The Kakondo is a creature write-up by Ashraf Braden. The cover is by Greg Dees. Additional content and incidental art by Bob Brinkman. The publisher is Sanctum Media.
Disclosure: I received a free copy in exchange for this review.
Okay, so there are two parts to this review. The first part is simple - telling you what this product is. This is a single creature, but it includes a new weapon (the yakoma, or sickle sword) and a new Mighty Deed related to the weapon itself. The creature is from the modern folklore of Uganda, and would be appropriate as an urban encounter. As a person living in Canada, with all the recent things we've learned about Canada's residential schools, the idea of something creeping around a school at night and preying on the students is pretty raw. However, there are no politics in this product. This is designed to be printed double-sided on letter-sized paper, and then folded in half to make a sort of booklet. heavier stock will make the result last longer.
It is pretty clear that English is not the author's first language. There is nothing difficult to understand here, but the phrasing isn't always what native English speakers come to expect. I suspect that editor Jen Brinkman has the same problem I have faced when helping to edit work where the writer comes from another linguistic background - how much do you smooth over, and how much of the original author's voice do you just leave alone so the author can speak?
What you need to know is: Can you use this in your game? The answer is yes, although this isn't really a "dungeon" monster. As a series of encounters, a long-standing problem to tackle, or the object of a divine quest it could really shine.
The second part of this review has nothing to do with the product itself, per se. As of this writing, the pdf is on sale at DriveThruRPG for $1.00, so the investment to get the product, even if you never use it, is less than a cup of coffee. One of the great things about Appendix N fiction is the range of authorial voices, but that range is still limited by the culture and ethnicity of the authors. In this case, the author is living in Uganda. Adding range to the voices we listen to is (in most cases) a good thing.
In this case, the author, Ashraf Braden, lives in a region where wages are so low that your purchase can make a real difference. Here is an opportunity to share your love of this game, and your love of the hobby, and make a real difference for an aspiring game designer at a negligible cost to you.
Finally, all the Sanctum Media proceeds are going directly to the author. Sanctum Media has provided you with a mountain of free content over the years with the Sanctum Secorum Episode Companions. Jen Brinkman has been a host of Spellburn and the Sanctum Secorum podcast since its inception, Bob Brinkman has also been a host of the Sanctum Secorum podcast. Both Jen and Bob are standup folks. When these two ask the community to help them help a friend, I really hope that the community responds in spades.
In fact, after being given this for free, I went back and paid for it.
A creature of modern folklore and legend, the Kakondo is rumored to hunt sleeping children in the schools of Uganda. Brought to DCC with the aid of Ugandan game designer Ashraf Braden.
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