Sunday, January 7, 2018

Sunday Look Into The Town of Baldemar By Robert J. Blake For Your Old School Campaigns

"Welcome to BALDEMAR!
In this booming town on the banks of the river Wythyn, danger and adventure lurk at every turn. Stroll the quaint streets of Old Town, where the Guild Council conducts the government's business. Visit the shops of New Town and purchase exotic items from the far corners of the earth. Crosriver caters to adventurers, offering food, entertainment, and services. But only the boldest dare enter the dark alleys of the Warrens, where the cruel Warren Lords dispense their own brands of justice...
Baldemar is a complete town setting in the medieval style, compatible with any fantasy role-playing game. it describes over 450 buildings and 125 noteworthy residents, which you can customize for your own campaign with less than an hour's work. Full personality sketches of Baldemar's most important citizens are included for maximum role-playing enjoyment, but you determine their actual powers and abilities.
Baldemar also offers a game system for handling public opinion -- both political and social -- that is so simple, yet so versatile, that you will want to use it for your entire campaign! This valuable tool can add an extra dimension to your game."

So reads the back blurb for one of Gary Gygax Presents Fantasy Masters titles Town of Baldemar by Bob Blake. Please comeback and don't let the Cyborg Commandos New Infinities logo scare you. The Town of Baldemar was written by Bob Blake the same guy that did  C5The Bane of Llywelyn & a bunch of classic TSR &  Polyhedron material.Its really easy to use & very '87 generic AD&D 1st edition in style & probably if it had come out now with the rush of OSR related titles might be regarded as a classic.
'The Town of Baldemar' is NPC after NPC related businesses with overarching relationships & politics of the area. The whole thing has a very classic D&D style about it. I'd have to start messing with the whole area right out of the gate but then again that's part of 'The Town of Baldemar' strengths. Even a lot of the Dragon's Foot crowd liked it.
Even Scott Hover liked it?! Sure I'm not the first to review
"The Town of Baldemar"

The layout is strong '87 quality & pretty densely packed with information on the town, the factions, the NPC's with lots of generic Dungeons & Dragons style hooks scattered throughout. This is again as much Frank Mentzer's beast as it is the rest of the usual gang of classic TSR folks because of the editing, artwork, & overall feel. This isn't a bad thing if your into the transition period AD&D style of products.

I'm surprised that
Town of Baldemar doesn't get more of a mention in OSR circles but its not a superfantastic standout product per say but provides the players with a safe point to adventure from. The Town of Baldemar is a perfect adventure location for the players to actually take over as a domain. I've used it in the past as faery neighborhood for a game of Shadowrun & Nexus The Infinity City as well as Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition.

 The maps are decent, the population breakdowns are consistent, and this is an adventure location with some really interesting all around adventure hooks if the DM is willing to do a bit of work. But of course with the 'hard edge OSR crowd' this book is going to seem old fashioned & more then slightly out of date right?!

Wrong because 'The Town of Baldemar' is rpg neutral but obviously aimed straight at AD&D first edition there is more then a nostalgia feel to em. The whole city has this crazy almost but not quite about ready to tip into the lands of Fairy about it. There are a variety of threats that can come from within & without in but when the fairy Queen Mab came to call as one of the real rulers of  'The Town of Baldemar' in one of my games one of my players nearly spit soda across the table. His PC nearly became the sacrifice to Hell! Be careful whom you sleep with in adventures!?
"The character is also associated with the name Morgan (as with the Arthurian character of Morgan Le Fey, or Morgan of the Fairies), or a variant of Mab (such as Maeve or Mabd). In the Child Ballads Tam Lin (Child 39) and Thomas the Rhymer (Child 37), she is represented as both beautiful and seductive, and also as terrible and deadly. The Fairy Queen is said to pay a tithe to Hell every seven years, and her mortal lovers often provide this sacrifice. In Tam Lin, the title character tells his mortal lover:
At the end of seven years
She pays a tithe to Hell
I so fair and full of flesh

I fear it be myself"
This adventure hook would have dire consequences in a Lamentations of the Flame Princess game surely dooming the soul and more of the poor sod.
Because its so game neutral 'The Town of Baldemar' is easily adaptable to almost any retroclone system but its really more suited to the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition system & style. This is straight with keeping with the same family of retroclones such as OSRIC & Labyrinth Lord Advanced.

'The Town of Baldemar' remains relatively inexpensive drifting between ten to fifteen dollars in used bins at Half Priced books or Fleabay. Another gem of the Eighties passed by the 'experts' of the OSR.
For now keep em rolling!

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