Free Role Playing Game Supplement Review: GM’s Monthly Miscellany October 2017

GM’s Monthly Miscellany October 2017 is a free role playing game supplement published by Raging Swan Press for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. As such, it is covered by the Open Game License and some of the material is considered to be Open Game Content as a result. This is one in a series of monthly supplements that consists of eleven regular issues and a twelfth compilation supplement that is also available as a print on demand softcover.

This is a thirteen page bookmarked PDF. Two pages are Raging Swan’s standard plain front and rear covers, one page is an ad for their Patreon, one page an ad for their site, one page is the front matter and Contents, one page the Foreword and one page the Open Game License. The PDF comes in two versions, one optimised for print and desktop and the other for screen and mobile.

GM's Monthly Miscellany October 20173 Jolly Handy Things to Have Behind Your GM Screen is an article from the publisher’s site. The three things are dressing tables – Raging Swan is a big publisher of all kinds of these, so this is not a huge surprise – prepared encounters – when players go off the track in a Pathfinder game (a concern with the adventure paths in particular), coming up with encounters on the spur of the moment is tricky – and the final thing is PC notes – namely various stats and bonuses required for rolls so that the GM doesn’t have to constantly ask for them.

Farrav’n At a Glance is an extract from Village Backdrop: Farrav’n. This is a generally good aligned gnoll village founded around an oasis and devoted to a nature goddess. The village helps travellers in the desert, and are a splinter faction from a larger gnoll tribe that kills travellers. The village’s demographics, background, marketplace, notable locations and NPCS, lore and whispers & rumours are listed, along with a map of the settlement.

Forgotten Athenaeum At a Glance is taken from Places of Power: Forgotten Athenaeum. The Athenaeum is a library which was sent into the Astral Plane by the individual running it to prevent it, and the knowledge it contains, from being destroyed by invaders. It has now resided there for several hundred years and is full of knowledge of many types, making it a target for those seeking such. The library’s background, lore, demographics and notable NPCs and locations are listed, together with a map of the building.

10 Minor Curses Lurking in a Magic Item is another article from the publisher. These are various curses that could be attached to items that probably aren’t specifically ‘cursed’ in the traditional sense (the text is not clear) but have drawbacks to ownership.

The PDF is decently bookmarked with the various sections linked; unfortunately, quite a few of the bookmarks point to the wrong pages, greatly decreasing their utility. The Contents covers the major sections. Navigation is not as good as it could be.

The text maintains a two column format and no errors were definitely noticed (one of the rumours marked as being true for Farrav’n doesn’t appear to fit with the good nature of the village). There are a couple of black and white illustrations, apart from the maps, which would appear to be stock.

Of the two articles, the first is interesting but pretty logical. The second, on cursed items, is more useful and could certainly make an item more ‘interesting.’

Both Farrav’n and the Forgotten Athenaeum have enough details provided to use them as is. There are also obvious adventure hooks for each place. For Farrav’n, it is the looming attack by the evil gnoll tribe from which they split. This could destroy a useful oasis and base, so players could become involved in stopping it. For the Forgotten Athenaeum, it could be used as a place to research or players could become involved in stopping attacks on the library or thefts of books. Both places can easily be dropped into a campaign; the gnoll village is in a desert and the library is in the Astral Plane.

These supplements are largely intended to promote the publisher’s material but, as always, they have use in and of themselves, and this is no exception. GM’s Monthly Miscellany October 2017 can be downloaded for free by clicking here.

 

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