Monday, January 9, 2017

Hubris: A World of Visceral Adventure Review (part 2)

Today is the second part of Mike Evans' Hubris setting book review! See the first part here.

We'll continue with the chapter on the Wizard’s Spellbook (spells and Patrons). It has tables for spellbook constructions, options for Patrons from both DCC and Hubris (including the Charred Maiden, Floating Island of Terror, Spider Goddess, and Twisted One), and then spells.

The Summon from the Void spell is pretty… uh. Yikes. There’s some really cool stuff going on but wow, it’s mega gross, and reminds me why I am not a magic user.

There are unique spells for the various Patrons, which come with every level of creepy and gross and twisted nature that the others have, some going even farther like those of Charred Maiden that involve the Patron who is known for eating children and the spells that bring the twisted corrupted spirits of the children to life.

The following chapters include the gods of Hubris. I admit, and this is just personal preference, I wasn’t super enthused about this section. I think it’s because I don’t typically play or enjoy the narrative of clerics. There are plenty of useful things I think a lot of people would enjoy - various cleric invokations, information about the god’s alignment, holy symbols, and weapons, which are cool. The gods have names like “The Corpulent One,” “Yelsa, Goddess of Sex and Violence,” and “The Heathen Below.” I’m sure a lot of people would enjoy this if they’re into kind of twisted morbid deities, but it’s not really my jam, primarily because it’s focused on clerics.

In the following chapter on GM Tools and Tables, I think that the Demigod creation charts are really cool. You roll for the demigod form, holiday, altar, blessing/curse, followers, temple, cult leader, and what they are a god of. There are things like “God of the Never-Ending Kaleidoscope Nightmare” and the bodies include things like “twitching fingers for nipples” and “eyes are mouths and mouth is an eye” and some things that are way more unsettling. A couple of these did genuinely make me uncomfortable and upset (like some of the altars that included harm to animals and stuff), so I’m not including many details here.

There is a nifty table on “Bandits, Brigands, and Rapscallions” that has gangs, encounters, and bandit leaders. I like the City District Generator, too, which has some fun plot hooks and I think would be a great kickoff for anyone trying to get a game started quickly or pick up a game that’s slowed down.

Hive Mind
The Diseases of Hubris are so, super gross. Blighted Eyes is so gross and cringey, involving yucky things happening to your eyes. The Ghost Pox is very haunting (pun intended), but Hive Mind (bees take rest in your head) is so vile and probably going to give me nightmares just from reading it. Also, the Whistler’s Lament is terrible - and possibly could annoy the entire table completely.

There’s a brief table for grave digging, which I think would be pretty useful in some campaigns. Another table - probably more widely useful - is the NPC generator. It has a lot of variety, and a lot of unique qualities for NPCs. I really like random tables for NPCs, in part because it can make life way easier for GMs. 

This section in general is loaded with cool tables - planes of Hubris, what happens when you make camp (like waking up with fungus growing on you), herbs you might find (like ones that let you climb on walls), taverns and inns (one has a pickled rat brain eating contest), vials (you could grow a beard! Or barbed skin!), villages (including one that’s built on mummified bird legs!), ruins (featuring living statues and demons of lies, strange black obelisks and pink spider webs), and a way to label years.

The section on Magic Items has a fancy table for random stuff but also has a list of other items both attached to gods and otherwise. I almost talked about what some of them do, but I think that would be almost too spoilery, for lack of a better term! Some of the named items are: The Armor of the Horned Blood Crab, The Six Sinister Skull Bracelets of Facious the Cruel, and The Despicable Clay Jug of the Maggot. Yes, that last one is just as gross as it sounds!

Demon Contamination
The Monsters section is pretty fun. There’s a table on contamination from demon possession, which has some gross stuff and some interesting stuff, and includes a table called What’s on Their Festering Dead Body? And it is obviously ridiculous (in a good way). One of the options is a “Convulsing Sphincter Muscle of an Ox,” and another is a “Bladder of a Badger” that you can drink from (ew). I’m annoyed that the Face of a Scorned Lover is gendered, because, come on. There’s also “Ulcerated Stomach of the Three Pronged Goat,” which is for carrying items, so, gross. Fun grossness.

The monsters include such fun things as barghests (one of my favorites), dinosaurs, fae (with some random tables), malfactorum (anthropomorphic beetles), carnivorous mermaids (YES), skeletons what use guns, and wooly mammoths. They all sound really cool and I’d love to see some of these in play (especially the mermaids!). 
I am not covering the Adventures section because that’s something I prefer to leave for GMs and players to discover on their own, so you’ll have to pick it up to see!

Overall, I think that Hubris is pretty fascinating! If you’re looking for a setting book with lots of material that will give plenty of substance to a twisted, gross campaign with plenty of vile monstrosities, Hubris is a good option! There are plenty of new environments, magical effects, story hooks, and choices for character building that I think give a lot of leads for both short play and longer campaigns.

I hope you liked reading about it! Check out Hubris here if it seems like your kind of thing. :)

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