Unearthing Arcana #002

(this was originally published on my Patreon on June 12, 2017)

Hi, this is Tyler, writer of Zargo Games. The majority of my writing has been creating my own content or promoting my own content, so I decided I should take some time to look at other people’s content and maybe promote it if I find it interesting. That’s what this new series is. I doubt it will be a regular series, but I’ll try to put one out whenever I can. The exact format of the series will likely change over the first few entries, so I’ll detail my process for the first entry.

I went to the Dungeon Masters Guild and opened three product type categories: character options, gear/magic items, and core rules. For future entries I might try different categories, but those were what interested me today. Then I searched by date added and only for pay-what-you-want titles. I might search for paid options later, but at this time I’m a little light on cash, though I plan on paying for the products I enjoyed once my paycheck comes in. I then picked two entries that sounded at least somewhat interesting. There was some overlap in the categories, but in the end I came up with six products, which I downloaded then read. These are the second pair of products, the core rules.

Your Brewer’s Set and You (obvious alcohol warning)

By Wh1skyD1ck LINK

Brief Summary: Brew alcoholic beverages with a fairly straightforward brewing system.

Overview: This product won’t drastically change your game in any way, and besides a few special ingredients and the ability to mix pre-existing potions into your alcohol, provides little mechanical benefit to the party, but it’s simple, flavorful, and feels like something that would fit into any fantasy world.

The first section details the very basic mechanics of brewing in 5e. You simply need a brewing kit (a new tool introduced in the product) and the basic ingredients: grains, fruits, or honey depending on the variety of alcohol you wish to produce. You make a brewing kit check, and if you succeed you make alcohol in a certain amount of time, unless it’s a distilled alcohol, which takes two checks and more time. Very simple, but it provides a chart of what ingredients make what alcohol and a few flavorful details to make it seem grounded in your world.

The next section details the special rules required for making special brews. Special brews all require unique ingredients, but in return they provide a mechanical benefit, such as sped-up brewing, increased Charisma, limited telepathy, and more. Adding these ingredients to your brews raises the DC of the brewing kit check, so adding multiple ingredients can quickly add up to a potentially impossible brew.

The final section involves adding potions into your brews. This allows you to stretch your potions into more servings, but at the risk of messing up the brew, and it’s something that I’d imagine lots of alcohol-consuming adventurers would enjoy.

Verdict: This won’t radically change your game, but it’s a mechanically solid and flavorful addition to any fantasy world.

The Villain's Handbook: The Werewolf

By Timothy Gonzalez LINK

Brief Summary: Ideas for running werewolves in your game I guess?

Overview: This isn’t the most pressing issue with this release, but it’s really annoying when a two-page product is listed as four pages because there’s a cover and a legal page. With that out of my system, on to the meat of the product.

There’s not much meat. The document is divided into three tiny sections. The first section gives information about werewolves, with a focus on pack mentality and alpha werewolves. The second section provides a few light plot hooks for werewolves in your campaigns. The only one that caught my eye was the idea that a werewolf curse can be removed if a cure is found before the first full moon. Other than that they’re a bit bland. The last section is a statblock for a variant werewolf, the werewolf alpha. It has legendary actions and more hit points so it’s more of a threat, but other than that it doesn’t feel very distinct from the original werewolf.
Verdict: There’s nothing bad about this product, but it provides very little that I found useful. The statblock is nice, so I’d say that alone is worth a pay-what-you-want download at the very least.

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