A brief review of the new OSR zine from Hungary. (I purchased the zine, it was not a review copy.)

My copy of +Gabor Lux's premier issue of Echoes from Fomalhaut arrived yesterday in the post. I read through it last night and this afternoon, and I have to say this zine rocks!

Zine link:

The bulk of issue #1 is three interesting adventure locations (Singing Caverns @ 16 pages, Mysterious Manor @ 11 pgs, and Red Mound @ 3 pgs) with the perfect (imho) amount of descriptive detail in the location keys. I am impressed with Gabor's ability to infuse cool details into very little text (as a zine/RPG writer guy, I aspire to do this much more like him!), and each location can easily be dropped into an ongoing campaign.

In addition, we've got some good random table action going on. 1) There is a short and sweet Caravan Goods table that will be great in a pinch and has a paragraph with suggestions for cargo values and caravan guards, leaders, and such. And 2) Bazaar of the Bizarre is a d100 (multiple categories) table which gives us intriguing details about buying items from people.

For example, I rolled 23, 88, 74, 90, 07 and 24. So at the market today, I encountered ... a severely dim-witted provocateur selling stolen textiles as part of an insurance scam. That's game-able!

We also have 3 pages of unique Philtres & Dusts, some are alchemical and others magical in nature. These are really cool. My favorite is the Dust of Mung, made by the black-hearted monks of Mung. This powder causes the recently slain's spirit excruciating pain and forces them to answer questions (like 'speak with the dead'), but it's also possible that by using it the deceased may return as a wraith or spectre to hunt their persecutor. A nice twist for evil DMs!

There is a 1-page rules excerpt titled "Morale & Men" for a Hungarian RPG called "Catacombs & Companies". This is a nice little subsystem for hiring retainers and uses a 2d6-based mechanic for testing morale. It is easily portable to any old-school RPG.

There are also 2 pages of stronghold maps and a street map which can be used with the dread pirate Saydir the Kassadian presented on page 36 of the zine, or they might be used for another location in any home campaign.

The zine also comes with a really cool foldout map of a port city. The paper is very nice quality so it will hold up to table use, and the map is unkeyed so you can use it for whatever city you want in a home campaign. Excellent!

The zine artwork features clear and easy-to-read maps by Gabor (they could probably be a bit larger to fill out the pages), as well as excellent pieces by well-known artists Denis McCarthy and Stefan Poag, a couple of serviceable pieces by Gabor (not sure if Gabor is an artist but he certainly gives it a go!) and several topical flavor illustrations by 'past masters' (public domain art I assume). Overall I think the art is pretty good for a zine.

The only part of the zine I was confused by is the table of contents on the back cover. I actually didn't notice it as such until I read half the zine! But that could just as easily be me being a butthead. :-)

In summary, I thoroughly enjoyed Echoes from Fomalhaut and I am very much looking forward to future issues.

This is a great example of what I love about RPG zines and the DIY OSR community: creator-written and published gaming material with a unique flavor and feel to it. In his introduction Gabor calls it "good vanilla," and I suppose that's as fitting a description as any.

I call it a tasty OSR treat! :-)

Zine link:
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