Frugal GM Review: Deadly Trappings from KenzerCo
Deadly Trappings, from KenzerCo, immediately takes me back to my early, way-too-lean days of gaming. Back when the majority of outlets to scratch my gaming itch consisted of choose-you-own adventure books, painting minis with enamel model paint (hey, it is what I had), reading the odd copy of Dragon, and nerd-lusting over mini catalogs or a borrowed copy of Grimtooth's Traps.
Yes, these were lean times indeed for me, but then I grew up and stopping living in the middle of nowhere.
Now, full disclosure, I have written up a trap or two for KenzerCo's Knights of the Dinner Table, but none of them are in Deadly Trappings. I don't know if this is a matter of timing or if my traps simply sucked. I'm inclined to think the former just because it makes me happier than would the latter.
Deadly Trappings was a print-only product for some time, and you can still get it from the KenzerCo website for $14.99. The price for the PDF version is the same at KenzerCo and DriveTruRPG at $9.99. The PDF is a relatively new offering from not even two weeks ago.
Since Deadly Trappings did bring back some nostalgia, I thought I should do the briefest of comparisons between it and Grimtooth's Traps. There are more traps in Grimtooth's, but I think Deadly Trappings has better write-ups and every trap has some cool graphics. Both have leathality ratings, but Grimtooth's has graphical representations while Deadly Trappings has the info in a brief summation with the title.
One of the thing I like the most about Deadly Trappings is a level of consistency between traps. Every entry has graphics showing the same character, Joe Cocksure, drawn by the Fraim Brothers. I'm already sold on their art, literally (I have had several commissions for PC portraits), and I love watching the hapless fighter get his ass handed to him time and time again. Part of the consistency, I'm sure, is due to the fact that Deadly Trappings is a monthly feature in Knights of the Dinner Table. I think Deadly Trappings benefits because of this, getting a lot more submissions for traps that share the same editor and artists.
The PDF is watermarked and secured, which really isn't an issue for this type of product. I do wish that this product was closer to half the price for both the printed version and the PDF, but the fact it is even available in printed form going on seven years is probably a factor. Personally I'd rather have this as a printed product than a PDF, but since I have both.....or I had both (cannot find my physical copy), I guess I considered them worthwhile at the time...I still consider it worthwhile even if only for the reminiscing.
Deadly Trappings. I have no idea why since the traps themselves are not only system-less, but seem really easy to integrate into any RPG....doesn't really even have to be a fantasy RPG. Personally I think that Deadly Trappings is worth a read all on its own....if you get to use it to maim, incapacitate, or kill your player's PCs....well, that is just a bonus.