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    Ordo Draconis 2
    by Lee B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/09/2010 13:02:25

    Fan-produced material can be a hit and miss affair, but the Dragon Warriors community is one that is passionate about the game system, fastidious in its detail and generous with their contributions. The Ordo Draconis publication is an outstanding testament to that community, with articles richly suggestive of the unique Dragon Warriors fantasy atmosphere somewhere between grim visceral realism and superstitious mystery. That this magazine also converts some of the game statistics into Pathfinder terminology opens up the content to more mainstream gamers, for whom I would also strongly recommend this publication.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Ordo Draconis 2
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    Ordo Draconis 2
    by Matthew S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/07/2010 11:44:36

    Not a bad effort for a second issue. Good in-depth backgrounds and fleshing out of campaigns. Looking forward to another.



    Rating:
    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    Ordo Draconis 2
    by Roberto M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/18/2010 20:07:16

    In an attempt to be succinct let me put it this way, I really liked this product. It is a solid 97 pages of gaming goodness, full of ideas, very well written and with great layout and cartography. Illustrations are sparse but appropriate, of excellent quality and best of all very flavorful.



    Rating:
    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    Ordo Draconis 2
    by eric o. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/11/2010 05:58:47

    Brilliant! I was very pleasantly surprised at how well Ordo Draconis 2 kept to the mood and setting of Dragon warriors. I felt their review of Friends and Foes was spot on. The quality of the maps and illustrations for a product of this size and cost was also very impressive and I'll be interested in seeing if they can keep up this level of quality. Layout was good and easy on the eyes, and there were no obvious typos. Good mix of stories, adventure seeds, one really long adventure, and some rules mods.



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Ordo Draconis 2
    by Jonathan H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/09/2010 14:52:16

    The fantasy role-playing game Dragon Warriors has a healthy following and the Lands of Legend have been around for many years; as such there are a lot of stories to tell from around this vast pseudo-mediaeval land and more than enough places to visit and people to meet. With that in mind, a small group of Dragon Warriors fans - following the lead of Bill Edmunds who volunteered himself to produce the magazine - decided to produce a fanzine dedicated to the game, to include articles on locations, new professions, creatures, adventures and all sorts of stuff to support the Dragon Warriors line. Toward the end of 2009 the first issue of Ordo Draconis: The Journal of the Dragon Warriors Role-Playing Game, was released for free download.

    In issue one you’ll find the very first map ever drawn of the Lands of Legend by Leo Hartas in 1984. That’s very nostalgic and quite a coup for a free fan-produced online publication. Of course, that’s improved upon later on by the interview with Dave Morris, one of the original creators of Dragon Warriors in the 1980s and James Wallis of Magnum Opus Press, the man who brings us the new Dragon Warriors in all its glory. That’s very impressive and it gives an insight into where Dragon Warriors came from, where it is now and where it’s going.

    There then follows several articles that most Dragon Warriors GMs will find useful. There’s a few house rules you might want to use in your game, the Friar profession, some encounters, details of a PBM Thuland campaign, the details of the county of Anglicia in Ellesland, an essay of the Faerie in the Lands of Legend, an adventure and, finally, a detailed (but sadly incomplete – the skills section is missing!) Dragon Warriors character sheet.

    Issue two follows the same design path but this time there are plenty more pages and more people contributing, so it’s hardly surprising that they’ve started charging for the 97 pages the fanzine has grown into. With another excellent cover by John Hodgson the PDF is filled with more useful articles, but this time there’s an addition to the fanzine. Now the stats presented are accompanied by their Pathfinder equivalents. That’s right, the role-playing game from Paizo Publishing is being represented in the pages of the fanzine.

    The contents of issue two include a poster map of Northern Cornumbria, the Thane profession, a detailed look at the Darbon Barony, a spooky short story, a closer look at Eastmarch, the ‘Codex Cryptozoologica’ which showcases a creature of the world, more encounters, more from the Thuland PBM game, a review of the Dragon warriors supplement ‘Friends or Foes’, a new adventure, some atmospheric words and names from Cornumbria, and finally the corrected character sheet from issue one (and very functional and detailed it is, too).

    So, how do these two publications measure up?

    Let’s get my bias out of the way first. I play Dragon Warriors, I enjoy Dragon Warriors and I have every one of the new Dragon Warriors publications up to yet. I like the Lands of Legend and so I’m always on the lookout for new stuff to add to my collection. Ordo Draconis fills this need quite well – as a GM I’m looking for new encounters to run and new locations to game in, new ideas to inspire and new characters to use and abuse. So, this fanzine has come along at the right time for me. With that in mind let’s press on to what I thought about the publication.

    The wording is clear, the font used is easy on the eye and the layout is excellent. It’s all black on white with some (but not many) illustrations. To be honest, it’s surprising that the 38-page issue one PDF is free – the John Hodgson cover is very evocative and both issues definitely appear to be something you’d see on a newsagent’s shelf. Full cover, clearly worded and professionally done. That’s a good start.

    In fact, the thing that impressed me the most about these fanzines is the professional look of them both. The fact that the first one is free is a massive bonus as its laid out and presented like a product ready for purchase. All it needed was a cover price and a shelf and I would have been quite happy to buy a copy. In many respects the fact that it’s free and useful is almost too good to be true.

    As with many fanzines the first issue is text heavy – it would have been nice to see more illustrations to break up the walls of text, or maybe some diversity to the page layouts as the articles are in the two-column format, as they are in both issues, all sharing the same font and style. Saying that, there are some very nice full colour maps later in the fanzine.

    I found the most useful articles in issue one to be the ‘Along the Road’ encounters, and the adventure ‘The Ruins of Castle Cerreg’ as I can put these to good use. Another scoop is the article by Dragon Warriors author Dave Morris ‘Believing in Faerie’, an excellent essay about the use of the creatures and races of Fay in the game. There was some wasted space, especially at the end of articles, and the text-heavy layout wasn’t a bad thing but I found myself wanting more illustrations to help stoke the imagination. Some small sketches for the encounters would have been nice, and some more atmospheric illustrations for the adventure would have been better, but bearing in mind that the fanzine was free what you get is more than sufficient. What was highly disappointing was finding out that the detailed character sheet included at the back of the magazine did not include space for skills! This is corrected in issue two and is an excellent character sheet, but finding this out after printing twenty copies was a little disappointing. All in all, Ordo Draconis issue one is an excellent fanzine.

    Then came issue two. This issue is being charged for (just to cover costs, there’s no profit involved) and at a whopping 97 pages I’m hardly surprised. With another John Hodgson cover and much more meat within the pages I delved in with high expectations.

    I wasn’t disappointed. There was plenty of material in the fanzine for me to use in my games and, whilst I found the very good story entertaining but a little redundant as far as game use was concerned and the PBM game very interesting but of no real use to me, I think I’ll be able to put each and every one of the articles to use. Although once again there are large clumps of text there are now more illustrations that fill it out nicely and add a little extra depth to the fanzine.

    I was surprised to find that the fanzine was now dual-statted - players of Paizo Publishing’s ‘Pathfinder’ game will find stats for the characters included. The stats take up very little space and do not intrude on those of us who use and enjoy the Dragon Warriors system and are an excellent idea as it will draw players of another highly regarded and enjoyed system to the Lands of Legend. Legend is such an atmospheric and evocative setting that it deserves all kinds of attention and this is a clever way to draw more players into the world.

    Issue two, although similar in layout to issue one, is a whole new magazine. The articles are much longer and have much more detail in both the writing and the additional rules and statistics. This especially shows in the detailed look at the Darbon Barony, the Eastmarch article, the ‘Codex Cryptozoologica’ and the new adventure. The additonal details give you plenty of material and that’s what you want from a gaming fanzine – stuff you can use in your own games. Issue two has this information in abundance and just these four articles alone are well worth the asking price.

    What I like most about issue two (and this can be said of issue one, too) is the fact that all the people who have worked on it have captured the flavour of Dragon Warriors really well. There are no high-fantasy influences or sudden changes of atmosphere or design to suit an author’s interpretation of the game. The articles all share the same pseudo-historical fantasy feeling of the Dragon Warriors game and this is to be highly commended as this whole thing could have easily been a cheap fan rag written as an interpretation of the game, with insane extra spells and high-fantasy creatures and locations. No, the writers have kept the content in line with the Dragon Warriors design, so much so it could easily be considered part of the official Dragon Warriors product line. Indeed, Magnum Opus Press are fully supporting the fanzine even though it is not an official publication. This is what gives Ordo Draconis its strength – the fact that you could easily believe that this has been designed for the game under the watchful editorial eye of the publishers.

    I have no trouble whatsoever recommending Ordo Draconis to not only fans of Dragon Warriors and Pathfinder but of any fantasy role-playing game. It’s professionally made, well laid out, cleverly realised and there’s plenty of material to give you plenty of inspiration. What more could you want from a fanzine?



    Rating:
    [5 of 5 Stars!]
    Ordo Draconis 2
    by Ge B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/07/2010 22:13:10

    This is the seocnd issue of Ordo Draconis, a fan-made ezine (fanzine) for the recently re-released Dragon Warriors RPG. Spanning over twice the pagecount of Issue 1 (released in September 2009), it delivers a mix of content, from adventures and new classes/creatures, to background on the world of Legend.

    Production values are high (especially the covers of both issues), but even if the ratio of art to text has improved from Issue 1, i find the computer-colored/textured locations maps to be strangely distracting from the overall B&W scheme of the usual DW products (although i do love Kristian Richards' ones )

    Contentwise, there are a lot of things to please everyone :

    • a new profession, the Thane, a celtic-inspired warrior (Issue 1 had the Friar, a wandering cleric of sorts);
    • a description of a small area of Cornumbria, the Darbon Barony, with its points of interests (here i would have liked to have stats for the NPCs mentioned in the text, instead of just the new critters ) (Issue 1 described a bit of Ellesland, the County of Anglicia, along with a number of encounters taking places in Darbon actually);
    • a short story (although good, the 5 pages might have benefited from NPCs' stats, seeing the ezine isn't free anymore - more on that later);
    • another area description, this time the Fief of Eastmarch, a hotbed of action, in the Coronach Marshes;
    • a new beast, the Buggane;
    • some adventure seeds/«random» encounters based on Cornumbrian «legends»;
    • a continued (from Issue 1) retelling of a PBM campaign, Thuland (again, even if interesting, the stats of the PCs and NPCs involved would have added value to the story told);
    • a review of the DW supplement «Friends or Foes» (personally, seeing that reviews nowadays are easily found on the net, i don't think it has its place in a paying fanzine. An interview with the author/artist (like the 20 questions with Dave Morris and James Wallis in issue 1) or additional content related to the supplement would have been preferable;
    • an adventure for beginning characters, For Whom the Bells Tolls, pitting the PCs against assassins in a remote monastery (Issue 1 had The Ruins of Castle Cerreg, a classic discovery romp); and a revised (from Issue 1) alternate character sheet for DW.

    (As a side note, in a marketing gamble to attract new potential players, this Issue is also sporting stats for the Pathfinder RPG...)

    While Issue 1 was free, Issue 2 is now $3.50US, which is not that much for 97 pages, especially considering the value of the rather lenghty adventure, a new class and the two good area descriptions. Besides, a lot of things on sale on RPGNow aren't that polished nor interesting/useful and sells for that or even more, so why not do it.

    Of course, they will now have to deliver at least that standard every issue to keep players paying for it, which might be a challenge considering how fickle customers can sometimes be .

    For further information about the Lands of Legend see Magnum Opus Press page or the DW Wiki on the web.



    Rating:
    [4 of 5 Stars!]
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