So I just finished reading the preview for this book and so I wanted to write down some of my impressions for this book. Overall I liked it, the artwork has been consistently good, and they added rune magic back into the setting which I am really happy about.
In this section we get a high level overview of what is in this book and how most of these nations just finished a war or at least finished it for the time being.
So this is the first of the nation sections and the rest of them will follow in the same pattern as this. We start with a bit more information about Avalon, The Highland Marches and Inismore, then we move on to the important people complete with hints at how to portray them and in some cases some story hooks that you can introduce around them. For Avalon we also get a discussion on the Sidhe as well as what it means to owe and be owed favors by them.
After that we move on to a discussion of the various secret societies and their relationships with the nation. We also get a new Secret Society in this section called “The Long Strider League” which is basically the messenger service for the Theah.
Next we get the descriptions for some of the important locations in Avalon including a couple of ones that have been heavily influenced by the Sidhe in ways that make the environment unlike anywhere else.
Next we get some new rules for Glamour Sorcery about making bargains and owing on debts to the Graal. We also get a section on dueling in Avalon and a new duelist school that seems to have been inspired by parkour.
The final section of this chapter covers local legends in Avalon including the legend itself as well as the truth behind the legend. This might be one of my favorite parts of each chapter.
The biggest issue that I have with this chapter though is that it doesn’t feel like it gives adequate coverage for the three cultures of the Glamour Isles.
The introductory information in this chapter covers the recent war with Montaigne, and the growing power of the Inquisition in the country. We get some changes from what I understood of the first edition background (I have still not read the original Pirate Nations book to be sure). We again get some important characters including King Sandoval, an inquisitor named Octavio Mzabi and Cardinal Esteban Verdugo. We also get some more information on the political structure in Castille.
After that we get the section on Secret Societies including a new one “Inquisitio Aquila” which is trying to change the greater inquisition from hunting heretics to hunting the real problem, monsters.
After that we get a description of important places including Vaticine City the home of the church. This section also gives us more information on the Church of Prophets.
Next we get a new “Sorcery” for Castillians Alquima which is mystic alchemy. For the most part I like it, and it is certainly better than the Castillian sorcery that was introduced in the first edition book, and it has a different flavor from the Eisen “Sorcery” that was introduced in the Second edition.
After that we get the section on dueling with its new duelist school that involves the usage of sticks, clubs or staffs that was developed by shepherds.
We finish with the legends of Castille.
This chapter starts off by covering how rampant the corruption is in the country and then moves on to the war that just ended and will probably start-up again.
We then move on to the important characters of the country, one of the ones that I found most interesting was Ragnar Odinsson (especially since I watch Vikings). We also get a section on the Musketeers here.
The section on Secret Societies includes the Montaigne offshoot of the “Los Vagabundos” group known as “La Bravoure de l’Epevier.
We then get a selection of important locations including a prison island where those that the Emperor wants forgotten. We also get information on the city that threw off the yoke of the Emperor and rebelled. We end this section with some more information on the Porte walkways and what is actually in them. We also get rules on escaping from the walkways if you get trapped there and what you see if you open your eyes while on them. All in all I like these additions to the rules a lot because they give the sorcery a much more creepy vibe which is something that I feel like it should have.
In dueling section we get a new style called “DeVore” which seems to be one made for bodyguards. We also get a section on using Porte in duels which was something that I found interesting.
We finish with the section of legends including one about Dame Fortune, a devil that lives one of the mountain ranges and an assassin.
We start this chapter with information on the rise of the Vendel League and the relationship between Jarls and Carls.
The important characters in this chapter include several of the Jarls, a raider, and several members of the Vendel Leugue.
In the Secret Societies, we get a new one called “Seekers of the Word of Ekerila” who try police the use and abuse of runic magic.
After that in the locations we get places in different regions including the large central forest, the main cities, and some interesting communities along the coasts.
Next we get the introduction on Galdr which is the new sorcery based on runes. This was something that many including myself felt was missing in second edition, and while this incarnation is different from the first edition version, I like this one better.
For the new duelist school, we get a sword and shield style called “Hallbjorn” which makes use of the shield as a weapon to bash your opponent hurting them and knocking them off-balance.
In the Legends section we get information on Jotuns,Trolls, and Devil Bridges.
This is where we get all of the new backgrounds and advantages described. For Avalon we get one background for each of the islands and one more for any of the islands which goes back to the earlier feeling that Avalon got a bit shorted in this book. For the Montaigne section we get a background for the Porte Fencer called “Epee Sanglante” and a background for those that have escaped the Porte walkways which I really appreciated. The advantages where less interesting, most of them building on other advantages that could take. Though one of them did allow a duelist to change styles mid round as long as you met the requirements and another advantage gave you access to some of the duelist’s special combat options.
All in all, I am really happy with this book especially for the legends sections, the additional rules on Porte Sorcery, and the Galdr (Rune) Sorcery. And I do feel that Avalon was the worst of the covered nations just because it is very much three countries in one and so needed more space to do it justice.