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Bardic Lore: Ogham $2.00 $1.00
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


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Bardic Lore: Ogham
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