Review: Rogue Games – The Templars

Product Name: The Templars
Publisher: Rogue Games
Author: Graeme Davis
System: 12°
Setting: Colonial Gothic
Series: Organizations (Volume 1)
Theme: Alternate History, Colonial America, Low Fantasy, Horror
Type: Supplement

The Templars is the first release of the Organizations series for Colonial Gothic. These Organizations sourcebooks take a much deeper look at the secret societies and groups of interest within the Colonial Gothic setting or those that could become involved within the setting. The Templars takes a deep, and very interesting, look at the Knights Templar. Knowing a bit about the history of the Knights Templar is not enough to grasp the full value of this sourcebook, you must also have an open mind. While bringing out historical facts, The Templars also presents historical speculation, fictional material, and lots of great Colonial Gothic content.

This publication is filled with loads of adventuring ideas, other than the ones plainly listed, but requires a significant amount of reading between the lines. While reading the content, everything felt so real that I had to remind myself that much of what was being presented was speculation or simply fiction. But it’s presented in a way that links the historical facts with the speculation and fiction in a way that is virtually flawless. This could definitely take your Colonial Gothic games in a new direction and leaves very little need for the GM to fill in gaps within a potential storyline. It’s concise, it’s deep, it’s twisted, and it’s totally awesome! I’ve never seen the Templars’ story presented this way.


The History chapter of The Templars contains mostly factual (or historically reported information) of the Knights Templar following their inception to their eventual dissolution. A small amount of speculation is provided giving the Templars connections with other societies throughout history. Much of this is meant to establish the background along with presenting knowledge that can be called upon throughout an adventure or campaign to establish a characters true connection or membership with the Knights Templar.


The Legends chapter mixes historically reported information with much of the Templars speculation presented throughout time. This includes additional connections to other societies along with fictional publications that provide some of this speculative information. Legends presents a fair amount of plot ideas that can be incorporated into an adventure or campaign or used by the GM to create new and unique ideas of how they view the Templars existence throughout Colonial Gothic. Finishing up the chapter is a grouping of fantasy ideas for Colonial Gothic involving sorcery and alchemy plus some speculative fiction about exploration and the Templars presence within the New World.


Definitely my favorite chapter, Secrets brings about a Colonial Gothic view (mixed with historical information) of how the Templars can be incorporated into the setting along with how they have become players from the shadows concerning the Thirteen Colonies and the revolutionary war. This chapter is a bit shorter than the previous two and could benefit from expanding the content or adding new ideas. While the content is not openly presented with its direct influence on the setting, a GM could easily grab many adventure seeds form the material and thus fully bringing the Templars into their games.


The Encounters chapter is the actual Colonial Gothic affects of the Templars. This includes a number of ways they can be used including hidden agendas, their interactions with the Mandoag, allies, enemies, and keeping the Templars in the shadows or behind-the-scenes. To make the work a little easier for the GM, each major section contains two different adventure seeds with the purpose of a new adventure or the basis of a new campaign. Additional information like this makes the content very valuable as the author Graeme Davis is giving the content purpose and direction.


The Characters chapter brings all the previous chapters together from a players perspective. This provides the majority of the mechanics for incorporating Templar PCs into a game along with all the applicable skills, fates, advantages, and a couple spells. To make things even easier, a couple sample characters are provided. However, to fully utilize the depth of the organization, the players must look to the previous chapters while the GM may have to create a framework for their use throughout an entire campaign. This provides quite a bit of flexibility in how the characters grow and develop throughout a campaign and is quite easily extracted from the previous chapters.


The appendix contains a short but good number of books and films for inspiration on all aspects of the Knights Templar: factual, fictional, and speculative.


The Templars is a definite must have for GMs and players of Colonial Gothic. Besides the idea of playing a Templar, the chance to work for them or perform missions involving them adds a lot of potential to an adventure or campaign. From secrets to conspiracies and political influence, the Knights Templar could be anywhere and everywhere.


Publication Quality: 9 out of 10
The Templars is an easy to read publication that flows very smoothly from section to section. The majority of the content is presented in a narrative form and prevents the need to flip-back to previous sections to understand the content currently being read. Sometimes it felt like a story while other times it felt like a research paper. Regardless of this, it was easy to read and pick out many potential plot-hooks. The only improvement I can see being made is some of the italicized content as the font made it difficult to read.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
While simple in nature, the mechanics being presented for how to utilize the Knights Templar in your adventures and campaigns are thorough and fit very well with the core mechanics. I like the use of simple mechanics preventing the GM and players from having to learn a significant amount of new rules just to properly utilize the content and source material. I also find the two sides of the mechanics, NPC and PC, to be different enough that a Templar player character will have a different experience then simply coming across a Templar NPC or having one working in the shadows and interfering with the PCs.

Value Add: 8 out of 10
I have a good familiarity with the Knights Templar and their history. As such, I was easily able to spot the speculation and fictional content being provided. However, if one is not familiar with the Knights Templar, then much of the content could be read as fact and hard to distinguish between one or the other. While this may be by design, it could lead to confusion between those who know the documented history and those who do not. Basically, it requires you to read between the lines often thus creating a storyline that the players may not be expecting. But when it’s all incorporated into a game, it is fictional and can thus be virtually whatever a GM wants it to be.

Overall: 9 out of 10
There is so much material here that the value of the publication becomes extremely high. And not just for the GM, there are plenty of options for the players as well. I highly recommend The Templars for those GMs and players who not only want to take their game in a different direction, but also for those who are looking to add secrets, conspiracies, new allies, or even new enemies into their storyline.

Share this post:

Related Posts

Leave a Comment