Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Back in the Manor

The cover and much of the content of The Manor #2 features Hugo the potion pusher.  On the upside, Hugo and attendant NPCs, location (his shop), seven adventure seeds and a twenty entry random table, amounts to an ingenious take of something as mundane as buying a potion.  On the downside, the reader will immediately identify Hugo (by his picture alone) as Wicked Uncle Ernie and subsequently be forced to deal with The Who’s “Fiddle About” bouncing around in their head for a few days.  Of course, when singing along, Wicked Uncle Ernie becomes Wicked Uncle Hugo.  Sorry.

The rest of the issue is devoted to a location; again with attendant NPCs, plot seeds, map and random table.  Entitled Smuggler’s Inn, Tim twists mundane into profane.  Danger, discovery and decadence follow. 

There is no good reason not to buy The Manor.  Issue #1 offered appetizers and Issue #2, entrees.   Clearly Tim understands the importance of breadth and depth while also possessing a clear sense of what a ‘zine can and can’t do.  Buy the Manor….fiddle, fiddle, fiddle.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Inside the Manor

 The delight of opening my mailbox and finding something other than bills and junk mail is, frankly, worth the price of a fanzine.  Tearing open the envelope (after snapping the obligatory photograph of course) confirmed my suspicion that this reward had set the bar far to low.  The Manor #1, quite simply, is pure joy. 

Nostalgia aside, as it’s perhaps the lowest form of flattery, the Manor #1 is worthwhile for it’s capacity to bring depth, that little extra to your game.  In an OSR community that often worships at the altar of minimalism, the Manor #1 refreshingly adds colour rather than build or (re)interpret.  Containing no new rules or even elucidations, there is no canon to be found, only vignettes, textures and illustrations.  Sure, it’s a quick read but the effect is exponential, ideas that create ideas.  Specifically, the issue includes a short  (appropriately titles) “Micro Adventure”, one short random table, one longer table with twenty ‘fleshed-out’ descriptions, an adventure site with a plot hook, NPC seed and hooks and, thankfully, a “Poetry Slam” entitled ‘Umber Hulk’.

The Manor #1 is indeed useful.   But more importantly it’s fun.  And in a niche pastime all too rife with bitterness, bitching and back-biting, goodness knows we need that!