Frugal GM Review: The Item Hack

Frugal GM Review: The Item Hack
This week's Frugal GM Review is on The Item Hack from Tricky Troll Games. The Item Hack is a collection of magic items for use with the Black Hack.

Actually, the magic items can easily be used with just about any Fantasy RPG. There are a few rules-bits here and there, but nothing really important enough to get in the way of tweaking things.

This watermarked PDF is 9 pages and comes in at a hefty 5.08 MB, which seems awful heavy for an A4 sized fully black & white document with roughly one small piece if art per page. It looks like most of the artwork is greyscale and the document was actually distilled as a full-color document, which explains the size and the look of some of the art. The contents of The PDF is secured and doesn't have any bookmarks, which I think is needed for a collection of 80+ magic items.

Right off the bat I liked the content of this download, but the design and layout choices make this a bit more difficult to use than I'd like. First is the size, which I already mentioned, but the font choice for this document works for normal text, but doesn't work for the three tables or the magic item titles. There are two main tables, one for Uncommon Items and one for Rare Items. Each of these tables takes up on full column of space and then the document goes into an alphabetical sorting of the magic items. This makes perfect sense, but there is no space between paragraphs on the magic item listings and the name of each item is a barely-larger font than the item descriptions. This makes the majority of the document visually difficult to read, which further compounds the need for some bookmarking. The layout of the tables is also a bit visually..."off". I think using an additional font or changing to a bold for item names and adding a blank line between items would have made a huge difference.

Personally I wouldn't have minded an extra page or two to account for this space and a full title page wouldn't have hurt either. The cover, shown in the intro-graphic above is white on a black text which looks good on screen, but isn't something I'd want to print out. Some basic tweaks could have made this download something I could use electronically or have printed out.

Frugal GM 3 Star Review: The Item Hack
Still, the magic items are pretty cool. There are a few I'd tweak, but that is to be expected. For the price of a buck I still think that The Item Hack is a worthwhile download.