First of all I have to say how much I have loved the combat bot on the cover since seeing updates on this, while keeping up with the #RPGWriterWorkshop. To me that is one beauty of what has always been (in my mind) a steam powered piggy tractor waving a pitchfork. How do you not fall in love with that bad boy!? Sebastian (Great name BTW) Barford (@SebEpic) has done a spectacular job with the combat bot art, truly capturing the ramshackle cartoon fun of this whole steampunk-fantasy-clockwork-Robot-Wars-for-a-good-cause madness Drew Dawes (@DrewDwarves) has wrought.
The second thing you notice when you open this supplement are these words: "100% of the profits from the sale of this title go directly to Extra Life.Thank you for helping heal sick kids!
This one-shot adventure is designed to encourage donations during charity events. Compatible with characters of any level." So we're already off to a great start with funtastic art and the fact that this adventure gives everything, encourages donations and works with any character level. This alone already marks this as shining beacon of awesomeness and ultriusm, and we haven't even made it past the contents page!
The introduction lays out the joyous premise of this supplement, the gnomish celebration of their god, Garl Glitter, with the Communion of Laughter, "a day of jokes, pranks and storytelling". The rock gnomes are taking their turn to organise the festivities in their favoured manner, building and bashing clockwork combat bots! Clearly this is the blueprint for a fun and lighthearted session, suggested as a pallete cleanser after a rather intense chapter in an ongoing campaign, a good time one shot, or as an organised charity event/ stream with the rules and #Glittergold for raising money along the way. The introduction so provides references for further reading on the gnomish pantheon, where to find NPCs in the official books, advice on handling the number of bots and extra drivers to fit your party size and a trio of tantalising and easy hooks to get your players chugging along.
The NPCs you players will be competing with are laid out in the VIP List, and a varied and adorable bunch they are with cute, expressive portraits by Witch Planet (@witch_planet). Equally as bright are the magical technicolor stalactites that light the small caverns filled with hundreds of spectators eager for the games and the Glitterbrights, the hosts and collectors of charitable donations for the church.
The Gizmo Expo introduces the party to the festivities and the plethora of bizarre Rube Goldberg machines that are the pride and joy of the rock gnomes. Coins are paid to operate them, inspiring onlookers and invoking the blessing of the goddess of invention, Nebelun. Here they meet the Fun Size Crew, another adventuring party taking respite at the festival, the antagonists and possible new friends along the way. Pranks and pies are plied and the the sweetest of mephits are birthed in creamy communion, which could inspire players getting creamed in person for a good cause...oh and one of the doodads could explode in a Fireball, so that's fun!
The Scrapheap provides the backdrop of mechanical detritus to a tale of the ultimate feud and pranks between Glittergold and the kobold deity, Kurtulmak. With the aid of a magical prankster the party finds themselves Seeming to be kobolds themselves, providing another opportunity for fun and fundraising with the now kobold-looking party members donning painted masks or facepaint to really get that kobold look down. This is also where the party discover a patron willing to mentor and enter them into the competition as the Kobold Crew.
Build-a-Bot Workshop and the corresponding appendix give the player's all they need to create their own battle bots using the easy to use and varied series of tables to customise them to their own liking using various Bodies, Materials, Wheels and Weapons. At a quick glance I came up with a tin-bucket-continuous-track-crumbler-roller-steam-whistle battle bot that I've named Cookie. Example battle bots, the easy to follow rules for battling said battle bots and the battle bots of the Fun Size Crew can also be found in the battle bots, I mean Appendices. This section also allows for making sure that no feelings were hurt with previous pranks and a chance for the PCs to get their own back with some good natured (See: non-harmful) pranks of their own, which are another opportunity for #Glittergold fundraising!
The Cavern Arena contains two wonderful maps by Cara Dawes (@thecaradee), the first a beautiful rendering of all the various caves and caverns in this supplement with light grid and really...grounding the underground setting and the mountains above, and the second is a battle map of the the Arena itself, complete with the various dangers and traps the PCs' combat bots will face. These hazards, as well as blessing from #Glittergold are detailed in the appendix, along with suggestions for how to use these for maximum effect and randomness, as well as another great way for folx to interact and donate during a charity event, even suggesting putting out requests for even more wicked dangers and radiant blessings.
After a chance for side bets and pranks, the games begin in a battle bot royale of madness, twisted metal and the roar of cheering fans! Magical goodies are to be awarded the victor and much smashy smashing fun to be had by all.
This is a wonderful, festive and fun adventure/ event presented in a thoroughly professional and stylish manner with layout by Anna Urbanek (@2xproficiency, www.doubleproficiency.com), editing by Cara Dawes (@thecaradee), and gleeful writing by Drew Dawes (@DrewDwarves).
This really is the perfect for a palette cleanser, just for fun or a good cause with everything you need to bring the fun of battle bots into your game! 15 pages, brimming with joy and laughter at $3.95 all for a good cause!? I know I'm the Werebear of hype, but I heartily recommend this and thank Drew for bringing more joy and laughter onto the world!
[5 of 5 Stars!]