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Colonial Gothic RPG: Gazetteer

****( ) (based on 1 rating)
RGI1777E

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It is 1775.

The conflict between the American colonists and the British Parliament has come to a head at Boston. War seems inevitable. Behind the war, unseen hands move unknowing pieces, manipulating events according to ancient plans. Beside the war, ghosts and monsters walk the land and ancient curses run their course.

Welcome to the Thirteen Colonies.

In this book you will find maps and information covering each of the Thirteen Colonies, plus the Province of Maine and local native peoples, plus a short ready-to-play adventure, A Surprise for General Gage. A glossary explains unfamiliar terms both native and colonial, and a bibliography points to more detailed information on the colonies and their inhabitants.

Written by Graeme Davis, this book is your guide to the Thirteen Colonies. Filled with maps, adventure hooks, and other information, this book picks up were Colonial Gothic Revised left off, and begins exploring the world of Colonial Gothic.

2011 Gaming Genius Award Nominee

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Product Reviews (1)

Average product rating:

****( ) (based on 1 rating)

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A Valuable Sourcebook for GMs

****( )

Gazetteer is the quintessential colonial America sourcebook for Colonial Gothic. It states, quite simply, what has been going on within the different colonies throughout the course of colonization up to the Revolutionary War. At its roots, Gazetteer seems like a historical book, but when you read soak up the content, you realize that it’s filled with adventure seeds, major characters, major encounters, campaign frames and background information that makes for great game-play. The key is to take the information and translate it into in-game situations. In addition, the Flames of Freedom campaign finds its beginnings within this sourcebook.

OVERALL

I will admit that I was very skeptical when starting to read through Gazetteer. I was confused by the lack of Colonial Gothic content while, at the same time, being intrigued by all the historical source material. Then I read through the adventure and it all came together. Colonial Gothic is not just a game about fantasy and horror during the colonial period of America, it’s also about immersing the players in historical events that were not as they truly seemed (or rather how they were documented). While reading through the adventure, I began to realize that creating an alternate history in whatever fashion desired is a key part to Colonial Gothic. This allowed me to look at the content in a different way. These are events recorded in history and as the GM, you can create the why, how, and what and then allow the PCs to determine the outcome. However, if it wasn’t for the adventure, I may not have made that connection and may have struggled to find the source material within the historical information.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 8 out of 10
The Colonial Gothic line of publications from Rogue Games always has great layouts, presentations and illustrations. While Gazetteer generally follows this, I feel there is too much white space and an example of how to translate historical facts into Colonial Gothic fiction would be helpful. There are not many illustrations within the book, but then it doesn’t really need it. As a gazetteer of each colony, a map is often all you need. All-in-all, it’s a great looking publication that follows the fantastic presentation methods found throughout the Colonial Gothic line.

Mechanics: 7 out of 10
While there are no direct in-game mechanics introduced within Gazetteer, the publication pinpoints historical information that is useful within the given mechanics of the Colonial Gothic setting. Again, this is not obvious at first and requires a bit of translation. But once you do some quick translation and get that “ah-ha” moment, you’ll realize how much content is presented within that can take full advantage of the Colonial Gothic mechanics. However, it’s the translation part that may trip some GMs and make them wonder why this content is useful. Again, an example would really help to make that leap from simple historical facts to in-game content.

Value Add: 9 out of 10
I will make this statement quite boldly: Once you figure out how to use Gazetteer, you will realize how valuable it is as a sourcebook. There is a plethora of information that can be used in a number of ways throughout a variety of adventures and campaigns. From the mundane background of your non-player character to framing a full campaign, Gazetteer really covers a lot. And I recommend reading through the adventure module at least once if not twice to fully understand how that information becomes valuable.

Overall: 8 out of 10
I’m a big fan of source material that gives GMs the freedom to use that material in any fashion they see fit. But often times source material can become buried within itself if it is not obvious how that material translates into in-game effects. While Gazetteer is filled with fantastic source material, it definitely did not feel that way at first. But give it a second look if necessary and start reading between the lines to find the true value of that material. It is, in my opinion, a very valuable sourcebook for GMs, especially those who need some ideas for writing their next adventure.



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