Sunday, July 19, 2015

Review of Ogres of the Olden Lands By James Mishler Games For Your Old School Campaign

Ogres of the Olden Lands is both a monster book & PC book rolled into one, in the Olden Lands ogres are a menace and a boon. These monsters in this pay what you want title are very dangerous highly unpredictable are a species unto themselves and the author does a good job of getting this very well across. These are tribes of creatures that have traits, habits, norms and a society that is just this south of the usual races of PC's and they're very well detailed in this title. The random tables for ogres and ogre magi are fantastic and add in a bit more color into a race of 'monsters' who are at once menacing and yet understandable. Given the author's background in anthropology its very understandable how he's able to breath new life into a pair of monsters from the Monster Manual that have only been regarded as big dumb humanoids. Here they're anything but. 

Grab This One Right Over

  The real star here is the the half ogre PC class everything that I've come to expect from the race that appeared in the pages of Dragon magazine and several old school rpg sources instead here we have a working PC racial class with real motives and dangerous intentions. Yet they're not only playable but well done too boot. They're certainly well done with several other random tables to add in even more customization options to your PC's.  This product also features an ogre encounter system, just perfect for generating complete parties of these brutal and dangerous warriors as well as their Ogre Magi counterparts. Make no mistake these are some very dangerous customers and they should never be taken lightly.  This is a living and breathing race of dangerous warriors going about their business in a society with its own rules and ethics, even though these are a some what alien species in many respects. There is a section on advice for generating your own ogre PC's and this is done in such a way give practical advice and really down to Earth guidance with these creatures making them feel realistic and solidly done.
Finally we get a series of maps detailing the lands and world of the ogres of The Olden Lands. Finally we get the Gorge of Ogroth a place of mystery and legend steeped in Ogre lore, the perfect place to drop a party into the deep end of it. A ton can be done with this twenty page piece of OSR gaming goodness, since this is a Labyrinth Lord compatible product its just perfect for use with a wide variety of OSR products. I can honestly see using this book as a part of a Mutant Future Advanced Mazes and Mutants campaign. With all of the information here its easy to see these races appearing in the post apocalyptic wastelands. Ogres make the perfect bogey man and mutation platform in a post apocalyptic jump off point. There is so much detail here that its possible for Ogres to be used as a contact race for a game of Star Ships and Space Men 1st edition with little issue. Seriously these are one of the more versatile races of monsters turned player character races that I've seen and the product is that well done. This product could be used to create a sub race of sword and sorcery characters, monsters, NPC's and plenty more. Because of the LL style of stats in this product and the fact that the advanced companion is considered in the PC and NPC  generation options this book gives a ton of bang for its buck. I can even see using this product with an OSR game such as Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea. 
I don't own a single Castles and Crusades book but I can see given the gaming fluff that there is plenty of sparks and fire to start a blaze of bonfire proportions for a wide variety of OSR style games. Given the amount of time, details, ecology issues, and more for the societies of the ogres this title gets a five out of five from me. Do yourselves a favor and grab this baby today! Highly recommended.

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