Review: Rogue Games – New France (Colonial Gothic)


Product Name: New France
Publisher: Rogue Games
Author: Gabriel Brouillard
System: 12°
Setting: Colonial Gothic
Series:
Theme: Alternate History, Colonial America, Low Fantasy, Horror
Type: Supplement
Link: http://themysticalthrone.com/?p=24465

New France is a campaign setting sourcebook for Colonial Gothic bringing 18th Century New France into the system. New France (the area) covers much of Canada and the central portions of the (current) United States from Quebec to New Orleans. New France expands the Colonial Gothic system from just the thirteen colonies to all the areas controlled by France and those subsequently taken over by British forces.

New France does a beautiful job of expanding the overall Colonial Gothic setting and really provides a 360-degree look at the areas of New France (the area) including the major colonies, organizations, important characters, and much more. While there isn’t nearly as much folklore within New France compared to the thirteen colonies, there are plenty of opportunities for great adventures and epic campaigns. Maybe your players will find the famed, lost treasure of the Templars.

THE COLONIES

The Colonies section presents a very in-depth look at the colonies within New France including a brief, history overview, a detailed look at the major territories, organizations, and Native America tribes. One important thing to point out is that all of New France is presented from a French historical standpoint rather than the British translations. This means the content contains the original French names for the different territories and cities, societies and organization, and the different positions within the various branches of the government.

The different locations listed throughout are not only described, but are accompanied by a map illustration as well. All the organizations are properly described and detailed along with the different groups of Native American tribes. This is all fairly standard for a Colonial Gothic sourcebook except that the map illustrations are fantastic, and very key to the visualization of where these places are located in relation to modern day North America.

SETTINGS

The Settings section details three different eras that are key to the atmosphere within New France. This starts with the Golden Age of New France which details the colonization of New France and the influence of the different organizations within France and New France and a good sized grouping of key persons with adventure seeds. Settings then moves on to the French and Indian War detailing the various British seizures of forts within New France and the seemingly inability of New France to get enough reinforcements from France. Again this includes a detailed look at the influence of the different organizations and a good sized grouping of key persons with adventure seeds. The final era in the Settings section is the American Revolutionary War and a look at the difficulties New France faced (mostly political). Once again, this includes a detailed look at the influence of the different organizations and a good sized grouping of key persons including adventure seeds.

RULES

The Rules section brings everything together with the content and the Colonial Gothic system. This includes new backgrounds for character creation, rules on dueling, sample names, a list of mysteries with a Colonial Gothic twist, and 4 new beasts to add to the system. This section is a bit on the short side and could benefit from some expansion. A larger listing of Colonial Gothic-styled mysteries would be a great addition along with additional bestiary and maybe a way of defining differences in character creation depending on which territory the character came from (i.e. Canada portions of France versus New Orleans).

OVERALL

New France is a wonderfully done setting sourcebook. One of the best parts of this book is the large assortment of illustrations showing the locations of all the places noted within the book and some that are only briefly touched on. I also find the NPC descriptions and adventure seeds to be very valuable and great adventures can easily be created around them. The only thing I didn’t find was a hidden, in-between the lines, storyline that could be developed into a full campaign. However, there are definitely enough seeds and ideas that can be pieced together to create a number of interesting adventures.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
The layout and presentation are the typical high-quality for Rogue Games and especially Colonial Gothic. However, the numerous illustrations (mainly the different maps of the areas) really make this sourcebook shine. Not only do they look great, but they are key in understanding where these cities, forts, and territories lie compared to modern day United States and Canada. Second only to Boston Besieged (so far), this is one, very beautiful publication.

Mechanics: 7 out of 10
There is a bit of a shortfall when it comes to the mechanics of this sourcebook. While there is a wealth of source material, it’s mostly presented from a historical point of view with very little twists and turns using a Colonial Gothic fantasy and/or horror influence. Much of what colors the Colonial Gothic system is folklore, but I don’t see that within New France. The adventure seeds that are presented throughout are great adventure ideas and bits and pieces to campaigns, but there is very little Colonial Gothic colorization. I would have liked to see more fantasy and/or horror thrown into the mix giving the setting a Colonial Gothic appeal. With that in mind, the mechanics that are present make great additions to the system for bringing in more of North America into a possible adventure or campaign (especially for creating campaigns).

Value Add: 9 out of 10
There is a definite need to expand the Colonial Gothic setting further from just the thirteen colonies. Part of this is the ability to bring in more ideas while another part is giving the players the opportunity to expand their adventures. Any setting sourcebook that expands multiple aspects of the system’s main setting is very valuable. New France does not let down.

Overall: 9 out of 10
New France is a definite must have for Colonial Gothic Game Masters to not only expand their setting, but also to add new adventure seeds, important characters, more Native tribes, and especially new conflicts between the various colonies within all of North America. For players, there are a few things they will find valuable such as the additional options for character creation and the ability to create new backgrounds. However, much of the content is geared toward the Game Master.

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