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Theorems & Thaumaturgy
Publisher: Necrotic Gnome Productions
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/16/2015 11:29:44
Post here:
http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/2015/03/review-theorems-t-
haumaturgy.html

To start with Theorems & Thaumaturgy is a "Pay What You Want" product. Yes you could pay $0.00, but I hope this review convinces you to pay more. The book itself is 66 pages (standard letter) with text and art that reminds you immediately of the old Moldvay Basic books. If you have The Complete Vivimancer then you have an idea of the how the text and art looks. To me the art is like psychadelic art-nouveau meets Elric. In other words, perfect for a magic book in my mind.

There are three large sections (Classes, Variant Classes, and Magical Tomes) and an Appendix with nine sub-sections. Like old-school Basic the new spells are all listed with the classes. The book is designed for use with Labyrinth Lord Advanced Edition Characters, but really it can be used with any sort of "old-school" game.

The new Classes are the Elementalist, Necromancer and Vivimancer. The Vivimancer is of course detailed in a later book, but he gets his start here. The classes do pretty much what you would suspect they would do. The Elementalist uses elemental forces, the Necromancer deals with the dead and undead and the Vivimancer. Each class has a good number of new spells (250 in all!) to make using them feel different than your normal "magic-user". Each has spells from 1st to 9th level. All the classes use the Magic-User XP, to hit and saving throw tables, so whatever system you use, you can just use that to put them on the same footing as the Magic-User. While I like the simplicity of this and it helps make the "subclasses" feel like a part of the same Magic-user family. I would have liked to have seen some powers or something for each class. After-all they are sacrificing spell flexibility for what? Power? More variety of spells in their chosen field? I think I would have given them a couple of bonuses at least. But that is fine, these rules are flexible enough to allow all sorts of edits.

For the variant classes there is the new Fey Elf race. This elf is closer to the faerie origins of the elf. The class taken by these elves is the Sorcerer. This class is similar in idea to the D&D 3.0 version; a spontaneous spell caster with magic in their blood. The sorcerer has a couple of new spells and a modified list of spells they can cast. There is an alternate version of the Illusionist as well. This version has a few more spells and has 8th and 9th level spells.

The final section is all about magical tomes. It includes a bunch of unique magical tomes with new spells. The books' histories are also told and which classes are most likely to get use out of it.

The Appendices are a small treasure trove of great ideas and useful material.
Appendix 1 has new optional rules for Magic-Users. A number of these are very similar to house rules I (and many others I am sure) used back in the day.
This is followed by new monsters, new magic items, and some examples of memorized spells by class (all classes presented here and MU). We end with an alphabetical list of all spells included here and in the Advanced Edition Characters book.

All of this for whatever you want to pay for it.
Personally I think anything less than $5 is an insult. There is a lot of great material in this book and all of it can be used right away.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Theorems & Thaumaturgy
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The Witch - A Dungeon World Playbook
Publisher: Jacob Randolph
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/10/2015 11:58:18
This Witch for Dungeon World is a 3 page playbook with descriptions on the moves of a witch character. In general this book covers how to play a "Weather Witch", a "Wicked Witch" or a "Winter Witch". I approve Jacob Randolph's penchant for alliteration. Everything you would expect to see in a DW character is here. There are Bonds, Starting Moves, Gear and Advanced Moves.
In this version the details are printed right on the sheet. This is rather convenient and saves some space. If it were reformatted to look like the layout in Dungeon World I'd imagine it would be more like 6 to 8 pages. So you get a lot of text, but not a lot of pages.
This playbook is under $2.50. I would have liked a little more I think, but it is still really nice.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Witch - A Dungeon World Playbook
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The Witch - A Dungeon World Playbook
Publisher: Awful Good Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/10/2015 11:57:27
This is a "playbook" for the witch character class for Dungeon World. Class might not be the right word since this is more of a "role". The book is 27 pages, released via Creative Commons and has art by David Guyll. I have to admit, it was the art that first drew me into this book.

The book covers the same basic material found in all the classes in the main DW book. Where we get to the new stuff is under Starting Moves. Here we can see immediately that we are not dealing with a distaff wizard. Some of the moves could be used by other character classes, but there is a distinct "witchyness" about them all that I really love.

The Bonds for the Witch are really nice and one of the things I wish I had thought of. Well, at lease something similar. Bonds work differently in terms of the DW game, but the idea behind them, and how they can be roleplayed, are easily adapted to other games. Other games would call these "hooks". There are also a fair number of Advanced Moves that are great for a witch. These are the powers of the witch and her magic. Unlike the cleric and wizard, the witch has no spells, just these powers. I can see why they went this route and it gives the witch a very different feel than either the cleric or wizard. A must with a game light on crunch.
There are plenty of new magic items, mundane items and items unique to the witch.

All in all I like it a lot. With a price under $2.50 it is a steal. It includes the playbook, a character sheet and a printer friendly version.
This Playbook is also part of the Awful Good Games Playbook Bundle.

These authors also have written another Playbook on the Psion. I am going to need to pick that one up as well.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Witch - A Dungeon World Playbook
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Dungeon World
Publisher: Sage Kobold Productions
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/10/2015 11:19:38
Dungeon World is a "D&D-like" game based on the Apocalypse World game engine. Like a favorite of mine, Monsterhearts, the base system has had some changes to reflect the nature of the game being played. So DW features stats named "Strength", "Constitution", "Dexterity", "Intelligence", "Wisdom" and "Charisma". This makes playing DW a little more familiar to those of us that cut our baby teeth on D&D.
DW is a large book, 400+ pages and it basically details the sorts of things one can do in a D&D-like game. I keep saying D&D-like because that is really what this is. This is not D&D, nor is it a clone. It is a different system to achieve the same sort of stated goals. Though there are other things you can do as well.
There are a lot of reviews for DW out there. It is a well reviewed game with good reviews. I have not played DW myself, so I can't speak for the game play, but the rules read easy enough.
In DW there is a very basic mechanic (The Move) and it is up to the player to describe what that is. After that it is a simple Attribute+die roll vs. Target Number roll. In this case the Target Number is 10, but things happen if you roll a 7-9 or below a 6. This is similar to many modern games. The attribute modifiers for DW are the same as most Old-School D&D/Clones, ie 18 = +3 (not +4). This makes using your current character a bit easier in some respects.
Chapter 3 covers the Character Creation. Chapter 4 covers Basic and Special moves. Each chapter after that is dedicated to each of the character classes and their class-specific moves. Each class gets about 8 pages, and then some more for spells. All the classics are here. The Barbarian is even added as a seperate file as a value add.
Chapter 13 covers how to Game Master, Chapter 14 covers the first session and Chapter 15 covers areas or Fronts where the action will happen. Not bad chapters actually.
Chapter 17 covers the monster creation and use guidelines. After the monsters are divided up by locales or by theme.
Chapter 18 cover equipment including magic items.

What does DW offer the D&D Player?
Given the more narrative focus (and less crunch) of DW, D&D players can get some more tips on role-playing, setting up adventures and more immerseve play in general. It seems to me that DW was created as a retort to 4th ed D&D and it's focus on battle-mat play. It is rather compatible though with 5e. Many of same ideas in terms of playing a character or running a game are in both games.
For $10.00 for a PDF and at 400+ pages it would be a nice resource for a group wanting to continue in the same world or the same characters, just looking for some more depth and faster play.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon World
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Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay (Special Edition)
Publisher: Small Niche Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/23/2015 10:21:25
This is about the Hard cover book, but the review I did for the PDF still applies.
Dolmvay is not only a highly detailed city complete with maps, npcs, new monsters and pretty much everything you need, it is also a shared city.

You get 260 pages worth of material; the original Dolmvay guide and the adventure "Oak Grove Whispers". There are the maps I mentioned, but there is also a fairly detailed history. You could easily drop this into any game, and let's be honest, any system. If you are familiar with other products from SNG then takes place in the World of Amherth setting. But this book (and most of the Amherth books) are easily adapted to any setting.

There is a chapter on adventuring in the city. How the local churches react to magic and what can be expected of travelling adventurers.
Makes it perfect for a way point between adventures, but you would be missing all the fun.
The book also details an number houses, factions and NPCs and their own desires for the city. If you like games of political intrigue and courtly drama then this is a good place to start.

The bulk of the book details the layout of the city. In this respect it reads like a guide book. NPCs, hooks and other information is given. There is plenty here for new GM to use it as is and plenty more for an experienced GM to add their own information.
It strikes a nice balance between detail and flexibility. Among my favorite items are the random rumor table and the common greetings and gestures. Things like this give a setting life of it's own.

Common businesses are covered as well as a sampling of Taverns and Inns. City encounters and even some new monsters.
Venture into the sewers or the Island of Heroes.

There is a section on random NPC generation as well.

Dolmvay the concept is the idea that this is a shared City. If developers want to create their own encounters, adventures or anything else really and set it in Dolmvay then there is an easy to use and free license to do so.
It is such a great idea I am surprised that no one else has done it before.

At $19.99 this book is steal. Really. I am not sure how they are making money on this. It's a think, full hardcover book priced like it was 1983.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay (Special Edition)
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Reclaiming the Caves on the Borderlands
Publisher: Sacrosanct Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/20/2015 10:29:03
I picked this up because I do enjoy seeing what others can do with such well trodden ground as the Keep and the Caves of Chaos. The cover claims to be 5th Edition compatible and uses the current OGL to get there. Personally if I were a publisher I would be staying away from this. It is murky legal ground right now and one I would not tread on. But lets move on.
The cover is nice and drew me in right away. The book is 24 pages, but minus 1 for cover, 1 for ogl, 1 for a blank page, 1 for an ad, 4 for maps and 1 more for a character sheet. So 15 pages of text.

The Good: There is a good section on pages 4 and 5 on playing humanoid races such as orcs, bugbears, gnolls and so on. Just the stats, nothing really on "how to play them" No big, these are the standard baddies for the last 40 years. We know them.
There is detail on how the caves are controlled and what can be the expected losses of the various groups of humanoids living in the caves over time.

The Not As Good For Me: The caves and the rooms themselves are not detailed. There are blanks left for the DM to write in what is there from monsters to items. The main conceit here is that the inhabitants of the Keep have taken over the Caves now. It is all very sandboxy which is fine, but not what I was expecting. I am perfectly fine with sandboxes, but that it not why I buy pdfs. I buy graph paper for that.

The Bad: This PDF uses scanned images from the original map of the Caves of Chaos from B2. It has been run through Photoshop and some alterations have been made, but I can overlay a scan of the blue/white Caves map and line it up perfectly (including grids) to the "Reclaiming" maps. Not very professional at all.

The Ugly: Additionally there is a really bad scan of the old D&D Basic era Character sheet. It has been edited (poorly) to make it more in line with 5th Edition, but honestly it is just plain ugly. The artist would have been better off starting from scratch and making a 5e sheet that looked a bit like the Basic one rather than include this. Better still would be not to include one at all. It is just ugly, shows really poor Photoshop skills and a copyright infringement to boot.
So in the end, despite some promise and high hopes, this falls really flat.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Reclaiming the Caves on the Borderlands
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Publisher Reply:
First of all, thank you for taking the time to do this review. I know it takes time and effort to do so, and it is appreciated. However, I think there are some clarifications about some claims you\'re making that are not accurate. I hope to address those. * Scanned images. The maps are not scanned. I did them all by hand, and went back to make sure they aligned as close as I could get to the original for scaling purposes. That\'s why you probably assume they are scanned, because I got them really close. I could send you the PSD files if you want. Either way, not scanned. * Implication of copyright infringement. There is none in this, along with no trademark infringement either. If I had the D&D logo or text on the character sheet, you\'d be right. But it doesn\'t. You are right about the way the character sheet looks. Somehow it shows up in the PDF with lines that didn\'t show up in the PSD file, and I\'ll get those corrected straight away. Thank you for that feedback. * Your expectations. I\'m sorry you felt like you got something you didn\'t expect, but I tried to make it very clear and up front in the description exactly what you were getting. I also have every page included in the preview, so you would also know exactly what you were getting before purchasing. I even also made explicit commentary re: setting the price point the way I did because it was structured in this format. Please don\'t get me wrong, I sincerely do appreciate the time and effort you put into your review, and I do honestly regret that you felt like you didn\'t get what you wanted.
Classes of the Far East
Publisher: Sacrosanct Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/20/2015 09:59:52
Grabbed this because my youngest wants to play a ninja like character. It has a ninja, as well as a monk, a mahoutsukai (spell caster that uses both magic user and cleric spells, and a lot of them), and the yokai which is a race as a class of animalistic humanoids, and of course the Samurai.

Weapons are listed (damage and cost) but no descriptions are given and no artwork of the weapons. And that is pretty much it. If you don't know what these weapons look like, then you are on your own really.

Looking over the mahoutsukai it is grossly overpowered. It basically advances as cleric and a magic user at the same time. So by 14th level it has 12 each of 1st through 5th level spells, 7 6th level and 1 7th level. It has limits, namely limited to the same arms and armor choices as a magic-user, limited to 14th level and can't turn undead. But that is still a lot of spells. Honestly it should one spell list that combines select magic-user and cleric spells and it should have some limits on what it can and cannot do. Right now it is not a class I can recommend using.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Classes of the Far East
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B1 Journey to Hell
Publisher: Sacrosanct Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/20/2015 09:14:59
Grabbed this because I needed an adventure geared toward 18-20th level. Also it is about Hell, so that got my attention. I bought it on a whim based solely on level and "hell".
First off you get a lot of adventure for your buck. 45 pages of adventures and maps (granted it is the same adventure twice, but still).
The artwork is great, coming primarily from sources like The Inferno. This is quite fitting given that the adventure itself is quite reminiscent of Dante's great tale. It does include some art from the Larry Elmore CD that was out years ago, but doesn't properly cite it in their OGL page.
It is dual stated for the OSRIC and Altus Adventum Role-Playing Game, always a plus in my book, but it can be played with any number of OSR systems or their fore-bearers.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
B1 Journey to Hell
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A Red & Pleasant Land
Publisher: Lamentations of the Flame Princess
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/18/2014 13:10:51
I want to say off the bat that when I heard Zak was doing an Alice in Wonderland-ish sort of adventure my expectations were high, but guarded. I have seen Alice done a number of bad ways; mostly ones that relied on a one to one translation between story to game. That is all well and good, but ends up robbing the story of what makes it good and ends up short-changing the player's experience in the game. To be blunt, it's not a D&D adventure. I had reasonable assurances that this would not happen here, I didn't know what sort of thing we would end up with.

Also, and I have admitted this many times, I am not a fan of Lamentations of the Flame Princess. But I can say that LotFP and James Raggi do have an amazing art vision and the budget to match and it seems (to me any way) that James leaves people the hell alone and lets them create. You saw that in Zak's last work Vornheim, you can see it Rafel Chandler's "No Salvation for Witches", and you can see it this book as well. While the LotFP rules are in mind when this was made, you can either run it with all the free rules that James gives away for free (another credit to him) or use whatever rules you want. This is important to me and I will talk about it more later on.

So what *is* A Red & Pleasant Land?
Overtly it is an adventure, in the broadest sense. It can also be a campaign guide to a strange new land (or world). Breaking it down to it's atomic elements it is Vampiric court intrigue with the cast of Dracula, Elizabeth Bathory and Alice. But that is like saying that putting salt on your meal is the same as putting Sodium and Chloride on your steak and trying to eat it.

Let me instead start on the outside and work my way in. This book is gorgeous. It really is. If you have Vornheim or spent anytime on Zak's blog then you have an idea of what you will be looking at, but that is not quite it either. The art comes just this side of reality short of being phantasmagorical. Just slightly out of sync with what you should be seeing. This is intentional since that is also the feeling of the adventure/text itself. (I am going to keep calling this an adventure since that is the easiest translation). Honestly, get this bound in red with gold trim and it would be a book better suited for a coffee table rather than a gaming table. I don't mean that derisively, I mean that in open honesty.
If the art is fantastic then the maps are amazing. I love all sorts of old-school maps and I love a lot of different styles. But these again are very evocative of the setting.

The other thing is this adventure is big. While the form factor is small, the book has 197 pages. There is a lot here. Zak suggests that you can use parts of this book or the whole. I will add that if you opt for the parts alternative then there is absolutely something in this book you can use.

Working in, the adventure and background are all woven together in such a way that it is all familiar and yet new at the same time. It's like returning to a place you have been years and years later. Except when you were at the place back then you were on LSD the entire time. You memories of it have not faded per se but are warped. This is like that but now your memories are perfect and the reality is warped.

This actually touches on the first issue I have with running this adventure. Now by "I" I mean just that. Me. Not extrapolating it to anywhere else. I don't think I could run this as a D&D adventure for my group. To be blunt about it my kids (which is my group) don't yet know enough about Dracula, Alice or any of the other elements in this to make it worthwhile. This is an adventure for older, wiser and maybe even a little bit jaded players. This adventure needs to be played by people that have tried to play Dungeonland and found it lacking.

You are going to need the right group for this adventure. The book it totally worth getting just to look at, read or steal ideas from, but if you are going to run it then you need to take stock of your own group and make sure it works for them. If your group is more of the "kick in the door, kill the monster, get the gold, move to next door" type then this will only have some utility for you. That is fine there are plenty of fun adventures for those groups. I suppose that if you have read "A Midsummer's Night Dream" and thought to yourself that it would make a great adventure of intrigue then this one might work for you. As point of reference, duels are covered as being something that can be deadly. And so are Banquets. Again some people will scratch their heads on this but I can think of at least three players off the top of my head right now that would totally run with this idea.
It is a prime example of Zak making things he wants to play and if you like it you can come along too.

Back on track. The Alice. This is a neat idea, but for me one of the weaker links. I totally get what Zak is doing here and maybe even a little of why. But Alice comes off as an ersatz, but weaker, Slayer, ala Buffy or maybe even the Schmuck quality from Army of Darkness. Though to be 100% this quote from the book is very awesome:

"Alices forever find themselves falling into cursed rabbit holes, accidentally killing witches, having their halfbrothers stolen by goblin kings, being willed magic rings, finding demons inserted in their chests or having armored knights ride through their homes at bedtime. Obscure gods, however, sympathize with them (they are often born to powerful families), and an Alice is a boon to any adventuring party. Some Alices wear striped stockings, some Alistairs wear pointed shoes." - AR&PL, p. 30.

I love that image. In my games I have called these types of characters Dorothies. The Exasperation Table really makes this character shine and makes it something unique.

The land itself, Voivodja, is in the truest sense of the word a nightmarescape. It's not that it is just horrific, there is more. The best nightmares lull you into a false sense of hope or familiarity. You think you know what this is all about, but you don't. The land is big, densely packed and old. Very old. The main feature (well, to me anyway) is the intrigue between the Vampire Courts and the potential of what you can do with those. Think about it really. Ancient, decedent vampire royalty fighting protracted war. Sure. We did all that in the 90s with Vampire the Masquerade; but this is yet another new take on that.

The monster/NPC section is great. So many ideas. If you are going to smorgasbord this book then start here. There are unique vampire nobles and strange animals, so really enough to keep characters of any level busy. That's misleading...I personally think the vampire nobles in this book work better as non-combatants. Their job is not to be sullied with the likes of mere adventurers. But engaging them in courtly battles. That's where they shine. Really, this is one of the first adventures where a battle of wits to the death (!) is not only likely, but likely to happen before breakfast.

We end this book with more random tables that you could (or should maybe) ever use. 30 pages worth.

So there are a lot of reasons to buy this book. The only one that matters though is do you have the right kind of group for it? If any of these ideas appeal to you then get it. If you are unsure, well I am sure there is something here to make it worth your time and money.

In any case I think it is a solid hit.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Red & Pleasant Land
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Sleepy Hollow
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/03/2014 16:07:15
The book is 30 pages and contains the complete tale of the Headless Horseman.
Also included are writeups for Ichabod Crane, Katrina, Brom Bones and of course the Headless Horseman. A new class is introduced, the Scholar (for Ichabod). Rules for flint-lock firearms and some new magic are thrown in for good measure. There are also five adventure hooks for adventures in Sleepy Hollow.
Like all (or rather now most) of Barrel Rider Games' books this one is stated up for Labyrinth Lord.
It's all a pretty good deal really.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Sleepy Hollow
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Colonial Gothic: The Grimoire
Publisher: Rogue Games, Inc
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/02/2014 14:39:03
This is an expanded and updated version of the older Colonial Gothic: Witchcraft book and the Colonial Gothic: Secrets book. Both of which are out of print. It also has plenty of new material as well.
Chapter 1 covers new spells, Common and Arcane. The advantage of adding new spells to this game is one can easily say that the knowledge was just rediscovered. Some new book sent from overseas, an old book in the collection of a wealthy man or any other contrivance. There are quite a few new spells here to be honest.
Chapter 2 follows with a discussion on spell books. Their uses and how to get them. A few sample books are also included.
Chapter 3 introduces magical talismans to the game. Sort of Spell storing or keeping magical power. Not a lot here, but plenty of ideas.
Chapter 4 covers the related chapter of relics, items that have magical ability to them due to divine providence or some other happenstance.
Chapter 5 is dedicated to Witchcraft. Like the book it replaces, there are no rules for playing "good" witches. Fitting with the times all witches are assumed to be evil. Personally I would like to see a good witch, but I can make due.
Likewise Chapter 6 deals with occult items such as cold iron and holy water.
Finally Chapter 7 deals with new magical creatures. There is quite a Lovecraftian feel to this one. Not generic "Lovecraft" but actual monsters from his mythos.
There is an appendix with the Create Talisman and Witchcraft skills.
There is also a combined magical index of spells between this book and the Colonial Gothic core.

A must have if you are using a lot of magic in your games.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Colonial Gothic: The Grimoire
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Colonial Gothic: Gazetteer
Publisher: Rogue Games, Inc
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/02/2014 14:19:04
This book calls itself a Gazetteer, but "Campaign Sourcebook" might be more appropriate. Written for the 1st Edition of Colonial Gothic it works just fine under 2nd Edition.
Chapter 1 covers the history of the colonies from early English and Dutch colonization right on up to 1775. Principle wars are discussed and colonial growth covered.
Chapters 2 through 14 cover the original 13 colonies in detail including basic demographics and major towns. Points of interest are also featured in each chapter as well as anything out of the ordinary.
Chapter 15 is devoted to the Native American people. An overview of their history and cultures is given, but by necessity it is short. In truth an entire Colonial Gothic book could be done just on the various Native american tribes and nations.
Te last chapter is a ready to run adventure, "A Surprise for General Gage".
There are two Appendices. First a Glossary and then a Bibliography. I want to take a moment to point out that all of the Colonial Gothic books always feature a very robust (for a game book) bibliography. This one is no exception to that rule. This one includes books, game books and even some online resources. Certainly worth your time to investigate a few of these.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Colonial Gothic: Gazetteer
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Colonial Gothic: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Publisher: Rogue Games, Inc
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/02/2014 13:38:22
This is a great little book to be honest. The first half is the story of Sleepy Hollow and the second half is how to use it in your Colonial Gothic Game. The geography of Sleepy Hollow, the Hudson and the Tapan Zee are discussed as well as Sleepy Hollow's role in history. It reads like a small campaign guide.
This book is not very big, nor does it cost very much, but it is certainly punching above it's weight class in terms of content.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Colonial Gothic: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
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Colonial Gothic Bestiary
Publisher: Rogue Games, Inc
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/02/2014 13:32:34
I have said it many times. You can never have too many monsters. The Colonial Gothic Bestiary satisfies that craving and then some. At 110 pages it is full of monsters and many are illustrated. The artwork varies. Personally I am a fan of the older wood cut images, but I know those are are difficult to find perfect representations of various beasts. The monsters themselves are a varied lot; some local monsters like the Jersey Devil and some "from back home" like the Gargoyle and Gorgon.
I think this is a good mix, but I am more fond of the local fauna than something I can find in any book. I do have one nitpick (ok maybe two), first there is no Piasa Bird. A local legend from here in Illinois that I am surprised didn't make the cut. Supposedly the first mention of it is in 1673 (or the 1920s), Sure Illinois is way away from the Colonies. Though it was a very nearly a full state (1818) by the end point of the game, The War of 1812. The other was that the Chupacabra was included. The Chupa, for all it's fun, is squarely a 20th century invention. But these are only nitpicks, not criticisms. There are plenty of American Indian monsters too that could have been included. Some like a naaldlooshii would be good too (I know, Navajo and not near the Colonies...). Maybe A Bestiary 2 is in the works.
The indexes in back are quite useful since they also include creatures from the core rule books.
Lots of great creatures here and fully worth the price.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Colonial Gothic Bestiary
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Colonial Gothic: The Player Companion
Publisher: Rogue Games, Inc
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/02/2014 13:09:41
This is the newest book (as of this writing) to the Colonial Gothic line. Mostly though this is related to the cover. As the title suggests this is a set of options for players of the Colonial Gothic game.
We get a list of new skills and some additions to old skills. Normally I prefer it when a game reuses old skills in new ways, esp. point buy games where the budget per skill is not likely to change. After all Character A created with the Core has the same 45 points as Character B created with this book. In this case though it works both thematically and systematically.
Chapter Two covers Advantages and Disadvantages. Characters are given 4 points to buy advantages and can also take disadvantages. Works pretty much like other systems in that respect, save there are not pages and pages of them (like for example GURPS). Most in fact are story related and can be used in conjunction with the character's Background.
Chapter Three covers family and social status. A must have really for playing in this age.
Chapter Four has a bunch of character templates. So if you want to play a Native Shaman or emulate your Assassin's Creed character then this is a great place to start.
Chapter Five details more combat options and how to use them. Think of these as advanced combat skills.
Chapter Six has more magic including Counter-Spelling and more Common and Arcane Spells.
Chapter Seven has more equipment.
All in all worthy, but not really required additions to the game. It is one of the books that if you don't know about it, you won't miss it, but if you do then you will wonder how you got on with out it.
If there is a 3rd Edition of Colonial Gothic then a lot of these rules should be folded into the main core rules.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Colonial Gothic: The Player Companion
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