes good use of the different fonts, as previously mentioned. The supplement has, unfortunately, no bookmarks, which constitutes a comfort detriment. I strongly suggest printing this.
Zzarchov Kowolski’s “Cliché Catalogue” is a supplement that is essentially all about utility; it is helpful, quick and speeds up the game when employed by a capable GM. And that’s all it is, all it tries to do. The focus on skill packs allows you to get more out of the supplement than a straight NPC Codex style book (those are the books with stats for nameless NPCs, fyi) would have provided. If you expect detailed stories or the like, look elsewhere, but for those of us who are playing the wonderfully quirky NGR-game, this is a helpful GM-aid indeed. My final verdict will be 4 stars.
You can get this handy toolkit here on OBS!
You can find Neoclassical Geek Revival in iterations with different art-styles right here!
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