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CA2 How to Train Your Wizard
by Heather F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/24/2020 17:48:26

The only con to this Adventure is you can not use miniatures due to the squares being less then 1/4 of an inch big I would have given it a five out of five if the squares were 1 inch by 1 inch once you print it out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
CA2 How to Train Your Wizard
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CA1 Calidar Dreams of Aerie
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/16/2020 13:38:05

Originally posted here: http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2020/04/review-ca1-calidar-dreams-of-aerie.html

I make my last stop on my vacation in Calidar to an honest to god Flying Circus!

Monty Python quotes and references are as much a part of the D&D experience as anything else really. Let's be honest, how many games start out as "Excalibur" but end up as "The Holy Grail"? Well now, thanks to Bruce Heard and Calidat you can bring a real live Flying Circus to your games. The Monty Python references might be light in the book, but the games will abound with them.

CA1 Calidar Dreams of Aerie

PDF, Hardcover and Softcover, 132 pages, Color covers. Color and Black & White interior art.

I am reviewing the PDF and softcover book from the Kickstarter.

Dreams of Aerie is for the Calidar world setting, but let me say this upfront, you can use this anywhere with any system. The book uses the Calidar game system, which is not really a system but a short-hand way of talking about stats. If you have any of the other books you will know what this is and how to convert it.

The book is part source guide and part mystery adventure. The setting is the Amazing Flying Circus a traveling that flies overhead. There is some great in-game/in-universe background to this circus and how it is no longer at its hey-day, but it is also attempting to reclaim its former glory.

Now. If this is all this book was, then it would still be a fantastic bit of work. But we do get a lot more.

The circus is home to all sorts of entertainers as well as misfits and those rejected by society. In many ways it mirrors a real circus from our, or most worlds. It is also a religious monument to one of Calidar's gnomish gods, Belgomeer. That gives it a nice twist. I'll discuss this more at the end.

We get a great cast of characters including the Ringmaster, Vox Hammerdin, aka The Great Mirabilis. That's a hell of a name! Based on his style and personality I think he must be related to my Crazy Omar. There are so many interesting NPCs here I could spend pages talking about them, but instead, I will leave it at that and let you discover them on your own. These NPCs are needed because of the adventures character can have here. There is a cult plot to take over the circus, a murder, rival factions, and 11 different guilds that make the circus work. Oh and the dragon in the middle of the maze on the lower decks.

That makes up the first 30 or so pages of the book.

What comes next is the adventure hook for the players. The players, and characters, can be hooked in on the circus' arrival alone or get a letter from the Ringmaster or even the local Mayor. The main mystery deals with the disappearance of the show's "Bearded lady", Branna “Stubble” Briarchin. She has been in fact murdered in part of the plots of the cult of Balladoo-of-the-Hoo, who are trying to take control of the circus away from the followers of Belgomeer. The PCs need to uncover the murder and cult plot. But even if you and the players are not interested in this hook, there are plenty of reasons to visit a Flying Circus. Let's start with the fact that it is a flying freaking circus! The murder and cult plot though are well done and plenty of clues are provided for the GM to hand out to the players when they find them. It also gives them an excuse and leave to explore the entire circus.

There is a detailed description of all parts of the circus, all three decks, with some beautiful maps and art here. The layout by Calidar's cartographic expert Thorfinn Tait is fantastic. This book is not just fun to read it is gorgeous to look at. This part covers about 110 pages of the book. So yeah, really detailed.

There is an appendix with character stats, but keep in mind that most people you run into here are not meant to be fought. These are not "monster" stats even if the person you encounter might be a monster in a different situation. This adventure is about solving a murder and stopping a cult, not "killing things and taking their loot". You can use this with any system, but the mindset has to be this is a mystery to solve.

The appendix also covers some "Random Events" to keep the players moving along while other things are happening.
There is a great index of all locations. A 1d20 rumor mill. A banner advertising the circus. And some pre-rolled characters to use.

I have said it before but it is true here, Dreams of Aerie punches way above its weight class.

At 130 pages and $6 for the PDF, there is a lot here. A complete circus, a FLYING circus no less, a murder mystery and a cult faction war.

The Circus as Setting While the circus is set in the World of Calidar it can easily be used elsewhere or all by itself. While reading through it I could not help but think back to the old Ravenloft Carnival product. The two might work well together, in particular some of the NPCs. Plus I can't ever resist adding more horror to my games.
Two of my favorite movies is Vampire Circus and of course Tod Brownings Freaks. Both have strong horror themes. So I guess I find circuses kinda creepy.

The Circus as Religious Center Dreams of Aerie was written WELL before the third season of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. This season featured a traveling circus full of "pagans" dedicated to the "Great God Pan." Yes. very much in the Arthur Machen vein. The Amazing Flying Circus is not a collection of the world's misfit monsters and rejected myths. At least not in the way it was done on CAOS. There is the faction fighting between the followers of Belgomeer and Balladoo-of-the-Hoo in Dreams that I can build upon. There is a lot of cult-based conflicts here.

So, in the end, what do we have? We have a hell of a product with a ton of great ideas, opportunities, and something that can be used in pretty much every game.

Please visit the DriveThruRPG page to see some excellent samples of the maps.

If you want to run a circus adventure then THIS is the one you need. Full stop.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CA1 Calidar Dreams of Aerie
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Creator Reply:
Thanks for the review. It's a too bad for now that the printer producing CA1's fold-up maps is out on account of a Covid shutdown in their area. Hopefully, this is only temporary. The conversion booklets for Calidar's Series 1 titles (CAL1 Gazetteer, CA1 Adventure, and the upcoming PG1 Players' Guide) will be available in the coming weeks (May/June 2020), providing all the game stats in "Dreams of Aerie" and the other two books for use with Labyrinth Lord and the OSRIC system. This should make game masters' jobs a bite easier.
CAL2b Conversion Guide to Caldwen for the OSRIC System
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/14/2020 12:26:02

Originally posted here: http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2020/04/reviews-conversion-guides-to-caldwen.html

I am still spending a Virtual Vacation in Calidar's beautiful Caldwen. But you know what every tourist needs? A tour guide. Thankfully our thoughtful travel agent Bruce Heard has supplied us with not one, but two new "tour guides" for anyone traveling to Caldwen.

CAL2a Conversion Guide to Caldwen for Vintage Roleplaying and CAL2b Conversion Guide to Caldwen for the OSRIC System.

Both books follow the same format. The only differences are the systems they are being converted too. The books cover both CAL2 Calidar On Wings of Darkness and CA2 How to Train Your Wizard. Knowledge of PG2 A Players' Guide to Caldwen and Game Mechanics for the World of Calidar is helpful. (links are to reviews, not the products themselves.)

The books are 30 pages with full-color covers and color with black & white interior art. Prices at $3.95, but currently $2.95. You do not need both, but I find it nice for my own system analyses.

Unlike the main Caldwen/Calidar books the art here is sparse, but that is by design since the focus of this book is the stats. Here Heard make explicit the conversions he discussed in the main books using the Calidar game stats. Depending on the system book you grab, you get easily familiar stat blocks and guides on how to use the books. Now obviously the "vintage roleplaying" can be used with any 70s and 80s circa version of the World's Greatest Role-Playing Game. Or as I have called here, any Basic-Era edition. It is labeled for "Labyrinth Lord" but any game similar enough to Labyrinth Lord can be used (ie. only a Law-Chaos alignment axis, race-as-class), or adapted. The OSIRC-labeled version can also be used with any Advanced-era version of the game.

One of the main features of these books is the Mage Knight class. I am quite fond of this class so I wanted to try it out. Now I have choices, a "Basic" or an "Advanced" version. Now the class has been converted faithfully, so don't expect them to look exactly the same between the Basic and Advanced versions. There is no description of the powers the Mage Knight has, you still need the Caldwen book for that, but this is expected.

After the Mage Knight, we get into the How to Train Your Wizard material.

Throughout the book, page references to the sourcebooks are given.

So the great thing about these books is if you play a particular system then you only need one conversion book. True, it does mean you need two books, but for me the flexibility more than outweighs this minor issue. I am a system guy, so I like being able to have multiple versions of the same material to blend between my games. So yeah for 3 bucks it is totally worth it for me, hell it is worth it for 6 bucks to have both versions.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CAL2b Conversion Guide to Caldwen for the OSRIC System
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CAL2a Conversion Guide to Caldwen for Vintage Roleplaying
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/14/2020 12:25:33

Originally posted here: http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2020/04/reviews-conversion-guides-to-caldwen.html

I am still spending a Virtual Vacation in Calidar's beautiful Caldwen. But you know what every tourist needs? A tour guide. Thankfully our thoughtful travel agent Bruce Heard has supplied us with not one, but two new "tour guides" for anyone traveling to Caldwen.

CAL2a Conversion Guide to Caldwen for Vintage Roleplaying and CAL2b Conversion Guide to Caldwen for the OSRIC System.

Both books follow the same format. The only differences are the systems they are being converted too. The books cover both CAL2 Calidar On Wings of Darkness and CA2 How to Train Your Wizard. Knowledge of PG2 A Players' Guide to Caldwen and Game Mechanics for the World of Calidar is helpful. (links are to reviews, not the products themselves.)

The books are 30 pages with full-color covers and color with black & white interior art. Prices at $3.95, but currently $2.95. You do not need both, but I find it nice for my own system analyses.

Unlike the main Caldwen/Calidar books the art here is sparse, but that is by design since the focus of this book is the stats. Here Heard make explicit the conversions he discussed in the main books using the Calidar game stats. Depending on the system book you grab, you get easily familiar stat blocks and guides on how to use the books. Now obviously the "vintage roleplaying" can be used with any 70s and 80s circa version of the World's Greatest Role-Playing Game. Or as I have called here, any Basic-Era edition. It is labeled for "Labyrinth Lord" but any game similar enough to Labyrinth Lord can be used (ie. only a Law-Chaos alignment axis, race-as-class), or adapted. The OSIRC-labeled version can also be used with any Advanced-era version of the game.

One of the main features of these books is the Mage Knight class. I am quite fond of this class so I wanted to try it out. Now I have choices, a "Basic" or an "Advanced" version. Now the class has been converted faithfully, so don't expect them to look exactly the same between the Basic and Advanced versions. There is no description of the powers the Mage Knight has, you still need the Caldwen book for that, but this is expected.

After the Mage Knight, we get into the How to Train Your Wizard material.

Throughout the book, page references to the sourcebooks are given.

So the great thing about these books is if you play a particular system then you only need one conversion book. True, it does mean you need two books, but for me the flexibility more than outweighs this minor issue. I am a system guy, so I like being able to have multiple versions of the same material to blend between my games. So yeah for 3 bucks it is totally worth it for me, hell it is worth it for 6 bucks to have both versions.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CAL2a Conversion Guide to Caldwen for Vintage Roleplaying
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Creator Reply:
Hey Tim, thanks for the review. Right now, only the PDFs are available. Print proofs are still in the mail, so I should be able to give final approval and release the printed versions on DTRPG probably next week, around the 20th I would think.
Game Mechanics for the World of Calidar
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/09/2020 14:36:52

Original posted here: http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2020/04/reviews-calidar-guides-for-players.html

12 pages. PDF and Softcover format. Full-color covers, color, and black & white interior. PWYW

Ok, this book is punching WAY above its weight in terms of value to page count. There are some obvious benefits, that I'll talk about and one or two not-so-obvious that also make this a must-have. I'll get to those as well. Let's start with the explicit value. This book is designed to allow any GM or player to use the Calidar shorthand stats I have talked about all week and then convert them to any game system. The game mechanics used are detailed first. By doing this Calidar is free to depict stats in any way that works best for the world and not necessarily the game system. There is an obvious "D&D-bias" here but that is fine really, and expected. Inbetween the text is the numbers conversion chart. Ranked by percentages the numbers are grouped by ranges you can convert say Level to a Calidar %. So let's say your game goes from 1 to 14 (like say B/X or OSE) then you can convert a Calidar character statblock using this. Or maybe 1 to 30 (D&D4) or 1 to 20 (most D&D). Spend some time with this chart and the translations begin to happen easily.

The game mechanics continue and include a "Philosophy" stat which is a stand in for Alignment. AND it might actually be a better alignment system. Now I have never had any issues with Alignment myself. Maybe because I spent so much time with things like the MMPI and other tests that I naturally gave alignment more subtle gradations. Actually, I think it was more chemistry come to think of it. Take the "alignment chart" in the old PHB or D&DG and think of an electron cloud where a character can move up or down in the shells. There is also a map of Calidar and the Great Caldera and some brief descriptions of the lands. Now what else do you get? Well this conversion table is fantastic for conversions to all sorts of games. Not just D&D based ones. Yes, the math is not difficult, actually, it is pretty easy. But I teach math all damn day. I like having something like this. Secondly, I want to get back to the new Philosophy system. It works GREAT in CA2 How to Train Your Wizard. It would be great for someone that doesn't like the Law-Chaos, Good-Evil axes.

So grab this. Throw a couple of bucks at Bruce and have fun!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Game Mechanics for the World of Calidar
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PG2 A Players' Guide to Caldwen
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/09/2020 14:35:43

Original posted here: http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2020/04/reviews-calidar-guides-for-players.html

20 pages. PDF and Softcover format. Full-color covers, color, and black & white interior. $2.99

This covers the basics of the Magiocracy of Caldwen. The various Provinces are covered briefly and other aspects of the land. We get the calendar with months and some astrology. There is a new race, the Shatim, which are like Tieflings, humans with demonic heritage. These have their own Caldwenian spin on them.
We also get a Mage Knight class. They are an armored knight that can cast spells. Using the Game Mechanics for the World of Calidar book you can convert them to your game system of choice. We get overviews on the various cults in Caldwen and their locations, or at least where the majority are located. Appropriate for a land where magic is the real religion. Currency, tourism and a brief map are all included. A good resource for players and a needed one for the Game Masters. It really sets the flavor of what you can expect in the Caldwen mini-setting. "Mini setting" is actually underselling it a bit to be honest. There is so much in the Caldwen books that you forget it was just a piece of the entire Calidar world setting.

I have the softcover books, but these really benefit from being printed out (bad on the color ink though) so I can put them in a binder to lay flat. Especially when it comes to referencing the maps, which are a highlight of these books.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
PG2 A Players' Guide to Caldwen
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CA2 How to Train Your Wizard
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/08/2020 12:36:41

Originally posted here: http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2020/04/review-calidar-how-to-train-your-wizard.html

PDF 70 Pages, full-color covers, color and black & white interior art.

This book requires Calidar On Wings of Darkness and A Players' Guide to Caldwen, but it can also be played without those to a lesser degree. That is, it can be adapted to any game or setting, but I think it looses a bit of the original charm. This adventure and supplement focuses on the College of Necromancy and assumes novice characters of about 12 years old. There are guidelines for rolling up novice characters as well as six pre-gen characters you can name and drop into the game. Given the characters are novices this is a PERFECT introduction game for new, younger players. This is "Harry Potter meets Scooby-Doo (but more like Magicians)." You have young adventures, a mystery and the ghosts are real.

For the background, you get a collection of teachers that will interact with the students, and there is already a built-in rivalry in the school; the White vs. Black Necromancers. Or Law and Chaos for us old-school types. The characters are also given homework that can earn them "insight" to be used in the game. Students can also get "brownie points" from their official Brownie Protector, Bronwen! These are for good roleplaying that would not necessarily result in Experience Points. I am just mad I didn't think of this first.

The clues the students/characters can find while working through our plot and subplots. The adventure is designed NOT to be a railroad. In fact, care is given knowing the characters, being young, will likely go all over the place. The adventure starts in the classroom (! YEAH, no "you meet in a Tavern/Bar/Inn!) and moves out from there. The College is very detailed with maps and descriptions of the rooms. There are plenty of NPCs to encounter and combat is NOT expected at every turn. Clever spellcasting is rewarded, as is finishing homework.

I want to point out here that the maps in this product are a work of art. Really.

The levels are detailed well and clues to the murder of a student, Odel Talron. This adventure can be run to support the murder investigation, or as a means to test the new young necromancers, or even just to play out the rivalry between the White and Black factions. Or all the above. For my money, I would run it first as an introduction to the College, maybe play up the rivalry a bit, and then hit the characters with the murder in the next session.

The bottom line there is a LOT you can do with this and the ideas are not limited to those above. It comes in softcover, but for my uses, I grabbed the PDF and printed it out one side per page so I have room to write my own notes. According to Bruce Heard, there will be Labyrinth Lord and OSRIC compatible conversion guides for this coming soon.

I hope we can see other guides like this for the other Colleges.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CA2 How to Train Your Wizard
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CAL2 Calidar On Wings of Darkness
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/07/2020 11:47:36

Review posted here as well: http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2020/04/review-cal2-calidar-on-wings-of-darkness.html

134 pages, Hardcover, Softcover, and PDF. Full-color covers. Color and black & white art interior.
For this review, I am considering the PDF and softcover versions I received via the Kickstarter.

The book is broken up into the following chapters/sections.

A Mage's Conundrum: This is the fiction piece that sets the stage for what readers (and players) can encounter in Caldwen, this country of Mages and Demons.

History of Caldwen: This chapter covers the time-line of Caldwen and the moon of Munaan where magic comes from. We learn of early dealing with demons and the start of the mages. Presented in timeline format we are given over 7000 years of history to the present day of the campaign.

Lay of the Land: In this chapter, we are treated to some full-color maps which are always a strong feature of all the Calidar books. Here, of course, we are focused on the Magiocracy of Caldwen. Now it is natural to make comparisons between Caldwen and Bruce's other magiocracy, the Principalities of Glantri. Yes there are some similarities, but there are plenty of differences too. The main difference comes from the geography of the land, and the sea. Caldwen is a coastal country with over two-thirds of its borders coasts. In some ways I get a solids 7th Sea vibe here and this feels more Age of Sail than it does the dark ages. I have to admit that while D&D is firmly on my mind as the system of choice for this, I can help read it over and think that Mage: The Sorcerers Crusade would also be a REALLY good fit for this. We get a two-page, detailed map with legend. Again, great cartography from Thorfin Tait. The nine Provinces (with one Dominion) follow after this in "Gazeteer-like" formats. We get details on each province and local maps. The area of the whole country is huge and boasts over 10 million inhabitants. Just looking at the maps gives me plenty of ideas!

Intrigues of the Magi: This chapter covers the politics of a country that is a magiocracy, a meritocracy, and a dascalocracy. Or one that is ruled by meritorious teaching mages. This chapter also covers the social structure for these wizards and how the various Provinces interact as part of the central government. Though the central government might be overstating it since much power lies in the rulers of the Provinces. We see some of the few stat blocks here and they are given in the Calidar shorthand stats. They can be translated into your game of choice using the Game Mechanics for the World of Calidar book (which is PWYW).

Behind the Curtains: Deals with the various non-mage guilds that also keep Caldwen moving. They are a mixed lot and would work well in any game. I would tend to use them more as background or NPCs, not so much as guilds for PCs to join.

A Cast of Many: The NPCs of note in Caldwen. Again stats are presented in the Calidar stats but easily converted to any game. Mentally I found myself inserting Pathfinder and D&D5 stats where needed and with a little more thought could see Mage: TSC stats as well. This section is also heavily hypertexted. So if someone else's name appears in an NPC entry you can click it to go to their entry. The same is true for titles, colleges and other items. Some stand out like Kryovata the Icy, a gnome sorceress and leader of the Protectors.

Master & Servant: Caldwen has a fair number of demons running around. These are bound demons and under the control (in theory) of a mage. This chapter covers demons, their ownership and the pacts created. Also, the demonic Black Market is discussed. Like the previous chapter, this has notable demons detailed.

Beasties in the Dark: The monster section of some of Caldwen's more interesting creatures. Detailed in the same stat system as the rest of the book.

At the Heart of Magic: Ah. Now here is the meat of the book. This covers Caldwen's schools of magic and how their benefits, tuition, philosophies, diplomas, and campus rivalries influence the fabric of the entire magiocracy. The magic schools are treated as colleges and have a similar feel to the American and British collegiate system. We also learn of two of the sports played, Dracoderby which is like a dragon polo and Pugminton. Magic use in game is expected. Each college is detailed and which town and Province their seat is in. The colleges are Abjuration, Alteration, Conjuration, Divination, Enchantment, Illusion, Invocation, Necromancy, and Grand Wizardry. Circles of Wizardy are given, roughly levels of academic attainment. First (Undergrad) to Fourth (Doctorate). Like all good colleges, there is also outplacement and career counseling. Sure you want to be a Ruler? Maybe the Path of Adventurers is a better choice for someone with your grades?

Secrets of the Cabals: What's a wizard's life without Secret Cabals? Not a life at all! Here we learn of the various cabals that cover the "Wizard's Guild" of most other settings. The cabals cover Alchemy, Demonology, Dracology, Elementalism, Necromancy, and Skymastery, with their attendant tests, abilities and philosophies.

Blood of the World Soul: This covers the raw magical force, Mana, that makes Caldwen so special. If you are familiar with ley lines or the Radiance from Glantri then you have an idea here. It also details the order assigned to protect this mana.

Sky City of Arcanial: Now this is the stuff I love. Floating cities are something I just never get enough of, to be honest. Arcanial is the home of the High Wizard Chancellor's palace, the ministries, embassies, the Great Library, and the College of Grand Wizardry. Plus all the private dwellings of the Caldwen's Rich and Famous. And you need flying gondolas to get up to it! How cool is that? There are wonderful, full-color maps of the city and plenty of details. This is the sort of thing I keep coming back to Calidar for. I mean really. If your fantasy game does not have a floating city in it are you even playing fantasy?

The entire book is bookmarked and hyperlinked (PDF version only obviously) and a treat to flip through. There are so many ideas packed into this book I am unsure where I would start.

There is a lot packed into these 134 pages and there is a lot more that could have been said, but Heard wisely leaves that for you to do.

Adapting to any game is easy, though there is a strong AD&D 2nd Ed or BECMI D&D vibe here. Maybe that is just me though since I have been liberally mixing my Mystara with Calidar for a while now. Long, long time readers might recall that in my games there was a revolution in my Glantri and now it is a Theocracy. Caldwen allows me to have my cake and eat it too. I can keep "my" Glantri as is complete with the it's French Revolution-style revolt, AND still have a cool country of mages, wizards and a magic school.

I am serious. A Caldwen + Mage The Sorcerers Crusade game would be a lot of fun.

I'll look in to this more when I cover the next Caldwen (Bruce's "Series Two") book, CA2 How to Train Your Wizard.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CAL2 Calidar On Wings of Darkness
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Game Mechanics for the World of Calidar
by MARK G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/07/2020 00:37:42

Good overview of the Calidar rules and mechanics, a must-have for understanding the Calidar supplements, and converting the material to your own specific game system. The Calidar setting is a rich and adventure-ready setting, well worth the time to bring into your campaign.



Rating:
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Game Mechanics for the World of Calidar
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CAL2 Calidar On Wings of Darkness
by MARK G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/06/2020 20:15:15

Calidar is an imaginative and interesting world. Lots of magic, lots of power being thrown around, so perfect for adventure. This book provides detailed maps and write-ups of the world's different areas, as well as the NPCs that inhabit them. It's easily adaptable to whatever game system you're using, the Game Mechanics of the World of Calidar will assist you with incorporating Calidar into your game. https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/221899/Game-Mechanics-for-the-World-of-Calidar



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CAL2 Calidar On Wings of Darkness
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CA1 Calidar Dreams of Aerie
by Brian D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/17/2018 09:11:46

This is a complete campaign in a very readable book. Bruce Heard takes the concept of a flying circus literally, and created a fantastic world within the Calidar campaign. The book is richly detailed, and very easy to navigate through.

While I am not knocking the larger Adventure Path compendiums in any way, Dreams of Aerie is able to accomplish many of the same things in a more compact format. I would compare this book to some of the late 1980's TSR Compilations such as Temple of Elemental Evil as far as taking characters from one stage of progression to another without trying to take you all the way from level 1-20 like the current Adventure Path format attempts to do.

Dreams of Aerie does have a plot, and several NPCs to drive said plot, but there is plenty of room for the game master to tinker away to customize as they see fit.

The generic system Calidar uses should be easy for most DMs to convert to 5E, Pathfinder, or other systems. If you're tired of dungeon crawls, but aren't sure you want a true city campaign, this a great option for you.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
CA1 Calidar Dreams of Aerie
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CAL1 Calidar, In Stranger Skies
by Francesco D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/11/2017 04:25:04

A great campaign setting for fans of Mystara and Spelljammer and for anyone else too. Flying ships are the focus of the setting, but there is much more. Planets and moons, dragons and dragon knights, wilderlands really wilds, diverse human and not human cultures, very nasty humanoids, mortals earning immortality. Game designer Bruce Heard used well his past experiences to create an original and interesting setting. Highly recommended!



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
CAL1 Calidar, In Stranger Skies
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CC1 Calidar, Beyond the Skies
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/29/2016 14:08:11

Bruce Heard, formerly of TSR and of Mystara and "Voyage of the Princess Ark" fame has been working on his new world Calidar for a little bit now. I reviewed the premier product, Calidar in Stranger Skies, a while back and I really loved it. I have used bits and pieces of this world in my own games now for a couple of years; building up to something a little bigger. The great thing about Calidar, and what Bruce is doing with it, is it can be added to any game world or campaign with only a little bit of fuss. OR you can go whole hog with it and have it as your game world.

The newest book out, Calidar, Beyond the Skies, really helps with either plan.

Ethics in Game Reviewing: I received a copy of hard bound book in exchange for a fair review. All links are affiliate sponsored links. Further disclosure: I was planning on reviewing this anyway, I just moved it up a little bit.

Calidar, Beyond the Skies is part campaign book, part cultural reference and part guide to gods. There is only minimal stats in this book. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage. The obvious disadvantage is of course judging the power levels of the various gods. I am going to say right now that this REALLY is not a disadvantage. Gods are not Monsters. Even in Calidar where the Gods often interfere in the affairs of mortals, those mortals are not going to pick a fight with them. Relative powers are given and that really is enough. The advantage is a true advantage. Playing old school D&D? Great! Playing Pathfinder? Great! D&D5? Equally great! But I am getting WAY ahead of myself.

I am reviewing the hard cover version of the book. It is 248 full color pages on decent weight paper and full color covers. I put the production values at the same level of the best of WotC's D&D or Paizo's Pathfinder.

The book begins with discussing the common abilities given to all divine beings and a discussion on what they are and do. This follows a brief overview of the "planes". This is a section worthy of the best of the TSR-era Manual of the Planes and right next to the 3rd Ed Manual of Planes. I have to admit I love seeing the "energy" planes configured like a d10. Totally using that one.

Since this is system free there is section on how to convert your system to something the book uses. The easiest of course is a percentage system. Depending on your game's chosen system there is a conversion here.

All of that and we are now into the "meat" of the book. The map of the Great Caldera is given again with the countries and cultures highlighted. This is important and a page I found myself coming back to as I read each section. There is a great table on pages 14-15 that has every god, their cultures and their area of interest. I was happy to see some overlap and missing areas. Gods are not supposed to be neat and tidy things. Some interests are over-represented, some have none at all and some gods stretch across more than one culture. Ok at this point if you have ever read any "Gods" or "Pantheon" D&D book you can easily start making sense of things.

After this we cover the different pantheons and cultures. We cover 10 such groupings of gods along with chapters on Rewards, the World Soul of Calidar and various godly trappings.

This is a book that takes full advantage of color. Greater gods are in bold, evil gods are listed (title only not text) in red and benevolent gods are likewise in blue. So a greater evil god is in bold Red.

When each grouping of gods is introduced we get the names and interests (spheres) of all that pantheon. Common attributes for all the gods are given (what they have in common) and an overview of their Genesis story with a timeline. We then get into some really interesting material. A kind of flow chart is given on the relationships between the gods of the grouping. This is best seen in the Gods of Nordheim, which are "imported" from Norse myths by travelers long ago.

After this each god is listed with a stat block of interests, allies, cults, foes, centers of faith and holy days. Lots of details really.

There is so much in this book that I think it is going to take some more readings to digest it all. Each section also contains neat little bits like various temples, the gods' personal symbols, other bits to round out the faiths and make them feel like they real. In some, like for example the Gods of Meryath, weather (and in particular rain) are so important that the seasons are also discussed in relationship to the gods.

The last sections also detail various Elemental Lords, demons and mythological beasts and other near-divine beings.

There is a lot going on in this book. If you are a fan at all of gods, myths and using them in your games then is a great addition. Even if you don't play in the Calidar world this is a well thought out collection of myths. I found this just as enjoyable as reading D&D's "Gods, Demigods and Heroes" the first time. If you need some good, new-to-you-and-your-players gods then this is a must buy.

The art throughout is fantastic (that's Soltan of the Narwan on the cover) and really sets this book above others of it's kind.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CC1 Calidar, Beyond the Skies
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CAL1 Calidar, In Stranger Skies
by Dwayne S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/27/2016 09:43:13

Fantastic illustrations and maps. great start on a new world in the vein of The Princess Ark series in old Dragon magazines. I really look forward to future publications.

I also love the fact it is generally system agnostic.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CAL1 Calidar, In Stranger Skies
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CAL1 Calidar, In Stranger Skies
by A customer [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/29/2015 19:57:35

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Calidar: In Strange Skies

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday!

Product- Calidar: In Strange Skies System- Pathfinder Producer- Calidar Publishing Price- $10 here http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/133973/Calidar-In-Stranger-Skies TL; DR- How about some Spelljammer in Pathfinder? 90%

Basics- Set sail for the first star on the right! Calidar is a setting for a universe focusing on flying sky ships that sail between planets with most of the focus on the world of Calidar. While the book goes small enough to detail the kingdom of Meryath on Calidar, the book also has enough universe detail to give any game master enough ideas for how to run the universe. Let's break this book down into its parts.

Mechanics or Crunch- This is not a crunch book, but it also doesn't want to be. Any book that starts with 45 pages of story to introduce the world via fiction wants you to get the world feeling first before even considering the mechanics of the system. For the majority of the crunch here, the system uses Pathfinder for its base mechanics. It does build where it needs to by adding some creatures that are specific to the world. The book does have new sky ships as well as maps for the setting as well. It's done reasonably well, but there isn't anything that really builds on Pathfinder's mechanics to make it its own. That's not horrible as building on established mechanics system is ok, but I would have liked a bit more to make Pathfinder its own. 4/5

Theme or Fluff- Hand's down, this is the best part of the book. The book begins with a fun 45 page story and spends most of its pages building a world for the players to play it. The fantasy isn't completely original with elements like orcs are evil and many common tropes, but that doesn't made it bad by any means. If you want Pathfinder Spelljammer, this is the setting for you. 5/5

Execution- This book does something different and uses three columns for its text. The text isn't bad, but the three columns don't really suit my reading and understanding style. The art here is well done as this is the first RPG book I've ever read where the air currents are laid out! That kind of attention to detail is impressive. Honestly, a little more art to break up some text and changing to the use of two columns, and I'd be much happier with the execution of this book. That and maybe a small adventure to help me as a game master get into the world a bit better. 4.25/5

Summary-If you want Spelljammer in Pathfinder, then this is the book for you. You will get the feeling of the old school with his book. This book has lots of details while still giving the writer room to build out into the different planets and still zoom into the micro scale of each city. It's a good book that really does build its own universe. It's got its faults as I would have liked to see some Calidar specific Pathfinder mechanics to really own the rules it runs on, and I would suggest a few changes to the layout to help me as a reader get into your text. That said, if you can get past a few minor faults and you want some planet sailing fun, then the best place is to start with a contributing author to Spelljammer back in the TSR days and this book. 90%



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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