So I've been gone a good portion of the day & how this review came about is a bit tangled. I've been rummaging around the a great many Adventurer, Conqueror, King titles for the better of a year now. Yes, I have friends of mine who feed my OSR habit quite regularly & I've been off the ranch for a long time now. This means I review what I want when I want as well as how I want. Still there are titles that I don't have access to so I hit up Alexander Macris with an email. Well the gentleman is a very busy guy and all, so I don't like bothering him. At least that's what I thought.
Wham two nights later I had a bunch of titles from the ACK's line up sitting in my inbox!? Among them was 'Guns of War', yeah great another 'fire arms' set of rules rattled through my head at about two A.M.
Wait?! There's a whole supplement on black powder weaponry that could be used with both ACK's & Lamentations? Given my obsession of wheel lock weaponry & my love of all things Lamentations colour me interested folks.
So what does 'Guns of War' bring to the table? Well its a supplement that brings the timeline for ACK's up to the age of black powder weaponry not simply for the humans but most of the major races of the Adventurer,Conqueror, King & Lamentations of the Flame Princess. This adds an entirely new dimension to these OSR games themselves. This brings that setting dynamic into a new light entirely.
"Guns of War brings you all the rules you need to add the gunpowder, firearms, and artillery of the Age of Pike and Shot into your fantasy role-playing game. This century-and-a-half period was an age of war more terrible than any that had come before, as the technology of battle changed more rapidly than it had in any time in the preceding 3,500 years of human history. It was also an age of apparent anachronism made real, as plate-clad knights battled rifle-armed soldiery, field artillery fired on pikeman, and swords hung alongside pistols on the belts of cavalry.
Guns of War is designed for use with Autarch’s Domains at War (D@W) rules for military campaigns and battles. You will also need a copy of Adventurer Conqueror King System (ACKS), Lamentations of the Flame Princess (LOFTP), or a similar D20-based fantasy role-playing game to use this book."
But is it worth getting into? Well from a dollar stand point my answer is 'yes' it adds whole new aesthetic to these games and it could be used with Dark Albion as well because its going to change events across the board in broad gun powder clouded strokes. The age of powder & shot becomes an entirely new set of dynamics & history stalking changes to the set up of games. This means that the material has a has a vaguely 13th-15th century feel to it in equal measure. Guns of War manages to do all of this in fifty eight pages of jammed black powder packed book. Does this really make a difference in the dungeon? Not really when your wearing twelve hand grenades packed with black powder called the 'twelve apostles'. Because your going to be facing down things like this Ifreet in some God forsaken megadungeon.
Guns of War does the job of taking ACK's from the dungeon into other realms of adventure into things like the a fantasy age of piracy, full on full city siege warfare with cannons, mixing up with the forces of darkness with powder, and much more. I make this book sound like one of the essentials for ACK's don't I? Well that's because technically in my estimation it is!
When you have chain mail clad warriors fighting with pistols & swords then you've got a different mix of a game setting happening.
Guns of War presents its material concise and well laid out details with the rules, tables, & descriptions being very easy to read as well as the content presented in a way that's easy on the eyes. The artwork is public domain with an eye towards the real world history whist keeping the book grounded in the ACK's setting (sort of). Because it moves the technological time table up there is a sense that Guns of War has at its core the OSR with an eye towards taking systems to the next level or at the very least the next time period. This book has lots of potential because of its use in ACKS Domains at War but that's a blog entry for another time. What it also means is that I can now run Lamentations of the Flame Princess rpg materials within the ACK's system quite well. Things are not seamless but they work quite well so that suddenly that mini wall of Lamentations of the Flame Princes books has lots of potential in the ACK's system. This is another mark of the ulitity of the ACK's material at the gaming table. All in all I really enjoyed Guns of War so much so that I called the print shop today to get myself a copy of this pdf spiral bound. I give it four out of five because not only was I pleasantly surprised by Guns of War.
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[4 of 5 Stars!]