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Castles & Crusades Players Handbook 7th Printing
by Keith G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/06/2017 08:48:08

This is a great book (and system) for old and new players alike.

I recently (about 3 months ago) started up a "D&D Night" group at work. Myself and another we old greybeard players/GMs from the olden days and the others never played tabletop. They were all familiar with RPGs in the context of computers and consoles, but playing a tabletop, pen-and-paper RPG was new.

So in looking around, I wanted a rule set that was easy but still invoked the old school feelings. Most of my tenure was during the 2nd Edition days [mostly pre-Player's Option 2.5], with a smattering of AD&D 1st, BECMI D&D [where I cut my teeth initially], and some 3rd Edition. I originally though LL or OSCRIC to get really into the nitty gritty, but unless you were into that sort of thing back in the day, there is a bit a goofiness and complexity that may turn off the uninitiatied.

So I looked into C&C. It fit the bill perfectly. It plays like a lightweight AD&D 1st, mixed with some elements of 2nd, with the Seige Engine mechanics cribbed from 3rd's basic machanic. It's lightweight, plays to classic archetypes and mechanics to the point you can basically throw OD&D, 1st, 2nd, or 3rd materials at it with little thought or modification, and it works. Characters roll up quick, order of play is very straightfoward and a good deal of the rest can easily be roleplayed, ruled from the table, or house ruled in no time flat.

Although I have a soft spot for retro-clones and simulara (or amped up ones like DCC), C&C is an awesome fit for anyone wanting a simple, streamlined, yet classic D&D experience in the modern day.

In regards to this book, it is laid out well, covers everything it should, and not overburdened by too much. It is quite literally what I expect in the Player's Handbook. The art is of good quality and the quality of the PDF file is good as well. I was never a real fan of the faux parchment finish of a lot of RPG books, but since it is so ubiquitious, I will let that criticism slide.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Players Handbook 7th Printing
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Castles & Crusades Players Handbook 7th Printing
by Bruce M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/11/2017 15:32:45

This is a great book with some great material. It is filled with excellent art and is very well written and put together. I highly recommend this book for both collectors and regular gamers alike.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Domesday Book Issue VIII
by Matthew S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/28/2017 13:18:25

This is a fanzine for Castles & Crusades and it is 63 pages of fan created content including character classes, house rules, adventures and artwork.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Domesday Book Issue VIII
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A1 Assault on Blacktooth Ridge -- Adventures for 5th Edition Rules
by Martin W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/26/2017 12:42:37

I love this module. It's everything an introductory module should be.

I own the original C&C print version, but also picked up the 5e conversion in PDF. This modules is very reminiscent of introductory modules of old like T1 Village of Hommlet or B2 Keep on the Borderlands. The parallels between Hommlet and the Moathouse are striking, but that is not to say this isn't a fresh take on a classic RPG trope.

It has a main town with description of a multitude of NPCs. Many of the NPCs also have some other minor hook described where the detail is left up to the GM to flesh out. They are a great source of inspiration for any GM building up a "starting area" for any campaign. The module also describes the surrounding environs with a few encounter sites (aside from the main dungeon). There's enough detail for a GM to make this town the basis of a new campaign, but without over-explaining or giving so much content that a new GM might be overwhelmed.

Lastly, the main dungeon is just the right size. It's not so large that if feels like a slow, grindy dungeon crawl, but it has enough meat to keep the party busy for a few sessions. I honestly can't say enough good things about this adventure. I really couldn't come up with any solid "cons" that weren't just nit picks.

If you are looking for a new low-level setting to start a campaign, you absolutely have to pick this up. Even if you never run it, it is full of great ideas and hooks that will inspire you when building your own "home base" village for your campaign.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
A1 Assault on Blacktooth Ridge -- Adventures for 5th Edition Rules
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Tainted Lands
by Michael D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/09/2017 16:21:13

Not very good. I expected better from the author of Metamorphosis Alpha which was the first rpg I purchased in 1977



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Tainted Lands
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Castles & Crusades Brindisium Adventures
by Michael D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/09/2017 15:45:53

  Nice to see some colour maps for a change in a Trolllord.com product, welcome to the 21 St Century



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Brindisium Adventures
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Castles & Crusades Town of Kalas
by Tom H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/07/2017 15:54:53

Wordy anachronistic high-fantasy pap. If that's what you want it'll serve, but it's not a setting I see myself enjoying running.

Plus: lots of suggested hooks. Minus: sense of humor.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Town of Kalas
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5th Edition Role Playing -- Mystical Companions
by Gary W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/06/2016 16:43:16

I would not advise purchasing this product. It states that it is a 5th edition supplement- but the rules and mechanics are foreign to the 5e system. For instance the new bard colleges have abilities for bards at level one and two, but cannot be taken till level three. I question whether the material was ever playtested as a 5e product. I had a conversation with the lead writer on the conversion, and he thinks my objections are probably due to typos. I will review the material again as changes are maid. My advice is to definitely wait to look at a hardcover before purchasing this product, make sure it meets your needs and expectations.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
5th Edition Role Playing -- Mystical Companions
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Creator Reply:
Hi Gary, Just wanted to let you know we've updated the files on this, so hopefully it is more in line with 5e. Thanks! Troll Lord Games
Victorious Phantasmagoria
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/06/2016 08:20:51

This is a 36-page supplement from Mike Stewart. This supplement details a number of NPC, both good (9 total) and vile (12 total). They can be used as allies, villains, or even as Player Characters. Not as interesting as the NPCs from the Core book, but then again how could they be! Couple of nitpicks here, some the characters are described as having children, though the ages of the kids and the heroes don't always work. For example one heroine, Spellbinder is described as being in her late 20s and having a 12 year old son. She is also described as having a Ph.D. Having a kid at 18 and then continuing to get a Ph.D. THEN getting sucked into the past? It is DAMN hard to work on a Ph.D. when you have kids. I know; so does the author of the book. So it struck me as odd. Make her "late 30s" or better yet "mid 40s". I know the core book talks about the slow aging effects of supermankind, so say she is in her 40s but looks younger. Also detailed is the secret organization "Sceptre"; used to fight the enemies of Queen and Country. A prison, Darkmore Prison, is given as a place to lock up all these bad guys you catch.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Victorious Phantasmagoria
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Victorious Manifest Destiny
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/06/2016 07:09:25

These are "Guide" books for Great Britain and America respectively. Both come with the same city maps of London and New York in PDFs. Rules Britania details Great Britain in the time of Victoria and her world-wide empire. The city of London is also covered in some detail. Manifest Destiny does the same for America and New York. Both books are really pretty system neutral with a lot of background information that is great for any Victorian-era game. Manifest Destiny edges out Rules Britania since America is often ignored in many Victorian games. Granted England is ignored in many Civil War and Western games too. One of the features I really enjoyed about Manifest Destiny were the inclusion of the New York gangs.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Victorious Manifest Destiny
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Victorious Rule Britania
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/06/2016 07:08:59

These are "Guide" books for Great Britain and America respectively. Both come with the same city maps of London and New York in PDFs. Rules Britania details Great Britain in the time of Victoria and her world-wide empire. The city of London is also covered in some detail. Manifest Destiny does the same for America and New York. Both books are really pretty system neutral with a lot of background information that is great for any Victorian-era game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Victorious Rule Britania
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Victorious Hunter & Hunter Catalogue
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/05/2016 22:26:30

This is a 44-page supplement from Mike Stewart.
Now this is a fun one! Meant to be reminiscent of the old mail order catalogs of the time, this book takes its name from two of the premiere heroic NPCs of the core book. The book is full of fantastical and mundane items characters can buy, find or engineer themselves. And it is a full book.
Vital statistics are given including any bonuses it provides or damage it does (or can take) and the equally important availability (%) and price in British Pounds and American Dollars.
This is also a good book for any Victorian era game with a Steam-Punk lean to it. It makes a nice companion piece to Cubicle 7's Victoriana - Faulkner's Millinery and Miscellanea. My only complaint here is Troll Lords really missed out on the chance to make this look like a Vicotrian era catalog, complete with vintage art. I know they were trying to maintain trade dress with the line and readability, but it would have been a lot of fun.
Buy this if you REALLY want to know how much the Nautalis would run you in Pounds Sterling.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Victorious Hunter & Hunter Catalogue
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Victorious Night of the Jackals
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/05/2016 21:52:52

This is a 24-page adventure from core book author Mike Stewart. Now this is something fun. It is an introductory adventure for 4-8 characters of 1st-3rd level. Ok, the DriveThruRPG page says 2-4, but the book says 1-3. It follows directly from the adventure in the core book, Hyde and Seek, and involves none other than Professor James Moriarty. I don't want to give too many details away, but if you are a fan of the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes movies and the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, then this will be a fun romp. A bit of a nitpick, the DriveThruRPG text is a bit misleading. It looks like bits of it were copy-pasted from the Victorious RPG Core page. This is just the adventure.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Victorious Night of the Jackals
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Victorious the Role Playing Game
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/04/2016 14:44:15

Victorious or Victorious: Steampunk Adventure in the Age of SuperMankind is a game that I had been waiting for sometime. I had not been able back it in the Kickstarter so I picked it up this past Gen Con. I was quite pleased to do so.

Victorious is not the game I thought is was. That is not a problem of the game, but rather a problem with my expectations. I thought this was going to be a Victorian steam-punk game closer to Leagues of Adventure. The game I got though is rather fun and different than other Victorian games I have played and own. This is a very good thing.

Victorious is a game of Victorian era Steam Punk Superheroes. Once I got that into my head then the rest was a ton of fun.

The system is the tried and true SIEGE Engine from Castles & Crusades and Amazing Adventures and is largely compatible with both of those games. So adventures for one will work in the other. In fact, I tried out an Amazing Adventures scenario I had used in the past and it worked brilliantly.

Let's look into the chapters. First, though, full disclosures.

  1. I purchased both the hardcover and the PDF versions with my own cash. Troll Lords did not send me copies for review, nor are they expecting reviews.
  2. Links in this review often link to affiliate sites where I get a small percentage of anything bought.
  3. I have authored a Victorian game that could be considered competition to this game. I do not see this as such. Victorious and Ghosts of Albion can be played in similar time periods and even tell similar stories (I am planning on running a Ghosts adventure under Victorious to test this) but the games are not in competition with each other or other Victorian era games.

The Book. The book is a sturdy hardcover with color covers, black and white interiors, 144 pages. The form and format reminds me of the original AD&D books. The PDF comes with two files, one is a little more print friendly than the other. Both are bookmarked.

Introduction gives us the basics of the game, some background and some information on RPGs in general. It should be noted the the GM in this game means "Genteel Magistrate". Damn. I wish I had thought of that first!

Chapter 1 is all about Character Generation. If you have played Amazing Adventures or Castles & Crusades (or even D&D) then you know how this works. First, we go through the standard Attributes and modifiers. This is followed by a simple skill system. In fact, this skill system would make a nice important to Castles & Crusades. Up next is the big feature of this game; the powers that the characters gain as they level up. Again, this is the primary feature of the game. There are quite a few powers listed here and they remind me a bit of Mutants & Masterminds. This is not a surprise really, given the focus of the game. One could, I imagine, add more powers from other d20-derived games. Some hindrances and shortcomings are also discussed. Such things as "enemy" or "fame".
This is followed with some character examples that are roughly character classes. These include the Contraptionist (gadget guy), the Hypnotist, the Inquiry Agent (Sherlock Holmes), the Magician, the Paragon (Victorian Super-men), the Radiant, the Strongman, and the Vigilante (Gaslight Batman). We end with some ideas on completing the character. There are enough character concepts here to create any sort of character you want. I mentally "stated up" a few characters and was able to come up a Victorious version of them.

Chapter 2 covers the rules of the game. If you know Castles and Crusades then these rules will be very familiar. The main addition here are a bunch of Victorian-era firearms and some Steam-Punk gadgets. If your C&C game has black powder then this is a great chapter to have. Unlike some Victorian games there is no lengthy list of firearms (looking at you Dracula RPG), and this is a good thing.

Chapter 3 Equipment and Encounters is kind of a catch-all chapter of money, equipment, vehicles. encounters and worldly goings on. One nitpick, there is a section on "Cost of Living" that details various costs of goods in both British Pounds and American Dollars, but no actual cost of living. Te second half of this chapter details various organizations active in the Victorian era. If you play any Victorian game then this is a great chapter to have. Nearly every Victorian game has a chapter like this and I really can't get enough of it. Many, if not all, of these can be used in any other Victorian game and the societies and groups from those games can also be used here.

Chapter 4 The Victorious Era details some of the world history from the point of view of this game. At this point, I have one major issue with this game. There is the assumption that there are some super powered humans that have time-travelled from the 21st Century here. I understand why the author did this; to help players acclimate to the stranger times of Victorian England. Personally, I thought it was unneeded/unnecessary. BUT it does fit with the game, so that is fine. Personally I am not going to use it. If I am running a Victorian game you are going to play Victorian characters. Ignoring that there is a bunch of information on Victorian life that is great for any game. There is a great section on criminal slang that gives us the expected British slang, but also the rarely printed American/East Coast slang. There is a Chronolgy of the Victorious age next. This lists all sorts of political and scientific advancements made. Included in this are events from fiction (like Dracula and Sherlock Holmes) and events from within the game itself.

Chapter 5 is the Bestiary. Included are a lot of animals and the expected monsters of the Gothic Tradition. These monsters are 100% compatible with Castles & Crusades and Amazing Adventures. So if you need more monsters they can be found easy.

Chapter 6 covers Supermankind. This has some more information on the world of Victorious. This includes many of the NPCs; the good, the neutral and the bad. There are some great characters here including John Henry, Sherlock Holmes and the Spring Heeled Jack. Like most games (and most ficition) the bad guys are the most interesting. Listed here with full stats are Aleister Crowley, Baba Yaga, Dorain Grey, Dracula, Hyde, Moriarty, and Col. Moran. Really a Whos-Who of Victorian Villainy. Really the star chapter in this book. Which is saying something because there is a good game here. These NPCs could be used in Amazing Adventures too.

Next we get and adventure, Hyde and Seek, which is a lot of fun. The Appendices cover the Designer Notes, which are really fun read. I have to admit reading these gave me a greater appreciation of this game. There are sections on quick combat, dice rulings, and my favorite; mob rules. There is a section on "History vs. Fantasy" which is a great read if you have ever tried to run a pseudo-historical game. There is a list of resources that is also a great read. It's not exhaustive and there are some really notable exclusions, but this in not my list but theirs.

All in all this is a really fun game and I have nearly endless uses for it. Mix it with a bit of Castles & Crusades for more fantasy or Amazing Adventures for more pulp. Include some ideas from Codex Celtarum to make a more fantastic faerie-themed game. Mix it even more with Tainted Lands and get something not unakin to Ravenloft Masque of the Red Death. The game has a multitude of possibilities beyond what is presented in the two covers.

The game is full of possibilities to be honest, and I really can't wait to try some of them out.
This is certainly a game I would love to play at a Convention sometime.

Buy this game if you enjoy Victorian games, Castles & Crusades, or superhero games with a twist.

Giving it 4.5 stars, but rounding out to 5.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Victorious the Role Playing Game
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Castles & Crusades Castle Keepers Guide to the Haunted Highlands
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/29/2016 14:25:26

Now this is a huge book. 400 pages and priced accordingly.
Like the Players Guide, we get an overview, real-world and in-world, of the Haunted Highlands. This section contains a number of additions above and beyond the Players Guide. This includes a calendar of months and days. Along with that are some details on various astronomical features. Now the big issue that might cause some concerns for adding to other worlds are this calendar and the two moons. This can be adapted easy enough. For my games I have three moons in my world, so one of the moons is just not detailed here. A recap on the gods from the PG and we have the first two dozen or so pages covered.
For the next 90 or so pages we get a reprint of the modules DB1: Haunted Highland, DB2: Crater of Umeshti, and DB3: Deeper Darkness. Now if you don't have these modules this is a nice value add, but I have them is dead-tree (and for DB1, PDF). I didn't notice too many changes but I did not compare them side by side. Having them in one place is nice, but I didn't really need them. Though there is good reason for them to be there. There are new modules/source guides, DB4: Dro Mandras, DB5: The Conquered East, DB6: Dwellers in the Darkness, DB7: The Duchy of Karbosk, DB8: Mists of Mantua, and DB9: Fanderburg. The adventures are not "leveled" so the CK can adjust them to fit their players. At this point, we are now 330 pages deep into this book. This takes us to the Monsters sections. There is a lot culled from the first three modules, but there are a lot more new ones. 40+ pages to be exact, so enough to keep me happy for a while. This is followed by 25 some odd pages of new fiends, demons and devils. The last three or so pages are dedicated to new magic items. This is a campaign world in the very sense of the term. It is much more akin to Greyhawk than it is to the Forgotten Realms. You are given some locales and locals, some gods and demons, some monsters, some factions and some background. You are told how they all interact and then what you make of it all is what YOU make of it. No NPC is going to overshadow the players here unless of course the CK allows that. Which they won't.
The books are of course gorgeous in the way that all C&C books are. They really feel like something from the 1980s, only better.

In truth what would be better is a nice boxed set with both the Players book and Castle Keeper's book in softcover. Put the modules in there, all nine. Include a big fold out map and some green dice with bronze/gold color lettering.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Castles & Crusades Castle Keepers Guide to the Haunted Highlands
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