Monday, November 06, 2006

Expedition to Castle Ravenloft

A gorgeous cover leads to a lack lustre set of introductions to the campaign. All of them rely on the PCs receiving a fake letter and entering the Barony of Barovia with little idea of the area or the "lord of the manor" who rules over it. This sadly just feels generic and while some of the ideas sound good in principle the implementation really undermines the whole principle of the book. So far there isn't much in the way of character and this feels more like a dungeon with a history. 

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Dungeon 137

The cover game does not seem to be any great shakes but there's some good gothicy horror in the scenario Man Forever and some nice ideas in the scenario Tealpeck's Flood. The later has a flooded dungeon and double and triple dealing in a fiendish pact.

Glorantha: The Second Age

This book has totally blown me away and is reminding about everything that is good about Robin Laws and Glorantha. It is well written (despite the customary Mongoose typos) and while richly satisfying it is also nicely constructed and a clear introduction to setting. I don't think Glorantha has ever been explained this well or in this detail.

It has me desperately wanting to crack out HeroQuest to give it a go. What about RuneQuest? Well until they actually have some rules for using Dragon Mystics in BRP there doesn't seem a lot of point yet. 

Monday, October 09, 2006

Burning Empires

The sci-fi version of Burning Wheel has turned up, via Key 20, and looks totally stunning. It also uses the hardcover novel as a format, which I have secretly been thinking is perfect for RPGs for some time. I'm both glad that someone has decided to use it and disappointed that it wasn't me, goddammit!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Runequest (Mongoose Version)

At first blush I am hugely disappointed with this book it looks like a miss on an open goal. However with a bit of consideration I am starting to think that I might not be the target audience for this. After all I have both the Avalon Hill edition of Runequest and the GW extracted rulebook.
However the truth is that the GW hardback version of the book covers nearly identical ground to the the Mongoose book but does so far more concisely and cheaply.
For 15 pounds the content in the Mongoose Edition seems postively stingy and seems strategically designed to make the next rulebook, the "Companion", a necessary purchase.
Personally I am going to wait to see if the Second Age material is any good before I commit to buying any more of the rulebooks in this line.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Ptolus

Well the huge sourcebook arrived and it as monsterous and as attractive as can be hoped. The art is full colour even in the sidebars and certainly from an eye candy point of view there is no denying that this is the most deluxe RPG product there has been to date.

Now I just need to find the time to read some of the 700 page monster.

White Dwarf No. 319

I don't know why I bought this (well actually it was to have a look at the summer campaign) but it is a sad testament to the decline in the current incarnation of the magazine. Even the battle reports, which used to be reliably entertaining are now excessively summerized and lacking in any narrative pizzaz.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Sons of Gruumsh

This a solid little Forgotten Realms scenario that offers a dungeon crawl and a mystery to be solved. The investigation is straightforward and almost cursory and the bulk of the scenario deals with the description of a reoccupied orc fortress. The occupants are varied and have sufficient backstory to keep things interesting. However there is an element of the set piece being frozen at a particular moment in time until the PCs roll up. There's no particular advice on how to use the centrepiece of the scenario in a campaign.

As you might expect from Wizards the production values are all very slick and all the crunchy stats are provided and can be used outside the booklet to provide orc groups capable of providing a challenge to a wide variety of groups.

The final analysis for me is that this is a pretty good example of a middle of the road D&D scenario. If you are looking for a conventional bash for a a few nights entertainment then you are going to be happy. I liked a lot of the ideas about having an orc stronghold and I think a lot of the material can be used outside the scenario but a lot is going to depend on how well you stomach D&D in the first place.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Spires of Altdorf

So far this book is really failing to impress. Admittedly I bought it as a guide to Altdorf rather than as a scenario but impressively it is so far managing to work as neither.

The Northern Crown Books

I was surprised to be able to pick up the two Northern Crown books for the knock down price of £9 each while on a trip to Bristol. I thought the idea was okay (d20 fantasy Colonial New England) but clearly it must have bombed on the market.

A quick flick through the books does reveal a lot of flustering around the whole d20 thing but there's only a few companies that actually do it right anyway. Certainly the material on North American folklore beasties seems alright to me.

More as I get into the books in more detail. Personally I am looking for a kind of cross between the back story of Blair Witch and Sleepy Hollow.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Welcome to The New Flesh

The New Flesh is the name I give to the little roundup column in carnel but I've been giving it some thought and decided that maybe while there is still room for the column it might be worth putting the kind of first reactions and quick read comments that make up the column on a blog first and using the material to form the written column.