By Thilo Graf
This instalment of the Evocative City Site-series from Rite Publishing is 21 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 2 pages of advertisements, leaving 16 pages for the new city site.
As is the tradition with the ECS-series, this instalment kicks off with an aptly-written IC-narrative of the location’s exploration. On the first page, we get a version of the map that features a detailed key that explains the respective tools, for the laboratory of the now presumed dead genius Boutin Piddu features a lot of interesting details that will make exploring the location rather interesting. Especially due to one fact: Thankfully, the full-color version of the laboratory (props for the cartography to Richard Biggs Jr.) lacks annoying numbers and letters in the middle of the cartography, making the maps for the lab (and the second store of the main chamber) suitable to be shown as is to the PCs.
Even more interesting, though, are the recipes to be discovered: From Silver-sheen to notes on item creation and the new item, a pair of ghost-writing pens, Piddu’s knowledge and expertise is apparent in the treasure trove of knowledge the PCs can unearth here. If they can survive, that is.
The hazards herein consist not only of animated surgical tools and aware arcana, but also of phlogiston-powered, extremely deadly prototype constructs seeking to end the PCs. Especially the latter are interesting in their rules, though quite steam-punkish in their powers.
The pdf also features blown-up versions of the map for use with miniatures. The file also comes with a separate zip-file that includes the jpegs of the lab and its balcony in color and b/w, a version of the map with its legend and blown-up versions of balcony and main lab in b/w and full color, both in US and A4-format, ensuring that Europeans like yours truly can enjoy this pdf as well.
Editing and formatting are very good, I only noticed some minor glitches. Layout adheres to the full-color two-column standard and the pdf comes with bookmarks. The artwork is stock as far as I could tell, but very fitting for the theme. Content-wise I’m a bit torn on this one: On the one hand, I LOVE the new Phlogiston-constructs and the information on the research notes and what the PCs can craft from them via diligent work. On the other hand, though, the other creatures presented didn’t feel that exciting and the whole laboratory provides far less environmental hazards then I would have liked. No active Tesla-coils? No seeping canisters of acid? Come on, some environmental hazards would have easily and in my opinion, greatly improved the danger and unique flair that the exploration of a missing/dead genius’s lair should entail. Seeing that there’s nothing wrong with this pdf, but also that it falls short of its own promise, I’ll settle for a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3.
Evocative City Sites: The Lost Laboratory is available from: