"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 .
Swords & Stitchery
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