Disclosure: I backed the successful kickstarter for a four-issue subscription beginning with issue #2.
As with all entries in the Tales From the Magician's Skull series, I will again be focusing on the gaming material provided. This should not be taken as a criticism of the issue's excellent fictional content; it is simply a consequence of the blog's focus on treasures for the Dungeon Crawl Classics game system!
It should be noted that statting out materials from fiction is as much an art as it is a science. Sometimes the game material is inspired by the source material more than it is a faithful reproduction thereof. The same is the case here.
Guardian of the Broken Gem: Yet another nobleman’s comfort (see issue #1) and the scimitar nemesis (a telekinetic un-dead creature).
On Death Seed Island: We get stats for the Xumatoq wraith swarm, which is interesting as it is both a swarm and un-dead. This isn't the first time we've seen an un-dead swarm in Dungeon Crawl Classics, but it is a good example of how the two monster concepts work together to make a potentially terrifying encounter!
Masks of Silence: We get statistics for the fetch (a projection of oneself rarely visible outside of dreams, but useful to some sorcerers).
The Witch’s Hound: Terry Olson describes the ritual of vengeance, which creates a vengeance ghost. A spell check is required, spellburn is not allowed, and the ritual has no spell results table. It either works, or it does not. Needless to say, statistics for vengeance ghosts are also supplied! The more targets the ghost kills, the more powerful it becomes!
Thieves of the Fallen World: The demonic dream idol is crafter by demons to lure potential human hosts.
Apedamak’s Army: Statistics are provided for jackal “demons” (which might be bestial humanoids are humanoid-like beasts), ad well as the amulet of Apedamak, which warns the wearer of nearby enemies and extends the wearer's critical range and effects...for a price.
Tales From the Magician’s Skull is a fantasy magazine dedicated to presenting all-new sword-and-sorcery fiction by the finest modern crafters in the genre. These stories are the real thing, crammed with sword-swinging action, dark sorceries, dread, and ferocious monsters — and they hurtle forward at a headlong pace.
Issue #4 features fiction by John C. Hocking, Adrian Cole, James Enge, James Stoddard, C. L. Werner, Ryan Harvey, Tom Doyle, and Milton Davis. The magazine is edited by Howard Andrew Jones and published by Joseph Goodman of Goodman Games, with layout by Lester B. Portly.
Each story is lovingly illustrated by industry stalwarts, and issue #4 continues the amazing high standards of art from the first issue.