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A Players Guide to Castlemourn
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Chris G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/22/2006 00:00:00

Players Guide to Castlemourn

This is rather exciting. New settings are always fun and seeing one from the beginning by Ed Greenwood, one of the creators of the Forgotten Realms, is something I look forward to doing. I am a big fan of settings as I think they are the most creative outlet for gamers and writers. There are always cool and unique ideas that draw one to a setting. And of course if one does not use the setting they can steal and cut out the pieces they like and find a way to adapt that into the setting they are using. A Player?s Guide to Castlemourn is written by Ed Greenwood and Jennifer Brozek. The book is published by Margaret Weis Productions, LTD. It is in print and PDF format. The book is not that big only about forty pages. It has nice black and white art and a good layout. The PDF does not include any book marks. It has a single two page map in the book of the setting. It is not a big setting so the map has some good detail and is well done. Like all settings I hope to one day see a nice full color fold out map. The book starts with a small work of fiction called Seventeen Shield. The story works okay but does not seem to make the setting feel much different then many other settings. There is some unique terminology the setting uses that is in the story as well as places and races referred to. I would have liked to have seen a better opening piece of fiction that just screams Castlemourn. Castlemourn is a place that has little history. About four hundred years ago something big and powerful happened. It left the world like it is now a place of mystery. No one knows what happened before and if any one has found hints to what occurred they have not made it public. Castlemourn is a small section of land on a coast. There are impassable mountains filled with monsters to the north, east and west. There are some islands far out in the water and beyond them is a great ocean filled with seas monsters storms and other dangers. That is the hook of the setting. It is a fantasy post apocalyptic setting. The people have set up small countries and trade with each other and life moves forward. And some people try to look back and figure out the past. The overview is written as if it is being told by someone. It works here as it just basically covers the many places of the known lands. There is adventure and danger to be found many places. This is a world that will serve adventurers well. The races are mostly inter mixed so aside from a woods filled with elves and an underground area of dwarves most races can be found anywhere. There is political strife and some countries are close to being at war. Others are just hanging on giving a variety of adventure seeds and campaign types a DM may want to try. Just reading through the book will get a DM?s creative juices flowing and one can easily see how easy it will be to set adventures here. The setting does have some interesting new words that are nice but I think can be a little tough until one gets used to them. One area that can be confusing is the four words Umbrara, Mournra, Castlemourn, and Mournan. Umbrara is the World of Castlemourn. Mournra is the lands that make up Castlemourn. Castlemourn is the lands and people of Mournra. And Mournan is the folks of Castlemourn. Each of the eight points of a compus have new names as well with a new prefix that mean most. So, a direction can be west and with the prefix it will be westernmost.

Astrology and religion are given a nice overview here. I like the inclusion of Nighlanters which are just constellations. Being born under a certain one can have an impact on a character. I think more on that will be presented in the full setting book. There are seven gods in the pantheon and they are helpful. It seems the world needs them a little more now so from reading the book I guess there are more clerics and religious classes here. The arcan castes though are much rarer as they are mistrusted. Many seem to believe they caused whatever happened.

Character creation is going to be about the same. All the races of the Player?s Handbook are in this setting except the half orc. The abilities of the races have changed some. Dwarves have a thing with thinking everything as an illusion. It does not go into detail on why that is just that they are affected by illusions easier but can also ignore something as if it was an illusion even if it is not. And if one thinks that is weird then get this: elves glow. It is a bit different and gives them a nasty penalty to hide checks. Half elves glow too just not as much. Gnomes have some Great Focus on a Great Task. The book does not go into what that is at all, but there is a little mention of it. There are tweo new races in the book for the setting: Godaunt and Thaele. The Goluant take the place of the half orc. They are a well done mechanically version of them. They descend from the Fell beasts, the evil monsters. They are looked down on by other races for their heritage. The Thaele it seems are a playable vampire like race. I?m guessing here because very little is mentioned about them other then they are mysterious. They have other abilities named but not defined like Accursed Aura, Blood Thirst, Seasickness, and Silver Allergy.

Classes are the same with new ones that the reader is told about. The new base class the Buccaneer and the prestige classes the Dusked, the Faithless One, the Rhyesword, Servant of the Seven, Truesword Knight, and the Waymaster are all mentioned but not defined. The first three levels of the Waymaaster are presented and it looks to be a fun merchant crossed with a swashbuckler type prestige class.

The Player?s Guide to Castlemourn is really an appetizer until one gets the actual setting book. It will serve as a nice overview of the campaign setting and give just enough information for some to decide if they like the setting. There is no need to go out and buy the campaign setting first if one feels they might not like it. I am now really looking forward to the actual setting. This has really hit me the right way and made me want to see a lot more.
<br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: Nice easy to read over view of the new setting. It is very creative.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: The fiction could have been better. <br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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A Players Guide to Castlemourn
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