This pdf clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page inspirational reading list, leaving us with 10 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
We begin this pdf with a new background, the fortune teller, who gains proficiency in Insight and Deception as well as one type of fortune teller’s tools. They also get one language of choice and the aforementioned tools, set of a traveler’s clothes, a costume and a 15 gp-pouch. The fortune teller can decide or roll a specialty from a list of 10 – face reading, astrology – a charlatan’s paradise. Fortune tellers can earn money almost everywhere and those that have their fortune read usually want to believe you, which nets you advantage on the Insight or Deception check made to BS them. The fortune teller employs, fittingly, the charlatan background’s table. There also would be a variant guild artisan, the apothecary, whose skill proficiencies include Investigation and Medicine, with Herbalism kit and apothecary’s tool as tool proficiency. Starting equipment-wise, we get a herbalism kit, merchant’s scales, traveler’s clothes, a diploma/certificate and 15 gp. They may either choose the standard guild artisan features or a new one, “The Right Medicine.”, which decrease the recuperation periods of poisons and diseases and grant advantage on the Con-save for those that receive the proper treatment.
Next up would be an arsenal of different weapons and armor: interesting: An assassin’s outfit conveys advantage on Stealth checks, while scrap plates and higher impose disadvantage. And yes, the assassin outfit, beyond cultural stigma, also is balanced by the non-existent AC-improvement. Regarding weaponry, we have batons/truncheons, brass knuckles, canes…and chainsaws, which may smash foes prone on a failed contested Dex-check. We also have chain whips which threaten a critical hit on a 19 and 20 (pretty potent), swords and pistols hidden in canes, boomerangs, gunblades and gun axes, blunderbusses (which can fire 15.-ft. cones at short range) and lightning damage causing alternate pieces of ammunition.
Beyond these deadly tools of the trade, we do get adventuring gear, from goggles and hats (and, as a goth, I can attest to the Steampunk-crowd’s obsession with these…) to lighters and ink cartridges. Proper supplies for investigators and apothecaries as well as herbalists complement an overall potent and well-crafted item-section.
The pdf also contains 3 feats: Firearms Expert nets firearm proficiency and prevents disadvantage when firing firearms in close combat and bonus action attacks with firearms when attacking with a one-handed melee weapon. Nimble increases Dex by 1, to the cap of 20 as well as +1 AC when wearing light or no armor. Thirdly, Tinkerer increases Int by 1 to the cap of 20, proficiency with artisan’s tools (tinker’s tools) and allows you to create Tiny clockworks that temporarily work unless you maintain them -up to three may be active at a given time. The devices may be clockwork toys, fire starters or music boxes.
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious glitches. Layout adheres to Tribality’s unique, photo-style standard in full-color, with the picture of the clockwork bird on the last page being my favorite. The pdf has no bookmarks, which constitutes a minor comfort detriment. The pdf does come with a second version for mobile devices that is significantly smaller in size.
Shawn Ellsworth’s steampunk adventures represent a nice basic toolkit to add a sprinkling of steampunkish goodness to your game. The new items are concisely presented and, while potent, should not unhinge a game. Now, there obviously is a LOT, LOT more that I’d consider mandatory regarding steampunk rules; gadgets, magic, class options, etc. – but this pdf costs 2 lousy bucks and provides some great, fun basics. While this left me wanting more, it provides a surprising amount of content and covers a lot of the standards. As such, this is well worth getting as a starting point, though GMs obviously should not expect to get a complete steampunk toolkit/setting. If you engage this pdf as intended, it delivers some fun options and is well worth a final verdict of 5 stars.
You can get this inexpensive file here on OBS!
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