This is the next-to-final draft for the cover of my next Codex. The name is officially 'Codex Nordica' and not as shown on the title on this draft however. As soon as I get the info on the Kickstarter, etc for the book I will post it here, with links and more.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Saturday, October 5, 2013
Rule Book, Mythology
150 pages (estimated), Hardcover
With iron grips they held their ships at sea. Face to the wind, back to the mist, they cut the water in their dragon prow ships, bringing the song of death and plunder upon the backs of gods that rose from the maelstrom of eternity. With axe and sword, shield and spear, they rose as if from the ether and opened the world to a storm of primeval lust.
The Codex Nordica plunges into their world, exploring the myths and cultures of the Vikings, from Odin's Ravens to the Jotun fortress of Gymirsheim. Brian Young explores the Nine Worlds of the northmen, the legends and myths, the magical creatures, gods, heroes, giants and monsters that peopled them.
All this is presented as a back drop to the game you are already playing. Expanding upon the core of C&C material Codex Nordica brings a host of new wizardry and enchantments, gods for the characters, warriors and battle craft. Added on to all this, are new materials for the Castle Keeper, all designed to enhance rather than hinder play.
Codex Nordica brings the Viking myths to life at the table!
Product Type/Format & Price: 8.5 x 11 Saddle Stitched, 24 pages; $6.99
Ordering Info: TLG 8327, ISBN 978-1-936822-60-7
At the end of each year comes the month and holiday of Samonios, Samhain or Nos Galan Gaeaf, or Halloween. This is the time when the worlds are drawn together and monsters, gods and the spirits of ancestors wander between them. It is a dangerous and dark time in which the most holy and sacred of ideas mean more than they ever have before in the previous year. It is a time for the Dead and to honor them.
Events in the last year were steeped in bloody battles, the death of kings and encroaching evil from the Otherworld. The seers and madmen foretell that the omens are in place to bring a wrathful invasion from the Land of Magic. Most nobles and lords scoff at these superstitious words and ridicule them, but the common-folk know that there is truth in those portents and omens.
Families stay close, hold their festivities in honor of their ancestors and the gods, but stay wary of the dangers that might find their way into their darkened homes and lives. But for the young or unwary...
Little Addolgar ap Maelon Gof has wandered into the thick foliage of the Coed Celyddon, lured by the many colored playful lights that he saw dancing and laughing. Now the young dark haired child of ten winters is deep in the mist-shrouded forest soaked in Otherworld energies. A storm is brewing in the dark woods, stirring the trees and causing the limbs and boughs to crack and knock against each other. Owls hoot in their haunting voice and somewhere distant, wolves howl. Addolgar climbs over fallen trees and makes his way in bramble patches trying to get closer to the mysterious lights in the boughs of the trees.
Night of Spirits plunges you into the heart of Nos Galan Gaeaf, bringing your characters face to face with the Otherworld and the true horrors of the holiday!
Night of Spirits is an adventure for 3-5 characters of around 4th-6th level.
Sunday, September 1, 2013
This novella is set to be released in December and is another in the series of my quirky Mountain Man Monster Hunter Jed Isaacs, this was the first story I composed, first as a film script in around the year 2000 and then a novella in the fall of 2008.
It has been over a month, or two, since I last posted here but in this case it is a good thing. I have been busy writing like a madman, and not just gaming materials but novels and related literature. As you know my newest adventure module 'To Kill a King' is now out and has had five star reviews instantly as a PDF before it was ever printed and sold at GenCon last month! The adventure was inspired by my favorite, albeit short-lived 'Castle' Rock band 'Rainbow', and I do have another inspired one from a song due out in a few months as well. Next and related, my next adventure module, 'Goblin Night' is in the early stages of being put together and focuses on the early original Celtic Halloween, thus its name taken from the Welsh 'Coblynos'. The story occurs near the villages of Hadrian's Wall beside the ghost-haunted woods of Coed Celyddon and involves, the Wild Hunt, druidic ceremonies, a mystery and terrible things to come if everything is not figured out before the third and final night of Halloween (the early original Celtic celebrations would last for three nights, 'Trinox Samonios' in Gaulish and 'Tair Nos Coblynos' in Welsh). In the history of gaming, this is the first time an adventure module has been written for, and about the holiday! I suspect it will get high ratings as well considering...
The Codex Nordicarum, which is the second codex in the series focuses on the Nordic myths and peoples is in early production and editing right now and should be ready for a mega-Kickstarter in October. It takes the ideas, layout and innovative things I did in the Celtic book to new places and now places those many myths and associated elements into gaming contexts for all alike to add to their games. It will kick gamer butt and prepare everyone for the next and related Codex Germanorum that should be ready by the end of the year. Following that will be the Codex Slavorum, Codex Classicarum and many more that places beloved myths, and the most obscure goodies from them into the hands of players and CKs. At the present the Slavic codex is halfway completed, and will be ready by October to be moved into place for the set of the Codices. I am also writing on the tenth adventure module, The Torc of Serpents, a very unique challenging story that takes place in Celtic London, when the Celts took over after Rome left. It will give many new opportunities to explore and to slay dragons...yes monstrous ones taken straight from Celtic myth.
In addition to all of this, I am about to complete book four in my Silent War Steampunk Horror series soon called Atlantica and finish the first part of it all, but before I do so I am writing a new Celtic adventure series based on my adventure modules, putting them into literature. The first book, The Sullen Queen, it taken from my prequel module A Sylvan Gambit, and is quickly growing into an amazing piece of literature. These books follow the main character, Rhun ap Maelgwn, on his early adventures straight up to his appearance in real history in succession of his famous (and real) kingly father Maelgwn of Gwynedd, one of the few actually documented 'Pendragons' in Celtic history. I cannot even begin to describe how incredible this story is becoming as I write it, as I have found another niche of mine that I am well-suited to writing (since it is my expertise!).
I am also outlining, halfway done, my next Weird West novel about Cage O'Brien called Cold Blooded, and will be a story far removed from the first, Bring Me the Head of the Preacher Man. It again honors Lovecraft and Howard, even more so than the first and takes place almost eight years later in 1901. It will not only be a gripping story of action, horror and adventure but a commentary on one subject I detest - politics. This will be a mind-twist of a tale and cause plenty of paranoia along the way, so be prepared. Soon I will start on it, likely around the holidays. Being released this month from my publisher Damnation Books are two of my works, The Axis of Shadows and Black Coach, High Midnight at the same time, one a novel and the other a novella. The first is the third installment in my Steampunk series and the other another tale in the life of my Mountain Man Monster Hunter Jed Isaacs.
As I have more updates I will post them here for you, be sure to leave comments and your feelings on things for me as I take them all seriously!
Thursday, July 4, 2013
by Alex Lucard on June 17, 2013
Broken Bones (& Halfling Broth) (Castles & Crusades)
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
Page Count: 16
Release Date: 06/15/2013
Saturday June 13th was Free RPG Day 2013, in which participating retailers were able to give away copies of various RPG samples. A few companies did quick start rules, other adventures, and some even did a tandem hybrid. A Pot of Broken Bones (& Halfling Broth) was Troll Lord Games’ offering for this year, and it was the product I was most interested in, as I like the system a lot. There are no quick start rules for the adventure, so you need someone who knows the C&C system to run it for you; preferably someone who knows the system well and can explain it to newcomers. As well, this particular adventure is for characters between levels 3 and 8, and there are four Level 4 pre-generated characters included. Between this and the lack of quick start rules, it does mean that everyone involved needs to have some prior understanding of how the C&C system works… which isn’t THAT hard, considering its an OGL system, but it does mean A Pot of Broken Bones isn’t the best thing to throw at a group of people completely new to Castles & Crusades. With only a cursory explanation of what dice to roll when, you should be able to have a really fun time with this adventure though.
The adventure itself if a lot of fun and very well written. It’s short, but with random encounters and a potential (and very unexpected) third act, it can really lengthen the adventure to two or more gaming sessions depending on how players handle it. I really liked the twist that players can run into if they play their cards right (wrong?) and it completely changes both the dynamics and expectations of the entire affair.
The plot of A Pot of Broken Bones is a short and simple one, which makes it perfect as a quick freebie to entice veteran gamers to try a new system or to reward long time fans of the system. A Halfling village has been ransacked by a pair of trolls, and the three that haven’t been captured, killed, or eaten hire the player characters to take out the trolls and free what remaining brethren they might have. Players have a variety of options on what to do about the trolls. They can use brute force to slay them, Stealth to sneak past, or guile and charisma to perhaps befriend or barter with the trolls into letting the Halflings go. I really enjoyed that, even as a simpler adventure, A Pot of Broken Bones didn’t play out as a simple hack and slash dungeon crawl. I loved that the text offered nonviolent solutions to the problem, although the adventure does admit most players will take the more direct route of sticking sharp things through soft things that scream and bleed.
The adventure also takes place under freezing winter conditions, meaning players with have to deal with the chill and snow in addition to two powerful antagonists. Of course, the troll’s lair has potential dangers besides the gruesome twosome, so players will have to be prepared for that as well. Of course, players won’t see the huge twist coming if they encounter it (it’s possible to run the entire adventure without triggering it) and as I said earlier, I was blown away by it. This alone turns a simple adventure for new gamers until a highly memorable affair.
One odd note about this adventure. I found the cover ink came off on my hands and fingers very easily – a problem I haven’t had with any of the other products I picked up on Free RPG Day. I’ve never had that problem with a physical C&C release before either, so I’m not sure if I just got an odd cover or if this is an issue with all the C&C Free RPG releases this year, so just a head’s up in that regard.
Out of the sixteen pages in the adventure, ten are actual content, one is a map of two locations, one is the OGL license and title page, two are product ads and two are the four pregenerated characters. There are two small drawings, each of a troll in the text, but otherwise the piece is mostly art free. Not surprising, as this is a free giveaway. I really like the cover art though.
All in all, I loved this adventure. A Pot of Broken Bones (& Halfling Broth) is something worth paying for, so to get this adventure for free is an amazing deal. It is well worth playing through as veterans of RPGS and/or C&C will love this thing, and the twist will throw them off their guard and then some. For younger or newer gamers, this adventure may well turn them into big time Castles & Crusades fans, leading them to purchase the core handbooks and many an adventure. I know it would have piqued my interest enough to invest in the system had I not already owned much of what’s out for it. Whether you’re new to Castles & Crusades or have only ever heard about it from reading my reviews, try and track down a copy of A Pot of Broken Bones (& Halfling Broth). You won’t regret it. I normally don’t pick up physical releases for RPGS these days, but this adventure was well worth driving to a participating game store and then some.