Review: Mongoose Publishing – Deus Vult (RuneQuest II/Legend)


Deus Vult
Deus Vult is a historical fantasy horror setting, set during the Crusades, for RuneQuest II (compatible with Legend) written by Gareth Hanrahan and published by Mongoose Publishing.
By Aaron T. Huss

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Deus Vult is a monster hunting setting based during the times of the Crusades. Loosely connected to the Crusades, Deus Vult is not about running around Europe and Asia Minor to defend Christianity. Rather, it is about assuming the role of an agent of Christendom dedicated to protecting it and its secrets from the supernatural (and sometimes heretical). Player Characters are highly trained individuals, partially represented by the fact that the setting starts at Seasoned, partially represented by the additional training they receive from the Order (the agents are members of the Order).

Deus Vult mostly focuses on the various aspects of the occult being combated by the Order and their specialized agents (the PCs). There is a large amount of esoteric influence, the beasts to encounter are supernatural, and some of the equipment available to the agents are of clockwork design. In essence, the game setting is about the agents of Christendom fighting the agents of the occult, in a very awesome way!

CONTENT

Character Creation contains everything the players need to create agents of the Order within Deus Vult including specialized training, backgrounds, professions, past events, and a look at connections.

Solis Sacerdotis is a look at the secrets held tightly by the Order along with a look at the Order’s structure/hierarchy.

The Instruments of God is a listing of equipment designed to combat the supernatural including weapons, armor, gear, and alchemical compounds. The Order employs the use of clockwork for some of its more deadly devices.

The Mont St-Michel is the ultimate home of the Order. This describes everything on the island of Mont St-Michel.

Brethren of the Order is a listing of notable members of the Order including potential contacts, allies, and rivals. In addition, as a bonus, pregenerated characters are included here for quick game-play.

Gifts and Miracles is a listing of preternatural gifts only available to members of the Order. In addition, new information for divine magic (called miracles) is included.

The Church is a look at different portions of Christianity including the crusades, the Inquisition, the Templars, and witch-hunters.

The Enemy is a look at the occult including a large list of sample cults in many different aspects (such as pagan and spirit cults).

The Occult is the mechanical look at the occult form the player’s and GMs point-of-view including lore, witchcraft, grimoires, sorcery, horrors (the unfortunate side-effects of the supernatural), and magical items.

Bestiary is a collection of creatures ranging from servitors to “the big bad.”

Secrets of the Order is the behind-the-scenes look at the Order and other themes in Deus Vult, designed for the GMs eyes only.

Running Deus Vult is a collection of tips and tactics for the GM along with information on how to create missions and campaigns.

OVERALL

Deus Vult does an excellent job of blending history, fantasy, and horror in a single setting placed during a time when war was declared in the name of Christianity. At the same time, the setting does an excellent job of disconnecting you from true history by presenting a large amount of supernatural influence and agents specially trained to combat it. It’s about monster hunting, not the actual Crusades. The only thing I wish it had is more big, bad monsters!

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
Deus Vult is a beautiful and simple book. The art is greyscale and black-and-white and carries a lot of occult and monster-hunting style to it.The content is extremely easy to read and the setting aspects are presented in an easy-to-understand fashion. Considering how the content is presented, Deus Vult can easily be used as a society within another setting in addition to be usable on its own. This is because while the setting and the mechanics are tied together, they are not so dependent upon each other that without one, the other will not work.

Mechanics: 9 out of 10
If you’re going to create a series of adversaries that are difficult to encounter, then why not create a series of PCs that can hold their own against these adversaries? Everything within Deus Vult is designed to represent this aspect of monster-hunting alongside the aspect of an esoteric group within the walls of Christianity. This is bolstered by cool new weapons, specialized training, preternatural gifts, and more. It should also be noted that while the setting boasts of Christianity, none of the mechanics require it.

Desire to Play: 8 out of 10
Deus Vult is an excellent supernatural-hunting setting with plenty of secrets and overpowered gadgets to keep your characters involved for an entire campaign. One thing that may turn people away is the heavy influence of Christianity throughout the setting, but rest assure that the mechanics do not require it. You can easily take everything within Deus Vult and place it within another fantasy horror setting. The focus is on the battle of Christianity versus the occult, but primarily in flavor. All the mechanics focus on the battle against the supernatural and the setting’s esoteric nature.

Overall: 9 out of 10
Deus Vult is a nice change from the typical epic fantasy by presenting you with a dark side and supernatural influence. In addition, even though the PCs are fighting in the name of Christendom, there is a small amount of goings-on “behind closed doors” that would be ruled as heretical in the eyes of, say, the Inquisition. Thus, the result is a battle of good versus evil where the good have to make sure the other good throughout the world don’t fully understand what is being used against the evil. Bury all secrets and keep the world alive!

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