By Thilo Graf
This pdf from Super Genius Games is 34 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages editorial, 1 page back cover, 3 pages of advertisements and 1 page SRD, leaving 26 pages of content, so let’s check out what we can get, shall we?
This compilation of the first couple of Loot 4 Less-pdf kicks off with a neat introduction by Erik Mona himself before introducing the concept of the line to newcomers – essentially, the L4L-line aims to provide magic for the lower levels – minor enchantments that not only are extremely useful for adventurers with limited resources, but also can be considered great for low magic campaigns. The basic design idea to keep in canon with the craft system is using fractional bonuses and comparisons to make sure the new items stay operational within the established system. To make this happen, these items don’t require the base item to be masterwork. Understood?
All righty, then let’s go for the new armours first! We get 13 new armour qualities that include improved hardness, +1 AC against melee attacks and similar appropriate enchantments that make e.g. low-magic adventuring much cooler. The 3 specific armours we get utilize these new enchantments as well and to add a bit of comfort, a table with fractional cost modifiers and their GP-value is included as well. I don’t understand why the specific armours don’t use the same formatting as the other specific magic items in the compilation, though.
Just as important as a good defence is a good offense and thus we are also introduced to 15 different new weapon qualities that can change the base damage type of the weapon or even make it easier for you to intimidate foes. There is also a small brother of the keen-enchantment here. A table of the pries is included as well. We also get 9 specific weapons that range from cutlery that makes a piece of cloth behave like a table to dirks that have been made invisible. My favourite is an enchanted letter opener that can open way seals without breaking the wax. Neat!
The 30 rings contained in this book have left me mostly cold, to be honest. A ring that lets you charm one class of animals? Ok, but nothing too great. The ring of dowsing is called rod in the description and I can’t fathom how a ring is used to dowse.I did like the idea of rings duplicating tanglefoot bags, smoke sticks and thunderstones, but not that these items can be used an unlimited amount of times per day. Also, the ring of throwing, which increases your throwing range increment by 50% feels rather powerful to me. While I will modify some of these rings, as written many felt a bit underwhelming or off to me.
The same can thankfully not be said about the final section of this book, in which we are introduced to 9 new rods. Rods are an awkward class of items and this is precisely why I like them. Thankfully, the 9 offerings are rather interesting: From a bolt-throwing rod, a rod of many uses, magical grappling hook (STYLE!) to one that helps you smash doors (did anyone say SWAT?), I immensely enjoyed these new items, making them by far my favourite part of this pdf.
Editing and formatting… Well. Let’s just say that while they are not bad per se, they are also by far not good – from homophone errors to items that are called by different names in their header and flavour text etc., we get a selection of errors that could have been caught with another editing pass, going so far as to making me even wonder how some items are supposed to work. At 28 pages of content, I don’t get why the pdf has no bookmarks – at this length some comfort while navigating would be appreciated. The artworks are b/w and ok, layout adheres to a 2-column standard. I really love the concept of the L4L-line, but this compilation does not particularly endear me to them. While several items are stellar, many also left me with a shrug. Especially the rings have left me singularly unimpressed.
The rods on the other side and several of the ideas are neat. If you play in a rather gritty low-magic campaign and need some mundane-feeling items with minor magical qualities, I’d still recommend this book to you as a 3.5 star file. for everyone else and myself, I’ll settle for a final verdict of 2.5 stars, rounded up to 3 for the purpose of this platform as it does not deserve a 2-star rating.
Loot 4 Less: Things That Make You Go Boom is available from: