Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Review and Commentary On "&" Magazine's Free OSR Download - Mundane Magica For Your Old School Sword and Sorcery Campaigns

 Grab It Right Over

Most Sword and Sorcery games such as Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea are actually post apocalyptic fantasy games.They take place from when the times when the Oceans drank Atlantis and the sons of so and so wandered the Earth or some such. Magic is usually a dying art or at least half of the knowledge of such places is dead, dying, or simply plain lost.  The fact is that any society capable of creating rods, staves, and other powerful magic items is bound to have other less Earth shattering treasures around. Treasures and artifacts that are not capable of altering the reality of your campaign. This is where this supplement comes into play. And these are incredibly useful for a sword and sorcery campaign.
According to the intro : 
Any magical society capable of creating magical
weapons, armor, potions, rings, rods or staves or
wands, and the wide array of miscellaneous magic
items will also have members of the enchanting
profession who are more interested in the gold from
the nobility or even the silvers and coppers from the
less affluent. Those folks aren't always interested in
combat, they’re more often interested in making
their lives easier. And there are members of the
enchanting community who see the difference
between working for the king or church or a famous
hero and working for nobles, guilders, and
tradesmen and women as preferable towards the
latter. So we present another full table, like the one
in Dragon 73, of these types of items. We also
complete the article from that issue by adding a
table with names and values in XP and GP.

Another thing worth noting is the fact that many of these treasures are made for AD&D first edition but are easily compatible with ninety percent of the retroclones on the market. The DM will have to alter where needed. Many of these items are well thought out but I thought there might have been a bit too much put onto weaponry and armor. But for a S&S campaign that's not always a bad thing.
As the back page says: 

With game master ingenuity and translation,
this adventure is also compatible with the original
Dungeons & Dragons TM, including the Holmes, Moldvay/Cook, Mentzer/BECMI/RC, and
open gaming license versions of these games.
This is a free suppliment and clocks in at around thirty six pages. The book is divided into specific categories and by God some of these are damn useful in any fantasy campaign including a science fantasy one with a bit of work.
None of these items are going to make or break a campaign but they will make your players thing if used by NPC's and there is a feel of a by gone age about the material. The authors are an ingenious bunch and there are a wide variety of items that we see here. None are from any cheestastic movies but there are some that I think could be useful for a tribe of backwater barbarians that might spring a surprise or two on a group of players. If the players are a bit too familiar with the usual AD&D DM's Guide or the AS&SH referee's guide then this is a solid and nice book to pull from with a bit of tweaking under the hood.
 From the book 'Stone cat' is a good example of the sort of lay out for magic items we see.

Stone Cat

This item looks like

a life sized very
lifelike carving of a
cat. If the cat is
sitting on the floor
or a surface (but not
in a container) and
an ordinary small rodent comes within 30' of the
stone cat the cat will turn to flesh and animate. The
stone cat can pounce the entire 30', if no suitable
path exists the cat will close at 5'/round (even if this
means going the other way to get there) until it can
pounce. The cat gets a +10 to all checks needed to
pursue its target. Upon a successful hit the target
will be swallowed whole, the stone cat will regain
1hp and it will return to its original position and
turn back to stone. The cat will likewise return to its
original place if the target gets outside the 30' range
(as measured from its original place.)
Note: If this sculpture, in either form, is placed in a
box with a randomly releasing poison gas dispenser
in the box, two identical versions of this item will be
found when the box is opened. One is a functional
item, while the other one is inert and has no magic,
and therefore will not turn into a living cat unless
further enchantments are placed on it to provide
this ability, though at a -90% chance of the copy
accepting any magic.
There is lots of fluff here but nothing that will stump the DM wanting to convert these magic items to their favorite system. All in all this is a pretty solid book for a free download and with a bit of work these items can really make a game or adventure stick out in the minds of the players.
 So the next time you need an artifact,weird bit of dungeon dressing, or need to pad out the treasure for your group of bad ass sword and sorcery PC's turn to this one.
I give it a three or four out of five!  Grab this one while you can. 

No comments:

Post a Comment