Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Augury - Midgard Bestiary Vol. 1 (AGE System)

The Midgard Bestiary Vol. 1 (AGE System) is Open Design’s first product for the Adventure Game Engine, used in Green Ronin’s outstanding Dragon Age RPG. As far as I know this is also the first third-party book for AGE. And for those really in the dark, the Dragon Age RPG is probably the best entry-level launched in these times – the fact that it’s linked to the famous computer game being a bonus to attract new players. Dragon Age RPG also as a few tricks that’ll please even veterans (like its stunt mechanics).

Enough introductions.

This augury is based on the PDF version of the Midgard Bestiary. This bookmarked bestiary has 58 pages and 50 monsters, all taken from Open Design’s successful line of patronages projects for Pathfinder and D&D 4th Edition – like Tales of the Old Margreve. The creatures belong to the yet-to-be-released Midgard Campaign Setting, but can be easily inserted in any fantasy campaign.

Each creature gets a complete page, full AGE stats, a short description and a B&W illustration (sometimes color). The PDF layout is very simple and the background is white, making it very printer-friendly.

The monsters’ art is already known by Open Design’s fans. The creatures range from the classic (the hag-like Ala and the fey Lorelei), to your usual dungeon critter (carrion beetle and cave dragon); from clockwork monsters (this is after all Zobeck’s world) to the unsettling and awesome (derro fetal savant, I’m looking at you). There even entries for human and dwarven mercenaries from some Midgardian nations.

Because we’re talking of Dragon Age RPG, the famous stunt mechanics must, obviously, be considered. Each creature has its favored stunts (from Set 1) listed, together with unique stunts that add flavor (and tactical variety). Fans of the Midgard setting also get tidbits of information about the future setting, with reference to Arbonesse, the Rothenian plains, the wizard realms of Bemmea and Allain etc.

Given that the Dragon Age RPG has so far no supplement and that the Midgard Bestiary PDF costs just $4.99, I just can’t recommend it enough. Grab it!