Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Review Of Horrido Publishing's Old Shanghai Sourcebook For Your Old School Campaigns

I came across  Horrido Publishing 's Old Shanghai's source book in the G+ Gangbuster Rpg group and asked to take a look at the book. Boy, I'm glad I did! The book is sixty two pages of deep look into the old city of Shanghai from before WWII. Shanghai was the setting for many of the pulps I read in my youth and this book captures the look and feel of it from its beginnings right up through the pre eras. This is a place tailor made for adventure and a bunch of folks who are looking for fortune and glory.


This book presents Old Shanghai as a pulpy adventure setting and its a damn fine place to have an adventure! The material is well done, nicely presented and easy to integrate into a wide variety of rpg systems including several OSR systems but let's dive right in shall we. Horrido Publishing's Old Shanghai is a completely system neutral and has a nice chapter right out of the gate outlining the history, background, and major high points of Old Shanghai. This is a city right on the edge of another era and yet desperately trying to cling to all the sides of the cultures that are shaping the future of Shanghai. Add into this mix the forces of organized crime, international smuggling, the various Tong families and a whole host of East meets West weirdness all of which wraps this city setting in a solid pulpy setting. This is a city on the edge of history and its city with its back against the wall. There are three reasons to actually use Old Shanghai:
  • This is a very well done PDF resource and presents all of the adventure locations, setting material and adventure hooks a dungeon master could use. Everything is well laid out and easy to get through.
  • Old Shanghai is a place that you'll want to send adventurers and anything really does go.You get a solid overview of the city's heart and soul such as descriptions of the eight main districts of the city, including maps and places of interests, such as the Shanghai Club and the Canidrome. All the actual useful material without the extranious BS that you find in many other source books. 
  • You have NPC's who can and will have an impact upon a party of adventurers dealing with  the complicated social mesh of Old Shanghai. Presenting a number of schemes and plots to be used as adventure hooks which dove tail into the various factions and politicians of the city. This is a city on the edge of the coming century and echos of war to come.
For games such as Call of Cthlhu or Gangbusters with a totally different adventure setting venue, The Old Shanghai source book is a must. The book presents a highly detailed and well plotted out product that will challenge adventurers to dive into the back alleys and high stakes areas of Old Shanghai.
Have you ever wanted to know where all of those occult artifacts smuggled and various Lovecraftian cults operate right under the shadow of Russia and China Old Shanghai is the place to find out. This book also presents 
supernatural abilities, magic and gothic themes that dove tails into a variety of supernatural investigative horror and old school rpgs.

As I said earlier I discovered this book in the Gangbusters rpg G+ plus group and the product easily will slip in seamlessly into the Gangbusters rpg. Between the smuggling, gambling, corruption, vice and more of Old Shanghai this is a city tailor made to hand a fun hard boiled rpg system. There is something very appealing about running a campaign in this city. The book portrays a cosmopolitan melting pot about ready to boil over. The book carefully rips and breaks down all of action of the city in plain language and with a style all of its own that translates into a nicely wrapped product that can spark entire adventures with Old Shanghai without a hint of the supernatural at all. Personally, there's so much potential for adventure I can see using The Old Shanghai source book for a variety of OSR style games from Call of Cthulhu to a D20 modern game set during the heyday of this famous city.  Be sure to grab 
"The Siccawei Appendix." for free which contains a wealth of additional information for the source book as a free pdf expansion to the source book's themes and the old city itself. This is an extremely useful free pdf gaming expansion.

Do I think that Horrido Publishing's Old Shanghai Source book is worth the price of the download and worth your time? Yes, as a mater of fact I do and here's why;the book has been carefully researched and gets straight to the point without huge gobs of useless information and gives the reader exactly what they need without lots of useless details. The material is well laid out and the maps in this book are exceptionally nice for the price point of the product. The Old Shanghai source book has little in the way of fluff but gives enough hits to warrant further investigation and development into a full blown adventure encounter. I give the Old Shanghai source book a four out of five for all of the right reasons and I look forward to actually using this book at my table.

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