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The Manor, Issue #7
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/10/2014 13:40:16
One of the cool things about the early days of this hobby was finding great little zines of new content. Sometimes it was an alternate rule, or new monster or class. Some of these were good, many were mediocre but all of them were a lot of fun. Back then I didn't care how good or bad it was, I was just glad to have something new and exciting to try out.

The Manor reminds me of the best parts of that time.

This is the newest one on the batch (for now) and it shows. The evolving layout and feel of the zine gives it a nice organic feel. I love the PDFs, but this issue makes me want them all in print form too.
The other big difference here is that creator Tim Shorts is only the editor of this, he has no content of his own in it. I am taking that as a sign of good growth.
"Boltswitch's Mobile Potion Emporium" by Boric Glanduum is a great throwback to the traveling snake-oil salemen of the previous turn of the century. Whether his potions work is up to the GM I guess, but I like the idea enough to steal it! I hope he has some Guards from Issue #6 to protect him.
"The Skinwalker (Coyote)" by Joshua De Santo is a Native American feeling lycanthropic class for S&W. It looks fun, but leaves me wanting more to be honest.
Chris Coski is back an he has a number of magical mirrors in "Mirror, Mirror". His penchant for alliteration is amusing, but it could have gotten tiresome quick.
A couple of smaller adventures are next. "Trouble Down the Well" by Simon Forester and "Horrid Caves" by Garrison James. Horrid Caves is the larger of the two. It has some new spells and a couple of new monsters.
Rusty Battle Axe brings us some Mind Flayer art and an Illithid haiku. Two words that I have never used that close to each other.
We end with an ad for Tenkar & the Badger's OSR Radio podcast. Though no URL is provided. Here it is just in case, http://www.tavernradio.com/.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Manor, Issue #7
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The Manor, Issue #6
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/10/2014 13:40:02
One of the cool things about the early days of this hobby was finding great little zines of new content. Sometimes it was an alternate rule, or new monster or class. Some of these were good, many were mediocre but all of them were a lot of fun. Back then I didn't care how good or bad it was, I was just glad to have something new and exciting to try out.

The Manor reminds me of the best parts of that time.

The Manor #6 is back to 28 pages and jam packed by the looks of the Table of Contents.
The first adventure/setting is "The Brothel at Wargumn". It might be a little to risque for the youngest gamers, but it is sure a lot less risque than things I was reading at the time when zines were popular (70s and 80s). Easy to drop this into any game, any world or even any town.
The Guard class is next. It would not be right unless a new class showed up every now and then. I am not sure that this class adds anything above and beyond say a dedicated fighter, but it still looks solid and looks like it plays well.
"Getting from Point A to Point B" is an interesting addition from Ken Harrison. It details three portal traps/puzzles of getting from A to B in a dungeon setting. A great little addition to any dungeon where a magic-user may want to keep something hidden (Point B) but still need to get to it time to time.
"Witches of the Dark Moon" is a great little one-shot written by Tim Shorts himself using a lot of elements he had at his disposal. This includes using my own Witch Class for the witches. You don't need my book to play this, but it does add a little extra to the mix. Consequently this one shot also does the one thing my witch DIDN'T do well and that is provide a ready to play adventure for witches. The adventure it self is a lot of fun.

The only "ad" at the end is one for a the Manor Compilation of issues #1 thru #5. Now I do want to point out. I LIKE the ads at the end. I do. It gives the Manor a nice zine feel and reminds me of reading the Owl & Weasel or older White Dwarf magazines.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Manor, Issue #6
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The Manor, Issue #5
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/10/2014 13:39:35
One of the cool things about the early days of this hobby was finding great little zines of new content. Sometimes it was an alternate rule, or new monster or class. Some of these were good, many were mediocre but all of them were a lot of fun. Back then I didn't care how good or bad it was, I was just glad to have something new and exciting to try out.

The Manor reminds me of the best parts of that time.

The Manor #5 is a bit shorter than #4, but at 28 pages it is still a great deal.
First up is the "Vineyard of Villain. Four Evil NPCs to use in your game and illustrated by Jay Penn.
"Cursed Concoctions" by Chris Coski is a collection of 7 new poisons/potions for evil GMs. There is a random table of tavern names if you need a dive in a hurry. The "Sullen Hagfish" has good food I am sure.
There is a lengthy article on doors. With a nice font for the header. Made this feel like a cool 70s Zine, The article itself is a good one and a good read for GMs.
There is another longish article on random city encounters.
Like before, we end it with an ad (of sorts).

I am not as overtly enthusiastic about #5 as I was for #4; but there is a lot great stuff here all the same. Taken as a body of work it is still fun and still gives me that same thrill that I got when discovering Zines in the 80s.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Manor, Issue #5
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The Manor Issue #4
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/10/2014 13:39:21
One of the cool things about the early days of this hobby was finding great little zines of new content. Sometimes it was an alternate rule, or new monster or class. Some of these were good, many were mediocre but all of them were a lot of fun. Back then I didn't care how good or bad it was, I was just glad to have something new and exciting to try out.

The Manor reminds me of the best parts of that time.

At 39 pages this issue takes the Manor beyond the Zine world and puts it more firmly in "magazine" territory. Even the Owl & Weasel or the Strategic Review got to this size.
We start out with an adventure for Swords & Wizardy for 4 to 6 characters of 5th to 7th level. The adventure is 15 pages and includes 2 new monsters including a very cool, Lovecraftian-feeling "big bad". The last part of this adventure with the monster (the Or'Drog) and it's lair are worth the price of this Zine alone. Slap this bad guy into your generic Caves of Chaos and suddenly the stakes have gone up a lot. I am kicking myself for not reading this sooner. This was out in July of 2013. I could have used this very monster in exactly what I mentioned above when playing Keep on the Borderlands with my kids. Yes, this 11 HD monster would have been too much for them, but it would have up the stakes considerably.
SO if you have copies of these laying around, READ THEM! There is good stuff in here.

"From Beneath the Manor" is so great. It is a feature that I hope to see more of; Contributors send in their monsters to be stated up for any OSR compatible game and illustrated by Jason Sholtis. It reminds me of the old Fiend Factory from White Dwarf.

We end with a couple of ads (for that full Zine feel).
Seriously though, The Manor #4 is awesome and I can't wait to read the next ones.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Manor Issue #4
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The Manor, Issue #7
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/27/2014 09:31:47
The Manor, Issue 7 is a short publication dedicated to the OSR (Old School) branch of fantasy roleplaying. This issue contains the following articles:

Boltswitch's Mobile Potion Emporium, a traveling seller of potions, all done through prose which is an interesting choice.
Skinwalker, a trickster/minor shapeshifter class based on the Native American view of Coyote. Short and direct, my have a place in some campaigns.
Mirror, Mirror, a selection of rather potent magical mirrors. While I would not use them as written, good inspiration.
Trouble in the Well, a short adventure for when you need something to fill time between largest adventures which is always useful.
Horrid Caves, a longer adventure exploring a cave network containing things from the distant past and ancient magics. I had great fun running this adventure for my Pathfinder group.
Lastly, a Mindflayer Haiku and picture wraps this issue up, disturbing but amusing.

All in all, quite fun and full of tools for OSR (or other fantasy) games.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Manor, Issue #7
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The Manor, Issue #7
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/29/2014 08:02:44
Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2014/08/29/tabletop-review-the-man-
or-issue-7/

The Manor is a OSR style fanzine that I haven’t had a chance to pick up until now. Like most gaming magazines, it contains a range of articles, adventures and new things to dismember. Like a lot of magazines, the quality of the articles varies, although which ones are worth reading depends on the point of view of whoever is paging through it. After all, what interests one person may bore another.

I will say that I enjoyed this issue of The Manor and I will probably be coming back for more. There were six articles and my biggest complaints are in fact minor ones about layout. The copyright information on page two cuts off abruptly after “All Artwork, Maps and Articles are the,” which I first took to be a bad sign, but thankfully the content was pretty good. The other weird layout issue was with the “Tenkar & the Badger” radio ad on the last page. The entire magazine is laid out in portrait, but the ad for this is in landscape, meaning you have to turn your head to an odd angle to read it…or just turn your e-reader if you’re not at a computer.

There are six articles in The Manor, Issue #7, along with a one page introduction from Tim Shorts. The first article is “Boltswitch’s Mobile Potion Emporium.” It’s three pages of fiction where a Gnome named Mikklum Boltswitch is hawking potions from the back of a cart, snake oil salesman style. Seven potions are discussed, with the name in Italics, followed by a description of what the potion does. This was a fun little piece and a neat way to showcase new items. Usually new items are done in a very dry straightforward manner, and I liked the method in which this was done.

“Skinwalker (Coyote)” is the next piece and it’s about a new playable race/class. This was the only article I didn’t care for, but that’s because it felt unfinished. You’re given an XP chart, abilities gain by level and the usual weapon/alignment restrictions, but the saving throws and THAC0 bits are also missing. There is also no indication if the piece is a PC class, NPC class or the like. What’s here has a decent start but it really needed to be fleshed out more. Right now it just feels like there are huge gaps in the piece.

“Mirror, Mirror” is article #3 and it gives us eight magical mirrors to throw into your game. Unlike “Boltswitch’s Mobile Potion Emporium,” “Mirror Mirror” is done in the usual descriptive narrative instead of a fiction based one. Each of the mirrors in this piece are a lot of fun and I really loved the artwork in this article. The Mirror of Mugging and the Mirror of Morbidity are my two favorites. Each mirror only gets a paragraph of description, but that’s on par with what you would find in the DMG, so I’m fine with it as the whole piece is a lot of fun.

“Trouble Down the Well” is the first of two adventures in this issue. You get a one page map and a one page description of the adventure. A well in a small town has dried up and it has started to smoke. The local blacksmith went down to see what has occurred and never came back. Now it is up to the PCs to save the day. It’s a pretty simple and short affair with only a single monster to deal with. You should have no problem playing this in only a single session. It’s a fun little adventure for what it is and that’s all that matters.

The second adventure in the piece is “Horrid Caves” and it is a full length adventure that only has nine locations so it too should be able to completed in a single session. However, the adventure also contains a ton of new monsters and spells. It’s a pretty routine hack and slash dungeon crawl, but the new monsters and spells that show up are quite weird and remind me of something I’d see in Dungeon Crawl Classics. I really enjoyed this piece and since it is for first or second level characters, it’s a great way to let people try out their new characters or to pad out another short adventure.

The sixth and final article is a haiku about a mind flayer. It’s amusing and the full page of art really makes the piece.

In all, this seventh issue of The Manor was a lot of fun, and if I have time, I might pick up some of the earlier issues to see if they are as good. The issue is short, with a page count of under thirty, but it’s also only $2.50, so it’s not as if the zine will break your bank. The two adventures and the two magic items articles are well worth reading through if you are a fan of retro clones like OSRIC, Swords and Wizardry Castles & Crusades and the like. I wish I had more room in this review to showcase the artwork too. If you have the time and spare change, definitely pick this up.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Execution Corner
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/15/2013 10:45:47
In mediaeval times (indeed, probably later) executions were regarded as public entertainment as well as a warning to potential offenders, so this product equips you to present them in similar manner within your games.

Just pick a rural but reasonably settled area in your campaign world and plop this in. There's a charming hand-drawn map showing the execution site, with the hangman's dwelling and an inn nearby, with a field in which the remains are buried. Just schedule an execution on a day the party comes by (or, knowing some characters, they may be more intimately involved!) and let the fun begin.

Described simply yet vividly, we meet Willem the hangman, who takes pride in his work and gets really passionate on the subject of rope, and a couple of locals who peddle their wares on execution day. The innkeeper too, who does fine with passing trade but reckons any hanging is very good for business.

Apart from a few rumours (local superstitions for the most part) that's it. A location, an interesting one, but you will have to supply your own adventures... but here's a unique location in which to have them.

Perhaps the party has been tasked with getting there in time to prevent the hanging of someone who has been condemned by mistake, or they are escorting convicts on their final journey. Or they are just passing through, but someone approaches them for help... the possibilities are endless.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Execution Corner
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Knowledge Illuminates
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/09/2013 11:01:58
Knowledge Illuminates is a 28 page (24 pages + 1 cover, 1 toc and 2 end pages) adventure for Swords & Wizardry complete, though it could be used with any OSR game.

This adventure is designed to be the start of a campaign or the first S&W adventure.
There is quite a lot of information here in case the players want to go off exploring on their own. There is also a fairly detailed XP allocation chart in back, helpful for new GMs.

This adventure is also released under the Pay What You Want feature. So if you have some spare change and need a good starting S&W adventure then this might be exactly what you are looking for.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Knowledge Illuminates
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The Mini Manor: Faces Without Screams
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/09/2013 10:52:15
The Mini Manor is a free adventure made specially for Swords & Wizardry appreciation day. If you are familiar with the adventures found in the Manor zine.
The adventure is somewhat reminiscent of a horror movie setup but works well.

If you want a good free adventure then grab this.
If you want an idea on how the adventures in The Manor feel like, then grab this.

Note: this publication DOES include the OGL.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Mini Manor: Faces Without Screams
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The Manor, Issue #3
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/09/2013 10:46:37
The Manor #3 increases to 32 pages. Though it feels like there is more here than that.
The main article is the Mine of Rot and Disease, a great little old-school adventure. Stats are 1980s era D&D, but easily converted to anything.
The art is fair, but perfect really for the feel of this issue. The maps though are quite nice.

Another poetry slam. It is what makes The Manor unique and I hope it does not go away.

Pog Nog the Goblin is a great little NPC/resource and one I am going to use in my next adventure with my kids.

There are some, self-admitted, dumb jokes. Again, perfect for a zine.
Ending with a new god of Monster Hunting.

If you remember the zines of the 80s (and some of the best ones I remember from the late 80s even) then this a very nice stroll down familiar, yet new, territory. If you were not around then but enjoy oldschool games, then this is also a great find.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Manor, Issue #3
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The Manor, Issue #2
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/09/2013 10:36:09
The Manor #2 keeps right on going with another 24 pages of material. This one is setup to allow you to print it out and then fold it over and staple it for that "real zine feel", nice, but sometimes I prefer to read these things on my computer. (edited to add: There is a regular version as well!)

In this issue there is Hugo's House of Healing. An encounter/resource.
An inn which would be great to use anywhere and a random table of 20 things you find under the cot.

The inn and Hugo's house (that is Hugo on the cover) take up most of this issue.
One other minor quibble, and this is more me than the zine itself. There is no OGL license. Granted, it doesn't really NEED it (and I am not taking off for it's omission) but it would have made it play nicer with the likes of Basic Fantasy, OSRIC and Labyrinth Lord.

Still though. Top notch effort and results.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Manor, Issue #2
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The Manor, Issue #1
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/09/2013 10:25:04
The Manor #1 is the first of the quarterly (or so) issues of the fanzine from Tim Shorts of Gothridge Manor. The zine takes on the feel of old-school zines from the late 70s and early 80s. Though one could argue that the art and layout are better today. The inaugural issue has a quick dungeon, a random table of various items found in a Troglodyte dung heap, a modern day encounter location (with some monsters), forest enocounters and an NPC and his wares.

The Manor captures the feel and the spirit of the old school zine quite well. The only thing that is missing really are ads for local gaming groups!
If you enjoy old-school style new games or the original games they are based on.

All in all you get 24 pages of material. Not a bad deal really.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Manor, Issue  #1
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Knowledge Illuminates
by Jeremy Z. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/10/2013 04:11:52
I came close to buying this once, but glad I waited for the PWYW version to see if it was worth buying. Most of this product is filler. In 30 pages, you have a small outdoor area with 7 locations, and a 11 room dungeon. More concisely written, it would fill up 2 pages. Indeed, some of the modules by the illustrator of this module, Digital Orc, have huge dungeons in similar amounts of pages. How? No filler.

It has a new spell, which is way overpowered for its level, as it's like animate dead (in that it creates undead), but does it to a living target.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Knowledge Illuminates
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The Manor, Issue #3
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/08/2013 03:31:29
This is a charming throwback to the myriad fan-made 'zines that were around in the 1980s: coloured cardboard covers and appearing sporadically when ideas and funds permitted. Many gems were contained within their pages - and so is the case here.

The gem is the adventure, Mine of Rot and Disease, which is well-written and thoughtfully put together. An assortment of hooks are provided to get the characters involved, and once they are the adventure itself provides a good challenge to both brain and sword-arm, with the ever-present fear of disease being particularly well-handled. The inhabitants of the village threatened are excellent, they are brought to life by their descriptions and it's easy to make the characters actually care whether they live or die!

The mine itself is well mapped and populated with monsters and other challenges that are relevant and appropriate to what is going on. Illustrations are charmingly amateur and catch the flavour well; whilst the adventure text is clear and well-laid-out - far better than the opening 'Disclosuer' and unproofread Editorial had led me to expect!

Then there's another gem: a haiku! Illustrated with a delightful black dragon. Poetry is not often associated with gaming, but it works well... and after all, bards might like it.

Next, there's a delightful street vendor goblin, Pog Nog, to drop into your next urban scene. Complete with several adventure hooks to make him a lot more than a bystander but part of the plot, he's well described and will enhance some township well.

A couple of jokes later (one-liners that again could enhance a bard's repertoire or just make the table groan) there's a deity and associated cleric class for the Blood & Treasure RPG. It's nicely done but a bit over-powerful, you'll need to take care that it doesn't unbalance your game.

Overall, quite a delight!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Manor, Issue #3
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The Manor, Issue #2
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/06/2012 08:29:22
For those of you following at home, the short adventure included in Issue #1 of the Manor is what I used to kick off my sandboxie ACKS campaign about 2 months ago. In a week my party should be arriving at their destination, and I already see that I'll be using the latest issue of the Manor when they do.

Hugo's Healing Potions will most assuredly get used in my current campaign, maybe as soon as next week. I love the personalities that are presented, and the table of random customers / events can easily be used elsewhere (much like the Toys For the Sandbox series). When one article has multiple uses, you know it's damn good.

Smuggler's Inn has a unique hook. The setting local is unique too, and might require planning ahead to get the players there, but that's rarely a problem. Very interesting personalities here too, as well as a list of new magic items, one of which I think I have a player who would kill to get their hands on it. I may yoke that for a party quest at some point.

Strange Things You May Find Under the Cot is a random list of what you may find under the bed your are sleeping in in an Inn. Some of these "things" can turn into adventure seed in and of themselves.

Poetry Slam: Orc appears on the inside back cover, not the regular PDF. Let me explain. Tim has provided both a regular PDF version, and a "print out double sided and fold and staple" version, in case you want a physical version to love and to hold. The Orc poetry appears on the PDF for the cover, inside rear. Hope that's clearer now.

So far Tim is batting 2 for 2. Very impressive. (and I knew I recognized Matt Jackson's map work)

Almost forgot, the Manor is systemless, so it is easy to use with any Fantasy RPG system you are looking to use.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Manor, Issue #2
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