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Actual Factual: Dracula - A Compendium of Vampires
Publisher: Scaldcrow Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/02/2014 13:41:10
Actual Factual: Dracula - A Compendium of Vampires is an unassuming book. The cover is stock art (I am guessing, not sure) and the preview is text with a small amount of art. That and the $40 price tag (sale price $18) might scare some people off.

That would be a mistake.

Inside are 472 pages of detailed vampire types from all over the world.

In this book we are given a basic overview of vampires (aka the stuff everyone knows) and then we move quickly into the relationship between Vlad the Impaler and Vampires. I will honestly say that this section, while entertaining seems tacked on. The book would have been fine without it, but is likely better with it.

Next we get into the heart of this book. The Compendium of Vampires.
The A to Z section detail vampires from around the world and not only represents the bulk of the book (340+ pages), but also the bulk of the research.

Each entry contains the name of the vampire, pronunciation and translation of the name. Also listed are it's country or area of origin, type of creature (creature, spirit, demon...), how it appears, prefered prey, how often it attacks or feeds, Modus Operandi, abilities, defenses against it and how to kill it. Not every creature has everything listed, this is not a Monster Manual, but there are enough. In some cases the author has used her own imagination to fill in the blanks. This is fine really, given that the author is Theresa Bane.
But I guess if you want something purer you can go to her pages of resources.

There is a bibliography, which is almost as interesting to read as the entries themselves.

What follows next really puts this book into a different category of usefulness, the indexes.
First is a more common index of words, names and other things you might want to find in the book.

Next is an index of Abilities. So if you need a vampire that is Beautiful (as an ability) then you have GREEN OGRESS 124 and SUCCUBUS 274.

There is an index of Appearance. So "barbed tongue" gives you:
ASWANG MANDURUGO 23
BICHOHINDU 44
GROBNIK 125
KRVOIJAC 164
UPIER 294
WIESZCZY 330 (one of my favorite barbed tongue vampires).

An Index on Creation. Indexes of How Often it Attacks, How to Find, Origins, Prey, Types, and finally Weaknesses.

Now what would have been a nice touch would be to hyper link all these indexes to the main document. But I am not complaining.

What the book lacks in art, there are only a few pieces, it makes up for in research and utility.
You can debate on whether or not Creature Y is a vampire or not, but I can't fault the authors for doing all this work.

All in all a great book. A must have if you are at all a fan of vampires or use them in your games.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Actual Factual: Dracula - A Compendium of Vampires
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Wild Wizard
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/28/2014 14:42:44
The Wild Wizard is akin to the old Wild Mage. It is a Magic-User, but it has a Magical Flux. Magical Flux is summarized as an 1d20 affect table. It is is an interesting idea, but I think it needs something a bit more.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Wild Wizard
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War Chanter
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/28/2014 14:42:06
What the Bard is to humans and the Greensinger is to Elves the War Chanter is to Dwarves. In addition to being fighters the war chanter also has some powers "Songs" that they can use to aid others. If you are playing a Basic-era game and have more than one player that wants to play a dwarf, have one choose this. It is a pretty interesting class and one that would make good use out a larger group of characters.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
War Chanter
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Sword Master
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/28/2014 14:41:35
This class might be called a duelist in other systems, but basically the idea is the same; a master of the sword. The most interesting twist to this class is the inclusion of the Mastery Points. Each level the Ps hass a certain number of these point they may use to increase their dice rolls. It is a neat mechanic and helps the Sword Master to score hits when he really needs too. There is an appendix for applying this to other fighter like classes as well.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Sword Master
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Pirate
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/28/2014 14:38:50
Again, exactly what it says it is. An interesting class with some thief like abilities the best part is the "Sea Stories" power which gives the PC information in the form of rumor and hearsay that might be beneficial to the Pirate. The idea that pirates hear a lot of strange tales out at see.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Pirate
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Kassai Rider
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/28/2014 14:38:28
The Kassai Rider is a mounted warrior similar to the Mongol hoards. The class is a full 20 levels and has a number of special abilities based on combat on their horses. Lightly armored and using bows for the most part these warriors are superior on horseback, but I wonder how well they might function in the dungeon.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Kassai Rider
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Greensinger
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/28/2014 14:37:51
The Greensinger is something akin to an elvish Bard/Druid. Greensingers get some special abilities and can cast spells like that of a cleric/druid. The idea is a rather cool one and frankly I wanted more. The forests of Barrel Rider Games seem to be full of all sorts of strange and magical creatures.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Greensinger
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Goblin
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/28/2014 14:37:27
enough her to play 8 levels of goblin fun. 8th level goblins don't get a special title, but they do get a dire wolf of their own. Which you have to admit is pretty sweet.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Goblin
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Friar
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/28/2014 14:36:44
Friars are holy men, like clerics, but are a wandering sort. They do not get spells but instead a new special ability at each level. Additionally since they can't wear armor they have a Divine Protection power that keeps them from harm. in fact the highest level friars can have an AC as low as -6 if they reach 20th level and have a high dexterity. For those that want a different take on the cleric this is a good choice.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Friar
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Forester
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/28/2014 14:36:22
FULL DISCLOSURE: The genesis of the class was based on discussion I had the James Spahn on what sort of class my youngest son Connor likes to play. All the material in this book is James' own original work, I am just rather fond of it.
The Forester is basically and elven Ranger with thief and hunting abilities thrown in. It is a 10 level class. The forester gets a lot of interesting abilities to help it in it's role as a protector of the forests including the abilities to hide in shadows and better fighting abilities when wielding a bow. The coolest though is the ability to get an animal sidekick in the form of an Elven dog.
Since this was built more or less for my son he has been using the class in our Old-School game. It plays like a Ranger with a few extra tricks up his sleeve.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Forester
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Explorer
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/28/2014 14:35:55
This might be the consummate PC Class. It focuses on adventuring and that thrill of discovery. It mixes a bit of thief and fighter with some sage-y abilities (id magical items, read magic) and cast some spells. If you are missing a class or two in your group the Explore might help feel the missing bits. Worth it for a look.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Explorer
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Death Knight
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/28/2014 14:35:27
This class is something of a cross of warlock and an anti-paladin. The Death Knight are not undead per se but do have their life force changed to undead or demonic power. It is a full 20th level class and in addition to fighting prowess the Death Knight has powers and spells. The class is very comparable to a Paladin only Chaotic of course. Like some of the alternate classes that used to appear in Dragon magazine the Death Knight works great, and maybe better, as an NPC class.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Death Knight
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Commander
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/28/2014 14:34:58
Commanders feel like they are on the opposite end of the fighting spectrum than beserkers. They are cool efficient battle strategists. The Commander is like a Basic-era Fighter, but his "powers" are his abilities to command and bolster others. For example at higher levels those under his command are immune to fear.
It is an interesting class and has some nice features.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Commander
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Berserker
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/28/2014 14:34:35
The Beserker class takes us back to some of the earliest days of D&D and The Dragon magazine. The Berserker presented here is different but the feel is the same. This class is a full 20 levels for Labyrinth Lord and gives the beserker such powers as Terror of the North and Form of the Bear. One can almost hear The Immigrant Song playing in background. There is a decidedly Norse flavor to this one (as opposed to say a Celtic one) but it works great.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Berserker
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Bard
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/28/2014 14:34:12
The Bard is a full 20 level class for Labyrinth Lord. Like the Bards in other games they have the ability to perform with musical instruments and they have some thief abilities as well. These bards though do not have magical abilities. I would like to see some spell casting with Bards, even if it is limited to just 5th or 6th level spells.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bard
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