EZG reviews Whispers & Rumours: Borderland
This pdf is 23 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 2 pages editorial, 1 page ToC/foreword, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 16 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
First: Read the foreword – after that, we’re in for a table that features modifiers for available settlement lore by size, a d8-table to determine the category of rumour gleaned and a table of miscellaneous lore-modifiers when gathering information. After that, we kick off this pdf with 4 different rumormongers, i.e. short fluffy descriptions of the characters that include mannerisms, hooks etc., but not statblocks. Nice indeed!
The first table, ranging from -11 (possible via locations/modifiers) to 29, we get a massive list of rumors related to free booters and adventurers, including snakeoil salesmen and adventurer-parties and even half-fiendish pilgrims redeemed. (Though rumors describing a group as “fiendish-looking” is not one I’d use, preferring euphemisms…)
The next massive table, covering Events & Festivals from -11 to 29 is next and I LOVE it – “Every day is all souls night here, my friend.” -That’s one entry. Chilling! Awesome! Monthly town meetings, soothsayer traditions, days devoted to local saints, lotteries – this table is GLORIOUS.
The table on legends & lore, again covering this many entries, kicks off with a rather lam “This land is cursed”-rambling, but goes on to become much better, telling local stories of famous grand-fathers, apothecaries selling narcotics to an elite clientele or exciting us with the mystery of a missing bronze statue.
Of course, a massive table containing gossip on lords and ladies – new wings for mansions, scandalous behavior and secret tunnels as well as art competitions are all over the place – in a good way. Where the high and mighty get their table, so do the scum & lowlifes, providing rumors for the less prestigious and shady facets of life before we delve into yet another massive table on rumors, this time dealing with magic and wonders, mentioning a wide variety of items and spells, like an e.g. hidden universal solvent bottle, an option to complete the research of a mad wizard to create the new Troglodyte Stench-spell and there’s also a nice little new cantrip.
The final table covers marauders and dangers – goblin armies as well as escaped convicts that had their gallows burst into flames should make for cool hooks – including an easteregg tying e.g. rumor to the Brethren of the Crimson Altar. Nice!
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RSP’s 2-column, printer-friendly 2-column-b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked and in two versions, one optimized for screen-use and one for print.
Eureka! Raging Swan has with this first offering a VERY HOT iron in the works – Landon Bellavia’s collection of whispers and rumors not only brings inspiration galore and hooks in abundance, but can add depth and a sense of organic feeling to any campaign – these tables are varied, useful and a godsend of details for any DM. Useful and oh so nice, this series, if its first release is any indicator, has the potential to become one of my favorite ones yet – superbly useful, nice and all-out awesome, I’ll happily rate this 5 stars + seal of approval and heartily recommend it to any DM seeking to add a little spice to his/her campaign.