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Wednesday, 15 April 2015

RPGPundit (Mini-)Review: Puerta De Ishtar GM's Screen

This is a short review of the "La Puerta de Ishtar: Pantalla del Director de Juego"; that is to say, the "Gate of Ishtar GM Screen". It was sent to me along with the Puerta de Ishtar RPG, which I have already reviewed, and pointed out that "it might be one of the best RPGs you'll never get to play".

Since I was sent this product alongside the main book, I figured I should say a few words on it, though honestly there's not enough there to constitute a full review.  But I guess this will be a "fairly decent GM's screen you'll never get to use".

Or maybe not.  I've been told that as a result of the huge response to my Puerta De Ishtar review, there's been some inroads made in the efforts to find a publisher interested in doing the English edition of this game!  So that's great news for all anglophone gamers out there.

Anyways, the product in question today has three parts.  First, a single-page glossy sheet thanking the purchaser, and providing full-colour floorplans of the locations covered in the short adventure included with the screen.  It also notes that purchasing the GM screen entitles you to an electronic copy of the same for your phone or tablet, and it provides an email for how to get it.

Second, the screen itself; it's a very nice three-panel screen that folds into itself; the panels are long, rather than tall (rather than most GM screens I've seen, which are usually taller rather than longer). On the side facing the GM, it has on the first panel a quick summary of the basic mechanics, as well as measurements (which I don't think are so important as to require being there), and page number references to the location of statblocks in the book for opponents (again, seems a bit pointless to me, since most of the opponents are all in the same section of the book!).
The middle panel is a lot more productive, having four encounter tables: Desert encounters, Mountain encounters, Marsh encounters, and City encounters.
The last panel is also good, providing point form references to the combat rules.

So all in all, information-wise, not bad.  Nothing that blows your mind, but not bad.

As for the side that faces the players:

Here's another shot, with the accompanying reference sheet and book:

Finally, you get a 32-page adventure: "Belleza Eburnea". It's an unusual choice for an adventure, on account of it being neither particularly easy for beginners nor set up to be easily incorporated in a campaign.  Mainly on account that the adventure is set up for pre-made characters, and not just as an optional selection of pre-made characters, but rather, the characters are absolutely central to the plot of the adventure. You can't run the adventure as-is with any other characters than these.  The adventure has the pre-made PCs as servants of Enshakushanna, the Witch King of Uruk, having to go on a mission to get back a girl from the king's harem who has been spirited away by an Uridimmu (jackal-headed humanoid) merchant.

Anyways, the pictures above don't quite do justice to the artistic detail of the GM screen; though the adventure itself is nothing to write home about and a bit of an odd choice.

So that's about it. Let's hope, in any case, that this game does see an English edition.  Any English-language publisher who reads this: you'd be very well-served by looking into the publication rights to the English edition; it's a very kick-ass game.


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  1. This is certainly one of the best looking screens in my collection. Even if I didn't own the game I would have bought it for the art alone.

  2. Yes, the art is quite impressive on the screen, no doubt.