Disclaimer: I backed the successful kickstarter for this product.
This is the second issue of Tales From the Smoking Wyrm. Let's dive right in!
King of Beasts: This is a full patron write-up by Jake Harmon, including three patron spells: speak with animals, bloodsense, and awaken. This third spell allows the caster or another willing creature to bond with one or more spirit animals. 18 such animal spirits are provided; judges may easily come up with others, or allow their players to suggest them.
The King of Beasts doesn't represent any one specific kind of animal, but is all beasts at once...although his domain does not include insects, mollusks, or similar creatures.
Dwarven Jäger: This is an alternative class for dwarves, written by Brian Gilkison. It focuses on two-weapon fighting, as opposed to the "Sword & Board" ability of standard dwarves. I am not sure that loss of being able to smell gold makes up for the combat advantages the class gets, but Dungeon Crawl Classics is not overly concerned with balance in any case.
The class also includes details for throwing hammers and hand crossbows.
Rites & Rituals pt. II: Church Rituals picks up from Issue #1 with rituals designed for clerics and similar purveyors of idol magic in your campaigns. The sample rituals are blessings of the grave, liturgy of blessing, and rite of consecration. Examples of each ritual is provided for followers of Cthulhu and Osiris. The results of church rituals might include miracles, and a table of 30 is provided. In addition, Pious Deeds make their first appearance, but hopefully not their last. The authors are John Olszewski and Trevor Stamper.
Culpepper's Herbal: Author Trevor Stamper describes agrimony and bastard agrimony, with all the information required to use them in a game. Of equal, or even superior, interest is the discussion of decoctions. What you need to do to process, keep, and use herbs is something that most people in the modern era have little or no experience with.
Shoggoth: This is not the first time shoggoths have appeared in Dungeon Crawl Classics, but it is probably the most complete treatment that they have received, Trevor Stamper and Brian Gilkison provide everything you need to build a shoggoth for your home game, using a method similar to that used to create dragons in the core rulebook. But that's not all! The authors also provide details for using the find familiar spell to bond oneself with something a bit more Lovecraftian. On top of that, a critical hit table just for shoggoths is supplied.
All in all, this article was worth the price of the zine all by itself. And it is not, as we have seen, by itself!
The issue ends with Onward Retainer (a cartoon created by Joel Philips), an Editor's Note by the same, and Wyrm Words (a word search by Trevor Stamper and the answers to the crossword puzzle from the last issue).
Tales from the Smoking Wyrm is a fanzine inspired not just by the roleplaying game Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC), but also by the wondrous fanzines of the past 40 years! While we focus on DCC, the material produced can be easily translated into any Old School Renaissance (OSR) system.