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Adventures Dark and Deep Players Manual
Publisher: BRW Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/16/2013 14:16:36
Originally Posted here:

http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/2013/10/review-adventures-
-dark-and-deep-players.html

Adventures Dark and Deep Players Manual is the first major release from BRW Games and the first major release of what is the Adventures Dark & Deep game. Again, a lot of what I have said about
A Curious Volume of Forgotten Lore is true here. Including how this was the result of a particularly successful Kickstarter that shipped early.

The book works under the premise of what would 2nd Edition have looked like if Gary Gygax had stayed at TSR. Joe has taken articles, interviews and discussions and something like an anthropologist pieced it all together to get something new and yet familiar. Unlike the previous book, the Player Manual makes no assumptions that you have AD&D1 or OSRIC. There are some obvious roots in those games, but this is now it's own thing.

Like most Player's books this one concentrates much of it's text on creating characters.
There is the obligatory sections on how to use the dice and then how to generate ability scores. In a difference from this game and it's spiritual cousin AD&D 2nd ed, we still have exceptional strength. Also all the ability score tables go to 25. Humans (and most PCs) still rank 3-18.
The same six ability scores are here. Interestingly enough, not Comeliness. I thought that would have made the cut.

Races are covered. Again the same ones we have seen before. But thats the point isn't it? This a AD&D2 as if Gary had created it. So there are a lot of elements in common here with AD&D 1 and 2 plus older versions. We do get a Dark Elf (not a Drow) and Half-Orc. It would take a critical eye to see the differences here between Adventures Dark & Deep and say OSRIC.

Classes include the new and the old.
From A Curious Volume we have: the Bard, Jester, Mystic, Savant, Thief-Acrobat, Mountebank
From the classic sources we have: the Paladin, Cleric, Druid (topping out at 15th level), Fighter, Barbarian, Ranger, Mage, Illusionist, Thief
And new to this volume we have: the Cavalier, Vates (Druids of 15th level and higher).
The Assassin is listed in the Appendix.
Classes are grouped into Class and Sub-class like AD&D1/2 but not like OSRIC. So all in all 17 (18) classes. Not bad really.

The Alignment system is the same as *D&D.

Secondary Skills is pretty much the same as what is found in A Curious Volume of Forgotten Lore. Same with the Monthly Expenses which is now part of Social Class.

The next big section is Combat which includes the standard D&D style combat we all know and the additional material from A Curious Volume of Forgotten Lore. Morale is back in this edition, sort of like it was in Basic and AD&D2. There is a nice section on item saving throws. I have seen similar ones over the years, but this one seems fairly complete.

The next section is Magic.
It includes the making of magic items, learning spells and even an optional rule on sacrifice. The bulk though is devoted to spells.
The Spells are listed by class and level, but all the spells are alphabetical. There are 118 pages of spells, so roughly what you would expect from OSRIC and A Curious Volume. I see about 6-7 spells per page, so maybe close to 650 spells. There could also be more, but I did not check every single one. The spells are are written in a way that makes them compatible with pretty much every other OSR-style book out there.

Appendix A covers the Assassin class.
Appendix B covers weapons vs. various Armor types. A very Gygaxian holdover. As opposed to vs. AC, this is actually the type of armor. I like it and it makes sense. I am thinking of using this in my own old school game to be honest.
Appendix C covers combat tables.

The book does capture the feel of old D&D with some interesting twists. None that would trip you up, but still enough to make you go "huh, that is kind of neat".

The art is nice and still invokes that Old-School feel without looking dated.

The PDF is copy/paste restricted, but not print restricted. Which is good because I want to print that Appendix B. The physical book is nice and sturdy and at 257 pages it is a decent sized book. It compares well to the AD&D 2nd Ed Player's Handbook to be honest.

It is a nice book.

So who should get this book?
Well if you like the OSR or enjoy AD&D then this is a good choice. It is a better "game" than OSRIC is. I say "game" because OSRIC isn't a game as much as a reference to a game you already know how to play.

If you have A Curious Volume of Forgotten Lore and OSRIC then yes you could re-create this book on your own. But part of the utility of this book is that all of that information is in one volume.

It is worth it for the new classes and spells too.

I like it because it is a well researched "What If" experiment, much like Spellcraft & Swordplay (what if D&D continued using the default combat roll) and B/X Companion (what if the Companion rules had come out for B/X and not BECMI). We will never know what Gygax's 2nd Ed would have been like. In a way, really we don't need to know. 2e was fine and Adventures Dark & Deep is here now.
It is perfectly playable and fun.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adventures Dark and Deep Players Manual
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A Curious Volume of Forgotten Lore
Publisher: BRW Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/15/2013 14:25:49
Originally posted here: http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/2013/10/review-adventures-dar-
k-deep-curious.html

A Curious Volume of Forgotten Lore is the first of Joseph Bloch's Adventures Dark & Deep books. It is presented as an add-on or supplement to OSRIC, Labyrinth Lord or any other "Old School" game. But its roots are obviously in AD&D 1st edition.

The book works under the premise of what would 2nd Edition have looked like if Gary Gygax had stayed at TSR. Joe has taken articles, interviews and discussions and something like an anthropologist pieced it all together to get something new and yet familiar.
At a modest 140 or so pages, this book packs in a lot.

We begin with some level limits of some newer races. By newer I mean ones that did not appear in the Player's Handbook/OSRIC.

We quickly move into classes. First up it should be noted is a usable Bard class. No more advancing as a thief, fighter and then druid to get to the bard, this is a straight out bard class. Already makes it worth it. The bard also has some nice powers too. I will be honest, when playing in my "old school" games this is the Bard I look to the most often now.
We also get a Jester class, which is nice because it is one of those classes I remember Gygax talking about wanting to use all the time. Same with the Mountebank.
The mystic class seems closer to the BECMI/RC version than it does to the monk. Which is fine by me really.
The last class is a savant, another one I recall reading about back in the day. This one is more of your occult investigator/sage with some magic type.

So far as a "class book" it is shaping up real nice. Lots of ones I'd like to try out and they fill niches that /could/ be filled by other classes, but they make it their own.

The next section is on Secondary Skills, which seems to refine the system in AD&D, but not quite a full blown skill system. Very much in the vein of "your class is what you do, but you have this extra thing" philosophy.
We end up the characters section with monthly expenses and starting ages.

The next section is on combat with an alternate combat system. Again I seem to recall talk of such a thing, but it is more vague in my memory that the classes.
The system is detailed and should appeal to anyone that like more flavor to their AD&D combat.

We get a page on Social Encounters.
Next is an expanded Treasure listing and a section on ships and waterborne adventures. Something I could have used at the close of my AF&F 1st ed games to be honest.

The next 25 pages are dedicated to magic including a number of new spells for the new spell casting classes.

The Game Master's section is next, though it is not specifically called that.
New dungeon hazards are covered and then we get to magic item descriptions.

We end with some new monsters which include various Angels, Demons and some dragons.

All in all this is a good addition to the AD&D/OSRIC/LL-Advanced game. Even if you don't use everything here there is enough to make it worth your while.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A Curious Volume of Forgotten Lore
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Barrel Rider's 2012 Bundle
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/03/2013 16:46:47
This is a great deal. 16 of BRG products. For 10 bucks you get Halflings: Tales from the Fireside, Archer, Half-elf, Swashbuckler, Half-orc, Dark Elf, Bandit, Bounty Hunter, Undead Slayer, Barbarian, Assassin, Dragon, Smith and Scholar, King Betrayed, Wanderer and the new (and not available separately) Combat Styles. Not a bad deal at all.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Barrel Rider's 2012 Bundle
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Wanderer
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/03/2013 16:40:48
This seven page document details the Wanderer class. It's like a non-magical (and less combative) Ranger. It has some nice skills and powers and would work well in any game. What struck me is how quickly I was thinking of NPCs to fill this class and sending him in with my current Old School game. Lots and lots of potential with this one. Also unlike the other classes with have some archetypes I can relate to earlier editions, this one seems fairly unique to me.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wanderer
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The King Betrayed
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/03/2013 16:40:21
This one was another surprise. It is an adventure for characters 3rd to 5th level. The art in this is greatly improved and the adventure itself looks like it is a lot of fun. Complete old-school feel. At 15 pages it is just about perfect for an afternoon.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The King Betrayed
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Sylvan Elf
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/03/2013 16:40:01
This is one of the newer classes. Five pages, 1 for cover and 2 for the OGL, this is for wood or Sylvan elves. Like the normal elf, this one is part fighter and part spellcaster. But in this case the spell caster is Druid. To support this the package includes a 13 page document of spells. Actually it is really nice. To date this is one of my favorite of the BRG classes. It takes a very simple idea and gives you a simple (as in elegant) solution.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Sylvan Elf
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Swashbuckler
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/03/2013 16:39:35
I am not a fan of pirates. I know people love them, I never quite got it myself. For me it is always "ninjas" that get the vote. The Swashbuckler class allows you to channel your inner pirate. Like all the BRG class the book is not long (5 pages with 1 for cover and 2 for the OGL) but it gets right to the point and delivers a solid class. If you like Swashbucklers (and this one is more Erol Flynn and less Captain Jack Sparrow) then this is a good buy.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Swashbuckler
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Plague & Shadow: Wererats
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/03/2013 16:39:05
All about Were-rats. Again this is not a class book, more of an indepth monster guide. There is history, new creatures and magic items. Not at all what I expected and I mean that in the most positive way. It was much more than I expected.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Plague & Shadow: Wererats
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Minotaur
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/03/2013 16:38:41
The Minotaur seems to be one of those classes/races that people either love or hate. Myself I am not a fan. BUT that doesn't mean that this is not a good class. It is one of BRG newer classes, so it is well thought out and written. Plus it is a good class. I mean there is nothing about it that says it is unplayable to me and I am sure that the people out there that love Minotaurs will be very happy with this. For me, I might "skin" it and make a Half-Ogre class.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Minotaur
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Mercenary
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/03/2013 16:37:50
This one is really neat. It's a Starships & Spacemen class for starters. And it works great for that. In truth it is three classes that you can use how you need. This takes S&S from something that mostly "Star Trek" and makes it more Traveller. What I think is most interesting here is the market this opens up for BRG. Suddenly LL classes could now be converted to S&S classes with this template in mind.
I noticed the S&S compatibility license but not the OGL. Might need to add that.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mercenary
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Halflings: Tales from the Fireside
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/03/2013 16:35:14
This one is a bit different. First it is longer than all the other books at 23 pages. This is guide on playing halflings and what you can do with them. It is actually a rather fun book. It even has an evil counterpart in a monster section.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Halflings: Tales from the Fireside
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Half-Orc
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/03/2013 16:34:36
Another one of the missing races from the "Basic" versions of the books. The Half-orc is a fighter with some nice abilities to cause extra damage and fear in others. Compared the classic Dwarf and Halfling classes this one works quite well.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Half-Orc
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Half-Elf
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/03/2013 16:34:18
The Original Basic rules and the games they have inspired have missed one important race; the Half-elf. This race-as-a-class gives you a 15-level class that is a combination of fighter and thief. The class to me seems to be missing something, but I am not quite sure what. Thinking back to the Half-elves I have read in tales, this class would work fine.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Half-Elf
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Gladiator
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/03/2013 16:33:54
The Gladiator is a professional show fighter. There are a lot neat tricks for this kind of fighter say over the regular fighter. You could of course do some of this with clever role-playing. Though the rules here are pretty nice and well thought out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Gladiator
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Dragon Slayer
Publisher: Barrel Rider Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/03/2013 16:33:37
This one I have avoided reviewing since I have my own Dragon Slayer. Well technically "mine" was written by my oldest son. The Dragon Slayer has a lot of nice features which actually make the class more useful than some "Single Purpose" classes. In fact it could be re-tweaked and be any sort of monster hunting class.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dragon Slayer
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