Frugal GM Review: Black Pudding #2 (OSR Zine)

Frugal GM Review: Black Pudding #2 (OSR Zine)
Back from a not-long-enough Christmas Break (my day job is in retail) and hunting for review material dropped this awesome bit of Zine called Black Pudding #2, an OSR Zine, into my lap.

I'm already a big fan of J.V. West (his blog has an entry on the "+12 Links of Helpfulness" Page), so picking up both issues of Black Pudding is a bit of a no-brainer, but I have to acknowledge my inherit bias.

Right off.....the art is hella awesome. If the cover doesn't draw you in, then you probably shouldn't even bother because Black Pudding #2 is littered with similar art, but I would be willing to go out on a limb and say not all the art is in the same style. Similar styling yes, but the exact same style...no. This isn't good or bad, just an observation.

This OSR Zine PDF is 28 pages long and 11 MB in size. Despite the listing on DTRPG, it is NOT a watermarked (i.e. locked-down) PDF. This is great because you can easily print off the PDF to meet your needs. The base file is a surprising US Letter size (8.5" x 11"), but you could easily print this off into a booklet if you want. You'd probably not be able to read the OGL text on page two, but who really reads that (besides me) anyway.

Actually this leads me to one small, maybe important (?), observation. While this Zine uses the Open Game License, there is no identification in section 8, so I'd have to assume that none of Black Pudding #2 is being released as Open Game Content. Probably not an issue (pun not intended), but if you wanted to build off of the information presented in Black Pudding #2....well I wouldn't plan on it.

Black Pudding #2 has two "new" OSR PC sheets, 6 new classes, 2 new adventures (one small and one large), at least 6 new monsters, and some new magic "stuff" that I don't want to pigeon-hole. That is a helluva lot of content for 28 pages!

The issue was an enjoyable read and I'm planning on seeing how well it prints out into a booklet, but that will be saved for later as I'll probably combine it with issue #1 and reorder content to make a custom book, which I can do since these PDFs aren't locked down.

Since this is a review, notably a biased one, I'm having to stretch a bit to come up with something to criticize.....so here goes:

Black Pudding #2 is pretty much in black & white, but there are some grey elements presented. I highly suspect that the PDF is actually a full-color PDF, just the colors we see are black, white, & grey. I think some of the art and layout could have been processed a bit more to take advantage of the black & white majority or even rendering as greyscale. This would save on file size and make some elements "pop" a bit more.

The only other potential criticism, and this one is definitely a stretch, is that the fonts used are not consistent. The first 3rd of the pages are clearly in J.V. West's handwriting, which looks great, but the remaining 2/3rds of the Zine use a wide variety of fonts and font sizes. This isn't a huge deal, but I think establishing a consistent standard for these layouts might kick the issue up a notch.

Frugal GM 5 Star Review: Black Pudding #2 (OSR Zine)
Overall though, I think Black Pudding #2 turned out to be just a good as I expected it would. Add to the fact that this is a PWYW product, there is no reason to not pick this up! While you are at it, make sure to get Black Pudding #1 as well.