Saturday, September 13, 2014

Revisiting Kos City From Skirmisher Publishing For Your Old School Campaigns

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Swords of Kos Kos City is one of those campaign settings that you as a DM return to again and again. When I'm a bit stuck I often pull out my book and begin thumbing through this one. The campaign setting thoroughly old school but a system neutral setting built upon level of level of a fantasy Minoan civilization. There are solid reasons for the ruins, megadungeons, and other adventure locations that are used in Kos to be there. This is a massive book with layers of NPC's, a huge back story, well though out bits of the setting's history, and a large number of maps.
Don't let that fool you at all, the Skirmisher Publishing folks do an incredible job of laying this one out.
 According to the Drivethru rpg blurb : 
This book contains descriptions of 50 different specific places that can be used either individually or in conjunction with one another, and within the context of the city of Kos as presented here or as part of any other community a storyteller might have established within their own campaign setting. It also includes a fully-keyed map of the city of Kos, both in the book and as a separate 11 x 17 file that can be printed out on a single sheet of paper.
The Swords of Kos Fantasy Campaign Setting has deliberately been designed to be system free, not tied to any particular game setting, and to be compatible with any set of role-playing game rules suitable for ancient, medieval, or fantasy venues. In that the setting was used as the playtest backdrop for games using the OGL/d20, Pathfinder, “Basic” Dungeons & Dragons andLabyrinth Lord retroclone, and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules, of course, it is an especially ideal setting for them.
 Looking into Kos is like looking into a huge multi layered cake of opportunity for adventurers. The city is an adventure opportunity waiting to happen. I can totally see using Kos for a Three Hundred movie style wrap around location where the politic and NPC's at the top get the PC's snared into any number of situations. Many of the situations here are laced through with some hook, or line that seems to link back on to itself that will work the PC's into the life of Kos.
I haven't used Kos in a couple of months as an adventure location because of the fact that the PC's seem to spend a bit too much campaign time lost in its winding streets and alleyways. I've created the location's  world as a demi plane  within my rpg campaigns. Thus solving the possibility of the setting material over shadowing my own campaign. Yes its that well thought out and there is that much material where the PC's are going to have a ball with the book. This book is expansive and the all of the Kos material from Skirmisher publishig builds upon itself.
The thing about Kos City is that there is a key point with it, the entire setting is system neutral that makes it a plug and play setting. That's one of the setting's strengths & much of the Kos material leans toward a sword & sorcery setting. That makes it one of my favorite books to play around with.
The shops,businesses, etc are all oriented toward the adventurer in mind and allows a DM to weave the story and setting into their own campaign world. The Kos settting is one that can seem to overwhelm a DM but that's not true. The break down makes using the setting a very nice change of pace where its an easy snap in for use with your own favorite retroclone or AD&D first edition game. You might as a DM find yourself using this setting with fifth edition or Pathfinder. That's fine since this setting has bits for both of these systems.
The setting of Kos is a very urbane and yet strange blend of Greek style fantasy with its own distinct flavor this may or may not be to your liking. I think that my players have found it in slices very enjoyable but the setting isn't the usual run of the mill high fantasy setting. Kos has a bit of grit and blood to its city streets making the setting have weird echoes all of its own.
 I've used Kos City any number of times for one shots and just getting the PC's to the city and setting with get them into the deep end of Kos and in trouble.  

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