I've been a fan of Douglas Cole since Dungeon Grappling, if not before (Doug was a member of the Tavern's "B-Team" - our once-a-month group exploring Castle of the Mad Archmage a few years back- but I digress).
In any case, Doug produces great support material, whether it's for GURPS, The Fantasy Trip, or in this case, Old School Essentials.
This time around, Doug is taking on Best Supporting Actors: Adversaries and Allies for OSE, and take it on he does (in typical Gaming Ballistic style - balls to the wall ;)
In the pages of the book, find 172 ready-to-play characters built as individuals. Each has a brief story, describing something of their past, motivations, and salient details. Not all are combat monsters: Some must resort to duplicity, cunning, seduction, and guile to get by. Others prefer to handle things with blunt heavy objects. Some bring extra tools to otherwise-mundane professions.
There are enough that you'll likely find one to fit your needs, as an adversary, ally, person encountered in a tavern, or as a pre-generated PC to get a game going fast. It's likely that there are sufficient numbers that you won't need to use the same character twice!
- Roughly half are level 1-4 delvers just getting started - rookies as it were
- Around 40% are presented as potentially dangerous bandits or outlaws...including a breakaway unit of a dozen fighters from a defeated military company.
- Most have lives independent from "adventurer" and perhaps 25% don't fit neatly into a single class concept (fortunately, the OSE Advanced Fantasy Player's Tome easily accommodates this through multi-classing).
- About 1/3 are spellcasters of some stripe or another; sample spell lists are provided. New spells that go well with a particular character's role are provided where it's flavorful.
A quick "tab line" descriptor allows the GM to roleplay these as NPCs without even referring to the stats...but keep the writeups at hand in case the party wants to enter into a contract or a combat.
Grab a few of them to make wandering parties of pilgrims or adventurers. Deal out a half-dozen or a dozen to answer the question of "who's in the inn?" Choose randomly or with malice aforethought to see who shows up when the PCs post want-ads for hirelings, henchmen, and allies. Several are of the "wilderness guide" variety, allowing quick access to someone who can help get from A to B if the PCs are all "want to crush, crush now?" types. Random party generator tables are provided for a few classes of encounter, for use and inspiration.
Did you catch that bit above? The bit about "deal out a half-dozen or dozen to answer the question of...". Well, if you back at 75 bucks, you get both the book and a deck of cards for the NPCs in the book.
Digital rewards start at 20, and physical (plus digital) start at 45. As I indicated above, I'm in for 75 :)
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