So I finally got around to downloading my own copies of City Encounters and Knockspell #1. Matt Finch continues to be totally awesome. City Encounters is exactly the sort of thing I need to help bring a city to life. As a farmboy now living in a college town I have very little actual experience with fullblown cities. Sure, I’ve visited Chicago, Minneapolis and a few farther flung metropoli, but strictly as a touristy affair. I suspect that’s the reason why, despite my love of Conan’s misadventures in a decadent civilizations, I tend towards starting campaigns in pastoral, Shire-like locales. A product like City Encounters really helps me wrap my head around running games in a more Lankhmarian environ, especially as it comes in a format near and dear to my heart: the big-ass random die chart. And I love Matt’s suggestion of rolling up three or four encounters at once and mashing them together to create the confusion of a busy street!
I’m still digging into the guts of Knockspell #1, but I really like everything I’ve seen so far. Cover artist Peter Mullen continues to amaze the hell out of me. He manages to invoke the dark unrealities of Otus without simply aping him, which is something I’ve never seen before. Robert Lionheart’s Random Hireling Generator looks freakin’ great for throwing together a pile of losers for PCs to recruit. Tim Kask proves why he and his kin are called grognards in his delightfully grumpy editorial. I didn’t know about the existence of Jeff Talanian's Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers project until I started flipping through his adventure in this issue. Cool! And any mag with an installment from Gabor Lux is well worth a three buck download price for that alone. There’s lots of other stuff in Knockspell #1, but I’m still in the process of taking it all in. Oh, look! A classified ads section! Just like the glory days of White Dwarf! I’m tempted to submit a classified that says something cryptic like “Lareth, hand over the glaive!” just because I can.