This installment of what I’d tentatively call the “new” Urban Dressing-series clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
War is hell. War never changes…or does it? Before I drift off into Metal Gear Solid-esque ruminations on the nature of humanity and warfare, let’s take a gander at rains of ash, coating everything under sooty grime, at the panorama of destruction that entails crows gnawing on the piled dead; echoes of whimpers resounding from the burnt buildings as priests bestow their blessings on those passing by.
Let’s try to cheer up those droop-shouldered sentries before their life ends in an approximation of Erich Maria Remarque’s legendary movie. Let’s have our hearts torn asunder as infants ask their dads not to leave – all these and more can we find in the first 100-entry strong table of sights and sounds.
But let’s be cynical…let’s shop like there is no tomorrow, for war, when all is said and done, is also a business and weaponsmiths, charm-selling charlatans, supply depots and spy HQs all await our patronage, a diversion to spent the scant few copper pieces we earned – after all, who knows whether we’ll have the option to spend them tomorrow? So, let us walk the streets of this war-sundered town and see whether we can find solace in the arms of a professional – but alas – no brothel to be found here. Only the mourners, orphanages bursting to the brim – that can be found herein, but no idle diversions among the 50 businesses for the poor sops about to lose their lives.
But fret not – amid the 50 folk of interest, such company can indeed be found – if you can find the people among the scavengers, weapon-engineers and bitter veterans . Just be careful that you don’t run into a scar collector – who collects scars on other people… Just make sure you do what you came to do here, before the 20 complications hit – from toppling, burnt main-towers, hooligans, spies and planned executions of prisoners of war, there is a lot of things that can happen – and every occurrence may be the last…
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ 2-column b/w-standard and the artwork is thematically fitting b/w-stock. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and in two versions – one optimized for the printer and one optimized for screen-use.
Josh Vogt’s war-torn town weaves a fascinating tapestry of desolate destruction and the horrors of war. Thematically and mood-wise, this Urban Dressing is superb indeed. However, personally, I always felt drawn to the odd duality in war – at the one hand, Thanatos raging, at the other, Eros rising. Friendships and love forged in these most horrific of circumstances tend to last a lifetime and the drive to experience life to the fullest, hedonistic excess and the like, feel like they did not get enough room to shine herein. As far as the depiction of the bleakness of war goes, this is excellent. The psychological see-sawing, though, isn’t captured as well. This does not mean this pdf is bad – quite the contrary. My prose-style review has hopefully shown you how flavorful this book is, though to me, it lacks the final je-ne-sais-quoi. hence, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars, just short of my seal of approval.