I've been reading +Tim Shorts 's The Manor since the first issue and have thoroughly enjoyed each and every one. The latest release is no different. Well, except that this time, Tim has invited other's to play in his sandbox with him.
Actually, before I go any further, I need to address the art. Two simple words: Fucking amazing. Better than I've seen in many a "professional" RPG product. Jay Penn deserves a loud shout out. I don't know if he's looking for other work, but if he is, it's damn good.
Lets see, the first article is Vineyard of Villainy, with some excellent portrait work by none other that - Jay Penn. The NPCs highlighted are excellent - their backgrounds and motivations paint a picture of the same high qualities their accompanying portraits are composed of. I'll be dropping these in my sandbox.
Chris Conski is the first "guest author", if you will. His article on Cursed Concoctions is a nice selection of alternatives to "poison in the potion bottle" to keep the PCs honest.
400 Tavern Names by Sean Robson is a table to generate random tavern names. Does what is says on the side of the box and is very handy if running a sandbox, as you never know where the players will wind up next.
I never though an article on "Doors" would hold much interest, but Tim does a fine job with it. Much of it is mere flavor, but without flavor, your dungeons can be very bland. My personal favorite? The Delarogue with it's 32 lock system. Hell, that could be a campaign unto itself ;)
Tim's 20 Random City Encounters gives insight into the man's twisted mind. I simply love it, especially as each encounter has a paragraph of detail for the players and the second has the DM's angle / secrets / twist. Well done.
Wrapping things up is a Random
Possibly the best +Tim Shorts has produced yet. I'll know for sure when I hold my print copy and not just the PDF. Yes, there is something special about getting The Manor in one's mailbox :)