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Castles & Crusades -- Tome of the Unclean
by Ken S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/23/2019 00:43:50

I soured on C&C awhile ago and actually forgot I had kickstarted this. So when it came out of the blue a few months ago, I just put it on the shelf. In the past week I finally decided to check it out and the verdict is pretty underwhelming. Sure, there are lots of demons, devils and other denizens of the Underworld. And it did come with a nifty color map that I'll definitely make use of. But the monsters themselves are just okay. They attempt to alter most of the old D&D creatures somewhat, including demon lords and arch devils, but most of the alterations aren't really improvements. A handful of the new ones are cool enough that I'll work them into my own version of the Infernus. Unfortunately the entries tend to be way too long and all the stuff about them in Aihrde, the default C&C campaign setting, is pretty much boring fluff. Frankly, that setting has never been particularly interesting to me. Others may like it, I suppose. C&C's usual spotty editing is on full display here as well. The artwork, like that of most C&C products, is not particularly good. It's not even really old school, but comes off as blurry or half finished much of the time. And a good portion of it is recycled from other books. I will still use this for my Labyrinth Lord games, but it's not really a must own, unless you really want a few new demons and devils, or want to mix them up a bit to challenge your players.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades -- Tome of the Unclean
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5th Edition Role Playing -- Mystical Companions
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/01/2019 20:55:23

Posted here: http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2019/07/monstrous-monday-mystical-companions-5e.html

208 pages. Full-color covers and interior art. PDF and Hardcover. For this review, I am reading primarily from the digital PDF version, but it applies to the hardcover as well. I purchased both the 5e and C&C versions at Gary Con and received my PDFs via Kickstarter. Spend any time reading my blog or reviews and one thing is obvious. I love my spellcasters and familiars. I have often felt the rules for familiars are quite under-developed in many games and familiars, or animal companions of any sort, are often an under-utilized or a forgotten aspect of the game and lives of the characters. So far every 5th Edition game I have run the players have wanted an animal companion of some sort. While the rules in the game are fine enough, there is plenty of room for improvement. Thankfully, the Troll Lords believe the same thing. I have mentioned that this book is an update and replacement to their Book of Familiars, it is, and it is more than that.

A quick look over the table of contents reveals that we are getting an animal companion for every class. I feel that this appropriate and looking forward to reading the details. Now before I go on I do want to point out that unlike some third-party books this one is NOT "plug and play". You must make plans to add these animal companions from the start. In one game I tried to tack on these rules in an on-going game and ran into some issues. In another game, I used this from the start and everything went much more smoothly. I guess think about it as getting a real-life pet. You are going to do a little work and thought beforehand. Once I did this THEN adding these to an ongoing game was much easier. This is NOT like adding a new spell or magic item to your game, this is a new, but highly compatible sub-system.

Chapter 1: Introduction Here the purpose of the book is laid out and how the authors made certain decisions on how to incorporate this new material into the game. There is a section here that bares repeating since I have heard this complaint online. A WORD OF EXPLANATION: This book requires that you have access to the three core rulebooks for the 5th edition rules, or at very least to the Basic Rules document that is freely available online. Throughout this book, we have used the terms ‘CK,’ and “Castle Keeper” to indicate the game master or person running the game, and ‘player character’ or ‘PC’ to refer to the characters created for the game. In addition, when you see terms like, “Game Master’s Guide” or “5th Edition Monster Tome,” these refer to the Core Rulebooks for the 5th Edition fantasy rules set. So if you see "CK" or "Castle Keeper" in this book, it's not shoddy editing, but a design choice. Hey, they like CK better than GM. And since they can't say DM then CK is just as good as anything else. There are rules to what an OGL publisher can and can't say, so I can't fault them here.

Here the other sub-systems are described. Advantages. Advantages are Feats. They are gained the same way and used, mostly, in the same way. The difference in wording here (at least for me) helps differentiate the "feats" from this book from all the other feats you can get in the Core rules or other publishers. In play, this has been a boon since I know immediately that an Advantage on a sheet means something from this book and not another book on my shelf.
Paths. Time has been kind to Troll Lords here. When this book first came out in 2017 not a lot of 3P publishers were doing paths yet and there was some confusion about what these were. Now everyone has a new path (read: sub-class, kit, path, option) for the 12 core classes. These CAN slot right into a game like anything else from any 3PP. Tricks. Things your animal companion can do. Rituals. How you can get your animal companion. I mean there has to be some magic right? New Familiars and Animals. Kinda what it says on the tin to be honest.

Animal Companion vs. Familiar. While rules in the book cover book and treat them somewhat interchangeably an Animal Companion is more like a loyal pet or friend. A Familiar is a creature summoned to work with the PC. Animal Companions are free willed, familiars are not.

Chapter 1 also covers the basics of familiars. A point. A familiar/Animal companion "character" sheet would be GREAT here, but there isn't one. Ah well, can have everything I guess.

The list of Advantages (again, these are just like Feats) are presented. There are more here and some might complain about giving up a Feat or Ability advancement for a Familiar, but these are all quite balanced in my experience. You give up one "power" (feat, advancement) for another. Quite implicit in 5th Edition's design really. Not only that it is actually quite elegant once you use it.

The best part about this? You can take the Summon Familiar Advantage/Feat multiple times (Wizards get it for free at first level) so you can have multiple familiars. I don't do multiple familiars often, but when I do, I really want to do it. Though my son runs a game with this book and he describes the group of PCs and their companions as a "traveling zoo". One girl even has a sheep as an animal companion. Why? No idea. But this book supports it.

Another great piece of advice from Chapter 1 bears repeating (coping) here. Give yourself a visual reminder of your familiar’s presence. Write “REMEMBER THE FAMILIAR” to a Post-It note and stick it to the table in front of you. Or make it a point to buy and use a miniature for your familiar. Good advice. I am a fan of the Wardlings minis from WizKids or getting a custom mini with a familiar from Hero Forge.

Chapters 2 through 13 all work in a similar fashion. Each core class is covered with attention given to special Animal Companions, Familiars or Mounts as appropriate. Different animals are discussed and a new Path is given that focuses on having an animal companion.

For example, the Barbarian (the last class you might think needs a familiar) has the Nature Fetish Path and the Horseman Path (Dothraki anyone?) The Barbarian chapter is quite good really in that it really shows that animals really do need to be a bigger part of a barbarians' (and all characters) lives. Reading this chapter has made me want to play a barbarian for the first time EVER since they became an option to me in 1985-1986 or so. No content just to talk about familiars and paths, the barbarian chapter also covers special mounts.

The other chapters are as equally robust. There are sections on the Paladin's mount and Ranger's companions but also familiars for rogues and clerics and others that you might not think need animal companions. I particularly like the Rogue's path, the Shadow Pact. How's that work? Well, Rogues can take creatures of shadow as familiars! Tell me that is not cool.

As expected the familiars of the Sorcerer, Warlock and Wizard are ALL very, very different from each other and really reflect what the classes do now. Back in the 3e days Wizards and Sorcerer wre 100% interchangeable in terms of role. The differences were largely fluff. Since 4e this is less true and now in 5e they are very different sorts of classes. In 4e Sorcerers and Warlocks filled similar roles. Again in 5e they are very different. This book reflects the new 5e differences. Naturally there can be overlap. The chapter on Wizards talks about how the Wizard rituals can be used by sorcerers for example.

Appendix A: Familiars and Companions. This covers the familiars and "normal" animals in 5e Stat blocks. Appendix B: New Monsters. New monsters. Appendix C: New Spells. New spells, as expected. Likewise, Appendix D: New Magic Items and Artifacts.

Appendix E though is something different. This covers Dragon Riders. While many of the same rules are used here as for familiars this takes them to a new place and should be considered optional. This is the Appendix/Chapter that my son grabbed this book from me for, BUT he opted not use their Dragon Riders but kept the book anyway for everything else.

A Dragon Rider is a Path that can be added to any class, but some have more use for it than others. If the idea of PC Dragon Riders concerns you, then keep in mind it is being sold as "optional". And also Dragon Riders of some form or another have been around since the dawn of the game. If it is something you want, then there is plenty here for you to use. If I ever ran a Magic School game with this then Dragon Riders would be included.

We end with a robust index and the OGL section.

A note about art. There is not as much in this book as other Troll Lord books, but what is here is from the fabulous Peter Bradley and Jason Walton, who also gives us the cover art.

Your results may vary, but this book has quickly gone from a neat oddity to one of our must-have books for my 5e games. My son uses it in the games he has run so much that I have not seen the book in months since it is now in with all of his books.

Do you need this book? I say yes, but only if you are adding animals of any sort to your game, be they pets, familiars, mounts, companions or all the way up to Dragon Riders. This is one of my 3PP books for 5e. One of the best really.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
5th Edition Role Playing -- Mystical Companions
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Castles & Crusades Codex Classicum
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/21/2019 14:30:29

For this book, I am reviewing the PDF only since that is what I have at hand at the moment.

The PDF is 146 pages with color covers and black & white interiors. The art is up to the high standards you should expect from Troll Lords with plenty of evocative art from Peter Bradley. Like the other books in this series, this one was written by Brian Young, who has the educational background to tackle these books.

Brian introduces us to the material with an apology that this book could have been twice as large and not cover everything. Indeed, the book's scope is ambitious with what we normally consider Classical Mythology; the stories of the Greeks and the Romans with some Etruscans thrown in for good measure. Ambitious indeed.

Note: There are a couple of errors in the hyperlinked table of contents in the PDF, but nothing that keeps anyone from enjoying the book.

Chapter 1 covers the actual history of the Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans...or as much as can be done in 20 or so pages. There are actual history and mythical histories. The myth in this section and book takes heavily, as can be expected, from Hesiod's Theogony. It's like being back in Freshman Classics all over again! The section, for its brevity, is well thought out and hits on the big pictures and themes. I suppose if you want more you can always read Theogony yourself. In fact, do that, anyone that is a gamer should have a basic understanding of the Classical Myths.

Chapter 2 details the all-important geography of the area. Why "all-important"? Because the Greeks and the later Romans were products of their environments; their history, religions and myths were influenced by their geography to an extreme extent. From the Greek city-states of early antiquity, to rise of the power Athens and Macedonia and in the literal center of it all, the Mediterranean Sea.

Again, this chapter is a quick overview, but a better one than I have seen in other game books.

This chapter also covers mythical locations (but not the mythical worlds just yet). Remember to the Greeks these places were places just as real as everything else. One could, if they so desired, walk to the underworld. That is if they knew the way.

This chapter also introduces the Explorer/Adventurer class. Something that feels right at home in the world of the Greeks or the worlds of Gygax. Some should convert this to another system and see how it plays out.

Chapter 3 features the monsters and beasts of the Classical World. There are a lot of old favorites here and well as new representations of other favorites. Of course, this is one of my favorite chapters. Greek myth got me into D&D via the Monster Manual and there are a lot of monsters here that get right in the 1979 nostalgia. My only disappointment here is that is no art of any of the monsters. I know we all know what most of these creatures look like, but I still feel a little cheated in not getting enough Peter Bradley art.

Chapter 4 is my favorite. Monsters got me into D&D and RPGs, but it was magic that kept me coming back. Chapter 4 features Greek and Roman sorcery and magic including necromancy and prophecy. Even the most casual reader of the classic myths should know how important Oracles are to the tale. From Jason to Perseus to the tragedy of Oedipus, Oracles move the story forward. Here we get our next class, the Oracle (with notes on how these mouthpieces of the gods work in the other Codies). Unlike the Pathfinder Oracle, this one is not a spellcaster but a reader of omens. It also requires a fairly experienced player to play to make proper use of it.

Also featured here is the Nekuomantis, or the classical Greek necromancer. In many ways, this is the true necromancer before RPGs got ahold of the archetype. These characters speak to the dead to learn secrets and the future.

Chapter 5 deals with the Gods and Titans and other immortal creatures. It is fairly comprehensive compared to all other game books and very helpful in populating the ranks of the Immortals.

Chapter 6 focuses more on the humans and mortals of the world. The heroes and their issues. The basics of the Greek and Roman armies are also covered. This chapter also introduces the Gladiator class.

All in all a great overview but also leaving me with the desire for some more. Still I rather enjoyed it and can see a lot of uses for it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Codex Classicum
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Castles & Crusades Quick Start Rules
by Itai G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/20/2019 17:46:20

Very strong OSR with very strong value for money. Magic system could definitely use some more work, but the combat section is great.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Quick Start Rules
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A0 The Rising Knight -- Adventures for 5th Edition Rules
by Gene P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/14/2019 03:48:12

This is an excellent small adventure, from a story perspective. With that being said, it isn't adapted well to 5e. To be truthful, however, there is so much good content here that I would still pick it up. Their stat blocks will do in a pinch, though given a chance I wouldn't rely on them too heavily. This is very OSR and assumes you are ok with your players acquiring allies. I suggest you let them since the success of the adventure depends on cannon fodder, but I would equally not shy away from their deaths or the consequences of them in a role-play sense. Overall it's a solid little adventure and worth spending time on it to spruce it up.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
A0 The Rising Knight -- Adventures for 5th Edition Rules
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Castles & Crusades Players Handbook 7th Printing
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/04/2019 08:18:23

Ring Side Report- Castles & Crusades Players Handbook

Originally posted at [url=http://www.throatpunchgames.com]www.throatpunchgames.com[/url], a new idea everyday!

Product- Castles & Crusades Players Handbook

System-Castles & Crusades

Producer-Troll Lord Games

Price- $20 here [https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/105322/Castles--Crusades-Players-Handbook-7th-Printing?affiliate_id=658618 ](http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/105322/Castles--Crusades-Players-Handbook-7th-Printing?affiliate_id=658618 )

TL; DR- An interesting mix of old and new. 86 %

Basics-Onwards to adventure! Castles and Crusades is an Old School game through and through in its seventh edition. Let’s walk through to see all this game has to offer!

Basic Rolls-Castles and Crusades uses the d20 system at its core. Attacks are D20 rolls plus an attack bonus and an attribute. Skills are d20 plus an attribute and possible additional bonuses. If you’ve played any basic d20 system you can hop right into this game.

*Skills, saves, and the Siege System-IWhen you do something in Castles and Crusades, you roll as discussed above, but you sometimes get to add your levels. If the thing you are doing is something your class could do, you add your level. If you would not be trained because this isn’t something you would know how to do, you don’t add your level. The gamemaster sets the number you need to roll based on two factors-attribute and challenge level. Here is the crux of the Siege system. During character generation, you get primary attributes from your race and your class. If the thing you are trying to do or the save you are trying to make is based on a primary attribute, then the number you need to roll starts at 12. If it’s a secondary attribute, then the number starts at an 18. Next the GM adds the challenge level. This is a number representing how hard the thing you are doing is. Open a one tumbler lock might be a challenge level 1, but the king's personal bank vault might be an 8. So, different characters have different required rolls based on their primary abilities.

Everything else-From here on, if you have played Pathfinder or DnD 3.5, you're in solid hands. AC, rounds, and spells all function pretty much like you expect. If not, then the book gives you a solid introduction to the system

Mechanics or Crunch- Overall, this is a decently put together system, but the Siege system has some significant bumps in the road. I have lived through 3.5e to 5e DnD and watched wild swings in how much control a GM has at the table regarding the number required to roll for PCs to get things done. This game is solidly old school as lots left up to the GM, and I feel that hurts this a bit. This game really needs a list of skills and what classes get what skills, if any. Its OK for the rogue to be the a skill monkey and have tons of skills, but often some things just are left up to the GMs discretion. Saves are even left up to the GM! There is a chart of what attribute you roll for each save with different spell and monster effect requiring different attribute saves. All of this falls into the basics of the Siege system with a fighter who didn’t choose dexterity in a worse place compared to the rogue when the fireball goes off or he sneaks around in the dark. It’s not bad, but GM and the players have to really work together to run this game as some things are too complex to run on autopilot like simple roll to dodge a blow. Solid, but some needlessly complex things mar the system. 4/5

Theme or Fluff-.Solid old school fantasy. The book doesn’t have a world per se, but it does have world building with discussions on the nature of magic and character classes. Even each class has a bit of fluff to make you understand who they are and if you want to be them. It’s light, but for building a generic fantasy RPG, it’s doing its job well. 5/5

Execution- PDF? Check! Hyperlinked? CHECK! Tables that lay things out well? Well here is where things break down. This game is solidly in the OSR crowd. That’s not bad as the old school has some great advice for the young, but some things just need a new touch! Things like laying classes out better in tables and saying what I get at each level instead of having me read the complete class entry to see if and when I get different abilities. Spells suffer from the same issue as challenge levels where much interpretation is needed to determine what kind of spell is being cast instead of just leaving me with what I have to roll.and More often that not, I’m left making a call on what I’m doing or what kind of save I have to make. And for some things, I just want to add things up some numbers and see if I succeed. It feels a bit like homework. It does read easily, but modern RPG design elements would really help make this book that much more easier to read and run. 4/5

Summary-This game is a solid entry in the Old School Revolution that is embracing the advances of d20 system, at least for the mechanics. Adding at most two numbers and hoping is easier that thac0 or other previous system, at least for new players. But this book didn’t take enough from modern systems and layout. Listing skills and just saying what attribute to roll for every spell and most common effect will really help me play and enjoy the game. Now, this game is absolutely playable and fun out of the box day one with the basic mechanics being tried, true, and tested, but more specifically, fun. It's old school fantasy RPG with some new additions that build on and preserve the original author's vision. However, some things could be done much better to really help me play and teach this RPG. 86%



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Players Handbook 7th Printing
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Castles & Crusades CK Screens
by Eric P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/19/2019 14:03:02

Updated Review

Originally, the pdf did not include the cover art, but now it does. It has everything you need to run a great game, and with the beautiful art by Peter Bradley, you can insert it into a customizable screen and get to it. 5 stars.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades CK Screens
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A0 The Rising Knight -- Adventures for 5th Edition Rules
by Thomas C H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/02/2019 18:01:39

Not only are there copy editing errors as the other review pointed out more than a year ago, but there are blunders like mixing up east and west (pg 4). There seem to be some plot holes big enough to drive a four-horse wagon through, although some of that is taste. I bought this as part of a bundle on the strength of the subtitle "Adventures for 5th Edition Rules", but it seems like the conversion was purely mechanical, somewhat error-prone, and didn't really pay attention to what it was doing. There are bits of awkward terminology that I assume belong to the original game system.

The module is listed as being for 3-6 characters of level 1. Let's examine the encounters on the first dungeon level if we have a party of 3 level 1 characters: deadly, deadly, deadly, deadly, easy, deadly, easy. Or with a party of 6 level 1 characters: medium, deadly, hard, medium, easy, hard, easy. On the second level, 4 of 6 encounters are deadly, even for a party of 6. Clearing the first level would get 4 characters to level 2, but not 6. Even if our 6 characters were level 2, the second level is: deadly, easy, easy, deadly, deadly, medium. The wandering monsters vary wildly from easy to deadly.

Treasure value reads as quite high for 5e, more in OSR style. Both that and the combat difficulty might be valid design choices, but there's no discussion of them, no acknowledgement of that or thoughts about how the GM might approach this. Friendly NPCs are statted as if they were PCs, which is legitimate but unusual in 5e sources.

The dungeon is sparsely keyed but most of the keyed locations are overly verbose.

Finally, the layout doesn't seem very use-at-the-table friendly; I'm afraid it'll be a real slog to find the information I need in play. If my (4, level 2) players head east towards the rumours of goblins and run into this where I've inserted it into their world I'll update this review with our actual experience.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
A0 The Rising Knight -- Adventures for 5th Edition Rules
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Victorious the Role Playing Game
by Austin B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/12/2019 22:09:26

Hey, I absoulutly love your system, I have played a crazy amount with it. This is such a versitile system, honestly it is by far my favorit game. R. Miller, introduced us to the system and I cant be anymore thankfull.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Victorious the Role Playing Game
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Castles & Crusades Players Handbook 7th Printing
by Mark H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/21/2018 14:38:28

An excellent, eminently teachable, system for playing old-school AD&D style. Character creation is a breeze, and the system is simple enough to explain quickly, and capable of being mutilated in a number of ways without falling apart. Some classic archetypes of the game are not included (notably, the more hybrid styles, such as warrior-wizards or mage-thieves), but the style is such that they're creatable without much effort or fear of breaking the game. While they're widely praised, I feel the multiclass options in the back of the book are too complicated and not well enough explained, but the game is my standard for "A bunch of people who don't know D&D want to play D&D"... I can pick up an old school module, hand out sheets with race and class information, and start playing relatively quickly.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Players Handbook 7th Printing
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Castles & Crusades Codex Germania
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/31/2018 14:21:05

"The Codex Germania unearths the mythological realms of the ancient Germans. From the murky forests of their beginnings rise the myths, the magic, gods, goddesses, monsters, heroes and legends of the ancient Germans, all brought to life for your Castles & Crusades game." Let me go on record as saying that 'The Codex Germania' is a big book for Castles & Crusades weighing in at 112 pages! That 112 is packed in wall to wall Germanic mythological goodness & its perfect for Halloween! With new PC classes such as the witch & variations on the slayer class not to mention the variety of horrid monsters waiting to chew on your PC?! But there's more here then simply that. Brian Young goes into the book's contents in the intro & it sets the tone for the entire book;

"This book allows both the Castle Keeps and the players to explore the breadth of early Germanic mythologies and culture.For the sake of history and religion, the pre-Christian Germans are covered because their imagination and colorful beliefs hadnot yet submitted to a European commonality. By the time of Christianization, the Germanic world largely lost it imaginative heritage of wondrous sagas about divine heroes, other worlds,supernatural creatures, and magic. This codex attempts to capture some of that essence and places it into the hands of gamers"

But does the 'The Codex Germania' deliver on its promise of mythological Germany rife with new monsters, PC classes, spells, & more?! Well the mythological & historical background is right on point with the beginning chapters; 'This chapter serves a twofold purpose in telling history. First, it will give a brief overview of early Germanic history in Europe, giving beginners in this field of study a basic understanding. Secondly, it gives the creation mythos from the early Germanic pagan religions as best as possible. Note, that due to the variations among the many tribes, those disparate but similar strands of myth among Germanic peoples do have a commonality and a link to the Nordic sources that came later.' The book here is really on point & gives the dungeon master an actual usable thumbnail view of ancient Germany's history & mythology. The second chapter in we get even more background focusing on the peoples & land itself after the first chapter with a an inter spacing of some mythological elements ; The many descendants of Tuisto dwell in many lands throughout Europa, from east to west and have large tribes often numbering a 100,000 or more members. The three groups of peoples have covered a wide territory over time, from the boundaries of the furthest south (Roman Empire and Spain) to Britannia to the west, Scandza to the North and the Black Sea to the east. In this section, the many tribal confederations and regions across Europe, from east to west, will be given a detail that joins both the mythical and historical into a unified perspective for game play. Germania, on the far side of the Rhine, was seen in Roman eyes as Germani Liberia (Free Germania) where the many tribes there were not under imperial control. Mythical places in the Germanic Otherworld will also be describedas best as information can be gathered from the limited sources. Key locations in Germania and other settled (and invaded) regions by Germanic tribes are detailed here for places that CKs can use in their games. The mythical locations in the Codex Nordica can be used to enhance those listed here by the CK." This sets everything up to come just as we've seen in The Codex Celtarum because we get a detailed history on the two ancient Germany's. Germania Inferior & Superior are brought to the forefront by Caesar Augustus; 'Caesar Augustus sought to have total control over all of Germania early in his reign before letting this wild and untamed part of Europe deluge the Empire. His designation was Germania Magna or ‘Great Germania’, but this was cut short after the fatal Battle of Teutoburg Forest in 9 C.E. It was deemed unrealistic that Germania would ever be completely in the Empire’s possession and so other strategies were employed to find means in which to incorporate this untamed land. The method of divide and conquer, which had been working well against the Greeks and Celts, was not so simple in the face of this newly encountered people.' You get a really nicely detailed semi mythological setting with lots of historical details & then the book jumps feet first into the mythological realms of Germanic mythology after detailing swaths of history on kings, tribes, & gobs of history. This material parells many of the Teutonic & Norse mythologies that I've seen over the years but its got a slightly different take here. Take for example 'ÆLFHÁM – Home of the Elves This magical world exists outside of the reach of Middangeard normally and is bound tightly to the tree of Irminsul, as it is filled with its constant magical energies. The elves that live here are whimsical and frivolous acting among each other, but they turn sinister and devious towards strangers (specifically humans) if they are interrupted. Fair beings, standing both short and tall, the ælf-kind are purely composed of magic. Their world is a large, wild forest-land filled with other magical beings and creatures that can be called faery. These ælves can glow with a white light from within in a heavenly manner if needed to banish away evil or dark beings keepingthis world untainted by the presence of darkness. Wēland the smith (or deor) is their king (Ylfcynig), who dwells in a simple forest smithy away from the hustle and bustle of the court and palace. In his stead, he has many stewards and chiefs that function for him while he creates wondrous items at his forge. Wēland’s crafts have been sought after by many across the worlds, and they have attempted many deceptive plots to do so. To outsiders, the myriad rulers of Ælfhám will appear lofty and arrogant in manner, but this is due to the immortals’ difference from mortals, and the possession of their great magic. The land is largely untamed and filled with wondrous sights and beings beyond all comparison (CK can refer to the Codex Celtarum for faery abilities and extra beings not in this particular codex). The inhabitants of this world choose to intrude on Middangeard often, becoming involved in the affairs of mortals and altering events to suit their own purposes. They do not, however, allow mortals to meddle in their business. Mortals are looked down upon by the ælf-kind for their crudeness, vulgarity, and lack of refinement. The goddess Frigge dwells here and is often seen riding in her chariot in the forests, surrounded by her faery entourage. It is wisest by mortals and invited strangers to never interrupt her ride. This world has never known the scourge of the giants or other invaders in its history because of the powerful enchantments possessed by its natives.' These are the Elves I grew up hearing & reading about with my German neighbors in my home town. Yes they have some of the qualities of the Tolkein Elves but these are the origins & their every bit as alien & weird. The realms of Fairy & the Germanic gods are not to be treated upon by mankind. The monster section folds neatly within the mythological places & realms of the gods starting with alp is a type of elf vampire & then finally ending with the Germanic dragons which we get solid guide line rules ala Beowulf. The Germanic dragons are nasty pieces of work & this might happen to your PC's. Chapter four In Wizardry & Enchantments goes into the magic PC classes, magicks, spells, & enchanted items of 'The Codex Germania'; 'There are many new character classes included that are different from the normal wizard and illusionist classes in that their approach to spell-casting and enchantments are not typical, the Erilaz or (rune master), and Wælcyrig/Halirúna or (witch). The many aspects of rune magic are detailed here and how they can be used in normal gaming. Runes in gaming have always been somewhat close to the ancient Migration Period attestation of runic magic and their later Viking parallels. This chapter will outline a system that is closer to those mentioned previously." Yes I'm skipping over the ring oaths because there's a ton of background with these which are for adventures & I'll go into this later. This chapter is very well done in my opinion & really sets 'The Codex Germania' apart in its approach to handling the whole of Germanic mythological magick in Castles & Crusades. And this brings me to Serve the Gods which really dives deeply into the Germanic Pagan & Druidic traditions. It dives deeply into the Germanic mythological pantheon from the creator gods to the gods of warfare to hearth & home. Sacred groves & funeral practices actually get a solid style of use for Pagan cleric PC classes here. Chapter six 'Skilled in Battlecraft' gives the PC martial classes something to use in the Germanic mythological world. We get more pseudo historical information on the Germanic warrior, further details of the ring oaths of a warrior, & more useful information on the martial affairs of Germanic warriors, soldiers, etc. Including historical information on women warriors of Germany. Deadly rules for ancient artillery & arrows along with the shield wall. Property, land, blood money, and more all used in ancient warfare in Germany. Then finally two new PC classes The Dragonslayer & the Wod or Germanic 'Fury' which is similar to Norse beserker but they have some of their own mythic or divine wrinkles. Both classes are very well done. The slayer & witch classes from the magic section are excellent foils for both of these classes & I can see using all of this to put together an adventuring party for ancient Germany. Finally we get to the Castle Keeper's information about ancient Germany, its rulers, & society. This is a very well laid out chapter & has critical information about the whole of running a campaign. Again its very well put together. 'The Codex Germania' is a solid & well put together product. I like how accessible it is & how well put together all of the information is in this book. I think that the 'The Codex Germania' is a solid five out of five.

Now for the Amazing Adventures! rpg dungeon master this is another in my mind essential book. Why?! Because of the fact that there is so much to pillage & use. The Wod, the Dragon slayer, the slayer class,the witch, & more make excellent foils for the Pulp adventuring of AA! But once again this is a solid case of using the Amazing Adventures companion & the Amazing Adventures Manual of Monsters especially because of the Dragon Slayer class. The dragons & NPC witches of 'The Codex Germania' are solid evil & make excellent vile villains. They have motives, personalities, & out and out agendas that should they find their way to civilization would wreck havoc. The Monsterous Manual has a wide array of minor dragonic monsters that could also wreck havoc with the world of ancient Germany. The Wod could be used as the basis for a nasty PC class of fighter or adventurer. The use of 'The Codex Germania' for a World War two game is both intriguing & beyond the scope of one blog review & yes I will go into this more as my Amazing Adventures campaign continues! Eric Fabiaschi Swords & Stitchery Blog Want More OSR Goodness Subscribe to https://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Codex Germania
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Castles & Crusades Codex Slavorum
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/22/2018 14:12:14

"Norv & Galv crawled along the guttural entrance to the former Roman temple, its gods long replaced by something much worse. 'Did you bring the torches?!', the voice quivered & it wasn't the rime cold or the slime under Galv's backside. Norv made his way to the ruin's gated remains which had been bent years before by something it hitting it from inside with great force. The candle light arched around the rusted remains & Norv held his hand up for silence. He took the ox oil from his pack & literally applied it but neither warrior saw the spent made from darkness as thick as a man's thigh crawl from right over their heads. The monster was another limb of the thing of darkness that lived in the ruins of the temple. The village chief would keep his half of the warriors bargain & his daughter. Norv's son would marry another & he would mourn his father. There were no time for screams & only the wet sucking sound of flesh then silence played in the aqueduct. But this was the price to pay whist messing in the darkness in the affairs of wizards & demons. ." There are a few OSR products & rpg products that use the Slav mythology & occult traditions as the basis for an rpg setting. The Codex Slavorum does exactly this & perhaps a bit more.

"The Codex Slavorum opens roads into the mythological realms of the ancient Slavs. Born in the shadow of Siberia their myths and magic, their gods, goddesses, monsters, heroes and legends offer an untouched wealth of material for your Castles & Crusades game.

New Classes! New spells! More monsters!

Bring the ancient Slavic worlds to life!"

I opted for the physical package & grabbed my order on Friday from the mail.The books are beautiful with the cover art striking with a Chrenobog demon being confronted by a Slavic wizard in the spirit realm. Drivethrurpg lists three books in the Mythos line for Castles & Crusades by Brian N. Young. Young presents the Slav spiritual & mythological world as easily accessible & fundamentally usable to the dungeon master ( no I'm not nor will I ever be a Castle Keeper, I'm a dungeon master as Gary Gygax & Dave Arneson were). I'm going to turn this book on its side because I'm planning on using this material in my campaigns. But I want you to see the quality of the layout & the black & white artwork.

Peter Bradley does a bang up job with his artwork. Opinions about the 'The Codex Slavorum' vary wildly from Amazon 3 star rating by Chrytal Cartwright . Then there is the five star rating on Good Reads by Winston Crutchfield.

Can't understand the hate nor the three star rating because I happen to be on the Crutchfield side of things. Here's why.

I'm really glad I spent the money to grab this book because the Slavic material is actually useful to me. Al of the OSR setting & campaign material is in the front of the book & the PC stuff is in the back with a solidly done index. Yes this book has an actual index enabling the reader to quickly access the section he or she needs. This layout is similar to the older Ars Magica rpg books. The quality of 'The Codex Slavorum' reminds me of those books. The setting here is pure Castles & Crusades Slavic world setting with a solid overview of both the Slavic/Russian 'real world' & the spiritual world. This includes a good array of monsters, spells, Gods, interactions, & low & behold a good damn solidly usable Slavic Shaman class! Growing up in a Polish neighborhood with Russians, Hungarians, & lots of Eastern Europeans the Slavic shaman & some of the mythical traditions of Eastern Europe make me twitchy with the traditional Dungeons & Dragons clerical classes. They don't mix well. In

The Codex Slavorum we finally get the mix of the Slavic myths & the spiritual realms with D&D style elements even though its Castles & Crusades. Volkhv & their ilk finally get their due & its well done. Among these folk your not going to find any flashy fireball wielders unless you want to get burnt at the stake. This is set during the 'Time of Legends ' & folks like Oleg are important NPC's. The artwork(not in the book btw) below illustrates the importance of the occult world against the world of man. There are some dark reasons for this. 'The Codex Slavorum' presents the all too real struggle of light vs darkness with the Slavic shades of blood red & dark mythic gore. This is an epic book & tool kit. Most folks think of the world of Slavic mythology being the world dragons, liches,a myriad of ghosts, spirits, etc. but its really the world of the vampire. The vampire of 'The Codex Slavorum' is not a monster to be taken lightly at all. This is a force of undeath at its worst & there is a PC vampire hunter class here to counter it. I have to say that there must be more then a few very dead vampire hunters. Sure they may be formidable but here the vampires are very dangerous indeed. These are the vampires of Slavic legend fueled by the gods of the underworld. Forget your cinematic vampires these are the horrors of legend & they make the vampires of "Flavenlost" look tame. The forces of darkness & horror are well represented in the ninety eight pages of the ' The Codex Slavorum'. But the forces of light have their due Eagle Knights, heroes of legend, the gods, Pagan priests, hunters of the supernatural, & more are also within these pages. The Slavic world of ' The Codex Slavorum' is a complex & dangerous world intertwined with the gods as well as native legendary knights. Mythic knights whose stories are as complex as any of the legends of Arthur & his band. There are as many versions of these stories as well all across the Slavic world. They have a very boiled down version of these knights that can be used as PC class. I was very pleased to see this. So what does all of this material in the ' The Codex Slavorum' mean for the Amazing Adventures dungeon master? Well many of the monsters & elements have been transcribed & filtered into The Amazing Adventures Manual of Monsters. This isn't a slight on Jason Vey's work but when you want to have a party of adventurers meet the forces of the Slavic underworld head on. There's nothing like having the original source book in your hands to pull from in order to do it.Sure there's Wiki entries & internet what not but when you want your OSR source book to pull from when constructing then your going to want the ' The Codex Slavorum'. I've already gotten the question of 'how can an Amazing Adventures rpg demon hunter class & the vampire PC class coexist. The answer is simple. The vampire which was transcribed over to the Amazing Adventures Manual of Monsters & the demons of Slavic lore are all under the umbrella of the gods of darkness. There is more then enough darkness across the planes for an army of demon hunters & vampire slayers besides the two classes work extremely well together. For the pulp/super hero gamer who wants a Slavic slant on their character's origins this is a must buy. Raiders & the like who are looking for far deeper depth on the artifacts & treasure that their going after this is the book that can give your PC's deeper grounds. Five out of five for me because of easy of use, utility, & a solid no BS approach to the Slavic mythology & material . Eric Fabiaschi Swords & Stitchery Want more original OSR content Please subscribe to https://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Codex Slavorum
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Castles & Crusades Codex Celtarum
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/14/2018 12:01:54

"The Codex Celtarum contains a veritable host of gaming material. Built around the complete mythological cosmos of the Celts, in it you'll find new spells for your druid, cleric, and illusionist. New monsters, including mountains of fey. New magic items. For the very bold, there are new powers for your characters, allowing your characters to become fey! 190 new spells 90 gods and monsters from the Celtic mythos 150 powers for the fey monsters & characters (optional) The Druids." For the last two years I've been looking at the cover for Castles & Crusades Codex Celtarum & pretty much wrote it off as yet another "elf games" source book for Castles & Crusades. Every time a Troll Lords sale would come up I look & think maybe?? Two things have occurred that changed my mind. One I'm actually running a Seige Engine powered game. Two I've got players who are nuts about all things Celtic. So I contacted (stalked) Troll Lord Games about the Mythos Bundle for Castles & Crusades.

When they didn't contact me right away I went ahead & bought the entire line of physical books. I loath & hate pdfs but love books at the table. Over the years I've seen various hog pog incarnations of pieces of Celtic mythology in many editions of Original Dungeons & Dragons, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, 3.0, OSR etc.

There is a lot of material to cover & this book tackles the subject head on & goes right into the meat & patatoes of the material. Is this a book for the player or the dungeon master? The answer is both. This book clocks in at about a hundred & seventy six pages of very well researched material. Castles & Crusades Codex Celtarum came out about five years ago & Troll Lords has expanded the Mythos line quite a bit. This is a book for the serious dungeon This book is for the dungeon master who wants to run an entire Castles & Crusades game within a mythological Celtic Iron age setting with Fey & all that goes with it. In one book you get all of the tools for doing this because your going to be placing all of those elements into the realm of the Fairy. This book was written by an academic who knows, eats, breathes, & lives his material. Castles & Crusades Codex Celtarum encompasses the entire experience of playing within & without in the realm of Fairy & Fey. This book boils down all of the classic elements of Celtic mythology & legend into an actual playable supplement for Castles & Crusades. It does with professionalism, class, & its very well written. Brain Young is an academic who really gets into his mythological gaming material with wit & solid writing. The layout is solid, the writing is easy to get through, the material sparks the dungeon master's imagination. But is Castles & Crusades Codex Celtarum

good for other Siege Engine products? Could this book be useful for say Amazing Adventures?!

The answer to this is yes! Much of the material here is straight up fantastic to adapt to a pulp setting & it easily lends itself to whole cloth idea. The Fey are legendary & very alien their own right. These are not weird Elves & lets play them, this is straight up epic mythological C&C material. This makes it unexpected & straight out of the box a surprise to player in a pulp game campaign. If you are going to use Castles & Crusades Codex Celtarum with Amazing Adventures what are you going to need?Much of this material has been filtered after a fashion & adapted to the Amazing Adventures Companion by its author Jason Vey. With 190 new spells 90 gods and monsters from the Celtic mythos 150 powers for the fey monsters & characters (optional) The Druids all of these C&C elements can be ported over easily into other Troll Lord products including Amazing Adventures! rpg. I can actually see using Castles & Crusades Codex Celtarum with the Victorious Rpg. Using Victorious or Amazing Adventures I can see a pulp investigative or heroic campaign using the Celtic mythological material as adventure fodder. The adventure elements within the Castles & Crusades Codex Celtarum are very fresh & well presented. The book packs a lot into its one hundred & seventy five pages. But is the book worth its price of admission into the Celtic world of the Fey & Fairy? In a word yes! I think that Castles & Crusades Codex Celtarum is not only a high quality book for Castles & Crusades but for any OSR or old school dungeon master. I give the Castles & Crusades Codex Celtarum a solid five out of five.

Eric Fabiaschi Swords & Stitcery Blog Want more original OSR & old school content? Subscribe to https://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Codex Celtarum
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5th Edition Role Playing -- Mystical Companions
by Luke Z. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/22/2018 14:02:45

For TLDR, scroll to the bottom.

On initial inspection of this book, it offers a lot of new and tantelizing content. To a flexible and amenible Dungeon Master/Castle Keeper such as myself, it is exactly that.

However, it is stated in the Systems and Rules (Chapter 1) that it makes reference of the Wizards of the Coast's 3.0 SRD, as opposed to the core rulebooks of 5th Edition. Additionally, the writers make comment to the fact that from previous editions, the Druid's Animal Companion and the Paladin's mount were removed, and claimed to provide a way of returning those mechanisms. However, in the actual description of Advantages (which may as well be called Feats since they function the exact same way, and are even stated as only being gain-able when a player could take an ASI or feat) does not acknowledge this. I quote from the Animal Companion [General] advantage description: "You gain the ability to form loyal bonds with animals, allowing you to gain an animal companion in the same manner as a druid of the appropriate level." And yet, it was acknowledged earlier in the same chapter that this mechanic for druids no longer exists, and no alternative or replacement is provided. Fortunately, I am both familiar with and in possession of the necessary core books from v3.5, in order to better make sense of and rule fairly on what this might look like in a 5e game.

Additionally, it is apparent the majority of focus was spent on the animal familiars for each class, and the dragon rider paths in the final chapters, as the information for animal companions is scant other than general and by-class comparisons between familiars and animal companions (more than a tad redundant, unless a simplified summary in a sidebar were to be used) and the three advantages specifically pertaining to animal companions: Animal Companion [General], Companion Tricks [General] (which also makes references to rules regarding training and tricks which do not exist in 5e), and the Vermin Companion [General] (which is based off a creature-type distinction that no longer in 5e - Animals and Vermin alike are "Beasts").

Finally, as alluded with my comment on the Vermin Companion [General] advantage, the bestiary specifically and the book as a whole make use antiquated creature-types that are no longer used in 5e: Aberrations and Outsiders of older editions were combined into simply Aberrations, in addition to the aforementioned consolidation.

In summary, I appreciate that the publisher, Troll Lord Games, made the effort to convert the concepts herein from their core game rules (C&C) to the D&D 5e system, however the inattention to detail I find cumbersome. I sincerely hope that they take reviews and discussions on this distributor's (DriveThruRPG) website seriously enough to either:

  1. Publish an errata of corrections that would be free to those who've purchased the PDF here
  2. -or, better still- Publish an updated version of the book with the corrections included.

TLDR: All in all, the artwork and central concepts are too beautiful to call this work a waste of time and effort. The familiar-themed archetypes for each class, as well as the dragon-rider archetype per class is truly an intriguing and exciting concept. However, the cumbersome nature of making the included options viable in a 5e game should give DM's pause before purchasing, or implementing, this book. I myself am comfortable undertaking the task because of my deep love of creativity, and commitment to Capt Barbossa's view of the Pirate Code: "They're more like guidelines than actual rules." However, this material is hardly plug-and-play quality. Groundwork on the part of the DM will be mandatory.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
5th Edition Role Playing -- Mystical Companions
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Amazing Adventures!
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/27/2018 14:43:09

THOUGHTS: The PDF is pretty no frills. No clickable links in the table of contents, no PDF index. The spells list LOOKS like it's indexed and clickable, but it was sure unresponsive when I tried to click on anything.

The adventure doesn't quite work for me, especially the first act, as noted above. It feels like the editing could have been tighter, at the least, given the mix-up I noted. It also feels like a missed opportunity to provide pregenerated characters, and then have an adventure that's too low of level for them.

I've never played Castles & Crusades (bought a corebook from Troll Lord at a convention years ago), but it looks like it has the same high level math problem that a lot of d20 games do.

That said, the flexibility is amazing. Soooo many options for customization, including the multiclass variations and swapping out general abilities. All the extra little variations in magic (like Counterspells and Emergency Spells, as well as Dragon Lines and Places of Power) are really cool, too. All the optional rules that can be added to fit what you're wanting are more than welcome, and the game boasts almost complete compatibility with Castles & Crusades, so you can combine the two for all kinds of crazy action.

The bestiary selection is pretty small, but in a mostly realistic game, using mobsters and Nazis should be more common than fighting legions of monsters.

CONCLUSION: The author insists that this more than "just" a pulp game, but that's largely what the core book does, and I suspect it does it well. I'm a little leery of that high level math, with the way the bonuses escalate. That said, if that's not a concern for you, this is a ridiculously flexible game with loads of pulp archetypes to use as your base and a great toolbox for modifying them. The author has mentioned that a 5e-based version is in the works, and if it can combine that base with all the great options and features in this book (I love bounded accuracy and flatter math), that should be a great pulp game. For this edition, I'd run it without reservation...I'd just be keeping a close eye on high level play.

Also, it is worth noting that the Companion and the Book of Powers expand the game significantly, but this review doesn't cover those, just the core. I'll try to crack into them soon.

Full review is posted here: https://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2018/05/tommys-take-on-amazing-adventures.html



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Amazing Adventures!
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