By Thilo Graf
This instalment of the ECS-series from Rite Publishing is 39 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages advertisement, 1 page SRD, leaving 34 pages of content for this latest instalment of RiP’s iconic series. Let’s see how it holds up when compared to some of its excellent predecessors!
This instalment, as we’ve come to expect, kicks off with an introduction to the haunted grounds of the erstwhile Patrician’s estates of Eiffelmacher, aptly written in the voice of Owain Northway, explorer extraordinaire and veteran narrator of the ECS-series. I can’t stress enough the importance and quality of the prose of his narrations over the course of the ECS-series, as said in-character exploits make for an easy way not only to capture the mood, but rather let the maps transcend being maps and become an iconic location.
Said estates are now lair to a gang of thugs called the spotty bottle gang, a band of sickle-wielding thugs who come not only with a stat-block for their captains, but also with a short write-up of their hierarchy. Their fighting style is interesting and also includes Bolas (though a typo calls them “bolos”). The leader of the gang, a saltwater-infused rogue/cleric also gets his own statblock that. His background-story offers additional adventure hooks in excess to the 4 that are already provided to justify the PCs exploring the estates. There unfortunately seems to be a formatting glitch in the fluff of the gang’s leader Ormea Kaletka, separating a sentence in the middle via a superfluous blank line.
Next up are haunts – 7 ones, three of which are linked, are presented to offer your PCs a chance to run for their money. They range from CR 2 to 4 and are of the stellar quality and creepy imagery I’ve come to expect from Rite Publishing. One of the haunts, though, has an editing glitch – it speaks of one manifestation of a singular obese person, while the following text continuously refers to “them” and “their”. Nothing too bad, but somewhat annoying.
I haven’t yet talked about the maps and damn, I should: We get maps of the 2 floors of the estate, an overview of its grounds, a map of the two floors of the barn, a map of two floors of the greenhouse and one of the basement amphitheatre. All of the maps are full color and thankfully don’t feature annoying numbers and keys, thus qualifying them for good hand-out maps – Nice! The maps come with grids, though, for ease f usage and, as with all ECS-pdfs, we get blown-up b/w-versions of the maps for use with miniatures. The greenhouse and overview of the grounds are not among the blown-up ones, though.
Poor Europeans like yours truly also get all the blown-up maps (i.e. the estate, the basement and the barn) in A4-format in a spate zip-file.
Editing and formatting could have been better; I noticed glitches in both that could have easily been avoided. Layout adheres to the new, full-color 2-column standard you might now from the free Pathways e-zine. The stock-art is beautiful and fits the topic perfectly. The cartography by Richard Biggs Jr. once again brings to life the estates and you get quite some bang for your buck. The pdf is also bookmarked, though one of the bookmarks features another editing glitch. I mainly have two minor gripes with this instalment of the series: First are the editing and formatting glitches, that, while not too prevalent, still are there and detract from the otherwise excellent atmosphere and writing. The second would be that I would have loved to see a blown-up version of the green house map as well. I know that there’s an excellent, supremely creepy ECS that deals with a green house, but I’d nevertheless would have enjoyed an inclusion of said location. Other than that, though, I don’t have much to complain about – while this pdf does not quite reach the heights of the best instalments of the series, it’s still a solid addition and offers a lot of content for a low price. My final verdict will be 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for the time being – as soon as the glitches have been taken care of, I’ll round up to 4.
Evocative City Sites – Eiffelmacher Estate is available from: