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Bardic Lore: Ogham $2.00 $1.00
Average Rating:3.8 / 5
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Bardic Lore: Ogham
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Bardic Lore: Ogham
Publisher: Highmoon Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/06/2012 12:43:48
This is a well researched guide on Ogham, the written language of stones often seen near ancient Celtic settlements. This product blends historical findings with mythology to give us something very cool indeed. New ideas for Druids and Bards using Ogham are included along with a new feats, skill uses and revised spell lists. What is nice is the chart of the Ogham characters with sounds, English letter equivalents, and tree names. A lot of research went into all of this and the quality shows. Don't take it as a historical treatise on Ogham, but it is a great tool for a game. Nominally d20/3.5 but really the most of it can be used in any game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Bardic Lore: Ogham
Publisher: Highmoon Games
by Andrew B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/28/2006 00:00:00
Ogham (pronounced OH-am) is a real-world language that developed among the Celtic people in ancient times. The language, which still exists in a somewhat altered form, can be traced back to the mysterious druids, making it a perfect fit for inclusion in Dungeons & Dragons and other d20 games that make use of the druid class.

In many ways, Ogham is similar to the early Viking runic language, which is probably what most gamers think of when the idea of runes comes up in fantasy gaming. Like runic, Ogham uses fairly simple characters carved in wood or stone. In a culture with a strong tradition of passing down history orally, the Celts had little use for a written language. Writing was the province of the scholarly, something that must have seemed somewhat mysterious and perhaps a bit magical to the common folk. Like the Viking Futhark, the letters of Ogham may have been thought to hold more than just a mundane meaning. Indeed, each letter is associated with a kind of tree, and is thought to have a symbolic meaning as well as literal one.

I explain all this to show you how well Ogham fits in with the D&D druid. The druid class has always given its members access to a secret druid language, a language kept deliberately vague by the game?s designers. For those DMs wishing to flesh this secret language out in a little more detail, Ogham seems like a perfect solution. Bardic Lore: Ogham gives you enough background information to incorporate the Ogham tongue into your campaign without much effort.

In addition to the background details, this PDF also presents rules for using Ogham as a kind of druid-based rune magic. The examples include a couple different kinds of wards that can be placed on standing stones, as well as a means to enhance spells using different Ogham symbols carved onto wood or stone tablets. I thought that the rules really fit the flavor of druidic magic, giving an in-game mechanic to govern such things as magical standing stones. Unfortunately, I think these rules are probably more useful to a DM fleshing out a celtic-inspired campaign that they are to a player. The majority of the Ogham items are costly and difficult or impossible to transport.


LIKED: To draw an analogy, this book is basically the length and depth of a quality article in Dragon Magazine. If you?re interested in expanding on the secret Druidic language, or you want to flesh out the history of druids in your campaign world, Ogham is a perfect fit. This product does all the legwork for you, giving you the basics and leaving the fine-tuning up to your individual tastes.

The rules are well designed and can be added to your game with little headache or worry about upsetting game balance. The book looks very professional, with a nice layout and easy to read graphical representations of the Ogham alphabet. There isn?t really any art to speak of, but its absence doesn?t hurt the final product in any real way.

DISLIKED: It would have been nice had this book been a bit longer. Don?t get me wrong, I think it?s a fantastic value for the money, I just really liked it and would have liked to see a bit more.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Bardic Lore: Ogham
Publisher: Highmoon Games
by Mark C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 11/03/2005 00:00:00
Ogham opens with a look at this ancient writing system famous for its association with historical druids. There is an explanation of each character, their association with trees and a pronunciation guide. There are some magical items and one item creation feat that allows you to use Ogham to create Ogham markers and a metamagic feat to add curses to other spells. There are some modifications to the druid spell list to allow them to use curses and a new DC for knowledge checks related to Ogham.

There are pictures of all the Ogham symbols and a photograph of a standing stone marked with Ogham.

I like the ?tree Ogham? magic the best, providing standing stones that provide spellcasters with metamagic enhancements to their spells (but burns off charges from the stone). The great balancing feature is that standing stones are very hard to move and carry around because of their enormous weight.



LIKED: This supplement provides a good overview of Ogham and is a useful guide to inspire further research into the language. There are links at the back to further assist any such endeavors.

If you are a fan of the Slaine or medieval Europed, this is a handy addition to your campaign setting.


DISLIKED: I would have liked to have seen more for actual game play; Perhaps a new druid and new spells. I would very much have liked to have seen examples of Ogham words and expressions.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Bardic Lore: Ogham
Publisher: Highmoon Games
by Chris G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/26/2005 00:00:00
The PDF is not a big one only covering twelve pages. It is nicely laid out though and has some art in it. The book marks are well done even for a small book such as this. It only has one file of it and does have some color to the pictures so it can eat up some ink for people concerned about that especially with its green borders.

The book first gives a nice historic look at the language. It has the alphabet and what letters in our alphabet they correspond to. They have added five letters to it as well to make it more closely resemble our own and make it much easier to use. The letter s each have a name, how they are pronounced, and even the tree associated with them. The language is presented to be used as Druidic for the druids and if suggests bards might be familiar with it. I like that it brings the druid a little bit back to its Celtic routes, but thing the class should be overhauled to really fit. A new version of the core class that used Ogham and other ideas from the Celtic myth would have really strengthened this product.

The language is given some magical ability in the book. It is like Draconic is for arcane magic in that the letters themselves can hold magical ability. A product that actually makes draconic magical would be a great sequel to this book. There are a few magical standing stones that use the language depicted here. There are feat a druid can learn to be able to craft such items. The book does add a few spells to the Druids list of kno0wn spells to help with this all. There is also a metamagic feat that allows for curses to be integrated into the other spells. This addition to make the druid a bit more Celtic, but it just is not enough.

The book does a nice job of given definition to something that is bland and without purpose in the core rules. Now the druids secret language has purpose and reason for being. It serves to aid them and to off mystery and new options. That alone is enough to make me look favorably on a book. I hate to harp on the druid but I like the Celtic feel this brings to the class and just wish they would have taken it farther.



LIKED: They do a nice job with taking the language and making it relevant to the game.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Bardic Lore: Ogham
Publisher: Highmoon Games
by Dennis O. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/27/2005 00:00:00
For those who want a Gaelic theme in their games Ogham is a good supplement, adding a new form of magic item to the game and a secret language for the druids to exchange messages in.

Information about the historical ogham is provided, as well as game rules, and several characters have been added for sounds that occur in English but are not found in Gaelic.

LIKED: The Bardic Knowledge DCs are something that I wish I saw more often in products, adding purpose to what can be an underused ability.

DISLIKED: Not a problem for me, but narrowly focussed on Celtic themed games. I would also have liked to have seen some inscriptions using Ogham for use when in a hurry, to shw to the players when encountered. Then again, requiring the author to know Gaelic might be a tad unreasonable.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
This is not the first request for sample Ogham messages we've gotten. I don't know Gaelic, true, but we'll try to compile a few sample messages in English and modern Irish if we can swing it. I can't promise it will be soon, but we'll start gathering and release it as a web enhancement. We'll be sure to make an announcement to owners of the product, and in the usual RPG news channels. Glad you enjoyed it.
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