Review: Rogue Games – The Grimoire (Colonial Gothic)


The Grimoire
The Grimoire is a supplement for the historical fantasy horror game Colonial Gothic (powered by the 12° System) written by Richard Iorio II and published by Rogue Games.
By Aaron T. Huss

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The Grimoire is a revision and expansion of previously released material for Colonial Gothic, with some additions. Regardless of that, it is the ultimate magical tome for Colonial Gothic covering aspects of spells, alchemy, witchcraft, secrets, relics, talismans, books, and more. If you ever plan to incorporate magic into your Colonial Gothic games, now you can turn to a single location to get all that information. Colonial Gothic is a historical fantasy horror setting, and bringing out the aspect of fantasy is everything contained within The Grimoire. But don’t think of this as epic fantasy, it’s dangerous magic that needs to be handled with care.

CONTENT

New Spells & Arts is a collection of new arcane and common spells and a look at alchemical art.

Books & their Use is a description of how skimming and reading books is translated into in-game mechanics as skill bonuses, skill increases, and new spells. In addition, there is a large collection of pre-generated books ready to be read.

Talismans covers everything you need to know about talismans including what they are, how to use them, and how to create them. In addition, a large list of talismans are provided, ready for character use.

Relics carry an unknown power that can be used in a variety of ways. Here the in-game use of relics is detailed along with a large collection of pre-generated relics.

Witchcraft discusses everything regarding the corrupting art of witchcraft and its NPC-only use. All mechanics are presented here along with the list of witchcraft rituals.

Occult Material is only 1 page long and provides two items. I really question its short length and wonder if it should either be greatly expanded upon or just removed. But, a couple additions to the system are always welcome.

Creatures provides several new adversary creatures to throw at the players. A nice little addition, even though it seems oddly out of place.

OVERALL

In Colonial Gothic, magic is real, and one may not be satisfied with just enough mechanics for using magic that fits into a core rulebook. To expand on all aspects of magic, The Grimoire adds to options available along with presenting a number of new avenues to incorporate magic into the world of Colonial Gothic. The best part is that these mechanics stick to the historical horror feeling of the setting without becoming epic fantasy.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 8 out of 10
Rogue Games and the entire Colonial Gothic line stick to simple layouts and formatting, presenting a very readable book with lots of great content. A good amount of illustrations are used including those depicting Colonial America. The only thing that gets in the way is the large number of editing errors. Most of them are extremely obvious and easy to read through, but they occurred frequently. However, they were not enough to really detract from the content and I will stick to the claim that these books are great reading material and very valuable for Colonial Gothic games.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
Regardless of those mechanics that were published elsewhere and revised in The Grimoire, the new and expanded mechanics compared to the core rulebook are fantastic (a lot of the entries include source material and adventure hooks). In fact, this book is 75% mechanics in a good way covering new common and arcane spells, everything you need for using books, the use of relics, the creation and use of talismans, everything you need on witchcraft, and a little more (including a complete reference list of spells from both the core rulebook and The Grimoire).

Value Add: 10 out of 10
If you have the previous publications covering the subjects within, The Grimoire is still a valuable addition to your collection with its revisions and expansions. If you don’t have the previous publications, then The Grimoire is the perfect companion for Colonial Gothic in all magical regards. For Game Masters, the mechanics for witchcraft (as they are designed for NPCs), is a great way to add additional depth to your adventures and campaigns by pulling in historical material concerning the threat of witches (which are real in Colonial Gothic). The Relics section can also provide a wealth of adventure and campaign material as the PCs quest to find the relic and all the hooks that surround it.

Overall: 9 out of 10
The Grimoire is a must-have supplement for Colonial Gothic presenting players and Game Masters alike with a great expansion on the mechanics for magic and magical items. With all these great additions comes plenty of adventure and campaign hooks revolving around the acquisition of the magic or magical item and the possible ramifications of that acquisition.

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