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Midgard Legends $14.99 $9.99
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Midgard Legends
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Midgard Legends
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/21/2015 08:16:44

At first glance, this is an odd book. It's a collection of various snippets about Midgard... yet it makes more sense as you leaf through, for here are some of the legends, the stories Midgardians tell around the fire... the stories that one day your characters might feature in as they in turn create their own legends. For legends inspire heroes - whilst if you are the GM, maybe they'll spawn ideas for adventures of your own which you can use to help the party write its own tales that are worth the telling.

First of all we are introduced to Abderus, the first mage-lord of House Stross. If you have already got deep into the fabric of Midgard, you'll know what House Stross is (they're the former ruling family of what is now the Free City of Zobeck if you are wondering), but there's some more history here than hitherto published and a few spells that Abderus is said to have developed. This sets the pattern, a weaving-together of stories about people, places and events and relevant game mechanics which you can make use of in your own games. Items, spells, monsters, feats... all sorts of stuff, even some full character write-ups of those who still might be around. It's quite hard to keep track of it all!

Many entries have a 'using this legend' section with ideas for making use of that particular legend in your own plotlines. These may only be a sentence or two, but there are a lot of them and most could spawn an entire adventure (or more) depending on how you choose to use them. To use these to best effect, you'll need to seed the legends - how else will the characters know to act upon them else?

There are all manner of hidden delights. Perhaps a paranoid wizard might cast Incantation of the Uttered Cognomen Overheard, a delightful little spell that not only notifies you if someone's mentioned your name, you also get to see his location and surroundings. Or perhaps you fancy chasing Glatisant, the Questing Beast? This bizarre chimera seems to exist solely for the purpose of being pursued by young adventurers! Or maybe you would like your journey shortened by Hune the Doorlord? He can open a mystical door between anywhere and someplace else - if you can pay his price.

There are legends here indeed. Use them wisely and more shall be written... but an index of all the goodies tucked away in these pages would have helped! That aside, it brings Midgard to life, for only a place that is rich and deep has such legends to be told.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Midgard Legends
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Alison R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/15/2014 12:03:41

Midgard Legends is a book full of flavour. It's really intended for DMs/GMs/Storytellers who want to set a story or campaign within the world of Midgard and really want to connect their game with the setting, by sprinkling in pieces of lore and history and using the hooks provided within this supplement.

That being said, it's fairly easy to take any one of the 23 legendary characters from the book and add it to a non-Midgard campaign. Some of the legends are inherently intertwined with the setting (such as the Black Sorceress, Mharot, and others), but some (like Calm-Tongue the philosopher gnoll, the Daughters of Jannik, Glatisant the questing beast, and others) could be placed in any campaign.

I was slightly disappointed about the content of the legends. While all 23 entries are very interesting and give me lots of ideas, the title and premise are a little misleading. I was hoping that for each entry, there might have been an actual legend told from the words of a bard, or scripture, with a sort of flavourful account of things that may or may not have actually happened. It would be great if this was provided as a printable player handout, as a companion to the DM information about what actually happened, what the stats might be, the magic items, and how to use in your own campaign. I'm running a campaign right now incorporating the legends of Titus Padrascu, Blood Mother Margase, and Hune the Doorlord, and for all of them I need to create my own version of the legend, because the text as written is not suitable for players, as it reveals too much information.

In addition, most of the entries include some mechanics for the DM to play with. Want to ride a mythical horse? There's rules for that. Want to get involved with the Children of Green Shadows? The organization is laid out for you. Want to make a character descended from the Azure Kings? Here are some traits and feats. Want to tease your players with forgotten incantations and relics? There's plenty of those. Want to exchange blows with Blood Mother Margase? If you're feeling suicidal, here's the CR 26 stat-block.

All in all, the book is an excellent supplement to the world of Midgard, which I am a big fan of. Creatively, the legends are engaging and get you excited about the possibilities. The layout and presentation are good. I can't comment about any statblocks or mechanics, since I haven't had a chance to try any of them, but they seem balanced. Overall, a very good sourcebook, though it could be improved by including some player-focused content such as handouts.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Midgard Legends
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/08/2013 04:09:08

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement is 50 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page intro/patrons, 1/2 a page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 44 1/2 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Humans have a desire for legends - they speak on some primal level to our own failings, to our dreams, hopes and aspirations and incite us to be the best we can. They daunt us with impossible tasks, offer symbolic and iconic obstacles, warn us away from the vortex of sins and destructive behaviors and touch us by speaking to the archetypical topics of our existence. In roleplaying games, however, this all too often translates into "Let's stat legendary creature/character XYZ so PCs can kill him/her/it." Not so in this book.

What we get here are legends and as such, they are not necessarily intended to be fought, nor do they have to be beings. Instead, they represent concepts, truisms, truths that resonate within the world of Midgard, supplemented by crunchy pieces of content where appropriate. Take the first legend, the one of Abderus, first wizard of the infamous House Stross, providing three of the spells that made him be known as the devil's commander as well as the lance of Khors, all packed with ideas to spark investigations into the history of the man and the places he left behind. Melathea Stross, the black sorceress, taught by both Baba Yaga and the Moonlit Court, while lost between worlds, remains an echoing force as well, her incantations (2, one to open gates and one to summon fragments of great old ones) and the Fey Waystones being testament to her arcane prowess.

Other legends are centered as much around personalities as around items of legend, like the legendary Khazzaki Khan Achaz, wearer of the horned crown. Or take the Azure kings - spawned in the coldest of climes, these blue-skinned barbarians have been changed by proximity to a near-deity-level haunt and now their progeny may, via 3 traits and 2 feats, exhibit the vast prowess of these beings, wielding oversized weaponry and fighting with a larger reach - especially awesome if the person in question can come into possession of the evil Menneskelig-død, a huge legendary axe carved from the ice of the haunted Riphean glacier... If you're more inclined to subtle dealing, be wary of the Blackened Man - offering a life for a soul, pain for pain or mercy for madness, the mysterious figure offers your heart's desire, but forever marks you with the sign of the black sun, condemning the bartering individual, but also providing vengeance perhaps otherwise unrealizable. When this book was announced, I sincerely hoped that we wouldn't get stats for Baba Yaga - and thankfully, we don't - instead we get the stats for Blood Mother Margase, the CR 26 blood druidess that vies for nothing less than godhood - the insane arcanists that wrought the cataclysm in the West have after all shown that the mortals need her guidance. Speaking of guidance, though of a more benevolent and less extreme manner - Calm-Tongue, a true scholar and gentleman, single-handedly not only spread language and enlightenment and a philosophy of non-violence, he also more or less single-handedly raised the gnoll race from savagery into a status where they may not be liked, but at least often are accepted, raising his kin to a more civilized form. Rules-wise, his teachings reflect an alternative, focused barbarian that replaces rage with a dex and wis-enhancing state of tranquility. Interesting!

In the 7 Cities, there is a bloodline, the bloodline of Jannik and his daughters still can call upon his spirit to help them when near Sperenza, gaining rather significant boosts in power by his vow to forever protect those of his blood. Enkada, whose name shall not be uttered , still guards his name, his shadow being drawn by investigation, covering the curious in poisonous strands and haunting them via his rather deadly shadow - coolest, though in his entry would be the incantation that draws attention if the name of the caster is uttered...

A legendary horse, the questing beast, the lord of doors who guards passages anywhere, the first storm that contains the last remnants of the first cultures of Midgard, the kobold that ruled empires, the fully statted founder of the Mharoti Empire, the lucky man who brings misfortune to all around him, the legendary songraven and his bardic disciples, Saint Vadim to a lich betrayed by her love and so much more, the legends herein cover a broad spectrum of topics. I'll stop spoilering now - if you want to know more about them, you'll have to get this book.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are top-notch - I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful full-color two-column standard and the original b/w-artworks, one for every legend, are a joy to behold. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

These are legends and they resonate. They strike the right chords, the right topics, adding depth, primal concepts and wonder to a world already rich in all of these attributes, without being necessarily restricted to Midgard, though application to another setting admittedly would take some work. This book does not fall into the trap of over-crunching the topic at hand - legends don't need hard rules (though the ones provided herein help to mechanically represent their wonder), what they need is an essence and the writing universally captures this. While the rules are solid, it is the writing and the writing only that decides over weal or woe regarding this product and it succeeds with accolades: Providing hooks and ideas galore, enough to last for years, these legends are Kobold Press/open Design at their very best: Iconic, ancient, suffused with wonder and magic and helping so much more in bringing the sense of wonder to one's gaming round than the oomphteenth selection of feats, traits and spells. Don't get wrong, I have nothing against them and e.g. the traits and feats for the Azure Kings, the incantations and spells etc. all are welcome, but ultimately they should supplement the material, not be its essence. We need more books like this, books with a heart that put the wonder, the amazement, the tragedy and triumphs in the center and provide the readers not only with great rules, but with ideas and concepts that resonate beyond the gaming table. Even if you don't use Midgard, I wager that scavenging the legends should enrich your game vastly, as it is my firm opinion that no one can read this book without drawing some kind of inspiration from it. A stellar offering and one of a kind of which we require more - I hope to one day see a sequel and other campaign setting should take heed here: this is how you add life and virility to your reader's imagination regarding your setting. My final verdict will unsurprisingly clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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