DriveThruRPG.com
Browse Categories















Back
Other comments left for this publisher:
You must be logged in to rate this
Castles & Crusades Gods & Legends
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/30/2022 12:51:08

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/06/one-mans-god-castles-crusades-gods.html

Gods & Legends

For the purposes of this review, I am considering the PDF from DriveThruRPG.

PDF. 144 pages. Color covers, black & white interior art. Bookmarked and hyperlinked. Written by Davis Chenault with contributions by Steven Chenault, Brian Young, Jason Vey, and Todd Gray.

This book largely replaces the Of Gods & Monsters book from a few years back, though it is smaller in size, 144 pages vs 162. I say replaces, but this is a new set of work. The original Of Gods and Monsters was written by James Ward of Deities & Demigods fame. There are similar gods in both books but this new version is a rewrite of the older work with new entires to work better with the Codex series.

This book is divided into three(ish) large sections.

The Anvil of the Gods

This section covers how gods work in a Castles & Crusades game, how the Castle Keeper can play them, and how the characters can relate to them. This section also gives advice on designing a pantheon. Unlike the original Deities & Demigods that seemed to want to shy away from religion, this book acknowledges it and all the myriad combinations (within the space of this book) religions can take. The focus here though is not a religious academic text (and Troll Lords has at least two people, Young and Vey, on staff with graduate degrees in religious studies, literature, and history) but more on how these manifest and work in an RPG, and in Castles & Crusades in particular. To this end there is advice on how to run and play gods and how they should interact with the PCs.

Common deific abilities are defined with Greater, Lesser, and Demi-god statuses. Details are given to how the gods relate to the clerics and paladin classes, alignments, and other archetypes. Holy symbols and characters with divine traits are also covered. Divine traits include the healing touch.

Of the Gods

This is the largest section of the book, detail-wise. This covers what could properly be called the Gods of Aihrde, the Castles & Crusades campaign world. A brief overview of the basic deity characteristics is first. Up first are the human gods of Aihrde. This is the section that is most like the older Of Gods and Monsters book.

Some sections are the same as in the older book, many do look to be rewritten. The art is used from the older text but I do not see an issue with that. Many gods here get more text as well. Many of the Aihrde gods take cues and ideas from Earth gods. This is also not a big deal and in fact no different than the gods of the Forgotten Realms. In fact I am going to go out on a limb here and say the process to create these gods (from the Chenault home games no doubt) was very similar to what Ed himself did when he created the Forgotten Realms Gods. Maybe one day I need to go through this pantheon and the Forgotten Realms ones and see what gods they have in common. The obvious "Earth" gods are the All Father (Odin), The moon sisters (Diana, Artemis), Frafnog (Fáfnir, Midgard Serpent), Tefnut, Toth, Unklar (Chernbog), and Wenafar (Titania). Again, I like seeing this stuff. It immediately gives me a hook. If Frafnog is the god of dragons and there is a Fáfnir connection beyond the surface then there is a great reason why dwarves hate dragons more than just the Hobbit connection (which is of course drawn from the story of Fáfnir and The Ring of the Nibelung). There is deep religious animosity here. Is this what the Chenaults do in their home game? No idea, but this is what is happening in mine.

Following humans, we get the gods of the Dwarves, Elves, Halflings (LOVE the art of the halfling gods!), Gnomes, and then the humanoids (bugbears, gnolls, goblins, orcs, hobgoblins, lizardmen, giants, ogres, and trolls) there are even dragon deities, fey deities, and gods of mermen and sahuagin. It is a wide variety and shows some original ideas beyond what we typically think of in the Deities and Demigods, but not quite the level of detail as found in the very focused Forgotten Realms Demihuman Deities book.

All the Other Gods

This "section" is actually many sections, but they are mostly the same format. They cover the various gods and pantheons found in our world and are covered in detail by the Codex series. Where the Codecies give us a lot of details on the myths and stories of those pantheons, this section just covers game based stats. No stats as in hp and AC, but alignments, worshipers, granted attributes, preferred weapons and the like. No details on the gods themselves, for that you will need the Codies.

Covered are the gods of the Celts, Greeks, Egyptians, Germans, Norse, and Slavs.

Who should buy this book? Anyone playing Castles & Crusades and wants to go deep into the mythologies of Aihrde. Also, anyone that owns the Codies and wants more game content.

I also say this is a good book for the AD&D (first or second eds.) player/game master that wants a bit more detail on the gods in their Deities & Demigods/Legends & Lore books. Or who just want a different set of or more gods than they currently have. Indeed the title of the book, Gods & Legends, seems to state that it is a book with the AD&D books in mind.

One Man's God - The Demons of Aihrde

As I mentioned the Demons of Aihrde are already the Demons of AD&D. But what about the monsters and gods here in Gods & Legends? Let's see what we have here.

The obvious choices will be the Lesser Gods and the Demigods in terms of the power level near that of the Demon Princes. But I am not going to ignore the odd Greater God if they fit.

For the Aihrde human gods, Frafnog might fit the bill, though he is really powerful. Onduhl is the god of evil beings and has a strong Lucifer or Loki vibe to him. Unklar looks like a demon and has the Chernobog connection I mentioned above, but he seems more devil-like than demon-like.

The gods of the Dwarves, Halflings, and Gnomes do not have anyone. The Elves have Talahnatilia but that is something other than a demon or devil really.

It is not really to we get to the gods of the humanoids that we find good candidates.

Jarga the Bloodless is worshiped by many humanoid types (gnolls, kobolds, orcs). He is a lesser god and chaotic evil. He is a god of blood and battle. He might or might not be a demon, but he will certainly has their hatred of life. His plane is listed as The Wretched Plains, one of only three gods to claim this plane.

Bugbear gods here are Chaotic Evil. Hobgoblin gods are mostly Lawful Evil. This detail tracks with my own personal use of them. Bugbears are goblins with demonic ancestry and Hobgoblins are goblins with diabolic ancestry. So. If I am searching for demons I am going to look towards the Bugbears first. The bugbear gods are both greater gods and don't really fit the AD&D notion of demons. Same is true for the hobgoblins.

Gnolls have been long associated with demons in AD&D through Yeenoghu. Most of these gods are either too powerful (Greater) and/or Lawful Evil. Here is one of the issues of trying to apply the "rules" of one game on to another. They don't have to follow the same logic or premises.

Among the Goblins, Beerkzurd could be a demon, a powerful on to be sure. He is Lawful Evil, but he feels more Chaotic Evil really. He is also one of those gods people pray to not so much to get boons from him, but in order for him to leave you alone.

The Orc gods are quite war-like and many are Lawful Evil. They mostly seem like larger, more powerful versions of orcs. Which I guess can be said about most gods. They are just larger more powerful versions of the people that worship them.

Vasser of Lizardmen is another good choice. Lesser God, chaotic evil, looks like a demon. The same is all true for Grudznar of the Kobolds and Barg of the Trolls. In fact, all three do feel very demon-like. The lack of proper stats are really the only thing keeping me from deciding a definitive yes or no. Barg though is such an interesting being in a demented sort of way. I wish I had knew of him during my Troll Week a while back.

I am not considering the Dragon gods. They are really their own thing and many listed here do not fit the idea of a demon well. Yeah...I know I have both Tiâmat and Leviathan as eodemons. Plus I mentioned Frafnog above as a potential demon.

Same with the Fey. They are really their own thing. Though in my personal campaign the Fey do war against the demons. So it could be possible a "fallen fey" is a demon (fits what history did to them in our world). Not an evil fey. A "good" faerie still has more in common with an evil faerie than they do a demon.

Flathin of the Sahuagin also is a good choice as a demon. If we take the myths of Flathin and his sister Trimon it could be that Flathin was "cast down" as the patron of mermen and now is the patron of their evil counterparts, the Sahuagin. He is a chaotic evil lesser god and looks like a giant octopus with 10 tentacles (a decapus?). He grants little to his followers, save for what they get at their religious/war ceremonies.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Gods & Legends
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Castles & Crusades Player Archive
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/29/2022 11:47:27

Originally posted here: http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/06/class-struggles-castles-crusades-core.html

The logical extension of the Castles & Crusades class discussion is to go through the Castles & Crusades Player Archive.

I will give a brief review of this book so people will know what I am talking about. For this review, I am only considering the PDF from DriveThruRPG. I thought I had the hardcover version of this as well, but I guess I don't. Will need to remedy this.

PDF, 128 pages. Hyperlinked and bookmarked. Color cover art and black & white interior art.

This book collects most of the classes published in various Castles & Crusades books including the core and the Adventure's Backpack. What is not here are some of the classes from the various Brian Young Codex books. There are some here, but I would have to go through all the books to know how many are here and how many are not. I do not see this a miss. Many of the Codex classes are very specific to their time and place and to remove them from that context they would loose something special.

This book covers the basic (levels 1 to 13) and advanced (expanded) information (levels 13 to 24) for all the classes. The classes are:

Arcane Thief, Archer, Assassin, Barbarian, Bard, Chromatic Mage, Cleric, Divine Knight, Druid, Duelist, Dwarf (Heisen Fodt), Elf, High (Oraalau), Ethereal Knight, Fighter, Foresworn, Gnome (Hugrin Dun), Goblin, Eldritch (Ieragon), Halfling (Felon Noch), Illusionist, Knight, Luminary, Magic-User, Monk, Oathsworn, Pacer, Paladin, Pirate, Primal Druid, Ranger, Rogue, Rune Mark, Seeker, Skald, Thief, Warrior Priest, and Wizard.

There is a split between the classes "Basic" entry which covers levels 1 to 12 or 13, and the Expanded entry later in the book for levels up to 24. This has some immediate consequences. While I am not a fan of my class information getting split up like this, many games only go to about levels 12-14 anyway. So this would cover the majority of all games played. It does give us a nice split today port these classes over to any OSR game based on B/X D&D (max level 14) or something Hyborea (max level 12). Then you can pull in the expanded information as it is needed if it is ever needed.

The Core/Players Handbook classes are here as are some classes that only appeared in limited-run products. It is really nice to have them all in one place. Great for anyone playing a C&C game, you just need to make sure that your Castle Keeper agrees on them.

Old School Games based on D&D usually do not handle multi- and dual-classes as well as say more modern versions of D&D. Castles & Crusades makes some vast improvements here with rules on this. They also add options of "Class Plus" or add some features from another class, Dual classing and Reclassing. What is missing here is the Class and Half from the Core Players Handbook. While anyone with this book will have the Players Handbook, it might have been nice to see here.

I mentioned in my coverage of the Adventurers Spellbook that the spells can be ported over to other D&D and D&D-like RPGs. In particular, I mentioned the Chromatic Mage being used in the OSR clone Chromatic Dungeons. The class is presented here in the Player's Archive. Yes, this class can be moved over rather easily, maybe even easier than moving it over to AD&D. Likewise nearly any class here can be used in AD&D or OSR clone. Want to play a Primal Druid in Old-School Essentials? No problem, they can be added with ease.

Note: Speaking of which the layout here aims to give each class a two- or four-page spread to keep referencing the classes easy to read and view at the table. The PDF then allows for ease printing of these classes. Playing a Warrior Priest and don't want to cart your hardcover around? Print pages 90 and 91 back to back and staple them to your character sheet. Everything you need. This does mean there is some unused white space after each class, but for me, this is well worth it.

With this book and the option within I could spend an entire month creating and posting characters and no two would even be remotely the same. A must-have for any Castles & Crusades fan.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Player Archive
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Castles & Crusades Adventurers Spellbook
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/28/2022 12:42:00

Originally posted here (with pictures and more details): https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/06/plays-well-with-others-castles-crusades.html

For the purposes of this review, I am considering both the PDF from DriveThruRPG and the hardcover I purchased from Troll Lords.

256 pages. Color cover, black & white interior art.

This book covers (mostly) the spells of the four major spell-casting classes in C&C; Cleric, Wizard, Druid, and Illusionist. There are also two new types of spell-casters in this book, Runic Magic and Chromatic Magic.

The vast bulk of this book is given over to the spells of four classes (170+ pages). The spells are listed by class and then the alphabetic description follows. Many of these are going to be familiar since they are pulled from various C&C books and the Player's Handbook in particular. This is not a bug, but a feature. I wanted a book that had all of these spells in one place and this is what they advertise it as.

There are minor typos here and there and the art is recycled, but none of that matters to me. I am here for the spells. Honestly, I have no idea how many spells are here but it has to be upwards of 1,000. For example, there are 379 Cleric spells (0 to 9th level), 366 Druid spells, 437 Wizard spells, 305 Illusionist spells, and over 200 rune magic spells. That's a lot of magic.

I mentioned Runic Magic a couple of times. Rune Magic. Anyone can use runic magic, but the character has to master the runes first via an attribute check, this also assumes they have the necessary codices needed in order to learn the runes.

The spells of the Chromatic Mage is also presented here. This class is detailed more in the Castles & Crusades Player Archive, which I will cover on that review.

If you are a fan of magic, spells or just have a desire to have a complete set then I would say pick this up.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Adventurers Spellbook
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Castles & Crusades -- Mystical Companions
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/27/2022 12:31:24

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/06/monstrous-mondays-mystical-companions.html

I have never hidden my love of Castles & Crusades and I would play a lot more of it if I could. It really does capture the feel of older D&D, maybe something of a Basic-era mixed with Advanced, through the lens of 3rd Edition. One really could consider it the evolution of AD&D2 into the new millennia.

This week I want to do more with Castles & Crusades, but I am going to do it from the point of view of some of my regular blog features. Today is Monday and that means Monstrous Mondays. So I am going to review and discuss the Castles & Crusades Mystical Companions book.

I can't believe that it has been three years (almost to the day) since I reviewed the 5th Edition version of this book. I had meant to do much sooner than this.

The Troll Lord's Mystical Companions is the update to their fantastic Book of Familiars. It comes in two flavors, A Castles & Crusades version, and a D&D 5th Edition version. I have both in digital and PDF formats, today I am going to focus solely on the Castles & Crusades version. Yes, they are in fact different enough that two separate reviews are really needed.

I was always going to use this book in my Magic School games, whether that game used an Old-School ruleset (like Castles & Crusades or OSE) or (now) D&D 5th Edition. I think that highly of it. Now it is something I am using as part of my War of the Witch Queens campaign where every character has an animal companion, pet, or familiar. My oldest kid has taken my 5th edition version and made it his own.

Mystical Companions for Castles & Crusades

For this review, I am considering both the PDF version from DriveThruRPG and the hardcover version I purchased from Troll Lord Games.

Hardcover book and PDF. 192 pages, full-color art by Jason Walton and Peter Bradley. PDF is bookmarked. This book is divided up into 12 chapters and 5 appendcies. Largely focusing on the various Castles & Crusades classes and their respective animal companions.

Chapter 1: Familiars and Companions

This gives us our basic overview of the book and the concepts of an animal companion in the Castles & Crusades game. Pro-tip. Even a casual read of the chapter titles should clue you in that if you wanted to use this with AD&D 1st ed you very easily could. There is also the notion that Animal Companions and Familiars, while similar and can perform similar roles and tasks are very different from each other.

On 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.

For ease, I am going to use"animal companion" for all cases unless a distinction needs to be made.

There is the concept here of Advantages, this allows the character to summon an animal companion. In truth, I think this works better in 5e than it does here, but I will explore this a bit more. Additionally, there are various Powers and Tricks animal companions can have or impart to their player characters.

Animal companions are all treated as other creatures from the beginning. They have HD, hp, AC and more scores.

Advantages are a new mechanic for C&C to allow them to take on various "powers" or "features." It was introduced in the Castle Keepers Guide as an optional rule, here it is required. It is, very simply put, a "Feat" system for C&C. That does not really describe it well enough, but it is close.

Different classes get new Advantages at different levels. Various abilities and powers of the animal companions are detailed here. Including what sort of special powers you can get by taking another animal companion/familar at higher levels.

If you are playing AD&D 1st Ed and really want to do familiars correctly then I highly recommend this book.

The following chapters each deal with the various C&C classes (and their AD&D counterparts in my readings) and their respective animal companions.

Chapter 2: Barbarian Familiars & Special Mounts

I don't recall Conan having a pet, but Cú Chulainn is known to have had some pet dogs. Since Barbarians feel closer to nature they have totem animals; an animal or creatures revered by their culture. This chapter covered these, and all the expected animals are here, but there are also totems for mammoths, displacer beasts, dire creatures of all sorts, and even small dragons.

Chapter 3: The Bard’s Familiar

Bards typically have familiars that aid in their singing or musical magics. Providing a number of powers to aid their abilities.

Chapter 4: The Cleric’s Familiar

These are not so much as animals and more attendant spirits. The least of the messengers of the cleric's god(s). Often they are here to provide the cleric guidance or omens. These creatures can, and often do, take on animal shapes. What that shape is depends largely on the cleric's domain.

Chapter 5:The Druid’s Familiar

Similar to both the Barbarian's and the Cleric's familiar. Here the deciding factor is the terrain/environment the druid is native to. There is a large sidebar/section on Druid Familiars vs Druid Animal Companions.

Chapter 6: The Fighter’s Familiar

This one seems a bit odd, but they do make a case for it. A good historical example might be the Mongolian fighters and their horses, or the hunting dogs of Celtic cultures.

Chapter 7: Monk Familiars

Again not one you normally think about. These seem to follow the same logic of the barbarian, but in stead of totem spirits they are manifestations of ancestor spirits. Think Mu-Shu from the animated Mulan.

Chapter 8: Paladin Special Mounts & Familiars

Paladins already get mounts. This extends that logic a bit more.

Chapter 9: The Ranger’s Familiar

Honestly, all Rangers should have an animal companion of some sort. This codifies it.

Besides. Every ranger needs a red panda familiar.

Chapter 10: The Rogue’s Familiar

Like the fighter, one does not normally associate Rogues/Thieves with animals, but honestly, it would be good. Think of Laurence Fishburne's character "The Bowery King" and his pigeons or D&D's own history of associating thieves with cats (the Grey Mouser from Lankhmar or Gord the Rogue).

Chapter 11: The Illusionist’s Familiar and Chapter 12: The Wizard’s Familiar

Putting these two together since they follow similar ideas. This is as close as we can get to the classic idea of a familiar. The natures of their familiars are different, which is great, it provides more distance between these two classes.

Appendix A: Animals

"Monster stats" for various (51) mundane animals.

Appendix B: New Monsters

Likewise, these are new monsters (36). Many are either familiars or creatures that feed on familiars.

Appendix C: New Spells

A bunch of new familiar summoning and related spells for all spell casting classes.

Appendix D: New Magic Items and Artifacts

Magic items to summon, control, or aid familiars and animal companions.

Appendix E: Dragon Riders

This last section covers a new class/path, the Dragon Riders, and how these rules are used for that class. 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.

Index

We end with a robust index and the OGL section.

Final Thoughts

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 Old-school games. My son uses it in the 5e games he has run so much that I have not seen my 5e version of this 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.

Use in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons

I am going to limit my thoughts here to AD&D 1st Ed. The only reason I am not considering 2nd Ed is that 2nd Edition has a skill system that should be incorporated with these rules a little more explicitly. For 1st Ed, I can see a craft DM using this book more or less as-is.

I know Troll Lords does not sell this book as an AD&D book. But anyone who is a fan of C&C is likely a fan of AD&D. (Although I should point out I talked to a couple of real hardcore C&C fans at Gary Con who had never played AD&D First Edition.) But in any case, this is a fantastic reference for the 1st edition all the same.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades -- Mystical Companions
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Castles & Crusades -- Tome of the Unclean
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/22/2022 12:58:08

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/03/review-tome-of-unclean-castles-crusades.html

I spent a lot of time with the Castles & Codex series and it was great fun. But there is another book that also works well with my universe building and it is not about the gods. Rather quite the opposite.

Tome of the Unclean

Back in October of 2017 Troll Lords launched their Tome of the Unclean Kickstarter. With the idea to bring demons, devils, and other fiends to the Castles & Crusades game. It would also work with Amazing Adventures (which is what I would end up doing later). I was immediately hooked and knew I needed this book.

Fast forward to 2019 I got my book in the mail and I had been picking up the PDFs (they released as they were completed starting in Jan 2018) all throughout.

I have just been really slow at getting my review up.

For this review, I am considering both the hardcover print version from the Kickstarter and the now final PDF from DriveThruRPG.

144 pages. Color covers, black & white interior art.

The book follows a format that is now common to many books about fiends. A part that deals with Demons and Lords of the Abyss. Another that covers Devils and the Legions of Hell. And a third, which often differs from book to book, covers other fiends of Gehenna and the Undead. Adding in the undead is a nice touch in my mind and a value add for the book.

Demons & Devils

This covers the basic differences and how these creatures fit into the World of Aihrde, the game world of Castles & Crusades. It also covers the basics of the monster stat block.

Lords of the Abyss

This is our section about Demons and the Abyss. It cleaves pretty close to the AD&D standard with what I often refer to as "the Usual Suspects," so all the "Type" demons and succubi. The new material here includes Abyssal Oases which are areas that are habitable by mortal-kind that seem to come up at random.

Covered here are also traits about the Abyss and powers and traits common to all demons.

The monsters are all alphabetical, so common demons are not separated from the lords. There are a few lords present. Demogorgon and Orcus return. But also Oozemandius (as a Juiblex stand-in) and Buer. Graz'zt is mentioned a few times, but no stats are given. There are 32 total demons with four as lords.

Legions of Hell

This section follows a pattern similar to the Demons one. The Hells are described, including the nine layers. They have some new names and some differences, but if you are wed to the Ed Greenwood Dragon articles about Hell then there is not a lot to convert here.

There are 53 devils, with 16 of these listed as unique Arch-Devils. There are more new devils here than there are new demons.

Gehenna

This is our "Neutral Evil" plane in the Great Wheel cosmology of the world of Aihrde, taking the place of Hades or the Grey Wastes from AD&D. This is home to the daemons. Like the previous chapters, this covers the features of the land and it's inhabitants. Reading through it is feels like equal parts of the Greek Hades and the Underworld of Kur in the Babylonian myths where Ereshkigal rules.

Only four deamons are detailed here, with one, Charon the Boatman, as the only unique member.

Undead

The name of the book is the Tome of the Unclean. While demons and devils take up the vast majority of the book there is still some space for the Undead.

18 undead creatures are detailed here, most of favorites (but creatures Vampires are missing) and some new ones.

Denizens. Fauna, & Flora

Covers various types of evil, non-fiendish, non-undead, monsters that can also be found.

We end with Aihrde specific information and our OGL page.

Tome of the Damned is a fantastic resource for anyone wanting more information on demons, devils, and their ilk for anyone playing Castles & Crusades. In fact, if you are playing C&C and want demons then this is a must-have book.

The advantage of Castles & Crusades is that it can be adapted to AD&D or any OSR game easily. So if you want more than what the Monster Manuals I & II can give you, then this book is also a good choice. I f you are playing AD&D 2nd ed then this book will fill in many of the gaps left by that game.

Now, I have an entire library of books dedicated to demons, devils, and all sorts of evil monsters. There were only a few things here actually new to me. But I still rather enjoyed this book quite a lot. It is a good addition to my Castles & Crusades library.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades -- Tome of the Unclean
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Castles & Crusades Codex Egyptium
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/18/2022 10:03:34

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/03/review-castles-crusades-codex-egyptium.html

Today I present the last (so far) of the Castles & Crusades mythological Codices. This one takes away from Europe and back further in time to antiquity. It was also one I was really, really looking forward to and I am not disappointed.

Castles & Crusades Codex Egyptium

Nothing gets people excited quite like Egypt. A kingdom that began at least in 3,100 BC to the time of the Romans, it has missing time where "nothing really happened" (according to one Prof. used to joke) that lasts longer than the entire history of the United States. It is an impressively long amount of time and even one that seems incalculable. There is the old saying. "Man fears time, but Time fears the Pyramids."

This codex takes on the "newer" Codex format. This is one makes the new format a little clearer. The "Chapters" covers history and mythology with some game material while the "Appendicies" are game material proper.

For this review I am considering the PDF from DriveThruRPG and the hardcover edition. Again our author and designer is Brian Young. Color covers, and black and white interior art.

Chapter 1 The Black Land Arose (Geography and Worlds)

This chapter begins with a basic map of the lands around the Nile and even up to the Mediterranean Sea and out East to the Fertile Crescent. This chapter covers the geography of these lands and a bit on the people. To call it brief is a massive understatement. We are talking about nearly 3,500 years of history and people and change. While the Egyptians were notoriously resistant to change and very xenophobic, there is still a glossing over of history here. Of course, this is again a gamebook and not a history text. No problem then, there is more to come.

Chapter 2 From Early Darkness (History and Mythic Background)

This covers the history, real and mythical, of the lands. This covers the stone age (Paleolithic) to all the Dynasties up to the Fall of Rome in terms of real-world history. The remaining covers the mythical history of Egyptian creation and gods.

Chapter 3 Presided over by the Divine (Gods, Goddesses and Supernatural Figures)

This chapter opens up with some spiritual concepts like priests, mummification, souls, and the afterlife. For the Egyptians, the afterlife WAS life. Everything they worked for the afterlife. The gods and their place in the afterlife is also discussed.

Chapter 4 Rife with Charms and Spells ( Magic in Egypt)

As with many ancient societies, magic was not "Supernatural" but a part of nature and that has never been more true than with Egypt. Various words of power are discussed and listed. Descriptions of the Egyptian "wizards."

Chapter 5 Neter and Netert - The Divine

Egypt is the land of Gods. Lots and lots of Gods. Here only some of the Gods are detailed. Since Egyptian history is so long that even the gods changed. There are 40 pages of gods here. Some are listed more than once as their roles changed over the centuries. Young has a Sisyphean task here, trying to catalog all the gods that Egpyt has had. Even if it not complete it is the most complete one I have seen in a game.

Chapter 6 Using Egyptian Mythology In Airhde

For the first time the Codex covers the Troll Lords' homeworld of Aihrde. Parallels are drawn between the gods of Aihrde and the gods of Egyptian. The advantage here, beyond the page, gives a nice mixing pot (Aihrde) that all the other Codices can be mixed.

Appendix A Names This covers names for all sorts of people, PCs, NPCs, Gods and more.

Appendix B Social Classes The various classes in ancient Egypt. Note that social class was ironclad; you didn't move around between them.

Appendix C Defended by Fierce Warriors (The Military and Soldiers) Covers the different sort of warriors. None are different from the Fighter game-wise, but there are a lot roleplaying ideas here.

Appendix D Chariots The high tech of the ancient world. It could not be understated that this was the implementate of war for the time.

Appendix E The Sphynx A little bit of background on the creature.

Appendix F Where Monsters And Demons Dwell The creatures of ancient Egypt. 25+ creatures here and each one is more interesting than the last to be honest. I am hesitant to say this is the best chapter, but it is really fun.

At the end is a really nice bonus map. The map is included with the PDF.

While there is a lot of information in this book, it still makes me want more. I have a feeling that to do this topic justice we would need a 500+ page book. I can't even begin to imagine what Young had to do to pare it down this much.

Eygpt is just so damn interesting. There is so much here to play with that my cup runneth over with ideas. I honestly don't even know where to even start to be honest.

With all of these Codecies, one would be tempted to combine them all. Build something akin to Lands of Adventure or Man, Myth, & Magic. While I could see this working somehow in Aihrde or a homebrew campaign, I would avoid it for a purely mythic Earth where I feel this would work best.

For my money and time, play these various codices in their own times and their own places. For me, that would be the best way to really get the feel for them. Nicely they are written in such a way to allow pretty much anything.

I understand that Dr. Young is working more of these. I am really looking forward to them!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Codex Egyptium
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Castles & Crusades Codex Celtarum 2nd Printing
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/17/2022 09:02:50

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/03/review-castles-crusades-codex-celtarum.html

If there was any doubt where Dr. Brian Young's true love lies in this series, the new second printing of the Codex Celtarum should dissolve those. This new book brings the original Codex in line with the other codies in terms of style and feel. This new book is also expanded to 256 pages, up from the previous 178 pages. It is without a doubt also my favorite of the codies.

Castles & Crusades Codex Celtarum, 2nd Printing

For this review, I am considering both he PDF and hardcover copies. 256 pages with color covers and black & white interior art.

The Codex Celtarum is written by Brian Young. He is a gamer and an academic in Celtic history and languages and an all-around nice guy. Honestly, he is the kind of person I want writing this sort of thing. You talk to him and get the feeling that he could immediately tell you a story from the Mabinogion and it would roll off his tongue like the bards of old. This is the guy you want working on your Celtic game.

Introduction

The first thing I noticed in his introduction was his acknowledgement of the differences in legend and in history and where he was putting his cards. For me, as someone that has had to have the same tug of war, the value of this book went up several degrees.

Before moving on to the book itself I spent a lot of time with Castles & Crusades again, this time from the point of view of a Celtic-themed game. Like the others in this series, it could be used with any D&D-like game. Now at this point it should be noted that the design of this book is to play in a Faery realm, so it is something you can drop into any game world. There are some game-based assumptions made, but nothing to keep you from making this your own.

This section also talks a bit about the changes from the 1st to 2nd printing.

Chapter 1: In Lands Far Away

This covers the lands of the Celts and how the Castles & Crusades player can drop their game into this world. The advantage here is this 2nd Edition does talk about how you can use the Codex Germanica along with this. This covers not just the expected British Isles, but all (mostly all) Celtic Europe.

Chapter 2: Mythical Locations

This brief chapter discusses mythical locations like Hyberborea and the Hercynian Forest. These lands were assumed to be real just "over there."

Chapter 3: Once Upon A Time

This chapter covers the history of the Celtic real-world universe including the various wars that happened at the dawn of time and various involved countries/lands in Europe.

Chapter 4: Otherworldly History

This is the "myth" part of the mytho-historical background of the Celts. It overlays the stories of the gods and other powerful beings on top of the history of the Celts. This chapter is rich in storytelling and follows a tale very familiar to me, but there are always new things to read and learn.

Splitting Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 into two separate and distinct chapters is good since for most books on the topic they are intertwined so much that it is hard to tease out the "myth" and the "history" from the mytho-historic events. Certainly one has had a profound effect on the other and I think Young demonstrates this well.

Also while I am 100% behind his enthusiasm here (and I share it) we have yet to see anything game-related and we are 75 pages in.

Chapter 5: The Otherworld of Faery

This chapter covers the various "otherworlds" (yes plural) of the lands of Faery. Usually tied to a physical location in the real world. It reads like an unreal Gazeteer of Europe to be honest, a mist-shrouded tour into a land that is similar but still very different. The faery lands don't have the same rules of nature as the mortal realms. So there are some tables about the odd passage of time or the nature of the land.

Chapter 6: There Lived a People

ALmost everything you want to know about the Faery races. This includes traits faeries can have and their weaknesses. This also includes a list of the giants of Wales.

Chapter 7: Great of Magic and Power

This details, what else, magic. If human wizards study magic and human priests pray for it then the Fae ARE magic. The distinction is not a subtle one. The magical powers here are listed as spells. So they can be used by the fae as if they were spells, but that robs them of what makes them so interesting. Instead, go with the suggestion in the book that each member of the fae gets a number of special powers based on their intelligence. And there are plenty of powers here! If you are anything like me and love magic, spells, or powers for characters then this chapter alone is worth the price of the book.

It is one of the largest chapters so far and has the most "game" material.

Chapter 8: With Great Gods and Lords

This covers the gods, demigods, and named faeries of the lands. There are no stats for these gods or heroes. Why? That is easy. They are not meant to be killed or even interacted with. They are the legends of this land. If you have any familiarity with the gods of Celtic myth and legend you can find them here.

Appendix A: The Druidic Order This covers the druid classes for Castles & Crusades within the Celtic world. There is the Druid (Wisdom), the Celtic Bard (Charisma), and the Druidic Seer (Wisdom).

Appendix B: The Secrets of the Druids This appendix covers the Ogham writing and runes.

Appendix C: Druidic Spells What is says, the spells the various druid classes can use.

At this point, I wonder if all three could not have been combined into one Appendix.

Appendix D: The Enchanted of Faerie. Here we get a nice discussion on Faery Metals and how they can be used. There is a list of divine items (artifacts in other games) listed by the owner; that's right the Gáe Bulga is not just lying around waiting for you to find it. No this +8 spear (!) is well in the hands of Cú Chulainn.

Appendix E: The Severed Head discusses the importance of taking the head of your enemy.

Appendix F: The Feast Hall details the Celtic hero's feast.

Appendix G: The Celtic Chariot. what it says on the tin.

Appendix H: The Celtic Warrior Society. Gives us a very brief overview of the importance of warriors and how they were organized. I wish this one had been much longer.

Appendix I: Accoutrements of War. Deals with the arms and armor of the celtic warrior.

Appendix J: Strong Feats and Deeds. Covers the tales of the heroes of the Celtic myths and legends.

Honestly, Appendices E to J should be combined into a chapter on Celtic Warriors. This is what the other Codices have done.

Appendix K: Holidays & their Customs.

Appendix L Celtic Themed Adventures.

Appendix M: Monsters

Also, this should have been a chapter. There are 30 pages of monsters here. Many are very familiar to me, but again are closer to their "roots."

Ok. So what can say here?

The book is fantastic and I loved every bit of it. BUT, I find the new organization of the 2nd Printing to be inferior to that of the 1st Printing. I felt some of the material could have been organized and combined a bit better. I still find it a delight to read, but is that due to this book or the subject matter?

Again, there is no doubt that Brian Young is not only an expert in this field, he also loves it. That enthusiasm shows and I am sure he could have written a book twice this size. I do love the expanded history and the raised importance of the continental Celts over the typically well-trodden lands of the Irish and British Celts. Looking over my review of the First Printing this is exactly one of the things I thought was missing from that version. Though some of the material from the first edition (some classes) are missing from this edition. I guess I should keep both on hand.

Still, if you are a fan of Celtic myth, Faery lore, or Castles & Crusades then I highly recommend this book. Even if you don't play C&C, I would get this book.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Codex Celtarum 2nd Printing
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Castles & Crusades Codex Slavorum
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/16/2022 10:13:47

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/03/review-castles-crusades-codex-slavorum.html

Coming up on some myths I know the least about and maybe the most excited to read. There is a lot of great stories I have read and watched over the years. What I like, so far, is that these are mostly new stories to me. Well. Not entirely new. I have been using Baba Yaga for years and my first published Ghosts of Albion adventure deals with Chernbog (Czernobog in this book).

So let's instead say I am less familiar with all of these.

Castles & Crusades Codex Slavorum

For this review, I am considering the PDF and hardcover book. The book is 94 pages. Color covers, black & white art. Written once again by Brian Young. He doesn't say it in the books, but it is Brian N. Young, Ph.D. He worked hard and earned his degree and it should be recognized.

Chapter 1: In Bygone Years

Like the previous volumes, this chapter covers both the real-world history and the myths of the area. The area in question surrounds the Black Sea in Eastern Europe.

We get some pre-history, but the people we call the Slavs will get their start in this volume with Byzantine Empire. The time period here is parallel to both the Germanica and Nodica books.

The myths of the area are all new to me and while Young (the author) does a good job in his summary, it leaves me wanting to seek out more. I suppose that is the point right?

Chapter 2: The Whole World & That Which is Beyond

This goes into detail about the lands of the Slavs and these myths. I have now gone through five of these Codecies and I am thinking that a Castles & Crusades game in Mythic Earth is a great idea. There is a nice map of the Slavic Kingdoms.

The second half of this covers the mythic lands of the Slavs; the three worlds. Like the Norse, these are placed on the World Tree, the Drugi Svet. Young even mentions that combination is possible but does not (correctly) tell you how since it would depend on YOUR world. The three worlds are Parv (or Iriy or Vyrjy), the realms of light, the lands of summer, and the home of the Gods. Lav (or Yav) is the middle realm of men, and Nav the Underworld. Here Czernobog becomes the Devil-like figure. Indeed it might be hard to tease out what is Czernobog and what is "Lucifer" in modern depictions of "the Devil." Svarog is our creator deity of light.

In a case of supporting my "One Man's God" series, there is Peklo, the Abyss, which is the home of various demons. Demons it seems very much in the AD&D mindset.

There are more lands and frankly, the more I read the more I want to use all of this in a game.

Chapter 3: Did Dwell Many Peoples

Our monster chapter. Monsters are "false creations" (my words, not so much Young's) of Czernobog. And there are some GREAT monsters here. Nearly 50 monsters here. Some are familiar to any D&D players, but many are new to *D&D games or at least in this form.

There are a couple new "races" that characters can be. The Zmajevit, or the "Dragon born" are humans with dragon blood in them. The Zduhac, or the Elemenatal ones, are elemental influenced humans.

There is also a new class here, the Vampirdzhija or the Vampire Hunter. This is a Wisdom-based class. Essentially the Vampire Slayer of the Slavic cultures.

Chapter 4: Filled with Great Magic

Another favorite section this one covers magic and new magic-using classes. The Kolduny is a new type of wizard that is Wisdom-based. The Molfar is the Slavic shaman, also Wisdom-based.

There are a few names mentioned for other types of spell casters. These are just names for other types, but do not have their own class per se.

Chapter 5: Of Mighty Gods and Spirits

This chapter takes the myths and reshapes them into something that can be used with Castles & Crusades but of course any other game. And there are a lot of gods here! Some are familiar to me, but most are brand new.

There is some text on the pagan religions of the Slavs and their practices.

Chapter 6: Battle Strong and Heroic

This is typically the "fighters" chapter. This one covers the weapons used by the Slavs and mentions of the heroes and groups of heroes of their tales.

Chapter 7: Castle Keeper Info

This is the GM's or Castle Keeper's information on running a game using these rules. Like the others in this series, this includes names and the various laws of the lands.

More so than the other books this one left me wanting more. This is a good thing and not a fault of the book. It is due to my own unfamiliarity with these myths and stories. It would work well with the Germanic and Nordic books for greater world-building. Now I want books like this for all the big myths of the world.

Codex Europa Maybe one for Spain and Al-Andalus should be next? What do you think Dr. Young?



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Codex Slavorum
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Castles & Crusades Codex Germania
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/15/2022 10:04:35

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/03/review-castles-crusades-codex-germania.html

Today I am going further south and a little more back in time. Related to the Nordic myths and tales are the older Germanic ones. Given the connections between the two, I am going to have to point out the differences and commonalities.

Castles & Crusades Codex Germania

For this book, I am reviewing the PDF and hardcover edition of this book. This book has 110 pages, so slightly smaller than the other codices. Like a lot of Castles & Crusades books, the art here is from Peter Bradley. Once again Brian Young is our author and designer. Young also spends some time comparing the Germanic and Nordic myths and tales.

These myths come from central Europe and begin as early as the 1st century BCE right on up to the time of the Vikings.

Chapter 1: In Ancient Tales

Like the previous books, this chapter covers the history of the Germanic peoples as well as a brief bit on their legends and stories. Like the Nordic (or to the point the Nordic myths are like these) we get an origin story about Giants and three Gods. Young takes pains to differentiate these myths from the Norse and talks about the shortcomings of the source material. Here we see the first comparisons between Woden and Odin.

Chapter 2: Of Germania & Beyond

This chapter covers the Germanic lands. Now to assume there is only one Germany is a huge mistake and one that Young deftly avoids. There are lots of lands here and lots of peoples dating back to the height of the Roman Empire to it's fall. It is helpful to consult the map or hit up various maps online.

Chapter 3: Magical Beings & Monsters Dwelled

Once again we have a chapter on monsters and it is a real collection of gems. Here are 40+ monsters. All are a little bit familiar to any D&D players, but these harken back to their "original" forms so great for players that have "seen everything."

The monsters are of course enough on their own, but there is a nice section here on the complexities of the Germanic dragons. Essentially if you ever have read about the dragon Fafnir, then you have an idea of what this is about. Honestly, this is something that all dragons should have or at least the really interesting ones. Speaking of the interesting dragons, there are also tables to determine what a unique dragon's name would be.

Chapter 4: In Wizardry & Enchantments

Here we get some new magic-using classes. There is the Halirúna, or the Dark Witch (Intelligence-based) which I absolutely love, the Erilaz, or the Rune Master (Wisdom-based) which also has runic magic (like the Nordic book), and the Gudja. or People of the Gods, the clerics for this setting.

Magic is not a "supernatural" force here, but rather a natural one; THE natural one to be honest. This chapter uses magic as a means of connecting the people to the gods. Which are coming up next.

Chapter 5: To Serve the Gods

This chapter covers the gods and discusses the overlap between these cultures and the Nordic. Young points out that due to the Roman Empire the gods and myths of the Germanic pagans are a bit better documented than that of the neighboring Celts. Among these gods it is likely that Woden (Odin) and Þūnor (Thor). Again there are no stats for gods here (as it should be).

The chapter also details Germanic pagan beliefs and practices.

Chapter 6: Skilled in Battlecraft

Warriors are still one of the highest castes in the life of the Germanic peoples. This chapter gives us information on arms and armor used. How retainers were used and honored, and other topics on warcraft, including special unique weapons.

The new class, the Drachentöten (lit. "Dragon Killer") is a Dexterity-based class.

Chapter 7: Castle Keeper Info

Like the other codices, this covers running a Castles & Crusades game with this worldview. The importance of the king and lawgivers are established and explained.

The common folk are not forgotten and details like the importance of names (and many tables of names) are detailed.

Chapter 8: Sample Adventure Module

The sample adventure, "The Monster of the Fens," is given. It reminds me, naturally enough, of Beowulf. The adventure takes place in East Anglia so Young states that it can be integrated with the Codex Celtarum. The adventure is for 2 to 4 characters of 3rd to 4th level.

It is a fun little adventure and reminds GM/Castle Keepers that even a "simple" monster like a Troll would be a menace to the folks of pagan Germanic lands. Indeed, much like Beowulf shows.

The temptation is great to compare this to the Codex Nordica and also to find it lacking. This temptation must be avoided! The Codex Germanica is its own thing. While the myths and stories will feel familiar to the more popular Norse myths, they are their own, situated within their own time and place. These myths feel older and darker in many respects. In many ways, I like these myths and tales a little more than those of the Norse.

Again, this book is light on actual rules details, save for the classes, so it is an excellent resource for any RPG. Converting it over to AD&D, D&D 5, or your favorite OSR-Clone would be trivial at worst. Of course it is designed for Castles & Crusades which is fantastic in it's own right.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Codex Germania
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Castles & Crusades Codex Nordica
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/14/2022 10:23:49

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/03/review-castles-crusades-codex-nordica.html

The Castles & Crusades Codecies series are great books to add some flavor and history to your game. While overtly for the Castles & Crusades game they can be used by nearly any game. The Codex Nordica is another I was looking forward to getting and it did not disappoint. Norse myths are among my favorites, right behind the Greek and Celtic myths.

Castles & Crusades Codex Nordica

For this book, I am reviewing the PDF and hardcover edition of this book.

The book 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.

Norse myths are some of my favorites and rarely have they been more in vogue. Young makes it clear that this book is a game guide to myths, legends, and history of the Swedish, Danes, Norse, and the other peoples of Scandinavia and not a full recounting of history, myths, and/or legends.

Chapter 1: History & Cosmology

This chapter gives us both the real-world historical background of the lands and the people of the area. This also covers the basic myths. It will not replace a history text or a book on Norse Mythology, but it is a great overview for a gamebook. This book is likely better researched than most game accessories you will find.

Chapter 2: The Nine Worlds

This takes the material from the previous chapter and some more to build on a game world of the Nine Worlds of Norse myths and how they could work in Castles & Crusades. Each world is covered, in as much detail as can be provided, which also includes what random creatures can be found. My favorite bits are the two maps that include the Viking colonies and migrations across Europe.

Chapter 3: Magical Beings & Monsters

I would be tempted to say that this chapter is worth the price of the book alone, but while this is true there is a lot of great stuff in this book. But seriously this chapter is a lot of fun. There are nearly 40 creatures of varying degrees of familiarity to D&D/C&C players. Some are new enough to be quite fun. Since the format is for Castles & Crusades they can be easily converted to AD&D, D&D5, or any OSR game of your choice.

Chapter 4: Wizardry & Enchantments

This chapter is the most "Norse" of all of the ones in the book if I may be so forward. It covers magic in its Nordic version or Seiðr. Since war is the realm of men, magic belongs to women. There are two new character classes, the Seiðkona, an Intelligence-based sorceress or more accurately, a "Magic-user" and the Völva or Vǫlva, a Charisma-based prophetess who is quite similar to the notions of a "Witch."

The Seiðkona uses Intelligence as her primary ability and casts the same spells and magic as the Wizard does. If she had used Charisma, I would naturally compare her to the Sorcerer of D&D3/5. Though given her role, Intelligence (or maybe even Wisdom) is the proper choice here. This is a class that is very much part of the mythology of the world she is in. She has access to the Wizard's spell list in C&C.

There is also the Völva, which is the clerical counterpart to the Seiðkona. This class also serves the role of a priestess and uses a distaff. Her gift is divination and prophecy. So by means of a rough comparison, she is more similar to the Oracle class in Pathfinder. She uses the Cleric's spell list until 5th level and then can split between Divine and Arcane magic.

Also, this chapter covers the runic magic system from this world. The runes are used along with the traditional magic powers (aka Spells).

Chapter 5: The Gods and Giants

This chapter covers the gods of the Nordic lands as well their primary adversaries the Giants. Here are names that will be familiar to nearly everyone who has ever played D&D or even watched a "Thor" movie or A&E's/AAmazon's "Vikings." There are similarities with the names found in the Deities & Demigods, but enough differences that readers should be sure to attend to the details.

Here the tale is more on the side of myth and legend rather than history. We learn of the Æsir and the Vanir; the gods and goddesses of the Nordic people. Also covered here in more detail than other gamebooks are the Giants and "other evil beings" spelling out the role Giants have in this mythology. They are more akin to the Titans of Greek or even the demons of other myths. You will not find stat blocks here though. Gods are not "epic-level monsters" to be fought; least of all by the likes of player characters.

Chapter 6: Warriors & Battlecraft

Magic and gods are great, but the world is made of warriors. This chapter covers the various warrior types and additions to the basic fighter of Castles & Crusades. The "upgraded" fighter includes basic warriors, elite warriors, and shield maidens. New classes include the Berserker, who is a Charisma-based fighter, and the Giant Killers (more traditionally Strength-based).

There are some details on fighting styles and weapons unique to this area as well.

Chapter 7: Castle Keeper Info

This chapter details running a Castles & Crusades game in the Nordic lands during the time of these myths and stories; aka the Viking Age. Here you can learn about society, laws, and the people that make it work. Of course, sea voyages are covered and various types of boats were used.

There is a section on poets and Kennings. It makes me wish they had included more for Bards here other than a brief mention that Skalds are Bards. But I guess this works. Names and their importance is covered with examples.

Most importantly there is a section on the Eddas (Prose and Poetic) and how they can be adapted to a game.

Chapter 8: The Precious Works

"The dwarves of lore made mighty spells" Tolkien told us in The Hobbit, but the dwarves he was thinking about likely were the Sons of ĺvaldi rather than the Children of Durin. Here we learn of the great magical artifacts of the Nordic myths including Gundnir, Skidbladnir, Draupnir, and Mjölnir.

Save for monsters and classes, the vast majority of this book is fairly neutral in terms of game rules. What does that mean? It means that you could easily use this book with AD&D, D&D 3 or 5, or an OSR game of choice. Of course, it works the best with Castles & Crusades, but the book is such a good resource I would hate to see it missed by people that do not play C&C.

Brian Young has a unique combination of Ph.D. level research and game design and writing credit to bring a series like this to life and make you want to play exclusively in the world he describes. Many have tried over the years, but I feel he has achieved the rare success of balancing the needs of mythological research and game design.

I highly recommend this book for anyone that wants to add a little bit of Norse myth to their games. And really who wouldn't?



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Codex Nordica
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Castles & Crusades Players Handbook 8th Printing
by Shane S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/07/2022 07:12:23

Troll Lord Games knocked it out of the park on this 8th printing of the Players Handbook!

Game-wise, there is nothing new here; however, they have made the decision to move the higher level (12+) class information out of the Castlekeepers Guide and into the Players Handbook. This is a good move, even though I will never use this material, it is the right place for it to reside. I believe there is also a slight tweak to the way grappling works, some minor edits to spells (e.g., the 0-level cantrip First Aid now heals 1 hit point, etc.), but the content is basically the same as it has been for several years.

There is also new art, most noticeably a tribute cover which should be immediately recognizable to fans of the world's oldest roleplaying game. Inside, you will also find nice new art pieces for each class.

For my money, where this book really stands out from previous printings is in its layout and organization. A couple of key improvements: the book contains color tabs denoting chapters, tabular class information is now included in the beginning of the class write-ups (and not confusingly bookended at the back), and there is a solid index.

All this said, this is a great product for longtime C&C fans and those looking to check out a fantastic old school-inspired game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Players Handbook 8th Printing
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Adventurers Backpacks Equipment Cards
by Jareth J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/04/2022 21:31:25

These are cards are amazing. thirty some odd unique backpacks that are great for players to use as a gear refference, or for a Dungeon/Game Master to use as loot off a corpse they hadn't planned on dying (Murder Hobos, am-i-right?).

I don't even know where to begin with everything good and great about these cards, so lets start with the foreknowledge that these aren't meant for any specific game mechanism so if your playing Pathfinder or D&D, you will have to houserule how some of these work, but thankfully its all pretty self explanitory.

Each bag has this quick release mechanism. so each of these bags have a Quick release clasp on them that lets you drop the bag over the course of 1 second on a Dexterity check of DC10, otherwise it takes three seconds. to me this means if you make the check its a free action, otherwise it's your character's interaction. and i find that mechanic to be something people don't really think about, cause normally, in reality that is, you'd have to stow your pack somewhere and reclaim it later otherwise the weight and bulk would throw off your fighting giving your enemy an advantage. its not something everyone would even use but its nice to see it thought about in this.

On that note, i like that each bag has a listed weight and cost. I play with encumbrance and its always good to see someone putting thought into the weight, capacity, and cost of things like bags and kits.

A lot of these have tons of small items that are great for their situations, as you'd expect, things like files and strings for mending, or oil and lanterns for exploration. you can use alot of these items in interesting way, bringing a lot of small mechanisms and fuel for ideas.

Each of these cards are also assosiated with a standard deck of cards' suit and rank in case all your players cancel and you need to play some solitare, or ya know, any kind of system that might require drawing a standard card.

All in all i really like these and hope they do a sequel, maybe like various tool kits; thieves' tools, cartography packs, brewer's kits, tanner's gear, and the like.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adventurers Backpacks Equipment Cards
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Castles & Crusades Players Handbook 7th Printing
by Eugene S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/19/2021 19:55:29

I feel conflicted in writing this, but it has to be said. On the one hand C&C is a great game. It's well thought out and take the essesne of 1st ed D&D and makes it something next step. BUT there comes a time when a facelift is needed for all rpgs. Troll Lord has tried to do this - as cheaply as possible- and it shows. They have "colorized" the book but it's done in such a garish manner that makes it all but impossible to read in some places and in others the choice of color palaette is horrible. Also, and C&C is not the only one guilty of this (looking at you Swords and Wizardry) but the text needs a new face lift also.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Players Handbook 7th Printing
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

The Starship Warden
by Christopher J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/31/2021 11:43:44

This is a great trip down memory lane: wolfoids, hawkoids, cougaroids...and some new stuff. It contains pretty much all the old Metamorphosis Alpha rules that I recall and the "dungeon" has a very old-school feel. It is perfect for nostalgia buffs. Honestly though...I'm glad I only paid $20 for it. It really takes me back to playing MA in the 70's - when we spent hours wandering the Warden slaying monsters, acquiring mutations, and powering up our plasma rifles. A lot of work went into populating this dungeon with hordes of monsters, I applaud that. And if that is what you are looking for the Starship Warden has it in spades. Don't seek here for anything deeper.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Starship Warden
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Castles & Crusades The Adventurers Backpack
by Jeremy C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/01/2020 14:51:42

This is a brilliant product. I love the idea of pre-equipped packages. I think it is awesome!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades The Adventurers Backpack
Click to show product description

Add to DriveThruRPG.com Order

Displaying 1 to 15 (of 321 reviews) Result Pages:  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 ...  [Next >>] 
0 items
 Hottest Titles
 Gift Certificates