Monday, June 17, 2024

Arcadia 4 Reactions

Image is copyright MCDM Productions

Arcadia 4! Another awesome and evocative cover from Grace Cheung. I feel like this guy would make a great campaign villain or faction leader. 

This issue’s editorial letter from James Introcaso confirms that the three issue trial period of Arcadia was successful and that the magazine would continue for the indefinite future (until it ceased production in July 2023 to focus development on the upcoming MCDM RPG). He also confirms, according to polling data from the MCDM patrons, something that rings true to me. That the more basic the content the greater utility for GMs to be able to apply it to their own games. I think that makes sense, and it’s the reason some adventures in anthologies are so good and others just aren’t and can’t be shoehorned into an adventure. 

The first article is Swimming Through Sand to Sea: More Mounted Adventuring by Willy Abeel, in a follow up to his previous article in Arcadia 1. This article provides more mounts, but more significantly provides new magic items that let you take your more exotic animal companions with you even if that makes them a fish out of water, or allows them to shrink to fit into a dungeon. One, the water wagon immediately conjured up an image of an aboleth villain to me, unwilling to give up its swim speed, so now confined to the water wagon to maintain full maneuverability on land. I do feel that omnimounts, large mounts able to cross continents, feel a little underdeveloped. The single page without fleshed out unique mechanics doesn’t seem quite complete to me. Cool concept, but not something I can apply easily to create my own content.

The next article is the Chained Library by Cat Evans. A drop in location that can be added to any campaign, the library is intended to be a location where hidden and dangerous knowledge is secreted away. The artwork of the front door by Faizal Fakri is evocative and stunning. It’s an interesting concept and can be applied as either an ally or adversary to characters. I don’t love the maps at the end, partly because they lack a grid or scale, and partly because I don’t find them very evocative.

The final article is On the Road Encounters, by Derek Ruiz. This article provides five unique encounters that characters can have while traveling. Most of these are brigand-type combat encounters. One is a duel between a knight and a peasant, which I quite like. They all are fleshed out with names and motivations for the NPCs, which makes them nice drop in content. But my favorite of these is a scenario called the Cartographer, who offers several quest hooks. I love this as a diegetic device to give the players a map of the region, or provide quests.

That’s it for Arcadia 4.

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