The Blasphemous Roster – Guilds of Infinigrad and their Machinations (system neutral)
This massive toolkit clocks in at 73 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 69 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
So, first of all, this is a toolkit I didn’t realize I wanted. I love me some weird planar metropolis; whether it’s Sigil, the City of 7 Seraphs or some other place; I love Bas-Lag, and I enjoy the outré weirdness of, let’s say, the assumed settings of Troika. Infinigrad, in a way, is a ginormous such metropolis, one sprawling on a planar scale, and it just makes sense in such a context to have the city controlled by a plethora of guilds both strange and wondrous. (As an aside, in my interpretation of the City of 7 Seraphs, I have made the guilds essentially subcontractors of the parities.) Infinigrad’s assumption is that the PCs serve the guilds as Guild Dogs, a kind of fantasypunk shadow/edgerunners, and in the so far only module in the setting, the PWYW “Pollute the Elfen Memory Water” this cool concept is executed exceedingly well. It should be noted that this book can be used as an infusion of nonstandard fantasy aspects in your regular fantasy game – you don’t have to embrace the entirety of Infinigrad’s assumptions to use this.
So, first thing you need to know: This is peak indie roleplaying game design in many ways; the book straddles the realm of art, courtesy of the expert use of public domain images and sentences that look like they have been cut out and put inside; in many ways, this reminded me of my first use of Burroughs’ cutup technique with Naked Lunch, just…well, coherent. The entire book feels like a massive collage. This might strike you as pretentious at first glance, but once you realize that the functionality of the book is never compromised by the aesthetics, that feeling will go away. This is very much a book intended to be used. It is a tool.
Now, if you’re familiar with the PWYW “The Transient Bazaar”, you can picture, to a degree, what you’ll get herein – a ridiculously mighty generator, where page upon page of tables to determine the components of the guilds in detail – from modus operandi to realms of expertise.
The SCALE is what sets this apart. You get 10 pages of expertise and forename tables, and guild examples are provided as well. Like the Transient Bazaar, this supplement also makes use of the cool visual generator idea, where essentially collages of public domain images, codified in grids, allow you to get instant inspiration. This way, you determine guild member looks, how the base of operation looks, and combine it further – these instances once more cover a wide array of pages.
The book also presents a massive job generator that covers, once more, page upon page of targets. “Haunt a target or replace it with a ghostly copy” – now that is an interesting task for the PCs! “Cause target to grow to enormous size”? Heck yeah, why not! We also have desirable actions covered, job locations, and dangers at site – and the combination is genuinely better than what I’d be able to convey with this review. This also extends to the rewards. Beyond that, a room layout generator is included alongside a brief dressing table.
Editing and formatting are top-notch; I noticed no serious hiccups. Layout is ART – 2-column collages with public domain art in the back, blended and combined in an effective manner that serves to enhance the overall, unique feeling of this toolkit. I printed it out, and I strongly suggest you do that as well (though it’ll be BRUTAL on your ink/toner) – or get the print copy. I don’t yet own the print copy, but I *will* get it. EDIT: The pdf now comes fully bookmarked, so getting pdf-only? Now a valid strategy! 😀 This is meant to be USED, and as such, I really suggest getting a physical iteration. It just makes the process swifter.
Michael Raston’s blasphemous roster is frickin’ amazing. It has all the hallmarks of artpunky indie RPGs, with its aesthetics, its genuinely novel ideas and sheer density of cool notions. And at the same time, it maintains its serious focus on functionality. This is a capital letters TOOL, and yet, it feels unlike e.g. all of New Big Dragon Games Unlimited’s excellent D30-toolkits. Why? Because it is genuinely FUN to use. This book is at once a thoroughly USEFUL book, and at the same time, a genuinely FUN book to flip open and use, time and again.
In short: This is one impressive beast of a book. If you have at least a small place in your heart for the vast fantasy metropolis, for the punk aesthetic, for the indie production that has an art-budget of exactly zero, you’ll absolutely adore this book. I genuinely consider this to be one of the highlights I’ve come across in the last couple of months. The generator not only delivers factions and quests, it does so in a manner that genuinely makes me, more often than not, contemplate how I’ll execute them – because I want to. If you’re tired of standard quests and factions, this’ll be a breath of fresh air. Heck, even if you don’t consistently use this, adding one or two guilds from this book to your regular fantasy setting’s city or region will make it feel fresher, stranger. Need a weirdo neighborhood? Use this.
The lack of bookmarks costs this a star for the pdf version, but in print? Full-blown masterpiece. 5 stars +seal of approval, and though this was released in 2018, I only now got around to reviewing this; hence, this gets a nomination as a candidate for my Top Ten of 2019. We need more Infinigrad.
You can get this genius generator here on OBS!
Want print? You can find that version here on lulu!
You can directly support the author making more Infinigrad supplements here!
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