" Sword & Caravan is an OSR setting book for playing a historically accurate fantasy campaign set in the East along the region known as "the Silk Road" at the turn of the 12th/13th Centuries. This historic campaign's timeline is set amid the turbulent era between the Third Crusade and the Mongol Invasions. This marked Europe's earliest period of post-classical interaction with the East."
"As Players, you may decide to take on the roles of crusaders, merchants, or explorers traveling to ancient and mysterious lands. Alternatively, you may choose from any number of unique character concepts native to those lands."
"With a detailed gazetteer of every region along the Silk Road from the Crusader States and the Muslim world to China, Sword & Caravan gives you everything you need to explore the history and varied cultures of a region filled with war, intrigue, commerce, and conquests."
Rpg Pundit's Sword & Caravan supplement is a huge expansion for the Lion & Dragon rpg moving the game into the era of the Silk Road. Sword & Caravan clocks in at around almost two hundred pages of history, new classes, & much more for the Lion & Dragon rpg. And while it's meant for the Lion & Dragon rpg Sword & Caravan could be used with DOM Publishing's Fantastic Heroes & Witchery as well. This could be a sorta of backdoor way of going especially with those already using Dark Albion as thier primary campaign setting. This of course would be an alternative history way of handling adventure elements.
Sword & Caravan's 12/13th centuries are an extremely dangerous time in Europe & Asia with entire cities being wiped off of the European map. DOM publishing's Fantastic Heroes & Witchery would be a far more dark fantasy centered Europe with many of the tools of Dark Albion coming into play to leverage play.
While the history within the Sword & Caravan supplement is front & center many of these titles are also a type of tool box approach to their contents. The DM can mix & match as the adventure situation & the player's wishes dictates for their campaigns. The biggest change within Sword & Caravan is the role in which social interaction, commerce, and merchants play within an OSR setting. Yes dungeon crawling is a huge part of the equation but the party is far more mobile with the exploration of strange & alien cultures being front & center. There is nothing stopping a DM from using demi human races within a Sword & Caravan campaign. And yes the human centric element is front & center. There are many DM whom I heard from who are taking the traditional approach of using Sword & Caravan with demi human or humanoid elements. Many DM's have cited Michael Moorcock's alternative historical fiction books as being an element of this sorta of a tradition old school campaign.
The truth is that the Silk Road presents it's own unique challenges for the DM who wants to move to a 12/13th century campaign model. Sword & Caravan certainly has the right tools for the job. My own Italian merchant character who is just starting out from an upper middle class family has his own set of challenges especially navigating both the dynamics of family politics & the Islamic world of this time.
This is a very interesting mix to say the least & lately given my propensity for getting out from behind the screen. There's going to be more then a bit of hesitation on my part. With that being said, Sword & Caravan has some excellent tools for PC generation & much more.
With that being said could Sword & Caravan be used with other OSR rpg's or titles?! The first one that springs to mind of course is Lamentations of the Flame Princess rpg. And given the period of the Silk Road's occupation?! The short answer of course is yes!
Sword & Caravan would be a powerful tool for a LoFP campaign given all of the weird elements, dangerous NPC factions, & much more. But there will have be some adjustment when it comes to some minor gaming or rpg mechanics. And some of these same adventure & DMing elements also come into play with Lion & Dragon as the era's completely change & move according historical motives.
Given the amount of material in both Dark Albion & Lion & Dragon it's easy to see the pivot points for a DM looking to increase their chances of successful Sword & Caravan campaign with the Rpg Pundit presents supplemental material. While not necessary these periodicals certainly enhance the chances of a successful campaign. The step to run a Sword & Caravan campaign is a big one given the mountain of information that is provided to the DM. This isn't a bad thing at all & the book does give more then it takes from an OSR dungeon master. Sword & Caravan is an excellent addition to the OSR DM's arsenal & an excellent book.