It's here. Thoughts, feelings, opinions and any ideas inspired from this work, please share them.
I am going to start reading it now.
I'll share a more-detailed breakdown a bit later when I've had the chance to read it in-depth, but my first thought as a 1E vet skimming it was this:
"Huh. Elaine's now a polyamourous bisexual. That's new."
I've also only had time to skim the PDF, but here's my quick thoughts:
1. I like the format of the book, with each nation divided into important personalities, locations, supernatural creatures, dueling culture, etc.
2. It may be unfair of me, but I'm not warming to the revised versions of some of the notable 1e characters, such as Elaine, Morella and Dominique. Their revamped versions seem a bit...blander to me than their 1e versions, on first read. That said, I do appreciate that there are a lot of new NPCs, and I think Good King Sandoval's story is a lot more interesting now. And the NPCs seem less tied to an overall metaplot and easier to tailor into individual campaigns as a GM wishes, which is a good thing, I think!
3. As a dueling fan, I really, really like the description of different dueling cultures and rules for each nation. Vesten's Duelist Guilds are a great new idea and would be an excellent setting for a duelist-themed campaign, in my opinion.
4. That said, I am not as fond mechanically of the new dueling styles introduced in this book as I am of the ones in the core book. However, considering that the Numan style in "Pirate Nations" was much clearer and easier to understand than it's abridged version in "Heroes and Villains", I'd prefer to wait till the finished book comes out to see if my opinion of the dueling styles changes.
5. However, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of nation-specific secret societies! I don't know if they'd fit in my own campaign but the Castillan and Montaigne secret societies appealed to me.
6. I also think the new combat advantages are flavorful and fun, and will be greatly appreciated by those who want to make characters focused more on brawling, archery or firearms! "Anything Can Be A Weapon If You Hold It Right" seems particularly flavorful for a brawling character in a swashbuckling game, and "Whirlwind of Steel" should please fans of the old 1e Soldano School, as it is very similar in taking down waves of Brutes-and you don't need to be a Duelist to take it, though you do need the Fencer advantage. I think these new advantages give a lot of opportunities for players to build very decent combat characters who aren't part of a formal Duelist school.
First thoughts on rules:
I'm definitely assuming the new (not) Sorcery Advantage and the Boticario Background replace the Alchemist Advantage and Alquimista Background from the core. I sent a comment asking about that already.
On the other hand Seidr and the Skald background I guess stand as-is, since Galdr and Vala are completely different.
I sincerely hope that's not the case. I'm not a fan of how the Alchemist non-sorcery has a heavy religious component. I'm hoping they leave both, maybe renaming the core rules Alchemist Advantage to Chemishtry would do the trick.
I really like the new mechanism in this book.
It'll help people create the Hero they love, not the Hero they need.
I was talking about the new advantages especially, but also about the porte tweaks and new sword school.
The advantages help to bridge the gap between duelist and non fighters characters in a more interesting way than the student of combat (which is good, but not as fun).
Also, "catch the wind" is awesome
My main first thought was that I felt it was lighter on each Nation than 1e. Granted, 1e had an entire book for each Nation. I'd have liked to see more city descriptions for each nation (including separate entires for Highland Marches and Inismore). That was one thing I really appreciated about 1e was that almost every city, landmark, etc. had a paragraph or two. It really helped set the scene for PC's entering a new town. This edition felt light on those details (Things such as population, ruler, etc). In addition, some of the cities had really huge changes from 1e. One place I saw this as an issue was Altamira. It was included in the Montaigne section. While it may be Montaigne controlled, it's a Castillian city and should be in Castille section.
Given that this is the only book on these Nations that we'll have for a year or more, I was a little underwhelmed with what was given for the history, geography and adventure hooks for these nations. It appears I'll continue to require the 1e Nation books in order to truly make each place feel alive and different. I also really enjoyed the naming section in 1e to help characters create names unique to a given nation.
I did like the NPC writeups and the story changes ranged from "Hmm, why?" (Queen Elaine) to "Okay now that's cool" (King Sandoval).
I did enjoy the nation writeups on dueling. I also enjoyed the new 'sorceries' and glad to see Rune Magic back!
I do wish that there had been more added for the existing sorceries. While "Glamour" got some more detail, I was hoping for more knights from perhaps Inismore or the Marches, or a different take on the Glamour Magic of those countries. I was also hoping for more "Porte Knacks" (e.g. "Catch") but the variations were a nice touch.
I would have liked to see more information mechanically about the witches of Castille, either an advantage or background to that effect, as it seemed rather interesting.
Overall I really enjoyed the book. I rather wish they had done 2 countries per book instead of 4, as I think there is a lot left for GM's to make up as they go or pull and modify from 1e.
If Witches in Castille are inspired on galician Meigas, as it seems, there are an awefull lot of types.
If you're going to have them mimic Mother's touch you could be having a Chuchona (they transform into bats or insects and suck children's blood) or you colud be looking at a Lobismuller (can turn into wolfs and half-wolfs).
For Glamour magic you could be looking at Feiticeiras (comely middle aged women with a beautifull voice who charm people with their songs and make them drown in lakes or rivers). There are also Marimantas (who trick children inside their bags and spirit them away).
I'm not sure about Sanderis though it's not unheard of some Meigas being able to walk over water and capable of flight and being able to draw vas weather and storms.
But you could draw a connection with Stregas because many Meigas have similar powers, like Lavandeiras (who ask people help wring out bed sheets and if they don't or do It badly, they curse them), Damas do Castro (who live under abandoned castles and bless people) or Cartuxeiras (who read the future using a deck of cards).
There are also Meigas related to seing and hearing things others can't like Veidoras (who can see spirits and ghosts) or Asumcordas (Who can hearing and see things that happen behind closed doors).
If you found this interesting and would like to know some more about other myths that inspired some of the stuff talked about in Castille's chapter just let me know.
I like the Castille chapter. And the Montaigne chapter. There's a need for more coverage of the other cities as stated earlier. But...
Avalon is three kingdoms in one, and the word count slaughtered any chance of seeing either kingdoms get a fair shake.
And Vesten... Wow... I need to see the finished product before I go eye ripping, but ATM it's more Skyrim less Scandinavia in a way that makes me long for being the Samartia of 1st Edition
/Soren A. Hjorth
I agree. I find both the Castille and Montaigne chapters to be excellent overall. The change to Sandoval is intriguing. I love the fractured nature of the Inquisition as well.
Avalon got completely butchered, though. And instead of offering up new glamour options for the Inish and Marchers, they just doubled down on the Knights. I disagree with some of the changes to the characterization of the NPCs as well, especially Elaine. It's not 100% bad, but overall I'd consider that chapter a watered-down failure. I'm extremely disappointed as a Glamour Isles fan.
I don't really understand what JWP is doing with Vesten. I thought they were going to opt for a more modern route with some of the ancient runic practices sprinkled in to give the Vesten an interesting edge.
Anyone else notice the tone of the books seems darker? Why is the common thread running through the nations in the book that nobility is failing the common people? While Castille had it's issues in 1E, the nobles vs peasants theme was primarily the hallmark of Montaigne.
I'm surprised and disappointed there isn't more on Vesten beliefs, since they're said to worship their old gods, but other than "Allfather" we don't know who any of those gods are (beyond what we crib from real Norse Myth - but it's not going to be 1-to-1, just look at Allfather being father to the giants as well).
I hoped we'd get an overview like we got of the Numanari gods.
The Realists being the setting's expy-Puritans (I remember they were mentioned in the Kickstarter as being some of the early Theahn colonists in Not-North-America) makes me want to replace that Background in the core book...
Definitely way less focus on history than in 1st edition. That may work out for me, as I like filling in those blanks. For example, my recent history of Avalon has room for a Objectionist (Realist?) Protectorate before Elaine's return. She comes back with the Graal in time to throw her support behind O'Bannon who was fighting an Objectionist invasion of Inismore. After O'Bannon beats Not-Cromwell to death in man-to-man combat, his Objectionist followers sail into the west in flight from the sorcerous blasphemy taking over Avalon to find their promised "shining city".
I'd rather have good stuff I can ignore, than have to create a bunch of things to make the world alive. I think having 4 nations (arguably 6) in a book was too much.
This brings me back to my rant about the lack of GM tools to help you develop your own Theah instead of story, story, story. But I'll save that for another day. I've got a lot going on this weekend and am barely halfway through the Avalon entry — not nearly far enough along to provide any constructive commentary.
Ok, at 100 pages into the book, my biggest gripe is about organization. It just feels all over the place to me. Instead of grouping things contextually, everything is sort of pounded into a format that works against a cohesive view of the world. For example, in Castille, you have a big write up on brother...Mzarq I think, the fellow who is setting up the Dark Inquistion. But then, a dozen pages later, you get a big detailed treatment of the group. Together, these things all hang together, but the book breaks them up because...well because we have to put the important people here and the organization there, that's why.
Or the Eclipses, who we talk about as part of a persona write up, but don't really define for another 5 or 6 pages. Gah!
Each chapter has lots of terminology dribbled throughout. Would it be too much to ask to put them in a sidebar early in the chapter or in the appendix for easy reference? This is really bad when you drop things in (the goat men) but don't explain them later.
And there are just some weird omissions. Lawerence Lugh, anyone? We get provinces, but they aren't defined on the maps.
I understand vol 2 is still being worked on. But i feel BOTH books would be better off if they finished the content for each and then organized it all afterwards. thst the core book organizes things one way, pirate nations another, and now NoT yet another way just feels in cohesive overall.
All this need to flip is making the PDF a tough cookie to navigate.
Thank you for bringing up the part about the Eclipses. I was reading that portion of the book and wondering who/what the Eclipses were. It was like reading a news article that started with an abbreviation and didn't tell you what the abbreviation meant until five paragraphs in.
The Pirate Nations books is much better-organized.
Add this to the list: why is the map of the nation included in the overview section and not in the Places section? Wouldn't it make more sense to put it where I'm going to be referencing it most often?
Also, while I like the aesthetic of the maps, maybe we could use color (red or blue) to highlight the cities and towns covered in the places section?
I would also love for the entire nation to be included along with boundaries. I noticed Altamira is still IN Castille but it's not on that map nor included in the Castille section. I didn't read that part of the country had been annexxed into Montaigne.
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So making sure I understand correct - the "Sidhe Squire" Background still counts as being one of the unique Graal Knights, right?
Since there's no exceptions noted to say otherwise, I'd have to say that the rank of Sorcery in Sidhe Square follows all the rules for Glamour Sorcery, such as picking a Graal Knight whose mantle you now bear. So yeah, it'd still count as one of the unique Graal Knights.
Dono's Gaming & Etc Bloghttp://jedimorningfire.blogspot.com/
Yeah, I really think they need to get something set up so there's more than 20 Glamour sorcerers in the world.
In theory it works for pc options because it's enough for any PCs and heroic NPCs you can meet.
But I'd like it if there was some form of glamour sorcery applicable for villains. Stands to reason the power of narrative archetypes comes with villain archetypes too.
I'm surprised Avalon doesn't have a Parliament anymore. The Highlands do, but unlike her real world counterpart, Elaine's power is much less constitutional in nature.
On the subject of Glamour, I wonder what gifts Elaine herself receives from the Graal. Presumably she had the mantle of Elilodd, but what the entails I don't know.