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The Maelstrom Companion $8.00 $4.80
Average Rating:3.2 / 5
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The Maelstrom Companion
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The Maelstrom Companion
Publisher: Arion Games
by Keith H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/20/2017 00:52:57

I can't fathom the original review posted here. I'd like to offer something I feel is more balanced, based on owning the PDF.

Basic Summary: The book is an odds and sods expansion for the original game. This gives it a disjointed feel, but it does what it promises to do: plug gaps in the Maelstrom base game. Layout: Plain. Very easy to read, absolutely no flash for good or ill in the PDF. Crunch: New livings (Agent, Alchemist, Barber-Surgeon, Constable, Farmer, Friar, Hunter, Sailor, Servant, Tavern Keeper, Witch). Firearm rules, a particular gap in the original, are at last added, as is two-weapon fighting and an expanded magic system. Having not played them, I don't feel comfortable stating how well they work. Alchemy is the real treat for me, considering something Maelstrom became well-known for was its superb herbalism rules. Thankfully the author has mixed historical alchemism and the fantastic in equal measure, making it easier to adapt the material to both sorts of campaigns, but the very limited number of recipes (8 historical, 6 magical) may make alchemy feel repetitive after a short while.

There are some additional roleplaying bits throughout, but I generally feel they get pretty short shrift. In particular, the Reformation, an amazing source of conflict, is covered in a hasty 3-4 pages, one page of that being info covering after the game is set. To be fair the game is set early in the English Reformation, but there's a great opportunity for adventuring here that is, if not overlooked, not really explored.

There's a setting for players to work with as well (the town of Bury St Edmonds), at 40 pages the single-most significant portion of the book. You get a decent overview of its personalities, broken down by living (including the new ones, which is nice), but I would have preferred more on the secret societies, myths & legends, and adventure hooks--only three pages of the section--at the expense of some of the mundane detail. Still, a decent enough home base.

It ends with some reference sheets, including a walkthrough for both combat forms (the advanced one being particularly welcome for most, I would think).

Overall: The basic nature of the work, as a grab bag of Maelstrom stuff, makes one wish it was cleanly integrated into a revised edition of the base game. I personally would have preferred more of the town material excised to make room for other things, but I recognize that for others a strongly fleshed out town is exactly what they're looking for. Ultimately I think any Maelstrom player will find this book useful, and I recommend it.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Maelstrom Companion
Publisher: Arion Games
by Christopher T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/10/2012 19:42:43

What the Maelstrom Companion does is try to fill gaps in the original Maelstrom game. Maelstrom is the kind of game that is open enough in design that you can plug in pretty much any mechanic and get a desire playable effect; that is to say if you want very heroic action and cinematic play styles you can plug a rule in. The Maelstrom Companion takes a lot of the "homework" out of this for you. The firearms rules are very good, playable and will work. The added character "livings" are a nice touch. The additional adventure background is very good for those who hate to pick up a history book. You get a lot for your money in this book and it makes Maelstrom a lot more playable. I hope that there will be more to come!

[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Maelstrom Companion
Publisher: Arion Games
by Ben R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/31/2009 09:00:25

A nice idea, poorly executed.

There are a few things in here which should be great. Alchemical recipes, firearm rules, new classes including the barber-surgeon, a lengthy description of the town of Bury St Edmunds. But they are poorly thought out and lack substance. The book as a whole lacks any focus, skimming across the surface of the original and suggesting rules tweaks which lack any real depth or insight - your own house rules are probably better already. And the town of Bury St Edmunds reads like a shopping list instead of a tapestry.

In addition, the writing is poor and so is the artwork, making it difficult to get a sense of immersion in the setting that the original game does so well.

If you don't have the original game, buy it!!! But avoid this sub-standard addendum.

[1 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thank you for your comments on this book which, obviously, reflect your own opinions. We would however like to make customers aware of a comprehensive review here: http://www.therpgsite.com/showthread.php?t=14575 which we think gives a true reflection of this product.
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