Sunday, April 21, 2013

Spinechillers and Silent Killers From Thistle Games Review And Commentary For Your Old School Campaigns

There are rare and sometimes useful products that come along that sort of defy description and some of these can be called a glorious trainwreck or mess. This isn't one of those fortunately. This is Dungeon Master's book of traps,tricks, and sleaze. Period. This is a book that actually gets into the meaning of old school when it was DM vs players. This is a palette of destruction along the lines of Grimtooth's traps.
Lets see what's in this palette shall we? 
Spinechillers and Silent Killers is a system free add-on for tabletop RPGs. It’s full of 500+ highly configurable traps, spinechillers, omens and other hazards or surprises. The content can be put to a number of uses:
  1. Scattering unexpected and unusual events through an adventure or across a campaign.
  2. Designing high intensity gameplay using clusters of high impact encounters.
  3. Adding layers of mystery, suspense and mayhem to adventures and campaigns.
  4. Remixing existing adventures or campaigns by parachuting in hazardous and/ or menacing encounters.
  5. Raising the emotional content of the gameplay by reinstating the sense of the unknown and the unexpected so often reported as part of new players’ gameplay.
  6. Building gritty and grimy gameplay.
Spinechillers ~ Traps ~ Omens ~ Dark Secrets ~ Jailbreaks ~ Runaway Wagons ~ Unpleasant Places ~ Local Delicacies ~ Mishaps and Misfortunes ~ Extreme Sports ~ Ridiculous Laws ~ Serious Complications ~ Money Pits ~ Debt Collectors
Spinechillers and Silent Killers is currently available on an introductory offer!
* - if Spinechillers and Silent Killers gets a Silver badge on DriveThruRPG I'll reburn and update with 50+ extra entries :)

What Spinechillers and Silent Killers Is and Isn't 

I come from a different era of Dungeon Mastering when the hobby was a still a part of War gaming and player characters weren't expected to live. There were a number of companies producing books that had dungeon dressing in them. Dragon Tree Press, Judge's Guild, etc. all of these produced books that were meant as tricks, traps, etc. all for your dungeon to smite your players.  Grimtooth's came later but were still in the same vein. So is this book there is a very important tradition that no one ever seems to talk about with these books.
They show the steamy underside of dungeon crawling. That sleazy brothel crawling, pub living, and drug induced world of adventurers that is evident in the writings of Robert Howard but that have been cleaned up over the years. Forget Fatal and the non sense of the various books of whatever.
The trap books let this world out of the bag. This is the world of Ralph Bashi's Lord of The Ring's orcs and goblins.
This is the world of the random tables and dire paths of the DM. This is the world of this book.This  isn't a book for players its a book for the DM to make "snap random encounters". These are the type of encounter that can make or cripple a party of adventurers.  
The introduction is about fifteen pages and there is another old school reason for that as well. The books of the past offered the Dungeon Master advise and insight into the author's own experience with OD&D or  whatever they were running. This book is no exception.
There is a difference between the old school books of the past and this one. The artwork, editing,etc in all one hundred and fifty pages is exceptional. 
The spinechillers are are perfect for a haunted touch to adventures.  The horrible food, extreme sports and jailbreaks are solid and show the steamy un PC life of dungeons and their sleazy world of adventurers.  The traps cover 50 pages of pure malice. 
 The best part about all of this is that its "System less" That's right you can use these in a post apocalyptic setting, a science fantasy world or anywhere including a modern era if you want an old world dungeon touch.  

Reasons why to use Spinechillers and Silent Killers 
  1. Seamless system integration and random tables that are actually useful. 
  2. Dirty DM tricks that come right out of the past that are also very well done. 
  3. Throwback to the random table from both OD&D and the first edition AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide. Meaning that these tables are well edited and ready to go when you are. 
  4. Great for pit fighting, extreme sports, or gladiatorial games when a bit of an edge is needed for adventurers. Yet not enough to kill em. 
  5. There are enough side encounters here to make out of the dungeon and between adventures actually kinda cool and unpredictable. 
  6. 150 pages of old school goodness 
  7. Seamless integration means that old school ideals can bleed into a wide variety of campaigns. A diabolical DM can get a lot of mileage out of this book. 
  8. There is a lot of weirdness in this book which will keep players on their toes and interested in your campaign. 
  9. Money pits and serious complications (rivals in the dungeon) are prefect tools to separate your pigeons errm adventurers from their coin another old school problem now easily solved. Also perfect for creating more foils for adventurers. Keep PC's low on cash. A desperate PC is a story line waiting to happen. This book is a perfect tool kit for that. 
    1. This book is an old school tool kit from a far gone era now at our doorstep. Use it or mine it for a ton of ideas that can be very interesting. Players aren't going to be expecting it. 

    1. Conclusion 
    1. This is an old school throwback that enables a DM to bring the "violence factor" up in a campaign without  TPKing the player characters while still making the mayhem center stage. This means that you can set up events and encounters with real challenge to the players while playing DM games with the players. Fun,fun, fun. 

  1. Monsters, traps,etc are all given the Thistle games treatment. 
  1. This book is plainly a steal at 7.99 
    1. You can get through DrivethruRpg right HERE 

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