Supplement Review: Alleys of Zobeck by Ben McFarland and Open Design

Weren’t Zobeck’s city streets full enough already? I mean… when I reviewed Streets of Zobeck back in July, I mentioned that it was dark and dangerous. I might have also mentioned that in most of the adventures, it was more about who you knew as PCs rather than what they knew (though knowing things about the people you know can be important as well…)

Apparently it wouldn’t all fit in one book. When they slapped the cover on the book, some of the dark gooey bits slipped into a small puddle beneath it and begged to be turned into a book of their own. And as per usual the kobolds were listening. They were happy to put 17 pages of new NPCs, locations, and magic together so they could rejoin the ranks of their former page friends. The result was Alleys of Zobeck.

These pages are just as full as the ones in Streets of Zobeck, providing new NPCs, feats and traits, encounters, creatures, locations, gear, treasures, and even an incantation to get rid of a memory and stash it in a pastry! Apparently Ben McFarland, Mike Franke, Richard Pett, Christina Stiles, and Matthew Stinson had more goodies they wanted to share with GMs hosting adventures in Zobeck!

For example, your PCs might meet Jaroslav Strauz, mustache and all, a dock official happy to help them do whatever they need to do… for a price. And if they don’t pay his price, he has ways of making them suffer. Things tend to disappear on the docks. You don’t think they want to disappear, do you?

Or maybe you’re looking for a new abomination to throw at your PCs in the streets of Zobeck? The Clockwork Abomination fills that need nicely. Each one should be unique, powered by the “infernal essences extracted from summoned devils.” I’d hate to be the apprentice asked to extract infernal essences from any extra-planar creatures… think of the odors these bizarrely constructed and malicious constructs would exude! And these constructs would like nothing more than to take your PCs apart to see what makes them tick. (After such an encounter,
your PCs might need some help from The Gutter Prophet, a devoted cleric to the “God of Succor and Charity” who might bore them with a sermon on the evils of violence before he heals whatever ails them.)

Beyond the NPCs, monsters, and locations however, a simple pair of tables really made me smile. The two “Small Treasures” tables – one for common items and the other for valuable ones – offers a way to creatively figure out what’s in a mark’s pockets when a thief picks them. For example, let’s say a thieving PC picks a random person’s pockets and finds – dice or a hunk of cheese. And then they go to another mark and find a small silver drinking cup… How long do you think it’ll be before they try their luck for something like a spyglass (worth 1,000 gp) or a gilded scabbard (80 gp)? That said, they might think twice about pick-pocketing the next person if they find a cloth-wrapped finger in there. Yuck!

Plus, for all the goodies in these pages you can’t really beat the price – $2.99 through either RPGNow or the Kobold Quarterly Store. Definitely give it a look, especially if you already own Streets of Zobeck! Pick up Alleys of Zobeck today!

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