52-in-52 Review

Owen CK Stephens was a designer style Paizo Publishing, led the Starfinder team, and is currently hosting Know Direction Beyond. He’s also the brains behind 52-in-52, a weekly subscription that gets you a concept in four game systems: D&D 5e, Pathfinder 1e, Pathfinder 2e, and Starfinder. I subscribed to see what this might look like, and now I’m going to tell you.

The Experience: each week you’ll get a set of short pdf’s on a particular topic. The e-mail gives you a link and you can download whichever ones you would like. The PDFs are all two column text and contain a reasonable number of illustrations. So far topics covered include Rune Magic, different types of magic weapons which scale with character level, and ways to trick out your crossbow. Each one includes some suggestions about incorporating them into a campaign and provides enough rules support that these done-in-ones can be added in to an existing game without too much effort.

What’s overwhelming (as in awesome)? My favourite thing so far is the Rune Magic and Rune Caster releases: I anticipate using them in a kind of Rise of the Runelords prequel/sequel campaign. I also really like the Crossbow Gadgets.

What’s whelming? So far (it’s week 7) many of the releases are types of magic items or equipment. On the one hand, it’s easy to add items; on the other, I’d like to see some different design space explored. (Side note: check out Owen’s blog and Patreon for all kinds of great stuff.)

What’s underwhelming? I’m not disappointed in anything at this point, but in a 52-weekly product set, not everything is going to be equally impressive. There are some products that are rather similar (Soul Sword, Sword of Kings, and Runeblades) but in terms of value, my price per concept is still very low; I wouldn’t use these items together, but will probably use on or more at a time.

My recommendation? If you don’t have the 52-in-52 Bundle, it’s full of ideas and most of them are easy to incorporate into your campaigns. It works with both versions of Pathfinder, Starfinder, and D&D 5e, and battle mechs are coming in March. I’d say buy, or at least cherry lick when the individual ones you want are released at the Open Gaming Store.

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