Tuesday, September 12, 2017
USR: Horrors Material & Magic Malignant
Just a brief mention and mini-review for Jay Murphy's USR product Horrors Material & Magic Malignant. This is a neat little product that came out this summer. At less than $2 for the pdf, it's hard to go wrong.
The book is broken into 5 sections: Characters of Cunning, Creatures Noble and Foul, Artifacts and their Mastery, Mesmerism, and Black Arts of Sorcery.
Characters of Cunning gives the gamemaster several evocative NPCs to quickly drop into his game Need a vile necromancer or truculent nomad? They're in there! Along with resigned princesses, haughty wenches, and more. I really like how each entry packs so much flavor and plot hook material into such compact entries along with the brief stat block that you'd expect from USR.
Creatures Noble and Foul takes a similar tack on monsters. Rather than generic names, these also have colorful titles and descriptions.
Artifacts and their Mastery gives the GM several fun (and nasty) items to place in a game. These aren't +1 long swords. They are items with histories and often dangerous curses or risks in using them.
Mesmerism is a neat chapter. It covers not so much hypnotism, as multiple ways to control or warp the mind. There are hallucinogens, rituals, and magical languages to control a victim's thoughts or actions. I appreciated that this was made its own entry as opposed to being lumped under the larger "Magic" umbrella.
Black Arts of Sorcery has spells as well as rituals and items of power. There is a little overlap with the monsters and artifacts sections, as both things appear here. But in such cases the entity or object are usually tied to a spell or rite the caster performs to produce the result.
Even if you don't play USR you'll find a lot of good material for your swords and sorcery game here.