RPGNow.com
Narrow Results













Back
Hercynian Grimoire #1 $7.95
Average Rating:4.5 / 5
Ratings Reviews Total
1 3
0 1
0 1
0 0
0 0
Hercynian Grimoire #1
Click to view
Hercynian Grimoire #1
Publisher: James Mishler Games
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/16/2015 10:29:59

The Hercynian Grimoire #1 is a 'pay what you like.' title from James Mishler Games for the Castles and Crusades rpg systems and the Labyrinth Lord rpg system. James Mishler Games has been quietly pumping out games for a long time now, The Hercynian Grimoire #1 is by James Mishler and Jodi Morgan Mishler. There's a real sense of the energy and creativity from this issue of the Grimoire especially when you crack open the Glowing Words where the writer introduces this OSR magazine. The Hercynian Grimoire is for both the Castles and Crusades rpg systems and the Labyrinth Lord rpg system. For me this makes this an especially useful magazine and its packed with wall to wall OSR style articles. Right out of the gate we get “Gnolls – The Hyena Men", an article that makes the humble gnoll race one of the most dangerous and flexible old school monsters, this article reminds me of the old Dragaon magazine ecology of articles. Fast, dangerous, flexible and terrible are the gnolls as a race.There's references peppered through out this article about the Olden Lands, the house campaign setting of James Mishler Games. I'd love to know more. This article is followed on its heels with the nipping article “Gnoles, the Mannish-Beasts” which gets into Gnoll/human hybrids. I've seen this article described as ick but with material like something that describes a monster that could be from the Islands of Dr. Moreau by HG Wells. “D66 Ferocious Fighters”is a random encounter tables of NPC fighters for your players to encounter! Three damn pages of high energy fighting men to make your PC's lives a misery. Yahh! “Spells Arcane and Occult" goes into one spell “Alasadree’s Empowerment of the Ultranic Orb.”. this is one spell that perfectly fits what it does a healing version of Tasha’s Uncontrollable Hideous Laughter” but you dance instead of laugh for the spells effects to take place. I've seen this described as unbalanced and of course its unbalanced as a first level spell but that's really the point. We've seen the effects of magick run wild and the horror that they can cause in games such as Lamentations of the Flame Princess, please leave the six versions of this spell alone and let the PC's cast it and then find themselves in the deep end of the magic pond with adventure hooks around their ears. Same with “Spell Songs of Salamacine” which really goes into the deep end of the witches spell books with some terrifically terrible spells with some Disney style consequences just waiting to happen!

"D66 Fairies and Nymphs”gives some solid bang for the buck style Fey encounters that you can slip into your old school Peusdo European adventures. Again a solid random encounter table that can lead to a whole host of side adventures if used right. “Gnoll Encounter Table” this dovetails right in with the previous article's on the author's gnolls and it does so with style. Here's a random adventure chart to really draw the adventurers into the previous articles circles of adventure mythology and monster wisdom with an entirely different take from this issue. “Magical Miscellanea” well these are ten flavorful and interesting magic items that will not break a campaign but have at least four or five adventure hooks waiting in the background. “Monstrous Menagerie” has some very interesting and nicely put together monsters especially the hyena ones. There's a sense of a pseudo African campaign piece waiting to tear out from the veldt about this issue. Something I want to see fleshed out further. “D666 Demonic and Devilish Traits”now this is a damn useful chart, I'm a Fantastic Heroes and Witchery rpg system fanatic and one of the races that is included in the game is Tieflings. So these are very welcome because players want more randomized charts to role on to really make their PC's distinct. This chart also brings me much glee because of one of my favorite cockroach style monsters to use. Demons! I love demons they're really nasty dangerous and can cause all kinds of hassles for PC's of all levels. Again this is a welcome charts for my games! Dungeons should be odd, memorable, and set dressing can stress a DM out well we get a chart that comes in very handy to do exactly that. A chart for that last cheery on top of that dungeon you've been itching to unleash on your players in the “D66 Underworld Oddities”.Many rpg companies will give you a bit of a preview of their upcoming campaign setting products but instead of one, we get three and their actually useful. Right out of the box you can use these as hooks within your games today. So that down the road if you choose to use the 'Olden Lands.' your ready to go with your PC's. “Olden Lands Preview: Alspadia”is interesting, sets up the lurer for the campaign setting and does a great job of fleshing out a region of the Olden Lands and not only makes you want to read more but to send your PC's there. There are some nasty bits hinted throughout this preview and its well done enough for the DM to push the right buttons with their PC's. 'The Olden Lands Preview : The Olden Wood.' is a solid one page preview of material that goes into a forested location of epic proportions: "The Oldenwood covers more than 18,000 square miles ofold growth forest amidst rolling and craggy hills and valleys,dingles and dales. Here and there a tall, sharp peak rises above the sea of green leaves. Other than the treants, it is a virtual paradise for natural and giant animals, for no man or even goblin is so foolish as to hunt in the Oldenwood" And you the DM get a whole range of this material to play with and flesh out. Rounding out this issue is a vile and nasty piece of work known as The Blood God, this is a distinctly dangerous and repugnant piece of work whose cult is outlined along with beliefs and sacrifices, etc. Perfectly heinous material for a vile NPC villain of the deepest dye. To wrap this up this review up, I don't own a single Castle and Crusades rpg system book, but I know my OSR material and this issue of the Grimoire reminded me of some of the very best of the older Judge's Guild stuff in a good way, a solid way, optional old school material that can easily be shunted or back written into your campaigns in such a way as to make it useful and rewarding. Because of the 'Pay What You Like Price' Tag this is a no brainer. Grab this issue now and get cracking with an exciting issue of what will I hope will be a regular publication! Eric F Swords and Stitchery blog



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hercynian Grimoire #1
Publisher: James Mishler Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/22/2014 15:31:53

46 pages (cover, OGL, 44 pages). The first of hopefully more books in this series as well. This is also the first of the Olden Lands and the Chronicles of Mhoriedh line. The book is divided into a recognizable "Men & Magic", "Monsters & Treasure", "Underworld & Wilderness" and a newer, but still recognizable "Gods & Demi-gods". So needless to say I am hooked so far.

First up a great few of pages on Gnolls and their human-half breed kin the Gnoles. I never gave gnolls a second thought but this is some good stuff.

Another feature that you see the d66 table. Roll two d6s like percentile dice and get 36 outcomes. Like Traveler used to do. Next up is a section on spells. What I love about this and can get 100% behind is that Magic-user/Wizard spells are also labeled as "Intelligence", Cleric spells as "Wisdom" and Witchcraft spells as "Charisma". It is like it is custom made for my Witch class! There is a Gnoll encounter table, a random faerie table.

The next section is a collection of new magic items.

About half-way we get to a monster manual like section. Plenty of new hyena types and more. All monsters are dual stated. Following some more tables we talk about some of the Olden Lands. Up first, the Realm of Alspadia and it's major settlements. This is a pretty packed book at 46 pages. Lots of things to use to be honest and all can be added to your current game with no troubles.

This book is designed to be used with any Old-School game. It is overtly labeled for Labyrinth Lord and dual-stated for Castles & Crusades, but really you could pick up anything from the *D&D family and play these.

The look of the books is certainly Old-school with the Souvenir/Soutane font. The layout is crisp, clean and easy to read. Like other books from this publisher it lacks art, but I don't think it is lessened because of it.

All in all a great addition to my game library and something I plan on using in my own game world.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hercynian Grimoire #1
Publisher: James Mishler Games
by Samuel K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/09/2013 16:11:35

Another winner from James. I especially love the write-ups on the gnoll culture - it really breathes life into an oft overlooked monster species, and makes them much more than mere cannon-fodder.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hercynian Grimoire #1
Publisher: James Mishler Games
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/22/2013 20:58:02

This is a meaty diet of gaming goodness that James wants to feed us. No art to distract you, just gaming info, charts, tables, creatures - the list goes on.

James plans on releasing this weekly or every other week. I'm stunned. This is not a light fanzine - it's a well weighted gaming supplement. I would think that putting this out monthly would be nearly a full time endeavor. Hopefully James squirreled away some gaming material when he was away from publishing and has a bit of a backlog he can pick through.

Did I mention the random tables? Fun!

In any case, this reminds me quite a bit of James' old C&C stuff for the Wilderlands - well written, info heavy and inspiring - because I really want to work the Gnoll stuff into my current AD&D game. Of course, it's Rappan Athuk, so that might take just a little work.

(The Olden Lands Preview reminds me again of Jame's work on the Wilderlands. I'm looking forward to the full release of this one)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Hercynian Grimoire #1
Publisher: James Mishler Games
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/17/2013 06:25:58

Originally published at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2013/01/17/tabletop-review-hercynian-grimoire-vol-1-no-1castles-crusadeslabyrinth-lord/

So this was an interesting product I had to pick up. Hercynian Grimoire an irregular periodical covering Castles & Crusades but also includes Labyrinth Lord conversions for all new items, creatures and the like. There is absolutely no art in the piece to speak of and yet the issue has an extremely high price for the page count of ten dollars. The one-two punch of no art and sticker shock will no doubt keep a good portion of interested gamers away from this piece and I can’t blame them for that. However those that do pay the inflated cost will find a very well written collection of articles that will no doubt enhance your Castles & Crusades experience. Let’s take a look at what you get with this inaugural issue.

“Glowing Words” – a column by the main writer introducing the periodical. It also plugs the author’s upcoming Chronicles of Mhoriedh line. It’s short and sweet while conveying the tone and reason of the magazine.

“Gnolls – The Hyena Men” – this four page article is similar to the “Ecology of…” articles we used to see in TSR’s old Dragon magazine. It gives a description of the creature, racial abilities and the how Gnolls can be found in The Olden Lands (again, harkening back to the upcoming campaign setting) You’re also given stats, age categories and optional special abilities. It’s very well written and a great way to kick off the publication.

“Gnoles, the Mannish-Beasts” – a one page follow up to the previous column featuring human/Gnoll hybrids. Ick. It’s another well written piece but Gnoll on Human sex? What a terrible mental image.

“D66 Ferocious Fighters” – a three page table of random NPC fighters. I’ve never understood the point of randomized tables like these and never will.

“Spells Arcane and Occult –” an article about a single spell named “Alasadree’s Empowerment of the Ultranic Orb.” This spell has six different versions, ranging from healing to a orb based version of Tasha’s Uncontrollable Hideous Laughter” where you dance instead of cackle. It’s a very interesting spell but the problem is that it is listed as a Level One spell when the wide range of effects alone make that too powerful to be a potential “first ever spell” for a neophyte caste. Add in that each effect on their own is extremely powerful (wizards that can cast healing magic? That’s way too broken). This is the same author that wrote the completely unbalanced spells for Magificent Miscellaneum, so I’m not surprised that we’re got another article where the spells are overpowered and under-leveled. Interesting ideas, but utterly no sense of balance.

“Spell Songs of Salamacine” – three witch spells. One is a Level 4 spell, one is a Level 1 and one is a Level 2. The Level 4 spell, “Salamacine’s Malevolent Melody” is actually nicely balanced, which was a unexpected surprised. It’s basically a possession via remote control spell. “Motive Melody” is the Level 1 spell and allows a caste to animate one inanimate object per level plus an extra 1d6 to do simple, mundane tasks. Not a bad spell, but I’d excise the extra 1d6 as once again, it unbalances things.”Siren Song” is a Level 2 spell and it’s basically an enhanced Charm Person. It makes another balanced spell between power and casting level, so I was pretty happy with this article. It’s the first spell article between the two recent C&C publications I’ve reviewed where I haven’t wondered if the writer has his mages casting Wish as a fourth or fifth level spell.

“D66 Fairies and Nymphs” – another random chart, but this time it’s filled with fairies and nymphs instead of warriors. Blah. It also takes up a whopping SIX PAGES of the publication, which boggles my mind.

“Gnoll Encounter Table” – this keeps in with the theme of the first two articles and it’s a nicely laid out random encounter table. There are only two small problems. The first is that it probably should have been placed at the tail end of the two Gnoll based articles for a better flow of the magazine and the other is that the random chart talks about nine different maps without alluding where to find them or what the writer is talking about. My assumption is that these are maps that we will see in the forthcoming Chronicles of Mhoriedh campaign setting.

“Magical Miscellanea” – a one page article highlighting ten new magic items. They’re all interesting. Nothing you’ll want to base an adventure around, but also nothing that will break your game.

“Monstrous Menagerie” – This is a collection of various creatures and monsters to use against your players. There are three Hyena creatures, which I might have put as a separate article and moved towards the beginning of the Grimoire to keep all the related material together. You then get a set of ten “thunder beasts” which, again, I think could have had their own separate article instead of lumping this class of creatures and the hyenas into a single one.

“D666 Demonic and Devilish Traits” – a cute play on the D66 charts, but again, another chart of randomized bits no one really ever asks for or needs.

“D66 Underworld Oddities” – ANOTHER randomized chart. Sheesh.

“Olden Lands Preview: Alspadia” – this is most likely what will draw people to the Grimoire as it’s a sneak peak of the upcoming campaign setting the author has put together. It’s a very well done piece that reminds me of the excellent Ravenloft Gazetteers Sword & Sorcery put out in the 1990s. You get a nice amount of information of the cities, prominent locations and culture of Alspadia and it makes me want to learn more about the setting. Mission accomplished here.

“Olden Lands Preview: The Oldenwoods” – an article that is pretty similar to the previous one, but with a different location within the campaign setting. It’s only a page long but it’s also well done and serves its purpose here.

“Olden Lands Preview: The Blood God” – a third straight preview article about The Olden Lands, but this time it’s about a major deity rather than a location. It’s a pretty grim god, and the article gives you information about the hierarchy of its following along with information about how the deity conducts itself through its worshippers. A nice way to end the publication.

All in all, the first issue of Hercynian Grimoire is a fun one. Although I’d have reorganized things a bit and dropped all the random tables save for the Gnoll encounter one, this was a pretty strong first issue. I was happy to see the author did a better job with balancing spells than in his previous publication for Troll Lord Games, but I still think this is one area where his writing needs a bit of guidance. I loved the Olden Lands previews and the Gnoll articles and hope to see pieces like this will become the focus for future issues. At the end of the day I’m quite happy with the piece and wil;l be back for future issues, but price and art aren’t an issue for me. For everyone else, I have to give this a thumb’s in the middle due to the high cost (a better price point would probably be around five dollars – half of what is being charged here, especially with the lack of art) and the absence of any art. Still, a great first effort and I can’t wait to see what is next.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Displaying 1 to 5 (of 5 reviews) Result Pages:  1 
Back
0 items
 Gift Certificates
Powered by DriveThruRPG