On premise, the Loot 4 Less series is all about providing low cost magic items for use by GMs in rewarding low level adventurers: minor abilities, perks and utility for a party that is low on resources–while in the process making what would ordinarily be mundane treasures more interesting. I’d had mixed feelings throughout the early portions of the line, but each of the later installments have steadily provided more and more clever entries that have served to grow interest. With that in mind, when it comes to fielding flavorful rewards for fresh-faced adventurers or finding fun accessories for them to ply, how well does Belt One On fly?
As is fairly clear, Belt One On is a collection of belts for a burgeoning adventurer which offer interesting alternatives to the standard fare of the item class–rather than mass produced sources of strength or the monastic implements of monks we get a collection focused on providing a variety of fashions and utility. Presented are eighteen belts, sashes, girdles, straps and buckles to serve as accessories; sidebars are included elaborating on the method behind the pricing of the abilities and to address considerations taken on the balancing of such in the framework of the product’s intent. Let’s take a look!
After a very brief introduction to the Loot 4 Less concept we dig right into the belts, the first of which is the Belt of Many Uses; a veritable swiss army knife of utilities, this thing contains twenty-seven different components (twenty-eight if you count rope attached to the grappling hook function) from a dizzying pool of mundane tools and weaponry. For the player that likes to go hog wild shopping in the mundane equipment section of a town’s wares this is the sort of item they’ll have a field day with; that said, while there’s a daunting array of articles within nothing is particularly offensive–just very very versatile.
The Belt of Secret Magery provides exceptional concealment of material components for casters which could see flavor use in a story or campaign where the usage of spells is taboo or otherwise restricted; it helps to stave against having components stolen, but as most campaigns played seem to gloss over the inclusion of material components, your mileage on this entry is apt to vary. Still, fairly neat when applicable.
Next, the Coin Belt is an exceedingly cheap, bizarre and entertaining entry: quite simply, you can pull silver out of it every day for free. Fun fluff, if ultimately pretty pointless in practicality (it’s effectively several years to reach the value of the belt itself.)
The Comfort Sash shields the wearer from the elements and I could see it being exceedingly popular in any campaign where environmental hazards are a frequent hindrance. A very practical item that players are apt to pine for.
The Crawling Cummerbund, in addition to being fun to say, provides an on-demand viper or giant centipede to the wearer which is renewable each day; personally I wouldn’t want to wear a dormant magic centipede.
Next, the Fighter’s Gird provides a somewhat situational but potentially prized boon to a given character–limited shielding from effects which damage or drain the wearer’s strength each day. If this is a frequent encounter occurrence I could see a player pining for it (while cursing their campaign’s stat-hating foes).
A Girdle of Greenland Whispers allows the wearer to hear whispering chatter from the local foliage, a strange method by which to gain bonuses when trying to be stealthy in forests, jungles and the like; you can’t actually hold conversations with the plants. Quirky, kind of fun.
Girdle of Mule Strength shoulders a sizable chunk of encumbrance for the wearer, allowing you to get one step closer to re-enacting the treasure haul scene from The Adventures of Baron Munchausen in a campaign near you. You may have a player who will really get a kick out of it.
The Force Cinch essentially provides ghost touch to armor adorning the wearer, making it effective against incorporeal attacks; given that it occupies an item slot for what would otherwise be an armor enchant, this one is a bit of a shrug. I’d have liked to see more flavor in this one’s effects.
Heraldic Overbuckle offers a way to proudly display a character’s heraldry–with the added boon of supplementing one’s Lay on Hands uses per day; the Reversible Holy Buckle follow-up functions similarly with the wearer’s holy symbol and the channel energy class ability.
Ribbon of Lies is a shield for the wearer’s alignment which might find a happy home in a more espionage tilted story.
The Rope of Fangs continues in a trend of augmenting class abilities, this time boosting one’s capacity to rage via a fashionable collection of tusks, teeth and other animal trophies.
The Screaming Purseholder is an entertaining way to thwart would-be pickpockets–and could started the dickens out of a party rogue if worn by a seemingly innocuous NPC.
With the Silver Lyre, a performing bard gains a harmonious accompaniment for their music–augmenting said class ability in a fairly interesting delivery.
Next is the Swim Belt which makes Rings of Swimming envious from afar; though limited to a single duration each day, the wearer gains a swim speed and the ability to breath both water and air making for a considerable boon in short bursts. I could see a higher level group picking up a set of these for their underwater escapades or having them handed out for a very specifically themed episode.
The Thieve’s Strap rounds out our espionage offerings, obscuring an item stowed away from discovery before masking the belt itself; there’s the potential here for the basis of an entire storyline if used right, so I’ve got to give it high marks.
Finally, we end with the Wolf’s Head Belt which provides the ability of scent-based tracking for the wearer for a period each day; handy, and potentially fairly flavorful for an individual.
Overall: 7 pages, with 1 for credits and half a page for the cover; 3 pieces of color art spied here and there among other products as well, but decent nevertheless. While not as strong as some of the other entries in the Loot 4 Less line, Belt One On still provides a colorful selection of waist-based items which could serve to spice up low-level adventuring.
If anything, I would have liked to see the inclusion of mechanics which scale off of a character’s attributes, hit dice or level–this was present in Bell, Book, and Candle from the same series and served to help elevate the usefulness of those offerings over a longer span. I’m a fan of the entries here which offer minor perks for particular classes if only because of the presentation for how they do so; there’s solid creativity among the eighteen offerings in this product and some could inspire short scenarios by themselves.
I’d give Belt One On a warm 4 stars for providing a good variety of well-conceived items of a class not ordinarily offered in any quantity; though they may not have the staying power long-term for a given character, the goal of adding spice to lower-cost wealth has been met rather well. If you’re looking to broaden the variety in your campaign this is a good buy and a solid addition to your library.