By Thilo Graf
This pdf from Tricky Owlbear Publishing is 17 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1/2 a page editorial, leaving 14 1/2 pages of content for Tricky Owlbear’s monastery, the Abbey of the Golden Sparrow, so let’s pay them a visit, shall we?
The first of Tricky Owlbear’s location sourcebooks kicks off with an aptly-written IC-introduction that serves to introduce us to the daily life in the monastery via two sympathetic characters.
The main text of the location write-up begins with a no-frills map of the monastery, which essentially consists of some caves hewn into a mountain, comes with a detailed write-up of the respective rooms and the particulars. Local myths containing adventure seeds as well as a genesis are included as well, amounting to a commendable array of background information to use and detail the monastery. Even cooler, we get a detailed doctrine with zen-like doctrines that are explained as well – very cool and flavourful.
After this nice, awesome fluff, we are introduced to 8 new regional traits for characters raised in the abbey, most of which are best-suited for monks or the new ninja/samurai-classes. 10 new feats for martial styles focusing on air and cold are presented and offer a nice, unique fighting style for the monks to adopt.
Of course, we also get new items, from the Obsidian-material to enchanted shuriken, the order’s medallions and a unique, intelligent, rather debauchery-inducing headband.
The pdf closes by providing 2 sample characters, a lvl 1 initiate and a lvl 12 monk, one of the leaders of the abbey.
Editing could have been better, I encountered some punctuation errors as well as missing blank spaces between three words. Formatting is top-notch, though. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly 2-column standard and the b/w-artworks are ok. The pdf comes with extensive bookmarks. The abbey of the golden sparrow is an interesting location and the martial arts presented herein, while powerful, make for an interesting, concise, local style. The traits also are neat and the doctrine, extensive fluff etc. are neat, as is the rather dangerous intelligent magic item the monks guard. However, not all is well with this pdf, there are some unnecessary glitches and while the doctrine, feats etc. are cool, I maintain that something is missing – perhaps stats for the order’s holy book, more doctrines, something along those lines. The distinct feeling that the pdf could have included this final piece that would have made it awesome never really left me. Thus, my final verdict will be 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 stars.
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