Saturday, 30 August 2014

[Review] Vampires Of The Olden Lands - The Chronicles Of Mhoriedh

Vampires of the Olden Lands is a supplement for The Chronicles of Mhoriedh campaign setting. There are two stats. For Castles & Crusades and for Labyrinth Lord.

The PDF is 26 pages including the cover, credits, a colored hex map, a page for OGL and three pages of advertisements. Within you'll find one page with general info on vampires including nice list of vampire warding and hurting objects. Rest of the pages are different types of vampires and a new playable character race.

Monsters Monsters

Yes, all the monsters are different kinds of vampires. Hag-like soul suckers, spirit vampires, beastly vampires, vampires who infect plague, creepy vampire children... and more! The variety of vampires is huge and many of them are creepy or weird. Great for gothic and horror campaigns.

The vampires all have special powers, some which they share with other types, some unique. The special powers make sense and don't feel like they are just artificial buffs to make these vampires harder to kill. Many different vampires have different origin and they also are killed with different methods. Every vampire also has a vulnerability like they should have.

You, The Monster

There's also a new player character race, Dhampir, the half-dead. You guess it right, daddy's a vamp and momma's human. At first I thought, oh no, 16 years old goths would be crazy about this if it was early 2000 or 90s or something! Yes these are kind of tragic and naturally angry and stuff, but for a race I think this is solid. Character balance sucks and I don't give a fang about it so don't know how solid build this is. This is not race-as-class (as far as I understand it) what is a bummer. So you kind of need AEC to go with Labyrinth Lord. Not sure about C&C because not familiar with that system.

Presentation

No neat front cover here, but I can live with that. Two column layout is clear and illustration works. Most of the pictures are more like symbols or emblems, but they are good enough. I do actually like them a lot and cannot decide if pictures of these vampires would have been better. Not necessarily!

One thing bugs me a lot though. Some of the special powers would have been arranged a bit better. A couple of times I felt that an entry should have been positioned earlier because that earlier text kind of mentioned it so it would be cool to first read the thing where thing is first mentioned before you read more about this. Does that make any sense? Before you mention A make sure that A has mentioned already, mkay?

Also there's another problem. All kinds of locations where vampires live and stuff are mentioned, but when I asked the author what product I should get to gain more information about these places, the answer was:

"The Olden Lands Gazetteer is still on hiatus. That's the book where full details on locations will, eventually, be found..."

Does that matter? Well, at this point you pretty much must ignore the little setting information presented in this product and just use it in your home campaign or other published campaign setting.

Printed as a booklet. With two random
dice appearing. In very vampiric colors!
Few bloody tears because the font is regular size for A4 page dimensions. That means, that if you want to print this you need to print it on sheets. Problem? Hell yes! This, my friend should be made for booklet printing because such a nice little booklet this printed. Only problem is that now the font is super tiny!
Things like this I want to add into my collection. In zine size. A4 format PDF sucks butt. Remember this for smaller products.

ALWAYS MAKE IT BOOKLET PRINTING FRIENDLY IF IT IS A SMALLER PRODUCT!

But There's A Nice Map

No setting information, yet, but there's a nice full color hex map included! The hex map has all these areas of the setting but you need to get other products for the details (right?). The map would be nicer if the resolution was higher. Or something. My printer is perfectly right but this looks like saliva when printed on quality paper. Damn shame.

How Would I Use This?

Vampire hunting! Book full of vampiric monsters what would be better campaign than to run around the realm killing these foul mouths! Monster of the week - with vampires!

Or gothic horror with one location (remote village with a nearby creepy castle anyone) with supernatural problems what lead to a vampire - or two. Low level investigation and horror.

Also you can be the half-vampire and hunt vampires, because of angst. Or you can try to be a badass, because of vampires!

How would you use this?

Should You Sucked In?

You should consider getting this if:

  • you like monsters. This is a vampire manual of Monster Manuals. Extra monsters never hurt (except the poor characters)?
  • you like vampires. Not those sparkly nappy heads but real monstrous vampires. Also if you want darker gothic horror into your campaign (and don't own Ravenloft) or want to spice up your Ravenloft games (if you do own Ravenloft).
  • Labyrinth Lord and Castles & Crusades supported. Don't know about C&C but with LL stats this is highly compatible with many old style rules!
Where To Get It?

Glad you asked! You can get it from: RPGNow.
The author +James Mishler is at Google Plus.