Sunday, March 28, 2010

Another Kind of WhiteBox

I got sick of waiting for my copy of the Swords & Wizardry: WhiteBox to be delivered so I picked up a copy of the Castles & Crusades:Collectors Edition boxed set from Troll Lord Games.  So far I like it - a lot.  I will reserve final judgement on the rules until I get to conduct an actual playtest, but at first glance they are a masterful example of concise writing.  You get a rules set that looks and feels like old school D&D, but is much more unified with the addition of the SIEGE system.  I can't believe I hadn't picked this set up until now!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Rynn's World Review

Review of Rynn’s World

Let me preface my review of Rynn’s World by saying a little bit about my background with 40K and my motivations for picking this book up.  First is the fact that I am only casually familiar with the background ‘fluff’ of the Warhammer 40,000 universe.  Second is the fact that I picked up the book as much to enhance my knowledge of Space Marines in preparation for possibly running games of Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader (and now Deathwatch) as I did for just the pleasure of reading the book.  Last is the fact that this is only the third Black Library book that I have read.

Before I get into the actual contents, I want to comment on the format of Rynn’s World.  I assume this is something of a new direction for Black Library and I like it.  The book is an oversized paperback with large font and two pages of color maps in the center.  The large font is especially easy on my aging eyes.  Its size makes the book easy to keep open and read, while still making it small enough to stow in my backpack for the train ride to and from work.

If you are like me and are unfamiliar with the history of the Crimson Fists chapter of the Space Marines, they apparently have a long association with the Warhammer 40,000 game and its fictional universe.  Crimson Fists are even pictured on the cover of the game’s very first edition.  Unfortunately, assuming the reader is intimately familiar with this history did spoil one of the book’s pivotal events for me by revealing it in the overview blurb on the book's very first page!

The book's plot is a classic battle against hopeless odds.  The shattered remnants of the Crimson Fists chapter of the Space Marines attempts to hold out against an overwhelming invasion force of Orks until help can arrive.  One group defends the planet's fortified capital city.  The other group, led by Chapter Master Kantor and feisty, independent Captain Cortez,  attempt to make their way across hundreds of miles of ork-infested terrain and link up with their comrades.

I didn’t go into Rynn’s World with the expectation that I would be reading great literature, but I was still pleasantly surprised with the overall quality of the writing and story.  This is a fairly clich├ęd pulpy, action story with lots of big guns and explosions, but it is a darn enjoyable and well-written one.  The author does an outstanding job of both humanizing the Space Marines and providing them with individual personalities and motivations.  I actually cared about Captain Cortez and Chapter Master Kantor.  The interplay between the two was believable and they both came across as for more than cardboard cutouts.

I enjoyed Rynn's World quite a bit.  I also feel like I learned a lot about how to portray Space Marines if I get a chance to run a 40K RPG campaign where they play a part.  If I had one complaint it would be that the final climatic battle between the Space Marines and invading Orks takes place entirely 'off camera'.  I was really anticipating the battle between Titans and Gargants and I was disappointed that it was not included.  If you are looking for a solid Space Marine action book, definitely give Rynn's World a look.

WhiteBox Delayed...

It looks like a snafu with the box supplier has delayed the shipping of my copy of Swords & Wizardy WhiteBox - ARRGH!!  On the other hand, Brave Halfling is including a limited run module as their way of apologizing for the delay.  This softens the blow somewhat.

On the other hand, the delay gives me time to flesh out my starting village and campaign area a little more.  I still hope to run a Play by Post campaign too, but I haven't gotten much response over at GeekDo.  I might try RPGnet and Dragonsfoot and see if I can find any additional interest.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Play by Post Swords & Wizardy WhiteBox

I haven't gotten my physical copy of Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox  yet, but I do have the PDF.  I also just picked up Chgowiz's Swords & Wizards Whitebox Reference Sheets from RPGnow today and they are pretty keen.

While I am waiting for my boxed set to be delivered, I would like to go ahead and kick off a Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox play by post game over at GeekDo. The game will be wide open, with what I hope is a good mix of monster bashing, action and adventure. You can find out more about it HERE.

Join my for some old-school goodness!