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CurseofSebs

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Dank Dungeons (@DankDungeons) Presents: The Shifting City 

Whenever someone sends me something to review, I try to give it a quick look over, before filing it away on the terrifying Spreadsheet of Many that records my ridiculous backlog. It’s rare that I actually get something into my hands in a moment when I can just get into it kinda off the clock of regular review time, but with The Shifting City I put the first track of the LP on, got the PDF up and just drifted off to Sarapesh with the mysterious melodies of the synths. 


I have to say I absolutely love the soundtrack and that the tracks are linked to specific sections of the Zine with the page/ track being referenced. The music as a whole other dimension and helps to whisk you away, as well as aiding with getting into the right head space for reading the prose, comprehending the lore and working with the various tables provided. The LP also doubles as a wonderful soundtrack to in turn help take your players off to this mutable, multicultural and mysterious city of wonders, bizarre bazaars of myriad merchants and magic items, thoughtful, thriving thieves’ guilds, and ponderous, preening Panjandrums trying to make sense of the chaos. The PDF is still rich on its own, bur the music certainly adds another facet of strangeness, making the transition from our mundane reality to the transient markets and mansions of Sarapesh, the Shifting City. 


The zine itself alternates between prose that allows us to see the setting through the eyes of this discovering or part of the city. These vignettes offer the reader a window in, much as if they we able to get a look at a “transdimensional mirror”. These short pieces describe a shepherd coming across and marveling at the Shifting City, an overview of the lore and law of the Pandimenzional Bazaar, the business of the 13 Skulls thieves’ guild, a swashbuckling vigilante “dressed for peril” saving her family from destitution at the edge of her “toledo blade”, and introducing us to the ubiquitous phrase that sums up Sarapesh superbly, “the guilds and the panjis are at in again…”. 


When it comes to mechanics, the zone has a variety of ta tables, including the talk of the market and the new wares on offer, a four step process for creating a thieves’ guild and the same did a panjandrum, and the detailed tables for a thieves hideout and a panjandrum villa with five levels of stature and the various areas, weaknesses, entrances and corridors. There are so many awesome ideas and nuggets of inspiration to create all-manner of awesomeness. 


Finally, an example heist is included, showing one set of possibilities using all the tools provided to come up with a thieves’ guild, panjandrum villa, target, security, etc. These are complimented by the old skool artwork and annotated maps from Daniel Walthall. This is a whole heist adventure with everything you need to know to run the adventure, including a timeline of events, details on the NPCs and creatures. Involved and the bizarre owner and layout of the various parts of the human-sized octopus’ opulent home.


This is a wonderful system and setting agnostic zine and city that could essentially slot in anywhere and any when in any game due to the transcendental nature of every random atom of Sarapesh. With primary familiarity of D&D 5e, I could see this being worked particularly effectively into the city of Sharn in the Eberron setting or Ravnica in the Magic: The Gathering/ D&D setting of Ravnica. 


I’m seriously impressed with the depth of flavour and  boundless potential of the tables within, which is only greater realised with the accompanying music. This is some new  old skool cool goodness!

 
CREDITS 
WRITTEN BY: Lex Mandrake and Chris Boudreau 
LAYOUT BY: Lex Mandrake 
MUSIC BY: Lex Mandrake 
ART APPEARING: 
The Shifting City (cover) by Logan Stahl 
Daggers in the Dark (pg4) by Logan Stahl 
The Merchant’s Daughter (pg6) by Logan Stahl 
Jewelry Box (pg 13, 17) by Daniel Walthall 
The Dream Reliquary Map (pgs 14, 15, 16, 17, 18) by Daniel Walthall 
Beetle Warrior (pg 14) by Daniel Walthall 
Octopus in Bathtub (pg 15) by Daniel Walthall 
Goat Skull Bejeweled (pg 17) by Daniel Walthall

PDF Zine &LP on Bandcamp: 
https://dankdungeons.bandcamp.com/album/the-shifting-city
PDF Zine on Itch: https://dank-dungeons.itch.io/the-shifting-city

Hype!

Rhis short and sweet set of chase rules really cuts to the quick and provides a fantastically functional system, which works well whether your dashing in D&D or motoring in Michtim (or any number of games!), and gets the action moving with alacrity!

... 


I’ll definitely be keeping this pdf on quickdraw ready for a chase to break out, as well as honestly looking forward to them occurring, rather than feeling a pang of anxiety when I see one in an adventure or about erupt at my table!

Full Review under ratings! 

Incredibly beautiful and so very sad. 

I was completely transfixed and along for the ride. 

The blending of such tangible details of a childhood with the fantasy element is divine. 

I'm breathless and blown away. 

This is game whose design, layout and artwork are all the labour of love of Georg Mir (@GeorgMir), they still make clear Mitchim “would not have been possible without the help of countless passionate people”. These include Alexander Oslaj’s input on the Setting Idea, various Playtesters and those who offered Words of Wisdom and the M(o)use, Cornelius Funkenflug (what a sensational name!?), Mir’s djungarian dwarf hamster who’s “charming (even if ferocious) personality” was an inspiration “during the project”. “He’s a fluffy gangster (being locked up behind bars), and utterly adorable at everything he does.” Finally, Mir thanks You, “for putting your trust in [them] and [their] little world. Hope you enjoy making it your new home.”

Contents

This rulebook employs a beautifully brilliant, simple and aesthetic style utilising the colours of the rainbow and individual symbols to breakdown the various elements of the book to make navigation so much easier while flipping through searching for rules mid-game. For example, the introduction and lexicon are denoted by a quill and ink and the colour red, while Michtims have a Michtim face with the colour orange.

Full review on DriveThruRPG:

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/105250/Michtim-Fluffy-Adventures

Conclusion 

This is nearly 120 pages of adorable awesomeness! A beautifully simple and elegant rules system with varying level of complexity for different groups with awesome ideas, mechanics and background lore. 
 
The art style and artwork throughout are so wonderfully adorable and truly encapsulate the vibes of Michtims and the game.

Just a note on the art of the various Michtim classes on the Haus page – It’s freaking adorable! The chef is SO happy!

This is clearly a labour of love with joy and fun at its heart. I cannot recommend it more strongly for anyone and everyone who wants a fun, fast roleplaying game. 

Fresh Press: Magical Misspell by CoffeeSnake Studios (@CoffeeSnakeGame) Review by Curse of Sebs (@CurseofSebs) 

“Now serving 69 hot fresh new spells, all based on existing OGL spells. Crafted by the Grand Diviner Cabbage, kobold wizard extraordinaire, enjoy new takes on classics such as: Arcane Dye, Firebelt, Cloudkrill, Sunbear, Maize, Fish” 

This supplement opens with the quaint story of the reader wandering in the “Bizarre Bazaar” (market not the Insane Clown Posse double album), and coming upon the tent of the kobold wizard, Cabbage, with a strange and unique “lexicographical talent” she developed from studying “wizardly arts (her term) from her Gold Dragon-mom (also her term), she started scribing spell scrolls as practice but had a slight… mishap in spelling.” This adorable kobold tells the tale of how their “variants” came to be and what they have on offer. 

These spells are fun, wild and all over the place. Advice provided suggests, “GMs are welcome to sell a spell scroll for any of the following spells at prices fair to their game or include them as treasure. A GM could permit a character of any class to learn one of these spells or for a wizard to add it to their spellbook” 

New Spells by Level 

This list contains all the spells in level order, each with the original spell that inspired it in parentheses. 

With there being 69 spells (nice) I won’t be able to go through them all so I shall pick out some of my favourites to share with you. Let’s take a look to see how absolutely ridiculous and spectacularly awesome these beauties are. 

“Animate Bread (Animate Dead) 

V, S, M (flour, water, yeast, and a pinch of salt)

...Choose a bowl of bread dough within range. Your spell imbues the target with life, activating the yeast and flash-baking it into a special construct. The target becomes a medium sized Animated Bread...”

 

I’m a big fan of the flavourful material components in spells and how ridiculously specific and/ or apropos they are, and this is a glorious addition. I love the fact the spell activates the yeast and flash-bakes the bread, and I would hugely appreciate instantaneous flash-baking in real life!

There’s a full statblock for the Animated Bread in the back of the supplement, but right now I’m just focused on this ability: 

“Delicious Aroma (1/Day). A 10-food radius of the delicious smell of fresh baked bread extends out from the Animated Bread. The smell spreads around corners.” 

We all know how good the aroma of freshly baked bread is, but this crusted construct smells so good a failed save leaves you with disadvantage on attacks and checks, and only able to use an action or bonus action until the end of your next turn because the smell has you salivating and hankering for a hunk of that hunky bread. 

Now I really want bread and can’t stop thinking about how much better Animated Bread smells than undead. Necromancers should become bakers! Grave Bony Bake Off, anyone? 

“Cone of Cone (Cone of Cold) 

V, S, M (a small crystal or glass cone containing a small crystal or glass cone containing a small crystal or glass cone)

You project a dizzying fractal cone of cones outward from your hands...Each creature affected by the 60-foot cone projects another cone in a direction of the caster’s choosing. All creatures in these 30-ft cones (not counting the creature of origin) ...Each creature affected by a 30-foot cone projects another [15-foot] cone in a direction of the caster’s choosing...”

This is a glorious fractal nightmare of cones all the way down! With this a spellcaster can cover an entire battalion with these cascading cavalcades of cones! There’s just something so entertaining about such a long, complicated and effective spell coming from such a simple name. 

“Control Waiter (Control Water) 

V, S, M (a rainbow patterned bowtie)

This spell creates a construct of magical force that is nearly invisible, save for an opaque, rainbow patterned bow tie...It cannot be harmed, but also cannot attack...The waiter can perform any task that a non-magical servant could...It is capable of making independent decisions to execute your desires, and the waiter retains the memories of prior casts of this spell. The waiter can cast Unseen servant at will to assist it in its duties. If you cast this spell each day for a year in the same home, it becomes permanent.”

This is an awesome step up from and the logical evolution of Unseen Servant. The rainbow patterned bow tie is an amusing touch, but other than that and the name this is a serious spell that is seriously useful for maintaining strongholds, clearing out the detritus from ruins or even as first response emergency services! The possibilities are almost endless, especially with them retaining memories from proper castings. In many ways they are the mundane analogue to Janet from The Good Place. 

This is also one of those spells that can be great for inspiration and flavour. Imagine a ruined keep or a castle buried in the Underdark from a sinkhole. How and why are these seemingly abandoned and lost sites kept so clean and repaired? Why are there so many Unseen Servants fighting an endless war against encroaching plant life and animals in this forest-reclaimed manor? How would centuries alone affect a magical construct created from a permanent casting of this spell and what if some arcane or eldritch power warped them in that time? So much potential for ghost town antics! 

“Dimension Deer (Dimension Door) 

...You summon a single dimension deer that appears in an unoccupied space that you can see within range. The dimension deer disappears when it drops to 0 hit points or when the spell ends...” 

The name alone conjures all manner of images, and the spell itself doesn’t disappoint. Unlike their terrestrial siblings, the dimension deer has the ability to teleport. Teleportation can be combined with their Ram attack, allowing for some very surprising banging butts! Higher levels summon more, which would be so much fun, whizzing and bamfing around! 

“Fish (Wish) 

You summon the mightiest of fish, a true leviathan: a kraken...It respects any verbal commands that you issue to it (no action required by you), though it may take a different course of action if it deems necessary. If you don’t issue any commands to the kraken, it will act of its own accord and according to its nature.”

I know you could always Wish for one, but the specificity of this spell brings such a smile to my face! I really enjoy that, while it will follow the summoner’s commands, it might know best way to do it instead, and has more agency if left on its own than other summoned creatures due to its greater intelligence and legendary status.

Just imagine having this in your back pocket when staring down the barrel of a TPK! 

“Forcerage (Forcecage) 

V, S, M (a bucket of pig’s blood, that you pour over yourself while casting)

...You enter a telekinetic fugue state, your mind lashing out at all threats. You gain the benefits of the spell telekinesis, but become incapable of concentrating on any spell and cannot cast another. For the duration, you may use one of the following in place of one of telekinesis’s features...

Choke. As an action, you may attempt to choke a creature with mental force...

Telekinetic Slam. You lift a creature or object that you can see within 60 feet of you into the air and slam it to the ground with great force...

Telekinetic Smash. You strike a creature with great mental force...You may also use this feature as a reaction upon suffering damage from an attack...”

First of all, one of the components is “a bucket of blood that you pour over yourself while casting”, which along with the abilities is a clear reference to Stephen King’s 1974 novel Carrie and Brian De Palma’s 1976 film of the book. They may all laugh at you, then look very confused and disturbed while you start pouring blood on yourself, but they will be terrified and obliterated when you unleash these powers! I’m also getting some serious Sith and the Darkside of the Force from Star Wars vibes from all but named, Force Choke. 

I love new spells that build upon and evolve existing ones, as this does with Telekinesis. The variety, epicness and ability to keep the effects going are awesome, especially if you are able to have the rest of the party keeping the caster covered, allowing Sith Carrie to wreak havoc to their heart’s content! 

“Massage (Message) 

...Your hands are infused with healing and protective energy. A touched creature other than yourself gains...temporary hit points and is freed from paralysis...”

What can I say? I’m very partial to a massage and who needs a good massage more than an adventurer before a big combat? Could lead to some interesting inter-party dynamics 

“Sunbear (Sunbeam) 

...You summon a single sunbear that appears in an unoccupied space that you can see within range. A sunbear is a powerful celestial creature imbued with the power of daylight...”

These celestial bears have these awesome unique abilities:

“Solar Flare. Ranged spell attack...The light of these attacks is considered sunlight. 

Supernova. The sunbear grows in size and fury; for one minute it becomes Huge, it doubles in size and its weight is multiplied by 8...”

As a Werebear, I do have an appreciation for my bear sibling, especially ones that shoot weaponised sunlight and have the ability to greatly increase their mass at will! I just love summoning and new creatures so much! 

“Wyrd (Weird) 

...You instantly learn the full designs of fate for a creature of your choice that you can see within range. You can choose to shatter the creature’s destiny. If the creature is unwilling, it must make a Charisma saving throw. On a failed save, or if the creature is willing, it is severed from fate. Prophecies must find a new chosen one, nobles lose their houses and monarchs their crowns, and all contracts and pacts to which the creature was bound are voided and of no effect. All curses, diseases, poisons, and magical effects affecting the creature end. All items to which the creature is attuned are unattuned. A creature may gain the benefit from this spell only once in their existence.”

They most definitely saved the best for last! This is an absolutely phenomenal spell full of flavour and serious metaphysical weight! Wyrd is just a bloody brilliant spell in its own right, worthy of being taken seriously, far more than simply an amusing alternate spelling. 

There is so much potential for entire campaigns based around this spell. Perhaps a particularly powerful and awful Lich has ruled the lands for aeons and there are whispers that there is a spell so potent, the Unseelie Court keep it guarded in the depths of a frozen tomb that reaches into the dank depths of the Feydark that could topple their empire...or a powerful royal discovers a terrible prophecy about their unborn child and hires heroes to scour the planes for a way of free them... It could even be that a powerful hag coven, demon or even an evil god damns one or all of the party with a curse so foul no known spell can counter it, but a wild prophecy is delivered to a druid sage that could save the day... My mind is absolutely buzzing with inspiration from the fantastic spell! 

Good D&D elements are really useful and helpful, but truly great ones are awesomely inspiring! 

There were just so many I loved, but couldn’t cover, so here’s a few honourable mentions:

Arcane Band has “an iridescent glass disc” aka a CD component, Cloudkrill summons cloud of voracious flying shrimp, Detect Poisson and disease help you find fish, among other things, Detest Magic makes someone become appalled and unwilling to have anything to do with magic, Frog Cloud summons a cloud of frogs, Perverse Gravity is a nightmare of physics and torture, Tiny Hat forces a piece of “manufactured headwear” to shrink on the wearer’s head causing damage and making them look adorable! 

This is a phenomenally well thought out and professionally executed supplement based on a silly idea worth so very much more than its $2.50 price tag. In the wrong hands and not taken as seriously, this could have been something to cast your eyes over, have a chuckle and never think of again, but CoffeeSnake have produced a hilarious, ridiculous and inspiring selection of spells and these new creatures! Of course, some of these are just plain nonsense fun, but there is clear talent and heart here. CoffeeSnake most definitely have my attention and I cannot wait to check out more of their wares! 

If my word isn’t enough for you, there is a free sample: Wall of Horse on their itch product page. 

 

If you are on a low or precarious income, CoffeeSnake generously offer a large number of Community Copies, with an email address to contact if they run out. This kind of openness and understanding is truly wonderful to see. 

Credits

CoffeeSnake Studios (@CoffeeSnakeGame) 

Writing and Design: Andrew Rasmussen

Character of Cabbage: Rachel ‘Pi’ Gibson (@PiDraws) 

Burning Hinds and editing by: Paul Burd