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Supplement 9: Campaign Guide
by John W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/11/2012 23:06:53
The Campaign Guide is, in my opinion, a lot of fun – it offers a long series of tables and suggestions for how to create a campaign (or a scenario or some other shorter section of action) by rolling on as many tables as might be desired. So, one might roll for a life event, then a patron roll, then a space flight event, then a planetary roll, a return spaceflight event, a home planet event and so forth. In each case, the roll provides an option which can then be implemented by the referee according to the specific makeup of the party.

Of course, this will not suit everyone: some people do not want tables of this sort but would prefer to use their own ideas; others will complain if this or that table or this or that result is not quite what the people involved want them to be. This is normal enough – I myself thought some of the events were a little too cinematic for the experience I want to have (e.g. passengers on a ship turn out to be devil-worshippers who aim to capture and eat everyone; characters suddenly taken over by alien parasites and so forth) but in that case I would simply roll again or substitute results of my own.

The best way to use this guide, then, is probably to use it either as a spur to invention or else, as the Guide itself recommends, as a means of generating automatic or semi-automatic campaigns. In that context, referees can choose some or all of the tables to help define events. It is not as if we are unfamiliar with looking up things in tables when playing Traveller and then interpreting the results.

I did not find the mistakes and errors pointed out by a previous reviewer.

The Guide occupies a halfway position between normal play and the solo supplement that we have had dangled before our eyes by Mongoose schedule for release some time later this year. The experience of Traveller, especially for the solo player, involves pursuing a number of sub-systems and it should be quite possible to link these together in some sort of coherent way. Players with imagination and time can do this for themselves in any case; those lacking either or both would welcome some guidelines that would link (for example), character generation with the finding of a merc ticket and then resolving the military action involved. I remember a story from Baxter’s Xeelee sequence (if memory serves) in which generations of young people are born on a moon on which they are destined to be thrown into the war and almost certainly slaughtered in scenes reminiscent of the worst excesses of the First World War. That would be a setting that could be used to support solo play: as characters are generated, they are tested out for different parts of the military service (through participating in missions) and build up to the big one when they go over the top. That would provide several hours of entertainment and, for me, that would be practical and well worth playing.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Supplement 9: Campaign Guide
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Vikings of Legend
by Ed B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/07/2012 23:10:32
I ordered this more to use as a handy research guide on the Vikings (in addition to other research materials) rather than with any specific gaming in mind. I found the book to be well-researched and surprisingly well detailed; the historical section is excellent, and most of the gaming ideas spring directly from the real culture. I particularly liked the separation of suggestions for uses in campaigns that were more historically bent or fantastically bent. While most of the non-gaming materials is available elsewhere (much of it free), this book saves you hours of time tracking it down, and the gaming material is both inventive and representative of the Viking culture of the period. This book gathers a lot of information between its covers, and I would recommend it for anyone doing a Northmen/Viking based campaign as well as anyone interested in the period who's interested in an informative primer. Well done!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vikings of Legend
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Armageddon 2089 Main Rulebook
by Carl A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/05/2012 18:45:14
I just started looking through the PDF and the text is very unusually difficult to make out against the background used. I'm not the kind of person who normally cares about fonts, but the one chosen is too thin for the background image used. It needs to be on a different background, maybe with the area the text is at screened at 50% opacity or something. I was hoping it was just the first few pages, but the whole book is like this. I'm glad I only paid $5.99, because any more and I'd demand a refund (first time ever on Drivethrurpg, too). I'm not sure I'll ever be able to read the rules enough to really decide if they are good or not, which is unfortunate, because the setting sounds good. Maybe if there was a printer friendly version without the background.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Armageddon 2089 Main Rulebook
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Legend
by Egil G. B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/30/2012 13:17:19
I give this a 5 star review, because I liked the original system (RuneQuest 2) and this looks like a version that has been improved for use with ebook-format.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legend
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Legend
by Samuel B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/25/2012 03:17:31
I had played RQ somewhere along the line but no so I'd remember it.

I am fairly new to GMing so am on the lookout for decent games to sink my teeth into. For only 66 pence ($1) I bought Legend and read it through. I have now set up a game, two of my three players have generated characters and soon we will be ready to go.

The rules need a certain amount of house-rules, but the book even says this is acceptable as Legend is rules only without setting so it can be bent and warped to your own needs.

I have the dead-tree version being delivered sometime soon too.

This is totally worth buying, and a great system to play with. Buy!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
2300AD Core Rulebook Revised
by Billiam B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/24/2012 20:44:32
I am really grateful for seeing the 2300AD source book, as it reminds me of a campaign setting which I used to think was excellent, whilst being visualised through the prism of the today's Traveller rules.

For Mongoose to fuse original (old-school) far-future Traveller with it's broad Foundation style brush strokes, with this, Earth's hands-on tentative steps into space, employing chunky, clunky gadgets and tank armour, seems, at first glance, almost heretical! Hats off to Mongoose for bravery.

One thing that Mongoose 2300AD does do well, is that it provides planet maps. Ace! The colony planets feel like solid, real places.

The addition of DNA modifications as a norm seems a little unnecessary, but this is tied up with the bio-tech Pentapods' contact with humanity, which just about works.

Where are the gun pictures? Surely the look and feel of the equipment is really important to distinguish this source book from the main Traveller setting? The descriptions are there, but show us some eye candy! ;) Otherwise the presentation is very good.

As a sourcebook for today's gamer, the potential for the 2300AD setting is HUGE, the supposedly gritty feel on the broad backdrop of newly settled worlds will make for a great campaign - and many styles of game are possible from espionage to battlefield war. Its whopping 312 pages are packed with background information and game material.

Even in the bundle this still feels a little pricey, one would hope that PDFs would be considerably cheaper than their printed-and-bound versions - or at least it would be good to have a deal which combines both.

General note: 2300AD is implicit in its need of the Traveller Core Rulebook. The introduction also suggests that Supplement 5: Vehicles and 6: High Guard "would also be useful".

In summary, 2300AD it's a bumper book with plenty of details about many of the colonies and enclaves in the 2300AD near-star sphere. How this fits with Mongoose's Traveller will be up to individual players to interpret. The good news is that if Mongoose Publishing don't produce more 2300AD products that there's the so many older GDW T2300/2300AD products out which can be "mined" for ideas.

-Billiam B.
http://bit.ly/rpgblog2300AD

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
2300AD Core Rulebook Revised
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Campaign 1: Secrets of the Ancients
by Jeffrey V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/24/2012 12:08:22
I haven't played Traveller in years, but this is an intriguing thing that RPG Now and the folks who make Traveller did -- offer a campaign setting for free! SOTA is based on an old "classic" Traveller supplement (oddly enough, also called "Secrets of the Ancients" :-) ), though in that case it wasn't a full-blown campaign so much as a small area adventure (like some of the old AD&D modules). This one presents a full up campaign similar to the kinds of things offered for Call of Cthulhu. There are a series of adventures the characters work through, learning more about what's REALLY going on in known space each step of the way, until, at the climax, they get the big reveal. It looks pretty well paced, with enough information to keep them involved and lead them to the next adventure, and even a few red herrings thrown in for fun (which could be parleyed by a witty GM into side adventures of their own), however the adventure is pretty linear and tends to force the players down a specific path to resolution. Again, a witty GM could probably overcome that and provide more links and options between the sub-adventures to allow the players to navigate a bit more freely between them, but given the steadily escalating nature of the events and opponents (always a problem with games that have "levels" for their characters), that may not be really desirable. Still, for the price, it's a great set-up and provides everything the GM and players need to start adventuring in the galaxy of Traveller; I highly recommend it. The production values are high, and there's plenty of material here for the players and the GM to mull over and digest. Even though it's offered for free, the designers didn't skimp on it at all. Based on the price alone, I'd probably give it a "four" or "five," but given the high production and design values and the price, this one really earns a "six!"

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Campaign 1: Secrets of the Ancients
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Supplement 12: Dynasty
by chris m. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/23/2012 17:21:47
An awesome dynastic game, its a completely independent game that seamlessly includes rules for players creating their own dynasty. worth every penny!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Supplement 12: Dynasty
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Mr Bubbles
by scott s. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/23/2012 15:27:52
While some of its humor will probably miss because of slightly dated jokes about Spam, this is still a great adventure. I haven't run it yet, but just reading through it made me laugh at the crazy scenarios inside. Which is a pretty good sign that'll it will be fun to run for both the DM and players.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mr Bubbles
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2300AD Core Rulebook Revised
by Sam L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/23/2012 12:59:28
SUMMARY
A respectable update to a classic hard sci-fi setting. What it lacks in nitty-gritty details in some areas it makes up for breadth of coverage.

THE BAD NEWS FIRST
If you're looking for a lavishly-illustrated book like the original, you're going to be very disappointed with this. Art is sparse in here, although generally pretty decent. This book favors density of information over artistic beauty, and it covers a LOT of ground in its 314 pages.

There's a couple of editing & formatting errors. A half-page is blank where I'm guessing they intended to put a picture but changed their minds at the last minute. Some of the tables are a little hard to read at first. A couple of the nation profiles in the core worlds have the wrong population digit, and Tirane is lacking its UWP. These last issues are pretty easy to get the right numbers when you read the description. Tirane, for instance, is pretty much Earth's twin with interface A, and probably one digit lower for population & law level.


THE SETTING
I'd describe 2300ad as a mildly dystopian, hard-sci-fi setting in the tradition of movies like Alien, Outland, or Gattaca. In Traveller terms, it's roughly Tech Level 12, with some areas like genetic engineering as high as Tech Level 16. However, there are a number of Traveller-standbys that don't exist: reactionless maneuver drives, jump drive, gravity control and antigravity vehicles, and meson guns & communicators.

Many current nations still exist, albeit in different forms or with different roles. Peculiarities of the stuttewarp drive (which acts like an STL or an FTL drive depending on how deep in a star's gravity well the craft is) have limited exploration along three "arms" of local space, named for the dominant power in each: American, Chinese, & French. France is the aging superpower if 2300ad, with China (specifically Manchuria) a close second and a resurgent America trailing behind. About 30 worlds have colonies, and there almost as many outposts. Some potential new colony worlds are also detailed.

There are 5 alien species, ranging from the nearly human (but almost religously technocratic) Sung to the Petapods (who treat DNA like tinkertoys). Only the most recently encountered species, the insect-like Kaefers ("Bugs" in German), has proven a genuine threat to human dominance of the 50 or so light-year spehere of human exploration.




GAME RULES
2300ad uses rules from the Core Rulebook, High-Guard, Central Supply Catalog, & the new Vehicle Handbook. However, all the relevant non-Core rules are repeated here for your convenience.

Character creation has some significant differences: the card-deck based character motivations are ported from the original GDW game, and there's a whole system of character traits similar to the alien species traits in the core rulebook.

Characters have to pick a nationality, and if they're from one of the frontier worlds they will also have a DNA modification. The character traits may grant bonuses or penalties (sometimes both), and add an additional layer of depth to characters.

There's also more detailed rules for operating in different gravities from your home world: these are modifications to characteristics. There's also rules to acclimating to different planetary environments (Planetary Adaptation Syndrome).

Not only does the book include NPC stats, but there's a system for generating quick NPC's for any occasion.

Starship construction & combat are re-vamped. Construction is generally similar, with more options available than traditional Mongoose-Traveller ships.

Space combat in 2300ad is very different than standard Traveller: I would compare it more to submarine warfare than age-of-sail gun battles. The dominant weapons are missiles: which in 2300ad work more like kamikaze drones than fire & forget weapons. Finding the general location of an enemy ship is easy (there is no stealth in space), but getting a firing solution on a rapidly-moving stutterwarp ship can be tricky. If your ship doesn't have a good enough sensors package, you may literally end up just shooting in the dark.


COMPARISONS TO THE ORIGINAL
The setting's background has been tweaked: the "bad things" are moved up from the late 1990's to the mid-21st century. Dates & details are left deliberately vague, explained by a combination of loss of records, social taboos, and government suppression.

Technology has been re-worked slightly, there's some mild transhumanist elements, and there's explanations of why AI hasn't become more commonplace. Computers & related technologies have been updated to be more plausible.

Overall the equipment selection is very good: there's a wide range of gear available for exploration or military-style adventuring. While fans of "gun porn" might be disappointed with the lack of illustrations, there's ample description: the new version has 48 varieties of personally-carried mayhem, to the original's 37. Most, if not all of the favorites from the original Adventurer's guide show up, plus several others only seen in supplements.

Fewer starships are listed, although there's at least one of each type in the book: a fighter, an exploratory ship, a frigate, a cruiser, a courier, and a bulk freighter as well as a variety of interface craft. Unlike the previous version, there's an official deck plan for every one.

"Libertine Traders" are a change from the "all starships are owned by transnationals, big foundations, or governments" paradigm of the original. The Libertines remind me vaguely of the merchanters of CJ Cherry's Alliance-Union novels: fiercely independent, and often times somewhat shady.

Much has been made about the lack of Kaefer stats & gear. I actually see this as a feature & not a bug (!). In many respects, the original setting was marred by the dominance of the Kaefer War: GDW seemed to be in a bit of a rut, and much of 2300ad turned into Twilight: 2000 in space with NATO fighting the bugs instead of communists.

In the new version, you can't go bug-hunting right away. You CAN do just about anything else, however: you can run a Firefly-esque game with a Libertine family or a group of troubleshooters in a courier, play (or chase) pirates in a frigate, run cyberpunk or Minority Report adventures in the core, or contend with the harsh realities of colony life on the Frontier. Or you can try exploring some of the potential new colony worlds listed in the book.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
2300AD Core Rulebook Revised
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2300AD Core Rulebook Revised
by Christopher D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/23/2012 06:01:55
First Impressions
2300 AD is an impressive 312 page book with a color cover and black and white interior illustrations.
2300 AD is a campaign source book for Traveller and you will need the core rules from Mongoose to make use of it. If you intend to design Vehicles you will need the vehicles book but for spaceships you just need the core book. You do not require any of the previous incarnations of 2300 to provide background.

What’s in the book
The book contains an overview of the setting, setting specific rules and setting specific equipment ranging from starships to portable shelters.
The setting information covers Earth, its nations and extra-solar colonies giving a potted overview of each along with planetary maps of all the habitable planets that humans have visited. There is also the story of how earth has developed over the 300 years between now and 2300 AD, starting with the deliberately vague “twilight war” that almost destroyed civilization at the start of the 21st century.
Character generation rules are based on core Traveller careers with fairly minor modifications except that the Citizen career is completely replaced, some changes, such as no Pilot(Grav) are derived directly from the background assumptions, and some seem simply added flavor; my youngest daughter was delighted to find that there was the possibility of ending up with a pet.

Differences from previous versions
In previous versions the history of the world started with Twilight 2000, here the link is less explicit also some reference is made to the developments of the last 30 years such as Trans-humanism, Nanotechnology and human DNA modification.
Nearly all colonists start with some sort of DNA modification simply to allow them to survive. In addition you actually get maps and details for all the worlds visited by humans without having to wait for supplements to come out; GDW’s colonial atlas did not have any planetary maps at all and the best source of detail on the worlds of the French arm was Invasion where all the maps looked like they had been scribbled by a GM in a hurry.

Criticisms
My main criticism is of the layout of some of the tables, there are a couple of places where what is semanticly a 2 column table has been wrapped to make a 4 column table without this being immediately obvious. There are other multi-page tables, such as the near star list, where the headings are only on the first page making this a harder read than necessary.
I also spotted a couple of references to DC which have come across from 2320. In addition I could have done with a little more detail on the Kaefers, the other aliens get example NPCS, but not them.

In the PDF there is a small amount of interior color but not where I would have expected it, for example, the world maps, which I know were originally in color, are still black and white but would have benefited from color while the deck plan grids are in color.

Overall I think this is a welcome return of a setting that still has fans 20 years after going out of print. I'm giving this 4 out of 5.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
2300AD Core Rulebook Revised
by Terry P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/22/2012 22:43:26
I am sorry if this review disturbs anyone who worked on it. I am sure you are reading this thinking I am overly critical. If so, I apologize. But if you had maintained the integrity of the product, or even tried to follow its predecessor more, I would be happy. Sadly, I just paid $29.99 for something I must wait for new supplements to use.
And as for Mongoose, the Babylon 5 RPG line was well done. Because of that, the only reason I can see for 2300AD to be so pathetic is that it was done so to make you buy the next book, and in this case, it is blatant.

I have been a fan of 2300AD since its very first inception as Traveller 2300AD. When it just became 2300AD, it was much improved. I have followed the 2300AD fan base, and it has been kept alive by the Etranger site. That being said, I feel I can give a good review of Mongoose 2300AD.

First off, this is not the 2300AD I grew up with and have remained a fan of for 25 years; it is boring, it is minimal in its focus, and it does not have the feel of 2300AD.
I am disappointed with it for many reasons. 2300AD is one of my favorite settings. I expected a product produced over 25 years after the original to surpass it: This does not. It is less than the original and for absolutely no reason other than the one many publishers pull now: MINIMAL USEFUL INFO FOR THE GM TO ENSURE SALES OF THE FUTURE PRODUCTS IN THE LINE. This game focuses on Earth and the nations there. There is no space exploration. Worst of all, it is visually boring! Where is all the art???? Perhaps I am spoiled by the product printed 25 years ago before computers dominated the industry, and expected that, with all of the resources produced in 25 years, this one would rock, and it does not even try.

I am not sure how the system itself will work for 2300AD. Mongoose Traveller is a good and simple system, so I will not rate it.

Original 2300AD books were visually interesting. There are lots of charts for such things as what language a nation speaks, where a planet or star system is, and many charts for star ship design.

The written material here is good. Cybernetics and DNA mods are covered well. These are things which were not deeply covered in the original products. Earth/Cybertech did some, but not much. I have the original books, so this part supplements them in this department.

The chief protagonist race of 2300AD are the Kafer. This product glosses over them: you receive no stats for GM usage, no ships, no equipment, and one small blurry picture. You will not be using the French Foreign Legion to fight the Kafers on Aurora in this game until a supplement is published.

As for weapons, the original 2300AD had tons of stats and pics of the weapons. Not this one. You have a few of each type.

I feel that the intention here is to focus on human versus human, and wait for the Alien Supplement to come out. This is very disappointing. A $29.99 pdf should have more depth. It seems to me that you are expected to play Cyberpunk 2300AD, as opposed to exploring the frontiers of space, whereas the original product focused on the frontier, with the Kafer War and The Aurora Source book.

Buy this if you have no other reference to 2300AD, or if you have all of the old books, in which case I am sure you can convert things. This book will not give you a feel for 2300AD.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
2300AD Core Rulebook Revised
by Dalton C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/22/2012 21:15:41
The written material is very good - in fact you could split the book into multiple books and kept the value.
The decision to go with a B&W interior was not a good one - it distracts from the quality and depth of the game.
It's a great system, with far more detail than the original game, but one where the detail does not detract from play.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
2300AD Core Rulebook Revised
by Oscar S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/21/2012 22:37:14
After months of anticipation, having loved the original 2300, I picked up this book on the release day and was immediately disappointed with the purchase. The book is antiseptic in presentation, devoid of decent art and presented in an uninspired layout. It reminds me of the Traveller books of the late 70's, before the days of computers. Speaking of which, there are a few 3-D renderings of classic vehicles and ships (the Kennedy cruiser for example) but they are extremely simple. Dense hex grids on the world maps making viewing of the geography difficult. The best (and only color) picture inside the book is an advertisement for another of Mongoose's products.

The writing, while not awkward, tends to jump around topics as the author tried to address too many things too quickly. More on this as I do more reading.

The pdf is weak copy of the layout without bookmarks or outline to scan and find topics (less expensive books from other publishers include this feature).

Considering the age in which this product laid out, the price charged, and in comparison to Mongoose's own Traveller Core book, this is a weak effort.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Vikings of Legend
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/15/2012 06:11:42
Originally published at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/03/15/tabletop-review-vikings-
-of-legend/

Before author Pete Nash gets terribly far into his Legend supplement Vikings of Legend, he spouts some errant nonsense:

“Remember that this supplement is designed to help set roleplaying adventures in the Viking Era, it is not a work of scholarship.”

I say errant nonsense because, while the book may be filled with game-specific rules to facilitate Scandinavian-themed Viking adventures, it’s also a terrifically well-researched book, with more depth than many GMs would ever need on many aspects of life as a Viking.

The first chapter alone, The Viking Age, is ten full pages of historical overview that never really feels all that tiresome to read through (though the names, unconventional to my American ears, do tend to blend together), followed by eight more pages of timeline for quick reference. This is a solid building block for getting your brain, and that of your players, wrapped around the events, people and places that will be important in a historically accurate game.

From the first contact with the British and Irish, through to trade with Byzantium in the far south, the chapter is full of places and times in which to place your adventurers, with a wide variety of campaign types supported. Want to be raiders? That’s covered, in spades. Maybe you want to be traders, dealing with the more urbane Byzantines – if so you’re all set. You might even have a group that wants to be explorers, leading the first ships to Greenland or Iceland. It’s a broad swath of history, with many options for action and intrigue.

The chapter on Viking life gives you a good deal of detail of the various social classes present in Viking society, and touches on slavery as it was practiced. A sub-chapter on the traditional role of women in society, and the power that they wielded, is followed by a section telling you how to throw it all away and play a game with warrior maidens, either in a semi-realistic way or more fully fantastical.

If you’re unfamiliar with Vikings, there’s a good deal of discussion of Personality and Beliefs – not so much religious beliefs as societal values – that will flesh out what you know and what you think you know going into the game. It’s all too easy to come up with a character who is in fact more caricature instead, and this gives you solid insight into possible ways to play a character of some greater depth than simply drinking mead and travelling in long ships to do battle and bring home loot.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course…

Law, punishment, marriage and death, duels and how they’re handled, lawsuits – all of the elements that will add realism and depth to your world, are handled in short sections, with enough detail to allow you to insert them into the game without overburdening anyone with undue realism for what is, after all, a game.

The section on farming and farmsteading is the first time – 48 pages in – that you start seeing Legend-specific rules being applied, with a table of skill penalties to your faming lore rolls. Up until this, the book could apply to any game system at all. Sports and sportsmanship, gambling, hunting, poetry, singing and dance – the section that just gives you ideas for the sorts of challenges that you might find yourself facing as a Viking round out the section, a solid sixty pages of background material.

Finally, armed with all of that knowledge, you get to the meat of what most gamers are looking for in a book like this: rules on how to roll up a Viking!

The assumption in Vikings of Legend is that characters from different cultural backgrounds are like the alternative races of other games. Different dice and modifiers are used for different characteristics, to represent the phenotype of the peoples they are modeling. Scandinavians are bigger and stronger, while Eastern Europeans and Asians (including the folks from Byzantium) are weaker and smaller than average, with Western Europeans being the default standard against which the others are measured. The fact that the bonuses given to the Scandinavians are not offset with any characteristic penalties might be seen as a bit biased, but the book is called Vikings of Legend after all.

Not satisfied playing a mortal, you may also roll up an Aesir, Vanir, or Jotnar – divine races and giants, respectively.

Whatever you choose, this background – with some specificity for location – will serve as the generic Legend equivalent of your cultural background, granting you skill bonuses, advanced skills, and your starting money.

On page 70 is a sidebar about Combat Styles – a very sticky subject in Legend as the system assumes that your GM has made some decisions about this, and understands the nuances of those decisions. Here, the game deviates from the core Legend rules suggestion of grouping one-handed weapons with shield for a single skill. Instead, an older idea of making shield a separate skill is implemented, and I think it’s a generally smart idea on their part.

A random table is offered to generate your social class, but I think this might be a little too far in the direction of random character generation – imagine how it might skew a party, and ruin the plans of the GM, if everyone rolls up a noble – or a slave! Instead, I say let the GM decide how the party is broken down in terms of their roles, to suit the campaign he intends to run.

Professional backgrounds come next, in a fairly standard way, with the addition of some descriptive text for each of the professions. Pay heed here – if you’re looking for a strictly historical game, you’ll want to reconsider the Shaman and Sorcerer roles, as they are the first introduction to magic in the game. The descriptions are very helpful, especially for roles that might not be familiar, like Huskarl and Skald.

Family ties and extra skill points are straight out of the Legend core rules, but the background event table has been replaced with a Viking-specific one that can also help to lend some flavor to an otherwise unremarkable Viking warrior, or can change the nature of the character in an unintended way – I recommend being flexible about allowing re-rolls here.

This section ends with a valuable resource – a lengthy chart of Viking names, suitable for random rolling. It’s broken down into male, female and nicknames for convenience.

The section on gear provides the expected lists and charts of weapons, armor and other gear, but also gives you information on trade and bartering, on magic items from Viking lore, and even some new combat maneuvers, which I think is great as they’re one of my favorite aspects of the game’s combat system. The Shield Bash and Shield Twist (a disarmament move) are great, but the Cast Back maneuver is the real gem here, with warriors catching thrown weapons in mid-air and turning them on their owners. That one’s going to be a big hit.

The chapter on religion is partly what you’d expect – a fully fleshed-out description of the standards of Norse mythology. But it also contains information on the integration of Christianity into the beliefs of the Vikings, and how the two moved together in an uneasy peace. This starts out solidly in the real world, and moves directly into gifts from the gods and other magical topics that again lend a real flavor to the game.

That dovetails nicely with the next chapter, on magic. The systems are broken down into Sorcery, in the form of rune magic, and Shamanism, with spirit powered magics. Divination is also covered in some detail, including tools to keep it from being game-breaking, which are handy and could be applied to any game with magical divination or the like.

Because you can’t have an adventure game without them, the kinds of animals that a Viking might encounter are detailed next, giving you what you need to run a mundane or historical campaign. In addition, you get supernatural creatures as well. This was a sore spot for me, with the core Legend rules not even including non-magical animals, and will help fill the gap even in games set in a non-Viking world.

The book closes with a chapter on Viking campaigns, with tons of hooks tuned to the world in question, from combat-focused games to those more interested in politics, intrigue or even the affairs of the gods. This, again, is a system-agnostic chapter, equally useful for Legend GMs as it would be for any other system you might want to use. I find this to be the sign of a really good “world book” – when it has utility in and of itself, divorced from the game system it was intended for.

As a “generic” world book Vikings of Legend does a nice job of providing you a fully formed world, with lots of cultural hooks that your players are going to be able to leverage right from the start. If it has a drawback, it may be that it’s too in-depth for some gamers, with entirely too much detail about things they won’t care about. That said, for twelve bucks, you can’t really complain about getting too much for your money, and the other information really can be disregarded entirely without damaging the parts that you do keep.

In my opinion, Vikings of Legend is an excellent blueprint for someone else to follow when coming up with a world book of their own for Legend, or any other game honestly.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vikings of Legend
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