I've raved before about the high quality of the 'zine, Loviatar. With the first nine issues of Loviatar, Christian Walker has, among other things, nearly single-handedly spawned a resurgence of the 'zine as a means of dispersing quality home-brew RPG materials.
Just take a look around the OSR blogosphere if you don't believe me. Or down on the right side of my blog. There are several other 'zines being published with several more promised.
Last night when I got home from the office, I was pleased to find Issue #10 of Loviatar waiting for me. I've missed reviewing several issues because, as I may have mentioned, my wife tends to hold these things hostage until I get some of my "Honey Do" list checked off. Because the last few months have not been friendly to the "Honey Do" list, she hasn't been too friendly with the "sharing of Loviatar." Fortunately I grabbed Issue #10 before she could hide it away.*
I was more than pleased to see what was inside.
The first thing that caught my eye was a reminder that my subscription was up with this issue. Sure, it is a little thing, but a touch of personal service that sets forth Christian's quality control and attention to detail. I've known others that would have just counted on me to remember that my subscription was up, or who couldn't be bothered to add the reminder slip. But not Christian. Even though we had discussed this a month or so ago, he still thought highly enough of his customer base that a reminder slip was included.
The Introduction comes first: by the time I hit the end of the Introduction, I knew Christian had another winning issue. I have to sell my wife out--I'll avoid the spoilers here--I read the Introduction aloud to her and she laughed throughout the "vetting session" but when we got to Christian's bathroom, she lost it. I have to admit I was laughing hard enough I had to stop and catch a breath. All we can both say is: "I hope he SCRUBBED that bathroom down. Several times."**
I turned next to the continuation of his hex crawl. This one has the same quality content and features as the previous ones I've read. Christian has a talent for NPCs--I stand in awe of his ability to make these characters come alive. Harrowminder the Treant from this issue, I believe, may be one of my favorites.
Then I jumped back to read through his Vampire: The Requiem material. BE AWARE: THIS CONTAINS SOME GROWN-UP MATERIAL. If you cringe when you see the letters S--E--X in close succession, or you have a problem with close-up pictures of pierced navels, you may want to have someone edit this article for you. If, however, you are an adult, I think you'll be able to find something useful here. I say this as one who does not play Vampire and doesn't spend a lot of gaming time in the modern era. D&D has vampires too, and a quick change from Santa Fina to a nameless hamlet, a dive bar to a seedy tavern, and a quiet bookstore to a scroll-seller's or tome-seller's store, and voila! Quick and usable NPCs, villains, and/or memorable characters.
Look: you all know, if you've read my blog for any significant length of time, I prefer my D&D to have a bit of 3.5 flavor. But I have some Old School tendencies and consider myself to be an OSR fanatic and gamer. I just happen to not have any other OSR-lovers around me. But while Loviatar first caught my attention for some Pathfinder/3.X content at first, the OSR and other game content is good enough to be easily transferable to 3.5...and good enough for me to WANT to transfer it to 3.5.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 battleaxes.
(Note: The only reason I don't give it 5 battleaxes is that, although I can't believe he could get better, I wouldn't put it past him. I've got to give him a little room.)
*Disclaimer: For the sake of absolute honesty and continued marital bliss, I include this: I have obviously taken some literary license with sharing my family life here. My dear wife doesn't withhold these things from me too long. I actually have several issues tucked away to enjoy in one sitting when I have a free afternoon, preferably with a cold lemon-based beverage and a cool mountain breeze. It just happens that I was extra excited to see Issue #10 and I tore into the envelope before I could stop myself. Now I can go back and enjoy the others at my leisure.
**Disclaimer #2: There's no literary license here. My wife really did laugh hard. So did I. And so will you, I think.