Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Miscellaneum of Cinder - A Review

What's it?
A compilation of randomness from the awesomely bizarre mind of Jeff Rients. 36 saddle-stitch pages in the fabulously old school 5.83" x 8.26" format, purple cover, b&w interior art.

I'm loath to list the contents as a goodly part of the joy to owning such a book is exploring its pages. But here's an example of the type of chart What are the Goblins up to? one might encounter within. Don't fret if that particular table didn't grab you. Jeff has crammed a diverse range of topics into this supplement. And with a product like this it's not unreasonable to expect that 50% of the content isn't something you'd immediately use.

Is it worth it?
First I'm not gonna judge the value of someone's original creation. As far as I'm concerned all creative endeavor is priceless. Below I'll consider the product's utility.

The PDF costs one dollar. If that amount of expenditure gives you pause you need to get a job. Otherwise you should probably buy this purplish pdf. [Edit: Wanted to make it clear that I in no way fault Mr. Rients for the pricing. I'd guessed it was probably the lowest possible price with Lulu (which Jeff confirms in a comment below). Paper costs money. My point below was that sometimes it's worth paying for despite hard logic saying it's not economical. And this little booklet has little to do with logic and everything to do with passion.] On the other hand the print booklet at $5.50 is probably not worth it considering you can get 100+ full sized pages of Fight On! for ~$10.00. But you don't buy something like TMoC cause it makes economic sense. I bought it cause it's fecking rad to pull a plum tome from my white box, contemplatively peruse its pages, after a moment exclaim "Yes, yes, here it is the 'Froggish demon-god Weirdoes of Chaos' chart, and gleefully roll some dice to the chorus of groans from hapless players.

It's purple!

I wants it!
Along with many other interesting bits of the Old-School Renaissance you may purchase your very own pdf or print version of The Miscellaneum of Cinder at

The challenge
In his introduction Jeff dares us to blur the line between reader and author (one old-school virtue I'm ecstatic is making a huge comeback). So, from my current 3.5 campaign a table extracted from the program I wrote to generate K'jore Death Guards (think Paladins of Chaos).

Chaos Powers (roll once per 4 levels)
1 "Discord" (target shaken)
2 "Contagion" (target contracts "Taint")
3 "Entropic Repulsion" (living matter can't approach within 10')
4 "Dictum" (as spell)
5 "Anti-magic Ray" (1 target nullifies magic 1d4 rnds)
6 "Anti-magic Sphere" (5' radius)
7 "Storm of Vengeance" (as spell)
8 "Prismatic Spray" (as spell)
9 "Slow" (as spell)
10 "True Strike" (+20 next tohit)
11 "Pandemonium" (Summon K'jore 2d4 beasties)
12 "Taint" (4d6 damage to any grapplers)
13 "Dimension Door" (as spell)
14 "Blacklight" (as spell)
15 "Wall of Turmoil" (wall of elemental Chaos)
16 "Dimensional Maelstrom" (stops Teleport/etc)
17 "Mini-Mayhem" (baby Beholder familiar w/ 4 stalks)
18 "Regeneration" (5hp/rnd)
19 "Baleful Regeneration" (2hp/per creature w/in 30')
20 "Reverse Gravity" (as spell)

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