By Thilo Graf
This pdf from Rite Publishing is 17 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 2 pages of advertisement, leaving 12 pages of content for a whopping 101 reasons the life of your PCs has just become more complicated, so let’s delve in, shall we?
Being a follow-up to RiP’s excellent 101 NPC boons, which featured non-monetary rewards for PCs, 101 NPC Grudges does just the opposite and provides us with a wide array of potential complications the PCs may encounter due to true or perceived conflicts with NPCs.
“Do you have enemies? Yes? That’s good, it means that some time in your life you have stood up for something.” And PCs tend to stand up to a lot of ideals and people…
The grudges are organized by general location (e.g. urban, rural, etc.) and cover every strata of social life, from beggars to magistrates to city watches. From being mislead to overpriced services to excommunication, expulsion from guilds to fey tricksters harassing them, this pdf provides an interesting. mostly fluffy approach to the grudges. While 3 sample statblocks are provided (all more complex than your run-of-the-mill NPC, featuring a Gargoyle-watchman, a Wyrd-paragon and a Fey), most entries come with sample names and short personalities that exemplify what can be done to harass the PCs, making this file potentially quite useful for other systems as well.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RiP’s two-column full-colour standard and the (mostly) stock-artworks are fitting. The pdf unfortunately has no bookmarks.
Essentially, what impressed me the most about this file is the potential for chain-reactions of the respective grudges. Especially in an urban environment, you could chain a LOT of the respective grudges together to make the PC’s life a TRUE pain without rolling a single damage dice. After a string of bureaucratic hindrances, the PCs will start to truly hate the mastermind behind their misfortunes and should definitely be out for some payback. Which might spiral the grudges further. It’s an awesome array of complications that thankfully do not devolve into “X tries to kill them”. On the other hand, though, the NPC-grudges provided for the nautical and frontier environments fell behind a bit in originality and details behind the urban and rural environments, featuring less sample NPC-names and being generally a bit more common and less imaginative. This is not enough, however, to truly tarnish the overall appeal of this neat, fluff-centric book. In the end, due to these minor gripes and the lack of bookmarks, I’ll settle for a final verdict of 4 stars.
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